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3 Things Investors Must Analyze When Buying A Rental Property

By | Agents, brokers, Property Management, real estate, Real Estate Investment

Thinking about investing in residential real estate? Maybe you already own a few residential properties and you are looking to expand? You may or may not already know, there is a lot to consider when determining what kind of property will make an ideal candidate as a rental property. It is important to analyze every property you are considering as an investment; not doing so can be a costly mistake. To help you make the best investment, we have broken down what makes a great rental property.

  1. Crunch the Numbers

When you are digesting all the factors of a property to determine whether it would be a good rental, it does not stop at just the math. But an investment can start or not start depending on the math, so be sure to break everything down and analyze all the numbers as you work towards your decision.

Rent-to-Value Ratio

First and foremost, what is the rent-to-value ratio ratio of the property? Rent-to-value is one year of rent divided by the price of the property gives you the gross rent yield. There is not a hard and fast rule for where the gross rent yield should be, but typically they fall between 3 and 8 percent, depending on the location of the property. Usually the better investment is the property that has the higher rent yield. It is not an absolute law of an investment’s success, but knowing a property’s rent-to-value ratio will help determine which properties may be better suited as rental properties over others.

Cash Flow

Another factor to think about when considering the viability of a property as a rental is its cash flow. This is the monthly rent minus all expenses associated with the property; including mortgage, taxes, insurance, HOA dues, maintenance, vacancies, etc. Once everything is calculated, are you happy with the number you have? If it is much lower than you would like, maybe you should consider a different property.

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  1. Location, Location, Location

Real estate professionals love to say that, but it is true! Location is huge factor when it comes to investing in real estate. Several factors in regards to the property’s location will determine whether your investment is fruitful, so it is crucial to consider all of them and to do your research.

Already Popular Or Still Rising

What is the neighborhood like? Is it well-established, up-and-coming, something else entirely? Established neighborhoods are a great place invest; property values are usually stable so it is less risky of an investment. However, that can also make it more difficult to make money. If the initial cost of the property is higher, there is less room for profit.

On the other hand, though it is more risky, investing in an up-and-coming neighborhood may give you more room for profit. You may be able to get a property at a lower cost, and though initially profits may be lower, as the neighborhood becomes more established, property values and rent prices tend to increase. The payoff can be high, but there is also more risk involved.

Some neighborhoods can take years to become more established and some others never take off as expected. If possible, find out if any building permits were issued nearby? Are there any new businesses moving in or future developments planned? This will help give you an idea of the speed of growth in the neighborhood. To ensure that you make the best investment for you, be diligent in your research and consider talking your plans over with an expert who is well-versed in neighborhood growth and real estate trends.

Education Is So Important

The neighborhood schools may not be important to every potential tenant, but for the ones who find it important, it can be a major importance. The quality of the schools in the area are often a top factor when they choose where to live. Check out the quality of not only the public schools in the area of the property you are considering but also any nearby private schools.

Neighborhood Watch

Nobody wants to live in an area that is a hotbed for criminal activity. The crime rate will play a major role in not only the value of the property you are considering but also the ease in which you will find tenants. You should be able to acquire updated crime statistics for the area you are considering. Pay close attention to violent crimes, vandalism, and theft, and look for any signs of increase or slowdown in criminal activity.

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  1. The Property

Now that you have considered the location and the dollars and sense of the investment, let us now think about the physical property. It is not as cut-and-dry as just choosing a property that looks nice and is in your prices range; there are several factors to consider.

What Type of Property is It?

There are many different types of residential properties available so one of the first things you need to decide is what type of property are you looking for. A single-family home or a condominium is great for any investor, but if you are a first time or beginning investor they are the ideal property.

Single-family homes are nice because they tend to attract long-term tenants such as young families or couples looking to start a family, so you will not have to worry as much about vacancy. Condominiums are nice for a beginner because they tend to be low maintenance. Owners are responsible for interior repairs; this leaves any exterior repairs as the responsibility of the Home Owners Association.

However, that can bring about another issue. HOA fees can be high so it is important to consider those into your figures when determining the potential value of the investment. Also, make sure you look into the financial health of the HOA because you do not want to end up footing the bills for a struggling HOA.

If you are a more experienced investor, you may be thinking about a multi-unit investment. This type of property has multiple tenants in one building and can range from a duplex to an apartment building and anything in between. With this type of property, tenants could solely occupy the units or you could live in one unit with tenants occupying the remaining units. Living in one of the unit could be a beneficial way for you to save money personally and possibly save money on fees involved in financing a multi-unit property.

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced investor, meeting with a real estate professional to discuss what type of property is ideal for your individual situation will help you make the best possible investment.

