Purchase Of Real Estate In NSW By Foreign Investors – The Foreign Investment Review Board – Review Real Estate

Due to the fact that it is increasingly difficult to invest in property in China due to the restrictions on the amount of property that can be purchased, Chinese Investors are looking elsewhere to invest in real estate and Sydney is a favourite. This is the same throughout Asia and Russia. In Australian foreign investment in real estate is regulated by the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) which is part of the Commonwealth Department of Treasury. The Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975 (Cth) (FATA) regulates non-residents acquiring interests in Australian assets, including real estate.Residential Real EstateAn approval is required for non Australian residents to purchase residential real estate unless:

the investor is purchasing a new dwelling(s) from the developer, where the developer has pre-approval to sell the dwellings to foreign persons.
If the developer has this approval no approval from the FIRB is required for a real estate purchase by a non-resident as the purchase is deemed to be non-regulated.New Dwellings New dwellings which are purchased ‘off the plan’ before construction commences, during the construction phase or after construction is complete are normally approved if the dwellings:1. have not previously been sold (that is, they are purchased from the developer); and2. have not been occupied for more than 12 months.There is no limit on the number of such dwellings in a new development which may be sold to foreign persons, provided that the developer markets the dwellings within Australia as well as overseas. This category of purchase includes dwellings that are part of extensively refurbished buildings where the use of the building has changed from non-residential (for example, office or warehouse) to residential. It does not include established residential real estate that has been refurbished or renovated. A property purchased under this category may be rented out, sold to Australian purchasers or other eligible purchasers, or kept for the foreign investor’s own use.Once the property has been purchased, it is second-hand real estate and is subject to the restrictions applying to that category.Vacant LandA foreign investor can generally purchase vacant land for residential development subject to development condition(s) imposed under the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975. The purchase of single blocks of vacant land (that is, land which is zoned to permit the construction of only one residential dwelling per block of land) to build a single residential dwelling on each block are normally approved subject to the following condition:

continuous substantial construction must commence within 24 months of the purchase.
The purchase of other vacant land (not single blocks) for the purpose of building multiple residential dwellings are normally approved subject to the following conditions:

continuous substantial construction must commence within 24 months of the purchase; and
at least 50 per cent of the purchase cost or the current market value of the land
(Whichever is higher) must be spent on developing the land. Provided these conditions are satisfied, properties acquired under this category may be rented out, sold to Australian purchasers or other eligible purchasers, or kept for the foreign investor’s own use.Commercial PropertyGenerally no approval from the FIRB is required for foreign investors to purchase commercial property if:1. They are acquiring an interest in developed commercial property valued below:

$50 million generally;
$5 million for heritage listed properties; or
$1005 million for US investors;
2. They are acquiring an interest in developed commercial property where the property is to be used immediately and in its present state for industrial or non residential commercial purposes. The acquisition must be wholly incidental to the purchaser’s proposed or existing business activities.Sydney is currently an excellent place to invest as real estate prices have fallen substantially in many areas over recent years and rental returns are increasing.

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Successful Real Estate Investing – Looking At Jobs In The Area – Review Real Estate

Jobs and Real Estate – So What?Jobs and job creation are the life blood of any real estate market. Jobs provide the money to pay rents and mortgages. If you are looking to increase your cash flow from your real estate properties and increase appreciation, you had better pay attention to jobs in the area. It’s really a matter of supply and demand.At any given point in time all real estate markets have a fixed supply of units. This includes all types of properties – single family, condominiums, apartments, etc. The number of unit’s only changes over time as it takes time for new units to arrive on the market. You can determine how many units are currently vacant through a realtor or look at local vacancy rates. Future units can be determined by reviewing the number and types of permits the local government has issued. Single family housing generally comes available in three to nine months after permitting. Apartments and larger projects often take up to two years. Now you’ve determined the current supply of housing and the intermediate future supply.So when new jobs are created, there is an increase in demand for the housing units as families move into an area. The more jobs the better. Employment statistics can be found on the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. This provides current and predicted jobs for many markets throughout the United States. If the area you are researching isn’t listed you can use the nearest large city as a proxy. As always follow up with the local Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Committee, and review local sources. You’re looking for markets that are experiences a positive change – stabilization after decline or increasing employment.The types of jobs are also very important. First, look for a market where there is a diverse mixture of employers. One only needs to look at Detroit to realize the housing impact when a market is supported by one industry. Second, review the local newspapers (often online) or set up Google Alerts for new employers or employers adding jobs. For example, Toyota opened a plant in Princeton, Indiana and many jobs were created. Fortunes were made for those first in that market and this is one of the ways to become successful at real estate investing. Manufacturing jobs bring many different jobs: white collar, blue collar, suppliers, and services to support the new population.Job growth increases the demand for housing putting pressure on prices; both rents and housing prices. Finding a market poised for growth is a good way to make fast money regardless of the types of real estate. Next time you are looking for a place to invest, check out the employment situation to increase your odds of success.

