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jeff_eaglz

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NOTE:

1. I've since been added to the FBG Staff since this thread started. Jeff Pasquino is my new handle on the boards.

Some of you know me, but I'm sure many don't.

I'm a real estate investor based in Maryland, but I have nothing to sell to you so let's get that out of the way right now.

I've seen a few threads about real estate, buying / selling houses, so I thought I'd put this together to see if I can help anyone in any way.

Of course, if you're local to the area we may even talk a little more about what I do and how I help people with issues regarding what for most is the biggest purchase of their lives, but I'm here predominantly because:

1. I'm a FBG - and helping other FBGs is what this is all about.

2. I'm considered an expert, not sure how that happened, but I guess 9 years in the investing biz will do that for you. I don't pretend to have every / all answers, but I can certainly put you on the right track.

3. A general service / FAQ thread for the topic.

The thread will address buying your own home, selling one, a second home / vacation spot, or investing in real estate in general. Residential and commercial topics are fair game.

Let me know if you have any questions, I'll check this thread a few times a week if not more.

NOTE:

1. I've since been added to the FBG Staff since this thread started. Jeff Pasquino is my new handle on the boards.

2. Many regulars are on this thread and they provide some great advice. Mike Anderson, BassNBrew, proninja amongst others. It should go without saying, but in this litigious world we live in, we have no choice but to say that anything we state in this thread should be taken as "food for thought" but not legal or business advice. You should consult a specific expert (lawyer, accountant, tax planner, etc.) for most every decision.

3. Mike and I are on Staff here. All of our comments are as "regular guys" and are not made with the endorsement of FBG Staff. We are speaking on our own accord, FWIW.

Starting of an index:

National Real Estate Club Listings (National REIA)

National Real Estate Club Listings (CRE Online)

Edited by Jeff Pasquino

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I want to know where in the greater Philadelphia area (PA side, not in the city) is a good place to buy low right now and see good appreciation over the next 10 years.

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I want to know where in the greater Philadelphia area (PA side, not in the city) is a good place to buy low right now and see good appreciation over the next 10 years.

Allentown area.

Condos are going up right now along the river.

Can still get a nice house for about $300K.

Family just moved to that area.

They're converting the downtown area to an attraction center - symphony, art, etc. Also posturing the location as an easy commute to NYC - 90 minute train ride I believe. That's pretty good for Manhattan.

Hope that helps.

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I want to know where in the greater Philadelphia area (PA side, not in the city) is a good place to buy low right now and see good appreciation over the next 10 years.

Allentown area.

Condos are going up right now along the river.

Can still get a nice house for about $300K.

Family just moved to that area.

They're converting the downtown area to an attraction center - symphony, art, etc. Also posturing the location as an easy commute to NYC - 90 minute train ride I believe. That's pretty good for Manhattan.

Hope that helps.

I do think that just outside Allentown is a good buy. One big developer is trying to put up tons of townhouses which will be like $200K or so. In the city, ehhh. It's filled with criminals and the administration is a joke.

Do you know anything about Souderton or Red Hill? They look like they have good townhouse prices for that general area.

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Guest Cunning Linguist

Is it common practice for the seller and agent to enter into a six month contract in which the seller can only employ said agent to sell a property?

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One of my friends has been doing very well just by buying lots in high end golf and ski communities. Never builds, holds the land for several years and then sells. I've thought about this myself. Obviously have to have cash and be able to get no return for awhile. Thoughts?

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I want to know where in the greater Philadelphia area (PA side, not in the city) is a good place to buy low right now and see good appreciation over the next 10 years.

Allentown area.

Condos are going up right now along the river.

Can still get a nice house for about $300K.

Family just moved to that area.

They're converting the downtown area to an attraction center - symphony, art, etc. Also posturing the location as an easy commute to NYC - 90 minute train ride I believe. That's pretty good for Manhattan.

Hope that helps.

I do think that just outside Allentown is a good buy. One big developer is trying to put up tons of townhouses which will be like $200K or so. In the city, ehhh. It's filled with criminals and the administration is a joke.

Do you know anything about Souderton or Red Hill? They look like they have good townhouse prices for that general area.

Geographically I can speak generally, but not to neighborhoods. Sorry. I just happened to know some of the Allentown market.

