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Facebook Advertising Guide for Real Estate Agent

For many real estate agents, creating real estate FB/IG ads and generate leads for a reasonable price seems to be a distance dream. Many tried out for a few months then didn’t get the results they want and promptly quit. It’s quite unfortunate but many seems to jump in too fast and never took the time to learn the basics. That’s why we created this guide as a starting point to get you understand how can Facebook help your real estate business. 

  • How can Facebook help your business?
    • Current State of Facebook
    • Facebook and Marketing
    • How does it work for Real Estate Agents?
  • How to do it from scratch
    • Create a Facebook personal page
    • Create Facebook Business Manager Account
    • Create Facebook Business Page
    • Create Facebook Ad Manager
    • Create and Install Facebook Pixel
    • Create your ads
    • Test – test – test
  • Closing Thoughts

A – What is Facebook Marketing and how can Facebook help your business? 

One may say: “I’ve heard FB ads needs lots of money and only work with big companies!?”
It’s true that multibillion-dollar companies set aside enormous budget to advertise on Facebook, but you don’t need to do the same to be successful.
Fear not. There are strategies to make it work for small businesses, especially real estate agents. There is so much you can do on Facebook to help grow your real estate business to the next level. In this mini course, you will learn the most important framework to get started with your Facebook advertising and start generating leads effectively.

A-1 Current State of Facebook

Before we dive headfirst to the unknown water, let’s learn a few things about Facebook and Marketing. (You heard it right, 2 things: Facebook platform and Marketing)

According to Facebook Data report in 2018, more than 2 Billion people around the world are using Facebook every day and 223 Million of them are active users in the United States1 . Latest statistics from eMarketer shows that people in the US spend an average of 37 mins on Facebook and an additional extra 29 mins on Instagram2.

Facebook is truly everywhere. It not only connects people together but also connect people with their favorite businesses and organizations. Because FB have such a wide reach, Realtors can leverage the platform to get in touch with existing and new clients easily.

A-2 Facebook / Instagram and Marketing

Facebook does not and will not replace your traditional marketing efforts. However, it’s a perfect addition to your existing marketing strategies.

You must have heard about the principles of marketing: the 4 Ps (Products, Price, Place, Promotion), and its modern sibling the 4+1Ps (Products, Price, Place, Promotion, and People).

I assume you already know everything about those basic principle. If not, I highly recommend that you spend some time go back to the basic to learn the traditional marketing methods because all principles apply to online marketing.

So, which P do you think Facebook Ads fall into?
It’s a bit easy, isn’t it? If you answer is Promotion. Congratulation. You’ve joined 90% of people who have missed the 5th P – People – YOU. People here refer to the real estate agents, broker, their staffs or anyone who work for the business. It’s basically how you want you yourself to be perceived by your prospects & clients.

How does that translate into the real-world scenario to promote your listing and yourself? Let’s go over some examples:

One – John is a seller agent and you have a property to sell in Newport Beach, California. What would he do?

  • He does all the rituals for the MLS listing, do a little Zillow lead thingy, spend couple thousands dollar buying leads.
  • He hires a designer to create a website for the property because MLS listing sucks anyway (low resolution pictures, horrible layout, …)
  • He sends out flyers, brochures with killer photography to prospects, inviting them to check out the property on the newly created website.
  • He sends out emails to prospects
  • He holds open houses regularly
  • Sponsor local events to promote the house,
  • etc. etc. (all the things that top producers usually do)

What if he can do even more using Facebook ads?

  • Using Facebook Pixel, a tiny code embedded on the website, he can track how many people have visited the site and serve ads to those who spend time checking out the photos and the 3D tour.
  • He can track and serve ads to people who walk into the open house using geo-location fencing technique.
  • He can serve ads to specific leads in list he purchased by uploading the list to Facebook.
  • He can generate the leads himself by running ads instead of buying leads from Zillow and others.

Two – Jenna is a new agent, and she wants to farm Huntington Beach, California.

  • She walks around the neighborhood to greet homeowners as they do their exercise routine.
  • She does door knocking and leave informational door hangers
  • She sends out mail and postcards with useful information
  • She asked to host open houses for other agents who’re too busy to do so she gets to know more about the area. (yes, she saturated the area with her signs instead of the listing agent and the neighbor knows her name)
  • She builds the connections within the community
  • She hosts local events
  • She builds her own website and starts to blog about the best places to visit in the farming area
  • She collects email and send out newsletter to collect leads.

What can Jenna do more by running ads on Facebook?

  • Drive more traffic to her blog and websites.
  • Promote her local events
  • Install Google Analytics and Facebook Pixels to track people behaviors on her website then serve ads accordingly
  • Setup campaign to send out ads to download the latest local guide to specific zip codes.

In those 2 examples, we can see one thing in common: successful agents rely on multiple channels to deliver their messages and Facebook is just one of them. The platform helps you expand your reach and target only the area that you want.

There are endless possibilities for you to do online marketing in general and FB ads to be specific. The limit is your own creativity. The cost, depending on how big of your area, can be easily justified by the results.

B – How to do Facebook ads from scratch

Before you can run ads, you will need to complete several tasks in the following order:

  1. Create a Facebook personal page
  2. Create Facebook Business Manager Account
  3. Create Facebook Business Page
  4. Create Facebook Ad Manager
  5. Create and Install Facebook Pixel
  6. Create your ads
  7. Test – test – test

B-1 Create Facebook personal page if you don’t have it.

