The Importance of Screening Potential Home Buyers

  As a realtor many of us work with BOTH buyers and sellers. We are going to focus on the importance of screening potential home buyers to ensure that 1) they are serious buyers and 2) That they have PROOF that they have the money they say they have and that they are financially cleared to purchase a home. I cannot stress enough how important it is that you as the realtor make sure that the potential home buyer that you are working with fits into the above two criteria. Why is that you ask? Well let's look at it from the angle that as a realtor your time and energy = MONEY. Why would you waste your time driving all over your city showing properties to prospective buyers if you don't even know yourself if they have been pre- approved by a lender and have proof of funds to show that they are serious? By not preliminarily screening these buyers you are essentially wasting your time with them. For all you  know they could just simply want to drive around all day looking at multi-million dollar homes with absolutely NO intention of making an offer on a property and purchasing it. 

 So how do you remedy this scenario to ensure that you don't get caught up driving around with a bunch of looky lous? Very simple answer. When you have a first interaction with a prospective buyer make sure that the first question you ask them is if they have been pre-approved by a lender. If they have not been pre-approved, use that as an opportunity to refer them to one of your preferred lenders that you know can offer this prospective buyer the service that they need in order to obtain that pre-approval. Once the pre-approval has been satisfied you can now take that as a clear indication that the prospective buyer is serious about embarking on the home search and ultimately purchasing a home. 

 By taking a bit of time in the beginning of the of the buyer/agent relationship to ensure that the buyer is a true serious buyer and not just a person who wants to joyride on Sundays looking at properties that they have no intention of buying, will greater enhance your opportunity to only work with serious buyers who will truly value your insight and expertise in being able to help them find the home they always dreamed of!

Investment Alert!!

  For all of you real estate investors that live in Southern California I HIGHLY recommend that you start to take an in-depth look at the Inglewood/Palms area of Los Angeles. The gentrification process has begun and it has brought about an environment that is ripe for making a smart real estate investment that will only appreciate in the coming years thanks to the beautiful state of the art football stadium that has just recently broken ground in Inglewood! As the real estate market continues this incredible upswing in Southern California, it is presenting plenty of investment opportunities that both make sense and also offer incredible value at this current stage of transformation currently taking place in the Inglewood/Palms area. Making a smart investment now could potentially set you up with a very valuable piece of property in an area that is in the midst of some very exciting demographic changes! Invest in Inglewood/Palms area NOW! You will look back 7-10 years from now and be thankful that you did....

  

Why you Should Make an Investment in Land

    As the saying goes...."they aren't making any more of it, so might as well grab what's left!". Making an investment in raw land in my opinion is one of the best real estate investments that you can make. Why do I say this? Well let's take into account that by making an investment in land you are essentially making a passive investment that in reality does not really constitute a lot of maintenance and upkeep. You can purchase the land and hold it for quite some time before you decide to build anything on it (if that is something that you choose to do). Along with being a great passive investment source, raw land can also appreciate substantially without really requiring any work or improvements on the land. As the surrounding area around the land starts to become developed and businesses and homes start to appear the natural occurrence will be that your piece of land will also appreciate! Now mind you that this is based on the scenario that you do the research and purchase a piece of land that is in a desirable area that is going to appreciate and that the value will go up.

  We all know that the stock market and other investment vehicles can at times be volatile. This is yet another reason why making an investment in land can be a great avenue to explore. It is also important to take into account that you really have to have vision and do your due diligence in terms of research to ensure that you are purchasing a plot of land that is in an area that has a lot of potential upside and will increase in value over the long term. 

  Investing in land is not for everyone, but it is definitely for some! If you are looking for a great long term investment I would highly recommend that you begin researching raw land that is available for purchase in your area. You never know...a 5k investment in a 2.5 acre plot now could yield you a nice profit 5,10, or even 15 years down the line. It is all about having the VISION and seeing the potential appreciation that could occur in the area.  

3 Tips to Becoming a Better Negotiator

 Let's face it, as realtors you have to be able to negotiate! There may come a time when you as a realtor will have to be able to appropriately negotiate price, contingencies, or a myriad of other issues. Follow these three simple tips and I guarantee you that you will improve your negotiation skills.

Tip #1: TAKE THE INITIATIVE. Don't be scared to make the first move. Usually the person that is able to propose their position first is most likely to be successful in the overall negotiation. Along with that point, being the first one to make a move in negotiations many times gives you a psychological edge. Take former U.S. President John F. Kennedy's advice, "let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate".

Tip #2: LEARN TO LISTEN. Very simple, no matter how the negotiations are going DO NOT interrupt the other party. This comes down to simple manners. Be attentive and patient, wait until there is a natural break in the conversation. Don't rush things, let the meeting breathe and run naturally. 

Tip #3: UTILIZE EFFECTIVE BODY LANGUAGE. It is very natural to use your hands and body to communicate. Use this to your advantage when you are in negotiations with another party. By utilizing your body language you are able to add an element of enthusiasm and persuasion to your vocal range. Trust me when I tell you that by paying attention to your body language and posturing you will be able to successfully convey your passion and final objective much more clearly.

 Negotiation is an essential element of almost all business dealings. Follow these three tips and you will be in a much better position to succeed in your negotiations!

For Sale by Owner: 5 Mistakes Sellers Make

   There are times when someone decides that they want to sell their home themselves without the help of a real estate professional. Their reasons can vary, but the bottom line is that they are dead set on selling their home themselves. By doing this there are mistakes that the seller usually encounters, either through not having the adequate knowledge or by circumstance. I am going to highlight 5 mistakes that are made by a majority of for sale by owner sellers. 

1. They price their property incorrectly. This is a BIG one. Majority of for sale by owner sellers place a price tag on their property that is based on emotion and an incorrect valuation determine by themselves. Setting the right price is so important to be able to attract buyer interest and be able to remain competitive in the local market. They do not take the time to adequately research their local area and see what the market has to say regarding the selling prices of various properties in the neighborhood. 

2. BAD photos of their property. Being able to showcase your home in the best possible light is going to be paramount to your ability to sell your home. By not having professional photos taken of your home both from the inside and outside, you are doing yourself an incredible disservice. Photos and videos are a cornerstone to a property being able to sell quickly. Do not try to take photos of your home by yourself (or with your iPhone), invest the money and hire a PROFESSIONAL who specializes in real estate photography to do the job for you!

3.  They don't qualify potential buyers. Qualifying a potential buyer is one of the most important parts of the process. You do not want to expend your time and energy on a buyer that later come to find out does not ACTUALLY have the funds that they were boasting about when they first came across your property. By qualifying potential buyers you are taking the time to make sure that they are who they say they are and that they are a ready willing and able buyer to purchase your property! Take the time in the beginning to qualify the buyer!

4. They have an emotional attachment to the home. Totally understandable, but also detrimental to the sale of your home. When you are selling your home yourself you want to ensure that you are taking an objective stance and attempt to leave your emotions out of the sale. I understand that it can be a tough task to undertake especially knowing that you may have hundreds of memories that were created in your home, but you have to realize that the potential buyer does not care about the memories you created, but is more interested in making sure that your home is the right fit for what THEY are looking for and want. So as hard as it is, at least try to remain objective and to keep things professional when selling your home yourself. 

5. They don't have a solid marketing plan. They want to sell their home themselves, but when it comes to their marketing efforts, they fall short. Simply advertising your property on websites like Zillow, Redfin, and others can sometimes narrow your scope of potential buyers. Having a sound marketing plan that spans across different platforms helps to ensure that you are maximizing your home's visibility to as many potential buyers as possible! The last thing you want to do is alienate or not expose your home to AS MANY buyers as possible! Do your research and make sure that you have a solid marketing plan in place to ensure that your home sells quickly!

Why you Should be Using Snapchat as a Realtor

   Social media. There is no escaping it, you might as well embrace it! Social media has become a crucial piece of many realtor’s business model in regards to marketing and selling real estate. Snapchat specifically is on its way to completely changing the real estate industry landscape. What is Snapchat? Snapchat is a social media app that allows you to send videos and pictures, both of which will self destruct after a few seconds of a person viewing them. It is amazing how popular this app is with all generations (yes, there are parents and grandparents who are Snapchat PROS!). Now is the time to really see how Snapchat can be beneficial to you as a realtor. As a realtor we are constantly trying to find ways to stand out from the crowd. This is true to how we market properties, build our client base, and ultimately sell homes.

    The introduction of Snapchat into the real estate industry has been welcomed by many. There are many realtors out there who are integrating and using interesting and engaging content via Snapchat. Content includes open houses that they are attending, their day to day activities, and many other elements of real estate that we deal with as realtors. I highly recommend that you try it out and see how you like it. Snapchat will add a dynamic new vantage point to your business model. I think that the simple fact that you are able to provide an actual real time feed of a walkthrough of an open house to the people that follow your “Snapchat story” becomes valuable content that allows for your followers to gain a real time look into the home without actually having to be there physically. This is a crucial element as to why Snapchat becomes such a useful medium to showcase properties to the public. It essentially allows someone to see what you are seeing without having to be there, and we know that in today’s marketplace that idea counts for A LOT.

  Whether you like it or not, social media has become an ABSOLUTE necessity to how you run your real estate business and how you are able to relate to potential clients via constant social media interaction, specifically through the use of Snapchat. I challenge you to find ways in which you as a realtor can incorporate the use of Snapchat into your business! I guarantee that you will see genuine returns through constant organic interaction via Snapchat! Now get out there and start snapping!

The Pre-Listing Research Phase & The Listing Appointment

   I think that there is a common misconception lying around out there that realtors collect huge checks and do very little work to justify those enormous paydays. That could not be any further from the truth. The truth is that realtors are the crucial piece of a real estate transaction that help to keep everything together and help keep the transaction moving forward smoothly. In any real estate transaction there are multiple components to the deal that may take hours, days, weeks, or even months to complete. I want to outline the pre-listing and actual listing presentation components of a real estate transaction and some of the responsibilities that a realtor has in each of these two categories.

 

PRE-LISTING RESEARCH:

This refers to the time right before the realtor takes a listing appointment with a potential seller. So what does a realtor do during the pre-listing research phase?

1.     Research all comparable currently listed properties.

2.     Research sales activity for past 18 months through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and/or public records databases.

3.     Prepare "Comparable Market Analysis" (CMA) to establish fair market value of subject property.

4.     Begins preparations for listing presentation package with above materials.

5.     Review listing appointment checklist to ensure all steps and actions have been completed before meeting with the seller.

This list is not exhaustive and can vary based on what kind of seller you are meeting with and the property that they want to sell. Regardless the pre-listing research phase is CRUCIAL to being able to lock in a listing agreement during the actual listing appointment with the seller!

 

 ACTUAL LISTING APPOINTMENT:

  The actual listing appointment with the seller is a time when you present all of the information, research, and reasons as to why you are the absolute perfect realtor for them to list their property with. The listing appointment can have as many or as few components that you deem necessary to convey your message. Overall there are a few key points that most realtors will want to cover in the actual listing appointment with the seller.

1.     Give seller an overview of current market conditions and projections.

2.     Present your company's profile and position or niche in the marketplace.

3.     Present CMA results to seller, including comparable properties, sold properties, current listings and expired listings within the last 12 months.

4.     Present and discuss strategic master marketing plan and how you are going to implement it to maximize exposure to potential buyers.

5.     Review and explain all clauses in Listing Contract and Addendums and ultimately obtain seller's signature for listing contract.

  The pre-listing research phase and the actual listing appointment are two of the MOST important components of a real estate transaction. It is during this time that you really need to be able to not only sell your brokerage offices’ capabilities and strengths, but also a time when you need to self YOURSELF and be able to showcase the expertise and knowledge that you as a professional realtor can bring to them as their listing agent. You need to be able to present them with a complete value package as to why you are the best realtor for them to work with.  

