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10 Tips for Buying Your First Real Estate Investment Property

Published June 25, 2018 by Real Estate Leads

AdobeStock_20945576Speculation has become a rather negative term when used in reference to buying real estate these days, but in truth investing in real estate with an aim to creating profit for yourself down the line has been going on for hundreds of years. It certainly require as level of acumen, wisdom, and the ability to act judiciously however. While it’s true that most investment buyers have these traits and often will be very experienced with buying investment properties, a decidedly fewer number of them will be leaning on the expertise of their realtor to advise them in the best manner possible.

Our online real estate lead generation system here at Real Estate Leads is an excellent way for new realtors to acquire greater numbers of clients through their prospecting efforts, and while the majority of them will likely be buying for a place of primary residence some of them may want to be investment buyers. Let’s look today at some good tips you can share with them regarding buying real estate as an investment.

  1. Be Certain Real Estate Investing is for You

Being an incapable handyman is perfectly normal, but if you buy a home that needs work and you need to bring in tradespeople it will eat into your profits. It’s common for property owners who have one or two homes often to do their own repairs to save money. If you’re not inclined or capable of getting your hands dirty and / or don’t have unlimited finances, being a landlord may not be right for you.

Then there’s also the time required for the work. Do you have it to spare?

  1. Start by Paying Down Debt

Some well-enabled investors might carry debt as part of their investment portfolio, but it’s very inadvisable for the average person. If your financial solidity is already spread quite thin, purchasing a rental property may not be a smart move for you, at least at this time.

  1. Can you Afford the Down Payment?

Real estate investment properties in major urban centres in Canada usually require a larger down payment than elsewhere and non-owner occupied homes can have more stringent approval requirements. How much you’ll need exactly will be yet to be determined, but be prepared for it to be much more than perhaps you had originally expected. Deeper pockets are often required.

  1. Be Wary of Bigger Interest Rates

The cost of borrowing money is always fluctuating, but the interest rate on Real Estate Investment properties will almost always be higher and again often more so than you imagine. Keep in mind that your clients as investors will need a mortgage payment that’s low enough to not eat too heavily into their monthly profits.

  1. Profit Margins Must be Calculated

Individuals should set a profit margin goal that’s pretty inflexible around 10%, while estimating maintenance costs at 1% of the property value annually. There’s also insurance, HOA fees (if applicable), property taxes and a whole host of monthly expenses that you won’t be expecting to encounter. Count on it.

  1. Avoid the ‘Fixer-Uppers’

Many buyers like the idea of a house that you can get at a bargain and flip it into a rental, but if this is your first property, that’s likely far from the best idea. Unless you have a contractor who does quality work affordably or you’re like Mike Holmes or Brian Baeumler when it comes to home improvement, then you’re likely going to pay too much to renovate. Purchasing a home that is priced below the market that needs mostly minor repairs is likely a much better choice.

  1. Calculate Operating Expenses

You can advise clients to expect that operating expenses on their new property will be between 35% and 80% of their gross operating income. Charge $1,500 for rent and their expenses come in at $600 per month, they’re then at 40%. An even simpler calculation is the 50% rule. If the rent charged is $3,000 per month, they should expect to pay $1,500 in total expenses.

  1. ‘Cash on Cash’

Clients should ask themselves what is their return on every dollar? Stocks may offer a 7.5% cash-on-cash return while bonds may offer 4.5% back. If a buyer can get 6% in their first year as a landlord, that should be agreeable since that number will likely rise over the long term.

  1. Low-Cost Home is Preferable

The more expensive the home, the higher their ongoing expenses will be. Some real estate experts suggest starting with a $150,000 home. Consider location when looking at lower-priced properties as that is what will go farthest in making them good rentals.

  1. Location

Going further with the focus on location, it’s advisable to look for areas with low property taxes, a decent school district, a quality neighbourhood with low crime rates, an area with a growing job market and plenty of amenities like parks, malls, restaurants and movie theatres.

