The Top Reasons Homebuyers Aren’t Buying

Why aren’t more homebuyers buying houses this year?

Sales records are being broken in popular real estate markets from coast to coast. Yet, far more could be buying homes. For real estate investors, this is an amazing time to buy more inventory. So what’s really holding other retail side buyers back from purchasing? What are they thinking? How can real estate investors help get more would-be buyers into homes?

Here are a few reasons there aren’t as many homebuyers purchasing homes as there should be:

1. Perception of Hard to Get Mortgages :

The media, including real estate professionals, has made the perception of getting a home loan so difficult and unpleasant that many don’t even want to try anymore. They might have their finances in order, have good credit scores, and may even really want to buy a home they’ve had their eye on. However, the perception is that they’ll be demanded to jump through so many hoops that it won’t be worth it. No one wants to subject themselves to that; not when they can just stay put in their comfortable, but slightly overpriced rental.

In general, consumer mortgage loans have been tough to get over the past few years. They even appear tougher to land than investment property and business financing. According to those on the front lines, that is changing. In fact, we are seeing some loan features and programs that are pretty close to subprime. Carlos Gonzalez in Tampa, FL even says his firm no longer needs to offer in-house financing or zero down home offers because 100% financing and low down payment home loans have become so easy for their customers to get. It might still be a quirky process, but it is getting easier.

2. Can’t Get an Answer:

It remains absolutely bewildering to most that real estate sales people spend so much on advertising, yet can’t answer any of the responses they get. It is great that real estate pros have so much money to throw away. Though, one might think they could save themselves the busy work and donate that money to charity instead of killing their reputations by snubbing leads. There can be many reasons that Realtors and investors don’t answer. Maybe they are just too busy, their processes are fragmented and they don’t check all the places messages are coming from, or maybe they are just scared of picking up the phone. In some cases, maybe a property has already sold and they just don’t see the point in taking the time to answer. Nonetheless, there are all terrible excuses.

If you don’t answer, you don’t only burn that prospect and everyone they know (forever), you burn the industry too. If you can’t answer, find another gig. Save yourself a ton of stress and money. Ironically, a lot of the business is simply going to those that answer. They may not have the best homes, or house deals, but they are there. You can never pre-judge a prospect. They might be asking about owner financing or a discount in an email, but they may actually be a cash buyer with millions in the bank. That listing may be sold, but if they are motivated they might be ready to sign a contract on something else, today. They might even seem broke, but they might be left a six figure inheritance or win the lottery tomorrow. Good luck crawling back to beg for their business when you couldn’t have the courtesy to answer them yesterday.

3. Ugly Houses:

Realtors have reported that ugly houses are getting neglected. We aren’t even talking about burnouts, or crooked old houses with caved in roofs and out of control landscaping. To make the leap, many home buyers are really insisting on a great looking property. Real estate investors know there is value in distressed homes. That’s where they add their value. But end buyers don’t all want to be weekend warriors. Few couples can rarely agree on taking on a major house project. Your job is to find the houses that have been neglected, and to fix them up accordingly.

How Real Estate Agents Can Boost Income

How can real estate agents and other professionals slash their wasted time in half and boost incomes by 13% in just six weeks?

Effective time management is one of the biggest issues for real estate agents, investors and other industry pros. Unfortunately, many of the ‘solutions’ that these individuals buy into become their worst enemy and compound the problem.

Sadly, this applies to personal assistants, apps and expensive new software technologies. This doesn’t mean that these things can’t be valuable or good investments. In fact, some may be essential, it is the execution that renders them useless, or makes them into an even bigger time suck.

It is crucial to invest in real estate education. Get your hands on good tools and leverage technology. Use available resources to find a new and efficient way of doing business. If not used well, however, they won’t deliver on their promises.

When first getting into the business, real estate agents are slammed with dozens of products and services promising to help, but most fail to deliver because they are not used effectively.

Michelle Bullock, of Office Snap Inc. in Naples, FL, has found a profitable and in demand niche in helping real estate agents overcome this. She does so by helping them to eliminate redundant filing systems, get the most out of software, implementing systems, and helping them to get more out of their assistants by better defining job responsibilities.

