Are you tracking all of your businesses’ finances throughout the year? Unfortunately, many real estate agents don’t know how to get started tracking their numbers. One easy-to-use tool to help you do this is Quickbooks. Quickbooks for real estate agents is an important tool that can help you track your numbers and make informed decisions about where to take your business.
In this post, I’ll show you how I set up my Quickbooks, how I break down my income and expenses, and how I use my numbers to grow my business.
Why You Should Use Quickbooks for Real Estate Agents
When you start tracking your income and expenses with Quickbooks, not only will you save money on paying a bookkeeper, but you’ll also gain valuable insights into your real estate business that will help you make better decisions in the future. I log in twice a month and spend only an hour managing all of my finances.
If you have employees, Quickbooks is also helpful because you can automatically pay your payroll taxes. The system figures out how much you owe depending on their salaries and files the taxes for you.
Quickbooks for real estate agents can give you valuable insight into how your business is performing month-over-month, which allows you to make informed decisions for the future. Consistently tracking your finances is the best way to build a predictable and sustainable real estate business.
Use your numbers to create goals for the entire year. These goals can guide you so that you know what you need to accomplish each quarter.
Staying on top of your expenses, income, and return on investments helps you make strategic decisions based on how your business is doing at the present moment. You’ll make sure it’s growing reliably and that you’re meeting all your goals.
You need to make sure you are constantly tracking your numbers, and then logging into Quickbooks and looking at those numbers at least once a month. If you don’t want to use Quickbooks, you can use another system or an Excel spreadsheet.
Quickbooks Pricing Plans
Quickbooks has four different pricing plans you can choose from:
- Self-Employed – This plan is $15 a month, and you get all the basic features of Quickbooks, including tracking finances, organizing receipts, invoice and payment acceptance, tax estimates, running basic reports, and tracking miles
- Simple Start – The next step up is the Simple Start for $25 a month. It includes all the features of the previous plan plus maximizing tax deductions, managing cash flow, running general reports, sending estimates, tracking sales and sales tax, and managing 1099 contractors.
- Plus – For $70 a month, you can get this plan. It includes all the previous features plus managing and paying bills, tracking time, the ability to add five users, tracking project profitability, and tracking inventory.
- Advanced – This plan is $150 a month. You get all the features of the previous plans plus the ability to add up to 25 users, get access to business analytics and insights, batch invoices and expenses, customize access by role, exclusive premium apps, a dedicated account team, on-demand online training, restore company data, and automate workflows.
- Payroll Add-On – This is an optional add-on that you can get for $45 a month, plus $2 per employee on your payroll.
I use the Simple Start plan with the Payroll add-on. So in total, I am paying around $70 for my entire setup for Quickbooks for real estate agents.
How I Organize My Quickbooks – Recommended Categories
Under “Chart of Accounts” you’ll see a list of every single type of account, income, and expense associated with your Quickbooks, organized into relevant categories.
Below are all the categories I use in my Quickbooks for real estate agents. While these categories have worked best for me, the ones you use for your own business might look different.
Assets and Liabilities Categories
- Petty Cash – this is all the cash I have in my wallet at the moment, which I take out of my business income.
- Furniture and Fixtures – assets (not expenses) for your business over $500, including furniture, computer, other technology, and my vehicle. You will also have to track the depreciation of these assets over time, which an accountant can help you do.
- eXp Stock – a long-term asset that I get through my business.
- Security Deposits – a deposit that I have on a lease for an office building.
- Credit Cards – be sure to track your business credit cards separately from your personal ones.
- Payroll Liabilities – if you have employees or categorize yourself as an employee of your own business, purchasing the Payroll Add-on might be useful to help you track expenses associated with payroll.
- Loans and Liability – I track the loans that offset the costs of my vehicle.
- Owners Draw – a separate form of income that I pay myself depending on if I earn any income apart from my normal salary. I’m set up as an S-Corp, so consult your CPA to see if this is an option for you.
Income and Expenses Categories
- Kyle Handy Income – this is my own personal income from closing homes. You can create subcategories for buyers and sellers if you want to see how much income you get from each one.
- Level 2 Income – income that is earned by my team agents. As sub categories under Level 2 income, I have a category with each name of my agents.
- Mentor Income – income from eXp for being a mentor to other agents.
- Revenue Share Income – income that I get from my eXp Realty revenue share.
- Uncategorized Income – Anything that doesn’t fit any of the above categories. However, I try not to use the uncategorized label because it’s too vague.
