a simple plan shows

“A man without a smiling face must never open a shop” or so the Chinese proverb goes. Truly, smiling goes a long way to lighting up the mood for a friendlier, more understanding conversation. This is true in business as well, especially when trying to make a business partnership. However, there are more business etiquettes beyond smiling and demonstrating these will show others that your customers and your business are worth respecting.

* Introduce everyone, even when in doubt – There is a proper way to introduce people to each other. First, introduce the person who is the most senior, using their full name and their job title or responsibility. Next introduce that person to the person who has lower authority. Make sure to also mention his or her full name. To end, you may mention some details about each other as a topic of common interest. When being introduced to someone, always stand up if you are sitting.

* A firm handshake – The way businessmen shake hands more often than not sets the tone between them. Giving a good, firm handshake will set a good first impression as it may eventually end up in a successful business partnership. If you are the host or the senior member, you should be the one initiating the handshake.

* Admit if you forget their names – Forgetting the names of people you were recently introduced to is not uncommon. If it happens, admit it and ask for it again as this shows that you give them importance.

* Sitting down for a meeting – Whether the meeting is in a restaurant or in an office, in a group or a one-on-one, it is best not to pull out the chair for anyone. In a business setting, everyone should dismiss social gender rules and treat everyone equally. When seated, never cross your legs as it may be distracting and disrespectful.

* Meeting in a restaurant – Contrary to business instincts, do not use your knife to break bread. Tear it off with your bare hands as this signifies your openness to your potential business partner. When finished with the meal, never push your plate away nor stack the plates. Try not to have any left overs as well. If your guest orders appetizers or dessert, you should be ordering as well. This avoids the potential awkwardness of having other people in your party eating and you have nothing on your plate. If you are the host, you should pay for your guest unless he or she insists otherwise or is against their company’s gifting policy.

* Dress properly – The way someone dresses is a form of nonverbal communication. Dressing appropriately for a meeting shows an automatic sign of respect for either the guests or for the host. Additionally, always check the dress code for an event as some events may require either more or less formal attire.

* Keep cellphones in your pockets – Never place phones on the meeting table and don’t use them during the meeting. Only answer calls that are urgent and excuse yourself from the meeting and take your call outside so you don’t interrupt the meeting.

* “Please” and “Thank You” – These two phrases show politeness in any conversation and it is all the more important in a professional setting. Saying “please” can be used as much as needed. “Thank you”, however, should be used once or twice as saying it too many times may lower its impact. As much as possible, give thanks to everyone individually after a meeting.

* Stay sober – Businessmen have lost reputations and careers because drunken behavior. Although none of the things said or done while drunk were meant, it is a clear sign of disrespect towards either the host or guests. Don’t embarrass yourself or your business. Know your limits and control your pace.

* Be genuinely interested – Always make eye contact in a conversation and make sure to pay attention to every detail the guest says. Take the time to ask questions as this shows that you were listening and interested.

* Double check emails – Simple mistakes can be made to derail a meeting or blow a deal. You may have date and time wrong for a meeting, left out some paperwork to be signed, or worse, your emails were sent to the wrong person and may potentially endanger the company.

* Use professional photos – When using your or anyone’s photos for business matters, always use a proper headshot. Businesses would need to look credible to other businesses.

* Greet everyone anywhere – Regardless of seniority, always greet people. You may never know that he may actually be your next business partner. When people greet you, it is imperative that you greet back.

* Don’t forget to smile – Just like the Chinese proverb, smiling works wonders in any occasion, whether in a meeting, during introductions, or in a business social gathering.

I Needed to Catch Up in the Work World

I felt a little intimidated when my boss hired me because I didn’t have all that much experience. The other people I found myself working with had 10 or more years of experience, and they are so much older and more mature than I felt. But my boss is my uncle, and he knew that I was desperate to work, so he took a chance on me. I complained one day of not being able to meet quota, and he pointed out that I need get more proactive about learning the industry. He said reading a housing journal online would be a good start. I was embarrassed that I had not thought about learning more about what I needed to do.

