An Overview of Wineries in Scottsdale

Despite the fact that most people think “Napa Valley” when they think of wineries, there are a lot of great wine producers in and around Scottsdale. In fact, there are so many, we have to break this article into three parts just to cover them all! Just about any Scottsdale real estate agent worth her fee should be able to tell you about the following places:

1.) Kokopelli – The largest winery in all of Arizona is just a short hop, skip and a jump from many luxury homes Scottsdale. The vineyard was planned in 1991, and produces 14 varieties of organically-grown grapes. As any good Scottsdale real estate agent can tell you, the area’s combination of abundant water, near-perfect micro climate and class A1A soil make for great grape growing conditions.

2.) Alcantra Vineyards – Perched on 87 acres of gorgeous terrain, Alcantra Vineyards have been producing some of the best wine in Arizona since 2004. Visitors coming into town to visit relatives and friends near luxury homes Scottsdale can even stay at Alcantra’s Vineyards quaint and relaxing Bed and Breakfast Inn.

3.) Pillsbury Wine Company – Although Pillsbury is located around three hours away from luxury homes Scottsdale, the scenery is well worth the road trip. Hailed as a “Rising Star of the Southwest” by Wine Spectator, Pillsbury is quickly making a name for itself in the industry.

4.) Stronghold Vineyard – Nestled at the eastern edge of Sulfur Springs Valley, Stronghold Vineyard has been a favorite of “in the know” owners of luxury homes Scottsdale for more than 25 years. Although the winery started out crafting Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Petite Sirah, Pinot Noir and others, in 2007 Stronghold made the decision to devote 100 percent of its efforts to creating Petite Sirah. One taste, and you know you’re drinking a specialty wine!

Things Offered in Property Listings

Properties listings can make your life easier in terms of convenience in hunting for that perfect home where your family can live or headquarters for your business. These can also help you can locate the kind of real estate asset you want to re-sell or rent out.

There are several ways you can acquire information on real estate you have in mind. You can scour the banks and government agencies for information, call the local real estate agents or peruse properties listings where there is an array of assets to choose from.

Types of real estate in the list

Homes, warehouses, foreclosed inns and hotels, office buildings, farm lots, condominiums and commercial spaces can be found in these lists. By scanning these, you will already have an idea what may be the perfect fit for your needs. For example, you may encounter a warehouse in the middle of the city that can be converted into an office or studio-and-home combo. Or even an abandoned building can be transformed into an art gallery. You may also decide to demolish the existing structure and just use the land for a more profitable endeavor.

Some apartment complexes that are ripe for redevelopment are also available through these properties listings. These types of real estate is ideal for those who want a passive steady income or for those who are bold enough to re-sell at the right price at the right time.

The location and sizes of the properties are already there and from this information you can already eliminate and choose the real estate you can concentrate on inspecting.

Some properties listings can direct you to the identity of the seller or the foreclosing agent or institution that you can negotiate with. The prices indicated in the list may not be final yet, depending on your haggling skills. However, in the case of auctions, the floor price may already be fixed but then again that would depend on the foreclosure process in a given state.

Where to find

Properties listings are available by subscription through mail, catalogues, and online. More real estate hunters are using the online lists because of convenience and the wide areas covered. Some government agencies are also using online property listings as they can cast a wider net in terms of attracting buyers from other states.

Minnesota Vacation Rentals – Vacationing in Minnesota

Outdoor sports enthusiasts as well as nature lovers go to Minnesota because of its attractions. The number of activities vacationers can enjoy in this state has led to the phenomenal rise of tourism in Minnesota.

Hotels, inns, and similar establishments have increased in numbers in Minnesota. Likewise, the prices of real estate in Minnesota have become competitive due to the influx of visitors and migrants in the area. These developments are testament to the beauty and luxury of vacationing and residing in Minnesota.

Any first-time visitor in Minnesota should pay a quick trip to Lake Vermillion, which is one of the biggest lakes in the state. Here, fishing enthusiasts of all ages troop in the hopes of getting species like lake trout, walleye, and smallmouth bass. Those who do not know how to fish can go on kayaking or canoeing trips.

Another top attraction in Minnesota is the Minnesota Zoo wherein a large number of exotic and native animals are housed. There are numerous educational activities that adults and kids can take part in. Located near the Twin Cities, the Minnesota Zoo provides a good trip for those in the southern part of the state. Those who like to spend their time on water should check out the Boundary Waters Canoe, where lakes, rivers, and lush forests overlook the landscape.

Vacationing in Minnesota is not complete without dropping by the Metrodome to witness a game either of the baseball team Minnesota Twins or the football squad Minnesota Vikings. There are also fun family activities and various cultural showcases held in this modern arena. The large and popular Mall of America is also located in Minnesota. Here, families can shop and dine to their hearts’ content.

The nightlife in Minnesota is also topnotch. Visitors wanting to experience the nightlife in this state should spend a night at the First Avenue, an old historical landmark which has played host to the best musical acts for almost 3 decades.

