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Hey Mom & Dad….

Military Service Academy Nighservicepatcht

Want to know more about attending our nation’s service academies?

Interested junior high and high school students, parents, and school staff are invited to learn about what the service academies (United States Naval Academy, Air Force Academy, United States Military Academy – Westpoint, and Merchant Marine Academy) have to offer.

On Friday, April 22, representatives from Susan Davis’ office will join Congressman Vargas’ office for a Service Academy Night from 5:00PM – 8:00PM at the San Diego Community College District – Cesar E. Chavez Campus 1901 Main Street, San Diego, CA 92113.

Service academy representatives, ROTC representatives and service academy graduates will be on hand to help students learn about the application, nomination and appointment process.

When:
Friday, April 22, 5:00PM – 8:00PM

Where: San Diego Community College District – Cesar E. Chavez Campus
1901 Main Street, San Diego, CA 92113

No RSVP needed – this is an open event.  For questions, please call my office at (619) 280-5353.

Warm Regards,


Susan A. Davis
Member of Congress

El Niño is Coming, El Niño is Coming

www.SanDiegoRealEstateVeterans.comThe forecast for this winter seems to bring with it a prediction for a new El Niño. With that in mind here are a few tips to prepare for the anticipated downpours.

  • Clean out your rain gutters and downspouts. Clean all of them before it rains, then check and clean them after the first rain. Leaves and debris from your roof may have accumulated in rain gutters after the rain. Make sure your rain gutters aren’t damaged.
  • Fix any leaks before it starts to rain. Check your roof for any trouble areas.
  • Invest in an emergency generator. Think about a portable generator or permanent standby generator that comes on automatically when the power goes out.
  • Check any decks and balconies. Make sure water flows away from your walls and foundation.

Condo’s & Townhomes under $100,000 in San Diego County

  • If your crawl space or garage could be flooded, think of installing a sump pump. El Niño rains can cause water to gather where you normally don’t find it.
  • Have an arborist check your trees. Trees may look fine, but can be weak. Wet branches weigh more and they can break.
  • If you live on a hill or below a hill, talk to your neighbors. Drainage from your yard may cause water to damage your neighbor’s house. Your neighbor’s drainage may flood your home.
  • Store your outdoor patio furniture or securely cover it. Put your potted plants in a covered area. Too much water and rain can damage them.
  • Know where your sprinkler controller is located. Learn how to turn off your automatic sprinklers. You may not need to water for weeks or months.
  • Talk to your insurance agent about purchasing flood insurance. Even though you may not live in a flood area, flood insurance may protect you from mud and water damage losses. Flood damages are not usually covered by homeowner’s insurance.

Foreclosures in Chula Vista

  • Plan what you’ll do if water starts to infiltrate your home. Have sandbags, plywood, on hand to divert water away from your home.
  • Check the lights in your car, headlights, brake lights, turn signals and emergency flashers.
  • Replace your windshield wipers. You don’t need wait until it’s raining to realize you should have changed the wipers.
  • Have your mechanic check your car’s tires. Check for tread wear and proper inflation. Both can be the cause of serious accidents in the rain.
  • Talking about cars, how old is your car battery? Ask your mechanic to check the battery. It may be better to replace it before it fails in the rain

www.SanDiegoRealEstateVeterans.com

Do you have any tips you’d like to share with us? We’d love to hear from you.

JRThrasherContact

It’s About Time – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – Broadest Industry Overhaul In More Than A Decade

Under an agreement announced Monday with New York, Equifax Information Services, Experian Information Solutions and TransUnion, the three biggest companies that collect and disseminate credit information on more than 200 million Americans, will change the way they handle errors and list unpaid medical bills as part of the broadest industry overhaul in more than a decade.

yourcreditreport

The plan was announced as part of an agreement with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

“Credit reports touch every part of our lives. They affect whether we can obtain a credit card, take out a college loan, rent an apartment, or buy a car—and sometimes even whether we can get jobs,” Schneiderman said in a Monday afternoon release.

“The nation’s largest reporting agencies have a responsibility to investigate and correct errors on consumers’ credit reports,” he added. “This agreement will reform the entire industry and provide vital protections for millions of consumers across the country. I thank the three agencies for working with us to help consumers.”

Among the changes consumers will see:

—Consumers will find more educational material at www.annualcreditreport.com, the website that allows consumers to obtain a free credit report from each of the three ratings agencies once a year.

