Rental Property Management 101

Those new to the real estate investment field are typically excited when they close escrow on their first property. However, that feeling can quickly turn sour due to unforeseen changes.

Nevertheless, real estate investing can be a great way to improve long-term wealth.

Below are a few items to consider when preparing for the future as a real estate investor.

MANAGING THE BUDGET

simple kitchen upgrades for rental property investments

Focus on small, simple upgrades for your rental property investment

Spend Your Time, Money Wisely
As the closing date approaches, many first-time investors assemble a list of wanted improvements, but this can be difficult as most first-timers have an unrealistic timeline concerning the completion date. There are always unexpected shortfalls, such as upgrades, renovations and other unforeseen costs. So, it’s important to be cautious when estimating a quick turnaround at a low cost. It rarely works out that way.

Be Prepared to Make an Investment of Sweat Equity
To minimize cost overruns and become better educated, a real estate investor should plan on spending a significant amount of time onsite — from the closing date until the tenant has occupied the property for a short period. Being an investment property owner is a lot of work. The owner must get bids from contractors, wait for deliveries, review work, shop for supplies, advertise the property and review rental applications. It might start out as fun, but in the end it is a lot of work. However, real estate investing is a long-term and wealth-building proposition. That’s why it’s important for an owner to invest his energy and time at the present moment.

Don’t Accept the First Contractor’s Bid
As with other major purchases, it is important to get several competing estimates to ensure a fair price on contracting work has been agreed upon. The more costly the job, the more bids the property owner should get. The bidding process can be long and tedious, but doing research now leads to better and less expensive bids in the end.

Concentrate on Small Upgrades
In most house flipping situations, things like flooring and paint usually require some work. Luckily, these are some of the easiest and most cost-effective upgrades to make. First impressions are everything and potential renters are more likely to keep things looking nice when they see that things are turnkey ready. It costs money to make these upgrades, but it pays off in terms of charging tenants higher rents.

  • Paint: Use neutral, bright colors and paint all the walls the same shade. When touch-ups are necessary — and they generally are — it’s nice to have only one color to consider. When buying paint, choose one that’s easy to clean and buy more than needed, so it’s easy to do touch-ups later on.
  • Flooring: Tile, vinyl, wood laminate and carpet. Tile is great for bathrooms and kitchens due to high moisture levels, and wood laminate is ideal for other rooms for easy cleanup and durability. Carpet isn’t usually advised for rental properties as it is easily stained and every tenant will want new carpet. By shopping around, an investor can find good deals on easy-to-install laminate flooring.

Look for Electrical and Plumbing Issues
A property that’s more than 20 years old should have its electrical outlets and water valves replaced. Get bids from plumbers and electricians before the property is listed. Water lines, valves, dishwasher hoses and drains can pose the biggest threat regarding leaks and floods. Electrical outlets aren’t as big of a risk, but they can end up looking unsightly after years of being painted over. An electrician can quickly change out all of the outlets and switches in a few hours.

Don’t Base Supply-Buying Decisions Solely on Price
When an investor gets bids and review costs at home improvement warehouses, they shouldn’t base purchase decisions solely on the price. Lowball estimates never stick when it’s time to make decisions on what to purchase. If the investor ends up buying the higher-priced item, they can end up going over their budget.

friendly tenants in a rental property

Do your due diligence when seeking tenants

FINDING THE RIGHT TENANT

If rent is any different than other monthly bills, it’s because it is the most expensive monthly bill that someone pays.

Follow Fair Housing Rules
It’s important to know that it is illegal to discriminate against rental applicants based on race, nationality, religion, gender, heritage or disability.

In addition, check to see if other states have their own Fair Housing Rules. These rules are put in place to prevent discrimination and alert landlords when leasing out properties to tenants for other reasons, such as felony convictions, income and employment or tenant history.

Perform Criminal Background Checks
It can be difficult to obtain the full story and, in some states, prevent a landlord from leasing due to a criminal conviction. That being said, it is certainly a good idea to check criminal backgrounds, which are public record and can be requested by email or at a local courthouse. Always be sure to check that an application hasn’t been falsified by verifying the person’s ID.