Finding the Right Real Estate Professional – Review Real Estate

The real estate business is full of professionals with varying degrees of intelligence and expertise. Who can you trust to give you correct information on your piece of property? No doubt this is a question worth looking into as tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars are at stake.The first thing to do is determine what type of professional you need. Do you need your property appraised? Do you need it listed? Do you need legal assistance? Finding a specialist is recommended. Once this is done begin your search. One good way to begin is to ask your friends about possibilities. You can also look in real estate directories or just use the yellowpages. Narrow it down to four or five possibilities.Now it’s time for some research. The first place you can look is the better business bureau. Visit the better business bureau web site (bbb.org) and you will be able to check out each of your possibilities….do they have a clean record? If so time for the next step.Another great place to check out reviews of a company is yelp.com. Just go to this site and type in their business name. It is very possible people have written positive and negative reviews.Visit Google and type in their business name and the town they are located in. Make sure to put their busienss name in quotation marks (e.g. “Bob Jones Real Estate” miami). There is a good possibility people have reviewed this business and this will come up first in the resuls. In the othre search results. their web site will come up but what you are looking for is people talking about them. Often people will write in blogs and other venue about positive and negative experiences with businesses they have dealt with. In particular if people have negative experiences with businesses they will be sure to share it!If nothing negative has come up with all of this there is a good chance the real estate professional is legit and a good bet.Your next step is to meet them. Pay close attention to your initial reaction when you meet them in person. Often we do not pay attention to our instincts, but they are there and can tell you things that your mind won’t. If you are counting on this person to sell their property what are they like? Are they selling you on their using their service? Would you buy something from them? Do you trust them?In closing I would like to stress that it’s important to put a little time and energy into finding the right real estate professional. Many people open a phone book and choose the first person they see. But with something so valuable you want to find the right person to help you out.

Having Professional Research and Due Diligence Done Before Real Estate Investing – Review Real Estate

Having professional research done before real estate investing is probably the most important stage to ensure you are purchasing a profitable property. Yet, many real estate investors underestimate or skip the due diligence process, only to suffer the consequences later down the road. From analyzing the actual property and its neighborhood and speaking to professionals or experts in the area to visiting the neighborhood and making in-person reviews of the property, professional research will help you avoid real estate investment mistakes. Indeed, when it comes to research in real estate investment, scrutinizing every facet of the potential property as well as your own investment goals so you get the highest possible return on investment.Step 1: An Initial Review of the Property and NeighbourhoodBefore you close a real estate deal, you obviously want some information about the property and the neighbourhood. Regardless of whether you are purchasing residential or commercial property, professional research at this stage provides a broad scope image of the potential property. You may have already found some properties of interest, and you want to learn the demographics and economic conditions of the city and neighbourhood. Much of the early due diligence in real estate investment is conducted through phone calls and online research and it will help you quickly weed out properties that don’t fit your needs.Step 2: Get Acquainted with Local Professionals/ExpertsThe second stage of due diligence that should be done before investing involves getting a more personal look at the neighbourhood and sub-markets where the property is located. Again, much of this research can be conducted from the home or office. This stage of due diligence provides an excellent opportunity to learn more details about the sub-markets and individuals where the property is located. This stage of due diligence should involve a detailed list of questions that will help give you a clearer image of your investment property.Some questions you might want to ask include:

Does the area show signs of economic improvement?
Are the utilities and service you require already set up?
Does the neighbourhood offer the appropriate amenities (grocery shopping, schools, restaurants etc)?
What is the typical rent for the area?
Are there many vacant properties?
The second step of professional research and due diligence should provide more details of the property and location further allowing you to narrow your list of potential investment properties.Step 3: Visit and ConsultationIf you or a research professional have conducted the first 2 stages of due diligence and you still find the property favourable, it’s time to tour the property and the surrounding location. This stage allows you to validate the research you or your experts have already done. Stage 3 of due diligence provides a more personal experience not just of the property, but of the sub-markets and surrounding amenities to ensure that you meet your investment needs. Speak personally to professionals and experts who live and work in the area for even more information about your investment.Step 4: Validate your InvestmentThe final step of having professional research and due diligence done before investing in real estate involves careful analysis of the property and grounds. You want to know what kinds of deferred maintenance will need to be done, while also validating the financial aspects of the investment. This includes evaluating potential cash flow or rental income, the costs of maintenance, purchase price with regards to market value, the taxes involved, verifying the age and condition of the property (e.g. the age/condition of the roof, electrical, plumbing, and other cosmetic factors), and other legal details.While this article provides only a brief overview the professional research and due diligence that should be done before real estate investment, it hopefully elucidates the necessity for due diligence as well as the exhaustive nature of the process. For many novice real estate investors, hiring a real estate expert to conduct this research and due diligence can help to ensure that nothing is overlooked so your investment is a profitable one.

How to Stay Committed to Your Goals and Achieve Real Estate Success – Review Real Estate

It’s called the “New Year’s Eve Syndrome.” You’re a real estate sales professional who sets some exciting goals for yourself. Perhaps you want to ramp up your real estate marketing or generate more leads, prospects, and/ or referrals. You’re motivated. You can’t wait to get started. You know that great real estate success is just around the corner. Then, as the weeks go by, that initial exuberance wears off. You lose focus. You lose energy. And, before long, the commitment you’ve made to follow your plan quietly falls by the wayside.How do you prevent this from happening to you? Here are a few tips for staying committed to your goals:Make your goals publicLet friends and colleagues (your SOI) know what you’re trying to achieve. They will help to hold your feet to the fire.Write your goals downDon’t just keep them in your head. Think of your goals as a business plan you have to show to your banker. Get them down on paper. Make them real.Review your goals regularlyRe-read your plan at least once each week. Keep a copy of your goals in your wallet, purse or briefcase. Consider them as important to have with you as your Driver’s License.Track your progressEach week, review the progress you have made. Did you learn something new? Improve on a skill? Get a new listing? Tracking your progress will not only keep you motivated, but will also enable you to identify many changes or additions you will need to make in order to keep moving towards your goals.Celebrate the milestonesEach time you make a significant step toward achieving your goal – such as meeting you commission objective for the first quarter – give yourself a pat on the back. Buy yourself a nice gift, or treat yourself to a spa getaway or a round of golf with some friends.These tips may sound trite. But they work. So use them! There is nothing more disheartening than a goal that has faded away. Real estate success is just around the corner once you’re armed with the right tactics that’ll help you stay committed to your goals.A real estate management system, such as IXACT Contact, can help you organize your goals, review them, track your progress, and make certain every goal has been achieved. Think about your goals and how you can use the tips above to help you achieve them. You’ll find goal attainment is a lot easier than you might think.

Methods for Managing Commercial Real Estate Today – Tips for Property Managers – Review Real Estate

In commercial real estate today, the property management process is quite complex. The larger the property and the tenancy mix, the greater the number of issues that need to be reviewed and controlled. This then says that you need excellent systems and qualified people to provide specialized property management services.There are significant differences between managing Office Property, Retail Property, and Industrial Property. They all have factors of special consideration when it comes to property occupancy, operations and function. Yes, they all have tenants and those tenants need to be managed, and the function of the property is different.Here are some tips to help you manage those investments today.
The property manager should be comfortable with property type. There is no point in putting a manager on to a property if they really do not understand the way in which it works and the complexity of the property performance. Choose the manager with care and precision. Monitor their skills and services provided to the landlord. Know that the manager is servicing the tenants comprehensively to remove any threats of income or tenancy disruption.
The income for the property is of primary concern. The income needs to be protected and that will generally be through enforcing established lease documentation. Those leases need to be understood and correctly policed. The critical dates from each lease should be merged into a diary alert system. Pay particular attention to rent reviews, options, lease renewals, lease expiries, and renovation requirements. The obligations of the tenant to the landlord need to be applied.
The income for a property will be a number of things. In basic terms it will be the rental, but there will be other things to look at including the recovery of outgoings costs from the tenants. Understand how the outgoings recovery provisions apply when it comes to each lease and tenant occupancy. Enforce the recovery requirements when it comes to all outgoings. Over the years I have seen many property managers make mistakes when it comes to outgoings recovery, and that will in turn impact the cash flow for the landlord.
The expenditure for the property should be managed to a budget. Throughout the financial year, there will be costs to the property; some are controlled and others are uncontrolled. The budget needs to remove the uncertainty from what could otherwise be a volatile cash flow. The property manager should be looking forward in cash flow capability to produce a budget that removes uncertainty for the landlord.
The maintenance of the property will be ongoing and driven from property usage and occupancy. The older the property, the more challenging and expensive the maintenance programs can be. The maintenance program will feed into the property budget from an expenditure perspective. Talk to the contractor’s in the property today to identify factors of maintenance and break down that can be predictable. There will also be capital expenditure items that will need to be identified and handled separately from a taxation perspective.
On a final note, care should be taken to preserve the relationships with existing tenants within the property. This will allow you to establish a tenant retention plan, and stabilize the income stream. Split your tenants into groups of desirable and undesirable occupants. Over time you can replace the weaker tenants with better quality tenants. That is why you have a tenant retention plan.
So these are some of the main strategies to managing commercial and retail property today. You can add to this list based on your location and property type. You will find that it is very helpful to have a checklist when it comes to property handover, and property management systems.

