realtors

5 Tips for New Real Estate Agents

1000 500 Sam Radbil

You finally got your license to work as a real estate agent. For many new agents, they entered the industry due to their love for meeting and interacting with new people. If you are a “people person,” there might not be a better career than an agent.

selective photo of gray key with heart key chain

But, be warned. For most real estate agents, the first two years are the most crucial. Even worse, you might get very little interaction with people…despite that being the reason many new agents enter real estate. The reality is that most new agents struggle to find clients and need to find a way to grow their client list to use their people skills. 

For this reason, new agents should recognize that the first 24 months in the industry can make or break your career because these are the formative stages where you build habits and patterns that you carry on for the rest of your journey as an agent.

Thus, it is vital that you start your journey off on the right foot; many new agents, unfortunately, believe that this career means easy money, but that’s not entirely true. You have to put in the work, so here are some tips for you to kickstart your real estate journey towards financial success.

Don’t Be Afraid to Spend for Leads

As a new real estate agent, you might have plenty of hesitations when it comes to spending any money yet. After all, you are new to the business, and you might not have much money to spend in the first place. Even spending $20 a month is well worth it; you can sign that $10,000/month Zillow contract down the line!

This applies especially when you’re thinking about leads, which are not guaranteed clients or sales. However, as a real estate agent, one of the first things you have to learn is that all leads are essential.

It’s imperative as a new agent that you get as many “reps” as possible talking with potentially interested buyers and sellers. It almost matters less than if the lead turns into paying customers. What does matter is that you learn how to talk with, and add value to, a lead.

In short, take all the leads that come your way and use them to hone your skills as a real estate agent. Spend money, even if it’s just $20 a month, to get that practice in.

Utilize Your Network

Like most starting entrepreneurs, one of the earliest challenges you will have to face is getting clients first. Although it might be tempting to pour all your money into paid advertising (it’s vital for the practice you’ll receive), at this stage, you’re best off focusing on what we like to call your sphere of influence.

Simply put, your sphere of influence is that close network of relationships that you have a degree of influence over. This includes your friends, families, coworkers, and whomever you are in close touch with. Let them know of your new career venture as a real estate agent and that if they are looking to buy or sell at any time, they can contact you.

The main benefit of starting with your sphere of influence is your relationship with them already establishes an initial layer of trust, making it easy to jumpstart your career with them. However, make sure you practice as much as you can with the paid leads!

Cultivate Relationships

As a real estate agent, you should strive to be more than just a middleman between the buyer and the seller. With that in mind, you should realign your mindset towards cultivating relationships as much as you work for sales.

As a real estate agent, you are in constant communication with your clients throughout a prolonged period, and if you want to work your way up towards the ranks of being one of the top agents in your area, you will do well to be known not just by how much homes you sell, but by how trustworthy and reliable you are in the eyes of your clients.

Trustworthy, reliable agents start to get referral clients. Middleman agents do not.

Keep Learning

The journey towards success as a real estate agent is an ongoing one. You don’t stop becoming a student once you receive your license; in fact, real learning only begins once you start communicating with and working for clients.

The industry’s best agents didn’t get to where they are just by increasing the number of their sales. They got there because they constantly worked on their craft, treating every step as a learning process.

Throughout your career, you will hit slumps that will force you to reassess your strategies even though those same strategies have brought you success for years. Most real estate agents fail because they stubbornly stick to the systems they have grown accustomed to, even though those systems no longer brought them the expected success.

On the other hand, the top real estate agents are the ones who consistently reevaluated their approaches and applied whatever new knowledge they gained to their careers. No matter how long they have been in the industry, they are still changing and adapting.

Revenue-Generating Tasks

As a realtor, there is much potential competition for your time. In any one day, agents can be closing new leads, following up with past leads, working with existing clients, communicating with other agents, and the formal paperwork associated with an offer.

All of those tasks are revenue-generating and should be done by you as the agent.

However, there are plenty of daily tasks that can absorb your time that does not generate revenue. Transaction coordination, the dozens of tasks that must be completed between a signed PSA & closing, is one of those non-revenue generating time sucks.

That’s why more and more agents are outsourcing transaction coordination to a company like Close Concierge. That way, agents can instead spend their time with clients instead of spending ~15 hours per transaction on administrative tasks like scheduling inspections and documenting receipt of earnest money.

As a real estate agent, you will find yourself needing to be in multiple places at once, so efficiency is critical. Cultivate a mindset of efficiency, and investing in efficiency, while you’re still starting means building a solid foundation within your business. That way, when your business eventually grows, you won’t find yourself swamped with deadlines from all over the place.

real estate investing

6 Encouraging Reasons to Invest in Real Estate During COVID-19

1000 500 Sam Radbil

While many people think that the stock market has been the only investment game in town during COVID-19, savvy investors are looking for real estate opportunities. While the current set of economic conditions is certainly unique, there are six great reasons to invest in real estate during the pandemic.

red and white UNKs restaurant

Interest Rates

Mortgage interest rates are at record lows, and buyers with good credit can get a rate below three percent. Rates of six percent or more were not unheard of before the Great Recession that began in 2008, and the difference between a $250,000 loan at six percent and one at three percent is a healthy $400 monthly.

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While it’s true that rates for investors may be a bit higher than those for would-be homeowners, the purchase of a duplex is a great way to capitalize on these low rates since a duplex would be owner-occupied and therefore more easily qualify for better loan terms.

The Rental Market is Stable

Top apartment rental site ABODO reported in September, “Last month we said, until there is a therapeutic treatment or a proven COVID-19 vaccine, we’re predicting a stable rental market at best, and that is what we saw in September. There are some hopeful signs that the pandemic is easing in some parts of the country, and the much-anticipated vaccine seems to be moving to fruition. That said, even if the virus disappeared tomorrow, we still see a stable apartment rental market because we just do not foresee things returning to normal for a while.”

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A stable market means that investors can get the rents they need to cash flow their units. And if you’re prudent and careful as you screen tenants, you can help avoid the perils of the eviction process.

There Are Good Deals Out There

If you live in Austin, TX where Tesla just announced that it is building a new plant, you can forget about finding bargains. We found the following in a recent Boston Globe article, however, and this is beginning to ring true in some areas.

“As sales slump, home prices will fall later this year and early next in the ‘low single digits’’ nationwide, according to Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. The declines may be more pronounced in West Coast markets, which were already overvalued relative to incomes, he said.”

Buyers need to be patient, but anyone that is selling their home during the pandemic probably has to sell it, so discounted properties can be found.

Values are Values – No Matter What

An investor who wants to cash flow $400 per month on a four-family and is able to find the property that makes that happen should pull the trigger regardless of the state of the housing market. If a low-interest rate can be locked in, and if property tax rates look stable, there’s no reason to wait.

The Worst May Be Over

At this writing, it doesn’t look like there will be mass lockdowns again in the U.S. The idea behind the first wave of lockdowns was to flatten the virus’ curve thereby not overwhelming the hospitals. While the site of refrigerated trucks commandeered to hold dead bodies was chilling both literally and figuratively, the health care system has been able to back off from that Armageddon-like scenario, and hospitals seem to be handling their COVID-19 patient load. Even if the pandemic trudges along, the economy may have seen its lows and things may just stay stagnant until a vaccine, therapeutic treatment and/or true herd immunity crowds out the pathogen.

Real Estate is Adapting

Some industries like restaurants, bars and caterers have been severely injured by the pandemic. In fact, the bedrock of many catering operations–the buffet–has been altered, transformed and may no longer be viable as a method to serve food.

The real estate industry, however, has stepped up to their own plate with an array of technological innovations like virtual tours. Landlords, for example, can rent apartments without having to physically show them, and that adds a sense of security to prospective tenants. The real estate industry has found a way to thrive even during this crippling pandemic.

Investing in real estate shouldn’t only be reserved for good times. And as shown above, there are many solid reasons to become a real estate investor even during COVID-19.

How Technology Can Help Improve Your Rental Property Business  

1000 500 Sam Radbil

Regardless of the type of investment property that you are renting, there’s a lot to think about when you are a landlord. Luckily, there are a number of technological advances that are here to help.

Rather than attempting to do everything alone and risking something being missed, you can rely on technology to help streamline things. Here are three of the key ways you can boost your rental property business with the help of modern technology. 

By Going Paperless

There’s no denying that paperwork takes up a lot of space and there’s a fair amount of paperwork that comes with a rental property. Not only do you need to store the hard copies but you also need to find time to file, organize, and locate the paperwork when the time comes.

That’s not including the likelihood of irreplaceable paperwork going missing, something that all landlords dread. This is why a lot of landlords are choosing to go paperless.

There’s also the major benefit that by going paperless and using better real estate software, you immediately reduce the costs that come with paperwork. Don’t forget, the cost of paper and printing ink soon adds up.

You are likely to find that going paperless is a budget-friendly option. There are a number of other benefits that come with going paperless as a rental landlord, for example:

  • There is no need to worry about storing paperwork.
  • There is no need to worry about paperwork becoming accidentally damaged. For example, a leak or fire may occur at any time.
  • When documents are cloud-based, they can be accessed from anywhere.
  • You won’t find yourself faced with hard to read handwriting and illegible applications from tenants.
  • It’s very easy to send paperless documents to tenants. 

By Handling Maintenance Requests Online

As a landlord, you are sure to have a fair amount of tenant maintenance requests to deal with. These can be hard to manage if they are done via telephone or in-person. To avoid forgetting about an important request, everything can be handled online. There are online systems that allow tenants to log maintenance requests with ease, while also allowing you to track and manage them.

As a landlord, it’s a lot easier to prioritize the importance of requests when they are all in an easy to manage the system; urgent ones can be handled first, with others being dealt with a little later.

It’s also very helpful when it comes to deciding whether or not to renew someone’s lease.

If the tenant has made a lot of complaints and required a lot of maintenance, are they someone you want to continue renting to?

Not only does it simplify the way you handle requests as a landlord, it simplifies the way tenants make them. Tenants are able to log a request at any time and from the convenience of their own home, something that is a huge selling point when it comes to marketing a rental property.

By Offering Online Payments to Tenants

When it comes to property management, there are certainly a number of benefits that come with the development of technology. One of the main benefits is online payments for tenants.

There’s no need for tenants to worry about sending a check on time or worrying about late payment fees if the office closes, as paying online is hugely convenient and can be done at any time. You could make it even easier by putting an app into place, allowing tenants to pay from their smartphones wherever they are. There are few things more convenient for tenants than allowing them to pay their rent online, but it’s also a major convenience for you. Even if you have landlord insurance in place, rent arrears are common and a headache for landlords, so making it easy for your tenants to pay you is win-win.

