Automation: When Is It Too Much?By JD Esajian on October 28, 2013
Technology has changed the way we invest. We are now able to do things and find information that was not possible just a few years ago. However, there is a fine line between using and overusing technology to our benefit. That is, investors may use it to save time or abuse it to avoid tedious and necessary work. Most of this work is the result of finding new properties or dealing with rental properties. Instead of talking to potential tenants or physically looking at properties, we can set up a Google voice mail account to answer repetitious questions. Some argue this saves a tremendous amount of time while others say that you are missing out on potential tenants with every missed call. The answer lies somewhere in the middle.
You never know what the person on the other end of the phone wants out of the phone call. Some people are just interested in finding information about the property because they have a house on the street and are thinking of renting. Others are sincerely interested, but don’t really want to talk on the phone. The most effective automation method is to leave as much pertinent information on the voice mail as possible. This includes your email and phone number for them to reach you if they are still interested. As soon as you receive this voice mail, you are doing yourself a disservice if you do not call them right back.
The intention of an automated voice mail should not be to avoid talking to people, but to use that time for actual work. If you are looking for someone to take interest in the house without seeing it, and leave that on a voice mail, you are not being realistic. Plus, you shouldn’t want to deal with tenants unless you meet them and get a sense of what they want. If you abuse your voice mail, sooner or later people will stop calling you altogether.
The same can be said after you get a tenant. Tenants don’t want to have to do any extra work to get you the check. Asking them to deposit or transfer a check to your account may seem easy enough, but not every tenant is tech savvy or even has access to a computer. Taking a trip to the post office or walking to your mailbox is not taking up too much of your time. Plus, most banks offer deposits through your smartphones or at the ATM. You don’t even have to go inside the bank to make your rent deposit. Automating your rent checks may be a nice touch, but don’t make too big of a deal out of it.
You should use automation to set up an email campaign or for something that will actually take up time. Talking to potential buyers or tenants about a property may eat up 20 minutes and can be annoying, but that is part of the business. You never know when you are going to talk to someone who is a serious buyer with other properties. Automation may make things easier, but you need to pick and choose your battles with it. Not everything you do in the business should be automated.