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Practical advice for real estate agents

6 Things Real Estate Agents Should Expect From a Lender

Things real estate agents should

As a real estate professional, it’s hard to overstate the importance of having a competent loan officer on your team. Since most real estate purchases involve financing, the person quarterbacking the

As a real estate professional, it’s hard to overstate the importance of having a competent loan officer on your team. Since most real estate purchases involve financing, the person quarterbacking the buyer’s loan can make or break the purchase of the property - and ultimately affect whether or not you get your commission. Remember - real estate agents don’t get paid for opening escrows, the only thing that matters is closing them. As a student in our real estate license course, assembling a great team consisting of a reliable escrow officer, title representative and a mortgage professional might seem completely disconnected from your pre license studies or real estate crash course but it’s an important thing to consider nonetheless. This way, once you do obtain your real estate license you can hit the ground running. So who do you choose as your go-to lender? I made a quick list of some of the things you’ll want to consider for as you choose a lender for your team: Reliable Pre-approvals In short, if a lender is going to write up a pre-approval letter for your buyer it’s important to be sure that the transaction is actually going to close. While there are no absolute guarantees, you and your buyer should at least have some confidence that the transaction is actually going to happen with no foreseeable problems regarding the loan. Lots of lenders today will issue a “DU” approval as well. “DU” stands for Desktop Underwriter with Fannie Mae Desktop Underwriter is an automated system for mortgage underwriting that determines if a loan meets approval requirements. Lots of listing agents will also want to see an “approved eligible” printout from DU to ensure that the buyer is well qualified. As a real estate agent you need to have trust in your lender that their pre-approval letter carries weight. At the end of the day, if that pre-approval letter doesn’t translate into an actual funding it will leave the real estate agent and the buyer with a big problem on their hands as the buyer may end up losing their deposit and the real estate agent won’t get paid. In the end a pre-approval that doesn’t blow up in your face is a bare minimum you should expect from a lender. On-Time Closings There’s nothing worse than a closing that is continuously delayed. It puts the buyer and the seller in precarious positions, forcing them to rearrange schedules, potentially delaying start dates at jobs, and generally giving all parties in the deal heartburn. To be clear, on occasion there will be delays that are beyond the lender’s control. Perhaps the buyer’s employer is lagging on delivering a Verification of Employment. Maybe the IRS has delays related to a tax transcript. But either way, a lender that has the ability to foresee potential problems related to the loan early on and takes action based on these possible roadblocks is worth their weight in gold. A Wide Variety of Loan Products While it’s unfair to expect a lender to be an expert in all loan types, a lender should have the ability to do more than a home loan for a borrower with a 800 FICO score and twenty percent down. It’s not unreasonable to expect a good lender to have a wide variety of loan offerings -- conventional loans, programs for first time home buyers, FHA loans, VA loans and more. A lender that has these basic arrows in their quiver will allow the Realtor to get more comfortable with the lender and solidify them as the go-to for new clients. The Ability to Problem Solve Most loans have some hair on them. Maybe a borrower has a gap in their employment history. Perhaps there is one 30 day late payment showing up on the credit report from 18 months ago that is bringing down their credit score. Either way, most real estate loans aren’t perfect and they require some level of critical thinking in order to close them on time and with minimal hassle. Finding a loan originator that knows how to deal with small -and sometimes large - problems is helpful. Superior Customer Service Excellent customer service makes dealing with a lender less stressful. What defines good customer service? In the lending and real estate world, this means answering your phone and responding to email, communicating often and keeping tabs on the cadence of the loan. Whether the agent or borrower needs the answer to a simple question or requires serious assistance with a major issue, the lender should have customer service resources available. If the lender isn’t immediately available, the lender should make it clear who should be contacted in their absence. Transparency Above all else, borrowers today value integrity and transparency. Lenders who change terms at the last minute or mislead homebuyers are not to be trusted. Most real estate agents seek out lenders with proven histories of doing right by clients and respecting the financial burdens of those about to make the biggest purchases of their lives. When a real estate agent recommends a lender to a buyer they are, in essence, vouching for them and there can be reputational risks to the agent if the lender doesn’t perform. Pairing motivated buyers with reliable lenders is an important job of a buyer’s agent. The right partnership will result in a smooth transaction that becomes a win for all parties. Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

6 Things To Consider When Starting as a Commercial Real Estate Agent

6 steps to becoming a commercial

Starting a career in real estate and obtaining your real estate license opens up a new world of opportunity to you. There are so many different career paths that can be taken one you get your real estate

Starting a career in real estate and obtaining your real estate license opens up a new world of opportunity to you. There are so many different career paths that can be taken one you get your real estate license. While it’s true that most of our students start their career selling houses, commercial real estate (CRE) is also an option for you in California. There are similarities between both areas of practice as they involve helping clients buy, sell and lease property so the desired outcome is the same. The high level difference is that the clients to whom you provide services are simply looking at a different class of property. A common misconception is that the commercial side of the business is somehow more complicated than residential but in many ways the opposite is true. Commercial files can be thinner because there are many forms and documents that are required in residential real estate that don’t exist in the commercial world. In any case, if commercial is an area of specialization you find appealing, here are some things to consider and things you’ll need to do: 1. Obtain a real estate license Every real estate agent, regardless of whether they plan to work in residential or commercial real estate, must meet specific criteria and pass an exam. Individual states set their own criteria, so be sure to research your state’s process. Generally speaking, you must meet eligibility requirements, take approved pre-licensing real estate classes, and pass the real estate exam to obtain a license. 2. Find a firm specializing in CRE After you choose a real estate school and receive your real estate salesperson license in California, you’ll have to place your license under a broker. Once you select a broker, the firm will dictate the type of real estate you can practice. If you want to pursue work in the CRE market you will have to find a broker that has the bandwidth and resources to conduct commercial sales and leasing. This is where it can get a little sticky because most residential firms don’t offer the tools needed to do commercial real estate and most commercial firms don’t offer the residential tools to sell a house. 3. Get trained up in commercial real estate Finding someone to mentor and train you to practice commercial real estate is not as easy as finding a residential mentor. Part of why this is true is that there are far more residential real estate agents than there are commercial ones and residential firms are typically more eager to hire than commercial ones. There are large commercial companies like CB Richard Ellis and Jones Lang LaSalle that might hire you with the right resume and connections, or you can explore working at a more boutique local shop in your area. The key thing here is to find solid training and a mentorship program that will allow you to start your commercial real estate career properly. 4. Identify an area of specialty Many residential real estate agents specialize in certain types of homes, such as retirement communities, townhouses, luxury homes, or another niche. The commercial real estate industry tends to be even more specialized than this. The commercial real estate world tends to be broken down into five pillars: Retail - Shopping centers Industrial - Warehouse type uses Office - Larger or single tenant office spaces Raw land - Developer specialization Apartments/multi family sales - 5 or more apartment units While there can be some cross-over between these two functions there is still a high level of specialization. 5. Create a marketing strategy Not unlike residential real estate, you need to have marketing and branding strategies in your toolbox. In addition to the types of properties you want to specialize in, your plan should include factors such as how to target clients, budgets, unique selling points, and strategies to client outreach. These branding and marketing initiatives can include real estate postcard mailing, really cool property photos, or a social media strategy. 6. Explore other career possibilities One of the benefits of working in the commercial real estate field is the ability to expand your practice. Besides an area of specialization, there are opportunities to participate in arranging financing for a property, performing property management, or (as mentioned above) negotiating tenant leases. Just how wide of a net you can cast is going to be dependent on your brokerage and the services that they offer. If your brokerage doesn’t have a trust account and accounting systems created, you won’t be able to legally conduct property management so you’ll want to explain your aspirations to your broker and see if they have a system to support your endeavors. A final thought Because sales prices are generally higher on commercial properties than residential ones commercial agents often find they can earn larger commissions, which can equate to higher annual earnings. Many agents who specialize in this area find it to be a lucrative, exciting, and rewarding experience. It's important to know, success doesn't come overnight, it takes effort and experience. The large commercial deal sizes can have a negative impact on the commissioned real estate agent, however. If your entire earnings for the year are dependent on one large deal that ends up falling apart this can put you in a precarious position. Nevertheless, if commercial real estate sounds appealing to you, you need to start with our real estate license course. Register today so we can help you prepare for a lucrative career in the commercial market. Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

9 Listing Presentation Tips

How to master your listing

As a current or former student in our real estate license school you might remember my lecture from Real Estate Practice on listing presentations. I’ve placed a link to the YouTube video here if you

As a current or former student in our real estate license school you might remember my lecture from Real Estate Practice on listing presentations. I’ve placed a link to the YouTube video here if you need a refresher or haven’t seen it yet. While this video isn’t intended to be a real estate crash course it’s still helpful to watch as you strategize around building your seller-focused real estate business. While buyer clients are important, a scaleable real estate business is built around controlling listing inventory and that means working with sellers. In order to obtain listings, you must become proficient at generating seller leads and making killer presentations. The high-level goal is to demonstrate you are the best Realtor for the job of selling their home. Because of the competitive nature of the market you’ll need to have a solid listing presentation. Sellers have options when it comes to listing their home as the number of real estate agents in an area far exceeds the inventory at any given time. I’ve put together some tips as you work with and negotiate with a potential seller. 1. Introduce yourself Every meeting starts with an introduction. Keep in mind first impressions matter—so be sure to get this part right—and remember to smile. Be prepared to share your credentials, previous successes, and any other pertinent information demonstrating why you’re the right person to list their home. 2. Know the property Before you arrive, make sure you’ve researched everything possible about the property and dig beyond surface-level information like bedroom and bathroom count. If you haven’t done your homework, it’ll be obvious to the seller. Make sure that your Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) is detailed, up- to-date and visually appealing. 3. Walk through the selling process Share a clear timeline with the seller so they know what to expect. Much of this timeline will depend upon the current state of the market, so be prepared to explain any circumstances that will impact the time it’ll take from listing to contract and from contract to close. It’s also important to also explain to the seller that buyers will generally have the right to conduct an inspection on the home while it’s in escrow. This could cause the buyer to ask for repairs or even ask for a monetary credit as a result of the inspection. Going through several possible scenarios with the seller will help minimize surprises during the listing. 4. Explain pricing strategy The main thing that prevents a listing from selling is an inappropriate price. Proper pricing can overcome nearly everything. Does the property have an inferior location? Price it properly. Is there an odd smell or is the home in desperate need of landscaping? Fix the price. The professional real estate agent should have relevant comps pulled, bearing in mind the condition of the subject property, condition and location of comps, and have the communication skills to convey this information to the seller. Be prepared and ready to explain the recommended price to the seller. It’s not uncommon for the owner to believe that their home is worth more money than your data suggests, especially in the world of Zillow. I recorded a YouTube video about this here if you need a refresher. 5. Explain pre-listing steps As a sales technique, speak to the seller during the presentation as though you already have the listing. Educate them on what will be occurring after they sign. Assume that they are going to be listing with you. It’s important that the seller know that the property won’t hit the market the instant you leave the presentation as there are many things that still have to happen. Photography must be arranged, marketing collateral needs to be created and copy must be written, as examples. Giving the sellers a heads up about the process will go a long way in establishing rapport, trust and an understanding of the cadence of the process. 6. Explain marketing strategy If your marketing strategy consists of placing the property on the MLS with one iPhone photo - this isn’t going to be enough. Since real estate commissions easily run $10,000+ on most homes in California, it’s important to explain to the seller what the plan to sell their home is and why our commissions are as they are. A well thought out marketing plan will help justify your fee and aid the seller in understanding where their money goes. Include any syndication, local marketing, and online publicizing—share techniques you use that make their home stand out in a competitive marketplace. 7. Remember to listen You want to build a relationship of trust with clients. Talk to them about why they’re selling their home and ask what their future plans are understanding their needs will help you better serve them. Also remember to include all family members in the discussion. Often times a real estate professional might only speak to one spouse, falsely believing that they are the decision maker when the decision to list might be one made jointly by both owners. God gave us two ears and one mouth-remember to use them run that ratio. 8. Dress for success Non-verbal cues like body language, grooming and how we dress can say a lot more than verbal communication can. There is little doubt that in a post-COVID world the business climate has moved away from suits, ties and pantyhose in favor of a more relaxed attire. Depending on your market, how you dress might vary, but generally, business casual is probably appropriate. One last tip: While the world is a bit more casual it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed so choose your wardrobe carefully. 9. Leverage the power of reviews If you (or your company) have testimonials or online reviews from previous clients, bring them to the listing presentation. People are more inclined to trust others who have experienced success with their agents. These nine tips should help you put your best foot forward when making listing presentations. It all starts with the right real estate school so choose wisely. I’d love to help you get started in our great business. Call me at 888 768 5285 and I or a member of my team can get you started. Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

The dos and don'ts of real estate social media posting

Social media realestate media posting

Social media is a terrific way for real estate agents to gain more exposure. However,like any other marketing strategy, you want to be careful about how you post. To ensure social media results that promote

Social media is a terrific way for real estate agents to gain more exposure. However,like any other marketing strategy, you want to be careful about how you post. To ensure social media results that promote a smart strategy, follow these do’s and avoid don’ts when posting on the various platforms. Do’s of real estate social media posting Promoting positive interactions is a must for a successful social media marketing strategy as a real estate agent. Here are a few top best practices. 1. Be selective Be selective with the social media platforms you join. It’s nearly impossible for busy real estate agents to maintain a profile on every social media network. The U.S. NationalAssociation of Realtors (NAR) found in a study 97% of realtors chose Facebook as their preferred network. Facebook was followed by LinkedIn (59%), and Instagram (39%). Roughly one-third choose Twitter. Other possibilities include Pinterest, Snapchat, and YouTube. The key to choosing correctly is to know your target audience.. 2. Be active Promoting on social media goes well beyond setting up a profile and promoting listings.If you focus on self-promotion, you’re only going to alienate people. Instead, concentrate on being a part of the community. Share posts, make comments, ask thoughtful questions, and give shoutouts to connections. Bottom line, be consistent in terms of activity and be responsive to others. 3. Use visibility strategies When posting or sharing others’ posts, be sure to use visibility strategies to gain traction. Good methods include using keywords with hashtags and tagging others in your network to give them call-outs. Don’ts of real estate social media posting Just one blunder can soil your professional standing, but a series of bad practices can really hurt your reputation if not careful. Here are the top don’ts when it comes to social media marketing for real estate agents. 1. Don't be overly promotional This is #1 on the list of things NOT to do. Don’t try to oversell on your page, but use social media to share interesting news, customer interests, how-to’s, or even fun memes. By using your page strictly as a personal listing mechanism, people will disconnect from you or scroll through your posts without even looking. Always follow the 80/20 rule when using social media. 2. Use your own photos Photos are a critical aspect of promoting properties. Ideally, you want to use your own photos to highlight listings you promote. (20% of your posts!) If using others' photos, be sure to first ask permission first and then publicly give credit to the photo’s owner. 3. Don’t post constantly The trick to social media marketing success is balance. You need to find the “Goldilocks” level of posting. In other words, don’t post so frequently it becomes “noise”,or worse, social media’s version of unsolicited robocalls. Then again, you don’t want to post so infrequently that you become irrelevant. Focus on timely, thoughtful, and interesting posts, spread out. Determine what your audience likes and then deliver it. Savvy real estate agents know how to skillfully use social media to gain the trust of potential clients and maintain strong relationships with existing ones. Focus on good social media practices, avoid bad ones, and you’ll create a standout online presence.
Practical advice for real estate agents

Benefits of instructor-led real estate classes

Benefits using study group

As you prepare for your real estate exam you’ll no doubt take at least one of our crash courses. These lectures and online tools can be done in the comfort of your own home and are based on individual

As you prepare for your real estate exam you’ll no doubt take at least one of our crash courses. These lectures and online tools can be done in the comfort of your own home and are based on individual self-study. But what if you aren’t quite ready for a real estate crash course yet? What if you still need to complete Real Estate Principles, Real Estate Practice and the elective course in real estate school? While we offer an amazing self-study program to help you finish the required courses there are some students who don’t do well left to their own devices. Does this sound like you? What if you wanted a professional instructor who walked you through the course material, but didn’t need to drive to a physical location? A plus with gas prices being $7 a gallon. To bridge the gap between total self-study and a physical real estate school we offer an amazing Zoom-based option. I made a list of seven benefits of this program to prepare and qualify for the California real estate exam. 1. Eliminate procrastination By coming to our scheduled Zoom calls, you’ll be less inclined to put off studying the material to qualify for the exam. When working independently, it’s easy to procrastinate, but when you make a commitment to meet with our study group you’ll be more motivated to press on and prepare so you’re ready to cover the material with other group members. 2. You’ll Probably Learn Faster Members of study groups like those on our Zoom calls tend to learn faster than individuals who work independently. With any type of learning, it’s common to get stuck on a concept and have difficulty getting over the proverbial learning hump. With fellow students and an instructor to talk out concepts with, it can clarify some of the drier material. 3. Fill in Gaps in Notes While you might prepare for class by watching some of the videos on our YouTube channel questions might arise as you watch the videos or read the textbooks. Bring you questions to class and the instructor will answer them and encourage you to deep-dive into the course material. You can read the book on your own first, knowing that if you do have a question you’ll be able to ask it to the instructor and bounce ideas off other students in the process. As a result, fewer gaps exist, when it’s time to take the real estate exam you’ll be better prepared. 4. Sharpen Your Study Skills Everyone has their own techniques they use to study. However, working with a diverse group of other hopeful real estate agents empowers you to sharpen your own study skills. You’ll be able to learn from the strengths of others and maybe even share your own with them. 5. Break Up Monotony of Studying Alone Studying alone is very monotonous and it could lead to feelings of isolation, frustration, and loneliness. On the other hand, working with a group pursuing the same goals not only adds socialization, it gives you something to look forward to nearly daily. Check out our schedule of Zoom classes here! <hyperlink to https://www.adhischools.com/schedule > 6. Hone Your People Skills Working as a real estate agent means you’ll need to hone your people skills if you don’t already possess them. Success in our industry is based on your ability to work with other people. In study groups, you’ll encounter a variety of personalities and this will strengthen your ability to communicate with different people - a must in real estate! 7. Get a Jump on Networking In a sense, a study group can be your first step into developing your professional network. In any industry, it’s not what you know, but who you know. Often, those on our Zoom calls have built a sense of camaraderie – the perfect seed to grow a professional network. Remember, not only can you connect with members of your group, but they can introduce you and vice versa to other people. Knowing you have friends in real estate upon passing your exam is a great feeling - It’s never too soon to build a professional network! In order to pass California’s licensing exam you’ll need to gain a full understanding of the topics and concepts used in everyday real estate business. Joining our Zoom calls can put you on a solid path. If you are interested in getting a free guest pass to check out one of our Zoom study sessions, click here and pick a day and time that works for you. I look forward to seeing you on an upcoming real estate Zoom call! Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

5 Things that can make it harder to pass your real estate exam

Studying 5 things

Imagine you have completed all the required classes at our real estate school and now you are in the process of studying for your real estate exam. You’re probably taking our real estate crash course

Imagine you have completed all the required classes at our real estate school and now you are in the process of studying for your real estate exam. You’re probably taking our real estate crash course and are focused on prepping for the test. You can probably tell from our hundreds of 5 star reviews that we know a thing or two about getting students to pass their real estate exam Still, I wanted to write a quick blog outlining a few things that can actually make it harder to pass your test so you know what not to do. I’ve read some other articles from folks that incorrectly say that the real estate test is purposely and unnecessarily difficult. This isn’t really the case. If you understand the concepts and study you should have no problem passing. I’ve read some other articles from folks that incorrectly say that the real estate test is purposely and unnecessarily difficult. This isn’t really the case. If you understand the concepts and study you should have no problem passing. Consider the below list as you do: Bad Prep Materials or a Bad Exam Prep Program Call me a little biased, but I think that our real estate crash course is the best way to study for the real estate test out there. There are alternative products in the marketplace that aren’t California specific or that are written by people who have never even taken the real estate exam. Obviously, the purpose of real estate exam prep material is to increase comprehension of the subject matter. Understanding that most people are on their mobile devices the majority of the time, our team developed an app for Android and iOS devices that is second to none. If you don’t have this yet, get it! In the end, prep materials that do not play to your strengths decrease your chances of passing the real estate exam. 2. Too Much Study Time on What’s Not Important One of the common mistakes real estate examinees make is focusing on items not likely to be on the exam. What too often occurs is that folks can get bogged down in the minutia and lose focus on critical concepts and facts. Some call this not “seeing the forest through the trees.” I cringe when students send me articles about how to study for the “math portion” of the real estate test or 50 questions on the history of California. The truth is that there is very little actual arithmetic on the real estate test so spending 15 hours studying how to calculate capitalization rates isn’t going to do much good when there are other topics that appear far more frequently on the exam. The good news about our crash course system is that questions are weighted in the same ratio that the actual real estate exam is. Our system is organized in a fashion that emphasizes primary concepts and focuses your study time in ways that actually matter. The point is that investing too much of your limited time in minutia might not be a good decision. 3. Procrastination Procrastinators of the World Unite! Tomorrow.” People from all walks of life come up with seemingly good reasons to put off studying. These rank among the common reasons people procrastinate. Feeling Overwhelmed Lack of Urgency Lack of Discipline Don’t Like to Study Can’t Choose a Starting Point Giving in to these and other inclinations puts potential real estate professionals behind the knowledge curve. The sooner you crack open the materials and begin learning at a deeper level, the better your chances of passing the test. I would recommend doing all the questions in the training mode of our real estate crash course at least twice before attempting a mock exam. Focusing on our training mode will expose you to all the questions in our system and eliminate any false confidence from a high score on a random mock exam. 4. Failing to Follow a Study Plan Possessing an actionable study guide and plan cures some of the reasons to procrastinate. Of course, potential real estate professionals will need to leverage a study plan in a timely and orderly fashion. Common missteps involve jumping around and prioritizing topics you feel comfortable studying. Such practices are more a lack of discipline than an attempt to gain high-level knowledge. It’s essential to use a study plan designed to build one concept on another. Like many other industries and disciplines, real estate knowledge tasks people with possessing a broad understanding of how things intersect. Rifling through study materials and jumping ahead typically results in fragmented ideas that don’t translate to sound professional skills. Remember to set aside plenty of time before the test to ensure that you don’t feel overwhelmed - This leads me to my final point. 5. Test Anxiety and Last Minute Cramming When I was in high school and college, I would love the adrenaline rush of studying for an exam at the absolute last minute and leaving with a good score. While exhilarating, it’s important to realize that the real estate exam should not be approached in this manner. There is far too much material to only study the night before. A study schedule at least two weeks before the test will help you stay focused and ensure you have ample time to review and understand the material. It’s totally normal to feel a little on edge before the exam starts. Issues such as self-doubt or fear of failure can derail efforts to pass the real estate exam. The good news is that test anxiety does not have to stop you from beginning a new career. TLDR: Learn to Study Effectively Establish a Study Routine Practice Relaxation Strategies Exercise, Eat Well, Hydrate, and Get Restful Sleep Reach out to our office at 888 768 5285 or shoot us a message if you’re having a hard time passing the test. Love Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

The Importance of Previewing Property

Agents the importance of realtors

One of my early real estate sales managers passed away a few years ago. When I think back on our interactions, one thing that stands out is his advice that an agent isn’t going to make money sitting

One of my early real estate sales managers passed away a few years ago. When I think back on our interactions, one thing that stands out is his advice that an agent isn’t going to make money sitting in the office behind a desk. You’ve got to get out there, pound the pavement and understand the local market. Previewing property is something that should be a non-negotiable for a real estate professional, especially a newer licensee. Even if you are just starting in our real estate license course you can still play around on websites like realtor.com or other IDX sites to sort of “arm chair” quarterback and see what’s going on in the market. Once you get your real estate license you’ll want to start physically entering as many properties as possible so you can keep a pulse on what’s happening in the marketplace. By the way, this shouldn’t seem like too much of a chore as most people that take our real estate classes have at least some interest in viewing homes and property for sale. I can’t tell you how many students I have spoken with that say “I love going to open houses! I want my license!” Now get out there and do it! What is involved in previewing property? Previewing property involves searching the MLS for homes and then scheduling times to physically walk the properties. As an additional prospecting method, some agents even knock on the doors of nearby homes to let neighbors know of the home that’s for sale. This can be particularly valuable in the event there isn’t a For Sale sign on the property you are previewing. When knocking, a good script could be to ask nearby owners if they know a friend, family member or co-worker that might be interested in the home for sale, it’s a great opportunity to “pick their new neighbor”. This is an easy and natural way of networking with nearby owners. It’s free for you to do One of the biggest benefits of previewing properties is the fact it’s an absolutely free method of gaining local market knowledge. The only investment is your time - and most new agents have more time than money. Savvy real estate agents who preview properties on a routine basis find they get more listings, obtain valuable market knowledge in the areas they work in and grow their businesses faster. You can obtain valuable knowledge about the market When you follow the strategy of previewing property you will gain a stronger understanding of the local inventory. This will empower you to rapidly identify properties for interested buyers. For instance, knowing a geographical area intimately means you’ll be armed with the ability to quickly answer questions clients have about inventory in the area. This boosts your professional reputation and people will start to see you as an expert. Agents who have previewed properties may also have earned access to unpublished or not widely publicized information. Additionally you’ll learn what homes are on the market and the routine of previewing property will force you to dig into the local inventory daily. You’ll have the ability to generate more leads Physically going out to look at homes in a specific market means you’re also actively meeting people and expanding your professional network. While you could just view Matterport tours from your home or office there really isn’ta substitute to getting out in the field and touching the inventory. An added bonus is that you never know who you’ll meet that wants to hire you. Buyers will be impressed with your proactive approach to understanding the market and know you’ll be equipped to help them find their dream home. Sellers will appreciate that you have your pulse on the market and are more inclined to list with you because they’ll have faith you can help them present a solid marketing strategy. Agents may also find as they preview homes, they stumble across properties not listed on the MLS, such as pocket listings, FSBOs, expired listings, and owners who want to sell but temporarily removed their homes from the market. Networking is an important activity for any industry but has a special place in a direct sales business like real estate. You gain information to have a powerful listing presentation When you are on a listing presentation, rest assured that the seller is looking to hire an agent who knows the neighborhood, knows the street and knows their home. Previewing 3-5 properties daily will aid in your listing presentations because you’ll be able to demonstrate to your seller that you intimately know the market having seen all the inventory in the local marketplace. This is a non-negotiable as you don’t want to be seen as an agent who knows less than the client. The net-net bottom line is that previewing properties will give you a reason to get out of the office – you just never know where it’ll bring you or what clients you’ll land next. Remember what that sales manager told me so long ago - the money in real estate isn’t made sitting in the office. Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

What is a Virtual Real Estate Brokerage

Virtual

To say that the world has changed over the last few years is certainly something of an understatement. As the pandemic began to take hold in March of 2020, suddenly in-person gatherings of any kind

To say that the world has changed over the last few years is certainly something of an understatement. As the pandemic began to take hold in March of 2020, suddenly in-person gatherings of any kind were all but impossible. In the real estate world, this created a bit of chaos as agents and clients wondered how to show a prospective buyer a house when multiple people can't be in the same place at the same time? Moreover, how do real estate agents operate in a world where everyone is suddenly doing business remotely? COVID created a perfect storm for the real estate business and allowed for some pretty powerful “virtual” or “cloud” brokerages to come to prominence. Such companies mostly exist online - meaning that there are very few, if any, physical office locations to speak of. Realtors who join such companies typically feel that having traditional office space doesn’t really matter because the nature of our work doesn’t mean we sit at a desk all day. These online companies also often offer higher commission splits to their agents because of lower overhead. The firm doesn’t have to spend money renting an office space or buy furniture, office equipment or pay utilities. Some seasoned agents who already have an extensive book of business are attracted to this virtual model as the more experienced salesperson doesn’t need as much basic training and handholding as those who are new to the field. This type of brokerage does have it’s downsides, however. In a traditional real estate firm, agents have the option of reporting to a location in the morning and leveraging support staff and have the ability to meet with clients and more. Larger real estate firms that have a significant brick and mortar presence are often perceived to have more credibility than a strictly online operation. Local buyers and sellers are often assured by a large real estate firm sign on the side of a building in their hometown that the company - and the agent - are there to stay. If you are wondering how to choose a real estate office to work at consider watching this video. Another big downside of the “virtual” brokerage can be a lack of community. While some real estate agents are comfortable with the idea of working without the distractions of the workplace, some might find it difficult. Agents are often social beings (arguably even more than the average person) and long hours with only a computer screen and a phone can be painful for some salespeople. Building a career in real estate is hard enough and without a sense of community the journey can be that much more difficult. Then again a virtual real estate firm might make sense when you consider what the duties of a real estate agent actually are. Most of the actual money making activities in the real estate industry are not performed sitting at a desk. When an agent has a client, they are either at the client’s home advising them on marketing strategy, going over offers, or touring a home or building. Whether you decide to join a brick and mortar traditional real estate firm or go with a virtual one, just make sure that you will have support from the management team so that in the event you have questions or need marketing or other support you have resources. Either way, your journey starts with real estate license courses and remember - even though we are a school that operates online, there are real people manning our phones. =) Call us at (888) 768-5285 if you are ready to get started! Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

Which Jobs Require a Real Estate License

Realtor photo

It's certainly possible for someone to buy or sell a home on their own without a real estate license. But if they wish to do so in a professional capacity and sell homes for others, they need a

It's certainly possible for someone to buy or sell a home on their own without a real estate license. But if they wish to do so in a professional capacity and sell homes for others, they need a real estate license. More than that, they'll need a license in each state that they plan to operate in. All state's requirements are different, it's important to research as much as possible before starting a career in the field. But a lot of people don't realize that getting your real estate license doesn't just mean that you're destined to become a realtor. In fact, there are a wide range of different jobs that require a real estate license - all of which are more than worth exploring. Real Estate Agents Obviously, the prime example of a job that requires a real estate license is that of the real estate agent Here, a seasoned professional will work with prospective buyers and sellers on a transaction that hopefully meets the needs of both parties. From the point-of-view of the seller, a real estate agent will try to get them the best price for their home that the market will allow. From the perspective of the buyer, they'll try to find anew home that meets as many of their needs as possible - all at the best price they can. Regardless, the industry is heavily regulated and there are a lot of rules that must be followed - which is why a real estate license is essential. Brokers Many people assume that real estate agents and brokers are essentially the same position - but that is incorrect. In the real estate industry, a real estate agent is simply someone who has been licensed to sell property in whatever state they live in. A broker, on the other hand, is someone who has gotten additional licensing and is now able to start their own real estate firm. This means that they're able to hire additional agents and have people working underneath them, thus building a business in a particular area. Real Estate Paralegals There are many law firms that specialize specifically in real estate and that is where real estate paralegals come into play. A paralegal is an invaluable part of a firm's support staff in that they help make sure that things are running as efficiently as possible. They provide support to lawyers working on various transactions and, in a larger sense, make sure that documents and other important data are always in the hands of the people who need it the most. In addition to offering help with the legalities of various transactions, they also need to know as much as possible about regulatory compliance in the various fields of real estate as well. Property Managers Property managers are those individuals who have been hired by a property owner to oversee the day-to-day operations of said dwelling. It could be the property owner themselves, but this isn't always the case. In an apartment complex, for example, a property manager would be responsible for all back office tasks like collecting rent and handling maintenance requests. In the context of a private dwelling that someone is renting out, the job may simply come down to handling tenant needs as they come up. With regard to single family homes, it's not uncommon for a property manager to oversee multiple dwellings at the same time - making a real estate license (and the credibility that comes with it) crucial given the fact that it is an income-based property. Commercial Property Managers Commercial property managers are those professionals who are tasked with overseeing any non-residential property. This means places like office buildings, retail locations, storage facilities and more. Depending on who they are employed by it would not be uncommon to see them handle shopping centers as well. Commercial property managers will need to be adept at tracking rental income rates, total monthly expenses and other important jobs. They'll also be responsible for handling work orders and general property maintenance and will need to make sure that their properties are following all local and federal regulations. Foreclosure Specialists Finally, we arrive at foreclosure specialists - those professionals who deal with foreclosure duties in particular. Their job is a complicated one, as the foreclosure process can often take a great deal of time. They'll need to carefully manage various cases and, for a deal to be closed successfully, they'll have to make sure that it meets all federal, state, and local requirements. Foreclosure specialists will both work with homeowners who may need to restructure their mortgage as well as investors who wish to sell a recently foreclosed upon property. Regardless, they'll need a real estate license in order to do so. If you'd like to find out more information about the types of jobs that require a real estate license or if you just have any additional questions about how to get your real estate license, we are happy to help. Call us today (888) 768-5285..
Practical advice for real estate agents

How to Avoid a Real Estate License Suspension

License suspension 1

The real estate industry is highly regulated, with each state granting licenses to individuals who complete specific studies and pass certification exams. Like any other type of license, a real estate

The real estate industry is highly regulated, with each state granting licenses to individuals who complete specific studies and pass certification exams. Like any other type of license, a real estate license is a privilege and can be taken away if an agent fails to abide by regulations set on the federal level or by their state. This means individuals who act unprofessionally and, as a result, receive a suspension cannot perform any real estate function requiring a license. Below are 10 common activities agents should avoid lest they face the consequences associated with a license suspension. 1. Mishandling clients’ money Real estate agents must always pay careful attention when handling a client’s money. Many agents who mishandle money don’t do so intentionally, but can still lead to a suspension (although stealing client money is a huge no-no obviously). In addition to losing a license, criminal charges could accompany the suspension. To avoid money mismanagement, agents should never use a personal account, always maintain accurate bank records, and ensure clients receive receipts for any transactions. 2. Failure to disclose Agents are required to be transparent about any financial interests they have to all other parties involved in a potential real estate transaction. An example would be if the agent is the buyer, seller, or investor of a property and asks a family member to represent them in the transaction. This rule is put into place to avoid possible conflicts of interests, however, by being upfront and honest by issuing full disclosure of personal interests in transactions, agents can keep their licenses intact. Another example is if an agent convinces a seller to not disclose certain types of problems with a home to make it easier to sell. 3. Criminal conviction Real estate agents convicted of crimes can potentially lose their licenses. How license losses are dealt with for criminal convictions will vary by state. The State of California is a no-nonsense state when it comes to prior or post-licensing criminal convictions. All agents must submit to a criminal background check and fingerprinting which stays on record. Individuals who receive their license and commit a crime, especially a felony, can find their license suspended. (The crime doesn’t have to be related to real estate.) 4. Mortgage fraud Agents engaging in mortgage fraud are highly likely to lose their licenses. This scenario typically unfolds when a client isn’t approved for a mortgage and the agent decides to adjust figures or disclose false information to make the sale and tells the client they were approved. This is not just a license suspension activity, it’s a criminal offense.. 5. Fail to cooperate with investigators If a regulatory agency receives a complaint or other red flag during an audit related to a specific agent, they’ll follow up with an investigation. Agents who ignore the requests of regulatory agencies or otherwise act uncooperatively can find themselves in hot water, including a potential loss of a license. 6. Failure to meet licensing requirements A common reason why agents lose their license is they get too busy to follow up on their continuing education (CE), which is a requirement in most instances (specifics are determined by individual states). This can be avoided by not leaving CE needed for licensing requirements to the last minute or skipping them. 7. Step across the line of other professionals Good real estate agents know the boundaries of what is in their realm and what’s best left up to other professionals. For instance, an agent should never try to offer advice that is outside their area of expertise. Examples would be inspectors, attorneys, and appraisers—if questionsor concerns arise, they should always be routed to the right individual. 8. Confidentiality Anything clients tell their agents should be assumed to be confidential. This includes occupation, marital status, family members’ names, or other personal details a client shares. For instance, if a real estate agent nets a huge sale for a celebrity, this cannot be disclosed publicly because it violates the privacy of the high-profile individual. 9. Violation of the Fair Housing Act The Fair Housing Act was designed to prevent people being discriminated against when they looked to sell, buy, or rent property. This act prohibits discrimination in housing due to race, sex, color, national origin, religion, disability, or familial status. Violations of the Fair Housing Act are serious offenses and agents will lose their license. 10. Failure to supervise Real estate brokers are responsible for any sales agents they work with and it’s their duty to ensure all agents comply with regulatory standards. To avoid failure to supervise, brokers can provide ongoing training, require regular check-ins, conduct license monitoring, and offer an open-door policy for agents. These are 10 major reasons why real estate agents lose licenses. However, there are numerous other acts that lead to license suspensions. Real estate professionals are wise to thoroughly understand both federal and state rules to ensure they don’t inadvertently break them.
Practical advice for real estate agents

Overcoming the Fear of Hosting Open Houses

Openhousephoto

Real estate agents who are new to the game often face real fears and insecurities when it comes to hosting open houses. If you’re a new agent, you’re definitely not alone. However, by following some

Real estate agents who are new to the game often face real fears and insecurities when it comes to hosting open houses. If you’re a new agent, you’re definitely not alone. However, by following some best practices, you can gain confidence and get over the hurdle of being anxious about open houses. In the long-term, your new self-assurance will boost your ability to sell, have happier clients, keep yourself and your clients safe, and earn more commissions. To help overcome your fear of hosting open houses and enjoying a successful event, try the following four tips. 1. Practice Talking to Strangers Real estate agents aren’t unlike other people, they too often experience a fear of speaking in front of strangers. To overcome your fear of initiating conversations with strangers, try meeting new people outside of real estate and practice talking with them. Since they’re not a client or a professional you’re trying to do business with, the pressure will be off, and you can focus on having genuine conversations. Once that fear is overcome, enlist a colleague or two to practice open-house conversations. Be willing to accept suggestions or constructive criticism and lean on their experience to strengthen yours. Before your first open house, practice a script in front of a mirror so you become more comfortable and confident with your words. Then, at least for your first few open houses, ask a partner to come with you to help smooth the path and offer guidance during the event. 2. Visit Other Open Houses While your colleagues are likely going to be a massive help, nothing beats seeing a seasoned real estate agent in action at an open house. Ask other real estate agents you know if they wouldn’t mind you tagging along to watch them and learn their strategies. You can also attend open houses run by agents who you don’t know and ask them if you can please observe. A benefit here is you can ask them questions and learn how they answer—or you can simply observe what buyers want to know, learn the common questions homebuyers tend to have, and how experienced agents field their questions. 3. Use Good Strategies to Boost Open House Success All agents, new and veterans, experience a level of fearfulness that no one will show up at their open house. Unfortunately, factors outside of your control, such as horrible or beautiful weather, can impact the number of interested people who attend an open house. To ensure a great turnout, try the following strategies to boost your open house success. Place directional signs, the more the better. GPS the listing of the home you’re featuring and look for strategic street corners where you can post signs to drive more traffic. Use social media to send out invites to your open house and post updates as the date gets closer. Go old-school and walk through the neighborhood and leave invitations brochures at homes or ask local business owners if you can post a flyer advertising your open house. Place balloons on signs and on the home’s mailbox. Be sure to include open house dates in your Zillow and other online listings. Offer free food – this almost always attracts neighbors, gawkers, or potential buyers. Even if visitors have no intention or interest of buying a home, others who are seeking a home and see lots of cars and people at a house will stop by to see what’s causing the buzz or simply to curb their feelings of FOMO. You don’t even have to invest a ton of money in your marketing strategies. Flyers and signs can easily be made at a local printer or big-box stores, such as Kinko or Staples. For food, skip the caterers and throw a few hot dogs on the grill, buy food platters (e.g. cheese, vegetable, or fruit) at the local grocery, or bake some cookies—as a bonus that’ll make the home smell inviting. 4. Learn Strategies to Stay Safe While an open house by nature invites you to interact with strangers in a potentially vacant home, many agents rightfully have a fear of what if someone with nefarious intentions approaches them. Always hold open houses in the daylight hours and make sure everyone in the office knows where the home you’re featuring is located. You can also plan to set designated times to check in with other agents by text/ To further increase your safety, never share too much personal information about yourself or your clients to prospective buyers—some may be there to case the house or seek information for identity theft or to commit other crimes. Practicing these and other safety practices will help give you peace of mind so you can focus on the task at hand—selling your listing. Overcoming the fear of hosting open houses may seem like a tall order, but like anything else in life, it takes familiarity and practice. By using these in your strategies, you’ll be a pro in no time at all.
Practical advice for real estate agents

What Are the Four Main Types of Real Estate?