By incorporating cloud storage systems like Dropbox or Google Drive, establishing better training for real estate assistants and keeping real estate agents more organized, she claims Realtor offices and individual agents can slash administrative labor hours in half and add over 10% to the incomes of six figure earners in a matter of a few weeks.

So the real lesson here is that before you run out and buy more software or sign up for a new service, make sure you are really getting something that you’ll use and that you are maximizing what you already have. If you can free up 5 hours of your time and your assistant’s time each week, you could potentially yield several more deals a month.

No Money Down Real Estate: What You Should Know

No money down real estate is one of the most controversial topics in the investment and property industry. Some snub it as a pipe dream, or too easy. Others swear it continues to make them millions. So what’s the real deal? What is it that you need to know about no money down real estate?

No down payment and no money down real estate investing is common practice. In fact, the best known names in investing and real estate like Warren Buffett and Donald Trump stick to this strategy, even when they have tens of billions of dollars in the bank. It’s simply the low risk, highest return way to go. It’s also the only way to go for many of those that really need to get into real estate investing to get back on track. So what’s the catch?

“It Takes Money to Make Money”

While no down payment real estate investing is done every day, not every property can be bought this way. Not every real estate worker loves it, and it can certainly take money to make money. Even though they may be minor, there can be ‘hidden’ costs. Extra costs can include real estate education, getting setup, and minor upfront property acquisition costs. Some can be avoided, however. Others are certainly best not skipped. The beautiful thing is that it rarely has to be your money that covers them. So what are these expenses, and where to you find the cash?

Investing in Real Estate Education

Some have certainly patch-worked their learning to buy properties and make money from investing in real estate. Some have still ended up making great money. Many have lost hundreds of properties and millions of dollars. If you are going to spend anything getting into real estate, it should be on real estate education. Every minute and penny you invest in your real estate education upfront will yield many times that in the future.

If you are tight on funds, start where you can. Get the materials you can, and attend the events you can. This is an ongoing process of constant lifelong learning.

Setup Costs

These expenses and investments are notoriously overlooked. Some may not apply to you, or can be put off, but they can also creep up on you quick and sap your savings and investment dollars if you aren’t careful. They might include getting a laptop computer, a mobile phone, new outfits, and setting up an LLC. You might already have many of these items. Others might want to borrow or invest in them, but this is still a lot cheaper than the setup expenses to become a Realtor salesperson.

Upfront Property Acquisition Costs

Note that while ‘no down payment’ and ‘no money down’ real estate are terms often used interchangeably, they are different. Just because you don’t have to make a down payment doesn’t mean that there aren’t any costs to buying a house at all. Some of these are traditionally paid up front, outside of any financing. These can include:

  • Appraisal fees
  • Home inspections
  • Home insurance
  • Earnest money deposits

This might total a few hundred or few thousand dollars, depending on what you are buying and where. They can also be negotiated out, or rolled into the closing. Just make sure you are aware of them.

Funding Your Real Estate Deals

The biggest money demand when investing in real estate is for the purchase price of the property. Fortunately, there are many more financing options than most new investors realize. They include:

  • Seller financing
  • 100% transactional funding
  • Hard money lending
  • Low and no down payment government home loans
  • Commercial mortgages and lines of credit
  • Business loans and credit lines
  • Combinations of the above
  • Grant money

Finding the Change for the Small Costs

What many struggle with more than the mortgage financing is the little costs. The appraisal fees, the real estate education courses, and the hundred or so dollars to setup an LLC. Be resourceful, and consider the following:

  • Refinancing existing loans and debts to lower rates and payments
  • Temporarily cutting back on luxury spending
  • Borrow from friends or family
  • Asking for this instead of birthday and holiday gifts
  • Partnering with others that have money, but no time
  • Getting rid of unused vehicles
  • Personal loans

Everyone can get into real estate investing with very little, or none of their own money down. It makes a lot of sense. It may take a little creativity and resourcefulness, but it is worth it.

4 Reasons You Should Hire A Property Manager

One of the most difficult business dilemmas is whether to pay for a task you know you can do. Even though you can save some money by doing it yourself it is important to ask what you are giving up to do so. This is a popular question with rental property owners. Rental property management is something almost anyone can do but not necessarily do well. Regardless if you have one single family rental or a large portfolio you need to strongly consider property management. Not only does property management save you time but it has an auxiliary impact on other areas of your business. Instead of worrying about a tenant or chasing rent checks you can focus on more important items.