Buying Real Estate Now Creates the Most Wealth – Review Real Estate

Money is made in real estate from either equity or cash flow. Equity is mostly achieved from appreciation, while cash flow comes from rental income. Appreciation is the number one reason why real estate owners/investors make money. Most real estate buyers know that the best way to make money during a market slow down is through long term investing. When you are investing in real property for the long term, you should plan all buying and selling transactions in advance, in terms of years rather than months; after all, long term investing means just that.The key is to time your sales and purchases with the forecast. By planning your sales one to two years before the end of a market acceleration season (i.e. year 2005), and planning your purchases with the use of both short and long term forecasts, you are certain to make incremental returns on your investments; managing the real estate trend provides a competitive advantage that can be used in buying during slow for fast appreciable markets, resulting in higher financial returns at the time of sale and more confidence in negotiating techniques to achieve instant equity upon acquisition. Your goal is to sell at the peak and buy at market lows.It is interesting how few people understand the importance of selling at a peak and buying at market lows. Because real estate is a leveraged asset, the use of a forecast to strategically execute your transaction timing usually results in 200% to 300% greater returns over a five- to ten-year investment period. Most of this occurs by timing your buy or sale activity and reaping the benefits of the real estate leverage and forecast cycle.The term “leveraged asset” means that you have put a down payment on a property and the rest of the investment was leveraged with a mortgage from a financial institution. The concept of leveraging has tremendous effects on calculating the true rate of return on the cash that an investor has put down on a property. For instance, if you were to buy a property for $200,000 with a 10% cash down payment ($20,000), the balance would be leveraged with a mortgage in the amount of $180,000. Your total cash outlay for this investment was your down payment of $20,000.Let us say that, over a five year period, this property has an appreciable forecast trend that will bring its value up by 20% (or $40,000). If we were to sell the property in 5 years, we would be able to get a price — after selling expenses — of $240,000 (20% forecast appreciation over the original purchase price). Assuming that we had an interest-only mortgage on the property, we would have turned our original investment of $20,000 to the cash proceeds upon sale of $60,000 ($240,000 less the leveraged mortgage of $180,000). That’s a 200% return on our original cash investment ($20,000 earned us 200% more or $40,000 extra cash).A quick review of the numbers is amazing. The property only went up 20%, but an original investment of $20,000 (the down payment) with this leveraged asset ended up being a 200% return on our cash. Coupling asset leverage with a forecast to time the sale is an incredible method of getting rich from real estate. Even in this example, if the trend were less than inflation, the investor would still likely see a 100% return on their cash investment.The best time to acquire property is during a deceleration since it is a “buyers market”. Which as we all know is right now! The investor reaps all the equity rewards of the entire next acceleration cycle. The early stages of acceleration also provide ample equity and cash flow returns. Buying cash flow property for a long period of time benefits the investor in both acceleration and deceleration periods which make long term investing real estate recession proof. The investor has the luxury of investing in any forecast season. Anytime is a good time to buy a long term investment.

