Book Review for Commercial Real Estate Finance by Winston Rowe

Free Book “Commercial Real Estate Finance”

Winston Rowe and Associates

Commercial Real Estate Finance by Winston Rowe – A Book Review

Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5)

Commercial real estate investment is a complex and ever-evolving field, requiring a deep understanding of finance, market dynamics, and risk assessment. In his book, “Commercial Real Estate Finance,” Winston Rowe provides a comprehensive and insightful guide that equips both novices and seasoned professionals with the knowledge necessary to navigate this intricate domain.

From the outset, Rowe demonstrates his expertise and experience as a real estate professional. His writing style is concise, clear, and approachable, ensuring that readers can easily grasp the concepts and principles discussed. Even complex financial topics, such as leverage, capitalization rates, and debt structures, are explained in a manner that is accessible to individuals without a finance background.

One of the book’s standout features is its systematic approach to commercial real estate finance. Rowe takes readers on a step-by-step journey through the entire process, from analyzing market fundamentals and property valuation to structuring debt and securing financing. Each chapter builds upon the previous one, creating a logical and progressive flow of information.

Furthermore, the book goes beyond mere theory and incorporates real-world case studies and examples. These practical illustrations provide readers with a deeper understanding of how various financial concepts and strategies are applied in actual commercial real estate transactions. This combination of theory and application ensures that readers are not only equipped with knowledge but also gain valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities they may encounter in the field.

What sets “Commercial Real Estate Finance” apart from other books on the subject is its focus on risk management. Rowe emphasizes the importance of thorough due diligence, identifying and mitigating potential risks, and understanding the macroeconomic factors that influence the commercial real estate market. By doing so, he helps readers develop a proactive and prudent approach to their investments, enhancing the likelihood of success and mitigating potential losses.

Another strength of this book is the emphasis on the evolving landscape of commercial real estate finance. Rowe acknowledges the impact of technological advancements, regulatory changes, and market trends on the industry. By staying up-to-date with the latest developments, readers can better adapt to the ever-changing dynamics and make informed decisions in an increasingly competitive environment.

“Commercial Real Estate Finance” is not a book you read once and put away. It serves as a valuable reference guide that you’ll likely return to throughout your career in commercial real estate. The clear organization, comprehensive content, and practical insights make it an essential resource for investors, lenders, developers, and anyone seeking to gain a deeper understanding of the financial aspects of commercial real estate.

In conclusion, “Commercial Real Estate Finance” by Winston Rowe is an invaluable guide that demystifies the intricacies of commercial real estate finance. Through its systematic approach, practical examples, and emphasis on risk management, Rowe equips readers with the knowledge and tools necessary to navigate the complex world of commercial real estate investment. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or a newcomer to the industry, this book is a must-read that will undoubtedly enhance your understanding and performance in the field.

10 Advantageous Tax Breaks For Landlords

When you manage a real estate portfolio of any scale, keeping accurate records is a must – especially when it comes to tax time. It’s no secret that top-notch organizing is directly connected to your bottom line.

By having the correct records and know-how, you can claim the most tax breaks accurately and legally, keeping you in good standing with the IRS without missing any opportunities to save money. Every dollar counts, so let’s find out what are the 10 best tax breaks landlords can grab.

1. Mortgage Interest

Investors that use loans to purchase real estate make regular mortgage payments that generate substantial interest – especially at the beginning of the loan term. Deducting this large sum can be a great help in reducing your taxes owed, especially if you plan to itemize taxes.  claim on your rental real estate property. Interest from a HELOC also belongs to this category.

2.  Straight-Line Depreciation

All buildings lose useful life as they get older. In the tax world, residential buildings depreciate over the span of 27.5 years and commercial buildings 39 years. This figure, created by the IRS, allows landlords to deduct 1/27.5 of a residential property’s value per year and 1/39 of a commercial property’s value. This simplified method is a safe route for landlords to take when they are unsure about different rates of depreciation within their properties.

3. Segmented Depreciation

Instead of using the standard depreciation rate for buildings, landlords can also claim components of their properties that depreciate at different rates. Essentially, you don’t count your property as one asset but split it into multiple assets that depreciate at different rates.

Segmented depreciation allows landlords to claim more accelerated rates of depreciation on certain parts of rentals, like fences, flooring, and appliances. In fact, investors that take advantage of this type of depreciation can claim more on expenses that wear out more quickly than the building as a whole.

To make it simpler to calculate depreciation rates, the IRS created the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS) to calculate depreciation rates within investment properties.

With MACRS, you can claim appliances, carpeting, and furniture as fully depreciated after 5 years, equating to ⅕ of its cost claimed per year. Compared to 1/27th, that’s significantly more write-offs that allow you to stay on top of vital tasks like carpet replacement and much more. When you replace these assets, you may begin the 5-year depreciation process again.

4. Loan Fees

If you buy an investment property with a loan, then you can deduct many loan-related fees that include closing costs, origination fees, and points paid down. Since it’s difficult to identify what fees are deductible on your own, consult a tax professional to make sure that you’re claiming the right numbers, especially if you bought more than one property in a year. This will ensure that your tax return abides by IRS regulations and that you will have the least chance of delays after filing.

5. Repairs And Maintenance

Rental investments need regular upkeep throughout the year. On top of that, they can experience unexpected repair emergencies. Whether you need to pay for lawn mowing, fixing a broken faucet, or pay for any other upkeep like hvac servicing, these costs can be written off during tax time. So, if your unit needs a new coat of paint, it is possible to recoup expenses like these to give your budget more wiggle room.

6. Casualty Losses

If your investment property experiences loss from theft or physical damage, then you can potentially claim them as business expenses. There are strict guidelines and limitations regarding what you can claim as loss, so speak to your tax pro to get the specifics. When you can claim these losses, it can recoup the costs of fixing your rental property and keep costs manageable for your portfolio.

7. Eviction Legal Fees

Evictions cost a lot of money. Court proceedings can make a large impact on your rental business. On top of losing rent, taking legal action against a tenant adds up to a lot of court fees and attorney costs. Thankfully, you can deduct some of these eviction-related legal expenses.

If your rental business depends on outsourcing property management, new resident placement fees, legal fees, accounting fees, and other business expenses related to paying other pros to help (who aren’t your employees) can be deducted as professional services fees.

8. Driving And Transportation

One thing  new landlords don’t expect is the large amount of driving that is involved with the lifestyle. Whether you need to see your tax pro, go to the bank, pick up supplies for repairs, meet with business partners, or simply drive to your properties for an inspection, the miles add up quickly. According to the IRS, you can claim a standard mileage rate of $0.655 per mile. Check to make sure you are logging your miles according to IRS standards to ensure your numbers are accurate.

9. Utilities

If you pay any utilities for your rental units, such as gas, electric, or trash pickup, then you can claim these costs on your tax return. Ensure that your rental income doesn’t include utility reimbursement first.  Claiming utility expenses can reduce your tax bill and create a better outcome for your year-end tax filing.

10. Property Taxes

As a landlord, you pay property taxes on every property in your portfolio. These expenses add up quickly, which makes it good news that you can claim them on your taxes. To get accurate numbers, check with your tax professional to claim the right amount of property taxes for your portfolio.

The Bottom Line

There is so much more that can be added to this list to further specify the type of savings you can claim on your taxes as a landlord. For complete and up-to-date information, seek a certified CPA today.

Banks Pulling Back on Commercial Lending Nationwide

Office vacancies — plus the still simmering banking crisis — have us considering what a potential bust in the $6 trillion U.S. office property market might mean.

Why it matters: A deep downturn in property values is more than a problem for oligarchs, feuding billionaire clans and oil-rich foreign wealth funds.

It could touch normies, too, by hurting pension fund performance and city tax revenues.

If it gets bad enough, it may undermine banks, crimp lending and slow the economy.

State of play: Office utilization is still low compared to the before-times, with WFH and hybrid set-ups now standard for millions of former office drones.

By the numbers: Nearly 30% of companies still have remote or hybrid options — though that’s come down from 40% in 2021, the latest government data shows.

Utilization — how many people actually use the offices that their companies rent — is down roughly 50% from pre-COVID levels, according to swipe-card systems operator Kastle Systems.

Office building appraisal values were down 25% in February compared to a year prior, according to a Goldman Sachs note that cites research shop Green Street.

Office rents — especially in large cities with lengthy commutes — have fallen, too.

The latest: Signs of stress are picking up, with delinquencies on commercial office mortgages touching 2.4% in February, up from 1.5% six months ago, according to Trepp. Defaults are starting to appear as well.

Multinational real estate giant Brookfield last month defaulted on over $750 million in debt tied to two office buildings in downtown Los Angeles.

Pimco’s Columbia Property Trust office REIT defaulted on $1.7 billion in debt tied to a seven-building portfolio.

The head of RXR, another large New York office landlord, told the Financial Times last month it was preparing to stop debt payments on some properties, as it looks to renegotiate.

The impact: The value of commercial property produces anywhere between 20% and 40% of tax revenues for states and localities.

If those revenues fall, governments will have to cut services, raise taxes, or both, making cities less attractive.

Meanwhile, smaller banks are big lenders to real estate developers, putting them at risk if office defaults spike.

Goldman Sachs analysts estimate that banks hold roughly half of the $5.6 trillion in commercial property mortgages outstanding, with the overwhelming majority of that half held at small banks.

Many of those same regional banks have been under pressure since Silicon Valley Bank failed. With deposits migrating to larger institutions — or simply to higher-interest accounts like money markets — they’ll have less capacity to refinance loans on office properties.

Property loans typically need to be refinanced every five to seven years — and failure to refinance or pay off the loan can result in a default. When that happens, the debt gets renegotiated, and the lender often takes losses.

If defaults pile up, it could worsen the pressure on office building values and make banks leerier of making office loans — exacerbating the defaults and the banks’ losses.

Finally, pension funds have also sunk billions into real estate in recent years. The top 200 institutional managers owned about a half-trillion worth of real estate in 2022, according to trade publication Pensions & Investments.

“How those real estate portfolios of buildings are doing, will then affect, in the end, returns which these pension funds are getting. And that will also affect households which are dependent on these pension funds,” says Vrinda Mittal, a Ph.D. candidate in finance and economics at Columbia Business School who has studied private real estate investments.

The bottom line: We’re still in the early stages of the post-COVID era for offices, and how it will shake out is the trillion-dollar question.

While you were ducking out of the office early Friday afternoon for happy hour, the Federal Reserve released its weekly report on the U.S. banking system.

Why it matters: The figures showed that amid the turmoil that’s engulfed the banking sector, there was an outflow of deposits from smaller banks in mid-March — though not on a scale that appears overly worrisome.

Big US Banks Pull Back on Office and Apartment Lending

Big US Banks Pull Back on Office and Apartment Lending

Slowdown Seen in CoStar Data Could Extend Into 2023, With Possible Bright Spots for Retail, Data Centers

The nation’s largest banks that are most active in commercial real estate lending eased off their strong support for property purchases in the past several months, with CoStar data showing a particularly steep drop in financing for offices and apartments.

The trend is likely to extend into this year, based on comments from bank executives singling out office properties for weakness in their earnings reports this month.

While office building sales in 2022 made up 13% of total transactions, CoStar data shows, those sales fell 35% in the second half from the first half. The largest banks meanwhile financed 47% fewer office deals in the final six months of the year.

“The office market is showing signs of weakness due to weak demand, driving higher vacancy rates and deteriorating operating performance, as well as challenging economic and capital market conditions,” Mike Santomassimo, chief financial officer of Wells Fargo, said on the bank’s earnings call last week. “While we haven’t seen this translate to significant loss content yet, we do expect to see stress over time and are proactively working with borrowers to manage our exposure and being disciplined in our underwriting standards with both, outstanding balances and credits down compared to a year ago.”

The weakness is widespread even in the Class A properties on which Wells Fargo has originated loans.

“We are very watchful on cities like San Francisco, like Los Angeles, like Washington, D.C., where you’re seeing lease rates overall be much lower than other cities across the country,” Santomassimo added. “Those are markets that we’re keeping a pretty close eye on and making sure we’re being proactive with our borrowers to make sure we’re thinking way ahead of any maturities or extensions, options that need to get put in place to help manage through it.”

Largest Financed Deals

The data resulted from a review of 2022’s largest financed property sales by the biggest U.S. banks as tracked by CoStar, and additional lending activity could have occurred last year that wasn’t picked up in the data. Based on last year’s totals, retail and data center loans are shaping up to be possible bright spots for the finance industry in 2023.

In the analysis, Wells Fargo was among the most active bank lenders and tallied the largest loan total in both the apartment and industrial sectors. That is a focus that began for Wells Fargo in 2021, Nipul Patel, head of real estate banking within Wells Fargo’s commercial real estate group, told CoStar News in an interview.

The robustness of activity in the two sectors peaked in the first quarter of 2022, according to Patel.

Nipul Patel of Wells Fargo projected weaker lending activity in apartment, industrial and office properties. (Wells Fargo)

CoStar data shows that apartment property sales were 18% lower in the second half of the year than the first half. The largest banks financed 42% fewer apartment deals in the back half.

“The second half of the year for the most part was pretty dormant in regard to new origination activity both in the multifamily and industrial sector,” Patel said.

That pause is likely to continue early this year given elevated interest rates and price discovery going on with those property types, he said.

Apartments on Watch

Some of the nation’s other large banks reported increases in some types of apartments during their earnings calls.

JPMorgan Chase’s commercial real estate loans were up 2% quarter-over-quarter, reflecting a slower pace of growth from earlier in the year because of the higher rates, which affects both originations and prepayment activity, the bank said.

“The vast majority of loan balances in commercial real estate are for affordable multifamily housing, which is really quite secure from a credit perspective for a variety of reasons,” Jeremy Barnum, JPMorgan’s chief financial officer, said on the call. “So, we feel quite comfortable with the loss profile of that business.”

First Republic Bank, based in San Francisco, backed more apartment deals in 2022 than other property types. The bank reported achieving record apartment lending volume in 2022.

First Republic said it expects to continue that loan growth in 2023; however, it is maintaining conservative underwriting standards. The average loan-to-value ratio for all real estate loans it originated during the year was 57%, the bank said. Loans with that approximate LTV ratio are generally considered low risk.

Property Types With Promise

Where the financing outlook is brighter by property type is in retail, particularly such properties as grocery-anchored centers, and also in data centers, Patel of Wells Fargo said.

CoStar data shows that financing started picking up in the second half of 2022 by the largest banks in both the retail and specialty sectors. Retail loans by the largest banks were up 63% in the second half of the year, even though transaction activity was down 26% in the sector.

For specialty properties, such as data centers and self-storage properties, lending was up nearly 174%, according to CoStar data. Specialty property sales were up by nearly the same percentage in the second half of the year over the first half.

4 Reasons for Investors to Add an Accessory Dwelling Unit

Today, it’s imperative to get creative with portfolio additions. Perhaps adding an accessory dwelling unit to the single-family dwellings in your portfolio is the right move for you. An accessory dwelling unit, ADU for short, is a secondary dwelling unit with a kitchen, bathroom, sleeping, and living space on the same tax lot as a primary residential dwelling. The ADU can be detached, above a garage, attached, or within the primary unit. Basement and garage conversions are great examples of bonus spaces that can instead be converted into income-generating ADUs.   Cities all over the country are experiencing a shortage of housing, driving up housing costs for both the rental and ownership markets. Cities rely on property owners and developers to develop the much-needed infill housing. Many cities, especially on the west coast, are reducing barriers to develop ADUs, creating new opportunities for investors that own single family homes and duplexes, to build them.   For investors who prefer the long game, ADUs have an excellent track record of providing reliable income and lifestyle flexibility. Here are four reasons why.  1. Versatility Very few homes have the versatility of an ADU. Unlike primary homes that are typically 3-4 bedrooms, ADUs are typically studio or 1-bedroom units. This is attractive to 1-2 person households who wish to live in residential neighborhoods rather than a commercial apartment complex.  Multigenerational household living is on the rise in both the rental and ownership markets due to housing costs. The need for adaptable 1-story infill housing units that works for different age demographics, has never been more evident.   An ADU can provide for common household needs, such as guest quarters, home office, housing for in-laws or friends in transition, or possibly as a short-term rental. Many small-scale investors start out by adding an ADU to their primary residence and renting it out.  Financially savvier even still, an investor may move into the ADU and rent out the primary residence, potentially covering the full cost of the mortgage for the property. This particular “house hack” is a life-changing financial move for many young property owners, setting them on the course of financial freedom and the wealth production that can come with property ownership.  2. Increased property value Building an ADU is no small task. Design, permitting, and construction costs add up. However, over time, the ADU will pay for itself, some in as little as 3-5 years, depending on the type of ADU that is developed.   ADUs have more advantages than disadvantages once they’re built and performing, especially in urban infill neighborhoods, where walkability to amenities is plentiful, and renters typically pay higher rents. ADUs tend to make the most financial sense to develop on more expensive infill properties where the land values are highest since they are being developed on ‘free dirt’ you already own. Other rental housing development requires land acquisition, and that dirt is typically the most expensive part of housing development.  Consistent rental income, and two livable units are a great combination for buyers, and they are willing to pay higher prices for a home that can meet various lifestyle needs over the course of ownership. Hiring a real estate agent that understands the value of ADUs is crucial, more and more real estate agents are tuning in to the ADU trend and stand ready to help.

3. More affordable than buying a new rental property Building an ADU can be an excellent alternative to purchasing another investment property, particularly in high-priced markets where a deal is hard to find. While a newly built ADU can cost upwards of $300k in some markets, a duplex in the same market might start in the $700k’s and require 20% down to purchase. The rents in the duplex may not be at market rate and legislation may impact the rate in which those rates can be increased. A newly developed unit on a property already in a portfolio can fetch market rate upon completion, a strong case for building new.   Living in the ADU and renting out the primary dwelling offers the opportunity to to receive a higher monthly rent, creating a pathway to paying down mortgage and construction costs at a faster rate. If the jurisdiction allows for both the ADU and the primary dwelling to be rented out, as is the case on the west coast, the return on investment is likely to be high.  4. Making an impact Rental portfolios have social and environmental impacts.  In its Making Room: Housing for a Changing America exhibit, AARP illustrated the type of housing that currently exists compared to the household sizes that are most common in the United States. There is a great disparity between the number of smaller households and the appropriate size homes. Cities desperately need more ‘right-sized’ housing units to serve smaller households, and investors have an opportunity to create housing that is in high demand with a strong tenant base. Building an ADU can also provide jobs and support the local economy. Hiring local architects, designers, builders, and tradespeople supports the local economy with jobs and housing.   Care to make an ecological impact?  Residential buildings comprise 22% of the greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.  An 800 sq ft ADU built to basic code uses less energy than a 2,200 sq ft high performance house, due to the reduced heating and cooling loads. Building small saves occupants money in utility bills, making the dwelling more resilient and reliable. Smaller dwellings, and especially internal conversions, use fewer material resources and can rely on the original dwelling to provide part of or all of the building envelope, one of the most resource intensive aspects of a new build.  

