Business Cards for Newbies

35 Replies

So as I continue my research into RE I see a relatively common theme. A lot of people say to get a Business card and have some on you at all times to give out.

Since I am a newbie to REI and I have not done any deals (yet), I was wondering if I should spend the money to create a business card? If the answer is yes, would information do I put on it. Obviously I would put my name, phone number, email, what I want to do (buy houses) and maybe a picture of me, but what if I don't own a company or have an LLC? Is it not professional to have a company name on them?

As always, thank you for the inputs!!!

Brendan

Getting 100 or so is pretty cheap and adds a good amount of credibility so I would recommend doing it. You don't even need a company name if you don't have one. Just put your name and then "Real Estate Investor." 

That being said, it would probably be a good idea top open an LLC.

Keep it simple, basic contact info & then go to every REIA & seminar you can find & network & meet other investors, then read every book & watch every podcast that you possibly can & basically give yourself a PhD in real estate.

I used Vista print also. They have templates for lots of industries, including RE.

My networking and seller cards are personal, no business name.  I buy homes and plexes.  Private investor. Not an agent.  

My sellers are usually tired landlords that self-manage.   They work belly to belly with people, not random companies.

I have a biz name on my cards for tenants.  Helps legitimize me looking like the handyman I do, asking for holding monies.  Depends on your target audience.

@Brendan Chetuck - Don't overthink it! Grab some business cards, what's more important is that you're going out and meeting people, getting THEIR info (probably in the form of business cards), etc. As long as you don't fall into the trap of thinking that designing the perfect business card is the key to riches, you'll be good!

This is a great thread. I too considered ordering business cards but was conflicted because I don't have an LLC (yet). Put the order through today without a company name and used some of the suggestions here. They're cheap enough that it doesn't really matter. Thanks all.

This is pretty typical of new people. They focus on a business name, business cards and opening an LLC before even having a business. I did the same thing 15 years ago and two things happened:

1. I dissolved the LLC a year after when my CPA told me it was pointless. People think you need an LLC to have a business, which may be true for certain businesses. If your intent is to buy properties, most likely it will need to be in your personal name, so you will not use the LLC. I would just caution that before going to the expense of setting up an LLC, understand how you would use it. Also keep in mind you don't need an LLC to have a business name. You can pick a name and it is called a DBA (Doing Business As).

2. I stopped carrying business cards after a few years. Instead if I meet someone, I just get added to their address book on the spot. The truth is 99% of business cards go in the trash, but getting added to someone's contact list is golden. 

Originally posted by @Shane H. :

@Joe Splitrock

You are buying real estate for business purposes and putting it all in your name rather than an llc?!

If you use conventional mortgages, that is how it works. The financing and title goes in your personal name. If you want to buy inside an LLC, then you need to develop credit for the LLC or back the business with cash.

People don't understand that you don't need an LLC to have a business. And having an LLC doesn't mean you have a business. In fact, if you setup an LLC for buy-and-hold rentals, you can't deduct a single expense until you close on your first property and put it in service as a rental.

@Brendan Chetuck Don't get caught up in the things that don't make money.  You do not need a company to buy houses or a professional looking business card.  Figure out your target market and mail them, cold call them, start a local meet up($20 per month on meet up.com), attend local meet ups etc.... All the best.  Always remember to persist and you will WIN!!

@Shawn Ackerman awesome advice! I’m going to go out and start my cold calls this weekend! Quick question on doing stuff like that, currently I don’t personally have the funds to buy a property yet (probably could with a partner) do you still recommend to start doing things like cold calling?

@Brendan Chetuck Bring the deals and the investors will come. This is why attending and or starting a meet up is important. Assignments in NY are tricky(I live here too), so having a financial backing to double close a property may be the way to go. I would also contact a local title company or an attorney and ask how you can assign a contract or become the middle man in a transaction. I know many people in NYC who contract properties in a LLC , then sell the LLC as a means of assigning. Look into contract vendee - https://www.biggerpockets.com/forums/93/topics/67427-contract-vendees-aka-the-paper-swap-anyone-familar-with-these

@Joe Splitrock

You will still have to personally guarantee the loan while buying through an LLC, unless it's longstanding and credit worthy on its own, but the risk of operating sole proprietor is beyond any risk I'm willing to take. I'll jump through the extra hoops to utilize the LLC. As I grow I'll likely incorporate certain businesses as well. If you're starting out and buying your first home, and you wnat to use an fha for a multi-unit property, I get that. No big deal. All the risk is in that one property and if you were able to use an fha loan you probably don't have a ton of assets. Not a huge deal. To own multiple properties all in your name? No thanks...

@Shawn Ackerman sorry for the continued questions, but you’re giving me some great content haha. So are you saying you suggest actually buying the property (paying for closing costs) then quickly flipping the property and closing again with a new buyer (paying for closing costs again), pretty much wholetailing correct?

@Brendan Chetuck That is the safest way to wholesaling in NY.  As you know, you need an attorney here.  I do business in the Mid-West, write my own contracts and close with a title company.  Totally different ball of wax.  I've heard about the contract Vendee option so that may be something to explore.  But yes, buy(maybe split closing cost or have seller pay), then sell to your end buyer immediately after and have end buyer pay closing costs or negotiate a split of closing costs between either or both parties.  All the best to you man.

Originally posted by @Shane H. :

@Joe Splitrock

You will still have to personally guarantee the loan while buying through an LLC, unless it's longstanding and credit worthy on its own, but the risk of operating sole proprietor is beyond any risk I'm willing to take. I'll jump through the extra hoops to utilize the LLC. As I grow I'll likely incorporate certain businesses as well. If you're starting out and buying your first home, and you wnat to use an fha for a multi-unit property, I get that. No big deal. All the risk is in that one property and if you were able to use an fha loan you probably don't have a ton of assets. Not a huge deal. To own multiple properties all in your name? No thanks...

The advantage is 30 year fixed rate loans. Commercial loans are generally fixed for 5 years and come at a higher interest rate. It cuts into cash flow and increases risk, because you are stuck refinancing every 5 years. I know people who had loans come due in 2009 and couldn't refinance them due to negative equity. Of course if you are buying multi unit with 5+, then commercial is the only option. 

I just think there is a misconception with rental properties as to how much an LLC will protect you, especially for newbies (as this thread discusses). It is a bigger issue when you self manage. Most lawsuits on rental properties are related to management. If you are self managing, then you are named along with the LLC in the lawsuit.

Personally, I like these strategies for protection:

1. Leverage, because when bank owns the majority of the property there is no asset to go after.

2. Good management policies. Just don't take risks and prioritize safety. Respond quickly to any reported problem and document your actions.

3. Insurance. Have a large liability policy. The insurance company will fight it or settle. Attorneys look for deeper pockets so they are going to go after insurance. 

No doubt an LLC is an important strategy in many cases, but should not be the first priority for small investors starting out. Mainly because most beginning investors have small assets and are buying highly leveraged properties in their personal names to take advantage of traditional financing. If you have considerable net worth and plan is to pay cash or go straight to commercial lending, then considering an LLC as part of your strategy makes sense.