Real Estate Social Media Marketing

Many companies use social media marketing to create and distribute messages through social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and others and also use social media optimization to boost the rank of a Web site in search engines like Google and Bing.

Most agents, brokers and Realtors have found successes in lead generation, sales and brand awareness through use of mass audience social platforms including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Meetup, and LinkedIn. In addition to real estate specific platforms, like Trulia, Zillow, WellcomeMat and Architizer.

In accordance with the latest research, more than 90 % of all buyers start the search for a home online. Also the same percentage for homeowners looking to refinance their mortgages.

Internet has proven itself to be an apt repository for the enormous and detailed information that build the real estate industry.

We can find listings, home estimations, rates of mortgage interest, glossary to explain terms, house videos and information videos that explain everything started from buying a foreclosure to improving the credit history and credit score.

Like Facebook and Twitter have become an integral part of our cultural landscape. And in the same time, consumers have grown more suspicion of advertising and marketing claims which always high-promise and low-deliver. On the other hand consumers trust each other to purchase decisions, and there is no larger buying decision than owning a home for any person.

It is a good suggestion that every social media toolbox of the home builder contain a company website, blog, online public relations, social networking web sites and other websites.

The problem most companies have with social media is just putting a lot of search engine optimized content up on the web only. Growth of this phenomenon has coincided with the steepest drop in U.S. housing values in history. So many industry players are just trying to survive.

Some of the basic terms used in social media marketing are:

  • Newsfeeder or Aggregator.
  • Blogs.
  • Blog Marketing.
  • Blogosphere.
  • Content.
  • Crowdsourcing.
  • Feeds or RSS Feeds.
  • Forums.
  • Groups.
  • Lurkers.
  • Microblogging.
  • Podcast.
  • Profiles.
  • Sharing.
  • Social networks.
  • Subscribing.
  • Threads.
  • Trackback.
  • Viral Marketing.
  • Widgets.
  • Wiki.

By knowing the basic of social media terms, Realtors will be able to benefit from marketing techniques in this area.

In conclusion, social media marketing is considered as a powerful tools to generate leads and build credibility for real estate investors. It is a tool like anything else i.e. you get out of it what you put into it.

Effective Real Estate Leads

When it comes to the  real   estate  business, getting  real   estate  leads is one of the main issues and problems especially for those new in this sector. I’m sure most of you have tried various marketing techniques from online marketing to the normal marketing of cold calling and handing out fliers. Well, those strategies do work but instead of wasting too much time formulating a marketing strategy again and again, why not concentrate on methods that really do work and could bring you a higher percentage of  real   estate  leads?

Now, when we talk about  real   estate  leads, we most invariably refer to highly motivated seller leads or even desperate buyer leads. Whichever it is, in the  real   estate  business, we depended the most on motivated seller leads to get great below market value properties and of course, we need even more motivated buyers to get those properties off our hands so that we could earn a sizeable profit from it.

Although the current economic situation is not doing so well, I feel that it is the best time as any to get really good  real   estate  leads. This is because in such trying times, there are plenty of highly motivated sellers out there and all you need are a straight path leading them to you. So, how do you do that? Here are some sure-fire and non-costly tips:

– Create a strong presence especially in the  real   estate  sector online with a professionally set up and yet user-friendly website

– Encourage readers or visitors of your website to sign up to your website by offering free e-books in  real   estate  investing, financial tips, on mortgages or any other topic you are comfortable with.

– Always provide them with great tips and advices on  real   estate  management,  real   estate  investment, even on  real   estate  taxes so that you become a source they trust.

– Other than an online presence, start creating an in-person presence by being more prominent in your community

– Take part in community events and functions as often as possible and remember to network, network, network! But remember, don’t be too pushy as this could turn people off you.

– Distribute bold, interesting  real   estate  fliers in your area frequently to target different segments each time so the first 100 fliers could be targeting motivated sellers while the second batch could be targeting buyers. So, yes, you will need to create different fliers for different markets.

– Dig out your own lists (especially the old ones) and start sending them emails / letters reminding them that you are still around and ever ready to help them with their  real   estate  needs.

– Join clubs and associations and be as prominent as you can during those meetings and functions. Again, this is for networking purposes for you to distribute your business cards but remember, no hard selling or pushiness getting people to go to you when it comes to  real   estate .

– Start a charity event (it could be a small bake sale, it doesn’t matter) and start inviting everyone to participate. Just remember to place your business information and logo in a prominent place and yes, start passing out your business card to all those who came.

With these  real   estate  lead tips, I am sure you will start getting calls and effective leads that result in profits for your  real   estate  business.

Green Real Estate – How Green Homes Offer Many Benefits

Consider as many green building products as you can when building your home. You can consider things like bamboo wood flooring or recycled newspaper insulation, for example. There is some plywood or paneling that is made from wood chips and other wood products. Window treatments can include wicker or bamboo shades and used brick facades can add style to the front of your home. There are many green building products made from plentiful resources. This includes building products that are made from recycled plastic and metals, including siding, some kinds of decking, and other products that can be included when you decide to build green real estate.

Another consideration to make your new home friendlier to the environment is natural energy sources that are easily available, such as solar or wind power to lower your energy usage. It can be an easy way to save money on your utility bills and a way to add an energy system that can pay for itself very quickly. If you are not familiar with how wind or solar energy systems work, most builders in your area can advise you on which choice might be the best for your particular location. Most parts of the country are able to use one of these choices when building green real estate homes.

Considering your natural landscaping and shade trees should be one of the first things you think about when you are looking for the perfect building lot. Try to find a lot that has plenty of large trees near your planned building area and look for natural landscaping that can help save water. You do not need to have a grass lawn to water if there is plenty of natural gravel and rock. Boulders and rock gardens or native growing plants and flowers do not need much water to thrive. Large shade trees can save on your energy bill, as long as they do not shade your solar energy system, when making a green real estate investment.

Think about the placement of your home when you are looking at lots because southern exposure is the best placement for your home. This allows you to take advantage of the winter sun, which is in the southern part of the sky during winter and it can save money on your heating bill. Another thing to think about is whether you can take advantage of earth contact building on the lot you select. If there is a hilly area on the lot that faces the south, it might be the perfect place to build a home that is insulated by the earth, making it perfect green real estate for your home.

