How to Help Your Clients Become Real Estate Investors

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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!

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