Do You Know What To Look For When Evaluating The Gutters & Downspouts on Your Investment Properties?

Gutters and downspouts protect the walls of an investment property from water, which would ordinarily run off the roof. This water can damage the wall surfaces and cause localized erosion at ground level and allow water to go back into the foundation, house, or basement.

The most important function of gutters and downspouts, however, is to help ensure a dry basement or foundation. Regardless of the type of foundation wall, there is always the possibility for water penetration. Therefore, the less water there is in the soil near the foundation, the less likelihood of water penetration into the basement. Gutters should collect all water runoff, and downspouts should discharge the water into proper drains or onto the ground a good distance away from the foundation walls.

Most investment properties have gutters attached to the fascia board at the edge of the eaves. In some of these investment properties, gutters are integral to the design of the eaves. The two most common sizes of gutters are four-inch and five-inch widths. Four-inch gutters are acceptable for controlling the run-off from relatively small roof areas. However, five-inch gutters are preferred because of their additional capacity. Five-inch gutters are also less likely to allow water to overshoot the gutters when the water is draining off a steeply pitched roof. The design and slope of the gutter system is crucial to adequate run off and prevention of water running back into the investment property.

Common Problems With Gutters

  • The most common problem with most gutters is that they leak. Leakage will occur with galvanized gutters as they rust through. Eventually, holes can develop in copper gutters as well. All types of gutters are prone to leakage at the joints. Missing end caps are another common source of leakage. Leakage can cause considerable damage to fascias, soffits and walls below.  Seamless gutters have become more common to limit the amount of leakage that can occur over time on any investment property.
  • Gutters often become loose and require resecuring. This is normally due to improper fastening during original installation or damage caused by ice during winter months.
  •  Gutters and downspouts suffer from mechanical damage due to ladders, tree limbs and the like. Gutters should slope towards downspouts so as not to hold water.
  • Gutters often clog with debris. Sometimes, screens are installed to prevent leaves and twigs from getting into the troughs. These can become loose and fall out, and they also make proper cleaning difficult.

Common Problems with Downspouts

  • Downspouts are sometimes not secured correctly to the fascia. They also tend to split open at the seams (from freezing). The seam is usually on the same side as the wall.
  • Downspouts along driveways or sidewalks are sometimes crimped and cause blockages.
  • Galvanized steel downspouts often rust near grade level or where blockages have occurred
  • On many houses, the number of downspouts is inadequate. As a general rule, a downspout should be provided for every 40 feet of gutters.
  • Downspouts become disconnected from gutters, or get plugged with debris. Special screens are available for the top of downspouts to keep debris out. These screens must be cleaned regularly.
March 20, 2013 / by / in , , ,
What are the different types of roofing material that can be found on a roof of a home?
Roofing Material Types

Roofing Materials

There are a variety of different types of roofing materials that can be used to protect the roof a home.  Some materials are better suited for certain climates over others, such as clay tiles perform and last a lot longer in hot, dry climates than cold, icy climates.  The lifespan for some of these materials is longer than others.  The longer the material will last typically the more expensive the roofing material will cost to purchase and install.  In most cases, the natural roofing materials will last longer and cost more to buy and install.  Here is a list of some of the typical roofing materials you will come across installed on properties you consider buying:Composition shingles – Composition shingles are used on homes all over the country and are one of the most popular roofing materials because of their affordability, durability, and ease of installation. The most common types of composite shingles used today are made from asphalt and fiberglass and have an average lifespan of 15 to 30 years; however, prices and lifespans vary depending on the grade of shingle.

Additionally, they are low-maintenance, easy to repair, and typically offer Class A fire protection. On the downside, composite shingles can blow off during high winds and can be damaged from ice. Also, they do not offer as much insulation as some other materials and are the least eco-friendly of all shingles (especially those made with asphalt).

Recycled synthetic composite shingles – synthetic varieties made with a combination of recycled materials, such as plastic, rubber, fiberglass and wood. Many resemble slate, clay, or cedar shakes and can last as long as 50 years with little upkeep. Synthetic shingles are tolerant of foot traffic, are relatively easy to install, and lightweight.

Also, depending on the style and installation, some can cost nearly as much as premium materials like slate and clay.

Wood shingles and shakes – Wood shingles and shakes are generally made of cedar, redwood, or southern pine. Cedar is the most expensive of the available wood materials, but it is often preferred for its rot and decay resistance. Wood shingles offer some energy benefits as they insulate the attic, and the small openings under the rows allow air to circulate.

One of the disadvantages of wood shingles is many have no fire rating or only a class C, so it’s important to check with your local building codes before choosing this roofing material. That said, there are a few companies providing wood shingles that meet national fire safety standards as they are pressure treated with a fire retardant.

