Tag Archives: real estate broker investment

Building Your Investment Portfolio

With great rates, lots of inventory, and stricter lending guidelines, now’s an excellent time to increase or begin your rental property portfolio.  Many homeowners are afraid or reluctant to become landlords, but with a few proven strategies and processes in place, your rental properties can become a passive income stream that adds to your net worth.

There are several ways to add to your rental inventory, including purchasing a resale property from the homeowner or bank, as in foreclosures or REO’s, purchasing new construction from the builder, bidding on the courthouse steps (I have the 5 – 6 attorneys who handle all these sales in my Favorites), and converting your current home or inherited property to a rental.

Develop your business plan first.  Determine how you’ll acquire the property and where you’d like the rental home or business property to be located (in the same city as you is best; long-distance land lording isn’t ideal) and the price you’d like to pay for it.  Next, evaluate the current rental market for rental rate estimates on similar properties currently rented in the area you’ve targeted – this will help you anticipate the type of renter who might apply: an executive, a first-time renter, etc., and your potential return on investment.

Ask your full-service REALTOR® what renters are looking for when touring.  If a garage is a must-have for most renters in your market, be sure the property you purchase has one.

Investor rates are a bit higher if you must get a loan to make an investment  purchase, but if you have enough equity built up in your personal home, you may be able to purchase a resale, foreclosure, REO or new construction house, condo or townhome with your equity line by simply getting a certified check from your bank the morning of closing.

Want to convert your current home to a rental and move up?  You can if you can provide your move-up lender a 12 month lease on your current property, using only 75% of rental income to help qualify for your new mortgage, IF you have at least 30% equity in your current property.

In servicing the rental, you have several options.  You can pay a management company to handle everything on your behalf, or you can be more hands on, screening the calls, meeting the potential clients, to negotiating the lease and managing all the details.  Whether you decide to hire it out or do it yourself, you must know what to do or what should be done for you, to protect your best interests.

For specific strategies on qualifying prospective tenants, from your first sentence when answering the inquiry call to eliminate riskier applicants, to what to include on the application and lease, consult your full service REALTOR®.  They’re there to help you navigate the strategies and processes that will make you a successful rental investor.

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I love what I do, I’m good at it, & I’d love to work with you! My personal best is 8th with foreclosure bid; we not only won (it was NOT more $), but listing agent complimented me on my complete package, & asked permission to use my secret weapon!

My listing was on Google, first page, number three position, ‘above the fold’ within minutes of my blog post featuring it!

Chrystal is a REALTOR® and principal of The Safari Group, a local, homegrown  real estate firm, specializing in all phases of the residential and small business real estate market, including New Construction, Finance, Marketing, Objection Handling, Relocation, Technology, Foreclosures, Short Sales, and Luxury Homes and GREEN Features.  Contact her at 704.562.1030   TXT/PH or Chrystal@TheSafariGroup.com

Why are Some Homes in Your Neighborhood Not Selling?

There are three reasons a home will not sell.


One reason a home fails to sell is price.  Right pricing is critical to a making the sale versus having a listing.  Though you and I didn’t create the market, the market controls price.  In every market, right pricing is important.  Pricing reflects the perceived and true values of a property and is based on many factors including location, condition, method of build, curb appeal, floor plan desirability, and materials used, to name a few.

Within a given neighborhood, prices range depending on all the factors mentioned above, including recent sales values established by buyers, supported by appraisers.  A property is only as valuable as what a buyer’s willing to pay for it.



You have maximum control over showings, with the ability to prevent and counter all showing objections.  The greater limits you put on showings, the fewer buyers will be able to see your property to consider it for purchase.  Ideally, you’ll have no restrictions as to when and for how long a showing is scheduled, with no advance notice needed, but sometimes life doesn’t work that way.  If you do need to block off times or require advance notice, such as 24 Hours Notice, before approving a showing, be flexible when possible.  When an agent schedules a tour, you might have a problem with agents who have tight tour arranged for clients whose schedules might not permit revisiting your listing before a decision is made.