What interest rate hikes mean for multifamily property investors

As the Fed continues to ramp up interest rates, find out how increases could impact real estate investors.

Inflation—and rising interest rates—are at the center of the American economic conversation. And for good reason. In 2022, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) raised rates by 75 bp four consecutive times between June and November.

In December 2022, the Fed raised rates by 50 basis points, bringing the target federal funds range to 4.25% to 4.50%.

While inflation has slowed in recent months, it remains near 40-year highs. Combined with historically tight labor markets that are driving higher wages, “we’re in uncharted territory,” said Ginger Chambless, Head of Research for Commercial Banking at JPMorgan Chase. “As a result, the Fed is currently tightening monetary policy as rapidly as ever.”

Rate hikes may not impact all financing structures

Interest rate hikes may impact short-term and adjustable rate loans more than long-term, fixed-rate ones.

“The Fed’s actions on short-term rates don’t directly translate to a like effect on fixed rates underlying commercial real estate mortgages. After any Fed rate hike, it’s possible that fixed rates might rise or fall depending on circumstances,” said Mike Kraft, Commercial Real Estate Treasurer for Commercial Banking at JPMorgan Chase.

For investors with fixed-rate loans, you may also want to keep an eye on the Treasury yields, which help determine mortgage rates. The Treasury yield is viewed as a sign of investor sentiment about the economy. Yields are driven by the market and aren’t directly under the Fed’s control. “Treasury yields depend on long-term inflationary expectations, on the market’s assessment as to whether an economic downturn is impending,” Kraft said.

As of December 2022, yields are near the low end of that range. “While they will certainly continue to move about, they are not likely to take off in the immediate future,” he said.

What interest-rate hikes mean for multifamily investors

“As one of the most sensitive sectors in the economy to changes in interest rates, housing activity has weakened significantly in the last few quarters of 2022,” Chambless wrote in her 2023 Outlook. “However, demand for multifamily housing has held up amid tight single-family home supply and affordability challenges, with multifamily housing starts still close to the highs of the cycle.”

The Fed anticipates more increases in early 2023. While multifamily property owners and investors may feel the negative effects of rising interest rates, there may also be some offsets.

Higher interest rates could price would-be homebuyers out of the single-family housing market, causing them to remain renters for longer. Inflation, along with rising costs and construction delays may increase existing properties’ rents.  

Multifamily property owners and investors with fortress balance sheets in particular can benefit from the current economic environment, offering an opportunity to grow their portfolio at a lower cost. 

Looking beyond interest rates

For those looking to purchase a multifamily property or refinance their apartment complex, there’s more to look at than interest rates. Consider other factors, including:

Supply, demand and demographic shifts: The housing inventory—especially affordable housing—is low, with demand outpacing supply. Likewise, more people have moved to the center of the country and are seeking workforce housing. Investors may also want to weigh the merit of a shift from suburbs to cities.

Local market: Real estate is a largely local business, so investors may want to take a close look at the specifics of the market before purchasing or refinancing. It’s also important to evaluate each property individually, including its capitalization rate, which generally goes up when interest rates increase.

What’s next for interest rates, inflation and the economy

“While inflation is likely to remain somewhat elevated through the end of 2023, we see signs that a moderation is already underway and that this cooling will become more prominent over time,” Chambless said.

Interest rate fluctuations could correspond. “The Fed’s own projections indicate that the target would top out at 5.25% by the end of 2023,” Kraft said. “Markets have treated this forecast with skepticism, with futures implying a maximum 5.00% target by May. Shortly after that, markets imply a ‘pivot’ by year end—at some point, the Fed could begin easing to accommodate a possible economic downturn. The Fed itself doesn’t project such a pivot, maintaining that it will be necessary to hold rates at a higher level for a while to bring inflation in check.”

Unexpected national and international geopolitical uncertainties may continually arise, resulting in market volatility and interest rate fluctuations.


How To Make A Real Estate Investment Business Plan, And Why It’s Important

A real estate investment business plan is an important step if you’re looking to get started in the industry. A real estate development business plan can help you decide what form of real estate you’re looking to invest in. Real estate has a wide array of opportunities, so it’s important to narrow your focus. It’s very difficult to be successful in several different areas of real estate at the same time. A business plan can help you decide what it is specifically that you’re doing.

What Is A Real Estate Investment Business Plan?

Put simply, a real estate investment business plan is a document that lays out how a real estate investor intends to run their business. The plan should illustrate the investor’s goals for investing in real estate as well as business strategies and timelines they intend to implement to achieve those goals.

There’s not a specific format you have to follow to create a real estate investment business plan. Instead, you can pick and choose sections that are important to you. A business plan is primarily a document that can help you decide what your business is going to focus on, whether that’s rental properties, investment properties or flipping houses. You can also use a real estate investment business plan to help secure funding from investors or business partners.

Why Do You Need A Real Estate Investment Business Plan?

Having a plan is important because it can act as a blueprint or road map when starting a new business. It can also give it a sense of legitimacy when talking about your business with others. This is especially crucial when trying to attract business partners and investors or getting a small-business loan.

11 Essentials For A Real Estate Investment Business Plan

As we mentioned earlier, there isn’t a specific format you must follow when creating a real estate investment business plan. Plans can be as unique as each company they outline. Here are a few sections that you might consider including in a real estate investment business plan.

1. Executive Summary

An executive summary should illustrate things like the company’s mission and vision statement. Depending on how long your real estate investment business plan is, most people are not going to read the entire thing. So, an executive summary should sum up the investment company as a whole and provide a snapshot of the company’s financial plan, marketing plan and other key factors.

2. Company Description

A business plan should include a description and history of the company as well as the target market. This lets people who read the plan know basic information about the company as well as its principal members. The company description section is a great place to give biographical information about each member of the company’s leadership team.

3. SWOT Analysis

A SWOT analysis looks at a company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Analyzing each of these categories is important to include in a business plan. This will help you make sure you’ve adequately considered each of these categories, and these are things that potential partners will definitely ask about before investing in your company.

4. Investment Strategy

Detailing a company’s intentions with investment properties is another important part of a real estate investment business plan. Real estate is a broad term that covers a wide variety of different activities. Each of these real estate activities is different and will take a different strategy to be successful. This section will stipulate if you intend to invest in rental properties, flip houses, etc.

5. Market Analysis

You’ll also want to include a market analysis in your business plan. This shows potential investors that you know the real estate market. The three most important words in any real estate plan are “location, location, location,” and including a market analysis will show what conditions are like in the areas where you’re looking to invest. Investing in a high-priced area like New York or San Francisco is much different than investing in a rural area with much lower market prices.

6. Marketing Strategy

Most business plans will also include a marketing strategy. The marketing strategy will show how and where you plan on marketing and attracting new clients. The specific area of real estate you’re focusing on will drive how much you focus on marketing. Someone looking to become a real estate property manager will need to do more marketing than someone who’s buying rental real estate to hold.

7. Financial Plan

Your financing strategy and financial plan might illustrate income and cash flow statements. This could include historical records like bank statements or profit and loss projections. You might also include a balance sheet showing the company’s assets and liabilities. The financial plan section is intended to give potential partners or investors a snapshot of the company’s overall financial health.

8. Organization And Management Structure

A business plan should also include a company’s organizational structure, management team and ownership details. These items are mentioned in the initial executive summary; in this section you can go into more detail about each member of the management team. One thing that is good to include here is a listing of the various qualifications, licenses and/or certifications that each member of the team holds.

9. Real Estate Acquisition Strategy

A business plan should include a strategy for acquiring investment properties, if that’s something that the company plans on doing. There are many different ways to buy real estate, so you’ll want to detail which strategy or strategies you plan on using in your real estate investment business plan. Some strategies may include going through a real estate agent or broker, as well as wholesaling and target marketing.

10. Goals And Timelines

A business plan should clearly state a real estate investor’s goals for their company. One way to show this is to make a 1-year, 3-year or 5-year plan. Detail your plans for the business over a variety of different timelines. You’ll also want to include some strategies and details for how you plan on meeting them.

11. Exit Strategy

Having an exit strategy is important for a business plan. This can include items such as knowing if and when to sell an investment property.

The Bottom Line

Having a real estate investment business plan is an important part of owning a business. Creating a written business plan when you’re starting a business will make your business feel more real.

Rising Interest Rates and Commercial Real Estate

Investors are keeping a sharp eye on interest rates as they are a major factor to leverage returns. Rates have rapidly climbed over the last few months, and it is expected this trend will continue through 2022 and well into 2023. At the start of the year, interest rates for investment properties were between 3.5% and 4%. In four short months, we are seeing rates inching closer to 8%.

What does this mean for real estate?

Increasing interest rates make borrowing more expensive, therefore impacting investors’ desired return. Investors are forced to offset the higher cost of financing with a lower purchase price on real estate. As rates climb, cap rates usually follow, which puts downward pressure on pricing. Unlike the 10-year treasury and interest rates, cap rates do not see daily volatility. There is usually a lag between the time it takes the market to see cap rates increase from interest rate hikes alone.

The aggressive interest-rate increases are a direct move to combat inflation, the highest we’ve seen in four decades. The general rule of thumb is that higher interest rates are usually a response to higher inflation, which could have a positive impact on real estate income growth. Even though rates are trending upwards, which impacts what investors can pay, they will be focused on pushing rents to keep valuations high.

Economists expect rates to continue rising over the next 1-2 years, potentially reaching the 6% – 8% range. This could have a drastic impact on cap rates. Luckily, with low vacancy and little new construction in commercial real estate, it doesn’t create the same problem we saw during the Great Recession with over-supply. Investors will be more focused on increasing rents than being cap rate driven for values, which caused cap rate compression over the last few years.

An increase in values over the past twelve months have forced lenders to tighten their underwriting — the loan-to-values (LTV — amount of a loan compared to appraised value) we have seen in the past no longer worked! Currently we are seeing 55% – 65% LTV rather than the 65% – 75% during the last few years. Lenders are being more cautious with rising rates, cap rate compression, increased values, and the changing environment we face with headwinds in the debt markets.

Increasing interest rates make borrowing more expensive, therefore impacting investors’ desired return.

Positive vs negative leverage

Sellers can anticipate investors showing more caution and patience if they need debt until 2022 unfolds and the impact on values is revealed. It becomes difficult to use debt today if it creates negative leverage, meaning debt is at a cost that eats into cash flow, reducing the cash-on-cash return compared to an all cash return. Typically, debt is used to maximize the return, which means investors need positive leverage. That doesn’t happen when you are buying at a 5% cap rate and borrowing at a 4.75% interest rate. To determine positive or negative leverage, you divide your annual loan payment by your loan amount to generate a loan constant. Based on the loan constant, you will know the minimum cap rate needed to generate positive leverage.

For example, if you bought a $5,000,000 property with 60% LTV, your loan would be $3,250,000. If you had a 30-year amortization with a 4% interest rate your annual debt service is $186,192 [$186,192 debt service/$3,250,000 loan amount = 5.73% loan constant]. This means you must buy a property at a higher cap rate than 5.73% to get positive leverage.

A 5.50% cap rate on $5,000,000 generates $275,000 of net income, less the $186,192 debt service, would leave you with $88,808 in cash flow. Take that $88,808 and divide it by your down payment of $1,750,000 and you have a 5.07% cash-on-cash return – which is less than the 5.50% cap rate, meaning that loan generated negative leverage.

On the other hand, a 6.00% cap rate on a $5,000,000 property would generate $300,000 of net income, less the $186,192 of debt service and you have $113,808 in cash flow. Divide that by the $1,750,000 down payment and you have a 6.50% cash-on-cash return – which is more than the 6.00% cap rate, meaning that loan generated positive leverage.

This concept is important to understand because it is what drives buyers to pay lower prices and have higher cap rates – making debt work to get positive leverage. Otherwise, bringing debt into a deal may not be advantageous to the borrower at current pricing and interest rates.

As we move forward in 2022, we may not see the movement in values right away, but sellers and buyers will soon enough find themselves at a crossroad of having to understand debt market pressure of increased interest rates and what buyers can (and will) actually pay. Sellers still find themselves in a great position to sell, as the amount of capital in the market is aggressively looking for real estate to hedge inflation. Today’s environment of changing rates and inflation causes uncertainty in stocks, cash, and other alternatives, whereas real estate is viewed as a much safer investment alternative.

What are the Pros and Cons of Owning an Apartment Complex?

How to Purchase an Apartment Complex

Investing in an apartment complex is one of the most time-tested ways to build wealth. In fact, multifamily investing has an incredible array of benefits, including cash flow, the ability to finance properties with a limited amount of money down, and incredible tax benefits (just to name a few). However, apartment investing isn’t always sunshine and daisies; investors have to put in a lot of hard work to make sure their properties turn a profit. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the major pros and cons of owning an apartment complex. That way, you can make a more informed decision as to whether acquiring a multifamily property is a good fit for your personal investment needs.

The Benefits of Apartment Complex Ownership

As we just mentioned, apartment ownership can have a wide variety of benefits. Some of the most substantial benefits include:

Cash flow: While some types of investments, such as dividend stocks and annuities, provide some degree of payments to investors, they generally don’t hold a candle to the amount of cash generated by apartment buildings.

Leverage: Apartments have the massive benefit of allowing borrowers to put down around 20% to 30% of the sale price while financing the rest over a 25-30 year amortization period. In general, stocks, bonds, mutual funds and other types of investment opportunities offer nothing of the sort. 

Tax Incentives: Multifamily real estate is an ideal investment from a tax perspective. Not only can investors take substantial mortgage interest and depreciation deductions, but they can also often deduct travel and utility costs, as well as other expenses.

Equity growth: Just like a single-family home, as time goes on, an investor will generally build up equity in their property as their mortgage is paid off. In addition, equity will increase if the property itself increases in value.

Syndication/partnership potential: While most stock or bond investors invest by themselves, apartment complexes are an ideal investment for groups. By teaming up with other investors, you can purchase larger and better properties, maximizing your potential profits.

Supplementary income: Though rental payments from tenants are typically the most substantial source of income for an apartment complex, other sources of income can make a serious difference. The most common supplemental income sources include laundry machines, vending machines, and parking spots for non-residents (which can be particularly profitable in upscale urban areas).

The Downsides of Apartment Complex Ownership 

While owning a multifamily property has tons of advantages, it has a number of potential downsides as well, including:

Time investment: Selecting, financing, and purchasing an apartment complex can take months. And, while you can hire a property management company to take care of many of the day-to-day responsibilities of apartment ownership post-purchase, you’ll still need to spend a certain amount of time supervising the management company to ensure your investment remains profitable.

Local market factors: While smart multifamily investors are careful to purchase real estate in great locations (or locations that seem to be trending towards greatness), no one can predict the future. For instance, the neighborhood you thought was gentrifying could see an increase in crime and poverty, leading to a steep decline in the value of your investment.

Vacancies and tenant issues: While tenants generally provide 95% or more of the income generated by an apartment property, they can also cause serious headaches. Even tenants with great credit and long-term leases sometimes leave unexpectedly, not to mention those who fail to pay their rent, or worse, cause significant damage to your property.

Liability: While smart property owners always have a robust insurance policy, owners still could potentially be held liable for accidents and crimes that occur on the property. This risk is basically non-existent for comparable investments such as stocks, bonds, or real estate investment trusts (REITs).

Maintenance expenses: From windows and railings to appliances and lightbulbs, apartment buildings often need constant maintenance, and landlords are responsible for paying for it. While insurance may cover larger items, maintenance, repair, and replacement costs are still a significant expense.

Low liquidity: Unlike stocks or bonds, you can’t simply click to sell an apartment building– and, even if you could, you might not get the price you want. Multifamily properties often take several months to sell, and closing can be a time-intensive process.

Apartment Investing is a Great Opportunity, But It Isn’t For Everyone

Owning an apartment property isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. The ideal apartment owner/investor has a decent level of risk-tolerance, a strong work ethic, good critical thinking skills, and a willingness to work with numbers. However, if you possess the factors mentioned above (or at least a few of them), purchasing an apartment building could be an excellent choice—and a great way to provide income for you and your family for years to come.

Building Your Real Estate Investment Team

Whether you like it or not you can’t do it all by yourself. Investing in real estate requires many different professionals. There are realtors, appraisers, inspectors, builders, remodelers, mortgage companies, banks, property managers, attorneys, partners, accountants, sign companies, printing companies and yes even mentors, buyers, sellers and tenants.

I have heard in business that you are only as good as your weakest link. I want to suggest that you choose your team carefully. You may even want to go as far as interviewing your team players.

After all this is a business and the dollar amounts can be substantial so you want to make sure that your team members have the same morals, ethics, business philosophy and personality as you. This is not to say that you will not make some mistakes and or changes along the way but when you start out with a list of the qualities that you are looking for in your team it makes the decision process much easier. Yes I did say qualities and not experience or education. It’s easy to find someone who knows the business or has experience but it can be a challenge to find the right qualities and personality in the person you are looking for.

I would start my search by seeking a referral from someone who is already in the business and is successful. Make sure you know the person you are seeking the referral from well enough to know that you will be well received when you contact whomever they referred. Notice that I indicated that you seek a referral from someone who is not only in the business but is “successful”.

It doesn’t do any good to contact a banker for a line of credit when you have been referred by someone the banker just turned down nor does it look good to contact a realtor referral from someone who just backed out of the last deal they had under contract.

I think it is only appropriate to note here that if you are making a referral to someone who is building their team, make sure you know a little about this person also. It doesn’t help you by referring someone to your banker who just got out of bankruptcy and has a history of shady deals.

