Tips on Showing Your FSBO Property

As a FSBO seller, you are responsible for handling all of the aspects of selling your home. So, how do you go about showing the property to interested buyers?

Tips on Showing Your FSBO Property

The huge advantage of selling your property for sale by owner is you save a ton of money on real estate agent commissions. At six percent a pop, the savings literally amount to tens of thousands of dollars. The potential downside is you actually have to do the work. One aspect where this is particularly true is when it comes time to show the property to interested buyers. Here are some tips to help you with the process.

First and foremost, it is important to time the showing. If you have multiple parties showing interest in the home, try to set a single time to show the home. The goal is to have them at the property at the same time. This creates the impression there is a lot of interest in the home. This impression will then motivate the buyers to make offers on your property.

A second tip is not to show your home on your own. As sad as it is, there are cranks and weirdoes out there. Make sure you have at least one other person with you when showing the property. If you need some help with this, mortgage brokers are often willing to come to showing. There goal is to snag one of the potential buyers as a mortgage client. Regardless, it gives you multiple people in the home and cuts down on any risk of something bad happening.

The third tip is to get your marketing brochures together. Buyers rarely look at just one home. You want to give them a brochure so they can remember and visual your home. The brochure should contain all the relevant information about your home including price, square footage, unique aspects, your contact information and pictures, pictures, pictures! Did I mention pictures?

Finally, make sure you have a guest book for potential buyers to sign. Ask for them to sign their names and provide a phone number. This will create a record for you of everyone that saw your home. It will also provide you with phone numbers so you can call them back if necessary.

Showing your home is a critical part of the real estate process. Follow these tips and it should go off without a hitch.

9 Tips For Hiring a Good Real Estate Attorney

Baltimore investment property requires hiring a good real estate attorney. This is because most of the attorneys are unfamiliar with property transactions and have never invested themselves. Hence, they are good only for giving advice that prevents them from getting sued. They cannot tell you how to churn more dollars from a deal. Surely, you don’t wish to be content with such an attorney, right?   A competent real estate attorney for Baltimore investment property is one who tells you everything about the risks involved in transactions. Not only this. They also suggest options of carrying out real estate transactions profitably. In other words, he or she points out at the problems and offers solutions. When an attorney refrains from talking about risks of real estate; when he or she detects problems but doesn’t talk about solution; or when your attorney kills the deals methodically (most attorneys are famous for killing deals), you are with the wrong person.

4 Things To Do For Hiring A Good Real Estate Attorney

  • Join an association for real estate investors in your city and ask for referrals.
  • Ask around people who have invested and used the services of an attorney.
  • Contact title companies as well as real estate agents for referrals.
  • Forget the Yellow Pages. You can’t just pick any attorney who claims to know about Baltimore investment property.

Remember, there are 5 subgroups of real estate law:

  • Agricultural
  • Industrial
  • Commercial
  • Residential
  • Landlord-Tenant

For each subgroup, there are lawyers. There are also lawyers for environmental law and construction law. Each lawyer is an expert in his or her field and can’t give you sound advice in other fields. Therefore, it’s important that you choose a lawyer, who is specialist in a particular field. Typically, in real estate, there are two kinds of lawyers – one who tackles lawsuits and the other who deals with contract matters. The former are known as litigators and the latter are the transactional lawyers. There are also some lawyers who handle both matters. However, it’s best to hire someone who is a specialist in one matter or the other. So, for Baltimore investment property, a transactional lawyer is ideal, unless you’re entangled in a lawsuit for which you may require a litigator.

5 Things To Know About Your Attorney Before Hiring Them

  • Whether they possess any rental property.
  • The number of closings that normally carry out every year.
  • Their recent odd transactions.
  • Whether they have done foreclosures, evictions, condo conversions, or zoning board appeals.
  • Whether they are well versed with terms like installment land contract, lease or option, wraparound mortgage, and other such real estate jargon.

