The Business of Being a Commercial Real Estate Agent

Working in commercial real estate is quite different from helping home buyers and sellers—you’re working with business owners and investors with a very different inventory.

A commercial transaction might deal with multi-family, mixed-use, retail, or office space. Therefore, successful commercial real estate agents must know about sales and leasing in a broad array of property types. There are different kinds of tenant negotiations that occur, and different types of marketing strategies. And a transaction could be for an owner occupied property or as a commercial real estate investment, adding additional factors to the transaction.

What do investors, buyers and tenants want from a commercial real estate professional

First off, commercial is a specialty, so it’s best that an agent gain experience and knowledge in this specific sector of the real estate field. Know (or learn) how to deal with commercial transactions—there are no uniform contracts or cookie cutter leases. That means sharpening your negotiation skills as well as understanding the leasing or commercial buying process.

Of course, just as with residential sales professionals, being proactive is important. Aside from canvassing the local market for properties and leads, research is key to commercial transactions.

  • Use your office’s systems and tools to research market rates for rentals
  • Become conversant in investment packages
  • Gain a full understanding of the different areas in your market. Do properties in certain areas attract certain kinds of businesses? Do the listing prices make sense for sale properties?
  • Can you provide a detailed and accurate financial analysis for commercial investors?

Aside from research, developing good relationships with area business owners can help create strong database and referral network. When that investor calls the office looking for help finding the right property, you’ll not only have the listings services as a resource, you’ll have local people to contact and potential space to visit because you’ve done your homework.

Speaking of referrals—remember that commercial real estate transactions often involve build outs and other improvements as part of the lease negotiations. Therefore, good power partners are architects, general contractors, and others involved in lease improvements.

More complicated investment deals may require partnering with others to make a successful transaction, so it’s important to know the players in your area or your office to create a winning team.

If you are working with tenants, it’s important that you show them you understand their businesses and that you are showing them space that makes sense for their needs. Whether it’s a restaurant, retailer, healthcare facility or law practice, every client has different needs in terms of square footage, utilities, parking and leasehold improvements.

When working with building owners, these clients want to know that you have a good performance record when it comes to finding strong tenants or solid buyers; your experience will speak for itself. They will also count on you to represent their interests to potential buyers or tenants, and that you can negotiate a strong deal on their behalf. Like the buyer or tenant, the seller or landlord will want to know that you have his/her best interests in mind throughout the transaction.

From any side of the transaction, building trust builds relationships that will in turn build business.

Build your book of business at Century 21 Cedarcrest Realty

Our office is growing—and we’re always looking for savvy commercial real estate agents to join our team. When you join our northern New Jersey office, you become part of one of the country’s most well-respected real estate organizations, with business-building tools and apps designed for commercial real estate agents. You can take advantage of commercial investment training that will position you for a broader range of transactions. Plus, you’ll benefit from our ongoing in-office training and development for agents at all stages of their careers—an important way we support our team, and why Century 21 Cedarcrest Realty consistently wins industry awards for sales volume and customer service—and accolades and awards from consumers as well.

Interested in learning more? Contact Susan Mazzetta at (973) 228-1050, ext. 126 for a confidential interview.

Are you an Experienced NJ Real Estate Sales Professional with a Career that’s Stuck in Neutral?

Experienced real estate agents know that a career in real estate has many rewards. To a large extent, you make your own hours and the earning potential is high—especially when you’ve nurtured great leads and have closed many successful transactions with happy customers.

However, as with many other careers, sometimes you need to make a change. Over time, motivation can lag and that spark can start to sputter when you’ve been in the same office for a very long time.

If you’re feeling like your real estate sales career has gotten stagnant, it might be time to change offices. And, if you’re working in northern New Jersey on residential sales and rentals, Century 21 Cedarcrest Realty in Caldwell, NJ has a place for you.

Our office is all about excitement and opportunity, working in an upscale market in northern New Jersey. In fact, Century 21 Cedarcrest Realty is a designated Fine Homes & Estates office; wouldn’t like a piece of that action?

Five great reasons to join Century 21 Cedarcrest Realty

  1. As one of our agents, you’ll be part of the vast Century 21 network, with opportunities to work with buyers and sellers from just about anywhere across the country—and around the world.
  2. We’re all about career development, and provide ongoing training in our own training center. Century 21 Cedarcrest Realty offers weekly training classes and provides guidance whenever you need it to help you keep your sales and marketing skills sharp and your customer relationships positive.
  3. No-fee leads – unlike other offices, Century 21 Cedarcrest Realty covers the cost of the lead management system to help maximize your earnings.
  4. Senior management that’s there and that cares. We’re not behind closed doors—we’re available every day for hands-on interactions with our sales associates, always ready to help you build your book of business.