Those who want to take a respite from the hustle and bustle of city life can check out Lake Calhoun. Here, one can simply enjoy the greens or swim, fish, and canoe. Lake Calhoun offers a relaxing retreat to those who are tired of the daily cosmopolitan grind.

While there are a lot of tourist establishments in Minnesota that cater to visitors, those who frequent the state should consider purchasing realty in this area. Real estate in Minnesota is proving to be a wise investment considering the continuing development of the tourism sector in the state. Aside from providing a temporary shelter to your family while on vacation in Minnesota, getting real estate can also be a valuable investment in the long run. Those who have bought properties in Minnesota are making money by renting their properties to vacationers in Minnesota. There are no shortages of real estate in the state, which makes it easier for interested buyers to acquire properties. For one, interested buyers can consult with real estate agents and realtors about available properties. Properties that have been through foreclosure also provide attractive prices for those wanting to get prime spaces in Minnesota.

The Top 5 Key Benefits of Purchasing and Owning Investment Real Estate

So… You may ask yourself, why should you buy or invest in real estate in the First Place? Because it’s the IDEAL investment! Let’s take a moment to address the reasons why people should have investment real estate in the first place. The easiest answer is a well-known acronym that addresses the key benefits for all investment real estate. Put simply, Investment Real Estate is an IDEAL investment. The IDEAL stands for:

• I – Income
• D – Depreciation
• E – Expenses
• A – Appreciation
• L – Leverage

Real estate is the IDEAL investment compared to all others. I’ll explain each benefit in depth.

The “I” in IDEAL stands for Income. (a.k.a. positive cash flow) Does it even generate income? Your investment property should be generating income from rents received each month. Of course, there will be months where you may experience a vacancy, but for the most part your investment will be producing an income. Be careful because many times beginning investors exaggerate their assumptions and don’t take into account all potential costs. The investor should know going into the purchase that the property will COST money each month (otherwise known as negative cash flow). This scenario, although not ideal, may be OK, only in specific instances that we will discuss later. It boils down to the risk tolerance and ability for the owner to fund and pay for a negative producing asset. In the boom years of real estate, prices were sky high and the rents didn’t increase proportionately with many residential real estate investment properties. Many naïve investors purchased properties with the assumption that the appreciation in prices would more than compensate for the fact that the high balance mortgage would be a significant negative impact on the funds each month. Be aware of this and do your best to forecast a positive cash flow scenario, so that you can actually realize the INCOME part of the IDEAL equation.

Often times, it may require a higher down payment (therefore lesser amount being mortgaged) so that your cash flow is acceptable each month. Ideally, you eventually pay off the mortgage so there is no question that cash flow will be coming in each month, and substantially so. This ought to be a vital component to one’s retirement plan. Do this a few times and you won’t have to worry about money later on down the road, which is the main goal as well as the reward for taking the risk in purchasing investment property in the first place.

The “D” in IDEAL Stands for Depreciation. With investment real estate, you are able to utilize its depreciation for your own tax benefit. What is depreciation anyway? It’s a non-cost accounting method to take into account the overall financial burden incurred through real estate investment. Look at this another way, when you buy a brand new car, the minute you drive off the lot, that car has depreciated in value. When it comes to your investment real estate property, the IRS allows you to deduct this amount yearly against your taxes. Please note: I am not a tax professional, so this is not meant to be a lesson in taxation policy or to be construed as tax advice.

With that said, the depreciation of a real estate investment property is determined by the overall value of the structure of the property and the length of time (recovery period based on the property type-either residential or commercial). If you have ever gotten a property tax bill, they usually break your property’s assessed value into two categories: one for the value of the land, and the other for the value of the structure. Both of these values added up equals your total “basis” for property taxation. When it comes to depreciation, you can deduct against your taxes on the original base value of the structure only; the IRS doesn’t allow you to depreciate land value (because land is typically only APPRECIATING). Just like your new car driving off the lot, it’s the structure on the property that is getting less and less valuable every year as its effective age gets older and older. And you can use this to your tax advantage.

The best example of the benefit regarding this concept is through depreciation, you can actually turn a property that creates a positive cash flow into one that shows a loss (on paper) when dealing with taxes and the IRS. And by doing so, that (paper) loss is deductible against your income for tax purposes. Therefore, it’s a great benefit for people that are specifically looking for a “tax-shelter” of sorts for their real estate investments.

For example, and without getting too technical, assume that you are able to depreciate $15,000 a year from a $500,000 residential investment property that you own. Let’s say that you are cash-flowing $1,000 a month (meaning that after all expenses, you are net-positive $1000 each month), so you have $12,000 total annual income for the year from this property’s rental income. Although you took in $12,000, you can show through your accountancy with the depreciation of the investment real estate that you actually lost $3,000 on paper, which is used against any income taxes that you may owe. From the standpoint of IRS, this property realized a loss of $3,000 after the “expense” of the $15,000 depreciation amount was taken into account. Not only are there no taxes due on that rental income, you can utilize the paper loss of $3,000 against your other regular taxable income from your day-job. Investment property at higher price points will have proportionally higher tax-shelter qualities. Investors use this to their benefit in being able to deduct as much against their taxable amount owed each year through the benefit of depreciation with their underlying real estate investment.