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Foreclosures in Chula Vista

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—Consumers who obtain their free annual credit report and dispute information resulting in modification of the disputed item will be able to obtain another free annual report without waiting a year.

—Consumers who dispute items on their credit reports will receive additional information from the credit bureaus along with the results of their dispute, including a description of what they can do if they are not satisfied with the outcome of their dispute.

—The credit reporting agencies are focusing on an enhanced dispute resolution process for consumers that are proven victims of identity theft and fraud, as well as those involved in mixed file situations.

Changes made to improve data accuracy and quality include:

—Medical debts won’t be reported until after a 180-day “waiting period” to allow insurance payments to be applied. The CRAs will also remove from credit reports previously reported medical collections that have been or are being paid by insurance.

—Consistent standards will be reinforced by the credit bureaus to entities that submit data for inclusion in a credit report (data providers).

—Data providers will be prohibited from reporting authorized users without a date of birth and the agencies will reject data that does not comply with this requirement.

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Foreclosures in Oceanside

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—The CRAs will eliminate the reporting of debts that did not arise from a contract or agreement by the consumer to pay, such as tickets or fines.

—A multi-company working group will be formed to regularly review and help ensure consistency and uniformity in the data submitted by data furnishers for inclusion in a consumer’s credit report.

—Reuters contributed to this report.

Report from CNBC.

San Diego Homeless Veterans

I was recently made aware of the HUD-VASH (Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing) program, which combines Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) rental assistance for homeless Veterans with case management and clinical services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

During any given night around 2000 Veterans in San Diego sleep in temporary shelters or unsheltered conditions. About 3,700 Veterans in San Diego will find themselves without a home at least one night in any 12-month period.

As a real estate professional, investment property owner, landlord and Veteran I have worked with and am in strong support of this program. I am currently donating my time to the Veteran’s community by educating landlords who may not have experience with this program. My goal is to connect landlords with the appropriate people at the Department of Veterans Affairs if they wish to participate.  This is not normal section 8. A large portion of the rent is directly deposited into your bank account each month; the difference is paid by the Vet. Each Veteran is assigned a social worker before they apply for the housing voucher and the social worker maintains a relationship with and visits the Vet until they no longer need housing assistance.

No matter what you think of our nation’s military campaigns, it’s undeniable that these people once served our country.

I do not work for the Department of Veterans Affairs and receive no compensation for doing this. I’m simply putting out the word as a favor to my fellow Veterans.

If you are currently have a property for rent, are a landlord, investment property owner or are a property manager please contact me to be put in direct contact with one of the social workers. If you would like me to explain my experience with program further or have additional questions please feel free to contact me at your convenience.

If you don’t currently have a property for rent, are a landlord, investment property owner or property manager please don’t just give a buck or two to the homeless vet standing on the corner. Instead, provide that Vet with a meal and normal conversation. These simple gifts help restore that person’s sense of self-worth, an important factor in motivating them to change their lives.

Sincerely,

J.R. Thrasher

Mortgage Debt Relief Act Extension

By Esther Cho at DSnews.com

 

Forty-one state attorneys general signed a letter Tuesday urging U.S. House and Senate leaders to extend the expiring Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007-. The attorneys general argued failure to extend the act would take away from the national mortgage settlement.

“Requiring a homeowner to pay income tax on forgiven or canceled mortgage debt would make the National Mortgage Settlement much less effective,” the letter states.

The act, which is set to expire December 31, 2012, allows taxpayers to be excluded from paying taxes on forgiven debt from a foreclosure, short sale, or loan modification.

In a release, Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto explained the act is expiring at a time when homeowners are benefiting from the national mortgage settlement, which obligates five of the largest mortgage services to provide $20 billion in credited consumer relief. The relief must be provided within three years as of March.

“I urge Congress to extend this critical tax exclusion so that families in need are not stuck with an unexpected tax bill or deterred from participating in this historic settlement,” Masto said.

The letter also points out that failure to extend the act could lead to $1.3 billion in tax increases, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

According to report from settlement monitor Joseph Smith, servicers have provided $13.1 billion in relief through short sales, or about or about $115,672 per borrower as of September 30, 2012. In addition, 21,833 borrowers received a first lien principal reduction modification and received $2.55 billion in relief, which averages to about $116,929 in debt forgiveness for each borrower.

In February, the federal government and 49 state attorneys general announced a mortgage settlement with Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, and Ally Financial. Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt opted out of the settlement and was also one of the attorneys general to not sign the letter.

It’s Your Business … “Lead Generation for Real Estate Agents”

Lead Generation is the foundation for your success!

