Jun 15, 2020
Jun 15, 2020
Here at Holdfolio, it is common for us to receive similar questions from new investors. This interview was conducted with one of our investors. What kinds of questions did you have for Holdfolio during the brief introduction call? The call mostly was getting to gain a better understanding of how Holdfolio operates. What is the minimum investment? It can vary depending upon the specific investment opportunity but is typically $20,000. Why did you choose Holdfolio? It is a passive approach and the returns are attractive. I'm not looking to spend time managing the investment and didn't want the liability and potential headache that comes with owning real estate myself. What were the steps and processes to invest with Holdfolio? It was pretty simple. I went through a 3-step process online to invest. After signing the investment agreement I was able to fund my investment. I had the option of sending a wire or mailing a check which was deposited to Holdfolio's escrow account. How much time do you spend managing your investment with Holdfolio? I log on to my dashboard every so often to check the status of investments. Everything is updated quarterly. I was get email updates and distribution details so it's really nice.
Nov 13, 2017
One of the biggest questions real estate investors have (or at least should have), is how many finishing touches and add ons they should give a remodel. There are many factors which play into this. Some standard finishes will differ based on your particular market. Others should be different based on what the tradition and market history is locally, and the price point of your property and surrounding properties. All of these factors can be make or break when you are trying to turn a profit on your properties. The Danger of Over-Improving Property One of the biggest dangers of investing in real estate is over-improving your investment properties. It is the number one pitfall for first time investors. First timers often sink way too much money to over improve a rental property, and often times, they never get any return on the investment. Unfortunately, many investors just don’t know what really adds tangible value to their properties. Being smart and sensible with your value adds can be major when it comes to turning a profit. When it comes to buy and hold rental properties, it should be attractive to your level of prospective renters. Keep in mind the type of perspective tenant you are looking to attract, and what kind of amenities they need and do not need. Listen to what the market is telling you. But many times landlords must remember that tenants are going to put some wear and tear on the property, and chances are a lot of updates are going to have to be done every time you turn tenants. It could be in 6 months, or 24 months. You just don’t know. So, instead of going all out, especially on items which are easily dirtied or worn, go for slightly more affordable options, and more durable finishes. For example; carpet which can be cleaned, instead of tile which may need to be completely replaced if it is cracked. Or stainless steel sinks, versus custom materials which can stain. This approach applies to flips as well. You’ve got to know what really adds value, and not do any more than that. You’ve also got to know your buyers. Will they be renting the place out? Then stick to the above principles. In most cases, end buyers are going to have different tastes to you. That means no matter how nice you make it, they are likely to redo a lot of your work. Why put in unique, over the top finishes, if they are going to be pulled out and thrown on the curb a week after closing? They also aren’t going to pay you more, just because you think the design is nicer. Many tenants have a set range for the rent they are wiling to pay, and special add ons do not always help move that needle. Just because you spent a few dollars more per square foot on counter tops and flooring, doesn’t mean you’ll get an extra dollar on the sales price. What’s Your MVP? What investors need to know is what their MVP is. That is the Minimum Viable Product. That doesn’t mean be cheap. Do it right, make it look nice, but don’t throw away money. Otherwise you may have to sell at a loss, may not be able to sell at all, or are going to be making a lot less than you thought. You need floors, a roof, countertops, cabinets, bathroom fixtures, and freshly painted walls, but you don’t have to try and win any design awards. Basic countertops will work in most rentals. If you are doing a luxury renovation, you might get away with poured concrete or granite, instead of quartz. You can let the next buyer or renter get their own fridge, or stage it with a basic model, versus spending thousands on a smart fridge which may not be the right model your buyer wants. Know what the minimum standard expected by local buyers and renters is. You can go a little bit above that if you want to move it faster, if you can get a good deal on the materials. But don’t overdo it. There is a lot of confusion around what standard rentals and house flips should be finished too. It is also an area which can make or break investors fast. Know your values, and consult an actual appraiser, not just a Realtor to find out. Then set your own standard minimums based on your area, while looking out for deals on slightly higher quality, but neutral materials.
