Christmas for real estate investors: Naughty or nice list?

Real estate investors — Christmas time
by Brad Cartier, posted in Investment Strategy

Christmas is that special time of year to spend time with friends, family, and loved ones. Decorating the tree, hanging stockings and lights, and watching the Yule log burn while sipping eggnog are some of the nice holiday festivities that everyone looks forward to while waiting for Santa to come down the chimney.

But sometimes real estate investors—despite their best intentions—get caught up in bad habits that put them at the top of Santa’s naughty list. When that happens Santa’s sleigh never arrives, no gifts get put under the tree, and the tray of cookies and milk goes uneaten.

That’s because, we are told, Santa only visits real estate investors who are nice and have good investing habits. Here are seven naughty and nice habits that all real estate investors should consider this holiday season.

Santa doesn’t like real estate investors who procrastinate

At one time or another we’ve all been guilty of procrastination. After all, it’s much more fun to look for that off-market real estate deal than it is to do things like paperwork or routine maintenance.

But putting off until tomorrow what you can do today leads to big, expensive problems.

Clogged rain gutters create roof leaks and skipping routine furnace maintenance leads to cold unhappy tenants. Tax returns that aren’t filed on time generate late fees and a phone call from a friendly government official who’d like you to come by his office tomorrow morning for a quick chat.

Santa also puts people who are disorganized on his naughty list

Real estate investors who are disorganized end up at the top of Santa’s naughty list too. Even up at the North Pole, Santa and Mrs. Claus digitize and computerize as much as possible.

Let’s face it, in today’s age of computerization and cloud-based technology there’s no reason whatsoever to file paperwork by hand. Especially when there’s excellent free software available that helps real estate investors track and manage the performance of their real estate portfolios.

Tools like mobile scanning apps, cloud-based drives, and e-sign tools are all reasons that you have no excuse this season to be disorganized. Your Christmas gift depends on it!

Neglecting your team is naughty too

Christmas is the time of year to give thanks, especially to the team that helps keep your real estate business on track and get deals done. Even solo real estate investors who work alone have a team—whether they realize it or not.

The National Association of Realtors includes mentors, mortgage brokers, accountants, real estate agents and attorneys, appraiser and inspectors, and insurance agents as the key members of any real estate investing team. Everyone likes to be recognized every now and then, and Christmas time is the perfect time to reach out and say thank you!

The nice list: Real estate investors who set goals

Flying from the North Pole every year with a sleigh full of toys and eight tiny reindeer means planning ahead. Santa likes real estate investors that are just like him—people who know where they’re going and how they’re going to get there.

Real estate investing strategies such as fix-and-flip, buy-and-hold, or value-add investing all require different sets of goals and action steps. Making a million bucks isn’t the type of goal Santa likes. He likes specificity and actionable goals. On the other hand, creating $3,000 a month in cash flow so you can quit your day job is an actionable goal you can work towards.

Doing due diligence scores points with Santa too

Santa has the people at NORAD to help him with his flight-plan due diligence for Christmas Eve. Due diligence in real estate investing means doing all of your research and homework before the property is purchased and the real estate investment flight plan begins.

There’s always a certain amount of risk involved when buying real estate. Doing the right due diligence helps to minimize the risk and maximize the future reward.

Due diligence includes things like gathering market data, crunching the numbers, walking the property, reviewing the homeowners association financial statements, reading the title report, and researching the different options for financing and insurance.

Santa REALLY likes people who do more than just talk

Back in 1856 Abe Lincoln said that “actions speak louder than words”. More than 150 years later those words are truer than ever, especially when talking about investing in real estate.

The sad truth is that there are a lot of wannabe real estate investors who are all talk but no action. They read books on real estate and surf the web, they attend countless seminars, and they watch hundreds of hours of reality TV real estate investing shows.

But they never pull the trigger and buy a property. Imagine if Santa talked and talked about loading his sleigh with presents and flying around the world with his reindeer . . . but never left the North Pole? There’d be a lot of unhappy little girls and boys, and Mrs. Claus would get tired of having Mr. Claus around 365 days of the year!

The best way to learn about real estate investing is by actually doing it. Some people call this experiential real estate training – which means learning about real estate through the experience. Others simply think of it as ‘on the job training’.

Pick something big you want to accomplish in 2019 and start taking action today. It’s not too late to get on Santa’s nice list!

Technology can take you to the top of Santa’s nice list

Smart real estate investors use specialized real estate software systems to track property income and expenses, beginning with the very first property they buy. It’s much easier to do things correctly right from the start than to try and play catch up when it’s too late.

Modern real estate software, like Stessa’s real estate investing management software, provides several essential features that always let investors know how their properties are performing:

  • User-friendly reporting dashboards use real-time data to make it easy for investors to track key metrics like net cash flow and internal rate of return.
  • Machine learning helps investors organize property-related receipts in tax-ready categories by instantly reading and classifying them once uploaded via the mobile app.
  • Income and expense tracking is automated by consolidating and categorizing transactions from bank, loan, and property management accounts.
  • Bank-grade encryption security helps ensure that your financial data and details are safe and secure, and your private information stays private.

A good online real estate management software system provides investors with the transparency and efficiency they need to stay ahead in today’s competitive marketplace. . . and stay at the top of Santa’s nice list.

Naughty or nice? The choice is up to you

Real estate investors can get caught up in bad habits, sometimes without even realizing it.Bad real estate investing habits can cause positive property cash flow to quickly turn negative.

Tenant turnover and the length of time it takes to find new tenants increases. Small deferred maintenance items turn into big expensive problems at the worst possible time.

These seven simple things can make real estate investing more profitable, and give Santa a reason to move you from his naughty to nice list:

  • Don’t procrastinate and let small problems turn into big ones
  • Stay organized by having everything in one easy-to-reach place
  • Remember your team because small gestures go a long way
  • Goal setting is the #1 priority to reach your individual strategic objective
  • Due diligence is more than just scheduling a property inspection
  • More concrete action and less talk is the best way to make money in real estate
  • Leverage technology to stay competitive and profitable

Taking a little time off over the holiday season is the perfect time to sit back, reflect on 2018, and decide what kind of real estate investor you’re going to be in the New Year. Have a safe and happy holiday season from the entire Stessa team!