Commercial

When investing in real estate, it’s important to know the various types and their function. As one of the most diverse industries in the world, many people considering putting money into this area

When investing in real estate, it’s important to know the various types and their function. As one of the most diverse industries in the world, many people considering putting money into this area may not be sure what specific types exist or how they function. Take a look at the 4 main types of real estate. Residential Real Estate This is real estate of any type that is used for residential needs. That includes the typical single family home but also other types of property. It is the largest component of the real estate market. Residential real estate is a large component of the investment market. Some examples of residential real estate include: Single-family homes Townhomes Condominiums Cooperatives (co-ops) Duplex Triplex Fourplex Mobile homes Commercial Real Estate Commercial real estate is any type of property that’s used for business purposes. Also known as CRE property, there are many forms. This type of real estate makes up about half as much of the U.S. market as residential. It is important and can be a valuable investment opportunity. Some examples ofcommercial real estate include: Retail space including strip malls, indoor malls, restaurants, and other shops Office space including office parks, medical centers, and office towers Self-storage spaces Parking lots and parking garages Movie theaters Grocery stores Leisure and hospitality property Apartment complexes and mobile home parks fall into commercial property as well, even though people live there. That’s because they are not owner-occupied. Industrial Real Estate This type of real estate is typically used for manufacturing and production across numerous industries. This is a working type of real estate because it involves more elaborate fixtures and equipment. Some types of industrial real estate include: Manufacturing properties Warehouses Freezer and refrigerated storage buildings Production facilities, including food processing locations Power plants Data processing locations, including data server locations Research and development organizations Land When the term “land” is used in reference to real estate, it typically refers to vacant or underdeveloped property. It’s easy to see what land entails, but it includes a range of property types, including: All types of undeveloped land Recreational land, including areas used for fishing or hunting Farms Ranches Forested areas and timberland Orchards Prior to their development, planned urban developments and subdivision properties also fall into this category. Special Purpose Some real estate is called special purpose. This type of real estate is typically any real estate that is used by the public. These properties may sometimes be purpose-built properties because they typically have a specific function. Some examples include: Transit-related properties Gas stations Mixed-use projects that may mix residential with office space or retail Senior living communities Churches and other types of places of worship Recreational facilities such as sports courts and golf courses Schools Student housing near schools The more you know about the real estate market, the better you can make decisions about how to invest in it for yourself or for others.
Practical advice for real estate agents

The Pandemic and California's Real Estate Rental Market

Pandemic and real estate

The rental market in California has seen some significant changes as a result of the pandemic, the resulting jobs crisis, and changes to the economy as a whole. Large cities have seen some of the biggest

The rental market in California has seen some significant changes as a result of the pandemic, the resulting jobs crisis, and changes to the economy as a whole. Large cities have seen some of the biggest changes. As workers ended up furloughed or even with job loss after pandemic problems hit businesses hard, the trickle-down effect impacted the real estate markets too. Here are some thoughts on those impacts and what they might mean for the future. Laid-Off Workers Leaving Multi-Family Units Workers facing job losses or furloughs who live in big cities find themselves in a position where they need to leave their costly apartments. Without income, the rent becomes unmanageable. However, these job losses have extended longer than many people anticipated, and as such many of these apartments have been left vacant. The result of these vacancies is rent falling in many major cities. Vacant apartments cost landlords money, and they are better served by lowering the rent to bring in tenants than leaving the apartments empty. As uncertainty about the economic future of the country and the state of California lingers, real estate experts do not anticipate seeing a change in this trend. Fewer People Moving Out on Their Own Another factor that is impacting the rental markets in large cities inCalifornia is the number of people choosing not to move out on their own. The economic uncertainty and job losses have led many people to choose not to form new rental households. Instead, they are choosing to stay with roommates or family longer because they do not have the money to pay rent for a new household. This trend is further driving down rental costs in these larger areas. Suburban Areas Seeing Increases While large cities are seeing decreased numbers of renters, those displaced tenants need to find somewhere to live. As a result, suburban areas are seeing an increase as people flee the high-cost cities in search of more affordable rentals. The multifamily market segment seems to be increasing in suburban communities or areas that have traditionally lower incomes. If the housing market starts to improve, these areas will likely see the growth first before people feel comfortable moving back into the city. Changes May Last Several Years How long will these effects last? Only time will tell, but a recent post in the L.A. Times indicates the pandemic’s effect on the California real estate markets may last through 2023. Investors and renters need to be prepared for long-term effects and changes as they navigate this new normal for the next few years. If you are considering entering the market as a renter or an investor, or if you are currently part of the market, understanding these changes and shifts is important. Armed with the right knowledge, you can enter the markets confidently and make wise choices about your own real estate investments.
Practical advice for real estate agents

Why Now is a Good Time to Own a Single Family Rental

Owning a rental property

Single-family rental properties experienced more than 10 percent year-over-year increases during the last quarter of 2021. That exponential growth more than tripled the 3.2 percent seen in 2020. These

Single-family rental properties experienced more than 10 percent year-over-year increases during the last quarter of 2021. That exponential growth more than tripled the 3.2 percent seen in 2020. These and other factors indicate 2022 could be a banner year for single-family rentals, and now is an excellent time to invest in a property. Understandably, many cash-flush people are hesitant to purchase single-family homes because they see splashy headlines about rising prices. It’s certainly true the value of residential properties advanced during 2021. Reports indicate the median cost of a home rose by more than 16 percent from 2020 to 2021. Potential landlords may also want to consider data that shows those real estate investments saw values rise by 416 percent from 1980 to 2020. Considering single-family rental units represent a long-term investment in many portfolios, buying sooner rather than later appears to be the best approach. The following are other reasons savvy real estate investors are not sitting on their hands while others cash in on the single-family rental trend. Stability: Buying stocks tends to be a more risky way to try to increase personal wealth. Real estate does not experience the volatility of the stock market. Property value dips few and far between. Even then, they consistently rebound, making single-family rentals a more secure long-term investment. Inflation Proof: Fixed-rate mortgages do not suffer the whims of inflation. And just as that monthly premium remains static, real estate prices generally stay ahead of inflation. Steady Revenue: Single-family rental incomes continue to rise year after year, making them a preferred choice among people who prefer economic stability. The country also continues to struggle with an annual inventory shortage. These factors lead more people to rent single-family homes and property owners continue to reap stability benefits. Quality Renters: Multi-family properties and large apartment complexes too often struggle to find suitable renters. Issues such as damage, lack of adequate cleanliness, and upkeep failures cause property owners to spend money unnecessarily to make repairs and hire exterminators. Single-family home renters are more inclined to treat the residence as if it were their own. Opportunities: Investors are not necessarily limited to buying single-family rentals in their immediate area. Buying real estate in places with notable return on investment has become a trending option. Screening potential renters and upkeep can be outsourced to a property management company and that expense can be rolled into the rent. The opportunities are boundless for people who want to generate passive income. It’s also important for people who are just starting to dip their toes into real estate and other investment markets to consider a single-family rental through a different lens. Long-term thinkers sometimes purchase their last home first and rent it out. The idea is to buy a property for retirement or resale when leaving the workforce. Its growing equity can also be leveraged along the way to take advantage of financial opportunities. Qualified borrowers have wide-reaching access to single-family rental property loans, and rates remain historically low. That may change as the Fed mulls the notion of raising interest rates. When considering all of the moving factors, it’s abundantly clear the time to buy a single-family rental property is right now.
Practical advice for real estate agents

Safety Tips To Keep Your New Home Secure

Safety tips to keep your

As a real estate agent, your clients may ask you for tips in order to keep the home you just sold them safe. It's important to take safety seriously, and for many buyers this may mean more than

As a real estate agent, your clients may ask you for tips in order to keep the home you just sold them safe. It's important to take safety seriously, and for many buyers this may mean more than simply locking doors at night. There are some best practices around safety that should be top of mind as you help buyers with after sale service. Recommend Your Clients Change All the Locks When They Move In In all likelihood, lots of people have touched the keys to the home before you closed escrow. From other agents, appraisers, termite companies and vendors you don't know who might have a current key. So for obvious reasons, buyers should change the locks right at the close or certainly before they move in and start remodeling. While changing locks isn’t something that we necessarily teach in real estate school it is a basic thing that should be done. Conceal Alarm System Wiring Many clients elect to install an alarm system after the property closes. During the install it’s important to remind the buyers to hide all the wiring thereby greatly lowering the risk of someone cutting it to disable the alarm. Taking the time to hide wiring is much safer, even if it costs a little more for installation. In all likelihood, if the buyer is using a professional installation company they will hide wires for the client but in the event the client buys a wired system on Amazon or something, they might need to be reminded to conceal them. Landscape With Safety in Mind Remind the buyer that when they landscape their new home make sure to keep entryways clear. Large bushes right up against the house, especially near the doors, are prime places for criminals to hide. Tell Your Clients - Get To Know Neighbors Neighbors tend to look out for properties in the neighborhood and while your buyer doesn’t have to become best friends with others in your neighborhood it's a good idea to be on (at least) speaking terms with as many of them as possible. Light Up Any Dark Areas If there are big pockets of darkness around the home it's generally worth the cost to put up some lights. Most people who break into homes and commit similar types of crimes do so when there's an easy opportunity for them. If the home is well lit criminals are less likely to see it as a good target. Set a Safety Routine It's a good idea for all of us to get in the habit of safety to properly protect our home and its contents. Simple steps like a nightly check of all the doors and windows, along with setting a schedule for checking things like smoke alarms, outside lights, and the alarm system. By following some simple safety precautions your clients can feel secure in your space, reduce theft and get more enjoyment out of their new home. Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

6 Home Design Trends To Watch in 2022

Home decor

The one constant in home decor is that tastes are always changing. The styles that turned heads just a few years ago are now starting to roll eyes. What can you do to keep your home looking modern?

The one constant in home decor is that tastes are always changing. The styles that turned heads just a few years ago are now starting to roll eyes. What can you do to keep your home looking modern? Here’s a preview of what you’ll see in the coming year. Patterned Hardwood Floors Your home is more than just a place to dwell - it’s a way for you to express yourself. And while anyone can get a carpet, having a patterned hardwood floor is a true testament to your unique personality. A shape or pattern on your floor breaks up the monotony of plain flooring while adding an individual flourish that makes your floor all your own. Taking a minimalist approach can also be highly effective. Instead of making a big shape, you can sporadically accent your floor with wood of a different shade. Think of a basketball court and the different pieces of wood you might see on the floor. It’s a neat way to approach the traditional yet trendy hardwood floor. Black Accents An overly black color scheme can appear a bit drab or even morbid. But using black accents to add to a bright color scheme is highly effective. The key is the idea of highlighting negative space -- in other words, the area surrounding objects in the room. If those items simply exist in a white room, they’re just there. A bit of black to accentuate your decor can break up the white, making the room appear bigger, fuller and more elegantly decorated. Of course, it’s easy to get carried away with accents of any kind, so start small and take a slow but steady approach toward getting your rooms to pop. Natural Lighting It’s well-known that the sun provides more than light -- it also provides a nice little boost of serotonin, which helps increase moods. Plus, natural light helps to save on lighting costs and reduces strain on the environment. Therefore, natural lighting is a natural fit in modern homes. Large windows and skylights are becoming more commonplace, enabling homeowners to save money while getting more exposure to the sun. It’s a win-win that benefits everyone, while also giving you a more fashionable home. Light Colored Floors With carpets less popular in modern times, your flooring matters more than ever. And a light colored floor can help to make your rooms look bigger and brighter. What’s more, light colored flooring pairs well with the patterns floors we discussed earlier, giving you something bold to go alongside a floor that’s easy on the eyes. Best of all, a light floor works in any type of house, from a sleek modern home to a more traditional cottage. Versatile Spaces/Home Offices With so many people working from home these days, an office is a must in any home. But what happens when you go back to work, especially if it’s not a full-time return to the office? You want a room that can function as an office, but can also be used in other ways. A room that’s an office now can also become a lounge, a display room, a guest room or any number of purposes. Use your imagination and find decor that works for the office and for any other uses you might have for that space. Mixing Dark and Earthy Tones Earth tones -- colors you typically see outside -- are frequently cited as home design staples. However, it’s not always clear how you should work in those colors. Mixing dark colors into those earthy tones helps those unique colors to stand out amid dark backgrounds. The combination can really make your earth tones pop, especially if you’re already utilizing bright rooms with light floorings and plenty of natural light. It’s a winning formula that’s sure to wow your guests and put a smile on your face every day.
Practical advice for real estate agents

The Benefits of Owning Real Estate

Owning Real Estate

Real estate is the biggest purchase any of us will ever make. With such a hefty price tag, you want to make sure buying property is worth your while. The good news is that purchasing real estate is

Real estate is the biggest purchase any of us will ever make. With such a hefty price tag, you want to make sure buying property is worth your while. The good news is that purchasing real estate is highly beneficial and can pay significant dividends in a variety of ways, both now and in the future. Let’s take a look at some of the best parts of owning real estate. Steady Passive Income Many people think of owning real estate in practical terms -- if I buy a home, I don’t have to worry about paying rent or moving every few years. But real estate provides so much more than that type of peace of mind, regardless of what you’re investing in or your reasons for choosing to invest. Real estate can yield tremendous financial benefits. The most notable perk is that real estate can be a source of passive income. Houses generally appreciate in value at a rate that far outpaces inflation. Real estate value has increased by just over 5 percent per year over the last 30 years, with increases this year the highest they’ve been in more than 45 years. These increases make real estate a great decision if you’re looking to set down roots or start a family. It’s an even better proposition if you’re purchasing properties for renting. Financial Security Regardless of anyone’s financial situation, one constant remains true – everyone wants to have financial stability. Real estate investments help in that area by providing much-needed financial security. The equity built into real estate provides a true cushion and options in case times get tough. Rent payments received can help to pay off your investment virtually by themselves. And the longer you own property and the longer you collect rent, the more those properties will be worth, and the more security you’ll achieve. Tax Exemptions Taxes can be a bother to some, but to real estate owners, taxes aren’t so bad. Why? Because there’s so much benefit that can be derived from owning property. If you’re willing to look, you can find some great tax-based incentives that can save you some serious money. From exemptions based on locations and age to religious exemptions, there are plenty of options at your disposal. Tax exemptions and deductions can knock costly property taxes down significantly, if not eliminate them outright. Do your homework and see what’s available based on your situation and desired property. Stability We’ve mentioned the steady appreciation of real estate property values, and that’s a benefit that goes beyond making you money. It’s also assurance that your investment won’t go to waste. Stock can lose value for a multitude of reasons, but real estate’s value always remains high. There’s always a demand for property, and the physical nature of real estate means your properties will always be desirable to someone. Nobody can predict the future. But the proven growth of real estate is as sure a thing as you’ll find. That’s especially important in the modern climate, when the pandemic and supply chain issues can have drastic ramifications on the economy. Real estate is a safe yet lucrative option that will guarantee your wealth if done properly.
Practical advice for real estate agents

When Is The Best Time To Buy A House?

House buying

As you look to improve your living situation, that age-old question has likely come up: “Is it really a good time to buy a house?” There’s no one right answer for everyone, of course. But with

As you look to improve your living situation, that age-old question has likely come up: “Is it really a good time to buy a house?” There’s no one right answer for everyone, of course. But with a look at the most favorable months for home buying, the overall market conditions, and your personal factors, you can make the best decision for your needs. To help you get started, here’s a look at what to consider on your mission to find the best time to buy a house. Find Favorable Months The time of the year you plan to buy a home matters when it comes to pricing, inventory, and ease of tackling your move. Each real estate market responds to the seasons differently, especially when severe weather systems come into play. In areas with heavy snowfall, for example, winter brings a marked decrease in inventory because many people don’t want to move in the snow. In tornado-prone areas, the spring might come with lower inventory numbers instead. The silver lining is that inventory decreases bring down house prices due to the low competition for housing. In general, late summer and early fall offer the best balance of inventory and pricing. To make sure, just ask a real estate agent in your area for the inside scoop about the best months for homebuying. Look at the Market Conditions Market conditions can have a big impact on everything from inventory and pricing to mortgage terms and interest rates. To figure out if the market favors your homebuying journey, take a good look at the overall real estate market conditions nationwide and in your area. Then, look at the current state of the economy along with projections for the coming year. After that, you must look at your local job market, including the unemployment rate, to see how your local economy is faring. Then, look at the current state of the economy along with projections for the coming year. After that, you must look at your local job market, including the unemployment rate, to see how your local economy is faring. Consider When It’s the Best Time for You No matter what the market is doing, your homebuying journey must happen on your time schedule. If you need housing right away and cannot find rentals that suit your needs, then it might be wise to start looking for a home to buy. Before you can do that, you must make sure that your income, savings, and credit score are ready for the mortgage application process. If everything lines up, use your findings from the prior sections to get ready for what lies ahead. In periods of excellent housing availability, you’ll need to prepare for higher prices, bidding wars, and lots of showing appointments. When inventory is low, prices might come down, but you’ll have to look long and hard for a property that meets all your needs. As you consider all these factors, it’ll become quite clear if it’s a good time to buy a home or if you should wait it out a bit. Just remember that market conditions can always change either way, so waiting it out might not get you the results you seek. But as long as you practice your due diligence, you’re on the right track to ensuring your success in properly timing your home purchase.
Practical advice for real estate agents

7 Ways To Sell Your Listing In 7 Days

Ways to sell your sold listing

The need for a quick sale is prompted by an opportunity. People, family, job change, or other needs mean that your client has to sell fast. No matter the reasons, a quick sale can often be a tough promise

The need for a quick sale is prompted by an opportunity. People, family, job change, or other needs mean that your client has to sell fast. No matter the reasons, a quick sale can often be a tough promise to make, even in a booming real estate market. Employing the tactics below can give you and your client the best chance of selling quickly for the price that you want. 1. Cultivate contacts with as-is buyers. House flippers and people who buy real estate for the rental income are two groups who are typically open to as-is purchases and quick closing. Keep a list of these buyers as you encounter them and reach out when you have a property you want to sell in 7 days. It pays to keep these relationships fresh even when you do not have a home to sell quickly. Email regularly to check in and ask about the types of properties they are currently seeking. Forward news articles that are of interest. By reaching out regularly, you keep yourself top of mind so they are quick to open your emails when you have a great property to share. 2. Give your sellers a crash course on staging. First impressions always matter, but never as much as they do when you want to sell fast. Helping your sellers prep their home for market can make a huge difference in your results. Talk to them about the importance of tucking away personal items and removing furnishings to make rooms look bigger. Teach them how to show off features like great storage. In some cases, it can be worth the expense of bringing in professional home stagers. By ensuring that the home looks beautiful and inviting for every open house and tour, you can increase the chances of winning a buyer's heart. 3. Suggest some quick, high-impact updates. When you want to sell a listing in 7 days, there's no time for an extensive kitchen remodeling project. But, small, high-impact updates can help a lot. Start with a focus on curb appeal. A freshly painted home entrance and neatly manicured landscaping start things off on the right foot. Inside, a fresh coat of paint can change the entire feel of a room. Finalize the effect with new lighting that makes the home look bright and welcoming. 4. Take amazing photos. With today's phones, everyone has the ability to take images worthy of Architectural Digest. Increasing your skill with natural lighting photography can help you get great results. Professional photography lighting may be needed to get the best results in some rooms. The right lighting and composition can truly showcase the elements that makethis property the perfect new home for one lucky buyer. 5. Invest in paid social media. Organic growth on your social media channels helps with day-to-day exposure. But, when you have a special listing that you want to move fast, it can pay to invest in promoted posts. Careful audience curation ensures that your posts show up in front of the audience most likely to want to look at the home for sale. It is also a good idea to be on multiple platforms. Facebook is a common choice, but do not neglect Instagram and Pinterest. Even TikTok can be useful. There are a number of agents who have amassed massive followings by presenting home tours on the video short app. 6. Optimize your real estate listings. Listing sites like Zillow and Trulia offer far more listing customization than the MLS board does. Update your written description of the property with a call to action. Include your name and phone number and tell interested buyers how to get in touch. You should also update your listing photos for the best impact. These sites automatically add all the images from your local MLS. Choose the best image of the front of the property and put it in image slot #1. For extra impact, edit the photo to add a custom banner with your contact information and your logo. 7. List low and start a bidding war. An expert with Forbes Real Estate Council said that she had great success listing great homes for around 10% less than their current value. The combination of a well-staged home with great pictures and a low selling price brings in a ton of interest. Potential buyers are intrigued because one of the best looking houses in the area is also going for far less than comparable properties. By the time potential buyers are making offers, they will often push the price much closer to the seller's target price. There is no one strategy that will guarantee a sale in one week. But, using the tips above can dramatically increase your chances of closing the deal quickly. Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

How To Host Community Events

Community events

One of the best ways to ensure success as a real estate agent is to be an active and contributing member of your local community. Being a recognizable face provides you with a sustainable stream of

One of the best ways to ensure success as a real estate agent is to be an active and contributing member of your local community. Being a recognizable face provides you with a sustainable stream of prospects. It also gives you a chance to show your community that you care. Hosting community events allows you to connect with neighbors, build new connections, and highlight the vibrant culture of your local area. Best Community Events for Real Estate Agents There are many types of events you can organize to give something back to your community. The right ones for you will depend on your interests, talents, and what works best with the community around you. A few great examples: holiday events. During the summer months, consider 4th of July outdoor concerts, picnics, and other fun in the sun. Spring provides opportunities for Easter Egg hunts. Get creative with charitable drives at Thanksgiving or Christmas. professional workshops. These types of events can bring together groups who are interested in subjects like real estate investing or home improvement. game nights. Choose a local charity to support with raffles or bingo, then invite everyone to have fun. Benefits of Putting on Community Events A community event can be a lot of work, but it provides great rewards for you and your community. Some of the benefits you can see from hosting an event: awareness of your brand. This is a chance to get face to face with members of your community. Hosting regular events helps you solidify your role as the real estate agent local people think of first. networking. People typically find a real estate agent by either approaching one they already know, or talking to someone in the community who they trust. By hosting events, you get a chance to meet new people and make valuable connections. goodwill. Hosting a memorable evening or contributing to a local cause is something people remember. How to Host an Event Putting together a successful event takes a lot of work and organization. Think about what you will need for your event to work. First, set a budget. This sets the stage for everything else that follows and allows you to determine the scope of your event. Who is the optimal audience for your event? Think of the types of people you represent as a real estate agent and what would interest them most. If you mostly work with people who have small children, a child-oriented event like meeting Santa can be a great fit. An agent who works with retirees may decide to host a lecture or a classic rock music night. Will you provide food and drinks at the event? Are there going to be giveaways or gift bags? See who you can connect with in the community for this. For instance, you can hire a local caterer for food, or source gifts and prizes from local businesses. Partnering with other local businesses can help defray costs and share the benefits. For instance, you can reach out to a local event space for donated space for a charity event. Local radio stations may be amenable to interviewing you before the event or hosting a show from your location. Ask businesses in the community to put up posters and flyers to promote the event. Determine how you will collect contact information from attendees. For small events, pre-registering or having a sign in sheet is a great way to get names, phone numbers and emails. for larger events, consider options like drawings where people share their contact info on either their business cards or a printed entry. Once you have a concept and a place to host, it's time to start working out the details. Will you need event insurance? Do you need to set up a schedule and fill it with speakers? Do you need materials like signs, agendas, or worksheets? Making the Most of the Benefits A successful event can provide returns for weeks and months afterward. Create an event hashtag and encourage people to post their photos from the occasion. Take quality pictures of your own and print them to display in your office. After your event, reach out and thank everyone who contributed. This sort of appreciation can cement the good will you generated by bringing everyone together. If an event works well, consider making it an annual occasion. The more years you are able to host this event, the deeper your connections to your community, and your influence in it become. Over time, you become the person people think of first when they are ready to buy or sell a local home. You'll be recognized as someone friendly and helpful, and just the sort of person they want in their corner when it comes to this important transaction. Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

Prospecting vs. Advertising

Prospecting vs advertising

Both prospecting and advertising can be great ways to bring in more clients for your real estate business. As an agent, you'll probably want to spend your time doing a little of each. But it's

Both prospecting and advertising can be great ways to bring in more clients for your real estate business. As an agent, you'll probably want to spend your time doing a little of each. But it's important to spend the majority of your energy on the area that will be the most valuable to you and your career. To do that, you need a good understanding of both of these methods of gaining clients. Here's what to know about prospecting vs. advertising, so you can decide where you want to focus your efforts. What is Prospecting? Prospecting is the concept of looking for your ideal clients. When you prospect, you need to know who you're looking for, where to find them, and how to attract them. That sounds simple, but in practice it can take a lot of time and consideration. The first thing is to determine your dream clients, and understand who they are. You may be looking for high-end clients only, or you may want to target middle-income people moving to your area for the jobs that are being created. There are all kinds of client groups. When you prospect for clients, you want to be sure you have the right ones in mind. If you're not sure who they are yet, it's time to do some research and soul-searching. Once you have a client base that you're focused on targeting, the next step is to know where you can find them. You won't find most of your million dollar clients at the same places you'll find clients with more modest home-buying abilities, so knowing where to look is a big part of prospecting for your real estate clients. As you learn more about your clients, what they like to do, and where they're likely to be, you can start looking at ways to get in front of them. Yes, that translates to advertising. But it's a different way of advertising. You're targeting a much smaller group of people, and you're also looking for people who you want to work with. That's not to say you won't take on other clients, but some are much more ideal to your goals and future plans than others. Prospecting focuses specifically on that client group, above any others. What is Advertising? Advertising doesn't take your ideal clients into account. Instead, it casts a broader net when it comes to finding people who want to work with you to buy or sell realestate. In other words, it's open to nearly everyone who needs your services. But that doesn't mean you don't have a target market you're most interested in. You might even direct your advertising dollars toward that market -- but you're not seeking ideal clients. You're only seeking typical clients. Advertising is more about creating the conditions and interest levels that bring in the dream clients, as opposed to going out and specifically hunting for those clients, instead. As you do that, you'll also attract a lot of other clients that may not be ideal for you, but who will be clients you can work with or refer to others in the real estate profession. You may bring in a larger client base when you advertise versus when you prospect. But you'll need to be aware that some of these clients won't be a good fit for you. Many real estate agents advertise in ways that are very open and inviting to the largest number of clients. For example, you may want to consider a billboard, or an ad on a bus or park bench. You may also advertise online with sponsored posts on social media, or put magnetic signs on the sides of your car. All of those ways to advertise can work for you, depending on the kinds of clients you're trying to attract, where they're located, and how much they're exposed to the advertising you're creating. Which Option is Better? There's no right answer to which option is a better one. They're both good choices, and which one of them will be right for you depends on what you're working toward with your real estate career and client base. Many agents are very focused on a big group of clients, and they want to bring in as many people as possible. Others are more interested in a specific niche of clients, and they'll cultivate that instead of looking for a wider audience. If you work toward ideal clients, you can also help others along the way. What's the Bottom Line? The bottom line on prospecting vs. advertising for any real estate agent, is that it's very important to know what direction you want to take. That way, you can spend your time and energy on the right type of clients, and the kind of cultivating that's going to work for your career and your future. In short, prospecting usually takes more work, but can produce more specific results. Advertising may be less detailed, but won't be as targeted toward ideal clients. Many agents use a mix, to build a strong client base. Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

Why Realtors Should Use a Marketing Budget Template and Stick to it

Marketing budget and stick to it

As a newer agent, you might not really be sure about marketing or how much you should budget for your business. The good news is that your marketing budget can be whatever you want it to be, provided

As a newer agent, you might not really be sure about marketing or how much you should budget for your business. The good news is that your marketing budget can be whatever you want it to be, provided you can afford it. But you do need to spend some time setting up that budget and managing it correctly. Here's what to consider, and why you should use and stick to a marketing budget template. What's In It? The first thing to think about with a marketing budget template is what you want to put in it. You can find a template that's premade, but that might not give you all the areas you want to consider. It could also contain a lot of things you may not use or don't really need. That's not to say that premade marketing budget templates don't have any value, but only that you should carefully consider whether you want to use one, or would prefer to make a template of your own, that you can use and adjust as needed. Fixed Costs Fixed costs are one of the main sections that should be in a marketing budget template. These are the expenses that you have to incur when marketing. For example, that can be the yearly amount you've designated for client gifts or lunches. It could be the amount you spend every year on billboard ad space, putting your name on the side of a bus, or even buying business cards. Whatever you're doing to market yourself as a real estate agent, it's a fixed cost if it's stable and repeating at a certain price. Variable Costs Variable costs are just what they sound like. They're expenses that are part of your marketing budget, but that can change frequently. They aren't fixed, because they aren't the same all the time. But they're still very important and need to be included. For example, if you decide to spend more on seller leads one month, or you need to boost the sponsored posts you're putting on social media, those costs are variable. They're going to change all the time, and you can adjust them throughout the year. How Do You Make One? Making a marketing budget template as a real estate agent doesn't have to be difficult or confusing. You just need to know what specifics to include. Then you can set your amounts for each area, and come up with a total budget. As you move through the year, and record what you actually spent, you'll be able to see if you're on budget, under budget, or overspending in specific areas. That can mean making adjustments as needed, so the budget doesn't get out of control before you realize the problem. Monthly Spending Your monthly spending is one of the most important areas to track. You may create your real estate marketing budget for the entire year, but you don't want to just set it up and then forget about it until the year is over. Instead, you need to take a look at it every month, and make sure you see what you're really spending versus what you had planned to spend. If there's a big discrepancy, correcting it at that time helps to keep your budget on track. It's generally easier to make small changes more frequently. Defining Channels Every channel that you're using should be defined in the marketing budget. You don't want to leave anything out, or you'll end up with a budget that generally doesn't work for you. Whether you're a new real estate agent or you've been one for a long time, understanding your marketing budget can be a big part of how you handle your career. The more you plan for a budget that works for your needs, the more comfortable that budget will be. Some channels to think about adding include: Seller Leads Buyer Leads Open Houses SEO Social Media Billboards Photography Listing Advertising Print Advertising These may or may not be the kinds of channels you want to put into your marketing budget template. If you find that you aren't using some of these, or you need to break some of them down into additional categories, you can do that, as well. It's your budget template, and you should set it up the way you want it, so you'll get the most benefit from it. Keep in mind that a good template is one that you'll use, not one that looks fancy or that works for other people. Make sure you're creating it for you and your needs. What are the Benefits? The biggest benefit for you as a real estate agent is being able to truly see where your marketing budget is going. If you're spending too much and not sure why, or you don't feel like your marketing is getting the results you want, setting up a template is a great way to catch those kinds of problems. Then you can make changes that work for your future. Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

DIY Projects To Improve Your Home

Diy projects to improve your home

Are you looking to improve your home, either to get it ready to sell, or to make it more enjoyable to live in now? There are many DIY projects you can tackle to breathe new life into your home, without

Are you looking to improve your home, either to get it ready to sell, or to make it more enjoyable to live in now? There are many DIY projects you can tackle to breathe new life into your home, without spending a lot of money. Here are some you might want to consider. 1. Add Glass Cabinet Inserts Glass cabinets are all the rage. They let you display some of your most beautiful dishes while keeping them off of the counters, and they give the kitchen a bit more character. You can upgrade to glass cabinets without completely gutting your kitchen. Pick a couple of your cabinets and swap out the interior wood panels with glass sheets, keeping the overall look of the cabinet intact while providing visual interest in your kitchen. 2. Wallpaper Without Losing Your Mind If the thought of wallpapering gives you flashbacks to serious issues, consider a peel-and-stick option instead of a traditional glued wallpaper. This can add a pop of color to your favorite room or brighten up an otherwise drab corner, and you can do it in an afternoon. When styles change, there’s no need to scrape and scratch to remove the wallpaper. Just peel it off and replace it with something that better fits your tastes. 3. Update Dated Fixtures You’ll be surprised at the change if you remove a dated fixture and replace it with something more modern. Ceiling fans and lights go out of date quickly, but a simple swap will update the space. Since the wiring is already there, this does not have to be a complex project, and it can add quite a bit of character to the room. 4. Add Smart Home Features Is your home “smart?” New smart home features, like a self-programmable thermostat or a camera doorbell, can make it more enjoyable to live in, while also helping you add value to your home. You can upgrade your entertainment system to be easily controlled on a mobile device, or add a smart appliance in the kitchen to make cooking easier. Consider adding smart home features that transform the energy efficiency of the space or make it more intuitive to the way you use your home. 5. Make Your Closets More Usable Are your closets organized or chaotic? Sometimes a little refresh is what you need. Add shelving or hanging systems to the closet, then put in your belongings carefully to ensure you’re only keeping what you love. The closet organizing system will make it simpler to store your stuff in a useful way, and pairing down your items will keep the clutter at bay in the future. 6. Make a Home Office Many people are working and schooling from home these days, but they may not have a space to do so. Consider turning an unused or non-essential closet into a home office space or transforming the guest room into an office room. In a closet, a desk and custom shelving are all it takes to create an office space, and you can remove the doors to make it less confined. This change will make your home more functional, and it could show additional value to a potential buyer in the future. 7. Swap Out Hardware If your cabinets or closets are looking a little dated, consider swapping out the cabinet hardware. This will give the space an uplift without a lot of money invested. Updated, modern kitchen cabinet hardware can transform drab cabinets into something appealing, even without refinishing the wood. You can change hardware in your kitchen, bathroom, and closet or bedroom doors to make your home look more modern. 8. Paint It If something in your home is not fitting your goals for your space, paint it. You can paint walls, trim, doors, and cabinets. Make sure the type of paint you use is appropriate for the surface you are painting, and if you are painting wood, sand it first. Otherwise, a gallon of paint and an afternoon can transform many spaces in your home. 9. Add Some Shelving Many homes can benefit from additional storage, but knowing where to put it is not always easy. Look around your home and determine if you have any unused spaces where you can add shelving. Floating shelves, corner shelves, and built-in shelving can all give you additional storage and make use of an unused area of your home. You’ll love the function and look that this project brings. 10. Install Crown Molding Crown molding adds quite a bit of character to your home, and it’s easier to install than you might think. Pick up pre-painted crown molding at your hardware store, trim it to size, and use a nail gun to attach it. If you don’t have a saw, ask the hardware store to cut it for you. Fixing up your home doesn’t have to cost a lot or take much time. With a little work, you can transform your space and make it somewhere you are proud to live, all while adding value to it at the same time. Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

Referrals 101: How to Ask Your Friends and Family for Referrals

Referrals 101 how to ask your friends

One of the best and most rewarding ways to grow your real estate business is through referrals. Real estate referrals allow your family and friends to tell other people what a great agent you are, and

One of the best and most rewarding ways to grow your real estate business is through referrals. Real estate referrals allow your family and friends to tell other people what a great agent you are, and they carry quite a bit of weight with new potential customers. Yet asking for referrals from family and friends often feels awkward. Having a script in your back pocket that you can use to request referrals will help you overcome this feeling of awkwardness and get you those valuable referrals. Tips for Asking for Referrals Before delving into specific scripts to use, first consider these important tips. 1. Ask in Person If you are going to ask a friend or relative for a referral, ask in person. You are more likely to get a “yes” response when you are talking face-to-face with someone than if you ask via text or over email, which is much easier to ignore. 2. Request a Favor Ask for the referral as a favor to you. This tactic makes the person feel like they are your hero, and this positive feeling increases the chances they will do it. 3. Don’t Make It About You When having a conversation asking for a referral, make it about the person you’re talking to. Tell them were wonderful as a client or as a support to your growing business. Be genuine but supportive because this will help them want to help you out. 4. Leave Your Inner Salesperson Behind As a real estate agent you probably have a bit of salesmanship inside. This is not the place to let it out. Keep the conversation personable and natural. 5. Look for an In When asking for referrals from family and friends, you may not be working directly with a past client. These individuals can still give you referrals, but you need to find a way to ask. Watch for opportunists, such as questions like: How’s the business going? What’s the market like? Any big sales lately? After answering the question, ask for the favor of referrals. You’ll have the chance to show your knowledge and then turn the conversation around toward what you need. 6. Keep It Short Don’t linger over the referral request. People will zone out, and you won’t get any referrals. Keep it simple and short. 7. Give Them an Out A phrase like “no pressure” or “if you want” gives someone an out. No one wants to feel pressured into a referral they aren’t comfortable delivering. Real Estate Referral Program Scripts So just how do you ask for the referral. As you get more comfortable, the asking will get more natural, but while you’re learning, consider one of these scripts for in-person conversations: “Hey _____! It was great catching up today. Hey, you know I’ve been growing my real estate business. Could I ask a favor? If you know someone who is looking for an agent, give them my name. I’d really appreciate it!” “By the way, most of my business comes from word of mouth. I love how personal it is. If you know someone who could use my help, pass my name along. Thanks!” “By the way, do you know I sell real estate ? I’ve been doing it for ___ years, and I’ve been wondering if you have talked to anyone lately who’s thinking about buying or selling? If you do, would you keep me in mind? Thanks!” You should also have a script for social media contacts. Use social media posts to share a story, then request referrals: “Check out this recent sale! The Johnson family is so thrilled with their new home. Take a look at those walk-in closets! Do you know someone looking to buy? I can help!” — Make this post about the story of the sale, then tag on the ask at the end. “Did you know? 75% of my work comes from referrals from people like you. I couldn’t do it without you!” — This is effective because it makes it all about the reader, and you don't even ask! Yet if someone reading it needs real estate help, they’ll know you want a referral. Remember to tweak the script to make it personal to the conversation, and don’t linger on it. While you won’t get a referral every time, you will get some, and that will help your real estate business to grow. Remember to Follow Up Follow-up is key when looking for referrals, but it can feel very sales-y. Try to weave conversation about your real estate business into your conversations about life. It's a big part of your life, so it should be fairly easy to do this. Start Growing Your Network Finally, start growing your network of people you know in the local community. Get out and involved in community events and charity work. Add people to your social media pages when you meet them and take a genuine interest in them and their lives. This will help you grow a network that will eventually lead to more referrals. The key to making a successful request for a referral is to keep things personal. Take a genuine interest in the person you’re talking to, then weave the conversation around to your goal. This will help you appear less like a salesperson and more approachable, which will generate a better number of referrals for your business. Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

A Guide to Using a CRM As a New Agent

Crm as a new agent

Customer Relationship Management software (CRM) can be one of the best ways for a new real estate agent to become more effective at managing the varied aspects of their business. With CRM software, you

Customer Relationship Management software (CRM) can be one of the best ways for a new real estate agent to become more effective at managing the varied aspects of their business. With CRM software, you will be able to make better use of your time, enhance your sales and marketing efforts, gain practical knowledge concerning lead generation and servicing, client contacts, deal forecasting and profitability, and gain a powerful sales reporting tool. Use it to schedule your bookings and appointments, manage more leads and close more deals. Chances are that if you join an established brokerage firm as a newly-licensed agent, there will already be a CRM in place. However, based on 2021 information, here's an overview of the 10 most-highly-rated platforms on the market in 2021. They are tailored to help you become the real estate "superstar" you want to be. Monday CRM This award-winning software boasts an extremely user-friendly and intuitive interface and is thoroughly customizable with no need for coding or IT. It's also extremely flexible and allows high-level collaboration between sales, marketing & customer service teams. With a 9.9 rating on a 10-point scale, it also offers a 14-day free trial and is budget-friendly at a rate of $8 per month per user, with a minimum of three users. Pipedrive This highly-rated CRM puts the focus on managing leads and closing deals, with the ability to easily track calls, emails and contact history, in addition to more than 150 advanced integrations. It is suitable both for small business and enterprise use, and features an exceptional customer support response time of one minute or less. It, too, is priced per user, at a current rate of $12.50 a month,and has a 14-day free trial. Fresh sales This CRM offers an automation solution that simplifies both pipeline tracking and individual account management for sales teams. With drag-and-drop navigation, and a built-in ability to predict revenue and forecast sales, it is highly customizable and relies on AI to help users with sales forecasts and revenue predictions. It is probably best for sales teams that will benefit from insights into the best deals to pursue. It offers a 21-day free review, but its more expensive than the previous two options. KEAP This platform, available as a mobile Android app, gives users the ability to easily integrate CRM, marketing and sales automation and payments. Agents can personalize messages sent to clients or leads, automate follow ups, access all client activity in one place, and sync with Gmail or Outlook inboxes. With a strong focus on tracking of customer activity, this is a good CRM for a single user interested in client management and messaging. It also offers a 14-day free trial and is reasonably priced. Capsule The biggest advantage of this CRM is its ease of use and quick setup. Although simplicity may be its major attraction, it offers the ability to attach an unlimited number of documents to lead records, in addition to the ability to share leads with other team members. Deemed highly advantageous for new real estate agents, it requires minimal training and offers a generous 30-day trial. It,too, can be integrated with Gmail or outlook. Data import or export is also easy with Capsule. VCITA If you're seeking a CRM designed for small businesses, this might be the perfect choice for you. It is flexible and intuitive, but still offers integration with dozens of other platforms, and has strong tools to maximize customer engagement and track follow-up efforts. In addition, it provides a distinctive client portal that allows for some unique self-service use and easy exchange of documentation. It not only includes tools for customizable workflow automation and a built-in billing and invoicing system, but it is available for both Android and iOS mobile apps. VCITA offers a 14-day trial period and pricing varies. Whether you are a solo entrepreneur or a member of a real estate team, there are many different software packages that you might consider. Each will have pros and cons, and not all are best for newly-licensed real estate agents. Deciding which one will best suit your needs can be difficult. In general, cloud-hosted solutions that can be quickly deployed offer the most flexibility, and those with a large user community and good support network will typically be easier to set up and use. Many CRMs offer a free trial but beware of "free" or very low-price software. Look for a CRM with the ability to connect or integrate with other services you use. Read the reviews of the various products, thoroughly analyze your personal needs and expectations, evaluate CRM support-team availability and, if possible, talk to other users and ask for advice and insights from experienced brokers and other real estate professionals before making a decision. The free trials offered by most CRMs can provide needed time for you to evaluate the ease of use and suitability of a specific platform. However, understand that there are distinct advantages to be gained from early adoption of a CRM as you begin your real estate career and look forward to success in the exciting world of real estate. To read more about how to begin your career and become a real estate agent and to read more success stories from other agents you can go to our website to learn more https://www.adhischools.com. Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

How to Optimize Social Media as a Real Estate Agent

Real estate social media strategy

The basic goal of having a professional presence on social media is to increase your visibility among prospective clients. Your goal should be to establish trust and a professional persona, "friends"

