8 Amenities Every Decent Apartment Should Have: How Many Are in Your Place?

Whether you are looking for a studio or a three-bedroom apartment, finding the right amenities may make the difference between loving or hating your new pad.

Apartment amenities come in various forms, ranging from an in-unit washer and dryer or state-of-the-art alarm system to biannual pest control or a private parking spot. If you’re lucky, you may find an apartment with all of the above! More likely, however, you’ll have to prioritize depending on what’s important to you.

So what amenities should you put on the top of your list? Here are a few that will make a big difference and are worth having before you sign your next lease.

1. Dishwasher

Once you’ve had a dishwasher, it’s hard to go back to washing dishes by hand. But you already knew that, right?

“A dishwasher has to be arguably the most underrated invention of all time,” says Rostislav Shetman, founder of 9Kilo Moving.

“Washing dishes by hand after a long day at work is the last thing anybody wants to do. Having a dishwasher not only enables you to keep your utensils, and by extension the rest of your kitchen, clean, but since a dishwasher does not need as much water as washing dishes by hand, it also helps you lower your water bill,” says Shetman.

2. Alarm system

Having an alarm system can give you greater peace of mind, but professional installations of new systems can cost hundreds of dollars. To save money, look for an apartment that comes with an alarm system already built in. And don’t forget to ask the landlord who pays for the monthly monitoring. Some landlords offer the system but ask tenants to pay the monthly fees.

And there are other safety amenities to check for.

“Check the dwelling for deadbolts and window locks,” says Karen Condor, a home insurance and real estate specialist. “Also check for safety devices such as smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. Whatever is lacking, request they be installed. This will not only make your apartment much safer, but it will also give you cheaper renters insurance rates.”

3. Pest control

Between wasp nests on your balcony and roaches invading your kitchen, pest control can be a time-consuming, unpleasant, and expensive chore. Some commercial pest control products can also be difficult, or even dangerous, to use. Save yourself the hassle, and look for apartments offering regular professional pest control.

4. Air conditioning—or ceiling fans

If you live in an area where summer temperatures become unbearable, having air conditioning is a no-brainer. Many newer apartments come with central AC, but if not, make sure window units can be installed.

Just keep in mind that AC eats up a lot of electricity, and can raise your monthly bill. To save on these costs, check if the apartment has ceiling fans. In the summer, a ceiling fan set to rotate counterclockwise at a higher speed will circulate air throughout the room, allowing you to feel cooler without running AC.

In the winter, set the ceiling fan to run clockwise at a low speed to force warm air trapped at the ceiling back into the room. You will still have to use the heater on the coldest days, but a simple flip of a switch can reduce some of your heating needs.

5. Washer and dryer

No matter how great an apartment is, lugging your laundry to the laundromat and back each week gets old awfully fast. Ideally, an in-unit washer and dryer combo is the best.

“After you’re out of college, you want your days of lugging your clothes to the laundromat to be over,” says Condor. “As well as saving you time, this will also save you money.”

If you can’t find an apartment with the appliances in the unit, at least try to find a place that has washers and dryers in the building.

6. Private parking

While the apartment complex probably has a parking lot, it could get full on weekends, when tenants are likely to have guests. To make sure you always have a spot, look for a complex that offers reserved parking spaces.

“There is nothing worse than making a large grocery run and having to park a mile away from your place,” says Condor. “Ask about the amount of dedicated space, as well as the amount of overflow parking available.”

7. An outdoor courtyard area

Sometimes you need some fresh air! Look for a complex that offers a courtyard area or, better yet, a swimming pool, so you can spend time outside without having to leave your apartment complex and driving to the nearest park or community pool.

8. On-site maintenance

A busted pipe, an overflowing toilet, or a leaking water heater can cause serious damage to your apartment (and your stuff). Having an on-site emergency maintenance crew can lessen the damage and get your life back to normal quickly.

Source: realtor.com

Minor Home Improvement Projects Can Provide Major Returns

home improvements

Home Improvement projects are a great way to increase the value of your home. Especially if you are getting ready to sell your home. 

Granted, some remodeling projects can cost a fortune and take a lot of time to complete. Major projects like, finishing an unfinished basement or building an addition to your home are costly undertakings that can require months to complete. Fortunately, there are smaller home improvement projects that still add value but requiring less time and money to complete. 

Exterior improvements generally bring a higher return on investment than interior improvements. So, it makes sense to start with exterior upgrades.


This is one of the easiest ways to make your home stand out from others. There are many landscaping projects you can do like, planting trees and grass, building outdoor spaces like wooden decks or patios. These projects provide a good return on the money spent on them. For instance, if you spend $10,000 installing a wooden deck or patio, you could recover over $9,000 which is a healthy return for a home improvement project. Outdoor landscaping projects also give you a good place to relax when you want to spend some time outside.

Improve Curb Appeal

Curb appeal is really important when you’re trying to sell a house. Improvements here go a long way in helping you sell your home for top dollar. Remember you never get a second chance to make a first impression and curb appeal is the real estate version of a first impression. Look over your front lawn make sure it’s green, healthy and free of weeds leaves and brown spots. You can even add a little color without creating a full-blown garden by simply adding window boxes or planters full of flowers. 

Upgrade the Front Door

One of the best ways to make your home look new is by adding a new door. You can choose one of the modern wooden door designs or a steel design. Just make sure that the material you choose is a high-quality one that will be appealing to most buyers. Steel doors are great because they provide additional security to the property. Wooden doors on the other hand also look great and should be used with other security measures such as alarm systems. Installing a door to your property will allow you to recover over 90% of the cost when selling which makes it a good project.

Replacing the Garage Door

The garage is one of the areas in a home that most buyers are interested in. This makes the garage door very important in boosting the resale value of the home. By installing a new garage door, you’ll be making your home more attractive and as such, improving the chances of selling it faster. It is also one of the projects that can allow you to recover all your money. 

Upgrading windows

This is one of the best home improvements to increase the value of the home. It is also one of the most expensive updates as far as home improvement is concerned. The type of windows you choose will determine the value and as such, the amount you get back. For instance, if you install modern double lane windows or tinted windows you’ll be able to get a higher value because of their ability to save energy. Do some research and find out what most buyers are looking for in windows then install those to get an upper hand.

Make the Home Smarter

Smart Home technology is a great and affordable way to upgrade your home. More and more, home buyers, are considering smart home technology as a must-have. Examples include smart sprinklers, smart thermostats, smart smoke detectors, and smart locks. Most of the smart home features increase convenience for the homeowner, enhance safety as well as security which makes them very valuable. You’ll be able to recover the cost you spend on the installation.


If you have old floors you can easily change them to new ones that are more attractive. Most people ignore flooring but bad floors tend to lower the price of a home. Flooring materials and options come in a wide range of options and prices. Here are some of the flooring types buyers are really attracted to. A visit to a flooring store or even the local home improvement store will really get you excited about the options available.

Minor Kitchen Upgrades

You don’t have to change the entire kitchen to make it better. You can change a few areas like the cabinets, or even paint the walls differently and get new modern kitchen appliances to get an increase in value. Changing the counter-tops is another idea that will not cost as much as changing the entire kitchen. You’ll be able to recover at least 80% of your money when you’re done.

Minor Bathroom Updates

For most people buying a home is a long term investment which means that they may be looking for a home that they can raise a family in or grow old in. Having a bathroom that improves convenience and safety is, therefore, a great way to increase home value. Make changes here that will appeal to the handicapped by installing things like sidebars and lowering your switches. These will also appeal to those with your children and get you a higher value.


When considering the best home improvements to increase the value of the home, you should first find out what drives up home values in your specific area. This is something a Realtor can help you, especially realtors that work with buyers. These Realtors know what buyers are looking for and more importantly what they value.

Additionally, make sure the improvements convey a sense of quality. You can certainly make these improvements yourself if you have the skillset for this kind of work, many don’t. If this isn’t something you want to undertake yourself, look for a reliable professional. once again a realtor can help prefer dependable contractors for these types of projects. Either way, it’s important that the quality of the improvements is apparent. If the quality of the work is shoddy or unprofessional, you may end up having to redo these improvements and that is counterproductive, so make sure you do it right the first time. 

Source: realtybiznews.com

Fannie, Freddie Overseer Looks to End Federal Control Before Trump Leaves

WASHINGTON—The federal regulator who oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is pushing to speed up the mortgage giants’ exit from 12 years of government control but has yet to reach an agreement he needs with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, according to people familiar with the matter.

Mark Calabria, a libertarian economist who heads the Federal Housing Finance Agency, has made it a priority to return Fannie and Freddie to private hands, a goal shared by Mr. Mnuchin. How that is done could affect the cost and availability of mortgages backed by the companies, which guarantee roughly half of the $11 trillion in existing home loans.

Completing the complex process before President Trump’s term ends on Jan. 20 is a long shot, and President-elect Joe Biden is considered unlikely to continue the effort. But Messrs. Calabria and Mnuchin could succeed in taking steps that would be difficult to reverse, such as significantly restructuring the government’s stakes in the firms.

The Treasury secretary must agree to any move to alter the terms of either the companies’ bailout agreement or the government’s stakes. One person familiar with the effort said Mr. Mnuchin is supportive of locking in a path to private ownership but mindful of steps that could disrupt the housing-finance market.

Mr. Calabria has met twice recently with Mr. Mnuchin to discuss an expedited exit of the companies from government control, most recently the week of Nov. 9, according to people familiar with the meetings, which also involved Larry Kudlow, the director of the White House’s National Economic Council. Mr. Mnuchin was noncommittal about the push, the people said.

Fannie and Freddie don’t make home loans. Instead, they buy mortgages and package them into securities, which they then sell to investors. Their promise to make investors whole in case of default keeps down the price of home loans and underpins the popular 30-year fixed-rate mortgage.

The government seized control of Fannie and Freddie to prevent their collapse during the 2008 financial crisis through a process known as conservatorship, eventually injecting $190 billion into the companies. In exchange, the Treasury received a new class of so-called senior preferred shares that originally paid a 10% dividend. It also received warrants to acquire about 80% of the firms’ common shares.

One option under discussion would entail a complex capital restructuring that would eventually reduce the government’s stakes in the firms. Such a move would be aimed at opening the door to new, private investment.

Still, it is a delicate issue because U.S. officials don’t want to cause investors to doubt the government’s backing of the firms, which have helped pin mortgage rates at record low levels during this year’s pandemic-induced economic slump. Moreover, it is politically sensitive because depending on the design, it could effectively move Wall Street investors ahead of taxpayers in line to receive any future profits.

As part of that set of decisions, Mr. Mnuchin would have to determine whether to write down the government’s more than $220 billion of senior preferred shares in the firms. Because those shares give the Treasury first claim on profits, private investors will have little incentive to take new stakes in Fannie and Freddie as long as they exist in their current form.

Such a move would likely push up the value of shares that investors acquired at fire-sale prices after the 2008 crisis. Some lawmakers are worried taxpayers would be short-changed.

In a letter to Messrs. Calabria and Mnuchin last month, Sens. Mark Warner (D., Va.) and Mike Rounds (R., S.D.) said taxpayers must be paid a fair market value for whatever stake they give up.

“Any other means of reducing their investment would be tantamount to a transfer of wealth from the taxpayers who stepped in to save [Fannie and Freddie] to private investors looking for a windfall,” they wrote.

