Tips for getting started with Rental Property Tracker Lite

Here are step-by-step directions for using:

Other topics covered in this document:

 


The Rental Property Tracker Lite screen is divided into three general areas which display different information depending on the tab selected at the top right of the screen. Here's a top level description:

• If the Rental Income Tracker tab is selected, Tenant Tracker appears on the left and Rental Income Tracker on the right.

• If the Unit Tracker tab is selected, Tenant Tracker appears on the left and Unit Tracker on the right.

• If the Expense Tracker tab is selected, Other Income Tracker appears on the left and Expense Tracker on the right.

• The lower section of the window is devoted to the Rent Roll table which will show you all the Tenants who are Late with their Rent. You must enter payments in Rental Income Tracker for this to work properly.

• There is a Full Screen option near the top of the window, which toggles the window between full screen and an independent window.

Here are step-by-step directions for creating Rental Unit and Tenant records, and using Rental Income Tracker.

Unit Tracker

1) First create Unit Tracker records for each of your units. Start by choosing Unit Tracker from the tab menu at the top of the screen. Then click the New Unit Record button. A Rental Units window will open that lists your Buildings and Units.

2) In this software, Units are buildings or parts of buildings that are available for rent. Buildings are logical collections of Units. If you have one or more multiple unit buildings, click Add Building in the lower left corner of the Rental Units screen. You will be asked for the name of the building and then you will be asked to pick a unit type. The choices are Apt., House, Room, Unit or Other.

2a) To add a Unit to a Building, click the name of an existing Building and then click Add Unit(s). You will be asked if you want to add one or more units to the building. If your units are sequentially numbered (ie, 1,2,3,4,5) then you can use the More than one feature. If they are not sequential or have alpha designations (ie, 1a, 2b, cottage, etc.) then you must choose the Just one button.

2b) To add a Unit that is not part of a Building, make sure there is no building selected in the Rental Units window and then click Add Unit. You will be asked for the name of the new unit. Use an abbreviated form of the address (ie, 1234 Main) or a nickname. Then you will need to fill in the rest of the required information (complete address, manager and owner's name) for the new Unit Tracker record.

Note: We suggest you create all unit records first and then assign Units to the Tenant Tracker records as you create them.

3) Click the Owner/Manager tab and click the Add/Select Manager button. You will be asked if the manager is the same for all units. After creating a new manager, click the Description button in the Managers/Owners window and fill in the address and other information.

4) Then click Add/Select Owner(s). If you pick more than one owner from the list, you will be asked for the percentage of ownership for each owner.

5) Click the Unit Cost tab for any Unit that is not part of a multi-unit building or is the first unit for a building (in other words, you do not need to keep track of the Unit Cost for each unit of a multi-unit building, so just pick one) and enter any information you want to keep track of. This section is optional.


Tenant Tracker

6) Then create Tenant Tracker records for each of your tenants. Start by clicking the New Tenant Record button and follow the prompts. You will be asked for a First Name, Last Name, Rent amount, Deposit amount, if the Deposit has been paid, the Lease End date (enter MTM for month to month rentals), the Late Charge (if you charge a daily charge after the late date, enter the primary charge followed by a comma and then the daily charge. For example, if you charge $25 plus $5 per day after the Late date, enter $25,$5). Next you will be asked if the rental period is Weekly, Fortnightly (every two weeks), Multi-month (longer than one month) or Monthly, the Due Date (usually the 1st of the month) and the Late Date.

7) Click Add/Select Unit and choose the unit for the tenant. If you have several Tenants in one Unit, you have two options. First you can use the Additional Lease Name(s) field (in the Personal Info section) to add other tenants to one lease. If each tenant has their own separate lease then click the Multiple Tenancy option on the Unit Tracker record, and add all the Tenants from there.

Multiple Units for one Tenant is not supported in this software. You can work around this by having multiple Tenant records for the same Tenant (add a middle initial or name to differentiate the tenant records).

