Commercial Real Estate Market Statistics, Trends, and Predictions Every Broker Should Know

2020 was a volatile year for commercial real estate (CRE). The market was strong early in the year. But when COVID-19 hit, the global economy was blindsided—including CRE markets. Many industries began to see a ray of hope for recovery by the end of 2020—CRE, however, wasn’t one of them.

While commercial real estate was negatively impacted across classes, the pandemic allowed for some innovative thinking—for starters, more affordable rent. Efficient communication, form submission, and payments became just a click away as nearly every industry streamlined and took business online.

The pandemic’s effects may remain for some time—but CRE will eventually recover. The road to recovery will be difficult. However, this also means that opportunities will soon swarm for both business owners and smart investors. Knowing the latest stats, trends, and predictions for the coming years can help you make more informed decisions—and make the most of the CRE market.

Let’s take a closer look at some key CRE data that brokers should know about.

9 Commercial Real Estate Market Statistics Every Broker Should Know

According to a study by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) conducted in October 2020, comparing pre-pandemic, first-quarter stats to October readings, NAR found:

  1. Increased missed, late, or partial rent payments for residential apartments (53%)
  2. More missed, late, or partial rent payments for office, industrial, and retail spaces (54%)
  3. Greater landlord concessions made for current tenants (65%)
  4. Increased leases in suburban districts versus business districts (43%)
  5. More demand from individuals for flexible office space (51%)
  6. Increased demand from enterprise firms for flexible office space (43%)
  7. More companies leasing/moving into smaller offices (62%)
  8. Increased short-term leases (59%)
  9. Greater repurposing of vacant spaces, such as unused malls (52%)

Also, the NAR study uncovered another interesting bit of information—year-over-year commercial leasing volume trends. The worst-hit quarter for 2020 (Q2—down 4%) was still no match for the losses in 2008, which saw commercial leasing volume take a 28% nosedive.

3 Commercial Real Estate Market Trends Every Broker Should Know

In addition to the above CRE statistics, here are some trends uncovered in the world of 2021 commercial real estate:

1) Increased technology implementation

In an effort to better understand what’s happening in the world of commercial real estate due to the pandemic, CRE organizations are adopting technology at a faster rate to study:

  • The evolution of behavioral trends
  • Establishing more secure spaces
  • Ways of increasing efficiency
  • How to better recognize and address asset and portfolio challenges and vulnerabilities

It’s important to familiarize yourself with this type of research findings, as these trends will undoubtedly impact all aspects of commercial real estate. Understanding the emerging trends can help you offer your clients a better overall experience, resulting in higher sales and more transactions.

2) The shift to working from home

Also due to COVID-19, more industries have sent employees home to perform their duties. On its face, it would appear that the days of office work died in 2020—but actually, there are plenty of opportunities for commercial office space never before considered. The vacancies in higher traffic areas mean there’s never been a better time for CRE owners looking to expand their reach to make a move.

As briefly mentioned above, the shift to work-from-home created a struggle for both companies and employees. People not used to conducting business from a home office drove the demand for flexible, co-working spaces. Due to uncertainty as to when organizations could expect to welcome employees back to the office, many companies no longer needed large office spaces and instead turned to short-term, smaller square footage leases.

Many companies still await a full return to the 9 to 5 in-office workday, but that doesn’t mean the days of the office are dead. There are many reasons why having a physical office is still important. Working in-office offers employees more space, the ability to work together on projects, and increased efficiency and cooperation. Business owners recognize the need for affordable office spaces and brokers should keep this in mind when presenting investment options in 2021.

3) The boom of e-commerce

Online sales were already growing in the years before 2020. The pandemic served to cause a spike in businesses transitioning to e-commerce or strengthening their previous online offerings. Retail establishments and third-party shipping partners have grown or optimized their warehouse capabilities. With this shift, however, also comes an adaptation in inventory models. Many companies have always taken the just-in-time approach to inventory, whereas now businesses have adopted a just-in-case inventory model to help prevent goods shortages, such as the toilet paper fiasco in 2020. This shift in inventory modeling caused by the boom of e-commerce means that many online retailers will need larger warehouses. Investors can take advantage of this increase in CRE leasing opportunities.

Predictions for 2021 in Commercial Real Estate

As evidenced by daily news outlets, the threat of the pandemic isn’t over yet. Making predictions for commercial real estate’s future is spotty at best. But vaccination rollouts, potential future stimulus, and upcoming, recurring child tax credit payments, signs that point to a CRE market recovery are well underway.

The American Rescue Plan

The passage of a rescue spending bill for the country will play a role significantly. Small businesses will be able to sustain operations as a stimulus could be a potential way of expanding into additional areas of commercial real estate. Savvy CRE investors should watch for opportunities with small businesses.

Large corporations still have millions working from home

This will likely impact the market for office space but it significantly depends on working standards as we progress through 2021.

Brokers should direct investors to office space real estate investment trusts, or REITs, for long-term growth. Those who have a firm grasp of the industry can consider deals on leased office space. Many factors play a role, such as overall vaccination rates and the restoration of travel—both of which could mean an economic revival for late 2021 into early 2022.

Right now, industrial markets look well, especially those in the warehousing and network infrastructure sectors. Be on the lookout for these investment opportunities to increase later in 2021.

Final Thoughts

The pandemic has stirred much uncertainty concerning the CRE market. Facing this won’t be easy. But there are still many investors involved in commercial real estate despite issues with in-person visits, assessments, or the signing of contracts. Look toward the sectors that have maintained stability and performed well—that’s where investment opportunities truly lie.

