How to Help Your Clients Become Real Estate Investors

Historically, investing in real estate has been one of the most effective ways to find financial freedom, especially in the Chicagoland area. It’s a smart way for people to build generational wealth and diversify their portfolios. 

It’s a unique asset class that has lower volatility than stocks and offers a safe way to hedge against inflation or uncertain times. Responsible real estate development can revitalize and strengthen communities by boosting property values and tax revenue, leading to better public services and success for locally-owned businesses.

Most brokers join this industry because they are driven to help match their clients with the perfect home for their family or find the ideal location for an innovative commercial enterprise. 

You also have the power to guide your clients toward making advantageous financial decisions. Here are some smart strategies for encouraging your buyers to become real estate investors and boosting your real estate brand to the stratosphere.

Become a Subject Matter Expert

In the business world, an SME (subject matter expert) is a highly qualified professional who has advanced knowledge in a specific field

Finding your niche is key to establishing your reputation as a trusted advisor. Whether you specialize in a certain area, historic buildings, or multi-family dwellings, doing your research and staying in front of current market trends is vital.

Chicago’s 77 community areas each have a distinct flavor and possible opportunities for residential or commercial investments. In-depth market analysis utilizing the latest AI-powered technology will give you the data you need to steer your clients to the most potentially profitable properties. 

You should also be aware of upcoming development projects, zoning ordinance changes, economic policies, and how to evaluate deals and estimate cash flow. 

The National Association of REALTORS® provides a certification program in real estate investing that takes a deep dive into 1031 exchanges, NOI (net operating income) modeling, and practical insight into professional property management.

By developing your expertise, you’ll inspire homebuyers to expand their horizons and explore the possibilities of building wealth through this type of investment.

Educating Your Clients

The next step is to sit down with your clients and truly understand their goals and financial situation. Many potential homebuyers are unaware of the options available to them or the safety and tax benefits of purchasing property as an investment.

Commonly called “house hacking,” many motivated investors start out by earning income through renting out part of their property (such as accessory dwelling units like basement apartments or separate mother-in-law suites) or by living onsite in a residential building and acquiring tenants for the other units.

This rental income can reduce or eliminate housing costs while building equity and allowing your client to save money for additional investment properties. 

You should advise your buyers to work with a lender who will work with them to find financing options specifically available for investment properties and owner-occupied multi-units. The qualifications for multifamily property mortgages are different than those for single-family homes but definitely still achievable.

For example, the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) guarantees mortgages with lower down payment requirements that are specifically designed for those with lower income or credit scores. Buyers can use this program to purchase a property with up to 4 units, as long as one will be their permanent, full-time home. 

Properties with 5 units or more are considered commercial real estate. If your clients are considering taking this route, they’ll need to have good credit and be prepared to make a larger down payment. Commercial mortgage loans also may have shorter terms than conventional residential mortgages — typically 5 to 20 years. 

These kinds of properties are also usually listed at a higher price point than residential ones, but they also generate more revenue, which makes it easier to grow your portfolio. There are many different types of commercial real estate, but these are traditionally the most profitable:

  • Apartments
  • Flex space (multi-use light industrial)
  • Self-storage
  • RV/ motor home parks
  • Strip malls with a balanced tenant mix
  • Student housing

Being a landlord isn’t for everyone, however. Be sure to talk to your clients about their lifestyles and expectations. Some people are ready to be fully hands-on, and some would prefer to let someone else handle the day-to-day oversight and dealing with repairs and maintenance. But property management companies can take a huge bite out of investment property income, so it’s crucial for your client to factor those expenses into their plan. 

Best Practices

Effective negotiation tactics are especially critical when it comes to sealing the deal on investment real estate. Honing your skills and specializing in this kind of transaction will give you valuable expertise and nurture your business. 

It’s vital to offer ongoing support to your clients throughout the process. Providing regular updates on market trends, answering questions, and offering guidance will make your clients feel more confident in their investment decisions and their plan for the future.