8) Next enter the Moved In date. The software uses the Moved In date to determine how many months of payments to look for in determining if rent is past due and what the balance due is. So you need to pick the first Due date that you want to start entering rental payments into the software as the Moved In date.

If all your tenants have the same Due Date then you can enter a Default Moved In date in the Tenant Tracker Prefs window (click Prefs and then Tenant Tracker Prefs) and enter actual moved in dates on the individual Tenant Tracker records.

Most people don't want to go back very many months, so they just enter a fairly recent Due Date as the Moved In date and then enter the actual date the tenant moved in into the Unit History field on the Unit Tracker record.

So, for example, if you start using the software in March and you want to include historical data for February, then the Default Moved In date should be February 1 (or the first day of that rental period).

You can then enter the actual moved in date into the Unit History field in Unit Tracker.

You can enter the actual Moved In date for recent and future tenants. This date is automatically entered into the Unit History field in Unit Tracker.

9) For existing tenants, click the Deposit Details button and indicate if the Deposit has been paid, and if so, on what date. You can also indicate if the deposit has only partially been paid and when the deposit was returned to the tenant after moving out.

10) If your tenant receives a rent subsidy, click the Personal Info tab, then click the Rent Subsidy option and fill in the amount of the subsidy in the Rent Subsidy field. There are several other fields in the Personal Info section (in addition to the two phone fields at the top of the screen and an Other Phones field in the Notes section) that you can use to keep track of various information.

11) Recurring charges can be added to the rent each month by clicking Add/Select Charge, then selecting a charge and clicking Choose Charge. Use Create Charge to add new charge types.

12) If your tenant has a balance due or credit, enter the amount in the Balance Due field (put a minus sign before any credit amount). This amount will be added to Rental Income Tracker's Charges field automatically.


Rental Income Tracker

13) Now click Post New Rent to create a new Rental Income Tracker record for that Tenant, OR you can click the New RIT Record button and choose a Tenant. If this is the first record for that tenant in Rental Income Tracker, you will be asked if this is a New Tenant (if so, the deposit will be added to the charges and the rent amount may be prorated) or just the First Payment for the tenant. The Starting Date, Ending Date and Late Date as well as the current months charges will all be automatically filled in for you. You can add any deposits, balances due or other charges to the Charges field by typing directly into the field or by clicking Add Charge and creating or choosing a charge.

14) Next click the Payment Date field and enter the date of the payment.

If the tenant made a partial payment on that date, enter the amount of the payment in the Payment field and click Create Receipt, then choose the date of the second payment and enter the amount of the second payment and click Create Receipt. All partial payments, for the same rental period, for any one tenant, should appear on one Rental Income Tracker record.

If the tenant paid in full, you just need to click the Create Receipt button which transfers the payment to the Payments field in Tenant Tracker. It is important to remember to click the Create Receipt button after adding any payment to Rental Income Tracker so that it is posted to the Tenant's Payments field.

If the tenant is paying by Credit Card, you can use the new Online Payment feature to process a credit transaction over the Internet.

15) Then click the New RIT Record button and enter the next months payment(s) for the same tenant, or you can choose another tenant.

There is much more information about each component of the software available by clicking the Help button in that component or window.

If you have any questions or comments about the software, feel free to contact us.


Tips on using Rental Expense Tracker

You can keep track of all your expenses and easily generate Tax Form Reports in Rental Expense Tracker. This component comes with a built in list of expense types which you can add to if necessary.

1) Start by clicking New Expense Record. You will be asked if you want to Duplicate the current record or transfer just the Payee/Expense or Account information. Or you can start with a blank New record.

You can either add an expense amount directly into the field provided or you can create a list in the Notes field and then click the Add to Expense Amount button. Any numbers not proceeded by the # sign will be added to the expense Amount.

2) Select a building or a unit to apply the expense to by clicking Select Bldg or Select Unit.