Oct 18, 2017
Rental Property Investing: Vacation Rentals vs. Long-Term Rentals Short term, Airbnb-style rentals have been gaining a lot of attention lately, especially in major metropolitan cities. The question is, how do they stack up as an investment strategy for long-term income property investors? Are they more profitable? Or are long-term annual rentals still the best way to go? Vacation Rental Property Investing Many real estate investors and entrepreneurs have discovered that there are very juicy rental rates to be found by leasing their units to short-term renters for a day, week, or month. A whole new crowd has jumped into this industry to capitalize on this. It is a trend we are seeing more and more each day. When rented as a hotel, property owners can often get far higher average rates than as annual rentals. What may rent for $1,000 a month to a regular long-term tenant, may rent for the equivalent $3,000 per month on Airbnb. There is clearly a lot of value in this short-term rental strategy, but there can be some drawbacks. These rough figures can be very misleading. They don’t account for higher vacancy rates, taxes, wear and tear, and property management costs. All of which can take a big bite out of those anticipated rents. More importantly; experienced investors know that short-term and vacation rentals can be highly volatile. Short-term rental rates can fall just as fast as they rise, due to demand. There are many causes including the economy, new lists of top vacation spots, storms, gas prices, and other factors. All of which can catch short-term rental property owners by surprise. Those who have paid high prices for these assets, assuming they’ll be able to rent at these high rates, can be caught short, and find themselves in tough financial situations if they are not careful. If the numbers won’t work on a deal as an annual rental, be very, very wary. Research around popular message boards and forums frequented by users of Airbnb, VRBO, and more. Long-Term Rental Property Investing In contrast, long-term rentals offer real estate investors more consistency, stability, and reliability for their investment portfolios. Good long-term tenants can also save a lot on property management, maintenance, and marketing. That can even out the spreads a lot. Even more so when investors are purchasing homes at far lower prices. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the yields on an $80,000 home that rents for $1,000 a month in the Midwest, may produce better yields than a condo on the coast that rents for $3,000 a month, but costs $500,000 or more. It is important to run these numbers before deciding on a short term or long term strategy Both vacation rentals and long-term annual rentals can produce income and attractive returns for investors. It’s all about the numbers. Unfortunately, many are not doing the full math, or are looking far enough forward when trying to jump on the Airbnb bandwagon. Do your math well. Get a second opinion from an expert. Make sure your choice matches your personal financial goals and timeline.
Oct 2, 2017
Turning around rental units for new tenants is a pivotal part of being a successful and profitable landlord. If you are too slow, and don’t maximize the opportunities, it can ruin your business and crush your returns. On the other hand, it can be a chance to write a great new lease, and increase your tenant quality and income. Creating that new look and feel can really make a big difference in the number of prospective tenants you get to choose from, how fast it will be occupied, and what renters are willing to pay. Below are some tips for making those units look new every time you turn them. Landscaping For an immediate and powerful impression you need to ace this right at the curb appeal. Trim and clean up, put down new stones or fresh mulch, and plant plants and flowers that really look vibrant and alive. While this fix may be a bit of a labor intensive job, it is a relatively cheap improvement you can make to your rental property. New Mailboxes Renters and home buyers can instantly spot the difference between an old neglected unit, and one which was just rehabbed by the mailbox. This won’t cost you much, and won’t take more than a few minutes to install, but it will make a big difference in sending the right message to prospective tenants. Front Door Hardware New kick plates, door knockers, and locks make a great impression. Obviously, when tenant are searching for a new place to live, one of the first things they take into mind is safety. Replacing or improving front door hardware can make them feel safe and sense the pride in living there, and has some of the best ROI on anything you can do. Paint Get in and freshen up the paint. It is an easy solution that many landlords tend to get lazy about or easily overlook. Touch up walls, go over it with current trending color schemes, and you’ll be surprised at how much difference just a couple cans of paint can make. Tenants love to walk into a rental and smell fresh paint. It makes a great first impression and can go a long way when it comes to scoring the perfect tenant. Deep Cleaning Do the hard work! Don’t skimp on the cleaning. Get the dust off of ceiling fans and vents, wash the windows, deep clean the carpet, and maybe even refinish other flooring. Make it smell great. Touch Up Cabinets Touch up or repaint kitchen and bathroom cabinets to make them look new. Make sure hinges and knobs are all working smoothly. Consider new hardware to update the look every few years. A kitchen is one of the most important parts to anyone's home, and your perspective tenants want to be proud to show off a clean kitchen with fresh looking cabinets. New Window Coverings Blinds and curtains can get dingy, dusty, and damaged fast. Some tenant may take your window coverings down to add ones of their choice, and that is fine. While you may get away with nothing at all, you might also score extra points for new blinds too. Feel free to leave the tags on so they know they are new. Take the time to add this value to your rental. Appliances Nothing dates a rental like old appliances. Even if you won’t be including appliances in the lease, you can use new ones to stage the home or apartment for showings and photos. This could be new kitchen appliances, washer and dryer, big screen 3D TVs, and more.
