How To Start A Roasted Corn Business

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Corn roasting is a simple yet very profitable small investment business. The successful corn roasters make full time living working just the summer months.

To start a roasted corn business you will need to acquire permits and business licenses from the health department and from the state. The following is a typical checklist to start your business.

1. Decide the size and the scale of the operation.

2. Decide on the menu for your concession business.

3. Purchase your equipment and tools.

4. Register your business.

5. Apply and obtain all the required licenses and permits needed to run a food concession business.

6. Secure events and have fun running your concession stand.

Permits, Licenses, and Inspection

Every state has laws governing business licenses and permits. Most likely, you will have to register your business with the state agency, so you can do business in the state. A tax ID number, business license number, and tax registration number can be issued to your business, depending on the state in which you are operating. You should verify with the city or county that the business location is zoned for that activity. You must have commercial liability insurance, both for your business and for your vehicle and trailer.

Health Department and Food safety

As a business owner and a food worker, you will be preparing food for other people. Contact the health department of your county or state to receive a copy of a food safety guide that will help you greatly in learning more about food safety. Roasted corn is considered a less hazardous food, but if you are going to sell potatoes and turkey legs you may have to pay higher fee.

Start-up Costs of a Corn Roaster Business

Brand new corn roaster with warranty: 10,000-$12,000.

Used corn roaster: $5,000-$8,000.

Additional equipment and accessories: $1,200-$2,000.

Used van or truck: $2,000-$10,000.

Food cost for first two events: $300-$1,000.

Event sign-up fee: $800-$3,000.

Fuel, utilities, and miscellaneous: $200.

Equipment Required to Start a Corn Roasting Business

A professional corn roaster, minimum 200-500 corns per hour.

Hot plate for melting butter

Steam table for storing cooked potatoes and turkey legs.

Two 20-lb. propane tanks

Fire extinguisher

Commercial quality tent

2 tables,

Hand washing unit (portable) very easy to assemble one

Mics. Little things

Google „Corn Roasters“ and search for companies that will help you get started before buying the equipment if you are strapped for cash. One of the company Texas Corn Roasters help.

How to Find Events and Festivals

There are many sources for finding festivals and events, such as your vendor friends, the local Chamber of Commerce, auto racing, fairs and festivals, flea markets, rodeos, and theme parks. The Internet is one of the greatest sources for finding events. Many good sites provide this information. Always send a professionally done proposal with your application if you want to beat the competition.

Suppliers and Producers

Suppliers and produce wholesalers are your key to success in this business. You cannot afford to buy the food from retailers, so you must find producers capable of providing you quality food at wholesale costs. Every state and big town has a local supplier who delivers food supplies to local restaurants. „Wholesale food distributor“ in the Yellow Pages is a good place to start. Corn is cheap if buy from a wholesaler.

Serving food at the festival

The way you serve can also improve your business. You will need certain condiments for every item you server. For instance sale, black pepper, Cajun spice, garlic powder, lemon pepper and more.

Signage

You have probably heard the saying „flash is cash.“ It is very true when it comes to the festival business. You could have the most delicious food, best prices, well-trained staff, and a festival with thousands of people. If your booth fails to attract customers,, it is probably the poor signage.

Tribal knowledge

Like many other small profitable business the roasted corn business is run by tight lipped vendors who do not share tribal knowledge. There are not any website, or sources for a newbie to find any information. The tribal knowledge could help you make extra 25K a year. There is a very helpful book „Earn an entire year’s living with corn roaster“, that covers this business with very granular level of details. It is worth buying.

If you plan on making your concession business a full time job, consider an RV that can tow your corn roaster trailer and getting on the list of concession vendors that follow a fair rout.

Accounting and numbers are also very important aspect of this business. Festival Concession business offers financial and personal freedom like no other small business does.

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Source by Michael Chay

Raw Land Income Ideas

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There are so many different ways to make money if you own land. If you own even a small piece of land you might be surprised just how creative you can get if your goal is to create income using an existing asset.

Pasturing animals

If your land includes fields and/or some wooded areas, you might want to take look through the on-line and paper classifieds in your area. More than likely you will be able to identify horse or cow owners who are looking for space to graze their animals. What a fantastic way to make money and if your land includes large pasture areas, the animals will keep the grass down so you can even save money!

