Monthly Archives: July 2017

Real Estate Investing Right For You

If I knew then what I know now, I never would have voted for the war.
Ken Lucas

For me the greatest source of income is still movies. Nothing – stocks, financial speculation, real estate speculation or businesses – makes more money for me than making movies.
Jackie Chan

I have 1900 units, why do I need a 401K?
Robert Kiyosaki, recent interview Time Magazine

To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.
William Shakespeare

From Robert Kiyosaki to Donald Trump, from Robert Allen Carleton Sheets, from Dolf de Roos to Diane Kennedy, investing in real estate is touted as a way for average people with time, money and patience to build wealth.

But is investing in real estate right wealth vehicle for everyone? If this were a one-size fits-all-world the answer would be yes. But, then, stocks would be the perfect investment vehicle for everyone and the discussion would end there. I have had investment real estate since 1994. I have had tenants attempt to squat in my properties, I have been sued, I have had a unit vandalized, someone drove into one of my buildings and I gave gone through my fair share of property managers.

If I knew then, what I know now, would I have bought my first property? The answer is yes. Real estate has done more for me than the stock market has with less overall financial risk despite the headaches and they have been many.

Five Ways to Know if Real Estate Investing is Right for You.

1. Are you a good manager of your personal resources or do you have significant amounts of short term debt? If the answers are no and yes, in that order, do not invest in real estate until you address these issues. Real estate is illiquid. Once purchased, the hold time on your new property may be significantly longer than you anticipate. This means that your potential exposure to unplanned expenses on your property may be longer than anticipated. Significant amounts of short term debt or the inability to plan your finances in anticipation of expenses may turn your real estate investment into a financial nightmare.

2. Are you a team player and can you captain that team? Investing in real estate means partnering with others to ensure your success and recognizing that your partners may know more than you. You will encounter brokers, property managers, attorneys, handy men, plumbers, electricians, contractors, roofers, inspectors, mortgage brokers and appraisers. If you are a control freak, prefer to work alone or cannot be direct in your communication when working with people, real estate investing may not be right for you.

3. Do you understand the kind of investing you will be doing? Will you be investing for cashflow or speculating for appreciation? Do you have the analytical tools necessary to help you work up a pro-forma for the property you will be buying?

4. Do you truly understand that wealth-building in real estate occurs over many years and that you have to “survive” your first couple of properties to build wealth? Over 20 years ago I started baking bread. The guide book I bought featured a “loaf for learning”, a basic loaf that I could practice kneading, mixing and still turn out an edible product. Your first properties will be “buildings for learning”. As you move beyond the initial learning curve, you will move on to create wealth. In certain markets, real-estate can produce appreciation returns beyond expectations and create the illusion that real estate produces instant cash. In my life I have seen two such markets. Frankly I would not want my future financial well-being to rest on my ability to time markets. Sophisticated investors have as their core investments, cashflow properties, properties that perform during hot or cold markets.

5. How do you react to unpleasant business news? Is your overall reaction anger that dissipates into a sense of helplessness or do you become a problem solver? Being able to solve problems is the key to having a successful business and investing in real-estate is a business. Real-estate is also a people business, by this I mean your tenants are people and the service personnel who will work on and market your properties are people. If the failings of others afflicts you with moral indignation and heartache, real estate investing is not for you. Tenants will fail to pay the rent and you will have to evict them, your property manager will charge you market or above market for repairs and will fail to market your properties properly in order to keep them full.

While real estate investing is a great way to build wealth, investing in real estate isn’t for everyone. It is easy to “catch the fever” and jump without looking, the first step is to make sure that you know yourself; these five points of consideration will assist you to that end.

The next step is to educate yourself about your local market, financing options, price and rents. You can start by finding a local Cashflow or real estate investing club. If you join a local real estate investing club make sure some of the members actually own investment property. That way the club won’t just be a club of “wannabes”.

Next assemble your team of property managers, accountants, brokers and agents. You will do this by interviewing prospects. Once you decide on a team, you will still have to trade the members out from time to time.