The Importance of a Real Estate Attorney When You Purchase a Home – Review Real Estate

Purchasing a home is one of the biggest things you will ever do in your life. And, the actual transaction of the purchase can be very long and complicated. If anything is done incorrectly and mistakes are made, it could result in some serious problems. People have differing opinions about the importance of real estate attorneys, but make no mistake, this is a very important person to hire when you are purchasing a home, be it your first time or your tenth time. As you will see below, there are many steps to be taken when purchasing a home and there are several things that could go wrong. To make sure that you are protected legally and financially, you have to hire the services of an attorney.The costs of hiring real estate attorneys are different, but budget to pay around $2,000. It may seem like a lot of money, but if you purchase a home for $200,000 you will only be paying around 1% of the price of the home. Also, attorneys generally determine their fees in two different ways; they either charge by the hour, or they charge a flat fee until the sale is closed. So, before you hire an attorney, make sure that you find out how they charge their fees and what services they will be providing you for that fee.A good way to find an attorney is to talk to an estate agent. They deal with real estate attorneys all the time, because they are in the same industries so the agents will be able to direct you to the most reputable, reliable and professional attorneys in your area. Another point to remember during this process is that real estate attorneys have to be licensed to work in the state in which they are practicing, so make sure that the attorney that you hire has the necessary license to avoid problems in the future.Why Exactly Do You Need A Real Estate Attorney?An Attorney y will be able to review your purchase contract/agreement before you actually sign it. If you are purchasing your home for the very first time, then this is a step that you cannot afford to skip. The real estate attorney will also work on your behalf, together with the mortgage loan officer, the real estate gents and the home seller’s attorney; to facilitate the transaction and to make sure that everything goes smoothly and according to the law.The process of purchasing a home involves much legal documentation that is binding. These documents include; bills of sale (for personal property such as furniture), deeds, legal descriptions, mortgage loan documentation, the title and the title insurance policy. It is very important that you have a real estate attorney representing your interests at the closing of the sale. These are all things that can be very complicated and you need someone to assist you at every step of the way, so that you can understand everything and also ensure that your rights and interests are protected throughout.Some of the problems that could arise for you: The buyer, during the transaction could be the seller leaving unpaid utility bills, condominium assessments and property taxes. The real estate attorney will be able to protect you and make sure that your transition into your new home is as smooth as possible, by protecting your rights as the buyer and making sure that the seller fulfills his/her obligations. If something completely untoward happens during or after the transaction, the real estate attorney will be able to nullify the contract. They can negotiate the expenses of the transaction, and they can change the legal language in the contract.

Realtor Lockboxes Explained: A Summary of Lockbox Options and Alternatives for Real Estate Agents – Review Real Estate

