Investing In Your First Rental Property


Shift Responsibility & Liability To Your Tenants

How To BUY Your First RENTAL PROPERTY The Right Way! – Real Estate Investing 101

Dont want the reek of smoke and yellowed walls in your rental unit? Include a clause in your lease prohibiting smoking inside the unit.

Have gleaming hardwood floors you dont want scratched and shredded? Include a lease clause requiring tenants to put felt pads on the bottom of their furniture legs.

Furthermore, no one says you have to be responsible for changing air filters, mowing the lawn, shoveling snow, or changing the batteries in the smoke detectors. Shift responsibility for as many tasks as you can to your renters.

You can also shift liability elsewhere by requiring tenants to obtain renters insurance. If a tenants belongings are damaged by a burst pipe, they can file a claim with their insurance rather than go after you.

Just make sure your lease clauses are legal in your state and municipality.

Potential For Instant Equity

Instant equity means that after youve built the property, you can go back to the lender and get it revalued. If you scored a good deal on the land and the build, and youve done a great job on the build, you could add value instantly and get instant equity, which could be put towards your next property purchase.

Reason #: You Can Handle More Risk While Youre Young

Being young and independent can be pretty amazing. You can make your own rules, live where you want, buy what you want and travel whenever you want. But that can get old pretty quickly, especially if you have other goals in mind.

All the money youre currently spending living the life while living in a crappy apartment could be spent on something else. Saving money and building credit arent impossible and theyre part of what youll need to qualify for a mortgage loan . Your current lifestyle might actually allow you to cut costs in a way that might not be possible later in life when you have larger obligations.

If you can learn how to effectively manage your money, you can come up with enough cash for a down payment.

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Can You Afford The Down Payment

It’s our moral imperative to be upfront and honest: the down payment on investment properties is always quite hefty. They also have stringent approval requirements. So before you scout out rental properties and add them to your wish list, be realistic, and assess whether you can afford the down payment.

Most of the time, a down payment averages at least 15% of the total cost of the home, or value of the mortgage. If you can’t afford the large down payment, you may want to consider financing your purchase with a personal loan.

Know The Laws In Your State

Rental Property Investing: Maximize Profit and Minimize ...

Be sure to familiarize yourself with landlord-tenant laws in your state. Those not only provide certain protections for tenants, but also for landlords.

For example, youll need to know what the laws are regarding eviction, as well as your responsibility to maintain the property in a legally compliant way. In most states, youll be required to maintain the property in a safe and livable condition. If not, the tenant may have grounds to break the lease.

If you do get into an eviction situation, be prepared to lose money. Depending on the laws in your state, it may take longer to evict a tenant than you expect. Though the lease should specify the terms of eviction, its possible the tenant will legally be able to occupy the property for an extended period of time if there are young children involved or if there is a recognized disability.

This is another reason why its important for rental real estate investors to have adequate cash reserves. In certain situations, you may need to cover the costs of your property for several months during the eviction process. Not to mention that evicted tenants often leave rental properties in damaged condition.

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Dont Count On Appreciation

I cringe when I hear new investors say, I might lose a little money on rents for the first year or two, but then rents and values will go up and Ill make it all back!

Buying an investment that loses money with the hope that one day the negative returns will turn around is not investing. Its speculation. In your search for your first rental property, ignore any potential increases in rents or values in the future. They may well happen, but you cant count on them.

Instead, evaluate the deal based on todays cash flow. Calculate your cash-on-cash returns, including the long-term average of irregular but large expenses . After all, one of the great advantages of rental properties is that you can predict the returns accurately. Not on a month-to-month basis you never know when the furnace will go out and need replacing but averaged over time.

Buy properties that promise a solid cash flow based on todays numbers. Rents and home values usually rise over time, but usually is not the same as always.

I bought properties in 2007, and everyone around me told me what I wanted to hear: how smart I was, how the properties would only go up in value. They ended up dropping in value by around 30%, and then I didnt feel so smart.

Invest In Landlord Software To Manage Your Rental

Becoming a landlord and managing tenants can be a huge responsibility to take on, especially without a property manager. Luckily, you do have the option to leverage a property management software platform to help streamline the rental process for all of your investment properties. With Avail, youre able to create custom rental applications, access lawyer-reviewed lease agreements, and collect rental fees online.

Instead of having to use multiple platforms to manage your rental business, you can keep everything in one place.

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Buying Rental Properties Requires Money & Skill

Anyone can throw $100 into an index fund. No minimum cash requirements, no education required. Its one of the great advantages of investing in equities, despite their volatility.

But rental properties pose two huge challenges to new investors: they require more money to purchase, and they require more skill than index fund investing.

At SparkRental we can help you with the skill part of that equation. We offer free rental investing courses, free webinars, a free weekly real estate investing podcast, and of course hundreds of free articles. But what about cash? Doesnt it take tens of thousands of dollars to buy a rental property?

Yes but that doesnt mean you cant use tricks and hacks to get around the down payment requirements for real estate investment.

Best For Environmental Programs: Winn Companies

How to BUY Your First Property (Rental or House) – Real Estate Investing

Winn Companies

From being able to return discounts on utility bills to providing green financing, Winn Companies has the best environmental programs of any property management company we reviewed.

  • Utility savings with programs like community solar

  • Environmental focus may not be cost-effective for new property owners

  • Like other providers, pricing is not transparent until you enter negotiations as a building owner

  • Many reports are issued quarterly

Spending millions every year bringing communities clean energy to follow the framework of the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED for Existing Buildings as well as providing new sustainable builds, Winn is the clear leader in environmental programs for property management.

Started back in the 1970s, Winn saw the potential for sustainable, affordable housing and has since grown to provide property management for affordable housing, the military, commercial, and luxury residential developments. The company is able to manage properties nationwide but currently manages in 22 states and Washington, D.C.

Winn ensures that properties are maintained to the highest environmental and community standards. Serving both commercial and residential properties, Winn can perform for a wide range of building types.

Fees are covered in their confidential proposals to property owners.

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Apply For A Bank Loan

After you have made your bank selection and chosen your bank loan, youre ready for the application process. Having your finances in order such as making on time payments and providing steady income will improve your chances of getting approved and getting a low interest rate. Typically, the higher your FICO score, the lower your rate, which saves you money over the life of the loan.

You will need to provide your identification, social security number, and proof of income. Proof of income requirements vary by bank but may be found in the form of bank statements, pay stubs, and/or tax returns. You will submit your documents and fill out the application either online or in person at a bank branch.

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No Rental Income Until The Property Is Complete

As nobody can live in the property until its been completed, you wont be receiving any rental income during the construction period. This means you will be paying your own mortgage or rent, as well as other costs if you own other investment properties.

If you do have other rental income coming in from other investment properties, this could help with paying off each stage of the project. Regardless, you should prepare for a period of about 6-12 months or more where you will have all the expenses of an investment property without any rental income.

How We Make Money

13 Tips For Buying Your First Rental Property

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Consider House Hacking First

House hacking is the easiest way to buy your first rental property. And in the bargain, you score free housing!

The traditional house hacking concept is simple: you buy a small multifamily , move into one of the units, and rent out the other. Your neighboring tenants rent covers your mortgage and other housing costs, for effectively free housing.

And when you move out, you keep it as a traditional rental property, and the cash flow only improves from there.

How does this help your down payment? Traditional lenders require far lower down payments on owner-occupied properties than investment properties. Its a simple risk calculation for them: borrowers are far less likely to default on their home mortgage than a rental property loan.

One popular low-down-payment loan program is FHA, which allows a 3.5% down payment as long as your credit score is over 580.

But FHA isnt the only option there are conventional mortgage programs out there that require even less money down, sometimes no money down at all.

Down payments aside, conventional loan options also come with lower interest rates, for lower monthly mortgage payments. Compare interest rates and loans on Credible and Loan Depot, and talk to at least three traditional mortgage lenders or brokers before settling on a lender and loan program.

As a final thought, keep in mind that multi-unit properties arent your only option for house hacking. Try these other house hacking ideas as well to score free housing!

What To Know When You Buy A Rental Property

If youre looking for a way to build wealth, there is no better investment than real estate. In fact, your first rental property can be the foundation of a substantial portfolio.

This blog post will provide tips on buying your first rental property and making it successful from day one. Learn what to look for in an ideal location, the critical issues to avoid, and how to run the numbers on potential rental properties. Finding the right investment property takes time and patience.

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Get A Projection Of Ongoing Expenses

Make a list of regular expenses including taxes, insurance, utilities, HOA fees if applicable, and overall upkeep.

Get as much detailed information as you can about what these numbers are for the property before you buy, so you can make an accurate projection of what youll be paying. You can look up tax records, ask your insurance agent about the estimated cost of insuring the property and find out HOA fees pretty easily. In addition, you might want to email the listing agent and ask for an estimate on utilities from the current owner. This will give you an idea of the costs for power, gas, water, trash and more.

