How to Become a Professional Home Builder – Part I

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Over the years I’ve had many of our builder students ask pertinent questions such as what size home do I build; what do I put in it; where do I build it? Looking back it’s easy for me to make these decisions now, but when I first started building in 1975 these were trial and error situations. And my hindsight is crystal clear. It’s very easy for me to look back and see things I wished I had known when I first started building. That’s what you’re going to learn in this article.

You’ll learn the pros and cons of being a speculative or spec builder (as opposed to a contract builder.) If you’re not familiar with those terms, a spec builder is one who will select a site, choose a design, build a home and then sell it to a client. A contract builder is a builder that you hire to build a home for you. By the way, spec building is how I suggest you begin rather than building a home for somebody else. I’ll explain why later.

I’ll begin by showing you how to be one of the best spec builders in your area, even if you’ve never before built a home. I’ll expand this information by discussing points that are unique to spec building. Next I’ll discuss points that are unique to contract building, and points that pertain to both spec and contract building.

A Word Of Caution

I want to stress that when starting your construction business, you must separate your business from your personal life. In the early 70’s I was in real estate commercial sales. I barely survived a major recession. Almost everything I owned was in my name and most of it was repossessed. Had I known then what I know now, I’d have retained that large home, that Mercedes and that airplane.

In the construction industry there are many things that can happen to you, some of which you have absolutely no control over. According to the 2008 Annual Report by the National Center for State Courts, in 2007 Americans filed over 90 million lawsuits, more than a third of which were civil cases. This does not include the volumes of legal disputes that were settled before a lawsuit was ever filed. Based on the sheer number of legal disputes that arise, in and out of court, one could say that most Americans run the risk of being involved in a legal dispute at some point in their lives – for many people, more than once. This is especially true for those who work in professions with high lawsuit vulnerability such as doctors, dentists and, yes, especially builders! You should invest in hiring professionals to help you protect your assets. It’s easier than you may realize. This is one time you can’t procrastinate. I can tell you some great horror stories but I don’t want to scare you this early in the game. Anyway, don’t live in fear of what might happen. You only lose if you don’t play.

I. Speculative Building

A. How To Be One Of The Best Spec Builders In Your Area

Before you buy a lot, before you buy any house plans, the first thing I want you to do is put together your success team. I call this the Henry Ford philosophy. If you read about Henry Ford, you’d learn that some people considered him to be illiterate. He once sued a Chicago newspaper that wrote an article claiming he was illiterate. In the lawsuit, Henry Ford emphasized that he didn’t need to know everything about everything because he hired experts to assist him in all that he wanted to do. This left his mind free and clear to do all the things that he really knew how to do. Well, I’ve learned from that philosophy myself over the years. I realize there is not enough time in this life to do everything. I now hire experts to assist me in my decision-making, and it has been a positive factor in my success building homes.

Your success team should include the following:

1. Real Estate Agent

2. Landscape Architect

3. Artist/Architect

4. Kitchen/Bath Designer

5. Interior Designer

6. Lighting Designer

I’ll discuss each of these team members in detail as we go through the course. Don’t be concerned. When you start out, you don’t need the best. These team members are more affordable than you could possibly imagine.

B. Obtaining Your First Loan

Let me tell you a story. And the further you get away from this story, the harder it’s going to be to borrow money to get started.

Let’s assume that you’re gainfully employed. If you’re not employed, but instead are self-employed, then you have to have a high credit score or produce tax returns for the past three years to qualify for the loan. If you currently rent a home or apartment and you want to build a home for yourself, you’re a prime candidate to borrow money to build a home – for yourself. So, you get the money. You build a home. You put it on the market during construction. You sell it. You go to the bank. You borrow money under the same premise. You get the money. You build a home. Put it up for sale. Sell it. Do it over and over again and pretty soon you walk into the bank and the banker looks at you and says, gosh, you should become a home builder. And you are.

Now, that’s the easiest way to get started. Most every builder I know got started in the industry this way. This method will also provide you with the least risk. Why? Because if you don’t sell the home you’ll simply move into it. In turn, this will make it easier for you to sell because a home that is furnished will normally sell faster than an unfurnished home. You’ll eventually sell it and can start the process again. The bad news is that you may be moving a lot. I remember one couple that wanted to own a home free and clear. They used this method on five homes, plowing their profit back into each home. Their sixth home was constructed completely from cash. They owned it free and clear and got out of the construction business. They simply wanted to do what it took to own their home free and clear.

The further you get away from the above scenario, the harder it is to get the initial loan when you’re just getting started.

For example, let’s say that you currently own a home and you want to borrow money to build another home for yourself. A banker will generally be negative. They tend to look at the downside and might comment something like this. „That sounds real good but you currently own a home. What are you going to do with your current home?“ Your response is, „I’ll put it up for sale during the construction of this new home and then I’ll sell it.“ The banker comments, „That sounds pretty good, but what if you don’t sell your current home?“ The banker generally looks at the downside – that is you’re going to be stuck with two house payments. If you’re able to show you can afford two house payments, you may very well get the money.

You always have to have a successful conclusion to your story you tell the banker. Never look at the banker and say, „Well gosh; I’m only borrowing 70% of the appraised value. If the bank had to repossess the home the bank would have a bargain. The bank could sell the home, and make a good return on its investment.“ Never use this kind of logic on a banker. Bankers don’t want to be in the homeowner business. Never imply or even think in your mind this will happen.

If you’re not gainfully employed or you have a problem with your credit or you have no cash, your next best method is to find an investor that will joint venture a project with you. I’ve done this on many large projects when I didn’t have the finances to afford it myself. What I normally did was to structure the investment so that the joint venture partner would put up very little or no money. Investors really like that! What I needed was their strong financial statement. Understand, there are many investors, such as medical doctors, who have tremendous financial statements but they have very little cash. So if you can structure the investment so that it requires very little or no cash, it becomes a relatively easy investment to sell. When I’ve worked with a joint venture partner, after selling the investment, the investor would be repaid any cash he had invested, plus a fair interest rate that was agreed upon up front. All remaining profits would be split 50% to me and 50% to the investor. Normally in a situation like this, the investor would let me deduct any out-of-pocket expenses but, understandably, they would not let me take any salary.

You would not believe some of the wild, crazy, ridiculous investments requiring large amounts of cash I’ve seen these people put money into. Many of them have the same luck in the stock market that I have. These people should feel blessed that you came into their lives with a viable real estate investment. I’ve found these people by talking to friends, going to investment seminars and running ads in the paper.

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What Homeowners Need to Know When Facing Foreclosure

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Understanding the Foreclosure Process

What Is Foreclosure?

Foreclosure is the process that allows a lender to recover the amount owed on a defaulted loan by selling or taking ownership (repossession) of the property securing the loan. The foreclosure process begins when a lender files the appropriate documents with the appropriate officials (see below for more details).

Colorado Foreclosure Laws

Colorado foreclosures occur through both in-court (judicial) and out-of-court (non-judicial) proceedings.

The judicial process is used when no power of sale is present in the mortgage or deed of trust. The process begins when the mortgage lender files suit with the court system. The borrower then receives a letter from the court demanding payment. Typically, you’ll be given 30 days to respond with payment or a written response to the bank’s attorney and parties involved. If you do not respond within the time limit given, a judgment will be entered and the lender can request sale of the property by auction. If you file a written answer with the court, there is a hearing and the process takes longer and can even be forestalled. If a judgment is entered, then an auction date will be set, usually several months in the future. Once the property is sold, you’re served with an eviction notice by the sheriff’s office, and you must vacate the home immediately.

The most commonly practiced method of foreclosure in Colorado is the non-judicial foreclosure process. It is carried out by a Public Trustee who acts as an impartial party. The process begins when the lender files the required documents with the Public Trustee of the county in which the property is located. The Public Trustee then files a „Notice of Election and Demand“ (NED) with the county clerk and recorder. Once the NED is recorded, the Public Trustee Sale of the property is scheduled to take place between 110 and 125 days of the recording.

