Do you ever wonder why some people think investing in multifamily real estate is risky but putting money into a tech startup or a Wall Street stock isn’t?
While any investment with the opportunity for a return has some level of risk, the one thing that reduces risk is knowledge. Today, we will talk about the perceptions of the risks of real estate investing.
If this is the first time here, welcome. My name is Agostino and I’m a real estate entrepreneur, syndicator, and investor. In this channel, I share stories, lessons, and advice from my journey in multifamily real estate. If you haven’t subscribed, make sure you push the subscribe button and the notification bell so that you get all the content to stay ahead of the game.
As a real estate investor active on social media, I get calls from time to time from people asking me to invest in their venture or deal. Last time, it was a friend looking for me to invest in their tech venture. This friend has been a successful C-Level executive with several companies and is very familiar with the world of technology and business. He was looking to raise a total of $3.0MM in $100,000 chunks in exchange for a return plus equity in the business. During the conversation, he says, “I know the multifamily real estate you do is very risky as you are handing out some good returns. I figured you may want to invest in something that is not as risky. Maybe you or someone from your investor network may be interested in our tech concept. It’s going to change the world!”
Here is a guy that ran multi-million dollar budgets, international teams and many high-level projects. I’ve known him for a long time and can tell you he is very intelligent. However, he was brainwashed into thinking that real estate is risky. Prior to making my leap into real estate 15 years ago, I didn’t even consider real estate as something to invest in. Besides, the perceived risk level of sitting on a mortgage in the hopes that the tenants would cover it was a scary thought.
I began to understand the nuances of the business once I got into the real estate game. I started with single families and small multifamilies. I studied everything I could about real estate and spoke to mentors to get a deep understanding on how to purchase and operate deals large and small. Today, my team and I run our real estate portfolio as a business. I don’t do e-commerce, bitcoin or own a retail shop. All I do is real estate. My team and I are all in. I don’t consider any investments that deviate from my objectives.
Getting back to the conversation, I decided to address the risk of real estate. I asked him: “When was the building you live in, built?” He responded, “Maybe, 30 years ago”. So, for the past 30 years, that building has been throwing off cash. For 3 decades – every single month there was cash flow. Then I asked him, “Do you think that building will be around in another 30 years?”. He says, “I imagine so”. By that logic, that building will continue cash flowing for another 3 decades. I know where his building is and I know that as long as they operate the property well, it will continue performing.
When I look at an investment, I have two strict criteria: 1) I want capital preservation and 2) I want cash flow. Of course, there are the tax benefits and forced appreciation, but that’s the icing on the cake. I want to know that the cash we are putting into the asset will outpace inflation and still get us cash month over month. This is what we offer our investors as a way to preserve their wealth and offset earned income from the taxman while diversifying from risky stocks and indexes.
To me, stocks are a risky endeavor because I don’t know what kind of return I will expect the first week of the month. But, I can tell you that in my 126 unit apartment deal, I will have $90,000 in rents coming in next month. Your 401k can’t tell you that and neither will your stock. What’s more, if a tornado swept in from the sky and took out that entire building, insurance would not only cover loss of rents but also give us the cash to rebuild that property.
My background is in engineering technology, so I understood the tech my friend was pitching and it’s really interesting, but it’s a somewhat risky proposition. I don’t know if any of my investors would want to invest in something like that – especially since they are looking for reliable and steady cash flow. Sure, a multifamily deal may not be as sexy as a Silicon Valley startup, but the assets we invest in are real and will be around for decades to come.
With that, I told my friend that I would have to pass on the tech venture and will stick to the slow and steady cash flow of multifamily real estate. As I said, it may not be as fun as venture capital investing or trading stocks, but everyone has different risk tolerances.
Anyway, do you think stocks are a safe bet? Let me know in the comments.