Lease Option Real Estate Investing

One creative way to get started investing in real estate is to use a lease option. The biggest advantage of using lease options to invest in real estate is –control. This method of investing, basically gives the investor the right to possess — be in control of — and profit from a property without owning it.

A real estate lease option contract is a combination of two documents.

The lease part of the contract is where the owner agrees to let you lease their property, while you pay them rent for a stated period of time. During the lease period, the owner can not raise the rent, rent it to anyone else, or sell the property to anyone else.

The option part of the contract represents the right you purchased to buy the property in the future, for a specific price. If you decide to exercise your option to buy, the owner has to sell it to you at the negotiated price. The option part of the contract obligates the seller to sell to you during the option period — but it does not obligate you to buy. You are only obligated to make rental payments as agreed during the lease period.

When the lease option contract is written and structured properly, it can provide tremendous benefits and advantages to the investor. If the lease option includes the “right to sub-lease”, the investor can generate a positive cash flow by renting the property to a tenant for the duration of his lease, or lease option the property to a tenant-buyer for positive cash flow and future profits. If the lease option includes a “right of assignment” the investor could assign the contract to another buyer for a quick profit.

Lease option real estate investing, is a flexible, low risk, highly leveraged method of investing that can be implemented with little to no money.

High Leverage

It is highly leveraged because you are able to gain control of a property and profit from it now–even though you don’t own it yet. The fact that you don’t own it, also limits your personal liability and personal responsibility. Only if you decide to purchase the property by exercising your “option to buy”, would you take title to the property.

Little to no money

The real estate investor’s cost to implement a lease option contract with the owner requires little to no money out of pocket, because it is entirely negotiable between investor and owner. Also, there are a variety of ways the option fee can be structured. It can be structured on an installment plan, balloon payment or other agreeable arrangement between both parties. The option fee can even be as little as $1.00.

In order to secure the property for purchase at a later date, tenant-buyers typically pay a non-refundable option fee of approximately 2{7e85073c76c3d79b39e14375ac08e2b172f3657265e07e75076dfac08ff09335}-5{7e85073c76c3d79b39e14375ac08e2b172f3657265e07e75076dfac08ff09335} of the negotiated future purchase price to the seller. Depending on how the lease option agreement is written and structured, the investor could possibly use the tenant-buyer’s option fee money to pay any option fee owed to the owner.


Lease option real estate investing is a flexible method of investing because the terms of the agreement, like payment amounts, payment dates, installments, interest rate, interest only payment, balloon payments, purchase price and other terms are all negotiated between seller and buyer. Responsibilities of both parties are also negotiable. For instance, if the investor doesn’t want to act in the capacity of a landlord, he could specify in the lease option agreement that tenant-buyer will be responsible for all minor maintenance and repairs and the original seller will remain responsible for any major repairs.

Financially Low Risk

It is low risk financially, because if the property fails to go up enough in value to make a profit, you have the purchased the right to change your mind and let the “option to buy” expire. Even if your tenant-buyer decides not to buy the property, you have profited by a positive monthly cash flow from the tenant-buyer’s rent payments, and upfront non-refundable option fee.

Let’s look at an example of a lease with option to buy structured in a way that the investor profits in 3 separate phases of the investment.

Profit #1: non-refundable option fee

Future sales price negotiated with the current owner is $125,000 with an option fee of 2{7e85073c76c3d79b39e14375ac08e2b172f3657265e07e75076dfac08ff09335} of the sales price. Option Fee you owe the owner is $2,500. The future sales price you set for your tenant-buyer is $155,000 and the option fee is 4{7e85073c76c3d79b39e14375ac08e2b172f3657265e07e75076dfac08ff09335} of the sales price. Option fee the tenant-buyer owes you is $6,200. You collect $6,200 from tenant-buyer and pay $2,500 to the owner and your profit = $3,700

Profit #2: monthly cash flow from rental payments

The Monthly rental payment you negotiated with the owner is $1,000. You set the monthly payment at $1,250 per month for your tenant-buyer. Each month you collect $1,250 from your tenant-buyer and pay the owner $1,000 each month. Your profit is $250 monthly positive cash flow during the lease period.

