Posts Tagged ‘real estate investment’

property tax protests in austin tx travis county

August 22, 2011

Every year I protest my property tax valuations and almost every year it is time well spent. It allows me to learn something new about how my property is valued and what other property is valued at surrounding my property and is a general adventure in dealing with people.

So this year I started out with the commercial stuff. I sat down with the same guy that I talked to last year. He remembered that I had my son with me last year but this year I happened to have to go on his birthday so he did not come along (“his loss :)” just kidding son ). I asked for my property to be reduced about 15% from where the county had them appraised at. After showing him my p&l for the year he agreed to get me to a value about 7.5% lower then where the county was at. I decided that it was a good enough return and took his offer and our conversation was almost over. He began to work up the settlement and I began to pick his brain. Well it turns out that the county has produced some very important information which is used to determine property values.

One of those reports is a CAP RATE report for apartment transactions for the prior year. This report contains cap rates for sales that took place for the prior year catorgorized by the age of the complex. It can be used to determine value for your particular property and for those around you. Here is why I was surprised by the report: I was surprised because of how low the cap rates were! Or by how high the values were. For example there was a transaction on a building built in 1973 and it had a 7% cap rate. if you had a 20 unit building that was generating a 100K Net Operating Income you could in theory sell it for a prices of 100K/7%= $1,428,571.

Working backward:
If a unit was renting for about 675 per month with a 5% vacancy and the expenses averaged about 35% of revenue after the vacancy you generate a 100K net operating income.
For those of you who don’t know 7% is LOW. My first student loan interest rate was at 8%. I remember when FHA loans were are 8%. So for an older building to sell at a 7% Capitalization Rate is a really low number and a high value.
Say for example that 7% is a fluke and If you used a 8.5 rate the value would be 1,176,470 ! Which is still out of this world! I did not think that our market was that hot! Boy was I surprised!


21903 Cold Springs for sale or trade

January 10, 2011

This is a property with 2 houses on one lot.   The small house needs work.   Click on the following link to see the listing details and some pictures.

I will trade it or use it as the down payment on a larger property.   It is listed for sale for $125K.    I will owner finance it and will buy it back after a trade.   I will deliver it free and clear of any liens or can leave the financing that is currently on it in place.     Do you have an income property that you would like to trade or a development project that needs new life.   Call me lets talk about what the different options are for your project and my project.   There are houses in the area that sell for over $400K and this parcel already has the utilities in place if you desired to replace the houses and build a large house on top of the hill.

Customer Full – Residential to see the data that is in the MLS concerning the house.

CAll me at 512-782-8982

Offer on a foreclosure in Austin

January 9, 2011

This week I made an offer on a foreclosed property this week.  It was listed for 69K but I only wanted to offer 45 to 50K.  Why such a low offer on an already reduced priced house?    The house originally had a loan on it for over 133K and I only wanted to offer 45 to 50K b/c of the foundation issues that will require a foundation repair and will forever impair the salability of the house.   In addition the plumbing will most likely require some repair if not today sometime in the near future b/c of the foundation work that is needed.    Can this house be financed today?    AS is?   NO WAY that is why it is not work the 69K that the bank is asking.   This house will require cash and cash always requires a discount to the list price or asking price or the true value of the house.   AS they say CASH is KING! or as I like to say Ron’s rule # 3458921 to making your self a better real estate investor:   ”

“Remember the golden rule:  HE who has the GOLD (in this case CASH) makes the rules.”

Here is a like to some info on the house from my website and the MLS:   Customer Full – Residential

There were a few other offers on the house so we will see what happens with this offer.

If you would like to know more about how, why, when, where, and how to make great real estate investmtents please email me and lets discuss your overall plan and how real estate fits into it and what types of things would work best for your investment style. 512-782-8982 in my office number.


January 9, 2011

over the holidays I had to deal with a fire in one of the apartments that I own.   I am relieved that the resident was not killed and thankful that the damage was not to the entire building!   Fires can wreck a real estate investment luckily this one is insured so the damage will not be as large as it could have been, but nevertheless it is a big distraction when you want to start the new year on a positive note.  Check out some of the pictures of the fire

after the fire

inside the unit

Home starts down mean?? Increase in rents!!

January 8, 2011

an article in the austin business journal outlined the current state of new construction in Austin.   You can find it by clicking the link below

Austin home starts down 26% in 4Q
2011-01-04 12:40 PM CST

Click here to read this article

For the existing housing stock this is good news as it means that builders are not adding to our existing inventory of homes and that as demand continues to build and as those living at home and doubling up move less and less inventory will be available for them to chose from.    Of course that only happens if all things remain the same.   When was the last time that happened?   NEVER.   Yes I have not forgotten that builder can begin building in a matter of weeks not months or years.   This is still good news as it relates to existing inventory!

