Successfully Selling Silver on eBay – Article Two – Hallmarks, Maker’s Marks, Standards, and More

(Warning: This article is long and reading it may improve your ability to make money on eBay)

In Article One I discussed the opportunities for savvy eBay sellers in the growing investor market for antique and collectible silver. The many types of marks on these goods can be confusing, however, often resulting in poorly described listings. One can be assured that at least 30% of the 12-15,000 weekly listings in the ‚Antiques-Sterling‘ category will have inaccurate or misleading descriptions. The resulting buyer confusion and uncertainty causes poor selling prices, lost sales and seller credibility issues.

In this article eBayers will learn how to identify and understand the many different marks and where to research them. With this background sellers can write professional descriptions in their eBay auctions, eBay stores and other selling venues. Properly identifying and listing silver items gives sellers credibility and an edge over the hundreds of uninformed sellers in this competitive market.

Think of it this way – if one were going to get into the car selling business he or she should know as much as possible about makes, models, engines, performance, etc. Right? The same thing applies to selling silver goods. The marks tell the story behind the piece i.e., the maker, age, origin, history, quality, pattern, etc. Understanding marks will increase the sellers‘ ROI because they become better buyers as well as resellers.

Identifying and Deciphering Silver Marks – The list below provides the basics for learning the many marks and and metal types. For further research and education there are many excellent reference books available for both beginners and experts. I’ve provided a short list of suggested books at the end of the article. Understand that many reference books are narrow in their scope i.e., specific to certain time periods, countries, etc. For this reason one should purchase only one or two books which cover a wide array of marks from many makers and countries. As experience is gained by listing and selling silver one can build a good reference library. For online research there are several excellent websites that are contributed to and used by collectors and dealers worldwide. I’ve linked one of the best sites at the bottom of the article. Professional valuations and appraisals are also available for those who want a quality listing but don’t want to research marks.

Those who are just starting into silver sales need to be very careful not to misinterpret marks. As stated above, one-third of the eBay sellers incorrectly list and describe items because they’ve learned just enough information about marks to be dangerous. Often these erroneous sellers think because there is a lion, crown, or anchor mark on their item it is English sterling when, in fact, it is silverplate bearing a pseudo mark. Just today I saw a new seller’s auction of a creamer and sugar bowl set that she listed as English sterling made in 1903. In reality it was American silverplate circa 1877-1880. She thought the pattern number, 1903, was the date it was made and that the lion in the trademark meant English sterling. This is just one example of many that make sellers look bad and limit their chances for a profitable sale.

Use Knowledge As A Selling Point – After properly researching the marks on the merchandise one can accurately title and describe the listings. Items can be guaranteed to be as claimed because the seller has enough confidence to do so. This gives credibility to the seller and the merchandise which will draw smart investors and collectors to the auction. The result will be strong bidding action and higher sale prices.

Use Accurately Identified Marks for Search Optimization – For example, a seller identifies a piece as Danish and made by Georg Jensen circa 1909-1914. When used to keyword the auction title and description this information will be a magnet for high-end collectors . This translates into bigger profits. Which of these two titles works best? „Antique Silver Bowl with Hallmarks“ or,„Beautiful Georg Jensen Art Nouveau Sterling Centerpiece c.1909-1914“. The second one of course. This is simply using strategic keywords in the title which gives life to the listing.

Okay, so what’s to learn? There’s plenty. The following is just the short list, but with this foundation a seller can build their road to success as an expert silver dealer on eBay and other venues.

Things You Must Know:

