Rental Software

Those of you that have a significant number of units, what kind of management software are you using? I have been using Mike Butlers Tenant Tracking for Quickbooks, but have out grown it. I am looking for something with e pay capabilities.
Thanks, Matt


When I first started, I used a property management software (the Carleton Sheets Toolkit). As my portfolio grew, I realized that I was wasting a lot of time entering duplicate data in the software. All of the information that I was entering already existed in my paper files. Therefore, I stopped using the management software.

Now, I simply print a monthly rent roll from the computer. If I need another piece of information, I get it out of the paper files (tenant file, property file, etc).

I use Quickbooks Pro for accounting purposes.


Thanks, I do use Quickbooks for my accounting and like you said, I feel like I am entering everything twice. I am just starting to have a hard time keeping track of payments. It sure was easier when the portfolio was smaller. Also, I was wanting to start taking internet payments and credit cards and was looking for a system to handle that.

I use Quickbooks Pro to do my accounting as well.

As to tracking payments, I set up each tenant as a customer, generated AR automtically via a "memorized transaction on the first of each month, and apply the payments as they are received.

This is the best that I’m able to do via QB, and so far, I’m happy with it.

I’ve been looking for Quickbooks “add on packages” that handles repetitive billings and payments, but so far, haven’t found any. This would apply to any business with repetitive billings, such as rents, health club memberships, association dues, condo HOA fees etc. and where 99% of the payers normally making the full payment.

I haven’t looked for a while, so perhaps I should take another look.

I have not been able to set up “memorized transactions” for receiving a payments. Conceptually, it would be nice to be able to call up a list of AR outstanding (rents due), with a click box on the left for full payment, with another box to the side to record the part payment. Then as you go down the bunch of checks you got, you just click things off. Afterwards, the program would batch everything together to create a bank deposit.

I’ve been in the IT field, done a $40 million enterprise software implementation, and sold PC based accounting packages for a while, and found this aspect, applying payments, receiving little attention since it’s relegated to the realm of clerks and bookkeeprs. I worked in one company where I was going to custom write something speeding up this very aspect, cash application, the the reaction I got from the clerks was “who put you up to this, are they thinking of getting rid of me”??

Now, I saw something it the business magazines mentioning that bank services are now available to small businesses where a device can be bought so when a business receives checks, it can run it thru the device, it reads the checks, its hooked up via the internet, and you’ll receive credit for the checks, and the deposit automatically made for you. Something like the way American Express does with checks you sent them. It’s an ACH transaction where you don’t get the check back.

The advantage here is you save a few trips to the bank, gas, waiting on line etc.


How many units are you tracking just to get an idea of what may or may not be workable for you?

Not very many. Just over 50, but looking at 20 more right now and have goals to be over 100 by years end. We went from buying 1-5 units and are now picking up bigger units. Still self managed though. :banghead
Thanks, Matt

I’m just throwing this out there concerning internet payments and e pay capablities. What about setting up a paypal account and having the tenants pay the rent through paypal. Just a very rough idea at this point but what do you guys think? You would still have to enter the information into your accounting software.

As a side note, there seems to be an opportunity for someone who is able to create an integrated property management software package. :cool

Exactly. I’ve been in many a meeting in large companies, even those using bank lockboxes, payments are already in the bank accounts, copies of remittance made available, and someone still has to sit down match things up, and make the entries, that is “this x dollars is made against this and that item.”

The same goes for paypal and credit card payments. A $600 payment received via Paypal show up in the bank account for the tenant at 123 Main Street. You still have to go into Quickbooks, pull up the customer on the AR that has the open item for $600, TYPE IN $600., then batch it with others to make a bank deposit, exactly the same amount of time and work it takes me with the check in front of me. This takes no more than a minute. What it does save me is the trip to the bank.

You can IMPORT bank data into Quickbooks, as my bank supports this feature, but still MATCHING the payment up to an open item is NOT AUTOMATIC, and require data entry.

I still prefer to have copies of checks on file because some tenants played games with me in the past, especially those that started paying late, and some part payments, and before you know it, I’m a month short, and they claim the rent is paid in full. I’m not sure if I can at this point pull up all the Paypal records and show the guy. In one case, the guy was there 14 months, at a rent of $1,000/month, and I got money orders totalling $13,000, not $14,000, based on all the money orders I got.

