It’s a fact that many new real estate investors purchase properties solely with cash. Commonly, this is because they have the money available and don’t want to deal with banks or other lenders. But, this is a sign that their investment kung fu is weak. They think that getting a loan to purchase real estate comes with extra costs and restrictions, and while they’re kind of right, that doesn’t mean that using a loan is necessarily a bad thing. There are costs involved with using loans for your real estate investments, but they are often greatly outweighed by other benefits – specifically, that of utilizing leverage.
It’s not always easy to get investment real estate financed. This is especially true for investors looking to purchase properties that aren’t in the best condition, or for people who have trouble borrowing from traditional lenders. Luckily, conventional mortgages aren’t the only options – there are a number of other great financing sources that wise investors use every single day to purchase real estate.
The Importance of Planning In Real Estate Investing
Texas enjoys a robust real estate market at present as well as a seller’s market. But the market’s health is never guaranteed and things are constantly changing. The market can stall or drop at any time and it’s those who use long-term strategy to plan ahead, preparing themselves for potential hurdles and preserving cash flow and equity stake, who manage to weather complications and market volatility. What are the cornerstones of planning for real estate investment? We go over the important elements of planning ahead for success in real estate investing.
Plan your financial goals — Do you want to completely replace your earned income with real estate investing? Do you want to keep your job and real estate invest to earn extra cash? What is the monthly income you would like to see now or in retirement? How much money do you have to invest? How much money do you have in the rainy day fund? How much money can you lose if you never make it up?
Answering these questions serves two purposes: directing your investment strategy and avoiding financial pitfalls. Regarding the former, if you are not prepared to leave your current job to pursue real estate investing full time and want to guarantee retirement income – owning multiple rental properties might be your strategy. If you are looking to start a real estate investment business, you will likely want a longer-term property or two for stability, but primarily look for properties that can be turned for a profit which can then be reinvested or used as backup funding.
Regarding the latter, if you overspend with the assumption that you’ll make it up on the next deal, you can be left with unmanageable expenses and/or no income. You must ensure that you have sufficient reserves to float potential vaccines or ride out turbulent markets. Use the following analysis to generate a realistic plan that makes financial sense based on previous tax returns, property tax bills, maintenance records, etc. Additional important figures for analyzing a viable and/or good real estate investment are:
- Net income (income/expenses)
- Cash flow (net income/debt financing payments)
- Return on investment (cash flow/investment)
- Cap rate (net income/property price)
- Cash-on-cash return (cash flow/investment)
- Total ROI (total return/investment)
Identify the worst case scenario/Plan an exit strategy — It’s imperative to plan for the worst and create a backup plan in real estate investing. Ask yourself what is the worst case scenario? What can derail your timeline, plan and ultimately success along the way? Real estate projects and sales are both apt to run less smoothly than anticipated. If you anticipate obstacles and setbacks and have a mitigation plan in place, when things go awry you won’t be caught off guard scrambling in a position of weakness
Research your purchase — Several factors impact the success of your investment. Proper planning means conducting relevant research into the property and the potential purchase. What factors are these? Look for the following:
- Property taxes differ across residential districts. Exorbitantly high property taxes might dissuade buyers from paying a premium for your finished property.
- School district zoning is a critical deciding factor for families looking to relocate. Understand the pros and cons of the school district your property is zoned for.
- Demographic trends strongly indicate real estate appreciation/depreciation trends.
- Cost of living considerations should be made both when purchasing the project and listing the renovated home. Home value can be viewed as a correlative of cost of living and average income in the region.
- Sales and rental rates in the area can help potential landlords determine a positive or negative investment. Review the area comps carefully and touch base with property managers in the area to get an idea what rental rates are feasible if you intend to be a landlord.
- Public transportation increasingly becomes a factor in home sales. Millennials are demanding alternative transportation options, whereas families might want to budget miles and commute time. What options are available in the area?
Plan your marketing approach to real estate investing — For career real estate investors, a strategic amplification of your marketing efforts can greatly impact your real estate business. We recently outlined ideal strategies in our Marketing Strategies for Real Estate Investors blog. These include targeting motivated sellers, online adverting, using direct mail campaigns and looking for off-market properties. It’s equally important to strategize for marketing and selling a finished property – plan ahead for the additional costs incurred by staging, photography, advertising, etc.
Punch list the project — Though you might go over on time and money, having a set timeline, punch list and cost spreadsheet for your project’s expenses will keep you on track, give you the opportunity to addresses issues as they arise and give you an idea of any overage costs for which you will be responsible.
Though nothing in life is permanent or promised, planning properly can alleviate headaches and preserve your financial freedom as a real estate investor.
