Pricing per square foot is a commonly used method in home sales. Even when a homeowner logs on to Zillow they will see an estimate of the price of their home. This is based on the average price per square foot of homes in their neighborhood as it relates to the number of square feet in their house. It’s important to let homeowners know that there’s more than that simple algorithm to pricing a home to sell while also making a good profit.

To calculate the price per square foot you need to know:

• The Cost Of The Home
• Square Footage of the House

Once you know this data you simply divide the numbers:

Cost / Square Footage = Price per Square Foot

## Size Is Not Everything

You now have a great equation model for understanding the economics of a town by neighborhood. However, sometimes pricing solely by square footage can do you wrong. The size of a home is a good way to the ballpark about where a home price might lie. Because two houses are rarely the same. What this equation does is make an assumption. It assumes that the home’s only value is offered by the size. However, many homeowners have renovated and upgraded the space. On top of this, you’ve discounted the acreage that your land sits on. With millennial homebuyers focusing on larger properties where they can grow food and utilize the land, overlooking frontage and acreage when pricing is a huge mistake. Essentially, using a price per square foot pricing model incorrectly can lead to an asking price that is simply too low.

## Correctly Pricing Per Square Foot

Though it’s fun to use pricing calculators online, basing solely on this can often lead to getting less than a property is worth. The best way to use a pricing per square foot model is to start with the basic equation as a foundation while continuing to evaluate the property.

Increase the home value for features like:

• Built-in Pool
• Acreage
• New Kitchen Appliances
• Specialty Hardwood, Marble, or Tile Floors
• Etc. Etc. Etc.

Frankly, there are tons of upgrades and amenities that can drive up the price of a home. Utilizing pricing per square foot correctly means doing more than just using this tool. A good realtor uses this home pricing equation to understand the general average of homes for sale in the area but doesn’t rely solely on this number.

## Hire An Appraiser

While a real estate agent will know what monetary value specific home features will add to the price, some prefer to bring in an appraiser to be sure they aren’t missing anything. These two professionals generally do work with the same kind of information but their business acumen is slightly different. For a newer agent who wants to bring on an appraiser, we recommend using advanced commissions from reliable companies to find the funds. Being a good seller sometimes means knowing when to call in some help. An appraiser can be an essential part when pricing a super custom home.

Pricing per square foot is reliable for some uses, but when it comes to pricing a home for sale there are more steps to the equation. Take individuality into account alongside the equation we laid out above. Then watch the offers roll in on your well-priced, quick-to-sell property!

Smart home technology is revolutionizing the way that you live in your house. Whether you want to streamline your smart technology with one hub, keep your climate right, see who’s at the door from anywhere, or ask Google a question, there are teams building tech to make it happen. These investments in smart technology can not only make living in your house synced and simple, but they can also bring up the value of the property. These are the top investments to make into smart home technology this year.

## Nest Hello Video Doorbell & Yale Lock

The Nest Hello suite is compatible with Google, which means that the Nest Hello video doorbell works together with your Google Home Mini so that you always know who’s coming to visit. This video doorbell uses the Home Mini to announce the arrival of visitors, then you simply log in to view who is at the door. When you want to, you can open the door for visitors from anywhere. This is very helpful for property managers who are working in multi-family units. Take advantage of Nest bundles to incorporate the video doorbell, the lock and more in your smart home technology upgrades.

## Ecobee3 lite

Control your thermostat from anywhere using your phone with the installation of this smart home tech. On top of this control, the ecobee3 lite allows you to save on your energy bill by introducing intuitive climate management to the property. In fact, you can save up to 23% annually on heating and cooling costs. This savings is so relevant that Puget Sound Energy gives a \$75 rebate with the installation of the ecobee3 lite.

Home optimization tools like the Google Home Mini can truly streamline your life. Sync your calendar for verbal reminders of things coming up, ask Google questions when they pop into your head and use your voice to activate your chosen entertainment. We often turn to our phones with these needs, but this little synced up egg allows you to truly go hands-free with your life.

