The Goliath Sourcing Academy is the podcast for everyone who is into property investing. Listen to Mark Dunsmore as he talks about a variety of different property sourcing related strategies, tactics, hints and tips. We go deep into various innovative and advanced strategies for sourcing better and more property deals.
In the episode Mark tackles the often asked question of whether its possible to source deals outside your local area when youre unable to view the properties yourself. In other words are ‘virtual viewngs’ really possible. Yes it’s possible but there are pitfalls. Listen to find out what they are and how to avoid them.
This is the second part of a two parter on productivity apps for property sourcers. Brad covers some lesser known apps that have the potential to make a big impact on your day.
Get the free resources mentioned in this show at http://goliathsourcingacademy.com/session12
“Sourcing With Mark” – Virtual Viewing Checklist
“In The Lab With Brad” – Productivity Apps List & Further Resources Part 2
Download at http://goliathsourcingacademy.com/session12
In this episode Mark tackles the often asked question of whether its possible to source deals outside your local area when you’re unable to view the properties yourself. In other words are ‘virtual viewings’ really possible? Yes it’s possible but there are pitfalls. Listen to find out what they are and how to avoid them.. You’ll learn:
This is the second part of a two parter on productivity apps for property sourcers. Brad covers some lesser known apps that have the potential to make a big impact on your day. You’ll learn:
To follow is the transcript of the Facebook Q&A, Sourcing With Mark and In The Lab With Brad.
Mark: This week’s Q&A question is from Ranjiv from the Facebook group and it is, “What would be the best pitch when calling or receiving calls from estate agents in relation to the rent-to-rent strategy?” Now with agents, the biggest part of working with an agent or trying to get an agent on side with your strategies with what you want to get out of them in terms of the deals that you want them to send you.
The first thing I really have to highlight is don’t expect to walk into an agent having never spoken to them before build rapport in that first meeting who you’re probably not be speaking with a relevant person anyway and then expect the deals to just flow in because it wouldn’t happen, and too many newbies out there think that they can just walk into an agent. They have a good conversation. The chances are the agent goes, “Oh, yeah, yeah, that sounds really interesting,” “Yeah, that’s amazing,” “Yeah, I know that sounds really good,” “Yeah, well, what we’ll do is we’ll keep you in thought,” “Yeah, we’ll have a look through our portfolio and we’ll tell you what might be of interest,” “We’ll send you the details through.”
I know a lot of you might walk out of the agent thinking, “Yes! Success!” I can tell you now the chances of them sending you anything are so slim that it really doesn’t work that way. If you get an agent that sends you the deals, then you need to keep a hold of them because they are a rarity rather than the norm.
So, the first thing to remember when you are looking at working with estate agents is build that relationship with them. Just make sure that you’re in regular contact. You’re not one of those investors that just said, “Oh, I’m looking for properties where the landlord’s struggling to rent them,” and then walk out and expect them to be your best mates. You need to just keep phoning them. You need to keep reiterating what you want and do this on a weekly basis. You phone them every week. Just say, “Have you got anything?” “Is that property that the landlord’s struggling with, is it still available?” “Would they entertain a long-term rental?” Just keep that phone call coming in. Visit them if you’re local. Visit them on a weekly basis. But there are slow burners, you know. You’ve got to work hard at relationships with agents and the only sure fire way to get agents contacting you with deals regularly is if you complete on one quickly and they see how easy it is and then they will start to send the deals through, but until then, you are going to have to work hard.
Some of the things that you need to be making sure of when you’re speaking with a specific relevance to the rent-to-rent strategy is the agent works on behalf of the landlord. You’re going to have to go in with two separate angles really.
The first angle is that an agent is always looking to impress that client, the landlord. Now, the way that an agent impresses a landlord is to get the maximum amount of rent in the shortest amount of time possible to the best possible tenants. That in itself is very difficult to do from an agent’s point of view, but if they take you on a rent-to-rent basis. If the landlord takes you on by the agent on a rent-to-rent basis, what you’re selling to that agent is what they can then offer to the landlords. You’re offering them a let where you will take that property on as quickly as possible. You’re offering a guaranteed rent from a company to the landlord so the landlord doesn’t have to worry about voids and you’ll even refurbish the property and take care of ongoing reactive maintenance during that tenancy. That in itself is music to a landlord’s ears.
