Everyone wants to buy US real estate because of the regulatory environment, stability, and economic growth. But, many people pass it over.
The number 1 reason people don’t invest in real estate is the perceived risk of it. That could come from a number of factors, but often it’s because you don’t live geographically near the property you want to buy.
Another reason might be that you aren’t a citizen of the country you want to make the purchase in. This is incredibly common for people who want to invest in the US but live abroad or are citizens of other countries.
Sure, it sounds like a great idea, but how are you going to buy and manage something on the other side of the planet in a country you don’t really know?
But, did you know that it’s not hard to invest in US real estate even if you live abroad and are a citizen of another country?
Sure, there are some considerations you have to make and hoops to jump through, but it’s totally doable.
Why US Real Estate?
Once you’ve decided to invest in another country, you need to ask “why invest in US real estate” and not somewhere else. As a real estate investor you don’t want to limit your options.
Well, recently the US real estate sector has separated itself from other sectors in the US as well as from real estate in other countries.
The financial crisis is in the rear view mirror and the US economy is fueled by strong business and job growth. The US has a very stable real estate market and mature capital markets which compare positively to other countries.
Europe, being its most comparable area, has been embroiled in one economic crisis after another from Greece to Italy to Spain. Brexit, and strain on the welfare state from migration are just the most recent which can seen with widespread protests in France.
From a more micro perspective, US real estate has a lot of mature cities that have a lower cost than in many international cities such as London or Tokyo. While the US does have very expensive markets such as Los Angeles or New York City, there are a lot of core markets that offer good returns at a lower price point.
Additionally, the U.S. market is more liquid than other markets around the world and much more massive. So, it’s comparatively easy to sell and reinvest your capital somewhere else should your personal situation change or should economic conditions dictate your need to sell.
While there are a lot of great reasons to invest in the US, there are a lot of hurdles as well.
Hurdles You’ll Face as a Foreign Buyer of US Real Estate
It easiest for U.S. Citizens and permanent residents to purchase US real estate. Foreigners have a more difficult time and have more hurdles to overcome. So, let’s talk about all the drawbacks you will face as a foreign buyer of US real estate.
No Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
In the residential real estate market (1-4 units), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are the king of the home loan. Basically, they guarantee or purchase the majority of home loans so when they set standards, most banks and lenders follow suit. Unfortunately, they do not purchase loans from non-US citizens.
So, these are not an option for foreign buyers. You’ll have to focus on finding lenders that keep the loans on their own books and don’t sell them to Fannie or Freddie.
The problem for banks is that these loans are harder to sell on the secondary market. Foreigner buyers have a higher risk of default and it’s more difficult to collect unpaid balances if they live overseas. So, you will have a harder time qualifying and pay higher interest and fees to offset the risk they face.
Mortgages to Foreign Buyers Have Higher Interest
There are plenty of banks that will lend to a foreign national who lives outside of the United States, but they have to create loans that don’t conform with Fannie or Freddie guidelines and have to keep them on their own books.
So, they charge higher interest and higher processing fees.
They will also require a larger down payment to give them some more room in the chance that you default. Often they will require 30% or more as the down payment.
Generally, a bank looks at your income, your expenses, and your credit history to determine if you are qualified for a loan. For foreign buyers, it’s a lot more difficult for them to verify these things.
So, they will ask for a lot more documentation than they would ask of an American real estate buyer. This may include tax returns, bank statements, and any credit history available in your home country. They may require several months worth of bank statements, credit statements, and a huge variety of other documents, all of which is just to make them feel more comfortable extending a mortgage to you.
Because of all this extra underwriting, it will take longer for your loan to go through and finish processing.
To speed this up, you might want to apply for a loan at a bank in your home country that also does business or has a presence in the US. The bank will be able to verify your information more easily, but also extend credit in the US.
Fannie Accepts Green Cards or Work Visas
Fannie backed loans or FHA accept work visas. So, if you happen to be in the US, even for a short period of time, you may be able to qualify for one of these.
There may be some additional documentation requirements, but having FHA or Fannie backed loans will open a lot of doors, lower your cost and down payment requirements.
