At the beginning of this year, I posted This New Year, Don’t Make a Resolution, Make a Plan! Now as 2017 comes to a close it is time to look at how I did on my plan for the year. I always aim high so I at least end up in the general direction of where I am going. Like every year unexpected things happen and there are areas I did better in than others.
Also, New Year’s resolutions are still silly!
Start your goals whenever you want to.
Modify, don’t eliminate, whenever you feel the need.
Work for the life you want, but love the one your in!
here is the 2017 Goals/Plan recap:
Licensed Real Estate Agent. I passed all tests, paid all dues, chose my broker, and have been an active agent for a year now. I have been a buyers agent and a listing agent and overall I am pleased with my progress here. This year I need to amp it up a little bit though!
Real Estate/Finances. We made progress on everything, and are close to finishing the renovations, but still not done. I managed to get one financial thing sorted but not another. We just put up one of our rental properties for sale, which means when we sell we will need to shuffle around our money and hopefully buy a different property. All in all, we did good but are just going slower than I hoped for.
Italian Citizenship. We decided to delay getting our passports until February 2018 so my youngest child will be three at time of the appointment so he can get a five-year duration passport instead of three. However, I have all the paperwork and appointments ready to go for the passports and my husband’s citizenship so should be good to go!
Coaching/Blog/Website. I was a quickly burning bright fire on this one. I went super intense on the blogging and website in the beginning of the year and by May was a bit burned out as other things came to the forefront. If I had stretched out everything that I did for this across the year it would be a big green checkmark. Part of this goal was moderation throughout the year, and I flat out failed that part.
I did, however, grow this business substantially so it does not feel like a failure, also if you looked at that post from a year ago I’m sure you can see the growth! One of my main problems is I did not monetize my blog, currently, I have no way to make any money off of it. I loathe sponsored posts and ads being slipped into every possible crevice, so that makes it more difficult. What you do not see, behind the curtain, I have been working on a real estate e-course, that is close to being finished.
Wellness Goals. Again another long-term moderation goal that I did not do great on. I did really great half the year and then went to the exact opposite on the spectrum for the other half. I struggle with consistency and taking care of myself. Some accomplishments for the year in the area was doing several 3 day and one 6 day water fast.
Overall, I am happy with the progress of my plans in 2017; despite some things out of my control that slowed me down and which led to some big lessons learned.
Some main takeaways from 2017:
When choosing properties to buy and hold, remember to have contingency plans for future versions of yourself. While it may be perfect for you now, it may not be perfect for you in 5 or 10 years.
Do not rely too heavily on any one person of your real estate team.
Appraisals are very random and appraisers are not created equal, try to buy boring properties for ease of financing.
Remember to live for today not tomorrow!
So how is 2018 looking? Bring on the new action plan:
We have an overarching goal of getting my husband out of his 9-5 job by the end of July. Which at this point is possible but not probable, just due to the timeline of how long some of the tasks that we need to do beforehand will take.
This year also needs to have a bit of minimalism and discarding and selling of things if I am going to achieve of my goals of selling one of our properties, renting our current residence and eventually traveling with little to no material possessions. I am naturally a minimalist but it is amazing the amount of stuff you can accumulate with three properties!
Where we are going and what we are going to do is still in flux as we measure our choices with how this year goes.
One of my ‘hopefully’ big changes this year is trying to shift into being a morning person. I am a night owl, I get the most done then, I have a tough time getting up. However, occasionally it feels like the world is giving me a nudge towards something, and this happens to be it. I keep reading about productive morning routines. Today is my first day of this experiment and as it seems I am almost to the end of this blog post I would call that successful, so that seems like a good sign.
Here is the video that finally put me over the edge into trying to change my night owl ways. Granted, it was also after to reading several articles and podcasts about it, Tim Ferriss played a big part. Don’t mind the buxom lady clickbait.
The main reason I am starting to focus on this is to help with my consistency, as you can see from my 2017 achievements is something I struggle with. I feel setting my intentions for the day could boost my already pretty productive self into a better space.
How about you? Did you make your goals? Do you even have them? What are your keys to staying on task?
