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Real Estate Professional in the Palm of Your Hand
GETTING THE MOST FOR THE LEASE-TRACKING YOUR REAL ESTATE
If you own rentals and/or investment properties, you know that you have to keep track of your portfolio, maintenance profiles, property managers, and related financial matters. There are a multitude of programs for the Palm-Pilot system to keep up with lease dates, lease expirations, and rent due dates. They will let you know when to send late notices and how much the late fees are for each rental you have in your list. Most of these programs will also alert you when you have a lease that will expire within the next two months, this allows you to prepare a new lease contract or plan the repairs and marketing for the unit. They'll even give you yearly totals spent on property management fees and maintenance fees, and bounce those amounts against your rents collected. This will give you an idea of how the property is performing. Some will even "conduit" to your computer when you HotSync, which allows you to create Excel spreadsheets for the data produced.
These programs will also store information associated with each individual property, such as who the handyman is for that property, warranty company contact information, insurance information, and tenant contact information. Most programs out there will allow you to log and track the Gross Scheduled Income (GSI), Gross Operating Income (GSO), Net Operating Income (NOI) and Cap Rates for each property in your portfolio.
A few programs that you might try, you'll have to figure out which one is best for your current situation. There are many more, just search around on www.palmgear.com and you should be able to find exactly what you need for your own rental and leasing situation:
Rental Manager 2.16. This program is great for vacation rentals! Keeping up with availability, accounts receivable, reservations, reservations not confirmed, and dates of expiration.
Rentulator 1.01. Is a free program that allows you to enter the price of the house or condo and the percent you would like to earn, and the program will calculate the rent you would need to collect for that situation. You will need to calculate total debt service and other factors before punching them in, but the program will tell you what you need with the correct amounts plugged in.
Most properties in my portfolio I have property managers that collect rent and inspect the units. On those properties that I manage myself, when a tenant calls with a problem, all I have to do is decide whether it requires the warranty company, just a quick fix by a handyman, or if I'm in the area, I might just run by and take care of it myself. All the information is right in front of me, regardless of where I am at the time of the call. From experience, I can predict that whenever my tenants call, I won't be anywhere near my PC or file cabinet! Fortunately, with your Smartphone, you won't ever have to go to your office to access your files again. Sounds nice, huh?
Have all your important files with you 24/7, 365 a year!
REAL ESTATE AGENTS
Some of these programs will track every aspect of the business of real estate. Realtors and brokers can track their listings and when they expire and even search the entire MLS (Multiple Listing Service) anytime - anywhere. The program will remember lockbox codes and cross-reference them to the address and location of the property.
You can also track real estate commissions, both gross and net. You can even set goals for closing a certain number of sales per month, which you can then compare to your actual closings at the end of each month. Export these files to your favorite spreadsheet to print monthly and yearly charts of your progression.
Now for a program that carries a monthly fee. Supra and eKey. Found at: www.supraekey.com
If you are a state licensed practicing Real Estate Agent, you can subscribe to a service that will give you access to your listings and the entire MLS. This software allows your Smartphone to act as an electronic Key to give you access to Supra Keyboxes placed on listings. If the Keybox is the electronic iBox type, you can open the Keybox just by aiming your Smartphones IR (infrared) port at the Keybox and tapping the send button.
The software expires at the end of each day, to update the software you must either HotSync or eSync your Smartphone or tap on update in the menu, which allows your Smartphone to go online using its' wireless connection and it will update the software. The default will automatically log on between 12am and 6am and update your key for you. It automatically updates each night and tells you who has shown the listing; date, time, name, office name and phone number. (If you are in a location that doesn't have a digital cellular signal, the software will attempt to find a connection every 30 minutes until it updates itself. You get the information you need delivered to you without having to drive to the listing to collect business cards). By the time you wake up, all codes, lockbox activity, and your MLS will be updated. You will know how many other agents accessed and showed any of your properties that you have listed. If someone at the office added a listing to your MLS, it will now show up on your Smartphone.
Some of the old lockboxes require metal contacts to be slid into the shackle to open the lockbox, AEII type. On these older units, the "supra unit" is needed, because the unit has the metal contact key built into the case of the unit. You just insert your eKey shell of the PDA into an AEII type Keybox. Or for the newer Keyboxes, the iBox type, just point your Smartphone at the iBox and hit the button. Always remember, iBoxes relock after 30 seconds!
