Marketing Academy
Check where the money is leaking in your real estate business.

Check where the money is leaking in your real estate business.

12 min read
Check where the money is leaking in your real estate business.

Check where the money is leaking in your real estate business.

Suppose you want to self-audit your real estate business to see where the money leaks. No need to scratch your head over it: just use our simple checklist below. Going through it should help you weed out expenses you don’t need or could replace them with cheaper alternatives.

1. Real estate expenses - self-audit

  • Create a comprehensive list of regular monthly spendings. 
  • Categorize them or put them in logical groups (i.e., software, equipment, transportation, bookkeeping, fees, licenses, etc.)
  • Once you have compiled the list, evaluate each cost by asking the following questions:
  • Is this essential to the operation of my business, or can I do without it?
  • Does it justify its cost?
  • Is there any cost overlap (maybe you pay for similar things)?
  • Can I replace it with something for free or DIY? 
  • Do I have any trouble using it effectively (maybe you keep something out of habit but rely on different solutions or technology as more intuitive or practical)?

Luckily, you won't need to start from scratch to prepare such a list for your real estate business because we have already done the hard work for you. Start by downloading the Real Estate Cost Assessment Spreadsheet and fill it out. 

Download FREE Real Estate Cost Assessment Spreadsheet

Not all of your expenses are fixed costs, but you must be aware of how much you spend and be able to track most of your expenses to put in action a balanced monthly spending plan. Only a thorough self-examination will help you find and make cutbacks. 

When you finish evaluating your expenses, you can start considering some improvements that could work as a “quick fix.”  Some of them will also help you get a closer look at what you splash on monthly. 

There are three columns marked as Alternative 1, Alternative 2, and Alternative 3 in our Real Estate Cost Assessment Spreadsheet. You can write there your alternative ideas when you finish studying the below points. Sometimes that will require you to do extra research (to compare pricing, different offers, and check details). The list of alternatives is not exhaustive - you can have many more ideas.

The aim is that your financial condition will remain stable, and you know that you are wisely saving and investing in your real estate business. This monthly expenses template will get you a step closer to your goal.

Remember that costs make up only part of your total budget. It is always income vs. expenses when you look at your annual revenue. Sometimes saving it’s not enough to keep the balance, and you have to be more creative in the profit department.

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2. Explore alternatives - there are no things irreplaceable. Erase the word ”impossible” from your real estate vocabulary. Remember, variety is a spice of life. This saying captures one of the great truths about our existence: the more you can vary the way you do the things you do, you can avoid the boring repetition and burnout. 

  • Start a free trial to test a different tool: CRM software, IDX website builder, blog creation tools, marketing or lead generation software
  • Learn a new skill to save on outsourcing
  • Consolidate (loans, properties, equipment)
  • Deduce from tax (consult with your accountant)
  • Put it on hold/Stop payments.

3. Optimize the resources and use what is accessible to the fullest. For example, some of the processes you can easily automate by either using digital tools, specialized software, AI, or even paper templates or everyday scenarios.

Real estate automation is your way of reducing manual work and letting different tools do more for you.

How can automation help:

  • Improve and streamline customer communication,
  • Cut down application process times by half
  • Increase process speed and productivity,​
  • Free up employees' time for more valuable work,
  • Enhance customer experience,
  • Provide more cost savings​,
  • Increase work efficiency.

What things can you automate in your real estate business?

  • accounting and financing (payroll, invoices, financial management)
  • documentation
  • property descriptions (AI generated)
  • mailing and newsletters
  • calendars booking and scheduling (agents availability)
  • automatic notifications
  • lead management 
  • tasks and transaction tracking
  • virtual assistants and chatbots
  • customer relationship management

Other real estate automation ideas:

  • analytics, engagement, & performance
  • lead generation via website forms
  • open house lead generation (collect contacts on viewing and send a follow-up email)
  • sync leads from various channels
  • sync leads to your phone
  • automate lead routing
  • contracts
  • sms/email reminders
  • automated voicemail messages

4. Delegate tasks to staff or hire interns.

10 tips for delegating work
  • Identify work you can delegate. Not everything can be delegated, but there are lots of things you don’t need to attend to personally.
  • Provide context and guidance so the delegate doesn’t wander in the dark, trying to guess what you meant.
  • Clarify priorities and focus on results. A clear outcome or a goal can help to get on with the task at hand. It’s good to set a deadline or timeframe for the project.
  • Understand each team member's strengths and weaknesses and delegate tasks accordingly to them. If someone is good at research, let them help you.
  • Invest in training. Sharing is caring, also in the professional context. 
  • Prioritize communication. Delegation doesn’t mean that you are building around yourself a high wall. People should still be able to contact you on a daily basis.
  • Avoid “upward” delegation. It happens when someone comes to you in an effort to get you to do what has been tasked to them under the guise of needing help or guidance.
  • Gather feedback. When they report back, you can make informed and more accurate decisions.
  • Build motivation and commitment for the future. Positive motivation can work wonders.
  • Practice letting go. Yes, it is your business, and no one is taking it from you, but you need more free time, don’t you? Confirm in your own mind that the task is suitable to be delegated.

