Monday, March 11, 2024

Food For Thought When Opportunity Knocks in Real Estate

Whether things are busy or not, real estate professionals, developers, and investors should always be on the lookout for future opportunities. A prime example is the announcement by Aldi Food Stores that it plans to add 800 new stores within the next five years.

I'm sure some people react by wanting to ask me how this is an opportunity for them. To me, it's easy, whether you work residential or commercial. Either way, Aldi has done a lot of helpful market research for you!

Suppose you work residential. Chances are you know the demographics and income levels that Aldi Stores most commonly attract. If you buy and/or sell homes to that group, you should stay on top of this story to find out if there will be a new store within your farm area. Or, new stores in areas where residents of your farm area might want to move to.

Homes near the location will have the amenity of being close to a brand new store! Might be an advantage to help sell. Could be very helpful for a potential buyer also looking at homes which do not have easy proximity to a brand new grocery store.



If you work commercial, you now have research showing the viability of a major retailer preparing to serve specific communities. Those communities have room and want new construction. Aldi Store customers need other products and services. There may be adjacent space for lease or for sale.


This is where obtaining market research plays such as important role. Those that wait until ground has broken on a new store typically are told "We already have someone who.....". That "someone" did their homework ahead of time.


No matter how busy you are (or are not), there should always be time for market research. If you are too busy working with your clients, keep in mind that my office specializes in market research and marketing!

Saturday, February 17, 2024

One Experience Can Shape Many

Working with and for real estate professionals and investors for more than 30 years was not my original plan. My career actually began in radio broadcasting, which included studio work as well as covering events and doing live reports. When a report on the air is supposed to be 45 seconds long, it must be 45 seconds long and include important information for the audience at the time. I also went on to teach radio broadcasting part-time for seven semesters at Columbia College Chicago. 

Many years ago, some friends of mine got on the schedule to do a vendor presentation, along with two other companies. Because of my public speaking and presentation experience, they hired me to perform their presentation. We were slotted to go 2nd of the three. The guy presenting first had what I thought to be a more amazing product than what I had to talk about, and it worried me. However, I also noticed how he seemed insecure and was choppy during his presentation.

When it came to be my turn next, I got up and smoothly delivered my two minute presentation, making every sales point that was necessary, and then handled a couple of follow up questions with ease. Next, the 3rd presenter did not have as good of a product or presentation.

The result? Even though I didn’t think I was representing the best product, my guys got the sale! That moment showed me how much of a difference the presentation could make, regardless of the product or service.



Those radio broadcasting skills continue to help me when it comes to presenting properties, creating videos, hosting live educational webinars and seminars, and demonstrating the products and services my team and I now represent.

Meanwhile, I continue to see investors, agents, brokers, developers, builders, and others affiliated with real estate, miss out on potential deals and transactions because they don’t have the solid presentation and communication skills that often make the difference between winning and losing.

Over the years, I have occasionally helped my marketing clients with their presentation skills and have made an even more positive difference in their lives.

Now, as Real Estate Media Coach, I am available to specifically help real estate professionals and investors to increase their presentation skills. My having both the knowledge and experience from marketing campaigns for everything from multi-million dollar commercial developments to starter condos in low income areas combines with my communications coaching abilities.

I can work with individuals as well as large groups, including one-on-one time with each student.  

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

How Presentation Mistakes Harm Your Credibility

If you are presenting a property, whether to industry colleagues, investors, or potential buyers/tenants, it helps to consider both the material you are presenting along with how you are presenting it. Messing up one can mess up both. 



Here is an example I witnessed a couple years ago. I was watching a broker presenting a single family home listing to a group consisting of investors and fellow brokers. Along with a slide presentation, he was giving details of the property, and happened to mention that “This could also be a good rental property”. 

One of the audience members raised his hand and asked, “What is the monthly rental rate in that area?”. That was a very reasonable question, considering that the broker doing the presentation failed to mention it. However, the broker’s answer was “I’m not sure”.

My first reaction was to make a note to not do business with that broker. If he was going to mention that it “could be a good rental”, he should have been ready with facts to support his statement. No matter how good his slide presentation was to that point, his answer to an obvious question shot down his credibility. 


This broker should have done the research on current rents nearby while preparing his presentation. If the numbers were favorable, they should have been presented early in the presentation. If not favorable, don’t mention the possibility while giving the presentation. He could very well have lost out on a couple of potential buyers by not having information which is important to them.

The oral presentation skills of this broker were solid. There is more to it than being a good presenter, even when those skills are on display. Those that have the combination of a solid presentation AND are solid at public speaking and presenting to others have a much better chance to succeed. 


If you present properties and/or real estate opportunities to potential buyers, sellers, tenants, investors, lenders, and so on, you can be better at compiling each presentation and utilizing improved public speaking skills and strategies within 30 minutes. Schedule your time today at

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Public Speaking For Real Estate Professionals

As of late 2023 there are more than 1.5 million members of the National Association of Realtors. That number does not include thousands of commercial real estate brokers. Simultaneously, there are more than 2.4 million registered commercial real estate businesses in the U.S. 

