We enjoyed this excerpt written by Warren Buffett on real estate investing. We took away the following lessons:
-”You don’t need to be an expert in order to achieve satisfactory investment returns.”
-”Focus on the future productivity of the asset you are considering.”
-”…I am unable to speculate successfully, and I am skeptical of those who claim sustained success at doing so.”
-”Games are won by players who focus on the playing field — not by those whose eyes are glued to the scoreboard.”
-”Forming macro opinions or listening to the macro or market predictions of others is a waste of time. Indeed, it is dangerous because it may blur your vision of the facts that are truly important.”
A property owner recently emailed me to send them our “tenant relations program.” I responded with an email that began, “Our tenant relations program?” I asked. “Uh, we don’t have a tenant relations program. It is not a list of tasks that we do. It is more foundational than that. It is who we are and permeates all our relations with tenants.” The email went on to list what follows:
All of our service staff who relate to tenants (Brian D., Ingrid, Patricia, Melanie, Steven E., Steve D., Brian G., Luis, and the 30 vendors we employ on a regular basis such as plumbing or a/c service) have a service rather than a sales orientation. Melanie, for example, has a psychology degree from Rollins College, and her last job was representing Sea World in a public relations position as a liaison with non-profit organizations. Luis, one of our two in-house handymen, is a paramedic/firefighter and spent seven years working for ServPro doing the same kind of work he assists us with. Patricia was a physicians’ assistant for many years. I was a pastor for 20+ years. We are all people people.
There are two main considerations: costs and safety. If you want a pool, it is a much more economical to buy a home with an existing pool rather than to install one. If you buy a home with a pool it may add $10,000 to the price whereas installing the same pool in the same house may cost $40,000 in today’s dollars.
Finding the best rental home is quite different than finding a house to buy (click here to see how to do that, if you are interested).
You need to look several places:
1. MLS (Multiple Listing Service). This is secret code for houses Realtors list and can show. These are usually the best houses on the rental market. Go to our link just below the one you clicked to get here to find these, or download the realtor.com app on your smart phone. We can show you any of the homes you find here, and usually have access to the information you need about move-in dates, pets, etc.
2. zillow.com or trulia.com or hotpads.com – these tend to have the same listings on them (and many are on realtor.com). You need to arrange showings and get information yourself from the contact there, but you should look here after you look on our website orrealtor.com to find anything that is not listed there.
We often get asked why we named our company Sparrow Realty Group. The realty and rental part are clear, but we use “Sparrow” and “Group” for these reasons. “Sparrow” is inspired by the name of the street where we lived when we went into the real estate services industry. While we lived on Little Sparrow Court we learned that we can make bread, but not seed. Only God can make seed, and he truly cares about our practical needs (even and especially when times are tough). Jesus used sparrows as an example of how intimately God cares for us: “Sparrows are not worth much if you sold them to another human, but to God they are precious. Not one of them falls to the ground without him knowing. But, even the very hairs on your head are all counted by God, so intimate is his knowledge of you. So don’t be afraid. You are worth much more than many sparrows” (from Matthew’s remembrances of Jesus, chapter 10). “Group” expresses that we take a team approach to everything we do. “It is safer to have many advisors instead of just one,” says the Good Book.
1. A trained photographer takes 100 high-quality, memorable listing photos using a DSLR camera.
92% of house-hunters search the internet for homes, and 60% of buyers select the homes they will view by the pictures they see on the internet. Many agents take crooked pictures with bad lighting and dubious framing on a phone because they forgot their camera. Our photographer uses a top-end Nikon digital camera with wide angle and other lenses, tripod for natural lighting, professional flash for darker rooms, and the “magic hour” for exterior pictures so they really pop. Homes advertised with DSLR (digital single-lens reflex camera) images are more likely to sell quickly for top dollar than are those marketed with common point-and-shoot photos.
2. We create a custom website for your home using your address, such as www.123MyHomeStreetAddress.com.
On this website we can post an unlimited number of pictures, a virtual tour, and video. Then you, everyone you know, everyone we know and all of our real estate partners have a powerful link we can email, share on Facebook and social media and 360+ real estate related websites.