Real Estate Accounting: The Ultimate Guide

real estate accounting guide

But, when the records are stored digitally, all you’ve got to do is enter a few words into the search bar. Nowadays, the term “bookkeeping” refers only to the accounting practice—you don’t actually have to keep transaction records in printed business ledgers. Nonetheless, that’s still how many modern businesses choose to do it.

  • With cash-based accounting, you only record income when the cash hits your account.
  • If you manage client holdings or housing association properties, there’s a lot to take into account.
  • Start-up costs are expenses incurred in connection with start-up activity.
  • If you’re paying money—aside from debt—then you’re paying an expense.
  • Choosing the right accounting software will save you time, hassle and money as your business grows.

If you choose this technique, look for an investment property in a stable, high-growth location near capital cities, which tend to do better over time. Commercial Properties – Merchandise & non-residential land and buildings are taxed when built, sold, or rented. The tax will have little impact on residential property investors’ compliance needs than increasing non-financial expenditures. GST is a value-added tax levied on the consumption of most goods and services. Rental properties are considered taxable supplies for GST purposes, so landlords must charge GST on their rent.

Use a Standardized System for Categorizing Your Income and Expenses

You’ll work with vast sums of money when running your real estate business. You’ll have to handle money in all its forms, from the investments people send your way to the rent totals you collect. But you must also note how well your expenses work and that you understand where they are going. Landlord Studio is an easy property management and accounting software and app designed for landlords. Track income and expenses, run reports, collect rent online, find and screen tenants, manage property maintenance, and more. By doing so, you can ensure the financial success of your real estate business and make informed decisions that lead to long-term growth and profitability.

Meanwhile, if you hire a photographer to help you market a house on a per-property basis, their services are part of your COGS. If 10 new listings are added within a month and you need to photograph each of their homes, then your photography expenses will be higher than if you only have 2 clients another month. If the difference in cost estimates arises from an increase or decrease in common costs—streets, utilities, and so on—any cost increases or decreases are accounted for prospectively. Developers-R-Us (D) purchases land for $10 million, which it intends to divide into three parcels.

Staying Compliant with Tax Laws

Good accounting software will help you do this, with an audit trail of every transaction. This simplifies the audit process and you can immediately call up any record for inspection. Double-entry bookkeeping also provides a series of checks to ensure that each entry is correct.

real estate accounting guide

Doing so makes it possible to accurately track cash flow and avoid ambiguity in the accounting records. Chase’s article titled “Why every business needs a business bank account” expands on the benefits of opening a business bank account further. For example, a real estate development company may purchase a large tract of land to be developed over several years; portions of the land will be developed and sold before the project as a whole is completed. As such, the allocation of costs to individual units, between different phases of one project, or to different projects generally involves several cost pools and multiple steps.