How to categorize acquisition / closing cost transactions

I purchased a new property and the payment to title shows up on the bank account that I have linked to Stessa. Unfortunately there is no purchase or acquisition category that I could choose for the transaction. All that I could find was Down Payments. How would you recommend categorizing this transaction?

@investing929 Good question. Stessa does indeed have appropriate categories for closing costs, but you’ll need to first figure out whether you are expensing it in the year incurred or capitalizing it as part of your cost basis. This is a tax/CPA question, for which we do not provide official advice.

Some of the Stessa categories that might be appropriate for various acquisition costs include:

  1. Capital Expenses > Closing Costs
  2. Capital Expenses > Loan Costs
  3. Taxes (and related sub-categories)
  4. Utilities (and related sub-categories)

Thanks for the answer @devin. I assumed that “Closing Costs” was the fees associated with the closing, not the acquisition cost. But alright, I guess I’ll be using this category then.

@investing929 Sorry, just to be clear, the entry for funds used to purchase the property should be categorized under “Transfers” so that it does not impact cash flow reporting. Acquisition prices and original loan balances should be entered via the Properties page, not the Transactions page.

@devin I see. Would be great to have categories for initial purchase and initial rehab that don’t count towards the cashflow. The transaction is there since it was made from a linked account. Feels kind of counter productive to either delete it or to mark it as transfer just so it doesn’t mess up the cashflow numbers.

For the transactions that come in under a linked account, I Move them to a portfolio called “For Audit” That way they are not part of the ‘real portfolio’, not deleted (from an audit point of view is ‘sub-optimal’), and have a real place to go (which is optimal from an audit point of view). Obviously you can name your audit bucket anything you wish.

I have done the same thing for my ‘personal bank account’ Assign all transactions to “Personal Account Audit” then reassign the few items that should be associated with one of the other companies or properties.

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@devin Would you recommend using transfers for things like Home Inspections pre-closing, and appraisal costs or what do you recommend there? If so, which specifically of the sub-categories do you think fits those the best?

@christopher.mikle There’s a Capital Expenses > Closing Costs category specifically for closing costs that will be capitalized. For items that will be expensed in the year incurred, you can simply use the most appropriate regular category. If you’re not sure which expenses must be capitalized, check in with a good CPA.

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Hi, I am in the same situation. I just purchased a property and when I record the purchase price and closing costs as Capital Expenses>Closing Costs, the value of the property nor the closing costs show up on the balance sheet as an asset. What am I doing wrong? Thanks

@liliana Good questions. The purchase price should not be included as a Capital Expense transaction. It should simply be entered as “Acquisition Price” by clicking in the appropriate place in the grid on your Properties page. “Closing Costs” is only for other fees or costs paid during the closing, not the actual purchase price.

Further, the Balance Sheet will show the current valuation only, not the original cost basis. To learn more about updating your valuation, read Valuation Method: Select & Manage.

Thanks so much, this was super helpful.

Happy new year folks and great discussion. I’ve been having the same dilemma for acquisitions. I think clear on how to categorize expenses that I pay prior to closing. For example:

Earnest money - Transfers > Down Payments
Loan application fee (paid at application using credit card) - Capital Expenses >
Home inspections - Legal and Professional > Inspections

The above costs (when looking at a closing statement) fall typically fall under the “borrower paid - before closing” category.

However, at closing there’ll be a number of other costs such as appraisal fee, credit report fee, title insurance etc etc (under “borrower paid - at closing” category). The closing statement will then go onto itemize other costs and also credits and finally “cash to close” number will be the check that I write.

The question I have is, do I account for this “cash to close” number at all in Stessa? If yes, do I just put the total and pick Transfers > Down Payments category (since ~90% will be down payment, BUT it will also include other loan costs not paid prior to closing). I am assuming there is no benefit in itemizing closing statement numbers in Stessa?

Related to this I am in the process of acquiring another property using the BRRRR approach. So purchase will be cash, there will be a rehab cost and then plan to do a refi. Do all of these go in the “transfers” category?

Hope I was able to explain my question without complicating things :smiley: