Real Estate Rookie Podcast

Rookie Podcast 54: Rookie Reply: The BEST Apps for Real Estate Investors

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This week’s topic comes from our hosts, Ashley and Tony. They’ve heard many rookies ask the same question: what are the BEST real estate apps to have? Well, Ashley and Tony have rounded up their favorite apps and created a list so you and your partners can invest more successfully and with less headache!

Ashley and Tony break down some of the best apps that they use in their real estate investment careers. Here are some of their suggestions:

  • Stessa: Manage the accounting and documents of a property
  • Propstream: An easy way to get lists for off-market deals
  • Wrike: Project management made easy
  • Dealcheck: Run your numbers quicker 
  • Google Voice: Keep your tenants and vendors off your personal cell phone with a FREE business number
  • Everlance: Mileage tracking for business traveling
  • And More!

If you want Ashley and Tony to answer a real estate question, you can post in the Real Estate Rookie Facebook Group! Or, call us at the Rookie Request Line (1-888-5-ROOKIE)

Listen to the Podcast Here

Read the Transcript Here

Ashley:
This is Real Estate Rookie Show number 54.
My name is Ashley Kehr, and I’m here today with Tony Robinson, my wonderful cohost. And we are back with another Saturday episode, and this time we picked the topic. This is something we’ve actually both been asked about, especially on Instagram, when we’ve posted about different apps that we use and different ways that we run our businesses. So we’re going to kind of break down some of the apps we use for finding deals, and then also some that help us manage and put systems in place and keep our businesses organized.
So, Tony, what is the first app you want to introduce us to today?

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Tony:
Yeah, and I guess I’ll just start by saying it’s so cool that there’s so much technology out there now that simplifies a lot of the things that I’m sure took real estate investors five, 10 years ago, so much time. So, we’re living in the best time ever to be a real estate investor.
But some ones that I really enjoyed, I'm using Stessa obviously, and we've talked about this a lot before Ashley, but that helps me a ton just keep track of all of my income expenses related to my properties. And you called out that it's cool for that piece, but you can also store all of the documents associated with your property. So for me, I don't have leases on most of my properties anymore because I'm doing short term rentals. But my closing disclosures, my settlement statements, anything that I might need to go back and reference, my insurance policies and just everything relates to the property I keep in there as well. But it's free. It's super intuitive. Ashley, I know you're an accountant, so you can get super sophisticated with QuickBooks, but for me, I go in there and I don't know which way is up. So having Stessa kind of already built out and tailored just to an investor has been super helpful for me.

Ashley:
Yeah. I like to call it a dashboard for real estate investors. So you can also import your data from some property management software too. I believe they sync with Propertyware and AppFolio. So if you have property management, you can just pull those reports right into your dashboard and it is free to use. And then there's, I think you can pay to get your cash-on-cash return each month, and different numbers that they'll analyze for you.
But I want to say real quick is that none of this is sponsored. These are all just things that Tony and I have personally used and that we recommend to you. So there may be a ton of other great apps out there, but these are just the ones that we have personally used in our day-to-day businesses, or that we have tried out. Maybe not exactly used it, but we have sampled it with a trial and liked it, but maybe it didn’t fit for us. But these are some of the things we really want to recommend to you guys.
Do you have another one to go along with that?

Tony:
Yeah, I guess two more really. So we get a lot of questions about how do you find your deals and where's the best place. So I actually did a direct mail campaign last summer, trying to find some off-market deals in Louisiana, where I was investing at the time. And the biggest part of doing an effective direct mail campaign is following up and keeping track of the folks that are reaching out to you once you send out your mailers. So I used Podio. I think it's free for most of the functionality, but it's really cool because you can customize Podio in so many different ways.
So anytime that someone called me, I had a Google form that I would open up and I had a bunch of pre-written questions. I type in all their responses that I was on the phone with them. And then this Google form would automatically create a record inside of Podio with all of that person’s information. And then if I want it to follow up with that person, there would be an automatic kind of task that was created in Podio to say follow up in X number of days. So, Podio was a really cool way for me to kind of, I guess, give it a shot at trying to do direct mail.

