Flip Checklist Budget – What You Need to Include on Your Budget for House Flipping

Immobilie bewerten, Immobilie Wert, Immobilienrechner, Verkaufsrechner, Immobilienwertermittlung Tel: 06227-399170 Handy: 0176-2116-9990 eMail: info@heidelbergerwohnen.de Internet: www.heidelbergerwohnen.de

Many people are enticed into house flipping by television images of people ripping materials out of a dilapidated house, refurbishing it, and selling it for a substantial profit. The profit realized from each flip can be modest or substantial – or the investor could lose everything depending on decisions made before or during the process.

My house flipping budget checklist

Before you go shopping for the perfect rehab-to-flip property, you need to create a budget for the entire project, not just the purchase and rehab expenses.

The first item on your check list does not have direct monetary value and cannot be added into the expenses column. However, it is an important „ingredient“ to your budget: an excellent credit score. Unless you are funding a flip entirely with cash or through private means, an excellent credit score works in your favor with the banks – especially when the loan is for a high-risk project like a house flip.

Now, let’s look at the specifics of your budget:

• The After Repair Value (ARV): determining the ARV of your potential flip is the starting point on which you can base your expected return on investment (ROI) when the house is put on the market. A trusted realtor can help you estimate the ARV of the property.

• Rehab costs: these will vary widely depending on how much rehab work needs to be done. A budget repair form can be handy for tracking all the repairs needed.

• Financing/carrying costs: these include not only the loan but also the costs of carrying the house until it is sold:

o Financing loan(s)

o Property taxes

o Utilities (gas, water, electric)

o Property insurance

o HOA/Condo fees

An important point to note here is that the longer the rehab work takes and/or the longer the post-rehab house stays on the market, the greater your carrying costs and the lesser profit you may realize.

• Realtor’s fees: you can sell your flipped house yourself (FSOB – For Sale by Owner) but if you are looking for the fastest turnaround on your investment – and profit – relying on a good real estate agent is worth the commission fee (and actually helps you save money on your flip project in the long run).

• Forgotten costs: these are additional expenses of house flipping that are often overlooked, including:

o Inspection fees

o Interest on loans

o Contingencies

o Closing costs

One experienced house flipper’s average budget was broken into these cost percentages:

• 53.25% = Purchase Price

• 20% = Labor

• 6.5% = Materials

• 8% = Carrying costs, utilities, commissions, etc.

• 12.25% = Profit

Realistic budgeting = reduced risk

There is nothing that can completely eliminate the risks inherent in house flipping but creating a realistic budget is one of the key ways to mitigate some of that risk. Another way to „manage“ some of the risk is to become as thoroughly knowledgeable about house flipping before you make your first investment. And a final way to manage risk is to follow the old adage and never invest more than you can afford to lose.

Best wishes for your house flipping success!

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

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Source by Bill Len

Buying a Second Home in the Florida Keys – Don’t Rent Your Vacation Home, Buy It!

Immobilie bewerten, Immobilie Wert, Immobilienrechner, Verkaufsrechner, Immobilienwertermittlung Tel: 06227-399170 Handy: 0176-2116-9990 eMail: info@heidelbergerwohnen.de Internet: www.heidelbergerwohnen.de

With Florida Keys real estate prices down to 2003 levels, there are lots of opportunities to buy a second home at a great price in this paradise of islands. The Florida Keys has long been a big draw for people who visit often enough to see the advantages of owning their own vacation home instead of paying rental fees every year – not to mention costly hotel rates.

A Monroe County ordinance restricting short term rentals makes it tough to find properties that can be rented for less than one month, but in incorporated communities such as Key Colony Beach, there are plenty of properties with short term rental licenses. Buying a home like this may allow you to rent your home when you’re not using it.

Here are two listings in Key Colony Beach that already have rental histories.

A half duplex on open water (MLS#541138) is offered at $745,000. This two bedroom, two bath stilt home faces east on Bonefish Bay and offers the boating enthusiast a deep draft, 30 foot finger dock that can accommodate a boat up to 50 feet. The home comes fully furnished and has tiled floors, central AC/heat, accordion storm shutters, washer dryer a fish cleaning table and outside shower.

Another KCB half duplex (MLS#546837) listed at $399,000 offers a lovely deck on a wide 100 foot canal, thirty feet of canal front with a cement bulkhead and a wood step down dock. There is even a designer (D’Asign Source) cement fish cleaning station. The property is nicely landscaped and fenced, and outdoor furnishings include a gas grill and patio set. The cozy two bedroom, two bath home has central air with heat, tile and carpeted floors and a fully equipped kitchen including dishwasher. All rooms are furnished; it’s move in ready with a rental history and future rentals in place.

Key Colony Beach offers all the delights of the middle Florida Keys — excellent boating, fishing and diving, plus the amenities of a beach club. The neighboring island of Marathon offers a golf course, restaurants and night life and an international airport.

Find some tips on buying a second home from MSN Money. Details on the homes described above in the resource box below.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg


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Source by M. -J. Taylor

Agent Marketing Minute: Let a Brag Book Tell Your Story

Immobilie bewerten, Immobilie Wert, Immobilienrechner, Verkaufsrechner, Immobilienwertermittlung Tel: 06227-399170 Handy: 0176-2116-9990 eMail: info@heidelbergerwohnen.de Internet: www.heidelbergerwohnen.de

In today’s competitive real estate marketplace, I still amazed at how few agents know how to communicate their real estate business story to a home buyer and seller. First impressions count, and you need to be prepared verbally and visually to tell your story and why the consumer should use you and not the competition. Soon after I started in the business I developed for lack of a better name, my brag book, that take on all listing appointments and first meetings with buyers.

My books‘ contents are always evolving and are constantly updated with current information and examples. The first section has as many active, pending, and closed listings as I can fit in. I include property brochures, postcards and virtual tours on CD-ROMs. Include a variety of price points and locations.

The second section has examples of newspaper advertisements, magazine features, and screen prints from my and my brokers web site to illustrate what types of marketing I do for a specific property.

Third in my brag book are the actual cards, letters, and emails that have testimonials from clients, both buyers and sellers, about their satisfaction with my real estate business.

Lastly, any awards or non-profit work I do in the community, I like to point out that giving back to the community is an important part of my business. After a client goes through my book, they have an comprehensive idea of what benefits I bring to the table. Let your brag book help tell your story to prospective clients.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg


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Source by Mark Nash

Real Estate Sale Leaseback – Right for Your Business?

