Category Archives: Real Estate

Promote Yourself From Landlord to Real Estate Investor

Investors in real estate are not quite the same as landlords. Investors take more business risks and often times get better results and profits. It’s the big leagues of property investments.

The good news is that anybody can join the big leagues. Real estate investment entails more risks than merely leasing and overseeing a house in the case of landlord ownership. But the risks are worth taking as the result of good investment far outweighs any risks.

A landlord is anyone who owns land – a house, apartment or what we generally call real estate. He or she generally rents those houses and apartments to tenants. Meanwhile, a real estate investor is much more – clearly you still own houses — but you don’t have to wear all the hats that come with being a landlord.
I have highlighted six different reasons why it is wise and expedient to metamorphose from being just a landlord to a real estate investor.

1. Investors avoid the hassle of being a landlord.
Marketing the property, vacancy showings, tenant screenings, lease negotiations, rent collection, tenant communication, repairs and emergencies, bookkeeping, coordinating insurance policies and more – these are the hats on a landlord’s head.

Investors exempt themselves from the daily grind and responsibilities and focus more on the business and profit making part. No need worrying how to make a plumber show up on Sunday afternoon. An investor would focus on constant research and smart decision-making.

To do this requires hiring a property management company (PMC) to advertise, negotiate with clients, maintain and generally oversee property and assets on her behalf. This in the short-term might seem like great expenses, but if only to rest from the hat wearing it is worth it, plus a few more advantages as you will see.

2. Investors have the benefit of focus.
Imagine having all the responsibilities above and doing it long-term — which is what many landlords do. It could get really exhausting, to avoid using a stronger word. Investors focus on one thing, and this increases their profit in the long-term and also in the short-term, depending on how quickly they can make a property more profitable.

3. Investors avoid indigent tenants.
Almost every landlord has to face this at some point, especially in economies that are dwindling. Let’s face it, so many people all over the world are living below the poverty line. Most of these people find it extremely difficult to pay their rent when it is due. And many times these tenants would not vacate the premise, which means you can’t get a new tenant. This usually leads to the issuance of quit notice, or even as far as using a court injunction, to get them to leave.
An investor can’t be bothered by such challenges. The firm manages all of that and reports to her. And in the event that a property is not profitable, she can sell it, and move on to better investments.

4. Time, leisure and early retirement.
Good investors acquire properties that have flexibility. This includes the cost of hiring a management firm in their cashflow assumptions so they can vet out any financial deal breakers.

Because of this early planning and wise decision making they can have more time to themselves. They can enjoy vacations and travel, and it won’t affect their jobs, because they limit themselves to about 20 percent of what they would have done as landlords.

Landlords might even be so restricted that they have to live in the same property with the tenants to keep an eye out. Investors on the other hand, keep charge of their time versus money balance.

5. The better end of asset appreciation.
The valuation of property tends to increase over the years as the net operating income of the same property augments as a result of increase in rent and reduction in the maintenance cost. The latter is assured through effective property management work. Investors need only to find the best management firm they can.

6. Investors are in it for the money.
Aren’t we all? Landlords and investors alike invest in property to make profit, but investment is a less tedious way of making money.
To be a real estate investor, you only need to have business at the forefront of your mind. You buy an asset with the intention to offload such property for good profit as soon as it is profitable. This canning ability is called flipping, and it is achieved by smart real estate investors by buying undervalued assets ,or those that are not in huge demand marketwise.

Landlords Businesses Will Encounter

Securing a commercial lease — office, retail or industrial space — is a complicated process that requires much time and effort. As a business owner, there are several different types of property owners you may encounter in your initial search and even during your occupancy, ranging from small individual owners to multi-billion dollar REITs.

Working efficiently with each kind of owner requires a basic understanding of their preferences and priorities. Here, we’ll highlight a few key characteristics of each group:

1. Mom and Pops.
Mom and Pops are owners with smaller portfolios who obtained property as a primary investment. They are not as formal in business practices as other types of owners. Often personally vested in their space, they favor tenants who will treat their space well.

Characteristics

Usually straightforward and easy to deal with
Great for those who desire a close landlord/tenant relationship
May be flexible on terms for the right tenant
Best fit for smaller businesses with simple needs
Tips

Communicate with a personable and warm manner
Highlight what makes you a good tenant
Convey your willingness to take ownership of the space
Share creative ideas on how your business can indirectly benefit them
2. Family investors.
Unlike Mom and Pops, family investors are “real estate families” who have amassed a sizable portfolio over tens or even hundreds of years. The tenant/owner relationship may not be as intimate but nonetheless, family owners are still materially involved in the leasing and management of their properties.