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Is it common practice for the seller and agent to enter into a six month contract in which the seller can only employ said agent to sell a property?

6 months is a long time. Short answer is 3 or less is more typical. Even then you should have an "out" - that is, if you find one on your own then you don't owe them.

As an investor, I flat out tell the agent (if I'm even dealing with one) that if you make the deal happen, its yours. Otherwise don't waste my time. However I'm dealing from strength - I buy and sell houses in far greater volume in just a few months than most anyone does in a lifetime.

I sell my "retail" homes using a broker, and they get 60 days to get it done. Really. If you can't sell a house that is brand new in 60 days, you're pretty bad as a realtor.

On the buy side, I almost always only talk to a listing realtor (the one on the sign / MLS listing) for that house. That way they get the full commission (and I watch the $$ go off in their heads) and they virtually work for me as they get paid twice as much as if I brought in a buyer broker.

I bring in my own realtor on big / commercial deals.

There are tons of realtors and they are all competing. I believe they have their place and earn their money if they do what they should. The ones that just chase listings are pretty worthless ("I'll list your property on the MLS" and then that's about all they do).

As with any industry, some good, some bad, some great, some awful, most middle of the road.

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One of my friends has been doing very well just by buying lots in high end golf and ski communities. Never builds, holds the land for several years and then sells. I've thought about this myself. Obviously have to have cash and be able to get no return for awhile. Thoughts?

That's been a popular strategy (buy land / resort properties) over the past few years. But that's the past. May not work in 2006 or '07. Remember the common disclaimer "Past performance may not be indicative of future results."

How long is several years?

Figure out his return and his costs to figure out how much $$ he's really making. He may be blowing a bit of smoke OR not really know what it costs to do this.

Example:

I buy a $100,000 piece of land and hold it for 4 years. I sell it for $200,000. I made 100% profit, right?

Well, what were your costs over that time? Did you have to mortgage it? If so, you probably paid about $700 a month (assuming you had all 100K on a loan, say home equity against your house or something). That's $8400 a year.

Taxes? Usually pretty high as a percentage of raw land. $2000 guess here.

Now this example has $10,400 of $$ sunk into the property every year. That's $41,600 over 4 years. Sure the loan of 100K has gone down - maybe around 2K.

Let's round things off to $40K spent.

Now you made $60K (200K sale - 100K buy - 40K holding cost). Simple math (not compounding) shows you made 15% profit a year. Pretty good, but not nearly the 100K you might have thought you made. (Compound interest would actually put you at closer to 12.5% a year).

Other math can be used to look at it if you had to sink cash into the property to buy it (down payment).

It isn't the fastest way to make $$, but it does do reasonably well with people in a "buy a 2nd home / vacation" climate, which was 2001-2005.

The South and Arizona would be better suited to this type of speculation, but only in certain areas. I believe Florida is pretty well spent out ($1M+ condos in Miami for example). The biggest craze down there was a "buy pre-construction and sell before you close" strategy, but that's not panning out nearly as much any more.

Real estate will cool a bit this year (2006), but it is all relative. Going from WHITE hot to RED hot is cooling, yet still pretty hot.

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Thanks for doing this! I've never owned RE.-Do physical structures ever appreciate at a rate higher than building costs inflation? -Am I right in thinking that the land component of RE is the true driver of long-term RE value (insintric value?)?-You often hear the saying, "buy the worst house on the best block". Is this solid thinking?-Generally, do you think that combining contingent lots is a solid way to create value? ie, buying two tear-me-downs that are next to each other and building a house that now sits on a lot much larger than its neighbors. TIA

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Thanks for doing this! I've never owned RE.

Just saw a demand for it and thought I'd help if I can.

-Do physical structures ever appreciate at a rate higher than building costs inflation?

-Am I right in thinking that the land component of RE is the true driver of long-term RE value (insintric value?)?

Excellent questions.

It is pretty much understood that the "dirt" holds most of the value. That's why you're allowed to depreciate the building (and its components) but never the land itself. As Mark Twain said, "buy land. they're not making any more."

Now the question is one of time. Land always appreciates over the long haul (just like they say the stock market on average goes up year over year). Fluctuations occur along the way, but the general trend is upwards.