And if you liked this content, go ahead and give it a thumbs up and share it. Also, check out the Bulletproof Cashflow podcast on iTunes or Stitcher, and subscribe to our YouTube channel and don’t forget to hit the bell so you get notified when we post new videos. If you are looking for more content or coaching, reach out to us at BulletproofCashflow.com. We are working on getting new content out all the time to help you build your success in the world of multifamily. Be great.
Imagine this. Sixty days ago, you decided to rehab a property. But, you have already put a lot of cash into the deal – about the same as others on the market – and it’s still not done! What’s worse, you think you are still months away from completion. And yet, you are still putting time, money and energy into the failing deal. You may say, “I can’t quit now. I’ve already invested so much into the deal!”
Welcome to the interesting and annoying world of cognitive biases. These cognitive biases only exist in our heads, but they affect everything we do – from how we live, how we work and even how we invest.
As humans, we did not evolve to make logical decisions like a computer. We evolved to survive. Our brains evolved to expend as few resources as possible to conserve energy. To improve our ability to respond to external stimuli efficiently – as an attack by a hungry lion or spending days foraging for food – these biases helped us by providing shortcuts to keep us safe and alive. Think of cognitive biases as mental shortcuts designed to help us survive the hunter-gatherer world from tens of thousands of years ago. In today’s modern world, we do not have these concerns. Many of our scenarios demand more rational calculations than supporting the skills of hunter-gatherers. So, most times, we are left frustrated when what we think is best doesn’t get us the result we want or expect.
While we can’t eliminate our cognitive biases, we can better understand them and even use them to our advantage, not only for ourselves but also as it impacts others.
Here are three cognitive biases that will impact us as investors and some tools that can help you keep them in check. I’m not going to go deep into the science behind why these biases exist – unless you want me to. And if you do, leave a comment and let me know. I can expand on the topic and tell you about other biases that impact how we live.
1) The Anchoring Effect
The anchoring effect happens when we give priority to the first information we encounter – even when the information we uncover later is much more relevant or applicable.
We tend to be overly influenced by the first piece of information that we hear. For example, a broker reaches out to you about a pocket listing and throws out a price. With the anchoring effect, they have now set the expectation of what the sale price should be. That sale price becomes the anchoring point from which all further negotiations are based regardless of what your inspection or appraisal says. This is a common tactic in our line of business. It becomes even more important to bid according to your predefined criteria and not overpay. You need to stick to your metrics and not justify price based on emotion or justifications by the broker.
2) Optimism Bias
The optimism bias is our tendency to overestimate the likelihood that good things will happen to us and underestimate the likelihood of anything bad happening to us. We assume things like a job loss, divorce or even death will happen to someone else, but never to us. On the flip side, it’s worth noting that the optimism bias helps us create excitement for the future, especially as it relates to goal setting. This bias keeps us engaged and moving forward to achieve our goals.
The optimism bias helps us as entrepreneurs to push the limits when it comes to taking risks and driving innovation. Optimism is important to helping us find success, but if we get overly optimistic it can be a huge waste of time, money and resources. For example, you buy into a broker’s report of how a building is in an “up and coming” neighborhood. But, there are rough areas less than one block away. So, while you see great things happening in the nearby neighborhood, there are gunshots and crimes happening nearby. Instead of succumbing to the optimism, you need to be skeptical of the rosy expectations. Anticipate and budget to assume it will be more difficult and expensive than you think. Good ideas need hard work rather than just positive thinking.
3) Sunk Cost Fallacy
The sunk cost fallacy describes our inclination to commit to a project, person or thing because we have invested time, money or resources into it – even if it would be better to cut our losses and move on.
This is the bias I touched on at the beginning of this episode. You commit to personally rehabbing a property. You pour thousands of dollars into the deal and spend nights and weekends working on it. You are still months from being completed yet you have already exceeded the amount you can sell it for today. But you’ve spent so much time and money on the rehab, that you continue to put more resources into it, instead of selling the property to a contractor with the means of finishing it. In such a case, it would probably be best for you to cut your losses.