Hunting rights

If you own land suitable for hunting, you can rent your land out to hunters. This is one of the best ways to make extra money. If you have big deer in your area, there’s a good chance you can charge a premium price for rights to your land during hunting season. Best of all, you can charge by the person or charge a flat fee. You are in control with this one, making it one of the best ways to make extra money, while maintaining full use of your land during the off-season. If you have wildlife on your land, I recommend that you explore this income-generating possibility.

Storage

Have you noticed how many mini-storage rentals there are? If you have a building on site, this is also a potentially lucrative way to make extra money. These days, no-one seems to have enough room to store their stuff, making storage space a realistic way to earn some extra income. It may even be a wise investment to have a building put up if one does not exist. Those with an old barn could store four wheeler or boats during the off-season, making it one of the easiest ways to make extra money using your land (or trailers, campers, snowmobiles, classic cars -just about anything you can think of).

Camping

If you have level, open land that would be suitable for erecting tends, you should look into the logistics of starting a basic campground. Depending on the current condition of your property, it is possible to start up a campground with little start-up money. Usually to get started you only need stakes to make the sites, some campfire rings and a port-a-potty. There are so many free and inexpensive ways to advertise these days such as Craig’s List and backpage.com that you can at least place an ad and see what kind of interest it generates. If there is interest in your area, you have a pretty simple way to generate passive income without having to make a large upfront investment or doing expensive upkeep.

Logging

If your property includes wooded areas, it would be smart to get a few quotes from different logging companies to see how much you could earn from the timber. In order to preserve the value of the land, as well as for environmental reasons, I do not recommend that you clear-cut the land. However, you may be able to log part of it and preserve some of the wooded areas. You might want to look into logging companies that cut sustainably by selectively harvesting only certain kinds of trees. This protects the value of the land as well as lessens the negative impact on the environment. Just do a Google search on „sustainable logging companies“ in your state.

Flea markets

If your land is in a high traffic area, I suggest that you look into renting it out as a flea market. Do you know how many small tables you can fit on an acre of land? Even if you charge just $15/day for each vendor and you have 20 vendors for the first year, you are already generating an additional $300/day which comes to more than $2,000/week. This is a very low-cost way to make use of your land while helping out local vendors and consumers alike. As usual, do some research on the logistics before diving in.

Cropland

Depending on the kinds of farming that exists in your area, there may be individuals or larger companies looking to lease land short-term or long-term for farming purposes. If you have tillable land, it would be worth your while to place an advertisement in the local papers as well as places like Craig’s List and backpage.com to see if you get any hits.

Power leases

In this day of alternative energy, it is possible to make money leasing rural land to wind generating companies or others within the alternative power industry. However, the details about this are too complex to cover in this article. I do explore these topics on my blog which you can access through my company website or check into other articles that I have posted here on Ezine.com

Paintball Fields

Providing space for paintball „wars“ is still a big industry. If you are in doubt, just check out all the paintball fields linked through this website: http://www.pbreview.com/fields/ As you can imagine, it does not take that much to make your raw, rural land „paintball“ ready. Essentially you just section off all or part of your land and rent it it out to groups. Here is an example of a privately-owed paintball field: http://www.actionpaintballsac.com/

Conclusion

Land is an asset especially for those who are creative enough and determined enough to generate passive income by investing the time and energy to get something started. Just be sure to do the proper research before you get started such as finding out if you need a license or permit and dot all your „i’s“ and cross all your „t’s.“ Good luck!

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Source by Mark Podolsky

A Vet Who Practices Without an Animal Hospital

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Simplify. It's a growing trend in many areas: declutter, trim down, simplify your schedule and your lifestyle. One veterinarian in upstate New York did just that and created a whole new way to practice as a result. In the "house calls only" business for the past eleven years, she has honed her particular brand of veterinary house calls to match her clients and her area, and still "helps out" at one of the local animal hospitals when their vets need a hand.

A "house calls only" veterinary practice presents some unique challenges and special opportunities for pet owners, their pets and of course the vet. Let's check out what this looks like as we explore the pros and cons from all sides.

