How to Save Your Clients Money

Shopping, Svae Money, Alec ShklayrAs the real estate industry evolves along with the rest of the changing world, more opportunities to cut costs, save your client money, and better your reputation emerge. It is important to reflect on these advancements and communicate them to your client so they are saving the most money they can. Sometimes, these opportunities to save money have been around for decades and are not the result of some recent development—they just slip by unnoticed.

Whatever the case, here are a few tried and true tips to save your clients the money they will appreciate:

Don’t call professionals for minor repairs.

So often, homeowners will ring a maintenance professional for clearly minor issues like a leak toilet, for instance. In reality, a leaking toilet is an incredibly easy repair and can often be fixed just by watching a YouTube tutorial and following instructions accordingly. Direct your clients to the proper instructional video or free online resource to save them from needlessly calling a professional.

Ditch extended warranties.

Although extended warranties may seem like they’re worth it at the time, the truth is they are unnecessary for those with the highest price tags. High-grade appliances like your refrigerator and oven generally will not need any major repairs before they need to be replaced completely, so it doesn’t make sense to pay extra for an extended warranty. In fact, your clients would be significantly better off stashing the extra cash in a savings account of some sort.

Forgo storage if possible.

Considering the average cost of a storage unit today is anywhere from $50-$300 a month, is it really necessary? For the most part, your clients can just trash or sell unused items, and store the things that truly matter in their home. Additionally, your clients can reorganize their home storage or maybe even institute some slight renovations like building out window seats with drawers to gain more space.

Just by following these very simple tips, your clients and other homeowners alike can save $1k+ every year. By giving sound financial advice and remaining available to speak with prospective homebuyers, you will develop a prestigious reputation for financial nuance, and your clients/customers will pay you in kind for it.

7 More Highly Rated Real Estate Investment E-books for Kindle

When looking to learn more about real estate, it can be difficult to discern the good information from the bad. That’s why it’s so important to read the right books and to learn the right information. Fortunately, there’s this list of highly rated e-books for the Kindle that can help even the layman homebuyer become a real estate expert. Check it out!

Why Homeownership Matters

With so much information circulating the real estate industry, there is one prevailing concept in particular that oft goes neglected—why home ownership matters. We know it makes a difference, but many don’t know why it makes a difference. Luckily, I just came across this article that does a fantastic job of explaining of why owning a home matters. Check it out here!

What Your Real Estate Agent Won’t Tell You

There are so many misconceptions about the real estate industry, and these misconceptions only become more difficult to assess as such when agents are not completely straightforward and honest. Purchasing a home is one of the most significant fiscal decisions, if not the most important decision, a man or a woman can make, and it only makes sense that they seek out the advice of experienced professionals to lend some insight.

In light of such, I wanted to jot down a few pieces of invaluable advice you should take into account when you buy your home:

No matter what you may hear, real estate is not an investment.

Yes, many so-called ‘titans of business’ and ‘financial gurus’ will extoll the fiscal benefits of residential real estate, but in the end, a home is a place to live. It’s a place to raise your family and to make a life for yourself. It’s not equity.

Of course, purchasing a home is good for the overall economy. It supports home equity lending which in turn bolsters consumer spending. This eventually translates into returns for companies like Disney (think family vacations) and Home Depot (think home improvements). Yet, despite all the good it does the economy, houses are ultimately homes, not investments.

The idea that home ownership generates long-term gains for the average man or woman is mostly a misunderstanding. What you’re really buying is land. The house itself, the structure, is a depreciating asset that could end up costing hundreds of thousands of dollars in repairs and improvements. Just because you buy a house for $250,000 and sell it thirty years later for $600,000 does not mean you are seeing a $350,000 dollar increase in worth. In reality, the gain is far smaller once taking into account all the money you sunk into the house in the first place.

Real estate investors largely neglect this fact. In lieu of providing objective figures, they present home ownership as though it is buying shares in Facebook, or Google, or Tesla. In actuality, this is hardly the case.

Sale Contracts do not guarantee protection.

Unless a house is brand new, it will more than likely come with some material defects. Although these defects are often articulated in sales agreements, the language generally used leaves much to ambiguity. As a result, buyers can and do gain significant leverage to get more money out of sellers well after deals have been finalized.

It’s only right that sellers foot the bill for improvements and the like; but payment after the fact needs to be kept to a minimum. In the event you are selling a home, it may very well behoove you to hire a real estate agent lawyer who can add an addendum to your contract that protects you against potential attempts in the future to dip into your wallet.

Inspectors are not necessarily impartial.

