When I was 19 years old, I bought my first rental property. At that age, I had a lot to learn and teach myself as I started managing my first property. Eventually, I was able to grow my investment into an actual business and leave a corporate job to co-found Influence & Co., and I still own and manage quite a few properties today.
As an entrepreneur, I’m asked more about my investments in real estate than almost any other question because other entrepreneurs love to know about areas of passive income they can look into to hedge against the entrepreneurial risks they take.
Last year, house flipping hit a decade high. More and more people continue to invest in real estate, and it’s becoming increasingly challenging to find a profitable real estate deal before the next investor pounces on it first.
That’s why the most successful investors are pairing technology with what they do best to help find the best new opportunities. With the market getting more crowded, the right technology allows people to amplify their results. Here are seven companies that are shaking up the real estate industry with technology:
When you’re buying a property, bidding against other investors drives up the price you pay. One of my past employees and another I’ve worked with started DealMachine, where you can buy properties nobody else knows are for sale. I might be biased because I knew these two well (and they’re now clients of ours), but this app was something I needed, as I always looking at properties that were off the market but still could be a good deal. Use the app to take a picture of any house, and it instantly provides owner information and sends the picture to the owner in the mail with your offer to buy the property. Not all owners will accept your offer, but the app follows up automatically until they respond.
Real estate has always been a relationship-based business, but today, building your brand and growing your online presence is just as important as your ability to personally connect. Carrot is a fast-growing provider of websites for real estate investors and agents. For a small monthly fee, you can set up a website optimized to collect the right kind of seller and buyer leads for your business. The website copy and design are done for you, so you can focus your time and effort on closing more deals, not getting your website up and running.
The No. 1 question I hear from new investors is: “Is this a good deal?” The money is made when you buy at a good price, but it’s so easy to lose money on a renovation, so working with contractors and estimating repair costs are just as critical. If your construction project runs over budget, you’ll lose your profits quickly, even if you bought a house at a great price. DealCheck makes it easy to estimate repair costs and quickly forecast profits on a particular deal. It’s also great for analyzing rentals and commercial buildings. Plug in loan terms, purchase price, rental income, and more to see your ROI or monthly cash flow in less than a minute.
HouseCanary is like Zillow for investors. It shows all the properties that are currently on the market, but what makes it unique is that it adds data pertinent for buying a property as an investment. That’ll save you time and money because it puts the data you need to make a smart investment right at your fingertips. HouseCanary lets investors filter all properties on the market to quickly see which would make the most profitable rental. There’s also an off-market search function to see what areas of your city have the most profitable rentals.
Behind nearly every great sales team is a common tool: a customer relationship management system. Real estate investing is no different. Investors are responsible for building and nurturing relationships with people until they are eventually ready to sell their homes. A common mistake a lot of investors make is not following up with their leads enough, which makes it difficult for an investor to be top of mind with those leads whenever they are ready to sell.
In my book, “Top of Mind,” I talk about the value of being the first person someone in your audience thinks of when he or she is ready to make a decision — in this case, deciding to sell. You can only do that by nurturing the relationship and building trust. Most CRM systems allow you to set reminders and automate outreach for nurture, but REIPro is specifically built with investors in mind.
6. Call Porter
Answering your phone when a customer calls is critical. Unfortunately, that’s just not always possible, which is why Call Porter will answer your phones for you. It’s specially trained to serve investors and set up appointments. A secret to its process is proprietary software that recognizes who’s calling, so your leads always get a personalized experience on the phone. You can also log in to the software and hear a recording of the calls for all of your properties.
If you want to invest in rental properties but don’t want to worry about finding new tenants, Roofstock may be the answer. Roofstock is a marketplace for buying cash-flowing properties without disrupting tenant occupancy. This can be especially helpful for people who want to invest out of state where they can’t manage properties themselves.
This article was written by John Hall from Forbes