Commitment is important and required to have any degree of success in business. However, there is a fine line between determination and becoming a victim of the sunk cost fallacy. To avoid getting hit with the sunk cost fallacy, it is best to look for new evidence that it may not make sense to continue and act on it. Follow your projects closely and determine how it’s tracking to budget – especially where there should be a return. If the return does not materialize, it is best to get out of the deal and hand it off to someone that can handle it before it consumes all your resources.
Those are only three of the many cognitive biases that drive our everyday lives. These cognitive biases influence our thoughts, and this translates into our overall decision making. It happens automatically – unless we control what that thought process is and we catch it. Understanding these biases and learning how to control them will help in making better investments.
Anyway, have you ever fallen prey to these cognitive biases? Do you want me to cover others? Let me know in the comments. I can’t wait to chat with you there!
The general consensus among most investors and economists is that there is a recession coming. The question is when. The great thing is that there are ways to prepare for it.
Industry experts say that multifamily occupancy and returns will be fine in a recession. Today, we go into why the experts think this and I will give you three reasons why multifamily makes for a recession-resistant investment.
If you are new here, my name is Agostino and I’m a real estate entrepreneur, syndicator, and investor. I like to share stories, lessons, and advice from my journey in real estate, particularly, multifamily real estate, and I enjoy helping others to get into the business. I do that through the Bulletproof Cashflow social media channels and through coaching, both online and in person. If you haven’t subscribed, do that now and turn on notifications so that you don’t miss anything. Also, I’d love to know who you are and what you’re up to, so say hi on social.
If you’ve gone through an economic crash, you may already know that rising prices, a sharp rise in bankruptcy and high unemployment make people stockpile cash and causes others to panic – and for good reason. There is no predictability. For those that went through the last crash, many of those who lost their entire life’s savings still have not recovered to this day. You need a safer instrument to protect yourself. You need something that is much more predictable.
This means investing in the right asset classes. For instance, vacation homes were hit hard in the 2008 crash and in past recessions. This is because in tough times, an owner will make the payment on their primary residence before paying the mortgage on a second home. It may be possible to do Airbnb, but we have yet to see how that fares in a recession. Another example is small retail. If a small business, like an independent cafe, bookstore or retail shop has a hard time weathering an economic slowdown, you would have a vacancy on your hands. And depending on location, some of those commercial spaces stay vacant for a very long time. This translates into no cash flow.
Investing in cash-producing real estate – specifically multifamily – is where many store their wealth. This is not only for the returns and tax benefits but because of what happens in a recession. People lose their houses or lose their jobs. They need to rent until they get back on their feet.
Reason 1: People rent during a recession, or move to a lower class rental
When we are talking recession-resistant multifamily though, we are not talking Class A deals – those beautiful luxury places with the resort-style pool, clubhouse, fitness centers, and a doorman. If anything, Class A is getting overbuilt and the rents are high. Even today, there is so much competition that people in two-year-old Class A properties are moving to brand new Class A’s. In a downturn, these affluent residents may experience an income hit and move down to a Class B apartment unit.
This is what happened in the previous recession and it is bound to happen again. According to economists at RealPage, they have seen owners of Class A apartments cut their rents to pull renters from Class B properties. This is something to keep an eye out and is an indicator as more of these high-end units are built up.
Even with these weaknesses, during good economic times these Class A’s will find people to move into the units. These new developments are typically in upscale downtown markets, where there are plenty of jobs, local amenities, and nightlife. The major cities, like New York, Chicago, and Miami are attractive places for great talent – something employers need during any market cycle. Things will change in terms of income of the tenant profile when the slowdown hits. This needs to be considered. And this is what makes Class B & C properties recession-resistant.
Reason 2: People losing their houses will move to a rental
No matter what happens in the economy, people will always need a place to live. When there is an economic slowdown or recession, people tighten their belts. Those that are in Class A units move to a Class B. Those that are in a Class B move to a Class C. In the last recession, there was an explosion in foreclosures. People needed rentals because they either lost their homes or just walked away from them. The need for multifamily housing increased. This caused multifamily owners and landlords to keep their rents where they were, to keep vacancies low.
