Ask James: Should You Really Pick The First Qualified Applicant?

Tenant Screening From a Pool of Applicants
Today we're going to try something new. Chances are you have questions when it comes to your real estate investment. I know I did when I first got started (and to be honest, still have questions). I'd like to help answer your questions like the one below about picking the first qualified applicant. You can send your questions on our contact page and I'll answer them. Today's question comes from Kelly on tenant screening. He asked, "Do I really need to pick the first qualified applicant? O...
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Making The Walk Through a “Walk in the Park”

Lock Box
This might sound crazy, but part of being a landlord involves interacting with people. Today, I'd like to talk with you about one of the more time consuming interactions: the walk through. I'll cover the three general types, in order of the most interaction required, and their pros and cons. Then I'll share 7 tips to use during the walk through that'll make your walk throughs like "a walk in the park".   1) One-on-One Meeting The one-on-one meeting takes the most time because you g...
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Are You Asking The Right Pre-Screening Questions?

Phone
5:10pm. Ten minutes late. Noted. Car looks pretty beat up. Noted. Two dogs barking like crazy in the car. Noted. The husband tosses his cigarette on the freshly swept driveway as they step out of the car... Noted... We start talking... They're between jobs and getting kicked out of their current place for some "unknown" reason and need a new place pronto... Noted? Wait! Why I am here? Why did I clearly waste my time driving over to meet with them when they clearly do NOT meet ...
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Create S.O.L.I.D. Screening Criteria To Find Responsible Tenants

S.O.L.I.D.
There exists perhaps one area for landlords that is the absolute most critical area for success, and yet seems like black magic to new landlords: screening prospective tenants. Typically we have a gut feeling for what we want, but struggle to articulate it. We sometimes also fear we'll be forced to accept someone we don't want because of landlord-tenant laws (which is itself black magic). It can definitely be intimidating. The solution is to use what I call the S.O.L.I.D. Screening Method...
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Responsible Tenants Are the Drummers of Rental Real Estate

Have you ever heard a music band that was just off? Sure, each musician was probably great, but for some reason it wasn't coming together? I experienced that once, but the reason was obvious: the drummer was missing. Because of this, the band sounded disjointed and off-beat. You could also see the concentration on their faces as they all strained to keep the beat. Nobody, include me, was enjoying themselves. When he finally showed up, they were in the middle of a song and kept playing. He...
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Seek Unity With Your Spouse Before Investing In Real Estate

Let's set the scene: I'm in college on the first date with my future wife. We're walking outside; still very much trying to get to know each other. She asks the question, "What do you want to do with your life?" Me: "I want to invest in real estate. I want to buy a fixer upper for $300K to $400K, fix it and sell it. Or refinance it based on the repaired value and rent it out to collect passive income." I was so proud of myself for articulating such a clear, and profitable, vision of my...
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My Disillusionment With The Stock Market

Stock Market Returns
I grew up in an interesting household. My dad owned and operated a construction business and my mom helped people plan and save for retirement. Whether on purpose or not they both instilled a couple of beliefs: Owning your own business is harder work than having a job, but the control and flexibility are worth it. Think way ahead into the future and plan for it. Here's an example: When I was 16, I was able to work for my dad because he owned the business and could decide to hire me....
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Earn More by Charging Less Rent

This should be fun. I saw the following question on Quora: "What can a renter do to increase his or her negotiation leverage when renewing the rental agreement with a landlord?" This question, clearly, is geared for the tenant, but I found myself modifying it slightly to a landlord's perspective to say, "What are some reasons I would be willing to lower the rent for a tenant?" I think this is a valid exercise for a couple of reasons: It helps you crystallize what you're looking for ...
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How To Determine How Much To Charge For Rent

"How much do you charge for rent?" Such a simple question, yet the answer influences so much! Give too high of an answer and the potential tenant might think it's too expensive and look somewhere else before hearing more about the property. Go too low and you'll lose out on money for repairs, and paying yourself, which could result in a less-than-desirable rental in a few years. Of course, charging at the low end of the market means resident turnover will be low and you'll have ti...
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The Definitive Guide To Posting Housing Rentals On Craigslist

Screening tenants well is critically important to your real estate success. It's the foundation of maximizing cash flow while minimizing headaches. But, before you can screen a tenant, you need them to apply to live in your rental. Before that, you need to get their attention and pique their interest by marketing your rental. Before 1995, this article would have talked about newspaper ads and short phrases to use in order to minimize character counts and therefore costs (w/d 3/2...). However...
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