What does your client list look like? Some agents prefer to niche down until they have a singular focus on, say, young families or wealthy retirees, but restrict your audience too much and you’ll find yourself with no one to sell to. Expand your opportunities by branching out into a new field and you’ll discover new ways to increase your closings. One idea? Real estate investment. Go forth and conquer with these five tips.
1. Learn the Lingo
Are you comfortable discussing cash-on-cash return? How about cap rates? Can you advise your clients on break-even ratios or estimate future value? These are just a handful of the concepts you’ll come across when communicating with investors that you wouldn’t normally encounter with traditional home buyers. If you want to inspire confidence, you need to get up to speed on the terminology and be able to speak fluent investorese.
2. Keep Your Eye Out for Potential Steals
Some clients might go straight for the flashiest house in the neighborhood like a dazzled moth headed straight for a pretty little flame, but real estate investors know to look elsewhere. Flippers, for example, are particularly interested in the worst house on the best street; there’s room for upgrades and remodeling without risking overpricing the final result, and comps for “nicer” properties will likely work in their favor.
3. Study Up on Current Tax Code
Most people expected our real estate mogul turned Commander in Chief to work some investment-friendly changes into the new tax code, but the final bill approved by President Trump and his team has both ups and downs. Signed into law on December 22, 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act included the following real estate-related provisions:
- The continued ability to defer capital gains taxes on investment properties
- Grandfathered properties can deduct mortgage interest up to $1 million, but new purchases cap out at $750,000
- Home equity debt is now the only deductible if the proceeds are funneled back into the investment business or into rental property repairs
- Pass-through corporations may be eligible for a 20 percent deduction on taxable income
Of course, there’s more to it than that quick summary. Get thee to a tax seminar or make friends with a tax expert who can help you understand the nitty-gritty before you start taking investment clients on property tours.
4. Market to the Right People
Changing your slate of offerings to include real estate investors requires a shift in marketing as well. While some investors will come to you, it’s more likely that you’ll need to be proactive if you want to see your numbers climb. Target Facebook ads to people who have indicated an interest in stocks, offer a free webinar on investment 101, or contribute a monthly column to your city’s free magazine. Of course, your own blog can be a powerful marketing tool too, especially if you optimize for SEO to attract anyone hoping to learn about buying and managing rental properties.
5. Build a Network of Complementary Businesses
You can’t do everything, but you can put together a go-to list of experts so you’re always ready to hook clients up with reliable professionals. Mortgage brokers, property managers, landscapers, painters, home maintenance companies, movers, junk haulers, general contractors, security companies — investors will eventually call on some if not all of these connections, and the easier you make it on them, the better you look and the more valuable you are.
The best thing about real estate investors? They keep coming back. Make a good impression now and you could end up with the client portfolio of your dreams.