As a Real Estate Agent entering the field, what prompted your interest? Real Estate agents enter the business for many reasons. Many for the love of working in the industry, while others for the vision of creating lifetime wealth. Looking over a span of 20 years, what I have seen overall are many real estate agents that have built wealth developed in their everyday business.

 

This article is meant to be an initial step to educate and place you on the path of financial success through real estate. It’s about enriching your career and lifetime goals through the buying and selling of real estate.

 

To be real, the ride is not all uphill. Many real estate agents have lost homes and suffered financial hardship as a result of their investments. In life, as we know it, there are no guarantees. There is a smart system for investing. And what better way than to learn from those who have seen the highs and lows in the real estate economy and moved through them.

 

Here Are The 3 Top Investing Tips:

 

Tip #1 The profit is made when you BUY the property and not solely when you sell it.

 

We are in an emotional business. You may get super excited thinking that the home you are looking at is a great deal. Now let’s push aside the emotions for the moment and look at the real numbers. Real estate agents find great deals by finding motivated sellers. It takes knowledge, research and time. If every motivated seller advertised, he or she would take a price below market value, then everyone would be rich. This is where your research, homework and negotiation skills come into play.

 

 

One of the first things taught about real estate investing is to look for properties priced below market value. That takes a solid understanding of market prices. Having in-depth knowledge of an area is a big plus. As real estate agents, you have access to all the properties that are on the market, and then you need to take it a step further and analyze prices in the area where you are looking.

 

In today’s market, it is a seller’s market in many parts of the country, so the opportunity to find properties that are priced below the market may not be an option right now.

 

Many investors and buyers lost their properties when they bought at the height of the market in new construction or buying properties above market value. Their thinking was that they would make their profit as the home increased in value. When the market downturn took place in 2008, many owners and investors rented out their properties since they were unable to sell them and took a monthly loss each month as the rental income did not match their mortgage obligation. Others were not as fortunate and lost their properties to foreclosure. Remember to buy the right way, which is when you purchase the property to alleviate this potential negative outcome.

 

Tip #2 Where to Search For Properties

 

One suggestion is to look for subdivisions or areas that near good schools, walking distance to shopping areas, and if the high demand areas are out of financial reach, then perhaps the surrounding neighborhoods.  Along with the Multiple Listing Service, here are some other popular ways to locate investment properties.

 

FSBO’s (For Sale By Owners) are a great source of finding investment properties. You can find them online, or better yet, by driving through neighborhoods and looking for signs.

 

 

ForeclosuresRealtyTrac.com is one of the leading sources to find foreclosures. You can search the latest foreclosure listings across the country as well as learn the basics of foreclosures.

 

Auctions – auction.com is a website that focuses on housing auctions. They auction all types of real estate including foreclosures, REO’s, short sales, commercial real estate, luxury real estate, and new construction. These auctions take place online, locally on-site or in courthouses as well as in live mega-auctions in meeting halls.

 

 

Tip # 3 Have A Solid Real Estate Investing Plan

 

You wouldn’t get into your car without knowing where you were going, correct? The same is true for building a plan to guide you towards your investment goals.

 

Have a plan in place that includes these important strategies:

 

Goals – What do you want real estate to help you to achieve? Ask yourself these questions: is the property being purchased for you or a family member to live in and then flip within a short period of time or as a rental investment property? How many do you want to own or flip? Maybe you don’t want to own for the long term and just want to fix and flip.

 

Timeline – What is your desired timeline to reach your goals? Divide that into yearly and monthly goals.

 

Financing – How do you plan to acquire your investment properties? Find out what you qualify for from an experienced lender. Are you using cash, conventional loans, hard money, private money, equity partners, seller financing, lease options, or some other creative method?

 

A recent example of what is possible…Yes, it’s true!

 

Realtor Purchases Home For $1.00 in Palm Beach County Florida

 

One Realtor saw a property being advertised in the MLS for $1.00. Sound crazy? It is true. The catch was that the home was in a country club community that required a membership fee to be paid at closing in order to live there. The mandatory membership fee to move in was $70,000. The monthly association fees to live there for this style home was between $583.00 monthly.

 

How this real estate agent saw this, was as an opportunity to live in a prestigious gated community, and his cost would be $70,000 to live there. Instead of the seller making the money, it would be the homeowners association. He was ok with the high monthly maintenance fees. And just in case you are wondering about the condition, the unit came completely furnished and was in original condition. The buyer was ok with that also.

 

The wow factor was that not only did he pay a $1.00, this agent was also reimbursed by the seller for 50% of the membership fee. Essentially he only paid $35,000 to live in this community. Plus, he received a commission for his purchase since he was an agent.

 

Good deal or not a good deal? I think it sounds pretty good!

 

Today there are many educational opportunities available to build your knowledge, experience and meet other experienced investors. Check out any local meetup groups or classes being offered in your area. The bottom line is that real estate is a proven way to build wealth.

