The best real estate accounting software can help improve cash flow, automate income and expense tracking, and generate accurate financial statements throughout the year. Stessa and Rentastic are two software programs investors use to monitor the financial performance of rental properties.
In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at the differences between Stessa and Rentastic, along with the pros and cons of each, to help you choose between the two.
How Stessa and Rentastic work
Stessa and Rentastic have a number of things in common. Both are rental property accounting software systems that were designed by real estate investors for real estate investors. Property information is easy to enter, business bank accounts can be linked, and income and expense transactions can be automatically tracked. Both Stessa and Rentastic can also be accessed online or with an Android or iOS mobile app.
However, despite these basic similarities, there are several important tools that Stessa offers that Rentastic does not.
Stessa is free and can be used to track an unlimited number of properties – single-family, multifamily, and short-term rentals – along with an unlimited number of real estate portfolios. Numerous reports, such as income statements and capital expense statements, can be run, tax-ready financials can be exported to make tax time a breeze, and real estate documents can be organized and stored safely and securely online.
Rentastic offers some, but not all, of these features.
The Rentastic free version limits an investor to two properties, two bank accounts, and mileage tracking. Critical components are missing from the free version of Rentastic, such as property expense reports, receipt scanning, profit and loss tax reports, and split transactions.
Rentastic Premium costs $99 per year (or $12/mo), includes the items that the free version excludes, and allows for unlimited properties and unlimited bank accounts. A user who upgrades to the subscription verison can also run unlimited Rent Estimates and access the Deal Analyzer.
However, even with the $99/year plan, Rentastic doesn’t offer all of the features that Stessa does for free, such as net cash flow and capital expense reports, a real estate balance sheet to monitor owner’s equity, and secure online document storage.
Let’s take a closer look at more of the differences between Rentastic and Stessa, to help you decide which rental accounting platform is best for your real estate business.
Stessa was designed by real estate investors for real estate investors and is free. The company was launched in 2016 to help investors make informed decisions about rental property. Stessa was recently acquired by Roofstock, the leading marketplace for single family rental properties.
Stessa provides tools to quickly and easily track rental property performance, with tips to help maximize potential profits by using smart money management. Stessa also offers recommendations for increasing revenue using real-time insights based on an investor’s unique portfolio and investment strategy. An investor can access Stessa online and via the Android and iOS apps.
An unlimited number of properties and portfolios can be created on Stessa, providing the flexibility and customization that rental property investors today are looking for. For example, a landlord who owns several rental properties may wish to create different portfolios based on location, ownership structure (such as different LLCs), or type of rental property (single-family, multifamily, or short-term rental).
One of the most unique features about Stessa is the real estate balance sheet. The software periodically updates estimated property values to provide a more accurate idea of owner’s equity. Knowing how much equity is in each property and the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio makes it easier to decide when to refinance to pull money out, sell a property and conduct a 1031 tax deferred exchange, or keep things the way they are until market conditions change.
Each time a mortgage payment is made, the loan balance is reduced, and property values are periodically updated using Zillow Zestimate. Each year, property depreciation is calculated, and the accumulated depreciation balance is adjusted. Depreciation is a valuable tax benefit real estate investors use to reduce taxable net income from rental property when filing a federal tax return.
Other key features of Stessa include:
- Tenant information
- Property details such as unit of a multifamily property, number of beds and baths
- Rental rate per month
- Security deposit collected
- Move in date
- Lease expiration
- Move out date
- Business bank and mortgage accounts can be linked and synced with Stessa
- Automatically book income and expenses
- Create a paper trail that comes with real estate investing
- Dashboard to monitor property performance at the portfolio and property level
- Run numerous reports: income statement, cash flow, capital expenses
- Export tax-ready financials to make tax preparation easier and more accurate
- Tax package at year-end with transactions aggregated into a single ZIP file
- Purchase and sale contract and settlement statements
- Lease agreements and other tenant documents
- Mortgages and loan agreements
- Insurance policies and binders
- Vendor invoices to back up deductions in case of an audit
Stessa stress test
A stress test is used to run various rent collection scenarios on a property and portfolio level:
- Better understand how reduced rent collections affect cash flow
- Explore rent collection scenarios using a percentage change in rent collection over a number of months
- Compare reduced rental revenue to operating expenses to learn the break even point
- Download every Stessa Stress Test to an Excel spreadsheet to change other variables and values
- Free for an unlimited number of rental properties and portfolios
- Performance dashboard at the property and portfolio level
- Automate income and expense tracking
- Track expenses and scan receipts on the go with the Stessa mobile app
- Run financial reports as often as needed
- Share data and collaborate with partners and family
- Organize and store real estate documents online
- Secured to protect data
- Access 24/7 from anywhere in the world with an internet connection
- Stessa Tax Center provides a personalized tax package, tax guide, tax resources, and a TurboTax discount
- Optional premium services for a fee, including market research and rent analysis
- No portal or dashboard for tenants
- Can not currently use Stessa to accept rent payments online
- No option for tenant maintenance requests online
Rentastic was also built by real estate investors for real estate investors. According to the company’s website, the creators of Rentastic own multiple rental properties.
The software offers basic rental property bookkeeping with automatic income and expense transaction tracking, receipt scanning, and a profit and loss (P&L) statement when tax time comes around. Properties can be tracked on a property and portfolio level via an online owner dashboard or with an Android or iOS mobile app.
Two features the paid version of Rentastic offers are Rent Estimate and Deal Analyzer. While estimated rents aren’t intended to determine the exact amount a property should rent for, they do provide a range based on comparable rental properties nearby. Rentastic doesn’t explain on its website what Deal Analyzer is or how it works, but the feature is included in the Premium plan.
There’s a significant difference in the features that come with the free Rentastic plan versus Rentastic Premium for $99 per year or $12 per month:
- $0 per month
- Two properties
- Two bank accounts
- iOS and Android apps
- Track mileage
- $99 per year/$12 per month
- Unlimited properties
- Unlimited bank accounts
- iOS and Android apps
- Track mileage
- Unlimited rent estimates
- Profit and loss tax reports
- Property expense reports
- Duplicate transaction finder
- Split transactions
- Custom categories
- Receipt scanning
- Deal analyzer
- Free version available for two properties, two bank accounts, and no reporting options
- Premium version allows for unlimited properties and bank accounts, property expense and P&L tax reports, and receipt scanning
- Dashboard to provide a quick view of property performance
- Link bank accounts to automate income and expense tracking
- Use Zillow Zestimate to update property market value
- Receive notifications when transactions need to be classified to correct income or expense account
- Access online or via the Android or iOS app
- Accessing key features such as running financial reports and receipt scanning requires the Premium version at a cost of $99 per year/$12 per month
- Limited financial reporting excludes a net cash flow statement, capital expense report, and real estate balance sheet
- No option for storing and organizing real estate documents online
- No dashboard for tenants
- Can not accept rent payments or process maintenance requests
Stessa vs Rentastic: How to choose?
Although Rentastic offers a free option, some investors will need to sign up for an annual $99 subscription plan or pay $12 per month. That’s because the free version only allows two rental properties and two bank accounts, and excludes critical tools such as property expense reports, receipt scanning, and profit and loss tax reports.
On the other hand, Stessa is free with no hidden fees. An investor can track an unlimited number of properties and portfolios on Stessa, automate income and expense tracking, run numerous financial reports, and export tax-ready financials.
Members of the Stessa Community also have free access to the Stessa Tax Center with a suite of tax resources from The Real Estate CPA, a personalized tax package, and a TurboTax discount exclusively for Stessa users.