Realtors are so busy following leads, showing properties, closing deals, and processing realty documents that it becomes impossible to do everything by hand.
That’s where accounting software comes in.
Accounting software minimizes manual tasks by automating some of the business operations and, believe it or not, there’s accounting software that’s specifically designed for real estate.
The challenge comes in choosing the right accounting software for your real estate business.
In this guide, we’ll cover the importance of real estate software, what to look for, and review some of the benefits and features of different software so that you can narrow down your options.
What is real estate accounting?
Real estate accounting involves tracking, recording, and organizing the financial transactions of a real estate business in order to better understand the company’s finances.
These transactions involve the buying, selling, and renting of properties.
Additionally, real estate software takes all of this data and transforms it into expense reports so that you can check the financial health of your real estate business.
Who uses realtor accounting software?
Professionals who deal with property management or real estate use this type of accounting and its software.
These professionals include the following:
- Owners of real estate agencies
- Those who manage properties for clients
- Those who maintain accounts for housing associations
- Construction company managers
- Someone who oversees an investment trust
- Anyone who provides real estate services
Real estate accounting enables these individuals to monitor their business’s performance and growth and meet all tax requirements.
How can accounting software help real estate agents?
Accounting software helps real estate agents in a variety of ways.
1. Organizes data
Accounting software organizes and stores information so that realtors can have quick access to client records, track performance, and manage expenses.
2.Helps agents stay compliant
Accounting software helps agents and brokers stay compliant with legal regulations and the IRS.
3. Lets agents work remotely
Accounting software apps provide the flexibility to run your real estate business from anywhere.
A real estate business that uses accounting software apps provides the flexibility to do your work from anywhere.
4. Improves client connections
Accounting software makes connecting with and managing clients a simpler process.
5. Helps manage expenses
Accounting software also helps manage expense tracking by capturing bills and receipts and turning them into digitally-coded transactions.
6. Helps agents understand their business
Accounting software helps agents and real estate business owners better understand the financial performance of their businesses.
How do we evaluated realtor accounting software?
We examined accounting programs that are tailored to property firms based on an independent assessment methodology.
Additionally, we reviewed softwares that are useful for property companies specifically, such as the owner’s role and the type of real estate business, the ease of use, pricing, and features based on the accounting needs of the individual or firm.
Questions to ask when choosing real estate accounting software
Every real estate accounting software has something to offer.
So how do you decide which one to choose?
The best real estate software for your business is going to depend on your budget, the size of your company, your specific needs, and which features are the most important to you.
Below are some questions to point you in the right direction when choosing real estate accounting software:
- Does it track commission?
- Do I need payroll management?
- Do I need the software to generate quarterly tax estimates?
- Does the business require a financial report on its real estate expenditures?
- Does the software need to track miles?
- How does lead tracking work?
- Are there contract management tools in this product?
- What is the most cost-efficient software for my real estate business?
- Is the software user-friendly?
- Which accounting features are a priority?
- Is the software appropriate based on the size of my business?
How to choose realtor accounting software in 4 steps
To select a good property accounting software, follow the 4 steps below:
Step 1: Check the accounting features available on the software for an accurate assessment of your needs and priorities.
Step 2: Determine how easy the software is to use and how responsive and helpful the customer support is.
Step 3: Examine the plans that the software offers and select the plan that best meets your needs and budget.
Step 4: Check to see if the software offers a free trial and if so, do a test run to see if it’s a good fit for you and your business.
What are the top picks for realtor accounting software in 2023?
When it comes to real estate accounting needs, there are so many accounting software options on the market that it’s hard to know which one to choose.
In the sections below, we’ve reviewed the top 10 to hopefully narrow down your search.
1. Realtyzam – Best software designed exclusively for real estate agents
Realtyzam was created specifically with real estate agents in mind.
This software has been pared down to just include the accounting features that a real estate agent would need.
It’s an easy-to-use accounting software option used to track expenses and generate reports for filing taxes.
There’s practically no data entry since data feeds can be set up with more than 15,000 credit cards and banks.
Transactions are automatically downloaded every morning and auto-categorized based on predetermined categories established by you.
Another option is to download your bank and credit card statements and then upload them into Realtyzam.
You can generate reports for quarterly or year-end taxes with a simple press of a key.
The mobile app version allows you to upload receipts from your realty expenses.
The app automatically scans the receipt creating a digital version that links to the expense.
- $11.58/month (billed annually)
- $14/month (billed monthly)
- 30-day free trial
Watch the video below to learn more about Realtyzam:
2. Shoeboxed – Best app for scanning and organizing receipts
Shoeboxed captures receipts on the go, and receipts can be imported automatically from Gmail to Shoeboxed.
