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“I always say shopping is cheaper than a psychiatrist.” ~Tammy Faye Bakker
The other day I was in the grocery store picking up some milk. In the checkout line, the checker asked the guy ahead of me if he had one of those loyalty cards. Well, this guy took out a shoebox full of those cards – a shoebox! –and started searching through them. It took forever!
Okay, maybe I made that up. Actually, if anyone needs a shoebox for those cards, it’s probably me. And if I were to pull out that shoebox in the checkout line, I’ll bet no jury would convict the checkout lady if she shot me right then and there.
Now, just in case there’s anyone who still doesn’t know about loyalty cards, it’s time you did. They’re promotional wallet cards that big retailers and businesses give out, usually for free. When the checker scans the barcode on the back (or when you give the checker the phone number they have on file for you), you can get all kinds of deals that are only available for people who sign up. Read More >>
Signage is an important tool for you to use in your real estate investing business. Using signage is another inexpensive way to draw motivated sellers and deals to you. Many real estate investors find that signage can produce more deals in a year than some of the other methods they use in their businesses. Once again, you need to test and track the results in your own business. There are several different types of signage you can use. Some are permanent, some are temporary. Some are very inexpensive and some will cost more. I will discuss several different types of signage I have used in my own business.
One type of signage you can use is magnetic signs or vinyl lettering that goes on your vehicle. You can also "wrap" a vehicle with signage. Wrapping a vehicle means signage all the way around it. There are sign companies who will design this type of signage for you. This is a little more expensive and a little more permanent; however, it can be easily removed should you decide to sell your vehicle. Magnetic signs work very well, especially if you only own one vehicle. Sometimes you will be working with a seller who doesn’t want their neighbors to know they are selling their house and you will need to remove your signage before going to see that seller. Make sure your message is short and to the point since other drivers have only seconds to see your message unless your vehicle is parked. Read More >>
You may have noticed that the Atlanta market in general is hot right now. Prices are going up. The newspaper is telling people values are going up. CNN, Fox and more are reporting more new developments every week it seems. If you are a homeowner, this is the news you have been wanting to hear. ‘Sellers’ market!’ is being proclaimed by agents in recent months and to a reasonable degree, that is the case.
So where does this leave you as a wholesaler? I would argue it leaves us in one of a few positions:
Which is the right answer? As a wholesaler, clearly number 3 and to some degree number 2 if you want to branch out from just wholesaling. Yet answer number 1 is the answer that seems to be taken by the majority of wholesale deals that cross my desk. Read More >>
Intuit discontinued its own QuickBooks mobile app a while back, but there's still plenty of processing power available for your smartphone or tablet.
In days gone by, running a company was a 40 hour per week proposition. You might have taken work home some evenings or gone into the office on weekends.
Those days are over, thanks to the internet and mobile technology. This fundamental change in the way we do business means that it's now hard to get away from work. Your smartphone and tablet are usually within easy reach, and they're always tempting you to check in.
On the flip side, that kind of 24/7/365 accessibility has numerous benefits. There are, for example, apps that can be integrated with your desktop QuickBooks company file, which enable you to: Read More >>
Unless you are already rich and have all the cash you need to build your real estate empire, you will probably need to explore the world of private money. Private money can come in many different forms such as investor’s capital, private loans, and hard money loans. Most real estate entrepreneurs start with capital from friends and family. This may be the best place for you to start raising money for your deals. Depending on the relationships you have with your friends and family will determine if this a good place to start or not. They may be willing to join you in your deal or they may still see you as the person they remember growing up and not the new real estate mogul you are now. Regardless of their opinion the best way to start raising money from your immediate contacts is to focus heavily on your real estate education. Friends and family will know you are new to the business and may be hesitant to jump in. If they see the amount of education and work you are putting into your new business then that attitude may change.
When you are ready to start farming cash from new sources then you need to start by networking. Networking is one of the best business skills you can learn. In the beginning most people are nervous about networking. I have found that this is usually because the person is not comfortable enough discussing the subject of real estate. Again you need to be constantly working on your education. This will lead you to be able to network confidently, discuss and answer questions, and to start building trusting relationships with new investors. If you are not comfortable and confident in your ability to discuss real estate investing they will not likely be confident in you. Read More >>
Calculating costs to purchase, fix and resell a house has always been a downfall for many Investors. At a recent Real Estate Investor Meeting, I heard a great explanation of how people come up with their numbers. You all need to be sure you don’t fudge your numbers and fool yourself into thinking you are going to make a profit. This Article focuses on all the things you must consider when purchasing a property, such as holding costs, cost of the money, and closing costs that you will incur on properties.
