As you start earning, it is good practice to invest the money. Investments provide good financial security for the future. However, when there are so many different types of investments, it may be confusing. Today, let us learn about ETF, which is a simple means of investing to obtain good retains.
What is an ETF?
ETF stands for Exchange Traded Fund. Here, you can buy several bonds/stocks at the same time. An investor can buy shares of ETFs. The ETF share prices can fluctuate throughout the day. They are listed and traded on an exchange. ETFs hold multiple underlying assets.
ETFs offer good alternatives to individual stock picks. While services like Motley Fool make it easier for investors to choose stocks (read the full review here), many investors prefer the simplicity of ETF investing.
There are certain concepts to understand before you can invest in ETFs.
Expense ratio – The fee that ETFs charge is called the expense ratio. For beginners, it is recommended to go with smaller expense ratios.
Types of ETFs – There are two types of ETFs – passive ETFs and active ETFs. Passive ETFs (also called index funds) track an index and update the portfolio from time to time. If you are new to this, start with passive ETFs. In an active ETF, an investment manager manages the portfolio of securities.
Investing in ETFs
There are 2 ways to buy/sell an ETF. Three points to note before investing in an ETF –
Ensure that you have a Demat account. It is needed to hold the ETF units.
Open a broker account with a broker/sub-broker.
Complete your KYC. You will need documents for proof of identity, proof of address and your bank account details.
You can now use the registered bank account for your ETF investments. You will need the current price of a single share to start investing. Check whether your broker is registered with the stock exchange. Now, there are two ways to buy and sell ETF shares.
The first way is to call your broker. You can tell the broker about your trade specifications and buy/sell ETF units through the broker.
The second way is to use an online trading terminal. You can place your order on the terminal.
Why should one invest in ETFs?
ETFs are considered as the ideal investment for youngsters. This is because they provide a host of benefits. Some of the benefits are discussed below.
Reasonable transaction charges – Compared to other index-tracking products, you incur lesser transaction charges on ETFs
Diversification – Diversification is a mantra that the majority of investors swear by. With ETFs, you can spread the risk over several securities. Stock-specific risk is minimum in this case. In a single transaction, you are exposed to a variety of stocks, sectors and commodities
Liquidity – ETFs provide ample liquidity. They can be traded throughout the day. If you have limited capital, you can immediately exit a losing investment.
Tax-benefits – If you are an ETF investor, the dividends you gain are tax exempt. To sell an ETF unit within 12 months, a short term capital gain tax is levied.
ETFs have the potential to produce great investment growth over a long period.
How to obtain investment property financing is one of the first things you must figure out as a new multifamily
investor. Assuming you’re not yet equipped to pay cash, your total acquisition costs boil down to 3 primary components:
The mortgage or loan (traditional bank, mortgage broker, private lender, etc.) Your down payment (can be out-of-pocket or financed) Your closing costs (can be out-of-pocket or financed)
THE MORTGAGE Of course, this is the largest of your investment property financing components, and the specific type of mortgage you get may depend on the nature of the property you are buying.
For a functional, fully occupied multifamily structure, a standard property mortgage
will fit the bill.
A fixer upper,
on the other hand, may require a different funding source, because banks do not like the added risk associated with a rehab job. Additionally, the “non-functional” nature of this type of property makes it difficult to get an accurate real estate appraisal.
In fact, most times these appraisals are undervalued, which could result in a bank-mandated reduction of the loan amount, or even a voiding of the deal by the lending bank.
Although I am partial to fixer-upper projects, I did not start out this way. My first few acquisitions were of the more traditional, already-functional type, using regular bank mortgages. And unless you have access to a boatload of cash or to a private lender, you will probably have to start out the same way I did – purchasing currently occupied rental properties.
Although you’ll miss out on the “fixer-upper discount,” an initial focus on fully occupied properties will allow you to learn the ropes before “graduating” to the more advanced fixer-upper stuff. This will also give you time to find a private lender you can trust, which will enable you to execute the rehab strategy.
YOUR DOWN PAYMENT
The largest out of pocket expense associated with investment property financing is usually the down payment. Down payment requirements are more stringent with a traditional bank compared to a private, non-bank lender. For example, many private lenders will finance 100% of the purchase price (not to mention closing & rehab costs), especially if the term of the loan is short (like 6- or 12-months).
But if you need to go with a traditional bank mortgage, a down payment of some sort will almost always be required. The bank’s down payment requirement is defined by the “loan-to-value” ratio (LTV). For example, an 80% LTV loan requires a 20% down payment.
Luckily, the days where lenders required a 20% down payment are long gone. As long as you have good credit, most mortgage brokers can hook you up with a 90% or even 95% LTV mortgage (i.e., you put down 10% or 5%, respectively).
Of course the upside compared to traditional 80% LTV loans is that you put less money down out of your own pocket, which also drives up your cash-on-cash ROI when you sell. However, high LTV mortgages do have downsides:
Interest rates tend to be higher You may have to pay for points at closing (calculated as 1% of the mortgage amount) The appraised value must be higher because there is less of an equity cushion Any down payment that is less than 20% of the purchase price triggers private mortgage insurance (PMI).
Because of these issues, I would avoid straight-up high-LTV bank mortgages if at all possible. A much better investment property financing alternative is to get an 80% LTV loan, and use a secondary financing source for the 20% down payment. And luckily, you do have a few zero down options
for the down payment.
Obviously if you cannot find a secondary funding source for the down payment, then you will indeed have to pursue a high LTV loan even though this is not ideal. That said, this can be viable as long as your projected rental property income
is enough to cover the higher payments. Then, in a few years, you should have enough built-up equity to refinance investment property
into a standard 80% LTV, 30-year fixed-rate mortgage.
CLOSING COSTS Unfortunately, closing costs are a necessary evil in terms of investment property financing, even when using a private lender (although bank fees will usually be higher). Click for more info on closing costs.
FINAL THOUGHTS The bottom line is that – in most cases – you’ll want to get an 80% LTV fixed-rate loan using a secondary financing source to fund the 20% down payment.
This gives you the best of all worlds…you minimize your out-of-pocket expense while at the same time minimizing your largest go-forward expense item as well as your risk. This maximizes the odds that you will optimize your profit when you sell
years down the road.
So, investment property financing is not overly difficult, but it does take some time to figure it all out and find the best deal. Just follow the advice on this site and do not waver. Keep moving forward. Yes, you CAN do this!
