This post was originally featured on BiggerPockets.

This is the first part of a series of automation projects we’ve done in 2017 for our buy-and-hold real estate business.  This post will help you with your bookkeeping and the organization of loans and lines of credit using Tiller HQ.  

Bookkeeping

As much as I love to outsource, bookkeeping is one of the few tasks I’ve held on to.  It forces me to look at our income and expenses on a monthly basis, which has barely outweighed my dislike of doing it.

I’ve attempted to use Quickbooks unsuccessfully and have resorted to using Quicken Rental Property Manager for the past several years.  I’ve always preferred the customization of a spreadsheet but hadn’t found a good solution to automatically bring transactions into the sheet and categorize and tag them with only minimal ongoing effort.

Until I stumbled upon Tiller!

It’s an inexpensive tool ($5 per month) that will automatically download your banking, credit card, lines of credit, etc… transactions daily into a Google Sheet that can be shared with anyone you’d like.  You can then customize the tabs based on your needs.  I have pivot tables set up to show expenses by property and by month and have income from our property management software Appfolio automatically added monthly into the sheet.

I had a script built that categorizes and tags based on the description of the transaction.  I might do a video in the future if there’s some interest in it.  You can also check out Autocat recently built by Tiller that will auto categorize based on your preferences.  It’s prettier than mine but it’s not able to automatically tag by property just yet.

It will take some time in getting set up, but it’s well worth it.  My time spent bookkeeping has consistently decreased each month as I’m adding new transactions monthly to the pattern matching so that the script will match the category in the future and potentially the tag.  I no longer dread this task!

Checks are the one block of payments that I haven’t figured out how to automate.  I had a script developed that downloads all of the images of checks from our bank and saves them into a specified Google Drive folder, saving time from looking up each check online on my bank’s website.  But it would be great to take this one step further.  

Organizing Loans and Lines of Credit

We’ve manually updated loans and lines of credit in the past as we think about it in a spreadsheet.  Meaning that if we take $5k off a line of credit, we might or might not update this.  The current principal balances of our loans would be inaccurate in our spreadsheet as we weren’t updating them often enough.

With the lines of credit, the main thing I want to know is how much available credit we have at any time, all from one spreadsheet.  As private investments come in, we pay down lines.  Then when a good deal comes across, we use the lines to fund some to all of the purchase.

I’ve set up a different Tiller spreadsheet from the bookkeeping one that keeps track of balances and use the ImportRange function to constantly check for any updates to our lines of credit.  

For loans, I’m able to see constantly updated information for any loan like current principal balances, how much of our monthly payments are going to interest and principal, and our anticipated mortgage interest for a given year.  They’re not 100% accurate but are fairly close and good enough for my purpose.  Check out the video below and feel free to use my Google Spreadsheet (just make a copy) for your own setup.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Ni696WHyWG-zJlVG1-Qp2-uQ036P4PIPaGR3m3OUR5k/edit?usp=sharing

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