Ashley:
Yeah. And to kind of go along with deal finding, there's Deal Analysis. So another app you can use is DealCheck. So you can actually run your numbers right from your phone on the app. And a lot of times it will import information, if it's an MLS listing or maybe if it was previously listed on Zillow, and there is some information on there, you can put in the address and it'll pull that information from Zillow right into the app. So, that one is DealCheck. Then you can run your numbers quickly. Definitely verify your numbers and don't just go off Zillow numbers, but that's just something quick to do on the go if you want to get just an idea of maybe if this property is worth looking into a little more. And then once you've found a property or something, and I like this one doing, Driving For Dollars.
So you’re out looking at the apps, onX Hunt and LandGlide. So they are actual parcel viewers. So you can set it to your location and you can see the parcels around you, where the lot lines are. You can view the County taxes. A lot of times they link right to the County website that you can see who the owner is, and also the mailing address for them, if they’re not a state owner, if they live somewhere else or maybe they occupy the property. So I love those apps too.
They do have subscriptions with them, but the onX one is actually a hunting app. My dad actually showed it to me one time. My partner uses it too. And you can pinpoint the parcel lines, where your tree stands are and stuff like that. But I love it just for finding out information about property. And sometimes it will say when it last sold and how much it’s sold for. So I highly recommend that too. And on these apps, it will show a satellite view too. So you can also get the layout of the land, especially if you’re looking for vacant land or farm property or timber value, you can see how much of it is wooded, how much of it is field. So I always find that very interesting too.

Tony:
That’s a super Ninja one there, Ashley. So you said that it’s not even a real estate app, it’s truly just for hunting?

Ashley:
Yeah. I think the LandGlide one was built for real estate investors, but the onX Hunt was for hunters, so that when you’re hunting, if your deer goes onto someone else’s property, you know who to contact and you can look at the satellite view and see where to push the deer and all that stuff. Yeah.

Tony:
Yeah. That’s so cool. I love that. I guess one other one to kind of add on to that, right? Just in terms of getting information about property owners and things like that is PropStream. It is a little bit more expensive of a tool, but if you’re going to go really heavily into direct mail or just trying to reach out to sellers directly, PropStream is super invaluable. It gives you literally all the information about a property, who the owner is, the mortgage that was recently placed on there. It can estimate whether or not it’s vacant. Lets you know if it’s an owner occupied or if they’re out of state owners. So you could get so much information.
So if you’re trying to do these kinds of mass mailings or text campaigns to owners to find your own deals, PropStream is the absolute best place to go. And it also helps with analysis, because like Ashley said, sometimes you have to go to these different websites to try and figure out, what were the taxes and all these other things. And PropStream holds all of that information in there for you, and it does a phenomenal job. So I think you recently started using PropStream too, Ashley, right?

Ashley:
Yeah. I actually signed up for the seven day trial and that was kind of my disclaimer at the beginning. A couple of days from now, I’ll be a paid subscriber. But I’ve really enjoyed it so far, just the couple of days that I’ve used it. And it is, you get down a rabbit hole, just pulling the different reports and the list and finding out the information. Yeah.

Tony:
Oh, and I was just saying one of my big goals for 2021 is to try and start wholesaling. I really want to give it a shot of building out that other part of the real estate portfolio business. And I'm partnering with someone who I think will be better at the negotiation part than I will be, but I know I'm really good at the systems and the processes. So I think PropStream is going to play a big role in us building out that part of the business.

Ashley:
Yeah, definitely. I’m excited for you to do that, then I can learn off you how to wholesale. I’ve done one wholesale deal my whole life and it was kind of an accident, but…

Tony:
Yeah.

Ashley:
Another thing that I always harp on and stress on is your personal finances. I think it's important to have a strong foundation. You guys have all heard me say this a million, zillion times. So there's an app for that. Personal Capital can help you track your network and you can link your bank accounts, your mortgages, any other loans you have and then also link your assets. So your properties, they're put in a value or you can actually link the Zillow, which will give you the Zillow value, the Zestimate, which I really don't recommend doing because a lot of times they aren't very accurate. But that's another great app. Just so you can pull up in the morning, I have my investments connected on there and I can look at how my stocks are doing.
And I think it’s just so important for us as real estate investors, we have a business. We are business owners and just keeping an idea of how you are financially, whether it’s every week you’re looking at it, it’s so important, or every day. But yeah, Personal Capital is a really great app for that. So you have everything in one dashboard, can just view your finances, personal and in your business, right through the app. Tony, let’s talk about some that we use, some Google apps that we really like to use. The first one I like to recommend is Google Voice. So we both use that one. I used it when I did property management. That was the number that I set up that was connected right to my cell phone, so that residents, they would call that number instead of having my personal cell phone. And then if for some reason I was unavailable, I could transfer the app to my sister or someone else and they could take the calls for me, respond to messages. Tony, how are you using Google Voice right now?

