Michael Vazquez has been acquiring and selling investment properties since 2004. For years he provided investors with amazing wholesale deals that made them loyal investors. Eventually, Michael began investing in those same deals and partnered with his long time investors. In 2012, Michael founded Venture Realty, a real estate brokerage that caters to everyone, especially investors, builders and developers. He now mentors, consults and joint ventures with fellow real estate investors, leads a knowledgeable and talented acquisitions team that provides him and his investors with great deals month after month, and teaches every day people how to invest their 401K, self-directed IRA, CD, etc. in real estate without lifting a finger. When it comes to investing in real estate he has done much more than many twice his age.
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Today after leaving a meeting I was approached by an investor that asked where I found my leads. I answered by giving him a few examples of where I received my most recent listings. By seeing the look on his face, I could tell that he didn't like my response. I think he believed I was holding out and not wanting to share or there was something special I was doing which was/is not the case.
Like this gentleman and probably like many of you, I once too believed there was a magic bullet/formula to successfully finding a lead in real estate or anything. After speaking with many "experts" I found out that there is no such thing as a magic bullet. In fact, the only thing that really separated a bad or good investor from a great one was/is consistency. The better question is, what should I do on a consistent basis to make me successful in real estate investing or anything else? Once you know what to do consistently, and you actually do it, you will be successful. Read More >>
I am sure you've heard the phrase “fake it till you make it” but I have never believed in this. I have found more success in being the real you. Even if it means that you don't know what you're doing in something you're looking to pursue. This belief continues to work to this day. As I mentioned before, I am in the process of immersing myself in commercial real estate (CRE) as a broker and investor.
I spent many hours learning from Google, YouTube and a few podcasts. I invested the time in learning more to insure this was something I am interested in doing. Just because a person likes residential real estate does not mean they will like commercial and vis-versa. Once I was certain I wanted to do CRE I started to reach out to practitioners and investors. Obviously, I picked the brains of those in my immediate network during social gatherings but I did not have serious conversations with them until I was committed. I make it a point not to waste people's time or my own because I learned, a long time ago, that time is too valuable. Read More >>
The first thing you may have learned when you became interested in real estate investing was either the concept of other people’s money (OPM) and/or leveraging. These are key concepts to learn early so you can invest and grow faster. However, not many people show you how to find money and if you find money, how to leverage it.
There are many ways to go about finding money for your real estate investments. The easiest and guaranteed way that I know how to find money to fund real estate deals is to have solid deals. While wholesalers and some investors try and do peddle properties with slim to no margins, these types of deals will not guarantee you any respectable funding. You want to find investment properties that are at least 70% of market value minus repairs. By repair, I mean that the estimated repair budget is enough to transform the investment property into the home you are using to value the property. I bet that if you have a deal that meets this criteria you can find the funds to fund it. When you begin to look for funding you want to know you have a true deal. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT take another person’s information as being correct. Do your own due diligence. The last thing you want to do is attempt to raise money with a property that is not a deal. Read More >>
I have always been surprised by the lack of time investors, wholesalers and even real estate agents put into properly advertising an investment deal. They all invest an endless amount of time and money on contracting a deal, only to drop the ball on the advertising side. Many times you can take the numbers, CMAs, spreadsheets, etc. that are used to advertise a property and in a few minutes pick the deal apart. Maybe it is a lack of time or knowledge but unfortunately I feel most of the time it is an attempt to mislead or just make a paycheck. Sometimes the info looks so well put together and impressive that it might even slip by an experienced buyer. Therefore you must know your numbers.
If you are a wholesaler, investor and/or real estate agent you really need to know your numbers. There is not a day I do not receive a wannabe deal that looks good at first glance. However, once I take a closer look, it is as bad as the ones I just deleted. Let us start with the most obvious mistake, the numbers. So the very first thing I do is add the recommended repairs plus the asking price and divide it by the estimated after repair value (ARV). I like for this number to be between 70%- 75% loan to value (LTV). Nowadays, this number is 80%+ which is usually not worth the headache unless the property value is higher. But even then, I try to stay away from that high of a LTV. Heck sometime the property is marketed at one LTV when it is a completely different LTV. Read More >>
A few months ago, I began learning about and got more involved in apartment investing. I wrote about the steps I took to make industry contacts while building credibility. Fast forward to now and my work is definitely paying off. In many ways, the results I was looking for are coming to fruition but there are also other results, that I did not expect, that are appearing as well.
