Looking to Find Real Estate Agents I Trust in Lancaster ?
Are considering investing in real estate in Lancaster ? If you do, you must learn all you can about the market before spending a dime. Should you fail to do so, you could lose what you are investing. Read through this piece to make the right steps forward.
Do not be afraid to spend money on marketing. It is easy to just focus on the numbers and get fixated on how much marketing is costing you. However, it is important to think of the marketing as an investment in and of itself. If done the right way, it will only benefit you in the end.
Inspections cost money. However, if there are problems with the property that cannot be seen by the naked eye, you are likely to spend much more money in the long run. Therefore, think of an inspection like an investment and always have one done prior to purchasing a property. It may not uncover anything, but there is always the chance that there is something seriously wrong with a home.
Try not to overextend yourself. Don’t get overeager. Start small and work your way up. Don’t just assume that you can spend a great deal and make that money back. That’s an easy way to back yourself into a corner. Wait until your smaller investments can fund some of your more ambitious ones.
The rent you are getting from properties should cover their mortgage. Doing this will set you off on the right foot. You don’t want to end up having to dip into your own pocket to pay any part of the mortgage.
Think about adding business properties to your investment goals. Business locations can turn into long-term rentals, which makes them profitable and safe. Think about a business complex or small strip mall, which will give you several different opportunities when it comes to investments.
Do a little research into the city government for any properties you are considering investing in. The city should have a website. There you will find pertinent details that can influence real estate prices in the near future. Growing cities are usually great investments in Lancaster.
If you want to buy a lot of properties and hold them, be sure to choose a specific area to invest in. You will save time and money on maintenance and travel this way. You will also increase your expertise in the local market.
Look for properties that will be in demand. Really stop and think about what most people will be looking for. Try to find moderately priced properties on quiet streets. Looks for homes with garages and two or three bedrooms. It’s always important to consider what the average person is going to be searching for in a home.
Get your funding in check prior to scouting homes. You are wasting time if you don’t know where the finances will come from. In fact, the delay after you’ve found the perfect home can be the difference between you getting the home and not! The best properties will always have a line of interested investors.
Any tenant you’re thinking of renting to must be screened thoroughly. Too often an irresponsible or unreliable tenant can do expensive damage or are perpetually behind with their rent. Before taking in anyone, get their references if you can, and conduct a complete credit and background check on them. When you exercise due diligence, you will have reliable tenants.
Do not allow your emotions to get in the way while you are negotiating. This is an investment purchase, not a home you plan on living in later. Keep your emotions in check so that you do not overpay and end up with less profit potential. If you heed the advice given here, it gives you a much better chance to be successful.
Have a business account, and stick to using it. If you invest too much of your personal money in a property, you could lose money. This might leave you short on funds to pay your bills or take care of personal needs. Treat this like a business so you don’t risk losing it all.
Your rental contract should include the requirement of a security deposit. This protects your interests if your tenant leaves your property in an uninhabitable state when he moves out. The contract gives you the right to keep the security deposit in order to hire a cleaning service or a repair service to fix the problems.
Learn as much as you can before making your first investment in Lancaster. There are a ton of books available on real estate investing. Plus there are many online (and offline) communities out there where real estate investors share their best practices. The more you learn, the better chance that you won’t make any critical errors.
Do not sign any contracts to buy a piece of land before you do your research carefully to confirm the ownership of the land. Hire your own surveyor to identify the property lines clearly. This prevents misrepresentation of the piece of property for sale, and it mitigates any future problems.
Don’t be taken in by slick talkers who boast that they made millions in real estate and that they can teach anyone to do it. The success stories always get more attention than the failures so don’t pin your hopes on being the next success story. There are no get rich quick methods that are sure things.
Have an extra exit strategy or two. When it comes time to sell, you might find it takes longer than you would like. By having a back up plan or two, you can keep yourself financially safe so you are able to move forward in your investment property career.
Real estate investing is a huge responsibility. Though you should make investments when you are younger, it is important that you are stable, as well. Get to know others in the community while you work on your savings account.
Real estate investing offers many opportunities, but you have to be aware of the risks to avoid losing your money. You can be pretty sure that your real estate investments in Lancaster are smart ones when you use the ideas within this article. Keep it in mind for the future.
Real Estate Agents and the Internet - How to Buy and Sell Real Estate Today
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!