Think about the time and money that comes with managing rent and accounting – a lot of these are reduced when you take things online. There’s also the benefit of being able to quickly check to see who has paid and when, making handling payment disputes a lot simpler.

Landlords and tenants are all privy to the same information, meaning that arguments are unlikely.

 Thanks to technology, you can improve your rental property business by boosting production and efficiency. This will save you time and money in the long run, while also reducing stress. 

5 Tips to Recruit and Retain Skilled Real Estate Agents

1000 500 Sam Radbil

One of the most crucial elements for ensuring your real estate brokerage can steadily generate revenue is agent productivity. Indeed, it can be argued that real estate agents are the main income generators of a brokerage. At the same time, however, it’s not enough to rely on your current lineup of skilled, veteran agents.

You have to consider recruiting real estate agents who are still starting out, yet possess a desire to prove themselves. This can help your company earn more and sustain its growth. With fresh perspectives and a drive to succeed, young and skilled real estate agents can push your brokerage into greater heights.

The question is: how do you recruit and, more importantly, retain these young and skilled real estate agents? Here are some tips you might want to consider:

Be a Mentor

Young professionals, no matter the industry, and eager and hungry to learn from the best. They’re constantly looking for individuals and companies that can help them achieve their goals. If you can provide knowledge and training for young agents, they’re most likely to join you. Make sure to come up with programs that enhance your new recruits’ skill sets or even teach them new ones. When these young talents know that they are constantly growing with your brokerage, they will be more likely to stay.

Don’t be afraid that your new recruits will leave after they’ve received mentorship. Rather, focus on cultivating an environment suitable for their growth. Remember the quote from Richard Branson: “Train people well enough so they can leave. Treat them well enough, so they don’t want to.”

Build a Strong Online Presence

Young millennials and Gen Z-ers are digital natives. They are always online reading real estate blogs and thus expect brands and companies to be online as well. As such, make sure that your brokerage not only has an online presence but a strong and streamlined one. Don’t just post on social media; engage!

Get to know your potential new recruits instead of just posting for likes, shares, and retweets. More importantly, study how you can use each social media site effectively. For example, LinkedIn is ideal for knowledge sharing aside from being a recruitment platform.

You should also keep your website sleek and easy to use, not to mention mobile-friendly. Don’t forget to provide helpful content in the form of articles or videos. Use a sound SEO strategy; in fact, hire an SEO company to ensure that your brokerage will appear in relevant searches as one of the top results for potential brokers and customers alike.

Don’t Just Hound Social Media

It’s true that most young candidates spend a lot of time online and on social media. However, when actually recruiting candidates, it’s best to combine techniques. Use online platforms and at the same time consider more personal methods to really connect. One good way is to host industry events.

This is a perfect venue for networking, not to mention learning (which, again, young real estate agents are keen about). Think of recruitment as a form of dating. It’s not enough to create a dating profile and meet people online. After you get to know them digitally, it’s time to meet on an actual “date.” This shows sincerity and creativity on your end, and seriousness on the candidates’ ends.

Compensation Beyond Money

Everyone has to make a living.

However, for many young and talented candidates, compensation is more than just about money. While you have to think about providing just and livable wages, you also have to think about offering something unique to your recruits. In particular, young professionals are looking for companies with cultures and values that echo their own. Training and networking opportunities are also crucial since, as earlier mentioned, young recruits are always looking for ways to improve themselves. 

You should also think about providing and encouraging activities outside real estate. Indeed, there is life outside of work and you should be promoting this as part of your company culture. If you can provide other benefits such as health insurance and paid time off, then all the better.

Use Data to Monitor Progress

If you’re recruiting real estate agents, you need actionable data on two fronts. First, you need to track the performance of every recruiting activity you conduct. If something doesn’t work, then you either need to think about a new activity or optimize based on your data. Ideally, you should conduct a week-on-week analysis. 

Second, you should monitor the performance of your potential recruits. Ask them the same interview questions for a balanced result. Once they make the cut, you should have a standardized criteria to measure their effectiveness. If they’re lagging, make it your mission to find out why and initiate ways to help them improve.

Recruitment is not an easy process, especially if you’re looking for true talent. Every brokerage is after top-tier candidates, after all. Consider these tips to find and retain real estate agents that will help steer your company to greater success. Good luck!

What are the Pros and Cons of a Real Estate Lockbox?

1000 500 Sam Radbil

It’s really no surprise that the use of lockboxes is so prevalent in the real estate industry.

It solves a very specific issue that probably doesn’t even cross the minds of agents and brokers anymore. From its humble beginnings in the 1970s, the lockbox has been continuously improved throughout the years. It is now a feature-packed tool that every serious real estate agent should be using to its full advantage. Here are the pros and cons of a real estate lockbox:

History of the Real Estate Lockbox

The very first real estate lockbox was invented in 1955 by a man named Delbert Williams. Mr. Williams was a real estate professional himself; he wanted to solve a common inefficiency in the system that was also bogging his colleagues down at the time. Before lockboxes, agents, brokers, and realtors would have to first chase down the keys to the properties they were selling if they wanted to conduct a showing for a prospective buyer. Since leaving the key in an insecure location could leave the property vulnerable, Mr. Williams solved the problem directly: he made a secure location for the key. 

