"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas A. Edison

"Get off that couch and go buy that rundown duplex" - me

Friday, May 29, 2015

It's Not About The Number Of Doors...

Focus on the benefits!

Lets do the math : you can minimize issues with tenants and buildings through good management, but you will always have a (hopefully small) percentage of tenants/buildings with problems.

The more doors you own, the more problems you will have. It boils down to simple math. fewer doors=fewer problems.

Pipes leak, furnaces die, tenants stop paying rent. It happens.

Also, some investments are more management intensive than others by their very nature, like rooming houses and student rentals. Some markets are as well, like low income towns vs downtown big city.

The key is finding a balance between the benefits you want (income for me!) and the type of investing you do. There are many ways to skin a cat in this business,  and number of doors shouldn't be your only yardstick to measure your success. What are your goals? High income? Net worth? Retirement? Taylor your strategy to achieve your goals.

I know real estate investors holding only one door (their house!) that have huge incomes and tons of net worth as note holders and hard money lenders.

It's not about the size of your real estate portfolio, it's what you do with it! (or what it does for you...)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Renos are like onions...

When you reno a unit, it is tempting to gut the whole thing and do it to "your" standards...say move a wall for a more open layout with better flow. While in certain circumstances this may be desirable (eg to correct a big problem with the unit and add value) generally this may not be such a good plan.

When you do this you get into the "where do I stop" cycle...you tear down that wall for better flow, then find the knob and tube wiring, or galvanized water lines, then you see the lack of insulation where the removed wall joined the outside wall, or maybe you started the plaster to loosen on the ceiling, or discoved the uneven subfloor, or you find the hidden asbestos in the HVAC, or discoved that non-load bearing wall had some point load, etc, etc, etc... Best case scenario, you will have to patch, re-floor, and paint.

Unless you are already planning a big reno or gut job with flooring, painting, etc., I would recommend keeping the original layout.

The best moneymakers are the properties needing only clean-up and paint anyways. A gutted house brings in no rents! Besides, are you a contractor or a real estate investor? You have to ask yourself how much more rent will the reno bring in? I like fixin' houses, but not so much that I do it for free!

Renos are like onions...the more layers you take off, the more you want to cry!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Flip AND Flop...

Can you make any money doing flips? It is possible...but not easy! Unless you buy a place for nothing, do most (or all!) of the work yourself, be in a good market, and are in an "up" market cycle, it may not turn out the way you want. If you do manage to make any profit, the taxman may take any profit you make, taxing it as "business income" (100% taxable), rather than as a "capital gain" (50% taxable). 

A much better strategy is to buy and hold a rental unit. You can still make quick money - buying fix-up places, putting in your "sweat equity", and refinancing. The difference is the money you make when you refinance is TAX FREE! Not only that, but you now own a cash flowing asset. You can take full advantage of appreciation, mortgage pay down, and tax write offs.

At best, flipping can give you a wage. Buying cash-flow rentals generate wealth!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Jump in!

Read a great post titled "How to invest in real estate while earning minimum wage" by Tracy Royce

She describes some "out of the box" ways to get into the game with little or no money or income.

"Say you’re too shy, don’t know anyone in your area, or no one’s giving you the time of day after many attempts. Still want to break into real estate investing? If you’re passionate about being involved in some way, the second option is to get a job in some segment of real estate that requires day to day office work. I specifically don’t say “get your license” because once you have your license, you’re a free agent and can easily slack off. I’m talking about getting a position where you’re being paid to learn, listen to lingo, and make connections. Often these jobs are low on the totem pole, but are great for getting your foot in the proverbial door.
Some positions that are fantastic to target are administrative assistant, front office assistant, office manager, to name a few. These positions tend to advance up the ladder in medium to larger companies, so that might mean more to you as well. Heck, I’ve had friends in corporate positions at RE companies that keep their jobs there, use the W2 income to buy a property (or few), and their connections to get good deals, discounted title fees, and good contractors." 
I would add construction to the list. Not only will you learn alot of skills from working, but you can also make excellent contacts in the trades. Talk to everyone (while working hard, don't be a slacker!) and see how things operate on a construction site. Seeing a building going up from top to bottom is an education in itself.

Why flip burgers when you can be involved in the industry that can make you rich?