Buying in your own backyard might not be the best idea.

I hear many people state that they won’t buy in a particular location due to the fact that they would never live there. Real Estate investing isn’t really about where “you” would like to live, it’s more about where is the best and upcoming places are to buy in. You’re looking for places where your rentals will not go vacant as much as possible over the next certain amount of time.

Find cities where companies are moving into the area. If you have a company moving into a city and they need 5000 employees, this will usually guaranty at least 3-5 years of low vacancies. You can go to the Bureau of Labor Statistics site, and download comma delimited files for the entire United States. It will take a while, the files are huge. Graph the downloaded data, look for areas where the employment numbers have been going down in the past. And now they’re stagnating or even turning up. This is usually a good sign that something has changed in the city. Call the city community development department; ask them if they are giving any incentives for companies to move into their city. And what companies are currently slated to move in and how many employees will they need to function. Make sure to get the estimated numbers for all companies moving in or that have moved in. Take note of how long the incentives last, they may give some companies 10 years with a large tax breaks. Make sure to take good notes while on the phone with them.

Always have an exit strategy. Never leave it up to hope or the fact that you just want to hold forever. After buying in one of these areas, call the city community development department every 3 months to see if they are still giving incentives for companies to move in. When they stop giving incentives, look at your notes on each company. About the time there are no incentives and the incentives are running out of time, might be a good time to sell out of the area. This is about the time most investors see the area as a good place to buy. You usually won’t have any problem finding buyers. Some may look at this as a time to continue holding. Trust me; you might be getting out at an early stage in the game, but you’ll have buyers for the price you want. And you’ll be able to 1031 into another up and coming area somewhere else in the nation.

An example: We purchase a property in Clermont Florida in 2000. At the time Disney had expansion plans that would require an additional 3500 employees. Clermont is about 35 minutes from Disney. There were 4-5 other companies moving into the Orlando area bringing anywhere between 600-2000 employees each. Again, I called the Orlando community development department. Orlando was giving large incentives to move into the area. Builders usually won’t start building more housing until people are most likely having to live in hotels. The opposite side is they’ll over build in many cases in the future. This is why you have to keep an eye on all your property locations. This will create rental competition and drive rents down in an area. So for the next 3-5 years, vacancies should not be your biggest concern.

You have to think about how it works. If you have just the 3500 new jobs moving into an area, you can almost triple that number due to the jobs that will be created to support the new 3500 people. They’ll need housing, food, transportation, services, police, fire departments, etc. I’m not even including the other 4-5 companies that were slated to move into the area. Which in-turn creates more jobs and side businesses that the town didn’t have prior.

Remember, I said keep an eye on the city that you’ve purchased in. A city can also bring in too many businesses too fast. The city infrastructure may not be able to handle it. If so, crime rates go up. Businesses begin to become frustrated and can move elsewhere. If a Politician is voted in that resists city growth, it might be a time to consider selling and finding another up and coming area to purchase.

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I’m back. Sorry for the delay.

I’ve let things go for way too long.
I’m back up!!!

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Home–Improv, Walls fall down, go boom, when not attached.

Warning; Walls fall over when not attached!
I thought I did some shoddy repairs in my life, but this was just scary. The installer of a wall that I planned on removing had never been attached to the ceiling. It was basically just caulked to the ceiling, which made it look like it was actually attached.

One end of the wall ended halfway through the living room and the other end cornered at the hallway. I tore most of the drywall off and found that the top 2 feet was plaster again, go figure. I thought I’d start at the hall end and start removing bit by bit as I went across the room. So I break out my trusty saws-all, and start cutting at the corner next to the hallway.

I really did have a plan, honest! I think I only removed one 2*4 at the joint next to the hallway, and I thought the next day I would just remove one 2*4 at a time and stack them in the backyard. After doing this it had gotten late so it was time to close off the room, (we have 5 pets, one of them being our young Son), and go to bed.

