Don DeRosa is recognized as one of the nation’s top 21 real estate investors in the New York Times bestseller "The Millionaire Real Estate Investor". Don, who is a full-time investor, trainer, and mentor, is the first to offer his complete investing system on a mobile platform. Don teaches investors how to Make More and Work Less by being more efficient, productive and competitive, leveraging mobile technology and apps on the iPad, iPhone, Android and other mobile devices.
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“I am thankful to all the souls, I meet in the journey of life.” ~ Lailah Gifty Akita
Touchnote App is a familiar app to many. It’s commonly used to create eCards for birthdays and holidays, as well as printing applications like greeting cards and framed photos. I have found a way to use this for my own needs that are unique to my business.
Using this app has freed up some of my time. How to gently and politely notify a homeowner that I have an interest in their home without knocking on the door and intruding on their routine. I’ve utilized the Touchnote App to reach out to these potential clients. I usually drive looking for vacant homes in particular. I just take a photo of the house and look up the homeowner’s address in the public tax records. I write a simple message explaining that I’m interested in buying the property. It’s so fast and takes the time and thought out of trying to reach out to these homeowners by phone or physically printing and paying postage on a postcard. The cost is $1.99, which is very reasonable. You can also reduce this price even more by buying in bulk, making the cost $1.50. Read More >>
“The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status, or ethnic background, is that, deep down inside, we all believe that we are above-average drivers.” ~ Dave Barry
Life360 is an app I can’t imagine life without. I have a 16 year old driver in my family and it gives me some peace of mind knowing I can keep tabs on his miles per hour, hard breaks, even his phone useage. It will even contact me in the event of an emergency like an accident or a break down. I believe this is a must have app for any new driver.
You can do more than just spy on your kid with this app. It’s a nice closed circle where you can view the real time location of friends or family members on a private map. There are many other options to use the app. For example, you can receive real time alerts when friends or family arrive or leave home, work, and school. It’s nice if you have younger kids and you don’t want them on social media, but you can still have that experience of sharing photos and text messages with our secure, private chat. You can easily add or delete people from your ‘circle’ and see past location history for your Circle. There is also a Crash Detection service that will contact the parent or guardian. The most impressive thing is that you can track a lost or stolen phone. Read More >>
“I did surveillance a lot, which sounds exciting, but it never was.” ~ Miranda Lambert
The Arlo Camera System is a favorite alternative to the Ring alarm system. It’s very easy to install since it takes literally 60 seconds to set up. It is a wireless system that can be synced up with your smartphone. If you have Alexa by Amazon, this can easily integrate into your existing Samsung family of appliances.
The pros of this system start with the ease of installation. The base plug looks similar to a router, so it is a familiar input, then turn it on. Place the batteries in the case and press the ‘sync’ button. That’s it.
The interface is very user-friendly too, I set up multiple cameras on a property and it was simple to rename cameras based on their location, like ‘garage’ or ‘back door’ and so on. From the app or the desktop website, you can relabel cameras, give preference like which camera is a priority first, adjust the motion sensor and record length once the sensor is tripped. The best thing, in my opinion, is that the camera will record once you open your notification, and it will record as long as you are watching the camera in real time. You can preset time lengths to record or do it manually from your mobile device. There are options for membership features, but the free subscription allows for 1GB of online storage and continuous weekly storage. Therefore, if in that seven-day span you have videos saved, the eighth day will delete the first video on the first day of that time span. This should be fine for most because it gives you the opportunity to select and save videos to a device or PC before the week resets. Read More >>
Decipher Data On Your Phone: Demographix App Review
By Don DeRosa on March 31, 2017
“HD doesn't mean anything to me. It's a technical thing. It's like demographics. A lot of people know about it.” ~ Craig Ferguson
When we talk about demographic data it is hard to grasp. The US Census information is available for free online, but it is hard to gain anything meaningful from that. The common person isn’t apt at reading through that information, and the way the US Government organizes those numbers isn’t easily absorbed.
