We love it when we get more questions than we can answer. It means our listeners are paying attention and seeking advice. Keep ‘em coming, guys!
But this time, we had so many questions that we had to narrow it down … so we chose the ones with the most universal themes.
The questions in this edition of Ask The Guys touch on when to sell a property, where to buy one, and how to get educated in the real estate investing world … as a student, a military veteran, and a future syndicator.
Our only disclaimer? We are NOT tax professionals or attorneys. We don’t give advice … just ideas and information!
With that said, please sit back and listen in as we bounce YOUR questions off each other.
Behind the microphones for this all-new edition of Ask The Guys …
- Your full-of-ideas host, Robert Helms
- His full-of-it co-host, Russell Gray
Broadcasting since 1997 with over 300 episodes on iTunes!
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Question: I just got an offer on my property. Is now the time to sell?
Tina wrote from Redwood City, California, to ask us about a duplex she’s owned for over twenty years. She gets decent cash flow every month, but she just got an offer, and now she’s wondering whether it’s time to sell.
To any investor wondering whether they should sell a property they’ve owned for a while, we’d say now is definitely a good time to consider it.
But … there are a few things you should think about.
First, the basic math. Ask yourself some simple questions: How much equity do I have? How much equity would I net by selling? What would the tax impact of selling be?
Once you figure out the net amount of cash you could get, divide it by your cash flow to get your return on equity.
The big question when you’re considering the return on equity is “Compared to what?”
As in, how does that number compare to other things you could do … keeping the property, investing in a different market, or refinancing, for example.
The other part of the equation is the hassle factor.
This goes back to your personal investment philosophy. You need to do what YOU really want to do … not what someone else might do.
Is capital gain more important to you, or would you prefer appreciation? The Bay Area in general is a great market for appreciation. It’s not the most landlord friendly, however.
We have a couple of acquaintances in situations similar to Tina’s.
One did the back-of-the-envelope math and decided that because she was focused on cash flow and the market seemed like it might turn the other way soon, she wanted to take all her eggs off the table.
Another friend, also in the Bay Area, was concerned because she had so much equity sitting in her properties. She decided to sell as well.
Maybe your solution will be similar. And maybe it’ll look drastically different.
Ultimately, your final decision is just a matter of sitting down, asking yourself some questions about what YOU want, and doing the math. We also highly recommend you talk things out with your advisors.
Question: I’m a veteran with a big passion for real estate investing but a small chunk of change. How can I get started?
Lewis, from Middlebury, Connecticut, told us he’s obsessed with real estate investing. His three main interests are wholesaling, multi-family properties, and lease options.
Lewis is also a veteran who’s holding on to some debt and doesn’t have much cash to work with.
To Lewis and other new investors with high motivation and empty pockets, we say that desire and passion are WAY MORE important than money.
If you’re starting from nothing … there is absolutely, positively hope that you can succeed!
Our opinion is that the best investment is education.
With that said, you do have to be careful … paying big bucks doesn’t necessarily insure you’ll learn anything worthwhile.
That doesn’t mean good education will come without a price tag.
Watch out for free seminars … most are designed to masterfully separate you from your money. Remember, there’s always an agenda.
Books are a great place to start. If you’re strapped for cash, use your local library or listen to books using Audible.com.
Books and podcasts can help you learn the language so you know what you’re talking about and can join in the dialogue.
Of course, there’s a difference between book knowledge and knowledge gained from experience.
We have a few ideas for Lewis:
- Take inventory of the seven essential investor resources: cash, cash flow, equity, credit, time, talent, and relationships. You need to know what you’re working with before you can leverage it.
- Talk to a mortgage professional who knows how to do VA loans. Lewis’s veteran status gives him a leg up in getting a no-money-down loan.
- Consider jumping into wholesaling. Wholesaling can be a great training ground and is one of the best ways to make money when you don’t have much.
- Join a real estate investment club or an investing meetup in your area and meet other investors.
- Form relationships with people who can get deals and get you access to deal flow. The best option is to find a mentor.
It’s key for new investors to learn enough that they can go out and do something, but not so much that they get what we call “analysis paralysis.”
Learn the language, then focus on relationships that let you learn by doing and by example.
And remember … you will make mistakes. Don’t be afraid of them. Embrace them!
Figuring out how to turn a tough situation into a successful investment can be quite a bit of fun when you have the right attitude.
Question: What tools can I use to identify markets that have more opportunities for good cash flow?
Our third question is from an investor in Denver, Colorado. Michele’s been listening to the show and has keyed into the concept of identifying investment goals, particularly whether to invest for equity increases or income generation.
Her current goal is to find a multifamily property with cash flows, but she’s realized that the Denver area is strongly equity based, with high prices and low rents.
Michele’s question about how to find good markets for cash flow reminded us of the real estate adage, “Live where you want to live; invest where the numbers make sense.”