Return from Investment Property Financing to Homepage
The number of small businesses is the exact opposite of its size, which comprise the majority of businesses in the USA. According to the US Small Business Administration, small businesses account for 99.7% of all businesses in the USA, or a total of 28.8 million. These small businesses currently have 56.8 million employees and covers 48% of the total for USA.
The numbers speak the same with small business funding. Many financial institutions are taking advantage of the large market resulting in more small business funding solutions available. The same Small Business Administration (SBA) report said that there are about 5.2 million small business loans (valued at $ 73.6 billion) released by US lending firms in 2014.
The market for small business lending is robust, and one can always find a solution that can fit any need and preference. A business will always have the answer on why get a small business loan. Here are some of the available small business lending solutions, and what you need to know about them:
Conventional Bank Loans
This is usually the first option when it comes to any kind of financing, whether for personal or business purposes. Small businesses, however, find its loan eligibility hard to achieve, and its requirements difficult to secure. They also deploy stringent terms and compliance measures.
The reason why most businesses flock around banks is because the bank’s loans carry smaller interest rates and they can also be generous with the amount as long as the eligibility criteria have been met. The disadvantage would have to be its strict requirements and the need for a collateral.
Alternative Lending Firms
They appeal most small businesses because of lenient terms and flexible repayment options. It is also more convenient to secure alternative funding because most providers can process your application online. This is most especially valuable for emergency cash needs.
Another advantage in dealing with alternative lending firms is their lenient terms and eligibility criteria, a lower requirement for credit score, and its faster processing and approval. The downside, however, is the excessively high interest rates and other additional upfront fees.
A U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loan system is a funding solution backed up by the US government, which aims to support its citizens with the means to build and expand their own businesses. The SBA doesn’t provide the loan itself but serves as a guarantor to the loan coming from both private and public financial institutions that include banks and alternative lenders.
Small Business Administration partners with these financial institutions to offer a wide range of loan types that can suit the different funding needs of small businesses. It has a regulated set of guidelines, which all partners follow, in order to protect the interest of both the borrower and the lender. SBA guarantees for a percentage of the amount of every loan approved, which is about 70–90%. This minimizes the risk for the lender. On the other hand, the fact that a government small business loan is enough to know that the borrower is protected under its own laws and regulations. SBA loans offer lower interest rates than other alternative lending institutions.
The downside of an SBA loan is its long process, and it requires more paperwork. There are also top up fees to be paid when you avail.
Questions To Answer Before Getting an SBA Loan
Before approaching an SBA loan provider, make sure that you have the answer to the following questions:
What is your borrowing intent?
How urgent is your need?
What are your business’ risks?
In what stage of development is your business?
How much do you need?
How long can you pay the loan back?
What is your business plan?
How long have you been operating your business?
What is the cycle of your business? Is it seasonal or consistently producing revenue?
By answering the above questions, you can help the SBA loan provider to assess your capacity and risk tolerance. It can also determine if you are eligible or not.
Reasons Why You May Be Denied From an SBA Loan
Small Business Administration loans are attractive to small businesses because of its advantages like low interest rates, flexible repayment terms, varied loan types, and primarily because it is government backed-up. Most alternative fundings compensate the higher risk involved with their grants by imposing higher interest rates, which can go as high as 80% APR.
Unfortunately, not everybody that applies for it are automatically approved. Many businesses have varied problems with small business loans that can hinder their growth, and here are the most probable reasons why you may not be granted with an SBA Loan.
Yours Is a Startup Company
An SBA loan requires for a business to be operating for at least 2 years.
You may opt for other funding options like angel investing or to a venture capitalist. There is also an online community-based funding solution like crowdfunding, which can cater to start up entrepreneurs. Cash flow based funding like merchant cash advances is also viable. There are also alternative lending companies that specialize in giving capital for startups, but the grant is not that big.
Yours and Your Business’ Credit Score Is Low
Like with conventional bank loans, SBA loans require a strong credit score, which is the most prevalent reason why most borrowers get denied.
A credit score, which most people might probably doesn’t know, is the numerical equivalent of your commitment to paying off your debts. It is computed based on your debt and credit histories with banks and other financial institutions. For example, you own a credit card. When you use your card, you will be billed on a designated cut off. If you diligently pay on time and in full amount and you are consistent with this for a long period of time, then, generally, your credit score will be high. When you do the other way around, say you don’t pay the full amount or you pay late, of course, your score will be low. But having no credit history can equally hurt your credit score because basically, there will be no means for a lender to assess your willingness and responsibility to pay.
There may be a lot of reasons why a business, or you, have a low credit score, and other alternative lending agencies are not too particular with these. Find one that can grant a loan for someone like you, which is also an opportunity to build your credit score again.
You Do Not Have Enough Collateral
Small Business Administration loans like bank loans do require a collateral. This collateral is being shared with the lender and the SBA because they share a part of the guarantee with the loan. Because of this, it may also require you a personal collateral too. This is also the reason why SBA loans cannot cater to startups because most of them doesn’t have more assets that can serve as a collateral.
Your Company’s Industry Is Part of the Grant’s Exclusions
Aside from startups, SBA loans won’t approve the loan applications of businesses in these industries:
Businesses that are engaged in lending
Life insurance companies
Businesses outside the USA
Businesses engaged in networking or any incentive-based model and pyramiding
Businesses that get a third of its gross revenues from legal gambling
Lobbying or political organizations
Speculative businesses like oil explorations
You Don’t Want the Risk for a Personal Guarantee
Small Business Administration loans will need your personal guarantee, which meant your car, your home, and other personal assets. When you give this to the bank as a collateral, you give it the power to sell those when you cannot pay back your loan anymore.
There are other small business loan with no personal guarantee to ask from you, which may be viable if you are intolerant with this kind of risk.
So how to convince the best SBA loan providers to grant you that loan? You’ve got to be positive when it comes to these 5 C’s:
Character – this implies your managerial skills or the strength of your management team. Your team should exemplify a strong sense of responsibility when it comes to their roles in your business.
Credit Score – this is one important factor that SBA loan providers do look for, and it is also one of the hardest to repair. Even though you may be denied with an SBA loan, there is a lot of room in getting another small business loan provider that will fit your eligibility and needs.
Capacity – a strong business plan and a steady cash flow are strong indications of your capacity to sustain in paying your liabilities.
