Real Estate Investing Tools

The latest tech tools in real estate investing offer you a competitive advantage over all the other investors out there. They help you score off-market deals, automate your marketing and direct mail campaigns, and automate your rental management.

Deni and Brian break down seven tools to make you a better, more profitable real estate investor.

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live off rents podcast transcript


Hi everyone. Welcome to SparkRental’s weekly Facebook live and podcast. Let us know where you’re joining us from! Feel free to make some comments or ask questions as we go along in this last week, if you joined us, we were discussing how to know when to sell your property. This week we’re gonna to talk about seven real estate investing tools that actually boost your returns. And Brian and I have our favorites. And with that being said, Brian, what is yours?


Well, you know, before we jumped in with the tools, I just want to say that if you are not using technology as a real estate investor, if you’re not using technology to its maximum advantage, then you are giving up competitive advantages to your competitors, right? To all the other investors out there who are trying to scoop up deals and trying to maximize their returns. So, you know, technology and these tools are an easy way for you to gain a competitive edge over other real estate investors in your market. To kick things off, we’re going to start with Deal Machine, which is a phone app that is used for driving for dollars. Now, if you’re not familiar with the term driving for dollars, it’s probably something that you already do as a real estate investor, or at least you’re familiar with it’s you drive around your target market and specifically look for properties that are abandoned or run down or look like the landlord is not paying much attention to it.


And sending a letter to that landlord or to that owner could be a homeowner and offering to buy it from them because if the owner has abandoned it or is letting it decline, they are probably, they’re not paying much attention to it. They’re probably not earning much money from it. And they may be willing to accept a low-ball offer. Deal machine updates, this age or model of driving for dollars. So you, when you pull up the app, you take photo of the property and it uses a combination of your Geo location and the property image itself. And it pulls up the public records about that address

It’s so cool.

And shows you the owner’s name, their contact information, mailing address. It tries to pull up phone numbers, email addresses for you as well for that owner. So you can then click a button in deal machine and have them mail out mailers for you. Those postcards for you, with your custom messaging on it and your name and contact information, all that stuff. It takes all of the work out of driving for dollars, other than actually driving around.


In this day and age where the market is really tough right now. That is a really good way right now to find distressed properties that you can profit from.


Absolutely. Yeah, it’s a  pretty cool phone app and very useful for real estate investorsAnd as you guys, so we’ve got six more of these we’re going to go through as you guys join us, let us know some of your favorite tools as well. You know we try to stay up on these things, but it doesn’t mean that we’ve heard of every single real estate investing tool out there. Deni, what is your favorite?


Mine is PropStream. I’m on it a lot, and it’s a great way to know a lot of the different things about a property. It’s national first of all, so, you can use it in any state, I’m a realtor and I’m limited to a lot of this information just to the areas that, you know, I’m licensed in, where with PropStream, I get virtual even more information sometimes and it’s in any state. If you’re an out-of-state investor, it’s really, really good. It also provides information on foreclosures, pre-foreclosures, which is key, and sometimes in a lot of ways in contacting a property that you want to bid on and everything names and addresses of owners, they also have a mailing program. And you can also find out if it’s an estate, there’s just so much information on a property that they provide. And it’s just amazing to me. I mean, I like it a lot.


PropStream is a really awesome tool. It’s a great way to find distressed sellers, sellers who really need to sell yesterday. You could, you know, like Deni mentioned pre foreclosures, you know, homeowners or real estate investors who are in foreclosure currently divorces, tax liens, you know, all that kind of stuff. Their goal is to help you find distressed sellers who need to sell like that.



Brian: Because these are sellers who tend to be a minimal, to low ball offers, if you can settle really quick. So, it’s a great tool to score great deals.

Deni: Absolutely!

Brian: And again, you know, what these two tools have in common is they’re both ways of finding off-market deals, because those are where the real bargains fly, right. If it’s listed on the MLS, it’s not going to be a great deal, but it’s publicly out there for everyone to see. So yeah, these are two great.

Deni: And even if you drive by and see for sale by owners and at one time, that was a good way to find a cheaper deal, but not in this market.