What you’ll probably be saying to yourselves is, “Right, that’s great, but if I’m not speaking to the landlord directly, how do I get that message across via the agent because if the agents doesn’t necessarily – they’re not necessarily going to be on site?”
Now, the way to work an agent to get an agent on your side is you need to highlight the benefits to the agent. To the agent again, you can go through the fact that you’ll let the property immediately, but what you can also offer the agent is find out whether they manage the property or not. If they manage the property, what you can do is you can offer them at 12 months full management upfront as a finder’s fee, as a thank you. If they don’t manage the property, what you can also offer to double the fee that the landlord pays, so if the landlord pays a tenant find fee, you can offer to double that fee for that referral from the agent. So, the agent then is getting double fees for doing very little work.
What you also want to do is you want to make sure that you’re the one that writes the emails or writes what you want the agent to say to forward back that landlord. You do all the work, you write the email, you write the offer, you write all the terms and conditions, you write the benefits, and then you just ask the agent to forward that to the landlord on your behalf because this just cuts out any work that the agent has to do because another benefit to the agent of course is they don’t want to do any work. You can do all the work for them and all they need to literally do is hit forward, put the landlord’s address in it, and send that through.
Now, occasionally, what you will also find is that the agent will forward you the email back from the landlord and forget to delete the landlord’s email address from the emails. You will also get the landlord’s contact details on occasion. If the agent does get silly or stops being cooperative, you can actually contact the landlord directly, but that’s not necessarily a rule. That’s just it does happen because agents are lazy and they will just forward the email without making any sort of amendments.
And the other thing, of course, is that you can take on multiple properties in any one go. If you can commit to taking on more than one property and they’ve got more than one property on their books, they’re going to get multiple lets which is going to go towards office targets, especially if they’re on a corporate. They’re going to get office targets met and if they’re in an independent, then less so but letting more properties does mean a better reputation for the office.
Hopefully, that helps. It’s not necessarily a pitch, Ranjiv. What it is, is tips and tricks to work with agents and landlords. You want to get the agent to be passing your message onto the landlord in the best possible way. Those really are the main ways that I would recommend. Speaking from an ex-agent’s point of view, that’s how I would’ve been happy to take something forward with the rent-to-rent or if any of them had approached me when I was in agency. Hopefully, that helps.
Brad: Good stuff. Thank you, Ranjiv.
Mark: Thank you.
Brad: If anybody’s got a question, get yourself over to goliathfbgroup.com. That’s a direct link to the Facebook group and get your question in there and we can continue the conversation there as well. That’s the other thing that’s good about the Facebook group.
Mark: Okay, everyone, on this episode of Sourcing with Mark, I’m going to address a question that was asked within the Facebook group, but I thought it merited a slightly deeper answer to what we would maybe normally go into on the Facebook Q&A.
Now, the question came from Scott, and the question was, “How do you source outside your local area when you are unable to view the property yourself?” This is a really, really good question and potentially one that a lot of our listeners may encounter. You may find that maybe the deals in your area aren’t in abundance, so you have to go a little bit further out. Also, if you are in full-time employment or you are in employment that takes up a lot of your day, unfortunately, you may not be able to view properties as frequently as you might like.
The whole strategy around viewing properties from afar, we call the virtual viewing. It’s something that we teach in the academy and it is specifically for people who source in an area that is not local to them when they are unable to view lots of properties or they’re unable to view the properties at all. It does happen. You are going to be sourcing and you may find, especially maybe if you’re in London looking for a specific type of strategy, you might find that there’s not many deals about or what you also might find is you’re in an area where it is saturated with other deal sources, and so what happens especially when you first start out and you’re building up a relationship with the agents with getting your marketing messages right, sometimes, you find that you’re competing against other sources and the deals just get snapped up or you get gazumped all the time.
