Networking at Local Events or Festivals

“You should always be networking and marketing your business,” said my mentors to me when I first got started in the business over a decade ago. At first, I was a little embarrassed to do so. I felt like I was being pushy and needy, but I did it anyway. It turned out to be one of the best pieces of advice I have ever gotten. I tell you this because you must realize you are the catalyst to your business. There is no boss spending money on marketing, networking or advertising for you to bring in business. You are the boss and this is your business. You control your success. Networking is a very easy thing to do. Just let people know what you do or what you want.

Summer is upon us, so that means more people we be out and about. I encourage you to get out to the masses, attend all local events or festivals that will are taking place. Be a walking billboard for your business. I usually wear black or yellow pants with a yellow polo (golf shirt) with a collar. I have written in black lettering on the front, “I want to buy your home” and on the back, “Ask me how I can give you a THOUSAND DOLLARS.” This outfit is a conversation starter. Whenever someone approaches me I tell them who I am and what I am looking for. For instance, “I am a real estate investor looking for deals. If you bring me a property and I close on the deal, at closing I will pay you $1,000 cash” or I will tell them, “I am a real estate investor and am looking to buy distressed properties in any condition, and I will pay you cash and close quickly.” Either way I have somebody’s attention and they might sell me their home or bring me a possible deal. Regardless, you will be getting your name out into the community and getting noticed. Also, bring a stack of business cards with you to give out to people.

Networking, marketing and advertising are closely related. In the opportunity above, you get to do all three at once. This does not have to cost you a ton of money in order to be effective. Get creative with how you get noticed and make it happen. Don’t be afraid to talk to anyone about yourself and your business. You will be amazed of how many people love real estate. You never know where the next deal will be coming from.

Make More Money by Finding Off the Radar Deals

Off the radar deals are properties that are not listed with an agent. They have the potential to be more profitable because there is less competition. Obviously, being able to notice these quickly is critical because if it is a good deal it will go quickly.

The ability to find deals is critical, and it is equally important to find either buyers or investors for your deals. Hence, you will want to work on both areas all the time. In many cases, you can earn a year’s pay on a single deal!

Here are the six areas of focus to find Off the Radar Deals:

  1. Out of the Box Deals (Off Market)
    1. Probate/Estate
      1. Nursing homes (make certain your sellers are not senile!)
      2. Obituaries
      3. Funeral Parlors
    2. Preforeclosure: You can buy property with a built-in mortgage by getting a quit-claim deed. A properly drawn up Power of Attorney for your “mortgage assumption” can open the communication door with the mortgage company for the duration of the mortgage. A good attorney can help you put your property in a Land Trust where you become a beneficiary and executor. Good marketing will find buyers who love the fact that their down payment is their credit approval.
    3. Vacant Observation: You will want to learn how to spot vacant properties and then find the owners through software like “Real Estate Pro.” You can find cell phone numbers and even email addresses, in many cases, using websites like www.Intellius.com for $20.00 a month or less.
    4. “Don’t Wanters”
  2. Investor Clubs – Learn how to use and exploit these clubs.
    1. People with Money: Everyone you know either has money or knows someone who does. “Ask, seek and knock!”
    2. Hidden Deals: Watch how quickly inside secrets are shared as you smile and greet others.
    3. Rehabbers & Contractors: These people go to the meeting and could be your inside track to future success.
    4. Buyers: People who are looking for deals you can easily find will be there.
  3. Landlords – Key to the Mother-Load.
    1. Find Signs: Take pictures of “For Rent Signs.” Call them. Some will be looking for more deals, and some will have deals to sell you.
    2. RE Pro Software: Ask your sales person to cut you a deal.
    3. Lists Anywhere: Start looking for lists. Just about everything is in a list somewhere.
  4. Serious Marketing – What It Is and Why It Wins.
    1. Yellow Signs: More testimonies of success with “Yellow Signs” than anything else.
    2. One-on-One Visits. Go and see the people who can help you. Remember, people like to do business with people they like. Become a friend.
    3. Free Marketing: Learn to use emails, text messages, Facebook, Craigs List, YouTube, Smart Phones etc.
  5. Reticular Awareness – Develop a sense of what a good deal looks like. Learn how to smell the money.
  6. After They Say NO! – Master the art of offer resubmission. Change nothing! Resubmit offers every two weeks. Between two out of three and three out of four offers we initially rejected!  Ask to be a backup offer on deals under contract. Sixty percent (60%) of deals under contract fall through. Your chance of getting a good deal is much better once a deal falls apart.  Always do a thorough “dead deal autopsy.” Find out what the winner of the deal is doing with the property and who they are using to help them. How did they beat you?

