4 Ways to Tap Into Your Full Investment Potential

Are you ready to grow your wealth and watch your portfolio expand like you never thought possible? While real estate has traditionally been treated as a boring, slow-moving diversifier and stabilizer for portfolios, it can actually do incredible things for you if you know how to tap into your full investment potential. With these tips, you can efficiently and effectively take the steps necessary to gain more wealth and more earning power with your real estate investment portfolio.

Become an Excellent Communicator

Whether you’re working with an investment expert to perfect your portfolio or you’ve hired a realtor to help you find the best fix-and-flip houses, communication is key in the world of real estate investing. The clearer and more succinct you can be when communicating what you want and need, the more effectively others can work for you to help you achieve it.

Never Underestimate the Power of Networking

Next, use those communication skills to your advantage by networking with people in the real estate industry. You want to get to know brokers, contractors, real estate agents, financial advisors, other investors, and anyone who may have a new perspective or lead on the best investments for your portfolio. You never know when you might encounter a new investing partner, so always take advantage of opportunities to do some networking.

Always Follow Up

Of course, just meeting and greeting people in the real estate industry won’t get you very far if you don’t follow up with them later. Whenever you collect business cards at an event or whenever you meet someone by chance who works in real estate investing, be sure to follow up with a brief, professional email or call within 24 hours. You don’t want them to forget who you are and wonder why you’re emailing them, so always be prompt. Then, after that initial email, be sure to foster and build the relationship so that you create a true connection, not just another name in your phone.

Get Social

Beyond in-person interactions, get online and create an active social media presence for yourself as an investor. Whether or not you create specific pages for your investing ventures, you should be active on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, showing that you are a serious investor with a head for business.

On that note, be very aware of how you present yourself online and in person. Post only professional and appropriate pictures and content. Avoid volatile political debates, and don’t make comments that could make people question your character. You want people to find you on social media, and you want them to see you as someone they’d like to work with, whether in an investment deal or in another venture.

When you do these four things, you’ll create a reputation for yourself as a savvy investor with great people skills. You’ll be approachable, and you’ll have the connections you need to get leads on the very best investments in your niche.

Give us a call for more information.




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

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

Helpful Advice To Use When Purchasing Property

First-time homebuyersIf you’re fresh at purchasing real estate, you might want to read this over and then recruit the help of reputable real estate agents. Professionals have 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 take the time to get prequalified. They also often don’t take the time to shop around to find the best mortgage for their particular situation. It’s important to ask plenty of questions and make sure you understand the home loan process completely.

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 preapproved for a mortgage loan. If you are not preapproved, 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.

Buying real estate isn’t as difficult as it might seem. You need to take some time to educate yourself and ask lots of questions. If, you use these tips, then you’ll be able to make a wise decision on your next real estate purchase. Call me to make your home buying easier ( 917-952-7364 ).

Should You Wait To Make Home Renovations?


There’s been impressive growth in the real estate sector in recent years, and this has led to increased opportunities for homebuyers of all budgets. As the real estate market becomes increasingly competitive, these homes are becoming even smarter investment choices for well-informed home buyers.

One of the advantages of such homes is you can modify them to one’s personal preferences and increase the value of your asset in the process. Though, it’s often recommended that as a homebuyer, you take your time and live in your newly purchased home before doing any major renovations or expensive house improvements.

It’s okay and even advisable to make minor changes, such as plumbing and lighting repairs, but major remodeling work might better be postponed until a later date. Below are some reasons why it’s a good idea to keep sizable home improvements on hold until you’ve inhabited your new home for a spell.


Living in your new home before making permanent upgrades places you in a better position to make informed decisions on any changes. Even if you have visualized as to how you want your home to be, you might never be able to tell exactly if the new house will serve you well, until you have lived in it for a spell.

Waiting to make improvements will provide you with vital information on certain aspects that will or will not work in your favor or according to your preferences. The daily experiences you have will substantially influence your eventual decision on updates you wish to make.


Purchasing a home is, for many people, one of the most significant assets they will ever make in their whole lives. Subsequently, it goes without saying that home buyers can go through a very stressful period when closing on their homes. You will likely have made some significant changes in your standard of living to get the home you desire. As such, you will need sufficient time to recover from the financial impact of home buying. And, home improvements are not exactly cheap or easy to complete.

It is an extremely important process that requires considerable investment regarding energy, time and money, all of which, may have been exhausted in the home buying process. You do not want to put yourself through all these stresses in such a short period of time. Therefore, it is prudent to wait for a while before undertaking any home Improvements or modifications.


One of the reasons many homeowners conduct renovations as soon as possible is to avoid the feeling like their home is not complete. They also say the trouble of paying for the improvements later on, in addition to other expenses such as a mortgage and utilities.