To do advertising on Facebook, you must have a Facebook account; there’s no way getting around that. There are 2 types of Facebook page: personal page and business page. Personal page is used for anything personal, in this page you represent your true self and you’re just like billions of other people: consumer of FB content. Business page, on the other hand, is quite different. It helps people connect to your business and find out more about you as a realtor.

A Business Page is controlled by a personal page or a Business Manager Account. If you don’t have a Facebook personal account for some reasons, please head onto Facebook.com and create one. You can fill in fake personal information (like birthdate and such) if you so ever afraid that FB will steal all of your info. This is your personal Facebook page, so do whatever you think is appropriate with it.

B-2 Setting up Business Manager Account

The next step is to create a Business Manager Account. Through this platform, you can access your business page, Ads manager, and grant access to different people to manage the account. Setting this up is an easy task:

  • Go to: business.facebook.com
  • Click on “Create Account” on the top right-hand corner.
  • If you’re already signed in on Facebook, it will ask you to enter the name of the business, your name, and email address. The process is very straightforward, so you should not have any issue at all.

B-3 Create your Facebook Business Page:

Inside your Business Manager Account, locate the Navigation bar on the left Column.

Click on the Accounts section to expand it

Click on Pages and select Add.

You then select “Business or Brand” option:

Give your page a name and select Real Estate Agent as the Category, then fill in your business information. Leave the check box unchecked. You want people to know your office location, don’t you? Then hit continue.

The next step requires you to upload your Profile Photo and a Cover Photo.

Then, you’ve created your Business Page. Just follow the prompt to fill in all necessary information. Congratulation, you’ve finished creating your Facebook Business Page.

B-4  Setting up your Facebook Ad Manager:

This step will help you setup your ad account, if you already have one, please skip.

In your Facebook Business Manager settings, navigate to Accounts, then click on “Ad Accounts”, then Click Add to create a new one.

You just need to follow the on screen instruction, fill in all of the information and plugin a credit card. Then you’re ready to move on to the next step.

B-5 Setup your Facebook Pixels:

  • To track the performance of your ad campaigns, you will need a little code snippet called Pixels.
    In your Facebook Business Manager, click on Data Sources, then select Pixels.
  • Click Add to create new Pixel tracking
  • After that, select Set up the Pixel Now
  • We highly suggest you send the Pixel code instruction to your website developer to have it installed properly.
  • Then, congratulations! You’re halfway through it and now ready to create your first ad.

B-6 Create your first Campaign and ads.

When you first create a campaign, you’re greeted with a series of Objectives in 3 primary groups:

  • Awareness
  • Consideration
  • Conversion

This is the way Facebook guide you to create a lead funnel. First you let people know you and your brand, then influence their consideration, and finally convert them to ultimately complete the action you want them to.

So, if you’re a new agent, or have never ever set foot in your farm and want to start making some noises, you can start with Brand Awareness or Reach Objectives. This will train the campaign to reach as many people as possible within your targeted location and targeting criteria (more on this later).

In the Consideration group, you will have the following:

  • Traffic: serve the ads to the people who are likely to visit your landing page (traffic to your landing page)
  • Engagement: serve the ads to the people who are likely to engage with your ads.
  • App installs: If you have an app and want to promote your app, this is the right option for you.
  • Video Views: serve the ads to the people who are likely to watch your videos
  • Lead Generation: serve the ads to the people who are likely to fill in your Facebook Lead Generation form.
  • Messages: encourage people to send message in the ads by having a ‘Send message’ button in the post. This will connect them directly to your Facebook messenger to start a conversation. This option is powerful if utilized correctly because it opens a direct message channel to the audience.

 

In the Conversions group, there’s only one objective you should be focusing on: Conversions.

At this point, you may ask: ‘What is conversion in Facebook?’

It’s an action audience completed on your website / Facebook that you define. It can be anything from visiting your website, viewing a particular section of your page, click a button, or fill in a form. If the action take place outside of Facebook platform (for example: your website), the Facebook pixels you installed on your website will handle the tracking and record those actions.

Getting back to the Conversions Objection: This option allows Facebook to optimize the campaign to serve to those people who are likely to complete those actions before. That’s where the catch comes in. When you first launch your campaign, FB has no historical data on your pixels to know what types of people will likely to convert on your account. Therefore, it will start the campaign in other objectives mode and will likely serve to everyone within your pre-determined target audience. That’s not ideal because it will eat through your budget quickly without getting any results.

For example: If you set the conversion to fill in lead form on your website, and before that, you don’t have your pixels record who did that, then FB has no clue who it should serve the ads to. The AI needs to have some historical data to work its magic.

Warming up the Pixels:

As a result, the most common practice of Facebook advertisers is warming up the pixels, meaning giving Facebook historical data by running campaigns with easy to achieve conversions in the lower tier.

For example: create conversion actions for video views or website clicks instead of form filling.

When you have at least 50 conversions in the lower tier, that’s when you know your Facebook pixels is trained and ready for higher action.

The rationale for this type of action is: People who already watch your videos tour will likely engage more with you or have good impression with the property and the chance they contact you for a showing is higher.

That’s then you can create new custom audience in Facebook and target specifically those people only. The campaign will likely cost less and yield more results.

