Boston Real Estate – Choosing the Right Boston Real Estate Agent

September 25th, 2020 by admin No comments »

As a successful Boston real estate agent, it always puzzled me how and why some people choose particular Boston real estate agents to sell their homes. For most of us, a real estate purchase is the single largest investment we will ever make in our lives. Still, when it comes time to capitalize on this investment many home sellers are much too casual and have very low standards for the person they choose to handle the sale of their property.

I can cite many examples of poor decision making when it comes to home-sellers choosing a real estate agent, but there is one example from my experience that really boggled my mind.

I received a call from a woman about six months ago who asked me to do a Comparable Market Analysis (CMA) of her Boston Condo. (I gladly obliged and confirmed a time to meet with her and to tour her property.) The CMA process typically entails an initial tour of the subject property, comprehensive market research to produce a report, and an in-depth, in-person listing presentation. After meeting the client, viewing the property, doing the necessary research and presenting my report, I was certain that this woman would list her property with me. She disclosed to me that she had interviewed five other Boston realtors and that she was “by far” most impressed with my presentation and me. She cited my track record selling Boston real estate and Boston condos, my knowledge of the Boston real estate market, and my professionalism as the reasons she viewed me as the most qualified real estate agent to sell her home. She also disclosed to me that my service charge was identical to the five other agents she interviewed so “price” wasn’t an objection I would have to overcome.

After giving her forty-eight hours to review her options (I of course sent her a thank you card for considering my services), I followed up with a phone call to see if she had any outstanding questions. To my surprise she told me that she had decided to list her property with a friend, who is also her hairdresser, and sells real estate part-time in a suburb of Boston. My initial shock came from the fact that she decided to list her property with an out-of-town broker, someone who had very little knowledge of the Boston real estate market. But what really blew me away was her decision to list her property with a friend, who not only had very little total real estate experience, but who works part-time in real estate and had never sold a property before! Her exact words were: “She is a very nice person and I would like to help her jumpstart her real estate career.”

At this point she had already made her decision and the last thing I was going to do was to disqualify her friend as a competent real estate agent, so I wished her the best of luck and told her that I would try my best to cooperate with her friend to sell the unit. She thanked me and recognized my professionalism. What I really wanted to ask her was this: If I told you that you had $150,000 to invest, (which is approximately what she stood to profit from the sale of her home), and your friend, who is also your hairdresser, called you and told you that she just started selling stocks part-time and she wanted you to invest your money with her, would you do it?

Fortunately, most of the people I have actually posed this question to have thought about it and answered no. Unfortunately, there are too many people who do not think about their real estate investment in these terms and are essentially answering yes! For some unknown reason many people are much too casual when it comes time to sell their real estate investment, when if fact, most people look to the equity they have in their homes to pay for important things like major home improvements and educational expenses while they own their home.

It turns out, the woman I used in the example above ended up calling me in a panic after her property sat on the market for six months, overpriced by almost 10%. She had to sell the property within 60 days of calling me as she had been carrying two mortgages for four months and was running out of money. I ended up selling the property three weeks later for a reduced price because the property had become “stale” in the eyes of buyers in the market and she had very little bargaining power when it came to negotiating price.

You must have high expectations when choosing your Boston real estate agent and must truly think of your real estate investment as the largest single investment you will ever make in your life.

Income Growth in Commercial Real Estate

August 10th, 2020 by admin No comments »

Every commercial property will have income streams. The question is, are they all optimized and utilized. In this market the income streams for commercial property are so important to the landlord and the financiers for the property. A property with multiple and well protected income streams will more easily ride out the economic challenges of this market.

In markets like this the real estate agent with the highest service value to landlords, is the one that helps strengthen and optimize the income streams across the property where ever possible. If you like it is a mindset that the real estate agent brings to the market.

In case you haven’t noted yet, many real estate markets are starting to sort out the economic challenges and the ‘cashed-up’ investors are on the ‘prowl’. So who said the market was ‘dead’? The reality is that the commercial real estate market is starting a new cycle. In 12 or 18 months the momentum will be well underway.

So let’s get back to the main point of this discussion and look at income optimization. By definition it is the identification and activation of all income streams that can be realistically charged to the tenants as part of their building usage. In other words the simple lease rent is not the only thing that you can get for the landlord.