## Logitech Harmony Hub

Turn your smartphone or tablet into a universal remote so you have complete control not only of your entertainment but also your other smart home technologies. The technology is compatible with over 270,000 smart home and entertainment devices to truly sync your home life. Gaming, TV, locks, thermostats, and doorbells; it’s all just one touch away with the Logitech Harmony Hub

## SimpliSafe Home Security Systems

Get monitored security all day long on every door and window, in every single room, with SimpliSafe Home Security Systems. This company boasts protection from it all. Intruders, fires, water damage, medical emergencies; really everything. When the team at SimpliSafe notices an emergency situation they will alert local authorities to diffuse the situation as fast as possible. For those who travel a lot, spend a lot of time at their job, or simply love the peace of mind; SimpliSafe is a super smart upgrade for your home or property.

From doorknobs to home security, the smart home tech world has you covered. Take a look at your home and let us know in the comments which of these Payfully approved upgrades work for you.

Getting into real estate is common for the entrepreneurial-minded professional that wants a more flexible schedule. But becoming a real estate agent, broker, or investor is no easy task. It takes a certain person with a particular mindset to find success. For those interested in embarking on this journey you’ll need to find a mentor, take stock of your personality assets, always continue learning, embody an honest persona to clients, and always work hard.

## Find A Mentor

Most successful real estate agents will tell you that they’ve worked with a mentor at least once in their careers. That’s because a good mentor can teach you exactly what you need to learn at any point while building your business. These partnerships can really help a real estate agent, broker, or investor find their footing, gain traction during a slow period, and simply lay a solid foundation going forward. That is why finding a real estate mentor is part of what it takes to be successful. Learn from the best and you’ll find success!

## The Right Personality

Not everyone is built to be in real estate. Some people just simply aren’t minded for it. But for the others, the real estate market just makes sense. Before setting out into your new real estate business, take stock of why this is the job that called to you. Find your purpose before starting your business and then the goal will be clear when things get busy and stressful.

## Take Training Seriously

Anyone successful understands the value of learning. Even when you’re established, it’s imperative to keep attending seminars, educational panels, and other continued real estate education. Those of you who wanted to become agents have taken pre-licensing courses but that should just be the beginning. For this point, having a mentor can be helpful because they can suggest which seminars are worth attending.

## Be Honest & Don’t “Sell”

This is a common misconception, but it isn’t the job of an agent to sell. An agent that leans into the hard sell will inspire a distrust with their clients. Instead of selling to people, listen to their needs, be honest, and show them properties that fit within those parameters. That’s all there is to it, be a matchmaker between buyers and properties. You’ll close more leads when you’re giving the client real value and honesty. And with more leads, comes a real estate commission! Be sure to understand how to manage your finances during on and off seasons. Use Payfully for an advanced commission to help invest in your business.

## Work Hard, Always

Being an independent contractor is never easy, and most real estate professionals operate as 1099 employees. This means it’s pretty expensive to get started since you’re paying for most things an office would generally cover. The reality is that 80% of real estate agents will go into a different profession in two years. To be one of the 20% you need to work hard at all hours. It isn’t easy to be in real estate, and one of the most basic stipulations is that you’re a hard worker.

Breaking into real estate is somewhat easy, but finding your footing as a solid, successful professional in the industry isn’t. Following these steps to success can help ensure that you have what it takes to be in real estate.

From the development of the personal computer to cell phones, to the rise of app culture; technology continues to shape our culture. Similarly, the entrance of tech into the industry is shaping the business. When it comes to real estate business and finance, property technology is the thing to watch. Property technology, or proptech, serves to streamline the entire process of real estate business from agents to buyers to financiers to developers.

The property technology market is a collective bounty of intelligent, prosperous companies linked together by the type of technologies they’re working with. From Igluu to Payfully’s commission advances, every great proptech company started with an innovative idea. These companies are solving one universal problem, which is how to use technology to streamline real estate business. Blockchain, virtual reality, interfaces, artificial intelligence, and a new focus are the top 5 property technologies gaining momentum in the coming months.

## Blockchain

Blockchain for real estate is like a detailed public account of time-stamped transaction data. Professionals have the ability to see what each party is doing in the process of a real estate transaction. Some real estate blockchain startups are already working to tokenize assets. Thus, helping to enhance the liquidity in the market. Blockchain lifts the curtain for a fully transparent transaction. Thus removing the need for a third party in the buying and selling of a property.

