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5 Ways to “Knock Yourself Out” of Investing

Those of you who don’t know me or my past, would probably never guess by my current lifestyle that I spent much of my younger years training and coaching others in the sport of mixed martial arts.

In this article, I aim to take a unique look from a fighter’s point of view at the end of each section. Hopefully, this will shine some more light on each subject being discussed within.

#1. Analysis paralysis

Analysis paralysis (or paralysis by analysis) describes an individual or group process when over-analyzing or overthinking a situation can cause forward motion or decision-making to become “paralyzed“, meaning that no solution or course of action is decided upon. – Wikipedia

You’ll hear in the world of real estate investing the most important thing is to just get started or in other words, Take Action! To be successful in anything you do in life, you’ll need to stop overthinking things and take the first steps toward your goals. Yes, you will make mistakes, but that’s how you learn and grow as an investor. 

An aspiring fighter will never learn from watching fights on T.V. sitting on the couch. He or she will need to get up, start training, and take the proper steps needed to enter the ring or cage in competition. Getting up and starting is always the most difficult step but necessary to reach your goals.

#2. Lack of Drive

A driven person is a person relentlessly compelled by the need to accomplish a goal; very hard-working and ambitious. Day-dreaming about your goals all day will not get you any closer to accomplishing anything. First, you’ll need to take action, then drive forward daily until your goals are met.

A very hard-working individual, in my opinion, has one of the best qualities a person can have for success. Everyone respects hard work. Hard work always stands out and will always be noticed by the people around you. People want to work with and partner up with a person known to be a hard-working individual.

I still have a long way to go before I reach my personal goals, but I credit how far I’ve come so far to hard work. I might not be the smartest real estate investor in the business but I’m going to work my butt off to reach my personal and financial goals every spare chance I get until getting there.

To be a successful investor you must be driven. You must motivate yourself to look for deals, talk to sellers, contact lenders, perform home walkthroughs, make offers, find qualified tenants, network with like-minded individuals, market your business and your properties, make repairs as needed, educate yourself, and manage your properties continuously.

A fighter must have the drive to out-train, out-work, and out-perform the opponent. They must be driven to do what the opponent is unable or unwilling to do. This is true in all forms of business. Get up, attack the day, and outwork the competition. Your hard work will be noticed and doors of opportunity will open for you.

#3. Living in Fear

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand – Isaiah 41:10

Fear held me back in my life for many years until one day I was sitting in Church and this message hit me right in the gut. I realized that fear consumed every part of my life. I was afraid to fail, afraid of change, afraid of making the wrong decisions, afraid of what my friends and family think, and so on.

Fear, much like analysis paralysis, will paralyze individuals from leaping toward their goals and the life they want. You’ll never accomplish your goals living in fear and you’ll stay stuck where you are in life, without taking some risk. Ultimately no one can control what happens today, tomorrow, or in the future. Tomorrow is never guaranteed, so live your best life in the moment now.

Investing in real estate or anything for that matter has a certain degree of risk. Humans were created to do great things, to be bold, creative, idealistic, and yes, to take risk. If you want to escape the normal 9-5 rat race, you’ll have to take a risk to make it a reality.

A fighter must never show fear, even if deep down they’re afraid. It’s okay to have some fear but the way you handle it will make or break you in the fight. If your opponent senses you’re afraid, they will feed off of your fear and try to exploit it. That in turn, will cause you to make poor judgment calls and more than likely cause you to lose the battle. In other words, you can’t make good life decisions toward success living in fear.

#4. Lack of Ownership

In my eyes, there are two types of people in the world, people who make excuses and people who take ownership.

Individuals who make excuses, constantly pass the blame on something or someone else. They refuse to believe or accept they could be fully or partially at fault in certain situations. The problem with this is, they never point the finger back at themselves asking what they could’ve done differently or better. Meaning they never truly hold themselves accountable, which in turn, will hinder their ability to learn and grow as a person.

Now let’s look at someone who takes ownership of events in their life.

Someone who takes ownership in unfavorable situations will immediately ask themselves where they went wrong, what they could’ve done differently, and how can they fix it? They understand that for every action or lack of action there is a reaction. If you understand this way of thinking it will change the way you handle every situation moving forward in your life.

I’m willing to bet you’re wondering how all this relates to investing. If you give me some time to explain, I think you will find it relates more than you may think.