Another negative aspect of a wood roof is it requires a high level of maintenance to keep mold, rot, and insects at bay. When properly maintained quality wood shingles can last 30 to 50 years; however, this can be much shorter if the roof is neglected.

Metal roofing -Metal roofing is able to withstand extreme weather, which makes them well suited to hurricane zones and areas with heavy snow (snow slides off instead of piling up and denting or collapsing the roof). Also, they are fire retardant, need little to no maintenance, and are extremely energy efficient as the metal reflects the sun’s rays and reduces the amount of heat absorbed into the attic. Modern metal roofs come in all styles and colors and some even resemble other materials, such as wood shakes, clay, and shingles.

Similar to wood, metal roofs are more complex to install than composite shingles and require a skilled contractor, but the price of a metal roof is its main drawback. Generally, they cost at least two or three times more than basic composite shingles, and the price can go up even more if you choose copper or specially coated steel. However, with lifespans of 50 to 100 years, they can easily outlast other roof materials and end up saving you money over time.

Slate roofing – Slate is a roofing material that can be laid out in various different patterns. Like metal, it is exceptionally durable and can easily last 50 to 100 years as it is nearly impervious to fire, rot, insects, and demands very little maintenance. Although the colors of slate are limited to what’s found in nature, it comes in a range of greens, grays, and browns.

The major cons of slate are its high price (more than nearly any other material) and its weight (often extra roofing support is necessary). Also, it can break when walked on (makes maintenance a challenge) and it is less suitable for hot climates as the dark color absorbs heat.

Clay and concrete tiles – Clay and concrete are also durable roof materials that have great fire protection and are resistant to rot and insects. Clay tiles are usually lighter in color (ideal for hot weather) and are commonly seen on southwestern, Spanish, and Italian style homes. Alternatively, concrete tiles come in all shapes, colors, and sizes and are often designed to mimic other materials.

Clay and concrete tiles have many of the same advantages of slate, including low maintenance, a distinctive look, and a 50+ year lifespan. However, also like slate, they are delicate and can break when walked on, are heavy (need extra support), and are very expensive.

Flat Roofs- applied to flat or semi-flat residential roofs that have good access and proper drainage. It can be done in asphalt roll, tar & gravel, or rubber membrane, These materials are less expensive than other roofing materials and hold up fairly well when properly applied.

March 15, 2013 / by / in , ,
Find Cash Buyers Using Your Linkedin Account

I have used Linkedin to build my real estate investing and real estate wholesaling business.  It has become an amazing opportunity to network with private money lender sources, hard money lender sources, hedge fund sources, investor friendly real estate agent sources, other cash buyers, real estate wholesalers,  asset managers, and contractors.  I wanted to share some of the techniques I have used to find cash buyers and building your network on LinkedIn.

You must make sure your profile stands out.  You should upload a professional picture and make sure your profile clearly states some of the following:   We buy houses, real estate wholesaler, real estate investor, your business name, cash for houses, etc.  The purpose of this approach is to let people know clearly what you do and why they should connect with you.

You should join a few real estate geared groups on LinkedIn.  The reason why you join these groups is to make yourself visible and connected to a like minded group of people.

In the group, look for members who are actively posting in the discussion section that they are looking or properties to buy or they are responding to others who have properties listed for sale.  Check out their profile and make sure they are someone who is an active investor in our target areas.  We are looking for cash buyers, so we want to build our network to be full of cash buyers who are looking for properties to rehab and sell or investment properties.  Many of the serious cash buyers in your area will be actively posting and responding to discussion threads and readily offering contact information for the poster to get information back to them quickly, even if they are not part of each others network.  It is another great way to gain access to an ever growing and active list of cash buyers on linkedin.

Next, you will reach out to people associated with the group.  The way that you reach out to them should go like this:  Hi, I am a fellow member of “group name here”.  I see that you are involved in real estate.  I would like to learn how we can help each other.  Please accept my network request.  I look forward to working together.

An additional way to build your cash buyers list on linkedin is to post in the group discussions that you have wholesale properties or investment properties for sale in a respective area.  You will have the local cash buyers responding to your post asking for more information.

I have found that linkedin is an amazing source of cash buyers nationwide, if you will build your cash buyers list and network correctly.  If you don’t follow some o the guidelines that I have outlined here, you stand the chance of your account on linkedin being locked down or shut down for abuse and spam.


March 1, 2013 / by / in , , ,
Real Estate Wholesalers & Cash Buyers Are You Having Problems Locating The Owners Of Vacant Properties?

I am in Cherry Hill, NJ this week looking for wholesale properties and income properties.  We were driving around a neighborhood yesterday and we came across a house that had sat vacant for well over a year.  The winterization sign on the property stated that it was winterized at least a year ago, which leads us to believe that it was vacant for an even longer period of time.  We noted the condition of the home and the address.  The distressed and vacant property had about of foot of water in the basement (aka split level living area) and a lot of mold growing.

