Book Keeping software

I am going to be closing on my first park soon 39 lots…My question: What is the best way to manage the books? I see some people do rent manager (Im thinking my park is too small)? I see some people do QB and excel…Why would you need both?
I want to keep expenses as low as possible util I get a few more parks under my belt to warrant the expense of rent manager.
What did everyone use when you first started out?

We used Excel and it was difficult to track. Sure, if you have 39 lots and everybody pays their rent on time without fail, you just cross it off each month on a simple rent roll table in Excel, and it seems easy. However, once you start tracking deposits, lot and home rent, rent credits, lease option payments, violation fees, prepaid rent, and other accessorial charges, the spreadsheet becomes complicated. Plus, you have to explain to a manager how to fill it out and get it to you on a regular basis. If you are like us, money will be coming in all the time so your ledger may change daily. How would you manage version control with your manager? What if you receive a check by mail and he receives a check in the drop box? Do you call and coordinate so you know which spreadsheet version to use? It can be complicated as you grow.

And that is just for tracking the tenant ledger and not the accounting. You could rely on Quickbooks, but good luck teaching a property manager to use that. I believe we tried Quickbooks for a few months and abandoned it.

Later, we switched to Buildium. It was cheaper than Rent Manager for smaller properties and had the features that were helpful. Plus, it is online, so you can see everything your manager inputs in real time without waiting for a report. Now that we are larger, we yearn for additional features and evaluate switching to a more robust solution each year, but making the switch is very difficult.

That being said, if you want to start with little commitment, you can use Excel. You can see how it works for you and if necessary, it is very easy to switch from Excel to any other tool. Once in another tool though it becomes difficult to switch out.


@mPark. Thank you so much for your reply. I will look into Buildium, sounds like a good option. I had not even thought about what you had mentioned about the ever changing ledger and how the manager is going to check or even change it. Thank you for your in site and I will be checking out the other options.

Congrats on your first park! I use Tenant Cloud starting out they have a free service and can integrate into Quickbooks.


Congratulations on your first park.
I use Quickbooks for my Financials and for my tenant billing.
I do keep a master Rent Roll in Excel.



Thank you @Richink @SDGuy for your comments. I will look into those as well. @SDGuy, so you have 3 modes of keeping track of billing, financials and rent roll? @Richink, do you only use tenant cloud or do you have multiple ways of keeping track like SDGuy?

To balance my bank statements I enter things into Microsoft Money. Eventually since they don’t update that anymore I’ll have to go to Quicken so I’ll be using that Tenant Cloud Feature then. But as far as reporting I pull all of that out of tenant Cloud. I give those reports to my CPA at years end to file my taxes


Trust me. Use Rent Manager.

We ran several parks using a combination of Quickbooks and Excel. It wasn’t worth it.

Rent Manager does so much more than manage your books in one place. You can manage all your documents, file electronically etc. You can also run all your credit checks. It does everything you will ever need except for payroll. Which ironically, you will need Quickbooks for unless you hire that out.



@orrenfoster. I was kind of thinking the same thing. I have a call into 3 or 4 software companies but from the website rent manager seems to have everything I would need. Is the program hard to get used to?

We use Rent Manager, it’s $75 a month. Well worth it in my opinion regardless of how big or small your properties are.

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Rentmanager has great functionality, but the program itself is ancient. Check out Appfolio and Yardi’s new manufactured housing platform.

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@Gnarly_Jeff I will do that! Are you using one of those platforms?

You can do payroll in Intuit for $2 per paycheck without having to use Quickbooks. Yes, it’s the same company but this payroll service is very simple.

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@mPark, that is great to know. I will look into that!

Rentmanager (and Paylease)
Gusto (payroll)
Xero (better than QB)

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I use Quickbooks to keep track of accounting.
I use park billing to handle the monthly rent collections. We have submetered utilities at 2 parks. The other two we use excel for the rent collections.
I keep a master rent roll for each park on Excel. On this I keep track of move in dates, Rent increases, historic rents.

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We started with Google Sheets for the first 5 months of running our 48 lot park. It fixed the versioning issue as our manager could see it updated in real time… but it was difficult to keep up with everything. Whatever you do, use a property management software system and it will make your life so much easier, no matter what you use.

We use Tenant Cloud currently - it’s not perfect, but it does allow for online lease management, payments and will track income/expenses. It will also sync with Quickbooks Online on TC’s $35/month plan; check with your CPA/bookkeeper though to see what they prefer. Our CPA wholeheartedly refuses to use QB Online. :slight_smile:

Rent Manager is definitely more robust - it’s also ancient and considerably more expensive. Our quote was $150/mo with about $1,000 in onboarding fees. The Paylease integration was a plus and they now integrate with Metron water meters if you’re going to be installing those.

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If this is the only park you’ll ever buy - you have options. If you plan on growing - you’ll want to make sure you aren’t going ‘left’, then have to make a right turn. :smiley:

DEF do Rent Manager — all my buddies whop have 250-3800 sites - we all use Rent Manager - and for good reason.

Automate, Automate, Automate.

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If u dont mind my asking what % did u put down?
Do you have a good lender?
Thx Tom

Honestly at 39 lots I think it’s best to just use a combo of excel/google spreadsheets + QuickBooks. At 39 lots theres not a lot to track. Who paid rent, expenses, tenant notes etc can all be done easily.

Rent Manager is great if you have over 100+ pads. Otherwise the cost generally doesn’t justify the benefit.

My two cents. Good luck!