Add in the number of home builders and commercial developers, and we have more than 5 million people involved with presenting and public speaking specific to the real estate community.

Many, if not the majority, have not yet had any training in public speaking or  making group presentations. Those are some of the challenges they face, which can hinder them from securing a listing or sale, costing them valuable revenue.


Real estate professionals and others in the industry are often faced with presenting a property to a potential buyer, tenant, and/or investor. It might be to an individual, or to a family or group. Although part of the presentation can be planned and rehearsed, dealing with reactions and questions is not. However, they are all part of the public speaking process. 

The same goes when making a Listing Presentation or promoting a listing to groups of agents. The Real Estate Media Coach brings such a big advantage to clients.

Real estate professionals and industry professionals can master their public speaking techniques which help overcome the natural fear. They do so from a real estate expert, which is an important combination.

One-on-one 60 minute individual sessions include plenty of actual practice time under the watchful eye (and ear) of the Real Estate Media Coach. Practicing comes after a review of strategies for gaining confidence and pacing as a speaker, whether to groups or individuals. 

The Real Estate Media Coach is also available for group and corporate presentations, which include a presentation of valuable tips and strategies to the entire group. The group session is followed by scheduled one-on-one time with each attendee to benefit their individual needs and skills.

Visit for details. 

Thursday, May 11, 2023

How To Determine Fix & Flip, Buy & Hold, Wholesale.....

Real estate investors have many decisions to make, whether just starting out or seasoned, when it comes to acquiring properties. Some look to wholesale (in states where it is allowed), some to “Fix and Flip”, and others to buy and hold for long term gains. Each of those possibilities have their own pros and cons, along with a number of investors who are successful at each of them. 


Each category requires a great deal of research leading up to finding potential investment opportunities. The amount of time needed is also a factor in determining the choice in working with a property. When wholesaling, the money is made at the closing with no further responsibility for the subject property. If doing a Fix and Flip, the likelihood is for weeks or months of repairs and upgrades to increase the value. For a “buy and hold”, the objective is long-term revenue, whether from leasing or tax advantages. 



 Some real estate investors make the mistake of being focused on only one of these possibilities while doing their research. Consequently, they might be missing out on a solid investment. It is understandable for a real estate investor to think that they do not have the bandwidth to, for example, engage in a costly and longtime upgrade despite the eventual profit potential.  


The point is that a real estate investor should be doing his or her research looking for a solid investment. If he/she cannot work with it as intended, chances are there is another buyer (or partner) out there that would love to get in on a solid deal. Some investors are private lenders and/or cash buyers that look for a good deal. Even the best researcher isn’t able to find deals throughout the region, let alone the entire country. 


For this reason, it is helpful to research properties in specific areas based on criteria used by other investors. Whether you are working with a real estate agent or not, you can do this research yourself. Comps on what properties are currently selling for are not enough to determine the strength of a potential investment. 


By visiting, you can learn how to access data about investment properties around the country, based on your investing criteria. You can compare against what other investors and buyers have recently done within the same community. For example, you can see recent successful fix and flips within a neighborhood so you can more easily compare.  


If the numbers work for you, it is easy to work with any real estate agent you choose. But if the numbers are good but don’t work for you, you have something to offer to another investor or buyer and get paid even more for your efforts. 


You can participate month to month with no contract required. Details at

How To Do Your Own Comps For Potential Flips

Real estate investors looking to flip or wholesale properties need “additional” local comps to guide them toward a decision as to whether to purchase each property they consider. Real estate agents are typically only concerned with pricing properties which are “ready to go”, or close to it. However, a flipper or wholesaler is not going to purchase a property for anywhere near the current market value.  


Here is an example. Suppose there is a single-family home on a block with neighboring homes selling in the $200,000 range. This property, however, needs a lot of renovation and/or repair, which the current owner is not willing or able to finance. As a real estate investor, you need much more than the comps showing the value of good condition neighboring homes.  




While considering, or upon making a conditional offer, you need to be able to inspect the subject property. This is whether you do so yourself and/or hire a home inspector. Your goal is to determine the cost of bringing the property up to market value. There are costs to consider, ranging from fixtures (roof, furnace, electrical work) to labor (deep cleaning, painting, etc.) to renovation. You also need to consider the profit margin you expect to justify your purchase and the time and expense to bring to market value. 


Before doing repairs and/or upgrades to the property for resale, you need to consider roughly $15,000 for commissions and closing costs. You also plan to come out with between $20,000 and $25,000 profit when all is said and done. If you acquire the property for $140,000, it leaves you with a maximum of $20,000 to $25,000 to spend on the rehab. 


The $140,000 amount is based on being roughly 70% of market value. However, an investor needs to know if offering $140,000 or less is viable. Most real estate agents base the buyer comps on the $200,000 market value even though an investor will not offer anywhere close.  


