Archive for May, 2011

What about Foreclosures?

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

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CNNMoney.com reported that there were nearly 220,000 foreclosure filings during the month of April, including notices of default, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions. And there are 3.7 million borrowers at least 90 days late on payments. This news has prompted real estate investors across the country to make offers through banks and realtors to purchase many of these distressed properties.

Probably one of the greatest misperceptions about HomeVestors® is that the “We Buy Ugly Houses®” company only buys foreclosures. While some of our franchisees do purchase the occasional foreclosure, the vast majority of the houses we purchase are directly from the owner of the property. Our massive We Buy Ugly Houses brand and advertising campaign prompts sellers to contact HomeVestors directly; and usually before they contact anyone else.

Some real estate investors that are curious about the HomeVestors franchise opportunity may not initially recognize that the We Buy Ugly Houses brand attracts more distressed sellers than any other method. I often hear, “Why would I want to join HomeVestors when I can buy foreclosures on my own”. A clear moment of enlightenment occurs when they learn that HomeVestors franchisees do not buy many foreclosures at all. We receive calls from sellers who invite us into their living rooms and kitchens to help them out of their ugly situation. Making this the best lead a real estate investor will ever have.
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Rob Caldwell is a Development Agent with HomeVestors of America and is based in Lake Lure, North Carolina. Rob’s role is to recruit, train and support HomeVestors franchise offices in North and South Carolina. Since 2004 Rob has bought 100’s of houses through the “We Buy Ugly Houses” franchise system. If you are interested in a HomeVestors franchise in the Carolinas, contact Rob today! Rob.Caldwell@homevestors.com or 828-625-5836.

How to find good renters for your real estate investing business

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

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When you are running a real estate investing business that focuses on rental properties, a key to success is identifying good renters. It is also one of the toughest things to do as landlord. Finding responsible tenants who will care for your property and pay their rent timely can be challenging.

To attract good renters, offer them a house in good condition for a fair price. The rent you can command will reflect the location and the condition of the property. Upgrades and repairs can encourage good renters to submit an application.

While preparing the house for rent, get to know the immediate neighbors, share your business card or flyers with them. Making a friendly connection with those who live nearby will help them feel more vested in the success of placing a good tenant. They will view you as a landlord genuinely interested in their neighborhood. They can become your greatest marketing asset thanks to their word of mouth endorsement to friends and families seeking a house to rent.

Carefully consider your marketing efforts, the tools you use to advertise influences the quality of applicants you receive. Use the right venues for your advertising. In addition to the newspaper, consider online tools such as Craigslist and Facebook. Both sites allow you to share photos, which can give you an edge when potential applicants see the attractive property.

It is very crucial to screen your potential tenants carefully before handing over the keys. Find a rental application template online which you can modify as needed to address any restrictions you may have regarding visitors, household number size and pets. The application should include notification that by signing the form they are authorizing you to contact employers, references and former landlords.

Once you narrow down to your final list of potential renters, gather key information you need from them to help you in your final evaluation. While it may be time consuming it is important to take the time to verify their employment and speak to their former landlords or apartment complexes. This can help you uncover any potential red flags regarding how they will handle your property. You should consider including a fee with the application to cover the costs of a background and a credit check.

These tips can help you find renters that have good character and who will properly take care of your property they are temporarily renting. If you would like additional insight on how you can locate additional properties and other ideas, our HomeVestors® Development Agents can assist you. Their training reflects the 15 years of experience we offer to franchisees seeking to grow their real estate investing business.

 

Why Sellers Contact HomeVestors

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

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When visiting with sellers who have called HomeVestors about selling a home, I always ask how they found us. In many cases they tell me that because of the situation they are in, the first thing that came to mind was to call the “We Buy Ugly Houses®” people. They remembered seeing the HomeVestors® billboards, TV and radio ads.

This top of mind brand recognition is what makes the HomeVestors brand so powerful. We are often the first people that sellers contact about their ugly situation. Most of them will do some research and then contact HomeVestors before calling a real estate agent or discussing the situation with the people closest to them.