That first lockbox was only a container made of sand-cast aluminum, secured with a standard bicycle lock. While primitive, it served its purpose so well that other real estate agencies began to use lockboxes themselves. After his invention became a success, Mr. Williams went on to establish Supra Products Inc., now known simply as Supra, one of the leading global providers of key management solutions geared especially towards the real estate industry. To learn more about Supra lockboxes, visit this website.

By the 1970s, real estate lockboxes had become an industry standard. The basic design has been reimagined and improved upon in the intervening years, but the concept remains the same. Lockboxes are secure locations for keys to the listing so that realtors can come by and conduct showings or tours for interested parties without having to trouble the seller. 

The Pros

The main function of a lockbox is its foremost advantage. It was invented as a time-saving measure for real estate professionals by a real estate professional. By using lockboxes, an agent or realtor spends less time hunting down the listing keys, giving him more time to do his actual job, which is selling the property. 

Properties that have a lockbox get more showings, simply because they can be accessed more easily. The keys are often kept right on the property, eliminating the confusion of having to match keys to their respective properties. There’s no need to travel to the listing office, coordinate schedules, or inconvenience the seller. 

Lockboxes also offer convenient access to the property to individuals who aren’t real estate agents or buyers. For instance, workers performing improvements and renovations can simply let themselves in. The same goes for inspectors, as well as any prospective buyer’s agents. 

Real estate lockboxes also address some other minor issues. Having a lockbox on hand allows a seller to vacate the property quickly if an agent wants to drop in with an interested party. Why would a seller want to do that? Buyers can feel as though they’re intruding when they’re shown around an occupied property. That discomfort can make them less likely to speak their minds freely, and even make it difficult for them to envision themselves in the home. In most cases, sellers shouldn’t be underfoot while a showing is going on.

The Cons

Lockboxes wouldn’t be used so prevalently if there were glaring issues about their security. However, while most lockboxes are secure, some types can still be vulnerable to burglars, vandals, and other malicious actors. Mechanical lockboxes that make use of a spin dial or combination can be broken into using brute force. There’s also the danger of having one too many people knowing the code or combination.

Electronic lockboxes are equipped with advanced technology and more robust security features such as Bluetooth connectivity, two-factor authentication, infrared, or proximity sensors. Some models are even able to send usage data, such as the identity of who used it last and when, to an off-site location such as a security server. Certain lockbox models can be programmed to notify the listing office every time it is accessed; some can be programmed to work only during times set by the seller or the real estate agency.

However, the main issue with electronics is that they are not immune to human error. Lockboxes that require authentication from a salesperson’s smartphone, for instance, won’t be able to receive signals if cellular service in the area is poor, too.  

Overall, lockboxes are convenient for sellers who aren’t keen on being present for every tour or showing of the property, as well as real estate agents. Like every tool, though, they should be used carefully and responsibly.

real estate software

11 Software Products Realtors Need in 2020

1000 500 Sam Radbil

The old days of simply meeting a prospective seller, explaining your skill at moving properties, signing the client, placing the listing on MLS and waiting for the leads and appointments to roll in are long gone.

Sure, personal client contact and superb responsiveness to client needs are paramount, but if you’re not using all of the technological tools that are available to you, someone else one certainly is, and instead of growing your business, you will watch it fade.

Whether you’re working in a corporate office or a coworking spot, check out this list of the key 2020 real estate and 3d software products you need to consider using now:

DocuSign

If you’re not using this, you’re somewhere in the dark ages of real estate transactions. DocuSign has been used for years and allows you to collect digital signatures. Worried about the legality of those digital signatures? DocuSign says this:

“Thanks to a federal law passed in 2000, the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce (ESIGN) Act, and to the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA), electronic signatures cannot be denied legal effect (enforceability) solely because they are electronic.”

person using iMac

MoxiWebsites

Sure, you can find multiple real estate software methods to build your unique real estate website, but MoxiWebsites was designed for real estate professionals. There is no sense fighting with a generic GoDaddy-type website builder when there is real estate-agent specific software available.

IXACT Contact

Customer relationship management or CRM is a necessary tool that will help keep your client information organized. IXACT Contact is a real estate software that can designate prospects as hot leads, for example, and it will track the status of your client interactions. When you get a lead, just immediately enter the pertinent information into IXACT Contact and watch your level of organization rise exponentially.

WPL Platform

If you choose to use WordPress, you can use this real estate software plugin to build your site and add functionality like thorough lead capturing, up-to-date map functions and more. You also can choose from over 35 add-ons, although you may have to pay extra for these.

flat screen monitor

The Wise Agent

There is a lot of CRM software out there, and we have alluded to some above. With The Wise Agent, you’ll get targeted real estate CRM solutions for only $29 per month, and that is after a free trial. Contact management, lead automation, transaction management, marketing and more functions are available.

Showing Time Appointment Center

Making appointments quickly and accurately and getting that information to all appropriate parties is what you do, and with the Showing Time Appointment Center, this can be accomplished seamlessly. Sarah D’Angelo (Keller Williams) says:

“If you’re not using a showing service, you’re missing out on a key piece of leverage. This technology acts as your virtual assistant so you can help more clients or spend more time with family.”

person holding pencil near laptop computer

Total Brokerage

This software is like an automated smart home app; it combines items like CRM, Lead Management, Marketing, Transaction Workflow, E-Signature, a Forms Library and even integrates with QuickBooks. This is one to absolutely check out.

two person shaking hands near white painted wall

RIO Genesis Office

Get your office up to speed with this all-in-one office software platform. One user said:

“I have converted my whole office over to RIO Genesis because it is fast and easy. It has allowed me to streamline all of my checklists and processes. The online offer submission is my favorite feature because I don’t have to send out fifty different emails to agents. I can now do this with the click of a button.”