Many investors give up on real estate investing due to their lack of ownership and the need to make excuses for it. For example, an investor had some work done on one of their rental properties by a local contractor. After it was all said and done, the contractor took longer than the investors allotted time frame, did mediocre work, and went over the budget expected. Because of this, the investor wants to sell the rental property and give up on investing due to the contractor costing them thousands of dollars on poor quality workmanship. In this example, the investor is using excuses for losing thousands of dollars and pointing the finger solely on the contractor.

Using that same example lets have the investor ask themselves some tough questions and take some ownership of the situation.

  • Could I have done a better job explaining my exact needs to the contractor?
  • Did I explain the timeline in detail to the contractor and why it’s important to meet that timeline?
  • Did I fully research the contractor and their company reviews?
  • Did I go with a less experienced and cheapest contractor for the job?

As you can see this changes the entire thought process of the situation and opens the door for the investor to learn from the situation, be accountable, and finding a solution instead of being a victim and giving up on their dream of being a real estate investor.

The fighter finally makes it through enough training to compete. During the match, the fighter loses in 30 seconds of the first round. At the post-fight interview, the fighter gives the excuse that they only lost because of their injuries and the coach’s poor game-planning for the fight. Unknown to the audience, the injuries were caused by over-training during training camp and not properly taking care of themselves. The fighter also failed to mention, that the coach warned them about over-training and told them it would cause poor fight performance.

#5. Unable to Adapt

In life, one needs to be able to quickly adapt to any situation. Life and circumstances are full of surprises and unexpected changes. If you are unable to adapt to these changes you will forever find yourself stuck in the same spot and struggling to push ahead.

These principles are also true in real estate investing. The need to adapt is constant. You need to be able to adapt and concur that situation with the bad contractor you hired. Not everything will go smoothly and when they don’t you need to step back, refocus, come up with a new game plan, and adapt to the current conditions in place.

What are some situations in real estate investing that will call on you to be adaptable?

  • Your tenants move out before their lease is up and damaged the property.
  • The mortgage lender needs more paperwork filled out right before the closing date.
  • A contractor doesn’t show up to provide an estimate for a big project you need to be done.
  • One of your rental properties water heaters goes out while you’re at your day job.
  • The home inspector found unforeseen issues to the home you’re trying to purchase.

Being adaptable and willing to continually educate yourself will be the deciding factor if you succeed or fail. If one thing is not working be adaptable and find another way. The path you take getting a job done isn’t near as important as the result. Stay focused on your end goal and why you wanted to become an investor. Every obstacle you get past puts you one step closure to reaching your goals.

A fighter must be able to adapt to their opponent. If their opponent is a good wrestler, they better train on how to stop the opponent from taking them down. If the opponent has a powerful right hand, they better keep their left hand up to protect their face at all times. If the opponent is great at moving around the ring, get great at kicking their legs to slow them down. Lastly, if your opponent can block all your strikes standing up, you need to have the ability to take them down and finish the fight.

Summary

In summary, the five things on this list heavily intertwine with one another. You will find, that if you work on one subject on the list that it will force you to simultaneously work on the others. The ultimate goal is to help you grow as a person and as an investor.

It’s all about Cash Flow!

Why become a real estate investor?

The answer to why you should become a real estate investor is simple ….. CASH FLOW!

There are many great reasons to invest in real estate, which we’ll discuss in a future post to come, but by far I invest for monthly cash flow.

What is cash flow?

In real estate terms, cash flow is the byproduct of owning a rental property and leasing it to tenants for a monthly rental income. Real estate investors look for rental properties with positive cash flow returns and invest in positive cash flow properties. If it does not cash flow, do not invest in that property.

Real estate investors want to receive extra income from renting their property after all expenses and costs have been taken out of the monthly rent paid by the tenant. Some of these expenses include mortgage payments, property taxes, insurance, sewer bill, etc. The rental income must cover your total expenses and have cash left over to consider a rental property profitable.

Cash flow is my number one goal and what determines if a property is worth me buying or not. Positive cash flow is needed to build and scale your business.

Cash flow should be your number one goal!

How to calculate monthly cash flow on a rental property?

Monthly rent collected minus:

  • žMonthly mortgage payment ž
  • Property taxes
  • Homeowners insurance ž
  • HOA Fees (if applicable) ž
  • Property Management (if applicable) ž
  • Utilities (On single-family homes, I pay the sewer bill and my tenants pay all other utilities) ž
  • Money set back for maintenance ž
  • Money set back for vacancies ž

Equals cash flow!