When a student contacts me on a property and says “This is a great deal,” I always ask “Why do you think so?” Their response is “because.” Well….”because” is not a good enough answer. This is how I analyze a deal. First, I look for the Sold comps in the same subdivision that have sold in the past 90 days. I will then look at a total of 6 months in that subdivision. I look at square footage, garages, bedrooms, bathrooms and pools. I then look for the Active, Active with Contract and Pendings which all affect the value of my property. I budget accordingly as if I am going to hold it for at least 4 months, which is required in order to sell to a retail buyer with FHA funding. Depending on the price point, about 80% of our buyers have FHA funding. I look at the Active, Active with Contract and Pendings and note what ‘type’ of listing they are. If they are short sales, I really give weight on these sales because it’s very possible they would not be bank-approved and could sell lower or higher than list price. If they are Pending sale which is a straight sale, I can assume that they are close to list price; however, until they sell, I can’t be sure. I will then look on MLS or REIFAX and search a half mile radius to see what other comparables I can find. Based on all the comps and the repairs in which I plan on doing, I will determine if I believe the value of the home will be close to the middle value of the comparables or the high value of the comparables. Read More >>
Last month, I taught you about two ways to make money in real estate. I covered retailing and wholesaling. Those two methods generally involve buying houses that are in need of repairs at a deeply discounted price. This month, I will teach you about the other two ways to profit in real estate that is considered to be the Pretty House Business.
Lease-Options – Many people are not aware you do not have to buy a property to profit from it. In the case of lease-options, we lease it from the seller with an option to buy it at some predetermined price and term. Our objective then is to install another tenant-buyer in it, sublease it for a higher price and monthly payment, then collect a non-refundable option deposit from our buyer. In my case, the minimum is usually $10,000 except on a few very low end houses where I’ll accept about $5,000. This deposit never gets returned to the buyer if they do not close. It does, however, get applied to their down payment. But if they move out of the house and don’t close on it they lose the deposit. That’s made real clear up front, and since all of our transactions are closed with an attorney, it’s made clear at the lease-option closing as well. Read More >>
Really good real estate investors know and rely on the valuation of their deals as the key to success and profits. The economic slump that richer countries have suffered during the past seven years can be blamed on a runaway housing bubble that started right here in the U.S. All the market areas covered by REIAComps, insure when pricing changes happen you are not caught off guard.
When it comes to the tic of the housing bubble, there were other issues like poor oversight of the broader financial system which led to the crash. But without the real estate bubble, there would likely have been no financial crisis.
Which is why the fact that similar-looking bubbles inflating in countries from Canada to the U.K. have economists worried that there might be other catalysts of future crises laying wait for us in the weeds.
Last week, in a Forbes article, IMF economist Min Zhu published an article called “Era of Benign Neglect of House Price Booms is Over,” in which he sounded the alarm over rising global home prices. Zhu explains how he determines whether home prices in a particular country are overpriced. Read More >>
Recently I was coaching a student, and we came across what appeared to be an excellent opportunity. Because of my knowledge of the area, I was immediately able to give the student the right price to offer. I showed him how to negotiate the contract, which he did perfectly.
The result? With my knowledge, we were able to do only minimum work. While we found that the property wasn’t the deal we expected, we did so without wasting time. Since time equals money, it is essential to know your market so that you don’t work too hard for nothing.
We decided that this student, a new investor, was going to buy a house for $5,000 and wholesale it to an area landlord. Rents there were approximately $800/ month. Rehabbing would be close to $30,000. When we subtracted management, vacancies, taxes, insurance, and maintenance, the property would earn a 20% return. This was a great opportunity for anyone who wanted to become a landlord in that area—and a great opportunity to make a $7000 wholesale fee. Read More >>
I have noticed over the past months that almost everyone I talk to today tell me they want to be a wholesaler. These people want to wholesale deals as a way to generate fast money to pay their living expenses each month. What in the world is going on here? Why is it that all of a sudden everyone wants to become a wholesaler when there are so many other different ways to profit from real estate other than wholesaling?
