How to Sell Real Estate

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Now that's a question that does not have a simple answer. In the real estate industry today many experts claim that 10% of those selling real estate for a living make 80% of the money. I believe that ratio may hold true in most selling carers. So what really sets these top producing sales people apart from the crowd? Are salespeople born that way? Can you learn to become a top producing sales person? The answers are yes in both cases. Some people are born sales people and some people have to learn how to sell. In both cases the gifted and those who have to learn still have to learn the industry they are involved in whenever real estate, automobiles, furniture, investments, mortgages etc. Product knowledge is an essential ingredient of any successful sales persons ability to perform above the average. So we can safely say product knowledge is essential to selling anything successfully. Anyone can learn about the product. That just takes effort or work.

Now let's discuss gifted versus learned ability. We all know people with personal magnetism who have the type of personality that joins others to them. People just like to be around them. These people do not have to work as hard to attract the business to them. That describes the gift in a nut shell. It's just that simple. This gift will make the start of any sales career easier because they have a larger sphere of influence than the average person just based on their magnetic personality. Here's the million dollar question though "Will this gift sustain their sales career?" The answer is a resounding "NO IT WILL NOT" As a matter of fact it may make them think the job is easier than it actually is and the first slip will prompt them to become disillusioned and leave the business. In this case the gift can become the curse as they've come to expect something for nothing. Even with the gift you still are required to apply the principles of success to any chosen career in sales. Learning how to sell real estate is as simple as that. You have to learn how to do it. That takes time, commitment, study, practice, perseverance, a source of knowledge and most importantly a good solid work ethic.

The first thing you need to focus on if you want to successfully sell real estate is yourself. What are your weak points and what are your strengths?

Now my experience has taught me that most people do not think they are lazy, lack drive and ambition or have a fear of success. This personal assessment must be brutally honest and look closely at your own self esteem. No success comes with out sacrifice and self improvement. Think about this! There is a reason you are not already successful. (Assuming you are not.) If you are contemplating a career in real estate it must be in hopes of improving your life in some way. Now you may already have been successful in some other career and be confident in your own ability and comfortable with your own self esteem and that is great. For those that are not the first sale you have to make is to yourself. You have to convince yourself that you deserve to be successful ("What the human mind can believe." The human mind can achieve. ") Success Principle number one. Then you have to commit to learning what you require to learn to become successful selling real estate. ("Success can be learned when combined with belief and commitment") Success principle number two. How long a commitment? How about a lifetime? Knowledge is power in every aspect of life. Spiritual, personal and career. ("Successful people never stop learning") Success principle number three.

You see the key to selling real estate successfully is all about you. Only you can extremely determine your own success. The strongest assets of any successful salesperson is their own hearts and minds. If you start your real estate career on the right foundation you will be successful. That foundation is not the company you work for, not the person who trains you, not the location you work in and not some magic formula. That foundation is YOU. Last but not least success principle number four. ("Successful people always think of the other person first") In sales they call that empathy. A successful salesperson never sells their customers anything they do not need or want. Those sales people that do are called something else. Have you heard the term con person before? Sales person or con person both require the same skills with one all encompassing difference. That difference is honesty. Success long term can only be maintained by conducting your business with absolute honesty and integrity.

Yours In Real Estate

Larry Matthews

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Source by Larry Matthews

Calling All Short Sellers: Short Sell Now or Forever Hold Your Peace (Property)!

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Short selling your home usually has a big tax consequence.  The dollar amount of debt that your bank forgives used to be taxed as income.  The Bush Tax Relief of 2007 waives that tax until the end of next year.  If you find yourself upside down, now is the time to sell with no tax consequences.  If you wait until after the relief expires, you may have to own your home until it is paid off!

For example, you bought a home for $225,000 that is now worth only $150,000 (it could even be worse than that).  If you pay on your home for the next 10 years your balance will have only gone down to $146,000.  Assuming that your hom doesn’t lose more value, it will take over 10 years to even try and sell it.  At that sales price it still wouldn’t cover Realtor expenses.