How to Invest in U.S. Real Estate
We’ve covered all the reasons to invest in the US and also all the difficulties you’ll face when trying to get a loan. Now it’s time to cover some basic information to help you get started as a foreign real estate investor buying US real estate.
The first thing to consider is what niche in real estate you want to get into.
Residential vs Commercial Real Estate
For some reason, residential real estate is considered any building with 4 or fewer living units in it. It is not exclusive to single family homes or condos which is great for investors if you want to get into small multifamily!
5 units and above multifamily is considered commercial, even though it’s residential living space. Also, all commercial office space, retail, etc is considered commercial real estate. This includes single occupancy buildings such a standalone pharmacy or restaurant.
The biggest difference to know about is how the price of real estate is determined. Residential real estate is based entirely on comparable sales and you can estimate the price based on a comparative market analysis. Conversely, commercial property is based entirely on the net operating income and capitalization rates in that market.
For residential property, to improve the value you need to improve the condition as compared to other similar properties in the area.
For commercial real estate, to increase the value you need to increase the income or lower the operating expenses.
It’s important to understand the difference between the two before choosing a niche. Each has it’s pros and cons and I invest in both types of real estate. But, you need a different approach depending on the type of real estate you choose.
Creating an Entity
Before you start shopping, you need to know how you will take ownership. If you are shopping for residential property, you will probably buy it using your own name. If you are buying commercial property, you will most likely need an entity to take ownership. This could be an LLC or Corporation.
Fortunately, foreigners can set up an LLC and the process is very simple.
The reason why creditors might want you to take ownership inside an entity is to protect the asset from liability elsewhere in your portfolio. Each LLC is a unique entity and the debts and liabilities in one are shielded from debts and liabilities in another.
So, if you do something silly in one property and a tenant gets hurt and sues, your other assets in separate LLCs are mostly shielded from this lawsuit.
The costs are slightly higher to own and operate a company, but the asset protection is well worth it both for you and for the lender.
Pick a Market
The US is massive and has hundreds of cities to choose from. You’ll need to pick one and focus on it if you want to have any chance of ever picking an actual property to purchase.
There are dozens of factors you might want to consider, but you’ll want to narrow it down to a few big factors first, then keep narrowing it down from there.
At first, you’ll want to consider the following major items:
You want to buy into a metro area and state that have positive population growth. This shows you that people want to live here and will move here from other places
You want to see new businesses opening and moving here from other areas. This shows the state and population have what businesses want – smart, educated, and hardworking employment base.
Generally, you don’t want to buy into a city that derives most of its jobs from one source. Good examples might be mining, oil, tourism, shipping, etc. If the majority of workers are employed in one industry, and the rest of the employment supports that industry, then you are set up for big problems if there is any issue in that industry.
Building Your Team
Once you’ve got all the admin stuff out of the way such as qualifying for a loan and establishing your entity, you’ll want to build a team in the city you will purchase in. Before you start looking for property, you will want to build your team.
You’ve already built some of your team, but there are still others you need to find. You should have already found a mortgage broker/lender, but now you need a good property manager, real estate broker in your target city, insurance agent in the target state, and contractors as well as inspectors.
You’ll need each one at some point and it’s good to build relationships with them before you actually start searching for property and need them. This way you won’t be scrambling around at the last minute.
But, be mindful of their time. You don’t want to take up a ton of their time asking questions when you have no business to offer them yet.
Searching For a Property
It’s finally time to start searching for property. If you’re looking for residential property, your agent will provide you suggested listings or set you up on an automated service that delivers listings to your email.
Commercial real estate is a bit trickier and will require you to know several brokers as well as use a service such as costar or LoopNet. In general, if you are buying commercial real estate, you need to get on the email list of the commercial brokers. So, you’ll need to call them all and ask to be on their distribution list.
Don’t be scared to make offers! Determine the value to you and make an offer based on that. If you are under the asking price, that’s OK. If you are over, that’s OK too.
The key is to make sure you get accurate financial information before making an offer. If possible ask for tax schedules or a trailing 12 month profit and loss statement. Smaller properties often don’t have these details so you’ll have to guess a bit more.
