10 Key Apps for Simplifying Real Estate Investing
GIVE ORDINARY PEOPLE THE RIGHT TOOLS, AND THEY WILL DESIGN AND BUILD THE MOST EXTRAORDINARY THINGS.
– NEIL GERSHENFELD
Success in real estate investing is built upon consistent action. Taking consistent action requires not only steadfast commitment to one’s goals but also having the right tools with which to take said consistent action. Whether you are a new investor or long time experienced investor, your ability to find and use tools that empower your efforts, will determine the speed at which you grow and overall size of your investment portfolio.
Today, we at Valkere Investment Group are sharing with the Military to Millionaire community, the top 10 recommended apps in our opinion which will empower any investor to start and even help scale their investment portfolio. Some will be focused on solving a distinct problem for the investor while others are simply a necessity to any business. Some will be FREE to use and some will require some investment to deliver the desired results. Although these apps are not the only ones of their kind, through feedback from other investors, research and personal business experience the following consistently rank as being essential to real estate investing:
GOOGLE G-SUITE (APPS 1-5)
Cost : Free, Basic($), Business($$), Entreprise($$$)
Google is well-known for being THE search engine to use and is even now a word in the Oxford dictionary meaning to “search for information about (someone or something) on the Internet.”
We will assume that most individuals will be familiar with email or Gmail, however many are not aware that when they create an email account, a FREE G-Suite account is created. This Suite of products includes other highly beneficial apps such as: Document Storage (Google Drive), Calendar (Google Calendar), Note-Taking (Google Keep), Video Conferencing (Google Hangout) and even Phone Services (Google Voice).
These apps take up spots 1-5 simply because they allow any investor to have a host of Business Services crucial to investing via mobile or web with ease.
Purpose: Email Communication
This seems like a no-brainer and we assume most will already have this app or service however, email is essential in the communication between lenders, contractors, agents, and property managers. Free and easy to configure, this should be the first stop for an investor. It is highly recommended to create a separate email, instead of using a personal email, for real estate business and transactions.
The FREE account will have the @gmail.com domain name in the email however for those interested in a professional look or building a business, one can upgrade the account and register a “@domain.com” of their choice.
TIP: Create filters to forward emails to other accounts or move emails to specific folders. Tag/Label emails with categories to quickly find new deals, from brokers, hitting the inbox as well as prioritizing follow-up communication or work.
2. GOOGLE DRIVE
Purpose: File Storage / File Sharing
Google Drive is another feature of the FREE G-Suite which provides 15GB of free cloud storage. Investing in real estate comes with a multitude of documents related to offer contracts, closing documents, scope of works for contractors, receipts for tax documentation, tenant leases, etc. Being able to store such documentation in organized format is paramount for any reference or even tax audits.
Cloud storage from Google Drive, allows one to easily link existing stored documents into emails and easily “share” such documents or even file folders to other external emails or partners with a simple right-click. With the mobile app, one can easily browse documents and even upload directly using apps such as JotNot Pro, more to come later on this highly useful app.
TIP: Create an organized directory of folders in Google Drive representing a property acquisitions workflow, ie. Acquisitions, Property Management, Construction, Finance, Legal. Right Click and “Star” the folders you will need quick access to so they are first on the list in mobile and web.
3. GOOGLE CALENDAR
Purpose: Schedule Time Blocks, Events, Reminders
As renowned author, Michael Hyatt said, “What gets scheduled gets done.” The Google Calendar allows anyone to schedule events, create repeated time blocks on the calendar for deep project work and set up reminders with ease.
There are many calendar apps out there however, Google Calendar integrates well with other apps such as “Teamup” or “Calendly”, more to come on this app, allowing other partners or team members to pick times on an investors calendar.
TIP: On your mobile device, make the Google Calendar account your default calendar with preferred event type settings. This allows you to quickly add reminders, make events at meetups and even create calendar events using Siri or voice commands. Major Time saver!
4. GOOGLE HANGOUTS MEET/ GOOGLE VOICE
Purpose: Video/Phone Conferencing/Voice
We’ve combined both Google Hangouts Meet and Google Voice as they fall under the voice/video communication service.
The Google Hangouts Meet app on mobile or the Google Hangouts Meet link on the web will allow for video conferencing and actually talking face-to-face with investors and partners. Most investors immediately buy Zoom, another video conferencing app, however, we advise looking into the FREE Google Hangouts Meet to see if Zoom is needed right away.
Google Voice is another great feature allowing an investor to have a phone number in the location of their choosing to which they can share with others. This phone number can forward directly to their personal number and give some additional privacy or flexibility if a personal number ever does change.
TIP: Ensure that your Google Voice has a recorded voicemail and set up times of availability within Google Voice. Additionally, download the mobile Google Voice app which allows for texting.