Be transparent and upfront with your buyers about the risks and rewards of investing in real estate. This is critical for building trust and establishing yourself as a trusted and reliable partner. 

At Baird & Warner Lincoln Park, we give our brokers every possible advantage to ensure they exceed client expectations. We leverage the latest property management and CRM technology to build a highly unique platform for our top-performing team. 

Discover more about finding success in an exciting and prosperous industry at the largest independent brokerage in the country — reach out today!

2023 Chicagoland Real Estate Market Outlook

While many news outlets have a pretty gloomy take on what 2023 holds for the real estate industry, those in the know still see rays of sunshine. 

Since the pandemic, the national real estate market has been on fire, seeing an unprecedented feeding frenzy that resulted in the two busiest years anyone can remember. Now that things are normalizing, it only seems like a foreboding and dramatic shift. 

While the Chicagoland market might be a bit less competitive in the coming year, home prices should remain steady, property values should continue to appreciate (or hold steady), and it’s an ideal time for clients who were sidelined by the dread of a bidding war to start exploring their options. 

Let’s take a deeper dive into conventional wisdom, maverick predictions, and what you can do to ensure your real estate business weathers the storm and continues to thrive. 

Continue reading “2023 Chicagoland Real Estate Market Outlook”

Content Marketing: Pro Tips for Real Estate Agents

They say “content is king,” which might be a bit of hyperbole, but there’s no denying that creative and relevant content is a guaranteed way to drive traffic to your real estate business website, outshine your competition, and generate solid leads. 

Content, in this context, can and should include video, photography, and written content, and leaves the door open for other current and emerging elements, like infographics and renderings. 

Many agents are good, and getting better, at preparing visual content (think video and images on social media), but where they’re missing loads of opportunity is in written content. 

Continue reading “Content Marketing: Pro Tips for Real Estate Agents”

Negotiations: Best Practices for Real Estate Agents

Effective negotiators are not born, they’re made. Even if you feel this isn’t one of your strongest skillsets, you can learn and improve your strategies and techniques to better serve your clients.

Coming to the table prepared and ready to bargain in good faith will not only result in satisfied clients, and help agents to land future referral business, negotiation skills are a top priority for home buyers. In NAR’s annual Survey of Home Buyers and Sellers for 2022, 83% of buyers listed negotiation skills as “very important” to their agent selection. It’s incumbent that agents become great negotiators! 

Let’s dive into the best practices and some top tips for perfecting your real estate negotiation approach.

Continue reading “Negotiations: Best Practices for Real Estate Agents”

What Should We Expect From Chicagoland’s Real Estate Market In 2022?

What Should We Expect From Chicagoland’s Real Estate Market In 2022?

2020 and 2021 have been truly unprecedented years in the real estate business. Major shifts to how we live, play, and work have affected all of us, and while some things will return to normal, it’s clear that our lives will forever be changed by the lessons we’ve learned over that time. In the real estate industry, the last two years have made it clear how important it is for those who work in this business to adapt, pivot, and see these challenges as opportunities — opportunities to build our businesses in a way that allows them to thrive in any conditions.

As we wind down the year, now is the time to look ahead — and start setting down goals and plans for 2022 and beyond. 

Continue reading “What Should We Expect From Chicagoland’s Real Estate Market In 2022?”

Chicago’s Fall and Winter 2021 Real Estate Market Outlook

Chicago's Fall and Winter 2021 Real Estate Market Outlook

What do the remaining months of 2021 have in store for the Chicago real estate market — and how can brokers prepare themselves for the rest of the year? 

Looking at current trends, it is clear that there is an enormous amount of opportunity in the marketplace going into the fall. Agents who commit to understanding the market and putting in the work are in a prime position to set themselves up for a strong showing through the rest of the year, while also setting up for a strong beginning of 2022.

Let’s dig into some important trends that will shape the market through the rest of the year and beyond: 

Continue reading “Chicago’s Fall and Winter 2021 Real Estate Market Outlook”

Agent Spotlight: Kate O’Neill

Kate O'Neill Agent Spotlight

Though she is still early in her real estate career, broker Kate O’Neill has already learned a lot of valuable lessons — and earned some impressive successes in less than one full year in the business. 