EYESPY 360

Clients want to shop for homes online before they take the time to schedule a visit. This, of course, is Real Estate 101, but in order to facilitate this, you need a way to provide virtual tours of your sellers’ properties. This is what EYESPY does:

“Upload 360 photos from any 360 camera or mobile phone and create feature-rich 360 Virtual Tours, 3D Models and Floor Plans. Take advantage of our Tour-as-a-Service solution where all you do is simply upload the 360 photos and we do the rest.”

Follow Up Boss

This is another highly useful sales software that allows real estate professionals to follow up more quickly and to subsequently convert more leads to sales. This is a stand-alone product, but it may be very useful to those that have other real estate software programs but are missing this piece.

man holding black smartphone in front of a windowpane

Brokermint

Brokermint claims that they are the “last real estate back office management system you will ever need.” Their site further states that “brokermint has been designed to include everything your brokerage needs to effortlessly manage, assign, track and evaluate all of your back-office tasks. From setting custom commissions to organizing documents, to allowing agents and clients to digitally sign and secure their documents.”

As you can see, many of the aforementioned programs, platforms and apps are similar. They’ll all claim that they are the most sophisticated model, and many state that if you purchase their software, you won’t need anything else in order to run your real estate business efficiently. It’s best to carefully vet each of the products you are interested in and look for verified online reviews before you make a final decision.

Utilizing 14-day free trials is another great way to see if the product really fits your needs. Finally, there are third-party vendors like Software Advice that—for no charge—will help guide you as you attempt to choose the proper real estate software product.

Now, take the next steps to grow your awesome real estate business using great software and tools available!

coworking for realtors

Coworking Options & Tips for Real Estate Professionals

1000 500 Sam Radbil

Many entrepreneurs and startups begin at home, especially Realtors and agents in our industry.

Coworking is a great alternative for entrepreneurs and real estate agents wanting to get out of their home office, their local Starbucks, or the local library.

With a coworking office space for rent, you’re free to get your business out of your home and into your first professional address with minimal risks. Think about it: if you’re writing awesome real estate blogs from your home and you’re getting clients to respond, you need a space to bring them in for meetings, right?

There’s more. If you thought that having your own professional office space would be difficult and expensive, think again! With help from services like My Perfect Workplace, you are bound to secure the perfect office space for rent in no time!

Here are 3 pros and 3 cons to consider:

Space You Can Afford

One of the biggest benefits to securing a coworking office space for your real estate operation is the affordability. While many conventional office spaces are priced per square foot, coworking spaces tend to be priced at fixed rates with the possibility of discounts depending on the season, vacancy rates, and securing multiple spaces. What’s more, most coworking offices only require a small deposit, first month’s rent, and allow short-term leases. Most coworking offices offer single offices, larger suites, and single desks. Whatever your budget and requirement, your own professional office space is feasible!

Are You Qualified?

Many professionals will tell you that the qualification process for a traditional office space for rent is not easy. You’ll need to get your financial statements, credit, and business history in line before applying to lease an office. Coworking offices on the other hand, omit background checks, credit checks, and financial history. This is especially useful for new business ventures who lack all of the above. The application process is usually simple, only requiring a current bank account to take monthly rent payments and one person to be named the official lessee. 

Focus On The Things That Matter

Perhaps the most beneficial aspect of a coworking space for rent is the all-inclusive packages and amenities offered at most facilities. You may be thinking, “I qualify for a space within my budget, now what?” Now you relax and focus on growing your business! Most new coworking spaces are plug-and-play and are be delivered fully furnished with a desk, executive chair, and a guest’s chair so you ditch the hassle of purchasing new furniture or moving in your own. Office supplies, internet, telephones, and other utility costs will be included in your monthly rate, so you won’t have to worry about budgeting for those items. Don’t forget about common areas like a lounge, kitchen, and reception area. Most offices are stocked with snacks, coffee and tea, and a receptionist – all included in your rate to support your business!

Places like San Francisco or Los Angeles, are very popular for coworking offices and offer world-class amenities like gym memberships, gourmet catering, and leisure activities included in your monthly rent!

Not All Office Space for Rent is Created Equal

Perhaps not all coworking office space for rent is created equal and demands a thorough consideration of all possible mishaps. One of the cons of securing a coworking office is that it is generally within a shared space. While your office may be private, you share the floor with tens of other tenants/businesses. This may be an issue for some sectors who require a high level of confidentiality, professionals who thrive when the least distractions are present, or teams who meet or receive visitors regularly. Shared space means noise, scheduling and space restrictions beyond your control. 

Planning Ahead Means Really Planning Ahead

A growing business is usually a good sign of success! When operating out of a coworking space for rent, it may cause just some concerns. Depending on your facility, securing one, two, or three contiguous office spaces for your team may be possible depending on availability. However, being that most other tenants on the floor operate on different length lease terms, it may not be possible to get that large corner office that would be perfect for your growing team or the small office next door for your new assistant. The burden of keeping up to date with vacancies and availabilities will likely depend on your relationship with the property manager, your resilience in finding opportunities and accurate business projections.