Capital – before getting an SBA loan, you should know how much additional capital you really need to finance your venture. This also includes information about the nature of your intent and the specific reason/plan for the grant.
Collateral – there are different assets that can serve as collaterals other than real estate like personal assets (house, car), accounts receivables, and credit cards. When the cash flow and profits are good, it is best to slowly build up your assets, which can also help you for your unexpected future additional funding needs.
Investing in real estate is not a groundbreaking or new thing. It is a true, tested and legitimate business that can certainly earn you a great wealth if you play it right. Like any other investment, real estate investing also demands understanding of the basic concepts on your part. When you learn it right, buying property, generating rent and avoiding bankruptcy become as easy as playing monopoly. This article will help you understand the real estate investing basics in the simplest way.
❖ Getting Started In Real estate Investing
Generally, the new investors are more comfortable with real estate investing. It is simple to understand and offers plentiful opportunities to earn good fortune. But before you invest your money into this wealth-building vehicle, it is important that you find out the right properties and understand the real estate community well. Make sure that there is no scope left for making mistakes because if you make them, you will lose everything that you have ever had.
❖ Why Invest in Real Estate?
There are many reasons why real estate investing is considered very fruitful. Here are some of the ways you can benefit from this investment:
➣ Appreciation: Real estate appreciation refers to increase in the value of a property over time. When the land around your property becomes busier or scarcer or if the real estate market changes, your property becomes more valuable. But it is completely unwise to invest in real estate to make money only on the basis of appreciation.
➣ Tax Benefits: You can deduct the operating costs of your property from your income. These costs include:
Repairs and maintenance Interest on loan Agent’s fees Insurance Rates and taxes Building depreciation Travel to and from your property in order to facilitate repairs
These deductions can be claimed on your tax return.
➣ Rental Income: Rental income that you get through your property can be a means of positive cash flow. You can rent your property for a specific period of time. When this rental income covers all the expenses like insurance, taxes, mortgage, fees with nothing left over, you become break-even. Positive cash flow is when the rent exceeds the expenses. You can also earn through rent appreciation that is increasing your rental income every year.
➣ Improvement: You can earn better price and more profit from your property by improving its functionality and appearance. Keep upgrading your property from time to time to help retain its value.
➣ Leverage: You can use Other People’s Money (OPM) to invest in real estate. You get enough time to pay back the mortgage and you can also structure your deal in such a way that no money is invested from your pocket but the benefits are all yours.
❖ Types of Real Estate Investments
After understanding how beneficial real estate investment is, let’s find out how many ways are there to invest in it:
➣ Commercial Real Estate Investing: These are mainly the office buildings. You can lease out the individual offices in the building to small businesses or companies and collect rent.
➣ Residential Real Estate Investing: These buildings include houses, townhouses, apartment buildings and vacation houses that are rented by a family to live.
➣ Retail Real Estate Investing: Strip malls, shopping malls and other retail stores are included in these types of buildings. Along with getting the base rent on these properties, you can also collect a percentage of sales from the tenant store that is used in maintenance of the property.
➣ Industrial Real Estate Investing: These are the properties that generate sales from the customers, who use the facility for temporary use, for example – car washes and storage units.
➣ Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs): You can invest in real estate through these trusts also. They own a portfolio of underlying real estate and trade like stocks.
❖ Models of Real Estate Investment
There are 3 different ways through which you can generate money for your real estate investment. You can rent or lease your property to a tenant or can sell it. Here is how these models work:
➣ Leasing and Renting: When you rent a property, you allow a tenant to live in the property. In return, they give you a monthly fee. When you lease a property, you give it to the tenant on rent for a guaranteed amount of time that is decided with a prior contract.
There is just one drawback of this model that in spite of giving it on rent and allowing someone else to live in there, the maintenance of the property is your responsibility. If you have more than one property and you rent all of them, the amount of maintenance can be huge. Also, you may have to get the property completely repaired or maintained before selling or renting it again to get it into good condition.
On the advantageous side, you can earn good fortune through rental income if you have more than one property.
➣ Flipping: This means selling your property to earn net profit. With this model, you buy a low priced property, improve it and then sell it for a profit. Though it yields the most reward, it can be very risky for a beginner investor because you will have to predict which property would be sold for profit in the minimum time.
To get the deal right, it is important that you find out the right property that can be flipped for profit. Then you will have to invest in its repairs and remodeling. For this part, it is important that you have sufficient money in your hand so that the repairing work can be completed in the shortest period of time. Since the property is still owned by you, you will have to make the monthly payment on it. That’s why it is important that you complete the remodeling work in the shortest period of time.
Thus all these approaches work efficiently for generating money from your real estate investment. If you are ready for dedicated and hard work, you can definitely make decent profit through real estate investing 101.
❖ In The End
Though investment in real estate can bring you huge profits but if you are a beginner in this field, you should be very careful when you actually put your money into it. Never enter this world with stock market mentality, which is assuming that the past trends will be repeated in the future. Refrain from buying real estate blindly by following everyone’s advice. Always accumulate cash reserves before investing in real estate, especially if you are renting your property. This will save you from unnecessary pressure of shoddy repairs, accepting unqualified tenants and giving into their demands.
You can do well in this business only if you act rationally and don’t assume that real estate is a way to get-rich-quick. Consider it as a business that will take good amount of time to flourish and only then you will be able to reap the maximum benefits out of it.
Spain, France, and Nova Scotia are favorite destinations among Americans looking to invest in a property overseas.
You are on a vacation to a European or South American destination, and you love everything about the place. The weather is nice, food is great, people are hospitable and friendly, it is not crowded like New York or London, plus the prices are comparatively low by American standards. You like the place so much, that you’ve considered living here. If not that, at least buy a decent apartment or a condo, so that you can visit whenever you like.
Purchasing a property overseas is exciting, but only after you are clear about one rule – the heart should never rule the head where money is concerned. Also, it is essential that you follow the right procedure, and avoid using any unfair means in securing real estate. Consider doing all the things you would do if you were buying real estate in your homeland. Here are some tips that you can follow.
Know the Market Thoroughly
Be aware of rising and falling trends of the market. Knowledge about the rates can be helpful if you want to buy when prices are down, and sell as soon as the market sees an upward trend. Also, some countries have strict rules that prevent or limit property ownership to foreigners. Hence, it is good to know whether or not you have the legal right to purchase property in that country, to avoid any scams or disappointment. It is important to do your homework before stepping in the market of an alien country.
