I get a lot of questions from new agents and investors asking how can they get started with investing.  This can be a tough business to get off the ground and it’s hard to know where to start.

I have told my agents the same thing over and over again… every deal needs three things: Time, Money and Expertise. And, no one has all three. No one. Figure out what piece of the puzzle you can solve and you will make your first step in getting started.

About 13 years ago, Dan put our first potential flip under contract. And, it took time! We drove for hours putting out bandit signs, answered each and every call that came in, spent time looking at dead ends, chased down homeowner information, wrote letters and cards. We spent our time on any and everything we could to get a lead that would turn into a deal. At that time in our career we had lots of time but no money or expertise. So, we put in our time and then partnered with another investor who had the money and expertise to see us through to the end. Continue reading “Getting Started: What Puzzle Piece Are You?”

Last week, the social media boards were a flurry of discussion as a result of an email sent out by TREC to licensed agents regarding a new bill recently signed by the governor directly related to wholesaling. While titled “Sale of Equitable Interests in Real Estate Clarified” it seemed to do more to create confusion and concern than clarify the new TREC rule.

Here is what the body of the email said:

SB 2212 amends Chapter 1101 to codify the clarifying changes to TREC rules regarding sale of certain equitable interests in real property.

Just like the rule, this statutory change clarifies that a person selling or offering to sell an option or assigning an interest in a contract to purchase real property must accurately disclose to potential buyers the nature of the interest offered. If a person offers a property for sale when the person does not own the property, that person is engaged in brokerage and must be licensed to do so. This is the current law. Continue reading “Clarifying SB 2212: TREC’s new Rule on Wholesaling”

As your Broker, it’s always my goal to advocate for my agents whether they are having a challenge in an agency situation or as an investor buyer or seller. Sometimes my agents are in the right and I can help them navigate a tough situation for a positive outcome.  However, sometimes these issues turn into hard, but important, lessons learned. Elliot Grochel, Agent-Investor in San Antonio, recently had to suffer through one of those hard lessons.

Elliot (who gave me permission to tell you his name and his story) called me a few weeks ago with a frustrating situation. He had a contract on a listed home that he was trying desperately to close on.

All was moving along smoothly until the appraisal came in low. The seller refused to budge on the sales price so Elliot started looking for alternatives. He could get a different loan product but that was going to take some time and he would miss his closing date. The seller offered to  take a 2nd lien for the difference and spent several days negotiating back and forth with the seller until an agreement, via email, was made. Continue reading “Lesson’s Learned and Shared”

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”