The detractors of property management argue that you may be throwing away money every month. The roughly 10% fee directly eats into your cash flow and makes the rental less appealing. Another deterrent is the lack of knowledge and control you give up with a property manager. Many landlords feel they would rather work with the tenants than with a property manager. As with anything in business you need to weigh the positives against the negatives. In the case of property management paying the monthly fee is worth not having to deal with everything a rental property entails on a monthly basis.  Here are four main reasons you should hire a property manager.

  • Price. One of the main negatives of property management is also one of the biggest positives. The average property management fee is 10% of the monthly rent received. While at first glance this is a sizable chunk of money on closer inspection you are really getting a bargain. Think about how many trips you make the property every month. With an average property, you most likely swing by once a week if it is on your way to the office or home. If you have difficult tenants you are probably at the house anywhere from seven to ten times a month. Between the gas and work time lost alone you are pretty close to breaking even with a property manager. Instead of stopping whatever you are doing and driving to the property your property manager will deal with any issues. As corny as it sounds you can’t put a price on your time. The ability to focus on whatever task you are doing without a tenant calling you is worth 10% of the rent.
  • No More Late-Night Phone Calls. As any experienced landlord will tell you tenants contact you with a variety of questions, concerns and complaints. This can be one of the most frustrating aspects of the job. Instead of worrying about getting contacted at all hours of the night you can let a property manager deal with it. They will handle calls about parking concerns, issues with the neighbors and the occasional clogged toilet. Some of these calls are legitimate but most are from inexperienced tenants who don’t know what to expect. Your property manager will also handle any minor repair issues that pop up. Instead of spending hours looking for a locksmith or a plumber a good manager has a rolodex of people they can call at any time. You are still on the hook for the payments to these people but you don’t have to go through the time and aggravation of finding them.
  • New Tenants. One of the most time-consuming aspects of being a landlord is finding new tenants. Not only do you need to tinker with marketing and listing the property online but you have to deal with prospective tenants. Whether this is in the way of emails, phone calls or showings this is a very time consuming, but important, part of the process. Every showing requires travel to and from the property in addition to the time spent with a prospective tenant. Ideally you will find a tenant after just a few showings but it doesn’t always work this way. In popular markets, it is not uncommon to go through a dozen or so prospective tenants until you find the right one. It is not enough to show the property there is an application process that must be followed which will lead to follow up phone calls and emails. A property manager has a vested interest in finding good tenants so you can bet they will not rush the first decent applicant into the property.
  • Regulations. You don’t want to have to worry about staying on top of any local or federal rules and regulations. All it takes is one law oversight to get yourself in some serious hot water. A property manager not only knows all the federal fair housing rules but also knows the local guidelines as well. Failure to update an application at town hall could force your application to be void. In college towns or niche areas this can literally cost you thousands of dollars in lost rent. With all the things going on in your business the last thing you may be thinking about is renewing a license in the middle of the summer. It is good to have a property manager that knows when these tasks need to get done and does them without any thought.

Regardless of your cash flow level you should strongly consider a property manager. You can’t put a price on piece of mind or your time.

5 Tips To Help Get Your Flip Sold Quickly in Calgary

As a house flipper your job isn’t over until the property is sold. You can do great rehab work but until you are at the closing table there is still more to be done.  Every day that you own the property you are on the hook for the carrying costs and other expenses.  It is not an exaggeration to say that with a rehab time really does equal money.  Additionally having capital tied up in one property may prevent you from purchasing others.  You want to get every property sold as quickly as possible but even more so with fix and flip properties.  Here are five tips to help get your rehab sold quickly.