B-7 Test- Test and Keep testing:

You must be consistent and put everything to the test. One of my fellow marketers once said: “Wanna know the technical (and professional) term for when you hit your goals on the first try? Here it is: MIRACLE.” Marketing is half math and half psychology. You have to figure out what people want and then find a way to give it to them, at a profitable rate.

That’s why you should test multiple ads and hit the target audience at multiple angles.

If your listing has some unique selling points, use that to your advantage. Some people like pools, some like hilltop view, some prefer ocean views. Use those unique features and create video ads and serve to those audience. It sounds very simple, but many people tend to forget or find it too complicated to create custom videos like that.

 

One simple method used by many successful advertisers is the 3-8-8. That means you must create:

  • 3 campaigns with 3 different objectives
  • 8 adsets in each campaign. Each adset has different targeting options (to see which targeting option works best for you)
  • 8 ads per adset.

If you do the math, the total number of ads can easily reach 192 if you want to test both Targeting and Ads variants. In many cases, this is simply too much to setup and require lots of budget to test. This works well in case you have a 30 million dollar listing but won’t work with small listings due to the number of investments involved.

Therefore, the best compromise is to start small with 1 campaign objective (traffic to your landing page), then 4 different ad sets and 4 ads in each adset.

 

After running the ads for 24-48 hours, you can clearly see which one perform better and pause the bad ones.  

Closing Thoughts:

Now that you have some ideas of how to run FB/IG ads. It’s time for you to dive in and create your first campaign. There’s nothing beneficial for you than to practice yourself and get familiar with one of the most potent tools in the marketing world. Learn how to do it is hard, but the reward is well worth the effort.

And if you fail the first time, try and learn again to improve because many successful agents are using FB / IG to crush the competition. If they can do it, we can do it.

eXp-wealth

eXp Agents Build Wealth Through Multiple Levers Including Commission, Revenue Share, and Stock Offerings in 2021

eXp Realty has been focused on innovating and supporting agents in a virtual world since the very beginning. That’s why the brokerage has built its foundation on a state-of-the-art online platform to eliminate the traditional brick-and-mortar offices in favor of a cloud-based brokerage. That way, eXp can offer agents equal opportunity to build true wealth through virtually limitless earning potential.
Every other real estate broker out there allows you to build one single income stream that comes from trading your time for money. Therefore, as soon as you stop showing properties all day long or stop picking up the phone late at night, you will stop receiving income. With eXp, you have most advantageous capped commission structure to build a successful real estate career then add in a passive income stream through revenue sharing program and become shareholders at eXp in a variety of ways.

In this article, we will cover the following: 

  1. eXp Commission – Equal Opportunity
  2. Transaction Fees
  3. Revenue Share
  4. eXp Stock Ownership
  5. Other Fees
  6. ICON program

eXp Commission: Every Agent Has the Same Commission Structure at eXp

Unlike traditional brokerages where commissions are variable and often depend on an agent’s negotiating skills, production or relationships, all agents at eXp get the same commission structure: 80/20 with a $16,000 cap. Team members are eligible for one-half to a one-quarter cap, based on team performance. That means agents at eXp keep 80% of the commission earned until they have paid a total of $16,000. After that, the agent keeps the entire commission (100%) for the duration of their anniversary year. There are no franchise or royalty fees charged at eXp Realty. Transactional fees, charged only for closed sales, cover the broker review ($25) and risk management fee ($40) together capped at $500 per year.
See examples below for how commissions and costs break down.

The risk management fee caps at $500 and then goes to $0.  The capped transaction fee reduces to $75 per transaction after $5,000 has been paid.

Example 1: Commission and fees for a $350,000 closing with 3% commission for an agent who has not reached the $16,000 cap:

Gross Commission = $10,500

  • Deduct eXp Company Dollar = $2,100 (20%)
  • Deduct Broker/Risk Fees = $65

Agent Net Commission = $8,335

 

Example 2: Commission and fees for a $350,000 closing with 3% commission for an agent who has reached the $16,000 cap:

Gross Commission = $10,500

  • Deduct eXp Company Dollar = $0
  • Deduct Capped Transaction Fee = $250
  • Deduct Broker/Risk Fees = $65

Agent Net Commission = $10,185

eXp Realty Transaction Fees

After a real estate agent caps, they go to 100 percent and only pay $250 per transaction. If an agent pays in $5,000 in transaction fees after capping, they will move to a $75 per transaction fee for the remainder of the anniversary year.

For example, let’s say you sell 60 homes in one year with an average commission amount of $6,000 per transaction. Here is how your eXp Realty commission split would work out:

  • Transactions 1-14 would be on an 80/20 split with NO transaction fee.
  • Transactions 15-34 would be on a 100/0 split with a $250 transaction fee.

Transactions 35-60 would be on a 100/0 split with a $75 transaction fee.

To explain, you would cap on your 14th transaction ($6,000 x 14 transactions = $84,000). Transactions 15-34 would all be at $250/per transaction totaling $5,000. Transactions 35-60 would be at $75 per transaction.

eXp Revenue Share: Agents Earn Revenue Share Through Sponsored Agents

Perhaps one of the most exciting, yet misunderstood benefits at eXp is revenue share. The revenue share opportunity is simply when an agent joins eXp and names an active eXp agent as their “sponsor.”  The sponsor is the eXp agent who was most influential in the new agent’s decision to join eXp.