Expense reports can be created from anywhere, and receipts can be searched, edited, and managed quickly for expense reports.
Custom reports can be created with receipts attached, and Shoeboxed transforms business cards into online business contacts.
When it comes to taxes, data is automatically categorized into 15 different tax categories.
Shoeboxed also offers a free mileage tracker for business mileage for realtors.
The only thing you need to do is put your receipts into a Magic Envelope and mail it to the Shoeboxed processing center to be transformed into digital data!
- Startup: $18/month (save 20% if paid annually)
- Professional: $36/month (save 20% if paid annually)
- Business: $54/month (save 20% if paid annually)
- 30-day free trial
3. Zoho – Best software with mobile accounting apps
A good mobile accounting app gives its users the ability to process accounting data anywhere at any time.
Below are some of Zoho’s mobile app features:
- Receive payments
- Send invoices
- Enter bills
- Upload or capture receipts
- Track expenses
- Enter payments
- Categorize expenses
- Track time
- View reports
- No pricing info
You can do just about everything with the app that you can do with the computer interface.
4. Buildium – Best software for property management features
Buildium, by far, is the best real estate accounting software for property managers.
Its accounting features on business operations and leasing far outshine other software for real estate agents.
Some of Buildium’s property management features are listed below:
- Residents can pay rent or fees online, view payment history, and set up recurring payments
- Track requests for maintenance
- Send announcements to associations or properties through text and email
- Share updates and news on the message board in the Resident Center
- Share and keep track of documents like floor plans, leases, financial reporting in real-time, and meeting minutes
- Property inspection software is integrated with Buildium to perform inspections on the go and sync all of your data
- Track, log, and report homeowners’ violations
- Renters’ insurance policy management
- Advertisements for listings
- Online rental applications
- Coordinates showings
- Tenant screening
- eSignature for leasing
- Essential: $52/month
- Growth: $166/month
- Premium: $479/month
- 14-day free trial
5. FreshBooks – Easiest to use accounting software for realtors
FreshBooks is built around simplicity.
It’s ideal for small businesses such as startups, single real estate agents, and small brokerages.
You can easily access FreshBooks any time from anywhere with its cloud-based accounting software and mobile app.
FreshBooks is easy to set up and navigate since it was originally designed for business owners with little to no accounting knowledge.
The dashboard provides easy access to reports such as:
- Sales tax reports
- Profit and loss
- Accounts aging
- Payments collected
FreshBooks also provides quick access to the chart of accounts, general ledger, and trial balance.
Reports can be easily filtered by team member, client, or date, and access to data is in real-time which makes it easy to keep up with financial data on the go.
FreshBooks easily tracks mileage with its built-in mileage tracking feature and offers single and multi-project management.
It has bank integration features with reconciliations and automatically-processed expense tracking.
Additionally, proposals and estimates can be easily converted into invoices, and FreshBooks also offers multi-currency support.
Their simple interface stems from its easy accessibility, intuitive navigation, and accounting features that simplify the financial process for real estate agents.
- Lite: $6.80/month billed annually
- Plus: $12/month billed annually
- Premium: $22/month billed annually
- Select: contact vendor for pricing
- 30-day free trial
6. Wave Accounting – Best free real estate accounting software
Wave Accounting is the best free accounting software option for realtors.
Just like FreshBooks, Wave Accounting is great for self-employed agents or small brokerages that are new and just starting out.
Usually, “free” real estate accounting software doesn’t actually mean it’s free, and it’s not uncommon to come across hidden fees.
However, Wave Accounting software actually is completely free.
The only way the software will cost you anything is if you use Wave Payments or their payroll application. Additionally, they offers above-average processing of invoices, customer management, 12 different financial reports, and the option for bank feed integration.
Wave Accounting makes navigating the accounting process affordable and convenient for those in the real estate industry.
7. Xero – Best accounting software for business growth
One of the biggest reasons Xero is the best accounting software for real estate business growth is that it offers unlimited users on all of its subscription plans.
That in and of itself is a rare find.
The most popular plan Xero offers is the Growing Plan.
All of their plans offer a connection with your bank account, inventory management, reporting, purchase orders, files, contact management, sales tax management, and payment processing.
