Technology is changing the way just about every industry operates and that includes real estate and real estate investing. While the industry remains reliant on market factors and the needs of buyers, technological advances are changing the way that business gets done and opportunities are discovered. It has affected all facets of the industry, from buyers to sellers to real estate agents to real estate investors.
“You’re always going to want to put the most important decisions in the hands of people,” says Zach Tetley, co-owner of Nexus Homebuyers. “Real estate investing has been changed for the better by technology but ultimately it remains a people-first industry.”
So while technology had advanced and improved many of the processes involved, there’s still a reliance on smart people doing what they know how to do to improve their business and provide great value for their clients. Technology isn’t here to disrupt the business, it’s here to make things easier.
For real estate investors, new technologies are tools that you can use when trying to find new properties and find new homeowners that are looking for the services you provide. Let’s take a closer look at some of the ways real estate investors are using technology to help homeowners.
Searching for Property
It used to be that if you needed to find out the value of a property, you’d have to enlist an expert to help you figure out comparative home sales and work out when properties might become available in any given area. These days, all of that information is available at your fingertips. With a few clicks, you’re able to find out property values, comparable home values, local home sale figures, and market trends.
Finding an individual property is also easier than ever thanks to technology. Take your pick of real estate websites that are gathering tons of data on homes, neighborhoods, and cities. Want to research what the FSBO (for sale by owner) market looks like? Head to FSBO or Craigslist and scour the listings. Want to see the kinds of properties that people are using as short-term rentals? Check out the local listings on Airbnb and VRBO. Want to dig deeper into home values and property values? You’ll find so much info on sites like Zillow, Redfin, and Neighborhoods.com. And that’s before you get into expert resources that dig even deeper.
Of course, you can’t take all of this information as gospel and some of it is based on company estimates, but it’s a great way for real estate investors to get what they need so they can identify trends and help homeowners in those neighborhoods and communities.
Back in the day, you kept track of leads using a ledger, a notebook, or perhaps even some notes are strewn across your desk. We suppose you could continue doing that, but why make a mess when you can leverage technology to create clean spreadsheets that interact with other programs in order to help you stay at the forefront with hot prospects and burgeoning trends?
Even a simple CRM (Customer relationship management) tool gives you such a leg-up over anyone who is still working in the stone ages. CRMs help you manage your relationships, customer interactions, and potential customers. The idea is that by leveraging a CRM, you’re able to improve your relationships and grow your business faster, which in turn helps you to help more homeowners achieve what they want.
A good CRM will connect all the arms of your real estate investment business, from contacts to sales to productivity and so much more. You can watch the entire customer flow happen across a CRM, which makes it that much easier to step in when things need a push and know when a problem has been avoided. It also helps you to focus more on the people in the center of this whole business. You can see where every lead is in the process at any given time, making it easier to identify how to help them. Plus, it’s a great tool for finding new customers and providing support in ways you didn’t know were possible.
Improve Direct Mail
Direct mail has long been a lifeblood for real estate investors looking to identify new leads and reach out to potential customers who weren’t aware of the opportunities available to them. The days of having a paper list of all your leads sitting on your desk are over. List providers make it easy to accumulate leads quickly and there are tons of programs available to you to help you mail out your information on a consistent schedule to them.
Technology allows you to create custom delivery schedules based on lead reactions and flowcharts. You can schedule mailers to go out at specific times or based on specific numbers. Being able to match your budgets and goals against your direct mail lists allows for faster and smarter decisions.
Also, because you’re trying to generate new leads, technology makes it a lot easier to identify them. Whether you want to look through eviction records, pre-foreclosure cases, expired listings, or tax delinquency, there are ways to find out about these leads online rather than having to scour records books in government offices.
Managing Buyer Lists
In order to flip a contract, a wholesaler needs investors. But if you’ve ever tried to go looking for new cash buyers every time you find yourself with a new property under contract, you know that it can be a fool’s errand. Instead of wasting time, energy, and resources hoping for the best on cold calls and showing up at offices, you can use technology to build a list of credible buyers who are already interested in looking at and buying a distressed property. Whether it’s a spreadsheet on your computer or a fancy program that houses all the information, you can search and sort your potential buyers based on interest levels, financial capabilities, and so many other categories.
Like anything else, if you put in the work upfront to build the list, you can store it safely online and never have to worry about scouring when the moment comes. Lean on the technology that’s available to you to make your life so much easier. And then when the time comes, just mail merge or BCC everyone who makes sense into an email and see what comes back.
Asset Management & Tenant Relations
Technology doesn’t just help you to identify potential new customers, it’s also helping real estate investors to make life easier for their tenants and to streamline the communication process between the two.
Apartment management software makes it a snap for your entire process to take place online. You don’t even need to actually interact with potential tenants until it comes time to sign the lease, and even then you could do everything online if needed. There are various web programs that allow tenants to lease apartments through your website, make payments online, submit repair requests via message, etc.
Not only does it make everything easy for all parties but it streamlines where all of the information gets sent to, so you never have to go searching. And think of how much easier that makes your life when you’re managing multiple properties?
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