Immobilie bewerten, Immobilie Wert, Immobilienrechner, Verkaufsrechner, Immobilienwertermittlung Tel: 06227-399170 Handy: 0176-2116-9990 eMail: info@heidelbergerwohnen.de Internet: www.heidelbergerwohnen.de

As 2012 gets rolling and companies continue to look for something to give them hope, we should be looking at unique and creative ways to find that boost they need. To illustrate this, on the cover of December’s CFO magazine, the headline is „Looking for Lift“ with the subheadline „CFO’s in Banking, Housing and Manufacturing Chart New Strategies for 2012.“ One underutilized strategy where a company that owns commercial property can find that boost they are looking for is through a sale leaseback transaction.

A sale leaseback is a financial transaction that allows a property owner to sell their property and lease it back without affecting their day-to-day operations. Companies use this strategy as a way to quickly raise capital and accomplish a number of other corporate goals, including:

– Paying down debt

– Funding growth

– Acquiring other businesses

– Reinvesting the capital into current operations

Whether your company owns a single property or a portfolio of properties, there are investors actively looking to place their money and acquire property even in these uncertain times. In return for their cash now, they will look for long term leases to be executed as part of the transaction. Of course, the financial strength of the seller, the condition of the property(ies), and other comparable properties all factor in when determining the value of the asset(s) for sale and the terms of the lease. Professional real estate firms that have relationships with the investment community can help a corporation determine the value of the asset(s) in question, the terms of the potential lease, manage the due diligence process and help facilitate the completion of the transaction.

While there are many investment groups currently looking to place money and purchase commercial property, having the right relationships with groups that purchase your product type and focus on your particular size of transaction is critical to ensuring a successful sale leaseback. Furthermore, being able to present the investment opportunity to the largest pool of potential buyers improves the chances of securing multiple offers and can potentially increase the value of the property. When a seller has multiple buyers bidding on the same asset, a competitive environment ensues which can increase the sales price and improve the terms of the lease.

As your corporation considers new financial strategies for this year and next, if you own commercial property consider evaluating a sale leaseback as a vehicle to pay down company debt, fund growth, acquire another business or to reinvest the capital into your current operation where needed. This strategy is an underutilized way for corporations to get a boost when they need one without affecting the operation of the business.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg


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Source by Jerad A Rector

Buying an Older Home – Pros and Cons

Immobilie bewerten, Immobilie Wert, Immobilienrechner, Verkaufsrechner, Immobilienwertermittlung Tel: 06227-399170 Handy: 0176-2116-9990 eMail: info@heidelbergerwohnen.de Internet: www.heidelbergerwohnen.de

When looking at houses for sale some prefer newer homes but some prefer the charm of an older home. If you are considering purchasing an older house for sale there are pros and cons of doing so.

Pros

• Architectural details-in some of the older homes for sale you may be able to find some of the intricate woodwork that was carved out or crafted manually by carpenters as was done decades ago because there were none of the modern tools carpenters use today. This makes the architectural work irreplaceable and unique. There are no two older homes that will be similar in their style and look. Older homes are meant for those that enjoy the artisanship of that time.

• Cost-effective-the one reason that older homes are relatively cost-effective is that you can get more square footage for a better price that you would pay for a new home with the same amount of square footage.

• Bigger yards-when older and newer homes for sale you will most often find that the older houses have a bigger yard. This extra space can give you more room for a garden, to put in a swimming pool, and pets and children have more room to move and play. With larger yards, your neighbors are not right next to you as many new homes are.

Cons

• Cost of refurnishing and repairs-sometimes an old home was not maintained properly by the owner so this could mean that you will have to spend more money for refurbishment and repairs. One example is if you bought an older home in a costal area you may have to replace rusty pipes. If it has been awhile since the roof was replaced or check then you may have to put on a new roof. In such homes many times, wallpaper was used instead of paint so you may have to peel layers of this off in order to paint the walls. There may also be weak spots in the floors that you have to repair. You may also have to upgrade appliances.

• Safety and health concerns-if there are no smoke alarms installed you will have to install them. You may also have to have an older home re-wired, which should have been pointed out during the home inspection. There is also no way to determine if the older house is mercury-/lead-/asbestos-free.

When considering buying an older house for sale make sure that you have it inspected before signing the final papers. See what is wrong and then decide if you want to tackle these problems or find another house for sale. An older home may have charm but it could also be expensive to repair.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg


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Source by Lora Davis

A Complete Guide For Restaurant Real Estate Investments

Immobilie bewerten, Immobilie Wert, Immobilienrechner, Verkaufsrechner, Immobilienwertermittlung Tel: 06227-399170 Handy: 0176-2116-9990 eMail: info@heidelbergerwohnen.de Internet: www.heidelbergerwohnen.de

Restaurants are a favorite commercial property for many investors because:

  1. Tenants often sign a very long term, e.g. 20 years absolute triple net (NNN) leases. This means, besides the rent, tenants also pay for property taxes, insurance and all maintenance expenses. The only thing the investor has to pay is the mortgage, which in turn offers very predictable cash flow. There are either no or few landlord responsibilities because the tenant is responsible for maintenance. This allows the investor more time to do important thing in life, e.g. retire. All you do is take the rent check to the bank. This is one of the key benefits in investing in a restaurant or single-tenant property.
  2. Whether rich or poor, people need to eat. Americans are eating out more often as they are too busy to cook and cleanup the pots & pans afterwards which often is the worst part! According to the National Restaurant Association, the nation’s restaurant industry currently involves 937,000 restaurants and is expected to reach $537 billion in sales in 2007, compared to just $322 billion in 1997 and $200 billion in 1987 (in current dollars). In 2006, for every dollar Americans spend on foods, 48 cents were spent in restaurants. As long as there is civilization on earth, there will be restaurants and the investor will feel comfortable that the property is always in high demand.
  3. You know your tenants will take very good care of your property because it’s in their best interest to do so. Few customers, if any, want to go to a restaurant that has a filthy bathroom and/or trash in the parking lot.

However, restaurants are not created equal, from an investment viewpoint.

Franchised versus Independent

One often hears that 9 out of 10 new restaurants will fail in the first year; however, this is just an urban myth as there are no conclusive studies on this. There is only a study by Associate Professor of Hospitality, Dr. H.G. Parsa of Ohio State University who tracked new restaurants located in the city Columbus, Ohio during the period from 1996 to 1999 (Note: you should not draw the conclusion that the results are the same everywhere else in the US or during any other time periods.) Dr. Parsa observed that seafood restaurants were the safest ventures and that Mexican restaurants experience the highest rate of failure in Columbus, OH. His study also found 26% of new restaurants closed in the first year in Columbus, OH during 1996 to 1999. Besides economic failure, the reasons for restaurants closing include divorce, poor health, and unwillingness to commit immense time toward operation of the business. Based on this study, it may be safe to predict that the longer the restaurant has been in business, the more likely it will be operating the following year so that the landlord will continue to receive the rent.

