Tag Archives: Investor

A Challenge to New Real Estate Investors: 7 Steps You Can Start Taking Today

My last article discussed why I think the 2% rule is a bad rule of thumb for beginning investors.  In this article, I give newbies a few simple tips on how start taking action in their investing career.

The BiggerPockets forums are full of posts from new investors introducing themselves or asking questions.   Even though there are many new investors looking to get started buying properties, very few ever actually become successful investors.

Continue reading at Bigger Pockets………

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Why the 2% Rule can get Beginning Investors into Trouble

The 2% rule has been discussed quite a bit on the forums and in blog posts.  Since I am a new blogger (I wrote my first article for Bigger Pockets last week on buying HUD homes), I figured it was okay for me to add another opinion on the 2% rule.  What peaked my interest was seeing a comment in one of the forum posts that said the 2% rule is great for beginning investors, because it helps keep them out of trouble. However- I think the 2% rule actually does a lot more harm that good with new investors.

Continue reading here at Bigger Pockets…….

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In my previous article I sent link to a website and mentioned investors must pay $2,000 to be vetted in order to purchase loans from Granite Loan Solutions.  Continue reading

Do you Have What it Takes to Invest in Rental Properties?

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You may have asked yourself if you have what it takes to invest in Real Estate.  The truth is getting started investing in rental properties is hard.  It is not a get rich quick scheme, it takes a lot of effort and determination to be a successful investor.   However, I think it is great that investing in rental properties is difficult.  If it were easy to invest in rentals, everyone would do it and the returns would be much lower.

I am making over 24% cash on cash returns on my rental properties and that does not include any appreciation, equity pay down or tax advantages.  It is hard to find another investment that has those returns and that is why I chose Real Estate to invest in.  Because investing in Real Estate is hard, very few people actually do it.  Most people estimate about 2% of those who set out to invest in Real Estate actually do it.  I don’t want to scare you off, but it will take work and time to become a great investor.  Once you have figured out your niche and have some experience in purchasing rental properties, it all gets much easier.  Rental properties have been so good to me that my goal is to purchase 100 rental properties in the next 10 years.

Are you interested in Real Estate?

Everyone reading this lives in or on some type of Real Estate.  I would think most of you are interested in Real Estate because of that, but some could care less.  I personally love houses, love architecture and love fixing up properties (my contractor does the actual work).  I think it is important that people are excited and interested in what they invest in.  If you don’t care about a stock or a mutual fund, you probably aren’t going to do much research or spend much time looking into the financial data on that investment.  When investing in rental properties a lot of due diligence is needed to ensure a good investment.  If you don’t care about houses and are just in it for the money, you may not do as well as others who love the business.

Do you have the right attitude?

Many people fear any change or starting a new venture.  I think it is perfectly normal to be nervous or apprehensive about beginning something as major as investing in rental properties.  If you let fear get the best of you and start thinking there is no way you can succeed, you probably won’t succeed.  Our mind has a funny way of helping us succeed or fail depending on how we feel.  If we are positive about our chances and believe we can accomplish something, we will be more likely to succeed.

It is easy to let others convince us our goals and dreams are not possible or flawed.  We tend to listen to them even though we have more knowledge and experience on the subject.  We let our minds convince us the naysayers must know something we don’t know and if we embark on this new adventure it will lead to ruin.  Don’t listen to them!  Be confident in your ambitions and future.  They would probably love to be starting something new and exciting, but are too scared to do it themselves.

I am not against gaining knowledge and education; I will sit and listen to experts talk about Real Estate all day long. If someone thinks Real Estate is a bad investment, because they knew some guy who once lost money on a flip I will politely ignore everything they are saying.

Are you willing to learn and change?

I have been in Real Estate my whole life, my dad has been an agent since 1978 and I have been helping him since I was 3.  Yet I still learn new things regarding Real Estate all the time.  In fact I have leaned a ton by writing and researching for this blog.  I thought I was an expert on investing and knew just about everything, before I started Invest Four More.  I was wrong, there is so much to learn and do in so many facets of Real Estate.  you don’t have to learn everything at once, just be willing to learn new ideas and accept your preconceived notions about Real Estate may not be true.

