Hello-My-Name-is-Sandy-and-I-am-Disorganized!! - Posted by Sandy FLq

Posted by Laure on April 11, 1999 at 10:50:46:

Impresses the heck out of the neighbors, when they visit though !! LOL

Laure :slight_smile:

Hello-My-Name-is-Sandy-and-I-am-Disorganized!! - Posted by Sandy FLq

Posted by Sandy FLq on April 08, 1999 at 09:11:18:

I was wondering if any of you could share some tips for staying organized… in a couple areas. One is lead management. How do you keep track of where you are at with leads? Big notebook, laptop, contact mgmt software, dry erase board, what?

Next - Followup (kind of tied in with lead mgmt) Tickler system? Software, index cards?

Third - receipts. do you throw all your receipts into one bin and figure it out on April 14? Or do you separate them into which receipt goes to which house.

Lastly, the important papers. Man I cant tell you the times I am tearing the house apart looking for a deed or a title insurance policy! There is no excuse for that :slight_smile: Obviously I should just make a new file folder for each house and throw everything in there.

Any ideas and feedback, high tech or not, would be super appreciated. I JUST got to the point where I do not let my spouse clean my car anymore, he always removes my contracts :). Now I have a milkcrate file box with hanging folders in the back seat, containing my purchase contracts, option contracts, biz cards, postcards, etc.

Oh there is another thing I could do better. Sometimes I write a postcard in my car when I see a FSBO, and forget to note who I have mailed to. sigh how do you keep track of everything?

Sandy FL

Re: Hello-My-Name-is-Sandy-and-I-am-Disorganized!! - Posted by Alex Gurevich, TX

Posted by Alex Gurevich, TX on April 12, 1999 at 11:15:45:

I just got a Goldmine contact management package for $300 and am in the process of moving my leads from paper into the database. I have spent several hours over last few days on and off studying the program. It’s probably like a Cadilac with all electronic options. I am very much impressed.

Besides scheduling and performing pretty much any thinkable activities like call backs, or mail-outs, appointments etc., it is designed with “processes” and “projects” as a heart of it. One can create multiple processes to be performed on contacts and groups of them. The processes mimic the lifecycle of a lead, from a phone call, into a suspect, into a prospect, into a sale, into a customer, and all the activities related to these different phases. It will take quite a bit of time thinking through what the business consists of, in which order, what tasks have to be accomplished on which schedule, etc.

But I see how setting up and customizing this software can make it a “business in a box”, with day-to-day business activities failrly easy to run, without forgetting details.

Re: Hello-My-Name-is-Sandy-and-I-am-Disorganized!! - Posted by Laure

Posted by Laure on April 11, 1999 at 10:57:38:

This all sounds like too much work to me. I’m keeping my JOB ! hehehe

Laure :slight_smile:

Re: Hello-My-Name-is-Sandy-and-I-am-Disorganized!! - Posted by Carmen

Posted by Carmen on April 10, 1999 at 09:44:40:

I can’t believe you posted this just today! This weekend, my husband and I have spent sorting, throwing out and filing all of our paperwork! We finally decided that the floor of the office was not the best place to file contracts.

I, too, have been bitten by the “tech bug” - I love it, but am not great at it. I therefore have 2 semi-completed databases created, neither of which I use, and one which I just spent 4 hours inputting information on homes I will probably never purchase. Why? Because we found that we were calling the same people, and/or sending out more than one offer on the same home.

So, to simplify, I do this: We enter the info (including phone numbers) from everyone we call into this Access database; if we have it, we put info on the owner’s name, address of property, etc. and the status (offer made, did not bid, under contract, offer accepted, etc) and the date and amount of any offers. This has helped us weed out a lot of investors (most of which are particularly unhelpful, despite their claims to the contrary in their ads).

We have created hanging folders in a file cabinet labeled 1-9. We file all homes whose addresses start with that number in one of three file folders: Green, for homes for which our offer has been accepted, but we have not yet worked out all the financing, etc. (once that happens, the home gets its own, personal Orange folder); Yellow, for homes we have put offers in on, but have not heard back (we follow up on these every few days); and Red for offers rejected or homes already under contract, etc. For the red folders, we hold for about a month or so, in case the other contract falls through, or they change their minds and call us. We weed these out every month, but keep the info in the database.

