Use an Attorney
- No matter what type of investment property you buy, always use an attorney when making the deal. A good real estate attorney can help you with everything from determining a fair offer price to writing up the rental contracts. An attorney will also be able to ferret out any liens, back taxes or other encumbrances, items you might miss if you try to perform the transaction on your own.
Run the Numbers
- One mistake many real estate investors make is assuming that the property will always have a tenant. While in a perfect world the apartment building you buy will always contain paying tenants, the reality is rarely this simple. When evaluating a rental property, you need to run the numbers both with and without tenants. If you find that you will be unable to make the mortgage payment if the property sits empty for even a month or two, you might be stretching yourself too thin.
Before you buy a piece of investment property, it is also a good idea to look at vacancy rates in the area. If you are buying in an area with high vacancy rates, it will be more difficult to rent the property, and you stand a greater chance of having the property sit empty. If the vacancy rates are low, there is a greater likelihood that you will be able to find new tenants quickly.
Consider the Neighborhood
- One of the most important things for real estate investors to look at is the nature of the neighborhood. The type of neighborhood where the property is located will play a role in everything from the amount of rent that can be charged to the potential for appreciation and resale value. If the neighborhood has been changing for the better, investing there can be a smart move, but if the neighborhood is in decline, the potential for appreciation might be very small. If you choose a bad neighborhood, you might be able to eke out a positive cash flow, but chances are you will not be able to count on a higher resale price down the road.
Deals in properties have become a cumbersome task which needs professional help for most of the time. Although, land trades can be made on own but it gives a tough time for a long period. Queensland of Australia is one of the most populous states where most of the inhabitants live near the coastal area. Sunshine coast is such a metropolitan area which features best real estate locations. Moreover, this area houses some of the best tourist spots that make it a center of attraction.
People seeking Sunshine coast real estate agents feel perplexed when it comes to pick the right one. However, it’s not extremely difficult to find a reliable one either. For credentials, an agent must have a license and minimum required exposure in real estate businesses. A popular myth which circulates that only a highly experienced person must be sought for the job is untrue. Agents with proper familiarity of those businesses are better than those who have spent years without having any competent knowledge.
Services offered by Real Estate Agents
The following describes about some of the services provided by real estate agents Sunshine coast firms:-
Guide: Their primary task is to guide the clients regarding different properties for sale within the location for buyers or investors. Similarly, they help sellers with strategies to sell their property on satisfactory deals. Other than that, their role also includes suggesting tenants regarding rental homes and developers for lands.
Advise: Agents keep track on the different properties within the aforesaid areas and keep their listings. They conduct comparative market analysis so as to provide with effective recommendations regarding those deals. It may include price estimation, current trends and several other factors.
Calculate: Job responsibilities of a real estate agents Sunshine coast include calculation of mortgage, finances and credit capacities. Their evaluation with respect to different aspects of the deals makes it helpful for the client. Further, they also give ideas on loan values.
Alert: Since they are well informed about the recent updates of properties and frequently keep a tab on them, it is useful to the clients who like to invest early. In the same way, they offer current market advice and subsequently the future status of those properties.
Market: Sellers may sometime find it difficult in marketing their land or property assets. Thus, the Sunshine coast real estate agents give out advertisements and listings along with attempts via different mediums to reach out for most people who need to buy them.
Maintain: Some firms also provide services regarding the repair and maintenance of building assets. They also keep visiting them at regular intervals to check the status in case of tenancy.
Inspect: They are knowledgeable enough to assess the properties by visiting those sites personally. Also, studying about the entire area, they help find a conclusive decision regarding them.
Other than the above, those agents also offer services of appraisals, financial references, selling tips and so on. They negotiate for deals, prepare the agreements and overlook at fund disbursements too.
- A traditional way to market your services involves publishing a business card in community publications. Contact local churches, schools and community organizations about their rates for advertising. They have regular newsletters and bulletins for their members. Target publications with members who live or work near your home base, such as in your section of a city or county. List your business card in publications with the highest number of readers for the business card fee. You can also sign up for listing your contact information on websites for these organizations. Sometimes web listings are free.
National Association of Realtors
- Beef up your marketing campaign through membership in the National Association of REALTORS. With a REALTOR credential, you get access to marketing tools for new and established agents. For example, Realtor.org offers a startup kit for new professionals in its online library. You can also get a mentor inside the association to advise you on a personal marketing plan. REALTORS may use the trademarked designation in print and online media, which provides instant recognition among many consumers.
