(85)Finance Your Real Estate Investment Properties

Copyright 2009 Peter Dobler

Unlike traditional residential real estate mortgages, real estate investment financing is way more creative and offers more options than you think. The golden rule in real estate investment is OPM (Other People’s Money).

I have enough money; shouldn’t I buy my real estate investment for cash? No, I absolutely advice against investing large sums of cash into a single real estate investment. There are two reasons why not. First, you give away most of your profits by not leveraging your real estate investment. Second, it is far too risky to put every egg into one basket.

Let me explain the leverage issue for a moment. I will give you an example of a $100,000 investment property that typically increases its value (appreciates) by 7% average a year. Maybe more, maybe less depending where you live. Paying all cash for this property will yield in a 7% appreciation profit plus the net profit from renting the place. Now you’re looking at roughly 15% of returns.

If you’re conservative with your investments you might be satisfied with this kind of a return. These days you might get equal or better returns with other conservative investments minus the hassle of being a landlord. But you don’t mind being a landlord, because you understand and utilize the leveraging method with financing your real estate investment.

With the example above you will make roughly $15,000 a year in profits from your investment. Now let’s take a closer look at what leveraging can do for you. Today a typical real estate investor can get financing as high as 95% - 97% of the purchase price. Occasionally 100% financing is available as well. But this would be totally unfair in this example to compare this with all cash purchasing.

15% return sounds like a lot, but wait till you see this. Let’s assume that the rental income will cover all your expenses including the mortgage payments. Taking the same example from before your net return would be the 7% appreciation profits of your property. This would translate into a $7,000 a year profit. With a 95% financing in place you would get $7,000 return on $5,000 (your 5% down payment) invested. This is a whopping 140%
return on investment.

With the same $100,000 you can go out there and get 20 investment properties, finance 95% of it and make an amazing $140,000 profit a year. This beats the projected $15,000 profits with an all cash transaction any day.

Of course you will have a lot of trouble to get financing for 20 properties in a single year. Typically 5-6 new rental property mortgages are the maximum lenders will allow these days. This is the signal to get creative with your financing structures.

In this case sellers financing would be your key to achieve your goal of maximum leverage of your investment dollars. Despite the message from all these late night infomercials, seller financing is harder to get than they want you to make believe it is.

It all depends on the seller’s ability to offer seller financing and the seller’s motivation. Only about 1 out of 20 properties for sale are able to get seller financing. That means that there’s no mortgage balance on the property. From this narrow selection the seller must be motivated to sell under these conditions. This could be tax reasons, time constraints, personal reasons and many more.

As you can see this translates into a lot of work to achieve your goals. But let me tell you one thing. This separates the tire kicker real estate investors from the real go-getters. Wouldn’t you agree that a little bit of hard work and determination is well worth it to build a real estate empire?

I think it is well worth the trouble and hard work. At the end of the day you keep building your real estate investment portfolio and sooner than later you will be able to cash in.

Peter Dobler
(c) 2009

Peter Dobler is a 20+ year veteran in the IT business. He is an active Real Estate Investor and a successful Internet business owner. Learn more about real estate investments at or send a blank email to

Written by: Peter Dobler

(86) Finance Your Small Business: So Much Money – So Little Time

$47.4 million venture capital funded projects today. $86.4 million yesterday. $51.4 million the day before.

These amounts are not made up. They are actual numbers from actual reported venture capital funding. I get these notices emailed to me day after day, rain or shine.

These numbers are a constant reminder to me that companies – lots of companies – are getting funded every day.

And these numbers just reflect the reported venture capital funding. There is probably double that amount from angel investment and unreported fundings, and millions more from the $16 billion pool that SBA has this year.

All in all, it’s a lot of money. That’s a lot of companies and banks and groups and individuals actively investing in small business.

So how come you’re still looking for financing?

Perhaps you aren’t presenting your company effectively.

Or perhaps you haven’t located the right lender.

It’s also possible that your concept just isn’t very good, but I doubt that. The fact that you are reading this article means you are a serious entrepreneur, with a serious business.

