News

Oct 2, 2017

How to Make Your Rental Look New Every Time You Turn Tenants

  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

Renting to Own: The Pros & Cons For Landlords

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 15, 2017

Holdfolio Download Episode 1 – Garfield Place

We are proud to announce our new podcast, the Holdfolio Download. Join us as we take an inside look at real estate investing at Holdfolio. Each episode Sterling White will shares stories, insights, and knowledge from Holdfolio. Holdfolio Download will be available on many podcasting platforms including iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, Soundcloud, and more. To download Episode 1 of the Holdfolio Download click here. On Episode 1 Sterling talks about the mission behind Holdfolio and how Holdfolio came to purchase a multi family unit in Indianapolis, Indiana. He talks about the process and some of the challenges that came with adding this piece of real estate to our portfolio. Holdfolio purchased Garfield Place in February 2017. Here are some pictures of the property at time of purchase: And here are pictures of the property just seven months later, after we gave it some much needed TLC.    

Sep 13, 2017

How To Prepare For The Slow Holiday Rental Season

  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

How Virtual Reality and Future Tech is Helping Real Estate Investors

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

Do You Speak Real Estate Language?

Have you got your real estate lingo down yet? Check out the commonly used real estate language to filter the deals you really want, and decipher real estate listings and ads. Motivated Seller A motivated seller is someone eager to sell their house in a hurry, and often at a discount. That is typically due to some form of distress. The seller could be deep in debt, and have liens and past due taxes piled up against the home. Or the property could have major flaws. It may need a new roof, septic tank, or foundation. Cozy A small house or apartment. Probably very small. Could be a struggle getting your furniture in. Needs a Light Cleaning Prepare to have to bring in a professional cleaning crew. You could be up to your knees in sewage, have to battle mold, or scrub away graffiti. Handyman Special Get ready for some serious rehab work. There is likely to be some major repairs to be made. Partial View If you stand on a chair, on your tip toes and strain your neck, you might be able to see a sliver of something besides the neighbors’ brick wall. Starter Home A small cheap home that probably needs some fixing up. Unique A really special, quirky property which probably doesn’t fit in with the neighborhood. May have weird angles, be oddly colored, and have abstract landscaping. Rustic or Vintage An old out of date home. May need significant work to bring up to date. Airy Could have missing windows or doors. Maybe there are even holes in the floor or roof, or an entire wall could be missing. Good Bones There may not be much to this home except for the bones. There may be some frame, but expect to have to replace everything else. Up and Coming Area This could be a rundown dangerous, in need of intervention and revitalization – move there if you dare. It may be trendy, and the prices may be better, but it could have a way to go before it really catches on. Credit Challenged A prospective tenant with bad credit. No Closing Cost Loan Loans on which the mortgage lender may not charge their own closing costs. They may roll points, processing, and underwriting fees into a slightly higher interest rate. Note that there still will likely be third party closing costs including title insurance, closing fees, recording fees, taxes, and prorated property taxes and insurance. Get to know your real estate language to rapidly sift through the opportunities out there, and craft good listings and ads for your own properties you may be selling or renting.

Aug 23, 2017

Foreclosures 101: What They Mean For Investors

  Foreclosures continue to be one of the hottest items in the world of real estate. How do they work. What is the appeal for investors? What ways are there to participate? Foreclosures 101 A foreclosure is a legal proceeding which seizes real estate from an owner and liquidates it through a sale to compensate creditors. The most common reason for foreclosure is when a homeowner fails to pay their mortgage payments. Once a loan payment becomes 30 days late, it goes into default. Depending on where the property is, it may move into the legal foreclosure process once that payment is 90 days late. Although some lenders have dragged their feet on foreclosing when there are a lot of them, in order to preserve their own balance sheets. There are other reasons for foreclosure too. This includes past due property taxes, HOA liens, federal tax liens, and condemnation due to property condition or eminent domain, or other breaches of contract with a mortgage lender. Sometimes the owner is genuinely at fault for failing to keep their end of the deal. In many other cases lenders have fraudulently foreclosed to seize assets, or it is the result of paperwork glitches. Once a foreclosure is granted, properties are generally offered at auctions. If no winning bids are received, the creditor gains control of the property. What Foreclosures Mean for Real Estate Investors In one word – it means ‘opportunity’. Foreclosed properties need to be sold, and are typically offered by motivated sellers who are in need of selling that asset fast. This normally means they can be purchased at a discount. As of August 2017, Realtytrac reports there were 626,631 properties in the US in some stage of foreclosure. Discounts mean that real estate investors can buy these properties, and acquire them in a good equity position. They can sometimes be immediately resold for a profit. Though many may require significant repairs and updating before they are fit for renting or resale. How to Buy Foreclosure Homes There are a variety of ways to acquire foreclosure properties. In pre-foreclosure directly from the owner Via the MLS At foreclosure auctions Buying non-performing loan notes and foreclosing Via real estate wholesalers Participating in a fund or partnership which buys, rehabs, and rents them Foreclosures continue to be a popular topic in real estate investing. They can still offer value to investors. There are many reasons homes get foreclosed on. There are several ways to participate in these opportunities for all levels of investors from brand new to highly experienced.