It is unclear how seriously officials are considering another legal move that Mr. Calabria has raised in the past: an order formally ending the conservatorships but requiring the companies to operate with significant limitations on their businesses until they raise enough capital to operate independently through retained earnings and possible future stock sales. Supporters say the move would be akin to downgrading a sick patient from the emergency room to a regular hospital room.

One person familiar with the matter said the policymakers aren’t considering such an order, fearful it could upend markets.

Any single step, such as restructuring the government’s stakes in the firms, would normally require dozens of employees across the White House, Treasury and other agencies many months to complete, according to current and former government officials.

Industry officials warn that an abrupt overhaul to the company’s legal status could spook risk-averse investors in mortgage-backed securities issued by Fannie and Freddie, which are seen as nearly as safe as Treasurys.

“An end to conservatorship would be a material change from what we’ve had, and it will take time to explain to investors what risks do and do not exist,” said Michael Bright, CEO of the Structured Finance Association, whose members include investors in Fannie and Freddie securities.

In a sign that Mr. Calabria is eager to complete unfinished work quickly, the FHFA on Wednesday completed a rule requiring the companies to hold as much as $280 billion in capital once they exit conservatorship, up from $35 billion currently.

Source: realtor.com

How to Insure Jewelry and Expensive Valentine's Day Gifts

If you assume that you already have coverage for a lavish Valentine’s Day gift or don’t need it, you could be making a huge mistake. Check out these seven tips for insuring valuables before buying them.


Laura Adams, MBA
February 12, 2020

home or renters insurance representative or company. Find out if you need additional coverage—it’s likely that you do! In just a moment, I’ll give you some recommendations if you don’t already have a home or renters policy.

Let your insurer know what you’re planning to buy and how much it costs. If you’re still negotiating on price or you’re buying a second-hand item with an unknown value, start with your best estimate.

2. Get a certified appraisal

If the value of your Valentine’s Day jewelry is over a certain amount, your insurer will ask you to submit an appraisal. It must come from a gemologist who uses a variety of tools and their expertise to identify and value gems. It includes photos of your item and an estimated value.

Your insurer needs an appraisal to know precisely what they’re insuring. The document also protects you in case you need to make a claim.

The retailer who sells you a new piece of jewelry should provide you with an appraisal. However, an insurer may want an independent appraisal to verify the value. If you purchase heirloom or estate jewelry, it may not come with an appraisal.  

You can find an appraiser by getting recommendations or doing some research online. The cost varies depending on how intricate the item is and how long the work may take.

For instance, an antique ring with many stones and old-fashioned gem cuts will take longer to analyze than a brand-new diamond solitaire. For a relatively simple piece, the appraisal may cost in the range of $150 to $250. But I’ve had heirloom pieces that cost nearly $500 to appraise.

While your great-grandmother’s wedding ring or a necklace from your valentine might be priceless to you, insurers will only pay you its appraised or actual value.

It could take a gemologist several weeks to complete your appraisal, and they need to have the item in their possession the entire time. So, don’t wait until the last minute to find out what’s required to get a Valentine’s Day gift insured.

Also, note that you can’t insure the sentimental value of any item. While your great-grandmother’s wedding ring or a necklace from your valentine might be priceless to you, insurers will only pay you its appraised or actual value.

3. Don’t assume you already have coverage

If you assume you have coverage for a lavish Valentine’s Day gift simply because you have homeowners insurance, that could be a big mistake. The amount of insurance on your home is different than the amount of coverage for your personal belongings.

Most standard home and renters policies include coverage for personal items like jewelry. However, specific categories of belongings come with coverage limits or caps. Jewelry, watches, and furs typically have a low insurance cap, such as $1,000 or $2,000. If you’re a big spender, that could be a fraction of the cost of your gift.

For example, if you buy an engagement ring worth $4,000, and your homeowners or renters policy only covers $1,000, you’d come up $3,000 short of replacing it. Plus, the cap applies to an entire claim, not individual items. If you had multiple pieces of jewelry stolen, you’d only receive up to the policy limit.

Jewelry, watches, and furs typically have a low insurance cap, such as $1,000 or $2,000. If you’re a big spender, that could be a fraction of the cost of your gift.

Other types of personal belongings that have insurance caps include silverware, computers, firearms, musical instruments, collectibles, and antiques. Keep reading to learn how to make sure your expensive items are adequately insured.

4. Get an insurance rider

If your existing homeowners or renters insurance doesn’t have a jewelry limit high enough to cover your posh purchase, one solution is to “schedule it.” You’ll also hear this called a rider, floater, or an endorsement to your policy. Scheduling an item means that you add more detail about it to your existing insurance policy.

One benefit of scheduling an item, such as jewelry, is that you’re covered for all types of losses. For instance, if you accidentally lose a wedding ring swimming in the Caribbean ocean on your honeymoon, you’re covered up to your limit. When your valuables are covered by a standard home or renters policy, without being scheduled, you typically only have coverage for specific events, such as loss from a fire or theft.

One benefit of scheduling an item, such as jewelry, is that you’re covered for all types of losses.

Also, don’t forget that you must pay a deductible when you make a claim. So, if you have a $500 deductible and a jewelry limit of $1,000, the most you’d receive from a claim is $500.

But a scheduled item doesn’t require a deductible. That means you wouldn’t have to pay any amount out-of-pocket to replace a Valentine’s Day gift that gets lost or disappears mysteriously.  

Having a rider increases your premium, but it’s usually worth it. The cost might be $5 to $15 per $1,000 of insured value. So, an engagement ring that’s worth $6,000 could mean paying an additional $30 to $90 per year on your homeowners or renters insurance premium.

5. Get a stand-alone policy

Another option for insuring a precious gift is to get a stand-alone policy. This policy is separate insurance just for the item, not an add-on to an existing home or renters policy. Most insurers offer a valuable articles policy for specific items like jewelry, watches, furs, collectibles, and antiques.

Whether you own or rent your home, you’ll pay less for an insurance rider than for valuable articles insurance. The only exception would be if you have many expensive items to insure—so, shop and compare both options if you have a collection of valuables.

Most homeowners have insurance, but many renters avoid getting a renters policy because they mistakenly overestimate the cost. It’s surprisingly inexpensive; the average price is $185 per year. So, if you rent, get renters insurance first and then schedule an expensive item.

All the coverages I’ve mentioned protect your valuables at home or when they’re away from your home. Off-premise coverage kicks in when an item is stolen from your car or damaged while you’re traveling.

Additionally, home and renters insurance gives you liability coverage worldwide. It also pays living expenses, such as a hotel and meals, if you can’t live in your home while repairs are made after a covered event, such as a natural disaster.

The bottom line is that if you rent and don’t have insurance, you’re putting your finances at risk. Take a few minutes to shop and compare quotes at sites such as Bankrate.com or Policygenius.com. But no matter your situation, you can always opt to insure a Valentine’s Day gift with a stand-alone policy.

6. Gift recipients are responsible for insurance

Many people are confused about who needs to buy insurance for a gift, the giver or the recipient? Well, it depends on who has the item. If you buy a gift to give, you need to have it insured while it’s in your possession.

If you have a receipt and appraisal, pass them along so the new owner has what they need to get proper insurance.

Once you give a gift away, the lucky recipient owns it and must insure it. If you have a receipt and appraisal, pass them along so the new owner has what they need to get proper insurance.

If you’re married or live together and have the same home or renters insurance policy, you don’t have to take any extra steps. But if you and your valentine have different households, the person who wears and enjoys the gift must make sure that it’s insured.

7. Keep an up-to-date home inventory

If you have home or renters insurance, but don’t have a list of your personal belongings, it could be challenging to claim a loss. Imagine that your home or apartment got destroyed in a fire. Would you remember every item?

If you don’t have a home inventory, create one and add your Valentine’s Day gift to the list. At the least, have pictures or video of your belongings that you store in the cloud. While losing precious items can be devastating, the more documentation you have, the easier it will be to provide proof that you owned them and make an insurance claim.

If you got a cherished gift for Valentine’s Day or got engaged, congrats! Now make it a priority to protect it.

About the Author

Laura Adams, MBA

Source: quickanddirtytips.com

Downsizing Your Home? How I Moved Into An RV From a 2K sqft Home

Downsizing your home can be a big process. And, less and less people seem to be doing it these days.

Downsizing Your Home How I Moved Into An RV From a 2K sqft Home

Downsizing Your Home How I Moved Into An RV From a 2K sqft HomeThe average home size in 1950 was less than 1,000 square feet. Fast forward to 2013, the average home size has increased to nearly 2,600 square feet, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

We were fairly close to this size when we owned a house. The house we owned in the St. Louis, Missouri area was around 2,500 square feet if you included our finished basement, and it was just for myself, my husband, and our two dogs. Our home in Colorado was almost as big, at slightly over 2,000 square feet (with no basement).

More and more people seem to be purchasing large homes, but that’s not the case for us. We sold our home last year and moved into an RV.

We made this decision for many reasons, but the main reason was that traveling nearly full-time added to the stress of owning a home. So, we figured why not just take it a step further and actually travel full-time?


So, we did it. We went through all of our possessions, stored certain belongings that we couldn’t part with (we have a VERY small storage unit, the size of a closet, filled mainly with hundreds of photo albums that my dad left me after he passed away, family paintings, childhood mementos, etc.), and moved into our RV.

It wasn’t the easiest task on earth, and really we dreaded all of the work that had to be done. However, we knew it was well worth it to live the life we wanted.

And, it was! We are so glad that we decided to downsize our home. We haven’t regretted the decision one bit, and now we are happier than ever.

There are many other reasons for downsizing your home:

Whatever your reason may be for downsizing your home, here are my tips. Of course, certain downsizes may be easier than others, but overall the tips below can help you sort through your items.

Tips for downsizing your home:

Make a plan for downsizing your home.

Downsizing your home can seem like an easy task to some, but in reality it is not. There are many things that go into downsizing your home, such as:

What do you think you just cannot get rid of?

To start off, you should make a list of all the items you believe you just cannot part with. Your list may start out long, but it will help you decide what items you don’t need and should get rid of.

What can you easily get rid of?

If you have the time, then you may want to start getting rid of things that you know you don’t need as soon as you can. By doing this, you can clear a lot of clutter and it will also help you realize that you may not need other items you once thought you needed.

Usually getting rid of the first few items is the hardest. After that, it gets easier to downsize your home!

Think about why you want to keep certain items.

Many people have a hard time parting with things for reasons such as:

If you just don’t have the room in your new home, you should really dig deep and figure out why you believe you need to keep so many items. Talk about your reasoning with your family or out loud to fully grasp it. Doing so may help you realize how ridiculous your logic may be.

Sometimes, you may laugh at your reasoning, and this may help you get rid of an item more easily.

Find ways to store documents digitally.

For me, I just couldn’t bring myself to store my dad’s photo albums digitally, even though numerous people have told me to scan them and throw them away. The memory is in the actual photo albums as well as the photos, as my dad loved photography and we would often put the photo albums together as a fun project.

However, there are many other non sentimental things that you can store digitally. This includes tax information, receipts, paper documents, and so on.

The average person has thousands of papers that they store!

Paper is a big reason for clutter, and so many people keep items that they don’t need. Go through your documents and start either digitally storing them or recycling them.

We kept just one binder of papers and scanned the rest. It was very easy to do, and getting rid of all of that paper felt amazing.

Give yourself time.

Going through your whole house and downsizing your home in one day would be quite difficult and stressful. Instead, you should give yourself time to really think about what you do and don’t need.

