3 Free PropTech Tools to Help You Work Like a Pro: #1

The Silicon Valley Investors Club is excited to have Nicole Sarrate join us for a talk about how real estate investors can use PropTech to increase their efficiency and their productiveness. She’s a real estate investor and professional from New Jersey.

What is PropTech? 

PropTech, trendy talk for Property Technology, is how professional real estate investors gain a competitive advantage in their industry. This is a wide world of products that range from yoga to operating systems.

Those familiar with PropTech tools often associate them with high entry costs, making it available only to the biggest of our bunch. But I’m here to show that you don’t have to be the bourgeoisie to work like a pro!

Thank you for joining me for this 3-part series and I hope you continue to check out part #2 and #3. Before we get started, I wanted to quickly note that I don’t have any vested interest in the companies listed. Just sharing some tools that have helped me along the way.

PropTech Tool #1 Todoist

Okay, I admit it. This is not specifically PropTech, but it is LifeTech, and considering real estate is your life now, let’s go with it. I promise, it’ll be worth it!

Proficiently Productive

This is the first tool listed because having a good workflow is step # 1 to working like a pro. Everyone has their rhythm and ways, yet Todoist has a simple and intuitive approach that makes it feel natural.  

Some of the features are so natural, I found them simply by using the program. For instance, when typing a new task, let’s say, “Review architecture plans with contractor at 11AM every Tuesday meeting,” Todoist will automatically pick up the date and time to set the task for then. In this example, it will even create a recurring task since “every Tuesday” was noted, as the example below shows.

This brings me to another productivity trick, Todoist integrates with a variety of other tools, including various calendars. Setting up a time and integrating into your calendar can help you automatically time block your day to stay focused on preset priorities.

However, it’s the robust compatibility Todoist has with so many other apps and programs that makes this a productivity beast. For example, combining Todoist and IFTTT will allow you to create a ton of automated tasks working (hopefully like some of your investments) passively in the background.

Not only does Todoist help you be productive, it also helps you track your productivity. It has features such as Karma and a Year in Review. The Year in Review feature is particularly helpful because it includes your most productive day of the week and time. Being aware of when you’re at peak efficiency is helpful to determine when you should target your most important tasks.

Related Interviews: Ryan Lundquist | Sacramento Certified Residential Appraiser 

Time for Teams

As is well known, we can’t be perfectly productive alone. With the free version of Todoist, you may have up to 5 team members to coordinate with. Here are a few great ways Todoist helps you collaborate:

  • You may add team members to projects or individual tasks.
    • This is helpful as you may have a VA (virtual assistant) or a contractor that you may not wish to give access to all your projects or personal objectives.
  • You may monitor a project’s progress and share comments.
    • Under Notifications, you are also able to see a history of team member’s activity.
  • You may utilize Todoist with other collaboration apps, such as Slack and Microsoft Teams.

If you want a little more on this, here’s a great article from the Todoist blog specifically about team task management.

Related Article: What Landlords Need to Know about the Covid-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020

Project Your Projects

Todoist simple layout and formatting flexibility makes it easy to organize projects.

 For example, remember those architecture plans? They were for a renovation at 123 Main Street. So, I made 123 Main Street my project name, with tasks and sub-tasks within the project.

 As you can see in the below example, it’s very easy to read and the icons on the side clearly indicate which tasks are delegated to a team member.

 Todoist also has sample templates for a variety of objectives from personal development to business needs, including one specifically intended as a Project Tracker. With a couple clicks, these upload into your Todoist.

In case you’re interested in learning more on how other real estate investors find Todoist useful in the field, or just wish to fantasize about being in the French Alps, you may like this article as well.

While the free version can get you by, I do recommend checking out this video to see how some of the additional features can be useful.  

In the event it intrigues you, here’s a link for a free 2 month trial for the paid version. That way you can decide if the additional features are worth the price of a cup of Starbucks coffee once a month.

Well, I don’t know about you, but I think we’re off to a good start. I look forward to seeing you on part #2 of this 3-part series. A bit of a spoiler, we’ll be taking a stroll through 123 Main Street; no travel required.

 Ciao, for now!

Related Article: SVIC’s Guide to Getting Started in Real Estate Investing


Silicon Valley Investors Club (SVIC) is a global community of STEM professionals interested in making smarter investment and career decisions.

