Welcome back to the final installment in our sharing economy series here on BiggerPockets. Today we are going to get into different sharing economy tips for landlords and real estate investors. This is not a post about making money. It’s about sharing economy platforms that can be incorporated into your business. This will include hiring contractors, inspectors, freelancers, real estate experts, and more.
For the patient among you who make to the end of this article alive, we have a bonus tool.
In our first article, we introduced the sharing economy. We noted that this industry went from a value of $15 billion in 2013 to what analysts predict will be $330 billion by 2025. Simply put, the sharing economy is a series of online platforms that provide access, usually paid, to underutilized assets.
We then moved on to give you actionable tips on how we as real estate investors can supplement our cash flow through the sharing economy. We introduced you to the titans of the sharing economy — Airbnb, Uber, and TaskRabbit. But we also outlined some lesser-known, yet equally profitable website, such as Turo, WeGoLook, JustPark, and Wyzant.
This is just the tip of the sharing economy iceberg. As real estate investors, we should all be embracing the sharing economy. If you’re new to this movement, consider this your boot camp.
Our job today is simple. We will outline our favorite tools that can help out both landlords and real estate investors alike. But first, a quick story.
Mario’s Sharing Economy Tips For Landlords
Mario is a landlord based in Montreal. We know Mario because he is part of our community and bought me and Stephen beer one evening at our favorite pub in Montreal’s Old Port (+1 sharepoint).
Mario got his start in the sharing economy with Airbnb. Mario used this tool as a stopgap for his student rental property during the summer months when school was out. Mario successfully rented out four spare rooms through Airbnb, and in the summer of 2014 alone, Mario earned exactly $7,843 (+2 sharepoints).
Like many landlords, Mario has had a heck of a time finding trustworthy contractors — until he found TaskRabbit. Mario now outsources almost all contracting work through TaskRabbit (+1 sharepoint).
Finally, Mario is brutally honest with himself about his weaknesses. For Mario, these include accounting and American Idol. To remedy the former, Mario set out to educate himself, singing up for a real estate financial analysis course on Udemy (+3 sharepoints, -1 for American Idol).
Mario’s sharing economy score is 6. What’s yours? Let’s check!
“Wait, Glenn, please let me say it,” Stephen says eagerly.
“Fine, but I’m not happy about it” I protest.
OK, let’s get started. Here are six platforms to help make you “six-cessful” in your real estate business.
*Glenn throws his pen at Stephen*
“Never again, we just lost half our readers!”
TaskRabbit is our favorite sharing economy platform for real estate investors. This is the most widely used tasking service and is available worldwide. TaskRabbit is available in most major U.S. cities, as well as the U.K.
TaskRabbit employs 30,000 taskers. These are people who complete tasks on the website. For security, TaskRabbit completes criminal record checks on all taskers and offers a $1 million insurance policy for all jobs.
Why do we love it? Because you can hire established taskers with ratings and feedback to inform your decision on who to hire. What can you hire someone for? Pretty much anything.
Seriously, anything. A woman recently hired an actress to impersonate her at a friend’s birthday party. We aren’t making this up; please fact check us. We usually send our condolences if we can’t make a party, but not Marissa from Oakland. Marissa posted on TaskRabbit asking for an actress to attend her friend Holly’s party. And yes, she found someone.
But we like it mostly for handy-work. Anything that needs to be done to a property that isn’t specialized (like electric and plumbing) can be outsourced through TaskRabbit. We have hired painters, landscapers, woodworkers, cleanup crews, and much more. Check out their site for all the tasks you can outsource.
If you’re investing out of state, or you just don’t have time to check things out yourself, then WeGoLook is your solution.
We’ve touched on this tool in a previous post, so won’t go into much detail here. But through their site, you can dispatch a looker to travel to and inspect a property.
Maybe you’re buying land or a physical structure remotely and need someone trustworthy to complete an inspection. The WeGoLook lookers will fill out comprehensive reports based on an inspection of the property and discussion with the seller.
