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Showing posts with label real estate investing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label real estate investing. Show all posts

November 23, 2016

The Worst Advice About Real Estate I've Ever Received

Hi Friends and Fellow Investors,

   They say it's good to dwell on the positive things in life, but sometimes, it's healthy to hop over to the dark-side for a bit and reflect on some of the wacky (but with good intentions) advice I've received over the years regarding Real Estate, from buying to selling to investing. I'll share some of these events chronologically so you can appreciate the time and setting in which I was the recipient of these tidbits of advice.

   Well, a little over 20 years ago, my aunt and uncle used to come over to my apartment at the time a couple of times per week, and they always found me going over the Real Estate section looking for properties. They said I probably spend too much time rsearching and seeing properties. At one point, my Aunt suggested that I should focus on work and just slow down and enjoy life. Why was that bad advice? "Slow down" is the opposite of what a 22-year old should be doing, and "enjoyment" of life is different in every person's own eyes. I worked hard through college and graduated with the equivelant of a 90-degree average to earn my Bachelors Degree. I studied ridiculous hours (ADHD - you have to really cram the information in there!), but wow, did I party, as well! I managed to work during school and sock away some good money, and just had my first home under a Rent to Own Contract, and it was addictive. So, the breaking news on that advice they gave me is that I was very proud of my achievements in school and my initial step into Real Estate Investing. Now, fast forward, and they are now aware that my days of reading the Real Estate section of the newspaper (Pre-Internet "Stone Age" Days) have led me on the path I am on. That little "hobby" of mine has been working out pretty darn good. I make sure to bring up the Real Estate market whenever I see them, as it puts a happy smile on my face. You see that? Real Estate does bring smiles!

   During the early 90's, I had been evaluating some developments in Central Florida. I had conflicting advice from some fellow investors. I was warned by some as if I was to avoid the bubonic plague to not throw a single penny into these developments. Of course, I did not heed that advice. Good thing, because a simple investment of $2050 became an equity stake of $35,000 by the mid 90's, and I cashed out. Listen to your little voice inside.

   During that same time, I did take bad advice two times, and paid the price for it. The first time, I was advised by two investors who followed the New England market very closely via publications that they ordered in those pre-Internet times. They told me to put everything behind a property in Connecticut, so I invested. As it turns out, somebody missed out that there was a toxic waste/Sewage treatment plan not far away, and the smell kept people from buying in. The place folded and the wrecking ball came in, and I kissed my investment goodbye. Needless to say, I phased out those two woodpecker investors from my circle!

   The second time, I had my eyes on a promising piece of land in Maine, in a sectio I was not at all familiar with, but the property adjacent and surrounding tripled in value over 4 years. I needed to get in touch with some local investors, and I made contact with a friend of a friend, and this fella was like a book of everything in that section of Maine. My funds were ready to invest and I was excited. He was so dead-set against this property, saying it was rocky and hard to develop, and showed me a letter from the County actually asking him to invest in it, along with his polite letter of proposal rejection he sent to them in reply. He seemed reasonable in his arguments against the property. Fast forward all of these years, and I am still quite upset with myself for that bad advice, because I missed out on a hotel and a strip-mall, and a price appreciation of more than 25x my would-be invesment! Oddly, I lost "Mr. Maine's" phone number. It's still a mystery today as to how I could have lost it.

   So, as you can see, I dodged some bullets, but got caught between the eyes with some others. I remember a friend in the industry warning me not long ago about investing in too many different states. He failed to realize that to ignore hot properties that you have people on the ground you trust to manage it for you is akin to business suicide. Locking yourself into just one market is like putting all of your money on a winning horse. Once he breaks a leg, then what?!

   Overall, as I said in the beginning, all of this advice was done with good intentions, but still, that was just some of the worst advice I've ever received about Real Estate.

   FYI, more Epson hardware is on it's way for me to review and share with the many of you who have been quite consistent in your requests. Thanks for your patience.

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Happy Thanksgiving!
Have a Great Week, and Happy Rent-to-Owning !
Rob Eisenstein
HomeRun Homes - Rent to Own Homes, since 2002
"Located at the Corner of Technology and Real Estate"
Rent to Own Homes and Real Estate Blog for HomeRun Homes: http://blogging.lease2buy.com
HomeRun Homes Websites: http://www.lease2buy.com and http://www.homerunhomes.com

TAGS: #realestate #maine #florida #investment #advice #newengland #developments #centralflorida #realestateinvesting

June 18, 2012

Real Estate Finance 101

Hi Folks,

   Hope you've been well, and I'm glad to be back here with you !

   For some of you reading this, you are Real Estate Gurus, and you can finance a home in your deepest sleep. For the others, you are obviously familiar with Real Estate on some level, so with today's post, I'm trying to hit on all levels of Real Estate Skills.

   Financing. Without it (in one form or another), Real Estate would not change hands. Financing is a very broad term, and when discussing Real Estate, it helps to break the topic into “Traditional” and “Non-Traditional“.

   In an article on the RealtyBizNews.com website, titled, "Real Estate Money Basics – 10 Ideas For Financing a Home", the author describes the traditional category as inclusive of "government insured loans like FHA, VA" and others. They mention the fact that since these loans are “insured”, that "they generally require the borrower to jump through a number of “hoops” in order to qualify.", and that they require, "better credit scores, documented income, a careful review of your bank statements and any other information the lender may happen to require", and in addition, they "generally offer the lowest down payment options".

   FHA, the best known, can be "applied to almost any home, in any location, as long as the home meets certain condition requirements and the buyer can meet the credit and income requirements", says the article. If you are a Veteran, you may be eligible for a Zero down payment VA loan.

   Since these loans are “government insured” to "protect lenders from a borrower default", they still will "allow" borrowers to "buy with a low down payment, and still avoid a higher interest rate", and in return, the lender can "make a “claim” for insurance if the property goes into foreclosure". RealtyBizNews.com says that these loans are "very expensive", and include funding fees” and other costs that are "rolled into the loan".

   Now, onto the “non-traditional” financing sector, which deals with the purchase of a home "without the hassles of qualifying for a traditional loan".

   Even though these options are "open to all buyers, they are not very well known to the general public", say the article on RealtyBizNews.com, and calls this "creative real estate finance” a group of strategies in which "real estate investors spend a great deal of time studying and practicing", and that most of these strategies "will not require good credit, and a few don’t even require the buyer to have any money of their own."

   Some examples, but we'll lead off with our personal favorite: "Lease with an Option to Buy" (or "Rent to Own")

   Lease with an Option To Buy, as described on RealtyBizNews.com, is a "popular strategy for buyers who don’t have good credit and don’t have money for a down payment", where the "tenant/buyer finds a property to rent, with a landlord who is willing to credit them with a portion of the rent towards a down payment". Over the course of the contract, "If the buyer pays their rent on time, and accumulates credit towards a down payment, they can then “exercise their option” and purchase the property at a price that was agreed upon when they rented the property.". This strategy is immensely popular with investors to sell their properties, and is a very good way to sell in a tough market, and a great way for a "tenant/buyer to accumulate credit towards a down payment." The caveat here, as always: "Buyers should have their lease and option agreement reviewed by a competent attorney to insure that the deal is structured properly.

   Some other ways include: “Subject-to the existing mortgage”, where the buyer takes over the payments on the sellers existing mortgage “Hard Money” loans, which are short-term (and expensive) loans made on a property in need of repairs. “Seller Financing”, which is preferable to a seller vs. renting, and works great when the seller has a lot of equity and is perhaps unable to sell.

   Some great financing ideas have been raised here for you. Perhaps you already know about them, but if they are new concepts for you, I hope that you can use them in your Real Estate Investing endeavors (of course, after you do your homework and have your attorney review your plans and contracts). Do you have any to add to this list?

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Have a Great Week, and Happy Rent-to-Owning !
Rob Eisenstein
HomeRun Homes Blog: http://blogging.lease2buy.com
HomeRun Homes Websites: http://www.lease2buy.com and http://www.homerunhomes.com

TAGS: #RealEstateGuru #RealEstateInvesting #creativerealestate #financingahome #traditionalloan #FHA #VA #leaseoption #renttoown #subjectto #hardmoney #sellerfinance

October 6, 2011

Real Estate Investing - Angles and Analysis

Good Morning,
   How is everyone doing this morning? Fine, I hope!

   Where do I even start in terms of this topic? It is such a broad topic, and if you ask 10 different people, you might wind up with 10 different answers and multiple opinions.

   Let's look at some of the angles of Real Estate Investing. Basically, the bottom line is that you purchase a property, hold on to it in hopes that the price will appreciate (possibly renting it out while you wait to recoup all or part of your monthly payments), or, you purchase a property and "flip" it, which means buying and selling a property quickly for a profit.

   Where can you find properties? Foreclosures have spiked, and the homes that are foreclosed upon are often sold on the steps of the local courthouse (depending on where you are). The problem here is that these are very risky investments. In a story written by Veronica Chufo on the DailyPress.com ("Real estate investing: Is now the time to buy?"), some investors and real estate agents weighed in on the process and the risks involved.

   In the article by Chufo, Greg Hatcher, an investor and real estate agent with EZ-Vest Realty, pointed to the fact that a majority of these homes are "underwater" (the value of the home is less than the outstanding mortgage). This means that it would not be a good investment, says Hatcher. There is also the potential for liens on the property, says Hatcher, which would need to examined via a Title Search. One other risk Hatcher mentions, which is probably one that we are all quite familiar with when discussing foreclosures; "an investor can't see inside the house, let alone have an inspection, as a traditional buyer could". In sum, Hatcher says that we would only recommend this to very experienced investors and those that "have cash that they can afford to chance".

   A Less-Risky ("safer?") route is to find sellers that must sell, but do have home equity. Hatcher says that real estate agents could be very helpful in your search.

   When you find an investment property and you're ready to purchase it, it's time to think about financing. Hatcher says that investors often must have a larger down payment (of about 20 percent), and that they also need money "in reserves and cash for upgrades and closing costs". He said that with lenders, "The theme would be cash is king", since they look for buyers who have liquid funds (lines of credit, cash in the bank, money available in 401(k)s or IRAs, per Hatcher).

   What you do with the property boils down to the local market, financing, and your own desires. The typical decision is "Flip or Rent", and this is analyzed by Chufo. Flipping was popular during the Real Estate boom, but has slowed down dramatically, because the "buyer pool has shrunk because lending requirements are stricter", writes Chufo.

   The other flavor is buying a home and renting it out (and sell them when the market rebounds). Other buyers, as Chufo refers to them, are "keep and hold" investors (they will act as landlords by renting the properties instead of reselling them). Patti Robertson, a HomeVestors franchisee in Norfolk and president of the Tidewater Real Estate Investors Group, adds that investors are getting "more rental income now than ever before", and she points to higher rental payments vs. lower housing costs. Specifically, she said, "Rents more than cover mortgage payments", and provides "instant cash flow". Of course, it would be a disservice not to mention Rent to Own, in which the home is rented out with an option to buy at a predetermined price during a specific term, i.e. 12-months, 24-months, etc. (Learn More on Rent to Own Homes Here).