Pre-foreclosure Period

Many factors can lead to default of payment on a home loan and eventually foreclosure. Many are not the fault of the homeowner. Perhaps it is due to a hardship (loss of income, military deployment, health or family issues) or to „loan fraud“ or „creative financing“ by the banks (Adjustable Rate or ARM, Option ARM, Negative Amortization, or Interest Only loan). Whatever the cause, facing foreclosure is not an enjoyable experience.

The foreclosure process usually begins after the homeowner has missed several payments and different attempts have been made by the bank to collect. Let’s look at what typically takes place and what you can normally expect.

Day 1: You miss your first payment

Day 1-15: Grace period (Some lenders only allow 10 days)

Day 16-30: A late charge is assessed

Day 30: Borrower is in default

Day 45-60: Lender sends „demand“ or „breach“ letter, and phone calls begin

Day 60-90: Lender sends letters and makes phone calls. A repayment plan or a loan modification plan may be offered.

Day 90-105: The lender refers the loan to the loss mitigation department/foreclosure department and retains an attorney to handle the foreclosure.

Day 90-?????: The lender’s attorney files the required documents with the Public Trustee, who then files a NED with the county clerk and recorder. Once the NED is recorded, the property is scheduled to be sold within 110-125 days at a Public Trustee Sale.

Notice of Sale / Auction

Once the NED (Notice of Election and Demand) is recorded, the notice must be published in a newspaper of general circulation within the county where the property is located for a period of 5 consecutive weeks. The Public Trustee must also mail a copy of the published notice to the homeowner within 10 days. At least 21 days before the Public Trustee Sale, the Public Trustee must mail a notice to the homeowner describing how to redeem the property and stop the sale.

If the homeowner wants to redeem the property and stop the Public Trustee Sale, he must file an „Intent to Cure“ with the Public Trustee’s office at least 15 days prior to the foreclosure sale. He then has up till noon of the day before the sale to bring the loan current and redeem the property.

The Public Trustee typically conducts the sale at the courthouse. Bidders must register in advance and have funds available. At the sale, the public trustee reads the written bid submitted by the lender, then any registered party may bid. The winning bidder is given a certificate of purchase.

Redemption Period

There is no longer any redemption period for the homeowner after a foreclosure sale in Colorado.

How to Avoid Foreclosure -What Are Your Options?

FORECLOSURE!

It’s a harsh word that most people avoid thinking about…until they have to. If you are several months behind on your mortgage, without money for professional help, and at the end of your rope…foreclosure may be the ONLY thing you can think about. It preys on your mind and leaves you feeling lost and vulnerable to the come-ons of the unscrupulous ‚professionals‘ who say that they are experts in foreclosures, but aren’t. STOP!

You may be in a difficult situation, but it is not hopeless. Foreclosure is not your only option! My name is David Stitt, and I’ve got good news for you. You do have alternatives. You just can’t see them right now. But by the time you finish this short guide, your vision will have cleared and options for your future…good options…will be right before your eyes.

You are not alone! In the United States, foreclosure filings have increased consistently over the past few years, with more new foreclosures reported in every quarter, pushing the foreclosure market to record levels. So you are not alone. But if you’re like the many thousands of people facing foreclosure, you’re scared and confused. You’re overwhelmed by the legal mumbo-jumbo of foreclosure litigation. You don’t know who or what to trust. You’ve undoubtedly been pinned to the mat by Realtors and Attorneys, warning you about the dire consequences you’ll face if you don’t use their services. Or maybe you’ve worked with mortgage brokers. They promise the world – or world-class loans – and then they don’t deliver. And then there’s the holder of your mortgage who is unwilling (maybe after months of negotiating) to budge an inch when it comes to working out a more affordable payment plan.

After all you’ve probably been through, I’m not surprised that you’ve given up hope for a ‚good‘ solution and may feel resigned to accepting foreclosure and the years of damage it will do to your credit rating. Once again, STOP! Don’t fall into despair. Things are not as bad as they seem. There are other options.

A helping hand when you need it.

This Survival Guide is exactly what the name says it is: a simple, no-nonsense approach to foreclosures. It was created to help you and other homeowners become better informed about the details of the foreclosure process. I believe that knowledge is power…and I hope that this guide will give you the power to avoid foreclosure entirely.

Once you know the facts, you’ll be able to make a well-reasoned and thoughtful decision and then take action with the confidence that you’re doing what’s best for you.

On the next couple of pages, we are going to take a look at your different options and the pros and cons of each. You will be given the information you need to make a well-educated decision regarding your situation.

What Are Your Options?

Forbearance

Forbearance is a payment plan that a debtor enters into with a lender when they are unable to make timely payments, often due to illness or another temporary situation. In forbearance, the lender will allow you to delay payments for a short period. You agree that after missing payments for a few months you will bring the account current by making larger payments. The problem is, more than 85% of debtors default after the first payment. They cannot continue to make the inflated payments after the forbearance period ends, and they are right back where they started.

Loan Modification

A loan modification is a permanent change in one or more of the terms of a mortgagor’s loan. This may help you catch up by reducing the monthly payments to a more affordable level. You may qualify if you have recovered from a financial problem and can afford the new payment amount. However, Loss Mitigation Departments are now undermanned, under experienced, and overworked. Nightmare stories abound on the subject of patrons having to hound and harass Loss Mitigation Departments to get their paperwork pushed through to escape foreclosure. After all the hassle, most homeowners are still denied any help and end up in foreclosure.

Partial Claim

Your lender may be able to work with you to obtain a one-time payment (loan to be paid at end of mortgage) from the FHA-Insurance fund to bring your mortgage current. You may qualify if your loan is 4-12 months delinquent and you are able to start making full mortgage payments.

Deed-In-Lieu (Voluntary Foreclosure)

As a last resort, you may be able to voluntarily „give back“ your property to the lender. You may qualify if you are in default and don’t qualify for any of the other options, your attempts at selling the house before foreclosure were unsuccessful, and you don’t have another FHA mortgage in default. „Foreclosure“ will most likely be reported on your credit report.

Loan Assumption

This is where someone else takes over the payments of your loan, usually in exchange for your property. Loans made after 1988 are almost never assumable.

Bankruptcy

Many debtors will spend a lot of money for an attorney to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy – which is really a payment plan – only to lose the house. In essence you are paying the attorney instead of the lender. Before acting, know how much the process will cost and what your new increased monthly payment will be. Also know that if you miss one payment, your Chapter 13 will be dismissed and you will need to file Chapter 7. This will cost more attorney fees, assets, including your house will be liquidated and your credit report will still show a foreclosure.

Sale of Property

If the homeowner has equity in the property they can and should consider selling the property. The homeowner will receive a check at closing for equity over and above what is owed and closing costs paid. Most homeowners in foreclosure, however, have little or no equity. Be careful listing with a Realtor that can tie up your property for months.

Do Nothing

When it comes to the threat of foreclosure, procrastination is a prescription for disaster. Doing nothing changes nothing. Unless you take action, you will end up in foreclosure and your credit will suffer for the next 5-7 years.

Pre-Foreclosure Sale (Short Sale)

The pre-foreclosure sale program allows the lender in default to sell his/her home and use the net sale proceeds to satisfy the mortgage debt, even though these proceeds are less than the amount owed. It has two major advantages over a foreclosure: (1) You may be eligible for a new home loan after just 2 years instead of 5. (2) You should be able to avoid a deficiency judgment. When a house is sold at auction, the chances of the foreclosing lender filing a deficiency judgment increases dramatically. They will have years to come after you or to sell it to someone else who will.

As you can see, there are several options to consider – but consider you must! You cannot afford to stick your head in the sand like an ostrich and do nothing. Being in the state of denial is a bad state to be in! And as we said earlier, procrastination is a prescription for disaster.

Questions You Need to Ask

Questions You Need to Ask Yourself

1. If I file Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, will temporary relief from my monthly mortgage payments mean that I will be able to stop foreclosure forever…or will I be unable to keep up with my payments when they resume and I end up in foreclosure again?