Beware of Impostors
The global real estate market is filled with impostors who con people, and often get them involved in a financial and legal mess. Even so, this doesn’t mean that everyone you come across is a thug, but being aware of what is right and wrong is a smart move. If you are dealing with a real estate agent who does not carry business cards, and does not have an office, he/she is probably someone you should avoid. Also, there are certain countries that don’t regulate their real estate industry; hence, agents don’t even require a valid license. Be extremely careful here, and proceed only after doing thorough research.
Only Purchase What You See
Real estate agents are idealists. They will make you dream about well-built roads, world-class amenities, and other facilities that are nowhere in plain sight. The catch here is, once you have signed the contract, you are the owner of the area and the illusions surrounding it. I have nothing against agents here, but it sounds risky to invest your hard-earned money for just barren land. Consider all the things that can go wrong here. Hence, only buy what you see.
Always Seek Professional Assistance
Great deals at an affordable price can be achieved if you buy a property directly from the owner. Nevertheless, don’t forget that you are in a foreign land, and taking the help of a reliable professional can be useful to avoid various pitfalls when buying property in a foreign land.
Signing a Contract
Never sign a contract that you don’t understand. Always ask for two versions of the contract – one in English, and the other in the local language. Bring along your legal adviser to confirm that the English version is a true translation, and does not contain any errors, extras, or omissions. Read the contract thoroughly, and ensure that you and the seller both agree to the different terms and conditions decided.
Try to Pay Cash
If you really like the property and know that this is the final deal, try paying the owner cash. It is a tough decision to take, but it is important to understand that financing mechanisms, like mortgages, aren’t as stable in foreign countries as they are in the US. In most European vacation spots, property transfers are mostly done in cash. For those who can’t do without a mortgage, seek the help of your real estate agent and lawyer to know more about such destinations.
Verify the Title
In the US, if you acquire a property you get a warranty title that states you are the legal owner. However, in countries outside the States, this title can create quite a problem. This is highly possible in European countries. You see, World War II had created many boundaries in the world, and it is quite possible that once you purchase the property, a recent descendant of the family can suddenly appear to claim his/her property. The situation sounds dramatic, but it can surely happen. This crisis can be avoided by taking the help of a notary. A notary can help verify legal documents, and also ensure that there are no gaps in the property’s history, and you are the rightful owner.
Knowing the Native Language
Relocating to a country without knowing its native language can get quite difficult. The best thing to do is to join a language course, and get things in motion soon. However, if you are not up for this challenge, a better idea would be choosing a country where English is spoken in large numbers.
Valuating the Property
Property valuation is an important step, especially in a foreign land. You need to know all the pros and cons of the property before signing the papers. Hence, ensure that an independent valuation of the property is carried out in your presence.
A Local Bank Account is Necessary
You will have to open a bank account in the country where you have chosen to live, and apply for a Certificate of Importation, so that bringing in money from your home country won’t be a problem. Also inquire about online money transfer facilities, so that you can pay the bills and taxes associated with the house from time to time.
Try to bargain if you are good at it; chances are you might get a great deal at a low price. Also, don’t shy away from seeking professional services that can ensure a smooth transaction overseas.
Investors in the real estate business can make mistakes when the market is up as well as when the market is down. When the market is down the results of those mistakes tend to be even worse. Just because you have all cash or plenty of back-up does not mean that you cannot make mistakes.
The investors with the least money tend to “hype it up” when trying to get others into their deal. Every person that has something to do with the deal needs to have some “skin in the game”.
Here Are 6 of the Most-Common Deadly Mistakes Investors Make
1. Violating the Securities and Exchange Commission laws: Wanna get in Hot-Water with your real estate business? Many investors get so caught up in trying to make a big profit that they try to get a number of other people involved in their deal. The SEC violation comes when you promise a Guaranteed Investment yield on real estate. There are people in jail right now for making this deadly mistake in their real estate business. There are ways to involve others in your Real Estate business financially and one of those ways is to have all parties have some sort of direct ownership in the property. It’s called getting Private Money investors. They’re good for the Real Estate business, but there are certain govt. regulations about how you go about finding them. Read more on Private Money Investors
2. Not Doing Adequate Due Diligence: You can lose your shirt by omitting one little piece of real estate business information. Zoning and Environmental laws can be a big issue, so do not ignore finding out about these potential restrictions, regulations that may affect you as the new owner. Many current owners are ‘grandfathered in’ and so newer laws might not apply to them, but as soon as ownership changes hands, the new laws / regs come into play. Don’t miss this one. A few years ago I found a property where I wanted to build a small apartment building. Everything seemed to be going well then I found out that there was an endangered bird near the property so I would not be able to build. (of course I sent an angry Tweet to all my investing buddies:) Lesson: If you’re going to get into the Real Estate business, do your proper due diligence and be mindful of these 6 deadly mistakes.
3.Building-Renovating-Or Making Additions Prior to Permit Approval: Many building departments will allow you to start building your structure when you get the site plans approved, even before all the plans for the project are approved. Don’t expect one department of the government to actually talk to another department. You may have as little as a 50% chance that everything about your plans will be approved. A contractor friend of mine got a permit to install 150 windows. In the middle of his project the county changed the requirements and he had to change all the windows he had already installed. Seasoned contractors and investors have all learned that this little part of the real estate business is one to keep a close eye on.
4. Not Getting a Survey Done Before You Buy: Wow, this is a huge problem-area for properties that have not changed hands in a long time, where a ‘good-ole-boy’ hand-shake deals were the norm. These days any easements or special arrangements regarding the property are recorded at the courthouse. But years ago, they weren’t. This is also still true in many small-country-towns have not come into the 21st Century and stuff is still not recorded. Be sure to get a current survey, including all easements, utility crossings, etc. The real estate business has a way of making the un-prepared lose their shirt. But you can avoid that by getting up to speed. Here’s How
Property lines is another issue, they need to be established clearly before you purchase. Any possible disputes or problems need to be handled before you take the next step. The former owner may tell you that there is enough land for you to build your mini storage unit complex. He could be right about the past zoning, but the property laws may have changed since he last checked. The zoning laws may now require a lot more land to build your complex. Sellers are not usually out to take advantage of you but it is not their responsibility to do your due diligence. This is one good way to kill your real estate business permanently, dont’ leave this out.
