How to Add a Property

 Properties are real estate that you own.

 Properties can be any type of real estate. This includes:

  • Single Family Homes
  • Condos
  • Townhomes
  • Owner-occupied properties you live in or income producing property
  • Duplexes
  • Triplexes
  • Fourplexes
  • Residential commercial properties with 5 or more units (including apartments)
  • Non-residential commercial or industrial properties
  • Vacant land; or
  • Any other real property

So, how do you add a  Property to a  Scenario? Let’s go through that together now.

Step #1: Login.

First, login to your Real Estate Financial Planner™.

Step #2: Go to the  Properties page.

Next, click on the  Properties page.

Step #3: Click on the Add New  Property button.

From the  Properties page, click on the Add New  Property button.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you have more  Properties than your account limit, you will need to delete one or more  Property to be able to add a new  Property. If you find yourself needing more  Properties consider getting access to  Premium which gives you more  Scenarios,  Accounts,  Properties, and  Rules.

 Property Inputs

Once you add a new  Property, you will immediately be taken to the page to edit the  Property.

From here, you can name or enter the address of the  Property and modify all the assumptions about the  Property from this page.

Property Type

Your first option is to choose which type of  Property this is.

You have two primary choices and a third extra option.

Your property can either be:

  1. Already Owned  Property
  2. Dynamic  Property

Already Owned  Properties are what you’d use to add a specific, single use  Property to your  Scenario.

You can think of Dynamic  Properties as templates of a  Property that you intend to buy more than one of at different times over the entire  Scenario.

Click whether your  Property is an Already Owned  Property or a Dynamic  Property template.

Nomad™  Properties

And, in addition to choosing whether the  Property is Already Owned or Dynamic, you can also select whether the property is a special Nomad™  Property. Either type can optionally be a Nomad™  Property.

Nomad™  Properties are special types of  Properties that you live in after you buy it and then convert it to a rental once you buy your next Nomad™  Property.

If you plan to move into the  Property and live there for at least a year as an owner-occupant before possibly converting it to a rental, make sure you select the Nomad™  Property option.

Check out the Ultimate Guide to Nomad™ Investing for more information about the Nomad™ real estate investing strategy.

Date Purchased and Sold

First, before I start talking about Date Purchased and Date Sold, I want you to know that Dynamic  Properties do not use Date Purchased and Date Sold. Instead, you can only buy or sell Dynamic  Properties using  Rules.

For regular  Properties though, you will want to put the date that you originally purchased the  Property in the Date Purchased field.

If you either never sell the  Property or you are going to use  Rules to determine when you sell the  Property you can leave Date Sold blank.

If you know exactly when you sold or plan to sell the  Property, go ahead and enter a Date Sold.

Address or Description

The next fields for you to complete are the address, city, state and zip code of the  Property.

If you have a regular  Property, it is really easy to enter something that you will easily understand which  Property you’re referring to from a list of shown on when dealing with  Scenarios,  Accounts,  Rules or  Charts.

If you only have one  Property on Main St, you might use “Main St” as the Address and enter in the optional City, State and Zip Code for the  Property. We do not currently tie any  Property addresses into real world data, so there is no real need to put in a fully fleshed out Address like “1234 Main St”.

In fact, for  Properties you could buy more than one of, you may want to describe the  Property instead of using an address anyway. For example, if you are adding a Dynamic  Property that you plan to buy 5 of over the next 5 years, you may want to use something like the following:

  • “3/2 Rental”
  • “Aspen Model New Construction”
  • “New Construction”
  • “Ranch Duplex”
  • “10 Unit Apartment Building”

The Real Estate Financial Planner™ software will add a number to the end of the Address as you buy more than one of them. So, the “3/2 Rental” becomes:

  • “3/2 Rental 1”
  • “3/2 Rental 2”
  • “3/2 Rental 3”
  • And so on…

For each additional Dynamic  Property you buy, it will just add a number to the end of it so you know which one was bought first, second, third, etc.

After Repair Value and Purchase Price

Sometimes you pay full retail for a  Property. Other times you may be able to buy a  Property at a discount from what it is currently worth. The Real Estate Financial Planner™ software allows you to enter both your After Repair Value and the Purchase Price of  Properties you’re buying.

For regular  Properties, you’d just enter the value of the  Property at the time you purchased it after any repairs you’ve budgeted for in Rent Ready Costs (which we will cover shortly).

For Dynamic  Properties the After Repair Value is the value of the  Property when we start the  Scenario. The Real Estate Financial Planner™ software keeps track of the Dynamic  Property as if it existed just outside the  Properties you own in your  Scenario. Even though you don’t own until you purchase a copy of it with a  Rule, it goes up in value if you have a positive Appreciation Rate. Rents go up if you have a positive Rent Appreciation Rate. You can even manipulate these Dynamic  Properties that you don’t yet own using  Rules.