ProspectNow can help you uncover these properties with our special, algorithmic data on likely sellers. We’ve been helping commercial real estate agents, brokers, and investors just like you since 2008. Reach out to see how we can boost your numbers for 2021.

How to Find Out Who Owns a Property in Washington

 

 

Real estate investment can be lucrative, but first, you need to find the property owner. Off-market properties can provide a promising avenue for great deals on new investment properties. But in order to close deals and snag these properties, you’ll first need to find out who owns them. We have a general guide to finding a property owner, but read on for details specific to finding a property owner in Washington state.

County Tax Assessor

A common first step to find a property owner in Washington would be to find the tax assessor’s website in your chosen county. The tax assessor in each county is responsible for collecting taxes from property owners. For this reason, they need to keep records of who is responsible for paying the property taxes. Each county’s assessor will maintain its own website with a property search feature. These tend to be very flexible with search requirements, allowing some combination of street name and number. You can often also run a “reverse search” by searching for an owner’s name to see if they own any other properties. As an example, the King County tax assessor’s property search is here.

The tax assessor’s website will provide a lot of information such as the property owner’s full contact information, property transaction history, and any current liens on the property. This can be useful data for finding off-market properties the owner may want off of their hands quickly.

County Recorder’s Office

Your other option could be to search for the property deed itself. This will show you the current and previous owners of a property as well as any existing liens. Deeds in Washington state are the domain of the recorder’s office. Like the tax assessor’s office, each county maintains its own recorder’s office and website, and the records search may be slightly different for each. This is what the recorder’s office website in King County looks like.

The records search for the county recorder is a little more stringent than for the tax assessor. You will need the full address or, in some cases, the lot number for a property. You may also run into a situation where the deed is only available for viewing in person for a fee. This is especially true if you’re looking at properties in a rural area.

If Owned by an LLC

You may occasionally find that a property owner in Washington is not a person, but an LLC. This is more common for commercial property investors. But to make the best attempts at communication and make sure you reach the right person, you need to find the owner behind an LLC. Don’t despair, there’s always a human to be found behind the name of the LLC. You may need to take some additional steps to find them.

In Washington, all businesses including LLCs need to be registered with the Secretary of State. You can conduct a simple business search through the website and find who owns the LLC behind your next investment property.

Using ProspectNow to Find a Property Owner in Washington

ProspectNow’s combined property search database and customer relationship management platform turns your search for property owners into one-stop shopping. Find property information on any property in counties all across the country and access the property owner’s contact information in one place. Even find the name behind an LLC right through the platform.

But ProspectNow doesn’t stop at listed properties. Using a unique algorithm for data analysis, we will identify properties in your area that are likely to sell soon but haven’t yet hit the market. These off-market properties provide a great opportunity to find great deals and score a property before your competition does. Take a look at the ROI calculator to see how many likely sellers ProspectNow identified in your area.

Once you’ve found your next investment property, contact the owner by phone, email, or postcard directly through the ProspectNow platform. Save yourself a trip to the post office. You can even use the included templates to set up an advertising campaign that looks professional and catches the eye.

Are you ready to close more deals and make more money? Operating since 2008, ProspectNow’s data analytics and CRM tools have made real estate investors more successful than ever. Sign up for your three-day free trial and see what you can find in Washington state or anywhere else in the country.

How to Get the Most Out of a Commercial Real Estate Market Analysis

Whether you’re a commercial real estate agent or a CRE investor, knowing why — and how — to conduct a commercial real estate market analysis for investment properties is essential. The market is fluid: economic conditions are ever-changing, and supply and demand fluctuate, as do property revenues. All of this affects a commercial property’s value.

If you’re considering an investment in commercial real estate, or you just want to know the market value of a property, learning how to perform your own CRE market analysis can help you make the most informed decision.

What Is a Commercial Real Estate Market Analysis?

A commercial real estate market analysis analyzes the value of a specific commercial property in depth. Also known as comparative market analysis, a CRE market analysis helps identify trends in the market, such as the following:

  • Average rental rate
  • Average vacancy rate
  • Supply
  • Demand

While taking the above into account, the analysis compares similar properties using property features, location, and type to come to a likely price range.

Defining the Property’s Market Area

The first step of CRE property market analysis looks at the market area of the property. The property’s market area is the immediate vicinity, geographically, that the property serves. This is especially important for retail stores, the hospitality sector, warehouses, and financial services.

Market areas are largely dependent on the property type and the business that will be carried out. For instance, a department store’s market area is its immediate vicinity — about a one-mile radius or so. Therefore, malls have much larger market areas and pull in customers from within a three- to seven-mile radius, sometimes even farther.

After deciding the market area, you’ll then investigate the economy and demographics data for the area. For the area in question, find out the following information:

  • Population
  • Average income level
  • Education level
  • Size of households
  • Average age of residents
  • Marital statuses
  • Employment and unemployment rates

Sometimes, an area is in a developmental phase. Look at the number of businesses coming to the area, how much construction is occurring, and if there’s potential for increased population numbers. If the area has seen a lot of new construction but there’s no likelihood of a growing population, then the commercial property you’re considering could offer a stable return on investment, but not an exponential return.

Gathering Data for a Commercial Real Estate Investment Analysis

Every property has several sources of data. What’s important is that you get the most up-to-date data from a reliable source you trust. Government data is often reliable, such as what you can find at the local County Assessor or Clerk’s office, but other providers can offer insight into the market you’re looking at in addition to the actual data. ProspectNow, for instance, has up-to-the-minute property owner information and other helpful details about commercial properties that you’ll pay much more for elsewhere.

