Becoming an investing entrepreneur means wearing many hats. Even if an investor outsources aspects of the job to property managers, contractors or other assistants, the final decisions rest with that landlord/investor who’s now in the business of creating wealth. The essentials of managing rental real estate haven’t changed over time, but today’s technology offers new tools to streamline the process.
Since the early days of property ownership, some tasks remain: pay taxes, collect rents, and maintain ongoing records. While the time honored methods of pen and paper may still keep things running, a variety of software packages can help make all aspects of managing income property run more smoothly. Accounting packages keep the books tidy, while real estate programs can calculate the value of property and generate statistic on market trends. Smaller versions track rents, income and expenditures and generate documents such as leases and terminations. The market changes constantly so we won’t recommend specific software suites – just a few things to keep in mind when shopping for computer tools to make investment managing easier.
Faced with a dizzying array of products that claim to do everything except cook your breakfast, it’s important to know what you need before you shop. Software is available to manage taxes, handle general accounting and print forms such as leases and rental agreements. Complete systems integrate all these functions, but you may need only one or two of them. With mobile apps for smart phones and tablets all key functions can be at your fingertips wherever you are.
With options ranging from high-end management suites packed with features to simple accounting programs and free downloadable apps, there are tools for every need. It’s important, though, to consider your current needs as well as anticipate future requirements. Watch for programs that are expandable and upgradeable — that saves the expense of buying another system as your investment projects expand.
Unless you’re willing to invest hours in trainings, or turn the whole project over to your local computer nerd, it’s wise to look for packages that are ready to go straight from the box, with clear instructions for the non-techie and reliable support you can call on any time. Low cost accounting software and free management downloads won’t offer the kind of tech support or information you need to get up to speed.
The right software can make an investor’s job easier in many ways and keeps the enterprise looking professional, especially if multiple properties are involved. By automating tasks, keeping records organized and tracking expenses, a good software suite designed specifically to meet the needs of income property investors can save time and money well beyond the initial investment. Plus, as an expenditure related to the investment business, it may be tax-deductible too.
Investors following Jason Hartman’s investing guidelines know that building wealth from income property depends partly on getting the support you need from qualified advisers. The right software to manage the business of your investments can eliminate stress, free up time and save some money to keep income flowing smoothly from the properties you own.
Join Jason Hartman and his team of local property specialists in Memphis, TN on April 26-682013 for the Memphis Wealth Building Bus Tour and Real Estate Education Event. You’ll view properties available in the hot Memphis markets and meet real estate professionals ready to provide all the support you’ll need to launch a career in income property investing. (Top image: Flickr/Apix)
The Jason Hartman Team