The Market is Crazy! Get In, or Get Out?

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Finances, Investing, Stock Market

The title of this post is what I keep seeing and hearing daily. I joked around with some people at work talking about how I was going to pull everything out of the stock market after the President was diagnosed with Covid-19. The funny thing is, while I was joking, other people said that they fully intend to do just that. This reminded me about how important it is to “stay the course” as we say in the Navy.

It has been clear cut to me that time in the market is more important than timing the market. As we continue down this volatile road of uncertainty, it is important that people do not look at market dips as losing money. YOU ARE NOT LOSING MONEY! Your assets are simply losing value.

Now, let’s take a look at the stock market historically…

https://www.seeitmarket.com/comparing-todays-stock-market-with-the-1970s

Some Bumps Along the Way, but Steady Gains

The portion highlighted in yellow are the dips that happened back in the 1970’s. If you look further back, you can see when the great depression happened in the 1930’s. The main thing I want to point out with this graph is simple… Look at the trend even after all of the dips. What does the Dow Jones continue to do? Over the years, it continues going up…

These dips should be looked at as buying opportunities to purchase stocks at a “discounted” price. Your focus should be on the cost average of each stock you purchase versus the most recent price you paid.

What are your goals?

How you invest should depend on your lifestyle and your goals. Day traders and swing like to buy into individual stocks and us several indicators to know when to buy and when to sell. Buy and hold investors like index funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and diversifying individual stocks. I happen to be a fan of index funds and ETFs vice individual stocks. With an index fund, you are getting a piece of every company in that fund. If one particular company tanks, you are still safe. Index funds/ETFs like the Dow Jones above are consistent in constantly gaining value over time. I do buy individual stocks just to play around with, but it’s nothing serious. Most of the individual stocks I buy are not even “stocks” because they are mostly Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT). I like REITs because they are normally steady in value and have exceptional dividend returns. I don’t even collect the dividends from those as I set all of them in to a dividend reinvestment plan (DRIP) back into the fund to reinvest into the REIT and buy more.

While you don’t have to invest the same way I do, you should most definitely have a strategy with the assets you are investing in. If you are new to investing, I would highly recommend that you speak with a professional or thoroughly research the asset class you are thinking about investing in. I am not a financial advisor and am only posting my thoughts and sharing what I am doing. However, I would be happy to assist you on your financial freedom journey. My email is always open if you want to reach out. Hope you all were able to get something out of this article. Also, be sure to check out our podcast.

Mike Cavaggioni
Mike Cavaggioni

Mike Cavaggioni is an Active Duty Officer in the U.S. Navy, Real Estate Agent, and Real Estate Investor located in Honolulu, HI. He is the founder of Average Joe Finances and host of the Average Joe Finances Podcast. He is the CEO and founder of Compass REI Properties, LLC; a rental property company in Virginia. Mike owns real estate in Hawaii and Virginia and is building a community for people to come together to learn and build their wealth.

Apple Shares

7,000 Shares of Apple… WWYD

Posted 2 CommentsPosted in Finances, Investing, Stock Market
Apple Shares

If you inherited 7,000 shares of Apple, what would you do?

This is a question A user on Reddit asked the community when he recently inherited 7,000 shares of Apple from his grandfather. Check out the MarketWatch article. Before diving into this post, I would like to express my sincere condolences for the original poster. I would also warn any of my readers before looking up the original Reddit post as there is some strong language in the original post and subsequent comments.

Apple is currently sitting at $498.90 a share. Inheriting 7,000 shares gives him a value of $3,492,300. That’s definitely something to work with. This Reddit user get’s many suggestions and comments on what he should do with his newly found riches. Let me share what I would do if I came into this type of inheritance.

What do I do with these shares?

First, I would cash out most of it except for about $250k (roughly 501 shares). I would keep this large sum as Apple is still a great company and a dominant force in the Tech industry. Since this is inheritance, I should only be taxed on what I’ve gained since inheriting the shares. This means I will pay very minimal taxes if the value goes up before selling it.