Another thing we just started doing is putting our contracts in the computer (including signature). This works well for MLS-listed properties. It takes us about 3 seconds to fill out this contract, and we fax straight from the computer - no paper! We save each contract in a directory in the computer, and they are automatically sorted by street number. If we printed out any info on the home, that goes into the filing cabinet. Now, we only print out the contracts for offers that are accepted - cuts back on paperwork!

Sorry so long; hope this helps. I have heard of “investor” software packages - and would like to hear more if anyone has already created one that can be tweaked (I have a very talented programmer brother, but don’t want to have to start from scratch) - I always find that there is one VITAL thing that some of the other packages don’t seem to have but would be easy to add in…

Re: Hello-My-Name-is-Sandy-and-I-am-Disorganized!! - Posted by SCook85

Posted by SCook85 on April 09, 1999 at 11:28:32:

I have all the same problems. I’ve been carrying around a file box for months now. I try to keep everything in it. My house is piles and stacks of paper everywhere that no one better touch because I know what is in every one of those piles. I don’t want to say that there is no way to get organized, but most everyone I know who is successful and working by themselves goes through the same things. I have made my partner responsible for keeping track of all the paper work and keeping it organized. I’m primarily the deal maker, once the papers are signed I give them to him and forget about it. He pays the bills, he keeps track of expenses, makes sure we have insurtance, etc… I just do deals. He does a very good job of keeping up with everything and keeping us organized. I’d love to hear what others have to suggest. I coming from a background of software sales know that maintaining a software package and inputting all the data can be more time consuming then keeping up with a manual system. The systems that I used to sell just about required the companies to hire a full time data processor/system administrator. The time spent on inputting data and setting up these systems can be used to do deals.
I dont want to sound negative about automating businesses. I talk about it all the time and wish that a solution to my problems would come about. I think my solution is going to be to grow to a point that warrants hiring someone whose sole job is to keep my office organized. I’ve already started writing my help wanted ads :-).
Good luck to everyone in this area. Let us all know of any ideas that you may have.


Re: Hello-My-Name-is-Sandy-and-I-am-Disorganized!! - Posted by DanM(OR)

Posted by DanM(OR) on April 09, 1999 at 09:59:55:


I use ACT, it’s a contact database software. It will keep track of contacts and ALL aspects of your business. It is worth it’s weight in Gold. I currently use it to keep track of over 7600 people.

It will do the following:

-alarm me when to follow-up
-I can keep notes of every single conversation
-schedule phone calls, meetings, etc.
-send form letters
-send “” emails
-send “” faxes
-all aspects of the contact(address, phone,fax,homeowner, noteholder,buyer, seller, etc.) If
I have a house for sale I just sort all contacts for buyers, find the ones interested in a 3/2 in a certain range. It just doesn’t get any better than this. It will probably pay for itself within the first month. Their are other contact databases out there. This is just the one I have been using for the last 5 years.

Best of luck!

Dan Matejsek

Great Thread - I’m the Same way. Please keep the suggestions coming (nt) - Posted by Reif

Posted by Reif on April 08, 1999 at 22:03:02:


Re: Hello-My-Name-is-Sandy-and-I-am-Disorganized!! - Posted by Rob FL

Posted by Rob FL on April 08, 1999 at 20:57:25:

I use Excel to track my prospects.

I also use a separate file for each property. The file contains everything. Purchase papers, insurance, leases, rental applications, etc. I keep a manila file within that file which has the 1999 expenses in it. I just throw every receipt into the manila file until 12/31/99.

I’m a technovore … - Posted by HankM

Posted by HankM on April 08, 1999 at 15:15:06:

Digital Camera with sound recording … I’ve got a Kodak DC260 and love it.

