Drive ⬘ People ⬘ Integrity ⬘ Community ⬘ Independence

Over the last two and a half years, Dan and I, with help and support of Cameron, numerous friends, colleagues and the agents who joined us early in, have worked on building StepStone Realty to what it is today… a thriving brokerage of over 120 agents and counting dedicated to the support of Investor Agents.  We spend a ton of the time working on building and improving systems, recruiting agent and building resources for existing agents. Just recently we decided to take a minute to step back and take a good look at where we are and where we are going.  Going through that process has reinvigorated our excitement for what we are doing and given us a new clarity on our direction.

A big part of that process was to determine the core values for StepStone Realty. We believe that by striving to uphold these values our success, and yours, will follow. I want to share them here with you and hope that you can get behind them. If so, I feel confident we can reach our goals together. Continue reading “StepStone Realty Core Values”

Oh the thrill of checking your email to find an offer for your listing! Only to find that it has a Contingency for the Sale of Other Property…

While this isn’t ideal you can help your client (or perhaps yourself!) make good choices by being familiar with how this contingency works and your options going forward.

First of all, do you accept?

Here are a few items I like to consider:

Is the other property on the market? If it’s not even listed yet I might be hesitant to accept.

If listed, is it priced appropriately to get an offer asap? If not, I might discuss with buyer’s agent to find out if they are open to dropping price on the listing. Continue reading “Technical Talk: Dealing with Offers Contingent on the Sale of Other Property”

One of the advantages of being an investor with a real estate license is the ability to list our own properties. This give us the opportunity for significant savings on the listing side but what about when a buyer is unrepresented… the savings can get even more substantial! But, in these cases, even more diligence is required due to the increased risks. It’s important in these cases that we follow certain procedures to protect yourself!

First, as a reminder, even when there is a buyer’s agent you must do the following to ensure that the transaction will be covered under your Errors & Omissions insurance when you are listing a property you own:

1.  Seller/Agent must disclose, in writing, their status as a licensed real estate agent. You should put this disclosure on the MLS listing in agent remarks AND in Section 4 of the TREC 1-4 Resale Contract. Continue reading “Technical Talk: Listing Agent & Unrepresented Buyers”

Mark Zuckerberg had Steve Jobs. Oprah Winfrey had Maya Angelou. Woodie Guthrie had Bob Dylan. Luke Skywalker had Yoda. In all walks of life and all industries from high tech to the arts, the value of mentorship relationships have long been recognized as a key component to success. Real estate is no different.

Last night we had dinner with some old friends and business partners to celebrate the recent closing on a project we collaborated on. We had a good time recalling all the projects and properties over the years, the horror stories and the home runs. The reminiscing reminded Dan of where we started and he told them how, when we met them early in our investing career, we were literally buying stuff at garage sales and selling it on Ebay to make ends meet.  Our friends, people who spent time mentoring us, raised their glasses and toasted our success. It was a nice moment for us all. Continue reading “StepStone Mentoring”

I grew up a Girl Scout.  From my first patch as a Brownie to my awkward teen years (made even more awkward when I had to wear the whole Senior scout uniform), I was a Girl Scout through and through. I’m pretty sure my mom was still signing me up as a Girl Scout even well into my 20’s.

And while some of the photos of me are cringe worthy and I probably earned a healthy nerd reputation (I was also a formidable high school debater!). I look back now and know that my time as a Girl Scout shaped my future and played a huge part in my success today.

I grew up thinking I would be a doctor. However, the fact that year after year I achieved top cookie sales in my council should have been my first clue that I was actually destined to be a salesperson! And while I learned some great sales skills (although I don’t know that pigtails and a beanie would work for me as well now) and knowledge about finances, supply, and customer service, the one lesson that I learned in Girl Scouts that stuck with me was this golden rule: Always leave a place better than you found it. Continue reading “The Black Sheep Open: Turning Kids into Entrepreneurs”

Back in 2007 when StepStone Realty was first incorporated we were one agent strong. Me. Over the years we have had one or two other agents come and go that were friends or partners but it was more out of convenience than anything else. We continued like that until the end of 2014 and that’s when StepStone Realty made a major shift and became the brokerage we are today.

So what happened in 2014?

After many years of practicing real estate together, Dan and I began to perfect our methods and strategies for working with distressed sellers.  We decided we wanted to branch out from the Austin market. We started to build relationships and partners with other investors… in San Antonio, in Houston, in D/FW… even a few in California. When we partnered with someone we always made sure they had an agent on their team.  Not just to call for comps or submit an offer but an agent ON THEIR TEAM. We recognized that by having a licensee on your team the opportunity to monetize leads was higher and we wanted to monetize all our leads! Continue reading “The Story of the Black Sheep”

So, you’ve decided to add a real estate license to your investor tool belt! Good for you! But now, as they say, with great power comes great responsibility! And the foremost responsibility is Disclosure of your status as a real estate agent!

There is a lot of confusion about what kind of disclosures are required, when and in what circumstances so let’s clear some of that murky water.

First and foremost, who makes the disclosure requirements?  The Texas Real Estate Commission addresses it in the Texas Real Estate Act and it is further addressed in the National Association of Realtors Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.  I’ve included the full transcript of both rules at the end of this blog should you want to read further. Continue reading “Rule #1: DISCLOSE”

Beginning January 1st, some important changes were made to the contracts we use every day.  It’s important to stay abreast of these changes so I will go over a few of the major ones here.

If you have written a 1-4 Family Resale lately you have noticed a big change on the first page.  A new paragraph in Section 4 lays out the disclosure laws so that sales agents now have a promulgated spot to put their notice of agency. There are no excuses for forgetting to disclosure your agency status on your contracts! There is much talk of what prompted this change and the decision to put the disclosure on Page 1 of the contract.  I’d love to hear what you all think spurred the change! Continue reading “Ch Ch Ch Changes.. to the TREC Forms!”

Would I like to get rich quick? Well, I wouldn’t say no. But is that what drives me to get up and work everyday? No, not in the least.

Dan and I have been investing in real estate for the past 11 years. While we haven’t got a mansion or a big boat to show for it we do have a growing business, a good reputation and a certain amount of freedom and contentment in life. While I’ll always be glad to make more money I think richness is not measured by the amount of money you have.

I see a fair amount of Get Rich Quick schemes at the various expo’s we attend or on the side of my Facebook feed. I also hear from some colleagues and even some of my agents on how they spent all their savings or maxed out all their credit to take this class, that training, this boot camp and don’t have anything to show for it. The promises did not pan out. Continue reading “Want to Get Rich Quick?”

Yesterday (when I wrote this) was the first Tuesday of the month.  Those of you who invest in Texas likely knows what that means… Yesterday was foreclosure day.  Many of you probably spent last week like I did… fielding calls from homeowners on the brink who finally decided to call the number on one of those mailers that have desperately been trying to get their attention.

There is some great opportunity in those calls for purchasing property from some very motivated sellers.  However, there are just as many if not more who don’t have equity and short sale is their only hope.  At StepStone, we lovingly call one of those a Hail Mary! While we may say a prayer what we are really referring to is the football term: Continue reading “Hail Mary!”