Best accounting software for landlords - Quickbooks or Quicken Rental Property Manager?

20 Replies

For landlords out there who don't manage themselves, which is better: Quickbooks or Quicken Rental Property Manager?

Which gives you the better reports, better data? I hear Quickbooks has a steep learning curve and is more generic so it's not tailored for landlords. But I see most people using it. Quicken seems more tailored to landlords, but I see less people using it.

Which is better, in your opinion?

Updated about 3 years ago

I'd also like to see mortgage information such as principal paydown, growing equity, etc.

Where did you hear that at?  Just curious. 

QuickBooks can be customized to fit any Industry. Quicken cannot. 

QuickBooks gives you professional reports.  Quicken does not. 

QuickBooks will tell you when a lease expires

QuickBooks will tell you how many square feet your property has, taxes, and whatever else you want to know about your properties.  Plus how much you paid for it and sold it for. 

Quickens is the baby brother of QuickBooks.  And it cost almost, if not the same, as QuickBooks. 

I could go on but there is not enough space in Bigger Pockets to post the differences between Quicken and QuickBooks.  No comparison!  QuickBooks has it all. 

Nancy Neville

Originally posted by @Nancy Neville :

Where did you hear that at?  Just curious. 

QuickBooks can be customized to fit any Industry. Quicken cannot. 

QuickBooks gives you professional reports.  Quicken does not. 

QuickBooks will tell you when a lease expires

QuickBooks will tell you how many square feet your property has, taxes, and whatever else you want to know about your properties.  Plus how much you paid for it and sold it for. 

Quickens is the baby brother of QuickBooks.  And it cost almost, if not the same, as QuickBooks. 

I could go on but there is not enough space in Bigger Pockets to post the differences between Quicken and QuickBooks.  No comparison!  QuickBooks has it all. 

Nancy Neville

 Just read that in other threads here. Was just wondering if the differences are enough to be worth getting past the steep learning curve but maybe they are.

I like QRM.  The only way the other will tell you how many square feet, what you bought it for, etc is if you tell it.  I do it to track expenses and make filing taxes easy. I self-manage and self-file.  I bought quickbooks a couple years ago and gave up trying to figure it out.  I already had QRM, though and didn't try for very long.  

I keep track of my equity build and such on my personal financial statement as required by my commercial lenders.  It's easy to just update once you establish it.  I'm sure with 15 easy steps QB could generate the report for me.

I have no dog in this fight, just trying to share what works for me.  Good question @Jeff L. !

It depends on how many properties you have and how computer savvy you are. I don't really have clients that use QBM, a majority of smaller investors use QuickBooks to track rentals and flips. I have used accounting software so long, that I find most of the better known systems are user friendly. It may take an hour or two to learn the differences of each. But if you are managing a lot of rentals, I recommend Buildium.

But if you are looking for something simple, have a few properties and are not self-managing the property a well designed spreadsheet should work well for a lot less money than a software package.

My questions to everyone who everyone on this forum:

-- 1st question -- Are you running a business? I am sure you do because you are in this forum.

-- When you purchase a property - do you analyze it to see if it is profitable? If you said NO scroll down to see my answer ### 1

-- What do you do after you purchase the property? Do you analyze each property, each expense made, ......???? If you said YES scroll down to see my answer ### 2

-- 2nd question -- Is why would you go to Dunkin Donut vs Starbucks?

-- 3rd question -- Would you like to make $$$ or $$$$$? Work on making a profitable deal then doing admin work. Did you read the Four Hour Work Week?

Does not matter which software you choose. You need to make the investment in the software, learning, education, books and consulting. It is the same concept of purchasing a property and making a profit. How much time did you spend on Biggerpockets alone to learn?

Time is Money. We are all about Saving Time. Saving Money. Being Profitable.

###1 use Quicken

###2 use QuickBooks

Quicken is for personal use and QuickBooks is for business. 

Enjoy your day:)

Gita Faust

I found this thread because I am also trying to decide which accounting software to use. 

I have been flipping for the last year and am about to purchase my first rental house. 

I have looked at Freshbooks, Xero, Quicken, and Quickbooks. I get that Quicken is supposed to be for personal and Qucikbooks for business, but when it comes to real estate specifically, Quicken has a tailored product whereas Quickbooks does not appear to. 

When I went on Quciken, I found their Rental Property Management Software 

https://www.quicken.com/personal-finance/quicken-r...

When I went on Intuit's Qucikbooks site, I saw solutions for accountants, bookkeepers, small business owners, and the self employed, but nothing that said it was rental property specifically. In fact, when I search the site I only found links to running a Real Estate Agency, but not a property rental business. 

So, I am right now also thinking that The Quicken Rental Property Management Software is the best choice for managing accounting for rental properties. Am I also off here?  

