Accounting for Dedicated Landlords: What You Need to Know

Accounting for Dedicated Landlords: What You Need to Know

Managing the finances associated with being a landlord requires organization and attention to detail. Whether renting out a single unit or multiple properties, understanding the fundamentals of accounting for landlords is essential for maintaining financial stability and maximizing returns on a rental property.

There is a lot to consider when managing the finances of a rental property but stick with us and, at the end of this article, you’ll be armed with the information you need to successfully manage your own property finances.

Understanding the Basics

There are a few basic ways to stay on top of your rental property accounting. They are:

  • Keeping accurate records of all income and expenses related to a rental property
  • Setting up separate bank accounts for each property
  • Regularly reviewing financial statements and monitoring cash flow to make informed decisions about the property

By mastering these basics of accounting, you can effectively manage your finances and achieve long-term success with your rental property.

Now, let’s take a closer look at each of these basics.

Setting Up Your System

Setting up an effective accounting system is crucial for you to manage your rental property’s finances. But where to begin? Let’s review the elements of a solid system.

Separate Your Accounts

Make sure to set up a separate bank account dedicated solely to the rental income and expenses associated with each property. This separation streamlines record-keeping and simplifies tax prep when the time comes.

Enlist Professional Help

Identify and implement reliable accounting software and/or hire a professional accountant to help automate processes, track transactions accurately, and generate comprehensive financial reports, all of which are crucial to your overall accounting processes.

Integrate Industry Software

There is a whole host of software available for landlords that simplify the task of rental property accounting. We’ll discuss this in more depth later on in the article, but consider taking advantage of a few of these software platforms to simplify and automate some of the routine processes.

Tracking Income and Expenses

One of the more time intensive but crucial accounting tasks is tracking income and expenses. You should diligently record all income sources, including rent payments and any additional revenue streams, while also tracking expenses such as maintenance, utilities, property taxes, insurance premiums, and mortgage payments. By keeping detailed records, you can better understand the profitability of your rental property and identify areas for cost savings or profit increases.

Regularly reconciling bank statements and reviewing financial reports will also provide valuable insights into the financial health of your property, enabling you to make informed decisions and optimize your investment portfolio. Moreover, tracking income and expenses is essential for tax compliance, as you are required to report rental income and can often deduct eligible expenses to minimize your tax liability.

Budgeting for Success

Even before you have concrete totals for your income and expenses, it is good practice to set up a bulletproof budget. You should start off by assessing your rental property’s income potential by estimating rental income based on market rates and occupancy rates. Once the income is determined, outline all anticipated expenses, including mortgage payments, property taxes, insurance, maintenance, repairs, and vacancies. Allocating funds for unexpected expenses and contingencies is a good idea to ensure there is a safety net when times get tough.

Use these income and expense estimates to create a budget that aligns with your financial goals and helps you prioritize spending. Regularly review and adjust the budget as time goes on and you gain a real understanding of money coming in and going out. If you can master the art of budgeting, this information will help you optimize your rental property portfolio and make informed decisions.

Tax Deductions and Benefits

Tax deductions and benefits play a massive role in maximizing the profitability of rental properties. Here are some of the most common deductions you can claim for your property:

  • Mortgage interest
  • Property taxes
  • Insurance premiums
  • Maintenance expenses
  • Professional services (e.g. property management, legal)
  • Certain travel expenses related to managing or maintaining the property
  • Property depreciation (a certain portion may be deducted each year to account for wear and tear)

It’s essential to keep meticulous records and consult with a tax professional to make sure you take advantage of all available deductions and benefits, ultimately minimizing your tax liability and maximizing your returns.

Staying Compliant

Staying compliant with accounting and financial regulations is of major importance as all landlords look to avoid legal issues and maintain the financial health of their rental properties. The steps we’ve discussed so far are the best ways to get started down the right path.

