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Real Estate Investors Association of Greater Cincinnati


Practical Tips for Building Instant Rapport with Distressed Sellers

Central Ohio Real Estate Entrepreneurs

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Every investor has heard how important it is to build rapport with distressed homeowners. What we never hear about is how to do it. What is it about someone that makes us instantly like or dislike them? We do not really know what it is about that person; we just know it is something.

Rapport is developed in the subconscious. We cannot quite pinpoint it, but there is something about that person that seems familiar and makes us feel comfortable around them.

So... how do you establish rapport? Let's start with a few basic tips. When I am looking for distressed homeowners, I like to knock on doors. It is the fastest way to get deals. If I knock on twenty doors over a weekend, I will have several contracts by Sunday afternoon. I would rather spend a day or two getting multiple deals instead of waiting for my phone to ring hoping for just one deal.

Here are some dos and don'ts when you knock on doors or meet a homeowner in person:

  • Do not wear sunglasses. Homeowners cannot see your eyes and subconsciously you seem suspicious.
  • Never wear a hat, like a baseball cap. Again, homeowners cannot see your eyes and are suspicious.
  • Always have a clipboard in your hands so that both of your hands are visible. If you tend to stand with your hands in your pocket or behind you, the homeowners will think you have a gun and are going to rob or kill them and will not hear what you are saying.
  • Never wear cologne or perfume. I kno
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Do I have to use a Licensed Contractor?

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 That is the question every rehabber asks himself/herself.  Many cities and states don’t legally require that all contractors be licensed (though most require that plumbers, electricians, HVAC contractors, and the like are). But even in places where a license IS required, there are plenty of unlicensed folks who are happy to do jobs ‘under the table’.

The natural thinking among real estate investors is that we can save money by not using licensed folks: that if I use a licensed contractor the job is going to cost me more money.  

Yes, I have asked that question myself.  And I have tried to cut corners by hiring the “handyman” who is not licensed.  Here are a few of the results I have seen.

  1. On an early project I discovered the contractor who was doing excellent work, had a cooler on the job.  I didn’t think much about that until I noticed beer cans on the job site.  So, I dropped in one day unexpectedly and discovered my contractor was drinking beer on the job.  When questioned, he replied, “I’m doing fine.  I am perfectly OK to do the job while drinking.  To prove it, I can trim my thumb nail with this power miter saw and will not cut myself.  Here, let me show you.”  He didn’t get
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Negotiating with Sellers

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              Beginning investors have a tendency to get stressed out by the very thought of “negotiation”.

              They put off calling sellers (or calling them BACK) for days and days. They worry about what the seller might say and what they should say back to the seller.

              It’s as if they believe that something they could say to the seller—or fail to say—would make that seller motivated or not motivated.

      The truth is, sellers come to you already motivated or not motivated, and what YOU say doesn’t change that one way or another. And since that very important fact is completely out of your control, that means that the only thing you actually need to worry about in a “negotiation” is

  1. Building rapport
  2. Getting the information you need
  3. Protecting your time

              To that end, there ARE some things that experienced real estate entrepreneurs do, and do consistently, to maximize that chances that any given seller negotiation will be a successful one.

  •               Balance your need to get the information quickly
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Little Things in Business

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It’s the little things like a free dessert or beverage that makes customers feel special and appreciated.  There is nothing difficult or expensive about paying attention to your customers likes and dislikes (Wayne’s Eggs) — remembering their names and keeping track of their buying preferences.  Little things frequently produce big results.  Unfortunately, many business owners miss the small things and then wonder why they lose the business to a competitor.  Here are just a few of the “little things” that can set your business apart from the rest.

  • Smile
    A smile is contagious and makes people feel welcome.  Oh, and by the way, it takes fewer muscles to smile than it does to frown.  Plus, research from the 1970s and 80s suggests that your facial expression might influence your mood.  (Try putting a smile on your face and see if you feel happy.)  So, make sure you have a smile on your face when you’re dealing with your customers, so they know their business is important to you.
  • Take Responsibility for Mistakes

Everyone makes mistakes and training your customer service team to quickly apologize for mista
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3 Stages in Your Journey to Success

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For whatever reason, a lot of real estate investor have this idea that a career path in real estate is strategy-based; we’re all supposed to start with wholesaling, move on to the bigger checks (and bigger complications) of retailing, then buy single family rentals, and then, we we’re really knowledgeable, wealthy and experienced, end up in apartments or notes.

In real life, there’s no such prescribed life cycle; lots of people start out in rentals, or even note-buying; I myself discovered wholesaling only after nearly 5 years in the lease/option business.

But there IS a path that we should all recognize and be on that has nothing to do with our age at entry, or our favorite asset class or exit strategy, and that’s the journey from trading our hours for (highly-taxed) dollars to having our lifestyles completely paid for by our assets.

This metamorphosis takes place in 3 stages, the terms for which were coined by the great Pete Fortunato.

