Posts Tagged ‘personal finance’

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Real Estate Investors

April 21st, 2018 Comments off

Sometimes a search through your bookshelf is like a treasure hunt. As I plucked Stephen Covey’s 1989 Seven Habits of Highly Effective People from my shelf, I believe I found some long lost gold. Flipping through the yellowed pages, I soaked in some of the long forgotten golden nuggets the book contains, and I pondered what the seven habits of a highly effective real estate investor would be.

I personally believe that the habits of a successful real estate investor are not particularly exceptional. I think that any person that wants to become a highly effective real estate investor can become one if they set their mind to it. Here is what I think the seven habits would be:

Habit One: Know Your Goals

The majority of the real estate investors I know set out with a goal in mind. I know a man that started investing by selling his house to buy two lots, on which he built a townhouse complex that had 8 units. Since then, he has started his own company and is building and selling hundreds of homes in Toronto every year. So, in this case, it shows how some goals may be simple, but can lead to much bigger things. Or, if goals are large they should be broken down into numerous shorter term goals.

Habit Two: Make Your Money when you Buy

It’s very risky to pay over market value for a property in the hopes that the rent will go up, the area will improve, and/or the property’s value will increase. The simple formula for long term success in real estate is to buy a desirable property below market value, in an area with a lot of potential for future growth.

Habit Three: Hire Help

Unless you want to take on a few extra jobs when you buy a property, I suggest that you think about hiring a property manager, an accountant and a real estate agent. The property manager can do repairs to the property and collect rent. The accountant can do your bookkeeping and yearly taxes, and the real estate agent can work with you to find more real estate investment properties. Just make sure that the people that you hire are trustworthy and will help you achieve your goals.

Habit Four: Use Just the Right Amount of Leverage

Serious real estate investors use leverage to get what they want. If you keep buying property with cash every single time, even the richest person in the world will soon run out of money. Leverage is when you invest a small amount on a much bigger amount. In other words, it’s possible to put $10,000 down on $100,000 house. If that house makes $5,000 a year, then you ROI ( return on investment) would be 50%. If you had paid for the whole $100,000 up front, then the return would still only be 5%. However, the downside of putting a small amount down is that it does not protect you from fluctuations in the market. If that same house drops to $90,000, you can wind up owing more on that home than the property is worth.

Habit Five: Find Good Partners

If you are starting out in the world of real estate investing without a lot of money, it’s hard to reach your financial goals if you aren’t willing to enter into partnerships with others. Your partners could be a family members, friends, colleagues, or even companies. I enjoy hearing success stories where someone with no money of their own enters into a contract on a property, but know they can make it happen by partnering up with another investor. My husband and I are millionaires from our real estate investing, thanks in great part to some of the partners that contributed equity to our investments along the way. Without them, we would likely only own half of the properties that we currently own today.

Habit Six: Be Persistent

When starting out in real estate (or even when you’re established) you’re going to hear the word “no” a lot, so make sure you don’t stray from your goals. Some of the people you could hear “no” from are as follows:

– Potential partners that are not able or not willing to get involved with a deal,

– The banks – on just about every deal we had trouble getting financing and had to deal with multiple lending issues,

– Family- we’ve asked numerous family members to become our investment partners and are more often than not turned down. But it never hurts to ask, as family members will give better interest rates than the banks,

– Insurance companies – if you don’t live in the same province as the property you are trying to insure, most insurance companies don’t want to do business with you. We have approached and been turned down by numerous insurance companies that won’t insure our Ontario properties because we live in British Columbia,

– Property Management Companies – it’s possible that the property management company that you would like to hire doesn’t want to manage your property.

But even when we’ve been turned down by all of the above at some point or another, we don’t lose sight of our goals and keep pushing forward.

Habit Seven: Research – Always be learning

– The best investors are the ones that ask a lot of questions, keep their eyes open for new opportunities and do a lot of research. Many get right into the details of a city. They go to the municipal offices and pull the official plan. They get zoning details and applications. They talk to the city councilors about plans, they attend city council meetings and know everything that is happening in an area.