DeWitt Gibson, I came across Quicken's 2016 Rental Property Manager as well and was quite impressed.  I particularly like rental property performance analysis, ability to see each tenant's lease terms, payment history, security deposits, etc., and especially the integration with TurboTax, maximizing rental-related deductions.  Perhaps this is a new Intuit offering!

Bumping this to get some fresh input, in gearing up for 2017. Personally, I am tired of excel.

For those with ~5-20 units, even better if mixed SFHs and apartments, still better if mixed self-managing and using a PM, would Quicken be sufficient for this? I am finding that I am becoming less computer savvy every year (and I'm in my early 30s!), kind of embarassing ;) I would learn Quickbooks if you guys would say its worth it even with a smallish portfolio.

My suggestion would be to seriously consider a property management system.  I personally use Propertyware and it has changed my life since I implemented it.  We screened Propertyware, Appfolio and one other vendor and chose PW and have never looked back.  I manage 48 doors as an owner.  I used to handle everything through MS excel and it was a nightmare.  It is cloud-based so I can access from anyware, as can anyone on my team.

I am not sure if cost is much of an issue, but I pay about $117 per month for up to 50 units so I am just under the threshold.

When I was considering making the move, I spoke to other landlords who suggested I implement PW then see if it handles my accounting needs.  PW said (and I understand a vendor during the sales process can be biased) they have very few landlords who run Quicken or Quickbooks in parallel.  They suggested I run PW and see it it meets all my accounting and tax prep needs which it does.

I thought I would add this to the discussion even though I acknowledge original question was Quicken or Quickbooks.

Good Luck.

Well I have been using quickbooks for years. But I don't utilize all that it's capable of doing. My accountant likes it and it's easy enough for me to do basic things like have two or more buildings with different checking accounts and mortgages in one program. I'm not much of a computer person but I use excel in the most basic way to cross check what I've input to quickbooks and so there's no confusion later about who's rent was deposited, who paid cash ect. I just keep a simple chart with each building, the list of tenants, how they paid, when they paid, when it was deposited and how it was deposited. In other words if I deposit through my phone app I record that I've done it that way. I only have twenty units but I have found it can be very easy to miss something especially when some tenants pay cash and also many tenants pay the same amount as others.
It would be great if everyone paid the same way and exactly on the first of the month but it will never happen that way.
Also I use the "Evaluator" app by real estate tools.com.
I find this invaluable as far as tracking expenses, changing expenses, changing rent amounts, interest rates ect to see where we are going and also to evaluate a potential buy.

I personally use Smart Property Systems an find that the software is easy to use and had the accounting that I rely on.  I just got notice that they are upgrading to a new version and will have big data and better accounting...the best part that Iike is that my tenants can easily pay rent and the rent payment is automatically accounted for in my software.  The reports that I was told are coming are going to be awesome.... think that is in a month  

So what works best if you're a landlord and you're flipping? I tried Quickbooks and hated it because you really need to know accounting to some degree. If you're flipping you need to job cost to look, you can't do that with QB Online. Still using the old Excel file, but at tax time my Accountant doesn't like it. 

so would property management software cover our accounting needs for about 20 doors of landlording?

@Jane A. I find that no, PM software doesn't cover my need for 10 properties or 100. I come from a QB background, and love the control and reports. I find it better to run my accounting in QB and my property management, like when leases end, who lives where, when rent is due, lease terms, etc, through an Access database. If you only have 20 units, you could probably do the PM part in Excel and the accounting part in QB.

The big cloud PM suites look nice, but most are limited in their features and flexibility and force you to fit into their reports and accounting models. Maybe over 200 units the options are better, but for me I enjoy the flexibility of managing my accounts in QB and keeping my tenant database in Access. Plus I pay no monthly fees :-).

Does QB support Property Management needs? could tenant pay online?

I am reading that Buildium may cover both sides -accounting and PM

@Matthew Olszak thank you very much for sharing your experience, what do you think about Buildium?

@Jane A. Used it, was initially very impressed. But when it came time for me to build my reports and do my accounting, I found I was jumping back to QB to do everything I needed, and then I said why the heck am I paying $X/month if I am transferring everything to QB anyway. If you don't use QB and/or employ an accountant to work your books, Buildium could be good, but for me its not. Decent PM functions, but for me poor accounting. Everything it does I was able to replicate in Access, minus the fancy internet interface (especially since my tenants pay cash/mail money orders).

@Jane A. I don't have experience with QB accepting online payments, but I know for an extra fee you can send out invoices they can pay via ACH (I think) or Credit Card (although I believe Square is cheaper for CC).

For 20 units, consider how much work you'd have to do to reconcile the payments (likely not much) versus what a full suite would cost you instead of just having tenant run direct deposit or employ a different company/system apart from your PM program.

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