It’s summer time, and the heat is here — but we’re not just talking about the weather. It’s peak selling season in the real estate community. There are more open houses, more showings, and more REALTOR® marketing needs during summer than in any other season. It’s also a time when agents spend big bucks to run their businesses, and, unless the finances are tracked and managed properly, it could be the time when agents lose the most on their business, too.
It’s a sure bet that agents who track and manage their expenses earn more in deductions than those who don’t. But, saving receipts and mentally keeping track of all the expenses while trying to juggle clients, listings, showings, open houses, closing paperwork, etc., can be enough to drive an agent crazy. So, how can REALTORS® maximize savings during the busiest time of year? Below are some ways to capitalize on peak season:
Upgrade Your Receipt Storage
With more listings comes more open houses, and with more open houses come more trips to the grocery store, more printed brochures, more cards, etc. In short: There are probably more expenses happening than you even realize. The likelihood of saving all those receipts is pretty low, and the likelihood of losing the ones you do save is pretty high. Why not take the struggle out of the receipt-saving process? Download an app like QuickBooks Self-Employed that will allow you to take a photo of your receipt right from your smartphone to save and store all your receipts. Plus, if you link your credit card, the app is smart enough to find the expense and attach the receipt so you don’t have to go looking for it later. You’ll save yourself time in the long run—plus, you’ll earn much more in deductions.
Track Your Miles
Driving to and between showings can really rack up the miles. The good news is all that pavement pounding can pay you back in serious mileage deductions, if you keep track of the miles. But who has the time (or the wherewithal) to jot down the mileage when there are clients excited to see their next new home? Enter automatic mileage tracking. There are apps in the market that allow you to track mileage and trip dates, with easy categorization of whether it was a personal or business trip, increasing potential mileage deductions.
Purchasing software to run your business: Is that a marketing expense, an educational expense or a technology expense? How about taking a client to lunch? Knowing how to categorize your expenses for your Schedule C is an important part of finance management, but can also be tricky. That’s why QuickBooks Self-Employed helps you along the way. After you have an expense, the app will suggest categorization based on government regulations, so you don’t have to worry about whether or not it’s correctly categorized and avoid suspicions for an audit.
Know What You Owe (and What’s Owed to You)
Peak selling season is a vicious cycle of spending more, making more, and, yes, paying more in taxes. When you’re in the thick of spending to sell—especially during the busiest season—it can be hard to keep track of how much you’re actually earning. Many agents leave it up to an assumption that they should set aside 20 percent of their income to taxes, but that’s usually a guess. The real number could be more or less depending on deductions, which is why it’s so important to stay in the loop about your business.
Finding a business tool to help you manage your profit and loss is crucial to maintaining your business and helping avoid any surprises come tax time. Money Insights from QuickBooks Self-Employed organizes all of your business accounts to show your income and expenses in one streamlined place, so you’re always in the know about what you owe, and how much you’re earning in deductions.
A huge portion of your business is conducted during peak season, so be sure to capitalize on your spending and get the most out of your deductions You’ll not only save tons of money come tax time, but you’ll also save a ton of time come quarterly and annual tax time—because, let’s face it: it’ll be here before you know it.
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