2. If I choose Forbearance or a lender payment plan that gives me temporary relief from payments I can’t afford now….will I be able to afford the inflated monthly payments that I’ll have to make in the future, or will I end up in foreclosure again?

3. If I am unable to meet my monthly expenses now, can I commit to a payment plan…or should I just give up my house to a lender with a Deed In Lieu and accept the bad foreclosure mark on my credit history?

4. If I do something now, will I have more options available to me…or should I wait until the sheriff is at my doorstep with an Order to Vacate and hope that he/she will show me mercy?

5. If I consult with an experienced Real Estate Investor, will I be able to get out of this situation without ruining my credit…or is my only option to spend thousands of dollars for Attorney fees, Realtor commissions and still run the possibility of losing my house?

Questions to Ask Your Mortgage Broker

1. Do you guarantee in writing that you will close my loan before my case goes before a judge in court?

2. What interest rate will you charge?

3. How many points do you charge?

4. What will my monthly payments be compared to what they are now? Higher? Lower? The same?

5. What will the total of all closing costs be?

Questions to Ask Your Attorney

1. If I file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, will it stop foreclosure or just stall it?

2. What are your fees for filing bankruptcy papers and handling my case?

3. What will my monthly payments be compared to what they are now? Higher? Lower? The same?

4. What happens if I default on my payments because I can’t make them?

5. Can’t I file a bankruptcy myself at the courthouse and save thousands of dollars?

Questions to Ask Your Realtor

1. Do you guarantee in writing that you’ll sell my house before my case goes before a judge in court?

2. Do I have to pay your commission if I find someone on my own who wants to buy the house?

3. How much do I owe you if you don’t sell the house and I lose it to foreclosure due to a judge’s ruling?

4. If the sale price doesn’t cover my indebtedness and your commissions, do I have to reach into my own pocket to pay you?

5. How long will your listing contract tie up the house and entitle you to a commission?

Questions to Ask Your Foreclosing Lender

1. Can you work out a payment plan (forbearance) with me and will you put everything in writing before I agree to it?

2. If I agree to these terms, will you agree in writing to stop the foreclosure?

3. What will my monthly payments be, compared to what they are now? Higher? Lower? Same?

4. If I’m late on this payment plan, do you start where you left off with the foreclosure?

5. Since forbearance means a big increase in monthly payments, can you tell me how many people end up back in foreclosure because they cannot afford the monthly payment?

What To Do Now

Step 1: Get answers to your questions.

Not only do you need answers to the questions above, but there may be other questions you are asking yourself. Don’t be intimidated by the ‚experts‘ you’re consulting. Remember they work for you.

Step 2: Make a decision…and follow through on it!

Once you have the facts you can decide on how to proceed and who you need to help you. The sooner you act, the sooner you can reverse the downward spiral and change your credit from bad to better.

Step 3: Act Now!

After you’ve done your homework and feel you’ve come to an informed decision, you’re halfway there. Don’t let inertia set in. Don’t procrastinate. ACT NOW before your window of opportunity closes.

One final thing to consider: Get a Forensic Loan Audit!

A large majority of the loans made during the last 10 years, especially sub-prime and adjustable rate mortgages were not done properly and have errors and violations.

The Forensic Loan Audit is the FIRST STEP you should take to properly prepare for any type of litigation or any type of solution when dealing with your lender. Audits are used as a valuable tool to get your file to the top of the lender pile and to get your case noticed and heard!

The more violations found in your mortgage, the more LEVERAGE you have to argue your case against your lender. With millions of homeowners requesting financial solutions, it is increasingly more difficult to get the results you want when you need them. You need every tool, every amount of leverage possible! The Forensic Loan Audit is that tool!

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Source by David Stitt

Using Subject 2 Contracts to Buy Real Estate With Less Than Perfect Credit

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Subject 2 is a way to buy real estate without applying for a home mortgage loan. This financing option requires buyers to assume mortgage debt from the property owner. Real estate investors often use Sub2 contracts when selling houses to buyers with less than perfect credit.

Subject 2 is a great option for buyers unable to qualify for a conventional home loan. The property owner transfers the real estate deed to the buyer who becomes responsible for paying remaining loan installments. Loan documents remain in the original mortgagor’s name and the new buyer piggyback’s off their good credit.  

Instead of entering into a high interest bad credit loan, buyers can take advantage of assuming low interest payments. Buyers should engage in credit repair strategies so they can obtain financing within a year or two.

The primary purpose of entering into a Subject To contract is to let buyers buy a house without a down payment or credit check with the intention of refinancing the loan into their own name as soon as their credit allows them to obtain financing through traditional means.

Entering into Sub2 contracts requires both parties to engage in due diligence. Sellers should obtain financial records to ensure the buyer is financially capable of paying home loan installments. When buyers default on the note, the note holder is responsible for missed payments or runs the risk of losing the property to foreclosure.

Most Subject 2 contracts require buyers to submit loan payments to the servicing lender. However, some sellers require buyers to submit payments directly to them and they will submit payments to the loan provider. In this scenario, buyers run the risk of losing vested funds should the seller default on the mortgage loan.

Subject 2 contracts should be drafted by a real estate attorney to minimize risks for both parties. Sub2 contracts are used in place of bad credit lender loan mortgages to give buyers time to restore their credit rating. Buyers should refinance into a conventional home loan to purchase property rights as quickly as possible.  

In order to be legally binding, Sub2 contracts must be recorded through the court. Subject 2 records the transfer of property rights to the buyer. However, property rights are „subject to“ the buyer adhering to contract obligations. If buyers default on their agreement, ownership rights revert back to the seller and the buyer loses all funds invested into the property purchase.

Sellers determine the duration of Subject 2 contracts which typically extend for 2 to 5 years. At the end of the contract, buyers must apply for a home loan or obtain financing through another source such as hard money lender loans.

Hard money loans consist of high-interest loans provided by private real estate investors or investment groups. This is a risky and expensive option for borrowers with bad credit. Therefore, buyers who enter into Subject To contracts should carefully strategize the ability to obtain financing in the future. If buyers cannot obtain financing at the end of the Subject 2 contract they could end up being in default and run the risk of having property rights transferred back to the seller.

When mortgage notes are refinanced the buyer is responsible for costs typically associated with entering into a home loan. Common costs include loan points, home inspections, property appraisals, mortgage insurance, homeowner’s insurance, realtor commissions, legal fees, and closing costs.

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Source by Simon Volkov

Sell Your House in 7 Days – Deal Or Scam?

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I’m sure you’ve seen these advertisements on bandit signs by the highway, or in the real estate section of the newspaper. Perhaps you’ve wondered if they are realistic – or are they just a scam?

Well, the truth is that the better ones are genuine. They are placed by private investors who have immediate access to funds and can afford to close on your property quickly. They will often cover the closing costs, and will certainly arrange all of the paperwork. Sounds too good to be true? Well, it isn’t, but there is a snag – I bet you guessed that!

If someone is prepared to buy your house, for all cash, and close in 7 days, they are not going to pay retail market value. That’s a fact – they can’t afford to. These people are not philanthropists – they do this to make a profit (although the reputable ones also like to think they are helping people in distress). So, somewhere below the retail market value is what you can expect to see on their offer. How much below market value? It depends on the condition of the property, its location, and a number of other factors, but it could be around 70% of the retail price.

Before you think this is just a plain rip-off – think about it. If you sold the property through an agent, you would pay them at least 6%. Add on closing costs, inspections that you might pay for, and a small discount on the sales price, and it can easily get up to 10%. Then you can factor in your holding costs. If it takes you 6 months to sell the house (and that’s not bad in today’s market), you have your monthly costs – loan payments, tax, insurance, utilities, etc – to taken into account as well. On a house valued at $250,000, the monthly outgoings could easily be $2,500 a month. Over 6 months, that amounts to another 6%.

