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Paul

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Reply with quote  #1 
Let's share some resources that make either our personal or business life a little easier and more productive. I know there must be a ton of cool apps that we know about that are worth sharing.

This site I just found and plan to use got me thinking about what else might be out there.

Mozenda is a data-extraction, web crawler that can compile mailing lists or any other type of data collection, including photos and do it automatically.

http://www.mozenda.com/

PS TO Robert Campbell: If you know a site that will do those dead lifts, squats, etc and I get the benefits, link it here. It is New Years, time for a new work out regimen.

ResearchRetrieve

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Reply with quote  #2 
A key site that I use, which saves me an endless amount of time, when working on researching questionable houses on auction lists is;

http://ssdi.rootsweb.ancestry.com/

It is a site that you can plug the name of an individual into and, luck willing, they have a unique enough name that you may be able to find out that Mabel Johnson passed away.  It brings up all the deaths with that name, so it pays to have something like the middle initial or guesstimate as to the age and it is easy to weed out a lot right away because it has the last county of residence on the results and the county of ss# issuance as well.



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CGabhart

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Reply with quote  #3 
Great software tool here is another tool like it

http://www.egrabber.com it grabs the info and then will import it into your contact management database

CRM database for commercial real estate (this is what I use)
http://www.realhound.com

Outsourcing - I outsource tons of things. I have a full time virtual assistant set up on a computer next to my desk. As any of you who have ever come into my office know you can see her working in real time. I also have a 619 phone number for her (she is in the phillipines). Some tasks she does is

  • Posts all my ads - rentals, for sale etc.
  • updates my database of all apartments that are for sale, active, pending, sold, etc. and cross references them with things like costar, loopnet & the mls.
  • When I had the team of agents she did all the listing input, marketing packages (we would give her the numbers and she would insert them). weekly updates to our clients etc.
  • Research phone numbers, tracks down people
  • sends out rental aps, corresponds with my tenants (she is the gatekeepr)
  • Calls contractors and sends out request for bids
  • my accounting
  • keeps track of my appointments etc.
and a ton of other stuff including creating instruction sets on ANYTHING that is going to be done multiple times. That way we have consistent systems in place. In addition it allows me to scale up or down hiring people and makes it much easier to train them since everything they have to do is in writing.

In addition I have used other people as independent contractors to do projects for me like
  • Type things from PDF to word (now you can buy software to do it easily like omnipage)
  • web design & content
  • making cold calls
  • and almost anything else you can imagine that does not take a someone to be physically there.
  • Skip tracing
here are some sites
http://www.guru.com
http://www.elance.com
http://www.odesk.com

All of these sites above allow you to post your request for proposal and will give you categories where to post it. In addition you can choose geographically where you want people to bid from.

as an example
a certain distance away from where you are
state
country
international

Usually I try to open it up to the largest geographic area as possible to meet the needs of what I am looking for. This get's me more bids to choose from and better pricing.

I have a friend who found someone on odesk to look up phone numbers of foreclosures for a couple bucks an hour and they are doing a decent job (it will not be the same as having a professional skip tracer but it can narrow it down).

http://www.supportsave.com is a good place if you want to find a virtual assistant. What I did was to go online and find testing for
microsoft products, english skills and typing speed and had there applicants take it and they narrow down the best 3 and you interview them on the phone. The VA works out of there place in the phillipines and if you don't like them they will fire them and find you someone else.

here are some other things that are good

primo pdf - free pdf converter if you don't have one. If you want something that can convert documents, assemble them and comment on them go to frys and pick up nitro pdf for $75 and there is a $75 mail in.

http://www.techsmith.com 2 products are fantastic. snagit and camtasia. We use both to make instruction sets and videos.

http://www.dropbox.com is another great service. I use it to synch my documents between computers. it is free up to 2 gb after that you pay. I use the 50gb version and use it as a back up system. It is also good for collaborating with people.


If anyone wants where we get phone numbers etc. let me know or if it would be interesting to anyone I can post a blog on How i was able to use outsourcing to leverage my real estate business.

Hope these helps and I am sure I will think of more when other people post.

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Curtis Gabhart, CCIM
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ResearchRetrieve

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Reply with quote  #4 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CGabhart

I have a friend who found someone on odesk to look up phone numbers of foreclosures for a couple bucks an hour and they are doing a decent job (it will not be the same as having a professional skip tracer but it can narrow it down).

If anyone wants where we get phone numbers etc. let me know or if it would be interesting to anyone I can post a blog on How i was able to use outsourcing to leverage my real estate business.

Hope these helps and I am sure I will think of more when other people post.


This goes slightly off the topic of useful digital components to our business adventures, but I wanted to warn against two issues that can arise when using certain sites.