Look For Financial Responsibility
Also, it is important to have a tenant who shows financial responsibility. Run a credit check to see if a potential tenant appears to have trouble keeping up with car and phone payments. Moreover, it is likely that they will also have trouble paying their rent. Don’t let financial woes affect a real estate investment property. Another way to ensure that tenants will make on-time payments is to check employment history by requiring them to provide two payment receipts and proof of employment for the past six months. It is not ideal to have a tenant living above their means or one that changes jobs too often.

Moving Forward
While this is by no means a comprehensive guide to investing in rental property, these tips provide a great starting point. Real estate investors should supplement these tips with their own investigative work, as well as guidance from other, more experienced rental property owners. Other rental property investors can be a good source of advice and they can help new buyers set their expectations to a realistic level. Being a property investor is not easy; it’s more like a marathon rather than a sprint. However, if an investor paces himself and works hard success will come.

Button for financing real estate

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5 Tips for Flipping Houses

House flipping can be a very lucrative side gig. If you do the legwork ahead of time, you can minimize the risks and maximize the odds of making good money in a relatively short period of time. In real estate, good information and good ideas are worth good money.

1. REAL ESTATE MARKET RESEARCH

purchasing the right property for fix and flips

Don’t go belly-up when investing in realty.

Some homes sell better than others. There are some general rules of thumb, such as:

  • Three bedroom homes sell better than two bedrooms.
  • Homes in a good school district are a hot commodity.
  • Homes in family-friendly neighborhoods sell better.

However, the general rule of thumb can be wrong in certain instances. This is why it is important to know the neighborhood and research the local market.

Retirement communities have different standards and expectations than family neighborhoods, and city neighborhoods will be different from suburban ones. As the old saying goes: It is all about location, location, location.

When house flipping, it pays off to be knowledgeable about local housing trends. This can inform renovation efforts and reduce the odds of a misstep.

It is better to be more observant regarding local trends rather than national trends. Paying too much attention to national trends can lead a potential house flipper down the wrong path. Real estate is very much about local market conditions, while national averages can be misleading.

People can start by reading local listings, driving around local neighborhoods and simply paying attention to local information about the housing market. Is a big employer coming to town? Is it an area that attracts “snow birds?” Is it a tourist attraction or a vacation spot?

Demographics are another thing to research. Knowledge about population characteristics, such as age, ethnicity and lifestyle are very useful when thinking about what kind of real estate sells better in a particular area.

 

2. PICKING THE RIGHT HOME

The right home is one that can be sold for a profit. But you must take the purchase price, renovation and carrying costs into consideration. The larger the profit margin, the better the sale. Some general rules:

  • It is better to buy the worst house in a good neighborhood than the best house in a bad neighborhood.
  • Houses that need more “curb appeal” are more profitable than houses with serious structural issues.
  • Fancy additions, such as swimming pools, are often not profitable.

A house with “good bones” that needs to be updated is a good bet. A house with a solid structure, but an outdated kitchen and bath is also a good bet. Bringing a house up to a community’s standards can mean more bang for your buck. For instance, purchasing a house with one bathroom and then adding a second makes a significant difference, especially if it is in a neighborhood where two-bathroom homes are considered the norm.

It is also a good idea for house flippers to buy and renovate homes near where they reside. Not only does this increase the odds of being familiar with the local market conditions, but it also cuts down on the commute to the job site. This can be a significant factor in making the project work, especially for those looking to earn a supplemental income.

Although there is a time and place for pulling out a calculator and crunching some numbers, there is a danger that number crunching alone can lead people astray. It is a bad idea to buy a “bargain house” sight unseen. The low upfront cost of purchasing it likely means there are hidden costs down the road. In this business, it is important to be hands-on and to check things out personally.

 

blueprints for home renovations

Properly plan your real estate investment from the start

3. RENOVATIONS

The renovations are where the magic happens. Staying on budget while creating something attractive to buyers is how house flippers turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse full of money.

It is important for house flippers to develop the right mindset. When people renovate their own home, it is often a labor of love and all about getting what they want out of life. This can torpedo the initial intended budget.

While that might sound OK for one’s personal residence, house flipping is a business. If it isn’t profitable than there is no point. So, it is important to keep the project under budget.