Well, about 2:34:21am, (I really do remember the time EXACTLY), there was a noise that sounded like a bus just drove through the front door into our living room. After picking myself up off the floor, because either that’s where I landed or that’s where my wife kicked me to, I slowly walked through the house into the hallway where the living room door is. It was odd, I couldn’t open the door from the hallway. I then had to go through the back bathroom which leads to the back door near the kitchen. All the furniture from the living room was now blocking access to the living room from that side. Still a little sleepy but very curious state went back to the bedroom to get dressed and tell my wife that I still had no clue what had happened. After getting dressed I went out the back door and around the house to the gate, which I couldn’t get open because that was the next project on my list to fix. I ended up having to climb the fence because the tools that I needed to get the gate open were still in the living room. After making it over the fence and ripping my shorts in the process, I made it to the front door. This is when I realized that my door keys were in my other pair of pants on the bedroom dresser! Well, I inspected the front of the house, no bus was found. I thought I could just look through the windows and see what happened, that’s when I remembered that I had put plastic on all the windows to keep the dust from getting into the window slides. Now it was time to make my way back over the fence, into the house, and in the bedroom for a second time to tell my wife that I still had no clue what happened. I did however get to give her some good information; there was no bus in the living room! Of course, she hadn’t even thought of that and now that made her worry even more.

Finally, I’m on my way back out, this time with the front door keys and a towel to cover the sharp edges of the fence. I open the front door to find that the wall I was going to remove had removed itself entirely, taking my door frame to the hallway with it. Well, not much I could do at 3am, so back to bed I go. Then I had to explain to my wife that the wall that I was trying to get to fall over the day before, did. (Oh come on, it was just a little white-lie, right). I didn’t get back to sleep the rest of the night; I think my heart was still racing until around 6am.

My wife gets up the next morning, (I didn’t want to get up until noon), and she makes her way into the kitchen and grabs a bite to eat. She was running a little late because something had woken her up earlier that morning. And for some reason, she blamed me. That wasn’t the worst part, since she was running late, she took off out of the kitchen ran back through the bedroom, (waking me up in the process), and out to the hallway door. Which only opened about 1 inch. I never knew my wife new those words. To say the least, I was wide awake as she came back through the bedroom and for some reason, she wasn’t happy. I told her I would take care of it today and she went to the back door. Now I’m still very sleepy and not thinking very well. She returns even madder than before because she can’t get out of the backyard through the broken gate that I had told her I fixed a while ago. So I had to get the towel and help her over the fence and yes, she was late for work. So of course, the phone rang about the time I finally fell back asleep again just so she could let me know.

It did make the job easier! The next day I just lifted what was left of the broken wall up on my saw horse and trimmed away. Which was what my plan was to begin with, minus the 2:34am crash. But I don’t suggest allowing your walls to fall on their own. They have a tendency to do a lot of damage on the way down! You wouldn’t believe the noise they can make at such a quiet hour! And besides, we needed new carpet anyway…

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Pre-Employment Screening and Background Security Checks

Employers are beginning to realize that without a background check they might be setting themselves up for a negligent hiring suit that they will almost never have a chance in winning. I’ve seen many small businesses go out of business due to a suit from an employee issue. Most small business owners think they are way too small to perform background checks and they’re wrong. As a small or smaller business, you have more to lose by not performing a pre-employment check. Anyone, including myself can be fooled by a potential employee when you’re sitting face-to-face with them in the interview. Think about it; is the data they entered on the application even correct or accurate?

Most background checks cost anywhere from $60 to $100 and up to over $1000, it all depends on how critical the position is within the company. Most are well under $100 for the normal background research which can give you all the information you need to make the decision to hire or not. You as a business owner has to calculate the fact that hiring an individual can cost anywhere from $2000 to $6000 depending on how long you pay the individual during the training and qualification period. You may have to train them for 6 months before they’re fully productive on their own. Can you afford to lose them after that 6 month period due to something from their past? You would have known whether to hire or not if you would have pulled the pre-employment screening in the beginning.

Employers consider pre-employment and background security checks for many reasons. Some of the main reasons are:
• Is what the applicant put on their resume and application accurate and correct?
• Is their Social Security Number correct and does it match their name?
• Do they have a past history of work place violence?
• Are the applicants qualifications correct?
• Have they been previously fired from the same position you are hiring for?
• Do they have an arrest record that they forgot to add to the application?
• Do they have a drug use or abuse problem?
• Are the credentials and qualifications they entered on the application correct and accurate?

A background check sets the level straight for the hiring process. And on potential employees, it keeps your HR department or you not as busy interviewing prospects that don’t even qualify for the job.
You will need to educate yourself as a business owner to know what should be pulled depending on the position you’re hiring for. The basic pre-employment and background security check which should be pulled each time is listed below:
• Verification of their name.
• Verification of their Social Security Number and does it match the name.
• Criminal – wants and warrants check.
• Verification of education as it pertains to their employment position.
• Verification of their past employment and correct dates of that employment.
• And you might want to have their references checked, which can be easily verified that they are who they say they are when they’re called to reference you applicant.

Other pre-employment and background checks that might need to be addressed depending on the criticalness of the position:
• Credit history, how they handle money.
• Workers Compensation, are they accident prone and still collecting from a previous job injury.
• Drug testing, how many drug tests have they failed.
• DMV drivers records, how many accidents have they been in, and was it their fault.
• Sex Offender, depending on their potential position in the company.
• Terrorist Search, it all depends on the position and what materials and areas the individual will have access too.
• Military records, to make sure they were actually in and did what they said they did while they were in and were they honorably discharged.
• International background security checks, they may be from another country and they are allowed to work here in the US. How would you ever know? And what really is their background?

In conclusion; spend an extra $60 after you have selected an individual to hire, and sleep good tonight. Just make sure the company you use abides by FCRA or Fair Credit Reporting Act rules and other local laws governing this type of research. If you have a high turn-over or if you use many temporary employees you might consider pulling these reports yourself. Just check with your local attorney to make sure you do it properly. It’s not hard, and it can save you a lot of money in the long run. Now more than ever, you must run your business and protect it as best you can. Don’t get caught-up thinking your business is way too small to pull pre-employment screenings and background security checks, you may not get a second chance.

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I want to learn about a subject, but I need a reputable source

Have you ever been very interested in a subject that you wanted to learn about, but after searching the internet and coming up with a billion results, you still didn’t get the answer you were looking for?
Do you realize that most of the results of a search that are close to the top of the search page are either advertisements or they’re the ones that the site owners paid a higher price for the keywords in a PPC or Pay Per Click program. Information Brokers or Information Professionals are highly disappointed if their search produces more than 10 hits or results. Learning how to search and having the right tools is paramount in obtaining the correct results and information.

Are you using this information to make investment or business decisions? Should you be? Do you want to leave that business decision to a kid that just happened to be interested in the same subject that you’re searching for? They may be right, they may be wrong, or they may be partially correct or just enough to get you in trouble. How will you know? I’d rather get my information directly from the person whom discovered it or whom has studied if for longer than an hour. Have you ever wondered why many businesses fail? Obtaining fly-by-night information off the internet to make important business decisions is one way to fail fast.

The Internet being released to the public back in 1994 almost shut my business down completely. From 1982 to 1994 I was performing business-to-business information research in more of a generalized content. In 1994 and 1995, I had to steer in a different direction completely. I began performing pre-employment background security checks and skip tracing. Both of which were very lucrative and badly needed in the area I was located in at the time. One of the nice things about the Information Professional industry, you have many areas to choice from. You aren’t stuck where you are at any one time, there are always options.

The attitude of business owners in 1994-1996 was they could get all the information they need for free on the Information Highway. And do it all themselves on their own computer. I just said, “Good Luck”, and walked away. Most of those old clients from the 90’s have since gone out of business. I’m not sure if it was an information factor or not. I do know that quite a few clients realized that it’s better to have no information at all versus having way too much on a subject. And you really don’t know if the information was correct and accurate to begin with.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the Internet, it has its’ uses. But it’s sometimes like getting advice from a stranger that might not even be certified to give that type of advice. It could be the best advice you’ll ever receive, or it could be coming from a person that just didn’t have anything else to do that night. Take it with a grain of salt.

Some information on the Internet is perfect and correct. When I’m brokering for peoples’ opinion on a subject or to perform a survey, the Internet is where you go. There are trillions of good, useable tidbits of information on the Internet. It all depends on what you’re looking for, you just need to verify the legitimacy of the site and data you’re dealing with at the time.

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How much is that next investment home – Real Estate – How much should I pay and is there a profit

The formula isn’t hard at all, it’s getting your estimates as close to correct as possible is the hard part. The formula is simple; “Maximum you can offer on the property = After Repair Value – Rehab costs – Holding cost – Buy/Sell closing costs – the Profit you want in the end”. I have seen many investors walk away or lose a good deal because they got caught up in the numbers.

The definition of the terms in the formula:
1. ARV or After Repair Value is what the property will be worth after it is fixed up and ready to sell on the market.
2. Rehab costs are just the amount that it will take to fix the property up.
3. Holding costs include what your monthly debt service or mortgage will cost you per month for as long as it takes to get the property ready to sell. This time frame is usually anywhere between 3 to 6 months.
4. Buy/Sell closing costs. You have to remember if you plan to flip the property, you will close twice, once when you buy and once again when you sell to the final buyer.

Profits, the fun part we all like! How much should you make? What’s fair for the current market? How much would it take to make the deal worth going into and taking the risk? Using the formula above, see if the profit you have in the deal is worth going into the deal itself. If not, walk away, it’s not worth going into. The last thing you want to do is over price your finally profit, you might not be able to sell the property. Remember, if you plan to flip the property back on the market, the longer you have to hold the property, the more it’s going to eat away at your profit margin. So make sure your After Repair Value is as close to correct as you can get it.

Something else to consider, if you plan to wholesale the property or assign your contract to another investor, you will need to consider leaving enough profit in the deal for the future investor to make it more attractive to buy the contract. Wholesaling or assigning is the act of getting a property under contract for purchase, and assigning it to another investor for a small fee of up to 10% of the future profits in the deal. The investor buying the contract is the one that will do the rehab work and put it back on the market, and will have the greater risk involved in the deal.

You need to remember that this amount is the maximum you can offer and still make a profit that makes the deal worth going into in the first place. This doesn’t mean that this is what you will offer. The less you can offer and still make it a win-win deal for everyone involved will raise your profit margin. If you cannot negotiate at least the maximum amount from the above formula, then walk away from the deal, it’s that simple.

This principle will work for more than just investors. If you’re buying a home to live in, this article will help you on selecting, estimating, finding, and buying a great fixer-upper that has a nice equity position. An equity position is like having a down payment of sometimes as much as 30% of the value of the property, your mortgage terms will be a lot better. And your monthly payments will be greatly reduced. And if you are half way handy with tools, you can live in the house while you get it fixed up.

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How much is that next investment home – Real Estate – Calculating Holding-Closing Costs

How to calculate double closing and holding costs of a property? This is another question Real Estate investors ask quiet frequently. So I’ll try my best to answer them here so others can benefit from the answers.

Holding costs are what the property will cost you while you are trying to get it fixed up and rented or sold on the market. If you are in a soft market, or a time that it’s hard to sell, you might also figure in an amount slightly under value when you sell. This way, you’ll be able to cut down on your hold time and costs. I always try to put a property on the market for around $3000 to $5000 under market value. This way the property will usually sell in under a month or so. Again, this all depends on the property location and the economy for the area you’re currently in.

Are you planning to flip the property back on the market or hold and rent for a long term passive income? If you plan to hold and rent the property out, you will need to perform a rent survey of the area to see if the rent will exceed your mortgage payment. A rule of thumb I use, if the rent you can collect is at least $100 to $150 over your monthly debt service or mortgage, you are breaking even. So don’t spend that money. Most homes will require from time-to-time at least $1200 to $3500 in expenses during the year. Let’s say the furnace or water heater dies, those can be your largest expenses when it comes to home ownership. It’s always a good idea to run a rent survey even if you are just flipping the property, just in case you have an issue selling, you will have more options down the road.

You’re buying and selling or closing costs will consist of taxes, insurance, appraisals, title fees, and insurance, real estate agent commissions, attorney fees, wire fees, tax pro-ration, and much more. Remember, if you are flipping a property, you will be paying these fees twice! It will be once when you buy and once again when you find your end buyer. You must figure these fees in at the beginning to know where your profit margin will be at the end of the deal. In Wyoming the closing fees on a typical $100,000 home would be around 6% of the after repair value of the home.
How long will it take to turn the house around, which means how long to fix it up and close on the property or get it rented out? This will be your holding costs. Most single family homes should take no more than 3 months to fix and sell to an end owner, unless you run into a major repair that might take you longer. On average, I’ll figure in 6 months hold time just as a safety net. Remember, your hold time is based on what the current payment is per month for that 6 month period. Calculate this amount in the deal from the beginning.

Something as simple as closing and holding costs, I’ve seen more investors forget these important things, you have to close twice – once as buyer and once as a seller, and then on top of that, you have a payment each month while you are trying to get all your fix up done. The longer you have to hold a property, the less profit you will make in the end. And if the sell doesn’t work out, you can always rent the property and cut your losses. It’s always nice to do your rent surveys before going into a deal, just in case you can’t sell fast at the end. This way you always have other options, options are nice to have. You can sell fast year around, if you have your price set correctly. Most of the time, the winter is a slower time for buyers, sellers, and renters, just keep that in mind. When you go into a deal, and the hold time puts you in December, you might have a hard time selling. Most people will avoid moving over the holidays, there’s just too much other stuff going on at the time. So just keep this in mind, your market will slow slightly during the holidays and even the winter months themselves.

In the next article I’ll cover what we went through in the last three articles. I’ll put it all together into a simple formula that will work with most single family home investments. I will also discuss your profit margin in the investment.

Robert Lett
3904 Central Ave. 107
Cheyenne, WY 82001
Real Estate Investors wanted nationwide:
We send out lists of properties at .70 cents on the dollar or less from time-to-time.
We also offer live mentoring and one-on-one investment help, contact us at the link above.
Our blog can be found at the web address above.
Need to sell fast in as-is condition:
Twitter: BuyWyomingHomes
Facebook and LinkedIn: Robert Lett

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How much is that next investment home – Real Estate – Calculating Renovation or Rehab Costs

How to calculate rehab costs of a property? This is another question Real Estate investors ask quiet frequently. So I’ll try my best to answer them here so others can benefit from the answers.

Your rehab costs will all depend on how much of a repair project it is and if there is any major repairs that might need to be done. Another factor will be if you plan to do the work yourself and create “sweat-equity” or hirer out to a sub-contractor or a more expensive general contractor. If you’re half way handy and you have the basic hand tools that would be used around the house, you can probably do most of the work yourself and save thousands of dollars. In the past, I’ve even thrown in a small fudge factor of $2000 to $3000 just in case you find something more major after tearing into the project. You never know what else you might find when you tear out a wall or start ripping out the kitchen cabinets. The fudge factor can sometimes save you on your profits. And if it’s not needed, you will have that much more a profit margin built into the deal.

Always check with your local zoning and other laws to make sure you can perform the work in question.
Now I’ll admit, carpet and roof replacement are not something I’ll ever attack again. For one, a roof is hard work, and as far as kicking carpet, that’s another skill I’ve learned that I don’t possess. One of my tenants back in the early 2000’s told me that the carpet had a small wrinkle in the middle of the floor, she wasn’t too worried about it because the coffee table covered it. She said whoever you hired to lay the carpet, she didn’t suggest that I hire them again. I never had the heart to tell her I was one that did it.

Some states require certain things to be done before a mortgage can be funded in that state. Always check with your local real estate attorney, closer, title company, or real estate agent for what might be required. These inspections, tests, and results will have to be added to your overall rehab costs.
I’ll give you an example; In South Carolina and most of the south eastern states, you are required to pass a termite inspection prior to closing. Depending on how you obtained the property, you might not have had a conventional closing, meaning the home inspection was never accomplished when you acquire the property. Since I obtained the property in a creative, non-conventional way, I was the only one to do any type of inspection, and I did that from the west coast. But, after you rehab the property and try to sell it to a future owner, the issue hits you in the face, not good if you’re not ready for it! In the early 2000’s I learned my lesson hard by gaining a $16,000 bill that had to be accomplished prior to closing on the property. To say the least, the entire deal was a loss.

I wrote a simple spreadsheet tool that I’ve been using since the late 1990’s to help make estimating and listing items that the property needs easy. It can run on your computer and your smartphone and you can edit it on the fly. It lists almost all the normal items that you might need for a rehab project. You can fill in the square footage of the property room-by-room and the program will give you how many gallons of paint are required and the cost for the paint. And even calculate the amount of ceiling paint required in a separate column. Of course, you’ll want to save money by buying the 5 gallon buckets instead of the gallon buckets, so it will over estimate your price on the paint by a little. So just be aware of that.
Please contact me at the BuyWyomingHomes web site below if you would like to receive a free copy of the spreadsheet. You have to promise to send it back to me if you make some good changes! You will have to update the sheet for your local area, which usually takes a few hours walking through your local home improvement store. And as you do more projects, you can add or subtract items as needed on the sheet.
Walking through the property will usually tell you what’s needed as far as repairs. If you locate a property that needs a lot more than just cleaning, cosmetics, painting, and patching, you might want to pass on the deal if you’re new to the Real Estate investment arena.

In the next article I will address closing costs and holding fees of a Real Estate investment.

Robert Lett
3904 Central Ave. 107
Cheyenne, WY 82001
Real Estate Investors wanted nationwide:
We send out lists of properties at .70 cents on the dollar or less from time-to-time.
We also offer live mentoring and one-on-one investment help, contact us at the link above.
Our blog can be found at the web address above.
Need to sell fast in as-is condition:

Twitter: BuyWyomingHomes
Facebook and LinkedIn: Robert Lett

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How much is that next investment home – Real Estate – Calculating ARV or After Repair Value

What is ARV? I’m asked this question all the time from other Real Estate investors. So I’ll try my best to answer them here so others can benefit from the answers.

After Repair Value (ARV): Basically, what would a house sell for if it was in a sellable condition? If you work with an agent on occasions, you can ask them to pull a Brokers Price Opinion (BPO) for you on the property. Before asking, make sure you have worked with the agent or a least you are planning to work with that agent in the future, their time is very valuable too. If you subscribe to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), you can pull a BPO on your own. It will give you a list of homes within a mile from your subject property and that has closed in the last 6 months or so. A BPO is like an estimated appraisal of worth. It’s not an appraisal, it’s just a close estimate of future value. You can look for comparable homes that are within a mile of your subject property that are as close in square footage and amenities as your subject property. Amenities meaning, does it have a garage, attached or detached, fenced in yard, finished basement, etc. Try to find other properties that closed within 6 months of the current date or less, don’t use closings that occurred over a year in the past for your estimates. In slower markets you might have to go further than a year and a mile to find your comparable, just try to keep them under a year from closing and less than a mile from your subject property if at all possible. The further you have to go the less accurate your estimate will be.

Once you have these numbers and addresses, drive by the comparable properties that you located during the above process. I’ve got some questions:
1. Do they resemble your subject property?
2. Does the neighborhood look comparable to your subject properties neighborhood?
3. Are they in the same type of neighborhood?
4. Always look at these properties as if you were planning on buying and living in the property, put yourself in your future buyers shoes.
5. Does your subject property’s neighborhood look trashy compared to the comparables that were pulled?
6. Does the comparable have the same number of bedrooms and bathrooms?
7. Does it have the same amenities; garage, finished basement, or a fenced in backyard, etc.?
8. When was the comparable built compared to your subject property?
9. Is your subject property an older style home? Have all the other properties in the area been facially upgraded on the outside?
10. Does the area of your subject property have boarded, abandon, or trashy properties around it and your comparable doesn’t.
11. Can you make your subject property look like the comparables you are using?
At this point you might have to pull different properties if your comparable properties are in a really nicer or worst neighborhood.

