Two of the Best New Real Estate Tools of 2016 (So Far)
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As a real estate investor and sharing economy enthusiast, I am always on the lookout for innovative tools that will help me out in my business. These can be real estate tools that generate leads, fill vacancies, free up my time, or create automated systems. Just hearing the words “automated systems” gets me excited!
I am thankful for the community here at BiggerPockets. Over the years, the wealth of knowledge I’ve gained has been game-changing. So, today I want to give back and share two of my new favorite tools that help me fill vacancies and free up time.
Tansler is a rising star in the sharing economy space that is similar to Airbnb, but has one unique tweak that sets it apart from the home sharing herd. Secondly, I’ve discussed WeGoLook here in the past briefly, but today I want to delve deeper into its applicability to real estate agents and investors alike.
1. Tansler: Home-Sharing With a Twist
I came across Tansler from one of my community members, Mikey Carter (no relation!).
“Hey Glenn, have you heard of Tansler?”
“What’s a Tansler?” I responded.
“I’ve been using it for a few months now. It’s a home-sharing platform, similar to Airbnb, where you list your vacation property in a reverse-auction format,” Mikey responded.
Related: 6 Up-to-Date Marketing Techniques to Help Get Your Properties Noticed
OK, sounds cool, but I was still a little confused, so I did some digging. And no, a reverse-auction isn’t a sick skateboarding trick. Moving on.
Tansler, an anagram of “rentals,” is a new sharing economy platform that allows short-term rental owners to find new renters and fill vacancies in a unique format. According to Fast Company, Tansler is the “Priceline meets Airbnb” of home-sharing.
Following a super easy sign-up process that I went through myself, here’s how the Tansler process works:
- Prospective renters name the price they would like to pay per night.
- Renters choose as many properties as they are interested in staying in.
- These offers are sent to the hosts of the selected properties, creating an auction.
- The first host to accept the offer wins the stay and ends the auction.
- The auction expires after 24 hours if no host accepts the offer.
I know what you’re thinking: “I am not going to let some random pick a price to stay at my property. Then I’d be losing money.” Well, two things: 1. You’d be losing money anyway with vacancies, and 2. You don’t have to accept the price offered by the prospective tenant. Simple as that.
Tansler charges a flat 3% fee to owners, but handles all the payment processing and pays owners within 48 hours of accepting an offer.
Mikey continued, “Tansler gives me the flexibility and option of filling vacancies in my Airbnb calendar.” OK, Mikey, give us some concrete numbers.
“My average annual occupancy rate listing on VRBO (to learn more about how to rent your place and list for free on VRBO, click here) and Airbnb was 70%.” Mike continued, “After listing on Tansler, that jumped to 88% in just two months, which accounts for an extra $3,672 of annual income.”
In a crowded sharing economy landscape, Tansler sticks out as a unique business model by allowing real estate investors, short-term rental owners, and Airbnb hosts to quickly fill vacancies. They do this by empowering prospective renters to choose a price.
And apparently business is going well for Tansler, which now has over 50,000 properties and is growing fast. Tansler has also partnered with a number of property management systems and leading listing sites, like Homeaway (click here to list your place for free on HomeAway—only pay when you get a booking)/VRBO.
As a real estate investor and Airbnb host, I am always on the lookout for new tools. When I come across a new service like Tansler, my thought is always “why not give it a try?” At the end of the day, I have the final say in who stays at my properties and when. Tansler simply expands my potential client base.
*Glenn enters room with a large wooden gavel*
“I have sharing economy innovation going once, twice, SOLD! To Tansler for their reverse-auction business model.”
Sorry, everyone! I couldn’t help myself.
According to their website, any host who lists with Tansler gets a $75 travel credit. Much like other home-sharing sites, they offer a referral program, where when your referral travels on Tansler, you both are given a $25 travel credit. Or if your referral lists a property, you both get a $75 travel credit.
That’s enough about home-sharing for now. Let’s move on to my next favorite real estate tool of 2016.
