Sunday, 29 September 2013

Real Estate Investing - How to Get Started

You've heard the stories about people making millions in real estate, so is it really any surprise why so many people view real estate as a serious investment vehicle? Real Estate investing offers more security than the stock market and provides returns of at least equal magnitude, coupled with attractive tax benefits. Apart from that it really does sounds cool to be 'in real estate'. Let's face it, anybody can trade stocks from their phone or home computer. Real estate investment, however, is a real head turner whenever it comes to tangible assets.

One of the greatest challenges in real estate investment is finding the money up front to acquire your first real estate investment property. Surprisingly, though, this is not your biggest obstacle. That's right! Finding the cash upfront is NOT the greatest obstacle to real estate investment. Facts are, hardly anyone who buys real estate has the money in their personal account to pay for it. And that's where your banker comes in. Let's face it, do you know anyone who owns their own home? I mean really owns it? Of course you'll know lots of people who have a property in their name they call their own. Take a look, however, into their personal finances and soon you'll discover who really owns their property. It's the bank, of course. Remember, your liability is your bank manager's asset. So if these people can use the bank's money to buy a property, then why can't you?

I know 'owning' your own home may sound like the obvious way to go, but if you really want to get on the first rung of the real estate investment ladder, then this is the best way to get started in real estate investment. Why then is this first step completely overlooked by many people? Just take a look at how many are still renting instead of buying property. Now of course the relationship between rented and private housing prices varies from country to country and even from area to area. But wherever you go you will still find many people renting, simply because in their minds "they don't have enough money to buy a house." In reality, though, it would be much cheaper for them to buy!

When you rent, you are more or less throwing good money down the drain. Of course you have the pleasure of a home, but from the point of view of real estate investing, you are not actually building for the long term. Remember, every dollar you spend on rent is a dollar you will never see again. Whereas if you own your own home, instead of paying rent you are paying your mortgage. And even though there's such a variance in terms of what mortgage deals are on offer across the market, the basics of mortgages are more or less the same. Every month you make a payment which consists of two parts: interest and principle. You might compare the interest part to rent. These dollars are gone once they're paid, however, the part of the payment that goes to the principle is money you keep. Every dollar that is used to pay off the principal is a dollar in YOUR own pocket.

So if you're thinking about getting started in real estate and you don't yet 'own' your own home, now's the time to take your first step towards building capital with your own real estate investment. Financially, it makes sense because the real estate investment vehicle also supplies greater opportunity for building your net worth. Simply put, when real estate prices go up, so does the value of property. Conversely, the money you owe at the bank -- your mortgage -- remains the same. Compare this to the financial reality of those people who continue paying rent. Their net worth remains the same. However, their landlord's net worth is doing very nicely, thank you, and their landlord is happy for the status quo to continue. So if you would rather build your own capital, then consider buying your own home!

Many home owners accumulate more money through appreciation of their property assets than they do working a full time job. Be warned, though, this is not always the case. As you know, the price of real estate can go down as well as up. If for some reason you have to sell your home in a down market, it can be a costly venture. In fact, you wouldn't be the first to end up with a house worth considerably less than the mortgage resting on it. So make sure you don't overstretch yourself financially by taking on too much. In the long run real estate prices have risen, but in any cycle there are down periods. By staying within your limits and being patient, you'll be able to sit tight through the hard times yet profit from the long term upwards trend in real estate investing.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Pop Quiz Commercial Real Estate Investing

I read once that if you took all the real estate lawyers in Illinois and laid them end to end along the equator - it would be a good idea to leave them there. That's what I read. What do you suppose that means?

I have written before about the need to exercise due diligence when purchasing commercial real estate. The need to investigate, before Closing, every significant aspect of the property you are acquiring. The importance of evaluating each commercial real estate transaction with a mindset that once the Closing occurs, there is no going back. The Seller has your money and is gone. If post-Closing problems arise, Seller's contract representations and warranties will, at best, mean expensive litigation. CAVEAT EMPTOR! "Let the buyer beware!"

Paying extra attention at the beginning of a commercial real estate transaction to "get it right" can save tens of thousands of dollars when the deal goes bad. It's like the old Fram® oil filter slogan during the 1970's: "You can pay me now - or pay me later". In commercial real estate, however, "later" may be too late.

Buying commercial real estate is NOT like buying a home. It is not. It is not. It is NOT.

In Illinois, and many other states, virtually every residential real estate closing requires a lawyer for the buyer and a lawyer for the seller. This is probably smart. It is good consumer protection.

The "problem" this causes, however, is that every lawyer handling residential real estate transactions considers himself or herself a "real estate lawyer", capable of handling any real estate transaction that may arise.

We learned in law school that there are only two kinds of property: real estate and personal property. Therefore - we intuit - if we are competent to handle a residential real estate closing, we must be competent to handle a commercial real estate closing. They are each "real estate", right?

ANSWER: Yes, they are each real estate. No, they are not the same.

The legal issues and risks in a commercial real estate transaction are remarkably different from the legal issues and risks in a residential real estate transaction. Most are not even remotely similar. Attorneys concentrating their practice handling residential real estate closings do not face the same issues as attorneys concentrating their practice in commercial real estate.

It is a matter of experience. You either know the issues and risks inherent in commercial real estate transactions - and know how to deal with them - or you don't.

A key point to remember is that the myriad consumer protection laws that protect residential home buyers have no application to - and provide no protection for - buyers of commercial real estate.

Competent commercial real estate practice requires focused and concentrated investigation of all issues material to the transaction by someone who knows what they are looking for. In short, it requires the exercise of "due diligence".

I admit - the exercise of due diligence is not cheap, but the failure to exercise due diligence can create a financial disaster for the commercial real estate investor. Don't be "penny wise and pound foolish".

If you are buying a home, hire an attorney who regularly represents home buyers. If you are buying commercial real estate, hire an attorney who regularly represents commercial real estate buyers.

Years ago I stopped handling residential real estate transactions. As an active commercial real estate attorney, even I hire residential real estate counsel for my own home purchases. I do that because residential real estate practice is fundamentally different from commercial real estate.

Maybe I do "harp" on the need for competent counsel experienced in commercial real estate transactions. I genuinely believe it. I believe it is essential. I believe if you are going to invest in commercial real estate, you must apply your critical thinking skills and be smart.

POP QUIZ: Here's is a simple test of YOUR critical thinking skills:

Please read the following Scenarios and answer the questions TRUE or FALSE:

Scenario No. 1: It's Valentine's Day. You are in hot pursuit of the love of your life. A few weeks ago, she confided in you that all she ever dreamed of for Valentine's Day was that her lover would show up at her door, dressed in a white tuxedo with tails and a top hat, and present her with a beautiful bouquet of flowers. You've rented the tuxedo, but now you are concerned about how much money you are spending.

