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8 best rental property accounting software options for 2024

Top accounting software apps for landlords
by Brad Cartier, posted in Finances

As a landlord, whether you like it or not, you need to have your finances in order to run an effective business. Keeping a shoebox full of receipts is no longer necessary or practical in today’s digital world. 

The good news is there are now quite a few rental property accounting software platforms available to help landlords automate and manage every financial aspect of their business. These solutions often include handy mobile apps and some excel at helping you track rental property expenses, income, deductions, and other key real estate investing metrics.

Here’s a detailed overview of the best accounting software solutions for landlords. Find the one that suits your particular needs, budget, and investing experience.

 

What to look for in a good rental property accounting tool

Keeping up with your finances is critical to maintaining a profitable rental business. 

You need more than a simple accounting tool. Instead, you want comprehensive, intuitive, and powerful software to handle the unique challenges and opportunities of managing rental properties.

Here are some key features we recommend you look for in a software tool:

  • User-friendly interface: You want software that’s easy to navigate, especially for those who aren’t tech-savvy. An intuitive design makes managing your properties and finances straightforward.
  • Extensive financial tracking: The platform should provide a complete picture of your financial situation, including income, expenses, net cash flow, and valuations. Look for software that automatically categorizes transactions for easy analysis and reporting.
  • Real-time reports: Access to real-time performance metrics like net operating income, appreciation, and cap rates can help you make more informed decisions about your properties.
  • Automated rent collection: This feature streamlines the rent collection process. It sends rent reminders, alerts, and payment updates while reducing the need for additional third-party apps like PayPal, Venmo, or Zelle.
  • Tenant screening services: This tool helps you mitigate potential financial losses by selecting responsible tenants with verified income sources, no evictions, and a solid track record.
  • Integration capabilities: Any software should integrate seamlessly with other platforms you use, such as property management portals or bank accounts. This way, all your information is in one place.
  • Secure data storage: Your financial data should be safely stored and encrypted to prevent unauthorized access.
  • Scalability: Whether you have a single rental unit or a larger portfolio across multiple locations, choose a tool that can scale according to your needs and future plans.

 

The top rental property accounting tools for landlords

Most of these top software picks have the essential features outlined above but differ in pricing. The one you choose depends on your needs as a landlord and the size and type of assets in your portfolio.

We’ll start with our own tool used by over 200,000 landlords – Stessa.

Stessa

Stessa is a platform designed specifically for owners of residential rental properties.

Whether you’re a new investor with one rental unit or a seasoned professional managing a multi-family portfolio, Stessa offers an array of tools to streamline your operations and maximize your investment returns.

Stessa’s intuitive interface and robust features take the guesswork out of asset and property management, letting you focus on growing your rental business. Its unique positioning as “asset management” software sets it apart from traditional property management tools.

Laptop and mobile screenshot of transactions page

 

Built to help investors optimize portfolio performance across a number of key metrics, Stessa provides real-time visibility into critical financial and operational data, automates income and expense tracking, and even offers automated rent collection services.

Security is also a top priority for Stessa, with multi-layer encryption that protects sensitive information at rest and in transit.

Key features

The other key features of Stessa include:

  • Automated accounting tools: Replace cumbersome spreadsheets and easily track income and expenses. Stessa automates the process of categorizing transactions, reducing time spent on manual data entry.
  • Manual expense tracking: Enjoy precise record-keeping of all property-related expenses, from maintenance costs to insurance fees, for a comprehensive view of property expenditures.
  • One-click smart receipt scanning: Quickly and accurately add expense receipts to your property records, reducing the risk of losing or misplacing vital receipts.
  • Mileage tracking: Track all travel related to your property management efforts for accurate expense reporting. This feature is particularly beneficial for tax purposes, as you can sometimes deduct these costs from taxable income.
  • Automated bank feeds: Connect unlimited bank accounts for real-time income and expense tracking so you can manage your cash flow effectively and stay on top of your financial situation.
  • Centralized dashboard with key metrics and complete chart history: Access a clear real-time overview of your property performance. The dashboard displays critical metrics and historical data in an intuitive, easy-to-understand format.
  • Rental applications: Manage tenant applications efficiently and effectively by streamlining the process of publishing vacancies, and collecting and reviewing applications.
  • Tenant screening: Use a proprietary approach with RentPrep for comprehensive tenant checks, including a full credit report, background check, and more. For additional screening, landlords can add income verification or judgment and liens, increasing the odds of selecting reliable tenants.
  • Online rent collection: Automate your rent collection process, including payment reminders and late fees, reducing the likelihood of missed or late payments.
  • Landlord banking: Open FDIC-insured bank accounts and enjoy a more efficient way to manage your property-related finances. You can also earn more than 10x the national average interest rate on every dollar of deposits.*
  • Mobile app (iOS and Android): Utilize Stessa’s mobile app to help you manage your properties on the go. You can categorize transactions, check key metrics, scan receipts, and view your portfolio from almost anywhere, anytime.
  • eSigning: Simplify lease signing and other document execution with integrated eSignature capabilities. This feature makes it easier for landlords and tenants to sign important documents, reducing the need for in-person meetings.
  • Tax center: Tax time is a cinch thanks to the Stessa Tax Package feature. It helps aggregate your transactions and sends you personalized tax reports via email with digital copies of all of your receipts packaged into a single ZIP file.

Pricing

Stessa has a robust free option to use, in addition to several paid plans for investors who need more advanced features:

EssentialsManagePro
PRICING
Free$15/month
($12/mo when paid annually)
$35/month
($28/mo when paid annually)
ASSET MANAGEMENT
Track propertiesUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
DashboardsKey metrics onlyKey metrics onlyFull chart history
Property manager connectionsUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Document & receipt storageUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Organize & manage portfolios11Unlimited
Shared account accessYesYesAdvanced ownership metrics
BOOKKEEPING/ACCOUNTING
Advanced transaction trackingNoNoYes
Smart receipt scanning5/month5/monthUnlimited
Manual expense trackingYesYesYes
Automated bank feedsUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Budgeting & pro-forma analysisNoNoYes
Project expense trackingNo No
Yes
REPORTING & TAXES
Reporting levelBasicBasic
Advanced
Full data exportYesYesYes
Accountant tax packageBasicPlus Schedule EPlus CapEx
BANKING
High yield Cash Management3.14% APY*3.14% APY*5.09% APY*
FDIC insured up to $2.5M/entityYesYesYes
No minimum balanceYesYesYes
1.1% cash back on purchasesYesYesYes
ONLINE RENT COLLECTION
Accelerated rent paymentsNoComing SoonYes
Automated reminders and late feesYesYesYes
Tenant autopayYesYesYes
Tenant ledger and rent rollYesYesYes
Tenant ACH fee waivedNoNoYes
LEASING
Vacancy advertisingYesYesYes
Syndication to ZillowYesYesYes
Tenant applications & screeningYesYesYes
Lease templateNoYesYes
DOCUMENT MANAGEMENT
eSign leases, contracts, etc.No1/month7/month
60+ Forms and templatesNoYesYes
CUSTOMER SUPPORT
Basic supportYesYesYes
Priority chat supportNoYesYes
Live phone supportNoNoYes
Get StartedGet StartedGet Started

You can always start with the Essentials plan and upgrade to a paid plan as your portfolio expands and your needs evolve.

 

QuickBooks

QuickBooks is well-known accounting software that businesses use across various industries, including real estate. It handles general business accounting needs, from invoicing and expense tracking to tax preparation and financial reporting.

However, QuickBooks(R) isn’t designed solely for rental property management, which may result in a steeper learning curve for landlords looking to manage their portfolios online.

Also, while the software has an extensive suite of tools, its broad focus means it may have features that aren’t as relevant for landlords and may lack some functionality that landlords need.

Key features

  • Expense tracking: Categorize and track expenses, making it easier to monitor costs and prepare for tax season.
  • Invoicing: Create and send invoices through QuickBooks, allowing for streamlined payment collection.
  • Financial reporting: Generate several types of financial reports to get an overview of your business health.
  • Tax preparation tools: Organize income and expenses in a tax-friendly way, simplifying the tax filing process.
  • Integration capabilities: QuickBooks connects with many platforms, though its compatibility with specific property management tools may vary.