5. Expecting Someone Else to Do Your Due Diligence: This is especially a problem when you get involved in an investment in another state or out of your area. Keep in mind that no one cares as much about your money as you do, its’ YOUR real estate business…treat it as such!
You may know the laws and problems in your area or state but you may not know the laws in the state you are looking to invest. If you have a partner who lives in the other state then send him a very long list of things that you want answers to before you take the next step. Never assume that someone else, even a partner, will get all the answers you need and want. For larger purchases, I’d want to lay my eyes on the property before closing at some point, even if my team did allot of the pre-work. (Several of the Niche Videos we have cover this in good detail. See Nich Video Series in the right hand column)
6. Not Properly Analyzing the Local & Regional Economy: Just because your area population can continue to support an apartment building does not mean that the area where you are looking to invest can continue to support all of the apartment buildings in that local area. Find out about the unemployment rate, other properties that are selling, plans in the county, growth trends in the area and much more. What good is it to own an apartment building if there are no renters? This can result in a huge drain of money. Notwithstanding all the other problems that come with a low occupancy rate. Believe me, this is no way to run a real estate business if you actually plan to make money.
You can make the transition from single family investing to commercial (or start with commercial) and many of the same rules apply. However, there are key differences and you need to make yourself aware of them.
You cannot imagine the problems that you can encounter, especially when you are not prepared. When you go into the real estate business prepared for all
kinds of things, you will do a lot better, make more money and not have a heart attack in the meantime just because you did not cover all your bases.
The more you get up to speed on how to safely invest in commercial real estate for a profit, the better you will be prepared. Just because you have all the education, experience, money and experts to help you there is no guarantee that you will not run into problems.
Here are 5 easy steps to making good profits from commercial property. Learn these critical must-dos through our Free 7 step email series. 7 Steps to Profits
The Real Estate Business can be fun and profitable, but as with anything, there are deadly mistakes and it’s important to know how to avoid them
I have found that many entrepreneurs are confused by the differences between the various flavors of angel and venture capital. This is not surprising since the categories used are overlapping and are often used inconsistently by different investors. However, there are some broad generalizations that can be drawn – typically based on the timing of the proposed investment and the typical purpose of the investment in the company’s lifecycle. Depending on the timing, you can also draw some basic conclusions as to the type of investor that will be involved and, in each category, generalizations can be made as to the type of security the company will sell and the magnitude of return the investor will seek.
The earliest stages of investment are usually characterized as seed rounds, proof of concept investments or angel investments. These investments usually do not occur until after the investor has tapped out his friends and family (in what is often characterized as the “friends and family” round). The money invested is intended to allow the founders of the company to do their initial research, to complete the initial programming or to apply for the initial patent(s). Companies at this stage usually do not have a saleable product and do not have very many employees, other than the founders/inventors. The investors are almost always NOT traditional venture capital funds. Rather, they consist of wealthy individuals or groups of individuals that are willing to invest their own money and take the extreme risk involved in making equity investments into companies that often only have a good idea. Alternatively, the investor may be a government or university funded incubator that was established to help entrepreneurs or scientists get their ideas off of the ground. In this stage, the amount of the investment is typically relatively small – e.g. $100,000 to $500,000, seldom more than $1,000,000 in total. Also, the investor usually takes common stock in the company – the same stock that the founders get. Alternatively, the investor will take a convertible note that allows them to have the protection of debt at the beginning and also allows them to convert at the valuation established by later investors. Investments at this stage are extremely risky and are subject to significant dilution when new investors come in during later stages. Consequently, angel investors look for returns of at least 10x their initial investment, and sometimes as high as 20x or 30x their initial investment. The next stage of investment in a typical company’s life cycle is early stage venture capital. This type of investment usually is not available to a company until it has a proven product and a business plan. However, it is not necessary that a company be profitable or even be producing its product. The funds the company raises will be used to mass manufacture the product, market the product, build a sales force and further develop the product. For this investment, the company will be able to attract early stage venture capitalists. These venture capitalists often have smaller funds which are more suited to making the relatively smaller sized investments found at this stage of a company’s life. In this stage, the amount invested is typically in the $1,000,000 to $5,000,000 range. The early stage venture capitalist will almost always be investing in Series A preferred stock of the Company. This security will be superior to the common stock held by the founders and any angels and will typically come with dividend rights, liquidation preferences, some form of anti-dilution rights and a right of first refusal on stock sales by the founders and angels. Sometimes it may also come with pre-emptive rights, redemption rights and drag along rights and other rights and preferences. The venture capitalists at this stage will look for returns of at least 5x their initial investment and would gladly accept higher returns. There may be multiple additional rounds of equity financing after the Series A round. These types of funding are often called growth capital or mezzanine financing. Usually, the company will either be close to profitability or will have a clear path to profitability and the funds are meant to allow the company to expand its sales force and marketing efforts and ramp up its revenue growth.
The money may also be used to develop additional products or to research expansion ideas. These investments are usually made by the larger size venture capital funds and the amount invested can range from $1,000,000 to $25,000,000 or higher – depending on the company and the market opportunity. The investment will typically be made for additional rounds of preferred stock – for example, Series B or Series C preferred stock – and each successive round will generally having superior rights and preferences to the prior rounds. Venture capitalists at this stage of investment may still look for 5x investment returns, but depending on the opportunity and the trajectory of the company, will often settle for 2x or 3x returns. Occasionally, a company in the growth phase of its life cycle, or that is on the cusp of the growth phase, will raise bridge capital. This is typically debt that “bridges” the gap in funding between rounds of venture capital financing. Usually, it takes the form of a convertible note that will automatically convert into the next round of preferred stock, sometimes at a discount. The lender may be an existing investor in the company or it may be a new venture capital fund that is contemplating making the follow on round. Another type of financing that is available to companies in their growth phase is venture debt. This is a loan from a bank that is often securitized by the company’s accounts receivable, inventory or equipment. The venture lender will take warrants in the company to help increase its return on the loan. Typically, these lenders seek combined returns in the 12 to 18% range. The final type of financing that a company may seek can be characterized as acquisition or buyout capital. This type of capital is used to purchase the assets or stock of other businesses that will then be adsorbed into or added onto the company. The investor may be the company’s existing venture capitalists or it may be a private equity fund that is building out a platform in the company’s industry. In the later case, the investment may come with a right to purchase the company outright in the future. This type of financing also occurs when a company’s venture capitalists start planning their exit strategy. By putting together the right pieces it may make the company more attractive as an acquisition candidate or perhaps more eligible for an IPO.