Once the new agent begins closing on transactions, the sponsor receives a percentage of the company dollar (revenue) from the sales activity of their sponsored agent. It is based on gross commission income (GCI), and is dynamically calculated and paid monthly.

This is a different concept than profit-sharing, in which certain brokerages share company profits with agents after all expenses have been subtracted from revenue. That includes costs such as rent, insurance, utilities, staff salaries, and other costly overhead charges. In a profit-share model, it often happens that a sponsored agent is productive but the office or franchise is not profitable, resulting in minimal or zero profit-share.

eXp Stock: eXp Agents Can Acquire Stock in a Variety of Ways

The third unique form of compensation for agents at eXp is becoming a shareholder with the company. eXp agents are awarded or can earn shares of stock in eXp World Holdings (eXp Realty’s parent company) after certain milestones are reached, including:
  • Closing on the first transaction as an eXp agent ($200 stock award)
  • The first closed transaction by any agent they have sponsored ($400 stock award)
  • Reaching the annual cap ($400 stock award)
  • Reaching ICON Agent status ($16,000 stock award)
  • Agents can also elect to receive up to 5% of their commissions from each closed sale in the form of eXp stock at a 10% discount through the Agent Equity Program. 

Other eXp Fees

eXp Realty fees consist of monthly and transaction fees. I’ll cover each in more detail below.

eXp Realty does not charge a desk fee, royalty fee, or franchise fee. Also, there are no minimum production or attraction requirements. So long as you stay current on your $85 monthly fee and all state licensing requirements you can remain licensed at eXp Realty.

Risk Management Fee (Errors & Omissions)

Many agents are familiar with the term errors and omissions. At eXp Realty, we call this the risk management fee. The risk management fee varies by country, but in the US, it is $40 per transaction.

Once a real estate agent hits $500 in risk management fees paid for the year, the agent will no longer pay risk management fees for the remainder of the anniversary year.

Broker Review Fee

All US agents pay a $25 per transaction broker review fee.

This fee does not cap.

eXp Realty Mentor Fees

Agents who’ve completed less than three transactions in their current market will be enrolled in the eXp Realty’s mentor program. Agents in the mentor program are assigned a certified mentor who will help assist with the agent’s first three transactions at eXp Realty.

Mentees pay an additional 20 percent split on these first three transactions which pays the mentor and mentor program (which consists of additional training modules for the mentee).

Once the mentee closes three transactions with eXp Realty, they graduate from the mentor program and are not subject to the additional 20 percent commission split.

eXp Realty Seller Fees

eXp Realty does not charge any additional fees to clients. Agents can determine their commission rate and any additional fees to their clients. However, whatever rate and fees that are charged to the client are then split with eXp Realty at the typical commission split.

If an agent wishes to discount their commission rate and that agent has not reached their commission cap, the minimum transaction split to eXp Realty is $500. Therefore, an agent can reduce their commission completely to $0 to the client but the agent would then be responsible to pay eXp Realty $500 for that transaction, plus the broker review and risk management fee.

eXp Realty Personal Deals

At eXp Realty, agents can complete three personal transactions per year without paying the 20 percent split to eXp Realty.

Agents are only responsible to pay a $250 transaction fee, $40 risk management fee, and $25 broker review fee for the personal deal.

A personal transaction consists of only the deals for which the eXp Realty agent is personally on the contract.

Commission Split and Fees Example on 60 Transaction for the Year

Their total eXp Realty Commission Split paid for the year would equal:

  • $16,000 – Cap
  • $5,000 – $250 Transaction Fees
  • $1,875 – $75 Transaction Fees
  • $500 – Risk Management Fees
  • $1,500 – Broker Review Fees
  • $24,875 – Total eXp Realty Commission Split Fees

How would you like to earn $16,000 of those fees back? Read below about the ICON agent program at eXp Realty and see how you can do just that.

$500,000 Annual Gross Commission Income Plus ICON Qualifying Fee

The second way you could qualify to become an ICON agent is by achieving an “Annual gross commission income of $500,000 or more with a minimum of 10 closed transactions and payment of an “ICON Qualifying Fee.” This fee is equal to $5,000 less capped transaction fees paid during the same anniversary year.

The last part of becoming an ICON agent is to” Demonstrate company culture by giving back by teaching a class, serving on a panel, or serving on a committee. Also, an ICON agent must have a willingness to promote eXp Realty within their community.”

That’s it! Once you’ve accomplished the above requirements, you would earn $8,000 in publicly traded eXp World Holdings (EXPI) common stock. This stock vests after three years.

You would acquire an additional $4,000 after one year, once your cultural requirements are fulfilled and verified.

ICON agents earn the last $4,000 in stock awards after attending each of the two annual eXp Realty events .

The company issues $2,000 after each company event (The eXp Shareholder Summit and EXPCON ) with no vesting period, for a possible total of $4,000 from attending the company events.

Wrapping Things Up

In conclusion, the eXp Realty Commission Split is very generous compared to the majority of brokerages out there. Especially when you consider the ICON Agent Program, eXp Realty is genuinely unique. Combine this with all the tools and training that eXp Realty provides to real estate agents, and you get an excellent opportunity to grow your career in real estate.

Do you have any questions related to the eXp Realty Commission Split? Put them in the comments below and I would be happy to answer them!

What Is A Commission Advance?