Not Suitable for Everyone

Coworking office space for rent is perfect for various types of industries and professionals (most of you reading this are in the real estate industry which is PERFECT for coworking options) but there is a definite and exclusive requirement for membership.

These offices are meant mostly for administrative and non-invasive type businesses that unfortunately omit a lot of sectors. These facilities usually have only gendered bathrooms located centrally on the floor and don’t meet specific health requirements demanded by some types of businesses. Medical professionals, for instance, are often disqualified from applying for an office being that facilities cannot cater to services like special waste management or running water individually in offices. Some tech professionals that require a large amount of data management find that the bandwidth offered in their coworking office space for rent is not suitable. Other businesses may demand ceiling height requirements or especially accessible hallways and doors.

Whatever your requirements or qualifications are, there is surely a coworking office space for rent for you in your city! Take your business out of your home and into a professional work environment!

Contract for Deed

[2019 UPDATES] Contract For Deed: The Ultimate Guide

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Contract for Deed Home Financing in 2019

Contract for deed home financing is a great option for those individuals struggling to get a traditional loan from the bank. Now, let’s get into the details.

Conventional financing, in 2019, as we all know, is the preferred home loan vehicle. This refers to a standard mortgage loan from a licensed lending institution, and typically can be a15 or 30 year loan with a down-payment that ranges from 3 percent to 20 percent. The higher your credit score, the better deal you will get.

Even before you find your dream home, you should obtain mortgage pre-approval from your lending institution. While pre-approval does not guarantee that everything will go smoothly, it does provide you with significant negotiating power when dealing with sellers.

Applying For Conventional Financing

Your parents probably had to spend an afternoon at a banker’s office when they applied for their first home loan. Now, you can do this by phone or online, although you will eventually have to sign closing documents in person. Some important things to do and factors to be aware of are:

  • Know your credit score.
  • You can easily see this number at Credit Karma, and the service is free.
  • Determine what factors make you less attractive.
  • High student loan balances, maxed out credit cards, judgments, liens, unpaid taxes and underreported income can hurt you.
  • Analyze your actual credit report and correct errors. The FTC reports that one of every five credit reports contains inaccuracies.
  • Optimize your credit status by paying down card balances to below 30 percent; do not make any large credit purchases while attempting to secure home financing.

Understanding What You Can Afford

Banks have certain debt to income ratios that they do strictly enforce. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) explains:

“Your debt-to-income ratio is all your monthly debt payments divided by your gross monthly income.  This number is one way lenders measure your ability to manage the payments you make every month to repay the money you have borrowed.”

To calculate your debt-to-income ratio, you add up all your monthly debt payments and divide them by your gross monthly income. Your gross monthly income is generally the amount of money you have earned before your taxes and other deductions are taken out.  For example, if you pay $1500 a month for your mortgage and another $100 a month for an auto loan and $400 a month for the rest of your debts, your monthly debt payments are $2000. ($1500 + $100 + $400 = $2,000.) If your gross monthly income is $6000, then your debt-to-income ratio is 33 percent. ($2000 is 33% of $6000.)

Evidence from studies of mortgage loans suggest that borrowers with a higher debt-to-income ratio are more likely to run into trouble making monthly payments. The 43 percent debt-to-income ratio is important because, in most cases, that is the highest ratio a borrower can have and still get a qualified mortgage.

Housing Affordability

Finding Your Home

You can spend all day trolling Trulia and Redfin, but many times you can be missing out on homes for sale that only Realtors can easily access. Remember, sellers pay real estate commissions—you don’t—so avail yourself of this free service and find a good Realtor.

Finding Your Home With Contract For Deed

Working With A Contract for Deed Realtor

The Realtor/client relationship is a two-way street. If you are a type A personality and want all of your texts answered within two minutes, make sure your Realtor is as hyper as you are. Conversely, don’t expect your Realtor to work miracles with incomplete or false information. For example, don’t inflate your income and/or minimize your debts at your first meeting. In the credit world, there are no secrets, so be upfront with you Realtor.

Turned Down For Traditional Financing?

Mortgage Rejection

Those that give up after being rejected for a home loan end up renting apartments while those savvy enough to understand that there are alternatives to conventional financing will look at the rejection as a bump in the road and move forward. Rent to own is one way to become a homeowner, but a preferred method is MN contract for deed. In a rent to own situation, you pay rent to a property owner that may put aside a portion of your monthly rent as a down payment for a future purchase.

If everything works out, either the seller provides financing or you obtain it at some later date. In a contract for deed sale, you sign a contract that states that you will be given the deed to the property you are occupying after you make all of your required payments. Contract for deed is seller financing, and while interest rates can be a bit higher than conventional financing, credit requirements are typically significantly more lenient.

Finding Contract For Deed Opportunities

There are a limited number of MLS contract for deed listings.  If you’re lucky, you might find the right opportunity in a nice location. At C4D, however, we give you an advantage that others that wish to utilize contract for deed just don’t have. Just bring the home you wish to purchase to us. If we can do the deal, we will purchase the home and sell it to you on a contract for deed basis. We have paved the home ownership road for many that were rejected for conventional financing. Application is easy—just go to our website. C4D has the financial power behind them to make these deals happen.

Contract For Deed Documentation

While C4D offers less stringent credit requirements, we still will need pay stubs and bank statements. We look, however, at your situation today, and we care a lot more about what you can do now than what bad things have happened to you in the past. At C4D even high student loan balances and recent bankruptcies are not necessarily the hindrances they would be at a large bank.

