This Rising Strategy Helps Agents Sell More Investment Homes

Oct 30, 2019 by

The popularity of Real Estate IRAs is on the rise, and it’s time real estate agents learn more about this rising strategy to sell more investment homes and grow their business.

So, what is a Real Estate IRA? It is a self-directed individual retirement account that has a heavy focus on real estate investments. With a self-directed Real Estate IRA, you can invest in all kinds of real estate and real estate-related assets with your retirement funds.

Real estate is, by far, the most popular investment in self-directed retirement plans, and single-family homes are the top real estate assets. But as a real estate professional, how do you work with these investors? Where do you find them? How do you sell to them? The answer is that some of these people are probably already in your database. After all, Americans have more than $ 7.5 trillion in their individual retirement accounts. Chances are, most (if not all) of your clients have a retirement account of some sort.

Are You Prepared?
Would you be able to talk about Real Estate IRAs if you were approached by a client regarding this topic? Credibility goes a long way.

Recently, we attended a real estate event and talked to a few hundred agents. Most of them did not know that real estate could be purchased with retirement dollars for investment purposes. “How come I did not know about this?” is the most frequent question, as their eyes light up with ideas on how to tap into their existing database. The answer is simple: Most big custodians that offer retirement plans promote products such as stocks, bonds and mutual funds. Therefore, investors are not aware that you can hold real estate. In fact, in some cases custodians will tell you that real estate is not allowed.

When talking to these agents, we discovered that some had turned away clients that brought up the topic because they didn’t think they could assist them and therefore lost the sale.

One of the most popular questions you will get from your clients is, “Can I live in the house I buy with my IRA dollars?” The answer is no. We hear this almost on a daily basis. Real estate in an IRA is for investment purposes only and not for primary residence use. The real estate investment lives in a tax-free or tax-deferred account as long as you comply with IRS rules and regulations. The income and expenses flow in and out of the IRA. It is important that you know the intent of purchase when assisting a client. You can save them and yourself a lot of time.

Education Is Key
As real estate (i.e., actual properties) and alternative investments in IRAs become more popular, real estate agents will be faced with the challenge to assist their clients with these types of real estate transactions. Educating yourself will be the key to success. You do not need to have an IRA designation or be an expert in IRAs. In fact, you shouldn’t be. Real estate is, and should be, your expertise.

However, you do need to know how to answer the basic questions when it comes to Real Estate IRAs and have an established working relationship with a reputable company that can assist in educating your clients on the opportunity.

Educating yourself about the potential benefits of Real Estate IRAs will set you apart from the competition. Sharing that education with your existing clients opens new opportunities for you to grow your business. Positioning yourself as their trusted resource will help you stand out and it will help your clients grow their retirement accounts. It’s a win/win.

Learn more about how Real Estate IRAs can help you grow your business here.

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5 Surefire Ways to Earn More Real Estate Referrals

Oct 9, 2019 by

By now, you’ve probably started thinking about the 2020 business plan and income goals you’d like to achieve. In order to start Q1 strong, you’ll need to generate a few high-quality real estate referrals now! When those transactions close early next year, you’ll be on track for a great 2020.

However, many of us know real estate referrals aren’t just given—they are earned! Invest in building relationships with your best people, so in return, they will refer you to their best people! This season, put in place these five surefire ways to earn more real estate referrals.

  1. Call Your Database With a Purpose

Stay in touch with current and past clients by checking in with a phone call. Maybe you’re assisting them with a transaction currently, or just checking in to see if they received a note you sent. Unlike a cold call—which has a very low probability of success—this is a call to someone who knows you and enjoys hearing from you! Your never know when someone has a referral to send you, so this is a great way to remind folks that you are there to help with all real estate needs.

  1. Get Face-to-Face With Your Clients

Make time in your day for client “pop-bys”—visits to your clients at their home. Bring a small gift with a message that says you are never too busy to help with their referrals. The holidays are a great time to get creative with these gifts—they could be anything from Halloween goodie bags to turkey basters to wrapping paper. This visit and pop-by gift reinforce an exceptional level of service that these clients will be eager to refer to others.

  1. Throw a Party

The best way to appreciate your top-referring clients is with a party! Invite your A+ people to a gathering with food, games, music and a fun activity. Around Thanksgiving time, a “pie party” is a great option. Your top clients RSVP by selecting a flavor of pie, and you distribute them at the party, while also providing additional refreshments and entertainment. The gesture shows that you care and appreciate the business of your clients—they’ll be inspired to send you more!

  1. Send a Handwritten Note

A personal note is a great means of connecting with clients in a more personalized manner. With snail mail on the decline, your handwritten note stands out even more. When you check in with a client or wish them a happy purchase anniversary with a notecard, you go the extra mile to show you care and value their business. That attention to detail is what keeps you top of mind when this client runs into a friend or family member seeking an excellent real estate pro. 

  1. Mail Monthly Items of Value

Demonstrate your competence and character by mailing your clients information that will add value to their lives. This may include best practices on maintaining great credit, protecting your identity or surviving the holidays. Send your database real estate market updates as well to show that you are on top of the latest trends. Whatever you do, keep it consistent and valuable. This establishes you as an expert in your field, and the first person clients will trust with referrals.

Implement these steps into your marketing routine, and you’ll be well on your way to more real estate referrals. Stay on track with this free business planning calendar—you can pencil in calls, client visits, parties, and more. Buffini & Company is here to make sure you never miss out on the opportunity to earn your next big referral!

