December – Give back to your community￼
We’ve reached the end of our investors resolution list, and it’s time to make the best of the most wonderful time of the year!
Each month we went over many topics from how to grow your network and how to find new opportunities to the importance of reading and researching to become a great real estate investor. If you missed any post, don’t forget to check out our blog.
There are many reasons why it is important to give back to the people around you, but it may be easy to get overwhelmed and to not know how you can make an impact, so keep reading to see our best tips on how to get started.
Find a passion
Think of a cause you are passionate about and search for organizations near you that support it and what actions they are taking to do so. Don’t worry if you don’t have a lot of information, or are unsure on what you can do to make a difference. Reach out to them, they will surely point you in the right direction. Focusing on 1 or 2 causes will help you be able to really focus and do things to make the world a better place.
Hold an event
Try holding a fundraiser, walk or other like-event to make your community involved. Nothing drives neighbors more together than working towards a common goal.
With the cold weather coming in, an idea of what you could start with is to organize a drive to collect warm clothes, blankets and/or food for homeless and less fortunate people.
Not that this needs more selling, but posting things like this on social media can also give you exposure and can be a great way to network, so it is a win-win!
Get your family involved
If possible, make the whole thing a family affair, from choosing the cause to seeing it through. It can be a bonding activity with your partner and your kids will grow up looking for ways they can change and improve the world around them.
Perform random acts of kindness
Don’t feel bad if you are unable to do a big action to help your cause. It all starts with small things, so you can make it a point to perform random acts of kindness wherever you go. They may be as simple as offering a kind word and smile to someone in need, or paying for something forward for the next person to enjoy.
Kindness doesn’t have a measurement and it can go a really long way.
We hope you enjoyed going through the list of resolutions with us this year as much as we did! And remember to keep looking out for our blog for more articles on Real Estate investing.
Do you have a property you need help with? Contact us today!
Investor’s Basics Series: The extra fees and costs everyone forgets when buying a property
Whether you have decided to try getting an off the market property or not, now that you have found the property you want and closed on it, it is time to start seeing how you will proceed.
Here are some hidden fees and cost you need to take into account so you can do the math right and be ready for anything:
There are a lot of costs associated with the closing of the deal that you need to keep in mind. On average the closing costs can usually add up to 2% to 5% of the value of the property.
Some expenses may be inconsequential, but others like the home inspection and appraisal needed to close may add up to hundreds of dollars.
Most times, the property taxes you need to pay will be added to the mortgage premium each month, so it is easy to forget to factor them in, but it is important to know how much you will have to pay so that you have a good idea of how to plan your month to month finances.
It is also important to remember that, most times, the property taxes will rise each year. This means you need to think ahead into the future to make sure you can comfortably afford it each month.
Like property taxes, the home insurance will more likely be paid each month with your mortgage payment, but you want to make sure you do your research and find the perfect insurance company to lower your monthly costs and get the best service possible, and you need to make sure you factor that in as well.
Unless you buy a turnkey property, you may need to do some renovations, or at least give maintenance to some area of the property you bought. Don’t underestimate these costs! They may add up to a lot of money and could put you in financial strain.
Being smart and thorough with the math before closing on the property you want can help you avoid a lot of stress. If you feel like you need more guidance, remember you can always contact us to guide you through everything!
Do you have a property and need help? Contact us today!
Investor’s Basics Series: How long is the house buying process?
Now that you have done your research and asked yourself the right questions to find the perfect property, it’s time to check the timeline to make sure you know what you are getting yourself into.
Below are the steps needed to buy a property with the average time it takes to complete them:
Research (1-14 days)
You need to take your time to know what you are looking for. Do your research on the area you are interested in, you can use the blog post mentioned above to see what you need to ask yourself before you start looking for a property.
Find an agent (7 days)
Your agent will be your most trusted advisor during the whole buying process, so you want to make sure you pick the right one.
If you need help, you can ask your family, friends or other investors for any suggestions. A good agent will help you navigate through everything and will be able to help you land a good deal.
Get pre-approved (8-10 days)
It is better to be pre-approved for a loan if possible, since that will tell the owner that you are serious about buying the property. It is also important to get an early start on the process so you have the time to gather the necessary documents and to give the lender company time to work through their processes without pressure.
House hunt (Depends, from 7 days to a few months)
This step might be the most entertaining one since it involves scouting several areas and visiting several properties, but it can also be tiring. The time it takes depends on a lot of things such as your needs, the inventory in the area you want and the time of year.
