Buying Commercial Property


The process of buying a commercial property involves a significant investment of time, money, and energy.

After an exhaustive search that finally produces the perfect property, a buyer now may be faced with difficult negotiations: Your perfect property may attract more than one offer, and you will need a strategy to deal with these competing offers.

Here are five tips for making your offer stand out in a competitive situation:

Price: It’s human nature to look at the final price when you’re considering making an offer to purchase, and it is particularly difficult when you really want that property. In a competitive environment, your ability to negotiate is limited, and you need put your best foot forward.

This may mean offering or exceeding the asking price to ensure that your offer is the most desirable. As well, you may need to consider writing an offer without a financing clause; this shows the seller that you’ve done your due diligence and have already obtained the necessary capital.

Deposit: The deposit amount shows the level of intent you have to purchase the property. A larger deposit demonstrates that you have a greater intent to follow through on the sale process; the seller will appreciate the seriousness of your offer if you can make a larger deposit than your competitors.

Conditions: When you’re not in a competitive situation, you can go to town on conditions – the seller may not have a choice of accepting them. But when you are competing against multiple offers, consider making a firm offer without conditions.

Conditions add a level of uncertainty for sellers, so by minimizing them you remove any potential for uncertainty, and that will make your offer more seller-friendly.

If you do want to include multiple conditions in your offer, your commercial real estate agent will help you decide how to present them for best results.

You might, for example, consider grouping multiple conditions into a single clause. But be guided in this by your agent, who has years of experience in presenting purchase offers.

Time Frames: The seller would likely prefer a shorter conditional period, and you can differentiate your offer by mirroring the seller’s desires. You can shorten the time frame by conducting a bit of ground work prior to submitting your offer; ask your lawyer to conduct a title search on the property. Knowing about any liens and easements ahead of time can help strengthen your offer.

If you are unable to determine the seller’s preferred closing date, your real estate agent will likely advise the seller that you’re willing to negotiate key time frames.

Decisiveness: In a competitive situation, indecision can sink your offer. Going in, you will need to know what your bottom line is and where you can flexible. You also need to know which areas of the offer you are not willing to bend on.

Harriet RobertsonYour ability to make decisions quickly under pressure will play a huge part in the successful presentation of your offer.  Ask an agent or broker for help, you’ll find them well worth it.  Thanks for your attention and happy investing.

Recognizing Inefficiencies in Your Real Estate Marketplace

20160525-share-kcmOne of the first things that intrigued me about real estate was the unique opportunities that are available to outperform the market.  In the stock exchange, it’s nearly impossible to pick consistently winning stocks, though there are whole industries who will tell you otherwise. Over the long run, very few manage to outperform market averages. That is due, primarily, to the combination of fees and lack of skill and judgment.  All in all, it boils down to the fact that the stock market values are unpredictable, volatile, and emotional, but efficiently reflect the immediate value of the asset.

Warren Buffet said, “I’d be a bum on the street with a tin cup if the markets were efficient.” What he means is that he seeks underpriced stocks, ones worth more than the market values them. Market inefficiency doesn’t apply to only stocks. If you become adept at recognizing inefficiencies in a marketplace, you can position yourself to take advantage of those inefficiencies and prosper.

The real estate market is considered an inefficient market, in which prices are set solely by the meeting of the minds of the seller and the buyer, who make decisions based solely on their particular circumstances, and having little if anything to do with the market at large.  This makes the value in real estate very much a moving target.  Often enough, that the property you just bought for $90,000 could be worth $125,000, or it might only be worth $75,000, in which case you paid too much.

Confounding any assessment of the value is that different economic factors hit different locations differently.   Since the economic news will have different effects on a property in State A as opposed to State B, and it becomes difficult to determine an effect on any given property, and the various neighborhoods within each town, and the streets in each neighborhood – it quickly becomes overwhelming!

Another major inefficiency is the lack of information in the debt market.  Lenders and investors rely heavily on relationships for opportunity spotting (aka “deal flow”) and asset understanding.  On the other side of the deal, asset owners have limited options for capital often going with broker-fed funding options rather than seeking multiple lenders and letting them compete.   With access to deal flow and capital in the hands of a few, the market is naturally opaque and one-sided.  Commercial real estate brokers depend on 3rd party data service providers to continually update data on tenants and property owners. This information is in continual flux and as such isn’t feasible for an in-house solution.

