Blog | Jacob Grant Property Management

26 Real Estate Experts Reveal Top Mistakes Made By First-Time Investors


For many first-time real estate investors, taking the leap and buying an investment property is one of the scariest things they’ll ever do. After all, there is a lot at risk if things go south.

Two weeks ago I asked 26 real estate experts and successful investors a simple question:

If you could list 3 common mistakes made by first-time real estate investors, which 3 would you list?

I wanted to know plain and simple which three mistakes most often derailed first-time real estate investors when getting started in their investment careers.

As an investor myself, I’ve spent money on coaching and paid for expensive tutorials in the hope that I would uncover the secret to real estate success. However, very few of these resources got me any closer to my goal of financial freedom. That’s why I decided that I needed to go straight to the horses mouth.

Read on to discover the three most common mistakes made by first-time investors, as listed by 26 of the industry’s top real estate experts and investors.

You can either skip to your favorite expert using these quick links or grab a coffee, get comfortable and commence scrolling.

Andrew Fortune  Andrew Dougill  Ben Leybovich  Bill Gassett  Brandon Turner  Brett Magleby  Debbie Drummond  Don Campbell  Ilyce Glink  Jake Durtschi  Joe Manausa  Joshua Dorkin  Juan Murdoch  Karen Highland  Kyle Hiscock  Lynn Pineda  Marco Santarelli  Mark Ferguson MayaPaveza  Michael Blank  Raphael St. James  Richard Silver  Ryan Lundquist  Seth Williams  Steve Bighaus  Tracy Royce

 


Bill Gassett real estate expert1. Bill Gassett, Top 5 Real Estate Agent in Southborough Massachusetts 

Robbie thanks very much for allowing me to share my expertise on your blog. As far as mistakes go from real estate investors, I have seen some of the same things repeated more than once.

The most common issue I see is when an investor buys a rehab and underestimate the costs involved in bringing the property into what would be considered appropriate for the market and neighborhood. I have seen numerous cases where the investor actually loses money because they have either overpaid or not done enough home work on what it will actually take to renovate the property correctly.

The second mistake is buying a home that would be considered at the top of the market for a particular town and/or neighborhood. You never want to be the “cream of the crop” property when you are an investor. Middle of the market to the lower end is always a better place to be as the properties that are above you bring up your value.

The third mistake I have seen but not quite as often is an investor buying a property that has some form of functional obsolescence that makes it difficult to sell. Usually these are structural issues that cannot really be changed. For example having to walk through a formal dining room to get to a bedroom in an older home. These are all things that can squash an investors plan of making the money they thought they would!

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Marco Santarelli real estate expert
2. Marco SantarelliInvestor, Author, Founder of Norada Real Estate

Here are three common mistakes that I would put at the top of your page:

  1. Investing in your local market only.  Although your local market might offer you the best opportunities, the reality is that more often than not the best deals are found in other markets, often out-of-state.
  2. Speculating on appreciation.   Appreciation is nice but if your property doesn’t make sense the day you buy it then you are probably speculating.
  3. Buying with financing (all cash).  Leverage is one of the greatest benefits of investment real estate.  It increases you cash-on-cash returns and allows you to buy more property.

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Marco Santarelli real estate expert
3. Brandon TurnerInvestor, VP Marketing at BiggerPockets

The biggest mistakes I see new investors make are:

  1. Not Doing the Math. They simple rely on “gut feeling” when making a decision, which tends to lead to problems and bad investments. The math is not tough, and doesn’t take a lot of time, but can mean the difference between success and failure.
  2. “Shiny Object Syndrome” – where the new investor bounces back and forth between new ideas constantly, never focusing. I believe you can succeed in any niche of real estate, so it’s important to pick something and stick with it.
  3. Not Asking for Help - People think they need to do everything on their own, or that there is some kind of competition that stops them from asking others for advice. People would find greater success (and avoid mistakes) if they only asked for more help!

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Maya Paveza real estate coach4. Maya Paveza, Real Estate Coach, Investor and Strategist 

Great question.
My first instinct answer is the following, there are SO many more mistakes… =)

1. Rookie Mistake: Pick a REALTOR you are related to, or know, but might only work part-time or has never worked with investors. Do your due diligence in finding the right REALTOR to work with. Ask for references, check references and schedule a consultation with them prior to beginning your working relationship. Make sure they have experience in the investment process. A rookie mistake can cost you a LOT. When I train agents to work with investors I make sure the agents know about “due diligence” inspections and options for special insurance to cover lost rental income, and even system failures. It’s not an everyday real estate transaction, it’s a long term relationship. Take your time, if you are not sure then sign a short term Exclusive Buyer Agency Agreement. But committ to a single agent so you don’t waste your time, and their time. Show dedication to them and amazing things might happen, Agents who are active enough in that area may have notice before a new property hits the market, and if you are committed to your agent you will be top of mind when they get that call. They will also have leases they can share with you, and references to others you might need in the process of purchasing and owning investment properties.