Once you establish your team players you should be loyal to them. Let me give you an example. Who are you going to call when you find a listing online or another realtors listing while driving the neighborhood? Most people would say I call the listing agent. I used to do the same thing. Let me suggest you call your team player and let them go to work for you.

If you call the listing agent it and buy the house it may be the only sale you give that realtor this year. By calling your realtor that closed 30 transactions for you last year they will go to bat for you to get you the price and terms that they already know you are looking for.

Not to mention the fact that you will be the one they call when they find a deal that has to be sold fast. Trust me on this, as I know from experience.

I hope that this will help you in building your team.

How to Get a Business Line of Credit in 4 Steps

How to Get a Business Line of Credit: What You Need to Know

Traditional business loans are the most common way to finance a business, but a business line of credit can be more accessible for startups or business owners with bad credit. A business line of credit is one of the most flexible forms of financing for small businesses.

You can use a business line of credit for working capital, to cover cash flow issues, or to fund an emergency or unexpected opportunity. If you’ve decided that a credit line is the right financing solution for your business, you may now be wondering how to get a business line of credit.

How to Get a Business Line of Credit: A Quick Guide

Step 1: Check your business’s qualifications.

Step 2: Compare your options.

Step 3: Prepare your requirements and documentation.

Step 4: Apply and make a decision.

Apply for a Business Line of Credit Now

4 Steps to Get a Business Line of Credit

Step 1: Check Your Business’s Qualifications

The first step is checking your business’s qualifications. By knowing where your business stands ahead of time (as in, before you start comparing options and completing applications), you’ll save time and effort throughout the process.

Although there are a variety of business line of credit requirements you might have to meet depending on the lender you’re applying with, there are a few common qualifications that you can use to evaluate your business’s prospects.

Personal Credit Score

To start, you’ll want to determine where your personal credit score stands. When applying for a business line of credit (or any financial product for that matter), your personal credit score will very likely be one of the first things a lender looks at. Here are a few reasons why:

Indication of trustworthiness. The higher your personal credit, the more likely you are to qualify for a line of credit, and one with the best rates and terms.

Determine if collateral is needed. If your credit score is below the threshold as laid out by the lender, you might need to offer up some kind of collateral that can be used to pay off debts if your business is unable to.

Find which loans you qualify for. If you’re applying for a bank or SBA line of credit, you’ll likely need to have excellent credit, as well as other top qualifications.

Generally, it’s safe to say if you have a credit score of 600 to 630 (or higher) you’ll be in decent shape to qualify for most business lines of credit.

Annual Revenue

Like your credit score, most lenders will implement a minimum requirement for annual revenue that a business needs to meet in order to qualify for a line of credit. They do this to answer a few questions:

Can you pay back the loan? A lender will use your annual revenue (as well as other business financials) to ensure that you have enough money coming in to pay back any funds you use from your credit line.

What will the terms of the loan be? Regardless of the small business lender you’re applying with, a higher annual revenue will also give you access to a line of credit with the most desirable terms and lowest interest rates.

Which lender is best for you? If you’re looking to get a bank or SBA business line of credit, you’ll generally need to meet a fairly high annual revenue requirement. Alternative lenders, on the other hand, will show greater flexibility, with many lenders setting their minimum annual revenue requirement at anywhere from $25,000 to $100,000 or higher.

On the whole, just like with your credit score, the higher the amount of annual revenue you have, the better.

Time in Business

When you’re looking to get a business line of credit, you’ll also want to consider your time in business as you evaluate your qualifications. Why?

Determines risk. Longer time in business means less risk for a lender, as your business has been able to maintain ups and downs in operations thus far, and therefore, is more likely to be able to pay back a loan.

Determines what you can actually qualify for. Compared to traditional business term loans, it’s often easier to qualify for a business line of credit with only a year in business, sometimes even less.

Online lenders such as BlueVine and Fundbox have very flexible time-in-business requirements for their lines of credit. BlueVine requires six months in business and Fundbox only requires three months.


Finally, you’ll want to evaluate what kind of collateral you can offer, especially if you’re a newer business or have bad credit. There are a few options.

Actual collateral. Most business lines of credit are secured business lines of credit, meaning they’re backed by some form of collateral. Some lenders will require physical collateral to secure your credit line, such as real estate, equipment, or inventory.

Personal guarantee. Some lenders may require that you sign a personal guarantee stating that you’ll use your personal assets to repay the funds you’ve borrowed in the event your business can’t pay.

Lien. Some lenders may file a lien again your business assets when you get a line of credit with them, meaning that the lender has a legal claim to recoup your business assets in the case that you can’t repay your debt.

Putting up collateral may make you more likely to qualify for a credit line if your other qualifications are lacking.

Step 2: Compare Your Business Line of Credit Options

Once you’ve evaluated your business’s qualifications, you’re ready to start exploring your options.

You’ll want to determine what type of revolving line of credit will be best for your business, considering secured vs. unsecured, short-term vs. long-term, and bank vs. online credit lines.

By using the qualifications you established in Step 1, you’ll be able to narrow down your options to find the right business lines of credit to apply for.

Short-Term vs. Long-Term Business Lines of Credit

Generally, a short-term line of credit is a credit line with repayment terms of a year or less, whereas a long-term credit has repayment terms of longer than a year.

Short-term lines of credit are most often offered by online, alternative lenders. Here are some benefits of short-term lines of credit:

Easier to qualify for

Simpler applications

Fund faster

And now, here are a couple downsides:

More expensive

Need to pay back faster

If you have higher qualifications and can accommodate slower funding, you’ll want to focus on longer-term lines of credit, like a bank or SBA credit lines. Here’s why:

Longer repayment terms

Lower interest rates

Secured vs. Unsecured Business Lines of Credit

Next, you can narrow down your business line of credit options by deciding whether you want a secured or unsecured line of credit.

It’s actually very difficult to find a truly unsecured business line of credit. Even if a lender doesn’t require physical collateral, they’ll often require a personal guarantee or implement a blanket lien to secure your credit line.

To avoid putting up physical collateral, you’ll want to focus on lines of credit from alternative lenders. Lenders like Winston Rowe and Associates won’t require you to put up business assets for your line of credit, but they will likely ask for a personal guarantee or take out a lien on your business.

On the other hand, if you are willing to put up collateral (and have other top qualifications) you may turn to bank or SBA credit lines. These lines of credit will also have the best rates and terms.

It’s also important to consider that putting up collateral for your line of credit may not only make you more likely to qualify, but overall, it may also help you secure more desirable rates and terms.

Bank Lines of Credit vs. Online Lines of Credit

It can be tough to determine if you should go with a bank line of credit or an online lender. This might help:

Bank Pros

Offer most desirable rates and terms

Long-term, secured line of credit

Bank Cons

Difficult to qualify for

Require more documentation

Slower to fund

Online Lender Pros

Greater variety (for bad credit, startups, low annual revenue, etc.)

Simple application process

Faster to fund

Online Lender Cons

More expensive

If you have strong qualifications but simply don’t want to go through the process of applying for a bank or SBA line of credit, you might turn to a lender like Fundation, which can offer a longer-term credit line with affordable rates, and funding in as little as one business day.

Step 3: Prepare Your Business Line of Credit Requirements

After you’ve narrowed down your options, you’re ready to start preparing your applications.

Let’s say, for example, you considered your business’s qualifications and the different types of credit lines and decided that applying for Kabbage and BlueVine lines of credit will be best for your business.

Now, you’ll want to take a look at the application for each of those lenders and determine what requirements you’ll need to meet to qualify.

Determine what each of these lenders sets for their minimum requirements. Check your personal credit score, annual revenue, and time in business before you start gathering documents and filling out the application. After all, if you can’t meet these requirements, you don’t want to waste your time applying for a credit line you’re unlikely to qualify for.

Prepare your application. On the whole, the documents and information that will be required for your business line of credit application will be specific to the lender; however, you may expect to provide any (or all) of the following:

Basic personal information including your name, social security number, and ID

Basic business information including business name, entity type, tax ID number, and industry

Personal and business credit score

Personal and business tax returns

Business financial information including annual revenue, bank statements, balance sheets, profit and loss statements, etc.

Debt schedule (if you have existing debt)

Legal contracts and agreements

Step 4: Apply and Make a Decision

After you’ve gathered all of the documents necessary based on your lender’s requirements, you’re ready to complete your application and apply.

If you’re applying for a business line of credit from an alternative lender, you’ll likely find that the online application is fairly simple, requires limited documentation, and can be completed in minutes. On the other hand, if you’re looking to get a business line of credit from a bank or from the SBA, you need more documentation and the process will be longer. Many banks (like Chase) will require that you go in-person to apply for a line of credit.

Once you’ve submitted your application, make sure that you’re prompt to answer any questions or requests from your lender. This will help expedite the process and get you access to your funds faster.

Generally, online lenders can fund business line of credit applications quickly, sometimes even within one day. As you may have expected, banks will be slower to fund, taking anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.

After you’ve completed the application and answered any requests, the lender will come back with an offer (if you’re approved). At this point, you’ll want to carefully review the offer to understand how much your business line of credit will cost—and you should compare all of the offers you receive to ensure that you’re getting the best rates and terms. In particular, here are some things to keep an eye out for:

Terms and amount: You’ll want to review all business line of credit applications to see the credit line you’ve qualified for—in other words, the maximum amount of your line of credit, as well as the terms. The terms will indicate how long you’ll have to repay the funds you’ve borrowed.

Payment schedule: Lenders will have different payment schedules that designate how often you’ll make payments on the funds you borrow—some will require daily payments, whereas others may offer weekly or monthly payments. You’ll want to see what kind of payment schedule your business line of credit offer includes.

Interest rate: As you might imagine, the rate on your line of credit will be one of the most important things to review. This being said, you’ll want to look for the APR on your credit line, as opposed to the simple interest rate. The APR will give you a better sense of how much your line of credit will actually cost.

Additional fees: You may find a variety of additional fees that a lender can charge with a business line of credit. In particular, you’ll want to look out for withdrawal fees (charged every time you draw on the credit line), non-use fees (charged if you don’t draw on your credit line for a certain period of time), and prepayment penalty fees (charged if you pay off your balance early).

Once you’ve reviewed the offers, asked your lender any questions, and decided on the best business line of credit for you, you’ll be all set to sign the agreement and receive your funds.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you get a business line of credit with bad credit?

What are the loan amounts for a business line of credit?

How do business lines of credit work?

The Bottom Line

Once you’ve decided to focus your financing search specifically on business lines of credit, you’ve already tackled a huge part of the process.

Getting a business line of credit comes down to evaluating your qualifications, finding the right line of credit for your business, gathering your documents, and completing the application. Once you’ve completed all of these steps, you’ll have access to one of the most flexible and useful financial products on the market.

Plus, after you’ve gone through this process once, it will only be easier the next time you decide to apply for any type of business financing.

Why It’s Important To Refinance Your Commercial Mortgage Now

Inflation has been a major factor behind the dramatic surge in interest rates since December. Rates are up more than a percentage point for commercial mortgages.

The Federal Reserve announced last week it plans to raise its benchmark short-term interest rate. This why it’s important to look at all of your options for your commercial mortgage.

Commercial mortgage refinance is one of the main services offered by Winston Rowe and Associates.

They offer a wide selection of financial products through direct relationships with CMBS, Hedge Funds, Hard Money, Private Equity, National, Regional Banks and more.

Winston Rowe and Associates straight forward and streamlined lending process makes it easy to deal with your commercial mortgage refinance. They have.

Great low interest rates

Fixed rate terms up to 25-years

Up to 30-year amortization

No balloon or call options

Cash out up to 75% LTV

Up to 10-years interest only

Non-recourse options

Options to lock rate at application

Winston Rowe and Associates can quickly compare various commercial loan programs and lending platforms providing you with refinancing options that best meet your individual needs and investment objectives. You can contact them at 248-246-2243 or visit them online at

How To Analyze Demographic Data Before Investing

When it comes to real estate investment, there are many factors that should be considered before taking the leap. Investors often speak of the general economic conditions as their main impetus for investing or holding back.

However, this should not be the only criteria that you work under. Demographics should also be very carefully considered. Here are three reasons to analyze demographic data before investing in real estate.

Age and Spending Habits

You might think that a younger, more vibrant population is where the money is, but you may be wrong.

Consider the fact that a twenty-something is likely to have student loans, very little savings, and less experience in making sound financial decisions. Not only that but, younger people are less likely to have the funds and stable career that it takes to buy a home.

Financial newsletter writer, Harry S. Dent, Jr. has done some impressive research that reveals that human spending habits follow a predictable path.

Most notably, spending on homes hits its peak between the ages of 46 and 50. Therefore, if the demographics show a population in that range, it may be a good indicator of a viable market should you be interested in flipping an investment property.

Jobs and Population Growth

Simply put, if people cannot find a good job, they are not going to be able to buy or rent a home. That also means that the population in the area is likely to decline, rather than grow.

Take a good, hard look at the trends in employment in and around the area you are thinking about investing in. Dig into those numbers and look for indicators that the population and job opportunities are changing.

Rentals vs. Owner Occupied

Another important demographic that you need to take a look at is the percentage of rental homes versus those that are owner occupied.

If you’re most interested in buying, remodeling and flipping houses, you’re going to want to look at areas where the owner occupancy is higher. Likewise, if you’re looking for an income property, a predominantly rental oriented area may be best.

Although you’ll get some indication of the viability of a rental or flip from that data, it doesn’t tell the whole story. You also want to know what the rental occupancy rate and average rental rate are so you can determine whether or not you can recoup your investment.

If you’re flipping, you’ll want to know the average home sales price so that you can manage your investment to make a profit when you sell.

If you’re a real estate investor with questions about using demographic data, investing in properties, or you’re looking for an investment partner, contact us. We’re experts at helping investors find the money they need to invest in properties with promise.

How to Get Involved in Real Estate Investing in Your 20s

About 85% of millennials believe real estate is a good financial investment — and they aren’t wrong. Unlike the stock market, real estate investing allows you to collect cash flow — or immediate financial returns. Plus, there are tax benefits, the possible appreciation of your property and equity paydown. At the very least, your profits will help you pay the mortgage — and even your own bills.

Here are a few ways to enter the industry and start investing in your 20s.

1. Educate Yourself

Investing in real estate doesn’t require formal training or a college degree. However, if you want to succeed, you must educate yourself. Read articles and books about basic concepts, terminology and strategies. Listen to podcasts and talk radio and learn how to analyze properties and invest with little to no money.

Be sure to gather information from a variety of sources to explore different approaches and perspectives.

2. Start Saving

Once you have a working knowledge of investing in real estate, it’s time to start saving your pennies. In most cases, you’ll need a relatively large sum of money to make your first down payment. Skip that morning coffee run and pass up that new pair of boots and prioritize your investment instead.

Additionally, continue to pay down debt. Doing so will help you save money and establish good credit, which you’ll also need to purchase your first property.

3. Make Connections

Build a network as soon as possible by making connections with others in the real estate industry. Join an investor group, follow blogs, attend meetings and completely immerse yourself in this new world of buying and selling. Learn from others’ mistakes and listen to any advice they have to give.

Connecting with professionals will ensure you start off on the right foot and may even help you find a partner or mentor.

4. Research Financing Options

Generally, financial experts recommend gathering cash upfront or making a standard down payment to avoid private mortgage insurance. You want to save as much as you can and put 20% down to kick off an initial property investment. However, if you can’t afford a conventional mortgage, you may investigate alternative financing options.

Hard money loans, private lenders and even Federal Housing Administration loans may offer possible solutions. Research the requirements as well as the pros and cons of each option to understand which ones are best for your particular situation.

5. Consider House-Hacking

Recently, millennials have made house-hacking one of the more popular real estate investment strategies. This creative method entails renting out portions of your primary residence and using the income to pay for your personal expenses.

House-hacking can lower your taxable income and help you earn. Multifamily properties, additional dwelling units and multiple bedroom houses typically make for lucrative hacking.

6. Rethink Your Strategy

You might also consider a few other popular strategies if you don’t have the means to make a conventional entrance into the real estate market. For instance, you might try wholesaling or flipping homes. These investments are short term and usually more affordable.

Crowdfunding may be a profitable option, too. This method is similar to real estate investment trusts, but now you can invest online with just a few hundred dollars.

Real Estate Investing is Possible in Your 20s

When it comes to making a profit in real estate, the sooner you invest, the better. When you’re in your 20s, there’s truly no limit to how much you can make. However, to be successful, you must start now. Homes are long-term investments, so waiting won’t do you any favors.

Write down a plan and stick to it. Set deadlines and create a feasible timeline. Then, spend time learning all there is to know about the industry. With a little luck and a whole lot of dedication, your investment will prove to be more than worth the time and effort you put into it.

The True Purpose of Hard Money Loans for Commercial Investing

A commercial or residential property hard money loan is also known as a bridge loan in commercial investing — it bridges you from a temporary situation to a more permanent situation.

The goal is to be bridged from a hard money situation to a more conventional situation where you’re going to go from a very expensive interest rate payment per month to something much lower like a traditional bank loan/commercial mortgage or you plan to sell/flip the property fairly quickly.

The Five Major Differences Between a Commercial Hard Money Lender and a Conventional Lender

1 — Interest Rates

A conventional loan’s interest rates are lower than a hard money loan. In fact, hard money loan interest rates can be up to three times higher than a convention loan.

2 — Upfront Costs

In a conventional loan, your upfront costs can be as low as 1% of the loan amount. On the other hand, a hard money loan will charge 2-5% just to use their money.

3 — Loan Terms

A conventional loan term can be as little as five years or all the way up to 30 years. A hard money loan term is typically between 6-12 months.

4 — Borrower’s Credit

Your credit is very important to a traditional lender. Hard money lenders may check for major flaws, but because the loan is based on the equity of the property or terms of deal, you can have flaws in your credit and still qualify for a hard money loan.

5 — Closing Time

Closing time is the amount of time it takes to close a deal. A conventional loan is more time consuming because they have to underwrite the deal, order inspections, go through their legal department, get a “yes” from their loan committee, and put together their closing paperwork. This can take 30-60 days.

Hard money loans can close in as little as 7 days because the hard money company is usually owned by one or two rich individuals who are lending out their own money.

The Three Most Common Commercial Hard Money Questions

1. Does My Credit Matter?

The answer is maybe. When a hard money lender goes through the process of qualifying the deal and you, they look at the deal in three ways. They look at the property, they look at the area and then they look at you, so you’re third on the totem pole. However when looking at you, if you have bankruptcies or foreclosures, you may have some explaining to do.

2. Do I Need to Put Money Down?

The answer is yes because there is no 100% financing for hard money loans. You will have to put between 20-40% down depending on your commercial hard money deal. This is the down payment plus the closing cost, which can be up to 5% or 6% of the loan.

The great thing about hard money lenders is that they are open to creative deals. I recently had a student purchase a 90-unit apartment for 3 million dollars with 10% down. The hard money lender required a 30% down payment so the student negotiated with the seller to carry the other 20% for three years as a second mortgage. The hard money lender was open to this deal because, their 30% down requirement was satisfied.

3. What’s the Secret to Getting My Loan Approved?

You need to have a realistic investing exit strategy that everyone involved in the deal agrees with. Everyone involved would be yourself, your lender, the person you’re borrowing your money from, your property manager, and your mentor if you have one. Having everyone agree on an exit strategy will put you in the best position to get your loan approved and your deal closed. This article was posted by Winston Rowe and Associates a national consulting and due diligence firm

Office Building Funded in Brighton Colorado

Winston Rowe and Associates is pleased to announce that they have successfully assisted in the funding of an owner-occupied office building in Brighton Colorado through their extensive contacts in the capital markets.

This was a very time sensitive and challenging transaction. The client had a hard money loan with a 10% interest rate and balloon payment coming due.

Winston Rowe and Associates was able to help their client secure a long fixed term loan with 30 years amortization at around 4% interest.

They have a full spectrum of asset based commercial real estate financing solutions with no upfront fees.

Winston Rowe and Associates Capital Deployment Objectives Include:

Apartment Buildings
Debtor in Possession
Office Buildings
Vacant Commercial Buildings
Medical Buildings
Assisted Living Facilities, CCR
Industrial Buildings
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10 Mistakes That Kill Real Estate Deals

This list of 10 big mistakes real estate investors make, which will hopefully help you be able to AVOID doing them! It’s funny to talk about because between the two of us, we probably not only each made this mistakes once, but maybe twice… or more! Real estate investing can be a complicated business, so it’s important to pay close attention to your process and try not to make the same mistake twice, especially if it costs you money.

Mistake #1: Bad Planning

When you make an offer on a house and it gets accepted and you put down your earnest money, you’re probably going to have about 2-4 weeks in between until you actually close on the property. Everything from budgets, schedules and Scopes of Work should be in place.

Mistake #2: Under Budgeting Property Repairs

It’s SO important to make sure that your contractor is on the same page as you are right from the start. You need to make sure that the product you are putting on the market is consistent with the neighborhood.

Mistake #3: Add-On’s

After you have put together your schedule, your Scope of Work and your budge, and you’ve started demo is NOT the time to decide you want to move walls around. If you decide you are going to move walls, that needs to be decided BEFORE you have finished your plumbing, mechanical, HVAC, etc.

Mistake #4: Missing the ARV

Figuring out what the correct After Repair Value (ARV) of your property is KEY. You need to figure out what sets your property apart from the other houses in the neighborhood – whether it’s got neighbors in the backyard or it’s wooded, the size of the lot, the finishes and fixtures, etc.

Mistake #5: Financing Costs

Sometimes I see when students put together their budget, they don’t factor in interest costs, paying points or paying for appraisals. They look at it like, “I’m going to buy $100,000, put $20,000 and sell it for $180,000, so that’s $60,000 in profit.”


You have to factor in your closing costs and financing costs, it eats into that $60,000.

Mistake #6: Holding Costs

This is another big mistake that newer investors make that can eat into your profits. This includes insurance, utilities, property taxes, etc.

Mistake #7: Contractors Missing Days on the Job

This is a very important thing to keep in mind – most of the time, your contractor is NOT working JUST for you, so you will constantly be fighting a battle to get them to dedicate the time to your project. Setting expectations with your contractor is very important so you don’t get behind on your schedule.

Mistake #8: Markup on Materials

It’s incredibly important to find a contractor who will estimate the cost of materials and have a clear understanding of your budget and how much you want to spend to avoid markups. Just starting out as a new investor, it might take a few

Mistake #9: Not Selling Your Property Quick Enough

You put a good property on the market, so it should sell itself and it SHOULD sell quickly. But sometimes, properties just don’t sell as fast as you expect them to. Days on market can kill a property. Make sure that when you go to sell, you are hiring an experienced, elite realtor who has been around for a while and has a great marketing plan of action.

Mistake #10: Your Buyer Flakes Out

What happens when you did an incredible job on your rehab, you list your property and it sells quickly, but then, your buyer flakes out?

People think when they get their property under contract, they are good to go and start dreaming about their profit money. DON’T make this mistake!

Real Estate Investing Mistakes Happen

Trust me, I know better than anyone that mistakes will happen regardless, especially if you are a newer investor just starting out. The biggest thing is to TRY and not to make the mistakes that cost you money. Every extra day that your rehab goes longer than planned, that’s costing you money.

What happens to real estate during inflation?

Inflation, the economic term which refers to the devaluation of your money, can sound like a blaring car horn to the ears of many investors. However, while its consequences are simple enough (a rise in the cost of goods and services) it’s also comprised of many less obvious negative aspects as well.

For example, the direct effect that it has on the real estate market and housing prices (which includes impacting the many financial aspects involved in many kinds of real estate investment, from commercial real estate to single-family rentals).

Below, we describe these consequences in fuller detail and offer a solution that will allow investors to avoid the consequences of an inevitable rise in the inflation rate.

Consequences of Inflation on Real Estate Investment

Three consequences of inflation on real estate investment

1) Increase in cost of home construction

Remembering that inflation refers to a rising cost in the price of everyday goods, think of all the materials it takes to build a new home: from concrete and bricks to drywall and stucco, the list is quite long. Inflation means that all of these required materials just became more expensive for home builders.

2) Rising home prices

Consider the consequence of higher home building costs once more: as these put a greater financial burden on home builders, they have little recourse but to make up for it with higher listing prices for just-built properties. Unfortunately, this isn’t the only reason inflation causes real estate prices to rise. When the Central Bank increases the money supply in the economy (a primary cause of inflation), house prices automatically increase.

3) Decline in financed home purchases

Another effect inflation has on the housing market and real estate investing involves debt. When inflation rises, causing money to become more expensive to borrow, people don’t borrow as much of it; they may not even borrow any at all. This results in a chain reaction of fewer mortgage-financed home purchases, which may flatten economic growth.

7 Successful Self-Storage Site Selection Strategies

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!!!! We have all heard how important it is to have the right location, but how do you find the “killer” site? Let’s review some proven tips and tricks for finding the best site.

Purchasing the right site is as much trial and error as it is good luck and science. Do not be discouraged if you burn through five or six (or ten or twelve) sites before you “land” the deal. Be patient AND persistent. If you work long and hard enough, you will eventually close on a property. Detours that you may encounter:

Zoning Issues

Changes in Credit Markets

Sellers That Change Their Minds

Title Issues

Environmental Problems


PLAY GOLF. NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK. – I honestly believe that some of the best self storage sites in the country today are being found on the 7th green, or in the golf cart on the way back to the clubhouse. Your attorney, CPA, clergy, neighbor and therapist may be a “friend of a friend, who knows a guy, whose uncle has a piece of land…” In other words, use your list of contacts influential to spread the word you are serious about self-storage. Prepare yourself with a concept package. Once the investor is intrigued, be prepared to follow up with a concrete business plan. Include graphics, spreadsheets, and demonstrate that you have a team of experts to get the deal through the 18th hole. Show them that once you have a site identified, that you are prepared to move quickly to execute your plan.

TRAVEL TO NEW AND EXCITING PLACES – One of the largest mistakes first time real estate investors make is they select a market area that is geographically convenient, not economically viable for self-storage. Know that when you limit yourself to one or two markets, you have greatly increased the time it may take to find the best site. In fact, you may have chosen an area that is not ready for self-storage growth, and you may be forcing your project into a crowed market. Check saturation levels, competitive environment and the economic climate of many areas that are acceptable to you and broaden your horizons.

BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND – Think first about the end. What is your exit strategy? Is this a short term play to springboard into larger ventures? If so, then build your store at a location which meets “Institutional Grade Criteria”. The most important of which are:

Metropolitan Area Population

Traffic Counts

Primary Market Area Population Density



Primary and Secondary Median Incomes

Property Size

If your strategy is a long term hold, remember to “never say never”. As soon as you proclaim you will “never” sell your store, Murphy’s Law or your children who want cash, not a bunch of garage doors, may create a need to exit a property. You will want to make certain that you have covered all the bases, and not have created a store with extended marketing times. Be careful of building:

In small towns

In an inferior, less expensive location

Because you already own the land

A store of less than 50,000 square feet (net rentable)

Behind your competitors (both identified and yet to be identified possible)

Two or more Floors in a single story market

Life has a habit of taking strange turns. If you believe that one door opens when another closes, you may not want to be encumbered by a self-storage property that does not allow an efficient exit.

FOLLOW THE MONEY – Be prepared to play with the big boys, where they have invested lots of money. There is much to be said for being “where the action is”. If you are an experienced operator (or hire an expert management company), and build the right product in the right location, you should have no trouble competing with even the largest of operators. In fact, this may give you a distinct advantage. Consider:

Large operators have the resources to conduct thorough market research and have the ability to spend lots of money to analyze markets. I would be very cautious of building in a market that is absent of institutional players. Piggy back off of their market research.

Large operators tend to be rate leaders. I do not know of any major player in self storage with a “lowest price” strategy. Typically, institutions require strong rates of return on an investment, and are not prepared to win customers on price points. What better competition to have than one who is always raising prices. Learn from this, and follow suit accordingly, or be a little braver, and YOU take the initiative and lead the market with the highest pricing. I can almost assure you the big boys will follow suit and move their pricing up as occupancy grows or stabilizes.

Large operators like the efficiencies of multiple stores. This means you may be a good acquisition candidate when you (or your children) are ready to sell. Make it easy on them and yourself to sell the store. If they are in a market, chances are they believe in the market and that makes the purchase of your store much easier.

Be very careful of a market where the big guys are selling their stores. There must be compelling reason for a self-storage investor to get out of a market. This is an indication that the market may be soft, or rates are weak.

GET PROFESSIONAL HELP – There are two sources to look to when finding and evaluating sites. The first are brokers and the second are consultants. Keep in mind that brokers (and boy will I get some hate mail form this statement) may not have your best interest in mind. They ONLY get paid when your money is spent. This motivates them to get the deal to closing, but does not ensure that they are really concerned with what is in YOUR best interest. Here is the second statement that will make every broker hate me…”Make them work for their money”. Nothing irks me more than a lazy broker. Too many brokers believe their role in life is to pass along a name. Most brokers have the ability to “make a deal happen”. This two edged sword can be used to your advantage. Make sure that your broker has been given the right tools to find you a piece of property. Inform them of the following:

Site size

Traffic counts

Density required

Price range

Zoning parameters

There are several broker strategies. One is to use an experienced self-storage broker that knows the business (they are an owner or develop of self-storage properties, not just a broker). This may help to eliminate a number of sites as you are not chasing dead end deals. One caution: this broker is often a competitor, or becomes one.

Make certain that you have a non-compete clause with the broker whom may operate self-storage properties (contractually specify distance and time-frame). The challenge with this type of broker is they may already be wired into an institutional or seasoned developer which means you may be looking at leftovers.

If you have several seasoned self-storage developers in your area, and a site is visibly for sale, there may be something wrong with the site. The second strategy is to hire an aggressive broker that you may have to educate or be patient with in having them find you a site. Once the broker brings you a site, make sure your broker provides you with:

Current demographic data

Traffic Counts

Parcel specific zoning data

A site plan or survey

Recent land sale comparable

Self-storage facility sale comparable

Be equally careful choosing a consultant. Make certain they have a plan and are following it. Make sure they have the resources to carry the ball across the finish line. If they are helping you find a site, have the consultant give you a written strategy to find you the right site. Make them commit that they communicate with you often, and you monitor their performance. If the consultant is strictly helping you with feasibility, make certain that they have informed you up front of what they see as the strong points of site selection, and that you concur as to what the project should achieve. This will save you lots of time and money in evaluating sites.

EXERCISE YOUR CREATIVE GENIUS – Get creative in digging up sites. Consider sites that are too large, and what other types of uses may be compatible with self-storage at that location. Do not be afraid to negotiate. Think about ways to reduce your land cost…

Tax parcel splits

Pad site spin-offs

Joint developments


Subdivision creation


Think about joint land uses:

Car Washes

Fast Food Restaurants

Flex Space or incubator space

Record and documents storage

RV and Boat storage

Limited service hotels

Strip centers

Use creative financing to leverage properties:

Seller Financing

Land Leases


Contingent Sales

Life Estates

All in all, life is short and play hard. Be bold, and follow your dreams. If you believe in the industry, and dedicate the necessary resources, you will succeed. While you are looking, educate yourself. Attend conferences, trade shows and seminars. Be diligent. Read trade magazines and absorb as much information as possible about self-storage. But most important maintain a high energy level, do not be discouraged, and if you do not succeed, try, try again!

How to Price Your Rental in a Small, Secondary Market

The time-honored mantra of real estate – “location, location, location” – drives everything from a property’s purchase price to the rental rate. It can even dictate how much or little you should invest in improvements.

Real estate markets are classified by location type. There are primary, secondary, and tertiary markets, sometimes called Tier I, Tier I, and Tier III. The market classification for your rental property will be a crucial consideration as you set its rental rate.

An area’s population and state of real estate market development determine its classification as a primary, secondary, or tertiary market.

Primary Markets

Primary, Tier I markets are typically larger cities of 5 million people or more, with well-established rental markets. Examples include Chicago, New York City, Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Dallas-Fort Worth.

These large metro areas are usually more expensive than other metro areas – for both buyers and renters – due to consistent demand for housing.

Secondary Markets

Growing cities are considered secondary markets; their growth creates demand as new people move into the area, supporting new business development and job creation.

These Tier 2 locations demonstrate more real estate market flux, creating attractive opportunities for real estate investors.

Secondary markets tend to be a population of 2 to 5 million people. They are usually less expensive than primary markets but still in demand. Examples include Philadelphia, San Antonio, Phoenix, San Diego, and San Jose.

Tertiary Markets

Tertiary markets involve a lower population density of fewer than 2 million people. The population is spread out across a bigger geographic area.

There is typically less reliable job growth. In a strong economy, tertiary markets can provide attractive investment opportunities as property prices are typically lower.

These areas may be more expensive to develop as many are rural or outside of secondary market cities.

But can be prime markets for real estate investors as the properties cost less.

Whether you invest in a secondary market, tertiary, or primary market, it is essential to consider market-relevant data to price your rental correctly.

The key to pricing rentals in a primary vs. secondary market

The whole real estate cycle – from the purchase price to rental rate and eventual selling price relies on intelligence gleaned from current, comparable sales data for properties in the same price range.

When you review these comparables, you will get a good sense of amenities and the property improvements for other properties in the price range. As you determine your target rental rate, the purchase price is one factor but not the whole story.

You may be able to invest a small amount in fixing up the property, add or improve its amenities, and charge a higher rental rate than similar unimproved properties sold in the past year.

How you need to look at properties in secondary and primary markets differently.

Demand for rental property is always a local story. You can’t take an apartment in New York City and compare it to a similar apartment in Des Moines. Even if both cities are the largest in their respective states, large is relative –Des Moines has a population of 210,000, and New York City’s population is 8.175 million.

Even within Iowa and New York, you have the full range of markets to consider. So how do you determine the rent?

In real estate, comparing neighborhood properties wins out.

While you need to be aware of overall rates in the city where you plan to buy, your rental rate should be based on going rates in the immediate neighborhood. Each neighborhood will have a range that extends across unimproved and improved properties.

High-demand primary markets are top dogs because they have low turnover and can command higher rents. Secondary markets can present many growth opportunities. You can still improve a property in a secondary market to make it more attractive to tenants.

This will also allow you to raise rents accordingly. Tertiary markets also offer good opportunities, especially when the primary and secondary market values seem overblown.

Comparing apples to apples

In any market, you want to rely on current, accurate information to complete your analysis. Rentometer pulls rental rates from all online sources for current listings to provide you with accurate rental rates for any area. You can search within any state, city, or neighborhood to get the most up-to-date picture of rental rates.

Let’s compare rates for 2-bedroom, 1 1/2 bath rental units in Des Moines. The city’s average rent for this property type is $1,186 per month, but rates range from $943 to as high as $1,429. This range tells you that the right purchase price and a few property improvements could create a nice cash flow.

Comparing similar properties in a secondary market

Going a bit deeper, let’s compare three different neighborhoods in Des Moines: Downtown Des Moines, Bloomfield-Allen, and Merle Hay. Downtown has the highest average rents at $1,482 per month, while Bloomfield-Allen and Merle Hay show average rents of $890 and $891. Looking more closely at each area, you’ll find that Downtown has an entirely different culture and amenities from both the Merle Hay and Bloomfield-Allen neighborhoods. And while the two other neighborhoods are similarly priced, they have different amenities, culture, and crime levels.

It’s Time To Prepare Your Apartments For The Busy Leasing Season

Though every apartment community experiences its own unique seasonality, there are two points of the year that signal changes in leasing activity. There’s the slow season, which usually begins in the fall when the school year starts and the weather turns cold. Then there’s the busy season that begins when school’s out and the weather is nice.

We’re now only a few weeks away from when most communities will begin experiencing their busiest stretch of the year. They’ll have their highest demand—renters want to make their moves when it’s warmer—and their greatest turnover. It really is a make-or-break time for many properties because if they can’t generate enough leases to account for the number of residents moving out now, the task will become much harder when leasing activity slows.

To help, here are our recommendations to prepare your community for success over the next couple of months:

1. Check Your Lease Expirations

Reviewing your lease expirations is your first line of defense when trying to make your busy season more manageable. Why? If you know in advance that there will be a certain week or month ahead when a high concentration of leases will be expiring, you won’t be bombarded by suddenly having multiple units turnover at once. You can get ahead of it.