You might want to consider used building products when you are thinking about green building. If there is an old barn on the property, used barn wood trim, or panels can make an interesting wall. You might want to consider checking some of the used building supply yards that carry brick that can be used for patios. Antique stores might have ornate wooden doors and windows that can add character to your home. Even stained glass windows add character and can be found at some building suppliers and used salvage yards that specialize in salvaging old buildings. Part of building green real estate can mean recycling products that can add a personal touch, too.

When you are designing your home, make sure you consider the ways you can take advantage of natural lighting. Design your home with green building in mind. Make sure that windows take advantage of southern winter sun, but minimize the number openings that are exposed to cold northern winds. Consider that many storms can come from the west and the summer sun is hottest through these windows. For the best energy savings, careful planning of windows allows you to get natural lighting and save on your heating and cooling bills when thinking about green real estate.

As you can see, we have learned quite a few things about green building and most of it does not involve additional expense. In fact, you may find that you can build a green home for less than many kinds of homes and save money on your energy bills every month. Careful lot selection, location of your home and the materials you plan to use are part of the easiest things to do, when you are considering green building practices. Many people are wrong to think building a green home is more expensive. Your energy savings can pay for any additional costs you might run into. The next thing you should do is use these tips and find out more information to make your next home part of the green real estate movement.

Commercial Real Estate, A Career – How Do You Get Into It?

1. WHAT IS IT AND HOW DO YOU GET INTO IT?

Several years ago, I was attending a Society of Industrial Realtors Annual Spring Conference in Maui. My wife had accompanied me on the trip so that we could also do a lot of sightseeing. Colliers International, a 241 office worldwide firm, sponsored its own company cocktail party the night before the Conference officially began and my wife and I attended the party.

A short while into introductions, a fellow came in from the golf course and he sat down at our table. Andrew Friedlander introduced himself an we discussed our home in Philadelphia, his original home in Brooklyn and his new home in Honolulu. As to how he ended up in Hawaii, Andrew told us that on R&R during his tours in the Army in Vietnam, he decided to take a break in Hawaii after he was finished his last duty tour. He rented an apartment, waited tables, washed cars, etc. to have some extra cash. He said that he paid his apartment rent to an older man who came around once a month and he finally asked the man whether that was his business. Andrew said that he never thought about property management as a business, but the more he spoke to the man the more that he realized how diverse a business commercial  real   estate  could be, particularly in Hawaii. The rental agent began to show Andrew the basics of the business and Andrew decided not to return to Brooklyn.

Forty years later, Andrew is the manager of approximately six Colliers International offices in Hawaii with over 40 brokers and salespeople as his responsibility. Aside from selling and leasing commercial  real   estate  and traditional brokerage transactions through the islands, Andrew’s team is involved in all of the other aspects of commercial and industrial  real   estate .

As one concierge person told my wife and I while we were touring there, “Yes, it is a great place, now where would you ever think of moving to once you are here.”

In the past year, a young Army Captain and friend called me from Hawaii. He and his wife were taking in some R&R after his last duty tour and he called to ask me for some advice on commercial  real   estate  firms. I gave him Andrews phone number after I checked with Andrew on his availability. Andrew treated my friend to lunch and introduced him to Colliers’ business in the islands. As it turned out, my friend and his wife decided later to relocate to Florida to be closer to their parents. Our Colliers office in Ft. Lauderdale was anxious to interview him and did so. He found a better fit for a concentration in office brokerage with another firm, but I think that it is clear that opportunities do exist with major firms for someone who has an interest, who can demonstrate that they are self motivated and whose comportment (manners, speech, personal grooming, business attire) are all positive. A long time friend told me one night after we and our wives checked in, very late, at a hotel owned by a well known hotel group, “That desk clerk is the person representing this hotel company to its customers and I know the CEO. That clerk’s slight rudeness toward us does not at all represent what their CEO wants his company to be known for in their business. He will need to learn that if he is going to be more than the late night clerk.”

I mention this because a company such as Colliers or any of its competitors must ensure that a salesperson or broker first meeting a potential customer properly represents the company’s image. So much money is spent defining that image to the business community that each person, including all staff, must reflect that effort. Otherwise, a potential customer will choose to hire a competitor whose act is together. My understanding is that customer relation training at Wal-Mart is quite strong for all personnel. I would think that any major restaurant chain has in place a thorough program for staff training and it may pay to observe whether if the customer is not always right at an establishment how the staff person handles a customer who is being a bit particular.

2. Entry

I use Andrew’s story as an example of the opportunity that commercial  real   estate  offers. A senior business mentor and good friend of mine told me in Florida in 1971, just at the beginning of that recession, that commercial  real   estate  offered an opportunity to enter a business without having my own capital to invest other than my time and energy, and, with no limit on the size of transactions that could be put together. We discussed this in relation to my going back to law school. His opinion was that it was almost a “sky is the limit” approach, but with some basic sense to it. I had done a few financial reports on potential deals offered to him. I also handed over that year, at my mentor’s instruction, a $300k commission check to a broker who he had employed to buy a property that he had settled on the year prior to that. The next year, at the same time, I handed over the same check to that broker as the second half of that commission to that broker. Please realize that in 1972 that commission amount in the onset of that recession was a significant amount of money for any transaction.

Each state has its own regulations for licensure. Florida required a person to take a sales licensing course, pass that, then work in a licensed  real   estate  broker’s office for a minimum of two years before being eligible to take a state broker’s exam. The sales course is offered by numerous private firms and colleges, evening courses in particular. The cost of the course is minimal. The basic skills for reading, writing and math portions are not difficult. Depending upon your educational qualifications, commercial  real   estate  firms may often offer to provide the course. Smaller, more generalized, brokerage firms may also do the same in order to gain a salesperson.

There typically is a recognized “culture” or business reputation known for a  real   estate  firm in any community, The community can be local, regional or national. It pays to do your homework as to which firm appears to suit your style. The internet is definitely one of the most productive sources for finding a firm’s history, its areas of expertise, personnel, and its successes. Recognize that major metropolitan commercial firms often outsource client needs in an outlying area to a smaller commercial firm in that area rather than requiring one of their main office brokers to commit to travel time. Consequently, if you are in a rural market outside or between major metropolitan markets, you should investigate which  real   estate  firms have those relationships for the larger deals.