Sign up for Real Estate Leads here and receive a monthly quota of qualified, online-generated buyer and / or seller leads delivered to you exclusively for your protected region of any city or town in Canada. It’s a great way to supercharge your client prospecting efforts and really start to build up a client base for your real estate business. Join the many like-minded realtors who want to be successful who’ve already claimed their territory and are receiving leads each month.

Appearance Tips for Real Estate Professionals

Published June 18, 2018 by Real Estate Leads

Happy realtor woman showing keysThe real estate business is without a doubt one of those businesses where your image is projected through your professional appearance. As much as it may be poor form to do so, some clients will put as much weight on your appearance as they do your reputation, how knowledgeable you seem, or how well spoken you are. In this business, first impressions really do matter.

Fortunately, this will be a reality that most who’ve entered the profession could have foreseen being one, and so it won’t take much convincing if any to ‘look the part’ as an agent who’s helping people make one of the biggest decisions of their life. Here at Real Estate Leads, our online real estate lead generation system won’t have you looking sharp, but it will take care of another aspect of being a new realtor that’s not so easy – prospecting for clients.

To help you project the right image and a proper professional appearance, here’s a collection of sensible tips on how to look and dress the part of a successful real estate businessperson.

When in Doubt, Be Conservative

Appearance will always be extremely important in this business, as most clients tend to choose their agents based on appearance and a measure of ‘gut feeling.’ The standard has been and continues to be that men wearing freshly pressed shirts with a nice tie and clean shoes look professional. However, it’s been proven that too much jewelry makes many people perceive you negatively. A watch is fine, and maybe one other piece of jewelry. But that’s it, and keep in mind that all this goes hand in hand with good visible hygiene traits. For example neatly trimmed and clean fingernails.

Keep up with current fashion trends also benefits you, and having a fashionable hairstyle helps too. Male agents will gain from keeping up fashion and clothing trends via magazines like Esquire, GQ, and so forth, while female agents can do the same with Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, and Vogue. One thing that can’t be overstated enough is the suitability of wearing conservative-length skirts.

Then there’s the idea of dressing for your market by wearing attire appropriate to your surroundings. For example, a sharp blazer and dark-wash jeans work better for young, hip regions.

Appearing Professional Other Ways

Your choice of vehicle can go a long way with potential clients too. Consider this; a broker in a US big city always traded for a new Jaguar sedan every year, and then let her agents borrow it to drive wealthy buyers around fancy neighborhoods for showings. Apparently the way the car had an effect on potential buyers was very clear.

The appearance of your office also sends a strong message to clients, or would-be clients, the first time they visit. Keep it organized and meticulously clean, and displaying attractive curios and artwork is a good choice. A messy desk is a big no-no, no matter how well established you are.

One other tips is to always have a change of clothing ready when the situation requires it, especially if there’s a chance you’ll be with entirely different people in an entirely different environment within the same day.

Professional appearance tips for real estate agents will vary depending upon the individual’s situation. Different types of property, weather, and clients should lead you to make different decisions regarding the professional attire that is most appropriate. This is of course something of an art, and much less of a science, but if you hit the ground running as a realtor while still keeping your appearance in mind you’ll very likely figure it out before long.

Sign up for Real Estate Leads here and receive an monthly quota of qualified, online-generated buyer and / or seller leads delivered to you exclusively for your protected region of any city or town in Canada. It’s a smart investment, particularly with the way it gives you so many more opportunities to lead leads into clients. That’s something established realtors do well because they have learned to do it well.

Taking on Mortgages More Financially Demanding Than Ever

Published June 12, 2018 by Real Estate Leads

AdobeStock_44279157_PreviewFor many decades and a good number of generations now, getting a mortgage on your way to owning a home was something that vast majority of people did almost as a given part of working your way into adulthood. The fact that following a similar path in places like Vancouver and Toronto is quite a daunting prospect nowadays is well understood, but the reality is that it’s fairly daunting no matter where you’re buying a home.

