Happy New Year, everyone. I write this on the first day of January, 2013. The month of January is named after the Greek god Janus, who had the distinction of having one face that looked forward and one face that looked backwards. January is a month when we find ourselves doing some of both.
If you have not done so, take some time to look back on 2012. What goals did you accomplish and what goals did you falter on? What lessons did you learn in 2012 that can help you in 2013?
Once you have spent some time looking back, set your eyes ahead to the future. What goals of your life do you want to accomplish in 2013? What can you do to improve yourself, your business, and your family in this new year?
If you are a real estate investor, I encourage you in these early days of January to begin formulating a plan on your business for 2013. If you are specifically a rehabber, now is the time to begin looking for property to rehab whether your exit strategy will be to rent or to fix and sell. Spring is the number one season during the year when people look for property. With house sales improving, now is the time to get busy.
I wish a wonderful 2013 for each of you. - Randy Wall, Lora Lee Properties
I am currently renovating a home I bought in November. The house needs a great deal of work as it had sat vacant for several years. In the midst of this renovation, I have learned and re-learned some lessons about working with contractors that I share below:
GET BIDS FROM SEVERAL CONTRACTORS--- Whether you are looking to do renovations on your personal home or on a real estate investment property, get bids from several contractors. Print out a list of what you want done, and give a copy to all contractors bidding on the work. If you want them to bid on labor and materials, say so in your list of what you want done. I discovering in this recent renovation that there were thousands of dollars difference in the bids. Whether you are a homeowner or a real estate investor, everyone likes to save money.
ASK FOR REFERENCES FROM THE CONTRACTORS- Don’t be afraid to ask the contractors bidding on your renovation work for references. When I speak to the references, I always ask for the address of the property where they did the work in case I want to go by and see the work myself. I always ask when the work was done to get some idea whether they have recent experience with the contractor. These specific questions of the references also helps insure that they really were a client of the contractor and not just their good friend.
HAVE THE CONTRACTORS COME AT THE SAME TIME TO THE SUBJECT PROPERTY- In most recent experience with a renovation, I had all the contractors interested in the job come in a 2 hour window of time. That helped save me time from having to meet four different contractors at different times. It also created a spirit of competition between the contractors when it came time to return the bids on the renovation.
TALK ABOUT MONEY- Don’t be afraid to ask questions about money. Will the contractor need money before the renovation or during the renovation? Will the contractor only seek to be paid at the end of the work? When they give me their bid, I ask them is that their best price. I have asked hundreds of dollars in renovation expenses by simply asking them that question.
These are a few tips I have learned and re-learned about working with contractors on renovation. Good luck in your work.- Randy Wall, Lora Lee Properties
Christmas is not the only thing coming in these December days. So is the ending of various tax cuts that some are calling the “fiscal cliff”. While perhaps I am on a slippery slope bringing up this because it concerns politics, all real estate investors have a vested interest in the discussion whether they be Republicans, Democrats, Independents, or unaffiliated. While I am not a tax expert, my tax professional tells me that one of the ways the “fiscal cliff” could impact real estate investors is on the capital gains tax they pay when they make a profit on the sale of real estate. If the current tax laws expire this month without an agreement, real estate investors will be paying more in capital gains taxes when they sell a property. If you have thoughts on this issue, please be in touch with the office or your senator or congressman.
Speaking of taxes, don’t forget that you only have weeks till your property taxes are due for 2012. Whether you are a real estate investor or simply a homeowner , it is your responsibility to see that they are paid even if taxes are paid out of esgrow through your mortgage lender. If your taxes are paid out of esgrow, make sure your mortgage lender has your property tax information by being in contact with them.
Have a great week.-- Randy Wall, Lora Lee Properties
This is a time of year when most outdoor home projects are put on the list of future projects. Winter is almost here, and cold weather is on the daily forecast. Once the holidays are past and the new year begins, it is a good time of year to work on interior projects. Here are a few simple and relatively inexpensive things you can do to get a new look to your home or to that investment property you own:
WINDOW TREATMENTS- Consider getting new window treatments (e.g. blinds, curtains, draperies, etc.) to your home. They can help me a room a whole new look.
It is December, and the Christmas holidays are only a few weeks away. While you are preparing, a few reminders to real estate investors:
TAKE TIME TO SAY THANKS TO YOUR TENANTS- If you own and rent real estate, thank your tenants. Though a card will certainly be appropriate, a gift card for coffee or another visible expression of your thanks would be great.
TAKE TIME TO SAY THANKS TO YOUR CLIENTS- Take time to thank your clients. If you are a realtor, thank those persons who have bought property from you or listed property through you.
TAKE TIME TO SAY THANKS TO YOUR TEAM MEMBERS- If you are a real estate investor, there are many folks that assist you in your business such as appraisers, realtors, attorneys, contractors, property inspectors, etc.
Someone told me several years ago a wise saying and it is this: everyone appreciates being appreciated. During this time of year as you move toward the end of 2012, take time to thank those who made your business what it is in 2013. - Randy Wall, Lora Lee Properties