2. Rookies Mistake: Purchasing an investment property with a regular mortgage product. Oops! You can buy a few this way, but at some point you need a commercial loan or a line of credit. It’s much easier to draw upon and a faster way to go when you have to act quickly, especially if in a competitive situation perhaps with a cash buyer. After acquiring a few properties use the equity (which you should have if you are investing properly) to secure a commercial line of credit which can act as cash when need be.

Have your finances ready. Better to have a commercial loan ready to go, and a company set up to protect your personal assets from your investments. There are a lot of risks for investors who own properties, especially those that are rental units. Lost rental income insurance coverage is available, and a home warranty is a great option. Have a GREAT accountant who is familiar with real estate investments and the timeline, you want to avoid showing too much gain and need to know when to turn a property over and acquire a new one.
3. Rookie Mistake: No hiring a property manager or management firm because of the bottom line effect.
You are running a business when you own investment properties, you aren’t playing guys this is the fastest way to build wealth. Cheaping out in this aspect will be the difference between true success and an expensive hobby. Consider it an additional stream of revenue while values increase. Your time is worth money, you need to really value it properly and not become your own handy man or bill collector.
Be sure to read, research and learn about the rental process in your ara, what you should be looking for, what rents are in your area, as your REALTOR ot introduce you to a reputable, and proven, property manager, it’s well worth the expense to have someone else handle the potential issues, maintenance and even licensing required in some area. A client once had a call on Christmas Eve that there had been a fire at one of his properties, he was a few hours away but because he had secured a relationship with a reputable property manager they were notified by the fire department and handled all the arrangements to secure the property, meet the insurance adjuster and act on behalf of the owner without their needing to leave their family gathering. I got the call after it all had occurred, and my client was extremely grateful I had introduced him to his property manager.

Learn the market, trust your REALTOR. They do this everyday, and if you chose the right one you won’t have to worry about the potential ROI of the property you purchase because your agent should be able to easily demonstrate that information via market analysis and statistics.

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Ben Leybovich real estate expert
5. Ben LeybovichReal Estate Investor, Entrepreneur and Speaker

  1. Assuming you need money to invest in RE.
  2. Assuming the bricks and mortar are the only value centers in a transaction – there are many others.
  3. Confusing knowledge with wisdom – they are not one and the same, and we need both!

 

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Joshua Dorkin real estate expert
6. Joshua DorkinFounder and CEO at BiggerPockets

  1. Overpay b/c of lack of understanding of how to evaluate deals
  2. paralysis analysis
  3. financially unprepared to support REI

 

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Michael Blank real estate expert
7. Michael BlankExpert Apartment Building Investor

I’ll answer the question for apartment building investing:

Mistake # 1:  Not having enough cash: either to complete due diligence and get to closing, and running out of cash while owning the building. You need a reserve in case something happens. Sometimes you get into a deal and discover that half the tenants aren’t actually paying rent, or your boiler blows up etc. Once you have a handle on it and it’s stable, you can pull out some of the reserve fund and substitute that with funding the reserve out of cash flow (the rule of thumb is $250 per door per year).

Mistake # 2: Not verifying the actual rents collected. In fact, I just wrote a BiggerPockets article on this here.

Mistake # 3: Not being clear or not sticking to your underwriting guidelines. Before starting to make offers, know exactly what returns you’re looking for. In other words, how will you recognize a good investment when you see it? How do you know it’s good? I look at the IRR (the returns) for the investors – everything else is secondary. So # 1, what are your investment return requirements. Then # 2, make sure you’re underwriting the deal conservatively. Use a 10% vacancy factor, take into account bad debt (i.e uncollected rent) if your property is affected by this. Use a rule of thumb for expenses of 50% of income, and if landlord is paying utilities, increase that to 55% or even 60%.

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Seth Williams real estate expert
8. Seth WilliamsFounder of REtipster.com

Don’t pay for improvements and services that don’t add value.

There will always be opportunities to pay for improvements for your properties or added services in your business. These things can certainly help your operation run smoother and allow your properties to generate more revenue with shorter turnaround (both of which will be very important to the long term help of your investment portfolio).

On the same coin, we all have to sift through MANY temptations that entice us to spend our hard earned cash on things that look flashy and appealing, but just don’t add much to the bottom line. Use great discernment when it comes to the things you spend money on (especially in the beginning, when money isn’t “growing on trees” just yet). Choose your battles wisely and only invest your cash in the things that will effectively bring your business to the next level.

Don’t buy properties that cost more than they make.

Let’s face it – in order for a property to be an actual “investment”, it needs to generate a profit.
In other words, after all of your expenses are paid – how much money will you actually be able to KEEP at the end of each year? It comes as a surprise to many new investors that t’s harder than it looks to pull this off. There are an endless number of things that can (and will) eat away at your revenue and become obstacles to you making (and keeping) money. If you want to avoid the trap of owning a property that costs more than it makes – be sure to do through due diligence before you buy it and leave no stone unturned in the process. It may be tedious work that requires great patience, but you’ll thank yourself for a lifetime as a result of laying the groundwork properly.

Don’t hesitate to pay for the right expertise.

It’s the same reason I take my car to a mechanic when it needs fixing, the same reason I go to a doctor when I’m sick, and the same reason I don’t dare to pick up a hammer to fix my own properties… because I don’t have the right set of skills to do it myself.