After the sale, I would have around $3.25 million. The name of the game is diversity. Spread the wealth. I would put at least $250k-$500k into a few high yield savings accounts as a safety net.

Investing at least $1.5 million in real estate (rental properties) would be my next move. This money would be used for several down payments on single family, multi-family and commercial properties. I would take out mortgages and leverage my debt service to the income I would make from the rental units.

I would invest the last $1-1.5 million in the stock market. Investing mostly in blue chip dividend paying stocks, index funds, and maybe a few REITs. I will already have a bunch of real estate, so maybe no REITs and just other dividend paying stocks.

Related: 6 Ways to Invest in Real Estate

Here is the income I would have just by letting my money work for me.

Having $500k in the savings account you are making roughly $10,000 a year from a 2% rate.

If you do well with your real estate investments and manage your debt service well, you can get around a 25% return. This would be between $250k – $375k a year.

And with that last $1.5 million, let’s say you are averaging a 5% dividend yield, that will give you another $75k a year.

Conclusion

With investing your money properly, you can make close to $460k a year to let that money work for you. I would donate at least 10% of my earnings per year so roughly $46k. As I’ve said on my podcast, I believe it’s important to give back. This is what I would do personally as you don’t want to have all of your eggs in one basket.

Sound off in the comments and let me know what you would do if you inherited 7,000 shares of Apple.

Mike Cavaggioni
Mike Cavaggioni

Mike Cavaggioni is an Active Duty Officer in the U.S. Navy, Real Estate Agent, and Real Estate Investor located in Honolulu, HI. He is the founder of Average Joe Finances and host of the Average Joe Finances Podcast. He is the CEO and founder of Compass REI Properties, LLC; a rental property company in Virginia. Mike owns real estate in Hawaii and Virginia and is building a community for people to come together to learn and build their wealth.

Are You Financially Ready for Your First Investment Property?

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Finances, Investing, Real Estate
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Guest article by Doug, founder of honorandequity.com

There are countless stories of individuals buying multiple homes they could not afford in the buildup to the 2008 housing market collapse. Many of these individuals had to file for bankruptcy as a result of their financial decisions. Every day, people buy homes they shouldn’t buy, and this is true for investment properties as well. Just because the bank will give you a loan for a property, doesn’t mean you are financially ready to buy that property. The banks are looking out for their bottom line – not yours.

So what are some things you should think about before you get that first investment property? Let’s dig in.

Get Your Personal Finances in Order

Ideally, you should have no consumer debt with the exception of a mortgage on a primary residence. Consumer debt usually comes with higher-interest rates and includes ‘bad debt’ like car payments, credit card debt, and pay-day loans. Before you buy investment properties, you should aggressively pay down these loans and free yourself from them. Dave Ramsey has a great strategy for helping people become debt-free. Paying these loans off ties into the next step: raise your credit score! Lenders need to see that you are a ‘good borrower’ which means you have steady income and you pay all your bills on time. You should target at least a 700 credit score.

You will also need cash reserves to cover surprise capital expenditures, vacancy costs, and repairs. I set aside $5,000 in a high-yield savings account per property. There are different ideas and techniques for addressing cash reserves, and I’ll admit mine is more conservative than most but it makes me sleep better at night. For example, if Stephen owns three properties, he would need to have $15,000 set aside for cash reserves, and get that number to $20,000 before he buys a fourth. Important disclaimer: These real estate cash reserves are different from your personal ‘emergency fund’ for unexpected personal expenses.  

Ok let’s sum up these up:

  1. No consumer debt.
  2. Raise your credit score to at least 700.
  3. Have sufficient real estate cash reserves.

Make Sure Your Spouse/Partner is 100% on Board

People love surprises – but surprising your husband or wife with an investment property is a terrible idea. It’s a big financial decision, so you should make sure you and your spouse are in agreement. Many times, an individual will have a much higher risk tolerance than their spouse – and this is totally normal. You should sit down and have a serious conversation to determine your shared risk-tolerance, long-term goals, and strategies you are comfortable using to achieve those goals. Maybe your spouse isn’t ok with you doing a long-distance fix-and-flip with someone you met on the Bigger Pockets forum, but they would be ok with investing in an apartment syndication with someone you both know and trust. The bottom line is: you have to communicate with your spouse/partner and ensure you’re both on the same page before you commit to investing in anything – especially real estate.