The majority of inspections actually fail to show the full cost of needed repairs. This is because agents don’t want to advertise these costs. If a review of the home ends up revealing many flaws and potentially expensive repairs, the sale will probably not go through. Agents, incentivized by commission, will seek to hide these costs then by hiring inspectors who are likewise incentivized. This way, their report will not illustrate the full extent of costly repairs.

In order to circumvent this, buyers should hire their own inspector. By hiring a non-biased inspector, buyers are ensuring they will receive the most accurate report possible.

Buying a home is a complicated and stressful process. There’s no reason to let real estate agents make it worse by withholding information. Guard yourself and your interests. It’s for your home and your family, not your bank account.

Home Appreciation (Accele)Rates

Alec Shklyar, Growth, Real EstateJust as inequality is present in social and cultural sects of society, so too is it present in real estate. In fact, where you live can have an enormous effect on your future net worth. Right now, the United States’ most expensive residential markets are appreciating at faster rates than their less expensive counterparts. How fast? Two times.

Whereas in 1986, the average price in America’s most expensive market hovered around $127,058, it is now at $493,504. Comparatively, the average price of a home in the least expensive market was $52,022 in 1986. Now it’s $117,827. That means homes in the more expensive bracket increased at an incredible 320% faster than the less expensive markets.

That, in turn, indicates that buyers who were able to purchase more expensive homes previously have seen a much, much larger return on their investment, which further means that their descendants will have access to considerably more wealth than others. Thus, inequality is further bolstered in full force.

Additionally, this discrepancy is not likely to change anytime in the near future. If anything happens at all, it is bound to take generations. The influencing factors are simply so broad, so expansive, that to enact any real lasting change will be an immense project. The rising costs are primarily due to income growth and housing supply.

In more expensive markets, buyers have more money and more income. This means they can afford to buy more expensive homes. This ability then translates to higher competition and thus faster growth and appreciation.

Just as well, less expensive markets generally have more building activity, which means more supply, which means less expensive homes. So demand does not increase to the extent it would, say, in San Francisco, because more homes are being built, so there are more homes to choose from, and by extension less reason to push up prices.

If you’re looking to maximize home appreciation rates, these are the cities with the largest return since 1986:

San Francisco, California

San Jose, California

Honolulu, Hawaii

Seattle, Washington

Portland, Oregon

Oakland, California

Orange County, California

Los Angeles, California

San Diego, California

Miami, Florida

Real Estate is Back

Alec Shklyar, Real EstateIn the wake of the 2008 recession and the housing market’s collapse, millions of Americans were subject to foreclosures and penalized credit reports. Seven years ago, foreclosed home rates reached their peak, and now, those impacted credit scores are finally beginning to fade. What does this mean? Well, for one, it means more Americans can finally start improving their credit scores again, which means the housing sector has the chance to benefit enormously.

Ralph MacLaughlin, Chief Economist at real estate search engine, Trulia, puts two and two together, “Improving credit scores might entice households to start borrowing more in general.” This means that the housing market is increasing exponentially because there are many more prospective consumers. Not to mention, interest rates are much lower than traditional standards because of the significant reduction in activity since 2008.

So, decreased interest rates and more able consumers spell great news for the real estate industry at large. Additionally, there have been sustained gains in employment as well, along with bigger increases in pay, which gives prospective consumers even more capital with which to purchase homes and thus increase the housing sector as a whole.

Now, while this all makes crystal clear sense in theory, the numbers are a bit more difficult to quantify. What we do know for sure is that the number of consumers with a new foreclosure added to their credit reports reached a record-high in 2009 at 566,000. According to the three major players in consumer credit scores and reports, Experian Plc, Equifax Inc., and Transunion, foreclosures and short-sales (when a home is sold for less than what’s owed on it) usually roll off these negative reports seven years later. Considering it’s 2016 and the peak happened in 2009, that roll-off would happen right about…now.

This should manifest itself in a stronger demand for homes, which could mean higher spending on durable goods like appliances and furniture. Just as well, formerly afflicted consumers may also feel more comfortable applying for new credit cards, auto loans, and other various loans, which, overall, is good news for the economy (so long as the loans are responsibly approved). This credit repair could feasibly in and of itself aid people in repairing their financial standing by then reducing their borrowing costs, which would ideally free up money that could be used to further general consumption.

I suppose, to put it frankly, real estate is back. Interest rates are low; and I expect we will see a surge in homeownership very, very soon.

Top 5 Real Estate Apps for Investors

BiggerPockets:
One of the hottest real estate apps on the market is BiggerPockets. This unique app allows you to easily engage in the BiggerPockets Forums to answer or ask questions about real estate at any time. Networking doesn’t get easier much easier than that. Right now the app is only available on the iOS system – which means you need to have an Apple product to use it, but an Android app is being discussed for development in the future as well.

