Like any powerful tool, a CRM is only as good as the person using it. It doesn’t matter how many hundreds or thousands of capabilities the CRM has, if the user doesn’t know what they’re doing – it’s about as useful as a phone with no battery.
Think about your CRM for a minute. Technology (especially robust platforms like CRMs) can feel overwhelming. So first let’s take a step back. Before we tackle some top strategies, consider these questions:
- Do you understand the full capabilities of your CRM?
- How much training have you/your team had with the CRM?
- What are your frustrations with it?
- Are there things you wish it could do that it doesn’t do?
- In what ways does it make your day easier? More difficult?
Make Sure You’re in the Right Relationship
Ideally this research will happen before you make a commitment with a CRM, but even if you’ve already invested time and energy into your CRM, you want to make sure it is the right one for you and your business. This takes more than just a Google search. Online comparative research is a good place to start, but we encourage taking it a few steps further. Here are a few ways to really get to know your CRM and discover if you’re a good match.
- Demo as much as possible.
- Make a list of features that are (1) essential, (2) nice-to-have, and (3) nonessential.
- Establish a budget. Remember that a CRM is an investment, and if used properly the ROI is worth it.
- Try to find customers of different platforms (through forums or networking), and ask them about their experience. What are their pain points? What do they like/dislike.
Take Advantage of Training
Aside from being on the right system for your business, this is perhaps the #1 most important strategy for getting the most out of your CRM. Do not underestimate the value of being well-trained! You can buy the most expensive, top-of-the-line tools, but if you don’t know how to use them, they’re a waste of your time.
What sort of training is offered from your CRM provider? Start there. Maybe they offer on-site training at their headquarters, or in-house training at your office. They might offer webinars, a virtual training series, or one-on-one phone calls. Take advantage of all of these capabilities, as it will be invaluable for your team.
One of the biggest mistakes that we see at BoomTown is when teams go through the initial training and onboarding and then they’re done. CRMs are very robust. They have a lot of capabilities and it can take a healthy chunk of time to conquer the learning curve and feel confident on the system. Schedule time within the year to make sure your team is up to speed with the newest features.
Training can be fun! Some of our most successful clients have BoomTown training nights periodically throughout the year. They get the team together and turn training into a game with food and prizes. This is a great way to keep the team up-to-speed on the system.
Be Diligent About Tracking & Measuring ROI
It’s not unusual for people to get a CRM just because they think it’s what they “should do.” Then, they take advantage of about 20% of the functionality, and use it as a virtual Rolodex. You don’t need an expensive contact list. There are iPhones and Excel spreadsheets for that. A CRM is meant to elevate your business in ways that simpler systems cannot. So be diligent about measuring your ROI so that you know you’re getting the most out of your CRM.
First, define how you measure success. It could be number of transactions, number of leads generated, number of hours saved by automating busy work. It could be a combination of all of the above! A good CRM will have tracking tools that will give you clear insights into all of these aspects.
We are big believers in “time is money,” especially in real estate. As an agent, you are always one conversation away from landing a new client. So having a few hours of down time for prospecting each week can result in $$$ over time. If your CRM has automated marketing capabilities, you can send emails to leads without even lifting a finger. BoomTown’s Smart Drip campaigns can save agents up to 36 hours a month.
Remember! You know how we mentioned before that a tool is only as good as the person using it? When considering your ROI, really think about the investment of time and energy that you’ve put into the CRM as well. Are you taking advantage of the full functionality? Additionally, give it a little time. In real estate success can be a slow rise while you build your lead database and farm your area.
Ah, yes. Age old advice you’ve been hearing since grade school. And it still rings true.
With a real estate CRM, the most important thing to keep organized is your database of leads. We recommend segmenting and categorizing your leads into workable lists. Not only will this help keep your database manageable, but it will save you time while you’re prospecting. Set up a schedule to stay on top of organizing your database! This could be quarterly, or even once a month. Scan through and make sure that all of your leads are tagged appropriately, and that no opportunities have fallen through the cracks.
