4 Mistakes You Won’t Want to Make in Real Estate Investing

For many people, real estate investing is a great way to achieve financial independence. However, real estate investing is a difficult process. There are various people who struggle to get started with investing.

In addition, there are many ways to make mistakes with real estate investing. Too many mistakes can result in financial failure. Here are some of the most lethal real estate investing mistakes that you should avoid.

 

Borrowing Too Much Money

Perhaps the biggest mistake that new investors make is to borrow too much money in the beginning. When you first start investing, you are often really excited to buy your first property. Borrowing too much money does a couple of things to your finances.

Not only will borrowing too much money impact your monthly cash flow, but it also increases the risk that you have in business. Some people struggle to pay for all of the debt that they take on.

 

Lowering Your Rent

Some real estate investors believe that lowering their required rent is the best way to attract quality tenants. However, having rent prices that are too low is the wrong approach to take as an investor.

As a real estate owner, there are various expenses that you must deal with. Rent payments help the owner pay for repairs and other maintenance in the home. Make sure to conduct thorough research on the area before setting a price for your monthly rental requirements.

 

Avoiding Maintenance

Maintenance is one of the most important aspects of owning a home. There are many people who want to avoid maintenance expenses whenever possible. However, this is the wrong approach to take for a variety of reasons. Maintenance expenses are much cheaper than repairing a major problem.

You should conduct thorough maintenance in your home whenever possible. This is the best way to avoid major issues later on.

 

Selling in a Panic

If the housing market starts to drop, one of the worst things that investors can do is sell in a panic. Trying to sell a home quickly is only going to reduce the total price that you can get. Instead, focus on ways to hold your home through an economic downturn. This is the best way to enjoy price appreciation when the market picks up again.

Overall, real estate investing is a great way to build wealth and change your financial future. Avoiding major mistakes is essential to achieving financial success.

 

Networking in Real Estate

Networking in Real Estate

In real estate, growing your network can be one of the most beneficial aspects you create for yourself. Knowing people in all facets of the industry can help to boost your career to new heights. While people work hard to learn as much as they can about the field, you can be better allocating your time to making connections.

 

Creating relationships with others in the real estate industry gives you a leg up when it comes to growing as a professional. You could have all of the knowledge about real estate but if you have a limited network to collaborate with, you will seldom see as much success. As an investor, it is important that I seek contacts within all other facets of real estate. Knowing contractors, brokers, architects, and agents are all a crucial part of running a successful investment company. Having these connections with those who are experts in areas that you are not, helps to guide you along your project’s journey. The complementary relationships that you build with other businesses allows room for growth and learning as well.

 

In today’s world it has become just as important to network online as it is to do in person. Creating a strong online presence is an aspect of networking that many people neglect or feel as though is unnecessary. Utilizing sources such as LinkedIn and ActiveRain are amazing networking tools. Everyone from investors to brokers should be utilizing these sites to help boost their relationship and establish themselves within the real estate community. Making sure that your profiles are optimized to their fullest potential will also have a great impact on your social networking abilities.

 

As vital as online networking has become, there is still much force behind making personal connections with colleagues. It can be especially useful to host or attend local networking events. In the real estate industry we are lucky to have extensive groups of us working around the country towards common goals. For those who may have already established networks in their community, expanding your connections to surrounding areas is never a harmful tactic.

 

Professionals of all industries should be focusing a decent amount of their efforts towards expanding their networks and relationships. Having strong online and personal connects gives you more power than all of the knowledge in the world.

 

The Secrets of Real Estate Investing

To be a part of the real estate industry doesn’t necessarily mean you need to become an agent or broker. The markets around the country are standing on relatively solid ground and we owe a great deal of that credit to the investment side of the industry. Real estate investors are doing very well for themselves right now and there’s a good reason why. While the markets may be contributing to successful investments, there are certain habits that many prosperous real estate investors live by.

 

Following the Markets

Besides the stock market, real estate, is one of the most fluctuating markets in our economy. When investing in the industry, someone who has succeeded spends a significant amount of time researching. To continue thriving as a real estate investor, keeping up with the trends and developments of the market are a must. Everything from interest rates to unemployment statistics should be closely monitored by investors. The more that an investor knows about their market, the more promising they can expect their business to be. Another crucial trend to keep an eye on is consumer habits. By knowing which audiences are driven to your investments can provide you with the tools you will need to properly invest.

 

Develop a Niche

When first starting out in real estate investing it is important to determine which style of real estate best suits your wants and needs. Choosing whether residential, commercial, or land it is important to know which area you want to focus your attention to. Learning everything there is to know about your chosen niche will give you the confidence to make smart investments along the way. Understanding as much as possible before moving on to another type of real estate can help an investor project long-term success. Once a particular focus is mastered, the investor can then choose if they are ready to move on and put their money towards another type of real estate.

