In the spirit of the Holiday Season, I thought it would be appropriate to share some of the secrets I have gathered for better real estate management.  Don’t roll your eyes just yet.  These aren’t the broad-sweeping ideas that are shoveled at you every day:  “Communicate better with you tenants. Get a system for organizing your Certificates if Insurance.  Design a good website to market your building.”  No, no.  These are actual, practical, tips that will marvel your co-workers, help you organize your work life, and in the end make your business more productive.

1. Evernote:

Evernote is the cure-all for a disorganized life.  In short, it helps you remember everything in your notable world.  You can type a text note, grab a screenshot, take a picture, write a memo, or anything else that you can imagine and Evernote will capture everything, organize it and make it easy to find on your computer or phone.

So, what does this mean in the property management world?  If you’re using a GPS enabled phone, you can send coordinates to a note.  You can take photos of business cards before you lose them and Evernote will search in the text of the card for easy access later.  You can clip marketing ideas from websites, or send links to Evernote for use later. And on, and on.  As Evernote says, they are “infinitely useful.”

2. Jott:

Jott allows you to use your phone to record and send text to e-mail. How does it work? You call a phone number, speak your message and then Jott converts your spoken message to text and sends it wherever you want. Maybe you just wrapped up an outside business meeting and want to record your thoughts before you get back to the office.  Maybe you are in the field and just remembered a list of items that need to get installed.  Record and send your to-do list to your e-mail.  Best of all, Jott can work in conjunction with Evernote!

3. Utilize “Rules” in Outlook:

If you’re not using Rules in Outlook, you are really missing out on a valuable tool. You can create rules that automatically flag important contacts so that their e-mails get special attention.  You can flag certain words in subject lines, so that any e-mails you send or receive with those words get stored in the folder of your determination.  This can come in really handy to track transactional e-mails or tenant inquiries by name.

Visit Microsoft Office Online for more information and a tutorial.

4. Market your building’s location with Geotags on Google:

One of the most important tools you have for marketing you building is your website. Many of the visitors coming to your site are not only interested in your building, but are interested in the the local area and what it has to offer. Through Google’s Picassa and Google Earth (both free services), you can create a visually appealing map with photos of local attractions, restaurants, and other places of note.  If you own multiple buildings you could even do a map with photos of all your buildings!

Using Geotags for Google to increase tenant satisfaction with building location data.
Using Geotags for Google

Learn how to Geotag photos with Picassa.

5. Get a comprehensive CMMS system:

If you are still printing out work orders, having field personnel come in to get work orders from an inbox, lacking a tenant interface where customers can quickly and easily manage issues and log-in visitors, your team is AT LEAST 50% less productive than they should be.

Today’s web-based building management systems virtually help to run every aspect of your property. You can automatically send electronic work orders, standardize preventive maintenance and reminders, track Certificates of Insurance, easily organize and post Tenant Handbooks, communicate with tenants, control visitor access, track resources, and automate fire and life safety reminders- all from one efficient central operating system.

Learn more about Building Engines’ web-based property management system. (I’m not just plugging this because I work here.  I really do believe in the flexibility and value of our product!)