This tends to be a pretty controversial subject, and for good reason. When I was getting started in the business, I was young and broke and had no credit to speak of. I was not qualified to borrow money, yet I figured out how to buy properties, and I bought a lot of them. It was not long before I became a full time real estate investor, and on paper, I was a millionaire long before my 30th birthday. I accomplished this with a lot of hard work, education and tolerance to take the risk.

With all this said, just because you don’t need money to buy houses, does not mean you should have no money. I am a big, big believer in this. You see, although I was a millionaire at a young age, I basically lost it all when the market shifted. I was too aggressive with my growth, and did not establish an appropriate amount of reserves. After starting over, I structured things differently and am in a good position to not only survive a down turn, but to thrive in it. In this article, I will briefly walk through 4 ways to buy rentals with nothing out of pocket, but want you to understand that this does not mean you should own rentals with no reserves.

Owner Finance: This could mean many things, but for the purposes of this article I am going to assume that the seller of the home is extremely motivated and is willing to basically sell the house just to get away from the mortgage payments. This is commonly referred to as a subject-to transaction because you, as the buyer, will take title subject-to any other liens that are in place. What this means is you get ownership of the house, but the seller is still on the hook for the loan. You as the buyer will agree to either pay off the loan or make payments on the loan on their behalf. If you don’t, the lender can foreclose and wipe you off of title.

The seller is taking a tremendous amount of risk with this type of transaction, so it is difficult to negotiate and they need to be extremely motivated. It works well for you because you don’t need down payments or to qualify for a loan. It works for them because they have someone else making the payments on their loan, which relieves them of the payment pressure, and potentially can improve their credit. As you become more experienced, this is a strategy you will want to look into. This allows you to purchase an unlimited number of cash flowing properties without ever needing to qualify or sign for a loan.

Lease Options: This is the strategy that really worked for me when I was just getting started. I like it a lot because it is easy to explain to the seller and it is not difficult to get them comfortable with it. They still need to be motivated to want to do this, but nothing like the subject-to transactions.

The way this works is you negotiate with a seller of a home to lease the property for a set period of time. I would typically negotiate 10 years on these, but it can be anything you are comfortable with. The rent amount will be set. From there you agree on a price to buy the property for sometime during the lease term. The price is typically locked in close to today’s value. You then sublease the property, hopefully for more than your rent payment, and wait for the value to increase. If the value does not increase, which has happened to me, you can either re-negotiate the deal or let the property go. You have no obligation to buy, so you are not taking the risk of market fluctuation. If and when the value does increase you have several options: You can sell your option, exercise your option and resell the house for your profit, or just exercise the option and keep the property in your portfolio.

Bridge Loans: The idea here is to find a property that needs a lot of work that will make a good rental. You need to negotiate a price were you can buy it, fix it, and roll in all closing costs, and still be at or below 70% of the after repaired value (ARV). This does not work well unless the property needs to be repaired. This is very different than the first two strategies discussed, and is commonly used with bank owned foreclosures. Although, anytime you can negotiate a great deal will work.

After you purchase the home, you want to get it repaired and get a tenant in place as quickly as possible. You then refinance the loan into your permanent rental property loan. There are some additional details for this to work that are beyond the scope of this article.

Partners: At the time the market was collapsing around me, there were tremendous buying opportunities everywhere. Using the Bridge loan strategy, I was able to pick up a handful of deals that I still have today. I did not qualify for loans, so I brought in a partner to sign on the debt for me, and I shared the deal with him 50/50. Neither one of us put money down, and the properties all cash flow, net of vacancies and maintenance, a minimum of $300 a month. There has also been a tremendous amount of appreciation over the years. The houses have more than doubled in value!

 

In today’s world, we are often over – loaded with statistics, data, etc. Some of these might be relevant and significant, while at other times, they may be over – reaching, misleading, or unnecessary! We often hear or read discussions regarding mortgage interest rates, so – called – housing starts, number of mortgage applications, and the number of houses on the market, etc. Often, discussions focus on seeming to need to label the real estate market, either as a buyers or seller market! While there may be times these are valuable indicators and information, like most data, the skill is in how well one can interpret these, understand them, know what the numbers really mean, and how to use them. Let’s review 4 examples of how statistics are related to real estate, etc.

1. Average or median price: The first thing to understand is the difference between an average and a median price. Average means one adds up all houses sold in the specific target region, and dividing by the number of sales. Median, on the other hand, is listing all the sales prices, and the one in the 50 percentile, is the median price. Simply stated assume 10 houses sold are reviewed, and 2 are sold at $500,000; 2 at $600,000; 1 at $750,000; 2 at $900,000; 2 at $1 million; and one at $1.5 million. In this sampling, the average price is $757,000 and the median price is $750,000. However, why is this information important, since if the sampling is not large enough, wouldn’t it depend on which specific houses sold, whether there was more strength at the higher or lower end of the market, etc. When pricing is discussed, it’s important to put it into perspective, and see the number of units compared in both periods of time.

2. Housing starts: This refers to number of new builds in an area, but doesn’t it make sense, to also consider how much empty or available land/ property, might be available to build on. Always put all statistics into some sort of perspective!

3. Mortgage applications: Are these predominantly for new mortgages or refinances? Are they conventional mortgages? Might it also be important to look at the term of the mortgages? Shouldn’t we also look at the criteria being used, and how many/ what percentage, are approved?

