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First, as yesterday was Verteran’s Day and Canada’s Remembrance Day- I WANT TO SAY THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE AND I TRULY MEAN THIS. 

If a Buyer wants my full attention, this means that as a Broker, the Buyer will only be working with me.  Working with multiple experienced Brokers will NOT get you the best deal. I can assure you that this means that you will slide down the order of priority. A beginning agent may take on a Buyer that is not committed to them but not any successful Broker.

If I commit as well to a Buyer, I can assure you that I will dedicate the time to this Buyer.  Ask my Buyers and they will tell you that I am continually sending or calling information on properties to them.

I have spent 23 years in the business working REALLY hard.  Lots of people say they work REALLY and many do. I have developed not only Broker-Broker relationships but a battery of referral partners as well.

 I have vetted MANY referral partners and continue to do this as we speak.  My goal is to continue to offer the best of the best!

Time is one of the most valuable commodities  and I expect that everyone would agree with this.

A Buyer Broker agreement is a bilateral contract between and Buyer and myself.  This is a fully enforceable contract. Anyone that chooses to work with me and take advantage of the deep resources and knowledge that I have will need to sign this.

I work hard for my buyers and in doing so want to insure that the any Buyers are as committed to me as I am to me.  This will also include a non-disclosure agreement. Why? So that if I sign one to obtain information on the Buyer’s behalf, the Buyer has already agreed to the confidentiality of the information. Also, this protects the information that I send to Buyers including the referral sources that I share.

I spend real dollars on my Buyers.  Tracking reports and searching for the best properties that fit their needs.

IF the Buyer wants to work with multiple Brokers over the next few weeks, I will be speaking with each of my Buyers and discussing this personally.

Please feel free to call me. The market is increasing and I am here to ANSWER my phone.  BTW, do you realise how many agents are now putting in the private remarks-DO NOT CALL ME ONLY TEXT! What is this world coming to?

602-688-9279

Linda

During the Escrow process, the Buyer should and probably will do a physical inspection of the subject property.  This is the Buyer’s right.  

The Seller’s responsibility is to make sure that the Buyer has full access to the property.  Also, the Seller MUST insure that ALL utilities are on. If these two items are not done, the Seller needs to understand that they may be responsible for the cost of the re-inspection.  If there is any challenge to unlocking a door, the Seller or Property Manager should have either a locksmith or a maintenance person to drill the locks onsight.

Once the Buyer’s Inspections are complete, the Seller will receive a copy of the inspection report(s). The Seller needs to review this report carefully.

There are two reasons.  If the Seller has paid for items that are noted on the report, they should go to the vendor and make sure that these items are taken care of. 

The second and probably most important is that now the Seller and the Broker has material knowledge of the items that have come up on the inspection. 

If the Property falls out of Escrow, the Seller MUST update the Seller’s Disclosure Statements as they now have the knowledge of the problems.  

If there are Health and Safety concerns noted, the Seller is now at risk if these are not handled ASAP.  If a tenant or anyone is harmed due to this neglect, the Seller could very well be held responsible.

If there are material facts that are uncovered, the Broker is under legal responsibility to disclose these items to any potential Buyer.  

Again, if the Property goes back on the market, the immediate needs should be addressed and can be disclosed as such.  This will make the likelihood of the next Escrow successful.

This is one of the main reasons that I personally walk every unit when I list a property and many of these deal killing issues can be taken care of before the Escrow thus ensuring a successful closing.

Remember that I answer my phone! 602-688-9279

Have a GREAT week!

 

Linda

When a real estate Agent in Arizona obtains a real estate license do you realize that in less than 21 days this person is licensed to practice real estate law?  

It is clearly written that no one is supposed to practice outside their scope of expertise.  What this clearly means that if the agent is not trained in an area of real estate that they either refuse to do this or refer this to an agent that is versed in the type of real estate that the client wants. If this is not done, then the agent is to obtain in writing from the client that they are not versed in this area.  

The agent should NEVER do this without the Designated Broker’s written permission. NO Broker worth their salt would allow one of their agents to work outside of their expertise.

Many agents have their heart in the right place but many “see” the commission as a driving factor. I can assure you that working for months on a deal and then it falls through really is painful. MORE painful is hurting the client or their interests. I am one of the few commercial Brokers that pay a referral fee to another agent and hopefully do the Client justice and the other agent maintains the reputation of taking care of their client.

The difference between selling a house that is an owner occupied sale and a tenant occupied property is really night and day as well.

