There’s always twists and turns in real estate, creating a labyrinth for investors. Who can you trust with your questions along the way?
When you find them, let us know. In the meantime, we’re happy to share our thoughts 😉
(Our lawyers make us add this friendly reminder: We’re not lawyers, accountants or financial planners. In fact, we’re not even all that bright. We just share ideas and information for you to consider when working with your own professional advisors.)
In this latest edition of Ask The Guys, we take a deep dive into our email bag and pick out some great questions, including…
- Should I flip homes or rent them out?
- What are some market indicators I should know about?
- How do you recommend I raise money?
Tune in and see what we have to say in our latest edition of The Real Estate Guys™ radio show with:
- Your on-a-quest-for-answers host, Robert Helms
- His (trusty?) answer-finder co-host, Russell Gray
Broadcasting since 1997 with over 300 episodes on iTunes!
When you give us a positive review on iTunes you help us continue to bring you high caliber guests and attract new listeners. It’s easy and takes just a minute! (Don’t know how? Follow these instructions.) Thanks!
Question: Should I flip a house or hold and rent it out?
Andrew from Portland, Oregon, reached out to us, “tired of getting a paycheck while someone else gets the profit.”
The Real Estate Guys don’t do a lot of flipping. In our mind, flipping is not real estate investing, but flipping IS a way to make good money.
The essence of business and investing is to build a machine that accumulates the efforts of others (time, money, etc.) as an organized “asset” with a cash flow.
Investing is putting your dollars out to work instead of your labor.
When renting to people, they pay you rent out of their earnings. That’s their effort, turned into a cash flow for you.
A lot of folks think in terms of: Cash > Asset > Cash. (Taking cash to build an asset that creates more cash.)
We encourage you to think in terms of: Asset > Cash > Asset (Using an asset that creates cash flow so you can invest in more assets.) Assets are our end goal.
So you could use your skills to rehab a home, tenant it, and keep the income.
We have a good friend Terry Kerr who has built a portfolio of properties in a thriving business in Memphis using that model.
Question: Should I buy a home before an investment property?
Sonya from Pembroke Pines, Florida, is a smart woman looking for the best way to use her $32,000 VA loan.
She’s renting right now, “because it’s tough to find a home in order to afford to buy an investment home. Which should I do first?”
We say where you live is a personal choice based on where you want to be and the type of home you want to live in.
Sonya isn’t sure she wants to stay in Florida long-term, which is part of her dilemma in choosing a property.
She’s got this VA loan eligibility for a primary residence. The nice thing about the VA is that once you buy a property is that even though it’s an owner-occupied loan, if you live in the home and move, the loan can stay in place after you move.
You could even buy another home as an owner-occupied loan. Keep in mind, you can generally only have one VA eligible property at a time.
If Sonya buys a home to live in, and there’s a possibility of moving, it’s probably best if she feels comfortable it would be a profitable rental, in case it’s not easy to sell.
(That’s the thing about home ownership: You will pick up some tax breaks but you’re also tethered to the property.)
There’s always the chance you may end out getting stuck in a property.
Sure, home prices have been going up, but it doesn’t mean it will keep going to the moon.
Based on the chance you may or may not be trapped in a property you may not want long-term to take that VA and use it somewhere else.
As far as renting goes …
We say there’s really no harm in renting today if you’re figuring out how to put your assets to work.
Question: David in Boise, Idaho, asked: “Are there limits, as a percentage, to invest my self-directed IRA? Can I invest it into one property?”
We definitely recommend you talk to a tax advisor. If your IRA is self-directed, then yes, you are legally allowed to invest as you please.
While you can, the bigger question is should you invest it all into one real estate project?
Generally speaking, it’s not a good idea to put all your eggs into one basket. It may be prudent to diversify.
We don’t have all the details on David’s portfolio, but the general principle is it’s never good to be greedy. Sometimes you swing hard and get the Grand Slam, and sometimes you strike out. If you’re not prepared to strike out, it might not be the best route.
Question: Looking to diversify in several markets, what do you think?
Rick in Michigan is looking to raise money through a syndication, and has a plan to acquire four or five properties in several markets, including one or two vacation properties in Belize.
We love his idea to syndicate, putting together a lot of people’s resources to do something bigger.
Rick wants to have all the properties managed except those in his own area, which he plans to manage himself.
At the high level, we love the idea.
It’s wise to diversify across markets and property types. We like that he’s throwing in some vacation properties. But here’s our hang-up: Why manage it yourself?
Rick, you’re going to be attentive to what’s going on in the other markets. You’re managing money and time.
Time is tricky. You can’t raise more time.
If there’s room in your business model to have a property manager, then get someone else’s help to manage the properties in your area.
Also consider this …
Since you’ll be having investors as part of your building this portfolio, you have to disclose every way that you may be compensated. Being a property manager could appear as a conflict of interest.