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Educate Yourself about Real Estate

This one may seem obvious, and if you’re reading this article you’re already doing it! You must educate yourself about the type of real estate in which you want to invest. There are so many fantastic and free resources out there. I’ve learned most of my real estate knowledge through podcasts and there are hundreds of different shows to choose from. The Bigger Pockets podcast is a great place to start, and I will probably do another article soon about my favorite real estate and personal finance podcasts so make sure you check back often and follow @honorandequity on Instagram for the latest updates.

My second favorite way to learn about real estate is through books. The real estate book I recommend the most is Chad Carson’s “Retire Early with Real Estate” which is designed for a beginner real estate investor. Chad – who has an excellent podcast as well – does a great job of explaining the basics of real estate investing.

Real estate is a powerful way to build long-term passive income, but it’s a big commitment. You and your family must be financially and mentally prepared before you begin the process. Otherwise, you may find yourself in a terrible financial position.

As Warren Buffett wisely said: “It’s good to learn from your mistakes. It’s better to learn from other people’s mistakes”.

Do you know someone that would enjoy this article? Please share with a friend!

Doug Spence
Doug Spence

Doug is an active duty naval officer stationed in San Diego and the founder of Honor and Equity. His goal is to help military members, veterans, and their families learn more about personal finance, investing, and real estate so they can build wealth, be more confident with money, and add more freedom and contentment to their lives.

Debt Consolidation

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Budgeting, Finances, Investing

Debt Consolidation

This is a shorter article, but can hopefully be a very helpful one for those of you seeking out a way to consolidate all your debt. While debt consolidation is not something we would necessarily recommend, we understand that some people can benefit from it. As we have explained in previous posts, our favorite way to get out of debt is by doing the “debt snowball” method. I have personally explained how sometimes I am not the best disciplined when it comes to budgeting, which is why I leave myself some wiggle room. By consolidating your debt into one payment, this can make paying your debt off easier if you do not want to follow a budget. Let’s break it down.

Related: 7 Steps to Financial Freedom
Watch: Average Joe Finances Episode 2

Credit Cards…

If you have several credit cards and loans and can’t seem to get on top of them, a debt consolidation loan might be a good move for you. Many lenders are offering low APR loans to help consolidate debt. I know I kept getting letters in the mail from SoFi. I just kept throwing them out, but one day, decided to open one and see what they had going on.

They were offering me a loan up to $100k with a 6% interest rate. That’s pretty darn good if you ask me. I considered taking it and using it to buy more real estate, but I didn’t. I didn’t want to take on another loan as I was still paying off the most recent kitchen and bathroom remodel (ouch).

Though, it made me think. If I had a lot of debt and didn’t know where to start, this would be a great option. Think about it.  Most credit cards are between 12-22% APR, right? By put all of that debt into the loan, you would save 6-18% of your interest. Of course, there is still some strong discipline required to use this option. If you take out a loan and consolidate all of your credit card debt, you need to have the discipline to NOT TO SWIPE THAT CARD!

What else do they offer?

While looking into SoFi’s loan options, I was able to see the other options they offer. You can open a brokerage account with them to get started investing just like Robinhood and Webull. The interface is pretty easy to use. The offer fractional investing so you can own a piece of Amazon with as little as $5. Pretty neat. If you want to check out investing with SoFi, you can join here.

Related: Our Recommended Products

Bottom line, if you are going to take out a debt consolidation loan, consider all of your options first. Our first recommendation would be to snowball your debt as we talk about here. If you can’t do that, make sure you can secure a loan with a lower interest rate than your debt. This will help you pay it off quicker and save a little more in interest over time.

