As a landlord, you need to track your rental property income and expenses to stay organized and profitable. But with so many different software options available, it can be hard to know which one is right for you.
In this blog post, we’ll compare Landlord Studio and QuickBooks to help you decide which is the better option for tracking your rental property finances.
We’ll also review Stessa, a free rental property accounting software solution that landlords can use to automatically track income and expenses, generate comprehensive financial reports, collect rent payments online, and prepare year-end tax returns.
- Landlord Studio offers features like simplified accounting and tax reporting, tenant screening, online rent collection, and document storage.
- QuickBooks is useful for managing rental property finances, but it doesn’t offer key features many landlords use and isn’t specifically designed for real estate.
- Both Landlord Studio and QuickBooks require a recurring subscription fee.
- Stessa is a free cloud-based reporting and accounting software used to collect online rent payments and track property and portfolio performance data for unlimited single-family houses, multiunit homes, and short-term vacation rentals.
Landlord Studio overview
Landlord Studio was created to help landlords manage rental property more efficiently. The mobile and desktop apps offer features like simplified accounting and tax reporting, tenant screening, online rent collection, and document storage for multiple properties.
If a landlord has vacant property, they can create a listing webpage on the Landlord Studio website, which includes images and a tenant screening portal. Then, they need to manually place the listing link on popular rental listing websites, social media, and emails. Rather than automating rental listings, Landlord Studio centralizes tenant inquiries on its site to make the application process more manageable.
After a 14-day free trial, landlords can choose from 3 Landlord Studio pricing plans with the option of month to month or a discount with annual billing. Prices below are based on one unit under management, gradually increasing as more units are added. The company also offers a discount for customers who pay by the year:
- Start: $6.99 a month or $71.88 a year
- Growth: $17.99 a month or $179.88 a year
- Scale: $35.99 a month or $431.88 a year
- Online rent collection ($2.25 for each transaction, deducted when the rent payment is processed)
- Desktop, iOS, and Android apps
- Income tracking
- Expense tracking
- Mileage tracking
- Email reminders
- Email and chat support
- Tenant screening
- Rental listings
- Secure storage (up to 10 documents)
- Customizable emails
- Financial dashboard
- Tenant portal
Includes all of the features of the Start plan, plus a transaction fee discount when tenants pay rent online:
- Online rent collection ($1.75 for each transaction)
- Phone support
- Advanced reporting
- Multiuser access (up to 3 users)
- Bank feed integration (one bank account)
- Xero integration (for improved financial reporting and tax readiness)
All of the features of the Start and Growth plans, plus an additional discount on the transaction fee for online rent payments:
- Online rent collection ($1.25 for each transaction)
- Multiuser access (up to 5 users)
- Bank feed integration (5 bank accounts)
- Multiowner support
- Account manager
QuickBooks can be beneficial for managing rental property finances. It allows you to create and send invoices, receive payments, track income and expenses, and run reports.
The software is designed as a general-purpose accounting tool and not specifically for rental property. As a result, QuickBooks doesn’t offer key features most landlords need, such as creating and posting vacant property listings, screening tenants, and collecting rent online.
QuickBooks Online offers 4 pricing plans, all of which come with a free trial for 30 days and a 50% discount for the first 3 months. In addition, all plans include free mobile apps, support, and app integration:
- Simple Start: $12.50 a month for the first 3 months, then $25 a month after that
- Essentials: $25 a month for the first 3 months, then $50 a month after that
- Plus: $40 a month for the first 3 months, then $80 a month after that
- Advanced: $90 a month for the first 3 months, then $180 a month after that
QuickBooks also offers additional options for an extra fee, such as Online Payroll and Live Full-service Monthly Bookkeeping. In addition, the company offers a one-time Live Bookkeeping Guided Setup to provide customers with instructions for setting up a chart of accounts, customized invoices, reminders, and bank account and credit card connections.
- Income and expenses
- Invoice and payments
- Tax deductions
- General reports
- Receipt capture
- Mileage tracking
- Cash flow
- Sales and sales tax
Everything in Simple Start, plus:
- 3 users
- Bill management
- Time entry
Everything in Simple Start and Essentials, plus:
- 5 users
- Bill management
- Time entry
- Project profitability
Everything in the above 3 plans, plus:
- More than 5 users
- Bill management
- Time entry
- Project profitability
- Business analytics with Excel
- Employee expenses
- Batch invoices and expenses
- Customized access
- Exclusive premium apps
- Dedicated account team
- On-demand training
- Workflow automation
- Data restoration
Landlord Studio vs. QuickBooks
Here’s a summary of some essential features landlords typically need, along with an overview of how Landlord Studio and QuickBooks solve for them.