TRUE OR FALSE: Since flowers are pretty much all the same, it is OK for you to skip the roses and show up with a bouquet of fresh yellow dandelions.

Scenario No. 2: For several years you eyesight deteriorated to the point where you can barely see your alarm clock. You are now considering corrective eye surgery so you won't need glasses. Your sister-in-law had corrective eye surgery and has had spectacular results. She recommends her eye surgeon, but mentions the cost is about $5,700 for both eyes and that the surgery is not covered by insurance. A few years ago, you had surgery to correct your hemorrhoids and it cost you only eight hundred bucks.

TRUE OR FALSE: Since surgeons all went to medical school and are all medical doctors, you are being frugal and wise by asking the surgeon who performed your hemorrhoid surgery to perform your corrective eye surgery.

Scenario No. 3: Several years ago, when you first got married, you asked a former classmate who is a lawyer to represent you in the purchase of your townhome. The cost was only $375. A year later, you started a family and decided you needed a Will. The same attorney prepared Wills for you and your wife for a total cost of $700. You started your own business and your attorney friend formed a corporation for you and charged you only $600 plus the cost of the corporate minute book. Years later, when your son was arrested for misdemeanor reckless driving, your attorney friend handled the criminal case and got your son off with supervision for only $1,500.

Your business has been successful and you have built a pretty sizable nest egg, but you are tired of working for every dime and want to try investing in real estate. You have your eye on a strip shopping center. It includes a grocery store, bank, hardware store, dry cleaners (on a month to month tenancy), a couple of fast food restaurants, a gift shop, dental office, bowling alley (with a lease about to expire), and wraps behind a gas station/mini-mart on the corner. The purchase price is $8,000,000, but the net operating income looks pretty good. You figure if you turn the bowling alley into a full service restaurant/banquet facility, and convert the dry cleaners into a 24-hour coin laundry, the net operating income will increase and the shopping center will turn into a spectacular investment. You plan to pull together much of your life savings and put down $2,000,000 to buy this strip shopping center, borrowing the balance of $6,000,000. You remember that your lawyer friend handled the purchase of your home several years ago, so you know he handles real estate.

TRUE OR FALSE: Commercial real estate is the same as residential real estate [Hey, its all dirt, isn't it (?)], so you are being a shrewd businessman by hiring your lawyer friend who will charge much less than a lawyer who handles shopping center purchases several time a year. [What is this "due diligence" stuff anyway?]


If you answered "TRUE" for any of the foregoing Scenarios


The Quiz is over.

Please find a quite place to reflect upon your life and consider whether the decisions you make consistently give you the results you desire.

If, on the other hand, you understand that the answer to each of the foregoing questions is FALSE, I am available to help you in Scenario No. 3.

For Scenario No. 2, you should follow your sister-in-law's suggestion and contact her eye surgeon, or some other eye surgeon with equal skill.

For Scenario No. 1, you are on your own. [But, if you answered TRUE for Scenario No. 1, you may be FOREVER on you own.]

Investing in commercial real estate can be profitable and rewarding - but it requires good critical thinking skills and competent counsel.

You have a have a brain. It is strongly recommended that you use it.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Investing In Real Estate In Up And Down Markets

Some people who doubt that there is a right time to get started in real estate investing worry that there are too many people buying houses to find a deal. Competition is everywhere. If you can't understand - that in business, competition is normal - then real estate investing is not for you. Just take a look at the marketplace in companies such as Coke and Pepsi, Nike and Reebok, McDonalds and Burger King, and a million other services and products out in the marketplace. So if you see a lot of investors competing against you then know that it's a rewarding business to be in because you are not the only one that sees the potential for profit. Plus, there are more than enough deals to make everyone rich, in due time. At any given time there are hundreds of properties for sale in your own local market niches, enough for each investor looking for them.

Some investors know that events such as the September 11th tragedy, the huge number of job layoffs and the decline in the stock market will kill the economy, and anything they buy will go down in value. But, once again, this need not be the time to fold-up your tent and quit before you get started. In order to be successful in investing, learn how to make money in "up" and "down" markets. Have strategies to utilize in both "up" and "down" markets to survive when the economy is bad or thrive when the economy is booming. And if everyone else is forecasting "doom & gloom" it only clears out the competition as you have more market share to profit from, as this is a good thing!

Ask yourself: "When do I want to make money?" And the answer is usually right now!

Thus, go out and get your investing business going, right now! And not base your actions on what others are saying because the majority of the population is not rich, only those few who dare to take the right risks and take the necessary steps to be successful.

Stay in 'the Game,' and stay 'the Course' (persist)

One of the major disappointments of the conventional, 'rental real estate' approach is there's just no money in it NOW, only after a long period of ownership. There's not enough spread between the income realized from rent - versus - the expenses of mortgage payments and repairs for the investor to make any money today. You barely get by in the early years of your property's ownership. You've got to have other income to support your lifestyle. You can't just count on the rentals to support you.

Most likely, in the beginning you'll be supporting your properties with your other income if you bought via the traditional way. That's not too attractive. A lot of investors don't have the stomach to endure the rough and tough financial stresses of the rental business. Even more so - people just don't have the desire to hang in there to make it work, in due time. Thus, if you persist you will outpace your competition because they will no longer be in the business, and you will have "no competition". This business is a long-term commitment and over 80% of real estate investors - who have been in the business for that long, go on to become millionaires. What I'm saying to you is this: Stay the course, and you will beat most all of your competitors because you can ride the ups and downs of the market in the Real Estate Game, in due time.

Opportunity is everywhere

This is 'NOT' a common statement I hear from new investors. True, it may work differently in some markets than in others, but there are investors making money in every city (large or small, metro-area or the rural-areas), every day of the week. You have to learn your market: the rents, the trends, the local customs, the lenders, the title companies, etc.

Then, learn the techniques and adapt them to your market. One thing is for sure, everyone needs a roof to live under, either renting or owning. People need to live somewhere. So study your market carefully, because there are tons of opportunities in every marketplace. You just have to learn your market and be able to service your market accordingly. If you don't believe this, simply read the 'Success Stories' of all my students achieving financial independence and earning big profits using my field-tested and perfected real estate investing system.

Typically, the main argument of real estate "Nay-Sayers" is by associating real estate with toilets, bad tenants, property damages, tenant evictions, etc. - all the bad tasting things that may happen to an investor getting ready to jump into the real estate game.

For somebody who believes the only thing to real estate is getting a loan and buying a run-down duplex, in a bad part of town, entering the real estate game most certainly could turn into a major nightmare very quickly. However, an individual open to possibilities and who is willing to learn various techniques and strategies - will very quickly discover that's this methodology is not the most profitable way to be transacting real estate deals.