- You can also use social networking as free online marketing. An article featured on the Chicago Association of REALTORS’ website cautions using social networking sites. Keep your own Facebook or other social networking account separate from your business account. Use each site’s privacy settings so no one can find your personal information without your knowledge. On a business profile, post helpful information for prospective clients, such as market trends and investment opportunities. When clients network with you online, they can exchange information using a site’s features. Diligently follow up on each customer contact in order to maximize the effects of social networking sites.
- For door-to-door campaigns, visit neighborhoods where you are likely to find clients. First, hire a printing company to produce door-hangers with your photo and contact information. You might choose a high-quality style with multi-color printing. You can quickly work your way through a neighborhood on foot or using a vehicle. Beware of dogs and no soliciting signs before approaching a home and hanging a door-hanger.
Use the Right Resources
- Focusing on resources designed to pass the real estate test will set a solid study foundation. It is also important to note that test questions vary from state to state, and tests change; therefore, training books and resources change as well, so make sure you have the most current study materials. Always check training book dates, and look for current study guides. If you come across confusing material, it is also a good idea to ask questions of an agent who has passed the test in recent months.
Complete School Work
- As soon as the real estate course or program begins, start studying the material. Purchase current books and study them from cover to cover. Learn to take shorthand notes; listen to the instructor if you take classes in person and take class notes on every lecture or lesson. Read over all of these notes as you begin to prepare for the test. Also, do all homework or assignments listed in the book on your own, as most instructors will often not cover all book exercises. In addition to self study, join a study group with fellow classmates to help reinforce classroom material. If possible, take a test preparatory course, especially if a real estate course is not an option.
- It is advisable to not cram the night before the real estate test. It is important to relax the day before to avoid an overload of facts and stress. Getting a good night’s sleep is also recommended. Even if you have been studying for weeks, sleep deprivation will sabotage the brain’s functionality, potentially affecting clarity and efficiency during the exam. It is also important to get a well balanced and healthy meal prior to taking the test.
Test Taking Tips
- Be prepared with all the required test taking materials, which vary according to state test regulations. In most cases, blank paper, pencils and a basic calculator are allowed in the testing room. Be sure to have a sharp pencil and a properly functioning calculator. Read each question thoroughly, as misunderstanding questions is one of the most common causes of incorrect answers. Test question are commonly convoluted, so read the questions multiple times until you know what is being asked. Unclear questions can be left for later; lingering on one question can hinder completing the test. Once the end of the test is reached, do a second pass over to check your work and answer questions you got stuck on the first time through. Trust the material that you have studied, and have confidence in your answer. It is a good general rule to not change a test question unless you are absolutely sure it is incorrect.
- Demonstrate flexibility in your everyday working practices. Don’t grumble if the boss asks you to stay late, swap a shift with a colleague, or attend an out-of-town conference. If you make it seem as though your home life is more important to you than your work life, then those with the power to hire and fire will assume you are not suited to a role that takes you away a lot. This could mean that they pass you over when an international agent position becomes available.
- Build contacts with international counterparts. If working with a member of staff in an overseas branch of your company via telephone or email, ensure you are helpful and friendly. International agent positions are often decided by a collection of managers from a number of offices that will be affected by the work of the person in that role, so making an impression on colleagues based abroad when you come into contact with them can only help your case if an international agent role opens up.
- Learn a language. Study independently using audio lessons or attend an evening class in your area. If you want to work in a foreign country, you will need to be able to communicate when posted there. Having a foreign language on your resume will show you are prepared to try to integrate overseas, and will mark you out as a possible candidate if an international agent position becomes open.
- Show an interest in overseas events. Buy a newspaper that covers world news and read it at your desk in your lunch break. Demonstrating to your boss that you are up to date on international developments that may affect the way in which your company’s overseas trade is conducted makes you seem all the more suited to an international agent role.
- Tell your boss that you would like to be considered should an international agent role open up within your company. It is no use attempting to make yourself appear the perfect candidate if the person in charge of filling these popular positions has no idea you would like to be considered. Use a performance review to flag up your interest in an overseas role or, if necessary, ask your boss for a brief meeting and explain what your ambitions are. Ask your boss to give you constructive feedback on what you may be able to do to make yourself more suited to a future international agent role.
We all are aware that property dealings are no easy task and cannot be just over within a few days. It takes considerable time in different issues whether it is selling, buying or renting for different purposes including the residential and commercial ones. It is the situation when an optimum quality real estate agent is essential. Indeed, finding one credible person for that is also little bit daunting but not impossible as there are many reputed names across the country for the job.