Many real estate investors depend on buying investment houses through competitive bidding on foreclosures or multiple offers using a real estate agent. But HomeVestors franchisees understand firsthand the value of the lead that came from a seller who thought to call HomeVestors first. There is not a better lead than one with a seller you have a direct relationship with.
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Rob Caldwell is a Development Agent with HomeVestors of America and is based in Lake Lure, North Carolina. Rob’s role is to recruit, train and support HomeVestors franchise offices in North and South Carolina. Since 2004 Rob has bought 100’s of houses through the “We Buy Ugly Houses” franchise system. If you are interested in a HomeVestors franchise in the Carolinas, contact Rob today! Rob.Caldwell@homevestors.com or 828-625-5836.

Eight Things We’ve Learned Buying “Ugly Houses”

Saturday, May 21st, 2011

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As co-president of Dallas-based HomeVestors of America, Inc., David Hicks is often asked for advice based on the company’s 15-year track record helping investors buy and sell “ugly houses.” Following is his advice to prospective investors in existing single-family homes.

1. Ugly means many things. Many times ugly signifies a house with serious repairs needed simply due to time and age. Other times, it means a house that may have been very lovely in its day, but by current standards it needs an update. And then there are personal situations such as houses that need to be sold quickly due to divorce or death.

2. There’s always a market for buying ugly houses. No matter where we are in the national or local real estate cycle, there’s always an ample supply of ugly houses to buy. That’s because houses naturally age, consumer tastes and interior designs constantly change, and ugly situations (such as death and divorce) are, unfortunately, inevitable.

3. There’s always a market for selling ugly houses that have been rehabbed and are now lovely homes. There are always first-time homebuyers looking to buy entry-level homes, especially in 100% move-in condition. And, for investors, whether the homes are held as investment properties and rented, or resold, rehabbed homes can generate cash flow and, potentially, a steady income to help build wealth over time.

4. The best buys are not always obvious.
Anyone can send a direct-mail piece to a foreclosure list. But houses that have been in one family for 30 or 40 years, or have recently been inherited and need repairs or updating, aren’t going to show up on a foreclosure list. Brand advertising and a national reputation are the best ways to generate quality leads for buying these types of investment properties. In other words, sellers often seek out franchisees from the company with the hard-earned national reputation in response to its marketing.

5. In a market full of fly-by-nighters, having a track record as an ethical buyer and seller makes all the difference in turning leads into customers. Everyone from the elderly couple to the family being transferred to another area wants to deal with a professional homebuyer they can trust, who will perform as promised and treat them with respect. By maintaining standards of ethical practice, we help ensure that our customers are satisfied and that we receive continual referrals.

6. Next to branding, word-of-mouth marketing is the best messenger for generating leads. When you treat people with respect, and always do what you say you will do, people want to tell others about you!

7. Communities love it (and love you!) when you rehab an ugly house. Everyone wins when the ugly-duckling house on the block becomes a swan–it adds value as well as beauty to the whole neighborhood.

8. There is always a learning curve for new investors. Barriers to entering the buying market are low, but the best investor success comes with a training program, continuing education and daily support from an experienced coach, so you don’t make the common mistakes beginning investors often make.

A Way of Doing Business

Friday, May 20th, 2011

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Webster’s dictionary defines empathy as “the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another.”  For Donald Cameron, a top franchisee owner with HomeVestors of America, this is not just a definition, but a way of living and a way of conducting business.

Don independently owns and operates Hi-Land Properties, a HomeVestors® franchise.  As a real estate investor and one of HomeVestors top franchisee owners, Don attributes his success to several things, and one of the top reasons is: empathy.  He and his team feel genuine concern for each and every seller who finds him or herself in a difficult situation and who needs to sell his or her house fast.  Don believes his job is not limited to real estate investing.  He delivers a community service, too, by not only paying attention to the details of his business, but paying attention to the details of the people with whom he comes in contact who need to sell their houses for cash.

Part of Don and his team’s successful approach to real estate investing is to listen first, share knowledge, and then respond by helping if they can by buying houses for cash or giving direction and advice when the situation warrants.

Real estate investing is more than buying and selling, it is about being empathetic with the people involved and treating every individual with respect.  This model has been a proven success for Don and Hi-Land Properties.

Five Keys to Real Estate Investing Success

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

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Investing is spending money on something in the hopes of making a profit. Real estate investing is all about buying and selling or renting properties. Real estate investing can be a rewarding career but success depends on arming yourself with the right information.

