The Landlord's Toolkit

Getting into real estate, you'll need a lot more than just cash. There's a lot of other tools you'll need before you begin (or at the very least, shortly after). Check out this great article from CNN.

For reference, as the accountant and general financial manager of our company, I started using an Excel spreadsheet to manage out finances. I'm extremely comfortable with numbers and don't feel a strong need to have some program manage that for me. I've only started moving away from Excel about one month ago when I discovered Google Spreadsheets. It's not quite as robust as Excel, but the ability to login from anywhere and update my finances is utterly invaluable.

Maybe tomorrow or the next day I'll go over how I build my spreadsheet to easily keep track of expenses. However I've read in many places that several landlords can't live with out either Money or Quicken, so if you want to go that route you are probably in good hands.

And, for the love of God, buy a digital camera. Both Biff and I each have one and it's been used more times than I can count. We have endless pictures of our properties. Imagine getting a call that your tenants have no hot water. You call the plumber and, as he asks you questions about the house, you pull up your picture of the hot water heater and can answer all of his questions immediately.

Buy a camera. Use it.

I think that later tonight, or maybe tomorrow, I'll talk about some of the paperwork you'll either need or need to become familiar with...