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Novel Ideas About Real Estate Investing With Little Down Money

November 23rd, 2020

The on-going financial crisis has frightened a casual investor from entering the real estate business. In fact, people have always been scared of dealing in real estate because a casual investor thinks that real estate is a game for those people who are loaded with cash. To an extent, they are right since most of property transactions involve lots of initial investment. Presently, in an environment of financial uncertainty, people are not taking any risks with their money. To be very frank, their attitude is very suitable in the current crisis. Still there are many ways in which you can invest in the real estate business. You don’t need to invest your own money; rather, you apply some techniques that require minimum upfront investment. These are time tested techniques and have been used by professional real investors. Some of those techniques are listed below. You need to be very patient in their application since no seed bears fruit immediately. But it is impossible to fail if you are hardworking, honest and sharp.

Double escrow – buying and selling simultaneously

This is a very practicable method of investing in the real estate business with minimum capital. The method is very simple but needs certain amount of coordination and great timing. What you do is buy a property from seller at a discounted price. You must convince the seller that you will be able to make the payment after a short period of time. Within that time, you find a buyer for the same property but insist on immediate payment. When you receive cash from your buyer, you use that cash to pay off the seller. Your profit will be the difference amount of the buying and selling prices.

The profit that you make in this investment can be used for buying another one. In this way you can make a career out of your real estate endeavors.

Flipping or Fix and Flip

This is another feasible alternative to making money in the real estate business without investing your own. The process involves buying property or a house for less than its market value and then selling it for profit after getting it repaired and applying face-lift. It must be understood that there is much more to it than just buying, repairing and selling. In order to successfully flip house you must take into consideration the following points:

Be on the look-out constantly

This is a trait that you must develop if you have decided to flip properties for living. You must always be searching properties that could be bought and then, sold after minor adjustments. You must also let all your acquaintances know that you are into this business. Make sure that whenever a property comes up in the market, you are the first one to hear about it.

Convert Information into deals

The moment you receive news about a potential sale-out, you must be the first one to visit the place. Remember, your success in this business depends on how fast you can move. If the property is suitable cut the deal immediately.

If you keep in mind the above points, there is nothing that can stop you from becoming successful.

How Do You Select the Right Real Estate Investing Software Solution

November 5th, 2020

Whether you’re a real estate investor, broker or agent, if you have come to that point that you want to get serious about real estate investing and have finally decided that you want to procure a real estate investing software solution to run a cash flow analysis for you, then this article is for you.

Hopefully I can tell you what to expect, what to avoid, and what to look for as you browse the various real estate investing software solutions offered online. Having been in your predicament myriad times during my thirty-years as a real estate professional, I know.

In the beginning, of course, “simple” agents like me who wanted to sell rental property had to rely on the cash flow analysis presentations created by rental property specialists; those guys that understood the calculations and had the investment software to present those dynamic reports. But I must ay, that it was like cavorting with a “secret world” limited to just a few who had this knowledge and certainly not by no means accessible to the rest of us like you and me.

Then computers and MS Excel came along and almost overnight the “secrets” once held by the select few were exposed to those like me. For almost instantly, every calculation, rate of return, and measure of a rental property’s profitability presented by the demy-gods of multifamily properties could be mimicked exactly inside cash flow analysis reports as eloquent as theirs. It was a magical moment.

As a result, with computer in hand, I purchased not one but two real estate investing software solutions available online (and paid big bucks by the way).

The first solution was developed by a broker with a CCIM designation as a spreadsheet that made the calculations for cash flow and rates of return and created a handful of reports. The problem for me was that the investment software lacked an easy-to-use interface and produced lack-luster reports. In fact, I found that the program overall was just too bland and uninspired for my taste so I purchased the second solution.