Your time for success starting in commercial  real   estate  (particularly without capital) will be the result of what you put into it. I had the option in the early ’70’s of returning to law school and finishing. What I realized most was that I liked being out of an office and “on the street.” My attorney friends in Ft. Lauderdale were spending innumerable hours, as needed, in their offices to write briefs, draft documents, etc., all of which that profession requires. My decision was to put in the same hours on commercial  real   estate  that I would have to put in for any law practice. If it worked, then fine, if not I would go back to school.

Considering that the early ’70’s recession in Florida hit every occupation with almost equal damage, many attorneys had practices with slim billings and clients whose businesses were suffering economically. Several  real   estate  brokers who I met were having very difficult times because the banks were not lending money for deals. Florida had a usury cap of 14% at that time. Deposits were down and when interest rates in California started to go above 14% that is where the money went.

Weekdays in those years, I was knocking on the doors of businesses in the West Palm to Miami corridor. Weekends, I was often painting a house or captaining a motor sailer owned by a friend’s corporation. Weekday evenings after dinner, I was at the office reviewing property information, ownerships, tax data, etc. for the next day’s driving or phone calls. I found that it was possible to earn a living while getting into the commercial  real   estate  field. I later found out after moving back to Philadelphia, that several of the commercial  real   estate  firms did not mind their starting salespeople to moonlight as bartenders, waiters, or whatever until they had enough experience to close transactions. That has changed somewhat in the larger cities due to the financial strength of the larger firms and their ability to either offer a base salary or draw to new salespersons.

Gender in today’s commercial  real   estate  world is not an issue as it was in the ’70’s. At that time, men only eating clubs were often the norm and women were not often able to match that type of selling locale. The number of women who have joined commercial  real   estate  organizations such as SIOR, CCIM, etc. (which I will discuss later) has increased dramatically over the past 15 years. The commercial  real   estate  courses offered today provide an excellent means of obtaining knowledge that once was taught generally “in house” by senior brokerage personnel responsible for a new salesperson’s progress.

Therefore, in considering commercial  real   estate  the aspect of having minimal capital has not changed. Gender is not an issue and many women who have chosen to specialize in industrial or office  real   estate  have done very well. You

can choose your hours, choose your area of specialty(s), choose your market area(s), and choose who you want to approach as a firm to join. Most commercial  real   estate  involes the standard business week, not including late Saturday or Sunday hours (vs. residential Sunday open houses). These are several of the positive aspects of working in commercial  real   estate . The competition is keen, your competitors respect a good work effort and, most importantly, they respect a strong reputation for any individual.

You should investigate both larger commercial firms and smaller  real   estate  brokerage firms. There are advantages and disadvantages to both.

A). Larger firms may be willing to offer a base salary or a draw against commissions. They may prefer prior business experience, but not necessarily prior  real   estate  brokerage experience that may conflict with what their “culture” is and what their in-house training entails. Typically, a new salesperson would be assigned to a senior broker or brokers to do cold calling, marketing materials, marketing reports for any existing client’s property and probably handle property inspections by other competing brokers with their prospects.

A few points on Larger Firms:

Future ownership potential for you in the company may be limited or non-existent.

Control over what market, territory or discipline that you work in may not be your choice. If you are hired for one department, such as retail, that may change if they need personnel support in another department, such as office. You may find that they prefer a new person to rotate through each department and possible each regional office if they have multiple offices.

Depending upon whether the firm is privately held or a public company it could be sold or merged without you being involved in the discussion. There is no real “safety blanket” for any position in a larger firm. If a primary, large, client is lost to a competitor, cuts may be relatively fast to absorb the lack of revenues.

Senior brokers who are successful occasionally leave to join another firm or to start their own competing firm. Clients usually follow those brokers and that could disrupt your potential income if you are in that department and the rain makers leave.

Deal volume can be significant as can be the size of the deals. If an institutional owner (bank, insurance company, pension fund, etc.) has a presence in an urban market, the leasing or sale assignment that they may award to a larger firm can be a “year maker” if the assignment is completed. Usually some year end bonus money flows down to the salespersons who may have participated in the marketing effort.

Senior brokers should have upper level corporate contacts through either a business association, country club, educational institutions, commercial lenders, or contacts referred from other cities where a corporate headquarters may be located. If the firm owners or top brokers are not developing those contacts and relationships, but are relying on the mid-level brokers to do that you may want to look at another firm whose top management is better involved. You want work to filter down from the top instead of getting the crumbs leftover from competing firms who have a solid community (business and non-business) presence.

B). Smaller firms usually will have a broker/owner running the operations with or without broker partners in the firm. Quite often they will have a residential department and a separate commercial department in which a few of the brokers may work in residential and commercial properties.

A few points about Smaller Firms:

Future ownership shares may be offered depending upon deal volume and commitment to the firm. If the founding broker of the firm is nearing retirement age, the opportunity may be better provided that they are maintaining an fully active presence in the community.

Commission percentages may be much more liberal once a minimum threshold of deal volume is met to cover the cost of your desk, phone, secretarial, etc..

A salary or draw is less likely to be offered.

A senior broker may be more likely to have you work directly under him on any property. You will be accountable directly to him and, as should be the case, learn “on the job.”

If there is a residential component to the firm, those brokers specializing in that area should be a source of commercial referrals and the same for you referring any possible single family residential to them. Smaller multi-family buildings should be on the commercial side of the business, but motels may be on either side. This can vary in an area such as Ft. Lauderdale, Hilton Head, or New Jersey resorts where a residential owner with a relationship to the firm may also own retail rentals.

Most regional areas have a Realtors Association, Chamber of Commerce or other organization that offers discounted insurance and other benefits to its members. Whereas a larger firm may have a good corporate health plan and other bulk discounted benefits to its employees, you should look at the costs for each that are offered. I have not found that much of a saving on either side, but if you leave a larger firm you will need to find the alternatives that are affordable.