Plus, taking this step now gives you the opportunity to start thinking through your renewal strategy. Check out our blog post ‘4 Ways to Improve Your Apartment Community’s Retention Rate’—it has great ideas you could apply here to help you keep more leases.

2. Set Your Staffing

Take a look at your work schedule for the upcoming weeks. Will your best manager, or leasing agent, be going on a vacation or be away from the office? If so, get on that now. Being understaffed may affect your closing rates because your team’s ability to conduct in-person tours will be limited. Evaluate whether or not there’s an opportunity or need to add to your staff.

Don’t forget your maintenance team. You need to make sure they’re properly staffed and equipped to be able to handle their increased workload, too. When it’s your busy leasing season, your entire team needs to be hitting on all cylinders.

3. Make Changes to Your Digital Advertising Budget

The purpose of your digital ads is to drive more qualified traffic to your website, which begins the process of converting leads to leases. Think of using them in the same way as you’d use a water faucet. When you need traffic the most, just turn the faucet on.

We talk all the time about dynamic apartment marketing, and a lot of it is tied into how you utilize your digital ads. We believe that pairing a high budget, for times like the busy season when you’ll have more turnover, with a low budget, for when your occupancy is strong, is the best way to maximize your marketing dollars.

So, be ready to turn the faucet on and spend more on your digital ads for the next couple of months compared to other times of year. You will need to have enough ad dollars budgeted to run Defensive ads that defend your community’s identity, Remarketing campaigns on both Google and Facebook that keep your apartments top of mind, and perhaps some Offensive campaigns that allow you to compete against similar properties.

4. Review Your Rental Rates

An odd trend we see is some communities raising their rental rates on January 1st. Right now, at the onset of your busy leasing season, is actually the best time to be taking this measure.

You know you’re going to have more potential residents looking at you over the next few months compared to any other time throughout the year, because whenever you’re experiencing more turnover you’re also going to have more demand. It would make sense to raise your rates at a time when pricing isn’t weighed as much as availability.

We recommend lowering your rental rates about a month or so before the busy period ends. That way you have a better chance of filling up any units remaining in the final few weeks leading up to your slow leasing season, when it will become much harder to do so.

5. Prioritize Your Time

When you’re in the midst of your busy leasing season, you won’t have much time to focus on many parts of your job. For example, why would you be trying to do things like make design decisions when all you’re going to be concerned with in that moment is retaining current residents and attracting new ones?

If you have any pressing managerial decisions, like standard updates, try and complete those now. The goal here is to make sure you’re prioritizing all of your focus and energy for the busy leasing season, when time will be your most important asset.

Cash for Keys – Could it Work for You?

Cash for keys may soon be on the rise. It’s an idea that might appeal to many landlords who want to incentivize tenants to leave their rentals and avoid a drawn out eviction process.

Cash for keys, in concept, is a simple, straightforward process, legal in all 50 states. It’s exactly what it sounds like: an agreement, entered into voluntarily by a landlord and tenant, in which cash or other value is provided to the tenant as an incentive for them to hand over the keys and move out of the rental.

Some landlords are already engaged in cash-for-keys contracts. It’s perfectly legal to do so even while state and federal eviction moratoriums are in place, as long as it is done in a non-threatening, voluntary and non-coercive manner on the part of the landlord. To be safe, consultation with an attorney, or the MassLandlords Helpline, is recommended before initiating or entertaining any cash-for-keys proposals.

A renter may also suggest cash for keys independently, without any prompting from the landlord, which can result in a move-out agreement.

Cash-for-Keys Mortgage Foreclosures vs. Rental Evictions

Cash for keys gained popularity during the housing crisis in 2008. Real estate owners, who represented banks, offered cash to underwater and nonpaying homeowners by the millions in heavy hit communities, in Florida, Southern California and other regions. Offering the strapped homeowners cash to vacate their homes saved banks from going through the costly and time-consuming process of foreclosure.

Over the years, landlords have also begun using cash for keys as a way to entice nonpaying renters, for example, to leave their residences instead of filing eviction notices, spending months in housing courts, sitting on empty rentals and paying court and other costs. Some landlords have also used cash for keys to encourage paying tenants to leave a unit that they want to renovate or sell, or vacate for other reasons.

For the purposes of this article, we refer to cash for keys between landlords and tenants.

Now or Later

It’s important to note: cash for keys, while it may be the answer for some landlords, is not a panacea for those with problem tenants, for example, nor an arrangement to be entered into lightly.

Landlords embarking on cash-for-keys agreements now, while eviction moratoriums are in place and courts are not hearing most housing cases, will have no recourse in the event tenants don’t comply with the agreement. Make certain both parties are entering the contract in good faith, are well-informed of their rights, and of the contract’s stipulations.

In some cases, it might be in the interest of landlords to hire a mediator to work with both parties – landlord and tenant – to negotiate an amenable agreement that all will adhere to throughout the process. If you opt not to hire a mediator, make certain that tenants know their rights in a cash-for-keys agreement, to avoid them from backing out of a deal later when they’ve received advice from others.

Eviction Pileup

Potentially looming at the other end of the state and federal eviction moratoriums now in place is a significant number of evictions. This situation could be avoided if the state government were to take legislative action, such as that proposed by MassLandlords, to guarantee housing for the long term. But short of further legislation, the eviction backlog could become substantial.

Conditions may also be affected by pending bills, such as HD.4878, a bill in the state legislature, sponsored by Reps. Kevin Honan and Mike Connolly, that could effectively lead to rent cancellation for a large percentage of landlords.

Easy Math

Evictions are almost always expensive. The total bill for an eviction in Massachusetts can tally more than $5,000, considering lost rent, attorney, court and constable fees, repairs and cleaning costs. In the next couple years, that amount will likely increase as courts become backlogged and may delay summary hearings for months (i.e., more lost rent).

The math is simple in a lot of situations:

A) Wait months or more than a year for your eviction case to be litigated while a nonpaying tenant occupies your rental (and possibly degrades its condition), then forfeit thousands of dollars in court costs, lost rent and attorney fees?

Or B) Offer your tenant a few thousand dollars to move out peacefully and quickly? The savings between cash for keys and an eviction can range from the low thousands to five figures in some outlying cases, even considering attorney consulting fees.

Meanwhile, you could have your rental reoccupied with a paying tenant within a month or two. Not to mention all the headaches you could avoid.

A Tough Pill to Swallow

 For some landlords, paying cash to a nonpaying tenant who owes thousands of dollars in back rent and may have damaged your property is anathema. Like rubbing salt in a wound.

But providing housing is a business, first and foremost. And while it may be emotionally difficult to hand over a pile of cash to a tenant who has given you headaches since the day they moved in, it may be the wisest business decision.

Some landlords also question the ethics of a cash-for-keys agreement. They argue that the practice could have the long-term effect of increasing squatting and rent delinquency by encouraging bad players to force landlords to hand them cash just in order to get them out of their property and avoid legal fees and headaches.

That scenario is possible in a few situations. But in the wake of coronavirus, the overwhelming percentage of delinquent renters will be the result of the pandemic response and economic downturn. There has always existed a fraction of squatters and intentional nonpayers gaming the system. It’s impossible to say how much that fraction could increase because word spread that cash for keys is a way to extort some cash from landlords.

Creative Solutions

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and response, once eviction moratoriums have been lifted, many landlords will be positioned to serve eviction notices as soon as they can to their delinquent tenants. In many cases – especially for tenants who have not suffered a loss of income but instead have taken advantage of the eviction moratorium to get free housing – eviction might be the logical course.

But for many other tenants – such as those who stopped paying rent because they lost jobs and income during coronavirus and response – landlords might consider alternatives to eviction, especially for good tenants who have regained employment and resumed rent payment.

Alternatives might include working with tenants to come to a compromise that will extend the tenancy for the long term while forfeiting some back rent. You could renegotiate back rent payments, for example, or restructure payments with some owed funds added in. Partial rent forgiveness might also be a prudent solution if it saves the arduous process of eviction.

But if you decide as a landlord that the relationship with your tenant is untenable, then cash for keys may be the better alternative.

How to Offer Cash for Keys

The process can be simple, but it depends on a few specifics. At its simplest, cash for keys is a transaction directly between landlord and tenant. No courts, constables or intermediaries needed.

(When court-enforced evictions are possible, however, cash-for-keys agreements may be entered into the court record. This action would give you a back-up plan in case your tenant doesn’t comply with the agreement.)

As stated above, hiring an attorney or mediator, or consulting the MassLandlords Helpline, might be a prudent step, at least to avoid any misunderstandings or surprises, and to provide additional assistance in case the court becomes involved.

As much as possible, try to keep emotion out of your cash-for-keys communications. It’s a business transaction, and in most cases will be a win-win solution (i.e., the least bad outcome) for landlord and tenant. Focus on the benefits.

Step 1: Draft a plan

Jot some parameters on paper, or use the MassLandlords Agreement to End Tenancy form to outline a proposal. Include a proposed amount to offer your tenant to incentivize a quick move-out. Decide on an amount to offer beforehand (see below).

This step offers an opportunity to be creative and flexible within the agreement. For example, you could offer, as part of the payment, to cover moving costs for your renter. Or maybe your cash-for-keys offer doesn’t involve actual payment at all, rather you could offer to forgive all the back rent owed in exchange for a voluntary move-out.

You might consider two or three offers that correspond with faster move-out schedules. If you want your tenant to move out sooner than later, you’ll likely need to offer a higher amount of cash.

This is an abstract that could be shared with an attorney for those who work with one, as recommended.

Step 2: Initiate a conversation with your tenant, either in person or via phone

Present your case and proposal evenly and clearly, as you would with a business proposition. There is no need to mention eviction during this conversation, especially if your intent is just to empty the rental for renovation or sale.

Outline the cash-for-keys concept, emphasizing the benefits to your tenant (i.e., cash in hand, no eviction record to hamper future efforts to find rental housing, etc.).

Your tenant might try to negotiate or counter-offer. Keep negotiation to a minimum. If an extortionist tenant suspects that you are vulnerable or willing to pay more to get rid of them they may take you to the cleaners. Choose a fair amount to open with and try to stick close to that figure.

Assuming your tenant agrees to a cash-for-keys settlement, spell out the agreement with your tenant, or share the MassLandlords Agreement to End Tenancy, a brief and convenient form that provides fields for the essential information and signatures.

Include the amount (or services) you will pay renters to move out. Include the date and time they agree to be vacated from the apartment – meaning all possessions are removed from the unit and any common areas, keys have been delivered to the landlord or agent, and the unit has been left “broom clean.”

Both you and your tenant must sign two copies in duplicate so you each have a signed record of the contract.

Step 2a: Escrow the money

 Whether or not you hire an attorney or mediator to assist with your cash-for-keys process, we recommend that you set aside the agreed cash amount for payment upon contract completion. To keep it simple, landlords could place the cash amount in a separate account and pay it out to complete the contract. You could also have your attorney or mediator escrow the cash and oversee the payment at your direction.

This is a step that removes emotion from the payment process, which can be a difficult step for some landlords. It also assures that tenants, who have voluntarily moved out as part of the cash-for-keys agreement, won’t have to wait for payment or chase the landlord to receive the cash owed them.

Step 3: Complete the contract

The cash-for-keys contract is completed when the rental is vacated at or before the agreed upon time and date, satisfactorily cleaned, and keys are in your hand.

Do not hand over any payment or order release of escrowed funds until those conditions are met. If your tenant has not met those conditions by the designated time (i.e., they are still moving out or cleaning beyond the time you both agreed), you have the option of considering the contract void.

Once you have the keys, the unit is in your possession, you have inspected the apartment to your satisfaction and paid your tenant the amount you agreed to, the contract is completed.

How Much to Pay?

First, as a comparative exercise, calculate how much you project an eviction would cost you. You will need to build in more months than usual of lost rent because of the backlog of cases after the eviction moratorium is lifted. For example, if your eviction is delayed six months or more due to the backlog of cases, your costs will increase substantially.

Also think about how much an eviction would cost in normal times, with little or no court backlog. One rule of thumb is to halve that amount as a cash-for-keys offer.

Consider rents and move-in costs for similar apartments in your community. Would $2,700 cover first and last month’s rents plus security deposit? If so, that may be your starting figure, and could present a strong incentive for your renter to leave.

In early conversations, ascertain your renters’ needs. Could they be out in a week, or will they need longer? Would a higher cash offer incentivize an earlier departure?

You could consider a tiered offer with one amount for a 60-day move-out, another offer for a 30-day move-out, or a higher amount to move out in a couple weeks or less. Keep the conversation going over several days or weeks to allow both parties time to consider and address underlying concerns.

Contract Complete

On move-out day, once you’ve been handed the keys to the apartment and inspected it, have your tenant sign a final clause saying they have received the cash payment. If the payment was escrowed and distributed by the bank, be sure to get a record of that payment.

Before handing over or releasing the cash payment, be very sure to conduct that final inspection.

As a last step, it is recommended that you immediately change the locks, as usual with an apartment transition. Having the keys handed to you from the tenant doesn’t mean they didn’t at some point have copies made.

Thousands Saved

Cash for keys isn’t for everyone in every situation. It needs to be approached thoughtfully and thoroughly with all bases covered from a legal standpoint.

If you find yourself lamenting the pile of cash you just handed over to an undeserving tenant in exchange for keys to your property, consider revisiting your calculated eviction costs.

Focus on the potential thousands of dollars you just saved, and your freedom to now locate a better tenant.

A Comprehensive Guide for Apartment Manager

Apartment Building Lending No Up Front Fees Winston Rowe and Associates

With growing sizes of building complexes, apartment management is becoming one of the most challenging jobs. As an apartment manager, you are not only responsible for maintaining the building but the owner and tenants as well.

The main task of an apartment manager is to improve the client-tenant living experience. They need to reduce costs and increase profit whenever possible.

Many property managers often face many challenges when trying to manage rental property. It’s essential that the management of a property run smoothly just like any other business.

If you are an apartment manager or owner struggling to do your job, these quick tips will guide you through managing an apartment efficiently. So let’s begin then.

Important Points to Consider for Apartment Manager

1. Following the Housing Laws and Policies

2. Securing Your Property

3. Making the Apartment Desirable

4. Selecting the Right Tenant

5. Maintaining and Upkeeping the Society

6. Resolving Resident Complaints Immediately

Important Points to Consider for Apartment Manager

1. Following the Housing Laws and Policies

Some specific laws and regulations govern the professionals responsible for managing properties. Every state has its own set of rules and regulations which needs to be strictly followed.

In recent years, there have been reported cases of property managers where their actions have resulted in the unauthorized practice of law. That’s why apartment managers should work closely with legal counsel. It will ensure that they don’t unintentionally violate the law.

Get in touch with the lawyers who are familiar with the housing field. They will guide you through relevant policies. Let them know about your intentions and what you plan to do with the property.

Furthermore, take advice on tax liabilities and potential credits related to renting properties.

We would suggest that meet two to three lawyers in the beginning. Talk to them about your renting plans and then,  decide with whom you can work for a long time.

Hiring a good lawyer will ensure that you always stay on the right side of the law.

2. Securing Your Property

Owning a residential rental property is a wise investment. But at the same time, it can be quite risky especially if you are new to this field. Without the right building insurance, you can face severe financial loss if something goes wrong.

The primary concern for any apartment manager or owner is the protection of the property from catastrophic events. Your apartment complex insurance should protect you against losses, damages, liability claims, and other issues.

Property insurance can seem complicated at first. But you can always take the help of your lawyer and insurance agent to guide you through.

Also, you should know that the insurance coverage and its cost vary. It depends on factors like the building’s location, type of construction, and more.

Some of the risks that apartment building managers/owners have to deal with:

    Liability for tenant, employee, and visitor injuries

    Theft or vandalism

    Advertising liability

    Fire, storms, and other catastrophic damage

    Invading the right to privacy

    Loss of rental income

    Discrimination lawsuit filed by disgruntled tenants

    Any allegations of fraud or misconduct by tenants

You can tailor the insurance policies to one’s need to address the risks as mentioned above.

3. Making the Apartment Desirable

You can’t ignore the fact that for each day your property stays vacant, you lose potential rental income. If you want to attract quality tenants, make your apartment as desirable as possible.

How do you do that? A few simple fixes to help you make your property desirable to prospective tenants.

    The first thing any tenant would look at is the exterior paint. If it is not at par, the tenant may not even want to come inside. A few ways how you can fix it:

        Add some quality landscaping to increase the property’s curb appeal

        Remove chipped paint and get a new coat of exterior paint

        Repair broken banisters and replace torn window screens

        Keep the compound clean. Remove trash, weeds, and debris

        Make sure the lawn and shrubbery are well-manicured

    If you want to charge a hefty amount in monthly rent, then, of course, you would have to go the extra mile. Provide luxuries that many tenants would be gladly willing to pay for. For instance, you can consider adding an in-house dryer, energy-efficient appliances and more.

These small tricks will help bring in the quality of applicants.

4. Selecting the Right Tenant

The next step in the apartment management process is selecting the right tenant.

Renting out apartments can be stress-free only if you have the right tenants. For that, you would need to advertise the vacancy to let people know about your rental space.

I. Advertise the Empty Space

Even in places with high housing demands, advertise your space stating all the facts and your requirements. This will help draw the right kind of applicants to your rental house.

The ad should contain information such as your contact number, details about your apartment, and what up are looking for. Some of the places where you can advertise it are:

    Post it on newspaper

    Display it on Internet classified sites

    Connect with a real estate broker

II. Screen Tenants

Of course, you are not allowed to discriminate your tenants based on caste, creed, race, sex, etc.

However, you should screen tenants before renting your apartment to anyone. Make sure that they are financially sound to pay your rent and do not have any criminal background.

Otherwise, unsystematic screening and tenant selection often result in some significant headaches. You might end up with a tenant who pays the rent late or not at all and poorly maintained the place.

Your screening criteria should be the same for all. It should include:

    Run a background check on each applicant to ensure that they won’t conduct any illegal activities in your apartment

    Obtain a credit report to see if they can afford your rent and will be able to pay your rent on time

    Ask for references from previous landlords or other personal references if any

III. Get it in Writing

Once you have chosen your tenant, make sure that you have a lease agreement in place. It should contain all the terms and conditions agreed by both the parties.

Having it in writing will protect both you and your tenants in case of any conflict in the future. The rental agreement helps create good relation by specifying things. It includes clauses like how and when you handle tenant complaints and repair problems, notice period if the tenant decides to leave, and more.

The lease agreement should contain the following information:

    The names and signatures of the tenant(s) and landlord

    The starting and ending dates that the property will be rented

    Rent costs and due dates

    Policies on security deposits and lease termination

    The tenant’s responsibility to maintain the unit and pay for damage caused by any neglect

    Strategy and procedure for dealing with tenant’s complaints and repair request

    Mention the restrictions if any on tenant alterations on their apartment without your permission

    Information on any environmental hazards present at the property

    Other optional policies as required

You can always find lease templates online or even talk to your lawyer about what information to put in one.

Furthermore, a written agreement helps in running the property smoothly and enhance resale value. Make sure that the tenants are aware of all the clauses included before signing the lease.

IV. Ask For Security Deposits

Security deposits are used to cover the expenses in the event of any damages or other faults with the apartments when a tenant moves out. To avoid any dispute over the security deposit when the tenant moves out, it’s better to inspect and document the condition of the unit before they move in.

Specific regulations are governing the policies regarding security deposits. With the help of a lawyer, establish a system of setting, collecting, holding, and returning security deposits.

Also, check with your state’s Landlord Tenant Act to know how long before you can return the deposit and/or a settlement statement.

5. Maintaining and Upkeeping the Society

At times it may become difficult for the apartment manager to choose between areas which need more focus than others. But thanks to the technological advancement, the apartment management software that comes to our rescue.

Using society software, you can streamline all operations and handle it from a single place. Following these five quick tips will help in a better apartment management system:

I. Automate Society Billing & Accounting

Financial issues are always a serious matter. When the apartment size keeps getting bigger, maintaining accounts can get too time-consuming and challenging at times.

The process of accounting and bookkeeping, penalty calculation, and income and expense tracking should be streamlined for smooth functioning. The best way to do that is to employ a society management software that automates your billing and collection efforts.

Some of the essential modules of tenant management include document depository, penalty calculation, maintenance charge payment, payment gateway, request for quotation, and more. It integrates with the current system in place without disrupting the whole operation.

II. Communicate With Your Tenants Effectively

As an apartment manager, it’s essential that you maintain a healthy relationship with all your tenants. For that, you need to find an effective way of communication.

The smart move would be to incorporate an apartment management software that offers communication tools. These tools can post notices and reach out to everyone. Furthermore, it assists in other activities like securely sharing pictures from community events, broadcasting essential messages, and maintaining functions calendar.

You can also create and publish articles on waste management guidelines, festival celebration forums, and more. It will help you create one active community with the ease of the housing software.

III. Manage Apartment Facilities and Staff Smartly

Again, you will often find complaints about how the apartment facilities are not well maintained.

You can save yourself some time by automating all your task such as asset tracking, inventory management, maintenance staff, and more. With the help of society management software, you can save yourself the pain of manually overlooking every activity.

Moreover, the software will also empower your tenants to book an apartment facility online. You can keep records of visitors for security purpose. These are a few of the many benefits a useful apartment management software has to offer.

Provide a superior experience to residents by managing all apartment facilities smartly.

IV. Skillfully Manage Society Data

One of the many benefits of using society maintenance software is that you can easily centralize all your data in one place.

You need to maintain a directory of residents, the number of flats in the apartments and more, to systematically reach out to them. Using maintenance software will save you a lot of time and help effectively manage the condo.

6. Resolving Resident Complaints Immediately

Resident complaints will always be an issue for apartment managers. It is therefore essential to have a system in place that will help resolve their problems immediately.

Having a central tracking of resident complaints or suggestions can be a good idea for efficient management. That’s why the whole process of filing complaints and the manager resolving the issue needs to be automated.

To immediately attend to the tenant’s problem, you can do the following:

    Use software that will help you track the complaints at various stages. It should also send alerts in case of unresolved complaints

    Give tenants a number where they can reach the management department 24/7, to handle any emergencies

    Always have a few handymen on standby who can repair your apartments when need be

It will help you manage the apartment much better and increase resident satisfaction. Thus, it will enhance their faith in the management committee.

Wrapping it up

Apartment management may seem like a daunting task at first. Especially when there are tenants who try to create menace in society.

Sometime you would also need to take legal actions when necessary. Some tenants do not pay rent on time or conduct illegal activities on the premises. Sometimes, they even cause damage to the property or violate the lease agreement. In such cases, talk with your lawyer and proceed in the right way.

Or you can take the help of a mediator to work with you and your tenant to reach out a settlement on the issue. Either way, make sure that other residents in society do not face any inconvenience.

The Ins and Outs of Apartment Building Construction

Apartment Construction Lending No Upfront Fees Winston Rowe and Associates

In nearly every metro area of the country, building developers and contractors are scrambling to keep up with the growing demand for rental apartments. In 2014, nearly 350,000 apartments began construction. A number that increased by nearly 14% from 2013, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

However, even with a large number of projects underway, there are certainly no shortages of challenges that come with apartment construction and there are a number of variables to take factor in when considering the overall cost of commercial apartment construction.

From what type of amenities you will include with the building to the building’s walkability in the surrounding area and construction variables such as labor, weather, trade tariffs, it can be a challenge to construct the building of your dreams while staying within budget.

As apartment sizes are shrinking, tenants are turning to the amenities to help meet all of their needs while living there and driven property owners to great lengths to include must-have amenities for everyone. But when it comes to designing an amenities package and choosing what amenities to include there can often be a lot of “push and pull.” It is a careful space-planning exercise.

According to a 2015 survey from the National Multifamily Housing Council, amenities such as fitness areas, pools, and in-unit laundry machines were of greater interest to Millennials than to baby boomers and nearly 60% of the 120,000 person survey said they are interested in having a lounge area or party room in their apartment building.

For owners and developers, it is important to know which amenities will give the most return on investment. When designing a new apartment construction project, it pays to stay up on the trends of potential tenants.

Some amenities require not only an allocation of space, but significant ongoing maintenance and expenses while others can be installed at little initial or ongoing cost. Some can even save you money over time. The type of amenities you should include will come down to which amenities are valued most by renters, as well as age group and lifestyle.

Location and Walkability

Determining what amenities are right for any one community can be a challenge, but some amenities can be scaled back if the apartment exists within a surrounding community.

For some renters, location is the number one amenity. In a 2015 nationwide survey by the National Association of Realtors, roughly eight out of 10 people said that being in walking distance to community features like shops and parks was very important to them when considering a new place to live. Tenants care about the walkability of their living situation. If tenants live within walking distance of restaurants, bars, and gyms then forgoing some of those features can save on apartment construction cost.

However, apartment construction in a walkable city can be a challenge because there is limited space. Not only that, but land costs are also much higher for walkable, urban locations as opposed to rural areas. As a building developer, you will want to find ways to work with a municipality to provide useable sidewalks, trails, and open spaces to attract new renters and encourage a pedestrian-friendly experience for everyone.

Amenities and walkable communities aren’t the only things developers and contractors struggle with when it comes to apartment construction as there are a variety of other factors that can affect the final price.

Many apartment developers are fighting off price increases for things like labor shortage, weather conditions, and building materials due to international trade tariffs. In fact, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), even the threat of trade tariffs can affect the price of steel and lumber. In August of 2018, the producer price index for steel mill products jumped by 19 percent compared to the year before and while lumber and plywood also saw a sharp rise in the spring and early summer.

If you are planning to build an apartment building or are a current property owner looking to make upgrades, click below to contact us today!

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How to Write a Real Estate Business Plan

Winston Rowe and Associates No Upfront Fee Commercial Real Estate Lending

Success in the real estate investing industry won’t happen overnight, and it definitely won’t happen without proper planning or implementation. For entrepreneurs, a real estate investing business plan can serve as a road map to all of your business operations. Simply put, a real estate business plan will serve an essential role in the formation of your investing career.

Investors will need to strategize several key elements to create a successful business plan. These include future goals, company values, financing strategies and more. Once complete, a business plan can create the foundation for smooth operations and outline a future with unlimited potential for your investing career. Keep reading to learn how to create a real estate investment business plan today.

What Is A Real Estate Investing Business Plan?

A real estate business plan is a living document that provides the framework for business operations and goals. A business plan will include future goals for the company and organized steps to get there. While business plans can vary from investor to investor, they will typically include planning for one to five years at a time.

Drafting a business plan for real estate investing purposes is, without a doubt, one of the single most important steps a new investor can take. An REI business plan will help you avoid potential obstacles while simultaneously placing you in a position to succeed. It is a blueprint to follow when things are going according to plan, and even when they veer off course. If for nothing else, a real estate company business plan will see to it that investors know which steps to follow to achieve their goals. In many ways nothing is more valuable to today’s investors. It is the plan, after all, to follow the most direct path to success.

8 Must-Haves in A Real Estate Business Plan

As a whole, a real estate business plan should address a company’s short and long-term goals. Though in order to accurately portray a company’s vision, the right business plan will require more information than a future vision. A strong real estate business plan will provide a detailed look at the ins and outs of a company. This can include the organizational structure, financial information, marketing outline and more.  When done right it will serve as a comprehensive overview anyone who interacts with your business, whether internally or externally.

That said, creating an REI business plan will require a persistent attention to detail. For new investors drafting a real estate company business plan may seem like a daunting task, and quite honestly it is. The secret is knowing which ingredients must be added (and when). Below are seven must-haves for a well-executed business plan:

Outline the company values and mission statement.

Break down future goals into short and long term.

Strategize the strengths and weaknesses of the company.

Formulate the best investment strategy for each property and your respective goals.

Include potential marketing and branding efforts.

State how the company will be financed (and by whom).

Explain who is working for the business.

Answer any “what ifs” with backup plans and exit strategies.

These components are what matter the most, and a quality real estate business plan will delve into each category to ensure maximum optimization.


A company vision statement is essentially your mission statement and values. While these may not be the first step in planning your company, a vision will be crucial to the success of your business. Company values will not only guide you through investment decisions, but will also inspire others to work with your business time and time again. They should align potential employees, lenders and possible tenants with the motivations behind your company.

Before writing your company vision, think through examples you like both in and out of the real estate industry. Is there a company whose values you identify with? Or, are there mission statements you dislike? Use other companies as a starting point when creating your own set of values. Feel free to reach out to your mentor or other network connections for feedback as you plan. Most importantly, think about the qualities you personally value and how those can fit into your business plan.


Goals are one of the most important elements in a successful business plan. This is because not only do goals provide an end goal for your company, but they also outline the steps required to get there. It can be helpful to think about goals in two categories: short term and long term. Long term goals will typically outline your future plans for the company. These can include ideal investment types, profit numbers and company size. Short term goals are the smaller, actionable steps required to get there.

For example, one long term business goal could be to land four wholesale deals by the end of the year. Short term goals will make this more achievable by breaking it into smaller steps. A few short-term goals that might help you land those four wholesale deals could be to create a direct mail campaign for your market area, establish a buyers list with 50 contacts, and secure your first property under contract. Breaking down long term goals is a great way to hold yourself accountable, create deadlines and accomplish what you set out to.

SWOT Analysis

SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. A SWOT analysis involves thinking through each of these areas as you evaluate your company and potential competitors. This framework allows business owners to better understand what is working for the company and identify potential areas for improvement. SWOT analyses are used across industries as a way to create more actionable solutions to potential issues.

To think through a SWOT analysis for your real estate business plan, first identify your company’s potential strengths and weaknesses. Do you have high quality tenants? Are you struggling to raise capital? Be honest with yourself as you write out each category. Then, take a step back and look at your market area and any competitors to identify threats and opportunities. A potential threat could be whether or not your rental prices are in line with comparable properties. On the other hand, a potential opportunity could be to boost the amenities offered at your property to be more competitive in the area.

Investment Strategy

Any good real estate investment business plan requires the ability to implement a sound investment strategy. If for nothing else, there are several exit strategies a business may execute to secure profits: rehabbing, wholesaling and renting — just to name a few. This is where investors will want to analyze their market and determine which strategy will best suit their goals. Those with long-term retirement goals may want to consider leaning heavily into rental properties. However, those without the funds to build a rental portfolio may want to consider getting started by wholesaling. Whatever the case may be, now is the time to figure out what you want to do with each property you come across. It is important to note, however, that this strategy will change from property to property. Therefore, investors need to be able to determine their exit strategy based on the asset and their current goals. The reason this section needs to be added to a real estate investment business plan is because it will come in handy once a prospective deal is found.

Marketing Plan

While marketing may seem like the cherry on top of a sound business plan, marketing efforts will actually play an integral role in the foundation of your business. A marketing plan should include your business logo, website, social media outlets and any advertising efforts. Together these elements can build a solid brand for your business, which will help you build a strong business reputation and ultimately build trust with investors, clients and more.

To plan your marketing, first think about the ways your brand can illustrate the company values and mission statement you have created. Consider the ways you can incorporate your vision into your logo or website. Remember, in addition to attracting new clients, marketing efforts can also help maintain relationships with existing connections. For a step by step guide to drafting a real estate marketing plan, be sure to read this guide.

Financing Plan

Writing the financial portion of a business plan can be tricky, especially if you are just starting your business. As a general rule, a financial plan will include the income statement, cash flow, and balance sheet for a business. A financial plan should also include short- and long-term goals regarding the profits and losses of a company. Together, this information will help when making business decisions, raising capital and reporting on business performance.

Perhaps the most important factor when creating a financial plan is accuracy. While many investors want to report on high profits or low losses, manipulating data will not boost your business performance in any way. Come up with a system of organization that works for you and always ensure your financial statements are authentic. As a whole, a financial plan should help you identify what is and isn’t working for your business.

Teams & Small Business Systems

No successful business plan is complete without an outline of the operations and management. Think: how your business is being run and by whom. This information will include the organizational structure, office management (if any), and an outline of any ongoing projects or properties. Investors can even include future goals for team growth and operational changes when planning this information.

Even if you are just starting out, or have yet to launch your business, it is still necessary to plan your business structure. Start by planning what tasks you will be responsible for, and look for areas you will need help with. If you have a business partner, think through each of your strengths and weaknesses and look for areas you can best complement each other. For additional guidance, set up a meeting with your real estate mentor. They can provide valuable insights to their own business structure, which can serve as a jumping off point for your planning.

Exit Strategies & Back Up Plans

Believe it or not, every successful company out there has a backup plan. Businesses fail every day, but by creating a backup plan investor can position themselves to survive even the worst-case scenario. That’s why it’s crucial to strategize alternative exit strategies and back up plans for your investment business. These will not only help you create a plan of action if something does go wrong, but will also help you address any potential problems before they happen.

This section of a business plan should answer all of the “what if” questions a potential lender, employee, or client might have. What is a property remains on the market for longer than expected? What if a seller backs out before closing? What if a property has a higher than average vacancy rate? These questions (and many more) are worth thinking through as you create your business plan.

The impact of a truly great real estate business plan can last for the duration of your entire career, whereas a poor plan can get in the way of your future goals. The truth is: a real estate business plan is of the utmost importance, and as a new investor it deserves your undivided attention. Again, writing a business plan for real estate investing is no simple task, but it can be done correctly. Follow our real estate investment business plan template to ensure you get it right the first time around:

Write an executive summary that provides a bird’s eye view of the company.

Include a description of company goals and how you plan to achieve them.

Demonstrate your expertise with a thorough market analysis.

Specify who is working at your company and their qualifications.

Summarize what products and services your business has to offer.

Outline the intended marketing strategy for each aspect of your business.

Executive Summary

The first step is to define your mission and vision. In a nutshell, your executive summary is a snapshot of your business as a whole, and it will generally include a mission statement, company description, growth data, products and services, financial strategy, and future aspirations. This is the “why” of your business plan, and it should be clearly defined.

Company Description

The next step is to examine your business and provide a high-level review on the various elements, including goals and how you intend to achieve them. Investors should describe the nature of their business, as well as their targeted marketplace. Explain how services or products will meet said needs, address specific customers, organizations or businesses the company will serve, and explain the competitive advantage the business offers.

Market Analysis

This section will identify and illustrate your knowledge of the industry. It will generally consist of information about your target market, including distinguishing characteristics, size, market shares, and pricing and gross margin targets. A thorough market outline will also include your SWOT analysis.

Organization & Management

This is where you explain who does what in your business. This section should include your company’s organizational structure, with details the ownership, profiles on the management team and their qualifications. While this may seem unnecessary as a real estate investor, the people reading your business plan may want to know who’s in charge. Make sure you leave no stone unturned.

Services or Products

What are you selling? How will it benefit your customers? This is the part of your real estate business plan where you provide information on your product or service, including benefits it has over competitors. In essence, it will offer a description of your product/service, details on its life cycle, information on intellectual property, as well as research and development activities, which could include future R&D activities and efforts. Since real estate investment is more of a service, it’s critical for beginner investors to identify why their service is better than others in the industry. It could include experience.

Marketing Strategy

Generally speaking, a marketing strategy will encompass how a business owner intends to market or sell their product and service. This includes a market penetration strategy, plan for future growth, channels of distribution, and a comprehensive communication strategy. When creating a marketing strategy for a real estate business plan, investors should think about how they plan to identify and contact new leads. They should then think about the various options for communication: social media, direct mail, a company website, etc. The marketing portion of your business plan should essentially cover the practical steps operating and growing your business.

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5 Ways to Spot Fake Landlord References

One of the most crucial aspects in tenant screening is that of checking your prospective tenant’s landlord references, so here are 5 ways to spot fake landlord references.

Unfortunately, some tenants have been known to make up references or list friends or family members as previous landlords. There are even companies that hire themselves out to pose as landlords.

As a property manager, you are bound to receive landlord references day in and day out. Some are beautifully written testaments to the incredible nature of these individuals looking to rent, while others are simply fake, with bogus testimonials about the tenant.

5 ways to spot fake landlord references

No. 1 – Call the references yourself

For starters, on most landlord references, they will provide a phone number.