   To determine rent/hold or flip, Hatcher says that a real estate agent would need to conduct a "market analysis on comparable properties", and a post-rehab value of 75-80% of market value would be favorable to a keep-and-hold investor, but he says that a "flipper" would need a property at a market value (post-rehab) of about 60%.

   Investors are still out there scouting for deals, says Chufo. Hatcher suggests that new investors should try to joint venture or partner with more seasoned investors, and can network with other investors via a Real Estate Investors Association (an REIA). One investor, Maryann Krzywicki, has done her homework, and found a business partner. She feels it's a good time to invest, "because it's a buyer's market". Chufo also quotes Patti Robertson (an investor for over 4 years), who is also positive on Real Estate Investing, and says that, "Most people have their money in the stock market right now earning zero, or in the bank earning half a percent. Real estate is on the bottom. It has to go up," she said.

   Are you a Real Estate Investor? Are you a potential Real Estate Investor? What is your experience with the Real Estate Market? Please pass along any tips to our friends that are reading this article.

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Have a Great Week, and Happy Rent-to-Owning !
Rob Eisenstein
HomeRun Homes Blog: http://blogging.lease2buy.com
HomeRun Homes Websites: http://www.lease2buy.com and http://www.homerunhomes.com

TAGS: #RealEstateInvesting #foreclosure #fliphomes #renttoown #underwatermortgage #financing #renting #lending #landlord #keepandhold

September 27, 2011

Real Estate Investment in Probates

Hi Folks,
   Hope your week is going well. Although it is my favorite time of year, when cool weather should be here, it certainly does not feel like it yet!

   The broad umbrella of Real Estate Investing could be carved into many, many different niches, and one of those that you might find interesting and rewarding is what is referred to as "Probate Real Estate Investing".

   What is "Probate"? Probate is the legal process used to distribute estate assets of a person who has died, as per the Stockmarketsreview.com website, in an article written by Simon Volkov, a California real estate investor who specializes in helping individuals with probate real estate investing.

   This specific investment strategy involves buying real estate held in probate, and as Volkov writes, "In the best cases, probate takes about six months to settle", with the possibility of "complex issues or family disputes surround the estate", which can drag on for years. How can Probate Real Estate Investing (REI) help? It can help the heirs liquidate Real Estate before the probate settles.

   The question is; "Why would heirs need to liquidate real estate holdings"? There could be many reasons, as Volkov says, and adds that one of the most common reason is that "the estate has insufficient funds to maintain the property." For example, the estate is responsible for making payments for property related expenses, i.e. Mortgage Payments, to avoid foreclosure. In addition, these expenses include homeowner’s insurance, property taxes, utilities and possibly even homeowner’s association dues. Out-of-town heirs need to maintain the property, but cannot from long distance, so often the estate will hire outside help, such as landscaping and pool maintenance).

   Real Estate Investors - Perk up your ears....

   As Volkov writes; "The majority of heirs do not know they can sell real estate holdings during the probate process." However, as he adds, "Some states require court confirmation prior to selling probate property." (and reminds us that "experts recommend working with an attorney when buying or selling real estate suspended in probate"). Probate real estate investing is a special niche not many investors know about, writes Volkov. Untapped market?

   What do you need to begin? Know your market, know the judicial process, and head to the local courthouse, as Volkov suggests, to see where probate cases are handled, since probated estates are public records and can be viewed by anyone. He suggests checking the info in the decedent’s last will and testament (Volkov says that this will include contact info for the estate administrator, along with the "decedent’s wishes for distribution of assets and personal belongings."

   The will also contains property info, and he suggests a search of the deed records, in which you can check the chain of ownership, and if there is currently a mortgage on the property (If so, the estate may need to sell the property quickly, says Volkov). Initial contact will be made with the estate administrator. This can be done by phone, mail or in-person, and Volkov reminds us that you must be respectful and offer condolences.

   Footnotes on Probate REI:
   * The estate administrator is authorized to make decisions on behalf of the estate.
   * If multiple heirs are entitled to the property they must all agree before the sale.
   * Delays can occur if court confirmation is required.

   Overall, some fantastic info from Mr. Volkov. This is something that is not heavily capitalized on currently by Real Estate Investors, so if you give it a try, please give us some feedback.

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Have a Great Week, and Happy Rent-to-Owning !
Rob Eisenstein
HomeRun Homes Blog: http://blogging.lease2buy.com
HomeRun Homes Websites: http://www.lease2buy.com and http://www.homerunhomes.com

TAGS: #Probate #RealEstateInvesting #estate #heir #foreclosure #REI #will #testament #deed #mortgagenote

August 2, 2011

Amazing! A Real Estate Investing Social Game

Hi Everyone,
   Hope your week is going well !
   Well, it had to happen. It was a matter of time.

   A Golden Idea...yes, I'm talking about a Real Estate Investing Video Game !

   "Commonwealth Bank’s Investorville... Build a property portfolio without spending a cent". This is how the product was introduced in a Press Release from Commonwealth Bank in Australia.

   The program, Investorville", is billed as an "online simulation tool for budding property investors" as per the Press Release, and it operates in a "social game-like environment that uses gameplay to simulate scenarios", as per the story titled, "CommBank releases investment game", written by Laura Parker for GameSpot AU on ZDNet.com.

   Investorville is the product of both Commonwealth Bank and creative agency BMF, and incorporates market insights from RP Data. The game "mimics reality to provide people with real-time exposure to the property market, allowing them to make more informed property decisions.", per the Release.

   The game was created for both Existing Homeowners and also for those who already own an investment property. The online site is designed to be as, "fun and engaging as it is educational and informative.", says the Release, and it permits users to simulate "ongoing costs, without ever putting any of their own capital at risk".

   How does it work?