 

Network

In any industry it is important to surround yourself with those who support and share your goals. Real estate investing is no exception. For those new to the investment side of the field, finding someone with already established success is something worth taking the time to do. If you plan on starting your own investing company, it is worth it to know someone who can help introduce you to their seasoned colleagues. Not only is networking in the real estate industry but finding trustworthy contractors, realtors, and architects will help take your investments to new heights.

 

The Tiny Home Phenomenon

The Tiny Home Phenomenon

 

 

If you’ve tuned into HGTV recently, you’ve likely stumbled upon one of their many shows about tiny homes. These small accommodations have swept the nation, and many people are now looking to downsize for their next home buying endeavor. These small houses have made such an impact on not only people’s personal well-being but the nation as a whole. Many cities around the world have embraced the concept of tiny homes as a solution to homelessness. Whether it’s for personal or communal gain, these tiny homes have swept the nation and are likely not leaving anytime soon.

 

Personal Benefit

 

There are an abundant amount of reasons that people are choosing to live small. The main benefit to having a smaller home is the financial savings it provides. People who have downsized to tiny homes have saved money in the buying process and beyond. Tiny homes average selling point is between $19,000 and $50,000, over half the cost of a standard single-family home. Due to its size, these homes also save on almost all utility bills. For those who have a stationary tiny home, you are looking at an average savings of 50% on your electric and gas bills. For those with the ability, splurging on items such as cars and vacations becomes more feasible when living in a tiny home. There are endless benefits that come with being a tiny home owner. Everything from sustainably to eliminating clutter is achievable when choosing to downsize to a tiny home.

 

Community Gain

 

Our very own Seattle is making great strides at putting the tiny house phenomenon to a good use. As affordable housing is a constant concern for many cities around the world and such locations are struggling to find answers. Seattle is making strides, through tiny homes, to improve homelessness. Earlier this year, it was found that there were only around 100 affordable housing apartments available in the Seattle area. This was nowhere near enough to accommodate the number of homeless citizens in our city. Seattle city council members agree that tiny homes are a more appropriate solution to homelessness. The tiny homes that the city is providing for its homeless residents are sustainable and sufficient living situation. As of now, there are five communities that exist. The tiny homes cost around $2,000 and are assembled by volunteers. If the expansion of tiny home communities continues, the city can expect to a decrease in homelessness. This means fewer people sleeping in tents or cars and more people getting their lives back.

 

 

How to Get Your Real Estate License: Washington (state)

How to Get Your Real Estate License: Washington (state)

Real estate is quickly becoming one of the most desired professions around the country. There is a major process involved when it comes to being a realtor. Making the decision to become an agent can end up becoming one of the most rewarding experiences. Nothing compares to the feeling of helping people find the home they will make many memories in. Once you have decided that real estate is your calling, follow these steps to obtain a real estate license in the state of Washington.

 

  1. Education

 

The state of Washington requires anyone seeking a real estate license to complete 90 hours of education. This education is broken down into two parts. The first part is 60-hour course regarding the Fundamentals of Real Estate. Across the country, realtors must complete this portion of the course. The second part of the course, which is only applicable in certain states teaches Real Estate Practices. Fortunately, you are able to complete these courses online. Organizations such as, Kaplan Education offer online programs for those seeking their license. Once you have completed all of the necessary educational course you can continue onto the exam portion.

 

 

  1. Exam

 

Washington has a specific provider that proctors the exam. The Broker’s exam can be taken with Applied Measurements Professionals Inc (AMP). The school where you completed your education can pass along your proof of completion to the testing organization. Once AMP has received your credentials you are then able to apply to take the exam. You can apply for the exam online, via phone, or mail. There are various testing sites around the state. Find the one closest to you by visiting AMP’s website.

 

 

  1. License and Background Check

 

Once you have successfully passed the exam you are then able to apply for your real estate license! During your exam, you are given a fingerprinting card. With this card, you must go to one of the designated centers and get your fingerprints done. Upon receiving your clearances, you can submit your application for your license. Finally, upon receiving your license, you are allowed to start your exciting new career!

 

 

Habits of Successful Real Estate Agents: Part 1

Habits of Successful Real Estate Agents: Part 1

A real estate agent possesses one of the most valuable service roles in the world, helping people find their homes. For many, it is the first time they are making such a large investment or purchase. This being said, it is up to the realtor to guide and educate them throughout the process. As a Realtor, there are many keys to obtaining a successful career but few will go the extra lengths to achieve this. Advancing your career is smooth if you start every day and consider these habits.

