Buildium... Ugh, should I use QuickBooks

20 Replies

Ok so I got Buildum and I'm not sure about it. Want some honest thoughts. Thinking of swapping to QuickBooks.

Keep in mind we are a small time operation an I do a lot of the hands on work my self 🛠️🛠️🛠️. I feel we have built a solid base for our business and we are about to try to move to the next level (level 2, haha). In this transition phase I'm trying to move more in a "work on, not in my business" role. I'm wanting something to grow with us, something that can help with books and payment.

First I got it to take some things off my plate but I feel like it added more.... The main push to get a program is to help with rent collection and the help automate the books and reports in our business. But I feel like I'm learning a new system that is more complicated than our Excel and I'm not seeing a lot of plus side. Im I being a lazy? Do I need to learn system better? Virtual assistant? Just need to get QuickBooks.

Second we build and flip houses also and I don't think that it will work well for that. Anyone have any experience with non hold property accounting in buildium?

Is QuickBooks a better option for us?

Wes

Originally posted by @Weston Desormeaux :

Ok so I got Buildum and I'm not sure about it. Want some honest thoughts. Thinking of swapping to QuickBooks.

Keep in mind we are a small time operation an I do a lot of the hands on work my self 🛠️🛠️🛠️. I feel we have built a solid base for our business and we are about to try to move to the next level (level 2, haha). In this transition phase I'm trying to move more in a "work on, not in my business" role. I'm wanting something to grow with us, something that can help with books and payment.

First I got it to take some things off my plate but I feel like it added more.... The main push to get a program is to help with rent collection and the help automate the books and reports in our business. But I feel like I'm learning a new system that is more complicated than our Excel and I'm not seeing a lot of plus side. Im I being a lazy? Do I need to learn system better? Virtual assistant? Just need to get QuickBooks.

Second we build and flip houses also and I don't think that it will work well for that. Anyone have any experience with non hold property accounting in buildium?

Is QuickBooks a better option for us?

Wes

QuickBooks shouldn't be used instead of property management software. It should be used in addition to property management software.

It depends on what you are looking for and how big you are.  Honestly, Quicken home and business may be enough if you are small enough.  Quicken H&B has the ability to set up individual projects.  You can handle expense tracking in there.  You can set up tenants as customers, track all vendors, etc.  IT will sync with most banks and download transactions which can then be credited/debited where needed.

I've only got a few rentals and I use it for them.  Each property is set as a project.  Each tenant a customer.  Each vendor - a vendor.  I can run reports on a specific "project" to get all the financials for any property.  It won't work for 100 properties, but I could see it working for 3-6 open flips at a time and a handful of rental properties on top of it.

Originally posted by @PJ M. :

It depends on what you are looking for and how big you are.  Honestly, Quicken home and business may be enough if you are small enough.  Quicken H&B has the ability to set up individual projects.  You can handle expense tracking in there.  You can set up tenants as customers, track all vendors, etc.  IT will sync with most banks and download transactions which can then be credited/debited where needed.

I've only got a few rentals and I use it for them.  Each property is set as a project.  Each tenant a customer.  Each vendor - a vendor.  I can run reports on a specific "project" to get all the financials for any property.  It won't work for 100 properties, but I could see it working for 3-6 open flips at a time and a handful of rental properties on top of it.

PJ did you know Quicken H&B now includes rental expense and income tracking? Instead of projects/ customers and other workarounds, you can directly enter the property, and it lets you "tag" a property to each bank downloaded expense and categorize based on the schedule-E categories (probably same as a project).  You might like to keep your current system for simplicity but anyone new to the software can setup rental properties directly and have access to rental cashflow reports (for all properties combined or just a single unit), schedule-E reports and  other real estate related reporting features. Just thought you and others should be aware of its rental specific expense tracking and reporting as I use and like the software for my own bookkeeping for 5 units.

More on the features are below:
https://www.quicken.com/person...

Here is an example of the schedule-E reporting at year end that you can easily generate if you keep up with your tagging property and categorizing expense type throughout the year. Makes it super easy at tax time since you can export a report to PDF or excel and pass to your CPA.

@Jeff Bridges Thanks for the example.  Yeah, I've been using Quicken for about 20 years and kept with the system I had in place.  I knew about the tags but never researched it since my system worked.  It might be time to switch over as this seems much easier and more intuitive.  Thanks for the example.

There is not a good solution and no one is racing to build one.  Buildium and AppFolio work well for PM but not for bookkeeping.  QB works well for bookkeeping but not for PM.  Many investors use one software for both PM and bookkeeping but it does not work well as you scale your real estate business (or when you have both buy-and-hold and flips).  My PM uses AppFolio and I keep the books in Xero.  I look forward to the day when someone builds an automated interface from PM software to bookkeeping software.

Originally posted by @PJ M. :

@Jeff Bridges Thanks for the example.  Yeah, I've been using Quicken for about 20 years and kept with the system I had in place.  I knew about the tags but never researched it since my system worked.  It might be time to switch over as this seems much easier and more intuitive.  Thanks for the example.