Harriet Robertson“In short, change in supply and demand are going on all the time, however, due to the vast size of market participants not understanding the effects of that change – or even that change took place in a particular area. The people who do realize that values have changed will be in a position to take advantage of and in a position to exploit inefficiencies in the market”. 

Advice To Help You When Purchasing Property


If you’re new at purchasing real estate, then you might want to read this and then employ the help of reputable real estate agents. Pros have lots of resources you don’t, including computer software that allows one to effectively search all MLS listings. The MLS tools available to professionals are more detailed than those accessible by the average individual, and are able to advise you with greater accuracy and insight. Many first-time home buyers don’t bother to get prequalified. They, also, don’t take the time to shop around and find the best mortgage for their individual situation. It’s crucial to ask questions and make sure you fully understand the home loan process.

Getting pre-approved gives the buyer a chance to find out how much home they can afford. A competent loan officer will tell the buyer not only the principal and interest payments per month, but also the estimated taxes, insurance and mortgage insurance monthly amounts. This gives the borrower a true number to work with in order to decide their comfort zone when looking at potential properties. Also, sellers will be more interested in negotiating with you, and accepting you as their purchaser, if you’re working with a good RE agent, and if you’ve already been pre-approved for a mortgage loan. If you are not pre-approved, it can lengthen the timeline of the purchasing process, and can result in additional costs.

Before buying a home, get an inspector to examine it. You don’t want to have a home that needs tons of renovating. Not only will this cost a lot, you might need to change your living situation until it’s fixed.

One simple way to start the entire real estate buying process is to get organized. You should have a notebook full of the information you get from newspapers, friends, online, and also from your agent. This will avoid confusion and make it easier for you to compare different offerings. Remember that your offer is very unlikely to be the only one on the table, so make a good offer. Do what you can to ensure it’s appealing to a seller.

If you are looking to purchase some of or all of a building in order to open a business, make sure it is in a good neighborhood. When you open a business that is located in a poor neighborhood, most likely you will not have a large pool of customers. Real estate agents will be able to advise you as to the best places to open a business. It’s easy to get wrapped up in your present needs, but you should also think about reselling the home before you buy. The average first-time buyer expects to stay in a home for around 10 years, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ 2013 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. Factor maintenance and repair costs into your buying budget, because even brand-new homes will require some work. Don’t leave yourself short and let your home deteriorate.

When deciding on an agent, it is important to have a list of questions already planned out. You will want to know how many homes were sold during the previous year, as well as the number in your target area. The agent should be prepared to answer all of these questions in a professional manner. It’s absolutely vital that you find a real estate professional who understands your goals and who is ready and able to guide you through the home buying process.

If you’ve made an offer for a house that seller didn’t take, don’t be discouraged, since you might find a better home. See if they might offer to cover closing costs or necessary repairs prior to you moving in.

Request a checklist from your Realtor to put yourself in the best position before buying. There are many Realtors that have a checklist like this already prepared. It covers the entire home-buying process, from choosing a house to getting a loan. Using this checklist can help you make sure that you have completed everything in time to close the sale.

sold101As this article shows, buying real estate is not as complex as it seems. You must take some time to educate yourself and ask a lot of questions, but the potential profits are well worth the invested time. If you use the above tips, you should be able to make a wise decision on your next real estate purchase.

Call me for your next good adventure..!


What are the Top Tips for Buying a House?


10 things you should know when buying a home.

1. Don’t buy if you aren’t going to stay for a good long while.

If you’re not committing to residing in one place for more than a few years, then owning your residence probably won’t serve you well, at least not yet. After the transaction costs of buying and selling your home, you’ll wind up losing money by selling sooner.

2. Start by cleaning up your credit.

You will most likely need to secure a mortgage to purchase a house, so making sure your credit history is as good as possible is a must. Months before you start house hunting, be sure to get copies of your credit report. Make sure facts are correct, and fix any problems.