 

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Mark Ferguson real estate expert9. Mark Ferguson, Realtor, Investor and Author

  1. Buying a rental property for appreciation and ignoring negative cash flow.
  2. Buying a fix and flip and not calculating all the costs or trying to save money by doing all the work themselves.
  3. Spending $20,000 on a real estate guru to teach them how to invest.

There are many programs out there that use low priced or free seminars to get investors in the door and then up charge them for more and more services until they finally bring out the big guns with a30k or 20k program that walks them through how to invest with financing.  In the end they are mostly worthless and you could have bought a house with that money.

 

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Mark Ferguson real estate expert10. Joe ManausaReal Estate Blogger, Broker and Investor

From the hip…

  1. No clearly defined goal – If you are going to invest in real estate, you should have an ROI/IRR goal. Your money will have to be removed from its existing use and put into real estate, so what is your minimum required return on investment?
  2. Not understanding active vs. passive – buy and flip is a job, not an investment. You have to take an active role in this type of “investment” so yo should not compare it with other passive investments.
  3. Looking at properties vs. looking at numbers – investing in real estate requires you to find a property that will meet your financial needs. Too often, new investors go and look at properties that they have yet to financially qualify as feasible investments. Do the numbers first.

 

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Tracy Royce real estate expert11. Tracy Royce, Short Sale Realtor, Investor and Foreclosure Expert

3 common mistakes made by first time real estate investors is not sticking with it, chasing rabbits, and getting emotional over a deal. I tell anyone who starts, you’re probably going to get a paycheck 6 months from the day you start working diligently on lead generation. So many people drop off after a few weeks/months, and lose hope.

Secondly, when they start getting calls/lead flow, they chase “rabbits” that aren’t ever going to be an actual deal for one reason or another. If someone’s motivated, you’ll know. Don’t waste your time on the majority of leads that aren’t ever going to convert.

Lastly, don’t over improve a house, or buy based on emotion. Let the numbers talk and show you if there’s a deal. You can buy a lot of houses, overpay, overimprove and lose your ass pretty quickly, so your emotions need to take a back seat. It’s not worth buying a bunch of property just so you can brag to your friends you’re in real estate investing. It’s a business; think like an owner from day 1 and you’ll already be ahead of the crowd.”

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Don Campbell real estate expert12. Don CampbellBest Selling Real Estate Author, Investor and Senior Market Analyst

The three most common mistakes of real estate investors:

  1. Not understanding the economic fundamentals of their target market. What is driving the market, (speculation or long term economics), is it sustainable and is it attracting the type of tenants I want for instance those with increasing income and strong job prospects.
  2. Buying a property because it is ‘cheap.’  Too many investors buy property without understanding value. Price is not value. Just because it is cheaper than it used to be, or it is cheaper than in other cities doesn’t mean it is a good deal.  What matters is Yield – what long-term income stream are you buying when you close on the property.  Is it higher than you can get in other areas or investments? Is this yield sustainable or is it just a short term shortage blip.
  3. Not planning a ‘sustainability fund’ when they purchase properties.  We often call this the sleep at night fund. It is made up of 3 months of mortgage payment equivalent in readily available cash reserve, for EACH property.  This money becomes the buffer for unforeseen repairs, vacancies and other issues. Without this sitting on the sidelines, the investor is simply adding too much unnecessary financial risk to their portfolio.  With it, they can go on vacation, sleep at night or just get on with their life with fewer “What if” worries.  Treat investing in real estate like the  business that it is.

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Lynn Pineda real estate expert13. Lynn PinedaExpert Realtor

Investing in Real Estate for the first time is a very exciting adventure for first time Investors with the hopes for great returns on their investments. Proper planning and preparation is key in anything we do and the same holds true for investing in Real Estate. Likely the most common mistakes made by first time Investors are the following:

  1. Not completing your local Real Estate market research

This is a big deal if you haven’t done your research when deciding on a Real Estate property to purchase. You want to make sure you’re buying in an area where you can anticipate price appreciations and/or steady demands for rentals, if you’re renting opposed to fixing and selling a property. Making the wrong investment due to lack of research is a hard lesson to learn when you end up losing money.

  1. Not budgeting properly for owning Real Estate

It’s so easy to get all wrapped up in the excitement of a first time property purchase that you fail to consider the expenses that go along with property ownership. You need to budget for utilities, repairs and down times, if renting. Will you have the money to fix the A/C when it breaks? What about the month or two you miss out on with no Tenant, when the prior Tenant moved out and you couldn’t immediately find a new Tenant?

  1. Taking shortcuts on any needed repairs or remodeling

Shoddy repairs and/or remodeling will not benefit an Investor. Have you quality contractors in place before you purchase an investment property. Taking short cuts to save a buck will not bring Buyers wanting to buy your property when you’re ready to sell or you won’t have Tenants interested in paying you top dollar for a rental unit. Quality will always pay.