Following one’s heart can lead to better results in terms of making an attractive property sell quickly. As long as the renovations are handled in a budget-minded manner, with an eye on the bottom line, it is fine for house flippers to use their intuition and personal sense of taste to guide their decisions.

One way that most house flippers stay on budget is by investing sweat equity. In other words, they do as much of the work as possible themselves. It’s more economical to contract out certain jobs that require specific trade skills, such as plumbing and electrical work.

Another way is by picking the right house to begin with. Picking houses that need some polish, but are structurally sound, is one of the best ways to stay on budget. Foundation problems, black mold and other nightmare scenarios can easily eat all potential profits.

Some areas that typically pay off:

  • Update the kitchen
  • Update the bathroom.
  • Add a second bathroom or a half-bath.
  • Add curb appeal or generally freshen up the appearance and/or landscape.

4. TIME IS MONEY

There will be carrying costs. There will also be interest on capital borrowed to invest in the project. One of the secrets to making money when flipping houses is simply finishing the project in a timely manner.

Again, it can help to buy a house close to home. It helps to have a solid plan of attack in place. It helps to devote as much time as possible on evenings and weekends to the project.

But it’s also appropriate to be aware that time is of the essence and that this is a for-profit venture.

The other big area where time is of the essence is when it comes to actually selling the house. An empty house sitting on the market will bleed the owner for carrying costs, including mortgage, insurance, taxes and maintenance. Plus, the longer it sits on the market, the less attractive it will look to potential buyers.

That said, another secret to making money by flipping houses is knowing how to effectively price the house according to the current market. Overpricing a house can be a big mistake that costs money. It is better to pick a price point that will help the house sell more quickly.

If the work is exceptional, the final selling price can be bid up above the asking price. Even if a bidding war does not happen, it is better not to have profits eroded by the cost of carrying the house for several months.

 

5. FINANCING

It isn’t absolutely necessary to have money in the bank to flip houses because there are many ways to raise the capital needed for every project.

As long as there is enough time to do the legwork, this is a solvable problem. Real estate is one of the most solid and lucrative investments. So, as long as the renovation plans aren’t overly complex, there are some means to finance the project.

RealtyeVest is a real estate crowdfunding company that offers investors the opportunity to capitalize on residential, multifamily and on-trend properties across the United States.

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6 Reasons for a Passive Real Estate Investment

1. AVOID INFLATION

Inflation and Appreciation

Cash is considered by many experts in the field to be the safest asset. Your earnings won’t lose value if it’s in a safety deposit box at your local bank, or hidden under a mattress. However, your capital actually does lose value each year, particularly if you don’t invest it. It’s the result of this perpetual issue called inflation. Average annualized inflation for 2016 was 1.3%. Meaning, if you sat on your cash that whole time its purchasing power would decline by that amount each year. This is one reason why people choose to invest in the first place.


Average annualized inflation for 2016 was 1.3%


2. ACTIVE INVESTING VS. PASSIVE INVESTING

There are many ways to choose a real estate investment and they generally can be divided into two categories: active or passive.

Active Investing

An example of active investing is the buying of real estate properties, fixing them up and selling them, or acquiring apartment buildings and managing the tenants. While this strategy can be lucrative, it can also be time and labor intensive. Many potential investors are ill-equipped, or simply do not want to take on these burdens. This is where choosing a passive real estate investment comes in.

Real estate property values tend to increase, which allows owners to increase the rent for their buildings. This protects investors against inflation.

Passive Investing

With passive investing, rather than purchasing a property that needs a lot of work, you provide the funding for real estate companies to purchase larger commercial properties for which they maintain. Crowdfunding allows various ways for you to invest in real estate on a passive basis. You can contribute to a loan, which entitles you to a fixed, regular interest payment. Or, you can provide the equity to own a small piece of the investment.

3. THE REAL ESTATE MARKET

Real estate accounts for a substantial part of wealth creation in the world.  It encompasses a wide array of property types, including apartment buildings, office buildings, the strip mall that houses your favorite restaurant and the hotel you frequent on the Florida coast. Real estate has long been a means by which some investors have generated cash flow and built value for the future. Thanks to changes in the regulatory landscape and the emergence of crowdfunding, passive real estate investments are now more accessible than ever before.