Profit #3: is set up when the lease option contract is initially written

The third profit is the difference in the negotiated future purchase price with the owner, and the future purchase price set for your tenant-buyer. Let’s say the property goes up in value to appraise for at least $155,000. Your tenant-buyer decides to exercise their option to buy. You buy the property from the owner at $125,000 and then sell it to your tenant-buyer for $155,000. $155,000 – the $125,000 you pay to the owner = $30,000 profit.

Of course the key to making lease option real estate investing work, is finding motivated sellers and buyers. Finding these motivated sellers and buyers shouldn’t be difficult. The continuing down turn in the real estate market, has created a large number of sellers who can’t sell their property and buyers who can’t get financing to buy. The seller could possibly get a fair offer to be paid in the future, by selling their property to a real estate investor on a lease option basis. A potential tenant-buyer could obtain home ownership, without having to qualify through traditional home loan guidelines.

One disadvantage of lease option real estate investing, involves the tenant or tenant-buyer possibly defaulting on monthly rental payments. This would make it necessary for the investor to come up with money out of pocket to pay the owner, and possibly have to proceed with eviction process. However, there are certain provisions that can made, and also various “contract clauses”, that can be included in the lease option agreement, to deter buyers from defaulting on payments.

If the investor fails to do “due diligence” before entering into a lease option agreement, he could end up with a property that is unmarketable. There could be a number of liens on it, issues involving ownership of the property or it might be in foreclosure. By diligently performing research before entering into a lease option agreement, the investor can avoid these mistakes. A few things the investor could do is– perform background and credit checks on both the seller and buyer, search public records in reference to ownership and property status, or do a title search.

Despite the few disadvantages, lease option real estate investing continues to be an excellent way to invest in real estate with little to no money and low financial risks. It also remains to be an excellent way to gain control of a property you don’t own, to generate cash flow now, and possible future profits on flexible terms.

Bottom line– you don’t have to miss out on the lucrative profits being made by investors in today’s real estate market

The more you understand creative real estate investing strategies, and apply them now, the more profits you will make in today’s real estate market. Don’t put off getting the real estate investing education you need — to succeed in today’s real estate market.

Real Estate Investment Education

If you are like me, then you have an interest in real estate investment and want to do the right thing by educating yourself so that you can obtain your first real estate investment cheque. I have spent thousands of dollars over the years trying to find the company that would help me accomplish this goal. So what did I do? I watched various infomercials on the television with amazing testimonials of real estate investment success. I quickly found that once I registered to attend, my information was sold to various marketing companies, and I was in receipt of invitations to other investment opportunities that I didn’t even know about. Okay. Now I have sifted through all the invitations and I am on my way to a one-day seminar.

For the most part, the information delivered is tantalizing and I am hungry for more knowledge and the opportunity to start working on my first deal. I also find that the information delivered in the one-day seminar is in bits – for a beginner investor, it is not enough material to be useful. But what do I hear? I now have to register for a weekend workshop to learn more. Full of excitement and determination, I pay the $1500 to $2500 cost for the workshop and off I go. Again, the information presented is titillating and at least one of the presented methods is immediately implementable. The other participants and I followed the instructions given, but no results – we could not find a property matching the given search criteria. Therefore, the audience was not taught what the next steps would have been had we done so. Still filled with hope, I took careful notes and listened intently for the remainder of the workshop. What’s this I hear? I can have advanced training if I want, a coach to work with me one-on-one, and the almost guarantee that I would make money at that level? What’s the cost? Oh, only between $10 000 to $100 000. This is where I hit the proverbial brick wall. Where was I to find all that money, and for some of the workshops, the money had to be paid the very weekend! The long and short of the model is this; one has to spend anywhere from $1500 to about $100 000 without even doing your first real estate deal! It didn’t make sense.