Your government has given you a tax break and it is imperative that you take advantage of it.  If you have never missed payment on your home, that is even better.  Banks are accepting short sales regardless of payment history.  Not only that, some lenders do not consider short selling your previous property while not missing a payment a default.  That means you might even qualify to buy a new home next door for $150,000 without the 10 year wait. 

If you are worried about a deficiency judgment, that can also be avoided too – you just have to know how.

Calling all short sellers: Sell now before it is too late!

For more info about this topic, you could read sites such as http://www.surefastmortgage.com/short-sale.html

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Source by Adam Lieberman

How To Get Your House Ready For Sale In 30 Days: Mission Possible

How To Get Your House Ready For Sale In 30 Days: Mission Possible

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Twice, I’ve had plans which meant I needed to get my house sold quickly and I’ll never do it again without a plan. The How to Get Your House Ready to Sell In 30 Days plan. This guide will take you step-by-step through your home over 30 days and you will end up with a house any buyer will want. More importantly, a house that’s sparkling, tidy and in great condition is always going to achieve a better monetary outcome than its tired and grubby neighbor. Any money you spend will be recouped in the sale price but unless you have some serious issues with your roof, electrical wiring or your foundations are falling in, this plan is not going to cost much money at all. The only thing you will need in abundance is elbow grease (i.e. strenuous physical exertion). So, block out 30 days in your calendar because you’re going to be entirely focused on getting your old house ready, so you can move on to your new house.



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Selling Your Home By Owner – Process To Follow When You Receive An Offer On Your Home

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1. Pre-approval- The first thng you should do is make sure your buyer is pre-approved so you do not waste any time with someone who can not afford your home. Have the potential buyer get an unconventional lender pre-approval letter from a financial institution. This letter says the potential buyer has been pre-approved to purchase a home for a certain value.

2. Purchase Agreement- Give the potential buyer your purchase agreement. This must be completed and signed by the buyer and the buyer's spouse, if married. Encourage the buyer to use your purchase agreement if they have their own because your purchase agreement will be in your best interest. Make sure it is in your best interest.

3. Earnest Money Deposit-Schedule an appointment to meet with your potential buyers to review their offer when they have completed it. Ask for 24-48 hours to review the offer. Have them bring an earnest money deposit in certified check form for anywhere from 2% -5% of the purchase price of your home. This money is yours if the buyers back out of the sale as specified in the purchase agreement. Make sure the amount you require will deter buyers from breaking their contract and that you will be adequately compensated if they do. The check can be made out to you or it can be made out to the title company you have chosen to work with. If you choose to have the title company hold it for you they will hold the money in a special account until the deal is closed.

4. Counter Offer- After you have reviewed the offer, if there are terms or conditions that you do not agree with, line it out and write your changes in. You should initial the changes with your spouse and return to the purchaser. The potential buyer should initial changes that make or initial next to your changes if they agree and resign the purchase agreement with the new date.

5. Accept the Offer- You accept the offer by signing the purchase agreement with your spouse.

6. Copies are to be distributed at following:

To the buyer: one copy of signed purchase agreement, sellers disclosure statement, lead based paint disclosure.

To title company: one copy of all of the above plus the earnest money deposit made out to title company or copy of check made out to you.

For yourself: all of the above forms and your earnest money deposit check or copy of check made out to title company.

The title company will take over from here. Congratulations!

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Source by John Graziani

Creative Co-Op Wood Six-Photo Ladder

Creative Co-Op Wood Six-Photo Ladder

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At creative co-op, passion is at the heart of all we do – passion for product, passion for quality, and passion for customer success. It is this passion that grew a company founded only 12 years ago into the dynamic, trend-setter that it is today. This passion ensures we will continue to lead the industry for years to come. At our core, we live and breathe product. Our design team travels the world for inspiration, taking the best elements of their experience and translating them into a creative, unique assortment that caters to a broad variety of tastes. Whether you’re a small boutique or a larger furniture store, our product line has something for you – and at price points that work. We strive to create product of the highest quality standard, and go to great lengths to ensure that you’ll be proud to sell our merchandise. Both abroad and in the us, we adhere to strict quality control measures, but should you ever encounter an issue, we will do everything possible to rectify the situation as quickly as possible. Our customer service team strives for continual improvement, with a single goal – to be the best in the industry.Great way to display your family photos
Holds 3×5″-4×6″-5×7″-8×10″ photos
Measures 18″lx66″h



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Understanding the Benefits of FSBO MLS Listing

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Typically anything finished by a home owner is usually heading in order to spend less cash including the sale belonging to the property. Any time the property owner takes on the task toward selling the house, thousands of dollars are generally saved in commissions which have been ordinarily compensated to a real estate agent chiefly when making use of an FSBO MLS listing. This is a “For Sale By Owner” notice on a universally recognised Multiple Listing Program.

