Real Estate Leads Make the Realty World Go Round

Real estate leads are everything to a real estate professional. Without leads, you don’t get clients, without clients, you don’t get paid. When it comes down to it, a real estate agent’s base job is to gather and work his or her real estate leads. These real estate leads go into what professionals call a pipeline or sphere of influence. Your pipeline should NEVER be empty, because if it is, it means you have no way of getting a steady income. An agent spends their time converting these real estate leads into buyers and sellers in order to make their paycheck. For every client that buys or sells a home, you get a commission. If you’ve got no clients, you’ve got no income. It’s a very basic fact.

So the questions remains, where do you get real estate leads from? Well, to be honest, a successful agent is ALWAYS gathering leads. You gather real estate leads from referrals of past clients, from sending out newsletters, postcards, emails, etc. You hold open houses for your listings, you talk to anyone and everyone you can wherever you are: at a party, at dinner, shopping. The average person moves every 5-7 years, so the odds are pretty good that someone you meet today will be selling their home within five years. Seems an awful long time to wait for a listing, but not if you’ve got plenty of prospects to work in the meantime and you continue to follow up with said lead until they ARE moving and need a real estate agent. The bottom line is, a successful agent will getting real estate leads for themselves everywhere they go.

Then of course there are the various services out there that SELL real estate leads, most of them generated online. Companies such as GetMyHomesValue, HouseValues, and even RE/MAX will sell prospective real estate leads to agents for a fee. These companies are a great source of prospects, but are often called into question for the “quality” of their leads. Often agents will sign up for a company that generates real estate leads and then be infuriated that they did not get a listing the first month. What should really be called into question is what exactly constitutes a real estate lead?

Many agents will say “someone who is looking to buy or sell within the next six months to a year.” That seems like a very narrow definition of the term, and to be honest, agents who use that definition are probably not getting tons of commission checks a month. Successful agents understand that a real estate lead is just about anyone who may be able to use their service anytime in the next 5 years. It’s easy to get the listing of someone who just has to sell their home within the next 3 months – they’re desperate and will usually use the first agent they come across- the true test of skill comes when trying to convert a client to your service when they may not be looking to go anywhere for another year or two. If you can convert a client that way, you are likely to have success with your real estate leads and real estate in general for years to come.

The sad fact is that 20% of the real estate professionals out there are doing 80% of the business and the other 80% of agents out there are failing miserably and getting out of the business within a few years. They are not willing to build up a pipeline of real estate leads, no matter how far along the selling/buying process they may be, and they’re not willing to do what it takes to convert these leads to clients.

Real estate is a sales and service industry. If you’re not willing to help your real estate leads even before they become clients, they’re not likely to become clients at all. Why should they? There’s always another real estate professional who is more than willing to go the extra mile to get their business.

To be successful in real estate, you’ve got to see potential real estate leads in everything you do and everywhere you go. And then you’ve got to be willing to do everything in your power to show those leads that you’re the best agent for the job, or else they’ll be moving on to the next one. Really, you should just treat your real estate leads like they’re already a client of yours, because with confidence and some extra work, they certainly will be.

Tax-Free Profits on All of Your Real Estate Deals? Yes You Can!

Harness the power of real estate and alternative asset investing in an IRA to make tax-free or tax-deferred profits for the rest of your life!

After completing a successful real estate transaction, do you ever wish a chunk of the profits didn’t have to go back to the IRS for taxes? Do you ever dream about how many more real estate deals you could do or how many more properties you could buy if profits weren’t split with the government because of taxes?

Well dream no more. Realizing tax-free or tax-deferred profits on real estate and alternative asset investing is a reality.

Government sponsored retirement plans such as IRAs and 401(k)s allow you to invest in almost anything (including real estate), not just stocks, bonds and mutual funds. And all the benefits those plans provide, tax-deductions and tax-free profits, apply to whatever investment you choose, including real estate.

The Power of Tax-Deferred and Tax-Free Profits

“The most powerful force on Earth is compounding interest.” – Albert Einstein

One of an IRA’s greatest features is that it allows Americans to enjoy the true power of tax-deferred compounding interest. Compound interest occurs when interest is earned on a principal sum along with any accumulated interest on that sum. In other words, you are earning interest not only on your original investment sum, but also on the interest earned from the original sum.

Compound interest can occur with any investment you make, but the “true” power of compounding interest is obtained when you make an investment in a tax-deferred environment, like an IRA.