If you use the standard mileage rate on your tax forms, then you can use the handy Travel Deduction calculator to enter the Miles (or Kilometers) and rate. This information will then be available for the Tax Form Reports.

Account Register

The Account Register button takes you to the Account Register window where all the debits you've entered into Rental Expense Tracker and credits (Payments or Deposits) in Other Income Tracker for that account are listed.

At the top of the window you can choose another Account, Add Deposits & Payments (creates a new Other Income Tracker record), add a New Expense/Debit (creates a new a new Rental Expense Tracker record), a Dates range (or a Start Date and End Date) and whether to display Descriptions or not. You can also add Daily Separators.

After clicking the Add/Select Account button in the Account Register, Expense Tracker, or Other Income Tracker window you are presented with an Account management window. There you will find fields where you can record the Account #, Account Type, Starting Balance, and the Last Check # Used for each Account and buttons to Create, Modify or Delete Accounts. A Current Balance for the account is automatically calculated.

Beside the Check # field is a Cl option which signifies that the check has cleared the bank. The Account Register report lists checks that have cleared (the Cl checkbox has been clicked on the Expense record) as [C] and not cleared as [ ]. You can use this feature to reconcile your checkbook or account statement.

Above the Check # field is a Print button. When clicked a new Check Printer window opens where you can print your checks on any blank check. For more information click Help in this window.

Click Expense Report to generate a regular expense report, a Tax Form Report or a Property Management Invoice. With Expense Report selected, you have many choices and can select one or more Expense types, Payees and Accounts. With Tax Form Report selected you have fewer options, but you need to Select an Owner, and can choose a range of Dates by using the menu or the Start Date and End Date fields.

With PM Invoice selected, you need to Select an Owner and a range of Dates, and specify a Management Fee. Click Help for more information. Only records in Rental Expense Tracker and Other Income Tracker with the Add to PM Invoice option enabled will be included in the PM Invoice when the Include Marked Expenses or Include Marked Income options are enabled. You will probably always want to Include Income Info. You do NOT need to Select Bldg(s) or Select Unit(s) unless you ONLY want to include SOME of the units owned by the owner.


Tips on using Other Income Tracker

Other Income Tracker is used to keep track of income that is not included on a Rental Income Tracker record such as vending machine income, Deposits and miscelaneous income.

1) Click New Income Record to begin. You will be asked if you want to Duplicate the current record or transfer just the Source/Account information. Or you can start with a New record.

Click Add/Select Source and then Create Source to add a new source to the list.

2) Choose a Source and an Account from the lists or create new ones.

3) Enter the Income Amount. You can enter the Tax Type and the amount of Tax Collected.

4) Select a building or a unit to apply the expense to by clicking Select Bldg or Select Unit.

There are two other fields you can use to enter the name of the Tenant or the Due Date. Click the Change button above the top right field to modify the label on all the records.

You can specify the type of income and record a check number if appropriate by clicking the How button. The choices of Cash, Credit Card, Check or Other will appear. Click the How button again to hide these options.

Use the Account Register button to view income and expenses for any Account. An identical button is provided in Rental Expense Tracker. See the Account Register section above.

Click Income Report to generate a list of Other Income Tracker records to print or save.



There is much more information about each component of the software available by clicking the Help button in that component or window.

If you have any questions or comments about the software, feel free to contact us.


Navigation & Common buttons

The most common features of Rental Property Tracker Lite are similar in each component. These features include:

The Prev and Next arrow buttons move between the records in the database. The Record # field displays the number of each record in the database. The number of a record may change if you delete a record or sort the database. Click the Last button to see how many records there are.

Click the New button to create a new record. To remove one or more records from the database, click the Delete button. You will then be asked if you want to delete All records or Just this one (only the current record).

The Find button is used to search for text on any record in that particular component (or database). The Sort button sorts the records by certain fields in the database.

