Property Owners and Tax Time

The key to saving money on your tax return is to take advantage of the many deductions offered to full-time rental property owners. Your property is considered a full-time rental if you allocate fewer than 15 days for personal use.

Some of the most basic deductions that landlords could easily overlook are costs related to cleaning and maintenance, property taxes, management fees, mortgage interest, advertising, and even property insurance.

Want to save even more money? You can also deduct expenses related to traveling to manage your property, depreciation of your property, HOA fees, insurance claim deductibles, operating expenses, and even your utilities. Basically, any cost you incur to keep your rental property up and running can be filed as a tax deductible expense.

If your rental property expenses exceeded your rental earnings, you can even deduct your losses. If your annual income (adjusted gross income) is below $100,000, you are eligible to deduct up to $25,000 of your rental losses. As your annual income increases, the rental loss deduction is reduced.

One of the best tips any landlord could get is to keep meticulous records or better yet, hire a professional property manager to keep these records for you. You must treat your rental property like a business. The more expenses that you document, the better chance you have to get those tax deductions and keep more of your money. Rental Management One provides detailed expenses reports and even copies of expense receipts for our Owners to turn into their CPA making this important task a “non-stress” related task.

New to the Rental Game

With the popularity of travel websites such as Airbnb, many people are interested in the opportunity to turn their primary and/or secondary home into a money making property, which is a great idea I might add. The good news is, for rental experts and noobs alike, you can dramatically benefit by adding a professional property manager to your business team. The cost is low but the value is worth every penny. Call Rental Management One at 248-208-3882 and start getting the most money out of your rental property.

10 Best Tips for Documenting Posessions for Renters Insurance

Renters have a lot of stuff, but they seem to not know exactly how much for insurance purposes.


The National Association of Insurance Commissioners notes that 59 percent of consumers have not made a list or inventory of their prized possessions and valuables. Of those who have done their preliminary paperwork, 48 percent have no receipts and 28 percent have no back-up copy of the inventory outside the home. Additionally, most don’t regularly update their inventories.

Many insured residents don’t document their belongings.

That, says insurance providers, is a sobering indication of how unprepared people are when it comes to proving what they have in a claim resulting in a loss from fire, storms, accidents and disasters.

“The average resident never makes the effort to fully understand what they’ve got,” says Ed Wolff, President for LeasingDesk Insurance. “And, many times they don’t have enough coverage because they’ve never taken an inventory to understand what they have. They usually underestimate the cost in a loss.”

Obtaining renters insurance is only half the battle for apartment residents, Wolff says. The other is thoroughly documenting possessions and keeping the records in a safe place.


Personal Inventory Insurance

In a claim process, the insurance company will want to know beyond a general description what items have been lost. The claim representative is unlikely to accept and pay based on a claim of “everything in the living room” without some proof of the contents.

And, during a time of crisis, it’s extremely difficult for a resident to fully remember the various pieces and items that were lost in that living. Documenting via an inventory and keeping records like sales receipts and copies of important legal papers is the only way to prove to an insurance company the extent of the loss.

Making a list, checking it twice, even with an app

While creating an inventory sounds daunting, the process is easier than it looks. In many cases, the task can be done simply by walking through the apartment and making a list on a personal device or notepad. Some even recommend documenting online so the inventory can be accessed from anywhere.

A number of applications are available to inventory possessions. Included are options for descriptions, prices, warranty status, photographs and where they are located in the residence. Some are designed to inventory multiple properties. Many are compatible with iPhones and Android devices. Some can provide access via desktops and allow users to upload various file types.

Inventory Possessions Insurance

The idea is to make a note of each item with a short description and a picture or two, Wolff says. Some items – like expensive jewelry or firearms – may require more detailed descriptions and additional coverage on the policy. An appraisal may be required to get adequate coverage.

Knowing the scope and value of possessions, Wolff says, will help renters insurance policyholders better determine the amount of coverage they need. Following are best practices for accounting for possessions and valuables, as provided by LeasingDesk:

1. Inventory personal property.

Walk through the apartment and make a list of valuable items, such as jewelry, art, collectibles, tablets, laptops, computers, televisions, and guns. An accurate value should be placed on each item. A checklist can be grouped by category, value, rooms in the home, etc.

2. Keep good records.

Anytime a new purchase is made, add to the inventory. And anytime an item wears out or is discarded, cross it off the list.

3. Itemize valuables and get appraisals.

Jewelry, art, and collectibles should be listed and described separately, and include appraisals.

4. Note make and model.

Include the manufacturer and model of big-ticket items like computers and televisions. Include the serial number if possible.

5. Take photographs or videos.

Pictures are worth more than a thousand words. Photographing and/or videoing possessions are especially helpful in assessing value during the claim process. Typically, such documentation can be done on a cell phone.

Inventory Personal Insurance

6. Save receipts.

It’s especially important to have receipts if the insurance policy covers replacement cost value.

7. Don’t forget the storage areas.

Items in out-of-the-way places like closets, attics and garages shouldn’t be forgotten. Make sure they are included on the inventory list.

8. Generalize clothing.

Unless the closet contains an expensive fur, most clothing can be listed by type and number (pants, shirts, shoes, etc.). Items don’t necessarily need to be individually documented.

9. Safely store inventory list.

Place the inventory in a fire-proof safe or protected area. Make a copy and store it in another location, even electronically so it can be accessed from anywhere.

10. Update, update, update.

Annually update the household inventory in addition to periodic updates when new items are purchased and others are discarded. It’s good to walk through the house again and account for new items that may not have been added throughout the year. Also, values change and should be so noted.

“Creating a physical inventory of your possessions is a good habit to get into,” Wolff said. “Keeping it updated and storing it in a safe place that can be easily accessed is the way to go.”
By Tim Blackwell | May 27, 2016

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