So, what this is, I will just go into detail on how it works, what you do, and then actually the post-virtual viewing process as well because that is just as important as the virtual viewing itself.
On the virtual viewing, what we are going to do is we are going to have the initial contact call with the seller or property owner as you would anyway. So, the lead comes in through your Facebook ad, your direct mail campaign, through a private ad, and the seller is interested in speaking with you about what you can do. You’re going to be building up that rapport. You’re going to be getting a picture of what that seller, that property owner’s circumstances are in order for you to know what the best deal is going to be.
Unfortunately, some of you might find that you can’t get to the property to do the refurb estimate or to check that the property’s going to fit with your requirements, so what you’re going to do is we are going to, once we’ve established that rapport and we’ve built up a picture of the vendor’s, property owner’s circumstances, we’re going to say to them, ”In order to avoid wasting your time and mine, what we do, is we do something called a virtual viewing and what I’m going to do is ask you to take me round the property as though I was a blind person, so you’ve got to pretend that I am blind and you’ve got me and we’re linking arms, and you’re going to take me around the property and describe the property into as much detail as you can.
What this will enable me to do is get a really good picture for the property itself, the layout, and also any works that might be needed, and with all of these information, I’ll be able to put an offer forward, and if that offer’s suitable, what we’ll do is we will arrange a formal inspection of the property where myself or one of my business colleagues will come around and view the property and just make sure everything is as we go through in the virtual viewing. Would that be okay?” And they say, “Yes, of course, it will be,” because they’re keen to get an offer from you.
Now, this process is devised from my days in the agency where I use to value property on a daily basis and the best way to value property is to follow a very set process. You follow a set pattern so that every evaluation sheet that I filled in was completed in exactly the same way and it just meant that I then knew the properties and as I looked to the details, I would know that property just from the notes I’d taken.
When you get the vendor, you’re going to say, “We’re going to go around the property.” You’re going to take the viewing checklist which is the content upgrade this session. The content upgrade is the viewing checklist. You can download that and print it, and then what we’re going to do, we’re going to start at the front door. We’re going to start to the point that you access the property and then we are going to systematically work our way round the property in a clockwise fashion. You get the seller to describe the hallway, each room including hallways, landings, is going to be described in the same way. We’re going to get a set routine going. We’re going to do flooring, walls, ceiling, and then we’re going to do doors, woodwork. We’re going to go to windows. We’re going to discuss the general decor, when it was last decorated, any gas fires, etcetera, and living rooms, and we’re going to have the set process for each room on the basics, your walls, your ceilings, your woodwork, your doors, your windows
And then there’s going to be specific questions you ask in each room of course, so in the lounge like I’ve just mentioned, fireplace, any other specific, unique parts to the lounge, same with dining room, kitchen. We’re going to go into the age of the kitchen, the fitted units, how many cupboards are there, and what you’re doing is you’re taking around the property. You’re getting a picture of what that property is, so you’re getting an idea as to the layout as well, but also what you’re doing is you’re continuing to build rapport with that seller. You’re getting a feel for how much they love their property or how much work is needed doing and they appreciate that, and sometimes, just the fact that you’re getting the vendor to talk you around the property gets them to understand just how much work actually might be needed and it helps you negotiate a much better offer.
This is a really good exercise to do, and as you work your way around, like say clockwise, you work your way around the ground floor, you then go up the stairs, you do exactly the same, so work your way clockwise from the stairs then you work yourself up to the second floor, third floor, however many floors there are and then as you’re going around, just make sure once you’ve followed your step pattern, you’ve asked your set questions, you just need to keep mentioning in each room, just: is there anything else that draws your attention?, whether that might be cracks in the walls, whether that might be a little bit of damp around windows, whether there might be redecorating needed, any sort of is there any woodworm, things that they might not have picked up on, but as you’re walking around, you can draw their attention to certain areas if that problem might be there and just see if it is.