For franchised restaurants, a franchisee has to have a certain minimal amount of non-borrowed cash/capital, e.g. $300,000 for McDonald’s, to qualify. The franchisee has to pay a one-time franchisee fee about $30,000 to $50,000. In addition, the franchisee has contribute royalty and advertising fees equal to about 4% and 3% of sales revenue, respectively. In turn, the franchisee receives training on how to set up and operate a proven and successful business without worrying about the marketing part. As a result, a franchised restaurant gets customers as soon as the open sign is put up. Should the franchisee fail to run the business at the location, the franchise may replace the current franchisee with a new one. The king of franchised hamburger restaurants is the fast-food chain McDonald’s with over 32000 locations in 118 countries (about 14,000 in the US) as of 2010. It has $34.2B in sales in 2011 with an average of $2.4M in revenue per US location. McDonald’s currently captures over 50% market share of the $64 billion US hamburger restaurant market. Its sales are up 26% in the last 5 years. Distant behind is Wendy’s (average sales of $1.5M) with $8.5B in sales and 5904 stores. Burger King ranks third (average sales of $1.2M) with $8.4B in sale, 7264 stores and 13% of the hamburger restaurant market share (among all restaurant chains, Subway is ranked number two with $11.4B in sales, 23,850 stores, and Starbucks number 3 with $9.8B in sales and 11,158 stores). McDonald’s success apparently is not the result of how delicious its Big Mac tastes but something else more complex. Per a survey of 28,000 online subscribers of Consumer Report magazine, McDonald’s hamburgers rank last among 18 national and regional fast food chains. It received a score of 5.6 on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the best, behind Jack In the Box (6.3), Burger King (6.3), Wendy’s (6.6), Sonic Drive In (6.6), Carl’s Jr (6.9), Back Yard Burgers (7.6), Five Guys Burgers (7.9), and In-N-Out Burgers (7.9).

Fast-food chains tend to detect new trends faster. For example, they are open as early as 5AM as Americans are increasingly buying their breakfasts earlier. They are also selling more cafe; latte; fruit smoothies to compete with Starbucks and Jumba Juice. You also see more salads on the menu. This gives customers more reasons to stop by at fast-food restaurants and make them more appealing to different customers.

With independent restaurants, it often takes a while to for customers to come around and try the food. These establishments are especially tough in the first 12 months of opening, especially with owners of minimal or no proven track record. So in general, „mom and pop“ restaurants are risky investment due to initial weak revenue. If you choose to invest in a non-brand name restaurant, make sure the return is proportional to the risks that you will be taking.

Sometimes it is not easy for you to tell if a restaurant is a brand name or non-brand name. Some restaurant chains only operate, or are popular in a certain region. For example, WhatABurger restaurant chain with over 700 locations in 10 states is a very popular fast-food restaurant chain in Texas and Georgia. However, it is still unknown on the West Coast as of 2012. Brand name chains tend to have a website listing all the locations plus other information. So if you can find a restaurant website from Google or Yahoo you can quickly discern if an unfamiliar name is a brand name or not. You can also obtain basic consumer information about almost any chain restaurants in the US on Wikipedia.

The Ten Fastest-Growing Chains in 2011 with Sales Over $200 Million

According to Technomic, the following is the 10 fastest growing restaurant chains in terms of revenue change from 2010 to 2011:

  1. Five Guys Burgers and Fries with $921M in sales and 32.8% change.
  2. Chipotle Mexican Grill with $2.261B in sales and 23.4% change.
  3. Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwich Shop with $895M in sales and 21.8% change.
  4. Yard House with $262M in sales and 21.5% change.
  5. Firehouse Subs with $285M in sales and 21.1% change.
  6. BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse with $621M in sales and 20.9% change.
  7. Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar with $2.045B in sales and 20.1% change.
  8. Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers with $206M in sales and 18.2% change.
  9. Noodles & Company with $300M in sales and 14.9% change from.
  10. Wingstop with $382M in sales and 22.1% change.

Lease & Rent Guaranty

The tenants often sign a long term absolute triple net (NNN) lease. This means, besides the base rent, they also pay for all operating expenses: property taxes, insurance and maintenance expenses. For investors, the risk of maintenance expenses uncertainty is eliminated and their cash flow is predictable. The tenants may also guarantee the rent with their own or corporate assets. Therefore, in case they have to close down the business, they will continue paying rent for the life of the lease. Below are a few things that you need to know about the lease guaranty:

  1. In general, the stronger the guaranty the lower the return of your investment. The guaranty by McDonald’s Corporation with a strong „A“ S&P corporate rating of a public company is much better than a small corporation owned by a franchisee with a few restaurants. Consequently, a restaurant with a McDonald’s corporate lease normally offers low 4.5-5% cap (return of investment in the 1st year of ownership) while McDonald’s with a franchisee guaranty (over 75% of McDonalds restaurants are owned by franchisees) may offer 5-6% cap. So figure out the amount of risks you are willing to take as you won’t get both low risks and high returns in an investment.
  2. Sometimes a multi-location franchise will form a parent company to own all the restaurants. Each restaurant in turn is owned by a single-entity Limited Liabilities Company (LLC) to shield the parent company from liabilities. So the rent guaranty by the single-entity LLC does not mean much since it does not have much assets.
  3. A good, long guaranty does not make a lemon a good car. Similarly, a strong guaranty does not make a lousy restaurant a good investment. It only means the tenant will make every effort to pay you the rent. So don’t judge a property primarily on the guaranty.
  4. The guaranty is good until the corporation that guarantees it declares bankruptcy. At that time, the corporation reorganizes its operations by closing locations with low revenue and keeping the good locations, (i.e. ones with strong sales). So it’s more critical for you to choose a property at a good location. If it happens to have a weak guaranty, (e.g. from a small, private company), you will get double benefits: on time rent payment and high return.
  5. If you happen to invest in a „mom & pop“ restaurant, make sure all the principals, e.g. both mom and pop, guarantee the lease with their assets. The guaranty should be reviewed by an attorney to make sure you are well protected.

