Review What You’ve Learned!

You’ve learned an incredible amount of information in this course. Hopefully, you’ve not only taken it all in, but have also been putting the information into action. It’s okay to be cautious if you’ve never done this before, but you have to get out there and make it happen!

It can always be helpful to see information written in the form of a summary. It can help you get your thoughts in order. Also, breaking things down can help it to seem less daunting. Follow these steps, and you’ll be well on your way to financial freedom with real estate rental properties.

First, you need to lay out your goals. What do you hope to accomplish by buying your first property? Do you think you will want to expand from there? Do you think this will be a very long term investment, or do you plan on selling in a few years? Keep in mind that this is generally a longer term strategy.

After you’ve settled on your goals, you need to think about the area you are interested in. Consider what the people in that area want when they are looking at a rental property. In general, you can be more profitable more easily with a multi unit property than with a single family home. You can also save some money and get a better loan if you’re able to live in one of the units yourself.

Consider whether you’ll want to be a very hands-on landlord or not. In some cases, you may want to hire a property management company who can take all of those late night phone calls for you! It can be a lot less stressful to have a management company on your side. However, you can save a lot of money by doing things yourself or with a team.

This directly relates to maintenance as well. You can save a lot of money if you’re willing to do the repairs yourself. However, you might not know how to do them! You have to figure in what you will need to pay for repairs, because it will eat into your profits.

Once you’ve settled on a property, you need to shop around for a good loan. In fact, it’s a good idea to get pre-approved as soon as you’ve settled on a general area. That way, you’ll go in knowing what you can afford. Working with a realtor is a great way to find some of the best properties in the area. Work with someone who is familiar with rental real estate and you should be good to go.

After you’ve negotiated with the seller and have submitted your letter of intent, you will move into the contract phase. Finally, it will be time for closing! Just be sure you’ve gone through everything with a fine-toothed comb, including rent rolls, expenses, and so on of the pervious landlord.

You’ll need to have a good lease set up before hand. You don’t want any surprises when you’re dealing with tenants. If you’re a good landlord who takes care of things right away, people will want to stay with you as a renter. This can decrease your vacancy loss, and put more money in your pocket.

As time goes on, you may want to expand your rental real estate empire. You can even turn this into a full time, profitable business. Just imagine what your long term net worth will be once your investments increase in worth over time!

Getting into rental real estate is a great business. Set yourself up for success by educating yourself and taking action, and you’ll be well on your way to success!

How to Choose a Second Rental Real Estate Property to Buy

A successful initial foray into real estate investing does several things. Firstly, it vindicates your beliefs. You have now proven that you could indeed do what you had believed you could do all along. It also gives you valuable experience which you can take forward into your next property investment, making that even more likely to succeed than the first one. Finally, it provides the capital, or at least the promise of capital, with which to fund your possible expansion.

There is always an instinctive belief amongst investors that a more expansive and highly leveraged investment always carries more risk. This is not necessarily the case in real estate. The conservative investor, who uses a lot of his own money, borrows very little, and then has occupancy problems for an extended time, is a good foreclosure risk for the lenders. There is plenty of equity in the property which they can instantly take back. A more aggressive investor, with a highly leveraged system, is actually more likely to survive an economic downturn, since there is little point in the lender seizing back a property which will give them a loss.

If they work with the investor through the downturn, they can still make significant long term profits. With this in mind, it is strongly advised that you leverage your investment. The downside is limited, and by having more than one property you are moving away from the situation where your entire portfolio is either 100% occupied or 100% empty. All the time, you are reducing the amount of risk which your business is subjected to. Your long term goal of a stable and dependable income.

It is also a good idea to build on the success of the first property by staying very close to it geographically. You will save money on maintenance and administration by reducing the distance between the properties, and you could also find that the good tenant in the first property has friends of a similar age and interest group, who would make ideal tenants for the other property. Anything you can bring to the new project which has worked with the old one increases your chances of success.

One of the greatest benefits of all has yet to be mentioned, and that is the reputation you should now be building up with the banks or lenders who financed the original investment. Having borrowed money and created one successful project, you will now be able to negotiate better terms with the lenders who will be fighting to help with the next one.

This is not limited to institutional investors, either, as you now have a proven case to show a private investor who is looking for a tax efficient, but still profitable, investment. You can even arrange to locate and manage properties for these investors in exchange for commission, bringing in extra income without risk. This can then be re-invested back into leveraging further properties, helping you to build your empire as soundly as possible.