Skip the Fixer Upper

Many people like to purchase property that needs moderate to major amounts of work, thinking that they can make a lot of money. Properties that require a lot of work can be bought at significantly lower price, but they are best avoided by those new to investing in real estate. Unfortunately, many people end up spending more money than they planned and do not make the kind of money they expected. Do not get us wrong here, there are people that do this and are very successful at it. We have found that, in the beginning, it is better to leave the fixer uppers to those that already do it well.

There is a lot to consider when purchasing a residential property as an investment and it can require a certain amount of legwork to determine what is best for you. Consulting an expert in the field will help take some of the work out of your hands. Here at Lofty, we do just that—we have the experience and the knowledge at our fingertips to help relieve you of the extra work and help you make the right real estate investment choices. Talk to us and see how we can help you live the life you deserve.

Speak with one of our experts to find out how we can supercharge your investment.

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What Does An Amazing Property Management Company Do?

By | Agents, brokers, Property Management, real estate, Real Estate Investment

Imagine a world where you never have to worry about finding the right tenants, collecting rent, and getting a plumbing call in the middle of the night on one or many of your investment properties. Well, it is possible with the right property management company. Here are a few things an amazing property management company can do for you...

Market Value

Property managers start by evaluating your property. After performing a detailed inspection of the interior and exterior of your property, which includes taking photos and/or videos of the property, a great property manager can make suggestions for repairs both cosmetic and necessary—repairs that can increase the value of your property and make it more appealing to prospective tenants.

Next, a property manager will seek to determine the fair market rate for rentals. They conduct a comprehensive comparison study of the rentals in your area, to discover the amount of rent that is considered “fair market value” in your area, for your property type and features.

When it is time to search for a new tenant, they will handle the heavy lifting of the leasing process. Whether they show the property individually, list it on the MLS with a lockbox, or some combination of both, a great property manager will market your listing in unique ways to find your ideal renters out of many potential renters.

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Creative Marketing

Carrying a great deal of experience when it comes to marketing, a great property management company can easily design effective ads that will really get perspective tenants attention. Utilizing professional photography and graphic design, a great property manager can prepare print ads, digital ads and network your property with other realtors.

As the calls from prospective tenants start rolling in, they can provide additional information about the property, with a keen sense of how to answer questions you may have had difficulty with on your own. When it is time to show the property to prospective tenants, a great property manager will handle it without hesitation—even during “off” hours like regular business operating times when you may be occupied with other responsibilities.

Tenant Selection

A great property management company is likely already outfitted to present your prospective tenants with application materials that are in line with federal and local housing laws. This means that leasing is sound, safe and secure with a great property manager.

Tenants expect to be required to clear certain verifications in order to be truly eligible to rent from you. Professional property managers know this and are well-prepared to run the necessary background checks to ensure that your prospective tenants are qualified. They will meet with the prospective renters on your behalf and collect the necessary background information to run the verifications.

Leasing

Even if you already have a lease to use, a great property manager is sure to have a lease ready-to-go that is at least as secure and safe as yours, and can set up the lease agreement within all the specific local, state and federal guidelines. They will go over the lease agreement with the tenants to ensure that the terms are well understood—especially addressing the lease due date payment and any fees associated with late payments. Property managers also can ensure that all the instruments have been executed correctly and all signatures are received. When the lease is in place, the property manager will work with your new tenant to secure a move-in date.

Moving In

Great property managers will always seek to perform a comprehensive move-in walkthrough of your property with your new tenants. This is an outstanding way to manage expectations and establish accountability. By making careful notes, a great property manager will learn and share with both parties the condition of the property at the time of move-in. The walkthrough provides an arena for your new tenant to voice concerns and request maintenance on items you may have overlooked or forgotten, while you are well-informed of the condition of your property at the time of the move-in. This can be invaluable in the event of difficulty down the line.

Lease Payment Collection

You can count on your property manager to collect the rent, address late payments and collect late fees on your behalf. In the event things take a turn for the worse, they will even send out demand letters, quit and eviction notices.

Provide Legal Support

Expert property managers are equipped to supply and manage all necessary legal forms and documents for eviction proceedings. They can act as the owner’s representative in court, or work with law enforcement when necessary to remove tenants that are unlawfully occupying property.

In the event of a legal action, your property management company can provide advice or qualified attorney referrals. Great property managers can help the landlord to stay in compliance with all legally binding and necessary activities to include proper documentation.

Financial Service Support

In addition to keeping track of you tenant’s rent collection and security deposit, your property management company can provide accounting services, make payments on your behalf and maintain detailed documentation and expense records. Your monthly income and expense reports will be delivered in the form of performance reports.

