Category Archives: real estate

WE MOVED!!

Well … the move was successful!
Our new home is:

http://www.revnyou.com

Please visit us there and update your blogrolls, RSS Feeds and other blog readers please!!

We can’t wait to see you in our new blog home!

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What I Hope Is Not a Farewell Message!

by Julie Broad

In some ways I fear this could be a farewell message …

For nearly two years I have been lazy and scared … I first set my blog up on wordpress not knowing anything about blogs and ever since then I have allowed wordpress to host this blog. But, I am missing out on so many things like a simple blogroll or even statistics about the clicks and visitors to my blog by not hosting the blog with my own host. And so many readers have requested a Retweet button for Twitter or other easy ways to share their favourite posts with others and I can’t do that with the program the way it is today. So on this 4 Year Anniversary of our Rev N You Newsletter I decided it’s time we finally got brave and made the move … but I still worry that it will all be gone after I push the button …

Many of my fellow bloggers have assured me that it will be ok when I make the switch. If it doesn’t work out you will find me over at Good Faith Investing causing a ruckus because it’s really Shae that has assured me the most that it will be ok. Although Greg at The Wholesale Knockout King made it sound easy too so I might be on his blog making angry noises too.

But assuming all goes well and you’re still able to read this I wanted to share some of the other things I’ve written lately.

I welcome your comments, questions and concerns right here or on the host blogs.

Also … I am pretty excited about the calendar of events I have lined up for the month of May so I wanted to share that with you too. But first, a few of the other places you can find me this month:

Let’s Talk About Success Baby

A simple message about success I shared with the Bigger Pockets readers … and if you’re a Salt N Pepa or Hip Hop music fan I think you’ll really like it.

Marketing Your Way to More Money

An important message about marketing and real estate investing that I shared with the readers of Mark Loeffler’s blog The Versatile Investor. Mark’s most recent claim to fame is a writing one of the current Top 100 Best Selling Business Books “Rent To Own Real Estate Investing”.

Manslaughter and a Crackhouse: How my Husband Became a Real Estate Investor

The story of Dave’s early investments in Niagara Falls, ON as we both learned some really important real estate investing lessons.

Also … if you’re in Canada … check out my latest article in Canadian Real Estate Magazine. I’m pretty proud of the article that was published there this month called: Managing Your Property Manager. I wish they had links to their articles but alas … you’ll have to hit the newstands to read it. It’s on page 48.

I also wanted to share a public and gigantic Thank You to fellow real estate investor and blogger Neil Uttamsingh of First Rental Property. When I first started writing for Bigger Pockets he wrote a really awesome blog post about my inclusion in the Bigger Pockets team … and coming from one of the only Canadian real estate investing blogs that has a place in my RSS feed it meant a lot to me!! So thank you Neil!! Read that post here: Bigger Pockets Just Got Bigger.

There’s lots more stuff kicking around the internet from me these days but I figure that’s probably enough to keep you guys busy for the weekend. 🙂

Now … mark your calendars because we have a great line up of events planned and all but one of them are free to you!!

  • May 4th: I’m speaking at the Nanaimo Real Estate Investing Club about farming for real estate leads … I’ll be talking about our yellow letter campaign, our bus bench ads and some of the other marketing we’re doing to generate new real estate deal leads. Anyone can attend. It’s $10 at the door.
  • May 5th: We’re having a teleseminar with Philip McKernan, author of South of 49. If you’re a Canadian interested in buying real estate in the US then this is going to be a call you won’t want to miss. And honestly, having read Philip’s book, I know there will be gold nuggets ALL real estate investors can use. And the call is our gift to you … so watch the blog and our newsletter for more details.
  • May 19th: Government Deal Funding with Sean Carpenter. This webinar is for our US readers. One of THE most recommended programs and webinars I have ever come across … Sean’s program fills a massive void in the  market right now as he is teaching how to use government programs to fund your real estate deals. In this webinar Sean reveals some of the ways you can uncover government funding programs that are available to you and introduce you to tax credits and developers fees and so much more.
  • June 1st: We’re going to be chatting with Jim Sheils and Brian Scrone of Jacksonville Real Estate Wealth. These two guys have quickly become two of my favourite real estate investors in North America and I can’t wait to introduce Rev N You readers to them and to their simple but effective investing systems.