Next, take your numbers and put them into a real estate calculator so you know the cash on cash and overall return on investment. Once you know your returns and offer price, contact your broker and they’ll walk you through the process to making an offer.
Real estate is all about making assumptions then verifying those assumptions through diligence. In other words, it’s about taking risks then mitigating those risks.
What I mean by this is that you don’t have all the information available to you when you are putting together an offer. Sure, you’ve seen the general condition, some tax information, and rent roll/expenses, but you haven’t seen every unit, talked to every maintenance person, know your interest rates, etc.
Once your offer is accepted, you need to go through every line item and verify it’s accuracy. If it’s inaccurate, you need to adjust your calculator with the new information.
Once you’ve adjusted every item, you need to go back and consider if the deal still works for you or not. Don’t be afraid to back out at this point, but don’t get upset over small differences either.
At a minimum, you will want to verify the:
It seems like a lot, but that’s why you’ve built a team. Each one of those people will help you verify a piece of information that will help you make a good buying decision.
One Thing About Banking
To help avoid financial crime, there is a law in The United States called the “know your client” law which requires the bank to know who they are working with. In general, someone at the bank needs to know you in some capacity. This could be with an ID and an in person conversation, or it could be more or less.
Some banks allow you to do everything electronically. They may require you to fax or email copies of your ID or talk to them on the phone to establish that relationship.
Another way to open a bank account and work within the law is to establish a US account with a bank that operates or has a partnership in your home country as well. You can open the bank account in the US but verify your identity while being overseas.
Another way to avoid this hassle is to hire a property manager and just pay the costs of an international wire fee every quarter. They can collect your rents, pay your bills, and wire the profits to you every 3 or 6 months.
They say only Death and Taxes are certainties in life. In other words, the IRS always collects what’s due to it, so don’t try to avoid it. It’s better just to understand the requirements and do it.
Taxes are complicated, and they can be especially complicated with real estate because the tax laws of more than one country might apply. This is because different nations have different tax treaties with the U.S., so it’s really important to consult with a tax expert in your country as well as one in the U.S. to understand everything and make sure you are in compliance.
No treaty allows you to avoid taxes in the US, but some treaties allow you to pay just taxes in the United States. Other treaties require you to pay taxes in both the US and your home country. Additionally, the tax rates may vary depending on your nationality.
So, read the treaties, understand them, and consult with a tax professional or two.
Tax Benefits to Real Estate
In the US, real estate has some of the best tax benefits of all. You can offset the vast majority of your income and often pay little to no taxes for at least 10-15 years.
This is because the U.S. tax code allows deductions for mortgage interest, depreciation, all repairs and maintenance, property taxes, and more.
Often, you can find yourself with a ‘negative income’ on paper even though you collected rent all year long and have a profit. You can carry those ‘losses’ forward to the next year and offset even more profits.
The only catch is the IRS will capture these taxes back when you sell. They’re pretty smart over there at the IRS and know that you’ll defer most profits until sale, so all foreign owners of real estate will have an automatic 10% of the sale price withheld by the IRS until taxes are filed.
Don’t worry, they will refund the difference if you overpaid, but you will also owe any difference if that 10% wasn’t enough to cover your taxes.
Other Ways to Invest in Real Estate
There are a lot of nuances to know and it can seem overwhelming. Nothing we laid out is any more challenging than investing anywhere else in the world (in fact, it’s probably easier in the US than elsewhere). But, if owning your own property is too difficult, there are other ways to have real estate in your portfolio without actually purchasing any physical property.
Real Estate Crowdfunding
Around the year 2014 real estate crowdfunding came alive. Crowdfunding is where you can pool smaller amounts of funds together with other investors to purchase real estate.
In general, you need to have a US based entity with a local bank account. That’s because the deal sponsors don’t want to withhold 10% of the value upon sale to meet the IRS requirements for withholding.
So, create your LLC and set up your bank account and you can invest in real estate via crowdfunding.
