You wish to invest in real estate, or maybe you already have, and are now ready to move on to bigger and better things. You realize the agent who sold you the investment(s) you have now is really a home agent who said the right things, and talked about cash flow, return on investment, and ’write-off’.
But now your gut says he’s not the guy. You need answers to too many questions as you get deeper into this new area of investment, and more of your future is at stake. You’re beginning to think your agent may not know much more than you do. It could be a lot like going to your doctor who is fine for annual checkups, joint pain—but at the first sign that your heart is acting up—it’s time to call in a specialist. Same is true of your agent—better to work with a guy who is experienced in real estate investment properties.
Among the many other skills home agents must master, very few of them have anything to do with investing, or any sort of related analysis. What an investor needs is a real estate investment broker to know what is critical to their long term success — because your retirement should be a beautiful experience.
The agent you choose needs to know the following.
- How to analyze your current financial position– especially as it relates to establishing a Purposeful Plan.
- How to create an after tax cash flow analysis. Not always needed, but an incredible tool.
- How to construct a viable Plan integrating the investor’s predictable retirement cash flow needs, financial abilities, tax ramifications, accounts for reserves, which he can execute without having to be Houdini on a good day.
- Which loans make sense for which Plans and what kind of property.
- The ins and outs of a tax deferred exchange and when NOT to use it.
- An overall understanding of how all this needs to be integrated into a seamless execution of the investor’s Plan–and be able to make it happen–with the correct timing.
That last one is the one I’ve seen trip up more investors than anything else. You can know analysis from A to Z, understand financing backwards and forwards, write books on tax deferred exchanges, but if you don’t have a sense of timing that integrates perfectly with your client’s Plan, huge opportunities can be lost. And lost opportunities can mean hundreds of thousands of dollars in the long run–sometimes even over as short a time as a year.
Just ask someone who should have traded their San Diego property back in 2003-4 into either Phoenix, Boise, (here are my previous posts on Boise) or any number of other better growth markets. It was obvious then that San Diego wouldn’t support either leverage or cash flow approaches at that point. For that reason alone it was time to make a move for many investors. Timing, as the lady once said, is everything.
One final note and I mention this at the end because it can be like chocolate sauce on your favorite ice cream. It makes a world of difference. As you’ve read before here, I’m an advocate of incorporating a professional Financial Planner into the mix with my clients. This is only a recent development because it took me until this year to find a financial planner who didn’t think real estate was a satanic creation. The Certified Financial Planner (CFP) adds a huge dimension to the Plan. Allow me just one quick example.
One of my long time clients recently agreed with me that refinancing one of their properties was prudent. They’re going to get $6-700K tax free cash as a result. They’ll add a small portion of this money to their Boise investment Plan, but retain roughly 80% to purchase, over a five year period, a tax free annual income of about $55-95K–for life. This will be in addition to the six figures they already receive totally tax sheltered, from their real estate portfolio. In five years they’ll only be 63 years old, with $150-200K after tax income yearly.
OK now, a show of hands, who likes that idea?