How to Become a Real Estate Agent

Thinking of making a career change? If being your own boss, seeing beautiful homes, and helping people achieve their dreams sounds great, becoming a real estate agent should be in your cards. Take a look at the process, pros and cons of agent life to see if it’s the right career move for you.

The Process of Becoming an Agent

Steps to Becoming a Real Estate Agent

  1. Study your state’s agent licensing requirements.

    Every state has different requirements. It’s important to see what’s expected of you before diving in. Keep in mind, you can become licensed in multiple states as well.

  2. Take a prelicensing course.

    Find a school with a good reputation and an equally good track record for post-graduates.

  3. Apply for your real estate salesperson exam.

    Each state has specific rules on when you can take this exam and whether or not you qualify. Some states require background checks and fingerprints which take awhile to process — know what you need to submit far in advance before you actually are ready to take the test.

  4. Pass the exam

    Hopefully you’ve studied and feel confident for your exam, but it’s OK if you don’t pass it the first time — you can retake it.

  5. Find a broker.

    Every agent legally needs a broker. Even though agents can also become real estate brokers, it’s best to interview multiple brokers and find one to work with (especially when you’re just starting out). After a sale, you will pay this broker through something called “commission splits.”

The Pros of Becoming a Real Estate Agent

You’re an independent contractor. You get to set your own rules! Take vacations when you want, work when you like — you set the pace for your work.

You get to work with others. Becoming an agent is a great job for anyone who loves working with people. While challenging, it is insanely rewarding to help people fulfill their dreams of owning a home.

You learn a ton of valuable knowledge. Knowing the ins and outs of real estate is immensely helpful when you’re looking to buy or sell your own home. 

You don’t need to go to college. While you have to take a prelicensing course, it’s much less expensive than paying for tuition. The cost of a course ranges by state but is usually $500 to $2,000.

You can start at the age of 18 or 19. Most decent paying jobs are unavailable to the youngest adults, but that’s not the case with agents. As long as you’re an adult who is also a legal resident, you hit the basic criteria for becoming an agent (though, as mentioned, you might have to also pass a background check, depending on state).

The Cons of Becoming a Real Estate Agent

Before diving in, we’d just like to point out that many of these “cons” could also serve as “pros,” depending on the person and the situation.

You won’t have any benefits. While there are some definite advantages to becoming an independent contractor, one of the biggest downsides is not having benefits. You’ll have to provide your own health insurance and set up a retirement fund.

You’ll need a solid network. If socializing and networking are your cup of tea, this isn’t a negative. However, you will struggle as an agent if this isn’t the case. Those living in rural areas or who just moved to a new city will definitely have an uphill (though not impossible) battle.

You probably won’t make as much as you think. At least, not at first. In fact, the median annual salary for a Realtor with 2 or fewer years of experience is $9,300. This leads us to our next point:

Most people aren’t full-time agents. Again, this isn’t necessarily a negative, but whether it’s because of the work, the time, or the lack of income (or all three), most people do other work on top of being an agent. It’s important to note that many agents don’t re-up their license once it expires for the first time (after five years).

While there are both pros and cons to becoming a Realtor, don’t let the negatives discourage you! RealtyHive works with agents, buyers and sellers alike. We can help you stand out in your market, differentiate from the competition and sell more properties. Become a member, market your properties, or represent a buyer with RH.

Think You’re A Real Estate Pro? Take the Quiz and Find Out!

When it comes to real estate knowledge, are you as seasoned as an agent or still renting a studio? See how you stack up with our real estate quiz!

1. What does a buyer do FIRST when they find a house they want?

A. Hand over cash to the seller.
B. Set a closing date.
C. Write an offer.
D. Sell their current house.

2. True or False: A house can’t fail a home inspection.

3. What happens when a real estate agent refers you to another agent?

A. You pay both agents separately.
B. The referral agent gets a cut from the selling agent’s commission.
C. The agent who is referred gets their entire commission.
D. The referral agent automatically gets the next closing.

4. Which of the following is NOT a downside to FSBO (For Sale By Owner)?

A. It’s a lot of work.
B. A property could sit on the market for a longer period of time than normal.
C. A property could sell for less than if the sellers had an agent.
D. Sellers won’t have to pay agent commissions.

5. What can a non-recourse loan be used for?

A. Purchasing a home.
B. Purchasing just a vacation rental property.
C. Purchasing just a long-term tenant rental.
D. Purchasing properties that are turned into rentals (regardless of type).

6. Why is “We Buy Houses For Cash” a bad idea? Choose all that apply.

A. It’s a scheme that only offers cash for sales.
B. It’s a scheme that preys on the vulnerable.
C. Sellers tend to massively lose out on their home’s actual value.
D. It’s a scheme that takes any property, which hurts future buyers.

7. True or False: It’s a bad idea to list your home in the fall.

Friendly neighborhood with porches and sidewalk.

8. What is an escalation clause?

A. An addendum that sellers include in their home listing.
B. An addendum that buyers can add to their offer.
C. An addendum that real estate agents write up at closing.
D. An addendum that lawyers add in at closing.

9. Which of the following is NOT an advantage to building a house?

A. Getting to customize the design.
B. Having more control in a house’s structure/overall look.
C. Typically more expensive than buying.
D. Can add in features that are more expensive to install on an existing house.

10. What’s the difference between a vacation rental and long-term tenant rental?

A. Long-term tenant rentals are for people living in the property for a longer amount of time (usually on a lease), vacation rentals are for guests to rent during travel.
B. Vacation rentals are only in tropical locations, long-term tenant rentals are in cities.
C. A vacation rental has to be listed on Airbnb and a long-term tenant rental is listed with VRBO.
D. Long-term tenant rentals are exclusive properties that people rent first, then buy.

Answers

1. What does a buyer do FIRST when they find a house they want? 

A. Write an offer. The sellers have to accept the offer in order for the sale and eventual closing to go through.

2. True or False: A house can’t fail a home inspection.
True. Home inspections solely look at the conditions of a house. Even if your house has major repairs needed, you won’t “fail” an inspection.

3. What happens when a real estate agent refers you to another agent?

B. The referral agent gets a cut from the selling agent’s commission. Referral agents traditionally get 25% of a closing agent’s commission.

4. Which of the following is NOT a downside to FSBO (For Sale By Owner)?

D. A property could sell for less than if the sellers had an agent. Real estate agents have more of a pulse on listings and pricings and can get sellers the best deal.

5. What is a non-recourse loan used for?

D. Purchasing properties that are turned into rentals (regardless of type). As long as the home was built after the ‘40s and is not the owner’s primary residence, a property will qualify.

6. Why is “We Buy Houses For Cash” a bad idea? Choose all that apply.

B. It’s a scheme that preys on the vulnerable.
C. Sellers tend to massively lose out on their home’s actual value.

7. True or False: It’s a bad idea to list your home in the fall.

False. That myth might have once had more truth to it, but in this day and age you can still list your home in the fall (or winter, for that matter).

8. What is an escalation clause?

B. An addendum that buyers can add to their offer. Escalation clauses give a buyer’s offer a boost. If there are other interested buyers, this clause allows buyers to say “I’ll increase my offer by [x incremental dollars].”

9. Which of the following is NOT an advantage to building a house?

C. Typically more expensive than buying.

10. What’s the difference between a vacation rental and long-term tenant rental?

A. Long-term tenant rentals are exclusive properties that people rent first, then buy.

If you got all 10 right…

You are a seasoned real estate pro! Are you sure you’re not a real estate agent?

If you got 7 to 9 right…

You are at least a second-time homeowner! You have tons of insights that you’ve gained over the years.

If you got 4 to 6 right…

You’re a first-time homebuyer! You’re learning lots and it’s starting to show.

If you got 3 or less right…

You’re a renter! Good for you for building your real estate knowledge — keep going!

20 Trends from the 1920’s to Watch in 2020

Glamorous. Luxurious. Sophisticated.These are typically the words used to describe interior design in the 1920’s and we’re excited to say that when it comes to home design, what’s old is new again! While the roaring 20’s were fun last time, we’re in for a real treat as we welcome 2020. Here are 20 home interior trends from the 1920’s that we see making return in the coming decade. 

Cats and dolls, ladies and gents, RealtyHive presents

20 Trends from the 1920s to Watch in the 2020s

1) Bold Colors

 The Kardashian-West clan can keep their neutrals. The last few years have been filled with ubiquitous gray-walls-with-white-trim, so expect to see some real punches of color. Think less bright and in-your-face and more rich, luxurious, and deeply toned hues.

2) Metallic Surfaces & Accents

We thought the new millenium would bring chromed-out everything, but thankfully that was just some Hollywood fortune telling. There was a brief love affair with mercury glass and galvanized, especially galvanized corrugated metal came in with the farmhouse aesthetic of the 2010s, but expect more metal in the 2020s. We’re calling classy colors like gold, black and bronze in shiny or matte, but not weathered or worn, finishes. 

3) Freestanding Bathtubs 

Freestanding baths all but disappeared from the 1970s and 2010s in favor of shower/bath combos and jetted tubs, but the clean look and unparalleled luxury of a freestanding soaking tub will make this trend return in the 2020s. Plan on this new iteration having less of a clawfoot style and more of a sleek, minimalistic look. 

4) Large Velvet Furniture

We’ve been seeing velvet on smaller items like headboards and ottomans for years, but, really, what says “roaring 20’s” more than a full velvet couch in a bold midnight blue or luxe emerald green? 

5) Worldly Prints & Touches

The 1920s saw designers and stylemakers looking to far away lands for design inspiration — which led to some ethically questionable behavior in terms of sourcing, acquisition, and more. As globalization becomes more and more the norm, expect to see more of east-meets-west look in homes — but with an eye for ethical, humanely sourced, and sustainable goods. 

6) Earthy Prints & Textures

This one, too, has been going for a while, but don’t expect to toss your banana leaf print or hemp macrame quite yet. Do expect to see these more natural and bohemian items paired with the rich colors and metals listed above for a look that is all it’s own style in 2020. 

7) Form-function-forever

 After decades of consumerism, planned obsolescence and disposable single use products, we’ll see a return to higher cost, but higher quality, long term products. Multifunctional items that are built to last with a beautiful (some may say Instagrammable) aesthetic will dominate this decade — even if they come at a higher price point.  Think companies like Le Creuset (founded in 1925) and Rubbermaid (1920), but this trend isn’t just limited to the kitchen. 

8) Dramatic Design

The 2020’s, like the 1920’s, will be an era for gender-bending style fluidity (remember it was scandalous for ladies to wear pants at that time). This time around we’ll see norm breaking in home design — think lace mixed with leather and metal, rich wood with sparkling crystal combined with marble — a slew of feminine-meets-masculine-with-androgynous touches all done with a heavy flair for the dramatic and no time for minimalism. 

9) Tortoise Shell

While we’re not really sure tortoise shell patterns ever went away, expect it to come back in force in the 2020s. The typical black-and-brown color palette means it coordinates with everything and the unique, yet classic pattern gives it an exotic, yet familiar feel. Look for touches of tortoise shell paired with metallics and matte jewel tones in unexpected, yet charming places. 

10) Rugs, Rugs, Rugs

We’ve long said “ado” to busy, patterned linoleum and “adios” to wall-to-wall shaggy and oddly colored carpets in favor laminate and hardwood flooring, but unlike the sleek minimalist look of the 2010s, we’re calling for the return of rugs. Staircases and hallways will feature striking runners while area rugs will draw the whole room together. These aren’t your mother’s put-your-shoes-by-the-door floormats, instead these are designed to be statements of their own. Feeling extra bold? Try a LARGE circular rug for enhanced drama. 

11) Sunburst designs

The art deco that defined the 1920’s shines in sunburst designs. Often found in mirrors and wall art, this fun and sunny shape will find new life in the home and looks especially fresh being incorporated into a nursery!

12) Wallpaper

Another trend we’ve seen coming back in the last few years is wallpaper, especially the heavily patterned or textured variety. Unlike the cover-all-walls method of the 1920’s, this time around wallpaper will be used as an accent wall. Unsure you’re ready to commit or still waiting to purchase your own place? These days you can get the same luxe look with far less commitment by using peel-and-stick contact paper.

13) Displayed Smoking & Vaping Paraphernalia

The 1920’s was the golden age of cigarettes in America with many women picking up the habit during World War I. Coffee tables often displayed cigarette boxes or urns, match strikes, lighters, and opera length cigarette holders. Nowadays traditional cigarette smoking is in decline, but vaping and increasing marijuana legalization means in the 2020s you’re likely to see a renaissance of sorts of this trend.

14) Art Deco

The combination of modernist styles with fine craftsmanship and rich materials make this style just as relevant today as it was in the 1920s. At its inception, Art Deco was meant to represent luxury, glamour, exuberance and optimism and had an international appeal — all things that make for good design today. Forget the opulence of, well everything, in the 1980s or the over-the-top design of the Tuscan kitchens of the 2000s, Art Deco feels both fresh and vintage, new and classic. 

15) Geometric Furniture

Kneeling to the Art Deco trends that shaped the 1920s, expect to see more clean lines and interesting shapes in furniture in the 2020s. Note that the new version of this look comes in new variations (lights, bookshelves, tables, you name it!) and to get the best impact for your effort you should limit items to having a fun shape or pattern– lest you take on a Peewee’s Playhouse feel.  

16) Grown-up Glitz

No glamourous style is complete without at least a little glitz and glimmer and the 2020s will not disappoint. Taking inspiration from glitzy “flapper” style of the 1920s, you can expect beaded upholstery, mirrored accents and even crystal fireplace glass rocks to turn up the shimmer in the 2020s.

17) Large Scale Items

The bold and patterned nature of design in the 1920s means that every piece in a room is competing with the piece next to it, so embrace it.While the last few years have seen a surge in the popularity of the gallery walls, in the 2020s expect to see bigger, singular pieces of wall art.

18) Horizontal multi-panel doors

After a decade, get ready to say “goodbye” to the barn door look and “hello” to solid wood doors with more interesting panels routed into them. Unlike the traditional 6-panel door look that has two rows of three vertical panels, this version may have different designs or windows added and aren’t just reserved for the front entryway.

19) Built-in Furniture

Built-in furniture all but disappeared in the last few decades as homes and buildings were purposely designed to have the greatest appeal to the largest amount of people. Gone was the character of the 1920s built in designs, but now we’re coming full circle. These days you can achieve the built in look without the built-in hassle by using smartly designed bookshelves.

20) Statement Fireplaces

During the 2010s we saw fireplaces all but disappear, that is to say visually disappear. While the function (usually) remained, the form was often painted over in an effort to blend the fireplace into the wall that held it. This decade, expect another throwback look to emerge with bold fireplaces retaking center stage in rooms. 

RealtyHive Wrap-Up

When designing your home, remember that trends come and go, but style is forever. Choose pieces that fit your style, your life, and your budget and you’re sure to create a beautiful space you’ll love for years to come.

Ready to start creating your perfect space in 2020? Whether you’re looking for a move-in ready Spanish-style home or you’ve got your eye on a vintage commercial building RealtyHive has you covered. Have a property to sell? Check out the great options available for sellers on RealtyHive!

How to Find a Good Deal on Real Estate

If you’re a coupon saver, wholesale shopper, wait-for-it-to-go-on-sale-er, it only makes sense that you want the best deals possible when buying a house. But truly, who doesn’t want to save money on one of the biggest expenses of their life?

The best way to find real estate deals isn’t limited to buying with cash or knowing where the next “big” area will be. There are a few other ways that you could potentially score some substantial savings.

Find a motivated seller.

Motivated sellers are just what they sound like: homeowners who are really determined to sell their house ASAP. This might be the case if:

  • The seller doesn’t have the means to or interest in fixing up their house.
  • The seller’s house has been on the market forever.
  • The seller has another house and/or mortgage to pay for.
  • The seller isn’t living in their house’s area.

Because of these circumstances, motivated sellers are likely to reduce the price or meet the buyer’s terms. Compared to your average competitive market where the seller holds all the cards, finding a motivated seller is a great way to get a deal.

Buy out of season.

For a long time there existed a stigma about buying (or listing) a house in the fall or winter. While the season doesn’t automatically determine a buyer’s or seller’s success, there are still plenty of people who think it’s best to wait until spring or summer to look or list.

Looking “out of season” means you might face less competition and that the buyers are more desperate to leave their house. Moving in the winter is far from ideal but hey — who wouldn’t want to save thousands of dollars just for a few hours of moving in the cold?

Work with a real estate agent.

Real estate agents will likely know how long a property has sat on the market — and they’ll know how long is “too long” in your area. This insight could point you in the direction of a motivated seller who’s desperate to sell.

Look above your price range.

When every buyer goes for the same house price range, the competition drives up the price. Consider raising your ideal price by 15% when looking for a house. You’ll likely come across houses that similar buyers to you have missed. Plus, you could even put in an offer that’s within your existing ideal price range and end up paying just that!

Consider houses with a death or divorce situation.

Is it morbid? Oh yeah. Is it a good strategy? Absolutely. The general public is superstitious and tends to shy away from houses with bad juju. 

In some areas, it’s required to disclose deaths and that usually hurts the value of the house. If you’re able to make an offer before the house is listed, you might still snag a great deal and the family or estate of the deceased could get more than what they might through putting it on the market.

In situations of divorce, people tend to want to sell fast and move on. This information is not something you’ll find on a real estate database, so your best chance for getting a deal is probably knowing of someone in your personal network. Of course, if you know someone getting divorced, have some tact and respect. The last thing you want is to make it seem like you’re just here to capitalize on their trauma.

Buy through a time-limited event.

Most buyers don’t think to look at time-limited events for some potential house deals. But the fact is that all TLE sellers are motivated sellers! RealtyHive has countless listings that you can look through and make a pre-event offer on. Look through our listings today — you just might score the deal of a lifetime.

Do DIY House Projects Hurt Your Home’s Value?

No matter what style house you have, no matter where you live, you share something in common with every other homeowner on the planet. At some point, your house will need improvements and repairs.

Repairs range from annual (like sealing your house from drafts) to hopefully once in your lifetime (such as replacing your roof). Home improvements (think renovating your kitchen or repainting your living room) aren’t usually as time-sensitive as repairs.

But whether it’s a repair or an improvement, both are time-consuming and range from financially inconvenient to scarily expensive. It’s natural for most people to think about solving the issue themselves rather than fork over hundreds or thousands of dollars. However, are the short-term savings of a DIY home fix worth potentially decreasing your home’s value? If you fix things on your own, will it come back to bite you?

Spoiler Alert: DIY projects can hurt your home’s value.

But only if they’re not done correctly. If you try fixing or improving home issues on your own and are unsuccessful, one of two things will happen:

  • Future homebuyers will have to pay for them, lowering the price of your home OR
  • You will have to pay for the fixes if the homebuyers include this as a contingency in their house offer (and you accept the offer).

However, you don’t have to put down that nail gun just yet. There are plenty of times when DIY projects won’t negatively affect your home’s value.

When do DIY home projects make sense?

Smaller, low-stakes projects are OK to tackle on your own (if you want to). Some examples include:

  • Changing out door knobs or handles
  • Updating kitchen fixtures
  • Painting
  • Sealing leaks throughout your house
  • Minor plumbing issues (like a toilet that won’t stop running)
  • Replacing a door

Most of these fixes require attention to detail, confidence, and being thorough, and access to YouTube doesn’t hurt. They’re all fairly inconsequential — for example, choosing the wrong paint color is no fun, but it’s an easy mistake to remedy.

DIY home improvements also make sense if you want to take the project on and it’s manageable. It’s fun to learn new skills while bettering your home.

When should you hire a professional?

There are three main situations for when you should hire a professional:

  1. Structural projects
  2. Dangerous projects
  3. “I don’t want to do this” projects

Structural Projects

Repairing the foundation, repiping plumbing, installing a new heating system (such as switching to geothermal), or home improvements like adding a new room — all of these are structural projects that require a professional. Making a rookie mistake on a foundational project isn’t just expensive in the long run, it’s downright dangerous.

Dangerous Projects

“Electricity” and “danger” go hand in hand, which is why you want to leave these type of home improvements up to the pros. Becoming a journeyman electrician can take 5 to 6 years, with much of that time including apprenticeship. That’s more time than most people spend in undergraduate programs, and it’s because electrical work is tricky and dangerous.

Other dangerous projects involve working with certain chemicals or materials that are hazardous for health (asbestos removal is a prime example) or anything involving heights and power tools (think tree trimming or roof replacement). Professionals have the necessary equipment to handle these types of projects. Hiring a pro not only helps maintain your home’s value, but it also ensures your safety. 

“I Don’t Want to Do This” Projects

Lacking the time to complete a necessary house project (or learn how to do it)? Think DIY home improvements should stay on HGTV? Hire someone instead! Home projects often reflect the attitude going into them — if you really don’t want to retile the bathroom, you’re more likely to speed through and do a sloppy job, which will only cost you more later.

DIY home improvements can save you money, but at the end of the day, if the job isn’t done well, it will cost you. Professional work and craftsmanship will always reign supreme in the land of home appreciation, but that also doesn’t mean you can’t learn the skills to fix things on your own.

If you’ve read through this with a sinking feeling, thinking of your home’s DIY fixes that work for you but might not for the next inhabitants, don’t despair! Sell with RH for a time-limited event (you can even get cash back with Cashifyd). Even if your house isn’t in the best possible condition, we can still help.

What Exactly Is a Title Company?

When it comes to selling or buying a house, everyone knows about real estate agents. Many people know about house offers and contingencies, and even more people know about the need for homeowner’s insurance. But there’s one very crucial element to real estate that remains somewhat of a hazy mystery:

What exactly is a title company?

What is a title?

Before buying a house from someone, you need to make sure that they legally own the property. A title company does just that. They run a search to ensure that, before a sale goes through, the current homeowners legally own the home. 

People sometimes confuse titles with deeds:

  • A deed is a legal document that transfers the property between owners.
  • A title is a legal document that states who owns the property. When you become the new homeowner, the title is now in your name — sort of like registering your car.

When is a property legally owned?

A property that’s owned free and clear has no mortgages or liens associated (the house is paid off). However, you can still sell a house when you have a mortgage.

In this event, you’ll give your money to a middle man (usually the title company that holds the escrow) and they’ll pay off the seller’s mortgage. The proceeds will then roll into a new property, their bank account, etc.

Here are some instances where a property might not be legally owned:

  • Unpaid taxes
  • Outstanding mortgages (mortgages that weren’t previously discussed)
  • Illegal boundaries or encroachments
    • Ex: A house that is not entirely on the land that it’s zoned/surveyed for (such as a house that’s partially built on a neighbor’s land) would bring up issues.
  • Restrictions, leases, or easements: A person can still legally own a property with any of these, but they must be disclosed to the buyers.
  • Problems with the deed
    • Ex: The previous sellers bought the house from someone in their family or in some other “under the table” format but there is no deed to prove they own the house.

Every homeowner needs title insurance.

The last thing you want is to buy a house with a legal issue. If that happens, the problems of the past homeowners become your problems unless you have title insurance.

Title insurance protects you in case the home you’re planning on buying is not legally owned.

Title company ≠ title agency.

A title agency represents the title company; the title company itself underwrites and distributes title insurance. When you close on a house, you’ll most likely meet with a title agency (and you can choose which agency you work with).

Can title companies get something wrong?

It’s scary to think about but it’s true nonetheless: sometimes title companies make mistakes. 

In all honesty, many times what might seem like a mistake is actually a lack of comprehension or understanding on the part of the buyer or seller. This is why it’s essential to have a lawyer or real estate agent with you to go through the closing paperwork.

However, when a title company truly is at fault, they are liable. Be sure to carefully look over everything before signing and again, bring a lawyer with you. 

Will title companies continue to play such a vital role in the future?

It’s more than likely, but the paperwork part might change. Instead of printing massive amounts of paper for reading over and signing, there’s a chance that title agencies will go paperless in the future. Cook County (where Chicago, IL is located) uses blockchain for closing transactions, eliminating paper.

Whether you’re a seasoned vet or complete novice in the real estate industry, RealtyHive has the resources you need. Sift through our listings to find a home near you (and get cash back with Cashifyd), sell with a time-limited event, or browse through our blogs for the latest in real estate info.

Does it Make Sense to Own a Home While Still Renting?

Buying your first house but not living in it — seems pretty crazy, right? To many people’s surprise, it’s a housing market trend that’s spiked in recent years, particularly among millennials. But why is this happening, and is this real estate trend a good idea?

Why buy a house you’re not going to live in?

Millennials prefer urban living. Unfortunately, their tastes in location can’t compete with city housing prices. Buying a house in a city is astronomically more expensive than buying outside of one.

However, cities offer job opportunities that smaller towns don’t. Instead of driving 45 minutes to an hour (or more) every day for a commute, many millennials opt for living closer to their job.

This leads to the current housing market trend: buying a house you’re not living in. Millennials will sometimes buy a house outside of the city that’s more affordable while still renting a place out in the city. Here’s why:

  • Opportunity to rent out. Renting out a house could cover part (if not all or more) of the mortgage on a home. Eventually, this investment property could turn into a source of income.
  • Place to settle later. Whether decades down the road or in the next few years when their employers finally allow people to work remotely, having a house to settle in is a wonderful source of comfort.
  • Passion project. For those flippers who love turning a property for a profit, it might make sense to spend nights or weekends working on a house outside of the city.

When does it make sense to buy a house while still paying rent?

While this trend might sound lucrative, it’s still a bit risky. The last thing someone wants is to pay for a mortgage, homeowner expenses, and expensive rent every month. However, there are a few situations where this might work:

Your current rent isn’t bad…

If you don’t break out into a sweat paying rent every month, you might be in good shape to own a house on top of it. We’d like to think that if you’re sharing a place and paying $700 or less in monthly rent, you might be in a good spot to pay an $800 to $1,000 mortgage. But again, you’ll know your finances and what you can handle best.

…AND you could rent out the house you’re considering.

Find a property that you know could turn a profit (or at the very least, lower or eliminate your mortgage)? That’s a great sign. And don’t limit yourself to long-term tenant rentals, either. Vacation rentals or even flipping houses can help your financial portfolio grow.

The house could appreciate massively in the coming years.

Of course, buying in an area that will be popular but isn’t quite there yet takes some finesse. But if you’re nearly positive the house you’re considering could sell for significantly more than what it’s worth right now, it’s likely a good investment property. A diet of rice and beans and frugal living until you sell your house could very well pay off.

You see yourself living in this home (and can afford two rents until then).

Maybe you’re waiting for your novel to get published or your boss to let you work remotely. Maybe you and your partner are starting a family soon and one of you can (or wants to) stay home with your child. No matter the situation, it could work in your favor to buy a house, even if you still have to rent a place in the meantime. It might work better to have a place set up instead of entering the housing market when you’re “ready.”

While paying rent and a mortgage is not ideal, many people are making it work. What’s more, many are actually profiting off of this real estate trend. When you’re ready to jump into the housing market (or are even just ready to think seriously about things), jump in with RealtyHive. In addition to our listings, we offer cashback opportunities for homebuyers. Get started today!

man speaking at conference

More than a meeting: Why conferences are still worth attending

Conference season is upon us, ladies and gentlemen. From the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in early January to South by Southwest in March, the early months of 2020 are filled with opportunities to learn and connect, regardless of which industry you’re in. While the educational and networking opportunities abound at these events, are they really worth the sometimes astronomical cost of attending? Here are some of the advantages to attending conferences.

Learn from the experts

Yes, we all know how important continuing education is, but let’s be honest, it tends to take a backseat to the day-to-day work. Sure, you’d love to learn about the latest trends in your industry and keep abreast of the newest technologies, but you’ve got clients to meet, staff meetings to attend, and a non-work life to uphold. By attending conference you’re able to pack all that learning into the span of a couple of days.

Meet new people

One of the biggest advantages to participating in a conference is that you get to meet and network with others in a face-to-face manner. While being introduced through email or being a member of a group on a social network is a great way to meet people in your industry when you’re not at an event, getting to meet in person is the best way to form a relationship. Whether you’re looking for new clients, partners, or even mentors, conferences offer the chance to identify and introduce yourself to these key players.

Scope out the competition

Sure, you keep tabs on your competition now. Maybe you do watch their social media accounts or monitor their keywords. But, events are a great way to really suss out what’s going on with your competitor. Are they unveiling a new product? Does their booth match the rest of their branding? What kinds of items or information are they giving out? You can learn a lot about a company by just stopping by their booth at an event like this.

Learn what you didn’t expect

You never know what you don’t know is a great thing to keep in mind at conferences. Regardless of your field, most conferences will pull in speakers who cover topics that you wouldn’t normally think to have looked into yourself. From workshops on marketing to seminars on legal implications to a roundtable discussion on ethics, these horizontally integrated sessions can provide a ton of value where you didn’t realize you were lacking.

Do you plan to go to any conferences this year? This year my team is attending many conventions for the real estate industry. Hope to see you there!

Should You Downsize Your Home?

Downsizing was once considered pretty mainstream. As homeowners grew older and as kids moved out, relocating to a smaller house became the go-to move. 

But as more people continue to stay in their homes, the relevancy of downsizing is up for debate. RealtyHive is here to investigate: Is downsizing worth it, or has this trend phased out?

The Benefits of Downsizing

Downsizing homes was a popular trend for reasons that are still pretty valid:

  • Less to manage. Taking care of a 3- or 4-bedroom, two-story home or massive yard/property is often very challenging for older folks. Smaller homes are much easier to manage.
  • Less expensive. Energy bills are significantly less in smaller homes. Especially if you’re not using all the space of your home anymore, it doesn’t make sense to pay for it.
  • More accessible. Navigating stairs in older age isn’t just tricky, it’s downright dangerous. Moving to a smaller home can eliminate many of the hazards in a bigger home.
  • Could be profitable. If you bought your house for the median price of $47,200 in 1980 (we know, our jaws dropped too), you could very well pay for a smaller home outright after selling. Of course, this is assuming your existing home appreciated in value.

Why People Aren’t Downsizing (As Much)

A big reason for this is that humans are living longer. Whereas a person in their 50s might have looked into downsizing several decades ago, many people in the 21st century are fully functional in their homes, well into their 60s and 70s.

The other main factor is that technological advances make it easier than ever to stay in a person’s home. Stairlifts, chair lifts, and even elevators take hours or days to install. Smart homes are designed with convenience in mind. Many people would rather make their current home more accessible if it means they get to stay put.

The “Silver Tsunami”

Zillow reports that “33.9 percent of owner-occupied U.S. homes are owned by residents aged 60 or older, and 55.2 percent by residents aged 50 or older.” In the next few decades, nearly 90% of houses will become available as the baby boomer generation passes away. While many people currently struggle to find a house, this will rapidly change in the coming years.

But what does that mean for downsizing? 

Since people are staying in their homes longer, there’s a shortage of available homes and the housing market is incredibly competitive. For many boomers, it’s currently a struggle to close on a smaller home that makes financial sense. Downsizing has a lot of potential benefits, but not if buying a new home will wipe out a person’s savings.

Is Downsizing Worth It?

If you…

  • want to downsize AND
  • find a smaller home that’s well within your budget AND 
  • you can make a substantial profit through selling your current one

then downsizing is a good option. But if you want to stay in your home and age in place and have the means to do so, that will also work. 