One of the reasons that I have been so very successful with fourplexes is that I have treated these small multifamily properties the same as a commercial sale.  Agents sometimes feel because this is commonly written on a standard residential contract that this is handled the same as a single family house sale and this is so far from the truth. The FORMS that are used I actually assisted AZ Association of Realtors with the form.  In the forms committee there was me and the attorney for the association. They call me the Fourplex Queen for a reason.

I am in Escrow with an assisted care property, the agent is clearly a residential agent and it is sad.  Not6 only am I working harder but the BUYER really wants to buy the property and the agent’s inexperience is clearly getting in the way of the deal.  Last night my Seller even said to me that it is clear that the agent is inexperienced and it is too bad.

I was speaking to a group of residential agents recently and one held her hand up and said “Well I just did a commercial lease for my hairdresser!”.  I replied that I was sorry for their hairdresser. Why? The agent had no idea what the lockout clause was or what CAMS meant.  

I had aDesignated Broker come to me to look at a commercial lease for him.  He did not have an inspector look at the mechanicals (Air conditioner etc.). I asked him when the Tenant was moving in and he said in about two hours. In the lease,  it stated that the Tenant was responsible for the mechanicals. Guess what? The next day the 20 ton air conditioner failed. How much do you think a 20 ton air conditioner costs?  A LOT!

I could go on and on about the ins and outs of commercial real estate.  Here are the facts-use the type of EXPERIENCED Broker for your deal. I am a BROKER (higher level of license), I am a CCIM (Certified Commercial Investment Member) and I have a depth of experience with MultiFamily and Assisted Care.   

 

There are some areas of Commercial Real Estate that I refer to another Broker.  I cannot be a jack of trades and master of none!

 

Remember that I answer my phone! 602-688-9279

 

Have a GREAT week!

 

Linda

This is really easy for me if I represent the Seller-I CANCEL the listing.  I cancelled two of these this morning. Under the AZ State Law, as a listing agent I am required to disclose any material facts that I personally know about the property to a potential Buyer or Buyer’s agent. 

When I am placed in an uncomfortable situation, for example when two licensed contractors tell me that the roof is in jeopardy of falling in and the Seller does handyman Bandaid fixes-I have NO choice but to disclose this.  

Personally, I have heartburn in these types of cases. What other items would my own client do?  How would I get through inspections? Frankly, this is a total waste of my time and marketing resources.

As the Buyer or Buyer’s agent, it is important to obtain SIGNED documentation from the Seller.  After Close of Escrow, there are legal issues for non-disclosure and this would be handled by the Attorney and we all know how expensive this can be.  At least when the Seller signed the disclosure documents, one would like to believe that the Seller would not sign something knowing that it is untrue or incorrect.

What about the Buyer?  

Buyers have contractual obligations to tell the truth or disclose material facts.  As a Buyer’s Agent I have the obligation to disclose material facts to the Seller or Seller’s Agent as well. What if this is an FHA loan and I know that they have no intention of living in the unit?  What if I know that they have lost their job?

Recently, one of my vendors were asked to participate in mortgage fraud-guess what-he dropped the relationship immediately.  These are the issues that come up every day in real estate and it is important to be aware but to also protect yourself as closely as possible.

Remember one of my most common thoughts is to listen to your gut.  Usually not wrong.

Feel free to call my cell phone at any time 602-688-9279. I do answer ask anyone!

Linda

One of the very real frustrations as I sit with my Buyers or Sellers is the Client that “thinks” that by squeezing every last drop of blood from the other side is the way to win the deal.  I usually do not work over a long period of time with this type of Client. While I certainly want to obtain the best property that fits the needs of the Investor, there are ways to go about it that can make the experience of investing both successful and a pleasurable experience.

Years ago, too many to count I sold single family homes.  I learned something way back then. If a Buyer grinds the Seller for everything, the Seller will probably leave the property without cleaning it and will take very LAST garden hose simply on principle. It is the same for investment properties.

Many Buyers think that if they can”get” the deal for 10K lower that they are in a winning position.  Hardly ever is this the case.  Figure out the payments on an additional 10K and then decide if you want to go into an adversarial position with the Seller from the get go.

Here are some thoughts on this:

  • What if you need a few days of an extension? If the Seller is already feeling taken advantage of, you may not get the extension and lose the deal and possibly your Earnest Money along with any appraisal and inspection fees that you have already paid
  • Do you want the property repairs to be taken care of or a credit at close? Good luck with a Seller that again feels that you already “got the deal” Now instead of your down payment and loan, you now will be coming out of pocket for repairs.
  • What about the competitive market?  I am going into contract today on a listing.  I have two of my own investors that I know really want the property.  Last night I received two offers and the Seller is choosing one this AM.  My investors have lost out on a good building simply trying to figure out numbers.  I can assure you that not worrying over a 10K difference does not matter in the scheme of things.
  • What about your reputation as a Buyer. Do not think that if you submit low ball offers or offers with conditions that are unreasonable that Brokers do not speak with each other.