Come rejuvenate your real estate career at Century 21 Cedarcrest Realty. Contact Susan Mazzetta at (973) 225-1050, ext. 126 for a confidential conversation about opportunities for seasoned real estate sales associates … and a future with Century 21 Cedarcrest Realty.

Are you Thinking of Getting into Real Estate? Century 21 Cedarcrest Realty is Hiring New Real Estate Agents!

Becoming a real estate sales professional can be an exciting and lucrative career for the right person – energetic, people-oriented, and with a passion for sales. At Century 21 Cedarcrest Realty, we’re looking for people who are interested in starting a new career in real estate. Experience is not required but a willingness to learn and work hard are definitely traits anyone must have to gain a foothold in this industry.

Benefits of working at Century 21 Cedarcrest Realty

  • You become part of a great team and an international network of real estate offices. Yes, our agents may work with buyers and sellers from just about anywhere.
  • Our corporate culture here is all about support, mentorship, and ongoing professional development.
  • Century 21 is a brand with powerful advertising and high consumer respect.
  • You’ll have access to industry-leading technology for maximum exposure and increased qualified leads.
  • Although we are specialists in Essex County real estate, our busy office represents buyers and sellers from throughout Northern New Jersey.
  • Century 21 Cedarcrest Realty was named 2015 “Best Realtor” by readers of Suburban Essex magazine in its Best of Essex Readers’ Choice Awards—and we’ve been nominated again for the 2016 honor.

We invest in your future with us

Century 21 Cedarcrest Realty also believes investing in the future success of our sales associates. One way we do that is to offer you a $100 discount off the mandatory state pre-licensing course, which prepares you to sit for the New Jersey real estate exam, in order to become a licensed real estate agent.

Then, after you’ve passed the exam and received your license, we provide ongoing expert training, led by seasoned real estate pros who’ve seen and done it all. They’ll teach you our winning sales and customer service techniques that get your foot in more doors with home buyers and sellers.

Upon your first closing with us, we then reimburse new agents for the out-of-pocket expense of the pre-licensing course, up to $275.

All our agents have access to Century 21’s superior real estate marketing, automation and communications systems as well as C21 University, an online resource that offers continuing education programs and a library of valuable assets to help you grow your book of business and refine your customer service skills.

About that training …

We offer weekly in-house training and professional development courses in our nicely appointed training room. These programs are managed by Susan Mazzetta, Century 21 Cedarcrest’s director of career development. Our agents also receive valuable mentorship about marketing their listings, customer relations, and sales techniques from Susan and Dennis DiSabato, our agency’s sales manager.

We have an open-door policy with senior management so that everyone at every level of experience can share challenges and gain valuable support and ideas; this extends not only to Susan, Dennis and broker owner, John Sass but to other team members as well.

Are you our next hire?

We’re looking for people with enthusiasm and motivation, strong interpersonal skills, and a passion for sales, to talk to us about their real estate career. The North Jersey market is hot right now and it’s a great time to get into the business (or build up an existing real estate career).
Prospective agents may upload a resume and get more information at http://century21cedarcrest.com/careers/. For a confidential interview, call Susan Mazzetta, director of career development at (973) 228-1050, ext. 126. We look forward to meeting you and bringing you into the world of real estate in Northern New Jersey!

Getting Ready to List Your Home – Steps You Can Take to Add Value for Buyers

Getting your home prepared for a listing with a real estate agency is an exciting time. Of course, your agent will want to be excited about your listing and bring as many qualified prospects as possible. Is your real estate professional providing you with guidance about how to add value to your home? These home maintenance and repair tips will help you increase your chances of a sale more quickly.

De-clutter and organize. No one wants to step through clutter, look in rooms or closets that are overflowing with unnecessary items, or have to imagine what the space could look like without a homeowners personal effects clouding the “scenery.” Before you list your home for sale, start going through all the rooms, from attic to basement, and clean out and organize. You can create piles for discard, donate and store; once you’ve done the first two, it’s time to organize your storage needs. Closet storage systems will help you keep clothes organized and make a great presentation. Garage and basement storage solutions are also available to keep items off the floor and in a safe place.

Refresh rooms with paint. That first impression will be largely influenced by the look and feel of your rooms. After you’ve cleaned and cleared, a fresh coat of paint in neutral colors will help rooms look larger and make prospective buyers feel better about your space. Bright colors might be your style but not theirs so avoid making too much of a “statement” in your color choice.

Update bathroom fixtures. Swap out those tired old bathroom faucets and the old sink; install a new vanity or a shower head; or put on new toilet seats if necessary. You need not spend lots of money to do these simple updates and a little goes a long way. Remember, clean and new is better than tired and worn.