3 Ways to Stay Connected to Your Cash Buyers

In the real estate world, cash buyers are people who are able to purchase properties without needing to take out a mortgage or loan. They can be private individuals like retirees, lottery winners, heirs/heiress, or foreign or local investors. They can also be corporations with the capacity to buy properties with cash. If you have successfully built a massive cash buyers list then the next thing to do is to make sure you stay connected with them.

Having a good relationship with cash buyers can be very beneficial for real estate investors. They do real estate transactions faster than buyers relying on financing. Financing requires a lot of inspections, making the transaction more complicated, and, oftentimes, the buyer can fail to get approved for the mortgage loan. This would mean that the seller would have to repeat the same process all over again, spending precious time and money looking for new buyers for the property. These disadvantages that affect a real estate transaction are less severe when you are dealing with cash buyers, making cash buyers very important players in the real estate industry.

The relationship between the buyer and the seller is usually transactional, meaning it ends after the sale; however, this need not be the case each time. Instead, the relationship can be nurtured, making your past cash buyers a continuous flow of reoccurring business referrals and possible future clients. Of course, everything would depend on how well you were able to complete the real estate deal. You always want your clients to think of you as a nice, honest, competent, and trustworthy person so they are willing and wanting to call the next time they want to do business.

Here are 3 tips real estate experts shared how to successfully keep in touch with past cash buyers.

  1. Add Them On Social Media, Send Emails and Call Them

Online networking websites can let you contact and invite past clients to stay connected with you in a friendly and informal footing. For example, invite former clients to be your friends on Facebook. It’s a sure-fire way to keep in touch with them. Send emails or give phone calls to remember birthdays and any special occasions in their lives. Share home improvement insights and relevant real estate related news that they might find useful. These are just some of the ways you can make sure they won’t forget you.

  1. Drop By Bearing Thoughtful Gifts

Visit new homebuyers after they move in and bring them unique housewarming gifts like potted plants, a basket of goodies, a framed sketch or watercolour of their new home or a bottle of wine. It is also important that you make your timing right. Let them settle down in their new home first. You don’t want to barge in uninvited when they have just moved in and still have plenty of work to do. Visit them once or twice a year, especially on holidays, as an excuse to get reacquainted.

  1. Send Newsletters

Whether it is via email or snail mail, sending newsletters to your clients is a great way to stay in touch with them and, at the same time, give them useful information on what they might need and a gentle reminder of the services you offer.

Getting clients to remember you for future business may be tricky but the key is consistency. Nurture business relationships with your cash buyers and you will surely reap the best results over time.

Best Ways to Find Off-Market Properties

Most seasoned investors and home buyers know that one way to find a great deal in real estate is to buy properties that are off the market. The reasons why property owners skip the process of officially listing their home on MLS vary but there can be no denying that these hidden gems are there, just waiting to be unearthed.

Nothing can be more frustrating to a homebuyer than finding out that they are swamped with a lot competition for their dream house. What they don’t know is that there are a lot of great properties for sale that are not on the market. These properties are called off-market properties and also commonly known to real estate professionals as “pocket-listings.” Having said that, let’s discuss more ways to find off-market properties to benefit from.

Real Estate Agents

After finding the neighbourhood you want to buy a property in, you’ll want to find the top agents in the area and ask them for any pocket listings they have. Hiring an experienced agent that has numerous contacts with other top real estate professionals is not a bad idea, either. Remember that these real estate agents network with other agents who might have a list of homeowners thinking of selling their homes.