Become a Passive Investor

Signup and view our real estate investment marketplace!

Diversification

Many investors allocate their money across a number of different asset classes including cash, stocks and bonds. Some of those monies could be very liquid, like cash and stocks, while others are less liquid, such as investments in private funds. Adding real estate can further diversify your investment portfolio. The benefit of diversification is that you don’t have all of your eggs in one basket.

diversifying your real investment portfolio

Spread your investments across multiple real estate industries

4. DETERMINING THE RIGHT INVESTMENT TYPE

Determine the type of investment that is right for you by understanding your investment horizon and your risk aversion.

Timing

If you are considering investing in real estate, you need to be comfortable with the investment horizons. This is the length of time that an investor expects to hold a security or a portfolio. While stocks and other exchange-traded instruments are generally viewed to be liquid and can be exited at any time, private real estate investments are illiquid. This means the asset cannot easily be sold or exchanged for cash without a substantial loss in value. Most RealtyeVest investments are estimated to last two years.

Risk – Debt vs Equity

Like with the time horizon of an investment, you need to understand and be comfortable with the risks of the investment. There are two main types of real estate crowdfunding investing: debt and equity.

Debt: When making a debt real estate investment, the investor is in the position of a lender. Investors receive a fixed rate of return that is determined by the interest rate on the loan, which is secured by the property itself. Debt investments place the investor at the bottom of the capital stack, which gives the investor priority when claiming a payout from the property.


Some Other Risks: 1.) Vacancies  2.) Unexpected Maintenance  3.) Decline in Property Values


Equity: In terms of investments, equity is the appreciation of the value of a property over a given period of time. In some cases, the investor participates in this increased value. An equity investment generally does not have any collateral, such as with a secured loan, and therefore pays a higher rate of return.

Become a Passive Investor

Signup and view our real estate investment marketplace!

5. REDUCING RISK WHEN INVESTING IN REAL ESTATE

Beware of Too Much Leverage

One of the most important metrics in real estate investing is the loan-to-value ratio (LTV). Banks typically will not loan more than 80% of the value on a residential home. In the event home prices drop, maintaining a limit on LTV gives lenders a cushion if they need to foreclose on a property. Look to invest with sponsors who have enough invested in their own deals to weather unforeseen changes in the economy or in the property that would cause the property to drop in value. To help keep our member’s investments secure, RealtyeVest.com does not support any investments with a LTV greater than 75% on its platform.

Check on Reputations

As mentioned earlier, you want to be comfortable with the investment. Look for information about the sponsor’s (aka real estate developer/entrepreneur) background and previous projects. Check the property types, the history and successes of their current portfolio and make sure that they have been fully vetted for any legal issues.

Seek Diversification

Investors tend to appropriate their capital across many different asset classes including cash, stocks and bonds. Some of this capital could be liquid, such as cash and/or stocks, while others are less liquid, such as private fund investments. Adding real estate might further diversify your investment portfolio.

6. THE BENEFITS OF PASSIVE INVESTING

when to invest in real estate

How to start investing in real estate

With passive investing, nearly all the administrative functions are handled by other people. Unlike active investing — where you must find investment properties, monitor the property and deal with tenants, toilets and trash — the passive investor works with a partner and allows them to do the dirty work. While there is a fee for this service, there is also a promise that you will never get a broken toilet call at 3 a.m.

Additionally, due to crowdfunding, individual, smaller investors can now participate in much larger passive commercial investments, so your $10,000 investment could conceivably contribute to the acquisition of a $20 million building.

If you’re interested in passive real estate investing, the first step is to find the right partner. At RealtyeVest, we offer access to pre-vetted real estate investments. We conduct the due diligence on hundreds of properties and focus that energy by closely examining investments that have already been reviewed by our active real estate investors or sponsors. We also give you access to a personal investor dashboard so you can watch how your money grows.

With RealtyeVest, you have the resources, guidance and opportunity to become more invested in the real estate market. Now, you can take control and become a real estate investor!

