For decades, Real Estate Professionals have had to choose between the path of being a Licensed Agent or being a Creative Real Estate Investor.

As a Real Estate Agent, you likely have been told that investing techniques are illegal or unethical. These myths have led to an environment today that has caused brokers to institute archaic rules on you such as a prohibition on wholesaling, listing your own property or wrapping “sub2” deals.

As an investor, it’s very likely you have been told that you should avoid getting a real estate license. You might have heard that by having a license, you will have to treat sellers differently which can cost you good deals. Or worse, that a broker will trap you into a J-O-B and make you show buyers around.

Continue reading “StepStone Realty: The Home of the Black Sheep”

As Realtors, we have certain rules of thumb that we are comfortable with when helping a client evaluate an offer. However, if you are working with a distressed seller you should also be familiar with the rules of thumb that investors work with to help your client complete a successful sale to an investor.

Over my 12 plus years as a real estate broker practicing traditional real estate and as a creative real estate investor I’ve seen plenty of conflicts between investors and Realtors that were usually the result of the Realtor being unfamiliar with investor strategies and methods.  Not to say that investors are always the good guys but knowing where the other party is coming from will put the Realtor in a much better position to ensure their distressed seller doesn’t go into further distress! This article will shed some light on the differences AND offer advise on how the Realtor can best look after their clients’ interests when you are dealing with an investor offer.

First, when should your client consider accepting an investor offer? Continue reading “Investor 101 for Realtors”

Life happens. Sometimes, we get an extra dose of “life” and it can be a challenge!

As the broker/co-owner of StepStone Realty I’ve got a lot of expectations to live up to.  I’m expected to have all the answers whenever an agent calls with questions, be available to resolve conflicts, manage an office & staff, write helpful and informative blogs and content every month, make community connections, keep current agents happy and recruit new agents. Not to mention, my personal and family expectations.

These expectations give me purpose and direction. And it is a challenge to keep up with it all sometimes but I wouldn’t change it for anything. This is my life and I love what I do and who I do it with! Continue reading “Challenges ARE Gifts!”

There are a lot of moving parts in the buying and selling process and one of them that can cause major complications is the actual MOVING! Every seasoned agent heard of a transaction in which the buyer and his entire family is living out of suitcases in a cheap hotel room for weeks on end while paying hefty fees for their belongings to sit in a moving van waiting on any number of things that delayed closing.

Temporary Leases are a useful tool in helping to mitigate these situations but are not without their risks. Texas Association of Realtors (TAR) provides two promulgated forms that can be used to accomplish temporary leases in a sales transaction.

The Seller’s Temporary Residential Lease allows for the seller, after closing, to remain in the home for a pre-determined length of time. This is a very common requirement for sellers, particularly when they are using the proceeds from the sale to buy a replacement home. Generally, I don’t see many problems with these leases but I do have one scary story for you to use to help your buyer’s make good choices when considering a seller’s request for a temporary lease. Continue reading “SCARY STORIES ABOUT TEMPORARY LEASES!”

Many of you have heard me tell the story of what Creative Real Estate Investing was like when I started, 15 years ago.  It was very much an underground, unheard of business practice.  So much so that it invited a lot of scams and unethical practices.

It should be no surprise, then, that Wikepedia, still today, defines Creative Real Estate Investing in the following way:

“Creative real estate investing is any non-traditional method of buying and selling real estate.  Confidence tricks and pyramid schemes … have embraced the term, leading contemporary usage of the term to be synonymous with unscrupulous practices.”

To find out this is how the general public really thinks, we did our own survey.  When asked what you think of when you hear the word “creative real estate investor” or see an “I Buy Houses” advertisement… the top answers that emerged were “Fraud”, “Scam”, “Greedy”, “Unprofessional” and “Uncaring”. Continue reading “Help us Bring Creative Real Estate Investing into the Mainstream!”

A few weeks ago, with the help of Patten Law Firm, StepStone had the opportunity to present a free CE class, Advanced Owner Fi Strategies, to local real estate agents. Dan teaches this class and while it can be a lot of information the take away is certainly the advantages of the owner finance option for sellers.