Tools of the Trade

Her phone, her scheduler / planner, and her car are the most important tools Dr. Barbara MacMullen uses daily. Open up to any given date in the plan book and you'll see an incredibly detailed schedule of what's on for the day: appointments, phone calls, reminders for the next day, and lists of what might be needed at each visit. Being organized is key, she insists. Having everything she needs at every appointment saves her time and saves the client money. And it means that at each appointment, she has the time to relax and focus on the dog, the owner and the interaction between the two, zeroing in on any problem, medical or behavioral.

"I might be anywhere within a three county radius on any given day," she laughs. "I need a car that will get me everywhere I need to go. I see clients in the city of Kingston, but I also have to go way out into the boonies sometimes. I know it's hard for people with a few dogs and long drives to get in to an animal hospital so I feel like I'm really providing an important service. "

Evenings are spent on the phone. Calling back everyone she checked in on during the day, making appointments and trialing animals who may need a more immediate service are daily tasks as well. "Sometimes I talk to an owner three or four times before I ever see a dog," she points out. "A visit with me might take a few days or even longer to get scheduled. Sometimes I can really help over the phone. And I can also get a sense of how much an owner is willing and able to do in terms of home care. If I've got someone ready to go to the pharmacy or health food store and buy some things to try, or maybe give a new diet a try, that might save the owner a $ 50 visit. And yes, lots of times, I am telling people to call their local animal hospital. If you're going to be my client, you need back up for urgent care and emergencies. That's just the way it is. "

Pros and Cons
What are some of the pros and cons of using a vet that doesn't work out of an animal hospital? From a dog's point of view, the benefits can be huge. If the vet comes to your home, then your pup may well be less stressed by the lack of a whole ordeal: no car ride, no weird animal hospital smells, no slippery, cold exam table and no strangers restraining her.

For the dog owner, convenience (especially if you have multiple animals) is a major benefit. The doctor does all the driving! Relatively relaxed and in their own environment, dogs are more likely to exhibit any symptoms without the added stress or agitation from being in the animal hospital. Thus if there are symptoms that need to be monitored, the vet can get a more accurate sense of how severe they are, unaffected by anxiety or stress.

The cons of a house calls only practice involves the nature of the beast: the doctor is out in the field and can't respond to an emergency. Dog owners still need to maintain a relationship with a local animal hospital just for emergencies, which can be tricky. Let's face it, if you wanted a relationship with the local animal hospital you probably wouldn't be courting the house calls vet, right?

Because a house calls only practice has no staff and no hospital overhead, some cost savings can be passed on. Dr. MacMullen is always looking for ways for her clients to promote their dogs' health in the most frugal ways she can find. "If I can help a family save money, then I think I should do that. Why not, as long as it doesn't affect the quality of care?"

Why not, indeed. Quality and convenience, delivered to your door. Check out your local listings and see if you have a house calls practice near you.

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Source by Ron Ayalon

How to Optimize Your Tenant Mix Analysis

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In a retail shopping center, a tenant mix analysis remains the most important part of property performance. When you get the tenant profiles and mix well balanced you can drive more sales to the property and strengthen the rental for the landlord. It is an 'equation' of property performance, and it should be respected.

In these times where retail shopping and shopping center performance is under some pressure, it is essential that you do a property business plan once per year and bring into that plan key elements of activity and planning. The parts of that plan should include:

  • Tenant mix analysis
  • Tenant mix strategy
  • Lease standards
  • Anchor tenants
  • Vacancy management plan
  • Vacancy marketing
  • Income and Expenditure analysis and benchmarks
  • Customer profiles
  • Sales records for tenant segments
  • Marketing strategies for the property
  • Landlord lifecycle plans
  • Tenant retention programs
  • Capital expenditure and refurbishment initiatives
  • Maintenance planning
  • Competitor analysis

So let's go back to the point of analizing the tenant mix. Here are some ideas to help you get started with that.