This was a stand-alone software program much superior to the first in that it did provide a worthy user-interface with many more calculations and much better-quality reports. However, in this case, I found the software much too “heavy” for practical use. That is, in addition to it’s high cost (about $500), it was overloaded with stuff I didn’t need that made the software difficult to jump into and get around; nowhere near an easy-to-use cash flow analysis program I felt comfortable to utilize on maybe a day-to-day basis.

Subsequently, I developed my own real estate investing software to get the results I wanted and haven’t looked back since. Along the way, though, I did learn a thing or two about investment software and that’s what I would like to share with you; my top five suggestions for making the right selection.

1. Determine your objective – What do you want the software to do? If you plan to work with investment property only casually then you might not need a program that includes calculations for tax shelter (so why pay for it); likewise, if you plan to become more than casually engaged with income properties than definitely consider a program that computes taxes inside their cash flow analysis (expect to pay slightly more).

2. Determine your purpose – Are you looking only to do a cash flow analysis (i.e., for an investment decision) or do you also plan to market the property? Look for real estate investing software solutions that offer the choice.

3. Friendly user interface – You don’t want to struggle the real estate investment software. Look for solutions that provide user-friendly forms and toolbars. Here’s a hint: Examine the web site. Is it well organized, creative, informative, unobtrusive, and easy to navigate? Remember, the same company offering the program also publishes the website.

4. Style – It’s not pleasant to use lack-luster investment software (as I discovered). Check out the screenshots and reports to make sure to make sure you are satisfied with the style, professionalism, and quality. Again, look at the website for additional clues and insights of what you can expect.

5. Cost – Real estate investing software can range from $100 to $500 depending on its features. But cheaper is not necessarily better and overly expensive is not necessarily your best fit (as I discovered). So look for investment software priced somewhat inside that range.

Making This Simple Mistake As a Real Estate Investor May Cost You the Deal

October 22nd, 2020

When you meet with a prospect on a potential real estate transaction, the way you dress will speak volumes about you. Just as certain clothes in Florida tend to scream, “Tourist!”, what you wear will have direct bearing over whether you’re shaking hands at the end of your conversation with a seller as the new owner of a property or as somebody who’s walking away empty-handed. By dressing like your prospect as a real estate investor, you can forge a bond that will very subtly send the message that you and the seller have something in common.

Real estate investors shouldn’t overdress when they meet with a seller because they will send a message – but it will be the wrong one. If you’re wearing a suit and your prospect is wearing a faded Bud Light t-shirt, a pair of cut-off jeans, and a pair of sandals, your prospect is going to have trouble identifying with you or relating to you. To him (or her) you’ll be pointing out the glaringly obvious fact that you’re different.

At the same time, if a real estate investor meets with a seller who is dressed much better than he is, a different – and just as damaging problem – crops up. The real estate investor looks unprofessional. If the prospect thinks you’re unprofessional, any chance you might have had of doing business has gone out the window.

Why is being different such a bad thing?

Look at it this way. If you look too different your prospect might decide you think you’re better than they are. Looking radically different than your prospect could cause your prospect to look more carefully at you and get the wheels in their head turning about whether you might be trying to pull a fast one on them. To them, a real life real estate investor is an oddity. You could very well be the first real estate investor they’ve ever seen in their lives. People tend to reject that which they don’t understand.

The second half of that equation is that people tend to reject those with whom they can’t relate. So whether you’re dressed too well or you look like a hobo who just hopped off a train, the way you look is vitally important.

If you can possibly find out before you meet with your prospect how they’re likely to be dressed, it will make it easier to mirror the way they’re dressed. This isn’t an exact science, so don’t lose sleep over it or call the FBI to try to get answers. Unless you know ahead of time how your prospect will be dressed, it’s always best to show up in business casual attire. This will cover you no matter what. If they’re dressed in a suit you’ll still be in the ballpark because many people who wear a suit to work still find business casual to be acceptable.

