Mindset in a “Seller’s” Market

As seasoned real estate investors will tell you, we’ve seen a lot of ebbs and flows in the housing market throughout our years of investing. As you gain experience, you too will come to see that even in the toughest and hottest of housing markets, investors can still create great deals. In today’s “seller’s” market it’s time to start thinking outside the box. Below are some suggestions as we all move forward in this, and any market.

 

As you go about looking for properties to make into deals, have you asked yourself this question: Have I told everyone that I know — friends, relatives, co-workers etc. — that I’m looking to buy a home from someone that is behind on their mortgage, behind on their taxes, or has inherited a home they aren’t interested in maintaining or keeping?  If you haven’t, do it. The result may be a pleasant surprise. Another option is to focus on homes that have a listing that has expired.  An overpriced house typically won’t sell causing sellers to get frustrated, and in some cases, let the listing expire or terminate their contract with their realtor, thus becoming an expired listing. Don’t contact the sellers right after their listing expires, as this is when realtors are contacting them and trying to get them to relist. Give the sellers some time. Look at listings that have expired 2-3 weeks prior. As a general rule, your success rate will be higher. In a “seller’s” market, making a purchase must be handled carefully, with planning, and a sense of calm and calculated urgency. We want to move quickly, but also in a smart manner.

 

Stick to your numbers! Let them be your beacon, and do not deviate from them. Run your numbers. At the end of the day, the numbers in your analysis don’t lie. Also, remember to not get emotionally involved with any offer you make or let the market condition determine your success. The offer will work or it won’t. Don’t go chasing a bad deal because you “have to get into the market” or run around like Chicken Little proclaiming the sky is falling because you have to get creative. Run your numbers, make the offer and move on to the next; whatever that is. Success only comes by moving forward.

 

A “seller’s” market doesn’t mean there aren’t deals out there to be made. The strategy of buy-and-hold is a great one to look at in this market. As you negotiate a deal, remember the property will still likely go up in value. In this “seller’s” market, instead of focusing on large, “home run” deals, focus on what you can control: you. When you focus on volume, you spread your risk across multiple deals. Don’t shoot for 2 or 3 “home run” deals a year; hit singles every 2 or 3 months and when one doesn’t work out, you still have the rest of the deals to bring you up. And remember, every deal is a learning experience. The more you do, the less anxious and overwhelming the market and conditions become. Do your research on the market and know it. Don’t go off what someone is telling you.

 

In this market, even though there appears to be fewer listings and prices are higher, investing wisely based on ratios, profit margins, and market trends will still allow you to make money. No matter the market, people are always going to buy and sell houses. It may not always be smooth sailing for us real estate investors, but learning to ride the rollercoaster known as real estate is half the fun.

Staying Motivated

Staying motivated in your real estate business is critical to your success and can sometimes be hard, especially when you are first building your business. Here are some ways to help you get motivated and stay motivated.

Goals: Goals are the first step to motivation. Knowing why you are doing what you are doing allows you to create a road map that you can use to guide you. Make sure you have a long-term goal that really excites you. Work that goal backwards so you have some intermediate and short-term goals. You want to break it down to weekly goals and daily action steps. Be sure to have your goals written down and read them daily.

Vision: Create a vision of your long-term goal. Imagine (visualize) it as if it is already real. Imagine it in enough detail that you catch yourself smiling. The emotion you feel while imagining your vision is the power that will fuel your motivation. Spend a minute or so when you first wake up imagining your vision, and again as you are falling asleep at night. This is called, “Feeding Your Vision.”

Vision Board: A vision board is another tool you can use to bring your goal to life. You want to find images that represent your goal as completed. You can put these images on a poster board or a corkboard. Be creative and have fun. You want to put your vision board where you will see it often. The power in a vision board comes not from just looking at it, but from taking 20 to 30 seconds while looking at it to let it take your there, so you can feel motivated and catch yourself smiling.

One last tip: When you wake up in the morning, ask yourself, “What do I get to do today”?

 

Jump Start Your Career In Real Estate Investing

So you’ve done your research and due diligence and are ready to start your career as a real estate investor. How do you take the step from considering investing in real estate to becoming a full-blown investor? Follow these 5 ways to jump-start your career as a real estate investor.

 

#1 Stop Waiting for the Perfect Moment

You can track market trends and interest rates forever and never pull the trigger. If you ask any real estate investor what their biggest regret is, it’s most likely not starting sooner. Stop waiting for the perfect market and instead focus on finding the right deal, right now, for your long-term investment goals.

 

#2 You Don’t Have to Start Small

There is no rule that you have to start with a small property. Carefully examine the pros and cons of large and small properties and see what works best for your financial and personal goals. The same rule applies for your real estate investment portfolio, invest in additional properties as soon as you are able.

