Real estate business accounting software allows real estate agents, brokerage firms, landlords and investors who buy, sell or rent property keep track of their business finances. We looked at a broad range of options & found the top real estate accounting software options for you. Take a look at the features, cost and which each is right for.
Top 6 Real Estate Accounting Software
|QuickBooks Desktop||Best overall for real estate businesses and investors of all shapes and sizes at an affordable cost.|
|Realtyzam||Best all in one, cloud-based solution for accounting and property management.|
|Buildium Property Management||Large rental property management or investment companies as well as real estate associations.|
|QuickBooks Self Employed||People who manage/invest in real estate on the side and want to separate business and personal expenses.|
|QuickBooks Online||Real estate businesses and investors who want a cloud-based alternative to QuickBooks Desktop.|
|Xero||Real estate investors, brokers, and businesses looking for a comparable alternative to QuickBooks.|
How We Determined the Best Real Estate Accounting Software
The best real estate accounting software is one that allows a real estate investor or broker the ability to separate their real estate and personal expenses and income. It should also allow real estate businesses – both large and small – the ability to track and manage their properties online.
When considering which real estate accounting software is best, we compared the available options based on the following:
- Affordable to real estate businesses and investors
- Seamless integration of both the property management and accounting functions
- Can track security deposits
- Able to accept rental payments online
- Ability to depreciate property
- Can separate real estate business and personal expenses
We also took into account key features that you would expect to find in any accounting software:
- Able to track income and expenses
- Give multiple users access to data
- Detailed tracking & reporting
Finally, we spoke with Gita Faust of Fast Trac Consulting. Gita is known as a “guru” when it comes to real estate accounting. She has written a number of books that teach real estate businesses, owners and landlords how to manage their property using QuickBooks. She gave us key insight that allowed us to make the best determination regarding which type of real estate accounting software is best for you.
Best Overall Real Estate Accounting Software: QuickBooks Desktop
QuickBooks Desktop is the best real estate accounting software for any type of real estate business, including fix and flippers, long-term investors, landlords and property managers, owner-occupants as well as independent agents and brokerage firms. While not specifically for the real estate industry, it’s the most customizable QuickBooks product and is more than capable of suiting your needs. Depending on the tier of Desktop product, you’ll be able to track rental income or commissions received as well as expenses on a per-property basis.
QuickBooks Desktop Features
QuickBooks is widely regarded as the top accounting software for small businesses, and the real estate industry is no different. QuickBooks is customizable and it’s possible to use it for most – if not all – of your real estate accounting needs. For example, you can link your real estate business’ accounts to the software and track and categorize things like deposits or advances, vehicle mileage driving to and from your property, as well as run detailed profit and loss reports for each property you own or manage.
Below is a list of the features included in QuickBooks Pro, Premier and Enterprise:
QuickBooks Pro/Premier Version Includes:
- Give up to 5 users access to data (Pro includes 3 users)
- Connect bank/credit card accounts
- Track sales by customer/listing
- Track rent or commissions received
- Track income and expenses for each property
- Keep track of rent advances and/or deposits
- Track vehicle mileage
- Detailed reports such as P&L by property/listing
QuickBooks Enterprise Version Includes:
- All of the features in the Pro/Premier version (above)
- Give up to 30 users access to data
- More customized reporting
If you’re an independent real estate agent or investor, we recommend QuickBooks Pro; if you are a brokerage firm or real estate investing business looking for real estate brokerage accounting software with less than $1M in annual sales and no more than 20 employees, QuickBooks Premier is a good option. Once your business exceeds $1M in annual sales and/or you have more than 20 employees, you will need to upgrade to QuickBooks Enterprise.
QuickBooks Desktop Pricing
Below we have listed the starting price of each QuickBooks Desktop edition:
- Pro – starts at $299.95
- Premier – starts at $499.95
- Enterprise – starts at $1100 per year
Since QuickBooks Desktop is not a cloud-based software like it’s competitors, the pricing structure is based on a one-time fee as opposed to a monthly fee. QuickBooks Pro and Premier are a one-time fee that start at $299.95 for Pro and $499.95 for Premier, whereas Enterprise is billed on an annual basis starting at $1,100. Pricing includes one user license and there is a fee to purchase additional licenses.
What QuickBooks Desktop is Missing
QuickBooks Desktop out of the box is not customized to manage a real estate business. This means you’ll be unable to depreciate your property using the software. Another drawback is that it must be installed on your computer and isn’t cloud-based. However, the beauty of using QuickBooks is that you can customize it to manage any type of real estate business, large or small.