Sep 20, 2017
Rent to own deals appear to be becoming more popular again. What are the real pros and cons for investment property owners? As home prices keep growing, and rent remain high, but mortgage lenders keep underwriting tight, renting to own, lease options, and seller held mortgages all appear to be getting more common again. They are highly desired by tenant-buyers, and can be highly profitable for real estate investors. What should you consider before making the leap? The Pros of Offering Rent to Own Deals There are a variety of benefits of this strategy, including the following. Easy Exit in Tough Markets Offering a rent to own option can provide landlords an easy exit, even in tough or declining housing markets. Just make sure it is priced in a way that is appealing and the right prospects can afford. Higher Sales Prices Rent to own tenants are mostly concerned about move-in costs and monthly payments. They care little about the actual sales price. This can help you get far more for your property. Passive Income Creating a seller financed mortgage note can deliver passive income with a lot less headaches. You no longer need to worry about tenants, maintenance, and all the time and risk involved. You just get monthly payments. The note created is also a new asset which can be sold and cashed in on whenever you like. Providing a Valuable Service There is a huge need for this service. Millennials and families are having a tough time in the rental market. They will find many benefits in homeownership. They may have good credit and incomes, but just fail to qualify for a conventional bank loan due to paperwork quirks. Give them a chance. The Cons of Offering Rent to Own Deals There are some potential downsides to these arrangements to. Make sure you know them. Defaults It may be a little more expensive and time consuming to fix a default situation under these deals than with just a straight tenant. Locked In You’ll be bound by your agreement for a while. This could be 6 to 24 months or more. You will have to stick it out, even if the market changes. Less Cash Now You’ll be getting less cash now than in a traditional sale. However, you’ll probably get a lot more over time. Legality Seller financing is still a bit of a cloudy space due to Dodd-Frank and other regulations. It is legal. Just consult an attorney so that you structure it right, with the right paperwork, and stay protected. There are both pros and cons to providing rent to own deals as a property owner. Do the math. Remember your big goals. Is it worth it to you?
Sep 13, 2017
Experienced landlords know that the housing market goes through different phases and cycles each year. Spring and summer can be hot months for leasing units fast and for top dollar. This can change quite a bit once kids are back in school in fall. Most people have locked down in a new lease for the year. People get busy focusing on the holidays, and the weather may put a damper on showings. How can rental property owners ace it, and still keep their units full at this time of year? Move-In Specials Consider offering move-in specials. Take a look at your competition and see what you need to do to stay competitive. Can you offer a free month of rent, lower security deposits, or a discount on monthly rent? Test some out. Track the performance of these deals and tenants over time and reevaluate if they are worth doing again. Make Open Houses More Attractive Real estate in general slows down in fall and winter due to the weather. It is just generally less appealing to go out and view properties. Change that dynamic. Give potential tenants more motivation to come out, and come in to your open houses. How about hosting Santa, or giving away hot chocolate and other freebies? Themed Marketing Build up your inbound marketing and keep in front of potential movers with themed content. Use hashtags, relevant keyword phrases, and seasonal titles to get noticed and build SEO. This includes blogs, social media posts, and email newsletters. There are tons to choose from starting with Halloween through New Year’s Eve. Pump Up Your Team You can’t have your leasing team getting down or considering a new career. Keep them pumped and loyal with holiday dinners, seasonal gifts, bonus plans, and a little extra time to spend with family or holiday shopping. Get Financially Prepared Thousands of new real estate investors and landlords get crushed during this season each year. They just don’t see it coming. Maybe they got into the game in the buzz of summer, and made plans based on that market. Those who aren’t prepared can go broke, get discouraged, and quit fast. Anticipate the need for reserves. Be financially prepared with cash flow to get through the months tenants are most likely to be late on their rent. Late August through December can be a little more challenging for landlords. Especially for those who aren’t prepared. Get ahead of the game and make this the season you stand out and excel.
Sep 7, 2017
Virtual reality continues to be one of the most exciting frontiers in tech, commerce, and real estate. If current trends continue, more real estate buyers, sellers, and investors could find it a necessity in navigating the market, and getting what they want. The Rise of VR Virtual reality (VR) technology has been in development for years. It really began gaining traction with the media coverage of Google’s glasses. Then QR codes morphed into augmented reality apps which enable people to interact with virtual items in the real world, via their phones. Then came virtual reality headsets which are now available in numerous stores, and pretty inexpensively. More recently, leaders like charity: water, and top NYC commercial real estate firms have begun using VR to create new experiences and ways to engage with far off, or future places. One VR company alone has created over half a million real estate related virtual tours in the last few years. Uses of VR in Real Estate VR tours can be used to view homes and rentals online and from a distance. VR goggles are one of the most immersive ways to engage with this material. Though consumers can also often view this material in regular video format through real estate websites and YouTube on their phones as well. Exploring New Destinations We may be more mobile, have more location freedom, and need to move or invest in new areas today, but most don’t want to take the time out and spend the money on flights unless they are really sold on the location and product already. VR is the best way to experience somewhere new from a distance so far. It can be used to explore new neighborhoods, views from a property, and local attractions. The Challenges Like with any new tech, one of the major challenges today is the limited number of users. Not everyone has compatible devices for the best experience. You can spend a lot to produce and deliver this content. Yet, may not be able to connect with enough of the right leads, yet. The solutions are to make sure there is alignment between your product and those already actively using VR. For a few hundred dollars you can get to Best Buy and get your own 360 degree filming equipment and record your own video to save on costs at the beginning. What are your thoughts on VR for real estate?
Aug 30, 2017