We’ll have more details and sign up information on all the events right here in the coming weeks … and, of course, from our real estate investing newsletter!!

All right … wish me luck … hope you’re still able to read this message by the end of today!! 😀

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Filed under Blogs, investing, real estate, Recommended

How Green Home Renovations Can Help You Sell or Rent Your Home

We consider ourselves environmentally aware. For years we’ve been putting in  CFL lightbulbs, replacing water hogging toilets with low flush versions, buying high efficiency furnaces and using non-toxic paint. Most of these choices make sense for the environment and for our bottom line … but we’ve never actually written about it at Rev N You. So when Steve emailed with this article we jumped at the chance to share this information with you guys!! In this post you’re going to learn some really great ideas to consider if you’re renovating a rental property or even doing a flipper in order to maximize the rental value or resale value.  Let us know what you think!

by Steve Stillwater

In a tough real estate market, you need every possible incentive for someone to buy (or rent) your home, rather than another comparable home on the market. How can you create that advantage for your home over the other houses in your price range? Try some green home remodeling and home renovations.

Reports from housing markets all over North America indicate that green homes sell more quickly than those without energy-saving or water-saving benefits. The reason is easy to understand. The cost of living in these homes is lower for the buyer or tenant.

But there is a more subtle reason as well. Almost everyone wants to feel that they are doing something good for the environment. Living in a home with green lifestyle features satisfies that want and gives the buyer or renter an emotional reason to choose your home in addition to a financial one. Since virtually all purchases, especially homes, have an emotional trigger as well as a logical one, offering a home with green benefits is a sure-fire way to make your home stand out. This is especially true in a tough, competitive real estate market.

So, how can you differentiate your house as a greener alternative? Here are some easy-to-implement suggestions, which will also give you benefits that you can include in your promotional materials.

  1. Make sure you can promote the advantages of energy efficiency in your sales flyer. There are a lot of ways to improve the energy efficiency of your home. For example, replace any older appliances with Energy Star appliances that use less energy. The benefits in lower utility bills will be a plus for the buyer or renter.
  2. Wrap your water tank with insulation to reduce heat loss. You can buy all the insulation you need for about $20 or less. This one is inexpensive and easy.
  3. Seal drafts around windows and doors with weather stripping or caulk, and mention that this has been done in your promotional materials. Adding some insulation to the attic is also an inexpensive way to improve energy efficiency.
  4. Install compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) everywhere. Lighting accounts for about 10-20% of average home energy use, and CFLs use 75% less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and last up to 10 times longer. The out-of-pocket cost is minimal when you consider the value to your home, and CFLs are another benefit that will save the new occupant money. Make sure you mention this advantage in your promotional materials.
  5. Consider bamboo if you are putting in new flooring. Bamboo wears as well as hardwoods, has a beautiful appearance, and has the advantage of being widely recognized as a green building material.
  6. Use low VOC paints (VOC is an abbreviation for Volatile Organic Compounds, which are unpleasant to be around at best, and toxic at worst). Be sure to mention that they were used. Low VOC paints will reassure buyers who are health conscious.
  7. Solar panels are a huge selling point, and rebates and tax credits are offered as an incentive to defray the high up-front cost. The up front cost is still not trivial, however, and installation can take up to 3-4 months, including the planning and permitting. If you have time, solar panels are worth considering. If you are in a hurry to get your house on the market, this may not be a viable option.
  8. If installing solar panels is too costly or time-consuming to consider, a solar water heater may be a quicker, more cost-effective solution. Since about 15% of the typical home energy bill goes toward heating water, the savings for the new buyer will be meaningful, as well as a selling point for you.

Green remodeling is a great way to make your home stand above the others in a competitive marketplace. Green upgrades and features give your buyer both a financial incentive to consider your home and an emotional reason to desire owning your home. The latter may prove to be even more important.

