Archive for May, 2009

Working with Real Estate Agents – What to Expect?

Monday, May 11th, 2009

By Jon Swire

Are you ready to invest in income property but not sure what level of service to expect from your real estate agent?

Investing in income property can be a stressful experience, but remember, your real estate agent is there to help you every step of the way. As a Buyer, your agent will be compensated by the Seller at the close of escrow. What this means is that while she works for you, she’ll be paid by the Seller for her services. Fees typically average 2-2.5% of the purchase price, so on a $500,000 purchase, your agent will earn between $10,000-$12,500. Some of this money will go to her brokerage firm and to cover costs, but remember that your agent is being well paid for her job. So take advantage of her services to the fullest to ensure the smoothest and most enjoyable experience.

So, what should you expect from your agent? First, once your agent has your search parameters, she will set you up to receive daily updates from your local MLS or other services. This will allow you to see all the new listings that come on the market in your price and criteria range. Most clients like to drive properties on their own, and only bring their agent with them once they’ve identified a property they’re interested in. However, don’t be afraid to ask your agent to spend more time with you at first to help you figure out what works and doesn’t work for you. And, if you’re unsure of the exact geographic location you’d like to settle in, ask your agent to drive you around to show you more about the local neighborhoods, schools, and amenities. This is a great way for you to familiarize yourself with the area and available options.

Once you’ve found a property, your agent will be the one preparing the contracts and negotiating them on your behalf. Ask her to explain everything to you and make sure you understand what you’re signing. She’ll also walk you through the property inspection and all disclosures you’ll have to sign as well as help you with the loan process. If you don’t already have a mortgage broker, ask your agent for a couple of referrals she’s successfully worked with in the past.

Buying an income property can be a long process, taking 45-60 days or more, depending on how quickly your search goes. Once you’ve found the property, be prepared for an intensive 2-3 week process while you do your property inspection and work with your lender. If at any point during the process you feel uncomfortable, take a step back. Remember, making an investment can be challenging, but it should also be fun and as exciting as you’re on your way to securing your financial future.

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Finding a Real Estate Agent

Monday, May 11th, 2009

By Jon Swire

Are you ready to make your first income property purchase and not sure how to find an agent or what to expect? If so, you’ll want to read my tips on choosing the right agent for you!

If you’ve been thinking about investing in real estate, now is a great time. Interest rates are at historic lows, and prices around the country have fallen to 2002 levels in many places. The questions is how do you find a Real Estate agent, and what should you expect?

First, a great place to find an agent is through referrals. Either from friends, colleagues or other professionals, someone who has worked with the person in the past and can vouch for their integrity and responsiveness. After all, this person will be representing you in one of the biggest investments of your life, so you’ll want to make sure they are trustworthy and put your interests first. Another great option is to visit local Open Houses in your area, and speak with the agents working them. This will give you a feel of how busy they are based on the number of homes they have listed for sale, and it will also give you a chance to speak with the agent in an informal setting to find out how knowledgeable and personable they are.

Once you’ve identified a potential candidate, you’ll want to interview them either in person or on the phone. Ask them how long they’ve been in the business, what type of product they specialize in – SFR’s or income property – what areas they work and for the names of 2-3 satisfied clients you can speak with. And remember, first impressions go along way. Make sure they are on time and have strong follow up. After all, if they can’t get it right with you, how well will they do representing you to another agent?

Once you’ve selected an agent, you’ll want to give him clear parameters of what you’re looking for. Is this your first investment? How much do you have to invest? How far from your home are you willing to consider? And of course, what is a comfortable price range for you?

And remember, Real Estate is like most other service businesses, where the old adage holds true….”20% of the agents do 80% of the business”. So spend time before get you started finding the right agent for you.

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The Next Step to Develop Your Real Estate Portfolio

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

By Jon Swire

In this edition of my video blog I discuss how you can go from making $55,000 per year to being a multi-millionaire through real estate investing and the tools required. After all, for many of my clients, students and investors the hardest thing for them is changing their mindset and allowing themselves to believe that they can one day retire a millionaire. Revisit the information I shared with you in the Free Video and Chapter 1 of my book, the 30 year plan, which starts with a small investment today and generates over $100K per year in income by the time you retire. The key to being successful is getting started, developing a plan and being consistent.

Consistency over time will yield great results. So put a plan in place and set some goals for the next 1, 3 and 6 month periods to get started on your path to financial freedom.