Look ‘outside the square’ and know that utilization of the asset by the tenant in all ways has to be paid for. Also give due regard to any laws and legislation that may be special to the property or your location and could limit or direct the way you raise rental charges. We say this here because ‘Retail Shop Leasing’ in many locations stipulates how you raise and declare rent charges to tenants. Just be careful with this and when in doubt see a good property solicitor to give you guidance.

The Income steam focus is twofold:

Quality – The strength, term, and type of leases, rents, and tenants.
Quantity – The amount of gross and net income achieved, and its relativity to other market rents, and its potential to increase.

The income stream covers all the types of income on a given property, some income being less secure than others. Income can typically be from:

Leases for occupied areas
Rent review structures that provide growth in the lease rents
Auto tellers operating on the property
Public telephones in common areas
Outgoings management and savings
Internet kiosks for the visitors to the property to use
Advertising on and in the property
Fitout rental for any existing fitout that is owned by the landlord and the tenant is now using
Rental for monthly or casual leased space
Rent types such as gross rents, net rents, that are strategically selected for new leases given the existing levels of outgoings
Licences for special areas of occupancy such as storage, signage, antennas on the roof, extra area use such as outside dining beyond the demised leased premises
Car park fees for permanent and casual parking
Expenses that are recovered from the tenants such as cleaning of tenants space, and electricity usage within the tenancy space
Casual leasing of special areas and common areas
Communication sites and antennas on the roof of the building
Riser charges where any cable is laid for tenants
Establishment of kiosks and smaller tenancies in common areas
After hours air conditioning on an hourly basis

This list should not be viewed as the only income streams that you can tap for the landlord. It may be that your property will have other opportunities that can be optimized. Importantly you look for them and implement them wherever possible.

John Highman is a prominent investment real estate speaker and coach that helps real estate agents and real estate brokers globally to improve their commercial real estate market share and performance. He himself is a successful real estate agent that has specialised in commercial, industrial, and retail real estate of all types for over 30+ years.

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Investing in Costa Rica’s Real Estate Market – Is Playa Zancudo, Costa Rica the Last Frontier?

March 11th, 2020 by admin No comments »

Over the past ten years, thousands have invested in the Costa Rica beach front real estate market along the upper Pacific Coast, mainly around and to the north of Quepos. Numerous others have invested in less expensive ocean view real estate overlooking the Pacific, farms and riverfront property in the interior, but mainly still near the ocean. Many others have purchased vacation homes, second homes, and retirement property in Costa Rica due to the cheap cost of living when compared to the United States and Europe.

Both the investor and casual real estate purchasers have already made, or stand to make, huge profits from their investments when they sell their real estate holdings along the coast. In today’s market, it appears many owners could profit around 500% for beach front investments held over a five-year period.

Many in the Jaco, Quepos, Puntarenas, Tamarindo, and the Flamingo areas stand to profit considerably more, but the market in the northern region is rapidly surpassing “affordable price levels”. Much of the beachfront real estate in these areas is being “gobbled up” by large corporate concerns to build gated subdivisions, condos, mega-hotels and resorts for the sun loving, vacationing Americans and Europeans. This corporate rush for prime beach front land is essentially putting it out of reach for the average investor or retiree.

The new airport near Liberia has resulted in a marked escalation of property prices in the beach towns surrounding Liberia. In addition, the region to the south of Liberia has experienced price increases in the neighborhood of 100% in the past two years and the Costa Rican government projects that real estate prices near Marbella will double in the next three to five years. A beach front ACCESS lot in this area is currently listed for around $300,000 for 54,000 square feet or 1.2 acres.

Dominical, south of Quepos, is currently experiencing a huge boom in prices as beach front condos are springing up like Palm Trees, and of course, the prices are escalating at an astonishing rate. I personally passed up a $150,000 cliff side lot near Dominical seven years ago. On a recent trip to San Jose I saw a cliff side lot, in the same area, that was advertised at $450,000, a three hundred percent return on an investment held for seven years. You can now expect to pay $350,000 for a lot near Dominical.