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Raphael St. James real estate expert14. Raphael St. JamesExpert Realtor

  1. Not sticking to a plan or the numbers to fulfill your goal (Paying too much, not having enough capital for unexpected repairs, etc.)
  2. Being too short-sighted on immediate returns and not the long-term end goal.
  3. Buying off of impulse or emotion instead of the parameters of the property (cap rate, etc.)

 

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Ilyce Glink real estate expert15. Ilyce GlinkAward-winning real estate & personal finance expert

Timing Issues. Too many people sign a year-long rental agreement and then decide to buy.

Not understanding where you are in the cycle of life. Don’t buy a 1b/1ba and then find a long-term partner or get married and have a baby. You’ll be squished.

Not educating yourself. Read up on the process. (Buy my books, 100 Questions Every First-time Home Buyer Should Ask and Buy Close Move In!) Get educated. It’s the single biggest purchase you’ll ever make. Don’t wing it and don’t rely on people who have never been through the process.

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Andrew Fortune real estate expert16. Andrew Fortune, Expert Realtor

1.) Not being realistic about the learning curve. – First time investors are usually pumped full of info from blogs, seminars, and books. Most of the info that they receive will convince them that anyone can be successful investing in real estate. In reality, the chances of a first time investor doing well on their first few deals are slim to none. There will always be an unexpected expense and/or problems that will eat into profits. If you are prepared to make a few mistakes, you will learn from them and adapt with each deal. If you are not prepared to make mistakes, these unforeseen problems will crush your motivation to try it again.

2.) Remodeling for Personal Taste and Not What’s Currently Selling – First time investors have something to prove when they enter the business. One of the ways they express their abilities is through the design choices that they make throughout the remodel process. Unless the investor is looking at homes on a regular basis and noticing what materials are currently selling homes, chances are high that they will over spend on materials, or pick materials that are not desirable to the masses. Tip: Hang out with local home builders who build plenty of homes and use the materials that they use. These builders have years worth of experience dealing with choosing materials that sell homes fast for minimal cost.

3.) Getting Caught Up in the Small Stuff – As an investor, your first home remodel is exciting. It becomes personal. Once emotions and personal feelings get involved, the chances are high that small details will become more noticeable and important. Small cosmetic flaws will start to pop out everywhere you look the longer you are in the property working on it. It takes experience to know what to spend time on and what to avoid. First time investors are known for overdoing their first few rehabs because they get caught up on the small cosmetic issues that home buyers usually never notice when they look at a home. Some examples might be painting inside closets, remodeling under bathroom cabinets, or changing out light fixtures in the garage. Just stick to the main selling points and get the job done on time with minimal cost.

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Debbie Drummond real estate expert17. Debbie DrummondExpert Realtor

#1. The most common issue we see is first time investors who buy with emotion. We’ve seen in-experienced investors who pass up great opportunities because something about the home doesn’t “Wow” them. It may be an investment but they are drawn to homes they could picture themselves living in.

An experienced investor will look at how quick homes in the neighborhood rent and how much rental income it will produce. They’ll leave the “Wow” factor for their own home and focus on the numbers for the investment property. Experienced investors are more likely to buy site unseen based on the numbers and thorough inspections.

#2. Many first time investors see the world thru rose colored glasses. They expect to get the property rented right away, rent checks to arrive on time and not have major issues.

They don’t allow for management fees, occasional repairs and the cost of having a property sit vacant. The expenses involved in evicting a tenant who doesn’t pay can add up. It’s always a good idea to have additional funds out away to cover the unexpected.

#3. First time investors sometimes neglect making little improvements which will help the property rent quick. Most of our investors will spend $5-$10K, depending on size and condition of the property. The extra investment adds updated light fixtures, new flooring, paint and desertscaped back yards, etc. Many of our investors buy used appliances from a local store.

Tenants see stainless appliances, nice flooring and the property rents quick for a good price. The first time investor lists the home for rent with minimal improvement and it sits on the market until they lower the price to get a tenant.

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Kyle Hiscock real estate expert18. Kyle Hiscock, Real Estate Expert

I’d be happy to give the top 3 mistakes made by real estate investors.

  1. Misjudging cash flow – An investor who purchases an investment expecting to have a positive cash flow of $10,000 after all expenses only to find out after owning for a year the cash flow is $5,000.
  2. Thinking they will get rich fast – Investors purchasing one investment home believing they will get rich quick.  Building an investment portfolio takes years and years to do.  It doesn’t happen after just one property!
  3. Overpaying for properties – This is a huge no-no.  In experienced investors sometimes will stretch when buying an investment because they have the “itch.”  This often leads to a poor cash flow and poor investment.  It’s important for investors to stick to the numbers and not overpay for properties if the numbers don’t work!

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Karen Highland real estate expert
19. Karen Highland, Real Estate Expert

When considering an investment property purchase, the investor must know going into the project, whether they are going to buy, rehab and flip, or whether they are going to keep the home and rent it out. There are two different approaches, depending on each of these plans. Sometimes first-time investors are not clear on their goals and may change their minds when they get into the renovations on a home. The problem is, then they may have already over-invested, or underinvested.

