Rules For Buying Rental Properties


According to experienced landlords, the difference between a rental property being a profitable investment and being a disaster is how much work an investor is willing to do. Anyone buying rental properties must choose properties that generate a positive cash flow, and this involves more than the rent covering the mortgage payment. It is a mistake for someone buying rental properties to think they can deal with negative cash flow by waiting a while for the property to go up in value and then “flipping” the property for profit. Just ask the people who bought property in 2007 and tried to flip it in 2008 or 2009. The three big mistakes people buying rental properties make are underestimating expenses, expecting to put no money down and get instant riches, and not screening prospective tenants.

Big Mistake Number 1 is underestimating the expense. To be safe you should estimate that on a monthly basis, 40 to 60% (depending on whether you hire someone to manage the property) of the rental income will be spent on things like insurance, taxes, vacancies, and damages. Why such a high percentage? A major repair such as a roof or new furnace can really set you back. One way to figure out how much you should pay for a rental property is to find out what rents go for near your property, and divide that by 0.01. That would mean that for a house that rents for $1,000, you should spend no more than $100,000 on the purchase of the property.

Big Mistake Number 2 is believing those infomercials about “no money down and instant riches.” Those people on the commercials who live on a yacht within months of buying rental properties for no money down have nothing to do with the real world. Owning and operating rental property is more of a business than it is an investment that you sit back and watch grow. If you plan to manage the property yourself, be prepared for your phone to ring at any time, and be prepared to take care of the burst pipe or broken window that your tenants report. If you hire someone to manage the property for you, expect this to cost around 10% of the gross monthly rent.

Big Mistake Number 3 is failing to screen new tenants. If you’re in a hurry to rent a place out, or if you feel sorry for someone, prepare to pay big for it. Credit checks can be done for as little as $10 to $20. Verifying references may seem like a pain, but you should do it anyway. Contacting previous landlords to ask about their rent payment history, cleanliness, and damage to rental units is time well spent. Even if you hire someone to manage the property for you, take the time to learn the landlord-tenant laws where you live. You can bet that the “professional bad tenants” know the law forwards and backwards. Just remember that legal forms may cost a few dollars and getting them signed will take some time, but the time and money spent on an eviction is far more expensive and time consuming.

Buying rental properties can be a good or bad investment just like anything else. There are a number of rules of thumb for calculating expenses and cash flow. You also need to know how to analyze rents in the area you have in mind beyond just what the rents are at a given address. You will need to learn how to consider capital investments and determine whether a big repair on a property you are considering buying is a dealbreaker or not. Buying rental properties can be a satisfying way to make a side income or even a primary income as long as you go into it with your eyes open and don’t believe the infomercial hype about no money down and instant wealth.

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Memphis Buy And Hold is specializing in locating, purchasing, renovating and managing single-family and multi-unit properties and possesses over 12 years of experience in real estate investing and property management in the Memphis and Nashville markets… Learn More……



Property Management Advice for Landlords


Discover what every landlord should know about finding tenants and why picking the best person is not always as easy as it sounds.

The most important decision any landlord makes is deciding who can live in their property. Who will you, as the owner, allow to live in your investment? This decision is so vital to the profitability of any property investment business and affects the business on so many levels that it’s amazing that some landlord don’t have a formalised procedure to protect themselves from making bad decision.

Let’s think about what we’re actually doing when we rent a property. Instead of thinking of the property as a monthly income generator think of it as a pile of cash. Cash you have tied up in the deposit and purchasing costs. Cash you hope to gain a regular income from through renting and more cash that you’ll receive if you sell the property and realise your capital gains. (Assuming house prices have risen since you purchased). If you include in this the value you place on your time spend finding the property, buying and arranging the rental then we have a very serious investment on our hands indeed.

Now, imagine all that money in real, tangible terms, stacked up in a room in the house and then consider we hand over the keys to someone and say, “See you next year”. Now we can begin to see how important it is to select the right tenant. Of course, I’m being dramatic and we do have legal safe guards but I hope that by considering your investment in terms of hard cash (like a professional investor) then you’ll treat the question of occupancy very seriously.

There’s more to it than just financials. Not only are we trusting the tenant to look after our investment but we’re also investing our free time with them. What do I mean? If we are managing the property ourselves and not using a letting agent then we have made a serious commitment in time to look after that tenant. If you have a tenant who does not appreciate your property or does not treat it with care and respect then you run the risk of losing your evening and weekends in maintenance and management tasks. What about rent collection? An unreliable tenant who does not pay on time creates stress and worry. Legal protection lets us all sleep better at night but the practicalities of recouping money and legal costs are a headache we do not need and one that’s very avoidable.