 

Here at Real Estate Leads, our online real estate lead generation system has really done wonders for new realtors who need to get more out of their client prospecting efforts. Being a knowledgeable and market savvy realtor is a must, but so is the need to be receptive to the way clients will want to really look at the entirety of what will go into their buying a home.

When we look at the new statistics coming out about just what is required to ‘service’ a mortgage, on average, in Canada it is really quite something with the way it forecasts how so many prospective homebuyers would be assuming a punishing financial burden to see their mortgage through to term.

Ain’t Like it Used to Be

Baby boomers will really need to stop saying that buying a home was harder in the 1990s than now. Stats Can numbers now show mortgage debt service ratios (DSRs) at the end of the first quarter of this year have reached levels not seen in more than 26 years. Despite near record low interest rates, the size of loans given for mortgages have pushed the lack of affordability for homes to similar levels. Today this is more of a concern however, as interest rates start to rise and the debt becomes decidedly concentrated.

Mortgage Debt Service Ratio

A mortgage debt service ratio (DSR) is the term given to the amount of gross income dedicated to servicing a mortgage. Understand here that gross means before taxes, so then a good part of the buyer’s income that is not going towards the ratio is now spoken for. Only the principal and interest payments are officially measured here in Canada, and so this means other required payments like property taxes, etc. are not included. Debt service ratios are deceptively low as a result, and especially so when the number comes from the government. Mortgage brokers will of course prefer to advertise those less-than-factual fees.

Debt service levels are very relevant when considering the general outlook of the economy. The more money that goes towards servicing debt, the less money there is for spending on consumer goods and services. And of course the less money floating around your economy, the harder it is for the economy to continue to grow. It’s for this reason that a sudden boom in housing often leads to a slowing of the rest of the economy, and the opposite is also true. When less money is servicing debt then more money is available to push other components of the national or provincial economy.

New Highs

The mortgage debt service ratio (DSR) has this year risen to new highs. The mortgage DSR rose to 6.67% at the end of 2018’s quarter 1, up 6.89% from the last quarter of 2017. Huge jumps like this are seasonal, but the number is still up 1.83% from the same quarter last year. We’re now sitting at the highest ratio since the fourth quarter of 1992, and it’s interesting to note that the 1990s were the last time Canadians showed similar levels of exuberance for real estate.

Distributing Mortgage Debt Is Key

That number may not sound like all that much, but understanding distribution is key to really putting it into perspective. The 6.89% mortgage DSR is split across all households, but that’s not really how it actually breaks down. Census 2016 showed that only 41.2% of households have mortgages. Older households also tend to have higher incomes, along with considerable equity in their homes. By this we can see that younger households are taking the worst of these record DSR levels.

The Bank of Canada issued a caution about the debt concentration just last month. Their estimate is that 8% of households hold more than 20% of all household debt in this country, adding further that these households stand to be at risk in the coming years when rates continue to normalize – as they are expected to. Since we’ve achieved record high mortgage DSRs at record low interest rates, we can certainly expect some serious disruption and more than few wildfires as rates normalize.

Sign up with Real Estate Leads here and receive a monthly quota of qualified, online-generated buyer and / or seller leads delivery to you exclusively for your protected region of any city or town in Canada. It’s a proven effective way to supercharge your prospecting efforts, and nearly everyone who’s taken advantage so far now sees it as a very worthwhile investment in their real estate business.

 

 

4 Must-Do Steps for Converting Online Leads from Real Estate Leads

Published June 4, 2018 by Real Estate Leads

Small house on laptop keyboard. Real estate agency online. Concept. 3d illustration

Here at Real Estate Leads, what we offer to our clients here is fairly self-explanatory given the nature of our name. Our online real estate lead generation system for Canada provides realtors here with even more in the way of opportunities generated from prospecting. It’s something all realtors need to do, but doing so while harnessing the power of the Internet can make for some downright impressive results when it comes to the volume of leads you can dig up.

We’re not going to start here by saying that you need to follow up on these leads quickly. That’s true, but we’re not going to tell you something you didn’t already know. With this understood, however, it’s interesting to note that statistics indicate that about 48% of all online leads go completely unanswered.