   Parker describes it as follows: Users start by making an online profile with personal relevant information on current budgets and existing real estate investments. Users can then search for investment properties in suburbs across Australia based on their target price; after a property is found, users will have a simulated 15-year period in which they must set rent, decide when to repair or renovate, and deal with events such as changes in interest rates, pay increases or decreases and bad tenants. Users can also choose to purchase more properties as the simulation advances, based on how well their investment is going.

   Mark Murray, General Manager Commonwealth Bank Consumer Marketing, explained "the rationale behind the development of Investorville" in the Release as follows: “Making the leap from owning your own property to buying an investment property can seem quite daunting to a lot of people. Investorville helps to break down common misconceptions and show the practicalities of property investment.", and adds that the, "really beneficial part of Investorville is that users can, in the true sense of the term, try before they buy", since, "The properties and data are reflective of the Australian property market and the types of properties available”. Aaron Michie, Interactive Concepts Director at BMF (the creators of Investorville), says the following regarding Investorville; "Investorville combines sophisticated economic modelling and real market data with a simple user-friendly gameplay to give people realism and simplicity.”

   The first real estate-oriented application that was developed by the bank was the "Commonwealth Bank Property Guide iPhone App", which was launched in 2010, and it uses "augmented reality to overlay data and tools onto the phone’s screen, providing property information on almost any premises the phone is pointed at"

   Does anyone out there think there is a version for the Wii or Xbox on the horizon? As silly as it may be for me to admit, I think it is a very good possibility.

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Have a Great Week, and Happy Rent-to-Owning !
Rob Eisenstein
HomeRun Homes Blog: http://blogging.lease2buy.com
HomeRun Homes Websites: http://www.lease2buy.com and http://www.homerunhomes.com

TAGS: #RealEstateInvesting #socialgame #propertyinvestor #Australianproperty #iPhoneApp

April 25, 2011

Number 200

Hi Folks,
   I hope Easter, Passover, and the holidays were special for you.

   Today, we are proud to announce that this post is #200. There will be no pomp. There will be no circumstance. Just a hearty, "Thank you", for making it a pleasure writing for you.

   I can promise you more informative posts with expert opinions and outlooks that will help you in all of your Real Estate Investing endeavors, including Rent to Own.

   Once again, thank you, and we'll be back on Wednesday with #201 !

Have a Great Week, and Happy Rent-to-Owning !
Rob Eisenstein
HomeRun Homes Blog http://blogging.lease2buy.com
HomeRun Homes Website http://www.lease2buy.com

TAGS: #realestateinvesting #renttoown

April 15, 2011

The Big List of Do's and Dont's for Real Estate Investing

Happy Friday !
   We have made it through another week.

   Well...it's here ! "The Big List of Do's and Dont's for Real Estate Investing". Shall we proceed?

   The biggest caveat we have heard from almost everyone that we have been speaking with is to not let your emotions get in the way of investing. "I would say the number one don't would be to not let your emotions get involved with a property. It's not like a car, you don't have to drive it on a daily basis, it's an investment.", says Jamie McKeehan, a Professional Mortgage Planner, who provides the following example; "Just because it's a lake front property with a super cool dock that reminds you of your grandfathers lake house when you were a kid...doesn't make it an investment." Ankit Duggal, Founder and Investment Director of RER, LLC, a real estate investment firm that specializes in the acquisition, renovation, and sale of distressed assets agrees, and says that some investors tend to, "get attached to a property" and are therefore, "not able to see past a bad transaction."

   A variation on this, per Duggal, is that others just become, "emotionally fixated on "winning," and become so intent on acquiring the property that they lose focus on the numbers." Oscar Zamudio, a Commercial Executive with Coldwell Banker Commercial NRT, says that some investors are, "willing to add their money to the monthly mortgage simply because they fell in love with the property." Duggal adds the following tip: "Don't personalize an investment home. Keep the rehab neutral so you leave room for the personal taste of all buyers."

   "Don't be attached to investing in your local market.", says Brian Sparr of Sparr Properties, who adds that, "If you feel the need to be able to drive past your investment property at any given time, you are very likely stunting your investment growth.". Sparr advises that you should be, "open to taking advantage of the opportunities other markets are currently providing (even when you factor in the added expense for hiring a property manager to oversee the unit)."

   Obviously, a huge factor in Real Estate Investing is funding. Zamudio speaks about a "basic rule" in investing; "If you can borrow money at a low cost why not maximize it by buying the most amount of money that the investment can cover through its income." Sparr suggests that you have a "long-term plan that you can execute against", and that, "Simply owning a rental property doesn't make you an investor. The purchase or sale of a property needs to clearly fit into your overall plan and help you get closer to realizing your ultimate goals.

   David M. Rice of New Home Star Corp, says that there is, "one overriding piece of advice that I would give to anyone I advised today", which is, "The investment has to make sense.", and continues to say that you need to, "Forget buying it because it is "so much lower priced than it was before" or because "this area is sure to boom"." Rice says that successful real estate investing, "in my opinion, should be based on making investments that make financial sense. One shouldn't count on appreciation, even if it seems "certain". Of course, if the purchase can be appraised a higher number than the purchase price, that's substantiated (relatively) equity. If the property needs work and you do comparisons to find out what the property would be worth when the work is completed, that too is a different story. Look at real estate investments at this point in time. Consider all of the known factors and make a decision that makes sense.

   The Big "Do's" here, are, "Identify what your goals are; Cashflow? Rate of return? Percentage of return overtime? Tax strategy? Appreciation only?", per Glenn Bill of The Glenn Bill Group, and ultimately, per Duggal, "find your buyers needs and fill it. You'll be successful if you can provide what others demand."