Refinancing a Real Estate Rental Property for Even more Profits

Refinancing real estate rental property is something which can be of great benefit, if you know how to carry it out safely. Of course, nothing in finance is ever truly free, and there are fees which the lender will impose upon you. These need to be factored into any projection you make as to whether refinancing will be a good idea. This is assuming, of course, that the goal of your refinancing project is to raise more money for investing in other properties. It certainly does not need to be. There have been many property investors who would simply take this money and spend it, counting it as a tax-free reward for their effort.

If you have any ambition to build up a property portfolio which can keep giving you money for many years to come, it is best not to weaken it by taking money out in this way at the start. Refinancing for re-investment makes a lot more sense, and it should still be possible to gain a positive cash flow. It is also possible to refinance a property, and then use the proceeds to diversify and invest into other things such as stocks or bonds.

A lot depends on your personality. If you are definitely a hands-on person, with a liking for having control over the important investments in your life, you will probably want to stick with property. You control most of the variables here, and operate in an imperfect market. If something is not working, you can change it. When you invest in other financial instruments, you are extremely limited as to what you can do. If the price does not move, you can do nothing to make it move. You can develop some degree of control with disciplined trading, and by knowing how best to react in certain circumstances. The point is, though, that react is all you will be able to do.

Assuming you choose to refinance for further real estate growth, you have immediately reduced one of the biggest risks inherent in this type of investing. When you only have a limited number of properties, especially if you only have one, you are at the mercy of a sudden departure of your tenant reducing your income to zero. Diversification brings a far greater degree of safety. It does make sense to diversify with another property of a very similar type, though, so you can use the insights and knowledge you have gained from managing the first property to good effect.

Speed is crucial for refinancing to work well. You should ideally have a portfolio of properties ready to go when the money comes through, so that you can get it reinvested into property as quickly as possible. It is also a very good idea to advertise for tenants in advance, so that you can start seeing a return on your refinancing immediately. You do not want to be making the increased payments on your new financing package any longer than you need to without income coming in to cover it, and ideally not even once. If you can quickly get the rent in to cover it, refinancing could prove to be a very profitable way to go.

How To Find And Hire Staff For Your Real Estate Rental Business

So you’ve been through the numbers and found a great real estate rental property that you’re proud of. Congratulations are in order for you but the most crucial still lays ahead.

Management of your property is just as important as the purchase of your rental property. Do not sway from this point of contention because you need to have the energy and market savvy to insure that your investment will pay off.

If you intend to make real estate a business then you must treat it as a business. I know you’ve heard that before but no matter what type of business you have you will need a support group.

This support group can make you or break you if you don’t select the right people. A good support group can identify problems and get them fixed right away. A less than acceptable support group can make your life miserable as well for your tenants.

The first step in hiring staff for your business is to advertise. Putting an ad in the paper will give you outstanding results. There are plenty of people each and every day scouring the ads for something that they can do to make money.

Getting these ads in the right type magazines is also important because like minded people for the most part will be reading for these opportunities.

Let’s take a back step at this point to make sure that you need to know what you’re looking for in a staff support person. Congeniality, common sense and being personable are just a few of the personality traits that you must be looking for.

The customer service support team that you select will reflect you. You need to feel comfortable with the person that you will depend on for your real estate business.

Taking your time in hiring a customer service person is the first criteria because you don’t want to pick a person that isn’t out for the good of your company.

This is a time for reference checking to see what type of person is being interviewed. You need to do just as an extensive background check for your future employee as you did with your tenants. Without a proper background check you really don’t know what type of
person they are.

Laying down the requirements of the job like punctuality and good time keeping skills is a must. You must be able to rely on this person for all the paperwork and phone calls that may come in once you start your business.

This person is someone that will come in contact with many of your possible ventures that you encounter throughout your business life.

Making sure that you select the right person for the job will cement in the future for you. You will be able to start making a lot of deals knowing that you have a person that will complement you with a customer service support that is second to none.

You do right by that person and they will do right for you.

7 Ways To Target Your Ideal Customer

No matter how innovative and exciting your marketing strategy is, it is not going to deliver you the desired success unless and until you have a definite idea of the kind of customers you want to target. Misdirected marketing policies can end up focussing on the wrong kind of customers and resulted in flawed and disappointing sales. So how can you identify and target the right one? Read one to know more.

To get great and consistent sales for that new product of yours, you need to sell your story and pitch them to the right audience. Just like how teachers need to find the best ways to engage their students keeping their interests in mind, marketers need to question themselves: “How do you find that audience who suits your product and your story?”