When evaluating commercial property area data, be sure to look into the following:

  • Average interest rates
  • Average household income
  • Property sales and leasing numbers
  • Number of schools
  • Average daily traffic

The number of similar businesses already in the area is also important. A saturated market means you won’t get as much in ROI. Consider coffee shops — there’s one on every corner nowadays. Investing in a coffee shop in a market area with one or more existing coffee shops — considering their market area is about a one- to two-mile radius — won’t bring in as much revenue as an apartment complex, for instance.

All that data might seem like a lot to digest. But knowing and factoring this data into your decision is essential. For most commercial property investors, property data influences their strategies by helping identify potential properties, improving targeting, and discovering new niches.

Now that you know the data you need to uncover, let’s take a look at how to put it to use in actual analysis.

How to Conduct a Commercial Real Estate Market Analysis

Conducting a commercial real estate market analysis is a complex undertaking. Residential market analyses may just look at comparable properties, whereas commercial analyses look at income production in a specific market.

To begin, look at the current conditions of your given market and find out the answers to these questions:

  • What are the current trends?
  • What does the supply and demand for that kind of property look like?
  • Are there currently projects under construction in that market? If so, how many are still waiting for permit approvals?
  • What are the average rental, occupancy, and vacancy rates in that market sector?
  • What’s the normal cap rate?

So, once you’ve uncovered that data, it’s time to begin confirming details about the property itself, such as these:

  • The number of units, if it’s a multi-unit property
  • The property’s square footage
  • Size of the lot
  • Any special zoning rules
  • Other property features

Next, you’ll run a report for income and expenses. This is to determine the net operating income (NOI) of the property. If a property has a negative NOI, high vacancy rates, or is sitting idle, take a look at the average income and expenses of similar properties in the market. However, running a pro forma report shows you the potential income of a property if you were to make improvements to it.

Multiply the NOI by the market’s average cap rate for the property’s likely sales price. Most professional analyses include the market’s comparable properties as a reference, but in this case, the value of comparable property isn’t helpful in determining information about the specific property you’re looking at. What is helpful is finding the cap rate on the comparable property when it was sold.

Final Thoughts

The information you can get from ProspectNow fulfills all the above, and you can get access for much less than you’d spend with our competitors. We’ve been offering reliable commercial real estate data since 2008, helping real estate agents, brokers, and investors just like you find more leads, close more deals, and make more money. Ready to see what ProspectNow can do for you? Reach out today or start your free trial.

 

Here’s How AI Makes Real Estate Prospecting Less Dead Work

 

You see businesses in every industry talk about “digital transformation.” There’s a good reason for it; the world’s technology is changing, and businesses will either adapt or fail. But transformation need not be total, and incorporating new technology into your real estate prospecting strategy is easier than you may think.

What Is AI?

AI is short for “artificial intelligence,” and it’s not a new term. Once the domain of science fiction and robotic horror stories, AI now pops up on a smaller scale in our everyday lives. Artificial intelligence is simply a technological simulation of human intelligence and intuition. While it’s made some strides in our modern technology, it’s a far cry from the software uprising we’ve been promised. The small-scale applications of AI instead take the burden of repetitive, low-level tasks off of humans.

Machine Learning

Machine learning (or ML) is a subset of artificial intelligence that’s been making more waves in recent times. This is a form of data analysis that lets the machine automate model building from incoming data. The system learns to form patterns from what it “learns” and uses this information to make future decisions with minimal human input. With machine learning, the system learns to carry out repetitive tasks with more efficiency and accuracy. The minimal human intervention not only lightens the loan on business owners, it drastically reduces the potential for human error.

Examples of Machine Learning

You’ve already seen several examples of machine learning in your daily life. One of the first may have been fraud detection at your chosen financial institution. The detection algorithms of today go beyond flagging purchases outside of your location and a certain dollar amount.

Go to any e-commerce site, and they may be using machine learning to generate recommended items for you. Targeted ads on your social media operate under the same principles. Machine learning, in this case, drives the omnichannel advertising strategy. The goal here is identifying and hooking likely customers by analyzing browsing habits and immersing them in targeted advertising content.

Self-driving cars are among the most impressive example of machine learning. It’s one thing to program a computer with the rules of the road. But it’s quite another to teach it how to interpret its surroundings and react accordingly.

Machine Learning and ProspectNow

What does all of this have to do with real estate prospecting? ProspectNow makes use of this new technology to identify promising leads and help you strike before the competition.

Likely Sellers

ProspectNow uses predictive analytics and a “likely seller” algorithm to identify properties that are likely to sell soon but haven’t yet hit the market. These may be on the radar for a number of factors. The owners may have experienced a recent significant life event such as marriage, the birth of a child, or divorce that makes it more probable that they’ll want to move soon. The owners may be filing for bankruptcy. The property may be in a pre-foreclosure state. There are other factors that the algorithm’s predictive analytics takes into account.

These analytics also give you a chance to catch off-market properties where other agents wouldn’t. Whether a seller wants to make a quick, no-fuss sale or hasn’t yet decided on selling, the likely seller algorithm gives your real estate prospecting a competitive edge.

Why do you want this? Identifying these likely sellers gives you a good chance of being the first to reach the client. This is a key part of closing deals, as the majority of sellers often close with the first agent they speak to. If you can get to sellers before your competition, you have a much better chance of turning them into clients.

Register here for a demonstration of our likely seller algorithm.

Targeted Ad Campaigns With ProspectNow

When you’ve found your real estate prospects, it comes time to reach out to them. ProspectNow gives you multiple ways to do this. You could go the direct route with email or snail mail, and ProspectNow gives you templates to handle both types of campaigns effectively. Save yourself a trip to the post office or time in front of a word processor, and simply press one button in the ProspectNow platform to send off your advertising materials.