It is fair to say that if you have no leads you will have no closings!

Previously, I mentioned that:

  • FIVE (5%) percent of the agents do NINETY FIVE (95%) percent of the business and,
  • NINETY FIVE (95%) percent of the Agents do FIVE (5%) percent of the business

First, what does this mean for you? Simple, you need to contact as many people as you can and add them and their information to your database continually and consistently! So you need a “database” management system for all those people.

Secondly, what kind of SYSTEMS do you have in place to generate buyer and seller leads and convert them into closings? You have a lot of options in Lead Generation and you will hear a lot of advice. One critical error most agents make is to try to do too much without researching the best system for them. In fact, a lot of managers, Brokers and trainers suggest trying everything and seeing just what works. Bad advice.

So regardless of whether you are a first year agent or an experienced agent your FOCUS should be on two primary methods/forms of lead generation. Have you ever tried to do too many things at once? Sure, we all have. The question is, “How well have you done what you’re doing?” “Not too well?” The same applies to real estate … but with more focus. It’s just highly important to be aware of areas that will bring you the highest return for your time and investment.

Our industry can be very complicated and emotional … for your clients, customers and even you! Choose one or two areas, stick with it/them, become an expert … focus and you will have ultimate success – super income and ultimately a great life!

The two primary methods of Lead Generation are “Prospecting” and “Marketing”;

Here are a few tips to generate more buyer and seller leads – there is a process to selecting which areas to focus on, reach out to me and I’ll help you with it.

PROSPECTING

Telemarketing

  • Just Sold
  • Just Listed
  • Past Customers/Clients
  • FSBO
  • Expired
  • Geographical Farm
  • Banks/Savings & Loan REO

In Person

  • Door to Door – Open Houses
  • Networking events – Social
  • Seminars
  • Teaching & Speaking events
  • Booths at events
  • Chamber of Commerce
  • Clubs & Organizations

MARKETING

Advertising

  • Newspapers
  • Billboards
  • Yellow pages
  • Radio
  • Television
  • Magazines
  • Grocery carts
  • Social Media
  • Car washes
  • Bus Stop benches

Internet Websites/Marketing Direct Mail

  • Postcard campaigns
  • Newsletter campaigns
  • Just Sold/Just Listed
  • Quarterly Market Updates

Sponsorship

  • Little League & Charities

YOUR DECISION

This can seem overwhelming.  Which of the lead generation or conversion options is the one in which you will become the expert in. You should analyze each item as to the time commitment, financial impact and more importantly the past success ratios and how it fits your overall plan. You also need to recognize that in your selection is your willingness to perform and complete to your best ability … your commitment!

Start by developing a spreadsheet based on the lead generation items that interest you most. It should include the time and costs required to start up, implement and complete. Once completed, your decision will be to select the best “two” methods for you based on historical performance and compatibility.

You will also need to supplement your “Prospecting” & “Marketing” with the following:

  • A lead management and lead follow-up system
  • An email drip campaign
  • Excellent telephone skills with scripts
  • A great “listening” presentation
  • Market data/statistics & Neighborhood information

As you can see, it is important to give ample consideration to a plan, a system and complete understanding of your commitment level and direction. We can help you with this process; reach out to us and we will be happy to provide you with the right information and assistance so that you can make the most informed decision for your real estate career.

Remember, it’s your business….

Bank of America: Our favorite whipping boy!

Did you know that a whipping boy was a young boy who was assigned to a young prince and was punished when the prince misbehaved or fell behind in his schooling. How do we as real estate agents love to put Bank of America in his shoes.

As real estate agents we know all-too-well the horrors of processing a short sale. Many agents that I have spoken with over the past two years have put Bank of America (B of A) at the top of the “Bad Bank” list.

Our goal as an agent is to assist the homeowners and manage their expectations of the process, which is not easy when you the agent don’t fully understand the process. The changes in the industry, regulation and internal processes do not make it easy for us. Truthfully, B of A has done a much better job of communicating with the agent pool in this regard.

My personal experience with B of A short sale processing has been nothing short of awesome! How is this you ask? The tools available for you today are easy to use, comprehensive and offers an unparalleled level of communication compared to most other lenders. Recent changes in their short sale processing platform makes the system more flexible and covers more scenarios that more closely emulate what’s really happening in the real world. It’s not perfect, but much better today than yesterday.