For example, if the investor plans to renovate and flip the home, then they need to do their research and learn what buyers in that price range and in that neighborhood expect in a home. If the comparable homes are fitted with granite counters and upgraded appliance packages, hardwoods and upgraded bathroom features, then they need to have that cost figured in to the project. If they get into the renovation and find that they are short on finances, then skimping on these features will make the home less desirable to buyers in that market.

If the investor plans to own the home and rent it out for a while, then fitting the home with upgraded features is an expense that they may regret. Renters tend to be hard on a home, no matter if the finishes are less expensive, or more expensive. The wear and tear on expensive upgrades will be more costly to fix and replace down the road, compared to less expensive finishes.

Knowing whether the final product will sell for a profit depends on knowing the comps. Knowing whether it will rent well, depends on the same knowledge, but switching from one plan to the other can end in a disaster. If they find that the home doesn’t sell, or that it doesn’t rent for the money that will cover the cost that they put into it, then they have an entirely new set of problems to deal with.

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Richard Silver real estate expert
20. Richard Silver, Real Estate Expert

My thoughts….

  1. Think long term…
  2. Decide whether income will trump capital appreciation… Or vice versa…what are your goals…
  3. What value can you add with minimal cost??

All of this goes with knowing the market and rules affecting landlords and tenants…

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Brett Magley real estate expert21. Brett Magleby, Real Estate Expert

  1.  Not doing enough research as to values in the area after they have fixed the place up.
  2. Underestimated the amount of work that will likely need done on older homes.
  3. Thinking they are going to STEAL a property for much less than market value.

 

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Ryan Lundquist real estate expert22. Ryan Lundquist, Expert Real Estate Appraiser

After inspecting thousands of homes as a real estate appraiser, If I had to boil down three mistakes by newbies investors I’d say:

1) Having an unrealistic expectation of what the house will sell for;

2) Upgrading the house beyond what is expected in the neighborhood (overbuilding); and

3) Failing to understand minimum property standards for conventional of FHA financing.

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Andrew Dougill real estate expert23. Andrew Dougill, Real Estate Expert

Buying the wrong property.
As property managers, we often contacted by first-time real estate investors AFTER they have purchased a property. In a surprising number of cases we have to tell the investor that they purchased the wrong property (or the right property for too much money). It is just so important BEFORE you purchase an income investment property that you do your homework. You need to know important data to understand if it will be a good investment. For example, is in a popular rental location (close to employment, transport, schools, etc.)? What are realistic rents for the property? What are the typical vacancy rates for that type of property? What types of maintenance expenses can you expect for the type and age of the property? You must be careful about information being offered by the seller’s agent and do your own homework. If you are going to have the property professionally managed after the purchase, get your property manager involved early on and before you purchase, as they should be able to help you make an informed decision.

Not treating becoming a landlord like a business.
When you purchase an investment property and become a landlord, you have just opened a small business. As a landlord you have increased your liability profile. You must take sensible precautions to protect yourself from liability such as good liability insurance, forming an entity like an LLC and hiring licensed and insured contractors to help maintain your investment. An investment property is not like owning a mutual fund. You could get sued and lose more than your investment.

Expecting a property to cash-flow with a large LTV mortgage.
There is usually an optimum size for a mortgage on income producing investment property to maximize your return on cash invested. Rarely will you see 12% returns with, say, a 70% LTV investor loan. More likely a property will lose money with a large debt service. Recently we have been recommending our investors purchase properties for cash or to only have a small (30% LTV) mortgage to see a good return on their cash invested.

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Jake Durtschi real estate expert24. Jake Durtschi, Expert Property Manager and Real Estate Investor

Lose Focus
Losing focus appears in two different areas. The first area is what is the investor’s goal and the second is what is your core competency.
Often times investors forget why they are investing. What is the goal?
Goal: Why does the investor want more money?

  1. More Time
  2. More Freedom
  3. Retirement (time and freedom later in life)

For example, I see many first time investors begin investing for the purpose of having free time. They decide to manage the property themselves and do their own maintenance. When they begin, this is a “short term solution.” They think, “Yes, this takes alot of time, but eventually I will hire a manager and hire out the maintenance.” In 5 years in they are doing the same thing with more properties. They can’t go on vacation because they have tricked themselves into thinking that only they can do a good job. If the investor is the only player on their team, the business is not scale-able. It cannot grow! Because they lose focus on what they really want, they actually create the opposite result.

Unrealistic budgeting
First time investors often times believe that they will be able to reduce expenses to almost zero. Often times they believe the amount they will be collecting will be rent minus the management fee. This is unrealistic. It is important to understand expense ratios for the market and the building. A simple budget for a single family home budget will include the following. Larger properties will include more details and more expense accounts.

Investors need to understand reasonable expense ratios. For example, if rent is $12,000/yr and the average vacancy for the area and type of property is 8%, the budgeted vacancy expense should be $960/year (12,000*.08). The market average for a total expense ratio may be 30% of total rent. This depends on many factors such as utilities, market cost of maintenance, and condition of the property. It’s good to always try to be better than the market average, but goals should be reasonable.