Demographix is a very niche app. It is a well organized database that has used the US Census information from 2010. This is not for everyone, but working in different areas I find myself needing access to information fast. Ok Google or Siri doesn’t always answer my questions on the spot. It can take time to work out the details about the population of an area I’m trying to buy or sell a home in. Demographix is neatly organized and at a glance I can look through a clean user interface. Read More >>
“My system for staying young is to work a lot, to always have a project on the go.” ~ Carlos Fuentes
Before insurance companies started offering plug in cameras designed to improve your driving and lower your rates there was already an industry standard port. The ODB-II port is existing technology standard in most every car produced after 1996. Automatic uses this existing port, at first it would connect to a bluetooth device and was only good for reducing your gas waste habits. Hard stops and other things would be flagged and brought to your attention. The second iteration of Automatic Pro adds GPS to track your route if your smartphone is out of battery life. You will still need a smartphone and bluetooth to sync the data later. Read More >>
“If time be of all things the most precious, wasting time must be the greatest prodigality.” ~ Benjamin Franklin
I didn’t think Timyo was going to be a game changer for me. I already felt like I had great management tools using Gmail in the first place. A friend recommended that I check out this new app so I tinkered with it for a while. It is an email inbox management system that works best with Gmail, Office 365, Outlook.com and Hotmail. I have tried other inbox zero apps but I’ve felt like it’s a waste of time for me to go through all my emails weeding out the junk. I have used Gmail options before but it still seemed like I was getting a lot of emails that were not a priority first. My time is valuable since I’m running multiple projects, what I focus on needs to be what moves me along to the next step in line. Read More >>
“I live a highly scheduled life. There's absolutely no time wasted. I'm very focused. And I have a great assistant.” ~ Madonna
Amazon Echo has been a game changer at my house. I find it a great selling point for new homes I’m working on as well. I use “Alexa” to turn on my lights, my television, set the thermostat and basically anything that’s connected to the system. It’s been really helpful around the holidays too, baking with the family has been a breeze while “Alexa” sets up the timer and converts measurements for us.
I’ve talked about other systems, like the Ring for the doorbell answering service, but Amazon comes to a new level with Echo. Technology won’t solve all our problems but it does make things a bit easier. While baking holiday cookies with the kids, I do have a bit of trouble in the kitchen. It’s just that Echo made small tasks easier like setting the timer and changing the measurements from weight to cups. Small hiccups were easier to get through when the tech was literally a voice command away. Read More >>
Design for Everyone: Brainstorm with Virtual Idea Boards
By Don DeRosa on December 5, 2016
“You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.” ~ Walt Disney
When I first started, I felt like I had no business designing spaces. I’m good at the big picture but putting textures and colors together that will sell the house I was not so confident. I’ve been using Pinterest and Houzz to piece together ‘dream boards’ that you would put together using ripped out magazine pages and taping them together to compose some sort of theme or color scheme.
Pinterest is known as a predominantly female geared platform. People use it to plan events, like weddings, or recipes for special occasions or holidays. It is a great tool to use to plan your decorating scheme for an interior and the exterior. You can easily gather ideas for landscaping, curb appeal, how to style your front door and entry way, from kitchen materials to flooring and bathroom tile. What I like best is that other ‘pinners’ have done most of the work for you already. Most pins that you research are already part of a larger board, and if you visit that board you can see what else that user put together already. It has been easy to use, either hit pin, send or like on the image. Once you click an image it usually leads to the website that sells the item or a blog post about how to do the project. Sometimes it’s just a source image from google, so it is still a good starting point to show a contractor to get the gist of the idea. Read More >>
This month is renovation month at Atlanta REIA and I for one am super excited. For the past 19 years I have managed to perform just about every type of real estate transaction there is. Everything from notes, wholesale deals, lease options to subject to deals. I’ve used every buying strategy known to man and every creative technique to sell my properties. But, no technique has made me more money than the good old fashioned “rehab” fix and flip. People often ask me how they can make lots of money in real estate. You would think that answer would be wholesaling because you don’t need a lot of money and it is quick and sometimes painless. Well the truth is, the fastest way to wealth in my opinion is to “Find ‘Em, Fix ‘Em and Flip ‘Em.”
When doing a rehab or renovation successfully it requires tools just like any job well done. If you have the proper tools in any job, the job goes much easier, faster and most efficiently. Rehabbing is no different. There are six steps to successfully performing any renovation of any size or shape.
