Category Archives: Featured

How to Find a Supervisory Appraiser

Finding a supervisor will feel like you're trying to scale Mount Everest... if you don't know what you're doing.

If you want to become a licensed real estate appraiser, you’ll have to obtain experience as a trainee. This is basically an apprenticeship position under a certified appraiser (Certified Residential or Certified General level). They will be your mentor and teach you the ins and outs of the trade. They are the ones who will show you how to actually write an appraisal report.

Most states require trainees to obtain 1,000 hours of experience in no less than 6 months. California and some other states have the highest requirement at 2,000 hours in no less than a year. (Update: As of April 1, 2020, California only requires 1,000 hours!)

You can work with as many certified appraisers as you want.

Now, to address the elephant in the room. The #1 question (and concern) for anyone trying to get into appraisal is:

“How do I find a certified appraiser to hire me?”

The easiest, and most obvious, way is if you already have a friend or family member who’s a certified appraiser.

Another option is to contact banks or Appraisal Management Companies (AMC) and see if they’re hiring. Some of them even pay you on a salary.

There are a few states like Iowa where the appraisal board will actually provide you with a list of active supervisory appraisers. If you are lucky enough to live in one of these states that offer this, you can simply go down the list and call each one to see if they will hire you. Pro tip: I would start from the bottom of the list and work your way up. Since everyone else usually starts at the top, the appraisers at the top of the list get the most calls and won’t be as receptive. 

If you have exhausted those options, then you’ll have to find one by reaching out to them yourself.

I hear a lot of people complaining that they can’t find anyone. And you know what? I’m not surprised.  The reason why so many people struggle is that they have the wrong expectations and wrong approach.

I personally didn’t know anyone in the industry when I started. I didn’t have any prior connections, and I’ve been able to successfully find multiple supervisory appraisers. They’re definitely out there. In fact, I know some who are actively looking to take on new trainees all the time.

How did I do it?

Set the right expections.

I’ve heard a lot of people say something like, “I’ve sent my resume out to 50 appraisers and haven’t heard back.”

What I’m thinking is, why should you expect to hear something back?

I mean, if you were to randomly send your resume out to 50 companies for any other profession, do you really expect them to respond? Or just hire you out of the blue?

You have to put yourself in their shoes. You are not the first person to ask them for a job.

And since you are the one looking for the job (not them), you have to first prove that you’re even worth talking to.

It’s also a good idea to know what you’re getting into. This isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme. You’re going to be required to invest a lot of time and energy from the start. This entire process is going to be a marathon, not a sprint. You have to pace yourself. If you set your hopes up too high in the beginning, then you’re only setting yourself up for failure. 

You are not going to be making very much money as a trainee. This inconvenience is only temporary. Keep your eye on the prize. Remember, you’re building the foundation so you can have a successful 10+ year career.  

The Approach

The #1 way to get hired is by talking to a certified appraiser face-to-face. I cannot stress how valuable meeting someone in person is. They will remember you and get a good feel for the type of person you are.

Here’s my secret on how to contact them in person:

As a trainee, you’re required to take continuing education (CE) courses to keep your appraiser’s license active. Find live courses in your area, and use your CE as an excuse to meet other appraisers. 

Triple Play Appraisal CE Class by Doug Vairo

You can find live CE courses at McKissock Learning, the Appraisal Institute, appraisal coalitions, and trade associations in your state. 

Don’t take all your CE hours at once. You’ll want to spread your CE schedule over a long period of time, so you have a better chance of meeting more people.

This makes breaking the ice much easier. You can just casually strike up a conversation, and say something like, “so how long have you been in the industry?”

Remember, if you introduce yourself, you are on the “clock.” Your interview has started.

They are sizing you up as a person and as a professional. They are consciously (and subconsciously) looking at how you dress and present yourself. They will remember you, so make sure you leave a good impression.

Keep in mind, there are good mentors and bad mentors out there, so you want to be vigilant about who you work with. If they come to class with a disheveled appearance and papers spilling out of their binders, that’s probably not a good sign that they will make a good supervisor.

If you do find someone that presents themselves professionally and seems knowledgeable, simply ask them if they are willing to take on any trainees.