  • Use A Real Estate Agent. There is a difference in getting a job done and getting it done right. Speed and efficiency are the name of the game when it comes to getting your property sold. You may consider selling your home on your own and saving some money but you are giving up much more than you are getting. Selling a home yourself is a lot more work than you may think. Not only do you have to find creating ways of marketing the property but you need to make yourself available for all showings. There are times in your business when it pays to use a professional and selling your home is one of them. Not only does a real estate agent know how to market your property but they have established contacts in the area. These contacts are vital in helping generate interest and creating a buzz. They can show the property quickly and answer any questions a buyer may have about the market. You may be able to get your property sold but if you want it done quickly you need to enlist the services of a real estate agent.
  • Price Right. The first item any prospective buyer notices is the price. The property may sparkle from floor to ceiling but it doesn’t necessarily mean buyers are willing to pay a premium. If you truly want a quick sale you need to price in line with what is on the market. Don’t just look for the highest comparable sale and base your list price off of that. Trying to shoot for the moon and squeeze every dollar often has a negative effect. A property that is listed too high from the start may not even be looked at. Gone are the days where you can list high and hope to get offers. If you out-price your market prospective buyers will look for more affordable market options regardless of the quality of your work. Always take in account what is currently on your market or sold within the last sixty days as you think about where to list your property.
  • Evaluate Weekly. The first few days after your property is listed should be a pretty good indicator of demand. There is no better way to tell if you have listed at the right price than by listening to the market. If there are limited showings it can be viewed as a sign that you may have listed too high or there is an issue with the marketing. If buyers have flooded the property without offers there may be a problem with the presentation or something inside the property. In a quick sale situation every week can feel like months. You should huddle with your real estate agent weekly to get a sense of what is going on. If you feel that marketing needs to be ramped up you can talk about alternatives. If there needs to be a price reduction you should be ready to take bold action if necessary. Don’t wait for the market to come to you. Evaluate where the property is every week and make your decisions accordingly.
  • Presentation Matters. You never know what a prospective buyer will notice. From the very first day your property hits the market you need to make sure every inch of the property is perfect. Even if you think it is clean enough you need to go the extra mile and have everything professionally cleaned. It is also important that you don’t neglect the exterior. Overgrown bushes, excessive leaves in the yard or rusting gutters can be the think that changes a buyer’s opinion. It’s a cliché but you never get a chance to change a first impression. With excessive demand in most markets you need your property to stand out from the crowd. How the property looks is critical in getting it sold quickly.
  • Accept Right Offer. All sellers want to get the highest price for their property. However when selling a rehab the highest offer may not always be the right one. It is more important that you accept the offer with the greatest chance of actually closing. By accept the wrong offer you set the process backs weeks and possibly longer. You lose all momentum the property has and you are forced to pick up where you left off. The right offer may sometimes mean a little less profit but the security of knowing you can close quickly. With any financed offer you need to look at the strength of the pre-qualification letter. There should be a significant down payment as well as quick mortgage contingency. Don’t just jump at the first offer that comes your way. Take a minute to gauge the strength of the offer and make sure you are comfortable.

The quicker you can turn your rehab over the faster you can move on to the next project. Follow these five tips to help get your next flip sold quickly.

5 Tips To Help Secure Financing

One of the biggest hurdles for investors old and new alike is securing financing. You can have everything else with your business in place but without financing you won’t get very far.  How and where you find financing has changed dramatically over the past ten years.  It wasn’t that long ago when lender financing was the only realistic source of funding.  Today between hard money lenders, private money lenders and silent capital partners there are more financing options than ever before.  While finding financing is easier it doesn’t mean it will simply fall on your lap.  You still need to dazzle your capital source and make a solid presentation regardless of who you are talking to.  Here are five tips to help establish and secure the financial backing you are looking for.

