Opinions

August 4, 2016

Is the sky falling on asset prices or should we just wring the neck of that screaming chicken to shut him up?

“The U.S. Treasury’s Office of Financial Research noted this week that stocks have reached today’s valuations “only ahead of the three largest equity market declines in the last century.” Certainly NOT what I wanted to read while sipping my first cup of coffee this morning.  WTF??? But….as in all good thought-provoking pieces it’s valuable. Yes, a bit of a butt-puckering scary article but still valuable. Here’s why I think it’s valuable: If asset prices plummet, we will see opportunities to pick up new properties from distress situations.  So perhaps keep some of your powder dry to seize these rare market fluctuations. It’s time to re-evaluate each of the properties in your portfolio in a kind of stress-test scenario.  For example, do you know what the Break Even rent value is for each of your properties?  (Hint:  If you don’t know how to calculate this, send me a message and I’ll walk you […]
August 18, 2016

Top 20 Questions (that will spawn 20 more….)

Questions. We all have them. (If you don’t, run away from real estate.) Here’s the Top 20 questions asked by landlords and investors when choosing to hire a property management company. Some are deeper questions than they might seem the first time you read them, which is why the first question on the list is the first question on the list.  If you are thinking about them in the correct mindset, you should realize within 2 breaths that the questions spawn subordinate questions and will take you down a rabbit hole even further. What do you charge? If I have a question and send in an email or call, what is the expected response time from your company? Is the prop mgr available on weekends if issues arise? How do you handle repairs? How does money get to me each month? What happens if the tenant doesn’t pay rent? What […]
August 22, 2016

The Most Feared Activity for Landlords

Over many years of coaching Landlords, Investors, and Real Estate Agents I’ve come to this conclusion: Your Dreams and Nightmares are always about THE SAME THING. Your most dreamed about issue?  It is always making large amounts of money so they can have Financial Freedom.  It’s you visualizing their bank account balance swelling up.  It’s you visualizing your ROI numbers and seeing it start with a larger integer than last year. Your most Nightmarish issue?  It is always procrastinating the grunt work of actually running the financials on your rental properties.  It’s “stepping on the scale”.  It’s the attitude of “What I don’t know can’t hurt me, right?”  “If I don’t look at the numbers, they’ll certainly improve on their own….” I’ve learned that I can ask clients to run a simple worksheet and they don’t want to do it.  They’d rather talk to 10 life insurance salesmen than actually get a […]
August 30, 2016

Why Flexibility is more important than Rigidity in your Operations….

Things happen when you run a rental property operation.  That’s why there’s the phrase you see on bumper stickers that says “**** Happens.” As such, two primary choices present themselves:  Be absolutely rigid and unbending in your policies and procedures….or…..Be absolutely flexible and have strength in your policies and procedures. What I mean is captured in this video below. As you watch it, consider the possible scenarios in your minds and do the metaphorical application to your rental properties, your tenants, and your landlord clients if you are a property manager.     So….Is your operation flexible and strong enough to break your ‘cement blocks’? Or will you end up crushing all 27 bones in your hand?
September 28, 2016

Vampires and your Rental Properties

If you’ve ever read any of the feel-good books like Tuesday’s With Morrie or self-help books like Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, you already know about the concept of “vampire time-suck“. This is the person or situation that sucks the valuable time (aka “your blood”) out of you by attending certain meetings, taking certain phone calls, and completing to-do’s.  If you think even for 30 seconds here, you can mentally picture that co-worker or vendor or daily/weekly job task that fills this time-suck, can’t you? Me too. Why do I bring this up today? Because one of my property management Clients reminded me how this concept intersects with the financial concept of “discounting value of money”. Here’s the basic concept:  A dollar earned or saved today is worth more than a dollar earned or saved in the future.  It’s the method used to bring future projected cash […]
October 24, 2016

Treats instead of Tricks

Landlords and Investors make money the same way airlines, hotels, and entertainment shows do–they keep butts in seats for as long as possible. For real estate, this means maximizing Days of Occupancy and correspondingly minimizing Vacancy Days. So this Fall let’s review some of the Best Practices to give your Tenants Treats instead of Tricks for their lease situation. 1. Advance Communication The saying, “Misery is the mismatch of expectations between two people”, holds true in rentals.  If you are communicating with the tenants at the time of their initial lease signing that you’ll be recontacting them to begin discussing the possibility of renewing their lease 60-90 days before the lease ends, you’ve planted the seed early on that your not the kind of landlord who waits until the last minute for these conversations.  Good for you. 2. Review of the Market Conditions Before you pick up that phone or begin […]
October 31, 2016

Treats instead of Tricks, Part II

Last week, we started discussing the early work to position yourself strongly for a tenant renewal scenario.  (https://danbaldini.com/2016/10/24/treats-instead-of-tricks/) This week, let’s conclude the article. 1.  The Approach Let’s assume you have one of two options for the renewal scenario:  You plan on keeping the rent the same as in prior years or you plan on asking for a rental rate increase. Same rent scenario:  This one is easier, but be prepared for the tenant to ask for a possible rent reduction or other concessions.  Their argument could be as basic as,”Hey–you don’t have to search for a new tenant, so how about knocking $25 off our rent for the next year?” or “Hey–can you replace the carpet and we’ll agree to renew?” Whatever their request is….be prepared to know your numbers (i.e. profit margin) in order to know if you can do it or not.  In addition, if the request […]
October 31, 2016

Unless you’re already a Millionaire you might want to read this….

Forbes recently published a concise article on how real estate investing can help you become a Millionaire. Yes, there are plenty of folks making this claim, but I do like how this author augments it with counterarguments that it’s not for everyone.  In other words, it is not easy.  Doable, but not easy. Here’s the link to the article: http://www.forbes.com/sites/brandonturner/2016/10/18/4-things-you-need-to-become-a-millionaire-through-real-estate-investing/#119bf80732b8 (Sidenote:  If you’ve been a student in any of my courses for the Indiana Association of REALTORS (IAR) continuing education classes, MANY of his bullet points will look extremely familiar as we covered these in granular detail.)  
November 15, 2016

Should You Sell All Your Rental Properties?

ARGGHHHHH!!!!! Economic uncertainty is nobody’s friend but lately, if you watch the talking heads and read the mass media pundits, you would think the world is coming to an end and the rapture is here. I’m not so certain these folks are using the correct lens to look through for their prophesies…. This article by David Lynn, Ph.D., covers some of the flight and self-preservation concepts very nicely.  He also reminds the reader that business is a cycle with repeatable stages of peaks, contractions, troughs, and expansions. “So where are we now?” is the BILLION dollar question, isn’t it? Here’s Dr. Lynn’s conclusion for those of you who don’t care to read the entire article: We are in a very unusual situation in that the normal pattern of oversupply has not occurred in this real estate recovery. This bodes very well for the real estate market. Over-supply has always killed […]
November 22, 2016

Why do investors lose money on real estate?

Why do sooooo many investors lose money on real estate? ….Because They Buy: The Wrong Real Estate At the Wrong Time For the Wrong Reasons In the Wrong Way From the Wrong People In the Wrong Location Using the Wrong money/financing The investors who have epic failures typically combine more than one of these reasons. Don’t be an epic failure.  Be an Epic Success by getting educated and being disciplined.