ETFs and REITs
Another way is to buy into Exchange Traded Funds or Real Estate Investment Trusts via the stock exchange. These are generally traded on the open market and you’ll need to meet the requirements that all foreign investors in stocks need to meet.
You’ll be buying a fund that invests in real estate without having the purchase the real estate for yourself. You won’t earn as much because of the management fees they charge, but you also won’t have to jump through all the hurdles of buying real estate.
There are few laws about conducting business in the US as a foreigner. As long as your company is set up, you have a bank account, and follow the law, you can do business.
So, you could become a private lender. Basically, instead of buying real estate yourself, you could be the ‘bank’ that lends on the deal. Investors are often looking for short term loans at a high interest rate to fund their deals.
If you know some investors, it may a good option for you.
Don’t Be Intimidated
Real estate investing is a big undertaking regardless if you are a US citizen or a foreign national.
You just need to know the steps, understand the risks, build the right team, and work hard at it. If you do all that you can achieve anything, including buying real estate in the US.
Here’s How To Get A Mortgage You Can Actually Afford
So, you’ve finally decided to purchase a home. After years of contemplating if you should buy or rent, then saving, building your credit etc, it’s now time to dive in and get it.
Purchasing a home is exciting. After years of dreaming, you’re finally getting a place that you can call your own.
It’s really easy to get caught up in the excitement making you forget to ask one crucial question – how much “home” can you really afford?
…and, once you decide how much you can afford, you should stick to it. It’s all too easy to decide on a price, then find the home of your dreams is only $25,000 more. Then you start thinking, “we can make this work…” But, can you really?
According to statistics, the median monthly mortgage payment for homeowners in the U.S. is $1,030. That’s a lot of money.
While you may love the fabulous kitchen or huge backyard one house offers – if you can’t pay the mortgage every month or get the cash to fix what’s broken, your home’s never going to be a blessing.
The good news is, determining how much ‘house’ you can afford isn’t rocket science. You can use the four tips here and utilize online tools to help you figure things out.
Build a Solid Foundation
There are countless people who have gone broke by buying a house simply because they believe it’s the “grown-up” thing to do. However, life events such as having a baby or getting married aren’t reasons to buy a house.
The time will be right when the money is right. Before trying to figure out how much house you can afford, be sure you are financially ready to purchase a home.
To do this, ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you debt free and have an emergency fund of three to six months put back
- Do you have enough cash to cover moving expenses and closing costs?
- Can you afford a 15-year-fixed-rate mortgage?
- Can you make a 10 to 20 percent down payment?
- Do you have enough money to set aside each month into passive investments above and beyond your mortgage?
If you answered “no” to any of the questions above, it may not be the right time to purchase a home. Wait until you have a better financial foundation.
If you are currently financially stable, then move on to the next tip.
Maximize Your Down Payment
One of the biggest costs in a new mortgage is PMI or MIP. Both of these are different ways of saying that you need to pay an extra fee every month because you didn’t put enough down.
If you can get to 20% or more, then you won’t have to pay mortgage insurance for the lender. This can save you hundreds of dollars per month.
When buying a home, remember – the more money you can put down, the better. Higher down payments mean lower mortgage payments every month and the ability to pay your home off faster.
While the best option is to pay 100 percent of the home cost in cash, this isn’t viable for most. If this is the case, then try to put down at least 20 percent. By doing this, you can avoid paying for private mortgage insurance.
Calculate the Costs
All you need to do to figure out what you can afford when it comes to buying a home is to crunch a few numbers. If you need help with this, consider using a mortgage calculator with down payment, which will help you figure things out.
If you want to do things manually, consider the following:
- Add up all the income you bring in every month. If you bring home $2,000 per month, and your spouse makes $3,000, then your total monthly take-home pay is $5,000.
- Multiply your total monthly take-home pay by 25 percent to determine your maximum mortgage payment.If you are bringing home $5,000 per month, then it means that your mortgage payment should not be over $1,250 each month, including insurance and taxes.
Remember, your bank or lender will tell you that you can afford WAY more than that. In fact, some loans allow you to get to 40% or even 50% of your income going toward loans. While they may allow it, it isn’t financially smart to borrow every dollar you can afford.