  • Hallmarks – Just about every eBay seller misunderstands this. Specific to precious metals, a hallmark is defined as a mark or series of marks struck into the metal that officially authenticates the metal purity (fineness or content) and which is internationally recognized as a guarantee of purity. eBay sellers frequently confuse hallmarks with maker’s marks, logos, company trademarks, and simple number marks such as 925 or 835. While such number marks are used to indicate purity or content they are never to be considered as hallmarks unless they are accompanied by the official standard mark of the country of origin. Why? Because anyone can fraudulently strike these numbers into the metal without official assay. Hallmarks are the official marks of guaranteed metal purity in precious metal items. Trademarks and maker’s marks are simply the mark of the manufacturer of the item. Think of it like the karat marks on gold jewelry. If a ring says Cartier 18K, the hallmark is the 18K, not the maker’s name, Cartier. It guarantees the ring has a gold purity of 75% and it is recognized worldwide. Silver hallmarks work the same way, there’s just a lot more of them than there are for gold.
  • Country Marks – Almost every country requires official nationalized marks or symbols to be used as the hallmarks for their precious metals standards. Probably the best known of all is the Lion Passant used by England to guarantee sterling since the 14th century. There are far too many country marks to list here but you can research them in the online reference sites listed at the end of this article.
  • City Marks – A mark or symbol used in many countries to denote the city where the item was made. The leopard head representing London and the anchor representing Birmingham are two of the best known and most commonly seen on eBay. Again there’s too many to list but they can be researched in the reference guides listed below.
  • Maker’s Marks – These are the registered names, initials, trademarks, logos, brands, symbols, or other marks used over several centuries by silversmiths and manufacturing companies to identify their wares. There are literally hundreds of these worldwide. You will usually find these struck or imprinted onto an inconspicuous place on the item along with the hallmark and other marks.
  • Date Marks – Also called Date Codes, these are unique symbols, characters, letters, or numbers used by some well known manufacturers as a means of dating the production year of their merchandise. These are cataloged and are very useful in accurately dating many items. Unfortunately many companies didn’t use date marks which makes precise dating of their work impossible.
  • Pseudo Marks – These marks were created by silversmiths to mimic the well known and long established British sterling hallmarks. These smiths typically made silverplate items and silver items of lesser purity than sterling. The marks were intentionally designed to give a perception of sterling quality about their work in order to profit on the reputation and renown of British sterling. This does not necessarily mean they were all practicing fakery, though some certainly were. In fact, many pseudo marks are legitimately registered trademarks of reputable firms which manufacture in sterling, coin and silverplate. For example Gorham, a highly respected American sterling and silverplate maker, incorporated the Birmingham anchor mark into their maker’s mark. Much of the 19th century Chinese export silver also bears pseudo marks on some very high quality 800 and 835 standard marked goods. Pseudo marks are often mistaken for British sterling hallmarks so buyers and sellers alike must be able to recognize them. This is one of the main reasons why research is so critical to successful selling.
  • Pattern Numbers – These are proprietary numbers which are often found along with the hallmarks and maker’s marks. These are used by the manufacturer for patent registration, pattern identification and inventory control.
  • Sterling – Sterling is defined by the U.K., the U.S. (refer below*) and most other nations as an alloy containing at least 92.5% pure silver. The other metal in the alloy is copper which strengthens the metal for fabrication into usable and decorative wares. The word sterling comes from 14th century England. The sterling standard in Great Britain and elsewhere has been 92.5% (925) fineness since that time.
  • 925, 0.925 or 925/1000 – This number is often found stamped into silver items. It represents sterling when accompanied by the official standard hallmark of the country of origin. The presence of this number on an item does not guarantee it to be sterling unless the official country hallmark is also present.
  • „Solid Silver“ – This is defined by the U.S. government (refer below*) as an alloy containing at least 92.5% pure silver which means it has to be sterling. It is illegal in the U.S. to represent any product by this name that is not sterling silver.
  • „Coin Silver“ – This alloy gets its name from 18th and 19th century American silversmiths who melted down silver coins in order to fabricate items to sell. Typical items were silverware and other table service wares. The U.S. government defines this to be an alloy of 90% (900) purity (refer below*). Many items with less than 90% purity are frequently and illegally sold as „coin silver“ in the U.S. on eBay and in other venues.
  • Continental Sterling – This is a misleading term used by some who sell European made items which have purity standards less than 92.5%. Similar terms used are Russian Sterling, German Sterling, French Sterling, etc. all of which are marked with official national standards that are less than 925. Continental Silver is the correct way to describe European goods provided the official hallmark and assay mark are present to authenticate the actual purity.
  • Silver Standards – In the U.S. the standards are pure (.9999%), sterling and coin (refer below*). In the U.K. the standards are britannia (95.8 % purity) and sterling. Britannia was used exclusively in Britain from 1697 to 1720 and has been optional since. Other countries have their own sets of official standards. Typically, but not without exception, these are 950, 935, 925, 900, 875, 850, 835, 812, 800, 750, and 675 purities as determined by official assay. These numbers represent the decimal fraction (percentage) of silver content in the manufactured item. For example, an item marked ‚800‘ is 80% pure. 950 and 935 can be legally referred to in the U.S. as sterling, regardless of the country of origin, but the lesser standards cannot. 950 is sometimes referred to as Martelé Silver. Note: In the U.S. it is a federal crime to import, sell, label, advertise, or otherwise represent any item as „sterling“ or „solid silver“ which does not have a purity of 92.5% or greater (refer below*).
  • Loth Numbers – This was a numerical system used in Austria-Hungary and Germany-Prussia in the 18th and 19th centuries for authenticating official assays. It is based on a purity of 16/16. So that 15/16 is 15 Loth equaling .937 purity, 14/16 is 14 Loth equaling .875 purity, 13/16 is 13 Loth equaling .812 purity, and so on. Most of the antique silver from these countries found listed on eBay is 13 Loth and, as noted above, it is often misrepresented as German Sterling. Austria-Hungary used this system until 1866 and Germany-Prussia until 1886.
  • Zolotnik Numbers – These numbers are found on Russian silver items going back several centuries. The root of this system began in the 11th century with the Russian gold trade. A lot of antique Russian items are auctioned on eBay and other venues so it is important to know some basics. The numbers are based on 96/96 being pure. What is sold mostly on eBay is the more common 84 Zolotnik, or 84/96 which equals 875 (87.5%) purity. 88 Zolotnik is 88/96 or 916 purity and so on. A common problem with the 84 mark is mistaking certain types of French silverplate for Russian 84 Zolotnik. One way to tell the difference is the French silverplate mark will have either a ‚Gr‘ or ‚G‘ after the 84 which represents grams of silver used in the plating process. Also the Russian 84 Zolotnik will always be accompanied with one or more official marks and a maker’s mark in Russian Cyrillic letters. If an item is claimed to be Russian and it bears on the number 84, then consider it to be fake or plate.
  • Silverplate – This is a very thin layering or coating of pure silver over a base metal. The most common base metals used are copper, brass, nickel-silver, white metal, and Britannia metal (see below). The two types of silverplate are Sheffield plate and electroplate. Sheffield derives its name from Sheffield, England where it originated. The technique used was a ’sandwiching‘ of a layer of base metal between a top and bottom layer of pure silver. The metals were wrought or rolled until the two metals were bonded. Thus the base metal was ‚plated‘ and could then be used for manufacturing. Electroplating was invented in 1805 but didn’t come into popular use until 1840. This is an electrolytic process whereby molecules of silver are deposited onto the surfaces of a sheet of base metal until the desired coating or thickness is achieved. Because electroplating is quick and not labor intense almost all plating was done this way by 1860 which doomed the Sheffield plate method. Today Sheffield plate is prized by collectors due to its superior hand-wrought quality and antique value. There are several different quality grades of electroplate/silverplate. These are based on the thickness of the plating resulting from the amount of silver used. The two common types of Victorian Era silverplate are triple plate and quadruple plate. You will see a lot of these types auctioned on eBay. The key thing to know about silverplate is that it has no significant silver weight, thus there is no precious metal value associated with it. The market for silverplated items is based on rarity, uniqueness, antique qualities, craftsmanship, and design qualities only.
  • Sterling Silverplate – There is no such thing! This description is often used by eBay sellers who don’t know anything about silver or who are keyword spamming to increase clicks on their listing. Because sterling is an alloy it is unsuitable to use as a silver source for plating.
  • E.P.N.S. – You will see these letters marking the bottoms of many older American and British silverplated items. This stands for Electro Plated Nickel-Silver. Many novice eBay sellers and those who don’t bother to do any research mistakenly list E.P.N.S. items as sterling. Common variations on this are E.P., E.P.C. (Electro Plate on Copper), E.P.W.M. (Electro Plate on White Metal), E.P.B. or E.P.B.M. (Electro Plate on Britannia Metal). Just know that any item marked with E.P. is silverplate and as such has no precious metal value.
  • Nickel-Silver – This is a common base metal alloy consisting of nickel, copper and zinc. There is no silver in it whatsoever. The name was coined because the metal is silvery in color and polishes to a shine. Other names used for the same metal are: Alpacca or Alpacca Silver; Brazil Silver; German Silver; Peru Silver; New York Silver; New Silver; Nevada Silver; Norwegian Silver; Silverite; Venetian Silver; Potosi Silver; and Sonora Silver to name just a few. Many people have been stung buying things like old German Silver ladies purses thinking they had something of real value. Nickel-silver is strong and durable but it doesn’t have any metal value.
  • White Metal – This is a silvery colored alloy usually containing a mixture of antimony, tin, lead, zinc, and cadmium. In the U.K. the British fine arts trade uses the term ‚white metal‘ to describe all foreign items which do not have official British Assay Office marks struck on them.
  • Britannia Metal – Another non-silver base metal similar to pewter which is popular because it is durable and polishes to a silver-like luster. This is an alloy of 93% tin, 5% antimony and 2% copper. Not to be confused with 958 Britannia from Great Britain.

