I was off work on Friday and I had a very productive personal day.
I had bunch of things on my To Do List I was able to check them off. It really give you sense accomplishment when you do things you have been meaning to do for a while.
Started early by visiting Home Depot, returning items that were sitting in my truck for the past month that were left over from my home improvements. I bought supplies for kitchen rehab for my rental, I stopped at Build Value to pick up old used kitchen cabinets, walked around Ikea for a while, and bought Kitchen Counter Tops. (BTW, they have all kitchen items for 10% off for the holiday.).
In the afternoon, I met with my realtor Callie to look at few houses as potential investments. I found couple that I liked and I’m in the process of making offers on two of those properties. In the evening, I watched the first 5 episodes of season two of the ‘The 100’ my new favorite show. I may have a crush on the lead female character Clark. To top it off, the best part of my day, I am sitting and writing again. This is a big win for me, because I struggle with writing.
Slight Pause On Investing
Lately, I have been keeping myself quiet with buying new properties. First, I was occupied with rehabbing my current house the entire spring and summer. And due to rehab project, I did not have enough of money to invest into new properties since the rehab sucked out so much of my time and money. It is true when other investors say,
“Your planned budget times two”
It’s could also be described as bad planning or rookie mistake.
If you work on your own house that you live in or will live in, the cost could quickly multiply because you want to make it nice. This means, you will be spending more of your precious time and buying better materials. So instead of using $30 dollar bathroom faucet, I’m spending $70. I could have left that bathroom alone but instead, it’s costing me $3000 and two months worth of weekends. You have to be careful. But I’m still learning.
The cost to pay for these, I have put onto a zero or low percent credit cards and loans, so those are items I needed to pay back before I could move forward with other projects. And since I don’t have much of passive income from my properties yet, my ordinary income from my job is still funding the rehab projects.
On the positive, the delay bought me sometime to setup other sources of funding to pay for my upcoming investments. I’ll cover sources of funds in another blog because I think that’s important subject to understand for people who are starting out. It’s definitely challenging and I certainly struggled with it starting out.
I’m Ready to Buy Houses Again
Luckily, I have my next set of funds lined up to buy houses. Currently, I focus on single-family foreclosures homes that are $10,000 to $70,000 price range in the eastside of Cincinnati. That’s in my comfort zone and that’s what makes most sense to me right now far as location, cost, and being able manage the project and the property. Also, I am into long-term passive income strategy rather than flipping. I think a lot people assume I’m a flipping houses due to fact I’m investing in foreclosure homes. They either don’t understand the different between the two or flipping houses is a term that is just sexier these days because there are so many cable shows on flipping houses, including my favorite show ‘Flip or Flop’. If you ever get into real estate business you would want to understand the key differences between the two and build a clear strategy around it. There are tax laws and implications that are significant.
Keep Your Eyes Open
Its amazing what you can find when you keep your eyes open. There are good (and bad) investment opportunities everywhere. You just got to get in the habit of looking. Step further, you have to have some basic financial literacy. When you do find potential investment, how will you determine if it’s good or bad? If it’s solely based on price, then it maybe an easier decision but not all real estate transaction are created equals.
Also, houses come with baggage. Especially on foreclosures; there maybe a lien, major plumbing problem, structural damage, etc. There is no true telling before you buy the house, but there are precautions you can take to avoid getting yourself into sink hole. If you are diving into real estate, be sure to have a proper due diligence process including proper inspections, title search, insurance, etc.
It’s Never Sold Till It’s Sold
One House I will be bidding on today, I first visited during spring of this year. I wanted to buy it then but the house was already pending sale with multiple backup offers. Now it’s back on the market. So the deal must of fell through somehow. Not sure why or how, my realtor is digging into it more, but either there is something majorly wrong with the house, which I did not see yet, there could be a big lien on the house from previous owner, or the buyer just couldn’t meet financing which is an often the case. I’m just seeing it back on the market half a year later because some of these real estate deals can take a long time. This is especially true on foreclosures and Short sales. Bottom line, I’m glad I kept an eye on it because it gives me a chance to make an offer and to potentially add to my asset column.
Check Multiple Sources
Another house I visited today I really liked and I’m also submitting my paper work to bid. This house just happens to be four houses down from my house. I didn’t even know it was on the market for over 100 days because there was no sign in the front yard and it was not on Zillow, which is one of my favorite investing search tool. The house has bunch of problems, but man, it looked to be such a good deal. So I’m willing to deal with these problems. I won’t talk more about in the risk of jinxing myself. But the point here is, deals are everywhere. You just have to get in the practice of looking and using multiple available tools. And luckily for you and I, the good ones are free.
Here are some of the tools I use
- Zillow – http://www.zillow.com/
- Realtor – http://www.realtor.com/
- Trulia – http://www.trulia.com/
- Your county auditor site
- (in my case – City of Cincinnati – http://hamiltoncountyauditor.org/)
- Locally in Cincinnati
- Sibcy Cline – http://www.sibcycline.com/
- My Car – I drive for Riches.
It’s not always easy to make time for yourself because you have responsibilities, you have things to do, bills to pay, and people that count on you. For me, I try to make investing into my everyday responsibilities as much as I can. It’s certainly is daunting task but it can be done and when done right, it’s got it’s rewards.
The reality for most people is your ordinary income from your job just isn’t enough to cover for both your daily/monthly expenses and saving toward retirement. If you have any doubt or uncertainty toward retirement future, there is probably a good reason. I highly encourage you to learn more and increase your financial education and take action on investing. I hope this blog tickles your interest a little on investing because more you know, the better financial decision you can make for yourself and your family.