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Americans’ earnings, generally, have gotten a lift on payday as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. With cuts come more discretionary spending—and, although there are changes to homeowner incentives, almost $40 billion of it is going into the housing market, according to a new report by Zillow.

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Wednesday listers get more money, Thursday sells the fastest.

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Whether you want to diversify your investments, develop cash flow for your retirement years or achieve other financial goals, investing in real estate can be a smart idea. Real estate tends to be less volatile than the stock market, and the owners of investment properties can benefit from price appreciation as well as the current rent roll.

That does not mean that owning investment real estate is an easy road to riches. If it were, everyone who owned an apartment building or a rental home would be rich, and clearly, that is not the case. If you are new to the world of real estate investing, you need to plan carefully, develop a strategy for success and treat your new endeavor like the business it is. In my experience as a real estate investor, it makes sense to understand your investment personality, but also the role the business of real estate plays in your daily life. Here are some timely tips new real estate investors can use to make more money while reducing their risk.

Treat Your Real Estate Investment as a Business

If you decide to take the plunge and become a real estate investor, you need to treat your new endeavor like the business it is. Real estate investing is a serious business, and you need to take it seriously.

New real estate investors often make the mistake of treating their properties as a hobby or a sideline. If you approach your real estate business casually, you will never achieve the best results. Take your business as seriously as you would any other professional undertaking, and get your new investment off to a great start.

Identify Your Strength and Weaknesses

Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and knowing what you do well and where you might need help is essential. If you want to succeed, you need to identify your strengths, and your weaknesses, before you buy a single piece of property or collect a single rent check.

Are you a master plumber and a skilled electrician? If so, you may not need much outside help. If you lack the carpentry, plumbing and electrical skills you need, be sure to research the cost of those services and build that into your cash flow assumptions.

Have a Plan

If you do not know where you want to go, you will never arrive at your destination. Before you purchase a single investment property, you should map out what you hope to get from your real estate investment program.

Your plan should include both short-term and long-term goals, as well as a strategy for achieving them. Do you want to use the profits from your first rental property as a springboard to a larger investment, or are you content to own a single rental home or apartment building? Laying out your goals ahead of time will make reaching them easier, so plan it all out before you start shopping.

People have made fortunes in the world of real estate, but buying properties is not a get-rich-quick scheme. If you play your cards right and invest carefully, you can use your rental properties to get rich slowly, building wealth over time, thereby paving the way to a more financially secure future.

Boomer masterplan developers still don’t understand millennials. Their marketing tries to entice us with their version of cool: the flashiest new gadget, the most up to date home technology, or a community social connection. Research by John Burns Real Estate Consulting shows that they value organic, unplanned, authentic, and experience-based housing amenities the most. What should also interest the boomers is that these amenities are generally not expensive.

Here are four examples of masterplans that are doing it right.

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At Daybreak near Salt Lake City, the beautiful lake setting together with spur-of-the-moment food trucks and a summer concert series have captured the hearts of younger buyers. Daybreak was #20 on the John Burn’s Consulting list of top-selling master-planned communities of 2017, and a huge portion of those sales were to millennials. Daybreak set up a food truck roundup on a vacant lot on the far side of one of their largest amenities, Oquirrh Lake. The event grew in popularity, to 8 or more food trucks and over 1,500 people showing up each week, snowballing into a huge weekly experience. The masterplan also built a modest stage in the village center’s green space and invited local bands as a way to drive traffic to the center’s retail. Unexpectedly, the concert series outgrew the venue, regularly attracting over 1,000 people to the summer events. Both the food trucks and the concert series have become defining, iconic components of the masterplan and what residents and guests (including millennials) talk about. Both are organic, authentic, and experience-based.

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LendingTree finds 8% of applicants are denied mortgages.

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The busy spring selling season is right around the corner. It’s a time when business picks up for residential real estate, including new-home builders. New-home sales hit their fastest pace in 25 years late in 2017, and builder sentiment reached an 18-year high. This year, new-home sales are expected to increase by 7 percent, while existing-home sales are projected to grow 2.5 percent.

Residential agents, largely preoccupied with helping buyers and sellers of existing homes, often overlook new construction. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, as a broker interested in helping your agents find every potential angle for gaining more business, new homes belong on your radar.

Intentionally Ignored?

Before encouraging your agents to get involved, it’s helpful to acknowledge what might be holding them back. New homes are avoided for a variety of reasons, one being lack of information. Often, these properties don’t appear in the MLS, so finding them requires additional research such as driving around, monitoring local ads, and searching builders’ websites or property portals.

Your agents may also feel like they don’t know enough about new-home transactions, and that getting involved requires a steep learning curve. On top of that, it’s difficult to feel confident and persuasive in telling buyers they will add value to a new-home purchase if this is an area where agents are lacking knowledge or experience.

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Maybe your agents’ biggest concern is that they will be cut out of the transaction. As a rule, reputable builders don’t try to trick agents out of earned commissions; however, your agents should always take steps to prevent such disagreements. This includes learning how to effectively use a buyer representation agreement (a core topic that’s central to the ABR® designation coursework) and officially registering buyers with the builder’s representative.

On the Flip Side

New homes also offer several advantages. Since builders typically provide warranties on the structure and appliances, agents are less exposed to liabilities from undisclosed conditions. Additionally, a builder’s errors and omissions insurance will cover major structural and site defects, further minimizing an agent’s liability exposure.
It’s also fun. After all, it’s probably safe to assume that most agents would rather help buyers make smart decisions on appliance upgrades and new flooring finishes than to negotiate over roof repairs or septic system upgrades.

Steps to Take

When consulting with buyers, encourage your agents to be proactive and ask about new homes. By initiating the discussion, they will accomplish two important goals: 1) demonstrate their interest in considering all options that might satisfy their clients’ needs; and 2) introduce their role in a new-home purchase (and help ensure they remain included in any transaction).

Regularly checking out new-home construction in your market, meeting with sales representatives and understanding builders’ preferences in working with real estate agents are additional helpful steps.

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Coaching is one of those things that a lot of people aren't sure about. Although most of the world's most successful people – from athletes to business people – have coaches to accelerate their success, you might still wonder how relevant a coach would be to your everyday life. What do coaches actually do, and how can they help you achieve your life's goals? Well, if you've found your way here then you're obviously at least curious, so here are 10 reasons why you need to hire a coach, and why working with me will transform your life.

1. To help you find direction

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