After one of the classes, an agent came up to me and admitted that she had a lot of questions but didn’t ask during the class because she felt so behind the eight ball in understanding the subject. However, her interest was piqued particularly because she had a listing in which owner financing seemed like a perfect option for her client.  We discussed the seller situation and I agreed with her and gave her some advice on her listing.  In fact, not only was owner financing a good option for her listing it was a GREAT option that would allow her clients to not only sell the property but also create residual income on that sale for many years to come. I have a feeling that her clients are going to appreciate her out of the box thinking. Continue reading “Black Sheep Make Better Agents”

I was chatting with a Realtor recently who was considering joining the StepStone team. He’s interested in investing and has done a bit himself but was skeptical that our brokerage could really be the community we described when he came to one of our monthly MasterMind lunches.  After that lunch, he had spent some time with some of our Investor-Agents and found that it really was a group that collaborated on investing strategies, partnered, shared their knowledge with others and had strong ethics. Glad to have you on the team, Sergio. I may have paraphrased a little but that’s how I heard it!

The StepStone Workshops are the culmination of that community spirit.  Twice a year, StepStone Agent Investors and their business partners and spouses are invited to an exclusive event… StepStone Workshops. Our next one is in Houston on August 10th & 11th (‘cause we’re Investors so Houston in August doesn’t scare us!) Continue reading “Which Group Will You Be In?”

My sister and brother-in-law recently purchased a business that they plan to operate together. While they have been married for over 25 years, they are still a little nervous about working together day after day. For the past 10+ years, he was on the road a lot and they sometimes only saw each other on weekends so this will be a huge shift in both their professional and personal lives. My husband, Dan, and I have been in business together for 12 years so she asked for my advice.

In real estate, it’s very common to find spouses or partners working together so I thought this was some advice many of us in the field could appreciate. I reached out to several other successful couples who are in business together to solicit their advice as well. Based on their responses and my experience, I believe the best advice can be boiled down to three main points: Continue reading “When The Personal Gets Professional”

The following is a speech I gave at the April StepStone Agent Workshop introducing our new logo! Read on to find out how StepStone Realty is Moving Real Estate Forward!


Have any of you ever looked up “creative real estate investing” on Wikipedia?

Creative real estate investing is any non-traditional method of buying and selling real estate. Confidence tricks and pyramid schemes in the 20th and 21st century such as Nouveau Riche (real estate investment college) have embraced the term, leading contemporary usage of the term to be synonymous with unscrupulous practices.

Ouch. What we do is synonymous with unscrupulous practices? Well, this is certainly what Dan’s parents worried about when he decided to start real estate investing. They probably started to worry more when Dan left his job as a political consultant to practice creative real estate investing full time. A year or so after Dan left his job he would call me on my lunch hour and he would tell me “Angie, you need to get your real estate license. Angie, you need to start your own business” and I would think, “Dan, I’m the one bringing in a steady paycheck!”  or ” What kind of business could I start? What do I have to offer?” I’ve always said Dan is the gas and I’m the brake pedal. Continue reading “StepStone Realty-Moving Real Estate Forward”

StepStone back offices are in full prep mode for the upcoming StepStone Agent Workshop scheduled for April 13th and 14th in Austin. We are fine tuning the schedule, lining up sponsors, creating handouts, processing registrations, printing name tags…

It’s a big undertaking that started late last year and as I write this we are coming up on the registration deadline on April 5th. Have you registered? Still on the fence? Unsure if it’s really worth your time?

First things first, this is not a profit driven pursuit for StepStone. In fact, the Workshop is a significant expense of both time and money and each additional person who attends costs us a little more. Yet, we still call you, email you and blog about it in an effort to GET YOU THERE! Why? Because we honestly believe the Workshops will help you become more successful. And I don’t mean that in a general sense. I mean that in a very real concrete way. Here’s how: Continue reading “Get Off Your Lonely Island”