## Virtual Reality

Real estate agents are finding virtual reality to be an exceptionally helpful tool. Virtual reality, or VR, proptech is used to create three-dimensional viewings of a property. For a buyer or real estate investor who doesn’t have the time see the physical property, virtual reality proptech is essential.

## Centralized Interfaces

The first proptech to hit the real estate market was software like Client Relationship Management (CRM), focused accounting and ancillary software, etc. This year, proptech will begin to focus on combining multiple features into one easy-to-use software. With this said, we may see mergers, partnerships or complete buyouts to better serve agents.

## Artificial Intelligence

Real estate is one of the most robust industries in the world. As a result, this translates into mountains of data regarding buyers, sales, properties, and more. Unfortunately, real estate players don’t have the time to aggregate and make sense of big data. That is why Artificial Intelligence (AI) companies are adapting algorithms to fit within the proptech market. AI is set to create a more efficient market for all real estate professionals.

## Tenant Focused Apps

While much of the proptech focus is on the professionals, the app focus may be moving more toward tenants. Moreover, professionals are investing in apps that can help tenants get into the building, request repairs, and more. All the while, making managing the property much easier. That is why a push for tenant apps remains at the forefront for proptech apps this year.

These are the five focuses that Payfully believes will shape proptech in the coming future. Blockchain, virtual reality, centralized interfaces, artificial intelligence, and tenant focus will be used to inevitably transform the real estate industry.

As a real estate agent, assume that all first-time buyer’s know nothing about the process. Here’s a brief overview for your clients that can help them get a better understanding.

Buying your first house is such an exciting time, but since it’s your first time it can be easy to make mistakes. Meeting with lenders, finding buyer representation, and making an offer are essential points in the buying process. However, as a first-time buyer, there are some key tips to keep in mind during the buying process.

Affordable houses are moving quickly in this market, so a first-time home buyer should be ready to act quickly. To be prepared you should have your down payment saved, your debt paid off, and a ripe emergency fund in your account. It’s also wise to not make a grand purchase on your credit cards during the home buying process. The cost of a home is only the beginning, It’s also important to not spend the entirety of your savings on the house.

Facing large debt during this process can put immense pressure on you financially. Consider paying 60-80% of your credit debt off as part of the saving process before seeking a lender. Having less debt will also get you a better mortgage rate, so pay off those balances. Alongside this, having a nest egg to invest back into the home is important. Once you purchase the property you’ll be responsible for any surprise costs you might be facing. For example, plumbing emergencies or major appliance upgrades. So, simply put, as a first-time buyer, get your money right before even searching for a mortgage lender.

## Pre-Approval Before Shopping is Essential

A major part of being able to move quickly on a house once you’ve found the right one is pre-approval on a mortgage. Getting prequalified is as simple as getting your money and debt squared away. Then shopping around with a few transparent, quality lenders. If you don’t inquire with multiple lenders you could be spending thousands of extra dollars. It’s recommended that you shop around to at least three lenders.  Be sure to take into account their customer service and responsiveness during this first process. These will be huge tells in how they will treat you during the lending process. After meeting with all of them compare loan terms, lender fees, and rates. This is just informed shopping, don’t take the first offer you get without multiple meetings.

Getting financials in order and doing your research is essential before really moving on buying your first house. Before you shop as a first-time buyer, you should be ready to buy, so get your debt straightened out and save up a big down payment. Meet with multiple lenders before making a decision, and lastly be sure to do your research before settling on a neighborhood.

The more your first-time buyer client understands regarding the home-buying process, the easier it will be to close a real estate deal and get a commission advance

Every year there are new trends entering the real estate finance market.  Generally, these trends are based on the socioeconomic and political factors the country faces that year. This year there are some new aspects to pay attention to when it comes to real estate finance. In 2019, keep an eye out for millennial buyers, higher prices, affordability challenges, higher mortgage rates, and a focus on secondary cities.

## Millennials Enter The Market

Those born between 1981 and 1997 are known as millennials, and in 2019 they make up a large group of home buyers. In this economy, we are seeing more and more people taking up that “paycheck-to-paycheck” life.  This makes it harder for buyers to save up the funds to purchase their first home. However, with rising rental rates in urban cities, some are choosing to move into surrounding suburbs. Moving from an urban landscape to living in the suburbs and commuting is becoming more common for millennial homebuyers. This trend is fueling a shift in the entire real estate finance market as ‘18-hour’ cities become more prominent buyers’ markets.

