Texas Division of Emergency Management: What you should know about it￼
Given the recent bad weather in Texas, which unfortunately has become a common occurrence, and being a real estate investor it’s a good idea to get familiar with the Texas Division of Emergency Management.
Knowing what it is, how it works and how you can get aided by them, will help you be prepared in advance in case one of your properties ever gets damaged and you are in need of assistance.
What is the TDEM?
The TDEM is an agency that coordinates the emergency management program of the State. It ensures that the State and the local governments are able to respond and recover from the damage caused by emergencies and disasters. It also launches and implements programs of public awareness about threats and hazards, provides specialized training to first responders and local officers, administers disaster recovery and hazard mitigation programs, and creates plans to help prevent or lessen the effect of disasters all around Texas.
Why is it important?
Since it was established in 2019, the TDEM’s mission has been to provide a comprehensive emergency management program that includes pre and post-disaster mitigation, emergency planning and training, provisions for effective response to emergencies, and recovery programs to major disasters for the State and for assisting cities, counties and State agencies.
How can I get help?
Texans are encouraged to report any damage caused by a disaster or emergency. To do so and see if you qualify for any type of aid, you can self-file a survey here.
If you want to know more about them and/or ask any pertinent questions, you can click here.
*Remember that, even though the help provided can get you started on your recovery process, it will most likely not get you back to pre-disaster conditions.
Do you have a property you need help with? Contact us today!
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!
November – Read and research
You have established the niche you want to concentrate on, now it’s time to focus on becoming an expert. A great way to do this is to read and research on the subjects to really get into the inner workings and specifics of the industry.
Remember that the more you learn, the more you will likely earn!
Some benefits of continuing your real estate education by reading include:
Even if you have been in the business for a long time, it is really important that you can continue educating yourself since the real estate industry is always in constant flux and change.
If you dig a little, you can discover a lot of blogs and books written recently, and constantly, by successful people that can provide some insight and can help you know where the market is headed which will make it easier for you to flourish as an investor.
You can find our recommendation on what to read if you are interested in investing in multifamily here and single family here.
Helping you make better decisions
As you may be aware, each part of real estate investing is different and you need to educate yourself on how to handle each part so you can make the most out of your investments.
Reading diligently and researching constantly, not only in the kind of investments you want to take on but also in the market and the area you’re looking at, will make it easier for you to make great decisions and veer towards a great future.
Finding new opportunities
If you are constantly reading news and blogs with information on the real estate market, you can be on the lookout and learn to find telltale signs of a good investment opportunity, whether you want to keep investing in your own state or if you are looking to expand your portfolio to other places.
Don’t forget to check out the other articles in our blog and subscribe to our monthly newsletter if you want to read on a wide variety of real estate topics!
Do you have a property and are feeling lost on where to start? Contact us today!
Investor’s Basics Series: The details on buying off market
You have the timeline to plan for your next property purchase, now you can decide if it’s worth it to try and get properties that are off market.
Keep reading to get the details on how to find properties off the market and the pros and cons of doing so.
There are many reasons sellers will look to sell off the market, including privacy, flexibility, speed and tenants, so there are many options for you to choose a good property from. Of course, with it may come some good and some bad things:
- You get access to an inventory that other investors haven’t seen – Less competition means more chance of getting the property you have your eyes on.
- The process may be faster – Some owners will look to sell off-market because they need a speedy exit, so everything will most likely go faster than usual.
- Negotiations may be more flexible – Without the pressure of a normal bidding war you may have more room to negotiate to get the deal you want.
- The cost of repairs may be high – Some properties are sold this way because they are not in the best conditions, so getting it ready to rent may be more expensive.
- Determining fair market value may be tricky – Since they are available to less buyers, these properties may be more difficult to appraise. You can do a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) to help you out.
Some ways you can find off the market properties are:
Use marketing tools to find potential sellers
We have said it before, marketing is a great tool for real estate investors. From direct mail marketing campaigns to offline strategies, you just need to work out the strategy that works for you and let it help you grow your portfolio!
Connect with local vendors
Don’t underestimate the power of having good rapport with your local vendor community. Consider making a good relationship with maintenance professionals, gardeners, home inspectors, etc, they may be able to notice distressed or abandoned properties, and could help you make connections with different owners.
Remember you can always enlist the help of an experienced property management professional in case you have bought a house off-market and are looking to get it ready and rent it out quickly!
Do you have a property you need help with? Contact us!
October – Find your niche
Now that you are great at finding new opportunities everywhere you can, it is time to learn how to find your perfect niche.
Having a niche is really important when you are looking to grow your portfolio and become an expert in a particular area of real estate. Doing so will give you an edge in this fast-paced, competitive industry.
Here are a few things to consider when working to discover your niche:
A geography-based niche is the most commonly practiced and it can be specific to a neighborhood, county, zip code or city.
You can also try to be hyperlocal, looking for properties in one very limited location, making the area you are selecting as small as possible to be able to completely specialize in it and look for the best opportunities there. The market can vary drastically from city to city and, in some cases, even from neighborhood to neighborhood. So make sure to do your research when looking for your geographical niche!
Find what property type interests you the most and research as much as you can about it. Some property types are:
- Single Family – Single residential structure.
- Multi Family – A building with multiple units for several families.
- Condo – An individually owned unit in a building with other units.
- Co-Ops – A property owned by a corporation formed by several different owners.
- Commercial – Buildings used for commercial use like office buildings, warehouses and retail.
- Historical – Properties over 50 years old with certain historical and cultural characteristics.
- Luxury – Usually defined as the top 5% of the market.
By taking on only one type of property, you can make sure you get the process of getting it ready down to a T. Each type has pros and cons so it is important to weight your options before deciding!
Find your passion
Try thinking about what you like from real estate and make sure you take it into consideration when choosing your niche.
It may sound cheesy but, working in something you love will make it easier for you to really get into it. Passion goes a long way when it comes to motivation and success!
After you have found your niche, you may want to find a good property management company that complements the niche you have chose and can help you take care of your investments so you can focus on growing your portfolio!
Do you need help with a property? 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!
September – Keep an eye out for opportunities
Another big part of being a Real Estate Investor, after you have kept up to date with new laws and regulations, is learning to recognise a good opportunity when it shows up and being able to take it.
Keep reading to find our best tips on how to find and seize great real estate opportunities.
A great way to find opportunities on and off the market is to network as much as you can. Attending real estate events, both online and offline, and being part of a community with other real estate investors and other people in the business will make it easier for you to get access to opportunities that you would otherwise not have heard about.
Remember that most times other investors are not your competition, but they could be a great asset that could help you grow and bloom in the industry since they could have expertise in areas where you are lacking.
See how you can become a networking pro here.
Consider attending auctions
If you know how to navigate through auctions, they can be a great way to find off the market properties at a great price!
Auctions can be tricky, but if you are willing to do your research–and try attending an auction or two to see if you are up for the challenge–they could really help you grow your investment portfolio and gain more knowledge on difficult properties.
Online and Offline Marketing
Remember one of the most powerful tools for an investor it’s their ability to work with marketing to be able to find great deals.
A widely unknown method to find motivated sellers is to search eviction records to find for owners that may be tired of their responsibilities and may be looking to find someone to take their properties off of their hands.
If you have an area you are interested in, you can also take your time to scout it out and look for telltale signs of a property selling and then use marketing tools like Bandit Signs to search for owners willing to sell.
You can read our article on marketing here.
A great opportunity could be right around the corner for you, it is just a matter of keeping your eyes wide open and learning how to spot them.
Do you have a property you need help with? Contact us today!
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!