I love real estate. I listen to podcasts about real estate for fun. When I have access to cable television I will choose HGTV, Income Property is, of course, my favorite! I love touring houses, especially the really old gross ones that can be transformed into something beautiful. I have been involved in many complete renovations and even a new build. I have become very skilled at most things it takes to renovate a home, construction, and design. I love negotiating a deal.
Real Estate is kinda my thing.
So, I decided to get my Real Estate Agent License, the entry requirements seemed pretty low in Arizona, and we have some of the higher requirements in the US. Minimum of 18 years old, 90 hours of licensure course, background check, and pass a state and school. All in for the license I was looking at under $1000, for a career with unlimited earning potential what a steal!
So I enrolled in a local quality school. It became very clear that with a few exceptions the bulk of the course was about legality. I enjoyed learning all of it, but there was a theme throughout the course that troubled me. Refer out most knowledge, do not give opinions on most things to avoid fault, and full disclosure of any facts you do get. (Which most often seemed to be in a huge page that people would skim because of so much legal talk.)
Okay, Okay, I get it, my knowledge about anything other than real estate sales and marketing should not be used in this. I passed the test with ease.
Then I started looking for a brokerage to work for. This was very eye opening; the big companies straight up wanted half of everything I made. This was usually till I had paid them up to some cap which in our area was around $20,000. I also had to pay for all my consumables, marketing, insurance, MLS Access, associations, and necessities. I managed to find a more human, charitable, local brokerage company, Tierra Antigua, which didn’t seem like my wallet was their bottom line. So they are out there! However, it had become very clear, very fast that I was now a walking milkshake and everyone had a straw.
It got worse.
I was thrust into an environment that was all about how to close. Everyone who spoke to me, save a few, just sounded like a predator talking about the kill. Sales is an intense world.
So where did that leave me? A person who wants to tell people:
Selling your home is costly, and if you’re hoping to make money and not just break even or lose money in real estate, you need to hold on to that house as long as possible if there has not been significant forced appreciation (Owner fixing the house), or market appreciation. (Your neighborhood prices are skyrocketing.)
That the big American dream home is an unhealthy obsession and provides a lower quality of life.
That signing an agreement with me locks you into a decision for a period of time, and I like choice?
That house while pretty on the surface could be a potential nightmare, for this, this, and that reason.
Honestly, if my being a Realtor were our main source of income, I would have a quit a while ago and used my Real Estate Salesperson Licence for one of the other many jobs it affords; or maybe sold out and hustled? I am not a shark, nor do I fit in with them. Perhaps, if I felt more positively towards American consumerism, it would be a better fit for me. Right now, I keep it to help friends, family, or maybe someone who wants be told what they need to hear instead of want. But, sadly, they do not seem in high supply. The access to the MLS is also a great perk, as we are investors ourselves, and it is an amazing tool.
What is your experience with Realtors? If you are one, have you experienced the same thing?
I often see these memes about adulting: the burden, the monotony, the reluctance. When did we decide it was normal to hate what we do day in and day out. Did we make a conscious choice to spend most of our time doing something we hate to get money? Or did it just happen? Why do people accept that the route to success is plodding away at a job for the majority of our lives, and the whole of our most productive ones at that?
So what happens when you say, F*** it! I don’t want to be a part of this system anymore! Well, that is what I did, I quit my job, put in my 30-day notice on my apartment, and sold all my stuff. Everything that I owned could fit within the confines of one backpack.
I had no home.
I had no fixed expenses.
What I owned:
Five lightweight pants.
Five pairs of underwear.
Five lightweight Camis.
One pair of sandals. (Which at one point were stolen and replaced with 2 dollar thongs)
Airplane sized toiletries.
A super pack of hair ties.
A small laptop.
A water camelback.
THAT. IS. IT.
In the whole world!
I got a one-way ticket to Europe on the proceeds of my stuff and embarked on some of the best times of my life. I did work trades for room and board, which usually required around 25-30 hours a week of work to take care of all my needs.