Are there major advantages of owning or buying gold or silver graded collectible coins over that of bullion or bars? Most definitely there is. The following is not an exhaustive list, but does include several things to consider. Coins cannot be beat as an investment opportunity.
Coins are extremely easy to handle and store, in contrast to bars or bullion, which is not. They are manageable in size. They are easy to hide for the sake of security, and they are not heavy, so are easy to carry from place to place. This makes their sale much easier than bullion.
Coins are also very easy to buy. The buyer only has to check the karat and percentage. These should be 24 k and .9999 percent, respectively. When buying or selling bars, they must be assayed. This means involving transport and a third party, all which make for a security problem. This is not true for coins. Collectible gold coins are not only a beautiful acquisition; they have a history behind them. They have been in circulation for some period of time. The following coins are not all that are collectible, but are the major ones.
American Gold Eagle Coins These coins are beautiful, one of their pluses. They are considered possibly the most beautiful of all coins. A nest of eagles is on the reverse side, and a walking liberty on the obverse side. They were minted and issued as with a face value. They can be bought directly from coin dealers or at auction, such as at Ebay. Of all coins collected and traded, they are the most traded. They consist of 91.67% gold and are 22K. This is below the desired standard, but because of their beauty they are still much desired.
Canadian Gold Maple Coins These coins rival the Gold Eagle coin for beauty, and are even considered the most beautiful in the world by some. They are the most pure, consisting of .9999% 24 karat gold. They are inscribed on the obverse side with a bust of Queen Elizabeth II and the maple leaf on the reverse side. They are legal tender in Canada, and can be purchased from most coin dealers.
Gold Krugerrand Coins The South African president, Stephanus Johannes Paul Kruger is the figure depicted on this coin. Due to several adventure movies featuring the coin, it became very famous. It contains a full ounce of gold, one of the first to do so. It can also be obtained in one-fourth, one-half, and one-tenth ounce sizes. Though they are not beautiful like the Gold Eagle and Maple Leaf, they are nevertheless at a premium due to their popularity. They can be gotten at most coin dealers, but demand a high price.
Silver Collectible Coins These coins have all the advantages of gold coins, except the beauty. Most of the silver coins are not considered nearly as beautiful as the gold coins. Most investors actually collect the junk dime, because it is so cheap, readily available, and result in the best investment. Silver has risen in price much more lately than has gold; making these silver coins the better investment. Still, the beauty of the gold coins can’t be discounted. Collectors tend to collect them for their beauty as well as their investment. In a time of great economic catastrophe, though, beauty might not be such a consideration.
In summary, the advantages of coins are that they are relatively easily obtained and have almost nonexistent buying and selling costs. They can be stored locally and handled with ease. They are readily available to the collector to admire. Coins are also easily recognizable and can be assumed to have certain known traits, though if they have been tampered with, this won’t hold true. Tampering will probably be evident, however.
The following is Part 2 of my five-part series on the roles of angel investors and venture capital investors in emerging technology sectors with explosive upside potential, such as the nanotech, cleantech, biotech, information technology and new media sectors. In Part 1, I gave a general overview of the playing field. Below, I examine the stages of an emerging growth company’s lifecycle and the types of investment that it hopes to obtain at each relevant stage. Introduction Many investors are confused by the differences between angel and venture capital. This isn’t surprising; the categories are overlapping and are used inconsistently. However, there are some broad generalizations that can be drawn, typically based on the timing of the investment and the purpose of the investment in the company’s lifecycle. Depending upon the timing, you can draw some basic conclusions as to the type of investor that will be involved (e.g. single angel vs. angel consortium vs. venture capitalist). And, in each category, you can glean the form the investment will take (e.g. common stock vs. convertible debt vs. preferred stock) and the size of the return investors can expect. That is, if there’s a return–very few private emerging growth investments are actually a success. More below the fold. Seed Round The earliest investment stages are usually characterized as seed rounds, proof of concept investments or angel investments. These investments usually don’t occur until after the target entrepreneur has tapped out his friends and family in what’s usually called a “friends and family” round. The money you invest is intended to allow the founders of the company to do their initial research, to complete the initial programming or to apply for the initial patent(s). Companies at this stage usually don’t have a saleable product and don’t have very many employees, other than the founders/inventors. Traditional venture capital funds very rarely invest in seed rounds. Rather, seed investors typically consist of angels that is, wealthy individuals or groups of individuals that are willing to invest their own money and take the extreme risk involved in making equity investments into companies that often only have a good idea. Occasionally, a seed investor may be a publicly or privately funded incubator established to help entrepreneurs or scientists get their ideas off of the ground. In the seed round stage, the amount of the investment is typically small, say $100,000 to $500,000, seldom more than $1,000,000. Also, the investor usually takes common stock in the company–the same stock that the founders get. Alternatively, the investor will take a convertible note that allows him to have the protection of debt at the beginning but with the possibility of converting and receiving the upside of equity. Typically, the conversion will occur in concert with the closing of the next round of investment and will be at the same per share price used in the next round. Often, you receive some sort of additional incentive for making a seed round investment such as a conversion discount or grant of warrants. Investments at the seed stage are extremely risky and are subject to significant dilution when new investors come in during later stages. Consequently, angel investors look for returns of at least 10x their initial investment, and sometimes as high as 20x or 30x their initial investment.