Your business exposure may actually be more effective working out of a smaller firm and being a primary contact for that firm instead of a secondary contact at a larger firm.

Property databases and the Internet have provided smaller firms with much better access to  real   estate   information  than in the mid-’90’s and before when only larger firms could afford to maintain proprietary property information for a larger market. Launching a significant marketing campaign for a property can be expensive even with the Internet and smaller firms will have a lack of cash resources to compete for major property listings. Deal size, therefore, will be smaller and you will have to strive for volume,

Best regards.

Peter P. Liebert,IV-SIOR

Flourtown, PA

Real Estate Internet Leads – Several Excellent Tips

 Real   estate  internet leads. Are they as real as they are made to be?  Real   estate  internet lead generation companies are as  real  as they can be despite being a part of the virtual world. These companies connect consumers with sales agents and the aim is to generate business by providing effective services from experts at low-costs. A win-win situation for everyone!

With newer and innovative ways of leveraging the power of the Internet to create exciting avenues for  real   estate  marketing, lead generation companies are here to stay. That these companies get customer leads via a combination of internet advertising, and buying top placements in various search engines is now an open secret.

Despite being a rather new concept, lead generation is not typical to  real   estate . You will find the same channel and methodology being used from medical profession to banks and other industries. And let’s not forget that word-of-mouth referrals are already commonplace in the property business.

But you will be the best person to figure out if  real   estate  internet leads are in sync with your own strategies to generate new prospects and convert them into sales. Different  real   estate  agents have different opinions about online lead generation. While some believe that it’s the best thing to have happened in a long time, some other are opposed to this as they see it as acquiring of their hard-won  real   estate  customers.

Of course, having your own personal website is a great way to combat the misdeeds of these online lead generating companies. Many sell fake or outdated customer  information  which is useless to the  real   estate  agent! For all those  real   estate  agents who have out rightly rejected the online lead referrals, the critical issue is the quality of the leads.

So the moot point is screening. Not all who fill the lead forms are serious buyers. The challenge for any company is to sieve the chaff from the wheat. Though these agencies use filtering software’s and apply manual verifications, the truth is that only one out of 10 leads may actually prove to be a serious customer.

Eight Tips For Launching Your Real Estate Investing Career

Eight Tips for Getting Started in  Real   Estate  Investing

Introduction

This article is just the basics for getting started in  real   estate  investing. This is not a how to article but an article that gives you some information about things to do to get started. Everything in this article is tools that can be applied to helping anyone get started in  real   estate  investing. I am going to give you my eight keys to getting started. Nothing is right or wrong but reflects the point of view of the author. Laws and legal practices vary from state to state, and laws can change over time. The author does not vouch for the legality of his opinions, nor is there any intent to supply legal advice. The author strongly encourages the reader to consult with professionals and an attorney prior to entering in any  real   estate  transaction or contract. The author is not a writer but he is a  real   estate  investor. There will be grammar mistakes and errors, so don’t be too critical of the grammar but focus your energy on what is being said. With that said prepare yourself to think a little differently and expand your mind. Let’s get started on an amazing adventure.

The Eight Tips are as follows

1. Desire

2. Goal Setting

3. Learning What To Do

4. Attending a  Real   Estate  Investing Seminar

5. The Billings Montana Market

6. Finding a Mentor

7. Your  Real   Estate  Team

8. Just Do IT

1. Desire

Before we get in to the bolts and nails of  real   estate  investing in I want to talk to you about desire. If you are going to be successful at anything in life including  real   estate  investing you have to have the desire to do it. Desire is defined as longing or craving, as for something that brings satisfaction or enjoyment. Desire stresses the strength of feeling and often implies strong intention or aim. In  real   estate  investing if you don’t have a desire to learn and grow as a human being and really get satisfaction out of it, then  real   estate  investing is going to be hard to do. When I go out and look at a property it brings me a lot of enjoyment. Every aspect brings me joy from talking to home owners, figuring out how I can make a deal work, to buying the house and to finding a good homeowner or tenant for the house.  Real   estate  investing may not be for everyone but  real   estate  investing can offer anyone the financial freedom we all crave for. If you do not have the desire for  real   estate  investing that is ok, it can still help you to live your dreams and help you to get where you want to go in the future.

Why is  real   estate  investing an amazing avenue for anyone to live out all of their dreams? Let me ask you a few questions. Do you have enough money to do anything you want? Do you have everything you want? No debt? A nice house? Great Marriage? The freedom to do anything regardless of how much it costs and the time it takes? If you have all of these things then you are one of the few people in America who does. Most people may be working fifty hours a week and making just enough to pay their bills. In today’s day and age most people are living pay check to pay check never really knowing if they will make enough to pay the bills that just keep piling up. If you cannot keep up with your monthly bills how are you going to plan for retirement or send your kids to college or have time to enjoy life. The answer to all of these questions is becoming financially free. Now it’s not going to be easy everyone will have to get off the couch and out of their comfort zone.  Real   estate  is proven to be one of the fastest ways to get your out of the rat race of the nine to five and begin living the life you deserve to live. Everyone wants something different out of their life. Some dream of traveling the world, spending more time with family, volunteering, golfing, laying on a beach, giving back to the community, or anything that will make them happy. There are thousands of things that make people happy.

Making it in  real   estate  takes a person who has a strong desire to change their lives for the better and think big. Anyone can become a great  real   estate  investor. It is going to take a lot of work and can be a struggle at times but in the end it will be the most amazing feeling ever. The people that make it in  real   estate  investing all have a few things in common. First they run their  real   estate  investing business like any other business out there. Second they get out there and network with anyone and everyone. Some people might be like me and have a hard time talking to other people. If you are that is ok, anyone can learn how to become a people person, it just takes hard daily work. You have to push yourself past your comfort zone. The third thing is that you cannot be afraid to fail. Everyone has failed at something but the most successful people out their learn from their failures. The fourth thing is that you have to put a good team together. I will go into putting a team together in a later chapter. The concept of putting a team together is so that when you don’t know something you have team members that know what to do and can help you with questions. The can also make sure that you are not working yourself to death. You do not want to be the person doing everything in your business. Doing everything is a receipt for failure. You have to put together good people who you can trust and rely on. The fifth thing is that you need a mentor. Sixth and final is the desire to do it. No one can become successful at something if they don’t want to do it and don’t get satisfaction out of what they are doing.