Where to Get QuickBooks Desktop
You can get started with QuickBooks by signing up to receive between $80-$200 off your purchase. As discussed, you can keep track of all of your income and expenses for each property. In addition, you can keep tabs on your business by running reports like profit and loss, commissions and expenses by property/listing.
Best All In One Real Estate Accounting Software: Realtyzam
We chose Realtyzam as the best all in one real estate accounting software because it is the only product that combines both property management software with accounting software (without the use of an app) at an affordable cost. Similar to Buildium Property Management, Realtyzam is already customized for real estate businesses, including brokers, investors, and property managers. This is in contrast to QuickBooks above, that while a great option (and the most used), isn’t ready for a real estate business out of the box.
Realtyzam is a cloud-based real estate brokerage accounting software that anyone without an accounting background can use. In addition to keeping track of common income and expenses for landlords, investors, and real estate agents, you can access detailed reports that show average commissions, average expenses and buyer/seller conversion rates, just to name a few.
Below is a list of the features included in the free version and the paid version of Realtyzam:
Realtyzam Free & Paid Versions Include:
- Track expenses, broker fees and profit on each buyer, listing, or property
- Connect bank/credit card accounts
- Automatically categorize real estate transactions
- Scan receipts with mobile device & link to expense
- Detailed reports such as Profit & Loss Report, which can be run on a per property basis
When it comes to features, there is no difference between the free version and the paid version of Realtyzam. From day one, you have access to all of the features that the software offers. However, the free version is only good for the first 30 days or until you reach a certain threshold before being required to upgrade to paid, which we will discuss next.
Below are the two pricing plans offered by Realtyzam:
- Basic: Free version
- Paid version: $12/month or $9.99/month (Annual subscription)
Realtyzam offers a free 30-day trial. One of the many benefits of using Realtyzam is that you can continue to use the software beyond the 30 days for free until you sell 3 properties or log $5,000 of income and expenses. Once you’ve reached this threshold, you can sign up for the monthly or annual paid plan.
What Realtyzam is Missing
While Realtyzam combines both accounting and property management into one, it is missing a few features that are offered by its competitors. First, you cannot track mileage using Realtyzam which means that you will have to track your miles outside of the software using a mileage tracker app. Second, Realtyzam does not have a tenant screening service like Buildium has, and finally, Realtyzam does not offer live customer support like QuickBooks and Buildium.
Where to Get Realtyzam
You can go to Realtyzam.com to sign up for a free 30-day trial. You are not required to enter any credit card information until you convert to a paid subscription. We recommend that you take full advantage of the trial period by setting up your business and entering your income and expenses right away.
Best for Large Real Estate Businesses: Buildium
Buildium is the best real estate brokerage accounting software for large property management companies and real estate associations. It is a robust property management software designed for mid to large sized businesses who have hundreds or even thousands of units they need to keep track of globally.You can manage all aspects of leasing, maintenance and repair requests, and accounting with Buildium.
When it comes to the number of properties that you can manage as well as software that was built for large real estate businesses, investors and brokerage firms, Buildium wins hands down. The vast amount of features that this product includes is a property’s owner’s dream, such as the ability to accept online payments, send/sign electronic leases, as well as conduct tenant screening.
On the flip side, all of these features come at a premium cost, starting at $150 per month. It is by far the most expensive option out of all of the competitors that we have discussed. However, it is the only product we have discussed that comes with this level of property management, coupled with all the accounting software tools and without the use of an app.
Below is a list of features included in the Buildium Core and Pro plans:
Buildium Core Plan Includes:
- Ability to manage up to 150 units
- Tracking income and expenses
- Budgeting and reporting
- Electronic leases*
- Online payments*
- Tenant screening*
- Tenant & owner portals
- Maintenance management
- Board member tracking & permissions
(*) Additional fees apply
Buildium Pro Plan Includes:
- All of the features included in the Core Plan (above)
- Ability to manage 150 units or more
- Electronic leases – 30 free documents per month
- Tenant screening – free setup
Below are the pricing plans Buildium offers:
- Buildium Core – Starts at $150 per month (1-150 units)
- Buildium Pro – Starts at $200 per month (151+ units)
Out of all the products that we looked at, Buildium was by far the priciest. Buildium Core is the most economical plan at $150 per month, which is three times the amount of QuickBooks Online Plus ($50/month) and over 10 times the cost of Realtyzam ($12/month).
Keep in mind that the more units you have, the higher the cost. Pricing that we have provided is if you manage 150 units or fewer. Once you reach 151 units, you must upgrade to the Pro plan.
