When you know your numbers in real estate, you can efficiently increase your cashflow and streamline your workflow. Monick Halm’s guest is Gita Faust, the owner of Fast Trac Consulting, a business process and software consulting firm that turns difficult real estate and property management accounting concepts into easily understandable financials. Gita and Monick discuss the importance of knowing your numbers and how it helps you understand what you should and shouldn’t do. In this episode, you’ll learn why you should keep the entities separate from the personal, why you shouldn’t create a bank account for each property, and why Quickbooks is the best tool for keeping track of your numbers. Tune in to learn more!
Watch the episode here:
Listen to the podcast here:
Why You Should Know Your Numbers In Real Estate With Gita Faust
I am super excited to have with me, Gita Faust, who is the Owner of Fast Trac Consulting comp. It’s a business process and software consulting firm that grasp difficult real estate and property management accounting concepts and turns a mess of numbers into comprehensive financials so that they can efficiently increase cashflow and streamline their workflow. She is an investor herself, but she helps other investors and other people in the real estate world get their money handled because that takes a lot of time, a lot of us, that’s not our forte. She’s a QuickBook solutions provider, Intuit speaker and author of QuickBooks for Real Estate and Property Management series of DIY’ers. Her team also offers several QuickBooks–oriented services including bookkeeping, programming, integration, data conversion, training support and more. I’m super excited to have her with us. Welcome.
Thank you, Monick. I am glad to be here.
I’m glad to have you. You do all of this with number then we’ll ask questions about that in a little bit, but I want to ask you about your real estate investing. How did you get started in real estate investing?
The first property turned out to be a simple solution. We had to move to a neighborhood where there were more kids around for my son. As he was the only child, we had to move to a neighborhood where it was easy for him to go and play and have kids around the neighborhood where he could walk when he was young. It was an easy decision for us to rent our first house and then move into another one. That was the best decision that we made. It escalated from there on. We are mainly into single–family homes, we enjoy it.
A lot of people get started that way. It’s a great strategy, “I had a home, I’m going to buy a new home and we keep the old home, rent it out, keeps making me money. It’s gaining an equity.” That’s such a wonderful strategy.
It’s a great experience because you don’t have those sweaty palms when you’re buying a new property for rental, you don’t know what is going to happen, but you know this property that you already own, and you already know your expenses. For somebody who has that opportunity, it’s a perfect way to get started as well.
You continued on. Tell us a little bit more about where you are now with your real estate investing.
We are in Bucks County, that’s the greater Philadelphia area. It’s all over the county. We have approximately 20 or 30 properties. We’re doing good, but we are adding on slowly and cautiously, but in the market nowadays, the properties don’t cashflow as much, so we are shying away and slowed down a little bit.
Invest where and when the numbers make sense. You are all about numbers. Tell me how did you got into your company now, Fast Trac Consulting, and helping investors and others with their finances in this arena.
I was working for a manufacturing company and I got into an accident. It took me five years to recover. I had to make a decision either I go on my own, do something that I love, my passion, or I go work for 40 hours, which was not going to happen because of health. My passions were sewing, alterations and accounting. I’m a graduate in Accounting as well. That was inherited from 9th grade onwards for us and education wise. It was an easy transition. The sewing was, since we were little kids, my parents taught me how to sew, all our siblings. It was an easy transition. The decision was, “What do I do?” When we did sewing, it was threads all around the room. I had to vacuum every day. That was it. I’m like, “This is not helping. It’s helping others, but it’s too much clean up afterwards even though after you work.”
I decided as well, helped clients clean up their books and make sense of their numbers, which was much more satisfying because you got the a–ha moment. You knew what your assets were, what your worth was, what your wealth was, what your secured loan, unsecured loan, secondary loans, primary loans, you knew what it was. When you see it in black and white, you can tell that. Once I saw that happiness on my client’s face and they were stress-free and they could concentrate more on their business, growing it and acquiring more wealth, that was it. I’m like, “This is what I am going to do, and this is what I was born to do,” so here I am.
It’s so helpful, because if you don’t have clear numbers, it’s like trying to fly a plane without the dashboard, without the instruments in the fog. Those clear numbers help you know what you should do, what you shouldn’t do. What are some tips that you have for investors around their numbers? What are some tips about what they should do?
