How to Hire a Contractor

Home renovations can be time-consuming, expensive and stressful! Finding the right contractor can ensure that your home renovation doesn’t take over your life and your wallet. But how do you know a contractor is the “right” one for you? Learn more about how to find, then hire the right contractor for your home renovation.

Finding Contractors

Ranging from Real Estate Clubs to Lowe’s and Home Depot to Angie’s List of ads in the local paper, there should be plenty of places to find contractors. So, how do you pick the right one for your project? Step one is to ask for personal recommendations. If someone is willing to vouch for their contractor, that is something you should take into account. If you aren’t able to get any personal recommendations, the Internet is your next best bet. Use YELP, Google+ and sites like Angie’s List to read reviews of contractors. While it is also a good idea to look at their websites because they showcase their best work there, you need to know about ALL their past work as well.

Once you’ve gathered a list of contractors, make sure to run a quick search with the Better Business Bureau. Even with personal recommendations, you want to ensure that there are no pending litigations or major complaints filed. Once you find your list of contractors, it’s time to start the hiring process.

Hiring the Right Contractor

Once you have a list of at least three contractors, it’s time to hire the right one! Before you interview each contractor make sure you can clearly communicate your expectations. Questions you should ask each contractor are:

  • What vetting process do you use for your employees or any subcontractors who will work on this project?
  • Will you be handling all the necessary permits?
  • Can you supply a detailed list of services and expected completion dates?
  • What deposit is required and what is the estimated cost?

Once you have these questions answered by all three of your contractors, compare them. It shouldn’t always be about price. If the lowest priced contractor has no vetting process for their employees, you probably won’t be happy with their quality of work. Find a contractor that offers a balance of value and quality. This will help ensure that the work is done to your specifications. Hiring a contractor is the first (and most important) step of any home renovation. A good contractor should be your partner throughout your entire renovation. They should ensure all work is done to code and finishes are in the best quality, all while sticking to your budget. Don’t forget to take into account what contractor you felt most comfortable with. Not only are they going to be in your home every day, you need to be comfortable discussing tense subjects and financial matters with them. A good contractor can make or break a renovation, so take the time to find and hire the right one for your project.

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­[1] https://www.upwork.com/blog/2017/11/want-job-filled-faster-5-tips-hire-right-talent

[1] http://smallbusiness.chron.com/manage-subcontractor-67687.html

Finding and Talking to Realtors

Finding a good, investor-friendly realtor can be harder than you might hope. The way investors do real estate goes against most realtors’ training. Even realtors who have been in the industry for many years are conditioned to only do one deal with you and put in only 3, maybe 4 offers at the most. They are paid strictly on commission, so it is understandable that they would want a deal to close for as much as possible.

Most realtors are not use to putting in the hefty amount of work that often comes when working with an investor. What they often don’t realize is that an investor is looking to do multiple deals. Even though an investor makes offers that are more aggressive and for less money, there is much more money to be made for a realtor who works with investors.

The best way to increase your odds of finding an investor-friendly realtor is to find a property on a website like realtor.com that needs a lot of work and that only an investor would buy. You then contact the actual listing agent of that property. A realtor who lists a property that only an investor would buy is more likely to understand how to work with investors.

When you call the listing agent, you can explain that you are interested in the property they have listed and others like it. You can ask them to send more information on it and others like it. It is also helpful to tell them that you are looking to do multiple cash deals that you can rehab and resale.

You might get lucky and find some good investor-friendly realtors with just a few phone calls. Sometimes it takes many calls to find the right ones. It is important to not let yourself get frustrated if you don’t find good ones right off the bat. Keep at it and you will find good investor-friendly realtors.

Building Your Cash Buyers List – Part 1

Many first-time real estate investors start off wholesaling in order to gain the experience and get the exposure they need to become a fix and flipper or a buy and holder. If this is the case, then these first-time investors’ first step is to find cash buying investors or cash buyers to wholesale their properties to.

In this article, we will go over many ways to find cash buyers and discuss how to screen and qualify them.

Before we move forward, keep in mind that cash buyers can be either groups or companies, such as trusts, holding corps or LLCs, as well as individuals.

