5 Quick Tips to Save You Time When Investing In Rental Property

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We all want to know ways to make our lives easier, whether that be in our family life at work or with friends.  It seems that when we are trying to balance the complexities of life, the importance of making things easier becomes so much more important.

In having to balance the craziness of my life: having a husband, a daughter, a full time teaching job, and this website finding ways to make life easier is critical to my sanity! 🙂

My goal of this post is to share with you 5 quick tips that you can apply to your investing life so that when you have to complete any of these activities you have a process in place to make it quick and simple to get any of these things done.

One thing that can be extremely time consuming and tedious is having to get all of your documents together for your lender when you are trying to get financing from a bank.  In today's world, the laws and regulations that loan officers (LO) must follow are so strict.  Therefore, they require so much documentation from you that it feels almost invasive.

Unfortunately, these loan officers often get the wrath of homebuyers, despite of the fact that they truly are the middle man.  You've heard the saying "Don't shoot the messenger".  Well that is so true when it comes to the LOs.

The government and their banks tell them what to do and they then have to be the ones that make us feel like they want every detail of our lives, when really they are just following the law.

So, how can we make this process easier?

Download the checklist or keep reading to find out! 

Quick Tip #1

Create a Dropbox Folder that contains all of your documents that a lender needs to see.

As an investor, you are going to be buying property on a somewhat frequent basis.  Therefore, you are going to having to put together these documents for your lender.  Instead of having to gather these things every single time you want to go after a property, upload your documents to Dropbox and then you can just email your lender the link and they are able to access all of those documents.  Sweet, right!?

Even if you plan to self manage your properties, which is what we do, you are probably going to still need the help of a contractor or handyman.  Guess what?  The reality is that as a landlord you are going to probably get calls at random times and of course when you are on vacation.  So, what happens when you are on vacation or out of town and your tenants call and you need to take care of something?

Do you cut your trip short and go home?  NO.

Quick Tip #2

Create a List of Contractors BEFORE You Need Them

When you become an investor, one of the things you can do is start going to websites like Angie's List to build a list of local contractors that you can make contact with and meet.  If you create a list of handymen and/or contractors before you need them, then when something happens and you are not available to take care of it, you have someone to call.

Other places to look for local help is through your area's Chamber of Commerce or local Business Networking International (BNI) groups.  Many self employed individuals belong to these sorts of groups to help with networking and building their referral network.  These can be great places to look for the help you need.

Most of us investors or aspiring investors are taking this journey because we want freedom, more money, or to save for retirement. The only problem is that we can't just quit our day jobs and hope that this investing gig will work. The reality is most of us have jobs, families, commitments to friends and family.

Time is what we really need more of.  So what happens when you are finding properties each week that you are interested in and you don't have the time to view them?

Quick Tip #3

Have Your Realtor Preview Properties For You

This has been a life saver for us.  However, before I talk about how great this tip is, I want to mention that you really should only do this if you have a trusted realtor that you have been working with and who knows what you are looking for.

As a rookie investors, I think it's so important for you to get out and view as many properties as possible.  You can learn so much about what to look for in a property as an investor; not to mention the insight you gain about the rentals in the specific areas that you are looking to invest.

However, when you get to a point that you've viewed many, many properties with your realtor and they know what you are looking for and what makes you run in the other direction, having your realtor preview a property for you can be lifesaving.

There have been many times where we've had our realtors, in different areas, go and check out a property and let us know whether it would be something that we would want to go after.  If it seems to fall into the category of something we may want, we then schedule a time to view it as soon as possible that way we can move forward with an offer if we want.

This has been especially helpful when we invest in areas that aren't local to us.  The last thing we want is to spend anywhere from 1-3 hours driving to an area to look at 2 properties that are absolutely not near what we want.  Having boots on the ground to check out properties saves an immense amount of time.

You wouldn't think it, but creating a listing for a property can be somewhat time consuming.  If you plan to self-manage your properties it will be your job to create listings and post them to places so they can be seen.

Quick Tip #4

Make a Listing Template

Whether you like to use Microsoft Word, Excel, Pages or any other word processing software making a listing template can save you a ton of time.  What do I mean?

For the first property that we ever rented, we created a listing with headlines and specific wording that draws renters to a listing.

When it comes down to it, we look for a lot of the same things in our properties.  Open floor plans, bright and spacious, recent updates, etc.

Now, when we go to list a new property all we have to do is go in and change things like number of bedrooms, baths, square footage, utilities, etc.  However, some of the key words that draw renters to a listing stay there and it's just a quick switch out of specific property information.

Again, another tip that can help save you time.  When you are investing part time or just getting started there are a ton of things that you are juggling.  Saving a little bit of time here and there helps keep your sanity and gives you the ability to keep moving forward.

Quick Tip #5

Have a Way to be able to do a Quick Analysis on a Property

When we find a property that we are remotely interested in the first thing that I do is pull up either my RentalRookie Property Analyzer- if I have my computer with me- or a mortgage calculator app and run the quick numbers on a property.

As investors, my husband and I are looking for properties at least 5-6 days a week. It could be when we finally sit down after our daughter goes to bed, driving in the car while one of us is searching online, or any other free couple of minutes that we can squeeze in during the day.

When we see a property that peaks our interest, before we do any research or call our realtor the first thing we want to know is whether or not the numbers work.  Remember, as an investor it's all about the numbers.  There's very little emotion allowed in this game.  So, if we quickly run the numbers and see that they don't work-no matter how cute the property is, we forget about it.

Having the ability to run numbers at any point in time when we see a property gives us the ability to be ready at any moment for a good deal.

Why is this important?

In the world of buy and hold properties, being ready is crucial.  Good deals don't last and if you can jump on a good deal as soon as possible you're chances of it working out are higher.  We are often in competition with seasoned investors who have the ability to pay cash and close in just a few weeks.

As still young investors, we can't compete with that and lose out to those heavy hitters.  Knowing how competitive the field is we have found it to be important to be able to run numbers at any time.

So, when we have computer access, I pull up the Property Analyzer and put in the numbers for a quick calculation.  If we don't have computer access we use mortgage apps- like Zillow Mortgage Marketplace or Qualifier Plus IIIx- and are able to put in numbers to get  quick estimate.

What numbers do we put in?

A typical quick analysis looks like this with most numbers coming from the listing:

Purchase Price- what our max offer would be on the property

Down payment -20%

Term- 30 yrs

Rate- varies with market

Taxes- can see on a listing

Insurance- avg. from 200-600 depending on the property

Monthly Exp.- utilities, HOAs, Condo Dues, etc.

When push comes to shove, all of us want to save time and find ways to make life easier. These 5 Quick Tips are ones that we actually use on a regular basis and have found them to help us manage the crazy, busy life we all lead.



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