Let me see if I can get few basic ones in which even everybody must have heard, but it’s important to reiterate them and headed back on everybody’s head, including mine. I’m at fault too. First, if you are an LLC and you’re running your business, real estate is a business, don’t take it as a hobby even if you have one property, it is a business. If you’re using your Social Security number, stop right there. Go to the IRS website, get an EIN number, that is Employer Identification Number that is free at no charge and you can do it online. What happens, you’re not giving everybody your Social Security number, because of the security reasons, you want to keep it private. In some instances, you have to give your SS number, and that is okay. Make sure you go to the IRS website and get your EIN number.
Keep the entities separate from the personal. Also, as a former lawyer, there are reasons you want to do that too. It’s not just for your financial mess, for legal liability, keep them separate.Real estate is a business. Don't take it as a hobby, even if you have only one property. Click To Tweet
The second one is, you’ve heard of commingling funds, business and personal, we all know that, but let’s go step ahead. We own twenty so properties, if you have the property under one LLC, all twenty properties, I’m not giving any legal advice or accounting advice or tax strategies here but I’m talking general on the books, do not create twenty bank accounts, please. For one EIN, keep 2 or 3 bank accounts. Don’t create a bank account for each property. That is a nightmare for the person who’s doing the books and the person who’s spending the money. Each EIN numbers should have only couple of bank accounts, 2, 3, 4 at the max. Don’t go crazy because it takes time and resources. It doesn’t matter yours or anybody else’s.
One more I have is you account for each and penny that even does not touch your bank account. Here are a couple of instances. Construction loans. If you have construction loans and they distribute the money to you, they sometimes did that $125, $150 before they give the money to you. They may either have an inspection fee or any other fees they may have account for that little $125 in your box because that’s an expense. It depends on whether it was a flip property or rental property. It’s different. The other thing, when you close on your property, what we found was we saved $500,000 over a period of five years. We got $500,000 back for a couple of clients.
Why? We were analyzing and reading all the closing documents. When you go to closing, they hold deposits. It’s either lender deposit or sewer deposit. We all make crazy deals, and because of those crazy deals, that money is sitting there and that you forget over the period of time. This one client we have, they said, “We made a profit of $100,000 on one property.” They flip 50 properties every month. We are the outsource accounting department. I said, “It’s not possible.” “You’re seeing well it is.” I said, “If you look at your balance sheet on a regular basis which you have access for that specific property, you can see that $100,000 is sitting there as a deposit, which was on your HUD.” They say, “I remember that.” Now, they remember but if you are constantly reading your balance sheet and profit and loss, you know where your numbers are, and it should be by property. If you have multiple LLCs, that is multiple EIN numbers, you should consolidate all your financials, so you see what your equity is as a whole. Those are few handfuls of tips that I have to share.
What was your biggest mistake with your real estate investing and what did you learn from it?
The list is so long. I am so bad that when I love a property that I want, I bid high. Do not be emotional. That’s why I have to take my husband along with me, so I don’t get that tied in and emotionally invested in there, so he keeps me at bay. Do not make a decision on emotion, “I love this kitchen. I love the lighting coming in the house. I love the French doors.” I made that mistake 2 or 3 times and I could have easily saved around $10,000 approximately on one property. I’m still counting on my mistakes. I have plenty of those.
The lesson is to bring somebody with a cooler head along, in your case, or to have a budget, “This is what I need to be at in order to make the money I need to make. No matter how beautiful the house is, it’s not my property.”
You’re talking about budget. If you have your finances in order and you can see your numbers by property, if you’re going to see another property, you can remember what you spend on the other property easily. That’s the amount you’re going to spend on this property and calculate and see where you’re going to cashflow as well. Keeping those numbers by property is important because Excel sheet does not cut it out. You cannot get a balance sheet on Excel sheet unless you are so meticulous on getting each and every penny recorded the right way. With a click of a button, you can view your report.
It’s with QuickBooks. What’s the biggest mistake you think people make with their finances when they’re doing real estate investing?
I already mentioned a couple of them. Not knowing what they owe, because cashflow can be viewed three ways. One on cash basis, that is money coming in and money going out right away like you’re going to McDonald’s or Starbucks paying money, right away, that is cash. Second is accrual basis, what money you owe at a later time and what money you’re going to receive at a later time. The third one is hybrid. Many of them enter their loans on the balance sheet, but they do not enter what they owe on the other bills like electric bills or tax bills in advance. That’s a hybrid. That is the biggest mistake. When somebody goes to look at cashflow saying, “We want to see cashflow.” It’s only on cash basis mostly they’re looking, but when you’re running a business, you need to look at accrual as well. That’s the biggest mistake everybody makes.
