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When we think of the Fourth of July we think about fireworks, grilling, and being with friends and family in celebration. I am a very big pyrotechnics fan, I always have a supply of fireworks for any occasion. If there is any excuse to launch a mortar or rockets, then I am very excited. Yes, I have gotten my share of injuries. I still have my eyes and fingers. The injuries healed. This is just like getting involved in real estate. You must know the risk and rewards when you buy and sell real property.
When I am picking out the right explosives to use in a celebration I have certain criteria. The mortars have to have color and reports. I also have rules in real estate. I have certain types of houses which I will buy and others I will pass on. I will pass on certain areas. I need to know what is the profit/reward ratio. The process I use has four simple rules. The first rule is to know what you are buying. Are you buying a house, commercial property, apartments, or storage units? How big? Get it inspected so you know what you are getting yourself into. Read More >>
After closing the doors of North Georgia REIA forever, we have been reminiscing about the best lessons we’ve shared with our group.
With this in mind, here’s some sage advice from an old investor.
How do I know whether a deal is good or not? How do I know what I’m looking at? And if I decide to take the deal down, how do I get it funded fast without going to a bank?
When Kim and I began our investing careers in 1995, we thought all houses were pretty much the same. But over time and with experience, we’ve learned what types of houses make the best investments. Read More >>
This is an article I wrote a few years ago. Again I am hearing the rumblings of some of my students who believe they can buy 100 houses or more every year and it scares me to death. I believe what this article says is so important for every investor to know. That is why I decided to have this article republished.
Recently I was talking to several of my students who each said they wanted to buy 100 houses this year. These students had listened to one of the guru’s who had bought and sold over one hundred houses in one year and are now teaching people how to duplicate what they had done. I listened closely to these bright eyed inexperienced students tell me they wanted to do the same as the guru and it frightened me to death. Later over dinner, I mentioned what I had just heard to my wife. She encouraged me to tell my tale of woe about the years of agony we experienced because I got too big for my britches and against my wife’s better judgment I had tried to do the same thing myself. Read More >>
Atlanta, Georgia is one of the strongest real estate markets in the US and has favored Sellers rather than Buyers since spring of 2013. According to Realtor.com, the median list price in Atlanta has gone from just over $200,000 in 2014 to over $300,000 in 2016 and is currently leveling off. A $100,000 median price gain in two years is nothing short of fantastic. See Figure 1.
For the purposes of this article, we are talking about single family detached in these areas. See Figure 2. Read More >>
Long ago, Kim and I learned that options are an incredibly powerful deal-structuring tool that allows you to control lots of real estate for little or no money…and with very little risk! And here’s the best part: Because so few know anything about options, you have almost no competition!
Simply put, if you are not using options as one of your primary real estate investing tools, then you’re leaving a lot of money and opportunity on the table.
When most folks hear the word “option,” they automatically think lease-options. While lease-options are fairly popular, they are just the tip of the option iceberg.
Options allow you to control a property without the risks associated with ownership. You can control one (or all) of the benefits that come with ownership: income, profit, amortization, growth, use, management and tax benefits.
One of the best things about options is that you can control hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of real estate for less than $100 – and control it for decades. No other document in real estate is this powerful! Read More >>
Are You Afraid To Buy A Property Because You Can’t Qualify For A Loan Or You Have Less Than Good Credit?
Today I had an interesting conversation with one of my Advanced Life-Line students who confessed that he continues to have great anxiety and fears making an offer to buy a property even if it would be a good deal for him. He always hesitates pulling the trigger and submitting his offers because of his fears. He is really missing out on creating an income stream he really needs as well as being able to create wealth over time.
Being a new Life-Line student he has fears of buying any property where he will have to get some type of financing to pay for the properties he is making offers on. After talking to him about doing the numbers before making an offer to buy any property he felt much better but he still had fears of having to deal with the responsibilities associated with ownership he had never had to deal with. Seeing I wasn’t getting very far explaining how to buy real estate with the least amount of risk I finally decided to talk to him about a powerful way to profit from real estate without having to deal with the responsibilities of ownership, that I still use today. Read More >>
Some people avoid investing in properties due to the amount of time and energy it takes. REIA comps is a great resource to assist you in researching and deciding on a property. After your purchase of a potential property you need to actively care for your investment either by becoming a landlord or managing the property. Real estate investment can be time consuming yet rewarding, and the question is asked, how many properties can one person manage at one time? This is why investors who are looking at diversifying with real estate participate in passive real estate investing.
