Archive for April, 2012

The three most important things that you can do in real estate  – or in any sales position, for that matter- are lead generation, lead conversion and lead follow-up. These are ?rain-maker? activities that will make you profitable. They are the 20% of your daily activities that will generate 80% of your income; they are that important.

No matter what area of real estate in which you have chosen to focus, if you do not have a steady stream of leads, you will not be successful.

For investors, leads will be property, people and partners. I like to start with property, because if you find a good deal, everything else will fall into place. The tenth article in this series focused on where to find properties. Some of the possibilities included:

  • Listed properties on the NWMLS
  • FSBO’s (For Sale By Owner)
  • For Rent signs (often a frustrated seller and reluctant landlord)
  • Distressed and neglected properties found through drive-bys
  • Wholesale properties found by bird dogs
  • Foreclosure auction properties, pre-foreclosure properties and REO’s (bank-owned properties)
  • Advertisements from distressed sellers (Craigslist, for example)
  • Advertising for distressed and motivated homeowners, cash buyers or equity partners.

If you do not have a steady stream of leads in your pipeline, there are several ways that you can advertise to attract them. These may include bandit signs, door hangers, flyers, classified ads, on-line ads, cold-calling, door-knocking, direct mail campaigns with postcards or letters. You may want to read a good book or two on sales and marketing to learn about the most effective techniques to generate leads. And then test and track different methods to see which generates the most quality leads for you.

In order to effectively generate leads, you must have a clear and very specific idea of the target homeowner you are trying to reach. You may get lists of homeowners from a title company for a nominal fee or from an online source such as listsource.com. For example, perhaps your target homeowner is an out-of-state owner in a three-bedroom, two-bath house which they have owned for at least ten years in the 98052 zip code, with a tax-assessed value under $350,000. Your list can and should be that specific.

If you do not have one, a good database (even Outlook or Google mail can suffice) and a good customer relations management (CRM) system are essential for the next two rain-maker activities  – lead follow-up and lead conversion  – as they allow you to keep track of your contacts and prospects. Persistence pays off in this arena! Follow up on your prospects, more than once!

As so many of our new investors are interested in wholesaling, the next article will focus on ?bird letters,? the letters you send to target homeowners with properties that match your buying criteria. Please feel free to send any sample letters you like to me at [email protected] and I will include them in the next article. This series of articles is a regular feature of the REAPS newsletter, and as REAPS Membership Coordinator, I welcome your feedback. Please let me know what topics you might like to see addressed in future articles for the novice real estate investor.

About the author…
Wendy Ceccherelli is the volunteer membership coordinator for REAPS. She has been a full-time real estate investor for the past six years, and is the designated real estate broker for Home Land Investment Properties, Inc. Prior to her career in real estate, she spent twenty-five years as a government arts funder. More information on real estate topics may be found on her website at www.HomeLandSeattle.com.

“REAPS is the oldest – and largest – Professional Association for the real estate investor this side of the Mississippi. We provide education and networking resources for real estate investors, those who want to be investors and anyone who provides value to our members. Our goals are to motivate and support our members and guests through education, discussion, legislative action and networking. We host over 40 live events a year around Puget Sound and they are all open to the public. If you’ve never attended one of our meetings, just email our office at [email protected] and be our guest for free!”

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Nothing sends a buyer packing faster than a dirty, outdated bathroom. Well, almost nothing.  You can beat a dirty bathroom with a home that wafts an aroma of stale cigarette smoke or animal urine, but a bathroom that isn’t spotlessly clean will turn them off every time. I’ve heard stories of buyers that love a home, but when they see just a little soap residue on a shower door, or those bright and shiny outdated brass faucets walk out without so much as a “maybe we could fix it.”  The comment is “If they didn’t take care of the bathroom, what else didn’t they take
care of?”

Okay, you got it right? Clean and update the bathrooms.
Here’s seven tips for inexpensive must do’s for the bath:

1. Replace the shiny chrome or brass faucets with brushed . You can get a nice modern Glacier Bay brushed nickel faucet at home depot for $34.

2. If the bathroom mirror is cracked or the silver is failing, replace the . I find nice framed mirrors for under $50 at Ross, Marshals, TJ Max or Tuesday Morning all the time. Make sure and inspect them carefully though, especially the corners. Shoppers can be  on the edges in bargain
stores.

3. Update the light fixtures. I’ve seen bathrooms where the seller has gone to the trouble and expense to replace the counter tops with granite or tile and left the  shiny brass light fixture with the round glass bulbs. ICK! A brushed nickel fixture will make a world  difference! Call me for suggestions, or to find out about discounts I can offer my clients. I’ll pause here for a moment. I have staged bathrooms, where all that the sellers did were those top three things.  bathrooms were spotlessly clean and after staging they looked very nice. But, if you really want the home to sell quickly and the Master Bath has 80?s blue counter tops, or worse a nice rose pink toilet, I strongly recommend going on to number 4.

4. Replace cracked, colored or dingy toilets and sinks with new white fixtures. At a minimum, if you have one those old spongy toilet seats, TOSS it! Ewww!  And yes,  1980 oak seat with matching toilet paper holder really has to go.

5. Reface or replace the tub if its stained cracked or damaged. In an entry level home replacing the tub and outdated tile with a nice tub surround is perfectly fine.  a higher end home, I recommend tile.

6. Replace the blue, pink or otherwise outdated laminate counter tops with tile or granite. Especially in the master bath.

7. New vinyl flooring can do wonders in a guest bath and powder room, however, if there is just one bathroom or in higher end homes I recommend tile. In a master bath with a soaking tub, I think tile is a must. It goes without saying that the bathroom should be freshly painted a
nice designer neutral like Benjamin Moore Practical Beige or Sherwin  Urban Beige or Relaxed Khaki. Staging the bathroom with a new cloth curtain, plush towels and art  add the frosting to the cake. If you would like personalized advice for  colors, fixtures or finishes for  bathroom call to schedule an appointment for a walk through . Or if you are out of the  area, I offer online consultations, using your pictures and a Webex meeting tool we can  walk through any room of your home together.

Do you have specific staging questions? Send me an email  I will feature your question with an answer on my biweekly radio show on the Chat with Women Network.
Listen in the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month on 1150 AM radio from 8:00am to 9:00am, or listen to past shows by going to www.stagingforcharisma.com.

About the author…
Pam Christensen is an Accredited Staging Professional Master who specializes in working with investors to help them maximize their return on investment by providing high quality staging that get results!

“REAPS is the oldest – and largest – Professional Association for the real estate investor this side of the Mississippi. We provide education and networking resources for real estate investors, those who want to be investors and anyone who provides value to our members. Our goals are to motivate and support our members and guests through education, discussion, legislative action and networking. We host over 40 live events a year around Puget Sound and they are all open to the public. If you’ve never attended one of our meetings, just email our office at [email protected] and be our guest for free!”

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