Advice for Beginners (Part Two)

Here is some more motherly advice I forgot to say to the newbies in my earlier Advice for Beginners (Part One)

1. Dress appropriately for the image you want to present to the world. When you are visiting homeowners, sellers, and buyers, you will be judged by the image you present.

For men, it’s okay to wear jeans if they are clean and pressed. Wear a clean shirt and a clean, neat jacket of some sort. Don’t wear a suit. Believe it or not, this can be intimidating in that some sellers may think, “Who does he think he is?”

For women, no cleavage or tight tops; no short, short skirts; and nothing skin tight, even jeans. As women, we already have enough obstacles to overcome in how the world perceives us. While it might not be fair, you have to work harder to be taken seriously. As my own mom would have said, dress like a lady.

For both men and women, wear sensible shoes, sneakers, or boots. You don’t know what you will encounter walking through a property. Always have disposable gloves in your car. I wear them when I go into a vacant house, and I sometimes put them on in an occupied house, depending on what room I’m inspecting, if you know what I mean.

2. Put your best foot forward and smile. Remember, you only get one chance to make a first impression, and your seller needs to see you in the best possible light. That means you present yourself in a professional manner.

And treat everyone you meet with respect. That might mean addressing your seller as Mr. or Mrs. so and so, not necessarily Bob and Mary, unless they tell you otherwise.

3. Don’t offend the seller by speaking in slang. Use proper grammar. You will earn tons of respect by giving respect to those whom you are addressing.

4. Don’t ever forget that you are a “lifesaver” to a homeowner who is struggling. You are the one who is going to help them out of their current situation, so be prepared for the questions they will ask you.

5. Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know”. If you don’t know the answer to a question, admit that you don’t know and you will get back to them with the information.

Set a time frame like tomorrow, 48 hours, etc. For instance, “I don’t have the answer to that question right now, but I can get back to you in a few days.” People will appreciate your honesty and you will move up a notch on the credibility scale.

6. Always, Always, ALWAYS get everything in writing. Memory is selective and that means that two parties will never recall exactly what was said in a verbal agreement. Once you have an agreement, prepare it on your computer, and print out two copies. If it’s a contract, make sure you use the right form.

Make sure there is a “witness” section at the bottom of the signature block and both you and the other party should sign the contract before a witness who is 21 or older and has verifiable ID. Give the other person a signed copy and keep a signed copy for yourself.

And remember that while your contract clearly states what you will do, it should also state what you won’t do. I highly recommend that you have an attorney review your contract before it’s signed, especially if it’s your first. It won’t cost you a lot, and it will be money well spent.

7. If you intend to wholesale a property (flipping real estate), don’t offer a deposit. You shouldn’t have to take anything out of your pocket because all monies will be paid at closing. Be sure to tell your seller that in those exact words.

And remember, you do not have to tell your seller that you will flip the property. That is information I generally relay to my seller a few days before closing, or sometimes not at all. Is this legal? Entirely. Is it unethical? Absolutely not. Is the seller losing anything? No, because the seller will get at closing exactly what your contract says he will get.

8. When looking for good properties to buy and wholesale, remember that many homeowners are already in financial distress. Financial distress can ruin marriages and break up families. It also means that tempers can flare easily.

Some people in this business believe it’s okay to just knock on the door of a house that looks like a good deal. I do not. I think it’s asking for trouble because you don’t know what’s on the other side of that door. Maybe a sick, crying child that a mother is struggling to care for. Maybe an angry husband/wife, etc. Better to call or send a letter.

9, Ask for help. If you are stuck in a deal and don’t know how to make it happen or how to get it closed, ask for help. But do so in a manner that protects you and your deal. In other words, describe the deal to someone who can help you, without giving out the address or the names of any of the parties involved.

Use a non-disclosure agreement to protect yourself when discussing your deal. Or simply put your question on the Main Real Estate Forum here.

10. It’s okay to make a mistake. Some of the best lessons we learn in life are from the mistakes we have made. Just pick yourself up and get right back in the business.

11. Remember that the reputation you build in this business will follow you everywhere Always be aware of how important it is to focus on how you dress, how you speak, what you say, and overall–how you are perceived. Now go out there and get started. Great deals are waiting for you!

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By CREOnline Contributor

A content contributor to the original