If you are in a remote location or there aren’t very many live classes in your area, then you will have to just pick up the phone and call them. Fortunately, you can easily search the National Registry of Appraiser’s to find one in your area. Your state board also provides a directory.

Whether you meet them in person or call them, they will most likely say “no.”

Expect this to happen, but don’t get discouraged. A “no” today isn’t a “no” for tomorrow. I’ve personally talked to several certified appraisers who agreed to take on trainees (even though they didn’t want to) simply because the trainee was persistent.

This is where you can separate yourself from people who complain on internet chat rooms that they can’t find anyone. 

If you meet them in person, ask for their business card. If they didn’t bring one, ask for their phone number and email address.

You are still in the "interview" process.

You must send them a follow-up email within 24 hours. Timing is CRUCIAL. This is a small window where you have a chance to prove that you know proper business etiquette.

Keep it casual but professional. Don’t over-analyze the message. Simply tell them it was great to meet them, and that you hope to have an opportunity to work with them in the future.

You are planting a seed in their mind. If you want, you can attach your resume.

Connect with them on LinkedIn. Before you do though, make sure your own LinkedIn profile is polished and up-to-date.

At this point, you will need to follow up with them every 1-2 months. Calling them over the phone gives you the best chance of getting hired. If they don’t pick up, then just leave a message.

If you’re an introvert like me and don’t like making phone calls, you can alternate between phone and email.

It doesn’t matter if they respond or not. What’s happening is that they are getting to know you. They get to see your communication and writing skills. They get to see your work ethic and drive. And hopefully, they are even starting to like you.

How long do you have to keep following up? It’s up to you. This is YOUR “interview.” It ends when you quit.

Remember, you only need to find one supervisor. 

Some Last Thoughts

Finding someone to train you doesn’t have to be hard.

Most people struggle because they are stuck in an “I can’t do it” mindset. Remember that every contact you make with a potential mentor is a “test,” so you should always put your best foot forward. Certified appraisers, and pretty much every company, want to hire people with an “I can” attitude. If something is not working, then try something else.

That’s not to say that finding a supervisor will be easy. But if you set the right expectations for yourself and be patient with the process, your persistence and hard work will pay off.

Top 10 Best Real Estate Books for Agents in 2020

Whether you are new to the game or an experienced real estate veteran looking to polish up your skills, we have come up with the best books for taking your career as a real estate agent to the next level. 

This list was compiled from the feedback we got from actual real estate professionals. If they found these books helpful, we are confident you will too!

By Gary Keller

If there is one book you read from this list, this is it. This is a great book for everyone. It will motivate struggling real estate agents who just got licensed and teach experienced ones how to build a business that lasts. What sets this book apart from the rest is that it gives you step-by-step instructions on how to be successful. There are diagrams, charts, and tons of details. If you are serious about a career in real estate, this needs to be the first book you read.

Click here to see on Amazon

By Kevin Ward

If you are tired of saying the same thing or looking for better results, this book is for you. This book helps you take your sales game to the next level by teaching you how to come up with better sales scripts. The first part of the book gives you the foundation for making the scripts work for you. The second half of the book is putting what you learned into practice by developing the actual scripts. Kevin Ward has a no nonsense approach to guiding you through the steps and will build your confidence when you close your next real estate deal.

Click here to see on Amazon

By Michael J. Maher

Michael Maher takes you on a journey through the eyes of Rick Masters, a real estate agent who has fallen on hard times during the Great Recession. Rick meets someone who has built a successful business in the mortgage industry. She shows him a whole new world and convinces him that her methods do work. Basically, you can imagine yourself in Rick’s shoes and simply apply the same steps he took to take his career to the next level. You will learn about the 7 levels of communication for the purpose of strengthening interpersonal relationships.

Click here to see on Amazon

By Og Mandino

This book has been around for a while and for good reason—it’s a staple for any sales professional. This book follows the adventures of a boy named Hafid. He encounters ten ancient scrolls that contain invaluable lessons. This book doesn’t go over technical aspects of selling. Rather, it guides you into forming a winning mindset to not only succeed in sales, but in life in general. The book is filled with words of wisdom that will keep you inspired and motivated to improve your life from the inside out.