Characteristics

Still operate with a personal touch and often handle leasing in house
Generally cash flow driven; prefer stable tenants over the highest possible rent
Have intimate knowledge of every building in their portfolio
Tend to have long term tenants that they have accommodated over many lease periods
Best fit for small to mid-size businesses who are looking for a landlord that is willing to build space and accommodate their short-term growth needs
Tips

Check out other buildings within their portfolio to get a better sense of what they have to offer
Be warm and personable because it’s not only the bottom line that drives these owners
Clearly communicate your needs and limitations; they will do the best they can to accommodate
Be prepared to put down a significant security deposit if you don’t have strong financials
3. Management companies.
While technically not an owner, management companies act on behalf of the owners that hire them. For the purposes of leasing and day-to-day property management, they are the de facto owners. Management companies typically have access to a large portfolio of properties with a wide variety of options to fit any business needs.
Characteristics

Very knowledgeable and can accommodate a wide range of needs
Allocated budgets for building improvements and capex
Offer standardized and less flexible lease terms, especially for smaller tenants
Best fit for businesses that have established credit, as these owners often have specific requirements and operating rules
Tips

Expect to sign a 5+ year lease
If you are a high profile tenant who’s well recognized or generating a lot of buzz, use this to your advantage, as these landlords like having notable tenants in their roster
4. Real estate developers.
As the name suggests, real estate developers develop and acquire office, residential, hotel, retail and mixed-use properties. The properties they construct are typically Class A buildings designed by award winning architectural firms and feature some of the best amenities offered by any landlord.

Characteristics

Extremely well maintained common areas and large lobbies with strong security
Looking capitalize on the quality of their buildings and generate the highest rents in order to maximize property value
Often limited to major markets such as NYC, SF, LA, Chicago and Houston
Usually more than willing to build space for long term tenants or provide a significant tenant improvement allowance
Best fit for companies looking for premium space
Tips

Plan well in advance as deals can take a long time to close
Ask for specific details and changes to the space that will help your business
Use time as a negotiating factor; many new buildings need to secure tenants even before new buildings are completed
5. Institutional investors (funds and REITs).
Institutional investors are money managers who invest in various asset classes, including commercial real estate. Of these investors, REITs (real estate investment trusts) invest solely in real estate properties but most funds will also invest in it as part of a diversified portfolio.
Characteristics

Most assets are Class B+ to Class A buildings that generate strong cash flows for investors
Driven by occupancy rates and margins, not personal preference
Tips

You likely won’t deal directly with these owners unless there’s a major dispute, you’re an anchor tenant and/or a large tenant improvement (TI) allowance is involved, but if you do, make sure you cross all your t’s and dot all your i’s. These are not your typical landlords so make sure all of the right paperwork and documentation is in order.

How To Getting Real With Real Estate

I’ve been hanging out in St. Barth’s and I decided every Monday I’m going to do a show on GrantCardoneTV where I show you real estate deals I’ve bought and why I bought them. This is better than doing any book. It’s going to give you the tools you need to know why you should buy a property and how to buy. You need to know the real estate game because it’s a great way to build passive income and secure wealth.

There is risk in any investment. The only way to reduce your risk is to know what you’re doing. I have a magic touch when it comes to real estate deals, no doubt about it. I’m going to continue to expand my real estate portfolio and as I do, I’m going to be sharing the things I do and even the mistakes I make.

I’ll share with you a deal I’m going over right now. It’s a $20,175,000 price but I will round it off to $20 million to keep things simple. I need to put 25 percent down to get my best debt. I put $5 million down and get $15 million in debt. This is a 75 percent loan devalue. The beauty about real estate is that I can buy a $20 million property for only $5 million.

Of course, I’m speaking in generalities here, I haven’t always put 25 percent down. The last deal I bought was in Boca Raton for $12 million. Usually, I would put $3 million down, but that deal already had debt in it and the expenses could not be paid off so that deal needed $6 million down. It was still a good deal for me for other reasons.

I’ve been doing the real estate thing for a long time. I looked at properties every weekend for five years before getting into the game. My first deal was in San Diego in 1995 for 38 units. My second deal was a month later for 48 units, and my third deal three months later was 92 units. Within about 18 months I had 500 units. Fast forward to 2016 and I have much, much more — nearly 4,000 units.

I’ve never read a book on real estate, nor did I ever have a coach or a mentor in real estate. I got rejected by the first two lenders I went to in California, even though I could have written a check for the deals. They told me I had no experience. I kept at it and the third lender gave me the green light.

You will put 25 percent down if you have good credit and have management experience. The lenders don’t care how rich you are, they’ll say “yeah, you got some money, good” then they’ll look at your credit and say, “yeah you have good credit but so does everyone else.”

Then, the third thing they will say is, “What is your management experience?” They will also ask about your experience in that particular area. A guy who used to have eight units in Tulsa may get turned down for a loan in Florida because he doesn’t know the area.

Before you pull the trigger on any deal, get great with looking at financial statements. Real estate is basically a numbers game. It’s about a certain amount of money coming in and a certain amount of money going out. The difference in this business is that you actually get to use debt. This means you get leverage. Every $100K buys $400K in real estate. Every $1-million buys $4-million. If I bought $1 million in the stock market, I would get $1 million in stock. If the stock market was like real estate, I would buy $1 million in stock and get $4 million in stock.

There are three main things you need to keep in mind today with real estate:

1. Know real estate.
Do you even want to be involved in real estate? If you aren’t sure, don’t do it. You have to know for sure that’s what you want your money in. Know what kind of real estate you want to be in. I don’t do shopping centers or offices — and certainly not houses. I do multi-family, which means basically apartment buildings. I rent 10 to 15-month contracts. I know what I want to do and why I want to do it.
2. Know the market.
Not just location, you need to know the market. There was recently an article written about how New York and San Francisco are already pulling back. I’ve been telling people for a year to stay out of those markets because they are hyper-inflated. They will bust because all bubbles do. Bubbles are pretty and everyone wants to hold it and then POP — everyone loses interest and they go start blowing another bubble. I stay out of markets that blow bubbles.