But while many potential sellers still respond to these tactics, a growing number are taking their business completely online. The omnichannel marketing strategy is made possible and growing in popularity thanks to predictive analytics and machine learning. With ProspectNow, you can create a targeted ad campaign to bring in would-be clients to your agency with a few keywords. Make sure to use IP Targeting and ensure those you reach are within your real estate prospecting area.

With machine learning, ProspectNow takes care of the more intensive parts of identifying leads and deciding which ad campaigns are most effective.

ROI Calculator

So ProspectNow can help increase your sales but by how much? We include an ROI calculator to help you determine just that. Using your current location and sales metrics, we can show you how much money you could’ve been making with ProspectNow and our Likely Sellers algorithm. Our calculator can tell you the following:

  • Potential additional commission
  • Increase in the probability of selling
  • Sales turnover
  • Marketing spend
  • Potential listings in your area

Try the calculator now, and you may find you’ve been missing out on a lot!

Try ProspectNow For Free

Digital transformation doesn’t have to be intensive or scary. Sometimes the most effective changes you can make to your real estate prospecting strategy are the simplest. ProspectNow gives you access to cutting-edge technological advancements in a more approachable way, allowing you to reach more leads with less effort on your part. Let the algorithms do the thinking and processing for you, so you can reach more sellers.

Ready to close more deals and make more money? In the business since 2008, ProspectNow combines prospecting and customer relationship management in a single, easy-to-use platform. We have data on properties in all counties and industry-leading analytics that come with a higher price tag on competing platforms. Try us risk-free for 3 days in one county, and see why we’re a vital tool for business success.

 

 

Real Estate Agent Postcard Strategies for Success

 

As technology evolves, so do marketing methods and communication channels. But among the digital tools is room for some conventional ones, especially those proven to be effective. Real estate postcard mailers have long served as a significant source for leads, and postcards remain a useful marketing tool still. Learn how to improve the effectiveness of your postcard mailings and drive leads to your listings through design, strategic timing, and distribution to a targeted prospect list.

Examples of a Real Estate Agent Postcard Mailer

Several examples of occasions when you might send a real estate marketing postcard include:

  • Follow-up with communications and appointments
  • Offer promotions and special discounts
  • Invite people to an open house
  • Announce new property listings
  • Announce newly sold listings
  • Advertise your services
  • Stay in touch with past, current, and potential clients (such as sending holiday greetings)

Advantages of Real Estate Postcards

Marketing postcards are excellent for directly targeting prospects, informing them of neighborhood properties on the market, and offering your real estate services. Real estate postcards are more likely to get your message seen than will waiting for interested people to view your online listing.

Advantages of sending a postcard mailer include:

  • Ability to target leads in a specific neighborhood
  • Your message immediately visible: Mailed brochures and envelopes, as well as electronic mail, rely on the recipient taking the time to open and read. A postcard’s visuals and message require no envelope opening to be seen.
  • Inexpensive to print and mail
  • Less competition for prospects’ attention: In the mailbox, your postcard competes for attention with only a few items. In a newspaper or magazine, your ad would compete with hundreds of others. If sent via email, your message would face spam filters and dozens, if not hundreds, of other messages in the inbox.

Elements of Effective Real Estate Postcard Design

Professional Visuals

People process visual input more quickly than words alone. Eye-catching graphics grab attention. Include professional-quality photos and limit the text. Avoid the use of stock images.

Uncluttered Layout

Don’t let your message be lost in a cluttered layout. Stick to a simple layout that uses white space to allow prospects to hone in on your message.

Consistent Branding

Since you will send multiple mailings over time, you need to use consistent branding across postcards. Make your name memorable, so when prospects are ready to reach out they think of you. Be sure to prominently feature your name, phone number, and social media accounts.

Strategizing the Timing of Postcard Mailings

A real estate postcard mailer is a long-term strategy. You shouldn’t expect immediate results (though it’s possible, of course) from just one mailing. In real estate, a direct mail response rate of 1 to 5 percent is common. To reap significant benefits, regularly send out postcards:

  • Branding Postcards: These serve as a regular reminder of your services, keeping your name in mind so when the prospect is planning to buy or sell you’re more likely to receive a call. Mail branding postcards monthly.
  • Just Sold or Just Listed Announcements: These real estate postcards are sent as appropriate, immediately upon the event’s occurrence. Sending these announcements helps establish your credibility in the area. Send “just sold” or “just listed” postcards to residents within a certain distance from the property.

How and Why You Should Target Your Mailings

Improve your return-on-investment by targeting your ideal prospects. In your CRM or within a property information database like ProspectNow, create a filtered mailing list using factors such as location, property type, more likely to sell, type of ownership, and more. With detailed knowledge about the prospects you are mailing, you can better angle your marketing message. The goal of a real estate postcard mailer is to prompt a response. A generic call to action is less likely to yield a response than a more relevant, targeted one.

Not only can you find useful real estate prospects in the ProspectNow database, but you can also create lists of leads and produce mailings directly from the platform.

 

 

 

4 Benefits of Investing in Owner-Occupied Properties

If you’re looking for a new investment—and a new place to live—look into owner-occupied properties. With this type of investment, you’d buy a multifamily property and move into one unit. Then, you’d rent out the other units. This way, you get a new home and a new way of generating income. As long as the property you buy is your primary residence, you will see several benefits from this investment strategy. So whether you’re thinking about buying a duplex, multi-unit apartment building, housing co-op, or mixed-use building, take a look at the main advantages of owner-occupied properties.