As a first time investor, consider hiring an attorney to review your contract templates and to make sure your company paperwork is in order. Keep in mind that it’s important to understand the state and local laws governing real estate investing. Someone planning a transition to a career as real estate investor should consider seeking legal advice to avoid roadblocks or legal traps.

 

Here are a few more things to consider about real estate investing:

  1. Educate yourself about real estate investing – This business is competitive and one mistake can be very costly. Take time to talk to someone experienced with real estate investing, such as one of our HomeVestors® Development Agents.
  2. Learn how to practice basic business principles of buying and selling for more than it costs you, as well as how to market your properties with the right tools to reach your potential buyers. Networking with agents and using social media networking sites can help you spread the word quickly about the house you have for sale.
  3. Capital – This is a business that requires money, but HomeVestors® individually owned and operated franchisees know the local market and can share information regarding funding sources.
  4. Make sure you know as much as possible about the property before bidding – Have an understanding of why the property is being sold and how long it has been on the market; knowing the seller’s motivation can be an important factor in negotiations.
  5. Value and Cost – Factors such as location and amenities increase the value and raise the purchase price.  Even if the house will require quite a bit of financial investment for upgrades, many times you can find a good value in a prime location, especially when family members inherit a house their aunt lived in for 30 years. Offer a fair price, but leave yourself with ample room for any renovation costs you may incur.

Finding ideal properties for real estate investing requires time and work – and can certainly be a rewarding investment of resources.  You can help yourself by working smarter and not harder with the assistance of a HomeVestors® Development Agent. We offer real world training, not simply “theoretical” ideas. Our We Buy Ugly Houses® trademark, and our marketing strategies generate a flow of leads. Our techniques have been developed over the years as we have pursued our quest to become America’s #1 Home Buyer.  To date, we have purchased over 45,000 houses and counting.

Call your local HomeVestors® franchisee today and learn how you can take advantage of our expertise.

Geographical Control

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

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Have you ever dreamed of moving to a new place and starting your own business?  Perhaps you would like to move “back home” or to a location that you have always loved, but your current job is miles away from there.  Don’t give up that dream just yet.  While relocating and owning your own business may seem like a fantasy, it can become a reality.

After years of working in corporate America and successfully running companies, Chas Carrier was looking for a change.  He lived in New York, but he desired to return to the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex in Texas.  When he left his position of CEO at a medical equipment company, he expected to look for another job that offered more of the same, but instead he stumbled upon HomeVestors of America.  After contacting the company and getting more information about real estate investing, Mr. Carrier decided that this unique real estate franchise opportunity was a great fit for his passion for real estate, his skill set for building businesses, and his desire to have the geographical control to move anywhere he wanted.

In less than six years, Mr. Carrier, owner of C & C Residential Properties located in Dallas, Tx, has built a very successful real estate investing business.  He is one of the top independently owned and operated HomeVestors® franchise owners with HomeVestors, and he has excelled in real estate investing.

Expand your dreams and explore the world of real estate investing.  Contact HomeVestors of America for more information on real estate franchise opportunities and take control of your dreams and geographical location.

Ready to stop talking and close your first real estate deal?

Monday, May 16th, 2011

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The moment has come – you are ready to tackle your first real estate deal.

What next?

For starters, you need to make sure you have all bases covered: an agent if you are using one, the seller, their agents, loan officers, the bank, appraisers and many others who will be working behind the scenes to help you close your first real estate deal.

If you are working with an agent, it is his (or her) job to make sure that your first real estate deal goes smoothly. Whoever you choose should be informative about the local market, and able to work well with everyone else on your team.  If you choose not to use a real estate agent, it’s advisable to at least seek advice and knowledge from someone who is a true expert in your local community.  If this describes your situation, a HomeVestors® Development Agent can help answer questions about issues such as keeping remodeling costs under control or buying bank owned properties that have been foreclosed.

 

Perhaps instead of driving around town to check out potential real estate investment properties, you might prefer to work with an established company that understands the needs of real estate investors. HomeVestors has been buying and selling houses across the country since 1996. Visit http://www.homevestors.com/investor_info.php to request more information about the houses we have for sale in nearly thirty states across the country. Due to the high volume of houses we buy, we cannot possibly rehab all of them, so some are available for resale to interested investors.

