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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Real Estate and Landlording => Topic started by: jmoney on September 25, 2014, 10:56:24 PM

Title: Systemization
Post by: jmoney on September 25, 2014, 10:56:24 PM
Just curious if anyone has attempted to apply systematization to real estate? If so, what do you systematize and how?

I have a system that runs off my web site that does several things. It acts as the main accounting system and handles all the receipts, cash flow calculations, rent payments, expenses, etc. It also keeps track of tenant contact info, leases, applications, etc. I laid the ground work for a task assignment system so that I can assign employees tasks after a move out. Different users login to the site and each have their own to do list. I'm also working on invoicing tenants monthly through email and then billing them daily if they are so many days late.

I've found that the receipt system alone eliminated me hiring a book keeper altogether and it calculates accurate financial information to the second. Receipts and rent checks are uploaded and the web site immediately calculates the new numbers so its obvious at all times who has paid and who hasn't, where big expenses came up if any, etc.

The other things I'm working on are move out and move in checklists for tenants. For example, to tell them to switch the utilities in their name, remind them what day trash day is, remind them its their job to cut the grass, etc. I also hope to integrate similar checklists in my system for my employees to perform any move out checks.

Anyone do anything similar? On the web or even just note pad and paper?
Title: Re: Systemization
Post by: Fuzz on October 03, 2014, 10:38:01 AM
Did you build that system or buy it from a vendor? That's a pretty sweet system, and if you built it, I'm sure you could license it to other folks.
Title: Re: Systemization
Post by: jmoney on October 08, 2014, 11:08:50 AM
I guess I could sell it even though that was not my plan. I'm thinking of starting a property management company and that's the other reason why I started it. The third is I also want to try self storage and you really need a good record keeping system for that many tenants. I hope to spin off this site into a similar system for self storage.
Title: Re: Systemization
Post by: jnc on October 08, 2014, 12:58:18 PM
I use property management companies to take care of this for me. They seem to use software/service powered by Appfolio. I have only seen the reports produced by it, not the backend so I am not sure how it compares to the system that you have built. Perhaps check it out.
Title: Re: Systemization
Post by: gimp on October 08, 2014, 02:10:24 PM
I would absolutely be building my own system when I get into the game. I've built similar systems before, and they're shockingly simple until you start adding bells and whistles.

Automation is great, and it makes things very easy for everyone.

I have no interest in buying a pre-built system for a variety of reasons. First, my needs are different from anyone else's, in the same way that everyone else's needs are different from everyone else's, and I don't fancy a system that tries to cater to everyone. Similarly, I'd want features that they don't have and won't have. Similarly similarly, I know KISS, which too many software vendors seem to forget - I would know the website would work with various browsers / devices / accessibility features, and that people would easily be able to use it.

Second, I would be relying on a two-pronged method of security. One, writing this myself (I'm not a security expert, but I have a bit of formal training and a lot more self-taught) I would not be relying on outsourced code written by a code monkey somewhere who doesn't even understand a prepared statement, let alone laws / regulations / best practices about not storing full SSIDs and CC numbers and so on, or properly hashed passwords, or monitoring systems, or hell, proper testing. Two, by not using a pre-made software package, anyone who wants to attack the system would have to design and execute exploits specifically against what I've done, as opposed to a drive-by script-kiddie attack; this means that I avoid being caught up in popularized exploits against everyone who uses that system as collateral damage, and that anyone who wants to gain access needs not only a bit of specialized knowledge (versus press-the-button script-kiddie attacks) but also a good reason to target me specifically. To summarize, prong one is proper security because I understand it decently well; prong two is security through obscurity. An excellent combination.

Third, I wouldn't want to pay for the package. I also feel that a good system would give me competitive advantage over an off-the-shelf package.

Fourth, I could take care of feature requests myself. People want X? Sure, why not. See above about competitive advantage.

Fifth, it would be fun. A nice, easy, hit-it-out-of-the-park software project, as opposed to my bread and butter: "Why is this not working? Is it the kernel, the RTOS, the drivers, the other drivers, or the hardware? Or the compiler or the makefile? Silicon bug, or a missing resistor? Let me sit here for hours going through various levels." It's fun to do for work, but sometimes I just want something easy :)