Saturday, February 23, 2013

Real Estate Finance and Investments By Brueggeman, William B./ Fisher, (Google Affiliate Ad)

A great read with up to date information about today's market.

The Fourteenth Edition of Real Estate Finance and Investments prepares students to understand the risks and rewards associated with investing in and financing both residential and commercial real estate. Concepts and techniques included in the chapters and problem sets are used in many careers related to real estate. The material in this edition is also relevant to individuals who want to better understand real estate for their own personal investment and financing decisions.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Name Your Price Home Repairs

Service Live is kind of like a cross between Elance and PriceLine for house services; you name the price you're willing to pay for a given job and pre-fund your account, then you get a list of pre-screened contractors who are willing to work for that price, you choose one, and when the work is done, you release the funds. is the only online services marketplace where you can name your price for home repairs and improvements. We help you to take care of your home or office on your terms.

Founded in 2007 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Sears Holdings Corporation, ServiceLive has spent the last year recruiting and conducting background checks on the best service providers in the country across a wide variety of home services - from handymen and home electronics pros to plumbers and computer experts.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

10 Potential Monster Problems

Before buying an investment property make sure you check into these 10 potential disasters waiting to bite you:
  1. Oil Tank - especially underground; if oil leaks into the water supply you've got problems; any leaking needs to be cleaned up via DEP/EPA guidelines, it is quite expensive
  2. Septic System - another pricey replacement if it is close to end of life; always have it checked by a professional before purchase
  3. Termites - don't skimp here, a cheap inspection and warranty beats paying for damage by these critters, remember they don't have to be active for there to be unidentified damages
  4. Lead Paint - if the house was built prior to 1979 you need to check this, remediation can be pricey, a lawsuit will be worse
  5. Water Damage - if the sump pump ever failed or the house is in a flood zone you may see water damage on the lower levels; this could invite mold, weakened beams and walls, and other hidden problems
  6. Sinkholes - more prevalent in some parts of the country; broken sewer lines, old mine shafts, shifting soil and underground water are some sources of this dangerous problem
  7. Streams/Rivers - nearby flowing water can cause problems during unprecedented rain or other weather-related issues
  8. Location - main roads, highway ramps, auto body or gas stations nearby, industrial areas near by, and other undesirable or hazardous locations can really eat away at potential value
  9. Unidentified containers - make sure all unidentified containers are removed prior to closing; it could be oil, paint, or a hazardous chemical which may be difficult or expensive to haul away later
  10. Roof - sagging beams, rotted underlayment, and other problems which could cause widespread damage during wet or windy weather

Friday, May 08, 2009

Check out crime in your neighborhood will mash-up reported crime statistics and overlay them on Google Maps. currently it appears limited to CA, FL, and a few other states but as they bring on reporting agencies it should expand. I imagine it will always work better in a city since they keep better statistics and reports.

One of the great features that the website offers is a service that allows users to be alerted of crime in their area. If you live in one of the cities serviced by the website, you can choose to get emails when new crimes are reported in your vicinity.

This is a great way to learn about a new neighborhood before investing, or keep tabs on a neighborhood you own property in to see if it is going uphill or downhill.

Monday, April 06, 2009

REI Video Blogs - Marketing and Education

Here is a great way to promote your business - use video.

My friend Jon is doing this at his new vBlog

This site is also a great way to learn about real estate investing.
He just posted episode #9 - take a peek.

Opportunity is EVERYWHERE you look. The key is you actually have to be looking to find it and act on it. If you just complain about how nothing happens for you then its probably going to stay that way! If you really pay attention opportunity is right out your front door.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Two Ways To Collect Rent Online



Smart Rent Online is an easy way to allow your tenants to pay online. You just set up your properties, tenants and rent, and then the service does the rest. It will provide reminders, track payments, notify you of payments and late status. Smart Rent Online processes fund transfer through ACH transactions. For each rent payment transaction, there is a fee of $2.00. In case there is a failed transaction, there will be failed transaction fee of $2.00.  You can pass this on to your tenant as a convenience fee, or split it with them. You can try this service for free.


Rentomatic also provides online rent collection with tracking, invoicing, receipts, etc. There is no transaction cost per se, but a flat fee for each unit which includes all of these features.

Rentomatic is more than a payment collection tool, it lets you fill vacancies with ads that post to craigslist, Rentometer, Google base and Oodle, etc. It also tracks your ad response. It has a property management dashboard for all your properties, and can manage your properties, tenants, leases, and income/expense transactions.

COST FOR RENT COLLECTION: $5/mo per unit online processing for all 50 states, and in these 24 states via check or echeck; credit cards coming soon.

COST FOR MANAGEMENT FEATURES: Plans from $9.95/mo (up to 5 units), through $59.95/mo (unlimited)

It appears that you must by a management plan in addition to the rent collection plan if you want to collect rent online. So this is a more expensive plan than the previous, however, if you were looking for an integrated full property management solution then it could be worth looking into.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

20 Landlord Tips for Newbies

20 Tips I've accumulated over the years
  1. Never call yourself a Landlord or Owner - you are a Property Manager
  2. Get a PO Box and never disclose your home address
  3. Allow up to 2 hours for paperwork before a tenant moves in
  4. The quality of your property determines the quality of your tenants!
  5. Use a competent real estate attorney
  6. Document messages you receive from tenants (voicemail, etc.)
  7. Use a specific key for vacant units - and only vacant units
  8. Use cell camera to snap photo of driver license or applicant
  9. Always dial *82 before calling tenants
  10. Never give tenants your cell phone number
  11. Before processing the application make a copy and mark it 'original', and the other 'Copy'
  12. Document the Date & Time that the form was submitted
  13. Send a bill on the 20th for next month's rent
  14. Use the postmark date on the envelope to determine 'lateness'
  15. Offer day shift officer $50/week to park his police car in property parking lot
  16. Charge tenants $25 for missed repair appointments
  17. Review insurance rates every 2-3 years.
  18. Pay tenants referral fee if they find a new (qualified) tenant
  19. Use dedicated bank accounts for your real estate activity
  20. Use the Equal Opportunity Housing logo on all forms (

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Monday, January 05, 2009

Buildium is #1 in Online Property Management

A nice property management application that comes highly recommended from a friend with over 20 units. Reasonably priced and a free trial to boot.

Whether you're a professional property manager, condo owner or a member of an HOA, Buildium has a property management solution to meet your needs. Completely online with no software to install, Buildium's property management software features full general ledger accounting, budgeting, secure online payments and access for renters, property owners, board members and more.

Friday, January 02, 2009

A new way to pay off your house

A good article on MSN about Home Accelerator Loans. You could pay off your 30-year mortgage in less than half the time - legitimately, with out spending more per month. You may have seen the ads for UFirst and such....

Here is an article on this topic.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Free Property Management Software

Simplify'em Property Management Software

Simple, Easy Setup - Be up and running in seconds!
Save Money Instantly - Get a comprehensive list of overlooked write-offs
Get Rent Collected on Time
Tax Time is a Breeze with One-Click Tax Report & Schedule E!