Are you Looking for Real Estate Agents In My Area in California?
When real estate investing is something you want to get into, you’re going to need a couple of tips first. This is so that you get all you can from this sort of thing. If this interests you, then this article will help you to get started in the right direction.
Never give up if you ever experience a setback with your plan and strategy. The real estate market is filled with many great and bad times, so make sure to stay strong if you hit a lull in your search. Persistence is the key to success when dealing with Real Estate Agents In My Area in California.
Prior to starting your real estate investments, choose a particular submarket to focus on. You may like flipping real estate in California. Perhaps, you’re more suited to doing rehab projects that need rebuilt from the ground up. Different work is required for each, and you can then hone your skills.
Stay within your preferred niche. It is better to find a groove with your investments in California if you focus on a single segment of the market. You have a better chance of success if you focus your efforts on one area.
Real Estate Development - When is the Right Time to Get Started in Property Development?
Every time I talk to someone about my business and career, it always comes up that "they've thought about getting into real estate" or know someone who has. With so many people thinking about getting into real estate, and getting into real estate - why aren't there more successful Realtors in the world? Well, there's only so much business to go around, so there can only be so many Real Estate Agents in the world. I feel, however, that the inherent nature of the business, and how different it is from traditional careers, makes it difficult for the average person to successfully make the transition into the Real Estate Business. As a Broker, I see many new agents make their way into my office - for an interview, and sometimes to begin their careers. New Real Estate Agents bring a lot of great qualities to the table - lots of energy and ambition - but they also make a lot of common mistakes. Here are the 7 top mistakes rookie Real Estate Agents Make.
1) No Business Plan or Business Strategy
So many new agents put all their emphasis on which Real Estate Brokerage they will join when their shiny new license comes in the mail. Why? Because most new Real Estate Agents have never been in business for themselves - they've only worked as employees. They, mistakenly, believe that getting into the Real Estate business is "getting a new job." What they're missing is that they're about to go into business for themselves. If you've ever opened the doors to ANY business, you know that one of the key ingredients is your business plan. Your business plan helps you define where you're going, how you're getting there, and what it's going to take for you to make your real estate business a success. Here are the essentials of any good business plan:
A) Goals - What do you want? Make them clear, concise, measurable, and achievable.
B) Services You Provide - you don't want to be the "jack of all trades & master of none" - choose residential or commercial, buyers/sellers/renters, and what area(s) you want to specialize in. New residential real estate agents tend to have the most success with buyers/renters and then move on to listing homes after they've completed a few transactions.
C) Market - who are you marketing yourself to?
D) Budget - consider yourself "new real estate agent, inc." and write down EVERY expense that you have - gas, groceries, cell phone, etc... Then write down the new expenses you're taking on - board dues, increased gas, increased cell usage, marketing (very important), etc...
E) Funding - how are you going to pay for your budget w/ no income for the first (at least) 60 days? With the goals you've set for yourself, when will you break even?
F) Marketing Plan - how are you going to get the word out about your services? The MOST effective way to market yourself is to your own sphere of influence (people you know). Make sure you do so effectively and systematically.
2) Not Using the Best Possible Closing Team
They say the greatest businesspeople surround themselves with people that are smarter than themselves. It takes a pretty big team to close a transaction - Buyer's Agent, Listing Agent, Lender, Insurance Agent, Title Officer, Inspector, Appraiser, and sometimes more! As a Real Estate Agent, you are in the position to refer your client to whoever you choose, and you should make sure that anyone you refer in will be an asset to the transaction, not someone who will bring you more headache. And the closing team you refer in, or "put your name to," are there to make you shine! When they perform well, you get to take part of the credit because you referred them into the transaction.
The deadliest duo out there is the New Real Estate Agent & New Mortgage Broker. They get together and decide that, through their combined marketing efforts, they can take over the world! They're both focusing on the right part of their business - marketing - but they're doing each other no favors by choosing to give each other business. If you refer in a bad insurance agent, it might cause a minor hiccup in the transaction - you make a simple phone call and a new agent can bind the property in less than an hour. However, because it typically takes at least two weeks to close a loan, if you use an inexperienced lender, the result can be disastrous! You may find yourself in a position of "begging for a contract extension," or worse, being denied a contract extension.