Is your CRM a mess? Time for a little spring cleaning.
Connect Everything to Your CRM
To get the most ROI out of your CRM, use it like your “home base,” or central hub for your business. Ask a representative from your CRM provider about their integrations. The more of your technology systems that are synced with your CRM, the more seamless your day-to-day operations will be.
BoomTown integrates with some of your favorite platforms, so you can use all of your best tools and keep everything organized. Take a peak at some of our integration partners to get a sense of how “syncing systems” can boost your productivity and profitability:
- Agent Legend: Lead Conversion
- BombBomb: Video Marketing
- Brokermint: Transaction Management
- CallAction: Lead Conversion
- dotloop: Transaction Management
- Google Calendar: Task Management
- Mojo: Phone Dialer
- RPR – Realtors Property Resource: Market Data
- Spacio: Open House Management
- Zapier: Integration Automation
Use Your CRM’s Accountability Tools to Improve Performance
When you commit to a real estate CRM, you are investing money with the expectation of getting more back in return. If agents don’t properly reach out to their leads (or follow up with them on time), that’s money out the window. Don’t let high quality leads that you are paying for fall through the cracks.
Depending on your CRM, you should have tools to help measure agent performance. Whether you are an agent on a team, or a broker in charge of a team, holding agents accountable for staying on top of their leads benefits everyone involved. The BoomTown CRM makes it super simple to see each agent’s report, as well as the team as a whole. Use these accountability tools to motivate agents to do their absolute best, and to give them a heads up when they’re falling behind.
The post CRM Strategies Top Real Estate Teams Leverage appeared first on BoomTown!.
The wheels on the bus go round and round – and then might stop for family dinner, if you’re Gabriel and Debbie Mayes.
It may not be the dream for every family, but it’s the one Debbie envisioned after seeing a video on Facebook a few years ago. It featured a couple who had converted a school bus and spent all their time on the open road, exploring the country.
“I immediately thought, ‘Hey, we can totally do this with our kids. Why not?'” she recalled. “And so I brought the idea to Gabriel. It took a while to convince him.”
“Definitely took a while,” Gabriel chimed in.
But the more the duo thought about the idea, the more it made sense. They felt disconnected as a family in a 5,000-square-foot home; downsizing would bring the family closer.
4,752 square feet closer, to be precise.
“We were talking about that disconnection in our marriage, in our family as a whole, and just thought, man, if we’re gonna do anything adventurous, now would be the time,” Gabriel said. “We were looking to reconnect, to do something crazy exciting with our kids, and just to take life and flip it upside down.”
So they bought a school bus to live in.
The family of six – two adults, four kids – sought the help of an outside company when it came to finding the bus and designing the features.
Their priorities: separate sleeping areas for the kids and the adults (the master bedroom has a door that closes), space to entertain guests, and a kitchen with ample countertops. (They pulled that off by installing an under-the-counter fridge. It holds enough food for a week!)
“We even went and taped out the design on the floor so we could walk through and see,” Debbie said. “We did things like reduce the depth of the couch, reduce the depth of the [kids’] bunk beds. We knew aisle space would be way more important than them having that extra bed space. I was very intentional in designing all of the little areas to be functional. It’s down to the inches.”
Gabriel’s only ask: a rooftop deck.
“I just had this vision of taking the bus, backing it up against the lake, opening up the skylight out of my bedroom, going up to the roof deck, and then sitting in my chair and just chilling,” he said. “I just wanted this place where I’m secluded from the rest of the world and I’m overlooking just beautiful scenery.”
Buying and renovating the bus cost about $38,000 and took about five months. During that time, the family sold or donated much of what they owned and put the rest in storage. They hit the road in August 2017.
On their first trip, the road hit back.
“I remember the day that I got in the bus. We had spent the whole day packing. Last thing goes on, the kids get on, we close the door, and I put it in drive and our home starts moving. I can’t fully explain how exhilarating that feeling was,” Gabriel said.