When you’re ready to buy a copy of the Dynamic  Property using a  Rule, you are buying the Dynamic  Property as it has grown with the likely higher After Repair Value and Purchase Price. So, each copy of the Dynamic  Property that you do buy using  Rules will likely be at a different After Repair Value and Purchase Price.

The Real Estate Financial Planner™ software will base the value of the  Property and therefore appreciation and equity on the After Repair Value. The software does use your Purchase Price for calculating down payments and loan balances, etc.

Mortgage Interest Rate and Term of Loan

Next up is your purchase money mortgage for buying the  Property. Enter in your yearly Mortgage Interest Rate from the loan you used to buy the  Property.

If you ever want to model what a changing interest rate environment has on a particular  Scenario, you can use  Rules to change this interest rate on Dynamic  Properties that you have not bought yet. When your  Rule to buy a copy of that Dynamic  Property is triggered, you buy the Dynamic  Property with that modified interest rate.

The Real Estate Financial Planner™ software expects to see your interest rate in the 4.675 format (and not .04675).

In addition to Mortgage Interest Rate, we will also need to know the Mortgage Term or how long the loan is for. If you’re dealing with 30 year mortgages, use 360 months here. But, if you want to test how different loan terms impact your investing plan, you can just as easily put 180 months for Mortgage Term to model a 15 year mortgage or whatever the months are for the loan term you’re able to get from your lender.

Down Payment

For down payment, you have two options. You can either define what percentage of the Purchase Price you will use for your Down Payment Percent or you can define what dollar amount you have to put down as Down Payment Dollar.

We only use one of these. If you enter numbers for both, we will ignore Down Payment Dollar and only use the Down Payment Percent.

Why make this a choice? Well, some people might want to test always putting the same dollar amount down when they buy Dynamic  Properties. Let’s say you always have $100,000 per year left over from your job income each year and you want to always put that same amount down. You’d use Down Payment Dollar for that and enter in $100,000. Then, no matter what the value of the Dynamic  Property you’re about to purchase is, you always put down $100,000.

Most people though will want to use the lowest down payment percentage they can use to get their loan to buy the property. For example, if you’re buying a Nomad™  Property you might be using 5% for Down Payment Percent for those. If you’re doing non-owner occupant rental properties, you might be using 20% for Down Payment Percent.

Closing Costs

Just like the down payment options, you have the same two choices for closing costs. You can choose to either make it a percent of the Purchase Price using Closing Costs Percent or a fixed dollar amount by using Closing Costs Dollar.

And just like the down payment, if you enter both the Real Estate Financial Planner™ software will ignore Closing Costs Dollar and only use Closing Costs Percent.

Rent Ready Costs

It is rare to buy a  Property that doesn’t need anything done to it after you buy it. This extra money you need to make a property ready for move-in (whether you’re renting or living there yourself), we call Rent Ready Costs.

For significant fix up  Properties, this might be a larger number. But, you’re presumably getting those  Properties at a discount and so your After Repair Value and Purchase Price values should be farther apart.

For pretty  Properties that don’t need a lot of fix up, the Rent Ready Costs might a small number like $500, $1,000 or $1,500. You could use zero if the  Properties you are buying are in perfect condition, but it is highly unusual for a  Property to not need anything at the time of purchase even if it is only purchasing new fire extinguishers for under the sinks, lawn care, snow removal or paint touch up from dings during moving, etc.

Seller Concessions

When you get a seller to contribute some money from their proceeds of the sale of the  Property to you toward your costs buying the  Property, we call that seller concessions. This is what is happening when the seller is paying for some of the buyer’s closing costs.

Similarly to the way the Real Estate Financial Planner™ software handles down payment and closing costs, seller concessions has two options for you; pick one.

You can do either Seller Concessions Percent or Seller Concessions Dollar. If you enter both, the Real Estate Financial Planner™ software will ignore Seller Concessions Dollar and use Seller Concessions Percent only.

If you’re in a hot market where there are multiple offers on  Properties, you may not want to model that you’re able to get a lot in seller concessions. You may want to use 0% and $0 in that case. If you are in a soft, slow buyer’s market, you may be able to get a seller to pay for all your closing costs with seller concessions. In those cases, you may want to have the seller concessions match what you used for closing costs above.


The Real Estate Financial Planner™ software calculates the tax benefits of depreciation on your  Property as well based on your purchase price and the value of the building(s) by subtracting out the value of the land on the  Property.

To properly do this calculation, you need to select whether the  Property is residential or commercial. Residential  Properties, by US tax code, (and as I write this it does occur to me that I might need to make this more flexible for users that own  Property in other countries and taxing entities) are depreciated over 27.5 years. Commercial is over 39 years.

