There’s a lot of technology on the market today that claims to save you time and money. Slack is one of the few apps that can actually have a big, positive impact on your real estate business.
The co-founder and CEO of Slack says the app’s name is an acronym for “Searchable Log of All Conversation and Knowledge”. Now that you know the purpose of Slack, let’s take a look at why investors should seriously consider using a collaboration tool like Slack in their investing business.
What is Slack?
Slack is a cloud-based app that helps real estate investors and their teams communicate, collaborate, and work more efficiently. The software is a secure private messaging tool that can be used on your computer, tablet, and smartphone to create channels to chat, instant message, email, and share files.
Google Drive, Office 365, and a variety of other apps fully integrate with Slack. You can have one-on-one and group calls between team members, fully archive and search your messaging history, and even collaborate with outside organizations and guests who aren’t already using Slack.
There’s a free version that lets you try out Slack for an unlimited amount of time, and a standard version for small and medium-sized businesses that starts at less than $7 per month.
How Slack works
The Slack platform is organized around two concepts:
- Teams are groups of people
- Channels are based on themes, topics, or places
For example, a real estate investor might have one team for business partners, another team for lenders, a third for property managers, a fourth team for real estate brokers, and a fifth team for friends and family.
Channels can be set up for individual rental properties – 123 Main Street Channel and 45 Rosebud Lane Channel – and by unique user needs such as a channel for “Property Wanted” or a channel for “Cash-out Refinancing”.
Once you’ve decided on the teams and channels for your business, the basic setup for Slack is pretty easy:
- Sign up for Slack – choosing one of the paid options for the best collaboration functionality
- Create a team or teams – you can always change the team members later
- Create a channel – based on property address, theme or topic
- Invite people with single-channel guest only access – such as a prospective tenant interested in renting a specific property you own
Using Slack to collaborate
Now let’s look at some examples to illustrate how real estate investors can use Slack to communicate and collaborate.
In order to scale up and diversify their property portfolios, a lot of real estate investors today are forming JV partnerships. Getting more people involved in your business is a good way to gain information and share risk – but communicating can quickly take up a lot of your valuable time.
Setting up a Slack channel for your business partners keeps private communication centralized in one place, and lets you share documents from Google Drive or Office. Partners can collaborate with each other on ideas for refinancing or new business opportunities. You can also search messaging threads to jog your memory about who said what and when.
Leasing and property management
Long-distance real estate investors own property in different markets across the country. Owning rental property in different parts of the U.S. is a great way to diversify a portfolio. But it also means you’re dealing with different property managers and leasing agents in each market.
Slack makes it easy to communicate with and manage teams throughout the country. Simply create a property-specific or market-specific channel, then have your local team members join the channel.
When you do this, Slack acts as an automatic cloud filing system and cuts down on time-wasting emails and phone calls. Communication is saved and fully searchable so if there’s ever a question or issue you can quickly and easily find exactly what you need.
The two examples we just described used Slack’s private channel feature. But you can also create public channels on Slack that the entire community can access if you want to get the word out about an investment need.
Think of this deal-finding technique on Slack as a form of virtual prospecting and networking. While it’s true that nothing beats face-to-face contact, the reality is that there are only so many days in a week to take a lender to lunch or attend your local REIClub meeting.
Creating a public channel on Slack to network and prospect can exponentially increase your number of contacts. That’s because escrow officers and lenders, inspectors and builders, real estate agents, and other investors are using Slack to find people just like you. It’s a win-win for everybody.
Moving from public to private channels
So, what happens when you find a property you like and want to talk in detail without the world knowing about the deal you’re putting together? Simply create a private channel on Slack and invite the other party and your business partners to join the conversation.
As the transaction moves along, when the time is right, invite your lender, inspection and vendor team, and your property manager to the channel and bring everybody up to speed on your newest investment.
Things to know about before using Slack
Here are a few things to think about before using Slack in your real estate investment business:
- Information is stored securely on Slack’s cloud-based servers, so your data isn’t 100% under your control – but just like Stessa, the company incorporates industry-standard authentication protocols and data encryption
- Messaging is in real-time, and you may find yourself constantly checking in – to overcome potential interruptions, Slack offers Do Not Disturb and Snooze Notifications to delay message delivery
- Slack’s free service tier option is limited to 10,000 messages and even with a team of just a few people it will be used up in no time – for a few dollars a month you can upgrade to 10 GB of storage per team member
Using Slack for real estate investing can dramatically improve communications, help you scale up and diversify your rental property portfolio, and increase your referral network to keep your deal pipeline full.
- Slack is a cloud-based collaboration tool for chats, instant messaging, emails, and file sharing
- Apps like Google Drive and Office 365 can integrate with Slack
- Communication and collaboration on Slack is built around Teams and Channels
- Slack has an unlimited time free version with paid options starting at less than $7 per month