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What goes up, must come down. 

It’s true in gravity … elevators … and the real estate market. 

The constant ups and downs can give investors anxiety. It’s hard to enjoy a boom when you’re always wondering … is it all about to come crashing back down?

The good news is that markets rise and fall in cyclical motion. 

History repeats itself … and there are signs and patterns to look for that signal when you need to move and when it is best to sit back and wait it out. 

Listen in as we discuss where we are in this infamous cycle … and what you can do about it.

In this episode of The Real Estate Guys show, hear from:

  • Your upstanding host, Robert Helms
  • His downright delightful co-host, Russell Gray 
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Riding and driving the cycle

Real estate markets work in cycles … we’re either at the bottom, in the middle, or at the top. 

So, where are we at? And what can investors do about it?

First off, it’s important to remember that real estate isn’t an asset class itself … there are so many different categories. 

Each of those categories operates in its own market … and the cycles don’t always align. 

Office buildings could be up while residential is down … and agricultural could be sitting right in the middle … ALL AT THE SAME TIME. 

So, when you think about where you are in a cycle, you need to think of both macro and micro levels. 

Part of what’s going on will be influenced by the macro … like interest rates, what’s going on with the Fed, tax breaks, and Opportunity Zones. 

The other part deals with the micro … what’s going on in a particular industry and the demographics it serves.

The challenge for a real estate investor is that there is no one key indicator for where the market is heading. In fact, it’s so confusing that nobody gets it completely right. 

But there are things you can look for … and things you can do … to set yourself up for the best chance of success. 

Understanding the big picture

One of the big picture items to look for, understand, and act on is interest rates. 

When we talk about real estate investing, it’s really all a derivative of income … of cash flow. 

Someone can only afford to pay a price for a house based on their income and how much income that will mortgage into the purchase price of a house. 

If you take a look at the major inputs going into a mortgage, you’ll find interest rates and tax consequences. 

So, if you can lower interest rates and lower taxes … the same amount of income will buy more houses. 

With the new tax code and incentives like Opportunity Zones, there is a good chance that the upside of the cycle will be extended for a few more years … but is it sustainable?

Understand that every day we’re closer to the next market top. 

So, what can you do as we get near the top?

Don’t sit on the sidelines

What you don’t want to do is sit on the sidelines. You do need to act. 

If you take prudent moves to protect yourself in the case of a downturn … and there isn’t one … you aren’t any worse off. 

The good news is that real estate investors and markets move slowly … we’re not flash traders. 

Your tenants don’t look at the newspaper, see a headline, and move the next day. 

As investors, it’s a balance of being aware of those macro events and keeping specific trends in mind. 

Right now, mortgage rates are low, and the dollar is relatively strong. Interest rates are dropping in treasuries … and people are buying there looking for a safe place to ride out market dips. 

This gives real estate investors the opportunity to go into the market and lock that low pricing and low interest rate long term. It’s like having a sale on money. 

And if you buy a property that has good cash flow with that low interest locked in, you’re putting yourself in a great spot to hold through any downturn in the cycle. 

People who sit on the sidelines are guaranteed to make zero return. Instead, look at the idea of recession resistant price points. 

Recession resistant means you are renting to a clientele that is likely to always be there … and the price point is typically something just below the median home price. 

Many of these recession resistant price points work great in a good economy AND they’ll also be a little more protective in a down cycle. 

This is a time to be super prudent when it comes to underwriting … both the analysis of the market and the performance of the property. 

When it comes to the performance of the property, there are a couple of big picture things to keep in mind. 

You want to live in a landlord friendly state. If there’s a problem, you want laws that favor a landlord and can help you get a tenant out quickly. 

You’ll also want to talk to your property manager about rental trends. 

What have people been paying in rent recently? How many people are applying for leases now compared to other years? Have they had to change the kind of tenant they accept?

Another way you can make the most of the market cycle is to focus on top markets. 

There are lots of investment funds and real estate investment trusts that focus only on the top 50 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs). 

These are the top cities in the U.S. where there is always real estate movement and a depth of demand. 

When you go into a market that has already proven itself with solid infrastructure, there’s a greater probability that in tough times people will gravitate there. 

Changing your strategy for success

We’re certainly proponents of continuing to invest through cycles … just change your strategy a bit. 

It makes a lot of sense to have some cash when you are nearing the top of a market cycle for a lot of reasons. 

If you end up having problems with properties that perform differently than you expect during a downturn, you want to be prepared for that. 

But downturns are also often where opportunities are … opportunities to buy. 