If you have questions about which to use, you should verify with your tax professional. Most folks will be using residential and 27.5 years for rental properties.

In addition to needing to know the type of  Property, we also need to know what the Land Value Percent is of the Purchase Price. Different areas and different tax professionals use different rules of thumb to determine this. If you really don’t know, verify with your tax professional later and rerun your  Scenario with the updated number, but, for now, use 15%. A 15% Land Value Percent means that for a $300,000  Property, the land was worth $45,000.


Where are you going to get your down payment and closing costs from? Where do you want to deposit rent to and pay your mortgage and other expenses from? That’s what the Real Estate Financial Planner™ software is asking when it asks for the two  Accounts.

If you are just using the default  Cash Account then select “Cash” or pick the  Account from the list of  Accounts where you’ll be taking the down payment and closing costs from and then the  Account where you want to deposit rents and withdraw expenses. They can be the same  Account but they don’t have to be the same  Account if you’d rather not.

One example of why you might want to not use the same  Account is let’s say you want to pay for the purchase of the  Property from a stock market  Account or your retirement  Account but the cash flow from the  Property you want to deposit in your personal savings or checkings  Account. It is up to you.

Appreciation Rate

Is your  Property going up or down in value? How fast?

Appreciation Rate is the yearly rate that the  Property is going up in value. If you use a negative number here that means that the  Property is going down in value.

You can modify the Appreciation Rate within the  Scenario by using  Rules. But this is the default Appreciation Rate if you don’t modify it with  Rules.

If you aren’t testing something specific and using a different Appreciation Rate, I’d suggest using the long term average based on Case-Shiller which is about 3%.

Monthly Rent and Rent Appreciation

If you could rent the  Property the day you purchased it for the Purchase Price, what could you get for rent per month? That’s Monthly Rent.

And, at what rate is rent increasing or decreasing? Use the Rent Appreciation Rate to estimate how quickly rent is going up each year. Or, use a negative Rent Appreciation Rate to have rent decline over the course of the  Scenario.

And, as you may have guessed at this point, you can use  Rules at any point in the  Scenario to adjust either Monthly Rent directly or Rent Appreciation Rate which will impact how quickly or slowly rent rises or falls.

There is also an advanced, not-usually-used option to allow you to delay the number of months that you delay collecting rent on a  Property. With Start Rent After you can enter in the number of months to delay collecting rent for the first time on that  Property.

Here are two specific examples you might use this.

  1. You buy a fixer upper and it takes you X months of fix up before the  Property will be ready to rent. In that case, you can set Start Rent After to the number of months that you estimate it will take you to have the  Property ready to start renting it.
  2. You buy a property as a Nomad and plan to stay there for a certain period of time before moving into an apartment. You can enter the number of months you will be living in the  Property before you convert it to a rental.

Monthly Other Income

With some  Properties you will be able to collect additional income. For example, you may have on-site laundry. For sources of other income, you can enter that in Monthly Other Income and have that other income appreciate at a different pace than rent does using the Other Monthly Income Appreciation Rate.

If you don’t have any other income on your  Property, you can use zero here.

Vacancy Rate

When renting your  Property, it is unlikely that you will have the  Property rented 100% of the time. We use Vacancy Rate as the percent of time that the  Property is vacant.

This will vary depending on your commitment to outstanding property management and, to a much lesser degree, your local market conditions. If you’re an excellent property manager and start looking for your next tenant 90 days prior to any lease expiration, you should be able to keep Vacancy Rate to 3% with single family homes across your portfolio and so that’s what I’d recommend. If you know you don’t start marketing for your next tenant until after your current tenant leaves, then your Vacancy Rate could be much, much higher.

Talk to your property manager if you don’t know what number to use here.

Property Taxes and Insurance

The Real Estate Financial Planner™ software uses a slightly different method of calculating Property Taxes and Property Insurance than you’re probably used to seeing… and for a very good reason. The Real Estate Financial Planner™ software calculates your Property Taxes and Property Insurance as a percent of the then current value of your  Property. We do this so that your Property Taxes and Property Insurance do not need their own appreciation rates. Instead, the amount you pay in Property Taxes and Property Insurance are really based on how much your  Property is worth. As your  Property value goes up, it will cost you more to insure it. As your  Property value goes up, it will cost you more in taxes.

So, for Property Taxes and Property Insurance you should take what your actual cost for each and divide them by the value of your  Property to find out what percent of the value of the property you are paying for each. This will vary based on your local market so it is hard for me to give you a default value, For example, in my market in Northern Colorado, the defaults I recommend, if you don’t know what your exact numbers are, would be .65% for Property Taxes and .4% for Property Insurance. That means for a $300,000 property, your Property Taxes will be about $1,950 per year and Property Insurance will be about $1,200 per year.