- Cost of Goods Sold – This is a type of expense directly related to the income you are earning. For example, if you are a team leader and earn a commission from an agent working under you, you have to pay them their split right away. Also, this category includes the commission split I pay my brokerage.
- Education and Dues – expenses associated with lodging and traveling to a training or conference. In addition, any monthly, quarterly, and annual dues associated with being a Realtor go here.
- Marketing and Lead Generation – expenses for advertising, business meals and entertainment, client parties and happy hours, closing gifts, Facebook ads, Google ads, other internet lead generation, photography, and print and direct mail.
- Office Supplies and Operations – expenses for accounting and tax preparation, brokerage fees, charitable contributions, insurance for business insurance, interest expense, office operations, office supplies, rent expense, other expenses, state sales/franchise taxes, LLC taxes.
- Payroll – These are expenses for any kind of real estate agent salary that you might have. I have subsections for payroll taxes, payroll processing, and other related expenses.
- Technology – for any tech-related systems and tools I use in my business.
Managing Your Income and Expenses
In the menu bar on the left hand side you’ll see the Banking option, which is where you will go to manage all of your income, expenses, and transactions when they get uploaded into Quickbooks. Click “Update” in the upper right corner to pull all the latest transactions from your accounts.
When Quickbooks is finished updating, it will show you how many transactions you need to classify. Classifying your transactions will be the bulk of your work when you login to Quickbooks each month.
Classes in Quickbooks
I have two separate Quickbooks accounts: one for my real estate sales business and another for my real estate investment home business. They are both under separate LLC’s, therefore I need to track the finances separately.
To help with this, I use another important feature of Quickbooks called classes. Classes are an optional way to subdivide different aspects of your business. If you sign up for the Simple Start plan, you can use classes to further categorize your income and expenses.
For example, if you have an income category called “Rental Properties,” you probably want to know how much you make from each rental property. To do this, you can create classes for each property to see the data broken up separately.
The classes I use are:
- Handy Services – For income and expenses related to my business itself, not tied to a rental property.
- Property 1 – For income and expenses directly related to Property 1.
- Property 2 – For income and expenses directly related to Property 2.
- Property 3 – For income and expenses directly related to Property 3.
The benefit of using classes, especially if you have multiple businesses within one business, is that you can create reports that are filtered by class. For example, you can use classes to make a Profit and Loss report that filters out all your real estate sales so you can focus just on the data for your rental properties.
If this functionality sounds like it would be helpful for your business, you should consider upgrading to the Simple Start plan.
To classify a transaction, simply click on it and then select the appropriate category and/or class that you want to place it under in the drop down menus, and then click “Add.”
Go down the list of transactions until you have successfully classified each one. It’s important to classify your transactions into the appropriate categories so that your profit and loss statement is accurate.
Use Your Profit and Loss Report to Make Decisions
Under the “Reports” tab in Quickbooks for real estate agents, you can find your year-to-date Profit and Loss statement. You can click on Customize in the upper right corner to filter your statement by a specific type of class.
You can also customize your Profit and Loss statement to see it broken down by days, weeks, months, or quarters. Setting it to month-to-month is most helpful for your business because then you can see the larger picture of how well you are meeting your goals.
Once you’ve chosen the filters you want, just click “Run Report.”
When you see all the details about your income and expenses laid out in your statement, you can make informed decisions about where to take your business. You should have at least six months of data collected in Quickbooks so you can have an accurate sense of how your business is doing.
Use the profit and loss statement to decide what the best use of your time and efforts is. For example, maybe you’ve been trying a new marketing strategy, and it hasn’t been paying off. Use your statement to decide to go back to what you were doing before or to try something new.
Pay attention to your total income after expenses are taken into account. Use this number to see where you can cut back on your expenses next month to try and increase your income.
To make the best decisions for your business, you really have to see your numbers broken down into categories to see where exactly your money is going. It’s not until you see your expenses organized in one place that you can get a realistic sense of how your business is doing.
If you’re not familiar with your numbers, then it will be much more difficult for you to scale your business successfully.
Final Thoughts on Quickbooks for Real Estate Agents
While Quickbooks for real estate agents has a bit of a learning curve at the beginning, it will completely change the way you look at your expenses and your business. Even if your business doesn’t have multiple streams of income and expenses, you should still use Quickbooks to track everything and run your business with your numbers in mind.
What system do you use to track your finances? Let me know in the comments below!
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