Although this is a vastly important benefit to owning investment real estate, the subject is not well understood. Because depreciation is a somewhat complicated tax subject, the above explanation was meant to be cursory in nature. When it comes to issues involving taxes and depreciation, make sure you have a tax professional that can advise you appropriately so you know where you stand.

The “E” in IDEAL is for Expenses – Generally, all expenses incurred relating to the property are deductible when it comes to your investment property. The cost for utilities, the cost for insurance, the mortgage, and the interest and property taxes you pay. If you use a property manager or if you’re repairing or improving the property itself, all of this is deductible. Real estate investment comes with a lot of expenses, duties, and responsibilities to ensure the investment property itself performs to its highest capability. Because of this, contemporary tax law generally allows that all of these related expenses are deductible to the benefit of the investment real estate landowner. If you were to ever take a loss, or purposefully took a loss on a business investment or investment property, that loss (expense) can carry over for multiple years against your income taxes. For some people, this is an aggressive and technical strategy. Yet it’s another potential benefit of investment real estate.

The “A” in IDEAL is for Appreciation – Appreciation means the growth of value of the underlying investment. It’s one of the main reasons that we invest in the first place, and it’s a powerful way to grow your net worth. Many homes in the city of San Francisco are several million dollars in today’s market, but back in the 1960s, the same property was worth about the cost of the car you are currently driving (probably even less!). Throughout the years, the area became more popular and the demand that ensued caused the real estate prices in the city to grow exponentially compared to where they were a few decades ago. People that were lucky enough to recognize this, or who were just in the right place at the right time and continued to live in their home have realized an investment return in the 1000’s of percent. Now that’s what appreciation is all about. What other investment can make you this kind of return without drastically increased risk? The best part about investment real estate is that someone is paying you to live in your property, paying off your mortgage, and creating an income (positive cash flow) to you each month along the way throughout your course of ownership.

The “L” in IDEAL stands for Leverage – A lot of people refer to this as “OPM” (other people’s money). This is when you are using a small amount of your money to control a much more expensive asset. You are essentially leveraging your down payment and gaining control of an asset that you would normally not be able to purchase without the loan itself. Leverage is much more acceptable in the real estate world and inherently less risky than leverage in the stock world (where this is done through means of options or buying “on Margin”). Leverage is common in real estate. Otherwise, people would only buy property when they had 100% of the cash to do so. Over a third of all purchase transactions are all-cash transactions as our recovery continues. Still, about 2/3 of all purchases are done with some level of financing, so the majority of buyers in the market enjoy the power that leverage can offer when it comes to investment real estate.

For example, if a real estate investor was to buy a house that costs $100,000 with 10% down payment, they are leveraging the remaining 90% through the use of the associated mortgage. Let’s say the local market improves by 20% over the next year, and therefore the actual property is now worth $120,000. When it comes to leverage, from the standpoint of this property, its value increased by 20%. But compared to the investor’s actual down payment (the “skin in the game”) of $10,000- this increase in property value of 20% really means the investor doubled their return on the investment actually made-also known as the “cash on cash” return. In this case, that is 200%-because the $10,000 is now responsible and entitled to a $20,000 increase in overall value and the overall potential profit.

Although leverage is considered a benefit, like everything else, there can always be too much of a good thing. In 2007, when the real estate market took a turn for the worst, many investors were over-leveraged and fared the worst. They could not weather the storm of a correcting economy. Exercising caution with every investment made will help to ensure that you can purchase, retain, pay-off debt, and grow your wealth from the investment decisions made as opposed to being at the mercy and whim of the overall market fluctuations. Surely there will be future booms and busts as the past would dictate as we continue to move forward. More planning and preparing while building net worth will help prevent getting bruised and battered by the side effects of whatever market we find ourselves in.

Many people think that investment real estate is only about cash flow and appreciation, but it’s so much more than that. As mentioned above, you can realize several benefits through each real estate investment property you purchase. The challenge is to maximize the benefits through every investment.

Furthermore, the IDEAL acronym is not just a reminder of the benefits of investment real estate; it’s also here to serve as a guide for every investment property you will consider purchasing in the future. Any property you purchase should conform to all of the letters that represent the IDEAL acronym. The underlying property should have a good reason for not fitting all the guidelines. And in almost every case, if there is an investment you are considering that doesn’t hit all the guidelines, by most accounts you should probably PASS on it!

Take for example a story of my own, regarding a property that I purchased early on in my real estate career. To this day, it’s the biggest investment mistake that I’ve made, and it’s precisely because I didn’t follow the IDEAL guidelines that you are reading and learning about now. I was naïve and my experience was not yet fully developed. The property I purchased was a vacant lot in a gated community development. The property already had an HOA (a monthly maintenance fee) because of the nice amenity facilities that were built for it, and in anticipation of would-be-built homes. There were high expectations for the future appreciation potential-but then the market turned for the worse as we headed into the great recession that lasted from 2007-2012. Can you see what parts of the IDEAL guidelines I missed on completely?

