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Your Partner to Success

Real Marketing

News, Tips and Tricks

Attract the Tenant You Want with a Stand-out Online Ad 


We’ve all been there. You sit down to write an ad about your new property and end up staring at a blank screen. After knowing everything there is to know about your real estate investment, you are suddenly without words. It’s not because you don’t have anything to say—you do. Perhaps even more than will fill the page. But you want to get the attention of the right tenant who will take care of your property, pay you on time and be a great neighbor. You can’t just start rattling off details. Never fear. Follow our five simple rules for placing a rental ad, and you’ll be in business.
  1. The headline matters. If your potential renters are looking through a slew of listings, you want your ad to stand out—and not because of an excess of exclamation points. Focus on a key feature of the home. Instead of saying, Three-bedroom, Two-bath Home Available Immediately, try: Private Bungalow, Vaulted Ceilings & Hardwoods in Uptown Arts District. Be descriptive, focus on the features and mention the neighborhood.
  2. Adjectives rule. It goes without saying that detailed photos of your property, staged in the right way, provide the best view for the potential tenant. But pictures aren’t the only way to entice would-be renters. Use words that bring your property to life. Stay away from common adjectives like good, beautiful and nice. Those words are everywhere and the tenant will just pass them over. Try instead words like, charming, classy, exceptional or cozy.
  3. Use a mix of paragraphs and bullets. There’s nothing more daunting than looking at a page chock-full of text, or line after line of details with no formidable story. The solution? A mix of both. Start your ad with a few sentences highlighting the most interesting features of the property, what makes it unique and what it would be like to live there. Put the details in a shorter bulleted list. Do you accept pets, what appliances are included and what is the square footage? Answer these questions in the bulleted list.
  4. Write to your audience. Are you looking for a nice family of four with two steady incomes to move into your home? Talk about the great school district the house is in, it’s proximity to nearby playgrounds and the quiet, family-friendly neighborhood. By listing features that parents would appreciate, you’ll be sure to attract your target renter. Alternatively, if you’d ideally like a young professional to move in, talk about the night life, unique restaurants nearby and outdoor recreational areas, maybe even a dog park close to the property.
  5. Be upfront. If you want to get along with your tenants, you’ll want someone who is responsible and trust-worthy. The best way to reach a person with those qualities is to build trust yourself from the start. Be straight up about the property’s condition and any glaring flaws. And put a little of your personality in the ad. After all, what better way to reach the right tenant, than to find someone similar to you? 
  6. Call Richard Simpson phone # 404-919-7545 or visit my web site at

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Understanding the distinction can help you choose the arrangement that best fits your life stage.

Rental agreements are ideal for someone who needs temporary shelter during a transitional time. As a landlord, I often field questions from tenants whose life plans don’t fit neatly into 12-month leasing cycles.

The tenant might be in town for a six-month internship or a nine-month certificate program. She might be waiting for a work transfer to another city, but she’s not sure when she’ll need to move. Or he might be in the middle of house-hunting: He needs to live somewhere until he’s ready to buy, but he doesn’t want the commitment of a full year.

Rental agreements are ideal for someone who needs temporary shelter during a transitional time. Generally, I prefer 12-month leases. But depending on the overall market demand at the moment (in other words, how easily could I find a tenant willing to sign a 12-month lease?), I’ll sometimes allow a prospective tenant to get on a month-to-month rental agreement.   What’s the difference? A lease gives the tenant the right to live in a dwelling for a fixed time period — usually 12 months,but it could be any length of time ranging from three months to 24-plus months.  Through a lease, the landlord and tenant mutually agree to fixed terms and conditions, such as the rent, rules regarding pets, duration of the agreement, etc. Neither party can change the agreement without written consent from the other. The lease is mutually beneficial. A tenant can’t stop paying rent or vacate the property during the lease term — this is a violation of the agreement. Likewise, the landlord can’t arbitrarily force the tenant to move. If my sister moves to town, for instance, I can’t evict one of my tenants for the sake of giving that space to a family member. The tenant has secured it with a lease. My hands are tied. A Rental agreement, by contrast, is a month-to-month agreement. At the end of each 30-day period, the landlord and tenant are both free to change the terms. The landlord can raise the rent, decide to offer the space to someone else or enact a “no-pet” policy. Likewise, the tenant can decide to pack her bags and move elsewhere. Rental agreements usually renew automatically at the end of each 30-day period unless either party gives the other “proper notice,” as defined by the terms of the agreement and by local laws (for example, 30 days’ notice, 60 days’ notice, etc.). Rental agreements give both parties the freedom to enjoy a month-to-month living arrangement. A tenant can enjoy the freedom of living somewhere for only one or two months. Likewise, a landlord might only need tenant occupancy for a few months before starting renovations in the springtime. One caveat: Every state, county and municipality has different laws governing leases and rental agreements. Some localities carry “rent control” laws; others don’t. Some localities allow each party to give the other 30 days’ notice during a month-to-month arrangement; others require more advance warning. A lease offers more long-term security to both parties. A rental agreement offers more flexibility. Leases are great for tenants who want to establish a “home.” Rental agreements are ideal for someone who needs temporary shelter during a transitional time