The hundreds of known marks and their meanings are complex and often confusing. The information you’ve received in this article should increase your understanding of what many of the marks represent. You can now build upon these basics to become an informed buyer and reseller with a substantial edge over your competition. Thanks for following this article series and please watch for Article Three: A Focus on British Sterling.

Suggested Reference Books:

  1. Kovels‘ American Silver Marks by Ralph and Terry Kovel; Random House Reference, 1st Ed., 1989. ISBN-13: 978-0517568828
  2. Dealer’s Guides: English Silver Hall-Marks by Judith Banister; Foulsham Publishing, 2004. ISBN-13: 978-0572029999
  3. Encyclopedia of American Silver Manufacturers by Dorothy T. Rainwater, Martin Fuller and Colette Fuller; Schiffer Publishing, 2003. ISBN-13: 978-0764318870
  4. American Silversmiths and Their Marks: The Definitive (1948) Edition by Stephen G. C. Ensko; Dover Publications, 1983. ISBN-13: 978-0486244280
  5. All About Antique Silver with International Hallmarks by Diana Sanders Cinamon; AAA Publishing; 1ST edition, 2006. ISBN-13: 978-0978516802
  6. Discovering Hallmarks on English Silver by John Bly; Shire Publishing, 9th Ed., 2008. ISBN-13: 978-0747804505
  7. English, Irish, & Scottish Silver: at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute by Beth Carver Wees; Hudson Hills Press, 1st Ed.,1997. ISBN-13: 978-1555951177

(These and other excellent reference books on this subject are available at Amazon.com and other fine booksellers.)

* U.S. Guide to Precious Metals & Jewels: Laws & Standards (See paragraph 23.6)

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

How to Find a REALTOR

You will meet a lot of people just by deciding to apply for a mortgage loan. This is because the process is relatively complex. This is especially true for those who are purchasing a property for the first time. Being represented by a pro certainly makes things easier. Among the people you should meet is a REALTOR®. But what is a REALTOR® and why is there a need to find one?

Understanding what a REALTOR® is:

A REALTOR® is a term used by real estate agents who are members of the National Associations of REALTORS®. The said term only refers to those who are member of the association. They abide by strict rules of ethics and standards, which set them apart from other real estate agents. Finding a good agent is essential because you want to be represented by someone who will protect your interests.

The roles of a REALTOR®:

You are probably asking why look for REALTOR® if you can take care of things yourself. It is true that you can purchase a property without any help. However, this does not guarantee that you will not encounter problems. Bear in mind that you can easily miss out information necessary for a smooth real estate transaction.

The main objective of a REALTOR® is to ensure that both the buyer and a seller reach an agreement wherein they both end up as winners. It is ideal that you work with one, because first, you are not bound to pay anything upfront. Many buyers are reluctant to work with an agent because of the possible fees involved. Do not worry about this as the seller normally shoulders his commission.

Moreover, the REALTOR® is expected to provide you details of the different properties in the market. He is also tasked to set appointments with the seller and other parties involved and most importantly, provide you with information about the different properties that you will potentially purchase. These are essential for you to make an educated decision.

How to find a good REALTOR®:

Although all REALTORS® have taken an oath, it is still important that you take your time in finding the ideal one for you. There are several of them in the market. You can ask for recommendation from people you know, who have likely worked with one before. You can also use the yellow pages or online directories to look for one. Check out comments, testimonials or feedback regarding their services.

See to it that the agents you are looking at are full time REALTORS®. Although some part time agents that are good, you would want to work with someone who will be able to see you when you are free and will not cancel appointment. Narrow your search to three choices and check their portfolio. Check the number of satisfied clients as well and personally talk to the agents before making a decision.

Working with a real estate agent is important when purchasing a property. This will ensure that you are properly represented and that your interests are protected. However, you have to make sure that you find a good agent to work with.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

New Homes Industry: The Key To Job Creation And A Better Economy in Nigeria

At her recent swearing in as Finance Minister for the second time around, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala reportedly declared, „I am here to create jobs.“ That is music to the ears of all Nigerians, including the reported and staggering 40 million job-seekers and those who know that lack of employment is a major contributor to the high crime wave in all corners of our Motherland. Combined with passage of indigene law, Nigeria will foster deeper housing roots and policies capable of ameliorating sectarian crimes, such as the ones that often occur in Jos and other parts of our „One Nigeria“.

I understood Mrs. Iweala’s „I am here to create jobs“ comment to mean that she will work hard to create an economic environment that is conducive to the private sector creating good paying jobs for Nigerian citizens and immigrants. I will come back to why the „immigrants“ part is critical to Nigeria’s development and prosperity.

It will not be easy!

President Goodluck Jonathan should be commended for the heightened emphasis he seems to be according to the improvement of Nigeria’s economy. I hope both the President and Finance Minister succeed for the good of all Nigerians, but like many Nigerians, I will hold further praise until I see measurable results even as we support only their worthy efforts. Nigerian history is full of false starts and wasted opportunities.

However, the President and the Minister cannot and should not be expected to do it all by themselves without our support. Nigerians everywhere should get all hands on deck and contribute to worthy causes of any administration. Both job seekers and the employed must have strong work ethics and provide superior services that make their employers‘ businesses prosper so they can hire more people and stay in business for a long time. Every employee should work it as if it were his or her father’s company.

In the world’s more efficient economies, the private sector is the engine of growth and job creation. Nigeria does not need more government or public sector jobs. It needs more sustainable private sector workers.

This and every administration should be vocally criticized when they pursue the wrong agenda. That is constructive and good for all. Each administration should be judged by how it improves the lives of the people in the short and long run with the people asserting their responsibilities along the way too.

For the first time ever, I wrote to Nigerian President in May 2011 to ask him to put development of Nigeria’s new housing industry at the top of his economic agenda for the betterment of all. I stated the potential externalities of the new home industry for the Nigerian economy. In that missive, I expressed my willingness to contribute pro bono to that effort. I made it quite clear that I neither seek any monetary/political reward nor do I desire to return to Nigeria permanently any time soon.

Being content in America does not preclude me (or others) from making trips to Nigeria (at personal expense) to help organize seminars and tours for educating Nigeria’s budding homebuilders who wish to learn the American new housing methods. Certainly, I do not have all the answers but since this is my passionate profession (new homes) here in America, it is my wish to give back by contributing the little I know to new homes development in our beloved Nigeria.