This is one of the reasons why offers analytic software which provides local comps based on investor criteria. You can search most neighborhoods and see recently sold nearby properties which were purchased by investors. In addition, you can then compare against “market value” comps to get a much clearer picture on your potential investment.  


You can do all of this whether working with a real estate agent or not, and there are no restrictions whatsoever as to which agent you can work with. The software accesses current and updated data and is available month to month with no contract required. Newer investors can access the video training along with regularly scheduled live webinars as part of their membership. 


Real estate agents and brokers can also utilize this software for helping their investor clients to acquire more properties. Details at .

How To Find Investment Properties While Working With Your Agent of Choice

As a real estate investor, especially for one to four units (including single family), it is helpful to understand the role that a real estate agent plays in helping you. Typically, the role is much different from the home buyers they serve. Although in both situations the buyer wants the lowest possible price, the criteria differs for an investor.   


Someone buying a home for themselves or their family to live in relies on a real estate agent to meet their needs. Considerations include price, but may also include a school district, proximity to work, transportation, and/or shopping, and specific amenities. On the other hand, a real estate investor might not be limited to a specific neighborhood or be as concerned about the current condition of the property.  


Some real estate agents and brokerages attempt to serve investors by offering a list of local investment properties. In many instances, the agent(s) doing so understand how to compile such lists because they are investors themselves. This means that he, she, or they get first crack at potential investment properties within the area(s) they serve.  



Consequently, the investors they “serve” receive lists of properties which they (agent) have, in effect, already rejected for themselves. In addition, there are some real estate brokers selling software which is designed to analyze potential investment deals. Worse yet, some brokers require investors, already paying to utilize the software, to then engage their brokerage to complete any of the transactions they have “analyzed”. In other words, they expect investors to pay to analyze lists of already rejected investment properties, and when they find one to purchase, then pay that same brokerage a commission on the purchase transaction.  


Software to help real estate investors identify and analyze investment property opportunities in local areas and around the country is extremely helpful. However, it is even more beneficial for real estate investing when not affiliated with a specific agent or brokerage in any way. As a result, users can work with any agent or broker they choose, even if only to handle the negotiations and subsequent purchase. At the same time, they get a wider range of properties and more thorough investment data to consider. The cost is often less per month than some local providers and brokerages charge while including their financial and geographic restrictions. 


In addition, users have access to scheduled updated training along with hours of training videos. 


Details are available at  

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Why Real Estate Professionals Need Market Research

“How did he/she know that?” If you have ever missed out on a property or real estate opportunity because you simply didn’t know about it soon enough, you know the significance of Market Research.


The right information transforms in to the right opportunity. You could be a real estate agent that doesn’t know you just outsold your farm area’s top producer last month. You could be an investor who didn’t know that a property you turned down had additional zoning options. You could have lost out on a bid because you didn’t include enough information.


If you work for a company which provides “market research”, it means that others in the same office also gain access to the same information. However, what helps your company may not always help YOU.


You need facts and data to help toward your next sale, transaction, or goal. One important fact is that there are only so many hours in the day. Not enough to be able to gather and promote the important elements which could be the key toward your next success.


There is a big difference between “shared research” and your very own “market research”. That difference impacts your bottom line.




For example, research is crucial for a law firm of any size. There is a lot more than the facts relating to the case an attorney needs to win. They need to find and pull specific information from other cases which went in the direction he/she hopes to accomplish. They need to find and pull facts and theories which support the argument they need to present. Additional research may include digging up facts about the other party and elements of the legal action which could be used to cast a negative light on the opposition.


Chances are the opposing side anticipates the “common” data and will be ready to defend and argue.


Think about this for real estate. If your offer, your comps, or your proposal contains the same data as your competitors, your presentation is much less likely to stand out.


In every instance, if you can bring unique and helpful market research to the table, you stand to gain because of it. Just like with law firms, you don’t have to do it all yourself.


FIRST IN performs market research, whether on long term retainer or for a short-term project, to make you or your business be the shining star!


One agent in a small community, which earlier had us sort their database, needed more single family homes for buyers. Market research uncovered a multi-family listing which sat untouched for six months but was also zoned for single-family.


An email to only to his local investors produced a buyer. That buyer quickly tore down and built an upscale single family home, from which the sale brought the investor roughly $100,000 profit eight months later. That agent gained two commissions within one year from the same parcel from this opportunity which would not have happened without our services.


Another agent was able to point out how a competitor failing to update their website cost a seller thousands of dollars and what she does to prevent those mistakes for her client.


Chances are you don’t have time to explore ways you can beat your competitors, but knowing those “ways” would increase your income by thousands of dollars. Hiring FIRSTIN to monitor your competition while creating advantages for you or your company allows you to do just that.


How do your competitors acquire their leads? Why does their process differ from yours? What distinct advantages can you bring to the table?


Whether you hire us for ongoing “behind the scenes” research and monitoring, or for a live virtual session to provide and receive immediate and direct input and strategies, it’s easy to add a new member to your success team!