Check out what SoFi has to offer!

Mike Cavaggioni
Mike Cavaggioni

Mike Cavaggioni is an Active Duty Officer in the U.S. Navy, Real Estate Agent, and Real Estate Investor located in Honolulu, HI. He is the founder of Average Joe Finances and host of the Average Joe Finances Podcast. He is the CEO and founder of Compass REI Properties, LLC; a rental property company in Virginia. Mike owns real estate in Hawaii and Virginia and is building a community for people to come together to learn and build their wealth.

Should I Refinance My Home?

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Finances, Real Estate

Should I Refinance My Home?

It’s been a little bit since I have written a post, but all for good reason. I took some time to finally finish my real estate license course and am now waiting on my certificate. Once I get that, I can take my real estate license examination. I’m pretty excited to continue this journey.

As the title of this post shows, the question is, should you refinance your home. Being that I recently refinanced my home at the end of March, it wouldn’t be a good move for me. However, percentage rates have dropped another half percent from when I refinanced!

When I refinanced my home in March, I was able to lock in a 2.75% rate and get a $10,000 credit to close. I lowered my mortgage payment by almost $400 a month! Now that rates are 2.25%, I could have saved an additional $200+ a month, but that’s ok.

There are many different reasons you may want to refinance your home…

  • It could be to pull out some equity to pay off debt or invest in more real estate.
    • With this option, you would pull equity out to pay off any high-interest credit cards or loans.
    • You could also take this equity to use as a down payment on an investment property.
  • Maybe you want to lower your monthly mortgage payment (my reason for refinancing).
    • Lowering your interest rate can save you a lot of money over the life of the loan. Depending on your goals, you can continue paying your old payment and build equity faster in your home. You can even pay off your home faster this way.
    • Another thing you can do is invest the money that you are saving on your monthly mortgage payment
  • You could refinance to pay off your home faster (moving from a 30-year to a 15-year mortgage).
    • Dropping from a 30-year to 15-year mortgage can get you an even lower interest rate, but your monthly payment will most likely be higher.
  • You may even have an adjustable-rate mortgage and you are changing it to a fixed-rate mortgage.
    • Adjustable-rate mortgages can be very risky. You may start at a lower rate than everyone else, but then in 5, 7, or 10 years, your rate can readjust to the current rate.
    • With rates this low, refinancing out of an ARM can be a safer move to make.

Whatever your reason, now is a good time to consider refinancing.

According to this Forbes article, the Federal Reserve is expecting the economy to contract 6.5% this year and will keep interest rates near 0% until 2022. With the rates staying this low, the opportunity to refinance may last for a while. Something to keep in mind is what happened back in March when so many of us refinanced. Many lenders have stepped up their requirements to qualify for a loan. For example, back in April, this CNBC article shows that JP Morgan Chase raised their credit score requirement from 640 to 700.

With all of the different ways to refinance, you should research which options work best for you. Refinancing might not even be an option for you at this time. However, if you are considering it, we recommend that you speak with a professional. A loan broker may be a good option as they can look at many lenders at once to find you the best rate. Hopefully, this article provides something to thought-provoking for you to consider.

Mike Cavaggioni
Mike Cavaggioni

Mike Cavaggioni is an Active Duty Officer in the U.S. Navy, Real Estate Agent, and Real Estate Investor located in Honolulu, HI. He is the founder of Average Joe Finances and host of the Average Joe Finances Podcast. He is the CEO and founder of Compass REI Properties, LLC; a rental property company in Virginia. Mike owns real estate in Hawaii and Virginia and is building a community for people to come together to learn and build their wealth.

The Biggest Financial Mistake I’ve Made

Posted 2 CommentsPosted in Budgeting, Finances, Investing, Real Estate

My biggest financial mistake was when I short-sold my condo here in the Bay Area when housing prices were at their lowest in 2012.