Direct Marketing

If you’re willing to spend extra cash to lure possible property owners to sell, then direct marketing is another strategy you can use. You can send out direct mail cards or postcards with straightforward messages saying that you’re willing to buy their property. There are a lot of practical tips to do this. One real estate professional even advised to handwrite the name and address of the homeowners your sending the letter to for a personal touch.

Estate and Divorce Attorneys

Real estate and divorce attorneys are also good sources of information about off-market properties. Reasons like death, illness, and divorce often cause people to keep the sale of their home quite so they can avoid the additional stress involved in the selling process.

Joining the local networking groups like BNI or attending auctions are great ways to meet estate and divorce attorneys.

Local Contractors

Local builders and tradesmen are great sources of information for finding potential real estate investments. Since they deal and work with people and other investors on a regular basis, they are the more likely to know about homeowners selling their property off-market.

Public Records and Expired Listings

Checking your local newspapers and government websites can help you find properties that will be auctioned soon.

Selling a house can sometimes be frustrating for some sellers when their listings expire. Following an expiration of their listing, sellers might refuse to put their property on the market again. However, this does not mean that the seller no longer wants to sell.

There are many ways to locate great off-market properties. It’s just a matter of finding the one that works for you.

5 Ways to Get Past the Gatekeeper

Who is the gatekeeper? The individual who perceives that it is her/his job is to control the flow of information or limit what information is shared. A person or “technology” that blocks or withholds information needed to complete a job.

Gatekeepers are just doing their job, trying to be efficient and protect those in their office from distractions. So, how does one get around the gatekeeper who is doing a great job?

Below are five suggestions to help you navigate around the gatekeeper. These ideas are not in any particular order, however, the first two are ALWAYS critical.

  1. Treat the gatekeeper as a person. Call them by name and treat them with respect. Don’t be awkward or demining. Actively engage with them. Don’t get too personal, don’t pry, but you can gently probe. When they sense you are a professional and respect their position, your ability to accomplish your job increases. Treat Gatekeepers Like Gold.
  1. BE HONEST because integrity counts. They are honest, and they leave nothing for the listener to disagree about in evaluating if they will send you along (to the person or a voicemail). Be direct but truthful about the purpose of your visit and why you hope to connect with them (remember, you are there to help THEM make money).
  1. Practice good communication skills; learn to listen more than you speak, and be prepared with a simple, rehearsed script of why you are calling/visiting. Let the gatekeeper take the opening position. Listen carefully to their thoughts and concerns. Great negotiators learn to flip the discussion around politely and quickly – then ask.
  1. Relax! If you are nervous, stressed or tense, you will show those emotions and it might transfer to your voice, your behavior and your choice of words. If you are stumbling for words or for control of yourself, this will have an impact on how the gatekeeper perceives you and how they receive your request for access or information. Take some deep, slow, quiet breaths to put yourself at ease. When the Gatekeeper answers or greets you, smile and confidently tell them with energy and ease why you are calling (or visiting the office).
  1. Keep it short and sweet: no long speech for the gatekeeper. They have great deal of important information about the potential cash buyer or real estate agent. The gatekeeper has positional power and influence. One of them has the power to connect you with the right person. However, they do not hold any authority. When the gatekeeper asks, “may I tell him/her what it’s regarding,” it is not the time to fill in the gatekeeper. It will waste your time and it might irritate them because they still cannot make the decision. Using a relaxed and calm voice, speak slowly and articulately and don’t divulge more than necessary.

6 Ways to Use Facebook to Build Your Real Estate Business

You have probably noticed plenty of advertisements for various products and services on your Facebook page every time you log in to your account, and you may have even clicked on some of these ads to learn more about it.  Initially, you had no plans of buying, but because of the time you spend on Facebook and the frequency of these ads passing your page, you somehow found yourself convinced and planning to purchase. 

The use of social media such as Facebook as a means to platform your real estate business will prove to be one of the best moves you ever make.  According to a recent study, Facebook is the most used social networking media among real estate professionals and other businesses because literally almost everybody has it, and you can easily spread the word about your business through ads, conversations, or by creating a business page.

By harnessing the power of Facebook, I have found these tips helpful to building my real estate business.