A True Wealth Builder

Well, if you shudder at the very thought of spending your nights and weekends unstopping troubled toilets, painting scarred up walls, and pacifying angry/upset tenants, you are in good company. I have no interest in dealing with ill-affecting and time consuming renter-problems or their negative attitudes. When you follow a systematic approach to investing, you won't have to deal with negative outcomes!! There are other creative ways to manage properties that involve no hassles and no headaches whatsoever, such programs exist in our "Automated Management System" which take away those ownership nightmares.

Much more profitable strategies exist if you are open to 'non-traditional' ways of investing in real estate. For example, in our System approach, there are "Rent Credits" used to maximize your time, while minimizing your overall risks, while creating positive cash flow versus, living with negative cash flow and tenant-troubles. There is a better way!! Your properties will be beautifully managed and maintained. Your Tenant-Buyers will be happy, you will pocket plenty of positive cash flow and you'll be able to spend your free time locating additional real estate investments, doing the things you love and have passion for doing, which is the very point of becoming a professional real estate investor in the first place!!

If you really are serious about real estate investing and do extensive research into the real estate business, constantly learning and improving your knowledge level you will realize that your risks are minimal when compared to other business models.

If you talk to any knowledgeable real estate investor and compare the cost of starting a real estate investing company versus some other type of business, you'll see that a real estate business has far less risks. I like to be upfront with you that you will need some marketing dollars at the least to launch your real estate business. You also need to have a long term vision of this venture and at least give it at least a good 6-12 months to make it work. Otherwise, your money (marketing budget) and time will be a waste.

I know this but most people don't know that it takes at least some money initially to make money as a real estate investor. I don't mean to scare anyone away but let's compare a real estate investing business to a restaurant/carryout business. I know these types of businesses very well because relatives of mine own restaurants/carryouts, so even though I never owned a restaurant, my relatives have taught me the inner workings of that business and what it takes to sustain it to be profitable.

First, for a regular restaurant it takes $30K in gross sales just to break even each month. And this does not include the 15 hour days, and six days per week, and the initial investment of $120K down payment with great credit for a bank to even lend you the money needed to open it. You also have to have years of knowledge and experience before you invest your life savings to start a restaurant business. Then, it usually takes about 1-3 years until the profits really come in, thus, this is only if you can survive to stay in business that long. My father-in-law is currently running a carryout and he has had over seventeen years experience and he tells me how fed up he is with the restaurant business. That is why he's also getting started as a real estate investor and he's asked me to invest some of his money into our rehab properties. He sees the huge rewards and minimal risk involved in real estate compared to his restaurant business or other businesses he has been in. And he is seriously considering selling his business to do real estate investing full-time.

When you compare risks in real estate investing versus investing in other business avenues and/or endeavors, as you can come to your own conclusion: real estate investing is the 'Best Game' in town, when it comes to generating great wealth, while achieving your American Dream for financial independence.

Real estate investing has cycles just like any other business

The stock market has it's cycles. We experienced that after the September 11th Tragedy. Only less than two years prior, we saw a peak in the stock market with high tech stocks soaring and making stock market investors 'paper rich.' The stock market has it's 'ups' and it's 'downs.'

Modern real estate thrives on doing things smarter, wiser, strategically - not harder, more time consuming, with profit-eating outcomes. At the end of the day, the key to success is to focus on being a 'great entrepreneur.' I asked an experience investor (he owned about a quarter of Blacksburg, Virginia) what his specialty was in real estate investing and his response was not that he was good at Lease Options, Wholesaling, Short Sales, REOs, Rehabs, Notes, Residential, Land Developments, or Commercial real estate. But he said he was an 'expert at making money.' We both laughed at that but I will never forget that conversation. You need to know about the marketplace and technical factors involved in a deal, but your main duty whenever you are investing is always to make money. Thus, at the end of the day, your job is to make money in 'up' as well as 'down' markets. And if you focus on being a 'great entrepreneur,' you'll be able to make money with many techniques, strategies, and skill sets to be successful in any market.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Reinventing Real Estate, Part 2: Online and Empowered Consumers Are Taking Charge and Paying Less

Demanding consumers

"Internet buyers tend to be better informed on market conditions and better prepared to act on the home they want when they start working with a realtor. Luckily for realtors, these changes don't necessarily hurt, as long as they are able to adjust to the new relationship and realize that the new-style buyers value speed and efficiency over guidance when finding a home."

- E-marketer, Internet Home Buyers Changing the House Rules

Thanks to the Internet and other technological innovations, more real estate information is freely available than ever before. As a result, consumers are demanding new choices, improved services, faster transactions and lower prices. According to a recent NAR survey, the number of sellers stating that they didn't want to pay a sales commission fee rose from 46 percent in 2003 to 61 percent in 2004. In 2004, 23 percent of Florida home sellers opted to sell independently without an agent, up from 14 percent in 2003 and nearly double the 14 percent national average, according to Planet Realtor.

And Web-enabled consumers are demanding a high digital IQ when working with real estate professionals. In addition to being well-versed on their own industry-specific technology, real estate professionals now are expected to utilize laptops, mobile phones, digital cameras, personal digital assistants and global positioning systems to keep pace with Internet buyers and sellers.

Downward pressure

"If consumers are going to do their own home-shopping online, they expect to save some money, just as they would for using the self-service lane. That's why they are susceptible to online discount brokers and the new affinity companies that are promoting lower commissions if only the consumers will use their agents. These business models promote the idea to consumers that they ought to be paying less money in commissions."

Realty Times Columnist Blanche Evans

Traditional real estate commissions, typically around six percent of a home's selling price, are facing downward pressure from consumers and competition. Some consumers claim traditional real estate commissions don't reflect:

- Today's home prices. Years ago, when median-priced homes sold for $25,000, real estate commissions were typically five percent, or $1,250. Today, with South Florida median home prices around $300,000, the cost of a six percent full-service real estate commission becomes $18,000. Some brokers even charge additional fees to cover administrative costs. When you consider that today's average homeowner sells a home every five to seven years, real estate commissions can dramatically impact your personal savings and net worth.

- Owner equity. When selling properties, most homeowners calculate the cost of selling as a portion of sales price, though the commissions are paid out of owner equity. (Equity is the difference between the value of your property and amount of mortgages owed.) Consider this example: You decide to sell a property for $250,000 in which you hold 10 percent equity, or $25,000. After paying a six percent commission of $15,000, you are left with $10,000 before any applicable closing costs. In this example, the $15,000 commission is six percent of the selling price, but 60 percent of the $25,000 equity.