Location, Location, Location

A lousy restaurant may do well at a good location while those with a good menu may fail at a bad location. A good location will generate strong revenue for the operator and is primarily important to you as an investor. It should have these characteristics:

  1. High traffic volume: this will draw more customers to the restaurant and as a result high revenue. So a restaurant at the entrance to a regional mall or Disney World, a major shopping mall, or colleges is always desirable.
  2. Good visibility & signage: high traffic volume must be accompanied by good visibility from the street. This will minimize advertising expenses and is a constant reminder for diners to come in.
  3. Ease of ingress and egress: a restaurant located on a one-way service road running parallel to a freeway will get a lot of traffic and has great visibility but is not at a great location. It’s hard for potential customers to get back if they miss the entrance. In addition, it’s not possible to make a left turn. On the other hand, the restaurant just off freeway exit is more convenient for customers.
  4. Excellent demographics: a restaurant should do well in an area with a large, growing population and high incomes as it has more people with money to spend. Its business should generate more and more income to pay for increasing higher rents.
  5. Lots of parking spaces: most chained restaurants have their own parking lot to accommodate customers at peak hours. If customer cannot find a parking space within a few minutes, there is a good chance they will skip it and/or won’t come back as often. A typical fast food restaurant will need about 10 to 20 parking spaces per 1000 square feet of space. Fast food restaurants, e.g. McDonald’s will need more parking spaces than sit down restaurants, e.g. Olive Garden.
  6. High sales revenue: the annual gross revenue alone does not tell you much since larger–in term of square footage–restaurant tends to have higher revenue. So the rent to revenue ratio is a better gauge of success. Please refer to rent to revenue ratio in the due diligence section for further discussion.
  7. High barriers to entry: this simply means that it’s not easy to replicate this location nearby for various reasons: the area simply does not have any more developable land, or the master plan does not allow any more construction of commercial properties, or it’s more expensive to build a similar property due to high cost of land and construction materials. For these reasons, the tenant is likely to renew the lease if the business is profitable.

Financing Considerations

In general, the interest rate is a bit higher than average for restaurants due to the fact that they are single-tenant properties. To the lenders, there is a perceived risk because if the restaurant is closed down, you could potentially lose 100% of your income from that restaurant. Lenders also prefer national brand name restaurants. In addition, some lenders will not loan to out-of-state investors especially if the restaurants are located in smaller cities. So it may be a good idea for you to invest in a franchised restaurant in major metro areas, e.g. Atlanta, Dallas. In 2009 it’s quite a challenge to get financing for sit-down restaurant acquisitions, especially for mom and pop and regional restaurants due to the tight credit market. However, things seem to have improved a bit in 2010. If you want to get the best rate and terms for the loan, you should stick to national franchised restaurants in major metros.

When the cap rate is higher than the interest rate of the loan, e.g. cap rate is 7.5% while interest rate is 6.5%, then you should consider borrowing as much as possible. You will get 7.5% return on your down payment plus 1% return for the money you borrow. Hence your total return (cash on cash) will be higher than the cap rate. Additionally, since the inflation in the near future is expected to be higher due to rising costs of fuel, the money which you borrow to finance your purchase will be worth less. So it’s even more beneficial to maximize leverage now.

Due Diligence Investigation

You may want to consider these factors before deciding to go forward with the purchase:

  1. Tenant’s financial information: The restaurant business is labor intensive. The average employee generates only about $55,000 in revenue annually. The cost of goods, e.g. foods and supplies should be around 30-35% of revenue; labor and operating expenses 45-50%; rent about 7-12%. So do review the profits and loss (P&L) statements, if available, with your accountant. In the P&L statement, you may see the acronym EBITDAR. It stands for Earnings Before Income Taxes, Depreciation (of equipment), Amortization (of capital improvement), and Rent. If you don’t see royalty fees in P&L of a franchised restaurant or advertising expenses in the P&L of an independent restaurant, you may want to understand the reason why. Of course, we will want to make sure that the restaurant is profitable after paying the rent. Ideally, you would like to see net profits equal to 10-20% of the gross revenue. In the last few years the economy has taken a beating. As a result, restaurants have experienced a decrease in gross revenue of around 3-4%. This seems to have impacted most, if not all, restaurants everywhere. In addition, it may take a new restaurant several years to reach potential revenue target. So don’t expect new locations to be profitable right away even for chained restaurants.
  2. Tenant’s credit history: if the tenant is a private corporation, you may be able to obtain the tenant’s credit history from Dun & Bradstreet (D&B). D&B provides Paydex score, the business equivalent of FICO, i.e. personal credit history score. This score ranges from 1 to 100, with higher scores indicating better payment performance. A Paydex score of 75 is equivalent to FICO score of 700. So if your tenant has a Paydex score of 80, you are likely to receive the rent checks promptly.
  3. Rent to revenue ratio: this is the ratio of base rent over the annual gross sales of the store. It is a quick way to determine if the restaurant is profitable, i.e. the lower the ratio, the better the location. As a rule of thumb you will want to keep this ratio less than 10% which indicates that the location has strong revenue. If the ratio is less than 7%, the operator will very likely make a lot of money after paying the rent. The rent guaranty is probably not important in this case. However, the rent to revenue ratio is not a precise way to determine if the tenant is making a profit or not. It does not take into account the property taxes expense as part of the rent. Property taxes–computed as a percentage of assessed value–vary from states to states. For example, in California it’s about 1.25% of the assessed value, 3% in Texas, and as high as 10% in Illinois. And so a restaurant with rent to income ratio of 8% could be profitable in one state and yet be losing money in another.
  4. Parking spaces: restaurants tend to need a higher number of parking spaces because most diners tend to stop by within a small time window. You will need at least 8 parking spaces per 1000 Square Feet (SF) of restaurant space. Fast food restaurants may need about 15 to 18 spaces per 1000 SF.
  5. Termination Clause: some of the long term leases give the tenant an option to terminate the lease should there be a fire destroying a certain percentage of the property. Of course, this is not desirable to you if that percentage is too low, e.g. 10%. So make sure you read the lease. You also want to make sure the insurance policy also covers rental income loss for 12-24 months in case the property is damaged by fire or natural disasters.
  6. Price per SF: you should pay about $200 to $500 per SF. In California you have to pay a premium, e.g. $1000 per SF for Starbucks restaurants which are normally sold at very high price per SF. If you pay more than $500 per SF for the restaurant, make sure you have justification for doing so.
  7. Rent per SF: ideally you should invest in a property in which the rent per SF is low, e.g. $2 to $3 per SF per month. This gives you room to raise the rent in the future. Besides, the low rent ensures the tenant’s business is profitable, so he will be around to keep paying the rent. Starbucks tend to pay a premium rent $2 to 4 per SF monthly since they are often located at a premium location with lots of traffic and high visibility. If you plan to invest in a restaurant in which the tenant pays more than $4 per SF monthly, make sure you could justify your decision because it’s hard to make a profit in the restaurant business when the tenant is paying higher rent. Some restaurants may have a percentage clause. This means besides the minimum base rent, the operator also pays you a percentage of his revenue when it reaches a certain threshold.
  8. Rent increase: A restaurant landlord will normally receive either a 2% annual rent increase or a 10% increase every 5 years. As an investor you should prefer 2% annual rent increase because 5 years is a long time to wait for a raise. You will also receive more rent with 2% annual increase than 10% increase every 5 years. Besides, as the rent increases every year so does the value of your investment. The value of restaurant is often based on the rent it generates. If the rent is increased while the market cap remains the same, your investment will appreciate in value. So there is no key advantage for investing in a restaurant in a certain area, e.g. California. It’s more important to choose a restaurant at a great location.
  9. Lease term: in general investors favor long term, e.g. 20 year lease so they don’t have to worry about finding new tenants. During a period with low inflation, e.g. 1% to 2%, this is fine. However, when the inflation is high, e.g. 4%, this means you will technically get less rent if the rent increase is only 2%. So don’t rule out properties with a few years left of the lease as there may be strong upside potential. When the lease expires without options, the tenant may have to pay much higher market rent.
  10. Risks versus Investment Returns: as an investor, you like properties that offer very high return, e.g. 8% to 9% cap rate. And so you may be attracted to a brand new franchised restaurant offered for sale by a developer. In this case, the developer builds the restaurants completely with Furniture, Fixtures and Equipment (FFEs) for the franchisee based on the franchise specifications. The franchisee signs a 20 years absolute NNN lease paying very generous rent per SF, e.g. $4 to $5 per SF monthly. The new franchisee is willing to do so because he does not need to come up with any cash to open a business. Investors are excited about the high return; however, this may be a very risky investment. The one who is guaranteed to make money is the developer. The franchisee may not be willing to hold on during tough times as he does not have any equity in the property. Should the franchisee’s business fails, you may not be able to find a tenant willing to pay such high rent, and you may end up with a vacant restaurant.
  11. Track records of the operator: the restaurant being run by an operator with 1 or 2 recently-open restaurants will probably be a riskier investment. On the other hand, an operator with 20 years in the business and 30 locations may be more likely to be around next year to pay you the rent.
  12. Trade fixtures: some restaurants are sold with trade fixtures so make sure you document in writing what is included in the sale.
  13. Fast-food versus Sit-down: while fast-food restaurants, e.g. McDonalds do well during the downturn, sit-down family restaurants tend to be more sensitive to the recession due to higher prices and high expenses. These restaurants may experience double-digit drop in year-to-year revenue. As a result, many sit-down restaurants were shut down during the recession. If you consider investing in a sit-down restaurant, you should choose one in an area with high income and large population.