The real estate agents Nambour having a legitimate license are the only ones allowed to indulge in authorized real estate activities. These license holders have prior qualifications and suitability to take up those responsibilities. The following explains briefly about what they are hired to do:-
- 1. Informed – Agents who deal in day to day real estate business are aware of the locations in the vicinity and have optimum knowledge regarding the subject. It helps them to apprise the client with vital information.
- 2. Interview – It is seen as a good quality of an agent who asks variety of questions to the clients. At least, it gives an idea about their interests in depth regarding the deal and how they can fulfill those demands.
- 3. Prepared – One of the jobs is to prepare legal documents related to contracts, agreements and lease papers and so on.
- 4. Coordinate – They check on the agreements for signing and also expending of the funds between the parties. Those blue moon real estate agents coordinate the entire process effectively.
- 5. Intermediate – Agents act as intermediary between the buyer and seller or any other party for discussions.
- 6. Negotiate – They have a prominent role in negotiation while purchase/sell of a property which can be fruitful to both sides.
- 7. Substitute – Most of the time they represent on the behalf of their clients as it could be an extensive process to seal the trade.
- 8. Investigate – Another role of theirs is quite important from the financial perspective is to explore the possibilities of client’s status of credit and finance.
- 9. Promote – It is the duty of a real estate agent Nambour to endorse the properties through advertisements, listing services and several other ways to inform interested public.
10. Compare – They know how to judge against similar types of properties to determine the best market prices for it.
11. Review – Analysis of the listings to find out prospective properties and acquire as much information about real estate markets are included in their job duties.
12. Inspect – When a property goes for rent, the agents have to inspect it in regular intervals and acquaint the owners regarding maintenance and related subjects.
13. Advice – They provide selective advice with respect to different issues of legal necessities, conditions of the market, price facts and others.
14. Assess – Before explaining to the clients about some properties, a real estate agent Nambour has to self assess them by visiting personally.
Demonstrate – They are hired to describe the features of a property as well as notify about its benefits and losses.
- Individuals who manage time well can be very successful in real estate. Those able to divide days into segments for duties such as advertising, prospecting, and servicing clients to accomplish tasks make good real estate professionals.
- Self-employed professions require a hefty amount of self-discipline. Individuals who can make a plan and stick to it can be very successful in the real estate industry. Treating a real estate career as a job and not a hobby is crucial to success.
Thirst for Knowledge
- The real estate industry is constantly changing. Being a professional in the industry means consistently updating your education and retaining information. Many hours of study and research are expected in this profession.
Attention to Detail
- Attention to detail is a must for those in the real estate industry. Dealing with multiple forms, contracts, and legal documents requires persistence, patience, and an ability to spot and correct errors.
- In a service industry such as real estate, patience is a valuable asset. When a client’s emotions run high, it is important that a real estate professional be steady, stable, and able to field concerns and complaints skillfully.
- Successful real estate professionals have a potential for a six-figure income. However, in real estate, there is no normal paycheck, since your compensation is tied into successful property closings. Income can be sporadic, and individuals in the real estate industry must prepare for that fact.
- Investment companies collect funds by issuing and selling shares to investors. There are basically two types of investment companies: close-end and open-end companies. Close-end companies issue a limited amount of shares that can then be traded in the secondary market–on a stock exchange–whereas open-end company funds, e.g. mutual funds, issue new shares every time an investor wants to buy its stocks.
Invest in Financial Instruments
- Investment companies invest in financial instruments according to the strategy of which that they made investors aware. There are a wide range of strategies and financial instruments that investment companies use, offering investors different exposures to risks. Investment companies invest in equities (stocks), fixed-income (bonds), currencies, commodities and other assets.
Pay Out the Profits
- The profits and losses that an investment company makes are shared among its shareholders. Depending on the type–close-end or open-end–and the structure of the investment company, investors can redeem their shares for cash from the company, sell the shares to another firm or individual, or receive capital distributions when assets held by the investment company are sold.
Deducting Mortgage Interest
- Mortgage interest is one of the largest and most consistent tax deductions for rental property owners. Loans for non-owner occupied homes tend to have higher interest rates than mortgages for primary residences. Because more of your monthly payment goes toward interest in the first several years of a mortgage, your deduction will shrink as you pay off the loan. You can also deduct interest on second mortgages used to improve or repair rental real estate.
- You can’t simply write off the purchase price of a rental property in the year you buy it. Instead, you deduct a portion of the expense of buying an investment property over several years. You recover the cost of acquiring a rental home through a method known as depreciation. Depreciation, or the decrease in your rental home’s value which occurs over its useful life due to wear and tear, only applies to the structure itself because the land it sits on doesn’t depreciate.
Repairs to Your Rental
- Tenants turn to their landlords when a rental needs repairs. You can deduct the cost of ordinary, necessary and reasonable repairs you made to restore the home’s condition. However, components that you replace, rather than fix, usually aren’t deductible. Replacing or upgrading items in your rental property usually constitutes an “improvement,” which makes the home better, instead of simply restoring it.
Costs to Travel
- Depending on how involved you are in your rental’s day-to-day management activities, you likely spend money going to and from your property. You can deduct the cost of travel for your landlord activities. Amounts you spend to repair, fuel and maintain the vehicle you use to perform your landlord tasks, and hotel, airfare and meal expenses when traveling overnight, are deductible. You can use a standard mileage rate if you choose not to deduct actual vehicle expenses and meet certain other requirements. As of 2014, landlords could deduct 56 cents per mile driven.
Payment for Professional Services
- You can deduct wages for property managers and independent contractors who provide services for your rental property. The deduction applies to employee wages, labor costs and commissions or fees for professionals such as real estate brokers, attorneys and accountants.
Deducting Due to Loss
- You can deduct losses if your investment property is damaged or destroyed. You can also deduct insurance premiums, such as homeowners or landlord insurance. You usually can’t deduct the entire cost of property damage, although you can deduct a portion based on the extent of your losses and the amount covered by insurance. Homeowners insurance covers fires, theft, vandalism and other perils to your rental property’s structure. Landlord coverage can also reimburse losses to personal property and provide certain liability coverage.
Different Bank Account Types
- When “investing” your money in a bank, there are a few options. You can put your money in a checking account or a savings account, where it will accrue a small amount of interest. Or you can invest in a bank’s money market account, which functions somewhat like a savings account but with higher returns and more restrictions. Lastly, you can invest in a certificate of deposit (CD), which features some of the higher interest return rates but contains some serious restrictions on what you can do with your money.
- With all of the investment or financial tools available at a bank comes one serious advantage: security. When you invest in an American bank, your money is safe even if you invest it in a CD or money market account. Should the bank fail or some other disaster strike, your money is guaranteed by the FDIC, a federal insurer that guarantees deposits up to $250,000 should something happen to an FDIC-insured bank. Most, if not all, banks in this country are insured in this way. In comparison to the stock market, bank investments are safe investments; you won’t lose money from market swings or economic trends.
- The ironclad security of bank investments, whether in accounts or CDs, is balanced out by the painfully low returns on these financial services. Checking accounts earn no interest; savings accounts earn a very small amount, usually amounting to 1 or 2 percent. Even with a large amount of money invested, you’ll be earning pennies with these types of investments. Money market accounts and CDs earn more. Typical rates for a CD are 5 percent, according to BYG Publishing.
- Depending on the type of bank investment you make, liquidity can be either an advantage or a disadvantage. It is an advantage if you possess a savings account. While you may earn small returns, you typically have access to money in a savings account at any time. For CDs and money market accounts, there are limits on when you can access your money. In opposition to this, stock market investments are, in theory, very liquid: You can sell your stock at any time. But, the practicalities of the market dictate that to recoup money lost or to realize higher returns, you may be forced to leave your money in stocks until the price reaches a point where you can make money or make back money lost.
- There are a lot of different types of investments that an investor to put their money into. An investor could purchase a real asset such as residential or commercial real estate or collectibles or they could buy securities or financial assets such as bonds and company shares on the market. All of these investments are vulnerable to the vagaries of the market and can rise or fall in value.
- You can invest your money directly, by researching the markets, analysing valuations and making your own decisions on what to put money into. Many people, however, use intermediaries instead, letting the bank invest their money or joining investment clubs. The intermediary invests the money given to them by everyone involved in the scheme and then each individual shares in the profits and loss. This method gives the investor the benefit of professional advice.
- Investing is the process of making your money work for you, instead of simply sitting safely in the back, and it is increasingly a necessity of modern life. It is frequently no longer possible for an individual to work in one job all their life and retire on their pension. People move from job to job, or from career to career, and due to government cutbacks the responsibility for providing for their retirement falls increasingly on the individual. By investing your money wisely you can make a profit that you can then re-invest or put aside as a nest-egg. A good return on an investment can maximise earning potential.
- The major disadvantage of investing is that it is always possible to lose money on whatever investment you make. If you invest in a rare collectible, the value of it can rise or fall depending on its popularity and its availability on the market. Stock prices fluctuate based on everything from how the competition is doing to public confidence in the market. 2008 demonstrated how even house prices, traditionally the most secure investment, are not a guaranteed return.
- An investment shouldn’t be a gamble. The investor should research the market where they are investing thoroughly before they ever decide to commit their money. Although there is always a risk that the vagaries of the market will result in the investor losing money, they should always have a reasonable expectation that they will make a profit when they make the investment.
- Advertise your property in a foreign newspaper. You can easily do a quick search for a newspaper in the countries you wish to advertise to, and through their website either place and ad directly, or, be able to locate the contact information for their classifieds department. Remember to keep in mind foreign currency rates when getting prices.
- Make your own website. One of the quickest and least expensive ways is to create your own website for the property. You can easily find a cheap or free website hosting service and can even hire a web designer to help you post the site if you feel like you are not technologically prepared to build a website on your own. Also, keep in mind that many hosting companies now offer very simple website building software that just about anyone can use, and on top of that most of these companies offer the software for free.
- Place an ad in a foreign magazine. If you truly have a great piece of luxury property, you may want to consider taking out an ad in a foreign magazine. Look for aspects of your home that are unique and look for magazines that match that uniqueness. So for example, if you have a gourmet kitchen, you may want to put and ad out in an international cooking magazine. Or if you have lakefront property with water access, you may want to take out an ad in an international boating or fishing magazine. Just be creative.
- Post an ad on Craigslist or other international classifieds sites. Cragislist has made it as simple as possible to advertise your property to an international audience. Posting an ad on Craigslist and similar sites is also quite simple as well as free. You will not only be able to post a large amount of text regarding your property but you will also be able to post photos, and even a link to your website featuring the property if you have one.
- Make your home stand out. The best way to sell your home to any buyer, including an international buyer, is to find its selling points. Find what makes your home stand out among the many luxury properties and lofts and really sell that point. Whether it’s the view, the square footage, the location or the amenities, highlight them as much as you can in your ad to get your potential buyers hooked on learning more and potentially buying your property.
- Take a real estate assistant’s course and become certified. Visit the International Real Estate Assistants Association website for information on the certification process. This course teaches potential assistants how to use the tools and technologies used by real estate professionals.
- Determine whether you want to work as a contractor or an employee. If you want to work independently, you need to come up with a name for your business.
- Look for ads for virtual assistants. Work-at-home forums are good places to start. You’ll often find a folder specifically for virtual real estate assistants. Online employment sites, such as Craigslist and Careerbuilder, allow you to look for jobs by category and geographic location.
- Build a website for your services to give you a place to direct your prospective clients to and to create a more professional appearance.
- Create flyers and a brief letter explaining your services. Outline the benefits of having a virtual real estate assistant. Include your contact information, so prospective clients can contact you.
- Mail a flyer and a copy of the letter to real estate offices, brokers and individual realtors in your area. Remain positive. There’s a great demand for virtual real estate assistants. If you don’t receive positive results at first, continue applying.
With a smart investment, you can make money with rental properties on a recurring basis.The advantage of making money with a rental property is that you will get money month after month. Although some of this money will go to pay off the original mortgage, with a good rental property investment, you can practically count on a steady flow of income.Read the short guide below to find out how to make money with rental property in basic steps.
- Talk to professionals and other rental property owners. Be in touch with real estate attorneys, real estate agents, accountants, and other landlords to learn what you can about the rental business. Keep in touch with these professionals consistently both before you buy your rental unit and after you are already renting it out. These people guide you in making the best decisions and therefore the most money with rental properties.
- Research the real estate market. Research prices for different types of rental properties in your area. Research both their selling prices and rental prices. You should also analyze trends and future projections.
- Decide where you will buy. Location is the key issue when it comes to real estate. You need to choose a location where rentals are in demand and property values are within your reach.
- Choose the type of rental property to invest in. Do you want to rent an entire apartment building? Are you interested in just renting a single family house? There are many types of rental units to choose from anywhere from small apartments to large 2 story homes.
- Find properties that match your criteria. Look for properties that are good investment deals. Try to find a rental property that is low in value compared to other similar properties. Also look for properties that are in good condition and will not require many repairs. (You might want to invest in a rundown rental property though if you find that it is a very good deal and the repairs are facial and not structural.)
- Buy the rental property. This process will probably involve taking out a loan.
- Conduct whatever repairs are necessary to get the rental property ready to be lived in.
- Find tenants to rent your property. Make sure to run credit reports on prospective tenants. Getting good tenants is important if you want to count on making money month after month. Tenants who do not pay on time or do not pay at all will destroy your rental property cash flow. You should also be careful because there are laws governing evicting tenants, so once a tenant is in your property, you might not be able to evict him easily or at all.
- Manage the apartment yourself or hire a property manager (or property management firm). There are many tasks to perform on a regular basis including collecting rent, paying taxes, fixing up repairs, paying insurance companies and more. If you do not have time or expertise to deal with these yourself, hire a property manager to do these jobs for you.
- The real estate exam covers a variety of concepts related to property. The exam covers property classes, types of property ownership and property transfer rules. The exam covers land use regulations, including government rights as well as private and public controls. Candidates must know land characteristics and the various legal descriptions of property.
Real Estate Regulations
- A portion of the real estate exam is dedicated to federal laws that govern real estate practices. Candidates must have knowledge of fair housing and fair credit laws as well as landlord-tenant laws. This portion also covers ethical issues related to brokers, agents and other real estate professionals.
- The real estate exam covers real estate calculations and various mathematics concepts. License candidates must understand how to calculate property taxes as well as how to make general lending calculations. Other real estate calculations include calculations for mortgages and property values.
- Licensed agents must possess a general knowledge of real estate finance concepts. The exam tests the candidate’s knowledge of different types of real estate loans and the different sources of loans. The exam also covers various government programs, mortgages and credit laws.
Real Estate Valuation
- License candidates must understand real estate valuation and the different methods of estimating real estate value. The exam covers competitive market analysis as well as which transactions require property appraisals.
Contracts and Disclosures
- The real estate exam covers contractual relationships between buyers and sellers. Candidates must have knowledge of general contract law. Candidates must possess property-specific contract knowledge including purchase agreements, lease agreements, counteroffers and rescissions. Further, the exam covers numerous real estate disclosures such as material facts and property condition disclosures.
- A portion of the real estate exam is dedicated to state-specific statutes and regulations. The state-specific portion covers licensing requirements as well as continuing education, license renewal and transfer rules as required by the state department of real estate. This portion also covers state laws governing licensee activities and state-specific real estate laws such as property ownership and transfer rules, landlord-tenant laws, fair housing rules and other state-specific disclosures.
- Choose your location wisely. Lower priced homes near expressways, railroad tracks or busy intersections may seem like a great idea now, but will not appreciate as quickly as those located in desirable areas. Even if it means spending a little more, pick a location that is conveniently located near many amenities or at least part of a reputable school system.
- Work with a seasoned real estate agent, attorney and lender. To be successful at real estate investing, you will need to do business with people that are familiar with this niche industry. Check the credentials of everyone involved in your transaction and be honest about your expectations.
- Do your homework. Some investment properties could be part of a “too good to be true” real estate scam. Research the title history on the property in question and make sure that there are no outstanding liens.
- Calculate how much you can spend on your investment property. Your mortgage payment should be in line with what other properties in the area are renting for, or else you might have difficulty filling vacancies. You also need to keep enough money in the bank to cover everything for at least a couple months in case your renter defaults on their payments.
- Hire reputable contractors to handle renovations. Your investment property may need some serious remodeling before it starts turning a profit. To save money in the long run, retain licensed, bonded and insured contractors who have successfully completed projects like this before.
- Review any and all contracts with an attorney before signing them. Investment properties are subject to different laws than residential properties, particularly when it comes to reporting the income you are receiving. Ask your friends or family to recommend someone they trust.
- Make sure you have enough time in your schedule to devote to your investment property. Your tenants will need you around to handle maintenance issues, collect rent and keep up the exterior. If you can’t handle this on your own, keep enough money in your monthly budget for a property manager.
- Approaching existing foreign or multinational companies with a view to forming joint ventures, subsidiaries or strategic alliances may be one way to reach into the foreign investor pool. Any quest to find investors this way involves finding the right contact person by researching who is in charge of business growth or strategic partnerships. You also should take care to address the potential gains and pitfalls of investing through the foreign investor’s eyes. In this vein, the business plan you present to foreign stakeholders should discuss capital budgeting decisions adjusted for political and economic risk; cross-border cash flow optimization; and tax and transaction cost reduction policies.
Trade Fairs and Conferences
- Instead of taking a scattershot approach to finding a foreign investor, go where the prospects are. Major international trade fairs in your field bring potential foreign investors to a centralized location. International trade show directories such as Expo Database help you zoom in on specific industries, countries and cities. For example, the commercial real estate company Stewart Title Guaranty Company suggests Expo Real and Le Marché International des Professionnels de l’Immobilier as venues for real estate professionals interested in meeting foreign investors.
- Foreign investors come in all forms, from private equity and venture capital firms to angel investors. Narrowing down a set of foreign investors that are appropriate for you can be challenging without some sort of information management system to crunch the numbers. On the venture capital website VCGate, you can specify potential investors not only by country of origin, but by investor type, stage of investment funded, amount of funding sought and preferred sectors. Another database connecting startups to investors worldwide is Gust.com, which lists investors by industry, location and investor type.
- Just when some start-ups throw in the towel on finding a foreign investor because the latter have too strenuous criteria, others are learning about the benefits of programs that are tied to the investor acquiring a visa. For example, with the EB-5 program sponsored by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, entrepreneurs get to access foreign investors in exchange for the latter obtaining a green card. Entrepreneurs work with third-party intermediaries in securing EB-5 funding. However, entrepreneurs should be prepared to put up a lot of money upfront in administrative and travel expenses, and endure long wait times.
- Obtain the number of hours of prelicense education that DPOR requires. You should not register for the exam until you have completed all coursework. Some larger real estate brokerage firms offer prelicense courses. You can also search online for real estate schools offering self-study and classroom courses. Be sure to choose a DPOR-approved school.
- Download the Real Estate Candidate Information Bulletin from the PSI website. The bulletin provides examination information and license qualifications for salespersons and brokers.
- Complete the examination registration form. If you mail the form, you must send the examination registration fee in the form of a money order, certified check, cashier’s check or company check. PSI does not accept personal checks. You can use a credit card to pay the registration fee online or by telephone. After you receive notice of PSI’s acceptance of your registration, call PSI to schedule an exam date and choose a testing location.
- Read the Bulletin’s “Tips for Preparing For Your License Examination.”
- Purchase additional study materials. Although prelicense classes provide a good foundation for understanding real estate principles, you might choose to supplement those materials with books on real estate fundamentals. You can check the PSI website for available books.
- Make a list of the topics covered on the exam outlined in the bulletin’s “Description of Examination.” As you study, write down questions you have about each topic and look for the answers in your books.
- Take the sample test in the bulletin and score your answers. Read each question again and study the correct answer. Look in your study materials at the sections that cover the questions you missed.
- Review the practice tests you took in your prelicense courses. If you studied in a classroom, talk with your fellow students about examination content. Verbalizing principles can help you remember them.
- Get plenty of rest the night before the examination. If you live farther than an hour from your test site, consider spending the night in a nearby hotel. Eat a healthy breakfast before the exam.
- Bring two forms of identification to the examination center; one must be a government agency-issued photo ID. Arrive at least 30 minutes before the examination start time. You are not allowed to bring a cell phone into the center; you may bring a calculator.
- Follow the computer tutorial before starting the exam, if you are taking the examination by computer. You can spend up to 15 minutes on the tutorial as long as you finish before the scheduled examination start time.
- Read each exam question carefully and pick the best answer. Pace yourself and save enough time to review each of your answers before submitting the test. Verify that you have chosen one answer for each question. Even if you don’t know the answer, it’s better to guess than leave it blank. If you’re taking the paper-and-pencil examination, completely mark the circle of each answer.
- Prioritize your financial goals according to their respective timeframes. If you have a child who is two years away from going to college, you should rely on cash or ultra-safe fixed-income investments to pay for that expense. By contrast, if you are in your twenties and are simply saving for retirement, you should place your retirement funds in riskier stock investments since you will not be retiring for many years.
- Select your asset allocation based on the prioritization of your financial goals. Assets generally fall into three classes: stocks, which are riskier in the short-term but may generate higher long-term returns; bonds, which are less risky than stocks but have lower potential long-term returns; and cash, which is extremely safe but generates very little financial return. If most of your financial goals are more than five years out, you should invest most of your money in stocks. By contrast, if most of your financial goals fall within the next two years, you should keep most of your money in cash. Regardless of your goals, it is generally a good idea to have some portion of your money in all three of these asset classes.
- Diversify all of your investments within each asset class. Regardless of which asset class you focus on, you should never put all of your money in one or two securities. If you want to own stocks, you should invest in a diversified basket of stocks rather than in one or two stocks.
- Choose whether you want to invest directly in stocks and bonds or whether you prefer mutual funds. Mutual funds are diversified pools of securities. The main advantage of mutual funds is the level of diversification they provide while the main drawback is the management fees they charge, which erode your returns. If you have limited cash to invest, you should consider investing in low-cost mutual funds (that is, mutual funds with very low management fees).
- Open an online brokerage account with a company such as E*Trade, TD Ameritrade, or Scottrade. Online brokerage accounts are cheaper and easier to use than traditional brokers, and they provide you with the resources you need to research different stocks, bonds and mutual funds.
- Keep the real estate motto “location, location, location,” in mind. You want your investment property to be in a prime location so that you can capitalize fully on your investment. Choose a town or city with lots of potential and growth. Pick an investment property in a location that will make it easier for you to rent it out or sell it for a profit in the future.
- Don’t buy a cheap home or building just because of its low price. There is probably a reason that the land is so cheap on the real estate market. Do your research to make sure that you are getting the best possible investment property.
- Choose the type of investment property you are interested in buying. If you are new to buying investment properties you may want to start out with a relatively simple investment property like a single home as opposed to buying a more complicated investment property like a trailer park.
- Get a general idea of property values, rental rates, and mortgage rates in the location you have selected.
- Contact a real estate agent. You want to work with a reputable real estate agent who has a reputation as someone who knows a lot about buying investment properties. Don’t settle for the first real estate agent you meet with. Make sure you get a real estate agent who is comfortable with investment property management.
- Find an investment property that interests you and do your research. Find out why the current owner is selling the investment property.
- Get investment property financing. You may need to apply for an investment property loan. Investment property loans are easy to come by if you have a sound investment property. Prove to the loan agency that their investment property loan is safe by showing them that the investment property has potential to earn money. Getting investment property loans and investment property financing isn’t hard, but if you can’t come up with the full amount in your own money with the aid of investment property loans you may also need to get an investment property mortgage.
- Make an offer and buy the investment property with the aid of your investment property loan and low investment property mortgage rate.
- Pick a good school. By selecting a good college real estate program, you can ensure that you will learn all you will need to know to pass the test. Research the components of different real estate courses and ask around. Inquire with area real estate professionals, and they are likely to tell you which programs are recommended most. In fact, some of these professionals might teach courses at an area school. Many consider the University of Florida’s real estate program to be the state’s best. The school offers an undergraduate and graduate minor in real estate, an MBA with a concentration in real estate and Master of Science in real estate. In Orlando, Valencia Community College offers a less time-consuming option with a Real Estate Specialist certificate course. The course is offered through the school’s Business Administration department. In South Florida, Miami-Dade College offers real estate courses through the School of Community Education. The 30-hour non-credit course can be taken online.
- Complete the schooling. Nothing will prepare you more for the test than the classes in which you enroll. Be sure to focus during the classes and do all of your homework. The courses are designed to help you pass the test. Therefore, you are doing a disservice to yourself if you fail to pay close attention in class.
- Buy an exam study guide. “The Real Estate License Exam for Dummies” provides basic information and study tips for taking real estate exams. “How to Prepare for the Real Estate Licensing Exams” is another good resource. This book includes nine full practice exams, and it features answers and explanations for all answers. For more Florida-specific information, a good source is the “Florida Real Estate Manual,” a paperback book written by Linda L. Crawford. The book features information on Florida laws and more than 600 questions and answers. “Barron’s Florida Real Estate Exams” and “CliffsTestPrep Florida Real Estate Sales Associate Exam” are also good sources. The “CliffsTestPrep” guide includes five practice tests. The books can be purchased from sites such as Amazon.com, and some might be available from your local library or through personal loan from a real estate agent in your area.
- Use the study guide to practice and focus on Florida state laws on real estate. The state test is written with an emphasis on ensuring that real estate agents in the state know the unique laws that affect the profession in Florida. Review the Florida-specific parts of the study guides and check the Florida Statutes for information on real estate laws. Remember that the study guides are sometimes dated, and they might not reflect new laws. Think of potential questions and come up with the answers. Study for several days before the test. Avoid cramming the night before the test. This can cut into sleep time and cause you to be groggy during the test.
- Talk to Florida real estate agents in your city about their own experiences with the test. They likely recall the parts that were the trickiest, and they probably know dozens of others who have taken the test. They can advise you on potential pitfalls and areas that you should not overlook.
- Visit the FloridaRealtors website (see Resouces). The website features a wealth of information for hopeful real estate professionals. Its resources include information on a real estate course program and audio CDs and DVDs that can help you prepare. The site’s educational materials are often more updated than anything else you will find.
- Read questions completely before answering, and skip questions when you are not sure of the answer. It could be costly for you to spend too much time on one question. The Florida state real estate exam is timed, and the state-appointed test administrators will require that you stop when your time expires. If you have spare time, you can use it to go back to the questions that you skipped and to check for obvious mistakes.