Here are three simple guidelines that must be followed if you plan to succeed at real estate investing. It’s not everything, of course, but at the very least, you must be willing to commit to these things if you want to become a successful real estate investor.Shall we get stared? Acknowledge the BasicsReal estate investing involves acquisition, holding, and sale of rights in real property with the expectation of using cash inflows for potential future cash outflows and thereby generating a favorable rate of return on that investment.More advantageous then stock investments (which usually require more investor equity) real estate investments offer the advantage to leverage a real estate property heavily. In other words, with an investment in real estate, you can use other people’s money to magnify your rate of return and control a much larger investment than would be possible otherwise. Moreover, with rental property, you can virtually use other people’s money to pay off your loan.But aside from leverage, real estate investing provides other benefits to investors such as yields from annual after-tax cash flows, equity buildup through appreciation of the asset, and cash flow after tax upon sale. Plus, non-monetary returns such as pride of ownership, the security that you control ownership, and portfolio diversification.Of course, capital is required, there are risks associated with investing in real estate, and real estate investment property can be management-intensive. Nonetheless, real estate investing is a source of wealth, and that should be enough motivation for us to want to get better at it. Understand the Elements of ReturnReal estate is not purchased, held, or sold on emotion. Real estate investing is not a love affair; it’s about a return on investment. As such, prudent real estate investors always consider these four basic elements of return to determine the potential benefits of purchasing, holding on to, or selling an income property investment.1. Cash Flow – The amount of money that comes in from rents and other income less what goes out for operating expenses and debt service (loan payment) determines a property’s cash flow. Furthermore, real estate investing is all about the investment property’s cash flow. You’re purchasing a rental property’s income stream, so be sure that the numbers you rely on later to calculate cash flow are truthful and correct.2. Appreciation – This is the growth in value of a property over time, or future selling price minus original purchase price. The fundamental truth to understand about appreciation, however, is that real estate investors buy the income stream of investment property. It stands to reason, therefore, that the more income you can sell, the more you can expect your property to be worth. In other words, make a determination about the likelihood of an increase in income and throw it into your decision-making.3. Loan Amortization – This means a periodic reduction of the loan over time leading to increased equity. Because lenders evaluate rental property based on income stream, when buying multifamily property, present lenders with clear and concise cash flow reports. Properties with income and expenses represented accurately to the lender increase the chances the investor will obtain a favorable financing.4. Tax Shelter – This signifies a legal way to use real estate investment property to reduce annual or ultimate income taxes. No one-size-fits-all, though, and the prudent real estate investor should check with a tax expert to be sure what the current tax laws are for the investor in any particular year. Do Your Homework1. Form the correct attitude. Dispel the thought that investing in rental properties is like buying a home and develop the attitude that real estate investing is business. Look beyond curb appeal, exciting amenities, and desirable floor plans unless they contribute to the income. Focus on the numbers. “Only women are beautiful,” an investor once told me. “What are the numbers?”2. Develop a real estate investment goal with meaningful objectives. Have a plan with stated goals that best frames your investment strategy; it’s one of the most important elements of successful investing. What do you want to achieve? By when do you want to achieve it? How much cash are you willing to invest comfortably, and what rate of return are you hoping to generate?3. Research your market. Understanding as much as possible about the conditions of the real estate market surrounding the rental property you want to purchase is a necessary and prudent approach to real estate investing. Learn about property values, rents, and occupancy rates in your local area. You can turn to a qualified real estate professional or speak with the county tax assessor.4. Learn the terms and returns and how to compute them. Get familiar with the nuances of real estate investing and learn the terms, formulas, and calculations. There are sites online that provide free information.5. Consider investing in real estate investment software. Having the ability to create your own rental property analysis gives you more control about how the cash flow numbers are presented and a better understanding about a property’s profitability. There are software providers online.6. Create a relationship with a real estate professional that knows the local real estate market and understands rental property. It won’t advance your investment objectives to spend time with an agent unless that person knows about investment property and is adequately prepared to help you correctly procure it. Work with a real estate investment specialist.There you have it. As concise an insight into real estate investing as I could provide without boring you to death. Just take them to heart with a dash of common sense and you’ll do just fine. Here’s to your investing success.