Operating as Your “Agent”: Success is usually measured in terms of not only the quantity of time one applies into a venture but furthermore the quality of that time. When it comes to offering your residence, you need the actual correct volume of time devoted towards work but real estate sales tips as well along the lines of understanding what the property industry is, exactly what the demand is and what are usually the going current market rates with regard to properties like yours.

Placing Your Listing: One of the benefits of executing an FSBO is saving the 6 % or so normally paid to an agent that are usually your negotiating area when it comes to coming to producing a deal within the cost for your property. Just about all you have to complete is solicit the support of a low cost Realtor that provides access to putting property announcements within the multiple listing within an location that has been chosen as ‘FOR Sale By Owner.” This kind of advertisement should get your residence exposed to many way more potential buyers than conducting a individually led marketing program because of community newspaper classifieds. The particular cost for obtaining your own residence listed inside the Multiple Listing Service is significantly less compared to all the expenses received through using a traditional strategy towards selling your household that is generally recouped by the selling agent within the fee paid as soon as the property is sold. Your little fee for finding listed delivers you a fantastic return of providing you with coverage on the biggest real estate databases ever made.

Some other FSBO MLS Benefits: You will discover other advantages you could obtain from an FSBO MLS listing such as maximum exposure not restricted to say, for illustration, a nearby newspaper coverage area. The MLS on the net is practically accessible all through the world providing optimum property exposure. Furthermore, you have the capacity to switch pricing as well as control any and all images from the property which were uploaded towards World wide web. Furthermore, statistics prove that MLS properties market in quicker time than others that do not list on the service. Due to the savings you might realize not having to pay high real estate broker commissions, you can experience excellent wiggle room negotiating a price to seal the deal with severe buyers who use the MLS program. Agents and brokers for buyers use the program since it is quick and efficient to search their client’s “requirement” list for potential new properties.

Ensure of Your Commitment: Committing to applying FSBO MLS also signifies you’ll want to do self education and be prepared to put in a good deal of time creating the sale happen. Unlike hiring an agent to handle all aspects, you might need to be available for showings, answering inquiries and additional if you hope to become flourishing.

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Source by Rai Fritzu

Short Sale Definition – an Easy to Understand Description

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A short sale, by definition, is the sale of a property to a lender for less than the amount of the mortgage owed.  This sale is often only permitted under extreme circumstances.  The bank or mortgage lender takes into account current economic outlooks, the personal financial situation of the debtor or home-owner, the local real estate market, and the reasonable possibility that the bank will recover some, if not the entirety, of the mortgage loan.  The advantages of short selling a property to the debtor are obvious.  A short sale is often pursued instead of foreclosure proceedings.  Thus, by short selling a property, a debtor can keep a foreclosure off of their personal credit history.  Also, the difference between the original mortgage and the short sale offer, also known as the deficiency balance, is partially under the control of the debtor.  This means that the debtor is free to pay back the deficiency under their own terms.  Sometimes, though rare, this debt is forgiven completely.

The advantages of a short sale are less obvious for the bank or mortgage lender.  These institutions are primarily concerned with recouping their financial losses on bad or risky loans.  Thus, they may choose to allow a short sale if they believe that this course of action will result in a smaller financial loss than foreclosure proceeding.  Whereas a foreclosure can cost the bank or mortgage institution a certain amount of money through legal fees and court proceedings, a short sale is simply an agreement between the debtor and the lending institution and entails much less hidden costs to the lending institution.  Oftentimes, a short sale is the best method for the bank to guarantee at least a partial return on a bad or defaulted loan.