2. What is WeGoLook and why Should YouGoCare?
In its purest form, WeGoLook is a sharing economy platform that helps protect online buyers. WeGoLook connects patrons with “Lookers” who are dispatched to examine assets and verify claims made by sellers.
Lookers take pictures, videos, and collect specified data about the object or property. Ultimately, the potential buyer will receive a nicely packaged report. See here for a sample property report.
Related: 7 Smart Home Gadgets Landlords Should Consider for a Sought-After Rental
WeGoLook does inspections, or what they call “Looks,” of cars, boats, auction items, and other fun stuff — but the most important for us is, of course, real estate and property. This includes rentals, commercial, vacant land, residential, and more.
WeGoLook for Investors
Many real estate investors get their start by investing in their immediate area. As they get more comfortable investing and acquire more properties, they will sometimes branch off into other — often more profitable — markets.
These markets, however, can be hundreds or even thousands of miles away. I can certainly relate to this when I purchased Florida property all the way from Montreal. It is challenging to buy properties in other markets — you have to set aside time to travel there, view things, and hope that everything works out.
You wouldn’t want to drive 300 miles to have a canceled appointment. Yes, I am speaking from experience. Thanks a lot, Charlie from Toronto! Moving on.
No one would ever argue that you should buy sight-unseen or view in person all the potential deals you are currently working on. In this sense, WeGoLook can be your middle ground. For deals that fit your investing criteria, the next step could be a WeGoLook inspection. For little investment, this can be the next step before you spend valuable time to view something in person.
Lookers will take detailed notes and pictures of the property you’re interested in and can confirm that the seller has nothing to hide. They act as your eyes and ears while investigating your new-found deal. On top of pictures, they’re able to detect and report things that pictures sometimes can’t convey — such as noise, smells, current condition, and adjacent property information.
For those who I speak with who have used WeGoLook, the price has been $69 for a basic property report. Not bad, and the investors I speak to consider it a steal, as it’s an insurance and time-saving tool.
I spoke with Robert this week, a WeGoLook user and a member of my community. Robert completes his deal analysis and schedules WeGoLook Looks on his top three properties. Then, based on the WeGoLook reports, Robert will travel to the best deal. I admire Robert’s triage system for finding deals.
In this sense, WeGoLook can be your peace of mind. You’ve found a deal, completed your analysis, and obtained a successful WeGoLook “Look.” Should the inspection report indicate any worrisome facts about the property, then you move on. You just saved yourself a day of driving!
A final point to consider is the use of WeGoLook Lookers for non-traditional purposes. This can include verification of damage during tenant turnover or even storm damage for out-of-town property owners. Lookers can also meet a contractor, plumber, delivery person, utility services, and more at a property on behalf of the owner. So many options!
WeGoLook: Possible Side Income for Budding Real Estate Investors
For those just starting out in real estate investing, WeGoLook can be equally as useful. Instead of hiring a Looker, you can become one. If you’re already out on the road a lot, this could be a great supplemental income option.
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Take John, for instance. John is a Looker in the blooming metropolis of Oklahoma City. He joined the WeGoLook team as a Looker back in 2014. John put aside his earnings from each Look and used them to pay for closing costs on his first condo.
Two years later, John no longer does the Looks himself, but now uses Lookers in other cities to help expand his real estate empire!
Being a Looker can be useful for your professional future in real estate, too. While you may not be a bona fide home inspector, you will have a heightened awareness of what to look for in a property. You’ll be like the Nancy Drew of the real estate world — finding clues to make sure you’re not buying a lemon.
So whether it’s tasking Lookers to inspect a property or doing the looking yourself as an extra source of cash flow, WeGoLook and real estate go together like cookies and milk. Or PB&J, the only thing equally as delicious as automated systems. So if you’re ready to get your piece of the action, check out WeGoLook, one of my favorite tools of 2016.
There you have it folks — my two favorite real estate tools so far of 2016. Now it’s your turn.
What new tool has helped you out in your real estate business so far in 2016?
Please share with the BiggerPockets community below.