Passive real estate investing removes headaches for those who don't want to deal with the day to day issues of property management. There are several different ways you can do this, each with their own set of pros and cons.
One could form a partnership, general or limited, and have the partner take the responsibility of managing the property(s) your partnership purchases. To move through the loophole of having financial backing, I suggest considering working with only one to two people you know and trust. Pooling resources in a partnership allows participants to purchase more expensive properties with less outside funding. However, as suggested you need to trust your partner to take care of the properties and your best interests, and if neither of you are experienced in real estate investing, working with the Support System via REIAComps provides the knowledge you need. Read More >>
Many Investors don’t think that they can short sale an FHA loan and still make a profit, due to the guideline that FHA accepts a minimum 88% of the appraised value. I am here to tell you about an FHA deal that will bring a Pretty Profit!! This house is a 3 Bed/1.5 Bath/1.5 car garage, approximately 1200 sq ft in Casselberry. From the beginning, it was challenging since we had non-paying tenants in the home that were not as cooperative as a Seller would be for access to the property. The best part of a typical short sale is that a lender will obtain a value that is good for 90 days and if you are in a Seller’s market, you end up with a higher profit, since the values are increasing based on the sales.
The Seller just wanted out of this house debt and didn’t know what to do with non-paying Tenants!! The lead came in from my office signage. The property was listed and an offer was submitted. It took the short sale lender about 90 days before they ordered the value on the property. We were very concerned about having access to the home when the appraiser came out from the short sale lender. On an FHA deal, the short sale lender requires an appraisal on the home which is good for 4 to 6 months, versus the standard 90 days for a BPO value. Read More >>
“I like to talk to people. I've got one assistant, one Blackberry. That's my overhead. I don't text that much or email. I like to sit down face-to-face and have a conversation with you. I'm old-fashioned.” ~ Mark Wahlberg
As the owner and operator of my own business, I’ve become very self-reliant. I know that if I don’t take care of important tasks myself I will stress over them. It is hard to delegate work to others that you haven’t really had the time or know how to run background checks on. Even when you have carefully planned projects, sometimes it is difficult to find people with the qualifications you would prefer.
For the past few years now I have been discovering amazing talent online. I know it seems like a big risk, putting jobs online and hoping someone responsible answers your ad. Avoid the anxiety over in person interviews and researching qualifications, it’s time-consuming and I would rather focus my efforts elsewhere. It doesn’t mean I take hiring practices lightly, but I know where my strengths are.
There are many online freelance worker/client websites, but none other than Upwork. Upwork.com has been a great tool for my growing business. As I said, for many years I’ve been a one-man show. We all need a little help from time to time, and Upwork makes it simple and stress-free. Whether you need someone short term or long term, if there are short tasks you need to get done that you have no time for or if you want to build a working relationship with an independent contractor for the long haul, Upwork has this covered. For at least five years, the website has had some changes. It was once called oDesk, but the changes have been great improvements. Things have been simplified and there are safeguards in place for both contractors and clients. Plus you don’t need to be a large company to use this service. Businesses like Unilever, Pinterest, and NBC are just a few that use Upwork for hiring out virtual assistance specialists. Read More >>
I have made a ton of mistakes over the last 10 years of doing master lease options (MLO) deals. Would you like to avoid those mistakes? Well then read on!