Make an offer, negotiate and sign the contract (1-7 days)
In this stage you will need your agent to work with you to get the right price, and to walk you through the contingencies and other aspects of the contract. You will want to give the buyer 1% – 6% earnest money and have your pre approval letter ready to be sent.
In case the seller counteroffers, make sure you respond as quickly as possible so you don’t lose the property.
Get a final approval on the mortgage (21 - 30 days)
After your offer is accepted, you need to work out a few more things. The lender you chose will need you to gather more financial and personal documents. Some other things they will require are:
- Home inspection – The inspection itself will only take about 2-3 hours, but you want to make sure you schedule it at least 3 days in advance to make sure the company gets it done on time.
- Home appraisal -Again, the appraisal will only take a few hours, but you should schedule it up to 5 days in advance since it will take some time to file the report to your lender and for them to process it.
If you are lost on appraisals, you can read our article on it here.
You need to start with the mortgage approval as soon as possible since you will most likely have to work on several things at once.
Close on the property (40-50 days)
Some final items you need to take care of are the final walk through to check that the repairs have been completed and that no other damages have appeared, finding a homeowners insurance company and signing the final contract.
Even though this whole process may seem like a lot, it is completely worth it! Keep calm and enjoy every step of the way until you finally get the keys.
Do you have a property you need help with? We can help!
Investor’s Basics Series: Things you need to ask yourself before buying a property
In this series aimed to help investors navigate the tricky seas of Real Estate, we will try to give tips and insight into the most important and often overlooked parts of the home buying process.
Buying a property is a huge undertaking, so you need to be sure you have thought it through and have examined every option to make the decision that is right for you. Here are some things you need to ask yourself before you make an investment decision.
What type of property do I want?
You need to have a clear idea of why you want to buy the property. Are you looking for an investment to hold long-term or are you more interested in the quick-flip model of investing? Having an answer to this question will help you know for sure what type of property you are looking for.
Have I truly researched the area?
One of the sacred rules of real estate is: location, location, location! Make sure you look into things like the school district, crime rates, weather conditions, etc before you make a decision.
You want to ensure that the property you are buying will appreciate in value and doing an in-depth research of the area will help you understand the market you are getting into and will be very beneficial when you are looking to get tenants in, if that’s your goal.
A great way to do this is to not just search the internet, but to try and walk around the neighborhood, see the local stores and soak in the surroundings to get a general feel of the place.
Do I want a turnkey property or am I willing to work on renovations?
This question is a big one when you are trying to become a successful real estate investor as it requires a lot of thought and number-crunching.
You need to know if you are ready to dive deep and invest in a property that needs you to be hands-on and save some money (which could possibly go into the renovations needed) or if you want to buy a property that may cost more upfront but is ready to be lived in as soon as you sign the contract.
Am I ready for this investment?
It is not uncommon for real estate investors to get excited about new properties and get in a bit over their heads.
Remember to do the math thoroughly over and over, until you can be sure that you can acquire a new property without getting more debt that you can handle.
Thinking about all of this while figuring out what the best way to go is can be overwhelming, but we’ve got you! Keep a lookout for the next articles in the series to sharpen your investor abilities.
Do you have a property you need help with? Contact us today!
August – Find ways to keep updated with the changes in laws and regulations
You are on the path of learning what you can to achieve personal and professional growth, now it is time to make sure you stay up to date with the changes in laws and regulations, both federally and locally.
The 2 most important sources of information in Texas to always keep in mind are:
- Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) – Since 1949, TREC has been in charge of safeguarding the consumer rights in matters of real estate transactions.
- National Association of Realtors – The NAR is America’s largest trade association. It is constantly updating its site with the latest news and events for the real estate industry.
Some other great practices are:
Subscribe to blogs and newsletters
Thanks to the internet, you can have access to thousands of resources to stay up to date with a few clicks. Research and find a real estate blog or newsletter that interests you and subscribe to it so you can have all the information you want come directly to your email on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.
Frontline Property Management has both and we aim to provide information that is useful and up to date to help our investors in any way we can! You can see all our blog posts here and our newsletters here.
Make connections with realtors
A great way to make sure you are aware of all the changes made to real estate laws is to keep in touch with a seasoned realtor in your area and in the area you want to invest in.
Realtors are more likely to know, sometimes even beforehand, the changes policymakers are making to real estate laws, so it is always a good idea to network and establish connections with trusted professionals.