  1. What anchor tenants do you have in the property and how long do they have remaining in occupancy? If your anchor tenant is important to the property and the mix (that is likely to be the case), you will need a renewal or replacement program that is in place to resolve any vacancy threat.
  2. Specialty tenants should be well matched to the property and the shopper. The placement of specialty tenants should occur in 'clusters' that encourage sales and shopper attention. If a shopper purchases goods in one shop, the adjacent shops should be complementary to possibly extend the sale potential from each shopper purchase.
  3. Some of your tenants will be 'destination' in type. That means you will see people visit that shop regardless of its location. A post office is a good example. In a shopping center it is good to have a few of these destination tenants and spread them into locations where they benefit the overall tenant mix.
  4. Look at the 'permitted use' as detailed in each of the tenants leases. For example, and when it comes to food courts, it is important to ensure that the 'permitted uses' and 'exclusivities' noted in each lease are respected. One of the most common problems in a food court is the sale and providing of 'coffee'. If you have a major coffee shop retailer in the shopping center, you could be destroying its trade by allowing every other retailer to sell coffee. That is where a 'permitted use' strategy is useful.

Taking all of these issues, you can plan the tenant mix and tenant profile in the property. A successful retail property is all about strategy and planning. If you manage or lease a shopping center, it is your job to recognize that fact and implement the plan.

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Source by John Highman

Affiliate Marketing Tips and Keywords For Selling Fitness and Exercise Equipment

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As an affiliate marketer your main job is to presell the products that you are promoting on your website. When you are preselling exercise and fitness equipment, knowing the reasons why people buy them allows you do a better job at preselling.

Below are some of the reasons that people want to buy exercise and fitness equipment. These reasons can also be why people would buy equipment for someone else.

To lose weight and tone their muscles
To become healthier and feel better
To build a lot of muscle
To make their body to look more attractive
To slow down the aging process
To help in the recovery from an illness or injury
To please their family members or other people in their lives
To fit into their clothes
To be more successful in their career or get a new job
To follow an order from a doctor
To get health insurance or life insurance
To be able to exercise in the privacy of their home
To prepare for an upcoming event such as a wedding or high school reunion
To make a one-time purchase instead of buying a gym membership

There are many types of exercise products that affiliate marketers can promote. It is a good idea to choose a niche to specialize in.

Below is a list of some of the products that you can promote.

stationary bikes
spin machines
Pilates machines
free weights
rowing machines
gliders
treadmills
weight machines
trampolines
ski machines
ellipticals
resistance bands
multi equipment machines
jump ropes
stair climbers
balance balls
sports training equipment
ab machines

You can also feature products related to exercise equipment on your website. Some related products are:

Exercise clothes
Videos and DVDs on exercise programs
Health and fitness magazine subscriptions
Diet plans
Books about healthy cooking and eating, diet plans, exercise plans
Extra equipment or attachments to the products

On your affiliate website you should have words or phrases that will help sell the exercise equipment. Sometimes just one word will resonate with a person and persuade them to buy.

The following are positive words and phrases related to exercise.

lose weight
feel healthy
look better
stop aging
build muscle
increase stamina and endurance
no embarrassment
improve confidence
get in shape
live longer
increase energy
feel thin / sexy / younger / more attractive
look thin / sexy / younger / more attractive
tone up
fit into old clothes
keep the weight off
enjoy the beach
lose fat
eat more
wear a swim suit

Using images and graphics on your website will also help sell the exercise equipment. Visitors to your site will project themselves in the pictures and this will help persuade them to buy.

Some imagery ideas are:

Before and after pictures of people getting into shape
People smiling and enjoying exercise equipment
People at home using the equipment while watching TV or being near their young children

If you are planning to drive traffic to your website by using pay-per-click advertising you will need good keywords for your ad campaigns.

Here are some keywords and phrases related to exercise equipment.

fitness equipment
exercise bike
home fitness
gym equipment
gym machines
home gym
exercise equipment
fitness machines
weight lifting equipment
used exercise equipment
exercise machine
exercise
abdominal equipment
fitness exercise equipment
home exercise equipment
weight equipment
exercise program
exercise bike equipment
sports equipment
fitness exercise

Informative articles are something you should have on your affiliate website. These not only help sell the equipment but will help the search engine optimization of your site. Articles will keep visitors on your website for longer and will improve the overall quality of your site.

Here are some ideas for articles relating to exercise:
How a person used the equipment to quickly lose a lot of weight.
How a person got in shape and it helped them get a date.
How a person improved their overall health and fitness
How easy it is to set up or use the exercise equipment.

Building a list of subscribers will enable you to establish a long-term relationship with your visitors. In order to get them to sign up for your mailing list or newsletter you can offer them a free information product related to exercise.