The first step is PLANNING. Making sure you have the proper tools is essential to your success. Things that you should have with you at all times will make your job easier. These items include, Inspection forms, Camera, Flash Light, tape measure, graph paper, lock box and “”We Buy Houses” sign. These tools allow you to initiate the first step in any rehab. In my opinion you also want to invest in a design program so you can “Mock Up” what you want your rehab to look like. If you have an iPad my recommendation is an app called Tap Glace. It allows you to measure and create that vision on paper before you ever touch anything inside the house. Read More >>
“My grandmother had this high-tech security system - a rusty nail she used to lock the door.” ~ Quincy Jones
Once fall comes, we’re thinking about getting the kids back to school and falling into a familiar routine. You’re not the only one thinking about that, other people may be looking forward to quiet days in the neighborhood too. Break-ins usually happen during the day when no one is at home. If your neighbors are on the same grind as you are, you may not discover a robbery until you get home and see your door open.
These thoughts are frightening, but there are things you can do to prevent it. Wired home alarm systems are great, but if you don’t have the budget to pay a monthly service to monitor your property a one-time investment is perfect. There are wifi cameras and apps that you can use from different manufacturers, motion sensor lighting and timers for your interior lamps. But having the peace of mind that there are eyes on your house at all times and having great customer service is a winning combination. Read More >>
Existing Loan Stays In Place – No Liability To You!
“In order to carry a positive action we must develop here a positive vision.” ~ Dalai Lama
A Subject-To deal simply means that you get the deed/title to a property and take control over the property. The existing loans stay in place in the original homeowner’s name, negating the liability to the purchaser. The mortgage is not being paid off through a Subject-To contract transaction, just taken over by the purchaser. As long as the purchaser of a Subject-To deal makes the mortgage payment to the existing mortgage lender, there are no consequences to either party. However, if the purchaser stops making the payments on the mortgage, the seller’s credit will be damaged.
Most sellers are in a situation where they may have to relocate quickly, have no equity in the home and just “want out,” or are about to go into foreclosure and want to save their credit. These folks are motivated to sell on a Subject-To deal to get the payments caught up (or maintained) and stay on time to help their credit.
One reason you would purchase on Subject-To is to utilize a seller’s lower interest rate than that is on the market at the time. For instance, if the market rate is 7% and a seller has a 5% fixed rate, the 2% difference can make big difference in your monthly payment. You are able to purchase the home in a 7% market at 5% interest! For instance: Read More >>
“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” ~ William Arthur Ward
It is best to teach by example. Now that everything is on a digital platform it can be difficult to find the right words to explain an action step-by-step to someone. Whether it is a menial task like sorting through spam email or getting a website listing to appear on a mobile platform, it is confusing to explain something in an email or text message. I find myself to be a visual learner and the best way to show me something is a short video tutorial.
Thank goodness for app developers: Pro Recorder (Free): Record Web Screen/Video - for Dropbox and Google Driver is By the company CONG DUC TRAN is the solution to my problem. As I often do, I was browsing the app store looking for something that could capture my screen actions in a video. I am familiar with other programs but they only cover my desktop or laptop, not my iPhone or iPad. Using this is a breeze, especially since you can easily save to a Dropbox or Google Drive account. It makes sharing the video easy and since it saves on a cloud storage platform no need to eat up all your memory. Read More >>
Time is on my Side: Hiring VA Professionals on Upwork
By Don DeRosa on July 10, 2016
“I like to talk to people. I've got one assistant, one Blackberry. That's my overhead. I don't text that much or email. I like to sit down face-to-face and have a conversation with you. I'm old-fashioned.” ~ Mark Wahlberg
As the owner and operator of my own business, I’ve become very self-reliant. I know that if I don’t take care of important tasks myself I will stress over them. It is hard to delegate work to others that you haven’t really had the time or know how to run background checks on. Even when you have carefully planned projects, sometimes it is difficult to find people with the qualifications you would prefer.