How is that ol’ J.R. can sit here and shout from the mountain top that Bank of America is not a demon especially when we have had so much trouble with them in the past? Well, they simply cannot afford to get this wrong, it’s all in the numbers! We all hear that foreclosures are on the rise which should make more REO inventory available for listing agents. I believe that the processing of REO’s will increase, but not in the quantities being discussed. We will see more REO inventory, but we will see many more Short Sales processed and accepted next year.

A quick look at the numbers:

Bank of America processed 94,000 short sales last year. So far in 2011 they have processed over 100,000 short sales and they expect higher numbers next year. A significant number of the short sales that are being processed are actually approved. There are 4 or 5 things that can derail the short sale through most any lender or servicer, but knowledge is power, so learn what those 4 or 5 things are and you will be much more effective in your short sale processing.

If you can’t stand to process short sales, 2012 may not be a good for you as a real estate agent.

So what is the purpose of this blog? Simply put, your BUSINESS PLAN! The final quarter of the year is when you should be assembling your business plan for the upcoming year. A well thought out business plan includes a product mix that keeps your business healthy through the tumultuous times. Your plan should include a mix of REO inventory, Short Sales, Traditional Listings and yes if you are a new agent – buyers. If you focus your business on a good product mix, as the market shifts your business will be less likely to suffer. In other words folks, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. My experience with Bank of America has been great, don’t discount what you’ve heard about their ability to process a short sale, you will need short sales in your product mix to be successful. Too many times, agents lock-in with a ferocious singular focus, driving one product type into their pipeline only to absolutely freak out when a sneeze from up top disrupts their business. Don’t be that agent!

If you need direction with your business plan, leave a comment, shoot me an e-mail or give me a call. I will be happy to assist you. It’s not hard, doesn’t take long and is the only way that you can achieve your goals as a real estate agent.

It’s Your Business … Exit Strategy

It’s your business …

Most agents spend more time planning their family vacation than they do planning for the success of their business. It’s true, less than 5% of ALL agents currently have a formalized business plan. This series of articles will examine the components of creating a successful real estate business plan.

Exit Strategy for Real Estate Agents

Last month we covered the foundation of business planning. Now that you have your foundation in place you are ready to move to the next step; developing your exit strategy. I have never met a real estate agent that wants to work forever.

Exit Strategy

How long do you see yourself selling Real Estate? What do you want to do when you are tired of the real estate business or want to retire? Do you have an exit strategy? If not, now is the time for you to develop one!

Real Estate is an interesting business. Historically, the industry was built mostly on part-time agents who were just trying it out or using real estate to supplement their family income. The issue here is that it shouldn’t be “part time” as it’s now one of the most complicated and time-consuming professions that anyone could undertake.

Here are two critical pieces in developing your exit strategy:

  1. Decide when you will get out of the real estate business.
  2. Decide how much income or money you will need each year to live.

There are quite a few options and solutions for developing a strategy to stop day-to-day selling. Here are 3 key points you should focus on in developing your exit strategy.

  1. Build A Business
  2. Invest In Real Estate
  3. Begin An Investment Portfolio

Build A Business

Now isn’t this what we’ve been talking about; How to “build” your business for success in real estate? However, the truthful answer from most agents is “NO”! Well, the first and most critical step to building a successful real estate business is by completing your business plan! The next step is to TAKE ACTION on your business plan. Just having the plan is not enough … it’s the ACTION that produces the RESULTS.

Take action and build a highly successful real estate business and you will have a retirement vehicle that will let you drive your dreams.

Invest In Real Estate

Take a chance; have the ability to act on those deals, I am always amazed at the lack of actual real estate investing completed by real estate agents. Here’s a suggestion: Get to know your market and the current trend of that market area. Find the area that is undervalued. This may change year-to-year or even month-to-month in some areas. Look for the lowest to mid-level homes in that area. Start making some offers. You make money when you BUY property, NOT when you SELL that property!

Imagine this, if you were to buy one investment property per year for ten years, in that time period you could be a millionaire with positive cash flow and terrific equity! As there are various components to investing in real estate, you are in the BEST position … take advantage of it. The market today is full of opportunities for you. As a matter of fact, I can’t remember a better time to buy real estate in Southern California.

Begin An Investment Portfolio

Real estate, as an industry, is made up of nearly all “Independent Contractors” and as such, not always with the benefits of other careers or “jobs”, we are … self-employed. We are responsible for out taxes, expenses, marketing, advertising, salaries, insurance and our own retirement.

