How to Budget Multiple Rental Properties on YNAB?

I buy and sell mobile homes...weird, I know. I hate Quickbooks. It's not user friendly and I've wasted hours of my life trying to problem solve the smallest of issues. YNAB seems to be an almost perfect fit for my business. HOWEVER, I can't quite figure out how to make it work for tracking expenses on multiple properties where I've setup a rent-to-own situation with tenants. 

I like to track each property separately so I can calculate the return on investment of each home and see the numbers clearly. However, at the end of the year I'm going to have about 10 different properties with 10 different Utilities, Rental Income, Contractor Payments, etc. in separate columns. So the alternative (I think) would be to track every home's utilities, rental income, contractor payments, etc together under one Expense Category but then I can't run the numbers on each individual home. 

The one benefit QB has over YNAB is the class system. In QB I can just type each property into a class in QB and run a report where I can see the PnL of each home that way.

Does anyone have any ideas how I can best make this work for me? I really hate QB and don't want to keep going with that system. The budgeting part of YNAB really helps me know what I can and can't afford right now with my company and I love it. I'm sure there's a way to make it work, I'm just still new enough with this system that I haven't figured it out...yet.

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  • Much as it may not sound great, having a category group for each rental would be the easiest when trying to pull reports. So rental 1 would be one group, rental 2 would be another, and each group will have the same categories. Then you could easily see the expenses for just that category group and compare to the income for that property.

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  • Did this topic disappear before? I was about to respond and I swear it vanished! :)

    I was going to say the same as Tobias. Maybe you could set it up like I did below. When you run your report, everything will show up under "expense," but it will still show a correct accounting of the totals.

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      • Drew
      • imthetalent
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      KaraBoo It totally disappeared for like an hour or something! I was trying to find it. I wonder if they were approving it or something?

      And thank you for sharing your screen! That's exactly how I was thinking and sort of have it setup at this point. Have you filed taxes using the system you have setup right now? I'm just curious if it was fairly easy with that setup you have there? And do you have an extra column for expenses that might fall outside the homes?

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      • KaraBoo
      • A goal without a plan is just a wish
      • KaraBoo
      • 4 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Drew White That's just a sample I set up to show you an idea of how you could do it. I am an independent contractor and work for myself though (just not in real estate). I print things out from YNAB for my accountant every year and he never has a problem with it. As long as I can back up what I'm showing him (through bank records, receipts, etc) if I were ever to be audited, it's all good.

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  • Another idea I had was to basically add each home as a manual bank account and just enter everything in manually. I don't have an insane amount of transactions. So I could easily keep up with it. Anyone think that might work? I saw a video with a guy a few years back who had real bank accounts setup for each home he was renting out but I don't want to actually setup a separate bank account for each home b/c sometimes I sell them for cash. And sometimes I sell them on payments.

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      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Drew you actually incur expenses in the real-world accounts. Those must be recorded there.

      You can record expenses as transfers into a tracking account for each property, but I would NOT recommend that. A simple search for the property group gives the same information.

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  • Hi Drew! We have two suggestions for handling rental properties, depending on how you have things set up. Sounds like option two will work best, based on what you've mentioned!

    If you have a separate account for each rental/flip property:

    1. Create a separate budget for each property.
    2. Add only the accounts pertaining to that budgets' property.
    3. Create categories for each expense associated with that budgets' property, including any maintenance expenses, mortgage, utilities (if being covered by you), paychecks to any maintenance individuals, taxes, any Home Owner Association fees that may be required of some properties, etc.
    4. Lastly, we recommend creating a category for your net income; how you handle this net income is up to you!

    If you use the same account for both personal expenses and your rental/flip properties, follow these steps:

    1. Create a separate category group for each property.
    2. Add expense categories to those category groups (such as the examples listed above) for each individual property. This can become a little trickier to manage because you won't be able to track the rental income as easily.
    3. When you receive rent payments, create a new Payee for each rental property and categorize the income as Inflow: To be Budgeted.

    Now you can use the Income v Expense Report to track your income and expenses for those properties, like KaraBoo's screenshots. If you have any questions at all, please let us know. We're always happy to help!

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