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Archive for Articles/Tips


Tips in Selling a Property – Dress Your House to Sell

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Dress Your House to Sell

If you want your house to sell and sell quickly, you need your house to shine. You may be happy with your decorating style and it may be great, however, potential buyers may not agree with you.

In order to effectively sell your home you do need to follow some tried and true principles.

  1. First and foremost you must de clutter your home. Walls are filled with family decorations, but when selling a home; you need to depersonalize your walls. Put away your priceless belongings and clean your closets. The appearance of organization is crucial when trying to sell your home. Clean out closets and store unused clothes in boxes and put in a storage unit. You want your closets to look organized.
  2. Box up decorations, dishes used sporadically, family photos and knickknack collections. Things that you will not need to use while selling your home should be packed. For your own security, be sure to mark your boxes clearly. A note to remember when dressing your house to sell is to remember that the seller wants to see your home, but not your personal belongings.
  3. If furniture is frayed or horribly outdated, cover it with inexpensive furniture covers. Move heavy couches and chairs away from windows and avoid blocking doorways with furniture.
  4. Hire someone to fix those little broken items in your home. These may include leaky faucets, light switches that do not work, and toilets that sing.
  5. Paint rooms that are in need of painting and replace hardware such as door knobs and cabinet handles.
  6. Purchase new towels for bathrooms, take magnets off the refrigerator, and clean kitchen counter-tops. A good rule of thumb: less is more.
  7. Have the carpets cleaned professionally and use area rugs to emphasize room decor.
  8. Leave your home when potential buyers come over to inspect your house. There is nothing more disconcerting than a home owner hovering over potential buyers.
  9. Use a professional stager. These employees will come in a help you decorate for selling. Generally they use you own items, but do charge a fee for their services.
  10.  Think “curb appeal” and do a little landscaping. This doesn’t have to be extensive and expensive, either. Mow, do some weeding, plant some flowers and spread some mulch, if nothing else! Then drive by: how does it look from your car? Would you get out taking a closer look around?

Look at your home as if you were the potential buyer. You want to see the size of the rooms and imagine your own possessions on the wall and shelves. Take away those personal expensive items that might be of interest to a buyer and keep everything tidy, clean, and organized.

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Rent-to-Own – How it Works?

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The dream of home ownership is not impossible even with little or no down payment or distressed credit. You can find homes that an owner has for sell and who would be willing to rent or lease you the home. Negotiate the purchase or rent-to-own contract that will allow a portion of your rent to go to the down payment. Find the right company to help you with this option of home financing or use a real-estate attorney to set the contract in motion.

  • It is possible to rent or lease with option to purchase a home with little money down. This type of home purchase is also known as rent to own, rent option to buy or lease with an option to purchase.
  • There are companies or real estate brokerages that specialize in this type of home purchase and will guide you through the pitfalls and legalities of rent-to-own purchases.
  • Negotiate with the seller to have a portion of your rental payment go toward the purchase. You may be able to specify up to 50 percent of your rental payments be the down payment or equity of the home. To have a portion of your rental payments go toward purchase of the home you may need to follow several guidelines.
  1. Pay your rent on or before the due date. If you pay late, no credits will be issued for that month.
  2. Maintain the home. You will be required to do renovations, repairs, and upkeep that will build equity in the home. Major repairs will always be the responsibility of the owner, but your maintenance attempts will go far in assuring the landlord of your intent to purchase.
  3. Many contracts require a non-refundable payment of two to three percent. Negotiate to have this percentage go toward the purchase of the home.

If you enter a rent-to-own contract, be aware that the monthly rental price will be a set price and the non-refundable payment is typically a first and last month’s rent payment. Set up the contract to have the option payment go toward the purchase price of the home.  Rent-to-own is a very viable alternative to traditional bank mortgage payments. It is a way to help potential home owns find the home of their dreams even if they do not have the traditional five to ten percent down payment. Often rent-to-own contracts overlook credit problems and use the non-refundable option as security.

The Concept of Rent to Own Homes

If you plan to own a home but are unable to obtain financing this time, leasing a home with an option to purchase may be your best option. A lease to buy can make your rent money work for you instead of making your landlord rich. Typically rent to own homes offer rent credits that reduce the final purchase price over time.