Don’t Forget About Maintenance and Capital Expenditures
When comparing if you should rent or buy, most people look at the total rent, compare it to the mortgage, and say it’s better to buy a house.
What you are forgetting is that rent includes all the maintenance costs in a home whereas a mortgage does not.
As a general rule of thumb, it’s good to plan on spending around 1% – 2% of the total home value every year in maintenance and CapEx.
Major capital expenses are things like a roof or HVAC that last for several years. Even though you might have 10 years left on your roof, you should start saving for it now, along with the dozens of other major items that will not last forever.
So, if your home is $200,000, you should think about adding another $2,000-$4,000 per year in maintenance and capex. You definitely won’t be spending this much every year, but what you don’t spend now will be spent in a year or two when you have to replace a $12,000 roof, replace a garage door, etc.
If you have higher end appliances and fixtures, you should be more toward the 2% whereas standard grade homes can be closer to the 1% mark.
When you know your numbers, you will be able to shop for a mortgage and a home with confidence. Trying to determine what you can afford without considering the tips here may leave you with a home that’s going to cause you financial hardship in the future.
Remember, buying a home is not an investment, it is an emotional decision. Once you recognize that, you can begin to take it seriously and make decisions based on actual facts, rather than be driven entirely by your desires. If you base everything on the emotions involved with buying a home, you’ll dive right into a mortgage that you can’t really afford.
(THROWBACK!) High-Dividend REITs: Are They A Safe Bet?
Investment in Real Estate Investment Trusts (or REIT’s) are ideal for investors who want a regular stream of income. REIT’s purchase real estate properties and lease them to clients (or tenants). This income generated is then paid to shareholders via dividends.
REIT’s are required to distribute at least 90% of net income to shareholders which means these firms have higher dividend yields compared to regular equity investments. But how many high dividend paying REIT’s are worth investing in? This article looks at REIT’s with high dividend yields and a market cap of approximately $1 billion.
CBL & Associates Properties
CBL & Associates Properties (or CBL) has a market cap of $915 million. This REIT has a dividend yield of 17.4% and pays annual dividends of $0.80 per share. CBL’s portfolio is primarily in regional shopping malls (Class B and Class C).
CBL is grappling with declining sales as revenue has fallen from $1.04 billion in 2015 to $1.02 billion in 2016 and $927 million in 2017. Revenue is estimated to decline to $852 million in 2018 and $835 million in 2019. There have been concerns over the high debt levels (over $4 billion) of CBL as well.
Further, company CEO Stephen Lebovitz also hinted at a possible dividend cut in the future. CBL reduced its dividend by 25% last year as well. CBL has stated that it is looking to reposition its portfolio and focus on redevelopment initiatives. However, investors will not be confident about investing in a stock that has declined from $20 per share in August 2013 to $4.65 in August 2018. The stock is trading 16% above the average analyst price target of $3.91.
Washington Prime Group
Washington Prime Group (or WPG) engages in the acquisition and development of retail properties and this REIT has a market cap of $1.5 billion. WPG has a dividend yield of 12.8% and pays annual dividends of $1 per share. The stock price has declined from close to $20 in May 2014 to the current price of $7.92 which is 6% higher than the analyst target price of $7.45. This year, WPG has however risen over 18%.
WPG is a mall owner with assets across Florida, the Mid-West and the East Coast. In this digital age when the number of people visiting malls has declined, WPG has also seen its revenue decline. Sales have fallen from $922 million in 2015 to $758 million in 2017 and are estimated to reach $724 million this year.
WPG’s funds from operation (or FFO) which is similar to earnings per share for stocks declined 8.4% in 2017, while occupancy reduced from 94% in 2016 to 93% last year. WPG might also have to cut dividends if sales continue to decline over the next few quarters.
Global Net Lease
Global Net Lease (or GNL) has a market cap of $1.5 billion and this REIT has a portfolio of commercial properties. GNL focuses on sale-leaseback transactions across the United States and Western Europe. GNL has over 300 properties with an average lease term of 8.6 years.