Do you have some real estate that you dont want or dont know how to sell?   If so give me a call and lets discuss the options available to you 512-782-8982 or email me

Buy from pessimists and sell to optimists

December 3, 2010

Ron’s sayings and things # 2,857 to make you a better real estate investor.

This is one of the fundamental real estate investment concepts that most people seem to misunderstand or to miss apply to themselves.   Buy low and sell high plays a part in this concept.    It sounds easy enough but the application of this wisdom contained in the instructions is a complex concept.    To do this you must understand market fundamentals and take your time to study who the pessimists are and who the optimists are.    When the market is ugly and no one wants to be a real estate investor, foreclosures are everywhere, and everyone who has something to sell and there are no buyers or very few who want to buy real estate because of the general state of the economy.    In this market the pessimists are ruling.   The trick is to buy something that you can fix or that is in need of the specific skills that you can easily provide.  

 When the market is great and everyone is making money and going to become the next Donald Trump, the economy is booming and money is easy to get.   TV producers create shows profiling regular people making tons of money being real estate investors.   This is a market dominated by optimists.    In 2007 I owned several older houses in a changing neighborhood.    There were investors tearing down houses and building newer bigger houses on these lots.  I was beginning to get excited about the possibility of either rehabbing these houses for big dollars or tearing them down and building something new and big and beautiful.   Then I began to do my research on the costs, risks, and benefits.   After much analysis I determined that it was not in my best interests to pursue these opportunities.   So I decided to sell the houses to some optimists!

 One of the houses had 2 houses on 1 lot.   I sold it for $125,000.    My analysis looked like this: To turn these houses into something beautiful I would need to probably spend something like 100K each and in turn I could probably sell the houses as a package for between 325-350K.   Those are big sells numbers and appeared to be very enticing.   The problems were that I am not a builder!   I am an investor who specializes in buying problems and solving those problems for a profit.    To me it appeared to be wisdom to not do thing that I am not trained or experienced in doing.   Additionally taking on 200K in debt to work this transformation was also a problem for my cash flow.   The 200K would need to be serviced and I don’t like paying on debts without a tenant’s money to do so.   My cost for these houses was about 25K total and I have pulled out another 50K in cash in the form of a mortgage on the properties.   So here is what the math looked like

200K rehab costs + 25K original costs   = 225K

(Not including cost overruns and mortgage interest expense while holding the property for sale)

Profit from the sale:

325K sales price – 25K commissions and closing costs = 300K

Leaving a 75K profit from this little adventure (300-225K= 75K), this excludes any existing loans on the property.

If I just sold the properties for 125K minus commissions and closing costs 10K leaving me of 115K minus the 25K original cost or 90K profit.   This 90K profit was made be not doing anything except thinking and using discipline to not do things that I do not know how to do.   There was not additional leverage applied to get the 90K profit, no risks associated with building, no headaches with contractors, no nothing just sell the property!   So that is what I opted to do.   I listed the property and an optimist came and found me!

The optimist tore down the houses and began the process of building on the lots.   Unfortunately things did not work out as they had planned and they could not find a lender to loan funds to build and now they have torn down the houses that produced income, have a note on the land then needs to be serviced and are searching for an investor who can borrow enough funds to build or who has the cash to do so.   Finally after many months of paying on the vacant lots the optimist lost the property to foreclosure.   It turns out that the market turned before they could build and now a new investor owns the lots and is waiting for another optimist to come along so that they can do the process again.

Do you need an analysis done on your property or portfolio?   Not sure whether you are an optimist or a pessimist?   Do you need guidance on what path to take in the real estate business?   If you think any of these questions apply to you then you should call me at 512-689-6742 or email me.

Austins Affordable Housing needs

November 30, 2010

I recently read an interesting article in Realty Line Newspaper (   The article was analyzing austins affordable housing needs.   It was written by David Tandy of Gracy Title.   The article was highlights one of Austins Austins affordable housing not-for-profit organizations “Foundation Communities (” and their efforts to assist those who need affordable housing.   

Please check out the article attached to this post as a pdf and go to foundations communities website and support a not-forprofit organizaiton by giving back to those less fortunate this christmas season!   Follow the link: austin affordable housing

Owner Financing in Texas

July 5, 2010

From the Texas Association of Realtors:

“Many of us have been very concerned about the implementation of federal legislation known as the SAFE Act that would severely limit an individual’s ability to seller finance their property in Texas.