Here’s how it works:

A home is made available via a standard lease with one important addition of an option to purchase that home at an agreed price over a specified time period usually one or three years. In order to avail that option, the renter/buyer must pay a one-time, NON REFUNDABLE, fee called the option consideration. The exact amount is negotiable, but it is usually ranges from 2.5 to 10% of the purchase price. A fair contract will credit the buyer 100% of that option consideration upon closing of the sale. Additionally, a negotiated percentage of all rent payments should be applied toward the purchase price of the home. Other typical terms and conditions one might expect to find in a contract which is as follows:

Equity Building

In order to receive a rent credit of 50%, time is of the essence. You MUST pay your rent on or BEFORE the due date of your lease, typically the first of the month. This means it must be received by the lessor (landlord) on or before the due date. Any payment received after the due date will result in a 0% rent credit for that month, a late fee may apply and you will not be building any equity.

Regular Maintenance

Maintenance is the responsibility of the Tenant Buyer. You are now renting to own and homeownership requires regular minor maintenance, which includes things like broken windows, clogged drains, peeling paint, broken appliances, burnt out bulbs, lawn work/snow removal, etc. If any major repairs are required to ensure habitability, the owner remains responsible.

Option Consideration

You need to have Option Consideration, which is typically 2.5% to 10% of the purchase price of the home. It is a non-refundable payment, of which 100% is credited toward the purchase price, which binds the lease purchase contract.

Here’s an example transaction:

We have a nice 3 bedroom, 2 bath single family home located in a near west suburb of Milton, Ontario in a great neighborhood with good schools and a strong community. It has been freshly painted, cleaned, and is ready to move in. The purchase price will be $315,000. Monthly rent payments will be $1,600 and you will receive a 50% rent credit of $800 per month. You need between 2.5% and 10% in up front Option Consideration. Let’s say your budget allows for $12,600 for Option Consideration. This equates to approximately 4.00% ($12,600/315,000). You will also need $1,600 for the first month’s rent for a total initial payment of $14,200.

It’s important to note here that option consideration is not a security deposit but a non-refundable payment toward the purchase price and is 100% credited toward reducing the price of the home.

Now let us suppose you paid all your monthly rent on or before the due date and you choose to buy the ‘rent to own home’ at the end of the 24 months lease purchase contract. You will have $31,800 in equity before even you own the home. Here’s you do the math:

– Lease Purchase Price – $315,000

– Less: Option Consideration paid at lease signing – $12,600

– Less: 50% rent credit of $800/month x 24 months – $19,200

– Net Purchase Price after credits – $295,800

You started with $12,600 and by paying your rent on time your equity position grew more than 152% (another $19,200) for a total of $31,800 with 24 months. Not a bad deal! Many people find it nearly impossible to save $19,200 in two years with all the costs of living constantly on the rise.

What’s the catch?

Now you may be thinking, “OK, what’s the catch? This sounds too good to be true.”

Answer, there is no catch.

Possible reasons for landlord/seller for entering into rent to own agreements

  • Needs to maintain ownership for at least one year for tax purposes.
  • Unable to get a fair price due to local conditions.
  • Tired of doing frequent maintenance.

Advantages for the tenant/buyer

  • Tenant becomes the Tenant Buyer through rent to own arrangement.
  • There is an immediate sense of pride in home ownership.
  • Tenant Buyer adds value to the community.
  • They take proper care of the property having feeling of ownership.
  • Goo feeling that rent money is working for them
  • Reduction in the purchase price.
  • Building equity in home ownership.
  • Initially, no bank or lender involvement.
  • Buying time to improve poor credit history.

Rent-to-Own – How it Works

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Selling Commercial Real Estate – The Process

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To effectively sell commercial real estate you need to be aware that timing, a competent real estate agent and a good attorney are all a part of the mix. Commercial properties are purchased by partners and then are leased to a third party. Commercial real estate generally carries a high price tag and selling commercial real estate can be a challenging venture.