  • Know Your Target. It is important that you treat every financing meeting with the respect and importance it deserves. You truly never know who will be the person that catapults your business to the next level. Regardless if you are meeting with your great uncle or a top local hard money lender you need to prepare the same. You should have a little background on what they want out of the deal and what their risk tolerance is. Without a personal understanding of who you are speaking with your presentation will sound repetitive and rehearsed. Don’t forget that you are the one looking for capital. Even if you have closed a few deals you still need to put your best foot forward. This starts with doing a little homework on your target either online or by asking questions to the people around them. The more you know about your target the more comfortable they will feel working with you.
  • Prepare Numbers & Answers. No lender is going to blindly open up their wallet and give you a blank check. You may eventually get to that point but only after you have built up confidence through several deals. As you plan your financing meetings you need to be ready for every possible scenario. It is human nature for a lender to want to know their bottom line potential. This should be the starting point for your presentation. In addition to the bottom line you need to know everything about the numbers, exit strategy options, carrying costs and potential setbacks. You should leave no stone unturned and be ready for whatever question comes your way. One strategy to help with this is to think about what you would want to know if the shoe was on the other foot. The more you know about every potential outcome the more confident someone will feel working with you. Nobody likes to think about the negative but by taking a proactive approach and discussing the worst case scenario you address the elephant in the room.
  • Focus On Benefit. Why would someone want to give you access to capital? As is the case with any potential business partnership there needs to be a net benefit for both sides. For you the benefit is the access to funding and the chance to grow your business. For the lender they want to know that their money is safe and they will see a positive return on their investment. During your meeting or presentation you should constantly revert back to the benefit. Every investor walks the line between risk and return. One of the things that make real estate so appealing is the potential of double digit returns. A private money lender may have money parked in a savings account currently generating somewhere in the neighborhood of 1% interest. They understand there is no risk but the returns aren’t exactly eye popping. For them the benefit is the chance to put their money at work for a strong potential return while letting you handle the real estate portion of the transaction. Whatever the benefit is you need to find it and keep coming back to it.
  • Follow Up Promptly. Even the best meeting may not produce an immediate partnership. You may have set the groundwork of a partnership moving forward but you still need to seal the deal. With every meeting regardless of how you think it went you should follow up within 24 hours. By following up you show that you want to do everything possible to make things work. This also gives you the chance to find the answer to any lingering questions or hammer home the benefit you discussed. You shouldn’t wait for them to contact you. Take a proactive approach and follow up with a phone call or leave a voicemail with an exact day to speak again.
  • Show Personality. One of the things that lenders really want to know is who they are working with. Numbers and returns are important but often times are not enough to secure a partnership. They want to feel comfortable and confident that you are just as vested in the partnership as they are. Don’t be afraid to show your personality. There are times when you should take your foot off the pedal and lighten things up. It is ok to talk about things going on in the community, your favorite sports teams or what is happening with your kids. Connecting with your lender about personal issues can be the final item that pushes the agreement over the top.

Even if you currently use traditional lender financing or have a hard money outlet you can never have enough sources of capital. Use these five tips in your next financing meeting.

5 Secrets To Closing More Deals in Calgary

Generating leads is great but the name of the game is conversion. The more leads you can convert into actual deals the stronger your business will be.  As a real estate investor not enough time is spent on this aspect of the business.  Most investors feel that turning leads into deals is a numbers game and the brunt of their work is done with the initial contact.  The reality is that there are several things you can do once you get the lead that will give you a distinct advantage in closing the deal.  By closing just 10% more leads over the course of the year you will see a stark improvement to your bottom line.  Here are five tips to help you turn more leads into actual deals.

  • Target The Right Audience. One of the ways to increase your conversion rate is by targeting the right audience. You need to deal with individuals who are motivated to take action. You can provide a great service but if your audience doesn’t need it you are wasting your time. With any lead generation it is always better to spend a little more time or money on higher quality leads. If they are not fully interested they will drag the process along for weeks without committing to anything. On the flip side if they are motivated through foreclosure, divorce or probate they are much more likely to want to act quickly. A smaller handful of higher quality leads is always better than a larger amount of average ones. The first step in converting more leads to deals starts with the quality of leads you are working on.
  • What’s In It For Them? There is a certain psychological aspect of selling. Instead of promoting yourself and your business make the other person the star of the show. The people you talk to to don’t care about all of the business you have done and deals you have closed. They want to know how you can help them or resolve a situation. This should be the highlight of any marketing material you send or any presentation you make. If you have the ability to close quickly so a homeowner can avoid foreclosure this should be prominently mentioned. If you will work with them on a closing date so their children can finish out the school year this must be driven home. Whatever the most positive benefits are should be brought to their attention. There will always be questions as to what is in it for you but you can negate those by bringing the focus quickly back to them. The better you are at highlighting the positives the more likely they will want to take action.
  • Think Like A Salesperson. In the world of real estate there is much more selling involved than you may realize. Every day you try to sell someone on your services, a property or any other aspect of your business. The key is selling yourself without sounding like a salesperson. It is no secret that people don’t like to be sold. In general people would much rather be left alone when shopping than deal with a high pressure sales pitch. The same is the case with converting leads. You need to walk a fine line between sounding like a salesperson while still constantly pushing the deal forward. This means explaining and educating but setting firm dates to take action by. One of the most common sales expressions is “always be closing.” With everything you say and do you need to push to get your lead to take action. The longer you wait the less likely they will end up working with you. Even if you are not the quickest speaker you can still be a good salesperson. As long as you can put yourself in the other person’s shoes and convey your message without sounding like a robot you will see your lead conversion rate increase.
  • Constant Contact. The first twenty four hours for any new lead are critical. The actions you take during this time set the stage for everything else that transpires with your contact. After your initial conversation you need to be in constant contact until you get an answer either way. You should have a definite time and date lined up for your next conversation. If that conversation doesn’t close the deal you need to schedule a follow up date. In between that time you should send quick emails or texts asking if they have any questions or resolving any issues they may have had. It is human nature for people to want to work with people they are comfortable with. You can improve your level of comfort by staying in contact all throughout the process.
  • Data Retention. Without proper data retention you may be throwing away perfectly good leads. Every lead that comes in must be stored in a dedicated file or spreadsheet. You should keep as much information as you can put on this spreadsheet. If things don’t work out initially you should still maintain contact every week or so. When they are finally ready to act you need to be able to pick up right where you left off. If you don’t have any of their information they will lose confidence in you and probably work with someone else. You may be surprised at how many deals you can gain simply by retaining data and following up.