Flippers, Fear Not! 5 Reasons Why House Flipping is Alive & Well

If you’re up on your real estate news, you’ve probably already come across the latest RealtyTrac article from Tuesday, which reports home flipping to be at its lowest level in Q3 2014 since Q2 of 2009. The data shows that 26,947 single family homes were flipped across the nation during the third quarter of 2014, accounting for 4.0 percent of all single family homes sales nationwide, which is down from 4.6 percent in the second quarter of 2014 and down from 5.6 percent in the third quarter of 2013. The factors contributing to this dip are varied, but likely include:
  • Reduced margins due to higher acquisition and rehab costs
  • Lower inventory of good potential flips
  • Higher risk due to tighter margins
  • Flattening home value appreciation
  • An increased appetite for flipping by your “average Joe”
Regarding the Denver market, real estate agent Rick Koentopp said, “The practice of flipping has become much more difficult. With an extremely active market, the inventory of candidates has dwindled. The appetite to do the flips is very strong, but it is harder to identify the properties. Many flippers have to potentially accept lower margins, which increases the risk that is involved.”

The Beginning of the End?

While some are hailing the beginning of the end for house flipping (see: “5 Reasons House Flipping Won’t Work Anymore“), here at BiggerPockets, home of self-proclaimed contrarians and big dreamers alike, our ears perk up at the words “won’t,” “can’t, and “shouldn’t.” We put on our creative thinking caps, search the blog, brush up on our podcast episodes, crowdsource the forums, scour our local markets, crunch the figures, and (if the numbers make sense), we make it happen. Related: Flipping Houses: 101 Awesome Quick Tips for Success How does the quote go?
The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.
I’m not saying house flipping still makes sense in every market, for every investor — or that it hasn’t gotten harder to find the deals we could back in 2009 (when you could even find properties on the MLS that fit the house-flipping criteria). What I am saying is that I’ve been seeing “the decline of house flipping” articles for a few years now, including BiggerPockets’ own “New Report: Is House Flipping Almost Dead?” and “Is House Flipping Dead?” — and yet, week by week, the success stories remain: in Podcast 96, Anson Young discusses flipping in Denver’s hot market, blogger Mark Ferguson covers the ins and outs of flipping ten properties at once in this article, and a cursory search of the BiggerPockets Forums uncovers this amazingly titled post: “Complete dump to freaking amazing in less than 3 months.” Hey, people thought the Backstreet Boys‘ singing careers were dead, too. So, while the rules may shift, and while the deals may be harder to find, let’s explore some of the reasons why house flipping isn’t necessarily dead, shall we?

5 Reasons House Flipping is Still Alive & Well

1. Average Gross Profits Are at a RECORD HIGH

What naysayers aren’t mentioning is that investors averaged a gross profit of $75,990 per flip on homes flipped in the third quarter of 2014, which represents a 36 percent gross return on the initial investment (not including rehab costs and other expenses). The average gross return was up from 35 percent in the second quarter. “The record-high average profits per flip in the quarter demonstrate that flippers are still filling an important niche in an aging housing market with historically low levels of new homes being built,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac, regarding the uptick in house flipping profits. “The most successful flippers are buying older, outdated homes in established neighborhoods and rehabbing them extensively to appeal to modern tastes.” Which leads to our next point…

2. Older Homes Still Hold Great Opportunity

RealtyTrac’s study found that “homes built from 1930 to 1939 yielded a 53 percent gross return on investment for flips in the third quarter, the highest gross return of any decade going back to 1930.” You may be wondering: But are older homes, even fixed up, all that attractive to buyers? Don’t youngsters want everything sparkly and new? Perhaps surprisingly, an interesting study published this year by highlighting home buyer and seller generational trends found that younger buyers actually tend to prefer to buy older homes, accounting for a larger percentage the sales of homes built between 1912 and 1960 than any other age group and citing reasons such as “better overall value” and “more charm and character.” But why should I cater to millennials? Aren’t they hesitant to buy homes? The home buying trends for Millenials/Gen Y/Gen Next (no, I had not heard of this one, either) is actually on the rise, with those born between 1980 and 1995 accounting for 31% of homes sales, second to no other age group.

3. Foreclosure Filings are Up

October of this year saw foreclosure filings on 123,109 properties nationwide, including default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions, a 15% increase from September. According to RealtyTrac, that’s the biggest month-over-month jump in foreclosure activity since March of 2010. Due in part to lenders trying to liquidate their REO properties quickly, this trend has driven an increase in foreclosure auctions by 24% and in bank repossessions by 22% month-over-month. Says Blomquist, “Discounted distressed properties have become harder to find, but a recent jump in scheduled foreclosure auctions could provide more fodder for flippers in the next three to six months.”