1. Generate Income That Helps Pay Your Mortgage

As you might imagine, the biggest benefit of owner-occupied properties is the consistent income they generate. The amount you make every month will depend on the rental market in your area and the number of units you’re renting out. But even if you buy a duplex, your tenant’s monthly rent can cut your mortgage payment in half, at the very least. And if you have several units to rent out, your rental income could surpass your mortgage payment completely, giving you passive income every month.

Either way, you’ll get a lot of help with your own housing costs. Whether you buy an investment or not, you have to live somewhere. This means you’ll be paying rent or mortgage every month anyway. So why not get help to cover those costs by looking into owner-occupied properties? Keep in mind that you can choose either a strictly residential building or a mixed-use property that allows commercial and residential units. So consider whether you want to rent to tenants looking for a home or business owners looking for office space. Basically, you have lots of options when it comes to owner-occupied properties that may work for you.

2. Cut Property Management Costs

When you buy an investment property that you don’t live in, you typically have to pay a property management company to screen tenants, collect rent, perform maintenance, and more. This can cost about 10% of the rent every month. But when you live on-site, the need for a property management company goes down, especially if you only have one or two units to rent out. Living on the property can make it easier for you to make minor repairs or at least get alerts faster to any issues that require you to call a professional to fix.

Not only will doing the job yourself save you money, but you also get to screen tenants personally, which may help you feel more at ease about renting out your property. In fact, when tenants know the owner lives at the same property, they tend to put more effort into keeping their unit clean and quiet, which can make your life easier as a landlord. This is why experts often recommend that new investors start with owner-occupied properties, as this type of investment is a simple way to begin making money in real estate.

3. Enjoy an Easier Financing Process

When you apply for a home loan, the lender always asks if you plan to live on the property. This is because many loans are only available for you to use on owner-occupied homes, not investment properties. So even though you’re planning to use the property partly as an investment, the fact that you’ll also be living there will allow you to qualify for home loans that you couldn’t get otherwise.

There’s also the fact that home loans for owner-occupied properties require lower down payments and come with lower interest rates than loans for investment properties. This is because they’re considered lower risk, as they’re less likely to lead to a mortgage default than investment homes. After all, you’ll be treating your property as a home—rather than strictly a business that generates income—since you live there. You’re more likely to put time and money into maintaining the home when you’re occupying it, keeping up its value. So it makes sense that lenders would want to make it easier on you to buy this type of property than a house you’ll never live in, which leads to an easier borrowing process for you.

4. Qualify for More Tax Deductions

One of the main reasons people want to become homeowners is to get tax deductions that can add up to big savings. But owner-occupied properties can lead to even more tax benefits, as they’re treated as both an investment and a residence. So when you buy one, you get access to deductions that you wouldn’t have if you had simply bought a single-family home or an investment property.

For example, since the IRS looks at your owner-occupied unit as a house, you can write off your property tax and mortgage interest just as you would with a single-family home. Then you get additional tax benefits from the operating expenses associated with the units you’re renting out, because they’re treated as investments. This means you can deduct the cost of repairs, home improvements, insurance, and any other expenses that are necessary for you to pay as the owner. And if you pay for the utilities for the tenants in the building, you can write off that expense, too. Of course, you’ll want to talk to a tax professional to get more specifics on what you can deduct with owner-occupied properties. In general, you can expect to see some savings on your taxes with this type of investment.

Your Next Steps

Clearly, owner-occupied properties come with several benefits that can save you money on your living expenses at the very least—and even generate additional income for you in most cases. Whether you’re a seasoned investor or just getting started on real estate investments, buying a property that you can live in and rent out at the same time is often recommended.

If you’re ready to try out this type of investment, come to ProspectNow for help. We have the only platform that uses predictive analytics to let you know important information about residential and commercial properties you might want to buy. Whether you want to know property details, past liens, tax payments, ownership information, or other helpful data before you make an offer, ProspectNow makes it easy to find out what you need to know for a smooth sale. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you find properties to invest in!

Cold Calling Scripts for Residential and Commercial Agents

Learning how to get highly qualified residential and commercial real estate leads can feel like a huge win. You have a long list of contacts who have shown some interest in buying or selling property. Now, someone has to get on the phone and reach out to those contacts.

Not everyone enjoys cold-calling potential clients. You know what it feels like for a phone call to interrupt you while you’re having fun or relaxing at home. You don’t really want to put other people in that position. Still, cold calling gives you one of the fastest, most effective ways to start building relationships.

Eventually, you will become better at cold calling — just like you get better at other activities you practice. Until then, you can rely on a few tips that will improve cold calling scripts for residential and commercial agents.

Identify Who You Are and What You Want

Americans get billions of cold calls and robocalls per year. The number always seems to increase even as the government imposes new penalties on organizations that do not follow the rules. To make matters even worse, spammers use a technique called “spoofing” to hide their real phone numbers. With spoofing, an incoming call from anywhere in the world can look like it comes from a local office.

Consumers know that spammers target them, so you need to get ahead of the fear by identifying yourself and telling your lead why you’re calling. Be as straight to the point as possible. Something like, “Hello, is this Mr. Wilbur? I’m Jessica Laflac from B2B Real Estate calling to ask about the interest you showed recently in buying a new home” should work well. It acknowledges:

  • Who you are.
  • What company you work for.
  • What you want to discuss.

Within just a couple of seconds, you can lower the other person’s hesitation.

Reinforce That They Contacted You First

This tip only works if you have a contact list of people who reached out to you first. It doesn’t have to be a conversation, of course. Any interaction with you will help establish your call as a legitimate inquiry. You’re not interrupting them. You’re helping them because they asked!

You can adjust this tip for contact lists that you get from third-party sources. For example, you could mention that you found their name on a list from ProspectNow and want to talk about how you can help them lower their housing costs. (This assumes that the owner has had financial trouble and needs a way to save money. Again, you’re offering help!)