A comprehensive accounting system and up-to-date records of income and expenses help ensure compliance and provide transparency in the case of audits or disputes. Ongoing support from a tax professional helps you to stay informed about local, state, and federal tax laws that could affect rental property income and deductions and maximize your tax benefits while staying compliant.

Finally, and perhaps most obviously, you should always prioritize on-time payments for financial obligations such as mortgage payments, property taxes, and insurance premiums, to avoid penalties or legal consequences.

Cash Flow Analysis

A cash flow analysis is a powerful yet relatively simple method of effective financial management and it provides valuable insights into the profitability and sustainability of a rental property.

Let’s take a look at how to get started:

  • Gather all financial data, including rental income, operating expenses, loan payments, and any other information on cash inflows/outflows related to the rental property
  • Using the data gathered, calculate the total amount of income and expenses as two separate figures
  • Now, calculate the net operating income by subtracting the total amount of operating expenses from the total amount of rental income. This figure is the rental property’s pre-tax cash flow and is a key indicator of its financial stability

It’s important for you to consider other factors such as vacancy rates, potential rent increases, and unexpected expenses to accurately forecast future cash flows and identify potential risks. It’s also a good idea to regularly review and analyze cash flow statements in order to make informed decisions about a property, such as the need to adjust rental rates or invest in property improvements to maximize a property’s potential profit.

Return on Investment (ROI)

Return on Investment (ROI) measures the efficiency of an investment by comparing the net profit generated, or the total income after deducting property expenses, to the initial investment cost.

To calculate ROI for your rental property, first determine your net operating income (NOI) then, divide the NOI by the property’s initial investment cost, which includes purchase price, closing costs, and any renovation expenses. The resulting percentage represents the property’s ROI, indicating how much profit is generated relative to the investment that was made to buy the property and get it rent ready.

A higher ROI means you have a more lucrative investment, while a lower ROI may indicate potential issues with profitability. By regularly calculating ROI for your property, you can evaluate performance, identify areas for improvement, and make strategic decisions that are based on solid numbers.


Tech Tools and Software

In today’s ever-evolving digital world, leveraging tech tools and software has become essential to streamline accounting processes, enhance efficiency, and maximize profitability.

Accounting software such as QuickBooks or Xero offers features tailored specifically for rental property management, allowing landlords to automate tasks like income and expense tracking, generating financial reports, and reconciling bank transactions. Property management platforms like Buildium or AppFolio offer comprehensive solutions that integrate accounting functionalities with tenant management, maintenance tracking, and online rent payments, providing landlords with a centralized platform to oversee all aspects of property management.

Landlords that enlist the help of professional property management companies, like Evernest, reap the benefits of these tools as the best management companies utilize industry-leading tools to manage their properties seamlessly.

Embracing tech tools not only saves time and reduces manual errors but also enables you to gain valuable insights into your property’s financial performance, make data-driven decisions, and adapt to evolving market trends.

Automating Routine Tasks

Automating routine tasks is a game-changer for landlords and today, you have access to a plethora of tools and software that can automate repetitive tasks such as rent collection, invoicing, expense tracking, and financial reporting.

By leveraging automation, you can save valuable time and resources, allowing you to focus on more strategic aspects of property management. Additionally, automation reduces the risk of human error, ensuring accuracy and compliance with tax regulations. Whether it’s setting up recurring payments, sending automated reminders to tenants, or syncing bank transactions with accounting software, embracing automation allows you to save time and ultimately, achieve greater success with your rental property.


Mastering the intricacies of accounting is crucial for you to ensure the success of your investment property. From meticulous record-keeping to savvy financial analysis, these practices lay the foundation for profitability and efficiency in property management.

However, managing multiple properties and handling the day-to-day tasks can be overwhelming. That’s where Evernest comes in. We take the hassle out of property management, allowing landlords to enjoy the rewards of their investments without the stress. So, why not take the leap and partner with Evernest today? Let us handle the details while you reap the benefits of stress-free property ownership.

Find the Evernest team in your area and get started today!