 

Effective Communication

 

As a real estate agent, you likely have a very flexible schedule. As you are in the service industry, it is important to remember that your client’s needs come first. In order to ensure them that they are in capable hands, being an effective communicator is crucial. Promptly responding to calls and emails is necessary for this industry. Good communication with clients, instills their trust in you during one of the most challenging decisions of their lives. It is especially important for a realtor to always be available for first time home buyers. They are likely to have many questions and need intricate details about certain processes. Having sympathy for a client’s needs is something a successful real estate agent must have.

 

Knowledgeable

 

When you initially become a real estate agent, the learning curve can be steep. As you progress in your role, keeping up with new real estate trends helps advance you amongst your peers. Additionally, knowing details about the various neighborhoods in your area presents you in a better light to your clients. No one expects realtors to know everything about the industry. But, being willing to  find the answers to anything unknown, shows your passion and willingness to learn to your peers and clients. Having the proper resources and network to rely on is an essential part of excelling in this industry. As in most professions, real estate has a huge potential for growth and learning. Realtors should always be looking to further their knowledge within the industry. They are not only helping themselves and their future clients.

 

Check back for more of Shawn Boday’s tips on habits for successful real estate agents!

 

How to Stage Your Home for Millennial Homebuyers

Once upon a time, showing your house off to buyers just meant cleaning it. But now, “staging” has become a part of the sales process. Staging means decorating your home to appeal to potential homebuyers—a process that can mean anything from repainting the walls, to buying new furniture or updating old appliances.

        Staging is about more than making your home look good—it has to look like what potential homebuyers are interested in. And today, more than 30% of those homebuyers are millennials—people born between 1980 and 2000. So how do home sellers appeal to this new generation? Here are some ideas:

Make it Photogenic

        If you want to appeal to millennials, make sure your home has a good online presence. Take clear, attractive photos and make sure all the details about your home are posted on the web. What they find online may very well determine whether millennial homebuyers even want to visit.

Keep it Clean and Simple

        Obviously your home should not be dirty when you show it off. But more than that, eliminate clutter. Millennials like homes to look spare and simple, with lots of space for entertaining. Many millennials—and certainly those looking into buying a home—have full-time jobs coupled with busy social lives, so they will want a place that looks easy to maintain and keep clean. Hide knick-knacks, and anything that might make your house look dated: doilies, quilts, lots of fancy china, or heavy or frilly curtains.

Think Green

        Millennials are concerned about the environment; so don’t be surprised if you are asked about your home’s sustainability. Projects such as insulating your home or installing more efficient appliances can help draw in young homebuyers worried about their footprints.

Fashion a Home Office

        Creating a home office doesn’t have to be a major project. If you have a guest room or catch-all space in your house, clean it out and stick a desk and chair inside. Many millennials work from home, at least part-time, and want a designated space to work from.

Paint

Even if you don’t have the budget to make major renovations, just painting walls can make a huge impact. Wallpaper, especially patterned wallpaper, can make a home seem old-fashioned and cramped. Full-wall mirrors from the 80s are arguably worse. Painting your walls is a good way to modernize. Use light, muted colors to make everything seem modern, spacious, and well-lit.

Think About Location

        Are you in walkable distance from a grocery store, coffee shop, or library? If you answered yes, or if you can think of any other choice destinations in reasonable walking distance, make sure to advertise it! You can’t change your location, but it would be a mistake not to promote it.

What’s Wrong With Being a Fixer-Upper?

        If your house is a fixer-upper, and fixing it yourself is out of your budget, be honest about it! Many millennials are looking for a move-in ready house, but others would be happy to get a deal and a challenge.

 

 

Time to Sell: 5 Ways to Get Your Home Ready to List This Summer

Time to Sell: 5 Ways to Get Your Home Ready to List This Summer

Know Your Home

Potential homebuyers will be looking carefully at your home. Make sure you aren’t caught by surprise. Get your home inspected. Find out how much potential repairs will cost. Even if you don’t plan to make those repairs, it will keep you from being blindsided by the costs, and you will be ready to negotiate with homebuyers who are pushing for deductions.

Get information accessible and organized. Have all your papers: everything from insurance to paint colors. Know if your house has suffered any losses, and have records of any repairs. You don’t want to find yourself in the uncomfortable position of negotiating with a homebuyer who knows your house better than you do.

 

Think About Curb Appeal

If a buyer drives past your house, what will they think? Will they see an attractive facade or a well-maintained garden? Or will their eye be drawn to an ugly tree, a lopsided mailbox, or a badly-paved driveway? Your house’s outward appearance is the first thing that homeowners will see, and that first impression can make a huge difference. If you have the money to hire a landscaper or other specialist, do it. But if not, many of the changes you can make are simply a matter of getting outside, rolling up your sleeves, and taking care of them. Weed the garden, rake the yard, and prune the trees.

