4 Reasons to Buy a New Construction Home

New construction

New constructionFolks looking to break into the real estate industry will often face the question of whether to invest in older homes or new construction homes. While there no hard and fast rules, new construction properties have some unique benefits that may make them an attractive option for real estate investors.

Following are four advantages to new construction homes:

  1. More Appeal

Whether renting or buying, people love the feel of a new home and can more easily see themselves living in the space. In addition, new homes are more likely to be located where a growing segment of buyers want to live – the suburbs. The covid-19 pandemic has also helped accelerate this shift in preference as people have grown increasingly wary of touring occupied homes.

  1. Less Maintenance

While some investors enjoy buying fixer-uppers and taking on large-scale renovation projects, some people would rather invest in a home that may be ready to rent or sell as is. Old homes tend to have a lot more maintenance issues from bad insulation, plumbing, and wiring.

  1. No Upgrades Needed

New construction homes feature modern trends in design and functionality, including open spaces, laminate floors, and brand-new appliances. Replicating the aesthetics and contemporary luxuries in an older home can be prohibitively costly and labor-intensive.

  1. Great Warranties

Most newly built homes come with a builder warranty that covers items that are typically a permanent part of the home, like concrete floors, plumbing, or electrical work. While the length of the coverage varies depending on the component of the house, some builders give coverage for up to ten years for “major structural defects,” sometimes defined as problems that make a home unsafe and put the owner in danger.

Are you ready to plunge into investing in real estate? RLG has the tools and resources at its disposal to get you on your way and not waste a moment of your time. Call us today to learn more and experience firsthand the dedicated, personalized customer service and undivided attention that RLG has to offer!

How to Rent Out an Apartment Fast

Apartment

ApartmentAs real estate prices in large cities continue to skyrocket, the popularity of apartment living is on the upswing. If you are considering getting into the apartment rental business, there are a few ways to ensure your property remains occupied. Read on to find out how to rent out an apartment posthaste.

Place an Ad

Start out by placing a classified ad in your local newspaper and online. The key here is to create a rental listing that tells prospective tenants about basic information such as rent price, address, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and highlights the best features – that could be amenities or nearby attractions, for example.

Be sure to take high-quality photos of every room so tenants can easily visualize the space and see themselves living in your property. If the apartment complex has a social media presence and a website, these could be great places from which to advertise vacancies for free.

Lastly, remember to put up a “For Rent” sign, where permitted, along with your contact number. Sometimes, the simplest solution is the best.

Be Responsive

As tenants look at multiple properties to decide which one is right, the ability to effectively manage inquiries cannot be overstated. To avoid losing out on opportunities, make sure to reply to prospects as quickly as possible, ideally faster than your competition.

With that said, the speed of response does not mean that you should gloss over the screening process. It’s important to filter out good potential tenants from the sea of applications you might receive as troublesome tenants can cause you more issues and cost more money than if the apartment sat empty for a few months.

Hire a Professional

Hiring an experienced property manager can be a great avenue to explore if you’re looking to save on the time and hassle involved in renting out and managing the daily operations of being a landlord.

Not only will these professionals take charge of your marketing efforts, but also captain tenant screening and background checks, collect rent, conduct inspections and repairs, communicate with tenants, and more. If you have lots of rental units, live far from where the apartment unit is located, or don’t have much time on your hands, a property management company is a no-brainer.

Are you ready to invest in real estate and see the value it can provide? RLG would love to help you! Call us today to learn more.

5 Common Mistakes in Real Estate Investing

Real estate

Real estate investmentIf you are new to real estate investing, you likely know that it can produce the greatest rate of return and a path to financial independence. But what you should know is that the learning curve in this industry is quite intensive and requires a great deal of planning and preparation. Oftentimes, it’s the lending side of real estate investing that most people find intimidating. Here are five common mistakes to avoid as first-time investors.

Underestimating Costs

Whether you are flipping a home or prepping a property for rental, it’s important to get a precise estimate of the repair and renovation costs. It’s not uncommon for new investors to run up “surprise” expenses that significantly drive up the costs and affect the overall profitability of the investment home.

Over-improving

Over-improving means putting more money into a home than you can get in return. For instance, a home may never be worth more than a certain amount of money regardless of whether you add more high-end features and finishes because the location may not be as good. When improving on a home, consider looking at nearby “comps” to see how much buyers are willing to pay for a home with similar upgrades and square footage.

Overestimating Rental Income

Overestimating rental income is another common issue. While researching comparable homes in the area can help you understand rental prices for the home you are renting out, you should keep in mind that vacancy periods may significantly impact your profitability, which is contingent on being able to attract and retain tenants. In addition, rising taxes, utilities and insurance costs can cancel out profits from a stagnated rent.