This means that you may want to take a few days, weeks, or even months to go through your home.

Start off room by room and see what you can get rid of. Then, when you are done doing that, go through everything again and again until you are down to the amount of items you need to have. By doing this process, you will clearly see what you need and do not need, because you will be able to see how much you have, evaluate items more clearly, apply past reasoning to other items you think you can’t get rid of, and so on.

Create a donation list.

Donating items makes getting rid of things and downsizing your home a little easier. By knowing that your items will be better used by someone who actually needs them, you are giving your stuff new life! If you have a large amount to donate, many donation centers will even come to your home, which can make getting rid of items a breeze.

Plus, you’ll feel great about it.

Related: 58 Random Acts Of Kindness

Think about when the last time was that you used an item.

Many people keep items that they hardly use or have never used, yet keep and store them anyways.

If you want to start downsizing your home, you should think about the last time you used a specific item.

For me, this is a big reason for why it was so easy to get rid of so many things. I just sat down, created a list, and thought about the last time I used a certain item. For many things, it seemed like years had passed since I had actually used that item. For some things, I knew I didn’t actually need to use them when I thought I did.

So, you should do the same. Think about when you last used an item, if you will ever use it in the future, if you’re better off just renting or borrowing something you occasionally use, and so on.

Related: How To Live On One Income

Get rid of the “maybes.”

If you have no space for items in your new home, but you still have a huge pile of things that you want to take with you, you may want to think about just completely getting rid of your “maybe” pile.

After all, these are “maybes” and you probably don’t want them as badly as you think! This can make downsizing your home much easier in one swoop of a decision.

Related tip: Are you looking to downsize? I recommend checking out the course Downsizing for Tiny Life. This course gives you the step by step process for downsizing to move into a smaller space. This course will help you identify what to get rid of, change your mindset about your stuff, help you sell your stuff, and more.

Carefully evaluate future purchases.

So that you are less likely to have as much clutter in the future, you should evaluate future items before you buy them.

You should think long and hard about whether you truly need something, whether you should buy, borrow, or rent it if you won’t need it in the future, and think about where the item will be stored in your home.

We do this now that we live in an RV. We think about every purchase in terms of weight, size, where we can store it, and more. This has helped prevent us from buying many items because we know it’s not realistic to bring everything into an RV.

How big is your home? Is downsizing your home something you are interested in?

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Source: makingsenseofcents.com

Thankful Investor – John Martinez

Hey, welcome back for another segment! This is the 3rd and final segment that I wanted to share with you from my recent live event called the Thankful Real Estate Investor. We hosted this live right before Thanksgiving and it was an interactive event. Our 3rd speaker is Mr. John Martinez, the top real estate investor sales trainer! Let’s get started!

If you’re not a member of the FlipNerd Private Facebook group yet, you can join here: www.flipnerd.com/pro-event, and get access to lots of upcoming live and interactive content like this going forward.

[00:00:00] Mike: [00:00:00] Professional real estate investors are a different breed. We’re not afraid to go all in and take educated risks to build stronger businesses and help our families live better lives.

This is the FlipNerd professional real estate investor show. And I’m your host Mike Hambright each week. I host a new episode live and bring you America’s top real estate investors as guests.

Let’s start today’s show. Hey everybody. Welcome back for another segment. This is the. The third segment of three that I wanted to share with you from my recent live events called the thankful real estate investor. We hosted this live right before Thanksgiving. It was an interactive segment. So, uh, hopefully if you weren’t there, you’ll join us on an upcoming events.

Uh, our third speaker is mr. John Martinez, by the way, I’d love for you to join us at our future live events. We’re going to be doing these several times a month, going forward events like this that are live and interactive, answering your questions in our private. FlipNerd Facebook group. The way you [00:01:00] get access to that group is you go to flipnerd.com/pro event has a hyphen there pro dash event flipnerd.com/pro-event.

Make sure you go there and register. We’ll get you in the group and you can join us if you didn’t this time on our next live and interactive, uh, event. Let’s go ahead and jump in with mr. John Martinez.

I’m going to bring my buddy John Martinez and. John, how are you? You’re a little bit cut off. I think.

John: [00:01:27] Let me adjust the camera here.

Mike: [00:01:30] We want to see your good side.

John: [00:01:34] So you have to just deal with it.

Mike: [00:01:37] Yeah. So how are you? My friend.

John: [00:01:38] I’m good. I’m good. How are you  doing? How are you doing Mike?

Mike: [00:01:41] Good. Good. So as we’re kind of getting started here, I’ll ask a really a couple of things. First is if you guys have questions for John, if you don’t know John.

That’d be kind of unusual. So if you know, John is, and you want to ask some questions about what’s working now from a sales technique standpoint, or an approach of how you handle your leads, start to chat those in I’d love to get to your [00:02:00] questions. In the meantime, John, while we’re waiting on some questions, maybe you can share a little bit about what you’re most thankful about.

We’ve got so much to be thankful for. What would you share that, uh, I know you probably have, might have a long list if we had time to talk about it, but what are one of the things that come to mind that you’re most thankful for?

Uh, my health, uh, man, I turned 40 this year. So it’s funny how I that’s like more and more of a top of mine topic.

Like, uh, every year you get older. So, uh, turning 40 every day. I’m thankful for my health. Uh, thankful for parts of me that don’t hurt when I was picked up. And then, I mean the same with my family. Yeah, me too. My kids and my wife are all healthy. And I think, um, as long as you have that, you can basically basically get through anything else.

So that’s gotta be what I’m most grateful for.

Awesome. Awesome. Well, that’s great. So, so John, while we’re kind of waiting on some more questions, or maybe you could kind of share a little bit about what’s what’s working now, like we’ve been through, I wish we were through the COVID, so I don’t know if we’re through it earlier.

Trevor said we’re kind of. In the middle of this [00:03:00] code. And I’m like, hopefully we’re at the tail end. I don’t know where we’re at, but it’s, it’s changed. The dynamic has a lot of people that are doing stuff virtually now, or certainly vetting more out on the phone than they used to. What are, what are some of the things that are, that are kind of working now that people have had to adapt to over the last six or eight months?

Yeah. So it’s, you know, in sales, what’s worked for forever was having a plan or we call sales process. But I think it’s more important now than ever because we’re not doing as much kind of face to face or belly to belly selling. Um, so a lot of people who could kind of get away with just their wit and their good looks inside of a house and really building rapport that way and going buddy, buddy, and, um, having really good conversations because of, of that ability.

It’s it’s a lot harder to do that on the phone. So you have to start to rely on your plan or your sales process. I think even more now than ever before. Right? Your plan about what I want to accomplish during this call, how do I want it to begin? What do I want to, uh, [00:04:00] what’s the agenda for the middle? How do I want this thing to end?

What will, what will the acceptable outcomes be? Um, you know, if I run up against hidden decision makers, influencers, Pushback resistance. How am I going to deal with that? So I think it’s always, you know, the cornerstone of any good sales organization or sales person is, is process or having a plan. But I just think it’s more important right now than it’s ever been since we’re so disconnected.

Yep. Yep. So we’ve got a question from Matt here. That’s talking about kind of, how are you negotiate remotely? And I think, you know, a lot, like we just talked about a lot of people who have transitioned to doing this over the phone. And you lose some things on the phone, right? You don’t get to see the facial expressions or exactly how they’re living.

You don’t really get any indication of what the house is like by just walking in the front door. Um, maybe, can you maybe share some tips on how to make that transition for those that have had to make that transition that we’re buying at the kitchen table, if you will, to doing more over the phone?

John: [00:04:57] Yeah, I, I can’t so great point.

So usually in [00:05:00] a negotiation, you know, by the time you get there, A negotiation. You’ve got to walk a pretty tight line because you want to negotiate aggressively to get yourself the best deal. But at the same time, you don’t want to put yourself in a position where you, you upset someone or offend them in such a way that you kill your own deal.

Now, when you’re face to face, you can basically just read it. Right. Do you know the body language, the tonality? Um, no one can really hang up on you when they’re face-to-face either. Quit and say, get out of my house now they can, but it’s harder. Right? So in order to do that over the phone, one best practice I found what’s working right now is always assume the worst during the negotiation.

And then I’ll tell you what I mean by that. Um, you’re always safe if you assume the worst, um, uh, in a, in a sales negotiation and when it comes to keeping the conversation going and not offending someone or, or losing rapport. So here’s what I mean by that. Um, if you’re, if you’re making offers, you know, always assume that they’re not going to take it.

So here’s, here’s some examples, [00:06:00] uh, listen, I’d love to offer you a 75,000 for the property, but you know, based on this phone call, I’m guessing that if I offered that and I’m way out of the ballpark. Um, so, so you tell me, am I, am I, am I right? Am I in my way out of there? So just always assuming the worst there, you won’t put your prospect or the seller back on their heels and, and start that kind of confrontational negotiation.

So even as you go through the negotiation and you’re going back and forth, you know, Hey, I think I could offer you more money, but that would require you to, um, help it to clean out a little bit, or certainly shorten the timeframe or commit, uh, you know, within the next 48 hours. And, you know, we haven’t had a chance to think about that.

So I’m not sure if that, you know, the more, the extra money would even be worth, you know, you. Cleaning out a little bit more or painting the living room or getting their old car out of the garage. So I think, um, in order to be safe with negotiations, just err, on the side of caution and what it’ll actually do is it’ll build a, and it’s more amount of rapport.

It’ll [00:07:00] keep the conversation going. It’ll keep you out of that kind of enemy, confrontational battling type of negotiation and extend the conversation. So you can actually get through the negotiation and not end it prematurely.

Mike: [00:07:11] Yep. Good, good. That’s good stuff. So we’ve got another question here. I’m going to, I can’t tell with who the user is, but they’re saying what’s the best way to start a renegotiation or price with sellers.

So I don’t know the context of that, but let’s just say when people are buying virtually more frequently, now that they are, you’re making assumptions on repairs and stuff. And sometimes, you know, you find out that, you know, you told me the kitchen was remodeled, but it turns out is remodeled 20 years ago.

Right. And, uh, that it’s going to cost more. And so I think we all. You know, some people have an approach and I know John believes the same way that I do. You really want to use renegotiate as, as a. As a last defense, like you just really miss something and not this approach of like, well, I’m gonna try to lock it up and then go back and renegotiate.

I think we’re in agreement with how we, how we believe that. Um, but let’s just say we made [00:08:00] our best effort. We put an offer forward, an offer that we thought was good and later we found out we totally missed something or were misled on something. Cause we did it over the phone and we have to renegotiate.

So maybe talk about how to best start to renegotiate a deal with it. Somebody after they’ve agreed to something else.

John: [00:08:17] Yeah. So good question. So it pops up all the time. Um, it just happens. It’s the nature of the business is real estate and buying houses that are in disrepair or, or distressed sellers. Um, it’s going to happen.

So when you do it, you just need to really put yourself in the seller’s shoes when you go into that conversation. So here’s what I mean. We already know. And if you got one with a renegotiation and you’ve agreed to applies, and it might’ve been a tight negotiation to get to the price you originally agreed on.

When you go in and say the deal’s off, or I need even less, you have to understand how they’re going to feel. They’re going to be a little bit shocked. Um, they’re going to probably be a little upset and disappointed. And so as you go into the negotiation, first and foremost, you have to [00:09:00] realize what that will do.