I bought the condo at the peak of the bubble in 2006. When the housing market tanked, a lot of people were walking away from their homes. And this freaked me out into thinking that was the smartest thing to do as well. 

But I wanted to do it the “right” way, so I short-sold my property instead of just walking away like a lot of people did. 

I didn’t really have anyone to talk to about my financial situation at that time. The realtor who was helping me was mostly interested in selling the property because he was representing me and the buyer as well.

I remember that I had some friends who told me not to do it, but scared and stubborn young me back then decided to proceed with it anyway. 

I really wished I had a financial coach who could have guided and coached me through the pros and cons of short selling the property. I offer one-off coaching session for quick questions like this now since I have gotten similar questions like “should I sell my property or not?”

If I were to coach my younger self now, I would definitely be telling her to hang in there.

I’d first tell her, she wouldn’t lose any money unless she actually sells the property, and secondly, it’s Silicon Valley. If there is anywhere you would want to own real estate, this is one of the best locations to own one. 

Whoever bought my condo ended up doing really well. Not only are they making good money from the rental from paying down the house in cash, but the value of the property is already back up to the original high price I paid for it.

This definitely served as one of the main inspirations that got me into financial coaching so I can also help people in this type of situation.

So what was the biggest financial mistake you have made and what would your present self tell your younger self now?

Christine Teh
Christine Teh

Christine Teh is a personal financial coach from the San Francisco Bay Area. She helps clients from all over the world virtually by helping them build a great relationship with money so they can achieve their financial goals. Feel free to check out her website and follow her on the different social media platforms below.

The Big City Escape and the New Normal

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Finances, Investing, Real Estate

As we start to adapt to what we are now calling our “new normal,” we see many people teleworking from home. With new ways to track employee output, many businesses are starting to realize they can save a significant amount of money by ditching their office spaces or downsizing thanks to teleworking. This shift in mindset is also affecting those that telework. People that live in big cities will start to migrate to smaller cities or even the suburbs.

During an earnings call last week, Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman said that we will start to see a shift of people leaving major cities.

“More people will leave San Francisco, New York and even Seattle, some for nearby towns like Sacramento and Tacoma that are close enough to support a weekly office visit, others for a completely remote life in Charleston, [S.C.], Boise, Bozeman or Madison.” – Glenn Kelman

What does this shift mean? What will this “new normal” be? More and more real estate agents are setting up virtual showings and selling homes with minimal person-to-person contact. According to Kelman, homes are still selling and in some areas, the real estate market is doing quite well. As more business allow teleworking, the major cities are starting to see bigger drops in real estate sales. Will this help to revive the suburbs as we experience this big city escape?

A real concern in a particular real estate niche is short-term rentals. They have seen their biggest losses ever.  When asked about Airbnb Kelman said “Those are going to be in tough shape. There’s a whole economy that was built around the liquidity there that Airbnb provided. You could get pretty deep into debt and still have somebody pay your mortgage every month because Airbnb and other travel websites were so good at finding someone to rent it out. And I don’t think many of those folks have the reserves that Marriott MAR, -4.84% or that Hilton HLT, -3.62% does. Investors who own Airbnb properties are looking for immediate liquidity. At some level it’s Redfin, Zillow Z, -8.06% and Opendoor picking up where Airbnb left off. If they can’t get cash flow through one website, they’ve got to sell it through the other.”

Related: 6 Ways to Invest in Real Estate

Kelman is basically saying Airbnb is done. It is hard to believe that an entire real estate niche is dying off just as fast as it appeared. Do you think Airbnb can recover? Also, do you agree with Kelman’s thoughts on the big city escape? Let me know your thoughts by commenting below or on the forum

Mike Cavaggioni
Mike Cavaggioni

Mike Cavaggioni is an Active Duty Officer in the U.S. Navy, Real Estate Agent, and Real Estate Investor located in Honolulu, HI. He is the founder of Average Joe Finances and host of the Average Joe Finances Podcast. He is the CEO and founder of Compass REI Properties, LLC; a rental property company in Virginia. Mike owns real estate in Hawaii and Virginia and is building a community for people to come together to learn and build their wealth.