Are you disciplined enough ?

It takes money, time and patience to become a great investor.  If you aren’t willing to do what it takes to get funding, find properties and choose a good team then investing in Real Estate may not be for you.  If you don’t have a lot of Money to invest right away, which most people don’t, you may have to make changes to your lifestyle.  You may have to start a budget, cut down on some expenditures or find ways to make more money.  I personally like finding ways to make money, because I hate budgeting and cutting back!  It usually takes a long time to make your first purchase, don’t get discouraged.  If you tend to give up easy, you may not be able to last long enough to make it in Real Estate.  Once you make your first purchase it all becomes easier and everything starts to fall into place.

The key to any successful Real Estate strategy is to purchase properties below market.  It is relatively easy to purchase homes actively for sale on MLS for market value.  The difficult part is finding the great deal, acting fast and getting it under contract.  Finding motivated sellers that do not have their homes listed on MLS is a great way to find deals, but takes a lot of work and patience as well.

If you can’t imagine how you will ever get enough money to start investing check out my article on how to purchase your first rental without a huge down payment.

Do you have enough time?

You’re going to have to have some spare time to be an investor.  You’re going to have to research your plan, look at houses, manage the repairs, rent your houses or find a property manager.  If you are constantly busy and never have enough time now, think about if you have the time to add something more on your plate.  If you don’t think you have time in your life for something new, maybe you are too busy!  Your first step may be to increase the amount of spare time in your life.  I am constantly working on gaining more free time and I am working on a time budget now.  I take all the hours in the week and allocate time for sleep, work, leisure, family etc.  Looking at where you spend your time now is a great way to decide if your priorities are in the right place.

Focus is a great way to instantly increase time.  I am horrible at trying to do too many things at once.  Ultimately it takes me longer to complete my tasks, I make more mistakes and forget what I am doing when I try to multi-task all the time.  It is really hard for me, but I  when start a task now, I focus on it until I am done with it or I have spent a certain amount of time on the task.  I don’t check email, browse the internet or do anything else until I am finished with that task.

Hiring help is a great way to increase time and usually increases your results as well.  Whenever I hire a new assistant and can delegate tasks I don’t like doing, I am happier and get more done.  I also have more time to focus on the tasks I like doing, or the tasks that make me more money.  A great piece of advice I recently heard is; never work below your income.  If you are worth $100 an hour, don’t do tasks you can hire out at $20 an hour.  Focus on things that make you that $100 an hour or more and let someone else do the less important work.

Are you a people person?

Being a people person is not a requirement, but it sure helps.  The more people you know in Real Estate, the better chances you have of succeeding.  Even other investors will help you out if you are willing to go to local investor meetings.  I went to my first meeting a couple of weeks ago and I learned a lot of information and shared a lot of information as well.  If you are going to be a Real Estate investor you will have to deal with agents, title companies, inspectors, appraisers, contractors and other investors.  The better you can get along with everyone, the more you will succeed.

Don’t Give Up!

This article is not meant to discourage you, but to educate you.  It takes work, but it all gets much easier once you get your feet wet and start investing.  There are so many rewards of a successful investing plan, that I believe the fruits far exceed the labor.   A successful investor does not need to work, does not need to manage homes, and has freedom to do anything they want.  Many investors still continue to invest and manage their properties even when they don’t need the money,  because they love it!  I hope you choose to invest in Real Estate and are as successful or more  successful than I have been.

 

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How Risky is Investing in Long-Term Rentals?

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I am trying to buy as many properties as possible, because of the great returns long-term rentals provide.  I am also trying to help other investors discover the fantastic world of long-term rental properties.  However, I run into a lot of feedback from people who are scared to invest in Real Estate.  I hear; ” my friend went broke investing in Real Estate” or “my parents had a rental and it was a money pit up until the day they were forced to sell it”.  There are many horror stories involving Real Estate, but I have no doubt whatsoever long-term rentals are a great investment and I am not worried at all that I may lose money.