Ideas for free information products related to exercise are:
A list of good and nutritious foods to eat.
A list of exercises they could do anywhere.
How to make time in the day for a quick workout.
Exercise equipment reviews and recommendations.
Diet plan reviews and recommendations.

Since exercise equipment is usually a high ticket item there is the potential to make a lot of money in affiliate commissions. Finding exercise equipment to promote is not difficult. You can check on the official website of the equipment maker and see if they have an affiliate program. You can also search on the affiliate networks to see if they represent exercise equipment. Choose a program that offers a variety of creative linking opportunities. Most programs offer free datafeeds of the merchant's product catalog. Using datafeeds on your website, along with informative articles will allow you to create an authority website that will rank well in the search engines.

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Source by Adam Z. Sterling

Real Estate Sale Leaseback – Right for Your Business?

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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.

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Source by Jerad A Rector

How to Get Rich Buying Real Estate From Your Parents With No Money Down and No Credit

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You can get rich from the equity appreciation of real estate by buying property from your parents using traditional or creative financing that may or may not require a down payment or credit. Whether you are a first-time home buyer or an experienced investor, you can buy any type of property from your parents from a home you live in with them to an investment property you rent out to tenants. The following lists some reasons why you may find it faster, easier and financially more lucrative to buy from your parents than anyone else.

You Do not Have to Buy an Entire Property
When you buy from your parents, you can purchase any percentage you want like 10%, 50% or 75%. If you pay less-than-full price, you will have lower mortgage payments and buying a house is more affordable. Regardless of what percentage you own, you still get the benefits of home ownership such as equity assessment, mortgage interest discounts, property tax deductions and capital gains tax exclusions.

You Can Share the Responsibility with Your Parents
When you buy a partial interest in a property, you and your parents share the responsibility of owning it including the mortgages you each carry, the property taxes, homeowners insurance or homeowners association dues, and maintenance. Because you have more than one person responsible for a property, you can rely on each other for financial strength in the event of hardship.

You Can Elevate Your Status From Renter to Owner
Are you already living at home rent-free or paying rent? Is so, why not buy into your parents' house, since you already live there, and get an equity stake in their property? Then, you are no longer living with your parents but living in your house that you own with your parents. If your parents have more than one property, you can buy into one of their secondary or investment properties and live on your own.

You Do not Have to Get a Loan From a Bank
When you buy from your parents, you do not have to qualify for a loan from a traditional lender such as a bank which has income, asset and credit requirements because your parents can act as a bank and give you seller financing for your purchases.

You Can Create Your Own Home Loan
When your parents act as a bank, you can get favorable loan terms by structuring your own payment schedule with a manageable loan amount, lower-than-market interest rate and repayment term of your choice.

You Do not Need a Down Payment
Unlike getting financing from a bank which has down payment requirements, you can buy from your parents with no money down.

You May Get Property Tax Benefits
Depending on the state you live in, your property taxes may not be reassessed at current values ​​when you buy from your parents or grandchildren because of a parent-child and grandparent to grandchild property tax reassessment exclusion. This is a huge benefit when parents and grandparents have had ownership for many years and have property taxes based on the values ​​of their properties at the time they purchased them.

You Can Get Gifts From Your Parents
Your parents can give you cash or equity gifts toward your purchases, reduce the principal amounts of any loans you owe them and allow you to buy at a discount. Anyone can gift a limited amount of money in any given year to any number of people they wish without having to report it to the Internal Revenue Service. This is a way your parents can sell to you without having to repay the entire debt you owe them. They can also credit you money at the close of escrow toward your closing costs by deducting the credit from their sales endeavors.

You Can Turn Your Financial Supplements into an Investment
If you are supplementing your parents financially because they do not have enough to live on in their retirement or for any other reason, you can turn your supplements into an investment by buying into your parents' home and making mortgage payments to them. As a result, you will have an equity stake and the benefits of home ownership.

You Can Get Benefits if You are a Realtor Buying From Your Parents
If you are a realtor, you can get cash from your parents at the close of escrow. If there is enough equity in a property to pay off any existing liens and pay you a commission, you can get a traditional loan to buy an interest in your parents property and get a commission for representing yourself as the buyer, or both you and your parents as the buyer and sellers.

