FIRE!!

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The words every person hopes they will never hear is “FIRE!”

as a landlord, the thought of a fire happening in one of my properties with tenants inside was one of the worst “what ifs” that ever crossed my mind when leasing my rentals. It was also one of those unimaginable thoughts. I thought “there’s no way..” but then it happened! I got the texts and calls telling me “fire! fire! fire!” and instantly the images of my house in flames started crowding my mind. Thankfully, my wife acted quickly and the fire department arrived at the scene within five minutes of us knowing there was a fire. It was a minor kitchen fire. In the grand scheme of fires, we were so grateful no one was hurt and the damage was truly minimal. It could have escalated quickly and for that I am so grateful for everyone’s speedy actions.

Well, this experience sparked the awareness in my mind that we cannot assume everyone knows what to do in the case of a fire. As I began researching fire safety videos and articles I started to realize that there were a lot of things even I wouldn’t have remembered to do in the midst of the emergency. As landlords, we can equip our tenants for these types of emergencies. It doesn’t cost much time and care to include a fire safety sheet/video when singing (or extending) a lease with a tenant. This precautious step may save (most importantly) our tenant’s lives, their belongings and our property! When people share their home buildings with others, it is important that each person feels safe with whom they are living in the building with. I believe this extra step in the lease signing agreement could potentially save lives as well as your property in the unfortunate case of a fire!

We have been considering different options in addition to this educational step. We have now seen the need for providing a fire extinguisher in our rentals. A couple of different options we have sketched out could be, the common fire extinguisher in a common area for the tenant’s use in case of an emergency. This approach may not work in some of our current rentals, in which we have thought of other options that may work better for you as well. Another option could be giving your tenant the option to purchase one from you (make sure you do this purchase! you want to know that the correct fire extinguisher is placed in your property), or thirdly they could rent one from you. You could simply do this by adding the cost of the extinguisher to the security deposit and then return this deposited money back to your tenant at the end of the lease (if the extinguisher was not used).

Real estate investing is not a get rich quick scheme, and at times comes with endless headaches one after the other. But, we are in this for the long run and so far the benefits have heavily outweighs the problems.

And now I really believe fire safety is #1!

 

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Get this FREE Fire Extinguisher sign to place above your extinguisher free by leaving your email bellow or here. Thank you! 

 

MB

 

 

Adjusting to the “new normal” as a realtor

 

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We can all agree that the “new normal” is anything but normal. However we may feel about masks, we all miss the time where we could approach each other without fear. Like every aspect of our lives, real estate approaches have also had to adapt to the new world. While I am longing for the day where COVID is not the topic of everyday conversation and the cause overwhelming anxiety in our world, but I realize that we will have to be dealing with the effects of the pandemic for years to come.

Showings and listings are all the more complicated now. Masks, gloves, COVID screenings are all part of the process now. Closings are remote and virtual tours are the new rave.

My rule of thumb has been, cater to the most conservative guidelines. This time has been terrifying for our culture. We don’t want any of our clients feeling uncomfortable with a certain practice. If wearing gloves, providing hand sanitizer, limiting the amount of people inside a home or even splitting up open house times gives my clients a better sense of safety, it is worth the extra measure. In these uncertain times, in real estate we should be supportive of the most fragile clients and make sure their home buying/selling experience is a safe one.

As an investor, I purchased and rehabbed a deal in the midst of all of this. The process was for sure different… more on that later.

Until then, let’s put our personal opinions on masks, gloves, sanitizers aside in order to better cater to our clients and new state regulations. That is my guarantee at least!

-MB

We sold our first home!

Today was a big day for my family and I!

We officially closed on the sale of our FIRST HOME! We purchased this home in 2013. Back then, we had no idea what exactly it was that we were doing. But we knew that we wanted to be together and one thing we agreed on for sure… we wanted to BUY!

Little did we know, that one smart financial move seven years ago has given us so much liberty now. It was such a lengthy and tedious process as a fresh nineteen and twenty-one year old to prove to the big banks that we could indeed handle such a big responsibility. We even had to write a letter of intent to explain to the underwriter our reasoning behind this purchase at such a young age and part time jobs. Sometimes, we still don’t understand how everything so perfectly fell into place and we were approved for the loan.

After living there for five years, we rented it out for 1.5 years and now sold it.

In this competitive market, I was able to sell our sweet little home BEFORE it hit the market!

While it is bittersweet to let this one go, we are so excited for the next owners to make it their home!

-MB

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  • First photo taken in 2013, second in 2020

Exciting things coming!

Tomorrow is a big day for our family…

We are getting an inspection on a potential duplex investment property!

We have been hunting for just the right deal for us rookie investors, and think this is just THE ONE.

It needs deep cleaning and light cosmetic work, but with the right price it could bring us 12% cash on cash return. The numbers are great and the risk is low for this one.