5. GOOGLE KEEP
Purpose: Note-Taking / Tasks / Checklists
Last on the list for G-Suite is Google Keep. This app allows for an investor to create notes, checklists, and tasks.
Visually resembling colorful sticky notes or blocks, information can be categorized by Type or even Days of the Week with options to “PIN” certain blocks or notes so these are always front and center. Voice commands are available from Mobile to create notes directly by voice. Note blocks can be drawings/pictures, checklists or simple text.
TIP: Create Five Note Blocks, Monday through Friday and set as Checklist mode. This allows for quickly adding tasks to complete and plan the week on the go for the days of the week.
6. JOTNOT – THE MOBILE SCANNER
Purpose: Scan Anything via Mobile
Cost: Free, Paid($)
For any investor, document and receipt management quickly becomes a topic of concern. Without a system of digitizing documents or items of record, papers and receipts will begin to stack in corners throughout the house making tax time and document retrieval a nightmare. On top of it, finding a fax or scanner for sending documents to lenders, property managers or contractors can be difficult while on the go.
JotNot to the Rescue! Available on iOS and Android currently, this app downloads to a mobile device and allows the user to “Scan” any document from a hand-held device easily. The scanned document can then easily be stored in the Cloud (Google Drive/iCloud) or even sent by email to a lender, agent or property manager for closing on a property. Physically sign, scan and email a document to anyone in less than 5 minutes.
7. JOTNOT SIGNATURE – THE MOBILE SIGNER
Purpose: Sign Anything via Mobile
Cost: Free, Paid($)
Signing documents manually means finding a printer, printing the documents, signing the documents, scanning the documents and finally sending it to the recipient. With the previous app, Jotnot Pro, the scan/email step is simplified however the smart investor can take it one more step.
JotNot Signature, an App available on iOS and Android, an investor can open a document from Email and sign directly on a mobile device. With pre-saved signature types and text insert-able options, a document can be easily signed and sent back to the sender without ever printing anything.
Purpose: Digitizing Business Cards
Cost: Free, Paid($)
Your Network is Your Net worth. This is a common phrase in the real estate investing space and one that is all too true. With this in mind, an investor should/will meet a high number of contacts and in doing so begin to collect a high number of business cards through meetups, conferences, and meetings.
CamCard allows an investor to easily scan business cards with their mobile phone and store such business cards directly in a database. These cards or contacts can then be exported into an Excel or CSV file and uploaded into contact databases for Mailchimp, Google Contacts or more.
By digitizing high quality leads from collected business cards, follow up emails or actions are more likely to take place thus adding much more value to the business card or contact.
TIP: Create groups in CamCard based on the contact type such as Investor, Partner, Vendor, etc. This allows for easily following up at a later date with an email template in your Gmail suited for this contact type.
Purpose: Availability Sharing
Cost : Free, Paid($)
This app is highly useful for sharing time availability with partners or team members. With a simple link included in emails, an investor can offer up available times for a call or event with the recipient. The FREE version allows for scheduling 15-minute events with greater options available in the paid version.
The app connects with a Google Calendar and only shares times that are available as per the Calendar and the availability settings set on the Calendly app. For those investors looking to collaborate and avoid the back-and-forth in emails deciding which time is best for two parties, this app is a game-changer.
TIP: Select your event type location in the Calendly event as Google Meet / Hangouts and the Calendly app will send the link/dial-in number along with your event to the recipient.
Purpose: Project Management, Data Warehouse
Cost: Free, Plus($), Pro ($$), Entreprise ($$$)
This app can have a steep learning curve as it is highly customizable, however, it offers a single location to store information in an evolving database/massive spreadsheet.
We are including here at spot ten because at a base FREE level, it offers an amazing amount of value for an investor to simply track properties, property statuses, insurance policy numbers, process checklists, investment goals, contact information, expense trackers, etc with much more visual appeal then Google sheets or Excel.
The FREE version offers allows you to create up to 1200 records(Excel type rows) per base, a grouping of records. Additionally, you can share your bases with as many collaborators as you want, or other email invitees. *The Mobile App is not easy to use as of the time of this article however still offers great value for referencing data while on the go.
TIP: Watch the Airtable Tutorials and use the provided base templates to get started. Start with simple process checklists and property information.
The above are some key apps that will benefit any investor. As an investor’s portfolio and team grows, new apps will replace or complement the above. In addition, there a variety of competing applications with the previously listed apps in this article and we advise selecting those that best meet an investor’s goal, budget, and preference. In a follow-up article, we will offer 10 Business Apps for the “More” experienced investor or investing business/team. We invite you to visit Valkere Investment Group as well for additional weekly real estate content for the W-2/military/veteran investor. Until then, Invest Smart!