GNL’s client base includes FedEx, GSA, ING, and Finnair among others. While GNL’s revenue rose 21% year-over-year to $259 million in fiscal 2017, FFO per share declined 18%. GNL has a dividend yield of 10% and pays an annual dividend of $2.13 per share compared to its reported FFO of $2.10 per share last year.
GNL aims to acquire properties worth $293 million this year which will expand the company’s portfolio. GNL is estimated to post revenue of $283 million in 2018, $303 million in 2019 and $314 million in 2020. GNL is trading at $21.53 which is 11.5% lower compared to analyst average target estimates of $24.
Kimco Realty (KIM) has a market cap of $7.2 billion and is one the largest publicly traded REIT. This REIT owns close to 500 shopping centers in the United States with 83 million square feet of leasable property. Kimco has a dividend yield of 6.6% and pays an annual dividend of $1.12 per share.
According to this report from Suredividend.com. “Kimco’s property portfolio has enjoyed rising occupancy and rents over the past several years.” In the first quarter of 2018, Kimco’s FFP rose 5.4% driven by a rise in occupancy and rent. While occupancy rose 1 basis point to 96.1%, rental rates for new leases rose over 15%.
Kimco’s tenants include struggling retail companies such as Sears, JC Penny and Kmart all of whom might close a few stores. Kimco will need to look at acquisitions to drive future revenue. This stock has lost close to 6% in 2018 and is trading at $17.06 which is 1.3% lower than analyst projections.
Senior Housing Properties
Senior Housing Properties (SNH) is a healthcare REIT with a market cap of $4.5 billion and a dividend yield of 8.2%. This REIT owns property worth $8.5 billion and over 700 tenants. SNH shares have increased close to 30% since February this year and the stock is trading at $19.04 which is 4% below average analyst price target estimates of $18.25.
While SNH’s FFO per share fell 16% in 2017, performance has started to improve this year. SNH has managed to beat analyst earnings estimates considerably in the last two quarters. SNH has acquired properties worth over $300 million and sold assets of approximately $800 million since the start of 2017. The proceeds were used to pay off debt.
SNH revenue is estimated to rise 4.1% year-over-year to $1.12 billion in 2018 and 2.1% to $1.14 billion in 2019.
4 Ways To Make $10K A Month
The goal to make $10,000 a month in passive income is just a long-shot dream, right?
Probably. I don’t even know why you’re reading this article…
If you’re looking for 5 more generic steps to take to never reach your goals, then stop reading now.
If you’re looking for “buy my program and you’ll be earning 6-figures and can quit your job” then you also should look elsewhere.
Instead, keep reading if you’re looking for some real solid steps on how to grow and build your passive income to a level that can replace your day-job.
How Can I Make $10,000 per Month?
The first question to answer is “how exactly do I make $10,000 per month?” There are really only 4 ways to earn $10,000 a month:
This is a summary of the 4 general ways to earn income – employee, self employed, as a business owner, or through investments. It’s also called the ESBI model. The list is also ordered from least desirable to most desirable.
When you decide “I want to earn $10,000/month” you need to decide what path you are going to take first then refine it into ‘how’.
So, let’s start with the worst ways to create $10,000 and work our way up to the best.
How to Earn $10,000 a Month as an Employee
If grinding your way through life at a corporate job is your definition of success, then this section is for you. There is only a tiny bit of sarcasm in that sentence…
Your wages are loosely tied to the value of what your contribute to your company. It’s more closely tied to the supply and demand of similar workers as you.
So, to earn more, you have to be better than everyone else around you. To do that you need to:
To accomplish this is easy. Work more efficiently and harder than everyone around you. Then, work twice as long as everyone around you.
Do that for 5 or 10 years and eventually your employer will recognize the work you do and you’ll probably make 6 figures. You just need to get there before a younger person is willing to work even harder and longer than you for half the wage.
It’s a bit harder to acquire a skill or knowledge that others cannot replicate, but you could pay for training courses, additional schooling, or study on your own to increase your skills in your field.
Earning $10k Being Self Employed
The benefit to being self employed is that every bit of work you do goes straight back to you.