- Services performed. Under today's commission structure, selling a $100,000 house at six percent typically costs $6,000, while selling a $500,000 house costs $30,000. Does selling the more expensive home really require five times more effort? Your cost is the same whether the agent spends one hour or 100 hours marketing your home. This is one reason many real estate consumers find fee-for-service real estate so appealing.
Developing alternatives

"Consumers want what they want, when they want it and will gravitate to the most cost-effective source to obtain it. Why? Because our "one-size-fits-all" approach to working with sellers and buyers is archaic and won't allow consumers to access various segments of help they need in a timely fashion. That's why .com Web start-ups are finding a receptive audience in real estate consumers and why for-sale-by-owners are burgeoning."

Julie Garton-Good, Author of "Real Estate a la Carte: Selecting the Services You Need, Paying What They're Worth"

Until recently, you have had few practical alternatives to the traditional full-service, full-commission real estate transaction with a broker. Most sellers paid a single commission fee for a full range of real estate services, whether they needed them or not. Now traditional real estate agencies face the challenge of identifying new services that have value to today's sophisticated online and empowered consumers.

One result is an "unbundling" of traditional one-size-fits-all real estate services for consumers who want more control over real estate transactions and their associated costs. If you're willing to take on some tasks traditionally performed by agents and brokers, you could receive lower transaction costs. You might benefit from the following emerging alternatives:


"Consumers want assistance from real estate professionals, but don't want to pay for it in the form of traditional commissions," says a la Carte real estate Pioneer Julie Garton-Good. Garton-Good has been preaching the fee-for-services gospel for more than 20 years. As the name implies, you can choose which tasks you feel comfortable performing and hire qualified real estate professionals to do the rest. Many traditional real estate brokerages are beginning to offer a more menu-based service plan. For example, you may not mind listing your home and holding open houses, but you may want assistance with contracts and closings.

One-stop shopping

In response to dwindling margins and the rising costs of technology and lead generation, some real estate companies are attempting to combine traditional and Web-based services to provide consumers a single source for all their real estate needs. One-stop shopping sites generally provide or partner with lenders, insurers, title companies, real estate attorneys and others to facilitate all aspects of buying and selling. In addition, some sites are adding home-improvement and related services to stay in touch with consumers between buying and selling transactions.

Web-based discounters

Although many Web-based real estate companies flamed out in the dotcom era, scores of new companies have emerged to take their place. By offering targeted services such as flat-fee MLS listings, buyer rebates and AVM tools, these sites are appealing to independent buyers and sellers who prefer to take a more active role in transactions. In addition to listings, some sites also offer how-to articles and advice for those who choose to go it alone.
Tradition + technology + turbulence = opportunities

So, given the trends, changes and ongoing industry evolution, what can independent buyers, sellers and investors expect in this new era of real estate?

o The Web and other technologies will continue to evolve and transform the $1.3 trillion real-estate industry. Technology will continue to reduce the time, expense and complexity of manual processes, and increasingly sophisticated search and valuation tools will play a more strategic role.

o Free and low-cost real estate resources will continue to be available and even multiply on the Web. In real estate, knowledge truly is power. Consumers will try to use their power to gain more control of the real estate process and subsequently expect to be compensated in the form of reduced and fee-for-service commissions.

o The role of traditional real estate brokerages will evolve as Web-enabled consumers become more knowledgeable. This likely will trigger some restructuring and consolidation of traditional brokerages, but will also drive the development of innovative new practices targeting online and empowered consumers. Real estate professionals will focus more on promoting their local knowledge and industry expertise, while consumers will perform some buying and selling tasks on their own.

o Traditional real estate commissions and profitability levels will continue to face downward pressure from various sources. The future will be profitable for brokerages that are able to extend their core expertise of neighborhood and industry knowledge into flexible new consumer-centric offerings.

o The traditional high-touch, full-service real estate agency is evolving, not disappearing. Real estate professionals who provide exceptional service and value to their customers will always be in demand.

You now can find more real estate knowledge, tools and resources on the Web than ever before, enabling you to buy and sell with increased confidence. For real estate professionals, reinventing the industry means making hard decisions, changing processes and managing new opportunities. But for consumers, reinvention in real estate is a winner, hands-down.

Learn more at

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Commercial Real Estate

The commercial real estate business is definitely picking up, and now may be a good time to invest. In 2004, prices of commercial real estate properties rose exponentially - 26 percent for apartment complexes, 21 percent for industrial properties, 14 percent for retail properties and six percent for office buildings.

If you're thinking about investing in commercial real estate, but you don't know where to start -- read on for some guidelines.

Commercial real estate defined

The first step to buying commercial real estate property is knowing what you are buying. Commercial real estate refers to any real property, excluding a dwelling, or property with one to four dwelling units used for residential purposes. The phrase "commercial real estate"" consists of (but is not limited to) properties used for industrial, commercial, medical or educational purposes, and properties with four or more units used for residential purposes.

Find help buying commercial real estate properties

Buying commercial real estate can get very tricky, if you are not well versed in the real estate business. Do no t attempt to do it by yourself - seek the help of professionals who can help you through the process of finding the perfect property, taking care of the paperwork and closing the deal.

A professional commercial real estate brokers are specially trained to handle commercial real estate transactions that are very different from regular real estate deals. A professional commercial real estate broker can also inform you of prime commercial real estate that are for sale. Institutional and private investors often 'secretly' sell off parts of their commercial property portfolios, and a commercial property broker can let you in on this insider information.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Real Estate Agents Prosper With a Virtual Assistant On-Board

In the field of real estate, many agents find themselves so busy showing properties that they are unable to devote attention to the small details of their businesses.

While showing properties is the primary way of selling a property, all real estate agents know the need for high quality "behind the scenes" organization. Without this aspect of a real estate agent's business, profits will not reach their full potential.

With a virtual real estate assistant, many of these smaller items are taken care of with efficient precision. Real estate agents can relax knowing that their businesses are running smoothly while they are away from their desks showing property.

In fact, with the help of a virtual real estate assistant, real estate agents will be able to show even more properties and generate more income.

A virtual real estate agent will promote one of the most important aspects of business: customer service. Many real estate agents intend to send thank you cards to customers, open house attendees, holiday cards and follow-up emails to potential clients. However, their busy schedules do not allow for such add-ons that make for a prosperous business.

Other customer and employee service needs that can be handled by a virtual real estate assistant are purchasing and sending closing gifts, creating and mailing Just Listed and Just Sold postcards, creating CD tours for listings and planning events for an office or team yearly meeting.

Virtual real estate assistants can also help with the organizational side of the real estate business. There are many tasks such as scheduling appointments and showings, general bookkeeping, transaction coordinating and creating an automated feedback system for showing agents that are crucial to a real estate agent.

More organizational tasks that can be handled by a virtual real estate agent are updating and making changes to web sites, creating monthly Market Absorption Reports for listing appointments and creating monthly CMAs on current listings.