A MLO Deal Is Not About You- One of the first and biggest mistakes I have made using MLOs is to think about what I want and not to give enough consideration to what the seller wants and what the property needs. Your first step in making a MLO offer is to decide if it is a fit for the seller and property. You need to find out if the seller even knows what a master lease options is. If not then you will need to spend a little time explaining it and how it will solve their immediate problems. If your offer does not solve a problem for the seller then it is likely just an offer that solves your problems. This is not likely to get accepted. Can you fix up the property using a MLO? Sometimes the answer is NO. Decide on the condition and area before you make a MLO offer. Some areas and some repairs cannot be dealt with no matter what type of offer the seller is willing to accept. You want to get good deals and solve problems not inherit someone else’s headache that can’t be fixed. Here is an acronym I use to remind myself of this process- S.P.Y. This stands for Seller, Property, You. This is the order in which you need to solve problems. Most people start a MLO offer with the reverse idea (Y.P.S.) and this doesn’t typically work. Read More >>
There are several ways to use a Realtor to help you find good quality leads for your real estate investing business. If you have not already added a good Realtor or Realtors as a part of your real estate investing dream team, now would be a good time to do so. There are many types of leads your Realtor can generate for you so let’s discuss them one at a time.
The first service your Realtor should provide for you as a real estate investor is to e-mail you the expired listings on a regular basis. You will need to set up a way for your Realtor to be paid for providing these leads. One of the ways I provide payment to the Realtor I work with is to re-list some of these properties with the Realtor once I am ready to sell them. You see the Realtors I work with sees the “bigger picture” and you need to find someone willing to work with you on a long-term basis.
You need to take the time to find a Realtor who is very creative in the way they provide leads and sell properties for real estate investors, just as I have done in my own business. And you should be working with multiple Realtors in your business in order to find a variety of leads. Read More >>
I’ve been writing this column for several years now, and I’ve covered a lot of in-depth information about the securitization swindle pulled by the major banks that led to the mortgage crisis and the Great Recession. What I’m going to do this month is to take a step back and give a quick recap of what the securitized loans scam is and how the banks got away with it for so long.
First a little background. The way a bond is supposed to work is that an investor purchases a bond from a trust. The trust then uses this money to purchase mortgages or originate their own. The trust then uses the money made off of these mortgages to pay off the bonds to their investors.
In the case of Mortgage Backed Securities (bonds issued by trusts that consist solely of mortgages), the money the investor paid to purchase the bond was never given to the trust. Since the money wasn’t paid into the trust, it never had any money to purchase or originate ANY loans. Instead the bank essentially put the investor’s money into its checking account. A note was made that said the investor purchased a bond, but the trust never received the money and a bond was never issued. Read More >>
When you think about the acronym “IRA,” what do you think about? For most people, it’s a very common recipe: an IRA is something in which you put your mutual funds, your bonds, your stocks…and very little else. It’s the beaten path to retirement, and it works for a lot of people. But others wonder if there aren’t ways to supplement this type of investment and ensure a consistent level of income for your retirement years. These are the kinds of people who start to research Real Estate IRAs.
If that sounds too complicated for you, just remember: the IRS allows for lots of different types of investments through retirement accounts. A Real Estate IRA is simply a Self-Directed IRA in which you place a real estate investment. And considering just how common of an investment real estate is—especially for America’s seniors who want to ensure that they have consistent income for the future—then maybe it’s time that you consider real estate IRAs too.
Not convinced yet? Let’s take a look at some of the most common reasons people consider these IRAs: Read More >>
Last month, we started by talking about a couple of basics that are an easy way to start setting yourself up for success with Buyers. Step 1 was Confidence and Step 2 was having an Online Presence. Both of these steps are key because people make first impressions as fast as you blink your eye these days. How you present yourself as an individual first is paramount. People do business with people they know, like and trust. The first two steps address this directly. Let’s continue with the next steps:
Step 3: Have a Real Deal
It may sound counterintuitive but if you have been in this business for a while, you know there are people that literally sit at home or work, get an e-mail from another investor, do zero due diligence if they even read the e-mail and then just click the forward button to their Buyers.
This is a fantastic way to kill your credibility in one shot using the miracle of technology. What makes it worse is there are times where the deal is not even under contract with the person sending the wholesaler the email. Then as a ‘trust everyone is doing the right thing’ investor, you forward that to your Buyers. I lost track long ago of Buyers that ‘do not like or see value in wholesalers’ because of this very thing. Read More >>
When I was going through a divorce I had no idea what to do. I was negotiating blind. I did not know what would be an equitable split. I had nowhere to look to find the answers either. The divorce attorney was not much help because they were more interested in keeping the chaos going rather than moving toward clarity. There were many variables including alimony, child support, the marital house, insurance coverage for the children, Custody rights, retirement benefits, the value on her business and mine, saving account, Christmas ornaments and the photos/ videos tapes of the family.