Add on the costs of preparing the house for retail sale – maybe another $5,000 and the situation could look like this:

Asking price $250,000

Discount for sale (2%) 5,000

Agent’s commission (6%) 14,700

Closing costs (2%) 4,900

Net sales value 225,400

Less:

Holding costs 15,000

Sale preparation 5,000

Total costs $20,000

Cash available $185,400 (74%)

So, if the house sells in 6 months, and you only have to discount by 2%, you might walk away with about 75% of the asking price. If the market continues to decline, or you have to cut your price for a sale, that could soon be below 70%. I think that makes an offer of 70%, cash, immediately, look attractive.

Of course, you can try to sell the property yourself, saving the cost of an agent, but market statistics show that over 80% of FSBOs (For Sale By Owner) end up using an agent anyway, and those that do sell the house themselves, achieve a lower price than the agent would have done. This is partly because the buyers know that the seller is saving agency commissions and discount that from the offer price.

When a private investor talks about buying your house in 7 days, this is just one of the ways in which they can do it. But as you can see, although at first glance the offer may not seem to be very generous, once you take into account the variables we have discussed, it can start to look like a good deal.

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Shopping Mall Leasing Strategies for Real Estate Brokers

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The leasing of a shopping mall is a specific strategy relative to the location, the property type, the customer demographic, and the landlord. All factors come together to contribute towards a successful leasing outcome and tenancy mix.

It should be said that a successful leasing strategy will contribute towards the greater the benefit of the property. More customers will be encouraged to visit the property and purchase goods or services. On that basis retail leasing is quite special.

Here are some tips to help you with leasing a retail mall in today’s property market:

  1. Understand the vacancy factors that apply to the precinct or location. An excessive number of vacant tenancies will have an impact on market rentals and incentives. Check out the factors of supply and demand that apply within the region. Look for any new property developments that could have an impact on tenant movement and market rentals.
  2. Understand the types of incentives that can be offered by the landlord to attract tenants. Also understand the requirements of tenants when it comes to incentives in today’s market. Any vacancy that you have available for lease needs to be matched to the prevailing market conditions. That will include the rental types, and the incentives offered. The landlord needs to adjust to the prevailing market conditions. Get some details of comparable rentals and other properties nearby to help the landlord understand the packaging of their vacant tenancy.
  3. It should be said that a lease incentive cost should be recovered through the rental structure over the lease term. In other words, any money that is lost or offset in the incentive availability should be recovered by rental growth and escalation across the lease term. You can do this calculation through an assumption of market rentals and a discount cash flow calculation. The net present value of the deal can be compared across the duration of the lease.
  4. Successful leasing executives usually have a substantial database of retail tenants to contact. Any new leasing opportunity can be offered through the database to targeted tenants, anchor tenants, retail specialists, franchise groups, and other industry professionals. Any vacancy can be directly marketed to these groups through cold calling, direct contact, e-mail marketing, and direct mail.
  5. It is acceptable and normal to market a vacant tenancy through the generic media. That will involve newspaper advertising, and Internet listing. There are costs associated with that marketing activity and the landlord should contribute towards those costs.
  6. Most successful leasing transactions occur through the involvement of the leasing executive and direct marketing to the right people. I go back to the point that the database for each broker or agent is quite important to converting more commissions and listings.

It should be noted that any quality property in a good location will create good inbound enquiries. If you are selective with your property appointments and vacant tenancies, you will create more churn and activity in property leasing.

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How to Obtain Title For Abandoned Real Estate Through Adverse Possession in the State of California

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What is Adverse Possession? How can I obtain title to real estate?

In a nutshell adverse possession is a process where a person or an investor can obtain the ownership or title of real property from another person because the owner has abandoned the property. This is done by simply taking possession of that property in the manner prescribed by state law.

In doing so, you can, literally acquire ownership or title of the real property for just paying the back delinquent real estate taxes and the cost to file a quiet title lawsuit establishing that you obtained title to the property through adverse possession. In other words, you can take title of valuable property for a incredible discount.

The Law of Adverse Possession

The laws governing adverse possession is local state (or, in Canada, territorial law); consequently an Abandoned property investor must look into the specific laws of a specific state or Canadian territory where the real property is located. Since the laws are different dramatically from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and can often be confusing, anyone wishing to take title to real property through adverse possession should contact a knowledgeable attorney before attempting to do so.

In order for you to begin understanding the requirements of Adverse Possession let’s look at a specific example. Below is a closer look at th California Adverse Possession law. We will use this law to identify and explain some of the more common terms used in Adverse Possession.

California Adverse Possession Law

Briefly, California state law states that Real Estate investors wanting to obtain title to another person’s real property through adverse possession MUST satisfy all the following Requirements:

1.That the Abandoned property investor’s possession was held under either (1) a claim of right or (2) under color of title:

2.That the Abandoned property investor’s possession was actual, open and notorious;

3.That the Abandoned property investor’s possession was hostile, adverse an exclusive;

4.That the Abandoned property investor’s possession was continuous and uninterrupted for a period of five years;

5.That the Abandoned property investor paid th real property taxes during that five-year period.

Possession must be held under either (1) a claim of right or (2) under color of title.

The California statutes governing adverse possession and as well as the statutes of most other states make a distinction between claiming adverse possession based upon a „claim of title founded upon a written instrument or judgment or decree“ (often referred to as a claim under color title) and claiming adverse possession based upon „a claim of title exclusive of any other right, but not founded upon a written instrument, judgement, or decree“ (often referred to as a claim as either a claim of right, see California Code of civil procedures Section 322 and 323. As to such claim under claim o right, see Code of Civil Procedures Section 324 and 325.

Basically a claim of adverse possession based upon color color of title is one where the claimant(Abandoned Property Investor) took in good faith possession under a deed (or some other written instrument) or judicial decree that appeared to transfer good title, but was defective. For example, a tax sale investor might take adverse possession through color of title for real estate bought at a California county tax-defaulted sale where the sale was conducted improperly and, consequently, the deed was void.

„Claim of Right“ or „Claim of Title“

Abandoned property investors attempting to take title to real estate through the doctrine of adverse possession are generally more interested in taking such title through „claim of right“ or „claim of title“. Under this doctrine, an investor merely needs to take actual possession of the property and hold that possession as required by appropriate jurisdictional law.

As might be expected, the requirements to establish adverse possession under a claim of right are (under California law and under the law of most all other states) are more strenuous than those associated with claiming under color of title.

In order to be accurate as the specific requirements for a claim of right refer to the specific state statutes. Again, to be safe consult with a knowledgeable attorney in the county where the property is located.

Possession must be actual

As will be seen below, an abandoned property investor claiming possession under the doctrine of adverse possession does not have to personally occupy or live on the real estate to be in actual possession of the property. However, actually living on the real estate is probably the strongest and clearest evidence that possession is actual.

Possession by tenant as actual possession

Real property can be occupied, lived on, and actually possessed by a tenant under a tenancy agreement. Take, for instance, if you look at the California appellate case of Traeger v. Friedman (1947) 79 CA 2d 151. In that case, the adverse possession claimant took possession of a apartment building through tenants and, then, managed and rented for five years. She evn paid the real property taxes out of the rent. The California court held that she had met the actual possession requirement needed to perfect title under adverce possession.

Possession is deemed actual if lands is „protected by a substantial enclosure“, „usually cultivated or improved“

If the adverse possession is claimed based on a claim of right, then California Code of Civil Procedure Sections 324 and 325 apply.

A abandoned property investor’s possession is deemed to be in actual, open and notorious possession of specific real property under a claim of right when that person has either

1.“protected“ that property „by a substantial inclosure“ OR

2.That person has „usually cultivated“ OR

3.Has „improved“ tht property.

If the real property being taken through adverse possession is a lot and acreage and cannot be actually possessed (i.e., lived on) then that property must be either „protected…by a substantial inclosure“, „usually cultivated“, or „usually improved“.

If the property is protected by a substantial inclosure, then the inclosure must be „substantial“ enough to give the true owner notice of the investor’s Claim of adverse possession during the entire prescriptive period. Older Cases hold that the inclosure must be substantial enough and remain so throughout the prescriptive period of five years and protect all sides of the property claimed from intrusion by cattle or other animals. If the inclosure is so damaged as not to be able to protect all sides of the property from such intrusion, then the Abandoned property investor or claimant must promptly repair that damage inclosure or risk being found by the court to have not met this requirement.

