Long-distance real estate investment is completely different than it was ten years ago. Huge advancements in technology have created a wealth of information and tools available on the internet. Even the casual investor can consistently make quality long-distance investments with the right resources.
- Long-distance investing often carries the false negative connotation of being too unpredictable and volatile
- Top technology tools allow investors to leverage a wealth of information to make educated investments
- Rentometer, Mortgage Calculator Plus, and Numbers are some top tech tools for real estate investors
Long-distance investing got a bad reputation after the shady deals flooded the market during the real estate recession of 2009 – 2012. Investments were volatile and unpredictable in a recession-era market that struggled to recover after years of destructive lending practices. Most people who were involved in real estate investing during that period left with a lasting bitterness and still carry that negative opinion with them today.
According to veteran real estate investor and author David Greene, technology has made long-distance real estate investing safe and profitable. The internet has evolved to provide an enormous amount of information if you know how to find it. For one, you can vet potential investment partners and see things like crime states, neighborhood reports, property tax info and more. There are also numerous online platforms and tech tools that ensure seamless long-distance deals.
Here are Greene’s top Technology Tools for Investors:
Rentometer – This is a free website that provides rent estimates for properties in any given location. Before writing offers or closing deals, check the site because something could be wrong if there is any large disparity in the area’s rent estimates. Rentometer is quick and easy to use, despite not always being 100% accurate.
Mortgage Calculator Plus – This is a free mobile app that calculates the cost of a mortgage payment based on variables you enter like loan amount, years on loan, and interest rate. It’s a great tool to get quick estimates for clients when contemplating budget or debating price. The app also provides schedules and graphs that break down each payment and show interest-over-time.
Numbers – This is Apple’s version of Microsoft Excel. Greene recommends using Numbers to track each property’s performance, including individual financial summaries. Each spreadsheet should keep track of variables like incoming rent, cost, or maintenance. It’s also feasible to create more detailed spreadsheets that track overall cash flow, net worth, ROI, return on equity, loan balance, and more.
Zillow – Zillow’s main value is providing detailed property information. You can look up property pictures, property tax info, price history, surrounding maps, and more. Zillow’s price history feature, specifically, allows you to see how much a property’s value dropped during the recession, and gauge how a local market may fair during future fluctuations.
YouTube – Videos and photographs are essential to any long-distance real estate deal. Nobody is handing over their money without some visual reassurance. Sending high-quality videos, however, is impossible via email because of their size. A quick upload to YouTube, on the other hand, takes minutes to become accessible to all parties.
Google Drive – Anybody who owns a Gmail account has a Google Drive, whether or not they have accessed it. It’s similar to Dropbox, but easier to use because with others because most people already have one. As an investor, upload and organize your files for each property in a separate folder on your Google Drive. The cloud storage system allows you to upload multiple file types into one folder, making it an easy spot to hold all documentation for your investment deals.