A good closing team will typically know more than their role in the transaction. Due to this, you can turn to them with questions, and they will step in (quietly) when they see a potential mistake - because they want to help you, and in return receive more of your business. Using good, experienced players for your closing team will help you infinitely in conducting business worthy of MORE business...and best of all, it's free!
3) Not Arming Themselves with the Necessary Tools
Getting started as a Real Estate Agent is expensive. In Texas, the license alone is an investment that will cost between $700 and $900 (not taking into account the amount of time you'll invest.) However, you'll run into even more expenses when you go to arm yourself with the necessary tools of the trade. And don't fool yourself - they are necessary - because your competitors are definitely using every tool to help THEM.
A) MLS Access is probably the most expensive necessity you're going to run into. Joining your local (and state & national, by default) Board of Realtors will allow you to pay for MLS access, and in Austin, Texas, will run around $1000. However, don't skimp in this area. Getting MLS access is one of the most important things you can do. It's what differentiates us from your average salesman - we don't sell homes, we present any of the homes that we have available. With MLS Access, you will have 99% of the homes for sale in your area available to present to your clients.
B) Mobile Phone w/ a Beefy Plan - These days, everyone has a cell phone. But not everyone has a plan that will facilitate the level of use that Real Estate Agents need. Plan on getting at least 2000 minutes per month. You want, and need, to be available to your clients 24/7 - not just nights and weekends.
C) Computer (Preferably a Laptop) - There's no way around it, you have to have a computer & be savvy enough to use email. You would be wise to invest in some business management software, as well. If you'd like to save some money (and who wouldn't) then you can get the client & email management software Thunderbird from http://www.mozilla.com and you can get a free office suite from http://www.openoffice.org The only downside to these programs is that they do not sync with your PDA or Smart Phone. A Laptop is a BIG plus because you'll be able to work from home or on the go. New Real Estate Agents are often surprised by just how much time they spend AWAY from the office, and a laptop helps you stay on top of your work while on the go.
D) Real Estate Friendly Car - You don't have to have a Lexus, but your Miata won't do the trick. Make sure that you have a 4 door car or SUV that is comfortable and presentable. Keep it clean, and for God's sake, don't smoke in it! You're going to spend a LOT of time in your car, and put a lot of miles on it, so if it's fuel efficient, it's a BIG plus. If you're driving a sporty convertible, or still have your KILLER Jeep from college, it's time to trade it in.
4) Lack of Proper Funding
If you've taken the time to create your business plan, than you should definitely have your budget, but I can't stress enough the importance of having and following your budget. However, the budget alone doesn't address the important aspect of funding. 90% of all small businesses fail due to lack of funding. Typically, new agents will want to have 3 months of reserves in savings before taking the leap into full time agency. However, money in the bank isn't the only way to answer the question of funding. Maybe your partner can support you for a certain period of time. You can keep a part-time job that won't interfere with your business as a Real Estate Agent. Many successful waiters make the transition to successful real estate agents with no money in the bank. When you start your new business, don't expect to earn any income for, at the least, 60 days.
5) Refusing to Spend Money on Marketing
Most new Real Estate Agents don't realize that the hardest part of the business is finding the business. Furthermore, they've just shelled out around $2000 for their license and board dues, so the LAST thing they want to do is to spend more money! Again, the problem lies in the lack of understanding that you've just jumped into the Real Estate Business, you haven't taken a new job. And any good businessperson will tell you that how much business you GET is directly correlative to how much you SPEND on marketing. If you choose the right brokerage, then you will get some good inbound leads. However, don't neglect a good, personal marketing campaign from the beginning to get your own name out as the Real Estate Agent to go to.
6) Not Focusing Their Marketing Efforts in the Most Effective Areas
One reason why many new Real Estate Agents who do begin spending money on personal marketing stop is because they spend it in the wrong place. The easiest place, and where conventional Real Estate tells you to spend your money, is in conventional print marketing - the newspaper, real estate magazines, etc... This is the most visible place to see real estate advertising, it's where large offices spend a good part of their money, and so many new agents mistakenly spend their money here. This becomes very frustrating to new agents because of its low return. Large brokerages can afford to spend their money here because they're filling two needs - they're marketing their own properties for sale while creating new buyer traffic for their buyer's agents. New Real Estate Agents should look to their own sphere of influence and referral marketing to see the most effective return on their investment. An agent can spend as little as $100/month marketing to their family, friends, and colleagues and see an incredible return. There are many great referral systems around that all focus on the same premise - that if you consistently market yourself to your sphere of influence as the Real Estate Agent to go to - then you will get more business. The key is to pick a system and to follow that system. You will see results.