My parents were great about trying to ready me for the adult world. They pointed out many times that getting a degree was important. Continue reading

Top Ten Tips For Investing In Property

Investing in a property is a big decision of life, thus, it is recommended to do prior research in order to get better outcomes. If you are thinking of investing in property, here are some of the vital tips you must consider in attaining the financial goal:

  • Know your budget
    If you are planning to invest in a property, then it is extremely essential to first set out a clear budget. Once you set the budget, ask your bank for pre-approval on your loan so that you know the total money you can borrow before you start hunting for properties.
  • Seek Advice
    Consider all the available options carefully before you decide. Seek Advice to reputed financial advisor, accountant, or look for reliable conveyancing service provider, in order to structure your loan correctly.
  • Get an inspection of property
    Hire a professional building inspector before you purchase a property. Prior to sign the contract; look at the building report to avoid expensive repair at a later stage. Therefore, if you are purchasing an older property, always make sure that the building is following all safety standards and maintained properly so that it will not create any major impact on overall profit and cash flow.
  • Research locations
    Buy a property in an area where there is a strong demand in rented accommodation. So research the capital cities and its suburbs thoroughly before taking any major decision related to property investment. Each property has its own growth cycle due to the economic climate, local supply and demand, and consumer confidence.
  • Be Objective
    While purchasing property, use your head not your heart. As an investor, you must look for a property that is well presented and potentially strong, enough for good capital growth and rental return in future.
  • Know the current status of the market
    Talk to local and real estate agents to know the status of the property rates and growth rate in accord to a future point of aspect. You can also check out the recent sales to get an idea of what the property is worth.
  • Beware of cost
    After buying a property, you must be aware about the ongoing costs such as land tax, council rates, property management fees, insurance and strata fees (if applicable). In addition to this, you have to pay for monthly interest charged on your mortgage.
  • Save big by doing some of the maintenance work by yourself
    There is no need to hire tradesmen for minor renovation of your investment property, which is a costly affair. Get your hand little dirty in maintaining the property by yourself and increase your profit margin.
  • Employ a Property Manager
    A Property manager can help you to place a tenant, undertaking the reference checks and ensure you find the right person. They will keep you updated with the current market rent for your property, and help you to achieve the best possible Return on Investment.
  • Think long term
    Always keep one thing in your mind that the property is a long-term investment, so you should not rely on the property pricing that are going to rise within a short span.

How To Become A Best Real Estate Agent

The real estate department can indeed be a lucrative and a treasurable career but time and again, rookies or upstart estate agents fall under the illusion of it being easy to get in to. This is usually evidenced in the licensing test when real estate students come under said illusion.

It is one thing to be confident or feel the potential of accomplishing something that you have set your mind to, but without the combination of proper planning and training, there is little to no chance of getting there at all. This is why we have taken the liberty of preparing useful steps which will help your procure a real estate license and become a real estate broker.

1. Acquire a professional estate broker as your mentor

This is especially beneficial for you if you want to succeed in your real estate licensing exam. Professional real estate agents will give you the basic run around on where to take your next step in the field. The professionals obviously will back you up with their years of extensive experience and training which will not only help you ace the exam but also simplify your eventual job securing interviews.

2. Getting a may be simple but it won’t be easy

Potential estate agents always persevere the mildly harsh but nevertheless escapable licensing exams before they come to the path of the real world experience. Take heed and practice not just for the paper but also for the future after the paper. Those are the select few individuals who make it to the big scene.

3. Store some extra cash

While under training for the papers, it is always wise for potential estate agents to save up on some of their investments to meet fee submission dates as well as bills. The best way to do this is to hold on to a part-time job or save up on some money without a commission. Should you have anyone from your family who is interested in buying a house, you can go for months without an income.

4. Go digital

The world is evolving and we have to evolve with it. In the present era, real estate agents make their worth by utilizing the facilities and perks that are available on the Internet. The contemporary method of using referrals is also viable, but due to its prominence, social media can encompass a wider area to help you get notice for your website. The results will be quicker, more efficient and effective.

Choosing the best professional real estate agents is important for searching right home, evaluating ins and outs of property and for finalizing great possible estate deals.