Let’s start with “I”. The vacant lot made no income! Sometimes this can be acceptable, if the deal is something that cannot be missed. But for the most part this deal was nothing special. In all honesty, I’ve considered selling the trees that are currently on the vacant lot to the local wood mill for some actual income, or putting up a camping spot ad on the local Craigslist; but unfortunately the lumber isn’t worth enough and there are better spots to camp! My expectations and desire for price appreciation blocked the rational and logical questions that needed to be asked. So, when it came to the income aspect of the IDEAL guidelines for a real estate investment, I paid no attention to it. And I paid the price for my hubris. Furthermore, this investment failed to realize the benefit of depreciation as you cannot depreciate land! So, we are zero for two so far, with the IDEAL guideline to real estate investing. All I can do is hope the land appreciates to a point where it can be sold one day. Let’s call it an expensive learning lesson. You too will have these “learning lessons”; just try to have as few of them as possible and you will be better off.

When it comes to making the most of your real estate investments, ALWAYS keep the IDEAL guideline in mind to make certain you are making a good decision and a solid investment.

Eight Tips For Launching Your Real Estate Investing Career

Eight Tips for Getting Started in Real Estate Investing


This article is just the basics for getting started in real estate investing. This is not a how to article but an article that gives you some information about things to do to get started. Everything in this article is tools that can be applied to helping anyone get started in real estate investing. I am going to give you my eight keys to getting started. Nothing is right or wrong but reflects the point of view of the author. Laws and legal practices vary from state to state, and laws can change over time. The author does not vouch for the legality of his opinions, nor is there any intent to supply legal advice. The author strongly encourages the reader to consult with professionals and an attorney prior to entering in any real estate transaction or contract. The author is not a writer but he is a real estate investor. There will be grammar mistakes and errors, so don’t be too critical of the grammar but focus your energy on what is being said. With that said prepare yourself to think a little differently and expand your mind. Let’s get started on an amazing adventure.

The Eight Tips are as follows

1. Desire
2. Goal Setting
3. Learning What To Do
4. Attending a Real Estate Investing Seminar
5. The Billings Montana Market
6. Finding a Mentor
7. Your Real Estate Team
8. Just Do IT

1. Desire

Before we get in to the bolts and nails of real estate investing in I want to talk to you about desire. If you are going to be successful at anything in life including real estate investing you have to have the desire to do it. Desire is defined as longing or craving, as for something that brings satisfaction or enjoyment. Desire stresses the strength of feeling and often implies strong intention or aim. In real estate investing if you don’t have a desire to learn and grow as a human being and really get satisfaction out of it, then real estate investing is going to be hard to do. When I go out and look at a property it brings me a lot of enjoyment. Every aspect brings me joy from talking to home owners, figuring out how I can make a deal work, to buying the house and to finding a good homeowner or tenant for the house. Real estate investing may not be for everyone but real estate investing can offer anyone the financial freedom we all crave for. If you do not have the desire for real estate investing that is ok, it can still help you to live your dreams and help you to get where you want to go in the future.

Why is real estate investing an amazing avenue for anyone to live out all of their dreams? Let me ask you a few questions. Do you have enough money to do anything you want? Do you have everything you want? No debt? A nice house? Great Marriage? The freedom to do anything regardless of how much it costs and the time it takes? If you have all of these things then you are one of the few people in America who does. Most people may be working fifty hours a week and making just enough to pay their bills. In today’s day and age most people are living pay check to pay check never really knowing if they will make enough to pay the bills that just keep piling up. If you cannot keep up with your monthly bills how are you going to plan for retirement or send your kids to college or have time to enjoy life. The answer to all of these questions is becoming financially free. Now it’s not going to be easy everyone will have to get off the couch and out of their comfort zone. Real estate is proven to be one of the fastest ways to get your out of the rat race of the nine to five and begin living the life you deserve to live. Everyone wants something different out of their life. Some dream of traveling the world, spending more time with family, volunteering, golfing, laying on a beach, giving back to the community, or anything that will make them happy. There are thousands of things that make people happy.

Making it in real estate takes a person who has a strong desire to change their lives for the better and think big. Anyone can become a great real estate investor. It is going to take a lot of work and can be a struggle at times but in the end it will be the most amazing feeling ever. The people that make it in real estate investing all have a few things in common. First they run their real estate investing business like any other business out there. Second they get out there and network with anyone and everyone. Some people might be like me and have a hard time talking to other people. If you are that is ok, anyone can learn how to become a people person, it just takes hard daily work. You have to push yourself past your comfort zone. The third thing is that you cannot be afraid to fail. Everyone has failed at something but the most successful people out their learn from their failures. The fourth thing is that you have to put a good team together. I will go into putting a team together in a later chapter. The concept of putting a team together is so that when you don’t know something you have team members that know what to do and can help you with questions. The can also make sure that you are not working yourself to death. You do not want to be the person doing everything in your business. Doing everything is a receipt for failure. You have to put together good people who you can trust and rely on. The fifth thing is that you need a mentor. Sixth and final is the desire to do it. No one can become successful at something if they don’t want to do it and don’t get satisfaction out of what they are doing.