Meeting ANY one of the three alternative, meets the actual possession requirements for adverse possession even though the Abandoned property investor or claimant does not live on the property.

Additionally, California cases have held that although „grazing“ or „pasturage“ is not mentioned in the Code of Civil Procedure Section 325 reproduced above, it is a method whereby an investor can take actual possession.

Possession Must Be Open And Notorious

Basically, an owner of real estate will not lose that real estate through the doctrine of adverse possession unless the manner in which the investor holds actual possession would provide reasonable notice of that possession if the owner inspected the property. Repairs and improvements made to houses such as painting the ouside of the house, keeping up the outside ground, etc. are examples of such actions.

However, an owner can lose title to real estate through adverse possession even through he or she is never actually aware of the possession because the owner never visited the real estate to discover the improvements made by the abandoned property investor.

Possession Was Hostile, Adverse And Exclusive.

Basically, if the abandoned property investor or claimant is in possession under color of title, then that possession is deemed to be adverse and hostile to the true owner and it is not necessary to offer any further proof.

However if the Abandoned property investor or claimant is in possession under claim of title, then the claimant must prove that the possession was hostile and adverse. The word „hostile“ does not mean that the possession was „overtly antagonistic“ to the owner; it means simply that such possession is „inconsistent“ with that of the true owner.)

It must be shown that the possession was in violation of the true owner’s property rights and that it should give rise in the owner a reason to begin an action to terminate the Abandoned property investor or claimant’s possession or use.

Possession of the property with the owner’s permission is not hostile or adverse. see California Civil Code Section 813 which provides a better legal explanation of this process.

Basically what the California Civil Code Section 813 means that the owner of the property can give permission for the use of that property by the general public or specific individuals. The statute further states that: „In the event of use by other than the general public, any such notices, to be effective, shall also be served by registered mail on the user.

The claimant’s use must also be exclusive, use of that property by the legal owner or any other person except the claimant or abandoned property investor or a tenant of the claimant or abandoned property investor holding possession on behalf of that person will probably defeat a claim of title through adverse possession.

Possession Was Continuous And Uninterrupted For Five Years.

This requirement can be found in Civil Code Section 1007 when read together with Code of Civil Procedure Sections 318, 319, 321, 322, and 325. Most specifically, Code of Civil procedure Sections 325 provides:

„provided, however, that in no case shall adverse possession be considered established under the provisions of any section or sections of this code, unless it shall be shown that the land has been occupied and claimed for the period of five years continuosly, and the party or persons, their predecessors and grantor’s, have paid all the taxes, state, county, or municipal, which have been levied and assessed upon such land.“

The requirement does not mean, however, that the investor must be physically on the land every day for five years. For instance, if actual possession of a home or other rental real estate is held by tenants on behalf of the adverse possessor or abandoned property investor, then ordinary vacancies will not disrupt the continuity of the possession.

So, if an investor were to take possession of rental property, for example, and there were normal vacancies that occur, these vacancies would not be considered a violation if the five year occupancy requirement. It also means that the investor does not have to live on the property to make this claim. That means you can claim adverse possession at multiple properties as long as the property is safe and liveable for tenants. That means a positive cash flow while waiting in the prescribed period and also without your physical stay at your property.

Claimant Paid The Real Property Taxes During That Five Year Period.

See Code of Civil Procedure Section 325 which governs this requirement

The Abandoned property investor or claimant must prove that he or she has paid all taxes that have been levied and assessed against the real property claimed during the entire five year period. A failure to pay taxes assessed for any one year will defeat a claim for adverse possession. Then the claimant must also pay any delinquent taxes outstanding for years prior to the start of the claim for adverse possession. For more details please refer to the case of Los Angeles v. Coffey (1963) 243 CA 2d 121,125.

Under the law of the state of California, if a Abandoned property investor meets all the requirements of the law of adverse possession under claim of title, then that person becomes the true legal owner of the real estate that has been abandoned. If the legal title of the real property was held by the former owner with no outstanding liens that superceeds the tax lien, then the investor will have acquired the real estate for, basically, just five or more years worth of back delinquent real property taxes or for just a small investment.

So, What Should A Abandoned Real Property Investor Look For?

The two most important principles of the law of adverse possession is that a Abandoned real property investor wants to see are the following:

1.The ability to take adverse possession under Claim of right or claim of title as opposed to color of title and

2.A relatively short prescriptive period. The period of time the Abandoned property investor must adversely possess the real property before that investor can obtain title to the real property.

You are probably asking yourself, Why?

Because in the state of California, the period or prescriptive period is five years based upon the California Code of Civil Procedure. However in some states the period can last from 10, 15 or 20 years until you get title through adverse possession.

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Source by Josue Zengotita

What Are The Factors That Will Affect The Property Values In Malaysia?

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First of all, the location itself is the main factor that will affect the property values in Malaysia. If a property is close to school, shopping mall, bank, transportation facility, hospital, restaurant, church, temple, airport or any other places that can provide convenience to the people staying at that area, that particular property will definitely has a high property value that will attract more people than any property.

When it comes to real estate, the principle of supply and demand refers to the ability of people to pay for real estate coupled with the relative scarcity of real estate. The property values will be driven up by the condition of high demand coupled with a certain purchasing power and a short supply due to the scarcity of land. In contrast, the property values will experience a drop when people demand less of it while more supply enters the market.

Let’s take for example Penang, being the second smallest state in Malaysia just after Perlis in terms of geographical coverage yet is the eighth most populous with 1.56 million of residents according to the population and housing census, Malaysia 2010 which is conducted for every ten years. Penang which has an average of 1, 490 persons per square kilometer is the second most densely populated states after Kuala Lumpur. This high level of population density puts competing pressure on land use which results in the rise of property prices as developers will put more expensive price tags on their projects due to the high-land costs. Besides, the lure as a tourist destination and a second home for foreign retirees is also one of the factors that results in a greater demand of Penang property. As a result, the short supply due to scarcity of land and the high demand from both foreign and local buyers is the main reason why Penang properties price are high as compared to say, Kelantan.

Apart from supply and demand, the Feng Shui and Vasthu Sastra which is known as the „science of construction“ also have to do with property values in Malaysia. Regardless of you believe or not, many recent studies have shown that the property price will still be affected by Feng Shui. A property placed near a body of water can fetch you a handsome price compared to a property which is not. A property faced with a road junction or built at a dead-end road can have a lower price as compared to another property in the same area which is not. Many people trust Feng Shui because they consider that keeping things related to Feng Shui will bring steady growth, prosperity, good luck, good health, happiness and positive energy to the house, office or to the being. In this way, people will consider carefully the position and placements of the property which in turn makes a well placed or well designed property more attention-getting and favorable.

Next, inflation also has an impact on property values in Malaysia. At its most basic level, inflation is simply a rise in prices and a fall in the purchasing value of money. Let’s take an example; again using Penang where there is latest news announced that „the selling price of properties in Penang will soon surge by 5%-10% following the recent move by Lafarge Malayan Cement to raise cement prices by about 6%“, according to the Penang house developers. A hike in cement price simply means the price of concrete roof tiles, cement sand bricks and all the other cement-related products will rise. On average, 50% of building materials used in property development comprises cement and cement related products. Therefore, such inflation will leads to an increase in construction costs and the buyers are the one who ultimately bears the cost. Besides, the inflation also has been caused by the transportation and labor costs that are increased nationwide. The rise in cost of labor is particularly due to the labor shortage as many Indonesian have gone back to Indonesia and are facing with stricter laws and standards when they wish to come back to Malaysia.

The government’s introduction and revision of its property related policies also played a key role in determining the value of properties. The exemption revision of real property gains tax (RPGT) has increased the interest of a small group of people on the property market. Additionally, Malaysian government is pushing out a series of incentives to make its property market more attractive to foreign investors who will eventually bring in external cash flows. Both of these actions have enhanced the property values. In addition, the build then sell (BTS) concept has been revised. It has increased the confidence of buyers and created developers who are more conservative leading to higher value of property.