A short sale is a fairly common business transaction.  However, lenders do not like to view these transactions as financial favors to the debtors.  Rather, these institutions view these short sales as sound financial extensions of credit.  When retaining an asset makes little business sense or is economically unfeasible, a business will default on their loans.  If enough of these loans are defaulted on, a bank or mortgage lender can be put in dire financial straits.  Thus, a short sale is utilized to reacquire these economically unfeasible assets and recoup a portion of the extended and defaulted loans.  In this manner the financial institution looses only a fraction of the accumulated debt.  In these types of business short sales the deficiency balance is almost always forgiven.

There are a number of steps that debtor must take in order to secure a short sale from a bank or other financial institution.  Most banks require that a Notice of Default be completed.  This alerts the local government of the impending default and stipulates the location, relative value, and financial history of the defaulted property.  While conditions vary from bank to bank, several levels of approval are usually required.  This is often a long and complicated process for the debtor.  Some banks have set limits on short sales, and these restrictions can vary in amount or type.  For example, many banks won’t approve a short sale if there are tax liens held against the property.  However, if approved, a short sale can be a great way to relieve debt obligation without permanently affecting your credit score.

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Source by MisUniversity

Your Amazing Itty Bitty Sell Your Home Book: 15 Simple Steps on How to Stage and Sell Your Home – Fast!

Your Amazing Itty Bitty Sell Your Home Book: 15 Simple Steps on How to  Stage and Sell Your Home – Fast!

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Stage and Sell Your Home Book 15 Simple Steps on How to Stage and Sell Your Home – Fast! Every year homeowners miss opportunities to make more money by not taking a little extra time and effort to stage their home and make it more attractive to buyers. In this revolutionary Itty Bitty Book, Eduardo Mendoza shows you how to use his proven, easy-to-do tips and low cost techniques to design a more beautiful home that everyone wants to buy – now! Immediately start using these simple but effective 15 ideas and tips in your home today and you will be amazed at how easily your house stands out from the rest on the market and attracts people ready to buy. For example: • Make your bathrooms look like spas • Create spaces that feel comfortable and inviting to potential buys • Design rooms that help your home sell for over the asking price Pick up a copy of this easy-to-use book today and you’ll see just how easy and fun it is to stage your house and how happy you’ll be from the extra revenue that comes when you sell the home quickly.



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Realtor vs. FSBO

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Traditionally the only way to reliably sell a house was by using realtor / real estate agent. Realtors are generally qualified, licensed professionals with knowledge across the real estate business and of particular local market conditions. Realtors usually offer a network of contacts – mortgage brokers, lawyers, property inspectors etc. These can be useful, but it’s still worth getting alternative quotes to make sure your realtor’s recommendations are competitive.

A good realtor can ease you through the process of moving home, widely regarded as one of life’s most stressful events.

All well and good, you might think, apart from realtor commission charges coming in at around 6% of the transaction value. With houses priced at $100,000’s that works out at a lot of money, maybe $10,000’s.

Choosing a Realtor

With the kind of money available per completed sale it’s little surprise that there’s a lot of realtors out there. Leafing through the weekly listings mags it seems every operator is an award winner / top producer etc! So how do you begin to find the right one? Personal recommendation can count for a lot, but make sure you trust the person making the recommendation. It’s not unknown for realtors to pay for introductions.

Always talk to at least 3 realtors before signing a listing contract. Get their valuations of your property, check how much they’ll charge in commission, and find out what they’ll be doing to sell your home.

Some realtors may give inflated valuations just to get your business, and then after your home fails to sell they suggest a price reduction. Others may come in on the low side, just to secure a quick sale. Guard against these by doing your own research. Have an idea of what you’ll be asking before a realtor sets foot inside your home. Remember, you’re the boss.

Experience is an important factor in selecting a realtor. Even in these days of the Internet personal contacts still go along way in the world of real estate, and contacts are built up over time.

FSBO

FSBO (For Sale By Owner) has been around a long time, but in the past it’s been a case of sticking up a homemade sign, or placing a few ads in the local press. The realtor’s network provided access to motivated buyers and made FSBO relatively hit and miss with FSBO homes sitting around a long time or failing to make top dollar.