As real estate investors, we make our money when we buy … so it is good to keep some cash in reserves if the right opportunity presents itself to invest in a property with promise.

One last idea to consider when it comes to being at the top of the market is that there are certain demographics that don’t suffer as much in a downturn. 

Generally, this is affluent groups of people. When times get bad … they get bad for the middle and bottom part of the socioeconomic ladder. 

So, it’s always an interesting strategy to market to the affluent. One of the ways we love to market to this demographic is through residential assisted living. 

Remember, your customer is not the person staying in the facility. It’s the family members who look out for them and place them there. 

Another strategic investment is hospitality. In downturns … the rich still go on vacation. 

Many times in an economic slump, entertainment does well because people are trying to get away from the doom and gloom. 

If you believe we’re at the top of the market, there are proven things to think through. 

Analyze your portfolio and ask yourself, “What happens if pricing and demand were to go down?” Take a look at your financing. Are you getting the best, lowest rates?

If you take proven steps now, when the market cycle starts heading downward … you’ll be glad you did.

Tune in over the next several weeks as we dive into more strategies you can take to thrive even when the market isn’t doing the same.

More From The Real Estate Guys

The Real Estate Guys radio show and podcast provides real estate investing news, education, training, and resources to help real estate investors succeed.

Love the show?  Tell the world!  When you promote the show, you help us attract more great guests for your listening pleasure!

The post Where We Are in the Cycle and What You Can Do About It appeared first on The Real Estate Guys Radio Show.

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In our last edition we took a look at this chart for clues to where we’re at in “the cycle” …

Housing Price Index to Production Wage Index

SOURCE: FEDERAL RESERVE ECONOMIC DATA HTTPS://FRED.STLOUISFED.ORG

(The data came from the Fed, but the chart was put together by The Heritage Foundation here)

You can see a tight correlation between wage growth and property prices from 1991 to 1999.  Then something happened to create a divergence.

That divergence blew into a BIG gap between wages and housing prices … with home prices inflating much faster than wages.  At least until the middle of 2007.

Then something else happened which crashed housing prices … and not just back down to the wage trend line …

… but housing prices dipped well below the trend line (“over-corrected”), hitting bottom in 2011 and starting a new “bull run” in early 2012.

That’s when Warren Buffet famously proclaimed on CNBC 

I’d Buy Up ‘A Couple Hundred Thousand’ Single-Family Homes If I Could

Warren Buffett 2/27/12

Smart guy.  Obviously, when you look at the chart, the timing was perfect.  And most folks who were buyers in 2012 are sitting on piles of equity today.

But now it’s clear the correlation between housing prices and incomes remains broken.  Housing prices are once again stretching the limits of incomes.

No wonder there’s pressure to lower taxes, interest rates, and oil prices!

The only way to keep this party going is to make those relatively anemic household incomes control bigger loans.  And to no surprise …

Average U.S. mortgage size hits record-high $354,500

Reuters, 3/13/19

Does this mean housing prices are about to crash again?  Maybe.

It’s said history doesn’t always repeat itself, but it often rhymes.  That’s a catchy way of saying people often find new ways to make the same mistakes.

Then again, smart people learn from their mistakes so they can avoid making them again.

In this case, go back and look at the chart.  But instead of focusing on housing prices, focus on incomes.

What do you see?

Incomes are slowly, consistently, persistently, steadily … rising.

Of course, if you look at the CPI (inflation) chart below, you can see the cost of living is also rising …

So just because people are making more money, it doesn’t mean they’re getting ahead.

In fact, folks who don’t own inflating assets which can be sold or borrowed against to supplement their incomes … are falling further and further behind.

So what does it mean, what can we learn, and what can we do to survive and thrive?

These are all topics of a much bigger discussion.  We covered some if it in a recent radio show.

For now, here are a few suggestions to consider:

Focus on investing and underwriting for cash-flow …

Yes, you’ll make more money on equity.  But equity is a by-product of cash-flow.  The more cash-flow, the more equity.

More importantly, conservative cash-flow gives you staying power when asset prices temporarily collapse.

Think of equity as a fun, but fickle lover … and cash-flow as the loyal, predictable partner you can build a life with.

Sequester some bubble equity for a rainy day …

Rates are low.  Lending guidelines are softening.

This indicates there’s a lot of motivation (desperation?) to get more debt in the system … a sometimes-telltale sign we’re nearing the end of a boom cycle.

Of course, when you harvest equity from properties, it’s important to be smart about using the proceeds.

We think it’s best to create cash-flow (have we mentioned this is important?) … along with liquidity, and safety from volatile markets and financial systems.

We could do an entire series on this one topic … and in fact, we’re working on it.

Something like … “knowing what we know now, this is what we wish we would have done heading into the 2008 financial crisis.”

Yes, we know the title needs a little work.

Watch for signs which signal shifts …

Shift happens.  It’s painful when you’re on the wrong end of it, and that usually happens because you missed the sign … not because it wasn’t there.

In 1999, Uncle Sam pressured then semi-private Fannie and Freddie to lower their lending standards to help marginal borrowers buy homes.

It worked.  Home ownership … and prices … went way up.

In 2001, the Alan Greenspan Fed threw gasoline on the fire by pumping in billions (which was a lot of money back then) into the system to reflate the stock market after the Dot Com crash.

But a lot of the money ended up in bonds … mortgage-backed securities in particular … and ultimately into housing … inflating an equity bubble.

Oops.

In fact, Greenspan tried to jawbone the markets into prudence.  But he’d already spiked the punch bowl … and everyone was in full-blown party mode.

More recently, the Fed tried to take away the current punch bowl by raising rates … and took a lot of criticism.

When you see interest rates and lending standards falling, it’s a sign.

Study history … and talk with smart, experienced people …

 Everything is 20/20 in hindsight. It’s easy to predict the past.

But as it’s been said …

 “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.” – Edmund Burke

That’s why we encourage attendance at live events like the New Orleans Investment Conference and the Investor Summit at Sea.

These are great places to connect with like-minded folks, have our perspectives broadened, and get into great conversations.

But even if you’re a dedicated homebody, invest in finding a local tribe of similarly interested people to study and talk with.

You’ll learn more faster in conversations with others compared to simply gorging yourself on terabytes of content.

It’s important to use conversation to process what you consume.

Enjoy the sunshine, but pack an umbrella …

We’re not saying a crash is coming.  But no one can say it isn’t.

It seems to us the best plan is to prepare for sunshine or rain.  In practical terms, this means ….

… organize some liquidity and keep it insulated from both market risk and counter-party risk …

… build a solid brand and network with well-capitalized potential investors …

… fortify the cash-flows and financing structures on your keepers …

… jettison assets you think already have their best days behind them …

… study history, watch for clues in the news, and mastermind with smart investors.

Because you’re only better off for doing all these things whether the party continues or comes to an ugly end.

And this is probably not a good time to get too over-extended.

Besides, even if you’re interested in aggressive personal wealth building right now …

… it’s arguably faster and safer to build rapid wealth through syndication rather than getting personally over-extended.

Until next time … good investing!

More From The Real Estate Guys

The Real Estate Guys radio show and podcast provides real estate investing news, education, training, and resources to help real estate investors succeed.

Love the show?  Tell the world!  When you promote the show, you help us attract more great guests for your listening pleasure!

The post A divergence in the farce … appeared first on The Real Estate Guys Radio Show.

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It’s been said that history may not repeat itself, but it often rhymes … and what goes up, must come down.

The persistent ups and downs of markets creates a certain anxiety when a boom starts to mature. Will the good times roll … or is the wind about to change?

Tune in as we take on where we are in the cycle … and what you can do about it.

More From The Real Estate Guys

The Real Estate Guys radio show and podcast provides real estate investing news, education, training, and resources to help real estate investors succeed.

Love the show?  Tell the world!  When you promote the show, you help us attract more great guests for your listening pleasure!

The post Podcast: Where We Are in the Cycle and What You Can Do About It appeared first on The Real Estate Guys Radio Show.

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A lot of folks have been asking lately … where are we at in “the cycle”?

Of course, the question presumes cycles exist (they do).

But with so many new people getting into real estate investing … including many who’ve never invested through a “correction” (geek speak for a downturn) …

… it’s amazing there’s anyone who isn’t wondering when the next one’s coming … and HOW to know.

It’s not really that complicated, unless you’re trying to get the timing down to the precise day and time.

Then again, if it were truly easy, everyone would know it and be on the right side of it.

This is where it gets tricky …

That’s because for there to be a right side, there’s got to be a wrong side.

This means if everyone knows it’s coming and acts accordingly, not only will it not not happen …

(We know … that’s a notty sentence.  Our English teachers are rolling over in their graves.  They never liked it when we were too notty.)

… but it’s actually more likely to happen because everyone knows it’s coming.

Our point is cycles are as much psychological as fundamental.

So when everyone sees it and moves in anticipation … it’s their very movement that makes it happen.  It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

You see it play out all the time in the paper markets.