I respect Mrs. Iweala’s decision to return to Nigeria to serve. I believe she will perform well in her encore as Finance Minister. After being at the top of one’s career overseas for many years, it can be tough to uproot one’s family. Leaving one’s family abroad and returning home to work in Nigeria is a heavy commitment too, regardless of how much one earns there.

Nigerians inside and outside the country should respect those who go down this path to help, and not to loot the coffers. The leaders who ask these professionals to return to their homeland should be recognized and praised based on positive results, not lip services.

It was reported that President Jonathan recently formed the National Economic Management Team (NEMT) to spearhead his economic agenda. The names and agencies that make up the team appear impressive. If egos are checked at the door, and bureaucratic inertia is not allowed to engrain, monumental good can come from this team. Nigerians everywhere have been waiting for the „coming“ to come.

It will be to the welcome credit of the Jonathan administration and all the NEMT members if they achieve tangible success. Nigerians should be cautiously optimistic.

Contrary to what some at home may think about those of us in Diaspora, we all want Nigeria to improve. We want to have the viable option to return to Nigeria for good. We hunger to contribute our share to the development of our Motherland. We want to take our children to Nigeria to show them how great and free life can be there, not only to show them how good they have it here overseas. We all love Nigeria (too), perhaps, more than Nigeria loves us!

True Nigerian professionals abroad were not swayed a few years ago by the past administration’s „Clarion Call“ to return home, because that was perceived as a rudderless call. Nigeria has disappointed so many of its people so many times that the few who have found greener pastures overseas will not be easily lead into the lion’s den again. They see footprints pointing inward without any footprints coming out; and they know that those who entered were consumed by the hungry lion in the den.

It is heartbreaking when loved ones in Nigeria strongly urge their folks abroad not to return home due to the conditions there. It hurts each time I hear that warning: stay in America and do not come back. Content Nigerians abroad do not see any glamour in riding around in armored vehicles at insane speeds with deafening sirens blaring, as are commonly the cases when the lowest ranked persons in the government move around town back home.

Lack of security, stable electricity, adequate healthcare, and poor roads affect all. Not being able to jog or ride your bicycle ten miles down the street without fear of being run over, kidnapped, bombed, or robbed are very sad states of affairs in Naija.

Some Nigerians in Diaspora don’t find it enticing to have helpers for chores they are used to doing themselves.For the creation of good jobs to take off and be sustained in Nigeria, both the leaders and the people should consider the following:

1. Fostering the Real Estate industry via public and private sectors partnership.

2. Passing and enforcing the Indigene law, which makes any city or state where one lives for 6 or more consecutive months one’s new residence with full and equal rights.

3. Enforcing Federal, State, County, City, Property, and Sales Tax laws; no sacred cows. Corruption and waste would be curtailed when governments are funded by taxes paid by the masses. Looters would be castigated in public squares if they embezzle taxpayers‘ hard earned money. Stealing oil money is one thing; stealing tax revenue is an entirely different matter.

4. Schools need to be reorganized, locally controlled and administered. Parents should be prepared to pay the true cost of educating their children. Schools should be rated every year and the scores made public, so failing schools are closed and teachers retrained.

5. Every Nigerian should become a stakeholder with full responsibility and authority to be steward of the community and the nation. We must not allow foreign oil companies to pollute and destroy our environment with impunity.

6. Citizens and immigrants must be willing to pay for and defend the system or rule of law.

7. We ought to lay the groundwork for a network of radio, television, and print media to become the people’s vanguard.

8. We should commence the much talked about national identification program to track and maintain records of individual activities and behaviors. This is not a police state thing, but a basis for commerce and accountability, just like the American Social Security Number system.

9. Decentralize and privatize electric power generation and distribution.

10. Decentralize police and other law enforcement agencies as they are in the United States whose system of government we aspire to emulate.

The Chief Executive Officer of DN Meyer Plc, Bola Olayinka, says that „Available statistics show that Nigeria is bedeviled with a housing deficit of about 17 million, thus requiring 50 years to bridge the gap.“ What a goldmine! Any nation would be glad to have the opportunity in housing that Nigeria has. NEMT should make single family housing a top priority.

For the reader who does not know much about the housing industry, let me take a few moments and scratch the surface of this critically important economic powerhouse; pun intended.

Some economists believe the American economy, and to a greater extent the global economy, will recover only after the U.S. Housing market recovers. Housing is that critical.In 2008, America’s National Association of Home Builder (NAHB) estimated that the economic impacts include the following:

• 3.05 jobs and $89,216 in taxes (from building an average new single family home).

• 1.16 jobs and $33,494 in taxes (from building an average new multifamily rental unit).

• 1.11 jobs and $30,217 in taxes (from $100,000 spent on residential remodeling).

As used here, taxes are shorthand for government revenue from all sources, including construction-related fees imposed by local governments.

I know that average American homes cost more than average Nigerian homes, however, due to automation, styles, amenities, and technology constraints, more workers are needed to build a home in Nigeria. For the sake of the argument, let us assume it will take the same number of workers to build the average Nigeria home. Using the 17 million housing units deficit and 3.05 jobs per house figures, Nigeria could create 51 million jobs in a hurry and achieve full employment.

The World Bank estimates there are 40 million unemployed Nigerians now. Single family home business alone is capable of curing the unemployment problems in Nigeria. I know this a simplistic view but it is a realistic one.Housing will also create lots of indirect jobs such as:

1. Police Officers

2. Firefighters

3. City inspectors to oversee construction codes compliance

4. Water and waste water professionals, etc.

The economic externalities are endless, and so are the social benefits.

After people buy new homes, they go on to buy refrigerators, curtains, stoves, and all the home’s furnishings. These spending sprees create more demand for goods and services, and even more jobs.

Immigrants should be encouraged to dig in roots in Nigeria. When they do, they become givers instead of just takers. Immigrants have unique and empowering potential to improve society. When embraced, immigrants enrich the host country socially, culturally, financially, academically, and other wise… Just look at the nation of immigrants called the United States of America.

There are many more social benefits to home ownership than meets the eye. In any society, you would be hard pressed to find homeowners causing problems that diminish their property values. Homeowners pay more in taxes and work harder to earn money to pay their bills and maintain their neighborhoods. They quickly become the middle class backbone on which a stable and prosperous society is built. Nigeria needs a viable middle class as fish need water and humans oxygen.

If the mortgage business is expanded in Nigeria, more people will be able to buy homes on installment terms that will spur more lending and banking activities. In the wake of these economic activities will be more high paying jobs for everyone.

However, Nigerian home buyers must understand and be responsible for their side of the borrowing business. If you miss as few as two payments, you will be due for late payment fees, damaged credit history and foreclosure and eviction: No excuses. You don’t shoot or kidnap the bank manager because you lost your home via foreclosure.

Here in USA, those who did not fully understand what they were getting into during the housing boom ended up burning themselves and nearly breaking the back of the American economy in the process. Just ask those who swallowed the easy housing credit of the past 20 years and ended up financially comatose following the 2008 bust. You can’t use your home as ATM either.

The housing market can be full of peaks and valleys. It can be a roller coaster of dizzying proportions. Both the government and the mortgage consumers need to know what they are getting into. When done well, the benefits can be immense. Your house is your home. It is not just an American Dream to own a home; it is every citizen of any nation’s dream to have a good place to call home. Your home is your castle!

I strongly urge the NEMT members to eschew petty rivalry and seize the enormous potential of the residential housing industry, with its good-paying and quick-creating jobs. To unleash the full creativity and competitive power of this industry, all that the federal, state and local governments have to do is create an environment that is conducive for the private sector to flourish and accomplish the rest. I hope that is what the Minister means by, „I am here to create jobs“.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

More About Paige Texas

Tucked up in the north east corner of Bastrop County almost to the Lee County line is the sleepy little „burb“ of Paige. The elevation is approx. 535′, the weather is moderate year round. The school system is Bastrop ISD and depending on where you live kids might attend Lost Pines Elementary, Bastrop Middle School or Bastrop High school. Paige proper is not much bigger than a total of 18 blocks and as is typical of small Texas towns there are still some beautiful old vintage/historic homes and buildings still standing or still in use. The area surrounding Paige is a mix of rural residential properties and farm and ranch land. Horse enthusiasts covet the sandy loam soil that can be found in parts of Paige such as out Old Potato Road, or Old Pin Oak, or Antiock and Cardinal Roads.

Paige was established in 1872 along the Houston and Texas Central Rail. The old abandoned rail line is still there which runs along side parts of Old Highway 20 and would make a great section of „Rails for Trails“ as it is not in use at all now. Paige was named after one of the civil engineers that worked on the railway. There was a rail station in Paige up until 1876 and then it was moved to its present location approximately 3 miles to the east. There is a volunteer fire department which was established in 1982 along with the Paige Community Center, and Paige has had a Post Office in town since1874. In those days the majority of the population was of German heritage as was much of the Central Texas area. The population of Paige has fluctuated over the years. In the late 1880’s the town was said to have had a population of 500. Back then the Paige rail station was a shipping point for livestock such as cattle and hogs. Local industry included a pickle, creamery, and broom factory. Today some of the local businesses include The Old Frontier Store which is on Highway 290 and has a little bit of everything to offer from groceries to a meat counter to a small deli/diner, and Yarnorama a yarn and fiber shop.

Paige is approx. 40 miles outside of Austin on Highway 290. Bastrop is 14 miles away on Highway 21, and has just about everything anyone could want or need with coffee shops, two feed stores, box stores such as Home Depot and Lowes on the way, great restaurants, a movie house and bowling alley. About half way to Bastrop from Paige on Highway 21 is Lake Bastrop which offers campgrounds, swim beaches, boat rental and boat launch on both the north and south shores. If you decide to head to Smithville, the town where the movie Hope Floats was filmed is just less than 13 miles on FM 2104. Just before you get to Smithville on the west side of the road you will find Buecher State Park and Lake. If it is the coast you crave you can get to the Gulf in just under two hours from Paige. Circle D, Pioneer Pines Farms, Pine Valley and Pine Tree Cattle Ranch are just a few of the subdivisions that fall in the Paige area that offer rural residential living in the ‚lost pines“ of Bastrop County. The Paige area is also full of wonderful ranches and recreational properties (great for hunting) and periodically they do come on the market.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

How to Sell a House Privately

Not so long ago selling a house was possible only through a real estate agent. This was mainly because there was no way for sellers and buyers to connect directly. And, the real estate agents would charge an exorbitant sum for providing their services in form of commission. But thanks to the internet, there are new ways of communication that have powered property sellers for selling a house privately.

What does selling a house on the internet imply?

These days we look towards the internet for all our needs. In the real estate sector, buyers no longer rely only on real estate agents to find a home for them. They search online for homes. The internet provides them the convenience of searching homes from the comfort of their home. They can also filter the listings according to their preferences such as the location, number of rooms, budget, etc. This helps them shortlist properties easily. They only need to visit properties that they have shortlisted. Therefore the entire process of finding a home saves their efforts, time and money.

If you are a seller and know that buyers are looking online to buy a property, then it definitely makes sense to channelize your efforts towards listing it on property portals. You can easily eliminate the agent from the process and sell it online.

While selling a house privately it is important to understand the role of a real estate agent. An agent essentially markets your property; arranges viewings of your property with potential buyers; negotiates the price and closes the deal.

The internet offers you a great platform to market your house.

All that you need to do to sell your property privately is:

• Price your house accurately. You can seek the services of a professional property appraiser for accurate pricing.

• Identify the property listing websites where you will list your house.

• List it on the site by uploading a description of your property.

• To give the potential buyers a clear idea of your house, upload attractive photographs.

• Uploading a virtual tour of the house is also beneficial.

• Once the potential buyers view the property online, they will directly connect with you.

• You can arrange the viewing of the house.

• Once a buyer is finalized, negotiate the price of the property.

• You can sell it without an agent easily.

Therefore, selling a house privately is not as complicated as it seems. It just requires some dedicated efforts. And, you will realize that a little bit of legwork does not hurt especially if there is so much to gain.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

How to Save for a House Down Payment – 5 Awesome Tips

Top 5 awesome tips to save for a down payment

Want to own your own house? Well, who doesn’t? You may not be looking to buy a house now but eventually you will. Owning a house is a dream of most people but only a lucky few manage to get a home that they really want. You are not alone if you are worried about saving enough money for a down payment. Hopefully, our tips for saving money will help you gather the amount required for the down payment on the flat that you have been eyeing.

Your bank will finance almost 80% cost of the house/flat (in some cases 90%). The balance is down payment that you will have to self finance. This is a substantial amount for a middle class family. For example, If your 2 bedroom kitchen costs Rs. 30 Lakhs, then your bank would finance up to 24 lakhs and the rest 6 lakhs has be self financing.

Home buying is a complex decision especially if you are a first time home buyer. You will need professional help that will help you get the best homes at best price. Enough money in the bank before going out shopping for a house will give you confidence and peace of mind while choosing a home. We are going to share some tips For saving money here that will help you take control of your finances and save for that daunting looking down payment.