The main point here is that you’re trying to establish a psychological bond with your prospect. By being dressed as much like your prospect as possible sends a subliminal message to them that you’re alike. If you look at your own circle of influence — your friends, colleagues, and people you hang around with — most tend to look much like you. Our friends talk like we do, think like we do, and dress like we do.

By the same token, we tend to be distrustful and distant with people we don’t resemble or have anything in common. A critical component in putting together a real estate transaction is building a bond. While not impossible, it is considerably more difficult to build bond with someone we feel is completely different than we are.

For that reason, it’s also important to figure out what some of the seller’s likes and dislikes are while making small talk during the warm-up period heading into your sales pitch. There’s nothing wrong with opening your mouth and talking, but don’t forget why you’re there. By keeping the conversation focused on your prospect, you can learn more about them by simply sitting back and listening for 10 minutes than you could during an hour of intensive grilling.

The way you dress will build a bond, a bond can build a friendship, and a friendship can close the deal. I’m not necessarily saying you should try to plant the seeds of a lifelong friendship, exchange pictures of your kids, or plan vacations together, but by mirroring the dress of your prospects and being mindful of the psychological reasons that we are the way we are, you can better prepare your prospect to at least consider your offer – if for no other reason than because they like you.

People like to do business with those that they like. The way you dress could set the stage for a lucrative real estate deal. Don’t blow it by misunderstanding the importance of being as much like your prospect as possible. Dress like they do, act like they do, be a friend, and close more deals.

Sean Flanagan went from dead broke, living off Ramen Noodles and selling used pallets from the roadside for $20 a day, to a self made real estate multimillionaire in under 2 years time. He now shares his secrets with thousands of students across the country.

Appropriate Outfits for a Real Estate Showing

October 15th, 2020

First impressions are all important in the world of real estate. Making sure that the home you are presenting is up to snuff is extremely important, of course, but what some real estate agents make the mistake of forgetting is the quality of their own personal presentation during a viewing.

It is vital that you have a professional appearance at all times when interacting with any clients, but especially so during a viewing when a potential buyer’s mind is often going to be set on looking for issues as well as absorbing the positives of the property they are viewing. This means that you have the potential to positively or negatively affect the way that they handle the viewing, so it is important that you get your clothing right. Here we look at a few things that you need to do to maintain that air of professionalism that is expected of you.

Don’t Dress ‘Sexy’

There is a difference between dressing to impress and dressing simply to get noticed. It is important that you do not cross this line and attempt to make yourself the star of the show when it should really be the house that is doing the talking.

This means that you should avoid showing too much skin or dressing to casually. Make sure that shirts are fully buttoned and that you aren’t allowing any underwear, such as bra straps, to show through the outfit if at all possible.

Dress Practically

At times you will be required to show people through slightly more impractical areas, such as construction sites or properties that need extensive renovation. As such, you should always make the effort to dress practically so that you are ready for whatever the day can throw at you.

Bear in mind that this doesn’t mean you should dress casually. You are bound to make a bad first impression if you turn up to the viewing in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt after all. Instead, just try to consider aspects of your outfit that could be made more practical without ruining the overall effect.

For example, instead of wearing heels, women should consider wearing flat shoes that won’t cause them any trouble should they have to navigate uneven surfaces. Likewise, men should be prepared with adequate footwear for similar situations.

Consider The Local Area

Having said all of this, there are occasions where it is OK to dress more casually. This usually revolves around the area where you are operating. A stylish city property is going to require a different outfit to the likes of a ranch or farmland, so it is a good idea to consider the individual expectations of the potential buyer before making your decision.

This doesn’t mean that you can get away with jeans and sneakers of course. It just means that you should dress to impress the person that you are going to be speaking with. As such, wearing something that shows you understand the property itself is always going to be marked down as a plus point.

Boston Real Estate – Choosing the Right Boston Real Estate Agent

September 25th, 2020

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.

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Income Growth in Commercial Real Estate

August 10th, 2020

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.


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

March 11th, 2020

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

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.