Like a high-speed tailgater … even a flash of brake lights causes the lemmings of Wall Street to rush from one position to another …

… all trying to outrun each other to the exit of the entrance of a trade.  The rush pushed prices up or down depending on which way the crowd’s running.

Of course, as we often point out … real estate investing is boring by comparison … in a good way.  Real estate is slow, steady, and relatively stable.

That’s because real estate is not a commodity.  Real estate can’t be traded in large lots at lightning speed … because every deal is different.

And with real estate, the logistics of the transaction …

… verifying title, arranging financing and insurance, getting inspections and appraisals, and simply vacating the property …

… are all glacierly slow when measured in Wall Street nano-seconds.

Nonetheless, real estate is not immune to a rush for the exits … especially now that Wall Street players own huge blocks (pun semi-intended) of homes.

But even though real estate cycles like everything else, it’s still very slow.  It’s easy to fall asleep at the wheel. 

Of course, even if you’re alert (and we all know the world needs more alerts) … you need to know what to pay attention to.

And THIS is where newbie investors get confused.  They don’t know which gauges to watch.

Is it the stock market?  Interest rates?  Jobs?  Wages?  Taxes?  Cap rates?  Days on market?  Year-over-year price changes?  Price trends?  Occupancies?

Yikes.  It’s information overload.

No wonder people just want to ask someone they perceive as smart to flip to the back of the book and point at the answer.

Sorry to burst your bubble (calm down … it’s just a figure of speech), but the truth is no one knows for sure.

That’s partly because real estate is highly local.  And there are many niches … each with their own unique dynamics.

Still … there are some basic principles to apply to whatever product niche and market you’re investing in.

It comes down to the willingness and capacity to pay more.  And it’s important to note those are NOT the same.

Just because you want something, doesn’t mean you can afford it.

So effective upward pressure on prices comes when the supply in the market is being overwhelmed by demand from buyers fueled with the capacity to pay more.

So, the key ingredients to understanding what drives pricing are …

  • Supply, and the capacity for supply to expand
  • Demand, in terms of number of people chasing the supply …
  • Capacity to pay, which is generally a factor of incomes, interest rates, and loan availability.

(For rental properties, incomes are rents and net operating incomes. For single-family consumer housing, income means wages.)

Of course, to be precise with timing, you’ll need to dig into each of these factors for your specific geography, demographic, and product niche.

But when addressing “where we are in the cycle” (bet your thought we’d never get there) …

… you’re looking for a divergence between growth and the underlying driver.

Since housing is a hot topic for everyone … and usually the first thing that pops to mind when asking about real estate cycles …

… take a look at this chart:

Housing Price Index to Production Wage Index

SOURCE: FEDERAL RESERVE ECONOMIC DATA   HTTPS://FRED.STLOUISFED.ORG   
(The data came from the Fed, but the chart was put together by  The Heritage Foundation  here )

Notice that wages and home prices are tightly correlated from 1991 to 1999.Then something apparently happened to create a divergence in 1999.  Of course, from 2000 to 2007 a “bubble” blew up and peaked.

We’ve all heard or experienced how that ended.  Not pretty for those who weren’t prepared for the possibility.

Severe deflation (the housing crash) ensued.

And as the chart shows, prices relative to incomes over-corrected … falling below the wage trend line …  so by 2011 housing was actually very affordable.

But it didn’t last long.  And you can see where we’re at in the “cycle” now.

Kind of makes you stop and go hmmmm….

Of course, there’s a lot of insight hidden in the history of events from 1999 to 2019.

And because real estate is about buying and holding for the production of income over the long haul …

… it’s probably worth a trip down memory lane to see what can be gleaned from the last 20 years and applied to the next 20 years.

We’ll take that up in our next edition.

Until next time … good investing!

More From The Real Estate Guys

The Real Estate Guys radio show and podcast provides real estate investing news, education, training, and resources to help real estate investors succeed.

Love the show?  Tell the world!  When you promote the show, you help us attract more great guests for your listening pleasure!

The post Boom or bubble … where are we in the cycle? appeared first on The Real Estate Guys Radio Show.

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If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a thousand times … a mentor makes a difference.

Finding, vetting, and thriving, with a mentor is one of the quickest shortcuts to success.

Talk to a successful real estate investor, and chances are that they can point to one or more people whose example and encouragement helped them along their way.

But finding a great mentor … and making the relationship work through real world challenges … isn’t always easy. We’re here to share our tips with you!

In this episode of The Real Estate Guys show, hear from:

  • Your master mentor host, Robert Helms
  • His mental co-host, Russell Gray
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What makes a mentor

Your success in real estate is going to come down to a few critical things … and one of those things is your relationships.

We never would have had the success that we’ve had in our lives … in business and personally … without input from the people we consider mentors.

Real estate investing is a people business.

Yes, you need to know numbers, property, and markets … but you also need a team. One of the most critical members of that team is a mentor.

A mentor is an experienced and trusted advisor … a guide, a confidant, and a counselor. And a mentor is different than a coach.

Coaching relationships are finite. They’re focused on specific behaviors and needs.

A mentor is a long-term relationship that supports you in your development. They’re interested … but not financially tied necessarily … to your results.

If you do it right, you’re going to have a lot of mentors in your career. You should always have people in your life who are further down the path.

A mentor doesn’t have to be older than you … but they do need to have more experience and more success in the area you are interested in.

A lot of people think of a mentor as a technical teacher … but that’s not necessarily true.

If you really think about what investing is, it comes down to exercising good judgment.

Judgment is something you learn by being in close proximity to someone … seeing why they make the decisions they make and absorbing what they’ve gleaned from their life experience.

Your mentor should be an example … a role model … of what you aspire to be.

What you bring to a mentoring relationship

There are lots of people that believe they can learn everything they need to learn from the internet, webinars, books, and podcasts … but that’s not our experience.

Those types of learning are a great starting point … but you’ve got to get into conversations with people that have been there, done that … in the REAL WORLD.

It’s very tempting to align yourself with people who are just like you … but you actually want to align with people who are a little bit different than you.

Take a look at yourself and ask, “What is it about my personality that’s holding me back? Where am I not being effective?”

You know what your weaknesses are. Your mentor can be someone who is strong in areas where you struggle.

By being around people with attributes that don’t come as easily for you … you will improve!

You also want to consider your strengths. The best mentor relationships are equitable … each side brings something to the party.

Brainstorm ways that you can be a value add to the mentor you have in mind.

Mentoring is also a cyclical relationship. You may be green around the ears today … but a few years from now you could be a mentor yourself.

Finding a mentor in the real world

One way to get a mentor is to hire one. There ARE organized mentor programs … we have one ourselves.

Before you pay money for a mentor relationship, check out the reviews. Just remember that the results people get have a lot more to do with how they react to the advice their mentor gives.

Paying for a mentor collapses the timeframe it takes to find one … but often … in our experience … the best mentor relationships happen organically.

This type of strategy DOES take more time and effort. You have to be in the right environment to meet the right person … that’s a lot of trips, events, and social engagements.

Beyond that, your mentor relationship is really what you make of it. You have to have the mindset that you are going to be one of the top people out there when you’re done.

If you’re looking to be average and ordinary … to just go with the flow … you might get a trophy for being on the team, but you’re not going to get the paycheck.

So, keep asking yourself, “What are the people at the TOP doing? How can I be more like them?”

Begin to think the way they think … and you’ll begin to do what they do. And ultimately, you can find yourself producing the same results.

A great mentor knows exactly what you need and what you have to go through to get there … and they create an environment for that to play out.

You mentor can’t make your success happen for you. You have to make it happen.

Our motto has always been, “Education for effective action.” Finding a mentor is one of the most educational … and effective … paths you can pursue.

More From The Real Estate Guys

The Real Estate Guys radio show and podcast provides real estate investing news, education, training, and resources to help real estate investors succeed.

Love the show?  Tell the world!  When you promote the show, you help us attract more great guests for your listening pleasure!

The post How to Find a Mentor and Make It Work appeared first on The Real Estate Guys Radio Show.

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Finding, vetting, and thriving with a mentor is one of the biggest shortcuts to success in real estate investing and in life.

Nearly every successful person can point to one or more people whose wisdom and encouragement played a critical role in their development.

But recognizing the value of a mentor is one thing. Finding a great mentor and making the relationship work in the real world is where the rubber meets the road.

So tune in as we take on the topic of finding, vetting, and thriving with mentors.

More From The Real Estate Guys

The Real Estate Guys radio show and podcast provides real estate investing news, education, training, and resources to help real estate investors succeed.

Love the show?  Tell the world!  When you promote the show, you help us attract more great guests for your listening pleasure!

The post Podcast: How to Find a Mentor and Make It Work appeared first on The Real Estate Guys Radio Show.

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As we often say, real estate is NOT an asset class.  There are MANY different niches you can invest in to earn big profits … both capital gains and cash flow.

And we’ve been watching an exciting niche which is starting to attract the attention of alert investors …

“Value-add investors are finding this sector ripe with opportunity, offering strong returns and having very little competition.”

           –    National Real Estate Investor, 5/6/19

Sound inviting?  It is!

It’s rehabbing resort properties.

If you’re a fan of the long-running TV show Hotel Impossible featuring Anthony Melchiorri, you know there are a LOT of hotels out there … and many aren’t run very well.

In fact, some fail and are sitting empty and dilapidated … waiting to be resurrected by an enterprising real estate entrepreneur.

So there’s a LOT of value-add opportunity in these often potentially beautiful properties.

And the opportunity isn’t limited to a particular geography … these opportunities are available in a variety of markets.

In fact, we recently enjoyed interviewing an experienced resort rehabber in New Jersey (yes, there’s even resort opportunity in New Jersey!)

We also got the inside scoop on a fascinating resort rehab project in Orlando, Florida.

The message is clear … there’s big opportunity in resort property … and it’s not just money.

Think about it …

Most investors don’t get excited about spending the night or a romantic weekend in their Section 8 rental home, C-class apartment, or mobile home park.

There’s nothing wrong with any of those.  They’re all great for cash flow.  But when you can get cash flow PLUS lifestyle benefits too?  That’s double prizes.

Imagine taking a tax-deductible trip to check in on your beautiful resort property … walking a lush vineyard or relaxing on the beach … and enjoying a fine meal while watching a gorgeous sunset.

Of course, before you get to enjoy all the amenities … there’s work to be done.

And fixing up an entire resort … well, that’s a heavy lift even for the most seasoned house-flipper.

But who says YOU need to do all the work?  Or ANY of it?

What if there’s a way for you to get in on the action without putting on your work boots and safety glasses?

There is.

One way is to let someone else “fatten the cow” … then you buy in to “milk it” for cash flow over the long-haul.  Listen to this episode to learn more about this approach.

If you’re accredited, then there’s a whole world of investment opportunities available to you … including investing passively into an experienced resort rehabber’s project.

Of course, if you’re super-ambitious and industrious … you can become an active resort-property re-habber.  Because it’s capital intensive, it’s an ideal activity to syndicate.

If you choose the active route … here are some things to think about.

One way to learn the business is to go to work or volunteer with an active resort re-habber.

But before you go that far, it’s probably smart to start with just talking to some folks in the business to see if it’s the right niche for you.

Fortunately, we’ll have an active resort property rehabber … along with a whole bunch of other really interesting niche investors … at our next Secrets of Successful Syndication seminar.  So if this all sounds interesting, make plans to join us.

But whether you choose active, passive, or syndication … take a look at the opportunities for profit and lifestyle in the resort property investing niche.

Resort properties are a great way to earn rental income from affluent people who would probably never rent their home from you.

Until next time … good investing!

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The Real Estate Guys radio show and podcast provides real estate investing news, education, training, and resources to help real estate investors succeed.

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One of the best parts of our job is hearing from our amazing audience … and in this week’s episode we have more great questions from all of you.

That’s right, it’s Ask The Guys!

We’re talking about getting started in real estate investing, analyzing deals, understanding how economic cycles affect real estate investing … and more.

Remember, we are not legal or tax professionals. We don’t give advice … just ideas. Join our quest to answer your questions!

In this episode of The Real Estate Guys show, hear from:

  • Your book-smart host, Robert Helms
  • His street-smart co-host, Russell Gray
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Getting started in real estate investing

Our first question comes from Daryl in Boonville, Missouri.

Daryl wants to know the best ways to get started investing in real estate.

Lots of folks find themselves interested in real estate investing … but they don’t really know where to start.

There are so many books, blogs, podcasts, and seminars on the subject. It can be a little overwhelming … yet the basics of real estate are pretty simple.

What’s the best way to get started? Well, it depends on what you have to start with, where you want to go, and what you want to do.

But generally speaking, real estate is done with debt.

The first place to start is to take an assessment of where you’re at in terms of debt. Begin work on preparing yourself to be an efficient, effective borrower.

Go meet with a mortgage professional. Find out what your credit score is as far as real estate is concerned, what your documentable income is, and what types of loan programs you would qualify for.

Figure out what you need to invest.

Typically you need credit, a down payment, and technical advisors … like a football coach, you need to build your team.

Next, think about what you’re trying to accomplish. Most people want to grow … so it really starts with education and understanding your borrowing power.

Education doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money … but it will take your time.

Set aside and budget your time to be serious about investing. Go to a seminar or class. Join a local real estate investment club. Read books about the type of real estate that you’re interested in.

A great way to get started if you don’t have a lot of capital is to offer to help someone who is busy doing the thing that YOU want to be doing.

