How Secure Will Your Business and Income Be in 2009?

Every person who earns an income, whether as an employee or as a business owner, should be asking themselves how secure their income will be in 2009. Without doubt the current economic turmoil is putting pressure on the viability of many businesses and jobs. To survive, and even prosper in the chaos, one has really only two choices: reduce expenses, or increase sales.

For many, reducing expenses is often the first port of call when the going gets tough as it is the easiest option – provided you have some “fat” in your business.By all means cut as much as you can (you should be doing this anyway) but then, once this is done, what’s next? And, at what point does cutting more start affecting your product or service delivery standards?

As Warren Buffet is quoted as saying: “You want to learn from experience, but you want to learn from other people’s experience when you can!”

What we do know from experience is that the best way to continuously improve the bottom line is to regularly review your marketing and sales strategy and look for the gaps that can provide you with growth opportunities. We also know from experience that the companies that best survive the sort of economic downturn we are now faced with, are those that invest in sound marketing just at the time when everyone else is pulling back.

So… what’s your marketing strategy for 2009? And is it worth anything in the changed environment you are facing? Remember that marketing, done correctly, is the only business discipline that generates income and opportunities. But marketing based on hearsay, wishful thinking or any other thumbsuck will consume your time, energy and money for little or no return.

In reality, for 2009 you need to start from scratch and develop a marketing plan that will address your new challenges practically and realistically.

The benefits of developing a specific, targeted marketing plan unique to your circumstances include:

1)You thoroughly think through your current business trading options
2)You identify opportunities that can be turned into bottom line profits
3)You develop a step-by-step plan of action that removes the worry and stress and allows you to focus your thoughts, efforts, budget and activities

Now, more than ever, you need to become more marketing orientated if you want your business to survive and grow in 2009.

Real Estate License Required

Looking for a very lucrative business opportunity? Real estate brokering is the top choice for a lot of people. Real Estate Brokers and real estate agents are working throughout the nation. Not only are they making excellent incomes, they are also contributing to the economy in direct, as well as, indirect ways. By helping the sellers in selling their property and at the same time helping the buyers in buying a property these agents help satisfy their need for shelter. Creating this transaction often entails many other services to be ordered. So, can anyone start real estate brokering? Well, not really.

Possessing a Real estate license is a pre-requisite for becoming a real estate agent. However, obtaining a real estate license is not difficult. In most states, the qualifications for getting a real estate license are very minimal. So you should first check the eligibility criteria for obtaining a real estate license (rather pre-license) in your state. The real estate license eligibility criterion includes things like the minimum age limit (which is mostly 19 years) and educational qualifications (which is mostly high school). Most states do require a clean criminal record, sorry. Once you know that you satisfy those real estate license (pre-license) eligibility criteria, you can go ahead and enroll for a pre-license training.

There a number of real estate schools that offer real estate license training. Some real estate schools offer online training for a real estate license. Choose a course that is spread over a sufficient duration of time e.g. 1 year so that you are able to grasp the concepts properly (after all you want to become a successful real estate agent and not just another real estate agent). You will be taught a number of topics as part of your real estate license training. All this will help you develop a basic understanding of real estate and various aspects related to real estate (e.g. real estate law, deeds, contracts, ownership transfer, etc)

Once you have undergone this real estate license training, you will be required to undergo a state exam. After you pass this exam, you will generally need to undergo additional training on state approved courses. That’s it, you can now get a real estate license which is worth that effort (as you will find in a couple of years of starting real state brokering). Most states also require you to go for continuous education after you have received your real estate license. However, this is a just a few hours every few years.

So a real estate license is what you need to start your career as a real estate agent. But your success after that will be dependent on how seriously, ethically and effectively you carry out your job. Unfortunately, eighty percent of new agents will have left the business within five years. Remember, this is a very competitive business and you will find that the top twenty percent of agents earn nearly eighty per cent of the money. Being average in the sales business will leave you hurting financially.

