Gmail for Real Estate

This is not really a step by step tutorial – it is easy to search Google how to send a message in gmail, or do any number of different specific tasks.  If you got here from my CRM for Real Estate Agents, please leave a comment below.

Instead what I am going to do is share how I use Gmail in my day to day activities as a Realtor.

For me, my inbox is my to do list.  I get a lot of emails every day:

  • Messages from other agents
  • Important messages from clients
  • Notes from friends and family
  • Newsletters I’ve subscribed to
  • Reminders from other meetings and activities
  • spam (of course)
  • Plus lots of other emails that I can’t really categorize

Since I like to keep my inbox around zero – a goal which is increasingly difficult, I have to stay on top of my messages all the time.   I use as many tips and tricks that I can to keep things organized and efficient so I don’t drop any of the dozens of balls I’m juggling at any given time.

Gmail on the BrainI think of Gmail like my brain, I’m only really using 20% of it at any given time, and I know there is so much more I can do.  Gmail is just like that.  Most people only use a fraction of all the different features either because they are afraid they are going to lose something, or mess something up, or just don’t realize that it is possible to do these things.

But with Gmail, it’s really hard to loose a message.  If you move it to a strange folder, you can always move it back.  Even if you delete it, it doesn’t really go away.  You can still recover it, if not too much time has passed.

My in-box is my to do list.

Like I mentioned before, my inbox is my to-do list.

A long time ago, I read something about working efficiently that stuck with me.  This was written long before the days of the internet and email, because there was no mention of technology.  The article was called “how to deal with your mailbox” and it referred to actual snail mail that people would get everyday.

In order to prevent paper from piling up all over your desk at work the article stated, whenever you get a piece of paper, be it a letter, postcard, copy, or report, choose one of three things to do to it immediately.  This is one of those habits that highly successful people employ to keep their life simple.

Read it | File it | Toss it

Amazingly, this doesn’t just apply to paper.  It works incredibly well for emails.

If you are like me, most of your email messages are longer than a text, but shorter than a phone conversation.  They are in that sweet spot of communication.  A quick read, a couple of minutes to craft and fire off a response, and then done.

So for every email I get I use one of the three things above, and Gmail, used as part of my real estate CRM works flawlessly.

I base these three actions solely on the snippet preview or sender.

Read it – I do exactly that.  I read the message and act on it immediately.

File it – I scan the subject and decide that this is not an immediate effort, and file it into an appropriate folder (see below)

Toss it – junk mail, newsgroups I don’t have time for, and other solicitations all get deleted immediately.

Gmail for CRM

This is where Gmail really comes in handy.  Once I read a message I immediately send a response.  Usually I take a couple of minutes and hand write something.  But every so often I get something that I have a prepared automated response for (like people who want to submit a listing to my blog).  To learn more about canned responses just Google it 🙂

When I get a message with an invitation to something – like a listing appointment, showing or meeting, I can immediately add it to my calendar, by clicking on the day or time.   Want to learn more ?  Search for it on Youtube.

Gmail Attachment Reminder MacOften times I need to add a contract or other attachment.  I simply click on the little paper clip and upload the file.  If I mentioned an attachment in the text of the email, and forget to upload it, Gmail gently reminds me before the note can be sent.

Adding images is just as easy.  I simply drag the photos I want to include in the message to the draft of the note, and they are uploaded instantly.  Not all web browsers support this, but I’m using Chrome on my Mac Laptop, so it works really well.

Once I’ve written my response I want to get that I organize every message into one of 7 folders

  1. Buyers
  2. Sellers
  3. Renters
  4. Investors
  5. Office
  6. Personal
  7. Misc

These are all pretty self explanatory.  If you have a question about each specific folder, ask me in the comments below.

Backup Gmail?

Even though everything is stored in the cloud there is still a way to backup everything to your hard drive if you want.  Look it up it’s easy!

Google Mail Search Bar

Remember how I mentioned that I file everything away so my inbox is as low as it can be?  Well, sometimes that’s a problem.  Amazing search bar –

I can search for anything with the search bar.  Just type in the sender’s name, something in the text, or whatever you remember, and presto, the infinite power of Gmail’s servers spring into action and deliver outstanding search results.  It just works!

A couple of other cool features:

Google groups email threads, or conversations together automatically.

You can add smart labels to messages and Gmail learns your habits and behaviors to automate repetitive filing tasks.

Plus it links every message to a contact. you can read more of that in my Google Contacts for Realtors upcoming article.


As always, Please share any of your cool g-mail tricks or tips in the comments below.


3 Replies to “Gmail for Real Estate”

  1. We have our own email system over here at HomeCity, and we have an option to “flag” emails. I usually replace “flag” with the “file” step that you take. Decide whether it’s of immediate importance, if not (but still important) it gets flagged! It allows me to help people better!

  2. I would be interested in learning more about your folders/labels – do you then do sub-labels in each of the 7 labels.

    I am really struggling with what is the best way to setup my gmail accounts. I have been using gmail for approx 10 months and I still haven’t become systematically about it in spite of all the internet research I have done.

    Your thoughts are appreciated??

    1. Hi Pat,
      I have about a dozen different folders, and a few with sub folders
      Buyers (then a separate sub folder for each client)
      Sellers (then a separate sub folder for each client)

      And a few others. I try to keep my inbox to zero as much as possible. If a message is there, some kind of action needs to be taken immediately, then I file it away or delete it. Also, if I need a new category, I just create it. It can be anything you want – it’s up to you, and adapts to the way you work.

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