Early Stage Venture Round The next stage of investment is early stage venture capital. Investors usually aren’t interested in making this type of investment until the company has a proven product and a business plan. However, it isn’t necessary that the target be profitable or even be producing its product. The funds invested will be used to mass manufacture the product, market the product, build a sales force and further develop the product. Typically, these sorts of investments are made by early stage venture capitalists, larger angels or angel consortiums. Early stage venture capitalists and angel consortiums usually have smaller funds to deploy which makes them more suited to making the relatively smaller sized investments found at this stage of a company’s life. In this stage, the amount invested is typically in the $1,000,000 to $5,000,000 range. The investors will almost always be purchasing Series A preferred stock of the target. This type of stock is superior to the common stock held by the founders and any seed round angel investors and will typically come with dividend rights, liquidation preferences, some form of anti-dilution rights and a right of first refusal on stock sales by the founders and seed round angels. Often, the investors will also receive pre-emptive rights, redemption rights, drag along rights and other rights and preferences. Investors at in early stage investments will typically look for returns of at least 5x their initial investment and would gladly accept higher returns. Growth Stage Venture Round After the Series A round, there may be multiple additional rounds of equity financing. These types of funding are often called growth capital or mezzanine financing. Usually, the company seeking this sort of investment will either be close to profitability or will have a clear path to profitability and the funds are meant to allow the company to expand its sales force and marketing efforts and ramp up its revenue growth. The money may also be used to develop additional products or to research expansion ideas. These investments are usually made by the larger venture capital funds and the amount invested can range from $1,000,000 to $25,000,000 or higher, depending on the company and the market opportunity. The investor typically will receive additional rounds of preferred stock–for example, Series B or Series C preferred stock–and each successive round will generally have superior rights and preferences to the prior rounds. Investors at this stage may still look for 5x investment returns, but depending on the opportunity and the trajectory of the company, may settle for 2x or 3x returns. Bridge Round Occasionally, investors will be willing to invest bridge capital into a company in the growth phase of its life cycle, or one that’s on the cusp of the growth phase. This investment takes the form of debt that “bridges” the gap in funding between rounds of venture capital financing. These investments range in size depending on the company and the market opportunity and they’re made by all types of investors, depending on the size of the investment. The lender may be an existing investor in the company or it may be a new angel or venture capital fund that’s contemplating making the follow on round. Usually, the debt will be represented by a convertible note that will automatically convert into the next round of preferred stock, sometimes at a discount. Also, investors will usually want some sort of warrant coverage to provide equity upside in the deal. Investors at this stage expect a blended return that takes into account the interest rate on the debt and the potential value of the equity. These target returns vary greatly, but often move in the 12 percent to 18 percent range. Buyout Capital Round The final stage is characterized as acquisition or buyout capital. This is used by the company to purchase the assets or stock of other businesses that will then be absorbed into or added onto the target company. The investors may be the company’s existing venture capitalists or it may be a private equity fund that’s building out a platform in the company’s industry. In the latter case, the investment may come with a right to purchase the company outright in the future. This type of financing also occurs when a company’s angels and venture capitalists start planning their exit strategy. By putting together the right pieces it may make the company more attractive as an acquisition candidate or perhaps more eligible for an IPO. In the next three parts of this article, I’ll explore angel investing, angel syndicate investing and venture capital investing, in greater detail and I’ll discuss the important characteristics of each mode, including typical legal and business issues.
What to Expect When You Sell Your Gold Selling gold that you have in your possession is usually a pretty straightforward deal. You take or send your gold into a dealer or shop, they test the fineness, and then give you an offer based on the quality, quantity, current spot price, and how much they need to profit to cover their overhead. One of the most important things to keep in mind when you are selling your gold is that you will probably never get spot price for your bullion, and you won’t get anywhere near spot price for scrap gold. This is simply because places won’t be able to resell your gold for much over that price. For most people selling jewelry, or some other sort of gold that either isn’t in coin or bullion form, the gold dealer might make you an offer from anywhere between 20% and 80% of what they can sell it for. The lower end of this range would be from pawn shops late at night, or from ads you might see on TV where you can mail in your gold for cash. The higher end of the range will come from jewelry shops and specialty gold buyers. If you have a lot of gold to sell you can get a higher premium on it. If you are selling gold coins, you might be able to get higher than spot price because of the numismatic value of the gold, but that’s unlikely as most gold coins have essentially no numismatic value. The same goes for very fine jewelry, especially if it is very old or has some sort of documented history tied to it. Places to Sell Gold One of the first places that come to mind when someone thinks about where to sell gold is a pawn shop. Pawn shops are well-known for buying pretty much anything, but if you go into almost any pawnbroker’s store, you will find an expansive jewelry counter with plenty of gold. Pawn shops are one of the most popular places for selling gold because you can walk out with cash for your gold 20 minutes after you walk in the store. This can be handy in a pinch, or if you are just looking at selling gold jewelry or other pieces of gold you might have around your house. Most major cities have dedicated gold buyers. These are people who make a living off of buying and selling gold, and they are always in need for more supply. Finding a gold buyer around your area isn’t very hard, most of the time, they advertise pretty heavily because they know there are plenty of people out there who have gold, but they may not be willing to part with it at a certain point in time. Later on down the road, they might think, “Hey, I’m wanting to sell my gold, who should I call?”, and the branding that the gold buyers have done around town would likely pay off. Coin shops are usually good for selling gold, especially if you have gold coins, since they probably already have their own list of gold buyers, allowing them to give you money that day, then turn around and unload the gold on another buyer soon thereafter. It’s possible to sell scrap gold at coin shops, since most of them have the right tools needed to gauge the quality of gold that you have, but there are better places where you can get more money for when you want to sell your old gold. Jewelry stores will often advertise that they can buy gold, since they do use so much of it anyway, especially the stores that specialize in creating their own jewelry. If you plan on selling gold to a jewelry store, call around to get their current offer prices before driving around town to 5 different places just to hear 5 different answers. Larger jewelry stores will usually tend to give more money for your gold than both smaller stores, and chain stores. If you have a lot of gold for sale, you might be able to sell it to a gold investor. These investors are looking for physical gold to hedge against inflation and the stock market. Generally, they will not be interested in a couple of gold rings, but they would certainly be interested if you had gold bullion for sale, or a large amount of gold from the Treasury, or just investment grade gold in general. Finding a gold investor can be difficult, but if you talk to your financial advisor, they may be able to point you in the right direction, or they may know someone looking for some gold for sale.
Best Place To Sell Gold Figuring out the best place for selling your gold can be very tricky, since it does depend on a variety of factors. • Location – Selling your gold in a large city is a lot easier, and can potentially bring you more money since there are plenty of other people who want to buy gold as well, driving up prices. • What’s in demand – In a down economy, bullion gold will be in higher demand than treasure gold. • Supply – If there are a lot of people in a certain area looking to exchange their gold, you will still be able to find someone to buy it off of you, but you might get a lower price than you normally would. • Season – The closer you get to the holidays, the more people are trying to spend money on gifts and parties instead of scrap gold or investment gold. At the same time, people looking to get extra money will be selling gold and the prices will go down. • The kind of gold you have – If you have gold that is considered investment grade, sending it into a “mail-in your gold” program makes little sense. The same thing goes for very nice gold coins, taking them into a pawn shop when you can sell them to a coin dealer isn’t the best way of going about things. • Who you sell it to – Jewelry stores may not be able to handle a large amount of gold, or may shoot you a lower price than normal if they think they can’t use it right away. The individuals you sell your gold to are all in their own unique markets and situations. If you have gold bullion or proof gold coins, you can easily get 90% of the spot value, most of the times closer to 98%+ of spot value from people looking to buy gold as an investment. These people realize are buying not to turn around and sell it right away, but they are going to hold onto it. Since historic rates for gold have been trending higher, investors can afford to pay near spot price for your gold now, then sell it years down the road, hopefully for a profit. The best place to sell your gold if you have jewelry or other small items could very well be a nice pawn shop. Pawn shops that cater to people looking to spend a decent amount of money can afford to give you more money for your gold than you might be able to get elsewhere. If they have their own gold smelting operation, or can sub-contract it out, they stand to be able to make more money the more gold they get, so they offer a higher price hoping to outbid their competition. Selling gold coins to a coin shop is usually your best option when it comes to how much money you’ll get from selling, how easy the people are to deal with in regards to knowing what the coins is worth, and the ability to possible consign your gold for a certain percentage if the dealer would rather go that route. How to Get the Best Price For Your Gold Getting the best price for your gold depends a lot on who you sell it to. Besides the obvious differences in the people who buy gold as an investment as opposed to pawn shops and online gold companies, and what they can offer you, there are a few tricks you can use to make sure that you get the highest amount for your gold. 1. Call around – This is probably the best tip that can help you get the most money out of trading in your gold. Call around to jewelry stores, pawn shops, coin dealers, and gold buyers in your area to see what kind of price they can offer you for your gold. This works well when you try to sell your scrap gold, when you have a gold coin or a piece of gold jewelry, you may actually have to take it in so they can put a solid price on it depending on the condition. 2. Check online – There are plenty of places online that can help you find the best place to market your gold. Online gold buyers may enable you to send your gold in by insured mail, send you an offer, and if you accept it, send you a check. These mail-in programs are probably the most convenient way of selling gold online. 3. Take in your gold for an appraisal – If you have a lot of gold and you aren’t sure whether it’s 14k or 24, or if you have gold coins and you aren’t sure of their value, take it to someone who can give you an honest assessment of what the gold is worth. By having a firm number in your hand, you will at least know if someone is making you a fair offer, or if they are trying to lowball you when you sell your gold. 4. Always negotiate the price – When you sell, you’ll usually be able to talk to someone with the authority to make a deal with you. They do have to make a profit, but their first offer will always be their bottom price, with a little bit of negotiation, you can get them to raise their offer. You’ll win because you get more money, and they’ll win because they will still be able to sell your gold for a profit. Selling Gold Online If you decide that selling your gold online is the best way to go, you are going to have to choose among many different gold buying websites. These can be divided into two basic categories: scrap gold sites, and bullion gold sites. Scrap gold sites will buy just about anything. If you have old jewelry, medallions, coins, even bullion – they’ll buy it. The down side is they are also likely to give you a really low price. Their typical customers aren’t investors – they are people who happened to have gold and now need cash, and are usually desperate. Hopefully you’ve taken our advice on buying investment-grade bullion and aren’t in that boat! Worse yet, you really have to read the fine print with these operations. Some of these placed let you ship the gold to them for free, but essentially hold the gold hostage if you don’t accept their (low) offer, charging you a high shipping fee to get it back. Especially if you’re dealing with small amounts of scrap gold this can devastate your returns and you’re almost stuck selling to them. While the number of “mail-in your gold” ads have gone down over the past year, there are still plenty of TV spots that run which promise a lot of money for your spare gold. These services usually give you the least amount of money out of any buyer, mainly because they have to pay a lot of money for every TV commercial that they run. Selling your gold at a scrap site is probably not the best idea for most people, especially if you live near a pawn shop or any of the other places listed above, since you will get quite a bit more money from those places. If you do decide to exchange your gold at one of these locations, be sure to check around for some customer reviews before you send anything in. People tend to talk about how much they were offered from online gold buyers, which means you can get a basic idea how much they are giving per ounce of gold. The other kind of site is the bullion gold site. Most often, these are the exact same sites that you purchased your bullion from in the first place. In fact, some will even store it for you between purchasing and selling back to them (for a fee, of course). Almost invariably these guys only accept identifiable investment-grade bullion, including the common bullion coins and marked bars from well-known mints suck as Perth and Credit-Suisse. The good news is they pay top-dollar for this gold, often at or barely under the spot price. This is why you bought investment gold in the first place.
Pros and Cons of Places to Sell Your Gold • Jewelry Stores – Pros: Plenty of jewelry stores to choose from, helpful staff in a professional environment, usually you’ll get a fair price for your gold. Cons: Some stores may not be interested in buying, you will get below spot price. • Pawn Shops – Pros: You will get money for your gold immediately, you can negotiate the price, they will take about any kind of gold. Cons: Most pawn shops will give you below spot price, there may not be a lot in your area. • Gold Investors – Pros: Usually will give near spot price for gold. Cons: Most of the time they are only interested in investment grade bullion or coins, may be very hard to find an investor in some areas. • Coin Shops – Pros: They will offer a decent price for most gold coins, you might be able to consign instead of sell outright. Cons: Only interested in coins made of gold for the most part, there may not be too many in your area. • Online Gold Buyers – Pros: Very convenient, usually don’t even have to leave your house to get your money, great prices from investment gold sites. Cons: Offer you the least amount of money for your gold (from scrap gold sites), it can take a couple of weeks from the time you wish to sell until you have your money. So Where Should I Sell My Gold? If you have investment grade gold bullion, the best bet would be to find a gold investor and sell your gold to them, or to sell directly to a large bullion dealer/mint. You’re going to get pretty close to spot price, and they will be interested in any good gold that you have. For scrap gold, if you can find a jewelry shop buying gold at a decent price, they would probably be your best bet, you’re not going to get spot price, but you’ll get more than at most other places. If you can’t, pawn shops in large cities that deal with a lot of gold or similar specialty gold buyers are your best bet. Avoid anything that starts with shipping scrap gold so your gold can’t be held hostage with shipping costs.