Recently, I spent a week in Melbourne, Australia at a conference for the Real Estate Institute of Victoria, speaking about how to become a mobile agent and about various apps that can make life easier for real estate agents. One of the most popular subjects I touched upon in both of those sessions was the very popular note-taking-app-on-steroids Evernote. One of the biggest aspects of the real estate industry in Australia is property management. While we here in the United States tend not to concentrate on property management as much, per se, many of us as real estate agents deal with rental properties at one point in our careers or another. A nice thing about incorporating Evernote in your real estate business is not just being able to use it for your buyers and sellers; you can also use it for your rental clients.
Here are some of my tips on how to use Evernote for rental properties:
If you are a real estate agent that works alone or with an admin, or even on a small team, and who works with rental properties, it would be wise to consider investing in Evernote Premium. Among the most desirable attributes of Evernote Premium are the If you are a brokerage that is involved in property management, or has close ties with the agents who deal with rentals in your office, you may instead want to look at Evernote Business, which has the ability, among other things, to create a Shared Business Library.
Once you’ve signed up with Evernote, I’d start by:
(1) Creating a new notebook for each rental property you work with. If you also work with tenants and want to continue following up with them (a great resource for future buyers!), you will want to create a notebook for them with their name. [I break down my listings and rental properties by creating notebooks with the addresses as their titles; buyers and tenants with their names as notebook titles.]
(2) Create a notebook that is purely made of templates: checklists, condition report info, questions to ask tenants, emergency phone numbers, phone numbers of your vendors or the landlord’s preferred vendors, HOA contact info, etc.
(3) If you have more than one agent working with you on a property or with the landlord, you will want to make sure they have shared access to those specific notebooks. (To learn more about sharing access to notebooks, click here.)
Now, in each property’s notebook, there are number of notes you can add or create.
(4) You can:
a) Add any of the templated notes I mentioned in #2 (you create templates within Evernote by creating the basic templated note in the templates notebook, and then copying that note over to whichever notebook you want it in). Along with those templated notes, you can include attached scans of information such as instruction manuals for appliances, keycodes for garages, etc.
b) Attach an initial walk-through report that talks about the initial condition of the property, including photos, in an individual note. This can be used to compare to later condition reports (if applicable) as well as the final walk-through condition of the property when tenant vacates.
c) Create lists with attachments for a property: initial marketing (when, where, how much you spent, marketing photos/video), any inquiries and where they came from (web, sign call, MLS, etc.), showings with dates and times, as well as any issues to be resolved before a prospective tenant moves in.
d) Attach files – lease agreements for that particular property, rental applications (with SSN and bank account info blacked out if you’re worried about security), tenant information, receipts, current HOA docs.
e) Take a note for any phone calls you might receive from the tenant, so you always have a record of the conversation, as well as attach any emails you receive from the tenant and landlord to different notes with date and time. If it’s an issue the landlord has asked you to check on, you can also attach any photos to back up a tenant’s claim and/or a documents showing your vendor took care of the issue.
f) Upload the signed walk-through reports with photos, as agreed upon by landlord and tenant. You can also take audio recordings of notes for yourself, as well as anything you might want to have a record of from landlord and/or tenant (with their permission!).
g) Take and attach photos of any issues found at first walk-through, as well as a separate note with photos at final walk-through, so it’s easy to spot any discrepancies and address any final issues.
If you are working with a landlord who owns multiple properties, you can “stack” those properties’ notebooks into one big file under that landlord’s name. To learn more about “stacking” notebooks (think of it as a giant accordion file with numerous file folders), click here.
The good thing about having Evernote notebooks and notes is that at any time you can share them with anyone else in the office, and it will sync in “real time” – so your assistant or fellow agent can see notes on any property, even if you’re out of the office.
One of the best attributes about Evernote is that it’s a shared, synced, written and visual record. Instead of trying to upload multiple photos and notes to share with an owner or tenant via email, you can instead just share a link with them or send them the particular note you want them to see.
No matter what kind of real estate agent you are nor who you work with, Evernote has a way of becoming part of your workflow. (And for more information from a man who manages his own rental properties using Evernote, visit this site.)