The basic goal of having a professional presence on social media is to increase your visibility among prospective clients. Your goal should be to establish trust and a professional persona, "friends" and “likes" are a by-product of your content but should not be the goal. I’m going to go through the various platforms in this article and explain how they can be used to obtain business. If you’re wondering what to post online, I wrote an article about this here that might be of interest to you. You should strive to develop and maintain a social media presence that is diverse and steady and demonstrates to the public that you are knowledgeable and competent and likable. Does that sound like a tall order? It does not have to be. It doesn't have to take much time each week, but your activity on the various platforms should be coordinated and deliberate. You don’t have to be a professional writer, nor an accomplished photographer, but you should strive for personable and authentic posts. The Giants of Social Media The big four social media platforms are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn with TikTok quickly accelerating and hoping to catch up to the established players. This will change over time, however. If you read old articles on the business of social media you’ll see references to Flickr, Myspace and even Friendster so I know that this article isn’t going to age well - but that’s kind of the point. Being able to bob and weave and pivot to where the puck is “going to be” will help you stay fresh and relevant as a business person. You really have to be fine with trying different approaches on all platforms. Some real estate agents find YouTube to be highly effective, while others migrate in the direction of short form TikTok videos or more graphic social media sites like Pinterest. Facebook With more than 2.7 billion users worldwide, Facebook could be seen as the anchor of your social media presence. Although it may not be the younger generation's favorite, your real estate clientele is likely to be among its users so embrace it. There is a debate around the ratio of personal posts compared to business ones. A best practice here would be to try all sorts of things until you find a rhythm that works for you and your audience. We would love to get you know you on Facebook! Connect with us here. Instagram Instagram is a quick and effective way to share photos and video content with your followers. With 1.2 billion monthly active users, it is another indispensable way to reach potential clients and boost your following. Another advantage is that, because of its affiliation with Facebook, each Instagram post can be shared on Facebook, and vice versa making posting to both platforms seamless. Don’t forget that Instagram has cool buttons like “vote”, “quiz”, and question/answer type buttons. These interactive features allow you to get to know your audience and also provides insight into what your followers like. If you are interested in connecting with our real estate school on Instagram we would love to connect! Twitter Tweets are short (they have been increased to 280 characters from their former 140) and short-lived, and the platform is instantaneous in a way all its own. It doesn't take much time to get the hang of it, and it can gain you a following fairly quickly as a knowledgeable real estate professional when used correctly. It's an ideal way to share information -- such as a daily change in the interest rate, an interesting new listing, or a price reduction -- with your followers. LinkedIn Microsoft purchased this business-oriented social media platform and its influence among professionals cannot be underestimated. LinkedIn also gained importance during the pandemic as the platform for B2B interaction. Be sure your personal profile is complete and that you use a professional photo for your headshot. Regular posts and interaction with other professionals is beneficial. LinkedIn can also be used to gain referrals for your real estate business from out of area agents. Every referral received by a real estate agent can be worth $10,000+ so being recognized as the go-to agent in your area can be very valuable. If you are one of our real estate school students, there’s nothing wrong with you posting right now that you are enrolled in our real estate classes online on your LinkedIn so that your audience knows that you are going to be a future real estate agent. Develop a Posting Calendar Develop a social media schedule. Aim for a minimum of two or three social media posts each week on each platform in the beginning and share links between platforms when appropriate. Send a tweet to point followers to a Facebook post, for instance, or share an Instagram photo automatically to your Facebook page. Write a short article for LinkedIn and post a short sentence and a link on Facebook. Use Twitter to tell your followers that a specific home you listed just closed, that the price on a specific property was lowered, or that interest rates are slated to rise next week, according to the latest financial news. Encourage interaction, try your level best to respond to comments, and thank your followers for their support. Introduce a new buyer to the community by posting a photo of them at their new front door (with their permission, of course). Lend your support to a community event or don’t be shy to promote your latest achievement to your audience. Share a humorous story or post a cute "puppy" picture just for the fun of it. Just make sure your posts are believable, accurate and in good taste. And have fun with social media. When done properly you’ll reap the reward through increased business. If you are interested in getting started in real estate courses, click here or reach out by phone at 888-768-5285 or @ us! :) Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

Real Estate Exam Test Taking Tips

Studying

Most people, especially adults, are a little intimidated when it comes to taking an exam; it somehow doesn't matter if it's a driving test or an exam to qualify for a license, or the culmination of a

Most people, especially adults, are a little intimidated when it comes to taking an exam; it somehow doesn't matter if it's a driving test or an exam to qualify for a license, or the culmination of a special training program. It can be stressful, but there are a number of ways to calm your anxiety and boost your level of confidence. The required California Real Estate Exam is one of those tests that determines whether you will become a licensed professional, qualified to act on behalf of buyers and sellers to transact business in the state. It is an important step, and after weeks of serious study, you'll want to make every possible effort to pass the exam on your first attempt. Here are some ways to do just that, and to easily achieve your goals. The test consists of 150 questions; you are allowed three hours to complete the exam, and a passing score requires that at least 70% of the questions be answered correctly. Review Smarter and Better There is no magic formula to help you fill in the blanks correctly. Advance preparation is important, and pre-exam review of the myriad real estate topics you have studied is vital. Cramming, however, might lead to greater apprehension. A planned timetable of review is a better idea, and one that will also prepare you more fully for the day-to-day skills and knowledge that a real estate agent or broker requires. Create a Study Schedule: If you have been enrolled in a real estate course, plan to review your class notes and course materials thoroughly before scheduling the exam. Enlist the help of your spouse, partner, or best friend to help you with concepts and to act as a coach or sounding board as you review the various topics and principles. Form a Study Group: Learning and understanding are enhanced when you receive input and feedback from others. Keep the group small and informal, if possible, and limit the duration of study sessions to encourage lively discussions and prevent burnout. Review Vocabulary and Terms: Be certain that you have a grasp of the defining vocabulary and specific designations that characterize real estate roles and transaction responsibilities. Review Concepts to Gain Understanding. Role playing can be highly instructive. Use it to demonstrate the different aspects of any real estate transaction -- from initial contact with a prospective client to discussion of specific prohibitions of language and topics that you may encounter in your real estate dealings. Watch YouTube Videos: There are some highly instructive materials online. Seek out professionally-prepared videos and presentations that will illustrate the situations any real estate professional must understand. Enroll in a Review Course: If it has been some time since you first enrolled in a real estate licensing course, you might want to schedule a quick pre-exam review. Online reviews, flash cards, and comprehensive study guides can all be helpful. Take a Practice Test. A practice test will provide basic familiarity with the type of questions you'll encounter. However, use practice tests judiciously, and don't make the mistake of "practicing" too much. Not everything you need to know will be covered in any test; understand that your real estate career will always present you with new challenges, and that it's better to understand concepts than to memorize answers to specific test questions. On the Day of the Test During the week leading up to your testing date, try to get plenty of rest and exercise, and try not to stress about the upcoming exam. Prepare yourself by reviewing to the best of your ability and try to be physically fit and mentally relaxed when the day arrives. Follow your normal routine as much as possible. If you normally eat a healthy breakfast, do so and don't stress unduly about the rest of your day. If, on the other hand, you have only coffee for breakfast, go ahead, but don't overdo the caffeine. Also, remember to bring a snack or something nutritious available for sustenance prior to the exam. Bring water as well; it's important to stay hydrated. Plan to get your normal quota of sleep the night before the exam. You might want to rise a little earlier than usual, however. Get in some stretches for your body or read something motivational to get your mind in gear -- whatever seems appropriate. Arrive early at the test location, armed with everything you've been instructed to bring, but nothing else. Breathe deeply, get comfortable, and don't stress. Don't rush through the questions. If there are questions that are confusing, or answers you're unsure of, skip over them and move on. A later question might trigger the correct response for you, and you can then return to answer the questions confidently. Be confident; don't overthink the multiple-choice answers. Understand that the test is not designed to trip you up, but that some real estate principles and practices are subject to interpretation. In most cases, trust your judgment and choose the one answer that seems to be the most logical and correct. Progress through the 150 questions, answering all that seem easy. Try to allow ample time to review your work and to reconsider answers to questions you were unsure about. Once you have made a final choice, however, move on. Don't stress. Remember the concepts. Understand the topics. You’ve been preparing for this. Be confident and know that you’ve got this!
Practical advice for real estate agents

Tips When You Need to Downsize to a Smaller Home

Downsize home

Downsizing your home comes with a wide range of different benefits. Sometimes your kids have left the home to go off to college and you just don't need as much space any longer. Other times, you realize

Downsizing your home comes with a wide range of different benefits. Sometimes your kids have left the home to go off to college and you just don't need as much space any longer. Other times, you realize that you never needed as much space in the first place. Regardless, it can be a great way to free yourself of some clutter and also save some money on your monthly bills at the exact same time. When you do search for a smaller home, there are a few key things you should look for. Chief among these is how much square footage your new home will have. You'll also want to examine the potential for storage spaces depending on the amount of items you're bringing with you. But more than anything, you want to consider WHY you want to downsize. Are you doing this for yourself, or are you doing this because you think you need to? Regardless, once you make the decision and you begin to embark on this journey, there are a few key tips you need to downsize to a smaller home that are always worth remembering. Downsizing Your Home: What You Need to Know By far, the most important thing to remember when moving into a smaller space is that you should begin by making a list of all those personal belongings and other items that you don't really need anymore. You should do this before you start to pack, as it can save you a tremendous amount of effort in the long run. Take an inventory of your items and try to separate anything out that you truly know you don't need. If you were a collector who no longer has a passion for what was your former favorite hobby, consider getting rid of those items. If you have four television sets but know that you're only going to need two at your new place, sell them before you have to move to make the process go as smoothly as possible. Along the same lines, you should also use apps to sell your stuff. Obviously, there is always eBay - you can list virtually anything you want at a certain price and let people bid on it until it sells. But there are also options like the Facebook Marketplace or Nextdoor that allow you to listen items that will be visible to people who are in your immediate geographic area. This can potentially be a great way to not only sell items, but to do so without needing to ship them because you can have buyers come pick them up by way of a "Local Pickup Only" option. At the same time, you should also start cleaning out your wardrobe for any items that you don't wear anymore. More than anything, you want to try to visualize the new space that you're moving into and how your new items might fit into it. If you have a particular type of bed, for example, walk into your new bedroom and try to envision where it may best be positioned. Do the same with other furniture that you have to try to create a mental image ahead of time of where those items may best be located. This, too, will save you a lot of trouble during the move itself. Just because you don't like a particular shirt anymore doesn't mean that someone else won't, after all. Maximizing the Space in a Small House Once you actually move into your new home, you'll probably find that a bit of an adjustment period is necessary. After all, you're used to a certain amount of space and those immediate days and even weeks after the move can begin to feel a little cramped. Thankfully, there are a number of techniques that you can use to maximize the space in a smaller home - chief among them being the installation of wall mounted storage. Many big box furniture stores offer wall mounted storage and you can also likely find custom solutions in your area. The benefit here is that you still get all of the space made available by shelves and cabinets, but you're not taking up any additional floor space, either. This in and of itself is a great way to take an admittedly small room and make it feel as big as possible. At the same time, you should also consider opportunities to increase storage space in your kitchen. People often don't realize just how many kitchen utensils and other items that they have until it comes time to try to find a place for them. Whether this means installing new storage or coming up with a more inventive solution will obviously vary depending on the situation - but this is definitely one of those areas that you should focus a lot of your attention on. You can also consider shopping for multi-functional furniture - meaning those pieces that serve more than one purpose. A couch doesn't just have to be a couch - it can also fold out into a bed to give people a place to sleep when they come visit. Oftentimes you can find an ottoman for the living room that acts both as that and as a convenient storage location for remote controls, gaming consoles and similar items. Downsizing can change your life for the better. It can help you free yourself from clutter and save money as well. Overall, if you have the opportunity to do so it's a good idea - and tips like those outlined above will certainly help. Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

How to Utilize Farming Strategies to Find Your Next Client

Farming strategies real estate farming

Regardless of how long you've been engaged with your real estate career, getting a steady stream of new clients is always a top priority. In this particular industry, consistency is king - the more

Regardless of how long you've been engaged with your real estate career, getting a steady stream of new clients is always a top priority. In this particular industry, consistency is king - the more people you have knocking on your door, the more revenue you're able to generate. In an effort to do precisely that, many agents take to the process of farming. Real estate farming is a specific type of marketing technique that is used to develop business in a precise geographic area. Rather than attempting to cast the widest net possible, you instead attempt to cast the right net - meaning that you focus your attention on what may be a smaller area, but that you know like the back of your hand and that you're already intimately familiar with. Yet at the same time, real estate farming isn't quite as straightforward as it may seem. If you truly want to utilize the best that farming strategies have to offer to find your next client, there are a number of important things you'll want to keep in mind. Real Estate Farming: Your Guide The single most important best practice that you can put to use when real estate farming involves making sure that you've found the right area to focus on in the first place. Begin your efforts by comparing multiple areas and even multiple locations to help come to a determination as to which one has the most overall appeal. You can use a variety of data points to do this, including but not limited to average home sale prices, the average amount of turnover, the amount of competition you'll face in the area and more. To help verify that you've made the right decision, use recent sales to help calculate the average sale price in this particular part of town. Based on that, you'll be able to see what you're likely to earn on a commission per sale. You'll also want to pay close attention to the turnover rate to make sure that there is enough business in the area to sustain yourself. But again - you don't want to do this for just one particular neighborhood. Create a table to show your top three real estate farming areas and weigh the pros and cons of each one equally. At the end of this process, you should have all the insight you need to determine your best neighborhood. What You Need to Know About Real Estate Farming and Marketing Along the same lines, you should also be prepared with those real estate farming techniques that will allow you to attract the attention of - and ultimately win - more leads in the area you've selected. This is something that you can do in a few different ways and, in all likelihood, you'll want to use a combination of them to succeed. Create a real estate marketing plan and focus on a niche. If your specialty is single family homes, be sure to find an area with a lot of single family homes. If your specialty is condos, be sure to find an area with a lot of condos. Likewise, be sure to pay attention to the size of the farms so that you don't pick an area that is too big for you to reasonably cover. On an ongoing basis, you should also make sure that you're always the first person to welcome new homeowners into the neighborhood. Whether that means stopping by and knocking on the door to say "hello," picking up the phone and making a call or even just sending something nice in the mail doesn't matter - what is most important is that you're reaching out and making your presence known. Moving forward, you should also make sure that you know every time a home goes on the market so that you can be the first to preview it. Especially in a market that is as "hot" as the one we're in right now, newly listed homes move quickly. If something goes on sale that you know would be perfect for one of your existing clients, you need to act fast. Making a priority to understand the current inventory goes a long way towards guaranteeing exactly that. Understand that having the right materials is always a critical part of knowing precisely how to farm a neighborhood in real estate. These materials can include but are certainly not limited to newsletters, postcards, flyers, market reports, "Just Listed/Just Sold" notices and more. Always utilize direct mail marketing companies to do the work for you, such as sending out farming cards. They can automatically send out postcards as soon as one of your listings hits the market or sells. This can help free up the maximum amount of your attention so that you can focus on the thing that matters most of all: your career. You can also use a company like FarmingCards, which is an intelligent postcard marketing solution that helps organizations connect with potential clients. It's a convenient, end-to-end, artificial intelligence-facilitated service that helps agents maximize the overall return on investment of their marketing. It allows you to design postcards instantly that let you find your ideal clients using smart targeting and other features. At that point you can sit back and relax as FarmingCards prints and delivers to your farm - precisely the way it should be. Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

What Is A Sphere of Influence?

What is a sphere influence

One of the most important things to understand about operating successfully in the real estate industry is that you're really trying to sell two distinct things at the same time. Yes, it's absolutely

One of the most important things to understand about operating successfully in the real estate industry is that you're really trying to sell two distinct things at the same time. Yes, it's absolutely true that you're helping someone sell or buy a house. A big part of your job is to help them navigate what may very well be the biggest financial decisions they'll ever make. But beyond that, you're also selling something arguably more important: Yourself In order to build the type of career you've seen for yourself in the industry, you need to be able to establish yourself as an authority. You need to show, not tell, people that you know what you're talking about. That yours is a voice worth trusting and paying attention to. Only then will they feel confident enough asking you to come along with them on this journey - which is how a book of business is eventually built. To accomplish that, you need been capitalizing on your Sphere of Influence - something that you've been building with every interaction you've made up to this point, possibly without even realizing it. In the simplest possible terms, a Sphere of Influence is the collection of all the people you know. Not only does this include friends, family members and other loved ones, obviously, but also any loose connections you've forged or acquaintances you've met along the way. It's also something that will soon become the secret to your success in a wide range of different ways that are worth exploring. Why is a Sphere of Influence Important? A number of recent studies have illustrated just how important a Sphere of Influence truly is, particularly in an industry that is as connection-driven as real estate. According to one report, over 80% of all real estate transactions are the direct result of contacts from people you already know. That means not only previous contacts or any referrals they may bring you but also friends, family members and people you know personally. This is crucial, as another study revealed that 74% of home buyers say that they would gladly use their agent again in the future and had plans to recommend them to others. Along the same lines, about 84% of people say they also trust recommendations from their own collection of peers when it comes to determining who to do business with. All of this paints a very clear picture of just how the real estate industry operates. Yes, it's possible to "cold call" people and obtain new clients who you've had no interactions with in the past. But in the vast majority of all situations, your business will come from those people who are already in your life - even if only tangentially. Therefore, your Sphere of Influence isn't just an important asset to capitalize on - it may be the single biggest contributing factor to your future as a real estate agent. Get Comfortable on Social Media When it comes time to actually take advantage of your Sphere of Influence, there are a few key techniques you can try. Chief among these is the idea that if you're not already comfortable on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, now would be an excellent time to start. Indeed, visualizing your Sphere of Influence through a social media platform like Facebook is actually one of the easiest way to do it. Think about your current contact lists and ask yourself which platforms they're the most active on. Facebook in particular shows you mutual friends and other important metrics like that. Spending a few hours on these sites seeing who you know, and who they know, and who THEY know, is a great way to illustrate how big your Sphere of Influence really is. All the while, you should also be taking the opportunity to post relevant, valuable and otherwise meaningful content to your pages for these people to see. If there's a particularly interesting industry topic that you can provide insight on, link to the article and write a few paragraphs containing your thoughts. Help people see things from an angle that they may have otherwise missed. Again, it's a great way to establish yourself as an authority - thus expanding your Sphere of Influence as well. Maximize the Power of Printed Materials Similarly, distributing printed materials is a tried-and-true tactic and an effective way to create awareness for both you and your business. This, too, is something you can do in a few different ways. If there was a particularly impressive home sale in the area recently, or if the market is heating up, don't be afraid to print up a flyer and distribute it to the neighborhood outlining your thoughts. Give people information that they don't already have and leave them with something of value without asking for anything in return. It's a great way to both let people know that you're out there and continue to build up your trustworthiness, too. Of course, it doesn't have to be quite that complicated. Always have business cards handy ready to give to everyone you meet, for example - you just never know who might be looking to buy or sell. In the end, your Sphere of Influence should always be getting bigger over time - and it likely will in a natural way. You must resist the urge to overlook this critical asset, as it will absolutely be the secret to your success in the future.
Practical advice for real estate agents

5 Ways to Increase Your Home’s Value

Landscape

When the time comes to sell your home, it stands to reason that you'd want to get as much value out of it as possible. But few people realize that increasing your home's value is less the product of any

When the time comes to sell your home, it stands to reason that you'd want to get as much value out of it as possible. But few people realize that increasing your home's value is less the product of any one major move and is more about a series of smaller, more strategic ones. In truth, increasing your home's value is fairly straightforward - you just need to keep a few key things in mind along the way. Improvement #1: Kitchen Renovations By far, one of the biggest ways to immediately add value to your home comes by way of renovating your kitchen. This is because kitchens tend to be one of the areas of any house that fall out of date rather quickly. Whether it involves putting in new cabinets, investing in more modern and state-of-the-art appliances, installing new floors or performing some combination of these improvements all at the same time, it's a great way to instantly breathe some much-needed "fresh air" into a space. Modern appliances tend to be more energy efficient than their older counterparts, making this a great way to help prospective buyers save money almost immediately after purchase. When a buyer looks at a home and sees that they don't have to perform any of these upgrades themselves, it can also help your home sell faster and for a higher price, too. Not only that, it also helps people more effectively picture themselves in a space. They can see how much time they'll be able to save when preparing meals, for example, and it's easier for them to envision what they'll be able to do with increased storage space (in the event that you're putting in new cabinets). Improvement #2: Bathroom Updates Another major way to increase your home's value is to invest in a bathroom upgrade. Again, this is a great way to not only reduce clutter, but also to help potential new homebuyers become more ecologically friendly at the same time. According to one recent study, even a relatively "minor" bathroom update can give you a 102% return on investment when it comes time to resell your home. This is the type of thing that prospective homebuyers take seriously, which means that you need to do so as well. Never forget that even the smallest rooms in a house can have a big, big impact on its ultimate resale value. Improvement #3: Lighting Upgrades Lighting upgrades may seem like a relatively minor improvement, but they're absolutely not as far as the resale value of your home is concerned. This is a topic that you can approach in a number of different ways depending on your perspective. In some situations, it could be as simple as replacing all of your existing light bulbs with energy efficient LED alternatives. This is another way to help make your home environmentally friendly, which will make it far more enticing to prospective buyers. You could even take the additional step of installing "smart" lighting, with Philips Hue bulbs being a prime example of that. Smart lighting can be connected to "intelligent" home automation systems like Amazon's Alexa or Apple's HomeKit, allowing you to control your lights using a smartphone or via voice command. This comes with the added benefit of being able to control the lighting in your home while you're away, or by setting automatic schedules that respond in real-time to certain events. But regardless, the brighter a room feels, the bigger it looks. Whenever you're thinking about selling your home, you want every space to look as big as it can possibly get. Improvement #4: Fresh Paint As was true with lighting, a fresh coat of paint can also make a space feel both cleaner and brighter in equal measure. According to another recent study, painting the interior of your home can result in a massive 107% return on investment when it comes time to sell. Even painting the outside leads to a 55% return on investment. The same source indicated that while painting the interior of your home costs an average of $987, it could increase the overall value of your home by as much as $2,000 or more. Having said that, you'll still want to keep a few key things in mind. Always select warm, neutral colors for the best results and know which rooms need your immediate attention. Utilize paint to make smaller rooms look and feel bigger and place an emphasis on your kitchen, your bathrooms and entryways for maximum impact. Improvement #5: Landscape Improvements Finally, we arrive at the landscaping of your home - something that is far more important than most people realize. Always pay special attention to the entryway of your home and make sure that it looks as striking as possible - particularly for those listing photos. Be sure to repair or replace any damaged stepping stones, concrete paths and porch plants that you can to generate as much curb appeal as possible. While you're at it, be sure to give the front door a fresh coat of paint. If you don't necessarily have a "green thumb" to the point where you don't want to plant anything, add some potted plants to really cement the effect that you're going for. Overall, you always want people to be excited when they walk through the door of your home. The aforementioned best practices go a long way towards guaranteeing precisely that. Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

The 5 Hardest Things About Being a Realtor

Real estate market uncertainty

The majority of people who are not in the real estate business have little to no understanding of what an emotional rollercoaster it can be to be a realtor. The good days are really good while the bad

The majority of people who are not in the real estate business have little to no understanding of what an emotional rollercoaster it can be to be a realtor. The good days are really good while the bad days can be pretty tough to get through. Here are some of the toughest struggles that every realtor has to deal with on a daily basis. 1. Uncertainty about real estate market This is perhaps one of the biggest uncertainties realtors have to deal with on a daily basis. Every realtor is worried about not being able to sell their properties and how it will affect his or her commissions at the end of the month. This uncertainty is real and can cause a lot of stress for realtors and their clients. The best realtors really do care about their client's properties and genuinely want to find them a buyer as soon as possible. It’s safe to say, realtors can carry a lot of weight on their shoulders. 2. Constantly being on the go A realtor is always on the go, they are always thinking of new ways to market themselves and bring in potential buyers for their clients' homes. They spend most of their time on the road or on their phone calling both real estate agents and potential buyers. Not to mention, being on the go can last well into the night. The hours are different every day. It’s not uncommon for a realtor to be submitting offers at 10pm or receiving calls from agents at 12pm or calls from clients at 6am. 3. Commission is by no means a guarantee In real estate, nothing can be guaranteed. Even if you do everything right to sell that house, from staging it perfectly, to showing the house as often as possible, there is still no guarantee that you will make a sale. The realtor will spend money marketing the home, paying for photography, doing open houses, finding buyers, etc. Even when the home is in escrow there are still occasions where it does not close escrow and you may have to start all over again. Most of the time realtors won’t get a commission check until 30 plus days after their listing receives an offer. There are times however that a everything right to sell that house, from staging it perfectly, to showing the house as often as possible, there is still no guarantee that you will make a sale. The realtor will spend money marketing the home, paying for photography, doing open houses, finding buyers, etc. Even when the home is in escrow there are still occasions where it does not close escrow and you may have to start all over again. Most of the time realtors won’t get a commission check until 30 plus days after their listing receives an offer. There are times however that a listing will not sell and a realtor will essentially not get paid for their time and efforts marketing that listing. 4. Being underpaid for hard work As real estate agents, they put in more work than any other profession but are only compensated about 3% on the home sale. Just think about it, realtors get paid almost nothing for everything they do. They spend hours upon hours of their time marketing homes and placing phone calls, but real estate agents get paid very little for all of their hard work. There is a ton of time spent going back and forth in communication between escrow, loan officers, listing agents, etc. They juggle going back and forth to communicate with all parties in the deal and may have to deal with major headaches along the way. You never know what kind of setback will come up because someone on the other end isn’t meeting a deadline or doing what was asked. When working with buyers, the real estate agent can spend days, weeks, or even months showing house after house and put in several offers on behalf of their clients. Sometimes offers will not get accepted, other times they will, and sometimes the buyers will cancel even after the going back and forth to communicate with all parties in the deal and may have to deal with major headaches along the way. You never know what kind of setback will come up because someone on the other end isn’t meeting a deadline or doing what was asked. When working with buyers, the real estate agent can spend days, weeks, or even months showing house after house and put in several offers on behalf of their clients. Sometimes offers will not get accepted, other times they will, and sometimes the buyers will cancel even after the offer is accepted. You literally have no idea how each deal with go. Realtors deal with surprises and setbacks all the time. 5. Dealing with difficult clients All realtors have had to deal with difficult clients at least once in their real estate career. Clients are always coming up with the most ridiculous demands and realtors have to deal with them no matter how crazy they may sound. Most realtors will do anything it takes to make their clients happy because realtors realize that it is all about building long term relationships. Sometimes realtors may have to end relationships with certain clients whose expectations are unrealistic and impossible to attain. It is the realtor’s job to educate their clients as much as possible about the real estate world. If the realtor has done everything they can to give their clients an understanding and guide them in the process of buying or selling and their client refuses to listen, it may be time to cut ties with that client. So, are the ups and downs worth it? Absolutely. Becoming educated about the industry and the expectations that come with being a realtor are a necessary part of starting in this industry successfully. Knowing what to expect can help tremendously when overcoming obstacles and dealing with the uncertainty that comes with the territory. Remember, the more experience you get the better you get at something. This goes for anything in life and if you stick with it, your sure to reap the benefits. The harder you work in real estate the more money you can make. The potential is endless. So stay consistent and don’t give up when the going gets tough. Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

The Appraisal Contingency Explained

Appraisal

At its core, a contingency is a condition that needs to be met before an offer like a real estate transaction is allowed to proceed. From a certain perspective it's a bit like a safety net and it's far

At its core, a contingency is a condition that needs to be met before an offer like a real estate transaction is allowed to proceed. From a certain perspective it's a bit like a safety net and it's far more important than people realize. For the sake of example, let's say a home buyer visits a property that they absolutely fall in love with. After quick negotiations with the seller, they agree to the purchase price of $350,000. Contracts are drawn up, documents are signed and an initial deposit is handed over. Everything proceeds as it should, until the appraisal comes in... and all parties find out that the house is only worth $300,000. What, in that situation, do you do? If they had an appraisal contingency in the contract, the buyer would walk away without a care in the world. An appraisal contingency means that if the home you want to buy doesn't appraise for the amount that you've already agreed to pay, you get to walk away from the deal with your deposit in hand. This is because an appraisal determines the fair market value of the home you're trying to buy. All told, they're a hugely important part of the real estate process for a wide range of different reasons, all of which are worth exploring. How Does the Appraisal Contingency Protect You? As stated, the purpose of an appraisal contingency is to protect both the buyer and the lender from overpaying for home. No lender will ever want to lend someone more money than a home is worth because from the moment that buyer gets the keys, they'd immediately be underwater. Likewise, no home buyer should ever want to be in that situation because part of the reason you purchase property in the first place is for equity - something that you wouldn't have in that situation. During the appraisal process, a licensed and trained professional will come to the property in question for what is essentially a physical, in-person inspection. They'll take into consideration specifics like the condition of the outside and inside, the size of the yard, home improvements that have been recently made and more - all in an effort to determine the current fair market value of the property. They'll also take a look at any recent renovations that have been made, or additions that have been built since the last time the home was appraised. Note that an appraisal is not the same thing as a home inspection and they should not be treated as such. They're similar, to be fair, but they serve different purposes. Overall, these contingencies protect people financially if there's a serious difference in value between what the home is worth and what they're actually being asked to pay. When NOT to Use an Appraisal Contingency Having said all of that, there are a few key situations when using an appraisal contingency as part of a real estate transaction may not be a good idea. Chief among them is if you're buying when it is a seller's market - particularly one that is as active as it is right now. A seller's market, as the name suggests, means that there are often multiple offers for a single some and buying competition is high. Right it's extraordinarily high - driven in large part by the combination of historically low interest rates and the scarcity of inventory across the country. Things have gotten to the point where it's not uncommon to hear about a situation where a buyer doesn't just waive an appraisal contingency - they waive a home inspection as well. Obviously, this won't always be the case - but it's also the perfect example of when an appraisal contingency will probably lose you a home. When a seller has the ability to choose between multiple, similar offers in a market that favors them greatly, they're obviously going to choose the one that is the most beneficial to themselves. Any offer that comes with strings attached like an appraisal contingency is obviously less appealing to that person. If you really love a home, you can strengthen your offer by waiving your appraisal contingency. You must also, however, be willing to risk a lower appraisal when that day comes. You may also consider waiving an appraisal contingency if you're buying a home with cash. Cash sales don't actually require an appraisal because there is no lender involved to deny a mortgage if there is a big difference between what the home is worth and what you're paying for it. Obviously, you could always run the risk of overpaying to begin with - but so long as it's a risk you're willing to take on, this would be considered appropriate. In the end, the appraisal contingency is one of the more complicated parts of the real estate process - but it's also one of the more important for the protections that it offers. It's also a perfect example of why it's so important to work with a trusted real estate professional to begin with. They can help navigate the market, helping buyers to understand when and why to use things like the appraisal contingency and others. It's just another in a long line of examples of how they assist home buyers in enjoying all the benefits of this process with as few of the potential downsides as possible. If you would like to become a real estate agent , read our success stories to learn more about what the real estate career is like. Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

Mistakes Home Buyers Make In A Hot Real Estate Market

Bidding

Regardless of how you look at it, the real estate market in the United States has been impressive for the last several years - something that looks to continue at least for the near future. A massive shortage

Regardless of how you look at it, the real estate market in the United States has been impressive for the last several years - something that looks to continue at least for the near future. A massive shortage of inventory across the country, coupled with mortgage rates that are still at record lows, have created possibly the strongest housing market in a generation or more. Mortgage rates in particular have been on the decline since November of 2018, when they hit 4.94%. Believe it or not, that was the highest those rates had been in five years. Flash forward to January 2021 and rates had dropped to a historic low of 2.65% - contributing to a lot of the activity that we're seeing now. But it's important to keep in mind that this is a hot sellers' market - something that not every buyer necessarily understands. The pendulum will eventually swing back the other way but it certainly hasn't yet. Because of that, there are a number of common mistakes that they often make that will fall to you as a real estate agent to help them avoid. By far, one of the biggest mistakes that homebuyers often make in a hot market can be summed up in a single word: hesitation. To say that properties move quickly in a hot sellers' market is something of an understatement. There will be situations where properties sell before they're even officially listed. Bidding wars will break out in a matter of hours. Someone may assume that they can wait for that open house that has been scheduled in a couple of days, but the property may not actually make it that long. All of this is why hesitation is one of the worst - and unfortunately most common - mistakes that homebuyers often make in this type of situation. Whenever you're working with a new client - especially a first-time homebuyer - you need to make sure they're aware of this reality. Let them know before you even start to show properties that they may have to make fast, firm decisions. Get them ready for the possibility that if they find a home they like, they may have to act on it extraordinarily quickly. Doing so at the beginning of the process will help avoid overwhelming them later on. Another common mistake that a lot of homebuyers make in a hot market involves failing to look for homes that are actually within their price range. While it's absolutely fair that home values are a bit inflated right now due to the market activity, it's still critical to make sure that someone doesn't stray too far outside of their comfort zone. Again, during the beginning of your relationship, strongly urge your clients to set a maximum amount that they feel comfortable paying. Verify that this number is realistic in any way that you can. All throughout the process, advise them to stay within their budget when looking for comparable homes. In the event that you see them start to wander and stray too far beyond this budget, remind them WHY they set a limit to begin with. In large part due to the urgency outlined above, it can be common for homebuyers in a hot market to stumble upon a dream home that is outside their comfort zone, realize that it will be off the market shortly and act without truly thinking the situation through. In a slower market, they'd have the time to come to the realization that no, they cannot afford the property in question. That isn't necessarily always the case when things are moving as quickly as they are, which is why part of your job as an agent is to help keep people grounded and with the perspective they need to make the best decisions possible. In the end, perhaps the most important thing to understand about all of this is that no two buyers are created in quite the same way. Some people will enter into the situation with a fairly decent understanding of what to do and how to do it when it comes to purchasing real estate. Some believe they are experts in the field and act aggressively - which is where a lot of the mistakes outlined above come from. Others get very confused and overwhelmed and become put off by the whole process altogether. Regardless of their real estate experience, it's always up to you as the real estate agent to help guide someone to the most satisfying conclusion possible. Especially in a so-called hot market, you'll likely have to spend a lot of time early on educating your clients about the realities of what is happening and, most importantly, why. Neglecting to understand why the market is acting the way it is can often prove incredibly costly to buyers. Ultimately, you just want what's best for your clients and they want that, too. Helping someone navigate maybe the biggest purchase they'll ever make in their lives will quickly prove that this process is very much worth the effort. Which makes your chosen profession as a real estate agent so rewarding. If you are considering getting started in the industry and would like to take the first step, you can visit and get started on your real estate pre licensing courses! If you are wondering if this profession is right for you, take the quiz: "Should I become a real estate agent?" Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

Things To Think About Before You Switch Brokerages

Real Estate Office

Before making a move from one brokerage to another, be clear about your motivations and what is driving your desire to make the change. Define the work culture you want. If you prefer to work with a small

Before making a move from one brokerage to another, be clear about your motivations and what is driving your desire to make the change. Define the work culture you want. If you prefer to work with a small company with close relationships with your colleagues, you should look for a brokerage that has that kind of cultures and do research accordingly. See how each brokerage differs and go with the one that fits your needs the most. If you want an all-business atmosphere, you’ll want to look into the brokerages that are business focused with little to no interaction between colleagues. If you like to work and just do your thing independently, find a brokerage that will fit that need and help you stay focused on business. It’s important to know how the company’s culture, values, and business approaches can affect your ability to succeed there. An important aspect of brokerages you should consider is the leadership. You should examine the leadership at every level. What is their reputation within the industry and their organization? Ask questions like what does the new brokerage offer that will make you even more successful? Are they forward thinking? Forward-thinking business leaders don't see employees as just putting in the required hours. They see people who are essential to the success of the business. A forward thinking business leader will focus on developing the knowledge and skills of an individual and get them to a place where they can take on more responsibility and leadership roles of their own. Business support is critical when it comes to running your real estate business. Look into the kind of business support the brokerage offers such as percentage splits, mentorship, technology, and resources. While most realtor’s want the highest pay possible, a higher percentage split should be considered, but should not be the most important decision factor. You should be satisfied with the split you are offered, and you should ask what opportunities there are to earn a higher split. When doing your research, also consider technology and how the right technology can help you. With the right technology, real estate agents can streamline their process to better serve clients. Using innovative tools and services can help you increase efficiency and gain a competitive advantage to close more deals. Email marketing platforms, CRM systems, and other apps are essential in today’s digital world.Make sure the brokerage not only offers these technology services for their agents but look into their efficiency as well. Before interviewing brokerages, you should have a clear understanding of what kind of support will be most critical to you. What you are looking for in the new brokerage and how they can be the best support to you should be at the top of your list as you examine and compare potential brokerages Whether you are thinking about changing brokerages today or in the future, your choice should be rooted in what is best for yourself and your career. Consider how the potential brokerage can make you happier as an agent and how it can give your clients the best customer experience. Moving brokerages is a business decision and should be treated as such Be rational and critical when thinking about this change. Do what you know is best for you and don’t let outside opinions affect your decision. Take your time and remember to ask the questions you need about the things most important to you. By keeping in mind what motivates you and the factors driving your need for change, you’ll be sure to find the right brokerage to call home for the long term.To get started on getting your real estate license click here Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

A Look At Commercial Real Estate

Commercial Real Estate

At its core, commercial real estate is exactly what it sounds like - any property that is owned exclusively to produce an income. When people hear the term, they usually call to mind images of office buildings

At its core, commercial real estate is exactly what it sounds like - any property that is owned exclusively to produce an income. When people hear the term, they usually call to mind images of office buildings and similar structures. But really, commercial real estate can include any type of property - and even just the land itself - which has the potential to generate a return on investment on behalf of the person who owns it. Just a few examples of this include the aforementioned office buildings, retail spaces, industrial facilities, medical and hospitality properties and any other commercial space that can be leased for the express use of the business in question. All told, commercial real estate brings with it a wide range of different benefits for investors - all of which are worth exploring. By far, one of the biggest advantages of commercial real estate for investors comes by way of the significant cash flow opportunities these properties often bring with them. Once you purchase a commercial property and begin to rent it to tenants, you start to generate a reliable stream of rental income. You can use that money to pay down the original purchase of the property without putting out any of your own money. Not only that but once the property is paid off, that revenue becomes a largely passive form of income - particularly if you hire a third party to actually manage the day-to-day operations of it on your behalf. If you're purchasing commercial real estate with an eye towards establishing a larger portfolio, you also get to enjoy the advantage of significant equity appreciation. As you build more and more equity in the property, its value naturally rises - allowing you to leverage it to continue to grow your own company without putting yourself in financial risk. If this is something that you're planning on making a career out of, it also gives you an incredible amount of flexibility when the time comes that you want to retire. You can always choose to continue to own the properties to rely on that "passive" income as outlined above, or you can sell them and collect a significant amount of money to fund the lifestyle that you've always seen for yourself. The choice is yours - which is exactly why so many people do it in the first place. Experts also agree that investing in commercial real estate is also a great way to fight off things like inflation. One recent report indicated that commercial real estate investments in the United States tend to have the highest correlation to inflation, especially when compared to other types of investments like stocks and bonds. As inflation increases, so does the price of commercial real estate - meaning that you're protecting the value of your money of the long-term, regardless of what is currently happening in the context of the larger economy. Having said all of that, it's crucial to understand that nothing in this life is a guarantee and success in terms of commercial real estate is chief among them. No two markets operate in quite the same way, which is why you cannot assume there is a "one size fits all" approach to investing in this field properly. Before you enter the fold, you need to analyze the local market and understand current trends and progressions that may give you an indication of which investments are worth your time and which ones may not be quite as lucrative as they appear. Likewise, long-term success with commercial real estate is always about creating as much value as possible. This means that especially during those early days, you're likely going to be taking a number of steps to improve the quality of the building to improve net operating income as a result. That means investing in more features and amenities for tenants. That means making improvements to the structure itself for the purposes of safety and desirability. The more value you can create, the more money you can generate by way of rent and lease prices. It’s important to understand that commercial property is valued in a different way than residential property - meaning that you'll want to throw out what you think you know and learn how things really work. The income potential on a piece of commercial real estate like an office building is directly impacted by its usable square footage. With individual homes, that isn't the case. This is a big part of why investors start working with commercial properties in the first place - this different valuation simply opens the door for greater and longer cash flow over time. For the best results, you need to create a strategy before you begin investing and stick to it as much as possible. Know what your limitations are - what you're comfortable doing and what you're not. Know where the hot properties are in the market and make an effort to understand the current market conditions and, most importantly, why they are the way they are. Know how much you can potentially make on an investment before you actually execute it. The more effort you put in at the start of this process, the greater your chances are at finding long-term success with this and other investments moving forward. To learn more about commercial real estate or a real estate school visit our website Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

Flipping Houses 101

House flipping

At its core, house flipping is a process in which a real estate investor purchases a particular home with the express intention of soon selling it for a profit. For a house to be considered a true "flip,"