3. Look for a home you can comfortably manage to pay for.

A good rule of thumb is to buy housing that runs about two-and-one-half times your annual salary. You’ll do better using one of many calculators online to get a better understanding of how your income, expenses, and debts affect how much you can afford.

4. If you can’t put down 20%, you may still be eligible for a loan.

There are a number of private and public lenders who, if you qualify, can offer low-interest mortgages that require a smaller down payment.

5. Get professional help.

Though the Internet offers buyers exceptional access to property listings, most new buyers, and many more experienced ones, will do better using a professional real estate agent. You want an exclusive buyer agent in your corner who has your best interests at heart and will help you with better strategies during the bidding process.

6. Buy in a neighborhood that has good schools.

This advice applies even if you don’t have school-age children, because strong school districts are a top priority for most home buyers, and help bolster property values.

7. Get yourself pre-approved before house hunting.

Getting pre-approved and save yourself the grief of looking at houses you can’t afford.  That puts you in a much better position to make an offer you can afford when you do find the home you want. Don’t confuse this with pre-qualification, which is based on a cursory review of your finances, pre-approval from a lender is based on your actual income, debt and credit history.

8. Do your homework before bidding.

Your opening bid should be based on the sales trend of similar homes in the neighborhood. So before making it, consider sales of similar homes in the last three months. If homes have recently sold at 5 percent less than the asking price, you should make a bid that’s about eight to 10 percent lower than what the seller is asking.

9. Choose carefully between points and rate.

When picking a mortgage, you usually have the option of paying additional points — a portion of the interest that you pay at closing — in exchange for a lower interest rate. If you stay in the house for a long time — say three to five years or more — it’s usually a better deal to take the points, as the lower interest rate will save you more money in the long run.

10. Hire a good home inspector.

Sure, your lender will require a home appraisal, but that’s just the bank’s way of deciding whether the house is worth the money you’ve agreed to pay. You should hire your own home inspector, and preferably an engineer with experience doing home surveys in your area. Their job will be to point out problems and potential problems that could require expensive repairs now and down the road.

Give me a call to help you cover all your bases for a smooth home buying experience.
Thanks, Harriet Robertson   Harriet Robertson

New York and the Beautiful People


It’s often said that the people of New York are uncaring, thoughtless and so many inaccurate things. Thought I would tell you a story about some hard working people who went the extra mile for someone they didn’t even know.

On November 13, 2016, I was scheduled to leave Brooklyn for Albany when I discovered that I did not have my cell Phone. It seemed I must have left it in the nail salon on Saturday evening.  It was early morning Sunday, and I had to leave for an appointment in Albany at 3 pm, so I left.  I was miserable but, on my way to Albany, one of the ladies I was traveling with said that I could transfer my calls to her phone. I did, but it was not easy in that we both got lots of calls, but we managed.  Sunday evening my sister called me and said that she had called my cell phone, and someone answered, and told her to try to reach me because I left my phone at the nail shop.  I felt better because now I knew where my phone was and I would retrieve it on my return on Monday.  On Monday, I arrived back in Brooklyn in time to go to the nail shop to find that my phone was there and that the owner had gone to great lengths to find me. She told me that she looked me up on the web, tried calling my office and found no one. She seemed happy that I was back, and she was able to return the phone, but was also very security conscious and asked me for ID.

That move alone makes that nail shop my favorite and I want to thank them. The shop is the Vip Nails & Spa 269 Kingston Ave.

Your Guide to 4 Distinct Types of Commercial Real Estate Investments

brooklyn-03Your Guide to 4 Types of CRE Investments

Whether you’re brand new to real estate investing, or you’ve been investing in this sector for years, you’re probably already familiar with a few different ways to make money in residential real estate. Because it has a relatively low buy-in rate and because it’s so popular, a lot of investors never consider anything beyond buying one or more rental properties or flipping distressed houses for their real estate investments. However, CRE (commercial real estate) offers a lot more options for passive income and portfolio expansion than you may have ever considered.

Before you commit to your next investment, take a moment to get to know a few of the most lucrative CRE investment types that are available to you today.

