Buy-To-Let is a business, period.
Anyone that has a rental property is running a business, even those that push all the responsibilities onto a letting agent and dislocate themselves from the day-to-day operations.
I know many landlords don’t see it as a business, but rather a long term investment which just ‘works’ on its own accord in the background. While that may be the case, the fact still remains that your investment required investment, and in the short and/or long term you expect a good return, which is essentially the end-game of almost all profiteering businesses.
No one is in this game to come out at the other end poorer and uglier.
In order to measure the success rate of any profiteering business, expenses need to be tracked. It’s extremely important for landlords to measure how much they are putting into the pot and how much they’re getting out. If the business is running at a loss, what is the point of running at all? More worryingly, what if you don’t know if you’re running at a loss?
How many landlords can tell me how much they spent on their investment in 2021?
How many landlords can easily tell me how much they spent on maintenance over 5 years?
I’m sure the numbers are woefully low.
The extent of how deep you want to go with your analysis is dependent on how far you want to dig, and to extent how big and complicated your property is. But in reality, the average landlord with one or two properties will have no need for a complicated solution to track their finances. The basics will suffice; knowing the incoming and outgoing costs and expenses, and in return the net value.
But a lot of landlords don’t even do that, so they really have no idea how their investment – most likely their most expensive investment – is performing. That’s concerning and extremely counter-intuitive.
You don’t need any fancy apps or premium accounting software, a simple spreadsheet like the one available for download will get you started and help track your finances!
It’s extremely rudimentary, it won’t win any awards for innovation, but it will do the job for the average landlord. Something is better than nothing!
It basically holds basic information about the tenant and property (useful for those with multiple properties), and most importantly, calculates all my incoming and outgoing expenses, which will ultimately allow you to know what’s going in and out.
If you’re looking for something a little more advanced and sophisticated, you might be better served at the landlord software section– there’s a whole range of extremely powerful solutions, most of which will even calculate your tax returns for you.
I’m going to make the spreadsheet downloadable so you can use it, or perhaps get inspiration from it. Anyone with Microsoft Excel can access the download. If anyone has any suggestions or modifications they would like to see in the spreadsheet, please let me know.
Do you measure your success? If not, it’s about time you did.
Disclaimer: I'm just a landlord blogger; I'm 100% not qualified to give legal or financial advice. I'm a doofus. Any information I share is my unqualified opinion, and should never be construed as professional legal or financial advice. You should definitely get advice from a qualified professional for any legal or financial matters. For more information, please read my full disclaimer.