7) Choosing the Wrong Brokerage for the Wrong Reasons
New Real Estate Agents choose their new broker for a variety of reasons - they have a good reputation, they offer the most competitive split, the office is close to their house, etc... While these alone aren't bad reasons to choose a broker, they aren't going to do a lot to help you in your success. The #1 reason to choose a broker, and the question to ask is, "What do you offer your new agents." If the answer is, "The most competitive split in town" you should definitely keep looking. Remember, 100% of $0 is still $0. If you're leaning towards the largest broker in town, who has a great reputation, remember this: You're starting a BUSINESS not a JOB. While it might be fantastic to brag to your friends about landing a job at a prestigious company, it's no accomplishment to hang your license on the same wall in the same office as other successful agents.
Your #1 concern when interviewing new Brokers is what they offer you as a new agent. Do they have incoming leads? What does their training program consist of? What's their retention level? What's their average sales price? Do they encourage their agents to promote themselves? A Broker's purpose is to help new agents start successful careers and to help established Agents progress their careers to the next level. As a new agent, concern yourself less with commission split or agency name and more with specific programs and agency standards.
A new career in Real Estate is very exciting. Starting a Real Estate business provides the new Agent with opportunities for limitless potential and freedom. New Agents have a notoriously high failure rate, however, so a new Real Estate career can also be a very scary prospect. However, if you avoid the 7 Top Mistakes Rookie Real Estate Agents Make, then you'll be far ahead of the competition!
The Future of Commercial Real Estate
One creative way to get started investing in real estate is to use a lease option. The biggest advantage of using lease options to invest in real estate is --control. This method of investing, basically gives the investor the right to possess -- be in control of -- and profit from a property without owning it.
A real estate lease option contract is a combination of two documents.
The lease part of the contract is where the owner agrees to let you lease their property, while you pay them rent for a stated period of time. During the lease period, the owner can not raise the rent, rent it to anyone else, or sell the property to anyone else.
The option part of the contract represents the right you purchased to buy the property in the future, for a specific price. If you decide to exercise your option to buy, the owner has to sell it to you at the negotiated price. The option part of the contract obligates the seller to sell to you during the option period -- but it does not obligate you to buy. You are only obligated to make rental payments as agreed during the lease period.
When the lease option contract is written and structured properly, it can provide tremendous benefits and advantages to the investor. If the lease option includes the "right to sub-lease", the investor can generate a positive cash flow by renting the property to a tenant for the duration of his lease, or lease option the property to a tenant-buyer for positive cash flow and future profits. If the lease option includes a "right of assignment" the investor could assign the contract to another buyer for a quick profit.
Lease option real estate investing, is a flexible, low risk, highly leveraged method of investing that can be implemented with little to no money.
It is highly leveraged because you are able to gain control of a property and profit from it now--even though you don't own it yet. The fact that you don't own it, also limits your personal liability and personal responsibility. Only if you decide to purchase the property by exercising your "option to buy", would you take title to the property.
Little to no money
The real estate investor's cost to implement a lease option contract with the owner requires little to no money out of pocket, because it is entirely negotiable between investor and owner. Also, there are a variety of ways the option fee can be structured. It can be structured on an installment plan, balloon payment or other agreeable arrangement between both parties. The option fee can even be as little as $1.00.
In order to secure the property for purchase at a later date, tenant-buyers typically pay a non-refundable option fee of approximately 2%-5% of the negotiated future purchase price to the seller. Depending on how the lease option agreement is written and structured, the investor could possibly use the tenant-buyer's option fee money to pay any option fee owed to the owner.