Real Estate Training – Tips to Start a Blog and Newsletter to Get More Listings

If only John Dodson did some real estate training. But he never saw it coming. He was a well established real estate agent and he was doing well. But slowly a new skilled and independent real estate agent, who worked from home, eroded his livelihood. The new real estate agent dedicated all his energy to a specific suburb and started building relationships with the people will list their homes with him.

The new agent was patient, he regularly attend relevant real estate training, he provided valuable information on a regular basis to people in his listing area, he knew how to blog; he understood the process to integrate technology with the ability to build trust.

On the other hand Dodson is the traditional real estate agent who will either adapt or get sidelined by these new skilled estate agents. Because the new real estate agent’s training and use of technology will ensure that the new agent builds trust with many potential sellers and buyers with very little effort.

These new trained real estate agents need nothing more than a laptop, an internet connection, existing free communications-, blog tools and the guts to build relationships that will make an impact on their listing area.

The opportunity is ideal for those who want to penetrate the market early. Google indicates that there are more than 20 million “real estate blog” pages in the world but in South Africa, for example, there are only 219 pages. The search for “Real Estate Newsletter” indicates that there are nearly one million pages that cover the topic, but only 139 pages covering it in South Africa. This indicates that a entity the idea to do a real estate blog is well established but with a geographical area the opportunity begs to be taken.

But before you attend any real estate training to become a community blogger beware; I believe that there’ll be only one newsletter per suburb or listing area and the real estate agent who gets established first providing quality information will dominate the suburb in the future.

In addition to the available opportunity the other good news is that most of the real estate blog technology is free, even the integrated newsletter technology, that will broadcast the news to their readers, is free.

Real-estate-training and blog tips:

1) The suburb’s people (listing area) will not join the blog because it exists. The blogging estate agent needs to phone and invite property owners to subscribe to the blog. 2) A blog without an integrated broadcasting tool is not worth the effort. 3) Provide the blog readers with short, regular and important news on property issues related to the listing area. 4) Blog regularly but never overwhelms the readers with news. 5) Start a blog-newsletter before the opposition starts one. 6) Focus on pre-selling. Therefore focus on building relationships and not on selling. You’ll sell when they trust you.

Many traditional real estate agents are trained to waste money on pamphlets asking for listings. Unfortunately very few homeowners are in the market to sell their home today, being the pamphlet drop day.

The traditional real estate marketing is focused on the selling. The new idea is to rather focus attention on getting homeowners to subscribe to your real estate newsletter. And then use it to build trust over time. This will make the real estate agent the expert in the suburb and the first choice when a home is listed. Start communications today.

Johan Horak

Starting a Real Estate Business

The real estate industry is very sensitive to economic changes like interest rates and the cost of materials in building houses. Interest rates in particular can easily swing the number of sales that are completed during any quarter of the year. Rising interest rates will slow down the sales and falling rates will aid the sales of real estate. This is an important fact in the real estate business as this can absolutely cause rapid changes in income from the sales that can be made.

With this in mind, the time to buy an agency that comes up for sale may be when the real estate business is in the doldrums. A hot real estate market will make an existing firm worth more, as their income will be higher during this period of time. Of course if you follow this course of action, you will have to wait out the slow down in the markets. Another factor in the purchase or start-up a real estate company is the state licensing requirements.

Most states have serious requirements for real estate agents and brokers. Brokers have a much stiffer requirement in most states than an agent. The requirements include passing exams and a fixed number of educational hours for both agents and brokers. There is also a requirement for continuing education. These state mandated steps to a career in the real estate business would have to be met before an agency could be purchased or started. Since this industry is regulated and has strong legal steps to comply with, this licensing plus experience would be an initial step to being an owner in this field. This is not a business that can be stepped into by just paying out some money.