1. Track your spending and expenses

OK, we admit this is one of the most boring and clichéd tips for saving money BUT tracking your spending really works. There are a plethora of apps and websites that help you track your spending and keeps a running total of the amounts you spend on specific items or categories.

This process is an eye opener for many. Sometimes we don’t see the obvious until an app tells us!! You will need to cut down on luxuries and divert money towards savings. Finding out where your money goes is the first step in figuring out how to keep more of it in the bank.

2. Invest in Mutual Funds- Don’t be afraid, Research

Do a simple research on the power of compounding or power of compound interest and you will understand why mutual funds are one of the most popular methods of investing these days. India has seen, in the recent times, a sudden spurt in the number of people investing in mutual funds. While there are many things that you need to consider before investing in mutual funds, we recommend that you start a monthly SIP in an equity fund that matches your risk appetite.

Generally, equity funds are the best since they offer you high rates of returns. These funds are also risky because the market fluctuations in these equity funds can be regular affair but over a period of time Mutual Funds usually offer better returns than the Bank FD rates.

Go to a website named valueresearchonline.com and read about Mutual Funds. The end decision is yours but we speak from personal experience-mutual funds offer good returns on investments. There are multiple number of SIP calculators that will help you plan the exact amount of savings, you require each month to reach your down payment in a particular period of time. For example if you are planning to buy a house in 2020, A mutual fund SIP calculator will tell you how much money you need to start saving for your 20% down payment.

This method of investing is not one of the usual tips for saving money but is a method that helps grow your money.

3. Make a Monthly budget and stick to it

Sticking to a monthly budget will be tough especially if you are used to a life of indulgence and luxury. Sticking to a strict budget often isn’t a lot of fun and is challenging. Remember, A penny saved is a penny earned. Having said that allow yourself an occasional treat or two but treat it as an exception and ALWAYS make up for the cost of this exception in other activities. Some belt-tightening now is a minor sacrifice that will quickly be forgotten when you are getting the keys to your new home.

4. Start Saving Early

Have you heard of the saying well begun is half done? One of the major deficiencies of our education system is that we are not taught financial literacy at a young age. We are not taught how to save and why to save. We don’t know about long term and short term financial goals.

Although our moms always insist on saving, majority of us lack proper financial literacy. Start saving early, dedicate at least 15 to 20% of your salary savings each month. Start with your first job when responsibilities are less. Some people save as much as 50%n of their savings while they can. Among numerous Tips for saving money this one is the most powerful.

Benefits of starting to save early is that by the time you reach 30 you will have enough money for a down payment on your house.

5. Look for ways to boost your income

For most of us middle class salaried people, there is only one source of money coming in (i.e. monthly salary). At the most, both husband and wife are working so in such cases there are two sources of money coming in. The number of avenues through which the money goes out is always more than the number of ways through which money comes in. Consider your income and expenses as an upside down funnel. Every successful person understands that additional sources of revenue need to be created in order to save money.

There are many ways through which you can create an alternate source of money. You can consider starting a blog, YouTube channel or simply affiliate marketing. You can start an online store and make good money if you have done proper research. There is multiple number of videos online through which you can learn about online businesses.

You don’t need a considerable investment to start any of these activities. All you need is a laptop and some time. There is TedX video on YouTube which says that you only need 20 hours to learn a skill to a satisfactory level.

Your budget consists of two parts: money coming in, and money going out. You’ll get the best results if you make improvements on both sides.

Open a saving bank account for the purpose of down payment and consider it untouchable. Barring a major emergency, don’t even toy with the idea of spending any of that money until you are ready to purchase a home. It’s easier to keep an off-limits down payment fund if you set up a separate account dedicated solely to this purpose.

Treat this bank account as a black hole in which light goes in but nothing comes out.

Here is a video with some more tips for saving money

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYUUCA0MpD8&t=141s?rel=0

Conclusion

We hope these tips for saving money for a down payment on your home have helped you. Saving for a down payment on your home is tough but not impossible. There are other things that you can do to get financial benefits. For Example, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana is a great scheme that has benefited millions.

Also Listen to the Podcast

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

House Flip For Profit – 7 Tips For House Flipping Success in Any Market

1. Get Prepared – Now that you have decide to start flipping houses for profit it’s time to get your goals and expectations set correctly in your mind. Figure out how much cash you have available for this investment. Make sure that you have enough money to cover a twenty percent down payment, the remodel of the home, and enough cash on hand to cover the monthly mortgage payment until the property is. I know it sounds overwhelming, but I will show you how to reduce the up-front cash and the funds for the remodel. It always make sense to write down your plan. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, it just has to make sense to you. You can’t possibly know where you are going without a map to navigate by.

2. Identify a good property to flip – Now that you have some idea of your direction, it’s time to consider the type of property that would make a good flip. Figure out if you want to buy a single family home that needs work, or a multi-family home where your intention could be a condo conversion. For our purposes here, we’ll discuss the single family house flip. If you don’t have access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) in your area, find a reputable real estate agent who could provide you with access to the MLS. It is wise to have a buyers agent because it’s doesn’t cost you any money. The buyers agent is compensated by the listing broker’s agency. Once you have access to the MLS, you can start searching for properties. I like to search by zip codes in areas that I know to have desirable neighborhoods. In a down market, such as the one we are in now, there are plenty of rundown homes that happen to be in great neighborhoods. Those are the homes that will always sell first. You should focus on bank owned, short sale and foreclosed homes that are on the market. Keep in mind that it doesn’t matter how much the seller is asking for the home, what matters is if the project makes sense. I typically figure out the price I will pay for a home after I figure out the amount of work that needs to be done and how much I can sell it for. Remember, the market tells you what a home will sell for, not a price tag.

3. Inspection and Property Analysis – Before you can make an educated offer, you must know two things. First you must know how much it will cost to bring the house to it’s highest and best condition. You need to appeal to the type of buyer that is most likely to purchase the home. You should have a trusted contractor meet you at the house so they can give you an idea of the costs involved. Now add 20% just to be allow for unexpected costs. Once you know your cost you should consult with your real estate agent to determine what similar homes have sold for and look at the homes you will be competing with. Now that you have a good idea of the future selling price and the cost of the construction, you can now use basic math to add the cost to the purchase price and then subtract that answer from the estimated future sales price to determine if there is a enough profit margin for this house flip to make sense for you. Tip: Don’t forget to add sales commission to your cost if you plan on using a real estate agent.

4. If the Numbers Work, Get Financed ! – Once you know that there is enough profit after your acquisition cost, remodel estimate and sales cost. You now know the most that you should pay for the home. Before you make an offer, you must get your financing in place. This is my area of expertise since I have been a mortgage broker for several years. There have been many changes in the mortgage industry since mid 2006. Money is a little tougher to get, but it is still available with a down payment and decent credit history. Guidelines are always changing, but right now at the end of 2008, a minimum of 20% down payment is required to purchase investment property and the borrower must show income and assets to qualify. If after the 20% down, remodel money and cash to cover the monthly payments, you do not have much money left, you should consider a partner for the deal. You may not be a fan of long term partnerships, but when you are flipping property, you would be looking at a 4-6 month partnership, not a lifetime. If that works out you could always buy more property to flip in the future. It also helps split the risk and the tasks. Just make sure your expectations are set properly. If going the partner route I suggest opening a joint bank and funding it with 6 months of mortgage payments including tax and insurance. If you have more questions about financing, I would be happy to answer them. I will provide my office contact information at the end of this article.

5. Remodel / Rehabilitation Phase – It’s time to get this home fixed up and back on the market as fast as possible. You should now have your contractors come in to start the construction phase. Keep in mind that cheap labor will almost always be more expensive. Make sure that the contractors are pulling the proper permits. The last thing that you want is a forced work stoppage because the required permit was not pulled. Furthermore, if these workers do not know or build to code, it will usually cost you double to correct a code issue. By now you should have a detailed list of everything that needs to be done. Break it down by major systems such as heating, cooling, plumbing, electrical, and any other system that needs repair or service. Then go room by room and make a list of what needs to be done in each room. Joint compound and a fresh coat of paint goes a long way. Just make sure you use modern, neutral colors that would not be offensive to anyone. Make sure you inspect the exterior of the home for repairs and touch-ups. The yard should be clean and landscaped properly. Make sure you check in on the contractors daily to make sure things are on track, don’t assume all is on schedule. Finally, take advantage of using Lowes and Home Depot credit to avoid payments and interest for six to twelve months. You should be able to buy most of the materials with that credit. Just makes sure you pay the entire balance when the interest free period ends or you will get whacked with all of the accrued interest.

6. Sell your House Fast – Now that your home is complete and ready to go on the market. You should already have an idea of how much you will list this property for, but you must once again verify the value. The best way to do this is to have an appraiser or a real estate agent do a comparable market analysis. If you don’t know an appraiser, call your mortgage broker and ask him or her to use their appraiser to help figure out a range for you. I do it for my mortgage clients as free value added service, it’s just good business practice. You may want to sell your home yourself and that is fine, but you must have the time to show it and also be able to list the property on your local multiple listing service. If you are trying to avoid paying a full real estate commission, a local real estate agent will usually do an „entry only“ listing for a nominal fee. If you do not have the time or do not want to deal with the hassle of listing the home yourself, hire a real estate agent to list your home. You should have already added in the sales commission fee into your figures before hand. When figuring value make sure that you also look not only at similar homes that have sold, you should also look at your competition. Your home needs to be a great deal when the average buyer looks at it against others in the same price range. Finally, if you are not getting sufficient showings after a week or so the home may be priced to high, don’t be afraid to lower the price. Sometimes a little profit is better than no profit. That is why you must purchase the property that you want to flip as low as possible and estimate the remodel as accurately as possible.

7. Make Plans for your Profit – If you priced your newly remodeled house correctly, it will go under agreement and you will soon close. If you have planned correctly, you should have some profit coming to you. It would be wise to have a solid plan with regards to your profit. Here are some options; You could simply take the profit as well as your initial investment and place it in your bank. In that case, you just created a taxable event or in other words, a long or short term capital gain depending on how long you held the property. That option is better if the profit gain was minimal. If you made a significant profit and were planning on flipping another property, you can defer your taxes through a 1031 exchange. Basically a 1031 exchange is a tax code that allows you to defer capital gain tax to a later date buy reinvesting your profit into another investment property within a certain time frame. There are rules that must be followed in order to make the exchange valid but considering the benefit, it could be well worth it. The advantages of doing a 1031 exchange includes having more money available now and more buying power. It means not being taxed while your are building your real estate investment business. You can flip your profit, just like you flip a house. Here is an idea, why not flip homes until you have enough down payment funds to exchange into a 30 unit apartment building. Then you can turn your money into a cash flow. You could defer paying any taxes until after you sell the last property and actually take the money. It is always wise to speak with an accountant when making tax decisions, so always consult a professional CPA when dealing with tax laws, that is money well spent.

I will leave you with one last thought; Use professionals from start to finish. Licensed professionals may appear to cost more, but they will save you money by getting the job done on time and correctly.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Why it May Be Illegal to Influence a BPO in Real Estate Investing?

A BPO (Brokers Price Opinion) is essentially an appraisal by a realtor. The difference is an appraiser is a licensed professional who does property evaluations using systemized standards that have been pre-approved by his professional association or state standards. These property evaluations take some time and in the final analysis are an educated but subjective guess of the property’s full market value in a normal market. Appraisals should vary from appraiser to appraiser by 5% +/-, BPOs can vary from realtor to realtor by 10% – 25%.

The BPO is derived by standards set by lenders who use realtors for the evaluations because they want to save money instead of using an appraiser. An appraisal of a single family home can range from $250 to $500 while a BPO can range from $35 to $75 depending on the lenders. Often a lender will get two BPOs and still save money. BPOs can and are more easily influenced by investors in a number of ways, some of which are considered illegal.

The most obvious ways that are illegal is to cause damage to the interior of the property before the realtor sees the inside, or as a result of a vandalism that an investor initiates. Interior damage can be the act of knocking holes in the walls or spraying tea stains in the ceilings of different rooms to make it appear there is a roof leak. Both of these strategies are truly bank fraud and California authorities have been bringing criminal charges against investors for years. Other states are following suit and these practices may get price reductions from lenders, but the investors and realtors involved risk jail sentences.

Even more serious is what is known as flopping a property in a short sale transaction. This is where an investor and realtor are in cahoots to essentially price fix the final sale price approved by the seller’s lender. The realtor usually plays with the listing on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) to make it appear that the offering price that the investor made is the right price. In reality, the correct price could be 15% – 30%+ higher. The benefit to the investor and realtor is a larger profit when the property is sold to an end-buyer and the spread is a profit to the realtor/investor/ team.

Intentionally influencing the BPO in one or more of the above manners, or manipulating the listing on the MLS causes the lender to lose money from the FMV (Fair Market Value) price they should have received. This is unfair business practice and fraud in the eyes of state authorities and the Fed. A guideline to how far you can go with influencing a BPO might be to reverse the positions and put yourself in the lender’s seat. If you were the lender, how would you feel if you knew an investor was pulling some of the above tactics?