Steve Stillwater promotes healthy, green lifestyles, with easy-to-implement ideas to use less energy and conserve resources. Living a greener lifestyle is a way of life for Steve, and he hopes that it will become a way of life for you as well. He writes regularly about practical tips and ideas for developing a green lifestyle at http://www.LivingGreenandSavingEnergy.com

Image Credit: © Norebbo | Dreamstime.com

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Filed under Flipping, renovations

Tony Peters and Creative Real Estate Tips

by Dave Peniuk

Julie and I recently had the opportunity to attend Tony and Jo-Ann Peters: Creative Real Estate Investing Power Workshop….yes, that’s a mouthful, but for good reason!  It was jam-packed with great strategies, advice, tips, resources, and a ton of great real examples! In this post, I am going to discuss just 2 of the many strategies one can use on the creative side of real estate investing.

2 of my favourite creative real estate tips: Long Closings and Free Stuff

Long Closings:

While I had heard of both of these creative strategies from other real estate teachers/educators before, I really liked how Tony and Jo-Ann emphasized the win-win approach to using these strategies. Long Closings, for example, is based on the premise that you tie up a property that’s for sale but the Seller’s, for whatever reason, do not (or cannot) close and move out of the property for 6, 7, 8+ months.

Image Credit: Jason Floyd

My personal favourite and one that we have encountered quite a few times already through calls we have received from our yellow letter campaign, is where the Seller is currently building a new house but residing in the house they want to sell. Rather than sell it and move into a rental for 6-12 months, you suggest they reside in their home until they are ready to move into the new one they are building.

So, why do this as a Buyer? First, it gives you time to find either a Tenant (as a rental) or Tenant-Buyer (on a lease to own), flip it to another investor or even sell it to a new Buyer. It also gives you time to line up joint venture partners and financing if that is the route you are going to.  And, the BIG bonus of a long closing is IF it’s in a warm (or even better – a HOT) market, the property may appreciate 5-10% or more during that time! Guess who gets the equity? You do! But, this generally works best in an appreciating market. If the market is flat or even worse, falling, then you could be stuck with a property that is now worth less than what you agreed to pay 9 months ago! So, make sure you do this ONLY in a market that is seeing appreciation!

Free Stuff!

Who doesn’t love free stuff? I tell you, if I could make a nickel every time I gave away free stuff (yes, then it wouldn’t be free would it? but you get the point!), I would be as rich as Donald Trump!

Basically this strategy is simply asking for something that you may want that is at the Seller’s house/property. For instance, perhaps the Sellers has a nice collector car, RV, motorcycle, or even lawn mower at their house. Why not ask for it as part of the purchase? If you can find out why the individual is selling (and where they are moving to – maybe they are downsizing into a condo?), then they likely may not need or want a lawn mower or even their nice collector car.

Sometimes there is even nice furniture that a Builder may have paid for to stage their showhome! Ask for it! We just did that very thing recently when negotiating with a Builder who needs to sell. We asked for the furniture and the Sales Agent said it likely will go. Remember, you won’t get if you don’t ask!

WHY would a Seller agree to a Long Closing or give you Free Stuff?

Again, it could be for any number of reasons. If they are building a house and the bank will only finance the construction if they sell (or have a firm Purchase and Sale Agreement in place) their current house – BINGO – this is an opportunity for the Seller to know their house will sell, the bank will finance the construction of their new house, AND they can continue to live in their current home (that they’re selling) without disrupting the family to move into a rental and then move again once the new house is built! See, win-win!

And including Free Stuff in the sale of their home can be a great win for the Seller too. For instance, as I mentioned if the Sellers are downsizing and don’t want to deal with doing a garage sale or fool around with placing ads to sell their car, motorcycle, shed, lawn mower, etc., then this is an easy alternative for them. There can, again, be any number of reasons why someone would give away Free Stuff, but they likely won’t UNLESS YOU ASK!!

So, a couple of great strategies that we “re-learned” while attending Tony and Jo-Ann Peters: Creative Real Estate Investing Power Workshop.

Remember, real estate investing can be fun and creative…not just buy, rent, sell, buy, rent, sell. If you have any other creative/interesting tips or strategies, please comment!

If you want to learn more about what Tony and Jo-Ann are teaching … check out the call we had with Tony Peters a few months ago. And if you’re interested in attending one of their upcoming workshops, give Brenda a call at their office at (780) 414-5282. Let her know that Dave from Rev N You sent you and she will probably let you bring a guest at no charge!!