What kind of things can you delegate in the real estate business?

  • Research - assign someone to compile it for you. They can prepare a report or highlight the most important points, so you don’t need to dig through a pile of slides.
  • Daily errands - mundane jobs can devour a lot of your time. It is crazy not to outsource as much of them as possible. You can delegate to a personal assistant:
  • thank you cards and gifts, 
  • travel arrangements, 
  • booking accommodations, 
  • sending flowers, 
  • arranging for the car to be detailed, 
  • job posting, 
  • replenishing office supplies, 
  • ordering signs
  • inputting listings
  • updating pictures
  • creating flyers and printing marketing materials.
  • Property management - Managing a rental property is time-consuming work, with a relatively low ROI on the hour. Think about it: you could generate more leads instead of fixing a broken tap. Never underestimate how valuable your time is.
  • Content writing - benefit from AI tools, use interns, or delegate texts to a professional copywriter. While there can be times when there is something really important you want to write yourself, it shouldn’t be your daily task.
  • Social media - do post scheduling or Facebook ads give you a headache? Daily posting, creating reels or stories could be a nuisance. Unless you feel comfortable in front of a camera and you are natural, it is better to delegate this job to a professional or someone on your team who loves this online vibe. 
  • PPC Advertising - The growing trend of pay-per-click online advertising is undeniable. Nonetheless, this approach's simplicity seems superficial as achieving tangible results and generating significant leads for online real estate demands a far more complicated and time-consuming process than commonly assumed.
  • Website design - Creating your own real estate website and blog design is now more convenient and cost-effective than ever. Utilizing pre-made templates and modifying them with the use of user-friendly 'drag and drop' tools may be a favorable option in certain circumstances. However, constructing a website from scratch can be a daunting task that requires significant time and effort, so sometimes it is easier to delegate it.

Payroll and bookkeeping - you shouldn’t be handling your payroll and invoicing. Some invoices can be missed or procrastinated on, and relationships and critical business partnerships will be ruined if something goes wrong.

5. Get creative. Let your creativity take the lead when you think you tried all the above. Sometimes inspiration comes when we least expect it, so keep your eyes open. Old, good brainstorming might also come in handy.

  • Make a list of new ways to help you get more leads and put it into practice. Leads are like water for realtors, so you can’t survive without them. 
  • Become a volunteer, join a local club or activity group. Surely, plenty are in your community, and people are more likely to seek real estate advice among peers and acquaintances than strangers. And word of mouth is your best free marketing. 
  • Attend networking events. Surround yourself with fellow professionals. Talking shop can help you understand whether you spend more, less or about the same as others. 
  • Join a professional chat group. Plenty of realtors like to vent on various social media. It’s good to exchange ideas and share knowledge. Maybe they do something better in the cost-saving department? 
  • Subscribe to a newsletter or follow social media channels to get inspiration and triggers to make cutbacks and grow your business.
  • Follow successful entrepreneurs, and learn from the best. Don’t limit yourself to your niche. Who knows, maybe it will turn out that their ideas resonate well with your real estate business.
  • Read something daily - a page a day doesn’t keep a doctor away, but might bring much-needed breakthrough. Watch, talk to people, observe, and think. You might have your “Eureka moment” in the most unusual of places. 
  • Set clear 3-5 measurable goals and focus on them. Sometimes less means more because QUALITY is more important than QUANTITY. 
  • Do something out of character (be open-minded - it doesn’t have to be pricey, just different from your usual strategies). New route from your home to the office, different takeaway, new grocery store, or gym. 
  • Narrow down your field of expertise: luxury properties, cozy family condos, flats, or long-term rentals.
  • Experiment with a different one - it's not a pun. Dabbling in 20 different niches is not an option if you want to be successful, and it comes with a price tag. Find your niche and stick to it for some time to see the results.

Market your personal brand to people in your niche:

  • start a blog, if you don’t have one yet,
  • run a vlog or YouTube channel with free tips for potential customers,
  • focus on social media if this is an effective source of leads in your field. You need to get out there to let them know you exist.
  • Recycle, reuse, and train yourself in upcycling. Give new life to discarded objects, including everyday items such as furniture, ceramic materials, cans, clothing, and glassware - almost everything.
  • Follow up on that enigmatic receipt or low but regular charge on the company card. Be prudent and well… a bit stingy. Channel your inner Scrooge to save extra pennies every day. 
  • Start a real saving for the rainy day. Open a saving account and “forget about it.” After each successful transaction, transfer some money; otherwise, don't touch it.  

When you choose something from our list, think of when it’s worth investing your time versus when to invest money to achieve a business goal. 

We experience an economic downturn, so it is not always plain sailing. Brace yourself, and don’t give up easily. You must learn how to bounce back from rejection and failure and stay positive. It's no point in blaming yourself - maybe it is not YOU but THEM, as nowadays everyone’s budget is a bit tight.

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