One of the things that real estate investors get overwhelmed with is organizing their business for better productivity; which tools, equipment and set up should they have in their real estate office.
Over the years, what has helped me in growing my real estate investing business is keeping things simple. I am also a very visual person, so having easy access to my information, properties and data has been very important – especially having everything laid out in front of me.
Organization Made Easy
The following tips are from my own personal experiences with keeping my real estate business better organized:
1. Large Dry Erase Board – I like the one with lines and columns on the second half, like a ‘chore board.’ You can create your own: see this image. This board is very useful to everything in front of you about the properties that you have under contract.
Try using one line for each property, and check mark under each column as you proceed along with the deal. Column headings could be: A-B Contract, Purchase Price, Selling Price, Marketing-Week 1, Marketing-Week 2, B-C Contract, Title Co., Closing Date.
2. Filing System – Before going digital, I used to file every contract from pending to sold and even rejected (deals might come back at a later date, so I like to keep record of what I had offered.) Nowadays you can store all the contracts and paperwork digitally. With Dotloop, Docusign, Evernote, and Google Drive you can cut down your filing cabinet to a small filing drawer.
3. Computer and Printer – You definitely need these 2 pieces of equipment. You will use the computer for many things – from looking for properties to preparing and emailing contracts, analyzing deals with a spreadsheet and software tools or apps.
A printer is necessary to print out contracts if you have to personally meet up with the seller or buyer or for creating direct marketing campaigns. Also make sure the equipment you purchase has a built-in scanner, so you can scan your documents and send them via email or store them digitally as outlined in paragraph #2 above.
4. Color Coded File Folders and Stand – In order to keep everything very visual, I like to keep important things in front of me and accessible. I prefer to organize my properties and leads in color-coded file folders, and I also the files I am working on in a special stand next to my desk like the one in this picture.
5. Agenda – I know that there are several online apps and various software with which to organize ‘To Do’ lists and calendars. I like the agenda, with a month-at-a-glance and then broken down in days with notes space on the side. I can use different colors to differentiate tasks (from urgent to routine) and plan ahead.
6. Shredder – In the real estate business you are going to be working with a lot of sensitive and personal information; sellers’ names, addresses, financial data, etc. You definitely need to dispose of this information safely by shredding any physical paperwork.
7. Briefcase and Mobile Office – As a real estate professional, you will spend a lot of time in the field and driving in your car. It is a good idea to have a briefcase ready to go, with all the essentials like blank sale contracts, pens, paper clips and envelopes. I went as far as buying a portable printer so that I can print, scan and fax contracts ‘on the go.’ And, of course you’ll want a laptop or a tablet such as iPad.
Organization is a priority, but also a very personal task. You have to find out what works for you. In any case, being organized is a critical part of running any business, especially one like real estate (where you have a lot of paperwork and different deals going at the same time) – and it is essential to becoming more efficient and less overwhelmed.