So where do you go to find all these investors? Here are some starting points:

For standard business financing, talk with the local office of the Small Business Administration. It’s a different agency, with different programs and services, and lots of money to lend. Although much of the focus of the SBA is on minority business enterprises, the SBA still has a lot to offer all companies.

Also talk with your local banks. (That was plural “banks”, not singular “bank”.) Talking with a number of local bankers will rapidly bring into focus the wide ranging priorities of the various banks, and where your company fit in.

As for venture capital and angel investors, there are several options.

One option is to go to online sources. There are a number of online services, such as VFinance, that sell the names and addresses of possible investors. It’s not expensive, perhaps $2-5 per name. The idea is that once the entrepreneur gets the list of 200 or 2,000 names in hand that he/she will contact each with a written executive summary or business plan, and then wait to hear from one of them. This is a very passive approach, roughly akin to throwing paint on the wall and hoping that something will stick. For most entrepreneurs, patience is not a strong suit, so sitting and waiting for a response is not quite their cup of tea.

Another option is to go to one of the many directories of venture capital firms. These directories typically include addresses, phone numbers and emails, along with the geographical areas of interest and the types of investment that each is seeking. Most businesses can narrow down their list of prospective investors to several hundred venture capital firms this way. And again the entrepreneur is faced with the prospect of sending out written material for each one, and waiting for a response.

A third option is to take a more proactive approach. Savvy entrepreneurs identify the best prospects themselves from a number of reliable sources. They get introductions where possible. They learn everything they can about their target investors, and then go after it. Typically a phone call is the first contact, not an anonymous executive summary.

Knowing that you are calling your best prospects, you know too that they are open to hearing from you. You have names, you have investment histories, you have everything in hand to make a real connection with the target investors.

Getting your company financed is one of the hardest things you will ever do as an entrepreneur. It can be hugely frustrating, disappointing and genuinely discouraging. But lots of entrepreneurs do it. And so can you. Get the “No’s” out of the way and go for “Yes!” The exhilaration of the handshake sealing the deal is unlike any other transaction in business. Go for it.

About the Author
Ms. Shank is founder/president of She has worked in business finance in good times and bad, and will rapidly tell you that good times are a whole lot better.

Written by: MaryAnn Shank

(87)Finances for the Freelancer


Budgeting and financial planning are great ideas, but how in the world do you budget or plan when you don't know from one month to the next how much money you're going to earn? You have months at a time when you earn very little money, and then during the prosperous months you're busy playing financial catch-up - and then comes another tough time.

It's a difficult situation, but there are ways to approach the problem that, over time, will provide some stability for your finances.

The first trick is finding out how much it actually costs you each month to live; chances are it costs more than you think it does. Add up all your expenses - food, gas for the car, rent or mortgage payment, utilities, car payments, car and health insurance, and so on. Don't forget periodic payments like license renewals and car registrations, birthday and holiday gifts and cards, Lotto tickets - anything that costs you money. A good exercise is to carry a small notepad around with you for a couple months and keep track of everything - I mean every penny - you spend. Allow yourself a certain amount for entertainment; if you put yourself on such a strict budget you can't enjoy yourself you won't maintain it.

Once you've decided what it costs you to live each month, that's what you live on. Open bank accounts for each broad category - monthly expenses, weekly expenses, and so on - and then deposit the amount of money you need per month into the appropriate accounts as the money comes in. Separating monthly from daily expenses actually frees you up; if you know you've got money stashed safely away for the rent, heat, etc., and you see a pair of shoes or a book you really want, just check out your daily expenses account; you may find that if you eat rice and beans for a few days you can spring for the impulse buy without wrecking your budget. Just don't, under any circumstances, raid the monthly expenses account!

If you have a month where you earn more than you need to spend based on your budget, put the extra into an interest-bearing savings account until you need it during the next low income period. Don't blow the extra on a luxury item, at least not until you've built up a substantial financial cushion.

The conventional wisdom is that if you have credit card debt, you should pay it off before you start saving money. On paper, that looks good; you're going to save a lot more in interest payments if you eliminate your credit card debt than you'll be earning in a conventional savings account. But you need to take into account your uncertain financial circumstances and your own human nature. Having a month or two of living expenses in the bank can do an amazing job of calming one's nerves, and can preclude the need for charging more money on your credit cards.