2. Setting Goals

Having goals is one of the most important aspects of achieving what you want in life. You don’t want to just have your goals up in your head you want to write them down and past what you have wrote on the wall somewhere or in the bathroom mirror. You want to review your goals daily and read them out loud to yourself. This way you remind yourself everyday why you are building your business.

How should you start to write down you goals? First off you should think big, and by big I mean HUGE. If your goals are too small you will easily achieve them and have nothing else to look forward too. You should start off by asking yourself the question if I had all the money and time in the world what would I do, what would I buy, how would I spend my time, and how would I spend my energy. Are you starting to write these down? Well you should be. Think about what you want, spending time with family, traveling the world, the best cars, a castle, owning a small country, running for president, having the biggest real estate investing business in your area or in the country. Whatever your dreams and what you want out of your life, write it down. Some of my goals are becoming free, traveling the world, having a Ferrari, having 10 vacation homes all over the world. Right now I am just trying to get you out of your comfort zone of thinking and let your imagination run.

There are several ways to set goals. I have learned a lot of ways you can set you goals and there is no right or wrong way. The best ways that I have found to set your goals is to break them up into two categories. First your short term goals. This should be goals from a month out to around a year. The second is your long term goals these goals are you think big goals and what you see for your future.

For year one I like to first make a list of what I want to achieve this year and I will give you an example of how to do that. For year one you want to be very specific first you want to list what you want your income to be at the end of the year, next how much cash in the bank you want (this is money in your checking account, not assets). Next you want to list how much you are going to give. Giving is a very important, this can be giving to charity, giving of gifts to friends and family, giving to your school or anything you can dream of. As long as what you give brings joy to others who need it more than you. Next list what bad habits you have that you want to eliminate. Weather is be quitting smoking, spending too much on junk, drinking too much, working too much, not spending enough time with family, too much TV, not exercising and many more. We all have bad habits that need to be changed in order for use to grow as human beings. Under each of these bad habits list out some steps that you can take in order to quit them. If you bad habit is being lazy and not exercising enough what can you do to change that. Well you can get a gym membership or a home work out program. Commit yourself you following through with a plan to work out 3-5 days a week. For you to change these bad habits you have to be totally committed and follow through with a detailed plan you set for yourself. After you have your plans in place you should start listing several things you want to achieve or do in the next year. This can be start a successful business, spend time with family, travel to 2-5 places and so on. Now under each of these you should also write a detailed plan on what you need and what you need to do in order to achieve these goals. Finally you should take all of this information you have a write on page on what you see your life being over the next year. Doing this is a great exercise to really see what you want out of life.

Goals Year One

This is what I am going To Do This Year
Income: $500,000
Cash: $100,000
Give: $20,000

Bad Habits that will be changes:

Over Sleeping 1. Go to bed at 11 p.m. 2. Use a timer and set it for 8 hours 3. Set the timer on the other side of the room

Buying things that you don’t need: 1. Going out shopping less 2. If you have the urge to buy something think to yourself is thing item going to help me to achieve my goals of becoming financially free? 3. Tell friends what you are doing, so they can help to stop you.

What I want to Achieve:

Start a successful Real Estate Investing Business: (you should write a detailed step by step plan of everything you need in order to achieve your goal)

Travel: Where do I want to visit? 1. Gators football game (what I need to do it, money, etc)

And last your own page about what you want to achieve using words like I will and only positive words.

For long term goals you don’t need to be as specific right now, but you should list them and under them list a few steps or smaller goals that need to be achieved before you are able to achieve them. With the long term goals always think big. Another good exercise for long term goals is to make a collage of you goals. Put pictures of the house you want on it, places you want to travel, a picture of your family, a number of what income you want in or anything you can think of.

3. Learn

Knowledge builds confidence and destroys fear. If you are starting any kind of business you need to learn the ins and outs of that business. The best way I have found to learn about real estate investing is to read all about it. But once you know it you have to apply what you have learned. Learning and reading is just one step to take. There are thousands of books on the market about real estate investing and everyone has something you can learn from. You don’t just want to read real estate investing books though. You also want to fill yourself with motivational and leadership books. Every successful person that I know if a reader and they all spend at least thirty minutes a day reading something that will teach them about improving their business or helping themselves to become a better person. Some of the best books that I would recommend reading are listed below.

1. Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki (read this first and also ready everything in the rick dad poor dad series, great books to start with and will expand you mind)
2. Be a Real Estate Millionaire by Dean Graziosi
3. Flip your way to financial freedom by Preston Ely (this is an E-Book)
4. Four hour work week by Timothy Ferriss
5. The Attractor Factor
6. Short Sale Pre-foreclosure Investing by Dwan Bent-twyford and Sharon Sestrepo
7. Keys to success, by Napoleon Hill
8. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
9. How to win friends and influence people
10. Any Book by John C. Maxwell (he has tons of amazing leadership books)
11. Getting Started in Real Estate Day Trading by Larry Goins
12. The E Myth by Michael Gerber
13. How to be a quick turn real estate millionaire by Ron Legrand
14. The Power of Full Engagement
15. The It Factor
16. Anything by Anthony Robins

There are tons more you can read but these will give you a great start. You should also read books on negotiating, sales, motivation, and biographies on American business people.