At its core, house flipping is a process in which a real estate investor purchases a particular home with the express intention of soon selling it for a profit. For a house to be considered a true "flip," it needs to be purchased with the idea of selling it quickly - usually to capitalize on certain trends in the market at large. House flipping has become incredibly popular over the last several years, particularly due to the potential return on investment if executed properly. In 2017, for example, one study indicated that just 5.7% of all home sales fell into this category. Flash forward just a few years to 2020 and that number had already climbed to 7.5%. It's a process that is especially prominent in a "hot" real estate market and in areas where home prices are on the rise. Another study indicated that in 2017, the average gross profit on a flip was over $66,000 - and this is after any investments needed to make improvements on properties before they could be sold. Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Cleveland were among the most popular markets during that time. But as is true with all investments, one must proceed with a certain degree of caution in order to make sure the process goes as it should. A significant ROI is never a guarantee but by keeping a few key things in mind, you can improve your chances as much as possible. By far, the most important thing to understand about house flipping is that you need to decide how much you can afford to spend on an investment property before you actually do so. In other words, it's a bit like gambling - never spend more money than you can afford to lose if things don't quite go your way. Again, given the uncertainty of the market and considering that there are a lot of parts of this process that are outside your control, nothing is a guarantee. Something may seem like a sure bet, but it never is - and you don't want to leave yourself disappointed or financially stretched because of a lapse in judgement. Along the same lines, you should always focus your investment property search on various types of distressed properties that are themselves in need of major fixes and repairs. This accomplishes a few important things at the same time. First, you can usually purchase these properties at a significantly reduced cost because they've been sitting on the market for longer periods of time. Likewise, families and people who plan on buying a home to actually live there rarely want to deal with the work required to get it to a habitable condition. But more than that, the amount of money you do pour into the home by way of fixes and repairs will increase its value significantly - meaning that you'll be able to command a premium price once you're on the other side of this process. For the best results, select a few properties in a particular area to analyze to decide on the most profitable opportunity for a beginner real estate investor. This step is crucial, as it gives you a "bird's eye view" of what is going on in a particular area and what the long-term potential is in that market. It also helps you gain a better understanding of the highs and lows of the process, which should allow you to gain more insight into where you should be focusing your efforts and which "opportunities" aren't nearly as lucrative as they may initially appear. You can also start building relationships with other real estate investors in the local housing market - a good idea for a few different reasons. For starters, someone who has been involved in this process for longer than you have will almost always have insight and wisdom to provide so that you don't have to make certain mistakes "the hard way." They can give you tips and outline best practices that help you get the most out of house flipping. Beyond that, there may also come a day when one of your contacts identifies a great opportunity that they themselves cannot take advantage of. Maybe they have too many houses on the market right now and they don't want to take the chance to stretch themselves too thin - but there's nothing stopping them from picking up the phone and informing you about what they've discovered. In the end, it's important to follow the "70% Rule" in house flipping. Essentially, this means that you should never pay more than 70% of the "after repair" value of a property (minus the costs of the repairs necessary to renovate the home, of course). This will give you an idea of the maximum amount you should spend on a home to achieve the highest possible return on investment. By using this as a general rule of thumb, it will help ensure that you always emerge with a profit - which in and of itself has always been the biggest priority. Overall, house flipping certainly isn't for everyone - it takes a significant amount of care and attention-to-detail to get right. But those who follow best practices like those outlined above can enjoy a great amount of success - particularly in a market like the one we're in right now. To learn more about how to become a real estate agent or to learn more about real estate success stories visit our website Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

Applying For Your Real Estate License Online

Laptop

You can finally apply for your real estate license online! It’s easy to do and you can upload all documents on the website https://secure.dre.ca.gov/elicensing/ To get started, you’ll need to create

You can finally apply for your real estate license online! It’s easy to do and you can upload all documents on the website https://secure.dre.ca.gov/elicensing/ To get started, you’ll need to create an account through e-licensing. During the online application process you can pause at anytime and return later to pick up where you left off. Choose from 4 different types of applications: Sales exam only Sales exam and license combo Brokers exam only Brokers exam and license combo Keep in mind if you apply for the exam only, you will have to go back onto the e-licensing site to apply for your license after you pass your test. If the application type is a combo exam and license, there will be an area for youto enter the main office address of where you will hang your license. If you do not have a designated office yet, click on the checkbox “I do not have a main office address at this time. Please issue my license in a non-working status.” You’ll need to provide your social security number, driver’s license and proof of education which are your real estate class certificates. If you have changed your name you’ll need to provide any name change documents you have. Acceptable documents would be a marriage certificate or court order. Save all your uploaded forms as PDF then upload. Online payment methods accepted are: For Credit cards Visa, Mastercard, Amex, & Discover For Debit cards Visa & Mastercard At the bottom of the page, there are two buttons. Click the “Sign and Pay” button when you are ready to submit the application to DRE. If you are not ready to submit the application, click the “Sign Later” button to return to the home page. To check the current application processing timeframes, there is a link below the existing online applications table, which has more information, or navigate directly to http://www.dre.ca.gov/Licensees/CurrentTimeframes.html If you need to get started on your real estate classes here's how Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

Tax Tips Every Realtor Needs to Know in Their First Year

Realtor client mee ting coffee

When you start your career as a new real estate agent you should know that you will be paid commissions on the sales of property, and you will receive a 1099 at the end of the year. 1099’s are used when

When you start your career as a new real estate agent you should know that you will be paid commissions on the sales of property, and you will receive a 1099 at the end of the year. 1099’s are used when anyone is considered self-employed or an independent contractor. Realtors are considered an independent contractor or self-employed individuals running their own businesses. As a realtor you will be affiliated with a brokerage, however, you won’t be considered a W-2 employee for that brokerage. No taxes will be paid throughout the year so it is important to understand what you can write off when it comes time to filing your taxes. Your tax preparer will know what can and cannot be deducted but it’s important to know these things before going into this line of work so you can be prepared and keep track of your deductions from the beginning. It’s important to keep evidence of the things you are writing off in case you are audited. The most common expenses that a realtor can deduct are mileage and marketing materials. Realtors are known to drive a lot so keeping track of your mileage is a must. Any marketing materials you purchase can be written off too. Marketing and advertising materials are a common cost associated with starting out in real estate and typically continue for years to come. This can include business cards, open house signs, flyers, staging, photography, and signage. All of which can be deductible through the Internal Revenue Service’s advertising expense deduction. This is one of the best deductions because of its broad requirements! When you first start out as a realtor, there are costs you should be aware of. After you get your license, you will then be required to join the California Association of Realtors and the National Association of Realtors. You’ll also need to pay the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) to have access to the listings and use the database. Because most listings have a lock called Supra E-Key, you’ll need to pay to have access to the Supra E-Key as well. Your brokerage may charge a desk fee and there may be other monthly dues, all of which are deductible. All these costs a realtor can write off as a business expense. In light of recent events in the world, it’s important to consider the costs associated with maintaining a home office. With the flexibility of a realtor’s schedule and the lack of need for an office, realtors are most often operating out of their homes. Write offs associated with operating your real estate business from your home can include the cost of the phone, computer, internet, and utilities. When you connect with clients and help them in the purchase or sale of a home, it is customary to buy gifts for your clients. Or if you are meeting a client in person for the first time, you might be meeting them for coffee or you may be out and about looking at homes with your client and take them out to eat. You should know there is a limitation to this write off. Gifts are deductible to the extent of $25 per person per year and meals are only 50% deductible. All of these are considered business related expenses and can be deductible against your income. Once your business gets up and running you may start paying commissions to other agents or employees that work with or under you. This is a deduction you should not overlook since commissions can add up quickly! Keep in mind that to be deductible, the expense must be directly related to your real estate business. Always check with your tax consultant and for a detailed list on tax deductions, refer to IRS Publication 535. Careful record keeping and knowing your eligible write-offs are key to getting all the tax deductions you're entitled to.If you are still considering becoming a real estate agent Take this quiz! Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

Buying an Existing Home vs. Building A Home

Build or Buy

Homeownership is an essential part of the American Dream. Most people that are seeking to own a home turn to buying an existing home. It might not be exactly what you want, but you can see and feel it.

Homeownership is an essential part of the American Dream. Most people that are seeking to own a home turn to buying an existing home. It might not be exactly what you want, but you can see and feel it. You also have the option of building your own home. Let’s compare buying a home versus building a home. Buying an Existing Home Shopping for a new home can be fun and exciting as you plot the next journey in your life, but it can also be stressful. In tight markets, you must plan on bidding wars and making quick decisions. Getting pre-approved by a bank will tell you what you can afford and the type of home you can buy. When you buy an existing home, you see exactly what you are getting. You can envision what the house will look like when you move in. Sure, you need to look past the wallpaper or outdated light fixtures, but those are cosmetic changes you can replace on your own time schedule. After you find the house you like and agree on a price, you can expect the time it takes to close on your home to be from 30 to 60 days, depending on your bank’s mortgage approval process and the legal process in your state. Be aware of the competition for the home you want. The better homes will sell fast, often within days of being listed for sale. If you want a move-in ready home, you need to have your paperwork in order and be ready to make an offer. Building a Home If the town you want to move to doesn’t have the type of home you are looking for, or you just want to build that perfect new home, then building a home is an exciting alternative. You will need to shop for a buildable lot and deal with zoning regulations, permits and contractors. Building your own home can be an exciting process. You get to make all of those important decisions like designing the floorplan and selecting energy-efficient appliances. A good architect will guide you through the process. This process takes time, often more than a year, from the time you purchase a lot to the time you can move in. In addition to obtaining a construction loan, you will need to obtain permits, attend hearings, hire contractors, and oversee the entire process. It can be a challenge to build your home. You may need to deal with purchasing mistakes, poor materials, construction errors and even environmental factors like bad weather. Home construction projects often run over budget. When deciding between buying a home or building a home, no matter what direction you take, you should obtain the advice of a licensed real estate professional who can guide you through the entire process from start to finish.To get your own real estate license start here - To take our quiz Should I become a real estate agent? Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

Key Things To Know Before Buying A Home

Key Things To Know Before Buying A Home

Buying a home is a huge commitment – arguably, one of the biggest commitments you'll make in a lifetime. Because of this, the buying process can’t be taken lightly. Homeownership comes with many new

Buying a home is a huge commitment – arguably, one of the biggest commitments you'll make in a lifetime. Because of this, the buying process can’t be taken lightly. Homeownership comes with many new responsibilities, and finding the perfect property takes both patience and due diligence. However, if done correctly, owning a home can be both financially and personally rewarding. Whether you’re buying your first home or your “forever” home, it’s incredibly easy to fall in love with a certain property and overlook vital details. If you’re ready to take the leap, you need to ask some key questions before buying a home. The logical place to start in any home search is determining your budget. If you don’t consider how much you can afford independently of a mortgage company, you run the risk of taking on the maximum loan you’re approved for – whether you can actually afford that payment or not. In general, it’s smart to keep your monthly payment at or below 25 percent of your take-home pay. While many prospective buyers are under the assumption a 20-percent down payment is required to buy a home, this is simply not the case. In fact, the average first-time buyer puts just six percent down, and certain loans require as little as zero. The right down payment for you depends on your financial situation, savings and goals. However, if you can afford it, a 20-percent down payment allows you to avoid paying for private mortgage insurance (PMI). The down payment isn’t the only cash you’ll be spending on closing day. You’ll most likely also be responsible for closing costs, which can range from between two and five percent of your home’s purchase price. Your lender will provide you with a complete breakdown of the costs before closing day. Keep in mind, the longer a home has been on the market, the more motivated a seller might be to make a deal. This means you may have more flexibility in the initial offer, terms, credits Keep in mind, the longer a home has been on the market, the more motivated a seller might be to make a deal. This means you may have more flexibility in the initial offer, terms, credits and more. While many homes sit on the market simply because the original listing price was too high, there are some cases where there is something drastically wrong with the home. Either way, a thorough inspection is important. Always do your research regarding the local real estate market and recent sales in the neighborhood to help you determine if the asking price for the home you want is reasonable. This data can help you negotiate a lower offer or certain concessions, such as closing costs. The quality of a neighborhood is one of the main reasons people choose to buy a certain home. It will also affect your ability to sell the home in the future. Because of this, it’s extremely important to research things like safety, convenience, schools and more. Understanding a seller’s motivations for moving can give you more room for negotiation. A good buyer’s agent should be able to figure this information out and gauge how flexible the seller might be. For example, a seller relocating to a new state for a job will most likely be more motivated to negotiate than a seller simply exploring the market. Do some research into the property’s history of insurance claims because it may affect your ability to get homeowners insurance and/or the price you’ll pay for insurance coverage. Because of this, it’s important to ask the seller for the full history of insurance claims. Avoid taking on debt for furniture and decorations. Use what you already have, buy used and take it one room at a time. Many first-time buyers feel the need to take on another loan or more credit card debt to furnish their new place. It’s not always necessary! Buying a home is a huge financial investment, and it is your responsibility to put in the necessary time and effort when researching potential properties. Asking the right questions and being fully prepared about the home buying process before placing an offer can save you both money and headaches down the road. Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

How Remote Work Has Changed Our Home Needs

Work from home 2

Over the past year as more people have been working from home, many people are realizing their home needs are also changing. Working from home is on the rise so now is the time to reevaluate your changing

Over the past year as more people have been working from home, many people are realizing their home needs are also changing. Working from home is on the rise so now is the time to reevaluate your changing real estate needs to find the home that works best for you. Working from Home Gives You Options and Flexibility You may have found that working from home gives you options you didn’t have before. A majority of the workforce doesn’t need to be tied down to one specific area to do their job. These workers now have more flexibility and can pretty much live wherever they want. This means these workers can now move to a lower cost of living area or the location they have always dreamed of. You may be able to find a home in a more affordable area and get more house for your dollar. You’ll start to enjoy new benefits such as having more space and a dedicated home office. With the requirement of commuting gone, remote workers can now live in an area where they have always dreamed of vacationing, whether this is the mountains or near the beach. Relocating to a highly desired area also means you can live in an area that gives you better amenities, whether it’s the community or weather. Without a specific location for the job, the options are practically endless, and you can find your ideal spot. More people are moving away from the big cities and work centers, such as Los Angeles, Miami, Boston, New York, and San Francisco, entirely in favor of suburbs and more relaxed living. People may choose to go to communities that have a better quality of life but fewer job opportunities since they no longer must live where job opportunities are. Flexibility Even for Part-Time Remote Workers Some employees are now going back to the office part time, but this doesn’t mean that all flexibility is lost. Relocating within the region that gives you a better location but is a bit further away from the office can still be a good choice. You may have a longer commute, but you won’t be going into the office every day.The longer commute could be worth it to have a home with more comforts,space, or features. If you are going to be working from home, then finding a home that better suits your needs can be a priority. Having a Home Office Whether you are home part time or full time, having a home office is a necessity.Working from home has people recreating rooms in their homes to be used as office space. Some are looking to sell and buy homes with offices already in their new homes. Most people are seeing this as an opportunity to get the house they have always wanted so you can work comfortably from your home and still have a work life balance. Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

Things You Should Know Before Becoming a Real Estate Agent

Things you should know before becoming a real estate agent

In a host of different ways, real estate is a truly great business to get into. Not only does it bring with it the potential to make a significant amount of money, but it also offers flexibility and the

In a host of different ways, real estate is a truly great business to get into. Not only does it bring with it the potential to make a significant amount of money, but it also offers flexibility and the power to be your own boss. But before you decide to get started with your own career in the industry, try taking this quiz, "Should I become a real estate agent?" Do your research and know that there are a few important things to keep in mind. The Ins and Outs of Being a Real Estate Agent: Your Guide By far, the most important thing you need to understand about being a real estate agent is that it takes a tremendous amount of time to be successful. Building your business takes time and consistency. It takes time to build your clientele. Direct mail marketing is a good way to market your business by mailing out direct mail marketing materials to let people know what is going on the local market and that now might be a good time to sell. Let people know who you are, what your focus is and how you can help them. Consistently build your outreach efforts to get your name in front of as many people as possible. By being consistent with this method, you will eventually find a buyer or seller who will become your client! Likewise, you need to be aware that you can't just wake up one morning and declare yourself a realtor - before you get started you are required to take a wide range of different courses and you'll have to take the state exam. But beyond that, understand that all of those governing laws change on a regular basis - which is why it takes continuing education courses to actually keep your license. In a general sense, one of the most critical things to understand about a career in real estate is that real estate agents do not get regular paychecks. You would think that people would know that by now, but you'd be surprised by how many people are shocked to hear this. Real estate is a commission-based enterprise, meaning that the more you work, the more you make. You make more money on more expensive homes, and so on and so forth. But the reverse is also true - if you have a particularly slow period where you're not selling (or helping to buy) any homes at all, you're not generating income during that time. This can be a difficult thing for people to wrap their heads around, which is why you need to make a business plan and stick with it. Based on your personal financial goals and business expenses, sit down, and calculate exactly how much money you need to make during a given period. With that, you can reverse engineer the total number of transactions that you need to be involved in to meet that goal. That will tell you how many new leads you need to generate on a monthly basis, which in turn will give you a good indication of what you need to be doing every day. Yes, it's true that there is the potential to make seven figures in real estate. People do it all the time. But it's hardly a passive form of income - meaning that if you want to get to that level, you're going to have to work for it. Finally, understand that real estate agents work long hours and irregular days - meaning that if you're coming into the business looking for something like a more traditional "9 to 5" experience, you'll likely want to look elsewhere. Oftentimes you'll need to show homes on nights and weekends. You might put in 12 hours or more one day trying to get a home ready for showing. But as stated, the earning potential is incredibly so if you're able to be successful, the effort will be more than worth it. In the end, there will always be a need to buy and sell real estate - meaning that there will always be a need for real estate agents. The market goes up and down and some periods will be more fertile than others, but if you truly understand trends and "get" how the local market works, you can find a tremendous amount of success in the field. If you approach your real estate career by having realistic expectations and a good understanding of what you need to accomplish your goals, there is truly no limit to what you can accomplish. If you want to become a real estate agent, see these motivational success stories from top realtors Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

Maintaining Client Relationships in Real Estate

Maintaining client relationships in real estate

Great Ideas to Help You Maintain Client Relationships in Real Estate Almost more than in any other industry, people tend to come into the world of real estate with many pre-conceived notions about what

Great Ideas to Help You Maintain Client Relationships in Real Estate Almost more than in any other industry, people tend to come into the world of real estate with many pre-conceived notions about what their day-to-day jobs will be like - and which factors are truly important. Yes, you're helping someone navigate a massive financial purchase - certainly one of the biggest they're likely to make in their entire lives. If you're helping someone sell a home, you're going a long way towards assisting them when it comes to securing their financial future. If you're helping them buy a home, you're potentially allowing them to start a family in a wonderful new place, or to finally begin to build that life they've always seen for themselves. All of this is true. But a career as a realtor is also about so much more than that. If nothing else, real estate is a business of working with people. Therefore, more than even an individual sale or a particularly successful quarter, success in terms of real estate will depend on your ability to build relationships. It's crucial to know how to set up and maintain a good foundation with your clients, as the more you do this the more likely it is that you'll have a steady stream of new people coming right to your door. Building Relationships in Real Estate: Your Overview By far, one of the best ways to build stronger, longer lasting relationships with your customers involves understanding that listening is a fundamental part of creating a good working client experience. If you come into a situation and try to cram someone into a "one size fits all" box when it comes to looking for a new home, they're going to start to see you as cold and cynical - because that's exactly what you'll be. People will quickly pick up on the fact that you're not really trying to help them accomplish their goals because you're unconcerned with their wants and needs to begin with. Instead, you need to ask the right questions and, above all else, listen to the answers. Why is someone looking for a home? What features are important to them and why? Where do they see themselves in five years? Ten years? Are they planning on starting a family at some point in the future? Along the same lines, open communication is key when it comes to working with clients. If you take someone to a home and they decide they don't like it, don't just rush them along to the next one. Have a conversation with them and figure out what they didn't like and, more importantly, why. Talk about their goals and create an environment where they feel comfortable coming to you with questions, concerns, and advice. Again - talk with your clients about more personal areas of their lives, such as their family and hobbies, to create a rapport and connection. Let them know that you see them as more than just another client.Never forget that people come to real estate agents because they need legitimate help and guidance. They're often feeling overwhelmed and have more questions than they know how to answer. By taking the time to talk with them and establish that connection, you'll build a tremendous amount of trust and loyalty as a result. Finally, consider the fact that a meaningful way to express your appreciation and leave a lasting impression is with gift giving. This is especially true of clients that you've already worked with, as you always want to remain at the forefront of their mind. When Thanksgiving rolls around this year, you could have a promotion where all your past and current clients can stop by the office to pick up a free pumpkin pie. If you know that one of your older clients is having a birthday, feel free to pop a card in the mail. Things like this are small gestures, but they do go an incredibly long way towards making people feel appreciated - which is how relationships are grown and maintained. In the end, understand that the quality of your business is directly tied to the quality of the relationships that you're able to build with those around you. This is another one of those reasons why most experts recommend picking out a niche and sticking with it. If you choose to "farm" a particular geographic area - particularly one that you're already familiar with - you put yourself in a much better position to bring as much value to people's lives as possible. Then, with each successful transaction, something magical happens. People see that you're every bit as invested in their success as you are. They see that you're willing to go above and beyond to help them accomplish their goals. They see you as a true partner in every sense of the term - which truly is the target you should be trying to hit, day in and day out. An important part of maintaining relationships in real estate is reminding people that you're out there, to learn about the types of email campaigns to send to past and present clients click here Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

Open House Marketing to Build Your Brand

Open house marketing to build your brand

One of the most important things to understand about being a realtor is that you're never "just selling a house." Sure, on the surface, that's literally what you're doing. But you're also pitching something

One of the most important things to understand about being a realtor is that you're never "just selling a house." Sure, on the surface, that's literally what you're doing. But you're also pitching something so much more important: Your personal brand. People aren't going to come to you to buy or sell a home out of the kindness of their heart. They're going to do so because they trust you. Because they consider you an authority. Because they believe you have the skills, the knowledge and the expertise necessary to get them whatever outcome they see for themselves. To put it mildly, you're not going to be able to get to this point overnight. As the old saying goes,"Rome wasn't built in a day." That, in essence, is why open house marketing is so important. Over the short-term, it's a great way to help move whatever piece of property you're working with at the moment. In the long run, however, it's also an invaluable way to help show as many people as possible that you have what it takes to succeed - especially during your first year on the job. The Importance of Open House Marketing in Real Estate: Your Overview By far, one of the biggest reasons why open house marketing is so essential to new agents in particular is because it gives them a powerful opportunity to learn as they go. When you walk into your first open house, you're probably going to be a little bit nervous. You're going to be interacting with members of the public and giving people personalized tours of a space. The chances are incredibly high that you're going to make mistakes with your presentation - and open house marketing gives you a chance to make them over and over again. Now, that may sound scary - but it really isn't. Every mistake that you make is a learning opportunity, and the more you realize how to personalize the experience for the people standing in front of you, the better you get at it over time. Over the course of a day or two you'll probably walk dozens of people through that house and you'll get an invaluable opportunity to refine your process every time. You'll start to get a better sense of what they like and what they don't, and how to play to those strengths in an effective way. Simply put, you'll get better at the gig the more you do it - and open house marketing allows you to do so as quickly as possible. From an actual marketing perspective, open houses also allow you to build a brand that lasts. The more people see your name, the more likely they are to remember it. You'll begin to take marketing more seriously than ever, which is a big part of how real estate agents carve out a niche for themselves in a particular demographic area. As you start to see the return on your investment - meaning as you start to see more people responding to your marketing collateral and walking through those doors - you'll be in a better position to take marketing seriously. That in and of itself may be the most important benefit of all. The Investments of Marketing In an effort to get as many people to that next open house as possible, there are a few key techniques that you should definitely lean into. For starters, there are apps that are available to help with open house marketing right now in both the iTunes and Android app stores. Especially in a market as "hot" as the current one, people are always looking for great new homes in their area and if they're ready to buy, they typically want to move fast. Therefore, by posting your listings and contact information on these apps, you're more likely to attract the right kind of attention as quickly as humanly possible. Beyond that, you should absolutely use social media to spread the word about your next open house far and wide. Take to Facebook and Twitter and pay attention to the types of hashtags that are being used in the real estate industry. Make a post letting people know where the open house is, when it's taking place and other relevant information. Continue to post in the days leading up to the event. Likewise, if you see someone post on social media that they're looking for a new home in a particular area, don't be afraid to send them a message and let them know what you have coming up. They may not necessarily be interested, but they'll immediately become aware - and all of their other followers will, too. In the end, gaining clients with these open house marketing tactics is a fine line to walk - but it's very much possible. Resist the urge to include every last detail about the property - that's what the open house is for. You don't want to offer too many photos or too much information to the point where someone thinks "no, that's not for me." You want them to be enticed to the point where even if they're not sure, they still want to stop by the place and take a look around. If you're able to get to that point, you'll have a steady stream of new leads walking right through the door - which in and of itself is the point. Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

Lead Generation 101

Lead generation 101

One of the most crucial things to understand about lead generation in the real estate industry is that it's both slightly easier and slightly more difficult than you think. For those unfamiliar, lead

One of the most crucial things to understand about lead generation in the real estate industry is that it's both slightly easier and slightly more difficult than you think. For those unfamiliar, lead generation is a term used to describe how you not only attract the attention of potential buyers and sellers - but how you also convert them into actual, legitimate clients. In other words, you're trying to reach out to people who are interested in buying or selling a home to let them know that you're out there and that you can help. The reason why this process is slightly easier than you likely think it is has to do with the fact that there are many, many opportunities to generate leads - especially in a market like this one. The reason why it's also slightly harder is because it takes a great deal of effort to actually do this properly You need to be willing to put the time in and execute your lead generation strategy in a consistent way. You need to understand what goals you're working towards and how many leads you need to get there. You need to know where your ideal clients are spending their time, along with what they need to hear and how they need to hear it. Getting to this point is entirely possible, even as a new realtor in your first year. It does, however, require you to keep a few key things in mind along the way. What You Need to Know About Real Estate Lead Generation By far, the most important thing to be aware of when it comes to real estate lead generation is that you need to be as specific with your own personal goals as possible. If you became a realtor for the express reason of "I want to become the most famous and most successful agent around"... well, you're going to need to be a bit more detailed than that. Think about the financial goals that you have for your own business, especially within the context of the next year. How much do you want to be able to grow? How much money do you want to make? How much money do you actually need to handle things like marketing and potentially even renting a space of your own (if that applies to your situation)? The answers to questions like these need to inform absolutely everything you're doing, because you can use them to work your way backwards to the exact number of leads you need to be able to generate. Once you know that number, you can track your progress throughout the year to make sure that you're still on schedule. You'll be better informed as to whether or not your marketing efforts are actually working, and you can ramp up or ramp down as needed. But you can't get to this point without knowing what your financial goals are in the first place, which is why you need to decide on them (or let fate decide on them for you) as soon as possible There are many tools online that you can use to make this part of the process easier - with income and lead calculators being chief among them. They're often free, simple tools that allow you to specify how much money you want to make over the next year, at which point they'll tell you exactly how many leads you need to score. You can input how much you want to make in commissions, the current number of leads you're generating per month, and even the average price of a home in your particular area. Some even factor in additional elements like the average percent of the commissions you're making, along with your own personal average close rate. After including all of that information, the tool will spit out everything you need to know including the number of homes you actually have to sell, the total number of leads you'll need to generate to get to that point, and the average number of leads in a month you should be getting. It's a great way to contextualize your larger goals against all of the hard work you're doing. Beyond that, a critical part of the process also involves knowing where you'll generate those leads from - something that will vary depending on your situation. For a new agent who has only just gotten your foot through the door in the local area, you'll probably want to use a service like Vulcan7. It bills itself as the "most accurate and effective real estate seller leads resource" that is available to prospect expired, FSBO and FRBO leads in your area. You'll also want to immediately begin forming relationships with a lot of the other people who will be involved in real estate transactions that you're likely to be a part of in the future. Don't be afraid to make friends with people at local title companies, for example. You should also begin a social media presence and scour sites like Facebook and Twitter for potential clients. Also, send out direct mail collateral to people in your area to let them know who you are, what you do and why they should be paying attention. In the end, real estate lead generation isn't something you "do once and forget about." It's something that will require consistent effort over time. Soon, though, your effort will begin to generate its own momentum - and that is a very exciting position for any agent to be in. Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

Building a Niche in Real Estate: Your Overview

Building a niche in real estate

By far, one of the most common misconceptions that new agents make when entering the real estate industry has to do with the assumption that they need to be targeting the widest possible audience of

By far, one of the most common misconceptions that new agents make when entering the real estate industry has to do with the assumption that they need to be targeting the widest possible audience of potential buyers and sellers at all times. There may have been a time when this was true - but it has long since ended. Instead, success involves targeting the right audience with the right message at exactly the right time - which is what building a niche in real estate is all about. Rather than assuming that you're speaking to "anyone and everyone," you need to develop a niche - meaning a specialty in your business - and use it to gain leads. Once you've decided on this niche, it should inform a large part of most of your daily activities. Thankfully, getting to this point is a lot more straightforward than most people assume it to be. It simply requires you to keep a number of key things in mind along the way. Developing a Niche in Real Estate: Your Guide For most new agents in particular, one of the best ways to develop a niche in real estate and gain leads involves specializing in a certain neighborhood. This could be an area that you're already familiar with, or one that doesn't have too much competition from other agents. Regardless, you need to pick a location and become a subject matter expert in it as soon as you're able to. Research absolutely everything you can about this particular area. Off the top of your head you should be able to quote the prices that recent homes have sold for. You should know what types of homes are in the area and what their distinctive features are. You should be able to talk about local features and points of attractions, like the quality of the schools and the distance to interesting entertainment venues. In other words, you need to know this area as well as you possibly can - all so that you can establish yourself as a legitimate authority and build as much trust as possible at the exact same time. Obviously, getting to this level of knowledge isn't something that is going to happen overnight. It's going to take a significant amount of hard work and dedication. But when you consider that you'll quickly start to build a reputation for yourself as a real estate agent worth paying attention to, all of that effort will be more than worth it. Once you've honed your specialization in a certain neighborhood, you can focus on the next most important part of building a niche in real estate: marketing. Again, you should focus your marketing efforts on a specific group - meaning people who are A) already looking to buy or sell, or who B) may be open to the idea within the next year or so. At a bare minimum, you should send out marketing collateral introducing yourself and letting people know a little bit about who you are and what you do. This doesn't necessarily have to mean that you're "selling anything" - really, you want people to know your name and you want to pop up on their radar. Over time, you can expand your offers in a variety of strategic ways to continue to stay at the top of their minds. Whenever a home sells in the area, use it as an opportunity to send an email (or consider using direct mail) letting people know about it. If there are any interesting market trends that you feel people need to be aware of, send them information about it and provide your own unique perspective. Even holidays can be a great opportunity to just send out mailers, wish people a wonderful season, and remind them that you're out there. The more often you're able to do this, the more likely it is that you'll begin to develop your reputation as the go-to realtor in the area. If someone decides that they want to sell their home, the chances are high that the first person they call is you. Even if people aren't ready to buy or sell today, they'll remember you so that when that day does come, they pick up the phone and give you a call. They'll likely also recommend you to friends and family members who they know are interested in beginning this process. Beyond that, you'll always want to develop your specialty as much as possible. There's more than enough room in the real estate industry for everyone - you just have to find your own special corner and capitalize on it at your earliest opportunity. Some people choose to build their niche around the purchase of historic properties, for example - something that there are certainly a lot of in California. Others choose to focus on luxury properties, or condos. Others still choose to focus on distressed properties that can be quickly sold to development companies. Vacation properties, senior homes, it doesn't matter what you choose so long as you make a selection and commit to it. In the end, building a niche in real estate isn't just a great way to get your career started. It's also a way to gain leads and develop a steady, reliable stream of business for yourself - which in and of itself may be the most important benefit of all. Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

How to Dress as a Realtor

How to dress as a realtor

The real estate business is not only competitive for buyers and sellers, but also for real estate agents. Your business thrives on constantly bringing in new clients to fulfill their home dreams. Yet

The real estate business is not only competitive for buyers and sellers, but also for real estate agents. Your business thrives on constantly bringing in new clients to fulfill their home dreams. Yet what you wear can have a significant impact on whether the client wants to work with you or if they move on to the next firm. One of the interesting things about the real estate business is that many agents believe anything goes when it comes to dress attire because this is their chosen career. Since they may work for themselves instead of with a brokerage that has a dress code, they believe that their dress decisions should only matter to them. This factor may often lead to them wearing things that may turn off buyers or sellers, such as see-through clothing, over-gaudy jewelry, or even tacky shorts. However, your dress attire will be the first impression that buyers and sellers get about how knowledgeable and professional you will be with your services. Clients know that they could be working with you for several months. They do not want to have the impression that you do not want to take the job seriously, or that you may be so new to the real estate industry that you won't quite know how to handle negotiations or closings. Find out what the appropriate dress is that you may want to stick to when working as a real estate agent. One Size Does Not Fit All The good thing is that you do not have to stick to the strict cookie-cutter business suits and dresses, unless that is what you desire. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to what to wear in this profession because buying and selling buildings are not restricted to corporate developers or big city Realtors. No client would expect their real estate agent to show up to the beach wearing a three-piece suit or selling a ranch while wearing oxfords as you step around the livestock. Think About the Region Certain regions have a particular type of clothing trend that is popular to that area. Straying from this trend can often make real estate agents stick out in a negative fashion, as if they are someone new who is just muscling into the real estate game in that location. For metropolitan areas, a more formal business attire would be expected when working with clients interested in hi-rise apartments or commercial spaces. In more rural towns where everyone basically knows just about every neighbor by their first name, a more casual attire would be expected. Think About Your Clientele Based on the types of real estate that you work with, you may have clients of a specific demographic, such as families, retirees, empty nesters, and young couples. Some demographics may be a bit more lenient when it comes to the attire you pick. Others, such as older clients, can expect a more formal business attire. For families, they may look toward semi-formal to business casual. Consider the clientele so you can make the best first impression possible while developing a loyal customer base. Clothing to Avoid While you should dress in such a way as how you want to portray yourself as a real estate agent, there are usually a few pieces of clothing that should strictly only be worn during personal hours. Some clothing not to wear as a real estate agent includes: • see-through clothing • ripped jeans • workout clothes • graphic t-shirts • short shirts that show the midriff • tube tops • shorts • tight-fitting clothing • miniskirts • hats It can be left to debate on whether some of these items can be worn for real estate work, such as wearing a graphic t-shirt with the name of the real estate firm on it. While this may be acceptable in certain circumstances, always remember that you do not want to cause any friction with a client who may not want to see certain graphics. For example, you may want to show team spirit by wearing a t-shirt of your favorite sports team. But if the client roots for an opposing team, this can sometimes create bad vibes at the first meeting. Dress to Impress You cannot go wrong with dressing to impress your clients. If you are working at a firm, ask the managers and coworkers about the best attire to wear when meeting clients inside and outside the office. Then consider the location, regional dress trends, customer demographic and your personal branding as factors when choosing the appropriate attire. You are sure to come up with your go-to real estate clothes that will help you find the perfect clients and professionally close deals while you become the top real estate agent in the country. To read real estate success stories from some of the top real estate agents click here If you are inspired to become a real estate agent visit our website or give us a call! Love, Kartik subramaniam
Practical advice for real estate agents

A Guide to Your First 30 Days as a Real Estate Agent

Real estate agent planning first month on a calendar

So you finished real estate classes, you’ve chosen a broker to work with, you’re sitting at your desk and thinking: Now what? to buy a home right now. Sure, they know that they want to and that

So you finished real estate classes, you’ve chosen a broker to work with, you’re sitting at your desk and thinking: Now what? to buy a home right now. Sure, they know that they want to and that special day may very well be on the horizon. But they could also be waiting for a job transfer to come through, or for more savings to hit their account. They could even be trying to improve their credit - a process that certainly isn't going to happen overnight. For most of the students that go through our real estate school, the potential for unlimited income played a large role in the decision to get licensed. Truly, there is no limit to how much you can earn thanks to the commission-based structure that the real estate industry provides. This, coupled with the fact that real estate agents can set their own schedules and the added satisfaction that comes with helping people achieve their dreams of homeownership, creates something of a perfect storm in the best possible way. But at the same time, the chasm between becoming a Realtor and becoming a successful Realtor is a deep one, indeed. Rising to the status of the latter is something that takes an incredible amount of hard work and perseverance - often more than people are expecting when they begin their first day on the job in real estate. In fact, the first 30 days as a real estate agent are critical for setting the tone for everything that transpires afterwards. Because of that, making sure that your career launches properly is mission critical to your long-term success in our business. TL/DR - What you should expect in your first 30 days: 1. Join the Association of Realtors 2. Get MLS access 3. Get your eKey 4. Tell your friends and family that you’re in the business 5. Update all your social media 6. Preview at least 5 properties a day for at least the first 30 days Getting the logistical stuff squared away Standing up the logistical tools needed to get your real estate career started might seem obvious but they are worth mentioning. Simple items like ordering your business cards, getting your Board dues paid, making sure you have MLS access and Zipforms should be done in the first week at most. Some companies may hold your hand through this process of onboarding but many real estate companies have so many new hires that these items could slip through the cracks. Take things into your own hands if needed and get them done quickly. You also will want to write a professional bio, get your headshot done, as well as update all your social media profiles. Registering and creating profiles on sites like Zillow, Yelp, LinkedIn and Facebook won’t take long but they need to be done. If someone should Google your name, you want the first thing to come up to be a professional bio (complete with that previously mentioned headshot) to instantly give off the impression that you mean business and have social proof that you’re in the game. I’d also recommend gathering the names, addresses, emails and other bits of contact information of everyone you know - this will act as the new sphere of influence that you will slowly build from over time. Once that database is complete, you'll want to create a short letter or email to send out to every last name on it. The goal is simple: you want to let as many people know that you're now in the real estate profession and it isn’t just a hobby. Unless you hit this list, you’ll never know whether they're looking for a house right now or whether they're considering selling at some point in the future. The worst feeling is seeing one of your friends post on social media that they are selling or buying and would have done the deal with you had they known you were an agent. This is also the period when you'll want to make an effort to truly understand your market. There are a lot of real estate agents who know how to help someone buy or sell a home. The key to your competitive advantage will be your ability to do so better than anyone else and become the local real estate expert in your community - which is why you need to do research, and lots of it. Venture out into the area and show yourself around a few homes on the market. Test out that eKey, get comfortable with the process. Drive by homes that are for sale in your MLS. Not only will this help you get more familiar with the area you'll be operating in, but it'll also help you get more comfortable with the very process itself. Speaking of the MLS, use the first 30 days as an opportunity to run real estate market reports to make sure you're aware of all current market conditions. At any given moment you should know how fast homes are selling, the average prices they're going for, the list-to-sales price ratios and more. You could also consider offering free home valuation reports to all of your friends, to both get comfortable with the process and to show as many people as possible how serious you are about your new career. Networking and Beyond Your first month as a Realtor will also be one where networking with other agents is critically important. Plan on attending every open house that you can and preview plenty of properties listed by other agents. Ask to shadow a seasoned veteran for a day. It doesn't matter - connect with as many people as possible, because you never know who will be able to help. You should also draft a business plan to set some straightforward goals (not to mention a budget) for your first 90 days and beyond. Make an effort to set realistic goals for each week over the next few months, both to make sure that you're always moving in the right direction and so that you avoid feeling too overwhelmed. Finally, you need to understand that even beyond your first 30 days, you need to take advantage of every opportunity to learn and grow as a real estate professional. Take classes with your local Association of Realtors. Determine and understand what your unique selling proposition is and be able to communicate why someone should care about it. Attend any new agent orientations you can find. Review as many real estate contracts as you can get your hands on and write some of your own. I remember when I was just starting in the industry, I would draft purchase contracts on random houses at night just so that I could learn the contract. If you're able to find time for all of the above, you'll have done more than just make excellent use of your first 30 days. You'll have created a rock-solid foundation that the rest of your career will be built upon. For more resources to help in your first 30 days see blog Good luck! Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

What Kind of Car Should a New Realtor Drive?

