This post continues our look at the online service Evernote and how it can assist agents, investors and owners in their property search.
The ability to reference and manage my articles, notes and photos on the go from any device is the most invaluable benefit Evernote provides me with. Previously I would search through my browser bookmarks for properties I was interested in, followed by the exhausting process of then filtering through spread sheets and documents to collate associated material that I wanted to follow up on either prior to, during or after a property inspection.
Granted I was able to store such information and manage it adequately through spread sheets on my computer, though the ability to add visually rich information and far superior searching capabilities far outweighs the adoption cost of trying a new method. Having this information instantly available on all my devices is another great positive.
To see how I use Evernote for the initial stages of a property search and identification walk through the below example using your own Evernote account.
Note: for instructions on how to install Evernote, see the first post in this series, How to use Evernote for property investing. Our other related posts are How to use Evernote to manage your work or property expenses and How to use Evernote (Premium) to manage your contacts and offline content.
Using Evernote to help conduct a house inspection
Property identification and research stage
Step 1 I have been browsing through property classifieds and come across a property that seems to meet my investment criteria at the following URL: http://www.realestate.com.au/property-unit-qld-st+lucia-113455427
Step 2 At this point I decide I would like to inspect the property, so I store a clipping of the site into my Evernote account by taking the following actions
- In the browser window I click the Evernote logo on the toolbar, or access Evernote from the main menu under extensions or plugins
- Once opened, I log into my Evernote account (you can stay logged in to skip this next time)
- At this point I can now assign additional information to my web clipping, which helps at a later date when searching and managing multiple property listings
- For this clipping I have chosen to assign it to my notebook called Property and leave the automatically generated title. I’ve added the tags potential investment, Brisbane and St Lucia and made a note to set an inspection time with the agent. Alternatively you could set action tags such as inspect and contact agent.
- Once I have included all the details I want I save the article and continue browsing
Step 3 Once I have finished looking at properties I close the internet browser and open Evernote
Step 4 After opening Property from my list of notebooks (where I chose to save the prior clipping) I sync my Evernote account by clicking the symbol on the tool bar. This adds the clipping of the property I am interested in to my notebook
Step 5 After looking at the clipping again I realise I want to add an additional tag called 6/42 Durham Street St so that I can easily group related notes that mention the property in the future (because it is already tagged with the suburb and city, I can also group using broader location information). I can do this by either typing a new tag next to the current ones and hitting the enter key or by clicking on the information logo and typing into the tag field of the pop-up box that appears
Step 6 Now that I have the web clipping of the property I am interested in tagged correctly I decide to create a new note by clicking on New Note in Property. I also tag this note 6/42 Durham Street, and into it add questions I want to find out during the property inspection from the agent such as what the body corporate fees are, and where the the nearest public transport is
Step 7 Once I have finished adding any additional relevant information such as recent suburb sales data to my Property notebook, I wait till inspection day
Property inspection stage
Step 1 At the property inspection I use my handheld device to open Evernote and choose my Property notebook, which will load the notes I saved on my computer
Step 2 After asking the agent the questions I have listed in my research note and adding his answers, I decide to add some additional comments separately by clicking on New note
Step 3 One of the new notes I add is just a photo taken of an abnormally long corridor (note: this photo example does not correspond to the property example listed above). You can add photos from within the Evernote app, or insert them from your device’s camera roll. I also decide to make a note about repairs that the property may require e.g. a new hot water system
Step 4 After finishing at the inspection I can head home and view the new notes on my computer and decide if I want to make an offer on the property
Property purchase stage
Step 1 On my return home I sync my Property notebook to include the new notes I added at the inspection
Step 2 Once the new notes are synced I also tag them with the relevant information so that I can easily search on them in the future. This can also be done from within the app on your device at the time you create the note.
Step 3 Into the future I manage the purchase process by adding new notes containing offer prices, contract notes, financing information etc. I also use Evernote to email information about the property directly to my client, lawyer, accountant and other service providers.
Tips and tricks
One of the key tricks to using Evernote successfully is to always label and tag notes consistently and update these tags over time. For the above example, in the very first set of tags we included potential investment; by updating this to closed or ownership I can easily revisit information and avoid getting bogged down trawling through irrelevant notes. This also makes for a smooth transition into using Evernote for property management.
For our other tips on using Evernote see