Some results I expected from my efforts were credibility, partnerships, maybe a mentor, an actual deal, financing and much more that will definitely come with patience and more work. At the beginning I thought credibility was going to the hardest part but it was not. Because I had done my homework and took the time to learn this niche, the people who I spoke with respected the dedication. Another surprise was that all my single family investing actually carried some credibility of its’ own into the apartment investment crowd. From many articles, podcasts, videos, etc. I was led to believe that the multifamily crowd looked down on the single family residential (SFR) investors but it simply was/is not true. In fact, while SFR investing is not a prerequisite, there are many ex- SFR investors who invest in multifamily. These are the people that relate to my current situation and have been eager to provide information and guidance. These relationships have grown into discussions around partnerships and potential financing. While I have still not identified an official mentor I am treating all the assistance I am receiving from multiple investors as a mentorship. This also gives me the opportunity to discuss one aspect of apartment investing with multiple investors so I can then try and decipher which information is best for me and/or which information I personally want to apply. While I have not actually found a multifamily deal that I personally like, I have underwritten many properties. Just like SFR investing, it’s a numbers game. Read More >>
If you ask my investors, private lenders, contractors, buyers, sellers, friends etc. to describe me, which I did, they will all tell you that I am easy to work with, a nice guy, dependable, hardworking and focused/ determined. These were the most common replies. To be honest I was a bit surprised. I expected the hardworking, dependable and focused, I was happy to hear nice guy but easy to work with was not on my radar.
Easy to work with was not something I would have used to describe myself so I decided to investigate. When I partner with other investors and/or private lenders I try to include in the agreement that I will be the final decision maker when it comes to renovations. Obviously, this does not always happen but I try. I do not do this to be controlling. I like it this way because everyone gives their opinions to me or the assigned person and that person makes a decision and executes. This keeps the project moving along smoothly. I’m also the person who actually reads through agreements and lender documents so if there is something that does not add up I make sure it is corrected and/or honored. There have been many instances where I have called the private lender to correct the documents his/her attorney sent that contained terms that were not agreed upon. I would have thought they would have said I was picky or a difficult partner or borrower but it was quite the contrary. They appreciated the fact that I was detailed and understood that I was simply making sure I got what was agreed. One person said that this actually made them even more comfortable with lending me money. Read More >>
Having met with numerous new investors and/or wholesalers, I am always asked, “How do I get more properties? Where can I find more deals? What kind of marketing do you do to get leads?” The questions continue with the same idea in mind. I understand that you are eager to start and begin marketing in order to get your first deal done, but are you truly ready? In most cases I would say, NO.
Marketing is not cheap and you may be throwing away money if you do not have a good foundation in sales, or better yet problem solving. Over the years, I have made more money solving problems than “selling” a person on selling me their property. In fact, I am rarely the highest bidder. I attribute this to being able to come up with the best solution to the seller’s problems. Most would assume that the property for sale is the problem but many times that is only the start. Usually a person is selling a property to get rid of a headache and/or to realize a profit in order to solve another lingering problem. Problems can be as small as not being able to repair the property to as big as being behind a year or more on mortgage payments. Let me give some examples to demonstrate what it is I am referring to. Read More >>
With the internet, fake news and social media anyone can create a persona and/or a story and have people believing it is true. With a great marketing plan, a website, paid likes, paid followers, a cheap book on Amazon written through research as a top seller and some know how you can be the next real estate guru. And who knows, maybe you end up knowing more IN THEORY than actual successful investors but it would only be in theory. Therefore, you should be cautious of who you are giving your money to and more importantly who you are learning from. Here are a few questions you should ask along with a few acceptable answers.