Once you get around, vendors will not tell you everything, whether it’s deliberate or whether it’s just because they have lived in the property for so long they’ve just completely ignored certain things. Vendors will not tell you everything, so it your job on the virtual viewing to ensure that you ask as many questions as possible as you go around. This process shouldn’t be a 5-minute process. You should be on the phone for a good 15, 20 minutes, even half an hour getting this done. Just make sure the vendor knows that and they’re not rushing you around and then always let the vendor know that once that virtual viewing has been done, you’re going to go away and do the numbers because as you’ve been working your way around, you’ve been taking notes and you’ve been making a note of how much each item that needed refurbishment might cost.
Once you’ve got all that information, you can make an offer. That offer is subject to a formal viewing taking place, so whether that’s yourself, you take the time to travel to that property now that you know is as good as a done deal if the numbers stack up and the viewing was accurate or you can arrange for someone else to come along and view the property on your behalf.
There are companies out there now that offer this as a service, and they just go and view the property for you. They put together a report and they send out to you and just confirm whether the details you took down were correct, accurate or not. I don’t know. I’ve never used them. Goliath had never used them but I’m not sure whether they cover nationally. I don’t know the quality of the reports and what I would recommend and what Goliath had done in the past is we have used inventory clerk, inventory clerks that work with letting agents. We’ve asked them to specifically carry out a full inventory of this condition of the property and just ask them to pay special attention to certain key things like the cracking in the walls and anything that might be seen as potentially structural, that sorts of thing.
They’re not surveyors, remember, so don’t ask them too much but if you just explain, you just wanted to know if anything majorly obvious, then they’ll be more than happy to provide that report. Usually, it’s about 50 pounds, between 50 and 75 pounds, but it’s worth it all day long because that deal is either going to be worth a BMV to you or you’re going to package and sell that for 3000 pounds. It’s going to be worthwhile paying that 75-pound inventory.
If the inventory or the check comes back or the surveyor if you’ve sent a surveyor or a friend or family member come back, you can make sure that the offer still stands, no extra works had been noted, or if there are extra works, you just need to negotiate a little bit more, put that offer back to the seller and take it from there, and you will find that by doing this virtual viewing from doing it remotely, you can secure a lot more deals and waste a lot less time going out and viewing stuff that may be isn’t necessarily suitable.
That’s really in a nutshell the virtual viewing. The content upgrade is at the viewing checklist, so you can use that as a crutch to walk you around, almost like a script. You just follow that around and you will find a very interesting process.
And just one thing I would recommend before I go today, have a practice with some friends and family before you do this with a live person, not that you’re friends and family aren’t live, of course, but if you do this with your friends and family, just go through trial runs, give it a test, make sure that you get all the information down accurately, and then you can go onto actually speaking with people that have properties on the market to sell.
Hopefully, you find that useful and that’s another session of Sourcing with Mark. Happy sourcing!
Brad: Hello and welcome to the In the Lab with Brad. On this episode, Productivity Apps for Property Sources and How to Use Them Part 2.
Now, as I say, this is part 2 of a two-parter. You don’t need to have listened to part 1 at all, but there’s some great other apps that I talked about in that segment and you could find at goliathsourcingacademy.com/session11. That’s goliathsourcingacademy.com/session11.
Let’s get straight into the apps in this episode. First up is an app called Downcast. This is a podcast player for the iOS, for the iPhone essentially. as far as I’m aware, this isn’t available for Android. I used to use the native player on the iPhone, the native podcast player that comes kind of preinstalled, but I just did not get along with it. It just didn’t work for me. I listened to quite a lot of podcasts and I like to kind of know where I’m at with certain ones and it just didn’t work for me really. The great thing I kind of found Downcast and it allows you for start to create kind of podcast playlist which I found really useful, so I kind of create a playlist for Next Up, the ones that I’m about to – podcast that I’m about to want to listen to. I can also create a playlist for podcast that I kind of go back to and relisten and give them different kind of categories and stuff.
I’m also a big one for jumping around while listening to podcasts and Downcast is great for this. A lot of podcast players give you the 15 or 30 seconds jump forward and jump back option, but you also get that obviously in Downcast but also get a 2-minute jump forward which is great. I find that really useful. Sometimes I find when you start listening to a podcast, there’s a… I hope we’re not guilty of this, Mark and I, but there’s good like 10 minutes at the beginning of a lot of podcasts where they’re just talking about themselves a lot of the time and I kind of get a bit bored with that if I know the presenter and I know the story, I just want to kind of move on, so having that 2-minute function in there is great.