You can easily change your own iBox codes by changing them on your handheld and transmitting them to your lockbox when you arrive at the location.
Messaging: Associations and brokers now have a way to quickly and easily communicate with their agents through a tool the agent uses on a daily basis. Need to change the date or time of a meeting and get the word out quickly? Messages appear on-screen. Basically, SMS, which stands for (small message service).
If you were driving through a neighborhood and found the perfect home for your client or yourself, wouldn't it be nice to punch in some numbers and have all the information for the property in the palm of your hand? And you might possibly be able to obtain the lockbox codes right on the spot, and view the property that minute. This is called productivity, either get in it, or get ran over by it!
You can search your own listings by any of the following fields: area, price, class, status, bedrooms, bathrooms, and up to three additional customizable fields that you can set to what ever you like or think is important.
There are many other services out there that will assist you in being one of the Top sellers in your area. One service from www.homegain.com will SMS text page comparisons to you when prices rise or fall in your farm area. It used to be free, but now they charge a few dollars a month to monitor certain areas. This service is also nice if you own property and would like to know when to either refinance the property or maybe it's time to sale that property. Real Estate prices usually don't move very fast unless we're in a crash of some kind, and then of course, their moving down rapidly. But it's still nice to know what your properties are doing without having to research all of them each and every month. This way you get the reports, and you can either go on with life, or look closer at the numbers for a particular property and take whatever action you should.
CALCULATING YOUR POTENTIAL CASH FLOW
When I go out to inspect potential real estate investments, I enter all the notes for that particular property under that property's name and address. Later at the hotel or on the spot, I can run the numbers with my HP-12C calculator (see below), and know if I'm looking at a positive or negative cash flow. Of course, you will want to take in the consideration of the potential appreciation for that area. Some negative cash flows are worth having if you will make your gain in appreciation. Sometimes a small negative can be welcome in the face of a large appreciation factor for an area. When I get back home, there is no confusion about which property had what features and cash flow. Another program that helps you compare properties is TriLoan, (see below), to see which property is the best investment. This program allows you to set four different loans or properties side-by-side for easy comparison. All in the palm of your hand.
REAL ESTATE CALCULATIONS
KK-12C, by KK Technologies Co., Ltd., is a great program that emulates the HP-12C calculator. It even looks like the calculator on the Palm screen. If you are currently using the HP-12C, then you won't need to learn anything about this program; you'll already know how to operate it. The HP-12C is one of the most popular RPN (Reverse Polish Notation) financial calculators ever made - it's been out for a long time and is still popular mainly in the Real Estate arena. I like the fact that I always have it with me wherever I go. There are quite a few options on the KK-12C that the normal calculator doesn't offer. One nice feature is that all registers can be saved at any time with unlimited sessions. This is nice for viewing later.
THREE OUT OF FOUR LOANS
TriLoan, by John Coogan, can be found at http://www.triloan.net/tl.htm. This program allows you to compare up to four loans at the same time. All you have to do is enter the loan amount, terms and rate, and the program does the rest.
If you're looking at more than one property or loan, you can compare up to four on your Palm-Pilot screen. This is great for field work-there's no need to write the figures down and not know if any of them are even a good deal until you can get to a PC.
The program allows you to save all properties under the name you give them, and look at where you are in the amortization table at any time. There are over 200 other options to calculate your investments down to the penny. These include viewing your equity, loan-to-value, expected rent, payoff, net operating income, cash flow and more. Both of the above programs can be used for any loan calculations, I'm just giving examples on mortgage loans.
Find anything in your portfolio in seconds, anywhere - anytime, send an email with "ebook" in the subject to receive a free version of the ebook at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Robert Lett. April 2005
Let me ask you a question: How much is your computer worth when you or your employees are sitting in front of it? Now, how much is that same computer worth when you or your employees aren't sitting in front of it?
When you're out of the office and that potiential client calls, do you have to tell them that you will get in touch with them when you return to the office? Is that potiential client calling your competition in the mean time to see if they get a better response? What if you could have all your important files with you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? Hanging on your belt or sitting in your purse, and it wouldn't weigh too much more than the cell phone you are currently carrying.
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