I worked on a peace farm, the vineyard of a pair of circus performers, I lived with a British couple renovating an old castle into a B&B… which was complete with a haunting story and a dungeon. I met interesting people, a villain from the old Bond movies who made a kick ass shepherds pie and referred to the local villagers as his “minions”. An old man who had traveled around the world by sailboat and had met Salvador Dali. Peace activists who protested on the corner every week, I joined in! A man who got called away to advise huge companies during the 2008 financial collapse. And I mentioned the circus performers, right? They juggled chainsaws!
I found other kindred souls, and we would travel together for a month or two. People from all over the world who would give me a glimpse into life in their home country.
I learned about life in other cultures and saw things I will never forget.
I hitchhiked. I showered at many public facilities. I got acquainted with everything free, libraries, festivals, public pools, and most importantly nature. I ate weird local delicacies and pub hopped with a few of my hosts.
My biggest takeaways:
Life is about experiences, not accumulation.
Love people, not things.
Material things only hold you down from true freedom.
You might be asking, well why are you not still doing this if it was so awesome! My now husband and I ended up getting pregnant and could not live by the seat of our pants anymore. The desire is still there, and now our family is close to going back out on the road again. This time with a different kind of freedom.
At the heart of this is breaking out of the norm. To create your system. Which is what I’m trying to do now. Or, you live outside of it, which is what I did when I chose to be homeless. You can live a life where you choose how to spend your time. You can do this the easy way by living outside and eschewing everything and live in the flow of the world. Or you can put in some serious work and break the system!
I would also like to give a shout out to the homeless who did not get there by choice. And while I would like to tell those who are capable, that there are options. Some just are not and in my opinion are a symptom of a sick society. Homeless and Housing Charities.
Let me first start out saying this is not an affiliate link bank; I am not going to tell you that doing all your searches through Bing or Swagbucks, or all your shopping through iBotta is passive income. Because it is not! Those are just incentive programs, to do your shopping through them, or to actually do work for them by building their businesses. Passive Income is income that does not come from trading your time for money; it is something that is sustained even when you are taking no actions. However, that does not mean there is no work involved!!!! Let’s get this straight; there is no such thing as money without effort. The closest thing is government cheese, but you still have to jump through a ton of hoops, live a very modest life, and be reliant on someone else. Passive Income streams tend to have a lot of work up front that yield a slow stream that takes only a negligible amount of time and maintenance later.
Stock Market: Dividend Stocks, Index Funds. The key for passive income in the stock market is only to take the interest accrued out or dividends. Dividends Stocks are single company stocks that have a good track record of growth in the value of the stock as well as give little kickbacks called dividends. The key with the stock market as a passive income is that you do not remove the money that is generating the interest or dividends. The catch for this is that it takes a significant amount of cash (Work) to make any real life changing amounts here.
Real Estate: Rentals, Owner Financing, Lending. The best thing about this category is that it all works together to allow for a lower point of entry. The bad part is it takes a long time or a lot working with many balls in the air to switch over from the person paying mortgages payments to the person receiving the mortgage payments. There are also so many different options for investing within the Real Estate industry. The baseline rule is getting someone downstream of you in the world to pay you a consistent cash flow.
Businesses: Franchises, Self Startups. These take a lot of upfront work and time; businesses vary widely from restaurants to vending machines to small-scale blogs. Your imagination and motivation is the only limitation. Entry point can be very low like a blog or require significant capital such as a franchise. For passive income, the goal has to be generating enough income that you can hire people to do all the work and still yield an income.
Creative Royalties: Inventors, Authors, Musicians. Usually taking a great deal of upfront work and marketing before any returns are seen. These once they are created passively create income. How much income mostly varies on quality, quantity, and marketing. For this not to be a business you have to hand this off to someone else such as a record company or a publishing house.
“People always need a place to live.” This was a statement made by my real estate investment mentor. He had been a real estate investor from the age of 20; he tried all manner of operations, land to single family homes; commercial store fronts to multi-family housing. Slowly and steadily he weathered the economic climates, and he worked his way to an early retirement at 45.