What options would you be faced with as you contemplate a real estate job change? Love it or hate it, the Real Estate industry’s continued troubles will force even more once semi-independent and successful professionals, to make the inevitable real estate job change. First it was the residential housing sector which experienced record low declines in values only to be recently and temporally pent-up by government tax credits to try and force some good news from this sector. It will be interesting to see with the continued failed banks and residential housing foreclosures how long this “soft-serge” will last. As many of these government purchase programs will be coming to an end. And with governments continued and predictable slow responses to most financial crisis it will most likely leave a sizable void prior to any stabilized outcome. And, with the next wave of doom-and-gloom i.e. the commercial real estate sector which is just getting started leaving the Feds scrambling trying to force many banks into showing losses earlier rather than later, all or in part to merely skedaddle these losses early in hopes for some sizable gains prior to any primary election year.Lets first quickly just recap why you chose your real estate career albeit in the residential or commercial sector. You may have known someone or previously worked with someone who prior to, or during the early stages of the “bubble” made a job change into the real estate field who (prior to the last 12-36 months) most likely tasted some relatively easy success. Or, maybe you were fascinated by the tangible control, possibly the tax benefits, or maybe even the investor side of you took over gasping at the ability to leverage your money (or OPM) as well as the banks! And of course the lifestyle you enjoyed or would have enjoyed certainly plays a role (providing you were not a workaholic) in your independent lifestyle of freedom and choice of whom and when you wanted to work with. Needless to say, having a real estate career albeit agent, broker, appraiser, lender or investor has many perks, though I just mentioned a few.Making a real estate job change can be stressful, just the thought of it, especially if you made a serious career of it. What skills do you have that I may remind you of? Well for beginners, you are a self-starter and a motivator and for that matter a leader as you lead at least one or two parties to a closing, a rather large financial (and sometimes an emotional) agreement. Some of you have ventured into multiple million dollar negotiations/transactions (myself personally negotiating over $400,000,000). And if it wasn’t for you, these deals most likely would not have been closed without you.Second, you possess some level of organizational & computer skills and are most likely not afraid of understanding procedures within and out of the office. And although “Joe Public” may have voted every year otherwise, you do have a sense of character and ethics and feel a level of “duty” to the community and those you work with to provide and represent yourself as a professional and a good listener and help solve those needs of others.Now, what on earth would be a realistic and viable alternative job change for a real estate professional as I described above? Well, since you most likely understand the power of leveraging the banks money as most of you watched your buyers and sellers take part of that system, YOU should understand, or would be most open to want to understand the power of leveraging your time. How might one ask does one leverage the power of time?Well, what if you volunteered to make a real estate job change. What changes would you impose on your new adventure? And could you leverage your time similar to that of a real estate investor who leverages other people’s money but not by 3-5x, but by 10 or even 100 times more. To be open for business 24/7 every day of the year, and have clients in over 100 countries within 90-120 days of start up. By working less not more, by working smarter not harder, and by organizing yourself via automation, not just files and folders could provide such a freedom. Setting up such a system of automation would be an investment into yourself to provide a future and lifestyle you and your family may be deserving, and not just for your boss or co-workers benefit. To have such a business without the overhead of a lease or rental payment, no insurance, no utilities, no travel expenses, no employees nor payroll taxes and to work out of your own home w/a determination that you will never have to return to a politically driven office again. To work from your home, the beach, by working a few hours at night, or maybe in the morning, or to put in a few hours a day when you want and from where you want. To regain your dreams of the lifestyle that merely 1-2% of people can even fathom to experience.After spending over 18 years of loving my real estate career and the lifestyle it provided me, I found myself traveling more and working extra hours, all while my compensation was dwindling to a low 5 digits per month due to the negative changes that were impacting the real estate industry. Thus, I went searching much like you have, searching for the inevitable real estate job change. And after searching multiple real estate related online programs, paying thousands of dollars w/false promises of support and personal coaches I found myself w/my back against the wall, searching even harder as I was duped again.What I found may surprise you, but one thing was for certain, I found something that was real! With all the perks that by now, most people have given up on due to all the scams and false programs supporting such a cause. What I found was amazing, giving back to others while reaching my own goals as well (NO, it was not MLM!). What I found gave me back my hope and dreams and put all of my skills that I had learned as a real estate professional into motion w/little downtime in regaining my income levels held during the peak of the last real estate up-cycle.If a real estate job change is more of a reality than a choice, or maybe you need to see what else is out there in order to give yourself some peace of mind, then you need to seriously consider your own online business. Even Donald Trump and Robert Kiyosaki have recently stated that if they had to make their millions all over again, they would do it by starting an internet business. These highly successful people have built their fortunes on the power of leveraging other-peoples-money along with the banks and both see that they can leverage TIME and money more effectively than in any other way today by having an online business. And I must say, it’s amazing what I’ve learned over the past year in this field and how easy it is to share my knowledge with others and how to make it in this industry, regaining back your high income levels as well as with little down time providing you have an easy step-by-step online system to follow.Well, I hope I was able to give you something to think about whether you stay in the real estate field helping others leverage other people’s money, or if you choose to take the next step and learn how to leverage your time and money. So that you can one day soon, regain your dreams that somehow over the years were lost.