Closing more leads can turn a good investor into a great one. You can completely change your business simply by improving your lead conversion rate.

How To Work With Motivated Sellers in Calgary

With any motivated seller lead the first goal is to get the homeowner to agree to a meeting. The meeting should act as a mini presentation for what you can do and how you plan on doing it without being too over the top.  You never want to hide the fact that you are a real estate investor but there is a certain way of delivering your message.  Every meeting with a motivated seller should be viewed as an opportunity.  They are most likely going to work with someone and that person can be you if you put your best foot forward during your meeting.  Here are five tips to help improve every motivated seller meeting you have.

  • Consider Your Approach.  People like working with people they feel comfortable with. Before diving right into the numbers you should take some time and build a rapport. This starts from the minute you drive up to the property. Wearing a three piece suit may work for some meetings but not for homeowner meetings. You want to respect the process and wear something appropriate but nothing too over the top that creates a negative first impression. As you enter the house you should make small talk and not be afraid to ask about the neighborhood or something timely in pop culture. If you have a good sense of humor you should be willing to make a joke as long as it is in good taste. Usually self-deprecating humor works best. Prior to sitting down you should ask to walk around the property further making the homeowner feel as comfortable as possible with you. By the time you sit down the ice should be broken and there should be little or no uncomfortable feelings.
  • Ask Questions. Most of your heavy lifting is done with the initial conversation. When you get to the property the answers should simply confirm what you already know. As you walk the property you should ask questions to get a better sense of their motivation. Find out or reconfirm why they are selling and what prompted their situation. If they say there was a major life event don’t just glaze over this fact. Shift gears and ask what happened and offer any advice you can lend. You want to get your questions answered but you don’t want to sound like you are reading off a script. If the homeowner feels you are insensitive they will surely go find someone else to work with. You can always switch up the pattern you ask questions to find out the information you need. The template you use for sitting down with motivated sellers is just that-a template. You need to have the ability to change gears on the fly all the while still getting the information you need.
  • Listen To Answers. A common mistake that many investors make is rushing through the process without listening to the answers. In almost every circumstance the homeowner will tell you want they want, when they want it and whether or not they are really interested in selling. If you are too busy thinking about the next question you will miss out on some valuable information. Don’t be afraid to let the homeowner go with their answers. This is usually a very difficult time in their lives and they have probably been holding things in for some time. If they want to talk about the process and what led them to this point you should have a compassionate ear. You should also be ready to answer any questions they have. As unfortunate as it is homeowners need to be on alert for scammers. Don’t take it personally if they ask to verify you and your company.
  • Ask About Goals. It is not uncommon for a motivated seller to have unrealistic expectations for the process. They may have heard a story from a friend or family member about how things went for them and want the same on their transaction. Without knowing exactly what the homeowner wants it can be difficult moving forward. Everything starts with the sales price. If you are far apart on value your first goal is to get the seller to see your number. You can do this by calmly pointing out the flaws of the property without being too critical. You should also use comparable sales and current listings to support your argument. This information should be readily available at your meeting but you should only use if needed. Next you need to get an idea of their timeframe. If the seller doesn’t want to close for six months and you want to close in two you need to figure out how to bridge the gap. It is important that you understand the homeowner’s goals and explain what is realistic and what may be impossible to attain.
  • Lean But Don’t Push. You want to know where you stand immediately following the meeting. Depending on how close you are will determine your next course of action. On one hand you always want to push for an answer but on the other if you push too hard you may discourage the seller. The best way to do this is by asking for answers on a predetermined date but make that date far enough away so they have time to think things over.   Always remember what may be just a deal to you is much more important for the seller.