Aug 9, 2017

What Real Estate Investors Would Do Differently If They Could Go Back

If you talk to experienced investors today, you’ll find a few common threads in what they would do differently if they could go back and start over. Learning from their mistakes now can certainly help in making the most of your investment opportunities. Invest Earlier One of the biggest and most common regrets of experienced investors is that they didn’t begin investing earlier. How soon you start investing makes a massive difference. Even a small amount invested now can grow into the millions by the time you retire. Whereas if you put it off, you’ll have to work harder, and give up a far larger percentage of your earned income, and take more risks in order to try and catch up. The earlier you invest, the more time you give yourself to make mistakes and learn.   Hold, Hold, Hold Another frequent regret is not having sold properties. Eventually real estate assets increase in value and have more income producing potential. At times, it is wise to exit to get the most cash out of a home, but that may pale in comparison to the potential gains of long term hold properties.   Buy Less Junk, Invest More Whether it was putting off investing to buy junk that ‘promised’ instant gratification, or blowing all the gains from flipping houses on car leases and partying, most would go back and splurge less on items that just rust or accumulate dust, and reinvest it instead.   Invest in Learning In investing it is what you don’t know that gets you. And you never know it all. Every moment spent learning can pay vast ongoing returns. No matter what the market and weather does, no one can ever take that from you.   Make Bolder Moves There is probably nothing worse than getting old and realizing all those ‘safe’ plays you made, all the years spent watching TV in comfort, and times you didn’t go somewhere because it was too adventurous, was all a waste. Decades were wasted, often without any rewards for it, and with little real financial security gained. Make bold moves while you are young, and while you can enjoy it. Even if they don’t work out you’ll have plenty of time to catch up.   Think Longer Term A five year plan simply isn’t long enough. To really be able to enjoy the fruits of your investing and to hold onto them you’ve got to think and plan a lot longer than that. The most successful think 100 years or more ahead.   Diversify No single thing, strategy or asset will perform amazingly all the time, forever. Not house flipping, not your favorite rental, not the stock market, not your business. The key is diversifying. Diversify into different assets, strategies, and locations.   There is a lot of benefit to be found in learning from the mistakes and regrets of others. Learn from these clues, so you don’t make the same mistakes, so you can enjoy the journey more, and be pleased with the end result.

Jul 20, 2017

Three Keys to Successful Investing 

  Want to be successful in your investing? Focus on these 3 keys...   There are a lot of factors that we look at when digging into investments. Yet, we often get distracted from some of the most important elements. Here are three critical keys to truly profiting from investments, and creating sustainable results that will last.         Minimize Fees   In his recent book ‘Money – Mastering the Game’, Tony Robbins reveals that one of the biggest threats to our financial futures and profitable investments are fees. In the world of real estate, individuals could face a barrage of multiple layers of fees with mortgages, brokerage, and banking: Many of which don't make sense or are confusing. This can be what depletes potential double digit gross returns, down to what may actually be negative yields once you count inflation. It is important to differentiate junk fees from legitimate fees in your investments and obtain quality, professional advice. You usually get what you pay for. However, by investing smarter we can strip away many of these layers, and get good returns, with good management.        Minimize Taxes   Smart investors prioritize taxes when investing. They take them head on, instead of just burying their heads in the sand. Taxes can take a 30-40% chunk right off the top of your returns. That dramatically changes what you thought you were going to get from an investment. Fortunately, there are some investments which offer tax breaks, and vehicles for investing which the IRS has established to allow investors to enjoy tax deferred or tax-free investments. Use these and you will not only stay in the black when others fall into the red, but you can generate out-sized returns, and build wealth and income much faster. Imagine being able to invest 40% more each year?        Diversify   No matter how carefully you select investments things can happen. Markets can change, corrections can happen or even natural disasters can come along. If you have all your money in one type of investment, or one asset, you are facing risks every day. Even within the same sector or asset class, you want to hold multiple units. When you are in multiple locations you’ll most always be able to generate income and have a cushion, no matter what happens externally.   Summary We can use all types of fancy calculations and weigh all kinds of metrics when evaluating investments. If you are not watching the fees, watching the taxes, and fail to stay diversified, you could find your profits not being so profitable! A lot of getting the best ROI comes down to smart due diligence, intensive research and knowing ALL the numbers.  
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WATCH VIDEO Sterling White and Jacob Blackett recently purchased 46 units

Sterling White and Jacob Blackett recently purchased 46 units

WATCH VIDEO How To Become A Dominant Force In Your Market by Your Mid 20's w/Sterling White

How To Become A Dominant Force In Your Market by Your Mid 20's w/Sterling White