2. Setting Goals

Having goals is one of the most important aspects of achieving what you want in life. You don’t want to just have your goals up in your head you want to write them down and past what you have wrote on the wall somewhere or in the bathroom mirror. You want to review your goals daily and read them out loud to yourself. This way you remind yourself everyday why you are building your business.

How should you start to write down you goals? First off you should think big, and by big I mean HUGE. If your goals are too small you will easily achieve them and have nothing else to look forward too. You should start off by asking yourself the question if I had all the money and time in the world what would I do, what would I buy, how would I spend my time, and how would I spend my energy. Are you starting to write these down? Well you should be. Think about what you want, spending time with family, traveling the world, the best cars, a castle, owning a small country, running for president, having the biggest  real   estate  investing business in your area or in the country. Whatever your dreams and what you want out of your life, write it down. Some of my goals are becoming free, traveling the world, having a Ferrari, having 10 vacation homes all over the world. Right now I am just trying to get you out of your comfort zone of thinking and let your imagination run.

There are several ways to set goals. I have learned a lot of ways you can set you goals and there is no right or wrong way. The best ways that I have found to set your goals is to break them up into two categories. First your short term goals. This should be goals from a month out to around a year. The second is your long term goals these goals are you think big goals and what you see for your future.

For year one I like to first make a list of what I want to achieve this year and I will give you an example of how to do that. For year one you want to be very specific first you want to list what you want your income to be at the end of the year, next how much cash in the bank you want (this is money in your checking account, not assets). Next you want to list how much you are going to give. Giving is a very important, this can be giving to charity, giving of gifts to friends and family, giving to your school or anything you can dream of. As long as what you give brings joy to others who need it more than you. Next list what bad habits you have that you want to eliminate. Weather is be quitting smoking, spending too much on junk, drinking too much, working too much, not spending enough time with family, too much TV, not exercising and many more. We all have bad habits that need to be changed in order for use to grow as human beings. Under each of these bad habits list out some steps that you can take in order to quit them. If you bad habit is being lazy and not exercising enough what can you do to change that. Well you can get a gym membership or a home work out program. Commit yourself you following through with a plan to work out 3-5 days a week. For you to change these bad habits you have to be totally committed and follow through with a detailed plan you set for yourself. After you have your plans in place you should start listing several things you want to achieve or do in the next year. This can be start a successful business, spend time with family, travel to 2-5 places and so on. Now under each of these you should also write a detailed plan on what you need and what you need to do in order to achieve these goals. Finally you should take all of this information you have a write on page on what you see your life being over the next year. Doing this is a great exercise to really see what you want out of life.

Goals Year One

This is what I am going To Do This Year

Income: $500,000

Cash: $100,000

Give: $20,000

Bad Habits that will be changes:

Over Sleeping 1. Go to bed at 11 p.m. 2. Use a timer and set it for 8 hours 3. Set the timer on the other side of the room

Buying things that you don’t need: 1. Going out shopping less 2. If you have the urge to buy something think to yourself is thing item going to help me to achieve my goals of becoming financially free? 3. Tell friends what you are doing, so they can help to stop you.

What I want to Achieve:

Start a successful  Real   Estate  Investing Business: (you should write a detailed step by step plan of everything you need in order to achieve your goal)

Travel: Where do I want to visit? 1. Gators football game (what I need to do it, money, etc)

And last your own page about what you want to achieve using words like I will and only positive words.

For long term goals you don’t need to be as specific right now, but you should list them and under them list a few steps or smaller goals that need to be achieved before you are able to achieve them. With the long term goals always think big. Another good exercise for long term goals is to make a collage of you goals. Put pictures of the house you want on it, places you want to travel, a picture of your family, a number of what income you want in or anything you can think of.

3. Learn

Knowledge builds confidence and destroys fear. If you are starting any kind of business you need to learn the ins and outs of that business. The best way I have found to learn about  real   estate  investing is to read all about it. But once you know it you have to apply what you have learned. Learning and reading is just one step to take. There are thousands of books on the market about  real   estate  investing and everyone has something you can learn from. You don’t just want to read  real   estate  investing books though. You also want to fill yourself with motivational and leadership books. Every successful person that I know if a reader and they all spend at least thirty minutes a day reading something that will teach them about improving their business or helping themselves to become a better person. Some of the best books that I would recommend reading are listed below.

1. Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki (read this first and also ready everything in the rick dad poor dad series, great books to start with and will expand you mind)

2. Be a  Real   Estate  Millionaire by Dean Graziosi

3. Flip your way to financial freedom by Preston Ely (this is an E-Book)

4. Four hour work week by Timothy Ferriss

5. The Attractor Factor

6. Short Sale Pre-foreclosure Investing by Dwan Bent-twyford and Sharon Sestrepo

7. Keys to success, by Napoleon Hill

8. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

9. How to win friends and influence people

10. Any Book by John C. Maxwell (he has tons of amazing leadership books)

11. Getting Started in  Real   Estate  Day Trading by Larry Goins

12. The E Myth by Michael Gerber

13. How to be a quick turn  real   estate  millionaire by Ron Legrand

14. The Power of Full Engagement

15. The It Factor

16. Anything by Anthony Robins

There are tons more you can read but these will give you a great start. You should also read books on negotiating, sales, motivation, and biographies on American business people.

I hope this list gives you the knowledge it has given me. If you learn and apply what you have learned from these books there is no reason that you should not become very successful.

4. Attend a  Real   Estate  Investing Seminar

Attending a  Real   Estate  Investing Seminar can be one of the best places to learn about  real   estate  investing from some very well known experts. There are several seminars going on all over the country every weekend. If you live in a big city it will be very easy to find one. If you live in a town like Billings Montana you might need to travel a little ways to find one. Now most of the best meeting cost money to attend them. Some range from five hundred dollars for three days and some can be up to $20,000. There are a few that I would recommend. Than Merrill is a great speaker to go hear. I have learned a ton from him. You can find his company online by Google searching him. Also rich dad poor dad has seminars all over the country. I attended one of their seminars in Billings Montana for only $500 dollars and learned a ton from it. There is also Preston Ely, Larry Goins, and hundreds of speakers out there. If you find a great book that you really enjoyed, then just simple search for that person online and see if they are speaking somewhere or offer a seminar close to you.