Real estate agent getting in her car

As a new real estate agent, making the right first impression is critical . Details matter. That includes the way you look, your approach, and your personality. It also relates back to the type of

As a new real estate agent, making the right first impression is critical . Details matter. That includes the way you look, your approach, and your personality. It also relates back to the type of image you portray with your vehicle. Why Your Vehicle Matters First impressions matter to home buyers and sellers. They want to know that the person they are working with is successful, even if they are brand new. Having a car that is both functional and impressive enough is a key part of the process. Since most real estate agents will help buyers see a variety of homes often by driving them around, this can be an important decision to make. To be clear, packing everyone into the same car while COVID rages probably isn’t the wisest decision, however, COVID will be behind us and it will be back to business as usual. Most agents aim to find some balance between their image and the relatability of the vehicle. That is, while you want to have a nice and comfortable vehicle, you do not want something that’s too flashy that could scare away some of your most likely buyers. How do you do that? What Every Real Estate Agent’s Car Should Have One of the first things to start with is the basics. There are some features that are critical that every vehicle has. These make a difference in the type of experience the buyer and seller may have. Some key starting points include the following: Air Conditioning: Comfort matters. You want to be sure that anyone that is in your vehicle is comfortable. A nice feature to have is adjustable cooling for the backseat. That helps your buyers to be able to control their heating and cooling to find the right temperature of comfort. It helps keep them happy on a hot day. Radio: It’s a good idea to have a reliable radio. You may not need surround sound and top-of-the-line speakers, though. It is a good idea to have some music playing in the background when you pick up your buyers. When it is silent in the car, people feel uncomfortable. A big part of what you are doing now is keeping everyone enjoying the experience. You may even want to create a playlist for your car that is upbeat, positive music. 4 Doors: There’s no situation in which your buyers want to try to climb out of the backseat of a car. More so, it should be a roomy enough backseat that they are able to sit comfortably even if they are a bit taller or need more room. Be sure to choose a four-door vehicle that’s designed to accommodate your needs outside of work, too. Clean: Perhaps the most important part of your vehicle is how clean it is. People who are stepping into your vehicle expect it to be comfortable and sanitary. This is very important, especially in a pandemic world. If you are buying a car then, be sure to look for features that make it easy to keep clean. That may include leather or leather-like material. If you can choose a vehicle that has easy-to-remove or clean carpeting, that can help as well. Keep it litter free as well. What Kind of Car Should I Drive? New real estate agents are often overwhelmed by this decision. It does not have to be a complex process, though. You want to provide a positive experience for your buyers. They do not expect a top of the line vehicle, but they want something reliable. There is no benefit to you, especially as you are just starting, to have a too expensive car. If it has features that make a difference to you, such as a navigation system, that’s great. If not, you still have your smartphone you can use to help with getting around. What’s most important is not to overspend at the beginning of your career and to choose a car that fits into your budget as a new real estate agent . Over time, you can upgrade as you see fit. Choose a car that is not going to break the bank. It’s okay to buy a car that fits your personal needs, too, especially since most agents will use their car for this as well. Take the time to find a car that fits your personality and your client’s most likely needs. Then, be sure to take care of it to keep it looking sharp. Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

Are People Really Moving Out of California? Reports Indicate - Yes

California resident packing boxes and moving to texas

Before I get deeper into this article, it is worth noting that I love California. I’ve lived in southern California nearly all my life so this article isn’t meant to sound cynical about the state

Before I get deeper into this article, it is worth noting that I love California. I’ve lived in southern California nearly all my life so this article isn’t meant to sound cynical about the state of affairs around here. I just thought this would be an interesting article to research amid rumors that COVID lockdowns, taxes and regulations are chasing Californians out of dodge. Just in case you were concerned that the reported exodus of California residents to other states has been exaggerated, it seems to not only be true, but perhaps it is gaining momentum. That in itself is maybe a bit surprising, and some of the other facts surrounding the reports will also surprise you. Just to clarify, according to the California Department of Finance, the population of the Golden State was still increasing, but ever so slowly, in the period between July 2019 and July 2020. The state showed a net growth of just 21,200 residents, translating to a percentage growth rate for the 12-month period of just one 1.5%. The growth rate has slowed over the past two decades, but this was a record-setter, something that had not been matched since 1900. During the same period, Los Angeles County reported a net loss in population of more than 40,000, and Orange County is said to have lost nearly 25,000 residents. If you're wondering how to reconcile those numbers, you must dig deeper. The United States Census Bureau confirms that in 2019, 653,000 residents left the state for what they considered greener pastures in other parts of the country. Only 480,000 U.S. residents traded zip codes for one within California. That represents a net loss of 173,000 residents. And that was pre pandemic. But foreign-born new residents were still arriving. The Facts Behind the Stats California, with a population nearing 40 million, grew dramatically for most of the 20th Century. With enviable weather, great natural beauty and plenty of space left for new homes and businesses, it seemed to be the land of opportunity, with a booming job market, lively culture, and great cities, food and entertainment. In the second half of the century, the population almost tripled, but for the last 20 years the growth rate has been relatively flat, and it slowed dramatically in 2017. Reasons include a higher than average cost of living, rising home prices, taxes and overall costs, and a slow but steady change in demographics. As in the rest of the country, California's population growing older, and its birth rate has also declined. But its average age is still young when compared to other states. Unlike the majority of states, however, California is heavily populated by immigrants and minority groups. According to the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC), the state has unique diversity. Its share of foreign-born residents in 2018 was larger than any other state, estimated at 10.6 million. It is also a state with no single race or ethnicity constituting a population majority. Latinos now account for 37% of the population, surpassing the white population in 2014. Other substantial population groups include Asian-American at 15%, African- American numbering 6%, multi-racial groups at 3%, and American Indians or Pacific Islanders under 1%. Reasons for Relocating Out of California In order to understand why California residents are leaving, you cannot discount standard explanations. People relocate for many personal reasons, including new job opportunities, wanting to be closer to family and friends, or simply wanting to taste a new lifestyle. But why aren't people moving into the state? That may also not be difficult to answer. There is no doubt that traffic and weather play a part in the decision-making process. California has suffered more than its share of natural disasters in the past few years. Rising prices of goods and services, a scarcity of affordable housing -- particularly in major cities -- government regulation on business and rising taxes on individuals, and political considerations all have an effect. Rural areas lose residents primarily because jobs disappear, while cities seem to lose people due to rising prices and a lack of safe and affordable housing. California's operating farms have been decreasing for generations by some estimates, and its major cities have become known not for their cosmopolitan atmosphere but for their problems that include escalating prices, a culture of drugs, crime and homelessness, and questionable governance. The effect of COVID-19 also must be considered, and it is not insubstantial. The state has been viewed as a hotspot of infection, and has faced a lot of criticism for its handling of the crisis on local levels. It should be noted that some residents left and sold their home during the pandemic, but that the virus also prevented others from crossing the border into the state, which affects total population numbers. Where Are People Going? Favored destinations for California expats are Texas, Arizona and Idaho, for various reasons. Texas mounted a serious campaign to attract new business, especially from California, several years ago, and it has paid off. With no state income tax, a stable economy, a relatively favorable climate and a friendly vibe, new residents feel at home in Texas. Real estate agents are quick to point out the advantages of selling high and buying low, something that is entirely possible when moving to Texas from other places in the nation. That has helped sustain a building boom in Texas that began shortly after the crisis of 2008. Texas is a hot market for buyers from out of state. Austin and the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex are the prime areas. Other California residents, especially those who can continue to work remotely for their employers, head for Phoenix or to Boise, Idaho, which each have some of the same lifestyle, tax and housing advantages, and favorable climates. California real estate spokesmen are quick to confirm the trend. Some of them have even joined the expats, working remotely from new homes out of state, while continuing to represent sellers and buyers in California. What Does the Future Have in Store for the California Population? Will the trend be reversed in the future? It's hard to say, but right now it seems as if California is on the downward slope in terms of population. It will, however, no doubt retain its status as the most highly-populated state for at least the foreseeable future. Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

Helping Your Clients Find 'The One' Dream Home

Real estate agent helping client find their dream home

As a real estate agent, one of your main jobs is to help people navigate through what will undoubtedly be one of the biggest financial transactions of their life: buying a new home. But keep in mind that

As a real estate agent, one of your main jobs is to help people navigate through what will undoubtedly be one of the biggest financial transactions of their life: buying a new home. But keep in mind that you need to approach this in more than just a literal sense. Yes, the "nuts and bolts" process of buying a home is as difficult as it is time consuming, so people are going to need someone they trust (read: you) to help make sure that everything proceeds exactly as it should. But there are a lot of agents out there who can help people BUY a house. They're also going to need your assistance in terms of FINDING that perfect house to begin with. They don't just want any old house - they want "the one" that is everything they've been searching for and then some. Therefore, in an effort to help your clients choose that home of their dreams and walk away as satisfied with the process as they'd always hoped they would be, there are a few key things you'll want to keep in mind. Provide Objective, Constructive Insight About the Home By far, the most critical thing you can offer your clients as they search for a new home involves objective, constructive insight whenever possible. Even if a client walks through the door and is immediately enthusiastic about the property, you still need to make sure that they're thinking clearly. Help Them Weigh the Pros and Cons of the Home This means helping them weigh both the pros and the cons. Consider things like the status of the property and even the age and let them know what they might expect five or even ten years down the line. No home is perfect by any means and part of being a homeowner involves dealing with unexpected issues. Use your experience to offer guidance about THIS property in particular and make sure they understand the situation from all angles. Determine the “Wants” and “Needs” of Their Dream Home Likewise, go through a checklist of "wants" and "needs" with your clients and see how a particular property aligns with those goals. What are the elements that a client's "absolute perfect" home MUST have? How any of those boxes does this particular property check? What are the odds that they're going to be able to find a home that meets every last qualification on their list? These are the things you need to be thinking about to help someone make the most informed decision possible. Assess How Your Client is Feeling About the Home Of course, there are certain questions you need to ask of yourself during this period, too. Chief among them is simply "how is the client feeling right now?" Are they excited to the point where they can't stop thinking about the property? Are they already to the point where they're thinking about furniture placement and they can see themselves building a life in this house? If they are, the chances are high that you might have helped them find "the one." If they're not, you'll likely want to continue your search, at least for awhile. Consider the Aspect of Time Finally, you need to consider things from the perspective of time - something there just isn't as much of as people want. How much longer can the client keep looking? What are the current market conditions, and how fast is a property like this one likely to stay on the market? Is inventory high enough where it's even possible to keep looking for a new home indefinitely? Even if someone looks at a home and doesn't consider it to be "the one," can they work with a general contractor and eventually get it to that point one day? This may be what you need to recommend if this property is likely to move fast. While it's possible to follow all of the best practices outlined above and STILL not locate "the one," doing so will still put you in an excellent position to offer as much value to your clients as possible and help them get over the house that got away. That's not just how you help someone buy the home of their dreams - it's also how you turn them into a loyal, lifelong client who will continue to return to you for years to come. Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

The Fine Art of Handling Buyer and Seller Objections in Real Estate: What You Need to Know

Real estate agent listening to buyers objections

Without a doubt, real estate is primarily a sales-driven job. Regardless of how skilled a particular agent happens to be, getting objections from both buyers and sellers is a common part in the daily life

Without a doubt, real estate is primarily a sales-driven job. Regardless of how skilled a particular agent happens to be, getting objections from both buyers and sellers is a common part in the daily life of a Realtor . Sometimes they'll be completely legitimate concerns and it's part of your job to ease the client’s mind. On the other hand, on occasion there are instances where the client may be acting more out of emotion and not reason, and you'll need to figure out how to deal with those types of situations, too. How to Handle Common Real Estate Objections Still, HOW these objections are handled - and knowing what to say and how to say it - will no doubt lead to more sales moving forward. Therefore, if you want to get better at handling objections from both buyers and sellers, there are a few key things you'll want to keep in mind. Take the Time to Understand Their Point of View By far, the most important thing to keep in mind when fielding an objection from anyone is that you need to be proactive about trying to understand someone's position. Don't just think literally about what the objection is - try to go beyond the words and really get a sense of where this is actually coming from. Buying or selling a home is a major transaction (not to mention a significant moment in someone's life), and that's naturally going to put people on edge. Likewise, some people are simply more risk adverse than others. By really trying to understand someone's position and by getting a better sense of their point of view, it can help focus on exactly what you need to say to move forward with the deal, and how to best present it moving forward. Be Sure to Validate Their Opinions Similarly, you'll also want to make sure that the prospect feels validated. Don't simply write off their concern as irrelevant because that's only going to put you farther away from your goal, not closer to it. Even if an objection is coming up simply because of someone's fear of change, that's okay - you can't help that someone feels the way they feel. As an example I’m writing this six months into the Coronavirus pandemic and prior to a presidential election. Your buyer might want to wait until after the election to make a buying decision. This may or may not be a wise decision but I would dig deeper into their motivation for buying a home. Do they want to get wrapped up into a one year lease and pay a year worth of rent while they “wait it out”. Are they willing to risk interest rates increasing while they try and wrap their minds around the market? Are they willing to risk losing out on their dream home if one is available now? The major reason why all of this is important is because your ability to handle objections to everyone's satisfaction also helps build trust, an invaluable part of the relationships you're currently navigating. Remember that trusting someone isn't as simple as turning on a light switch - it ultimately takes time and care to build. Build Trust by Actively Listening By showing buyers and sellers that you're really listening to them and that you're paying attention to what they have to say, you're naturally in a better position to use trust to overcome the objection. Because at that point, they'll be able to see that you care about their success and that you clearly have their best interest in mind. Most of the time, that's all someone is looking for in the first place and sometimes objections happen when that sense of trust just isn't there yet. As Always, Remain Positive Whenever objections come up, try to remind both buyers and sellers of the positive side of what is going on. With rare exception, those positives will far outweigh the negatives and if you can just get them to say focused on those qualities that really matter, the situation will undoubtedly resolve itself and you'll be able to move forward in no-time. Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

Top Qualities of a Successful Real Estate Agent: Breaking Things Down

Real estate agent shaking clients hand

In a lot of ways, the real estate industry is unique in that there are so many moving parts at play. Every property is different, and the same can be said for every buyer and seller. But the one common

In a lot of ways, the real estate industry is unique in that there are so many moving parts at play. Every property is different, and the same can be said for every buyer and seller. But the one common thread that runs through it all is that there is often a passionate industry professional involved. What kind of personality does best in real estate? But of course, this begs the question - exactly what makes for a good real estate agent anyway? What personality traits are required to move from real estate agent to “successful" real estate agent as quickly as possible? The answers to those questions are largely straightforward - they simply require you to keep a few key things in mind. 1. Having a Problem Solver Mindset By far, one of the most important personality traits to have as a real estate agent involves a true problem solver mindset. Every transaction you're a part of will have several "moving parts," and sometimes things can go unpredictably. You'll be asked to come up with creative solutions to interesting problems and issues on a daily basis. Likewise, something as simple as showing a home can be a challenge as every property is truly unique in and of itself. None of this is a problem at all if you're the type of person who genuinely loves coming up with solutions to these and other types of issues. What happens if you are on the listing side of a transaction and the buyer completes their home inspection and asks for a laundry list of repairs? How are you going to handle this and keep your deal together? How will you deal with a difficult client? What happens if you are in a divorce transaction and suddenly one spouse no longer wishes to sell the home after you’ve spent 30 days heavily marketing it? You can see that the ability to think on your feet and problem solve is paramount. 2. Being an Ambitious Self-Starter Likewise, the importance of being a self-starter is hard to overstate. Even if you're working in a firm with a lot of other agents, you're still the "master of your own domain," so to speak. You'll largely set your own hours and you'll need to be a driven, self-motivated person if you're going to make it work. 3. Tenacity This relates to another one of the most important personality traits to have as a real estate agent - the type of tenacity that will serve you well all throughout your career. In addition to a great work ethic, you need to understand that leads in real estate aren't just going to generate themselves. You'll have to market your clients' properties - sometimes in aggressive ways - in order to attract as much attention as possible from qualified individuals. There ARE buyers out there for every property, just like there is a home out there for every home buyer. It's just that they aren't going to suddenly land in your lap - you're going to have to go out and find them and some days that will be easier than others. 4. Be Engaging and Having a Winning Attitude Finally, a critical personality trait that all successful real estate agents share is that they have an engaging and winning personality. A big part of your success as a real estate agent involves marketing yourself every bit as successfully as you market those properties. Being personable, acting with integrity and having confidence as an agent are significant pieces of the puzzle. In the end it's important to note that despite all of the above, it's absolutely true that any personality will do well in the real estate industry provided that you know exactly what to expect. It's certainly not a profession for people who cherish the ability to work a standard "nine to five" job. It also may not be the best fit for someone who likes a rigid, predictable structure in terms of their professional life. While the above traits are certainly helpful, they are not a requirement to succeed as a real estate agent. Provided that you have a deep passion for what you do and relish the opportunity to help people in your area find the types of homes they've always dreamed of, you will absolutely be able to succeed and make a real career out of it. Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

How to Negotiate a Higher Commission Split as a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent negotiating a higher commission split with her broker

While this topic might be a little more advanced, especially if you are just starting real estate school online, it’s an important topic, nonetheless. Generally speaking, the way the real estate industry

While this topic might be a little more advanced, especially if you are just starting real estate school online, it’s an important topic, nonetheless. Generally speaking, the way the real estate industry typically works goes a little something like this: A real estate agent works for a broker (think any company like Century 21, Coldwell Banker, etc.) and together, they combine their resources to help sell a home. More often than not, the company keeps some percentage of the overall commission fees that are paid out after the transaction in question has closed. As a direct result of their hard work and dedication, the real estate agent gets to keep some percentage of that commission. This process repeats itself, again and again, as each home is sold. Over time, the real estate agent will sell more and more homes. Sometimes the average value of the homes they are selling increases. Sometimes their frequency increases. Regardless - this person continues to build experience and generate business for the broker and, as a result, the amount of money they get to keep should increase, too. However, this doesn't necessarily happen automatically. Typically, there will come a time when a real estate agent actually has to go into the broker’s office and negotiate to keep a higher percentage of the commission - something that can be particularly scary if you haven't been in the real estate industry for very long. But thankfully, the process itself is quite straightforward - provided that you're able to keep a few key things in mind along the way. Most companies are going to have a published schedule wherein the commission splits are very transparent but what if you want to move up quicker? What if you have a huge deal you are working on and want a special arrangement on that transaction? 3 Negotiation Steps to Getting a Higher Commission Split 1. Analyze your Progress What may be the most important thing to understand about this process is that before you even think about walking into the boss' office and asking for what amounts to a salary increase, you need to do your due diligence. Decide on a period of time and pour over the data about each transaction to essentially track the trajectory of your career. Use cold, hard numbers to show not only how you've improved in your position, but how the value that you've been able to bring to the broker has increased, too. Maybe you've been selling more homes than you were when you first started. Maybe the average transaction price has increased exponentially. Maybe it's both at the same time. Regardless, at a large company your broker might not “just know this” and they might not take your word for it. You need to be able to clearly illustrate the value that you're currently bringing to the operation and why that value is worth a higher commission split. You're not going to be able to get to that point without preparation, so this process begins here. 2. Do your Research Likewise, you need to make sure that you're well aware of what commission split plans are in place to see exactly what you qualify for to begin with. Not only is this a great way to enter into the conversation armed with as much information as possible, but it's also a way to proceed without seeming too demanding as well. So instead of going into someone's office and saying "I want X," start a conversation about your current split and why you have earned more. See which ones you qualify for and ask if there is one that will promote your growth within the company faster than the one you're currently on. 3. Review your Goals Finally, you always want to make sure you know where you're headed before asking for your next commission split increase. Essentially, you need to know what your goals are for your career in the next five years to determine what you should be asking for to begin with. If you know what the next "level" is and what you need to do to achieve it, suddenly something that was once overwhelming doesn't seem so insurmountable anymore. You've broken the process down into a series of smaller and more manageable steps, which will absolutely help you stay motivated at the same time. If you can find time to do this between managing your client expectations and meeting your broker’s, you can be sure that you’re on the right track to taking your career to the next level. Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

Increasing Your Confidence as a Real Estate Professional: Your Guide

A confident real estate agent closing a sale on a home

If you had to make a list of some of the most important traits that any successful real estate professional should have, confidence would undoubtedly be right at the top. In a lot of ways, being a real

If you had to make a list of some of the most important traits that any successful real estate professional should have, confidence would undoubtedly be right at the top. In a lot of ways, being a real estate agent involves selling yourself every bit as much as you sell those properties in your area. There are so many real estate professionals in your area - people don't just need to know that you can get the job done. In a matter of moments, you need to be able to convince someone that nobody does what you do quite like how you do it, and why that will be such an advantage to them in the weeks and months ahead. Without confidence in yourself and your abilities, that won't just be difficult - it'll be impossible. But at the same time, a lot of people often come into the real estate business as a second or even a third career - making it a scary prospect for a lot of them. After all, there is no base salary. There are no health benefits. Most agents are independent contractors and, as stated, the competition is fierce. If you truly want to separate yourself from the pack, increasing your confidence is how you do it - and this is something you can accomplish in a wide range of ways, all of which are worth exploring. 3 Ways to Build Your Confidence as a new Real Estate Agent 1. Find a Real Estate Mentor to “Show You the Ropes” By far, one of the best opportunities you have to build confidence in your abilities as a real estate agent involves finding a mentor who can "show you the ropes," so to speak. They'll do more than just help build your skills and knowledge – real estate mentors also teach you how to better yourself in a way that you'd be hard-pressed to replicate on your own. If you work day in and day out with someone who is a proven success, you'll be able to see first-hand what works and what doesn't. You'll see everything that goes into each victory and how they deal with each failure. It's a process that takes years but it's also one that is more than worth it. 2. Be Patient – Give Yourself Time to Learn and Gain Experience Another one of the best ways to be more confident as a real estate professional involves giving yourself permission to be patient with your abilities. You're not going to come right out of the gate and be an overwhelming success in your field. You're probably not going to sell your first house immediately after you stage it. You will make mistakes and some days will be more difficult than others. All of this is more than okay, because each part of it is a big factor in determining your career trajectory. There's an old saying that tells us it takes a long time to become an "overnight success" - whoever coined that phrase was talking about real estate whether they realized it or not. In other words, try not to be too hard on yourself and just be patient. Slowly but surely, your confidence will build as a result. 3. Master Your Craft by Continuously Learning Finally, you need to understand that continuing education and a willingness to keep learning and keep improving is one of the core components of a confident real estate professional. Anyone who tells you they've "done enough" to develop their career or they've "learned all they can" about the industry or their local real estate markets is someone who lost a game they never truly understood in the first place. Any confidence they have is unearned at best. You should always look for new opportunities to improve your abilities. You should always capitalize on a chance to hone your skills, or develop a new trait. Your willingness to grow and learn will always impact your ability to do both. Once you acknowledge that, you'll see each incremental growth step - regardless of how small - as a victory in and of itself. Truly, the confidence that comes with that alone is more than worth the effort for most people and it certainly will be for you, too. Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

Understanding What Unlicensed Real Estate Assistants Can and Cannot Do

Unlicensed real estate assistant working on her laptop

Generally speaking, it's common knowledge that real estate agents are required to be licensed in the state in which they practice. This is more than just a simple formality, of course. Taking the real

Generally speaking, it's common knowledge that real estate agents are required to be licensed in the state in which they practice. This is more than just a simple formality, of course. Taking the real estate classes and becoming a licensed agent proves that you've gone through the training and education necessary to do the job. It's also an example of your commitment to follow the industry ethics and standards of your specific state when it comes to marketing, sales, negotiations and the completion of transactions. But more than that, a real estate license is also proof of your dedication to all of these ideas in the eyes of your potential clients - thus allowing them to move into a deeper and longer-lasting relationship with you with as much peace-of-mind as possible. As you progress in your career you may have to hire an assistant one day who might not be licensed to help you manage some of the day-to-day aspects of your operation. Because of this, questions often arise as to exactly what these assistants can or cannot do. Are they a real estate agent in everything but the name? Are their duties limited in some other type of way, especially in the eyes of the law? Luckily, the California Department of Real Estate has issued a set of guidelines specifically for these unlicensed assistants who work in the real estate industry, shedding insight into exactly what is expected of them and, more importantly, what isn't. It's an invaluable resource for anyone involved in a real estate transaction and understanding it requires you to keep a few key things in mind. What Unlicensed Assistants CAN Do in California: An Overview In the state of California, unlicensed assistants are definitely allowed to assist in the performance of cold contacting potential prospects. Indeed, this is a large part of the reason why real estate agents may seek out their help in the first place. This includes not only making telephone calls, but also using electronic communication like emails or social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to try to generate as much interest in the services of the real estate agent as possible. The unlicensed agent can answer questions about what types of services that the agent can provide, and they can even schedule an appointment so that all parties can meet. It's important to note, however, that this type of canvassing can ONLY be used to develop general information about the person being called. An unlicensed agent can call to determine whether or not someone would be interested in the services of the real estate agent, for example. They can NOT try to induce the person to use the agent's services in any way. Another way that unlicensed agents often prove invaluable ultimately comes down to the role they play in open houses. Unlicensed assistants are absolutely allowed to place signs in public areas throughout the neighborhood, for example, and can provide factual information about the house in question either verbally or through pre-printed materials. They can greet the general public when they walk through the door and can even schedule times for further appointments. All of this can again save the agent an incredible amount of time, thus allowing them to devote more of their attention on those tasks that truly need them. They have to do all of this with the express consent of the owner however - they can't just decide to do it on their own. The Administrative Roles of the Unlicensed Assistant Unlicensed assistants are also allowed to help their agent in other ways, too, particularly when it comes to a lot of those "back office" duties that are important but that also require a tremendous amount of time. In the state of California, an unlicensed assistant can: Make, conduct and even prepare a comparative market analysis for a particular property. It's just that only the licensed real estate agent can actually use it when conducting business, and they have to approve everything contained within the document first. Unlicensed assistants can let a prospective buyer into a property to inspect some or all of it, so long as this activity is necessary for the preparing of a report regarding future repairs that will be made. So an unlicensed agent can give a home inspector access to a property prior to a sale, for example. It's just that they cannot provide them with any supplementary information to actually complete that report - that will need to come from the agent directly. Unlicensed assistants are not only allowed to prepare advertising relating to a transaction for their employer - they can actually have input on the design elements of those materials, too. Once again, the agent with the license will need to approve everything before it is published and made available to the general public. Unlicensed assistants are also allowed to both prepare and complete documents before and during a transaction, so long as they do so under the supervision (and at the direction) of the licensee. Unlicensed assistants can also mail, deliver and pick up documents relating to a transaction - including obtaining signatures. While they are doing this, however, they are not allowed to discuss the content or relevance of those documents. An unlicensed agent can bring something to a client's house to have them sign it, but the conversation isn't allowed to get any more detailed than that. On the subject of documents, it should be noted that the guidelines state that unlicensed assistants are also able to thoroughly review the types of materials commonly coming into and going out of a real estate brokerage - so long as their employer has specifically directed them to do so. Overall, they can review documents for completeness or compliance, for example. Finally, unlicensed real estate agents are allowed to not only accept but also account for and provide a receipt for any trust funds received from a client or other party to a transaction. Of course, this means they can also communicate with those same individuals in connection with the transaction about topics like when reports or other information will be delivered. In the end, it's important to think of an unlicensed real estate assistant in the state of California as exactly what they are: an assistant in nearly every sense of the term. Under Section 10131 of the California Business and Professions Code, the state government has made it very clear which activities actually require a real estate broker license to execute. Nothing in these guidelines supersedes them in any way, shape or form. But that's okay, because an unlicensed assistant isn't supposed to replace the need for a real estate agent at all. Instead, it's supposed to support and empower them - helping to relieve as many of the administrative tasks from their plate as possible so that they can focus their attention on actually running their business and executing real estate transactions. To that end, an unlicensed assistant in the real estate industry really might be thought of as a paralegal in the legal profession. Paralegals are usually employed by lawyers to devote their attention to specialty tasks like case planning, development, management and others. They research legal topics and provide support for any tasks that don't require a law degree. They're not a replacement for an attorney, but then again they were never designed to be and that's not what is expected of them. An unlicensed real estate agent really does operate in much the same way, albeit via an entirely different field. Finally, it’s important to remember that the rules can change on what the state allows an unlicensed assistant to do so it’s important to check your state’s rules periodically to ensure that you are following the rules. These guidelines are intended to help not only real estate agents but also the members of the public that they've dedicated themselves to serving - which is ultimately the most important goal of all. If you are unlicensed and would like to obtain your real estate license visit our website for more information or take one of our free classes
Practical advice for real estate agents

6 Steps to Winning a Real Estate Listing in 2020

Agent talking to clients during real estate listing appointment

A question I get frequently from first year real estate agents is “How should I prepare for a listing appointment?” A real listing appointment. Not your mom’s house or your best friend from college

A question I get frequently from first year real estate agents is “How should I prepare for a listing appointment?” A real listing appointment. Not your mom’s house or your best friend from college but a genuine listing appointment from someone you don’t really know. I wanted to put together a quick guide that will help you as you move through the process of pitching your first seller client! While this is not exhaustive, it should get you closer to a signature than just winging it. 1. Make sure that the person you are meeting with is the owner The first step to having a great listing presentation is to ensure that the person you're meeting with is in fact, the true owner of the property. As an agent, you don't want to be on the wrong side of real estate fraud. While you don't necessarily need to see a driver license on the first meeting, use common sense. If the person on title is a female, for example, and you're meeting with a male who says they're the representative of the owner, it's important to dig deep and ask additional questions. In that case, that person may have power of attorney over the recorded owner, but your title insurance company and escrow company will need those documents anyway so ask for them upfront. 2. Research liens on the home The second step is to call your preferred title insurance company and have them pull title on the home to examine liens against the property. This is a prudent second step for a lot of reasons. First, you want to make sure that the market value of the home is greater than any existing liens. If not, this could turn into a short sale, which would trigger an additional set of documents and an entirely different process. Additionally, a search of the title will reveal if there are any notices of default recorded on the property, which in many states will require a different purchase agreement. A title search is also important because it shows the owner that you were prepared for the listing appointment and are able to work with title to eliminate any liens that may be showing on the property in error. 3. Have a well researched CMA The main reason that most properties expire out is an improper pricing strategy. A CMA will examine three aspects of the market: 1.The active listings 2.The expired listings 3.The recently sold listings. Clearly the most important part of this research are the properties that have recently sold as they represent a willing buyer and a willing seller doing a deal with one another. However, the active properties are also important because it shows the seller what the competition in the area is. Finally, the expired listings indicate a warning as to where you should not be pricing the property. 4. Have your documents ready All documents should be ready for the listing at the time of the listing. You should bring any state required forms you need to take a listing as well as a listing contract itself. The worst thing in the world is to have the seller say that they are ready to list, and you not have the appropriate documents. Bring multiple copies of the listing contract with you incase you need to make notes or changes. 5. Leave your judgement at the door If the seller has experienced a loss in income or a layoff requiring them to sell the property, it's important to be empathetic to the needs of the seller and listen while working diligently to try to maximize the net proceeds to the seller. Understand what your unique selling proposition is, have confidence that you and your company can get the property sold. And don't forget to smile. =) 6. Handle objections professionally and with ease It's quite likely that you'll face some objections when making your presentation. Invariably, you may get questions about whether you'll “do it for less”, “price it higher”, or “how many years you've been in the business”. It's important to research as many of these potential objections as possible, and have scripted and truthful responses to the seller’s concerns. There are a ton of free resources online to help in this if your broker doesn’t provide enough training. There are YouTube videos, blogs, and articles that can help you wade through the sea of a dozen or so objections that are most common in our real estate business. Remember that proper prior planning can prevent poor performance and the more you prospect, role play, and rehearse the greater the likelihood of you taking every listing appointment that you go on. Remember you have to list to last! Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

How to Help Your Buyer Get Over the House That Got Away

For sale sign outside of a recently sold house

Generally speaking, helping a buyer purchase a home should be one of the most fun and exciting times ever. However, sometimes life has other plans for you and your client.. and they don't necessarily

Generally speaking, helping a buyer purchase a home should be one of the most fun and exciting times ever. However, sometimes life has other plans for you and your client.. and they don't necessarily line up with your own. Experienced agents have all been here - Imagine for a moment that you're helping your buyer shop for their dream home. You've done a tremendous amount of research and have put in significant time and effort into finding something that meets the needs of your client. You’ve written the strongest offer possible and the communication with the listing agent looks good. Things are finally starting to go your way... ... but you end up not getting your offer accepted. The sense of defeat you feel in that moment can be crushing, to say the least. But that DOESN'T mean your search for the perfect home should come to an end. As a buyer's agent, one of the most important things you can do in that moment involves helping the buyer get back on track so they can continue to shop and finally secure that home they've been waiting for. Getting to this point isn't necessarily difficult, but it DOES require you to keep a few key things in mind along the way. Let the Mistakes of the Past Inform the Decisions of the Future After getting outbid on a terrific home, it's natural for buyers to start to second guess nearly everything that led them to that point. Obviously, they don't want to make the same "mistakes" again in the future - regardless of what those mistakes happened to be. As a buyer's agent, part of your job is to instill confidence in your client to the point where they believe they won't fall into the same trap a second time. Of course, this involves taking a look back at what happened and helping them learn from the experience in the most positive way possible. If part of the reason why your buyer was outbid had to do with their insistence of lowballing, help them understand that buyers can often lose out on their dream home by engaging in exactly this type of behavior. Not only can a really low offer offend a seller - even unintentionally - but it can also make them less likely to negotiate upwards, even if your client is more than willing to do so. Let your client know that they should find out what type of situation they're entering BEFORE they make their bid. Don't be afraid to come right out and ask if there are other offers and where those offers stand. At the very least, this can help manage their expectations prior to engaging in another bidding war over a property. Encourage your buyer to consider things that go above and beyond a simple monetary offer. Let them know that they can write a letter to the seller, for example, outlining why they love the home and why it means so much to them. You'd be surprised by how much of a difference this can make when a seller is trying to decide between similar offers. Put in Backup Offers in the Future At the same time, you should also encourage your client to put in a backup offer on any home that they're serious about in the future. Even if a seller has indicated that they're going with someone else, this is still a great best practice to follow. You really never know exactly what is going on across the negotiating table. That "accepted offer" from another buyer could fall apart due to a myriad of different reasons. Maybe those buyers got cold feet, or they were unable to secure the type of financing they thought they could. In any event, let your client know that there are still ways to be the "first in line" if that current deal should happen to fall through. Have Them Believe Another “Dream Home” Is Out There But in the end, the most important thing you can do to help your buyer get over a house that they lost involves getting them to believe the simple truth that another "dream home" will absolutely come along. Don't forget that part of why they're working with an agent like you comes down to your negotiating skill. Not only do you have the knowledge from your real estate courses, you (or your company in the case of a newer agent) have been around the block more than a few times and at this point, you've likely seen it all. With the real estate market developing as it is the chances are high that you'll be able to find a similar home for your client to the one they lost. You'll probably be able to find one that's even better, provided that you're given enough time to do so. Indeed, that may very well be the most important piece of advice for this situation: tell your client that it's time to stop looking backwards and to return their attention to the future once again. Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

A Look Inside: A Day in the Life of a Real Estate Agent

To do list written in notebook

Prepare for the day The first step in a great day as a Realtor is to prepare for the day itself. This includes going over your schedule, verifying and confirming appointments you may have for the

Prepare for the day The first step in a great day as a Realtor is to prepare for the day itself. This includes going over your schedule, verifying and confirming appointments you may have for the day, and studying market statistics. The act of studying the market data can be especially helpful for a newer agent as they have time to check the Multiple Listing Service to see what new properties have come on the market, examine properties that have gone under contract, as well as properties that have closed escrow in their marketplace. This 30-60 minutes of quiet time will set the agent up for business success. Make sure you role play As the morning progresses, the second thing that a real estate agent should do is role play. Role playing scripts and dialogues can be extremely helpful for the newer agent, especially because most buyers and sellers have a consistent set of objections that they will give the agent, and understanding how to respond to these objections smoothly and confidently can help increase sales. For example, if you're calling for-sale-by-owners, and the seller doesn't want to pay you a 6% commission, or is hesitant to set the appointment, there are several things that an experienced salesperson could say to increase their chances of success. Consistent role play will help delivery as well as syntax to ensure greater success. Ensure that you are prospecting The third thing, once role playing has been done, is to actually prospect. Daily prospecting must be the cornerstone of the salesperson’s day. Finding potential buyers and sellers is the lifeline of your business. As you continue in your career, you will come to realize that income for December actually has to do with how committed you were in October. An October client leads to a November escrow which leads to a December closing. Understanding the longterm nature of our business means that prospecting must be the cornerstone of your day. High-performing real estate agents typically will spend a minimum of two hours on this activity. Lead follow up The fourth thing that should be in the schedule of every high-producing real estate agent is lead follow-up. Simply put, lead follow-up is, as the name implies, following up on the leads as a result of your prospecting. The worst thing that an agent can do is spend a lot of time, energy, and effort into prospecting only to cultivate leads that never get called back or followed up with. The nature of the real estate business is such that the sales cycle can take days, weeks, or even months. Consistently following up with your leads via email, phone, and text message will increase the chance of those prospects ultimately turning into clients and closings. Schedule time to go on appointments The goal of lead follow-up, of course, leads us to our fifth activity - going on appointments. Time should be in your schedule every day for face-to-face meetings with clients. This could be listing appointments or showing appointments for buyers who want to look at homes. Sticking to a strict schedule for showing can help you take control of your day. Many newer real estate agents will show property or meet with the client within minutes of them asking. This will lead to burnout because if you're always jumping without any direction, it's easy to get discouraged if deals ultimately don't happen. Having respect for your own time will translate into clients having respect for your time also, so put that appointment block in your calendar, and make sure to follow it as strictly as possible. Examine the prior day Finally, at the end of each day, 15 to 20 minutes should be spent reviewing the activities of the day prior and setting up for the next day. Ask yourself questions like, "How productive was I today? How much time did I spend actually and actively looking for business? Are there things that I could have done better today? How can I avoid making the same mistakes tomorrow?" At the end of the day, productive real estate agents ask these questions so they can improve daily. Incremental improvement on a day-to-day basis will help you ultimately achieve success in the long-term. Hope this helps. Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

Smart Home Automation Trends for 2020

Grey google home mini on shelf

If you were looking for a single statistic that underlined why smart home and home automation technology has become so popular over the last few years, let it be the following: One recent study revealed

If you were looking for a single statistic that underlined why smart home and home automation technology has become so popular over the last few years, let it be the following: One recent study revealed that the average amount of money a person can save from using smart home products is about $98.30 per month, adding up to roughly $1,179.60 per year. Equipment like smart thermostats, connected sensors and "intelligent" security systems are more than just a "modest convenience" for many people. They're a true investment in every sense of the term - and one that will essentially pay for itself over time with the right application. But as is true with so many other areas of technology, smart home and home automation tech is evolving all the time. That's why there are a few important trends in this area that all real estate professionals should be paying close attention to in 2020 and beyond. The Top Home Automation Tech Trends to Pay Attention To 1. Standardization One of the most critical home automation trends for 2020 is also one that, for many people, couldn't have come along at a better time: standardization. A major pain point for so many real estate professionals and home builders trying to use home automation as a marketing tool always involved the fact that there were so many platforms to choose from. Ecosystems from Amazon, Google and even Apple all exist - but rarely do they work together in the way someone would want. Limiting users to one ecosystem also limits device compatibility, while trying to put together a system with a mishmash of ecosystems could easily lead to security vulnerabilities, among other issues. Thankfully, the major technology players have banded together to create a set of standards designed to make smart homes easier to embrace and more secure at the same time - which is something that professionals will absolutely want to keep a close eye on moving forward. 2. Improvements in Smart Home AI Another essential trend to watch out for involves the continued evolution of the relationship between smart home technology, home automation and artificial intelligence. A lot of smart home devices are already leveraging AI in impressive ways, like with smart thermostats that "learn" your daily usage habits and automatically make adjustments to regulate a home's temperature without the intervention of the actual homeowner. 2020 may very well be the year that this concept shifts to the next level, when things like facial recognition software driven by AI and machine learning allow security and surveillance systems to become more proactive. Rather than simply telling you "there's someone at the door," your smart doorbell may soon be able to tell you that "John Smith is at the door," thus creating an environment where both threat detection and regular alerts are more personalized than ever. Even going beyond that, smart devices powered by AI will be able to handle more complicated instructions than their current counterparts. This means that the average smart home user will be able to allow their devices to handle even more complex tasks than they can right now - thus freeing up more of their time and attention to focus on those activities that truly need them and that they're more invested in. This will likely drive a major boost in adoption in smart home tech across the board, too. The Impact of Smart Homes on the Future of Real Estate While it’s easy to be impressed by these home automation trends it's equally important to consider the impact they will have on both home building and the real estate industry moving forward. Reports indicate that 43% of all smart home technology users are currently between the ages of 18 and 34-years old. As those that fall into this demographic mature financially and begin looking for houses, home automation is naturally going to become more of a priority - making it more of a selling point for first-time home buyers too. Indeed, smart home tech is already having a major impact on people who fall outside of this category, too. There are reports that as many as 81% of people who already use some type of smart home tech said that they'd be more likely to purchase a home that already came with some level of connected technology that they could then add onto in the future. You're already seeing the inclusion of smart home and Internet of Things-connected devices included in a lot of home listings in markets both large and small across the country. This is one trend that shows absolutely no signs of slowing down anytime soon. All of this is to say that smart home equipment is more than just a novelty or another passing fad. It's already changed the way that many people think about what a home should include - to the point where it will impact the way real estate professionals think about how to market a property. All this is to say that if you're a real estate professional who isn't currently paying attention to the hottest trends in smart home and home automation technology, now would be an excellent time to start. Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

5 Tips for Managing Client Expectations

Expectation spelled out using scrabble pieces

The process of buying a home can be complex. What’s even more complex is helping a person to make the best decision for their family. For most people, this is the single largest investment they’ll

The process of buying a home can be complex. What’s even more complex is helping a person to make the best decision for their family. For most people, this is the single largest investment they’ll make during their lifetime. It’s a huge financial commitment. As a real estate agent, it’s your job to help them through this process, ensuring they not only buy a home, but they buy one that’s right for their needs. It comes down to managing client expectations. From the start of your relationship with a client, it’s essential to create a clear understanding of what their needs are. Managing their expectations isn’t just about closing a deal. It often includes providing complete insight and guidance. Here are some tips to do that. 1. Be Honest, Every Step of the Way It is quite common for people to make decisions based on perceived thoughts or opinions. Sometimes, your client will be downright wrong. Other times, you need to share with them the other side of the coin. When you meet with your client, be honest with them from the start. Tell them you’re going to point out the good and bad, and always provide authentic information. 2. Don’t Overpromise When a client walks in the door with too little money, no mortgage pre-approval, and little in the way of a down payment, don’t promise them a home. This is particularly important with first-time home buyers. You’ll do your best, but they need to be realistic about what their money can buy. This is a hard talk to have, because you may feel as though you’ve failed to meet their needs. However, if you’re frank with them and show them data, they’ll understand how they need to adjust their budget. 3. Create Clear Goals To manage your client’s expectations, you need to know what those are. This often means sitting down and going over what their needs are and what they would like in addition to that. You also want them to know what you’re going to do for them, including the marketing, negotiations, and research you’ll put into the work. Then, outline what you need from them – accurate information, fast responses, and flexibility throughout the process. 4. Ensure Near-Constant Communication You don’t have to break away from an important meeting with your family to answer client calls every time, but be there for them. In the day and age of text messaging, it’s rather easy to do this. You want them to know you’re available to discuss. Talk about the best ways to communicate and how often is right for them and for you. 5. Provide Them with Reports Whether you are listing their home or helping them buy a home, you want them to know what you’re doing to support the process. Be sure to provide them with data on the market on a weekly basis. Offer insight into what’s taking up your time on their project and communicate what you’re doing to change things up as needed. Managing client expectations improves outcomes while also ensuring a more steady and smooth process is possible. You can’t please everyone every time but it’s important to understand that your ability to manage the client through the process is critical to long-term success. Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

4 Ways a Realtor Can Connect with Past Clients

Realtor calling an old client to see how things are going

For real estate agents, past clients represent a wealth of new business in years to come if the relationship is nourished and kept up after the sale. The problem for some agents is that they lose touch

For real estate agents, past clients represent a wealth of new business in years to come if the relationship is nourished and kept up after the sale. The problem for some agents is that they lose touch with past clients after doing business with them, but there are a few reasons you should devote extra time to making sure you remain connected. In generations past, people often bought their home and stayed there for their entire lives, sometimes even leaving the property to following generations. Today, people are far more mobile than ever before. For real estate agents, there are two big reasons to maintain contact with past clients: They May Need Your Services in the Future. People rarely stay in the same home for the duration of their lives and many people also invest in other properties. Return business is great because you build an ongoing relationship of trust and friendship. It’s much easier to keep a current client happy than to try and obtain a new one. Happy Clients Recommend You to Others. Even for clients who will rarely, if ever, need your services again, it's important that you maintain a positive experience and connection. These clients will often have friends and acquaintances who are looking to purchase or sell homes and that can mean a great pipeline of referral business for you. We even see this with our real estate school. The great majority of our new students have been referred to us by a former one. 4 Ways to Rekindle a Connection with Past Clients If you haven't previously made it a point to market to past clients, you're not alone. Many agents lose or drop contact with one-time clients over the course of months or years since a sale. The good news is that it's never too late to reconnect. Here are a few ways you can reach out to old clients to build an ongoing relationship. Start By Going Through Your Past Client Lists. The first step to rebuild these relationships is setting some time aside to go through your past sales. Review notes and old emails on clients to give yourself a quick refresher on who they are and their lifestyle. As an agent, you deal with a lot of people throughout the day, so taking the time to review all the past information you have can be a great start. Remember, though, if a good deal of time has passed, that client has likely experienced some major life changes and may be in a different place financially so tread lightly. Send a Personalized Note. A great way to reconnect is by simply being honest. Send them a personal note. This can be through email or physical mail. If you do send a letter by mail, hand addressing it can be great because people are less inclined to see envelopes that are handwritten as sales material. The note can be a simple re-introduction, maybe an apology for not being in touch, and a personal note about something in their life. You can also include your personal social media accounts and contact information and let them know you'd like to stay in touch. Acknowledge an Anniversary. If sending a note out of the blue sounds a bit awkward to you, it's always great to go with the old stand by of sending a card or note for an occasion. This might be the anniversary of the purchase of their home or their birthday. Find Them on Social Media. Social media can often be the best way to resume contact with old clients. People often accept friend requests from a wide variety of contacts. Take some time to hunt for your past clients on your favorite platforms and use those channels to reconnect. You might include a personal note right when you reach out or once they've accepted your request to connect. Ways to Maintain an Ongoing Connection There are a lot of ways to reconnect with old clients, but maintaining that relationship is the real goal. Here are a few ways that you can cultivate an ongoing relationship with these contacts so that you stay in their thoughts if they ever need an agent for future real estate dealings. Send a Thank You for Referrals. If a past client referred you to someone, make sure you acknowledge that. You can send them a quick thank you note to show your gratitude for the trust and recommendation. Plan a Coffee or Small Gathering. Small events can be a great way to maintain a connection. You can host a small thank you event for past clients or offer a seminar on some aspect of property ownership. There are a million different ways to plan an event that make it worthwhile for contacts to attend and it gives you the opportunity to build an in person relationship. If your office has a large training room consider using that as free space to host your event. Send Them Updates On Property Sales in Their Neighborhood. Many people really appreciate knowing when a home goes on the market in their area. They may also be interested in knowing when one sold, so they can introduce themselves to new neighbors. Keep Them In Your Future Marketing Lists. Whether you send out email campaigns or routinely do newsletters to give your prospects worthwhile information, it's a great touch to keep past clients in the funnel on these efforts.  Past clients can represent a great market for future sales and you've already cultivated their goodwill by doing a great job on the property needs they've had so far. If you've let a lot of time lapse between contact, it's still worth your time to try to reconnect when possible. If you are considering taking online real estate classes call us at 888 768 5285 and we can help you get enrolled For additional ideas, check out this blog:How to Keep in Touch with Real Estate Clients Using Email Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

Real Estate Is About People, Personalities, and Emotions

Real estate agents shaking hands of clients and smiling

Real estate is most often thought of as being a numbers business. This is probably because it’s an intricate business that includes heavy regulations, lots of red tape, and major financial intricacies.