Furthermore, the existences of property agents and Internet such as auctions websites and real estate agent websites help ease the process of selling the properties nowadays. It has made the property investment more easy, convenient and favorable. In this way, there is an increase of interest in property investment thus further lifting the value of properties.

Moreover, the mortgage rate that also plays an important role in influencing the property value should never be forgotten. A mortgage rate is commonly known as Base Lending Rate in Malaysia (BLR). BLR is a term refers to the minimum interest rate used by banks. It is defined by the central bank of Malaysia. BLR will get lower when the global money market down turn and get higher when the money market is on uptrend. Whenever the housing demand is weak, lower mortgage rates will help to improve the access to property financing while reducing the monthly payment for housing loan. So, these circumstances will aid in strengthen the housing demand and then the property value will increase over time.

Last but not least, the vacancy levels will also have a significant contribution towards the property values in Malaysia. For illustration, when the unemployment rate is high, the buyers and investors will not have enough capital to invest in a property creating a situation of strong rental sales. In contrast, the low unemployment rate will motivates the buyers and investors to involve themselves in property investment activity eventually leading to a higher property values.

Above are some of the factors that will affect the property values in Malaysia. However, there are still some other relevant and important factors out there that are worth seeing.

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Control Your Every Deal: Succeed in Your Real Estate Negotiating With These 7 Sure-Fire Tips

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In real estate, negotiation is more like art than science. Some might also consider it to be like a dance because both parties go back and forth with each other… with hopes of bringing both of them to something better, with each person achieving win-win results.

Then there are those who view negotiation as more of a battle with an opponent. But, in my experience this viewpoint really doesn’t set you up for successful negotiating. So, how about, instead of viewing your negotiating as a battle, always look at it as a process that can be beneficial to both sides. Think of it like this-when you take advantage of someone, you may have won the battle but you will most likely lose the war.

Negotiating can definitely be an opportunity to win… for both parties. Follow these sure-fire negotiating tips and you will successfully control your real estate (or other business) deals every time.

Have a firm price & stick to it

Make sure you enter into every single negotiation with a firm price set in your mind. Then, work the negotiation so the person you are negotiating with is the one who first speaks about price. And, be sure you remember… your maximum allowable offer is your „strike price“ and you should always start at 10% less than that.

Think: what’s in it for the other person

If you go into your negotiation with the mindset of… what does the other person need from this transaction, you can exceed their expectations and do well for yourself. Take for example, a student who was dealing with an elderly owner of a small multi-unit property where the owner also lived. The student asked if the seller might consider staying on in a transitional period to help him manage things. The seller needed this and therefore was happy to sell to him for less money.

Listen 70%, talk 30% of the time

You really can’t learn too much while you are talking. So, be sure to listen carefully. Check out this negotiation example where the buyer listened to the seller when he said he wanted to stay in the apartment he had owned for 20 years. The buyer said he could stay AND he would pay him to help him manage the property. End result… $100,000 in instant equity, low seller financing and a P&S done in 2 days. The listen/talk tip paid off for both parties!

Always ask questions

You must ask probing and prying types of questions. This helps you gather a lot of information, which gets you prepared for any and everything that might come your way in the negotiation. As a matter of fact, it is imperative that you never enter into a negotiation unprepared. Another good reason to ask questions is so you can get the other person to really start talking to you. You obviously benefit, but the other person also becomes more comfortable with you. That is a win-win right there.

Have options open and available

It is beneficial to you to always have some open and available options in your pocket. For example, if you think it’s possible that seller financing could be a tax advantage to the seller, ask. That could be the way to get you successfully into this particular deal.

Seek to Educate not confront

No matter what the issue is that you are dealing with during the negotiation, try not to appear confrontational. Rather, seek a more educational approach to discussing the issue. For example, if you are working with a bank for funding and your debt coverage ratio is off and the bank won’t fund the project, rather than arguing the point to try to convince the banker, try putting together some better numbers that bank would favorably consider, or better yet try talking through different numbers directly with the banker.

Trade Concessions, don’t give them away

If the other party in your negotiation asks for something that you can accommodate, provide it. But at the same time, ask for something from them. This will train the other party that every concession has a concession.

The real estate market is changing!

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How to Start a Foreclosure Cleanup and Property Preservation Company

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A new article on June 3, 2009 from MSN Money writer Michael Brush indicates that there is a third wave of foreclosures still to come from prime borrowers (i.e. those previously „safe-borrowers“ with sound credit and fixed-rate mortgages) as a result of job losses thanks to the worsening economy („Coming: A 3rd Wave of Foreclosures“).

The article states that „In the first quarter, the percentage of these borrowers who were behind on their mortgages or in foreclosure had doubled from a year earlier, to nearly 6%“ and goes on to say that „Credit Suisseanalyst Rod Dubitsky predicted last week that 8.1 million mortgages, or 16% of all mortgages, will go into foreclosure over the next four years. A weak economy, continued declines in home prices and rising delinquencies among prime borrowers all but ensure that foreclosures „will march steadily higher,“ he says.“ Not such great news for the economy, but good news indeed for entrepreneurs interested in starting a foreclosure cleanup business to clean and repair foreclosed homes for the banks.

To put this in perspective, this means that there will be over 2 million foreclosures a year and more than $2,025,000,000 up for grabs in money that will be spent on cleaning up these foreclosed properties (since the average bill is $1000+ to clean up one of these properties).

Let’s take a look at how you can position yourself to capitalize on this coming foreclosure movement

Set Up Your Company Properly

If you want to be hired for cleanup or preservation work, you’ll need to operate your business as a professional company. The good news is that you can set up a business quickly and inexpensively, and usually on your own. Many people decide to set up an LLC (Limited Liability Company) because of how quickly and easily it can be done but you’ll want to check with your accountant or other business professional to select the type of business entity that’s right for your personal situation.

If you do decide to start an LLC, you can usually find all of the documents you need online from your state’s government website. Usually the branch you’re looking for will be called the „Industrial Commission“ or „Corporation Commission“ or similar. Try typing in „start a business + ______ (your state)“. Anything ending in „.gov“ is usually a good place to start as it indicates a government site.

Once your business is set up, you’ll need an Employer Identification Number (EIN), which is like a SSN for your business. You can register for one online: type in „IRS“ & „EIN“ into a search engine to find the online registration link.

As soon as you have your EIN (which you can usually get immediately online), you can open up a business bank account for your company. This step is very, very important. In the excitement of things, many people get caught up in the day-to-day dealings of running a business and use their personal accounts to pay for business expenses. Not only does this present an accounting nightmare at the end of the year, but it could present problems for you with the IRS if you don’t keep your personal and business finances separate.

Once you legally set up your business, you may be required to register your business with your county or city in order to get a business license to operate. You can start by calling City Hall or the Office of the County Clerk to inquire as to whether or not you need a city/county/state business license and if so, how to get one.

So to recap:

1. Legally set up your business

2. Get your EIN # and set up a business bank account

3. Apply for a business license

4. If you want to do preservation work, determine whether or not you need a contractors‘ license

Get Insurance

You absolutely must have a Commercial Liability Insurance policy and Workers‘ Compensation Insurance in order to run your business. Not only is insurance essential for protecting yourself from liability and protecting those that work for you in the event of a work-related injury, but many asset management companies will not do business with you if you do not meet their minimum insurance requirements.

Insurance will likely be one of your largest start-up costs, however, most insurance companies allow you to pay the premium on a monthly (rather than yearly) basis, which definitely makes this expense more affordable.

General Liability Insurance policies can cover the following: bodily injury, property damage, contractual liability, personal and advertising injury, professional liability (also known as Errors & Omissions (E&O) insurance, this coverage protects you and your business from litigation caused by charges of professional neglect or failure to perform your professional duties), hired auto and non-auto liability and umbrella liability.