Pricing

QuickBooks has several pricing tiers, each with a different set of features. All plans come with a 30-day free trial and 50% off for the first 3 months:

  • Simple Start: At $30/month, this plan has basic features like income and expense tracking, invoicing, and basic reporting.
  • Essentials: Priced at $60/month, this tier includes bill management and time tracking.
  • Plus: At $90/month, you get additional features like project and inventory tracking.
  • Advanced: For $200/month, this plan offers more advanced reporting and automation capabilities.

AppFolio

AppFolio is property management software that caters primarily to professional property managers with residential, commercial, and student housing properties. 

While it has a range of tools, including online rent payment, vacancy posting, and maintenance requests, AppFolio may end up being a lot more muscle  than the typical rental property owner needs. As a result, it may not be economical for independent landlords who self-manage their properties.

Key features

  • Online rent payment: Conveniently collect rent online.
  • Maintenance management: Coordinate and track maintenance work orders.
  • Vacancy posting: Share your vacancies on popular housing search websites from the platform.
  • Tenant screening: Screen prospective renters using background checks and credit reports.
  • Tenant communication tools: Renters and owners can communicate directly through the platform.

Pricing

AppFolio tailors its pricing structure to the size of your portfolio. They offer two main residential plans:

  • Core: This plan is for small to mid-size portfolios. It starts at $280 per month for landlords with up to 200 properties. That’s a minimum charge of $3,360 per year.
  • Plus: Aimed at large, diverse portfolios, this plan starts at $3.00 per unit per month. It requires a more substantial minimum monthly fee of $900 or $10,800 per year.

AppFolio has different pricing structures for larger commercial operations and community associations.

Buildium

Buildium(R) is a property management solution for professional property managers overseeing multiple properties. Its features help with tenant screening, rent collection, accounting, and more. 

However, the software’s focus on professional property management may make it more complex than necessary for individual landlords and real estate investors self-managing their properties.

Key features

  • Rent collection: Automate rent collection and streamline payments.
  • Tenant screening: Perform background checks and credit reports for potential tenants.
  • Financial management: Track income and expenses, manage bills and vendors, and generate financial reports.
  • Lease and document management: Store all lease agreements in one place and track lease terms.
  • Maintenance request tracking: Manage and track maintenance requests from tenants.

Pricing

Buildium has tiered pricing based on the number of units managed. Each package comes with a 14-day free trial:

  • Essential: This plan, starting at $52/month, includes basic property management features.
  • Growth: Beginning at $166/month, this plan has more advanced features like unlimited eSignatures on leases and addendums and data exporting.
  • Premium: Starting at $479/month with annual billing only, this plan adds premium capabilities like priority phone support and a dedicated customer success manager.

Landlord Studio

Landlord Studio is property management software that helps landlords and property managers track their rentals’ regular income and expenses. 

Landlord Studio’s capabilities are more focused on day-to-day bookkeeping. While its basic features can be beneficial, it may be of less value to landlords or investors who want broader asset management and portfolio optimization. 

Key features

  • Rent collection: Simplify the payment process with online rent payments.
  • Expense tracking: Categorize and track property-related expenses.
  • Tenant screening: Use tools to screen potential tenants with credit checks and background reports.
  • Property accounting: Basic accounting features manage income and expenses for individual properties.
  • Reporting: Generate basic financial reports for individual properties.

Pricing

Landlord Studio offers two pricing plans catered to different needs:

  • Go: This free plan lets you manage up to 3 units. It includes basic features such as rent collection, manual income and expense tracking, and creating financial reports.
  • Pro: This plan is free for the first 14 days and all customers start on this plan.  Pricing begins at $12/month for 3 units, with a 20% discount for annual billing. There is no unit limit, and the plan includes advanced features such as automated bank feeds and Xero integration.

