Over the past decade, some incredible tools have become available through new online technologies, some even catering to the real estate industry itself. I wanted to share some of these different types of tools that have impacted my business and can help other investors become more productive in their own real estate ventures.
All the Tools!!
- Google Apps Suite – Create, modify, collect, analyze and present your data
Google has created some of the most cutting edge internet technologies since it’s inception. The main tools from their apps suite includes Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, Drive, Hangouts and of course Gmail. All of these tools are free to use and closely mirrors what Microsoft office offers for quick word processing, data analytics, giving presentations, and collecting data.
- Namecheap – Website Hosting Company
Do you use GoDaddy for your website hosting? YUCK, time to make a change…. Namecheap has been around since 2000, but their name didn’t become majorly popular until a few years back. I transferred a bunch of my websites over to them due to them offering some of the cheapest yet best quality web hosting service online. Now, I almost entirely use their platform for web hosting and security of my personal websites and my client’s websites.
- 2Mhost– Website Hosting Company
2Mhost was the first web hosting company I ever used. I still have a few sites on their service and they have been great ever since the beginning. They offer some of the cheapest hosting online for beginners and those who want to create simple websites. Great customer service as well. Not much different than Namecheap; both are great options. I just prefer Namecheap’s visual dashboard layout.
- WordPress – Content Management System (Framework for your Website)
Wordpress is a framework for building websites. Think of it as the frame of a house. It defines how you can build out the rest of your art. It’s geared towards beginners and intermediates, or those that want to get a site up and running quickly. There are numerous tools and templates already available for WordPress and the support community is massive. I would definitely recommend starting here for your first website or blog.
- Paint.Net – Graphic and photo editor
This is a great software tool for simple edits of pictures, logos, and other digital designs. The best part is that it is completely free and offers way more functionality than paint in windows. It’s certainly not Adobe Photoshop, but it’s definitely something I’ve used over the years for quick edits and has been incredibly useful.
- IFTTT – Automated Tasks
If this then that, is a service that connects numerous web technologies together in order to automate different aspects of your life and business. Examples could range from automatically notifying yourself every time a new craigslist ad of interest is posted, to automating an online marketing campaign for thousands of leads or subscribers. It’s a really powerful for connecting your favorite apps. It has a little bit of a learning curve to it, but massively helpful.
- Zapier – Workflow Automation (More advanced tasks)
Zapier is a step up from IFTTT. It is a much more advanced business automation service that can handle many more connected apps and triggers to do almost anything you need without writing a single line of code. One of their applications that I have grown very fond of is their email parser which is not a simple feat to create. It can learn what information you need from an email and pick out keywords that help you make better decisions in investing, analyzing, screening, and really any other data intensive task. You’re allowed to create 5 “zaps” for free, after that you have to pay for a premium account.
- MailChimp– Email Marketing and Auto-Responder
MailChimp is my best friend when it comes to advertising and marketing campaigns. This tool allows you to build massive subscriber lists as well as send newsletters, blog posts, premium products, and other content in whatever format you heart desires. Very easy to use tools and integrated wonderfully with other apps online.
- Fiverr – Digital Marketplace
Great resource for digital services. Need a logo designed? Data entry? Other menial tasks? Jump on Fiverr and leverage the digital freelancers. I’ve used the site extensively for marketing and copy-writing. Great quality as well which is hard to come by sometimes for such low prices.
- AdWords – Online Advertising
AdWords is probably the best resource for advertising online, mainly because it’s owned by Google themselves. You can create campaigns that help your audience reach your site and give more visibility to your content.
- Trello – Organization/Productivity App
Trello has been my favorite productivity app for a long time now. It features a Kan-Ban system that helps you organize basically anything into “To-Do”, “Doing”, and “Done” sections like you maybe would on a whiteboard. Trello has some crazy integrations or “power ups” that you can enable to connect your other favorite apps as well which makes it extremely versatile. And if the power-ups aren’t enough, Trello also offers their own API for developers if you have an itch to write some of your own code for added functionality.
- Zillow – Real Estate Data
If you’re in real estate, or you’ve searched for a home in the past 10 years, you’ve undoubtedly heard about Zillow. But I wanted to highlight some other tools they give you as well. Zillow offers their own Rental Manager portal that lets you market your vacant units. It also keeps track of any leads that come in and you can even set auto responses. Pretty essential for any landlord to use this free service.
- Zoho – Business Operating System
Zoho is a huge productivity suite that features many different cloud technologies that help with accounting, lead management, building custom applications, collaboration, etc.. It’s a massive suite of tools and I definitely recommend to check it out. There may be a tool that can replace a certain aspect of your workflow with ease. I primarily use their Creator workbench which reduces the time needed to develop my own business software.
- BiggerPockets – Real Estate Investing Forums, Networking and other Resources
One of the best online sites for real estate investing, and subsequently where I first really started getting involved in real estate. The founder Josh Dorkin, created the site to help the average Joe get started in real estate investing by developing a community without any pitchy salesmen or gurus trying to get you to buy their $10,000 “product”. They have forums, analysis tools, a marketplace, and just about any other real estate investing resource you can think of.
- Meetup.com – Community Groups and REI Events
More of a logistical platform for group events and meetups. Great community builder and a place to connect strangers with similar passions/interests.
- Facebook – Community Networking and Groups
At this point, over 1.8 Billion people log onto Facebook every month to scroll through their news feed and look at funny pictures of cats. But what many users don’t know about or use is the insanely powerful marketing tools that are available on Facebook as a platform. There are pages, groups, targeted ad campaigns, rating systems, file sharing, etc.. I mean I could keep going, but I think it’s important for small businesses to really expand their potential on this platform if they aren’t already. There are thousands of real estate & investment groups created on Facebook as well, are you taking advantage of them?
- Google Voice – Free phone number and voicemail
Free phone number and voicemail service by Google. The app also transcribes voicemail for you for easy reading and information gathering. You can connect a bunch of phones to a single number and have them all ring simultaneously when someone calls. Great setup for a real estate agency or other sales team.
- Dropbox – Online File Storage
One of the best online cloud storage companies. Their app makes storing your data seamless in the cloud for whenever you need it. I’ve been a customer of theirs since their early days and have had no issues with data or customer service. They offer a free account option with 5 GB of data, or if you’re in need of a little more space, $99/yr for 1TB which is a pretty good deal.
- Google Drive – Online File Storage
Another cloud storage service, offered by Google. They offer you a little bit more free storage than Dropbox at 25GB. It integrates easily with Google’s other applications which makes sharing and editing files extremely simple.
- HelloSign – Electronic Signatures for contracts
Digital signatures are taking over the legally binding landscape of contracts and other formal documentation. HelloSign is a premium service that makes it really easy to electronically sign documents and share them with vendors, contractors, agents and anyone else you have to sign off paperwork with. I’ve used it quite a fair bit and it integrates extremely well with other applications, specifically Google apps. They also offer their own API to develop with your own software.
I hope some of these can help the less tech savvy investors systematize their own business, they certainly have helped me over the years. As I make more posts here on the blog, I’m sure these tools will be covered more in depth. If you have any in particular you want to hear more about, certainly leave a comment and I’ll put it towards the top of my list!