“It was amazing but also did not go exactly how we had planned,” Debbie added. “We got 300 miles into the journey, and the bus broke down on the side of the road. It was like, ‘wah-wah.'”
The school bus – which they affectionately call “the Skoolie” – picked a patch of desert land in Oklahoma to break down.
(Turns out it was also a piece of private land.)
“We fed the kids lunch and tried to figure out what the heck we were gonna do, and a random stranger pulls up after we’d been there for a few hours, and he was like, ‘You’re actually on my land.'” Debbie said. “But he had been a diesel mechanic.”
The stranger ended up building a part to get the bus moving. It’s been pretty much smooth sailing ever since, from the mountains of Wyoming to the Bonneville Salt Flats of Utah.
Their biggest advice for others considering a home on wheels: Do the research. Find a builder or designer you can trust. In retrospect, they probably would’ve chosen a washer and dryer over installing a shower, but they have few other regrets.
“To be able to have everything that you own as a family of six inside 248 square feet, knowing everything that you own is where it’s supposed to be – the amount of stress and anxiety really goes out the window,” Gabriel said.
“Whenever you rid yourself of this desire to have things, it’s not that the desire goes away, it’s just that you just don’t have the space for it anymore,” he continued. “It causes you to start thinking on different levels. Now I just want to be intentional with my wife and be intentional with my kids. This massive weight is just gone.”
The kids were in public school in California during the year; this summer’s adventures include plans to take the home down California’s famous Highway 101 for a month. On tap: surfing, hiking and cycling as a family.
Eventually, the Mayes plan to park the bus and turn it into a short-term rental. They hope to find a forever home in the summer of 2019 and allow others to explore their tiny home on wheels.
“The kids feel like they’re on this massive adventure. Whenever you pull up to a location that’s surrounded by mountains or there’s a new waterfall to go explore or some trail just to go run down, you put the bus in park, and you open the door,” Gabriel said. “Just to see their excitement … I’ve never experienced anything like that.”
Top featured image by Jen Hammer.
- Van? RV? School Bus? 6 Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Home on Wheels
- Wild Ride: Turning School Buses Into Homes on Wheels
- This Double Shipping Container Home Has Twice the Delight – House of the Week
Think only younger adults can invest in rental properties. Older adults have many advantages in rental investing; here’s how to capitalize on them!
View the full article: 5 Smart Ways to Start Investing in Rentals Later in Life on The BiggerPockets Blog. This content is Copyright © 2017 BiggerPockets, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
In this tight housing market, many buyers are using personal letters to highlight their enthusiasm for a property and potentially sway sellers to accept their offer over others.
Buying an investment property is a huge step in growing financially. For one, you have the chance to earn passive income. For another, it’s an opportunity to diversify your assets. That said, it’s also a huge responsibility, both personally and financially. If you’re going to take this step, you want to make sure that you’re well-prepared for what’s to come.
So, if you’re thinking about buying an investment property, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve created a handy guide, filled with everything you need to know about purchasing – and maintaining – one of these properties.
Types of investment properties
The first step in buying an investment property is determining what type of property you would ultimately like to purchase. Keep in mind that each one will have its own level of maintenance needs and financial commitments for you to consider.
Here is a quick overview to help you weigh your options:
- Condos: Most commonly found in urban or resort areas, condos are a great choice for those looking for a smaller, simpler investment property. With condos, you own the interior of your unit, but all common spaces and amenities are taken care of by an association. There will be a maintenance fee to cover these costs.
- Townhomes: Townhomes are houses, rather than units. However, similar to condos, the exterior of the home and any common spaces are governed by an association. In this case, there will also be a maintenance fee for communal upkeep and there may be rules governing what you cannot do to the home.
- Duplexes/Triplexes: Duplexes and triplexes are privately owned buildings that are split up into multiple units. Here, you can have multiple tenants with no recurring fee. However, you will also be responsible for any upkeep.