Unfortunately, Michele’s realization that the rents in her area don’t gel with the prices tends to be true in many other metropolitan statistical areas across the county as well, especially in regard to multifamily housing.
We are NOT here to talk Michele, or any investor, out of a personal investment decision.
But we would encourage Michele to take a step back and really evaluate why she wants to buy a multifamily property right now.
If you’re just starting out, you’re not locked into an asset class or product type yet. So now is a great time to consider whether a different product type might be better at producing the cash flow you want.
Going back to Michele’s question, if we were looking for a multifamily property right now, there are a few things we’d do.
- First, get acquainted with the different markets around the country. Go to events, look at properties for sale, and start working on zooming in on a market.
- Make a checklist for your ideal market … is the population growing? What’s the cost-of-living tax like?
- It’s a good idea to look for markets with big populations. When you’re checking out a state, evaluate how landlord- and business-friendly that state is.
- When you’re doing your research, start by looking for clues in the news, then dig a little deeper.
- Consider broker sites and local apartment associations. Both provide invaluable information for landlords, including rent surveys and other resources and reports.
- Analyze the numbers in those reports, and eventually, the numbers will start to talk to you.
When a deal that fits all your criteria pops up, be ready. You’ll have to be on it immediately.
It’s a hard time to be a multifamily bidder right now, but we still think there’s opportunity out there.
Find a way to stick your toe in the marketplace … maybe even consider joining a more experienced syndicator as an investor.
Eventually, you’ll gain relationships and get enough exposure that you can do your own thing.
Question: What about the smaller markets?
Listener Jay, from Scottsdale, Arizona, has also heard us tell investors to “invest where the numbers make sense.”
But he noticed that we don’t seem to mention the little markets … Akron, Ohio, for example.
There is a method to our madness. We like big markets for several reasons.
First, there’s a lot of available data, and landlords don’t have to worry about where tenants will come from.
Second, smaller towns tend to come with a host of difficulties … fewer practitioners, contractors, and resources alongside highly variable rents.
Small towns don’t have the infrastructure to support big deals. And they tend to lack good, professional real estate practitioners so you can assemble a team.
They also may not be on the receiving end of potential government support during tough times.
Third, small towns have MUCH less liquidity. Bigger markets are going to have a lot more traction.
Sticking to small towns means operating at the margins. If you’re at the margin when a recession comes around, that margin goes away and you’re in trouble.
It’s the investments at the margins that tend to collapse during downturns while the core markets stay strong.
We won’t say there isn’t any opportunity for success in smaller markets. We will say, however, that we don’t know any truly successful investors operating solely in small markets.
Question: How do I know whether I’m ready to attend the Secrets of Successful Syndication seminar?
Megan, from Santa Ana, CA just attended our Create Your Future goals retreat with her wife and says she is PUMPED about real estate investing.
Since they started listening to our show about a year ago, Megan and her wife have purchased FOUR turnkey single-family homes!
They’re searching for their first apartment building now, but they know they’ll run out of money soon and are interested in syndicating in the future.
But Megan’s worried they’re not ready to ask the right questions at our Secrets of Successful Syndication event.
We will say that the seminar is not for everybody … if you’ve never owned or invested in real estate or only listened to free podcasts to educate yourself, it’s probably not the next logical step.
Our syndication seminar is two days that give attendees the lowdown on what syndication is and where to find deals and money.
We have people who come to the seminar over and over. The beauty of our Secrets of Successful Syndication seminar is that it covers the basics for newbies, but if you keep coming back, you start understanding all the little nuances.
Our take is that someone who recognizes they’ve got the real estate investment bug, is taking action, has a resume, and is goal-oriented and humble is the PERFECT person to attend the seminar. So Megan … you’re exactly what the business needs.
And if you’re still questioning whether you’re ready, ask yourself: how quickly do you want to start preparing? Our view is that sooner is better.
You don’t want to have an opportunity arise and not have the education to identify or take advantage of it.
Even worse, you don’t want to be the person who goes out and does syndication without training.
The only reason NOT to come is if you’re not serious about being in the real estate business … and Megan, it sounds like you’re pretty serious.
Remember … we always regret the things we DIDN’T do a whole lot more than the things we DID do.
Question: As a current student, what can I do to prepare myself to be an entrepreneur?
Our last question comes from Yahoso, who’s been listening in all the way from Benin City, Nigeria.
We think there are a lot of things you can do to prepare to be an entrepreneur while you’re a student. A few:
- Listen to podcasts and read books, as many as you can get your hands on. These will help you learn the language you need to speak.
- Get involved in a dialogue with people who ARE successful. Have conversations with people who know what they’re doing. Play the student card! Many entrepreneurs will let you interview them simply because you’re a student.
- Learn sales skills. Whether you like it or not, you can’t be an entrepreneur without ‘em.
Build your box of tools. When you have confidence in your skillset, you’ll find doors will open for you.
Have a question for the guys? Ask us here, and we’ll try to get you on the show!
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