Once we know how seriously we need to take the task of finding the correct tenant we can start looking for the very best people. In this case ‘best’ has two simple criteria. 1) They pay on time and in full 2) They look after the property as if it were their own.

I’m going to discuss three tools we can use to help find good tenants. The first is a long and very comprehensive application form. I ask for as much detail as possible from the tenant. I need all their contact details, ID, proof of current address such as telephone or electric bills, previous addresses and, perhaps most importantly, references from their employer, previous landlord (if they’re moving out of home I’ll ask for their parents’ contact details) and a character reference from a recognised member of the community such as a Doctor or Teacher. Importantly, I always act on these references. I will check with whomever they have given to make sure the details are correct and they can vouch for the applicant.

Secondly, I ask for a larger deposit than the usual 4 weeks rent. Typically I ask for 6 weeks rent (UK law give the tenant an automatic option to sublet if the deposit is too excessive, say more than 8 weeks rent). Paying more upfront is usually a good sign that they are serious.

Finally, I have to feel comfortable about the people. If I can get along with them when the property is viewed and when we talk on the telephone and if I don’t have any intuitive alarm bells going off then I trust my own judgement.

At this point you might be wondering about a credit check? Yes this is a great tool depending on the affluence of your potential tenants. Some of my properties are let to people on social security benefits, many of whom I’ve had to help set up a bank account even. In these cases a credit check would not be beneficial but for better off tenants it can be a worth while exercise.

Once we know how to approach the subject of finding great tenants we can consider why people make poor letting decisions. In my experience the worst decisions about tenants are made in pressure situations. An empty property is very damaging to the bottom line of a landlord. If a property is unoccupied it’s very tempting to let the first person who comes along have the tenancy. I know, I’ve made the mistake myself (several times I’m reluctant to admit). This situation is exacerbated if you find your property is not in demand. If you only get one phone call from your advert in the local paper then you’re putting pressure on yourself and your business.

Therefore, the best way to make a good decision is to have a lot of people to choose from. Creating a big list of possible tenants comes from good advertising with good descriptions of you property and its selling points, realistic pricing (even undercutting competition in a renter market) and building a solid reputation as a landlord.

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Memphis Buy And Hold is specializing in locating, purchasing, renovating and managing single-family and multi-unit properties and possesses over 12 years of experience in real estate investing and property management in the Memphis and Nashville markets… Learn More……


Turnkey Real Estate Investment and the Art of Evaluation


Picture this scenario – A seller creates the picture of a wonderful property, perhaps it’s a true turnkey and freshly renovated with a tenant just moving in. The cash flow appears reasonable, the renovation looks thorough and the price is acceptable. What the seller didn’t present was the skimping on a much needed plumbing upgrade, a roof with 3 years left on it or the fact that the tenant has been in 5 houses in 5 years. These hidden expenses can take you from positive to negative cash flow in a hurry.

Don’t risk the stability of your portfolio on just the word of a seller; use some of these tips to develop a solid risk mitigation plan:

Real References: Get more than the references of investors who have purchased from the seller in the past. The easiest way to do so is by using the internet. By entering the name of the seller or the company name, you can quickly find complaints. Use sites like BiggerPockets and LoopNet to see if anyone has heard of the company. Ask competitors, of course keeping in mind there will be a bias.

Proof of Success: Ask for a few real world examples of investor purchases. These examples should span over a year period. They should include vacancy rate, maintenance charges, management expenses, etc. that were outside those expected Asking to see such reports will help to verify that they are selling properties that actually perform as expected… and secondly they actually have the information.

After-Sale Commitment: Turnkey has traditionally followed a pretty straight forward process; sell property to investor and from that point on the investor is the “problem” of the property manager. This design creates many issues as the property manager may not be aware of all the details of the deal. Ask the seller to explain the process of purchasing a property, see if they discuss post-sale processes. If they have a true “account management” program in place, you will know it. You won’t have to ask, they will simply demonstrate it in their explanation of what they do. Make sure that they are willing to act as your advocate and monitor your investment by working along with the property manager for the life of your investment.

Knowledge to the Extreme on the Market: Experienced sellers in a market will have a mental library on the market. From demographics to future revitalization, a seller that understands their market can position you perfectly based on your unique goals. Don’t get too focused on flashy presentations and marketing materials, these are great and show a group is committed to exhibiting professionalism but if they can’t back it by speaking directly with you on the phone about the market they may simply be “copy & paste” experts.