Not every good investor I know possesses every one of these habits. And I know there are habits that many good investors have that I haven’t covered. But as I thought about the most effective and successful investors that I have met or read about, I realized that almost all of them did possess each of the above habits. And, that anyone could really do what they did if they set out to establish these habits and practices in their real estate investing.

Learn How to Retire a wealthy real estate investor with Julie’s free Real Estate Investing Starter Tips Guide. Learn how to create financial freedom, positive cashflow and massive wealth with tips like: How to find quality investment properties, finding and keeping great tenants, and easy ways to make investment property recordkeeping simple and more profitable.

Should You Be Concerned About Your Credit If You Have Student Loans?

April 5th, 2018 Comments off

In today’s economy, many people are willing to go into debt for a college education, hoping for a brighter financial future. Unfortunately, student loans are not simple, and they often cause college students to graduate with a lot of debt. In most cases, upon graduation, the entry-level job that these college students start out working in does not make paying back the loan easy. Because of these circumstances, many people are worried about the affect that student loans have on their credit.

One of the most difficult parts about the road ahead might be your ability to obtain credit. There are many creditors out there who could be hesitant to loan you money or give you a credit card based on your high level of debt and your low initial salary. And, depending on what your past credit rating is already it could be all the more difficult.

Because you are a recent college graduate, you student loan debt is probably the largest debt that you have ever had, and this is one of the reasons it is going to effect your credit. Usually, we think of our credit rating in terms of our ability to pay back our liabilities, however, our credit rating also takes into consideration our level of debt. This is why your credit is going to be affected when you graduate and your student loans are high.

One of the best ways to maintain a decent credit rating is to plan for dealing with the student loans now. Since your credit score evaluates your level or debt and payment history, a successful payment plan will not only lower your debt level, but it will also help establish consistent payment habits. In doing so, you will find that you can help your credit score even though you may feel that it initially was lowered upon graduation.

Also, for students who have not graduated college yet, consider making payments on your interest now rather than waiting until after graduation. Usually, the government allows students to wait until after graduation to begin paying their loan balances; though, interest adds up and you can get a head start by making payments while you are still in school. One reason for the problems with student loans is that people do not realize the amount they have to pay back. Interest adds up overtime, and then they graduate with a larger amount than they anticipated having to pay back.

One of the nice perks about student loans is that they give you a grace period after graduation, allowing you approximately 6 to 12 months to begin the repayment process. This grace period enables you to find a job and get on your feet financially before you begin making payments. Many people actually find employment before their grace period ends, and if they do it is a good idea to set aside money to use towards your beginning payment. This way, they can start off with a decent payment amount, and hopefully continue making consistent payments in the future.

Just like most loans, student loans usually have a timeline that requires your payment in full – usually 10 years. Your monthly payment will be determined on this timeline, however, if you can afford to, it would be smart to pay more than the minimum payment. When you do this, you will obviously pay it off sooner, and you will also avoid paying more interest than you need to.

Just like any financial liability, it is definitely not wise to skip payments for your student loan, because it will affect your credit. Instead, a good idea is to contact your lender and try to negotiate a payment plan that works better for you. Most lenders are surprisingly nice to work with; and, if you contact them, they will most likely be willing to help you find a solution to your troubles rather then letting your skip payments. Talk with them if you find yourself overwhelmed, and demonstrate your willingness to act in good faith.

The most important thing you need to remember in regards to your student loans and your credit is to NEVER default – NEVER. When you default on your student loan, it could stay on your credit record for approximately seven years. And, if you take too long to pay it back or neglect it, you could be involved in a legal battle. In addition, your lender might have the power to garnish your wages and eliminate your tax refunds.

For many a student loan is necessary and although it may be a tad risky for your credit, there are ways to safeguard your credit and pay off your student loans in the process. Responsibility is key. And, when you are paying them back, prioritize them so that your credit is protected.

When is right to refinance your home mortgage?

Finding and Screening Tenants for Your Rental Property

February 7th, 2018 Comments off

Picture this: that property you bought isn’t renting like you thought it would. You don’t really know anything about renting property, so you decided to rent it out to the first person who showed you some money. You didn’t check with their other landlords, or even follow through with a credit check. After all, most people are honest and what could possibly go wrong?