Real Estate Agents and the Internet - How to Buy and Sell Real Estate Today
First to obtain your Real Estate license you will need to do a 63 hours pre licensing course. Many online educational sites offer this and can be done in the comfort of your home. If you are more of an In class person, your local community college might offer the course. When taken in actual class, the course may take 4 to 6 weeks due to their scheduling. Online classes you can do at your own pace. So if you want, you may do the entire course in one week.
Below are some requirements for the state of Florida to obtain your Real Estate License
Must be 18 Years of age, have a high school diploma or GED to get your Real Estate License.
Complete the 63 Hour pre licensing course and pass.
Exam and Application Requirements:
· Submit a completed real estate license application, submit your finger prints and pay any fees associated.
· Pass the Florida Real Estate Sales Associate state exam with at least a score of 75 points out of 100 points or pass the Florida Real Estate Law exam with a score of 30 points out of 40 points.
· Activate your license with a Real Estate Broker using the DBPR proper forms or may be activated online by your broker.
These are the basic steps needed to obtain your Real Estate license in Florida. How to get your Real Estate license sounds easy and to some extent, it is. However, the exam and amount of studying shall not be taken lightly. I would recommend searching online a bit more before you decide on a Real Estate license. If you want to make a career change, this is definitely a great one.
So How Do You Actually Start In Real Estate and What Does It Offer?
Firstly of course once you have obtained your License, activate it with a broker. This is where you have to decide what path you want in Real Estate. Different companies offer different options, splits, fees, training and so on. Let take for example:
Property Management: It is best to search for local property management companies. There are also national property management companies which you can join. Once you join them, through out your time in this field, you'll gain knowledge and experience on all legal aspects of property management. There are a lot of them, from how to evict a tenant to how to post the notices on their door and within what time frames. Property management involves a lot of work and at the same time is rewarding. Many agents lean towards this field due to the steady stream of monthly income. Others don't want to deal with the tenant headaches. Example, if you manage 150 units and average a 10% call rate, that would be 15 different issues to deal with during that month. These may be from A/C units not working, to plumbing issues; tenants locked out of their homes and need access, to tenants disturbing other neighbors. One the bright side that means 135 units won't cause any issues. On average, the management companies charge around 10% of the monthly rent to owners (all Companies and State are different), in return, you as on agent might get a percentage of that. Since all companies offer different payments, let's just average a monthly income for the company. Let's say 150 Units rented for $1000 each monthly that would be 10% of $1000 which is $100 X 150 units 'equals' $15K monthly income. Now you see the steady income I mentioned above.
Luxury Real Estate: This also a very nice niche once you obtain your license. There are pros and cons as there is with Property Management. When speaking about Luxury Real Estate we are speaking about homes from 1M and up. The obvious benefit to this is the amount of money you earn on each transaction. Example, 1M sale at 3% commission gets you 30K income, now subtract your splits with your broker, let says 80/20 split, agent would receive $24k commission, do that 4 times a year and you are at 96K. Not bad at all for going to a pre licensing 65 hour course. Let's point out the cons. It's not as easy as it sounds or as seen on TV. This market is more of a referral based market. You can definitely do it without referral, but at some point, you need to have those buyers or sellers in your sphere. The cost to reach this price range is very costly upfront. We are talking about a marketing campaign in the range of 4k to 5k a month at least in advertising within those areas. After a few months of the campaign you might receive a few calls from sellers or buyers. There is a lot more to it than just mailing, it needs to be done the proper way. Thus a large investment is needed to start right of the bat in that price range.
Real Estate Agent: The two previous paths don't appear to everyone, I would say 90% of agents go with the traditional Real Estate Agent path. This path in a sense leads to the two previous ones as well. As you are in the field, you'll be learning from other agents, property managers and so on. Why so many agents go with the traditional Real Estate Agent is due to its training and perhaps quicker income earning. If you put in the work, you can earning income in as little as 30 days, while property management and Luxury Real Estate does take its time for the business to start coming in. The cons of this path is the amount of training, start up and hard work you will need to put upfront due to inexperience and mistakes you will make before have a steady and stable income (whatever stable means to you). Agents usually earn 3% of whatever the sale amount of the home is. Example, 200K home, commission would be 6K, let's take the same split as before 80/20, agent receives $4,800 X 1 a month X 12, agent would earn $57,600 yearly. Not bad at all. Do keep in mind that some, the majority or most Real Estate companies do charge a transaction fee, desk if, yearly fee and so on.
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