We took the information back to look up on our computer.  We looked up the Camden County Courthouse website.  We went into the Register of Deeds website, but they did not have an online search that we could use.  We did find that the Board of Taxation had an online search feature that we used to find the property owner information and property data. The original borrower was still listed on the tax records.   We took this information and went down to the Camden County Courthouse to the Register of Deeds office and did a data search there.  We found out some interesting things when we performed this search.  We found out that the information was NOT at all up to date.  The last recorded document was in 2010 when a Notice of Lis Pendens was recorded.  We know that the property has been foreclosed on, because of the management company that had their papers plastered all over the windows and doors is the company that handles the property management for one of the largest banks taking back properties in the area.

So, if that was your main source for finding out information about a distressed and vacant property, you would have been out of luck, because it was a dead end that stopped in 2010.  So, now what can you do to find out more about that vacant property?  You should talk to as many neighbors as possible to find out the history of the home, how long it has been vacant, and if they know who the owner is and if they have their contact information.  Many times, I have found out about drug activity, sellers motivation to sell, and contact information for the current owner.  I have noted the property management company listed on the property and contacted them, but in many cases it has ended up as a dead end.  Occasionally, I have gained traction by calling these companies.  I have left letters taped to the front door of the distressed and vacant property to gain access to a listing agent, property manager, prior owners, city officials, or other cash buyers and get them to call me.  I have received a few phone calls by taking this approach.  I also keep in touch with companies that do metal scrap and clean outs of bank owned properties.  A lot of times, they will be called in to clean up a property prior to an agent listing the property for the owner.  I offer them referral fees for every lead that we close on.

The lesson is that you can let an obstacle stop you from finding the property owner and making money of a property sale or you can try a variety of different approaches to gain access to information and profit from a wholesale property deal that most people do not even know about.  You create your own opportunites and find deals that most average cash buyer or real estate wholesalers will never take the time to find.  As real estate markets start to heat up and have more competition, you will need to become even more creative and aggressive in finding distressed properties to pass onto cash buyer or income properties to buy for your own portfolio.

February 22, 2013 / by / in , , ,
Cash Buyers & Real Estate Wholesalers: Adopt an Abundance Mentality Rather Than a Scarcity Mentality to Real Estate Investing
Cash Buyers & Real Estate Wholesalers Align

Cash Buyers & Real Estate Wholesalers Align

Recently, I met up with a local cash buyer who invests in mobile homes like I do.  We start chatting about different approaches we use and resources we have access to.  We asked each other questions about materials used to rehab and cost of labor to install.  Our conversation even covered how to find private investors and the the way we structure their promissory notes.  During that conversation, he asked me if I had a place that I could place a mobile home that he had received for free, but it needed to be moved.  I said, I can look into a few places that I know of that have vacancies and I will get back to you.  We discussed how the deal would be split and went our separate ways.  Today, I received a call from a buyer who wanted to move a mobile home out to his land.  He was even more excited after I told him the price, that we would move it for him, and we offered seller financing.The moral of the story is that you can do more deals if you are open and receptive to do more deals.  It is worth it to discuss deals and opportunites with other cash buyers and real estate wholesalers in your area of investing,  You might have a wholesale property lead and they can help you find the cash buyer.  Yes, you are going to have to share the proceeds from the sale, but you are making money from a lead that you would not have made money off of otherwise.  They might help you sell a property faster, help you find proerty faster, or they can help you pass wholesale property leads that do not meet your investment criteria onto another cash buyer.  You will be able to do more fix and flips or rentals by focusing on building local strategic alliances with fellow cash buyers and real estate wholesalers.

February 21, 2013 / by / in , , ,
Is Your Investment Area In An HOA? Are Your Bandit Signs Disappearing? Try Using Car Magnets

If you are struggling to keep your bandit signs up, you might seriously consider using mobile bandit signs aka car magnets. I have a few areas that I am buying properties in where the HOA is really on top of removing bandit signs almost as soon as they are put up, so it is just a waste of time. In fact, I have even done the whole putting them up on Friday afternoon and taking them down on Sunday night. It did not work in one particular area very well.  As the market starts to hear up and inventory is down, you will need to look for unique ways to bring more motivated sellers to call you.

Why Cosnider Moving Bandit Signs?
So, I had to get a bit more creative. I have a few people I know that live in these areas that could use some extra money. I designed, bought, and gave them car magnets that they keep on their cars and drive around this area. I make sure these cars are not put in garages and that they are parked outside of the homes in the this area, so they are visible to people driving by. The people who have my moving bandit signs on their vehicles are going to places where others will see the sign easily. They are driving to church, grocery stores, doctors offices, hair stylist offices, home improvement stores, eating establishments in the area, etc. I have about 10 cars at this point with these moving bandit signs on them. Some people will keep them on their car for the referral fees that they will get when I have a lead call or some want a monthly fee to keep the sign on their car. I dont pay very much, but something is better than nothing to these people, so I guess that is why they do it. I give my business cards to hand out if someone approaches them too. I have gotten some great phone calls from these moving bandit signs so far and I hope to increase the number of moving bandit signs I have driving around in neighborhoods where I want to buy.

