Thursday, July 5, 2012

i have a job

sometimes i really dislike my job. there are a number of reasons behind that -- one is that i see myself as an entrepreneur, as a boss, as the one that calls the shots, but i work for a decent sized company and it is full of the things that bigger companies become encumbered with: slow decision making, politics, and hierarchy. one day, i'll give it a go on my own -- i think that day is quickly approaching. i've got a few irons in the fire as far as future career goes, but right now, i'm happy enough to keep slugging it out and reporting to the man. i do need to vent on occassion, however. i do that with some of my friends, or my wife, and i've come across work tirade, a site that lets you post anonymously about your work time frustrations.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

an interesting site that allows you to post a personal manifesto.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

2 contracts, 2 deals

well, we finally made some traction on two recent deals -- one is a single family and one is a condo. both are moving along and are well into financing.

the single family deal was pretty easy to get done. there was a little negotiating, but we settled in at a price that was actually lower than what i had modeled, so we should be getting some decent returns on that property.

the condo was a bit of a pain. the condo owner was an out of town owner in a different time zone, so negotiating took longer than what i'd like. in addition, his agent was really bad and didn't communicate the finer points of our offer very clearly. for example, after we made an original offer, the seller countered. well, to get to where we wanted to be, we negotiated with the agents to come down off their fee a bit and then could submit a lower offer than what we had originally submitted. the actual proceeds to the seller would be higher than our original offer. the seller saw that we had moved down and then re-countered back to the original list price! first, the listing agent should have communicated what was going on to the seller. second, once the listing agent got the counter back, he should have realized what had happened and explained it to the seller at that point. instead, he just brought the counter back to our agent. just goes to show you there are buffoons in every industry.

in any case, we are on track on both of these units. and, more are coming out of the woodwork every day.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

4 contracts, no deals

over the past couple of weeks, i've ferreted out 4 really good real estate deals and quickly moved to make offers. one was a sfh on the market less than 7 days, and the other 3 were condo units in a complex where we already own some units.

we lost the sfh during a short negotiation to another investor or cash buyer that was going to be able to close quickly. my guess is that two of the condo units went to buyers that are likely going to occupy the units, and were able to be pay more than we were comfortable.

we are still in negotiations on the third condo. i'm optimistic that we will arrive at the price that we want, but we are having to deal with a real bungling listing agent, who has almost lost the deal for us.

just goes to show you that sometimes you can make all the right moves and still lose -- that's how real estate go.

on the hunt today for more properties.

stay tuned . . .

Sunday, April 24, 2011

how to become an investor

i helped put together a small group with the intent to get more involved in real estate investing. one of the guys i approached had already been interested in investing, but was facing a lot of hurdles making the leap from being interested to being an investor. he had all sorts of questions, and i told him the main thing is that there is some level of risk involved in investing in real estate. you can find all sorts of reasons not to do it -- what if you get a bad tenant? what if you buy a bad property? what if you can't lease it?

what i told him to remedy this situation is that there are all number of reasons that you can find to stay on the sidelines. if you look with that mindset, you'll keep finding reasons. if you change your mindset, however, you'll see a great number of reasons to become an investor.

Friday, April 1, 2011

partnering up

i've been talking to a few of my friends about the advantages in partnering up in real estate endeavors. the main advantage of this is that once you get to a certain size, the cash that you can generate can start funding expansion. consider this, let's say that i was 1 out of 10 individual investors, each of us operating separately. if i wanted to add another holding, i could take the income my one property is generating, let's say $5,000 a year, plus another $45,000 out of my pocket to get 20% down plus closing costs on a new property worth 200k. now, i'd be cash flowing $10,000 a year, which is great, but i had to have that $45,000 just sitting around.

consider that the 10 of us individual investors formed a partnership, then with each of us contributing nothing but the $5,000 from our investments, we could each participate in 1/10th of a $200,000 purchase that would cash flow $500. the ROI is the same (10%), but this was done without any additional infusion of capital.

of course, there are some downsides to doing this. your partnership agreement must be well drafted and you need to deal with people you know and trust. even then, there are times when folks will want to get out of the deal and take their pieces with them. you have to have all of those details sorted out. it can be messy. especially when you are talking about lots of people.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

investment property search

i was talking to a friend of mine the other day about investment properties. he asked for some advice and the best thing that i could tell him was that if he was really serious, he'd have to stop looking for reasons not to take the plunge. he had concerns about finding a place that would rent, or about maintenance, or bad tenants, or any number of other things.

the fact of the matter is that he's right. there are a number of things that can make purchasing a property for investment purposes go terribly wrong. it's a risk that you have to weigh against the possible returns. of course, this is the case with any investment, but with real estate, it seems like so much more could go badly. but, there are a lot of things in your control, too. you can drop your rent if your property isn't moving. you can sell your property if it's too big a hassle. you can actually live in it, if you have to.

i'm about to begin a new search for some properties to invest in, and i thought i'd chronicle my search through this site to give a view into what i look for. the most important thing, as i said, was to just make the decision that you are going to become a landlord. the next thing to do is to develop a model that outlines the costs associated with a property against the revenue that you can expect. this is pretty easy to do:

your expenses include:

your revenues include:

there will be some ancillary costs associated with leasing like utilities and rehab, or with purchasing like closing costs, appraisals, and inspections, so you want to have a sense for those, as well.

i look to put between 20% and 25% down, depending on what kind of terms i can get on a loan.

after you have a model in place, you can fairly easily troll the listings for properties that fit with your investment strategy. i look for places that cash flow. so, generally speaking, i look for properties that i can rent out monthly at or near 1% of the purchase price. so, if i find something at $150k, i'd like to see it rent at $1500. this is just a rule of thumb -- i always go back to my model to validate cash flow. in general, with this formula, i can return between 6-10% in cash on my initial investment.

i have a few geographical places that are my go to places as far as location goes. the only reason for this is that i'm knowledgeable on the market rents and sales prices. when i made my first purchase, i had to make some assumptions. but, you can get a good feel on this, again just based on trolling the listings.

the next thing (or the first thing) that i'm going to do is contact my realtor. she's able to keep an eye out for properties for me so i don't have to spend all my time looking. i'll report back on that next time.