StepStone Realty is the Brokerage-Home for the Creative Real Estate Investor. But most people, even real estate agents, are not clear on what it means to be a creative real estate investor. What is creative real estate investing?

Quite simply, it’s any type of real estate transaction that doesn’t follow one of your traditional models. Traditionally, people have two options if they want to make money in real estate; either get a license and represent buyers and sellers or use a realtor to help you purchase property (that’s been listed on the MLS) and hold that property (typically as a rental) until it appreciates.

Continue reading “What Makes an Investment “Creative”?”

Ok, ok… before we get started. Let me preface this by saying that escrow agents are awesome! They have high pressure jobs often bearing the brunt of frustrated sellers, angry buyers, impatient Realtors, slow lenders and they do it all with a smile and often a fresh baked cookie!

However, as a Realtor, you need to be very careful when taking the advice of an escrow agent when sitting at the closing table trying to resolve some kink in the closing plan.

Continue reading “Beware the Advice of the Escrow Agent”

Folks who have taken my Understanding Agency for the Investor Agent class have likely heard me get on my soap box regarding seller’s disclosures. Unfortunately, many investors and sometimes licensed agents, put too little thought into the consequences of an improperly delivered and executed Seller’s Disclosure Notices.  Read on to hear my thoughts on best practices to avoid potential liability.

When it comes to investors and the Seller’s Disclosure Notice I see two things pretty frequently…

Continue reading “My Seller’s Disclosure Soap Box”

It seems every day we are bombarded with competing information about the state of the housing market. Just this week we learned that the economy gained back a large portion of the GDP lost during the spring COVID-19 shut-downs.

Housing sales are back up, with a summer/fall sales increase replacing what normally occurs in the spring, and demand continues to press against low-inventory driving up home pricing.

On the flip side, distress for many homeowners is looming. As the Mortgage Bankers Association has reported, 90 day delinquency rates are at their highest level since the third quarter of 2010. And as reported by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), 10 large metropolitan areas (3 of which are in Texas!) are in serious risk of major FHA defaults with current 90 day delinquency rates exceeding 15%.

Continue reading “What Distress?”

After hundreds of meetings with sellers, I find the best way to negotiate is to not ever negotiate. It’s a mindset change that drastically increased my level of success with homeowners, not only in purchasing their property, but also in helping to forge listing agreements as well.

It all starts with the recognition that we are not in the business of real estate. We are instead, problem solvers. Therefore, I’m not looking for a particular property, but rather opportunities to solve homeowner’s problems.

Continue reading “Best Way to Negotiate on a House? Don’t!”

Agents often ask me if they can get their commission paid directly to their LLC entity. The answer is no… or a complicated yes.

The Texas Real Estate Commission rules indicate that a broker is only allowed to pay a commission to a licensed agent or entity. So, in general, the answer is No. However, if it’s really important to you it is possible to license your entity which would allow for commissions to be paid directly to your LLC. However, it’s a complicated process with added expenses so you will want to consider that choice carefully.

Continue reading “Can Agent Commissions be Paid to my LLC?”

With the current economic climate, we are likely to soon see a prolonged period of “subject to” (Sub2) opportunities and owner-financed wraps. Not familiar with these concepts? Take my classes on these... they are vital concepts for making money!

So how do you know when a Sub2 deal is a “good deal”? There are really only two key concepts to look at. First is one you are already pretty familiar with: equity. If the amount of equity alone makes the deal a good one, then it’s a good deal. Remember, “Sub2” is merely a financing mechanism.

Continue reading “Is this Sub2 Deal a Good One?”

I hear way too many Realtors and investors tell me they missed out on a deal because the homeowner was “too close to foreclosure”. This is never the case! If you find a homeowner and need to delay the foreclosure so you can close the deal, you have options!

Option 1: Bankruptcy

While this will be a “credit hit” to the seller, bankruptcy is an option they can take to delay the auction. The good news is this can be done right up to the morning of the auction and can be done for free! The sellers do not need an attorney, however, you can not act as one and help them if you are not an attorney. But they should know that they can call the local Federal Bankruptcy Court and a Court Clerk will be more than happy to let them know which documents they need to download and file in order to prevent the foreclosure. This is known as the “emergency bankruptcy kit”. If they ask the Clerk for that, they will get what they need.

Continue reading “Foreclosure Prevention”

We had planned to do a blog about foreclosure postponement techniques this month but like many plans in action, we were all stopped short a few weeks ago when the Corona virus went from some obscure concern on the other side of the globe to a very real concern with an unprecedented ripple effect through our personal lives, our government, health care system, stock market and of course, the real estate market. So, instead, I’m going to talk about a few of the items I discussed with my agents on our weekly Mastermind call last Friday regarding how the Covid-19 crisis is impacting our businesses.

TAR Release a Covid-10 Addendum

Last week, the Texas Association of Realtors (TAR) released a new Covid-19 Addendum for voluntary use by Texas Realtors. The addendum:

Continue reading “Broker’s COVID-19 Update”

I give a lot of classes, including continuing education credit classes for Realtors, on the topic of “Sub2” — the practice of purchasing a home through the transfer of deed without paying off the existing liens. This is a way to assume someone’s payments without having to qualify with the lender and without taking the note out of the seller’s name. Attend a CE Class for more information!

One of the first reactions is that this must be illegal! Or the banks “don’t allow” that.

The truth is, it is perfectly legal and the lender cannot prohibit you from transferring your deed to whoever you want! More importantly, they cannot prohibit you from purchasing property “subject to” the existing lien.

Continue reading “Should I Be Afraid of the “Due on Sale” Clause?”