Scope of Work: If the property is a turnkey with a tenant residing in the residence you will have a difficult time visiting the property or getting current interior photos. Ask for a scope of work and the contractors that provided the work. Review the renovations to make sure that you are comfortable with the scope of work. Ask about service life left on HVAC, Roof, Electrical & Plumbing. These are the items that will cost you heavily when repairs are required.

Is this an all encompassing list of vetting tools? Nope. But that’s what future articles are for.

Remember, find someone you can trust and stick with them. Using them together can create an excellent risk mitigation tool that shields you from hidden problems. You may not always get that “killer” deal but “killer” deals can sometimes lead to significant blood loss in your bank account.

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Memphis Buy And Hold is specializing in locating, purchasing, renovating and managing single-family and multi-unit properties and possesses over 12 years of experience in real estate investing and property management in the Memphis and Nashville markets… Learn More……


Rental Investing – How to Keep Your Tenants and Maximize Your Rents


In a perfect world of rental investing, every landlord would like to charge the highest possible rent and yet have happy tenants willing to pay. Course we all know this is not possible. But there is a way to maximize your rents without losing your tenants.

First you need to have tenants that are happy or content to live in your rental units. That means they must be in good repair and condition to attract the kind of tenants who will pay top rental rates. There is no way you are going to be able to charge high rents when you’re building need repairs. A little paint does wonders for both the exterior and interior.

Once you have your units looking nice, talk to your current tenants about any concerns they may have with there unit. Maybe they need more storage. A simple solution would be to buy or build a small storage shed in the rear and charge extra for the use of it. Most tenants would be delighted to pay a little extra for the convenience of having an extra storage space so close. Depending on your building of course, but sometimes and especially in the sun-belt states, adding a simple carport can greatly attractive higher paying tenants.

Anytime a tenant moves out, find out the real reason they are moving. Whether it’s a job transfer or maybe it a loud tenant, you need to know in order to prevent any other tenants moving out. Correct any problems you discover or changes you need to make. For example I had two tenants who had a hard a time paying by the first each month. After talking to them (as they were in the process of giving me their 30 day notice) I simply move the due date to the 5th of each month, which fit into their finances better. They were happy and I got to keep two tenants from moving out.

Once you decide to raise your rents, inform the tenants with data about the surrounding rents of other places. Simply put in your letter (notice of rent increase) the amount of your increase and it compares to other buildings in the area. Course it works better if you use only the properties that charge more than you do. Your Tenant will be more informed of the local area rents and be content to remain in your units.

Also another way to keep good tenants is when you first interview them. If they have a tendency to move every year (after the 1 year lease is up). The chances are very good they will move out on you also after the lease expires. Try and get people who have long residency at their last address, as these people have more of a tendency to stay in one place longer.

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Memphis Buy And Hold is specializing in locating, purchasing, renovating and managing single-family and multi-unit properties and possesses over 12 years of experience in real estate investing and property management in the Memphis and Nashville markets… Learn More……


Different Investment Opportunities in Property Markets


The real estate market thrives with many opportunities that give chance to people to earn. The portfolio is diverse such that there are also many investments to try.

Rental properties are among the most common of the real estate property investments. This is as simple as buying out the property and letting someone (tenant) rent it for some period as determined by a contract. While the landlord (property owner) is responsible for maintenance and tax dues, the tenant has the obligation to pay for the monthly rent.

The downside to this investment is if the landlord will have to deal with irresponsible tenants. These people do not care at all and can end up damaging the property.

If you’re not keen with this property investment, you can try the real estate investment group. It will let you buy apartment blocks, condo units or even townhouses with a single company acting as the property manager. You keep ownership, usually documented in block and white. The investment company collects payments for you whole keeping some portion of what the tenants pay for the monthly rent. In some cases, there is a portion allotted to cover for units which are left vacant for short periods.

Another property investment is called flipping. In this method, you buy a property and flips it to the next owner. It’s like buy and sell. Usually, flipping a property takes three to four months. You just have to be keen on eyeing properties that can be sold without having to alter them at all.

However, there are new flippers who also shell out small amount of money to make the properties they buy more attractive. Few renovations and improvements are done before they look for the next buyer. This buyer may be someone who just looks for his new house or someone who is also a property flipper.

There are also property investors who take risks on financing people who have mortgage dues. Some do these in exchange for collaterals like cars. Some take the property titles and return them to the owner when the debt has been repayed.

Real estate is truly diverse. Many forms of investments are now available for those who do not only seek shelter but also seek shield from financial crisis.

If you are looking for real estate investments within your place, seeking the help of a real estate professional is a big leap towards this realization.