## Prices Continue Going Up

After a huge jump in prices from 2017-18, buyers will be happy to hear that home prices are only expected to rise by about 1% in 2019. New home construction will also go up to around 8%, which is good news since inventory is low in many US cities. Since many modern buyers are interested in new home construction it’s likely that price increases will be seen across the board for new homes. Buyers looking for a bargain will likely buy an older home and upgrade as they go. While house flippers may have more trouble closing quick deals post-renovation.

## Secondary Cities

A convergence of activity is pushing investors to focus on what Forbes refers to as secondary cities. Cities such as Dallas Austin, Texas, Atlanta, Georgia, Nashville, and Tennessee are all considered secondary. These cities are being chosen for companies as they exit higher priced states like California opting for less expensive, more corporate forward states. With huge campuses like Apple in Austin and Lyft in Nashville, come employees. These employees will either be renters or home-buyers, both of which surge the real estate economy in these areas. This year we will continue to see a healthy real estate economy in secondary cities.

## Affordability Challenge

As mentioned above, home prices have been on the rise for years, and they’re not stopping in 2019. Layer this on top of the fact that in 80% of cities the housing price has increased without a wage increase. Because of this, renting will continue to be the affordable option. This is especially true in Las Vegas, San Jose, Portland, New York, and other strong markets. Investors will have luck on large housing projects like apartments and community living spaces. Focus on a renters market for investments, and look outside of cities for single-family home sales.

## Higher Mortgage Interest Rates

Analysts have predicted that long stagnant mortgage rates will start to rise in 2019 from 4.5% on a 30-year fixed mortgage to around 5%. That will put mortgage rates at their highest in seven years.  It’s a fact which will make buyers more discerning and offers less frequent. It will take houses a bit longer to move, and buyers should opt for 15-year mortgages. Also, to be safe, investors should expect lower IRR.

As a real estate agent, it’s important to stay ahead of the real estate finance trends. Some are disheartening like higher mortgage rates and prices. But there’s some hope in new buyers entering the market and new cities becoming more prominent. Understand these trends can get you closer to closing deals faster. And if you can’t wait for closing after a signed contract, real estate agents can always rely on Payfully to offer an advanced commission on real estate.

From politics to pop culture the topic of millennials is often on the menu nowadays. Millennial is a term used when referring to a group of people who will reach their early adulthood in the early 21st century. This sector of people are born between 1981 and 1997, and they’re about to make up around 45% of the buyers market. They are diverse, educated, and right now, they’re earning enough to start the process of buying their first house.

## Market trends are pushing millennial buyers to venture out of cities and into the suburbs.

High rents in urban areas are inspiring millennials to look for somewhere to buy despite fiscal challenges like massive student loans. But these challenges are exactly why this buyer persona is not able to purchase property inside of the big cities where they may work. For real estate agents, it’s important to understand millennials if you want to succeed.

• Who are millennials?
• What are they looking for?
• Where can they find it?

## How Millennials Find Homes To Buy

Millennials are entering the market during a steady incline in prices and drop in inventory. This has made them into savvy buyers who shop predominantly online. Before reaching out to a real estate agent they will become very well acquainted with the available inventory online using Zillow, Redfin, and even Craigslist. Because of this, agents should respond by tightening up your online presence. Audit your website for optimal functionality, ensuring it’s responsive and displays the right information. It’s also wise to invest in new marketing tools to make your online listings stand out. Aerial video and images and 3D tours are the latest showing technology changing the way we reach buyers. Investing in this tech doesn’t have to be costly, get an advance commission with Payfully and start bringing in new leads within the week.

## What Millennial Home Buyers Are Looking For

Now that we understand how they’re looking, what are millennial home buyers looking for? The first substantial need from this type of buyer is a quality, sustainable space. A piece of land with space for a garden is attractive while a backyard that has been covered in concrete may turn them away. In fact, if a house is not upgraded with energy efficient appliances, smart home capabilities and more; millennials will turn away for a low priced property that they can upgrade themselves. Value for a single millennial or small family is in sustainability, quality, and the ability to grow.