Xero

Xero is cloud-based accounting software for small to medium-sized businesses across numerous industries. It has robust accounting features such as invoicing, bank reconciliation, and financial reporting. 

However, Xero doesn’t have purpose-built property management or real estate investment features. Landlords might pay for several functions they don’t need and miss out on more specific features that a specialized platform like Stessa provides.

Key features

  • Invoicing: Create and send custom invoices directly from the platform.
  • Bank reconciliation: Automatically import and categorize bank transactions.
  • Financial reporting: Generate income statements, balance sheets, and other financial reports.
  • Multi-currency: Certain plans allow users to handle multiple currencies with exchange rates updated hourly.

Pricing

Xero has three pricing plans with a 30-day free trial and up to a 50% discount for the first 3 months, depending on the plan selected:

  • Early: Regularly priced at $13/month, this entry-level plan allows you to send 5 invoices and quotes, enter 5 bills, and reconcile 20 bank transactions.
  • Growing: Regularly priced at $37/month, you get unlimited invoices, quotes, bills, and bank transactions.
  • Established: Regularly priced at $70/month, this top-tier plan has additional features like multi-currency, expense claims, and project tracking.

Hemlane

Designed as a comprehensive solution for property management, Hemlane is for landlords, property managers, and real estate investors. It offers a variety of tools for tasks like rent collection, maintenance coordination, advertising, and tenant screening. 

However, we feel that Hemlane’s services lean more toward on-the-ground property management than investment performance optimization.

Key features

  • Rent collection: Automate rent collection and track payments.
  • Maintenance coordination: Manage and coordinate repair requests.
  • Tenant screening: Screen tenants using credit checks and background reports.
  • Lease management: Track lease terms and store agreements digitally.
  • Financial tracking: Utilize basic income and expense tracking functions.

Pricing

Hemlane’s plans start with a $28 monthly base fee, which is added to the per-unit cost. There is a 14-day free trial for each package, and annual billing gives you a discount of up to 20%: 

  • Basic: Priced at $2/unit/month, totaling $30 for one unit with the base fee. It includes marketing syndication and tenant application and screening tools.
  • Essential: This plan costs $12/unit/month, which adds up to $40 for one unit with the base fee. Additional features include state-specific leases and repair coordination.
  • Complete: The most comprehensive package, priced at $32/unit/month, is $60 plus the base fee for one unit. This plan has all the Basic and Essential features plus extras, such as full repair coordination and access to a network of service pros.

Avail

Avail is another online tool serving landlords and property managers. It has a range of features designed to streamline property management tasks. 

While useful for landlords looking for basic tenant management tools, Avail may not be a perfect match for those seeking a detailed overview of their investment performance and insights that help guide key investment decisions.

Key features

  • Rent collection: Set up automatic payments with online rent collection.
  • Lease agreement: Create and sign digital lease agreements.
  • Maintenance tracking: Tenants can use the platform’s portal for submitting maintenance work orders.
  • Listing syndication: Post your rental listings to popular websites.

Pricing

Avail operates on a tiered pricing structure:

  • Unlimited (free): Avail’s free plan offers basic features for an unlimited number of units.
  • Unlimited Plus: This plan costs $7/unit/month and includes premium features like FastPay rent collection, customizable applications and leases, and the ability to create property websites.

 

Join the community of 200K+ landlords using Stessa

There are many options in this sea of accounting software solutions. 

However, Stessa’s unique features and user-friendly design, tailored to individual landlords and real estate investors regardless of portfolio size, helps it stand out from the rest. 

From automatic income and expense tracking to comprehensive performance metrics, Stessa works to give you the necessary tools to manage your properties efficiently. Plus, its state-of-the-art security measures help ensure your data is protected, so you have peace of mind.

Try the free Essentials plan today, and experience how Stessa can help you run your rental property like the successful business you deserve to own.

 

*Stessa is not a bank. Stessa is a financial technology company.Terms and conditions, features and pricing are subject to change. This article, and the Stessa Blog in general, is intended for informational and educational purposes only, and is not investment, tax, financial planning, financial, legal, or real estate advice. 

 

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