However, if that was always true, then no one would ever build. The reason people build on the land is to recapture that value in a shorter timeframe and maximize the return on that land. Building a house, office space, warehouse, hotel or casino - they are all making money by taking advantage of the land. "Location location location" comes from just that. Ray Krok (founder of McDonalds) often stated that he was making money on the land (the locations of the McDonalds) than on the selling of food.

So - long story short - you can recapture the value from the dirt faster by building in a short period (relatively, can be under a year to 10 years), but yes desirable locations and supply / demand weigh in the long term (5 to 10 years or longer).

Supply / demand factors explain why Manhattan real estate is very expensive (as are most cities with limited land, like SF), but wide open country like Wyoming or Nebraska has cheap land that is unlikely to appreciate very quickly.

-You often hear the saying, "buy the worst house on the best block". Is this solid thinking?

That's a very good way to go. You now have a "closed market", where you know what a rehab (rehabilitation property) will be worth.

Example - you buy a "fixer upper" for $50,000 and the neighborhood has houses that are younger and bigger that sell for $200,000. The neighbors hate that old eyesore. So you buy it, put $75,000 into building either something new or rehabbing the existing home, and you know you'll get $200K.

The strategy still works with any house under the average / upper end of the neighborhood. Even cosmetics (landscaping, paint, etc.) can add huge value. Curb appeal.

-Generally, do you think that combining contingent lots is a solid way to create value? ie, buying two tear-me-downs that are next to each other and building a house that now sits on a lot much larger than its neighbors.

TIA

Yes.

But be careful not to over extend your resources (labor, time, money). You never want to have a house half done and have to sell it, let alone two.

However - having 2 (or more) houses can be very lucrative, even if you are driving the price of the neighborhood up.

Here is what you can do.

Fix up a few townhouses (rowhomes in some areas) to all look similar. Sell the first one with owner financing to get top top top dollar. (Get an honest appraisal, but get maxed value).

Now when you sell the next one, you have your very own comp (comparable property) for appraisers to use. If anyone gives any grief, you can say "that one right next door sold for this" and they have to respect that number.

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How did you finance your first investment property? Please give all details.

Interesting story. I did "creative financing" and I wasn't sure what I was even doing.

I bought a townhouse from someone who was tired of being a landlord. He sold it for appraised value and we put a new first mortgage for 90% of the appraisal on the property in my name.

He held a second mortgage for the last 10%.

He even paid the closing costs.

Since I was approved for the mortgage on the rental property, I did my first property "no money down". Pretty cool.

ETA details:

1998.

Price was $46,000.

Bank of America gave me a $41,400 mortgage with the seller holding a second mortage for $4,600.

Seller agreed to pay the closing costs and was happy to get the $38-39K that was left after all was said and done.

I just had to make the payments, about $400 a month, with a renter in place for about $650 a month. That gave me a cushion for taxes and insurance and a small monthly cash flow.

Edited by jeff_eaglz

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gf and i are prepping our house to sell.proper area is 720 square feet. we've fixed it up quite a bit (new bathroom, new kitchen).should we finish the basement (adding another 250 sq feet) or just leave it be? some people have told us to finish it so that prospective young couples/young people who might buy it will have a space for their kids to play/space to entertain. others have said it's a waste of time and money.. that we should just leave it as is and let others decide if they want to do anything with it.would it be a waste of $1500 to finish the space? or would we get the money back out of it?

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Is it common practice for the seller and agent to enter into a six month contract in which the seller can only employ said agent to sell a property?

In FL we are a transaction broker state. When I go after a listing I weigh the value of the house to the seller's perception of the value. If the seller is thinking too high and I know it will be a longshot to sell it I won't pursue the listing.

Why? Because I am footing the bill for the advertising while it is on the market. If it does not sell then I am screwed. I don't like that.

If it is reasonably priced then I will sell it. I have an advantage over other agents in my area because I was a web developer well before I was a RE agent, the combination is lethal to my competition. Hell, most agents in my offices struggle to even send an email. My marketing plan is centered around online presence. I market globally and go after high dollar listings.