You’ll want to speak directly with your insurance agent to get a better idea of the extent of the coverage provided by their particular policy and one that is best suited for your individual needs

Workers‘ Compensation Insurance is required in most states when you have W2 employees, and some states also require your insurance to cover your 1099 contractors also. Workers‘ Compensation („Workers‘ Comp“) covers your employees‘ medical and disability expenses related to work-related illness and on-the-job injuries.

In the states where you are not required to cover your 1099 contractors you would need them to provide proof that they carry their own Workers‘ Compensation insurance. Although tempting to shift the financial burden of maintaining a policy onto your 1099 contractors, in all reality, you are probably better off to take on the cost of all staff Workers‘ Compensation (all W2 employees and 1099 contractors). The reason is that it’s difficult to find only independent contractors that have their own policy. In addition, this industry has such high turnover that if you put this restriction on your independent contractors, you’ll waste valuable time and lost revenues trying to find replacements in a hurry.

Here’s a great tip: sometimes you can get „pay-as-you-go“ insurance where your workers‘ compensation insurance premiums are based on your actual payroll, rather than an estimated amount. This is great for companies that are just starting out or have a fluctuating workload. Type in „pay as you go workers comp“ into a search engine for results in your area.

As a second tip, we’ve used Farmers Insurance for years and have always had excellent customer service and great rates. Just Google „Farmers Insurance“ for an agent in your area.

Foreclosure Cleanup v.s. Property Preservation Services

As the name suggests as a Foreclosure Cleanup Company, you’ll be cleaning out all of the junk in the house (also called a „trashout or a „junk out“), as well as cleaning the interior of the home. You may also be required to remove vehicles on the property. Usually foreclosure cleanup companies are also responsible for doing a basic landscape cleanup which includes hauling out any junk from the front/back yards, cutting the grass and trimming trees/bushes.

Cleaning up the property is the extent of services offered by a Foreclosure Cleanup Company, whereas a Property Preservation Company is also involved in the „securing“ of the property and the „preserving“ of the property.

Here are some of the services that a preservation company may offer (note that a Property Preservation Company will generally also offer cleanup services):

Securing the Property

o Initial vacant property inspection

o Lock changes

o Boarding of windows and doors

o Temporary roof repair

o Securing swimming pools

Preserving the Property

o Exterior Debris removal

o Abandoned vehicle removal (cars, boats, etc.)

o Interior Debris removal (junk-out)

o Hazardous waste removal

o Interior cleaning services including carpet cleaning

o Window washing/graffiti removal

o Window replacement

o Pool services (draining, acid washing, maintaining, etc.)

o Pest control services

o Yard maintenance/landscaping

o Snow removal

o Winterization

o Gutter cleaning

o Pressure washing

o Carpet removal & replacement

o Tile/Floor repairs

o Painting

o Sheetrock/drywall repairs

o Carpentry repairs

o Plumbing fixtures repairs & replacements

o Fire & mold remediation

o Fence repair

Here are a few things to consider when determining the extent of the services you want to offer:

A Contractors‘ License is generally not required for Foreclosure Cleanup Company but is likely required for preservation companies doing work over a certain dollar value (usually $500 – $1000+). Sometimes this license can be obtained by attending a course and successfully passing a test whereas other states require previous, verifiable industry experience.

The insurance premiums tend to be higher on companies that offer preservation services as they are considered to be a „general contractor“. However, the revenue potential is much higher as preservation services tend to run from a few thousand dollars upwards instead of $800 – $1500 for each cleanout.

Usually what people do is start out initially offering just the foreclosure cleanup services and then when things pick up, they’ll add preservation items to the list of services they offer. This let’s them get their foot in the door without having to spend a whole lot of money upfront when setting up their company.

Source the Right Equipment & Tools

The great thing about starting a foreclosure cleanup company is that the initial expenses are quite low as much of the equipment and tools needed for cleaning foreclosures can likely be found in your own garage:

o Cleaning chemicals (i.e. all purpose cleaner, disinfectant, toilet bowl cleaner, window cleaner)

o Cleaning supplies (broom, mop, scrub pads)

o Vacuum cleaner

o Garbage bags and shovels

o Work gloves and disposable plastic gloves

o Lawn mowers & lawn tools

o Wheelbarrow

For the smaller items you don’t have on hand, check your local dollar store. Their prices can’t be beat and they usually have the same chemicals and cleaning supplies as the other retailers. Once you start doing some volume, consider shopping for your supplies at Sam’s Club or Costco to keep your expenses low.

You can also find used equipment in great shape (such as vacuums) by going around to your local Saturday morning garage/yard sales. If you have a „Re-Use“ center or a Salvation Army, you may consider checking there also as they often have vacuums and other small equipment or yard tools for sale.

For hauling junk, you’ll need some sort of trailer and a vehicle large enough to pull it. If you don’t have a truck and a trailer, you can always borrow a friend’s truck and rent a trailer from U-Haul or just go ahead and rent a moving truck from U-Haul. (Remember though, that you’ll be charged a daily rate plus a per-mile rate when you rent a moving truck whereas if you use your own truck and just rent the pull-trailer, you’ll only incur the daily rental rate for the trailer.)

Sometimes you’ll be required to clean a property that doesn’t have electricity or water. In the event that there’s no electricity, you’ll need a generator to operate the vacuum cleaners and other electrical equipment. These can be rented at Lowe’s or Home Depot and is a much better alternative to purchasing one outright unless you’re going to use it on a regular basis (a new one will run you about $500+).

To save on expenses, it’s best to rent equipment in the beginning.

Once you get up and going, it may be worth looking into purchasing equipment of your own. Check the online classifieds ads (such as Craigslist, Kijiji and Backpage) for used trailers, generators, etc. You should also check with U-Haul as they have been selling some of their excess trucks as of late.

Stay Safe on the Job

As a business owner, you’re responsible for keeping your staff safe while working on the job. Working safely is paramount to the health of your staff and the reputation of your business (and also keeps your insurance premiums low). It’s imperative that you review safety issues prior to allowing anyone to work on the job – you must provide both classroom and on-the-job safety training to all new hires.

Now, it doesn’t have to be anything fancy; you can spend 20 – 30 minutes reviewing safety policies, safe working practices and answering any questions and then you’ll be done! Make sure you have people sign in and out of the meeting and that you document that a safety meeting took place.

It’s also very important that you become familiar with OSHA and Safety Standards as well as the health & safety hazards associated with this industry so that you can keep your staff safe, avoid accidents and costly fines. You can find the OSHA Pocket Guide to Construction Safety (it’s a short and an easy read) at the main website (OSHA DOT gov) by searching for the report name.

Another way to protect your staff and your business is to make sure that you check references before you hire someone. Insist that they list non-related references (i.e. not mother, sister or best friend) and instead list references of previous employers or someone they know in a professional capacity. We also do drug testing and background checks – it might sound paranoid to some, but the safety of our staff, our customers‘ property and our company’s reputation is far too important to risk not spending $20 on a background check or drug test.

Price Your Services Right

In this industry, the lowest price always wins the bid (unless, of course, the lowest bidder has a terrible track record of not completing work and is utterly irresponsible and unprofessional, in which case the company has just committed „reputation-suicide“ and will never be hired again). Lenders don’t want to spend any more than they have to on these properties so you want to make sure you price your services comparable with the going market rates (but at the same time, priced so that you still make a great profit and don’t leave any money on the table).

For cleaning out foreclosures, most banks expect to spend anywhere from $500 – $1500 for a cleanout (trashout, interior clean and initial landscape cleanup), but it could be a bit more or a bit less, depending on your area. It’s important to know that most lenders have prescribed „price caps“ for the maximum amounts that they’ll pay for services.

If you’re also providing preservation services, a great site that we’ve used before to determine our prices for doing repairs is www.CostEstimator.com for getting the market rates for construction costs – you can get a free 30 day trial (no need to enter credit card – it really is free!). There are over 3,000 cost items adjusted for over 210 local, geographic regions to create your bid and you can add as many others as needed. If you want to sign up after the trial, it’s only $15/month.