Lease option real estate investing is a flexible method of investing because the terms of the agreement, like payment amounts, payment dates, installments, interest rate, interest only payment, balloon payments, purchase price and other terms are all negotiated between seller and buyer. Responsibilities of both parties are also negotiable. For instance, if the investor doesn't want to act in the capacity of a landlord, he could specify in the lease option agreement that tenant-buyer will be responsible for all minor maintenance and repairs and the original seller will remain responsible for any major repairs.
Financially Low Risk
It is low risk financially, because if the property fails to go up enough in value to make a profit, you have the purchased the right to change your mind and let the "option to buy" expire. Even if your tenant-buyer decides not to buy the property, you have profited by a positive monthly cash flow from the tenant-buyer's rent payments, and upfront non-refundable option fee.
Let's look at an example of a lease with option to buy structured in a way that the investor profits in 3 separate phases of the investment.
Profit #1: non-refundable option fee
Future sales price negotiated with the current owner is $125,000 with an option fee of 2% of the sales price. Option Fee you owe the owner is $2,500. The future sales price you set for your tenant-buyer is $155,000 and the option fee is 4% of the sales price. Option fee the tenant-buyer owes you is $6,200. You collect $6,200 from tenant-buyer and pay $2,500 to the owner and your profit = $3,700
Profit #2: monthly cash flow from rental payments
The Monthly rental payment you negotiated with the owner is $1,000. You set the monthly payment at $1,250 per month for your tenant-buyer. Each month you collect $1,250 from your tenant-buyer and pay the owner $1,000 each month. Your profit is $250 monthly positive cash flow during the lease period.
Profit #3: is set up when the lease option contract is initially written
The third profit is the difference in the negotiated future purchase price with the owner, and the future purchase price set for your tenant-buyer. Let's say the property goes up in value to appraise for at least $155,000. Your tenant-buyer decides to exercise their option to buy. You buy the property from the owner at $125,000 and then sell it to your tenant-buyer for $155,000. $155,000 - the $125,000 you pay to the owner = $30,000 profit.
Of course the key to making lease option real estate investing work, is finding motivated sellers and buyers. Finding these motivated sellers and buyers shouldn't be difficult. The continuing down turn in the real estate market, has created a large number of sellers who can't sell their property and buyers who can't get financing to buy. The seller could possibly get a fair offer to be paid in the future, by selling their property to a real estate investor on a lease option basis. A potential tenant-buyer could obtain home ownership, without having to qualify through traditional home loan guidelines.
One disadvantage of lease option real estate investing, involves the tenant or tenant-buyer possibly defaulting on monthly rental payments. This would make it necessary for the investor to come up with money out of pocket to pay the owner, and possibly have to proceed with eviction process. However, there are certain provisions that can made, and also various "contract clauses", that can be included in the lease option agreement, to deter buyers from defaulting on payments.
If the investor fails to do "due diligence" before entering into a lease option agreement, he could end up with a property that is unmarketable. There could be a number of liens on it, issues involving ownership of the property or it might be in foreclosure. By diligently performing research before entering into a lease option agreement, the investor can avoid these mistakes. A few things the investor could do is-- perform background and credit checks on both the seller and buyer, search public records in reference to ownership and property status, or do a title search.
Despite the few disadvantages, lease option real estate investing continues to be an excellent way to invest in real estate with little to no money and low financial risks. It also remains to be an excellent way to gain control of a property you don't own, to generate cash flow now, and possible future profits on flexible terms.
Bottom line-- you don't have to miss out on the lucrative profits being made by investors in today's real estate market
The more you understand creative real estate investing strategies, and apply them now, the more profits you will make in today's real estate market. Don't put off getting the real estate investing education you need -- to succeed in today's real estate market.
Learn these things and more:
- Creative investing strategies and concepts for Lease option real estate investing, foreclosure investing, and wholesaling and flipping real estate.
- How to structure every deal right so you make more on each deal and eliminate your risk.
- What needs to be included in your real estate contracts now-- to safely avoid issues that could cost you thousands!
- The most powerful legal clauses you can use to completely eliminate your risk in all your offers.
- The step by step approach to invest in real estate with minimal risk.
- How and where to research properties effectively to save hundreds of hours in time.
- The best ways to creatively finance your investment properties.
- How to know the true market value of properties so you never overpay again.
- How to control properties with no money, credit or income verifications so you can make a lot more.
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