Update kitchen appliances and fixtures. If this is in your budget, it is well worth the expenditure on this end of the sales process. There’s no need for a full remodel but a face lift is well worth it for making a quicker sale. New cabinet doors and hardware or a new sink or new faucet with sprayer (a popular feature) are good investments. If you can swing it and your dishwasher or refrigerator are outdated, consider installing new models that prospective home buyers will appreciate.

Boost your curb appeal. Landscaping and driveway appearance are what prospective home buyers will see first—and will encourage or discourage them about coming inside for a closer look. Get your lawn in shape, plant your garden beds, prune your trees and shrubs. Outdoor lighting is also a benefit, from the front porch to the walkway or gardens. If the driveway is in poor shape, have it repaired.

Make necessary exterior repairs. In addition to the driveway, your front steps should be in good condition; your gutters should be in place and doing their jobs to prevent water damage to the home; missing roof shingles should be replaced; problems with paver or concrete walkways, your sidewalk, patio and deck (where applicable) should be remediated. Remember, you don’t want to give anyone a reason to walk away (and you wouldn’t want anyone to trip and get hurt).

Insulate for energy efficiency. One way to show prospective home buyers that your home is prepared for 21st century living is to add insulation in order to improve your energy efficiency and reduce heating and cooling costs. This is a also good time to look at your windows to see where you can seal any seams or cracks where air penetrates.

At Century 21 Cedarcrest Realty, we guide our clients to make sure their homes are in “ready for sale” condition, in order to make the sales process as stress-free as possible for everyone involved. As part of our client service, our real estate agents will go over what we feel your home needs to prepare it for a listing, and help you hash out the pros and cons of certain upgrades and repairs. Want to find out more about the best way to sell your home in Essex County or other northern New Jersey areas? Call Century 21 Cedarcrest at (973) 228-1050 or visit our website to get started.

2014 Summer Real Estate Trends

If you haven’t found the home of your dreams yet, don’t panic. This summer is a great time to finally make that investment, but it’s not over yet. You’ll be pleased to know that it’s still a smart time to buy a home, and this won’t be changing anytime soon. In fact, you may see lending standards loosen up in order to promote homeownership. Here are some trends to watch for this summer and early fall, especially as you narrow down your search.

Mortgage Rates Are STILL Low

Mortgage rates are still at historic lows because the economy isn’t improving as fast as we thought. It’s predicted by the Mortgage Bankers Association that a 30-year fixed rate could average 4.9 percent by the third quarter and reach 5 percent by the end of 2014. Only time will tell, but the good news is that you can lock in a low interest rate if you buy in 2014.

Lending Standards Are Not So Tight

Lending standards aren’t as tight as they once were, although they are still stricter than during the housing boom. Still, it’s important to boost homeownership rates, and for this reason, lenders are becoming more flexible and willing to listen to borrowers on common-sense issues. This includes accepting lower credit scores for both FHA and conventional loans.

Discounts on FHA Loans

FHA loans have become more popular, but the cost of mortgage insurance has made these loans an obstacle for many buyers. The FHA recently announced that they would be willing to lower the cost of mortgage insurance for buyers who are willing to go through a home counseling program before buying a home. The program isn’t in effect yet, but the discount that it would allow for is promising. Buyers would be silly not to take advantage of it.

Home Prices Aren’t Rising Fast

Even though house prices are rising steadily, they aren’t going up as fast as we thought. Spring was particularly slow, so if you are in the position to purchase a home now, you can enjoy low mortgage rates and low housing prices. At this time, there is a demand for homes, and inventory is low. This can make it more challenging to find your dream home, but it’s certainly not impossible. With the right realtor, you can find homes that fit your vision as soon as they come onto the market.

Tips for Selling Your Home – Fast!

The spring season is one of the most popular times to list a home for sale. Of course, you don’t want to miss out on this short window. Summer is still a great time to have your home up for sale, but people get busier with summer vacations and other plans. So, to make the most of the spring selling season, follow these tips.

Separate Yourself from the Neighbors

Just because there isn’t a lot of inventory on the market doesn’t mean that your house shouldn’t stand out. Find ways to attract attention and distinguish your home from every other one on the block. When potential buyers turn onto your street, you want them to see your home and think, “I hope this is the one for sale.” Ideas include freshly planted shrubs and flowers, landscape lighting, energy efficient windows, a new roof, newly painted shutters, professional landscaping or a functional backyard.