A lot of folks who are successful in real estate investing have more money than time … you might have more time than money.

The opportunity to lend a hand in exchange for learning can be huge.

You might even consider your first deal as a partnership in some way. One of our favorite ways to partner is through real estate syndication.

Syndication simply means a lot of people putting their money and their time together to do something.

Make sure that the person … or people … you are partnering with honestly know what they are doing.

Analyzing and understanding deals

Chris in Sun Valley, California, wants to know how to better analyze and understand deals.

First of all, there’s no such thing as a bad question … except the one you don’t ask.

Everybody who is at the front of the line was once at the back of the line … everybody who owns real estate today started with their first property.

It’s true that analyzing deals is one of investing’s critical skill sets.

If you’re analyzing deals for income, you need to understand an income statement for a piece of property.

One way to do this is to look at other deals. They’ll come with pro formas. You’ll be able to look at the financials … and then go out and look at other real world deals.

You’ll learn by doing that research … and once you feel like you’ve got the fundamentals down and understand the basics of financial analysis, you can take things to the next level.

The other side of the coin is actually analyzing the market, analyzing the physical construction of the property, and analyzing the condition of the neighborhood.

Like so many things in real estate investing, if you can find somebody who is active in the space and learn by helping them … you’ll pick up a lot.

You can’t get really good at analyzing deals by reading textbooks and taking classes … you will also need hands on experience.

So, start with basic education … and then, find a mentor.

Learning about the economic cycle

Laura in Austin, Texas, is looking to learn more about how real estate plays into the economic cycle … and how it’s affected by ebbs and flows. She wants to know what resources and topics we can recommend.

First up is a book by our dear friend Peter Schiff called How an Economy Grows and Why It Crashes.

It’s a simple book that is done in a way that makes the economy easy for everyone to understand … but it is also super, super powerful.

It has taken us years to wrap our minds around this stuff. The reason we cover broader picture economics and not just real estate is that every real estate investor is first and foremost an investor.

We all swim in the economic sea of the financial system that we are blessed … or cursed … with. So, it is imperative that we understand it.

There is definitely a lot you can learn by listening to people who have different opinions.

The Summit at Seais a great place to do that. We get people who come in with so many different backgrounds and from many different niches and markets all over the world.

We also recommend studying the Federal Reserve and the bond markets … because that is where interest rates derive from.

Study demographics … because that dictates where the people are.

Then, understand the way CEOs think about business … and where they want to be and don’t want to be.

Taxes are another area you’ll want to learn about.

In the United States, we’ve now made real estate arguably the most tax advantaged investment anyone can make … which should attract even more money into real estate going forward.

Like any ecosystem, there are lots and lots of components … and you’re not going to master them all. But if you can understand the relationships between them, then you can get into conversations with the masters in each area.

There are lots of great books, podcasts, and conferences to expand your knowledge. Be sure to check out the resources available on our website. We particularly recommend a video series we did called “The Future of Money and Wealth.”

Brian Tracy says that if you read an hour a day in whatever area of interest you have, in 10 years you’ll become a nationally known expert.

We believe that’s true. It happened to us.

More Ask The Guys

Listen to the full episode for more questions and answers.

Have a real estate investing question? Let us know! Your question could be featured in our next Ask The Guys episode.

More From The Real Estate Guys

The Real Estate Guys radio show and podcast provides real estate investing news, education, training, and resources to help real estate investors succeed.

Love the show?  Tell the world!  When you promote the show, you help us attract more great guests for your listening pleasure!

The post Ask The Guys – Getting Started, Analyzing Deals, and Understanding Cycles appeared first on The Real Estate Guys Radio Show.

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Lots more great questions from The Real Estate Guys audience!

In this episode we talk about getting started in real estate investing, analyzing deals, understanding how economic cycles affect real estate investing … and a whole lot more!

More From The Real Estate Guys

The Real Estate Guys radio show and podcast provides real estate investing news, education, training, and resources to help real estate investors succeed.

Love the show?  Tell the world!  When you promote the show, you help us attract more great guests for your listening pleasure!

The post Podcast: Ask The Guys – Getting Started, Analyzing Deals, and Understanding Cycles appeared first on The Real Estate Guys Radio Show.

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If you’ve been around awhile, you know there are optimists, pessimists, and realists.

Optimists see the upside and sunshine in everything.  They’re chargers and they’re not afraid to take bold … even impulsive action.

Of course, optimists sometimes run full-speed into a brick wall they COULD have seen, but chose not to … because it didn’t fit their worldview.

Still, if you take enough shots on goal, you’re bound to score eventually … so there’s something to be said for unbridled optimism.