For one thing, Kate has yet to have a buyer of hers pay above list price, “which is pretty big in the current market that we’re in,” she says. “I’m pretty proud of that!”

For another, Kate has quickly earned a glowing reputation around the Baird & Warner – Lincoln Park office for her social media savvy, particularly using Instagram as a channel to speak to her sphere, sow the seeds for long-term referral relationships, and reach her ideal millennial buyers. 

“One thing with my social media that I always keep in the back of my mind is to treat it like my business card and my social proof,” Kate says. “That way, when people look me up, any potential new clients or friends of mine who know I just got started in this can see that I’m busy and that I’m actively working. That I’m constantly hosting open houses, or selling a property, or teaching them something that they didn’t know.”

Continue reading “Agent Spotlight: Kate O’Neill”

Ask Yourself These 3 Questions to Crush the Second Half of 2021

Ask Yourself These 3 Questions to Crush the Second Half of 2021

As a real estate broker, it’s important to regularly check in on your most important goals, and make sure that you’re executing a strategy that will help drive your success. Ongoing monitoring, self-evaluation, and targeted training are critical to implementing a sound business plan that will help you get where you want to go. 

As we head into the second half of our incredibly strong 2021 real estate market, this moment is an excellent opportunity for real estate brokers to evaluate their performance through the first half of the year. Here are three important questions to ask yourself:

  1. Are you doing everything you need to be doing right now to reach your business goals for 2021? If not, what needs to change?
  2. What are you doing really well right now, and in what areas can you improve?
  3. What are you doing in the second half of the year to invest in the single most important asset to your business — YOU
Continue reading “Ask Yourself These 3 Questions to Crush the Second Half of 2021”

Agent Spotlight: Mike Greco

Mike Greco Agent Spotlight

When broker associate Mike Greco started looking for a new opportunity after a first career in retail management, he knew he was really looking for not just a new occupation, but a new life — one where he could be more in control of his time and lifestyle. 

“I wanted to have flexibility and I wanted to feel rewarded for the time and effort I put in,” Mike explains. “And I wanted a job where every day was a new challenge and I got to spend a lot of time with people — where it was a mix of being out in the field, and only having to be behind a computer for a couple of hours a day.”

That search for a more flexible, rewarding, and active career quickly led him to real estate — and to Baird & Warner – Lincoln Park. 

Though he interviewed at a few different brokerages, it was meeting the staff at Baird & Warner – Lincoln Park that helped him ultimately decide that this office would be the right fit — especially as he started out in his real estate career.

“I really liked the culture that Baird & Warner has,” Mike explains. “You really get the feeling of support, not only from David, Negeen, and Diana, but also from the other brokers. It’s a very welcoming community. And that’s the type of person that I am. I like winning as a team!”

Continue reading “Agent Spotlight: Mike Greco”

Agent Spotlight: Jim Abbott

Jim Abbott Baird & Warner Lincoln Park Agent Spotlight

Consistently ranked as a Chicago Top Producer and one of the highest-performing agents at Baird & Warner year after year, Jim Abbott is no stranger to getting asked about the keys to his success. He has two simple pillars that he always shares, he says. 

Number one:  “Over-communicate and stay organized.  Although we buy/sell homes daily, the average buyer/seller only does this every 3-5 years on average.  The market and technology will be different than the last time they bought or sold and we need to walk them through that.  Give updates, let them know the next steps are, and create a timeline to follow.  Be their go to person that keeps in contact with their lender, attorney, inspectors, etc.  They have so much to do, anything we can do to help them will be appreciated!”

And number two: “Any chance you get to exceed someone’s expectations,  do it!   Your job is to execute at 100%  but people will remember the small stuff that is unexpected or above and beyond that.  It can be as simple as stocking their refrigerator with some snacks and drinks for the day they move in or helping them coordinate painters/movers/etc.”    

Continue reading “Agent Spotlight: Jim Abbott”