Stage Your Home

We all think our homes are the greatest, but remember that potential buyers will have a completely different idea of what’s attractive. Therefore, all of your personal belongings and clutter should be removed so that your home is a clean, neutral palate. You can hire a professional stager to help with this step, but even realtors can offer a few pointers. You’ll be moving in the near future, so now is a great time to de-clutter anyway.

Add an Incentive

Selling your home quickly offers plenty of rewards: you get to move on sooner, and you don’t have to have any more showings. So, don’t be afraid to sweeten the pot a bit. Money toward closing costs, a transferable home warranty or fast closing times are all examples of what can be done to get you that contract sooner.

Get Your Home in “Move In” Condition

What this means is that your home is ready to be moved into. Families today are short on time and money, so being able to move in over the weekend and start enjoying a new home is invaluable. This equals more time and money for the buyers, and it will set your home apart from the many other short sales and foreclosures that still flood the market.

List at a Competitive Price

Most sellers are taking a hit on the sale of their home because of the housing market’s slow recovery, but there are gains to made on the other side. Instead of sticking it out to get a certain amount from your home, price it competitively and get it sold fast. If you’re planning to purchase again, you’ll be pleased to know that housing prices are still competitive and interest rates low.

5 Things Homeowners and Buyers Should Watch For This Month

It’s no secret that the US economy has had a shaky start in 2014, but this doesn’t mean that things won’t perk up. It will be an interesting selling season to say the least, as everything is rather low: interest rates, housing prices and inventory. If there is enough inventory to keep buyers happy, we could see some of the best sales yet.

Here are five things that homeowners and buyers should watch for this month and beyond.

1. Mortgage rates are still at historical lows.

Mortgage rates do fluctuate, and while they are rising a little more each month, rates still remain at historical lows. As long as the economy is poor, mortgage rates will continue to remain low. When the economy is booming, the opposite happens. For new homebuyers, low mortgage rates will save hundreds off their mortgage each month. This could make that difference for you, too.

2. Housing inventory is still limited.

Housing inventory remains very low, which isn’t helping speed up the housing market. But, if you put your home up for sale, chances are strong that you will have a home that is in demand and will sell quickly since there isn’t that much on the market. Low inventory also leads to bidding wars, which can help your home sell for more. On the flip side, buying a home gets a little more tricky – and competitive.

3. Expect stricter lending rules.

The new qualified-mortgage rule makes the collection of asset documentation super important. Basically, the banks want to make sure that you can make your mortgage payments and repay your loan. Even though these rules are a good thing, they create a lot of extra paperwork. If you’re applying for a loan, be prepared for these changes.

4. Refinancing is slowing down.

Homeowners were refinancing like crazy a while back, but now that mortgage rates are rising and new loans are being given, this side of the banking industry has slowed. If you’re interested in refinancing your current loan, don’t hesitate to fill out the paperwork to do so. You can always ask to have your paperwork set aside for when mortgage rates dip back down.

5. Flexible loan options are available.

Things are not like they were during the housing boom, but there are some flexible loan options available. FHA loans are backed by the government and have more gracious terms as far as down payments and credit score requirements. Some say that adjustable rate mortgages will also become more common during 2014 because mortgage rates are on the rise.

New Jersey Housing Market Continues to Strengthen

According to the New Jersey Association of Realtors, the NJ market continues to strengthen thanks to a lower inventory of available homes, higher median prices and faster selling times. How do these numbers compare to last year?

According to NJAR, the number of homes for sale in all markets is down 15.5 percent from September 2012. Closed sales in all markets have risen 21.8 percent, though. Single-family homes have seen a median sale price of 7 percent more compared to September 2012, and single-family homes are spending less time on the market.

To add more good news to the picture, positive trends are being seen in the townhome and condo communities as well. While NJ isn’t back to pre-recession prices, at least the housing market is moving in the right direction.

Why Inventory is Low – But Maybe Not for Long

Part of the reason why inventory is low is because would-be sellers are holding onto their properties because they are not willing to sell their home at a discount. This deters many would-be sellers, so they either remain in their homes or rent them out to continue paying down their mortgage.

Over time, we can expect to see some of these sellers slowly listing their homes when they can finally make the numbers work for them, but in the meantime, inventory will remain relatively low – at least for these types of homes.

Foreclosed homes are a different story. With the high number of foreclosures, there are still many that need to make it onto the market. Once they are listed, we can expect to see them clear out very quickly, boosting sales and driving up the market, hopefully allowing today’s would-be sellers to finally list their homes without taking as much of a hit. This has been the trend for much of the country, and it has helped many states rebound to better sales.

We can only hope that the housing market bubble will be a thing of the past, and housing prices will continue to strengthen over time. We’re making positive steps in the right direction, making now – potentially – a great time to sell, buy or both.