The number one thing to do is find referrals. I do not mean the testimonials on their website, unless you personally know of that person in your market area, but someone in your local REIA that has used that person and has hopefully had success. Ask them if the guru and/or their program provided what it advertised. However, also keep in mind that you have to ask detailed questions to find out if that person actually implemented the program. For this reason, you want to find as many referrals/users as possible. Eventually you will begin to notice a consistency that the program was not as advertised, good but lacked content, ok for a beginner, not worth buying, terrible or maybe so bad they will give you the content. Read More >>
In the last article, I briefly discussed the beginning of my venture into apartment investing. I encouraged people to do some self-learning before going to networking events so you have a better idea about what is going on. While attending plenty of networking events and having a handful of meetings, I realized that you may have something the person you are looking to for advice wants to learn from you. This works out great because in all my articles I discuss the importance of win-win scenarios.
Let me explain what has happened in my pursuit in learning how to invest in multi-family. First, most multi-family clubs or gurus want you to spend $5,000-$25,000 for them to teach you how to invest in multi-family. The lower end is reasonable but you don’t get much and the higher end is crazy. I’d rather take that money and be a limited partner in an actual deal. Keep in mind I am referring to multifamily with a purchase price of at least 1MM and/or 50+ units. I have participated in much smaller multifamily properties. Luckily, I found some great people that I hope will be able to teach me what I need to learn to be successful. They told me it was not worth investing that much when they were willing to do it in exchange for my time and expertise. Read More >>
The last month or so I have been looking more and more into investing in apartments. However, I did not attend local MeetUps or other groups dedicated to apartment investing until this week. I self-educated as much as possible through books, podcasts, YouTube video and articles. I did this to prepare for the meetings and it paid off.
The reason I learned as much as possible before attending these apartment investing meetings was so I can understand what was being discussed. I have led single family investment groups in the past and caught myself speaking over many of the attendees. It was not done intentionally but because I had been doing it for so long I was doing it unconsciously. I have also seen other instructors and speakers do the same thing. Read More >>
For the last few years I have been giving out advice on how to invest in real estate. On top of that I have been giving out the content for free. However, there are a large number of you who have not or will not take action. At some point you have to take everything you have learned here and everywhere else and take action. Do not be another “paralysis by analysis” type.
The number one thing that you need to do is find a deal. A real deal that anyone would buy, finance and/or want to partner on. In most markets that I am in that magic number is currently 70% LTV minus repairs, sometimes 75% LTV minus repairs. Many would say that these deals do not exist but I am purchasing at least one on these deals each month. You do have to do due diligence on plenty of not so attractive properties but if you look at enough properties you will find a deal. When you find a deal, do not hesitate to write the contract and lock the deal up. Take ACTION! If you write an option contract you have nothing to lose but the option money, which can be as low as $10 but usually $100. This is where your negotiation comes into play. During this option period you will do more extensive due diligence and discover if you really do have a deal. Read More >>
I’ve partnered with many investors and the one thing that I continue to see over and over again is the fact that the investor falls in love with the house. What I mean by that is they become attached to the property itself instead of the financials, which is not the ideal situation.
You've heard many people say in the past it's just business and that's exactly what it should be, just business. When you purchase a property to renovate and sell or rent, you should only be interested in the numbers and location. I hear many newbie investors and some seasoned investors comment that they really love an area or they really love a house but that's not what they should be focused on.
As an investor you should first say I love these numbers, I like the ROI and/or I like the potential cash flow. If the numbers work then you can start deciding whether or not you like the area, feel comfortable going there to collect rent, or if you are flipping, would you consider keeping the home as a rental if it does not sell. More or less this should be your train of thought as an investor. If it is not, you may start getting into a little bit of trouble. Read More >>
If you are going to meet a seller you will inevitably hear objections to the first price you offer. You can be as little as $1,000.00 off the seller’s asking price and the seller will still look to get you to the asking price. It is in our human nature to try to look out for our best interest so do not get upset. All you simply have to do is prepare for the most common objections and get the seller to agree with you.
Here are the objections I run into the most and how I have been able to successfully overcome them.
Real estate investing is easy once you have an idea of what you are doing but there are many moving parts. The one gear that can make or break a real estate investment project is the execution of the renovation. You could have bought the property for the right price, this is where you make your money, but not properly executing a renovation can kill all the hard work done upfront.