## Where Are Millennial Buyers Looking?

So where can this buyer find what they’re looking for at a price they can afford? The suburbs. Smaller cities near the urban settings where they work are becoming the most frequently bought properties for millennial buyers. As real estate agents, it is important to note that not all suburbs are equal in attracting real offers. Knowing which neighborhood to sell in is the key to success in this endeavor. A suburb that is a convenient commute or outfitted with reliable public transit will draw in millennial attention. Neighborhoods with trails and an affinity for natural landscape are also ideal. It is wise to note that a millennial desires freedom, and a rigid Homeowners’ Association may be a deal breaker for some.

Selling real estate to millennials isn’t hard for an agent who is honest, reliable, and paying attention to details. To find success selling a house to millennials find out what they’re looking for, and find the house that fits those specifications. Simple as that.

It’s official, technology companies are finally infiltrating the real estate business. Agents, buyers, and brokers are all benefitting from tech if they know where to look for it. Real estate technology is solving problems for agents, bridging the gaps between buyers and sellers. Simply put, technology is making selling easier. From apps to software, tech can be applied to the day to day problems that we face in the real estate world. Once you get the hang of how the software operates, you’ll find some tech supremely helpful in business.

## Solving Problems

Many companies in real estate technology help solve problems for agents, brokers, and buyers alike. For example, Payfully helps agents keep their finances on track no matter when the paperwork goes through. This real estate tech company provides agents with an advanced commission for a small fee. Real estate agents enjoy using their services when needing access to funds with a quick approval time and transparent service. Lots of agents are also finding real estate specific tax software helpful when filling out their 1099 tax forms. Basically, there are companies figuring out how modern technology can solve problems in our day to day. You just have to look in the right places.

## Bridging Gaps

Lots of the first real estate technology companies explore how to bridge the gap between buyers and sellers. Zillow and Redfin are two of the most widely-used apps when home buyers are doing their first round of shopping for homes. The issue with these modes of shopping is that while they do well to connect a buyer with a house, they often fail to connect a buyer to a real estate agent. Tech company, Igluu is building an interface that not only sets buyers up with a relevant agent, but it also incentivizes them to contact an agent on their platform. Igluu is currently only operating for those shopping New York real estate. However, the idea of closing deals using tech is fresh on the horizon for other markets as well.

## Making Selling Easier

A lot of the issues real estate agents face have to do with organizing their offices, managing their time, and marketing. There are tech startups and software built to make customer relationship management simpler than ever. Some even help organize and manage how we reach out after open houses. In fact, there’s tech now that can help organize 3D tours of properties so every visit to our website has the value of an open house. Agents are all watching as digital tours and 3D mapping become a normal marketing tool in the industry.  This is just one of the many movements that are entirely tech-fueled.

Oftentimes there’s a learning curve when starting up with a new piece of technology, but that doesn’t have to stop you from trying.

Real estate in the United States has begun to shift as many experts predict the next great economic crisis will arrive in 2020. Because of this, cities like San Francisco, Miami, and Seattle are no longer ample grounds for real estate investors. In fact, those who are looking to sell their properties in this area shouldn’t wait for the market to peak. They should sell now. Ticking big-name cities off of the list leaves room for up and coming locations like Atlanta and Charlotte to catch investors’ eyes. That is because these underrepresented metropolia continues to show employment and population growth.

Even in the great cities for real estate investment listed below, there are a couple of things to take into account. For example, though there is employment growth you must think about the fact that most jobs added to the market this year have been at the low end of the paygrade. Also, research what fuels the job market. Like in Orlando, the populace is very dependent on tourism. However,  in Atlanta tech and broadcasting supply the job market. No matter where you invest in the coming years show caution. Do the research and know your city before putting big money into a project.

While Payfully offers advance commissions for realtors,  we’re also sharing our top four cities to invest in real estate next.

## Atlanta, Georgia

Employment, population, and home values are all flourishing as Atlanta positions itself among the most liveable cities in the United States. All of those positive attributes make it a great choice for real estate investors in 2019. Employment growth this year is around 1.7-2.2% with a population growth of 4%. This is likely due to the Broadcasting and tech industries choosing to set down roots in the Southern city. With this, home values have increased to 14.1% with a rental yield of 5.1% making it a prime choice for those looking put money into the market.