Key Takeaways:

  • Commission advance is getting the commission before closing
  • Commission advance is not a loan
  • It is commonly used to bridge the gap between closings
  • The price of commission advance varies wildly depending on how companies’ policy

1. Commission Advance definition:

By definition, a commission advance is a financial service whereby you sell a portion of a pending commission for a fee. In exchange, funds are advanced to you before closing. It’s not a loan. It’s simply access to the commission you’ve earned without the wait! Get your commission whenever you want.

2. Win-Win Pricing:

The fine print may vary, but the essence of each is the same. The first step is getting a property under contracts. Once you’ve done that, congrats, you are now potentially eligible for an advance. So let’s consider how the pricing works.

The one-size-fits-all model: 

Each company has different policy. Many have opted for a simple fixed pricing structure to avoid headaches. The telltale sign is a pricing slider on their website. This has both pros and cons. At first glance, while it seems to provide an easy estimate of how much a commission advance will cost, this one-size-fits-all pricing model leaves no room for negotiation. In fact, top producers can easily enjoy a much lower rates if their productions history is taken into the account. What if a realtor is just having a rough quarter and cannot fit in the pricing model? He/she will be denied immediately.

The Custom Pricing Model: 

Every transaction is different, so why have a one-size-fits-all? Custom pricing model use a risk-based pricing plan to review each commission advance request. That means the production history, details of the transaction, and closing dates, as well as other verifications are taken into consideration to create a tailored solution for that one advance. The question is: why do a lot of work just for a simple advance? It’s simple: once you look deeper into the case, the underwriter can see the agent as a real estate professional, not just a number in a spreadsheet. By adding the human factor to the mix, this model can approve more cases and also lower the rates significantly for top producers. It’s simple, the lower the risk, the better the rates.

Express Cash Flow is one fine example of custom pricing model. Once an application is submitted, ECF proprietary AI Modeling analyzes over 200 attributes to create a custom risk profile for your unique situation. Then, an underwriter will thoroughly assess the case to create a custom pricing model tailored to your needs. Some of the primary attributes to look at are:

  • Your production history
  • Details of the transaction
  • Expected closing date
  • Verification & review of all publicly available information

The result is up to 30% reduction in advance fee and a faster processing time since everything is automate in the beginning and the underwriter only need to review the information at the end.

 

3. Get your money faster!

If you are approved, you’ll be presented with an offer of an advance on your commission. You will receive the commission advance agreement via DocuSign that you and your broker will sign (or by you, if you are your own broker). You will be funded within hours via wire and not ACH. A good commission advance company will be able to fund you the same day. You should expect simple paper work, no credit checks, and most importantly, no massive stack of loan documents to sign. At Express Cash Flow, the entire process from Application to Funding can take place within 4 hours. There are no partial holdbacks like some other companies.

 

4. Paying back the advance:

Technically, when you get funded, everything is taken care for you. The advance is automatically paid back when the escrow or settlement company closes. The amount is equal to the advance plus the fee. That means you never pay anything out of pocket. You get the much-needed liquidity to grow your business and thrive.

 

5. What if escrow falls out?

It is nothing to worry about. While doing market research for commission advance, we found out most companies are smart enough to give the advance to those who are likely to close the deal. After all, advance companies want to make money and avoid any foreseeable risk. At Express Cash Flow, after more than $3 billion property worth of advance, we have a 99.5% closing rate of all advances. Our AI underwriting model optimize the process and reduces the risk of deals falling through. Even if the deal falls, you can simply switch your advance to another escrow for a minimal fee (no hefty penalties or immediate payback requirements).

6. How much of my commission can I advance?

You can advance up to 75% of your *net* commission. Your net commission is determined by calculating the total gross commission, and then removing the portion due your broker, plus any office, TC, franchise or referral fees, i.e. the money that would be going into your pocket. So if you have a $500K transaction with a 2.5% commission and are on an 80/20 split, your gross commission would be $500K*2.5% or $12,500. Your net commission would be $12,500*80% or $10,000, and we would be able to advance 75% of that ($7,500). You can take less than this if you’d like, but $7,500 would be the maximum advance amount

 

 7. Is there a minimum advance amount and a minimum fee?

Yes. Statutory guidelines dictate that the minimum advance amount is $2,500, so you’ll need to be earning a net commission of at least $3,000 in order to qualify for an advance. The minimum fee, which usually applies on advances of up to $5,000 for less than 30 days, is $400. Please note that this for every outgoing wire, so if you want $5,000 for 25 days or $2,500 for 2 days, the fee will still be $400. Proper planning can help you get the most efficiency out of our fee structure.

 

Summary of Benefits of Using Express Cash Flow:

  • Get to 75% of your commission on the same day
  • No credit checks
  • No out of pocket charge
  • No hold-backs, no hidden fee
  • Agent friendly pricing
  • Personalized service

We know you don’t all need a commission advance, but we could all use a little extra cash every now and then, and we hope you think of Express Cash Flow whenever the need arises.

Apply for commission advance today.

 

Confidential Commission Advances

Confidential Commission Advances

What are Confidential Commission Advances?

Confidential commission advances for top producers might seem like an oxymoron, but it happens more often than you think.  Express Cash Flow has done advances on over $3 billion worth of properties nationwide.  The minimum number of transactions to qualify is 8 in the last 12 months but our average client does much more than that.  A confidential commission advance is used when you need some discretion with regard to your advance.  As a real estate agent or broker, you need to view yourself as operating a business and most businesses have lines of credit when business is slow or revenue is delayed.

