5 Important Tips for Beginners in Real Estate

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Most of the readers at this blog aren’t professionals and so I decided to post here an article we wrote for RealtyTimes which goes over the real basics of investing in real estate. We mentioned location, tax benefits, credit reports, the 1% rule of property investments and property evaluation tools. For foreign investors, the credit reports are not that important, as it is pretty hard to get financing in the US for a foreigner anyway. However, even an American company owned by a foreigner can benefit from tax deductions such as depreciation or deductible expenses. Check the full article here: RealtyTimes: 5 Important Tips for Newbie Investors.

Categories: General Education

Phoenix condo – 3rd year (2012)

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As you probably read in the previous article about my Phoenix property, the property was vacant since the September 2011, and I was having hard times finding the tenant in the newly repaired unit. I was very happy that Kathryn (employee of RPM Phoenix Metro) found me a tenant in January. We gave him half month free rent as an incentive. He however paid just half month and stopped. Long story short, in 2 months total, he was out (evicted), but he trashed the place as well! Now I was here without any savings (bleeding even more on my Kansas property), with ruined unit and I started questioning my overall strategy with this property. The fact was, Read the rest of this entry »

Categories: #2 - Condo in Phoenix

Topeka Multi-family property – 1st year of operation (2011)

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I acquired this property just in December 2010 with sellers financing. I was so happy to get it, for just $13,000 a multi-family property with 5 units, fully rented in that time! If you haven’t read that article – you can learn more about how I got the property here. Right after I bought the property I have made a deal with Travis from Rental Management Solutions in Topeka (RMS) http://www.rmstopeka.com/ to be my property manager. RMS is probably the biggest property management company in Topeka, managing hundreds of properties. I had made my mind before against these big companies, but since Travis was recommended to me, I decided to make an exception.  He was very helpful in the beginning, he went to the property and inspected it for me (I was back in Europe during the closing), he gave me various opinions and gave me a good price for the management itself (only $40 for each occupied unit).  Read the rest of this entry »


Las Vegas condo – 2nd year operation (2011)

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In Las Vegas 2011 didn’t start very well. I had a tenant through my already second property management company (this time RPM Las Vegas, run by Tod Wever) and it was going quite well. Until April, when I found out (when checking some HOA issue with Tod) that my property is vacant! I wasn’t even notified. And then the problems started. RPM quite couldn’t for some reason submit a payment to the HOA, even when I called probably 3 times. I needed to get the place repaired and rented, and it was merely impossible. I needed a move-out inspection report, so I could see what repairs are needed. I was trying to communicate with RPM every way possible, but couldn’t get anywhere. And at this point, I decided that I will have to get rid of them. There were more issue, for example they haven’t sent me a check with the rental income etc. In the end it got to such a point, that I filed official complaint at the Real Estate Division Nevada, because simply I didn’t think that the property management business shall be done this way and figured if more people will do similar thing it might change something. Read the rest of this entry »


Phoenix condo – 2nd year operation (2011)

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In Phoenix the story went this way – in the summer 2011 I was notified that my tenant (family) got a few fines from the HOA and that the HOA found out that there is more than allowed number of occupants in the unit. The rules of the HOA strictly allowed only 4 people living in the 2 bedroom units. I tried to make an appeal for an exception, but it didn’t go through. Therefore I had to notified the tenants and they had to move out in September. Unfortunately they left the unit quite trashed – with some punched drywalls, moldy food in the fridge and very stained carpets. It was too bad to lose them, because they were otherwise “on-time” paying tenants for over a year. Read the rest of this entry »

Categories: #2 - Condo in Phoenix

I am back!

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It has been a long while since I really wrote an article about my properties, and it has been just busy year I guess, but still there are people who read this blog and are interested to know how everything is going. And in the end last week my very good friend here in Kansas motivated me to write more. He told me how he printed out all my blog posts 2 years ago, and that it helped him to buy his own income rental properties in the US as a foreigner. I was his motivation back then and now he was mine to write more. Read the rest of this entry »


Why Home Prices Are Rising Again (According to Case-Shiller)

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The Wall Street Journal June 26

As usual, I am following major Real Estate news and here is an interesting article from the Wall Street Journal from the end of June. It wasn’t hard to see this coming: Home prices rose in April after a spring that brought more buyers chasing fewer homes. Home prices typically show a seasonal gain in April, and Tuesday’s report from the S&P/Case-Shiller index was no different. Home prices were up 1.3% from March for the 20-city index. After adjusting for seasonal factors (more homes generally sell in April), prices were up by 0.7%.

This year was clearly better than April 2011, when monthly prices rose by 0.7%, and when adjusting for seasonality, they fell by 0.1%. Read the rest of this entry »


Foreign Purchases of the American Real Estate Rise Strongly

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Wall Street Journal | REAL ESTATE | June 11

A survey released last month showed that the six-year slide in U.S. housing prices, coupled with the rising value of some foreign currencies and continued instability in Europe, is fueling a property-buying binge in the U.S. by wealthy foreigners. This is a good news for the American Real estate market as well, since the foreign capital can further stabilize and rise the house prices. For those of you who already invested in the US, we can just wait and see what growth will the future bring, and for those who haven’t invested yet, it’s definitely a good time to consider the options, before the prices will reach their original levels from couple years ago.

Nationwide, international buyers spent $82.5 billion on residential real estate in the 12-month period that ended in March, according to the National Association of Realtors. That was up by 24% from the $66.4 billion spent in the same period that ended March 2011 and accounted for nearly 8.9% of the $928 billion spent on residential real estate during that span.

The survey showed that around 55% of all buyers came from five countries: Canada, China, Mexico, India and the United Kingdom. Canadians accounted for nearly one quarter of all foreign sales. Around half of foreign buyers are recent immigrants or temporary visa holders, while the remainder have permanent residences outside of the U.S. and spend fewer than six months each year in the U.S. Read the rest of this entry »


FHFA: House Price Index Shows First Yearly Gain Since 2007

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FHFA Report published in May 23, 2012

For the ones who don’t know, FHFA is the U.S. Federal Housing Finance Agency and it regulates Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the 12 Federal Home Loan Banks. These government-sponsored enterprises provide more than $5.7 trillion in funding for the U.S. mortgage markets and financial institutions. Click on the image on the left to enlarge the chart.

U.S. house prices rose modestly in the first quarter of 2012 according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) seasonally adjusted purchase-only house price index (HPI). The FHFA HPI was up 0.6 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis since the fourth quarter of 2011. The HPI is calculated using home sales price information from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages. … FHFA’s seasonally adjusted monthly index for March was up 1.8 percent from February. Read the rest of this entry »


Realtor guru: 10% home-price jump possible

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The Orange County Register June 26th

Here is another interesting and positive article about the real estate market in the US. We all hope that these predictions will fulfill. National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said he “would not be surprised” if U.S. home prices jumped 10% by June of next year. If true, that would be significant after three or four years of falling home prices.

“The market is healing,” Yun said recently at the National Association of Real Estate Editors conference in Denver.

Several factors triggered Yun’s enthusiasm: Strong demand among buyers, higher sales, lower number of homes for sale, and a level of foreclosures that – while high – has steadily decreased over the past two years.

Distressed sales – foreclosed and underwater homes – account for a fourth of the market this year, compared to a third last year, he said. By next year, they’re expected to account for 15%. Read the rest of this entry »