STOP paying for “COACHES or REAL ESTATE GURUS” . What a COMPLETE waste of money!  Use the money for down payments and get in the game correctly, I have investors or many I should say sometimes want to be investors that have to check with their coaches. By the time they have done this, the deal is gone.

Let speak about the Seller side of garnering the correct contract on your property.

Do you care if the Buyer wants something that you feel is unreasonable?  Depends (the famous real estate answer) on what it is.  A Seller should put themselves in the Buyers seat and see it from their perspective.  If the Buyer can only qualify to a certain amount, beware of this on any counters.  Understand that in multifamily, the Buyer typically does not go into the building until you have an accepted contract and escrow is opened.  If you are presenting that the building is well taken care of, that should be the situation.  If it is not, be prepared for a price reduction or a credit at close.  If the Buyer needs you to cover closing costs be aware of this as well.

However, as a Seller remember that a bird in the hand is better than nothing.  So if you get a reasonable offer, take it.  The grass is not always greener on the next deal.

Like a Buyer who is a “low ball’ Buyer, you can gain the reputation of a Seller that is impossible to work with.  If the Buyer needs a few days of a timeline extension for a good reason, give it to the Buyer.  After closing if the Buyer needs questions answered-help them.  What goes around comes around.

Also, you never know if this Buyer will come back today or even at some time in the future to buy another one of your properties or MAYBE you want to buy one of theirs?

It is a small world in the world of Real Estate Investing.  So let’s go get the deal and have some success at the same time!

Remember that I answer my phone and feel free to call me! 602-688-9279.

Linda

Yesterday, I went to a property inspection on a listing that I have.  I was the first person onsight and the Buyer (whom I did not represent) walked up and his first words were “So I finally get to meet the Queen of Fourplexes!” His second was “What a great website!”.

I have worked hard to gain the reputation of the “Queen of Fourplexes”. In 2006 I was with RE/MAX Commercial. I was number two in the ENTIRE world for RE/MAX that year and all I sold was fourplexes.  I missed being named number one by $30,000.  Of course they do not tell you this until you have received the award.  I would have bought a condo myself.  The next year I was again awarded the very highest honors from RE/MAX.

In the 23 years as a Broker, I have learned what works and what does not work in selling properties.  Of course, it goes without saying that answering my phone makes the biggest difference.  So many agents never answer their calls.  I see in the private remarks of listings-don’t call just text! I wonder if the Sellers knew that their agents put this in or even worse NEVER return calls or even emails-would they even hire the agent or FIRE them and they should be fired for this attitude.

When I work with a Seller to list their property, I do so many items in preparation.  First, I actually drive by the Property. There is nothing in Real Estate as “putting your feet on the dirt”.  I want to see improvements in the area and what is going on. I want to see the condition of the exterior of the property.  My recommendations to the owner for work that needs to be done is the difference between a sale and the price that the property sells for. This is the easy part.

I also want to walk the interiors of all units.  The worst thing that can happen is that you get a contract and when the inspections happen, the deal falls apart because we were not prepared for whatever is behind the closed doors.

I absolutely hire my photographer to shoot professional photos. I am paid to do a good job and professional photos make all of the difference. This means that the property needs to be made ready for the photoshoot.  Landscaping, moving tenant items and any repairs completed.

On the back side of the listing, I am known for supplying all due diligence up front to potential buyers.  NONE of us needs practice in writing contracts.  Let’s get the information in the hands of the Buyers or Agents.

I have agents look for my listings as they know that they can get all of the information upon front and make educated decisions about the property.

The list of items that I request from the Seller can be frustrating for the Seller.  However, without it I cannot do my job.  Having the information I need is critical to selling the property.  The faster I get the items, the faster that the property will sell.

I list properties on approximately 30 different websites.  All of these take a great deal of time to maintain.

An important fact is that I also update current rent rolls and year to dates on a monthly basis.  Again, the difference in Brokers.  Again, I need this information from the Seller or their Property Manager monthly.

When I list a property and IF I get all of the information that I need from the Seller, it takes me approximately 4 hours to completely “bring” up a listing.

There are many other factors that go into selling but the preparation done properly will hasten the days of market for the Seller!

Remember that I answer my cell phone 602-688-9299

Please call me if you have any questions!