By taking advantage of an IRA’s tax-deferred status, you do not have to pay tax immediately on your earnings (like the sale of a property or rent collected). Thus, you are able to enjoy the power of compounding on ALL of your profit, not just what is left after taxes.

Now apply those benefits to your real estate or alternative asset investing. Tax-deferred profits on your real estate transactions allows greater flexibility to make more investments, or to just sit back and watch your real estate investment grow in value, without worrying about taxes.

Is This for Real?

Most investors don’t know this opportunity exists because most IRA custodians do not offer truly self-directed IRAs that allow Americans to invest in real estate and other non-traditional investments.

Often, when you ask a custodian/trustee, “Can I invest in real estate with an IRA?” they will say, I’ve never heard of that” or, “No, you can’t do that.” What they really mean is that you can’t do this at their company because they only offer stocks, mutual funds, bonds, or CD products.

Only a truly self-directed IRA custodian like Equity Trust Company (www.trustetc.com) will allow you to invest in all forms of real estate or any other investments not prohibited by the Internal Revenue Service.

Is This Legal?

It sure is. For more than 33 years and through the management of $2 billion in IRA assets, Equity Trust has assisted clients in increasing their financial wealth by investing in a variety of opportunities from real estate and private placements to stocks and bonds in self-directed IRAs and small business retirement plans.

IRS Publication 590 (dealing with IRAs) states what investments are prohibited; these investments include artwork, stamps, rugs, antiques, and gems. All other investments, including stocks, bonds, mutual funds, real estate, mortgages, and private placements, are perfectly acceptable as long as IRS rules governing retirement plans are followed (To view IRS Publication 590, please visit [http://www.trustetc.com/links/irspubs.html]).

Getting Started

“Is it hard to do?” is a common question about investing in real estate with a self-directed IRA. It is really simple and is very similar to the way you currently invest in real estate. The following five steps demonstrate how easy it is to invest in real estate, or just about anything else, with a self-directed IRA.

1) Establish an account with a self-directed IRA custodian.
First, you must establish an account with a self-directed IRA custodian and Equity Trust Company is your best option. For more information on why Equity Trust is the right choice for your self-directed IRA needs, visit http://www.trustetc.com.

Setting up an IRA account with Equity Trust usually takes only minutes to complete by filling out a simple application and sending (or faxing) it to our office.

2) Fund your account.
Next you have to fund the account, and this is just as easy as opening a self-directed IRA account. There are two ways to fund your account.

• Contributions
You can contribute to your account through a check or wire transfer and contribution limits range from $4,000-$50,000 depending on which account you choose.

• Transfer/Rollover

In most cases, if you have an existing retirement plan such as an IRA, 401k, or 403b these funds can be transferred to a self-directed IRA allowing you to make real estate IRA investments.

3) Investment found: You’re set to go!
Now that you’ve got your account established, funded and you’ve identified a real estate investment, you are ready to make an investment.

Making a real estate investment with your IRA is straightforward if you remember a few simple rules. First, complete a Direction of Investment (DOI) form. A DOI instructs the custodian where and how to remit funds from your self-directed IRA for your real estate purchase.

Information contained on the DOI includes the property address, cost, funding instructions (check/wire) etc. In addition to the DOI, the custodian will need accompanying investment documents to ensure proper titling of the investment.

4) Ensuring proper title: You and your IRA are not the same.
One of the most common mistakes (and cause of delays) in real estate IRA investing is when the property is titled incorrectly. Frequently the IRA owner will incorrectly put their personal name on the title of the property.

Remember you and your IRA are two separate entities, and as such, the property needs to be titled in the name of your IRA and not you personally.

• The correct title for a real estate (or other asset) IRA investment is:

Equity Trust Company custodian FBO (for benefit of) YOUR NAME IRA

5) What happens after your IRA owns the property?
Now that your IRA has purchased the property you need to remember two things:

• Expenses: Any expenses associated with the property (maintenance, improvements, property taxes, condo association, general bills etc.) must come from the IRA.

• Cash Flow/Profits: All net profits must return to the IRA, meaning all income (rent) and profits (selling of property) are deposited back into your IRA account—tax-free!

That is all there is to it, it’s as simple as 1-2-3. In no time at all you can be investing in real estate and other alternative assets receiving tax-free or tax-deferred profits for the rest of your life.

Don’t delay in opening an account. Every day that passes is one less day your investment can benefit from the Earth’s most powerful force (at least according to Einstein), compounding interest.