By Tiana Baur
What if we told you that you could be saving over $4,000 per year by going digital?
By going digital, we mean throwing out that shoebox you keep your receipts in and making it your New Year’s resolution to stick to digital when it comes to taxes. Your pocket will thank you for it and this is why.
Most agents have some sort of mile tracking app on their phones. You use it somedays, you don’t even know if it’s tracking the miles properly on others, but it’s an easy and realistic way to take advantage of write offs for your taxes. Sound familiar? We’re telling you point blank: that’s just the tip of the iceberg for business write offs and your wallet is suffering from not being proactive about all the others. It’s time to go digital.
To get specific, QuickBooks Self-Employed users find on average $4,340 in tax savings per year. When you first look at that number, it might seem big or small depending on how many sides you’re doing a year, but let’s break it down and make it a bit more tangible. That’s 87 bouquets you could be sending your clients, 44 bottles of champagne you could be toasting their new home to, 20 of these Notion home monitoring systems, four new iPhone X cell phones, or this BMW Active Hybrid e-Bike – crazy, right?! Basically, what we’re saying is, that’s a LOT of money you’re missing out on.
Sure, the QuickBooks Self-Employed app tracks your miles, but it ALSO helps you track deductions for meals and fun, prompting you to take a quick pic of your receipt and uploading it so you can throw it away and never think about that old shoebox ever again. Really, how many coffees, meals and happy hours do you buy your clients and prospects each week? We’re guessing the number is pretty high up there. QBSE also helps you track write offs for marketing and ad spend, home office or space, desk fees, those big purchases like furniture and laptops, fees and licenses, travel and education, and tools and services. That’s a long list.
Up to this point you’ve been haphazardly trying to save paper receipts and remember where you drove when. Life as an independent contractor is stressful enough. Real estate agents hardly ever even get a weekend in! By going digital with QuickBooks Self-Employed, it will help bring a little sanity back to daily life and more money back into your business.
Start your New Year’s resolution early this year – your 2018 self will thank you for it!
Agents who are using the best in mobile technology and tools will always have a huge advantage compared to those agents who don’t. The best tools save time and make agents more productive. Here are 10 of my favorites. Let’s dive in.
Sign legal and transaction documents digitally from the local coffee shop or on vacation at the lake. Doesn’t get much better than that!
2. Mobile Printers
A lightweight and portable printer allows you to print documents in your car. Here are a few on Amazon.
Read virtually any type of digital document from anywhere on your iPad or iPhone. Goodreader allows you to read/edit documents, create annotations, markup and highlights. Described by Mashable as “the Swiss Army Knife of awesome” this is a great tool that you’ll use every day.
4. Cell Phone Hotspot
For an extra $20 a month on your cell phone bill you can have internet access on your laptop or tablet when you’re not near a WIFI signal via a hotspot. The ability to connect to your MLS wherever you happen to be is a huge advantage. Especially when your competitors have to wait to get back to their office to make updates to a client’s CMA. Talk to your cell phone provider for specifics.
5. 1Password app
There are hundreds of sites you use each month, which means hundreds of passwords to remember. You could use the same password for all of them but this isn’t secure. A better way is to use the 1Password app to keep track of your passwords. It’s ultra secure and works on smartphones, tablets and computers and supports Apple’s TouchID on iPhones. An essential tool for agents.
I love Mint.com and use it every day. Mint’s great for budgeting and keeping track of business receipts and expenses. It’s easy to setup and best of all it’s free.
7. Dropbox Pro
For $10 a month, you get 1TB of space, which is plenty of room to put all your transaction and client files and have access on the go wherever you are.
8. Smartphone Flashlight Feature
Agents are always crawling around dark basements and that handy flashlight app on your phone will save you a cobweb in the face. If your smartphone doesn’t have a flashlight feature, there are free apps that will enable it.
9. A Responsive Website
A responsive website simply means that your website looks great on mobile devices like phones and tablets. Did you know that today 1 in 4 real estate website visitors come from a mobile device? This is huge! Be sure to make sure that your IDX website is responsive. If it’s not easy to navigate on your phone it might be time to start looking around for a website that is.
The ability to do live updates to comparables while standing in your seller’s kitchen during a presentation has serious WOW factor. Signup for a free 30 day trial and check it out for yourself.
Communication via smart phones & tablets has exploded in the past three years.
Buyers and sellers are researching and financing homes via mobile.
Zillow – More than 60% of visits came from a mobile device in 2013.
– Home shoppers spent more than five billion minutes on Zillow’s apps and viewed homes more than 2.5 billion times, up 150% from 2012.
– Nearly 100 million GPS-enabled searches were initiated on Zillow via mobile apps.
– Buyers submitted more than 4.7 million loan requests through mobile devices via Zillow Mortgage Marketplace, up 72% year over year.
Tablet Web Searches
Searches at Google from tablets related to real estate brokers grew 300% year over year and home builder related searches grew 362% in 2012.
Mobile is now simply table stakes for an effective real estate professional. Be sure your team is armed with TouchCMA – a powerful mobile presentation tool.