Count on your property manager to keep historical financial records for easy access when needed. When it comes to contractors, your property manager will provide tax documents like 1099 forms and other records to ensure ease of tax preparation. You may also find your property manager can give you reliable tax advice about which deductions can be taken.

Work Orders

When it is time for maintenance or a service request, your excellent property manager has a crew of fully-vetted contractors ready to work. They will work with your budgets and take responsibility for the project management just as an expert general contractor would. No rehab or remodeling project is too large or small for an expert property management firm.

As the seasons change in Chicago, the need will arise for landscaping in the spring and summer months, as well as leaf and snow removal in fall and winter, respectively. You can count on your expert property management company to cover you so your tenant stays happy and safe. A 24 hour maintenance phone number provided to your tenant will also work to foster trust and peace of mind.

Moving Out

As with the move-in walkthrough, your property manager will perform a detailed move-out walkthrough inspection of your tenant’s unit, noting damages and necessary repairs. Count on your expert property manager to ensure that your tenant’s security deposit is returned or rightfully applied toward necessary repairs. They will also make sure the keys are returned or the locks changed, and that the unit is deep-cleaned and ready for a new tenant. Marketing begins immediately after an availability date is established.

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These are just some of the services that a property management company can provide. If you need or want additional services, contact your property management company to see what they have to say.

Here at Lofty, we are excited about all the ways we can be of service. Talk to us today and see how we can help you live the life you deserve.

Wondering if a switch might be right for you? Give us a shout and learn more.

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One Overlooked Issue for Chicago Home Workplaces

By | Agents, brokers, home buyer, home buying, Property Management, Property Managemnt, real estate, Real Estate Investment

For those who might be dubious about flexjobs.com’s contention that 75% of employees “are less distracted at home,” a survey from Atlassian, a developer of team productivity software, offers some common-sense confirmation: “Seventy-six percent prefer to avoid the office when they need to concentrate on an important task.”

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Naturally, the rising tide of Chicago home workers creates a corresponding surge in the need for Chicago home workplaces—areas fully or partially given over to business activity. We have already seen an increase in the interest that prospective buyers are expressing (and Realtor® Magazine predicts that home offices “will become a hot amenity for the long term”).

All this points to at least one wrinkle that hasn’t as yet been given much attention: workplace safety. The requirement for things like smoke detectors, adequate lighting and ventilation, and unobstructed walkways are second nature to human resource professionals—but few Chicago home workers have probably given them much thought. The immediate need for a strong Wi-Fi connection and comfortable seating are more likely to have drawn their attention. Yet, according to the government’s telework.gov website, ensuring workplace safety is the remote worker’s responsibility. Given the number of hours now being spent in Chicago home offices, that is worth treating seriously.

At Lofty Real Estate, it is our job to track the latest ins and outs of the everchanging Chicago home marketplace—and to share them with our clients that are buying, selling, and/or looking for property management for their real estate investment.

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When to List: Controversy in This One-Off Year

When to List: Controversy in This One-Off Year

By | Agents, brokers, home buyer, home buying, real estate

Sometimes, the timing for when to list your Chicago home is pretty much dictated by circumstances. Whether they be personal or professional changes that call for a move, when to list is (as politicians say) "baked in." When to list can't be rescheduled.

When that isn’t the case—when the timing is solely up to you—there are two ways to look at the decision. One of them is controversial.

Controversial: timing by season. Although many commentators do seem to come down on the side of listing for real estate’s busy season, there are reasonable arguments that counter it. Statistics do prove that the majority of transactions are initiated during good weather. During the spring and summer months, when the sun shines the longest, buyers tend to have more optimism (and possibly energy, although that’s debatable). There are definitely more prospective buyers during the peak real estate season—and they’re out in the neighborhoods house-hunting.

Yet from the seller’s point of view, it’s also true that there is more competition from other Chicago homes for sale. The peak season nay-sayers can also argue that prospective buyers who do their house-hunting in poor weather are demonstrably highly motivated—making for fewer looky-loos and more committed prospects.

Non-Controversial: listing when you’re ready. If 2020 has demonstrated anything, it is how ignoring the traditional real estate calendar can sometimes work out nicely. This year, the “peak” for national home sales has taken its sweet time getting here. It has been on its own schedule—one that nobody could have predicted a year ago. What hasn’t been debatable is what knowledgeable financial commentators have long recommended: when your house no longer fits your lifestyle and/or your financial circumstances indicate that a move will be advantageous—that’s the calendar you should pay attention to.

After the sale is completed, in retrospect, the right time to list your home will have been when your ultimate buyer was looking for a house like yours. That might be more likely when more shoppers are active—yet the persistent fact that many sales seem to be finalized toward the end of the year argues otherwise. The truth is, when you are ready to move on, emotionally, and financially, it’s always the right time to list your Chicago home. It’s also the right time to give one of Lofty’s real estate agent a call!

Thinking of listing your home? Give us a shout and learn more.

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Benefits & Drawbacks of Raising Rent

Buying Multi-Units Vs SFH as Investment Properties

By | Agents, home buying, Property Management, real estate, Real Estate Investment

Real estate in Chicago is a pro’s game. The dilemma of making a decision to buy a multi-unit or a single-family home is not strange to most property investors. Placing the merits and demerits side by side, and considering what works best for you and your investment goals is key to making the right decision.

Investing in Chicago real estate requires a solid discernment of the real estate scene. It’s easy to stare at a few numbers and just decide that single-family homes are better than multi-units and vice versa.

To completely figure out what represents a better real estate investment decision, let’s look at the two types of properties. Then we’ll do a compare and contrast and let you be the judge.

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Single-Family Units- Merits of Investing

A single-family home (SFH) is a property with only one family (unit). It’s a multi-unit when there is more than one family or tenants living in different units of the building.

There are many benefits of investing in Chicago real estate. and even more when you go with a single-family unit. Let’s look at these for size.

1. Ease of Selling Off

It’s easier to sell off a single-family home. This, in fact, means that you can quickly make a profit on the sale of a SFH than when your property is multi-units. There is also less stress in finding interested buyers when you’re trying to sell a single home.

 2. Faster Appreciation of Property

Single-family units appreciate quite faster than multi-units. Although the difference is often not so large, it’s not negligible either. The appreciation value is a reason you might want to consider when buying a single home because you’re likely to sell (if you decide to sell it) for a considerably higher price than you purchased it.

This also depends of course, on the duration between when you purchased and when you decide to sell it off.

3. Lesser Tenant Issues

With a single-family home, you’ll get fewer phone calls about maintenance and issues going on at the house. You may also not bother employing the services of a Chicago property manager. Since you have only one family on your property, you can self-manage on your own. Collecting rent monthly will also be easier.

4. Less Strenuous Maintenance

There is usually less wear and tear in single-family house units, (well, except the tenants are out to destroy you). In a single-family home, it’s easier to track damages and ensure the house in great condition.

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Merits of Investing in a Multi-unit

Multi-units are also profitable, with some advantages over single-units. Let’s see the merits here.

1. Better Security with Covering Operation Costs

With a multi-unit, you have better chances of having all the fees covered by your tenants. The rent from multiple tenants will cover operational costs. With more people, and a better security management system in place, you are less likely to have theft or crime issues.

2. Regular Cash flow

With more than one tenant paying rent and bills every month, you have a regular cash flow. With excellent maintenance and tenant welfare, you stand a chance of never having a unit in your house empty for any long period of time.

3. Less Charges from Property Manager

Chicago property managers give discounts on every unit in a multi-unit property. At the end of the day, you’ll pay less fees to your property manager per unit than you would in a SFH (single family housing unit). That’s because the discounts you enjoy on multi-units are not extended to SFH.

4. Larger Pool of Tenants

When it’s time to put a new tenant in one of your units, Chicago brokerage companies can help you do a good and swift job of filling up your multi-unit. It’s easier for them to handle than SFH because more people are interested in renting a unit in a building rather than a single-family house.

Multi-unit Vs Single Family Home

To make an intelligent decision free of sentiments, let’s compare them under the following headings, using cold hard facts:

  • Investment risk
  • Expansion
  • Tenant Issues
  • Cash flow
  • Sale
  • Maintenance
  • Appreciation
  • Renters pool and Brokerage

Investment Risk

Single-family units are sometimes highly risky as a tenant can vacate any time. If this happens and you can’t find someone to replace them immediately, you’re going to bear all the costs of mortgage, taxes, and maintenance all by yourself.

There’s a certain comfort in knowing that with a multi-unit, you’ll always have someone living on your property and the rent will cover the costs of the mortgage, maintenance, utility, and so on.

Expansion

Expanding a single-family unit is easier. With a multi-unit, you’re more or less stuck with the original architecture forever. Except, of course, you’re ready to bear the cost of nearly tearing the building down and starting again.

Tenant Issues

Issues with tenants are more frequent in a multi-unit. Because there are more people living there, there’s a greater possibility of clashes and the need for conflict resolution.

Cash flow

Cash flow in multi-units is more frequent and dependable. If your property is well managed, you’ll hardly find yourself bearing the costs of maintenance by yourself. In single units, you may not have that level of security. It’s only one tenant paying and that’s it.

Sale

It’s easier to get a large pool of buyers for single-family homes than for multi-units. This means you can find more reasonable Chicago brokerage fees with SFH. Multi-units may not attract 100% brokerage since there’s more work in finding your buyers and keeping up with payment of rent.

Maintenance

For SFH, it’s usually higher. As for Multi-unit properties, due to the fact that more people live in your multi-unit property, maintenance costs may also rise. In fact, you’d have to employ the services of a Chicago property management company to help you keep up with this. A good choice would be Lofty property management company.

Appreciation

Appreciation rates in Chicago real estate have been different over the years. Of course, SFH appreciates slightly faster. But in any case, if your multi-unit is well maintained, it can appreciate just as well. Note however that if your SFH’s location is bad, you may run into serious debt.

The verdict: Single Family Home or Multi-unit?

This is not a clear-cut choice. In a busy location, you may want to trust multi-units more. There’s every chance that the units will always be occupied at every point in time.

Before buying a SFH, consider if you will be able to foot the bills of taxes, electricity, mortgage, and the rest in case there’s ever a long duration between when a tenant leaves and when another comes.

In Conclusion

There is no clear-cut winner. Depending on the location of the property, SFH may be a better option. The merits of multi-units are obvious as well, but if tenant issues and maintenance costs are not for you, you may just be better off with SFH. Either ways, there’s always one that’s more suitable in a particular situation.

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Why Buying and Owning Rentals is Always a Good Investment

By | Agents, home buying, Property Management, real estate, Real Estate Investment

Owning a rental is always good; you get paid for being the landlord. It's a really profitable slice of the Chicago real estate investment market. This is mainly because of two things; the first being the steady stream of passive income it provides, and the second being the opportunity to get tax write-offs.

Of course, owning a real estate rental in Chicago is not an easy feat. The rewards are potentially huge only if you have a keen eye for details, proper preparation, and a sound Chicago property management company in charge of your property.

Managing rentals on the Chicago real estate scene can be done all by yourself, but like most people you may get overwhelmed over time. At this point, you can use the services of a Chicago property manager, such Lofty Real Estate Chicago.

Investing in rental properties is always a good idea, once you know the things you need to know, which we will be discussing.

Buying Rentals: Need to Know

Of course, when buying rentals in Chicago, you can either do it yourself or you can use a Chicago brokerage company. Asides from this, it is usually a sound policy to calculate your expected cash flow on the rental property before you purchase it. Think of it as a business; no one goes into a business to make a loss.

For you as a rental owner, the cash flow your property generates is your profit, so to say. Because of this, your cash flow should be at least at break-even point, when you factor in your expenses on the property.

Buying a property with an expected cash flow level that is below the amount you’d spend on expenses such as monthly mortgage payments, depreciation, etc, is not a good idea, and  we do not advise it.

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What are the Advantages of Owning a Rental Property?

There are a lot of advantages of buying and owning a rental property over other forms of investment (we won’t compare, don’t worry), and they are;

1. Diversification of Investment Portfolio

Investment, no matter the amount of probable gains, always involves a risk. Because of the inherent risk in the world of Investment, it is unwise to put all your money into one investment portfolio, especially stocks.  An unforeseen switch in the market dynamics and all your money might be gone with the wind. Owning a rental real estate property helps you mitigate greatly against the inherent risk involved with the investment. Once you have done your due diligence, your rental property will always be a source of income for you – one you can rely on to a very great degree.

2. Getting Tax Write-offs

The tax system favors owning rental properties a lot, and that’s another perk of buying and owning a rental property.  Owning a rental property means you don’t get to pay tax on your rental income. Owning a rental property means there will be depreciation and other property related expenses.  It is a usual practice to deduct the depreciation and other expenses from the federal income tax, and so this leaves the rental income completely free of any deductions.

3. Steady Stream of Passive Income

Owning a rental property is one of the safest ways to earn a steady stream of passive income every month. It’s your job (or your property management’s job) to ensure you keep renters who pay their rent promptly.

The “steady” in the income hinges on a lot of factors including doing a background check for prospective renters, so you can easily weed out those with a history of causing trouble for their landlords.

The best part is that you do not have to get involved in the background checks exercise or even get involved in the day to day running of the property before you get your passive income. You can simply leave your property to a Chicago property management company and focus on other areas of your life, whilst they manage the property and ensure your passive income keeps rolling in.

4. The Chance to Sell at a Premium

The usual industry practice is that you should try to hold your rental property for at least 10 years, but that rule doesn’t always work for every situation.

Owning a rental property in an area that increases the value of your property means you can sell off the property and make a gain on it at any time.

Even if the market dynamics change and the prices of property plummet, you can still rent out your property and make a rental income that will cover the costs of owning the property. You can do this till you’re ready to sell, and you would not lose any money.

Also, real estate market values generally appreciate over time, and the real estate market is usually one of the first to bounce back in case of a recession. So, the chances of losing money on your rental property investment over time are very low.

5. Growing Your Equity

Growing your equity is a goal for everyone, and owning a rental is a good way to do this. It is always good practice to purchase a rental property with a mortgage. Once this is done, you’ll have to start paying up on the mortgage payments, and you can use the rental income to pay for your mortgage.

This would be especially easy if you’ve accurately calculated the amount of cash flow to expect from owning the property. It would basically be as though your tenants are paying your mortgage for you, and over time, your debt will shrink and disappear, and your equity will start to rise steadily.

Conclusion

Buying and owning a rental property is one of the best ways to not just earn stable, passive income, but to also grow equity. By understanding and calculating just how much you can expect with regards to cash flow from the property, you can forecast how long it will take you to pay off your mortgage and start growing your equity.

Ready to invest in rental property? Give us a shout to learn more.

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Leveraging Property to Buy Property: A Full Guide

By | Agents, brokers, home buying, Property Management, Property Managemnt, real estate, Real Estate Investment

Is Leveraging a Good Idea?

The unofficial cardinal rule of investing in real estate is that you invest, or buy real estate with someone else’s money, not yours. This is the basis of leverage in the Chicago real estate investment market; by using someone else’s money to invest in real estate, you are making gains from your lender’s money.

Leverage is a well-known strategy in the Chicago real estate market, and it is the most widely used way to acquire real estate. There is a drawback though; when real estate values rise, it is to your advantage. But when they fall, you are at a disadvantage. This is why it is crucial to do your due diligence about a property when you want to use leverage to acquire it.

Leveraging Your Way to the Second Mortgage

Simply put, a second mortgage is a mortgage taken out when you still have a mortgage in effect on your first property. Doing this is only possible if you have enough equity on your first mortgaged property since a second mortgage is a riskier endeavor than the first.

The usual practice is that your first property is used as collateral for the second mortgage, and most lenders will only agree to a deal if you have enough equity on your first property. This is the big risk with leveraging property to buy the property.

The second mortgage can be used for anything, including using them to service personal expenses.

Types of Second Mortgages

There are basically two types of second mortgages available for use in the Chicago real estate market. They are;

  1. Home Equity Loans
  2. Home Equity Line of Credit (also called HELOC)

1. Home Equity Loans

Home equity loans are a type of second mortgage in which you can borrow a certain amount of money in a lump sum, payable over a period not exceeding 15 years at a fixed rate of interest.

Basically, you are using the amount of your home you own (i.e. the amount of mortgage you’ve already paid back on your home) to back up your credit. If you fail to pay, your house is liable to be foreclosed by the lender.

Home equity loans are best for investors looking to leverage their property to buy a rental property, as rental properties usually require a significant amount of down payment.

2. Home Equity Line of Credit

Popularly called HELOC, this type of second mortgage is different from regular home equity loans in that they are payable with adjustable rates.

HELOCs are the credit cards of second mortgages, and they work in a similar manner; there is a credit pool you can repeatedly draw from, it has a set limit and some lenders even give you an actual credit card. HELOCs have draw periods in which you can draw from the credit pool as you need the money, without having to pay back. This draw period is between 5 to 10 years.

HELOCs also have repayment periods, wherein you pay back all the money you have borrowed at adjustable rates, as mentioned earlier.

Investment Real Estate Deductions You’re Eligible

How Do You Leverage One Property to Buy Another?

There are two ways to do this, put simply. They are;

1. Leverage Rental Property to Buy Another

A rental property is a good investment if bought properly. Managing it yourself might not be easy, which is why we advise that you use a Chicago Property Manager, or a Chicago property management company, such as Lofty Real Estate.

Using your rental property as leverage to get another property is the easier of the two ways of leveraging property to buy another property. This is because the rental income paid by tenants can be used to pay up the mortgage on the rental property and gain some equity.

Using a rental property as leverage for buying another property would involve using the rental property as collateral, as mentioned earlier. A second mortgage would also involve higher interest loans than the first, so you have to be absolutely sure your primary property has enough equity to cover the expenses associated with taking a second mortgage.

2. Leverage Your Primary Residence to Buy Another

Another way of leveraging property to buy property can be this scenario; using the equity on your primary residence to get another mortgage. It can be another house or even a rental property. Doing this will mean your primary residence will be at the mercy of the lender if you default on the second mortgage payments.

Requirements for Leveraging Property to Buy Property

Building up a good level of home equity and a great credit score are central to the success of your chances when taking out a second mortgage.

How to Get A Second Mortgage

1. Know How Much Equity You Have

Knowing how much equity you have will help you make a quick decision on whether or not to go for a second mortgage and leverage your property to buy property. The more equity you have, the more your chances of success when it comes to your application for a second mortgage.

2. Check Your Credit Score

This is also another key part of the process. An excellent credit score will also improve your chances of being approved. If you’re interested in leveraging your primary property to buy another property, then you have to possess a credit score to match.

3. Pick out Your Preferred Second Mortgage Option

There are two options for you here, either you go for a HELOC or a home equity loan. Each option has its own peculiarities and benefits, so be sure to pick one that suits you. If you’re leveraging property to buy another house, going for a HELOC might be best. On the other hand, if you’re leveraging property to buy a rental property, then going for a home equity loan where you’ll get a lump sum might prove to be the better option.

4. Look Around

Once you’ve carried out these three steps, then it’s time for you to find out the options you have with regard to lenders and their rates. Check out the terms of each second mortgage very well, and ensure you don’t sign until you’re convinced it’s the best deal for you.

In Conclusion

Leveraging property to buy property is a smart way of acquiring more property, especially if you have the required equity.  With our guide, you have all you need to know about leveraging property to buy property.

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Chicago’s Real Estate Market in 2020

By | Agents, brokers, home buyer, home buying, real estate, Uncategorized

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If you’re planning to sell a home in the area, you might need to pack your patience. Recent data shows that Chicago is one of the “slowest” housing markets among the major metros when based on median “days on market.”

Despite losing residents at a high rate, Chicago is still America’s third largest city and the economic driver of the Midwest. Although there is not a negative impact of buying a house in 2019 versus 2020, it is strongly advised by experts to purchase a house next year. In 2020, the largest group of Millennials will turn 30, which will be good news for an industry that may need it.

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The National Association of Realtors’ annual home-buyer profile has recorded an average home-buying age of 30 that has stood for decades.

While young people have flocked Downtown, bringing with them corporations seeking skilled workers, Millennials will likely turn back to the suburbs when it comes time to buy. But because so many jobs have moved from the suburbs to Downtown, Millennials will likely look for housing in inner-collar suburbs that have urban amenities like public transportation and walkability.

 

The year 2020: where inflation and financing qualification could hurt prospective buyers. According to Zillow, rising mortgage rates are encouraging homeowners to stay put and discouraging would-be buyers.

Higher interest rates should eventually slow the intense pace of home value appreciation that we have seen over the past few years, a welcome relief for hopeful buyers. Overall, home prices aren’t expected to grow much, and market crashes are highly unlikely. That should make it a safer purchase for buyers and more difficult for sellers to get the best price possible.

 

 

 

 

How to prepare for the next 2yrs in Real Estate

By | Agents, brokers

As 2019 revs up, we are entering into a new phase of real estate. It’s important for real estate brokers, property owners and investors to know where the market is headed in the coming years. Companies are now beginning to leverage new technologies like virtual reality and machine learning to work smarter and sell like never before. To prepare, we’ve outlined our predictions on the upcoming trends and changes that will forever change the future of the real estate industry.

Technology

The real estate industry has gone years without major disruption by technology. Established systems and processes have remained consistent and even outdated. Recently,  $2.7 billion was invested in real estate technology a month by month increase of 132%. This investment in technology has the ability to alter the landscape on how agents are selling and how buyers are searching and buying their ideal homes. Technology will help you reach thousands of more customers while also giving you tools to show homes like never before.

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The buyer

The real estate buyer is now more informed than ever. Buyers now search online to get better insight into the types of properties they’re interested in as well as the neighborhoods. They can also see a home’s estimated value and use tools that tell them if it’s a good investment or not. The buyer will become more independent of the agent which will result in a different sales process all together. Buyers will even be able to get more information about their agent from online rating platforms which will force agents to build a positive online presence if they want new business from online search.

Virtual Reality

The latest trend of VR will soon hit the real estate market.  Buyers will begin to use VR technology to “view” homes without ever having to step foot inside one. This will change the process of open houses. Sellers can even stage their homes using VR. This will help them cut the cost of staging while begin able to show the potential of a home using updated decor. As an agent, it’s important to familiarize yourself with VR to stay ahead of the trend and ultimately save yourself valuable time and money.

Millennials

According to Danielle Hale, the chief economist at Realtor.com, “Millennials will continue to make up the largest segment of buyers in 2019, accounting for 45% of mortgages, compared to 17% of Boomers, and 37% of Gen Xers.” There will be a surge in millennial demand which will change the market to adjust to the needs of millennials. As an agent, it’s important to start researching not only how millennials will buy, but what they are looking for in their first home. Get to know the future buyers and how they navigate buying a home. We’ve compiled a list of tips on our predictions for how millenials will bring their preferences to the market.