Identify the needs

Before you identify your customer, you need to visualise on what customer need you are aiming to fulfill. You need to identify the needs you are going to fulfil. You also got to do a customer profiling to make a list of characteristics of the customer who will have or express those needs. The demographic profiling needs to be exhaustive, and should contain as much details as possible to get a precise description.

The details may include gender, age, race, income, occupation, interests, personal habit and lifestyle related questions, aspirations, views on related products produced by competitors. There are different sources for obtaining demographic information. Data produced by research companies such as AC Nielsen are very useful and in depth sources of consumer behaviour. 

You can also use online surveys such as survey monkeys. You can even make use of existing customer database and your own employee database to get the preliminary information related to your marketing plans. The key is to always focus on the customer first. The customer needs are most important. As a go-getter and a business interested in making your name, you should not wait for the customer to approach you with their needs, you need to be aware of changing trends and demands and watch out for opportunities as and when they come up.  Pro-activeness and foresightedness can serve every marketing wing very well.

Narrow profiling

Fine tune your audience and customer base to as narrow a margin as possible. This is because with a narrow and specific audience, you can focus on people whom you are more or less sure is interested in the products and services you are offering. You will be able to create effective marketing strategies and you will be able to implement it better. Too broad a range of audience increases the chances of your strategies being ineffective. By narrowing the audience range, you can save up on your time, energy, resources and use only sources and materials required for this. 

Understand the psychology of the customer

To generate effective marketing strategies which would bring in successful sales, a successful marketer needs to identify the psychology of the audience.  Unless you understand the kind of people you want to purchase your products, you won’t get going on this.  To understand the persona of the audience: try to determine the following:

  • Age of audience- determine the kind of people whom you would want to see using your products. Is the product youthful and trendy? Are they targeted to the elderly?  Is it for the very young, kids and infant?  Different age groups behave in different ways with respect to advertisements and promotional material. You may need to use different approaches and different language towards them. Based on the age group you want to target, you will need to decide your marketing strategy
  • Gender- you need to determine whether your product or service is going to target both genders or specifically one. Advertisement campaigns will target the two genders differently as they both are constructed differently and react in different ways to different stimuli. They also perform tasks in different ways. Hence, the campaigns may have to be designed accordingly- the way their message is structured, keeping in mind the male and female psychology.
  • Race and Culture- It is the time when advertisers and marketers have to be sensitive to racial and cultural contexts and sensitivities. This, however, does not imply that one cannot target specific racial or ethnic identities. If the service or product is specifically beneficial to certain communities, you can create your campaigns keeping this in mind. The message can be something which appeals to the values and ideas which are cherished by this community; at the same time, it should not flout existing global values too. This can help your company in getting a very dedicated following, if the product matches up to the campaign.
  • Income status- Intelligent and sensitive marketing need to be attuned to the fact that not everyone would be of the same income levels or financial abilities. Hence, if the product or service you are designing is for the upper end of the society, you need to ensure that your marketing strategy targets such customers. If you want to market something low budget or affordable and suited for the middle class, you would need to tailor your message in that direction. If you target the wrong product for the wrong category of clients or customers, you are liable to end with a disastrous and failed marketing campaign. So, the marketing must understand the social and economic status of the client profile.

Narrow market

When you are starting out, start small. Identify the smallest possible market. And select a niche audience in that market. Establish a presence and get support. Then try and expand the market once you have succeeded in establishing base. This will also save you from unnecessary costs which can happen by starting out big without thinking. As you expand your base, you can promote your service with bonuses and benefits which would strengthen the faith of existing customers and bring in new customers.

Tell your audience why they should try you!

When you are creating your message for the specific target audience, be convincing about why you think you are the best to fulfil that particular service. Your ideal customer should be able gauge you and respond to you. Of course, this is not as easy as it sound. It may need a certain amount of iterations to get it working and creating that perfect message, aimed at that specific audience. You can test out your messages using social media and other platforms as well as through surveying strategies to see how it pulls in the desired audience. If it works, then you can use it for a full fledged campaign. This ensures efficiency, keeps costs low and keeps the team focussed.

During communications, you need to reinforce clearly the benefits which you are going to provide to your customers. If it is a health care product you are marketing, you need to communicate authentic, verifiable results and research which will bolster your claim. Trust and honesty matters a lot in genuine advertising and marketing.  A sense of humour, provided it fits in with what you want to say, always helps.

