Time is the most important part of our life that we can never get back. When I started as an Investor back in 1998, I worked a full time job as a legal secretary, was married with 2 children ages 2 and 6, a step-son age 20, and worked part time in my real estate career. Time Management was very important to me as I needed to be able to earn 1 year’s salary before I was able to quit my job and work a full time real estate career. Just like most new investors, we attended numerous boot camps to sharpen our skills and take that leap of faith into the real estate arena. I chose this article about time management because I do a One Day Safari with my individual students by coming to their own home to evaluate how they are spending or wasting their time and how can I help them improve their production in addition to reviewing multiple other marketing and business systems to move them forward.
As I write this article, I need you to “act as if” I am sitting in your home, evaluating your production and asking you, ARE YOU WASTING TIME? The most important part of your business is to make sure that you have a designated workplace separate from all of the noise and interruptions of your life. Well? I tried having my office upstairs so I could keep track of my children when I quit full time…that didn’t work. I had a private phone line and a business line set up at my home. When the business line would ring, I used to grab the phone no matter what time of the day it was. I was hungry for a deal! After trying this for a couple of months, I decided it didn’t work because as soon as I would get on the telephone the kids would always want something and I literally would have to run into the basement or my bedroom and lock the door. However, the kids still followed knocking on the door and wanting something! Even though I was working full time as an investor, I had to put my kids in day care and/or work around their schedule (i.e. naps, bedtime). I decided it was best that I would set up my office in the basement. I got tired of running to the office phone for deals, so I decided to work normal business hours 9 to 5 p.m. However, if you hunger for deals, you may want to answer the phone every time it rings, day or night.
So … where is your office in your house? Do you have the following things to conduct a business: desk, file cabinet, printer, copier, scanner and dedicated fax? Before I would come out to my student’s house, I would ask them to provide me with a time sheet of what 3 normal days looks like for them. They would need to fill in from 5 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Many of the students didn’t have this time sheet filled out, so I knew they were in trouble! If I don’t know them well, I make sure they have a DISC test filled out for my review which tells me their strengths and weaknesses.
A book called “The Hamster Revolution” obtained over 20,000 surveys and interviews. Here are some key findings: 40% of the workday is now spent on email and email related activities. Right now I want you to look at your emails and see how many you have in your inbox. If you keep all your emails in your inbox just looking at your inbox every day is overwhelming. I would recommend that you set up files on the left side of your emails. For example, Gmail calls them Labels. Create a File Folder/Label that states Buyers leads, Sellers Leads, Bills/Invoices, Real Estate Events, etc. I love Outlook because I have 3 different email accounts that all run into my Outlook and I just create a file folder on the left so I can keep track of everything. For Example: If a “suspect” Seller Lead turns into a prospect, I would open a subfolder underneath the Seller Leads folder as follows: Sellers last name, first name, full address. This allows me to put all emails relating to that particular seller in that file. In addition, I take this same concept and I create a file folder on my desktop which states Seller Leads, then a sub folder with Smith, Mary, 123 Main Street, Winter Springs, FL 32708. Inside this folder I put all the paperwork that I have sent to or received from the Seller. I also create a PICS sub-folder under Smith and all pictures of the house go in this folder. Pictures are taken as follows: I take a picture of the address first, then the front of the house, I go into the house and take pictures in a clockwise direction, then I go outside of the house and take a picture of both sides of the house and the back of the house. When I load the pics into this folder, I would immediately rename each picture, as I want to be sure I remember each room.
Now during my picture taking, since I work on short sales or even if I am going to flip the house, I am going to take close-up ugly pictures and note them on the Repair Bid Sheet which I provide to you as a student. Those pics are later used to help create a Repair Bid. I also create a sub-folder underneath the Smith file named BPO Packet. Inside this file is where I save the repair bid that I did during my walkthru along with a Synopsis of the house. The ugly pics are incorporated in the repair bid so that the BPO Agent/Appraiser can see which pictures they need to take for their BPO/Appraisal when they come out to the house to obtain value. Last but not least, I create under the Smith folder another sub-folder and it is named “Sale.” This is the most important part of your business and this is where you would put your purchase agreement for when you are selling the property to another person, the approval letter from the banks, homeowners association discounts and other lien discounts that you obtained and title work.
In addition, if you have too many emails in your inbox you can change your set up and create direct paths to instruct your emails to go directly into your subfolders without you even having to look at them and then next to the folder you created on the left there will be a number, for example: Seller leads (1), which means you have 1 unread email in the Seller lead subfolder.
Statistics show that 75% of workers feel colleagues overuse “reply to all.” I can attest to this. I always ask my students to email only one person in my office versus emailing the admin, Kristen, and myself. That is a waste of everyone’s time, as the email was only supposed to go to one person, not three. 15% of workers admit that they themselves overuse “reply to all.”