  1. You will need to list your commercial property when the market is ripe. Commercial real estate is volatile and prices fluctuate. Watch for financial swells to realize a larger profit.
  2. Research the reputation of real estate agents and find the best agent for your situation. Talk to previous clients and ask questions. Watch for agents who sell properties for less to get quicker commissions.
  3. Advertise your commercial venture in magazines and forums where there are actual buyers. Include good pictures and relevant statistics about the property. List the price per square foot, zoning rules and the lease history of your commercial enterprise. If you have a good leasing history, you will be more appealing to a potential buyer.
  4. Clean up your commercial building and make it look good before placing it on a selling market. Cleaning up the lot, mowing lawns and weeding any flower beds are a great selling tactic. Clean the windows and remove all graffiti. In other words, make your commercial building as attractive as possible.
  5. Make sure your building is correctly classified. Understand the rules for building classification for your area. A wrong classification can stifle a sell and make your property less attractive.
  6. Hire a competent real estate attorney to handle the tax and contract issues. This will save you a great deal of money and avoid unnecessary complications.

Do research and make sure you are listing the commercial property correctly, use a real estate attorney, clean up the building, and make sure you have all the rental records and repair receipts in order. Be willing and able to give all the information about income and outgo.

It is also a permissible and great idea to research your potential buyers. Make sure they are credit worthy and their incomes are high enough to purchase your commercial enterprise. Many a commercial real estate deal has gone sour because the buyer misrepresented himself. You can come out on top by following simple rules and doing your due diligence.

For help with your commercial property investment selling, also reach out to national, provincial and local Realtor Boards for help. For instance the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) has plenty of helpful guides, reports and articles, many of which are online at their website. And each province and real estate board has their own website with resources, too.

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Tips for Investing in Commercial Real Estate

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Many people hear about investing in residential real estate and the profits can be substantial. However, commercial real estate investing involves working with companies rather than individuals. But deals with commercial real estate ventures are more lucrative, even though the risks are also greater.

  • Find a commercial real estate deal. You can invest in office buildings, restaurants, or strip malls. Find an area that you are somewhat familiar with.
  • Research and learn about the risks. Do not go into commercial real estate investing without understanding the pros and cons. You will need to learn about local laws and zoning rules. Tenant turnover can also be a problem. Commercial tenants can leave at the “drop of a hat.”
  • Determine the supply and demand. Do market research to find out if there are similar properties and what unique offerings does you investment have.
  • Use real estate investment trusts or brokerages. Commercial real estate investment involves a great deal of paperwork and upkeep. Use REITs or real estate investment trusts that can help invest your money without all the hassles that are implicated.
  • Investing in commercial real estate can be beneficial if you partner with an experienced developer. Most developers know where the real estate deals are and have done market research on the area and project. Also, real estate developers are always looking for investors and capital. They will find you the best investment for your budget.
  • Do not invest too much for a business. Rules always need to be watched. For example real estate prices can vary in a short term, and long term property values are driven by rental standards. Look at the earnings ratio of your potential property to determine the best commercial investment value.

One of the best pieces of advice is “Don’t believe everything you hear or read.” Real estate agents want you to buy or invest in the property. They are going to tell you the best scenario which may not be the actual scenario. Ask for tax and property revenue records. The tax revenue records and property valuation records may be different; plan to invest somewhere in between the two calculations.

Measure the maintenance and upkeep records versus the rental payments. You do need to be aware that you will have maintenance costs. However, you can still make good money investing in commercial real estate. Statistics have proven that a good commercial rental property usually has long term tenants that pay their bills.

Above all, do the math. Find out what the investment would be minus costs for depreciation, maintenance, taxes and so on. And get professional help with this project: an accountant to go over the balance sheet, and an attorney to go over the investment documentation, for starters.

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Tips for using Feng Shui Methods to Help Sell Your House

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Feng Shui Methods to Help Sell

The steps to selling your home include price, ‘show’ ready, and availability of mortgage opportunities. However, one of the best ways to sell your home no matter what the asking price is proving your home is a wanted commodity. Be a potential buyer when selling your home and ask: is my home a place of refuge or a place of comfort? A place someone else would find desirable? Feng Shui methods can help you with the ambiance and attitude of your home.