One of the first things you can do to tell if the reference is a fake is to call the number inquiring about a rental. If it is fake, the number either won’t work or will lead to a completely different person or place.

In rare instances, a fake number does lead to an individual, but they may seem to be either untruthful or not detailed in their answers.

No. 2 – Check up on the reference’s name

Go online and Google the reference’s name and look them up on social-media platforms.

Check to see if this person is tied to the potential tenant through tagged pictures and/or posts. If there is a lot of overlap in the people’s profiles, these individuals may have a personal relationship and not a tenant/landlord relationship.

No. 3- Look at tax records

The tax records for all property owners are in the public domain. All you have to do is look up the records for the address where the applicant claims to have lived.

The name on the tax record should match the name you’ve been given. Double-check that the property hasn’t been sold, but otherwise this is a great way to spot a fake.

No. 4 – Analyze a reference’s answers

It’s best to always fall back on your knowledge as a landlord and analyze the answers that the potentially fake landlord reference has given you.

If their answers are vague and don’t have details then it’s likely that they aren’t a real landlord and are instead a friend or family member of the person who is trying to rent from you.

No. 5 – Ask for advice from the reference

Landlords tend to have the same frustrations, interests, and problems.

It wouldn’t be at all unusual for you as a property manager to ask for some advice from another landlord while calling for a reference. Ask for their procedure for getting rid of a tenant who doesn’t pay, for instance.

A real landlord will have an actual answer, even if they’re not interested in spending much time on the phone with you. A fake, on the other hand, will likely have nothing specific to say. This can help you further determine whether the person on the other line is a real landlord, or someone just posing as such.

In conclusion

As a property manager, a significant part of your job involves filling properties with quality, long-term tenants. Including thorough reference verification as part of your tenant screening process, such as the strategies above, can help you avoid costly mistakes and keep you a few steps ahead of the game.

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Free Business And Real Estate Investing eBooks

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Welcome to Winston Rowe and Associates knowledge blog, scroll down to the right for posts about commercial real estate.

This is a list of free books about real estate investing, commercial real estate financing and business strategy.

We’re always on the lookout for great free books so bookmark this blog and check back for monthly updates.

These links are not affiliate marketing links, just publications that we feel may add value to people and businesses.

Commercial Real Estate Finance

The eBook Commercial Real Estate Finance, by Winston Rowe & Associates discusses the fundamentals of the different types of commercial property, the various options that are included with properties and the capabilities that you will have as a commercial property investor.

Real Estate Investing Articles

This is a link to 1226 real estate investing articles written by industry veteran’s.

25 Productivity Tips for Successful Business Owners

Productivity is critical to your success at work. Business owners, managers and executives all want to get the most from their employees. If you’re not performing as efficiently or effectively as others, your long-term job prospects could be in trouble.

Real Estate Investing: How to Find Cash Buyers and Motivated Sellers

“Real Estate Investing: How to Find Cash Buyers and Motivated Sellers” teaches real estate investors and those interested in learning to invest in real estate how to define and target ideal cash buyers and motivated sellers. The book covers absentee owners, rehab investors, Section 8 landlords, and other buyer types. Some of the marketing topics include mailing lists, postcards, both online and offline marketing strategies along with examples. Anyone who wants to wholesale a house or is curious about flipping houses should pick this book to get educated on cash buyers and motivated sellers for their real estate investing.

Real Estate – Breaking Bad How to Flip Decaying Real Estate Properties for Profit

Tired of working 9 to 5? You should think of making money with real estate! Yes, the effort is well worth it! You just have to ditch the misconceptions and embark with all the passion you have in store for this amazing trip of rehabbing old houses and giving them a new look and a new owner.  Your reward? A nice profit!

Real Estate Forms Portfolio

A FREE and ready-for-download eBook consisting of a comprehensive collection of real estate-related forms for real estate investors.

Real Estate Secrets Exposed

This FREE e-Book sheds some light on the often mysterious and sometimes daunting world of real estate.

Use 1031 Real Estate Exchanges to Create Multiple Streams of Income

Discover how to use 1031 tax-free exchanges, tenants in common interests, and zero cash flow properties to create new sources of income. Learn how to offer bundled services and attract new clients. This FREE, ready for download eBook is perfect for anyone involved in real estate, taxes, mortgages, insurance, or law.  Download it now!

Make Money Through Real Estate Renovations

Download this FREE eBook and learn how a successful investor makes thousands of dollars from real estate renovations. Download it now!

Discover the Secrets of How to Fund Your Real Estate Deals with Private Lenders

Download this FREE e-Book, and discover the new secrets of funding real estate deals in the post-bubble real estate market, where traditional lending sources are getting very difficult to obtain. Download it today!

Real Estate Investing Strategy for Rehabs

This eBook is about residential rehabbing and the multiple strategies that can be used to maximize profits in this current economic climate. My goal has always been to share knowledge with folks that are truly interested in rehabbing and view it as not only for monetary gain but also see is as an “art and science” like I do. Happy Rehabbing!!

How to Be A Super Property Investor

A FREE, step-by-step guide that will help you become a super real estate property investor. Learn all the basic and some advanced investing techniques that have generated millions for property investors. Ready for download now!

Financial Terms Dictionary – 100 Most Popular Financial Terms Explained

This practical financial dictionary helps you understand and comprehend more than 100 common financial terms. It was written with an emphasis to quickly grasp the context without using jargon. Every terms is explained in detail with 600 words or more and includes also examples. It is based on common usage as practiced by financial professionals.

The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli

Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli was an Italian diplomat, politician, historian, philosopher, writer, playwright and poet of the Renaissance period. He has often been called the father of modern political philosophy and political science.

The Science of Getting Rich by W. D. Wattles

This book is pragmatical, not philosophical; a practical manual, not a treatise upon theories. It is intended for the men and women whose most pressing need is for money; who wish to get rich first, and philosophize afterward. It is for those who have, so far, found neither the time, the means, nor the opportunity to go deeply into the study of metaphysics, but who want results and who are willing to take the conclusions of science as a basis for action, without going into all the processes by which those conclusions were reached.

Sun Tzu Art of War

Written in the fifth century B.C., Suntzu and Wutzu still remain the most celebrated works on war in the literature of China. While the chariot has gone, and weapons have changed, these ancient masters have held their own, since they deal chiefly with the fundamental principles of war, with the influence of politics and human nature on military operations; and they show in a most striking way how unchanging these principles are.

Make Extra Money Flipping Houses While On Vacation by Jason Medley

Reveals his simple and proven systems to automate, delegate and outsource nearly every function of his business except cashing his checks. He shows the exact steps that has allowed him to go on multiple vacations with his family throughout the year while having his system continue to flip houses for him.

Achieving Wealth Through Real Estate: A Definitive Guide To Controlling Your Own Financial Destiny Through a Successful Real Estate Business

Have you ever thought about making money with real estate? In Achieving Wealth Through Real Estate: A Definitive Guide to Controlling Your Own Financial Destiny Through a Successful Real Estate Business, author and entrepreneur Kirill Bensonoff takes you through the process of starting your own real estate business step-by-step, featuring his expert tips and tricks.

Business Loans Uncovered

Knowing if you qualify is one of the most important things to know when applying  for a loan of any type. Blindly applying for a loan and being declined increases the chances of you being declined again and again because you not only lower your credit score each time you apply, multiple inquires also serves a red flag to other lenders and as a result lenders put you in a high risk category and charge higher interest rates in the event of an approval Includes: ​Traditional Lenders, Government Sources, The 7(a) loan guarantee program, SBA Low Doc loan program, SBA Express loan program, Factoring, Venture Capitalists, Angel Investors.

50 Simple Secrets To Be A Happy Real Estate Investor

Discover the secrets used by successful real estate investors to create happiness in their lives and businesses. Naturally create more happiness for yourself by implementing time-tested secrets to happiness used by other real estate professional and investors just like you. Start to experience more productivity, satisfaction, and success immediately.

50 Simple Secrets To Be A Happy Real Estate Investor

Discover the secrets used by successful real estate investors to create happiness in their lives and businesses. Naturally create more happiness for yourself by implementing time-tested secrets to happiness used by other real estate professional and investors just like you. Start to experience more productivity, satisfaction, and success immediately.

Marketing Strategies for Real Estate Photography

One of the biggest problems that real estate photographers have once they have set up their business as a legal entity, obtained all the right equipment and perfected their technique is obtaining new clients.

Clients and customers are the lifeblood of any business, but how do you obtain new clients after starting your business?

By developing and executing a strategic marketing plan tailored to your business.

This short guide has been written to help real estate photographers develop their marketing plan and assist with winning new business.

It includes a series of digital and direct marketing strategies along with useful tips and lessons the author has learned from his own experiences that can save you time and money when growing your business.

A marketing action plan template has been included to help photographers execute the strategies learned in this guide book.

Books by Dr William Edward Deming

William Edwards Deming (October 14, 1900 – December 20, 1993) was an American engineer, statistician, professor, author, lecturer, and management consultant.

Educated initially as an electrical engineer and later specializing in mathematical physics, he helped develop the sampling techniques still used by the U.S. Department of the Census and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In his book The New Economics for Industry, Government, and Education Deming championed the work of Walter Shewhart, including statistical process control, operational definitions, and what Deming called the “Shewhart Cycle, which had evolved into Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA). That was in response to the growing popularity of PDCA, which Deming viewed as tampering with the meaning of Shewhart’s original work.

Deming is best known for his work in Japan after WWII, particularly his work with the leaders of Japanese industry. That work began in July and August 1950, in Tokyo and at the Hakone Convention Center, when Deming delivered speeches on what he called “Statistical Product Quality Administration”.

Many in Japan credit Deming as one of the inspirations for what has become known as the Japanese post-war economic miracle of 1950 to 1960, when Japan rose from the ashes of war on the road to becoming the second-largest economy in the world through processes partially influenced by the ideas Deming taught

What You Need to Know About Emergency Plumbing Services

The plumbing system in your house is significant however relatively few individuals understand this until an issue has sprung up.

Preventing it is in every case superior to searching for an answer where there is as already an issue in the home plumbing systems which is the reason it is ideal to put in estimates that keeps your system fit as a fiddle.

By being cautious with what goes down your drain channels and routinely checking plumbing equipment and guaranteeing everything is in the right working order, you can avoid so many issues that the homeowner suffers from.

But, when the plumbing problem is already visible, there are emergency plumbing services to deal with the situation and get things back to normal. Contingent upon the issue you are confronting, you could have routine plumbing service done or you may think that it is important to get emergency services.

The two are somewhat different and there are facts that you need to know about emergency plumbing services.

They are essential for things you cannot deal with

The important fact is that there are plumbing issues that are minor and you can without much effort to deal with or monitor until you get an expert to help it out. Prior to call the emergency plumber, make sure that it is genuinely an emergency of an issue that is beyond you.

The emergency service covers various issues

Knowing when to call the plumbing services very crucial. Some of the problems that truly require the assistance of an emergency plumber include gas spills, pipes burst, running toilets or sewage issues.

This service is for issues that truly cannot hold up for a longer period because of the possible damage delay in rectifying the situation that may prompt.

In the event that your problem is presenting harm to your property and valuable or is posing a health risk, at that point it goes for an emergency.

Additionally, sometimes warranties act an important part here. If you claim for the Home warranty plan, it covers the plumbing issues too.

They are offered whenever quickly

The emergency services are often called emergency because of the fact that the plumbers are adaptable enough to deal with them when as soon as it occurs.

So, whether it is on an end of the week or an occasion or the wee hours of the night, the emergency plumbers will come to help you.

This is why it is important to ensure that you call in just when it is a genuine and important issue that essentially cannot wait.

They will, in general, be increasingly costly than general services

Plumbers essentially drop everything else to take care of emergency calls and will come to where you are at any given time and day.

For this, the emergency plumbers will cost you more than the standard general administrations that can hold up somewhat longer to be dealt with.

This is one more reason regarding why you ought to guarantee that your pipes issues are extremely an emergency before proceeding to call in the experts.

Benefits of hiring an emergency plumbing service

  • A plumber will find a permanent solution
  • When any plumbing emergency happens, people always get panic. But, instead, hiring professional plumber will assess the situation and get a permanent solution out of it.
  • Hiring an emergency plumber will save you money
  • It is a onetime investment. It can be expensive for the first time but it is reliable and can save you for the long haul.
  • An emergency plumber has professional training in handling various emergencies

As mention “professional”, they are the hero in plumbing services. They are well trained and can work with proper fixing.

Getting a professional plumbing contractor can keep you safe from issues

Carrying out plumbing tasks at your home, especially in the emergency period can be risky. As a professional plumber are well trained with safety equipment, they can keep you safe from dangerous situations

The plumbers are constantly prepared to offer help and ensure your plumbing system turns back to its functionality.

Emergency administrations will spare you the stresses and efforts and in turn very valuable and quite beneficial.

It is essential to keep contacts of dependable and trustworthy plumbing contractors offering emergency and professional plumbing services so you can get instant help when the situation is terrible.

You can review Winston Rowe and Associate

EBIT and EBITDA – Shortcut to Cash Flow

EBIT and EBITDA – Shortcut to Cash Flow

While there are several factors that go into qualifying for a variety of business loans, there is one metric upon which banks heavily rely, but is unfamiliar to most applicants.

It is the Fixed Charge Coverage ratio (slightly modified for pass-through entity accounting), and it measures your projected ability to pay back the loan with interest better than any other calculation or ratio.

EBIT and EBITDA – Shortcut to Cash Flow

The bank wants to know how many times your cash flow can cover your loan payments. The way they determine cash flow is EBIT, or calculating your earnings before interest and taxes.

Your may have heard of EBITDA, which adds Depreciation and Amortization back to EBIT, and I have always contended that this is the lazy man’s formula to derive free cash flow.

The investment and banking community have established this standard.

Pass-Through Entity Hides Cash Flow

But the problem with EBIT, or even EBITDA, is that it leaves out a significant decrease in cash flow inherent to S-corps and most LLCs — owner draws or dividends.

Due to tax and other reasons, owners of and partners in S-corps, and most LLCs, often receive a large portion of their income as draws or distributions, for which EBIT and EBITDA do not account.

A bank, therefore, is possibly seeing a prospective borrower too favorably without accounting for this form of owner compensation.

Modified Fixed Charge Coverage Ratio

Banks have gotten smart. They have taken the Fixed Charge Coverage ratio, which was derived to more accurately determine a company’s wherewithal to make its loan payments than the Interest Coverage ratio, and added the owner draws/distributions to the formula.

It is focused on assessing all of the company’s fixed financing commitment, in which fixed distributions to owners should be included. Here is how it works:

[EBIT + Lease Expense + Owner Draws]

[Interest Expense + Lease Expense + Owner draws]

Don’t feel overwhelmed by all of the inputs into the formula; it’s not that hard to pull together.

What’s good?

A ratio of exactly one means the business is running on tight cash flow but it will be able to make all of its obligations.

A ratio greater than 1.2 is a comfortable place for a bank to lend, and a ratio over 3 means the company may not be using leverage to its maximum potential.

Here’s an example:

Saul’s Deli generates EBIT of $80,000 annually. Saul has fixed leases in place of $20,000 and takes another $60,000 out of his company every year as a dividend (he is an S-corp). He pays $15,000 per year in interest. Here is his Fixed Charge Coverage ratio:

[80,000 + 20,000 + 60,000]

[15,000 + 20,000 + 60,000]



Fixed Charge Coverage ratio = 1.68

This means that Saul’s Deli can cover his existing debt and obligations by 1.68 times.

A bank would likely feel comfortable with this ratio if he meets the other loan underwriting criteria and the new loan does not decrease this ratio too much. Interestingly, the interest coverage ratio would have come back over 5, not nearly as realistic as the fixed charge coverage ratio in determining Saul’s ability to service his existing and potential new debt.


Applying for a loan can be intimidating. You should know your ratios, including your fixed charge coverage ratio, before you even start the application.

Not only will the EBIT and EBITDA coverage ratio, along with the modified fixed charge coverage ratio help you think like a banker, but it will also help you determine if asking for a loan will help or hurt your business.

Investing In Single Family Rental Homes

Investing In Single Family Rental Homes 

If you’re a newcomer to single-family rental investing, one way to think about it is like an inflation-adjusting bond with an equity kicker.

The rental income fewer operating expenses generates current distributions — like the coupon on a bond — and rents can be adjusted annually, providing inflation protection.

Finally, the equity “kicker” comes in the form of building wealth as your tenant pays down your mortgage for you while the property can grow in value over time. It’s entirely possible to get a nice double-digit overall return on your equity over an extended holding period.

Purchasing and owning a single-family rental home is simpler than you might imagine.

Here are five tips to get you started:

1. Know your investing criteria first

With any investment, be it stocks, bonds or real estate, you need to know what your objectives are.

If you’re focused on safety and security, consider exploring low-risk investment homes that generate steady, reliable yield.

An example of this may be a more expensive investment property in a good school district.

You’re going to get a lower yield, but you may see better downside protection and less volatility. If you have a longer-term horizon or you’re seeking higher returns, you may want to take on a little more risk.

Often, lower-priced homes will be riskier, but you may get higher yields and potentially higher long-term returns.

2. Don’t limit your investment property search to where you live

Consider this: If you lived in Atlanta, you wouldn’t buy Coca-Cola stock simply be
cause its headquarters are local.

The same principle applies to real estate investing. If your primary residence, income property, and job are all located in the same area, you have a lot of concentrated risk and are more vulnerable to the swings of the local economy.

Diversification is just one reason to expand your investment property search. Another is access: If you live in an expensive urban or coastal area with relatively high home prices — the San Francisco Bay Area, for instance — finding an income property that’s cash-flow positive is going to be challenging, to say the least.

You won’t be able to find a great income property for $100,000 in Seattle, Denver, or Oakland, Calif., but you can if you focus on the Midwest, South, and Southeast.

3. Separate investing from operations

One of the appeals of investing in single-family rental homes is you can hire strong local property management firms to handle day-to-day management tasks of rent collection, repairs and maintenance, and leasing.

Over the past several years, property managers have adopted new technologies and business processes to manage homes more effectively for owners.

While some people do choose to self-manage, hiring a property manager can save you a lot of time and potentially money in the long run.