 

#3 Focus on Appreciating Assets

You can buy and sell in hot markets across the US. However, you won’t see the full potential of real estate investing until you wait and cash in on appreciation. This sounds counterintuitive, but you can jump start your career in real estate investing by holding on to appreciating investments for future paydays.

 

#4 Get Creative with Financing

You don’t have to have a full cash offer on hand before investing in your first real estate deal. Get creative with finding the money for your first investment property. You can use traditional, low down payment financing or even use your IRA to purchase your first investment property. Once you start seeing monthly cash flow, you will have the funds to invest in future properties.

 

#5 Network in Person and Online

Don’t let the deal of a lifetime pass you by simply because you didn’t know about it. Create a network of professionals online and in your local community and always be in the know. From social media to networking sites, like biggerpockets.com, there are endless opportunities to make connections in the world of real estate investing.

 

Once you have the tools and resources, jump start your career in real estate investing today!

How to Create Wealth through Real Estate Investing

There are many ways to make money investing in real estate, but how do you create real wealth? There are four key factors that contribute to your long-term success and wealth creation in real estate investing.

 

Positive Cash Flow 

Real estate is an investment, and your cash flow is the return on the investment.  Your cash flow is the money left over after all expenses are accounted for.  Whether it’s the difference between the purchase price + repairs + carrying costs after a fix and flip OR the monthly rent – expenses – mortgage on a buy and hold investment, the numbers must add up to a positive cash flow.

 

Potential for Appreciation 

There are two types of appreciation when looking at real estate:

  • Appreciation over Time: The US real estate market has traditionally shown a 3% increase year over year, and if you buy in a “hot market,” you can hope for appreciation above the average.
  • Forced Appreciation: An increase in value due to improvements made to the property.

 

Paying Off a Loan

When you purchase an investment property using a traditional mortgage, the rent you collect from your tenant helps pays off your loan.  Even if your monthly cash flow is modest, you are rewarded with the eventual payday of cashing in on the equity that you build over the years through your tenant’s rent checks.

 

Tax Benefits 

There are significant tax benefits to generating income through real estate investing.  These benefits differ from state to state and property to property, so be sure to consult a tax professional before each purchase.

 

Building Wealth Through Real Estate Investing

Every property will not check off all four boxes.  If you purchase a fix and flip home, you will not be collecting monthly rent to slowly pay off the mortgage.  A fix and flip property is all about the forced appreciation you collect when you sell the home at its increased value.

 

Making sure these four factors are represented in some combination in your real estate investment portfolio will help you create wealth through real estate investing.

 

  • Cash Flow Potential
  • Appreciation
  • The Prospect of Loan Pay Down
  • Tax Benefits

How to Calculate After Repair Value Based on the Cost Per Square Foot of Comparables

When calculating the after repair value or ARV of a property, we always suggest using comparables or comps. from a real estate agent.  Let’s go through the math of how to use these comparables to get the best ARV possible.  As a quick review, remember the best comps have 3 important factors: They are close to your subject property, they have sold recently, and they are similar to your subject property. 

When you get comps from your agent, you will need 2 numbers for each comp you receive: the amount that the property sold for and the number of square feet in the property.  Once you receive this information, you will want to calculate the cost per square foot for each comp you have.  You get the cost per square foot by taking the amount the property sold for and dividing it by the square feet in the property (for example a property of 1000 square feet sold for $100,000, so take $100,000 / 1000 = $100).  In this example the cost per square foot is $100.  You will need to perform this calculation for each comp you have. 

Now that you have the cost per square foot for each comparable property you received, you will need to evaluate those numbers.  If you have 6 or more comps, you can take the high cost per square foot and the low cost per square foot and throw them out.  With 5 or less you will use all of them.  This will help dial in your ARV a little better.   

Once you have the cost per square foot on all the comps you are going to use, you will need to get an average cost per square foot.  To do that, take the cost per square foot on all the comps you are using, add them up, and divide by the number of comps used. (example: You have 4 comps with a price per square foot of 103, 98, 90,108. 103+98+90+108=399, 399 / 4 = 99.75).  $99.75 is your average cost per square foot. 

The last calculation you need to do is take the average cost per square foot and multiply it by the number of square feet in your subject property.  Let’s say are subject property is 1100 square feet, so take 99.75 * 1100 = $109,725.  $109,725 is the ARV.

This is a great way to calculate your ARV, because it is based on what similar properties in the neighborhood are selling at right now.   

Successfully Working with Realtors

Since over 80% of real estate is sold through realtors, it is important to learn how to work successfully with realtors.