Linda

So I just had a phone call from a person that wanted to offer on a proerty that I had listed. Guess what? I am not kidding, the Seller about 30 seconds before signed the Purchase ad Sale agreement.  This means that it is an accepted offer and the property is considered “in contract”.

In the Phoenix Market and frankly in any other market it is important to get the contract accepted.  It is not that you have all of the information, it simply means that you have the property under contract.  I can assure you that by the time I request all of the due diligence, in this market the property will have gone to contract with someone else.

I am pretty good at being able to estimate the cost of running the building-stablized.  I also work with Property Management to know what the rents can or should be.

As far as the condtion of the interior (as we rarely get to see interiors) this is often a negotiated factor after inspections.

Remember that you also have an apprasial condition in the contract as well.

The way that I write a contract, we make sure that you have a due diligence period so that you can do your analysis of the proformance of the property.  Remember until we get past the due diligence phase of a contract, it really is all paper.

I never want someone to CLOSE on a property that is not right for their needs but without an accepted contract, we will never figure this out.

Do not think that low ball offers work in a good market.  They DO NOT!  Remember you still have the apprasial contengency.

Real Estate is location and pick you price range and location.

Here is something else that is non-negotiable. You must have a proof of funds for either the purchase amount (if cash) or for the down payment.  In addition, if you are going to finance part of the purchase ABSOLUTELY need to be prequalified.  Contracts are not worth much if there is not one or maore of these items in place.  Today alone I received two offers on properties and niether one had a proof of funds (both cash).  I immedaily sent an email to the agents for the POF and in both cases received it back in minutes.  Agents and Investors know that they need this piece.

Off Market Is not a deal as many think. Who cares if it is an advertised listing or an “Off Market”. If it is on the MLS for expample you are actually more protected legally as Realtors have rules that govern.  I have bought off market and while we did the best due dilligence possible, once we closed there always seem to be more hair on the dog so to speak.

I promise my clients that if we write on a proerty and it is not the right one that they will have the ability to cancel during the Due Dilligence period.  Please read my past blog on Critical Dates Letters as you will agian see how important that these are.

Stay tuned for more Broker’s Advantage Blogs next week.

And remember that I answer my phone.  Cal me 602-688-9279

Linda

 

 

Hold open Title policies are very useful for a few reasons. First, what is a hold open policy?

A hold open policy must be requested prior to the Close of Escrow of the purchase of the property. This is used for investors that are intending to resell the property in 2-4 years. What this does is save the Investor fees for the owner’s title policy that is issued when the Seller sells the property.

The Buyer soon to be Seller will pay a small fee at Close of Escrow when they aquire the property. However, when this person sells the property there is a substantial savings in the Title Insurance. NOTE-The Seller must use the same Title Company when sellig the Property without fail. When we have a hold oen policy I disclose it in the listings to the agents.

What if the owner decides to kepp the property after close? It is important that the Seller contact the Title Company and have them close the policy in order to maintain the Title Insurance. There is not a fee for this but this is an often overlooked item.

What if the Seller is not quite finished with the repositioning of the property and the hold open time period os about to expire? It is easy to extend for a small fee. The Seller must contact the Title Company prior to the expiration of the policy and request an extension. There will be a small fee for this but it still saves quite a bit at closing.

There are different time limits on policies depending on who is the underwriter of the policy. The Buyer-Seller needs to decide how long that the repositioning is going to take and buy the policy accordingly.

Wait till next week for more education!

Remember that I answer my phone. It’s funny people say, “You answered your phone!”. I say “Well you called me!”.

602-688-9279

Take Care,

Linda

The Books and Records of a multifamily can be not only hard to understand but incomplete as well!

When I am asked to review books and records, it is always important to understand two items.

First, knowing what to look for as real expenses. Most owners and property managers simply lump both operating and capital expenses together.  Here is the good news-this is an easy way to evaluate the “major” work done to the building.  Here is the bad news-this makes it harder to ascertain the real operating numbers on a building.  Remember that capital expenses are considered nonrecurring expenses.

A good rule of thumb is to see if these expenses are completed on a routine basis.   Pest control may not be done every month, maybe every three months but a termite treatment would be considered a capital expense.  Carpet may or may not be considered a capital expense as this may need to be replaced whenever a tenant moves out but tile flooring is a capital expense. Maintaining the landscape is an operating expense but installing new landscape is a capital expense.  When I look at books and records and I see a plumbing expense over $500 I will question what it was for. Often I can find new hot water heaters in the books and records.

Once we have removed the capital expenses from the operating numbers, this makes it easier to do an honest evaluation on the property.  WAIT I said that there are two factors that I look for on Books and Records.