==>
One thing your friend will need to do is verify which state the person finding  numbers is from, because this action alone is considered skip tracing in many US states.  The person conducting the searches can be sanctioned by the state for failure to attain a skip trace license, failure to have a bond for operation and tax penalties.  This can then roll down the hill to the person using the service, if the state is in a nasty and petty mood.

They also need to be cross-checking the generated telephone numbers with the names on the DNC list, because the calls are telemarketing and there is something like a potential $10,000.00 fine if the person being called files a report.  This is even with the property being listed in public records.

In order to find a work around for the issue you need to make sure that there are some other aspects built into the research being conducted, because the fines are pretty severe.


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I have real estate cash judgments, want the cash from them?

http://www.judgmenthub.com
CGabhart

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Reply with quote  #5 
Yes agreed. I forgot the service we use but will post it. It works pretty well but you need to dot your i's and cross your tees.

You do have to be careful about the DNC but there is a lot of ways to get around it, especially if you are calling on your own behalf and not selling anything.


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Curtis Gabhart, CCIM
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ResearchRetrieve

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Reply with quote  #6 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CGabhart

You do have to be careful about the DNC but there is a lot of ways to get around it, especially if you are calling on your own behalf and not selling anything.



Correct.  I was reminding more than anything, because I ran into some home owners who had major issues when the DNC first started in certain states.  There were a lot of conference calls with Secretary of State offices across the US in order to verify that civil liberties and whatnot were not being abused.  My only advice to anyone using a calling service is to just make sure that they are conducting business in the manner their state allows.

Also, thank you for the odesk link.

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I have real estate cash judgments, want the cash from them?

http://www.judgmenthub.com
CGabhart

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Reply with quote  #7 
Yeah I saw you did the Odesk thing hope it works for you. I never used Odesk myself (yet, but my buddy did and loves it) but spent $30,000 on guru.com. you should also post on there also. I think you can get some business from there and liked there format a lot.


You may also consider if you get to busy to train people to help you with the searches.
 



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Curtis Gabhart, CCIM
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HungryBear

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Reply with quote  #8 
Quote:
If anyone wants where we get phone numbers etc. let me know or if it would be interesting to anyone I can post a blog on How i was able to use outsourcing to leverage my real estate business.


Apologies for bumping an old thread, but I would be really interested to hear how the virtual outsourcing is going for Curtis & others who are doing it... if you ever wrote the blog I would very much like to read it.

Are the Assistants that you had in 2010 still performing well for you, or do you have a lot of turnover?

Quote:
Outsourcing - I outsource tons of things. I have a full time virtual assistant set up on a computer next to my desk. As any of you who have ever come into my office know you can see her working in real time. I also have a 619 phone number for her (she is in the Phillipines)


Which outsourcing site did you find this Assistant from?

How many people did you have to try before you found her?

Does she log in to your computer and do everything remotely? or does your computer in some way "mirror" what her own is doing.

TIA.

Paul

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Reply with quote  #9 

I found someone on Odesk and she is sensational. She saves me 2 hours a day of very tedious but necessary work. She is always on time and extremely courteous and considerate. Odesk has software that allows you to monitor work progress every 10 minutes or so. But I never bother as there's no reason to do it.

CGabhart

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Reply with quote  #10 
HB -
My full time assistant got a government job in the filipines and when she left after working for us the previous few years I hired someone else who my VA trained for 2 weeks but the new girl was horrible so I fired her.

I haven't had time to train anyone else since but think it's a great resource if you spend the time to write down the tasks the VA will be doing and how to do them.

Support save is a good company and a local friend of mine here in san Diego who is also an agent has outsourcing company with 100+ VA's.

There company is called Myoutdesk

I am thinking of some sort of class or webinar soon on how I have used VA's and other technology to help me with my business. Not sure of the interest though.

I'll also put on my blog todo list to post my job description and tasks that I used.

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Curtis Gabhart, CCIM
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Paul

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Reply with quote  #11 

I used Jing to make screen capture videos to train the VA. Anytime she had a problem I'd just explain it in a quick video. Worked great.

HungryBear

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Reply with quote  #12 
One part of the economy is growing...
http://www.whichlance.com/all-the-news/item/online-contractors-show-record-setting-earnings

[QUOTEI am thinking of some sort of class or webinar soon on how I have used VA's and other technology to help me with my business. Not sure of the interest though. ]

I think you might find significant interest (me for one).  Aside from just reducing labor costs, businesses are trying to improve productivity and efficiency & reduce travel between locations in the U.S. as well.

Do you feel there are advantages (other than lower cost) for hiring from overseas versus a U.S. based VA?  Do they take the work more seriously, for example?


