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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.

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”.

About the Author:

You Need To Check Your Emotions At The Door Before You Invest In The Stock Market

December 3rd, 2017 Comments off

We have all been victims of other people’s stock advice. “This stock is a sure-fire winner!” Sometimes the advice comes from a neighbor, or a close friend. Many times it comes from our trusted investment advisor.

Human nature gets us thinking. Do I want to risk losing out on these supposed gains? Without batting a rational eye, we invest. The end result isn’t usually pretty. However, we continue on and repeat this cycle over and over again.

What is wrong with our thinking? The answer is, for many of us, that emotions rule the day. They are so powerful that we often ignore our rational, logical thoughts. The hope for a quick buck or opportunity to “get rich quick” gets those emotional juices flowing. You must realize that it is not the rational side of our brain that is tripping us up, but the emotional side.

Many sound investment plans get ignored due to emotions. If you work at it, you will be able to quiet that emotional side that is prone to ignore your well thought out investing strategy. More importantly, you’ll be able to stick to your plan through both good and bad times.

Casual investors make the same mistakes over and over again because they cannot shake the demons that compel them. It is this type of trader that cannot overcome emotions while investing. They usually lack the ability to treat investing like a business and instead treat it like a game of poker.

The main driving emotion for many investors is the fear of losing money. Making a quick buck is the next one. Don’t forget about the king of all emotions, greed. All of these cloud judgment and prevent you from thinking clearly about how an action affects your portfolio. When this type of thinking is in play, disaster can strike rather quickly.

My emotions were extremely difficult to get under control when investing. I managed to finally tame that beast and let my rational side control my investing decisions. In order to do this, I developed a system that I use to invest with consistent success. I have set parameters to follow that guide me to the right kinds of investments. It is a logical system in black and white. Sure, the emotional beast tries to rear its ugly head from time to time, but I remain diligent and stick to my strategy.

There is no shame in making poor investment decisions over and over. There is good news, you can change things starting now! I made that change and as a result I have been more successful than I ever have been investing in the stock market. I also managed to do this when the stock market was in a sharp decline! I promise you, to be a successful investor all you need is a solid investment strategy and the ability to keep your emotions checked at the door. Take the advise of someone that did that very thing!

Marc Abrams is a CPA with over 15 years experience in financing and investing. Visit Marc’s website to learn more about successful stock market and option trading strategies that can teach you to invest for the future.

Discover How You Can Make Money In Forex Trading!

September 14th, 2017 Comments off

Although we typically write about the stock market, we thought to have a look at a different area of the investing world. There’s a good deal of people that have heard about forex and are curious about how they can make money, so hopefully this article is useful.

Because it’s easy to trade currencies directly on your computer, there is a lot more individuals generating money in these markets.

Like stocks, you need to buy when the price is low and sell when the price is high. All currencies are constantly changing in rate, so if you can sell a certain currency for a higher price than it was acquired for, cash is made.

What is it that makes a currency change in value? There are several factors, but I want to quickly look at two of the important reasons.

The interest rates in a country plays a huge role on the value of their currency. If rates of interest increase this causes more outsiders to invest in the country. These new investments lead to an increased demand for that money and it increases in value. If you are able to anticipate interest rates will increase in a country and purchase their currency before it is announced, it is likely that you will earn a good amount of money.

Commodity prices will also have a huge affect on certain currencies. For example, Canada is a large producer of oil and other natural resources. If oil prices increase, this leads to a bigger demand for the Canadian dollar as more of the currency is required to make purchases of these resources. If oil prices rise, it is extremely likely that the Canadian currency will grow.

If you want to make money with forex trading, please consider getting a currency trading program to give you a hand. These softwares are developed by pro traders and are able to use market data and then identify the currencies to trade. There are lots of currency traders use only these forex programs to earn their money, although I personally tend to use these programs in addition to transactions that are based on my own ideas.

Forex Trading is not only exciting, but there’s also a good deal of cash that you can make when you use the right tools.

If you want to know how to trade forex, you will be able to find lots of information online.
Click Here to get a free trial of one of the top forex trading programs which can make you money right away in the forex market.

Home Foreclosure: The People On The Phone

August 18th, 2017 Comments off

Home foreclosure is a not the best situation to be in. Once the notices start coming and the phone starts ringing you can’t really keep hiding. Your going to hear from lots of people who claim that they can help you. These calls are from organizations and companies that have their own motives and goals. Beware, in desperate times even a good sales pitch may sound like a miracle.

There are a number of people who are going to send mail or call. Most likely they were able to get your address or your number from the court system. Due to the legal nature of the process your information will be deemed as public and be published. This means anyone with internet access can find you.

The most common people or organizations that are going to give you call:

Swindlers/Con Men/Crooks

These are the ones you have to be aware of. (And there are a lot of them out there.) All of them offer promises and refer you to a chapter 13 attorney for collect a fee. In worse cases, they will take the deed of the house and force you to pay rent while leading you to believe that they can save your home and in the end you loose it all because they do nothing but take your “rent money” and skip town.

This is the most common problem you will face besides the actual foreclosure. Be very wary of anyone offering this type of “help”.

Mortgage brokers

They can help you by refinancing your property. However, these loans may have higher interest rates and closing costs than what you payed at the bank. Some may even charge you more to see how much you are willing to pay and take advantage of it. Not all brokers will rip you off. Over the last several years mortgage brokers have gotten the short end of the stick in the press. Shop around and ask family and friends for a referral if you decide to use a broker. (and just for the record..no I am not a mortgage broker)

Lawyers

This is your last resort. Most attorneys don’t really care about the situation you’re in or give you the attention you need.

Mortgage negotiators/Mortgage “Mod gods”

They negotiate repayment schemes with mortgage lenders. You can negotiate with the bank but in case it fails you can ask the help of a professional to get the plan approved. Some banks may impose a much more demanding plan and these professionals can get you a more favorable agreement.

Private Financers

These people are normally wealthy and are looking to loan you money, to cover your mortgage, at a higher interest rate. In some cases they will over to buy your house and lease to own it back to you…for a higher interest rate of course. (this may not be a bad option IF you can arrage something that works fr your financial position)

Mortgage/note holder

Your mortgage holder will call you to reinstate your house. This can be a good option depending on your situation. These are usually offered by mortgages backed by the government.

Whoever calls you or wherever the mail comes from be aware and think things through. You can stop a home foreclosure with the right options applicable for your situation. Do not throw in the towel if you don’t have to.