When I enter into an exclusive right of sale listing I also include a clause that the seller can fire me at any time as long as he provides the reason in writing and gives me 10 days to rectify. Incidentally, I have never been fired.

Disclaimer- I am a FL licensed REALTOR®

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How do you find property at a discount?

That's a big question and can be answered a ton of ways.

I'll give a few.

1. Ads in the paper saying that you'll buy houses quickly for cash, any condition.

2. "We buy houses" signs.

3. Contacts at local real estate investor clubs. Some investors are looking to "wholesale" properties to other investors, taking a few $$ off the top.

Example: I find a property that is worth 200K and needs 70K of work. Since I can buy it for dirt cheap, say 30K, I can sell it to another investor at a number that still works for him and walk with a quick profit.

4. Foreclosure listings.

5. Vacant properties (find the owner).

6. Rent court - tired landlords.

There are lots of ways. I'll find a link for a good article for that in a bit.

Finding deals is probably the second hardest part of the task right now (the first is managing contractors). Third would be $$, but if 1 and 2 are good, the $$ can usually be found.

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Is it common practice for the seller and agent to enter into a six month contract in which the seller can only employ said agent to sell a property?

In FL we are a transaction broker state. When I go after a listing I weigh the value of the house to the seller's perception of the value. If the seller is thinking too high and I know it will be a longshot to sell it I won't pursue the listing.

Why? Because I am footing the bill for the advertising while it is on the market. If it does not sell then I am screwed. I don't like that.

If it is reasonably priced then I will sell it. I have an advantage over other agents in my area because I was a web developer well before I was a RE agent, the combination is lethal to my competition. Hell, most agents in my offices struggle to even send an email. My marketing plan is centered around online presence. I market globally and go after high dollar listings.

When I enter into an exclusive right of sale listing I also include a clause that the seller can fire me at any time as long as he provides the reason in writing and gives me 10 days to rectify. Incidentally, I have never been fired.

Disclaimer- I am a FL licensed REALTOR®

Thanks for the added comments. Good to find the good realtors.

And I'll support the lack of technical knowledge from many of them. Realtors often learn how to buy and sell real estate one, and only one, way. Try and get them to think out of the box and many will run. The good ones don't.

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gf and i are prepping our house to sell.

proper area is 720 square feet. we've fixed it up quite a bit (new bathroom, new kitchen).

should we finish the basement (adding another 250 sq feet) or just leave it be?

some people have told us to finish it so that prospective young couples/young people who might buy it will have a space for their kids to play/space to entertain.

others have said it's a waste of time and money.. that we should just leave it as is and let others decide if they want to do anything with it.

would it be a waste of $1500 to finish the space? or would we get the money back out of it?

I don't know where you are, but the answer would actually come best from a realtor or, better yet, a home appraiser. If you plan to list it with a realtor, have them come out and ask them how to "prep" the house for sale and then pose the basement question to them. They should be able to give you a guesstimate of what amount of $$ you'd get for the house with or without the basement done.

If you plan to sell it yourself (for sale by owner - FSBO), then an appraiser makes way more sense. Buy an appraisal and have it ready for your end buyer when you put the place on the market. That way, they see that you "did your homework" and know what the place is worth. Again, the home appraiser will tell you if the basement project would make sense or not.

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For those of you who want to find a local real estate group, here is a national listing.

National Groups

A good group will offer a meeting for about $10-25 once a month to start to learn.

Bring a notebook and plan on being there a few hours.

Good clubs cost about $100-250 a year, which (should) really only go to keeping up the costs of the meeting (renting a room, paperwork, speakers, etc).

Go with the goal of meeting someone with experience at the club - half the meeting will likely be new people, which is interesting to a point, but won't further your knowledge of how to get into real estate.

Find an investor who's willing to show you the ropes for some barter exchange. You may "bird dog" - find properties for him, and then learn how to do that for other investors, or you may be ready to buy one and fix it up but don't have $$ , credit and / or experience to do the project. Partner with someone with experience and you'll make both $$ and experience for the next time and you can run solo (and teach others who will then partner with you as you become the "expert").

