A few years ago, Encore Development Properties and Encore Realty was a two-man operation. John Stilwell, founder and President, and Chris Baird, CEO felt confident with the right tools and technology, they could streamline operations and do the impossible: grow during one of the worst housing markets in recent history.
Today, Encore Development Properties and Encore Realty is the overarching brand for three real estate companies. Two are directly in real estate investment/realty (buying & selling) and one is primarily construction. There are about 30 staff members and personnel involved on the Encore Team. This includes a collaboration of general contractors, project managers, escrow agents, appraisers, real estate agents, sales associates, and executive members. They buy multiple houses and month and team up with investors in their local market.
Encore Development Properties and Encore Realty in Portland, Oregon has gone from a three-man operation two years ago, to 30 full time staff each managing dozens of collaborators (general contractors, project managers, escrow agents, appraisers, real estate agents, sales associates and executive members). These are the overarching brands for three real estate companies - two are directly in real estate investment (buying & selling) and one is primarily construction.
The Encore Team buys multiple houses per month, and teams up with investors in their local market - resulting in the sale of over 300 houses in the past ten years.
In order to succeed in the real estate industry, your company must be structured to move quickly while managing the paperwork and procedural elements involved in a sales or purchase process. As Encore grew, John Stilwell, president and founder, knew he needed to implement technology to enable his team to follow process while still moving quickly on deals and opportunities.
There are a number of players involved and many pages of documentation associated with each purchase or sale. In addition, all discussions and conversations must be accounted for and time stamped.
Today every deal is tracked and managed in Google Apps and Smartsheet. Here’s a simple look at how they use them:
- Buy & Sell - Deals are submitted online by home owners or by sales associates creating a Deal Pipeline in Smartsheet. Property photos, legal documents, correspondence and approvals are housed in Google Docs and attached to the specific deal in Smartsheet. Interactions, follow-up and timestamps are all automated.
- Remodel - Remodel projects are managed in Smartsheet using the Gantt feature and automated notifications. Internal and external stakeholders are coordinated via Gmail which provides automated links to Smartsheet to keep current on status, view documents, notes and next steps. Mobile devices serve as key data upload and access points.
“Google email and Smartsheet are easy to use right out of the gate,” says John Stilwell, president and founder. “I call Smartsheet a glorified excel sheet on steroids. Our members can jump in and use the tools right away. By using Google Apps and Google Email it enables us to have everything in one place. It makes a complex and sophisticated process streamlined and efficient and gives us a great selling tool for prospective investors and clients. It shows them that we are professional and have the capabilities to track our business.”
With Google Apps and Smartsheet, Encore is able to engage all the stakeholders throughout the three-pronged buy, remodel and sell process. During each step, external participants are able to access Smartsheet and collaborate immediately, without training. Because every conversation, decision and document are kept in one place, Encore can demonstrate to potential investors is easily how they are using technology to streamline complicated processes and maintain efficiency. Chris enthuses, "Capital Partners and Investors feel even more confident in our systems with Smartsheet on board to track progress and real estate inventory."