Absolutely. The third tool we’re going to go over today is Mashvisor which is a great tool, especially for people who are interested in Airbnb investing and short-term rentals, not just long-term rentals. So Mashvisor has some really cool analysis tools and helps you compare returns for any given neighborhood for using the property as a long-term rental versus the returns in that exact neighborhood for using it as a short term, like an Airbnb rental. It has a great analysis feature there. It also drills down to the neighborhood level for cap rates all over the country. You can find the attractive markets for investing along with a whole bunch of other neat features. You know, they’ve got online property finders and all kinds of good stuff, and we are actually giving away a three-month premium Mashvisor account, no credit card required. None of that. There’s no catch, there’s no gimmicks. This is just a giveaway. We’re going to be pulling a name out of a hat for who gets the three month Mashvisor premium subscription, and Deni, do you have a mechanic or the instructions handy for that giveaway? Cause we’re gonna be pulling the name next week, I believe.

Deni: Yes. Actually reach out to [email protected] and she’ll get you set up.

Brian: And we’ll put her email address here in the comments as well.

Deni: She’s very nice and easy to talk to.

Brian: She better be because she’s your daughter.

Deni: True.


So yeah, I finished in that giveaway. We already drawing a name next week. And you guys have a very high chance of winning that we don’t have that many names on that list right now. And then your odds of winning that giveaway are really high. Email Tara and and she’ll hook you up with that. The requirements for entry are super simple. It’ll take you like 60 seconds to enter. Tim Dewey says, yes, count me in I missed that PropStream giveaway in December at the same. I’m sorry to hear that. But yeah, so we’re doing this Mashvisor giveaway to celebrate 2000 subscribers or likes on our Facebook page. So, you know, you got to celebrate the small victories in life, right?

Deni: Right. And it makes Tara smile.

Brian: Right. Deni, what’s the fourth real estate investing tool that we want to share today.


The Rental Cash Flow Calculator, which is to me, such a great tool. I remember when we first launched it, I was in there forever and just putting in numbers and checking out different properties. But I do use it now to evaluate cause often you go and you see a property and you think it’s great. And then you play around with the numbers and you’re like, ah, maybe not so great. But before this, I didn’t know, you know, it was kind of in my head is how I evaluated. I have been pretty lucky up until some, you know, at some point, but it’s a great tool to make sure that you’re making the right decision on a property. It takes so many different things into consideration that a lot of people don’t think about including management costs, even if you don’t manage it because it’s still work, you’re putting in, in time, you’re putting in,


Yeah, don’t run these numbers in your head. Run them through an actual calculator. And our rental cashflow guy is a hundred percent free, by the way, you don’t even have to sign up. There’s it’s not gated behind, a login or anything. It’s just free for everyone to use. Go out there, use it, run numbers for properties, be conservative with your estimates, but for rent and for expenses. But yeah, it’s a free tool anyone can use. All right. Number five tool is Roofstock, which is a platform for buying and selling turnkey properties. And it’s specifically designed for long distance investors. People who are investing in a city or town that’s far away from where they actually live, which is many months, right? I mean, you know, a lot of real estate investors live in expensive coastal cities, for example, where cap rates are not very good.


And they are looking for better markets to invest in Roofstock that makes it really easy to invest long distance. They have an incredible amount of information posted with each listed property. So, it’s a peer to peer selling platform. They are actually selling you the properties themselves. They’re just matching turnkey property sellers with turnkey property buyers and investors. So great platform, highly recommended the Oxy. They come with two guarantees as well, including that they have a guarantee that you will have a high-paying tenant in place within, I think 30 days of buying a property on there. If the property doesn’t already come with a tenant. Check out their guarantees as well. They have some really cool guarantees. All right, Deni, number six, Fund and Grow. Tell us about it.


Fund and Grow of different concept of that I’ve ever heard of until recently. It’s a credit concierge service where they will not only help you find a way to finance properties quickly and with credit cards basically. But if there are credit issues they’ll even help you work on them so that you’re able to do this. And in many cases there is they’ll look for zero, you know, the temporary 0% interest rate for a little while introductory rates. So that can really be helpful if you’re doing flips or whatever. So they are another great resource.


Yeah, Fund and Grow. It’s such a cool company. So what they do is, they help you as a real estate investor, open business lines of credit and business credit cards. These are all unsecured. You don’t need to put up properties for them that, you know, there’s no liens against your properties with these. These are just unsecured business, credit cards and unsecured business lines of credit. You can then draw on to buy properties outright or for down payments for your properties. You can use the money for, to work renovations or whatever, and then pay it back at your own pace. So awesome! Full, highly recommended. We actually did a hosted webinar with them what six weeks ago or so.There was a lot of fun. And alright, last tool here is one that you may well be familiar with are Biggerpockets, which I am a weekly contributor to there in the comments as well.