For any home improvements to be successful, requires proper planning and preceding arrangements on your part, and it doesn’t matter how small it may be, remodeling your home will take a lot of time and will require consultation with several contractors, architects, as well as interior and exterior designers.

There are many listed contractors on the market nowadays. That means getting the right one can be a daunting task in itself, and you don’t want to hire a contractor under rigid time constraints.

These parties will offer professional opinions on the many aspects involved in renovating your house. Enlisting the services of the best contractors should ensure that you are happy with the end results, and may end up saving you some money in the long run.

At the moment, it may make financial sense, but in the long-term, it can cause certain problems. Therefore, it is crucial to allocate some time to plan and arrange for the renovations properly.

No matter which home you decide to buy, there will always be some repairs and work you’ll have to in the future.


Heeeeeeeeere’s Brooklyn

brooklynshopsToday’s society is ever changing and very diverse. Brooklyn NY has withstood the test of time and stays in sync with cultural changes as well as economic changes. We have had our share of ups and downs as well as the rest of the country but we are bouncing back and bouncing back hard. The housing industry is on the move. This upward trend of buying and selling homes is fast paced. Let’s look at some facts about Brooklyn provided by wikipedia.org   Continue reading

“Renting Back” After Your Home Is Sold

23DrewCt Staten IslandSOLDSometimes it’s helpful to sell your home before you really want to move. This often happens when you are having a new home built, but aren’t sure of the completion date. Is there any way you can sell your home so you’re sure of the funds available for the new purchase, but continue to live in your old home until construction of the new one is complete. Yes, there is with the renting back strategy.

Enter the Lease-Back or Rent-Back Agreement

The particulars of this strategy vary from state to state, but in the strong seller’s market we’re experiencing, buyers will often agree to let the seller stay in the home for a period of time as long as rent is paid. In a competitive situation, the buyer willing to do this will often have the winning bid even though there is another offer as high as his.

The agreement covering the situation states the length of time the seller will remain. It can be done with a specific date named or wording that allows the seller to remain up to a specific date with the possibility of her moving sooner. The amount can be a fixed figure paid out of the proceeds of settlement or a monthly amount, or a daily amount. It is usually, but not always, tied to the amount of the mortgage payment under the buyer’s new loan. Sometimes there is a deposit against damage, sometimes not. There is usually a clause saying the seller will hold the buyer harmless for any damage to himself or his property which occurs after the sale is consummated and before the seller moves.

The attorney who draws up your contract offer can create such an agreement. If you’re using online forms, you should be able to find one for this situation. If you’re working with a real estate broker, he or she can handle it for you.

An Example

I’ve recently seen a very pleasant example of this idea in action. An elderly widow contracted to have a one level condo unit built in a new community which provides all exterior maintenance. She had had hip replacement surgery and wanted to get away from the drawbacks of the home in which she’d reared her children. The home was large, had stairs and was located on a large, partially wooded lot with many mature perennials and shrubs. Both the home and garden were beautiful, but high maintenance.

Her contract to purchase required a series of deposits and a firm indication as to her source of funds well before settlement on her new condo. The widow put her home on the market. A young couple with two sons was very anxious to buy it. The situation was competitive. They made the widow an offer. She countered their original offer. She did not raise their offer price, which was slightly below her asking price. She did not believe the young couple would qualify for a larger loan. Instead, she did something rather creative.

The widow countered with a proposal that she “rent back” for a period of “up to” a certain date (a date beyond her scheduled competition date on the condo) in exchange for a modest flat sum to be paid to the buyer at settlement. The total rent back period was less than two months. The flat fee was less than the amount of the new mortgage payment for the buyers. However, since they made no payment on their new mortgage the first month, it wasn’t too far out of line. The couple really wanted the home, so they accepted the counter offer.

Another win, win situation was created. The widow only had to move one time and the young couple got a house they probably wouldn’t have in a straight bidding war. If you find yourself in a situation similar to either the widow or the young couple, perhaps you can work out a similar solution.

It’s So Easy, Being Green

Fall leavesFall is on our doorstep and winter won’t be far behind.
With oil and natural gas prices rocketing, stoking terror of long, cold and and expensive winters, a renewed interest in keeping heating costs under control has has been sparked. Homeowner’s have an ignited passion in understanding energy saving methods. If you’re in this boat, stuck in cold waters, here are some tips for energy saving tricks of the trade.

If you’re living in a home with a furnace that’s more than 20 years old, you may have already attempted the “buy a sweater” method of keeping warm. This is certainly one approach, but these days upgrading your home’s conditioning system is a much better option, and will bode well for you in the here and now, and in the long term, should you decide sell your home. More and more, homebuyers are looking for homes with energy efficient systems already in place. So, think of these upgrades as a long term investment in the resale value of your home, as well a cost efficient and green alternative to your current conditioning system.