Real estate is most often thought of as being a numbers business. This is probably because it’s an intricate business that includes heavy regulations, lots of red tape, and major financial intricacies. For many people, their home purchase represents their largest investment. With that in mind, agents sometimes concentrate on the business and legal sides of real estate.  While you certainly don't want to overlook the hard and fast figures, real estate agents need to remember that the core of our industry is people. Unlike other investments, the home you buy is less about the money as it is about emotion. If you need a statistic to back up that premise, look no further than reporting suggesting that staging a home makes it sell faster. Of course, real estate agents know that the psychology of staging a home is all about helping prospective buyers imagine the life they would have once they purchased their home. It's not about the dollars. It's about the quality of life. How to Approach Real Estate in a People Centric Way Whether you're a new real estate school student, experienced agent or investor in properties, it's important that you understand that the end client is looking for more than a great financial investment. That's not to say that buyers and renters aren't looking at the bottom line at all. People have budgets they need to adhere to. But when they do make a final decision on where they're going to live, they're going to choose the best home that meets their lifestyle and emotional goals within a given price range. For a real estate agent, this means meeting your clients' needs in a proactive way. You have to recognize that they're not only investing in a property, they're planning the kind of life they want to have. The neighborhood and community will play into their decision almost as much as the actual structure of the home. This is why so many real estate agents use drones and spend a great deal of time learning as much as possible about the neighborhoods. These extra insights help you find the right community and neighborhood for your specific buyer. A couple with a young family may be more interested in a neighborhood with a lot of family friendly activities and amenities. On the other hand, a single professional might be more concerned with culture, nightlife, and easy access to travel. Finding the right home for a buyer is about finding the right atmosphere, too. A great agent will listen to the types of things their buyer is saying and ask pointed questions about the type of life they enjoy. A buyer might not know all the things they're looking for until they see it, but the right agent will have a great way of getting to know the buyer and showing them all the amenities in a property and area that they will love and appreciate.  It's Not Only About the Property, It's Also About the Experience Real estate is a bit of a juggling act. You have to know the ins and outs of contracts and loan documentation. You need to know the neighborhoods and market pricing. You need to be up to date on the latest construction and property trends. But the biggest piece of the puzzle is your ability to connect with your buyer. The home buyer's experience should be a primary goal for any agent. This includes listening to what they're looking for and having the knowledge and foresight to find the best properties that meet their ideal home needs. A great agent knows how important this purchase is for the buyer. A home is unlike any other purchase because, at the end of the day, you're investing in the place that you will raise your family and make your memories. An agent needs to place customer service as the highest priority. In any business, you want to be receptive to the client and always follow through on the things you agree to - like making sure you remember meetings and scheduled showings. In the real estate industry, you may also need to do a bit more hand holding with some clients.  It can't be overstated how important this purchase is to the client. They may want to view a property more times than average or have extra questions about the property history. Ideally, as an agent, it isn't just about getting the client to purchase. It's making sure that they are happy with their home for years to come. The big reason I wanted to write this blog post is because I want all our real estate license students to realize that the experience of buying a property is almost as important as the property itself. Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

Is Buying a Foreclosure Still a Good Idea? We Break Down the Pros and Cons

Foreclosure for sale sign on front lawn of house

Many people who are in the market for a home consider purchasing a foreclosure for various reasons. The two most common motivating factors include getting an inexpensive place to live and purchasing so-called

Many people who are in the market for a home consider purchasing a foreclosure for various reasons. The two most common motivating factors include getting an inexpensive place to live and purchasing so-called "investment properties" that can be renovated and sold for a nice profit. There's nothing inherently wrong with these concepts, and a good number of buyers do indeed find major bargains. But like everything else in the world of real estate, there are pros and cons to purchasing a house that is in foreclosure. The best way to approach the question is to look at what it means for a property to be categorized as "foreclosed," and what the most common advantages and disadvantages are when it comes to buying foreclosed properties. Learning how to invest in real estate can be an important tool for any consumer. What is a Foreclosure? In the broadest terms, a property becomes a foreclosure when the original owners can no longer make the payments and the bank takes ownership and possession of the home. At that point, buyers aren't dealing with the former owners of the house. They're buying directly from the bank (different than a short sale discussed below). Banks don't like being in the home-selling business, so they're often anxious to unload whatever houses they are holding in inventory. There are lots of reasons a home can go into foreclosure, but the inability of the original owners to honor the terms of the original note is the most common scenario.  What are the Main Advantages of Buying a Foreclosure? Foreclosures can be attractive buys for a number of reasons: Low price: The most common advantage for buyers is a price that could be lower than market value. In some cases, banks are willing to accept offers that are less than you would pay if the home were being sold by its original owners. As far as banks are concerned, the high level goal of selling a home is to recoup their investment. If they can do that, and if there aren't several other buyers bidding the price up, then they're usually glad to get the asset off their books and into your possession through a sale. Prices on foreclosures can be lower than market value. Title can still be clear: If you are buying an REO from a real estate broker and there is a standard escrow you can often get title insurance on it guaranteeing that the title is free of clouds. Financing is virtually the same: In many cases, you can still use FHA, VA or conventional financing options to purchase a foreclosure. The only difference is that you're submitting your bid to a bank rather than a person. Expect the bank to make a counter-offer if they aren't happy with your first bid. Investment opportunities: If you don't plan to live in the house and have the funds for upgrading or repairing it, then a foreclosure can be a smart way to invest in a potentially profitable piece of real estate. Some people have slowly built up a small portfolio of homes for sale by acquiring low-cost foreclosures and having them repaired. What are the Disadvantages of Buying a Foreclosed Home? There's a downside to buying foreclosed homes. Here are common disadvantages: Closing can take a long time: Depending on the reason the home went into foreclosure, it might take you several months to close on the property after you decide to buy it. If you're in a hurry, or need to use the house as your main residence, time may not be on your side. This is more true with a short sale. A short sale is different from a bank-owned foreclosure because the seller is not the lender in a short sale. The reason that short sales can take a longer amount of time to go through is because in a short sale, the seller needs approval from their lender to sell the property for less than the amount owed on the home. This third-party approval can take time to process. Condition is usually "as-is": This is the main disadvantage of buying a foreclosed home. The condition is often quite bad and you have to do your best to figure out how much it will cost to bring it up to par. Generally banks selling foreclosures are exempt from providing a buyer with many of the disclosures that you would otherwise get from the prior owner. That means a thorough inspection at the very least. Next, you'll need to hire one or more contractors to give you estimates for repair work. Perhaps the roof needs to be replaced or there are plumbing problems. You'll need to be approved and have good credit: You need to check with your lender and see if you can get approved for financing on a foreclosure. That typically means you'll need at least "good" credit and perhaps much better than good. Like any real estate deal, do not venture into the foreclosure market until you get a go-ahead from your own lender. There's a reason it's still on the market: Foreclosed properties that have been up for bids for a may have "hidden problems." Think of it this way: why have so many other potential buyers passed on the chance to buy the house? By far, the most common reason is the condition and the potential cost to repair it. The Big Picture The key point to keep in mind is that buying a foreclosed property can be either a very good or very bad financial move. You have to perform your own due diligence and find out what the pros and cons of a specific property are. Are extensive repairs needed? Do you have the funds to bring the house up to a high standard of quality and sell it for a profit, or live in it comfortably? Will your lender approve your application to purchase a foreclosed property? Are you ready to have the home inspected and take care of the necessary repairs? Are there unknown facts about why the property has been on the market, with no buyers, for x number of days? Be sure to do a thorough analysis and try to get answers to all your questions. One thing that can be of great help is working with a Realtor who specializes in foreclosures. That way, you'll have the added advantage of expert advice every step of the way. What's the bottom line on buying foreclosures? If you take your time, work with a professional and do plenty of research, it's possible to find good deals. But never approach the process if you're in a rush, know nothing about the real estate market or are expecting to guarantee yourself a quick profit. If you are interested in learning more about the real estate market or becoming a real estate agent so you can invest on your own, call us at 888-768-5285. Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

3 Things That Productive Real Estate Agents Understand

Real estate agent drinking coffee to stay productive during day

Whether you are a brand-new real estate agent trying to launch a career or are a seasoned agent looking to increase production I wanted to write a quick article for you. The below is a list of some of

Whether you are a brand-new real estate agent trying to launch a career or are a seasoned agent looking to increase production I wanted to write a quick article for you. The below is a list of some of the common traits I have observed in successful real estate agents. Whether you are considering enrolling in a real estate class or are about to take a crash course to prepare for the real estate license exam the below list should prove useful 1. Manage Your Energy Level Being able to run at a high level for a sustained period is critical to your success as a Realtor. It isn’t enough to just say “Work smarter and not harder.” You have to do both. Managing your energy level throughout the day is critical so you can work as hard as possible and continue to push. The reason that this is so important is because many real estate agents and other outside salespeople tend to eat poorly, work long hours and lack consistent exercise. The highest producing real estate people consciously try and escape this trap. How do they do this? A consistent eating schedule of things that (for the most part) fuel their energy long-term - meaning plenty of vegetables, fruit and water. This also means a consistent program of vigorous exercise for at least 30 minutes a day on a ritualistic basis. 2. Focus on Improving One Area at A Time There is a famous proverb that says “If you chase two rabbits, you will catch neither.” The best businesspeople attack and focus on one target at a time, reach it and move to the next goal. The secret is to cut up each goal into bite sized pieces that you can accomplish in short bursts so that you can rapidly move on to reaching the next one. For example, if your goal is to have a better listing presentation, you might cut the entire presentation into 1/3 pieces. The first third might be the verbal presentation itself. The second third might be the physical presentation and other collateral material. The final step might be objection handling practice. The best agents don’t move on to tweaking their physical presentation until their verbal presentation is right. Breaking the broad goal of “I want to have a better listing presentation” into pieces like this will result in the broader goal being achieved but in a shorter period of time. 3. Start with Baby Steps, Then Accelerate It’s an interesting thing when I talk to newer real estate agents about their goals. I will often ask students why they want to get into real estate and what they plan on getting out of the course and their new career. Often they will say things like “I want to be rich!” Or “I want to make $250,000 my first year!” I never want to crush someone’s dream or tell them that the thing they seem to want so badly isn’t possible. I think back to when I was a young 20 year old starting out in the business and if someone told me that my goals were unrealistic I would have dismissed them as being too negative and pessimistic. With that being said, setting goals just for the sake of sounding overly ambitious can be dangerous and not useful. The best businesspeople set rational and attainable goals with specific deadlines. In the context of real estate sales this process might involve initially calculating how much you need to live on a monthly basis. Next, determine your average sales price in your area and the average commission per deal. Finally, ask yourself how many deals you need to do to achieve that income amount. Example: Average sales price = $600,000 Average commission = 2.5% Average commission= $15,000 My expenses = $7,000 per month Needed income = $84,000 per year I need to sell 6 homes per year to survive. My goal = 6 homes per year Once you have proven that doing 6 deals a year is possible, you can then set loftier goals. Remember that being great doesn’t happen by accident and a process must be followed. I would encourage you at this early stage of your real estate career to adopt habits and set goals that give you the greatest chance of success in a highly competitive industry. Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

5 Ways to Making a Great First Impression: A Real Estate Agents Guide

New blog3

When you're in sales, the first impression can be the gateway to success. For real estate agents, it's the first step down a long and potentially lucrative path. The good news is that working on your first

When you're in sales, the first impression can be the gateway to success. For real estate agents, it's the first step down a long and potentially lucrative path. The good news is that working on your first impression will serve not just your career, but every other relationship you have in life. I wanted to write a blog post to take you through what a solid first impression looks like, how it helps you better relate to your clients, and what their takeaway will mean for your bottom line. How to Create a Great First Impression 1. The Basics Most of making a good first impression is common sense. However, just because it's easy to understand, doesn't mean it's easy to do. Even natural extroverts have to continually practice their manners and mannerisms before they get it right. Smile: Nearly half of all Americans say that the smile is the most memorable feature after meeting someone new. A fresh-faced smile sends a signal to people that you're happy to work with them and you're ready to get the work done. Focus: When it comes to meeting new clients, the nervousness of making a good first impression can be enough to force your head down. Eye contact is both polite and helps forge an instant connection with clients. Listen: Anyone who's ever dealt with a salesperson knows how frustrating it can be to feel as though your words are going straight into the wind. Active listening means paying attention, asking questions, and responding to the clients' real concerns. 2. Dig a Little Deeper A first impression is more than just following the basics. Picture the guy with the comically huge grin plastered on his face, the woman with off putting eye contact, or the agent who effusively responds to every statement as if it's the most fascinating thing they've ever heard. In the strictest sense of the word, they're smiling, listening, and focusing, but they still aren't leaving the right impression. To really master the directions, you need to practice sincerity with each step. Express genuine emotion when appropriate, but remember that subtlety can also go a long way. Give a small grin when meeting people and save the teeth for the last minute. Follow-up on client statements that are vague or need further information. Blink normally when making eye contact and don't be afraid of looking down for a second if the conversation is getting too intense. 3. Practice Makes Perfect Practicing your first impression doesn't necessarily mean going to your local bar and talking to endless strangers. It can be as simple as setting up role-playing with people you already know and trust. Have them provide honest feedback and constructive criticism about the sincerity of your smile, the volume of your voice, and the firmness of your handshake. These comments can go a long way if you're trying to understand how other people see you during their first interaction. When you're shaking someone's hand, look into their eyes and strike a balance between death grip and limp. Use the first name as quickly as possible during the conversation so you're less likely to forget their names halfway through. Make sure that you’re annunciating your words and the volume of your voice is appropriate for the context of the environment. 4. Do Your Prep Work Once you've taken care of some of the more subjective aspects of the first impression, you should have a much easier time addressing the more practical work of meeting someone. Being prepared can be as simple as getting to a meeting early or donning a sports coat or blazer to make your outfit just a touch more professional. Before you meet with clients, it helps to know as much as possible about what they're looking for. Even if it's as simple as knowing they want a duplex rather than a single-family. The art of sales can get complicated, so it helps to hit the ground running. 5. Express Yourself As tempting as it can be to remain neutral during your meeting, blandness will ultimately not help you be memorable. The truth is that even the most successful real estate agent may turn off a client or two with their personality, but it's ultimately better than being seen as forgettable. You can still be polite and respectful while expressing your personal opinions. To stay on topic and to maximize the first few seconds with a client, some agents may give a short elevator speech where they emphasize their particular brand. So whether you're a bulldog in negotiations or the master of the short escrow, letting clients know upfront can be a good way to stand out. Unlike most traditional sales, successfully navigating a property sale can take months or longer. If you hope to maintain your reputation and relationship with your clients for that long, you need to get off on the right foot. Use these tips to stand out from the crowd, so you're the one who ends up growing customer base. This may be a slightly different blog post than I normally write, but so many of our real estate school students express their nervousness in meeting clients early in their careers. Hope this helps. If you are interested in taking online real estate courses please visit our website or call us at 888 768 5285. Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

What to Do When You Have a Difficult Client

Realtor shaking hands with client over coffee

Welcome to the world of people. Some clients you have are going to be just terrific. Others can make you regret getting into the real estate business altogether. Most are probably going to be somewhere

Welcome to the world of people. Some clients you have are going to be just terrific. Others can make you regret getting into the real estate business altogether. Most are probably going to be somewhere in between. With that said, one of the benefits of working in our real estate business is the ability to work one-on-one with people. Not only are you helping to fill their needs, but also create positive, long-lasting relationships in many cases. Remember that after you finish real estate school with us and get out into the real world you’re going to find that not all people are as easy to deal with as you might like. Sometimes, you’re going to have a client that is.. well.. let’s just call them challenging. Whether you are a seasoned real estate agent or a new Realtor who just passed the real estate license exam, there are a few simple things you can do to make these difficult relationships easier to manage. #1: Keep Your Calm No matter how awful the things are that the client may be saying, it’s essential to remain professional. If you have to rant and get some of your frustrations off your chest do so in private (not with agents or other clients). It is always important to keep the focus on the transaction. Remember, you do not have to work with them again. Consider this. When a client is difficult, you may feel as though they are not worth your time or energy. Keep in mind that some difficult clients may be self-aware enough to recognize this about themselves. If you stick with them long term, they are more likely to continue the process and transact. They may even surprise you and refer you other business. It’s not always going to be easy, but it can be necessary to stick it out and maintain your composure and professionalism. #2: Listen to Their Underlying Concerns What happens if you encounter is a client that’s seemingly always unhappy? They complain about every property even though they’ve just asked to see it. They may say that the price is too high and the neighborhood isn’t good enough. A true leader can recognize that constant negative behavior like this may point to a larger, underlying problem. Sit down with your client and talk about what you’ve looked at and the concerns you have had thus far. Then, ask them what they really want. Try to uncover their concerns. Are they truly ready to buy? Perhaps they are not sure if they have their finances teed up. In other cases, they may be be a fear of completing the purchase and make this type of commitment. Their complaints are just symptomatic of another issue. Bear in mind that there are situations where their concerns will be valid. Perhaps they don’t feel you’re putting enough time into them or that you aren’t giving them what they need. It’s important to get them to clarify the root of the problem so that you can address it and move on. #3: Respond to Them Sooner Let’s say a client contacts you at 9 pm. What he or she said is irritating to you. You want to clarify the situation, but it’s already so late. Are you going to spend the night tossing and turning as a result of this situation? If so, it’s better to respond now and get it over with, so you can sleep. The key here is when a client raises a concern about any factor, make it a priority to get it figured out as soon as you can. This helps to validate the client’s concerns. That doesn’t mean you are agreeing with them or even accepting any type of blame. Rather, you are simply moving things forward to the next step in the process. Be sure to restate their claim or concern. For example, you might say, “Thank you for your email. I understand you are concerned with the timing of this sale….” You do not have to provide a solution right away, but you can tell the client you’re working on it or set up a time to talk about it. #4: Let Go of Fear Let’s say there is a client that just downright doesn’t understand the rules of the game. The buyer may want to underbid every property you show them. What about a seller who is adamant about overpricing the home? Worse yet, what about a seller who is refusing to make proper disclosures to a buyer? In these situations, you may be afraid to lose the client, but you have to step outside of that fear. Be frank and honest with your clients all of the time. Tell them what is going to happen in any given situation. “If we underbid this by that much, we’re going to lose it to a competitor’s bid. Here’s what I think we should do.” Or, state, “It’s legally required to communicate this information. If you are not willing to do that, I need to step away from this relationship to protect my real estate license.” Sometimes, you have to say what they need to hear frankly. Taking charge like this doesn’t mean being aggressive, but it means reminding them, in a positive way, that you know what you are doing. #5: Find a Solution as a Priority When clients are difficult, there is generally a reason for this. Your goal is not to ignore that concern. Rather, it is to find a compromise or solution that works for them. We are in the business of helping people, and that often means figuring out what they want and need without them clarifying this. There will be times when you will miss the mark or make a mistake. The great real estate agent will admit those mistakes and find a solution to recover the client. How can you improve this situation if you were wrong? On the other hand, if the client is wrong, you may want to throw your hands up and walk away. Before you do that, explain what’s happening. Then, offer more than one solution. By giving your client an option, you put the ball in their court. They now remain in charge of the outcome. Difficult clients happen in every business. As you work to build your real estate career, you will find that there are 10 good clients for every bad one. Those are good odds, and it can mean that that one individual is pushing you to become a better agent, one that has to step outside of their comfort zone to support their client and your real estate sales business. I’m always looking to bring our readers value. If I can be of service, please let me know. Feel free to reach out on Instagram or by phone at 888 768 5285. Side note - If you read this and aren’t scared away at the prospect of real estate sales and want to enroll in our real estate school, feel free to do so here. We would love to have you as our newest student! Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

Are The Holidays A Good Time To Sell A Home?

Christmas tree with presents in living room

Happy holidays! Did you finish your real estate license courses as yet? Have you prepared for the real estate exam? In a way, I almost feel bad for our real estate school students who get their real

Happy holidays! Did you finish your real estate license courses as yet? Have you prepared for the real estate exam? In a way, I almost feel bad for our real estate school students who get their real estate licenses during the holidays. Becoming a Realtor in December can be a tough thing. A common objection that real estate agents get around this time of year is that sellers and buyers say they want to “wait until after the 1st”. While potential clients are waiting you aren’t earning. I wanted to write an article to answer the question of “Is selling your home during the holidays, a good idea?” Traditionally, home selling during November and December can be a bit slower depending on your market. People often put it off until the New Year for no real reason other than the perception might be that the first quarter of the next year is better than the fourth quarter of the prior one. It’s important to recognize that there is no “best time” to sell a property - the best time is when your client is ready to move. There are a few key reasons why selling during the holidays could be the ideal choice.  If you have clients that are on the fence about moving now, communicate the following as to why this could be the perfect time to list. There Are Far Fewer Homes on the Market Perhaps the most compelling reason to list during the holidays is that there tends to be less competition. Depending on where you live, inventory can be a concern. People are buying homes throughout the year – including the final quarter. At the same time, fewer sellers list at this time, creating more opportunities for your listing to sell faster and for more money. Compare this to the spring and early summer when there are more listings that tend to hit the market. This increase in supply can contribute to more of a buyer’s market as supply increases which can drive marketing times up and prices to soften. When your home hits the market during the holidays and it fits a buyer’s needs, and it’s the only one that does, buyer don’t have that luxury of tire-kicking. This can work in your favor as a seller every time. You Might Sell Faster, Too Along with that increased demand for your property is the likelihood that your home will sell faster. Redfin did a study back in 2013 that found homes listed during the fall and winter months sold 65 percent of the time – which is more than any other time of the year. They also found that homes that sold between December 21st through March 21st sold closest to their listing price. For sellers, this means a sale more likely closer to list price. Holidays Buyers Are More Committed When selling a home during the spring and summer months, you’ll find that many of the showings rarely write offers. While that may be for many reasons, one key fact is that many people looking at homes during summer might not be ready to buy. They are browsing or window shopping during the summer. The weather is nicer and open houses can be a “thing to do” on a lazy Sunday afternoon. However, buyers looking for a home during the winter months are likely to be far more serious. They are ready and tend to be qualified buyers, too. Consider why this may be. A person buying a home in December probably does not want to spend all of their extra time going from home to home – there’s much more to do. Family might be in town during the holiday season, the kids may be off of school - personal time is at a premium this time of yet. Net-net wintertime buyers are often serious buyers and ready to go. You Can Create Some Holiday Magic to Show Off Your Home Though you shouldn’t overdo it, adding a bit of holiday magic to your listing can be an excellent way to move buyers into action. For example, if you live in an area where people routinely decorate for the season, adding a few holiday decorations and creating a formal, but elegant display can help people see themselves in that home next year, doing the same. In other words, the holidays can work for you here. As a real estate agent, the holidays present an opportunity to light up the fireplace and to bake some cookies, too. Why go to this trouble? You’re setting the stage and creating an opportunity for the potential buyers looking at your listing to see what life could be like if they buy from you. What other time of the year is your home as inviting? The holidays can be magical. People Moving for Jobs Need Homes Before January Many people switch positions and relocate around the beginning of the year meaning they might be forced or at least incentivized into buying a home in December. You may find that this creates an influx of buyers for you in the last few weeks of the year. If you live in an area where job growth is plentiful and high-paying positions are common, this is a key reason to take listings now rather than wait until the New Year. When Is The Best Time To List A Home for Sale? There’s no right answer to this question. We should be ready to help our clients whenever they need it and do what’s in their best interest. The perceived benefit of waiting until the spring months to list might not be real. Remember that the spring and summer periods are when sellers may have increased competition to sell. If you are considering enrolling in our real estate license school, please feel free to reach out on Instagram or call the office at 888 768 5285. We are always happy to help! Just like selling a home, starting real estate school to get your real estate license doesn’t have a “best time”. The best time is when you are ready. There’s no time like the present! I'm looking forward to having you as our newest student! Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

How to build a real estate website

Person building a real estate website using wordpress

I don’t think that anyone can deny that nearly every business should have a website of some sort.  To the extent you can, it’s far better to control your own digital footprint rather than have the

I don’t think that anyone can deny that nearly every business should have a website of some sort.  To the extent you can, it’s far better to control your own digital footprint rather than have the world do it for you.   According to one recent study, an incredible 93% of all interactions between a business and its customers begin in the exact same way: with a search engine like Google. For that reason alone, the quality and execution of your real estate website is of paramount importance - especially in those fragile early days of your career. OK so you finished real estate school and have passed the real estate license exam and obtained your real estate license. Your career can begin in earnest. But without the right, thoughtfully designed website to make your presence known, you're not going to get as far as quickly. Thankfully, designing the perfect real estate website - one that is compelling, that properly speaks to what you do and your value proposition - isn't necessarily as difficult as you might think. All it requires is the right approach, and for you to keep a few core things in mind. Understand Your Goals Before you think about the actual design of your website, you need to come to terms with exactly what that design needs to do. Yes, there's a certain element of marketing at play here in that your website is supposed to be selling something. Only instead of pitching your products and services, in our real estate business you're really selling the most valuable asset of all: yourself. But even more than that, you need to understand that your website is more than just an advertisement. It's a way to make people aware of your unique perspective on the real estate industry, it's an opportunity to establish yourself as an authority in your market and it's a way to begin building trust - essentially all at the same time. If your site comes off as little more than an expanded advertisement that someone might see when searching through Google, you're not going to be able to do any of those things. Therefore, your real estate website needs to be genuine, honest, informative and legitimately helpful - all in equal measure. These four qualities need to inform every decision you make moving forward, from design all the way down to the type of content you create and share. Get Specific With It There's a common misconception out there that the right real estate website needs to appeal to the largest audience that it can. But the truth is that your visitors will rarely come to your site looking for a home across an entire state, or even in a larger city. They're going to be looking for information on current listings in specific neighborhoods, and you need to be able to capitalize on that. All of this is to say that you shouldn't build your site in a way that claims you're an authority on "real estate in California" or even "real estate in San Diego, California." Hone in on specific neighborhoods and communities that you have the most experience with. Integrate Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and Internet Data Exchange (IDX) search capabilities into your site in a way that allows people to focus their efforts on those places they really want to live in. Establish yourself as an authority at first in a few specifically targeted areas and work on building your reputation - and your client list - over time. You can always expand your focus later as your business does the same, but in those early days don't be afraid to get as granular as you possibly can. It's Also About Supplementary Features Remember that the goal of your real estate website shouldn't JUST be to offer listings for homes in those areas, though. Listing sites are a dime a dozen - the chances are high that people will have seen information about a lot of those current homes in other areas before they ever stumble across your domain. Instead, you need to go above and beyond that idea - turn your site into a true informational and educational resource in every sense of those words. You should absolutely be writing blog posts that give insight on current trends in the industry. Poke around my blog.  I’ve been in our business for almost 20 years and I have written over 200 articles and recorded over 1,400 videos on real estate topics.  This helps to establish me as an industry expert.  Remember, however, that I started out just like you - 0 followers and 0 content.  It takes time and consistency to make it work.  The sheer volume of content being produced every second is making it harder and harder to get noticed.  This underscores the fact that you have to pump out as much high quality content as possible to get known. So what to do?  As a new agent take the time to write a few hundred words that take an important real estate topic and break it down in a way that is easy for anyone to understand. Write about what people should look for in a first home and what they shouldn't be focusing so much of their attention on, for example. Try and integrate videos, a comment section, mortgage calculators and other things that will make the house hunt as easy as possible. Don't forget that you're not just trying to get someone to buy or sell a home. You're trying to convince them to buy or sell a home with YOU. To get to that point, people need to see you as an authority - articles and videos go a long way towards establishing precisely that. Reviews, and Lots of Them Last but not least we arrive at the concept of reviews - something that is particularly important in terms of your long-term success in real estate. People aren't just going to take your word for it that you know what you're talking about. Real estate has always been built on relationships - someone wants to buy a new home and they immediately turn to their friends and say "hey, do you know anybody I can call for help?" The Internet operates in exactly the same way, to the point where a massive 90% of people who responded to a survey who read online reviews claimed that those positive reviews absolutely influenced their eventual buying decision. When you close on a deal with a client, ask them to write you a review. Then, get that review up on your website as soon as you can. Then, share those reviews on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter - which should also be integrated into your site. Do this as often as you possibly can. This will help you establish social proof, which truly is the currency of the modern era. The more someone sees that others value what you do, the sooner they'll start to value it, too. At that point, you'll have a steady stream of hot new leads headed straight to your door. At the end of the day don’t be afraid to shine and show off a little.  If you can add value somewhere by earning a 5 star review or writing a blog or recording a video do it!  Don’t be afraid to show the world that you are a real estate expert and you know what you’re doing.   If I can be of service, please let me know.  You can connect on Instagram here or reach out by phone at 888 768 5285. Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

Why weekends matter to the entrepreneur

Weekends matter entreprenuer

It’s Saturday and I’m at a local coffee shop banging away on the keyboard.  I like working on stuff like this on Saturday and Sundays.  It’s quiet.   Yes i have a few people in the office today,

It’s Saturday and I’m at a local coffee shop banging away on the keyboard.  I like working on stuff like this on Saturday and Sundays.  It’s quiet.   Yes i have a few people in the office today, but it’s nothing like the sometimes pandemonium associated with a weekday.   I wanted to write a quick article about why weekends matter to the entrepreneur because it’s not hard to argue that there’s never been a better time to start your own business. Between the ability to reach a large audience and access to technology, individual people with great ideas and a solid work ethic have a better chance to succeed in today's market. However, that does not make success an easy thing to achieve. Statistics indicate that around 62% of adults think that becoming an entrepreneur can be an excellent career. When you break down those numbers, though, you'll find that nearly 50% think they themselves are equipped to become an entrepreneur and 40% believe it's easy. Let's just cut to the chase — the people who think it's easy are mistaken. Ask any entrepreneur who has even a modicum of success and they have likely taken ridiculous risks and worked very hard to make their baby fly. Notwithstanding those “entrepreneurs” who have “Phds”.  If you're wondering, a PhD means “Papa Has Dough”.  For the most part, I’m not talking about those who had a family member give them money to “start their own thing”.  I’m talking about the real entrepreneurs who started from nothing and actually built something great.   Entrepreneurship sounds like a great business because Instagram and other social media outlets inundate us with information about the benefits of being self-employed. Some of this propaganda includes an excitement about the work you're doing, the ability to make a living doing the things you love and being your own boss. What you might not be aware of is that small business owners often work longer much longer hours than their employees. At least they do if they're building a successful business. I'm not totally complaining about the glamour that the Internet has put on the business of real estate.  It's helped push lots of people to enroll in our real estate license school and pass the real estate exam. Still, it's important to remember that there is only so much time in a day and time is your most valuable commodity. This is why many entrepreneurs work every day and set their schedules so that they can optimize the time when they're working. If you have a great idea and are launching your business, here are some reasons you should consider working weekends. Why Entrepreneurs Don't Follow the Typical Weekend Schedules For a typical employee, there are set number of days where  work is required and specified days off. The most common model by far is Monday through Friday, 9-5. This may vary but, for the most part, Saturday and Sunday are days off to catch up on personal errands or spend time with family and friends. These are the reset days for the typical working world. For an entrepreneur, taking these days off completely may not be possible if they want their business to thrive. Because the rest of the businesses they deal with are likely closed on one or both of those days, the weekend becomes a fantastic time for entrepreneurs to catch up, refocus, and innovate. This doesn't mean that you have to work around the clock to run a successful business. In fact, doing that can easily lead to burnout. A work/life balance is important for healthy relationships outside of your career. But most entrepreneurs do find ways to use their hours creatively to improve their productivity. This might mean taking downtime on a weekday so that you can work through the weekend. It might also mean working part of the day on a weekend so that you can participate in social events around your work schedule. Benefits to Using Weekends for Work Time There are a few reasons that entrepreneurs work through many of their weekends. Here are a few benefits to working through other peoples' downtime: • Fewer Distractions. Working on a weekend allows you more time to focus uninterrupted. This is true whether you're a business owner or work on a team. Because your clients and other professionals usually don't work on Saturday or Sunday, you won't have to spend time fielding calls from clients, attending conference calls, or attending to different things that might pop up during a regular business day. This gives you the uninterrupted time you need to focus on a single task. • Time to Plan. Weekdays tend to fly by with many demands and few chances to catch up. This is especially true for small business owners who often take charge of multiple aspects of their company. With the rest of the world off the clock, the weekend gives you time to assess your previous week. You can check to make sure you've stayed on schedule with assigned tasks (and catch up on tasks you didn't get to). This time is also a great way to plan ahead for the following week. If you choose a day over the weekend to plan and assess your progress every week, you'll be more likely to keep your benchmarks in mind and achieve short term and long term goals. • Less Rigid Schedule. Working on weekends doesn't have to feel like you never get a day off. You don't necessarily have to work from the office and you can even plan your hours to suit your mood. I’m sitting in a coffee shop right now with my laptop and a latte.  It feels little less like work when I’m in a pair of Jordan’s and jeans as opposed to a suit and tie.  There Are Down Sides, Too Successful entrepreneurs build their businesses to a large degree because they've put in the work and effort. That does come with sacrifices. While it's true that many small business owners use weekend hours to help them get ahead, that doesn't mean it's always easy. For lots of us including myself the work is something we love and are excited about. We often enjoy putting in long hours and have a sense of pride and purpose in what we are doing. However, that doesn't mean it's always easy to spend your Saturdays and Sundays working when the rest of the world is getting that time to take care of their personal needs. Here are a few negative points to working weekends that you should be prepared to navigate: • Loved Ones May Not Understand. If your significant other is on the “regular” world schedule, they may not understand the long hours you put in at your company and it can lead to arguments. • Most Personal/Social Obligations Are On Weekends. This is especially true if you have children but even single people will find their social calendar is mostly full of events on weekends. • You Miss Out On Some Great Events. It's not all about obligations. Working those hours also means you'll miss out on fun events that you'd enjoy attending.  A football game in the middle of a Sunday might be something that is playing on the TV or online in the background as opposed to you being able to physically attend the game.   Building a thriving business means working longer hours than you would as an employee. That's simply a truth. Weekends offer you hours to catch up and get ahead of your competition. I’m always looking to bring you value.  If there is anything I can do to help, please reach out on Instagram or call the office at 888 768 5285.   If you are interested in becoming a real estate agent, please call me or my team. We are happy to be of service. Love, Kartik 
Practical advice for real estate agents

How to Write Winning Ad Copy for Real Estate  

Real estate agent typing ad copy on her laptop

A little different type of blog from me this time. I wanted to write something for those that have already finished our real estate license courses and are working in the field.   I was browsing some