Secondly, it is important to make sure that all expenses are accounted for.  One of the biggest issues that I see with books and records on the MLS is that uneducated agents (again why you need use an experienced commercial Broker) is that they will not add a vacancy rate or management fees on the MLS.  This will give you a higher cap rate but not accurate figures.  When I question them, here is what I often hear, “Oh, the owners manage the building themselves!”, or “The building is full.”  When I respond, I will ask, “Does this mean that the owner will manage for my clients forever for nothing?”‘ or “Does this mean that the owner will guarantee 100% occupancy forever?”.  The answer is of course not.  Then my answer to the agent is get your numbers right.   Even a self managed building should show these numbers.

Often the taxes and insurance are not shown on the books and records.  This may be due to the fact that the owner has the building self managed and pay these expenses out of the their account vs. the property manager’s account.

What about additional income? Laundry, storage and pet fees etc?  Some property managers keep the late fees as part of their income.  So this as additional income may not be used.

Once you have the actual numbers and they have been verified, it becomes pretty easy to figure out if the property makes sense.

In the Phoenix market, where rents are easily increased, I usually run two spreadsheets.  One with the VERIFIED actuals and one with the projected income based on the actual expenses.

I had a client this past week not understand that without this being done completely, I would not provide the analysis on the building.  This type of analysis usually takes me 3-4 hours to completely do depending on the information that has been provided.  Often it is a back and forth between myself and the other agent in order to get the correct answers.  The above mentioned client was frustrated with me instead of welcoming the information being done correctly.

Often times we can obtain a building that other investors overlook due to the inability or lack of knowledge to understand the books and records.  This is a great benefit for my clients.

Next week we are going to discuss inspections and I will give an overall view of what kinds and when they are needed.

Remember that I answer my phone and WELCOME you comments at the bottom of this Blog!

Have a great day!

Linda 602-688-9279

Let’s speak about Rent Rolls in income producing properties!

Rent Rolls on an income producing property can either generate an offer (whether you are a Buyer or a Seller).  Giving the most up to date and accurate information is critical not only for a Buyer or Seller but the lender and also to attain an overall view of where the property stands. This means not only performance but also in the market place.

Rent Rolls and what should be on every rent roll:

  1. Date
  2. Tenant name
  3. Effective Date of Lease
  4. Expiration or Month to Month
  5. Security Deposit (both nonrefundable and refundable and these need to be stated)
  6. Market Rent
  7. Amount of Rent
  8. Rental Sales Tax column and who pays it
  9. Additional fees (Pet, Parking and Storage as an example)
  10. Total Monthly fees Due from Tenant
  11. Date last paid
  12. Any balances due from Tenant
  13. Another column should be for notes

It should  be noted that all of these items should be able to ascertained from the leases (and/or addendums).

Protecting your Rent Rolls:

The rent roll for an income property is absolutely critical whether you want to sell, buy or even keep your property.

If you plan to sell this should be prepared and available to the Real Estate Broker and all potential Buyers.  When I list a property, this is why I want copies of ALL leases.  One of the first things that I like to do is take the leases and create a rent roll, then compare my rent roll to the Property Manager’s Rent Roll.  There are often differences but are usually easily handled will good communication with the Property Manager.  For example, maybe I was not given an addendum.

If you are a Buyer, you certainly want to see a rent roll.  It is a great way to evaluate the Property and even the job that the current Property Manager is doing.  If the current owner cannot provide you with a rent roll, the best idea is to start with the leases.  Then you have the ability to ask good questions instead of simply asking for a rent roll that may or may not be accurate.  Remember that a Lease is a legal contract and if you are buying the building, you are also buying the leases as they will convey as written to you.

If you are planning on keeping the building, you should evaluate your rent roll for accuracy at lease once a year.  What is you want to re-finance the property?  The Lender will ask for a complete rent roll almost immediately.  Do not overlook this very important piece of your investment.

One of the most common errors I see on rent rolls are concessions.  FIRST, if you are going to give a move in special, no not give it in the first month.  Do it at least in the 4th or 6th month.  Here is an idea that I like to use.  Do not give a rent concession, but a grocery store or gas gift card.  You can expense this but not HURT the rent roll. On a fourplex a $25.00 per month per unit has either decreased or increased the value by approximately $25,000.

One last thought on your rent roll-this is a very valuable tool and a great way to evaluate your rents against the market and also a ten thousand mile overview of your Property Manager.

Questions, call me 602-688-9279.  Next week I will be discussing the essence of books and records.

Have a great week and remember that I answer my phone!

Linda Gerchick, CCIM

Broker’s Advantage