Click here to see on Amazon

By Bob Burg and John David Mann

Joe is a go-getter. He is ambitious, motivated, and puts in 100% effort all the time, yet doesn’t seem to be getting anywhere. Joe gets help from a man named Pindar, who is a successful consultant. Pindar shows him that instead of being a go-getter, he needs to be a go-giver to truly achieve success. This means putting yourself in other people’s shoes and trying to help them achieve their dreams before yours. This book is a quick and light read but conveys a powerful message of selflessness.

Click here to see on Amazon

By Larry Kendall

The author gives you a new approach to selling. Instead using old sales methods, Larry Kendall will show you a selling system that is based on science so that you get consistent results no matter who your prospect is. He has tailored the book to the sales professional, keeping it simple and easy to understand. In a nutshell, he says you should focus your energy on providing value to your customer. Don’t focus on closing the sale. By doing that, you will build wealth in more ways than one.

Click here to see on Amazon

By Hal Elrod

This book is designed to get your day started off on the right foot. It will help you feel more energized, motivated, and focused. While some readers feel this is just a regurgitation of Tony Robbins and other well-known life coaches, Hal Elrod gives you the concrete steps to make it happen. He shows you that by waking up a little earlier each day and spending some “me” time first, you will be more productive and get more done.  

Click here to see on Amazon

By Chris Voss

Chris Voss is a former FBI hostage negotiator and consults Fortune 500 companies through complex deals that are high-stakes. He shows you how the negotiation tactics and skills he’s learned on the streets can be applied to the business world. This book will help real estate agents primarily during the middle and ending parts of a deal. However, you can apply the same negotiating principles to virtually every aspect of your life, from buying a car or settling a dispute with your significant other. If nothing, you are sure to be entertained reading about some of his stories from the field.

Click here to see on Amazon

By Darren Hardy

This New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller shows you how small decisions in your daily life can have an exponentially big result later. The book walks you through an easy-to-use system and guides you every step along the way to track your progress. The author gives you real life examples of how making even the smallest changes, when applied consistently, can yield great rewards. If you need proof, this book has over 3,000 reviews on Amazon with 85% of those reviews giving it a 5-star rating.

Click here to see on Amazon

By George S. Clason

This book is a great read for any age, and the timeless lessons inside will apply to many aspects of your life. The story follows a rich and powerful ancient Babylonian named Arkad. He’s the richest man of Babylon who describes tales of building wealth. Although this doesn’t directly deal with real estate, it does deal with topics such as saving money and learning how to invest wisely. After all, a big part of being a successful real estate agent is knowing how to stay successful by managing your money prudently.  

Click here to see on Amazon

What do you think about our list?
Do you have any better suggestions? 

Let us know in the comments section below!

5 Reasons To Get Into Commercial Real Estate

Have you chosen real estate as a career and now you are confused whether you want to choose commercial real estate or residential real estate? There are pros and cons to working with both types of properties, but you have to choose the career that leads you towards success the best. Although it is easier to break into residential real estate, if you want to make more money during your lifetime, you need to choose commercial real estate.

Commercial real estate brings you the big deals because you are dealing with corporations instead of someone who wants to rent, sell, or buy a single house. Although you need to work harder in commercial real estate, hard work is necessary to be successful in every job, so why not get paid fairly for your hard work? Today we would like to tell you about the top 5 reasons why you should go commercial instead of residential real estate.

1. More Commission

If you are dealing in commercial real estate, you will definitely make more money because the percentage of commission is more significant as compared to residential deals. The properties are more expensive as compared to a residential building, and the clients are willing to pay more because they need the property for putting their business on the ground. A commercial deal may take 9 to 10 months to be closed and fully funded, but it would definitely pay off commensurate with your hard work.

According to the National Association of Realtors, a commercial real estate agent makes $85,000 per year on average and a residential real estate agent makes $35,000 per year on average. You can see such a massive gap between the earnings and decide which one would suit you the most. If you can become a commercial realtor, you may even receive up to 100% of your commission.

2. Career Growth

A commercial real estate agent needs to have a proper degree to work in the market, which helps him or her to make full use of their knowledge in the field. On the other hand, residential real estate agents don’t need a degree. Regardless of college education, both types of agents are required by law to have a real estate license.

If you are working in the commercial market, you’ve got better chances to grow because you are in contact with different businesses outside of the market. The connections you make in the business community can lead you towards getting even bigger clients shortly.