Then there are the pessimists …

Pessimists see the dark and down-side in everything.  There’s no amount of upside that can outshine the enormous list of every possible thing that might go wrong.

Pessimists are pros at predicting problems … including many that never happen … and saying “I told you so” when things do go wrong … and worse, are often quite content to sit “safely” on the sidelines doing nothing.

Of course, you can’t win if you don’t play. 

But when your definition of winning is “not losing” … for those who see mistakes as devastating failure rather than valuable learning opportunities … that’s okay.

But perhaps there’s a productive middle-ground …

Multi-billionaire real estate investor Sam Zell says his strength is his ability to see the downside in a deal … and move forward anyway.

Zell says everyone can see the upside.  This doesn’t take any special skill or fortitude … except perhaps to keep believing after losing repeatedly.

But to soberly acknowledge the risks … and then find a path to proceed based on probabilities and a reasonable risk-adjusted return … THAT’s Sam Zell’s billionaire super-power.

Sam Zell is a realist.

We like listening to billionaires.  And we’re careful to listen to people both inside and outside of real estate … especially those who manage mega-amounts of money.

These big-time money managers have the time, the smarts, the resources, and the responsibility to gather lots of data and opinions, think long and hard, and then make great decisions more often than not.

Billionaire Jeffrey Gundlach is founder and CEO of DoubleLine Capital, which is a huge investment firm. 

Gundlach’s a renowned expert in bonds and has been recognized as one of the top 50 most influential people in the world by Bloomberg Markets.

Of course, real estate investors should always pay close attention to the bond markets.  The bond market is WAY bigger than the stock market … and directly impacts the cost and availability of money and mortgages.

More importantly, bond investors are arguably the most astute observers of the economy, the Fed, the dollar, and the politics affecting prosperity.

So when we saw a recent Reuters headline reporting on Jeff Gundlach’s comments about the economy in a recent investor call … we thought it worth noting.

“’Nominal GDP growth over the past five years would have been negative if U.S. public debt had not increased,’ said Gundlach.”

“ ‘… the GDP … is really based exclusively on debt – government debt, also corporate debt, and even now some growth in mortgage debt.’ ”

Wow.  We’d call that a reality check.

Think about that.  Five years of “growth” in a decade long “recovery” is really just a bunch of borrowed money fluffing things up.

That’s like using your credit card to remodel your house, buy a new car, and take a fancy vacation.  Your friends and neighbors think you’re prosperous.  But your income didn’t really grow … just your spending.  

Of course, if you’re using debt for productive investment … where investment returns exceed the cost of debt … then you could make the argument going into debt is smart.

That’s like using your credit card to buy new tools, remodel a property, hire a lot of workers, and then rent the property out for a profit.

Time will tell if enough of the new debt generated will be productive enough to pay for itself and add to real GDP.  Right now, according to Gundlach, it’s still net negative.

Meanwhile, we stay with our long-held belief that it’s probably wise for real estate investors to focus on niches and areas which hold up well or are more attractive in weaker economies.

It doesn’t take much smarts to do well in a booming economy.  A rising tide lifts all boats.  The biggest risk is getting sloppy and not being ready for a slow down.

But in any economy, even recessions, rich people tend to fare well. 

Of course, it’s hard to collect residential rents from the affluent.  But resort and medical are two areas where affluent people will continue to spend … even in a stagnant economy.

For working class folks and their employers … low-tax, affordable markets with good infrastructure, nice quality of life, and a business-friendly environment will likely continue to grow at a disproportionate rate.

A realist sees both the opportunity and the risks … then finds a path forward.

And for all the pessimists, here’s another reality check …

Check out this list of GDP growth indexed to notable events, including wars, depressions, recessions, and a variety of crises.

Take a look at it and ask yourself if there’s any point in the history where you wouldn’t wish you bought more real estate 20 years earlier.

Real estate is fundamental to human existence.  As long as there are people, there will be demand and opportunity in real estate.

So watch for clues in the news … to both find opportunity and to get reality checks from unbridled optimism … but don’t let the fear-mongering put you on the sideline.

Sometimes the biggest risk is not taking one.  Be bold.  Be smart.  And stay connected to people and ideas that expand your thinking and possibilities. 

Until next time … good investing!

More From The Real Estate Guys

The Real Estate Guys radio show and podcast provides real estate investing news, education, training, and resources to help real estate investors succeed.

Love the show?  Tell the world!  When you promote the show, you help us attract more great guests for your listening pleasure!

The post A reality check you can cash … appeared first on The Real Estate Guys Radio Show.

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