How to Spot Bad Real Estate Properties

Great real estate is hard to find- sometimes it seems like all there is in the world is mediocre properties and endless paperwork that never seem to strike your fancy. If you are in the market for your dream home you might be finding yourself caught up in the midst of open houses, real estate agent phone calls, fees, mindless paperwork and loans up to your eyeballs. While finding the perfect home for you and your family you might find it easier to spot the homes you don’t want to buy – if you haven’t already figured it out, here are a few ways to spot bad real estate properties and how to avoid them!

1. Appearance: a first impression’s importance implies to people and to houses! If you walk up to a home and aren’t impressed by the exterior or interior, use your instincts. Some homes simply need a new coat of paint and a few repairs, but others have been neglected for so long that they have bigger problems as a result of that neglect. A well-kept home is a good property investment; one that hasn’t been landscaped, painted, cared for, or maintained constitutes a fairly bad piece of real estate.

2. No communication: if the homeowner or real estate agent isn’t returning your calls regarding a home you are interested in or is pushing certain homes too much, be aware. They might be seeking to get a bad property off their hands and into yours. If you are dealing with a homeowner directly you might want to watch out for signs that they are covering up bigger problems on the property.

3. No information: if you can’t find any information on the home, run away! If a homeowner is really looking to sell a good property they will do what they can to make sure their property goes to the right buyer for the right price. They should supply all the information you need to know about the home, neighborhood, property, and be able to answer all your questions in a reliable time frame.

4. Outdated inspections or none at all: if a home doesn’t have an updated electrical system and updated inspections records, steer clear. Bad properties that haven’t been maintained in terms of plumbing, electrical systems, air conditioning and heating units, and more can be harmful to your health and affect the life you live in the property. Bad real estate properties are marked by small problems that gradually get bigger and bigger.

5. Location: a home in a good location for you can be forgiven a few aesthetic details. If a real estate property isn’t located in an area that’s convenient for you and has any of the problems mentioned above it likely isn’t a good property. Make sure to pick a home that is in a neighborhood you like.

6. Size, style, and price: if a home doesn’t fit these needs for you, it still might be a good property- but it isn’t your dream home!

How to Choose the Right Rental Property Manager

Investing in real estate can be a very lucrative endeavour, but it is also one that requires a lot of effort. Especially if you have bought a property with the intent of renting it, you should be prepared to provide a number of services for your tenant. From finding tenants, collecting rent, building maintenance and everything in between, collecting income from a rental property is not a passive exercise.

As such, many investors choose to work with a rental property manager so they can collect a regular income without being overwhelmed by the day-to-day tasks associated with managing the property. If you’re wondering how to choose the right rental property manager, you’ve come to the right place. The following tips will help you find the ideal manager that will help you maintain a profitable portfolio of rental properties.

Experience

First things first, you want to get a sense of a property manager’s experience before you hire them. Ideally, you are looking for an individual with experience managing similar types of properties. Do they manage single family homes, apartments, or commercial properties and what type of property are you intending to rent? Obviously, you want to find a good match between your property and your manager. In addition, you probably want to have an idea of how many properties a potential manager currently oversees. Not only do you want to know that your manager has adequate time to devote to your property, but also that they are active in the business.

Referrals and References

As you would likely do before hiring any professional, speak to colleagues, friends, and family about their experiences with property managers. Referrals are a great place to start when making a shortlist of potential candidates. Still, once you start meeting with property managers, also ask for references from current and/or past clients. You want to get a sense of their experience and skills from people who understand the property owner’s perspective.

Also, be prepared with a list of questions

  • How do you find tenants?
  • Describe your tenant screening process?
  • How many people are on your staff?
  • How do you handle building maintenance? Do you have in-house staff or is maintenance contracted?
  • Are your maintenance staff/contractors properly insured?
  • What are your fees?
  • How will you add value to my operation?
  • Sign a Contract

Finally, once you have chosen a property manager that meets your needs and budget, always be sure to sign a written agreement that includes the term and cost of management as well as the services that are included. In order to ensure effective management, you want your expectations clearly outlined in writing.

Fees for Professional Property Management Services

How much should one pay for professional property management services? It’s a good question. And the answer is… It depends, but hopefully it doesn’t cost not too much. At least that’s what most people would think.