If it’s with a seller it’s going to, they’re going to react the same way as is Mike, or I would react if we got upset or maybe even, you know, in that situation, you might even feel like you’re taking advantage of, or someone trying to pull one over on ya. Um, so you’ve got to realize that that’s going to be met with some type of resistance.

And now resistance in sales really shows itself in two ways. It’s either it’s kind of a fight or flight, right? If you get upset or you feel like you’re being taken advantage of, you’re either going to just shut it down and say fine, it’s off whatever. And I’m sure people have experienced that, right. They go in with the renegotiation and they just say, well, deal’s off.

No. Uh, or if there’s going to be a tremendous amount of pushback aggression, right. Um, get into a, uh, you know, a yelling confrontation or something like that. And that neither of those is going to lead to a smooth negotiation. I think we can agree on that. Right. If they’re shutting it down or, or getting pretty aggressive.

That’s not where you want to start off. So first and foremost, you got to know where your prospect’s mind is going to [00:10:00] be an address mindset first, before you get into the nego renegotiation. So knowing they’re upset, I’m just going to be open and honest and say, listen, I’ve got some bad news. I’m really reluctant to even bring it to you.

I feel like a schmuck because I know I’m going to rain on your parade today. Um, but I’ve, I’ve exhausted every option looking into this, and then we’ve got to have a really tough conversation and I want to let you know, I apologize up front because, um, it’s not going to be a fun one. Right. Uh, so if you see what I saw there, I just, I called the situation what it was.

Um, I took the temperature down using what we call tactical empathy in our sales training. Bye I’m going not okay. Just kind of, you know, going down and, and feeling bad cause you’re about to give bad news and that’s what a normal human being would do. Right. Um, and there’s some science behind it, but anyways, that’s it.

You want to go into it smoothly. And then, uh, I’m going to borrow from the last tip I gave, um, about negotiating over the phone. We want to, we want to come at it from a position where we’re [00:11:00] assuming the worst. So when I renegotiate, I started out just like I said, on the call, and then I’d say, listen, I, there’s no way I can pay 110 grand for the house.

It’s just based on what we found and everything going on. I, I can’t do it and I feel horrible about it, but I assume that if I had to pay even a dollar less, you don’t want to do it. And then just be quiet. Now, the reason why I didn’t say the number that I actually need is we feel tested this quite a bit.

And we found that we just say, you probably don’t want to sell at this point, or I’m not even sure I could buy at this point. Oftentimes sellers renegotiate down lower than, than what you need. Uh, I, I have countless emails and messages from people who said, I need a 10 K off. I went in with that exact read negotiating strategy.

And they said, well, would you take it if I took 20 K off? Right. And then, okay. Uh, so, so that’s it just know their mindsets slide into it, knowing you’re going to upset them and addressing and being real about it. And, and if it doesn’t [00:12:00] feel good to give bad news and don’t hide it, um, and then kind of go negative and assume that.

They’re not going to consider it or not like it, or you might not be able to get the deal done and then just go silent

Mike: [00:12:11] and see what happens. Yep. Yep. And I think some of it too is if you’re, if you shifted your model to bind more virtually, is there some things you can do to pre-frame that upfront? Like here’s our offer.

If part of your processes, we’re going to have an inspector come out and look what I want to try to give you a price. Now you can kind of pre-frame frame that is, uh, like we’re based on what you’ve told me. You know, here’s what we’ve come up with for repairs. And we’re going to have somebody come out and double check this.

And so you can kind of slip in there that in the event that any of that, that I missed anything here, we’ll find out and I’ll let you know, or right. You can kind of pre-frame them.

John: [00:12:44] Absolutely. Um, you know, that, that was kind of the assumption I was running with. No one likes surprises, prizes, especially bad news surprises.

So covering that upfront is definitely a best practice.

Mike: [00:12:56] Yeah. Good. We got a question here from our buddy John Harker, who [00:13:00] says hello?

John: [00:13:00] Hey John,

Mike: [00:13:01] uh, what do you do when a seller just won’t give you a price and just keeps. Saying look online. I don’t know what he means by that. Like,

John: [00:13:10] yeah. Maybe he’s, he’s referring to Zilla or do your research.

Mike: [00:13:13] They’re kind of celebrates online. They just won’t give you a price. And uh, so talk a little bit about what do you do when they just won’t show you their cards and they’re just waiting for you to give an offer.

John: [00:13:23] Yeah. So there’s a lot of strategies to get the number, but I want to come at this question two different ways.

Um, the first way is, okay, how do we get the number again? You’re probably seeing a pattern here. We’re going to pull back a little bit. Um, there there’s two ways to get it. One is I usually just suggest they don’t know the number cause people like to argue and push back. So one way to ask is. Listen, I’m guessing you don’t even know what you’d even what you’d want for the house we contacted.

You probably haven’t had time to do research, to think about it. That’s one way, another way to do it is to ask about a similar property. Oftentimes people don’t want to talk about themselves, but they’ll talk about their neighbors or a member of house in the [00:14:00] neighborhood. So another way you can ask is, Hey, listen, um, Houses in this neighborhood.

Do you know any that have sold recently? What are they going for? Right. And when you have a hundred K 200, 300 and you can kind of whittle it down from there real simply like really were you expecting to get more or less for yours? And now we’re starting to bracket them in and kind of drilling down on.

I was actually expecting a bit more. Well, why is that? Well, it’s a bigger house. It’s a nicer condition we rehab. So you can start to get to it in that round about way now, now that I gave the two ways that you’ll have more success doing it than just asking straight out, um, kind of some caution I want to throw out there.

Um, Oftentimes, unless you’re qualifying, let’s say this makes sense. If you’re qualifying, let’s say you have a bunch of leads and you want to find that, who am I going to work with? Who am I going to send my acquisitions out to? Who am I going to talk to? Where am I going to spend my time? Then you might be asking that price.

You, it’s a, it’s a level of your qualification. Now, if it’s not a level of your qualification, I’ll want to [00:15:00] caution you on asking what their expectations are, because it actually does more harm than it does. Good. Number one, it could get into your head. Um, I’ve worked with plenty of sales reps. Who’ve gone into sales calls gone.

We’re at two 50 for this house. They want 500 why even go, right? And they’re talking themselves out about, out of even showing up. But then when we show up and we run through the sales process and uncover some things, and sometimes those people actually sell for what they need to, right? No, one’s going to.

Call you up and you say, Hey, what would you like to sell for? And they’d say, Oh, 50% of what I think I could sell it for. That’s insane. Right? So sometimes that can kind of get in your head and stop you from even taking the appointment or really going full force at the appointment. The other negative.

About getting their offer is they’re setting expectations. And whenever you come in under it, cause you will come in under whatever they expect, 99 or 999 out of a thousand times. They’re going to be disappointed. [00:16:00] So, because I don’t want to disappoint them. I want to set expectations. I want to come in instead of saying, what would you like?

I’d like a hundred and me saying, I could give you 50 that’s bad. I’d rather go in and say, I’d love to give you 40, but with this, I think if we did it quickly, I could do 50. So then I’m setting, setting expectations. And then, uh, my comparison, it actually sounds a little sweeter. Um, so, so that’s my take on it.

So be careful asking, asking for asking price only do it. If you need it. Because of mindset and the expectations that sets, and then kind of the psychology that goes along with what’s called price anchoring. It could actually have a negative effect. So if you don’t need that information, you might not want to get it.

Mike: [00:16:36] Yep. Good stuff. Good stuff. So, John, we’ve got a really long question. I don’t want to put up on the screen cause I think it’ll block the whole screen, but effectively says, uh, you know, what kind of techniques are working well with speaking to homeowners or landlords? There’s a lot of trouble landlords out there these days because of all the rents, deferments and all this stuff, um, about.

COVID w on the value of their property versus kind of the future. So I think that there’s a couple of ways [00:17:00] I could translate that. I think, um, you know, there’s a, there’s probably a lot more landlords that are hurting now than there were before. COVID. And then on the other side yeah, for home owners and even, I guess for landlords is property values have gone up pretty substantially during, since COVID started because there’s just very little inventory, so prices have shot up.

So we’re, we’re kind of dealing with this whole COVID mess, but at the same time, knowing that prices just feel kind of artificially high right now because of what’s been going on. And so, uh, that’s like a huge loaded question ultimately, but kind of how do you integrate those things into. Talking about value when you’re talking to a seller.

John: [00:17:39] Yeah. So, uh, interesting questions. Um, we can break those

Mike: [00:17:44] down into a couple of smaller questions if

John: [00:17:45] you don’t know. It’s okay. It’s okay. I’m just thinking through it. So, uh, really I think having that conversation unless it needs to happen is kind of a trap. So I’m going into that question with the premise of, we’re [00:18:00] trying to convince someone that their house is worth a, when they’re trying to convince us that it’s worth B.

Yeah. And if you are in the real estate investment business, that’s, that’s not the conversation you want to be having. That’s a retail conversation, right? Um, that conversation is, is not going to do a lot for you as far as increasing your conversion rates. What you want to do is pivot that value conversation, not the price isn’t worth more because of COVID or is it worth less?

Two, what’s it worth to you right now? Uh, here is what I can offer. Let’s have a conversation about, is it worth even considering that offer? So shifting the conversation is where I’d want to take the answer to that question. If you’re having that conversation of, I think it’s worth 50. Well, I think it’s worth 60.

I think if we’re  that’s not a winning strategy and sales, you have to pivot the conversation. To listen, I’m going to give you an offer and I’m not sure it’s going to be more or less than, than what you were expecting, but let’s chat a little bit about what you want to accomplish. [00:19:00] And, um, so I know how to structure it and make sure I can maximize my offer.

And then you can just figure out at the end of this, Hey, with what I want to accomplish does accepting this offer makes sense or not make sense. And that’d be a pretty easy, easy answer for you. And then I’m shifting the conversation to, you know, what even got you started thinking about selling. Is there a, you know, is it, is it kind of a situation you want to get away from, or is there, do you want to use the money for something else?

Do you want to move across the country? What’s going on? And I want to redefine it and read it and just pivot that conversation to what’s your problem? What do you want to accomplish? And, and I’m going to ultimately give you an offer and then your only decision is in order to accomplish that. Is it going, is it worth it?

Is it worth taking the offer? And doing that you can, you can really stroke a tremendous amount of motivation. You can bring a lot of motivations to surface that your prospect may not have been thinking of. You can understand their situation a lot better. You’re going to build a lot more rapport, their urgency to take action.

The more they talk about their situation is going to increase. So I don’t know if I’m giving the right answer, but, but my answer [00:20:00] is that’s probably the wrong conversation to have, and we need to pivot.

Mike: [00:20:03] Yeah. Don’t look at the underlying issue of COVID it’s just the situation of what you think the value is versus what you can pay.

Right, right. Yeah. Yeah. I think there’s a lot of, there’s a lot of landlords that are hurting. Right. And I mean, there’s, let’s be honest. There’s a lot of landlords that didn’t buy, like. For me, all my rentals were bought at wholesale prices. And in fact, most of them were from many, many years ago. So like prices that are inconceivable now, uh, cause I’m actually older than John.

Uh, I was talking about age earlier, but, um, uh, but I think there’s a lot of landlords that, you know, they bought it off the MLS and they, in their mind, you know, or, or they bought a turnkey property at close to retail value and they never. Thought about like, well, what could go wrong? The house is newly renovated and like things go wrong, you know?

And of course, with, with COVID it’s even, uh, kind of unprecedented in terms of. You know, some States saying you don’t have to pay the rent and all that stuff. It’s just crazy. So I think what you really focus on there is that pain of like, you’re not even getting paid right now. When do you think you’re going to get paid again?


[00:21:00] John: [00:21:00] The reality of the situation is we all overpay for stuff happily because it’s worth it. Right. And we all take massive losses on things that we have when we sell them, because again, it’s worth it. So just think about any time in your life, where you said, you know what? I probably could have gotten more.

But I’m just thankful it’s over. I’m thankful I got rid of it. Yeah. I know. I overpaid for that, but here’s the opportunity it opens up. I’m glad I did. Right. And you’re excited about overpaying for something. So if you start thinking those terms, that’s how your seller’s thinking, right? It’s not always about getting, you know, fair market value to them.

Is what it actually accomplishes to them, not, not what Zillow says or what your, your, your maximum allowable offer is, or whatever you calculate the ARV to be. It’s, it’s going to be what’s it worth to them. So again, just another way to rephrase my answer is you’ve got to figure out what, moving that property is worth to them and get away from the ARV conversation.

Mike: [00:21:54] Yep. Yep. Well, guys, we’ve got time for a couple more questions, so please chat them in here. Uh, John saw this, [00:22:00] I got a question for you. How do you use, or how can you utilize the end of the year? Beginning of the year kind of phenomenon. Uh, and I’ve always kind of explained it as it’s like a health club.

Like people want to, you know, January 1st, there’s this line in the sand, that’s really just in their mind. And now I want to start the year and lose 40 pounds or whatever. There’s also people that have had. Problem rental property or a house they inherited, or a fixer upper of some sort that they’re like, I don’t want to deal with that next year.

I just want to get rid of it. How do you kind of utilize that in the year? Phenomenon of people wanting to start fresh?

John: [00:22:33] Yeah. I mean, you can use it just like you said. I, I typically don’t care. What time of year. It’s a great time to use scarcity. I can use really use scarcity no matter what time of year it is, but it works really well at this time.

Um, I’ll tell you when I was out, uh, training salespeople and kind of men buying houses coast to coast. Whenever we didn’t get one at the kitchen table, we would drive two blocks away and I would call and say, listen, We could give you a little bit more money if we can walk this up in the [00:23:00] next 60 minutes and we would often lock them up then because that’s scarcity.

So having, having a cutoff, and I think it speaks really to the broader, uh, sales strategy of having an offer expiration or having, uh, making a, no one, no right Treme salespeople out there, 20 acquisition agents and real estate investors, I think because there’s a fear of losing a potential deal. They never make their prospects actually make a decision.

Right? Think about it. Think about it. I’ll continue to follow up with you. And there’s never any cutoff where a decision has to be made. So the prospect never feels a fear of loss, a fear of actually losing the deal. So, um, cause the investors

Mike: [00:23:40] is afraid to say, I’m never going to call you again, right?

John: [00:23:43] Yeah, absolutely.

Uh, so sorry, my Alexa just went on and off. I don’t know what happened to you guys

Mike: [00:23:52] are winding it down. Guys, ask the questions. Cause the lights are going


John: [00:23:56] probably in the other room it’s like in it, but yeah, no. [00:24:00] And anyways, I want to just, just go back to that and say, Hey, every time you make an offer, you just word of advice.

You need an exploration, whether it’s by the time I, you know, if it’s not a yes. You know, by the time we wrap up our conversation. Totally cool. It’s no, uh, you know, don’t be a jerk about it. Uh, or Hey, you know, offers you a stand for a week. Obviously I can’t make an offer on a property and let it hang out there for a year.

If things change, my situation will change. Number of houses. I need changes the real estate market’s going to change. So I can, I can let this offer stand for three days, seven days, whatever it is. So you’ll do yourself a favor. If you just start giving a cutoff to when your

Mike: [00:24:34] offer expires. Yeah. Yeah. I remember when I first started this a long time ago now.

Um, and I used to sit there like, how good, how good is the offer for? And I was like, Oh, you know, 30 days. But even then I’d still be interested in buying it. And I was like, well, would I in hindsight, you know, so stupid, what would you do? You’d like, you’d go shop at everywhere in town. And like, I’m like plan B if they need it, which they would never need it.

So then we, then we got better. [00:25:00] Yeah. Awesome. Well, John, what do you think differentiates, let me ask you a question. What differentiates you? You, you’re a member of investor fuel as well. You know, you surround yourself with a lot of amazing people, just like I do for Schwartz, I’ve run in some of the same circles.

What do you think differentiates those that are doing really well at crushing it from those that are good, doing some deals, but kind of just getting by and kind of stuck in the grind. What do you think differentiates those two people from a sales perspective,

John: [00:25:26] from a sales perspective, It’s gonna sound funny, but it’s, uh, getting out of the sales role.

Um, I think the, the more successful people in invest a fuel, um, and, uh, you know, just, just investors in general. Um, even if they’re really good at it, uh, sometimes even if they like it pulling themselves out so they can grow, right. If they can have three acquisition agents that are half as good. Uh, the numbers typically work where you can turn up lead flow and, you know, still, uh, grow them at, uh, in the business.

So I think it’s [00:26:00] getting out of the seal rule so you can focus more on actually growing the business. And I, I train sales people, so I love to train an investor. So I don’t want to talk anyone out of, uh, investors buying houses, but at the same time, getting out of the sales role, hiring others to do it.

Even if they can only do it a fraction as well as you will allow you to focus on the actual and pull the levers that will grow your business and then turn everything off because now you’ve got the bandwidth to handle, increase everything else. So that’s when you can do sales. If you’re an investor business owner, entrepreneur is get out of the sales role and get yourself a couple of people who can do it

Mike: [00:26:36] for you.

Yeah, you can even say that about your whole business. Like we’re we’re in our way, right? I, I just, uh, before today’s event here, I did, uh, I recorded an investor fuel show with clay Rockwood. They’re doing a hundred wholesale deals a year and adding a hundred rental doors a year to their business. They’ve been in business for three years.

These guys are crushing it. And that’s what he said. That’s what he said is like, we just. I’m not the best at [00:27:00] anything that our company has to do. And I just had to get out of the way. And so I can focus on, you know, being the visionary or God forbid living your life. Right.

John: [00:27:09] You know, I’ve, I’ve, I, um, we’ve got one client in York, Pennsylvania.

This guy is probably one of the best natural salespeople I’ve met in my life. Like just, just he’s got it right. He was born with it. Um, that being said he doesn’t train the sales team. Um, he outsources that to, to me. Um, and the reason is, is not because he can’t do it. Um, but he knows his, his focus is spent elsewhere.

Now he’s doing 70 deals a month consistently and half for the last year or so last year. So we’re talking about how do you hit that volume? Um, and he’s not involved in the business that much anymore. So I just wanted to kind of throw that out there. He’s probably one of the best sales people I’ve met in my life.

He’s not selling his, he’s not even training his team, let alone selling the deals or buying the houses that are just positioning him because he knows he needs to [00:28:00] keep stepping up and taking kind of a higher level view of what’s going to grow the business instead of just taking that micro view.

Mike: [00:28:08] Yeah.

Awesome. Well, John, appreciate you spending time with us today. Great. To great to see you. My friend.

John: [00:28:12] Yeah. Good to see you, Mike,

Mike: [00:28:13] have a great Thanksgiving and a, well I’m sure we’ll be talking again soon. Okay. Thanks for joining me. On today’s episode, there are three ways I help successful real estate investors take their businesses and their lives to the next level.

First, if you’re in search of a community of successful real estate investors that help one another, take their businesses to the next level and a life changing community of lifelong friends. Please learn more about my investor fuel real estate mastermind. By visiting investor, fuel.com. If you’d like a cutting edge solution for the very best done for you lead generation on the planet where we’re handling the lead-generation for many of America.

Top real estate [00:29:00] investors. Please learn [email protected] And lastly, if you’re interested in a free online community of professional real estate investors that isn’t full of spam solicitations and newbie questions, please join my free professional real estate investor Facebook group by visiting flipnerd.com/professional.

Source: flipnerd.com

Podcast #11: Financial Planning and Real Estate

podcast 11 financial planning and real estate

For this podcast about financial planning I sat down with Scott Trent of Skylight Financial.  During the podcast we discussed financial planning in general, qualifications to be a financial planner and how a financial planner can benefit homeowners and real estate investors.  This podcast is helpful for those who may not be certain what a financial planner does and can learn how they can benefit from working with one.

I hope you enjoy the podcast and find it informative.  Please consider sharing with those who also may benefit.

Listen via YouTube:

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You can connect with Scott Trent on LinkedIn.

You can connect with me on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

About the author: The above article “Podcast #11:  Financial Planning and Real Estate” was provided by Luxury Real Estate Specialist Paul Sian. Paul can be reached at [email protected] or by phone at 513-560-8002. If you’re thinking of selling or buying your investment or commercial business property I would love to share my marketing knowledge and expertise to help you.  Contact me today!

I work in the following Greater Cincinnati, OH and Northern KY areas: Alexandria, Amberly, Amelia, Anderson Township, Cincinnati, Batavia, Blue Ash, Covington, Edgewood, Florence, Fort Mitchell, Fort Thomas, Hebron, Hyde Park, Indian Hill, Kenwood, Madeira, Mariemont, Milford, Montgomery, Mt. Washington, Newport, Newtown, Norwood, Taylor Mill, Terrace Park, Union Township, and Villa Hills.


Paul Sian:              Hello everybody. This is Paul Sian Realtor with United Real Estate Connections licensed in the state of Ohio and Kentucky. Today I have with me Scott Trent Financial Planner with Skylight Financial. We’re going to talk about financial planning and add a little bit of real estate information on that. Scott, how are you doing today? 

Scott Trent:         Do an excellent, how are you Paul? 

Paul Sian:              Good. Glad to have you on. So let’s get started, tell us a little bit about your background. What do you do and how long have you been doing it? 

Scott Trent:         Sure. Well, it started in 1999. That’s just wrapping up college and started working for a local retail bank back in the day that was bank one, which of course became chase bank. And uh, for about three or four years with the banking industry, had a couple of different roles started off essentially kind of right on the teller line, cashing checks and making deposits. And then within about a year I was tapped for personal banker role and was able to acquire my insurance and investment license and to be able to expand the services I provided my client. And you fast forward to working primarily in that space and the investments in the insurance space. A couple of different companies such as nationwide in western southern and was right about 2007 then I had an opportunity to expand my role into leadership and management and so from about 2007 to 2017 I’ve trained and developed and recruited and was in a leadership position in the financial services industry. And right about 2017 I just decided to lean back towards my personal practice and spend more time with my clients, which really is my first love is just spending the time with those clients, helping them achieve their goals and seeing their eyes light up when you give them hope that they can actually accomplish the things that they set out to accomplish when they first signed on with that first job right out of college.

Paul Sian:              Very nice. You did mention something about licenses and they in your statement there, so like I guess we can go on with that. What kind of licenses are you required to have and what kind of licenses are helpful to have in your line work?

Scott Trent:         That’s an excellent question. So at a minimum you want to work with a financial planner that has an insurance license and at least one securities license. And the reason for that is because any financial plan is going to ideally holistically look at the different moving pieces of someone’s life. We’re going to look at cash flow and protection, risk management, wealth accumulation, tax reduction, retirement and ultimately a state of planning. And it’s with those different areas, there’s going to be some, some expertise needed as it relates to saving money, investing money as well as protecting your income and your assets. And so again, at a minimum bar you’re going to work with someone who has an insurance and investment license. On top of that, there are other designations of the industry provides such a CFP or cou chfc is going to emit apple bet soup out there of different designations that you can achieve. But I tend to tell people you want to work with someone. Again, that is looking at from a big picture, looking at both the protection and the wealth accumulation side. And I would say just as important as licenses or designation. Do you want to work with someone that has a rather quit experience? 

Paul Sian:          Okay, great. What kind of licenses do you have?

Scott Trent:         So I have an insurance license in Ohio where where I reside and also uh, about a dozen other states that I conduct business said on a regular basis as well as uh, a series six license, the series 26 license, a series 63 license. And I’m also approved for financial planning through my broker dealer.

Paul Sian:              Okay. So it looks, sounds like some of the licenses to our state restricted just like real estate or are all of them state restricted or though some of their general that you have licensed you can work anywhere? 

Scott Trent:         That’s a great question. So typically what happens is any insurance side of the house, once you are licensed in the state that you reside, you can fairly easily become what they call non-resident license in other states that you wish to do business and which is essentially filling out a background report, paying a fee and they kind of stamp stamp off and approve it. And so then in that way you’re able to conduct the insurance transactions in those states that you have clients that are, you know, for example, I have clients in the west coast and east coast ever where in between and I, I need to be licensed in the state that they reside as well as my own. On the security side or the investment side, you have one set of licenses that determines what type of business that you can conduct for your clients. And then the series 63 that you might’ve heard me mentioned that says that I can service the clients that reside outside of Ohio or I do, but you also need to be registered and approved and those surrounding states as well. So there’s a bit of administration that needs to take place, but at the end of the day, as long as you have filled out the proper forms and you’re mindful of your continuing education, just like you are as a real estate professional, you should have no problem servicing clients anywhere in the country. 

Paul Sian:              Okay. And we did a, you did kind of talk about, you know, one financial planner does coming, explained it in the light detail and through your intro, can you boil it down to us, boil it down to somebody who’s never met a financial planning before. We never talked to a potential central planner. What, you know, what exactly you do and how can you help somebody?

Scott Trent:          That’s a great question. So you’re, from a bullet point standpoint, I would say it’s really about the why, how, and why and the what speaks to goal clarity. What I find working with our clients, Paul, is that mom and dad or partner’s, they’re getting up every day. They’re going to work and they’re doing their job. Then they’re coming home and will oftentimes doing mom things and bad things and catching their breath and then we get the little ones off the bed and next thing you know, we’re waking back up doing it all over again. And you know, kind of big picture. Intuitively we’re working to provide for our family and we’re working to have a great lifestyle. But you’d be surprised that most often people aren’t actually having a good conversation about what they’re really trying to accomplish and setting benchmarks for things like we want to have x amount of debt paid off in three years, or we want to save up for a great family vacation.

                                    We’ve always wanted to go overseas. But yeah, we ended up just going to Florida every year because we don’t take the time to plan it through. And next thing you know it’s summertime. And so it’s about that clarity that the conversation that needs to happen between the partners in a hole, the spouses often let’s say, hey, where are we really getting up and working for a day to day basis? And so goal clarity, what do we want life to look like? If we wake up 20 years from now looking at a rear view mirror, what things would we have wanted to accomplish, make, make it feel like we’ve made some progress. So that’s a lot of it. The houses, the strategy or the roadmap. So once we identify what a client wants and help provide, help them have that conversation of clarity among all interested parties, then it’s how do we get there? And that’s where our expertise comes in and that’s looks like cash flow design that looks like different vehicles or products sometimes. Sometimes it’s as it’s a matter of saving, saving the right amount and the right kinds of buckets. And so again, that’s that more technical roadmap piece of it and it ultimately the why of it is this, the accountability, it’s, it’s part of my job is to keep the, why are we doing this in front of them? It’s what, what do we want to feel, what do we want to experience? And so if we, we’ve looking to the future and we can see our future selves waking up with the confidence of knowing that, that all of our financial lives are in order, that all the moving pieces are fitting together like a, like a perfect puzzle. There’s total efficiency there. It’s, it’s making sure that we keep that in front of our coins to say, Hey, this is why we’re saving this much. On a monthly basis. This is why we have that insurance in place. This is why we are investing in these types of instruments and vehicles. It’s all about, it’s about the experience that we want to create for ourselves and for the people that we love the most. So I guess that’s a little bit more than bullet points fall, but in a bullet point, it’s the why, how, and why. Otherwise it’s the goal, clarity of strategy and accountability that we provide. 

Paul Sian:          Actually that’s, yeah, that’s very well said. So it’s not just long term planning, it’s not just you know about retirement. It’s also about your short term. If you want to go, like you mentioned the vacation plan or even then you know, my case, I deal with a lot of real estate investors. So somebody who wants to set up a plan for investing in real estate, you can help out with that too. Correct?

Scott Trent:         Oh absolutely. And so, you know, the time frame, it has a lot to do with what their client has going on in their life and this season that we meet them in. So, you know, for example, and we hear a lot about, I’ve really liked to get in to real estate investing. And then we say, well, when do you see yourself doing that? And sometimes they’ll say, well, you know, in the next two to five years. And sometimes they say, well, like right now I can’t. And so we’ll take a step back again, kind of coordinate all the moving pieces of their financial world and letting math and math have a seat at the table and not just intuition and not just kind of what we want and, and you know, let things that, you know, sometimes we see something on the internet or hear a friend talk, we’re like, Ooh, I want that. And so then we just go do it. And so again, that’s a big part of it. But also its let’s, let’s have the emotions have a seat, but also led logic and math and rationale habits. Have a seat, the tables.

Paul Sian:              Well, yeah. And you mentioned long term plan, also short term plans, looking at things. So, I mean just uh, and we can go a little situations or specific, basically you have to look at everybody’s individual situations and how they’re, you know, what they’re doing and what their goals are. Let’s say we have somebody who’s a, you know, there were w two income earner, they make x amount of money per week, per month, what have you, and so they’re interested in, in a real estate investing. What kind of general advice would you give to that person and you know, maybe they don’t have a full down payment saved up yet and they need 20-25% for whatever they’re trying to buy. What kind of suggestions would you have for them.

Scott Trent:         Paul What I would say with someone who’s looking to take their first step into the financial independence or looking at that opportunity to, to start a real estate investment portfolio, it is always looking at it through the filter of what we call our four pillars of financial security or the value system, that value system that we use when it relates to financial planning. And those things are going to be making sure that you’re protected against major financial risks, that you are becoming a world class saver, saving upwards of 15 to 20% of your income on a monthly basis, making sure that you have a life events fund. We have says that I have upwards of a year’s worth of my income in places that I can access outside of my qualified plans such as his Iras so that I’m able to deal with not just rainy days in emergencies, but I’m also able to take advantage of great opportunities like I ain’t a great property for a great price and also taking a look at the debt that I have on my balance sheet that already exist and so we would do with a client is to say, Hey, let’s take a, let’s take a holistic look or three 60 look about how a purchase of a real estate property, what impact these other creek cake, key critical areas of financial planning and your overall wealth strategy.

Paul Sian:              Okay, great answer. You had mentioned a debt in there. Let’s go talk about that a little bit of an most people are buying real estate using that, you know, your mortgages, commercial mortgages, residential mortgages. What are your thoughts on debt? I mean a good, bad avoiding to some that’s good, bad. What do you think? 

Scott Trent:         That’s a great question too. I think that it is difficult especially you’re right up in the Midwest to ever say Ted is good. However, when it comes to that, when I, when I’m, what’s an easier answer to give is the what, what is the fat kind of debt and so bad debt is higher interest rate, unfavorable terms, excessive fees, consumer base that such as credit cards or retail store cards, things that we, that that we acquire just for lifestyle. Because a lot of times what that represents on someone’s balance sheet is that they have let their once supersede their actual needs.

                                    And so what lending institutions are happy to do is to say, hey, if you want an extra money to be able to keep up with the Jones’ is it will give us a call or come see us on credit card.com and so I always caution against that kind of debt because it speaks usually to a bigger problem on the other side of things. Acquiring that for the purpose of acquiring assets like real estate, like vehicles, that can be very wise decision because it helps you leverage your own cash flow and leverage your own opportunity to earn income and your own savings and oftentimes, particularly as it relates to real estate for home purchases for example, there are, there’s some tax favor ability to be found with those kinds of debt. And so what I’ve, what I’ve loved the, the good debt, Paul, the best debt is low interest rate, tax deductible kind of debt.

                                    That’s good debt. But again, this kind of summarize, I would say the bad debt is usually represented by death that we were required to just improve our lifestyle, close trinkets in the house, furniture, things like that. That’s usually about ego, about lifestyle as well as just as much to do with our neighbors and our neighborhoods. What does ourselves or the people that we care about the most. 

Paul Sian:          You had mentioned the taxes in there too. I do. I guess Texas do come into play as a financial planner when working with your clients.

Scott Trent:         Yeah, absolutely. And so one of the things that we’ve helped the client with recently is to help weed through the confusion of the current tax situation because of the tax cuts that will were implemented in 2018 and so as an example, all you brought up about, it’s not just long term planning, it’s not just retirement plane that we help our clients with.

                                    It’s also short term goals. And so taxes is a great example of that because what we do know that unless there’s some overall legislation that gets passed, what we can expect is that in December 31st, 2025 the current tax cuts are going to that. So another way to think of that is come January 1st, 2026 everyone’s taxes are going to go up if they’re earning the same income of the art today. And with that creates opportunity. It’s one of the things I’m working with a family right now on is this idea of exploring, does it make sense to take advantage of after tax investing rather than what most people focus on kind of cause they told to just what they see their neighbors and their friends and family doing, which is maximizing their pretax dollars is what could happen without getting too far into the weeds fall is because of the current tax environment.

                                    We might be deferring taxes at 20 or 24% all the way to wake up and later in life and find that we’re now paying taxes on those same dollars at a higher rate, 30% 32% 36% and higher. So we just have to be careful about that. And so taxation is a area of emphasis that is necessary working with any financial planner. And I would just caution folks that if their financial planner is not having a meaningful conversation about long term impact of taxation, then they might want to seek out a higher authority on the matter or maybe it might be time to start interviewing other financial planners. I think the asterisk that I would add there fall is that that’s also why we partner with local professional CPAs so that they can have the kind of final say so in these matters as it relates to wealth building in financial planning in the in the area and Ronald Taxation, we are very familiar with that have very powerful tools that speak to taxes.

                                    However, what we are not as certified public accountants and so as you can imagine, we want to make sure that we always work with someone who, who is that when it comes to crossing those ts and dotting those I’s. Also, I think with the financial planner, bigger picture is working with a successful financial planner also should give you access, favorable preferable access to the financial professionals that they network with. Such as personal make herself a professional real estate agent as well as an attorney as well as a property casualty specialist to CPA, a benefits consultant if it’s a business owner on and on. And so it’s really working with the right team, but ultimately working with someone who is going to be that can symphony conductor or that quarterback of their team, who’s going to take the responsibility to make sure that all the orders are running in the right direction.

Paul Sian:              Great answer. Actually that wasn’t, that answers my, uh, it wasn’t going to answer my next question, which is a financial planner is not a solo person. They work with, uh, with a team as you mentioned, you know, working with the accountants, the attorneys, CPAS, what have you. So that’s a great answer. We had discussed earlier you had discussed about building up an emergency savings fund. Then you mentioned a year, which is great. And that’s the idea was the year, you know, we’ve heard online from anywhere from three months up to six months. I mean, what’s, how do you suggest people go about building that savings funds? I mean, especially for somebody who thinks they’re living paycheck to paycheck, I mean, where do they find that, that room, that gap to start, start that savings fund? 

Scott Trent:         SoI guess it would clarify first the difference in an emergency savings fund in a life event. It’s fun. So for an emergency savings fund that’s best suited typically at the local bank, and that’s going to be in the form of a savings account on or maybe even a and no fee checking account. And that’s going to be where you want to have about three months, maybe six at the most. A lot of it has to do with the comfort level, the individual client. But typically three months is more than fine to have on hand at the local bank. That’s money that I’m an ATM card or a debit card swipe away or uh, a dash over to the local branch away from getting access to my funds. Outside of that, the next six to nine months that we talked about from a life events that doesn’t necessarily have to be in cash at the bank, but it just needs to be somewhere outside of a qualified plan.

                                    Because as you probably know, and your listeners know, Paul, money that’s inside of a qualified plan is largely inaccessible until I’m 59 and a half. And last I want to jump through hoops, pay interest rates to access my money or God forbid pay taxes as well as IRS penalties. And so when we talk about life events, fun big picture, we’re talking about braces for the kids. We’re talking about a $2,000 car repair emergency that jumps out the bushes on us. We’re talking about, um, the vacations that we want to go on. So it’s the experiences that we want to have in life for the people that we care about most, but it’s also the things that life is inevitably going to do, which is getting, throw those curve balls. Dot Us good and bad. So as far as how do we get there, take baby steps, it’s just sometimes it’s as simple as going to your HR coordinator, your payroll director and saying, Hey, can I split my direct deposit between two counts right now?

                                    This is kind of hitting the checking account. And then from there it’s, it’s um, you know, all bets are off and it’s a feeding frenzy. And ultimately, uh, fortunately for the bills and the lifestyle expenses and gas money and everything else, uh, the best way to say fall, no matter how you do it or what vehicles you use is systematically and consistently. So it’s those things that you don’t have to pull ever go online, go to the local branch and things that just happened. That’s why good and bad, most of Americans well is in their qualified plans are the 401k because it comes out before it ever hits our bank account. It’s out of sight, out of mind. It just piles up. You know, the, the, the tough part about that is, again, that’s a qualified account. So there’s some heavy restrictions that keep us from being able to access our funds when we might need them most.

                                    So just like the 401k if for example, I talked to a college student this afternoon and it was as simple as go to the HR director happens, split your direct deposit into two separate accounts and just start taking out $25 a pay check and having that diverted to a secondary account just so that it starts to pile up and the idea that the money’s there but really need it, but it’s just that extra layer that helps reinforce the discipline to say, okay, I’m not supposed to touch that. That’s for future purposes. That’s for rainy days, real emergencies and not frivolous spending. And so start with baby steps. And next thing I would look at is working with an advisor who has tools to help you analyze your spending. Your cash flows ideally will help bring awareness to where those dollars are going. What I find fall is that what most of our clients, there might be 10 to 15% of their monthly income.

                                    That just seems to just disappear. It’s not accounted for it. And so using the tools such as, uh, we use a tool, Claudine money for example, and we’re personal financial view that will really electronically analyze someone’s spending habits so they can say, oh, I wonder how much money we’re spending out spending on a monthly basis eating out. Well, click, click, click. This is exactly how much that is. And we can set short term goals on what we think that should be and we can keep, we can track our progress through these financial tools. The other thing that we look at in a financial planning process is we want to analyze the cost of the services that you’re currently receiving. So for example, when we work with our lending and credit specialist or real estate professionals or CPAS or attorneys or property and casualty specialist, we’re making sure that our clients are getting value, not always looking for cheap.

                             In fact, the chief is not a word that I tend to use or any of the professionals and network with. We’re making sure that we’re getting the best value since we have a finite amount of dollars coming in. We want to make sure that those are being used, maximized and leveraged the most appropriate way. So it is taking the baby to start somewhere. It is working with an advisor to find the awareness of where the money’s actually going as well as taking a look at the cost of service for the services that we’re currently enjoying as well as I. Lastly, I would say looking for ways to minimize the impact of interest rates wherever possible, whether that be through right refinancing or creating a debt payoff strategy so that we are avoiding those excessive interest rates in feet.

Paul Sian:              Yeah, it takes a, an overall, you like you’re, you’re saying you have to look at the budget, get to look at the incoming money, outgoing money as well, and kind of build that plan. So I mean that’s, that seems you to be your specialty. Very much. So. Moving on, let’s go back to the topic of real estate. And I go over one of the controversial statements made by Gary Vee, Gary Vaynerchuk. I mean he had, he had say stated, uh, rather than buying a house, it’s better to go, you know, go rent and I don’t know that upset a lot of real estate agents too. I mean that’s kind of our bread and butter. We’re, we’re buying and selling real estate. I’m of the opinion though. I mean I, I help a lot of buyers and sellers with the investment real estate too. So it’s not that, you know, I have to own a house personally, but I can own an investment property and I’m helping somebody else, you know, live in a place. What are your thoughts on the ownership of a house or renting, renting the place to live.

Scott Trent:         Interesting and not, I read an article last week that talked about the difference in buying and renting or leasing in different pockets of the country. And as I said, it’d be four people. I work with clients all across the country and in some markets it’s really hard to justify a home purchase as it, as it compares to renting a home. You know, for example, a lot of clients on the west coast where housing market is very tight and there’s certainly a premium for home homes costs there in that part of the country. And so what we find is that the monthly cost of leasing a home can oftentimes when you consider the fact that with home ownership, I also am now responsible for property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, as well as the upkeep of the property that that can sometimes more than double the living expenses as it relates to housing. Whereas compared to here in the Midwest where sometimes it can actually be much more cost effective to own a home rather than rent a home from a monthly cash flow outlay. Even when you add in insurance and taxes and the kind of monthly maintenance, if nothing else, it’s oftentimes a break even when you consider all factors. So I think that would go back to as you say, Paul, you know, or Scott does it. Does it make sense to own or rent when you think about Gary V’s advice way I would look at that is again, just like any other decision that our clients would come to us and ask our feedback on. We would take a, at the basics we’d say, okay, before pillars of financial planning or financial security or these value system that we use to build our clients’ financial plans on the perfect protection, the become a world class save or having the life events fund to be debt free or have a, have a plan to get us there.

                                    If a, if home ownership or home purchase would get in the way of us living out those values or achieving those financial objectives then and renting would, then we’re going to say it. We should think about writing for another year or two. However, if, if our clients can own a home and be protected well and be a great saver and be building their life events fun and have a handle on the that that’s already existing on their financial balance sheet, then by all means we’ve been encouraged folks to take, take ownership of a home so that they have acquired an asset. They’re building a liquidity in the form of equity and they’re also able to take advantage of the things we talked about earlier, which is having the tax deductibility from interest payments on the mortgage and so on and so forth. And so the other astronauts that I would have there is the sense that if someone comes to us and says, yeah, you know, my job, we’re an up and coming or a rising star and you know, are two of the five year goals are too.

                                    And we want to, we want to be really nimble because we’re very likely to be transferred across the country, maybe Chicago or San Diego here in the next two to five years. Again, why would attend to encourage those folks is and can be consistent with say, nimble homeownership home purchase, maybe a terrible idea. This is because it’s, it’s easy to, it’s much easier to give a landlord a 60 day notice that you’re moving out than it is to be able to sell a home in 30 to 60 days regardless of the market. Also the fact of course you gotta be careful that we’re not holding an asset that we’re going to look to sell or relinquish in the next 12 to 24 months or even three to five years. Knowing that it’s not often, but every so often the housing market can regress such as 2007 and eight and we have to be careful that we didn’t make a 30 year decision based on 24 to 48 months factors, if that makes sense.

Paul Sian:              Yeah, definitely makes sense. And it’s a a great point. I mean just like real estate, you know, when you brought up earlier the cost differences, you know, living in California versus living in Cincinnati, Ohio, it’s location, location, location is agency. So, I mean when you get over here for you know, $250,000 you know, in California you can easily do the, be able to get 1.2 million depending on the location you’re at. So same, same thing for the individual person. I mean it’s the, it’s the individual that matters. What’s your life goal? What’s their life plans? And you know, somebody who’s going to be here in Cincinnati for two years, it doesn’t make sense. It might not make sense. The, you know, there are high transaction costs, you know, where they’re from, your, your real estate closings, closing costs, your, your mortgage closing costs. So I mean that that kind of adds in and you might not get that pay off in two years. Especially if value state stay flat or decrease.

Scott Trent:         That’s an excellent point perspective. If I could leave your listeners with one nugget of wisdom for what it’s worth, I would say the sooner that you can let go, other people have expectations of you and let go of what other people might think of you and the perception others have of you, the better off you’ll be. We find so often that the pressure to keep up with the Joneses that use that expression again or to to everybody else is doing it just kind of like kids in grade school. That same peer pressure exists with hardworking families, grownups, parents here in adulthood and the idea that we’ve got a finite amount of time and a finite amount of resources and at the end of the day being able to look in the mirror and have satisfaction about the progress you’re making it for yourself with people that you love, making sure that you have a plan that works and offer seen circumstances, good days, bad days, sunshine or rain.

                                    Knowing that you’ve prepared a path for yourself and for your family. That is a general one that reaps benefits for generations and that we’re teaching the generation coming behind us about financial responsibility. I think if we can find joy and peace in those principles and those ideas and the visions of that kind of a future rather than making sure that, you know, we look good when we pull up to the company picnic or the family or a union or making sure that we form to the right neighborhood with the right car and the right toys in our garage. No, I think we’d be much better off as Americans because sadly enough, the statistics say that the average American to saving 5% or less of their income or an overwhelming majority of folks are not even prepared to deal with a thousand dollar emergency if it were topics that out of the bushes.

                                    And so I think that what I’d like to leave your listeners with this idea of we can do better and one of the best ways to start doing better is to think a lot less about the perception and approval of others and really start thinking about the idea that the stakes are high and when, when we consider the magnitude of the impact of our financial decisions, not just for our lives but the lives of the generations that follow, I think we can make the best well informed decisions and whether that includes home purchase or renting or if it includes real estate and investing or for or not. I think that working with myself and my team, we really work very hard to make sure that we keep the main thing, the main things and minimize the distraction of other things I’ve mentioned. 

Paul Sian:          We’ve talked today, plan for now and plan for the future. All very great and solid advice. Thanks Scott. Appreciate you. Haven’t you on the show here and I will chat with you soon. 

Scott Trent:         Thanks Paul.

Source: cincinkyrealestate.com

5 Things to Consider Before Getting a Personal Loan

Consider This Before Getting a Personal Loan – SmartAsset

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It’s a new year and if one of your resolutions is to get out of debt, you might be thinking about consolidating your bills into a personal loan. With this kind of loan, you can streamline your payments and potentially get rid of your debt more quickly. If you plan on getting a personal loan in 2016, here are some key things to keep in mind before you start searching for a lender.

Check out our personal loan calculator.

1. Interest Rates Are Going Up

At the end of 2015, the Federal Reserve initiated a much anticipated hike in the federal funds rate. What this means for borrowers is that taking on debt is going to be more expensive going forward. That means that the personal loan rates you’re seeing now could be a lot higher six or nine months from now. If you’re planning on borrowing, it might be a good idea to scope out loan offers sooner rather than later.

2. Online Lenders Likely Have the Best Deals

The online lending marketplace has exploded in recent years. With an online lender, there are fewer overhead costs involved, which translates to fewer fees and lower rates for borrowers.

With a lower interest rate, more money will stay in your pocket in the long run. Lending Club, for example, claims that their customers have interest rates that are 33% lower, on average, after consolidating their debt or paying off credit cards using a personal loan.

Related Article: How to Get a Personal Loan

3. Your Credit Matters

Regardless of whether you go through a brick-and-mortar bank or an online lender, you  likely won’t have access to the best rates if you don’t have a great credit score. In the worst case scenario, you could be denied a personal loan altogether.

You can check your credit score for free. And each year, you have a chance to get a free credit report from Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. If you haven’t pulled yours in a while, now might be a good time to take a look.

As you review your report, it’s important to make sure that all of your account information is being reported properly. If you see a paid account that’s still showing a balance, for example, or a collection account you don’t recognize, you’ll need to dispute those items with the credit bureau that’s reporting the information.

4. Personal Loan Scams Are Common

As more and more lenders enter the personal loan arena, the opportunity for scammers to cash in on unsuspecting victims also increases. If you’re applying for a loan online, it’s best to be careful about who you give your personal information to.

Some of the signs that may indicate that a personal loan agreement is actually a scam include lenders who use overly pushy sales tactics to get you to commit or ask you to put up a deposit as a guarantee against the loan. If you come across a lender who doesn’t seem concerned about checking your credit or tells you they can give you a loan without doing any paperwork, those are big red flags that the lender may not be legit.

Related Article: How to Avoid Personal Loan Scams

5. Not Reading the Fine Print Could Cost You

Before you sign off on a personal loan, it’s best to take time to read over the details of the loan agreement. Something as simple as paying one date late could trigger a fee or cause a higher penalty rate to kick in, which would make the loan more expensive in the long run.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/DragonImages, ©iStock.com/Vikram Raghuvanshi, ©iStock.com/MachineHeadz

Rebecca Lake Rebecca Lake is a retirement, investing and estate planning expert who has been writing about personal finance for a decade. Her expertise in the finance niche also extends to home buying, credit cards, banking and small business. She’s worked directly with several major financial and insurance brands, including Citibank, Discover and AIG and her writing has appeared online at U.S. News and World Report, CreditCards.com and Investopedia. Rebecca is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and she also attended Charleston Southern University as a graduate student. Originally from central Virginia, she now lives on the North Carolina coast along with her two children.
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Source: smartasset.com

How To Retire At 50: 10 Easy Steps To Consider

Can you retire at 50? On average, people usually retire at 65. But what if you want to retire 15 years earlier than that like  at 50? Is it doable? Below are 10 easy steps to take to retire at 50.  Retiring early can be challenging. Therefore, SmartAsset’s free tool can match you with  a financial advisor who can help to work out and implement a retirement income strategy for you to maximize your money.

10 Easy & Simple Steps to Retire at 50:

1. How much you will need in retirement.

The first thing to consider is to determine how much you will need to retire at 50. This will vary depending on the lifestyle you want to have during retirement. If you desire a lavish one, you will certainly need a lot.

But according to a study by SmartAsset, 500k was found to be enough money to retire comfortably. But again that will depends on several factor.

For example, you will need to take into account where you want to live, the cost of living, how long you expect to live, etc.

Read: Can I Retire at 60 With 500k? Is It Enough?

A good way to know if 500k is possible to retire on is to consider the 4% rule. This rule is used to figure out how much a retiree should withdraw from his or her retirement account.

The 4% rule states that the money in your retirement savings account should last you through 30 years of retirement if you take out 4% of your retirement portfolio annually and then adjust each year thereafter for inflation.

So, if you plan on retiring at 50 with 500k for 30 years, using the 4% rule you will need to live on $20,000 a year. 

Again, this is just an estimation out there. You may need less or more depending on the factors mentioned above. For example, if you’re in good health and expect to live 40+ years after retiring at 50, $500,000 may not be enough to retire on. That’s why it’s crucial to work with a financial advisor.

2. Maximize your tax-advantaged retirement accounts.

Once you have an idea of how much you need in order to retire at 50, your next step is to save as much as possible at a faster rate. If you are employed and you have a 401k plan available to you, you should definitely participate in it. Nothing can grow your retirement savings account faster than a 401k account.

See: How to Become a 401k Millionaire.

That means, you will need to maximize your 401k contributions, for example. In 2020, and for people under 50, the 401k contribution limit is $19,500.  Also, take advantage of your company match if your employee offers a match.

In addition to the maximum contribution of $19,500, your employer also contributes. Sometimes, they match dollar for dollar or 50 cents for each dollar the worker pays in.

In addition to a 401k plan, open or maximize your Roth or traditional IRA. For an IRA, it is $6,000. So, by maximizing your retirement accounts every year, your money will grow faster.

3. Invest in mutual or index funds. Apart from your retirement accounts (401k, Roth or Traditional IRA, SEP IRA, etc), you should invest in individual stocks or preferably in mutual funds. 

4. Cut out unnecessary expenses.

Someone with the goal of retiring at 50 needs to keep an eye on their spending and keep them as low as possible. We all know the phrase, “the best way to save money is to spend less.”

Well, this is true when it comes to retiring 15 years early than the average.  So, if you don’t watch TV, cancel Netflix or cable TV. If your cell phone bill is high, change plans or switch to another carrier. Don’t go to lavish vacations.

5. Keep an eye on taxes.

Taxes can eat away your profit. The more you can save from taxes, the more money you will have. Retirement accounts are a good way to save on taxes. Besides your company 401k plan, open a Roth or Traditional IRA.

6. Make more money.

Spending less is a great way to save money. But increasing your income is even better. If you need to retire at 50, you’ll need to be more aggressive. And the more money you earn, the more you will be able to save. And the faster you can reach your early retirement goal.

7. Speak with a financial advisor

Consulting with a financial advisor can help you create a plan to. More specifically, a financial advisor specializing in retirement planning can help you achieve your goals of retiring at 50. They can help put in a place an investment strategy to put you in the right track to retire at 50. You can easily find one in your local area by using SmartAsset’s free tool. It matches users with financial advisors in just under 5 minutes.  

8. Decide how you will spend your time in retirement.

If you will spend a lot of time travelling during retirement, then make sure you do research. Some countries like the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Panama, the Philippines, and so many others are good places to travel to in retirement because the cost of living is relatively cheap.

While other countries in Europe can be very expensive to travel to, which can eat away your retirement money.  If you decide to downsize or sell your home, you can free up more money to spend.

9. Financing the first 10 years.

There is a penalty of 10% if you cash out your retirement accounts before you reach the age of 59 1/2. Therefore, if you retire at 50, you’ll need to use money in other accounts like traditional savings or brokerage accounts. 

10. Put your Bonus, Raise, & Tax Refunds towards your retirement savings. 

If retiring at 50 years old is really your goal, then you should put all extra money towards your retirement savings. That means, if you receive a raise at work, put some of it towards your savings account.

If you get a tax refund or a bonus, use some of that money towards your retirement savings account. They can add up quickly and make retiring at 50 more of a reality than a dream.

Retiring at 50: The Bottom Line: 

So can I retire at 50? Retiring at 50 is possible. However, it’s not easy. After all, you’re trying to grow more money in less time. So, it will be challenging and will involve years of sacrifices, years living below your means and making tough financial decisions. However, it will be worth it in the long run. 

Read More:

Speak with the Right Financial Advisor

You can talk to a financial advisor who can review your finances and help you reach your goals (whether it is making more money, paying off debt, investing, buying a house, planning to retire at 50, saving, etc). Find one who meets your needs with SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching service. You answer a few questions and they match you with up to three financial advisors in your area. So, if you want help developing a plan to reach your financial goals, get started now.

Source: growthrapidly.com

Top 5 Tips for Keeping Senior Care Costs Low

Top 5 Tips for Keeping Senior Care Costs Low – SmartAsset

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Caring for an aging parent or friend can be expensive. But when you know that someone needs assistance, it’s hard to avoid offering to help. While there’s nothing wrong with providing a relative or confidant with financial support, you don’t want to lose sight of your own financial goals. Here are five strategies that you can implement to keep senior care costs low.

Find out now: How much life insurance do I need?

1. Invest in Long-Term Care Insurance

As an extension of health, disability and life insurance, long-term care insurance provides coverage for nursing home care, home health care and other services that meet the daily needs of elderly individuals. While long-term care insurance isn’t cheap, purchasing it may be worth it if your older family member or friend can’t qualify for Medicare and doesn’t have enough savings.

It’s best (and more affordable) to sign up for long-term care insurance before chronic or debilitating conditions surface. Just be sure to read the fine print and compare benefit options before picking a policy for you or your loved one.

2. Make Your House Home-Care Ready

Installing a walk-in shower or stair lift when you’re healthy may seem crazy. But making your home more accessible may pay off, especially if it eliminates the need for you to move to a special facility when you grow older.

Some states and nonprofits offer loans and grants to help low-income elderly individuals make modifications to their homes. So that’s something to consider if you need help covering the cost of your renovations.

Related Article: Do Wealthy Investors Need Long-Term Care Insurance?

3. Look Into Government Programs

The federal government offers some programs that make senior expenses less expensive. For example, your loved ones can apply for traditional Medicare. If they need help covering additional costs, they can consider enrolling in a Medicare Advantage or Medigap plan.

Depending on your loved one’s situation, they may be eligible for Medicaid. They’ll have to meet certain financial qualifications. But if they qualify, Medicaid coverage can lower the cost of their healthcare.

4. Compare Care Options

If you need a professional to help care for your elderly relative, you may need to look beyond nursing homes and assisted living facilities. It’s a good idea to take the time to visit different adult care facilities and meet with independent caregivers, home care agencies and home health aides. That way, you can compare a range of costs and services.

Even if you have elderly family members who can live alone, they may need companionship. If you have a busy schedule, you may be able to find a virtual caregiver online who can support your older loved one.

Related Article: 4 Financial Emergencies That Could Derail Your Retirement

5. Claim as Many Tax Breaks as Possible

If you choose to take care of an aging parent or relative on your own, you’ll need to make sure you’re financially prepared to assume that responsibility. Fortunately, there are tax breaks for individuals who serve as caregivers. For example, you may qualify for the Child and Dependent Care Credit.

Final Word

Caring for an older family member can place a big strain on your budget. That’s why it’s important to make the most of any resources and programs that can lower the cost of senior care.

If you’re concerned about your ability to cover your own healthcare costs in the future, you’ll need to make saving for retirement a priority. And it doesn’t hurt to make an effort to stay healthy to reduce your chances of contracting a serious illness or disease.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/monkeybusinessimages, ©iStock.com/phillipspears, ©iStock.com/adamkaz

Liz Smith Liz Smith is a graduate of New York University and has been passionate about helping people make better financial decisions since her college days. Liz has been writing for SmartAsset for more than four years. Her areas of expertise include retirement, credit cards and savings. She also focuses on all money issues for millennials. Liz’s articles have been featured across the web, including on AOL Finance, Business Insider and WNBC. The biggest personal finance mistake she sees people making: not contributing to retirement early in their careers.
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Source: smartasset.com