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gf and i are prepping our house to sell.

proper area is 720 square feet.  we've fixed it up quite a bit (new bathroom, new kitchen).

should we finish the basement (adding another 250 sq feet) or just leave it be?

some people have told us to finish it so that prospective young couples/young people who might buy it will have a space for their kids to play/space to entertain.

others have said it's a waste of time and money.. that we should just leave it as is and let others decide if they want to do anything with it.

would it be a waste of $1500 to finish the space?  or would we get the money back out of it?

I don't know where you are, but the answer would actually come best from a realtor or, better yet, a home appraiser. If you plan to list it with a realtor, have them come out and ask them how to "prep" the house for sale and then pose the basement question to them. They should be able to give you a guesstimate of what amount of $$ you'd get for the house with or without the basement done.

If you plan to sell it yourself (for sale by owner - FSBO), then an appraiser makes way more sense. Buy an appraisal and have it ready for your end buyer when you put the place on the market. That way, they see that you "did your homework" and know what the place is worth. Again, the home appraiser will tell you if the basement project would make sense or not.

it's going to be FSBO. we're in Wisconsin.

i wasn't there when the appraiser came through so i didn't get a chance to ask any questions.. gf took care of that part. we're waiting on his "report".

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I don't want to make this thread solely about investing, but if you want to learn I'll provide some info. Just be careful - this is not exactly the best time for a rookie to jump in. The 2006 market will likely not resemble 2004 or 2005, so if you had a friend that did this and made $$, the same thing in 2006 or 07 may not work.

Now:

Regarding a place to learn / read / how to learn the ropes.

There are three good sites I can recommend. I know the people behind the sites from meeting them personally, but get nothing from leading you here.

Yes there are things for sale there (don't buy anything without asking for other investors' opinions). Everyone is in sales. But they both have a lot of free info that is extremely worthwhile.

Bill Bronchick - Legalwiz

Bill runs the Denver real estate club is a very sharp guy. Attorney and investor and pretty young to boot. Met him a few years ago when I met these guys:

CRE Online

That stands for Creative Real Estate Online.

Good bunch of folks, and a reasonable representation from across the US (and other areas, I believe).

Lastly, there is one more I'll highlight:

Flipping Homes

Steve Cook is a good guy who's a Marylander like myself. I think he's nationally known.

Again, no affiliation, just here as a service.

Do yourself a favor though - don't get lost in the weeds by reading forever and never actually trying to implement what you read. The best way to learn is to do.

Your best info will come from other local investors. They will know the market and the contacts you need (money, contractors, wholesalers, bird dogs, etc.). Real estate is a rather local business.

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I'm actually looking to put a place on the market in the next few weeks...seriously considering FSBO...I have a good RE lawyer to work with...what other things should I be considering?

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Another question that has been discussed at length around here:

What do you think about the average Joe selling his home FSBO?

No harm in trying it, but be sure to price it right. Too high and you'll drive potential buyers away, too low and you'll cost yourself $$.

Check out realtor.com or other local prices in the neighborhood. Closer is better. Similar is better (bedrooms, garages, etc.).

Get an appraisal and try it. Spring is a good time to sell.

If things don't work out then you can always list it.

Also - if you want to get on the MLS, try an online company to do just that. Google "MLS" and your state along with "FSBO" and you'll likely find someone. It costs about $500, so if your house is worth $100K or more it makes sense.

Also if you advertise on the MLS - say that you'll pay for buyer brokers. When a buyer and a seller both have realtors, the seller gives the agents commission and the two brokers split it (usually 3% each, but can vary 1-2%).

Keep in mind if you are busy people it may not be worth the hassle.

If you try it, do:

1. Clean the house of clutter. Makes the place look big.

2. Advertise. Flyers, word of mouth, newspaper. All works.

3. Network - your neighbors may love the neighborhood and have friends / relatives that would love to live nearby. That is a GREAT method.

4. Open house - keep it short and sweet. 1 hour. Sat or Sun afternoon - most are on Sun, so Sat may be better for traffic. Also more people are there looking interested all at once, making all buyers wonder if there will be competition.

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Earlier you mentioned buying a fixer upper for $50,000 in a neighborhood selling houses for $200,000. I don't think that will ever happen. The land alone is worth more than that. Here in Mass. people will buy a fixer upper for $300,000+ and TEAR IT DOWN and build a new house. But if anyone can get a fixer upper for 50,000 in a neigborhhod selling at 200,000- hurry up and do it.Also, good advice on selling by owner. We did that. Had an open house on a Sunday from 1-4. Had over 50 people and 5 offers. Pricing it right is the key. Overpricing and people will feel you are trying to rip them off and won't come back.

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For those of you who want to find a local real estate group, here is a national listing.

National Groups

A good group will offer a meeting for about $10-25 once a month to start to learn.

Bring a notebook and plan on being there a few hours.

Good clubs cost about $100-250 a year, which (should) really only go to keeping up the costs of the meeting (renting a room, paperwork, speakers, etc).

Go with the goal of meeting someone with experience at the club - half the meeting will likely be new people, which is interesting to a point, but won't further your knowledge of how to get into real estate.

Find an investor who's willing to show you the ropes for some barter exchange. You may "bird dog" - find properties for him, and then learn how to do that for other investors, or you may be ready to buy one and fix it up but don't have $$ , credit and / or experience to do the project. Partner with someone with experience and you'll make both $$ and experience for the next time and you can run solo (and teach others who will then partner with you as you become the "expert").

Be careful with REIA franchises, anybody can get one. I'm sure there are good ones but I have encountered "shady" ones. In my area I met a new REIA franchisee at a Chamber ribbon cutting for their coming out party. They offered me a free membership (which I accepted) and free attendance to their seminars which included continuing education credits for RE pros. Hey, I couldn't beat that - I got 6 hours for attending a 3 hour seminar that would normally cost me $100s. I also spread the word to 75 other agents in my company and about half attended.

We are all still waiting for our credits, the second speaker did not even show and the REIA franchise owners were more interested in collecting a $10 entree fee.

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Question about mortgages: If you don't have a 20% down payment, is it common for mortgage companies to require PMI until you have paid 20% of the house off? If so, is it cheaper to take a second loan to supplement the down payment upfront?

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:blackdot: I live in MD in the DC area. I work at the Pentagon though and will probably be working in and around that building the rest of my career.What area would you say has the most potential to grow over the next 5-10 years near the Pentagon? And why.

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Earlier you mentioned buying a fixer upper for $50,000 in a neighborhood selling houses for $200,000. I don't think that will ever happen. The land alone is worth more than that. Here in Mass. people will buy a fixer upper for $300,000+ and TEAR IT DOWN and build a new house. But if anyone can get a fixer upper for 50,000 in a neigborhhod selling at 200,000- hurry up and do it.

Also, good advice on selling by owner. We did that. Had an open house on a Sunday from 1-4. Had over 50 people and 5 offers. Pricing it right is the key. Overpricing and people will feel you are trying to rip them off and won't come back.

For the record, I just bought a duplex in Maryland for $55K in November. Needs $70K of work.

After repair value is $200K+.

Happens all the time.

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:blackdot:

I live in MD in the DC area. I work at the Pentagon though and will probably be working in and around that building the rest of my career.

What area would you say has the most potential to grow over the next 5-10 years near the Pentagon? And why.

I grew up in northern Virginia and my family is in the building supply business there.

The only two places around the Pentagon that haven't already fully grown out are Prince Georges County and Fairfax County south of Alexandria. More accurately, those are the only two places that haven't already gone high-end. With the military base closing and realignment thing that's coming up, the area around Fort Belvoir (southern Fairfax County) is going to explode. It's still pretty scuzzy right now, though, so maybe you can get something relatively cheap in there.

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Earlier you mentioned buying a fixer upper for $50,000 in a neighborhood selling houses for $200,000.  I don't think that will ever happen.  The land alone is worth more than that.  Here in Mass. people will buy a fixer upper for $300,000+ and TEAR IT DOWN and build a new house.  But if anyone can get a fixer upper for 50,000 in a neigborhhod selling at 200,000- hurry up and do it.

Also, good advice on selling by owner.  We did that.  Had an open house on a Sunday from 1-4.  Had over 50 people and 5 offers.  Pricing it right is the key.  Overpricing and people will feel you are trying to rip them off and won't come back.

For the record, I just bought a duplex in Maryland for $55K in November. Needs $70K of work.

After repair value is $200K+.

Happens all the time.

Where in MD?

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Be careful with REIA franchises, anybody can get one. I'm sure there are good ones but I have encountered "shady" ones. In my area I met a new REIA franchisee at a Chamber ribbon cutting for their coming out party. They offered me a free membership (which I accepted) and free attendance to their seminars which included continuing education credits for RE pros. Hey, I couldn't beat that - I got 6 hours for attending a 3 hour seminar that would normally cost me $100s. I also spread the word to 75 other agents in my company and about half attended.

We are all still waiting for our credits, the second speaker did not even show and the REIA franchise owners were more interested in collecting a $10 entree fee.

I honestly don't know what credits you're talking about. I know of the Professional Housing Provider (PHP) Program, but that requires taking classes.

Frankly a $10 entree fee is hardly worth chasing (from the guy who loses $10 OR the guy scamming for $10).

Let me know if you have more details about these "credits".

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Earlier you mentioned buying a fixer upper for $50,000 in a neighborhood selling houses for $200,000. I don't think that will ever happen. The land alone is worth more than that. Here in Mass. people will buy a fixer upper for $300,000+ and TEAR IT DOWN and build a new house. But if anyone can get a fixer upper for 50,000 in a neigborhhod selling at 200,000- hurry up and do it.

Also, good advice on selling by owner. We did that. Had an open house on a Sunday from 1-4. Had over 50 people and 5 offers. Pricing it right is the key. Overpricing and people will feel you are trying to rip them off and won't come back.

For the record, I just bought a duplex in Maryland for $55K in November. Needs $70K of work.

After repair value is $200K+.

Happens all the time.

:yes:

Mostly because a good portion of people don't know it's there or don't want to have to deal with the contractors to get the work done. Being your own GC is about the world's biggest pain in the butt, even more so if you're new at it and the subs know it.

I only GC easy jobs. Sure you pay more, but I make more $$ negotiating / finding new deals.

Time really does equal $$.

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Earlier you mentioned buying a fixer upper for $50,000 in a neighborhood selling houses for $200,000. I don't think that will ever happen. The land alone is worth more than that. Here in Mass. people will buy a fixer upper for $300,000+ and TEAR IT DOWN and build a new house. But if anyone can get a fixer upper for 50,000 in a neigborhhod selling at 200,000- hurry up and do it.

Also, good advice on selling by owner. We did that. Had an open house on a Sunday from 1-4. Had over 50 people and 5 offers. Pricing it right is the key. Overpricing and people will feel you are trying to rip them off and won't come back.

For the record, I just bought a duplex in Maryland for $55K in November. Needs $70K of work.

After repair value is $200K+.

Happens all the time.

Where in MD?

Washington county.

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:blackdot:

I live in MD in the DC area. I work at the Pentagon though and will probably be working in and around that building the rest of my career.

What area would you say has the most potential to grow over the next 5-10 years near the Pentagon? And why.

I grew up in northern Virginia and my family is in the building supply business there.

The only two places around the Pentagon that haven't already fully grown out are Prince Georges County and Fairfax County south of Alexandria. More accurately, those are the only two places that haven't already gone high-end. With the military base closing and realignment thing that's coming up, the area around Fort Belvoir (southern Fairfax County) is going to explode. It's still pretty scuzzy right now, though, so maybe you can get something relatively cheap in there.

Not bad options. I usually don't go "over the bridge", as Maryland keeps me pretty busy.

Lots of development going on Westward of the DC area.

I'm actually starting to look at WV out 50 towards Winchester. That's the next boomer market (and if MARC goes out that way - watch out). Taxes are 1/2 of Maryland as well (to live in WV). Hopefully the stigma of living in WV doesn't bother you :) .

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:blackdot:

I live in MD in the DC area. I work at the Pentagon though and will probably be working in and around that building the rest of my career.

What area would you say has the most potential to grow over the next 5-10 years near the Pentagon? And why.

I grew up in northern Virginia and my family is in the building supply business there.

The only two places around the Pentagon that haven't already fully grown out are Prince Georges County and Fairfax County south of Alexandria. More accurately, those are the only two places that haven't already gone high-end. With the military base closing and realignment thing that's coming up, the area around Fort Belvoir (southern Fairfax County) is going to explode. It's still pretty scuzzy right now, though, so maybe you can get something relatively cheap in there.

Prince Georges county outside the beltway has taken off in the last 5 years or so... partially fueled by the insane growth in NoVA. I lived in PG for 42 yrs... no way I'd pay what the market is fetching until they fix the school system.

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What are your feelings on modular homes? Do you feel that they've caught up too and surpassed site built homes in quality? I often hear this, but usually from the mouths of the biased.

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What are your feelings on modular homes?  Do you feel that they've caught up too and surpassed site built homes in quality?  I often hear this, but usually from the mouths of the biased.

Good question. . .I really like the idea of a home without contractors.

Some are required though. For the foundation and hookups.

It is definitely significantly less expensive to purchase a modular home and a piece of land, than to purchase a home that is already built on a comprable piece of land. Like 6 figures of less expensive.

I know you can go through a modular contractor and not worry about any of the details at all, but I don't know if that is similarly inexpensive as if you were your own GC.

This is something that I've contemplated for the past 9 months. Its tough to find an unbiased source though.

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any info on real estate in New Mexico. My father-in-law is a real estate developer in Ireland and has had somer luck in FL and now he said he is driving to NM to look at land there (he mostly builds in golf course communities or multi-dwellings in college towns.

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:blackdot: Good stuff.. I'm waiting for permits to GC our home renovations and we have a few investments but, still need to learn a ton.Can I ask - On the GC side, are there any real bargain places to get Windows, Doors, tile, lumber etc or do you just shop at locally and get the best price? I'd love go to a web site and order a bunch of Anderson windows at a deep discount - as I'm sure everyone would.

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Be careful with REIA franchises, anybody can get one. I'm sure there are good ones but I have encountered "shady" ones. In my area I met a new REIA franchisee at a Chamber ribbon cutting for their coming out party. They offered me a free membership (which I accepted) and free attendance to their seminars which included continuing education credits for RE pros. Hey, I couldn't beat that - I got 6 hours for attending a 3 hour seminar that would normally cost me $100s. I also spread the word to 75 other agents in my company and about half attended.

We are all still waiting for our credits, the second speaker did not even show and the REIA franchise owners were more interested in collecting a $10 entree fee.

I honestly don't know what credits you're talking about. I know of the Professional Housing Provider (PHP) Program, but that requires taking classes.

Frankly a $10 entree fee is hardly worth chasing (from the guy who loses $10 OR the guy scamming for $10).

Let me know if you have more details about these "credits".

In the state of FL a RE licensee must take continuing ed of 14 accredited hours and a 45 hour post licensing class within your 2 year period of licensing.

The REIA I mentioned above offered a seminar put on by an accredited post ed instructor on landlording. It was worth 6 hours of continuing ed. The REIA marketed to agents to get them to come to the seminar and charged $20 for entree, they offered my company a discount of $10 because we have so many agents and I was the point man who spread the word within my company.

I've heard good things about the REIA franchise in Tampa, which has over 1000 members. I'm just saying beware because anyone can get an REIA franchise...

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If anyone is selling their home soon and want a quick and somewhat easy way to increase the value, I recommend putting in ceramic tile. It's an old saying that the kitchen sells the home, and this is a great way to remodle the kitchen at a somewhat low price. I did mine last week. It took me a total of about 15-20 hours of work and cost about $300 for tile, tools, supplies etc.(10x10) I had never done tiling before, but it's pretty simple. I attended a 30min seminar at Home Depot and was on my way. I'm guessing for the $300 investment(plus labor), I increased my home value a couple k.

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If anyone is selling their home soon and want a quick and somewhat easy way to increase the value, I recommend putting in ceramic tile. It's an old saying that the kitchen sells the home, and this is a great way to remodle the kitchen at a somewhat low price.

I did mine last week. It took me a total of about 15-20 hours of work and cost about $300 for tile, tools, supplies etc.(10x10) I had never done tiling before, but it's pretty simple. I attended a 30min seminar at Home Depot and was on my way. I'm guessing for the $300 investment(plus labor), I increased my home value a couple k.

I am building right now and I am thinking of doing this myself. I have already purchased many of the tiles. How hard could it be?

Could you give me a quick overview of the process.

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