A residential real estate agent is only in contact with small families most of the time, which cannot help them to take their career to the next level. Even if a small business needs to find a property, it would have to contact a commercial real estate agent, so you would be in contact with almost all the companies in your area looking for property to expand their operations.

3. Work with Large Companies

The environment of commercial real estate is really different from the residential market. You get to talk to the big fishes in the industry. This is not a side hustle. The commercial side introduces you to the real corporate sector, and you get to see more serious buyers and sellers. It is more about making the business happen and allows you to earn tens of thousands of dollars with just one deal.

Residential real estate gives you the chance to make great relationships with various families, and get more time for yourself. A commercial real estate agent is always on the move and trying to earn more instead of finding time to relax. Working in the commercial area is a full-time job, and you definitely get paid for the months of hard work you put in to close a deal. If you are looking to make a name for yourself in the market and work with big corporations in your area, you need to choose the commercial side.

4. Exclusive Clientele

As a commercial sales agent, you do not have to deal with a variety of clients because not everybody can buy a retail center worth $3 million. You will get to see more people from the corporate sector dealing with buying and selling in the commercial sector. This is where you can build a vast network with the people in high places in your area.

You will get invited to parties where you will meet people who are ready to invest in millions. You don’t have to bargain for a few thousand dollars because these people know how business is done. You can get straight to the point and close a deal if you give these clients a real proposition which suits them as they have a lot of money at their disposal.

5. Fewer Competitors

A bigger chunk of real estate agents chooses residential real estate because it is easier to get into and you can even do it as a side hustle. You can see evidence of this whenever you attend a networking event for real estate agents, or when you see signs of homes or apartments available for sale or rent.

On the other hand, there are only going to be a handful of commercial real estate agents that you’ll see attending networking events. So there is a lot of competition in the residential market, and if you can market yourself in a better way, you may find it easier to get the top spot in the commercial real estate market in a few years.

There are not many agents contacting commercial property owners with property worth millions of dollars so you can get a great deal done in a few meetings. All you need is someone who needs a commercial property and someone who needs it right away. Several commercial properties worth less than $4 million would be a long shot for a residential investor, but it is not a significant investment for a commercial investor. So you can easily hit the jackpot if you are persistent and willing to work hard in the commercial sector.

How to Get a Real Estate License in Texas

If you have plans to become a real estate agent in Texas, you will need to get the license through the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC). TREC is the state agency that regulates the entire real estate industry for the state of Texas. They make all the rules and set the criteria on what you need to do to get licensed. They don’t actually provide any of the real estate courses or administer the exam themselves. You have to take those through a designated approved provider. 

It’s actually a fairly easy process. We will guide you through everything you need to know to start a real estate career in Texas. 

Short Answer
  1. Meet basic eligibility requirements
  2. Complete the 6 qualifying real estate courses
  3. Pass the state exam

From start to finish, it takes about 3 to 4 months on average.

Long Answer

1. Meet Basic Eligibility Requirements

You have to be at least 18 years old, and a US citizen or lawfully admitted alien.

Texas also requires residency at the time of application. This means that if you’re out-of-state, you can begin working on the courses even if you don’t have a Texas address yet. 

There will be a background check at the end. If you’re concerned about this and want to find out before doing all the work, you can submit the form Moral Character Determination and a $50 fee to TREC.

2. Fulfill Education Requirements

You’ll need to choose an accredited school to complete the following 6 required courses (180 total hours):

30 hours – Principles of Real Estate I
30 hours – Principles of Real Estate II
30 hours – Law of Agency
30 hours – Law of Contracts
30 hours – Real Estate Finance
30 hours – Promulgated Contract Forms

Special Exemptions

Attorneys or law school graduates should contact TREC to see if your law courses will satisfy any of the core courses.

Course Duration

TREC has a waiting period of 3 days before you can take a course final exam. Luckily, they don’t require seat time, so you don’t have to study for all 180 hours if you’re a quick learner.

Proctors

TREC now requires the course final exams to be proctored. A proctor is someone who monitors you during the test to verify it’s you taking the test (and not someone else). Generally, they’re there to make sure there’s no cheating going on.

Fortunately, there are all types of proctors available. You can find proctoring services at your local college and public universities. Clergy members and military officers are also good options.

My personal favorite is the public library because they are typically free.