   Barb Getty, a Real Estate Investor, Landlord, and an Author, provides some operational tips, for example, to, "Protect yourself by operating under an LLC or other corp., and if you do your own management, tell your tenants you’re the property manager – not the owner. This makes them feel you’re in their corner, a go-between, and when things get rough you can say, “Let me talk to the owner and I’ll get back with you.”. Getty also says that you need to have an, "airtight lease", and "do enforce it", because, "The best lease in the world is worthless if you can’t, or won’t, enforce it's terms. Landlords quit this business because they’re frustrated, overwhelmed and burned out. The reason? Tenant management issues. If you have a great lease and follow it, burnout won’t be an issue."

   "Don't rely solely on the information you find on the Internet.", says Sparr, who adds that, "there is no substitute for the facts obtained by getting your hands dirty in the local market." Bill suggests that you, "hire an agent to help you. An agent who has owned rental property in the past. Preferably an agent who has lost investing money in the past." McKeehan takes this further, and says that, "A must do, is to speak with multiple Realtors about the property, even if you are loyal to one. It never hurts to hear multiple opinions from professionals, this will save loads of cash.

   OK, so once you have your goals, funding, structure, and your team in place, where to invest? "Location, Location, Location", say Dina Goldentayer of the DS Team in Florida, ..."When buying for investment, the future upside of a neighborhood is the most important factor. What makes people want to live there? Good schools, new restaurants, proximity to highways. These are all factors that will attract a renter and a future buyer when it's re-sale time."

   Christine Michaels, an investor of condos in one of the hottest markets in Florida, suggests that you check the crime grid for the neighborhood. Additionally, Michaels says that if you're building condo high-rises, you need to, "Find out if empty lots are zoned for high-rise". If you are investing in a condo, She also suggests that you, "attend a homeowner's meeting", and also, ask if there is upcoming special maintenance", which is, "critical as it will affect your budget."

   Once you find a property that meets your investing criteria, says Bill, "Inspect the property". Michaels suggests that you, "Kick the Tires", some of which she has done, such as, "talked to residents, flushed the toilets, observe the management office". Duggal adds that you need to, "Do your homework: Perform the market research and the neighborhood comparables, and inquire upon multiple contractors, electricians, plumbers, and other people who will be doing work on the house for you. This way you know that you're well informed, well prepared, and that you're getting the best deal possible.

   When it comes to tenants, Bill recommends that you, "Don't purchase unless you have a tenant history, verify taxes and financial viability of the seller. i.e: check the title close(ly) with a title company". Bill advises that you do not, "get involved with a tenant with out a lease and proper disclosures being signed, especially for lead based paint and mold", and also suggests that you should not, "agree to pay for tenant's utilities this can cost you big time". Getty says that you should not be, "overly trusting !", and, "When your tenant is behind in the rent payment and promises it will be there next week, make them put it in writing, signed by both of you, with the threat of an eviction being filed if the rent isn’t paid by then. I learned – the hard way – that “next week” never comes. Choose to think the best, but by all means, have a backup plan!"

   Some additional tips, says Goldentayer, are to, "Read the Fine Print. It is crucial, especially in a condominium, to evaluate the building's rules on leasing, pets, and re-sales. As an investor who is unlikely to occupy the property, it's vital to make sure it can be easily rented to produce steady income." She also says that, "The Numbers Must Work. For an investment property, buyers are much more focused on the balance sheet versus how pretty the kitchen cabinetry is. So, run the numbers carefully and always assume a worst case scenario, such as a period of vacancy and deferred maintenance issues."

   Sparr advises that you should, "have a sizable amount of money set aside as an emergency reserve.", and says that, "The unexpected is going to happen - appliances going out, the roof needing a repair, missed payments from a tenant - but by setting aside enough money to cover many of these types of issues, you will protect your interest in the property and allow yourself to sleep soundly each night".

   For rehabs, Getty suggests that you, "Don’t overdo it on the rehab.", and says, "...That middle income home is only going to bring middle income rent, like the other homes around it. Make the rental attractive in less expensive ways – nice landscaping (good curb appeal), pleasing paint/carpet colors, nice window coverings, faux countertops that imitate the expensive stuff."

   In closing, Bill says that you should not be, "hurried or pushed into making a decision without understanding all the risks.", "Don't think you will get rich quick. The only people getting rich quick are people selling get rich quick schemes!", and finally, "Have the guts to go ahead with the purchase once it all makes sense."

   Hopefully, these Do's and Dont's can be incorporated into your Real Estate Investing endeavors. If you have anything to add, there are a lot of people reading this post, and would love to read your helpful comments.

Have a Great Weekend, and Happy Rent-to-Owning !
Rob Eisenstein
HomeRun Homes Blog http://blogging.lease2buy.com
HomeRun Homes Website http://www.lease2buy.com

TAGS: #realestateinvesting #realestateagent #rental

December 20, 2010

Drumroll...Your Top 5 Favorite Blog Posts of 2010

Hi Folks,

   Welcome back to Christmas week. If you were anywhere near a mall or a shopping center this week, you know that the traffic was at a crawl and the stores were bursting with people. You would think there was no such thing as a recession !

   Well, it's time to get all nostalgic with you. You have all gravitated to certain posts this year, and we are going to give you your Top 5 Favorite Blog Posts of 2010, starting with #5 and rounding it down to the Top Post of the year !

   Coming in at #5 is the Blog Post titled, "Post-Foreclosure REO Property Maintenance", in which we investigated into how the REO properties are being maintained while they are unoccupied.

   Coming in at #4 is the Blog Post titled, "Buying a Foreclosure? What You Need to Know First...", in which we spoke to numerous experts and foreclosure "gurus" for their suggestions on how to navigate the foreclosure property marketplace.