Countless people are investors in real estate, some small like me who own only seven units, some big who own apartment complexes all over the place. Some passive who have all their properties managed by someone else, some active who play the role of the property manager. Real Estate should be in your portfolio. When held for long times it is steady. When leveraged the return percentages can be very high. When fully paid off they are an amazing constant source of income.
An investment property is one that is purchased with the intent of making money. Your home can build net wealth, but it is not an investment property unless it is multi-unit and you are renting the other units out.
1. Leveraging yourself into a fortune.
Loans are still available at historic lows in the United States, when you compare our rates to the 15% of times past our buying power is stronger than ever. The advantages of using a loan to purchase real estate are you can take a smaller amount of money to purchase a large asset that yields more money and which puts more money in your pocket every month. It allows the little guy to get into the game and get great returns.
There are three ways to get tax deductions on investment properties.
Operating Expenses, these include but are not limited to property management, water bills you pay for the property, and repair costs.
Interest on Loans, your loan company will send you a tax form at the end of the year, and it will be a tax deduction.
Depreciation (Cost Recovery), this is only for investment properties, not your personal residence, this is an incentive from the government. This tax incentive is to help counteract the natural wear and tear your investment receives. They deem the economic life of a property to be 27.5 years; the deduction is the properties purchase value divided evenly over that time per year.
Real Estate does not have a static value, it changes with the market and time, however, over time almost all real estate in the United States has gained a great deal of value. This is a wonderful thing because it means that for long-term property investment keeps up with inflation and has the potential to yield you a great deal upon sale.
Two things of note:
When you invest only for appreciation short term, you are moving into a different investment strategy of speculation.
There can be significant capital gains taxes on home sales; please seek advice from a tax specialist for more details on this.
4. Cash Flow.
This is my personal favorite of the four ways I am making money from real estate right now. Cash flow is the reason people call Real Estate investing a passive income, and I would personally call it a mostly passive income. Cash flow is the money that is generated from your asset in excess of the costs. I use a conservative estimate of half of your rent going to losses, repairs, vacancies, and costs. Many people use this to pay off additional on the mortgage, save for another investment, or just fund their life.
Are you ready to buy an investment property? Get PreQualified before you talk to a Realtor!
Have you thought about buying a property near the beach? The mountains? You could vacation there whenever you want, a little home away from home, but it seems out of your reach? Or maybe you just hate finding, and paying inflated rates during yearly events, like our International Gem Show here in Tucson, AZ because everything is full, but wouldn’t imagine buying a house here because it would just sit empty for the rest of the year.
What if I told you: You can have that vacation home, and not only break even, but make a profit!
I have owned a vacation rental for a little over two years now and the gross yields off that vacation rental are over DOUBLE the gross yields of what it was getting as a month-to-month rental. Keep in mind that vacation rentals have significantly more expenses though. But, that means if you bought two homes, lived in one, and managed your own vacation rental out of the other it could potentially pay for both homes!!
Here are all the things I have learned during this time:
The Good- 1. No more hotel bills when you visit your favorite vacation spot! You have a home there. You can have all your stuff locked away in the garage or a storage cabinet so you feel like you just left. 2. Great money. In general, the yields off a vacation rental are higher than a normal rental. People will pay significantly more for shorter stays. 3. Lower wear and tear. On average you have a lower occupancy rate with more dates that no one is using your appliances, walking on your floors ect. The premises are also being cleaned regularly which helps with this a great deal. 4. There are management companies that will take care of the whole thing for you. These vary widely in how much they charge and the extent of what they do.
The Bad- 1. Most of the time you want to go to your rental when everybody else does. I have decided to stay with family instead of at my vacation rental because I really wanted that 2k paycheck! 2. You might be the one stuck paying all the utilities and bills for the property if your manager does not do that. These homes tend to have everything you do at your home, internet, cable, water, ect. This is mostly just an inconvenience but something to keep in mind. 3. The risk is higher than a month-to-month rental. There are periods of time when you might have no renters, such as low tourist season. You will still have to pay all those bills, and maybe a mortgage, while there is no money coming in. This will need to be planned for by saving back some earnings from better times of the year.
What are your experiences? Do you own a vacation rental or would you like to?