## Phoenix, Arizona

The Southwest landscape has been thrilling Americans on Instagram for years now.  So perhaps those viral skyscapes are why Phoenix, Arizona has one of the highest population growths of any city in the United States this year. Employment growth isn’t bad either around 3.1%. This shows us that this may be a great place to invest in apartment buildings or larger projects meant to meet the influx of new Phoenicians.

## Orlando, Florida

According to Forbes, Orlando is the city that has expressed the highest job growth rate in the last year at 4.7%. This matched with a rental yield of 5.7% make is clear why the US city has been on the ‘Top 5’ lists for best cities for real estate investments. The population growth in the last year is around 4.8% making it a ripe grid for investment in the coming year. Do take into account, if tourism declines it could have a fast negative turnaround on the Orlando market.

## Charlotte, North Carolina

Charlotte has shown impressive population and employment growth in the last 365 days, which has put it on the map for real estate investors worldwide. Rental investors are looking forward to the increase in home value in the area despite the lower than the average rental yield of 5.5%. This rings especially true with the steady job growth and population in the Queen City.

These four cities continue to impress analysts with their job growth and population expansion for the past year. As investors continue to use their cash wisely it is important to look to the statistics, and Atlanta, Phoenix, Orlando, and Charlotte are great places to start when investing in real estate this year.

Selling pre-construction means selling a condominium or house in a track before it has actually been built. Moving units pre-construction is essential for many developers. In most cases, in order to start construction about 50-80% of the inventory needs to be sold. That means an agent has to sell without using the usual tools like open houses and photos of the finished product. There are pros and cons to taking on pre-construction real estate sales. The reality is that just like everything, selling pre-construction is perfect for some agents.

When an agent meets a developer and begins selling their units, an agent knows a few things about the properties.

Real estate agents will learn:

• Price range
• Developer information
• Conceptual photos
• Floor plan

### 1. Be The Very First

There is something to be said about being the very first person living in a house or condo. This is a major selling point for agents looking to start selling pre-construction. Buyers will be enticed by the thought of using brand new appliances and fixtures, so emphasize this fact. It is a major ‘Pro’ to confidently tell a buyer that they’ll be the first to light up the stove or fire up the shower.

### 2. Customize

When opting in for a place pre-construction a buyer is often able to choose some of their own appliances or finishes. Buyers should be able to give their opinion on things like the floor finish, plumbing fixtures, or appliances. This is another great selling point for real estate agents. To ensure this is possible be sure to sit down with the developer and get a list of possible customizable option for pre-construction buyers. Always ask them up front if these custom choices will be considered upgrades so you don’t incur extra cost for our clients.

### 3. Pay Over Time

Oftentimes a pre-construction buyer can opt-in with a portion of the deposit and pay the rest over the time it takes to build the place. This is helpful when selling to first-time homebuyers and can make it easier to sell a space that people can’t see and touch. Utilize real estate buyer personas to prep for homebuyers and what they are looking for financially.

### Cons1. Expect Delays

Like most construction projects, you can expect delays when selling pre-construction for a developer. This is a major con for a buyer looking to move into their new home, so an agent should be sensitive. Never give out building schedules without being frank about the possibility of delays. Also, it’s ideal to take one-on-one time with the development team and ask them what might delay construction. This way, you can stay ahead of schedule changes.

### 2. Hard To Sell An Idea

When selling a house you are using the house itself as a selling tool. This isn’t available for pre-construction sales, and that can pose a challenge for many agents. Instead of letting this be a ‘Con’, build an arsenal of tools to use instead. Things like a bullet list of customizable and upgrade options, concept photos, and if possible, more. Be frank with developers that the more they spend in 3D video tours and future condo amenity information the more pre-construction homes we’ll sell.

There are pros and cons to everything, but that’s never stopped anyone from trying. Selling pre-construction isn’t impossible, and knowing what could get in your way before it even crosses your path is the first step to success. Selling pre-construction condos or houses is a great way for a new agent to find their footing or a veteran agent to stay on top of their sales and marketing skills.

And with any great sale, there’s always a waiting period once a deal is closed. Learn how about how a commission advance works and when to take advantage of this service.