Everything a first time real estate investor needs to know

 

Investing in real estate for the first time can be one of the most exhilarating feelings in the world. It is literally an adrenaline rush for me, similar to one I get playing sports. That burst of adrenaline can lead to tough consequences though if the decision was a bad one. With so many new real estate investors joining the market every day, here are a few things every beginner needs to know before getting started in real estate investing.

No Guaranteed

The word investing should always imply that gains are not guaranteed. Many new investors come into real estate investing with the mistaken belief that real estate prices always go up (after all – the world isn’t getting any bigger right?). Unfortunately, while this is definitely true in the long run, that often doesn’t help in the short run.

Many real estate investors lost not only all of their investments, but their credit worthiness and their own personal homes as well during the financial crisis in 2008. A lot of them had the mistaken belief that home prices would continue to climb forever. This believe is what created the bubble that eventually popped.

Understand the Finances

If there is one single trick that can differentiate a successful real estate investor from a mediocre one it is finance. There are dozens of different ways to finance real estate properties and rental properties. As a new investors you may have the mistaken belief that you have to have a down payment of forty thousand dollars just get your first property. If this were true, there would be a significantly less number of real estate investors in the world.

Instead, real estate investors find creative ways to make other people’s money work for them. Whether they use hard money loans, personal loans, peer-to-peer loans, commercial loans, or some other type of financing, they typically try to put as little of their own cash into real estate properties as possible. This gives them the ability to stretch their cash further.

Most real estate investors try a few different financing methods, then settle down in one or two that they become particularly proficient at. Once you get experienced, you an break off from the normal forms of financing and start getting creative and coming up with your own ways of financing your real estate purchases.

Niche

As with anything in the world, success typically comes from being really really good at one thing, rather than decent at a lot of things. This is true with real estate as well. Don’t just purchase properties all over the country that seem like a good deal. Rather, find a few specific places that you can start to research and understand. As you choose a niche and start digging into the market you will better understand what is driving the real estate market in that area. You will also get a good idea of where are good places to buy and bad places to buy. Most importantly, you will be able to identify when something truly is a good opportunity in real life, rather then a good opportunity on paper. My niche is Georgia. I use the Georgia MLS on Fizber to constantly to understand the market. If you don’t live in Georgia, use the MLS from where you do live.

Partner

Finally, if possible, find a partner to invest with. Most successful real estate investors have at least one person (it can even be a spouse) that they partner up with. This keeps you from making rash decisions because you will typically have to prove to your partner why something is a good deal. Often times when you are doing the research to come up with the proof then you discover something that would make the deal less than ideal.

Snap Up Customers with Snapchat: A Guide on Connecting

Snapchat is quite an interesting and wildly popular social media app which allows users to capture moments (photo & video) to share with others in a private manner or publicly through their feeds. The service gained its momentum because of anonymity in what was being shared but before long it became a rich environment for individuals and brands to engage through media.

The start of the year (2016) already showed very promising stats for Snapchat which one could predict to only increase by the end of the fourth quarter. Some interesting stats include:

·  More people watch Snapchat videos than Facebook’s

·  60% of all smartphone users have tried the service

·  Snapchat has more users than Twitter

So these stats are quite tantalizing for any business that wants to engage with their target audience, wouldn’t you agree? Here are some suggestions on how one could go about doing it…

A. Learn

There’s no beating around the bush on this one because the start of any business effort starts with learning the target audience. The Snapchat users that make up your demographics are most likely wildly different than those that predominantly stick to Web or offline services to find and engage with your business.

Your task is to get in there and simply start learning the platform and your audience. Listen and track what they enjoy sharing and what keeps them interested. Take a look at your closest competitors and keep a file on hand about what type of content they share which can be improved upon and give you a better positioning within the community.

B. Let Go

Unless you’re a large company that can afford to hire social media managers in-house – you should work with individuals or companies that do this for a living. You could spend dozens of hours learning and making mistakes while you skip other important tasks or you could ante up the money and hand it over to someone that knows what they’re doing while you focus on the big picture items.

Social media management services are what you’re looking for in terms of handing over the Snapchat efforts. The companies in this realm of social marketing will provide you with experienced individuals that’ll handle the efforts while providing reports to keep everything on track. A nice bonus is that you can scale up with these companies to explore other areas of social that could be beneficial – keeping everything under one roof.

C. Have Fun

Social is meant to be fun. Yes, it can be a powerful platform to market products and be leveraged into a customer service platform but at the end of the day – people simply want fun and cool content from brands and others; they want to engage and share their stories.

Part of having fun is by trying different approaches with Snapchat for connecting with your audience:

·  Try using the app as a way to provide exclusive content to followers. Consider a main account where you share the everyday-type content but then a “club”-like account which may have insider content, exclusive coupons, and the like. Exclusivity makes people want to engage enough so they can be part of the inner circle so use it and have fun!

·  Try creating a “game” out of the snaps. Tease the community with trivia or behind-the-scene looks at something that could get them interested such as new info on a product, discount codes, or other big developments. Treat it like a story that keeps evolving based on the feedback and engagement you get from the community.

·  Try hosting micro-contests. Get people to caption a picture/video you’ve shared, a review of a recent product/service launch, or whatever fits your business model. These micro-contests can be a spur of the moment type thing (even geo-local) to get people quickly engaging for something easy to reward like a discount, shout-out, or gaining access to the exclusive “club”.

There are plenty other ways to go about using Snapchat in marketing (a great way to learn about it is through monitoring what top brands are doing with the platform); overall it comes down to getting out there, giving it a try, and knowing if/when to hand it over to someone (or a group) that can be dedicated to making the service work for your business.

Snapchat is like any other type of messaging/content platform – people want to have fun and connect – you can’t do that if you’re not there so why not give it a shot?