4. Some Markets Remain Strong as Ever

Am I saying you should pack up and move to Florida to flip houses? Not necessarily, although from a -12 degree Denver perspective, that doesn’t sound too shabby. But as with most things real estate, successful house flipping is all about knowing your market. The house flipping environment in your area may not be at the top of real estate niches to tackle, but in certain areas, it’s still going strong. Here are some figures from RealtyTrac’s study regarding local markets:
  • Metro areas with the most flips in the third quarter were Miami (1,190 flips), Los Angeles (1,170 flips), Phoenix (1,147 flips), New York (1,070 flips) and Tampa (789 flips)
  • Metros with an increasing share of home flips compared to a year ago included Louisville, Ky. (up 117 percent), Kansas City (up 66 percent), Boston (up 40 percent), New Orleans (up 38 percent), and Indianapolis (up 35 percent)
  • Markets with the best return on flips in the third quarter included Baltimore (88 percent), Pittsburgh (79 percent), Detroit (61 percent), Richmond, Va. (60 percent) and Mobile, Ala. (59 percent)
  • Metros with the highest dollar amount of average gross profit on home flips included San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles, New York, Seattle and San Diego, all of which had an average gross profit of more than $125,000 per flip

5. Does House Flipping Have its Challenges Now? Yes… But Hasn’t it Always?

Blogger Mark Ferguson wrote in a recent article, “Investors have come back in a big way since the housing market recovered, and it is definitely harder to find deals. However, I have still been able to buy fix and flips and rental properties in a very competitive market. I have no secret ninja techniques to find deals; I simply used solid fundamentals to buy properties well below market value.” Related: 7 Signs You’re Entering Into a House Flipping Disaster Is the house flipping landscape changing as real estate markets change? Absolutely. But as any investor knows, house flipping has never been easy, and many of the same tenants still remain. You should still educate yourself on the subject until you feel qualified to lead a Master’s course on it (there are over 500 blog articles on BiggerPockets regarding house flipping). You should still learn from someone more experienced than you. You should still run the numbers once, twice, 15 times… and never cheat on a deal’s projected profitability. You should still be wary of tight margins. And you should still expect house flipping to be hard work. As blogger Conor Flaherty says, “I don’t care how many HGTV shows make it look simple — I’m here to tell you that it’s not.” So — is house flipping in the current market dead? It may not be the best option for all investors, but there are definitely still people out there making it work. Will it be harder to profit than in the past? Most likely, it will — but when has “harder” ever stopped any BPer? Now it’s your turn:
  • What do you think about the current real estate environment for house flipping? 
  • Would you flip a house in your local market?
  • Which “dead” band should make the next comeback tour? I personally vote for Rage Against the Machine, but I’m open to suggestions.
I’d love to discuss anything real estate news, house flipping (or whatever else) with you in the comments section! Call Richard Simpson at 404-919-7545

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How to Winterize Your Rental Property

How to Winterize Your Rental Property

Winterize The clocks have been turned back, the leaves are falling and the weather is getting cooler. Signs are all about that winter is just around the corner. It’s not too late to get your rental properties winterized to keep the cold air out and the warm air in, without breaking the bank. Winterizing can prevent costly repairs — such as water damage from frozen and broken pipes. It especially makes good sense if, as a landlord, you pay the utility costs for your tenants. Here’s a look at things that can be done to effectively winterize your rental homes:
  1. Use caulk or weather stripping to seal around doors and windows.
  2. Add insulation to the attic.
  3. Do annual preventative maintenance on your furnace. Have it professionally inspected to make sure it is operating correctly and safely.
  4. Make sure your ductwork is well connected and insulated. Clean the ductwork every few years to remove dust and pet dander.
  5. If your renters will be using a wood-burning fireplace, make sure the chimney is cleaned. The top of the chimney should have a chimney cap to protect the flue from precipitation and animals.
  6. Make sure your rental homes are outfitted with carbon monoxide monitors and replace batteries in smoke alarms. Make sure there is a fire extinguisher located on the property that is operational and easy to find.
  7. Wrap outdoor faucets and remove and store hoses.
  8. Use cellular blinds or thick curtains on windows for added insulation.
  9. Replace the furnace filter. A dirty filter can reduce heating efficiency.
  10. Clean out your gutters to make sure water flows away from the house, foundations and sidewalks and to prevent icicles in cold weather states.
Winterizing need not be time-consuming or expensive. It will pay dividends to landlords who may prevent costly damage from the cold and your tenants will appreciate your provisions for a safe and warm winter. Go to my web site at to apply for a cash out refinance loan for your investment property
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Richard Simpson  Office  404-919-7545 e-Mail:   My web site:

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