An agent can have the goal of owning their own firm, but it will take planning and meeting the state rules to make this happen. Once a potential owner has these steps out of the way, finding an existing business to buy will be in order. A quick check of real estate business listings reveals that they are usually found in larger cities and the asking price is significant. There are also resales of franchise companies. Just typing into a search engine, “Real estate businesses for sale”, came up with this quick check. A buyer could also check with business brokers and real estate brokers in their city. Another source worth checking out would be a franchise connection. An in place real estate business is advantages as the name is already known and will get clients due to this. When you start a company from the ground up you do not have this advantage. An existing business with several locations will come with a higher price tag than what you could start your own business for.

Another way to gain ownership would be buying into an existing business. This could work if you have a solid relationship with the current owner. The problem is you will not have the final say in most decisions unless you are buying controlling interest.

Specialty real estate firms

Most people think about a firm that helps with the buying and selling a home. There are several other areas of specialization. A real estate firm could become expert in buying and selling commercial property, farmland and farms, farm product processing plants, rental properties and shopping centers. Actually a broker could cut out a niche market from many that are available in the real estate business. If you have an area of expertise, this could become something that could be marketable and cut out a lot of competition in certain situations. Some real estate firms have unique departments that handle certain types of real estate marketing. The decision you must make is what kind of a firm are you going to own. You may have to start your own in order to make it happen.

You could also get into real estate management and the buying and selling of these rental properties, which is a very unique part of the industry. Shopping center related firms could be in from the start of a project. They can help with the formation of the firm to build and own the property and then handle the rentals and day-to-day management of the center.

The point of all of this is there are areas of real estate specialization that lend themselves to a business that just works in this real estate category.

Finding the money to make your dream happen

You may not have the total purchase price for an existing business. The question is how do you come up with the balance to make the deal. Finding a source to lend you the money is one way to come up with the needed funds. There are businesses that offer loans to new owners of businesses. These can be found on the Internet by just doing a search. Family and friends could be another source of money. One way to get the needed money is to take in a partner for the business. If you have a friend in the business maybe they would be interested in owning part of the existing company. All of these possible money suppliers will have different requirements for paying the money back.

Make sure you can see your way clearly on how you will accomplish the pay back. This business can be adversely affected by interest rates so you would need a second way to make the payments. A person thinking about ownership in this field must remember that it can be feast or famine as far as sales and commissions go. This is not like being in the restaurant business or owning a printing company. Successful brokers can make considerable money in a good market. They can also have periods that are very tight as to sales. The brokers that succeed have a policy of putting away some of their earnings during good times to cover the less profitable times. Doing this just shows the broker has a realistic view of the business.

Conclusions

This business can be extremely profitable during low interest rate economies. The legal and state requirements make the ownership of a brokerage firm more difficult to own than is the case with other businesses. Buying and selling a real estate business is somewhat more difficult due to the restrictions that are placed on the owner of a real estate firm. You must have the appropriate licenses in place before you can begin operation. This is true whether you buy a company or start one up from scratch. Finding a firm you can afford will take some time and research on your part. Hiring a professional business broker may speed up the search.

Deciding early on if you want to be a specialist will set other decisions in place. Niche areas that you are an expert in will help cut the competition somewhat. A general real estate business will have the potential for more clients, but will need and ongoing advertising campaign to gain listings and clients looking to buy. The start-up is cheaper to open, but will have little cash flow like an existing firm. Money flow is the one huge advantage buying an existing business offers to the new owner.

Real Estate Rebate – Can The Traditional Model Survive?

The Beginning Of The Real Estate Rebate: Society as a whole has been significantly impacted by the emergence of the Internet. It has made the world a smaller place and has intern changed the way we communicate and conduct business. It has helped companies target their clients through avenues such as Google & Yahoo, and has subsequently put the products and information that consumers looking for, at their finger tips. Social Networks such as Myspace and Facebook have made it possible to stay in contact with friends and family around the world via the Internet. As time passes these changes and effects will become more wide spread and alarmingly self evident. One such industry that stands to be dramatically affected is Real Estate.

