Recently by Carole Helwig

A few weeks ago, something happened to me that hadn't happened in a very, very long time...I met someone who truly looked at me as a commodity.  I have to say it didn't feel good...and actually got my back up.

My best friend found out at a family reunion that her cousin and family were moving from NY to Central MA.  My friend was soooo excited to be able to refer me and knew that this was my turf.  I was excited at such a "warm" referral...I guess I thought it was a slam dunk.

So I reached out.  It turns out this cousin and family are on their 5th relocation...they pretty much have it down to a science.  She handles the outgoing property (getting it ready to sell and seeing it through to close) and while they jointly agree on the town and house they will be moving to, he handles the incoming (their terms not mine). 

In our first conversation, he set about to tell me how he works...hey wait a minute!  Isn't that supposed to be my line???  OK, let's have it.


I've been using Merv's Smart Plan.  I love it and feel fairly confident in presenting it and making it work. 

In my market, I found that the "break even" point is at about the $300K mark.  That is, where it makes financial sense for the homeowner to get full representation by using either the "shared risk" or "by the hour" options and still get a financial break.  I have adjusted my hourly rate down from what is recommended as a minimum and am a little frustrated that as I meet with more and more property owners in that under $300K bracket, I know that the traditional commission model will be more financially beneficial for them.  With property values declining and Central MA seeing more and more properties under $300K, I'm struggeling to figure out how to address this problem, and feel like I may be a little too close to the trees to see the forrest. 

Surely, there are many markets under that threshold where ACRE's are effectively using the Smart Plan and able to offer the other options.  Can anyone offer me some suggestions on how they are making it work in lower priced markets??

As always, your help and suggestions are greatly appreciated.  Thank you,

"Stuck in MA" (aka Carole) 

Good morning everyone. Today, when I opened my Inman News alert, I clicked on an article that caught my attention about home inspectors and mold. It was good advice in a Q&A format by this guy, Barry Stone.

When I read further, the 2nd question was a person interested in what to do about finding out value for an addition they wanted to make to their home. Mr. Stone's advice was solid, if not uninformed. Please read the 2nd Q&A

I immediatley composed and sent an email to him and hope to hear back from him. Below is the email I sent:

"Hi Barry,

I read your Q&A in today's Inman News feed I receive.

In the 2nd question, the property owner asked about determining value for an add-on they wanted to make to their home. You advised to hire a real estate appraiser or a lesser expensive route of asking an agent to do a CMA for them.

HI all,

I have a website for investors. I am making my ACRE designation work for me n this's really a no brainer.

I want to begin promoting it and on the home page I have come up with this introductory paragraph that will go with the logo to link to the generic ACRE page (see below).

I would love critique and will greatly appreciate your time.


The Ultimate Power tool for your Real Estate Investment Tool Box......Choice. (headline)
Consulting is giving you choices for services you want and need and how you can pay for them!

As an Accredited Consultant in Real Estate (ACRE), I can help you determine exactly what services you need.

If you need only a few critical services or a few hours of advise and expertise, you don't want to feel trapped into paying more for your property to cover a full commission.

The consulting model is ideal for the investor who is seeking the maximum return on their investment.

Click here (logo) to find out more. If you want to contact us directly please email or call 978-841-7683 to speak to Carole Helwig, ACRE™

Fee Schedule

  1 Comment

Ok, here is my first official post.

I have my fees mostly in ink. Now, for the payment. If it's a service, for example a CMA, I get it. Invoice, payment.If it's for a longer term agreement, do you have the seller pay 1/3, 1/3 and 1/3?

If not, then do you have the seller pay a retainer and get the rest at closing from proceeds? What happens if it doesn't close? What happens if, for another example, it's a FSBO and part of your "job" is to troubleshoot an offer. It doesn't go together, and then the seller takes the house off the market?

Actually, now that I'm writing this, I'm getting more questions around this in my head. But, one at a time.

I will appreciate hearing how others have made this determination and what kind of outcomes you have had as a result.

Thank you.
Carole Helwig

My First Paying Consulting Job

I am looking forward to being part of this community and organization.

I am proud to say I had my first "paying" consulting job last night. Based on the exercise to determine what to charge, I admit to undercharging. I was contacted by a former client and great advocate to help them make some decisions. They are teachers, and only one worked this year so she could stay home with their new baby. They don't have much money and were happy to pay me for the cost of a CMA, and 2 hours of consulting services to determine whether their next step will be what to improve to get ready to move in a few years. And of course, using me to market their home! :)

I handed them an invoice, and they handed me a check. Nice!

So, thank you for having me ready for it.


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