That’s what I’ve been learning. That’s a change that I made in my plan because it was all cash basis. It’s like, “Money in, money out. This is the key.” It’s not crazy for your taxes. Taxes is based off of the cash, we can cash in and cash out, but to understand and have optics on your business, you need the accrual basis. If this feels like a bit over your head and you’re like, “What’s accrual? What’s cash basis?” It is important to understand it. It is important to have somebody like Gita to help you if you don’t know that because those are things that as a business owner, and if you are a real estate investor, you are a business owner, those are important things that you need to be able to see and understand. What are you most proud of?
Being here. That’s the first thing, I make money here, sharing and empowering women to be good at what they do and take it at heart. It’s sometimes a struggle but keep on going, you can make it. When I started my business, I had no idea where I would be now. I’ve spoken at Intuit’s website conferences, QuickBooks conferences, I’ve spoken at real estate. We also do software development. We have created an app for importing Home Depot purchases into QuickBooks. The app is called HammerZen. The sky’s the limit, which still I have not reached the sky yet, but I have so many things to brag about. I have authored books on how to use QuickBooks, which you already mentioned for the real estate segmentation. If I had not been in real estate, I don’t know where I would have been. It is like friends you, connections I make or any other person my network. I’ve built my business, not only on my ability but my clients as well, because they make these crazy deals which helped me make my own crazy deals and expand my knowledge and accounting and how to show the numbers to them that makes sense.
To what do you attribute your success?
My clients, my husband, who’s supportive. If I want to sleep all day, he’ll let me sleep all day, not even knock on the door. Having the support that I need at home is great.
What advice do you have for a woman who’s starting out in real estate investing?Do not make a decision based on emotion. Click To Tweet
It is not easy, but when you get your first deal and the second deal you make, it is priceless. You feel that “Yes, you have made it.” It’s a journey we all walked through, whether you’re in real estate or any other business until you make that first, second sale and then making sure you’re consistent and diligent on doing what you’re doing. If you cannot do something, delegate. We all have delegated. I’m not talking only about accounting, but everything in your business. Form it out. You do what you do best and form out the work, delegate, hire and fire as quickly as you can if they don’t know work out.
Slow to hire, quick to fire. What do you wish you’d known at the beginning that you now know?
When we were kids, we were handed everything, A to Z, our college, our cars if we had one, I had a moped at that point, my parents give it to me, everything. We don’t have to worry about anything we had made. We had it easy. Until I came to US, I realize it is not as easy as it was at your parents’ home. It’s a journey. The difficulties were there, but we can all overcome the difficulties, which I did as well. It is a journey that you have to change your mindset, accept it and make the best of it. Leave the barnacles out of your life and keep the good parts and move forward. If something does not work out, make sure why it did not work out and make sure you don’t make the same mistake again like me putting those $10,000 bidding more on that property.
Before we get to our famed end of show trinity, which is a brag, a gratitude and a desire, tell people how they can reach out and connect with you or find out more about what you do.
You can always reach me at (215) 579-1465. My website is FastTracConsulting.com. You can Google the phone number and you’ll find my website, or type in my name and I’ll be right there.
Time for our trinity. What are you celebrating now? What is your brag?
My son’s birthday, April 2, 2021.
Happy Labor Day to you. You helped him live successfully. Good for you. What are you grateful for?
I’m grateful for the people I know that have come into my life. I’m grateful for my husband who has been there for good and bad times. He’s the best thing ever invented. He’s a God’s man. I can brag about him. I am proud of him.
Last but certainly not the least, what’s one desire you’ll have?
Make more connections, network, get to know more people, share what I have learned with real estate investors and businesses. If I can share 1 or 2 things they take out of this show and learn, that would be so fulfilling when I hear from them, “I did this, and it did work. Thanks for the advice, I got it.” That’s what it is about. That’s why we are here, to share. It’s not only about you and me talking about ourselves, but also sharing our knowledge.
Shall your desire be or so much better than you can imagine under grace and in perfect place. Thank you so much, Gita, for coming and sharing your wisdom and your awesome tips. You can connect with her at FastTracConsulting.com or (215) 579-1465. You can connect with me at Real Estate Investor Goddesses, go to, REIGoddesses.com or, @REIGoddesses on most of the socials. There you can find out about our investing mentorship and our investing club. Join our community of incredible women from all around the world that are in sisterhood together in real estate investing. If you love this show, please share it, subscribe and come back for another amazing episode.
- Fast Trac Consulting
- QuickBooks for Real Estate and Property Management
- @REIGoddessess – Instagram
About Gita Faust
Love the show? Subscribe, rate, review, and share!
Join the Real Estate Investor Goddesses Community today: