Pro Tips : Real Estate Investing for Beginners

Kevin Brunnock Real Estate

Nowadays people from various industries are looking to expand their portfolios by investing in properties. Real estate investing is a great opportunity to do just that, and I recommend it to those ready and willing to make the commitment. However, before purchasing any properties, consider the following 5 ways to prepare.

Make a Plan

Never forget that this is a business. This means you should treat it accordingly. Make sure that you do your research and come up with a solid business plan that outlines your goals over the next 10 years in 2 to 3 year phases. Your business plan should not only identify the short and long-term goals, but should share how you intend to accomplish these.

Know Your Credit

At the outset of this exciting new venture, make sure that you are armed with as much information as possible. In this case, make sure that you look up your own credit report to determine your eligibility and ability to finance a property. Lenders usually demand a score of 700 or higher FICO scores from those looking to purchase investment property. In addition to procuring your FICO score, calculate your debt vs monthly income ratio . If it is currently too high, you may want to reconsider your budget, and start to pay down any outstanding debts or loans.

Do Your Research

No need to stay too close to home when considering properties to invest in. Of course there are advantages to living near your potential investment, but try not to limit your options with this mindset.

Connect with the experts

Talk to an accredited mortgage broker in your area. Ask a certified realtor for recommendations. Join a real estate club, take your friends that work in real estate out to lunch, join online forums. However you choose to engage with the real estate community, find a way to get involved. It’s critical that you speak with people currently in the industry, so that you can get a better sense of what it is you are committing too.

Diversify your sources of purchase:

Consider mixing up the means through which you purchase properties. Instead of launching your search through just one venue, look into multiple avenues. Real estate auctions, word of mouth and more traditional multi-listing sites are a great place to start. Use your network and some creativity!


Small Changes, Significant Improvements

Kevin Brunnock Real Estate

In my line of work I have witnessed and participated in nearly every aspect of the real estate market. One thing that I see all too often, is owners pouring a lot of capital into remodeling their homes in an effort to boost the potential market value of their property. While renovating a property may eventually bolster the sale price, there is always the chance that the homeowners will not recoup these spending losses.

Recently, the National Association of Realtors as well as the the Appraisal Institute have suggested that homeowners forgo major remodeling projects prior to selling and instead encourage an allocation of their resources to making smaller improvements. Relatively small enhancements like refinishing hardwood floors, repainting the walls or replacing cabinet doors and fronts may up the sales price, for a relatively low upfront cost to the homeowners. According to this statement from the National Association of Realtors, these kinds of small improvements yield greater value than larger projects. Essentially, this method looks to upgrade different elements in the home instead of completely remodeling the space.

When considering what kind of improvements to make on a space with the short-term intention of selling, there is a real reason behind focusing on these subtle superficial upgrades. Prospective buyers that have a short time to be exposed to a space tend to respond more immediately to those tangible upgrades that they can see. If there are obvious visual cues for things that need to be upgraded, potential buyers may spend more time scrutinizing the space in search of anything and everything wrong with the space, instead of seeing all of the advantages that come with the place. Buyers often want a home that is move-in ready, instead of places that clearly need some work.

Furthermore, when considering what kinds of upgrades or small home improvements are worth investing in, one should assess whether or not this is a universally desirable improvement. For example, space comes at a premium in New York. Manhattan is the most densely populated borough in New York City, and therefore, it’s no surprise that well-designed, multi-functional storage space is desirable to virtually all New Yorkers.

And although many of these indicators suggest that homeowners should not pour excessive amounts of money into remodeling, there are of course the exceptions. Depending on the location, value and general desirability of a property, it is worth evaluating the benefit of larger scale remodeling projects. Some apartments or homes require a major overhaul in order to fetch a larger sum. In this case, factoring in the cost of a skilled designer and his or her proposed changes may ultimately be worth it. If a space is in a state of disrepair, but is desirable for location or other reasons, the owner may consider remodeling the space so that the potential home buyer doesn’t need to solicit these services and can readily move in.

All of this is to say that property owners looking to sell should focus modest budgets on smaller superficial projects as opposed to sinking more money into a full on renovation, unless they feel that the risk is worth the reward.


How Are Millennials Affecting the Housing Market?

Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 11.36.31 PMThat the odds stacked against Millennials isn’t necessarily secret. Those who are between the ages of eighteen and thirty-three have several factors set against them in the search for financial stability. Many struggle under crushing student loan debt; others can’t find a well-paying job to even begin paying off said loan debt. Between these and any number of other contributing factors, Millennials struggle to enter the housing market. As a result, several authorities in the real estate market were recently asked whether they thought Millennials were dragging down the housing market; their responses were collected for an article recently completed by U-T San Diego.

Nearly all those asked noted that several factors that are beyond the control of Millennials play a role in their difficulties to join the housing market and become homeowners. Several factors include difficulty paying off their very expensive college degree—specifically in finding an actual job that is capable of paying off student debt—tight lending standards, high housing prices, a delay in marrying and/or starting a family and hesitancy due to seeing friends and family suffer through debt of their own. As a result of all of these factors, Millennials are forced to live at home with parents for an extended period of time—longer than any other previous generation. Alternatively, even those who are able to find a job to help pay off their various debts, the job does not often pay enough to afford to become a homeowner in the slowly recovering economy; many are forced to settle as renters.