3. Know the deal.
Finding the deal today is the biggest issue for many small investors. There’s no such thing as a bank owned deal. If the banks got deals, they are calling guys like me. If everyone passes on a deal, it’s not a deal. It’s like if I told you that you can eat everything off my plate after I’ve already eaten all the good stuff off. You need to know what a deal is and what isn’t a deal.

You want to scale, which is something most small investors can’t do. I don’t advise doing multi-family unless you start with at least a $2-million-dollar deal. Otherwise, it won’t produce enough income and is not worth the trouble. If I’m going to get a splinter in my toe, the adventure better be worth it. I don’t want a splinter in my toe because I was eating a hamburger but if I get it running to my naked wife on the beach, the splinter would be worth it. You don’t want to invest in a deal where the payoff is too small.

That’s why I say don’t do anything with fewer than 16 units. Don’t do little. Don’t start early and don’t start small. People hate when I say this. Keep saving your money. You reduce risk not by diversifying but by knowing what you’re doing. Leave alone the high-end stuff that has rents of over $3K and the cheap junk. You want to have an exit plan or you won’t ever get your money out. I invest in places with rents around $1,000.

If you do a $2 million-dollar property you will need $500K and finance $1.5 million. The property will take care of your financing, your expenses, and it should pay you about $50,000 a year. If that sounds scary, consider other options — I know if I could do it all over again from the beginning I would have just ridden with a guy like me. I’ve got a brother and a sister, and some close friends that came in and wanted in on some of my deals. They get the leverage where it’s my name on the debt, my experience and my management company.

For 25 years, I have allowed only close friends and family to invest in my real estate deals. I recently put 460 units, worth $55 million, under contract to purchase and for the first time offered investors outside my family to come into these deals. The entire investment required was filled in two weeks.

I am going to open up my next deal to accredited investors. With many of you reaching out to me interested in investing in apartments as a way to protect capital and create passive income flows, I’m opening it up to accredited investors. I can’t open it up to everybody just yet because of some regulations, but I’m working on it. Accredited means you need an income of $200K a year for the last two years or a million dollars in net worth, excluding your home. The minimum investment is $100k and the maximum is $1 million.

Apartment investing has been extremely lucrative for me over the last 25 years. There are no promises or guarantees this can or will continue, but you can see where I am putting all my money. If you don’t yet make $200K a year, get on my Playbook today. Before you get in the real estate game you have to learn to increase your income — there’s no way around it.

Real Estate Is Your Smartest Investment

Inflation is defined as, “a general increase in prices and fall in the purchasing value of money.” Your money doesn’t go as far — simple. The $30k you made at your job 10 years ago and lived comfortably with barely gets you by now. You can’t control inflation (the Federal Reserve does that) and the government has doubled their debt since 2008. It’s now at $18.3 trillion and grows every day.

The government cannot save you or your family, or ensure your financial freedom. Set your mind right about earning money. More cash = more freedom! Money itself won’t make you happy, but it will give you the ability to provide a better life for yourself and your loved ones. You must invest with income streams that give you positive cash flow, learn to leverage your debt, learn to handle inflation and take control of your physical assets.

Do you currently have commercial real estate assets in your investment portfolio? Are you scared to have your money in the stock market (like I am) but also fed up with almost no return on investment with your money at the bank? Do you instinctively like the idea of being invested in income producing real estate with results you can see?

Here are eight reasons why investing income producing real estate is an excellent choice for protecting and growing your wealth:

1. Positive cash flow.
One of the biggest benefits to income producing real estate investments is that leases generally secure the assets. This provides a regular income stream that is significantly higher than the typical stock dividend yields.
2. Using leverage to multiply asset value.
Another important characteristic of commercial real estate investing is the ability to place debt on the asset, which is several times the original equity. This allows you to buy more assets with less money and significantly multiply asset value and increase equity as the loans are paid down.

3. Low-cost debt leveraged to multiply cash flow.
Placing “positive leverage” on an asset allows for investors to effectively increase positive cash flow from operations by borrowing money at a lower cost than the property pays out. For example, if a property generating a 6 prcent cash-on-cash return were to have debt placed on it at 4 percent, the investors would be paid 6 percent on the equity portion and approximately 2 percent on the money borrowed, thereby leveraging debt.

4. Hedge on inflation.
For each dollar that is created, there is a corresponding liability. Real estate investments have historically shown the highest correlation to inflation when compared to other asset classes, such as the S&P 500, 10-year Treasury notes and corporate bonds.

As countries around the world continue to print money to spur economic growth, it is important to recognize the benefits of owning income producing real estate as a hedge against inflation. Generally speaking, when inflation occurs, the price of real estate, particularly multi-tenant assets that have a high ratio of labor and replacement costs, will also rise.

5. Capitalize on the physical assets.
Income-producing real estate is one of the few investment classes that, as a hard asset, has meaningful value. The property’s land has value, as does the structure itself, and the income it produces has value to future investors. Income producing real estate investments do not have red and green days, as does the stock market.