- Single-Family Homes: Single-family homes are your traditional housing set-up. Again, you’re responsible for any upkeep. This type of rental property is usually well-suited for those looking to rent to families or longer-term tenants.
What to look for in a property
Ultimately, most of what you’re looking for in a property will depend on the type of renter that you’ll eventually attract, as each one has its own set of needs and priorities.
These are the main subsets of renters that you may be looking to work with when you eventually become a landlord:
- Vacationers: Vacation rentals have higher turnaround, with renters usually staying only for days or weeks at a time. But, when done right, they can also capture high returns. Vacationers want to be as close as possible to the main attraction, so focus on location above all else. Smaller units like condos often work well with this type of renter, especially when they boast amenities that are geared toward convenience.
- Short-term renters: Short-term renters will rent from you for a few months before moving on. For example, these renters might be students or younger professionals recently relocating. Typically, short-term renters prefer homes that are close to amenities like shops and restaurants or public transportation. These renters also tend to prefer furnished properties.
- Long-term renters: Long-term renters are ideal for landlords who value a steady rent check each month over the ability to charge the highest per-night rates. Typically, these renters may be families or settled professionals, and they tend to prefer a more residential lifestyle. Single-family home or townhomes are a good fit and the quality of the school district tends to be a bigger consideration than proximity to downtown.
Of course, no matter who you’re after, there are some considerations that are universal.
For instance, the amount of work that your new property requires before you can rent it out. For that, you’ll need to find a balance between the amount of money you’re willing to spend versus how much sweat equity you can put in.
Often, it’s worth spending a bit more upfront to get a turnkey home, or one that only needs cosmetic updates, than risking finding costly problems later on in a fixer-upper.
The financial implications
Financing a rental property is a bit different than one that will be your primary residence, so you’ll want to take the time to make sure you’re prepared for the expense before you hit the market.
First up, in order to secure a mortgage on the property, you should be prepared to make a much larger downpayment. We’re talking the 20% – 25% downpayments of yesteryear. Plus, your credit history needs to be in great shape.
Since there aren’t any government back programs like FHA for second mortgages, you’ll need to have at least a credit score of 620.
Then, there are taxes to consider.
Unfortunately, the new Trump tax plan makes it much harder for investors to write-off some of the costs of juggling multiple properties.
The new plan cut the available mortgage interest deduction in half — capping the total amount of deductions at $500,000. It also severely limits the amount of state and local property taxes that an owner can write-off. Now, the limit is $10,000 total, between all of your properties.
Finally, there are also upkeep and maintenance costs to consider. If you’re buying a condo or townhome, you’ll likely have a monthly association fee to contend with on top of your mortgage payment. There’s also the cost of any updates that need to be made to the home. And, as the landlord, necessary maintenance is solely your responsibility.
Dealing with tenants
When you buy an investment property, there are two scenarios that you can run into regarding tenants.
Either there are already existing tenants in place, or the property is vacant and it’s up to you to find them. Here’s what you need to know about either outcome:
- If there are existing tenants: Leases “run with the land” — meaning they do not change if the property is sold. If there are existing tenants in the home you’re purchasing, you are legally obligated to keep the terms of their lease before it expires. So, no kicking them out or raising the rent. Some landlords like this because it means a guaranteed income, but others prefer to have more control over who they rent to. In some areas, there are more stringent rent control laws in place to protect tenants. Be sure to read up on your local rent control laws to make sure you get a realistic idea of how much you could profit.
- If there aren’t existing tenants: Buying a home without any tenants in it is more of a gamble financially because it could sit empty for a few months while you search for the right fit. Make sure your prepared to carry the mortgage for a bit. However, you’ll also have the chance to choose your own renter and to do any financial or background checks that you see fit before handing over the keys.
Looking to find your next investment property? Use Open Listings to find property matches 24/7, book tours on demand, and get back an average of $8,500+ when you buy with us.