I hope this list gives you the knowledge it has given me. If you learn and apply what you have learned from these books there is no reason that you should not become very successful.

4. Attend a Real Estate Investing Seminar

Attending a Real Estate Investing Seminar can be one of the best places to learn about real estate investing from some very well known experts. There are several seminars going on all over the country every weekend. If you live in a big city it will be very easy to find one. If you live in a town like Billings Montana you might need to travel a little ways to find one. Now most of the best meeting cost money to attend them. Some range from five hundred dollars for three days and some can be up to $20,000. There are a few that I would recommend. Than Merrill is a great speaker to go hear. I have learned a ton from him. You can find his company online by Google searching him. Also rich dad poor dad has seminars all over the country. I attended one of their seminars in Billings Montana for only $500 dollars and learned a ton from it. There is also Preston Ely, Larry Goins, and hundreds of speakers out there. If you find a great book that you really enjoyed, then just simple search for that person online and see if they are speaking somewhere or offer a seminar close to you.

Another reason I recommend going to a seminar is because they get you pumped up and motivated. I have not yet found anything else that just gets you feeling like you can do anything. When you get back from one of these seminars you will have tons of energy and knowledge. Every time I get back from one all I want to do is going out and do a deal or ten.

These seminars will also provide you with several opportunities to purchase amazing real estate investing tools, software or learning material at a fraction of the cost. Believe me when I tell you all of the low priced seminars try to sell you something. But a lot of times what they are trying to sell is some really good stuff.

Another reason to attend a seminar is to network with other investors and build relationships with them. You can meet other investors who you can partner with on a deal, sell a deal too, people who will provide you with deals and so on. You should have hundreds of business cards made up and try to give them all out. You never know how much one business card you hand out can make you.

5. Learn About the real estate market in your area

Most real estate investors start their career off my investing around where they live. This is why I do my real estate investing in Billings Montana. You can venture out when you have more experience. The reason behind this is because we feel more comfortable with the areas and know the areas better. It is also easier to get local real estate information that we need. Investing in your local market is also cheaper to start out, there is less travel costs, you can see what you are buying and it may give you a feeling a comfort.

First you have to decide which part of town is the best place to invest in. This can be determined by what kind of real estate investing you choose to do. I have not gone over the types of real estate investing but some include rehabbing (fixing up and selling), wholesaling (finding deals and selling them to other investors), buying to rent, and there are a few others. These are the real estate strategies that I use for the most part. When looking at the market you need to see where other investors are buying their houses. Most of the best deals will be found in low to middle class neighbors hoods. By low I don’t mean drug infested war zones, what I mean is blue collar safe neighbor hoods that might have somewhat older houses and houses that are not on the higher end price side. Now you can find deals in the higher priced neighbor hoods but most will be in the low to middle income neighborhoods. When looking where others are buying ask local realtors, other investors or appraisers.

When talking with investors ask them several questions such as what neighborhoods they prefer, what type of houses they buy (3 bed 2 bath), and what they do (rehab, rent, wholesale). You should not look at other investors as competition but try and work with them.

There are different types of markets such as appreciating markets, flat markets, and deprecating markets. Appreciating markets are markets that there is no enough houses or a very high demand for houses which causes the price of houses to go up. The reason there is a high demand for housing can be because of job growth, a very appealing area, or several reason. Flat markets are markets that have no or very little growth. This means that there is not a lot of demand; buy just enough to fill every ones needs. Depreciating markets are where there is a lot more houses than people to fill those house. This causes house prices to start going down. This can be because of a large employer leaving the area, a natural disaster or just over building. There is an old saying buy in a bust and sell in a boom. In depreciating markets you can pick up several deals, while in appreciating the house prices are going to be much higher and harder to find great deals. The deal will still be out there you just have to know where to find them.

Learning your market is another key to becoming successful. Real estate Brokers and experts in your area can be the best source of information for you. Learn to use them to find out what kind of market you are in. If you are in Billings Montana we are in a pretty stable market. Billings Montana has not seen the ups and downs that other markets have experienced. I will have to say that I have been noticing a little bit of a downward trend but not much. Once the first time home buyer credit is over with we might see a little more decline. Every market can vary by neighborhood, so make sure you know you market well. I have seen the same houses just one mile apart selling for totally different prices.

6. Find a Mentor

Having a mentor to help you can be your biggest learning experience. Mentors can help you with any questions you may have, walk you step by step through the investing process, give you moral support, you learn from their proven system, and also network you with others in the business. Every successful real estate investor that I know says they owe a lot of their success to the mentors they have and had in their lives. I have had one of the best mentors around, my father. He is teaching me something new every day and pushing me to become successful.