You can work up an average and this should be fairly close to what you can sell the house for after you have it fixed up. This should give you are fairly accurate estimate of the properties future worth. As I said, the further off your comparable is the less accurate your estimate will be. If you analyze your comparable neighborhoods, you can figure out how much more a property is worth if it has an extra bedroom or bathroom. At that point you can compare a 3 bed-2 bath and a 2 bed-2 bath just by adding or subtracting the amount of increase or decrease for having or not having the same amount of bedrooms or bathrooms. This is basically what an appraiser will do. They have the skill to compare a 4 bedroom home to a 2 bedroom home by knowing how much to subtract from the value of the 4 bedroom home to calculate the value of the 2 bedroom home.
In the next article I’ll cover renovation or rehab costs of the subject property itself, the one you are thinking about buying.

Robert Lett
3904 Central Ave. 107
Cheyenne, WY 82001

Real Estate Investors wanted nationwide:
We send out lists of properties at .70 cents on the dollar or less from time-to-time.
We also offer live mentoring and one-on-one investment help, contact us at the link above.
Our blog can be found at the web address above.

Need to sell fast in as-is condition:
Twitter: BuyWyomingHomes
Facebook and LinkedIn: Robert Lett

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Where Is a Good Place to Invest in Real Estate?

Finding a good place to invest in Real Estate within the United States can sometimes be a chore. In the past I always searched for places that had new industry and/or companies moving into a location that required enough employment to almost guaranty my property to have a tenant for at least 5 years, usually searching through the city’s Planning Department to find this information. With the economic slow-down, it’s been harder to find those locations.

With a little help from some investor friends I found a small town called Cheyenne. In 2007, I drove out to Cheyenne from Los Angeles and flipped a house that I picked up contract-for-deed. It took me about $10,000 and 6 weeks, on that property, (with a lot of help from my friends). Driving was a lot better than shipping tools out and renting whatever else I needed, I’ve done that in 5 other states prior to 2007.

Well, I was sold, myself and the family were leaving Los Angeles and heading to Cheyenne to live. When we moved there the crime rate was around 1.7%, and after 3 plus years it’s still under 2%. I’ve actually left tools out in the yard while working on a front yard fence at one of the vacant units, after the weekend I came back to find my tools on the front porch next to the door. And I even think they cleaned them for me! You just can’t beat the place for an investment opportunity.

We left Los Angeles at the beginning of 2008 after 11 years of Real Estate investing. Due to the fact the even if I got a property under contract for 60 to 65 cents on the dollar, I still couldn’t make much of a profit for the work involved due to the depreciation at the time, even in a short sale. And even back then short sales were getting pretty hard to come by, depending on which lender seller was with.

I researched the nation to see if there was a better place to buy, hold, and/or sell. We already owned in 9 states at the time, so nationwide investing wasn’t knew. And found that my friends were correct on their advice about this little Cheyenne town. The market there never really got hit by the recession, at least not even close to the way it hit the rest of the Country. If property values did anything at all, they just held their value or maybe dropped slightly.

Most people have lived there their entire life, and many have a 65-70% equity position. I was used to Los Angeles where a high percent of the people I spoke with were upside down on their loan. I still can’t believe that this type of market can still exist with the economy in the condition its’ in.

The Government here is odd, they actually make decisions based on what is good for the community, not what will fill their pockets. OK, I’m sure they make a good living too. They don’t seem to over build when it’s not needed.

We’ve bought all over the nation and 98% of the rentals will take anywhere from 3 weeks to 4 months to get the re-rented. Here it’s more like I can’t seem to get the units ready fast enough and I have 3 plus applicants that want the property. 99% of the time, I’ll end up knocking off a little of the deposit money if they’ll move in and do some of the small final clean-up. It’s hard to believe that the economy here isn’t as bad as everywhere else in the nation.

Note of wisdom: Never pull a heater apart during a single-digit winter day, unless you know you have the parts to fix it immediately.

Signed: Frozen-Experience.

Robert Lett
3904 Central Ave. 107
Cheyenne, WY 82001

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