The rise of the Internet has leveled the playing field somewhat. These days it’s easy to get your home up on one or more of the many real estate listings Web sites that are visited by thousands daily.

Make sure you acquaint yourself with the various stages of real estate transactions before you begin, and have a clear idea of how much you’ll market at, and also the lowest figure you’d be willing to accept.

Security

Security is an important consideration whichever route you take to selling. Essentially you are inviting total strangers to come in and wander around your private space. Using a realtor can offer a degree of protection since the realtor will have done some screening of potential buyers. If you do decide to go it alone, there are some simple precautions to safeguard yourself and your property. Only allow viewings by appointment. Screen potential buyers before making an appointment. Get a contact telephone number, find out more about what they’re looking for, if they have a property to sell etc. The genuine enquirer should be able to answer without hesitation. If in doubt, don’t let them in. Arrange for a friend or relative to be there when you give viewings. Make sure easily pocketed valuables are safely locked away out of sight.

Buying

If you’re buying it may seem there’s little to lose in using a buyer’s agent, after all the buyer’s agent’s fees are paid by the seller. Beware, however, that the buyer’s agent may steer you towards properties that offer the greatest return for him. He may avoid introducing you to homes listed by discount realtors, and certainly won’t show you FSBOs. If you charge your buyer’s agent with price negotiations remember he’s in the contradictory position of trying to get as low a price as possible for his client (you), but wants to keep the price as high as possible to maximize his commission.

Over to you

The purpose of this article isn’t to tell you to use a realtor, or to go it alone. It is to get you to think about the pros and cons of each route and make a reasoned choice.

If you are a real estate novice, or are pushed for time, engaging a realtor might be a wise move. If you have some real estate knowledge and/or experience, and are able and willing to spend the time needed to make it work then FSBO might be for you.

There’s nothing to stop you trying FSBO. If it works, you’ve saved a sizeable sum. If not, you can always hire a realtor once you’ve tired of trying.

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Source by J Finnis

How To Start Your Own Foreclosure Cleanup / Property Preservation Company

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A new article on June 3, 2009 from MSN Money writer Michael Brush indicates that there is a third wave of foreclosures still to come from prime borrowers (i.e. those previously “safe-borrowers” with sound credit and fixed-rate mortgages) as a result of job losses thanks to the worsening economy (“Coming: A 3rd Wave of Foreclosures”).

The article states that “In the first quarter, the percentage of these borrowers who were behind on their mortgages or in foreclosure had doubled from a year earlier, to nearly 6%” and goes on to say that “Credit Suisseanalyst Rod Dubitsky predicted last week that 8.1 million mortgages, or 16% of all mortgages, will go into foreclosure over the next four years. A weak economy, continued declines in home prices and rising delinquencies among prime borrowers all but ensure that foreclosures “will march steadily higher,” he says.” Not such great news for the economy, but good news indeed for entrepreneurs interested in starting a foreclosure cleanup business to clean and repair foreclosed homes for the banks.

To put this in perspective, this means that there will be over 2 million foreclosures a year and more than $2,025,000,000 up for grabs in money that will be spent on cleaning up these foreclosed properties (since the average bill is $1000+ to clean up one of these properties).

Let’s take a look at thow you can capitalize on the foreclosure cleanup / property presrevation industry by starting your own trashout company:

Set Up Your Company Properly

If you want to be hired for cleanup or preservation work, you’ll need to operate your business as a professional company. The good news is that you can set up a business quickly and inexpensively, and usually on your own. Many people decide to set up an LLC (Limited Liability Company) because of how quickly and easily it can be done but you’ll want to check with your accountant or other business professional to select the type of business entity that’s right for your personal situation.

If you do decide to start an LLC, you can usually find all of the documents you need online from your state’s government website. Usually the branch you’re looking for will be called the “Industrial Commission” or “Corporation Commission” or similar. Try typing in “start a business + ______ (your state)”. Anything ending in “.gov” is usually a good place to start as it indicates a government site.

Once your business is set up, you’ll need an Employer Identification Number (EIN), which is like a SSN for your business. You can register for one online: type in “IRS” & “EIN” into a search engine to find the online registration link.