Multi-Family Residential Properties

First off, multi-family properties come under the heading of commercial residential real estate, and they can be very profitable. Apartment and condo buildings gained considerable ground as valuable investments after the housing bubble burst in 2008, and they’ve continued to be very profitable throughout the past few years of recession and recovery. With so many people relocating for work, downsizing their living situations, and seeking homes close to where they work, these properties continue to gain popularity and value.

Retail and Hospitality Properties

You might think that brick-and-mortar retail spaces would be falling off with the rise of e-commerce in the United States. However, while many people do participate in online shopping, the majority of the gross domestic product in our country is spent in brick-and-mortar stores. Retail spaces and spaces built out for hospitality services (e.g., restaurants, coffee shops, etc.) offer an excellent risk-reward ratio, as leases tend to be longer, and multi-unit properties provide more stability if a tenant vacates.

Office Properties

The economy is still improving, with more jobs being created every day. With so much of our economy dependent on and driven by industries like e-commerce and the technology sector, engineering, healthcare, etc., there’s a huge demand for functional office spaces throughout the country. Developers are working to meet that demand, but they need backing from investors who can fund these projects. Thus, office space is a great commercial real estate investment to consider.

Industrial Properties

E-commerce sites and other online services need spaces to store their products, and they need facilities where they can easily and efficiently handle inventory and distribution. Industrial properties like these are in high demand as the online retail and service sector grows. We expect this type of CRE property to continue to grow as a lucrative investment over the coming years, as sites like make online retail more and more popular.

If you aren’t sure whether or not you have the capital to invest in one of these, remember that you can find each of these types of CREs as real estate crowdfunding properties. The minimum investment on these campaigns is small enough that most investors can afford to spread their investment capital over multiple properties to gain the most diversification and stabilization as they grow their portfolios.

Harriet Robertson

Interest in CRE properties is at an all-time high and if you want to get your piece of the pie, then give me a try. Contact or call me today and I’ll help you on your way.

Harriet  Robertson








Strategizing Real Estate Investments?

 No doubt, you already know there are many ways to invest in real estate, but how do you know if you’ve chosen the strategy that will work best for you? Different strategies have various levels of involvement, some being quite active while others are quite passive. Consider this when you decide which properties to invest in, and consider which strategies are well suited for your finances, now and in the future.


Cash Flow Properties

The first type of real estate investment is what most people consider to be something like a single-family rental property, which will bring in a monthly cash flow that increases your income. This type of property can be purchased in a couple of different ways, depending on the amount of time you can invest and how much capital you can afford for your initial investment.

Foreclosed Properties

Investors, with more time and less capital, tend to opt for purchasing distressed properties in short sales, or at foreclosure auctions. Then they renovate the properties, rent them, and operate as their own property managers. This will more assuredly result in higher returns, though it involves more risk (may need a lot more work than you bargained for). It requires extra time and work.

Turnkey Rentals

Many smart real estate investors put more capital into their initial investment for turnkey properties; move-in ready with no need for renovations. These properties frequently come with property management services, and some come with tenants in place. While you’ll spend more up front for one of these properties, you are pretty much guaranteed a positive cash flow immediately, and more consistently.

REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts)

If you’re looking for a real estate investment strategy that’s completely hands-free and passive, you may want to consider investing with a REIT. When you do this, you will not literally purchase a property or a piece of property, but rather you’ll buy stock in the trust. The trust will then invest your funds – combined with other investors’ funds – to acquire bigger investment properties, such as condominiums or retail spaces. By owning shares in a REIT, you’ll accumulate returns.

These are a few of the more conventional real estate investment strategies you can use.

For further information and help with these or any other real estate investment, contact us!  Thanks, Harriet Robertson

Harriet Robertson,NRBA,CDPE,NAREB,AREAAimageaa.


Harriet’s Go-Green Advice


eco-friendly-06There is so much talk of global warming, too much waste and unbridled energy consumption. We all want to do something, right?

It starts right at home and it needs to continue. We are offering you ways to Go Green to Save Green.

Budgets are strained and families find themselves struggling but all the while want to teach their children how to conserve and preserve. Start by doing these small and inexpensive changes around your home and lifestyle.