Sale & Lease Back

Sometimes the restaurant operator may sell the real estate part and then lease back the property for a long time, e.g. 20 years. A typical investor would wonder if the operator is in financial trouble so that he has to sell the property to pay for his debts. It may or may not be the case; however, this is a quick and easy way for the restaurant operator to get cash out of the equities for good reason: business expansion. Of course, the operator could refinance the property with cash out but that may not be the best option because:

  1. He cannot maximize the cash out as lenders often lend only 65% of the property value in a refinance situation.
  2. The loan will show as long term debt in the balance sheet which is often not viewed in a positive light.
  3. The interest rates may not be as favorable if the restaurant operator does not have a strong balance sheet.
  4. He may not be able to find any lenders due to the tight credit market.

You will often see 2 different cash out strategies when you look at the rent paid by the restaurant operator:

  1. Conservative market rent: the operator wants to make sure he pays a low rent so his restaurant business has a good chance of being profitable. He also offers conservative cap rate to investors, e.g. 7% cap. As a result, his cash out amount is small to moderate. This may be a low risk investment for an investor because the tenant is more likely to be able to afford the rent.
  2. Significantly higher than market rent: the operator wants to maximize his cash out by pricing the property much higher than its market value, e.g. $2M for a $1M property. Investors are sometimes offered high cap rate, e.g. 10%. The operator may pay $5 of rent per square foot in an area where the rent for comparable properties is $3 per square foot. As a result, the restaurant business at this location may suffer a loss due to higher rents. However, the operator gets as much money as possible. This property could be very risky for you. If the tenant’s business does not make it and he declares bankruptcy, you will have to offer lower rent to another tenant to lease your building.

Ground Lease

Occasionally you see a restaurant on ground lease for sale. The term ground lease may be confusing as it could mean

  1. You buy the building and lease the land owned by another investor on a long-term, e.g. 50 years, ground lease.
  2. You buy the land in which the tenant owns the building. This is the most likely scenario. The tenant builds the restaurant with its own money and then typically signs a 20 years NNN lease to lease the lot. If the tenant does not renew the lease then the building is reverted to the landowner. The cap rate is often 1% lower, e.g. 6 to 7.25 percent, compared to restaurants in which you buy both land and building.

Since the tenant has to invest a substantial amount of money (whether its own or borrowed funds) for the construction of the building, it has to be double sure that this is the right location for its business. In addition, should the tenant fail to make the rent payment or fail to renew the lease, the building with substantial value will revert to you as the landowner. So the tenant will lose a lot more, both business and building, if it does not fulfill its obligation. And thus it thinks twice about not sending in the rent checks. In that sense, this is a bit safer investment than a restaurant which you own both the land and improvements. Besides the lower cap rate, the major drawbacks for ground lease are

  1. There are no tax write-offs as the IRS does not allow you to depreciate its land value. So your tax liabilities are higher. The tenants, on the other hand, can depreciate 100% the value of the buildings and equipments to offset the profits from the business.
  2. If the property is damaged by fire or natural disasters, e.g. tornados, some leases may allow the tenants to collect insurance proceeds and terminate the lease without rebuilding the properties in the last few years of the lease. Unfortunately, this author is not aware of any insurance companies that would sell fire insurance to you since you don’t own the building. So the risk is substantial as you may end up owning a very expensive vacant lot with no income and a huge property taxes bill.
  3. Some of the leases allow the tenants not having to make any structure, e.g. roof, repairs in the last few years of the lease. This may require investors to spend money on deferred maintenance expenses and thus will have negative impact on the cash flow of the property.

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Source by David V. Tran

Realtor Lockboxes Explained: A Summary of Lockbox Options and Alternatives for Real Estate Agents

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Real estate professionals today have a plethora of high tech options out there to enhance their business, but rarely do we fully consider the value of the lockbox – the sole piece of equipment responsible for allowing agents to show the homes that we sell everyday. The lockbox itself has evolved over time, and today agents find themselves comparing the value from a standard combination lockbox to that of a more high-tech electronic lockbox. Real estate agents today are pressed from all sides for fees, dues, and expenditures that are unavoidable costs of doing business, so when it comes to making a decision between a combination lockbox that’s just a few bucks versus a high-tech electronic lockbox that is substantially more expensive, does the increase in cost justify the value? Also, what are all the options out there for electronic lockboxes? This article highlights the findings of current industry options available.

Having the ability to show a home without the sellers there to watch your every move was a move in the right direction for the real estate industry. Agents know very well the situation where a seller will remain in a home during a showing and „pretend“ like they are minding their own business while the buyers tip-toe through the home trying not to impose while attempting to get a sense of what the home was like.