When trying to find a mentor I would suggest network with the investors at your local real estate investors club meeting. There is a real estate investing club in Billings Montana that meets once a month. You can find information about real estate investing clubs in your area by searching for REA or real estate investors club then your area in Google. When you go to the meetings ask around who the biggest investors are. Then ask if you could get together with them sometime and discuss real estate investing. Ask them if they would consider working with you to get their career going. Offer your services as a bird dog. Bird dogs are people who go out find deals or leads about deals and give them to other investors. A bird dog gets from $500 to $3000 dollars depending on the deal. Make sure that you have a bird dog contract signed with the investors saying that if you find them and deal and they buy it that you get paid a certain amount of money. Being a bird dog helps you to build credibility with the investor and they are more likely to mentor you if you have something to offer them. If you would like to contact me with a question go to my web site Big Sky Property Solutions LLC.

7. Your Real Estate Team

Building an effective team can make your life as a real estate investor a lot easier. You are only one person and cannot do everything or be an expert in every aspect of real estate investing. Going at a project alone can become one of the most frustrating experiences you will ever encounter. Many people have become frustrated and quite real estate investing because they try and juggle too many things. Make sure that when putting a team together you provide everyone with win-win opportunities. When someone knows that working with you is going to make them money they will put you as a higher priority on their list. But you have to prove it to them that you are the real deal.
People to have on your real estate investing team include

o Real Estate Agents ( find the top agent for volume of sales in your area and other agents who work with real estate investors)
o Real Estate appraisers (find an appraiser that has done a few hundred jobs or more and make sure they carry errors and omissions insurance)
o Real estate contractors (good rehab crews that can get the job done in a timely manner, have 3-5 crews and on every deal get 3 estimates done. Ask for referrals from them and make sure they are licensed)
o Real estate attorneys (every investor needs an attorney, they can help to protect your assets, make sure you find one that works with investors)
o A property management company (can manage your properties and will give you leads on property they are managing that might come up for sale)
o Title companies (take care of the legal process and make sure there are no liens against the property you are buying, choose one that does hundreds of closings a year)
o Home inspectors(charge about $400 but will give you a great inspection and could save you thousands in the long run)
o And your Mentor

All of these people can help you in various aspects of real estate investing. You might find that there are a couple others that are keys to your business but this is just a list of a few.

8. Just Do it

There is no better phrase out there then JUST DO IT! Once you have learned all you can networked with investors in Billings and learned real estate investing strategies there is nothing left to do but get your feet wet. There is no better learning tool out there then doing a deal. Once you have completed that first deal you will know what to expect and find out that it is not as hard as you thought it would be. You will have learned what you did right and what was frustrating. Take that experience and ask yourself what would have made it run smoother. Apply that to your next deal. Then the next deal will be easier and it keeps getting easier as you go. I will say that every deal is different from the last but that what makes this business fun. You have to be creative and always keep on learning and growing with your business.

The average person never uses what they learn. Don’t be average apply your knowledge. When going out and doing your first deal act like you have done 1000’s of deals. The fastest way to change a habit is to act like it is true.

Five keys for success
1. Specialized Knowledge
2. Tools of a professional
3. Have the mindset of a winner
4. Mentors
5. Money and the knowledge of leveraging it (you don’t have to have millions to invest in real estate, there are many strategies out there to use other people’s money, or no money at all)

This is going to conclude this article about getting started in real estate investing. I hope this gave you some ideas about how you can get started. I didn’t give you any strategies at this point but look for some in upcoming articles. These are simple steps you can use to get started. If you read this article thank you for listening.

How to Choose a Good Real Estate Agent

Real estate agents are frequently depicted as smarmy sales people who don’t do very much for their large commission. However, quality real estate agents do more than show buyers homes and market houses. Real estate transactions are legal contracts that involve a great deal of money. One little missed detail can mean disaster to a buyer or a seller.

Understand the real estate agent’s role. If you sign a contract with a real estate agent, they are bound by law to serve your needs. Agents are the best source for determining home sales in the area, explaining real estate laws to which all home sellers (including For Sale By Owners) are bound to uphold, and tracking the process from offer, to loan approval to closing.

Choose a real estate agent who’s a member of the National Association of Realtors. These agents are bound to abide by a code of ethics that is strictly enforced.

Get referrals. Real estate agents are everywhere; open houses, billboards, real estate magazines, etc. All of them may be very good, but asking friends, family and co-workers about their recommendations is a better way to find a quality agent.

Interview prospective agents. Things to consider is the agent’s experience (home sales, etc), ability to offer feedback and resources, attentiveness (returns calls, emails in a timely manner), and tools at their disposal (Web listings, video tours, etc). Don’t assume choosing an agent who’s willing to sell at your price (which may be too much) or discount agents are better. The agent is the expert and should be able to show you proof of the market and how your home compares. Further, discount agents don’t always provide all the services needed to make sure you’re getting the best deal and are protected if something goes wrong.

Start a Real Estate Holding Company

Real estate holding companies have become popular vehicles for individual real estate investors, investor groups and consortiums to accumulate and manage their residential and commercial investment properties. Having a clear strategic plan, the right organization and a clearly defined division of responsibilities between company leaders can go a long way toward ensuring the successful start-up and operation of your real estate investment company.