 

Clean Thoroughly

Don’t just vacuum. Repaint the walls. Have your carpets professionally cleaned. Move the furniture. Pull out the stove and scrub the floor beneath. Clean under the fridge. Dust the blinds. Clean places you’ve never cleaned before. Be ready to get messy: dirt can really build up when left unattended.

 

Stow Your Stuff

Not only does a cluttered home look messy, it also looks small. Remove at least 30 percent of your belongings from sight. The brunt of your focus should be on countertops, the pantry, and the master bedroom closets, which should be as empty as possible.

Empty shelves and a clear floor scream: Look, there’s so much room, we don’t have enough stuff to fill it all. So hide everything you can afford not to have in the attic or crawlspace, stow it away in a friend’s house, or even rent out a storage facility. And take down any especially eclectic decorations: Homebuyers do not want to see your ceramic chicken collection; they want to see your home.

 

Hide Your Kids, Hide Your Pets

If someone is coming to visit your house, send your kids off to a friend’s or relative’s, and have them take the cat with them. Children and animals are notoriously messy, and you don’t want your guests wondering about how you got the all dog hair out of the carpet (hint: you didn’t) or how you can guarantee that there’s not a hole in the wall somewhere stuffed with legos (hint: you can’t). Besides, kids and pets are also notoriously distracting, and you want your visitors to focus on your home.

Preparing Your Home for a Real Estate Photo Session

Preparing Your Home for a Real Estate Photo Session

kitchen interior

There is no doubt that having a successful real estate photo shoot for a new apartment or home you are trying to sell can be a really tricky situation. Too often photos are dark, from a strange angle, or simply fails to capture the beauty or attractiveness of the home in general.

With newer, more centralized real estate platforms such as Trulia and Zillow becoming increasingly common for agents across the country, better images are now the norm for home buyers in the digital world. Below are some ways to maximize appeal for any company on the market.

  1. Make the beds with linens that complement the colors of the room and overall interior.
  2. Clean the house: get the carpet shampooed, vacuum and mop all hardwood floors to make everything as clean as possible/visually appealing to any homebuyer’s eye.
  3. Don’t forget to clean the bathrooms!
  4. Make sure there is maximum natural and in house lighting before anyone comes to view the house or apartment.
  5. Remove all traces of personalized paraphernalia throughout the home so visitors can envision it as their own.
  6. Take the time to put away all cleaning supplies in the kitchen.
  7. Double check the house to see if everything has been put away in an orderly fashion.

The trickier part is definitely getting in touch and figuring out which real estate photographer is the best fit for you. Do bear in mind that photography fees vary according to experience, location and how large the property is. Connecting and meeting with various photographers is the best way to discern which professional you’d like to work with.

After the photos are taken, Chris Palmer the president of PhotoUp takes pride in the editing work his team is crafting. He has recently told the Huffington Post that “We’re the only ones out there doing this transparently, and real estate happens to be our niche. We have a team in the Philippines that work in a Google-like office. It’s a very creative environment. We find great ways to impact the photographers and the communities in which we work.”

How to Get Mortgage if You Are a Self-Employed Millennial

As housing prices continue to rise, the millennial generation is having a difficult time trying to find a property that they can afford. Those that consider themselves self employed must work even harder when applying for a mortgage.

Regardless of your profession, if you enjoy working for yourself and want to achieve the American dream of homeownership, use the following tips to when applying for a mortgage:Clean up your Finances

Banks that offer mortgages to self employed consumers will highly scrutinize business financials. This means that your personal and business accounts must be separate and that you’ll need to minimize the amount of deductions you take over the course of 12 months prior to your application.

Make sure you’ve kept good financial records that are ready to be presented to the mortgage broker.

Apply for an Alternative Loan

Standard mortgages are often hard to come by for the self employed millennial, which is why some banks are offering alternative financing.

Similar to the “no doc” loans of a decade ago, alternative loans use different income verification methods for the self employed. This process involves examining 12 months worth of bank statements against the profit and loss statements for the same time period. A cash flow analysis is created to determine suitability for obtaining a mortgage.

The Basics that You’ll Need

Like any other buyer, self employed individuals will need to provide specific requirements to the bank during the mortgage approval process. Those can include:

  • Bank statements - Both personal and business, bank statements will show that you have the necessary funds to pay the down payment and initial monthly payment.
  • Profit and Loss statement - A profit and loss statement is essential to creating an analysis for mortgage approval.
  • Proof of business formation - If your business is formed as an LLC or corporation, you’ll need to provide proof as well.
  • Solid credit history - In most cases, self employed consumers will need a credit score of at least 680 to qualify for a mortgage.
  • Sizable down payment - Banks often consider self employed people more of a risk for mortgage lending and they’ll require a down payment of around 20 percent.

While obtaining a mortgage as a self employed millennial is difficult, it isn’t impossible. The right amount of research combined with careful planning and record keeping will help make the process much easier.