The same can be said for Palo Seco. In 2000, I looked at a huge lot there for $70,000. Today, lots on Palo Seco are being developed into condos. According to a realtor in the area, property on Palo Seco has escalated by 400% in the past two years and this does not include the escalation in the prior five years. 11,000 square foot building lots are selling for around $115,000.

With the approval of a new marina in Golfito property prices should shoot through the sky. There is great potential for making a lot of money on real estate in Golfito right now, but there is no beach or infrastructure development that most Americans or Europeans expect when investing in “city” property. Before Golfito really takes off, someone is going to have to foot the bill for these improvements, and you should not expect local taxation to pay the bill.

In the past seven years the small village of Zancudo and Zancudo Beach have shown a tremendous growth in real estate sales and land prices, but Playa Zancudo real estate still remains affordable for most investors, retirees, and those looking for second homes or vacation houses. As I stated, many of the beach front properties in Costa Rica have escalated in price by 300 – 400% (or more) over the past six to seven years and Zancudo investments have performed at the same level. However, large “unimproved” beach front lots on Playa Zancudo only sold for around $35, 000 each in 2000, some for less. Today, those same very large lots, unimproved, are selling for around $150,000 each – these are NOT small building lots, but rather large tracts of vacant real estate. Compare these prices to beach front, or riverfront property, up north and you will see why Playa Zancudo and the surrounding area is one of the last frontiers for affordable real estate investments on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast.

Prices here will probably be comparable to those we are seeing on the upper coast in another three to five years, possibly sooner once the new airport north of Golfito is completed. This means today’s investors could make substantial profits over the next few years, if the past history of real estate prices in Costa Rica continues.

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Marketing, Promoting and Advertising Your Business

February 28th, 2020 by admin No comments »

One thing that goes without saying in today’s business world, is that regardless of the nature of your home based business, a website is an absolute MUST. Whether you have a product or service to sell, whether local or global, your business will go nowhere fast if you don’t have an online presence. If you need internet marketing help, you’ve landed on the right article. I’ll give you some home based business marketing ideas that will help you promote your business successfully.

The first step is choosing a domain name and getting it registered. You can build your own website (if you have the time) and host it yourself or you can have everything done by another company (if you have the money). Either way, you have many options and tools at your disposal that can align with your business plan and budget. Also note that you can still start your own home based business even if you don’t have a product or service to sell. There are thousands of individuals and companies that have products you can sell for them while earning a commission, called affiliate marketing.

Of the many business marketing strategies known to man, internet marketing is, hands down, the best strategy to use for promoting a home based business as it is the cheapest method and has the potential for reaching millions of people all over the globe. Driving traffic to your site through online resources is like killing two birds with one stone. You can tackle print advertising by writing articles and publishing them to directories and ezines and by submitting ads to the many available (and most of them free) classified ad sites. Online media advertising encompasses writing press releases and distributing them to press release sites. One of the biggest and most popular online advertising trends today is via social media advertising through sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn where you build relationships with your customers. Forums and communities are also great ways to build relationships which helps promote your home based business in the long run. Simply Google your market or industry with the word ‘forum’ or ‘community’ behind it and search for one or two that seem to be the best fit for you.

All of these methods of online advertising contribute to search engine optimization (SEO), which is to say improving your online visibility and escalating in the search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. Your goal is to claim the #1 spot in the organic search results (the results on the left, not the right side which are paid ads). This is where your traffic will come from. If you are 800 in the list of search results, no one is ever going to see your site because very few people have the time or patience to scroll through 800 search results. Research shows that people typically won’t even scroll past 4 or 5 search results, let alone 800.

Can you grasp the importance of internet marketing for any business? If you are new to the internet marketing phenomenon and don’t know exactly where to start, there are many great programs or systems online that walk you through every aspect of marketing your online business. A lot of these systems were created by online entrepreneurs who have spent thousands of their own dollars trying to figure it all out over the years and finally DID. Their sacrifices have made it easier for newbies to become successful at their own online home based business. If you are new to running your own home based business, I recommend you find a great system (do your research, read reviews, ask questions in forums) and start marketing your home business from there. Don’t waste the time and money that so many of us have in going it alone, without a proven system, as it will just set you back further and hinder your progress.