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Atlanta, Georgia was one of the big real estate stories of 2015 and is #5 of the top 10 markets to watch according to Realtor.com. Home prices in the metro area rose by double digits over the last couple of years, outpacing most of the nation and are finally above their 2007 high prices. Although home-prices and appreciation has leveled off to some degree, continued gains are expected in 2016. Let’s look at this growth by area (Figure 1). For the purposes of this article, we are talking about single family detached in these areas.
Figure 1: Atlanta Metro FMLS Areas Read More >>
I mentioned in the last article of this series that a master lease option (MLO) agreement is made of two separate documents. The two documents are the master lease and the option to purchase (also called an option memorandum). The separation is for many reasons, which I will cover in this article. Keeping them separated allows for more freedom and safety on your side of the deal.
The first half of the agreement is the master lease. The lease allows us to control the operations of the property. This means that if you find a deal that is distressed due to something the owner has done or not done then you can remedy those issues by controlling the daily operations with the lease. Note that I mentioned the distress coming from the owners operations. I make this remark because sometimes properties are in areas or neighborhoods that naturally have high vacancy or will be difficult to operate in general. A lease option is for fixing distressed deals not distressed neighborhoods. Make sure that a distressed asset is in a valuable area and has been mismanaged. These are the “MLO gold” that we are all looking for.
Once you have analyzed a deal and realize that better managers could do a better job… you are on the right path. The lease will allow you to hire a new management company or it will allow you to manage it better yourself. By keeping this document separate you are keeping the cash flow separated from the sale of the deal. Cash flow is a very valuable part of a lease option. The lease portion allows us to control and keep the cash generated by the asset. You will owe the seller a “rent” payment each month but anything above that is yours to keep! Read More >>
Accounting is about more than just numbers. QuickBooks lets you make documents available from within the program itself.
You could call QuickBooks a “green” computer program. It can conserve reams of paper by storing customer and vendor records, for example, emailing transaction forms, and accepting online payments.
Most small businesses are a long way from being “paperless offices,” despite the predictions so many people made when PCs became commonplace. Even though you’re making an effort to be as digital as possible with your accounting files, not everyone else is yet. So you still have to deal with paper.
And you’re probably still consulting paper documents or stored computer files or scanned images that relate to your accounting data. QuickBooks makes it possible to keep this information close at hand, easily accessible from the software itself.
The Doc Center
QuickBooks provides a centralized area for managing the documents you want to keep close at hand. The Doc Center contains tools you’ll need to work with your documents. From here, you can:
Figure 1: You’ll use the tools in the QuickBooks Doc Center to work with the documents you want to have available from within the program.
There are probably times when you have supporting documentation for invoices or tenant/vendor item records, for example. In these cases, you can attach those background documents to the related QuickBooks forms.
It’s not difficult to work with documents in QuickBooks. But if you don’t have much experience working with file attachments or scanning paper forms, we can walk you through the process.
To get started, click on the Docs tab in the left vertical pane or open the Company menu and select Documents Read More >>
I have written dozens of articles about the massive mortgage swindle the banks pulled over on us. The article that generated the most response was one I wrote in 2013 in which I detailed how Countrywide created 3.5 million fraudulent mortgages. They did it by creating a trade name (DBA) called America’s Wholesale Lender (AWL) that would write loans for them in all 50 states. Well, it took a little while, but we finally have a court ruling that could demolish the America’s Wholesale Lender scheme!
For those of you who don’t know the origins of this scheme, it all started with Countrywide trying to save some money. In order to avoid the licensing fees, corporate taxes, and regulatory costs that each state charges a company looking to operate within its borders, Countrywide created the trade name America’s Wholesale Lender, which they registered in each state. Then they got to work writing mortgages. The problem with this scheme is that a trade name is not a legal entity. It has no ability to own property, file lawsuits or hold security interests.
When a few state recorders noticed that AWL wasn’t an actual company, but a trade name, they refused to record the loans. Countrywide decided to go full throttle into the fraud and listed the lender on their mortgages as “America’s Wholesale Lender, a Corporation organized and existing under the laws of New York”. After that, their loans went through without a hitch. Read More >>
“Real estate sales was perfect training for the experience to go into public life because you learn to accept rejection, learn to meet new people, learn to work with people and find common ground.” ~ Johnny Isakson
When I invest in a property I do my research. Long ago that meant doing the fancy footwork or being active. Going to open houses, going to model homes and condos, making phone calls, and looking at advertisements in the area where I was planning to buy. Comparison shopping was a far greater task before we had smartphones and apps to help us organize all the information at a glance.
Zillow Renter’s App is ideal for those of us who invest in real estate on a regular basis. Flipping and selling is a rewarding experience but you need to do your homework. I use Zillow’s App to see what other homes are selling for, what other properties are renting for, compare that information to what my budget is for a flip.