You need to build a team and build a relationship with the team. If you’re managing the properties purely to save money, raise more money.
As Simon Black says, “Add a zero to your thinking.”
If the only gating item is the amount of money, that’s largely a mental block.
Question: What are the market indicators?
Everett in Coral Gables, Florida, reached out to get more clarification on the market indicators.
We suggest looking at net migration, which will be either a net positive or negative. You always want to look for a POSITIVE net migration.
There are some markets where more people leave than come in. That’s bad news.
For example, look at Detroit, Michigan. It had a population of 2 million people. Now it’s somewhere between 600,000 – 800,000 in population.
In Detroit, they are literally tearing houses down – removing inventory – because it’s more of a liability to have squatters in them.
Detroit’s an exaggerated scenario.
The point is these markets shift slowly and if you’re not paying attention, then you get left holding the bag.
Another indicator of market health is how long it takes to sell a home.
Not just annually, but from a month-to-month basis. What are the average days on the market?
There’s a whole lot of other indicators … check out our podcasts for more!
Question: What’s the legality of wholesaling? Do I need to be a licensed realtor?
Shawn in Fort Meyers, Florida, reached out to us to learn more about wholesaling.
Wholesaling is the idea of getting into a contract for a property that you’re not going to buy, then finding another buyer.
Since you did the work of finding the property, other time-strapped investors may pay for your efforts in finding it for them. They’ll take it off for hands for a small fee.
The legality portion is tricky.
The smartest thing is to ask a real estate attorney the question. Tell them what you want and ask how to do it within the law.
We’re guessing wholesaling would be fine.
To have a license means you are brokering, or representing a third party.
When you make the contract as a wholesaler, you’re NOT representing anyone.
Make sure you understand HOW you should sign the contract …
This will be either as a “signee” or a “nominee,” depending on what your attorney tells you.
What you’re effectively being compensated for is tying up the property at a decent price and getting a buyer.
The smartest thing to do when you have a legal question is to spend a couple hundred dollars and GET COUNSEL from a qualified real estate attorney.
Question: With fixed-rate loans, backed by real estate, am I making a bet on inflation?
Patrick in Belgrade, Montana, reached out to us with a great question.
Looking at history and trajectory of U.S. dollar, it’s tempting to think it’s going down. Is it possible the U.S. could have a lost decade of inflation?
If you’re investing for the long-term, our opinion is the trend is your friend.
If you look around the world and the economic uncertainty globally, you’ll see the dollar is less flawed that in other countries.
If all the currencies are sinking, then long-term the dollar will be in the same ship.
We see you having a better chance of inflation than deflation.
In a lot of markets in the world, the U.S. dollar is the de facto for real estate purchases.
As a real estate investor, you need to be prepared for either side – whether the dollar loses or gains value in the global marketplace.
- Structure yourself conservatively, not razor thin on the cash flow.
- Pick markets that are more in demand, and think more about where they are GOING then where they are now.
- Go to cheaper places, where the cost of living is lower but quality of life is good.
These are big, strategic decisions.
If you are serious about understanding about macro economy, this is more than we can dedicate to an episode. That’s why we dedicate and entire, fabulous WEEK to it: Summit at Sea™.
We commit ourselves for a week of intense discussion with some of the greatest minds in banking, commodities, real estate, and investing. They give us a 360-degree look at all of these different topics and come out with actionable intelligence.
It’s a big investment of time and money. It’s also a blast!
Question: I’m just getting into investing, partnering with my dad. What should we be sure to include in our portfolio?
Andrew in Yucaipa, California, is 31, using his dad’s retirement to build a portfolio.
We’ve learned the hard way …
Structure your portfolio to weather a storm!
If you are betting on financing to take you out of tight spot, be cautious. If you’re being conservative and you’re picking a good demographic, have adequate reserves, and not letting yourself get to the point that you might have to sell.
You NEVER want to HAVE to sell.
Instead, you want to do determine your own timing.
We recommend recession-resistant product types. When times are bad, the wealthier are going down t middle class homes. When times are good, people are getting raises and upgrading their homes.
How to protect yourself?
Stay away of high-end stuff and choose more of the bread-and-butter middle ground.
Create your future
All of these were great questions. If you’ve read this far, you’re interested in investing BECAUSE you have goals. Good for you. That’s where it all starts.
You want to improve your life.
You want to create cash flow.
You want more freedom.
You can do it! Go out and make equity happen!
More From The Real Estate Guys™…
- Sign up for The Real Estate Guys™ Free Newsletter and visit our Special Reports library.
- Don’t miss an episode of The Real Estate Guys™ radio show. Subscribe on iTunes or Android!
- Stay connected with The Real Estate Guys™ on Facebook and our Feedback page.
The Real Estate Guys™ radio show and podcast provides real estate investing news, education, training and resources to help real estate investors succeed.