Another reason I recommend going to a seminar is because they get you pumped up and motivated. I have not yet found anything else that just gets you feeling like you can do anything. When you get back from one of these seminars you will have tons of energy and knowledge. Every time I get back from one all I want to do is going out and do a deal or ten.

These seminars will also provide you with several opportunities to purchase amazing  real   estate  investing tools, software or learning material at a fraction of the cost. Believe me when I tell you all of the low priced seminars try to sell you something. But a lot of times what they are trying to sell is some really good stuff.

Another reason to attend a seminar is to network with other investors and build relationships with them. You can meet other investors who you can partner with on a deal, sell a deal too, people who will provide you with deals and so on. You should have hundreds of business cards made up and try to give them all out. You never know how much one business card you hand out can make you.

5. Learn About the  real   estate  market in your area

Most  real   estate  investors start their career off my investing around where they live. This is why I do my  real   estate  investing in Billings Montana. You can venture out when you have more experience. The reason behind this is because we feel more comfortable with the areas and know the areas better. It is also easier to get local  real   estate   information  that we need. Investing in your local market is also cheaper to start out, there is less travel costs, you can see what you are buying and it may give you a feeling a comfort.

First you have to decide which part of town is the best place to invest in. This can be determined by what kind of  real   estate  investing you choose to do. I have not gone over the types of  real   estate  investing but some include rehabbing (fixing up and selling), wholesaling (finding deals and selling them to other investors), buying to rent, and there are a few others. These are the  real   estate  strategies that I use for the most part. When looking at the market you need to see where other investors are buying their houses. Most of the best deals will be found in low to middle class neighbors hoods. By low I don’t mean drug infested war zones, what I mean is blue collar safe neighbor hoods that might have somewhat older houses and houses that are not on the higher end price side. Now you can find deals in the higher priced neighbor hoods but most will be in the low to middle income neighborhoods. When looking where others are buying ask local realtors, other investors or appraisers.

When talking with investors ask them several questions such as what neighborhoods they prefer, what type of houses they buy (3 bed 2 bath), and what they do (rehab, rent, wholesale). You should not look at other investors as competition but try and work with them.

There are different types of markets such as appreciating markets, flat markets, and deprecating markets. Appreciating markets are markets that there is no enough houses or a very high demand for houses which causes the price of houses to go up. The reason there is a high demand for housing can be because of job growth, a very appealing area, or several reason. Flat markets are markets that have no or very little growth. This means that there is not a lot of demand; buy just enough to fill every ones needs. Depreciating markets are where there is a lot more houses than people to fill those house. This causes house prices to start going down. This can be because of a large employer leaving the area, a natural disaster or just over building. There is an old saying buy in a bust and sell in a boom. In depreciating markets you can pick up several deals, while in appreciating the house prices are going to be much higher and harder to find great deals. The deal will still be out there you just have to know where to find them.

Learning your market is another key to becoming successful.  Real   estate  Brokers and experts in your area can be the best source of  information  for you. Learn to use them to find out what kind of market you are in. If you are in Billings Montana we are in a pretty stable market. Billings Montana has not seen the ups and downs that other markets have experienced. I will have to say that I have been noticing a little bit of a downward trend but not much. Once the first time home buyer credit is over with we might see a little more decline. Every market can vary by neighborhood, so make sure you know you market well. I have seen the same houses just one mile apart selling for totally different prices.

6. Find a Mentor

Having a mentor to help you can be your biggest learning experience. Mentors can help you with any questions you may have, walk you step by step through the investing process, give you moral support, you learn from their proven system, and also network you with others in the business. Every successful  real   estate  investor that I know says they owe a lot of their success to the mentors they have and had in their lives. I have had one of the best mentors around, my father. He is teaching me something new every day and pushing me to become successful.

When trying to find a mentor I would suggest network with the investors at your local  real   estate  investors club meeting. There is a  real   estate  investing club in Billings Montana that meets once a month. You can find  information  about  real   estate  investing clubs in your area by searching for REA or  real   estate  investors club then your area in Google. When you go to the meetings ask around who the biggest investors are. Then ask if you could get together with them sometime and discuss  real   estate  investing. Ask them if they would consider working with you to get their career going. Offer your services as a bird dog. Bird dogs are people who go out find deals or leads about deals and give them to other investors. A bird dog gets from $500 to $3000 dollars depending on the deal. Make sure that you have a bird dog contract signed with the investors saying that if you find them and deal and they buy it that you get paid a certain amount of money. Being a bird dog helps you to build credibility with the investor and they are more likely to mentor you if you have something to offer them. If you would like to contact me with a question go to my web site Big Sky Property Solutions LLC.

7. Your  Real   Estate  Team

Building an effective team can make your life as a  real   estate  investor a lot easier. You are only one person and cannot do everything or be an expert in every aspect of  real   estate  investing. Going at a project alone can become one of the most frustrating experiences you will ever encounter. Many people have become frustrated and quite  real   estate  investing because they try and juggle too many things. Make sure that when putting a team together you provide everyone with win-win opportunities. When someone knows that working with you is going to make them money they will put you as a higher priority on their list. But you have to prove it to them that you are the real deal.

People to have on your  real   estate  investing team include

o  Real   Estate  Agents ( find the top agent for volume of sales in your area and other agents who work with  real   estate  investors)

o  Real   Estate  appraisers (find an appraiser that has done a few hundred jobs or more and make sure they carry errors and omissions insurance)

o  Real   estate  contractors (good rehab crews that can get the job done in a timely manner, have 3-5 crews and on every deal get 3 estimates done. Ask for referrals from them and make sure they are licensed)

o  Real   estate  attorneys (every investor needs an attorney, they can help to protect your assets, make sure you find one that works with investors)

o A property management company (can manage your properties and will give you leads on property they are managing that might come up for sale)

o Title companies (take care of the legal process and make sure there are no liens against the property you are buying, choose one that does hundreds of closings a year)

o Home inspectors(charge about $400 but will give you a great inspection and could save you thousands in the long run)

o And your Mentor

All of these people can help you in various aspects of  real   estate  investing. You might find that there are a couple others that are keys to your business but this is just a list of a few.

