How do you stay organized

14 Replies

hi I have a question in regards to keeping organized as,a landlord with multiple properties financially and paperwork. How do you manage expenses and income and keep track of it all? Paper trails,creating good habits and all when it's a busy lifestyle. Thanks 

@Matt Harris

I use Buildium to keep my finances in order and I can every piece of paper that comes across my desk and file it by property and then by date. This takes a descent amount of discipline to do the upfront work, but when you need to find something or run a report, you can do it in a couple of seconds. It is worth the investment.

-Christopher

Originally posted by @Christopher Brainard :

That should read "scan". I really wish there was an edit key ><

The edit function is in the upper right hand corner next to the date/time. Click on "Edit". You can edit for only a short while after you post. :-)

Updated almost 6 years ago

There is also an update feature, which I am using now. After awhile "Edit" changes to "Update". I'm using Firefox with a Mac computer and it works fine. Must be something else hampering you. If you want, you can reach out to the BP tech folks for help (click on "Contact Us" at the bottom of the screen.)

@Marcia Maynard

Yeah, I've heard rumors that the edit button exists, but I never have the chance to use it. I don't know if it is because I run Firefox or what else it could be related to.

@Matt Harris

Yes, I keep a copy on my main PC and also periodically back that up to a USB drive. I name everything with the date proceeding the title, so they are in order. It makes finding things so much easier and drive space right now is exceedingly cheap. It started as a habit just for my receipts for tax purposes but I found value in scanning all the documents that come my way. 

-Christopher

I stay organized manually. I have a rent collection sheet that I mark off as each properties rent is paid for the month. I keep each of these sheets to total incomes at the end of the year.

I keep a folder for each property and put corresponding receipts and all invoices for each property in its folder and don't have to sort them all out at years end.

I know this seems like the caveman way to some but it works for me and I have 34 units. Very little time involved.

thanks for the advise I also do the caveman style lol it leaves a paper trail with issues with technology sometimes malfunctioning  I find paper more useful with certain things completed on my computer. Do you have any templates that help you keep organized that you wouldn't mind sharing or some general ideas how you set it up. thanks again and much appreciated

Originally posted by Account Closed:

I stay organized manually. I have a rent collection sheet that I mark off as each properties rent is paid for the month. I keep each of these sheets to total incomes at the end of the year.

I keep a folder for each property and put corresponding receipts and all invoices for each property in its folder and don't have to sort them all out at years end.

I know this seems like the caveman way to some but it works for me and I have 34 units. Very little time involved.

Ditto. That's what we do too. We have 16 residential rental units.

In addition, I keep an Appliance Notebook, which has a page for each unit on which I record information on the appliances. This covers: major kitchen appliances (range, range hood, refrigerator, dishwasher, garbage disposal), HVAC (furnace, zonal heaters, AC units), and water heater. Each appliance description includes: type, color (if important for decor), make, model, serial number, year of manufacture, date of installation.... also filter size for furnaces. In the front of the notebook I keep a Appliance Life Expectancy document, that gives the expected life expectancy for different types of appliances. This helps us anticipate when we will need to replace them. The notebook also includes information I've gathered over the years about how to maintain/repair appliances and an appliance maintenance log. I will soon add information about the plumbing fixtures and lighting fixtures too for each unit.

Our rent register is a paper columnar pad and has been for 20 years. Works for us! Easy to refer to and easy to view. I give the tenant a star if the rent is paid on or before the due date, a check mark if it's paid during the five day grace period in which we don't charge a late fee, and a circle if rent is not received by the end of the grace period. In the circle I will note the date we receive the late payment. I note the amount of rent paid and the amount of any late fee paid for each tenant, each month. We emphasize rent is due on the first and late on the second. The grace period is to take into account weekends and holidays, so the tenant is not charged a late fee if we receive the rent after the first, but not unreasonably late.

We set up a file for each tenant, using file folders with two fasteners. On one side we keep the application, tenant screening documents, and all correspondence. On the other side we keep the rental agreement contract, including the move-in property condition report, and a quick reference tenant information sheet. After a tenant vacates a unit, we move their file folder to archive storage. All tenant files and unit keys are kept in a secure area, locked.

We enter financial data from bank statements/check carbons, credit cards statements and mortgage statements into Quicken and print out financial reports for our tax professional as needed. Receipts are kept in notebooks/envelopes, by vendor/store and referred to when necessary as original supporting documentation. We differentiate expenditures per property or per unit in Quicken. Original documentation of property improvements and/or events that change the property value are kept in an envelope per property and archived with the Real-Estate Purchase Records.

We have 3-ring binder notebooks with pocket dividers for records such as Banking, Credit Cards, Mortgage, Insurance. These are kept on a shelf for the current year and are readily accessible. At the end of the current year, after filing our taxes, we archive the contents of those into Bankers Boxes, filed by year. We haven't purged after a reasonable time, as we intend to, but we are prepared to do so. :-) We keep our Real-Estate Purchase Records and Tax Records in Fire Rated File Boxes, and store those permanently.

Some folks like lists, others a white board, others a dayplanner type binder.  Feel free to experiment & stick with what works.  I'm a list person, so lots of Excel ;)

Some things make sense to keep in a property file for each property, others are more 'daily operations' and go in folders by date.  Imo the more you put in folders by date (Jan 2016, Feb 2016 etc), the easier, as long as the transaction info is electronic you can find any receipt easily.  However, when we had a large office in CT our book keeper put every receipt in the property it was related to, and for general expenses did everything by vendor (no date folders except for bank statements).  So, as long as you can find what you need, no worries!  

I'm old school to I like to have it all together in the file for the individual property and have a spreadsheet for each property that shows income, cost & profits. We also give the option to purchase a home warranty with anywhere from a $45 to a $100 deductible and we write the lease up where the tenant pays the first $45 to $100 for repairs that were not due to normal wear and tear. This has actually saved the investors lots of money. It's also a good idea when the property is in an HOA to make sure that you include the cost to maintain the yard and include that in the monthly rental. This makes for more paperwork but so far our tenants love it.

This is a great question; I hope to learn from others here.

We keep track of all finances in Quicken. We tried QuickBooks but it seemed to have less functionality with regards to rentals and was more of a nuisance to use. At the end of the year we just export files to excel and send to the accountant. We have both paper files and computer files for each property, depending on if something paper or something electronic was received.  Computer is backed up monthly, all files are in locked cabinets.