House Hacking 101

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Finances, Real Estate

House hacking… what the heck is that? In our article 6 Ways to Invest in Real Estate, one of the ways discussed was house hacking. I did not expect to receive so many private messages on Facebook or even text messages from some friends and family wanting to know more about this real estate investment strategy. So, I decided that’s what the next article would be about. House hacking in general terms is relatively easy. Depending on your market and the type of loan you take out on the property, you will essentially live there for free. You can do it a few different ways. We will discuss four different ways here.

1. Multi-Family House Hacking

This is the most common method and also known as traditional house hacking. Using this method, you would buy a multi-family property (duplex, triplex, or quadplex) and live in one of the units and rent out the others. Since you are living in the property, you can take out a low down payment loan such as an FHA loan and put 3.5% down. If you have served in the military, this is a great opportunity for your VA loan. If you are single, this type of house hack can get even sweeter. Get a roommate too! Let’s say you purchased a triplex; you are now collecting rent from the other two units and from a roommate. I’m pretty sure that will cover your mortgage and then some.

Something to consider… If you are in a high price tiered market, even doing this might not be enough to cover the mortgage. Where you buy matters…

Even if you are just breaking even, you will still build appreciation on your property. The beauty of appreciation is that you start to build your wealth without even knowing it.

2. Single Family & Renting out Rooms

If you are living in a decent sized home, this can be a great option. I had a friend of mine renting a room from someone out here in Hawaii. He was renting the room for about $850 a month. Rent out here in Hawaii is a bit high, so the going rate for a single room is between $700-$1,100.

So, while you may not be able to get that kind income on a room rental, you can see where I am going here. If you purchased a three-bedroom home and rent out two of the rooms, or even all three (with you sleeping in the living room; that has some good potential. Where you purchase matters… For something like this to work, you are looking at purchasing in a college town, near a military base, or in a dense population area.

Remember how we talked about appreciation on the multi-family homes? Guess what? Single family homes actually appreciate better. So, consider this if you are single and just getting ready to start in real estate investing.

3. Rent Out Your Primary Residence

I really like this one. You may be asking, if I rent out my primary residence, where the heck will I live? This is actually an idea my wife and I have thrown around a few times. Not sure if we will do it in the future, but its on the table when I retire from the Navy.

So, the premise of this would be to rent out your primary residence and then live in an RV or a supped-up van. There are actually a few people that do that and with great success.

 Depending on the location, you can park on your property while renting it out. With Hawaii being such a high cost of living, this would save us a significant amount of money and allow us to live essentially anywhere we want on the island.

I wonder…

4. Building an Additional Dwelling Unit (ADU)

Another venture my wife and I discussed was finishing our garage and making it an ADU. By doing this, we would turn our garage into an apartment. Our driveway can already park four vehicles and for folks that live on Oahu, you know that parking is prime real estate!

This path can take a bit of work and be more costly than anticipated. The reason why we haven’t pulled the trigger on something like that is simply the cost for our specific unit. We estimate it would cost us around $50k to make it an ADU worth renting out. It would most likely rent for around $1,800 per month. That means it would take us 28 months to pay it off if there was 0% interest or we used hard cash for it. That’s a long time and we could put that $50k into something that will return better and right away.

Summary

So now that you see four different ways to house hack, you can see how you can really reduce your largest living expense significantly. Here are some takeaways:

  • You can essentially live in your house for free.
  • Option to buy an investment property with a low down payment.
  • You can build appreciation on your property as you pay your mortgage down and the home value goes up.
  • Being a homeowner, you will be able to save more in taxes

This is just a bird’s eye view to help you figure out if this may be a path for you.

We hope you found this information helpful. Research is important, do not let us be your only source of information. Learn as much as you can, and no matter what, get started as soon as you can.