Identify the customers who LOVE to do business with you

For companies and organisations, whose customers are other companies or corporate, this would be one way of coming up with trustable client list. This can be done by analysing your client and customer records. There would be certain indicators which show up in your records which indicate this such as revenues paid by customers/sales derived from these customers to your company; regularity of purchases; long standing customer (indicates loyalty and trust); ready to support and recommend you at all times and willing to provide testimony to your good business practice. These criteria can be used to evaluate existing and future customers with whom you intend to conduct business. 

You can create an ideal customer list, using professionals for this. This list can be based on criteria such as annual earnings, number of employees (preferably in hundreds), kind of business (B2B or B2 C transactions); positions they hold.

Determine the location of potential clients/customers

Sometimes, the kind of customers you need for your product or strategy may not be found around you. They may be located in other places, may be even in other regions or countries. You need to target their locations and identify them.  So your strategy may have to focus on these customers and identify markets, where others have not seen opportunities; it may even be far flung areas.

Even within a city area, some customers are constantly on the move and you can identify such customers for marketing campaigns which are tailored for them. Some may be more home bound and may be interested in products which help their lifestyle. As such, these customers may be more influenced by advertisements on the traditional media such as newspapers or television. Everyone may not be digitally comfortable. 

Every effort counts to get that interested customer and if it means that you have to even use different media for this purpose, you may have to do so. 

Successful? Expand!

Now that you have been successful with your first real estate rental property, you will want to expand your business to own even more properties. There are some things you need to think about first.

Perhaps most obviously, it is not a good idea to start expanding your empire if you haven’t figured out how to be successful with your first attempt. If you’re profiting from your first property, then go for it! If you’re not in profit and you are floundering, then it’s time to reevaluate instead of trying to expand right now.

Even if you do consider your first attempt to be a success, it’s a good idea to review your mistakes. The chances are high that you might do things differently if you had a chance to do them over again. The more you do this the less mistakes you will make with future properties!

Note that the process you will go through to purchase additional properties will be extremely similar to what you went through to purchase your first property. You need to examine the area, understand the demographics and psychographics of the area, and so on.

That doesn’t mean you need to choose the exact same type of property you went for the first time. You can diversify and be very successful as you begin to learn more about this business.

It can also be a good idea to use the money you are making from the first investment to invest in the second. This is one of the best ways to quickly grow your business. You may be very happy and satisfied with the amount of money you’re making, but you can increase your income far more when you have more properties.

Some people have concerns that they will not qualify for another mortgage to purchase a second property. As always, as long as you have a compelling investment lined up, you should be able to get a good mortgage. Lenders will certainly be interested to know how successful you were with your first property. They will know that you are serious about this as your business and that you know what you are doing. It can be a lot easier to get a mortgage that way!

As we’ve already mentioned, you may want to diversify. In past lessons, we talked about getting multi-unit properties. If there is a single home property available, you might look into that this time (just remember the reasons why we like multi-unit best). Or, perhaps you want to look into purchasing a duplex. If you like owning a multi-unit property, you may want to purchase a much larger apartment building than you went with the first time.

When you’re expanding your real estate business, the choices are absolutely open to you. You can consider your first attempt to be part of your education. Now it’s time to grow to epic proportions, making more money than you probably ever thought possible!

Once again, do not be timid to expand. It is one of the best things you can do, and as long as you follow with the right steps, you should find that it is as successful as your first — or even more successful!

Higher Level Business, Higher Level Rentals

It’s time for a business evaluation. This is absolutely key if you want to be able to reach the next level with your real estate investment. You can’t rest, thinking that your profits will increase. You need to evaluate and improve all the time.

The first thing you need to examine is whether or not you are really in profit. Perhaps, despite your projections, you are just barely covering your expenses. Are there expenses you weren’t expecting?

The savviest business people examine their books all the time. You need to look for errors and discrepancies. Doing so can also motivate you to do better. You’ll know exactly where you stand and where you need or want to go from here.

Consider what you can do differently to put yourself even more in the black. For example, if you are making enough of a profit, you can hire a property manager or a team of people to help you. That gives you more free time to expand your empire. The more hands-off profit you have, the better! You’ll never reach this point, however, if you don’t take the time.

How much money is actually going to the bank? In some cases, you might feel like you’re putting it all back into the property. This can be okay, as long as its a trend that doesn’t continue. You’ll constantly want to make your property better, but you have to find the balance.

Some property owners find themselves becoming stingy. They don’t want to take any of their profits to put back into the building. This is also a wrong way to think. You can’t expand your business if you hoard all of your money and refuse to improve things. Remember — you have to keep your tenants happy. That means staying on top of their complaints, making the property better, and fixing things that need to be repaired as soon as possible.

There is no faster way to put yourself out of business and in the hole than by letting your building go to pot. Fix even the smallest things as soon as they are noticed. This can actually save you money in the long run! Problems become even bigger, more expensive problems the more they are left alone. Fixing things right away can mean easier, cheaper repairs.

All of this is mentioned as part of what you need to be doing to evaluate and become a higher level business owner. Those with a greedy mindset are doomed to failure. Those who have faith in their property and make it the best it can be are more likely to succeed.

Your real estate investment property is a business for you. You need to nurture it and evaluate it all the time to take things to the next level. You can create more passive income over time by hiring a team to stay on top of any needed repairs or improvements. Taking care of things right away is a key part of this business, and it will help you to expand your empire.

Build a Team to Take Your Business to the Next Level

As you grow, you might find that it is necessary to build a team to stand by you throughout the process. This team will work with you to find property, get financing, find tenants, work with those tenants, and take care of any legal issues you might run into. A good team is invaluable!

While you might have been doing most things yourself to this point, it can be really hard to scale up if you’re not working with others. The first person you might want on your team is a good realtor. They can help you find new properties that have the potential to be a rental investment.

You can also get a team of people who will help you get things taken care of, such as financing. Your hope is probably that you’ll find a reliable company that can score you reasonable financing once you have proven yourself time and time again.

Where your own specific team might really come in handy is when it comes time to get the unit ready and to advertise for tenants. They might hire different companies or independent contractors to get these things done for you.

You can also have people in your office staff. They can help you advertise for new tenants. They can also help you screen prospective tenants by running a background check and so on. Basically, they can do the legwork it takes to fill those vacancies! When you are making enough money, having these people on your team is more than worth it.

Having an office staff can also be useful for when tenants need to call to report any maintenance issues. Your staff can handle passing the job along to the appropriate person and filing the work order.

It is especially important to have a team by your side if you find that you are overwhelmed trying to handle everything yourself. Perhaps you no longer want to receive early morning phone calls about maintenance issues! Having a team take the calls for you can take a lot of stress away.

You might notice that a lot of the things a good team can do for you are the same things a property management company can do for you. Depending on your situation, you may find that having your own team is less expensive than having a property management company. It is also a lot more flexible and more in tune with your business when you have your own team by your side.

Never be afraid to put the right people by you in order to get things done the right way. This is your business, and you need to treat it as such. Whether you hire people as employees or hire independent contractors, this is the next step in expanding your business so it is even more profitable than you ever imagined it could be. There’s nothing better than having things be more hands off and making more money at the same time because you are able to scale up!

Finding the Right Team to Help you Along the Way

It has become fashionable in recent times to think in terms of very limited hour work weeks, and the concept of outsourcing virtually all of your business life so that you can make the profits without doing much of the work. Everything which this concept involves is possible at least to some degree, and real estate is one area where it is definitely possible. There are specialist management companies who can take on the role of administering your rental properties and income, allowing you all of the free time you need for the other projects in your life.

The entire idea of outsourcing your whole business life does have its limits, and one inherent weakness. That is simply that you cannot outsource or duplicate yourself. Even though you may reach the stage where all of your routine work is handled by other people, someone has to oversee the operation. The idea is that you appoint a manager to oversee it, but who oversees the manager? Adding a manager at this level also definitely means an extra expense, and a significant one at that. In the end, you have to take on some kind of supervisory role, or else your business is totally at the mercy of other people.

In the world of real estate, everything is so much simpler. The business lends itself perfectly to outside management, because of the great similarity of one project to the next. Although there is obviously going to be a significant fee to be paid for this management, it really can save you money as well. Even an innocent mistake, such as forgetting to clear trash cans away, can negatively affect the impression which prospective tenants receive, which can in turn cost you money. Of course, management companies are not infallible, but they are highly trained and will make fewer mistakes than you, as a rookie manager, could expect to make.

There are some management companies who are so confident in what they can do that they even say they will only charge you when the property actually has a paying tenant. This is the type of promise you cannot make unless you are totally confident in your own ability, and this instils huge confidence into property owners. The management company will want its fee, of course, but if they are going to allow you to concentrate on sourcing more properties and developing them this will be paid off many times over.

As the right management team can take your business to a completely new level, it is worth taking the time to make sure that you find the best one possible. Use local Internet search and local media to find as many possibilities as you can, get referrals if you know anyone who has used any of these sources. Make sure you know in advance what the charges are, and that there are no hidden clauses which could be applied. It is worth consulting a lawyer here, because if you can get the right management company, it will be worth their weight in gold to you.