Income
$12,000 Gross Potential Rent (GPI)
$960 -Vacancy (8%)
11,040 =Effective Gross Income (EGI)
Expenses
management
utilities
maintenance
turnover cost
taxes
insurance
$3312 =Total expenses (30% of EGI)
$7728 Net Operating Income (NOI) (EGI-Expenses)
Say “No” Too Rarely

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

…Warren Buffet

Many entrepreneurs often have qualities similar to someone diagnosed Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD). Any time we see something “shiny” we lose track of what we are doing and move on to the next “shiny” investment or opportunity.
Whatever you choose to do, commit to it and get good at it. You cannot be good at everything, so be really good at one thing. There are thousands of approaches, but some options could be apartment communities in a particular market, re-positioning properties, flipping, or long term single family home investment. Focus on what fits your personality, values, profit demands, and what is fun for you! Then continue to increase your competence…say NO to everything else!

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Steve Bighaus real estate expert25. Steve BighausReal Estate Expert

  1. Buying too many properties at once, i.e. unknowingly going over the 4 property limit thinking everything will be ok.
  2. Not having enough reserves for contingencies.  It is one thing to meet the reserve requirements set by lending, but what happens if your property has repairs not covered by insurance and/or is vacant for longer than expected
  3. Buying first and getting pre-approved second.

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Juan Murdoch real estate expert26. Juan MurdochReal Estate Expert

I’d say the  three biggest mistakes that first time real estate investors would be:

  1. Not knowing the market.  (Take enough time to study the  market so you know if you’re really getting a good deal or not )
  2. Not knowing the inventory. (Get connected with an agent that really knows the inventory including stuff that may not be currently listed )
  3. Not knowing all the financing options. (Get hooked up with a good lender that can explain all the options to make sure you’re in the right program)

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HUGE thanks to everyone who contributed to this post. Please share if you found it useful!

Top 89 Real Estate Blogs To Follow In 2014

If you’re anything like us – looking for ways to save time, become smarter real estate investors, uncover proven marketing strategies, and stay on track with industry news and trends - you need a quality reading list.

Thanks to the abundance of blogs popping up all over the internet, finding quality (actionable) information is becoming very challenging.

As you can see in the following graph from Statista, the number of posts and blogs is increasing exponentially. This makes it very easy to miss out on important information that could help you become a more informed investor and grow your business.

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I have compiled a list of 89 real estate blogs that every investor, property manager and landlord should read. These blogs are authored by notable brands and industry experts, and will teach you key investment strategies, marketing tactics, as well as keep you up-to-date with the latest industry trends on both a national and local scale.

This is a one-stop guide to the most valuable real estate resources on the web today. It took me 20 hours to put together, so I hope you find it helpful :)

I have segmented the blogs into sub-categories so that you can quickly find the content that interests you most.

All of the blogs in this list are regularly publishing fresh content.

Make a note of your favorite blogs from this list, and then set up a free Feedly account so that you have all your favorite content at your finger tips, in one convenient location.

Here we go!

Corporate Blogs

Corporate real estate blogs

1. Redfin
This is a fantastic resource with loads of informative and actionable content, including everything from real estate news and analysis, to investment tips and advice. Bookmark this one.

2. Zillow
This is another great resource for agents, landlords and property managers alike. Loads of quality information from industry leaders that will keep you abreast of national real estate trends, and provide actionable strategies for selling and marketing your home.

3. MSN Real Estate
Stay up-to-date with the very latest real estate news and trends.

4. Memphis Invest
This blog focuses closely on smart investment strategies geared towards maximizing cash flow and passive income generation.

5. RealtyBizNews
A great resource for real estate news, home buying resources and real estate market analysis.

6. Trulia Blog
Another leader when it comes to the real estate industry. Get unique insights into housing data as well as actionable advice for real estate professionals. This one should definitely make it onto your Feedly list.

7. Realtor.com
These guys cover pretty much any topic related to real estate, from celebrity cribs to home decor tips.

8. RentBits
This blog provides information about the rental market. Especially helpful for tenants, property managers and real estate agents. 

9. Movoto
They tout themselves as the lighter side of real estate. This places a fun twist on real estate news and events. Their top 10 places lists are very popular.

10. MSNBC Business
Breaking industry news and opinions from industry experts.

11. CNN Money
This blog takes a more personal look at finances, but includes some helpful information for investors and new home buyers.

Real Estate Investing Blogs

Real estate investment tips and strategies

12. Bigger Pockets
If there was one blog I could read, this would be it. It answers pretty every real estate question you could imagine with insights from a number of industry experts.

13. Bawldguy
Get an insight look at a number of proven real estate investment strategies.

14. Flippingjunkie
Take a look over the shoulder of Danny Johnson as he shows you how to make money flipping houses.

15. Real Estate In Your Twenties
This is the personal investment blog of Bigger Pockets’ Brandon Turner. Sit back as he teaches you everything he knows about real estate investment.

16. Big Rock Investments
Some helpful investment tips and industry information to help you make smarter business decisions.

17. Blood Hound Realty
A group of real estate investors located in Phoenix, Arizona. These guys provides helpful investment tips and relocation advice.

18. RETipster
The title says it all – real world guidance for part-time real estate investors. Get boat loads of actionable marketing advice. A great read!