When wholesaling properties to cash buyers, you need to look at properties from two different perspectives:

  • Fix & Flips – These are properties that you are trying to get at the highest discount you can. For most investors this could be between 25-35% below market or even as low as 40-50%. It’s key to find out from your cash buyer what their rehab budget is, as well as the level of profit they are looking for. This is critical in coming up with your offer amount on the property. A fix and flipper is looking for a specific profit after they buy the property, do the rehab and resale it.
  • Buy & Hold (Rental Property Owners) – This is where you try to get the best discount you can. Usually if you can get an offer accepted at upwards to 20% below market then you have a good deal. You need to understand your cash buyer’s specific criteria on what types of rental properties they are looking for and in which market, the amount of cash flow they are looking for, and the capitalization rates they wish to get. Often, you can find the answers to these questions from the following sources:
    • Real Estate Brokerages
    • Property Management Companies
    • Other investors and those you network with by attending Real Estate Investor Clubs

This will help with your preparation prior to reaching out to cash buyers, and it will help you get specific and detailed knowledge of the following:

  • What type of properties are selling the most and the speed at which they are selling
  • The median price of property sales, as well as the average price per square foot that they are selling for

In Part 2 we will go over some simple steps to consider.

Let’s Start Our Power Team – Part 1

Ah, the mysterious POWER TEAM! Why on earth are we so attached to this idea? Believing you must have a power team is something that can hold you back. Since you don’t have a clue what a power team is, who should be on it, or how to draft your team members, you may be perplexed and stuck. Maybe you will stall and do nothing because, after all, your power team isn’t yet assembled. Well, just stop it now before you get started down this path.

Your power team, like your business plan, and even your goals, is something that is going to naturally evolve over time. It is not something you have to fully create before you begin.

You should start at the very beginning, a very good place to start. When we read, we begin with A, B, C. When we invest, we begin with a real estate agent. Finding the right agent might take some doing, but that individual is the key to your success.

Real estate agents do not receive training in investing. They essentially learn how to use the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) contract and how to not get sued. It is your job to find the rare gem of an agent who understands and likes working with investors. Oftentimes, a good place to start is with Keller Williams or REMAX. Those particular offices usually provide at least a little investment training to their agents. However, I have often found a great agent at an office with only one location. This search is part of your great scavenger hunt! Here’s what I want you to do.

Find a real estate office in the general area where you want to invest. Though any agent can show you any property, agents tend to know the neighborhoods surrounding their office the best. The phone will likely be answered by an administrator.

The conversation is going to go something like this: “Hello, It’s a wonderful day here at Keller Williams. This is Angie. How can I help you?” (Yes, they say something like that.)

“Hello Angie (use her name). This is Gena. I’m a real estate investor. I’d like to speak to one of your agents who works with investors.” This will stop Angie from sending you to the agent covering the floor that day or to the next one on her list. You are already in control. You know who you need to speak to, and you have said so. Sometimes Angie knows just what to do, other times she doesn’t have a clue. In the latter case, ask to speak to the managing broker.

With simple guided conversations, you can find a great realtor for your business.

Information on Exclusivity Agreements and Why (or why not) to Sign Them

An exclusivity agreement is an agreement that limits a buyer from dealing with other sellers. The seller involved on an exclusivity agreement should be the sole provider of the goods that the buyer demands. It is a partnership that gives the seller exclusive rights to supply certain goods or services to the buyer. The underlying significant question here is: Why should a buyer sign up for an exclusivity agreement?

In every decision we make, there will be always be pros and cons. The advantage of an exclusivity agreement is always more apparent for the agent. It could offer a higher selling price for the agent. After relatively securing the time and money involved, agents can control the negotiation time and can easily turn down any offer. It can offer advertising opportunities for the agent. It can save time for the agent because the agreement allows no last minute switching of the buyer to other agents. No paperwork will be wasted at all.

So how does the agreement benefit the buyer?

Signing the exclusivity agreement guarantees better information for the buyer. The agent is automatically committed to providing details and information that will guide the buyer. The negotiations are done faster, saving time for both parties.

It is the buyer’s call to make the agreement happen. As a buyer, who will potentially invest a great amount of money, it is prudent that you weigh your pros and cons before signing an agreement with a specific agent. You can base your decision on how the agent presents the whole agreement. You can actually have the option to put the agreement within a specified amount of time to give you the power to terminate it when you decide it is no longer giving you a good advantage. The agent should also be able to present your benefits when you sign the exclusivity agreement.

Do your research, ask the experts and, if you must, hire a legal consultant when you are having dilemmas on whether or not to sign an exclusivity agreement. You will be investing the money you’ve worked hard for; the lack of knowledge is the last thing you need.

The MLS: How Important Is It?