Reason 3: Renting is already popular
Many are forgoing home and condo ownership for the convenience of living without the long term commitment of a mortgage. While the homeownership rate is at its lowest rate since the 1960s, people are migrating to apartment living. Many of these people that are taking on all these apartment units are the Gen Z and young Millenials. This group of people is the up-and-coming workforce looking for workforce housing. They opt for affordable Class B & C properties close to their jobs and local amenities. If they want to leave their jobs, they can break their lease and move across the state for a new job. Needless to say, these B & C properties will always be the best play for multifamily rentals because these less expensive units benefit from very strong demand in good economic times and in bad.
So, what’s my strategy?
These are the properties that my partners and I primarily focus on. Class B & C properties will continue to perform through a cycle without the volatility and risk of a Class A or a Class D – which I just don’t invest in at all. These properties are usually referred to as “workforce housing” because it offers affordable housing to hardworking people that want a safe and nice place to live, raise their families and call home. These B and C units will rent for anywhere between $500 and $1,400, depending on where the property is. In both cases, these people rely on employment income and live a month to month paycheck. For a breakdown on the different classes, I created “A Guide to Multifamily Classifications” and will include a link in the description.
Our acquisition strategy is to control all aspects of the deal to drive revenue and appreciation. We control the acquisition process, renovation, and property management. Through the due diligence process, our experience tells us what is likely to hit our financial targets. And because we are active in the market, we know how to execute on these deals. When we acquire and renovate the property, make improvements that maximize revenue for that specific asset class. Through efficient management, we work to reduce delinquencies and vacancies by improving the community. Over time, the assets we invest in are worth much more than what they were acquired for and that hits the bottom line for our investors. This strategy has mitigated risk and provides a track record of consistent returns while generating cash flow and returns for our investors. This will matter a great deal when we are in the throes of a recession.
If you like my strategy, feel free to follow it on your own, or you can reach out to me to invest in one of our deals or to be coached by me.
Anyway, what do you think? How are you preparing for the next crash? Let me know in the comments. Also, let me know if there’s a topic you’d like me to cover!
And if you liked this content, please give it a thumbs up and share it. Also, check out our social media channels and if you are on YouTube, don’t forget to hit the bell so you get notified when we post new videos. If you are looking for more content or coaching, reach out to us at BulletproofCashflow.com. We are working on getting new content out all the time to help you build your success in the world of multifamily.
Getting the right financing for your property purchase is one of the most important things you’ll do when putting a deal together. Getting the right amount of debt along with the best rates will impact your cash flow and your returns.
Today, we go into what you should look for when putting a deal with your biggest partner in your income-producing deal: the bank.
If you are new here, my name is Agostino and I’m a real estate entrepreneur, syndicator, and investor. I like to share stories, lessons, and advice from my journey in – real estate, particularly, multifamily real estate, and I enjoy helping others to get into the business. I do that through the Bulletproof Cashflow social media channels and through coaching, both online and in person. If you haven’t subscribed, do that now and turn on notifications so that you don’t miss anything. Also, I’d love to know who you are and what you’re up to, so say hi on social.
For starters, this discussion is centered around income producing properties. A home is not part of this discussion because a house does not produce any cash flow. In fact, it is a way for a bank to hold your money hostage and just means dead equity for you. I explain more of that in a video I will link in the description, but in short, you have all that down payment locked up in a house that you cannot invest.
On an income producing asset, like a multifamily property, cash flow is coming to you month over month. This is the reason banks will partner and bring money to your deal. Getting this loan is not just based on your credit, it’s based on the property’s income. While commercial loans are tougher to get than residential ones, they are not impossible.
After you find the deal and negotiate the price, getting financing in place becomes key. Each lender is different and will adjust their rates depending on the deal and how they feel about the risk level.
