I probably sit around the house too much. You might have gathered this from my previous article, 10 Things I Hate About Working From Home.
I can’t help it, I love all of my electronic gadgets and with the world at my fingertips, sometimes I end up sitting around my house more often than is probably good for me.
Let’s face it, I’m not getting any younger so I should take better care of myself, especially if I want to be healthy to enjoy the retirement that real estate investing is helping to buy.
So I’ve devised this plan to simultaneously find great real estate deals and potentially lose weight during the process. But this isn’t just a way to get myself up off of my rear more often, as there is growing research that “walkable” neighborhoods are more attractive to buyers and renters alike.
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Start with Research
Every real estate investing venture should start with research.
You don’t want to start your walking search in a place that isn’t pedestrian friendly. You want to find neighborhoods that are “walkable”, in that there are sidewalks and trails intended for pedestrians to get around and that there are things to walk to, such as entertainment, parks and more.
Take Along your Phone
Use your phone as a map to keep you on the right path and in the right areas. It can also work as a great research tool while you’re on the go. You can also use it to find listed properties in the area if you’re really like what you’re seeing in the neighborhood.
Be on the Lookout for Gems
Obviously, part of the reason why you’re on this walking tour is because not every property that is for sale can be found in an online search.
Sometimes people still simply put up a sign at the front of the property. Additionally, you may spot a property that isn’t for sale that you want to make on offer on anyway.
Observe Local Businesses
Part of what makes an area “walkable” is having places and things to walk to, such as shopping, restaurants and more. Having businesses nearby that are auto repair shops and hardware stores aren’t as advantageous as having a gas station or grocery store down the road. Bonus points for malls and other urban centers that are within walking distance.
Look at Landscaping
You can tell a lot about a neighborhood by the landscaping.
More often than not, an area that is economically depressed will have less manicured lawns, with more overgrowth and fewer ornamental plants. Investment properties in these area could take more work or may not be able to turn as much of a profit as more prosperous areas. You would have to consider what your investment plans are to determine whether or not you want to invest in a depressed area.
Like what you see? Snap some photos, especially if you find a property in which you are interested.
Other things that could be worthy of a few snaps could be street signs at intersections and local shops you found nearby. Photos can act to help you jog your memory when you get back to your desk and look through your research.
Let your Mind Wander
While you’re walking and looking, don’t make it all business.
Relax a little bit and let your thoughts roam. When you concentrate too hard on the task at hand, you can inadvertently close your mind off to new ideas that could be staring you right in the face. When you relax and get your mind off the subject, you never know what creative connections your brain might make.
Kick it up a Notch
This is more about the walking than the investing. If you really want to use this as a dual opportunity for finding real estate and getting in better shape, add some ankle weights to your walk. You’ll build up strength in your legs just be walking.
Stop to Sniff the Flowers
In the famous words of fictional character Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.”
You could miss a great deal on an investment property if you’re just cruising by everything. If certain neighborhood appeals to your financial sense, take a long look. You could spot the deal you’ve been searching for all along.
So that’s it, my plan for getting myself off the couch and out into the real world to look for investment property opportunities. At least for a while, living in Minnesota you have to take advantage of good weather while it’s here.
Come time for cold weather again, hopefully I will have found real estate investing opportunities that are worth the effort. At the very least, I hope I’ll have lost my “winter weight”, just in time to pack all the pounds right back on again.