Can you suggest any particular software to manage VA's, remind them of tasks due & track their time?  E.g. Basecamp, Wrike, Zoho Projects, etc?

Ideal would be something where the VA can easily report what tasks they spend their time on while they are working, as remind them of overdue work via email, cellular text automatically again and again until the overdue stuff is done (i.e. technology to remind them so I don't have to).  I have found that work not getting done on time (or at all) is always the biggest issue... less worrisome is being billed for time they did not actually work.  This is a big issue for us with U.S.- based staff as well as I have properties spread across multiple states.

MJohnson

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Reply with quote  #13 

http://www.emacrorecorder.com - lets you automate virtually anything through macros (like Excel macros, only you can use them to do anything on your PC).  Not for the impatient, but very powerful once you get good at using it.


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Matt Johnson, Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE)
Solutions Real Estate
CA DRE License #01881265
(619) 917-8143
matt@rds-investments.com
CGabhart

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Reply with quote  #14 
I finally started the blog post on how we were using virtual assistants. It ended up being to long for 1 post so we are breaking it up into 3.

Here is the link http://gabhartinvestments.com/article/utilizing-virtual-teams-to-grow-your-real-estate-business-part-1of-3/

I realized I need to post some links to documents I used with our VA's. I'll do that in the next few days.

We are going to do a webinar in the next few weeks on the VA thing. I need to figure out the best service to use for webinars that is NOT a monthly service.

Any suggestions?

Matt - how difficult is that program of yours?

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Curtis Gabhart, CCIM
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NoraChoi

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Reply with quote  #15 
[smile] An easy-to-use yet powerful web scraping software that you can't miss.

It is capable of extracting any HTML elements from websites effortlessly. You don't even need to know any coding knowledge. Just capture the magic power of extracting data as long as you download and launch it.

It can simulate human operation, interacts with the web page, click โ€œ+Moreโ€ and extract data. It provides operations such as click, hover, pull-down switching, as well as the combination like cycling and branch judgment. [smile]

http://www.octoparse.com

It has three editions: Free, Standard and Professional. The free edition has almost all the features of Octoparse except for the limitation to the number of projects. You can try Octoparse to extract data from simple web pages for free. The Standard and Pro editions are suitable for users to extract more complex web pages.




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Nora[smile]

I'm a tech support specialist, currently working on my personal project.

http://www.octoparse.com/

LashellMilton

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Reply with quote  #16 
If you need to tweak images but don't have Photoshop, use GIMP. It's free!

https://www.gimp.org/
SaltLovie04

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Reply with quote  #17 
You prolly won't use a lot of the tips here but they are interesting.

100 Clever Life Improving Ideas That You Can Use in Everyday Life

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SaltLovie04
Jacozimo

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Reply with quote  #18 
Im professional data wrangler, so used a lot of tools for data collection and analysis. Can recommend a Tableau as perfect BI instrument. If you try it you will certainly LOVE it cannot live without it.

Want to also to recommend cloud web scraping service Diggernaut: https://www.diggernaut.com . It helps me a lot in my job. Weekly I need to collect and process hundreds of thousands records from county to county and this service really helped me a lot. First of all they allow custom code to be placed to scrapers. Its very important for me as all these point and click scrapers simply doesnt work with many of my sources. They have own language to code scrapers and its really easy to master. I did it for a few days and dont regret now. I can build scrapers myself, get data myself, and, oh yeah!, import it directly to the Tableau with WDC these guys developed after my request. So Im happy and if you are looking something for data extraction, try it out and you may fall in love like I did ๐Ÿ˜‰

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get any real estate data you need

kaihacker

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Reply with quote  #19 
This is a blast from the past.  I assume the last post was a bit spammy but none the less it is a great topic that can bring value by being updated...

I currently have 2 full-time VAs.  I use up work (previously odesk).  IMO the key is creating systems for them to operate under.
I create screenshot training videos of everything.  

I had to hire a new assistant for one of the positions last fall.  They reviewed the training videos and assignments I created and were up an running within 3 days with only a few short conversations.  

I am partial to folks from the Philipines.  

A bit of advice for hiring...specifically ask how many power outages and internet service outages they have had in the last 6 months.  Some regions of the Philippines have a lot of issues with outages. It is also a favorite excuse I have found.  I dwell on this topic when hiring and it has all but eliminated these issues.  

I have a voice recorder app that automatically updates dropbox when I finish recording.  This has been a great way for me to communicate with one of my VAs.





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Gene Hacker

Passive and active real estate investment opportunities.
http://RiverLakeRE.com riverlakere@gmail.com

Home Inspections in Bakersfield and all of kern county:
http://bakersfieldinspections.com
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