Conceivably, you already have a banking relationship before you land a deal and you have already vetted the bank and the ability to perform. Doing this work upfront with a banking relationship manager will help in getting any proof of financing you may need when submitting LOIs on your deals.
The bank is going to look for these four things, in order of importance:
Your net worth.
Your personal credit.
Your personal background (bankruptcy, liens, criminal, etc).
Your track record with similar assets, in this case, multifamily assets.
If you are new to the game and are already discouraged thinking that you will never get into your first deal, don’t worry. You can partner with someone that can offset the deficiencies in your net worth or credit. In this case, you can give the partner equity in the deal and the bank will look at their financial background to get the deal done. If you do this, be sure you are also bringing something to the table other than the deal itself, like sweat equity, property management or raising the equity. Ultimately, the bank is looking for certainty when it comes to financing a deal.
If the bank is comfortable with these four things, they will present various financing options. Many times a bank will offer an interest-only loan with only a few points above Treasury rate. These days, many investors are getting up to 4 years of interest only money on larger deals greater than 100 units. This is great for cash flow while you improve the property to raise the NOI and overall valuation. Again, all this depends on the lender and you will need to compare rates to find the best loan and length of term for your deal.
From there, the leverage will come into play. Meaning, how much will the bank lend and what do you need to bring as a down payment. Unlike buying and financing a home, we don’t care too much about paying down the principal. In the case of a commercial loan on a cash producing property, it’s about how much NOI it generates. As the property’s value appreciates, you keep pushing rents up and keep expenses in line, you increase cash flow. This flow covers the debt payment and gives you passive income. There is no value in paying more to bring the debt down. This is why those interest only loans I mentioned a bit ago are so interesting.
Because financing is so important in these types of deals, spend time negotiating financing rather than being so focused on the price. Lenders will sometimes make you believe that these rates and terms are not negotiable. This is not the case, specially on larger deals. This is also why you should vet the bank early and establish a relationship so they can independently underwrite deals you are considering and do the legwork to get the best financing they can. A difference of just a quarter of a percentage point in the interest rate can mean paying thousands of dollars more a year.
Anyway, do you have a good banking relationship already in place? Are you looking for a lender to back one of your deals? Let me know in the comments. I can’t wait to chat with you there!
And if you liked this content, go ahead and give it a thumbs up and share it. Also, check out the Bulletproof Cashflow podcast on iTunes or Stitcher, and subscribe to our YouTube channel and don’t forget to hit the bell so you get notified when we post new videos. If you are looking for more content or coaching, reach out to us at BulletproofCashflow.com. We are working on getting new content out all the time to help you build your success in the world of multifamily.
When you are looking at properties and the area they are located in, you will hear about different classifications: Class B area or a Class C building. Getting to know these important factors will help in outlining the quality and rating of a property.
Today, we go into what the classes for buildings and areas are and why it matters.
If you are new here, welcome. My name is Agostino and I’m a real estate entrepreneur, syndicator, and investor. I like to share stories, lessons, and advice from my journey in – real estate, particularly, multifamily real estate, and I enjoy helping others to get into the business. I do that through the Bulletproof Cashflow social media channels and through coaching, both online and in person. If you haven’t subscribed, do that now and turn on notifications so that you don’t miss anything. Also, I’d love to know who you are and what you’re up to, so say hi on social.
Property and area classifications will reflect the risk and return of the deal because they are graded according to a combination of physical and geographical characteristics, respectively. The letter grades are subjective. They are given to properties by brokers, buyers and sellers that consider the combination of factors like the age of the property, location, tenant income, amenities and rental rate. This variety of items will drive the cap rate, that as you may already know will shift also with the supply and demand cycle of the market. But if you are in tune with your area, you can determine whether the asking price is in line with the market.
There is no formula by which properties are placed into classes, but the common breakdown is A, B, C and D. From here, there are two different classification when we talk about a property: 1) The Area Class and 2) The Property Class.
The Property Class is centered around the physical condition, the age of the building, amenities, and the demographics of the community. With the Area Class, on the other hand, you look at the age of the neighborhood and what is local to the neighborhood. You consider crime rates, the demographics, typically broken down by zip code. You are also looking at what kind of commerce or retail is in that area. For instance, if there are a handful of national stores near your property versus an industrial trucking side across the street from the property, those are two different areas with two different classes.
Before we get into the classes of the area and property, let’s go over why we use them in multifamily and commercial investments in the first place.
When a broker or a seller tells us the classification of a property, it is supposed to let us know what kind of demographics and neighborhood we are talking about and the condition of the property take a look at it. Classes also tells us what the cap rate of the property and the area are. Classes are like grades – from Class A to Class D. The higher the grade, the better the property condition. The better the property is, the lower the cap rate. When it comes to Class A, think of properties that you will find at a busy downtown area. It could be an all glass multifamily tower with pool, sauna, shopping on the first floor and a very affluent tenant profile. A building like this may cost $50M. The cap rate will be low on an asset like this, but a large hedge fund with money to put to work wants that degree of certainty and doesn’t mind paying a premium for these great properties.
Keep in mind that classes of property not only vary from A to D, but there are degrees within each one. You will have A- or B+ properties. Perhaps you will have a C- property but in a B area. Generally, the rating will go all the way from D- to A+ and everything in between. And because brokers, sellers and other people classify the property or area differently, it can be a bit subjective. This is especially important to remember when you get a new offering memorandum from a broker with a bright-colored Photoshopped building on the front, meant to show a higher property classification.
It’s worth noting that the classification of the area is far more important than the classification of the property. If you have a C- building in a B+ area, you can make renovations and drive higher rents to get that property to a B+ like the area it’s in. In contrast, if you have a B+ property in a C- area, it will be hard to get the affluent people to move there as they will not want to be in an area where they do not have the amenities they want or where they don’t feel safe spending time outside the property.
As I mentioned, getting into the area classes is much more important than the property classes.
In a Class A area, you are in the best neighborhood in the city. It will have the best schools, lots of high-end retail, maybe a top shopping mall nearby and plenty of restaurants. The neighborhood is typically no more than 5 years old.
In a Class B area, it was perhaps the Class A of before. It still has great neighborhoods and a low crime rate. The school system is decent and the homes are still pricey. The neighborhood may be 5 to 10 years old and the styling of the houses may be starting to look a little dated.
In a Class C area, you will have your workforce housing. Neighborhoods are decent. The homes are more than 10 years old but are usually 30 to 50 years old – sometimes even older. The community can be made up of blue collar workers, people in food service or just an everyday worker. The school system is not the best but not the worst. The people that live in Class C & B areas have a high dependency on jobs. They live from paycheck to paycheck.
In a Class D area, you would not feel safe walking on the streets at night. In the real estate business, they refer to this area as the “war zone”. Here, you will see graffiti, gangs and homeless people hanging out in front of the property. The school systems are very poor, there will be high crime and there are boarded up homes and buildings in the area. These are your highest cap rates, but also your highest risk properties.
When we are looking at the properties, they will follow the same grading level, with A being the highest quality and D with the poorest quality.
In a Class A property, you are looking at a new construction property. It may have a doorman, a resort style pool, clubhouse and fully equipped gyms with a sauna. These units will have quartz countertops, backsplashes, stainless appliances and upgraded flooring. They put a great deal of effort to appeal to the affluent crowd that will pay the highest rents in the area. They are the best looking properties with the best construction and have high quality building infrastructure with up-to-date technology. As you can guess, the Class A properties are usually in the Class A areas, so the residents have access to great shopping, restaurants and leisure activities. Sometimes, you will see a Class A property in a transitioning area that may be going through gentrification. The landlords of these types of properties are usually institutional investors and they are not concerned with a low cap rate. Rather, they are looking for safe and consistent returns on their investment. But we need to bear in mind that Class A tenants may be sensitive in times of an economic slowdown if these high income earners suffer from a job loss or business slowdown.
In a Class B property, the buildings would have been well maintained and still have decent amenities. They will be on the older side, 8 to 15 years old, but still look great. You will see the granite countertops of yesteryear, white appliances and nice gym. Similar to what I said about the area, these properties may have been Class A before, but look dated. The people that would live here would be mid-level managers, business professionals or people with young families and higher than average income. Often times, value-add investors look for these properties as investments since well-located Class B property can be returned to a Class A through renovations, unit improvements, updates to amenities or technology upgrades.
In a Class C property, they are still in good condition and are in decent locations. They don’t have any fancy amenities, if any at all. There may be laundry or a small gym, but that is about it. Regardless, there is still a sense of community. Like I mentioned, this is where the local workforce housing will reside. You will have blue collar workers and young people just starting out. These properties, like the area, can be quite old – built 20 to 50 years ago, but mostly on the older side. Hopefully, they have been maintained – (or not so you can pick up a deal) – but it costs more money to operate because it is older. Because the category is so big, the range of property is quite large. So a Class C property can mean two different things to two different people. Like I said earlier, the people that live in Class C properties are dependent on jobs. They live from paycheck to paycheck. Underwriting your tenant – like I cover in my other content – becomes more important in this asset class too. This is what most investors are looking for to get the biggest bang for their investment dollars.
In a Class D property, these are buildings in the poorest condition. The area may have been great at one time, but now it houses tenants that do not have a steady source of income or rely on government assistance just to make ends meet. Because it’s in a high-crime area, you would need to secure with steel doors, cameras and fencing to keep the bad people out. I recommend my coaching students to avoid these areas when starting out.
In a strong economy, affluent people will move from their Class B unit to a Class A property. A Class C resident will upgrade to a Class B unit. And a person living in a Class D will move to a Class C property. In a weak economy, the reverse tends to happen and each tenant profile will downgrade as they either tighten their belts or are worried about their income stream.
My partners and I prefer to invest in Class B and C buildings in Class B areas. This workforce housing is always in demand and will weather the storm of economic cycles that happen every 8 to 10 years.
Finally, keep in mind that this is just a general guideline of multifamily classification. There is no formal standard for classifying a building or an area. Buildings you are looking at should be viewed in the other properties in the local submarket. Meaning, a Class B property in Miami is not the same as a Class B property in Cleveland or as in Dallas. And a Class C property in New York City will be probably more desirable than a Class C property in Topeka, Kansas.
Anyway, what sort of assets do you invest or would like to invest in? Let me know in the comments. Also, let me know if there’s a topic you’d like me to cover!
And if you liked this content, please give it a thumbs up and share it. Also, check out our social media channels and if you are on YouTube, don’t forget to hit the bell so you get notified when we post new videos. If you are looking for more content or coaching, reach out to us at BulletproofCashflow.com. We are working on getting new content out all the time to help you build your success in the world of multifamily.
As a real estate entrepreneur, you have two options when it comes to managing your property. You can either self-manage or you can hire a professional property manager. Here are tips if want to go the DIY route.
1) Screen your tenant prospects. Get an application with their signature that will allow you do to a credit, criminal and public record check. You will also want to look at their financial and income situation to make sure they can cover the rent. If the prospect had prior evictions, violent crimes or has some nasty lawsuit going on, you may want to reconsider having them as a tenant. Finally, call the previous landlord and their current employer to verify they actually work for them.
If everything checks out, get to know them. You will want to ask if they have any pets and if they are housebroken. Do they plan on getting a roommate in the future? Do they work night shifts or odd hours? Do they smoke anything? If so, do they smoke indoors or outside? Do they have any friends that will be spending overnights at the unit and will not be on the lease?
Be aware that you need to abide by fair housing rules; I created some content as it relates to pets and will include a link in the description.
2) Always get a lease. Having a standardized lease for all your units is critical to protecting you and the property. Make sure everyone that lives there over the age of 18 years signs the lease. Here is an example of why: You have a married couple move into the unit. The wife signs the annual lease, making her responsible for the rent. Two months later, the wife decides to leave the home and the relationship. The husband is not obligated to the terms of the lease because he didn’t sign it. Spend the money and get an attorney to draft a document that will hold up in court. There are many places online where you can just download a lease, but I don’t recommend that. Every state has very specific laws that cover everything from fair housing to late payments to security deposits. An experienced attorney will make sure all these laws are followed and keep you out of trouble. It’s also worth noting that having a lease in place will also help you when you go to sell or refinance the property as banks typically want this information for deal underwriting.
3) Document everything. When you are onboarding tenants, take plenty of video and photos of the property. Have it stored online so it can be accessed at any time. Be sure to have the tenant sign off on a checklist that outlines the current condition of the unit. After they get settled in, document any and all phone calls, emails and text messages as well as the outcome of the discussion. If you are unable to do it yourself, hire a virtual assistant to keep track of those items for you. All this will become important if you need to evict down the road.
4) Issue a 3 day if they are late or violate the terms of the lease. This part is important; If they do not pay, send the 3-day notice immediately by certified mail and taping it to their door. I prefer my managers hand it to them as the counting of three days will not begin until the tenant has the document in their hands. When they have the notice, the tenant will have 3 days to either pay the rent or move out. You can offer them help in the form of contacts at the local church for food and money to cover the rent, but make certain you kick off the 3 day without delay.
It will be up to you if you want to accept partial payments or work with the tenant to get them caught up. It really depends on their track record and how far behind they are. Further, you will need to turn the unit once they leave, which could cost you thousands. This is something you will want to consider on a case by case basis. Besides the cost of turning the unit, it is expensive and time consuming to go through the eviction process. Regardless, you are under no obligation to do anything outside the terms of the lease. My personal experience says that most times, it’s just best to cut your losses with that tenant that is always late and push on with an eviction.
5) File the eviction. In some areas, it could take as long as 60 days to get a Writ of Possession that will ultimately get a non-payer out of your unit. In that time, you will not only lose rent, but they will also poison the other tenants. You will be surprised what a tenant will come up in terms of deferred maintenance and inaction on your part as an owner. This is why documenting any and all interactions are critical. While all this is going on, you as a landlord can’t turn off the utilities, change the locks or have all their belongings moved. Those sorts of actions will get you sued. As a side note, make sure you have the right insurance on the property in case of damage caused by the tenant or if you get unscrupulous tenants that may try to sue you. I heard a story of a tenant that faked a garage door falling on them just to slow down the eviction process and also get some insurance money. Make sure you are covered.
Those are my 5 Self-Management Tips for a DIY Landlord. Personally, I prefer to bring in professional property management to the deals my team and I buy. They handle routine and emergency repairs, maintain good relations with our residents, collect rent and track tenant deposits, but most importantly, they know all the federal, state and local laws that keep us out of trouble. They keep our aggravation to a minimum and allow us to focus on building and scaling the real estate business.
With professional property management in place, I don’t need to be on call 24/7 and I can focus on my core competencies: operations and acquisitions. If I want to be my best and provide the best value to my investors, I can’t use my time becoming a master at all the laws and ordinances that govern precisely how to manage a rental property. Many property managers are great at what they do. Let them focus on that while you focus on operations, acquisitions or whatever your core competency is.
In my experience, bad tenants make up the majority of the problems when taking on a new deal. Underwriting tenants is absolutely critical to seeing your multifamily deal succeed. As you speak and get to know the potential tenant, trust your gut and back it up with data in the form of their credit report and background checks. Just be careful not to overstep your boundaries and break any privacy laws, Fair Housing laws or laws as it relates to service animals.
Remember that there is no such thing as “income-producing” property. Properties don’t produce income. People and systems do.
Anyway, do you have any tips for finding good tenants? Have you recently transitioned to a professional property management company? Let me know in the comments.