However, despite all of the struggles that exist against Millennials, many of the authorities asked believe that the desire to become homeowners is strong. Leslie Kilpatrick, president of the Greater San Diego Association of Realtors, cited a study recently conducted by the California Association of Realtors found that the majority of Millennials plan to buy a home in the next five years. Although all those asked agree that an economic turn around is needed for this statistic to become a reality, some are seeing the signs of the start of a turn around. Home prices have stabilized and interest rates remain at historic lows. Credit availability and lending guidelines have improved and finally fewer investors are in competition with first-time buyers. All of these factors combined may indicate a positive future for Millennials entering the housing market. All authorities asked on the issue believe that the group holds enough in number and in power to have a strong influence on the housing market, should they decide to pursue owning a home instead of renting.

Non Natives, Do They Affect NYC Rent?

The renters market in NYC fluctuates frequently and in recent years New York City real estate has skyrocketed to new heights. It’s no secret that New York has some of the highest rent in the country. Some may even see New York City as unattainable for living standards. But it wasn’t always the case. The outer boroughs and some parts of Manhattan were once havens for middle and lower class families to live comfortably and still have a familial community feel. Some of the top neighborhoods that thrive as up and coming areas were once tight communities that featured an array of ethnic groups and a myriad of economic enclaves.

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For example, Hell’s Kitchen is probably one of the most storied areas affected by a transition of residents and rent hikes. Hell’s Kitchen was once a neighborhood mainly inhabited by poor and working class Irish-American immigrants. Instances of this can be seen in movies such as Gangs of New York and Sleepers. However, with it’s close proximity to the theater district as well as its perfect location in midtown, developers saw this area as a goldmine and the neighborhood started to shift in demographics. But who’s to blame? Just like in now prominent neighborhoods in Brooklyn such as Williamsburg and Park Slope, neighborhoods that were once familial areas for working class families are now seen as luxury neighborhoods with rent that is reserved for the upper class. Gentrification has long been seen as the sole reason to these changes.

According to its definition, gentrification is the process of renewal and rebuilding accompanying the influx of middle-class or affluent people into deteriorating areas that often displaces poorer residents.That can be seen as true. Who makes up the influx of individuals responsible for gentrification? Many believe this is the cause of young professionals that come from areas outside of the “the city” or five boroughs who are simply looking for cheaper rent. Once in these individuals move into the area, it can be seen as a “potentially desirable” area which can then woo investors and developers.

Gentrification isn’t necessarily a negative thing. It can bring a much needed renewal to a deteriorating neighborhood and new revenue and resources into a community. But what shouldn’t happen is the removal of the culture of said neighborhood. The only thing that’s left of Hell Kitchen is the name with very few remnants of the old neighborhood. As a realtor, I can appreciate the rise in rates, but as a New Yorker, I will always appreciate the old New York that was full of culture and dreams.


Top 4 Tips For Becoming an Entrepreneur

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Becoming an entrepreneur can be a very scary and life changing. But in today’s uncertain economy, many people are looking to go through the route of an entrepreneur in order to create their own paths and futures. But how does one get to that level? We all know it takes hard work and dedication. But what are some things that true entrepreneurs do in order to become successful entrepreneurs? Building a business from the ground up is no easy feat, but it can definitely be done.

Check out some of my tips on becoming a successful entrepreneur:

Take Risks

Everyone knows the saying “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”. In order to gain a reward, you have to take a chance on your idea. There will be times where you fail, but you need to learn to take those failures in stride and learn from them in order to turn them into an opportunity. In order to succeed you must be willing to fail. If you’re a young entrepreneur. you have a better opportunity than anyone in order to take this step. If you fail, dust yourself off and try again.

Be Persistent

Nothing happens overnight. Continuing to work for your dream and and putting effort into with pay off with huge dividends. Build relationships with people. Figure out your target audience and who potential partners and sponsors could be. Reach out to these individuals and continue to show them how committed you are. Be careful not to move into the “annoying” space. Be calculating with your persistence and make sure to convey your message clearly. Don’t ramble.

Never Stop Learning

The worst thing that can ever happen to an entrepreneur is one who feels like they know everything and have nothing else to gain. With the ever changing world including its technology, there is always more to learn. Utilize your team and learn from each other. You’ll become unstoppable.

Utilize Social Media

We have an advantage that older entrepreneurs didn’t have. Social Media. Many people don’t see the importance of this tool, but it’s is quite possibly the most useful one can possess. It’s FREE marketing. Most social media properties are free to join and it is a great way to connect directly with your consumer base as well as one of the best ways to get your information out effectively and in a non costly manner.

Use these tools and you’ll be on your way to becoming an entrepreneur in no time! Best of luck!

For more tips on entrepreneurship check out Kevin Brunnock on Twitter!