Wait a minute. I now found that most of the real estate investors, who were calling themselves and each other gurus, were doing a massive on-line marketing campaign during the market’s downturn, only this time downplaying the ‘guru’ title. They were all offering one-on-one coaching. Why? No one was attending the conventions and workshops as before. The personal coaching idea sounded good. I decided to check out a few of them and tried one of them. I tell you the truth, because I was a rookie, I didn’t know what to ask for or what to expect from this coaching. As you can imagine, I did not get my money’s worth. By the way, the coaching was through e-mail and sometimes instant messaging only, at a cost of USD $1000 per month. Now, I could have allowed all these disappointments to derail my vision and cause me to be bitter. I refuse. Instead, I decided to use the experience to help others in similar situations make better decisions, spend less, and actually make money in real estate investment.

The sum of it all is this: not having the right real estate investment education will cost you money and just as truly; obtaining the right real estate investment education will cost you money. However, obtaining the right education is an investment, not a liability. What should one look for in a real estate investment coach/coaching program? What questions should be asked? Here are a few to consider:

• Before any money exchange hands, an outline should be provided to the student to ensure that both parties/sides understand what will be offered.

• Costs should be clearly defined and explained.

• Discuss funding. Will the coach/organization provide funding for your real estate deals? If not, will the coach/organization provide you with information that will allow you to access funding? What type of funding can you expect? Will it be transactional funding, hard money, private money, other?

• Discuss if there will be or is there an option to partner on deals. Will the coach/organization put up the funding for the real estate deal while the student does the ‘ground’ work? If partnership is an option, discuss and agree on the split. Will it be a fifty-fifty split?

• Discuss availability of the coach: Does the student have telephone, e-mail, and/or text access? What response time might the student expect? Does the student have to pay the fees for services like Skype or is it included in the coaching fee?

• What are all the things included in the coaching fee?

• If the coach is not available, is there a mentor or someone else that will be available?

• Is this a stand-alone coach or is there a professional team available to the student? Is there a lawyer, accountant, contractor, et cetera that are a part of the team? If the coach is a one-man-band, then this might not be a good option for you.

• Is there creative financing for property acquisition?

• What are the payment options for the coaching costs? What are the financing terms?

• How will the education be delivered? Will it be delivered through webinars, CDs, mp3’s, other? For how long does the student have access to the education?

• How current are the strategies being taught? Is there proof?

• Relative to the cost, how long is the coaching? How many hours of one-on-one coaching?

• Will the student be provided with a virtual assistant?

• What peripheral costs are entailed in the program? For example, LLC, websites, 800 numbers, et cetera. What other additional costs might the student expect to pay/cover?

• What real estate investment qualifications does the coach have? If the coach is reticent to discuss this, then that might be a cue to not sign up with that particular coach/organization. Also, if the coach has a bad attitude, then you should reconsider using him/her.

• Research the coach on-line. Look at reviews. Check out Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, LinkedIn, et cetera. Also use these sources to review his/her profile. Hint: If the coach has less than five hundred contacts in their profile, then that could be proof of inexperience.

• What is the approximate turn-around time from the time the student signs up and follows all coaching instructions, to the time the student does his/her first deal?

• How many hours per day/week is the student required to invest?

• How are deals analyzed? Does the coach personally review them? How many exit strategies does the coach utilize per deal?

• What is the coach’s real estate investment specialty: wholesaling, fix and flip, buy and hold, et cetera?

• What real estate strategy are you expected to start with? Will this complement or go against your current financial situation?

• How much money is the student expected to have on hand to do his/her first real estate deal?

• If student does not make any money in say the first three months of the coaching, what is the next step? Will the current real estate investment strategy be changed or adjusted?

• What guarantees does the coach/organization provide?

• Is there a rescission period? What is it?

• Can the student do the coaching with his/her spouse or business partner at no additional cost?

With these points to consider, you should be well on your way to making the right decision as to your real estate investment education and coaching. I am sure that as you read through the points, they caused you to think of other questions that you might ask. Good.