One of the most important things to remember: nothing in life is certain, and this becomes even more true as we get older. You might plan on downsizing and living in your new house for a decade or two, then deal with unexpected health issues that require assisted living. No one likes thinking about it, but it’s necessary to keep in mind.

If downsizing feels like the right move for you and it makes financial sense, then go for it! If you have to tap into your retirement to downsize, if the housing market is not favorable for downsizing in your area, or if making your current home more aging-friendly will take much less time and money, then don’t feel the need to downsize.

Ultimately, the decision is yours, but RealtyHive can help. Look through our listings to find a home in your area (or even somewhere far away) to see if downsizing would work for you.

lady looking at computer

Move over Branding: The key to success in 2020 is not what you’d expect

It seems like some agents have all the luck. We all know someone that seems to have a pipeline of dream properties and buyers clamoring hand-over-(money-filled) fist to sign themselves into a new home while you sit and watch your listings grow stale. How do these agents do it? While nothing can compare to a well connected network, having a “secret weapon” in your real estate tool kit is the secret of success in 2020.

So what’s the secret? How can you get and keep more listings in 2020? It’s not about completely changing your method or reinventing the wheel, but rather it’s about having something different to offer your clients– something your competition can’t or won’t offer. It’s no secret we live in a global and tech-connected world, but have you thought about how you can merge your real estate business into the digital world? Event marketing is one of the best ways to do this.

What is event marketing?

Similar to a traditional auction, event marketing starts with a property being offered for sale at an attractive opening price. This price appeals to buyers which creates competition and the deadline of an impending auction creates urgency, ultimately resulting in a higher sale price. In this model, the seller retains control of the final sales price and the transparency the process provides helps the seller see the true market value. For agents, this can help overcome objections to price reductions or avoid them altogether. Buyers benefit from being able to determine what their highest/best offer may be.

hands signing a contract 

For Signing New Listings: Bring something new to the table

Between working on your “personal brand” via social media and networking or making sure that your advertising fit your “brand image”, 2017 was the year of “branding”. Designed to make you stand out from your competition, branding is great for marketing, but results are what really pay off. To extend your listings or to sign new ones in 2020, you’ll need to offer something to clients more results-oriented than industry buzzwords. Offering a solution or tactic that your competition does not will be the key to getting ahead this year.

RealtyHive Tip: Make a list of all the services you offer clients and potential clients. Everything from creating a BPO to the individual marketing channels you use for your properties. Now go through that list and cross out anything that your competition can do as well. If the remaining items are pretty thin, consider partnering with RealtyHive to have a true “differentiator” in your back pocket.

person using computer on www.realtyhive.com 

For Selling Your Listings: Show up and be successful

Woody Allen once said, “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” While he probably wasn’t talking about online property listings, he could have been! According to the National Association of Realtors, 51% of home buyers found the home they purchased online, but the average NAR member reports that their website only brings in 1% of their business. In a sea of online noise, do your listings stand out or do they just show up like everyone else’s? With the market as strong as it has been you should be selling upwards of 90% of the properties you list–the key is to position those listings for success and having a strong online presence is the way to do that.

RealtyHive Tip: Do you know what your website traffic looks like? What about your search rankings? Where is the traffic coming from? Are they real buyers or junk bot traffic? If your online traffic isn’t where you want it to be, you might consider joining the RealtyHive marketplace to create additional exposure and make all your listings have a unique marketing presence whether or not you utilize the event marketing platform.

handshake business deal 

For Untapped Success: Branch into new markets

With housing prices up, inventory down, and demand through the roof it’s fair to say that parts of the housing market are on fire! However, for every can-barely-get-it-listed-before-accepted-offer there’s a stuck-on-the-market-for-years property. From land to luxury, FSBO to commercial, every market has its own hard-to-sell niche. While most agents will run from this segment, you can stand out by confronting these challenges and land the listing by offering a new, exclusive solution.

RealtyHive Tip: Look at your market to discover where a need isn’t being met. Has a local department store sat vacant for years or has the same plot of land set vacant for as long as you can remember? These are indicators that tradition processes haven’t worked and you can use the RealtyHive Event Marketing platform as a never-tried-before solution to help land these listings.

Want to learn more about how event marketing can take your business to the next level in 2020? Check out www.realtyhivemarketing.com for more information or to schedule a meeting with a RealytHive representative. In less than 20 minutes you’ll learn how RealtyHive’s event marketing platform can help your listings reach a global audience, extend your listings and avoid price reductions–all at no cost to you!