When an attorney opens his or her mouth, you can at once get a feel of whether you’re sitting with an expert or a fake. That’s why it’s always recommended that you have a face-to-face talk with a lawyer before hiring him or her for Baltimore investment property. 

Top Gun Prospecting Tips in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

In commercial real estate brokerage, the prospecting process is critical to the commissions and listings that you attract. The best agents and brokers in the industry have a quality approach and system when it comes to prospecting for new business. Every day they are implementing their system into new segments of the market and with new clients.

To revitalise your career and your market share, you can adopt a ‘top gun’ approach to all of your new business efforts. You could say that the approach is based on an ‘attitude’ more than anything else. When you direct your thinking towards creating new clients and new business, everything tends to follow with leads and opportunities.

Action is the key to getting anywhere in this industry. It really doesn’t matter what agency or brokerage you work for; personal branding and networking will allow you to achieve the results you want with listings and commissions.

Here are some ‘top gun’ tips to help you with your growth of market share and client conversions:

  1. Make it easy for people to contact you. Over time extend your brand into the local area and with the right people through constant contact. To do this correctly, you will require a networking and contact model that devotes 50% of your time to current contacts, and 50% of your time to new contacts.
  2. Take advantage of technology through the use of auto responders, e-mail marketing, social media, mobile telephones, and call prospecting. The ultimate goal in any new business effort is to get in front of the right people to establish a long-term relationship. In our industry, the elements of trust and knowledge go hand in hand. It can be many months if not years before someone is ready to use your services. Staying in contact over and for the long term is really important.
  3. Be prepared to put in the time and the effort when it comes to building your market share. Every day approximately 2 or 3 hours should be devoted to the prospecting and networking model you have devised. That itself can be a very large challenge for some agents. They simply do not have the discipline for the process and hence do not take the required action. When you think about it, this leaves the market wide open for those people that can get organised and stay on track when it comes to their real estate business plan and opportunity network. It is a personal thing. It cannot be delegated.
  4. Tracking your efforts and your results will be important to getting traction in building market share. Understand the number of calls that you are making every day, the meetings you are creating, and the presentations underway for new listings. Seek to improve the numbers in a logical and consistent way. Commit time to the process in your diary so that you can reach new people with new property requirements.
  5. It should be said that the prospecting process usually involves a degree of discomfort and skill development. You can fast track the process through practice and role playing. You can merge those activities into your regular weekly sales team meeting.

A successful prospecting model in commercial real estate will take you quickly into the local property market and help with many new quality commercial listings. Consistency and focus will be required to stay on track and get the conversions that you require. The agents and brokers that control the listings, control the market.

Property Management For Northern Virginia Real Estate – 10 Tips

Below are ten critical tips garnered from a property management company with over 15 years of experience in the Northern Virginia apartment leasing market. Of course, entire books have been written on the subject of property management, so think of the below as the start of your education as a property manager.

1) Research comparable rent prices. It is very important to do your due diligence when it comes to what price you’re going to advertise your property for. Price it too low and you’re going to lose out on extra rental income, too high and you might never schedule a showing of the property. Rent price is dependent on a number of factors including, the economy, whether people are buying versus renting, if local companies are hiring and moving people to the area, what current comparable listings you are competing with, and what prices have been obtained recently. For a list of comparable rent prices and average days on market it’s best to consult a local Realtor. In Northern Virginia be sure to research comps from NVAR’s metropolitan regional information system.

2) Clean and prep your rental property. First impressions can mean everything. If your rental property does not show well this can be devastating. You can be in the best area, across from a metro station, and with tons of companies hiring just around the corner, but if the walls are marked with crayon and you can’t pinpoint that certain smell (the not good one) then you’re likely not going to find a tenant. A reliable cleaning company in Northern Virginia is Maid Perfect.

