Effective Time Management Tools for Real Estate Investors

By on May 14, 2018

When you are a real estate investor, no matter how large or small, it is important to educate yourself on the mechanics of real estate transactions, learn how to source and sell deals, all while managing and maintaining properties. You must juggle a number of hats — be an effective marketer, a skilled negotiator, business owner, not to mention sometime plumber, gardener and customer service agent.

For those who really want to find success as a real estate investor, you will need to become extremely efficient with your time so you can put on each hat. Effective time management can ensure you have time to perform each role to the fullest, leaving you with more time and freedom to enjoy the wealth you are generating.

Procrastination, inefficiencies and wasting time not only sabotages a successful business, but they can cut into profit margins. So what activities are considered to be a drain on a real estate investor’s time? More importantly, how can you manage these activities in a way that is more conducive to your bottom line?

Effective Time Management Tips

Your ability to excel in addressing many responsibilities is being squandered if you are constantly distracted or misusing your time. Here are some time management tips to help you reach a whole new level of success in your real estate investing.

Set a Work Schedule

Although real estate investors can work flexible hours from home and on the road, some prefer typical daytime work hours. One of the most attractive perks of working for yourself is that you have a say in your work schedule. There is freedom in this flexibility, but it is still important to recognize when you are most productive.

It is important to set aside a block of time dedicated for work pertaining to your real estate business. Some people choose to work from home, but still rise early, enjoy a morning coffee, breakfast, then prepare to work a full day. Even if these investors choose to perform other tasks during this ‘work’ time, their contractors or banks can reach them during normal 9 am to 5 pm operating hours.

Other real estate investors perform better at night, when they can focus as the world sleeps. There can be a significant difference between the quality and quantity of work you can accomplish when you are attentive and motivated and what you can get done when you’re tired and distracted. Pick a time that works for you and stick with it. The more consistent your work schedule, the more organized you can be with the rest of your time.

Delegate Tasks to Free Up Your Time

If you are not diligent about how you use your time, you could find yourself bogged down with tasks which prevent you from using your time wisely or efficiently. Most real estate investors don’t imagine they would spending most of their time tethered to a desk filling out timesheets or answering phones all day. It’s not that you are ‘above’ these jobs, it’s that they may not the best use of your time.

With the number of hats you have to wear to be a successful real estate investor and business person, ask yourself if that particular task needs to be done by you or if it could be delegated to someone else on your team. For instance, it may be a better use of your time to negotiate deals, while your assistant compiles research for the next project or your property manager returns phone calls from tenants.

Take a little time to decide which tasks could be handed off. If you don’t have any assistance, but find you don’t have enough time to complete every business task and still sleep, it may be time to consider hiring someone to take a little off your plate. A little money spent now, can save you a lot of time and money in the long-term.

Your Time is Valuable – Protect it & Learn When to Say ‘No’

Even after delegating appropriate tasks to others, you still have a number of responsibilities to fit into a days work. It is important to protect the time you have from mindless distractions and unnecessary demands on your time and it’s important that you make others understand this as well.

We’ve all been there: You have every intention of plowing through the last arduous tasks on your to-do list, but you keep getting interrupted with phone calls, urgent email alerts or clients who insist they were ‘just dropping by’. Before you know it, hours have passed, you’ve missed dinner, still have those tasks to complete and the time is gone.

We don’t need to be accessible 100% of the time. Reclaim ownership over your time — create boundaries, such as operating hours when you can be expected to answer phone calls or return emails, and learn to say no to distractions. Protecting your time is crucial for productivity, and no one else is going to do it for you.

Use Time Efficiently on the Real Estate Tasks You Deal With Most

Once you set a work schedule, you will need to decide what to spend you time on and what to delegate so the business can run smoothly.

Every one of the many hats you wear requires you to perform certain tasks on a regular basis. Here are some examples of common time-consuming tasks you may encounter as a real estate investor and ideas for limiting their impact on your ability to be productive and succeed.

Best Use of Your Time When Managing Properties

Loan Procurement and Closings

Getting pre-approved for a loan is not easy. This can be especially time-consuming when it comes time to clear underwriting conditions during a closing. Streamline the process by using more appropriate lenders and establishing a relationship with a trusted loan officer who can help you get more done upfront – saving you time and getting property into your hands faster.

Appraisals

Appraisals are vital to your bottom-line in real estate. It is important to determine the value of an investment accurately, so this may be the kind of task to hire out to an expert. Learn as much about appraisals as you have time for, then weigh your ideas with some professional opinions. Asset Valuation and Marketing (AVM), Broker Price Opinions Companies (BPO), banks and other appraisal professionals offer methods of comparing comps quickly.

Tenant Management

Showing properties, performing background and credit checks, taking complaints or assisting with 2 am lock-outs can be a drain. These tasks can take up a lot of time quickly and are better off outsourced. Delegate these tasks to another team member, on-site property manager, or a professional property management company so you have more free time to conduct money making activities.

Curb Appeal

It is important for real estate investors to show pride in their properties and attract quality tenants by maintaining their property and keeping the ‘curb appeal’ fresh and up-to-date. If you only have one or a few properties, get some assistance with minor maintenance tasks, such as lawn care, painting, or cleaning. A small crew can get all these things done in one day verses you spending hours on your own.

For those with several properties, multi-family units or commercial parcels, save yourself the time by getting rid of the problem altogether. It’s time to hire landscapers, cleaning services, building contractors, painters, etc.. Shop around and build a relationship with these professionals to get a lot of necessary work done at an affordable price.

Spending Time Around the Office

Decision Making

Taking time to make good decisions might sound like the natural thing to do, however, with your financial future on the line, it can be more time consuming than it has to be. Some decisions require extensive deliberation, but you can save your team time by empowering them to make decisions over their delegated tasks without deferring to you as the owner.

Marketing Execution

You cannot market effectively without a long-term plan to have consistent branding across each campaign. Save time by designing and planning your marketing months in advance, then use templates for fast, easy plug and play marketing materials.

Interior Communication

Cut back on time spent in daily team meetings by streamlining internal communications using cloud-based project management software so each person on the team can see what tasks are being assigned and completed in real-time.

Payroll

Unless you are a one-person operation, you will have to spend time paying your team. While it may not seem to be time consuming, payroll can be complicated, requiring accurate timesheets, knowledge of tax forms and a basic understanding of legal obligations of employment. It is critical that no mistakes or miscalculations are made, so payroll is better left to someone else. Hire one person to focus solely on payroll or outsource it to a professional company.

Effective Time Management Can Lead to Success in Real Estate

We all face endless distractions in work and in life, but for real estate investors – whether on your own or as the head of a larger investment company – juggling every aspect of a business can be a big challenge. Set aside time to focus on work, delegate tasks to others so you can better leverage your own time and eliminate distractions so you (and your team) can effectively and properly complete work vital to the success each investment.

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About David Leighton

FSN real estate investment journalist - Property can still be a great way for someone to secure or grow their portfolio. Any smart investor with a good education and understanding of the opportunities in the the market can buy their dream home, rental unit or commercial parcel. David wants you to have the tools and resources to make informed decisions in your real estate investments. Connect with David on !

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