Jan 1 is a perfect time to setup the property tags and migrate to the new rental property bookkeeping system within Quicken. You can still keep your prior expense history and access historical reporting, but will be able to move forward to use the rental cashflow/ schedule E etc. specific reporting capability that is native to quicken. See if that would make your bookkeeping responsibilities less burdensome than before with projects and customers etc. but only if that takes less time than before for you. something to consider...

A property management software is not an accounting software and will not help you file your tax returns or analysis your properties year after year. It is pm and accounting only if you can:

- pay bills

- reconcile your bank accounts

- manage your loans,

- cost segregation

- and the list goes on

When using PM software, take the time to learn the ins and out and use it. QuickBooks can do both if used right and you follow the process and procedure. What QB cannot automate the application, work orders, marketing vacant units, give access to owners but there are apps that integrate and give you the ability. There is this OMoney app that integrates with QuickBooks to close the month-end with auto calculate management fees, owners checks and prints owners report to PDF in summary and detail. 

Well i got Quickbooks and left Buildium, i like quickbooks a lot better because it serves the need i had.  i just didnt realize at the time that i wanted something for the books a lot more than a management software.  i think i just did it backwards.  While i can still manage my units on my phone pretty easily i should use quickbooks and get a firm grasp on my books then once my hold begin to get a bit much then add buildium in the mix along with qucikbooks to manage everything properly.  thanks all for our help!!!!!!

I was thinking the same thing!

Originally posted by @James Wise :
Originally posted by @Weston Desormeaux:

Ok so I got Buildum and I'm not sure about it. Want some honest thoughts. Thinking of swapping to QuickBooks.

Keep in mind we are a small time operation an I do a lot of the hands on work my self 🛠️🛠️🛠️. I feel we have built a solid base for our business and we are about to try to move to the next level (level 2, haha). In this transition phase I'm trying to move more in a "work on, not in my business" role. I'm wanting something to grow with us, something that can help with books and payment.

First I got it to take some things off my plate but I feel like it added more.... The main push to get a program is to help with rent collection and the help automate the books and reports in our business. But I feel like I'm learning a new system that is more complicated than our Excel and I'm not seeing a lot of plus side. Im I being a lazy? Do I need to learn system better? Virtual assistant? Just need to get QuickBooks.

Second we build and flip houses also and I don't think that it will work well for that. Anyone have any experience with non hold property accounting in buildium?

Is QuickBooks a better option for us?

Wes

QuickBooks shouldn't be used instead of property management software. It should be used in addition to property management software.

Weston Desormeaux, I have had the same issues with Buildium and am about to quit based on what should be a simple task like adding an expense and creating a report.  Buildium has been great for other features, like leasing and marketing vacancies, tracking applications, rent rolls, etc.  but awful and extremely complicated for recording profit and loss or income statement reporting.  Do you suggest quicken or quick books?

I am a professional investor with over 100 tenants & 20 years experience. I recently switched from QuickBooks to Buildium exclusively and could not be happier! Unlike previous thoughts Buildium is a full service lease ledger and property management software. If used properly QuickBooks is not needed. I cannot stress enough how important this was to me as it has reduced my workload by at least a factor of five. Best of luck to you all!

Here are few things to keep an eye out when using a property management software as an accounting software:

- bank reconciliation

- credit card reconciliation

- ability to view Profit & Loss, Balance Sheet and Cash Flow by property

-view reports on cash and accrual basis

FOR landlords:

- all of the above

- cost segregate expenses for depreciation

- track loans

- track equity

- and my list goes on and on...

Is this still the case for you today? I'm about to leave quickbooks for buildium if I can find a few people like you to vouch for it. What about keeping track of office and business expenses like computers, chairs, software, travel, lodging, etc.

Rich, what did you choose to do? Im using Buildium and am very disappointed as a single family investor of rental properties. I think i'm going back to QB but will miss reporting and leasing functionality so looking fo rsomthing to integrate with QB. Ive found Startafolio but they are ore for commercial than single fam. residential. I Love the lease and credit app integration offered by buildium but thats about it. their accounting is confusing and requires redundant steps. Final straw for me was hitter inability to integrate historically with my banking (Chase bank)...and constant finger-pointing to their third party vendor who handles this functionality for them. If Stessa could integrate seamlessly with QB it would be a true win-win!

My recommendation is Yardi Voyager if you want both PM and Accounting together. 

QBO is fine to use as well, but not preferred. I ended up being a Certified QBO ProAdvisor because investors wanted to use QB since it is one of the cheapest affordable options

Hi @Weston Desormeaux , this is a question I went through with my wife a few months ago. We manage a medium-size portfolio with all free software. We decided not to pay for that as none of the paid softwares will fit squarely what we need as REI's. Here is what we decided to go with: Apartments.com (property mgmt) , Stessa (portfolio mgmt) and HOAH.live (HOA consolidator). We decided to go with all free options instead of paying for software.