This is a wild departure from the typical showing when the sellers aren’t there; clients love to snoop around in order to get a good sense of the home. With the sellers not there, the buyers get a good opportunity to get a true sense of how that particular home would feel and if they can see themselves living there. Put simply, it allows for a better, more convenient showing experience.

From this dilemma the lockbox was invented. A device securing the key for entry by licensed real estate agents to show their prospective buyers, and it allowed sellers (or their agents) the opportunity to have the home shown without the need of their presence. It saved time, and allowed for a better showing experience. Truly, it was a win-win.

However, early lockboxes were simply a combination lockbox. They are certainly inexpensive, but an obvious downside was the lack of security for the home in question once the lockbox code was known. Sellers would rely on the professional ethics of real estate agents to keep the code confidential, but sometimes the code would slip into hands of non-agents. Less frequently, the code would be found by people with malicious intent.

With the obvious shortfall of relying on the honor system to keep lockbox codes confidential, it offered the opportunity for a better solution that would allow for accountability along with the ability to show a home without the seller being present. As a result, it did not take long for „smart“ lockboxes using electronic technology to come into existence, thus revolutionizing the process of showing a home. Before a seller and their agent wouldn’t really know who was showing the property other than the confirmed appointments that were made. Flash forward to today, and you have the ability to know exactly who and exactly when someone shows a property through the use of an electronic lockbox. With these smart electronic lockboxes, only an agent or other authorized party can access the lockbox itself, further emboldening the assurance to a seller that only licensed agents and properly authorized individuals are showing or entering their home.

Today there are 2 main companies that provide these smart electronic lockboxes to real estate agency associations. They are Supra key and Sentrilock. Together they comprise the majority of the lockbox industry market; nobody else comes close.

Supra (or SupraKey) is owned by general electric and provides lockbox solutions to all sorts of niche industries, real estate lockboxes being one of them. Bill Love, national account manager for Supra, says that out of a given state or region in the country, Supra, on average, maintains an 80% market share. Supra has sold several million lockboxes throughout the years to real estate agents, and currently Love estimates that there are 1.5 million+ Supra lockboxes currently in use by about 750,000 real estate agents throughout the country.

The supra key itself features a cylindrical design up to the „shackle“ (the loop part of the lockbox that will noose around something and keep it in its place securely) where the shackle fits in seamlessly. Its simplistic design is pleasing to the eye, and to activate the lockbox, an agent has a „digital key“ that’s about the size of a small flip phone and has a number pad and screen on it. The agent sets the key to open a box and points it in the direction of an infrared sensor on the box itself. When the lockbox recognizes that it being accessed by the remote digital key, it will release to allow access and the bottom of the lockbox will fall out when it’s pushed by the agent, and voilà, the key to the home is available for the agent to take and open the door for the showing.

Love says that Supra has plans for upgrades to the current model lockbox that will include the ability for wireless Bluetooth access and syncing. Also, rather than having the digital key, if the agent has a smartphone, Supra offers an app for access with the phone instead, which makes it easier and more convenient, for a monthly fee. Love claims that the key difference with a Supra Lockbox is that „it keeps intelligence in the hands of the user.“ Rather than having to rely on extra equipment or other trades people, the user has the control. Supra has had the current model for several years now with incremental software updates along the way. If an agent wants to buy a new Supra lockbox, it costs around $90, but the actual price that an agent will pay is determined by the association that they belong to.

Sentrilock is the other major player in the real estate lockbox industry. Sentrilock, which is based out of Indiana and is partially owned by the National Association of Realtors has been around for less than a decade and currently services about 250 of the 1000+ Realtor associations throughout the country and Canada as well. These associations comprise about 250,000 agents and approximately 500,000 lockboxes in current use. Sentrilock has 2 main models that are currently used; one is a silver lockbox that resembles a cell phone from the late 1980’s, bulky and heavy and somewhat longer in size than the supra lockbox. It has a key pad directly on the front of the lockbox itself, and holds the key within a drop-down door that pops open when accessed.

The other lockbox they offer is a smaller, more compact blue lockbox that is more cube-ish in shape but with the similar functionality features. The main difference between the silver and blue lockbox is that the blue lockbox allows for more space within the lockbox itself (which is important for people trying to sell a condo and who need to include an „access fob“ in addition to the key to the front door of the unit itself – there just isn’t enough room for multiple keys or when including the access fob with Sentrilocks‘ silver lockbox). Sentrilock sells their lockboxes for about $125 a piece, but this also depends on where you are getting it from, as the actual retail price is determined by the local real estate association that sells the boxes.

Both lockbox companies offer substantial warranties on the product themselves. They also have a support team that is almost always available in the event there is difficulty in accessing a lockbox, or for troubleshooting purposes. Both companies offer a comprehensive online tool that can provide the analytics from the showings and use of a specific lockbox which agents can use to share with their clients.

Some of the main differences between these two are how the lockbox itself is accessed. Sentrilock doesn’t need an extra piece of equipment to open a box. Rather, they utilize a „Smart-Card“ which is essentially a credit-card that fits into the lockbox and has a chip inside it that shares your information with the lockbox you are accessing. This card is all you need to access the lockbox, whereas Supra requires the digital key, although they have addressed this by means of offering the smart-phone app so an agent can use their phone in place of the digital key. Both systems require updating; in other words, the smart card for the sentrilock system requires you to stick your card in a „card reader“ that you get when you buy your smart-card that hooks into your computer. Every few days (the exact amount of days is determined by your local Realtor association) you must update the card through the card reader, which will allow you to show property, and at the same time uploads the information of the places you have shown to the Sentrilock system, which in turn is then able to be seen by the agents who owned the lockboxes of the places that you accessed. In a pinch you can update your card over the phone, but you can only do this once or twice.

On the other hand, supra keys update wirelessly. They didn’t always do this, where you were required to keep your „digital key“ docked on a charging station that was hooked up to a phone line. You had to do this every day and that’s how the system would both update your card as well as share your showing information to the system. The wireless updating feature has been in place for a year or two now, and takes the headache out of the equation of having you update your key each and every day.

The back end system for Sentrilock allows an agent to create specific access codes for one-time access of a specific lockbox. This makes it really convenient for a contractor, appraiser, termite inspector, etc. to be able to access a property with a code, but only one time because that code will expire after the day the code was intended to be used. This is a great feature that Supra doesn’t have an answer to.

Although there are benefits to both systems, any agent can’t simply choose which lockbox system they want to use – this is decided, agreed to and contractually obligated between either Sentrilock or Supra and an agent’s local real estate association. These associations, once they have agreed on a system to use can then „tweak“ the system to their discretion and preference. Things like the cost of a lockbox, whether the lockbox is leased or sold to agents, the amount of times an agent can renew their key by phone, the amount of days that can elapse before an update of an access key is required, these and more options can be tweaked and most real estate professionals are unaware that other options or preferences exist.