  •         Use cloth napkins and eliminate 40+ rolls of paper towels
  • Switch to cloth diapers, do you know it can take 200 years to decompose depending on the manufacturer
  • Collect rainwater and use it to water gardens and indoor plants
  • Lower the temperature of your hot water heater
  • Hang your clothes on an outdoor line to air dry, you can then tumble on a short air only cycle for wrinkle removal
  • Wash laundry in cold water instead of hot
  • Fix leaky faucets, easy DIY project that saves money and conserves water (your landlord will appreciate it too) Install low-flow replacements available everywhere.
  • Stop unsolicited mail. Junk mail can pile quickly both in the home and in the landfill. Be sure to destroy your name and address.
  • Turn your computer completely off at night
  • Unplug all those phone and iPod chargers, they do use energy as long as they are plugged in the outlet
  • Walk or ride your bike when available
  • Drive the speed limit
  • Turn off the lights when you leave a room
  • Buy inexpensive reusable drinking bottles instead of plastic bottles of water. We throw away 50 billion water bottles each year (shame)
  • Opt to take your own cloth bag to the grocers and eliminate plastic bag waste. They take forever to decompose.
  • Make a compost bin, less than $20 and easy to make
  • Change filters regularly & clean duct system
  • Insulate, insulate, insulate
  • Use sustainable materials for new floors such as bamboo
  • Your next appliance purchase should be energy efficient. Read up
  • Install programmable thermostats
  • My biggest Go Green is to do a home energy audit. You can lose massive mounts of heat or air conditioning around doors, windows, light switches, in the attic and in the basement. Well worth every dime now and later.
  • Plant trees for shade around your home and they add beauty

Harriet Robertson
We all know there is so much more we could be doing that we could make a very long list. Of course we can’t do it all at once but try just one thing and then another until it becomes a habit to be greener.

Recycle my friends, recycle!

Path to Financial Freedom, Hedgerow maze leading to a dollar symbol

How to Start Investing in Real Estate – 3 Top Ways to Invest


Investing in real estate is one of the best decisions you can make for your portfolio, but you probably already know that. Do you know, though, that you have numerous options and opportunities to invest in real estate in Dallas and all across the United States?

Different types of investments are better suited to different investors and their goals for their careers and their portfolios. Whether you want entirely passive income or you are interested in having at least a semi-active part in your investment, there is an investment opportunity out there for you.

Investing with a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT)

Perhaps the most passive form of real estate investment available today, when you invest with an REIT, you will not take direct ownership of the property you invest in. Rather, you’ll buy shares of the REIT itself, which will be worth a percentage of the development or developments that it invests in. You will then see returns based on your investment – usually dispersed on a quarterly basis.

Investing with an REIT looks and feels very much like playing the stock market, as you’ll simply be buying shares in the REIT and you can sell your shares whenever you like. Depending on the REIT, the buy-in rate is also fairly low, making it an attractive option for new investors. REIT shares are not eligible for 1031 exchanges, though, so you will be responsible for paying capital gains taxes when you sell.

Properties concept

Turnkey Rental Properties

Another hands-free option is to purchase a turnkey rental property. This kind of property will be move-in ready, and it will usually come with property management. Some properties even have tenants already living in them, so you can begin getting monthly or quarterly cash flow immediately.

Because these properties are often single-family homes, your income from the property will depend on having tenants living in it. A gap in tenancy can result in a significant loss of income, but a good property management company will work hard to retain tenants and to replace them quickly when necessary. Also, because you will directly own the property, when you sell it will be eligible for a 1031 exchange, which means you can defer paying your capital gains tax on the property if you purchase another investment property within a certain amount of time.

Crowdfunding Real Estate

The newest type of real estate investing around, real estate crowdfunding platforms were only open to people who qualified as accredited investors until recently. Because accreditation only reflected net worth and/or annual income, though, it was not the best indicator of a good investor, and as of last year, with the passing of Title III of the JOBS Act, now anyone with the funds can invest in real estate crowdfunding.

Like investing with an REIT, real estate crowdfunding is a form of equity investing, so you will not take direct ownership, and you may not perform a 1031 exchange if you sell your equity. However, this form of investing allows you to spread your investment capital over as many crowdfunded developments as you want, choosing exactly how much to invest in each.