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5 Best Real Estate Markets in Florida

If you are searching for the best real estate markets to invest in, you may want to consider Florida. In a recent report on Forbes.com, the online real estate site Trulia ranked the top markets for real estate investing based on the following criteria:

  • High Affordability
  • Strong Job Growth
  • Low Vacancy Rates
  • Number of Home Searches on Trulia
  • A Large Population of People Satisfied with the 2016 Presidential Election Outcome

Five out of the ten real estate markets mentioned in the report are located in the Sunshine State.

1. Jacksonville

Coming in at No.1, this northeast Florida city of 1.3 million residents along the St. Johns River showed an impressive job growth rate of 3.8 percent in 2016, leading to a high ratio of inbound home searches on Trulia versus outbound searches by people wanting to leave. In addition to strong economic stability, the area also benefits from great schools, beautiful weather and close proximity to the Atlantic Ocean.

2. Cape Coral/Fort Myers

It wasn’t only the 80 degree weather that made this city along Florida’s southwest coast rank No. 2 on the list. The area has also had the fourth highest job growth in the nation. Another contributing factor was the sharp drop in vacancy rates over the past year.

3. Daytona Beach/Deltona/Ormond Beach

Due to a low unemployment rate of 6.2 percent and predicted job growth of 36.96 percent over the next ten years, this area of northeast Florida ranked No. 3 on Trulia’s list. The area benefits from some of the best weather in the country.

5. Tampa/St. Petersburg, Florida

Strong job growth with a large number of education related jobs propelled the Tampa market to No. 5 on the list. Of course, much like the other locations, the beautiful beaches and weather didn’t hurt.

10. Bradenton/North Port/Sarasota, Florida

Rounding out the list at No. 10 were these beautiful beach communities along Florida’s southwest coast. Unlike other Florida communities, this area is not a vacation-driven community. “Not only does it deliver on the natural beauty of its beaches and weather, but it also has the critical infrastructure — the arts, great schools, small to medium-size companies, small universities — that is critical to making a great community,” the study said.

Investing in Florida Real Estate

Crowdfunding is a simple way for investors to grow their personal wealth and diversify their portfolios.

RealtyeVest is a real estate crowdfunding company based in Jacksonville. Being in the heart of one of the fastest growing real estate markets in the nation, the company has the advantage of being close to its sponsors and investment opportunities.

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Why Assisted Living Is the New Investment Opportunity of 2017

IHT Realty Crowdfunding has rebranded itself as RealtyeVest.

Assisted living has recently become a desirable asset for many new and experienced investors.

With waves of Baby Boomers reaching retirement, assisted living is rapidly moving into the spotlight of real estate investing.

It’s no surprise that the target demographic for the business platform has grown exponentially, with more than 10,000 Baby Boomers hitting 65 every day until 2030, according to a study by The Pew Research Center.

The study found that 76 million people were born in the U.S. between 1946 and 1964. If you factor in the influx of immigrants and the amount of people who passed away during that same period, there are about 79.6 million seniors in the United States. If you divide that number by 19 years and then again by 365 days, you’ll find there are about 11,476 Boomers turning 65 each day.

All the same, over the next 20 years, the amount of seniors moving into assisted living homes is projected to rise. This is expected to increase demand for assisted living services and facilities, and provide an exciting opportunity for entrepreneurs and on-trend investors.

In a blog post on Tony Robbins’ website, Ajay Gupta, Robbins’ personal advisor, lists senior housing as the No.2 safest place to invest right now — “meaning they’re not as susceptible to the fluctuations in economic conditions,” Gupta said.

“We are currently facing the largest demographic shift we’ve ever seen — a tidal wave of demographic inevitability as Baby Boomers reach their Golden Years,” the article said.

Today, there are 45 million Americans that are 65 years or older  — a number that is projected to grow to 80 million over the next 25 years.  And with life expectancy continuing to increase, seniors will have to decide where to spend their remaining twenty or more years.

“It doesn’t matter if interest rates go up or down, it doesn’t matter who the President of the United States is, or what is happening in China or Greece; every single day, 12,000 Americans are turning 65 years old,” Gupta said. So, if you can own real estate that is catering towards this demographic, you are almost guaranteed (high) occupancy over the next 25 years.”

RealtyeVest is a real estate crowdfunding company that offers investors the opportunity to capitalize on residential, multifamily and on-trend properties across the United States.

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