As soon as you have your EIN (which you can usually get immediately online), you can open up a business bank account for your company. This step is very, very important. In the excitement of things, many people get caught up in the day-to-day dealings of running a business and use their personal accounts to pay for business expenses. Not only does this present an accounting nightmare at the end of the year, but it could present problems for you with the IRS if you don’t keep your personal and business finances separate.

Once you legally set up your business, you may be required to register your business with your county or city in order to get a business license to operate. You can start by calling City Hall or the Office of the County Clerk to inquire as to whether or not you need a city/county/state business license and if so, how to get one.

So to recap:

1. Legally set up your business
2. Get your EIN # and set up a business bank account
3. Apply for a business license
4. If you want to do preservation work, determine whether or not you need a contractors’ license

Get Insurance

You absolutely must have a Commercial Liability Insurance policy and Workers’ Compensation Insurance in order to run your business. Not only is insurance essential for protecting yourself from liability and protecting those that work for you in the event of a work-related injury, but many asset management companies will not do business with you if you do not meet their minimum insurance requirements.

Insurance will likely be one of your largest start-up costs, however, most insurance companies allow you to pay the premium on a monthly (rather than yearly) basis, which definitely makes this expense more affordable.

General Liability Insurance policies can cover the following: bodily injury, property damage, contractual liability, personal and advertising injury, professional liability (also known as Errors & Omissions (E&O) insurance, this coverage protects you and your business from litigation caused by charges of professional neglect or failure to perform your professional duties), hired auto and non-auto liability and umbrella liability.

You’ll want to speak directly with your insurance agent to get a better idea of the extent of the coverage provided by their particular policy and one that is best suited for your individual needs

Workers’ Compensation Insurance is required in most states when you have W2 employees, and some states also require your insurance to cover your 1099 contractors also. Workers’ Compensation (“Workers’ Comp”) covers your employees’ medical and disability expenses related to work-related illness and on-the-job injuries.

In the states where you are not required to cover your 1099 contractors you would need them to provide proof that they carry their own Workers’ Compensation insurance. Although tempting to shift the financial burden of maintaining a policy onto your 1099 contractors, in all reality, you are probably better off to take on the cost of all staff Workers’ Compensation (all W2 employees and 1099 contractors). The reason is that it’s difficult to find only independent contractors that have their own policy. In addition, this industry has such high turnover that if you put this restriction on your independent contractors, you’ll waste valuable time and lost revenues trying to find replacements in a hurry.

Here’s a great tip: sometimes you can get “pay-as-you-go” insurance where your workers’ compensation insurance premiums are based on your actual payroll, rather than an estimated amount. This is great for companies that are just starting out or have a fluctuating workload. Type in “pay as you go workers comp” into a search engine for results in your area.

As a second tip, we’ve used Farmers Insurance for years and have always had excellent customer service and great rates. Just Google “Farmers Insurance” for an agent in your area.

Foreclosure Cleanup v.s. Property Preservation Services

As the name suggests as a Foreclosure Cleanup Company, you’ll be cleaning out all of the junk in the house (also called a “trashout or a “junk out”), as well as cleaning the interior of the home. You may also be required to remove vehicles on the property. Usually foreclosure cleanup companies are also responsible for doing a basic landscape cleanup which includes hauling out any junk from the front/back yards, cutting the grass and trimming trees/bushes.

Cleaning up the property is the extent of services offered by a Foreclosure Cleanup Company, whereas a Property Preservation Company is also involved in the “securing” of the property and the “preserving” of the property.