If someone such as a qualified virtual real estate assistant is on staff, the real estate agent is free to build his or her business in other ways. Also, many real estate agents are not comfortable with the organizational side of their businesses and feel more relaxed knowing these important tasks are being attended to.

All of the above-mentioned tasks are indeed crucial to the success of a real estate agent. Therefore, a real estate agent must know that his or her virtual real estate assistant is qualified to handle these important duties.

When looking for a virtual real estate assistant, it is important to discover the number of years a potential assistant has worked for top producing real estate agents. Also, if a virtual real estate assistant is going to handle event planning, he or she needs to have expertise and experience in that area as well.

Virtual real estate assistants should also have multimedia experience and training, including a working knowledge of Microsoft Office software. Other computer skills should include Adobe Photo Shop, Paint Shop Pro and web site updating.

Of course, checking references is imperative when hiring a virtual real estate assistant. Knowing a real estate agent that a potential assistant has served is always a bonus. Knowing the person giving the reference can give a real estate agent peace of mind when hiring a virtual real estate assistant.

A virtual real estate assistant who is efficient and self-motivated is a priceless tool for a real estate agent. Knowing that customer service and organization are in top order allows a real estate agent to focus on selling properties rather than worrying about the condition of business while away from the office.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Top 10 Real Estate Marketing Tools

Real estate agents often ask me, what's the best marketing tool for real estate? In fact, if I had a dollar for each time I heard this question, I would be on vacation right now!

So what are the best marketing tools for real estate? Well, I'm always quick to say that you are your best real estate marketing tool. Yes, you ... the real estate agent reading this article. I've gone so far as to write an article about the most powerful real estate marketing tool, which is the agent behind the marketing.

So that automatically gets into the top-ten list of marketing tools for real estate. But what are the other nine? Here's my list.

1. A Real Estate Website

Each day in your market area, hundreds (possibly thousands) of home buyers and sellers turn to the Internet for real estate information. Having a real estate website is the first step to connecting with this ideal audience. Thus, the website is a core marketing tool for real estate in the modern age.

2. A Web "Presence"

What's the difference between a web presence and a website? Plenty. A website is a grain of sand on a long beach, with little hope of standing out in any significant way. But a web presence increases the chance people will find you online. A web presence includes such things as the real estate website, online press releases, real estate blogging and other online ventures. your chances of be. In an age where so many people use the Internet for real estate research, a strong web presence is a necessary marketing tool for real estate success.

3. A Real Estate Blog

In my opinion, real estate blogs can be one of the most effective marketing tools for real estate agents. Especially when they're used properly. When you publish quality content to a real estate blog on a regular basis, you are increasing your web presence (mentioned above). You're also positioning yourself as an authority in your area. These are just a few of the reasons a blog makes a good marketing tool for real estate success.

4. Real Estate Postcards

"Postcards," you say, "aren't those a little outdated?" Not at all. The postcard marketing strategies used by a lot of real estate agents are indeed outdated, but the medium itself can still bring great rewards. Real estate postcards have been a reliable marketing tool for real estate agents for decades. They can still be highly effective, especially when integrated with some of the other marketing channels on this page.

5. Home-Buying Seminars

I frequently recommend home-buying seminars as a marketing tool for real estate agents. No other real estate marketing technique can produce a room full of potential clients, eager to hear what you have to say. Sure, there are plenty of logistics involved, but the rewards usually outweigh the effort. Home buying seminars are most effective as a real estate marketing tool when conducted in collaboration (i.e., a real estate agent teaming up with a home inspector, mortgage professional, etc.

6. Client Referrals

It's no secret that client referrals lead to a lot of business in the real estate industry. So in this regard, referrals are a powerful marketing tool for real estate agents. But some agents forget that the process leading up to a good referral begins on Day 1 of the working relationship. Take good care of your clients from first contact to closing day, and you'll tap into one of the most powerful marketing tools for real estate -- the client referral.

7. A Big Idea

This is a real estate marketing tool you can't buy in stores, which is partly why it's so effective. Big ideas are everywhere, but it's almost impossible for me to list them for you. Once a big idea has been used in a certain market area, it can never be repeated with equal success. When you can come up with something that gets people in you're area "buzzing" and spreading the word, you've tapped into another powerful marketing tool for real estate success. You've harnessed a big idea!

8. A Modern Outlook

The Internet has forever changed real estate research, as well as the real estate transactions themselves. So it's important for real estate agents to adopt a modern way of thinking about their business. Start with what consumers are doing today, how they're using the Internet, etc. Work backwards from there? How can you use that to your advantage? Keep a modern outlook toward real estate, and you'll acquire yet another marketing tool for real estate success.

9. The Website Listed Below

Currently, there's only one place online where agents can go to learn about direct mail marketing, online marketing, blogs and other topics on the subject. That website is listed below, and it offers dozens of free articles on the topics mentioned above.

10. Behold, the Real Estate Professional

As we discussed at the beginning of this article, you are your most powerful marketing tool for real estate success. None of the other items on this list can be effective without your energy, focus, compassion, intelligence and enthusiasm. So the next time a software or web marketing company says, "We have the most effective marketing tool for real estate business" ... you can say, "No you don't. I do!"

* You may republish this article online if you retain the author's byline and the active hyperlinks below. Copyright 2007, Brandon Cornett.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Will U.S. Real Estate Recession Affect the Riviera Maya of Mexico Market in the Mexican Caribbean?

U.S. Existing Home Sales Fall for 5th Straight Month. Will it Affect the Riviera Maya Real Estate Market in Mexico?

8 Top Area Professionals Share their Points of View on the Future of Real Estate in the Riviera Maya

Annual existing U.S.A home prices declined in August for the first time in more than a decade as U.S. home sales fell for a fifth straight month. The year-over-year drop in median sales prices represented a dramatic turnaround in fortunes for the once high-flying housing market, which last year was posting double-digit price gains. "Pop goes the housing bubble," said Joel Naroff, chief economist at Naroff Economic Advisors. He predicted prices will tumble farther as home sellers struggle with a record glut of unsold homes. The National Association of Realtors reported this past Monday that sales of existing single-family homes and condominiums dropped 0.5 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.30 million units. That was the fifth straight monthly decline and left sales 12.6 percent below the pace of a year ago.

Okay, so how will a now confirmed U.S. slowdown affect the real estate market here in the lovely Riviera Maya?

Well, to answer that question first we need to understand what's really happening in the U.S. First, it appears that the slowdown in U.S. sales meant that the inventory of unsold homes rose to a record 3.92 million units at the end of August. At last month's sales pace, it would take 7.5 months to clear out the backlog of unsold homes, the longest stretch since April 1993. The median price of a home sold last month fell to $225,000. That was down 2.2 percent from July and down 1.7 percent from August 2005. That marked the first year-over-year drop in home prices since a 0.1 percent fall in April 1995.