I am making over 24% cash on cash returns on my rental properties and I tell you how to do it in my guide. 

In another article I talk about how much money can be made with long-term rental properties.  Now that we know how much money can be made by investing in long-term rental properties.  I think most people will be very open-minded about getting into the business.  With potential for big money, many people automatically think there must be huge risk involved.  There is risk in Real Estate, just like any other investment or walking down the street.  If you have a long-term plan built to withstand market fluctuations, there is very little risk when investing in long-term rental properties.

Buy right

One key to a low risk rental strategy or any successful Real Estate strategy is to buy a property below market value.  Buying a property below market enables you to create instant equity, increase your net worth and protects you against a down turn in the market.

Lets look at rental property number 4 for an example.  I purchased the home for 109,000 in 2012.  I put about $35,000 cash into the property for repairs, down payment and other costs and my loan was about $88,000.   My break even was about $123,000 to get my full investment back out of the home.   That home was worth at least 145k fixed up and probably closer to 150k or more last year when I bought it.  Since I bought the home below market, prices would have to drop 20%, before the property would be worth less than what I had into it.  Prices would have to drop even further, more than 40% for the value to drop below my loan balance.  Even if prices nose-dived in the next year, I would be okay because I don’t need to sell the home since this property is providing about $700 a month in cash flow.

Cash Flow

I consider cash flow the most important factor in my long-term rental strategy.  I eventually plan to live and get rich off the cash flow from my rental properties.  When I buy a property and fix it up, I expect at least $500 a month in cash flow.  However, I am actually seeing much higher figures and in some cases I am getting $700 a month in cash flow.

With $600 to $700 a month in cash flow, my rents range from $1,100 to $1,400 a month.  For me to see negative cash flow, my rents would have to drop more than 50%!  It is possible that house prices could fall 20% or even 40%.  We saw that happen a few years ago, but rents did not drop 40% when the housing prices crashed.  In fact many places saw only minimal drops in rental rates, because rental rates are not based on the price of houses.  Rents are based on the supply and demand of rental properties in any given area.  If we ever see rental rates drop 50%, then either the economy has completely crashed or life altering event has changed a country or region forever.

Type of property you buy

I base my strategy on single family rental properties that are less than 50 years old.  The older the property the better the chance of a major repair needing to be done.  I have enough cash flow coming in to account for major repairs, but homes over 100 years old can have issues come up that could wipe out all equity.  It is rare, but a foundation or structural problem can make a property uninhabitable and cost tens of thousands of dollars to repair.  By purchasing newer properties, I lessen the chances of running into repairs that could wipe out my profit for a year or even two.  Here is an article on where to find a great deal on a rental property.

Then how did they lose so much money?

I won’t tell you it is impossible to lose money in Real Estate, it is easy if you don’t have a plan or are impatient.  It is not easy to buy properties below market value with great cash flow.  If it were easy, everyone would be investing in Real Estate and forget about the stock market.  The most common mistake investors make, is buying too high with negative or little cash flow and hoping a house will appreciate or rents will go up.  In this situation, the investor realizes it is not fun to constantly pay money every month into a house that may or may not appreciate.  He decides to sell and loses a lot of money, because he sold in a down market or sold too quickly to realize any gains.

Don’t be scared

If you buy right, have great cash flow, plan for the long haul and don’t buy a lemon then you will be fine.
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I Went to My First Real Estate Investor Meet Up Tonight

Photo Sep 24, 3 54 25 PM (2)I have been a Realtor and investor for over ten years and tonight I went to my first Real Estate Investor Association(REIA) meet up.  Continue reading

Working With Multiple Realtors as an Investor

realtor logoI am a Realtor so I have a definite bias on whether an investor should work with one dedicated agent or work with multiple agents.  I also can give the Realtor’s perspective on how we work and how an investor can make a Realtor/Realtor’s work best for them.  Continue reading