Many landlords start out by tracking their properties through spreadsheets. This can work for a while, but you may soon find that you want a bit more simplicity and analysis. After all, maintaining complex spreadsheets can be tedious work.
For landlords who want to introduce more power and automation to their accounting process, Stessa, a Roofstock company, has the answer. It's a simple real estate financial tracking app. Stessa puts all of your important metrics such as debt, occupancy, cash flow, total value, and more into an easy-to-read dashboard.
There are a few built-in financial reports as well. Overall, Stessa is a great intermediate step up from spreadsheet accounting before it becomes time to shell out real money for a more sophisticated platform. Keep reading our full Stessa review to learn more about how it can benefit real estate investors.
- Free accounting software for rental properties
- Easier and faster than spreadsheets
- Not a property management platform
Stessa Pro: $16 monthly when you pay upfront for the entire year
Web, iOS, Android
Who Is Stessa?
Stessa is a real estate performance tracking platform designed for landlords. Its founders are Heath Silverman and Jonah Schwartz. Stessa was created in 2016 and is based in San Francisco, CA. Stessa was acquired by Roofstock in March 2021.
“By providing powerful free tools for the individual investor, Stessa makes it easier for landlords to keep track of their real estate investments,” said Silverman to GlobeSt.com. “Our goal is to give real estate investors more visibility with less effort so that they can make better decisions and grow.”
What Do They Offer?
Stessa is a website and mobile app that helps real estate investors keep track of their properties. Think of it as Quickbooks lite. If you're already using Quickbooks, you may find Stessa lacking in too many features. But if you're cobbling things together using Google Sheets or Excel spreadsheets, you’ll find that Stessa is a step-up.
The properties you’ve added to Stessa will pull in property info from the local government and other third-party data sources. This gives you a convenient method for viewing estimates of how much your property is worth and other stats.
Stessa allows you to create portfolios of properties. For example, you might want to separate an LLC from another entity or separate portfolios for multiple clients. There may also be a reason to create portfolios based on the location of properties.
Keeping Track Of Tenants
Stessa allows you to keep track of info for each tenant. This includes:
- When they moved in
- Market rate of unit
- Lease expiration
- Deposit for unit
- Number of beds and baths
- Documents (i.e., file attachments)
You’ll be able to track various transactions such as rent payments and expenses. Transactions can be entered manually and pulled from your bank or credit card. While Stessa may auto-assign categories, you can customize transactions to your liking by changing the category and property it's assigned to.
Stessa also offers Cash Management. Streamline your portfolio finances with an account that seamlessly integrates with Stessa. From paying vendors, moving funds, and tracking expenses to earning cash back and interest, a Cash Management account delivers money management purpose-built for real estate investors.
Once you activate your Cash Management account, you can enable online rent collection and say goodbye to manually collecting and depositing rent. Online rent collection automates your to-do list, including rent reminders, late fee notices, payment categorization, and deposit notifications. Tenants can pay through Stessa with a click and can avoid late fees by enabling recurring ACH payments.
Plus, the cash management account earns interest! Right now, you can earn 2.55% APY on your money with Essentials, and 4.81% with Stessa Pro, which is much higher than most business savings accounts.
Stessa includes reports for the following:
- Income statement
- Cash flow
- Capital expenses
- Tax package
- Stress Test
However, you may find limitations when trying to create other report types or when trying to customize the current reports.
The Stress Test report is unique. It allows landlords to see how long they withstand a reduction in rent payments.
The report allows you to choose a property or portfolio and enter the reduced percentage of rent along with the time you expect the reduction to be in place. For example, you expect 70% rent for the next six months. That’s a 30% reduction in rent payments. The report calculates your rental revenue against expenses. It then shows the amount of expected cash at the end of the period.
Running a Stress Test lets landlords find their break-even point is (i.e., rental income equals expenses), how long they can withstand a reduction in rent, and the amount of cash left over after the evaluation period. The Stress Test can be downloaded into Excel where you can then manipulate more values. The downloaded spreadsheet will retain all of the online formulas as well.
Stessa Pro: A Paid Subscription Plan
A relatively new feature, Stessa Pro is aimed to bring customers the next level of portfolio management so you can scale faster and have more control over your investing outcomes.
It's a new paid subscription plan that costs $16 a month when paid annually. The pro version comes with advanced tools to analyze your investment properties and maximize your returns.
This is what you can expect if you decide to upgrade to Stessa Pro:
- A new Schedule E report to save time and maximize returns during tax time. You can upgrade now to use it for the 2022 tax year.
- Updated dashboard features to explore investment performance over time.
- Up To 4.81% APY on Stessa Cash Management account balances.
- Accelerated deposit of rent payments with Stessa online rent collection.
Are There Any Fees?
No, customers aren’t charged any fees directly from Stessa. But by bringing new business to affiliates, Stessa is paid a fee directly from its affiliates. Stessa lightly promotes its affiliate relationships in the app. Affiliate services include:
- Mortgage lenders
- Property insurance
- Real estate investment services
How Does Stessa Compare?
Stessa is not the only property management solution out there. In fact, this is an area that has been growing in popularity the last several years, especially with a focus on making it easy for small landlords.
Each solution has their pros and cons. We're going to give a quick comparison on how Stessa compares to Baselane and Avail.
Stessa Pro: $16 a month
Free to $5/mo per Unit
How Do I Open An Account?
You can visit the Stessa website to open an account. Once you've created your account, you can link your bank accounts or import transactions manually. Stessa can also connect with your property management portal if you happen to use AppFolio or Propertyware.
Is It Worth It?
If you aren’t using any financial software to keep track of your properties, Stessa can be a great start. It allows you to track unlimited properties and run unlimited reports for free. However, as your real estate portfolio grows, you want to upgrade to QuickBooks or another paid real estate tracking software that provides more features and tools.
Stessa Pro: $16 a month
Document Cloud Storage
Import Data Files
Yes, QIF or CSV
Short-Term Rental Tracking
Customer Service Phone Number
Customer Service Email
Mobile App Availability
iOS and Android
Stessa is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by Blue Ridge Bank, N.A., member FDIC.
Features and Options
Ease of Use
Education & Resources
Stessa is a free accounting software platform for real estate investors that helps them track the financial performance of their properties.
- 100% free to use
- Analyze unlimited properties
- Track expenses from your phone
- Run rent collection scenarios (Stress Tests)
- Limited report customization
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him on the About Page, or on his personal site RobertFarrington.com.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.
Editor: Clint Proctor