6. Maximizing tax benefits.
The US Tax Code benefits real estate owners in a number of ways, including unlimited mortgage interest deductions and depreciation accelerations that can shield a portion of the positive cash flow generated and paid out to investors. At the time of sale, IRS allows investors a 1031 provision, allowing investors to exchange into a like-kind instrument and defer all taxable gains into the future. (See your tax advisor for full explanation.)

7. Asset value appreciation.
Over time, more and more inflation has made it into the economy, drastically reducing purchasing power. However, income producing real estate investments have historically provided excellent appreciation in value that meet and exceed other investment types. Properties historically increase in value as the net operating income of the property improves through rent increases and more effective management of the asset.

8. Feeling the pride of ownership.
The right property in the right location with the right tenants and ownership mindset can produce a tremendous pride of ownership factor that is highest among all asset classes. Homeownership is out of reach for most people. Imagine owning thousands of multi-family housing units instead?

No one can ensure the future of rental of income properties’ values, but this asset class seems positioned to continue to benefit from many other socio-economic issues that I will save for another time.

Know More About A Tale of 2 Investors

Grayson and Wayne are partners at Tricorner Yards, a multi-use real estate development project. The two amassed a sizable tract of waterfront property in the Tri-Corner area and successfully rehabilitated and developed what were once rundown shipping yards into a bustling urban center. With their work complete and the properties fully leased or sold, Wayne and Grayson want to move onto the next chapter in their lives; and so, begins the tale of tax-deferred exchanges.

Wayne’s Umbrella Partnership Real Estate Investment Trust (UPREIT)
Wayne is at the point in his life when he would like to be able to move away from daily management and begin enjoying the fruits of his labor. His children have not expressed any interest in taking over the family real estate empire, so he’s willing to give up the property. However, Wayne is not interested in a traditional sale. He does not want capital gains taxes to diminish his investment in the next deal. Given these facts, his tax advisor presents a solution with the potential to address both of Wayne’s concerns.
The advisor recommends that Wayne contribute part of his interest in Tricorner Yards real property, specifically the institutional grade property, to an UPREIT in exchange for securities known as operating partnership (OP) units or limited partnership (LP) units with a value equal to the contributed property.

Relying on the partnership rules, the exchange is designed to be a non-taxable transfer. Tax should not be due until Wayne exchanges his OP units for real estate investment trust (REIT) shares or cash. However, if the OP units are held at death and receive a step-up in basis, the built-in gain could be wiped out altogether – at least up to the date of death value of the OP units.

With this strategy, Wayne does give up control and could also be subject to an unplanned tax bill if the REIT were to sell the Tricorner properties. But Wayne assumes – and is comfortable with — this risk in exchange for the diversification, economy of scale and management offered by the REIT.

Grayson’s S. 1031 Exchange
Grayson is a bird of another feather. He intends to remain actively involved in the development business and has already identified his next project. He too has good tax counsel, who has suggested an S. 1031 exchange in order to maximize the cash available to roll into the new deal.
An S. 1031 deferred exchange requires Grayson to meet a specific timeline, beginning on the date he sells the Tricorner properties, or he’ll face immediate income taxes on the sale. However, Grayson does not want to wait until his current Tricorner properties are sold before purchasing his next property. He has already identified a fantastic opportunity with a highly motivated seller and does not want another buyer to swoop in and steal it from him. Luckily, the S. 1031 exchange can be done in reverse.

The reverse exchange allows Grayson to designate a qualified intermediary, who takes title to Grayson’s new property after the purchase and parks it until the sale of his Tricorner properties closes. If successful, Grayson’s reverse exchange should preclude recognition of capital gains.

Holy tax-deferred exchanges.
While our real estate dynamic duo is fictional, their tales have real-life applications for the following types of people.

Real estate investors, who wish to diversify their holdings without paying an exit tax;
Real estate owners, who are ready to move out of the daily management of properties; and
Owners or investors looking for the next project and not an immediate tax bill.
Both Wayne and Grayson were able to use specific sections of the tax code to avoid the immediate recognition of income on the sale or exchange of their Tricorner properties, but we should emphasize that these strategies ultimately lead to the same ending. Eventually, Grayson and Wayne – or their heirs — can count on a tax bill.

If the cape fits…
How do you determine which exchange is ideal for your situation? Consider the following questions when working in conjunction with tax and legal counsel.

Do I, or does a member of the family, wish to continue daily management activities?
Am I comfortable giving up control?
Will this be my last exchange or just one in a series of exchanges as I move from one project to the next?
While not an exhaustive list, these should provide clues as to which path to consider – UPREIT, S. 1031 exchange or reverse S. 1031 exchange. And while deferral can be an important tool, you should carefully weigh the tax benefits of the transaction against the long-term strategic plans for your assets and your family.

Tips for Networking in Real Estate

Learning how to network effectively is a must if you work in real estate. After all, networking is fundamental to the success of any real estate business. When I consider this fact, always I’m surprised by the number of developers and realtors who don’t take advantage of incredible networking opportunities at their avail. What follows is a list of networking tips and suggestions which have been useful for me over the course of my real estate career. In the world of real estate, we’re are looking for ways to connect.