Failing to Do Proper Due Diligence

In real estate, the period of time known as due diligence is the opportunity to investigate facts about the physical and financial conditions of the property and area the property is located in. Due diligence involves – among other things – walking the property, reviewing documents, conducting inspections, and calculating numbers such as insurance, taxes, and rental values.

Overlooking the Need for Training

As a budding real estate investor, the more training you receive, the less likely you are to commit costly mistakes along your journey. Training can come in a variety of forms, such as books, seminars, and coaching sessions. At Ridge Lending Group, our focus is almost exclusively on the non-owner-occupied sector of lending. We believe investment education is key and take great pride in piloting first-time investors through the waters of their first property.

Call RLG today to continue this discussion and to learn how our financial experts can help grow your business

Pros and Cons of Being a Landlord

Landlord

LandlordRentals are the most common way to get started in real estate investing. Renting an investment property will generate passive income over a long period of time and provide the means for you to reinvest into additional real estate purchases and expand your portfolio. But as with any venture, there are a number of pros and cons you should consider before you purchase a rental home. Here’s what you need to know about being a landlord.

PROS

Income

The ability to earn passive income is what draws many investors to rental properties. Be sure the rent you charge is enough to cover expenses, such as mortgage payments and maintenance costs, while ideally making a profit.

Tax Advantages

Landlords may benefit from a slew of tax deductions available for investment properties, including business deductions, the cost of property, depreciation, and mortgage interest.

Equity

When you hold on to a value-increasing property, you are building equity and creating financial security. Not only do you benefit from the income produced from rent but also from the future appreciation of the property. A double blessing!

CONS

Time-Consuming

Though rentals are great sources of passive income, they demand a lot of attention and involve multiple steps that are anything but passive. Some of your workload will include marketing your property, screening applicants, communicating with tenants, coordinating repairs and maintenance work, collecting rent, and filing eviction when needed.

If you own more than one property, consider hiring a property management company to handle the day-to-day operations of your rental homes as tasks will inevitably pile up.

Liability

Just as the tenant must take good care of the property, the landlord has also a set of obligations toward tenants, such as providing a safe and habitable living space. This means adhering to all building codes, performing necessary repairs, maintaining common areas, and keep utilities in working order.

If you fail to comply, a tenant can take legal action against you. Make sure you know what your obligations are regarding both the law and the lease agreement.

Are you ready to invest in real estate and see the value it can provide? RLG would love to help you! Call us today to learn more.

The 5 Most Common (and Effective) Real Estate Investment Strategies

Real estate investing

Real estate investingThere’s no doubt real estate investing is one of the best wealth building strategies of all time, allowing investors to rake in six or more figures with a solid portfolio. In addition to building wealth, there are a number of tax advantages investors benefit from.

If you are ready to see it for yourself and hit the market, following are some common – yet highly effective – real estate investment strategies.

Wholesaling

If you are new to real estate investing, know that it’s never too late to get your foot in the door. For your first purchase, consider starting with less expensive wholesale properties. Wholesaling is the process through which the wholesaler contracts a home—usually one that is distressed—with a seller, shops that home around to potential buyers, and then assigns the contract to one of them.

Wholesaling is a less risky method for new investors as it does not require a significant amount of capital to get started. A good rule of thumb is to have a solid list of potential buyers prior to making an initial offer to the seller.

Fix-and-Flip Properties

Flipping property is all the rage with both individual and institutional investors. Turn on any home or DIY network or browse social media platforms and you will undoubtedly find thousands of folks showcasing their home flips.

Investors typically buy a property at a discount because of its condition. This strategy not only brings tremendous potential for profit but also a great deal of satisfaction from seeing through a makeover.

The best piece of advice here is to understand the costs and process and to have a sound grasp of your local real estate market so you can recognize a good deal and confidently project how much the property can sell for. Overall, an investor should pay no more than 70% of the after-repair value (ARV) of a property minus the repairs needed. The ARV is what a home is worth after it is fully repaired.

Rentals

While flipping houses provides quicker returns on your investment, renting an investment property can provide passive income over a long period of time. The key to success is to be able to retain high-quality tenants and regularly maintain the property. If you don’t want to deal with the hassle that comes with being a landlord, you can hire a property management company to take care of everything – from screening potential tenants to completing any repairs and maintenance needed.

REITs

A real estate investment trust (REIT) is a publicly traded entity that owns, operates, or finances income-generating real estate. By putting your money into a REIT, you are essentially buying a tiny piece of a portfolio owned by a corporation (or trust). As their portfolio appreciates, the trust pays out dividends to the investors.

Relative to other investment options, REITs are far less time-consuming and labor-intensive and may generate steady income stream for investors. On the flipside, they offer little in the way of capital appreciation.

BRRR Investing

The BRRR Method, which stands for “Buy, Rehab, Rent, Refinance,” is one of these buzzwords that is often thrown around in the real estate industry. Notwithstanding the hype, this strategy can yield great returns on investment. Simply put, BRRR boils down to adding enough value to a property to recover the money you invested in it. This, in turn, allows you to take the money and use it to buy more properties. Over time, you will be able to build a real estate portfolio that gives you complete financial independence.

Are you interested in learning more about real estate investing? RLG would love to help you find a suitable investment strategy for your goals! Call us today to learn more!

5 Simple Ways to Succeed in the Real Estate Business

Real estate

Real estateReal estate investors can make serious money through rental income, appreciation, and profits. And as they build equity, they are able to leverage it to buy additional properties and increase their wealth even more.

But as with any form of investment, there are some challenges and risks. That’s why having an investment strategy is key to avoiding potential money pits and reducing volatilities. If you are ready to dive into real estate investing, following are some tips to start off on the right foot:

Set Goals

Make sure you have your short-term and long-term goals clearly stated in a business plan. The investment model best suited for you really depends on why you are in real estate investing and for how long you plan to keep the property. As you build your portfolio, you should always assess whether or not the property you are eyeing fits these goals.

Understand Local Market

Understanding the local market not only allows you to get a general idea of what’s going on now, but also to reasonably forecast what the housing market will look like over the next few years. There are a number of factors that affect the market, including supply and demand, mortgage rates, and the economy.

When new construction has been sluggish and supply limited, you have what’s known as a seller’s market. In this environment, sellers have the upper hand with multiple offers over asking. On the other hand, when there are plenty of homes on the market, it could be a great time to buy as you may secure lower prices.

In addition, lower mortgage rates tend to boost demand as financing becomes cheaper and more people can afford homes. Lastly, a strong economy that boasts high employment rates and wage growth will foster healthy demand and cause prices to go up. 

Make Updates

Home renovations can be an effective way to add value to your investment properties. While some renovations may instantly increase your home’s value, others may not be worth the upfront expense, so it’s important to keep things simple and practical.

Here are some common renovation areas:

  • Adding an extra bedroom or bathroom
  • Giving the inside of the home a fresh coat of paint
  • Upgrading the kitchen
  • Enhancing the curb appeal
  • Creating an exterior entertaining area

Hire a Property Manager

As your real estate portfolio continues to grow, so does the amount of time you will need to dedicate to managing the properties. As they begin to scale, many real estate investors will hire a property management team to handle daily operations. This frees up their time to focus on researching, networking, and closing more deals.

Stay on Top of Real Estate Trends

While the real estate business still involves quite a bit of networking and word of mouth, it would be unwise to discount the use of technology in this day and age. Make sure to arm yourself with the latest apps and tech stack. This may include AI-assisted pricing tools, targeted ads and virtual tours, for example.

Are you ready to invest in real estate and see the value it can provide? RLG would love to help you! Call us today to learn more!

Attract More Buyers to Your Investment Property

Investment home sold

Investment home soldFinancial independence is a pivotal factor in living a happy life. Real estate investing is a tried-and-true strategy to build wealth and achieve financial freedom. Whether you are just getting started in this business or have lots of sales under your belt, there are a number of effective ways you can attract buyers and shorten the amount of time your investment home stays on the market. We rounded up some tips to help ensure a fast sale of your property.

Choose the Right Neighborhood

It is said that you can live with almost any imperfection in a home if you love the neighborhood and your neighbors. You can change almost anything within the home, but once bought you can’t change the location. Most people look for neighborhoods with low crime rates, top-rated schools, nearby shopping and dining, and access to leisure facilities.

Other key considerations include the area’s growth, employment rates, and tax environment.

Update the Kitchen and Bathroom

One of the biggest deciding factors in purchasing a home is the kitchen and bathroom. New cabinets and updated finishes are often all that is needed to impress sellers and regain some of the original investment. If your budget permits, upgrading kitchen appliances and retiling the bathroom will make your investment home stand out from the competition and likely reduce the number of days on market (DOM).

Invest in Landscaping

Curb appeal is vital to making a great first impression on prospective homebuyers. Home landscape upgrades can offer sellers over 100% returns on their investments. A lawn service, fresh mulch, planted flowers, and clean edges will all help to wow buyers.

There are several other improvement projects you can take on to boost your home’s value and attract more buyers. However, it is important to understand the local market and your competition before you commit to a remodel. One of the most detrimental things a real estate investor can do is to overimprove their investment home and price it well outside the neighborhood price range in a bid to recoup the renovation costs.

Are you ready to plunge into investing in real estate? RLG has the tools and resources at its disposal to get you on your way and not waste a moment of your time. Call us today to learn more and experience firsthand the dedicated, personalized customer service and undivided attention that RLG has to offer!

FHFA Drops Adverse Market Fee on Refinances

refinance

Refinance, wooden house with coins and plantsOn August 1, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) will drop the Adverse Market Refinance Fee put in place by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Prior to this change, mortgage lenders had to pay the government sponsored enterprises (GSEs) a fee of 50 basis points when completing a mortgage refinance. FHFA began charging this fee on most refinanced mortgages in 2020 when costs and risks to the agency increased because of COVID-19. This fee became controversial as critics said the policy was a way for GSEs to profit during the refinance boom.

Experts expect this change to positively impact mortgage rates and allow more families to take advantage of the current low-rate environment by refinancing. Speaking about the policy adjustment, FHFA Acting Director Sandra Thompson said, “Today’s action furthers FHFA’s priority of supporting affordable housing while simultaneously protecting the safety and soundness of the Enterprises.”

Click here to learn more about the elimination of the Adverse Market Refinance Fee.

Are you interested in learning more about mortgage refinances and if you could benefit from one? Call RLG today to learn more!

Why Invest in Pre-Foreclosures?

All-American Neighborhood

Pre-foreclosuresPre-foreclosure homes are properties whose owners have fallen behind on their monthly mortgage payment. In a pre-foreclosure, the lender files a notice of default informing the owner that it is pursuing legal actions to initiate foreclosure proceedings. At this stage, the lender may still be open to last-ditch attempts from borrowers to reverse the default status.

For real estate investors, the opportunities that arise from pre-foreclosures can be incredibly lucrative as homeowners will often opt to sell the property for a steep discount before foreclosure is granted and an eviction notice is delivered.

When a pre-foreclosure is listed on the market for sale, it is called a short sale. There are many advantages to investing in pre-foreclosures. For one, there is much less competition with pre-foreclosures as they are off-the-market properties that are not listed on MLS. Following are some more reasons to snag pre-foreclosures.

  1. Lower Price

These properties are typically sold at a fraction of their actual value as homeowners in this situation will offer big discounts to sell it quickly and avoid a significant dent on their credit score as short sales are not as detrimental to credit rating as a foreclosure.

  1. Big Profits

While profits are never guaranteed, you are more likely to turn a profit from short sales. That is because in many cases these properties are in reasonable condition, which allows you save money that would otherwise go toward major repairs and renovations for a distressed home.

  1. Sell Fast

Many pre-foreclosures are located in neighborhoods where buyers’ demand is high. Coupled with the fact that most of these properties are in good condition, this makes for a sound financial investment for savvy buyers. By having a solid supply of prospective buyers, real estate investors can get the highest bid and sell the property in short order.

Would you like to speak with a member of the RLG team to discuss pre-foreclosures and more investment strategies? Give us a call today! We would love to help you with the properties you currently have and multiply your investment portfolio.

Improve Your Investment Home’s Value

home improvement tools

home improvement toolsAs a real estate investor, your primary goal is to seek ways to maximize your profits. If you ever watch HGTV, you most likely know that some home remodels can bring terrific return on investment.

While there is no guarantee that any renovation project will affect resale value, certain home improvements have been shown to provide a higher financial return than others. When planning renovations, keep this in mind: To add the most value to your home, changes should conform with the neighborhood and flow with the rest of the house.

The good news is that you don’t have to spend a small fortune on extravagant upgrades to boost your home’s value, which is why setting a budget is key.

Set a Budget

This is likely the most important step when taking up a remodel of any magnitude. Many people envision lofty home improvement projects only to get stuck halfway because they couldn’t meet their financial commitments.

Be sure to track every expense no matter how small or large and factor in costs such as legal fees and permits. By recording your spending and allowing some breathing room in your budget, you will be setting yourself up for success.

Some Home Improvements Projects to Try:

Kitchen Updates: Kitchen upgrades that include new cabinets and updated finishes are sometimes all that is needed to impress sellers and increase your investment home’s value. If your budget allows, replacing dated appliances with top-notch ones will definitely help you close a winning deal.

HVAC System: Giving the HVAC system an energy-efficient upgrade can provide an 85% return. Buyers will love the idea of a lower energy bill and be ready to pay extra for a new system.

Vinyl Siding – Curb appeal is the best way to lure in homebuyers. By giving your vinyl siding a facelift, you can expect a return of around 63%.

Fresh Coat of Paint: Painting the interior or exterior of your house is one of the most effective ways to increase the value of your property and enhance its curb appeal. When painting your walls, choose neutral colors that appeal to a wider range of people.

Would you like to speak with a member of the RLG team to discuss the value of your current investment real estate portfolio and determine areas for improvement? Give us a call today! We would love to help you with the properties you currently have and multiply your investment portfolio.