 

If you will be financing your investment, have you been pre-approved for a loan, so that you can target your search for properties within your budget?  Be careful when you find a property that you think fits your real estate investment strategy. If you become too emotionally invested in the property you can easily find yourself offering to pay above the asking price because you want it so badly.  No matter how great the location or the potential profit margin, it is important to stick to your investment game plan and budget.

Remember, once you submit a formal written contract for a property, it is legal and binding. A HomeVestors® Development Agent can offer guiding principles and key things to look for before signing your contract. If all goes well, your closing date should come within 30 days – although some deals do take a little longer.

If you prefer not to do your first real estate deal alone, contact your local independently owned and operated HomeVestors® franchise office.  HomeVestors® franchisees have bought and sold properties throughout your community and can help you close your first real estate deal with ease.

I’m Finding it Hard Not to be a Contrarian Bull.

Saturday, May 14th, 2011

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Prices have corrected considerably since the housing bubble began to burst five years ago making home values in many areas cheap. In places where prices have dropped the furthest, there are deals almost everywhere you look.

In most places owning a home is much cheaper than renting now. Foreclosures and short sales continue to be abundant. Coupled with the most recent and unfortunate natural disasters across the country there are many displaced folks who now find themselves renting. This demand will create a rise in rent rates.

While rents rise, thirty year conforming home loans are going as low as 4.3%. And don’t forget about the tax break on the interest. But these low interest loans will not last forever and forecasters predict Fed rates will jump up dramatically before the end of the year.

Consider that landlords are now using new metrics for calculating what they will require in rent. A landlord who owns a $100,000 rental property expects their annual rent to be at least 9% of the cost of the home, or $750 a month. But, the monthly mortgage payment for the same $100,000 home at 5% will be roughly $540 a month on a thirty year note.

All of this is great news for owner occupants and real estate investors alike. Real estate investors are finding incredible deals all around while home buyers will probably never see the likes of these low interest rates again making this the perfect time to buy!
___________________________________________ 
Rob Caldwell is a Development Agent with HomeVestors® of America and is based in Lake Lure, North Carolina. Rob’s role is to recruit, train and support HomeVestors franchise offices in North and South Carolina. Since 2004 Rob has bought 100’s of houses through the “We Buy Ugly Houses®” franchise system. If you are interested in a HomeVestors franchise in the Carolinas, contact Rob today! Rob.Caldwell@homevestors.com or 828-625-5836.

You Don’t Know if You Don’t Go!

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

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Real estate investors spend a great amount of time trying to qualify their leads over the telephone. Don’t do this. It’s disrespectful to the seller.

When a seller calls a real estate investor about buying their home, they typically have a problem that needs solved. They are usually very sensitive and under pressure. A laundry list of questions from someone they don’t know may seem like an interrogation and does not establish trust and rapport.

I can’t tell you how many times I have gone on an appointment and learned that the seller wasn’t exactly truthful during their initial phone conversation with me. These people aren’t liars; they just weren’t comfortable discussing their intimate financial details over the telephone with someone they have never met. When you are on the sellers turf and have successfully bonded with them, they are more at ease and willing to open up to you.

In addition, do not tell a seller that you cannot buy their house over the telephone. Yes, I know how inconvenient it is for you to drive all the way across town to tell someone no. But, is a seller more likely to refer you to their friends and family if you tell them no in person, or over the phone? And, which do you think will benefit the reputation of your business and improve your professional respect and integrity? Telling the seller no over the phone… or in person?

If a seller will allow you visit them at their home… GO!

Because…

You Don’t Know if You Don’t Go!
___________________________________________
 Rob Caldwell is a Development Agent with HomeVestors® of America and is based in Lake Lure, North Carolina. Rob’s role is to recruit, train and support HomeVestors franchise offices in North and South Carolina. Since 2004 Rob has bought 100’s of houses through the “We Buy Ugly Houses®” franchise system. If you are interested in a HomeVestors franchise in the Carolinas, contact Rob today! Rob.Caldwell@homevestors.com or 828-625-5836.