Real estate professionals today have a plethora of high tech options out there to enhance their business, but rarely do we fully consider the value of the lockbox – the sole piece of equipment responsible for allowing agents to show the homes that we sell everyday. The lockbox itself has evolved over time, and today agents find themselves comparing the value from a standard combination lockbox to that of a more high-tech electronic lockbox. Real estate agents today are pressed from all sides for fees, dues, and expenditures that are unavoidable costs of doing business, so when it comes to making a decision between a combination lockbox that’s just a few bucks versus a high-tech electronic lockbox that is substantially more expensive, does the increase in cost justify the value? Also, what are all the options out there for electronic lockboxes? This article highlights the findings of current industry options available.Having the ability to show a home without the sellers there to watch your every move was a move in the right direction for the real estate industry. Agents know very well the situation where a seller will remain in a home during a showing and “pretend” like they are minding their own business while the buyers tip-toe through the home trying not to impose while attempting to get a sense of what the home was like.This is a wild departure from the typical showing when the sellers aren’t there; clients love to snoop around in order to get a good sense of the home. With the sellers not there, the buyers get a good opportunity to get a true sense of how that particular home would feel and if they can see themselves living there. Put simply, it allows for a better, more convenient showing experience.From this dilemma the lockbox was invented. A device securing the key for entry by licensed real estate agents to show their prospective buyers, and it allowed sellers (or their agents) the opportunity to have the home shown without the need of their presence. It saved time, and allowed for a better showing experience. Truly, it was a win-win.However, early lockboxes were simply a combination lockbox. They are certainly inexpensive, but an obvious downside was the lack of security for the home in question once the lockbox code was known. Sellers would rely on the professional ethics of real estate agents to keep the code confidential, but sometimes the code would slip into hands of non-agents. Less frequently, the code would be found by people with malicious intent.With the obvious shortfall of relying on the honor system to keep lockbox codes confidential, it offered the opportunity for a better solution that would allow for accountability along with the ability to show a home without the seller being present. As a result, it did not take long for “smart” lockboxes using electronic technology to come into existence, thus revolutionizing the process of showing a home. Before a seller and their agent wouldn’t really know who was showing the property other than the confirmed appointments that were made. Flash forward to today, and you have the ability to know exactly who and exactly when someone shows a property through the use of an electronic lockbox. With these smart electronic lockboxes, only an agent or other authorized party can access the lockbox itself, further emboldening the assurance to a seller that only licensed agents and properly authorized individuals are showing or entering their home.Today there are 2 main companies that provide these smart electronic lockboxes to real estate agency associations. They are Supra key and Sentrilock. Together they comprise the majority of the lockbox industry market; nobody else comes close.Supra (or SupraKey) is owned by general electric and provides lockbox solutions to all sorts of niche industries, real estate lockboxes being one of them. Bill Love, national account manager for Supra, says that out of a given state or region in the country, Supra, on average, maintains an 80% market share. Supra has sold several million lockboxes throughout the years to real estate agents, and currently Love estimates that there are 1.5 million+ Supra lockboxes currently in use by about 750,000 real estate agents throughout the country.The supra key itself features a cylindrical design up to the “shackle” (the loop part of the lockbox that will noose around something and keep it in its place securely) where the shackle fits in seamlessly. Its simplistic design is pleasing to the eye, and to activate the lockbox, an agent has a “digital key” that’s about the size of a small flip phone and has a number pad and screen on it. The agent sets the key to open a box and points it in the direction of an infrared sensor on the box itself. When the lockbox recognizes that it being accessed by the remote digital key, it will release to allow access and the bottom of the lockbox will fall out when it’s pushed by the agent, and voilĂ , the key to the home is available for the agent to take and open the door for the showing.Love says that Supra has plans for upgrades to the current model lockbox that will include the ability for wireless Bluetooth access and syncing. Also, rather than having the digital key, if the agent has a smartphone, Supra offers an app for access with the phone instead, which makes it easier and more convenient, for a monthly fee. Love claims that the key difference with a Supra Lockbox is that “it keeps intelligence in the hands of the user.” Rather than having to rely on extra equipment or other trades people, the user has the control. Supra has had the current model for several years now with incremental software updates along the way. If an agent wants to buy a new Supra lockbox, it costs around $90, but the actual price that an agent will pay is determined by the association that they belong to.Sentrilock is the other major player in the real estate lockbox industry. Sentrilock, which is based out of Indiana and is partially owned by the National Association of Realtors has been around for less than a decade and currently services about 250 of the 1000+ Realtor associations throughout the country and Canada as well. These associations comprise about 250,000 agents and approximately 500,000 lockboxes in current use. Sentrilock has 2 main models that are currently used; one is a silver lockbox that resembles a cell phone from the late 1980′s, bulky and heavy and somewhat longer in size than the supra lockbox. It has a key pad directly on the front of the lockbox itself, and holds the key within a drop-down door that pops open when accessed.The other lockbox they offer is a smaller, more compact blue lockbox that is more cube-ish in shape but with the similar functionality features. The main difference between the silver and blue lockbox is that the blue lockbox allows for more space within the lockbox itself (which is important for people trying to sell a condo and who need to include an “access fob” in addition to the key to the front door of the unit itself – there just isn’t enough room for multiple keys or when including the access fob with Sentrilocks’ silver lockbox). Sentrilock sells their lockboxes for about $125 a piece, but this also depends on where you are getting it from, as the actual retail price is determined by the local real estate association that sells the boxes.Both lockbox companies offer substantial warranties on the product themselves. They also have a support team that is almost always available in the event there is difficulty in accessing a lockbox, or for troubleshooting purposes. Both companies offer a comprehensive online tool that can provide the analytics from the showings and use of a specific lockbox which agents can use to share with their