Trying to Buy More Single-Family Rentals? Here’s What Could Kill the Deal

Are you thinking about adding more single-family rentals to your portfolio of rental properties? If so, you’re making a smart choice!

Even though you may currently own one or more single-family homes, the reality is that you can easily kill a home purchase deal by making one or more of the following mistakes.

  1. Lack of preparedness

Many property managers look at their business as a revenue source, but according to Propst, it’s so much more. He recommends viewing your business as an asset that can increase in value and consider how you want it to evolve down the road. By beginning with the end in mind and setting up goals to grow your business, you can make it more marketable when it’s time to sell.

  1. Poor financial management

In an acquisition, financials can be difficult to get your arms around and verify. Are the earnings you post on your financials what you are actually earning? Propst says it’s important to ensure the customer’s, tenant’s and business owner’s books are all reconciled. Both the buyer and seller need to understand that the numbers put into the system are accurate. If you reconcile your books on a monthly basis, life is much easier when it comes time to sell your business and investing in a certified audit may be a good idea.

  1. Lack of documented processes

When you acquire a company, you also acquire its processes. Propst recommends analyzing these processes so you can best leverage strengths and tweak areas that need improvement. From there, integrate the processes into your business as a whole. Use technology to document all processes, such as business procedures and communications with owners and tenants.

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are important for anyone who is building their business and eventually wants to sell. Consider what is driving dollars and bottom line and focus on these areas. Instead of trying to do it all, set a few KPIs that help you reach your goal and place your efforts there.

What does Andy recommend to document processes? Tools like Traxion or even simply Microsoft Word.

  1. Poor data management

Do you have streamlined property management data? According to Propst, businesses should establish clear policies and procedures for how data is entered so it can be easily accessed and interpreted across the board. When managing multiple platforms (such as a tenant portal and owner portal), you need to establish data standards so you and your team can consistently enter data in the same way and avoid confusion (e.g.- “TX” instead of “Texas.”)

  1. Not knowing your worth

Do you know the value of your business? Property managers who begin with the end in mind by setting clear goals, along with mission and vision statements, are better equipped for long-term success. Be proactive in planning and focus primarily on initiatives that drive revenue for your business. Propst says that “Stepping away from the day-to-day of your business to create a game plan is an investment that will pay tenfold.” Making time to establish, review and adjust your goals is essential to understanding the true value of your business.

Get Property Management Here

For professional property management in the Houston Texas area contact Vestpro Residential Services at (832) 971-1841 or click here to connect with us online.

Traditional and Creative Ways You Can Finance Your First Houston Rental Property

By Vestpro Residential Services

Are you planning on buying your first rental property in the Houston TX area? If so, as a first-time investor you’re probably wondering how you’re going to purchase that rental property especially if you already have a primary residence and other financial obligations.

Thankfully, you have options available that will help you get that rental property sooner than you think.

Get A Traditional Mortgage Loan

The first and obvious way you can finance the purchase of a rental property in the Houston TX area is to get a traditional mortgage loan and use the equity from your primary residence towards the purchase of that rental property.

Most new investors with good credit will go this route because it’s the obvious way of using the equity that you already have in your home and making it work for you.

Here are some more options to consider for buying a rental property:

Seller Financing

This involves getting a loan from the person you’re buying the property from. In some cases, if the seller is willing to lend you money, it’s easier (read: less paperwork) than getting a loan from a bank.

I’ve seen these deals work in a number of scenarios: The seller might finance either the down payment or the full purchase price. The seller might be another property investor — or they might be the property’s live-in owner.

The key to success is to ensure you agree on a fair interest rate for the loan. If you don’t have much experience in this area, it may be wise to work with your CPA and/or attorney. And regardless of how much experience you have, be sure to get the terms of the loan in writing, with signatures.

Partnerships

Another great financing option is to partner with someone who has enough money for a down payment. This is an effective strategy if you have a friend or family member who’s interested in getting involved in property investment, but maybe isn’t as interested in the day-to-day work of screening tenants and collecting rent payments.

In this scenario, what often happens is that one partner puts up money and the other handles all the actual work of being a landlord.

The key to success here is to agree on how to split proceeds. I recommend thinking about it in terms of aligning the risk and reward with costs and benefits. Your partner is taking on all the financial risk, but you’re putting in all the legwork of bringing in revenue via rent. Make sure the way you split proceeds reflects your contributions.