Even if I pulled up all the Paypal records, do a printout, the guy could still say, “your printout is incomplete”. What I did was made copies of all the money order he gave me, and said “here’s what i got, if you got another money order for $1,000, give me a copy”. I couldn’t see how I can pull this off with Paypal.

What MIGHT work is the owner has a WEBsite, the tenant makes the payment ONLINE, with payment history available to owner and tenant alike. And thru this WEBsite, the payment is applied to an open invoice, or rent billing, pretty much like the way I pay insurance and credit card bills.

Even in companies that apply 20 payments a day, the bookkeepiing involved is no more than one or two hours a day for a clerk or bookkeeper, and salaries are relatively cheap for these people.

If I was someone with 100 units, I get a bookkeeper already, rather than sit down and do bookkeeping. Any solution would only cut down the amount of work, from 2 hours a day, to maybe 30 minutes. Still, it’s not a big market as relatively few people in this category would sit down and do their own bookkeeping.

I was selling accounting package for a while, and few owners do their own bookkeeping, they buy a package and have a bookkeeper do it. One feature that’s going to save the bookkeeper an hours work is not going to be a big seller.

I got a business that uses Quickbooks, I did the work myself for about 2 years, and finally, when it got to the point that I have to sit there 2 to 3 hours a day, I got myself someone to do the bookkeeping. At this point, my time is better spent managing the bookkeeper and the rest of the business.

You can find a part time bookkeeper here, maybe a stay at home mom that wants to work a few hours a week to make some extra money:

I have been looking into the Paypal thing, but have not heard good things from others that use it, mostly people who sell on Ebay. It seems a little pricey too, compared to other options. I do plan on splitting the cost with the tenant.
Anyway, I figure if I can add a few extra ways to pay besides check or money order (we dont take cash, except for deposits) it may help with tenant retention.
My wife does do most of the books, paying bills, etc. I do like to record payments myself, just to have a better idea of who has paid, who has not.
Thanks, Matt

Paypal costs approximately the same per transaction as taking a credit card by any other method and doesn’t have a monthly fee like a credit card merchant account. It’s around 2.9% per transaction last I checked. The biggest problem I see with credit cards and paypal is that the tenant can easily fight a charge, who’s to say the credit card company or paypal won’t take their side and refund their money leaving you holding the bag. And you may not have access to the funds while its being disputed. They can’t do that with cash, money orders, and checks (once the check clears obviously, they can put a stop payment on it until that happens).

Edit- Here’s the fee schedule:

Paypal would definately be the best option for just a few units, because of no monthly service charge. If you start getting several units to pay by this method the service charge becomes miniscule. You can easily start getting rates at 2.1% and better., are two of the cheaper that are industry specific. I was thinking of just using a regular merchant service, they seem to be the cheapest.
I have not addressed the issue of a tenant fighting a charge, so that is definately something I will look into.
Thanks, Matt

At a 2.9% rate, with a rentroll of 10K a month, that’s $290, or $3,500/year. That’s a lot of dinners I can take the family to, or even pay a bookkeeper.

Certainly not worth it just to speed up bookkeeping.

There are services that debit the tenants checking accounts for much less. By my thing is to be able to keep a transaction history for tenants, and I don’t expect tenants to keep all their bank statements handy, nor do I want to show my tenants my bank statments if a dispute arises whether they paid all the rents.

If PayPal requires a tenant to have a PC, and an online account, not all of my tenants can go online. I don’t go for credit card payments as charges can be reversed in a dispute, plus the transactional expense.

I have been using for the past 8 months and it has been working out very well.

I do not use Quickbooks for my accounting but they have asked me if I do because I think they are working on an export of the data into quickbooks. So anyone using quickbooks might want to give them a shout and see if this is the case.

As for the e-pay they do offer intergration from paypal. Once the payment is made paypal informs renttropolis and they log the payment and reduce the amount the tenant owes me. I am able to charge an additional fee if the tenant pays using this method so I dont really see the additional cost. Where I find it nice is that my late fees are incurred 5 days after the rent is due. I have been getting a lot of paypal payments on the 4th day since my late payment fee is higher than the paypal transaction fee that the tenant has to pay.

Now I can also offer a login for my tenant and the can check all of the payments that they have made to me and what they currently owe me.

They also have a link to ClearNow which is some Direct Debit processing for landlords which I have not used yet.