“No man acquires property without acquiring with it a little arithmetic also.”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 - 1882)
In 2003 I placed offers on two almost identical semi-detached houses in adjoining estates, at the same time, thinking that if one offer wasn’t accepted, the other one would be.
Both offers were accepted.
And both completed in the same fortnight.
Skip forward a bit to the end of 2004, and, well, if acquiring property also got you a little arithmetic in the 19th century, it gets you a lot of arithmetic in the 21st. It took me two weekends to sort and compile the receipts, mileage and details of mortgage payments into a spreadsheet needed to calculate my Self Assessment Tax Return.
Yes, you read that right.. 4 days to fill in a spreadsheet.
The arithmetic itself isn’t complicated, and anyway, calculations are what spreadsheet were designed for. No, what took the time was categorising and entering the details of the expenses into the spreadsheet. Even though I knew a few keyboard shortcuts, entering property expense information involved finding the right expense column to enter the cost against, or copying a similar row of income or expense and changing the date. It was laborious and took a lot of checking to make sure I hadn’t missed or miss-categorised anything.
I remember thinking that there must be an easier, faster way to compile my property accounts - there must be a computer application that made the entry of income and expenses really easy, one that could then calculate or summarise the necessary information for my Tax Return. What did other Landlords do? What were they using? Did they know something I didn’t?
So I asked a around at seminars and property auctions: turns out that everyone who rented or renovated a handful of properties also used a spreadsheet to collate their accounts. And they also found it to be a time-consuming chore.
And so, an idea was born.
The idea that, as a private landlord, whose passion is creating software, I could make something that would benefit not only me, but also benefit other small private landlords, and it’s an idea that I’ve been thinking about, refining, and working on ever since.. and now..
it is my great pleasure to announce MyLetts.com -
Online Accounts and Lettings Management for Private Landlords
Software for Landlords, built by Landlords.
So what does it do?
- It takes the pain and time away from compiling your year-end self-assessment tax return.
Yes, it really does - I’ve been using it for the last two years, and what had previously taken me between 3 and 4 days each year, now takes a single afternoon - the first year I used it: tax year-ending 2009 - I filed my Property accounts in the second week of April, instead of November.
Much to the surprise (and delight, I might add), of my accountant.
But you don’t need an accountant - the beauty of MyLetts is that it summarises the income and expenditure into a spreadsheet for you, a spreadsheet that mirrors the SA105 UK Property Tax Return form. Complete with box reference numbers. It’s genius (even if I do say so myself).
If you do have an accountant and you don’t know what an SA105 form looks like, don’t worry - just hand them the spreadsheet MyLetts generates for you, sit back, and expect their fee’s to be cheaper as they’ll have less work to do for you.
- Shows you how each Property is doing financially, and summarises your portfolio.
I’ve worked on accounting software professionally for the last 7 years, so I understand numbers, but I’m a visual person - I love graphs and pictures, so MyLetts shows you each income and expense visually. At a glance you can see which properties are profitable, which years are better than others - even see a trend.
I have more insight into my property business because of MyLetts. I know how my properties are doing at any given moment, rather than just once a year, after I’ve compiled my Tax Return.
It’s like having always up-do-date Profit and Loss statement for your lettings at your finger-tips.
So what’s planned?
MyLetts will always be about making it as easy as possible for you to compile your Property Rental Tax Return.
As a busy Landlord, there are other things I could do with some help on, so I’ll be constantly adding to MyLetts to make it the best possible Property Management software for private UK landlords.
Here are a few things I’ve thought of so far:
- Reminders for Gas Safety and Electrical Safety checks
- Including details of who you used last time, and how much they charged
- Tenant Management
- Start and End dates, with automatic totalling of repairs incurred during their tenancy, so you can decide if you need to withhold any bond or deposit monies
- This will also gives you actual void rates (per property, and in total) so you can better plan for the future
- Interest Rate ‘what if’s’?
- Play about with Mortgage Interest Rates, and see how changes affect your property income
- Custom Income and Expense Types
- Don’t like the 4 categories from the tax man, or the 13 included by default in MyLetts? Create your own, then..
- Income and Expense reporting
- Graph or Pie chart your income and expenditure by type - e.g. “How much did I spend on repairs this year?”
And that’s just a few things on my list - if you’ve got an idea, I’d love to hear it - there is always something to learn from how other Landlords manage their business, properties and tenants. Please sign up (it’s free for the first month) and get in touch.