19. Hassle Free Cash Flow Investing
David Campbell is an industry guru when it comes to real estate investing and cashflow generation. Follow his creative investment strategies as he uncovers emerging market opportunities.

20. Flipping Smart
Learn how to flip houses the right way, and make a ton of money.

21. Invest Four More
Follow real estate guru Mark Ferguson as he introduces you to long term rental investment strategies, as well as ‘fix and flip” tactics. 

22. Tom Sylvester
Tom is a contributor to the Bigger Pockets blog, and regularly writes about real estate and entrepreneurship.

23. The Michael Blank
An interesting read. Michael Blank takes you inside his investment strategies. His focus is buying apartment buildings by raising money from private individuals. Well worth a read!

24. Just Ask Ben Why
Ben Leybovich is an industry leader that shares the strategies he used to secure his own financial future.

25. Norada Real Estate Investments
Real estate news, advice, opinion, and insights for every level of real estate investor.

26. The Big Property List
Resource for facts, opinions, and perspectives on real estate issues concerning rental property, real estate sales and leasing.

27. REIClub
Real Estate Investment Articles, Videos, Blog, Clubs, and Forums for Real Estate Investors.

28. Personal Real Estate Investor Mag
Industry news and investment strategies from industry experts.

29. Property Investment Project
Bob Landlord shares his personal experiences as a landlord and property enthusiast.

30. Struggling Investor
Scott walks you through the lessons he has learned as a first time investor, and teaches you everything he knows to become a profitable investor.

31. House Flipping School
Mike LaCava is an expert house flipper that shares actionable advice about the art of profitable house flipping. He also provides an educational program called ‘house flipping school’ for people that want to take their investment strategies to next level.

Economy/ News/ Data

Real estate news and trends

32. For Sale By Owner
Real estate blog for the sale-by-owner community. It’s written to provide actionable insights for making the buying and selling of property as profitable as possible.

33. Real Estate Tomato
Jim Cronin has quickly built himself into an industry thought leader, helping real estate investors become proficient bloggers. If you’re looking to become a better blogger and leverage online channels to grow your business, this blog is an absolute must-read!

34. Inman
If you have a short list, this blog should be on it. It’s the real estate industry’s most authoritative source of market conditions, business trends, technology, real estate and financial news.

35. Dr Housing Bubble
A candid account of what is happening in today’s housing market.

36. Royce Of Real Estate
Arizona short sale expert, and Bigger Pockets contributor, Tracy Royce discusses short sale tactics and real estate trends.

37. Phoenix Real Estate Guy
Market updates and investment strategies.

38. Notorious Rob
Once named “The most powerful blogger in real estate”, this is where Rob Hahn of 7DS Associates discusses the real estate industry.

39. Matrix
I’d bookmark this one. Jonathan Miller provides some fascinating insights as he interprets the real estate economy.

40. Paper Economy
This blog focuses primarily on the state of the housing economy. However, the posts go into insane amounts of detail. Stay in tune with current state of the housing economy.

41. Urban Digs
Housing market information and government policies.

42. REWired
Opinion, commentary and analysis on everything that makes the U.S. housing economy tick

43. Calculated Risk
A top ranked economics and finance blog with a focus on the housing market. This one provides some in-depth analysis that can be used to guide investment decisions. 

44. Property Cluster
Real industry updates and tips for selling your house quickly.

45. Housing Wire
influential source of news and information on U.S. housing finance, covering lending, servicing, investments and real estate. This one is on my short list.

46. Think Glink
Ilyce Glink and her Real Estate Matters blog appear in over 100 newspapers and sitesIts focus is to answer questions related to real estate, buying, selling, financing, refinancing, credit and debt, insurance, real estate investment, new construction, and renovation.

47. Loan Shak
Different bloggers way in on mortgages, taxes, foreclosures, and more related to your “shak”. Make sure you check out the “shaktoids”.

48. Real Estate Communities
The latest news, articles, and real estate marketing ideas in various real estate communities across the United States.

49. Boom Town!
Get the latest in real estate technologies.

50. Ashworth Partners Blog
A one-stop for everything related to apartment building investments.

51. A Student of the Real Estate Game
Joe Stampone discusses is unorthodox path into real estate investment and shares his strategies for achieving similar success.

52. DQ News
In-depth real estate news and industry data.

53. RISMedia
The self-proclaimed leader in real estate information systems. This blog does a pretty good job living up to it’s name.

54. CushWake
Commercial real estate blog discussing the issues of the day for real estate investors, tenants & landlords in office, industrial & retail real estate.

55. Commercial Post
All your commercial real estate headline news. Tons of great information here.

56. IREM
Information on real estate management industry fundamentals and the latest news and trends.

57. NYT Deal Book
Financial news service reporting on mergers, acquisitions, venture capital and hedge funds.

58. This Month In Real Estate History
Some random facts, findings and figures for realtors. You’ll find some information on this blog that you simply can’t dig up anywhere else.

59. All Property Management
Tips and strategies for making real estate management efficient and profitable.

60. Property Management Insider
T
his is another great resource for property management professionals. The blog covers a wide range of topics from revenue and expense management to apartment marketing, with a close focus on multi family.

