Before starting any real estate investment, you want to have a number of tools ready that will simplify and make certain tasks more efficient. It’s important to at least be aware about the types of tools out there. These are just a few examples of the many resources available.
1. Things You’ll Actually Read
Not to sound corny, but education is the tool of all tools. The best way to learn about real estate investing is by hearing about past experiences and lessons learned from experienced investors. Where can you get this from? BiggerPockets is an online network that provides e-books, guides, and blogs that offer authentic real estate tips and how-to’s. Experienced investors write about their stories, providing helpful guidance. The website also includes a forum, where users can ask questions and begin networking.
If you don’t have time to read, listen! BiggerPockets has numerous podcasts which usually include interviews with real estate professionals.
2. Contacts Are What You Really Need
As they say, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Okay, that might contradict the first point on this list . . . but you get it. The more people you know, the easier real estate investing is. It’s important to network with all types of real estate professionals like agents, contractors, tenants, and investors. Why? Because when it comes time for you to invest, you’ll be doing a lot of research, so knowing people will make learning and doing a lot faster.
More importantly, by knowing people and “forming a team,” you’ll be able to find individuals who can complement your skills or bring a skill to the table in which you lack. Finding properties, renovating houses, looking for tenants – you name it – you’ll want to have a contact in which you can immediately pull up.
How do you form these contacts? As mentioned above, there are online forums like BiggerPockets to easily network. You can also join real estate investment associations to learn about investing and being a landlord.
Use houzz to find professionals, view their work, and see their ratings.
Related: 7 Real Estate Associations that Every Landlord Should Know About
3. An App To Monitor Spending
Before looking for real estate investment properties, an investor will need to secure a down payment and financing. This may mean an investor has to save up some money before applying for a loan. This is a time to cut back on costs and monitor spending very carefully. See where cutbacks can me made or where there is unnecessary spending. These kinds of tools will also be needed once the investment is made to also track investment costs.
BillGuard is an app that allows you to keep track of expenses and organizes your spending records based on type, location, and time. In addition, the app gives access to your credit score – which is important to maintain for loan approval.
4. Online Property Finders
While you can search for investment properties on Mashvisor, be sure to have other channels for finding properties, other than MLS listings. There are websites that list foreclosure homes such as Auction.com. As mentioned before, the best way to find out about properties that are listed or have yet to be listed is through contacts. Calling brokers directly is the best way to start networking and to get more information about the property.
LoopNet is a helpful resource for finding commercial properties. Craigslist is great for finding anything or trading anything, including properties.
5. Predictive Analytics
The best way to do your due diligence about a real estate investment property is by using analytics to analyze the property. Predictive analytics saves investors time from using spreadsheets and calculating costs and returns. Mashvisor’s analytics includes an analysis of future outcomes and trends based on historical data. Investors can use the investment property calculator and access easy-to-read visualizations of a property analysis and make more intelligent decisions about investment properties.
The data does not just give projections of income, cash flow, cash on cash return, abd and other returns, but also gives a comparison between traditional investing and Airbnb investing. Hence, investors can easily understand what type real estate investing strategy is more lucrative for a particular property.
Related: Investment Property Calculator For Analyzing Real Estate Investments
6. Tenant Screening Tools
Every landlord should have an easy, accessible tool for screening tenants. Once a real estate investor starts to have more properties and more tenants, they will need a systematic routine to quickly select tenants. Otherwise, tenants may not be favorable which means a landlord will just have to market the property once more.
There are a wide range of tools to select from for screenings. SmartMove is an online tool that provides rental reports and recommendations to landlords. The service protects consumer information and also does everything online without any paperwork. Look here for more tenant screening tools.
Related: Wireless Home Security Systems Watch Your Investment Property When You Can’t
More Convenient Apps
If there was a #7 on this list, it would be “smartphone.” You don’t actually need a smartphone for real estate investment, but you should know about these convenient apps that simplify operations.
Unlocking doors: There are different apps that lock and unlock doors when the owner is not present, such as Lockitron and Keycafe. Maybe a traditional landlord wouldn’t need this, but if the real estate investment property is listed on Airbnb, this app could come in handy.
Going paperless: You can imagine how many apps there are to help people go paperless and take care of paperwork without having to be present. These are helpful with closing deals, signing documents, and sending documents. Checkout dotloop and SignEasy.
Storage: Dropbox and Google Drive are great for accessing files whenever and wherever you want. As an investor, you might want to have your listing pictures and rental contractions easily accessible.
You don’t have to be tech-savvy to use these real estate investment tools, but they will certainly help you become more tech-friendly and better real estate investor. Tools not only bring convenience, but also reveal better ways to do things.