MagicPlan:
Another app you should download asap is MagicPlan. It allows you to create custom floor plans by just moving your phone or iPad around the room taking pictures. Yes, it is that easy to use. This app is great because you can quickly and easily make floor plans. Now, when selling a property you can now include floor plans, which makes your property even more marketable!

HammerPoint
HammerPoint is an app that allows you to create detailed repair estimates for any job. You also have the ability to create new reports for each project. The app will actually guide you through each item that may need repairing and it will even offer you a suggested cost for that repair. This can be especially helpful for house flippers who are about to embark on a large remodel.

Houzz Interior Design Ideas
This is an awesome app that can become extremely addicting after just a one time use. It allows you to navigate through over a million high-quality photos of properties to get ideas and inspirations for your own properties. However, having the ability to scan through these beautiful photos can make you want to spend a lot more money on a remodeling job. This is one of the best apps on the market for getting ideas for your properties and even for you own house.

CardMunch
CardMunch is a great opportunity for real estate investors to network and grow their business. At the palm of your hand, you are able to snap photos of business cards from Networking events, and scan them into CardMunch so you can connect with those individuals on LinkedIn and start building relationships online.

Top Four Housing Markets in America

Dallas, Texas

Coming in at number one is Dallas, Texas. The average home prices for Dallas continues to be on the rise as they are up 8% from the previous year. Recently the job market has been strong, allowing many people to migrate to the fourth most populated metropolitan city in the United States. Due to the high volume of jobs, it seems houses are not being built fast enough to keep up with the high demand. According to the Dallas news, two houses are erected for each new job created. This just goes to show you how hot the real estate market is is Dallas right now.

Miami, Florida

Miami had made a significant improvement in the housing market after a housing crisis. Many investors in the area could see as much as an 18.57% return in their properties. Miami’s housing market is one of the fastest growing in the nation, as rent prices have continued to increase each year. Over the last year, one and two bedroom apartment prices have risen 10.6% and 10.9%, respectively.

Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta is on the rise in the housing market. Many investors have been pleased with the turnaround Atlanta has had since the housing crisis with the majority seeing a 16.45% return on their investments. Additionally, downtown Atlanta has served as an attractive focal point, drawing many civilians to come and enjoy the beautiful city. With an awesome amount of shops, restaurants and bars to choose from, Atlanta has truly become a great place to establish residency.

Houston, Texas

Yet another city in Texas claiming one of the top spots. Over the past few years, Houston has seen major growth in the real estate market as the rise in Houston’s population continues to be a major factor. Condominiums here are also on the up as prices have rose 13.6 % over the last year alone. However, according to Zillow, the “Space City” is one of the best place to get a discount on property, so if you are looking to buy, this might be the best time to do so.

4 Ways to Become A Real Estate Agent

Have you ever had an interest in being a Real Estate Agent?  I’ve looked into it and here’s what I found out. Becoming a successful real estate agent is not easy and requires a great deal of hard work and dedication.  It is a very competitive industry and it’s important to be able to set yourself apart. Below you may find some ideas to get going on the path to becoming a successful real estate agent.

Schooling & Licensing

One of the most important steps in becoming a real estate agent is taking courses to get educated on real estate and to receive your license. Something for you to keep in mind is that courses may vary depending on where you live. So my advice is to first find out what your state’s requirements may be, then make sure to fulfill all of them. It may surprise you how rigorous some of these requirements may be. They vary from state to state and at times from county to county.

Finding a Brokerage 

Finding a real estate brokerage can be rather difficult to find because you want to make sure the company has a good reputation and it fits what you’re looking for. Things like payout, working environment and maybe even a training program can make a huge difference in selecting the right one. I suggest asking friends who are in the business already for advice to find out the differences between the brokerages. Is reputation the driving factor, or the payout?  Those are important questions to address in order to give yourself the best chances for success.

Building a portfolio and reputation

For those interested in becoming a real estate agent, building up portfolio is key factor in becoming successful in this field. One of the most important things is to find a seasoned, successful professional, or better yet a team, and joining them in a junior capacity. Finding the right mentor is vital. The right person can teach you the ins and outs of the business. In the beginning you will do all the ground work to set up a listing, which will go to the senior broker, however this is absolutely necessary to fully understand what goes into every sale. Those listings may be listed on your resume, since you had worked on them and were part of the team.  That creates a base portfolio, which should give you some credibility. By the time that you’re ready to go out on your own, you’ll have the knowledge and the reputation to succeed.

License

Now, none of this is possible unless you get our license! You must pass the state and national exams. Other than taking these exams, providing a criminal background check may also be required. Prices for the exams tend to vary, so I would be sure to check with your state. This is very important, so make sure you take your courses very serious when trying to get your license.