Real estate investor guide to automation: Breaking down the hype

Automation for real estate investors
by Brad Cartier, posted in Investment Strategy

Real estate automation allows investors to boost profits, scale-up, and grow their business to an entirely new level. Let’s face it, the majority of time spent in real estate is for non-revenue producing tasks like administration, bookkeeping, management, and marketing, which leaves less time for doing deals and growing your portfolio.

Investors who try to do everything themselves often burn out in a flurry of disorganized multi-tasking.

Automating aspects of your real estate investment business frees up time to focus on higher value-add tasks that directly produce income, reduce expenses, and help you acquire new properties. You’ll be able to scale your business faster by increasing both revenues and profits. Best of all, growing a real estate business with automation doesn’t necessarily require a lot of money.

Once you have automated systems in place they tend to run on autopilot the vast majority of the time, with limited additional effort required on your part. Here are the most practical ways to incorporate automation into your real estate investing business.

4 ways real estate investors can automate every day

Many real estate investors are surprised to see their business grow exponentially after they begin automating. Here are four easy ways to focus more on increasing NOI and doing new deals, instead of wasting valuable time on routine operational tasks.

#1 Automate tenant applications

Automate tenant applications with Google Forms. All you need is a Gmail address and 30 minutes to create your form. Then you’re ready to start using Google Forms to pre-screen potential tenants.

  • Avoid spending valuable time chasing down unreliable tenant leads
  • Stop showing property to unqualified prospects before you know anything about them
  • Immediately screen out undesirable tenants based on pre-set criteria
  • Select responsive tenants by using email and text messaging to find those who are on the ball and easy to get in touch with

Google Forms allows you to send prospective renters a link to your application, receive automated alerts once applications are complete, and access all your prospective renter data in one spreadsheet. There’s no reason you can’t automate these aspects of your tenant screening process quickly and easily.

#2 Automating work orders

One of the biggest challenges real estate investors face as they grow and scale up their property rental portfolio is dealing with property maintenance items.

Scheduling regular routine maintenance, receiving repair requests from tenants, assigning work orders for emergency repairs, and keeping tenants and vendors happy consumes an incredible amount of time that could be better spent on other priorities.

Great property maintenance software like UpKeep lets you save time and earn more money by:

  • Receiving maintenance requests
  • Managing vendors
  • Sending in-app messages
  • Creating tasks lists
  • Running reports

Automating real estate work orders helps avoid complaints by scheduling routine tasks like HVAC inspections and light checks, while keeping tenants updated on the status of repairs. Work order automation also helps keep tenant turnover low and occupancy high, directly increasing income that drops straight to the bottom line.

#3 Automating financial tracking

Free, online rental property financial management systems like Stessa help simplify tracking your rental properties. The software combines the perfect blend of accounting and property management into one, easy-to-use package.

Here’s how Stessa works in four simple steps:

  • Add your properties
  • Connect your accounts
  • Organize and store your documents
  • Monitor property performance

Rental property management software by Stessa helps both beginning and experienced investors make informed decisions about their property portfolio:

Track rental property performance

By eliminating spreadsheets, reporting becomes simpler and more accurate. Stessa’s dashboard feature lets you view the entire performance of your portfolio and drill down to the details on each individual property. It’s perfect for real estate investors with single-family, multifamily, and short-term rental property.

Automate income and expense tracking

Upload, organize, and securely store your finances in one place. Connecting bank, loan, and property management accounts lets you effortlessly categorize and report every transaction and makes tax time a breeze.

Scale and optimize

Stessa keeps your finances, reports, and key documents for your entire portfolio safe and secure with bank-grade data security:

  • Track unlimited properties
  • Monitor your portfolio 24/7 from anywhere in the world
  • Automate income and expense tracking
  • Export tax-ready financials to your accountant or CPA
  • Collaborate with business partners and family members

Investors who want more tips on automation and the latest real estate investment news that matters can stay up to date by subscribing to the Stessa Weekly Newsletter.

#4 Automating to scale up even more

So far, we’ve covered the best stand-alone techniques to help your business grow. However, by getting all of your software working together you can take your real estate business automation to an entirely new level.

Software systems like Zapier take the tools you use every day and put them together so you can focus on what really matters. The system works with G Suite, Facebook, Slack, HubSpot, PayPal, Dropbox, DocuSign, Microsoft Outlook, and WordPress to help build a customized software solution with applications you use every day.

For instance, using Zapier, when a lead comes into your Google Forms, you can trigger several things to happen like automatically informing a team member to do a credit check, or triggering an automated email or SMS to the applicant saying their application has been received. Or, Zapier can talk to your website and conduct certain actions when a form submission is received.

Here are some more automation inspiration examples directly from Zapier.

Automating your real estate business

The most successful real estate investors incorporate automation into every aspect of their business. Eliminate tasks that don’t need your involvement so you can focus on more strategic projects that move the needle. As a growing real estate investor, you need to focus on more strategic and deal-specific tasks.

Automation saves you countless hours of having to be hands-on, automation keeps your prospecting pipeline full with deal flow, and gives you the time and money to create the big-picture strategy to effectively scale up your real estate investing business.

The four key areas to weave automation throughout your real estate business are:

  • Tenant applications and prescreening with Google Forms
  • Work order and repair request automation with property maintenance software systems such as UpKeep
  • Rental property financial management systems with Stessa
  • Scaling up by automating almost everything with Zapier