Is this a temporary issue or is this the future of doom and gloom in the Riviera Maya? Find out what the areas 8 Top Pros say. Read on......

mls4rivieramaya8Last year, when the five-year U.S. housing boom was reaching its peak, median prices posted a string of double-digit gains on a year-over-year basis. The median price is the point where half the homes sell for more and half for less. David Lereah, chief economist for the Realtors, predicted price declines would continue for the rest of this year as sellers adjust asking prices downward in light of the inventory glut. "This is the price correction we've been expecting," Lereah said. "With sales stabilizing, we should go back to positive price growth early next year."

But some home sellers around the U.S.A. worried that cutting prices may not be enough, have been offering incentives to attract buyers, including in some cases new cars. Dave Armon, who lives in the New York City suburb of Pelham Manor, said he started out asking $1.6 million for his six-bedroom Tudor-style home three months ago -- below the $1.82 million a neighbor received -- but has slashed the price by $300,000 because he has attracted few interested buyers. "l am sitting here thinking maybe if I buy a car and park it out front with a bow on it, that will help," he said.

Could this happen here in the Riviera Maya? Will this type of potential buyer forgo buying here in the Riviera Maya now that his profits have disappeared?

We asked the areas 8 Top Professionals to opine and share their thoughts about this market trend and how it affects our robust real estate market here in the Riviera Maya.

RANDY BONDS - BRIC INTERNATIONAL "This decline in existing home prices was expected by everybody in the market." say Randy Bonds from Bric International, a major developer who has several large projects in the Riviera Maya. "Real Estate is a cyclical market just like the stock market and there will always be ups and downs in the trends. This correction that we are experiencing is greatly needed to put some sort of normality in the appreciation. The Riviera Maya, as well as the rest of the world, is going to be directly related to what is occurring in the US. These are some of the savviest purchasers all around the world and when they are trying to figure out their next move in the states and where the market is leaning they are more likely to avoid the foreign market. The Riviera Maya over the last two years experienced some of the highest % returns out of any other region in the world. This doesn't go without certain consequences following when most investors are priced out of the market. The next two years are going to be very important to see the reactions of the builders and owners of condominiums and houses in this region. Builders that are under funded and in the middle of a build are going to be running into financial disarray with the lack of funds for completion and therefore selling at a great discount or packing up and leaving the project incomplete. Investors that currently own with the intention of reselling for a great profit are going to be a little disappointed with the buying market. We will start seeing another buyers market when builders and current owners start the price war downward. Investors, builders, and owners need to realize that patience at a time like this is very important and this region is going nowhere and is still one of the most beautiful and highly desired areas for real estate in the world. Looking back at the stock market in the early 2000's and where it is now is not much different than what we are going to see in the real estate market over the next 2 - 3 years. This is a time to relax and reevaluate the up and coming years."

GARY WENDT - PLAYA CITIZEN From downtown Playa del Carmen, Gary Wendt from Playa Citizen, a broker builder says "Most people know that the real estate market, especially home building, has carried the economic growth in the USA (after removing oil). This has been going on for years. The housing sector has also generated nothing short of an amazing run UP of VALUE. Thus, a little downturn should be expected and not feared. And there's the rub. Oh, pesky human nature! We humans just can't help but look for things to fear and fear is the fuel for self-fulfilling prophecies and politicians. So who knows for sure what's next. I believe in cycles and location, location, location! Except for oil and real estate, the world economy has been positioned on the edge of a recession for 6 years. Recession is not good for business anywhere in the world. It is still true that as the USA goes, so goes the rest of the world. Here in Playa del Carmen? Well, I am not an economist. But I slept at a Holiday Inn recently (in Puebla - Central Mexico) and I believe that tourist properties situated along our most beautiful caribbean sea will suffer less than average in a recession. In fact, they will suffer much less than all the rest during a recession. It's also true that a great location is the best hedge against cycles in real estate. So, personally, I look for sales to slow a bit. At the very worst, should a recession actually arrive on the scene, prices probably will flatten. Then, as experienced in mid-2002, less than a year after 9/11 when this area of the world rebounded with a frenzy of interest and record growth and sales, we'll bounce again faster than the rest. Anyway, I suggest buyers and sellers plan for the long run in their investment horizons. Farsightedness made Warren Buffet rich. Remember he said,"when everyone else is selling, I'm buying". To me, this levels a recession. Not EVERYONE panics and the calm people who plan for success profit."

NANCY EDWARDS - COZUMEL LIVING From the lovely island of Cozumel, Nancy Edwards who is the owner broker of Cozumel Living says "While real estate in Mexico is greatly affected by what is happening in the US, I don't feel our prices will drop in Cozumel. They never do. We may have a stagnant market for awhile, but prices never drop in general in a resort area. It is true that we are still suffering a lower than low market due to the effects of Emily and Wilma last year, but prices have not fallen and while we were hoping for a price increase with the coming of this high season, it appears, we might have to buckle down and brace ourself for a mediocre high season this year. The clients that I have had come to the area recently are talking about the slowing US market, and have properties there for sale. As soon as they sell, they still plan on purchasing here. Their purchases probably will be delayed though. Clients with cash are still purchasing because it is a 'buyers market' now with many properties for sale at stagnant, last year prices."

RONNIE POOL - PLAYEXPERT.COM Caribbean Beach Properties Investments and PlayaExpert Ronnie Pool, a broker from Playa del Carmen says "Any major economic slowdown in the USA will have an effect here because it means those prospective buyers don't have as strong a financial position, and may have fewer disposable assets to spend here. However, if real estate is not such a good investment there right now, by comparison our market can look even more attractive! So that can compensate. In the final tally I imagine that the sale of the lowest priced properties in our market will be hit harder than those at the upper end. The very wealthy usually ride out economic waves better than the marginally well off. But as a real estate broker I know that I create my own reality, so if I believe that my business will go down because of this doubt it will. If I believe that despite challenges I am better able than anyone to get my share of the pie and still doubt I will. We reap what we sow, in life, at work, and in our own minds."