You Can Still Get Rich When Your Parents are Not an Option
If your parents are not an option to buy from, consider buying from other family members and any other sellers. You can purchase a partial interest in real estate and use seller-financing to facilitate your purchases. Also, think about joining forces with siblings, friends, roommates or other buyers to increase your buying power.

It May Be Easier to Buy From Your Parents than Strangers
There is an abundance of resources right in our own families but many of us overlook this fact because we are trying to achieve financial success by ourselves. Because your parents have worked their whole lives to achieve what they have, one of the smartest things you can do is work with your parents and build upon their success.

@ Copyright 2009 All Rights Reserved

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Source by Christine C Greene

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

Which Real Estate Prospecting System is Right For You?

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While many real estate agents will go through contortions to avoid prospecting, some sort of prospecting must be done before a sale can be made. Top real estate agents know that prospecting is their ticket to prosperity and happiness, and they embrace it. Many other agents will „dabble“ at prospecting, without working the system hard. They’ll often keep looking for a ‚magic‘ system of prospecting.

I have seen all the systems on the market today that are sold as ‚magic formulas;‘ that claim to make prospecting easy, automatic, and virtually instant. The truth is most of those formulas are good systems for prospecting. But they’re not magic, and one is not intrinsically better than another… and none are „instant.“ All will take effort and consistency.

What’s the best prospecting system? It’s the one you want to work hard to implement. A good prospecting method is one that you are comfortable doing, that fits your personality so you are more inclined to be successful.

Active Real Estate Prospecting Methods

The best forms of prospecting for fast results are active. The following is a list of the most common active prospecting methods.

  • Some real estate agents have the personality for knocking on cold doors for a few hours each day. They like the repetition. They enjoy walking and getting the exercise. They like having a set script and getting into a rhythm. After the first day, they quickly get over any discomfort with talking to people at the front door. They find that most people don’t mind someone working hard, knocking on the door. If you’re someone who has a strong aversion to people knocking on your door, you might want to consider that thousands of Realtors have built hugely successful businesses doing this. Just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean others feel the same way. It’s an easy and very inexpensive prospecting approach. The key to making it work is both consistency and knowing the right kinds of words to use to convert a lead into an appointment on the spot (which is true of any of these active prospecting methods).
  • Some (few) people enjoy cold calling. They like the repetition, consistency, and ease. But the public doesn’t enjoy telemarketers, so the rejection rate is high. If you’re someone who interprets a hang up as a personal attack, you probably won’t want to do this. On the other hand, it’s one of the fastest ways to grow your business and I know many successful agents who built their business to the high six figures doing cold calling. You can learn to work within the regulations of the Do Not Call List. And because telemarketing is challenging, you probably won’t have much competition and you may find people more receptive these days because they’re not inundated by calls.
  • Some people enjoy dropping by FSBO’s or calling expireds. They like the odds (since the owner has already „raised their hand“) and have steeled themselves for the challenge. These owners can vent their frustrations about something else on you, making it seem „scary“ at first to talk with them. However, there are very well-described techniques for handling this and for knowing exactly the right words to say. In some areas, there are enough FSBO/Expireds to make a full-time prospecting program. In other areas, this may be a once-a-week program.
  • Some agents like threading their way through Web 2.0 and social media marketing. They like it, but they also understand that it’s not just a hobby. They have a strategy and know how to work the strategy using websites, lead generation companies, blogging, social media, ezine articles, etc. This is a pseudo-active form of prospecting because it combines elements of advertising (drop your bait and see who bites) with networking. The challenge is to know exactly what works in the „real estate social media world“ and what doesn’t, because it is easy to lose yourself in it.
  • Other real estate agents live and breathe for the opportunity to network. They are social creatures who can find business by talking to people in the grocery checkout line. A networking system ensures they have a deliberate strategy for building the right kinds of relationships, making themselves known in a community, etc. If you’re an introvert, you may not be attracted to this method of prospecting. On the other hand, I know some introverts who do well at it because they have a purpose for making conversation and have learned the right words to say to motivate someone to want to do business with them. Many people enjoy building 100% referral-based businesses and work techniques and strategies that go well beyond what we normally think of as networking.
  • Some people enjoy farming because they like being part of a community. They enjoy the benefits of door knocking, sponsoring neighborhood events, and blogging about the ‚hood. If you don’t like your neighbors, you don’t have to farm your own neighborhood. Some agents use neighborhood websites with coupons and free classifieds for garage sales, FSBOs, etc. Farming is the one method that includes elements of all other methods, so if you like variety, this is the method for you.
  • Still others, like me, have tremendous success with running workshops — first time buyer, seller, investor, etc. Workshops are natural and fun for me, and so I enjoy prospecting…and I do believe that an agent should enjoy their real estate prospecting, otherwise they won’t do it. I’ve developed my own system filling workshops and delivering content in a way that makes people eager to work with me. This is a nice approach for many agents who are a bit shy, but still like to be on stage.
  • Open houses are still a great way to prospect, if done well. Some agents hold open houses five days a week. They have a process for working the buyers that come through, and they work the community where they’re holding the open houses, often becoming listing agents in time. If open houses are a lynchpin in your prospecting plan, then you’ll want to know the exact words to use to motivate prospects to want to work with you, and you’ll want to get good at asking for appointments, not just phone numbers. Some agents feel that open houses are a waste of time because they don’t get enough active prospects coming through in their area. If that’s true for you, then maybe you should spend your weekends on a different approach.