For the past few years now I have been discovering amazing talent online. I know it seems like a big risk, putting jobs online and hoping someone responsible answers your ad. Avoid the anxiety over in person interviews and researching qualifications, it’s time-consuming and I would rather focus my efforts elsewhere. It doesn’t mean I take hiring practices lightly, but I know where my strengths are.
There are many online freelance worker/client websites, but none other than Upwork. Upwork.com has been a great tool for my growing business. As I said, for many years I’ve been a one-man show. We all need a little help from time to time, and Upwork makes it simple and stress-free. Whether you need someone short term or long term, if there are short tasks you need to get done that you have no time for or if you want to build a working relationship with an independent contractor for the long haul, Upwork has this covered. For at least five years, the website has had some changes. It was once called oDesk, but the changes have been great improvements. Things have been simplified and there are safeguards in place for both contractors and clients. Plus you don’t need to be a large company to use this service. Businesses like Unilever, Pinterest, and NBC are just a few that use Upwork for hiring out virtual assistance specialists. Read More >>
"Plans are nothing; Planning is everything." ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower
Only by finishing things is the way to learn. Despite this fact of life, I do find myself a bit overwhelmed at times with the various projects I’m planning at any given time. Making two or three phone calls to get a quote about one single project isn’t too much work. When you have three properties that need at least two large or small scale projects to be addressed that consumes at least two days of shopping around, getting in contact with the local businesses.
Homewyse is a site that was pretty much made for a person like me, but anyone who wants a jumping off point to get ballpark figures on home repairs will find this very useful. You don’t have to give up any personal information like a credit card to gain access to quotes in your area, or a property outside of your primary residence. Unlike Angie’s List, you don’t have to become a member to browse. Homewyse is an immediate source where you can get an idea of what things will cost. You don’t have to be specific about your project, I do find it great to look at comparable costs and then call or email local tradespeople to get a better picture. Read More >>
“The building art is man's spatial dialogue with his environment and demonstrates how he asserts himself therein and how he masters it.” ~ Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Many apps I use are in lieu of something else, whether that be a tape measure or an architect’s blueprints. The RoomScan Pro seems to have replaced a lot of the physical tools needed to plan furniture placement, estimate how many gallons of paint or just to showcase a very simple to follow floor plan. It’s been helpful for prospective buyers to look at before they arrive at the open house. The app has its uses. For my own purposes, it saves me a lot of time trying to locate the original floor plan or determine whether a piece of furniture I want to use in the staging will fit in the room.
RoomScan Pro uses the iPhone’s accelerometer and additional sensors to map out the room. The app also has an option to create a whole floor plan. For me, in general, mapping out a single room works best. It charts the distance between walls in the room and then the end result is a clean illustration of what the app thinks the room dimensions are.
To get the best use out of the app you’ll need to buy the premium version. There is a free version but it is limited. I have my location settings activated so there’s no need for me to enter my location when I come to a new property. Tap on a named location like the street address and it will send you to the next step to create a “new room” with the app. You can name the room. If you’re doing the whole floor plan you don’t want to leave this blank. You can also name the floor you are on as well. By the end you will have a well-labeled illustration at the end, and it’s easier to navigate too. Read More >>
Compare and Contrast: Zillow Rental App for Real Estate Investors
By Don DeRosa on April 3, 2016
“Real estate sales was perfect training for the experience to go into public life because you learn to accept rejection, learn to meet new people, learn to work with people and find common ground.” ~ Johnny Isakson
When I invest in a property I do my research. Long ago that meant doing the fancy footwork or being active. Going to open houses, going to model homes and condos, making phone calls, and looking at advertisements in the area where I was planning to buy. Comparison shopping was a far greater task before we had smartphones and apps to help us organize all the information at a glance.
Zillow Renter’s App is ideal for those of us who invest in real estate on a regular basis. Flipping and selling is a rewarding experience but you need to do your homework. I use Zillow’s App to see what other homes are selling for, what other properties are renting for, compare that information to what my budget is for a flip.