We are also working on our single family home to go up for sale within the next two months!

COVID has put a damper on a lot of things, but we are hopeful for the future and know that real estate is still going strong. We are excited for all our upcoming projects and eager to share it all with you very soon!

Specially through this uncertain time…

Stay focused, be positive!

-MB

 

 

Two under agreement!

 

 

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    At the end skirt of 2019 (12/27), we welcomed our baby BOY, Lucas to our family. Which is by far the best ending to 2019 and start to 2020 I could ask for…

As we approach spring, I realized we’ve had a mild winter here in New England. Which for me, is amazing winter is not my favorite season, by far!

This month there has been little hiccups and a surprisingly active month! I have two buyers under agreement. One our purchasing a multi-family and another a single family home.

As for our personal investments, we put in offers for three different properties but they didn’t get accepted. This market is HOT with multifamily homes flying off the market! but, we look forward to the day our offer will get accepted 🙂

I am super excited for this upcoming month of March! We close on both of these properties and these buyers will get to start this new exciting steps in their lives.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve these two buyers as they are purchasing their #NextHome !

Thinking about what the spring season holds for this market is exciting… there are always surprises with real estate!

-MB

 

The Unexpected…

Where should I begin!? 

Despite listening to endless podcasts, reading blogs/ books on RE investing and thinking I had every precaution covered, I still made plenty of mistakes on my first deal that led to some hard times! 

These stories are much more humorous now than while they were happening. I don’t know that my wife will ever think they are humorous, though…

56399799401__A36F208D-A0E1-438F-AC72-031323ACF9FEThe number one mistake I heard of (and still made) was not having enough funds reserved for unexpected expenses! I mean, sure, I did have some money saved.. But when it came down to it, there were way too many unexpected issues we did not account for beforehand because we didn’t expect them at.all

Because our property was vacant and rehabbed before we purchased, we were quite satisfied after our home inspection that we were in the clear for any BIG surprises. Because our home was vacant, there was no way of me knowing about any leaks, heating issues, rodent issues, and electrical issues happening in the home despite getting a home inspection.

— A lot of times, when a multifamily home is on the market, current tenants will be very open about any outstanding issues in the home. A lot of these issues started popping up as soon as we moved in.
For starters…. the day we moved in was complete chaos.

The closing date kept shifting, and I had tenants waiting ready to move into the home we were living in. This meant t
hat the day after closing we had to move fast! Which also happened to be the first snow day of 2018 in New England. 

Moving a 13” truck filled to the brim with furniture and moving boxes, in the frigid cold and dark was truly a nightmare. I am still so grateful for two friends of mine that braved the traffic and snow to help us during that awful, awful night.IMG_5495

That night, we also found a mysterious hallway light that had no power switch ANYWHERE. We still haven’t found the source of that light, and it remained on for months before the bulb finally went out… #120yearoldhome

During our first week in the home, outside temperatures were extremely cold. As soon as we decided to turn on the heating system on the second and third floor, they didn’t respond. We panicked! To be safe, we decided to leave the faucet running in the kitchens and bathrooms that night to prevent the pipes from bursting (which is a myth, we learned).

 

The next morning, my wife calls me frantically that our ceiling was leaking and there was a bubble – yes a softball s
zed bubble – of WATER under the p
aint in our bedroom wall.

For some cimage1-2ontext, we had lived in our
single family home for five years and didn’t have to call a
plumber once. So, we were quite un
prepared, shocked, stressed and overwhelmed! We had to break open walls and replace the plumbing all throughout the second and third floor kitchens.  $800+ later… the problem was seemingly fixed.

 

This other issue, was by far the worst. I am not sure my wife has fully forgiven me yet for this one!

 

My family and I were out all day enjoying a family birthday party in the coldest month of February. When we got home that night, it was after midnight. My wife and I plus our daughters (3 and 10 months at the time) got home to a horrifically cold home. The heat was completely dead. It would no
t respond to the thermostat and it was clear that our home had been without heat
all.day.  

 

We didn’t know what to do! We had spent so much money already on other problems in the home, this was the last thing we needed financially. Needless to say, our emergency fund was gone at this point!

First we set up our girls in their room with a space heater. They were warm in no time (phew!). But we were still FREEZING! There wasn’t enough blankets in the world to warm us up and we only had one space heater. We knew it would cost a fortune for someone to come out on a Sunday night to fix our boiler – IF we even found someone.IMG_0104

So we did what any homeowner would do! We went into the basement and searched a million YouTube videos in the hopes this would be an easy fix we could try ourselves. 