For the steep price, you get both the accounting and property management tools needed to manage rental properties and associations. Visit Buildium.com to see what your cost would be.
What Buildium is Missing
One of the downsides we found with Buildium is that they do not offer an affordable pricing plan for a startup real estate businesses and individual landlords/investors.The lowest priced plan is $150 per month for 1 to 150 units and isn’t practical or economical for smaller organizations. Asking a small business owner to invest $1,800 per year in an accounting/property management system is not very realistic.
Where to Get Buildium
Before you invest in Buildium, you can sign up for a free 15-day trial. During this trial, you have access to a demo company that has been pre-populated with data. You also have access to their tech support team and training resources to learn the basics. Once you are ready to setup your business, you can sign up for a paid account.
Best Real Estate Accounting Software for Solopreneurs: QuickBooks Self- Employed
QuickBooks Self- Employed is the best real estate accounting software if you are a brand new real estate business with no agents under you or an individual investor.You can easily keep track of your commissions, expenses and track your mileage for business all from within the app. What’s more, QuickBooks Self-Employed is the best way for individuals operating a real estate business on the side to separate their business and personal expenses.
QuickBooks Self-Employed Features
QuickBooks Self-Employed is an ideal option for a real estate agent, investor or a landlord that do not have to pay employees or contractors. You can also easily transfer your data at the end of the year to TurboTax, making tax time a breeze. Below is a list of the features included in QuickBooks Self-Employed and QuickBooks Self-Employed TurboTax Bundle:
QuickBooks Self-Employed Version Includes:
- Track sales by customer
- Track expenses on a per-property basis
- Automatic mileage tracking
- Separate business and personal expenses
- Calculate quarterly estimated taxes
QuickBooks Self- Employed TurboTax Bundle Version Includes:
- All of the features listed (above) in QuickBooks Self-Employed
- Export Schedule C data to TurboTax Self-Employed
- Pay quarterly estimated taxes online
- One Federal and One State tax return filing
QuickBooks Self-Employed Pricing
Below we have included the pricing plans available in QuickBooks Self-Employed:
- Self-Employed – $10 per month
- Self-Employed TurboTax Bundle – $17 per month
QuickBooks Self-Employed is priced pretty reasonably at $10 per month; $1 more per month than the Xero Starter plan ($9 per month) and $2 per month less than the paid Realtyzam plan ($12 per month). Oftentimes, you can purchase QuickBooks Self-Employed for 50% off the standard price.
What QuickBooks Self-Employed is Missing
Similar to QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop, QuickBooks Self-Employed is not a property management software. However, it can be used to track income and expenses for a solo investor, independent realtor or a fix and flipper. Unlike QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online, you cannot print checks in QuickBooks Self-Employed; and you cannot track your unpaid bills (accounts payable).
Where to Get QuickBooks Self-Employed
It’s always a good idea to try a product out before you buy it.The good news is that you can sign up for a free 30 day trial of QuickBooks Self-Employed. I recommend that you take full advantage of the trial period by entering all of your income and expenses to make sure that the software works for your business.
Cloud-Based Alternative to QuickBooks Desktop: QuickBooks Online
QuickBooks Online is our top overall recommended accounting software and is best for real estate agents, real estate businesses and brokerage firms that want a QuickBooks solution in the cloud. This lets you check your real estate income and expenses from anywhere and gives you a few advantages over Desktop in that you can integrate with real estate apps like properbooks, which is a property management SaaS product.
However, properbooks is still in beta and is yet to be fully released as of the time of this writing. Further, QuickBooks Online misses out on some functionality when compared to its Desktop version. For example, it won’t be able to create reports for each of your properties and is not as flexible in terms of customization, forcing you to rely on third-party apps rather than creating a software solution that works specifically for your needs.
QuickBooks Online Features
QuickBooks Online is used by most CPAs and it goes beyond the basic accounting features that you need to run a business. It’s easy enough to use yourself, but also has a wide network of QuickBooks Pro Advisors to help you with any and all of your real estate accounting needs.