A little different type of blog from me this time. I wanted to write something for those that have already finished our real estate license courses and are working in the field.   I was browsing some listings on the MLS recently and was horrified at some of the pictures agents were uploading but even worse was of the copy used to describe the listings.  Problems with syntax, punctuation and tense were not uncommon.  If you have a listing now or are going to take one soon, I would recommend making sure your ad copy is extra tight.  Remember that besides pictures, the ad copy is the most important part of your listing marketing material.   There are really no hard and fast rules for writing real estate ad copy, but guidelines exist to help you capture reader attention and generate responses. The goal is to highlight enough desirable features to prompt an online visitor to click through to the full listing, or to prompt a reader to call for additional information.  The prime directive is to avoid the temptation to "oversell." Use superlatives in moderation and be sparing when including value judgments in your descriptions. Remember that only one home can be the "best value" in a neighborhood, and even that is subjective to the point that it has little meaning to a prospective buyer.  Readers tend to gloss over phrases like value-priced, priced to sell and won't last long. Common terms like amenity-filled, chef's kitchen, memorable views, and stunning architecture are overused and ineffective. The goal is to be descriptive in a manner that is meaningful, while still leaving something to the imagination so that the reader wants to know more. Writing Real Estate Copy 101 Writing ad copy that gets results isn't difficult, but it can require thought. Here are specific elements you can employ to make your efforts more effective. First, define your target audience: Online property descriptions will have a different focus, and a different tone, than a printed brochure or an open house handout. But all copy should include, at minimum, a headline or title. It might be as simple as the property address; however, if you can use a catchy descriptive phrase, do so. Something like "Come Home to a View of the Ninth Hole" would appeal to someone looking for golf course property. Then, add gas to the fire of imagination: Place yourself in the potential buyer's shoes and provide a "hook" that makes them want to continue reading. Focus on the lifestyle that can be theirs if they move into the home. "Enjoy a refreshing cool drink on your expansive poolside patio as you look forward to your next tee time at the award-winning course adjacent to your property." A brief description of the overall appeal of the community and the home's general description can be included here. It can be as brief as you wish, or it might run to several paragraphs, depending on actual space and your purpose. Say something like: "This 3-bedroom, 4-bath, 3-car garage contemporary offers everything necessary for living the good life -- privacy, convenience to schools, shopping and entertainment, an easy commute to the business center, and abundant leisure time enjoyment options with neighbors and friends." Finally, highlight the most important home features: This is where you should strive to paint meaningful word pictures. Be descriptive, but not overly detailed. Leave some specifics out. You might say something like "Old-world craftsmanship is evident in the finishes used throughout the home's 4,200 square feet, especially in the fine wood paneling and bookshelves of the home's private office."  Or, you can point to the evidence of upscale options and trendy finishes that "include an eco-friendly, sustainable choice of recycled glass countertops in the kitchen, low-VOC paint throughout, and main-level flooring crafted from reclaimed timbers." Whatever you write in words is always better when accompanied by professional photographs that graphically illustrate the same features. It's not necessary to include a book's worth of photos, but words and pictures are better when they go hand in hand. There is little more disheartening for a prospective buyer than to read a glowing description of a home spa retreat only to find that there is no photograph of the space included with the listing or in the brochure. Coordinate your efforts with your photographer and your marketing team. Keywords and Buzzwords Define your potential market. Imagine what prospective buyers would type in to an online property search: Don't simply toss around phrases like "high-end finishes, family-friendly neighborhood, or spectacular views." Instead, utilize popular keywords to generate interest, adding filters and qualifiers as needed, such as the city or subdivision. Examples include: • Beachside Cottage • Ski Retreat • Urban Condo • City Lights • Mountain Views • Polished Wood Flooring • Gated Community Know Your Market The copy you write about a high-end home will naturally be different from the copy that describes a mid-price starter home, but the same principles apply. However, don't make the mistake -- in either case -- of believing that buyers on one end of the price spectrum are any less concerned about quality and value, energy savings and sustainability, style and safety, or built-in features and community amenities.  Make every effort to describe a lifestyle rather than listing specific features. Weave specifics into general descriptions of rooms and spaces. While studies have confirmed that online readers appreciate skimmable copy and bullet points, lists can be overused. Typically, 8 to 10 bullet points are sufficient. Always stop short of making your property description simply a "laundry list" of features. To write meaningful copy, acknowledge that there are some home features that should be specifically mentioned:  • A backyard pool, because it can be either a selling point or a deal killer, depending on the buyer; • An eat-in kitchen; • Ensuite baths for each bedroom; • A detached garage, casita or other type of auxiliary building; • Specialty spaces, including an exercise room, home theater or media room, finished attic, in-law or au pair quarters; and oversize lots or adjacent acreage or public land. • Solar panels, or alternative energy provisions, including 240V electric car charging stations. Use your in-depth knowledge of the local market to determine what other features deserve mention, knowing that your decision might vary substantially from one neighborhood to the next, and even from one season to another. Monitor reactions and responses you receive, and adjust the way you write your next property description based on the feedback offered by clients.  Finally, never forget to include your contact and broker information (along with Department of Real Estate license number) and a call to action. You never know who will become your next client, or when and how they will appear. Ensure that you can be reached by anyone in need of your services! Of course if there’s anything I can do for you, including helping you get started in our real estate license courses, please let me know or call 888 768 5285. Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

Characteristics Of The Most Successful Real Estate Agents

Model display of new housing development project

For those starting in our great real estate business it’s natural to ponder the best way to go about becoming successful. A well-known shortcut between starting a new career and achieving success is

For those starting in our great real estate business it’s natural to ponder the best way to go about becoming successful. A well-known shortcut between starting a new career and achieving success is to model what others before you have done. Observing the most successful people and implementing the best of their strategies is going to ensure your success more quickly than trying to reinvent the wheel altogether.  This is especially true in a simple business like real estate sales. It’s important to recognize that I said “simple” not “easy”. Our real estate sales business is a simple one as long as you do the things daily that are required to succeed. Again, this is a simple process but one that is not always easy. I wrote down a few characteristics of the most successful real estate agents. As you embark on the journey of obtaining your real estate license I would encourage you to be cognizant of how you are implementing the following: THE BEST AGENTS UNDERSTAND THEIR LOCAL MARKET There is an old saying in real estate that “All real estate is local”. To the newer agent this might not make sense but let me explain. Essentially this means that the real estate salesperson that has the most intimate market knowledge and is most deeply connected to the neighborhoods they serve will generally win. Great real estate salespeople tend to be known in the community. They may sponsor the local little league, help out with local garage sales or door knock frequently. They send direct mail postcards every month or post frequently in local Facebook groups or on nextdoor.com. Whether this connection is established through physical marketing or digital makes little difference. Net-net: The best real estate agents are known in their local marketplace. THEY UNDERSTAND THEIR CLIENTS' NEEDS This one might sound a little too broad to be helpful. You might read the above sentence of “understanding your clients’ needs” and think - “Great but what does this actually mean?” When representing a buyer, for example the best agents have their client requirements nailed down. If the client requests a property with a bedroom and full bathroom downstairs, don’t bother to show them homes that do not. If they are deeply against having a pool, make sure you check this on the MLS and verify with the listing agent before emailing it to them. Getting to know your client and being able to anticipate their needs will go a long way to helping you become a successful real estate agent. THEY HAVE A SYSTEM PERFECTED Do you have a particular time of the day when you're checking emails? Spending time with clients? Marketing your business? Having a schedule for your routine and daily activities will help keep you organized and be sure that nothing falls through the cracks. THEY KEEP THEIR SALES PIPELINE FULL It's one of the things you hear with any real estate sales business. Always be selling. If marketing and prospecting for new clients is a part of your every day routine, you'll never have to worry about a seasonal slow down or slump, because you know that the marketing system you have in place will have the next client through the door soon. Also, if your Facebook ads aren’t doing as well as they normally do A/B test the ads to ensure that you are staying on top of social media trends. Don’t ignore door knocking and telephone prospecting either. These activities might not be the most relished by the real estate professional but they are sure to give you more control over your pipeline. Hit a slump? Talk to more people. DEVELOP RELATIONSHIPS AND MAKE CONNECTIONS WITHIN THE LOCAL COMMUNITY Successful real estate agents take the time to build a large network of people in the market that they serve. They don’t limit themselves to creating a database of only past, current, and potential clients. Great real estate agents should also make contacts with other experts within their industry, including appraisers and mortgage loan originators. You’ll have a ready list of vendors to refer your clients to and potentially be on the receiving end of referrals when the time comes. You should also consider building a network of other brokers and agents in outside areas. Remember, it is customary for one broker to pay another broker a referral fee for a client upon closing. (Not among service providers though, that would be. RESPA violation) THEY USE SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS AND THE INTERNET TO THEIR ADVANTAGE The impact that social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube have on business are undeniable. Formerly, these platforms were looked at as only a way to connect with friends and family or share photos but they have made their way into the fabric of our society. According to Statista, 91% of U.S. businesses will use social media for marketing purposes. Some of the largest companies in the world are using social media as a way to connect with their customers and potential customers. Why would the individual real estate agent be any different? As a real estate agent, if you aren't using social media, you are missing out on a huge opportunity. At a minimum, each agent should have a Facebook page to reach their potential audience. If you have the budget, a highly-targeted Facebook ad can provide additional reach to new potential clients you may not be able to find through your more traditional marketing mechanisms. THEY ARE PARTICULAR ABOUT THE DETAILS When it comes to selling real estate, the smallest details can make the biggest difference. Things like staging a home or how to position a property in certain markets can be the difference between a good and a great real estate agent. Also the intricate details of the purchase contract or the listing agreement are critical to ensure that your client’s interests are protected. THEY ARE AWARE OF SPEED TO LEAD A saying that I live by in business is that “Time kills all deals”. The best agents know that the sooner they can get back to a lead the more likely they are to convert that lead to a contract. This is especially true regarding Internet leads. Whether you are selling residential or commercial real estate, the best agents know that the sooner they respond to an inquiry the more likely deals are to close. I can’t emphasize this enough - in this day and age speed is probably the most important aspect of sales. The faster you move the more likely you are to win. I’m always looking to bring you value. If I can be of service to you please let me know on Instagram or Facebook. Of course if you are looking to get enrolled in real estate license school, reach out here. Feel free to also call the office at 888 768 5285. Many of our students have gone on to be very successful real estate agents! Click on the link to read success stories from past ADHI School Students! Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

How Real Estate Agents Can Retire

Green car driving along the coast

Those considering a career in the real estate field are frequently drawn to the amount of money they can make on each property they sell. Each commission check can be upwards of $10,000, $20,000 or even

Those considering a career in the real estate field are frequently drawn to the amount of money they can make on each property they sell. Each commission check can be upwards of $10,000, $20,000 or even more. This is great for today because it means when you do work hard you will be rewarded handsomely. But what about tomorrow? What about when you get a little older or lose a little bit of that drive? When you become a Realtor, it’s important to remember that you are in business for yourself and should have a solid financial plan in place that provides for your post-retirement needs. It's exciting to finish real estate school and obtain your real estate license. The early phase of your career is a time to build relationships, learn the trade, and earn money while you establish yourself as a professional. But it's always wise to remember that time waits for no man woman or Realtor. At that point, all your financial planning and regular saving will pay off in the form of a stable, secure retirement income. What about retirement? To be clear, there are a lot of great real estate salespeople and brokers that have absolutely no intention of ever retiring. But there’s a difference between wanting to work and having to work. I think we can all agree that not having to actually show up at some place at some time and have money coming in and available to you would be a great thing. With that said, many Realtors often wonder how secure their retirement will be. After all, if you become a Realtor and work for yourself then you'll need a financial plan in place to take care of your retirement years. Earning a real estate license is simply an early milestone in your career. But what about life after real estate school and your sales career? You'll need to create the right kind of retirement plan for yourself. You can do this alone with some help from a CPA and Google or hire a financial planner to lay out the plan for you and keep you disciplined. Here are some things to bear in mind when thinking about long-term financial security: Consider investing in real estate. Early in my career I heard brokers tell me “Kartik you have to become your best client.” Since then a stated goal of mine has been to buy one piece of real estate each and every year. Imagine over a 20 year career in our business owning 20 properties, each with a positive cash flow of just $200 per month. That amounts to $200 per month x 20 properties = $4,000 per month. Over time the values on these properties are quite likely to rise and the loans will eventually be paid off - adding to your wealth in retirement. Of course in order to buy one property per year, you have to ensure that your income is sufficient to obtain financing - a solid real estate sales career will make this easier. Properly managed, a "nest egg" of real estate can be a smart way to diversify your retirement income resources. There are other ways to set money aside in retirement funds: You can opt to put money into a traditional IRA, a Roth IRA, a solo 401(k) or a SEP IRA. All have their pros and cons that should be discussed with an appropriate professional. For example, traditional IRAs have no income limit but there is an annual contribution limit. If you pull finds out before retirement, there is a stiff penalty in most cases. Traditional IRAs are funded with your pre-tax earnings, so you'll get a nice deduction and lower your tax bill in most cases. Roth IRAs are funded with your after-tax earnings, so you get no deduction right now. The upside to a Roth is that you can take out the contributed funds any time for any reason without paying a penalty. It's also possible to set up a solo 401(k) for yourself, even if you have no employees and work as a sole proprietor. Contributions come from your pre-tax earnings but there's currently a pretty high annual limit on what you can put in. SEP IRAs are a little more complex but are a good option for real estate professionals who have a few employees. You can contribute up to 25 percent of your earnings but keep in mind that you have to do the same for each employee you have. If you withhold 10 percent, for example, from your earnings for the SEP IRA, you'll need to withhold 10 percent of each employees' earnings as well. A one-hour consultation with a reputable financial planner can resolve most questions you have about which is the best kind of retirement savings plan for your particular situation. It’s also important to remember that I’m not a financial planner and laws and rules can and do change. Make sure you’re planning properly and not relying on my blog alone to plan for your retirement. =) Please call my office at 888 768 5285 or send me a message if I can be of service. For information on real estate classes visit www.adhischools.com Always looking to bring you value. Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

Bad Real Estate Agent Habits

Ipad with calendar app open next to keyboard and apple computer

Once you complete our real estate school and pass the real estate exam you’ll be out on your own to start your career. Hopefully you’ll be ready to land your first client and take home a big commission!

Once you complete our real estate school and pass the real estate exam you’ll be out on your own to start your career. Hopefully you’ll be ready to land your first client and take home a big commission! =) After doing well on your real estate license exam, you'll get your desk set up with your broker and start working some leads. You’re probably going to start reaching out to your sphere of influence and let them know you’ve started a real estate career. As a newer real estate professional, the goal should always be to compress the time between finishing real estate school and cashing your first commission check. To this end, I wanted to write a quick article exposing some bad habits that real estate agents can develop if they’re not careful. Remember That Self-Employment Is Vastly Different From a 9-5 A self-employed person is solely responsible for his or her workday. In the real estate industry, it’s a common misnomer that once you pass your real estate exam, you’ll have leads pouring in and homes to sell. That’s not what happens. Instead, you need to work to create your own business. This often means spending time daily working to drum up business, cultivate leads, market, and respond to internet inquiries. Here are a few of the bad habits real estate agents create that virtually prevent them from becoming a successful Realtor quickly. You’re Doing "Busy" Work You’ve ordered business cards. You cleaned up your desk. You have talked to a dozen other agents today about what’s going on in their business and personal life. You may have even touched up your LinkedIn profile and posted a picture of the salad you had for lunch on Instagram.  All of these “tasks” might feel necessary but the bigger question is what did you ignore by doing these things? Are you prospecting for buyer and seller leads? Are you following up on existing ones? In short, it’s easy to “feel busy” without actually building your pipeline, which ultimately cuts into your income. You’re Frustrated with Your Workday There are a dozen calls you have to make today for various reasons. Each one of them could be a lead. Perhaps you have some really good leads, but there’s so much on your plate to do right now that you miss those key opportunities to connect. You’re in and out of the office, forgetting appointments, and not seeing the kids. And, you thought this career was flexible? This is a common concern. The problem is that without any oversight into your activities and a consistent schedule, it’s easy to lose track of what’s important. To be successful as a real estate agent, you have to be organized. You also have to create a schedule that works for you and stick with it. This discipline is actually the key to freedom.  Make time to plan for every task that matters during your course of the day. Remember - The number one calendar item is prospecting. Other Bad Habits Costing You Your Career After completing real estate school, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Here are more of the common bad habits agents have: You aren’t communicating with your prospective clients fast enough. This is especially true for internet leads.  Speed to contact makes a big difference in results.  Make every client believe that they are your most important client. Work to return calls as quickly as possible.  Try and email back as fast as you can. Failing to marketing adequately. If you’re not seen in the local industry, you’re unknown to prospective clients. Make marketing a component of your day, every day.  Remember that there are over 400,000 real estate licensees in California alone - You have to make noise to stand out! You’re not looking as professional as you should be. Consumers expect agents to look professional at all times. If you look disheveled, that could indicate you’re less organized and not “with it.” Not updating your website or social media accounts in quite some time.  Remember, if you haven't posted in a year people will wonder whether or not you are still in business. Send a contract to be signed electronically and tell the client to sign without explaining what they are signing. Being "too busy" to call other agents back. Working 24/7 and not taking care of your health. Getting paid your commission and not setting aside money for taxes. If you finished at our Orange County real estate school don't forget that this is only the beginning.  As Warren Buffett says "The chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken."  The best way to break bad habits is to avoid them in the first place. For information on getting a real estate license, call us at 888 768 5285.   Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

Legally Removing Items From Your Credit Report

Mortgage lender reviewing a credit score for a new home loan1

As you complete your real estate classes with us, you may come across a buyer client who is looking to “fix their credit” before buying a property. You may also represent a seller who is in escrow

As you complete your real estate classes with us, you may come across a buyer client who is looking to “fix their credit” before buying a property. You may also represent a seller who is in escrow with a buyer and the buyer’s loan starts to go sideways because of an error on their credit report. What do you do? One of the most common questions that consumers ask credit counselors is, "How can I get negative items removed from my credit reports?" The accurate, short answer to that question is this: It's relatively easy to get incorrect information removed from a credit report but can be quite difficult to legally remove items that are reported accurately. In other words, if a debt is yours, and if all the particulars listed on the credit report are correct, they your options for legal removal are limited. The good news is that there are several ways to potentially eliminate negatives from an official credit report, even when the debt is yours and when it's listed correctly. Here are the strategies that many consumers have used to clean up their credit reports: Paying to delete negative items: If you contact a creditor and agree to pay the debt in full right away, then they might consider removing it from your report. This technique is especially successful when the amount owed is rather large and the delinquency is not very old. Many creditors are happy to have a large debt paid off quickly and taken off the books. They'll often agree to remove the item from your report if you ask them nicely, in writing and as soon as possible after it has been reported to the bureaus. Asking for a goodwill removal: After you've paid a debt and the listing is still on your credit report, it's possible to contact the creditor and request that they remove it. It helps to explain that you have otherwise good credit and have been current on any other accounts you have with them. If there were special circumstances that led to the delinquency, be sure to explain the situation to the creditor. This is basically a "hardship" request and doesn't always work, but it's worth a try. Asking for verification of the debt after several years: Bureaus can keep negative items on a report for up to seven years. After one or two years have passed, you can contact the creditor and ask for the debt to be verified. It's often the case that creditors can't verify older debts that have been paid off and closed out. If they can't verify it, then you can have it legally removed by contacting the credit bureau in writing and disputing the debt. Without verification from the creditor, the bureau will have to remove the listing. It's important to remember that only the creditor has the power to remove a legitimate listing from your credit report. In fact, they are supposed to leave items on for up to seven years so that other lenders can get an accurate view of your credit-worthiness by reading your report. But, as in the situations noted above, creditors are sometimes willing to remove a negative item if you approach them with the right attitude. Separately, inaccurate information can potentially be removed by invoking the last strategy mentioned. If you are interested in taking live real estate classes or preparing for the real estate exam, call us at 888 768 5285 or visit www.adhischools.com Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

Tips For Real Estate Agents on Social Media

Man holding white iphone logging into instagram app

Tips For Real Estate Agents on Social Media Businesses can’t ignore social media if they want to remain relevant and competitive in today’s busy online marketplace and the real estate business is

Tips For Real Estate Agents on Social Media Businesses can’t ignore social media if they want to remain relevant and competitive in today’s busy online marketplace and the real estate business is no exception. Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram can be powerful outlets that help real estate professionals position themselves as industry experts while connecting with their audience and building confidence in their experience and services. I practice what I preach. Our real estate school has had a Twitter account since early 2009 and a Facebook page for almost as long. Even our original YouTube channel has had content since 2009. That’s 10+ years of going hard on all these platforms. So how do you win considering that more and more content is being added each and every second to Twitter, Facebook/IG and YouTube? It is getting more and more difficult to get noticed. The key to getting the most out of your social media presence is utilizing tactics that help you build stronger connections with your audience and inspire them to work with you. Below, I’ve put together my top 4 social media tips for real estate agents, particularly in the residential space as I figure most of our real estate school students are going to start there. 1. Educate your buyers on the market. Buying or selling a home is a major life decision for most people, and they want to know that they are working with a Realtor that can guide them through the process and answer all their questions as they move through the process. The best way to build this confidence with your audience is by educating them about the real estate market. In addition to sharing educational articles from your own blog, curate some content from reputable, third-party sources to help your audience understand important parts of the buying and selling process. In addition, you can post your own honest tips and advice to your social media pages based on the questions that you are most often asked by new buyers or sellers. 2. Share information on a particular neighborhood. When promoting your listings (or those of your company) on social media, go beyond just sharing the features of the homes you are selling. Most homebuyers want to know more about the neighborhood or surrounding areas. Real estate professionals can use their social media channels to educate buyers on the benefits and unique characteristics of local neighborhoods to help them make a more informed decision about where they want to buy. In addition to sharing your own content about the neighborhoods you sell in, share content from local organization pages. For instance, you might link to an event calendar from the city’s Facebook page or share a tweet from a local restaurant. This is especially true in areas like Downtown Los Angeles or coastal Orange County where the nightlife and social aspects of the community are a lure for buyers. 3. Start a conversation. The social aspect of social media is often forgotten when professionals use social media channels for marketing. However, if you really want to get to know your audience and build trust, it’s vital that you chat with your fans and followers. Get active in the comments section of your social media posts and pay attention to what others are saying on your pages. With the instantaneous nature of social media, most users expect an instant response to their questions or concerns. In addition to being active in the comments section, you’ll need to be diligent about checking for and responding to direct messages across platforms. When someone reaches out with a question or concern, make sure that you are available to answer these questions and get them the help they need when they need it. 4. Don’t forget video! Many real estate professionals will skip video content when it comes to managing their social media pages. However, with the visual nature of home buying, it’s important that real estate agents utilize video to showcase their properties when possible. Most people reading this article have a television broadcasting system in their purse or pocket with their iPhone or Android device. It’s easy to quickly do a live on Instagram or post a quick story to your page. Just get out there and start. I posted a video of all of my equipment here, but I didn’t start with this much stuff. All I had back in 2009 was one camera with an internal microphone and just started recording videos on HD cassettes. I always knew video was going to be huge across the Internet and would be a valuable marketing tool. The faster you can start engaging with an audience the faster you can monetize. Video content also helps create an emotional connection with viewers in a way that images alone cannot. Providing a video tour of a property allows the real estate agent to give their audience a better idea of what it is like to experience this home instead of seeing the space out of context. If you are interested in taking real estate classes online or in one of our classrooms, please call us at 888 768 5285 or visit www.adhischools.com. Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

Do Open Houses Work?

Open house sign on front lawn outside of house

Before the question of whether or not open houses actually “work” is answered we should probably define what the word “work” actually means. If you are a real estate agent and believe that a

Before the question of whether or not open houses actually “work” is answered we should probably define what the word “work” actually means. If you are a real estate agent and believe that a successful open house is one where the agent found a buyer for that property on the day of that open house then very few open houses actually “work”. However, if you define a successful open house as a chance to network with neighbors in a particular farm area, an opportunity to show the owners that you are doing something that is almost expected, and a way to find buyer clients for other homes, then nearly every open house has the potential to be a success. Like many things in business, a substantial amount of time and effort is necessary to ensure that an open house will attract the right kind of traffic and result in at least a few interested and qualified potential buyers. Sometimes, sadly, even with a high traffic count, the net result might be less than satisfying. While it’s also true that on occasion, "the buyer" will walk into an open house and make it all seem easy, if not preordained - but this can sometimes be attributed to pure chance. Folks who are not quite ready to buy immediately frequently visit open houses as a way to solidify their preferences and explore the market. An open house can be the best way for an agent to meet people "up close and personal," demonstrate market knowledge, hand out cards, and take names. You never know when you're going to meet a buyer. It's best to always be prepared. How to Do a Successful Open House Use all the tools available to you to stand out from the crowd. You don't have to spend big bucks on advertising, or on refreshments. Use technology to your advantage. Here are some ideas: • Livestream the Open House on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube: Give quick snippets of information as you walk through the rooms. Talk about the neighborhood, the easy commute to downtown, the community pool, the schools or a nearby shopping mall. Show the house at the same time. • Invite the neighbors: Count them as your allies to "sell" the good points about the area, rather than as "tire-kickers." • Consider Unconventional Hours: If the home has spectacular sunset views, schedule the open house for late afternoon. Or, alternatively, be slightly ahead of the normal 1-3 or 2-4 schedule, and offer coffee or fresh-squeezed orange juice. If you are going to serve alcohol at an open house, other rules can apply. Proceed with caution. I did a video and an article on this as indicated by the prior link. • Creativity Counts: Employ an iPad as a digital sign-in sheet and encourage visitors to ask questions. Get back to them via email with specific answers. You'll boost your chances of developing new relationships. Perhaps most importantly, be there for everyone who walks through the front door. Meet and greet every visitor with a smile and a card. Never simply sit behind a desk or on a kitchen stool. But, be sure to give visitors a chance to walk through the house at their own speed and in their own way. View an open house as an opportunity to sell yourself as well as the property and then every open house is, indeed, totally worth it! If you are interested in online real estate school or even classroom oriented real estate courses, call us at 888 768 5285 or visit www.adhischools.com Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

How likable are you?

Female real estate agent smiling while conducting meeting

With hundreds of thousands of real estate salespeople in California alone, clients have choices. The million dollar question is “On what basis will the client decide?” This can be a hard thing to predict,

With hundreds of thousands of real estate salespeople in California alone, clients have choices. The million dollar question is “On what basis will the client decide?” This can be a hard thing to predict, especially If there are two real estate salespeople that are equally competent, have similar experiences and both work for reputable companies - the client might make a decision on who to hire based on pure “likability”. If one agent is more “likable” than another who do you predict will get the business? It’s not hard to assume that the agent that can win the heart and mind (in that order) of the client is going to get the contract signed. Because clients are often concerned or nervous through the real estate process, the agent should strive to be the kind of salesperson that brings good energy and enthusiasm into every presentation they go on. It has long been said that sales is simply the "transfer of energy from the salesperson to the customer”.  The more energy and enthusiasm you exude, the more likely the client will sign. Still, there are some real estate salespeople that are the personification of negativity and create roadblocks through the sales process. We have all met people like this. You know the type - they walk into a room and all the plants begin to die and when they exit they spring back to life. I would urge all of our readers to examine which of these describe them. Are you the kind of person that brings vibrance and energy to every interaction or are you the exact opposite? When you walk into a room is there a big grey rain cloud over your head? If you aren’t sure how to answer this, have a look at people that you would characterize as being in each of the two groups. Positive and energetic or negative and draining? Consider the group of people that you know. Think of five or ten people that you know who are real energizers. You probably can think of a few right off the bat. Who do you know that when they show up, when they call the energy is better because of their presence? Who are the few people that you know when they walk into the room the energy shifts to the “dark side”? Believe me. People notice. This is important because your likability impacts how much business you're able to do. So what are some things that we can do to immediately increase likability? The first thing I would urge is to be interested in other people. If you have ever read the classic book How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie a recurring theme is to try and make other people feel special by being interested in them and their story.  It’s pretty simple - be interested. Be interested in other people and who they are and what they are about. People that are interested in others are infinitely more likable than those that are not. In a nutshell:  Try harder to be interested than be interesting. Another thing to increase that “L” factor is to always leave people better than you found them. In the case of real estate, that could be a critical market update to a buyer or seller. It could be an escrow update to one of your current deals but always look to add value at each and every interaction. There’s plenty of pessimism in this environment - you don’t need to look hard to find it. Be the person that's optimistic and lights up a room each and every time they are in it. Not only will this be better for your physical health, it’ll be better for your wallet. If you are interested in real estate classes in Los Angeles or online real estate school call us at 888 768 5285. Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

How to Dispute Erroneous Information on a Credit Report

Mortgage lender reviewing a credit score for a new home loan

Errors can happen on a credit report. What causes these errors? Sometimes it can be something as simple as a father and a son who have the same name and the only difference is a “Sr.” or “Jr.”

Errors can happen on a credit report. What causes these errors? Sometimes it can be something as simple as a father and a son who have the same name and the only difference is a “Sr.” or “Jr.” What if son paid a few bills late and this incorrectly appears on Dad’s credit report? Worse than the above scenario is a customer who may have been the victim of identity theft. Perhaps their social security number and date of birth were compromised on a website and sold to criminals. Each year we read of many major corporations who have had their databases compromised. Equifax, eBay and JP Morgan Chase are just a few examples of large corporations that have been targeted by hackers. Where then does a customer turn? The Federal Trade Commission has several recommendations for those that genuinely believe that false and erroneous information appears on their credit report. The Fair Credit Reporting Act mandates that the credit bureau and creditor have a collective responsibility to correct and update any incorrect information in the customer’s credit report. The individual with erroneous information on their credit report should send correspondence to the credit bureau that has displayed this erroneous information. This could be either Experian, Transunion, or Equifax or could potentially be all three. Mail correspondence isn’t required, however, as the individual can file their dispute online. If the customer is sending their dispute via mail, the Federal Trade Commission has a sample dispute letter available on their website and this letter can act as a starting point for anyone seeking to eliminate inaccurate information from their credit profile. In order to increase the chances of incorrect and incomplete information being deleted from the credit report individuals are encouraged to support the claim with any proof that the data is incorrect. Examples of this proof could be cancelled checks or bank statements showing that the bills were paid on time or the fact that the debt is no longer even valid. In some cases, the customer might have paid off the debt and it is still reporting as open on the credit report. Combining the letter or online dispute with substantiation that the information is inaccurate will increase the chances of having incorrect information deleted from the credit report. The FTC recommends that this substantiating documentation not just be sent to the credit bureau but also to the creditor with whom the customer is disputing the incorrect information. This may increase the chances of incorrect information being deleted from the credit file. If this doesn’t work the customer is able to leave a note in their credit file next to the “incorrect” trade line stating that the customer disputes the accuracy of this information. Generally, the credit reporting agency must investigate the disputed items within 30 days of the dispute being filed. However, the law has an exception for the credit agencies wherein they don’t have to investigate a dispute that they deem to be frivolous. in the event that a credit bureau is going to investigate a disputed item, they are required to forward everything received from the customer over to the creditor. Once the investigation is complete, the bureaus are required to give the customer notification of the outcome of the dispute in writing. They are also required to provide a copy of the credit report to the customer in the event that the dispute resulted in a change to their credit report. Statute also requires that the credit bureau provide one copy of a credit report to everyone for free each and every year. A customer who is disputing information on their credit report that results in a copy of their credit file being sent to them will still be allowed their one free credit report per year. What this means is that a customer who is disputing credit information in their file may end up with multiple credit reports per year at no charge. Because credit scoring can affect so many aspects of a person’s life, the government has a system in place to ensure that incorrect information on a report can be disputed and ultimately deleted. Hope is not lost in the event of identity theft or an incorrectly reported late payment. There is a dispute process in place and will work if done properly. The Federal Trade Commission’s sample dispute letter can be a great place to start. As always, if you are considering getting into our great real estate business, you'll need to go to real estate school first.  Need help passing the real estate exam?  Check out our test prep site here.   Love,   Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

How to Improve Credit Scores

High score excellent credit report on desk

So you’ve finished up at our real estate school and passed the real estate exam. You're stoked because you have your first buyer client but their credit is less than perfect. The buyer badly wants a

So you’ve finished up at our real estate school and passed the real estate exam. You're stoked because you have your first buyer client but their credit is less than perfect. The buyer badly wants a home and you’re asking yourself: What advice can I give them to improve their credit score? The reality is that credit scores today have a profound impact on quality of life. It determines the rates you pay on all sorts of things from mortgage interest rates to whether or not you can rent a car. The difference between good credit and bad credit can also determine where and how you live. Make sure that only accurate information appears on the credit report It makes sense that a borrower would want to be sure that their credit report contains accurate information. Any inaccurate data can be disputed with the credit bureaus. Equifax, Experian and TransUnion are the three bureaus and can be contacted to dispute erroneous information. If your borrower isn’t sure how to start the dispute process there are third party providers that can help quarterback this with the credit agencies. I would recommend checking online or with other folks in the business that can give you a good referral to a vendor that can help. Pay down revolving debt Assuming that all the data on the credit report is accurate, the next question is “What else can we do to bump up the score?” One thing that can quickly impact the FICO is to advise the borrower to pay down as much revolving debt as possible. This is known as the “credit utilization” ratio. This ratio is a big deal as it accounts for about a third of the FICO algorithm. The less credit you have available the worse your score will generally be. In other words if all your credit cards are maxed out, your score is probably going to be low. Do your best to get credit card debt paid down quickly to improve the credit utilization ratio and get that score up. Try to get added as an authorized user Another thing that can help bump the credit score is if the borrower can convince a family member or a loved one to add them to one of their credit cards. If mom or dad has a credit card that has a solid payment history and they are willing to add the borrower as an authorized user, this can help piggyback their on-time payments to boost the score. Make sure bills are paid on-time A central aspect of good credit is ensuring that the borrower pay their bills on-time. An easy way to do this is to calendar all required payments on a cell phone or Google calendar. Better yet - back up the calendaring with autopay. Autopay eliminates the aspect of human error and also eliminates wasted money spent on a bunch of late fees. Better still - auto pay eliminates the worst case scenario of an altogether missed payment. One missed payment means a catch-up scenario for the borrower and forces them to make two or more payments at once. Letting bills pile up can make it really hard to dig out of a deep hole. Think long-term with your buyers Remember that selling real estate inherently involves a very long sales cycle. Even if your prospect can’t buy a property immediately, they may be able to with some future planning. A year is going to go by quicker than you might think. Do you plan on being in the business in 12 months? I would think so. Sticking with a prospect even when it looks like they might not be able to buy immediately will create loyalty and your deal will eventually come to fruition. As a real estate professional, it’s important to be a valued resource for your clients. Giving great advice can help foster loyalty among your customer base. This can be priceless and irreplaceable. As always, if you are interested in online real estate courses or even live classroom courses, call us at 888 768 5285 or visit www.adhischools.com. Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

Can a Realtor Serve Liquor at an Open House?

Alcoholic cocktai s served in backyard of open house

OK – So you took our real estate classes in Los Angeles or maybe you took our real estate classes online. Now you have your license and it’s time to do your first open house! You’re hoping to make

OK – So you took our real estate classes in Los Angeles or maybe you took our real estate classes online. Now you have your license and it’s time to do your first open house! You’re hoping to make some great connections with potential clients and you want visitors to roam through the home a little longer. What do you do? Bribe them with ice cream? Booze? Both? If you decide to serve alcohol at your open house and you don’t have a liquor license (no agent is going to have one) it’s important to ensure that the open house is not open to the public. If you are serving alcohol and your open house is open to the public you need to have a liquor license to do it. Want to serve liquor at an open house? There are other rules too: There can’t be any sale of alcohol It’s important to make sure that there’s no actual sale of alcohol happening at the open house. Agents typically don’t charge for liquor at an open house so this isn’t something that most real estate agents have to worry about. The premises cannot be maintained for the purpose of keeping, serving, consuming, or disposing alcoholic beverages. If you’re doing an open house at a residential property, it’s pretty unlikely that the premises are going to be maintained for the purpose of serving liquor. It’s a residential property, it’s not zoned commercial, it’s not zoned retail restaurant or bar. So this second rule isn’t going to be a problem for most real estate agents. The event should not be open to the “general public” at the time alcoholic beverages are served. In the hospitality world, this is known as a “private party exception”. For the private party exception to be invoked, the person doing the open house has to have a list of guests prior to the event. Only people on the list are permitted to be admitted to the event and it would become a “private party”. This means that if somebody does show up at your open house and they’re not on the list, you have to turn them away. If you’re serving alcohol and you let them in the event could be interpreted as being “open to the public” which could trigger a licensing requirement. The list of attendees is important to maintain and should be respected. Finally, it’s hard to overstate the amount of liability that the agent can incur in the event the agent allows alcohol to be served to someone that is underage. Agents can also be liable in the event that they continue to serve alcohol to someone who is obviously intoxicated or is “habitual drunkard”. So be smart about it. Make sure that if you are serving wine you need to have proper protocol that’s being followed to make sure we limit our liability at these open house events. As always, if you are interested in taking real estate classes in Los Angeles or in Orange County please visit www.adhischools.com. Feel free to call the office at 888 768 5285.Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

Social Media is Not Real

Cell phone on desk with social media likes and hearts icons

I recently received an email that went like this: "Dear Kartik: “I'm addicted to social media and I can't get over how successful all these real estate agents on Instagram seem to be.  I see every

I recently received an email that went like this: "Dear Kartik: “I'm addicted to social media and I can't get over how successful all these real estate agents on Instagram seem to be.  I see every other realtor on 'the Gram' closing what seems like an endless amount of real estate transactions and I can't seem to keep up. I've done eight deals so far this year and I compare myself to other realtors online and it seems like I'm doing so much worse than they are. How do I break my addiction because I keep comparing myself to other people online?" This is a very good question, actually. I think that a lot of people these days are addicted to their cell phones and specifically to social media. I mean, the addiction to our phones and technology has gotten so bad that the latest version of the iOS operating system actually has a screen timer showing the user how much time was spent on their phone. Anyway, there was actually more to this email. The writer had actually listed a few agents that seemed to be doing really well on Instagram and I used a system called Broker Metrics to look up how many deals these agents had done. Turns out that he author of the email had actually done MORE deals than the agents that he was comparing himself to! Now, I know that there's different ways that you can count how many deals you did. I understand that sometimes transactions can be co-listed or maybe you're on a team and the offer was written in the name of your "team leader" and you didn’t get credit through the MLS. I understand all that. But, it's important to remember that the things people put on Instagram or Facebook or Twitter are the most pleasant parts of their lives. Society picks and chooses what they want to share with the rest of the world. All these posts to is try and control your perception of their reality. Remember to keep the following in perspective: 1.  Much of society is addicted to technology. Particularly their cell phone. 2.  A subset of that society is admittedly addicted to social media. 3.  Not everything that you see on social media is real. So, it's important that we stop comparing ourselves to people online because more than half of it is fake. So, go back to work. Focus on what makes you successful. Closing real estate transactions, helping clients, stacking cash and building a career. Forget what everybody else is doing online. You could spend your whole life on the sideline watching what other people are doing, or you can get in the game, play and win. Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

How to Use Social Media to Get Business as a Realtor

Real estate agent showing their social media apps on an iphone

How to Use Social Media to Get Real Estate Business Social media is one of the most important ways to get business today. Most people are on their phones interacting in the digital world at least as

How to Use Social Media to Get Real Estate Business Social media is one of the most important ways to get business today. Most people are on their phones interacting in the digital world at least as much as they are with the physical world. Nurturing relationships online through outlets like Facebook and Instagram can help build trust and brand recognition between you and a prospective client. To better understand how people in the real estate business use social media I recently met with a good friend who works at a large mortgage company in Orange County. When I met with her for a recent interview she was working with an escrow company and helped build their business using the power of Instagram and Facebook.  She was kind enough to share some insider tips on how she uses social media, specifically Instagram, to gain followers and new prospects.In this interview, I was able to find out three key things: • What she posts • When she posts • How she decides what to post Danielle Benevides has done a great job building this escrow company using Instagram. Here is the gist of our interview, which you can also watch in full here on my YouTube channel.The main takeaways from our interview are these strategies: 1. Merge your personal and professional accounts into one. 2. "Like" other people's posts and engage with them. 3. Reach out to your followers by sending them messages. 4. Post at times when people will be more engaged with social media, such as before work, during lunch, after work and before bed. 5. Post updates that present you as a productive and successful professional, such as you going to an open house, you meeting with clients, you selling a house and so on. Be personable and relatable through these posts. 6. Find an Instagram account in your field that you admire. What makes it so successful? Ask yourself are there models that you can copy before you start doing your own thing? It’s important to not blatantly rip off others and be authentic as you consider this strategy. 7. When you build a following, you can do more and gain an even bigger following. It’s easier to go from 15,000 followers to 20,000 followers than to go from 0 followers to 5,000. Scale is important. How Danielle Benavides Uses Instagram to Gain Business Danielle: "Basically, I'm very intentional with what I post on Instagram. I'm very intentional about who I add. It's all a very methodical process. Something I encourage agents to do is to merge their personal profile with their business one. So far, that's really worked to my benefit. By merging accounts, I'm exposing what I'm doing in my daily routine, such as being out with new clients, visiting an open house or doing anything related to business. I'm posting these things and people recognize it. I'm also liking other people's photos, which establishes an online relationship." Kartik: "Some people think that the business page and personal page should be separate. You don't think so. Why?" Danielle: "I think it should be all in one. It's time-consuming to go back and forth and log into different accounts ... I hear from agents that they don't even log into either their personal or business profile. When you're trying to juggle two accounts, you won't have the best results." Kartik: "What about people who didn't grow up with technology or those who may think that social media isn't relevant to their business?" Danielle: "I work with some clients who aren't really into social media. I encourage them to at least try it out because it is something that they should put into their business. Social media can be a huge part of their success." Kartik: "What is a good engagement strategy for those who want to get started?" Danielle: "What I have found myself doing is that I will purposely go on Instagram and start liking pictures of real estate agents that I follow. I even go into my search bar and find real estate agents I know. I seek them out and message them if I want to, like send a DM about my escrow services. You're not working that hard to send a message online. It cost me more gas and time to visit friends than to touch my phone and start sending messages." Kartik: "A lot of people struggle about what content to post and when they should post it. What do you do?" Danielle: "It's important to post at certain times of the day when people are more likely to look at their phones or check social media. • Before 9 am: Lots people get to work between 7:30 and 9 am and check their social media with a cup of coffee. • Noon during lunch. • After 5 pm: Work is over and people have some downtime. • Between 8 and 9 pm: The day is usually done and there's some wind-down time before bed. Kartik: "What are your end goals with social media?" Danielle: "My goal is to continue building my following and use it as a tool to get business. I also want to be a leader in my field. I want people to use me as an example, just like the people I look up to on Instagram. I try to follow their methods and implement them into my strategy."   Learn More About Real Estate and Social Media Once you build an audience around yourself, you can monetize and build your brand even more. I'm so thankful to hear some expert tips from someone who has used Instagram for her business with real results. If you’ve considered taking online real estate classes visit our website here. If you want to take real estate classes in Los Angeles or in Orange County we have you covered also! To learn more about using social media for real estate, subscribe to my YouTube channel here. Love, Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

5 Things I Love About Home Ownership

White modern home sold

5 Things I Love About Home Ownership No matter what you’re selling a basic belief in it is critical. It’s hard to sell something that you yourself don’t see value in. I genuinely love real estate,

5 Things I Love About Home Ownership No matter what you’re selling a basic belief in it is critical. It’s hard to sell something that you yourself don’t see value in. I genuinely love real estate, and there are countless reasons why. Because of this, I have no problem talking about it with everyone I meet. However, for this blog, I’ll limit myself to just a few reasons.Here are five things I love about homeownership.1. Fixed PaymentsWhen you get a home loan with a fixed interest rate, you lock in your payment for the next 15 to 30 years. Your payment is locked – even if the world around you changes. This means your payment will stay the same even while the cost of living is guaranteed to increase over time. This predictable and stable payment will help you plan financially without the fear of increased living expenses.On the other hand, if you rent, your payments are virtually guaranteed to increase as demand and population increase.When you own your own home, your housing expenses are locked in, which only gives you more margin because you’re not continually paying more to live at the same property.2. Likely AppreciationOver time, the value of your home is likely going to increase. Just how much won’t be the same every year, but on average California real estate goes up 4 to 8 percent annually.In some years, values may rise more than 20 percent, and in bad years values can go down — but everything ultimately averages out to a steady rate of appreciation between 4 and 8 percent.Without any effort you’re going to get richer through appreciation.3. StabilityOwning a home gives you a measure of stability and certainty in your life. You also get more control over basic lifestyle decisions without having to ask a landlord for permission. Do you want to paint your walls? Go ahead! If you want a dog, you don’t need to ask your landlord or pay a pet deposit — after all, it’s your house.Also as I mentioned before, fixed payments provide a static housing expense that won’t go up with inflation. In an uncertain world, this is a good thing.4. Forced SavingsIt doesn’t matter if you’re frugal or not — owning a home forces an increase in net worth over time.Even if the value of the home never goes up, the mortgage balance is going down through the process of amortization. This forces you to build some level of net worth even if your property isn’t appreciating.In California, you’ll gain more equity by an ever-decreasing mortgage balance, which will give you access to funds in the future. If your home appreciates, so you’re getting richer on both ends — with both a decreasing balance and higher home value to give you more equity. 5. Your Home Is an AssetYour home and other real estate form part of your estate, which can be left behind for future generations. The fact that your house is passable to others helps leave behind a legacy and keep wealth within your family.As a renter you are getting value in that you have a place to live temporarily, but the big picture is that you are helping pay off your landlord’s mortgage with ever-increasing monthly payments.I understand that in some markets people have the position that it is cheaper on a monthly basis to pay rent compared to a mortgage and that (in theory) that difference could be reinvested elsewhere but the truth is that so few people actually do that. For most of us, if we have money in our pockets we tend to spend it.Learn How to Buy and Sell Homes in CaliforniaDo you want to take real estate classes and get into the exciting world of buying and selling homes? Are you ready to share the benefits of home ownership with others? Then find out more about real estate classes in Los Angeles or even online real estate school today!
Practical advice for real estate agents

Are We in a Real Estate Bubble?