Don’t get me wrong I’m not suggesting that wholesaling isn’t a great way to get started as a real estate investor. All I am suggesting is wholesaling is only one way to make money buying real estate but it’s not necessarily the best way in my opinion. Having done many wholesale deals over the years I have come to the conclusion that if the only way you buy real estate is wholesaling where the investor either buys or gets the property under contract with the seller and then resells the property to another person or assigns their assignable purchase agreement to another investor and passes along the deal you structured with the seller for a fee. Read More >>
Recently, I was in one of my favorite marketing forums (name withheld) where I usually exchange brilliant ideas with other geniuses, and one of the members happened to mention some negative things about real estate, some of the teacher/gurus, and how ‘this real estate stuff doesn’t work.’
This guy was insulting several of our well-known teachers that we’ve come to know and love. After reading a little bit of what he said, it was clear to me that he hadn’t done any deals, and like most people who say this kind of stuff, was speaking from a place of ignorance and/or frustration.
“Guru X is a scamming d-bag who only makes money from selling courses!”
“Guru Y USED to do deals, but not anymore, and now he just sells this stuff to people who don’t know any better.”
Normally, I don’t like to waste my time with small-minded or ignorant people. But in this case, I chose to set things straight, because there were plenty of other people who would also be reading what was said. And those people deserved to hear the truth. Read More >>
Over the past twenty years, Kim and I have bought a wide variety of investment homes – everything from a one-bedroom, one-bath duplex to a six-bedroom, four-bath McMansion. Experience has taught us what makes the best – and worst – rental property!
Jack Miller said: Everything else in real estate is harder than a house. With that said, Kim and I stay away from townhomes, condos, duplexes and apartment buildings. We’re not saying these are bad investments; it’s just that they require a lot of hands-on attention, and our goal is freedom, not a j-o-b.
When it comes to single-family homes, the most in-demand property is a three-bedroom, two-bath home…with a garage…without steps…on a level lot…in a nice, convenient neighborhood. We call these Walmart houses.
Think of a Walmart house this way: Go to a checkout register at Walmart that has ten people in line. You hold up a picture of your investment property and ask, “Who would like to live in this home?” You want eight out of ten hands to go up. Next – and this is the most important question of all – you ask, “Who can afford to live in this house?” The eight out of ten hands need to stay up. If several hands drop, then your rental property is too high-end – which means you’ll have fewer prospective tenants able to afford the monthly rent…and having fewer applicants is not better when it’s time to rent your property! Read More >>
Buying properties for your real estate IRA is competitive. That’s especially true for investment properties, where it’s critical to buy properties at an advantageous price. Real estate investors must be more price-sensitive than retail buyers and owner-occupants.
But these days, It’s routine in many markets for buyers to encounter competitive bidding situations: Where multiple buyers are making offers on a given property at the same time.
According to data from the Redfin Corporation, 61 percent of offers from their agents were facing competition from other buyers in March of 2015. This number has bounced around between 45 percent and 75 percent – the high coming in early 2013. But the number seems to have made a substantial uptick in recent months, zooming from the 45 percent low at the end of 2014 all the way back up to 61 percent in just a few short months.
In San Francisco, 94 percent of offers are facing competitive bidding, according to the brokerage company’s agents. Read More >>
If you ask most people they would probably tell you that the foreclosure crisis is over, and that we’re in the middle of a housing recovery. The fact of the matter is that foreclosures are continuing, but the banks have slowed and managed the process a bit to keep the government off their backs. That’s the bad news. The good news is that a recent Supreme Court ruling has provided homeowners with a silver bullet that could stop a foreclosure in its tracks!
As spelled out in a January ruling by the Supreme Court, a homeowner’s right to rescind their loan could immediately stop a foreclosure. The right of rescission is essentially a consumer protection built into the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) that allows a borrower to rescind their loan if the lender failed to fully comply with all of the requirements of TILA. As you might imagine, TILA violations are incredibly common. So how does the right to rescind stop a foreclosure? It’s simple. From the moment you drop your notice of rescission in the mail, the note and mortgage are nullified. The bank can’t foreclose on a note and mortgage loan that have been nullified. The bank has 20 days to challenge the rescission, but until they have effectively argued that they have the right to enforce the note and mortgage (without being able to use the note or mortgage in their proof of standing, the foreclosure cannot continue. It should be noted that this only works on primary residences. It will not work on second homes or investment properties. This also works better on refinance homes than on original mortgages, but it is still possible on original mortgages (purchase money mortgages). Read More >>
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 >>
Most real estate investors have heard of the “Note Business” but many misunderstand it while others think that it is completely separate from the real estate business. The fact is, most real estate investors are in the note business, and they just don’t know it. The note business is the financing side of the real estate business.
