What are the first questions to ask when speaking to a Realtor or seller about a buy and hold rental property?
IMO first you have to qualify the property. You need to know value. You need to know rental rates. You need to understand expenses, vacancy factors, etc. Once you know whether a property is a worthwhile investment then you can choose any realtor to work with. Make sure that realtor understands investors and their needs. Also, make sure you have financing or cash or maybe a HML to fund it. There really is no one single question by itself that will help you determine if a property is a worthwhile investment.
Instead of finding a property, and then finding a Realtor. I'd focus on finding a good Realtor, and then have them find you a property.
Contact a bunch of them and pick their brains. They should know the market and help you make a smart decision. Be careful, and don't buy whatever they point their finger at, and do your homework.
You may be better served to contact a local property management company to learn about about market rents, run comparables, etc.
Ask the Realtor what he thinks you can get the property for, and see if the numbers work.
Hope that helps, good luck!
RULE NO. 1
Stay AWAY from realtors if you can !! 90% of them are not investors themselves, thus, most are clueless. That 6% commission is their main interest. Buy WITHOUT a realtor if you can. My loan officer at my bank does EVERYTHING a realtor will do and for free once I find the property...all I do is take him my purchase contract...which I got for FREE online. I'm in a small town where everyone knows everyone.....very personal deals and personal service.
The other thing is to know how to qualify properties and to ONLY buy properties that will show you a positive cash flow AND equity from day one. Knowing how to qualify properties can be found in any investing book(s). Rich Dad-Poor Dad is a good start...but do NOT buy any of Kyosaki's seminar crap...they're nothing but college age, wanna be high pressure salesmen in the hotel conference rooms selling ideas, but giving no real investment information.
3) You can never, ever, ever buy a property cheaply enough !
4) Tenants suck and you will eventually want to take a ball bat to even the "best" ones.
Have fun !
Research the properties in your intended are and daily perform calculations as per BP to determine the quantitative values of a property. Do know what the properties in that area rent for, . In short do the math on all prospective properties to get a quantitative feel for that market.
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