8. Just Do it

There is no better phrase out there then JUST DO IT! Once you have learned all you can networked with investors in Billings and learned  real   estate  investing strategies there is nothing left to do but get your feet wet. There is no better learning tool out there then doing a deal. Once you have completed that first deal you will know what to expect and find out that it is not as hard as you thought it would be. You will have learned what you did right and what was frustrating. Take that experience and ask yourself what would have made it run smoother. Apply that to your next deal. Then the next deal will be easier and it keeps getting easier as you go. I will say that every deal is different from the last but that what makes this business fun. You have to be creative and always keep on learning and growing with your business.

The average person never uses what they learn. Don’t be average apply your knowledge. When going out and doing your first deal act like you have done 1000’s of deals. The fastest way to change a habit is to act like it is true.

Five keys for success

1. Specialized Knowledge

2. Tools of a professional

3. Have the mindset of a winner

4. Mentors

5. Money and the knowledge of leveraging it (you don’t have to have millions to invest in  real   estate , there are many strategies out there to use other people’s money, or no money at all)

This is going to conclude this article about getting started in  real   estate  investing. I hope this gave you some ideas about how you can get started. I didn’t give you any strategies at this point but look for some in upcoming articles. These are simple steps you can use to get started. If you read this article thank you for listening.

Blogs – 5 Reasons Why All Real Estate Agents Must Blog

If there’s one thing that I continue to repeat to my Real Estate clients over and over and over, it is that blogging is one of the most effective ways to attract prospects to your Real Estate website, and you need to be doing it at least weekly.

Here are five reasons why all Real Estate Agents must blog:

Search engine optimization

Blogging helps your Real Estate website achieve a higher ranking on search engines. The key to search engine ranking is information-rich content. Blogging is the ideal format for publishing information on the Internet, and it’s really easy to update a blog. It’s just like writing an email only it’s to the whole world. Every Blog you post becomes its own web page adding yet another page of content on the web. The more content you have on your Real Estate website, the more you look like an information-rich website to the search engines.

Credibility

A blog helps to brand you as an expert in Real Estate. Blogs are the perfect place to talk about what you know, market updates, and Real Estate news and cost you practically nothing to post them. When you share your knowledge in a blog, you build the kind of trust that turns leads into clients for life. After a while, you will build up a huge inventory of postings which will be impressive, especially to the Generation X and Y home buyers.

Relationship Building

Blogs put a personal face on your Real Estate business. The personal nature of blogs makes them a powerful tool for building relationships with your clients and potential clients. There’s a lot of competition online and in Real Estate; a blog is one of the best ways to separate your business from the competition. Staying in front of these potential future clients is critical in staying in their hearts and minds when they are selling or purchasing a home.

Feedback

Your blog makes instant feedback possible. A blog is an ideal format for getting feedback from clients. Visitors can respond to your comments and link to your blog posts from their own websites and blogs. Hot topics can create a thread that engages dozens–or hundreds–of readers to post their replies. The replies will tell you a lot about what your customers want.

Up-to-date information

Blogs put information that is new and that helps you in a couple ways. First, it will give your clients and potential clients reason to come back to your site again and again. Also, the “spiders” that Google uses to crawl your site will reward you for the fresh and frequently updated content by giving you higher Search Engine rankings. Every time Google comes back to see “how you’re doing” and discovers that you and your site aren’t going to roll over and play dead after putting up your initial 8 page website, they will take note and give you an advantage over the other complacent website owners. Google is drawn to new content as a cat is drawn to catnip. Give Google all the catnip you can and reap the benefits!

Blogging helps you build the quality of relationships that can turn leads into clients for life. If you don’t have a blog, make launching your own blog one of your top priorities.

How to Invest in Commercial Real Estate

Commercial  real   estate  investing is done by business people for profit. There is a lot of difference between the commercial business  real   estate  investing and the other investment properties like agriculture, residential and industrial. Commercial  real   estate  gives a long and stable income which makes it the most lucrative option. The initial investment in the  real   estate  property is very low compared to the returns. Examples of these properties include retail outlets, office buildings, strip malls, restaurants, hotels, apartments, multi-family apartments and many others. There are wide varieties of options available for a person to invest in commercial  real   estate  properties.

Commercial  real   estate  purchases are similar to other properties. The system of the investment is same which is based on selling, buying and all other legal transfer procedures. However, before investing a person should see that how much percentage of return a commercial estate property can give. A person should always research in the market before investing in any property.

First of all, check out the location of the commercial property you are interested in. Then look at the nearby areas that may develop in the future. Also make sure that the commercial property you are interested is free of any legal action and that the title is clear. Do not rush to get any property – otherwise there is a good chance that you’ll end up in a deal that you regret.

For the people who are beginners commercial  real   estate , you should proceed with due care. It is always advisable to take suggestions from the experts who have experience. If you are low in your budget or choose not to hire a professional for advice, you have to spend the time necessary to collect information from all the sources available in the market.

Commercial  real   estate  investing can be challenging and interesting, but profitable as well. More  information  on commercial  real   estate  investing can be found in magazines, newspapers, and online. The Internet can be a good source to get  information  and other things related to commercial  real   estate  investing. There are many websites which can provide you detailed and updated  information  on commercial  real   estate  investing. Good luck!

San Diego Real Estate 2010 Forecast – The Year of the Strategic Mortgage Default

San Diego’s  real   estate  market will most likely have another down-turn in the year 2010, and there are many reasons why. Remember, many of the adjustable home loans were designed with five and seven year interest adjustments. Many home loans are set to re-set next year since the San Diego  real   estate  market boomed in the summer of 2005. The saving grace is that interest rates are near all-time lows and interest rate shock will not be a major factor. The downbeat with these mortgage adjustments will be the ‘reality check’ factor. How many homeowners will suddenly wake up to the fact that their home is now worth tens of thousands of dollars less than their mortgage balance? Only the naive will believe that their San Diego home’s value will snap back soon.