Their Growing Plan also includes the following:
- Sending online quotes and invoices to customers
- Tracking bills that are due
- Scheduling bill payments
- Batch payments to suppliers
- Bank reconciliation
- Capturing receipts and bills with Hubdoc
- Transaction coding
- Insight into short-term cash flow
- Business snapshots
- The option to add Gusto for payroll management
As your business grows and you want to add more functionality, you can integrate Xero with over 800 third-party apps.
Xero is great for businesses that start out small and are experiencing business growth from onboarding new clients and additional employees and experiencing more complex accounting needs.
- Early: $3.25/month
- Growing: $9.25/month
- Established: $17.50/month
- 30-day free trial
8. Quicken – Best for landlords managing a small number of properties
Quicken is recommended for landlords who own anywhere from 1 to 3 units and is one of the best alternatives to QuickBooks for managing rental properties.
Quicken’s specialized property management features include the following:
- A property dashboard
- Rental agreements
- Rental rate
- Security deposits
- Move-in/move-out dates
- Reports of income and loss by property (reported on Schedule E on your individual tax return)
Besides accounting tools, Quicken also offers a wide variety of other financial management and budget management tools for real-time buyers.
Not only does Quicken monitor self-employed income, but it also monitors retirement accounts and personal finances.
- Home & Business: $5.99/month
- Premier: $4.19/month
- Deluxe: $2.99/month
- 30-day free trial
9. Lone Wolf Back Office – Best accounting software for brokers
Lone Wolf Back Office offers a complete brokerage package that brings data for brokers, agents, staff, buyers, sellers, and other real estate professionals together in one place. The back office and accounting manage commissions, audit prep, agent billing, and accounting.
Their software also provides insights so that brokers can develop the best strategies for profitability and makes it easy to collaborate when working from home.
The Propertybase GO includes a mobile app for real estate agents with leadership capabilities, and brokers can build their own custom websites to attract buyers and sellers.
Lone Wolf provides comparative market analysis and presentations of virtual listings and it also offers digital marketing so that ads can be placed on social media sites. And it has a built-in toolbox feature for establishing virtual tours and digital title orders.
At the same time, The Lone Wolf Transactions integrates with marketing, CRM, CMA, back office, forms, and eSignature which results in a complete transaction management solution for real estate brokerage.
- No pricing info
10. QuickBooks Online – Best software for multiple agents and larger brokerages
QuickBooks Online wins the award for being the best accounting software for multiple agents and large brokerages.
They offer so many different versions with a wide selection of accounting features, so there’s a QuickBooks solution for everyone in the real estate industry.
QuickBooks seamlessly tracks income and expenses, creates and sends invoices, organizes receipts, pays contractors and bills, and even issues 1099s.
The software has a built-in banking feed that downloads and categorizes transactions and reconciles accounts.
QuickBooks can manage commissions for real estate professionals by setting up a single account or multiple sub-accounts.
For an additional cost, QuickBooks offers a payroll option for brokerages or can be integrated with a third-party payroll application. Their contract management is another additional cost option that uses DocuSign.
QuickBooks Online offers anywhere from 50 to 100 financial reporting options depending on the pricing tier.
The reports range from your basic reports such as profit and loss, balance sheet, and expenses to business analytics.
The mobile app, which is available for both iOS and Android users, provides automatic mileage tracking.
QuickBooks Online also tracks sales tax.
QuickBooks Online has a bit of everything and more than real estate professionals could ever need or want.
- Simple Start: $15 /month
- Essentials: $27.50/month
- Plus: $42.50/month
- Advanced: $100/month
- Self-employed for freelancers: $7.50/month
- 30-day free trial
Want more options? Check out this video on accounting software for real estate agents:
Frequently asked questions
No one software is best for all real estate businesses.
The best real estate software is going to depend on your budget, the size of your business, your specific needs, and which accounting features are the most important to you.
Generally, the cash basis is used for property transactions.
QuickBooks is a great option for realtors.
QuickBooks caters to real estate businesses of all sizes and offers many features that realtors need, such as managing commission, expense tracking, and a vast array of reports for insight and business analytics.
When it comes to real estate accounting software, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for businesses, including those involved in virtual bookkeeping jobs.
These software options are tailored to different business structures, types of real estate professionals, and varying levels of accounting expertise, each with its own associated costs.
The crucial step is to carefully select the software that aligns with your specific needs and requirements, ensuring optimal efficiency and effectiveness for you and your virtual bookkeeping job.
Caryl Ramsey has years of experience assisting in different aspects of bookkeeping, taxes, and customer service. She uses a variety of accounting software for setting up client information, reconciling accounts, coding expenses, running financial reports, and preparing tax returns. She is also experienced in setting up corporations with the State Corporation Commission and the IRS.
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