There are also online proctoring services. This is the most convenient option but there’s a fee of $20 to $40 per test attempt. You can take the test from home and they will watch you through a webcam. ProctorU and Examity are the biggest ones out there.

Sales Apprentice Education (SAE)

The SAE courses are really just an extension of the 6 core courses. They have the same format as those courses and require a proctored final exam. You’re required to complete this on your first renewal after you get licensed.

You have the option to complete all 270 hours (180 hour core courses plus 90 hour SAE courses) of education before you take the state exam. The advantage of doing this is that you have that extra 90 hours of knowledge under your belt. This will help you on the state exam and when you get licensed, you’ll be ready to hit the ground running. Also, most schools offer big discounts on their 270 hour packages, so you’ll save money in the long run.

Here are the acceptable courses that meet the SAE requirement:

30 hours – Real Estate Appraisal 
30 hours – Real Estate Law
30 hours – Real Estate Marketing
30 hours – Real Estate Mathematics
30 hours – Property Management
30 hours – Real Estate Investments
30 hours – Residential Inspection for Real Estate Agents

Cost

You can find online real estate programs ranging from $349 to over $1,000. Because of the large amount of education and exam requirements (and the fees you’ll have to pay if you need to re-take them), I believe choosing the right school is especially important.

Choosing a School

Luckily for us, TREC publishes the exam pass rates for online schools, so you can see which ones are the best. At the time of this writing, these are the 5 biggest real estate schools in Texas.

School NamePass RateExams PassedExam Count
Aceable Agent79.62%1,6992,134
The CE Shop79.37%554698
American School of Real Estate Express66.36%1,0181,534
Champions School of Real Estate60.99%12,19219,989
360training.com50.00%6411,282
Overall Average61.01%19.54632,039

My personal top pick was Aceable Agent because their courses are engaging, have a mobile app, and they usually have some good deals going on. Their website is www.aceableagent.com

3. Pass the State Exam

After you complete the courses, you can apply for the state exam online or by mail.

I don’t advise mailing your application because it takes longer and there’s a $20 processing fee.

Texas has contracted with Pearson VUE  to administer the state exam. They are a national testing service so it’s really easy and convenient to find a location near you. You can search for a Test Center here.

It costs $54 to take the state exam, which consists of 110 multiple choice questions, broken up into two parts: national and state.

You have 2.5 hours to answer 80 questions on the national portion, and 1.5 hours to answer 30 questions on the state portion. You have to score a 70% or higher on both sections to pass the exam.

If you fail after 3 attempts, you will have to complete an additional 30 hours of qualifying education for each failed portion of the state exam. It costs $54 to re-take the test. 

Almost at the finish line...

After you pass the state exam, you’re ready to complete your license application.

You’re required to have your fingerprints on file with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) through MorphoTrust. They will use this to run a background check. It’s a quick and easy process. The fingerprint fee is $37 and the background check is $28.25.

You’ll also have to pay for the license itself. The Initial Sales Agent Application fee is $205.

Finding a Sponsor

Once you pay all the fees and meet all the requirements, you’ll receive your real estate license. However, in order to actually use it, you’ll need to find a licensed Texas broker to sponsor you.

There’s a wide range of brokers out there, so make sure you find the one that gives you what you want. There’s the big name players like Keller Williams, Coldwell Banker, and RE/MAX. There’s also small boutique and mom and pop shops that are more family-focused. Every broker has their pros and cons, so it’s important to do your due diligence. I recommend visiting at least 3 to 5 brokers in your area. You’ll want to ask them about their commission split, culture, reputation, and support.

After a broker sponsors you, your license will officially be active and you can start your real estate career!

Renewing Your License

The Texas real estate license is on a 2 year cycle. To renew it, you’ll have to complete the appropriate education and pay the $116 renewal fee.

If you’re on your first renewal, you’ll have to complete 90 hours of Sales Apprentice Education (SAE) courses plus 8 hours of Legal Updates.

If you already finished them when you did your 180 hour core courses, then you’re ahead of the curve. Just pay your renewal fee online and you’re all set for the next two years!

Beginning on your second renewal, you’ll only need to do 18 hours of continuing education. There are different types of CE courses for a Sales Agent and a Broker’s license, so make sure you get the right one.