  • Make sure your home is clean! Clear counters, shelves and dressers of clutter. Have a specific eye catching motif in each room. Engage the senses of potential buyers. Turn on ceiling fans and make sure mirrors are not opposite the doors. Play soft music or have a fountain near the front door. Engage the senses. Use cinnamon or pine scents to keep your home smelling great. These scents tend to bring on a feeling of comfort.
  • Make sure your front door is immaculate and that there are pots of flowers, decorations or items to draw attention to the opening of your home. Keep the sidewalk and stairs free of plant material, debris, and disorder.
  • Remove extra furniture and clutter from your rooms. The buyer does not want to see your decorations, they want to visualize the size of the room and where they might place their belongings.
  • Place your “for sale” sign to the right of the door. This is the energetic side of your home.
  • Engage a table on the right side in the foyer or front room of your home. Place a vase of flowers or business cards on this table. Use a red tablecloth or decorative material.
  • Ensure that the kitchen is clean and clear as well as organized. Pantries should be organized; wastebaskets and knives out of sight and a jar of cookies should be placed invitingly on the counter.
  • Spruce up your yard and clear away all dead debris. Nothing is more depressing than a dying yard. Prune, trim, and week to make sure your home is appealing.
  • Keep bathroom doors shut. Keep toilet lids down and bathrooms extremely clean and sweet smelling.

Feng Shui dictates that a home should be move-in ready, but at the same time a show place to prove what can be done in this home. The best advice is to make sure your home for sale is clean, uncluttered, soothing and bright.

Seek more Feng Shui tips and advice by searching online article directories like EzineArticles and GoArticles. Also check for helpful YouTube education videos on the topic and checking out library books on Feng Shui (hint: ask the reference librarian for help).

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ABCs of Flipping Houses

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All new things can be a little frightening or intimidating at first glance. The same is definitely true when it comes to flipping houses. Many people feel several times during their first flip that they have gotten in over their heads. The truth is that it will take more than a few flips to feel comfortable with the process. Most people make very little, if any real profit on their first flip and write it off as a learning experience only to enter into the next flip with newly learned lessons and a positive attitude.

Learning the ABCs of flipping houses is a great place to begin and can help you avoid costly mistakes made by many first time flippers.

  1. Appraise. You need to have a proper appraisal performed on the house you intend to flip and compare it to other houses in better condition and of similar size and style within the neighbourhood. You do not want to buy the best house in the neighbourhood, in fact it is best if you can find the neighbourhood eyesore and turn it into a competitive house for the neighbourhood in order to get the most for your money. More importantly you want the appraisal to reveal the actual value of the home now as compared to the price you are paying and talk to the appraiser about what the home would be worth the with improvements you are planning to make.
  2. Bold Moves. Sometimes it takes bold moves to make the impression you want to make. The decision to flip houses is a bold move in and of itself and while you do not want to necessarily enter into risky waters you do not want to play it too safe either. Be cautious with your financing and guard your expenses and your budget well but make the changes that will catch the eye of the next owner for the property.
  3. Can do Attitude. You absolutely must believe you can do this in order to get it done. A house flip is not an undertaking for the timid or those that lack self-confidences. You will need to stand up to your contractors, inspectors, and even some vendors in order to get the best price and the most bang for your buck. In other words you need to believe in yourself and what you are doing in order to get it done. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t listen to the advice of those with more experience and expertise, especially when it comes to structural issues within the home and bringing the property to code but you also need to stand up for yourself to insure that you aren’t paying for things you aren’t getting.
  4. Determination. You must also be determined to see your project through to completion. It takes a certain sort of pigheadedness to get through the first few flips. It should be stated here that flipping houses is certainly not an easy way to make a living. It does have the potential however, to be a highly profitable way to make a living and that is what most potential flippers are looking for. If you want those profits you are going to need to push yourself out of bed even on those mornings when you feel as though looking at the property in question is going to make you wail and moan and pull out your hair.
  5. Excitement. This may be the most necessary of all ingredients. You will find that excitement is in short supply many days but it if you can recapture that initial excitement over your decision to flip houses then it will sustain you on those days when the plumber brings bad news or you just learned that a solid weak of rain is forecasted for the weak the roof was to go on.

This is a small start on the ABCs of house flipping and real estate investing but I think you get the picture. Good luck!


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