What’s also good about it as well is you get this quick swipe function so you can swipe the screen left and right and that goes forward 15 seconds or back 15 seconds which really a nice feature and I use that lot. That works really well.
There’s also loads of options available on Downcast for kind of speed listeners, everywhere you all speed listeners out there, you can get from normal speed up to two and a half times the speed and actually everything in between as well. I’m not a huge one for kind of speed listening, but there’s lots of different speeding up options there. That’s Downcast.
Next is an app called Process.St. This is a great tool for managing kind of operating procedures, regular recurring tasks in your business, a general kind of workflow facilitation in your business. It’s basically – it’s a cloud-based checklist system where you store your kind of checklist and procedures related to those checklists. The checklists are actually created in the software. It’s cloud-based as I say, so you or anyone in your team can access it from wherever they are, and it allows you to track essentially when tasks have been done as well as also put the instructions related to every tasks embedded within the checklist, and it has great integration with all other major apps on the market as well which is really important as you start to link and use those checklists and procedures related to those particular apps that you’re using in other areas of the business.
Let’s say that, for example, that you want to send an offer letter to a vendor, to a seller, all the data, it might be in your CRM, so let’s say that you change the stage or the status of that deal to send off a letter, it might then trigger the checklist creation inside Process.St, so the person that is assigned to the task is then alerted that they need to send the offer letter. They go into Process.St and they work through the checklist in Process.St and all instructions related to what they’re actually meant to do, I want those different tasks that are in the checklist all within Process.St and they tick them off as like check boxes at every single step of that checklist.
Another great feature is that Process.St will pull necessary data from say you’re CRM, so it will pull maybe that seller, that vendor’s details from you CRM into what you’re working on in that checklist and then it can also then pass that data into a document, for example, which may form a contract, so then maybe send it to HelloSign, for example, and that might get sent if it was contract, to send it HelloSign. If it was just a stray offer, you might send it to merge file, for example, in word and then PDF that and send that on its way. That’s a great app, Process.St.
Number 3, Zero. I’m a huge fan of Zero. I think it’s absolutely fantastic and I’m sure you’ve heard the name and many of you may already use it which is great. It’s basically a small business cloud-based accounting software that just works beautifully well. It has all the features that you’d expect from a cutting edge service like this, so a link with your bank account, give you multilevel permission access and so on and so forth, but what I really love about it is its ability to quickly and easily create reports. For example, just in one click, I can create a PNL report or VAT report or a cash flow report and it’s just so easy to do and it works nice if you’re managing properties as well, maybe you’re managing rent-to-rent or buy-to-let. It works well for that. I wouldn’t go into any more depth about that, but it has quite nice features to be able to manage individual properties. You can create like kind of sub-PNL reports for example.
For years, I used to use a local bookkeeper to do all my books every month, every quarter. They would then spend time creating a VAT return and this will cost a significant amount of money year on year, so here’s how we do it now. All the invoices are created inside of Zero, or at least they’re recorded inside of Zero, so any purchases that are made, the receipt is emailed into our account-specific Zero inbox.
This is then picked up by our bookkeeper who’s actually based in Jaipur in India. His name is Ahmet. He will then process that receipt inside of Zero. I used to pay 20 to 30 pounds an hour for a bookkeeper and when you got quite a lot of transactions going through, it can be quite costly to have a bookkeeper. Ahmet that charges $10 dollars an hour and I got him from Upwork and as with everything on Upwork, we didn’t find him first time, we had to kiss a few frogs to find Ahmet, but he’s just as good and actually goes so far as to say he’s actually better than the bookkeeper based down the road in the accountancy firm in London. He’s that good. So now, not only do we have a far more cost effective bookkeeping solution across all the businesses, but it costs us less than half of what it used to cost us.