What could go wrong? This lovely new tenant could be unstable and pull a knife on her roommate. Yes – it happened to us at 3am on a Wednesday night several years ago. We had to call the police and have them separate the two tenants. The innocent roommate moved out the next morning and we were left with the knife wielding tenant who then stopped paying rent and refused to move out. It took us three months to evict her. We had to send a collection agency after her for the rent money. We never received a dime.

Now, of course, we are very picky when it comes to finding a good renter. We follow these 5 straightforward steps and they’ve never let us down:

– Step 1: Prepare the unit for showing

– Step 2: Get your paperwork in order

– Step 3: Research the market rents and place your ad

– Step 4: Show your space

– Step 5: Choose your new tenant.

Step 1: Prepare the property for viewing by prospective tenants

The better it looks the more likely you’ll find a good tenant for the space. Make it easy for someone to visualize themselves living happily in that space.

Easy fixes for your property include:

– repair any cracks or holes and apply a new coat of paint on all walls

– make sure all the little things like lights, appliances, doorknobs and sockets work the way they’re supposed to

– create a checklist to use when the tenant moves in and out. Inventory everything and their condition- doors, windows, drapes/blinds/shutters, plugs and light switches, shelving, appliances etc. from every room

– make sure the unit smells fresh. Open up the doors and windows to let fresh clean air in.

Step 2: Make sure you have your paperwork ready

Nothing inspires confidence and prevents headaches later like being a good landlord. And good landlords always have their paperwork in order. If you’re not sure that you do, you need to contact your government’s local residential housing branch. You could also go online to find the following forms:

– applications for tenants

– leases

– eviction notices and similar forms that you may need in the future. It’s best to have them right away so you don’t have to scramble to get them in the future if you really need them.

Each state or province has different requirements, so ensure you’ve got documents that are legal for your area.

Step 3: Research the rent rates and place your ad

Make sure the Price is Right!

Research similar units online to make sure you’re not asking too much for your unit. Its better to price just below the market. You will rent your unit faster, have a larger tenant base to pick from, and you will have a better chance of retaining a tenant for a longer period of time.

Get the word out! We’ve found tenants through all of these methods:

– e-mail all your friends and family and let them know about the property that you have that available to rent. They might know someone who knows someone who is looking for a new place to live

– use online advertising

– make a sign with a phone number and put it in the yard or in the window of the property

– local newspapers can be a fairly inexpensive way to advertise. Ask the classifieds agent what day is the best for advertising to ensure that you have the most eyeballs seeing your ad

– colleges or universities in the area; students are always looking for a place to live.

Step 4: How to show the space

Open houses are still the best way to show off your property. The best thing to do is decide on a two hour block during an evening or weekend, and then have a back up time for a second viewing (if you don’t find a good tenant after the first viewing). When someone wants to see it, you can tell them about the viewing times. This way you’re not spending all your time showing the unit.

When greeting tenants for open houses, be dressed “business casual” and have the tenant application forms ready.

Open houses are great, as they can create an atmosphere of demand. Knowing another person may want to rent the apartment makes others feel that they should want it too. Urge people to complete an application form before they leave so that you can write your impression about the prospective tenant right on their form.

Step 5: How to select your new tenant

– study applications carefully, looking for conflicting information or any kind of gaps in time pertaining to where the applicant was living

– always run a credit check. In this day and age it’s not enough for people just to have a good job or for you to have a good feeling about them. Verify it.

– reference checks. Call their references and ask simple questions like “How long have you known the applicant?”, “What’s your current relationship with them?” and “Would you rent to them again?”.

– listen to your gut. Do you have a good feeling about them? Despite everything else looking great for a tenant, you can usually trust your gut to indicate if you feel that something is wrong. If nothing feels wrong then you might have found your new tenant.

Once you are sure about your choice and you have deposited taken a rent cheque from your chosen tenant to the bank , make sure you let all the other possible tenants know that the unit is rented. If they ask why they weren’t chosen, never indicate that it was because of race, religion, age or social status- regardless of how you actually made your choice. It’s far better to say “the other tenant had a very strong application”.