Marketing Strategies for Real Estate Investors
Real estate investing is only successful when a marketing campaign is implemented. This is true of all real estate investments regardless of your investment method (i.e. fix-and-flip, wholesaling, buy and hold, etc.). Real estate marketing is a strategic design to generate leads that hopefully enlist your services or allow you to find more deals. If you approach real estate investing as a business, then your real estate business should have an impactful and cohesive brand identity. This identity will be the background of the marketing approach you will use to cultivate meaningful relationships with past, present and potential clients. As with any business, it’s crucial that your marketing campaign be comprised of valuable and factual information. Because different strategies yield different results across markets, a comprehensive, multi-pronged strategy is advised.
There are a number of real estate marketing campaigns that will help your business reach new heights, but locating off-market properties, motivated sellers, digital marketing, and direct mail — all outlined below — are great a great place for new investors to start.
1. Target motivated sellers. Motivated sellers need to sell properties quickly and are usually willing to agree to unfavorable terms. Fortune Builders states that most effective method of finding motivated sellers is acquiring a county’s delinquent tax list. These lists contain “every individual who is behind — from two weeks to two years — on their property tax payments.” This gives investors insight into properties that are likely to default and enter foreclosure which unveils the potential for a deal. List price varies across counties ranging from $100 to the thousands. Once you have identified motivated sellers, how do you connect? Many times the best method of contacting motivated sellers is to knock on their door. Using language and demeanor that is both helpful, humble and polite, explain that you are a real estate investor in the area, outline their circumstances and the consequences of failing to make payments. Tell them you are in a position to mitigate their financial burden. Leave them with your contact information and give them a chance to mull over the opportunity.
2. Go online. The digital world is a vast, typically cost-effective, marketing opportunity that should be a component of every campaign. Social media sites like Facebook offer the ability to target campaigns to specific demographics and are an effective way to get in front of motivated sellers. With tiered costs correlated to reach, these ads are generally cost effective with you deciding to spend. Additionally, make use of appealing, professional websites that foster online lead generation with squeeze pages (a squeeze page is a landing page designed to capture opt-in email addresses from potential subscribers). Utilize pay-per-click and Google Adwords campaigns to generate leads. There are endless ways to generate eyes and positive word of mouth online. Good resources for undertaking online marketing can be found at Wordstream’s blog and this guide for beginners.
3. Direct mail. According to Fortune Builders, 92 percent of shoppers say they prefer direct mail for making purchasing decisions (56 percent find print marketing to be the most untrustworthy marketing tactic). Direct mail provides a tangible relationship that is more personal than email and social media. This is particularly important with older age groups who engage less in the online world. The key to direct mail campaigns is audience targeting. To do this effectively, you first need to build a specific, focused wish list of the ideal type and property you want to buy. Then you need to create your call to action and design your piece keeping professionalism in mind.
4. Off-market properties. Off-market properties are properties that are for sale but not listed in the MLS. Identifying these properties requires hefty market research, but they can be prime candidates for fix and flip projects. The best way to find off-market sales? Networking with estate attorneys, builders and wholesalers or attending auctions (if the latter, make sure each bid is tied to a property that you have done the due diligence for).
Specs: $479,000 Acquisition & Renovation Residential Investment
The Acquisition and Renovation at 6901 Ligustrum in Austin, TX by Real Estate Investor David McKenzie of Texas Oil Unlimited, LLC is an exciting project to feature. Check out these revealing photos, read about the specs and work done, and hear David’s input on working with Streamline Funding as well as advice to the new Real Estate Investor.
Check out our very own Regional Production Manager Chris Marroquin of Streamline Funding on San Antonio’s Fox New station.
He joins Victor Maas of San Antonio Real Estate Investors Association – SAREIA to discuss how you can make some serious cash in Real Estate. It’s easier than you think!
Noble Capital, the premier private money lending network in Texas sponsored Michael Johnson’s #94 car at the Le Mans Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge on Friday, September 19 at The Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. The full race weekend was called “Lone Star Le Mans at Circuit of the Americas” and included multiple classes and races.
The Investment Real Estate Roundtable (IRER), a real estate investing networking group dedicated to educational & networking opportunities in the 4 major Texas markets of Austin, San Antonio, Houston, & Dallas, has released its Fall/Winter 2014 events schedule. The featured speaker in each city will be a local who is active and successful in the local market.
Building the “perfect team”, both within the world of Real Estate Investing and in the everyday world, is about as easy as spotting a unicorn. In other words, impossible. That being said, I would recommend that on any given team, each person should first identify their strengths and more importantly their weaknesses.
Hard money loans make it easy for real estate investors to get funding for deals when other traditional lending options simply aren’t available. You don’t need to wait weeks or longer for approval, you don’t need to find a problem-free property, and you don’t even need to have a perfect credit score. For the most part, all you need is a great investment opportunity.