We’ve all heard it before, “Don’t bring me deals off the MLS.” Why do so many investors tell us this? Well, maybe they feel they can get those deals themselves, and as a wholesaler, they expect you to bring them off-market deals. I say rubbish. Go after deals on the MLS. Believe me, if you get something under contract at the price your investor wants, they will take the deal from you. They just want control of the deal at the right price. We all know realtors can help find and sell deals. According to a recent article by the Housing News Report, on average, 20% of all deals done last year were off-market, meaning not through the MLS and realtors. That also means that 80% of deals that were done were through the MLS. With a number that big, it is in your best interest to work with investor-friendly realtors and use the MLS.

The number of off-market deals is growing because of companies like OfferPad, iBuyer, Network Realty, Zillow and others. As a savvy investor, we need to keep our fingers on it all. Don’t give up on the MLS just because someone tells you it’s too competitive. Instead, use strategies to get offers out quicker than others. One technique I use is the blind offer strategy. Basically, when my agents spot properties I would like, I train them to immediately make an offer at 10% below list price with all my terms staying the same. Now, all I must do is sign the offer and they submit it. This strategy speeds up the offer and evaluation process, which is the most time consuming part of a deal. Once my offer gets accepted, I will do a proper evaluation before I purchase the property. Stay consistent with your methods to find deals, but make the MLS a core search engine for your deals.

How to Motivate Your Realtor

When you put your home on the market, it’s no secret you want it to sell as quickly as possible. So how do you motivate your real estate agent to sell your property fast? Real estate agents can have dozens and dozens of listings, so how do you make sure your home gets the attention it deserves? Take advantage of any of these three tips to motivate your real estate agent to sell your home quickly.

Offer Additional Commission

Money talks! Offer a commission incentive to get your home at the top of every agent’s list. You can offer a bonus to your listing agent if they close within the first 3 months. Another option is to offer an incentive to the buyer’s agent. Buyers’ agents recommend properties to their clients. If you are offering extra commission, you may get more showings. More showings mean a greater chance that you will find a qualified buyer!

Offer to Pay for Additional Marketing

One of the most important parts of a real estate agent’s job is marketing your property. If you offer to pay for additional marketing you are making their job easier; also, you are not only getting additional exposure for your home, you are getting additional exposure for your agent. Everyone wins when you offer to pay for additional marketing, and your agent will thank you for it!

Ensure Your Home is in Top Condition

Ensuring your home is in top condition before you list it will instantly make you your real estate agent’s favorite client! Homes that don’t need repairs sell faster than those that do. Spend the money to stage and make minor repairs to your home before you put it on the market.

All three of these tips do involve spending extra money but could mean getting your home sold quickly. The sooner you sell the sooner you can be on your way to your new home and new life.

How to Build a Social Media Following

Social media isn’t just for looking at cute videos of puppies and kittens or seeing what your old high school acquaintances are up to. Social media can be a powerful tool for growing your real estate investing business. Successful real estate investors use social media to: host content, make connections and advertise properties.

Use Social Media to Host + Promote Content

While you might have your personal social media account set to private, you can and should set it to public if you want to promote your business. When you set your business account to public, any interested individual can view your curated content. You can use your social media profile to promote your originally written blogs or share articles from your go-to sources.   Quality content will both engage and grow your audience.

Connect with Potential Investors, Client, and Co-Workers

Social media is called “social” for a reason! Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter all allow people to connect over business and ideas. However, LinkedIn is one of the most powerful platforms for making business connections. LinkedIn is a business-centric network focused on those looking to grow their business and careers. Use your LinkedIn page to share content that will engage these potential business connections. Pro Tip: LinkedIn isn’t meant to be a platform for shameless self-promotion. Don’t use your account to promote yourself, rather use it to make long-term connections.

Advertise Your Investment Properties

No matter what real estate investment strategy you choose, you will need the power of advertising eventually.

  • If you are a buy and hold investor, use Facebook’s marketplace to advertise your vacant properties to potential tenants.
  • If you are a fix and flip investor, use Instagram to showcase your spectacular before and after photos, attracting potential buyers to the finished project.

You can even boost posts to reach an even broader group beyond your personal network. One of the great things about social media is the low cost of advertising on it. A modest $10 budget can reach of 1,000 people.

Use Social Media to Leverage Your Business

Social media is a great way to grow your real estate business for a reasonable cost. Use the power of social connections to close more deals and watch your business grow!

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.