clients.Some of the main differences between these two are how the lockbox itself is accessed. Sentrilock doesn’t need an extra piece of equipment to open a box. Rather, they utilize a “Smart-Card” which is essentially a credit-card that fits into the lockbox and has a chip inside it that shares your information with the lockbox you are accessing. This card is all you need to access the lockbox, whereas Supra requires the digital key, although they have addressed this by means of offering the smart-phone app so an agent can use their phone in place of the digital key. Both systems require updating; in other words, the smart card for the sentrilock system requires you to stick your card in a “card reader” that you get when you buy your smart-card that hooks into your computer. Every few days (the exact amount of days is determined by your local Realtor association) you must update the card through the card reader, which will allow you to show property, and at the same time uploads the information of the places you have shown to the Sentrilock system, which in turn is then able to be seen by the agents who owned the lockboxes of the places that you accessed. In a pinch you can update your card over the phone, but you can only do this once or twice.On the other hand, supra keys update wirelessly. They didn’t always do this, where you were required to keep your “digital key” docked on a charging station that was hooked up to a phone line. You had to do this every day and that’s how the system would both update your card as well as share your showing information to the system. The wireless updating feature has been in place for a year or two now, and takes the headache out of the equation of having you update your key each and every day.The back end system for Sentrilock allows an agent to create specific access codes for one-time access of a specific lockbox. This makes it really convenient for a contractor, appraiser, termite inspector, etc. to be able to access a property with a code, but only one time because that code will expire after the day the code was intended to be used. This is a great feature that Supra doesn’t have an answer to.Although there are benefits to both systems, any agent can’t simply choose which lockbox system they want to use – this is decided, agreed to and contractually obligated between either Sentrilock or Supra and an agent’s local real estate association. These associations, once they have agreed on a system to use can then “tweak” the system to their discretion and preference. Things like the cost of a lockbox, whether the lockbox is leased or sold to agents, the amount of times an agent can renew their key by phone, the amount of days that can elapse before an update of an access key is required, these and more options can be tweaked and most real estate professionals are unaware that other options or preferences exist.
When comparing the benefits over your standard combination lockbox, an agent must be able to justify the added cost of a smart-electronic lockbox by the value it provides. It’s easy to do so, especially when taking the seller’s best interests at heart, as the smart lockbox will ensure accountability and a better safety and security measure for the showing process and for the home itself. Its analytics information and the ability to control who can actually gain access to the home are tantamount to successfully being able to gauge the interest in a home by means of how many people are interested in seeing it as well as being able to rest assure the seller that a home is being shown but in the most secure manner possible.During this most recent downturn in the economy, most real estate markets throughout the country were inundated (and some still are) with foreclosure property. Certain real estate brokerages that specialized in this type of distressed property had the best years of production on record for the 2008 and 2009 years. All of these properties that needed to be shown and sold needed lockboxes, but the value provided by a smart lockbox through Sentrilock or Supra didn’t justify the cost to acquire, as distressed-property brokerages had inventories of 50, 100, 200 or 300 properties at a given time. The smart lockboxes were too expensive, especially when taking into account that the home in question was owned by the bank, it was vacant and the analytics of showings didn’t matter when a given foreclosure property is selling in no time at all with multiple offers. If an agent is carrying even 50 listings with a smart lockbox, it entails $5000 worth of lockboxes needed on all the properties he/she has for sale. At this point, a less expensive combination lockbox from Lowes for $7 looks way better and the total outlay for the lockboxes is substantially less. It’s a combination of utility value and overall price paid from the standpoint of the real estate professional, so it begs the question, why are the smart lockboxes so expensive?Put simply, the market will bear the current price point of both the Supra and Sentrilock lockboxes because the value they provide are well worth the cost. That being said, certain companies have come into existence that are poised to take advantage of the amount of agents that want to sell their used lockboxes as well as the agents out there who don’t want to pay retail for the lockbox(es) they need for their business. Blake Nolan, co-owner of San Diego based LockboxSwap has created a website where a secondary market has been created and regulated for both the Sentrilock and Supra lockbox systems. Nolan says his company can help agents buy or sell their lockboxes and in the process save time and money. “Right now there is no real place online that offers what we offer” Nolan Says. He continues that “if you call into (any association) and ask about used lockboxes, or where to sell your own lockboxes, they say to go try craigslist or Ebay. We created LockboxSwap to address this vast and untapped market opportunity.”Nolan’s’ LockboxSwap company plans to unveil the business this summer, and preliminary beta-test users have offered rave reviews.In the world of Realtor lockboxes, smart-lockboxes are preferred because the overall value inherent in being able to secure a home, controlling the use of entry and having analytical accountability far outweighs the alternative of your standard combination lockbox (or no lockbox at all) Although the 2 main players in the Realtor lockbox arena have 2 excellent products, both fall short of being 100% perfect. They both do some things quite well and have the capabilities that the other does not. It would be great to be able to merge both products and concepts together, but since that is not possible, it’s up to each individual Realtor association to interview and determine which company is a better “fit” for them. At the end of the day, the 2 companies and respective products, although imperfect, represent competition between one another which keeps productivity and innovation high while keeping prices in check. Companies like that of LockboxSwap help to do this further by inventing and establishing the precedent for an industry that hereto has yet to exist, but has the ability to offer a cost-efficient alternative to Realtor professionals when it comes to their lockbox needs.No matter what, it’s obvious the industry is moving in the right direction; we are witnessing technological advancements that help to serve Realtor professionals do their job better and more efficiently, and it is interesting to see what will be the norm in the near future as well as the long term. For now, Realtor professionals should be confident in knowing that while it’s great where we stand today, the future is only getting brighter.