Have the Information You Need on Hand

Any decent cold calling script includes blank spaces where you can fill in specifics that depend on your potential client. Go into each call with the information you need for that individual person.

Ideally, you have CRM (customer relationship management) software that can help with this. A great CRM will track things like:

  • Whether the person has shown an interest in commercial or residential real estate.
  • Whether the person wants to buy, sell, or invest.
  • When someone from your agency last spoke with the caller.
  • How you collected the person’s contact information (e.g., they visited your website, responded to an ad, took part in a survey, and so on).
  • How much property in the person’s area typically costs.

Unfortunately, no CRM is psychic, so you might have to ask questions to get the information that you need to start forming a connection. For example, you might ask what motivated them to visit your website or what budget they think will work for them when choosing a new house.

You might not make a deal today, but you can collect information that makes your next attempt more successful.

Use Real Estate Prospects to Pique Interest

Once you know the basics of what the person wants, you can choose real estate prospects that might interest them. Depending on your level of knowledge, you can offer general or specific information.

For example, if you recently looked at a two-bedroom house for sale at $300,000, you could mention that as a good place to start exploring options.

If the person shows interest in investing, you might offer a general suggestion, such as “we’ve seen a lot of investors grow wealth by getting into mobile home parks recently. They’re inexpensive and in high demand.”

Again, you might not know what types of options will get the caller interested. Take notes so you can add them to your CRM and improve your strategy for next time.

Practice Confidence to Become More Confident

Renowned motivational speaker Tony Robbins has several tips for improving sales confidence. Not all of them apply to cold calling, but his advice can still help you sound more confident on the phone.

Mirror the Other Person’s Language

Robbins recommends mirroring the other person’s body language, but you can’t do that on the phone. Mirroring the ways people speak can give you similar benefits.

Pay close attention to how the caller talks. Let them set the bar for how formal or casual the conversation goes. You don’t want to come across as an overly uptight person. That can sound insincere to some. You also don’t want to sound overly friendly. Some people will interpret that as disrespectful behavior.

Identify and Change Your Feelings

The best cold callers usually sound relaxed on the phone. There’s a good chance that you will not feel relaxed when you start using cold calling scripts. You might feel apprehensive or nervous. That’s okay. Acknowledge how you feel. Once you name your emotional state, you can train yourself to feel more comfortable. It will take time, but you can learn to change your feelings with enough practice.

Use an Alter Ego

Does it seem impossible to identify and change your feelings? What if it weren’t you cold calling potential clients? What if you had a confident alter ego who excelled at calling people and starting conversations?

It’s not as wild as it sounds. Creating an alter ego makes it easier for you to get outside of your head when reading cold calling scripts. You gain a new perspective that helps you view situations objectively. From there, you can conform to evolving scenarios and take notes on how to improve your performance in the future.

Use ProspectNow to Find Accurate Contact Information

Finally, make sure that you have accurate contact information about people who might want to talk about residential or commercial real estate. Without accurate contact information, you will waste time and feel frustrated.

Start a free trial with ProspectNow to get correct contact lists for residential and commercial property owners. ProspectNow can even give you the names of real owners when companies use their corporate names to protect their assets. The database also uses an algorithm that identifies owners likely to sell their properties based on public information like bankruptcy filings, marriages, and liens.

Get your free trial so you can see the benefits of a cold calling list that puts you in control.

How AI Can Help Your Property Search

Our computers are alive. Well, not quite. But AI-powered technology can think and make decisions with increasing capacity. And as we work to expand our technological capabilities, artificial intelligence will only get better. But what does that have to do with real estate? Using AI for real estate leads can be a leg up on the rest of the market.

There are applications in AI for agents, investors, and brokers. Much of this revolves around the gathering of more and better data for making better decisions. Applying artificial intelligence in the right ways can streamline your workload and keep your business better informed. It can give you a much-needed competitive advantage over other prospective buyers and keep you afloat in an ever-changing technological landscape. As our world becomes increasingly digital in the face of new challenges, your business needs to keep pace or it will sink.

Read on to learn how artificial intelligence in its various forms can aid in your next property search.

More Data

A lot of factors go into finding the ideal property. It’s common to chant “location, location, location,” but that doesn’t tell you the full story. The location of a property can refer to how far it is from city centers, public transportation in the area, local school districts, crime statistics, and even where to find the closest Costco. Prospective homeowners factor in these details and so much more when it comes to finding their ideal home, and so should you.

You can’t go wrong with more data. But sometimes, you have more information than you know what to do with. This information overload can be overwhelming and lead you down less-than-ideal paths, especially if you aren’t looking at the whole picture correctly.

AI-enabled programs can gather all of this data and interpret it in a way that is easier for humans to process. It can even do the work of ranking properties for you. 

But more data doesn’t only refer to properties. It also means the paperwork that comes with them. AI for real estate leads can also be helpful in streamlining the various forms and workflows that exist in the back end of the business.

With artificial intelligence, you can stop spending as much time analyzing every detail about your properties and business. Move on to making offers and closing deals.

Better Predictions

So the computer has more data than you know what to do with. But does the computer know what to do with it?

There are some algorithms that can identify which properties are likely to sell soon based on previous sales metrics. If you can spot those properties first, you have an instant advantage over your competition. 

These predictions are made possible with the help of this influx of data. It takes into account not only property details that make strong selling or pain points but data from sales statistics and trends in the area. It will also look at population data that you may not have thought to check or been able to. This can include, but isn’t limited to, unemployment data and life events like births, marriages, and divorces. These events often lead to plans of selling and moving to a bigger (or occasionally smaller) house.