There are three basic services for which most property managers charge a fee:

1. A leasing or often called a listing fee. (This is also sometimes called a procurement fee.) In any case this has to do with the tenant placement function.
2. Monthly management fee. This covers the cost of periodic interaction with the tenant (sometimes daily).
3. Annual lease renewal fee. Usually only charged when the management company is successful in negotiating a renewal at the end of the lease term.

Look at these incrementally, but also consider them collectively over a year’s time. These fees can be easily compared among competing agencies. You can be the judge of what’s reasonable. Keep in mind that such fees do vary from market to market. Be careful not to get hoodwinked into selecting the cheapest solution simply because it is less. Cut-rate management services may be just that, cut rate. The poor quality of services that you receive may explain the discount. A quality property manager can save you tons of money on the back end.

What you need to look for, and maybe even specifically contract for, is that there are no undeclared fees. Those are the ones that pop up and bite you when you least expect it. Read your management agreement carefully. Don’t get surprised!

Probably the fee that is most often hidden, or perhaps not fully disclosed, is the cost of home maintenance services arranged for by the management company. It is not uncommon for companies to add a surcharge to maintenance and repair invoices. For many property management companies this becomes a secondary or even primary source of profitability. The landlord is oftentimes completely unaware of these costs at the time they agree to work with the management company, and they may never become aware of what’s happening. Sometimes, even when such fees are disclosed, the disclosure language is so heavily couched in legalese that one would need a law degree simply to understand.

Get your prospective property manager to fully explain all aspects of the arrangement and make sure that what they say is also what’s printed in the management agreement. If the manager cannot explain everything to your satisfaction, move on to another manager that can. Don’t get caught paying for services your neither want nor need.

If you are determined to go for the least expensive service, keep these wise words of Benjamin Franklin in mind: “The bitter taste of poor quality outlasts the sweet taste of a discount.” You usually get what you pay for. Please be diligent!

Daniel R. Wilhelm
Executive Broker

The author is neither an attorney nor an accountant. Nothing written should be construed as legal advice. Conclusions conveyed are outcomes based upon practical experience and should not be depended upon to be a common outcome of other similar circumstances. Consult with a professional before making tax or legal decisions.

The Best Qualities of a Property Manager

The importance of property managers is not new to anyone, especially to the landlords, buyers, sellers and tenants. Real estate management is a career profession and is booming in every corner of the world. The manager works either directly for the owner of real estate properties or works for a real estate management firm. Nowadays, owning a rental property anywhere on this planet requires the assistance of property management services which are professional and efficient. Not all managers have the same competency to find you a rented house or a house to buy. Hence, you need to consider certain things before hiring a manager:. Wondering what are these? Check out here:

Reliable and ethical

Property managers need work on a code of honour while they deal with other people’s trust and money. While collecting rent, laundry machine money, maintenance charges, security deposits, etc. the managers should maintain a fiduciary relationship with the property owner. While the owner entrusts his money and property, the manager must be honest with these. The managers must perform at the highest level of integrity.

Local ordinances and state laws

There are separate land laws of every place and every country. The Government usually decides on how the real estate is to be managed. The manager needs to stay updated with the legal requirements of managing real estate so that he or she can take right decision and correct action whenever required.

Organised and detail oriented

The property manager, while collecting rent, must also ensure that the rent is paid and updated in the tenant’s account as “Received”. He should maintain financial records with details of each and every transaction. Also, it is their duty to remind the tenants about the rent increase, lease renewals, lease expirations, etc. In short, the manager must be able to multi-task based on priorities.

Technical competency

In today’s date, a property manager should have computer competency along with other technical skills like typing, driving, etc. The methods of mail merging, emailing and faxing need computer knowledge. Also, he or she should be in complete command of basics of computer usage. Only then they can efficiently handle all tasks.

Communication skills

The property managers must have good communication skills as they have to deal with people coming from all walks of life and all corners of the world. Hence, the managers must be able to document their cases in front of judges, negotiate with vendors, and talk to owners and tenants even when they are in bad state of mood. They should always deal with their clients in professional manner.