GABRIEL VILLARREAL GUERRA - CENTURY 21 MARCOS & ASSAD "In my opinion, a slowdown in the housing market in the States will be most definite beneficial for our market. A weaker market means less demand for new homes and therefore less homebuilding. People could have foreseen such a slowdown, as it is clearly stated by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) figures: forecast is for starts to drop to an annual rate of 1.55 million - Inventory/Sales ratio - by the end of 2007, or 27% below their peak level.... reflecting less buyer traffic and a bias towards building fewer homes in the future. Eventually people will start looking for better "deals", will start keeping an open-mind in purchasing a second home in Mexico, will be on the look out for investment opportunities, and guaranteed they will follow a trend... put their money in a safe emerging market close to home where they have all the guarantees as foreign investors - e.i. Banktrusts - and a positive cash flow with higher ROI's (rate of return), making it more appealing to invest than back home. Plus, we should never forget what we have in our market that nobody else has: a fabulous Caribbean Sea and gorgeous Mayan built pyramids! Just to name a few. If there are no major upcoming changes in economic events that could somehow affect the Riviera Maya, our market will be booming higher than what any professional can foresee... and the slowturn that has taken place in the States will shift our sales figures, in my personal opinion."

THOMAS LLOYD - PLAYA REALTY EXECUTIVES Thomas Lloyd of says "Projecting the future economic and real estate market results is an incredibly difficult task. An entire collection of books are needed to demonstrate and learn the relations and influences upon pricing of homes, condos or upon the price per meter of raw land. Below please find a very general brief on this topic. First, many factors influence the local real estate market including that of the international economic indicators as mentioned in the question above. Twenty five years ago, a very soft correlation existed between USA market results and its influence on the Mexican market and vice versa. Ten years ago, as in the majority of most countries of the world, international market results have had and has continued to have a much stronger affect upon the Mexican national economic activities. Mexico´s strongest trade partner, USA, has increased their commercial relation with the Mexico with the passing of the NAFTA(North American Free Trade Agreement) which only makes our two countries influence even stronger. The trend therefore would indicate that as each decade passes, the international market results and indicators of every individual country will have stronger and direct affects upon the markets of neighboring and/or those countries with the closest economical ties. Second, the Real Estate market is driven more by local indicators than by national, and of course of international indicators. As stated above, pricing is established by many many factors. The majority of the factors are varying/constantly moving and each factor has a different weight of influence upon a final market price. Some factors that weight heavily are generally found in the regional/local economical indicators such as of Population growth, Costs of Doing Business, cost of capital (loans), Quality of Life, Employment and Income, Local Taxes, Property Taxes, ISR taxes vs. (competition). In Summary, Real Estate in California is different than real estate in Indiana, Real Estate in Canada is different than that from Mexico. Each regional market has its own strategies and influences, therefore its own proper real estate opportunities.

JEN LYTLE - TIERRA YUCATAN Even in the Yucatan near Merida, they have a point of view on the U.S. recession. Take Jen Lytle, owner/broker of Tierra Yucatan Properties in Merida. She says "I have not yet seen any slow-down in business which could be attributed to the slow-down in the US real estate market, although one might predict several possible long term effects. It is possible that our investor clients will find our property in Yucatan an even more attractive option, as the market here continues strong with good appreciation. I would also expect that for those retiring on a fixed income, it might become more difficult to purchase a retirement property in Mexico if this purchase depends on obtaining equity from the sale of an existing property. Over-all, I am optimistic that our market will be only minimally affected by any slow-down in the US."

SHAWN BANDICK - ONE STOP REAL ESTATE Finally, Shawn Bandick, owner/broker of One Stop Real Estate says "In every shifting real estate market there are pocket markets. These are areas which with stand the shift with little or no effect. In British Columbia Canada the Okanagan Valley is one of those areas. I'm sure you can see areas like that in your state or province. So how will this shifting market effect us in the Riviera Maya? If there was ever a Pocket market this is it. The Mexican government recognizes that, and they are putting millions of dollars into the development of Q Roo. Most of our buyers are baby boomers who have paid off their homes, and have the cottage, and are now looking for the sunny hide away. Many of these same buyers have substantial inheritance money that they are investing as well." Also these clients are not just from north America, they are from all over the world and this gives us an even more stable market. Mexico is a new area of investment and the buyers tend to be higher-income they are not the first time home buyers nor are they the first time investors. History shows us that the baby boomers will not be denied! This is no exception. Baby boomers have discovered the Riviera Maya and they are bringing their money here to invest and enjoy." View MLS Listings for One Stop Real Estate

We invite you to come into our discussion by posting your comments into our Forum. Simply go to Riviera Maya Real Esate News at and click on FORUM. Oh, don't forget to View MLS 4 Riviera Maya and Search Listings.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Real Estate Investment Clubs

The real estate investment clubs provide tremendous resources for both beginners and experienced real estate investors. The real estate investment club is a place to meet and network with other investors. Patient and skillful application of investment knowledge and information is required for a successful real estate investing. For success in real estate, there should be a combination of the power of investing knowledge and the power of market information. A real estate investment club through its thoroughly researched real estate investment ideas can arm you with all the necessary information to invest wisely in real estate.

As the competition in the field of real estate are high, Real estate investors need to keep themselves updated constantly on the new trends and developments in real estate investment. There can be new laws and taxes governing real estate. All this is hard to maintain if you are not a full time real estate investor. A real estate investment club is then the ideal place for you. All issues regarding real estate investment can be discussed and sorted out through the medium of real estate investment clubs. Being a part of an experienced and efficient real estate investment club in itself should form a part of the strategy to become a successful real estate investor.

Details regarding all other aspects of investments related to real estate like mortgage investments can be discussed in real estate investment clubs. The real estate club members bring out several publications to guide real estate and home buyers. Most real estate club members also provide information through Internet. Today, there are several different real estate software programs available in the market to help real estate investors. Before selecting software, you can discuss it with your real estate club members as some of them might have already used it and have opinions on it. A good real estate investment club can act as a good forum to clear all your doubts regarding real estate investment.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Real Estate Investment - Why it is Big Business?

When examining the different asset classes, real estate is generally far less volatile than shares and real estate tends to be the haven that investors flock to when other asset classes are suffering.

It is true to say that investment properties can have many benefits in terms of building long-term wealth, but we must never forget that this wealth is not guaranteed!

Following the global real estate boom of the late 1980's many investors learnt this hard lesson when they found their properties were worth far less than they had actually paid for them and the bottom seemingly fell out of the over-inflated market. The bottom did not truly fall out of the market however as all real estate retained value; the real estate market simply experienced an overdue rebalance and has gone on to build from this point of stability.

Since the booming 80's 'sensible' investments in real estate have still offered major attractions and advantages, and it is back to real estate that investors have turned in recent years.

With real estate prices in some countries soaring, and first time buyers struggling to get onto the first rung of the real estate ladder, many people are looking further a field for investment property opportunities.

A recent report in the UK highlighted a 130% rise in the value of farmland since the 1990's for example - fuelled entirely by a new breed of non-farming buyers. With bricks and mortar real estate prices in the UK now so exorbitant, these non-farming buyers are looking for alternatives for their money.