Are you interested? Keep reading to learn how to find and use this algorithm.

Easier Valuation

Valuating a property relies on many factors, often gathered from comparable properties in the area. There are also multiple methods for valuating a property based on how the property is used, where it is, and so on. So sometimes, valuating your property can feel more like an art than a science. 

AI programs can take away much of the guesswork. By gathering and interpreting the data for you, AI can use the ideal method for evaluating your property with better information and fewer biases. An automated valuation can take into account public records information like crime, transportation, and school districts. Quantifying these factors for you can take the guesswork out of valuation, leaving you to determine whether the property you’ve found really is a good value or if there’s room to negotiate. In some cases, AI for real estate leads can also be used to make instant offers on a property.

Wider Reach

Now that you’ve found your properties, now what? It’s time to reach them and make the sale. But not so fast! The days of knocking on doors and making a sales pitch are over. Even that step of the process has gone digital.

With the help of artificial intelligence and the ever-present ads on the internet and social media, you can create an omnichannel marketing experience and plant the seed in your prospective seller. Omnichannel ad campaigns aim to reach the customer across all platforms so that no matter where they are, they’ll see an ad for you. But it goes beyond just being visible and using predictive analytics to determine where the customer goes online and what may make them hesitate to sell. This requires some work and creativity on your end, creating multiple ads and anticipating reasons to sell or not sell. After that, the algorithm can do the work of reaching your prospect for you by sitting in the background.

About ProspectNow

ProspectNow combines a comprehensive property database with a powerful customer relationship management tool. In business since 2008, it operates on the principle that more data and technology can accelerate the real estate business.

Its complete database and unique data analytics create the likely seller algorithm. This identifies key properties that are likely to sell in the next 12 months. These properties are flagged before they even hit the multiple listing service (MLS).  Now you get a chance to jump on properties before anyone else. To see this algorithm in action, start your free trial and choose the likely seller option when conducting your first property search. Or you can take a look at the included ROI calculator and see properties in your area that were correctly predicted to sell right now.

Are you ready to close more deals and make more money? ProspectNow offers a free trial for residential and commercial prospectors. Sign up now and see how much more you can make with this platform.

Five Best Practices For Mortgage Lead Generation

Are you with a mortgage company looking for new business? Here are some new ideas for mortgage lead generation.

With mortgage interest rates on the decline and people still scrambling to buy and refinance homes, it’s a good time to be a mortgage lender. But finding new leads is not a process where “if you build it, they will come” applies. You want to be proactive in reaching prospects to get ahead of your competition.

Buying lists of leads may work for some companies. But using them puts you in the position of cold calling your prospects. People are growing weary of being constantly marketed to, and this approach is likely to scare them away.

The best ways to promote mortgage lead generation involve turning cold approaches into warm ones. This means applying modern technology that connects with your prospects how they want to be reached. It involves a true understanding of how people interact with technology and the internet, but the payoff means more engagement with prospects.

Read on to learn five better ways to approach mortgage lead generation.

Maintain A Quality Website

The first step for mortgage lead generation is to make sure your company website is on point. It must be fully functional, easy to navigate and look professional. You should also make it accessible to users regardless of their abilities and impairments, considering guidelines set by the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

Be sure your website is also functional on mobile browsers, as most of your prospects use smartphones for internet browsing. Designing your own mobile app is great, but don’t neglect your website for prospects who don’t want to download something new.

Why is this important? While having a live website won’t send prospects flocking to you, a website with poor design will turn people away. A good website is the foundation for all other practices outlined below and will make or break your business plan.

Content Marketing

Have you wondered why so many business websites have a blog? It’s actually part of an effective advertising strategy called content marketing. These blogs contain informative articles about all aspects of a business, geared to a variety of new audiences. Ideally, these articles are engaging and not too focused on sales.

They also conform to certain best practices for search engine optimization (SEO). SEO guidelines determine how websites rank on search engines — if they appear at all. So when a prospect searches for “how to refinance my mortgage,” the goal is to have your website appear at or near the top of the search page.

Effective content marketing means posting new articles regularly. These articles should be well written and follow the current standards for search engine optimization, including keyword usage, metadata, linking, and headers. You want your blog to grow into a comprehensive resource about who you are and what you do, so don’t be afraid to throw in a few news updates and pictures of your staff. You can tie this in with an email newsletter to get new content out to subscribers. You should also promote your new articles on social media pages.

Keep Up With Social Media

Everyone and their grandmother’s cat has a social media profile somewhere. You do yourself no favors if you don’t. Most recent estimates say that 82% of Americans use social media. By not using at least one platform, you cut yourself off from an opportunity to interact with prospects.

Pictures, testimonials, and stories can tell prospects more about your company than a website could. Regular postings mean higher visibility depending on platform algorithms. But more importantly, you give prospects an opportunity to interact with you on their terms by using social media. They can share questions and feedback, giving you a chance to respond publicly for the benefit of an audience. People see how you interact with clients and prospects. This factors heavily in one’s decision to do business with your company.

Best of all, social media platforms are free. They provide a great source of cost-free advertising that, when used effectively, takes up minimal time.

Before establishing your social media presence, take the time to research each platform you want to use and understand how other companies make use of the format. Don’t post one standard message across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Tailor each post to get the most out of each platform and audience.

Get Listed On Search Engines

Search engine results pages (or SERPs) no longer consist of website lists. You’ll often find more detailed results on the right side of each results page for any given search. This is especially true if you’re looking for a business. You may see the name of the business you want, along with contact information, a website, and a map. That could be you!

Google provides a Google My Business service that lets you build a company profile on the search engine and engage with prospects for free.