Tony:
Yeah. Similar way. We use it in our short-term rental. So we give our guests that Google Voice phone number. And it’s also kind of cool because you can have them kind of say who they are before they’re calling, so you can kind of get a sense of what’s happening. Or sometimes if we’re busy, we can have it just auto set to go straight to voicemail. And then we get a transcribed text message of what that person said, so we can kind of know how to react or reach out to who we need to. So it kind of works for us. It’s like a filter between us and our guests to make sure that it’s a manageable process for us.

Ashley:
I can’t wait to do an episode on this short-term rentals and how you guys manage the short-term rentals and have those systems in place. I’ve heard a little bit here and there, but definitely want to do an episode on that soon. Are there any other ones you want to talk? So there’s Google Tasks, Google Calendar, Google Drive. The Google Drive, just access all of your information whenever you need it. I’ve loved that. And being able to share documents with other people too.

Tony:
I’m a really big systems guy. I like to try and keep things as organized as I can. So I really love a good project management software. And me and my team, we use Wrike. And Wrike is a really comprehensive project management platform. So we’ve got all of the marketing things that we’re doing are inside of Wrike. All of the property operations are inside of Wrike. We’ve got this really big templated project checklist on how to launch a new property on Airbnb. So all the steps we need to take and everything that happens. And it’s just a really cool way to make sure that we’re not forgetting anything as we move forward. And obviously, I’ve got my whole team in there, so we’re all kind of talking and working through it together. But if you haven’t used Wrike, they’ve got a really robust free version and even cooler kind of paid version. So I love that for project managers.

Ashley:
I’ve never heard of that one. How do you spell Wrike? Is it R-I -K-E?

Tony:
W-R-I-K-E.

Ashley:
Oh, okay.

Tony:
Yeah.

Ashley:
Okay, cool. I’ve used Asana before.

Tony:
Similar. I think Wrike is just a little bit more… It’s got a little bit more functionality than something like Asana, so I enjoy it.

Ashley:
Awesome. Were there any other ones you wanted to mention?

Tony:
I guess, just really quickly, we can talk in some of the short-term rental ones that I use. So I’ve said this a dozen times, where we use PriceLabs to help with our pricing strategy. And that one’s really cool, because it takes in a bunch of data from all of the Airbnb listings that are similar to yours. And it kind of gives you an estimation of what your prices should be based on a bunch of different factors, occupancy, seasonality, demand. And it kind of helps you automate that process. And you can get really, really specific with how you want your pricing to work. So if I have a vacant day and it’s within the next seven days, it can really dramatically drop the price just to make sure that I can get someone in there. So there’s a lot of cool features that come with that. And then we also use Smartbnb as our kind of project management software. That handles a lot of the automated guest communication. It links all of our calendars between the different platforms. So those two are my go-to to run the short-term rental business.

Ashley:
That's awesome. The last two that I want to mention, I guess, is just having a Scanner App on your phone to scan documents in. And it makes it so easy. If you're signing with a tenant, you can just upload the document or if you need to send a loan officer something, you can just scan it from your phone and send it. Also, having Everlance, and it is to track your mileage. So real estate investors, if you're driving out to properties, you're doing your repairs, you're having to go from the property to Lowe's and back, make sure talk to your tax advisor first, but keeping track of your mileage so that you can have that as a deduction too. And that's a great app for that.

Tony:
Man, we just dropped a lot of knowledge, Ashley.

Ashley:
Yeah.

Tony:
We’re killing it right now.

Ashley:
Everyone’s going to fill their storage with apps now on their phones.

Tony:
There you go.

Ashley:
Well, thank you guys so much for listening. We’d love to hear what you guys’ favorite apps are. Post them in the Real Estate Rookie Facebook group. You haven’t joined yet, we have over 20,000 members in there right now, so much great information. I mean, there’s barely a post in there that doesn’t have at least three to four great responses when someone asks a question. And we will be back next Saturday with a question from either Facebook or Instagram. And also we still have our regular Wednesday show to tune in, to listen to those rookies who are inspiring us and motivating us every single day. So thank you guys for listening. I’m Ashley Kehr @wealthfromrentals, and he is Tony Robinson @tonyjrobinson. We’ll see you guys.

 

 

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Ready to go take action? Every Wednesday, the Real Estate Rookie Podcast will arm you with tips, tools, and inspiration to help you launch your real estate investing career. Hosts Ashley Kehr and Felipe Mejia welcome a wide range of guests as they tackle the newbie questions you've always wondered about, but might be afraid to ask. Listen. Learn. Then make it happen!