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Real Estate Investing – Are You Landlord Or Investor?
When I started buying real estate, I made a conscious decision to avoid rentals because I had no interest in owning. Like you, I’ve heard all the horror stories of nightmarish tenants, late-night plumbing problems, lead paint problems, and evictions. I was not interested in spending a lot of time and effort on tenant screening, vacancy and repairs, and going to court.
In fact, the very first book I bought on real estate was Deals On Wheels by Lonnie Scruggs, a brilliant treatment of mobile home investing, and a more dedicated “anti-owner” than Lonnie is. never born. The whole concept of buying and selling mobile homes, as developed by Lonnie, evolved in response to his “tired homeowner” syndrome.
After reading Lonnie’s book, and others like him, my mind was more set than ever – I would never buy a rental property. I would never have a tenant. I would NEVER, NEVER own.
My way times change. Based on the knowledge I’ve accumulated over the past few years as a real estate investor and conversations with hundreds of experienced investors, I now know that it’s not what you do, but how you do it. do, which determines the level of frustration you feel. with ANY type of investment, rental or otherwise.
In short, it’s the position you choose.
Choose a position of strength
You can own it if you want. I choose to be an investor.
Owners do a lot of things that investors don’t, unless they choose to. Let’s compare:
Landlords put up “For Rent” signs, place ads in newspapers, and hold open houses and tours. Landlords deal face to face with tenants, screen them and do background checks. Landlords tell tenants they’re approved (or not), explain the rules to tenants, and sign leases with them. Landlords collect deposits and rents.
Investors hire professional property managers.
Landlords take tenants’ phone calls in the event of a problem, regardless of the hour. Landlords notify tenants that their rent is overdue, assess late fees, and enforce the rules. Landlords apologize to neighbors for unruly tenants, cut grass and shovel snow. Homeowners fix leaky fixtures and toilets.
Investors hire professional property managers.
Landlords apologize to tenants for problems, fill vacancies, and notify tenants that they are not getting their deposit back due to damage. Landlords evict tenants and go to court with them. The owners do many, many other things that I don’t want to do.
What about investors? Let’s see.
Investors hire a professional property manager to handle everything the owners do themselves. What’s the easiest, most cost-effective, and most efficient use of your limited time? If you answered “Hire a professional property manager”, you are right!
A quality property manager is worth every dollar you pay them. They will make sure that your accommodations are rented to the right tenants, that the property is well maintained and that the tenants are satisfied. They will fill vacancies and respond to help desk calls. They will take care of repairs and evictions. They will take care of the bookkeeping, collecting rent and assessing late fees. They will form a buffer between you and the headaches of managing a rental property. They are experts in all of these things, and more.
You will receive a check at the end of each month.
Get the picture?
It seems so simple, right? Why does it take some investors, including me, so long to see the difference?
Change the way you see yourself
It’s all in how you see yourself. When you think of yourself as a homeowner, you don’t realize that your time is better spent doing what puts money in your bank account, which is finding and acquiring a property that meets your investment criteria. Unless you’re a plumber by trade, a professional property manager, or a landscaper, wouldn’t your time be better spent doing what you’ve learned to do so well: investing in real estate?
Does that mean that if property management is something you love to do, something you aspire to, you shouldn’t be doing it? Of course not. If you have a passion for managing your own properties and love the idea of ownership (with all that that entails), by all means go for it. I’m not trying to change what you like, I want you to see that you have a choice.
Maybe you are like me. I had to teach myself to think differently about who I am – to think like an investor, not an owner. When you start thinking like an investor, you start approaching real estate as a business rather than a hobby. You realize that you don’t have to do everything yourself just to save money. You come to realize that doing everything yourself is most likely costing you money, maybe a ton of money.
To repeat, the two keys are:
1. Learn to see yourself as an investor.
2. Learn to think like an investor.
Are your strengths really in the areas of ownership I listed above? If so, fine. Keep doing what you are doing. But if, as I imagine, you’re in a better position to find deals and bring them to the closing table, hire a professional to manage the properties you decide to own and rent. Play to your strengths – you’ll multiply your time and your business will grow like a thoroughbred racehorse springing from the door.
Now go make more offers!
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