As an Independent Contractor we do have options and opportunities over a wide range of investment types. Start the process as quickly as you can and reserve a portion of each fee you earn to this process. Perhaps set a goal of ten percent of each commission check and place it in some type of investment or retirement plan; in 10 years you will have a very nice” nest egg!”

Do not overlook the benefit of consulting with a tax advisor to determine your best option for your portfolio.

Developing your personal retirement or “exit” strategy is an important part of your business planning and building process. Unfortunately, it is at the top of the list of things overlooked by many who come into the real estate business. Plan for it now and reduce your stress later.

I get it, so what’s next?

Now that you have a “Business Plan” and an “Exit Strategy” established for your business, the fun part begins. It’s time for us to start fine-tuning the business model and drive business into your pipeline. In next months article we will discuss “Lead Generation”. It’s a great topic and the next step in the development of your business.

I would like to thank everyone for the e-mails last month! We had some great discussions and I am excited to say that there are several agents of various experience levels implementing a business plan for the first time! Congratulations and I have only one question: Are you ready?

Remember, it’s your business …

It’s Your Business … Business Planning

Most agents spend more time planning their family vacation than they do planning for the success of their business. It’s true, less than 5% of ALL agents currently have a formalized business plan. This series of articles will examine the components of creating a successful real estate business plan. Each month you and I will explore one of the following topics:

  • Business Planning
  • Exit Strategy
  • Lead Generation
  • Systems
  • Training
  • Coaching & Accountability
  • Websites for Agents
  • Database Marketing
  • Farming Strategies
  • Open House Strategies
  • Listing Inventory

Business Planning

Pareto’s Principle, known as the 80/20 rule, states that 20% of the people produce 80% of the results or, 80% of your results will result from 20% of your activity. In any case, the rule holds true… except in real estate. Statistically, in real estate, the end results are more drastic. 95% of the results are produced by only 5% of the real estate agents. The rhetorical question is… “How do you get into and remain in the 5%.

The first step is to determine your income “Commitment” for your next year in real estate. There is no figure that is out of the question. It is entirely up to you and your motivation.

Let’s look at some numbers:

This plan is based on an 11-month year and a 4-day workweek. Let’s face it, we got into this business to set our own schedules and have “free time” for ourselves, right?

Your Commitment Income is $95,000

Your Average Home Sale Price is $289,000

Your Average Commission Rate is 3%

Notice that I have labeled your income “Commitment Income” instead of “Goal”. Goal is the most overused word in business today! How many times have you heard “Set your goal high and see how close you get to it!” or, “How close did you get to your goal?” We hear it all the time. However, a “Commitment” is entirely different. You must hit or accomplish a commitment!

The difference between a goal and a commitment is the result!

Here is a breakdown to indicate how many Appointments, Contracts, and Closings you will need to achieve your commitment. For this exercise I have used various industry benchmarks. The results and those benchmarks will vary with your knowledge, practice and experience.

Transactions Total: 14

Listings Closed: 8

Buyers Closed: 6

Listings

Listings Closed: 8

Conversion %: 88%

Listings Taken: 9

Listing Appointments @ %: 90%

Listing Appointments needed: 10

Leads converted to Appts. %: 20%

Listing Leads needed: 50

Buyers

Buyers Closed: 6

Conversion %: 95%

Buyers Offers Accepted: 6

Buyers shown who wrote %: 70%

Buyers Appts. Needed: 9

Lead Conversion %: 20%

Qualified leads needed: 45

Based on these numbers you will need to adhere to the following breakdown in order to achieve your commitment of 14 transactions.

Leads

95 Leads Per Year

8.6 Leads Per Month

1.97 Leads Per Week

.49 Leads Per Day

Appointments

19 Appointments Per Year

1.7 Appointments Per Month

0.39 Appointments Per Week

.098 Appointments Per Day

These estimates are conservative assuming only mediocre presentation and sales skills. I suggest you track your numbers and break them down into monthly, weekly and daily numbers as shown above. Can you follow-up on 2 leads per week and 2 appointments per month? Sure you can! This plan makes it possible for you to close 14 transactions per year and achieve your commitment with ease!

The following is also important to review consistently so as to measure your results and manage your activities closely.

Expenses

Advertising 9%

Supplies 6%

Auto 3%

Postage 2%

Professional Fees 1%

Miscellaneous 1%

Now that you have established the foundation of your business plan you are ready for the next step, developing an “Exit Strategy”. No one wants to work forever, so in next month’s article you and I will develop the exit strategy for your business plan.

Remember, it’s your business

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