70% of workers often receive email with vague subject lines. I always recommend if you are emailing someone about a particular property that you put the address in the subject line this way, in the future, you can search your emails more efficiently, if you don’t file them away. I often use the subject line as a quick message, so it would read: “Need copy of Seller info sheet for Smith.” Then there would be nothing in the body of the email. However, I was informed by one of my students, his phone does not allow him to see all of the subject line, so I quit doing that as much.
How much time do you spend on your emails? I have an AOL account from when I first started as an investor. Everyone got my email address and they just started sending me every promotion they could. It has over 11,000 emails in it, as I only go and clean it out every 4 to 6 months. I no longer use this AOL account due to the overuse of people sending me promotional emails.
I would recommend that you set up your emails and files as I have explained here, and your life will become easier. I use a setting in Outlook that allows me to see if someone has received my email as I get a “read receipt” returned to me. I use this specifically because of the banks and students, as I want to be sure they received the emails. However, it does fill my emails back up but then I don’t have to worry about the fact that I had a deadline and wonder if they didn’t read or receive my email. This option doesn’t work with all email accounts, so I have also included this text as the last sentence of my important emails: “PLEASE ACKNOWLEDGE RECEIPT OF THIS EMAIL, THANK YOU!!!”
The first thing I do in the morning is quickly scan thru my 3 email accounts that are all inside of Outlook and delete all the junk email just by looking at who it is coming from and the subject line. This takes a total of 5 minutes. I then scan a 2nd time just focusing on who they are from and making a decision to one open it and/or flag it to be opened based on my schedule of the day. The most I spend on emails per day is no less than one hour. And when I do use email, it is because I am working on a file and I am not sending a chain letter around to everyone or a funny little story. Not that I don’t need a joke or two, however, I am at work and I can always look on my Facebook and get a laugh.
You must use “Tasks” as reminders and a Calendar for all of your appointments. Your cell phone should sync up with this system so that you will have it with you always. Therefore, when I have a task due, I can set it to remind me that day or if it is a mentor call, it pops up on my screen that in the next 15 minutes a student is going to call in. Which also tells me I have 15 minutes with my existing student call, so if I need to conduct a three way with a Seller and close the deal, I need to move quickly, as building rapport with Sellers takes time.
I hope this article helps you at least set up your deal files, emails, tasks, and calendar so you too can be more productive in your business and make thousands of dollars. TIME IS MONEY! If you are interested in learning more about my One Day and Three Day Safaris, please email my office and we will send you information on how I can come to your area, organize you, analyze your farm area, call Sellers to get them on board with you, and submit offers to close deals.
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Kimberlee Frank Broker Short Sale Expert
Kimberlee Frank is known as “The Real Estate Junkie,” for her unique ability to find ways to creatively help buyers and sellers no matter which direction the real estate market is heading. Kimberlee had already worked as a legal administrator for an Attorney, Builder and Broker for 18 years when she began her Real Estate career in 1998. She dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s on hundreds of real estate transactions and thousands of documents, making her an expert in real estate documentation. Kimberlee’s success began in Fenton, Michigan. She specialized in selling, purchasing, renovating, retailing and lease optioning single-family homes. She has helped many sellers get rid of their “headaches” and helped many buyers find their dream homes!
Since 2003, she has specialized in foreclosures and short sales. After realizing how many families were being forced out of their homes due to financial difficulties, Kimberlee had a heartfelt obligation to use her experience to help those families. She has mitigated and closed over 500 short sales with the mortgage companies, saving Sellers from going into foreclosure. In 2006, Kimberlee and her family moved to Florida. She lives in Oviedo and her Sell Fast Realty Office is in Winter Springs, serving residential and commercial sellers and buyers in multiple counties in Central and Southern Florida.
Kimberlee is also a Trainer and Mentor and has created several different “How To” systems on real estate. Her unique strategies continue to educate real estate professionals across the country. If you have a proven system to help others out of hardship, why wouldn’t you duplicate it and share it with as many people as you can? Kimberlee continues to work with this philosophy!
Kimberlee Frank has been featured on ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS as well as Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, USA Today and numerous other publications. She is the bestselling author of “Big Ideas for Your Business” (Advantage Media 2009). She was also selected as the #1 Short Sale Expert by America’s Premiers Experts.
Please contact Kimberlee at her office at 407-888-3433 to schedule a Free Facts About Foreclosure Seminar. She has numerous testimonials from sellers, buyers and other real estate professionals who are familiar with her giving heart. Whether it is 1 person in need or 1,000…..Kimberlee will educate them on real estate and give them a solution with a peace of mind!
Are you unsure what to do with your house? Do you need to educate yourself about your options. Click the following link Free Facts About Foreclosure for more information.
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