Zillow offers a number of things in the app search that will let you be specific about your property. This way you can make the best speculative estimate about what your profit could be. Usually, in a typical real estate website search field you are limited to whatever their listings are. Zillow scans through a number of listings in your desired area. Usually the search amounts to more than 20 properties that could be a match for the property you purchased. 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 IRS is very interested in Self-Directed IRA’s (“SDIRA’s”). They are especially interested in IRA’s that invest in real estate or via trusts or via “Checkbook LLC’s”. How do I know that? Two reasons. First, several IRS employees have very directly told me so. Second, the IRS has recently changed its reporting requirements in search of this very data. Specifically, every IRA is required to file Form 5498 once per year. That form tells them the value of your IRA.
Starting in 2015, the IRS has required that new data be reported on Form 5498. Among other things, they want to know whether the IRA is investing in real estate, LLC’s or trusts. In other words, what IRS employees are telling me in audits is being reflected in regulatory changes. It all points to the same conclusion: The IRS is very interested in SDIRA’s. Which means your SDIRA needs to be up-to-snuff and reflect the latest developments in the law. Read More >>
As professionals we’ve heard it said that it is absolutely imperative that you have a really solid Power Team. A Power Team is composed of several individuals. Some of the most common in Real Estate are closing attorneys, loan officers, contractors, insurance agents and appraisers. These are all key people to any given transaction and any one of them can make or break a deal so it’s important to have ones that understand what you are doing, are on your side and have lots of quality experience.
We have had the privilege of working with many people along the way with varying levels of success. Some of these people have been nothing short of outstanding. On the flip side, let’s be honest, some are a bit of a nightmare to work with. As a result, we have learned to never underestimate what they can mean for your business. Let’s take attorneys for example.
A solid closing attorney is a critical part of your Power Team. We have literally had Sellers that were ‘on the edge’ about whether they should work with one of these ‘We Buy Houses’ people but were given an extra dose of comfort by our attorney. On the flip side, we thought we had an attorney that was on our side once literally talk down to a Seller. Sadly, it killed the deal. That particular deal was a renovation that was good for at least 50k…down the drain. Talk about a hard lesson in choosing your Power Team! Read More >>
Recently I read an article written by Michael Snyder, a graduate of the University of Florida law school. I found it very interesting. This article was titled “Sell Everything!”
His headline read, “Royal Bank of Scotland Tells Investors to Fear 2016 Financial Cataclysm.” The 20th largest bank in the world is predicting that 2016 will be a cataclysmic year and Investors should be afraid. This prediction of course is aimed at the stock market, but there is a connection between stocks and real estate many real estate investors aren’t thinking about.
As the stock market is currently going into a Bear Market and people fear losing all of the value in the stocks they own, many will panic and start to sell thinking they must get out NOW if they want to keep as much of their equity as possible. It is also important to realize that when the market goes down, the companies who issued the stock, many times must also lay off workers to stay profitable. This is the bad part that few real estate investors think about. Why is this important? It’s important because when this happens, many people won’t be able to pay their mortgage payments and slowly those people will start going into foreclosure and eventually lose their homes. For a period of time renting may be their only option. I believe owning rental property is a smart move for those who start buying income properties today. Read More >>
One of the concerns many of my students seem to run into is; once they find the deal, what do they say to the motivated sellers? How should that conversation go? On top of these concerns, many of my students say they are not really comfortable with having a conversation with a stranger, so how do they handle that conversation? How do you get over the “jitters”?
Okay, so you’ve practiced what you are going to say, you have a plan, you have your paperwork, you’ve probably procrastinated a little, then scheduled your appointment with the seller, so now what? You still feel those butterflies in your stomach and you’re still not comfortable with how the conversation with the seller is going to go. What should you say first? How should you make the offer? What if they ask you something you don’t know? What if they accept your offer? What if they don’t? Also remember that if you created your direct mail campaigns correctly in the first place you already have most of the information you need to have from the seller in order to create the deal. Read More >>
Welcome back! Last month I told you about the stigma behind the word “flipping” and how some are considering it to be illegal. Flipping houses is not illegal. Fraud is.
O.K., Back To Flipping.
What does lender fraud have to do with flipping and the stigma some of the media have placed on it? Some lenders have had so many loans default on lower priced properties sold by investors it’s opened their eyes and made them cautious, and justifiably so, if I were a lender making loans at 80%-100% of the purchase price, I’d be cautious too. In fact, I’d be paranoid, but then again I’d be neither because I’d never even consider doing it.
I have no way of proving this, but if I had to guess, I’d say 75% of all loans closed to fund low income home buyers contain some kind of false statement or fraud. Read More >>
“The home should be the treasure chest of living.” ~ Le Corbusier
As a flipper, I tend to think a lot about the people who are going to be living in the home I created for them. I’m thoughtful about the products I use while being mindful about the budget. But it all doesn’t mean a thing if I can’t generate buzz about a property. I used to do a lot of research about neighborhoods and comparison shop. But doing all that on my own using a variety of different resources eats a lot of valuable time.
Zillow is a popular website for both Realtors and those seeking a home. It has become a valuable resource. In their efforts to grow the brand, Zillow has made an app in addition to features on the desktop and mobile website.