By definition motivated sellers are ready to take action. Use these tips to help convert more meetings into actual deals.

7 Things You Should Do Before Your Next Tenant Moves In

There is a big difference between a good landlord and a great one. In most cases it is the little things you do that make all the difference. By going the extra mile, even when you don’t have to, you will have a happier tenant that respects you and the property. A happier tenant is much more likely to pay on time every month and take better care of the property. They also have an increased chance of staying longer which decreases the need to spend time finding new tenants. It is always easier getting things done while the house is vacant or before a new tenant enters the property. When they do get in you want to immediately create a positive first impression that hopefully lasts the duration of the lease. Here are eight things you should consider doing before your next tenant moves in.

  • Replace AC Filters.  It is important to remember that your tenants are not going to take care of the property the same way you would. They will not do the little things that add to the useful life of the property. One of the most overlooked items is with seasonal maintenance. You certainly don’t need to change the AC or HVAC filters every few months but by doing so your units will run much more efficiently and effectively. It is not uncommon to squeeze some extra years out of the unit simply by staying on top of the filters every lease. Changing the filters won’t cost more than $20 but has a hidden impact on the way your property runs.
  • Update/Clean Patio Furniture. One of the reasons that tenants despise moving is because they don’t want to constantly pack all their possessions. Many tenants do not have patio furniture to call their own and would like to take advantage of the area if available. Even though you can probably get away with the same patio set from last decade a new one would be much appreciated. This doesn’t mean you have to get a brand new, top of the line set. You can get find a table and chairs for less than $150. Whatever you spend should be viewed as an investment for at least the next three to five years.
  • Landscape. There is a tendency with landlords to cut corners wherever possible. Every now and then you need to spend money to take care of your investment. While most of your attention should be paid to the interior you can’t forget about the outside. When is the last time you power washed the house? If you are like most landlords the answer is years ago. You don’t need to have it done every year but at the first sign of mildew and dirt you should plan to have it done. A good power wash can last you at least three years baring anything drastic. Additionally, you should have any bushes by the house trimmed and grab a few bags of fresh mulch. The longer you ignore these the more difficult, and expensive, they become.
  • Switch Plates/Lightbulbs. There are some tenants who notice everything. As a rule of thumb, you never want to give them a chance to complain over something that is easy and inexpensive to fix. Prior to tenants moving in you should go around the house and change every lightbulb that is out. Whatever are left you should leave in the closet for your new tenants. Another inexpensive fix are the switch plates. If you haven’t changed the plates by the outlets and light switches in years they can get old and dirty. You can get a bag of plates for just a couple bucks. It won’t take you more than a few minutes to go around the house and update or replace these items.
  • Paint Doors. It is understood that you should consider a fresh coat of paint for the interior walls. However, many tenants never think about painting the front or back door. A fresh coat of paint on a front door can make it feel and look like new. Instead of replacing the door a nice latex coat can make a big difference. Don’t forget about the inside portion of the door as well. The inside is probably filled with finger and hand prints that have been there for years.
  • Clean Chimney. If you have a fireplace you can bet that your tenants are going to want to use it. You can hold off until the fall or start of winter to have it cleaned but you may be able to find a good deal in the summer. It is not uncommon to get 30-40% off a cleaning simply by booking it in off months. Plus, you never know which tenant will look in the fireplace and who knows what they will see.
  • Groupon for Cleaning. There are several little things you can do at the start of the lease that create good will. A gift card to an area supermarket or a nice bottle of wine are often fine touches. You don’t need to break the bank with these any amount is appreciated. If you want to send a win-win gift you should find a Groupon for a house cleaning. There are always specials on the site and gift for them is really a gift for you.