Next is an app called Yesware. Yesware is an email tracking tool. In short, it allows you to see whether the recipient of your email opened it and if you have any attachments or links, whether they actually interacted with them or not, whether they clicked on them or whether they downloaded them. This isn’t the same as something like MailChimp. That’s different. It’s not a bulk email system where you send multiple emails to a list at once and then you can see kind of open rates and that type of thing. Yesware sits inside your G-Mail, so when you send an email and the recipient opens it, you will know. You’ll be alert that the recipient has opened it.
Why is that useful? Let’s say that you’re trying to connect with an estate agent, for example. You send them something with a plan to follow them up. You’ve sent something to them and you plan to follow them up. Wouldn’t it be much more effective use of your time to follow them up knowing that they had opened your email and even better still that they downloaded the attachment that you sent them? Yesware gives you this information. It tells you that somebody, that the recipient has done that or not. Now you can make the call knowing that they have the info you need to have in order to make the call a more productive one for you. That’s Yesware.
Number 5, Blinkist. All the gurus tell us all the time that we need to be reading more books. You see the Facebook post where people have listed 15 books that they’ve read in the last 20 minutes or half an hour or something, and you think, “How the hell these people find the time to get through everything?” I’d say my to-read list sits inside my Amazon account. It’s like my Amazon wish list and it’s long and it doesn’t really seem to go down only up as I add more books to it and I just can’t get through the number of business books that I do want to read. How do you get through all these books, that’s where Blinkist comes in.
Blinkist has essentially summarized the majority of nonfiction books you likely want to read and create kind of bite-size chunks, into bite-size chunks they call blinks. These are all business books essentially or non-fiction books I should say, not specifically business books. An entire set of blinks as they call them, forms – they create these like maybe 10 to 15 blinks which are kind of key points in the book with take up to 15 minutes to listen to or to read and it’s perfectly optimized for mobile, so if you got 15 minutes, you want to… what’s the Seven Habits of Highly Successful People. You open up Blinkist and for 15 minutes later, you’ve got the key points of the book essentially. That’s what the idea is or it allows you to, ok you know what? I’m going to prioritize. I’ve got 10 books that I want to read. I’m going to read the blinks of all of them and then I’m going to decide to spend some time on book number 6 and read that. Really, it’s that simple. You really, essentially can get a whole lot of great ideas through Blinkist. That’s Blinkist.
I’m going to move on here to number 6 which is Buffer app. Now, Buffer saves you bags of time by allowing you essentially to schedule the publishing of your social media posts. You can schedule posts weeks in advance or days in advance. Let’s say that you have 15 things that you want to post. You can schedule all of them into Buffer for a six-week period, for example, but you can do that all in the space of 20 minutes. It has other features such as analytics, etcetera, but even the free version gives you enough to get started with.
Number 7 is Podio. Now, I’ve noticed that a lot of people in property circles tend to talk of Podio as being a CRM system. It is a CRM system and that the customer relationship management system, by the way. In my view, it’s not a great CRM solution. I never quite understood why property kind of community seem to latch onto that. It can be used as one and there is that functionality there, but there are far better solutions on the market for CRMS.
Podio comes into its own as a project management system or a workflow management system. It allows you the ability to essentially build apps that facilitate the workflow and tasks within a project. It would be great for managing a refurb or kind of bringing tenants into properties, tenant management, that type of thing.
In the free resource that I’ve included with this particular segment, I’ve included the link actually to a 12-minute video which is demoing who Podio is used to manage a project, so that’s well worth taking a look at.
And finally, I wanted to give one mention and I’m sure you guys have all heard of it before because it’s just a savvy bunch, Dropbox and Skype. Two pretty obvious ones. Two usual suspects that you’ve probably heard of as I say, but these two have been around for so many years and they almost kind of get a bit forgotten now, but if you don’t know anything about them, you just literally go to, you must know about Skype, but if you don’t know about Dropbox, just go to dropbox.com and you should be using Dropbox or you should be using a version of a Dropbox like the Google Drive or something, something which basically is cloud-based but also local hard drive based as well.
As previously, get the full list of links and supporting links to various kind of video tutorials and overviews of all of these apps. You can get that at goliathsourcingacademy.com/session12.