In summary, do unto others as you would have them do unto you, might be the best guideline for keeping you out of trouble if you try to influence a BPO. Another great guideline is to fully disclose, in writing, to both the seller’s lender and the buyer’s lender the amount of profit you expect to make. If they approve, in writing, you have a better chance of staying out of trouble. If you get involved in flopping a property you can expect that you may face criminal actions in the future.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

The Importance of a Condo Corporations‘ Board of Directors

Condominium Corporations are not run by any one single entity. In actuality, a Condo Corporation has 3 governing heads: the owners, the board of directors and the Property Managers. The Board of Directors plays a crucial role in this relationship as they essentially run the Condo Corp on behalf of the owners. They represent the owners, and are responsible for virtually all of the major decisions related to the condo’s finances, the maintenance of the buildings and grounds, upholding and enforcing the Condominium Act, the declaration, as well as rules and by-laws. As a result, allocating the right board members is crucial.

What’s interesting is that there are no special skill sets, knowledge or certificates required to serve on the board. The Condominium Act simply states that the condominium corporation must be governed by a board of directors consisting of at least three directors who are –

A.) At least 18 years of age

B.) Mentally competent

C.) Cannot be bankrupt

Do not have a lien registered against them that has not been discharged in 90 days prior to the elections. What’s more interesting, and some might say downright surprising, is that someone with a criminal record can, in fact, become a director. For anybody considering ownership of a condo unit, the competence level of the board may be concerning to you. Not to worry, you will have your say in determining qualified candidates.

Only owners can „vote in“ or „vote out“ directors, or an entire board in rare scenarios. They would do so at the AGM (Annual General Meeting) or a requisitioned meeting (a special meeting usually called or requisitioned by owners, or by a single board member, or multiple members). When a vacancy occurs on the board, if a member were to resign for example, the remaining members may appoint a „temporary member“ to take their place until the next AGM. At that point, the appointed member will become a candidate to the elections should he or she wish to remain on the board. But the owners have final say.

According to the Condominium Act, the directors of a condominium corporation are held to the standard of „the care and diligence and skill of a reasonable prudent person.“ They are expected to act in the best interest of the owners and the building, and they are expected to ensure that rules and declaration are applied uniformly and consistently. Boards are not allowed to refuse to enforce rules, even in the rare case where only one owner issues a complaint. Failing to enforce rules fairly generally leads to a wealth of problems down the road, with financial problems being just one of the many potential outcomes. These problems can ultimately lead to diminished resale value of the owners‘ units.

With the requirements put forth by the Condominium Act being so loose and vague, owners may find themselves working with a „bad board“ who don’t seem to have the owners best interests in mind. A potential solution is for a condo to pass a by-law which would indicate specifics in terms of who can be elected to the board, provided that this by-law is within the scope of the Act. For example, it can be specified that „all directors must be owners“, as owners have an invested interest in the condos well being.

When boards fail to enforce or follow rules, the owners may issue their right under Section 134 of the Ontario Condo Act, allowing them to seek a court order which would force the board to comply. With that said, the Act unfairly permits the condo corporation to charge 100% of the legal fees incurred by the board and the owner in obtaining compliance. In turn, seeking such a court order may end up costing the owners an obscene amount of money.

Moreover, the Board of Directors is responsible for hiring a management company. Property Managers can be thought of as the Board of Directors „arms“. They carry out most of the tasks required to maintain an orderly building, including but not limited to: collecting all fees from owners in a timely fashion, ensuring that invoices are paid, keeping proper records, maintaining adequate insurance, providing recommendations related to policies and procedures, carrying out enforcement based on policies and procedures, handling tasks associated with maintenance, and much, much more.

Allocating the proper board members is absolutely crucial to the success of the owners. The board represents the owners, and as such, should be accountable to them. A good board will communicate clearly and openly with the owners, address resident complaints, follow and enforce rules, maintain an orderly building, and ensure condominium corporations‘ fiscal health.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Why a Good Bartender Has the Skills to Be a Good Real Estate Agent

Some people do begin their real estate careers right after high school or college, but most come to real estate after doing something else. Some have retired, and other are just looking for a change of pace.

When writing agent bios I always look at those past careers to see how they can tie in to real estate sales. Often past experiences can reinforce the skills that the agent wants to emphasize.

Some past careers make for a tougher transition than others. For instance, school teachers have to teach themselves listening skills after years of being the one doing the talking. On the other hand, a good school teacher has the skills to educate buyers and sellers about the reality of today’s market.

That’s one skill that a bartender might not have, but I think good bartenders possess the majority of skills needed for a successful career in real estate.

My definition of a good bartender is one who has a following – a person who is a „draw“ for the establishment where they work. They can mix a good drink, but it’s their people skills that turn occasional customers into „regulars.“

So what skills do bartenders possess that would make them be good real estate agents?

A good bartender knows how to listen. Just think of the time they spend listening to their customers. And while they may not have to listen wholeheartedly to everyone, they need to pay close attention to their regulars. Just as good real estate agents need to pay close attention to their buyers and sellers.

And then they’d better have a good memory. Not only does he (or she, of course!) need to remember what each person at the bar wants when they hold up a finger for another drink, he needs to remember what to set down in front of a regular when they walk in. And then, he needs to remember what that person does for a living, the names of their children, etc. Agents need to remember the personal information along with their clients‘ wants and needs.

A good bartender respects what the customer wants – he doesn’t try to suggest that something else might do. As an agent, he probably won’t show someone a home on a busy street if they’ve specified wanting to live on a quiet cul-de-sac.

A good bartender can talk to people from all walks of life and treat them equally. He must be non-judgmental and friendly, in all but the most extreme cases. And when faced with those extreme cases he has to think and act quickly without getting flustered. Good practice for dealing with the surprises buyers and sellers sometimes spring on an agent.

A good bartender knows how to keep confidential information. Good bartenders can’t be gossips. Can you imagine how fast they’d lose their following if they started mentioning that Mr. Smith came in for a drink with Miss Jones, or if they mentioned that a salesperson from X company was involved in a long conversation with the owner of Z company? In real estate, keeping client information confidential is a must.

A good bartender has to have people-management skills. He needs to be able to say „You’ve had enough“ without turning a customer into an enemy. That takes a bit of finesse! This skill could translate well into the finesse that’s needed when clients ask an agent to do things that go against regulations.

So – if you’re a bartender and thinking of a change, consider real estate. You have the skills!

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

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