I use MSOutlook and a Palm Pilot III for contact management. For prospecting in the mail and phone, I’ve got a kludged Office 97 system that I’m always tinkering with … it’s an Access Database that has all the info in it and then I write queries that populate form letters (double window) it keeps track of the dates and has a matrix of dates between letters based on what it is (L/O on a rental, abandoned, run down but inhabited, out of town owner). It works, but it isn’t pretty… Someday when I really like it I’ll commit it to some more formal methodology and program. (Like the shoe keeper’s kids, I used to write some killer code when that’s what I did all day, but never for myself … couldn’t bill those hours:)) And I use Joe K’s stuff for foreclosures.

I also have a laptop and portable printer, but this plays to another one of the threads here … I only take it for two things … doing research … and “big” deals with “professional” (or think they are professionals anyway) … it somehow detracts from the “folksy” just you and me image with a homeowner when I whip out $5000 worth of technology and produce custom printed docs. You look professional, but some folks equate that with slick and “I’m getting the short end of the deal” … so no laptop and printer with homeowners.

I can’t help you much with the paper in the office though … I’m a pig too. I must say though that I can lay my hands on deeds and title policies without much trouble though:) … I’d suggest a bigger file cabinet.

With respect to taxes, I keep all the bills by vendor and most stuff gets run through the corp and is expensed by project (property) … I use Peachtree complete accounting and I’m happy with it.

No magic formulas, but a couple of ideas.


Re: Hello-My-Name-is-Sandy-and-I-am-Disorganized!! - Posted by Jim IL

Posted by Jim IL on April 08, 1999 at 12:41:55:

I too had this very problem, and it only got worse when my wife joined in the business.
One time, it got so bad that she “tried to help”, and made several calls to sellers, only to realize that I had already called them. (oops)
So, now we have a “system” (however crude it may be), and it works for us.
For in the car, and when out and about town, I keep a micro cassette recorder in my briefcase. This way, when I see a FSBO, or a vacant home, I can make quick verbal notes. This is also helpful when driving, because it keeps my hands on the wheel.
At the end of each day, I listen to the tape, make notes, and fill out the appropriate forms. (post cards, letters, notes to call agents etc.)
For the office, we keep our records two ways.
1.) on the computer, using “Investors advantage” which is the software I bought at the CRE convention.
It tracks all info on the home, the seller and agent, the mortgage, and allows me to document when I put in offers and for how much. (I can also store pictures of each home in it, so I remember the home by sight.)
2.) we have “clip boards” on the wall.
One for listings and homes that we intend to contact and look over.
Two, for the homes we’ve already contacted and require followup.
Three, for the offers “pending”.
Four, for the lists that RE agents send us.

I also, have another clipboard that I keep a “phone log” on so that IF my wife goes to call a seller, she can immediately see whether or not they have been contacted already, and if so, what transpired.

I know it seems like a lot of work, and I’m sure others have better Ideas, but it works for us.

We also now have a “buyers Briefcase”, which is one of those plastic file boxes with hanging folders. It contains, all of our contract forms, some business cards, post cards, flyers, and other misc. forms and paperwork.

This way, should I go meet with a seller, I can draw up all the paperwork on the spot, before the buyer has a chance to reconsider.

One of our other essential tools is a cheap digital camera I bought. This way when I find or go look at a home, we can have pictures for the computer. I just make a verbal note on the home to my tape recorder, using a description, so that upon download, I know which house is which. the digital camera saves on film, and also allows us to use the pictures for flyers, logging, and whatever else we need. With my printer and some photo paper, I can even print the pictures in pretty good quality.

That is my system for now, and I’m stickin too it.
Good luck to you,
Jim IL

Re: Hello-My-Name-is-Sandy-and-I-am-Disorganized!! - Posted by breeves

Posted by breeves on April 08, 1999 at 12:29:03:

I use a simple system for follow-up on warm leads. I have an info sheet with all the information I would need for a house and sellers’ needs including a line for follow-up phone call. I file this in a file folder that has dividers with month/day by the follow-up date and it has all the notes about that seller’s situation. I keep blank copies on two clip boards, one in my car and one at home. Works great and when I call back I have all the info to pick up where the seller and I left off.

When I cold call FSBO’s and FOR RENT ads I log the phone number in Excel and sort them so when I begin the next session of calling I have a copy of the numbers I already called.