Note Business in the Simplest Terms
The note business is based upon the purchase, sale and assigning of two documents: the promissory note and the mortgage agreement. These two documents represent a promise to pay and a solution for non-payment.
Note = Promissory Note = IOU (I Owe You)
Mortgage = Collateral Agreement = Foreclosure Agreement
When someone borrows money to purchase real estate, they have to sign an agreement to promise to pay it back. This agreement also outlines the terms of the payback. This written promise is not enough to get a loan. This promise must be backed by collateral of value, which is typically the real estate itself. The collateral agreement pre-authorizes the foreclosure of the property if the debt is not paid according to the promissory note. Read More >>
Be proactive about the security of your QuickBooks company file, and you'll be less likely to encounter data theft.
Thanks to the internet, privacy has been on the wane over the last few years. We assume that our addresses and phone numbers are public information, thanks to sites like Switchboard and 411.com. We hope that our dates of birth are private (though the number of birthday wishes on Facebook makes that doubtful), and we assume that our Social Security numbers are hard to get.
Your customers/tenants trust you enough to provide you with additional private information, like credit card numbers, bank numbers and more. And you've seen what an uproar occurs when major corporate entities like Target and Home Depot get hacked.
Your small business may not have hundreds of thousands of customer/tenant information files, but you can still be targeted by external hackers and even your own employees. Are you taking measures to ensure the security of that data stored on your hard drive and/or in the cloud?
Your Inner Circle
The last thing you want to imagine is that one of your own employees has been tampering with your QuickBooks company data. It happens, though, and you need to protect yourself from potential internal attacks.
One of your internal controls, then, should include the establishment of boundaries for every employee who has access to QuickBooks. You can restrict each staff member to specific areas of the program instead of sharing a master password and giving everyone free rein. Go to Company Read More >>
There has never been a foreclosed house which didn’t have potential profit written all over it. Today, several indicators including the firm RealtyTrac have released 1str Quarter 2015 data which shows foreclosure filings and default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions are down over 5% from the prior Quarter over 2014 and are the lowest since 2007.
Knowing the true value of real estate is critical, try to do a deal without it and see. The guidance and data within REIAComps has consistently shown investors how to determine both solid acquisition value and after repair value to earn lasting profits.
Some of the most stubborn foreclosure cases are finally being flushed out of the foreclosure pipeline, and we all can expect to see more noise in the numbers over the next few months as national foreclosure activity makes its way back to more stable patterns by the end of this year. Thus, while foreclosures are down, they will always be with us. As investors, this s a good thing!
The data tells us a total of 152,147 U.S. properties started the foreclosure process for the first time in the first quarter of 2015. This number is down 11 percent from the previous quarter and down 8 percent from a year ago. Read More >>
Partners can really make or break your business. Finding good ones is easier said than done. How do you find or attract the right partners? How do you know when the right person comes along? Will they want to partner with you and what should you offer them when they do want to partner with you? These are questions I get asked all the time. Here are some ideas about partnering in real estate but this article is not about the legal structuring side of partnerships, it’s about the people side.
A good partnership starts with equal but opposite skills, not necessarily a friendship. It’s good to be friends with a partner but contrary to popular belief that is not the most important part and not where you should start. A good partner will bring strength to your weaknesses and you the same for them. You are going to be splitting a lot of hard earned cash with this person so you want to know what it is that they bring to the table. What are they capable of that you are not and what are they capable of that you couldn’t easily hire an employee to do? The first step in answering the questions is to do a long self-analysis. Start with what you are good at. Ok you don’t need a partner to do any of those things. Now what are you really bad at? Now you know what a partner should bring as far as skills are concerned. They need to be good at what you are bad at or have what you don’t. Read More >>
Warm weather is finally upon us! Time to get ready for those Summer vacations - trips to the beach, cookouts, swimming, boating, golf, tennis, and everything else that we love to do outside when the weather is warm.
Of course, if you live in the South, Southern California, or a place like Phoenix, you're used to having nice weather all year 'round. And I hate you. :)
But if you're like me, and live in a place where you get all four seasons (yay), you can appreciate how the change in weather can also trigger a change in perspective.
Long intro aside, there's something that I've been noticing over the past few years when it comes to marketing...
Ugly is the New Pretty!
What does that mean? It means that a lot of the usual, conventional, traditional marketing pieces or campaigns that USED to work for many years... simply don't work much any more these days. Read More >>