I settle on my second property next week and have decided to make a real go at REI (meaning I will be buying additional properties shortly). For the past couple years there has only been 1 property so the business folder and the property were always the same thing. Now that I'm about to add a second I can tell things are WAY messier than they should be. So I want to fix this now, instead of doing it after things start getting mixed up and it's a real mess.
I use Google Drive to store all documents about the business and know that I should have a folder for each property. But my hang up is how to organize things form that point forward (I can see so many ways to do it, that I can't pick one). I'd love to know how seasoned investors organize their file structure. What is your standard folder structure for each property? What things do you keep at the "business level" vs the "property level?" Any other best practices I should look to follow from the start?
I organize things more at the "business level", with high level directories for business licenses, insurance, maintenance, correspondence, payroll, advertising, rental agreements, and so forth. Many of these have sub-levels for different properties within them. This structure has grown organically, and not so much because of up front planning.
I use a lot of spreadsheets to track data across different properties. I've historically used them all on a local file server, but have been moving more and more stuff to google docs for the convenience. One for tracking maintenance, another for property details, another for rent rolls and so forth. My operation is small enough (9 properties, 31 units) that I know all the addresses and tenants in each unit and what they pay each month, so both my wife and I generally know how to index these things. I don't know that the existing system would work if our business was doubled.
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