Short term / Airbnb rental expenses, more detailed categories

I run a short-term rental business and really enjoy using Stessa, but as I track my ongoing operational expenses, I find the Linens, Soaps, & Other Consumables category too broad to be useful in analyzing my expenses – it becomes a catch-all for all of my day-to-day rental expenses, and I can’t tell how much I am spending on categories within that group (e.g., replacement sheets vs cleaning products for my cleaning team vs. coffee/tea and other amenities for guests). It also distorts my ability to understand my property-related repairs and maintenance expenses at quick glance, as my Repairs & Maintenance account is dominated by these types of operating expenses.

Ideally, the Linens, Soaps, & Other Consumables category would be extracted from Repairs & Maintenance and allowed to standalone as operating expenses (or whatever you wanted to call it) – and include sub-categories for linens and towels, cleaning supplies, guest amenities, consumables, etc.

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Yes! That would be fantastic. If Stessa gets more specific for Airbnb and similar short term properties, there would be a whole new market for Stessa. Nothing else seems to exist for short term rentals managed by property owners.

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I also don’t see a category for furnishing a Short term rental with furniture and fixtures that are not Capital expenses; I don’t want to depreciate, they are not consumables, so not sure how to categorize. Thank you.

I also agree that this is lacking in Stessa.

I am confused why we can’t create our own categories or tags to track our expenses.

If we could create our own tags, Stessa would be almost perfect.

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  1. I agree completely with previous comments. Operational expense category with sub categories for short term rental expenses is needed.
  2. Also curious if anyone can advise on how to categorize expenses of a new build rental. Assuming most everything is considered capital expense, 27.5 years. Can appliances, furniture, lighting fixtures, landscaping be depreciated on a shorter than 27.5 year schedule?

We should be able to add our own categories.

@djhomeproperties @drpoirier @bmfitzgerald3 Thanks for your input and questions! Re #2, these are great questions for a CPA. The tax rules around business investments in structures, appliances, furniture, etc. depend heavily on factors like date placed in service, eligibility for safe harbor tax exemptions, the possibility of accelerated depreciation, etc. These are really best answered by a professional tax accountant!

Re #1, we do not allow custom categories in Stessa in part because our philosophy is that niche software should be opinionated rather than “everything to everyone.” A fixed list of categories means we can roll up portfolio data and benchmark across the platform much more easily. We do add categories from time to time, based on the consensus needs of investors using the platform. That said, customizable tags are a great idea and something we may add in the future.

@tvarao I want to clarify here that just because you categorize something as a Capital Expense does not necessarily mean it must be depreciated. Decisions as to whether a specific line item should be expensed in the year incurred or depreciated over time should be left up to a qualified CPA. There are good reasons (100% bonus, safe harbors, etc.) why a traditional “capital expense” like furniture might not be depreciated.

You may find this thread helpful for further reading on the topic.

@devin Is there any chance Stessa will consider separating the linens/soaps/consumables into an operating expense category? It seems like Stessa is trying to gear itself towards short-term rental managers – the platform even suggests to owners how much rent they could receive if they managed a certain property as a short-term rental. If that is indeed a goal, it would be far more useful as an ongoing accounting platform to allow short-term rental owners to breakdown their operating expenses, separately from repairs and maintenance and in greater detail than is currently permitted.