Your name:   Janet Gorman Krauss 

Name of product: T-reX Global partner program, including evaluations of Simplify’em and Depreciate’em 

1. Ease. Is it easy to use for real estate professionals? For real estate consumers? How steep is the learning curve?

Simplify’em could not have been any easier to use.  I absolutely loved this part of the program.  Real Estate professionals and consumers, alike, can only benefit from this program.  There was essentially no learning curve to speak of here.  What you see, is what you get.  As I myself am getting more involved with rentals due to the market, this made my life so much more organized and simple.  I really liked the automated email reminder that gives tenants a gentle reminder 3 days before the rent is due.

Depreciate’em was not as easy to use and left me with the feeling that I definitely need to talk to my accountant.  I recently had a course in depreciation of investment properties. I found myself having to test my memory a bit.  Although I don’t see where I may use this program as a realtor, I will be partnering with the company in order to offer an additional tool for my investor clients.   At the very least, consumers will have depreciation questions for their accountant, which may help them save money at tax time.

–Strengths (250 words or less):

Simplify’em:  I loved the way this just keeps all the rental information in one place.  I even set up automated email reminders detailing where tenants can send their rental payments.  The best part is that as a professional, I will be perceived as being on top of my game, my clients will love the reminders being sent out on their behalf, and the tenants will love having the information at their finger tips.  This is one program that I will definitely be using for a long time. 

I had the opportunity to ask a few of my investor clients how they are keeping track of their rentals.  Although this was such a reasonable question, I was amazed at their answers.  Spreadsheets were common, but some are keeping their records on paper.  They admitted that they literally spend hours each month on their paperwork and absolutely hate doing it.  A few of my clients didn’t want to tell me because they were embarrassed.  Considering that some of them have 10+ properties, I expected that they would have been more organized.

Depreciate’em:  After looking at the sample report for the "Assets Separation Depreciation Comparison Chart," which is an additional $39.95, I got a better overall picture.  I think that this chart should have been a part of the program, though.

–Weaknesses (250 words or less):

Simplify’em:  There were no apparent weaknesses that were worth commenting on.  Anything can be tweaked, but a lot of thought went into the design of this Property Management software program. 

Depreciate’em:  There is definitely a need for some redesign with Depreciate’em.  There should be more information available on how to use this program, or perhaps a simple tutorial on the different types of Depreciation.  This was not very user friendly in comparison to Simplify’em.  If you don’t have a background in Accounting or are not seasoned in Asset Separation Depreciation of rental properties, you will probably be lost. 

Unfortunately, the help screen was not very helpful and after I was linked to the IRS for the correct form to use, I lost my motivation.

–Numeric rating, from zero to 100 (zero is the worst and 100 is the best): 

65

–Explanation for rating (250 words or less):

Simplify’em received a 95 as it was so easy to use and left no room for error.

Depreciate’em received a 35 as I was left with too many questions with nowhere to go for answers.

2. Value. Is it helpful and useful for real estate professionals? For their clients/customers/consumers? Cost vs. benefits: Is it worth the cost?

In today’s market, investors are holding on to their rental properties longer and home owners are now renting out their homes when they cannot sell them.  As a realtor, we are not just dealing with foreclosures and short sales but rentals as well, whether we like it or not.  It is reassuring that there are Property Management software programs out there like Simplify’em that can assist any one from a reluctant home owner turned landlord to seasoned investors.  This program is free for any one managing up to four properties.  An investor with more than four properties will probably want to upgrade, but the cost is negligible when compared to the benefits of organization and time saved in managing properties.

–Strengths (250 words or less):

The ability to become organized and the time saved in using the Property Management software Simplify’em adds great value to a Realtor’s services.  Offering to remind your client’s tenants when their rents are due gives you a reason to stay in touch with your investor database even if they are managing their own properties.  Additionally, as a realtor, you have the ability to partner with T-Rex Global when marketing to your database.  Simplify’em is an easy to use program that your investors will be thankful to hear about.  Of course, the added benefit as a Realtor is that you look like you are watching out for your client and thinking about them and in the process, you may even earn a few dollars yourself. 

By contacting my investors to see how they are managing their properties, I was able to gracefully lead into other areas of their business and now have two deals in the works that I probably would not have had, otherwise.  Now that is value.