1. Surround yourself with a great team.
Having a team that is comprised of competent and trustworthy people is critical to the success of any real estate business. As a real estate developer, I am only as good as the people who surround me. In addition to professionals with whom I work and collaborate internally, I also rely on relationships I’ve built with individuals and firms in my community. Establishing connections with complementary businesses — real estate industry vendors with whom you don’t directly compete — is an essential networking tool. Make it your goal to identify and meet a network of vendors to whom you can refer clients, and vice versa. It will do wonders for your professional network.

For example, when developing a new property, I rely heavily on a master architect and contractor. An incomplete set of drawings can lead to cost overruns and construction delays. While no contractor is perfect, finding a contractor you trust is the only way to complete projects successfully. Developing a relationship with an architect who is familiar with local zoning codes is essential, too. Whether an architect and contractor work well together can make or break a project. If they do not work cohesively, construction delays can result and will inevitably eat into your planned operating income.

Similarly, if your client is unfamiliar with the mortgage lending process, direct your client to a trustworthy lender who can help navigate what is often a stressful and important financial decision. By maintaining good banking relationships, developers can improve your chances of engaging in a successful transaction.

2. Create a professional website and blog.
Treat your real estate business as if it were a digital media business and go paperless as much as possible. With regard to visual appeal, my own personal belief is that every house tells a story — all too often, however, the the character and story of a home is lost in its listing description. In the spirit of keeping readers well-informed, a good blog needs to publish new, original content on a regular basis. Increasingly, a person’s first impression of a home doesn’t form at the front door, but rather, on the computer screen before the showing. Make use of local imagery; don’t rely on stock building and property photos. In many ways, you’re not just selling a house, you’re selling an entire geographic culture. Showcase the best that your area has to offer by publishing high-res photos of local town landmarks and familiar sites. Successful real estate is often the product of great photography.

It also helps to be an expert and a scholar of your industry. Know what real estate apps people are using and stay updated on new developments, innovations, and trends in the industry. What real estate blogs do your clients read? What hashtags are being used at the conferences you attend?

3. Social media.
Social media has become a powerful tool to connect with your clients; it also creates a great opportunity share your knowledge and expertise with your clients in an easily sharable format. Regarding social media, respond to all inquiries, emails, and messages across all channels swiftly. Interact with users, share good press, and promote your properties. Make yourself easy to contact and be an active user on multiple channels. Use Facebook and twitter to share your listings and promote your properties on major real estate aggregators like Zillow and Trulia. Be sure to keep your voice authentic–you want to avoid coming across as if you are selling something.
4. Attend conferences and industry events.
Remember that real estate networking events are about engaging with other professionals in your industry. Treat conferences as opportunities to learn about new market information and innovations your colleagues are using. Share conference thoughts in real time on social media. Don’t just network within your industry — diversify. If you have been living and working in your area for a long time, you might already be buddies with the other realtors in your area. Try to expand your geographical network by engaging with influencers from other geographical areas. These new connections can offer new ideas and strategies. Also, make a point to look up your past connections for coffee or drinks. It is a great way to maintain and strengthen your relationships.
5. Engage in your local community.
Knowing how to build rapport with others and relate to different types of people is key when it comes to networking. For real estate developers, establishing a consistent presence within your own community is important, too. I can’t overemphasize the importance of being an active participant in your community. Community involvement will not only expand your client base, it will strengthen your knowledge of the neighborhoods where your properties are located and of the people who live in them. Real estate professionals can develop their community presence in a myriad of ways. Here are a few ideas:

Local sponsorship. Sponsor local festivals, little league teams, or school events. Signing up as a community sponsor often results in securing a spot for your business insignia on T-shirts, program pamphlets or flyers. This is great for branding and business recognition.

Volunteer. Spend several hours each month donating your time to local groups and organizations. If you want to keep within the real estate theme, volunteer for a local chapter of Habitat for Humanity, or reach out to an affordable housing advocacy group in your city. This is a great way both to expand your network and have a positive impact on your community.

Local Radio / Media. Reach out to your local radio station. Public radio shows always need content. It’s likely that you can help them out by lending your voice to a show or podcast segment.

Education. Consider partnering with local schools during career days; it’s an engaging way to generate real estate leads. If any local colleges or universities offer real estate courses, reach out to them and offer your expertise. If your business is open to the idea, propose the idea of starting an internship program with a local college.

Develop partnerships with local businesses. Join local networking groups, nonprofit boards, or arts associations whose activities interest and inspire you.

Reduce Pain When Selling Your Home

When it comes to pain and stress, selling your home ranks right up there with divorce and changing jobs. It doesn’t matter if you are selling your starter home or if you’ve been through this before, expect a lot of pain and frustration as you trudge through the process. And if you have a mortgage or a reverse mortgage on it, it will definitely make the process longer.

But take a deep breath and consider these six ways to help you reduce the pain when it’s time to sell your home.

1. Never hire a relative or friend to list your home.
Similar to starting and growing a business with a good friend or your brother-in-law, avoid this at all costs. There is just too much at stake and you shouldn’t have to be “PC” during the long selling process. The journey from listing to closing is tough enough without adding more tension into the equation.