Zillow offers a few different apps for different people. Whether you’re in the market to buy or rent or sell, it’s remarkable to have all this data at your fingertips in a mobile app. As a renter, you can see all the properties in the area that fit your criteria that are up for rent. It even shows properties that are rent to buy, and helps evaluate whether you want to invest. You can even hold a property so you don’t miss out. Read More >>
Most of us have the same financial goals. We want to take care of our families. We want to take care of ourselves. We want to work towards retirement with confidence that our decisions are the right ones, and we want to see our wealth grow. We want to retire with plenty of money left over for a comfortable lifestyle, happy and peaceful knowing that we’ve done enough to take care of ourselves should disaster strike. So what does this all have to do with a Real Estate IRA?
A Real Estate IRA is one tool you might have for getting to that goal. Although many of us share the same goals, the strategies which we employ to achieve those goals can vary. And for some people, a Self-Directed IRA invested in precious metals might be one way to get there. For other people, a Real Estate IRA might be more suited to their knowledge and experience.
How do you know if you’re the kind of person for whom a Real Estate IRA might work out? We thought you’d never ask. Read More >>
In the world of real estate investing, private lenders and real estate comps generally go hand in hand. However, many may be unfamiliar with private lenders and what they bring to the real estate industry.
I have to stress real estate investing using REIAComps to see all the private money and cash buyers is invaluable. Every new deal you do is instantly easier knowing exactly who to call when you need funding. But there is more to this topic of private money.
Money makes the world go around and real estate deals don't get done without it. Forming relationships with private investors who will fund your real estate investment opportunities is a wise choice. So the question becomes what are private money lenders and how does the borrowing process work? Glad you asked. Read More >>
QuickBooks provides multiple ways to get information about your customers, and their payments, and your company itself. The software’s Snapshots provide quick, thorough overviews.
What do you do when you need to get information in QuickBooks about customers or about payments they’ve made in QuickBooks? You have several options. You could, for example:
One of QuickBooks’ strengths is its flexibility. It helps you find the exact information you’re looking for in a variety of ways. Which one you choose at any given time depends on what screen you’re working on at the moment and precisely what slice of data you need. Read More >>
To succeed at real estate investing, or business, or life, requires bone – the right kind of bone.
Because real estate investing is pretty easy to understand – you buy a house and then either sell it or keep it as a rental – lots of folks are interested in becoming investors. Want proof? Look at all the traveling dog-and-pony shows coming through town offering their “free” seminars to a “select few.”
We get lots of calls from would-be investors who’ve attended one of these get-rich-quick-snake-oil events. Most actually believe that real estate millions can be acquired by working only thirty minutes a week and without meeting face-to-face with sellers. That’s like a doctor trying to build a successful practice having office hours from 9:00 to 9:30 a.m. and without seeing any patients. Crazy, right? Read More >>
The best statement about real estate is “Don’t wait to buy real estate. Buy real estate and wait.” by T. Harv Eker. Understanding the current market allows Buyers to maximize their ability to evaluate properties, receiving the highest value in their home search, and, Sellers to position their property to maximize money in their pocket while minimizing time on market.
Real estate is a supply driven market. When supply is less than 6 months, (currently 3.7 months), it is a seller’s market, a market condition that started in 2012. With fewer listings on the market, median prices rise, and sellers get a higher percentage of their asking price.
The number of sales, or, demand has increased this year after 2 flat years while the supply remained low. All these are indications of an improving market. Distressed properties are a negligible portion of overall sales, further reducing their negative affect on market prices. Those changes caused improvements on measurements that were already strong. The medians of sales price, sales price to list price(S/L) ratio, and days on market (DOM) were greatly improved. 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 >>
Your career in real estate is like a marriage. If you let it get boring, you’re going to make mistakes. If you don’t build it on a solid foundation, it will fall apart. In both cases, you might just lose a lot of money!
So how do you keep things new in real estate? You challenge yourself to be inspired; you stay eager to learn new things.
Do I follow my own advice? YES. Recently I took two real estate courses, and I am renewed. I am excited! These classes will help my success, and I want to share the information with you so that you can be inspired too.
In fact, in my weekly groups, I work with people like you who want to succeed. I can help you by sharing what I have learned in classes and from experience. Read More >>
In this series of articles I am going to teach you the art of using Master Lease Options to purchase real estate. I don’t know how many articles it will take to convey all the info I have…so stay tuned!
A master lease option (MLO) is a form of creative financing most often used to deal with distressed assets. I buy and teach commercial multifamily real estate so these articles will be about “master” lease options. If you are investing in single family deals then you would use a lease option. The “master” part only comes in when you are dealing with multiple units at one time otherwise it’s a lease option. You can use the info I am going to teach here to buy single, multi or any type of real estate asset.
A master lease options is simply a document or contract that you will use to control the operations and the future sale of a property without actually owning it. Sound too good to be true? It’s not. Master lease options are done in the real estate business all the time by people who know how to do them. The agreement is made up of two separate contracts, the master lease and the purchase option. Combined they form a master lease option. These two documents should always be kept separate. I will go into more detail on that in future articles. Read More >>