Whatever you decide makes sense, it’s best to have your terms in writing. Services like LegalZoom and Rocket Lawyer can help with drafting basic legal docs if you don’t have an attorney. (Full disclosure: Rocket Lawyer is a partner of ours.) Another strategy we find effective is to form an LLC, which requires you to put together an operating agreement. That document is a great place to lay out roles and responsibilities for all parties.

Government Programs

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) was founded to encourage homeownership. One of the ways it does that is by offering homebuyers the chance to buy property with just 3.5% down.

While FHA loans are specifically designed to facilitate the purchase of owner-occupied homes, it’s completely allowable to buy a two-, three- or four-unit building, live in one unit, and earn rental income from the others. In fact, this can be an incredibly cost-effective way to finance a rental property, especially if it’s your first.

FHA loan limits are different in every county, so part of the art here is making sure the loan limit where you want to buy is high enough that you can purchase a multi-unit property.

Get Property Management in The Houston Area

Once you own your first rental property in the Houston area don’t waste time managing it yourself, let Vestpro Residential Services manage it for you. To learn more about our services contact us at (832) 971-1841 or click here to connect with us online.

5 Basic Tips for Investing in Real Estate

Are you planning on getting started with Investing In Real Estate during 2017? If so, you’re not alone. Thanks to the excellent returns from Real Estate many investors have chosen to invest in rental properties in Houston, and across the United States.

Before getting started with investing in Real Estate you should follow these 5 basic tips for investing in Real Estate.

1. Location Matters

The old adage that “location matters” is most accurate when it comes to real estate investing. Before you fork over a down payment and put yourself in a significant amount of debt over a property, ensure that it’s in a good location.

Look for the worst house on the best street. That’s a principle you’ll come across quite a bit as you delve into further real estate investing advice.

You want to invest in the worst house on the best street because it gives you an opportunity to build equity. It’s a property in a great neighborhood (“the best street”) that needs some work (“the worst house”). You can invest some money to fix it up and sell it to someone else who wants a ready-to-move-in house in a fabulous location. Professional real estate investors call this “fixing and flipping.”

2. Look for Wholesale Properties

Investing in real estate is just like investing in the stock market in at least one way: you’re looking for the best deal. If you’re a savvy stock market investor, you probably won’t buy too many stocks at their high if you plan on holding them for a long time. Instead, you’ll follow the Warren Buffet principle of getting greedy when everyone else gets fearful. You’ll buy stocks that are beaten down and make a fortune when they turn around.
That’s what you want to do when it comes to real estate investing. Avoid paying “full price” for properties. Instead, look for so-called wholesale properties that are offered at a steep discount. Sure, they’ll probably need some work. Run the numbers and see if the investment in rehab is worth the ultimate selling price.

As noted at ThinkConveyance: “You can easily invest $20,000 in a property and add twice that much to the selling price. That’s why real estate investing is so attractive to investors who want to maximize their return on investment.”

3. Understand the Tax Benefits
The people who run our government want private investors to provide housing for people. That’s because they know that if private investors don’t provide housing, then the government will be responsible for it.

To that end, Uncle Sam offers significant tax benefits to real estate investors. The most significant benefit, arguably, is the depreciation write-off. When you buy an investment property that includes a building, you get to write off the depreciation of that building as a tax deduction. You’ll have to consult your tax advisor for specifics, but basically you can expect to depreciate a residential building over 27 years and a commercial building over 39 and a half years.

Keep in mind that the IRS views your real estate investment efforts as a business so you also get to claim the “necessary and ordinary“ deductions that business owners take, including mortgage interest, insurance, and maintenance expenses. Again, it’s a good idea to consult your tax advisor about specifics.

4. Check Your Credit Report

You’re more than likely going to need to borrow money to buy real estate. That’s why you should check your credit report before you begin investing in real estate.

If you have problems on your credit report that are mistakes, get those resolved as quickly as possible. If you have problems that are legitimate, then you’ll need to work to improve your credit.

Simply put, banks aren’t going to loan money to you for a property that’s not your primary residence as readily as they’ll loan it to you for your own home. That’s why your credit has to be spectacular.