QuickBooks Online has 3 subscription levels, which are Simple Start, Essentials and Plus. Below is a list of the features that are included in each:
QuickBooks Online Simple Start Includes:
- Access for one user and one accountant
- Track income and expenses by property/listing
- Connect bank/credit card accounts
- Scan receipts with mobile device
- Detailed reports such as Profit & Loss by property/listing
QuickBooks Online Essentials Includes:
- Access for three users and two accountants
- All features listed (above) for Simple Start
- Manage unpaid bills like owed taxes and vendor invoices
- Time tracking for contractors and employees
QuickBooks Online Plus Includes:
- Access for five users and two accountants
- All features listed (above) for Essentials
- Track & Pay 1099 contractors
- Budget/forecasting for each of your real estate investments or listings
- Track projects, like new construction you may be doing on a piece of land
The right version for you is really going to depend on your level of needs. If you’re an independent real estate investors with no employees, then the Simple Start is probably right for you. If, however, you’re a large property management company with many employees, contractors, and vendors, then Plus is your best bet. Those who fall in between should check out the Essentials package.
QuickBooks Online Pricing
Below we have listed the pricing plans available and starting cost for a QuickBooks Online subscription:
- Simple Start – Starting at $15 per month
- Essentials – Starting at $35 per month
- Plus – Starting at $50 per month
Similar to Realtyzam, QuickBooks offers a free 30-day trial. Unlike Realtyzam, which allows you to continue to use the software for free until you reach a sales threshold, you must convert to a paid subscription once your QuickBooks trial is over. The lowest paid subscription starts at $15 per month which is $3/month higher than Realtyzam and $6/month higher than the Starter version of Xero ($9 per month).
What QuickBooks Online is Missing
QuickBooks Online is not as robust as QuickBooks Desktop so you may encounter a few limitations, like its inability to create customized reports for each of your properties. Further, like Desktop, you won’t be able to depreciate your properties here. However, the ability to connect properbooks to your QuickBooks Online account will give you access to property management tools that QuickBooks Desktop does not have.
Where to Get QuickBooks Online
You can take QuickBooks Online for a free test drive for the first 30 days. This will give you the opportunity to connect your bank/credit card accounts, set up your customers and vendors and see how easy it is to manage your business using QuickBooks.
Best Real Estate Accounting Alternative to QuickBooks: Xero
Xero is our recommended accounting software alternative to QuickBooks Online. This is primarily due to the fact that it includes every feature that you get with QuickBooks Online. Xero therefore might be best for real estate businesses, investors and landlords that have employees and/or contractors. For an additional $39/month plus $6 per employee, you can add Gusto payroll which seamlessly integrates with Xero.
Similar to QuickBooks Online, Xero includes all of the standard features you would expect a real estate accounting software to have, such as integrations with other real estate apps like the property management software Re-Leased, as well as the ability to track income and expenses in a per-property or per-listing basis.
Similar to QuickBooks Online, Xero has 3 subscription levels; Early, Growing, Established. Below is a list of the features that are included in each:
Xero Early Version Includes:
- Unlimited users
- Connect bank/credit card account
- Maximum of five invoices and five bills
- Maximum of five banking transactions
- Scan receipts with mobile app
- Detailed reports, including Profit & Loss by property/listing
Xero Growing Version Includes:
- All of the features listed (above) in Starter version
- Unlimited bank/credit card transactions
- Unlimited bills
- Unlimited invoices
Xero Established Version Includes:
- All of the features listed (above) in Standard version
- Track income/expenses in multiple currencies
The breakdown of Xero’s three tiers in terms of pricing looks like this:
- Early – Starts at $9 per month
- Growing – Starts at $30 per month
- Established – Starts at $60 per month
Similar to Realtyzam and QuickBooks Online, you have 30 days to take Xero for a test drive. Similar to QuickBooks Online, you must convert to a paid subscription once the trial ends. Out of all of its competitors, Xero has the lowest starting subscription price at $9 per month versus QuickBooks Online at $15 per month and Realtyzam at $9.99 per month.
What Xero is Missing
Similar to QuickBooks, Xero exceeds expectations from an accounting software perspective; however it does not come with the property management tools that Realtyzam includes. On the other hand, there is a property management app called Re-Leased that integrates seamlessly with Xero to give you all of the bells and whistles you would expect from a property management software.
Where to Get Xero
Similar to QuickBooks Online, you can sign up for a free 30 day trial of Xero. During the trial you have access to a full-featured version of Xero that you can use to set up customers, connect bank/credit card accounts and track income and expenses to see how it works.
The Bottom Line
Now that we have provided you with our top 6 picks for best real estate accounting software, the ball is in your court. If you’re looking for a software that doesn’t require any customization to get going and is affordable, go with Realtyzam.
However, if you’re looking for an accounting software that will be able to handle your growth from independent real estate agent to a team of realtors or an investor that has 1 property and grows to 10 go with QuickBooks Desktop. Sign up for a free trial to get your business up and running in no time.