While property management companies typically charge between 7% and 8% of the rent, they manage properties for a living and can work to ensure the property is leased, in good condition, and the tenants are happy.

Additionally, using a local property manager effectively allows you to buy properties outside of where you live, as self-managing is difficult if the property is not nearby.

4. Real estate investing is a marathon, not a sprint

You might be familiar with the house-flipping reality TV shows in which a person buys a home, fixes it up, and sells quickly for a profit.

While that can be an effective way to make a one-time profit, it’s the exact opposite of how you should approach single-family rental home investing, which is about building long-term wealth. Instead, treat it like a nest egg.

In addition, don’t be overly influenced or reactive to short-term fluctuations in your rental property portfolio.

You may own a home for a few months and have to deal with a tenant moving out unexpectedly, but the next tenant might reside there for several years before you have another vacancy.

Look at this investment over a multi-year horizon and consider your overall outlays and inflows over that long time span.

If you buy a decent house in a decent area, the returns tend to be quite attractive over time and can add a nice counterbalance to other types of investments.

5. Take advantage of the tools and resources available to you

The single-family rental home industry currently totals $3 trillion, with 1 million homes trading hands among investors every year.

The investment opportunities are ripe, and never has it been less complicated for investors to buy and own homes outside their geographic location.

Success Strategies For Commercial Real Estate Investing



There are two different types of real estate investors: those that are speculative and take higher risks and those that are more conservative and desire safe, long-term investments.
While speculative investing can be fun and exciting, it can also result in financial ruin. It is necessary that speculative investors thoroughly analyze investments before committing to property purchases.

The most common formula used in commercial real estate investment properties is the capitalization rate. Otherwise simply known as CAP, this rate compares a property’s annual income, factoring in operating and vacancy expenses, and ultimately equates this in net operating income (NOIP) terms, comparing sales price ratios. The CAP rate does not reflect the individual investment’s return percentage, but if no financing is involved, the CAP rate will be relatively close in number.

The CAP rate can be found by dividing the NOI by the price or value of the property. This number is expressed as a percentage. Many banking institutions and hard money lenders focus on the CAP rate when lending money to investors.

If a property investment has long-term tenants, lengthy leases and limited commitment for landlords (low building maintenance costs and repairs), then it may be sufficient for an investor to accept a lower CAP rate. If a property, however, has unstable tenants and a volatile local real estate market, a higher CAP rate is reflected. A higher CAP rate reflects a higher investor risk.

There are five factors that define good commercial real estate investments.

Income – Commercial properties produce income. Stockholders only see income when stocks are sold; however, real estate investors receive income through rent payments.

Capital Appreciation – This financial concept revolves around if rent prices increase, then property values by default also increase.

Leverage – With nearly 70- to 80-percent of commercial property funding in the form of mortgages, investors are able to free up other capital for additional investments.

Security – While stocks are based on the simple price-to-earning concept, real estate is based strictly on demand.

Diversity – Commercial properties often house diverse tenants, ranging from grocery stores, clothing vendors, restaurants and gift shops to retail businesses. This allows landlords to diverse their holdings, not putting all of their eggs in a single basket.

Review of Winston Rowe and Associates Commercial Real Estate Financing

Free Book Review

Announcing , The Free eBook Commercial Real Estate Finance published by Winston Rowe & Associates  discusses the fundamentals of the different types of commercial property, the various options that are included with properties and the capabilities that you will have as a commercial property investor.

It will enable you to make the right decisions when it comes to commercial properties. After you have read this book, you will be able to successfully choose a commercial property for your real estate business.

This book will help you to figure out everything that has to do with commercial properties. Also included with this book are different ideas on what you can do to make sure that you are getting the best financing possible. You will be able to truly enjoy the opportunities that come along with financing and with the different options that you have.

It’s loaded with all the check lists you’ll need to conduct your due diligence to avoid a bad investment. There are detailed descriptions of the various types of capital sources and how to prepare and submit your financing proposal.

You will need to make sure that you can secure financing but it is not a cut and dry experience for everyone. The tips that are included with this book will give you the best chance at getting financing.



How to Become a Success in Real Estate

How to Become a Success in Real Estate

Create a Strong Real Estate Team:

Though it is possible to have some success in real estate as a one-person business, you’ll eventually need to build a team around yourself in order to scale up.

Your team of people can include direct employees to find and negotiate property sales for you, as well as well-liked contractors to handle repairs on the properties you acquire.

By surrounding yourself with talented and driven people, you will be able to focus in on only the most important aspects of your real estate investment business.

Balance Flipping and Rental Properties:

In real estate investment, there are two basic ways to make money.

The first is to realize a large sum by buying a property, improving it in some way and then reselling it for a higher price.

The second method is to create a flow of passive income by acquiring and then renting out properties.

Though both of these are great ways to make money in real estate, truly successful investors typically include both in their businesses. By flipping and renting at the same time, you will be able to create a more stable financial situation for yourself and your business.

Commercial Insurance Options That Apartment Owners Should Consider


Having the right knowledge and some basic management skills are essential, but even seasoned landlords might be missing out on some crucial coverage.

You can minimize some of the risk by requiring your tenants to carry renter’s insurance; however the bulk of the insurance side of things is squarely on your shoulders.

Winston Rowe & Associates, a national advisory firm that structures apartment and multi-family financing solutions nationwide.

Commercial Loan Due Diligence Review


Winston Rowe & Associates utilizes a best efforts approach to perform the necessary due diligence for their clients, pursuant to our executed Letter of Interest.


Winston Rowe & Associates initial due diligence is a client driven process. It’s important that requested supporting documents be submitted in a timely manner.

Prospective Client’s must request a transaction summary, from Winston Rowe & Associates that must be submitted via email in a MS Word format for Winston Rowe & Associates to consider you as a client.

Incomplete transaction summary documents will not be processed.

It’s important to note that if you are a broker, consultant or intermediary submitting a transaction, that it includes the prospective clients contact information.

Without it, Winston Rowe & Associates will not process your transaction.

Upon acceptance of the transaction summary, the ensuing steps are an overview of the process.  Please note; private equity transactions require different engagement and due diligence procedures.

Step 1 Transaction Summary:

Upon receipt of the transaction summary, it will be reviewed by Winston Rowe & Associates. If the proposed transaction appears to meet Winston Rowe & Associates pre-determined capital source(s) lending criteria it will be submitted for review.

Step 2 Processing & Due Diligence:

If there is an interest from the pre-determined capital source, Winston Rowe & Associates will schedule a conference call and then provide to the prospective client a list of supporting documentation needed to begin the initial processing and due diligence to prepare the proposed transaction for underwriting.

The initial due diligence will include the collecting and analyzing the supporting documentation pursuant to the transaction.

Winston Rowe & Associates utilizes a global approach during the initial due diligence. This approach includes the review of all business and personal financial documents.

If it is found that there is a material misrepresentation of the transaction by the client’s representative or the client. The transaction will be terminated.

Step 3 Submissions For Underwriting:

Once Winston Rowe & Associates completes the initial due diligence of the proposed transaction it will be submitted to the pre-determined capital source for underwriting.

During the underwriting phase of the the proposed transaction. Winston Rowe & Associates may require additional supporting documentation.

Upon completion of underwriting the pre-determined capital sources will issue general terms and conditions defined within a Letter of Interest or conditional Commitment Documents.

Step 4 Commitment Documents, Reports & Loan Closing:

The client will be placed in direct contact with the capital source to finalize the transaction.

Once the proposed transaction has completed underwriting; property reports are then ordered.

These reports are paid for directly prior to funding by the prospective client which include; appraisals, surveys and studies. Report types vary according to real estate type.

When the necessary property reports are completed. The title work is ordered and a closing is scheduled.

Seniors Housing Investors Work to Grow Portfolios as Occupancies and Rents Continue to Rise


The 2012 sales volume of seniors housing properties will fall well short of matching the near record level of activity that was reached last year. But, that decline in transaction volume is by no means indicative of waning investor interest.

Exclusive results of a fourth quarter survey conducted jointly by NREI and Fort Lauderdale, Fla.–based Senior Housing Investment Advisors Inc. (SHIA) show that seniors housing pros remain optimistic about improving fundamentals and continued activity across all segments of the industry, including acquisitions, construction and financing. Just more than three-fourths of investors (76 percent) expect construction on new projects to increase during the next six months, while 65 percent of respondents expect that investment activity will grow. In addition, more than half of respondents (58 percent) anticipate that financing will be more available during the next six months

“The fundamentals and performance in this sector are compelling. Capital continues to aggressively seek out opportunities, and that will continue in 2013,” says Mel Gamzon, president of SHIA, a national real estate advisory firm that specializes in seniors housing transactions.

In considering the outlook for seniors housing, respondents believe the industry is in a slow recovery phase. Most expect new construction, available financing and acquisitions volume to increase somewhat in the next six months. The outlook has been generally consistent from respondents compared with two previous surveys.

Real estate transaction activity in the past year has been consistent, but not as robust as 2011. During the first three quarters of 2012, sales volume of seniors housing and nursing care facilities topped $5.2 billion, which is a fraction of the roughly $27.4 billion that occurred in all of 2011, according to New York–based real estate research firm Real Capital Analytics.

Sales velocity dipped in 2012 primarily because there have been fewer large portfolio transactions this year after a big year for portfolio deals in 2011 when REITs in particular were active buyers. Portfolio sales alone accounted for about $11.5 billion in investment volume in 2011, according to RCA. “2011 was so massive because of the REIT acquisitions. It was very difficult to keep pace with that level of transaction volume,” says Gamzon. “What we now have is a more normalized market dynamic for real estate transactions in this industry.”

The seniors housing sector continues to shed the lingering effects of the slow economic recovery and the slumping single-family housing market. The majority of respondents (88 percent) said that the state of the U.S. economy has had a negative effect on seniors housing occupancies in the past year, while 66 percent also believe the state of the U.S. housing market has produced a negative effect on occupancies.

That being said, occupancy levels continue to trend higher as the sector recovers. Overall, the average occupancy rate for seniors housing properties in the third quarter of 2012 was 88.8 percent, which is an increase of 0.8 percent from a year earlier, according to NIC MAP, a data analysis service of the National Investment Center for the Seniors Housing & Care Industry (NIC). The seniors housing average occupancy rate has risen consistently during the past 10 quarters and is 1.8 percent above its cyclical low of 87 percent in the first quarter of 2010. Year-over-year rental rates also grew at a rate of 2.2 percent, according to NIC.

Survey respondents are reporting even stronger performance with occupancy levels that average 91 percent. Among those respondents who own and/or operate seniors housing properties, the majority (54 percent) own fewer than 600 units.

Respondents also are optimistic that occupancies will continue to rise. About half of respondents (53 percent) expect occupancy levels within their seniors housing properties to increase over the next six months [Figure 2]. Those that do predict a further increase in the coming six months expect occupancies to rise an average of 74 basis points.

Just more than half of respondents expect that occupancy will increase at seniors housing properties in the next six months. That sentiment is slightly more optimistic than the first quarter, when only 43 percent of respondents expected a rise.

“The fundamentals, the demographics and the lack of new supply are all creating opportunities for us to invest in a sector that we view as having very favorable growth over the next several years,” says David Hegarty, president and COO at Newton, Mass.–based Senior Housing Properties Trust. The firm expects to close on about $230 million in seniors housing aquisitions.

REITs dominate buying

REITs such as Chicago-based Ventas Inc. have been exhibiting a voracious appetite for seniors housing properties. The REIT is currently the largest owner of seniors housing properties in the United States. Year-to-date through October, Ventas has invested roughly $1.7 billion in acquisitions primarily in seniors housing properties and medical office buildings. Although that is a fraction of the more than $11 billion the firm invested in 2011, it still represents a significant outlay for the firm.

“We have been very strategic and focused about diversifying our business,” says Lori Wittman, vice president of capital markets at Ventas. The REIT has been rapidly growing its portfolio of both seniors housing and medical office properties with an emphasis on increasing its private pay business and improving its balance sheet. For example, Ventas announced in April that it would acquire 16 private pay seniors living communities totaling 1,274 units from Sunrise Senior Living Inc.

When looking at the various sectors, respondents said that the greatest growth in demand will take place in the independent living/assisted living segment followed by memory care. In contrast, no respondents expect the skilled nursing sector to grow in the next six months.

“Of late, we have bought mostly independent living,” agrees Hegarty. “Independent living was the sector that was impacted the most by the downturn in the economy. So, as things started to improve, they are rebounding the most,” he adds.


Although both independent living properties and assisted living properties are averaging occupancies of 88.8 percent in the third quarter, the average occupancy rate for independent living is now 2.0 percentage points above its cyclical low, while occupancy in assisted living is 1.7 percentage points above its respective cyclical low, according to NIC.

Competition among the REITs to capture portfolios with top quality assets is putting some pressure on pricing. However, cap rates in the broader seniors housing industry have remained relatively stable over the past year.

Financing gap improves

Although access to capital is continuing to improve, the market remains bifurcated. REITS have good liquidity and access to capital in the public markets, as well as open lines of credit. At the same time, other buyers can get financing, but it is not as easily accessible as it is for the public players.

This is an issue because deals require a significant equity commitment, which can be a deterrent even to institutional buyers. Smaller private buyers typically have to rely on obtaining financing through Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or HUD, which can take time and also has its restrictions. For example, Fannie and Freddie won’t allow a second loan to be put on the same property. That rules out a lot of potential bidders. “I think people are trying to figure out ways to play in this space, but just because of all of those factors involved, it limits the number of real bidders out there,” Hegarty says.

That being said, banks are selectively providing financing. Capital markets have been bolstered by solid fundamentals within the seniors housing market. As a result, investors have access to multiple sources of capital. When asked what types of debt financing respondents are considering for acquisitions and new construction, more than half of respondents, 55 percent, said they are considering local/regional banks for debt financing. Respondents also are exploring a variety of options with top picks including national banks (40 percent); HUD (39 percent); and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (31 percent).

Another bright spot in the financing sector is a booming refi business. The ability to refinance through the GSEs and HUD at extremely low interest rates is driving a significant level of lending activity. For example, Cleveland-based KeyBank has placed $1.4 billion in the seniors housing market year-to-date through September, either in direct lending or through participation in providing financing through syndicated deals and agency financing with the GSEs and HUD. About one-third of KeyBank’s total volume, $500 million, has involved property refinancing through the GSEs.

HUD, Fannie and Freddie are offering fixed-rate loans at 3.5 percent and lower for terms that range from five to up to 35 years in the case of HUD. “It is very attractive for owner-operators to lock in to those long-term rates. So you see a lot of folks capitalizing on this low rate environment,” says Michael Lugli, executive vice president and national manager of the KeyBank Real Estate Capital Healthcare team.



Spikes in renovation

Renovation and repositioning of older properties is expected to gain traction in the coming year. Competition among newer class-A properties is forcing some buyers to look at viable options among class-B and even class-C properties. Owners also are looking for ways to boost yields by renovating under-performing seniors facilities or enhancing program services.

As the costs to develop new seniors housing facilities increase, 64 percent expect that the acquisition, renovation and repositioning of older projects will become increasingly attractive to investors and operations. Twenty-one percent of respondents did not expect renovation to become any more attractive, while 15 percent of respondents said they were unsure

SHIA is currently marketing a portfolio in the western United States that offers significant upside for a buyer that is willing to convert the existing independent living facilities to assisted living and partial memory care. “Investors are chomping at the bit to acquire those types of assets that can be acquired based on current operating performance,” says Gamzon.

Development is beginning to return, albeit on a very selective basis. More than half of respondents (61 percent) have new construction ventures planned in the next six months, which is up from the 51 percent that were reportedly planning new seniors housing properties in the first quarter survey. The largest percentage of respondents (41 percent) is planning independent living/assisted living projects. A variety of other projects are in the works, including memory care (30 percent); age restricted communities (13 percent); skilled nursing (9 percent); and CCRC at 9 percent.

“There is demand for new properties, and you are starting to see an increase in construction as banks are more willing to look at doing that financing,” says Lugli. As the market has recovered and occupancies have improved, owners also are more confident and more willing to commit their own equity to projects, he adds.

For those seeking construction financing, experience remains a key component. An overwhelming majority of respondents (88 percent) rated having an experienced management team as a high priority (rated four or five on a five-point scale), while 86 percent also rates having an established track record as a developer as an important factor when seeking construction financing.

Respondents believe that acquiring, renovating and repositioning older properties will be increasingly attractive to investors and operators.

Whether it is renovation or new construction respondents do expect the industry to focus on providing more affordable options. “There is very little targeting what the lower middle class can afford,” says Hegarty. “I think there is an opportunity out there for people who can build properties that can attract that niche.” Half of respondents expect the industry to focus more attention on investor opportunities in the affordability marketplace, while 26 percent did not think that was the case and 24 percent were not sure.

What’s ahead for 2013?

Although investment sales in the broader market declined in 2012, there is still an abundant supply of for-sale properties on the market. “We have unbelievably strong fundamentals between demographics and policy shifts and a consolidating industry—all things that are really a strong base of growth for the future of the industry,” says Ventas’ Wittman.

Demand for seniors housing properties remains high, which will encourage some owners that have been on the fence to put their properties on the market. Both U.S. and foreign investors are continuing to focus on seniors housing properties as a viable need-based real estate investment platform. In addition, investors are seriously looking at not just core assets but value-add opportunities where repositioning of existing facilities programmatically will represent a major trend for the business over the coming six months.

Ultimately, seniors housing tends to be a more defensive, needs-based real estate sector that will continue to perform well amid slower economic growth. “The overall improvement of the economy will enhance this business,” says Gamzon. “If there is a dip in the economy, this sector is not recession proof, but it is recession resistant. We have seen this over the past five years as compared to other real estate sectors.”

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The company name Winston Rowe & Associates is a play on words and was developed during the watching of T.V. a long time ago by combining Winston Churchill and T Rowe Price.


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The company name Winston Rowe & Associates is a play on words and was developed during the watching of T.V. a long time ago by combining Winston Churchill and T Rowe Price.


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Winston Rowe (Winston Rowe & Associates) is a business name used for business trade name and business identity purposes and is NOT A REAL PERSON LIVING OR DEAD.


The company name Winston Rowe & Associates is a play on words and was developed during the watching of T.V. by combining Winston Churchill and T Rowe Price.


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