On Friday April 25th, 2014 we invited Realtors to come for lunch with a purpose. We wanted to give them an opportunity to learn from all sorts of professionals and not just from us mortgage brokers. We had a credit management expert, a CPA, a veteran Realtor, and a Social Media expert each give 5 minutes of actionable advice. Here’s what they had to say:
Terry Holland, the well respected Conejo Valley veteran realtor, spoke about keeping balance between your life and your life’s work. He encouraged having an overall game plan and being committed to scheduling your days in order to maintain control over your life. He gave 5 ways to keep control:
1. Plan for time away. Do NOT work 24/7/365.
2. Exercise regularly to feel better and think more clearly.
3. Find and embrace your moral compass or beliefs.
4. Don’t be afraid to ignite your joy. Go to your kid’s games, indulge your hobbies, and do things you are passionate about.
5. Love your job or figure out how to.
Top Tip: Have a game plan, goals, and plan your time.
Angela Setters, CEO of Conquer Credit, talked about the different credit unions, Experian, TransUnion, and CBI EquiFax in addition to the algorithms that each uses to calculate credit scores. Basically, all credit scores are calculated based on the FICO algorithm or an augmentation of the FICO algorithm.
There are 3 types of scores: Consumer, Financial, and Auto. Consumers only have access to the Consumer score which can cause confusion between your client and the lender they are using. The Financial score is calculated using approximately 80% of the variables included in the Consumer score and is usually lower than the Consumer score. This highlights the importance of having your clients get a Prequalification letter before deciding on their dream home.
For your clients who have gone through a Foreclosure or Short Sale, there is hope. It is not the end of the world as long as they keep up with their other debts. They can come back from the financial blow by rebuilding their credit.
Top Tip: Angela also highly recommended monitoring your credit score through a service to be able to stop credit fraud that can destroy an individual’s ability to purchase a property.
Skylar Dubrow, a legacy CPA from the Dubrow Group in Thousand Oaks, spoke on bookkeeping and taxes for realtors. As far as bookkeeping is concerned, the IRS is no longer accepting bank and credit card statements as proof of expenses for Schedule C or 2106 (employee business expense). You must keep a copy (digital is fine) of the receipt in case you are audited by the IRS. You can use a scanner like NeatReceipts, Evernote, or Expensify to keep copies and keep up with all the expenses you can report.
He advocates that if you make over $50,000 as a Sole Proprietor you should consider talking to your tax professional about switching from a Sole Proprietorship into a S-Corp to save yourself the self-employment taxes. Being an S-Corp forces you to develop healthy expense tracking and bookkeeping habits as well as saving you money.
On the other side of your business, your client’s tax returns help determine their loan eligibility along with their credit score. It’s best to have your client’s CPA and their Loan Officer work together to determine their eligibility. Their CPA can help recommend things like how much 2106 expense to claim before trying to buy a home, while their Loan Officer can make recommendations based on rates and their credit score.
Top Tip: At the end of the loan make sure to tell the Loan Officer to send a copy of the HUD 1 (closing statement) so that all the proper loan expenses can be reported and deducted. Being proactive in communications with your client’s network is a sure way to have a happy client.
Baron Miller, Social Media Expert and Co-Founder of Couponler.com, went over the basics of social media for Realtors. Overall, being on social media is good for being recognized on search engines.
Facebook Business Pages allow you to connect on where people are. If they are “fans” of your page you can communicate updates to them for free. You can advertise through promoted posts as well.
Twitter is a great way to search for keywords and connect with people. You can also advertise on Twitter.
LinkedIn is great for professional networking and is another piece of getting found through search engines. It’s also a way for people to endorse you and your work.
You can measure your social clout through Klout.com and find customer connections using a CRM like Capsule or Nimble. You can also keep and email subscriber list to send out important updates. Cultivating customer relationships has never been easier. Just make sure you have permission.
Top Tip: Limit your social media to 20 minutes a day, and whenever you post, make sure you are around to respond to the people you are trying to engage with.