Passive Prospecting

Less active prospecting (or passive prospecting) includes direct response marketing, advertising, online lead generation companies, just listed/sold cards, dropping flyers, etc. Some of these techniques work very well. And some of them are a complete waste of time. Before you decide to launch a passive marketing campaign, talk to your coach and discuss the costs vs. outcomes.

The One Real Estate Prospecting System that Every Agent Needs

Every agent should follow up with their past clients religiously and automatically. Ongoing database farming is perhaps the only way for most agents to even out the ups and downs of this industry. Eventually, after building your business for several years, this past client base will be your ticket to the lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of.

Database farming is also your best chance for „easy, automatic, and virtually instant“ business. If you need business right now, then reconnect to every past client and person in your circle of influence and ask them for a referral. Using some clever referral techniques and words, chances are very good that you will unearth at least one new transaction.

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Source by Linda Schneider

We Buy Houses Signs – The Good, The Bad, and The Big Yellow Ugly

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

Yes they’re ugly, but… I know they’re ugly, that’s sort of the point, these signs, are not invisible, and help to catch the attention of the locals. We live in a world of perfect typography, so when ugly painted text shows up, we tend to read it. It’s advertising, the sad part is, like all other forms of advertising, people do get used to these as well, and they become almost invisible. So, I personally use these on an on and off basis.

We Buy Houses, the truth is…

Most real estate investors are known as transactional engineers with many different tools in their tool bag. I personally find that more often then not, a cash offer simply won’t help the sellers situation, this is where we as investors dig in, and get creative! Truth of the matter is, sometimes selling the house in a traditional way will cost you money. We work to find a solution to at the very least, make sure that you don’t come out of pocket when selling. If you find yourself in a position where you or your loved ones need to sell your house fast, know that you have options, and that big, ugly, yellow sign was meant for you!

Most people, don’t want the ugly sign, but…

While 95% of the people will drive by and think nothing of it. There are a few folks that come across these beacons of hope, and feel relief. Mr. Rich Dad, Poor Dad, said it best „Your home is not an asset,“ not only is this a fundamental truth, but sometimes your house can actually be hurting your finances. Letting the home go in to foreclosure is what most people end up having to do, not knowing they had options! So, while you might be thinking you are helping your community by „cleaning up“ and taking down the ugly yellow sign. You might actually be hurting someone in a life changing way, foreclosure is not pretty!

Ugly for beauty, you decide…

These signs are typically placed in high traffic, high cash transaction areas, and not in residential communities. Yes they make your telephone poll look ugly, but lets take a closer look at the good they do for your neighborhood. You know that vacant home growing tall grass, almost as fast as the haunted house stories it’s originating? That’s what we as investors are looking for! We find these ugly homes, and completely renovate them! Investors make them beautiful again adding value to your neighborhood! Let the telephone poll look ugly, your house is now worth more because of it!

Don’t take the ugly yellow signs down, they help people, and well… they cost a lot of money. For those of you that have seen these signs and ultimately brought you here, I hope I was able to provide some insight!

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Source by Glenn C. Elliott