–Weaknesses (250 words or less):

Not to sound too repetitious, Depreciate’em does need to be redesigned for simplicity.  However, it actually did get me thinking about taking the time to master this part of T-Rex Global so that I can call my investor database and start asking them some rather sound and powerful business questions.  I will have to put some effort into mastering Depreciate’em, but this part of the program will provide me with an added service as well.

–Numeric rating, from zero to 100 (zero is the worst and 100 is the best):

73

–Explanation for rating (250 words or less):

Simplify’em will give any realtor a reason to touch their database, which will hopefully lead to new business and perhaps new clients.   Depreciate’em may appeal to some investors, but my guess is that most investors will leave the method of depreciation up to their accountant to manage.

3. Power. Would real estate professionals and consumers be likely to use this often? Can it replace existing tools/methods? How much information and how many features does it put at the user’s fingertips? Does it have the power to change the industry? Can real estate professionals and consumers use this on the go? Is it innovative and cutting edge? Is it scalable (can be used by individuals and entire offices/companies)? Does it have advanced features for tech-savvy users? Does it integrate with other products?

As a Realtor, I plan on using Simplify’em as part of my marketing to new and current clients and tenants, and in monitoring properties that I have rented out for my investors.  After all, you never know when tenants are going to want to become home owners themselves.  I have already incorporated this program into my business plan.  It is so easy to use and requires a minimal amount of time and effort.  This has already replaced my spreadsheets and tracking of properties in QuickBooks.

I think that any Realtor or investor who is managing properties will find Simplify’em very helpful, especially if they are managing more than three or four properties.  I have contacted some of my investors and introduced them to Simplify’em.  They really loved this program and couldn’t thank me enough.  I am certain that they will all be upgrading from the free version in the near future.

–Strengths (250 words or less): 

Everything that you need is right at your finger tips.  Whether you need to contact a tenant, take a look at a history, see your cash flow at a glance, monitor your expenses or prepare a statement for your taxes, you can access your information from one source.  As a bonus, you can attach a copy of the lease, receipts or notes to a particular property.

Simplify’em is definitely a scalable property management software product.  The information is stored on a server so whether you are a Realtor on the go, or are an in-house agent property manager, you have the ability to access all of your information from any computer.  Additionally, tenants will eventually have the ability to pay their rent online and access their own account.  This will definitely be a nice feature to offer tenants and will help in getting rents in on time.

All-in-all, Simplify’em certainly has good architecture, flows nicely, is easy to use and will save you money by keeping you organized with minimal effort.  Overall, I am giving this product a 10.

In regards to Depreciate’em, the hard-core investor, who is tracking property expenses and is using the asset separation method of depreciation, will appreciate this program.  An investor will be better informed by tracking how well an asset is performing when using Depreciate’em and will have the necessary tools in order to make a decision when it is time to sell the property.  If you have numerous properties and are running a report on each property at $35, you will probably want your accountant to do this for you.  If nothing else, accountants will like the fact that their investor client will be really prepared at tax time.

–Weaknesses (250 words or less):

I was hoping to be able to add or link to my contacts in TopProducer; however, that was not possible.  However, there is a feature that will allow you to select and add addresses from your AOL, Yahoo or Gmail accounts.  It would be nice if it was possible to link to other accounts as well. Your contacts can then accept an invitation to subscribe to a monthly newsletter for investors.  Although this is a nice feature for marketing, it is not one that you can use unless you download contacts into one of these accounts. As a T-reX Global partner, a link is provided to email to clients in your database and a HTML script is provided to add a widget to your Web site, which will allow clients to subscribe to the program themselves.  Also, trying to access Simplify’em from a BlackBerry Curve was too convoluted to be useful.

Depreciate’em could be a bit more user-friendly, especially for the new investor.  If you are looking for this program to replace your accountant, this is not going to happen.  It would be wise though to have your accountant explain the different types of depreciation and what method would be preferred when a property is purchased.  If asset separation is recommended, I would invest the time in mastering this program even if you need your accountant to help you get started.

–Numeric rating, from zero to 100 (zero is the worst and 100 is the best):

88

–Explanation for rating (250 words or less):

I absolutely had to give Simplify’em a 100.  It is already making money for me and is branding me as an expert in Property Management in a short period of time.  While I am not planning on using Depreciate’em at this time, I will provide my clients the opportunity to do so.  I am sure that I do have clients that will appreciate having the ability to track their expenses and to evaluate how utilizing different methods of depreciation will affect their business. 

Thank you for the opportunity to review this awesome product.

***

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