3) List the property on the local MLS. The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) in many areas is going to be a solid source of leads for potential tenants. Real estate agents can list your property on the MLS and then the property is exposed to thousands of other agents who can show the property and find tenants for your unit. In Northern Virginia make sure your property is listed on MRIS.

4) Post your property on free listing websites. 70% or more potential tenants start their search for a rental on the internet. That being said, you want your listing to be posted on as many sites as possible. There are too many to list in this article, but a few Google searches will lead you to a ton of websites willing to host your listing and contact information free of charge. Use these sites to actively market your rental property. In Northern Virginia one of the key sites to be listed on is the Washington DC section of Craigslist.

5) Market your rental unit to local companies. One of the main reasons that people move is for a new job. Companies that are actively hiring are typically the largest source of new tenants in a given metropolitan area. Make best efforts to get in touch with the relocation departments of local companies so that they can actively source new hires to you. These new hires NEED to find a place to live and will be the best source for tenants that are ready to make a decision. In Northern VA, you can find a list of the largest businesses in your area by visiting Fairfax County’s government website.

6) Shoot a short video of the rental property. Pictures are nice, but video is better, especially when dealing with potential tenants that are relocating and can not see the property in person. You can use the video to qualify potential tenants for showings. Simply host the video on your favorite free video sharing site (YouTube, alo video, etc… ) and then point the potential tenant to the video to make sure they are interested in your unit. If they have further interest after the video showing, it might be worth setting up a showing in person. The average tenant looks at over 6 properties before they make a decision, so shooting this video can save you quite a bit of time when dealing with potential tenants that just want to take a look, but are not ready to make a decision. In Northern Virginia you will want to post your video to Fairfax TV.

7) Run a thorough credit check on the tenant. If we lived in a perfect world, everyone would pay their rent on time and there would be no evictions. The problem is we don’t live in a utopia. Have you tenant fill out a rental application which gives you permission to run a credit check on them. Make sure that you follow the latest FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) rules and regulations and get a FICO score for the potential tenant. This score will give you a good idea of whether the tenant is going to pay the rent on time, late, or not at all. A bad score usually means a tenant that will give you problems. It’s better to leave the place vacant than take the risk. In Northern Virginia the you should provide the tenant with the FCRA rules and regulations after running their credit. Legalities are often state specific. Please consult your state’s landlord tenant act before running credit or other background checks on potential tenants.

8) Obtain a rock solid lease agreement. The lease dictates the relationship between the landlord and tenant. You want to obtain a fair lease agreement that protects you as the landlord. If things go well with the tenant, then you will probably never look at the lease again, however, at the first sign of trouble, this piece of paper is all you have to get you out of a bad situation. It may be worth having a leasing specialist or Realtor draft the lease for you, a lawyer might be too expensive, unless you have multiple properties and can reuse the same agreement. In Northern Virginia you’ll want to contact NVAR to obtain a rock solid lease.

9) Find a good contractor. When the plumbing goes out, or the HVAC does not work, who are you going to call? If you’re an expert in these areas then you have nothing to worry about… most of us aren’t. It’s a good idea to get to know an honest, reliable and timely plumber, electrician and general contractor. Timeliness is of supreme importance. Make sure to develop a good enough relationship with your contractor such that they take care of your tenants in a timely and professional manner. If the contractor isn’t contentious, it will hurt the relationship with your tenant. In Northern VA you can obtain a good list of contractors by going to the Washington DC section of ServiceMagic.

10) Consider using a Realtor, property manager or leasing specialist. Hiring the right help can make your life a lot easier. These folks will do all of the above and more for you. However, be sure to do your research. Not all property managers are created equal. Use someone local who has expertise in your community.

Real Estate Brokerage: A Guide to Success, By Dan Hamilton

Owning a business of your own is the American dream. Real estate agents or those considering opening their own residential real estate brokerage should read Dan Hamilton’s new soup-to-nuts book on establishing a successful brokerage.