Works for me.

Re: Hello-My-Name-is-Sandy-and-I-am-Disorganized!! - Posted by LHoffman

Posted by LHoffman on April 08, 1999 at 11:30:13:

Hey Sandy,

I am the same way. I wrote a program in Visual C++ to keep track of all the information from sellers.

But for the most part. I don’t enter the stuff in. Things come up I get side-tracked. It doesn’t really matter what type of software you create, buy or what ever. It boils down to you taking the time to enter the information into the database.

My software tells me when to send out the next postcards and letters. It tells me if the persons name is already in the data base. I am able to automatically cycle to the next postcard or letter to send out to the sellers.

But do I use it…NO!!! I spent some time developing this tool, I don’t even use. In short just be sure that you actually use the program you choose. It will make life a lot easier on you.


Re: Hello-My-Name-is-Sandy-and-I-am-Disorganized!! - Posted by Eric-Hou

Posted by Eric-Hou on April 08, 1999 at 10:11:23:

Hi Sandy. You could probably Create a spread sheet in excel. however im pondering actually writing a Database under Access, would be happy to shoot you a copy when i do…

Re: Hello-My-Name-is-Sandy-and-I-am-Disorganized!! - Posted by Jim IL

Posted by Jim IL on April 10, 1999 at 18:13:14:

I do not know if this program would need any “tweaking” from you or not, but it works fine for me “as is”.
I do know that it is written in VB, so making changes to it should not be hard for someone with the skills.
Anyway, here is the URL for the company. http://www.investors-advantage.com/

Frankly, the website is kind of lame, but I like the software, and it does what I require it to do.
Hope this helps,

Biz Automation - Posted by Mark R in KCMO

Posted by Mark R in KCMO on April 09, 1999 at 14:45:56:

Steve & Group,

One bit of advice on biz automation set a specific date , first day of the month at least 30 days away (with today being the 9th of April, this target date should be June 1st.

Do not attempt to input old data from your manual system all at once.

Start today and enter current data.

As you manual system tells you to follow up with so and so on the 10th of May THAT is when you enter the data about that contact into your system.

The information will migrate into the new system in little steps. Some items will never be entered into the new system, just rember to keep all your data, Manual or elelctronic.

When you look backwards you will remember what date the change over occured so years later you will know which place to look for your information.

Sheesh, I guess some of the process development training from my old J-O-B actually WAS useful. LOL

Hope this Helps

Mark R in KCMO

Re: Hello-My-Name-is-Sandy-and-I-am-Disorganized!! - Posted by Jim

Posted by Jim on April 09, 1999 at 12:11:52:


I almost forgot … - Posted by HankM

Posted by HankM on April 08, 1999 at 15:36:21:

I have the color version of the Vissioneer Paperport … I scan loads of stuff, index it and keep it digital … I burn it to CDROM about once a quarter.

And of course … if you rely on technology this much … your backup and recovery procedures better be real good and tested. Between RAID level 1 disk system, a DSS2 SCSI tape unit, CDROM burner and backup software that autoruns both partition image and file by file backups, I’ve probably spent more on backups and redundancy than most people spend on thier whole PC. Why you ask? Because I didn’t always and it hurts a whole lot more to not even know what you lost than to write a check.


Re: Hello-My-Name-is-Sandy-and-I-am-Disorganized!! - Posted by Adrienne

Posted by Adrienne on April 08, 1999 at 11:11:22:

Hi Sandy,

I use microsoft works data base to keep track of leads that I have contacted. The truth is that it really doesn’t matter what you use in a case like yours and mine. I am the sameway!!! We both have to make a committment to doing it.

I’ve always have had trouble with this and seem to always have a back log. Just last nite I pulled out my Personal Efficiency Program Book (PEP).

You may want to check out Do It Now!! from your local
library, I’m sure it will help. I have the rest of my documents in a simple filing system just to try to stay organized. I know I can get fancy later.

Sincerely Yours


Re: Hello-My-Name-is-Sandy-and-I-am-Disorganized!! - Posted by Jim

Posted by Jim on April 09, 1999 at 12:12:22: