In this article, we want to consider three aspects connected with real estate investing that prudent real estate investors should be aware of and understand.

Property Management

How involved will you become in managing your investment property?

Many people make the mistake of not investing in real estate because they can’t stomach property management issues. It’s true. Some people do not engage in real estate investing because the idea of having to deal with tenants and property repairs seems too annoying.

The good news for real estate investors, however, is that there are options that would allow real estate investors to become insulated from the day-to-day operations of a rental property. Here’s the key: Simply decide how involved you want to become in its operation before venturing into your real estate investment. Consider your options:

a) You can handle everything yourself. You can deal with the tenants and repairs without relying upon others.

b) You can hire a resident manager who lives in the building and takes care of all the minor, day-to-day problems that may arise. You are still in charge of renting apartments, collecting rents and paying bills.

c) You can employ a professional property management company to handle the renting, bookkeeping, and management end of the property operation. You are then left with a management-free investment. This, of course, costs money and reduces your overall return but, depending on your individual situation, you can be as active or inactive in the day-to-day operation of your investment as you wish.

Here’s the bottom line: Do not pass up real estate investing because you are too busy to take care of it yourself. There are property management options. Even after paying the cost of a full management team, your rewards from your real estate investment will still far exceed any of your other investments.

How to Find Lender REOs

In desperate times, REO lenders often turn to mass marketing and highly advertised public auctions to unload their REOs, though no lender likes to publicize the fact that it’s “throwing down-on-their-luck families out of their homes.”

Given the times we’re now in, you might be considering the purchase of an REO (Real Estate Owned) property and are not sure how to find them. You can find REOs in two ways:

a) Follow Up on Foreclosure Sales – If you attend foreclosure auctions, make note of the lenders who cast a top bid for a property in which you’re interested. Afterward, contact the lender and express your interest in purchasing the REO property. Even if that particular property doesn’t work out, you at least open the door of communication with the lender and might be able to work out a deal on another REO.

b) Locate Specialty Realtors – Many mortgage lenders often do not sell directly to REO investors because, as mentioned, they don’t like the unfavorable publicity, and they want to promote good relations with Realtors.

As one part of your efforts to find REOs, cultivate relationships with Realtors who specialize in this market. In most cities, you can easily find REO specialists by looking through newspaper classified real estate ads. Once you identify several advertised foreclosure specialists, give each one a call and learn their backgrounds. For example, discover whether he or she only dabbles in the field of REOs and foreclosures, or do make this field their full-time business. The more skilled and experienced the real estate agent is with REO properties and foreclosures in general, the better.

Real estate investors must remain proactive in this real estate market. There are good deals to be made, and interest rates are favorable. Be cautious; just don’t be lazy. Get out and beat the bushes so you can make a couple of good real estate investments while you can.

A Word about Demographics

The term demographics refers to population characteristics such as the income levels, occupations, education, ages, household size, household composition, and so on. This demographic data can be obtained from the U.S. Bureau of Census and commercial market research firms.

On a local level, however, and even more important than current neighborhood demographics, real estate investors must learn who is moving into the area. For example, a good sign that there may be appreciation potential is when a historically lower-income area starts attracting middle or upper-middle-income younger residents, or when many residents in the area are moving from welfare to jobs.

How do you learn about an area?

First, get out of your car and talk with residents in the neighborhood. Talk with real estate agents, mortgage loan officers, retail merchants, schoolteachers, and others who might have firsthand knowledge about the area. Ask questions such as, whether they see the area changing, whether these changes are positive or negative, and what they like least and like most about the neighborhood. Then evaluate what you see and hear and form your own conclusions. If you researched the area correctly, you should be able to form an opinion about the area that helps you decide whether the people moving into the neighborhood are likely to push up home prices and rental rates, or causing it to deteriorate. Amber Sea

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