It’s always best to live by the 10 Minute Rule when listing a house for sale.  That means, if you can’t put it away in 10 minutes, don’t bring it out.  And while you’ll most likely still need to cook, eat, entertain, and well, live, while your property is listed, keep in mind that holidays bring in a lot of visitors who are interested in moving and who might find a holiday the perfect time to tour.   If you’ve decorated for the holidays, what better way to show off your property!  Flexibility and readiness are the keys to a successful showing.

3. Marketing

The National Association of REALTORS® study shows nearly 90% of buyers begin their home search online before they consult a REALTOR®.  37% found the actual house they purchased online.  It’s been nearly a decade since LA Times discontinued its real estate section of the newspaper.

My job is to expose your listing with the best possible photos and copy to the agents and buyers who are ready, willing, and able to make the purchase.

Great exposure includes Agent to Agent marketing, including electronic and paper flyers, virtual tours, REALTOR and office meetings, and constant communication.  Once your property is shown, follow up is essential.  If not on the buyer’s top 3, I ask this question:  “Is there a price at which your clients would buy this house?”

My Buyer-Targeted online marketing includes my brokerage website, the local MLS Board members-only website, and over 320 local, national and international portals such as Zillow.com, Craigslist.org, etc., and social media outlets such as twitter, linkedin, facebook, blogs such as wordpress, ActiveRain and others, signs and flyers, Open Houses, and neighbor-to-neighbor advertising, and other networking, in addition to strategic print advertising.   The goal is to get your listing in the top of google and other search engine searches.  I’m specially trained to do just that.

I know you’re thinking that because of everything that I do, much more than what other agents do, that it would be more expensive.  It doesn’t cost you anything more to list with me than with an agent who only puts the listing in the computer.

If you’re in my market and are seriously considering hiring a real estate agent who specializes in getting homes sold quickly and for a high price, give me a call.  You’ll be glad you did.


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I love what I do, I’m good at it, & I’d love to work with you! My personal best is 8th with foreclosure bid; we not only won (it was NOT more $), but listing agent complimented me on my complete package, & asked permission to use my secret weapon!

My listing was on Google, first page, number three position, ‘above the fold’ within minutes of my blog post featuring it!

Chrystal is a REALTOR® and principal of The Safari Group, a local, homegrown real estate firm, specializing in all phases of the residential and small business real estate market, including New Construction, Finance, Marketing, Objection Handling, Relocation, Technology, Foreclosures, Short Sales, and Luxury Homes and GREEN Features.  Contact her at 704.562.1030  TXT/PH or Chrystal@TheSafariGroup.com

N.C. foreclosures fall 42% in 1Q

Thursday, April 16, 2009, 9:48am EDT

According to data from RealtyTrac Inc., the state had 5,988 foreclosures in the latest quarter, with one in every 689 homeowners receiving a default notice, auction-sale notice or bank-repossession filing.  North Carolina ranked 36th in the nation for foreclosure filings in the latest quarter.  Nevada, Arizona and California posted the top foreclosure rates.  Foreclosure filings in North Carolina fell 40 percent in March from the same period last year. Filings were down 3 percent last month from February. 

Across the country, foreclosure filings rose 24 percent in the first quarter from a year ago. There were 803,489 foreclosure filings, which affected one in every 159 U.S. households. Filings rose 46 percent in March from a year ago and 17 percent from February. Irvine, Calif.-based RealtyTrac tracks default notices, auction-sale notices and bank repossessions.

Its figures exceed those compiled by the N.C. Commissioner of Banks. The company counts every foreclosure filing, including multiple filings for a single household, while the commissioner counts each household only once, regardless of the number of filings it receives.

Rates are low, listings high, prices slashed.  Now is the time to make your move to buy low and sell high, when the market recovers.  Call me to discuss your big picture and for a full listing of foreclosed homes that meet your criteria.  704.562.1030/800.243.6670 x 110

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Living, playing, and working in south Charlotte for over 27 years, and with over 14 years experience in the real estate field as an investor and Luxury Home Specialist, I have the knowledge, experience and discretion you need to maximize your return on investment whether for your personal home, investment portfolio, or small business property.  Contact me at Chrystal.Safari@gmail.com

Real Estate 101

As MASTERS Designation holder, representing specialties in New Construction, Finance, Marketing, Objection Handling, Relocation, and Technology, I can help you navigate the home buying and selling strategies in today’s unique market and strengthen the bottom line performance of your transaction.

Many REALTORS® will not meet with you until you have signed an agency relationship contract and have a pre-approval from a lender.  I understand that each and every introduction of myself as real estate broker/REALTOR® is a mini job interview.  Before I can be hired, we both need to know if I am a good fit for your objectives.  To complete that process, I provide what I call Real Estate 101. 

I meet with you by phone or at my office to discuss your big picture, to get an idea of your time line and ultimate goals. If you are a prospective seller, I visit your home to discuss the details of the market specific to your neighborhood and inspect your property. 

If you are a prospective buyer, I meet with you at my office to begin an introductory tour of the city, including highlights of the city and Greater Charlotte Area, especially neighborhoods important to you.

If we both decide I am a good fit for your mission, the next time we meet will be over that agency relationship contract and pre-approval letter from your lender.

Contact me to discuss your big picture, including:

  • Time line to sell or purchase
  • Priorities regarding seller’s net performance and move date
  • Priorities regarding buyer’s housing type, price range or special needs
  • Guidelines you desire for communities, schools, shopping, location, lifestyle, family needs

If you’re in, or thinking of relocating to or away from, the Greater Charlotte area, contact me for Real Estate 101 at Chrystal.Safari@gmail.com

Complimentary Initial Consultation
Limited to 1 hour


Consistent     Reliable     Loyal





So You Want to Become A Homeowner?

In North and South Carolina, all agents/REALTORS® are independent contractors and although we work under a supervising broker, it’s Me, Inc! 

Your loyalty to your REALTOR® is important and is the only way he or she can protect your best interests in making sound real estate related decisions.  All REALTORS® must adhere to a strict code of ethics (but not all agents are REALTORS®)  and should work in your best interests, carrying out your lawful instructions, and be fair and honest to all parties.

A Strong Offer

      The home choosing process depends on many factors including financial ability and personal tastes.   Once you have found the perfect home for your needs, the next step is in making a strong offer.  I will make sure you have all the elements of making a strong offer assembled before it’s presented, so your offer will stand out among the many.

      The home buying process should follow a prescribed sequence of events.  After calculating a fair offer price range, I will prepare the offer with supporting documents to make the offer most comprehensive and appealing to the seller.  A strong offer always includes the pre-qualifying letter from your lender, offers a high percentage of the actual market value of the property, and has no contingencies, such as the need to fulfill a lease or close on your listed and under contract property.  While every offer doesn’t always have these characteristics, the goal is to create a win-win situation for both the buyer and the seller.

 For Your Protection

      After the sales price, closing date, and other terms are agreed upon by both buyer and seller, and all signatures are obtained, we have a contract and it’s time for the inspections.  The seller is obligated to repair any items required by the lender (usually related to wood-destroying insects).  Further, the inspection uncovers any items on the property that do not function as they were intended to function.  If it’s installed, it should work!  We then prepare a “Request for Repairs.”  The seller has two choices: to repair or not to repair.  If he chooses to repair, it should be completed in a workmanship like manner.  If he should choose not to repair, it prompts two choices for you, the buyer.  The buyer may take the property in its current condition or may be released from the contract and all earnest monies returned to the buyer* – depending upon the specific details and dates in the contract.

      After all repairs are completed, it time for re-inspection.  This usually occurs from a week before closing to the day before, depending upon the severity of the repair needed and desires of the buyer.

 Making it Official

      From there it’s off to closing.  A real estate attorney or title company prepares the documents and they are reviewed prior to signing.  This last leg of the journey is important, and it usually takes from 30 minutes to 2 hours.  The documents are then recorded that day or early the next morning, and it’s official, you are a homeowner!  You get the keys to the property after the closing, defined as the time and date of closing, meaning when the deed is recorded.  Once you have the keys, you begin your move.

If you are thinking of moving in the next 3, 6, 9 or 12 months, contact me.  It’s ‘Chrystal Clear’ who to call for all your real estate needs! 


*Although many times throughout the contract and addenda it states the terms under which earnest money is to be returned to the buyer, in the states of North and South Carolina, both parties must agree in writing to the disbursement of the earnest money deposit before it may be released.


Buyer’s Agent New Construction Closing Checklist

Closing Checklist as Buyer’s Agent


New Construction

Once you are under contract with a new home builder, there are many behind-the-scenes activities that are necessary to progress seamlessly from contract to close. 

Following is a list of items your REALTOR® should oversee.  Problems will arise.  To avoid unnecessary delays, let your REALTOR® know immediately when a problem occurs.  Always let your REALTOR® know all builder scheduled appointments as soon as they are set so your REALTOR® can attend.


  •            Get copies of finalized contract to buyers and lender
  •  ð       Follow loan process with loan officer from beginning to end
  •  ð       Ask lender what is needed from buyer
  •  ð       Accompany buyer to design center/location for color and materials selection
  •  ð       Attend pre-construction meeting with buyer
  •  ð       Set up pre-dry wall inspection with independent home inspector
  •  ð       Get update from lender – any needs outstanding from buyer
  •  ð       Get update from closing coordinator regarding closing with attorney
  •  ð       Inform buyers of time and date for closing
  •  ð       Have buyer check into and set up home owner’s insurance
  •       Clarify if survey (showing building on site) will be provided
  •  ð       Get update from lender
  •       Arrange home inspection prior to pre-closing walk –  utilities on, all appliances installed
  •  ð       Get repair request list to construction supervisor
  •  ð       Review HUD statement with buyers
  •  ð       Make sure buyers have driver’s licenses and certified check made out to attorney
  •  ð       Final walk to check on repairs the day of closing

 ð       Enjoy closing!

Expand your relationship with your broker…

For many homeowners, the selling or buying process is their only contact with a real estate broker, but some have discovered that their broker can offer much more.  A good real estate broker is aware of the wider economic, legal, and financial environment affecting their clients’ investments. 

Investment planning is one such area.  Purchasing your first home for investment purposes should be just the first stage of managing your wealth.  As well as desiring to purchase a great home in an appreciating area, first time home buyers should get advice on how to reduce tax liability by purchasing a home within the current time frame offered by The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 which authorizes a $7,500 tax credit for qualified first-time home buyers purchasing homes on or after April 9, 2008 and before July 1, 2009.

Additionally, building wealth through using that first home as a rental property as you move up is another area in which your broker can help.  Your real estate broker can help you analyze key figures such as your current financial obligations associated with the potential rental home,  appreciation percentages obtained and/or projected, and rental rate estimators to determine your possible return on investment.  Based on several attributes of your community over time, your broker will be able to advise you as to the best strategy for your property: convert to rental or sell.

Advice on how to best improve real estate with the greatest return on investment is another.  Not all features added to properties are improvements in the mind of buyers.  Ugrades of materials is a very personal matter, and to get the best return on investment, they should appeal to the broadest market.  Colors of easily changed items such as paint, which is not permanent, is the best place for personal expression.  In general, about 1/3 of the cost of upgrades is added to value.  However, there are specific items that have specific values, no matter how much may have been spent on improvements (adding features that did not previously exist, such as second bathroom) or upgrades (improving materials of existing items, such as granite countertops replacing formica). 

For example, one may add a $10,000 fence, but the appraised value for the presence of any fence is much, much less than that cost.   If a lender is involved, an appraiser is the final authority as to the real value added.

More and more, unmarried couples are purchasing homes together.  A new question is popped, “Will you buy a house with me?”  The legal and financial impacts of this decision must be considered before proceeding.  Your real estate broker is a great resource for couples considering this direction through the use of personal experience scenarios, and as a resource for an excellent real estate attorney to handle the paperwork to determine who, in fact, will really own the house, and how proceeds are divided if the relationship dissolves.

Using a real estate broker for every transaction offers the buyer/investor the expertise and experience needed to pursue one of the most expensive investments most make.  A real estate broker looks at the bigger picture and gives an independent, professional assessment of the situation and allows the buyer to keep his focus on his daily operations, not having to become a temporary real estate broker.  A homeowner or buyer who is not using his broker for more than just the transaction at hand is missing out on a great opportunity to access sound business advice.

Contact me at chrystal.safari@gmail.com

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