As a real estate investor you’ll use a lot of online tools and resources in building your business because today’s world revolves around the internet believe it or not! The following page of resources are a lot of tools and resources I’ve personally used before and recommend as well as things I think you’ll find helpful in building your investment business.
*Please note that some of the links in this list are affiliate links. It doesn’t cost you any extra, but I earn a commission if you decide to purchase. Regardless of whether or not I receive a commission, I only recommend products that I personally use and genuinely recommend, and I always have my readers’ best interest at heart.
Automating Your Business Online
As a real estate investor, you want to build systems and automate as much of your work as possible to spend your time on the more important aspects of investing. Creating a website and developing an online presence will be important for the following reasons:
- Credibility = more people take you serious if you have a website
- Networking = people can learn more about you and your business if you have a website to refer them to
- Generating Leads = capture seller and buyer leads with your website
- Automating Management = implement online management software into your website to collect rent, maintenance requests, advertise properties for rent, inform tenants of rules and paperwork they can download
Bluehost – I have used Bluehost for all of my sites so far and always have received great service and support from them. Anytime you are confused about something, give them a call and their customer service is great at taking a look at the issue and walking you through it. Site speed with Bluehost is good. Bluehost offers hosting for an incredibly reasonable price of $4.95 per month when you sign up for 36 months. (You pre-pay for all 36 months up front, but if you decide to cancel at any time, they offer a money-back guarantee. So if you had Bluehost for 12 months and decided to switch, they would refund the remaining 24 months.) If you decide Bluehost is for you, I can even help you with setup– check out my How to Start a Blog page!
Once you have a website you’ll need a professional theme with great functionality and customization. You can use free themes from WordPress but I highly recommend buying a professional theme.
Genesis – A lot of my online connections and fellow bloggers run their websites on the Genesis Framework. I’m not a coder by any stretch of the imagination and I wouldn’t expect you to be either so Genesis isn’t hard to figure things out on your own. There’s also a helpful community forum for asking questions and documentation that will show you how to do just about anything you need to do.
DIY Thesis Theme for WordPress – DIY Themes has a great selection of themes for your blog or website that will make your site come across professional and give you credibility to your viewers. They offer the Thesis theme which is considered the top theme by many online entrepreneurs. Some learning curve may be involved though.
Setting Up Your Home Office
Whether you are working full time or part time as a real estate investor you’ll want an office you can focus in and crank out work and analysis of deals without distractions. Check with your tax accountant for clarity, but the majority of office expenses should be tax deductible since you are a real estate business owner and the business expenses will offset your business income, saving you on taxes!
Office Desk – it will be used for supporting your computer, lap top, printer, scanner, lighting, paperwork, and more
Office Chair – this sleek white office chair is what I purchased for my personal office and it is an expense that offsets income come tax time. Totally worth it!
Computer – great for researching properties, checking emails, uploading and editing photos of properties, installing accounting softwares
Monitor Screen – May come with the computer or maybe you want a second monitor in your office. I like buying a custom monitor screen that is larger than the normal size, just like we enjoy larger TV screens
Laptop – important for using to research properties, emails, analyzing deals, and can be used on the go if you’re not in your home office
Microsoft Office – a powerful program for creating spreadsheets and running financial analysis is Excel by Microsoft Office. You’ll also get Microsoft Word and PowerPoint for creating documents and presentations. When you buy a new laptop or computer you usually have to purchase this separate and install it on the device.
Scanner – great to have in your home office for scanning documents and reducing paper
Printer/Copier Two in One – this Brother MFCL2700DW Compact Laser All-In One Printer does it all from printing to copying, scanning, faxing and is also wireless. Great for your home office needs.
Bookshelves – turn your home office into a work and study room by implementing book shelving to house books and educational content for you to expand your knowledge. I buy about 20 new books per year to read and over time my accumulation of books will fill out my bookshelves giving me a personal development library in my own home.
Worksheets & Paperwork
- Property Analysis Spreadsheet – fill out this detailed spreadsheet with your inputs and let the formulas do the rest for you
- Rental Cash Flow Pro Forma – project out your estimated rents and expenses to get an operating cash flow estimate for your property
- Real Estate Cost of Capital Spreadsheet – find the cost of borrowing funds from lenders/banks using this spreadsheet I’ve created and used for myself
- Property Check List Worksheet
- Purchase and Sales Agreement Sample
- HUD Settlement Statement Sample
- Lead Spreadsheet
FreshBooks – an awesome invoicing software for small business. Easily send invoices, track time, manage expenses, and receive payments online.
Quickbooks – one of the more commonly known accounting softwares. You can buy the online version, which I would highly recommend, to use from anywhere in the country via log in access.
Xero – offers a variety of accounting features and is a great alternative as well to Quickbooks
Personal Finance Softwares
Personal Capital – I love personal capital. It links to your financial accounts through bank level security allowing you to see all your financial information in one place by simply logging in to your Personal Capital account. You can see your net worth, track your expenses and budget, as well as automate bill pay. Highly recommended for managing your personal finances.
Mint.com – the other top choice by many people for tracking their budget, paying bills, and managing finances all from one secure online location.
Free Online Research Tools
Zillow – awesome awesome awesome website for searching properties in your area that are for sale or have recently sold to get an idea of comps. You can also set the criteria to rent and use it to help gauge how much rent is in your area for different types of real estate investments. The software is better than the MLS in my opinion as far as ease of navigation and setting criteria.
Postlets – a Zillow owned company that allows you to post listings that get picked up by several sites such as Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, etc. Once you create your “For Rent” listing on PostLets and hit publish, you’ll find your listing on the other sites mentioned, giving you exposure to more eyes online who are looking to rent.
Trulia – a lot like Zillow and allows you to search for properties and pull up the public information on them that is supplied by the city as they update their records from time to time.
Loopnet – find apartments and commercial properties for sale
Bank Rate List of Financial Calculators – the ultimate list of 25+ different calculators to choose from!
Free Video Lessons
Subscribe to my Youtube Channel and watch 3-5 minute video lessons I publish monthly for you to grow your knowledge of real estate investing. If you find my channel helpful, I encourage you to share it with others!