My extended family has a Christmas tradition that Dan finds a bit maddening. When we gather to celebrate the holiday and exchange gifts we take turns as each person opens their stocking and Christmas gifts as the rest of us watch. I really enjoy giving each person their own time to open their gifts, thank the giver and see all the great stuff everyone gave each other.

We’ve kept up this tradition for quite some time but the trouble is that every Christmas it seems the group gets bigger. What used to be just me and my two sisters with my parents is now multiplied with our spouses, our kids, their spouses, their kids, assorted in-laws and a gaggle of 5 little girls including a new set of twins. Things have gotten out of hand to say the least. What used to take an hour or so can now stretch well into the night with no time left to do anything else.

Much like the Sherosky clan, our StepStone family has grown a lot in the last few years and based on your comments on our recent survey many of you, like Dan, are ready for a little change in tradition. And, while there are things I really love about how we’ve done the MasterMinds in the past, it’s time to take a new direction. Continue reading “MasterMind Shake UP”

Have you ever seen the TV show Bridezillas? It starts with an introduction to a beautiful, blissful bride and her loving, supportive family. But then, somewhere along the way, a switch goes off and the pleasant bride-to-be turns into Bridezilla- mean spirited, demanding, lashing out at everyone around her.  Usually, the people who get the worst of her abuses are the ones who are closest to her, helping to make her dream wedding come true.

I’ve also seen this same phenomenon in real estate. The buying and selling process can be very stressful. Especially, when things don’t go just right. Or, worse, when things go absolutely wrong.  The stress can cause your most pleasant, friendly client to turn into a Sellerzilla or Buyerzilla in the blink of an eye.  And much like the show, the folks who get the worst of the behavior are often the sales agents who have been working so hard to make the transaction work. Continue reading “When Conflict Arises”

It’s Dan’s favorite time of the year.. the decorations come down, the shopping stops, the hurried and distracted pace of the holidays fades away. January 2nd! Official Back to Work Day!

We’ll get back to work by spending the next few weeks reviewing our 2017 goals and setting the new ones for 2018. By using the techniques we learned reading TRACTION by Gino Wickman over the last year we were able to make some great strides in our goals for StepStone Realty.

First on our agenda was to provide additional training and educational opportunities for our agents. As a result, we produced four Agent Workshops that were offered in each of our major metros.  All four were a great success where agents & partners enjoyed making connections with agents from other cities, excellent networking, great classes and fun happy hours. Based on your comments, this year we’ll be doing 2 Two Day Workshops. Mark your calendars now for April 13 & 14 for the Austin event and August 10 & 11 for the Houston Workshop. You won’t want to miss them. Continue reading “2017 StepStone Goals in Review”

As StepStone grows and our reputation as an excellent brokerage for Licensed Real Estate Investors spreads we start to attract not only folks already in the REI world but those wanting to get into it. We’ve had many brand new agents come on board who see the advantage to having the skill sets of both traditional agents and creative investors to provide them the most likely chance of turning leads into deals and succeeding in the world of real estate.

However, as “greenhorns”, knowing exactly where to start can be daunting. On one hand there is so much information out there that it can be overwhelming and yet on the other hand there is no set curriculum or guide on exactly how to start that you can feel stuck. I’ve chatted with several of these agents over the last few weeks and as a result we are working on creating a Getting Started guide to help our newest agent/investors get off to a good start.

In the meantime, though, if you are one of these agent/investors, there are some active steps you can take to get started in the world of both retail and creative real estate. Make no mistake… breaking into this field takes time and commitment. Determination and willingness to put yourself out there is a requirement. If you are willing to take these first steps you are putting yourself on a path for success. Continue reading “First Steps for the Newbie”

So, what does that MLS status PB really mean? This status indicates that the property is under contract aka PENDING but that the seller is open to receiving and considering BACKUPS. How does this process work?

If a property is under contract, the seller has the option to review and accept a Back Up Offer with the use of an ADDENDUM FOR “BACKUP” CONTRACT. There are two primary blanks to complete on the Back Up Addendum.  Section A will identify the First contract by inserting the executed date of that contract in this blank. Section B will identify the date the Back Up offer will terminate.

If a seller wishes to accept a Back Up Offer with this Addendum in place the Back Up Offer will be executed and earnest and option money shall be deposited. If the First offer terminates on or before the date set out in Section B of the Back Up Addendum then the Back Up offer moves to the primary position.

At the time that the Back Up Offer moves into the primary position the executed date shall be amended to the date the back up buyer receives notice that the first contract has terminated. I recommend the agents execute an amendment reflecting the new effective date so no conflicts arise later as to when the option or financing periods began and end. Continue reading “Technical Talk: Accepting Back Up Offers”

As the broker of over 150 agents, it is I who gets to hear about it when things go sideways on a transaction. I recently had an interesting one… a buyer wanted to terminate a contract based on the third party financing addendum. The first thing I do when there is a conflict is review the contract. In this particular contract, the portion that indicated how many days the buyer had to give notice of non-approval was left blank. Easy! I thought! Their agent made an error by not filling in that blank so now they have no days to give notice and the seller is entitled to the earnest money. Right?

The buyer’s agent saw it in a very different light. Her argument was that since it was blank the buyer had INFINITY days to give notice of non-approval. Hmmmm. Unfortunately, in this case, there is no right or wrong answer. The buyer and the seller now have to agree to the terms of the earnest money release or no one gets it.  Both of the agents let their clients down. That contract should have never been executed without all the blanks filled in. Continue reading “The Devil is in the Details”

I talk to a lot of investors at various networking meetings around the state of Texas (and beyond).  Often when I ask if they have considered getting licensed, I’m met with a sneer or sour look on their face.

“No!” they will say, “I’ve heard that is a bad idea”.

This is not a surprise since a quick google search of “should I be licensed as a real estate investor” quickly pulls up every top X list of reasons to NOT get licensed.  Most of which are myths about what that means.

Well here’s my Top 14 Reasons TO be licensed! Continue reading “14 Reasons to Get Your License”

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”