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South Carolina Real Estate License Exam Prep Book Review

The South Carolina Real Estate Exam Prep book truly is a lifesaver. The classes I took to learn the information really do not give you enough information to be able to pass the test. I had to learn more and expand my thinking. Luckily this book helped me fill in the blanks and pass both the state and national tests.

A Cheat Sheet Without Cheating
This book taught me every single detail I needed to learn to take the test. It was like having the test in front of me to study from because the book was so similar. I was able to re-read everything I learned in class at my own pace, and take notes to be able to further my understanding. This was so nice because I was able to quickly browse through ideas I already perfected and spend more time on ideas that I hadn’t been able to learn well in class.

Learning Terms
There are so many terms to learn and I had forgotten the definitions for some of them. This book was a major refresher on that. I was able to go through a section of words each night and by the day of the test, I knew all of them. The flash cards were super convenient because I could take them anywhere with me and work on them when I had a chance to. It was super easy to just hand over the cards and have family and friends quiz me on them until I got them all right. Without the cards, in the book, I would not have been able to do that and it really was an amazing learning experience for me.

Math Review
You would think that a real estate career is all about getting people to look at houses and buy them. The truth is that is only a part of it. There are so many math problems to learn with different variables. Things like commissions, down payments, subdividing, and insurance premiums are all heavy math problems with lots of variables. These are very hard to learn. Luckily, I picked up a lot of it in class, but the book helped me pick up the slack and get the rest of it figured out. This is amazing because my career is going to have math in it all day long every day.

Lose the Fear and Get on With Your Career
As a real estate student, I was so nervous about taking the test and passing. So many classmates were failing and it was so hard to see. I often wondered what happened if I failed and how long the waiting period would be between the failure and the retest. I just wanted to start my career I worked so hard for. This book really saved me and helped me make sure I was well prepared for this test. I think this book needs to be part of every student’s South Carolina Real Estate license exam prep, so they can drop the fear of failure and just get on with their career.

Can My House Really Sell in November?

It is glorious this time of year, it is the weather that we’ve all been waiting for. I’m really enjoying sitting on my patio. Not everything is so fabulous at this time of year. Yes, it’s great sitting on the patio, but if you’re trying to sell your house it can be well challenging. Things slow down this time of year for real estate so you might be thinking well what should I do? Should I wait should I sell now? What should I do? First of all just understand that houses do you sell this time of year. We’re probably going to put maybe 5000 homes under contract this month and compared to maybe 8000 or so that we put under contract in May or June when we have a lot more activity. That’s 5000 houses that are going to sell, one of them could be yours and here’s a couple things you can do to put the odds in your favor.

First of all, price the house correctly, always, always, always, price it correctly. Spend some time really thinking about your strategy or pricing strategy and it just depends on timing and what’s going on the market. Price it correctly and know what your strategy is going in because let’s face it the listing price you start with may very well not be the listing price you end with.

Secondly, be responsive. If someone calls and says they want to look at your house don’t say no it’s not a good day for me I have a doctor’s appointment. Don’t do that! The game here is that we’ve got to get as many people through the house as possible. It’s like Newton’s law of real estate, if no one’s looking, no one’s going to buy. I just made that up, but I it makes a lot of sense and I’m sure Newton would agree with me so don’t waste any opportunity to get someone to the house to take a look. You’re going to have to watch the market. Not every agent is as geeky as I am. I love the stats. I really watched very very carefully to see what’s going on in Phoenix as a whole and in any area that I have a listing. I want to see the activity I want to see the trends I want to see what’s going on. Sometimes things dip down for a week, but then they come back up sometimes. Sometimes it’s just going down and it’s going to keep going down sometimes it’s leveling off. These things are important you know so you can make smart decisions in your pricing and marketing strategy.

Be realistic. This time of year is not the time to be having this attitude of well I want top dollar. No way am I contributing to closing costs and if they ask for repairs they can just go. No don’t be that guy. This is not that time. Buyers have the advantage. If you’re not responsive, if you’re not working with them they’re going to go and look for another house, they just will and you don’t want them doing that. You don’t want them going out to find something else they like better. Know that you’re not going to make top dollar. You’re not going to set some sort of record for what homes are selling for in your neighborhood. It’s not going to happen so don’t waste any opportunity. If any offer comes in even if it seems really ridiculously low, work it. I have seen it many times where there’s a low offer and a high ask and we have a nice dialogue and can come together to some agreement. That works for everybody. Answer quickly don’t let them get away because there’s a lot of other houses that they could be out there looking at and you don’t want them wandering off and finding something they like better.

If you’re trying to sell your house this time of year it’s going to take a little longer. It’s going to take a little more work than other times of the year. Like I said around 5000 houses are going to go to contract this month and one of them can be yours if that is what you want. If you have any questions or comments please let me know. So get out there and sell!

Why Now Is The Best Time to Buy Real Estate

Five reasons why now is one of the best times we’ve ever seen to invest in real estate. Let’s dive in. Today we’re going to talk about five reasons why now is the best time to invest in real estate investing. There’s a lot of fear mongering going on out there right now about what’s going to happen in the stock market crash. I wouldn’t say fear mongering because it’s actually true so fear is something that’s not true, but we’re seeing the concerns coming in the stock market, but real estate still has a lot of very positive signs. Especially in the investing sector and that’s what we’re talking about. We’re not talking about the retail sector where you know families are buying properties to live in. We’re talking about for investing and I want to be very clear about that.

So why is this one of the best times ever to invest in real estate? Let’s start with this because prices continue to rise and by any measure you’re seeing markets across the country seeing a nice little uptick in prices. There isn’t a big decline anywhere even in some of the areas that were hardest hit during the last recession so we’re seeing a nice little appreciation, but we’re not going crazy and it’s not over inflated.

Number two on the list. Yes there are bubbles, but the bubbles are not a major concern for investors. We are not investing in San Francisco where there probably is a bubble we are not investing in Miami where there probably is a bubble whom we are not investing in New York City where there probably is a bubble. We are staying away from bubble areas and in other areas we’re seeing strong stable markets in the housing sector where we like to invest in Midwest markets and other markets like that. So don’t believe all the hype about the bubble.

Another clear sign that we’re still sitting in a good housing market right now is that builders are building. If we were in troubled times we would see a lot of supplies a lot of lumber a lot of other steel and materials sitting in big piles and not being used, but that’s not the case. Builders are building houses, but why this is great for investors is that they’re not building houses for renters to live in. They’re building houses for you and your family to go live in, four and five bedroom houses. That’s where builders are putting their attention. What does that mean for us as real estate investors who are buying rental properties? That means we can go in and buy the three bedroom one bath houses that builders are no longer building. Why? Because millennials aren’t buying homes anymore. They’re waiting. They’re not buying that starter home so they’re waiting until the four bedroom five bedroom house is ready for their family. They have a kid already and they move into a larger home and are sort of skipping those early homes. That’s great. That means those three bedroom one bath houses out there that still exist. Those two bedroom one bath houses I’ll buy them all day long. That means they’re still building they’re not building in the rental sector and that’s good news for us.

Another really important factor is that foreclosures are way way down. That means simply that people aren’t getting in over their head when they’re buying. So yes more and more people are picking up these properties, but foreclosures have plummeted. That means that the loans they are able to get are not going to get them into trouble and I can’t buy foreclosures anymore I used to buy them and rehab them but they’re very difficult to come across these days. So that is another good sign that we’ve corrected in a way that we hadn’t before.

The fifth and final reason why we still sit in a really nice real estate market right now is that areas like Miami and Orlando and other areas that were hit really bad during the crash because they were way up inflated you know that really high and overly inflated prices. You could buy a house in Orlando for $200,000 and then weeks later sell it for $260,000. It was ridiculous. The reason that indicator is still strong is that we’re seeing that those markets have not returned to that pre-crash craziness. That they’ve really stayed below that artificial bubble that they were in. So a $200000 house is worth $200,000. It didn’t go up to $240k again. This really shows that we have a stronger footing in the housing market that we have in a long time. As an investor it’s the best time to get out there and start buying rental properties and if the economy declines that means there will be more availability out there for you to pick up rental properties. More availability out there to pick up your first properties so now is the best time to invest in real estate. All the indicators are pointing in that direction.

I’d love to hear your thoughts or comments. Leave me a comment about what you think and if you learned something.

Moving and Packing Tips

I have moved quite a few times in the last few years and as I was packing my stuff this time around I was thinking to myself I did it right this time around and I just started thinking about all the things I did in order to make this process so much easier and I decided to write it all down and share it with you. Here are the top moving and packing tips.

If you are really not that great at estimating like most of the population buy two to three times the amount of boxes you think you’re going to need. Seriously, or you are just going to have to keep going back and buy more boxes. The same rule of thumb applies for tape, buy two or three more roles than you think you’re going to need. The great thing about companies like U-Haul is that if you have any unused flat boxes you can return them. So it’s not like once you buy the boxes they’re yours. This time around I went to the U-Haul store two times and the second time I bought many more boxes that I thought I would need and I ended up using every single one. Buy small boxes. I know you may think it’s a waste of money, waste of space. You think that you’re just going to get the big boxes and just stuff a bunch of stuff in there and will be able to lift those boxes up. Even a small box can get so heavy, especially when it comes to your kitchen stuff, fragile stuff. I have a bunch of ceramics pots, without the plants. It’s very difficult to dump all these pots in a huge box and then move it away. With a small box  you can write FRAGILE in huge letters. It just makes it so much easier for you and if you have movers, so much easier for them as well.

Whether you’re moving yourself or with movers just put everything in boxes. You may have a bunch of containers, like small baskets, open ended baskets that you think act like a container or a box in itself. The problem is it’s not stackable. When you try to place those containers with a bunch of weird shaped objects they don’t stack well in a car and you’re just making it really difficult for yourself or the movers, so just put everything in boxes and make your life a lot easier.

When it comes down to actually packing I know it can just be so overwhelming. The first thing I will pack is a suitcase with stuff that I actually need for the next few days, for instance, clothes and toiletries. I just act like I’m about to go traveling and therefore you don’t have to worry if you’re going to need certain things when you’re putting them away, you’re just making it a lot easier for yourself. Within that same suitcase or another bag I would set aside some essentials that you will need right away in your new house. I’m talking about toilet paper, paper towels, hand soap, Clorox wipes, sanitizing wipes. The worst thing for you to do would be to show up to your new place with all your stuff and realize like you don’t know where your toilet paper is and you have to go to the bathroom. I think about those things. It’s important so make sure to set aside some of those essentials. Once that’s all done I start packing in sections. So you just start off with stuff that you’re not going to need at all, like knickknacks, books, your clothes and toiletries because you already set aside some. I would recommend the very last thing you pack is your fridge. If you create sections for yourself it’s going to be so much easier for you. I feel like I get really overwhelmed when there’s too much going on. I’m not a good multitasker. If I just concentrate in one section at a time then it’s just so much better.

Labeling boxes is so important, but when it comes to labeling, I would also say be specific on the boxes. Don’t just write kitchen but write specific things that are inside there because there’s a lot of things that go into your kitchen. For some reason this time around I packed all my kitchen sponges in a really random box that had nothing to do with kitchen stuff. I must have filled up all the kitchen boxes and the sponges were just one more thing and I must have tossed them in another box thinking I would remember. I did not remember. So ultimately I didn’t have a sponge for a couple days because I couldn’t figure out which box it was in. If I just thought OK I’m going to write down that I have sponges in this box, it would have made my life a lot easier.

Something I want to touch on is what to wear while packing and moving. I am completely convinced using full overalls, not just short ones, but ones that are a long leg jean. It’s great being able to put a couple sharpies and tape in the front pocket. A lot of times I would wear the tape on my arm, but then I would start getting marks. While you’re packing you’re just constantly losing stuff. Things are just being hidden under other things. I’ll constantly put things in my overalls. I’ll put my phone in there even, it just gives you a little bit more protection. I feel like during moving I get a lot of cuts and bruises and I think these overalls, having like a jean material, really prevented some cuts and bruises from happening too. I’d also recommend wearing boots. I just wear my Doc Martens the whole time, you do not want those little toes of yours getting crushed.

This last is for those of you who have decided to go with movers. I think when it comes to movers just go with the best of the best. I’m already weary of letting strangers into my home, but strangers into my home handling all my personal things, it makes me a little bit nervous. There have been stories on the news in the past about people finding movers off of Craigslist who loaded their stuff in a stolen truck and then just drove away. The cops found the truck a few days later, but obviously their stuff was gone.

When it comes to movers, just get the best of the best that have good reputations and really good Yelp reviews. I found my movers this time on Yelp and I’m so happy with them. They made sure that both my buildings were okay with their insurance. We talked multiple times about the exact logistics and about what was going to happen on moving day. It was such a seamless experience. I’ve never had that before and not only that. They were extremely organized. I was just watching them so impressed, they made sure that every single piece of furniture was wrapped and padded and protected. Everything was delivered in pristine condition. If you’re hiring movers, bite the bullet, and get the best. If will save you heartache later.

That was my top ten moving tips. I hope this was helpful for you if you’re in the process of moving or thinking about moving. If this was helpful drop me a line and tell me if you have any tips I missed. I’d love to hear from you all. Until next time.