Zillow offers a number of things in the app search that will let you be specific about your property. This way you can make the best speculative estimate about what your profit could be. Usually, in a typical real estate website search field you are limited to whatever their listings are. Zillow scans through a number of listings in your desired area. Usually the search amounts to more than 20 properties that could be a match for the property you purchased. Read More >>
“The home should be the treasure chest of living.” ~ Le Corbusier
As a flipper, I tend to think a lot about the people who are going to be living in the home I created for them. I’m thoughtful about the products I use while being mindful about the budget. But it all doesn’t mean a thing if I can’t generate buzz about a property. I used to do a lot of research about neighborhoods and comparison shop. But doing all that on my own using a variety of different resources eats a lot of valuable time.
Zillow is a popular website for both Realtors and those seeking a home. It has become a valuable resource. In their efforts to grow the brand, Zillow has made an app in addition to features on the desktop and mobile website.
Zillow offers a few different apps for different people. Whether you’re in the market to buy or rent or sell, it’s remarkable to have all this data at your fingertips in a mobile app. As a renter, you can see all the properties in the area that fit your criteria that are up for rent. It even shows properties that are rent to buy, and helps evaluate whether you want to invest. You can even hold a property so you don’t miss out. Read More >>
"Treat your password like your toothbrush. Don't let anybody else use it, and get a new one every six months." ~ Clifford Stoll
I’ve tried everything to keep all my passwords secure but still accessible. I’ve tried using phrases, combining dates, symbols and the like. But still my password combinations never seem to be long enough or ‘strong’ enough. When I think I have a handle on the password situation it never seems to work out.
The Keeper App has solved many of my day-to-day problems with login interfaces. Sometimes there are two part login screens that slow me down, especially if I’m in a hurry. With this app, you can register a device so it is recognized as secure. If you have to give your login details to another person, like an employee, it’s simple to do in a secure way. It’s also great to share sensitive data files like contracts or reports.
The downside is that the password capture isn’t completely automatic. Which is probably a good thing. It gives you the opportunity to change passwords and secure data storage. To log into the app itself, there is no need to make a code that has different symbols or a change in letter case. But again, I don’t see that as a negative. I think as long as your password is a unique phrase or something uncommon, you’re pretty safe. Read More >>
“Every thought you produce, anything you say, any action you do, it bears your signature ~ Nhat Hanh
The Sign-n-Send app for my iPad and iPhone is a really handy tool for my everyday use. I find it very convenient to send documents via email, but sometimes it’s hard to put your signature on there without being on a desktop. It is very intuitive, just tap and hold to open the pdf and edit.
For a long time I struggled with signing pdfs on my phone. I tried taking a photo and writing over it, an electronic stamp, other apps as well, and none are as fast and simple as Sign-n-Send. If you have an email with a pdf attached, just tap and hold the attachment, and a window will show you a few options. You will want to select ‘open in’ and then select ‘sign-n-send’. From there the app is very easy to navigate.
The user will always go through another application to get to this app. Mostly through your mail app or a messaging app. When you tap and hold the pdf to open, it does take a few seconds to open. Once it is open, use one finger to draw on the page, but pinch with two fingers to zoom in and out. If you have a screen protector, better to put down the stylus and use your finger for the signature line. Read More >>
“A place for everything and everything in its place” ~ Benjamin Franklin
The developers at LightArrow must have had me in mind. Or at least, someone like me. I found myself constantly checking various apps, and across devices it is easy to lose track of messages, updates, and photos. I’ve been juggling things for a long time, but LightArrow has made an app that makes everything mesh together on one screen.
LifeTopix is almost like an operating system for all your apps. This single app makes one place where you can view your calendar, update travel plans, make a checklist, even order things on that list or make memos to yourself. I love the fact that you can install this on your phone or your tablet, and the interface is very clean with a white background. It even prompts you if you forgot something.
Doing what I do is my passion, but also overwhelming at times. I like the fact that this one app has consolidated my other apps, and really saves me time. Instead of bouncing around from one screen to another, everything that is important to me is on one screen. At a glance, I can see my tasks, reminders, and in this screen I can even shop. Read More >>
“Measuring and laying out a room in advance can save you a lot of headaches.” ~ David Bromstad
Design for iPad By Black Mana Studios is one of my favorite apps. I usually don’t bother with apps if they exceed $3, but I heard good things about this. I think it’s worth every penny to be honest. I’m not colorblind, but I do struggle sometimes with how to pair materials and textures together. This app doesn’t build a lush virtual world, but it gives me a base to plan interiors that don’t disappoint.