Now, the difference here of course is that your leads provided by us are provided to you EXCLUSIVELY, meaning you will be the only realtor to receive them. Yes, that’s a big point! But there’s factors to consider here, including the fact that most online leads are 6-12 months out from selling their home or purchasing one.

You still need to move quickly, however, and so let’s get right to our 4 must-do steps for getting the very most out of your online real estate client leads.


  1. Speedy Is Timely

The sooner you are able to reply to an inquiry, the better. And when we say soon, we’re talking the same day ideally. Don’t put it off, send whatever form of communication you think is best and present yourself as a realtor who would be happy to help them as the begin the process of buying or selling a home.

If you don’t contact them, a competitor will and yes, that’s going to be true 90+% of the time even if you’re the only one to receive the online generated lead. The smart choice is to have a system in place that can respond when you can’t. An autoresponder like a text message or anything to acknowledge that lead and let them know that you are there and ready to help is fairly standard.

Nowadays A.I., or Artificial Intelligence, has made its way into real estate too. With AI you can mimic live-time text message responses that are genuine to the point of seeming as if they’ve only recently been created by the realtor themselves. They can also respond intelligently too, and the if questions go beyond their scope of comprehension, they will then pass it over to the G.I., or Genuine Intelligence – that, of course, being you!

Bots can still feel impersonal, though. Many agents instead choose to go with concierge services that connect with leads right away, and these prospective clients then hear from a real person. You can also have them categorize your leads. It’s not unlike having your own inside sales team, and for many realtors it turns out to be money well spent.

Another thing to keep in mind when responding to a lead inquiry is to always respond using the same method with which you received the inquiry; if they sent a text, you reply with a text. If they emailed you, you respond with an email. If they phoned, you phone. This is proven good advice and extends to sales professionals of all types, not just realtors in Canada.


  1. Qualify Those Leads

It’s a fact that top agents sort their leads based upon how ready these prospective clients are to take action. This is something you can do too, and it’s decidedly easy.

Put your leads into one of these 3 categories:

A: Leads are ready to do something now – they must buy or sell for any specific reason, and are ready to make moves.

B: Leads are motivated, but may not proceed further for up to six months.

C: Leads have shown significant interest in listing or beginning to house hunt but are not sure when they will take action. No timeline can be predicted here.

Naturally, you should be calling those A-leads right away. For the other categories, you should be staying in touch. Enter them into your database and recognize the length of time you’ll need to stay in touch for them based on your determinations. Be sure to periodically remind them of who you are, and that you’re ready to help them when they need the professional assistance.

  1. Be Entirely Prepared

Real estate has always been a numbers game. Those who know know the area best, comparable homes for sale, market stats, etc., will have much better chances to make something of their leads.

Then there’s the importance of being well versed and prepared when you enter into regular communications with a lead that’s gotten warmer. This also makes you look like the professional you are. Being prepared gives you confidence, and that attributes is always extremely visible to the prospective client.


  1. Think in the Long-Termfor Better Successes

As stated, many online leads are for people in the looking / preliminary research phase and may well be 6-12 months or even longer away from making any time of firmer decision. This is where having some sort of CRM or follow-up system is extremely valuable for incubating that lead and staying in touch.

Drip email campaigns, video email, even offering a monthly value-added digital newsletter subscription are all great ways to do this. And don’t overlook simply picking up the phone and making a call to them at a select interval. A real connection strengthens their understand of who you are and where you are for them.

This whole idea is predicated on responding to the lead without delay and then consistently following up with them from that point forward. Again, so much of this is related to the basics of how you do business in sales. Make sure your leads continue to be your leads!

Sign up with Real Estate Leads here and receive a guaranteed monthly quota of buyer and / or seller leads for your protected region of any city or town in Canada. It’s a dynamite way to get so much more out of your prospecting efforts, and hopefully now you’ll be much better prepared to manage those leads once you’ve acquire them.