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Do You Really Want More Sales?

Sep 21, 2019 by

Remember that business goal you set at the beginning of the year? You know, the one where you enthusiastically declared how this year would be the banner year? The one where you were finally focused on racking up more sales for more income? Your plan may have included commitments to doing a better job of connecting with more people to convert more prospects into profits.

As we enter the final quarter of the year, it’s often inevitable that your focus and commitment get lost in all of the everyday distractions that riddle the job of making sales.


  • Are you at least halfway to your sales goals?
  • Have you stuck to your commitment to contact more people daily?
  • Has the consistency of your prospecting converted to more sales?
  • If you’re not where you expected to be, now is the time to monitor, readjust and refocus on your plan.

Successful professionals are willing to invest in proven routines that, when done with purpose and consistency, yield more sales, more income and, ultimately, the success you seek. When you’re highly connected to your why for what you’re looking to accomplish, the habits and actions necessary to get there become a “want to” instead of a “have to.”

Here are a few tips to help you reignite, revitalize and refocus in order to get to the profit zone:

1. Talk to more people…every day. This isn’t about cold calling people and asking them if they plan on moving anytime soon. No one wants to be solicited for “leads” to help you make your sales quota this month. Your purpose is to provide value to your sphere of influence, your database of past clients, prospects and farm area. Instead of asking, think about sharing relevant information or data of interest that can save them time and money. Everyone wants to be “in the know,” which means they’re always curious about upcoming trends as they apply specifically to them—their home, their investment, their well-being. When you shift your message from a high level to a hyper-local level, the interest level and engagement increases.

2. Make it personal. Let them experience you as their “celebrity authority.” Use video email or video on social media to share short bits of information that are interesting or pertinent to your target market. Shoot your video on-site instead of at a desk in order to show that you’re actually visible in the areas where you’re offering information or points of interest.

3. Don’t overcomplicate the process. Sales is about talking to more people more consistently. Lead generation platforms help you identify prospects who have shown interest in buying or selling, but those leads may be months or years to the point of conversion. Take advantage of the people that already know, like and trust you. Plan three ways to touch them during the year:

  • One face-to-face meeting
  • One meaningful touch (personal birthday message, congratulations on new job, happy anniversary, etc.)
  • One letter of value

Nothing changes until you change. Stop burying yourself in the “busy” of your work, and start focusing on the dollar-productive routines that will get you to where you want to be by the holidays. They’re just around the corner, and the time to start is now.

For a complimentary copy of “How to Close 86 Transactions a Year or More,” and other success tools, visit

Terri Murphy is a communication engagement specialist, author, speaker, consultant and master coach with Workman Success. She is the author of five books, a TED Talk speaker and co-radio host on For more information, please visit or email

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Keep More of What You Make

Sep 17, 2019 by

There are few business opportunities that have a lower cost of entry and a higher income potential than real estate sales. Why then are so many agents and brokers living closing to closing?

The problem lies in understanding what we make (our gross income) and what we keep (our net income), and how to allocate resources from there.

Most team leaders and agents that we coach work on a cash-in, cash-out system—often in their personal checkbook. Rule one: Always separate your real estate income and expenses and your personal income and spending. Additionally, you should have separate credit cards for business expenses and personal expenses for ease of tax-time recordkeeping.

Once a commission check passes through your business account, you can “pay” yourself whatever you like (see your cash-flow budget). Now, the money coming into your personal account will be your “income.” The first step should be to set aside 20 percent of the money in a tax “bucket.” This “bucket” is a separate savings account where you can accrue money you owe for federal and state income taxes.

Next, set aside 10 percent in a savings “bucket” to build a minimum of six months’ reserve. Those of us who survived the market crash of 200-2010 remember the transition period when we had to determine which side of the business to work to continue to make money during every shift, even when we were doing the right money-making activities daily. Having a good savings reserve provides a safety net in case you find yourself in similar situations that are out of your control.

After we’ve built the basics, we can move to “elevating our wealth.” Always start by paying off high-interest debt. Most people can get a 27 percent return on investment (ROI) by paying off credit card debt. Next, you have to realize that true wealth is built through regular small investments in low-cost index funds over long periods of time. Most people overestimate the return of the big score and underestimate the return of long-term investment. Pay yourself first. As little as $ 25-$ 50 a week can add up to $ 1,000,000 given 30-40 years to grow.

A self-directed IRA, also known as a “checkbook” IRA, can be a great vehicle to leverage our real estate investment opportunities (rentals and flips) and build additional streams of retirement income and wealth for future generations.

In summary, separate your commission/real estate income expenses from your personal expenses; budget for taxes with every check; build a six-month savings account; pay off and avoid high-cost debt (i.e., live within your means); pay yourself first and build a long-term, low-cost investment portfolio; and use tax-deferred, self-directed IRAs to leverage real estate opportunities.

Nearly three decades of real estate experience—including 15 years of coaching with Verl Workman—has made Jim Knowlton one of the top agents in the country and one of the most popular coaches on the Workman Success Systems’ team. In addition to serving as director of Coaching for Workman Success Systems, Knowlton also owned and managed several real estate franchises, earned numerous awards for his performance and continues to lead a Keller Williams Mega Agent team in New Hampshire today. Contact him at For more information, please visit

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