Confidential commission advances could be used for a number of reasons: staging the property, payroll, general business expenses, your broker doesn’t allow them, paying for minor improvements to the property, marketing, delays in one or more transactions, etc.

How Does a Confidential Commission Advance Work?

A confidential commission advance will work if you’re a top producer with a lot of listings and a couple of transactions in escrow.  On the initial application Express Cash Flow requires you to upload a few documents on the www.ExpressCashFlow.com website, there is no long application form to fill out.

Once you pass Express Cash Flow’s underwriting criteria then you will sign the Express Cash Flow Factoring Agreement with the particulars of the transaction.  Express Cash Flow will not disclose the transaction to your broker, the escrow company, or of course your clients.  Upon closing, the repayment will occur within one day of receiving your net commissions via wire.  If there is an issue or a significant delay in repayment your broker or escrow officer may be notified.

Pricing and Timing:

Pricing for top producers averages approximately 8% a month for the outstanding balance but could be lower depending on the situation.  Express Cash Flow funds within 2 hours.

Personal Story:

Tom the Agent works for Compass and has closed over $20 million in transactions in the last 10 months but during the holidays his 6 listings stayed on the market much longer than expected.  Tom has one transaction closing in 60 days so Express Cash Flow did a confidential commission advance for $10,000 for a fee of $1,600 closing in 60 days.  He provided his production history; the purchase agreement escrows contact information and his other listings.  Within 2 hours he signed the Express Cash Flow agreement via DocuSign and Express Cash Flow funded the $10,000 into his business account.  Once the transaction closes, he will repay Express Cash Flow $11,600 via wire or check deposit to a large national bank.  There is no pre-payment penalty, in fact the fee will be reduced if paid off early.  There are no credit checks during this process and this type of financial relationship is built on trust and open communication.  If the transaction falls-out of escrow Tom is expected to tell us and replace it with other pending transaction.

Who do we work with?

We work with agents nationwide but mostly in California that work at Compass, Coldwell Banker, Keller Williams, First Team, Berkshire Hathaway, Sotheby’s, Intero, Re/Max and other national and local brands.

Final thoughts:

If you have any question about obtaining a commission advance visit our FAQ section at www.ExpressCashFlow, call 844-818-2274 or email us at [email protected].

 

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2019 IRS Audit Triggers for Real Estate Agents

IRS Audit Triggers for Real Estate Agents

While each new year is a good reason to look at finances, 2018 is an especially good year if your in the IRS Audit Trigger zone. While you may be celebrating, or hoping for better things to come the following year, your income (or profit) is almost always in an inverse relationship with your tax obligations. While it’s better to owe a lot in tax than owe none, you will want to make sure that you are “in the know” with regard to the new tax law. With that in mind, here are some audit triggers as well as some changes to the tax law to help get you off on the right track.

IRS and State Audit Triggers

1. Your numbers don’t match. Make sure your 1099’s and W-2’s match up to what’s being reported to the IRS. This is the fastest way to get a letter from the IRS because the matching is automated and is one of the first things they look at.

2. You made a lot of money this past year. This one is simple, and it is good. You want to make a lot of money. However, increasing your income also increases the amount of your income the IRS could stand to gain by auditing you, if they think you aren’t being honest with your deductions. If you are making a lot of money during the year, be very meticulous with your record keeping, and make sure you can prove everything that you are taking as a deduction.

3. You made a lot less money this past year. This is not as good. If you made a lot less money, you probably also have a lot less of it laying around to pay taxes with, so an audit could be extra devastating. If you are legitimately reporting all income, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about, but if there’s a chance you might not have reported everything (even by accident), this won’t look good in an audit. It is best to keep meticulous records of all income so that you can show the accurate income amount in case the IRS comes knocking.

4. You are self-employed. If you are in real estate, this likely applies to you. Even if you’ve set up your business as a corporation or an LLC and pay yourself that way, you will still fall into a higher risk category than someone earning a paycheck from a large company. There’s nothing you can do about this, but you can be extra cautious about the deductions you take, as well as ensuring you pay all of your tax liability in a timely manner, with quarterly payments made if possible.

5. You deduct your home office and/or vehicle. You should! But you have to do this one right. You should get clear with your CPA on exactly how much is allowable for home office and vehicle deductions, as going over these thresholds can be a red flag that results in an audit, regardless of how much income you make. Be very careful to follow these guidelines.

6. You have a lot of “meal/entertainment” deductions. Which for 2017 are allowable deductions but not for 2018. Are you deducting the entire amount when you should only be deducting the portion that was for the client(s)? Are you spending amounts that would be considered “excessive” or “lavish”? Are you spending amounts that are too large in proportion to your gross income? All of these things can be red flags that trigger an audit, and you will find yourself in a difficult situation trying to justify these expenses. Meals and entertainment costs are deductible up to 50 percent if they are ordinary and necessary to your business in 2017.

7. Are Commission Advances deductible? Generally the fee incurred would be deductible, but check with your CPA to confirm. A commission Advance is usually considered a business expense but improper documentation of this may lead to an unnecessary audit.

8. You were particularly generous this year! The IRS is always on the lookout for people who inflate their charitable donations and use a range based off a percent of income that is reasonable.

9. Big Deductions? Is one or two of your deductions exceptionally large and outside of the norm for your industry, income bracket or year over year trend.