  1. Be Visible

First things first, setup a Facebook page for your business.  Make your presence known by sending invites to “LIKE” your page to your contacts and clients.  Ask family and friends to share or recommend your business page.  Having your presence known makes it easier for prospects and clients to connect with you, increasing customer retention and loyalty.

  1. Post Stunning Photos with Detailed Captions

Make sure that the pictures of real estate homes or properties you are posting are appealing enough to make it to sell.  People love beautiful things and there is nothing better to capture your prospective clients’ attention than beautiful pictures of the properties you are selling.  As an added bonus, people may even share them, making more people see what you are selling.

Don’t forget to post pictures of your buyers with their new home.  People love real life stories with happy outcomes!

  1. Share Interesting but Valuable Information Related to Real Estate

Give practical advice like how to increase the value of a real estate property through DIY projects or share links about interesting real estate topics.  Encourage people to interact with you by asking real estate trivia questions or by answering their questions about the real estate business.  Not only does this make your business page active and interesting to your followers, answering their queries will create connections with possible loyal clients in the future.  Fans and likers may even recommend you to people in need of your services if they like you.  It really pays to be helpful.

  1. Building Relationships with Your Fans and Likers

As I mentioned earlier, having conversations with your fans and likers creates a connection between you two and, in the long run, builds relationships.  Like any other relationship, trust and dependability are very important, especially in business.  In the real estate world you are not just selling houses, you are also selling yourself.  There are plenty of studies that show that people are more likely to talk and do business with you if you are warm, trustworthy and dependable.

  1. Post Regularly

Now that you have made your presence known in the Facebook community, being able to maintain a consistent presence may be a challenge when you are struggling with your busy schedule.  It is wise to always remember to incorporate it with your daily routine until it becomes second nature.  Other realtors make a big mistake by not continuing to stay active after setting up their business page, not realizing that Facebook is an interactive media platform.  By posting regularly, you are letting people know that you are still in business, and it keeps their interest in your page active.

  1. Connect Your Facebook Page with Other Social Media

After successfully launching your business page on Facebook, don’t sit back and stay content.  Facebook allows you to connect with other forms of social media, so take advantage of it by letting your followers know where they can find you.

3 WAYS TO SELL YOUR FIX AND FLIP QUICKLY

The worst thing an investor can encounter when trying to sell their investment property is to have it sit stagnate on the market. I would always suggest trying to have the property sold before you even finish with the renovations and start marketing your property before you even start renovations. The following are my top three ways to sell your fixer-upper quickly:

  1. Market the Property from Day 1: This means the minute you get the keys, advertise the property. Before the renovations even start, post the property everywhere. Online ads have become a new way for buyers to search out properties. Advertise it as a “build to suit” or “custom design your new home,” as these are attention-getting headlines. Let the buyers chose their style, color, layout, etc. I would advise that if you attract buyers using this method, have the contract written up and extend for the time period it will take to complete the upgrades. Also have them put down at least 3% of the purchase price as non-refundable earnest money, this way they will be committed to the deal.
  2. Market the Property to the Neighborhood: This is a simple technique I’ve found that helps sell a property quickly. Make some flyers about the property, and then on a weekend, walk the neighborhood (for your safety, don’t walk alone, take a friend with you). Knock on every door and let the neighbors know you are an investor and you are fixing up the ugly house and you want their help to sell it. Tell them that if they refer a buyer to your deal, then you will give them a $250.00 finder’s fee (the fee can be whatever you want). The majority of homes sold are by neighbors telling their family and friends about a house in their neighborhood.
  3. Run the Numbers Correctly: One of the biggest reasons homes don’t sell is because they are overpriced. Make sure you run accurate after repair values, and set a tight rehab budget. Get good comparables from your real estate agents. Be sure to not over improve a home, as this will not always get you more value and it will be difficult to sell at a higher price.

The methods I mentioned in this article have helped many investors sell their properties quickly. These tips can be applied to any area. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to marketing your property for sale. Get creative and have some fun with it.

3 Ways to Market Properties to Cash Buyers

We all probably know that cash transactions have been a rising trend in today’s real estate market. In fact, 30% of real estate sales are cash payments made by local and international buyers. It won’t be a surprise if paying cash for real estate properties becomes a more common practice than the traditional way.