Market Your Services

It’s true – „nothing happens until somebody sells something“… and you’ll need to get out there and sell, sell, sell your business. Once you’ve done a few jobs, you’ll find that word of mouth advertising and referrals will provide a large pool of new jobs for you, but in the meantime, you do need to do everything possible to let customers know you exist.

A large portion of work will come from the relationships that you build with Real Estate Agents („Realtors“) who list bank-owned homes (often referred to as REO listings). They are often given the task of bidding out the cleaning and repairs of new listings by the asset management company so you’ll want to make sure the agents in your area know your company handles this type of work.

A great way to find out which Realtors in your area list REOs is to go online to the major bank’s REO websites and „data mine“ the contact information for the listing agents (name, email, phone numbers). It can be painstaking work, but definitely worth it.

Here’s an example of a bank REO sites to get you started collecting Realtor information

WELLS FARGO (Properties managed by Premier Asset Services): pasreo.com/pasreo/images/pas_logo.jpg

NOTE: In order to access agent information, select the state and click search. Then, individually select each listing and click on „Print Property Report CVS“. Each listing and corresponding information (such as agent name, phone # and email) will be created in an Excel spreadsheet. You can access the page

Remember to follow up with a phone call a few days later. Don’t be shy about asking the Realtor if he/she has any jobs for you to bid, either – most of them are very accommodating and willing to give a new company the opportunity to provide estimates.

The other way jobs are bid out is through large Asset Management Companies (also referred to as Marketing & Management Companies, REO Field Service Companies and Property Management Companies). Essentially, the lender says, „ok – I have thousands of properties to get rid of. Here, national ABC Asset Management Company: clean, fix and sell these properties for us“. And the national Asset Management Company will then subcontract out the work to local foreclosure cleanup and property preservation companies. In order to work for these companies, you usually need to sign up your company as a potential vendor. Many times this can be done online.

There are both positives and negatives associated with working for the larger companies. On the positive side, you will probably be given a few projects to work on at a time so you will be kept relatively busy. On the negative side, they usually want you to offer ‚wholesale pricing‘ and don’t pay until 30 – 60 days after you invoice them for the work. Working for one of these companies, however, will give you the experience you need to go after more work.

Other possible customers include wholesale property investors (groups of investors that purchase foreclosed homes at the auctions and then sell them to smaller investors at a wholesale price), investors, landlords, property management companies, Realtors and so on.

You should also consider attending your local networking events such as the Chamber of Commerce meetings and any local investor meetings in order to hand out your card and network with potential customers. The more you get out there, the better chance you’ll have of securing some great, long-term customers!

This is definitely an exciting industry and a very profitable one for those of you who don’t mind getting your hands a bit dirty! Good luck!

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Source by Les Tyler

eBay Selling Strategy #3 – What Not to Sell On eBay

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Strategy #3 – What Not to Sell On eBayDeciding what to sell on eBay will be among the most important decisions you will make with your eBay business. It will ultimately determine your success of failure. Many mistakes can be corrected along the learning curve of getting your eBay business up and running and then successful, but there is no solution for the problem of selling something that nobody wants to buy.

If You Build It .. Will They Come?I recently worked with a client who had thousands of men’s ties that he wanted to sell. He did some preliminary research and saw that comparable ties were selling very well on eBay and because he had obtained his inventory for pennies on the dollar he thought that he would set up an eBay business to sell off his ties. I was hired to help his staff get set-up on eBay with a seller’s accounts, a Paypal business account, accounts with Fedex, UPS and the US Postal System and an in-house system to manage their inventory. They even went out and hired a professional photographer to take pictures of their items.

I trained the staff in how to run a successful eBay business, how to best present their items, how to schedule auction start and end times for maximum exposure, how to maintain good customer contact and service, and how to package and ship their items. In a month they went live with their first auctions.They sold 3 ties the first month.The owner and his staff were devastated. They felt they had put in a large investment of time and money in setting up their eBay identity, hiring a consultant (me) and being trained and proficient with the eBay selling process; so they couldn’t figure out why they were not making any sales.

The Hard Truth They looked to me for the answer. I reminded them that all throughout the process of setting up their eBay business I had warned them that middle to low quality men’s ties were not the type of item that was going to just fly off of the shelves. The truth is that their ties were not selling because no one wanted to buy them. Well, that’s not exactly accurate as it turned out 3 people actually wanted their ties that first month.If they were committed to selling this item then they would have to be in it for the long haul, and not expect to generate the quick profits enjoyed by eBay sellers with more „sexy“ or trendy, high-demand items.

They would need to commit to an eBay keywords campaign; build their feedback by purchasing 100 or so items on eBay and develop a marketing strategy that included off-eBay promotions.There are more variables at play in having auctions end successfully than are sometimes apparent to new eBay sellers, but they are the same types of variables that regular brick and mortar sellers have to content with.

The rules listed below may seem obvious to you but they are worth noting.What Not to Sell: Rule 1: Do not sell an item that already has more than 10 auctions running with no bids. If you do a search on eBay and see that there have been many auctions recently for the item and that most have ended with few or no bidsat all stayaway from selling that item. Also, if the item has received bids but the bids are lower than the price you would want to receive for the item, this is a good reason to stay away from the item.

What Not to Sell: Rule 2: Do not sell items that you know nothing about or that have a steep learning curve. For instance, cars. There are many people, individuals as well as auto dealers making a lot of money selling cars on eBay. But it is not a good choice for an item to sell if you don’t know anything about cars.I once was contracted by a client to sell a very large meteorite that had been in his possession for some time. I knew nothing about meteorites, the different types, their value or anything. I told the client that I wasn’t prepared to help him sell this item without first doing a lot of research.

He insisted that anyone who saw the auction and wanted to buy it would understand the value of it and that I should just list it and let the eBay marketplace determine the value. I did just that but not before doing some research so that I could write the auction listing. Unfortunately, the information that I listed in the auction about the type of meteorite we were selling was incorrect.I got a ton of email from potential bidders telling me how very wrong my description of the meteorite was. I ended up removing the listing from eBay early because of the response of the people who frequent eBay who know about meteorites.

What Not to Sell: Rule 3: Do not buy items at wholesale to resell on eBay. It is not possible to make money on eBay by buying items at wholesale prices and then looking to resell them on eBay. The eBay marketplace doesn’t support that type of business model.There are simply too many people selling items that you can source that way. If you can get the item wholesale, probably so can a hundred or more other people, all of whom are probably trying to sell them on eBay as well. The competition on a traditional wholesale to retail model is just too steep. Also, unless your item is the next iPod you won’t get anything close to the retail price for it on eBay. (There are some exceptions to this which I’ll get into later.)

What Not to Sell: Rule 4: Do not sell items that consistently close at less than $30. It is hard to make a profit, let alone a living, on eBay, relying on items that sell on eBay for very little money. There are people that will buy an item for $4.00 sell it on auction for $8.00 and believe that they made 100% profit. This borders on insanity. That $4.00 item had to be listed on eBay, more than likely with photos. The auction needed to be monitored with any bidder’s questions answered. Once completed the item had to be packaged and shipped. And out of the $4.00 „profit“ there are those pesky eBay & Paypal fees to consider. So, the item you paid $4.00 for costs $0.60 to list with a gallery picture, $0.95 for eBay Listing & Final Value and $.053 for Standard Paypal fees.

Total cost for listing and selling the item on bay is $1.55 add to that the $4.00 the amount that item cost you and you are left with a whopping $2.45. If you subtract a minimal cost for your labor this item on which you thought you made $4.00 has actually cost you money to sell!If you spread this type of philosophy across your entire eBay business effort you will go out of business in a very short time.

What Not to Sell: Rule 5: Do not sell anything on eBay’s list of restricted items. This really is a no-brainer as long as you know that there is a list of items that are prohibited from being sold on eBay. Although people consistently try and skirt this rule, some of the items on the list include weapons including guns and knives, animal skins, American Indian artifacts, & human body parts.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg


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Source by Stephanie McIntyre