 

Unfortunately, we couldn’t figure it out…. But we did notice something interesting on our boiler. On the side of our boiler, in sharpie read “HEATING PRO” followed by a name and a local phone number. We didn’t know how long that had been written on there, but we took our chances hoping whoever worked on our home’s boiler before could help us now. What we mistakenly thought was luck, at about 1am, someone actually answered. That should have been our warning right there. Let’s call him Joe. He remembered the property and claimed he used to
work on it all the time for the couple who used to own this building. We told him what was happening and he said he could fix it in minutes. Of course I asked what would the cost be and he gave us a price we could not deny in the hopes for a warm night.

 

Joe comeIMG_5071s by at about 1:30am and we are STILL freezing! When he arrived we automatically regretted our decision. He sure did NOT look like a “pro”. We were taken back by his slurred speech and just extremely odd ways.  But we were desperate, and he appeared to know what he was doing! Luckily, a half an hour goes by and he “fixes” it. We pay the man and he leaves!

Unfortunately.. That same night it breaks down again. We ended up just enduring the cold and it was by far the worst night of sleep we ever had and we still talk about it today. 

The next day we figured “hey… he fixed it once, maybe we are being judgemental…
let’s call him again”. 

 

WORST.DECISION. After 2-3 days of time and money wasted with this sketchy guy, we realize that he knew nothing about our boiler and actually made the original problem WORSE, while we were still cold. We wasted more money and time with this guy and totally freaked my wife out (she’s still freaked out to this day). By the end of our time with this guy, I got hit with a stomach bug and so did our girls. Unable to move unless to puke, it was all up to my wife to get this guy out and find a reliable, safe, professional company to fix our boiler ASAP ($$$!!!!). My wife was exhausted and resenting me for trying to take the cheap route with this guy! I still praise her for handling this situation so well. Since this, we have learned that going the cheap way often ends up costing more money and peace of mind and now we ask for licenses and reviews every time! RenderedImage

 

Today, every time we hear the heat come on we still feel that sense of relief as if it was that first time it turned back on. Phew!

 

With mortgages due, major home repairs, and no tenants yet to help ease all of these expenses the financial burden was much higher than the reserves we had.  Gladly, after a month or so of despair, we found our first tenants. But we couldn’t get the third floor rented until April! 

 

I would advise making sure you have more than enough reserves saved, especially if you are purchasing a vacant property as I did! These scary surprises were NO FUN (and I only shared a couple). 

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My wife and I still talk about how that winter was the most challenging winter of our lives. But then again, good and rewarding things aren’t always easy. After all those trials, we undoubtedly will say buying the property was the best financial decision we made for our family, so I guess it offsets! – but still, always ask for licenses!!!! 

 

Always,

 

Stay Focused, Be Positive!

 

– MB

 

Why I Started Investing in Real Estate… and Why YOU Should Consider It!

It was two weeks before my second daughter (Aria) was born that we got introduced to the life changing idea of Real Estate investing. At the time, my wife and I were making ends meet, but with the monthly financial struggles of being adults with bills and having only one income… we weren’t thriving. We were living in our small starter home (bought in 2013) with no tangible vision or goal for our next steps financially.

When we started listening to the famous podcast, BiggerPockets, we were excited and mind-blown by the financial freedom that we could achieve by Real Estate investing. Now… Real Estate investing is not a get rich quick scheme or something that requires no effort, headaches, risk or work. But, with the purchase of our first multi-family home we now live for “free” and make enough passive income to pay our bills comfortably – and my wife still gets to stay home with our children.

I found myself a college graduate, with a great job that has provided for me and my family for years – but still having bills that would have to wait until the next month to get paid. Until Real Estate, I never explored the thought of making money any other way, other than through the traditional “work” way.

Once my eyes were opened to the peace that Real Estate investing could bring to my family, it became my passion! Our first multiformI figured out my why and I found different ways to invest and get started. We decided to start by “house hacking” (a term used to describe buying a multifamily home, moving into it, and using the rent income from the other tenants to help pay your mortgage). We purchased our first multifamily almost a year ago, November 2018. Today, my wife and I both agree this was the best decision we have ever made. We don’t live in a fancy mansion with a white picket fence and large yard, but we are no longer buried by financial burdens. We feel financially free!

Did you know 90% of the world’s millionaires invest in real estate as a way to create wealth?

I am no millionaire, but this fact was reassuring that RE investing is something worth at least exploring.

Do you find yourself in similar circumstances as my wife and I last year? then Real Estate investing may be right for you, too.

Sharing and helping others get more informed about Real Estate has become something I am passionate about. This has driven me to go and get my Realtor licensing, giving me more knowledge and the ability to help others every step of the way in their RE journey whether through investing, house hacking, flipping or finding their dream forever home.

I am a new Realtor, but Real Estate is not new to me!

So, let’s chat about the right Real Estate move for you and build up your equity!

 Stay focused, be positive!

-MB