Landlord Studio and QuickBooks don’t offer automatic listing syndication services. Instead, landlords create a property listing page, then manually place the link on the rental listing websites of their choice.
Landlord Studio works with TransUnion to obtain applicant information from credit bureaus and generate background checks, credit reports, criminal screenings, and eviction screenings. The $38 report fee can be paid by the landlord or passed on to the applicant. QuickBooks does not offer tenant screening.
Neither Landlord Studio nor QuickBooks offers an option for creating and signing leases online. However, both companies provide options for uploading, organizing, and storing documents online.
Online rent collection
Property owners can collect the monthly rent plus one-time fees, such as a security deposit, prorated rent, or late fees, with Landlord Studio. In addition, tenants can set up recurring rent payments, and funds are transferred to the landlord’s linked bank account within a few business days. Landlord Studio charges owners a fee of $1.25 to $2.25 for each online rent transaction. QuickBooks does not offer online rent collection.
Property owners can automatically track income and expenses with Landlord Studio by linking and syncing a bank account. Landlord Studio software can generate 15 financial reports, including a profit and loss statement, rent ledger, and owner net worth. The program can also connect with Xero for enhanced financial reporting.
QuickBooks arguably excels in financial reporting since the software is specifically designed as an accounting tool. However, landlords will need to understand accounting concepts such as debits and credits, assets and liabilities, double-entry accounting, and creating a chart of accounts for rental property.
Landlord Studio and QuickBooks can be used to compile data to complete Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Schedule E. Landlord Studio can be synced with Xero, while QuickBooks can integrate with tax programs like TurboTax and ProConnect. Subscribers can also download and save transaction files from Landlord Studio and QuickBooks to share with a tax professional.
Stessa vs. Landlord Studio vs. QuickBooks
Landlord Studio and QuickBooks are good options, although both require a subscription plan and may offer features that owners of small property portfolios don’t need.
Stessa, a Roofstock company, is a free platform that offers a streamlined experience for landlords who own single-family rentals (SFRs), small multifamily properties, short-term vacation rentals, and entire rental property portfolios. As of March 2022, more than 100,000 investors already use Stessa to track over 250,000 properties with more than $60 billion in asset value.
Stessa includes online rent collection, income and expense tracking, and free resources from the Stessa Tax Center to make tax readiness a breeze. The company also offers optional, premium services for real estate investors to assist with rent analysis, mortgage financing, and market research.
After signing up and entering some basic property information, real estate investors can:
- Track unlimited rental properties and portfolios.
- Access comprehensive performance dashboards at the property and portfolio levels.
- Automate income and expense tracking by linking property bank accounts.
- Collect tenant rent payments online using free Automated Clearing House (ACH) transfers.
- Track expenses on the go with the iOS and Android apps.
- Organize and store all real estate documents safely and securely.
- Generate comprehensive financial reports, including income, net-cash-flow, and capital expense (CapEx) statements.
- Export tax-ready financials to make tax time a breeze.
- Create a personalized Stessa Tax Package that includes an income statement, net-cash-flow report, and ZIP file in a single email.
As an added benefit, Stessa’s Cash Management deposit accounts currently earn 2.00% APY (compared to the national average interest of 0.03% on checking accounts as of July 2022, according to the FDIC). Stessa Cash Management users can earn interest on balances from automated rent collection deposits, CapEx account, and operating account.
Annual Percentage Yield (APY) of 2.00% is effective as of 8/5/2022. No minimum opening deposit or account balance required. Fees could affect earnings on the account. Stessa is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by Blue Ridge Bank, N.A., member FDIC. The national rate is the average of rates paid by all insured depository institutions and credit unions for which data is available to the FDIC, with rates weighted by each institution’s share of domestic deposits.
Go here to create a free Stessa account.
Landlord Studio and QuickBooks are good options to consider, but both require a recurring subscription fee. In addition, Landlord Studio may offer features that some real estate investors don’t need, while QuickBooks may be difficult to set up because the software isn’t specifically designed for rental property.
On the other hand, Stessa’s streamlined, user-friendly experience for managing rental properties may make it the best rental property software for owners of small property portfolios. Plus, Stessa is free.
Stessa provides features that many landlords need, including automatic income and expense tracking, comprehensive financial reporting at the property and portfolio levels, and free online rent collection.