  • Online. For millennials, all searches start online. As an agent, you’ll need to create a powerful online presence for yourself and for your listings. Make the extra effort to invest in good photos and a well designed website.
  • Quality over size. Millennials have shown that they are more concerned about the quality of properties over the size. They prefer open spaces with lots of usable space.
  • Location. Make sure to highlight the location of your properties. Even if you think a home isn’t in the most desirable location, get creative and list some notable local spots close by.
  • Low-maintenance. We live in a day where Amazon Prime, Grubhub and Uber make life easier while saving millennials their valuable time. Homes with energy efficient and smart appliances are more appealing.

At Lofty, we pride ourselves on keeping our agents ahead of the curve through constant proactive research and learning. 2019 offers lots of potential for agents who prepare for the industry changes and use them to their advantage.

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Top 8 Ways to Make a Great First Impression

By | Agents, brokers, first impression, real estate

You've probably heard time and time again the importance of first impressions in career development. In real estate, first impressions are so vital that they can make or break your career and reputation. The customer experience you provide is the one thing in this industry that you have complete control over. Technology will never compare to the human interaction and the value you can bring to the home buying/selling experience.

Prepare

If you have the opportunity to have a call before meeting a client, ask a few quick questions that can give you insights into who they are and what they are looking for. Their answers will help you better prepare for the first in-person meeting. Before your first meeting with potential clients, conduct some brief research on the person you’ll be meeting. With LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram you can determine their career and personal interests with a few clicks. Also, it’s not uncommon, that you will find mutual friends which are great for a conversation starter. If they’ve already reached out to you with some information, make sure that you go back and re-read so that you’re prepared and not asking questions that they’ve already given you the answers to. If you’ve had a previous phone call with them, refer to your notes and show that you are an active listener. Try to prepare at least three talking points that you think are important to your client. Top real estate agents never come to meetings empty-handed. Print out ideas, suggestions, information about sites and pricing. This shows you are the expert in the industry and are taking the lead. Without preparation, you can come off as unorganized and unprofessional.

Appearance is also extremely important for first impressions. Dress professional, clean, and polished. Don’t overdo your look with flashy jewelry or accessories that can be distracting. Avoid the fancy attire, and stay true to you. It’s also important to dress for the market. Don’t wear a black suit and tie or a gown to show a beach house.

If clients are coming to your office, create a clean and organized environment that also has character. Local artwork is a great way to get away from the sterile office stigma.

The in-person meeting

It’s game time! You’ve done your prep work and you’re now ready to meet with your client for the first time! Be positive, confident and remember that you are the expert. Always arrive at the location early, because showing up late is a great way to ruin any first impression. Introduce yourself and thank them for taking the time out of their day to meet with you.

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Body language

Some may argue that body language can have more power than words. Try to walk with your chest high and practice sitting up straight without crossing your arms. Be completely open towards them and refrain from closing yourself off.

Build rapport/common ground

Finding common ground is a great way to start off on a positive note. Common ground is something that you both can relate to and can connect on. It could be anything from sports teams, to attending the same college, to kids. This is where your social media research will come in handy! The more information you have on someone, the easier it is to make that initial connection.

Ask the right questions 

By now, you should already know what questions you want to ask your client to ensure that you walk away from the consultation with all the information you need to immediately get started helping them and so that they feel as if you’ve proactively done your part to help them.

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Active listening

If you’re asking the right questions that don’t always end with a yes or no answer, you should be getting your clients to speak with depth on what they need/want. The power of active listening has a positive impact on people. Really listening to what they’re saying and engaging lets them know that you understand them and want to know more. People love talking about themselves and your thought-provoking questions will help you find out more about them on a deeper, mutually beneficial level. Try not to look at your phone or computer unless you are showing them something.

Show how you stand out from the rest

Now that you’ve built rapport and connected with your clients, it’s time to show them your abilities as an agent and the unique experience you bring to the table. Introduce why you’re passionate about real estate and share your background. Highlight your credentials and go into some detail on the markets you’re familiar with and the technology you use to make the buying/selling process easier for them. Clients will pay more for an agent that offers an experience that makes their life easier.

Follow Up 

You should follow up with them almost immediately with a thank you note and outline of next steps. If possible, put in any extra work you can to show that you go above and beyond for your clients. For example, stop by the neighborhood they’re interested in, take pictures and send to them. Anything you can do that shows how you take customer service to the next level is always appreciated.

Great first impressions are a sure way to win more clients and keep them happy. Don’t forget that over 60% of business each year comes from the people you know, past clients, and referrals. One great first impression can lead to countless future clients.

Wondering if a switch might be right for you? Give us a shout and learn more.

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