5. Use the “1% Rule”

If you’re planning on buying a property that you’ll rent out one or more tenants, use the “1% Rule” when you decide whether or not the property is worth the price you’ll pay for it.

The 1% Rule simply states that an income producing property must produce 1% of the price you pay for it every month. For example, if you’re looking at buying a property for $150,000, then the monthly rental income should be 150,000 x 1% = $1,500.

Get Houston Texas Property Management

As you grow your portfolio of rental properties you’re going to need an experienced Houston Texas Property Management company because a property manager will save you the time, money and hassle of managing those rentals yourself. Learn more about the services we can offer you by contact us today at (832) 971-1841 or click here to connect with us online.

 

How to Begin Investing in Real Estate

Are you thinking about getting started in Real Estate investing in the Houston Texas area? If so, you’re not alone.

Many people have made the decision to invest in real estate over the last year thanks to historically low mortgage interest rates and demand for rental property across Houston and the United States.

In this article we will share with you several tips you can use for getting started in Real Estate investment.

How To Get Started Investing In Real Estate

Buying shares in a real estate investment trust. You can invest in a REIT, but doing so involves buying shares of a portfolio of properties. “It’s really more like buying a stock or buying into a fund,” Baron says. “It’s a completely different animal from owning real estate directly.”

“There are three layers of value – the real estate itself, the management and cash flow that supports the trust, and the fund based on the trust,” explains Gary Gastineau, founder of ETFConsultants.com, based in Bonita Springs, Florida. “It’s a very different vehicle than buying real estate, but most of us can’t just go out and buy 1 percent of a skyscraper.”
Adding a REIT to your portfolio can complement stock and bond funds, Gastineau says, but you must be sure you understand how the real estate fund is designed and how its managers will likely extract value from the holdings. You can buy shares of REITs and real estate-based funds, but the performance of the funds is based on both cash flow and gains from occasionally selling properties – a very different scenario from the typical performance drivers of stock and bond funds.

Direct ownership. This is anything but a passive investment, Baron says. “People think it’s easy money, that there’s not a lot of work, that tenants will pay on time and that pipes never leak,” he says.

Some individuals enter the market by buying a small apartment building, he explains. You should research diligently to find a good deal on a building that produces positive cash flow and has no hidden defects that will require expensive repairs. Don’t take investment guidance from a real estate agent, Baron warns. To them, everything is a good investment, because they only win a commission when you buy.

Don’t assume your personal experience as a homeowner translates to managing rentals, just on a bigger scale, he adds. From complying with fair housing rental regulations to insurance, to making sure the property complies with building codes and common-sense safety guidelines, property management dominates your wallet and your time. “It’s a very complicated asset. But because it’s a physical asset, people think it isn’t complicated,” Baron says. “People way underestimate the number of issues that come up.”

One way to test your tolerance for being a landlord is to buy a duplex or a small apartment building, with the aim of living in one unit and renting the others.

A nascent rebound seems to be buoyed by millennials who are edging into the market as owner-occupants. Thin on cash, 20-somethings are finding they can gain a toehold into homeownership by buying a small, multiunit property, such as a duplex or three-apartment building. Their plan is to live in one unit and rent out the others, says John Mosey, president and CEO of Northstar MLS, a Saint Paul, Minnesota-based data service for real estate brokers.

Although this arrangement can stretch down payment dollars, it also demands a Himalayan learning curve: first-time homeownership simultaneous with first-time landlord.

The most important consideration for potential first-time landlords is to not assume today’s rising rental rates will lift future cash flow, Mosey says. Today’s tight rental market will be eased as projects under construction enter the market. That means rents will level off, so it’s best to work cash flow and return numbers using conservative projections, Mosey says.

Key cash-flow factors include not only predictable costs, such as property taxes, but also variables that can affect the appeal of the units to potential renters. For example, Mosey says, you may think including heat and water in the monthly rent will attract renters. But the actual cost of heat and water is quite different for a single occupant compared with a unit shared by three roommates. The more water and heat they use, the less money you keep.

Source – US News

Start Investing In Real Estate With Property Management

Once you buy your first rental property in the Houston Texas area make the right decision to manage your property correctly with professional property management with Vestpro Residential Service. Contact us today by calling (832) 498-0016 or click here to connect with us online.