Woman fitting curtains in new apartment

When Every Second Counts

One of the missions I have in writing the Techie Landlord blog is to help landlords spend as little time as possible on their real estate while reaping the greatest rewards.  I look at time spent in my business as a cost to me.  And just like costs, I want to minimize them as much as possible.

I’m mostly talking to in-state investors, and ones who don’t just have a property manager manage the buildings for them.  You hands on guys know who I am talking about.

When you purchase a new rental property, or even a property that you will rehab and flip, chances are you will be making a lot of trips out to the property over the course of your ownership.  Even the flippers out there may make multiple trips in a week, or even a day.  Rental property owners will make maybe hundreds of trips out to their property over the whole time they own it.  If you could shave a little time off the trip each day, it would be well worth it.

The trouble is we find ourselves getting familiar with a general area and think we know the best route to a new property in that area.  Most of the time we do.  But especially when we are purchasing a new property in a slightly different area, there may be a better way.

That’s why I like to put in the address in several different websites for mapping software to see if there is a better way.  I have several properties in one section of Minneapolis, but recently acquired a property in another section.  The first several times I went out to the property, I travelled the main roads on what I thought would be the fastest route.  Then I thought I would plug the two addresses into Google Maps and Mapquest.

Both sites provided me a better route through some local neighborhoods that knocked nearly 8 minutes off my drive time each way.  Not only was it shorter, but it avoided some major traffic hotspots on the main roads.

When you think of the savings in time this can generate for 5 minutes of looking up the route, it sure seems worth it.  That means I save 16 minutes every trip (plus whatever savings from not sitting in traffic) x maybe 50 trips a year means over 12 hours of extra time I get to spend with my kids.

I think in this world most people know how to use one of the mapping websites at least, and we all have favorites.    But here are a list of possible direction finders if you want to try a few of them:

  • Google Maps – Seems very accurate. Also has nice street level views that would be great for wholesalers, realtors and people out looking for a property to check out the area before they drive there.
  • Mapquest – Probably the oldest driving direction website, and still very good.  The time estimates seem like they may cover all drivers, since the seem to be a little more than it actually takes.  But you can compare routes to each other to see which is fastest.
  • Yahoo! – Another big boy in computer land, but the directions don’t always seem to find the fastest route.  Still it is good to compare these maps with other software to get the best directions for you.
  • Bing – Microsoft has a new program out there, but it still works well.  The directions seem very good when compared to the other mapping websites.  It also has aerial views of your routes, but you can’t get the street views like you can in google maps.