Here are some of the services that a preservation company may offer (note that a Property Preservation Company will generally also offer cleanup services):

Securing the Property
o Initial vacant property inspection
o Lock changes
o Boarding of windows and doors
o Temporary roof repair
o Securing swimming pools

Preserving the Property
o Exterior Debris removal
o Abandoned vehicle removal (cars, boats, etc.)
o Interior Debris removal (junk-out)
o Hazardous waste removal
o Interior cleaning services including carpet cleaning
o Window washing/graffiti removal
o Window replacement
o Pool services (draining, acid washing, maintaining, etc.)
o Pest control services
o Yard maintenance/landscaping
o Snow removal
o Winterization
o Gutter cleaning
o Pressure washing
o Carpet removal & replacement
o Tile/Floor repairs
o Painting
o Sheetrock/drywall repairs
o Carpentry repairs
o Plumbing fixtures repairs & replacements
o Fire & mold remediation
o Fence repair

Here are a few things to consider when determining the extent of the services you want to offer:

A Contractors’ License is generally not required for Foreclosure Cleanup Company but is likely required for preservation companies doing work over a certain dollar value (usually $500 – $1000+). Sometimes this license can be obtained by attending a course and successfully passing a test whereas other states require previous, verifiable industry experience.

The insurance premiums tend to be higher on companies that offer preservation services as they are considered to be a “general contractor”. However, the revenue potential is much higher as preservation services tend to run from a few thousand dollars upwards instead of $800 – $1500 for each cleanout.

Usually what people do is start out initially offering just the foreclosure cleanup services and then when things pick up, they’ll add preservation items to the list of services they offer. This let’s them get their foot in the door without having to spend a whole lot of money upfront when setting up their company.

Source the Right Equipment & Tools

The great thing about starting a foreclosure cleanup company is that the initial expenses are quite low as much of the equipment and tools needed for cleaning foreclosures can likely be found in your own garage:

o Cleaning chemicals (i.e. all purpose cleaner, disinfectant, toilet bowl cleaner, window cleaner)
o Cleaning supplies (broom, mop, scrub pads)
o Vacuum cleaner
o Garbage bags and shovels
o Work gloves and disposable plastic gloves
o Lawn mowers & lawn tools
o Wheelbarrow

For the smaller items you don’t have on hand, check your local dollar store. Their prices can’t be beat and they usually have the same chemicals and cleaning supplies as the other retailers. Once you start doing some volume, consider shopping for your supplies at Sam’s Club or Costco to keep your expenses low.

You can also find used equipment in great shape (such as vacuums) by going around to your local Saturday morning garage/yard sales. If you have a “Re-Use” center or a Salvation Army, you may consider checking there also as they often have vacuums and other small equipment or yard tools for sale.

For hauling junk, you’ll need some sort of trailer and a vehicle large enough to pull it. If you don’t have a truck and a trailer, you can always borrow a friend’s truck and rent a trailer from U-Haul or just go ahead and rent a moving truck from U-Haul. (Remember though, that you’ll be charged a daily rate plus a per-mile rate when you rent a moving truck whereas if you use your own truck and just rent the pull-trailer, you’ll only incur the daily rental rate for the trailer.)

Sometimes you’ll be required to clean a property that doesn’t have electricity or water. In the event that there’s no electricity, you’ll need a generator to operate the vacuum cleaners and other electrical equipment. These can be rented at Lowe’s or Home Depot and is a much better alternative to purchasing one outright unless you’re going to use it on a regular basis (a new one will run you about $500+).
To save on expenses, it’s best to rent equipment in the beginning.

Once you get up and going, it may be worth looking into purchasing equipment of your own. Check the online classifieds ads (such as Craigslist, Kijiji and Backpage) for used trailers, generators, etc. You should also check with U-Haul as they have been selling some of their excess trucks as of late.

Stay Safe on the Job

As a business owner, you’re responsible for keeping your staff safe while working on the job. Working safely is paramount to the health of your staff and the reputation of your business (and also keeps your insurance premiums low). It’s imperative that you review safety issues prior to allowing anyone to work on the job – you must provide both classroom and on-the-job safety training to all new hires.

Now, it doesn’t have to be anything fancy; you can spend 20 – 30 minutes reviewing safety policies, safe working practices and answering any questions and then you’ll be done! Make sure you have people sign in and out of the meeting and that you document that a safety meeting took place.

It’s also very important that you become familiar with OSHA and Safety Standards as well as the health & safety hazards associated with this industry so that you can keep your staff safe, avoid accidents and costly fines. You can find the OSHA Pocket Guide to Construction Safety (it’s a short and an easy read) at the main website (OSHA DOT gov) by searching for the report name.