Please call me to further discuss any and all of these options! Thanks   harriet

Making Money With Cash Flow Rental Property


Making money from cash flow rental property isn’t as complicated as you might expect, but there are a few things you ought to consider before investing in any rental property. If you want to see a positive return on your investment, you’ll need to ensure that you’ve set yourself up to bring in more cash each month than the property costs you in mortgage fees, property taxes, repairs, maintenance, property management fees, and any other incidental fees. To do this, and to ensure that you have a good model for getting the most out of your rental property.

Handle Your Rental Property as a Business

A lot of people get in trouble in the real estate investing business because they don’t deal with it as a business. They buy a rental property, put an ad on the Internet, get tenants, and assume everything is going to be okay from there. Then, before they know it, they’re dealing with late-night emergency phone calls about the property. There’ll be unexpected repairs, late rent, evictions, maintenance and repairs to get the house in shape for new tenants, and more. In other words, if you don’t handle your rental investment(s) as a business, the results could be catastrophic.

Don’t Underestimate the Value of Good Property Management

If you do not have previous experience as a landlord, you may want to extract yourself from the active part of your investment. By hiring a qualified property management firm to take care of your rental property, you can be assured everything’s taken care of for you, including repairs, maintenance, tenant acquisition, bookkeeping, etc.

You may have a slightly smaller margin than you would if you were taking care of all of these things on your own. Now, consider how much free time you’ll have available to you to seek out new investments and further increase your returns.

Know What to Charge in Rent

Finally, knowing how much to charge in rental fees is essential to a cash flowing rental property. If you base your rent entirely on how much money you’ve put into the property, and how much you need to collect to break even or make a profit, you’ll only have half the equation. You need to see what other comparable rentals are going for in your neighborhood.

In fact, you should figure out what you can reasonably charge for rent before you purchase a real estate investment property. If the rental market in the area won’t support a favorable rate, it’s time to look in other markets. That’s why it’s important to know the areas where you invest and to understand the market before you commit.

Follow these tips and get a good start making money with cash flow rental property in your area.


What 5 New Things Do Millennial Home Buyers Do?

New Millennials are getting into the home buying market

It seems like yesterday millennials were all kids in braces who had barely made it out of middle school and into high school, yet today they’re young adults in their twenties and early thirties. In fact, not only are millennials growing up, but they’re also entering the home buying arena in a significant way.

They’re the Largest Group of Buyers on the Market

First, as of last year, millennials made up 35% of home buyers in the United States, which represented a 3% increase over 2014. Not only that, but for the past three years, millennials have been the largest demographic of home buyers in the country, and that trend doesn’t look to be fading out any time soon.

Over Half of Them Start Their Home Searches Online

An estimated 56% of Millennials go online when they begin their search for a home of their own. Some start by looking online for properties in their area and price range, while others look for information on real estate and the buying process to help them understand what to expect when they find a house and make an offer.

They’re Moving to the Suburbs

While many young people talk about never leaving the city centers where they work and play, we’ve seen significant number increases in millennials buying homes outside of those city centers. Not only that, but it looks as though millennials are starting to prefer the suburbs, as the number of young home buyers in central urban areas went from 21% to 17% two years ago.

They’re Not Afraid to Ask for Financial Help

While not all millennials have parents with excess cash lying around, young home buyers today aren’t afraid to get some help from family or friends. According to one study, 23% of buyers in this demographic have used a financial gift to help make the down payment on their first home.

A Lot of Them Are Waiting Longer to Buy

While millennials constitute the largest group of home buyers in the country, not all of them are buying houses right now. In fact, a lot of young professionals are waiting to buy their first homes until they are in their thirties, which is good news for real estate investors holding attractive rental properties.

Right now, millennials are the group to watch, Though they’re moving to new cities for work, they’re not afraid to buy houses in the suburbs. They make up the largest buying demographic in the country, but they’re also a significant fraction of the rental market.



Small Lenders Gaining Power

The ‘big guy’ mortgage lenders are getting a reality check. When the economy went sour a few years ago their names were associated with some of the biggest crashes in this decade. The ‘small guys’ became a bright spot in the home buyers eyes. The independent lending companies maintained their reputation and their personal service didn’t hurt them either. Continue reading