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10 Steps to Building Wealth by Investing in Real Estate in Any Economy

by Allison Simson & Joyce Nenninger
10 Steps to Building Wealth by Investing in Real Estate in Any Economy
Question:  Allison, we have some money in savings that we’d like to put into the real estate market. We have never invested before, do you have any suggestions on getting started in this market?
Answer:  There’s no question that America is in a tight spot. Every day seems to bring a new wave of recession-related bad news. But stop panicking for a second, tune out the negative chatter, and listen closely. The recent financial and housing crises have actually led to some serious opportunities for level-headed investors who want to get rich the right way rather than get rich quickly.
“The grand irony is that the financial and housing collapses actually create a favorable environment for real estate investing,” says Tyson, coauthor along with Griswold of Real Estate Investing For Dummies®, 2nd Edition. “Interest rates are down, property values are depressed in many parts of the country, and real estate is still a great long-term investment. That hasn’t changed. “It’s not for everyone, but if you’re in the right place financially and can afford to invest in real estate, there are plenty of opportunities out there,” he adds.
“Our core advice is as true today as it was before the recession,” says Tyson. “The fact is, there’s a right way and a wrong way to invest in real estate. The wrong way led to the recent real estate crisis. The right way can lead to great financial gains for long-term investors.”
Here, excerpted from Real Estate Investing For Dummies, are 10 methods for pursuing a real estate fortune the get-rich-right way:
1. Save, save, save. All real estate investors need a nest egg. That means even as you develop additional sources of income, you should hold steady on or preferably even cut current expenses in order to build up your savings. Even if you can find properties where the seller provides all the financing, you can’t escape certain out-of-pocket expenses or the opportunity cost of lost income as you expend your time and energy tracking down properties and performing due diligence.
2. Get your credit sparkling clean. The best opportunities and the most options are available to the real estate investors who have both cash and good credit. Sellers and lenders aren’t going to provide financing to a buyer with a poor credit history. Because the purchase of real estate virtually always necessitates the borrowing of funds, make sure that your credit report is as accurate and as favorable as possible.
3. Buy property in the path of progress. It’s usually a good idea to buy in areas that will continue to improve through new investment and economic activity. After you locate the best cities or neighborhoods, look for two types of underachieving real estate assets: Income properties that are tired and worn and have deferred maintenance, or those that are physically sound but poorly managed.
4. Buy the right property at the best price possible. Sounds like a no-brainer, especially in the current environment, right? Unfortunately, it’s often easier said than done. To be successful, you’ll have to follow certain guidelines. Get-rich-right investors rarely buy new or fully renovated properties unless they’re in the path of progress or a prime location. Why? Because the value-added or appreciation has already been taken by the current owner.
5. Don’t fall into the do-it-yourself trap if the “time” factor doesn’t make sense. Yes, doing the work yourself may be cheaper if you know what you’re doing. But it makes no sense to have a rental property off the market for three weeks while you spend evenings and weekends painting in a misguided attempt to save the $1,000 that a contractor would charge for painting that would take two days.
6. Keep abreast of market rents. One of the biggest challenges for most rental property owners is determining the proper rent to charge tenants for newly renovated rental units. But finding the right rental rate simply requires some homework and research. The best indications of the market value of your renovated property can be found through a market survey of comparable properties.
7. Recover renovation dollars through refinancing. A key element of the get-rich-right strategy is to keep your capital working and use leverage reasonably while maintaining sufficient equity to weather the ups and downs of local real estate cycles. Acquiring and renovating your rental property required cash, but you also have increased the income, which has created additional value. You can now use this increased value to refinance the property to cover your initial costs. While you should avoid borrowing too much and overleveraging your investments, you also don’t want to be too conservative and underestimate your cash needs. Borrow extra money or have an untapped line of credit available to allow for reserves.
8. Reposition property with better tenants. One of the best ways to increase the income and value of your newly renovated real estate investment is to reposition the property with new, more financially qualified tenants. Look to upgrade your tenants by marketing to a new target tenant profile and re-leasing the property. After all, the current tenants may be the reason that the previous owner sold the property.
9. Refinance or sell and defer again. Notwithstanding the decline in property values in most areas in the late-2000s, long-term rental property owners find that they have a considerable amount of equity tied up in their property because of the appreciation that has occurred over the decades throughout much of the country. Having some equity in the property is good and keeps you from faltering should the local real estate economics take a hit, but too much equity just sitting in a property lowers your overall returns.
10. Consolidate holdings into larger properties. Most long-term real estate investors find that they reach the point where their management responsibilities and duties no longer conform to the lifestyle that they can afford. They decide to simplify their lives and hire professional property managers to deal with tenants, turnover, toilets, and trash. But finding and paying for a qualified property manager for a diversified portfolio of small rental properties isn’t easy or cost-effective.
“In our experience, successful real estate investors tend to be savvy, hard working, conscientious individuals who enthusiastically perform comprehensive due diligence before buying a property,” says Tyson. “They don’t reinvent the wheel with each deal, because they know their market niche, personal skills, and available resources. They have a vision and use their tried-and-true game plan for each property. “If you develop these skills, you can uncover unique properties with value-added potential that are often missed by others,” he concludes. “So, take advantage of today’s buyer’s market, and get started now.” RISMEDIA, April 27, 2009
 
For answers to your real estate questions, call Allison at 970-468-6800. Email - [email protected]. Allison is a long time local in Summit County. Summit Real Estate – The Simson/Nenninger Team is located at the Dillon Ridge Marketplace. Allison’s long-time residency and years of real estate experience can help you make the most of any buying or selling situation. She’s a Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), the highest designation awarded to a Realtor in the residential sales field. Her philosophy is simple, whether buying or selling, she understands that the most important real estate transaction is yours.  Want to know the value of your Summit County property? Visit www.SummitHomeValue.com   

The difference between appraised value and assessed value

by Allison Simson & Joyce Nenninger
Question: Allison, what is the difference between appraised value and assessed value?
 