Another way to protect your staff and your business is to make sure that you check references before you hire someone. Insist that they list non-related references (i.e. not mother, sister or best friend) and instead list references of previous employers or someone they know in a professional capacity. We also do drug testing and background checks – it might sound paranoid to some, but the safety of our staff, our customers’ property and our company’s reputation is far too important to risk not spending $20 on a background check or drug test.

Price Your Services Right

In this industry, the lowest price always wins the bid (unless, of course, the lowest bidder has a terrible track record of not completing work and is utterly irresponsible and unprofessional, in which case the company has just committed “reputation-suicide” and will never be hired again). Lenders don’t want to spend any more than they have to on these properties so you want to make sure you price your services comparable with the going market rates (but at the same time, priced so that you still make a great profit and don’t leave any money on the table).

For cleaning out foreclosures, most banks expect to spend anywhere from $500 – $1500 for a cleanout (trashout, interior clean and initial landscape cleanup), but it could be a bit more or a bit less, depending on your area. It’s important to know that most lenders have prescribed “price caps” for the maximum amounts that they’ll pay for services.

If you’re also providing preservation services, a great site that we’ve used before to determine our prices for doing repairs is www.CostEstimator.com for getting the market rates for construction costs – you can get a free 30 day trial (no need to enter credit card – it really is free!). There are over 3,000 cost items adjusted for over 210 local, geographic regions to create your bid and you can add as many others as needed. If you want to sign up after the trial, it’s only $15/month.

Market Your Services

It’s true – “nothing happens until somebody sells something”… and you’ll need to get out there and sell, sell, sell your business. Once you’ve done a few jobs, you’ll find that word of mouth advertising and referrals will provide a large pool of new jobs for you, but in the meantime, you do need to do everything possible to let customers know you exist.

A large portion of work will come from the relationships that you build with Real Estate Agents (“Realtors”) who list bank-owned homes (often referred to as REO listings). They are often given the task of bidding out the cleaning and repairs of new listings by the asset management company so you’ll want to make sure the agents in your area know your company handles this type of work.

A great way to find out which Realtors in your area list REOs is to go online to the major bank’s REO websites and “data mine” the contact information for the listing agents (name, email, phone numbers). It can be painstaking work, but definitely worth it.

Here’s an example of a bank REO sites to get you started collecting Realtor information

WELLS FARGO (Properties managed by Premier Asset Services): pasreo.com/pasreo/images/pas_logo.jpg

NOTE: In order to access agent information, select the state and click search. Then, individually select each listing and click on “Print Property Report CVS”. Each listing and corresponding information (such as agent name, phone # and email) will be created in an Excel spreadsheet. You can access the page

Remember to follow up with a phone call a few days later. Don’t be shy about asking the Realtor if he/she has any jobs for you to bid, either – most of them are very accommodating and willing to give a new company the opportunity to provide estimates.

The other way jobs are bid out is through large Asset Management Companies (also referred to as Marketing & Management Companies, REO Field Service Companies and Property Management Companies). Essentially, the lender says, “ok – I have thousands of properties to get rid of. Here, national ABC Asset Management Company: clean, fix and sell these properties for us”. And the national Asset Management Company will then subcontract out the work to local foreclosure cleanup and property preservation companies. In order to work for these companies, you usually need to sign up your company as a potential vendor. Many times this can be done online.

There are both positives and negatives associated with working for the larger companies. On the positive side, you will probably be given a few projects to work on at a time so you will be kept relatively busy. On the negative side, they usually want you to offer ‘wholesale pricing’ and don’t pay until 30 – 60 days after you invoice them for the work. Working for one of these companies, however, will give you the experience you need to go after more work.

Other possible customers include wholesale property investors (groups of investors that purchase foreclosed homes at the auctions and then sell them to smaller investors at a wholesale price), investors, landlords, property management companies, Realtors and so on.

You should also consider attending your local networking events such as the Chamber of Commerce meetings and any local investor meetings in order to hand out your card and network with potential customers. The more you get out there, the better chance you’ll have of securing some great, long-term customers!

This is definitely an exciting industry and a very profitable one for those of you who don’t mind getting your hands a bit dirty! Good luck!

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Source by Les Tyler