Since you are paying this person to sell your home, you have every right to certain expectations and requirements. You are entering into a business arrangement that by its nature needs to be impersonal.

2. Don’t take anything personally.
Whatever you do, don’t get emotionally involved. It’s easy to say, but remaining objective will save you days and nights of turmoil with issues like:

You think your home should be listed at X, but your realtor tells you that it’s not a competitive price and it should be Y which is $20,000 less. Get over it.
Your first offer is extremely low. Don’t get insulted and emotional. Use it as an opportunity to negotiate conveying to the buyer that you don’t consider it a serious offer.
Don’t let negative comments about your choice of floor coverings or paint colors bother you.
It is, after all, a business transaction, so treat it as such.

3. Ignore election year pessimism.
This is an election year, and history shows election years bring instability. According to Forbes a survey predicts that election year pessimism will hurt the housing market and may make it harder to sell your home.

Combine that with the results of the Brexit vote and you have a situation that breeds unpredictability and uncertainly. Buying, selling and lending just got a lot risker, according to another article from Forbes, “Brexit Hits Home.”

The good news is loans may get cheaper, but for sellers it may mean that homes stay on the market longer and take longer to close.

Homes are still in demand so maintain a positive attitude during these uncertain times. No one can see into the future and ultimately it is about how consumers deal with the uncertainly.

4. Plan along vacation.
If this sounds counter-intuitive, you might want to think again. In fact, take that vacation as soon as you list your home. Your family will be thrilled if you go on vacation, as will your realtor.

If you are not living there, a realtor can schedule open houses and showings whenever they want. You don’t have to drop everything to get out of the house for an unexpected showing. You know, the ones that occur early in the morning when the beds aren’t made yet or during the dinner hour. Biggest bonus: the house stays clean.

Most real estate agents believe they could sell your home easier if you just got out of the way, so do it.

5. Investigate alternate selling options.
Who says you still have to sell your home the same way your parents did? New real estate companies allow you to skip the stress of a traditional real estate transaction altogether and retire the real estate agent. As example, take a look at a new home buying service like OfferPad. Instead of waiting for a buyer to come to you, they buy your home directly, so you can be sold whenever you are ready.

There are countless home buying websites like that today. They position their service as “real estate reinvented,” cutting out all the traditional fluff so you can move on your own schedule. This type of option may not work for all sellers, but this may be a great solution for anyone who values their time and stress levels.

6. Accept the inevitable.
Any disruption in our routine causes stress, and moving certainly qualifies as a disruption, says HealthStatus. In fact, it is one of life’s top five stressful situations. The longer your house is on the market, the more disruption, accumulated pain and fatigue you will endure. On average it takes 76 days to sell a home.

So accept the facts. The next few months will consist of daily disruptions.

After you’ve spruced up the front yard to improve curb appeal, fixed leaks and repainted a few rooms, here come all the strangers walking through your home at all hours of the day and night. Open houses and last minute showings are all part of the process so just accept the inevitable status quo.

Know Some Mobile Musts for Real Estate Marketing

Real estate is an inherently mobile industry which drives our mobile-first approach.”

That’s Jeremy Wacksman, Chief Marketing Officer of Zillow Group, explaining the one-for-one overlap between real-estate marketing and mobile marketing. Like any good buzzword, “mobile-first” is applied to everything these days: e-commerce, retail, software, entrepreneurship and even finding lost pets (seriously).

So why should you listen to Wacksman? Because if you’re in real estate, there simply isn’t a bigger player than Zillow — period. And not just in terms of market share and online traffic. As Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff recently told Jim Cramer, “More people now type the word ‘Zillow’ into Google than the words ‘real estate.’ ”

Related: How the Future of Mobile Search is Unfolding This Year and Beyond

As Wacksman explains: “More than two-thirds of our traffic comes from a mobile device and on weekends it’s more than 77 percent. In July, more than a half-billion homes were viewed on Zillow Mobile. That’s 270 homes per second.” In short, Jeremy concludes, “If you aren’t advertising on a platform that consumers are using to shop for real estate, you are missing a huge opportunity.”

Strong words. And that’s why I connected with Wacksman, along with six other real-estate and mobile marketing experts, to find out the real “mobile musts” for real estate.

1. Mobile design.
For the uninitiated, mobile design — also known as responsive design — means building web pages that automatically “respond” to the size of the device being used to view them. Commonly, this means resizing elements like text, images, buttons and navigation. However, it also can mean eliminating onsite content itself that can’t easily be viewed on mobile.

John Doherty, founder of GetCredo and a former senior growth manager at Zillow:

“As a current, older-millennial renter who is also considering a home purchase in the next year or so, if a site is not mobile optimized, I don’t go back and use it. I spend the majority of my time on my phone and often use it as a second screen while watching TV.”

“Give me a big tap target, an easy inquiry form, and remember my information. If your site isn’t prepared for mobile users, you’ll lose them to sites that are.”

2. Mobile ads.
Unless you’re Zillow, pay-per-click ads are the bread and butter of driving traffic to your real-estate site. These ads come in many forms: Google AdWords, Facebook Ads or display networks on other sites. Why should you go mobile-first with your ads?