Fiverr is a platform where $5 “gigs” are bought and sold. Although sometimes lacking in quality, Fiverr is a great place to start for bootstrapping real estate investors.
There is so much Fiverr has to offer that is specific to real estate. Here are some real gigs you can buy on Fiverr specific to real estate:
- Design a Real Estate Logo
- Write Your Real Estate Rental Listing
- Design Professional Real Estate Flyer
- Create Real Estate Whiteboard Animation
- Make A Real Estate Marketing Video
And the list goes on. Check out Fiverr.com and simply search “real estate” to get an idea of the types of gigs that may be applicable to your business.
4. Upwork (formerly oDesk and Elance)
Upwork is a website that is composed of a staggering nine million freelancers and four million clients. On an annual basis, three million jobs are posted on Upwork, bringing it a total of $1 billion.
These nine million freelancers can be extremely useful to real estate investors. For instance, you can hire a virtual assistant who specializes in real estate. Or you can pay to get expertise specific to real estate marketing, acquisition, advertisement writing, appraisal, and much more.
We have hired two freelancers on Upwork, one who is an expert in real estate accounting and another in real estate law. We have never looked back.
5. Udemy and BiggerPockets
Deviating a bit from the sharing economy theme, one important topic we want to discuss is education. As real estate investors, we should always be seeking to educate ourselves like you’re doing right now.
Remember Mario? Mario needed help with real estate analysis, so he signed up for a Udemy course. Udemy is an on-demand educational video platform where experts record and sell video lesson packages. Some of the real estate specific courses on this platform include:
- Real Estate Photography
- Real Estate Financial Modeling
- International Real Estate Diversification
- Real Estate Auctions
- Facebook For Real Estate
And much more. However, as a customer and member of both platforms, I can honestly say that for real estate information, BiggerPockets is a better resource than Udemy.
But not all education is real estate related. Perhaps you are seeking sales skills or to improve your writing, public speaking, or marketing tactics. Whatever it is, Udemy or BiggerPockets can satisfy your needs.
6. Dolly and Bellhops
The inspiration for this final section came the other day when we saw a U-Haul truck who had been pulled over by the police. We suspect the cop was trying to bust a move.
“OK, Stephen, that’s it, you’re out of here.”
So distracting. Where were we?
Yes! Moving. There are several services out there to help with moving. Whether you’re moving furniture, transferring stuff to storage, or transporting large items to a buyer, there are two websites we will discuss here that can help.
Dolly and Bellhops are sharing economy platforms that can immediately meet any of the above needs, even on short notice. Bellhops is currently available in over 80 U.S. cities, whereas Dolly is only in Chicago, Denver, Salt Lake City, San Diego, and Seattle.
Both of these websites use local movers who apply via their website and have undergone a screening process. Like other sharing economy platforms, these movers have ratings, and the website provides its own liability insurance for your goods.
Conclusion, For Now
Being a real estate investor or landlord is a full-time job by most accounts. It’s so much more than showing up at an open house and getting free cheese. The list of tools available to this group of entrepreneurs grows daily, and we have only touched on a few here.
Please share with us any online tools that you feel have helped you out. Share with the community and we can work together to make our lives easier.
P.S. We are taking a poll. Based on Stephen’s behavior today, should we have him back next time or should he be fired? I vote for letting him go. I find him distracting and insubordinate. What does the BiggerPockets community think?
Bonus Mention: Realstir
We have not yet had the opportunity to test out this new website, but it certainly has intrigued us. Meet Realstir, a platform that is categorized under the growing “try before you buy” (TBYB) industry.
Realstir is a database of over 1.6 million U.S. real estate listings, where potential buyers can choose from available TBYB dates, and live in a property before they place an offer. This allows potential buyers, at a cost, to test out the property and neighborhood before they make an offer.
Investors: Do you use any of the above services? Have any others to add to the list?
Be sure to leave your thoughts below!