When comparing the benefits over your standard combination lockbox, an agent must be able to justify the added cost of a smart-electronic lockbox by the value it provides. It’s easy to do so, especially when taking the seller’s best interests at heart, as the smart lockbox will ensure accountability and a better safety and security measure for the showing process and for the home itself. Its analytics information and the ability to control who can actually gain access to the home are tantamount to successfully being able to gauge the interest in a home by means of how many people are interested in seeing it as well as being able to rest assure the seller that a home is being shown but in the most secure manner possible.

During this most recent downturn in the economy, most real estate markets throughout the country were inundated (and some still are) with foreclosure property. Certain real estate brokerages that specialized in this type of distressed property had the best years of production on record for the 2008 and 2009 years. All of these properties that needed to be shown and sold needed lockboxes, but the value provided by a smart lockbox through Sentrilock or Supra didn’t justify the cost to acquire, as distressed-property brokerages had inventories of 50, 100, 200 or 300 properties at a given time. The smart lockboxes were too expensive, especially when taking into account that the home in question was owned by the bank, it was vacant and the analytics of showings didn’t matter when a given foreclosure property is selling in no time at all with multiple offers. If an agent is carrying even 50 listings with a smart lockbox, it entails $5000 worth of lockboxes needed on all the properties he/she has for sale. At this point, a less expensive combination lockbox from Lowes for $7 looks way better and the total outlay for the lockboxes is substantially less. It’s a combination of utility value and overall price paid from the standpoint of the real estate professional, so it begs the question, why are the smart lockboxes so expensive?

Put simply, the market will bear the current price point of both the Supra and Sentrilock lockboxes because the value they provide are well worth the cost. That being said, certain companies have come into existence that are poised to take advantage of the amount of agents that want to sell their used lockboxes as well as the agents out there who don’t want to pay retail for the lockbox(es) they need for their business. Blake Nolan, co-owner of San Diego based LockboxSwap has created a website where a secondary market has been created and regulated for both the Sentrilock and Supra lockbox systems. Nolan says his company can help agents buy or sell their lockboxes and in the process save time and money. „Right now there is no real place online that offers what we offer“ Nolan Says. He continues that „if you call into (any association) and ask about used lockboxes, or where to sell your own lockboxes, they say to go try craigslist or Ebay. We created LockboxSwap to address this vast and untapped market opportunity.“

Nolan’s‘ LockboxSwap company plans to unveil the business this summer, and preliminary beta-test users have offered rave reviews.

In the world of Realtor lockboxes, smart-lockboxes are preferred because the overall value inherent in being able to secure a home, controlling the use of entry and having analytical accountability far outweighs the alternative of your standard combination lockbox (or no lockbox at all) Although the 2 main players in the Realtor lockbox arena have 2 excellent products, both fall short of being 100% perfect. They both do some things quite well and have the capabilities that the other does not. It would be great to be able to merge both products and concepts together, but since that is not possible, it’s up to each individual Realtor association to interview and determine which company is a better „fit“ for them. At the end of the day, the 2 companies and respective products, although imperfect, represent competition between one another which keeps productivity and innovation high while keeping prices in check. Companies like that of LockboxSwap help to do this further by inventing and establishing the precedent for an industry that hereto has yet to exist, but has the ability to offer a cost-efficient alternative to Realtor professionals when it comes to their lockbox needs.

No matter what, it’s obvious the industry is moving in the right direction; we are witnessing technological advancements that help to serve Realtor professionals do their job better and more efficiently, and it is interesting to see what will be the norm in the near future as well as the long term. For now, Realtor professionals should be confident in knowing that while it’s great where we stand today, the future is only getting brighter.

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Source by Michael Justin Wolf

Montreal Property Tax Sale Procedure: Tax Sale Auctions

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Once a year the city of Montreal along with the Comité de gestion de la taxe scolaire auction off all the properties that have not paid their tax bill in full. Montreal property tax sales is a great way to pick up properties for much less than they are worth. Before you think about how great it would be to get a great deal on real estate, you need to know how the procedures to follow to participate in the Montreal tax sale.

What is the Montreal Tax Sale Process?

The Montreal tax sale auctions occur once a year in late autumn. In order to participate, you must present yourself early to sign up. A revised list of properties will be produced and handed to everyone that is registered to bid. Once the tax sale begins, the properties will be auctioned off one by one in order that they appear on the list.

To make a bid, bidders must identify themselves, giving their name, address, occupation and mention if they are bidding for themselves or on behalf of someone else. Once the auction for a property is finalized, the buyer must pay the property in full along with any taxes. Payments are to be made in cash, certified check of bank draft.

What documents do you need to participate?

To participate, any person must produce a valid photo ID. Medicare card, driver’s license, passport or any other official photo document is acceptable.

What forms of payment are accepted?

The buyer must pay the full amount of the purchase immediately:

* In cash

* By certified cheque

* By bank draft

NOTE THAT CREDIT AND DEBIT CARDS ARE NOT ACCEPTED

What happens if the certified check is not the right amount?

If the buyer has a certified check of an amount greater than the bid, the difference will be returned to him by the city in a delay of 10 days. The surplus amount can also be applied towards another property if the buyer has made more than one bid. If the check is less than the amount required, the property will immediately be put back for sale and the buyer will be responsible for paying the difference his bid and the actual final sales price of the auction.

Are there conditions to the sales?

Yes. All properties are bought site unseen at the risk and perils of the buyers. This means that you cannot change your mind after the fact. Also, the previous owner may, within a period of one year, purchase the property back from the auction buyer for the amount he paid plus 10% yearly interest. This is known as the right of redemption and is an absolute right. The buyer cannot contest this right.

Will I really only pay the tax amount for the property?

It is possible but unlikely. You have to expect that many buyers will be interested in the Montreal Property Tax sale and since this is an auction, the price will surely be higher than just the tax bill.

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Source by Eric C. Giguere

Agent Marketing Minute: Let a Brag Book Tell Your Story

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In today’s competitive real estate marketplace, I still amazed at how few agents know how to communicate their real estate business story to a home buyer and seller. First impressions count, and you need to be prepared verbally and visually to tell your story and why the consumer should use you and not the competition. Soon after I started in the business I developed for lack of a better name, my brag book, that take on all listing appointments and first meetings with buyers.

My books‘ contents are always evolving and are constantly updated with current information and examples. The first section has as many active, pending, and closed listings as I can fit in. I include property brochures, postcards and virtual tours on CD-ROMs. Include a variety of price points and locations.

The second section has examples of newspaper advertisements, magazine features, and screen prints from my and my brokers web site to illustrate what types of marketing I do for a specific property.