You do not need to work extra hard and hope that your employer notices and gives you a raise. If you work twice as much, you’ll hopefully see twice as much income (assuming all of the effort you put in generates more revenue).
I think that being self-employed is a great way for people to get started building their income. Everyone talks about investing, but you probably need extra income first before you can start investing.
The first couple things that come to mind are consulting and real estate.
I like consulting because it is a high payout job and also offers a very flexible schedule. It’s not something that can be totally outsourced, as people expect their consultant to be the one consulting them.
Being a real estate agent is also highly flexible and has a very good payout. It’s also very automatable (is that a word?). Almost every step of the process can eventually be outsourced to an assistant, VA, or other real estate agent.
It also costs very little to get started, has few barriers to entry, and is easy to take market share because most people don’t have an existing relationship with a real estate agent.
Another reason I like the idea of being a real estate agent is because when you do get started investing in real estate, you’ll have a leg up on other people. Hint: this is exactly how I got started in real estate.
Getting Started as a Real Estate Agent
Becoming a successful real estate agent is super simple (though it requires a bit of effort!). Just follow these steps:
- Take your licensing coursework (I like Real Estate Express to fast-track it)
- Take your tests (both state and federal)
- Determine your niche and ideal clients
- Find a good brokerage to hang your license
- Find clients and close deals
Taking Your Real Estate Agent Coursework
Every state has its own licensing requirements. Some are easy while others are hard, so it’s important to get the best coursework that will make you the most likely to succeed.
That’s why I always recommend Real Estate Express. They offer all of your coursework for ridiculously cheap. It’s all set up to get you through the coursework quickly and give you the best chance of passing your test.
Taking Your Tests
There are two tests to take – the federal and the state real estate exam. They aren’t hard, but you do need to prepare for them.
I recommend scheduling the test as soon as you’re done with the course and taking it as soon as possible.
A lot of people schedule it several weeks or months away to give them “time to study” but I don’t think this is generally true. Generally, you know the most the day you complete the course, and every day after that you lose some of it.
So just get it over and done with asap!
Determine Your Niche
There are hundreds of niches to choose from, so be selective and master one or two.
I personally think that being a residential agent for real estate investors is the perfect niche. Here’s why.
Being a commercial broker is really hard, especially for new agents. The top producers have been doing it for years and everyone knows them. Taking market share is next to impossible for a newbie.
Being a retail agent that works with new home buyers is fine, but they are a dime a dozen and setting yourself apart is really hard.
Being an agent for 1-4 unit residential properties, but working exclusively with investors is the perfect mix. You have a good niche that is focused yet broad enough.
Additionally, investors are logical rather than emotional. They also buy on a regular basis (every year or more than once a year), and don’t care what the place is as long as the numbers work.
So, they are far easier to work with and buy more often. The only drawback is they tend to buy less expensive properties, so you need to do more transactions.
Find a Good Brokerage
The key is to remember that you are interviewing the brokerage, not the other way around.
So, shop around to find one that fits your goals and niche in real estate.
Find Clients and Close Deals
Finding clients is tough! It’s especially tough for the newly self-employed.
Fortunately, there is a service called Agents Invest which connects you to your ideal client. Agents Invest has a boat load of active investors who are looking to buy properties.
You just need to contact them and see if it’s a good fit. So go check them out!
How to Earn $10k per Month as a Business Owner
This is really simple.
Step 1 – Start a business.
Step 2 – Grow your business
and… Step 3 – Earn $10k/month.
Alright, it’s not that simple! I’ve started 3 different businesses and there is a lot that goes into running and growing a business.
If you already have a business, there are two ways that I have found to help you grow. The first is to find whats working for you, and double down on that. The second is to find new revenues sources on the fringe of what you’re doing, or through upselling.
Most people that want to grow a business tend to focus on doing more, but that often ends up with earning less.
I recently had a conversation with a mortgage broker. He said the issue with most brokerages is they want to do every type of lending (multifamily, retail, manufacturing, etc). The problem is, they become just like everyone else out there and nothing sets them apart.