Contract For Deed: How It Works

Although the nightmare of waiting 60 days or more to close on even great credit deals is generally behind us, banks take longer than we do at C4D. We usually can close deals in as fast as two to three weeks.

MN Contract For Deed Costs

We’re upfront about all of this. We do require an origination fee and we do add a small initial property markup. And, the interest rate you pay will be higher than the prevailing conventional mortgage interest rate.

Contract for Deed: What Problems?

We have many satisfied former renters that are now homeowners. We are transparent and forthright. If we can help you, we do everything possible to get your deal done. We are MN contract for deed experts, and happy customers are our paramount concern.

If you deal with an individual that is offering a contract for deed, you have to do serious vetting to ensure that there will be no problems with your deal in the future. With C4D, this is not necessary.

Contract for Deed: True Disclosure

When we purchase your home, we get a loan from our bank. With the blessing and full knowledge of our bank, we then sell the property to you with a MN contract for deed. You make your monthly payments to us and we, in turn, make our payment to the bank. But check this out:

We’ve never missed a payment and don’t ever plan on it.  In addition, we’ve worked with our bank partner to have an assignment of contract included in your documents that basically says if we stop paying our lender, you can pay them directly and your contract remains intact.

You won’t find this protection with most individual contract for deed sales. In fact, many times the seller’s bank isn’t even made aware of the transaction, and this can throw the original mortgage into default because of the due on sale clause that is embedded in almost every mortgage note. Our agreements with our bank do not have due on sale clauses.

Everything is upfront and at closing the contract is recorded at the appropriate County.

Helping You Refinance

Our goal is to get you into a home and ultimately help you refinance with a traditional lender.  We have relationships and systems in place to help make this happen. Typically, we can help people refinance within three years of purchase.

For the Realtor: Turned Down? There Is Still Hope!

So you spent weeks trying to get your buyer and seller agree upon a price. Both were difficult at times, and when you finally got all sides to listen to reason, an old unpaid judgment appeared and derailed the financing. After you’re done binge watching House of Cards to ease your pain, give us a call. We have been able to resurrect many deals that have been turned down by others.

Realtor Contract for Deed

We are a reputable, experienced and recognized company that does MN contract for deed. You bring us the buyer and the property, we buy the property and sell it to your client on a contract for deed. Even if you have an iffy buyer with shaky credit and you have not yet found the perfect property, bring them to us; we will get many of them pre-approved and send them back to you.

Is My Commission Protected?

Realtor Commission

You betcha! 80% of our referrals come from realtors, and they wouldn’t keep coming back if we didn’t guarantee that their commissions would be protected.

The Deed

Contract for deed means exactly that.

  • We buy the property.
  • We hold the deed.
  • We sell the property to the buyer.
  • They occupy the home.
  • They make their monthly payments.
  • At the end of the contract period, we turn over the deed and they are homeowners!
  • They can also refinance early with a traditional lender, and this is something that we will facilitate.
  • In addition, the buyer actually has equitable title, and can sell the property at any time if they wish to move on.

What About Financing?

Yes, we use a bank.

  • Our bank gives us a mortgage.
  • Our bank knows what we are doing.
  • The buyer pays us and we pay the bank.
  • We are never late.
  • We never miss payments.
  • Our mortgage with our bank does NOT include a due on sale clause.
  • In fact, we have an assignment of contract put in place that basically says if we stop paying our lender, the buyer can pay them directly and the contract remains intact!

The Final Paperwork

We will hold your client’s hand from application to closing. We will assist with all documentation and paperwork.

When The Offer Is Accepted

At this point, Taylor and the C4D Crew take over.  We work directly with the lender and title company to schedule closing and work out all the paperwork.  The C4D Crew will also work directly with the C4D buyer on all the paperwork and logistics for the day of closing This will be one of the easier transactions you do this year!

Down-Payment

Contract For Deed MN Down Payment

A down-payment is of course necessary, but the down payment be gifted to the buyer in a C4D transaction. Just make sure your clients speak with their accountant for possible tax implications.

C4D Crew Reputation

We can provide you with client references. Just by looking at our website you can see that we provide tons of valuable and free information about MN contract for deed. Of course, we are in business to make money—so are you—but we are also dedicated to helping those with compromised credit become homeowners.

How Long Does It Take?

From the time you and your client find a home they’d like to buy, and an offer is accepted, we can close as quickly as two to three weeks.

Credit Score Minimum?

We don’t have one. We look at every deal individually. Prior BKs, student loans, judgments divorces and tax liens are all issues we can work around.

Credit Score

Can You Approve Any Deal?

In short, no. We are not going to lie and tell you that we can do anything, but you would be amazed at what we can accomplish.

Call Us About Contract For Deed

MN Contract For Deed

Again, just because the loan officer rejected your client’s loan, your deal is not necessarily dead. Contact us and we’ll quickly get started on a contract for deed program that can make your client’s home ownership dream a reality.

20 Tax Deductions Every Realtor Needs to Know

1000 500 Sam Radbil

Your clients continuously ask you about the tax benefits of buying a home, but are you aware of all of the realtor tax deductions available for your own business?

Realtor Tax Deductions

You need to be aware of the Realtor tax deductions available to you; if not, you are wasting your hard-earned commissions by giving a present to the government. Remember, when we speak of listing Realtor tax deductions, we are talking about money that you can deduct from your income, and if you have substantial 1099 income, you know how important these amounts are.