Investors tend to favour cash buyers due to various benefits entailed with cash buying, such as people who have enough savings to purchase their dream home or are on the hunt for hot locations and are offering to buy with cash. There are a lot of reasons sellers are holding out for cash buyers and one of them is getting their hands on the money fast. A cash sale can be done in a matter of a few days with less paperwork and no waiting for loan approvals that could get denied in the end. Buyers can also save a lot of money on closing costs and other fees associated with a mortgage loan by paying with cash. Think about the money you would save on interest alone!

It is for these very reasons that plenty of investors are after cash buyers. So, where do you find cash buyers and how can you make your property stand out against other competitors? There are a lot of creative ways to make your property attractive to cash buyers but we will just narrow it to three.

“Old-school” or Conventional Method

Although the Internet offers a convenience that makes most people underestimate the use of selling their property the “old-school” way, there’s no denying the fact that prospect buyers still rely on their trusted realtor when purchasing a property. Hiring an agent to enlist your property could still be one of the best methods to sell your property quickly. Remember that real estate agents with years of experience have met and know a lot of cash buyers in the business.

Even by just putting a simple FOR SALE sign in the yard could be a good opportunity to attract a prospective cash buyer. You never know when one will pass by your area and notice your sign.

Attending real estate auctions, where there just might be a flock of real estate investors armed with cash looking for great deals, is another opportunity to market your property.

Internet Marketing Method

Post your property for sale on various real estate websites for all the world to see. There are websites where you will have to pay to advertise your property but there are also websites that will let you post your advertisement for free. Take advantage of using websites like Craigslist, Zillow, eBay classified and ForSaleByOwner.com as plenty of investors are on the lookout for deals.

Network with Other Investors

Make connections by contacting people in the industry to see if they know people who are actively looking for investment properties. Get in touch with people like building inspectors, appraisers and other people that often deal with buyers in the real estate market. Offer them referral fees for buyers they send your way.

To make your property attractive to buyers, you must be ready to sell it slightly lower than its market value. Although you might be getting a price that is lower than what it is expected to sell at, just think about the benefits mentioned earlier, like not having to go through the hassles of selling a property traditionally.

REO Properties: Marketing to Buy REO Properties

Nowadays, the cost of purchasing a house or any real estate properties has skyrocketed so that people are now looking at other alternatives to acquire a property. A lot of buyers would search for properties at auctions and sales while others opt to buy bank owned properties in hope of saving money by getting a great bargain.

REO properties or real estate owned properties have been foreclosed by the bank or the lender after the previous owner failed to make payments on their mortgage loan.  These types of properties have undergone the necessary foreclosure process and are usually auctioned unsuccessfully, making the bank or the lender the default owner of these properties. The bank would consider these properties as liabilities that would need maintenance. If the property would sit long on the market, it would usually be found in a rough shape and in need of repairs. For this very reason, REO properties would sell for less than its average market value.

Where to Find REO Properties

Take note that even if the bank has many REO properties in their inventory, they will not advertise it for a very low price. If you are interested in purchasing REO properties, the best way to do so is to find a reliable real estate agent who will do the searching of REO properties for you from various banks or lenders and guide you on the right price. If you want to do the searching yourself, you could contact the lenders directly and ask for their list of REOs.

Making an Offer

Banks foreclose the property to recover what was owed to them by the borrower and although they would be eager to get REOs off their hands, be prepared to negotiate hard. There are other investors such as yourself also interested in making a great bargain, too.

Lenders would prefer cash offers for REOs especially when there are multiple offers for the property. Another reason lenders would prefer cash is because most of these properties need so much work that these properties cannot qualify for traditional financing.  Even though some banks may aprefer cash some would be willing to consider financing if the price is right. To increase the chance of landing your desired property, be prepared to make an offer closest to the lender’s asking price.

Savvy homebuyers will usually make an offer on an REO properties 20% below its asking price. Other buyers would rather get a great deal and offer more than what is expected than missing out of a great deal.

The bottom line is buying REO properties can be very stressful.  However, having your real estate agent to advise you will help you navigate through paperwork and legalities to shorten your negotiation process and make REOs a valuable investment for your portfolio.