The way I was able to get a handle on the divorce was to set my priorities. What was most important to me? This has been covered before at the beginning of the year in the blog of setting goals. So I won’t go into it here. The next biggest thing was the evaluation of the assets. One thing that I could not put a value on was the relationship I have with my daughters.
Sounds like the same thing in real estate where there are many variables and there are a few things you cannot put a price on. So let’s make it simple to understand. Follow the money! That’s the difference between divorce and real estate. Divorce is more than the money. Real estate is about money and returns and providing service with value. If you disagree, then call me. I need to talk to you! Read More >>
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 >>
Your business is unique. Make sure that QuickBooks knows how you operate.
QuickBooks was designed to be used by millions of businesses. In fact, it’s possible to install it, answer a few questions about your company, and start working right away.
However, we strongly suggest you take the time to specify your Preferences. QuickBooks devotes a whole screen to this customization process. You can find it by opening the Edit menu and selecting Preferences.
Figure 1: The My Preferences window in QuickBooks’ Preferences
This is the screen you’ll see when you go to Edit Read More >>
Land and lots just sat on the market for years during the last economic down turn and now are a hot commodity on this hot market. What most people do not realize is that land is a much more complex transaction.
How large is the property? Typically a lot is sold with an individual price for the entire parcel. Larger tracts are often sold at a price per acre times the number of acres. Properties in downtown areas with high density zoning are sold by the square foot, so a couple of inches will change the price.
First, what is the highest and best use? Determine first whether the property in the city or in the county. If it is in city limits, go to the city’s zoning ordinances. If not, go to county zoning. Is it residential, commercial, or agricultural? What is the zoning on the property? Zoning is usually stated on tax records. Unfortunately, all the counties and cities in Georgia have their own zoning codes and what holds true about a zoning code in one area, is totally different in another. Generally speaking, in order of density: Read More >>
If you take $1.00 and double it tax-free for 20 days it’s worth $1,048,576 (over a million dollars). Take that that same $1.00, taxed at 30%, it will be worth only about $40,640 -- A LOSS of a MILLION DOLLARS! Why is this so? Because with tax-free compounding, earnings accumulate not only on the principal amount of money but also accumulate on the tax-free earnings as well. ("Earnings on Earnings"). Thus compounding combines earning power on principal and earning power on interest. Compounding has been called the ”8th wonder of the world”, a “miracle”. Compounding money at high rates of tax-free return is a definite advantage of real estate, especially with a great tax plan.
The wealthy know that taxes are a primary factor in determining whether you get rich or stay poor. Let’s say, for example, you’re able to save just $2,000 annually on your tax bill. (With a good tax plan it will be much higher). You invest the $2,000 annually in an IRA which earns a tax-free annual return of 10%. After 20 years, you’ll have over $114,000! If you can save $10,000 annually on your tax bill and invest it in a Simple IRA for 20 years, you’ll end up with almost $573,000!
$5,000 in tax savings (which is found money) as a 10% down payment can allow you to buy an additional $50,000 in real estate! Assuming a 20% yearly return you would earn $10,000 which in 5 years would accumulate to $50,000! Read More >>
Perhaps you're a new real estate investor who has thought about using real estate comps to dive into real estate investing but have been hesitant due to a feeling that the market will collapse once you get in and you will lose all your money. Well rest assured; you are not alone.
Fear touches every new investor; and no one successfully investing in real estate today would tell you otherwise. So let's address some of the most common fears and see whether we can help calm you and urge you to take the plunge into real estate investing.
Having to feed a property won't cut it; no investor wants to feed a rental property. Believe it or not, this fear might be the easiest to manage because it's straightforward: simply run the numbers before you buy, using real estate comps makes this a breeze. Obtain the property's last twelve months income and operating expenses, calculate a mortgage payment, and plug the results into a spreadsheet or real estate investment software program to determine cash flow. If the cash flow is negative, weigh the deal and decide. If the numbers work then, move forward. Read More >>
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