What to Look for in a Real Estate Agent – Review Real Estate

Real Estate Agents play an essential, critical role in the process of buying and selling a home. You just simply cannot afford to work with an agent that does not exhibit top-scale professional values. We’re talking about your primary investment, and the happiness of you and your loved ones.Here are the 3, most important things that I’ve encountered, that I believe contribute towards excellence in the profession of Real Estate agents.1. To Serve 2. To Know 3. To Listen 1. To Serve: Real Estate is a service business, and homeowners and buyers must be treated with the respect that they deserve. A Real Estate Agent must demonstrate that they care about you, and that their primary concern is to serve your needs, and not their own.a) Look for agents that carry cell phones everywhere they go, and that have no problem taking late night calls, or being interrupted during a Saturday morning snooze. This isn’t a rib of steak you’re buying (or selling). It is more important than everything and anything, and it can be a stressful, anxious process to go through. Customers deserve a confidant, and to be treated with the utmost of care.b) Avoid agents that think they know everything. Seek out agents yearning to find out about you, and your likes, dislikes, and opinions. Avoid agents hail-bent on trying to prove what an encyclopedia of wisdom and advice they are. You’re thoughts matter too!c) Your time is important. If you want to see 20 properties or more, don’t let anyone stop you. A Real Estate agent that encourages you to look, and explore, is more worthy of your time, than an agent that tries to fit you into their busy schedule. This is your buying experience, not theirs.2. To Know: I believe that knowledge is gained through familiarity. So, having a real estate agent that is familiar with the landscape of the land is of critical importance.a) I like agents that have lived in the area for a while, that know all the names of the streets, and that know the high schools, the local grocery stores, and the local parks.b) I enjoy listening to an agent’s own personal experiences, as we drive through neighborhoods, or review demographics. It’s not as important to me that they’re old, or young, or rich, or hungry, or just like me, or nothing like me, or whatever. As long as the stories are real, and are related, that’s all that matters.c) I think an agent needs to be always on. Do they have access to all the information at all times? Do they constantly look for new properties, or new values, and do they have networked connections locally to appraisers, and loan officers, and title companies? Are they always thinking about my circumstance, and trying to connect the dots in my interest? I don’t want to be sold on decisions that earn commissions. I want to be guided to properties and professionals that best meet my needs.3. To Listen: There is no greater communication skill, then the ability to listen. Most of us find it next to impossible, to be silent, and take it all in. We all strive to be the center of attention, the story of the day, and the opinion worth listening to.a) Real Estate agents that master the art of listening can truly hone in on your needs. These are the agents worth keeping in your rolodex, because they can tune in to your desires, your personality, your financial profile, and all critical elements of the deal, without your even being aware of it.b) This is not so easy to spot, because often times, the ability to listen is overlooked. A good listener, after all, probably isn’t speaking as much. But consider this: Is the conversation mostly about you? Does the agent ask a lot of questions relating to your personal tastes, experiences, and ideas? Do you find yourself walking away, feeling a satisfaction about the dialog? These are all signs that you’ve just come into contact with a master listener.c) And the real testament to an agent that listens, is when they finally do speak. Usually, when they do say something, it’s really, really important, and right on target, and completely unforgettable. Why? Because, they’ve spent most of their time absorbing you and your situation, and then they nail you with the bomb…Their recommendations that truly will change your life forever. I swear to you, it’s golden. You’ll get a much better property bought or sold, if you can find a real estate agent that knows how to listen.We’ve enjoyed providing this information to you, and we wish you the best of luck in your pursuits. Remember to always seek out good advice from those you trust, and never turn your back on your own common sense.Publisher’s Directions: This article may be freely distributed so long as the copyright, author’s information, disclaimer, and an active link (where possible) are included. Disclaimer: Statements and opinions expressed in the articles, reviews and other materials herein are those of the authors. While every care has been taken in the compilation of this information and every attempt made to present up-to-date and accurate information, we cannot guarantee that inaccuracies will not occur. The author will not be held responsible for any claim, loss, damage or inconvenience caused as a result of any information within these pages or any information accessed through this site.