   The #3 Top Blog Post is titled, "Private Money...Any Available For Real Estate Deals?". In this post, we spoke with members of the lending community to gauge the availability of private money to fund Real Estate deals, and we received a number of different perspectives on this topic.

   Coming in at #2 is the Blog Post titled, "Top 5 Concerns When Selling a Home FSBO", which received a lot of traction and was ReTweeted and used in many articles and write-ups, due to the useful tips provided in the post. The sub-topics of selling a home as a "For Sale By Owner" (FSBO) that were covered in this post were Legal Concerns, Preparation of the Home, Mechanics of the Sale, Addressing Security Concerns, and Marketing the Home.

   Drumroll Please !! Your #1 Blog Post based on views, Tweets, Diggs, etc, was, "Right Time to Buy? Top Real Estate Investing Markets", in which we discussed the hottest markets for Real Estate investments. We spoke with many experts and investors across the country to provide you the best possible information. Even though this post was written a few months back, not a lot has really changed, so it is still worth a read and worthy of sharing with your peers.

   So, there you have it; The Top 5 Blog Posts of 2010, based on your views and usage of the content. We hope that we can continue to provide you with valuable and useful content, and all we ask of you is your faithful readership, your valuable comments, and for you to Retweet and Share our posts using the handy little buttons and links below the posts and on the side column of the Blog.

Have a Great Week, and Happy Rent-to-Owning !
Rob Eisenstein
HomeRun Homes Blog http://blogging.lease2buy.com
HomeRun Homes Website http://www.lease2buy.com/

#realestate #foreclosure #realestateinvesting #reo #forsalebyowner #fsbo

November 8, 2010

Depressed Home Sales and Housing Slump Acting Like a Prison

Good Morning,

   Hope you had a nice weekend. To those of you who ran the marathon in NYC this past weekend, that is incredible. That is the ultimate definition of pushing your body to the upper limits of it's potential.

   On that note, we all wish that the housing market would push itself to the upper limits of it's potential as well, however, with the Pending Home Sales Index numbers that came out last Friday, don't hold your breath. The National Association of Realtors said, "Pending home sales retreated after two monthly gains, signaling an uneven recovery entering 2011 with some near-term disruptions from the foreclosure moratorium". Troubles abound.

   "The depressed real estate market is having another effect", writes David Schepp from AOL Finance, in an article titled, "Housing's Slump Is Keeping Job Seekers Stuck in Place". Schepp notes that it's become, "more difficult, if not impossible, for workers to relocate to take new jobs. The percentage of unemployed managers and executives relocating for new positions fell to a record low in the third quarter, according to analysis by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a Chicago-based employment-services firm." This is an interesting angle that is not in the forefront of our minds, but it is just another casualty of the housing/economic slump. It's like a virtual "prison".

   For the remainder of the economy, there are no major housing-related numbers coming out this week, and depending on how you look at it, that might be good !

   Have You read the "Secrets of Rent to Own" (The manual on how to buy or sell via Rent to Own), or, "Will It Work In My Town?" (The Real Estate Investing Guidebook)? If not, it's worth noting that if you purchase either of those books, you will receive the other one for free. To learn more about "Secrets of Rent to Own", Read More Here, and to learn more about "Will It Work In My Town?", Read More Here.

Have a Great Day, and Happy Rent-to-Owning !
HomeRun Homes Blog http://blogging.lease2buy.com
HomeRun Homes Website http://www.lease2buy.com

October 6, 2010

5 Steps to Achieving Your Real Estate Investing Goals

Hi All,

   Hope you're having a great week, thus far.

   Today's Blog post will be "short and sweet, and something you can re-tweet". Well, sorry about that rhyme, but this post will be looked at in one of two ways, depending on the reader...as an informative post, or as something you may look at as common knowledge.

5 Steps to Achieving Your Real Estate Investing Goals

1. Know Your Niche: If you're focusing on a neighborhood or a town, know everything about it. Population, cancer rates, taxes for homes and business, etc. The more you know, the more you will use during negotiations.

2. Contractors are Your friends: The contractors, landscapers, and all other Home Service Professionals (HSPs) can be valuable, since they also know their niche, and you can use their services for renovations and/or upkeep, as well as feed off their knowledge of the area, as well.

3. Reading is Fundamental: Read everything on real estate investing that you can find. You can never learn "too much". It all comes into play during research, negotiations, and making offers. Suggested reading: The E-Book titled, "Will it Work in My Town?" , and the E-Book titled, "Secrets of Rent to Own", and many others from other reputable companies.

4. Partner Up: Make friends with your local Realtors. They always have their finger on the pulse of the local market, since it is their livelihood. They can be invaluable members on your Real Estate Investing "SWAT" team.

5. Attend and Make a Friend: Make sure you check with your local real estate investing club or REIA about the time and date of their next meeting. Once there, you can listen to the speakers (you might even hear ME speaking there ), and make friends with other investors, Realtors, and HSPs in your niche area.


Here is a contest to help you along, but it will end this Friday (10/8) at 5PM EST:

If you purchase a copy of the E-Book, "Will it Work in My Town?"...you will also receive a FREE copy of the E-Book, "Secrets of Rent to Own".

If you purchase a copy of the E-Book, "Secrets of Rent to Own"...you will also receive a FREE copy of the E-Book, "Will it Work in My Town?".

Once you buy either of these E-Books, then all you need to do is E-mail homebuyer@lease2buy.com with the E-mail address you used to buy the book, and you will receive a copy of the other E-Book by return reply.

Have a Great Day, and Happy Rent-to-Owning !!

September 29, 2010

Rent to Own Indicator and Our Public Speaking Promo Video

Hi All,
   Happy Wednesday to all of you. I have to say that I was so amazed with the reported increase in housing prices, that I Tweeted, "Home Prices Up 5 Months in a Row...Really? Anyone want to help establish a "Rent to Own" Indicator?"

After Tweeting this, I realized a few things that I need to clarify:
1) Not everyone is on Twitter. If you are, you can follow @homerunhomes, and
2) Please don't mistake the Tweet from yesterday as a sarcastic one.

    I would really like to see a Rent to Own/Lease Option indicator (inventory based ?). The only problem that I see outside of actually compiling such an indicator is that it might involve some Government entities a little bit more that what is actually required. What are your thoughts on this? I'm sure there are some strong opinions about this.

   OK, so as the second half of the title suggests ("Public Speaking Promo Video"), we have recorded our Public Speaking intro video right here in the office. Our original announcement about Public Speaking appearances (on Real Estate Investing, Rent to Own Homes, Motivational Techniques, and Business Tips that I have learned along the way while growing the business), can be seen in this Blog Post: http://blogging.lease2buy.com/2010/09/public-speaking-on-rent-to-own-finally.html

   Since the video is quite large, it has been uploaded to YouTube, and can be viewed at this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9sMr5BY09Pc

   In the next few days, it will also be available on our Public Speaking Page at http://www.lease2buy.com/speak.php

Thank for reading.
Have a Great Day, and Happy Rent to Owning !!!

September 22, 2010

Misuse of Tax Funds During Lean Times

Hi Everyone,
   Hope your week is going well. I have a few miscellaneous topics that I would like to touch on today.

   I'd first like to rant about the silly misuse of tax funds during lean times. In Central Long Island, we have many double-yellow two-way roads that weave through multiple different communities. The problem is that the traffic always tends to back up due to the growing population, coupled with the fact that it is only one-lane Eastbound and one-lane Westbound.

   Now, fortunately, towards the end of last year, they began a project which we believed would be to widen the road (2 lanes Eastbound/2 lanes Westbound). They reclaimed property from the sides of the road, cut down trees, and tied up traffic even further with this project. However, after a few punctured tires and ruined front-ends on our cars, we stuck it out, assuming that we will all be in a much better place with that extra lane.

   Pay Attention - here is the kicker; They are putting an island in the middle of the road to separate it ! Almost one year of work just for an island? OK, in all fairness, I think that there will be a left turning lane carved into the island, but was that really worth the effort and the capital expenditure?

   Now that my rant is over, we received an interesting suggestion that we are considering, and it was from a Real Estate Agent that said we should let Agents put their picture on their Realtor/Home Services Ad. This is a very good point, and it is something that we will discuss with our developer. Please keep the suggestions coming in...it is our way of making sure you are happy

   As for the Public Speaking Appearances, we are currently in talks with 2 different East Coast REIAs, a West Coast Real Estate Investing Group, A Real Estate Wealth Investing EXPO, a Canadian Real Estate Convention, and a few other parties. Some of the topics that will be discussed at these events (by yours, truly), are Rent to Own Homes, Real Estate Investing, analysis of deals, marketing yourself, finding deals, staying motivated, and staying focused. Please make sure you reserve me for your next event, since it appears that I will be quite busy the next few months with these venues.

Have a Great Week, and Happy Rent-to-Owning !

September 15, 2010

Do REIA Memberships Still Have a Pulse?

Hi Folks,
   As we move into mid-week, we have been speaking with some folks that are involved with and/or administer Real Estate Investing Associations (REIA), along with some other Real Estate Investing Club contacts.

   In doing so, I realized that this would be an interesting topic to cover, from the angle of membership, during these days of housing market and economic turmoil.

   One such individual, Jeremy Burgess, the owner of Renegade Detroit Investors, says that, "Attendance numbers have been consistent". Concurring with this statement is Marc Sherby, a board member of the Diversified Real Estate Investor Group (DIG) in Fort Washington, PA, who says that, "We are a fairly large group, currently with membership at about 1,000 members", and that, "Our membership is actually on the rise in the past 12 months."

   Burgess goes on to say that they are getting less "beginning real estate investors and more experienced real estate investors". He says that the more expert investors are attending the meeting, which was not the case before." Burgess cites the decrease in interest to the beginners as attributable to the fact that, "they don't see this as a viable option, and more interest from those who are more experienced but looking for an edge".

   In terms of a trend in membership over the past few years, Sherby says that in 2009, "membership numbers nationwide were in serious decline and some of the RE investing groups around the country were closing up", since membership was as, "decimated as the real estate market itself."

   Sherby says that their membership is growing stronger since they are stressing to their members that, "contrary to what you hear in the news, now is a great time to be investing in real estate.", and that they are using multiple techniques to attract and keep members, such as a monthly newsletter, email blasts, postcard and mailings.

   From my own personal perspective, for quite some time, I have done private speaking engagements, and as you all know, I recently announced that I will be giving public speaking appearances. Since we have made that announcement, we have been deluged with requests from REIAs (#REIA) and Real Estate Investor Groups (#RealEstateInvestor) for me to speak at their meetings, conventions, expos, cruises, etc. From the response I have received, it appears that there is still an active and hungry desire to learn more about Real Estate Investing.

   What can we take from all of this? Real Estate Investing is going strong, and if you want to get involved and learn more, or even brush up on your skills, contact your local REIA. Here is a very good directory of Real Estate Investing club/REIA directories that I want to share with you: http://www.larrygoins.com/reiadirectory.asp

   As always, the floor is open for your questions and comments...over to you!

Have a Great Day, and Happy Rent-to-Owning !!

September 8, 2010

Are Timeshares Truly Related to Real Estate Investing?

Hi Folks,

   Hope you are having a good "shortened" week so far.

   A request from our mighty mailbag has asked about the relationship between Timeshares and Real Estate Investing, and we spoke to a few people "in the know" about this.

   Lisa Ann Schreier, a consumer advocate with "The Timeshare Crusader", says that, "While buying a timeshare in the United States generally involves a deeded piece of real estate, that’s really where most of the similarities to general real estate end.", and that it should only be thought of as an investment in future vacations, since the value of a timeshare, "drastically decreases the moment it is purchased" and is not a very liquid purchase.

   Peter Giamalva, a partner with Creative Impact, says that, "A timeshare purchase can complement your overall real estate investments since you choose a timeshare to meet your lifestyle vacation needs", and suggests that you, "buy in locations where supply is limited and demand is high to maximize exchange value and improve your future selling options." Giamalva continues to say that, "like any good investment strategy, beneficial real estate investing requires diversification, and as you broaden your investments, you want to be active in different locations and different markets (annual versus seasonal for instance).”

   Schreier, however, points out that most timeshares are real estate based, and that consumers must know "that they are dealing with licensed real estate agents when purchasing or selling timeshare; whether on the primary or the secondary market." She warns that the secondary timeshare market is "rife with unlicensed organizations and persons charging an upfront fee, which is NOT the way real estate must be handled."

   Alan Brody, a Timeshare Owner, says that, "There are companies that actually charge you $2500 - $4000 to get RID of your timeshare because of the succession issue in timeshare contracts".

   "For consumers looking to buy a timeshare", says Schreier, there are "three basic questions I advise them to honestly answer before making any purchase:"

1. Do you understand the product (weeks, points, floating, fixed, etc.)?
2. Will you in all likelihood use the product?
3. Would you pay that amount of money “anyway” on future vacations?
.....Additionally, she says that, "any one 'no' is a deal-breaker for me."

   What are your thoughts on the timeshare market? Do you Agree or Disagree? We'd love to hear your opinion.

Have a Great Day, and Happy Rent-to-Owning !!

August 16, 2010

New Widget with Scrolling Ads from our Site

Good Morning Everyone,

   We hope you have all had a great weekend.

   OK, so once again, we are referring to that "Magical Blog Post", where we asked for your input, and you gave it to us. Over the past few Blog posts, we have already addressed The Top Real Estate Investing Markets, What You Need to Know in Real Estate Investing, The Top 5 Things NOT TO DO When Selling a Home, and What You Need to Know when Buying a Foreclosure.

   Today, we are giving you access to a Free "Widget", which is a piece of code that you can add to your website or Blog, and it will continuously scroll with the latest Buyer and Seller Ads from our website (See Below). The Widget and the Code are shown below as follows:


   Once the code is inserted into your Web Page or Blog, it will look something like the image on top of this Blog Post.

   If you have any questions on how to use the code or any additional questions, please let us know via commenting on this post.

   Have a Great Week, and Happy Rent-to-Owning !

August 9, 2010

New to Real Estate Investing? What You Need to Know...

Hi Everyone,

Hope you had a great weekend.

With the market in a state of suspended animation, and with people either out of work and/or clinging on to their job by a thread due to the economy, many people are looking for additional sources of income. Some people might hop onto the Multi-Level Marketing programs that are out there, and some others are diligently looking for opportunities.

There is a fair amount of people who look towards real estate investing, and they want to buy and flip homes, which is basically purchasing the home, fixing it up, and selling it for a profit. Folks, let me tell you this...it's not easy! I am one of these people who, back in 2002, was looking for additional income, when a group of friends told me that they were investing in Central Florida. I took that as my cue and was down in the Sunshine State the following weekend.

We purchased a few homes, but turning these homes around was hard, even in a good housing market. We struggled, and it was very difficult. Things finally turned out well, and I left a job at a Nationwide Corporation in which I was a Computer Engineer. This was a good thing, however, we found it more and more difficult to find people for our homes (this is how HomeRun Homes was born, but that is another topic).

What can I suggest to a "newbie", or someone that is new to Real Estate investing ? Research, Research, and then Research again. You must chose the location to focus on, and research the heck out of how the state and the county works. Do you need an attorney? A Title Company? What is legal and what is not legal? These definitions differ from place to place, so you need to research and do your homework.

We have summarized some very important items regarding investing in Real Estate at THIS LINK, and this should give you a great foundation so you can get out there, make offers, and close deals!!

Have a Great Week, and Happy Rent-to-Owning !

August 4, 2010

Construction and Home Sales Down...Is the Sky Falling?

Hi Everyone,

   Thanks for the overwhelming response to our post on Monday, and by a landslide, you have told us that you want to hear more about Real Estate Investing and the hottest markets. We hear you and we listen to you. Later on this week, we will be doing a piece on this very subject. Thank you, and we hope you enjoy all of your HomeRun Homes/Lease2Buy.com goodies that you received for your input. Enjoy !

   We had some housing numbers come out on Monday and Tuesday. The first set of numbers, pertaining to construction spending, showed these numbers slightly above the revised May estimate, however, 7.9% below the June 2009 Estimate. It's a huge difference, and we are all seeing it happen (or "not" happen).

   Pending home sales were released yesterday, and these also came down as well (in comparison with the Spring when the tax credit was applicable for home buyers).

   With all of these gloomy numbers, there are some gems out there. As mentioned earlier, we will discuss these real estate investing markets in our next post.

   The sky is not falling. Don't feed into that hype or it will take longer to recover. Keep your head up and keep your mind in the game.

Have a Great Day, and Happy Rent-to-Owning !