For decades, the real estate industry has been defined by traditional representation in which an agent charges the seller a commission to market and sell their home or represents buyers through the entire home buying process. In the past, the traditional model was the staple of the real estate profession and it faced little to no opposition. This has begun to change. With the dependency that society and has developed on Internet, creative minds have begun to develop new models that cater to every type of consumer. As a result, consumers no longer have to settle for the “One Size Fits All” traditional model, but have a choice in choosing the type of service that fits their real estate needs.

New Models: Consumers may now choose between a variety of real estate products and services. These services are characterized by enabling buyers or sellers to seek specific real estate assistance as opposed to the whole package. In the case of sellers, real estate agents will charge a fee only for the services they provide. For example, a seller may only want to list their home on MLS (Multiple Listing Service Used By Real Estate Professionals around the Country) for the added exposure, and require some assistance drafting a purchase and sale agreement. Listing a home and receiving assistance with a P&S will cost you hundreds of dollars as opposed to paying a 5%-6% commission that would cost thousands of dollars. Buyers who are interested in finding a home on their own or willing to participate in the initial house hunting work, can receive a rebate at closing. This model gives buyers the professional assistance of a realtor and rewards them for their efforts with a portion of the commission at closing. One company that gives buyers a rebate is SharpBuyers. They are a national real estate rebate company based out of Boston Massachusetts. They have agents all throughout the country that will help buyers find a home and give them a rebate at closing. Another emerging model is real estate consultants. These are licensed real estate professionals that exclusively charge flat fee’s for specific services.

The brokerages that offer these innovative real estate services are referred to as Discount Brokers, Rebate Agents, and Real Estate Consultants. It can clearly be seen, that all of these new models engage the buyers and sellers in the home buying or selling process. Subsequently, these models are ideal for the home buyers of tomorrow, generation X and Y. These are tech-savvy home buyers and they are not afraid to delve into the process if it means they will save thousands of dollars. Ten years from now, generation X will collectively be in their early and mid 30′s. Many will use the traditional method to buy their first home, while others will seek out innovative brokers. How will the market share shake out in 2017? Only time will tell. It is anticipated that many traditional brokerages will be forced to adapt to a mixed service model, meaning they will offer both traditional and discount services to buyers, rather than one or the other. This may prove to be a necessary strategy if traditional brokerages would like to remain competitive after 2020. The new real estate business models enable consumers to have the best of both worlds, professional assistance and more money in their pockets.

Real Estate and The Internet Today: In today’s world, the effect that the Internet has had on the real estate profession is extremely apparent. As the popularity of the Internet initially grew, many agents were concerned that consumers would cut them right out of the deal. To date, this has not been the case. The real estate industry has come to embrace the Internet and all of the great marketing tools that it has given birth to. It has also helped real estate professionals have better access to listing information, recent sales history and various statistical data reports. Leonard Nomura of Bentley Real Estate Group says he could not imagine life as a broker without the Internet. The numbers are astounding. According to the National Association of Realtors, 77% of home buyers used the Internet to find their homes in 2005. This has steadily grown from 2% of buyers using the Internet to find their homes in 1995 and is speculated to be over 85% today. According to clickz.com, 50% of all consumers who surf the web, do so with the intent to purchase consumer goods and services. This includes Real Estate, automobiles, clothing, music and anything else imaginable.

As a result of the emerging mixed service models, consumers can now choose from a range of real estate services that did not previously exist. It is believed that many real estate professionals see these new models as a threat because of their ability to significantly impact the traditional real estate brokerage’s market share. According to Real Trends an industry newsletter, alternative Real Estate Models currently make up 2% of the market, but could grow to 12% by 2010. The transformation of the real estate industry has only just begun. Time will tell the true story of how the market will shake out, but the bottom line is this; alternative real estate models are putting money back into consumer’s pockets and you will always put a smile on someone’s face when you show them how to save thousands of dollars.