Johnathan Dane, founder of KlientBoost:

“In today’s world, mobile marketing should be the number-one focus not only of traffic but also of predictable conversions. If real-estate buyers and sellers aren’t getting localized ads with images and calls-to-action designed specifically for mobile — like an easily clickable phone number — then you’re left with a broken marketing engine.”

“What you see now are savvy agents embracing the Facebook Live video movement for home-tour promotion and grabbing potential leads en masse with ‘ads in apps’ campaigns.”

Sujan Patel, co-founder of Web Profits:

“Buying a home is not the same as buying a laptop, but the trend holds: People explore on smartphones, convert at their desktops and then cross back over. With your ads — and especially with your leads and sales funnels — you have to make crossing that divide easy. If you’ve invested in a mobile app like Zillow, onsite tools like LinkTexting.com can get visitors to download it, and then the transition is seamless.”

3. Mobile landing pages.
Landing pages are standalone web properties that exist for a single reason: to drive action. The goal of your real-estate landing page has to be glaringly obvious and ruthlessly singular. Pick one goal and one goal only. After that comes mobility.

Trevor Mauch, CEO of InvestorCarrot:

“With both our company and our clients, nearly 60 percent of our leads are from mobile devices. Through optimization, we’ve learned to follow four rules. One, make your main CTA button no more than one ‘swipe’ down down the page so it pops up almost immediately. Two, add another CTA button at the bottom of your mobile landing pages too. People don’t want to scroll back up to find your opt-in form or phone number. Three, use big buttons. Thumbs are fat, so make them span the width of the device screen. Four, don’t wrap your phone number in an image. Ensure it’s clear, text based, and easy to ‘tap to call.’ ”
4. Mobile chat.
Messaging, or mobile chat, is the new email of real-estate marketing. Whether you use old-school text messages, Facebook Messenger or real-estate specific apps, mobile chat can sync up listings, manage customer relations and make communication native.
Aaron Kardell, CEO of Homespotter:

“It’s all about the human touch. Real-estate agents that are accessible via a messaging app help their buyers feel more comfortable and less overwhelmed by using the same channel they prefer to communicate with family and friends.”

“Messaging also allows you as an agent to appear more responsive. Even if you can’t break away from another meeting for a phone call, you can often provide quick responses to your clients by text. Finally, real-estate specific messaging apps can now save agents substantial time in performing their job on the go.”
5. Mobile amenities.
Going mobile with your marketing is non-negotiable. But if you’re in real estate, you can’t stop there. Millennials and nearly every other demographic demand a mobile experience that’s carried across your services and accessible in their homes and rentals.

Nathan Miller, founder and CEO of Rentec Direct:

“For properties, keyless entry, mobile-connected thermostats and USB chargers in outlets are musts. Likewise for landlords, setting up mobile payment options as well as being ready to deal with maintenance requests digitally and immediately are par for the course.”

“Perhaps the biggest ‘small’ thing you can do is to bring WiFi into all your properties to ensure new buyers or tenants have one less thing to worry about during the moving process. It’s staggering how much this tiny touch means to today’s always-connected crowds.”

Increase the Value of Your Home or Investment Property

As a real estate investor, author and podcaster, I’m often asked if it is “too late” to buy real estate. After all, prices have climbed dramatically over the past several years, and many homeowners and investors are worried that they’ve missed their chance.

My answer is always the same: No, it’s not too late.

However, today, unlike the past, when almost every property was a good deal for buyers, you have to hunt for (and buy) only the best. And one specific way to do that is to purchase a property and increase the value significantly. That way, if home values do drop, you’ll avoid being “underwater.”

But how do you add value on a piece of real estate without spending tens of thousands of dollars? While there are potentially hundreds of techniques, here are my favorite ten methods for helping the value of your properties to increase.

1. Don’t buy stupidly.
While this first item technically does not require you to do anything special to the property, it is nevertheless the most important step in building quick value. If I buy a home for $20,000 less than it’s worth, I’ve forced an appreciation of $20,000. While I don’t need to go into detail explaining exact methods, just know that your profit is made when you buy, not when you sell. For more on finding great deals, read 4 Simple Tips for Finding Incredible Real Estate Deals.

2. Try out the ‘Ikea bedroom miracle.’
One of my favorite ways to quickly improve a property is to simply turn a “bonus room” into a bedroom. The best transformation involves turning a two-bedroom home into a three-bedroom one. Oftentimes. this can be accomplished for the price of an Ikea wardrobe, but can add tens of thousands of dollars to the value of the home.
3. Increase your property’s curb appeal.
It may be obvious but it is still shocking: the number of investors who spend thousands remodeling a home but neglect to do any more to the outside than a quick paint job. While fresh paint is a great way to add value, there are many more steps you can take as well to spruce up a home’s curb appeal. A nicely manicured lawn with well-defined landscaping can help achieve higher rent or a quicker sale — both of which can make the value climb.

4. Raise the rent.
If we’re talking about rentals — especially multifamily properties — raising the rent can be the key to increasing a property’s value. If your rents are low, a small increase can add significant value to your property. This is especially true for multifamily properties. Raising rent just $25 per month per unit on a four-plex can add $1,200 per year in extra income and (depending on your area’s cap rate), up to $20,000 in forced value overnight.

