Barbara Rybicki's Blog
The methods for getting started in real estate investing range from strategies that are active to others that are more passive. Many methods fall in between those extremes but all have their own level of associated risk. Here we'll touch on some of the lower risk ways to get started with property investment.
Buy, Remodel, Rent, Refinance, Repeat is a method that is also known as BRRR. With careful planning and execution, it can be an effective way to start building a portfolio of rental properties without using all your cash.
The BRRR method basically involves purchasing a property that needs improvements and is being sold for under its potential value. First, use short-term financing or cash to buy the property.
Once you've remodeled, rented it out and otherwise stabilized it as an income generator, you refinance the property using a more conventional mortgage. Doing so could free up most of the original capital for your next purchase.
2. Own Then Rent
This strategy involves choosing a house that works as your home and as an investment rental property in the future. There are numerous advantages to adopting this method.
You can improve and remodel the home while it accrues equity. Choosing projects that will return the most return on your investment is crucial.
Once you've done so, you can level up to another home. After doing this a few times, you can build up a small real estate portfolio.
3. Own and Rent Out
A home such as a duplex, triplex or fourplex has built-in investment and profit potential. You live in one of the units while renting out the others. This strategy also works if you purchase a home with a guest house, mother-in-law apartment or a basement with a separate entrance.
Using this strategy provides you with valuable time to build experience as a landlord or property manager. In this scenario, you'll live in close proximity to your renters which could be an adjustment if you're moving from a single-family residence.
4. Live in Then Flip
This strategy is a variation on the others already listed. Once you purchase a house, move in and start making improvements. Wait a minimum of two years and then sell it for a profit.
Be sure to follow the IRS rules regarding profits from home sales. By doing so, you won't be subject to the taxes on that money up to $250,000 for individuals and $500,000 for couples who file jointly.
This list is by no means an inclusive one. It does, however, provide you with actionable steps you can take to get started as a real estate investor.
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Investment in real estate rental properties has many upsides. You can make great money long term. But as with any business, there are risks. Before you turn your condo or townhouse into a rental or invest in a house or duplex, consider the ramifications and consult professionals.
Dos and Don’ts:
- Do set up a legal entity to own your rental properties for you. This may be a Limited Liability Company (LLC), Corporation or Partnership. Don’t hold the property in your own name. This protects you from lawsuits and judgments.
- Don’t overspend on the property. Don’t overspend on upgrades or refurbishing.
- Do take care of the major systems such as HVAC, plumbing, electrical, roofs, in-ground sprinklers and garage doors.
- Do get the property inspected to make sure there is no hidden damage or problems you’ll need to fix.
- Don’t buy your first rental without looking at it.
Dealing with Tenants
Owning a rental property does not guarantee you’ll have immediate profits. If you go several months unoccupied, you still must pay the mortgage, taxes and insurance. If you don’t know how to go about getting tenants, consider using a property management service. The small monthly fees you pay usually make up for months with no rent or bad renters.
Another advantage of using a service is that they vet your tenants for you. They run the credit checks and make the phone calls to employers and banks. The only thing worse than no tenant is a bad tenant. Bad tenants damage property, renege on paying their lease payments, and cost you money if you decide to evict them.
As with any home, there’s no actual way to anticipate all the things that could go wrong. Sometimes, one failing system causes problems with other systems. For example, electrical malfunctions can damage the water heater, leading to plumbing failure. A leaky roof might trigger the AC to go out. Don’t run your rental business on a shoestring. Keep funds available to fix anything that goes wrong so that you don’t lose your investment.
If owning rental property is your goal, talk to an experienced real estate professional. They can guide you toward profitable properties, introduce you to property management companies and help you on your way.
Lattice on a fence around your garden or as paneling alongside your porch or carport lends an ambiance that utilitarian wood structures can’t quite render: a romantic, charming frame to showcase outdoor features. Consider using your spare pieces of lattice to hide a large, whirring metal air conditioning unit. Get creative with shapes and styles to fit your yard. The only real constraints are that it sufficiently blocks the unit from view and opens or moves out of the way for maintenance or repair. It should also be noted that the airflow from the fan should not be restricted.
Create a fence out of sheets of lattice. Finish the ends by framing the sheets in slats that are sturdy but still thin enough to complement the size of the lattice crosses. To connect the sheets and provide strength and direction for your fence, get a fence post for each joined spot. If you select wooden fence posts, you can stain them and the lattice to match. Vinyl posts generally come in neutral colors you can match with paint. Shape your lattice pieces and posts into a straight fence, or a three-sided one to enclose the unit from view but allow easy access in back.
If your unit is situated in a place protected from wind, you could use your framed lattice sheets to build a room divider for a less permanent solution that you can change as you wish. Attach the edges of the sheets’ slat frames with weather-resistant hinges. Adopt the classic zig-zag formation to block the unit from view, or bend it around the unit.
For something smaller and tailored to your unit’s size, get its dimensions and construct a lattice box around it, leaving plenty of room on each side for airflow. Trim the lattice sheets to size and frame with heavier slats one inch thick. Connect the corners using nails or wood screws small enough that they won’t split the wood. When making the lid, be sure its width is enough that the edges rest on the box opening. The box completely hides your unit and the lid easily lifts off when needed.
Once you finish building your air conditioning unit concealer, stain or paint it and then cover with a weather-resistant coating. It goes without saying that lattice is made for vine and flower display, and this would beautifully accent any of the above projects.
When purchasing a home, there are many issues to keep in mind. These often include items such as the interest rate on the mortgage, real estate taxes, and homeowner's insurance. If you've purchased a home governed by a Homeowner's Association and have not lived within a similar community before you may find some challenges adjusting more specifically, HOA fees. Changes to rules and regulations within HOA communities usually require an official voting process before they are implemented. However, if you consider your community fees to be too high, there are a few negotiation tips that might get the process started.
Join the Board of the HOA
One of the first steps to consider is joining the governing board of the HOA. The best way to search for ways to lower HOA fees or impact other types of change within your community is to participate in meetings and to get to know the history of your community and the other members. These relationships and experiences provide a view of the current issues and goals of the governing group.
Review the Books
The breakdown of how the HOA is allocating fees is information that should be readily available to the community. If you're interested in exactly where these fees are going, request to review the books. You'll gain insight into the contractors that help serve the community whether it be landscaping, pool maintenance or any other amenities. If you have suggestions for adjustments the community may implement to save money, it is worthwhile to present those options to the board for consideration. When the HOA saves money, the HOA members save money as well.
One of the most common areas where an HOA allocates considerable funds is on landscaping. It is important to have well-kept property to benefit property values; however, it doesn't have to be expensive. If the books show high landscaping or maintenance fees, request that the board negotiates with the current provider for a reduced rate or interview other providers who may be a better value. If the current contracts are reasonable, the board may be able to defer non-essential maintenance.
Consider the Costs of Property Management
Finally, consider the costs associated with the current property management company. Those who live in a condo building, townhome, or other collective living association often have a property management company that handles the high-level issues. While they perform an important function, they can also be expensive. It can be helpful to negotiate a reduced rate with the property management company or consider other management companies that might come at a cost-saving to the community. This can help the HOA members save money on their periodic fees.