Houses inside bubbles

Are We in a Real Estate Bubble? A topic of debate in our industry these days is whether or not we are in a real estate bubble. With supply still relatively low, housing starts that don’t keep pace

Are We in a Real Estate Bubble? A topic of debate in our industry these days is whether or not we are in a real estate bubble. With supply still relatively low, housing starts that don’t keep pace with demand and prices inflated, my impression is yes. What do you think? First, I want to follow up on a video I recorded earlier this year. I reflected on a tour I did of some new construction where Lennar homes had built homes within homes – sort of like an in-law suite. I then discussed what I suspected to be a real estate bubble brewing, even back then. Back to the Mini Homes These mini houses were built because Lennar might have suspected that housing prices in California had become so unaffordable that buyers would actually need demised space inside their homes so buyers could have their parents, children or tenants rent out the smaller space to offset the mortgage payment. The builder might also have predicted that joint families are becoming more likely for a greater number of buyers. I spoke of an affordable housing crisis that had to come to a head somehow. Read on for some California market statistics that have me concerned: The Numbers Say It All In San Francisco County, the median home price as of Feb 2018 was $1.73 million. There was a strong increase in appreciation in San Francisco county because in January 2018, the median home price was just $1.33 million. I’m located in Southern California, so naturally, I was interested in local statistics too. As of March 2018, the median home price was $805,000, but in January 2018 the median price was $780,000. Frankly, I’m a big believer that we are in a bubble. It’s no secret that many in the real estate business don’t want to admit that the economic environment for housing might be in bubble territory. But I’ve been saying that we’ve been in a bubble for the past year. Why Are Prices Increasing? Prices are always some interplay of supply and demand. Supply could be defined as the number of houses on the market at any given time and demand refers to the number of qualified buyers. We have had constraint in supply for the last few years relative to demand. The number of houses on the market in most areas just isn’t enough to satisfy the demand. This has caused prices to increase and a reduction in marketing times. According to the California Association of Realtors the average time to sell a home in California has recently been as low as 18 days! Low supply coupled with relatively high demand because of low interest rates and other factors have resulted in an extreme amount of appreciation. I believe that this isn’t sustainable and the market must balance out eventually. Why the Correction Might Not Be as Extreme as the Previous Recession Despite the fact that I am a believer in the law of entropy I’m fairly confident that the next real estate market correction is unlikely to be as pronounced as the 2008 crash. This is not to say that another correction might not be worse, but I predict that the upcoming one should be a softer landing. It’s no secret that underwriting standards are pretty conservative these days. People generally have to qualify for financing and submit a bunch of documents to prove their financial ability to repay. There aren’t as the same number of stated income and stated asset loans out there that precipitated the 2008/2009 crash. What will happen and when? We can’t be sure. Maybe it will be an international geopolitical event, maybe a domestic event or something else significant that will cause the market correction. Maybe interest rates edging up will cause the market to shift. I just know that these prices aren’t sustainable. A Brief Update: July 2018 This blog was based on statistics I found in earlier in 2018. Current stats from the California Association of Realtors state that the median price for homes in San Francisco have decreased to $1,620,000 as of the time of this writing. However, this is still a 7.9 percent increase of what the median was in May 2017. In Orange County, the median home price has risen to $838,000, which is a 5.4 percent increase from its value in May 2017. In short, the numbers still support my theory that we’re in a bubble. What Do You Think? Leave a comment on my YouTube video on this topic here. I would love to know what you think. Do you think I’m right? Am I wrong? Do you think these prices are just the new normal? If you are interested in real estate classes in Los Angeles or even an online real estate school, check out our website here.
Practical advice for real estate agents

Ways to Market in the Real Estate Business

Group of women strategizing about marketing

Ways to Market in the Real Estate Business   It's impossible to build a successful real estate business without developing and maintaining a healthy sales pipeline. One obvious way to drive

Ways to Market in the Real Estate Business   It's impossible to build a successful real estate business without developing and maintaining a healthy sales pipeline. One obvious way to drive sales is to have a deliberate marketing effort, but with so many ways to market yourself as an agent, it can be daunting having to choose between so many marketing channels. In this post, I’ll go over a few of the most effective to help build your marketing roadmap. As always if, you are interested in online real estate classes or a live real estate school, visit adhischools.com. Networking One of the easiest and least expensive ways to market and raise awareness about you and your business is to start networking. In the physical world, this could be something as simple as handing out your real estate business card to people you meet and letting them know what you do. Although the person to whom you gave your card many not have an immediate real estate need, consistent networking can lead to a long line of referrals. The best part: This word-of-mouth promotion is free, and you never know who they will meet with real estate needs.You can also participate in local community events, particularly if you are in residential real estate. Whether you hang out at the farmers market or have a booth at a street festival, being involved in the area in which you sell will make people more inclined to work with you. Set a goal to recognize as a resource for local real estate.But what about networking in the digital world? This could mean maintaining social media accounts on popular platforms like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. There are different ways to reach people once you're signed in. Don’t forget to post helpful and interesting content (like I do with our blog *cough* *cough*) adding friends, liking other people's posts, sending direct messages and more. After you meet someone in person, don’t be shy about asking to connect on Facebook, or following one another on Instagram. Make a conscious effort to reach out online, especially after making a personal contact. Setting a Marketing Budget While not a law, realtor.com says that you should be spending 10 percent of your commission income on marketing. Overall, have your spending match the caliber of what you're trying to sell. Compare the marketing associated with a starter home and a luxury mansion - they are totally different. If you’re interested in learning more about the luxury real estate market, check out my YouTube video.In most real estate markets nationally, the starter home is going to get plenty of interest solely based on price, so you may just need to create a listing in the MLS to get interest and have a few nice photos up. The luxury market, however, can be more competitive and particular, so save your money for extravagant and decadent open houses, professional photography/videography and promotions you will do throughout the listing period. Paid Promotions While on the subject of a marketing budget, there are plenty of ways to promote yourself that are worth the investment. Here are just a few ways to use your marketing budget to the max. Boost your SEO According to the National Association of Realtors, 90 percent of people searched for their home online. Increase your online search rankings in a local home search. ◦ Consider pay-per-click Google Ads to get your page higher in the paid search results. ◦ Hire someone with SEO knowledge to make your website organically rank higher. ◦ Increase your presence online by paying for premium memberships on listing sites like Zillow and Realtor.com. You can gain more visibility as potential buyers browse what's available because your profile will be featured while they are swiping through. • Pay to boost your social media posts to reach people outside of your normal friends list on platforms like Facebook. • When it comes to direct mail, utilize the services of a professional postcard marketing company like www.farming.cards to get your name and message into the homes of potential customers. Be Memorable Great marketing that is consistent will keep you fresh in the minds of your leads and contacts. When you are out there promoting your business and winning the trust of your sales pipeline, guess who your contacts are going to call when they have real estate needs? Don’t Neglect the Direct Sales Approach Also Marketing is great, but don’t forget direct sales. Work the phones, door knock and directly engage your customer. All of the aforementioned are totally F-R-E-E. =) Learn More at ADHI Schools Effective marketing is key to becoming a successful real estate agent. At our real estate school, we'll teach you strategies for becoming an excellent self-promoter and a real estate powerhouse! Register for ADHI Schools today! - Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

How to Dominate a Farm in Real Estate

Bus stop bench with blank advertising space

How to Dominate a Farm in Real Estate   You've finished your real estate classes and passed all the tests. It's official: You're now a licensed real estate agent. All those sleepless nights

How to Dominate a Farm in Real Estate   You've finished your real estate classes and passed all the tests. It's official: You're now a licensed real estate agent. All those sleepless nights filled with studying alluvium soil and the laws of the land have added up and paid off. After you put the blast the good news on Instagram, the question hits you: What next? Starting off in real estate is at once the most exhilarating and scary times you'll find yourself in. After all, real estate agents aren’t in short supply, especially if you’re in Los Angeles or Orange County. The question becomes how do you pick a specific market area and get the majority market share in that community? Breaking into high-end, luxury real estate isn't for the faint of heart nor for those who are off put by the idea of getting their hands dirty. This market is especially challenging for those with no prior experience, connections or repertoire. However, this doesn't mean there isn't a way to to get the job done. I’m warning you: It's will take work. (But hey, nothing worth having comes free — or in this case, without immense effort on foot.) In order to get your name out there for those in your target market, your first step is to farm that area. What Is Farming in Real Estate? Farming a market is when you select a geographic or demographic area to focus on in hopes of growing your brand and ultimately your market share in that area. As time passes, you consistently nurture the market you've selected to farm through various marketing tactics that, over time, allow you to be seen as a trusted member in the community. Though geographic farming (as opposed to demographic farming) is generally thought of as the more common of the two forms of farming, both can lead to big breaks for newcomers to the realty world. Consistency Is Key To successfully break into your target market by farming, you need to be consistent. Farming is a long-term investment — not just financially. It's all about building and maintaining relationships with those in the community, and that takes consistency on a regular basis. While you strive to make your name a well-known one in your selected area, you can work on building trust and connections by means of consistent communications. You can keep members of your selected community up to date with any new trends or events in their neighborhood by sending biweekly postcards — appropriately branded. Knowledge is King It's now a basic job requirement to stay on top of any and all changes that may occur in the market you're farming. Know if there’s a new shopping center being built in the area. Understand any new zoning changes that might be taking place in the near future. Keeping up on these changing market dynamics can be critical in continuing to bring value to your farm area. For example, door knocking with the latest pumpkin pie recipe is great around Halloween, but what about communicating recent sales in the area? If prices have risen or fallen it would be valuable to share this with owners in your farm area. People love talking real estate - especially if it directly impacts their community. Plan For Return On Investment (ROI) When you're first starting out, it can seem like you're constantly dodging bullets and climbing hills. Needless to say, things can seem pretty daunting with a minimal client pool and little experience. Hey, that's why you're farming, after all! There's nothing to be ashamed of about being the new agent in town, but that's no reason to remain stagnant.The great real estate agents know that having a plan and executing it properly is mission critical. Make a budget and set achievable ROI goals. While time, progresses and your year march on, you can alter your initial plan with the insights you've gained thanks to new connections within your farming area and a better understanding of the people within the market.It's also important to bear in mind that farming by definition is a long-term thing. Awareness Is Key Being seen as the go-to source of knowledge in the area you're farming is the end goal. It means you're trusted and respected within the community, and have proven to be a reliable source. Once you've established your role as the neighborhood's professional real estate agent, you'll have direct lines to various homeowners in the area. By coming around consistently and sharing valuable neighborhood and household insights, you're raising awareness about you, your brand and the service you provide. Also possible - the more people you know the more referrals you are going to get. Keep in mind the law of numbers is alive and well - especially in real estate sales.At times, your real estate journey may seem daunting, but with proper farming, you'll have a positive rapport in the community and numerous satisfied clients in your phone. Follow up with them with intent and determination. The biggest lesson I’ve learned from nearly 20 years in this business is that consistency is king. Want to take real estate classes? We offer online real estate education as well as live classroom real estate courses. Let us know how we can help. =)   -Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

The Importance of Follow-Up in Sales

Real estate agent calling clients and prospects to follow up

FOLLOW UP IN SALES   If you have ever sold anything, you know that it’s extremely rare that a sale is made on the first contact. Even for something as benign as a shirt or bag, the customer

FOLLOW UP IN SALES   If you have ever sold anything, you know that it’s extremely rare that a sale is made on the first contact. Even for something as benign as a shirt or bag, the customer may need to come back to the store or review the item online a few more times before committing to the purchase.  Before you enroll in a real estate school, it's important to be aware that real estate sales is just that - sales.  Follow up is probably the most important aspect of the sales business. Much of the time, it will take at least 3-4 contacts before your customer signs. In the case of real estate sales, it might take even more contacts as the sales cycle can be longer given the transaction size. Even though this is a fact of business, most sales people don’t follow up nearly enough or as hard as they should.Reaching out to customers after an initial contact makes several positive impressions at once.   Here are just a few of them. Follow-up and follow-through show your client: • You're trustworthy. • You're available. • You care about their experience. • You think they're special. Mastering the art of the follow-up helps you become a more successful salesperson. • You learn what the customer expects or wants. • You give a customer the chance to be heard. • You can convert a contact into a lead. • You make the contact more inclined to work with you over other agents. • You stay fresh in the customer's mind. Even if they're not ready to buy/sell right now, they may be later. With so many benefits, you should definitely pursue following up as a key prospecting strategy to help you nurture leads and build more business.   How Many Times? Statistics about agents who followed up more frequently versus those who didn’t are staggering. A recent report shows that agents who follow up on their leads five or more times made at least $200,000 per year. Those who followed up less frequently, even three times, reported significantly less earnings.To many of you, three times seems like a lot already, but it looks like five times is the magic number. Real estate depends on many tenacious sales tactics like this one. If you need to overcome the fear of prospecting, remember that the sale is made in the follow through, not in the initial contact. The Nature of an Effective Follow-Up If you're not following up with customers, you're setting yourself up to fail. The real estate game is all about gaining new prospects and leads. As such, you must constantly build your sphere of influence, your pipeline and ultimately gain the trust of new people.But before you pick up the phone or hop on the computer, you should take some time to review the best practices of a follow-up. It's more than just randomly calling people you meet. You need to contact people intentionally. • First, have the right attitude. Sit up straight and exude confidence in your body language and voice. Your customers can sense if you're not sure about what you're selling. • Follow up with hot leads first. These are the people who are most likely to become clients. You will get a higher success rate when you prioritize hot leads. Plus it’s easier to build your confidence with warm and hot leads rather than “leads” that are unlikely to buy. ◦ Segmenting your contacts is a valuable habit that will help you determine which contacts are more likely to lead to a sale — and therefore more worth your prospecting hours. Try cutting your prospects into groups of “hot” “warm” and “cold”. You must define what “hot” “warm” and “cold” mean. To me, a hot lead is one that will sign a contract in the next five to seven days. ◦ Follow up with a new lead within the first day. ◦ A hot lead should be reached every day ◦ Contact cold leads on a less frequent basis, between monthly and annually, depending on the nature of their real estate needs. Hit multiple channels Some people prefer one kind of contact method over the other, so being present on multiple channels can do wonders in reaching them. Here are a few to try: ◦ Phone calls ◦ Emails ◦ Text messages ◦ Social media DMs ◦ Event invites ◦ Direct mail postcards (check farming.cards as a valuable tool). Vary your approach You can make direct calls some days or use softer marketing techniques at other times. Sometimes offering informational content reaches leads without seeming too "salesy," such as sharing home-buying tips on a blog or advice on HVAC repair in a video. Learn Real Estate Marketing and More at ADHI Schools This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to a great real estate marketing strategy. When you take our online real estate classes, you'll learn the ins and outs about becoming a great agent who can nurture great client relationships.  Follow up is a critical part of that.   -Kartik
Practical advice for real estate agents

I'm a Successful Realtor! Should I Hire My First Assistant?

Realty company members breaking hand over hand after a meeting

I recently received an email from a former student who asked me a question that every agent is bound to ask after getting busy. Whether you are taking real estate classes in Los Angeles or going to our

I recently received an email from a former student who asked me a question that every agent is bound to ask after getting busy. Whether you are taking real estate classes in Los Angeles or going to our real estate school in Orange County the below is applicable.   The email goes like this: "Dear Kartik, I'm doing well in real estate and I think it's time to hire my first assistant. How do I go about finding someone, and when did you hire your first assistant?"   I'll answer his questions here.   How Do You Go About Finding an Assistant? Overall, to hire someone, you need to take the following steps: • Create a job description of the tasks you need performed. • Properly screen candidates. Don't make impulse hires! There’s a great saying “Be slow to hire and quick to fire!” Good advice. • Offer them a fair wage to reduce turnover. After you hire someone, you should ... • Train them well. • Stay on the same page with your goals. • Run your business by the rules created at the beginning but be willing to bend. My Experience To fully answer my student's question, I'll also explain my first hiring experience. I hired my first assistant four years after starting real estate, mainly because I had a lot of plates in the air at once. I was running my real estate brokerage business and working at the real estate school at the same time. Naturally, I was feeling overwhelmed.I actually feel like I got lucky with my first assistant. In fact, she's still working with us as the manager of our real estate school. I never screened an applicant before hiring her, but just ended up with a great assistant who stuck with me for the years to come.However, after gaining some experience in hiring more employees, I can now give you some real pointers. Write It Out The first thing I'd advise you to do is write out the job's description. What do you personally feel overwhelmed with? Do you need a personal assistant who can get your car washed one time a week and pick up your dry cleaning? Or, do you need a real estate assistant who can organize your files, input your listings into the MLS or oversee photographers and videographers? Hire someone who has experience doing these tasks or get someone who is willing to learn them well. Properly Screen Candidates In reality, hiring someone is always a little bit of a crapshoot. You’re going to do all you can to examine resumes and make applicants take personality tests, but there's always an element of luck in the hiring process. However, properly screening your candidates can reduce the chances of making hiring mistakes. Here are some basic rules to follow: • Don't randomly hire. Too many agents hire friends or friends or a spouse who was laid off, and then five months later they wonder why it didn't work. • Avoid impulsive hires, even if you're in a rush. • Check out their resume and make sure they have a background in the tasks you are giving them or are a good fit to learn. • Use personality tests and other assessments, but don't let the scores define their destiny. I've seen someone who was told he didn't fit the agent personality profile become a successful broker and start his own company!   Prevent Frequent Turnover Good talent usually sticks around with good pay, so offer a fair wage to eliminate turnover. After all, who will stick around if you offer just minimum wage? I've had people stay with me for five years, 10 years, even 14 years. Why? It's because I always think about how I can put more money in their pocket.I ask myself how I can make them more money ... because when they're making more money, I'm making more money, and the company's making more money. Pay your employees a fair wage and they'll not only work hard for you — they'll stick around. Train Them and Have Accountability After you hire someone, you'll need to do some degree of training. You should also hold them accountable for staying on task. Many agents like to have periodic meetings or phone calls to set goals and objectives because being on the same page is important. Whatever frequency you feel you need to communicate is up to you. I have some members of my sales team that I literally call three or more times per day. This might be a bit much for some of my readers, but it is what it takes when you are getting something off the ground from scratch. Play By The Rules Now that you're a boss, you need to make sure that you have all your legal ducks in a row. Have worker's compensation insurance for your assistant and withhold the right amount of taxes. Make sure the people you hire are properly classified as either independent contractors or employees. Learn From the Best Congratulations on getting to a point where you can hire your first assistant! I wish you the best of luck in the hiring process and hope you find the right person to join your growing business.If you are looking for the right real estate school, check out our website for real estate classes, or call us at 888-768-5285.
Practical advice for real estate agents

Starting a Successful Podcast

Female real estate agent in purple dress recording a podcast

Lots of people ask me how I find time to write as much content as I do and record as much video content as I have over the last many years.  A lot of people have viewed our YouTube channel at my real

Lots of people ask me how I find time to write as much content as I do and record as much video content as I have over the last many years.  A lot of people have viewed our YouTube channel at my real estate education company and want tips on how to create video content and podcasts.  I decided to write an article about this from the perspective of the real estate salesperson.  Since the vast majority of people reading my blog or watching my videos aren't really looking to start an education company, rather they are looking to get into the real estate brokerage business.   It's important to remember that real estate sales is just that - it’s sales! The more customers and clients you have the more money you’ll ultimately make. But how many potential clients can you reach a day by cold calling and door knocking? No matter your answer, podcasts can increase that number exponentially and expand your reach. Consider the facts: • Over a quarter of Americans listen to a Podcast monthly. • In 2018, over 50 billion episodes were downloaded and/or streamed. • Podcast listeners are wealthy, educated and loyal. • The average podcast listener tunes in to seven episodes per week. • California has the highest number of podcast subscribers of any U.S. state. Recording a branded podcast is a distinctive and effective way to tap into this potential market — even more than paid advertising. Your podcast will put your voice and message in the homes and cars of potential clients in a way no other tool can. Podcasts position you as an expert in a given field. Choose Your Topic and Message You have something unique to offer listeners: your real estate experience and expertise. Buying and selling a home or building can be stressful, and most people see high-end real estate as daunting, too difficult to manage or something "other people" do. Your podcast can bring transparency to the process and clients to your doorstep.Choose a topic for your show that is specific to you and sounds great. A narrative or talk-show format can work well. It should be something you can discuss for 100+ episodes. Once your podcast becomes popular, you can broaden your topic. To get started, however, a frame to work within will help you stay focused.Your topic should also support the underlying message you are trying to convey. Always ask yourself what you want your listeners to leave your show knowing or wanting. Find Your Voice There are lots of different styles of podcasting. Choose one that aligns with you. Will you interview guests on your show? Maybe interview past clients or your broker? Converse with your co-host about real estate trends? Take your audience on audio tours of designer homes? Talk about investing in real estate? Regardless of what you decide to go with, it should sound natural and practiced. Give It a Name Listeners will decide whether to listen (or not!) by your name. It should be something that captures the topic as well as the message you are trying to send. A clever or witty name will grab your audience's attention. Is there a word or phrase that captures your mission? A regional phrase that is recognizable to potential local clients?Avoid names that are too specific. Instead, select something that is memorable, searchable and available as a domain. Your listeners will want to engage in your content across platforms. Your Podcast can drive your listeners to your YouTube channel, your Instagram or other platforms. If you don’t have these created - do it now! These will provide additional ways for you to attract clients and listeners and give you more credibility and provide additional ways for your audience to connect with you. Respect your audience Podcasts convey your message directly to your subscriber. They are intimate and create a connection between listener and host. Treat this relationship as though each listener is a client. Hopefully they will be! Practice, practice, practice.  Just hitting record isn't enough to make your show worth turning in to hear. You may find that writing a script gives structure to your recordings. Or, if a more informal style is what you are after, try to stay on topic.Your audience will expect consistency. If you are going to produce a weekly podcast, don't skip a week!  Choose a format and schedule that works for you. On the ADHI Schools’ YouTube channel, sometimes I will record 3-6 videos per week and leave these stacked away in a Google drive. This way, I always have content to bring to the community. Invest the Time and Money Buy proper recording equipment. This doesn’t have to be a big expense, and it's worth it in the long run. Nobody wants to listen to a muddied recording. You will need to edit your podcast for long pauses, errors or content that isn't relevant. One of the affordable and easy to use software options on the market will help. I recorded a Podcast about the audio equipment we use, but your setup doesn’t have to be this elaborate. Join the Community The podcasting community is tight-knit and supportive. Listen to other podcasts. These shows aren't your competition — they're your biggest resource. Inviting guests from other podcasts onto your show can help you make connections to potential listeners or clients. Take Real Estate Classes If you are interested in taking real estate classes in Los Angeles click here. Our real estate class schedule can be found here. If you want to call the office, please do so at 888-768-5285.
Practical advice for real estate agents

How to break into the luxury real estate market

Million dollar home in newport beach

It's nice to get a piece of a pie, whatever the size. But let's be honest: Would you prefer 3 percent of a $300,000 listing or of an $18 million mansion? The luxury real estate market is where you can

It's nice to get a piece of a pie, whatever the size. But let's be honest: Would you prefer 3 percent of a $300,000 listing or of an $18 million mansion? The luxury real estate market is where you can earn the big bucks — but breaking into it isn't easy. Fortunately, one of my former students Jason Peteler recently sat down with me and discussed how he got into this lucrative market. Newer real estate agents can successfully transition into the luxury business by embracing these four points: Be good at marketing. Be good with people. Know your area. Don't start out alone! 1. Master the Art of Marketing: Your image is everything in the high-end market. That's why marketing is the key to putting your best foot forward and spreading awareness about your brand. You need to be where your potential clients are looking. The current trends are overwhelmingly in mobile and social media. If you're not on Facebook and Instagram yet, you need to create accounts today. If your website isn't mobile optimized, get some help to update it ASAP. Every time you post, you should present yourself in a way your clients want to see you. Do you want to look negative and unmotivated? Of course not! Instead, post about your current successes and create the image of a confident and competent professional. Get creative and post infographics, pictures and videos. You can even go "live" for a behind-the-scenes tour of a new listing! 2. Remember It's All About People! Peteler briefly touched on being a "therapist" in his interview, and he's spot on. Imagine the stress buyers experience when buying or selling average-priced homes. Now multiply the commitment and risk by 10, and you have a client who's parting with or purchasing a high-end property. Great real estate agents can help their clients cope with the stress and pressure involved with one of the biggest financial moves of their life. This interpersonal skill can make or break a transaction, because maintaining a good agent-client relationship keeps the ball rolling. 3. Know Your Area! Who wants to work with an agent who doesn't know anything about the local area? When high-end clients approach an agent, they're looking for expertise. When you know the area well, you can sell the listing well. Acquaint yourself with the area by spending time there: Eat at the local restaurants, talk to residents, walk around and soak in the sights and mood of the district. The more you know about the area, the more your clients will trust you. 4. Don't Start Out Alone! Real estate agents who have successfully broken into the luxury market virtually agree on one point: Don't try to do it alone. You'll need to learn the ropes from agents who have real experience in the high-end market. This can mean co-listing with another agent, being part of a team or even becoming someone's "apprentice." In fact, Peteler says that you should first follow a template: Copy what you see has worked for someone, and later you can expand upon it and innovate. 5. Get in Touch! Another indispensable quality a luxury real estate agent needs is a solid education. To find out more about our real estate courses, contact me today.  You can call the office at 888-768-5285 and we would be happy to help get you enrolled in California real estate license courses!
Practical advice for real estate agents

Landscaping to Your Environment

Batch of succulent plants in front yard of home

With much of the Western United States experiencing extended droughts, some homeowners are turning to alternative landscaping methods to save resources. Recently REALTOR® Magazine1 (pg 34-35) wrote

With much of the Western United States experiencing extended droughts, some homeowners are turning to alternative landscaping methods to save resources. Recently REALTOR® Magazine1 (pg 34-35) wrote about owners who are “rethinking the traditional American landscape” by moving toward yards that require less water and maintenance. The “desert landscaping” method, popular in much of the Southwest, is probably what comes to mind when picturing drought-resistant landscaping, but depending upon your locale there are other options to save water without compromising the aesthetics of a property. Besides aesthetics, cost can be a deterrent when re-landscaping. It takes money to tear out a lawn, buy new plants, or truck in gravel. While these upfront costs are cause for legitimate concern, a move towards drought-resistant landscaping has the potential to save a homeowner money over time. The overall savings will depend on water prices in a given area, but expert estimates claim up to 75% less water is needed and maintenance bills could be lowered by 50% in Southern California when desert landscaping is implemented. It would be wise to investigate rebate opportunities from your city or county water authority in your area to help offset the upfront cost. There are opportunities throughout the western United States for rebates for everything from removing grass lawns and installing more efficient watering and irrigation systems to more general rebates for conversion to a drought-tolerant landscape. With hundreds of dollars in rebates oftentimes available, the investment can be manageable. Houses with great curb appeal are easier to sell and it is never too soon to plan ahead. While the traditional, perfectly green yard will likely never go out of style, trends in design can impact prices. Landscape economist John Harris states that good landscaping can add up to 28% to home value. A Clemson University study says that taking landscaping from good to excellent “in terms of design, condition, and placement” can add 6-7% to a home’s value. These statistics show that execution and design are important. If you choose to move away from a more traditional landscape design, but do it poorly, you may miss out on the opportunity for increased value or worse – even see your property value lowered. Choose the right layout, plants, and accessories, from gravel to a suitable gate to the backyard or courtyard. Seek professional landscaping help or gather the opinions of those you trust about what works. The U.S. Department of Agriculture also publishes information on “hardiness zones” that help people understand which plants can survive in which conditions. Remember, if your landscaping is already good, making it “excellent” could add 6-7% in value. Some owners resist the thought of a drought resistant yard because they fear that their children won’t be able to play as much. One option is to maintain a lawn in the backyard for room to play, while the landscaping for the rest of the property reflects alternative design. Some choose to pursue this goal with artificial turf in the place of a genuine grass. The distance to a good, safe park can also be a factor here. A nearby park can reduce the amount of green space you personally need and many newer developments are built with parks in the neighborhood. So if you’re a homeowner, consider a more efficient yard. It might just improve your curb appeal and the value of your home while saving you money on water and maintenance. Whether you’re taking real estate classes in Los Angeles or preparing for the real estate exam in California, make sure you know how to talk to your clients about landscaping. It may not be your job to convince them that alternative landscaping design is right for them, but it is your job to make sure they understand the reasons behind these designs and the community resources that may make up for lost green space.
Practical advice for real estate agents

Medical Marijuana and Tenancy in California

Medical marijuana in jar

Medical marijuana, the controversial practice that flies in the face of federal legal classifications of the drug, has been a troublesome topic for landlords for some time. While California landlords have

Medical marijuana, the controversial practice that flies in the face of federal legal classifications of the drug, has been a troublesome topic for landlords for some time. While California landlords have had the right to prevent tenants from smoking in their residences under existing smoking laws, the law lacked the clarity needed to assure landlords of the legality of medical marijuana smoking bans. A new bill working its way through the state legislature would clarify the law. California Assembly Bill 2300 is authored by Assemblyman Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg) and is sponsored by the California Apartment Association (CAA) and supported by the California Association of Realtors. It specifically states that individuals permitted to smoke medical marijuana may not in “any location at which smoking is prohibited by law or prohibited by a landlord”. Marijuana is essentially being treated much more like tobacco. This will not give landlords the legal ability to prevent individuals with a medical cannabis card from consumption of marijuana in any noncombustible form, including the use of edibles, oils, pills, patches, or vaporizers. The language of the bill specifically states smoking is prohibited with no language addressing these methods. AB 2300 passed through the assembly floor on May 5th with broad bipartisan support—of the 80 potential votes, 77 votes yes and 3 were either absent or abstained. It is currently at the first reading stage in the state senate, meaning a vote should occur in the near future. If it passes—which looks probable given its bipartisan success in the assembly—it will move to the governor’s desk to be signed into law or be vetoed. If a landlord chooses to exercise this right, clear, specific lease agreements are crucial. Just like any other provision of tenancy, landlords should make it clear that they are renting with conditions in mind. If this bill becomes law and landlords can treat marijuana like tobacco, it would still be wise—if for no other reason than convenience down the road—to clearly explain this policy and present it in a leasing agreement. Clear communication is a safe practice. We will be sure to update our readers as this process unfolds. As always, for questions or clarifications simply comment below or reach out to cody@adhischools.com
Practical advice for real estate agents

So Your Renter Applicant Has a Criminal Record

Criminal background check paperwork being filled out

You’re a landlord and you receive an application for one of your vacant units. You get excited, looking forward to the income, but then you learn that the applicant has a criminal record. What do you

You’re a landlord and you receive an application for one of your vacant units. You get excited, looking forward to the income, but then you learn that the applicant has a criminal record. What do you do? Maybe it matters what the crime is. You might feel comfortable renting to a nonviolent offender convicted twenty years ago. Maybe mental illness was involved and the convicted individual has demonstrably undergone successful treatment. But what about a sex offender or someone recently convicted of running a meth lab in their last residence? Obviously the type of crime and amount of time since the conviction will impact your perception of risk. So what do you do? You want to protect your property and other tenants. Landlords must be careful to ensure that their reaction to these situations is not perceived as unlawfully discriminatory. While no state or federal law prevents discrimination that solely targets criminal offenders, it is illegal for the practice to discriminate against protected groups such as racial minorities, regardless of intent. On April 4th, 2016 the U.S. Office of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that their interpretation of the Fair Housing Act is that any policy or practice that is “facially neutral” but has a “disparate impact on individuals of a particular race, national origin, or other protected class” is “unlawful”, unless the policy or practice is “necessary to achieve a substantial, legitimate, nondiscriminatory interest”. This is where the type of offense and the period of time since the conviction come into play. While refusing to rent to an arsonist who burned down his last apartment building can be considered legitimate, discriminating against someone with a petty theft conviction may be more difficult to justify. Especially if it turns out that you are turning away members of an otherwise protected class and you don't have uniform standards. The last requirement is an evaluation of potential, less discriminatory, alternatives. In the event a policy is challenged and upheld as lawful, HUD or the rejected tenant can examine alternatives. The landlord does not need to search for alternatives to their legal policy—this burden falls on HUD (or the potential tenant to recommend a HUD-approved policy). But change could be prompted if HUD finds the necessary interest of the policy “could be served by another practice that has a less discriminatory effect”. This could be a mandate to include an “individualized assessment” that allows the potential tenant to prove good tenant history since the conviction, evidence of rehabilitation, etc. This may not change the decision for the individual appealing the rejection of their application, but in theory it would make the policy less discriminatory over time. And in October of last year HUD allocated $38 million to more than 100 groups to fight housing discrimination. Legal challenges to these policies should be anticipated. So, unless you end up rejecting candidates in proportions that match your population, you could wind up on the wrong end of allegations of illegal discrimination. Thus, it is important to have a well thought out, comprehensive, consistent standard for these situations. And, if in doubt, contact legal counsel specializing in these issues. In summary, here are the rules to keep in mind to best protect yourself: Consider the nature of the crime Consider how long it has been since the conviction Apply your standard consistently—exceptions are risky!
Practical advice for real estate agents

The power of a new start

Licence

Recently, I received an email from a broker-partner of ours at Prudential California Realty. Last November, Everything I thought I knew about myself changed abruptly, and what others perceived about me

Recently, I received an email from a broker-partner of ours at Prudential California Realty. Last November, Everything I thought I knew about myself changed abruptly, and what others perceived about me shifted, too. I had been conducting my personal life in an artificial way - as if detached from the values my upbringing had taught, and that I should have embraced. The physical pain from that car accident has long healed. But the pain in my soul is more complex and unsettling; it has been far more difficult to ease - and to understand. But this much is obvious now: my life was out of balance, and my priorities were out of order. I made terrible choices and repeated mistakes. I hurt the people whom I loved the most.  And even beyond accepting the consequences and responsibility, there is the ongoing struggle to learn from my failings. At first, I didn't want to look inward. Frankly, I was scared of what I would find - what I had become. But I'm grateful that I did examine my life because it has made me more grounded than I've ever been; I hope that with reflection welcome wisdom. Golf is a self-centered game, in ways good and bad. So much depends on one's own abilities. But for me, that self-reliance made me think I could tackle the world by myself. It made me think that if I was successful in golf, then I was invincible. Now I know that, no matter how tough or strong we are, we all need to rely on others. Slowly, I'm regaining the balance that I'd lost. My healing process is far from complete, but I am beginning to appreciate things I had overlooked before. I'm learning that some victories can mean smiles, not trophies, and that life's most ordinary events can bring joy. Giving my son, Charlie, a bath, for example, beats chipping another bucket of balls. Making mac and cheese for him and his sister, Sam, is better than dining in any restaurant. Sharing a laugh watching cartoons or reading a book beats channel-surfing alone. Some nights now, it's just me and the kids, an experience that's both trying and rewarding. Probably like the experience a lot of families have every evening around the world. When I first came back off golf this spring, after taking a necssary break, I was worried about how fans would treat me. But they've been kinder and more supportive than I ever imagined possible. That's true aways from the golf course, too. When I go to the store, or to work out, or to grab lunch, I've been amazed by the considerate, encouraging words I hear. I've realized that those sentiments are not merely courtesies but generous expressions of compassion for which I'll always be thankful. I have a lasting gratitude to those who stood by me in ways large and small. Unfortunately, opportunists are trying still to cash in on my troubles, no matter how irresponsible or ridiculous their claims may be. In many cases, I've never even met these people. But there's no way I can dispute each lie without provoking more. Besides, everyone has probably heard more than they ever wanted to about my private life. I can never truly repair the damage I've done, especially to my family. But I can keep trying. What endures in the record books are the achievements won through competition. What endures in our actual lives is the love of our family and the respect of others.  I know now that some things can and must change with time and effort. I'm not the same man I was a year ago. And that's a good thing.
Practical advice for real estate agents

Tax withholdings for Realtors?

Accountant reviewing expenses for real estate brokerage company

One of the nice things about being in real estate is we are generally treated as independent contractors for tax purposes and work hour requirements. Legally, of course, the California Bureau of Real

One of the nice things about being in real estate is we are generally treated as independent contractors for tax purposes and work hour requirements. Legally, of course, the California Bureau of Real Estate always treats us as employees of the broker. From 30,000 feet this means that the broker must reasonably supervise any salespeople working for the broker and the broker is generally responsible for a wrong done by the salesperson while the salesperson is acting under the scope and course of employment. However, for tax purposes and work hour requirements - what I am attempting to talk about in this article - salespersons can be treated as independent contractors not employees. This generally means: 1. Salespersons are independently licensed. 2. Compensation is based on sales made, not hours worked. 3. There is a written contract that states that the salesperson will be treated as an employee for tax purposes. Recently, due to the California budget crisis, there was a proposal to have real estate brokers withhold 3% from commissions paid to salespeople. Yesterday, we got word from CAR that this is not going to be the case. Real estate agents that are taxed as independent contractors get to keep all the commissions due them and the brokers are not required to withhold this 3%! The world is once again in balance! PS: Check out our YouTube video of this here
Practical advice for real estate agents

Open house guidelines for unlicensed assistants

Open house sign on front lawn outside of house2

The following is from the California Department of Real Estate's publication entitled "Guide to Unlicensed Assistants". This is valuable information as many of you may be considering working for an experienced

The following is from the California Department of Real Estate's publication entitled "Guide to Unlicensed Assistants". This is valuable information as many of you may be considering working for an experienced real estate salesperson as an apprentice or assistant prior to you actually obtaining a license.Here is an excerpt from the section on "Open Houses""With the principal’s consent, assisting licensees at an open house intended for the public by placing signs, greeting the public, providing factual information from or handing out preprinted materials prepared by or reviewed and approved for use by the licensee, or arranging appointments with the licensee. During the holding of an open house, only a licensee may engage in the following: show or exhibit the property, discuss terms and conditions of a possible sale, discuss other features of the property, such as its location, neighborhood or schools, or engage in any other conduct which is used, designed or structured for solicitation purposes with respect to the property."
Practical advice for real estate agents

Does your family support your real estate career?

Family of four walking down the street holding hands and smiling

Let's face it. Being on commission can be tough. Having the support of your family can be key as you start your career in real estate. Explain to them WHY you are choosing this career path and what you

Let's face it. Being on commission can be tough. Having the support of your family can be key as you start your career in real estate. Explain to them WHY you are choosing this career path and what you plan on doing so that you don't fail.Get as much training as you can in the beginning. Finally, most businesses fail because they don't have enough customers. What are you going to do to make sure you don't fall in this category?