Image Credit: © Dexns | Dreamstime.com

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Filed under real estate, Tony Peters

Passive Income for Life

by Julie Broad

I don’t believe there is such a thing as passive income from real estate … the reality is that you have to stay actively involved in your real estate investments. Passive means you can do nothing and make money; if you do nothing eventually things will fall apart. Even if you’ve hired a property manager to oversee your properties for you, it’s still important to spend a few hours a month checking over the details of what is happening at each property. It’s starting to become my mantra, but it’s true: nobody loves your money like you do.

So there is no such thing as passive income … but I do believe there is such a thing as building a multi-million dollar real estate portfolio in your spare time. I believe that because we did it. In as little as 5-10 hours/month most months, we built up a multi million dollar portfolio that enabled us to leave our jobs 7 years after we began investing. And compared to many investors I know, we were slow.

Slow or not, I know it’s possible to create another stream of income for yourself that doesn’t take too much time to manage … and if you want to learn how one guy built a good solid income for himself in a niche that most investors won’t touch then you must listen in on tonight’s “Six Figures With Student Housing” webinar tonight with Doug Fath.

Doug’s a 28 year old real estate investor who is living off his $106,000 per year in positive cash flow from his student rentals. He’s fresh from a 3 month vacation with his girlfriend and sharing all his best investing secrets. I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with Doug over the last couple of months, and I am really excited to introduce him to Rev N You readers. He knows his stuff and he’s dedicated to his students success.

Not everything he’s teaching works in Canada, and his guaranteed funding is not offered internationally, but the fundamental strategies he is teaching are good. And you have Doug’s commitment (and mine) that if you’re Canadian and you sign up for his course, and you follow the instructions to find deals that meet his criteria, we’ll do whatever we can to help you get your deals done.

And, really, even if you aren’t interested in his program if you only come away from the free webinar with one good idea it was worth your time! I KNOW there will be more than one good idea!! I’ll be listening to learn as well!

PLUS – he’s giving away a full scholarship to his program. If you’re on the call you’re entered to win … so join the call … get a few awesome tips, learn about what he’s doing, check out his program, and get a chance to win a full ride scholarship in his student housing program!!

If you sit in on the call feel free to post comments and questions here. I am happy to have an open discussion about his webinar, what he’s offering and student housing in general. I feel pretty confident that some people are perfectly suited for this niche … and will make a lot of money buying and renting student houses. But I also feel that no matter how easy Doug makes it sound, it’s going to take some hard work, patience and serious dedication to build a portfolio that produces enough income to free you up to take a 3 month vacation. I think that goes for every single real estate niche there is … but that is a discussion for another day. For now … check out the webinar if you’re interested!!

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Filed under real estate, Student Housing

Plenty Of Opportunities to Breakeven Over Time

by Julie Broad

On the weekend Dave and I attended Ozzie Jurock’s Landrush conference in downtown Vancouver with 600 other eager real estate investors (and a few dozen realtors too).

The conference had a jam packed line up of speakers covering everything from the latest mortgage rule changes to Canadians buying real estate in the US to market specific presentations covering various areas in British Columbia.

On the surface it really covered a wide array of topics relevant to British Columbians. And Ozzie’s jokes were, as always, funny and pointed. And his message about real estate was positive and forward looking.

We definitely got a few gold nuggets from the day, and really that is all you can ask for from a low cost seminar like this, but I fear that some people walked away with some troubling advice. Essentially the message was to buy real estate because it always goes up in value. … that was the message of most of the speakers.

They all said it in different ways but that was pretty much the message. “Buy in my area because the future’s so bright you gotta wear shades.” “Buy the biggest and best house you can afford to live in today because it’s best investment you’ll ever make“. “Buy a house and hold onto it and you’re going to make money”.

I could talk about many reasons why the underlying message of “buy a house and you’ll get wealthy” bothered me but I will just focus on 3:

  1. If you’re new to real estate investing the worst thing you can do to yourself is just buy whatever property you CAN just because it will eventually go up in value. And I realize that is not specifically what was said but because none of the speakers got into what makes a good deal this is really the message that you walked away from that conference with. Yes … over 20 years the value is darn near guaranteed to more than double just because of inflation … but if those properties don’t have good solid positive cash flow they will eat you alive and you’ll likely not hold onto them for 2 years let alone 20. That means you’ll probably LOSE money not make money.You have to stick to the fundamentals of real estate and buy good solid properties in good or up and coming areas that generate positive cash flow.