5. Rent out those nooks and crannies.
You may already be at the top of your rental price capacity, but that doesn’t mean you are getting all the income you can out of your properties. Are there any storage sheds, broom closets, garages or simply vacant land that you can rent out to increase your income? Mini-storage is a multimillion dollar industry, and you probably have more space to rent out than you realize. As happens when you raise the rent, additional income often means more value.

6. Increase your fees.
In addition to capitalizing on all the physical ways you can increase the income in your investments, how about the fees? Are you charging for background checks, late-rent fees, missed maintenance appointments or parking violations? How about your laundry facilities or paid parking? Are you getting all the fees you deserve?

7. Lower your expenses.
You are probably paying too much for too many things. As an investor, one of the “hats” you wear is auditor for your business. Perhaps you can negotiate a better rate for garbage pick-up. Perhaps you can transfer the water/sewer/garbage expense to your tenant. Perhaps spending a few hundred dollars getting all those dripping faucets can cut down your annual water bill by thousands of dollars. Whatever your strategy is, if you decrease expenses, you will be able to increase the value of a property.

8. Add a bathroom.
In the old days, one bathroom was standard in most homes. If you are remodeling a home and find this is the case, take note of where the plumbing is located and what extra space there is around, above, or below that plumbing. Oftentimes, you can add a small half bath for several thousand dollars and add tens of thousands in value in the process.

9. Tear down those walls.
As long as a wall is not “load bearing” (and sometimes even if it is), you can take down a wall (or half of one) in a matter of hours and create a much more “open concept” feel. This can help increase the desirability of a home and thus improve the value as well.

10. Paint the neighborhood.
One of the biggest detriments to your property’s value is not your property at all — it’s your neighbor’s home. A quick paint job, landscaping or simply a run to the dump can often be the best money you’ll spend, trying to increase the value on your own property. Obviously some tact is needed and many people are opposed to getting “charity,” but it’s hard to turn down a free paint job or yard clean-up.

Buy Real Estate With No Money Down

I think that we all find ourselves getting stuck finding money, I mean we all think we have a good deal, we all think that we have the knowledge, but when it comes to the money we find ourselves short. Our friends and family are telling us no, the banks tell you no, and most of all you say no to yourself. Without a target, you won’t get anyplace. You look at your first deal based on the money you have, and many of you give up on the real estate game because you don’t have any money. When you get started you don’t have any money, right?

Let me tell you there is no such thing as no money down. No bank will lend you money with no money down, and no seller will carry a note without you putting some money down even if it’s a promise to do money in the future. There is no such thing as no money down because the money is going to come from somewhere. It’s money down if you’re going to have to do something if you have to exchange something with the person giving you something. If they’re going to give it to you for nothing, then trust me, you don’t want it. So the question becomes, how would you raise money if you don’t have any money?
The first thing I say, and I say this over and over, is that the deal is what matters, not how much money you have. I say it doesn’t take money to make money, it takes guts and courage. The thing you should be chasing is the deal, not your budget. Most people make decisions on how much money they need based on their job and on how much money they spend, but this is backward. You should make the decision on how much money you want regardless of how much money you spend. This is why people never get ahead. The deal is senior to the amount of money you have.

The secret is called OPM — other people’s money. It’s going be somebody’s money. Somebody’s money is going down because there is no such thing as no money down. How do you get the money from other people? Finances are about playing offense, not defense. Don’t chase your budget. Instead of chasing a $200,000 deal, chase a $2.5 million dollar deal. Do not buy less than 16 units, because without 16 units you cannot have a manager. If you can’t have a manager you’re either not going to have your attention on the property or your property will become your full-time job.

Go to investors, people that have $100,000 each, $20,000 each and give them a good deal. You’re going to have to offer a good deal because people are taking a chance on you. Who would you go to first — mom, dad, uncle, brother, sister? You can go look for investors in your local area, maybe a real estate investment club because those are the people who maybe don’t have enough time but want to put $50,000, $100,000, $200,000 into it. There’s a lot of people out there right now that have money sitting in the bank.

You’ve got friends and relatives giving their money to Wall street right now, and they don’t know anybody in that place. They are putting it in mutual funds, IRAs, and 401ks. You need to convince them to go in with you. Their money has been reduced to little digits and it’s backed by nothing. Money basically represents an idea backed by confidence. You need to raise money.

I want to look at bigger deals, and if I want to look at bigger deals, sooner or later everybody runs out of money. I don’t care how rich somebody is, sooner or later you run out of money. You’re buying a business so get creative. There’s nothing set in stone. If you want to get into the game, you either go out and tell your mom, your dad, your uncle, and find others to go in on a deal, or you find a guy like me and ride his deal. Either way, you will have to raise money.
I suggest you don’t invest until you can learn how to make enough money on your own to save at least $100,000. If you can earn enough to save that, it shows that you are ready to begin multiplying your money. Until then, rather than worrying about real estate, concentrate on increasing your own income. Get skills so that you can make enough to save rather than living paycheck to paycheck.

I’m giving lifetime access to Cardone University right now, and it’s a lot cheaper than any real estate. It will teach you how to start increasing your income so that one day you will have money to put down on a piece of property. If you want to do real estate with no money down, you will have to sell others on you. Cardone University is the #1 sales training platform in the world and will help you in any industry, in any town, and in any country.