Since we use percents of the value of the  Property, taxes and insurance will automatically keep up as the value of the  Property changes. Of course, if you think it will get out of balance later, you can use  Rules to adjust the percentages at any point in the  Scenario.

Home Owner’s Association (HOA)

Some  Properties—especially newer  Properties—will have a Home Owner’s Association (HOA).

For the Real Estate Financial Planner™ software you can enter in what the Yearly HOA fees are and at what rate those fees are going up each year as the HOA Appreciation Rate. Use your actual Yearly HOA for this value and unless you’re testing otherwise, I’d encourage you to use 3% per year for the HOA Appreciation Rate.

Monthly Utilities

With most single family homes, the tenant will be paying the utilities. However, with many duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, apartments, commercial and industrial  Properties the owner may be responsible for paying for some utilities.

Use the Monthly Utilities to model the amount of the utilities that you, as the owner are responsible for paying and the Utilities Appreciation Rate to show the rate that the Monthly Utilities are increasing (or decreasing… if you enter a negative number) each year. If you don’t know what to use for Utilities Appreciation Rate, I’d recommend you use 3% per year.

Other Monthly Expenses

In some, more unusual cases, there will be extra expenses the owner has for running a property. The Real Estate Financial Planner™ software allows you to model these using the Other Monthly Expense 1 and Other Monthly Expense 2 variables. Enter the cost per month for each here or, more commonly, zero if you don’t any. And, you can also enter in separate appreciation rates for each of these. I’d recommend 3% for the appreciation rate for these unless you have a good reason to use something else.

Here are a couple examples of expenses you may want to use these fields for:

  • Landscaping, lawn or snow removal service that you provide to your tenants and they don’t pay extra for.
  • Internet
  • Non-potable water
  • Resort or recreational fees for resort properties
  • Cleaning fees for short-term rentals

If you have more than two, you may want to combine one or more to get it down to two other monthly expenses.


Over time you will have maintenance calls from your tenants and your  Property will need maintenance to keep it rented at optimal levels. With the Real Estate Financial Planner™ software we allow you to model this by setting aside a percentage of the Monthly Rent to be spent on Maintenance.

The value and, even more importantly, that effective age of your  Property will often determine what percentage to use for Maintenance. A brand new  Property with a builder’s warranty and everything bring brand new may have very close to zero Maintenance for the first couple of years. A 40 year old, long-term rental  Property may have Maintenance hovering around 20% of Monthly Rent. For most  Properties, I think you’re likely to be in the 10% to 12% range for maintenance.

By the way, this is different than Monthly Capital Expenditures which we will cover after Property Management.

Property Management

Many folks will choose to manage their  Properties themselves, but a good number of us will choose to trade money for time to pursue other work and play and pay a professional property manager to manage our rental  Properties.

The Real Estate Financial Planner™ software allows you to enter the percent of Monthly Rent that we will pay a property manager to manage our property. This should include ALL expenses for the property manager including things like leasing fees, lease renewal fees, our share of marketing and technology costs, etc. In many markets, that means the cost of property management will exceed 10%. Use your real number here, but if you don’t know what number to use, I’d recommend using 12% even though many people will suggest using 10%.

Capital Expenses

Capital Expenses, Capital Expenditures or CapEx… whatever you call them… they are the costs of maintaining your property. When you need to replace a furnace, a roof, update a kitchen or bathroom… you are making capital improvements to your  Property. These are Cap Ex.

You can set aside a certain amount of money each month to budget for CapEx using the Monthly Capital Expenditures variable when entering a new  Property. Then, use the CapEx Appreciation Rate to have this amount increase over the course of the  Scenario.

Property Entered, But You’re Not Done…

Save your changes and you’ve successfully saved a  Property to the planner. However, you’re not done.

 Properties like  Accounts, and  Rules are reusable and may be used in more than one  Scenario.

So, you will need to tell the Real Estate Financial Planner™ software which  Properties belong in which  Scenarios. You do this by going to the  Scenarios page.

Select the  Scenario you want to add this  Property to and then click into edit that  Scenario. Below the fields to edit, you will see a list of  Properties that you can add to this  Scenario (or remove  Properties the same way).

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you’re working with a Dynamic  Property you still need to create a  Rule to buy the  Property. Even though it is “connected” to the  Scenario, without a  Rule it will never be purchased within the  Scenario.


If you want to read more about  Properties, consider reading these additional blog posts.

Adding To Scenarios

 Properties are not the only thing you can add to a  Scenario. Read more about adding  Accounts, and  Rules to  Scenarios.

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