They may be unable to afford real-estate investments and unwilling to risk their cash on the ever volatile stock market and so they are buying up fields and pastures to get in on the real estate investment game!

Others interested in property investment have been examining the real estate markets around the globe for value for money, return on investment, potential for growth and development, rental market opportunities and basic stability. With current research showing that up to one in eight Britons intend to purchase an overseas real estate within the next five years you can see that overseas real estate investment is very big business.

Relatively newly discovered property markets are opening up or expanding in countries such as North Cyprus, South Africa and Bulgaria for example - where potential buyers are afforded incredible value for money when it comes to real estate. The real estate market in countries such as these has been artificially restricted through the threat of war or political instability, and now with their recent history showing that they are stable countries with strong economies and populated and governed by those with a first world perspective, property investors are finding markets rich in diversity and potential.

Dubai is another country offering interesting real estate investment opportunities. Since May 2002 when the crown prince of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoom issued a decree allowing foreigners the right to buy freehold real estate there, the real estate market has exploded!

Properties available in Dubai range from modest one bedroom flats to freehold exclusive islands! And property there still offers very good value for money - furthermore the tax and business advantages in Dubai are very appealing and so real estate investment in Dubai is enjoying a buoyant upward trend.

And then there are the 'old' favourites - France, Florida and Spain for example are all countries with a long history of investment real estate appeal - especially for Britons and Northern European residents looking to escape the weather and invest in a home in the sun. Whether you are looking to secure a home for holidays, your retirement or you are looking for a long term investment opportunity these countries still offer the investor potential for real estate growth.

When it comes to considering real estate as an investment vehicle it is a tried and tested method used for attempting to secure long term gains - but as with any investment, gains, returns and security of investment are not guaranteed. Whether real estate investment is right for you and matches your circumstances and attitude to risk is something that you need to consider.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Commercial Real Estate Loans - 12 Problems to Avoid

This article describes 12 recurring problems with commercial real estate loans that commercial borrowers and their advisors need to anticipate before it is too late. The following problems are common in traditional bank commercial real estate loans and should be avoided if feasible (special circumstances will periodically make some of these terms unavoidable).


Most traditional banks will require several years of tax returns in order to qualify for a commercial real estate loan. The alternative is to use a Stated Income lender that does not verify personal income or assets. Many borrowers will simply not qualify for a commercial mortgage loan if tax returns are used due to high business expenses (and low net income). Many lenders using tax returns will also continue to verify income after the loan closes. Stated Income lenders will not engage in this practice.


It is becoming increasingly difficult to get commercial loans for special purpose properties. Properties that do not fall in the categories of apartments or retail/office buildings are often placed in this special purpose classification. This means that business acquisition loans for commercial properties such as restaurants/bars and auto service businesses are frequently hard to find. Commercial financing will be even more difficult to locate for such specialized properties as churches, funeral homes, nursing homes and assisted living facilities.


These terms are used by many banks to effectively shorten most commercial real estate loans to 3-7 years.

COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE LOANS PROBLEM NUMBER 4: Short-term loans (less than fifteen years)

15-40 year commercial property loans without recall/balloon features are available.


Under most circumstances, commercial borrowers should not pay such a fee. Please note that processing/retainer fees are not included in this discussion of commitment fees. Processing/retainer fees should be viewed as an acceptable and standard business practice when dealing with commercial real estate loans.


Under most circumstances, commercial borrowers should not use a lender that requires a business plan.


Commercial borrowers should not be required to use their personal assets as collateral for a commercial property loan.

COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE LOANS PROBLEM NUMBER 8: Sourcing and seasoning assets. Seasoning of ownership.

This particular problem will not be relevant to all business borrowers. However, if it is relevant, you should seek out a lender without sourcing and seasoning requirements or limitations. Most banks have strict guidelines for sourcing and seasoning of assets or ownership to qualify for commercial real estate loans. For a purchase, commercial lenders will frequently want documentation about where the down payment is coming from (sourcing). Commercial lenders will also frequently have very specific requirements stipulating that the funds must have been in a specific account for a specific period of time, often 3-6 months or longer (seasoning). Seasoning of ownership is similar to seasoning of funds, except this requirement involves the minimum time someone has owned a commercial property before they can refinance the property.


IRS Form 4506 authorizes the lender to obtain a borrower's tax returns directly from the IRS. This form is routinely required by most traditional banks and many other commercial lenders for a business acquisition loan. Commercial borrowers using a Stated Income lender with limited documentation requirements will avoid this requirement.

COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE LOANS PROBLEM NUMBER 10: Debt Service Coverage Ratio (DSCR) in excess of 1.2 for a business acquisition loan

The most flexible approach to DSCR for a commercial property loan will require a DSCR in the range of 1 to 1.2, with exceptions permitting a DSCR less than 1.

COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE LOANS PROBLEM NUMBER 11: Minimum commercial property loan size that is too high for your commercial mortgage needs.

It is not unusual to encounter a minimum commercial real estate loan requirement of $500,000 to $1,000,000.

COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE LOANS PROBLEM NUMBER 12: Excessive length of the commercial real estate loan process

Many traditional banks require three to nine months to close a commercial mortgage. A more action-oriented commercial lender will close commercial real estate loans in 45 to 60 days.

Copyright 2005-2006 AEX Commercial Financing Group, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Texas Real Estate Commissions

TREC or Texas Real Estate Commission is a government body that was created in 1949 to administer four specific laws such as real estate license act, real estate inspector act, residential service company act and Texas timeshare act.

TREC regulates activities of real estate brokers, salespeople, inspectors, residential service companies, timeshare developers and education providers for real estate and inspection courses. Main purpose of TREC is to protect legal rights of citizens of Texas and provide them with honest, trustworthy and competent real estate service. The commission reviews programs dealing with education providers for real estate and inspection courses. It tries to identify and regulate errors and drawbacks present in it.

TREC has made it mandatory for real estate brokers and salespersons to maintain specified levels of education in order to hold a valid license to work as a real estate agent. Provisions of real estate license act and rules of Texas real estate commission are binding on all real estate agents and professionals in order to provide customers with a competent and honest service. TREC also gives licenses to real estate inspectors, agents, residential service companies and real estate schools. This commission also does registration of timeshare properties.

Texas Real Estate Commission has statutory relations with three state entities namely, real estate center at Texas A&M University, Texas department of savings and mortgage lending and Texas appraiser licensing and certification board. The commission has partnership with Texas A&M University's real estate center for conducting research along with some education projects. It also appoints two members to mortgage broker advisory committee of Department of savings and mortgage lending. Issues relating to real estate licensees and mortgage brokers are resolved by cooperating with this agency. Commission also has signed a memorandum of understanding with Texas appraiser licensing and certification board under which it provides administrative support to them, which is approved by their governing bodies.