Remember that knowledge is power! And keeping up with the industry can help you make the best out of your investments.
Do you need help with a property? We can help!
How to choose the perfect insurance company for you￼
After the effort it takes to acquire properties, you want to make sure your investment is as safe as possible.
Every home has different needs and with a whole array of insurance companies out there trying to get your business, it can be hard to decide which company suits you best, but we’ve got you covered!
Keep reading and learn our tips to choosing the perfect insurance company:
Compare every company
Do as much research as you can. Every company will promise the moon and the stars, so be careful and apprehensive. It is very important to compare the coverage each policy will provide and ask for the discounts they will give you.
Review their accessibility and digital management to see how easy they are to reach in case you need them.
You can use this website to compare rates by company.
Consider the location
The cost of an insurance policy varies according to state, city and zip code, so make sure you do your research before starting to look for a company. Some things you need to take into account are:
- Crime rates in the area
- Weather conditions
- Proximity to fire events
These factors can severely impact the cost of your premiums! You should keep them in mind and specifically ask about how the insurance company covers events related to those issues.
Check the policies thoroughly
Before you sign the contract, take your time to read it through. Ask for the forms you need to fill to file a claim to make sure you understand them. Here are somethings you should look for:
- Are the documents you need to file a claim easy to get?
- How is the reimbursement process?
- How long will it take them to reimburse you after the claim?
- How do they handle settlements?
It is very important that you ask these questions to be prepared for any eventuality that happens on your property.
If you feel like you need more guidance, our expert property managers will be happy to help you make the right decision!
You have a property you need help with? Contact us today!
July – Learn something new
Now that you have the perfect marketing strategy, you can continue in this path to becoming a great real estate investor.
Everyday we get a chance to grow and learn more about the world that surrounds us, and finding new things to be passionate about and evolving will make you improve in your personal and professional life.
Why you should always try to learn something new
Learning new skills can improve your life in ways you’ve never imagined. Some benefits of trying new things include:
- Reducing stress – Focusing on learning and taking up a new hobby keeps your mind out of your daily worries and frees up space to relax. This can be temporary or permanent if you commit to being in constant growth.
- Socializing – Learning in groups can be really fun and can help you break out of your mold and make new friendships.
- Gaining confidence – The ability to learn and tackle new challenges with new skills can really help you be more confident in yourself and trust that you can handle the things in your life much better.
- Improving your mental health – The sense of achievement when you see you are able to get a new skill is a big part in feeling good about yourself. Setting goals in these new processes and reaching those goals works wonders in how we feel.
Learning new things shouldn’t be hard. It is something we are used to putting off for when we have time, but we shouldn’t! Knowledge is power and new skills are a great way to improve the quality of your life. If you are a bit lost on how to start with this process:
Of course it is better to find something to learn that can be useful in your life, but don’t feel bad if you want to take up something just for your enjoyment. What have you always wanted to do since you were a child? If it is doable, don’t be afraid to take the leap and start today!
Find your learning style
Every person learns differently. Some people need visual aids, while others require a kinetic approach. Find the way you interact with information and stick with it. Make connections to make the learning process more meaningful to you.
Practice does make perfect
Find someone you admire in the field and take their example. Learn from them and then practice what you are learning over and over until you master it. Make sure to not get stuck in the comfort zone, and really challenge yourself to be better at it everyday.
Do you have a property you need help with? Contact us today!
June – Brainstorm and create a marketing strategy
Now that you have worked on your strategy to improve your Return of Investment, it is time to create a marketing strategy that will help you grow your business.
Keep reading to see our best tips on how to do it!
One of the most important things to remember when starting the marketing plan, is you need to make a lasting impression on the people you want to reach. You can do this by taking both offline and online actions.
Networking is a big part of having a successful marketing plan. Finding experienced investors like yourself to learn from them, knowing sellers that can cut you deals or finding the best realtors via connections made, is a great way to grow your investment portfolio. A great way to connect is attending networking events and joining Facebook groups aimed at business people in the area.
You can see our blog post on networking like a pro here.
The term ‘Bird dogs’ refers to people whose job it is to keep an eye out for motivated sellers in the area who are willing to sell at below the market value.
They can be really effective since they have a good knowledge of the region they work, usually know other ‘Bird dogs’ in different areas, and are interested in you saving money, since they stand to gain a fee from each sell.
