Strangers in the Night: Residential Real Estate Investors and Agents

It was 2008 when something started to change in my neighborhood.  The once familiar family homes were now freckled with For Sale signs.   You couldn’t miss them, like many a bank account during that time period, they were completely empty. Front yards with overgrown grass were quickly transformed into brightly painted façades, and with seemingly equal speed flipped back onto the market now listed as “Pride of Ownership” (or investorship). It was happening so quickly. Something was ominous about it and it took a moment to realize these weren’t your traditional homeowners, they were residential real estate investors. As far as I was (subconsciously) concerned, those were mutually exclusive titles.


I thought to myself, “Why do investors and agents in residential real estate seem like strangers in the night?  “Typically, investors have a method by which they evaluate deals and have no emotional attachment to any properties that they are attempting to acquire. Although they will write offers on anything that makes sense, they have no hesitation about walking away from a deal that no longer shows their minimum profit threshold at the price a seller is willing to accept,” explains Jeremy Colonna, a mortgage broker with Matchpoint Funding in Greater Los Angeles. In other words, these investors are “not as easily influenced by real estate agents” adds Colonna, “and that can be frustrating for agents.”

Often investment properties and single family homes are considered different property types despite both ultimately being an investment. Just look at the descriptions used for “investment” versus “home” and it does in fact seem like a different language. Residential agents are also taught to focus more on the emotional appeal, school district and other factors while commercial real estate is more about return on investment and cash-flow analysis.

shutterstock_49146385But real estate agents have good reason to want to learn the language of investors as part of their strategy for new business. One reason is the U.S. is still considered one of the top five markets for residential investors.  CNN Money online recently wrote Top 5 housing markets for global investors placing the U.S. in the very top of all global residential investor markets.  According to NAR’s recent report on home sales, 13% of the all-cash real estate transactions in September 2015 were individual investors. That means knowing what a CAP rate is or the buy and hold vs. flipping strategies would benefit you greatly.

What is the best way to appeal to investors as a residential real estate agent?

  1. Team Up With a Lender.  Colonna recommends teaming up with a lender who can educate you thoroughly on investor financing. “An agent who is informed about the intricacies of hard money financing, commercial lending and multi-family loan products,” says Colonna, “will inspire a great deal more trust in an investor. Partnering with a lender also can give an investor “a clearer picture of the purchase from start to finish, leverage on the buy side and is able to capitalize on attractive terms offered to the future buyer.”
  2. numbersUnderstand Investment Strategies like Buy and Hold or Fix and FlipA great resource for educating yourself on the topic is on Marshall Reddick’s Website. Check out their LEARN section and educate yourself on residential investment topics from the experts who currently teach it across the U.S.
  3. Find a Reputable Lead Generation Company that brings you exclusive real estate leads through the internet, where investors are no doubt starting their search. Nothing will give you a deeper understanding of working with investor clients than having actual experience working with them!
  4. Join social networks like Bigger Pockets where investors frequent and hear firsthand what challenges they face and what they are looking for in a real estate agent.

As the market changes and traditional home buying becomes more difficult to define, being able to speak the many languages of residential real estate (ex. investor, traditional, millenial) will open more doors for you and alleviate frustration. We may then see the two working together in a way that benefits both just as the old Sinatra tune ends, “It turned out so right, for those strangers in the night…”



Written byLauren Agajanian

Lauren Agajanian, MBA





Schedule a no pressure consultation with a HouseHunt consultant and find out how HouseHunt can bring you a consistent pipeline of guaranteed, exclusive real estate leads now! Schedule it now!




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Phone Etiquette for Real Estate Agents That Speaks Volumes

by Lauren Agajanian

Phone Etiquette for Real Estate Agents

                  Some days don’t you wish all of your calls were sent to voicemail? After all, you didn’t record your greeting fourteen times so no one would hear it. Every interaction you have in real estate makes an impression and particularly if it’s their first of you. Robert Lee Holtz, a science writer for The Wall Street Journal, wrote an article that is a must-read if you aspire to be an industry leader.  In How to Train Your Voice to be More Charismatic, Holtz describes the power of the voice as “an instrument of rare persuasive power, tuned by evolution and culture to communicate far more than words alone convey.” Phone etiquette and your voice can make a powerful statement about your personal brand as well.  These etiquette essentials make sure the image you radiate through the cell phone waves is a good one:


  1. Identify Yourself Using Both a First and Last Name.  Using both names when you introduce yourself to someone new, “shows that you take yourself seriously as an adult and expect the same treatment from others,” says Etiquette International. That doesn’t mean you’re demanding to be treated as superior, it means you take the needs of your client as seriously as you do your own career.  This also saves your caller from the uncomfortable exchange of having to ask if you are, in fact, the owner of the direct number stamped on every “Just Listed” postcard you left on their doorstep this year.Smile on a Business Call
  2. Smile and Sit/Stand Up Straight. Project, with your happiest of phone voices, that you are full of energy, love what you do for a living, and are nothing short of ecstatic to show your caller another perfect home…for the 17th time this week. Stand or sit up straight, “but not too straight” offers Peter Smith, author of Essential Radio Skills: How to Present a Radio Show. “You can afford to relax a little,” he adds, to avoid sounding nervous or stiff. “  This will reduce tension, keep you alert, and increase the resonance in your voice,” says Smith
  3. Speak Clearly and Avoid High Acoustic-Risk Locales. Clarity has everything to do with conveying your message.  If you are speaking too fast, chewing gum or a dog is barking at the gardener’s leaf blower outside your window, your caller is thinking more about how to politely end the call, than anything they think they might have heard you say.
  4. Keep a Bottle of Water Within Reach.  “Your vocal cords vibrate very fast, and having a proper water balance helps keep them lubricated,” an article 10 Tips to a Healthy Voice from Live Science tells us. And it can also stop an unexpected cackle from flying out of your mouth on a broom of embarrassment during your next presentation. You aren’t likely to face judgement day over a couple of ahem’s, but why fight it? Water is always a win-win.Picture9
  5. Don’t Curse or Use Slang.  Even if your logo has navy blue and white stripes with a gold anchor, there won’t be smooth sailing in your conversation if you swear like the one navigating the vessel. Using terms found only in an Urban Dictionary or shortening words that weren’t difficult to say in the first place are major phone etiquette follies. The eloquent words of wisdom spoken by Anthony Burgess (Author of A Clockwork Orange, 1962), “The downtrodden are the great creators of slang.” You, on the other hand, are on the up and up.
  6. Don’t Smoke.  Ever.  Remember the witches cackle and the broom? Not even appropriate for Halloween.


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How Green is Your Home Staging?

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by: Wendy L.K. Rogers, M.A.


When it comes to staging a home, I think we can all agree that it’s a beneficial tool in selling a home quicker for more money. In researching for this article, I found one company boasting 95% ROI and 11 days or less on the market. I even saw a whopping 378% ROI. My goal here is not to debate staging’s merits.   Rather, I’m saying let’s get green with staging to save oodles of money, enjoy being creative and be a little or a lot more eco-friendly.

No doubt, green is in. The carbon footprint is now looking for Birkenstocks rather than Manolo Blahniks. Think Tesla instead of Hummer. Repurposing, up-cycling, re-scaping, whatever the title, why not incorporate it into home staging if it saves money and helps the environment? Not to mention, if you use green staging, you can position yourself as an eco-responsible Realtor!

Here’s four categories to help you dive your eco-friendly staging hands into: the basics, paint, curb appeal and some sample tips to fuel your creative green genius.

The Usual Suspects

With any web search of home staging, you’ll find some basics that come up again and again because they work. The two primary tasks that really give the biggest bang are de-clutter and clean. Seriously, this must be the best example of less is more. Less stuff equals more cash! If your client has to put his/her stuff into storage for a month and then have a hug fest with it in the new home, then offer this option. Better yet, help them have a garage sale (with your signs)or have them donate to worthy charities. The biggest focus here is make sure the home does NOT identify anyone. Those family photos and anything giving it a specific identity block prospective buyers from seeing themselves in that space. Remove any items that prevent them from envisioning themselves in the home. And clean, clean, clean. A made bed can completely change the dynamic of a room.


Painting a room with a fresh coat of paint can make a huge difference in the cleanliness and classiness of the space for rather little money. However, paint is a product that is actually considered hazardous material and that is the diabolical opposite of eco friendly, but it doesn’t have to be.

Search online for your area for something called a Materials Exchange Program. In Huntington Beach, Rainbow Environmental Services offers this awesome service. You can take in cleaning items, hazmat or the like and exchange it for others such as paint (used or not) for FREE! Yes, you can get free paint without spending a dime and you just helped a hazmat product stay out of the landfills. If that isn’t green-green, I don’t know what is.

Curb Appeal

Let’s face it, the landscape is the first impression of a home. We recently shared on our page agent Facebook page the article 12 DIY House Number Displays That Will Instantly Up Your Curb Appeal. There are a few examples in the article that are super eco friendly and inexpensive. Take four flower pots and paint them all the same color. Then affix each digit of the address on the front of each pot (with plants/flowers in there please) as a little vignette on the front step. There is even a repurposed window pane turned sideways with the house numbers on the glass and little adornment. Place it eye height just to the side of the front door. Really, the ideas are limitless but keep it clean and inviting.