Now, with that old choker of a furnace huffin’ and puffin’ away, guaranteed it’s not as efficient as it could be, no matter what fuel type it uses. The newer gas furnaces are mid-efficiency (78-82%) or high efficiency (89-96%). Although the higher efficiency products can cost up to $1000 more than the mid-efficiency products, extra costs will be re-couped in a couple years, as they will burn less fuel. And, you’ll be the greenest frog on the block, sending less harmful emissions out into the atmosphere. “It’s so easy being green”, murmured Kermit, once he upgraded his furnace.

With oil furnaces, there are again, much more efficient products on the market as of late. But, a oil furnace does need to partner with a good chimney, and so this may be an additional cost to keep in mind

Take note, it’s still the case that electric heat is more expensive than oil and gas, although a smart combination of central woodstove heat, supplemented by electric heat can be cost efficient.

Let it Flow: Change Your Filters!

Whether disposable or washable, all forced-air heating/cooling systems use filters. And, these filters need to be maintained and changed. Some filters require monthly changes while other last up to three months, and much depends on the conditions within your home. A dirty filter will restrict air flow and with clogged filters you’re blocking heat that would otherwise be keeping you toasty warm. Do yourself a favor and keep on top of the regular changing of your heat filters. This is a pretty easy way to boost your energy efficiency and cut costs.

Pump it up: Install a Heat Pump

Air source heat pumps are the most common and they are generally used with a back-up heating system. In terms of function a heat pump works by extracting heat from the outside and bringing it in, (in heat mode), and by removing heat from the inside of the house and releasing it outside. ( in cooling mode).

The king of heat pumps, though, are ground and watersource, or geothermal. And while the initial investment may be great, the saving will be substantial in the long run. These pumps will use 25-50% less energy than conventional conditioning systems.

At the end of the day, another simple method to help with soaring heat bills, is to keep an eye on the set temperature levels in your house, What is normally described as room temperature is around 68 Fahrenheit (20 degrees celsius). Of course, only you can decide where to set the dial. But, if you’d rather avoid the ” put on a sweater” method of winter energy conservation, you might consider investing in an improved conditioning system that’ll bring you warmth today, and will be a smart investment in the re-sale value of your home.

Bathroom Design Strategies


When it comes to adding value to your property, the experts in real estate will agree that to capitalize in the bathroom and kitchen almost certainly guarantees profitable return.

If you’re considering making your home appealing to potential buyers, then one of the first places to start is in the bathroom. With countless accessories and appliances on the market, making a decision that will ultimately allow you to reap the rewards is daunting.

When it comes to bathroom design, what is it that
most people really want? Would choosing a spacious whirlpool bath above a traditional bath be financially beneficial in the long haul?

Wouldn’t designing your bathroom be a much easier task if you were armed Continue reading

Do I need Renters Insurance?

This is a must read for all renters. Catch all the info from Forbes.com200 west 109
Maggie McGrath has all the details & she has added a checklist too!

If you were at risk of losing $5,000, $10,000 or even $15,000 and could do something to stop it, would you? Would you sit by and twiddle your thumbs, or would you leap into action and do something to protect your stash?

The answer is a no-brainer: you’d leap into action. Continue reading

Holograms: The Next Big Thing in Real Estate Marketing?

Forget a virtual tour – how about a hologram to market a listing?

That’s just what real estate developer Extell did to market One Riverside Park, a 35-story, 219-unit condominium located in the company’s Riverside South residential complex in Manhattan. In perhaps the most technologically-advanced sales tactic ever, Extell tapped holography pioneer Musion to generate holograms showcasing the condo’s interior, amenities and surrounding waterfront neighborhood. (Fun Fact: Musion is the same company responsible for the divisive hologram of Tupac Shakur that “performed” at Coachella in 2012.)

And it worked. Continue reading

#tbt Before There Was Air Conditioning

thermometer heatOhh, it is so hot. Summer is a scorcher this year. Can you imagine not having any air conditioning. Brutal, I say, brutal. This is a great read from www.offthegridquest.com  7 Ways Homes Kept Cool Before Air Conditioning. Beautiful detailed pictures are awesome to look at too.

The modern air conditioner was invented only in the 1920s, and it didn’t become a common home feature until the latter half of the 20th century.  But, while some of us might wonder how our grandparents survived hot and steamy summers, the fact is those older homes had a few tricks up their sleeves. They were designed and built with features to help them stay cool without AC.

Mary Wheeler Schap is a registered architect who designs and restores historic buildings to their former glory in Cincinnati, Ohio. She offered this expert insight into the features that made older homes livable in the heat.

1.  Airflow

In northern states, it was common to create a “stack effect” by opening windows in the basement and top floor. This generated a cool breeze through the house. Further south, before AC many homes were built on blocks, allowing breezes to flow underneath and help keep them cool all summer long.

Please, turn on the a/c and read on! Click Here