We are working on numerous regulatory and legislative solutions to this affront to private-property owners, and have some good news to report. At our urging, the chief regulator over the SAFE Act in Texas, the commissioner of the Texas Department of Savings and Mortgage Lending, has taken significant steps to allow Texas property owners to continue to seller finance up to five transactions in a 12-month period.

More specifically, the commissioner has delayed the implementation of the SAFE Act requirement for licensure in seller-financed transactions in Texas until August 31. This will give us time to implement regulatory and legislative changes during the coming months. For now it is important for you to know that the long-standing law of allowing a Texas seller to finance up to five transactions in a consecutive 12-month period is still in effect and the Texas Association of REALTORS® will continue to work at the federal and state level to see that this is a permanent solution.

Finally, this action would not have happened if not for the thousands of Texas REALTORS® who participated in our grassroots efforts to correct this abuse to private-property owners in Texas.”


Thank God in Texas we are still free to sell our homes anyway we choose ((at least 5 per year))

How Does If Feel To Fill Up An Apartment Complex In 45 Days

May 10, 2010

How Does If Feel To Fill Up An Apartment Complex In 45 Days
Exhausting! Exhilarating all at the same time

In the last 45days or so we have rented 27 apartments evicted 2 people and re-rented their units bought. 6+8 refrigerators and need to buy more, 13 stoves and microwaves fixed countless plumbing leaks, fired 1 employee and hired 4 more, cut so much brush the city is looking at the property and wondering when will he stop. We have aggravated a neighbor and pleased them in the same day. One neighbor is so pleased with the work going on a the property that he said we could cut some brush on the property line and he would pay to have it hauled off! We have also Disposed of 2 dead cats, Gotten 1 bad check, and Taken 100’s of calls. I am tired! I am excited at the same time.

Are you growing your business?

February 9, 2010

One of the things I want to do this year is grow my business. So I began looking for opportunities to invest and to put together another group investment or syndication. I found a small apartment complex in one of the communities close to my home base and decided to go and look at it b/c it was a screaming great deal! I had to drive a little while to get to it but not too far. This neighboring community is very different from my home base but If I invest again in this area I will have a little experience in the area and may be able to get better results then I did when I first went into the area. This particular property is a foreclosure that appears was just over leveraged and once the debt service became too much for the previous owners they gave it back to the bank. The bank has hired a out of town broker who co-brokered the deal with a local guy. The local broker is a good guy and understands this market very well. He met me at the property and showed me around. Luckily for the bank and for me if I buy it the property has a guy looking over it and keeping the copper from growing legs. “growing legs” means things just get up and walk off i.e. get stolen borrowed or otherwise disappear. There are very few worse things that can happen then your HVAC’s, copper pipes, and wires growing legs. To replace those things cost an arm and a leg. I wanted to talk a bunch of pictures of the property but after I got there my battery died in the blackberry! Luckily the broker also has a blackberry and had his car charger so he let me charge my phone! After walking thru the place I decided that it as in ok shape and needs some work but nothing I think I cant handle so I made an offer to buy it all cash with no contingencies!

I did not offer the asking price b/c the agent and I talked a little about what I think about the property and about where the market it for this type of property. I think that the bank will need to take a bath on it and if I am able to help them I will try to do my part. This property would not be a good deal for me but a great deal if I am able to fix the problems. If I am not then it could turn into just a good deal. If all I can do is just buy a good deal then I should stay at home b/c good deals are a dime a dozen. What makes this business great is finding the great deal! The hardest thing in the world is to NOT BUY A GOOD DEAL. Good deals come along all the time but a great deal! Those are rare and when you have the potential to bring one of those down you have to be ready! If you have used all of your gun powder (investment capital) on good deals then when a great deal comes along you can not kill it and bring it home to feed your family b/c you have been taking all of these good deals.

If I get a good response from the bank I am going to talk to the current lone resident manager who is looking after the place to make sure nothing grows legs. I need to know what he knows and what happened to the past ownership.

If I end up buying it I will create an entire case study of it and post it on my case study page. Otherwise I will just write about my experience and see what happens.

This property is what I call a dirty ugly, ultra low-income property! I don’t call things a slum b/c in my opinion you can own low-income property and run it like a decent place to live or you can become a slum landlord! The property becomes a slum b/c of ownership 1st and foremost. If ownership cares then management cares and if management cares then resident’s care if everyone cares the place can be for lower income people but still be a great community and a great investment.

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