First, let’s look at what an agent can do for us:

  1. Promptly provide complete and accurate comps.
  2. Literally unlock the door to potential deals so we can see the property at our convenience.
  3. Submit all our offers immediately as requested with our amount and our terms.
  4. Promote our low offers to the seller and other agents, improving our chance of acceptance.
  5. Help us get the seller to finance the deals.

Realtors can help you find properties using the MLS (multiple listing service).  Not only can realtors help you find properties to make offers on, they can also help you obtain information on similar or comparable sales, also known as comps, using the MLS.  Comparable sales can give you an idea of what investment houses will sell for.  Realtors provide the most up to date and accurate comparable sales.  These comparable sales are one of the most important items to know when calculating offers.

Anyone serious about wholesaling or rehabbing properties needs to look at properties that are vacant and in need of work/repairs. Realtors can help you here. Realtors are the only legitimate way to see listed properties that meet the criteria of needing work and being vacant. Here is where a realtor can help promote your low offers to the seller and dramatically increase your chance of getting your offer accepted. Your offer is much stronger if you include as an addendum captioned pictures up close and ugly showing what is wrong with the property. This can make an amazing difference in getting your offers accepted.

While it may seem that all realtors will be happy to work with you, such is often not the case. Eighty Percent (80%) of new agents are out of business within the first year.  Worse, some realtors don’t even want to submit offers or give the third degree about your credit worthiness. They do this because they fear doing a lot of work and not getting a sale. You need to train them to work with you your way. Does it make sense to invest in learning how to buy at wholesale and then let a realtor teach you how to buy at retail and they make a big commission while you lose money?

A new investor will often come across to the agent community with what is referred to as “rookie-breath.” The agents think the newbie investor doesn’t know what he or she is doing and will attempt to get rid of them. This is a sign to them that they must do a lot of work with no commission money in return. Further, they see your low offers as an embarrassment in front of the seller who was expecting them to get them “all the money.” Hence, they refuse to submit those offers, don’t return your phone calls, or insist you do things that are difficult, costly or even impossible, such as making a huge deposit and proving you have cash ready to complete the transaction.

Finding good agents, and training them is the first, best, and easiest way to become successful in investing, especially wholesaling. The good news is that even if they don’t want to submit your low offers, they have a fiduciary responsibility to do so. It is not their job to decide the acceptability of offers. They are merely there to submit the offer presented to them and let the seller decide.

You can remind them of their responsibility. You can present the problem to their broker or/and the local real estate association. Do this and see how quickly they decide to submit your offer.

Don’t let realtors get away with submitting your offer verbally over the phone.  Remember that verbal offers will never work. Your offer must be submitted in writing to have a chance. Further, you will want to resubmit your offers ever two weeks or so. As high as 75% of the investment deals that are done are either on resubmitted offers or offers submitted as a back-up to a deal that is under contract. Hence, you will want your agent to resubmit your offers.

Finding agents who are also investors can be a great strategy. They see and understand what you are doing. They may even be willing to partner with you on deals. Hence, they will be quick to recognize the value of getting seller financing. Typical Realtors see seller financing as negatively delaying their commission collection.

To find investing realtors just ask receptionists if they have any realtors that are also investors. Then ask to visit with them. Not only are you more likely to get your offers submitted, these realtors can often show you where the bones are buried. Just a little selectivity and training of realtors can dramatically increase your success in real estate investing.

Make More Money by Finding Off the Radar Deals

Off the radar deals are properties that are not listed with an agent. They have the potential to be more profitable because there is less competition. Obviously, being able to notice these quickly is critical because if it is a good deal it will go quickly.

The ability to find deals is critical, and it is equally important to find either buyers or investors for your deals. Hence, you will want to work on both areas all the time. In many cases, you can earn a year’s pay on a single deal!

Here are the six areas of focus to find Off the Radar Deals:

  1. Out of the Box Deals (Off Market)
    1. Probate/Estate
      1. Nursing homes (make certain your sellers are not senile!)
      2. Obituaries
      3. Funeral Parlors
    2. Preforeclosure: You can buy property with a built-in mortgage by getting a quit-claim deed. A properly drawn up Power of Attorney for your “mortgage assumption” can open the communication door with the mortgage company for the duration of the mortgage. A good attorney can help you put your property in a Land Trust where you become a beneficiary and executor. Good marketing will find buyers who love the fact that their down payment is their credit approval.
    3. Vacant Observation: You will want to learn how to spot vacant properties and then find the owners through software like “Real Estate Pro.” You can find cell phone numbers and even email addresses, in many cases, using websites like www.Intellius.com for $20.00 a month or less.
    4. “Don’t Wanters”
  2. Investor Clubs – Learn how to use and exploit these clubs.
    1. People with Money: Everyone you know either has money or knows someone who does. “Ask, seek and knock!”
    2. Hidden Deals: Watch how quickly inside secrets are shared as you smile and greet others.
    3. Rehabbers & Contractors: These people go to the meeting and could be your inside track to future success.
    4. Buyers: People who are looking for deals you can easily find will be there.
  3. Landlords – Key to the Mother-Load.
    1. Find Signs: Take pictures of “For Rent Signs.” Call them. Some will be looking for more deals, and some will have deals to sell you.
    2. RE Pro Software: Ask your sales person to cut you a deal.
    3. Lists Anywhere: Start looking for lists. Just about everything is in a list somewhere.
  4. Serious Marketing – What It Is and Why It Wins.
    1. Yellow Signs: More testimonies of success with “Yellow Signs” than anything else.
    2. One-on-One Visits. Go and see the people who can help you. Remember, people like to do business with people they like. Become a friend.
    3. Free Marketing: Learn to use emails, text messages, Facebook, Craigs List, YouTube, Smart Phones etc.
  5. Reticular Awareness – Develop a sense of what a good deal looks like. Learn how to smell the money.
  6. After They Say NO! – Master the art of offer resubmission. Change nothing! Resubmit offers every two weeks. Between two out of three and three out of four offers we initially rejected!  Ask to be a backup offer on deals under contract. Sixty percent (60%) of deals under contract fall through. Your chance of getting a good deal is much better once a deal falls apart.  Always do a thorough “dead deal autopsy.” Find out what the winner of the deal is doing with the property and who they are using to help them. How did they beat you?

Tips for Saving for a Down Payment for a Mortgage

Buying a home is typically the largest single purchase a person will make in his or her lifetime. When you are preparing to make a big purchase in real estate, it is important to understand the complexities of what you can afford, what everything will cost, and how to prepare for your purchase.

Before you start looking at homes, your first step is deciding what you can afford and what you want from a home. List your basic requirements such as location, size, and other features.

Then, you will need to save for a down payment for your home.

Different mortgage programs require different amounts for a down payment. If you qualify for a FHA home loan, you can purchase a house with 3.5% down. In addition, many other mortgage programs allow a down payment as low as 5% of the purchase price of the home.

If you are financially able to put 20% down, it can be beneficial. Lenders will not require you to purchase Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI). PMI is an additional cost built into your mortgage that protects the lender in the event of a default.

Here are some tips to help you save for your down payment:

  • Pay yourself first. Make saving a priority by setting aside a certain amount each month.
  • Consider having money automatically transferred in your savings account each month. If you never see the money, you are less likely to miss it.
  • Cut back on your Spending. Choose one item to give up or cut back on and put that money in the bank. This item could be a drink, which is a small expense that tends to add up quickly.
  • If you have the option, consider working overtime and add that money to your savings.
  • Get a second job or do freelance work to earn more money.
  • Sell stuff on eBay. eBay is the ideal place to offload your unwanted household items in return for money. You can convert your clutter into cash.
  • Eliminate the luxuries. For example, put your cable television subscription on hold.  Take your lunch to work every single day. Don’t go shopping for new cloths.

Over a period of twelve months, you could easily save a few thousand dollars. 

Three Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Start Investing

As you start investing in real estate, ask yourself these three questions:

First:

What are your real estate goals? Outlining what you want your investments to accomplish will help guide you in the right direction. When you first start, it is like planning a vacation or cross-country trip. Discuss with your spouse or partner the core reason you are investing. Is it for retirement, for your children or grandkids and/or for supplementary income? Different strategies are needed for different reasons. Some yield returns more quickly (such as wholesaling), while others are for longer-term investments (such as buy-and-hold rental properties).

Second:

What is your time commitment? How much time are you dedicating to your efforts? Is this more of a hobby or do you want it to replace your day job? You need to be honest in your assessment of timing and what you are willing to give-up or reschedule. There are limitations to your weekly obligations.

If you are already busy with a full-time job, school or the kids, then you should asses your schedule carefully. Experts and seasoned real estate investors say beginners should realistically evaluate how much time they will be able to carve out of an already full schedule.

Third:

What is your focus? Where do you want to start investing? If you need money in the short-term, then you should focus on wholesaling. If you have the time and the expertise (or the network), then you might undertake buying a fix and flip. If you want residual income, then a buy-and-hold property would be a good strategy for you.

Assessing where you are financially will also help you decide where to start. Wholesaling takes little to no money down, while doing a fix-and-flip or buy-and hold will take a significant amount of cash. Some investors do not understand that many lending institutions will only lend a portion of the funds for a purchase and will not lend additional money for repairs.

Summary:

Assessing your goals, time-commitment and financial focus will help you be more strategic in your efforts to be a successful real estate investor. Additionally, being clear on your objectives will help you focus your efforts and avoid wasting time.