Mileage

You can deduct the miles you drive in the course of doing business. Be sure to keep a log of these just in case. For 2018, you can deduct 58 cents per mile, so if you drove 10,000 miles for business last year, you could deduct $580.

New Car

Car lease payments are another great Realtor tax deduction. You will need to reimburse your business for any personal use of the business vehicle, however.

Home Office

You can charge your business rent for a home office, utilities, Internet and cable, as long as you can show that your business used the percentage you are deducting.

Real Estate Software

Contact management, open house, and lots of other software applications work great for Realtor tax deductions.

Cell Phones

On your phone all day? Let your business pay for it.

Office Stuff

Papers, pens, ink and even paper clips are all valid Realtor tax deductions.

Phone Answering Service

If you outsource your phones when you are not in, an answering service is deductible along with any other virtual services you use like virtual bookkeepers and assistants.

Office Rent

If you rent an office away from your home, the rent is 100 percent deductible.

Office Equipment

Desks, printers/scanners/fax machines, computers and servers are all legitimate business expenses.

Internet/Phone

Of course Internet service is deductible and so are landline and mobile phone services.

Advertising

Your monthly newsletter and email marketing are business expenses and therefore deductible. Marketing tools like business cards and signs are deductible, and so are the fees you pay to an outsourced social media marketing company.

Entertainment and Travel

A portion of these costs can be deducted, but be sure to check with your CPA about the correct deductible percentages.

Conferences and Conventions

Realtor tax deductions can include registration fees for conferences and conventions.

Ride-sharing

Take an UBER or a Taxi? Be sure to save your receipts.

Client Meals and Entertainment

50 percent of what you spend on these can be deducted from your 1099 income. Saving receipts is very important here.

Gifts for Clients

Spend what you want, but only $25 per gift per client is deductible for 2018.

IRA Contributions

These will work as Realtor tax deductions up top certain amounts, so connect with a professional to find out what the limits are.

Shared Workspace

Just like office rent, this is a deductible expense.

Continuing Education

Have to take a class to learn about current market trends? Be sure to deduct the tuition cost.

Dues and Memberships

Your Realtor association fees and other business group memberships are great Realtor tax deductions.

Organization is the key to getting the most tax value from your business activities, so make sure you keep track of expenses and document everything. Be sure to consult with your tax professional if you have any questions.

Contract for Deed Homes: What Realtors NEED To Know

1000 500 Sam Radbil

There are a number of reasons Minnesota residents looking to buy contract for deed homes have had success. But you might ask: why not just buy your home with a traditional mortgage from the bank? Let’s talk about that.

We’ve all had it happen. 

Loan Rejection

After a difficult and protracted negotiation period, you finally got both your buyer and the seller to agree on price, contingencies, and before-closing repairs. At the end, everyone came to their senses, gave a up a little, and all parties were looking forward to closing.

Then the bank stepped in and killed the deal. Even though your buyer was pre-qualified, they made a mistake, didn’t follow your instructions and decided to finance an expensive vehicle. As the bank did a final credit check, the new car loan appeared and skewed the buyer’s debt to income ratio. The deal was dead, but you could have brought it back to life.

Contract for Deed Homes

Image result for home buying process

Contract for deed is a widely accepted Minnesota financing tool where a seller finances the property purchase on an installment basis, and they buyer receives the deed upon making the final payment. Many think that for this to work they need to find free and clear properties where a seller agrees to be the bank.

Why free and clear?

Because sellers can’t usually sell encumbered properties without breaching the lender’s mortgage contract. Therefore, those interested in contract for deed financing look specifically for contract for deed homes. There is another way, however.

Companies Like the Contract for Deed Crew (Yes, that’s us!)

There are quality companies out there like C4D, and it works like this: You bring a deal to C4D. Like a bank, C4D analyzes the deal to ensure that the seller can make the required monthly payments.

Unlike a bank, however, C4D can look past problems like the vehicle purchase mentioned above. With a good contract for deed homes company, you will be dealing with the company owner—not a bureaucratic bank loan officer. If C4D approves the deal, they will buy the property.

They do this with a bank loan, but the company’s bank does not include a due-upon-sale clause in its mortgage to C4D. Therefore, C4D legally and ethically buys the home, and with the bank’s blessing, C4D sells it on a contract for deed to the buyer.

Contract for Deed Homes

Benefits to the Realtor using Contract for Deed

  • You can explain difficult situations to C4D and they will understand. A debt to income ratio that has recently changed can be worked with if the buyers can legitimately afford the home.
  • Contract for deed revives dead deals. Banks can be arbitrary and unforgiving, but with a contract for deed transaction, the seller has more leeway to analyze what really makes the buyer worthy.
  • While a down payment is needed, the actual percentage is not necessarily set, and there are even ways the contract for deed companies can facilitate payment assistance.
  • Buyers can look at any home—not just contract for deed homes. With a MN contract for deed sale, the seller is unaffected since a company like C4D is the only purchaser they need to deal with.
  • All real estate commissions are protected.
  • Sellers can move their homes more expediently because companies like C4D have lots of buyers waiting for their dream homes.

Also, if you’re looking to understand property value event more, check out this presentation:

Presentation courtesy of LoseTheAgent, a listing platform for homes for sale by owner.

Don’t let loan officers and finicky banks get in your way. Consider using MN contract for deed for any deal where the lender is causing you trouble. It’s worth an email!