     Starters are folks who are still learning and exploring the trade. They’re willing to do what it takes to get educated and to do the hard work of finding deals, which means that, in a sense, they’re still trading hours (spend finding, constructing, and managing properties) for dollars. If they&rsqu
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How I Got My Brain Around 0% Financing

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      I’ll admit, I had an advantage over many of you when I got started in real estate:

     I had no money and no way to get any.

     I was just out of college, effectively self-employed, had a mountain of debt weighing me down, and had no assets that I could borrow against. Let’s just say that the nice bankers I met with were anxious to work with me…in a couple of years.

     How is any of that a good thing?

     Well, it meant that it was “Creative finance or die” in Venaworld. I had no choice but to offer to assume loans, or buy on land contract, or ask for seller carrybacks, or some combination of those things, if I wanted to buy and hold a property.

     But for many years, I had a limiting belief about seller financing: that the sellers who did it did it for the same reasons that banks and private lenders do: for the “return on investment”.

     In other words, I thought that they were doing math in their heads that went something like:

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City of Cincinnati Housing Providers: Take Heed

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City of Cincinnati Housing Providers: Take Heed
City of Cincinnati Has Rules That You Need to Know  by James Flax, Esq.
 
In addition to the normal rules governing landlord tenant relations in Ohio, the City of Cincinnati has its own rules—and you need to know them before you decide to expend your time and hard-earned money providing rental housing in the City, rather than in one of the other 52 adjacent cities and townships in our area.

Because I have made poor choices in my life such as going to Law School and passing the Bar exam, it is my fate to read such great literature as Chapter 871 of the Cincinnati Code of Ordinances.  To spare you the same fate I am going to try to pull out the things you need to know, and explain them.

Chapter 871 is not well drafted.  It contains numerous ambiguities and poorly defined terms.  This is not really all that rare in the law, but it does open the door to ugly outcomes.  When a law is uncl
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Is Wholesaling Still Do-Able in 2022? (The Whole, Unvarnished Truth)

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              Ah, for the good old days of 2009.

              Finding deals was SO easy.

              We didn’t even need a marketing budget; there were literally thousands of bank-owned and short sale deals just sitting right there in MLS, and a day of looking at 15 houses and making offers would usually turn up at least one at literally fifty cents on the dollar.

              Of course, figuring out what “fifty cents on the dollar” meant was a guessing game; so few houses were selling that coming up with comps was nearly impossible.

              And getting those deals sold was a teeth-gritting, anxiety-producing process, too; even at a 40% discount, there weren’t a ton a motivated cash buyers in the market, and when we called 10 who’d specifically identified that kind of property in that area as their favorite, they’d all say, “Yeah, I might be able to get there in the next week or 2”. Buyers saw no reason to go runnin
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Why it’s Hard to Learn Creative Finance (or Anything Else You’re Struggling With)

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Why it’s Hard to Learn Creative Finance (or Anything Else You’re Struggling With)

When a topic (say, real estate, or creative real estate), or anything else) is brand-new to you, it's easy to hear, read, watch, whatever it is you do, something that strikes you as true and valuable...

But because your brain doesn't have anything to relate it to, it seems to store it in a place that's not accessible when you want it.

It's like there's a set of organized files for some things (I know how to quilt, or play the guitar, or drive to the grocery store) that if something else comes in that can be related to those "(I'm learning how to make collages, oh, hey, it's similar to making quilts. Here's a ukulele, oh, it feels like a tiny guitar, but oh, hey, the tuning is different this way. I need to go to my friend's house, oh, it's go to the grocery store and then turn left, right, left") it's easy to process and remember.

If there's nothing in there that the brain can relate to what you just learned, the new info seems to go into a junk drawer--or get misfiled.

"They're talking about options on houses. Those sound awesome. Apparently, you need some cash, which I have, and a seller who doesn't really want to sell, whi
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Budget for closing costs

Colorado Reia

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Entering into escrow on a home can be both exciting and stressful. The excitement comes from knowing you are close to moving into the new home. The stress comes from issues that will arise.

Budget for Closing Costs, Prepaid Loan Interest, and Home Insurance Premiums

As part of any closing, you need to go through certain steps to make sure you are both getting what you think you have purchased as well as paying for it. Each of these steps has an associated cost, known as closing costs. You have to pay them before you can take possession of the home. If you do not, the deal will not close and you will lose the home.

When going through escrow, costs associated with closing can accumulate quickly. Here is a closer look.

Cost Considerations

Prepaid loan interest is an ugly little surprise for many first time home-buyers. The lender will often require you to pay the interest that accumulates between the day the loan is funded and the day you are actually scheduled to make your first loan payment. Many people mistakenly believe they have roughly a month before they have to start paying. This is rarely the case. The sudden requirement to pay a hundreds or thousands of dollars can be a nightmare. If at all possible, you should try to get the lender to fund the loan as close as possible to the actual closing date, even on it. Try to avoid closing the loan on a Monday. The lender will have to fund the loan the previous work week, which mean
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