Before I learned how to contract properties, wholesale and/or invest, I knew the cost of construction and materials. I was into DIY before it was mainstream. At first it was by force because my father had me helping him with projects around the house. Later in life it grew on me. It pains me still today to pay for items I know I can do myself but it no longer makes business sense for me to do those items. I remember a contractor trying to charge me above retail prices because I was young, well dressed and an investor. After I explained the process of the work he was being hired to do, the cost of the material and the time it will take, I asked for a realistic price. Not to my surprise I received an amazing price. I still do this today when contractors try to overcharge and it usually works. In fact, they respect me more for it. While you are not doing the work you want to know what goes into doing the renovation. How can you hire a contractor if you do not know what he is being hired to do? Also, do not judge a contractor only by a finished product but from start to finish. I have walked projects that looked great but once I “looked under the hood” I notice the craftsmanship was lacking. Read More >>
Many people expect to learn how to invest in real estate from seminars, books, videos, etc. but until you actually pull the trigger and go all in you will not know how to invest in real estate. Yes, you will learn the procedure and steps involved but those usually do not go as planned either. As Mike Tyson once said, “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” Well, real estate is no different.
I know you heard this a million times but if this was easy there would be more people doing it, successfully. The amount of people that attempt to invest in real estate has increased drastically in the last few years. Suddenly, overnight, everyone was able to “BUY HOUSES CASH.” It might be due to all the new television shows, new investment clubs, one year old gurus, a volatile stock market, etc. but whatever the reason more people are giving real estate investing a shot. The best thing you can do when investing in real estate is to pay attention to the details. This can be the difference between getting punched in the mouth and moving forward or giving up because it was too much. Read More >>
Leads, leads and more leads. No matter if you plan to wholesale, fix and flip, fix and rent, subject-to, owner finance or anything else involving real estate you must have leads. Some may agree with this statement and some may disagree but any time I needed anything in real estate, it was resolved by simply finding a great lead/deal.
I have heard investors and newbies alike say that they need to find financing or private money before finding a deal. While financing is important it cannot be put to work without a deal. I would argue that it is easier to find financing than it is to find a great deal. In fact, if you think you have a real deal and can't find financing you may not have a good enough deal. Or it is possible you may not have the experience some lenders require. If this is the case and you really do have a deal there are investors out there that will partner with you. If it is your first investment it may be wise to partner with someone. Partnering with a veteran real estate investor can be invaluable. You will be making him/her money so they will be more willing to answer the hundreds of question you have been wanting to ask. Another way to tell if you have a great deal is if investors are requesting to take the deal off your hands. Sometimes when I'm approached to partner or lend on a deal, and it is a no-brainer of a deal, I ask if they would be willing to wholesale. I've always said, "You don't ask, you don't get." It is always worth asking. Read More >>
Today, social media is the big thing many real estate professionals use to market for business, at least it should be. Everyone is Facebooking, Tweeting, Blogging, Vlogging, hash tagging, etc. but how many of you still make it a point to go out and do mass socializing face to face. When was the last time you went to a happy hour, a luncheon, and/or door knocking? Yes I said door knocking. In no way am I taking anything away from online social media but it works better when done in collaboration with face to face interactions.
Today everyone is focusing on online branding and marketing. Everyone claims to be the best in their field and some go as far as to make claims they cannot prove. So what do you do to stand out? Obviously, the number one thing to do is keep all those promises your marketing makes and collect testimonials. If you want to solidify your position in your marketing area or dominate your niche you want to get out there and let yourself be seen.
Many successful investors, real estate agents, title company reps, insurance agents, etc. have said to me they were too busy to attend a networking event. Sometimes I am caught by surprise because those same people were the ones I would see at every event in town. Admittedly, in the past, I too have gotten comfortable with socializing online and neglected the face to face interaction. When deals were a bit more difficult to locate I began attending the networking events I attended religiously in the past. And as you can imaging the number of potential investment properties I was sent increased and a few were actually worth looking into. The real investors here know what I’m talking about. I also had the opportunity to meet many newbies that were looking for assistance on how to wholesale. I was always more than happy to assist new wholesalers that are committed. I benefited by being the first person to see the deals they found. The best part is I taught them to identify real deals that I or any true investor would buy. Read More >>
The majority of veteran real estate investors are quick to share the good but rarely share the bad and or mistakes that comes with investing in real estate. When things are going great you will feel like you can do no wrong. You’re purchasing the majority of your leads, all the renovations are coming in on budget and/or your homes are selling with very few days on market. The truth is, if you invest long enough you will encounter some of the bad experiences all investors before you and after you will experience.