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Broward Mortgage Help Law Offices

February 1st, 2018 Comments off

Foreclosure Defense Attorney – Helping Families Avoid Bankruptcy

The last few of years have been quite lousy for the home market. Families are facing foreclosure and losing their dwellings. According to stats, in Broward 4% of all the mortgages are entering foreclosure proceedings. It is obvious that the situation is really rotten; however, a homeowner can seek the aid. They are not knowledgeable of the fact that there are options available to homeowners that can help them stop foreclosure proceedings.

Loan Modification

A specialized foreclosure defense attorney can lay out the options available to owners who are dealing with foreclosure. Under the Housing Bill passed by President Obama, property owners facing foreclosure can go for loan modification. Assistance of a foreclosure defense lawyer can help a property owners negotiate the mortgage modification with the lenders.

Short Sale

Still another option that homeowners have is that of short sale. Under this option the owners will sell the mortgaged property for less than balance owed on the loan. The proceeds of the sale are given to the mortgage lender. Before the sale, the short sale lawyer will work with the bank. The short sale attorney will convince the bank that due to economic or financial hardship, the bank should agree to a discount the loan balance. Therefore, after the home is sold the remaining balance is discounted.

Deed In Lieu

Another way that a property owner can avoid foreclosure is by opting for deed in lieu. The home-owner’s real estate council will negotiate with the lender. The property owner will sign over the deed or title of the property to the bank and the bank in return will cancel the mortgage.


Another option that a council can suggest to a owner is that of filing bankruptcy in the event they already have gotten a sheriff’s sale date. This will not only stop all foreclosure proceedings but will also give a chance to the property owner to repay some of the debt and retain the house.


A Florida council can also suggest the option of refinancing to avoid foreclosure. Refinancing simply means that the owner replaces the existing mortgage with a new one. In most cases, the new mortgage comes with lower interest rates and better terms and conditions.

Reverse Mortgage

A very good deal that a foreclosure defense lawyer might suggest is that of reverse mortgage. This is simply a loan against the house. A homeowner does not need to repay the loan as long as he/she lives there. However, this option is mostly available to those who own the property and are over 62 years of age.

Contesting Foreclosure

In many cases it has been seen that homeowners can successfully contest foreclosure proceeding. A foreclosure defense fort Lauderdale attorney can help homeowners find the legal grounds on which the proceedings can be challenged. It might be possible that the mortgage company has filed the foreclosure proceedings illegally. A cautious attentive property owners with the help of a foreclosure defense South Florida attorney will be able to figure out what is illegal about the proceedings.

The bottom line is that there are many options available to homeowners to help them avoid foreclosure. It is up to the homeowners to seek these options. A foreclosure defense attorney will act as a specialist guide in their efforts to end foreclosure.

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Should You Use A Managed Forex Account?

January 14th, 2018 Comments off

Forex trading is can be fun and profitable; it’s nice to be able to watch your money grow as you trade currencies. Managing you Forex accounts can be problematic sometimes if you are holding down a full time job or you have many accounts that you are working with.

Some options that are available to you are putting your money in a managed Forex account. A managed Forex account is something that is available to Forex traders and will help them greatly. The general idea is that the business that his managing your account does the trades for you.

You will have a professional full time trader who is experienced in trading manage your money for you. This is true “Autopilot” The broker will decide what to buy and when to buy it. Alternatively, he will know what to sell and when to sell it.

Some people like the idea of a person making decisions. Understand it’s still your money and you can decide for yourself when to buy and sell also, and when to withdraw it. It’s a common belief that these are better than “bots” or automated algorithms since they can distinguish more than the present numbers.

If you want to get into a managed Forex account, just sign one up. You simply need to make sure it’s one that right for you. If you put in the minimum deposit and try it out, you can see how it will work. Read the fine print and take into account the broker’s fees.

The one other drawback for the Managed Forex accounts is they require a minimum deposit. Usually this can be upwards to $1,000. Some people don’t like the stipulations. If you decide to sign up, be sure you’re willing to commit to a period of time with the company. Don’t invest money you don’t want to loose, the Forex market is very liquid and it can be quite volatile at times.

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