The Northwestern University of Chicago has found that as many as one in four defaults may have been strategic. Driving this phenomenon is the rising number of households that are deeply “under water,” owing much more than the current value of their homes. First American CoreLogic, a  real-estate   information  company, estimates that 5.3 million U.S. households have mortgage balances at least 20% higher than their homes’ value, and 2.2 million of those households are at least 50% under water. The problem is worst in Arizona, California, Florida, Michigan and Nevada.

So, whether or not you think the San Diego  real   estate  market has bottomed, the reality is, it will take numerous years to recoup equity losses many have endured. 2010 may go down as the year of the strategic mortgage default because of this homeowner awakening.

Talking-heads who claim the U.S. housing market has “bottomed,” or even that it will “bottom” in 2010, don’t have the slightest grasp of fundamental economics. Government and the vast majority of media are using the old tactic of trying to talk us out of this downturn. Any bit of positive new is over-emphasized while the terrible, realistic conditions are hardly noted.

The government has spent trillions of dollars and has not made ca significant impact on the problem. Government saved Wall Street banks, at least for now. Will government platitudes actually turn around our economy? The administration thinks so. They are closing their eyes and wishing really, really hard that it does. They also should remember to click their ruby-red heels three times to insure success.

The best parallel to our current situation continues to be the Great Depression. In 1930, we had a 50% stock rally and abundant “green shoots” before the market turned down in a relentless decline. This time the government intervention is much larger, but so too, is the credit bubble.

Many agree the real unemployment rate is 17.5%. How can the housing market improve until unemployment dramatically improves?

Property values only go up if there is an increase in demand. That is NOT happening. The birth rate of the US is just enough to sustain our population, nothing more, and it would be negative without immigration.

Another major factor affecting San Diego  real   estate  demand, is that the severity of our current home value decline seems to have broken the back of the myth that you could not lose money purchasing residential property in San Diego or California. Until the devastation to San Diego home values, fades from the collective consciousness, demand for housing will be a fraction of what it was.

Those who invest in  real   estate  and expect values to appreciate need to face the fact that by mid-2010 there is a high probability we will be in a rising interest rate environment, which will boost costs on mortgage loans substantially. We all know it is now much more difficult to qualify for a mortgage even with some of the lowest interest rates in history. What will happen when interest rates move up? Will the government again step in with some type of subsidized interest rate/qualifying program (much like the sub-prime debacle)?

My idea to stabilize the  real   estate  market is for the government to grant investors who buy and hold homes for at least three years, but no more than seven years, 100% exemption on any capital gain they may realize. I published this idea back on 10-1-08, but, perhaps because this was a low cost idea involving ‘investors’ it never gained any traction. I still believe it would be a sure-fire fix to our housing doldrums.

Here in California the largest state tax rate just passed; there is talk of additional state tax increases. That, coupled with our already high electric, water and gasoline taxes, portends California homeowners’ disposal income is headed for oblivion! Further combination with the administration’s new health care costs and Cap & Trade’s dramatic impact on utility costs, only the hope & change commissars will be able to afford California detached homes. The California masses will be, out of necessity, forced to live in huge apartment complexes. The California standard of living will take a huge hit, but look on the bright side… mass apartment complexes will reduce commuting, contain urban sprawl and cut down on carbon emissions! Perhaps, most importantly, the extra taxes will insure the California public workers pension plans will continue to provide lottery-sized benefits into the foreseeable future.

Higher rates to support currencies will intensify deflation. Intensifying levels of bankruptcy and foreclosure due to salary decreases and job loss will intensify deflation. A century of inflation is coming unwound in a decade.

Be a Real Estate Investing Expert – In An Instant

Here’s a simple method of getting to know your  real   estate  investing market, which is VITALLY IMPORTANT before you can know if a property/price is worthy of calling a ‘deal’ or not…

This ‘LAZY’ method of market research reveals some amazing facts about the  real   estate  investing market in your area and it works for any area there is….

Take a local newspaper (you can get many of them online, for free, nowadays) and simply count the number of ‘For Sale’ and ‘For Rent’ ads, keeping track of them for later reference.

Usually, Sunday and Wednesday papers are the ‘biggest  real   estate  investing days’, so, for now, just watch these.

Keep track of the number of ads for a few weeks and watch what is happening to your market (hold on, now, we’re coming to the part about you turning all this research into a really great  real   estate  investment).

Keeping more detailed records (what price for a 3/2/2 in the SW part of town is being offered for sale and rent wise, etc.) will yield tremendous knowledge, but, for now, just to get started in your  real   estate  investing, stick with the basic ‘total ads’ research.

After a few weeks, you’ll start to see ‘trends’ in the  real   estate  investing potential of your area – maybe the number of For Sale is going way up and the number of For Rent is going way down…

In such a market, what are you doing looking for ‘flips’ as  real   estate  investments anyway?

Such a trend clearly shows that there are fewer people buying and a high demand for rentals (perhaps a good time for you to pick up some deals for your long-term  real   estate  investments).

You see, the newspaper (and the active market) has shown you what you need to be looking for (or not), and this is certainly a good indication that there are few Buyers (whether for themselves or as  real   estate  investments).

Maybe it is because of some local condition (like the closing of a major employer or something), or it could be more national (like the interest rates rising quickly, etc.) – i.e., it could be something you can control, but most likely it isn’t.

However, it doesn’t mean you can’t make  real   estate  investing money in such a market!

You can certainly make money in a  real   estate  investing market where there are few ‘For Rent’ and lots of ‘For Sale’ properties (even if you have poor credit and no money…)

This is a perfect time to be doing Lease Purchase/Options! Yes, it is a great time to simply make CA$H in your  real   estate  investing business.

And, if (and WHEN) the  real   estate  investment market changes again, you will already be on top of it because you’ll keep this simple method in mind – just watching the total number of ads in the paper – something anyone can do (but so few will…) and you’ll know what the next  real   estate  investing ‘trend’ will be – maybe back to ‘flipping’, or maybe something else…

Just one of the major reasons that you need more than one ‘tool’ in your  real   estate  investing toolbox…..

Here’s to your successful (and LAZY)  real   estate  investments…