Marketing is not just about the first impression you make, it is about how you look after the relationships you made through it. Following up on the leads you got with the marketing plan is really important. Make sure you tend to each connection and don’t take anything for granted.
These follow ups can go a long way, and can vary depending on how valuable the person is to you; it can go from a lunch date to a phone call or an email.
Bandit signs are a good way to work on an off-line marketing strategy. They are small, poster sized-pamphlets announcing you are looking for properties to buy with your contact information. These signs should be strategically placed in locations you are looking into to get properties to invest in, and when done correctly can help you find off the market properties and connect with sellers that can give you a good price.
They also don’t necessarily have to be physical, you can use Google or Facebooks targeted ads to make sure you reach sellers from the area you are interested in.
Remember that a seasoned property manager will walk you through all the marketing processes and will help you create the best strategy suited to your needs and wants.
Want to create the perfect marketing strategy? We can help!
All you need to know on Subletting
One of the trickiest issues that come with leasing a property is subletting. It can be hard to understand how it works and the pros and cons for you as the owner.
Continue reading to see everything you need to know on letting a tenant sublet your property.
First of all, you need to know that in Texas a tenant cannot sublet if the terms of subletting are not explicitly described in their lease or without the express permission (preferably in writing) of their landlord.
Types of subleases:
–Short-term: When the current tenant is planning on returning to the property after a short time away due to personal or professional issues. The person subletting rents the property for as long as necessary.
-Permanent: When the tenant is moving away permanently and wants someone to take over the rest of their lease.
Your property will not be vacant for any time with the tenant finding someone to sublet it which will mean no lost rental for you.
*Helping your tenant:
Subletting doesn’t have to be for the whole property, so allowing your tenant to sublet a room or two can help them be able to pay the rent on time, which in return will help you avoid eviction costs. Win win!
*Not good screening:
Since the tenant will be the one to be in charge of the vetting and choosing of the subletter, if they don’t have a good screening system, it can result in unreliable people being in your property.
Because the person subletting the property or room may be there short-time only, they may not know the rules or may not care enough about them to properly follow them, so they may cause some damage to the property.
Some things to consider:
There are ways to make sure your property is well protected. If you are thinking of letting your tenant sublet the property, you can add verbiages to the sublease to hold the tenant responsible for the subletter.
If you have a property and you are feeling overwhelmed, reach out to us today!
Do you have a property you need help with? Contact us today!
Common tenant complaints and how to manage them like a pro
It does not matter how well you keep your property, some issues are still bound to appear. Handling tenants can be tricky, so dealing with them in a proper and kind manner will be really helpful for a fruitful relationship.
Keep reading to see the most common complaints tenants make and how to successfully resolve them.
Ensuring that the property is in tip-top condition can be challenging, but it is so necessary. Maintenance requests left unattended is the number #1 complaint tenants make regarding their rental property. Letting them know you are interested in their comfort and security by tending to their maintenance needs can go a long way.
Having a clear line of communication and a simple system to send their requests is the best way to make sure that these issues are addressed.
Apart from emergency repairs, it is also very important to remember that seasonal upkeep must be properly managed. See our blog posts on seasonal maintenance here: Spring – Summer – Winter – Fall
Not only is it a bit annoying for the tenant for you to show up unannounced at the property, but it can actually be a criminal offense if it even remotely resembles harassment against them. Having respect for their privacy is key to having a good relationship.
Unless it is imperative to visit the property because of an emergency, always ensure that you give them at least 24 hour written notice that you may be dropping by.
Noisy neighbors are not the owner’s fault, but it doesn’t mean you cannot help the tenants have a better time at your property.
If the problem is with a tenant also renting with you, you could offer to talk to them or mediate to help them reach an agreement amicably.
If not, you could look into helping them with the installation of insulation, or with soundproofing the property.
The best solution for these issues will always be to resolve them by talking with the tenant causing the discomfort, but offering something extra can make your tenant really happy!
One of the most awful things that can happen in your home is having unwanted guests invade you, so this one requires immediate action in most cases.
Calling an exterminator promptly can solve the issue right away, but periodical inspections and upkeep can help you be sure that the pests won’t cause any more problems.
Something to keep in mind is that the lease your tenants get will need to include how you will manage each of these items, and must strictly follow the Texas Property Code.
It can be really tiring dealing with all of this, so leaving your property in the hands of experts (like us!) can help you relax in the knowledge that things will be taken care of.
Don't know how to handle your tenants? We can help!