It is a drag and drop interface, which is great since you can change things around in an instant. I find that the color and materials palette has great variety, so I can find that same wood finish or paint color (or something close to it) when I get to the big box store or wholesale warehouse.
This app is really useful with placing furniture too. It has a lot of different options to offer with sofas and tables. You can find items that you already purchased and arrange them before you move them. Or you can play with shapes and placement before you commit to buying anything. I found the dimensions to be very accurate. Read More >>
“One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man.” ~ Elbert Hubbard
Camfind is a new app that makes some big promises. It claims to be able to identify literally anything just by snapping a picture. I was quite skeptical since my past experience with Google Goggles left me hoping for more accuracy. But from object to QR codes, Camfind is far better than Google’s long forgotten product.
I used Google Goggles way back in 2010, but it has never been updated, so I haven’t touched it since. But I was intrigued by Camfind just because of the application to real estate needs. It could be a great way to identify a specific style of house, if you are looking to replace hardware in the home, perhaps a specific door knob, this has the potential to be very useful in this field. Read More >>
Got Needles In Your Haystack? Search Like An Expert
By Don DeRosa on September 15, 2015
“With Google I'm starting to burn out on knowing the answer to everything. People in the year 2020 are going to be nostalgic for the sensation of feeling clueless.”
~ Douglas Coupland
Go to your computer right now and Google “real estate.” Go ahead, I dare you. Care to guess how many results you’ll get? Well, I just tried it, and I got 1.1 billion results. That’s billion with a b. Talk about information overload!
You’re pretty sophisticated, though, so you know not to try that kind of a mushy search. And you already know that you can search specifically for images and videos. You also realize that Google is pretty good at guessing what you’re looking for, and it will usually put those results first. But not always: If you search for “bronco,” Google won’t know whether to give you information about cars, football, or rodeos.
Luckily, you can tweak your searches to be surprisingly precise, if you know how. Here are some tricks for searching on Google that I’ve found useful. I’m concentrating on Google because it’s so popular, but some of these will work in other search engines, too. Read More >>
“The secret to multitasking is that it isn't actually multitasking. It's just extreme focus and organization.” ~ Joss Whedon
Have you ever watched a really good store manager while she works? It’s incredible! She can handle two or three customers at once, answer the phone three times while she’s at it, and approve a couple check transactions at the same time. And when you compliment her on her talent, she just shrugs and says, “I’m a multitasker.”
A few years ago, businesses were all about multitasking. Employers wanted people who could multitask. With life moving faster all the time, all of us have learned to do it to some extent. But experts now believe that multitasking isn’t really all that productive or efficient. For a lot of us, multitasking just means we do a bunch of things at once, but we don’t do any of them very well. I don’t know about you, but I’ll never be able to do what that store manager does.
So it turns out that it’s better to focus on one thing at a time. But this doesn’t fit too well with modern life. Between home, work, school, church, and hockey, it’s a wonder we ever get anything done at all.
Luckily, I don’t have to multitask anymore, because my cellphone does it for me. I can hardly remember anymore what life was like before I had an iPhone. I used to say that having a cellphone was a good idea, but not an absolute necessity. Well, it’s sure a necessity now. Read More >>
“I always say shopping is cheaper than a psychiatrist.” ~Tammy Faye Bakker
The other day I was in the grocery store picking up some milk. In the checkout line, the checker asked the guy ahead of me if he had one of those loyalty cards. Well, this guy took out a shoebox full of those cards – a shoebox! –and started searching through them. It took forever!
Okay, maybe I made that up. Actually, if anyone needs a shoebox for those cards, it’s probably me. And if I were to pull out that shoebox in the checkout line, I’ll bet no jury would convict the checkout lady if she shot me right then and there.
Now, just in case there’s anyone who still doesn’t know about loyalty cards, it’s time you did. They’re promotional wallet cards that big retailers and businesses give out, usually for free. When the checker scans the barcode on the back (or when you give the checker the phone number they have on file for you), you can get all kinds of deals that are only available for people who sign up. Read More >>