Mike Cavaggioni
Mike Cavaggioni

Mike Cavaggioni is an Active Duty Officer in the U.S. Navy, Real Estate Agent, and Real Estate Investor located in Honolulu, HI. He is the founder of Average Joe Finances and host of the Average Joe Finances Podcast. He is the CEO and founder of Compass REI Properties, LLC; a rental property company in Virginia. Mike owns real estate in Hawaii and Virginia and is building a community for people to come together to learn and build their wealth.

6 Ways to Invest in Real Estate

Posted 3 CommentsPosted in Finances, Investing, Real Estate

In this post we are going to discuss six different ways to invest in real estate. These are just wave top options as there are so many different ways to get started in real estate investing. Here are my six favorites:

1. Rent out a room

If you already own a home, this is a great option. You can rent out a portion of your home on a site or app like Airbnb. Renting out a room or portion of your home allows you to generate additional income on your terms. Short term rentals are great for just that, short term. An awesome benefit to renting out a room with Airbnb is that your short term tenants have been prescreened and you are protected against damages.

Renting out a room might not feel real estate investing, but it is. If you’ve got a spare room, you can rent it and pocket some extra cash.

Just like any other investing decision, you should make sure this benefits you. If you have a family with small children would something like this even be an option? If not, there are many other ways and we are discussing more of those below.

2. House hack

One of our favorite YouTube channels to follow is Graham Stephan’s channel. He started off in real estate by house hacking and essentially living for free.

When you house hack, you live in your investment property while renting out another room, or portion of the house long term.

This type of investment is a really smart move for college students or younger single people. This, like doing a short-term rental on a room can be difficult if you have a family. This doesn’t mean it’s not possible.

For example, my uncle lives in Rome, NY. He bought a very large triplex that is essentially three different units in a large home. He lives with his family in one unit while renting out the other two. The beauty of this is he is essentially living for free and still making a little extra cash.

If you can swing it, this is one of the best ways to get started. Buy a property you plan to live in and let your renters pay it off for you!

3. Invest in rental properties

This happens to be the choice of investing for myself and many other real estate investors. Right now, I invest in multi-family units (duplex, triplex, and quadplex). These can be hard to find depending on the state you are looking at. I invest out of state so the important part of this is building a good team before you start. I already had a good property manager lined up as well as a general contractor and fantastic realtor.

Some things to consider when buying an investment property is that:

  • Most lenders will require a whopping 25% down since you are not occupying the property.
  • You will likely have some type of repairs to do
  • You may not always have tenants in the property when you buy

Some other things that are extremely important when buying a rental property is to use the 1-2% method. I learned about this listening to the Bigger Pockets podcast. Basically a quick way to see if the deal will work for you is if the monthly rent equals about 1-2% of the property value. You need to be able to pay your expenses and still make at a minimum $100 per month for it to be worth it. Here is a sample of some expenses:

  • Mortgage
  • Utilities
  • Property Taxes
  • Property Insurance
  • Repairs
  • Lack of occupancy (5% but can vary based on location)

Once you have considered all of this and you think you are ready, then go for it. You can always download our rental property calculator here.

4. Consider flipping properties

If you already have enough money saved up, consider taking some of that cash and buying a property that needs a little TLC and put some work into it. Even if you don’t have the money saved up, you can consider doing a short-term interest only loan.

Consider partnering up with someone experienced in flipping. Learn what made them successful. Flipping can be high risk so having experience on your side will be helpful.

Good research is extremely important when flipping a property. If you don’t make enough on the resale, you can really lose big time. The important thing is to learn the market you plan to buy in. Research what comparable homes in the area are selling for. Make sure you leave a profit margin large enough to make up for it if you need to sell for a lower price. Have more than one exit strategy as well. If you need to refinance it with a new long-term mortgage and make it a rental, then be prepared to do so.

5. Try a real estate investing platform

Another pretty cool option to invest in real estate would be through a real estate investing platform. These platforms connect the investor (you) to multiple real estate developers who are looking to finance their projects. You can expect to receive your returns quarterly. These platforms like any investment come with risk. Just like any other real estate project, things can fall through, or unexpected expenses can “pop up.”

