It’s Tax Day – an unpleasant day if you still owe money to
To make your day a little more enjoyable I’d like to share my thoughts on Opportunity Zones (OZ), and how you could build a profitable business around this tax incentive.
What Are Opportunity Zones?
Opportunity Zones are low income census tracts. Most of the
OZ’s are in areas that could use investment to improve the economy.
The Tax Cuts & Job Act created an incentive to invest capital gains in OZ’s. It works like this (for specifics go to IRS.gov or talk to your tax advisor):
If you invest capital gains in a business or project in an OZ,
the tax owed on the capital gains is deferred for up to 10 years.
After 5 years you get a 10% discount and after 7 years a 15%
discount on the capital gains taxes you owe.
If you sell your investment after 10 years, the gain from
the investment is tax free.
This is a long-term incentive. It allows investors to defer
paying capital gains taxes and profit from tax free gains in the future, while
supporting economic development in low income areas.
Who’s Interested in Opportunity Zones?
During an OZ event at Columbus Realtors, Mark Lundine from the Economic Development Division of the City of Columbus said he never got that many calls on a single program from investors looking for projects.
There’s a lot of capital gain out there. And investors are looking for projects to put this money to good use, to pay lower taxes and to do something good for our community.
How Can Agents Profit?
Even without your own capital gains to invest Realtors have
a unique opportunity to develop a profitable niche around this tax incentive.
As a Realtor you should specialize in finding projects. This could involve land development, older buildings for redevelopment, or simply properties for companies who want to move their business to an opportunity zone.
Here’s a map of all OZ’s in the State of Ohio. Figure out how you can market to property owners in the designated census tracts, possibly list their properties or represent investors.
Tip: According to this article by Zillow home values in OZ’s have skyrocketed by as much as 25%.
Will you pursue this opportunity? Reply or comment and let
If you are like most agents, you spend a lot of time with
buyers instead of listing homes.
In this changing market it is critical to become a listing
agent for leverage, profitability, and your long-term survival.
Why You Should List More Homes
If you are working with buyers you spend all your time
driving around, showing houses, and submitting offers.
More often than not you are faced with multiple offers on
the listing your buyers really want. You fight the bidding war and lose most of
the time. Your buyers get frustrated after missing out and decide to lease for
another year – another commission lost.
Most buyers don’t have to buy a home right now. However,
most sellers need to sell.
Listings give you leverage. You can service more listings than buyers at the same time.
Most importantly, listings will attract both buyers and
sellers to you. They are the perfect advertising tool for your business.
Without listings you don’t have anything to sell. It’s like
you own a store with empty shelves.
How to Become a Listing Agent?
There are many ways to attract sellers. It’s important to focus your marketing on homeowners.
The strategies that work for us are geographic and niche
We target subdivisions with high turnover (geographic) or homeowners who are likely to sell (niche).
Mailing postcards to homeowners on a regular basis is still working well. Offer them a free home valuation. Homeowners who are interested in the value of their property may consider selling.
You can enhance your results with door knocking, open
houses, and targeted online ads. Of course, consistent follow-up is key.
What You Need as a Listing Agent
Here are 3 “must haves” if you want to succeed as
a listing agent:
Marketing Budget – You need to spend money to market to homeowners and generate listing leads. You also need financial resources to list the property, advertise your listing, and take professional photos and videos.
Listing Presentation – Once you attract potential sellers you probably have to compete against other listing agents. A great listing and pre-listing package are important. It will set you apart from the agents who show up to the listing appointment with an MLS print-out of comparables.
Well-Recognized Brand – Your chance of succeeding as a listing agent are 100 times better if you associate with the #1 real estate brand. Sellers want a brand name sign in their yard.
Before we owned our RE/MAX brokerage we lost listings all
the time. Home owners who purchased multiple properties from us refused to list
their home with us because we were with an independent brokerage.
Today, I have a special offer for you, but
time is running short …
If you want to become a
listing agent and want access to the best marketing materials and listing presentation
and be part of the #1 real estate brand in the world, I invite you to join us
before April 1st.
You can join RE/MAX 24/7 for $0 per month for
the first 6 months and test drive our office.
I promise you will love it.
RE/MAX is not for everyone, but if you are motivated and eager to succeed, I will personally work with you and help you establish a substantial listing portfolio.
If you are interested in joining RE/MAX 24/7 give me a call at (614) 395-7375 and we can discuss how to grow your real estate business with a solid global brand backing you!