Creative Tips

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Home Staging with Heart

Have fun and when in doubt, check out what Re-Scape says about the Golden Rules of Re-Scaping. No. 1 being to try to recycle when you clean and de-clutter.   Perhaps suggest a charity that you support to your client for his/her unwanted belongings – less to the dump and more potential up-cycling treasures. This can also build good will when your clients see you as a charitable Realtor. Hey, with the extra money they make on the sale of their well staged home, they can buy some solar panels for the next one. Happy repurposed home staging!

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Who’s Working for You at HouseHunt?

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Who’s Working for You at HouseHunt?


Meet our receptionist extraordinaire, Bobbie Tipton.

HH: So, if we look at your computer desk top and almost every area of your desk space, there is little doubt that you are a Mark Wahlberg fan. Why is that?

BT: Well, do you remember when he was a Calvin KIein underwear model, oh my! But I really became a fan when I saw him in the movie Fear. He was excellent in the role, plus he’s totally hot!

HH: You do something for fun that not even many in the company know about. Tell us about it?

BT: I am a total musical junkie. I absolutely love musicals. I have seen ‘em all. It’s my favorite thing to do.

HH: If someone gave you a plane ticket and you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

BT: New York City, AGAIN. It’s all about fashion and the home of Broadway. It was amazing to see Jersey Boys right there.

HH: You are the HouseHunt receptionist which means that you not only set the first impression, but you are also the liaison between our company and our clients. I mean, look at that phone; it’s impressive. Do you have any advice on phone etiquette to offer our Realtor clients?

BT: Be prepared and professional. I’m pretty passionate about this. If someone leaves a message, listen to the message so you know who it is and what they need. This way you can convey a warm and inviting impression.

HH: You’ve said you really like your job and this company. Why is that?

BT: I’ve been the receptionist here a long time. They keep trying to get me away from phones, but I love it. And I like HouseHunt for the people. We’re like family. Plus, the Big Boss rally cares about us.

* An interview with Bobbie Tipton, the HouseHunt receptionist. Bobbie has been with HouseHunt for close to 11 years and proudly says she isn’t going anywhere.


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by: Wendy L.K. Rogers, M.A.

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Keep Buyers from Hibernating for the Winter

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Hey it’s September. We’re about to enter the zone of pumpkin spice everything, rich burnt oranges and deep plums. However, some of you in real estate may be mourning the passing of July’s peak sales. According to Jonathan Smoke “raw data tell us that real estate follows a clear seasonal pattern. Inventory peaks in the summer. Sales peak in the summer. Real estate Web traffic peaks in the summer.” Not so fast! Summer’s gone and maybe the overall real estate market is cooling, but with a little bit of marketing strategy, you can keep your business hot. Here are a few pieces of “raw data” to put the hot in your cocoa.


School Calendars and Weather Can Shift the Peak

Sure school calendars make a difference, but are there any year round schools in your area? We have a whole district near me that adjusted start and end dates due to strategically allowing seniors to get out in early May so they could be ready for transition to college life. This can certainly affect the timeline of those looking to buy or sell a home.

Also, what’s the weather like in your area? If you’re in a warmer climate, you may not be victim of the cold weather slow down.


Who’s Buying: Christmas Gifts and Seniors

And even if these are very realistic concerns in your area, what are some tidbits to use in your favor?

If December and January are peak months for the age of inventory, this now becomes an incentive for buyers to step in to get their best deal. And hey, I’d love my spouse to buy me a house for Christmas. Start a campaign telling prospects why the Winter inventory offers them the best time to “buy low.”

Next, know who’s more likely to buy! Turns out according to Real Time Economics, of the 860,000 new households created in the last fiscal year (July 1-June 31), two-thirds of new households were created by seniors between 65-74. Find out what attracts seniors and host an event catering to their needs and tastes. What kind of programs go over well at senior centers? Incorporate one into your Winter marketing strategy.


Money Misconceptions

Lastly, here’s an interesting nugget from Keeping Current Matters (don’t you just love the title?). About 36% of Americans have the misconception that 20% is an absolute down payment requirement to buy a home. Not necessarily so, but you can educate folks about this to open up the door of possibility for them. According to this site’s August 20th blog, Millennials know this, because 36% of them are putting down only 5%. But, since Millennials only account for approximately 13% of the market, do what you can to educate the other 87%! Maybe team up with a lending company to offer classes or make use of your social media to disseminate this rather powerful and motivating peace of data.


Heat Up Your Real Estate Business for the Winter

The point is, knowledge about your community, demographics, and fear based misconceptions that might be holding buyers back, can translate into increased sales if you gather such wisdom and use it to refine your marketing strategy for the season. So get ready to cuddle up with your snuggy and a pumpkin spiced latte to fuel you for the myriad of buyers looking for a smokin’ hot December deal. HouseHunt is always routing for you.


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by: Wendy L.K. Rogers, M.A.

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