My most recent mistake could have been avoided but I gave one of the sellers a bit too much trust. This one particular property took an entire year to close. There were about 33 heirs that needed to sign off on the sale of the property. Most of the heirs were cooperative but there were a few that refused to sign until the other 29 people signed, claiming they did not want to waste their time. While there were 33 heirs only one person lived in the home. He seemed like a good guy who was just down on his luck so I agreed to let him stay in the home past closing so he could use his profits to relocate. Read More >>
If you are a smart investor you read and stay up to date with the market. But as you read, you find that different people have different opinions as to why the real estate market has shifted, which range from the presidential election, the stock market, the price of a barrel of oil, employment reports, changing interest rates, etc. The fact is, all these are intertwined and they all have a chain reaction effect on real estate. While you cannot make a huge immediate impact on the direction of any of these factors, you can make changes in your game plan for investing in real estate in the New Year.
As we all know, the real estate market is cyclical. The majority of last year the market was at the height of its cycle. At the end of the year to present the market has begun to cool down or at least level off. Investors are no longer purchasing houses expecting one sales price and selling it for a much higher price because it “appreciated” while it was being renovated. Today investors are selling their investment properties for the original after repair value they had projected or a bit less if the renovation was not up to par. This has become the new norm. With that said, there are still a few sub markets in each of our markets that continue to sell fast and for record prices. However, those too will eventually cool down. I have mentioned many times that it is best to purchase investment real estate based on today’s values not anticipated appreciation one cannot control.
Here are a few items I would recommend when investing in real estate in today’s market. Read More >>
The number one question that new investors and/or wholesalers ask is, “How do you find your real estate deals?” Many times I think they are searching for some sort of magic secret that leads to an unlimited supply of investment deals, but we all know there is no such thing. However, they are surprised to know that there are many ways to find deals that take little to no money but does take time and discipline.
If you have ever been in a sales position the first thing trainers ask you to do is write down everyone you know that can help you. The great thing is that you already have multiple lists in the palm of your hand, literally. Everyone in your phone contact list can be a potential seller or know someone that is selling their home. In addition, you may have social media outlets such as Facebook, twitter, google+, LinkedIn, etc. that each has more and more people that can assist you in finding deals. By only reaching out to these lists you may come across a few real estate investment opportunities that you like. All these leads at your disposal and it did not cost you a dollar. You might think that there will not be a distressed seller in your network, and while that may be true they might know someone who is. Simply telling everyone you know you are looking for investment real estate will lead to finding a deal. Read More >>
Entrepreneur’s minds go a hundred miles an hour in many directions. This can be great at times and at other times not so great. In the case of real estate investors, it tends to be the latter. Real estate investors have a habit of learning how to make money in one aspect of real estate investing and then another and then another etc.
Before the investor realizes it, he/she is just doing what comes easiest and not considering the most profitable exit strategy. Or worst, the investor has not fully learned one strategy and is not maximizing profit. How can you solve this issue? FOCUS!
Investors usually progress in the following order: bird dog, wholesaler, flipper, landlord, and lender. This is not mandatory but it tends to be a natural progression for many. At the beginning bird dog will usually only bird dog because it is all they know how to do. Naturally, by being in the real estate investing community, they begin to learn how to wholesale.
At this point, the wholesaler will still be pretty focused but then he/she begins to buy-fix-sell properties. This is where it gets tricky. Should the investor wholesale a property he/she finds or invest in the property himself/herself. This question comes up every time the investor puts a property under contract.