 

Written for Form Simplicity by Janice Zaltman, a Realtor, LEED AP, Marketing Coach and Writer with more than 20 years of experience in the sales, marketing and media fields.

Are you taking advantage right now of every tax break that is legally available to you? Probably not. The genius, Albert Einstein, is attributed to  saying about taxes, “The hardest thing in the world to understand is income taxes.”

Are you trusting your tax advisor to provide you with all the tax saving benefits available to you? As experienced as many tax advisors are, most largely do a great job of recording the history that you give to them.  It is far more uncommon to find an accountant that provides you with insight about tax breaks that you are not already taking.

Let’s explore some Tax Saving strategies and benefits – recommendations to put you in the driver’s seat and potentially put more money in your pocket, legally.

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A real estate agent called complaining that he spoke with one of his buyers who wanted to see a property he found online. When the agent went to check the listing out, he was shocked. The commission stated was for $1.00. Being the professional that he was, he went to show the condo. He sent me a copy of the MLS sheet and lo and behold it was true. Then I contacted the listing agent thinking perhaps they were new and had made an error. Nope, she said, it was correct. The commission was one dollar.

 

Was this an isolated incident? No, the stories came pouring in from other agents. Another real estate agent showing buyers in a community where home prices start at $500,000 experienced something similar. The commission for the transaction broker was 3%. If you were a buyer’s agent, then the commission was only $1.

 

Now my curiosity was triggered to find out how many homes were for sale offering 1% or $1 commission. I searched multiple counties in one MLS in Florida, the results found 256 properties offering 1% commission with prices ranging from $25,000 to 12 million.  Two were offering $1.

 

As more and more real estate agents build teams with agents that specialize in working with buyers, this concept can be hurtful. The 1% is often split multiple ways. The commission could be split with the head of the team along with the brokerage. That coupled with franchise fees, transaction fees, errors and omissions insurance along with business expenses could have your commission end up being less than 50% of the 1%. Then when you subtract taxes, the net income gets even lower.  For many, this may not a profitable business model depending on the price of the home for sale.  1% of $50,000 is a lot different than 1% of 10M.

 

What Would You Do in This Situation?

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Remember the famous childhood rhyme, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never harm me?” Well, think again. In today’s digital age, words matter, and more importantly, what people are saying about you can make an impact on your business’ reputation.

 

What are people saying about you?

When was the last time you searched your name to see what came up? Take some time today to search your name on different browsers such as Google, Firefox, or Safari if you are a Mac user.

 

Why is knowing your business footprint important?

According to NAR statistics, 99% of Millennials search online websites compared to 90% of Boomers.  Whether you receive a large amount of your business from referrals or friends, rave reviews and testimonials can catapult you to the top. They can also create strength and value as to why clients should choose YOU.

 

A 2018 survey reveals how consumers search and what is important to them. Here are some key statistics from the survey:

  • 86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses (including 95% of people aged 18-34)
  • 91% of 18-34-year-old consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
  • 80% of 18-34-year-olds have written online reviews – compared to just 41% of consumers over 55

 

3 steps to getting testimonials with ease.

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At his moment in time, how many emails are in your inbox?  Today, one woman said 20,000 emails, and she just ignores most of them. 20,000 may sound extreme, yet many people have thousands of emails in their inbox.  We are talking about the number of total emails sitting there, not just the read ones.

An attorney I work with is completely up to date with all his emails.  His wife had only 22 emails in her inbox. That is a rarity.

As business people, and in our personal lives, the number of emails we get each day can be daunting. A disorganized inbox can hurt our business and productivity.

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We hear this over and over as professionals. The first offer is the best offer – especially when there are no other offers on the table. This viewpoint has withheld the test of time. What remains to be proven is whether this perception is the truth or a tale that we have all accepted as true.

 

Not Taking The First Offer Cost The Seller $10,000

Your listing becomes active in your market and a few days later, an offer is received. You, as the agent, are excited about presenting it to the seller after thoroughly reviewing it. “Wow, that was fast,” says the seller, “Why don’t we wait, since this came so quickly, and see if we get a higher offer from another buyer. Someone else will also want my home and be willing to pay more.” But does another offer come? Nope. When this property finally did sell, it was 3 months later. The offer was less, and the seller accepted it. She ended up netting $10,000 less than had she accepted the first offer. Ouch!

Sound familiar? Many sellers think that the Realtor just wants to sell the property fast and make their commission. But while that may be true of some, most Realtors have the sellers’ best interests at heart.

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When buyers are searching for properties online, photos and property descriptions are vital to gaining exposure and showings. The same is true when agents are searching for properties to show their clients. But should the descriptions for both audiences be the same?

The answer is no, because you are appealing to two different needs, with different perspectives when viewing the information.  Let’s review the best way to communicate with each audience.

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