    One speaker actually said to the audience that his market had “Plenty of opportunities to break-even over time.” We hope he meant have break-even cash flow … but even at that … what a lousy selling point!! I don’t want break even cash flow… I want money in my pocket every month!

  2. Careful what makes a good deal. One of the speakers showed us examples of properties on the market that he thought were a great deal right now.  This would have been really interesting except what made it a great deal to him was the difference between this year’s LIST PRICE and last year’s LIST PRICE (which the property didn’t sell for). He gave us one example of a home that was listed for $875,000 last year and didn’t sell. Now it’s on the market for $700,000 and he was telling the audience what a steal of a deal it was now.Sorry folks but if it never sold for $875,000 it was never worth that in the first place. So using a fake price to justify it as a bargain is a terrible way to spot a deal.
  3. Your home is not an investment so you shouldn’t treat it like one. Your home is a lifestyle choice and yes, if you hold it for a long time you will likely see some nice price appreciation that is capital gains tax free in Canada, but here’s the thing that always bothers me about this:YOU WILL NEVER ACHIEVE FINANCIAL FREEDOM IF YOUR HOUSE PAYMENTS ARE EATING YOU ALIVE!

    In other words, buying the biggest house you can afford just because the gains are tax free is lousy advice if you want to be rid of your job. Instead you should buy a place you can pay off quickly so you don’t have mortgage payments to worry about. And even better, you should find a way to have your payments paid for by one of your investment properties. To do that, you would be smart to have smaller payments not bigger payments.

    And if you want to challenge me about whether your home is an investment or not … let me ask you … if you lose your job … is your home going to feed you or is it going to starve you??

There were a lot of smart and experienced people standing on stage dishing out what I consider bad advice. Now, for the average Canadian that is happy to carry on going to work every weekday and just wants a comfortable retirement at age 60 or 65, it wasn’t bad advice. But if you don’t want to work for “the man” as Dave calls it, then you should pick and choose the advice you follow carefully. We picked up a couple of really good ideas and tips from the conference … but we also laughed at and discarded more than 80% of what we heard. That type of advice doesn’t fit the life we’ve created for ourselves.

We focus on buying positive cash flow properties in good areas because we want investments that take up as little of our time as possible while giving us the most amount of cash in our pockets today!! Of course, long term, because we’ve purchased in good areas with positive looking futures, we expect them to go up in value. But that isn’t what pays for our ski trips and dinners out today … it’s the positive cash flow that does that for us! And we didn’t do that by purchasing properties that breakeven over time. 🙂

As for the gold nuggets we learned … we’re going to check out one of the tools we found out about, and research a little further into a couple of the ideas we got, and we’ll get back to you on those!! If they pan out I think fellow BC real estate investors will be excited with what we learned…

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Filed under Education, real estate

How to Find a Great Realtor as a Real Estate Investor

by Dave Peniuk

Not all realtors are created equally. In fact, most realtors just aren’t that good when it comes to working with real estate investors. As real estate investors we need a realtor who will:

  • Take the time to understand our parameters and WHY we have those parameters. Just because a property has a basement suite doesn’t make it an investment property.
  • Respond quickly – when we’re working on a deal we are usually moving quickly and when we need information or want to see a place we would like a call back/email returned within 24 hours. And in most cases I would prefer a realtor respond within a few hours.
  • Be willing to try different things when it comes to making offers. We rarely make a standard offer. We almost always ask for special terms like vendor financing and we ALWAYS ask for the ability to access the property several times before closing to show to tenants.
  • Be comfortable with the foreclosure process, making aggressive offers and sniffing out the real story behind the sale of a property.

So – how do you know what to look for in a good realtor and where can you find one that will work well with a real estate investor?? I created a couple of short videos as part of our 31 Real Estate Investing Video Tips. You can check those videos out right here:

And I’d love to hear from you … what makes a good realtor for you? Do you have an awesome realtor? How did you find him or her??

And if you want more awesome videos like this be sure to sign up for our Real Estate Investing Video Series. Julie and I created 31 short videos full of tips to help you be a more successful real estate investor. The videos are all 3 minutes or less and they are free!! It’s our gift to you!!! 🙂 Enjoy!!

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Filed under investing, real estate, Realtors