Friday, May 25, 2012

Viewing Properties 10 Things You Must Carry

If you are active in real estate investing, you probably see a few houses every week. The consistency with which you close deals is largely dependent on what you do when you see the houses.

Here are ten things you must have with you at all times whenever you go to see a house.

1) Flashlight
When you go to see most houses, you are likely to find the utilities disconnected. This applies to most vacant homes you will go to see.

Always have a flashlight with you in your car at all times. It comes in handy.

2) Face mask
As unlikely as this sounds, I have found it necessary several times I have gone to look at houses. I don't mean a ninja type of face mask, but the type that covers your nose and filters the air you breath.

I once went to see a house that had been vandalized, including the copper in the plumbing. By the time the city turned off the water, the house had flooded a few days.

I have since visited several properties you just cannot breath unless you cover your nose.

3) Hand sanitizer / insect repellant
Lots of vacant houses stink and are infested with fleas.

You touch dirty doors, knobs, etc and end up being infested with fleas. I always spray my shoes with insect repellant and sanitize my hands after I am done.

4) Digital camera / Video camera
The good thing is that most people now have digital and video cameras in their smart phones. Get yourself one if you do not have one, it combines many useful tools in one. Always take some pictures and even video when you go to see your houses.

While we are at it, sometimes I use my smart phone to record voice as I explain things I would otherwise forget. It's easier than taking notes.

5) Calculator
Obviously you must carry a calculator. Again my smart phone calculator is more than enough.

This is one tool you will always need, whether you are estimating repairs, making offers, etc.

6) Screwdriver, hammer
To access properties that are boarded up, you will need these. The only way to gain entry is to un-board it, then re-board it when you leave.

7) Deal analysis
Before I go out to look at a property, I have already pre-screened the seller and have a pretty good idea about the repairs it needs. My visit to see it is simply to confirm and see it first hand.

So I always make sure I have done some comps and come up with some ball-park offer even before I go there.

Of course, the numbers can change if the reality on the ground tells a different story. Always be prepared to make an offer before you leave. Of course, by the time you are going to see the house, you already know what they are asking for the house.

Most motivated sellers will accept your offer right there.

8) Purchase agreement
You must sign a contract as soon as the seller accepts your contract, not later. I generally prepare a contract before I go to see the house and leave out some blanks that can change later.

9) Business cards
Most motivated sellers know others in a similar situation. Pass your business cards to them, they might refer more business to you. Of course, remember to promise a gift if they refer their friends.

10) Yard signs
As soon as I get a house under contract, I put a We Buy Houses sign on the yard, with the owner's permission. You can get a lot of extra business from these signs.

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