What I Learned About Real Estate Investing Today: Be Patient

by Scott on March 16, 2009

Appetizing young condos for sale
photo credit: allaboutgeorge

This week I’ve been researching real estate in our local area trying to find an opportunity for an investment property. Three condos caught my attention as they were priced aggressively and were all under $100,000. I utilize Zip Realty and have a search setup to scour a 5 mile radius from my home for condos or town homes. Ideally, it would be great to find a single family home but the prices are out of range for an investment property. My goal is to find a property that can generate positive cash flow and also have the potential to increase in value. Every since I purchased my first home, I’ve had a dream of investing in an investment property that could provide passive income for my family. Real estate investments have the opportunity to earn passive income through rent paid by the tenant. Once the property has been purchased, the income derived from the property is mainly passive. My plan is to manage the property myself, so I do anticipate handling any repairs or tenant questions.

I met with a friend who is a local Realtor and we discussed investment properties and what to keep in mind when looking at a property. Much of the meeting was a sobering reminder of the current economic climate facing the real estate market today. He reminded me to be patient and not to get frustrated with banks, as the buying process can last for months. The property we looked at today, he explained, could take up to 5 months to close because it’s a short sale. He was going to contact the sellers agent to find out if it was a bank approved short sale. If not, it could take months. The property was listed at over 50% off it’s purchase price from 2003 and the bank might not want to budge on the price.

The condo has only been on the market for 6 days, and my Realtor expects that it might have several offers already on the table. I was surprised when he said that so calmly, as I thought the real estate market was soft in our area. He explained that the market for high end properties is soft, but very aggressive for single family homes and condos right now. Again, he told me to be patient and prepare to wait it out. The selling agent might have also priced the condo below market value to encourage multiple bids. I thought, wasn’t this the same tactic used during the real estate boom? Why not price a property at what the bank would approve? It seems that if a seller doesn’t get a banks pre-approval, the buying process will only become more complicated.

Just as with any other investment, have a walk away price. My friend told me not to get emotional amid the potential bidding frenzy and to stay focused. Plenty of properties will be coming up over the next few months and this condo isn’t the only potential deal. I’m sure glad my buddy is conservative as well. He explained, even if we bid on the condo, the bank could take several weeks or months to review the offers.

What about a normal condo sale? Actually, it’s difficult to find a condo in our area that is not a foreclosure or short sale. Maybe sellers are waiting to see if the market rebounds before trying to sell. I would like to look at other condos in our area, but have to do more research on HOA and neighborhoods first. I would like to find a condo near our home so that it makes the research much easier, as I know how to market the schools and shopping opportunities. Although, I might also find some better deals further out.

It’s has been an interesting week, and I’m anxious and excited to learn as much as possible about investment properties. Have you started looking at investment property recently? If you purchased a short sale, how long did it take?

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ray March 16, 2009 at 7:41 am

We found a great rental property that had been offered thru hud. It took a long time to buy it, even with an all cash offer. We had to go thru a blind bidding process and eventually “won” the optionto buy the house. It took almost 60 days to get closed after being the winner, even though we had no financing loopholes to get thru. Be sure to get inspections prior to making the bid. We have looked at many properties since, and most of the foreclosuresneed repair. Happy hunting..

2 NeoTechie August 4, 2009 at 9:10 pm

Patience is the key to life. Of course this is easier said than done.
But practice may makes perfect. Then again no one is perfect but it does not hurt to try. Thanks for sharing

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