10. Suspicious Round Numbers? Suspiciously round numbers on your returns will raise and auditor’s eyebrow.

11. Tax Credits? Claiming Tax Credits that aren’t yours.

Bottom line if you have questions about a deduction that you can ask your CPA, it is better to ask them instead of going through an audit after the fact.

About Us: Express Cash Flow provides commission advances for real estate agents and brokers. Check us out at www.ExpressCashFlow.com or call us at 844-818-2274.

10 Best Real Estate Recruiting Tips for Brokers

10 Best Real Estate Recruiting Tips for Brokers

Best real estate recruiting tips for brokers and teams on a minimal budget!  Get some new ideas and grow your business.

Expanding your office with a hands-on marketing and tracking approach can be extremely cost effective and efficient.  If you have some support behind you make it a team effort and delegate some of the ideas below.  Before you start on the 10 best real estate recruiting tips get a handle on your strategy:

  • Strategize on what type of agents will fit your culture the best; i.e.: new or established agents. Do you want self-starters or needy agents that ask you a lot of “How about this”, “What if this happens” questions?
  • Have a full media profile for yourself and your company. Actively use the account by posting about yourself, your brand, agents, properties, trends and other news.  Outsource this function to an admin/marketing person if needed.
  • The best real estate recruiting starts with…tracking every recruiting activity such as interested calls, phone interviews, in-person interview and offers made in an excel spreadsheet every week so you can see your activity and what your spending money on.
  • Go beyond compensation, make agents want to work for you and in your office. The highest commission split, biggest marketing budgets and lowest E&O insurance premiums are not all that matter. Make an exciting and welcoming environment for your new and existing agents.  Introduce them to your preferred title, escrow, and insurance reps.  Discuss tools and training that have worked in the past and open opportunities.
  • How much is this recruiting going to cost you in marketing, on-boarding, training and materials? If your escrows do get delayed consider a commission advance to help with expenses from Express Cash Flow at ExpressCashFlow.com.  They will provide up to 75% of your net commissions within 4 hours.

10 Best Real Estate Recruiting:

1.       Friends, Family and Associates

Post on social media that your looking to expand and grow your office.  Tell everyone! What are the benefits to working with you and in your office?

2.       Hold an office contest

Encourage your agents to setup appointments for you with potential prospects and reward them with $250 on each new hire.  Or maybe the prize is dinner with you or just recognition in front of the entire office.

3.       Targeted Mailings

Targeted mailings could increase your brand awareness but the list needs to be very focused so that the conversion rate is higher to offset the costs.

4.       Local Charities

Get involved in local charities and attempt to serve on a few non-related real estate boards in your community. Learn to tell success stories about past clients and how you worked in different situations.  Everyone wants to hear good stories so rehearse them for when you have a few minutes before a meeting starts, dinner conversation or just telling friends.

5.       Become Friends

Get to know agents from competitors in your area.  Comment on their posts.  Are they active producers? Work ethic?  Values?

6.       Open Houses

Open houses are a great way to meet other agents in a comfortable setting.  Introduce yourself, hand out business cards and tell them what’s unique about your company, marketing, and culture.   Always follow-up, it might take 2 months or 2 years but plant your seed!

7.       Recruiting Landing Page on Your Website

Have a landing page for prospective agents to learn more about your business and fill-out a small questionnaire.

8.       Ask your past Clients

Ask your past clients (buyers or sellers) if they know anyone looking for a new career?  Email, phone call, text message, etc. Maybe it’s a niece that is just graduating college, someone that is in retirement looking for part-time work, a teacher that has the summers off and looking for a pay raise?  You won’t know if you don’t ask.

9.       Community events – 4th of July, Open House, New Shopping Center, etc

Have a table with some free popcorn, give aways from the 99-cent store or kids toys with your contact information. This is especially important if its in your “farm” neighborhood.

10.   Senior Centers

The best real estate recruiting tip! You may think that once people are in a Senior Center they might not need a real estate agent but it is truly the office administrators that you might want to deal with.  What happens when a couple needs to move into senior center and they have to put up the deposit and sell their house?  The office administrators usually recommends a real estate agent or two in their area that can sell their house quickly for top dollar…THAT NEEDS TO BE YOU OR YOUR AGENTS!  Obviously, you might have to pay a referral fee but you should come out on top!

Hashtags: #RealEstate #Broker, #realtor #realtorlife #realtors #luxuryrealtor #topproducer #realestateagent #realtormarketing #recruiting

Qualified Opportunity Zones Tax Savings

Qualified Opportunity Zones Tax Savings

Did you know that there is now a better method of deferring capital gains tax on appreciated assets than a 1031 exchange?   Even better than that, did you know that it is possible to sell massively appreciated real estate free of any capital gains tax whatsoever? Answer Qualified Opportunity Zones!

One of the lesser discussed and lesser known aspects of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 was the formation of Qualified Opportunity Zones (QOZ) and Qualified Opportunity Funds (QOF).  It’s on page 130, and doesn’t directly affect you unless you have large quantities of capital gains on which you’d rather not be taxed, so I’ll forgive you if you haven’t heard of it until now.

If that situation applies to you though, it is worth looking into.   But how do you know if the situation applies to you, what is a QOF and what is a QOZ?  Glad you asked- that’s what I’m here to answer.

There are two sides to this legislation that can benefit different folks in different ways.  Let’s first start with people who have recently sold an appreciated asset and are going to have a capital gain.  That might already be some of you, and that may be others of you in the future.