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2 days ago

Hi all! Really appreciate all the great discussion on here. Most of my experience with investing has been with real estate, stock options, and 401K so I’m learning a lot! I’m looking to open a custodial brokerage account for my niece and nephew to gift stocks for holidays, birthdays, etc. Will probably focus on index funds and/or EFTs in growth industries. I would love any input you all may have on which brokerage accounts would be best suited for this and any thoughts you may have on which industries to look into. I don’t plan on doing much trading so this will be more for long term holds. Of course, any additional advice on this is greatly appreciated as well. THANK YOU!! 🙂 ... See MoreSee Less

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When I was young, I had an aunt who worked for Merrill Lynch and advised me to buy a few utility stocks with dividend reinvestment. As a kid, it was intriguing to see the dividends and see the growth over time. As an adult, I think low cost life strategy is simplest. Why not a little of both? For the actual brokerage, they are all the same, but I might suggest you pick one that you already use for your own investing or 401k that is invested in it he index fund approach, such as Fidelity or Schwab. (Normally I would push Vanguard, but since these are kids, they might get something out of visiting a brick and mortar store.) Last point. If they are old enough to have actual jobs, why not offer to match their savings rate if the commit to put the money into a Roth IRA? If you match $1 for $1, the trick is that they get to keep 100% of their paycheck, with you putting the money into the Roth on their behalf. You can do this up to the limit of your budget (ie, up to $100 per kid). This really helps them connect the idea of saving at an early age.

Vanguard is great for "set it and forget it" investments with good long term funds. If you want an actual brokerage, most are pretty similar. I like Schwab and Ally Invest, myself

I'd suggest looking into a 529 (college fund) plan through e.g. vanguard - you can choose how your investments are structured and there are tax advantages for the recipients (if the funds are used for education related expenses)

I’m on the receiving end of the stock gifts, but my grandpa likes Fidelity for both him and me as he says it’s very easy to transfer stock to me if we are at the same brokerage.

I have set up Schwab custodial accounts for all of my nephews and neice. Every birthday/holiday I get them stocks that correspond to their gifts (e.g. I get them snowboarding lessons and Vail stock). I'm using it as a tool to eventually teach them about stock and time value of investments but having it relate to the gift to help them make a tangible connection. My oldest nephew is 10 and he's already showing interest. One thing to be aware of (or to look more into) is that custodial accounts have to be reported as assets of the child when the kids apply for college & financial aid (or at least that's my understanding).

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4 days ago

Has anyone invested in “turnkey investment properties?” Sounds almost too good to be true but would love to hear what to watch out for or if what the catch is if there are any. Ty!! ... See MoreSee Less

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First one was a dud, and I'll be lucky to walk away without the loan. Didn't do my research well and was too trigger happy to buy something. Second one was doing well with a section 8 tenant, but decided to sell it and invest in a single state rather than two to avoid the overhead. I'm currently trying out the whole BRRRR thing that's popular now. More risk, more reward...

It’s way more competitive now, and all the good turnkey operators are sold out... for the most part you would be lucky to get $100 cash flow given all the expenses and almost annual turn costs... but it’s still a property that is being paid off and appreciating (in the right market). If yuu do the BRRR yourself yuu can save a lot of $, and also spend way more time and potentially make more mistakes...

By the way, having done turnkey, group investments, renovation projects, and stock investing, feel free to DM me about my opinions on real estate investing. Besides one BRRRR that I'm doing, I'm also leaning towards more hands off syndications as an LP for several reasons (more hands off being the main one).

4 days ago

Hi all! Does anyone have experience investing in SPACs? They seem to be all the rage and my cursory research suggests that they're often quite successful with sizable pops once the target company is announced. Are there any unique risks to consider or things to think through if planning an investment in a SPAC? ... See MoreSee Less

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Most of the NAVs are $9-11 for a SPAC, so if you buy it at $16 and investors don’t like the buyout candidate, it can tank 30-50% on you. The trick is to buy when they are under $12 to lower your risk, and buy the ones where you trust the managers. Chamath seems to have a good track record.

I’ve been having good luck with SPACs these past two months. As Aaron mentioned, if the SPAC for any reason falls apart before the merger, you can still sell your shares back for at minimum the NAV of $9-11, so there’s a floor and capped risk. Second, SPACs also have warrants, which are like LEAPs that are a strike ~$1-2, but are 1-to-1 with shares instead of options contracts of hundreds of shares. They offer a levered way at investing into an SPAC company. The risk there though is if the SPAC fails to find an acquisition target or merge then they expire worthless. I’ve only been going after SPACs with a set target and definitive agreement. I came across spactrack.net/ a while back which can help you find SPACs that are at a certain stage.

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