By Melissa Dittmann Tracey
Think you have what it takes to flip a house or guide clients through the process? In Flipping Confidential: The Secrets of Renovating Property for Profit in Any Market (Wiley, 2007), Kirsten Kemp reveals how to avoid the common, costly mistakes of amateur flippers. Kemp, who you may know as host of TLC’s “Property Ladder,” talks from experience as she lays the groundwork for a high-profit flip — how to choose the best property, decide what improvements to make, set the price, and stage for maximum impact.
FROM THE BOOK: 5 MUSTS TO FLIPPING
Kirsten Kemp has experienced six-figure profits and six-figure losses in her years of flipping houses. She shares some valuable lessons she’s learned along the way, with the goal of helping you avoid making a “flip-flop.”
1. Find stagnant listings. Track down undervalued properties — homes that have languished on the market with no activity — and then make a lowball offer. Look for a property with problems that would repel other buyers, but aren’t too major. Before you snatch up that eye-sore, though, get an inspection and estimates for work you’ll want to do. That will give you a better picture of what you’re getting yourself into.
2. Enhance, don’t rebuild. Put down that sledgehammer. Your goal isn’t to tear everything down. Think simple — repainting, cleaning, and getting rid of that shag carpeting. Restain the kitchen cabinets instead of buying new. Add custom window treatments or crown molding instead of replacing all the windows. For larger projects, look for changes that will bring the best return on your money, such as adding a fourth bedroom or turning an unfinished attic into a den.
Here are today’s top selling business and investment books on Amazon.com:
1. The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich, by Timothy Ferriss
2. The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
3. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, by Malcolm Gladwell
4. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, by Malcolm Gladwell
5. Freakonomics [Revised and Expanded]: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything, by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
6. The Secret (4-CD set), by Rhonda Byrne and contributors
7. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t, by Jim Collins
8. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, by David Allen
9. Stumbling on Happiness, by Daniel Gilbert
10. The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick), by Seth Godin
Branding is so much more than a fancy logo or catchy tagline, says Sandra Sellani, author of What’s Your BQ? (W Business Books, 2007). It’s the ability to get into your clients hearts and minds, rise above the competition, and get customers to want to pay more for your services. Find out if your brand makes the cut with Sellani’s 40-question BQ (Brand Quotient) Test, included in her book and online. Don’t worry about a low score. The rest of Sellani’s book is devoted to branding worksheets and case studies of 35 exemplary companies. Buy this Book
FROM THE BOOK: 5 STEPS TO A STRONG BRAND
Big budget or small, you can build a brand. Author Sandra Sellani offers some of the following tips in her book:
1. What’s your story? Having a memorable story can keep your brand in prospects’ minds. To find your story, list all of the ways you’re different from your competitors. Ask yourself: What am I doing that’s so unique? Who are my clients? Why do people use my services? Use your responses as the basis for all of your marketing materials, from your Web site to your listing presentation materials. Continue reading »
National syndicated real estate columnist Edith Lank, author of Confessions of a Real Estate Columnist: I’ve Heard it All and So Should You (Dearborn Financial Publishing, 2007), responds to your questions.
I read in the book blog that you once held a real estate license and that your husband was a REALTOR®. So I’m interested to know your view of the real estate industry and the constant debate over the cost of brokerage services. What’s your response to the argument that it costs too much to sell a home?
LANK: My first reaction is that agents don’t seem to be all driving around in Mercedes Benzes. The practice of real estate can yield a decent income for a hard-working self-starter, but it’s interesting how many people enter the field only to leave within the first year when the work turns out to be too demanding of time and energy, with no guaranteed salary. As for the cost of brokerage services — I think discount brokerages, which charge low commission rates or flat fees for “unbundled” limited services, are just fine as long as sellers know what they’ll have to take on themselves. Problem is, many people think the job consists of finding someone who wants to buy the property. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Making sure the would-be buyer is financially qualified, negotiating a win-win agreement that suits everyone, and then running interference and clearing up problems all the way to closing are by far the biggest part of the job. Continue reading »