Online leads are a hot topic for many real estate agents who
want to grow their business. Over the next few weeks I will explain how you can
generate online leads, the technology you need, how to outsource it, and how
much you need to invest.
A Strategy to Break Out of Your Sphere
If you rely exclusively on your sphere of influence for
referrals you probably sell $2 or $3 million, each year. That’s not bad.
But after your splits with the broker and paying taxes you
end up with less than $50,000 – hardly enough to support the lifestyle you
envisioned when you got your license.
To expand your business beyond your sphere you have to
market to people you don’t know, yet. You either prospect, cold-call, door
knock or network, activities which do not cost you much money, or you invest in
The Benefits of Inbound Marketing
I am a strong believer in inbound marketing. This means you invest money to “advertise” so that prospects contact you.
We’ve built our real estate business that way, and we are
doing it consistently. So, I know from personal experience that it works.
There are many benefits to inbound marketing:
No need for cold-calling or door knocking
No need to stalk friends and family for referrals
You can leverage your time
Easy to systematize and expand
Why Agents Like Facebook Advertising
When it comes to “marketing”, many agents are
attracted to online and social strategies. As you can imagine the gurus figured
that out, as well, and they are ready to sell you their systems.
No other strategy is more popular than Facebook advertising.
It is way less expensive than Zillow, Realtor.com or even Boomtown or any of
the marketing platforms that sell you $100 leads.
Most solo agents can’t pay thousands a month for these
platforms, so Facebook advertising seems the best solution.
If you want to learn how to set up your own Facebook campaigns,
simply google terms like “Facebook advertising for real estate”. You
will find countless services that help you run your own Facebook ads.
The Process of Generating Online Leads
There are 3 steps to generate online leads:
1. Online Ads You create an ad on Facebook, Instagram, Google or anywhere on the Internet to capture the attention of the viewer. The goal of the ad is to get the viewer to click a link.
2. Landing Page After they click the link, the prospect ends up on a landing
page that offers something of value in exchange for their name, email and phone
number. You could offer a home valuation, a list of properties with specific
criteria, or a report on how to get your home sold quickly.
3. Follow Up System Now that a lead has been captured you try to contact them
and stay in touch for a long time. This system is probably the most critical if
you want to have success with online leads.
In 2019 I noticed a paradigm shift in online lead generation which mostly affects the follow up systems.
More on it next week …
Don’t hesitate to contact me with your marketing questions at (614) 395-7375. I wish you a wonderful week!
I implore you to make plans now so you are ready to deal with the 3 major challenges you will face in 2019:
Shrinking Home Sales
Home sales were down by 2.2% in 2018 over the previous year.
That’s not too bad.
What’s more concerning is that in December closings
plummeted by 9.2%, pending contracts were down by 5.8%, and new listings fell
This means the pie is shrinking. There are not enough homes
to sell, and it does not look like this situation will improve in 2019.
The Columbus Association of Realtors has now 8,404 Realtors,
an all-time high. There’s more competition for fewer transactions.
Top producing agents will have an edge on part timers and
new licensees. It will become harder for inexperienced agents to find new
business. Both buyers and sellers will demand experience and impeccable
All full-time agents I know claim they are not
“discounting” their commissions.
However, closing statements reveal a different truth. Even
large, well-known teams are listing for less than 3% – they just don’t
advertise it on the radio.
Technology creates some efficiencies in the office. But if
you help desperate buyers find a home you will spend a lot of time showing
houses, writing offers, and negotiating contracts.
I suggest you attack these
challenges head-on. Here’s how you will win in 2019:
(1) You must commit to become a full-time Realtor. It’s getting
increasingly harder for part timers to deliver the experience and quality of
service clients expect and deserve.
(2) You need the backing
of an experienced broker or team leader. If you are just a
number in a mega office and can’t get instant support when need it, you should
switch to another office.
(3) Provide a memorable, exceptional experience to get more referrals
from your clients. You must be on top of your game and constantly learn and
(4) Market like crazy! Personal branding on social media is not
enough to generate business. You have to be pro-active whether you invest in
advertising or knock on doors.
(5) The best way to thrive in a challenging market is to find a niche and be the
best (and maybe the only) agent to serve this niche.
My Offer for You
If you don’t have your business plan ready for 2019, I invite you
to schedule a FREE Breakthrough Strategy Session.
During this 30-minute session I will help you:
Uncover the critical challenges that hold you back.
Set business and income goals for 2019.
Show you how to overcome the challenges above.
Develop action steps to create a consistent income.