They are not an expert at anything.
Instead, by focusing in on one specific type of lending and becoming an expert at it, the business grows faster and earns more.
Now, if you don’t already have a business in real estate you want to double down on, you might want to start one.
Starting a New Business
If you’re going to be investing in real estate, it probably makes sense to have a business in the real estate field too. There will be synergy between the two and it will ultimately help you invest in the future.
There are a ton of different real estate related businesses that you could start. Literally, dozens or even hundreds of niches to choose from.
If I’m choosing to start a new business I want it to have a few basic criteria.
- I want to be able to automate it (though I can do the work myself to start if I choose)
- It should be scalable
- It should be relatively inexpensive to start
While there are a ton of options available, I’d probably choose to start a wholesaling or lead generation business.
I like this because it hits all 3 of my criteria and it also ties in well with real estate investing. Any time I want to buy a property for myself, just take the best leads and keep them for myself rather than sell them.
Here’s how to get started
Determine Your Niche in Real Estate
It’s important to decide what niche you want to be in. Here are a few popular niches:
There are more, but those are probably the top 4.
It’s important to know your niche so you can tailor your content and lists to this area.
Build Your Funnel
It’s important to figure out how you will generate leads. This is how most wholesalers fail.
Remember, you have to get your name out there and be the first to find the potential seller before others do. That’s why I love using the internet.
Most people go to Google before ever making a buying or selling decision. That’s why if you can rank your website on Google, people will probably find you first!
If you want to be first to find them (by having them come find you) then what you need is a lead generation website.
For that, navigate to Investor Carrot and put your info in on the next page to get a free trial.
You can also read more about building out your Carrot site on this recent article I posted.
Decide What To Do With Your Leads
Once leads start coming in, you’ll need to decide what to do with them.
If you want to chase them down yourself and put deals under contract, great! If not, you can easily sell your leads to wholesalers in the area. That’s what I do.
I think working an agreement with another wholesaler for a profit share is the best way to do it as it requires the least amount of effort for the most return.
Making $10,000 A Month as an Investor
The one we’ve all been waiting for, drum roll please…
Making money as an investor is all about building up multiple streams of passive income. One of the best ways to do that is with real estate.
Every property you buy is another stream of income to add. Every unit, every tenant, it all adds to your goal.
The biggest risk to real estate is the lost revenue during a turnover or eviction. But, as you buy more property, this averages out.
For example, if you have one house you either have 100% occupancy or 100% vacancy. So, you do great some months and terrible in other months.
But if you own 10 units and 1 is vacant, you’ll have 90% occupancy.
If the vacancy rate in your area is 10%, you can expect to always have 1 vacant unit. At this point, it just gets built into your normal operating budget.
Here are the steps to getting started in real estate
Get an Education
The most important part is to learn everything you can about real estate investing. You need to understand how to estimate market value, repairs, rents, your operating budget, etc.
To do this, I recommend this inexpensive eCourse to help you get going.
It’s too easy to make mistakes in real estate, but that shouldn’t stop you from getting started.
Instead, learn from others mistakes first, and the best way to do that is to take their course.
Get an Agent
You don’t need an agent to invest in real estate. If you have build out a lead generation website, then just use those leads to buy deals.
But, if you don’t have any source of leads, the best place to start is with an agent.
For this, I recommend the service Agents Invest, which connects investors to investor savvy agents around the country.
A lot of people don’t ever find a deal because they are afraid to make offers. If a deal is listed too high, simply make an offer for less.
Don’t be scared of making offers!
I once offered less than half of what a property was listed for (and got it). So, it happens. Just recently a good friend of mine negotiated over $150k off a deal that was only listed around $500k to begin with.
That’s a 30% savings!
So, it’s totally possible to do, even in a hot market!
Do a Combination to Earn $10k/month
The last option is to do a combination of the above to get to $10,000 per month.
If you are self employed, own a small online business, and also have some real estate with some passive income, that combination might get you to your goal as well.
What are you doing to reach the goal of $10,000 per month? If your goal is higher or lower, tell me what your goal is and what you’re doing to achieve it.
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