Staying Organized As a Beginner Real Estate Investor

As a beginner real estate investor organization is key. I wrote a book once about staying organized as a real estate investor and a lot of the things I did then have changed. However, I still keep a phone log especially when I have a house for sale, one for rent, or I am wanting to buy something. I used to keep it in a spiral notebook the kind high school kids use and I kept it right by the phone. I made an entry of the date and the beginning of the day I never wrote down the time a phone call came in, but I did them in order so I could almost tell you what time of the day.

Those phone logs have come in handy so many times when I have needed to get back to someone because what I thought was going to happen didn’t and now I needed a new buyer, a new tenant, or maybe other circumstances changed and I could get right back to the people who were interested in what I had to offer or had something to sell that I might be willing to buy. That’s my biggest tip: Create a phone log and keep it by the phone. Keep it in a place that everyone in your office knows where it is, should you be away from your office you can call back someone can get a phone number from that phone log quick and easily for you.

The other thing that I still do is I keep things in folders, each project is in a different folder and those folders move around from time to time as projects move along.

I also keep a day timer and in that day timer I have phone numbers of key people. All of us should have our team: Our Title Company; Our Mortgage Company and a Lending Agent; A Surveyor; an Appraiser; a Home Inspector; a very good Realtor … the list goes on.

I’m hoping that your list contains some of your real estate investing friends and if you don’t have any then there is a Nareia Cruise [Nareia stands for National Real Estate Investors of America] that will be leaving Fort Lauderdale on the 7th of February 2009 and returning on the 14th. That might be a good place to meet some. Another good place to meet other real estate investors is at your local club. Find a club that has people excited about real estate investing. They can be your allies when you get stumped. And I don’t know anyone who has not been stumped at least once or twice.

I have discovered that sometimes just talking out a situation with friends starts ideas flowing.
Just saying it out loud helps. Eventually the right idea comes through my mind or my friends mind. And then that stumped feeling goes away. That’s part of your team as well. Keep those phone numbers handy.

In the trunk of my car I keep a few things mostly a few empty black trash bags. If I am going over to a house where a tenant just moved out of I usually need at least one. While I’m there viewing things, I might as well leave a trash bag behind for someone else to fill up.

I keep my digital camera with me, whether buying, selling, and fixing up all stages of things. It’s just a nice record. I don’t have to write much down. It’s a good way to stay organized. Down load that on to your computer. Then you can print out the photos you need and put them in the appropriate files.

Now I still keep a three ring binder for each property that I own. Inside the three rings binder are dividers.

The first section is how I acquired the house and all the paperwork involved with it.

The second section has to do with repairs and any other information about the hot water heater, the dishwasher etc, etc. including the paint that I used on that house.

The third section is my exit … either where I sold it or I rented it and if I have rented it and turned it into a rental then I would keep all my leases there. If I sold it then I have my closing statement. It makes it really nice if you need to evict a tenant. You’ve got everything you need in a three-ring binder. You could just take the binder to court or an IRS audit it’s all there: Where you paid for the property, the repairs; and how much you made when you sold it …one property at a time.

They sit on the shelf very nicely. I keep the properties address in this binder. I might also keep an extra set of keys in there. Today the Title Company put the information on a CD and those CD holders fit in those three-ring binders quite nicely.

Then comes your time and that is the most important aspect of management. Each day you should write down: What your purpose for that day is; what your goal for that day is. Doing this lets you keep that in perspective. It can be motivation to make sure it gets done.

Always separate what is important from what is urgent. I get a ton of E-mails each day most of them are not important, but they all say urgent. Sometimes your family will try to interfere and there are times when you need to let them. They are important. There are other times when your family’s requests are not as severe and they could be put on hold temporarily.

What Oprah has to say on any given day could seem important to Oprah, but it might not be so important to what you are doing. Remember that … it could be a football game that could be important to that team to get them into the playoffs, but maybe not so important to your business. I will just say you need to get the things you need to get done, done first and then let other things happen.

Do take time to relax and enjoy yourself. There is no sense in making a lot of money and not enjoying each day. Gratitude, will take you a long way toward success. Paying attention to other people’s needs, but stay focused. If I have a big project I like to use a milestone chart. I know the day I want to finish and the day I want to start.

For me I’ve been known to have my crew start working on a house that I want to rehab the same day that I meet for closing. The money is already at the Title Company and I know that it is going to close and I let my crew start working. They have been instructed as to the things I need done first. Not all of you would take that risk and not all of you should. For me I understand time value of money and it makes sense to get things done as fast as I can.

To the rest of you, manage your time well. You all are given the same amount of time each day. There are some shortcuts and you will learn them as you go and your office will run differently then everyone else’s. That’s the way it should be. It’s your office and it’s your personality. But, do make it as efficient as you can.

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