The truth is that you don’t need to do any of these things to attract tenants. However, by doing them you increase the chances of happy a happy and worry-free lease.

Analyzing A Property in Calgary: How To Know If Your Deal Is Solid

Most real estate investors are in a constant search of their next deal. Even if they have projects they are currently working on they usually have one eye on the future.  There are times when this quest for a new deal leads them to places they don’t want to be.  They begin entertaining deals, properties and projects that don’t really fit with what they want to do.  Soon enough they have committed hours to a property and are considering making an offer.  It is at this point when you need to step back and think about whether or not you really want to move forward.  Getting your next property to contract is nice but not if it sets your business back months.  Here are five things to consider before making an offer.

  • Cost Of Repairs. The basic concept of any deal in real estate is to generate value after you buy. This is usually done through buying in the right market or adding value through improvements. If the cost of improvements outweighs the return the deal may not be as good as you thought. Before making an offer you need to evaluate your cost of repairs. For starters make sure you are using realistic numbers. If your repair numbers are not accurate you will be running uphill trying to recover the minute you take ownership. Next, take a look if your repair numbers give you the return you anticipate. Blindly making upgrades and improvements does not work with every property. Regardless if you are buying to rehab or rent you will probably need to spend money on the property. Getting a property that needs excessive work without an appropriate return is a deal you need to reconsider.
  • Numbers. In addition to the cost of repairs there are several other numbers that should influence your decision. The numbers are the backbone of any deal. It is not enough to simply glaze over your numbers and assume they are accurate. If you are off even slightly with the numbers you won’t make the profit you are looking for. There are a handful of simply formulas that you can use as a guide. These formulas may seem tired and old but they still work with almost any property. Start with the most basic number for any purchase, the price. Are you comfortable with what you plan on offering? As obvious as it sounds if you don’t think the numbers work at the asking price offer what you think is fair. You never know what a selling is thinking and may accept. Next think about your after repair value and current market conditions. It is critical that you compare apples to apples. Looking at properties that don’t match the subject property will give you an unrealistic expectation of value. Breaking down all the numbers on a deal may be overwhelming but is the most important aspect of deal evaluation.
  • Due Diligence. Do you know everything about the property and the deal? The most successful investors are those who leave no stone unturned. They don’t accept the sellers or their real estate agents numbers as fact. They take the time to verify everything about the property and rarely have any regrets. They have no doubt as to the condition of the property and are usually never thrown off by an unexpected item. There is a lot of work that goes into making an offer. You need to spend the time to verify everything about the property, neighborhood, title, numbers and deal. Since there are so many moving parts all it takes to one slip up to be left disappointed with the deal. There are always things that pop up that are out of your control. You need to do everything in your power to leave as little to the imagination as possible. Due diligence is necessary prior to making any offer.
  • Legality. Only after you are comfortable with the numbers and the property should you move forward with the offer. Even if it looks like everything is clear sailing you are not out of the woods yet. You, your real estate agent and your attorney need to review the contract, lease and any other legal document associated with the property. As much as you may like a property if the contact is written in a way that does not provide protection you may need to walk away. Here is where a good attorney will make their money and negotiate to get these items fixed. If there is a stalemate and things cannot be resolved you have to weigh the risk and reward of making an offer.
  • What Needs To Happen After I Take Ownership? With any property your vision must meet reality. The final piece in moving forward with your deal is making sure what you want to do is realistic. You and your contractor need to be on the same page as far as the budget and scope of work. Additionally you need to reach out to other members of your team to gauge availability and interest. If your team has other projects they can’t get out of your timeframe may be pushed back. With any real estate investment time is of the essence. You need to hit the ground running as soon as you take ownership. If there are any delays it will impact your bottom line. Before you make any offer you need to know that your time is on board and ready to go when needed.

Never make an offer just for offers sake. Eventually you will get an offer accepted on a property you don’t really want and you can’t get out of.  Prior to making any offer always consider these five areas.