In unregistered versions of the software there is a Register button in the lower left corner of the screen. After registering this button becomes a Backup Records button.

Each component has a Report button in the lower part of the screen that opens a new window with report options or output.

The Prefs, or Preferences button opens a new window where you can change visual aspects of the software, and change date, time and currency formats.

You will find a Help button on most of the windows in Rental Property Tracker Lite. Included in the Help system is a Tutorial, which will introduce you to the most important features of that component. Just click the Tutorial button near the top of the Help window. More detailed explanations can be found by clicking the other buttons found near the top of the Help window.

There is also a Quit button and a Save button at the bottom of the main window. Although records are normally saved when going to another record or closing the component, it is often a good idea to click the Save button after making changes, just to be safe.


Reports

Each component has its own report button at the bottom of the screen. In some cases you will use an intermediate screen to select options and sort orders for your report or invoice. In other cases you will go directly to the report. There is a Help button on each window with more information about the report options.

On the output window you will find the following buttons: Save As... (saves the output as a text file for archiving or exporting to a word processor for formatting, etc.); Font (allows you to specify the size and font of the text in the report output); Print (usually just prints the output - you may need to print some reports in landscape mode); and Edit Report (allows you to make changes to the report before printing or exporting - when this button is unchecked (its normal position) you can click the main line of each record's output to go directly to that record.

There is also a row of buttons, just above the report's output field, that allows you to change the width of the columns (the tab stops) in the report. Just drag any of the little rectangles left or right to make the report more readable.

 


Preferences

Click Prefs in any main component window to access the Preferences window. There are four sections, General, Colors, Formats and Translations.

In the General section you will find Monetary Symbol & Format controls, along with Tax Type and other preferences. Click the Help button for more information.

Most users will want to have certain windows open all the time, and others open only when needed. You can open and arrange any number of windows on your screen, as long as the Open Components in a New Window option in the Preferences window is enabled. If you would rather have only one window open at a time, disable this option.

In the Colors section, you can change the button and background colors of each component. Click the Background Colors option to show a list to choose from. Click the Button Colors option to show another list to choose from. You can Use these colors in all windows or choose different colors for each window.

To set different colors for each component, start by clicking the Prefs button in that component and then selecting new colors from the two lists in the Preferences window. If you want to return to the original colors just click the Default Settings button in the Preferences window. To save your new colors, close the Preferences window and then click the Save button in the component's window.

In the Formats section you can change the Time Format, Distance Format, Date Format and the Liquid Format. You can also add International Version features. Click Address Preferences to change the Address Format used for printing.


Backing Up and Recovering Missing Data

It is always a good idea to backup your data on a daily or weekly basis. There is an Auto Backup feature that will create a backup file whenever you click the Quit button in any main window. After creating a backup file, it is a good idea to make sure the new file is at least as big as the previous one. Then copy the .bak file to an external disk or USB drive.

You can also click the Export button in any component and then choose to create a Backup file or an Export file of just the records in that component. You will need a current backup file whenever you update the software. You can also use the Backup Records button on the Welcome screen for this purpose.

Occasionally during a save or a crash, a database will get corrupted. If this happens the name of the component will not appear in the main Menu button. Fortunately the file is always saved with an .rev~ extension first. So if you ever have problems opening a component, look for a file with the .rev~ extension in the application's folder. (In Windows look in your Documents folder.) If you see one, delete the file with the same name (but without the .rev~ extension) and then rename the .rev~ file to just .rev. For example, if contacts.rev were to get corrupted, you will find an contacts.rev~ file. Just delete the contacts.rev file and change the name of contacts.rev~ to contacts.rev.

By backing up your records frequently, and copying the backup file to another disk, you can be sure your data can be easily restored to a new copy of the software, in case something goes wrong with your computer.



There is much more information about each component of the software available by clicking the Help button in that component or window.

If you have any questions or comments about the software, feel free to contact us.


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