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Memphis Buy And Hold is specializing in locating, purchasing, renovating and managing single-family and multi-unit properties and possesses over 12 years of experience in real estate investing and property management in the Memphis and Nashville markets… Learn More……


Commercial Property Management – Some Simple Points


Property Management1

In this job profession it is a business service that is designed to help assist owners in supervising their commercial properties. A commercial property manager may have several jobs but essentially they are the ones that will take care of details that are related to the following:

• Upkeep of the buildings on the property such as making sure that the lawns are mowed, any repairs needed are done promptly
• Checks out and qualifies potential new tenants who want to rent one of the commercial buildings or stores
• Oversees the leasing of sections of the property such as retail space in a mall
• Collects the rent from tenants on behalf of the owner

A commercial property manage involves overseeing any type of commercial property from multi-storied office buildings to retail space. Many times property owners will use a commercial property management firm to hand all the day-to-day details of operating the property so it frees up the property owners time for other aspects of business. The firm that is managing the commercial properties is generally granted the authority to make any decisions that will impact the amount of income the owner receives from their property. Hiring the right management firm can often lead to securing the best rental rates for the space and having a lower turnover of tenants.

One thing that is the responsibility of a commercial property manager is to screen potential tenants by accepting their application and then doing a background check. If the tenant is approved to rent a space then the manager will prepare the lease. For the duration of the lease the manager will make sure that the tenant is provided with all the responsibilities and benefits that are listed in the lease agreement, including the rental amount, when it is due, etc.

The commercial property manager will also serve as the liaison between the tenants and owner. If the tenant has any problems or needs repairs to their space they will see the manager who will take the necessary steps to resolve the issue or have what is wrong repaired. It is the manager’s responsibility to resolve the matter to the satisfaction of the owner and the tenant. If the tenant is not paying the rent as outlined in the lease or doing anything that is not in the lease the commercial property manager will be the one that is responsible for delivering the eviction notice. Each jurisdiction or state has their specific regulations in regards to eviction. When serving an eviction notice the manager must be sure that they are following every step in the process to the letter. This makes sure that everything is done legally and the tenant cannot complain they were evicted illegally.

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Memphis Buy And Hold is specializing in locating, purchasing, renovating and managing single-family and multi-unit properties and possesses over 12 years of experience in real estate investing and property management in the Memphis and Nashville markets… Learn More……


9 Pro Tips To Get Started In Property Investment


1. Know Your Budget

Before taking a plunge into property investing, it is essential that you have an in-depth understanding of your cash flow. Plus, ask your bank for the pre-approval of your investment loan so that you know how much you can borrow prior you hunt your properties.

2. Don’t Skip Ongoing Costs

Ensure that you have sufficient budget for the insurance, rates, and general repairs. When you have bought your perfect investment property, know what you can do to stop costly maintenance problems like as replacement of old taps.

3. Purchase In the Growth Area

Pick an investment property in the areas where there is strong demand for the rental accommodation. So, purchasing an asset to transport, schools or universities will make it more alluring to the renters.

4. Be Practical About your Investment Goals

If you are hunting for the long-term property for fast capital growth, then it is easy to renovate properties and convert them for a quick profit. In slow economic times, it may take many years to get the same growth.

5. Create Sweat Equity

Paying tradesman to renovate your investment property is a costly affair. But if you are prepared to get into this, you can boost your profit margin and save money by doing the work on your own.

6. Hunt For the Liveable But avoid the Grand One

Note that the rental property only has to be neat, clean, and functional. Don’t get into buying a luxury asset as it has stylish decor and interior.

7. Don’t Get Emotional When Buying

When hunting for the house, you have to buy with your head not with your heart as some people might get caught up in the emotions easily. While home on the steep block might offer you mesmerizing views but it could be a nightmare for you to renovate due to the excavation or retaining costs. Also, make sure that you know the advantages and its risks.

8. Think Before Negative Turn-out

Your asset may get negatively geared if your repayments on the investment loan won’t entirely covered by the rent. While this can offer tax benefits, it can also result in the financial distress if you don’t have sufficient cash flow to cover the loan repayments. So, you need to consider your budget carefully before purchasing.

9. Inspect Your Building

Before signing any buyer contract, take your time to understand the building report well to avoid any high-cost repairs. Also, the termites are one of the leading issues that you need to look out.

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Memphis Buy And Hold is specializing in locating, purchasing, renovating and managing single-family and multi-unit properties and possesses over 12 years of experience in real estate investing and property management in the Memphis and Nashville markets… Learn More……