Where to obtain moving bandit signs?
I would recommend doing a search on any search engine for the following “car magnets”. I have used a few websites to obtain my signs. I look for the companinies that are offering discounts if you buy in bulk. Also, I want a company that lets me design my signs on their website for free and give me the flexibility to design it the way I want to design it. I will choose a bright yellow background with black font. My signs are typically 12 x 18 if it is on a car or 12 x 24 if it is on a truck or SUV. I will keep my signs to no more than 3 lines with large letters and easy to read number. Keep in mind, you want people to see the number very easily and be able to record it down or call immediately when they see it. I also use block style, bolded fonts, instead of a script or cursive font style. The latter are really hard to read for more people. Some sign companies have reflective material that they will use to make your sign, thus it will be easy to see any time of day.

Here is what your bandit sign might look like on your car.

Moving Bandit Signs

Moving Bandit Signs

February 17, 2013 / by / in , ,
Small Amounts of Cash Can Produce Large Returns With This Investment Niche

Mobile home investing in a mobile home park can produce a great rate of return, if done correctly. It is an investment niche that will allo you to be the cash buyer with small amount of money and large returns with income overtime when you sell with seller financing. I have created a 6 part video series that talks about different aspects of mobile home investing in mobile home parks. Learn ways to find and buy wholesale properties that most real estate investors and other cash buyers over look.

February 16, 2013 / by / in , ,
Be The Cash Buyer – Mobile Home Investing Tips – Mobile Home Park Evaluation Part 1

If you want to be the cash buyer, but you have limited funds, you can buy mobile homes in mobile home parks for cash and make a great return in a short period of time.  I have some mbile home investing tips for you in this video.  You will learn how to evaluate a family mobile home park and identify what to look for when considering buying a mobile home as an investment in that park.  This is the first video of a six part video series.  It is a great way to buy property wholesale and sell for full retail.  It is a great little real estate investing niche that will help you make money faster with less competition.

February 16, 2013 / by / in ,
Are You Struggling To Find Wholesale Properties To Buy Or Pass Onto Your Cash Buyers? I Have The Answer
Referrals For Property Leads

Referrals For Property Leads

As I travel throughout the country, I have found quite a few real estate markets that have heated up quite a bit and there is a lack of listed inventory available.  Please note that I said LISTED inventory, I did not say inventory.  Those real estate investors and cash buyers who have been investing in real estate throughout the gibs and flows of different real estate markets know how to find property no matter what is going on in the real estate market.  If you are new to real estate investing or you forgot how to find non listed properties for sale, I wanted to give you some insight as to what I use to locate properties in any real estate market.

  • Barbers & Hairstylist
  • Bartenders
  • Mail Delivery Drivers
  • Utility Workers – Electric, Gas, & Water
  • Mortgage Brokers
  • Credit Repair Companies
  • Hospice Nurses & Organizations
  • Funeral Directors & Estate Planners
  • Home Insurance & Medicare Insurance Agents
  • Disaster Restoration Companies
  • Surveyors
  • Food Delivery & Other Delivery
  • Mediation Companies
  • Landscapers & Lawn Care

I have placed just a small list of the people that you can network with to build a very steady and profitable flow of motivated distressed property sellers.  If you offer these folks a referral fee for every lead that they give you that you close on, you will have an army of bird dogs referring wholesale properties to you.  It is a great way to gain an advantage over your compeition and leverage other peoples time & contacts.  You will be able to make more money faster than most and pass properties onto cash buyers for a nice profit, because the cash buyers are not use to having to search for proeprties and in some cases they are unwilling to do the work necessary to find wholesale property leads on their own.

February 14, 2013 / 3 Comments / by / in , , , ,
Keep Your Rehab Costs Down By Knowing How Many Gallons of Paint You Should Buy

I can’t tell you how much money property managers and rehabbers waste buying too much paint for their jobs.  So, I wanted to give you guys a great little chart that I found online that I have used as a great tool to pinpoint the amount of paint for each job.  Here is the chart:

Paint Calculator

Here is the link to where the paint calculator was found.   The paint calculator will help guide you through the process of  buying the right amount of paint for your next project. Find the right amount in just two easy steps:

  1. Measure the height and width of your space
  2. Locate the correlating values on the chart

Measuring before you buy will help you save money, the environment and the space needed to store your unused paint.  It wil help you keep your maintenance costs and/or rehab costs down without a lot of left over paint.

February 13, 2013 / by / in , ,