Take A Data-Driven Approach

All the above best practices for mortgage lead generation focus on you being more visible to your prospects. Now you’re ready to reach them directly.

ProspectNow combines a nationwide property database with a feature-rich CRM. But it’s the likely seller/likely refi algorithm that will give your prospecting a jump start. This algorithm uses machine learning to analyze sales and refinance data across the country. It then predicts which properties in your area are likely to sell or refinance in the next twelve months. These predictions often come before properties hit the market, so with this data you can reach prospects before anyone else.

Reach these prospects with the platform’s included email, phone, and postcard options. If you apply this alongside the other best practices listed above, you start out with a strong presence in the prospect’s mind. They’ll be more likely to come to you when they’re ready to refinance.

Are you ready to refinance more mortgages? ProspectNow can help lenders, agents, brokers, and anyone else who relies on property data to do business. Take a look at the ROI calculator to see how much more money the platform can make for you. When you’re convinced, sign up for your three-day free trial!

LinkedIn

Now that mortgage interest rates are coming down, expect to see more homeowners looking to refinance. But where can you find them?

Finding leads for mortgage refinancing isn’t an “if you build it, they will come” situation. But that doesn’t mean you should buy lists of leads and start cold calling. There are better ways to do it!

Here are five ways to build a strong online presence while turning cold approaches into warm ones. Take a proactive approach to find new business.

Must-Have Tech For Real Estate: How Brokers Can Leverage Tech To Win Deals

 

Today’s housing market is more competitive than ever. Brokers need to know about this must have tech for real estate.

It’s no secret that the real estate business is facing some challenges. It’s a post-pandemic world where housing prices are up yet inventory is down. Rental rates are down, yet people are leaving cities in droves. Even the commercial real estate market is changing. It can be tough for a broker, especially one new to the business, to find a way to get ahead of competitors and find their own niche.

Why not make technology do the work for you? Read on to learn a few new ways that successful brokers leverage tech and the must-have tech for real estate.

Find Properties Before They List

With low inventory nationwide, you might have trouble finding new properties to sell in your area. Instead of scrambling to find properties before your competition snaps them up, start looking at properties that haven’t even hit the market yet.

How can you do this?

Artificial intelligence is a buzzword in modern business technology and a piece of must-have tech for real estate. Brokers can leverage machine learning algorithms to gather data, analyze it, and make predictions. It saves time for the broker, cuts down on human error, and lets you focus on closing the deal. Keep in mind that most sellers will work with the first broker they see, as it makes the selling process simpler. By making the first contact, you put your foot in the door and give yourself a strong chance to make a new sale.

A good algorithm will look at local sales trends and demographic data, giving you accurate predictions without you having to lift a finger.

Reach The Person Behind The Property

Once you’ve found the perfect property, it’s time to make your pitch to the owner. But a busy broker can’t afford to dig through public records in hopes of finding scraps of contact information. Must-have tech for real estate includes a place for easy access to all this data to make your pitching efforts a breeze. The best real estate tech will also help you find the owner of an LLC should one hold the property you want to sell.

So you have a name, phone number, email address, and physical address. Now what? You’ll want to streamline your communications, too. Have a stack of templates ready for emails, postcards, and letters. These should look professional, yet still unique to you and specific to the prospect’s needs.

You could also set up your own social media ad campaign. With the ever-present nature of the internet in our lives, must-have tech for real estate includes a plan to leverage social media to your business’s advantage. Want to make this a reality for your brokerage? Read on.

Make Better Offers With Better Valuation Data

There will be times when valuating a property is more of an art than a science. You do have several different valuation methods at your disposal. But how effective each one depends on factors such as the property’s location, intended purpose, improvements, comparable properties, and so on. It requires a lot of data you may not have or time that you could spend better elsewhere in your brokerage.

Learn to leverage some of the newest must-have tech for real estate and you can outsource this task. Tools are out there to gather local property data and calculate a more accurate valuation. Automating this task doesn’t just free you up to make more pitches and close more deals. It also gives you more reliable data to work with, while also eliminating human error from your calculations.

About ProspectNow

ProspectNow is a substantial real estate database combined with a feature-rich customer relationship management (CRM) system. It is the ultimate must-have tech for real estate brokers, agents, investors, and anyone else who relies on real estate data. Operating since 2008, ProspectNow has a number of features to propel your business into this century and beyond:

  • Comprehensive nationwide property database of properties, residential and commercial, across the country by county.
  • “Likely seller” algorithm that analyzes and predicts properties that are likely to sell in the next twelve months. Jump on pre-market properties before your competition.
  • All of a property owner’s contact information, gathered in one place. No more wasting time searching through county records.
  • Instantly identify the owner of an LLC. Find a human’s name to put on your contact list, and keep your communications out of a mailroom.
  • Email, postcard, and letter templates. Send professional messages to prospects with one click and cut down your pitching time.
  • Set up direct ad campaigns through the platform.

ProspectNow offers all of this data at a lower price than other platforms. Some of these features are also unique to ProspectNow, and you won’t find them anywhere else. This reliable, easy-to-access data and intuitive features make ProspectNow an essential tool for business success in real estate or real estate marketing.

To get an idea of how much more profitable your brokerage can be with ProspectNow, there is an ROI calculator available on the website. Simply put in your location data and recent sales metrics, and it will tell you your estimated turnover and commissions had you used ProspectNow to close your deals. It will even tell you how many “likely sellers” its algorithm spots in your area right now, as well as a list of likely sellers it correctly predicted in the past.

Are you ready to close more deals and make more money? ProspectNow offers a three-day free trial with no obligation. Sign up today and see what new real estate technology can do for you and your brokerage.