Then after a few homerun deals the investor decides it is time to begin keeping a few homes as rentals. A few months go by and now the question to wholesale, fix-sell, or fix-rent begins soon after placing a property under contract. Read More >>
In many past articles I have stressed the importance of knowing the current real estate market. You should take note when property prices are rising, falling or plateauing. If you are a flipper, is your inventory selling faster or sitting on the market longer? If you are a wholesaler, are you having to work harder to find deals or have you suddenly found an abundance of deals? Are the deals you are finding getting easier or harder to sell? If you are a real estate agent or work closely with one, is his/her listing receiving multiple offers and flying off the board? Or are they sitting on the MLS with a few showings here and there? These are questions you should always be asking as a real estate investor.
One can always pick up an article or see a news report about what is going on in real estate but it is usually a report of real estate as a nation not just your market place. Most realtor associations have monthly reports that are helpful but they are not out until the middle of the following month. As an investor, even these reports may be too late in providing the information. If you are in real estate or plan on being in real estate you must keep your finger on the pulse. If you are doing plenty of business you will feel the change in the market and can begin to prepare for it immediately. However, if you only dabble in real estate, you might not know what is coming around the bend. If you dabble or are just getting started make sure to network with people that are full-timers. If you find a deal you plan on flipping or holding on to for a rental, discuss it with a veteran investor. They can mentor you on the best option and possibly keep you from making a mistake. Read More >>
As a real estate investor you must always adjust to new market trends, rules and regulations. Recently, as any good investor should know, the industry has been having to make some changes due to the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure rule. These changes have and will continue to affect any person closing a property involving an owner occupant loan.
Investors that renovate properties to sell will need to add at least an extra month or two of carrying costs. Why? Well, while not going into too much detail, all HUDs will need to be approved by the buyer and underwriter at least 3 days before closing. In reality, this will mean that the delay may be as many as 6 days because we all know how long underwriting can take. Some investors may not know this, because it is normally not enforced, but currently buyers are supposed to receive a HUD 2 days prior to closing. However, the norm for most closings is having a HUD prepared the day or evening before or the morning of the closing. I have even witnessed some buyers and sellers not receive a HUD until minutes before closing. This way of doing business will soon be gone and I for one like this part of the change. Originally the changes were to be enforced in August but the enforcement date was changed to October 3rd. Therefore, make sure your lenders and title companies are ready for these changes and do not delay your closing any more than needed. Read More >>
Wholesalers send me deals daily but I have started to notice that many of these wholesalers are wholesaling another wholesaler’s property. Before proceeding, I want to be clear that I have no issue with this but there is a right way and a wrong way to go about it. Also, understand that if a buyer/investor receives the same property from multiple sellers he/she will contact the seller with the best price. Wouldn’t you? Keep in mind that you did nothing to acquire this property. You merely sent it out to a buyers list you put together, which with today’s technology takes only a few minutes. So what should you avoid and what should you do when wholesaling a wholesale?
Let’s list a few of the major DON’TS:
Anytime real estate investors get together the question immediately asked is, “How is your buying/contracting going?” What they are asking is do you have a good amount of leads coming in, where are those leads coming from and are those leads any good. Of course, mostly everyone says they are doing great. Personally, I like to “keep it real.” If leads are low I admit it because I know that they will eventually come in. Meanwhile, I continue working and following up with all the leads in the pipeline. The follow up is what keeps a real estate business, or any business, consistently profitable.
In real estate, you are not going to crush it week after week, month after month. Real estate fluctuates and what works one day may not work the next. The key is consistency. If zero seller leads are generated one month from mailers, it does not mean I stop sending letters, it just means mailers did not generate leads this month. The same can be said for internet marketing, bandit signs, networking, flyers, etc. As a real estate investor you must always market through as many avenues that provide the greatest returns. In some markets bandit signs may generate lead after lead while in other markets you get zero calls. I usually test out new marketing strategies for about six months. During those six months I keep records of the cost, leads coming in, appointments set, contracts signed, number of closings, and of course profit. This lets me know if the marketing is working or not. It also lets me know if the lack of closings is due to the marketing or the people receiving the leads. If people are clogging the deal pipeline it may mean they need more training. In other words, make the adjustments where they are needed to convert more leads. Marketing will always require tweaking and more tweaking just when you think it is “perfect.” While all this is helpful and profitable the number one cause of profit is in the FOLLOW UP. Read More >>