Real Estate Brokerage: A Guide to Success by Dan Hamilton, Thomson/ South-Western, 2006, ISBN 0324379463, Paperback, 380 Pages, $46.95 is written by an experienced real estate broker and instructor. Hamilton readily admits that the brokerage business is going through a permanent shift in how they will continue to be financially successful and remain the first point-of-contact for residential real estate consumers. Admission is one thing, but the author provides deep and clear ways to reorient your brokerage from agent compensation,recruiting and retention, business planning and development, to effective new-age brokerage marketing. All ideas are explained in great detail, with an added benefit of bolded topics and bullet points, for those who want a pick-up-put-down desk reference.

Chapter titles include:The Real Estate Industry, The Real Estate Broker and Owner, The Real Estate Brokerage Office, Real Estate Brokerage Operations, Real Estate Marketing, Additional Marketing Ideas in Real Estate, Real Estate Brokerage Compensation Structures, Real Estate Brokerage Staff Relations, Recruiting Real Estate Salespeople, Recruiting Interview, Retention of Real Estate Salespeople, Real Estate Business Development, Real Estate Business Planning, Financing a Real Estate Business, and Starting Up a Real Estate Business.

In addition to the chapters there is an appendix and introduction. Chapters are presented in an easy-to-understand format with review questions to help the reader assimilate the chapter information and it’s relevance. Boxes highlight important definitions or statements. One benefit I especially liked was the use of relevant definitions adjoining text instead of the usual back-of-the-book glossary

This book is recommended to current managing brokers, real estate franchise operations managers, brokerage educators and trainers, and those contemplating starting up their own brokerage.

Top Five Home Renovations Before Selling Tips

If you’ve done your homework and found that property makeovers are a financially sound decision to make before selling, there are a number of aspects you should keep in mind before you let a contractor begin swinging his sledge hammer.

Particularly, choosing to complete home renovations before promoting may be decidedly different than if you were making the house renovations for your own satisfaction. We have therefore put together a list of the top five things to consider when dealing with property restorations prior to selling:

Get more than one estimate

Within the rush to get the work completed and the house on the market, many sellers fly through the procedure for choosing a contractor to accomplish the work. However, not taking the time to find the right licensed contractor can mean disaster, both for the renovations and the following effect it can have on your ability to sell your property.

In short, get at least three estimates from three contractors who come with sparkling references. Also, don’t forgo calling references provided to you, and ask important questions, such as: Did they complete the work on time? Was the job completed to your full satisfaction? Did they accomplish the work on spending budget? Would you use them once again for a property restoration project?

Check and double-check the actual deadline with the service provider

Unless the contractor can definitively complete the actual project within your time frame, choose another expert, as deadlines for people selling their property are more important than ever. Make sure you reiterate the significance of finishing the job on time, and make sure the contractor incorporates this deadline within the contract.

Get just about all applicable permits

Don’t skimp on the details with your property renovations before selling, as the buyer may very well ask to see the permits. Display for the buyer that you required all necessary steps to ensure that the job had been completed professionally and safely by getting all appropriate permits.

Stay neutral

When selecting finishes for your home renovations, think neutral. In other words, you may enjoy red tile in the bathroom, but the truth is that most buyers will not. Think in terms of a wide audience, and stay as neutral as possible as to appeal to the majority of potential buyers.

Think mid-range for many projects

In order to ensure that you stay within budget and that you realize a return on your investment, think mid-range in terms of materials and finishes, (the only time this particular rule may not apply is in very expensive houses or mansions). Although many buyers would appreciate stainless appliances in the kitchen, the very fact of the matter is that you may not see a return on this investment. Choosing good-quality, sleek black appliances, on the other hand, will still show well in your renovated kitchen, however will cost you about a third of stainless steel home appliances.

Of course, before starting upon any house renovations before promoting, consult a real estate agent to make sure you will be able to see a return on your investment whenever selling.