Tag-Archive for ◊ Rental Properties ◊

Author: admin
• Monday, December 20th, 2010

Property software has become an essential tool for property managers. It can be used by everyone from renters to giant hospitality chains. Unfortunately, many managers still do not understand what it does and how it helps. In reality it can save time, money, and effort. Most importantly, it can provide an excellent return on investment or ROI. To better understand if this type of software will help you, here is an overview of what you get.

Property Management Software – What it Does and How It Helps

1. Centralization. A property manager is responsible for collected, maintaining, and interpreting a wide variety of information in order to make the right decisions. This includes dealing with rent collection, maintaining the property, tracking vacancies, and tracking income and expenses. By using property software, you can centralize all of this information, which makes it easier to track and interpret. This also has proved to be an effective tool for people and companies that hire property managers. Since all of this information is centralized, it is easy to see how effective the property manager actually is.

2. Module Utilization. Most property software has a variety of modules that will allow to do everything that you need to do. Common modules include: property/unit management, accounts payable/receivable, a general ledger, budgeting, bank deposits, work orders/job costs, past due letters/late fee processing, rent geared income, vendors, security management, custom reports, and the ability to create user-defined modules. With the ability to track and organize so much information, these modules can simplify the tasks of property management a great deal.

3. Streamlining Management Tasks. Property managers are required to maintain a variety of records such as vacancies, TCF (Total Cash Flow), and total income from rental properties. Property software allows a manager to keep track of every detail without having to calculate the values on their own. The biggest drawback to using excel-type programs is that the manager has to create on the formulas on their own, and the chance of mistakes is commonly high. The property software has been pre-programed to be able to do complex equations automatically, without the possibility of miscalculation.

Property Software In Review

What It Does – Management software is used to track a variety of variables from vacancies and work orders to income per property/unit to complete financial reviews. More importantly, all of this information is stored in a customized and centralized location that allows for automatic calculations without any additional effort on the part of the manager.

How It Helps – Property managing software provides a centralized location for managers to assess their financial situation with 100% accuracy. It allows for a streamlined method of record keeping while also providing all of the necessary calculations that are needed for financial records. It also helps store and track non-financial data such as vacancies, work orders, and records of the other necessary paperwork that must be kept. Finally, it provides managers a way to take care of everything from one location. In total, this ensures that property managers save time, money, and effort on a daily basis.

Author: admin
• Wednesday, December 08th, 2010

If you own rental real estate, there are three different ways to treat your rental losses depending on your status. One of these is “Real Estate Professional.”

First, let’s dispense with one myth: Real Estate Professional status does not mean you have to hold a real estate license. Rather, it is a designation you obtain by meeting certain specific requirements. The first requirement is that you spend more than 750 hours in real property trades or businesses in which you materially participate. The second requirement is that you spend more time in your real property trades or businesses than in ALL OTHER trades or businesses combined. Time spent as an employee in real property activities is counted only if you are a more than a 5% owner in that business. If you qualify as a real estate professional you can deduct all your current year rental real estate losses against other income without limitations.

What is a real property trade or business? A real property trade or business is defined as ANY real property development, redevelopment, construction, reconstruction, acquisition, conversion, rental, operation, management, leasing, or brokerage trade or business.

You have to meet the above requirements each year. So, you could be a real estate professional one year but not the next. Only one spouse needs to meet the requirements in order for a married couple to take advantage of the benefits provided by the real estate professional status.

The 750 hours test must be met for each activity. So for example, say you have three rental properties. The general rule is that you have to perform at least 750 hours on activities related to EACH of those three properties. Fortunately, there is an exception to this rule. If you make the election to aggregate all of your rental real estate activities into one activity, you only have to meet the 750 hours requirement once for the tax year.

What types of activities qualify as real estate professional activities? Activities such as:

- Searching for possible rental properties

- Attending real estate seminars or reading real estate books

- Meeting with real estate agents and viewing properties

- Meeting with mortgage brokers with regards to getting loans on properties

- Travel time to and from the seminars and your property searches

- Preparing your bookkeeping and tax information for your rental properties

- Time spend buying or selling properties (i.e. signing the closing documents)

- Studying and reviewing financial reports (Investor-type)

- Preparing summaries or analyses for personal use (Investor-type)

- Monitoring finances or operation in a non-managerial capacity (Investor-type)

An important note to the investor-type activities mentioned above is that these activities can only be counted towards real estate professional time if you are involved in the day-to-day operations or management of the activity for which you perform those tasks. Essentially, this means that if you have an independent property manager and your only real estate business is your rental properties, you probably will not qualify as a real estate professional.

The extent of an individual’s participation in an activity may be established by any reasonable means. Contemporaneous daily time reports, logs, or similar documents are not required if the extent of such participation may be established by other reasonable means. Documentation required includes the identification of services performed over a period of time and the approximate number of hours spent performing such services during such period, based on appointment books, calendars, or narrative statements. Documentation is the key when claiming real estate professional status. Most taxpayers who lose in the tax courts lose because of poor documentation. Although documentation through a reasonable means is pretty vague, the tax regulations are clear that post-event “ballpark guesstimates” are not permitted and will not hold up in the tax courts.

Real Estate Professional status is such an important designation for a high-income real estate investor that we strongly recommend you spend time with your Tax Coach to determine if and how you can become a Real Estate Professional and deduct all of your rental losses.

Are you ready to permanently reduce your taxes?

Warmest Regards,