Ten Real Estate Mistakes to Avoid
Real Estate Investment Mistake 1 - Quick Buck Schemes & Scams
Real estate wealth was the road to riches of 9 of every 10 American millionaires. That’s why in looking at real estate we agree you are definitely going in the right direction. But few made their fortunes in overnight changes of value, or by buying their real estate for less than it was worth when they bought it. They made their fortune in buying the real estate for less than it was worth over time as they owned it. Pre-foreclosure, foreclosure, pre-construction, fix and flip, remodeling, probate, lease options, and a million other schemes count on your buying something for less than it is worth at closing. That can happen, but the most predictable real wealth from real estate comes from appreciation from market forces over time not the stupidity or lack of knowledge of sellers at the closing table.
Real Estate Investment Mistake 2 - Not Having a Business Plan
The first thing you should figure out is, what are your goals, and what road map will get you there? Do you want real estate you work for, or real estate that works for you? Do you want the independence of being in charge of your real estate like you are in charge of, say, owning your home, or do you want to turn over control and handcuff yourself to partnerships, tenancies in common, REITs, and so on? How much wealth do you need to reach your goals of independence and security at retirement? Is there a better way to get there than real estate (obviously, we think, no!)? But it has to be real estate done the right way, with the right business plan.
Real Estate Investment Mistake 3 - Not Doing Your Homework
So you need a business plan, but don’t expect to have a good one until you do your homework. Where is the right area to own? What kind of property should you own? What leveraging or financial structure maximizes ROI (return on invested dollars)? What should your acquisition costs to potential rent ratios be? How can you get a head start on your homework?
Real Estate Investment Mistake 4 - Making the Cash Flow Mistake
Cash flow is an important piece of the real estate wealth puzzle. But you can rob yourself of future profits by putting too much emphasis on just this one, albeit important consideration. Why? Because no one gets rich on cash flow. Isn’t it appreciation over time that yields the real rewards? Did the equity in your home come from cash flow or appreciation? If a slight cash flow at acquisition impresses you to the point it drives your purchase decisions, aren’t you looking at the wrong end of the telescope? Cash flow is an important indicator, but potential appreciation flow is the secret to real estate wealth. That’s why doing your homework is so important.
Real Estate Investment Mistake 5 - Forgetting That Sheep Do Not Earn the Lion’s Share
It’s human nature to follow the crowd. That’s why so many of us buy a stock after it’s gone up like a rocket, instead of before where the ride up can be significant. It’s the same in real estate. Doesn’t it make sense to anticipate growth, not follow growth, by analyzing the layering of probabilities of the elements that can presage significant growth to come? The crowd won’t be there until it’s too late to make the profits you will have made.
Real Estate Investment Mistake 6 - Being Your Own Property Manager
This is intuitively sensible, which is why so many intelligent people fall into this trap. Why not save the cost of a property manager and increase your net cash flow? Who will pay as much attention as you will to your own property? Who will care as much? Yes, but consider this. Property management is a low margin, many aspect enterprise. Experienced successful property managers will tell you a property management company does not make sense economically until it has a customer base of a hundred properties or more. Then marketing, clout with subcontractors like plumbers, round the clock staff to be attentive to tenant concerns or emergencies, and so on makes sense proportionately.
You would almost always do better to put the time you may be wasting as your own property manager into your own business or career. It will pay better. But the more important reason should be obvious. By managing your own property, aren’t you handcuffing yourself to the area where you live? That just doesn’t make sense if your goal is to own real estate in the areas most likely to appreciate the most over the coming years. Don’t let the tail wag the dog.
Real Estate Investment Mistake 7 - Not Considering Your Exit Strategy
Real estate is a wonderful reservoir of value, and the only one that serves as its own collateral, allowing ordinary good economic citizens like you and us access to the capital markets in abundance in the form of readily available mortgage money. But real estate is among the most illiquid of asset classes. Consider that when you decide you want to turn your illiquid real estate riches into cash by selling it, you want to have the largest possible pool of potential buyers. Don’t get stuck in the wrong type of real estate.
Real Estate Investment Mistake 8 = Biting Off More Than You Can Chew
It is horrible to see good people finally take action but not be prepared for real world real estate ownership. Sometimes, even in strong rental markets, your unit can be vacant. It is great to leverage your purchase, but that should be a choice, not a necessity. Sometimes vacancies happen. Sometimes emergencies happen. We vet our customers to help them avoid the shock of real world real estate ownership. Doing it right may mean buying one property this year and not two. There is no faster better or more certain path in our view to real wealth and financial independence than the right kind of real estate as part of the right kind of business plan. But slow and steady wins the race every time. Part of due diligence is learning that patience is a virtue.
Real Estate Investment Mistake 9 - Not Checking Out Your Vendors
Including Us. Your homework should include not only learning about being in the right place at the right time, but also making sure the product is the right product and that your vendors deliver what they promise. At a minimum, that means you should check out your vendors’ track records. While past performance is no guarantee of future results, doesn’t it give you a good framework to begin an analysis? What systems and methodology do your vendors use when designing the product they bring to market? What are their relationships with other necessary professionals? What do their existing customers think of them? What kind of warranties come with their product? What kind of people are they?
Real Estate Investment Mistake 10 - Not Taking Action Today!
Success in life is always a balancing act. We have tried to warn you about common mistakes above, made by rookies and very experienced buyers alike. But far and away the biggest mistake we see is not balancing your due diligence with your responsibility to take action. Very few people have achieved the security and wealth they need to retire comfortably and worry free knowing they have taken care of their responsibilities to themselves and their families. Your biggest asset is always your income from work. When our income from our careers stops at retirement most of us need at least several million dollars in assets to substitute for it. And most of us do not have that kind of number in our asset column. Time is the friend of those who own real estate and the enemy of those who do not own enough.
If you are like most Americans, as to retirement wealth, your economic house is on fire. If you have a good income from your career, in one sense that means that you are used to a certain lifestyle. We talk to many folks who are rightly proud of having several hundred thousands of dollars in 401k assets, equity in their homes and other real estate, and in the stock market. Very few are in that position. But estate planners say these folks need three to five million dollars to enjoy a secure and prosperous retirement which may last twenty or thirty years or more. If you are ten, twenty, or even thirty years from retirement you have no time to lose. We believe with all our hearts that the right kind of real estate gives the highest probability of allowing these kinds of results. But chances are, you have no time to lose. So please, take action today.
Hope this Helps :cool