Why New Agents Need to Sit Open Houses Regularly

Open Houses for New Real Estate Agents

Open Houses for New Real Estate Agents

  Starting out in real estate as a new realtor definitely has its fair share of challenges and obstacles to overcome. One of the biggest challenges for many new realtors is finding and retaining their first clients. A golden rule in real estate is to ALWAYS work your sphere of influence. This includes friends, family members, past work colleagues, etc. Even after examining your sphere of influence you may not procure a client right away. Enter the coveted “open house” strategy. Open houses are a GREAT opportunity for new realtors to be able to procure BOTH potential buyers and sellers as their first clients. Offering to sit other realtors’ open houses will not only be of help to the listing agent, but will also offer you the opportunity to be able to snag a few buyers or sellers from that open house that you are sitting.

   How do I find these open houses to sit? There are a lot of ways that you can offer your help to other listing agents in your office that may need help to have people sit their open houses. Ask around your office, speak to your office manager, introduce yourself to everyone in your office so that they 1. Know who you are, and 2. Know that you are open and available to sit their open houses now or in the future if the need ever arises. The key here is to be accessible and visible in your real estate office. If you rarely show up at your office and then just randomly show up one day asking around for open houses to sit, you’re likely to not get the warmest reception to that kind of approach. You need to begin to cultivate your professional relationships from the very first day that you embark on your real estate career. What does this mean? It means showing up EVERYDAY at your brokers office and making sure that people in that office know who you are and that you are open and available to be of service to them.

    As a new realtor you need to exploit and work EVERY possible angle to help put yourself in the position to be successful. If you are not willing to put in the hard work and hours necessary to be successful, then it is very likely that you will not last very long in real estate. Sitting open houses is one of the many strategies that you can implement in order to find those clients to help lead you into closing your first deals in real estate. Make yourself known in your office and to other agents! I promise you that by doing this you will be able to almost always find a listing agent that is in need of someone to help sit their open house! Remember that open houses are a WONDERFUL source to procure new business for yourself and help bring in new clients. 

5 Ways to Make your Home Green

5 Ways to Make your Home Green

5 Ways to Make your Home Green

  We have reached a point in society today where many of us are taking into heavy consideration the environmental footprint that we are leaving behind. The home you live in is no different, that is why you are seeing many homes taking steps to make their home “greener” or more “environmentally friendly”. With this explosion of social and environmental awareness, it has become very easy to make your home “greener”. I have highlighted 5 steps that you can take to help your home run better without having a damaging impact on the environment.

1. Replace all lights to LED. or CFL lights. Roughly 12% of a home’s energy bill goes towards lighting. By replacing your lights with LED (light emitting diode) or CFL (compact fluorescent lamp) lights you are using up to 75% less energy than standard incandescent bulbs. These newer type of bulbs can also last up to 25x longer than incandescent bulbs. Both LED and CFL light bulbs emit much less heat than regular incandescent bulbs which directly impacts saving more energy overall.

2. Create a recycling and compost station on your property. Make this easy for yourself and set up stations specifically for each type of material (one for cardboard, one for food waste, etc.). Majority of the trash that is produced by homes is made up of food scraps. A lot of those food scraps can be used to make fertilizer for your garden. Invest in a composter ($100-$800) and you will be sure to reap the benefits of recycling your food scraps and other materials for the good of your home.

3. Utililze smart irrigation techniques. This one comes as a BIG money saver and way to conserve water, especially in drought stricken areas (cough cough…CALIFORNIA). You can start by watering your home’s landscape by using a HOSE, which can result in up to 40% less water usage than using an automatic irrigation system. If you do have an automatic irrigation system, try to use drip-type, in-ground systems, or even water efficient spray heads.

4. Install solar panels. Although this can at times be quite an expensive transformation to undertake, the benefits are PLENTY. You can choose to purchase them outright or you can lease them. In today’s market solar panels have become incredibly accessible. It is also worth mentioning that there are many tax rebate and incentive programs offered by local and state governments to people who decide to install solar panels on their home.

5. Purchase energy and water efficient appliances. Many manufacturers in today’s appliance markets are really making a conscious effort to create appliances that are water and energy efficient. Invest in these types of appliances for your own home and you are sure to see a more streamlined and efficient difference. You will also see a hefty savings in your utility bills.   

  It is not hard to transform your home into a “greener” home. With a few small changes around your household you can be sure that you will lessen your home’s environmental footprint and feel better that you are doing your part to help preserve the environment!