Now the big thing about these kinds of platforms is that you need to already have money… You need to have a net worth of at least $1 million or earned an income of $200k (single) $300k (married) over the last 2 years.

Companies such as Fundrise and RealtyMogul are great real estate platform options to check out. Fundrise also has different options if you do not meet some of the requirements listed above.

6. Buy REITs (real estate investment trusts)

REITs are a great option to invest in real estate without owning physical real estate.

REITs are often companies that own office buildings, apartments, public storage, and other commercial real estate. Most REIT investors use this as a platform to create a passive or supplemental income. It is a great option for retirees who wish to put their money into something that will generate a stable income.

New investors should consider staying with publicly traded REITs

There are publicly traded REITs that can be traded like a stock with a brokerage and there are privately traded REITs that are done directly through the trust owners. REITs are often compared to mutual funds. They are relatively safe and stable investments that usually pay high dividends.

REITs allow you to invest in real estate without the physical real estate. Often compared to mutual funds, they’re companies that own commercial real estate such as office buildings, retail spaces, apartments and hotels. REITs tend to pay high dividends, which makes them a common investment in retirement. Investors who don’t need or want the regular income can automatically reinvest those dividends to grow their investment further.

If you do not have a brokerage account, you can always open one for free on Robinhood or Webull. These brokerages may also offer free stocks when you sign up and open an account with them.

Check out Robinhood

Check out Webull

Mike Cavaggioni
Mike Cavaggioni

Mike Cavaggioni is an Active Duty Officer in the U.S. Navy, Real Estate Agent, and Real Estate Investor located in Honolulu, HI. He is the founder of Average Joe Finances and host of the Average Joe Finances Podcast. He is the CEO and founder of Compass REI Properties, LLC; a rental property company in Virginia. Mike owns real estate in Hawaii and Virginia and is building a community for people to come together to learn and build their wealth.

Section 8 Tenants and HUD Vouchers

Posted 2 CommentsPosted in Finances, Investing, Real Estate

During these trying times for both homeowners and renters, we are seeing many tenants being unable to pay their rent.  With unemployment skyrocketing, this will probably be a trend next month too.

In my duplex, one of my renters uses HUD vouchers (Section 8).  This part of the rent alone is enough to cover my mortgage and pay my property manager.  I am still stuck paying my loan for my down payment, but I am good on that for now thanks to cash reserves.  If you have vacancies, consider contacting your local HUD office to see if you can add one of your units to the list.  People on HUD need a place to live too.

Don’t be scared of the image that comes with renting to Section 8 tenants.  They have to qualify and they do not want to lose their ability to keep the voucher.  There are four things that are looked at to determine if someone qualifies for Section 8 (some locations may have even more restrictions) family status, income level, must be a U.S. Citizen, and no eviction history. 

Here is the benefit.  You will get a significant portion of the rent covered by HUD.  For my tenant, they cover 95% of the rent.  So even if they cannot pay, it doesn’t put me in such a bind.  Keep your tenants happy so they stay and you do not lose the voucher.  I immediately did repairs when I purchased the property and became their landlord.  I think this sent a message to them that we do in fact care about their living condition and make them happy.

While this might not be the right route for everyone, its still something to consider during such trying times.  I am keeping this post short and sweet, but it is something to think about.  Hope you all are staying healthy and keep pressing forward.  Don’t let the pandemic sink you!

Mike Cavaggioni
Mike Cavaggioni

Mike Cavaggioni is an Active Duty Officer in the U.S. Navy, Real Estate Agent, and Real Estate Investor located in Honolulu, HI. He is the founder of Average Joe Finances and host of the Average Joe Finances Podcast. He is the CEO and founder of Compass REI Properties, LLC; a rental property company in Virginia. Mike owns real estate in Hawaii and Virginia and is building a community for people to come together to learn and build their wealth.