Real Estate Marketing

Real estate marketing blogs

61. Agent Image
This blog is a fantastic resource that covers a range of internet marketing and web design best practices for real estate professionals. Very helpful for real estate agents and brokers. Bookmark it!

62. Geek Estate
This one is deserves special attention. This is a fantastic resource that explores a number of real estate technology and internet marketing topics.

63. 100WBlog
Writings about real estate, branding, marketing, media and technology.

64. Ubertor
This blog is one of the best real estate marketing guides on the web. This blog will teach you how to leverage social media, SEO, paid advertising, branding and content marketing to propel your real estate business.

65. Retechulous
This blog touches on a number of online marketing strategies for real estate. This content provides creative strategies that investors can begin implementing today.

66. Dave Kohl Real Estate Marketing
Dave Kohl offers more than 25 years of real estate and mortgage advertising and marketing experience. This content is jam packed with actionable content. 

67. Real Estate Marketing Blog
Internet marketing tips and ideas to help you get the most out of your real estate website.

68. Max Real Estate Exposure
Bill Gassett delivers a bunch of actionable advice for bringing ‘maximum exposure’ to your real estate investments. Not sure how I missed this one, but thanks to Bill for reaching out ;)

69. FlyerCo
Learn the ins and outs of real estate marketing. FlyerCo covers any and all types of marketing from SEO to Door Knocking.

 

Local

Local real estate news and trends

70. Rain City Guide
This is your guide to the Seattle real estate market. This blog is fed by a number of industry experts and is well worth the read.

71. Property Shark
Detailed property information, foreclosures, ownership search, comparables and property values across a range of markets including NYC and LA.

72. Brownstoner
The go-to Brooklyn real estate blog. Market information and listings.

73. The Real Estate Dirt
Digging up all the ‘dirt’ on the Northern Virginia real estate market.

74. The Real Deal NY
This blog covers all the breaking real estate news and information across New York. A very comprehensive resource.

75. Real Central VA
Charlottesville’s Real Estate Source for Data & Real Estate Analysis.

76. Tracys LA Real Estate
If you’re looking for a information about the LA real estate market, this is the blog for you.

77. New England Real Estate Journal
The New England Real Estate Journal is one of the largest commercial real estate news source in the United States. 

78. CurbedNY
The New York City neighborhoods and real estate blog.

79. House Einstein
Osman Parvez has over a decade experience helping investors make smarter real estate decisions.

80. Swamplot
An in-depth look at Houston’s real estate landscape.

81. OCRegister
The number one real estate company in the Orange County three years in a row.

82. Talk To CJ
CJ Brasiel provides tips and advice for selling your home in the San Jose area.

83. Chicago Agent Magazine
This blog covers everything related to Chicago real estate.

84. Austin Real Estate Secrets
Tim Thornton unlocks real estate secrets for the market in Austin Texas.

85. Intero Blog
Local insights for a number of California real estate markets.

86. Burbed
It claims to be the “most disruptive real estate blog in 33 years”. Take a look and see why.

87. Sacramento Appraisal Blog
Expert residential appraiser, Ryan Lundquist, sheds light on the local housing market in Sacramento, California. He also educates the real estate community about the appraisal process, and teaches investors how to better work with appraisers.

88. Seattle Bubble
Wow, I’m not sure how I missed these guys. Thanks to Tim Ellis for reaching out, this blog pumps out the content with over 80 quality posts already this year. If you’re from the Pacific NW this blog should be on your short list!

89. James Milner
James Milner is a commercial real estate expert addressing key issues impacting the Boone, North Carolina market.

90. Milwaukee Business Journal
Sean Ryan’s roundup covers practically everything there is to know about the Milwaukee real estate market.

91. Rochester Real Estate Blog

Kyle Hiscock delivers actionable advice for real estate investors in the Rochester New York area.

 

By Robbie Richards.

Are there any other blogs that you would like to see added to the list? Leave us a comment below and we’ll check it out. 

Living In Idaho Falls: By The Numbers

The city of Idaho Falls is no stranger to “best places to live” lists. In 2013, Idaho Falls was ranked the second best ‘small city’ to move to in the United States. With a population of 57,899, the city of Idaho Falls has experienced steady growth in recent years. This growth can be attributed to a number of social and economic factors. Notably, Idaho Falls has the lowest cost of living (12 points below the national average) of any city on last year’s top 10 list. This, coupled with low crime and unemployment rates make living in Idaho Falls attractive to many people migrating out of larger cities.

Idaho Falls’ real estate market has also rebounded nicely since the economic recession. In 2013, the average home value in Idaho Falls increased 24.5%. Housing is now more accessible and affordable than ever – the median home price in Idaho Falls in 2013 was just $98,200. There was one home for sale for every 92 people.

There is also good news for people looking for house and apartment rentals in Idaho Falls, with the median price per bedroom set at $275.

With similar trends expected for 2014, the cost of living in Idaho Falls looks set to remain affordable. The Idaho Falls real estate market will likely see increased home sales and decreased rental vacancies. Job growth is predicted to increase 1.8%.

Idaho Falls: By The Numbers

By Robbie Richards.

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