Get Your Finances In Order And Look For The Best Deal

How To Buy Your First Rental Property (Step by Step)

If your projected returns from your rental home turn out to be lower than the cost of any outstanding debts you might have, it is generally best to make sure those debts are fully paid off before purchasing a rental home.

On top of that, you should also make sure to shop around as much as possible when talking to realtors and banks so that you can find the most convenient agreement for your situation. For example, you should pay special attention to the high interest rates youre likely to come across as youre trying to secure a mortgage and crunch the numbers with each prospective offer to make sure youll still be making a profit after mortgage payments and all property expenses.

Finally, keep in mind that you wont be able to put down any less than a 20% down payment and that in most cases youll be expected to pay between 25% or even 30% as a down payment, given that approval requirements for rental homes are much more stringent than residential properties.

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Is A Property Management Company Worth It

For most landlords, it is not only worth it, but its almost necessary to have a property manager. The many laws and maintenance responsibilities of owning and leasing a property are often too complex or time consuming for an investor to handle on his own. The expertise and professionalism needed when dealing with tenants, as well as the trade skills to keep the rental in good operating function, are well worth the 8% to 12% of collected rent payments.

Best Onboarding System: Apartment Management Consultants

Apartment Management Consultants

We named Apartment Management Consultants as the property management company with the best onboarding system as a result of their intense focus on documenting their management plans, and exceptional property manager training programs.

  • Handles all the property’s banking for you

  • Preferred vendor program provides better quality and cost savings

  • Allows clients to give feedback on regional employees and have a say on who manages properties on a local level

  • This company operates mostly in the West and Midwest, so it may be difficult to arrange management on the East Coast

  • It is geared to manage larger properties

Onboarding becomes easy when systems are documented for new property managers to follow and continuous learning is a part of your job. No property management company does this better than AMC.

AMC manages 104,067 units in 592 properties across 20 states. Clients include private equity firms, institutional investment firms, and single asset owners. It ranked eighth on the National Multifamily Housing Councils list of largest apartment managers in the United States in 2020.

The company serves residential multifamily owners through the following services:

  • Capital budgeting
  • Training programs
  • Accounting and banking

Onboarding includes a financial statement review, market reviews, capital improvements, physical condition reports, and an overall monthly summary of operations.

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Do Your Due Diligence

Due diligence is all the work you do between signing the contract and closing the deal.

After your offer is accepted, youll need an appraisal and home inspection. The appraisal will provide your lender with an estimate of the homes current market value. This will cost you approximately $300 to $600.

When you receive your copy of the appraisal, have your real estate agent look it over to make sure the information reported matches up with the comparable properties in your area. If the appraisal comes back higher than your offer, youve got instant equity in the property. If its lower, you can withdraw your offer , challenge it, or attempt to renegotiate the contractall of which are steps your real estate agent can walk you through.

Youll need to schedule a local property inspector to inspect the property. Your agent should have a good recommendation.

You should always make your offer contingent on a home inspection because it could reveal some potentially serious problems that may change your desire to buy the property at all or cause you to amend your offer. If the home needs significant repairs and updates, you can go back to the seller to renegotiate a price reduction or ask the seller to fix certain issues before the home is sold.

Additionally, your agents attorney can help pick a title company, which will be needed for the closing. They will review the propertys title to make sure there are no claims that could affect the legality of your ownership.

Is Owning A Vacation Rental A Good Investment

5 Pro Tips For Buying Your First Rental Property

When investors follow the appropriate steps to buying a vacation rental property, they are more than likely to reap the many benefits this investment offers. The biggest payoff vacation rentals have is increased cash flow. Vacation rental platforms are a great way to generate income from a short-term lease, and if your property is in high demand, you will see even greater profits.

The tax benefits associated with vacation rentals are also available to take advantage of. Your vacation home is considered a business if it is rented out for at least 2 weeks per year or more for tax purposes. This means that the rentals income will be taxed, but you can also write off many of your rental propertys expenses. You can deduct many items from your taxes, including utility costs, property management fees, occupancy taxes, mortgage interest, and more.

Not only can you generate income by leasing out your rental property, but also you have the benefit of vacationing there yourself. If you ever decide to take a getaway, your vacation rental can be made available for your own personal use. You can even hold on to your vacation home to use as a future retirement home.

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