Flexible mind

The managers must have a flexible mind as this is a volatile profession. They should have ability to accept changes of law and have positive and unbiased attitude, obey fair housing laws, etc. They should not mistreat tenants.

Hence, hire the one who will completely understand the priorities and interests of the homeowners, landlords or home sellers. Make sure you hire a professional who had all these competencies and abilities.

Is It Better To Sell Your House To A Property Manager?

Property agents are what many people know and they help you with the selling process by handling interested buyers and handling the transactions all the way to closing after which you get your money for the sold property. In some cases this is a process that can take long because it means waiting until a buyer who is interested enough and likes what he sees comes along and is willing to go all the way. Depending on the location of the house and its current condition and other factors, it can take a considerable length of time to sell even though you eventually will sell.

Fortunately, apart from the property agents that can help you sell, there are property companies and managers that actually offer to buy the property directly from you easing up the process for you. Usually the condition of your home is not a factor because they buy it as it is and within a very short period of time so you can get your money fast and easy. This type of managers and property companies are becoming very popular and you might be wondering why it is better to sell your home to them. Here are some of the reasons why they might be the best path for you to take.

1. The property buyers close the deal as soon as you reach an agreement on the value of the house. This means if you do not have the luxury of time to wait until you find a willing buyer, you can still sell and go ahead with the other plans you have. They are the ultimate solution when you need money urgently or need to sell and relocate immediately.

2. They managers do not have any restrictions when it comes to the condition or location of the house. They simply value it according to the current state and give you the amount it really is worth without you having to make any renovations or repairs. They handle other property issues after the property is under them. This is nothing compared to individual buyers that want everything to be in top shape before they agree to buy the house, meaning you would need to do repairs and make all necessary changes within the property for sale.

3. The managers offer faster transactions. They are experienced in what they do and will therefore make the process as quick and easy as possible for you. You do not have to worry about long closing processes you might not have time for. Some are so good that they can do the survey, valuation and close the deal within a day and you will have your money to continue with any plans you have.

4. They offer very discreet services. Selling your home is sometimes not very pleasant, especially when you are forced by circumstances that are not very good to do so. The best thing about selling to the property managers is that the process remains short, discreet and very private to protect your interests.

How to Get Into the Field of Property Management

Property management is an exciting job that allows you to interact with people. By managing the site, you are responsible for taking payments, writing up lease agreements, hiring maintenance workers, and fielding problems from tenants. For someone who enjoys the day-to-day interaction with people and real estate, it is a good direction to go. So, how do you get into the field?

Education

While there are not many colleges that offer a bachelor’s degree specifically in property management, you can take other routes. By getting a degree in accounting, public administration, or business administration, you will have a head start on what you need to know. Earning your real estate license in the process gives you valuable information that will help you in your career.

No matter which path you take to earn your degree, there are a few classes you need to take, including courses that cover real estate law, leasing laws, and financial management. You should complete courses in bookkeeping, too. A certificate course that covers multi-tenant housing and government-assisted housing is also beneficial.

Licensing and Certification

In some areas, to be part of a successful property management team, you may need a license or certification. This requirement varies by state, so you should check with your state’s real estate board for specific requirements. If you are required to have a certificate or license, you will have to renew it on a regular basis, and you must complete a certain number of training courses each year to maintain that certification.

Even if your state does not require a license to work in this field, you should consider getting a certification. By going through the certification program, you can show potential employers that you have the knowledge needed to perform the job to their high standards. Prior to exams, however, most programs do require you to have some work experience as a leasing agent or assistant manager. Check with the National Apartment Association or Certified Apartment Manager sites to learn the exact requirements.

Career Experience

Once you get your education, you are ready to enter the field of property management. Of course, you need some experience in order to run your own office. You can start by working as a leasing agent for a firm to help gain necessary skills. Smaller groups may even allow you to take a job as an assistant property manager. This allows you to shadow the current manager and learn the necessary skills needed to run your own office in the future. No matter the size of the leasing agency, you need to prove that you understand maintenance and financial management before you will be allowed to be in charge of your own area.

It takes time to gain the level of education and experience in order to run your own property management office. However, by keeping yourself abreast of the changing real estate regulations and having a firm understanding of financial and business management, you can succeed.