4. Houses on market: It is generally considered a buyer’s market when there are significantly more houses on market, than buyers, and a seller’s market, when circumstances are reversed? Look at the inventory of houses being offered, and the locales. How long do they seem to be staying on the market?

Like in most things statistics – related, it is important to know and evaluate what things mean, rather than making false assumptions, and/ or speculating. Beware of statistics, because they might turn out to either be your friend, or enemy!

 

When people usually think of real estate value they think of two forces; supply and demand. Yes, this is correct; however supply and demand only fall under the one of the four main categories that drive/depress real estate value. Supply and demand fall under the economic category of influences in real estate value. The other three include; social impact, government subjection and environmental forces.

When looking at social impact, there are a few things one would want to consider determining the effect it will have on real estate value. Most of all the value would fluctuate accordingly with population characteristics. This tie into the potential for demand in the economic section of value; the more demand, the more value a property can derive. Population however should be looked at in more depth by breaking down the sample by age and gender, rate of household formation and partition, as well as analysis of the social values such as education, law and order, and lifestyle preferences. Careful consideration of these factors will help establish trends in what would be reflected in real estate values.

Next is the government subjection, accounting for a large aspect of real estate value. This includes political and legal activities on several levels of government. These government influences have the power to overwhelm natural market forces such that you would find in the economic category. Government has their hand in providing facilities and services that affect values as well as a one of the main contributors to patterns of land use (zoning, by-laws, etc). The following are some things to look out for when assessing the government subjection of a market; fire and police services, garbage collection, transportation arrangement, utilities, zoning, building codes, health codes, and fiscal policies. Also the legislation that is set forth by the governmental factor must be accounted for, this would include; rent control laws, rights to farm, rights for managing forest, rights to agricultural land, restriction on ownership, new development laws, control of hazardous and toxic materials, and laws affecting investment power, loan terms, and mortgage lending institutions. All in all this is quite the category and its understanding will provide for a great idea of where values are currently and where they are headed.

In addition to the social impact, as well as government subjection, the environmental forces also play a part in real estate values. These can be natural or man-made and are analyzed by observing several aspects. Climatic conditions (snowfall, rainfall, temperature, humidity) would be an obvious one that would affect the values of building somewhere as well as maintenance and carrying costs, as well as the quality and type of build. Topography, soil and consideration of any toxic contaminants would also be of great importance as well as natural barriers, such as rivers, mountains, lakes, etc.

Just to get out of the 4 factors of real estate value; it is important to mention that there are some overlying factors that would be part of 2 or more of the categories. Once such factor is location, this is the link of a property in time/distance to any given origin or destination of a resident/user of the property. Location could fall under for environmental and economic, if not all categories. Due to the area and property type, properties access to public transport, schools, hospitals, stores, employment, suppliers, recreational and cultural facilities, parks, and places of worship would of importance.

This would also lead us back to the economic factor of influence on real estate value. The fundamental aspects to look for here include: employment, price levels, wage levels, industrial and commercial expansion, mortgage credit availability and cost, stock of vacant property, stock of improved property, occupancy rates, construction costs and rental/price trajectories of existing properties.

And there you have it, the 4 major pillars of real estate value; social, governmental, environmental, and economic. Taking a deep look at each of these sections one would assemble the entire spectrum of current real estate values and more importantly future real estate values.

 

Real estate management is not that easy, especially when you have so many things to think about. With the right real estate software, however, you will be able to make the management process easy and smooth so you can run your businesses without putting in too much effort. The best thing about the solutions is that you can customize them to match your exact property needs. Software programs designed for estate industry are scalable so you are able to grow with them as your business continues to grow. There is so much you can do with real estate software and they include the following.

1. Manage contacts

Using the best software program, you can manage details of contacts in defined groups making it easier for you to access them any given day. A good program will also make it possible for you to maintain detailed information of customers and clients and even automate good wishes on their anniversaries, birthdays and other celebrations.

2. Manage employees

When you have software for real estate, you can easily have a number of users working within one account. This you can do by creating multiple employee logins and hierarchies according to your organization structure. It makes allocation and execution of work easier by everyone from admin to managers. Using the system you can also manage daily reporting of your employees and at the same time monitor their performance. They on the other hand will be able to schedule property inspection, meetings and task reminders making task execution more efficient.

3. Integrate real estate portals and websites

From your CRM account, you can control your website so you have an easy time keeping it up to date. The estate management solution makes it possible for you to create and integrate web portals where you list your properties directly. You can publish projects from property software to website and build a reputable brand using professionally designed real estate websites. This kind of coordination promotes consistency in your real estate business and this will favor your management processes and improve your brand image.

4. Maintain reports and analytics

As a serious estate business, you ought to keep up with what matters most to the business. Using the best software for the real estate industry, you can easily fetch yearly, monthly and daily reports of enquiries and properties. Using the program you can pair matching reports for properties and open enquires and even categorize the enquiries by source. You can also keep abreast of all pending activities so you do not leave anything of importance out.

5. Manage rent and payments

Using your software, you will be able to archive all payment information on your properties, automate lease endings and payment collection reminders as well as schedule convenient payments. The program also makes it easy to get complete payment reports and will ease out the process of generating and sending receipts to all your clients across the platforms.