Answer: A home's appraised, assessed, and market values can sometimes vary drastically, because different criteria are used to judge each value.

Sellers and salespeople consider factors such as the number of bathrooms and bedrooms; curb appeal; the local school system's quality; and the home's proximity to public transportation to set a sales price. But some buyers are willing to pay tens of thousands of dollars above market price, if they fall in love with a property, says American Society of Appraisers Executive Vice President Edwin Baker.

An appraiser will determine a house's value based on the prices of similar homes that have recently sold in the area, as well as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, yard size, additions, and the property's overall condition.

The assessed value--used to calculate the amount of property tax the homeowner must pay--is typically less than appraised and market values. To determine the home's worth, assessors will either compare recently sold homes, factoring in influences that may have boosted or reduced the sales price; tabulate the cost of replacing the home with a similar one; or calculate how much income the property would generate if it was rented.
 
For answers to your real estate questions, call Allison at 970-468-6800. Email - [email protected]. Allison is a long time local in Summit County. Summit Real Estate – The Simson/Nenninger Team is located at the Dillon Ridge Marketplace. Allison’s long-time residency and years of real estate experience can help you make the most of any buying or selling situation. She’s a Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), the highest designation awarded to a Realtor in the residential sales field. Her philosophy is simple, whether buying or selling, she understands that the most important real estate transaction is yours.  Want to know the value of your Summit County property? Visit www.SummitHomeValue.com   

What types of remodeling projects give the greatest increase in property values?

by Allison Simson & Joyce Nenninger
Question: I am going to remodel an older home in Silverthorne. What types of remodeling projects give the greatest increase in property values?
 
Answer: Many homeowners upgrade their residences with property value increases in mind. The key for these consumers is to determine which improvements will produce the most value for the money.

According to Remodeling magazine's annual Cost vs. Value report, kitchen remodels are the most profitable upgrade, offering homeowners an 88 percent return on project costs. Some homeowners actually stand to lose money on a sale if they fail to modernize their kitchens and bathrooms, says Vince Butler of the Northern Virginia Building Industry Association Remodelers' Council.

On the hand, homeowners only recoup an average of 55 percent on the costs of a home office, making it the least profitable improvement. Remodeling investment returns are tied to the properties' values, as well as local market conditions.
 
For answers to your real estate questions, call Allison at 970-468-6800. Email - [email protected]. Allison is a long time local in Summit County. Summit Real Estate – The Simson/Nenninger Team is located at the Dillon Ridge Marketplace. Allison’s long-time residency and years of real estate experience can help you make the most of any buying or selling situation. She’s a Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), the highest designation awarded to a Realtor in the residential sales field. Her philosophy is simple, whether buying or selling, she understands that the most important real estate transaction is yours.  Want to know the value of your Summit County property? Visit www.SummitHomeValue.com   

Making an Offer: Tips for Painless Purchase

by Allison Simson & Joyce Nenninger
Making an Offer: Tips for Painless Purchase
Question: Allison, what is the best way to make an offer on a property?
 
Answer: The overwhelming number of properties on the market and still-attractive interest rates make now an excellent time for first-time buyers to purchase a home, as well as for existing homeowners to trade up.

Prospective buyers should obtain written mortgage approval from lenders for the amount they will spend on a home, as well as to hire a real estate attorney and a buyers representative who know the local market and are skilled in negotiating. The buyers representative will find answers to questions that could influence the purchase price.

When negotiating, prospective buyers avoid lowballing their first offer; but they should have a good idea of how much room they have to negotiate. They should never reveal how much they are willing to pay and should be prepared for counter-offers.

They should keep in mind that having too many conditions will make them less attractive to the sellers. Prospective buyers should focus on trying to get their dream house at a fair price.

Finally, prospective buyers should never sign a contract for purchase and sale until their real estate attorney has reviewed the document.  
 
For answers to your real estate questions, call Allison at 970-468-6800. Email - [email protected]. Allison is a long time local in Summit County. Summit Real Estate – The Simson/Nenninger Team is located at the Dillon Ridge Marketplace. Allison’s long-time residency and years of real estate experience can help you make the most of any buying or selling situation. She’s a Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), the highest designation awarded to a Realtor in the residential sales field. Her philosophy is simple, whether buying or selling, she understands that the most important real estate transaction is yours.  Want to know the value of your Summit County property? Visit www.SummitHomeValue.com   

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Summit Real Estate
The Bright Choice
330 Dillon Ridge Way, Suite 10
Dillon CO 80435
970-468-6800
800-262-8442
Fax: 970-468-2195

Allison Simson, Owner/Broker, is a licensed Colorado Real Estate Broker