Here's a good approach: stop charging on credit cards, period. Unless you have a necessary expense that you can't pay any other way, don't charge it! (Those kicky shoes aren't a necessity unless you're barefoot.) Pay cash, or don't buy whatever it is you wanted to buy. Do your utmost to accumulate one to two months' living expenses in a savings account, to be used during slow months, and then start paying down your credit cards, getting rid of the balance with the highest interest rate first. One exception - if you've got some cards with big balances and one or two that have a hundred dollars or so on them, and you can pay the little ones off in one fell swoop, do it! The psychological boost you get from getting rid of one credit card balance is worth what little extra interest you'll pay by delaying paying the high balance card for a month. Once you pay off each credit card, cut it up, don't use it - but keep the account open. You've just improved your debt to available credit ratio!

And finally, we get to taxes. Freelancers really get socked; they have to pay regular income taxes plus self-employment taxes - their own and the employer's share of social security and Medicare taxes. Currently the self-employment tax is 15.3 percent. The best thing to do is to stash 20 to 25 percent of your income in a "tax account" as you receive it, and pay your quarterly estimated taxes as they are due; but you may not be able to do that, at least not initially.

Make sure you claim all the business expenses you can legitimately claim; your self-employment tax is figured on net profit after expenses, so the more you can get that profit figure down, the less your self-employment tax is going to be.

There are penalties for not paying enough tax - in 2009 if you owed over $1000 at the end of the year, you could be fined a penalty, unless you could demonstrate that your income was unpredictable during the course of the year. (You can do that, right? A hint -update your income and expense records regularly.)

If you get to April 15 and you can't pay up, the IRS will allow you to file certain forms and set up an installment payment account; they charge you penalties and fees, but they're not substantial, and this is a good alternative if you can't cough up the cash; and it's better than putting it on a high-interest-rate charge card. By law, the IRS can't turn you down for the installment plan.

Over time, you'll be able to budget for living expenses and taxes and put yourself on a pay-as-you-go schedule. Building this sound financial foundation is the first step toward prosperity!

About the author:

Aldene Fredenburg is a freelance writer living in southwestern New Hampshire and frequently contributes to Tips and Topics. She has published numerous articles in local and regional publications on a wide range of topics, including business, education, the arts, and local events. Her feature articles include an interview with independent documentary filmmaker Ken Burns and a featur

Written by: Aldene Fredenburg

(88)Finding a Mortgage Refinance Advisor


If you are looking to refinance your home for a lower rate, or you are interested in a refinance with cash out to do some home repairs, buy a new car, etc., you may want to consider finding a mortgage refinance advisor.
There are actually two ways you can go about refinancing your home. The first would be to do the shopping around for a refinance on your own. The second way would be to locate a mortgage refinance advisor.
A mortgage refinance advisor. Otherwise, known as a mortgage loan officer or mortgage broker are not at all hard to find.
The internet is perhaps the best resource for tracking down a mortgage refinance advisor. There are literally hundreds of them right in your own back yard, and the internet would be by far the best way to begin your search.
Once you have found a mortgage refinance advisor, don't stop there, shop around. By shopping around with a few different loan officers and brokers, you will give yourself the ability to compare rates and prices.
Think of it the same way you would go about purchasing a new car. Shop around, test drive a few by going to different dealerships. Once you have test driven a few cars and compared pricing, base your decision on the best and most reasonable deal.
By shopping around as opposed to committing to the first mortgage refinance advisor you come across could mean the difference of thousands of dollars in closing costs and interest fees' over the life of the loan.
By allowing no more than four loan officers or mortgage brokers to assess your situation, you are putting yourself in a much more ideal situation. Especially if your credit is challenged or your situation is unique, not only will the mortgage refinance advisors' expertise come into play, you will be in a position to compare rates and pricing.
Remember, the majority of mortgage refinance advisors are paid on commission, so it is just as important to them as it is to you to get to the closing table. Good luck.

About the Author
Jennifer Hershey has more than twenty years of experience in the Mortgage Industry as a loan officer. She is the owner of, a mortgage resource site devoted to making mortgage terms and products easy to understand.

Written by: Jennifer Hershey

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