In the past, if you’ve sold this appreciated asset (let’s assume it is real estate), your only option to defer capital gains via a 1031 Exchange, in which you must relinquish your appreciated asset and purchase a replacement asset within both a finite period of time and a stringent set of guidelines.  The problem inherent in doing that, though, is that if you are picking a particularly good time to realize your gains (seller’s market!), guess what you’re going to need to do in order to defer your capital gains?  You guessed it, buy into that same market.

Now there are ways around this, you can sell in an “A” market and buy in a “C” market, or you can sell a particular type of property (residential) and buy a different type of property (Industrial?) via which you will be able to achieve a higher yield.  Or you could turn one multi-family property in CA into 85 single family rentals in Ohio, which I’ve helped facilitate and absolutely do not recommend for everyone.

But let’s say you don’t want to do any of that.  Let’s say you just want to not pay your capital gains tax at all.  Do these opportunity zones let you do that?

Well… kind of.

Here is exactly what the IRS has to say about Qualified Opportunity Zones:

Q. How do Qualified Opportunity Zones spur economic development?

A. Opportunity Zones are designed to spur economic development by providing tax benefits to investors. First, investors can defer tax on any prior gains until the earlier of the date on which an investment is sold or exchanged, or December 31, 2026, so long as the gain is reinvested in a Qualified Opportunity Fund. Second, if the investor holds the investment in the Opportunity Fund for at least ten years, the investor would be eligible for an increase in basis equal to the fair market value of the investment on the date that the investment is sold or exchanged.

Ok, so that’s a lot to unpack, and you can read more about what the IRS thinks are the important questions here, but essentially what the benefits actually are:

  • You can defer your gain until 12/31/2026
  • If you hold the reinvested funds via the QOF into QOZ assets for a minimum of 5 years, your basis in the original transaction increases by 10%, and if you hold for 7 years, you get an additional 5%, for a total of a 15% decrease in your initial liability (not bad!)
  • If you hold the investment for a minimum of 10 years, your basis upon sale is equal to your sales price.

I’ll go ahead and comment on those- 1 and 2 are cool if you’re talking about large dollars, but only really moves the needle if you are talking about very large numbers.  3 is a different story- 3 says that if you a buy a property through a QOF, don’t sell it for 10 years (or more), you pay no tax on the appreciation in that period.  This is an astounding bit of legislation, especially for those of us familiar with development and entitlements- things that generally take a while to accomplish, and see substantial amounts of profit (much of which is typically eaten up by capital gains tax).

If you’re like me, it might take a minute to fully appreciate the impact of that.  That means that if you buy a property in a QOZ via the captive capital gain in your QOF and hold it for 10 years, or more, your gain upon sale is entirely tax fee.  No two ways about it.  Just to make sure though- let’s walk through an example.

Let’s say that you sell your appreciated asset and that creates a capital gain of $2 Million.  You then invest that gain in a QOF, and that QOF buys property in a QOZ (also for $2 Million).

You then wait the requisite ten years (and remember, after year 8, the amount you are taxed on decreases to $1.7 M), and your property is now worth $5M.  The additional $3M gain is now not going to have any capital gains at all.  Zero.  $3M of tax-free gain… the holy grail of real estate investment (or any investment).

Ok, so these sound pretty cool?  Where are they?

Well, here.  And while the zones are certainly in places that you might expect them, they are also in a number of places you might not expect.  Huntington Beach?  Costa Mesa?  San Clemente?  These aren’t exactly areas that are screaming for outside capital to renovate a forgotten about and forlorn metropolis.  But, through the miracles of bipartisan legislation, they were included.

If you would like to know more about Qualified Opportunity Zones and how to best take advantage of this new and unique opportunity, feel free to reach out and we can connect on the topic.

Express Cash Flow – www.ExpressCashFlow.com

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Real Estate Agent Recruiting Tactics

We all know that agent recruiting is the life blood of any successful real estate office, and it should be the goal to recruit the most, best agents.  But how does a real estate brokerage actually go about doing this?  Here are some of the tactics used by the most successful recruiters from around the world.

  • Some of the best agent recruiting is done by your current agents! Ask your agents whom they’ve enjoyed working with on past transactions, and whom they look up to at other offices.  Then provide incentives (trips, meals, a boost in their split) for the agents that provide you with the best referrals.
  • Get involved with charities and your local community. Sometimes the best way to find good real estate talent is in the most unlikely of places, and being involved in communities outside of your industry will help you grow your network immensely.
  • Get involved in communities in your industry, too! Hold a new agent training for your local board, and make sure to follow up with any qualified candidates.  Have your agents support you in this endeavor, and encourage them to follow up as well.
  • Email all of your top recruiting targets with their end of year sales and what they could have made working for you- NOTE: make sure you are confident of their current splits and that this would compare favorably before sending.
  • Organize an outing or mixer for some of your top agents to mingle and socialize with your top recruits, so the recruits can get a feel for what will allow them to continue to grow and succeed.
  • Everyone wants to grow their network, make sure you not only connect with your potential recruits on social media, but ensure that you impact your relationship with them positively.

Once you’ve had a chance to implement all of these tips, recruiting will no longer be about hunting whatever agents you are able to convince they should switch to you, but rather farming your various networks for the most, best agents around.

Happy recruiting!