Tips to help calculate cash flow

  • Find a property you might be interested in purchasing using realtor.com, zillow.com, craigslist, or Facebook marketplace.
  • If using a bank loan, contact the bank of your choice and ask out how many years they will loan to you on an investment property (usually 15 to 20 years), there down payment requirements (usually 20% to 30%), and the banks interest rates.
  • Use an online mortgage calculator like the one found here at www.zillowhomeloans.com. I use the Mortgage by Zillow app on my phone, but there are many options available. Enter in all the information you’ve gathered about the property into the calculator, including the purchase price, to get you’re monthly mortgage payment amount.
  • Use realtor.com or zillow.com to research the property taxes for the property. This is usually listed as the annual amount you will pay. Divide the annual property tax amount by 12 months to get your monthly payment amount.
  • After you have your monthly mortgage and property tax payment amount, add them together with any other monthly expenses like the utilities, homeowners insurance, property management fees, HOA (Home Owners Association) fees, etc. This is your monthly expense number for that property.
  • After you have your monthly expense number for the property, determine how much rent you can charge per the location of the home. For this, I use the Rentometer Express app on my phone. Simply enter the investment properties address, how many bedrooms at the property, and the rent you want to charge your tenants. The app will then calculate if the rent you’re planning to charge is fair for that location. It will also give you a fair rent range for the property. Using the app determine how much rent you will charge.
  • The next step is to take the rent you decided to charge the tenant a month and subtract your total monthly expenses. If there is money left over after subtracting your expenses, that is your monthly positive cash flow.

Property Management

If you’re a new investor just getting started, I do not recommend using a property manager. Property management companies normally take 15% of your rent amount on each home, which affects your cash flow. So if you charge $750 a month, you will pay a property manager $112.50 right off the top.

I recommend learning how to manage the properties on your own at first to save more money and to further use that money to continue investing. Once you reach more properties than you can or want to handle, then looking into a great local property management company might be a good option.

HOA (Homeowners Association)

I also do not recommend investing where there are HOA fees for the same reason. It’s money out of your pocket right from the top. They oftentimes, have restrictions on your home’s appearance, landscaping, who you can use for repairs, and whether or not you can rent out the home. On top of that, these restrictions can change at any time.

How much should you cash flow?

When it comes to how much money you should cash flow from a property, every investor is different. Some are happy to cash flow $50 after all expenses are paid and some won’t touch a property if it doesn’t cash flow at least $300 after all expenses. Some use what’s known as the 1% rule, which is based on the purchase price to determine if it’s worth investing. For me, I only invest in a property that will cash flow at least $200 or more a month. I have found this leaves me enough room to keep money back for unexpected repairs and vacancies. If the numbers work where I cash flow $200 plus a month, I’m willing to invest.

How the 1% rule works

The way the 1% rule works is simple: multiply the purchase price of the real estate asset (accounting for any necessary repairs that need to be completed) by one percent. The answer is then used to determine the base level of the monthly rent.

Real estate investors will then know how much they need to charge in rent every month to at least cover the cost of ownership. From there, investors may adjust their asking prices to increase profits (cash flow).

What should you do with your cash flow?

The answer to this question highly depends on your individual goals. Regardless of the answer I highly recommend you have all your properties bought under a business entity. Each business entity is different so contact a lawyer to figure out the best one for you and your goals. I’m not a financial adviser, CPA, or lawyer so please do your due diligence here and seek professional advice.

Once you set up your business entity, under the guidance of your professional adviser, lawyer, or CPA, open up a bank account under the business entity. Use that account to deposit all your monthly rent payments. You will now be able to pay all your monthly expenses with that account and keep whatever cash flow you have leftover. With that cash flow, you can either pay yourself to supplement your income from your W-2 job or save it to continue investing and growing your business.

Summary

In summary, cash flow is the key to making a good financial decision or a bad one. If you take your time and run all the numbers, cash flow from investing in real estate will help you supplement your income or boost your business into further growth. The more cash flow you create, the less chance you put yourself at risk. Do not get emotionally attached to a property. Let the numbers speak for themselves. If you can do that, you will accomplish your goals and understand how you reached them through the power of Cash Flow!