Third in my brag book are the actual cards, letters, and emails that have testimonials from clients, both buyers and sellers, about their satisfaction with my real estate business.

Lastly, any awards or non-profit work I do in the community, I like to point out that giving back to the community is an important part of my business. After a client goes through my book, they have an comprehensive idea of what benefits I bring to the table. Let your brag book help tell your story to prospective clients.

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Source by Mark Nash

What Annoys Real Estate Agents

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Real Estate Agents, like anyone else in the sales profession, have their fair share of job related ‚pet hates‘. Due to the nature of the work where one is dealing with clients who, in most cases, are selling or purchasing the biggest investment of their lives, a lot of emotions are involved. These emotions are often portrayed as indecision, insecurity and ego. Of course an Agent would like their work to be as simple as listing and selling properties and while this is exactly what goes on most of the time, more than most professions, a large portion of an Agent’s best efforts are often wasted. Most Agents work on a commission basis only and can not really afford to waste resources in an effort to please awkward and unreasonable clients, but nevertheless they often do. As someone who has worked in the field for over a decade and from my own perspective I will try to cover some situations that I endured and that Agents continue to endure as a part of their daily work. I would say that the following would rate among some of the most annoying issues that Agents have to face on a daily basis.

Users – These are the home owners in an Agent’s canvassing area that the Agent has spent years building a professional relationship with and given a courtesy call at least once a month for years, who then list and sell their property through another Agency. The Agent may have been called upon to do property assessments (estimating a property’s value by means of market related statistics) for the home owner’s portfolio of properties. The Agent may have been called upon often to offer info and advice on property taxes or property law but then the seller goes and lists and sells through a rookie Agent, new to the area and who has done no more than drop a leaflet in the seller’s post box!

Time Wasters – I recall arriving home late one Sunday afternoon after a camping trip. I had just pulled into the driveway when my mobile phone rang. It was a chap in my neighbourhood who said that he wanted to sell his house urgently, it could not wait, I had to go see him immediately! I quickly unpacked the car, changed and went to see the seller. On arriving there, I saw that he was having a braai (barbeque) and a few beers with some friends. I had printed a valuation report which I presented to him and after a short discussion he signed a Mandate for me to proceed with the sale of his property, despite his girlfriend’s objections. The next morning he called to say that he wanted to change his mind about selling as he did not feel ready yet!

About five weeks later he called once more and with a beer in his left hand he signed a new mandate with me. I placed his property on the market, sat a show house and was able to get him an offer at a value that he originally said that he would agree to. He turned the offer down and said that he would like to take his property off the market until he could get even more for it. Once more I obliged.

When he called me around three months later to sell his house again, I referred him to an Agent in the area who I did not like. I realised that this seller only wanted to sell his house whenever he was drunk!

Staying on the same subject, I would say that buyers who are too relaxed can be very unreasonable. I would say that Agents are let down frequently by prospective buyers who do not make it to appointments to view properties. Often I would call a few sellers to set up the required times for when I could bring my prospective buyer through to view. I would then arrange to meet the buyer at a neutral spot such as at the local service station. After waiting in the hot sun for 15 or 20 minutes I would call the buyer to see where they were and often they had just left the office on the other side of town, in peak hour traffic or had totally ‚forgotten‘ that they had another appointment. A timeous courtesy call to an Agent would make a big difference, but often a relaxed buyer simply does not get around to it. Many a Friday afternoon I would call to see where the buyer was only to be told they had forgotten the appointment while the background noise clearly indicated that they were in a pub.

Other buyers can simply not make up their minds on what they are looking for. An Agent will drive some buyers around to see all twenty of the listings on their books that seem to be within the category of what the buyer is looking for. The buyer will either dislike everything he sees or, even worse, love everything he sees but still not commit to making an offer. Often, after the Agent has spent around four full days driving the prospective buyer around, the buyer will go and buy a property through another Agency that is totally different to what he said he was looking for.

Cheapskates – Buyers who really like a property often want it for next to nothing even though there is value in the property. Despite any advice to make a decent offer, they will make a ridiculous one which is hardly worth putting down in writing but that the Agent is obliged to present to the seller. When the predictable happens and the offer is rejected, then they will counter offer by such a small amount that it would hardly make a difference. When the counter offer is rejected, the average cheapskate (who can afford more) will often ask the Agent to call them if they get another offer and to tell them how much the other offer was for. A decent Agent should not disclose any figures but can say that they received a higher offer. This is usually not good enough for a cheapskate who only wants to offer ten cents more at most and so these buyers are usually not worth pursuing.

Complainers and Bulldozers – I group complainers and Bulldozers together as they are often one and the same. This group usually feels that everyone must jump because they are parting with their cash. They often request to see the property again and then complain about things that they were okay with at the time of signing the Offer to Purchase. All of a sudden they are no longer happy with the colour of the paint in the rooms that they want to use for their children and the rooms must be repainted before they move in because the kids cannot possibly breathe in paint fumes. The re-painting is something that the seller needs to do as they have already offered so much for the property that they could have bought the ten bedroom mansion two blocks down for the same price. Any opposition to such a request is usually met with a threat to cancel the whole deal.

I once had a buyer who wanted investment property, he looked over a small house that I had listed before completing an Offer to Purchase. He said that he would like the back wall by the kitchen repainted. I noted this under ’special conditions‘ on the Offer to Purchase document and thought that this would be covered once accepted by the seller. The seller repainted the back wall and then the buyer asked to see the vacant property once more. On seeing the property for the second time he said that he wanted the whole outside of the house repainted otherwise he would, surprise, surprise… cancel the whole deal. The seller refused to budge and instead of the deal being cancelled the buyer got his Attorney involved and threatened to sue everyone. After two weeks of haggling, the issue was finally resolved when the sellers reluctantly agreed to paint the whole outside of the property.

Nibblers – This is a group that I personally find most stressful. These are buyers that move in and then start to want additional repairs done to add value to their purchase. They go through the property like Sherlock Holmes with his magnifying glass and make four pages of bullet points about everything that is wrong with the house. Everything from the flaking paint on the back window ledge to the chip on the corner of the guest bathroom window pane is noted. They whine and complain about the seller needing to repair everything and if they are paying occupational rent before transfer then they also usually threaten to cancel the whole deal or to stop paying occupational rent.

Lazy Sellers – Some sellers agree to carry out repairs as part of the Sales Agreement. They never do despite numerous reminders. The buyer understandably becomes agitated and the Agent gets caught up in the middle of the whole mess. It often takes prolonged intervention from the Transfer Attorney to resolve the issue.

There you have it, so next time you query your Agent’s commission, bear in mind what they often have to endure. It is hard enough for Agents to get Mandates in the first place and then a lot of sales fall through and Mandates are lost due to issues such as a buyer not being able to secure a home loan.

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Source by Steve M Egan