Biggerpockets, you know, they have a lot of things going for them and a lot of tools available, but the greatest advantage of BiggerPockets is the community. It’s the world’s largest social network for real estate investors. Take advantage of that community, check out their forums, check out if they have vocal forums as well, by the way, if you’re looking for local features but go in there and ask questions of other landlords and investors network. I mean, that’s really, the beauty of BiggerPockets is the networking ability. You know, whether you’re looking for a mentor or partner you know, whether you’re looking for, to just network with other real estate investors and landlords in your market or to find contractors in your market, it’s the world’s largest social network for landlords and real estate. Use it as such and network with people, especially in your market, but really anywhere in the world. So and of course they’ve had a ton of content. I mean, thousands of articles you know, some of which are only okay, but some of them are fantastic articles. They’re very in-depth and walk, you step-by-step through a lot of the basics and fundamentals of real estate.


And they have been around well a long time.


At least 15 years. So, it’s a great way to network with other people in this industry. And I’ve got to come from Christina Colin here, and she says it’s hard to come up with the funds to buy and hold properties since all banks and hard money lenders ask for six months reserves and a down payment, usually 20% plus closing costs. And Christina, that is one of the greatest challenges of being a real estate investor is the cash that you need to do. It’s one of the big barriers to entry to real estate investing. So, I mean, that’s one of the reasons why Daniella funding grows so much is it’s a flexible source of funding that you can tap into for that down payment for those closing costs, you know, for the renovations. And 20% down is actually pretty good. A lot of hard money lenders, you know, they require 25, 30, 35% down and depending on your credit and depending on the lender. So yeah, if you can find lenders that are offering 20%, that’s actually not, it’s not a bad thing. That’s actually pretty good. But yeah, that’s the constraint. That’s the choke point for so many investors is the cash. We do have, I don’t have a link handy here, but we do have several articles on our website about creative ways to come up with a down.


Oh, I can put that up there. Oh, I was thinking, I can’t, can I put it up there? I’ll put a link up.


Yeah, so there are a lot of creative ways to come up with down payments for rental properties, but you get to be a little creative, you know, you have to get a little clever with it. So anyway, Deni’s going to add a link there to some of those, those ideas as well for coming up with dumping the money or shrinking the amount of down payment. And you can do things like how SAC and there’s all kinds of tips and tricks. All right. We’re just going to recap really quick here. The Seven Real Estate Investing Tools that can help boost your returns first there’s Deal Machine, which helps you with driving for dollars and streamline that automates a lot of that for you. A Prop Stream is a great way to find off-market deals, from either sellers who are in foreclosure bankruptcy or divorces tax liens, all that kind of stuff.


Mashvisor comes with a bunch of analytical tools to help you determine what the best use is for rental properties. You know, long-term versus short-term. They have cap rates by neighborhood around the country, on the online property finders and a whole bunch of other very nifty tools. Fourth one is a, our own Rental Property Cashflow Calculator totally free on our sport rental website. Roofstock is a platform for selling and buying turnkey rental properties. And they have a ton of transparency and information on there. Six is Funding Grow, which is a concierge service that helps you open unsecured business lines of credit or unsecured business credit cards as a real estate investor. And finally, number seven, BiggerPockets the real estate investor social network to help you network with other investors and other people in the industry, such as contractors, realtors, home inspectors, you know, all of those supporting personality you need as a real estate investor. Deni, is there anything else that you want to go over before we call this episode complete?


I just want to clarify that we’re not giving you away Prop Stream. It’s a Mashvisor three months subscription.


Yeah. Three months premium subscription to Mashvisor is what we’re giving away. And if you guys weren’t with us earlier, when we were talking about the giveaway email [email protected], and we did put her email address in the comments there. And she will tell you about the contest requirements. They’re all really easy. It’ll take you like 60 seconds to enter the contest. And it’s a really short list of people who we’re drawing from right now. Your odds of winning or in this giveaway. A truck stops and says, count me in. You love a prop stream. Yeah, we’re big fans of prop street as well. We did a prostrate giveaway in December, and we’re hoping to do another prostitute and giveaway student as well. And we’ll be giving away more of these premium tools and access throughout the year. So, all right guys, happy Tuesday. We will see you next week. At the same time, two o’clock Eastern 11:00 AM Pacific. And the meantime, let us know what you want us to go over next week. This is interactive show about you guys. It’s not just us talking to you like your typical podcast topics.

Deni: Absolutely! Send topics.

Brian: Send your questions. We’ll see you guys next Tuesday, have a great week.



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