Decide what kind of corporate entity you want for your real estate investment company. Will it be an LLC, a C corporation or a subchapter S corporation? What kind of tax status will it have? There are a variety of pros and cons to each type of structure, and the counsel of an attorney and/or accountant well-versed in corporate law is a must. It’s especially good if they specialize in or have significant experience with the vagaries of real estate investment. Such professionals might be expensive, but being poorly organized can lead to problems that are far more costly and burdensome later on.

Determine what kind of real estate investing your company will engage in. Are you going to invest in residential or commercial real estate? If residential, will you purchase houses, duplexes and apartment buildings or single family homes? What kind of taxes and regulations do real estate investors have to deal with in the area you plan on acquiring properties in? Are you going to only attempt to buy real estate in healthy areas at market prices, or are you going to specialize in foreclosure or tax lien investing, in which you might be willing to acquire less well-maintained properties in exchange for a discount? Are you going to exclusively invest in property in your local area, or are you willing to invest and operate properties out of state or even out of the country? It’s also important to fundamentally decide whether or not the main reason for your real estate purchases will be capital appreciation or rental income. Obviously, all investors would like both. They’d like to buy a property, hold it for 10 or 20 years while it appreciates and collect rental income the whole time. But oftentimes there is a trade off between income or appreciation-based investing, and you should closely study the pros and cons of either while establishing the strategy of your real estate investment company.

Determine your capital situation. How are you going to finance your real estate purchases, and how are you going to finance the costs of real estate taxes, property management and other incidental administrative costs that inevitably make their presence felt? Will you put down a small amount of capital and accept higher monthly interest payments or invest more to begin with to lower your financing expenses and improve your cash flow situation? Carefully run through a variety of scenarios and how they might impact the overall value of your properties and your total cash flow situation. How much is coming in from rental or other property-derived income versus how much is going out? For example, if you own ten single family rental properties and three tenants stop paying, will you have enough intake from your other properties to service your debt and handle the expenses of operating all the properties together? If you encounter sudden liquidity problems, do you know where you would turn to for operating capital? Would this capital be made available to you in a timely fashion and at rates that wouldn’t cripple your business? Also consider how you would respond to good unexpected developments, such as another investor offering to buy your property at a 10 percent premium only six months after you acquired it. Would you hold out for more? Refuse the offer outright and continue collecting rental income? Or take it and be subjected to higher capital gains taxes?

Assemble a competent management team to handle affairs at your company. Decide whether or not your company is going to personally manage the properties acquires or if it’s going to farm out those duties to professional management companies. When you’re first starting out, the administrative chores might be small enough for the founders to handle, but as the company expands, you’re going to want to bring on-board managers you can rely on to help execute the strategic vision. Be sure that these managers understand and are in agreement with the broader strategy of your company, while allowing them enough tactical flexibility to make quick decisions themselves in the heat of battle.

Develop relationships with real estate agents and brokers in territories and categories your company plans to concentrate in. Their on-the-ground perspective could prove invaluable in ferreting out hidden gems, as well as warning you away from potentially disastrous money pits. Keep in mind that the main goal of real estate agents and brokers is to sell property as fast as they can and for as much as they can, so you might have to take their advice with a grain of salt. But if you clearly demonstrate to them that you’re knowledgeable about the area and not one to be easily taken for a ride, they’ll probably be honest with you and seek to clue you into to good or at least fair deals in order to get more business from you.

How to Invest in Real Estate

Considered by experts to be one of the safest ways to invest your money, real estate investment can take a variety of creative and potentially profitable forms. The most common way beginners get started in real estate is to buy and rent out a second home as an investment property.

Build up your start-up capital by speaking to your bank about a savings or personal investment plan. Find ways to save your money, keeping in mind that you should have enough to put a 25 percent down payment on your first residential real estate investment.

Take a reputable real estate investment training seminar. As a general rule, bigger is better: trust professionals who offer courses at well-known convention centers or training institutions. In general, it’s also a good rule of thumb to head to your bookstore rather than the Internet if you want to read about real estate investing, as there are many websites that don’t deliver what they promise.

Learn to identify motivated sellers. A motivated seller is a person who, for one reason or another, has to sell her home relatively quickly. Often, you can buy a home for thousands less than its market value from a motivated seller, making what amounts to an instant profit.

Make sure you have enough knowledge to be able to make your own assessment of a house’s structural soundness. If not, bring along someone who does when you go house-hunting, or consider hiring an appraiser if you’re serious about a particular property and want an independent evaluation of its value.

Make a down payment on the home of your choice and rent it out as soon as possible, at as long a term as you can get at a rate that at least covers (if not exceeds) the sum of your monthly mortgage, fees and property taxes.

Build up equity in the home by having your renters pay down the mortgage for you, making sure you keep a cash float fund available for contingency purposes.

Use the equity you’ve built up in your investment property to put a down payment on another house, if you want to build your own mini-real estate empire. You can continue to buy and rent out homes in this manner to whatever degree you consider manageable in your present situation.

Remember that buying, renting out then selling or using a home’s equity for further investing is but one of many real estate investing strategies. You can also flip houses by buying them at below-market rates, having improvements made then selling them at a profit. You can also invest in commercial real estate, such as apartment buildings, mobile home parks, strip malls and other lands that businesses use.