Think and Grow Rich
Think and Grow Rich
The Science of Getting Rich
The Science of Getting Rich

A Warning to Real Estate Investors

Matt Napier's Real Estate Warning to InvestorsSince the beginning of the Great Recession, there has been a debate on cash flow between real estate investors, many of whom learned some tough lessons when the Recession began (including myself). Specifically, the debate is: What kind of deals should you focus on and how is your money best used!? Should you focus on creating equity or focus on creating solid income and cash flow?

You may be saying that they don’t have to be mutually exclusive. While that is correct, many investors tend to focus on either building equity OR cash flow. To me, the decision of what kind of deals to focus on is made easy if you boil it down to one thing- how much money do you need right now to live the lifestyle that you are already living (provided it’s already a decent standard of living) and do you already have enough cash flow to live off of on a monthly basis? If you do not have enough to live off of, do NOT focus your efforts too heavily on equity build up. Instead, focus on cash flow (quick flips, wholesaling, and only rentals that will generate strong cash flow); investments that will put cash in your pockets within 1-9 months.

One of my mentors when I got into real estate investing nearly a decade ago, Del Hinds, who headed the SCREIA, made a point of continually telling me not to focus too much on gaining long-term equity, until I had enough to live on today. His famous words still haunt me- YOU CAN’T EAT EQUITY! I also had another mentor that swore to me, you better have a sure fire exit plan and back up strategy if it doesn’t work. I will explain that more in a minute, but for now, let’s talk about Del’s words. At the time, I thought that he just had a different approach to investing, but he was 100% correct. Although I’d built up a significant pile of equity in properties, that was slowly being squeezed out each month when the Recession hit and since I didn’t focus on strong cash flow from the beginning, the $100 to $150 I was making per property on gross rents (before expenses) barely covered basic maintenance and vacancies, meaning my true profit per month on rentals was close to zero.

This serves as a warning. If the economy goes into another recession (which is certainly possible given the lack of fundamental improvement in the economy and massive spending by our government) and you do not have more than enough cash flow to live on already and are focusing too heavily on equity, change your focus… FAST. Focus on wholesaling, rehabbing, and flipping properties, or if you do buy rental properties, ensure that you have at least 30 to 35% cash flow after PITI payments plus a 10% allowance for vacancies and a 10% allowance for repairs (I actually look for 50% net cash flow now). Just because there are enough properties with potential equity that we can buy all day long right now, don’t buy too many properties too quickly if the strong cash flow isn’t there, and if you’re choosing not to re-sell them right away. Your equity may get squeezed out and you may be stuck with a property that you can’t sell for what you thought, and then you’re holding onto properties that aren’t cash flowing well enough to make it worth your time. You’re one of the smart ones though; you know to focus on cash flow, and thus, you will be a successful investor.

Matt Napier

With nearly a decade of experience in specialized niches of real estate, Matt is considered a highly knowledgeable real estate investor in the Charleston, South Carolina area. Matt has dedicated himself to learning highly specialized skills which allow him to find high-return real estate investments for his clients and his investment company, The Napier Organization. His company offers high-return investment opportunities to select individuals and funds, secured by real estate. In his free time, he enjoys coaching new real estate investors on the technical details of real estate investing.

5 Time Wasters at Work That Are Killing Your Productivity

time wasters at work

Do you ever feel like you can never get anything done at work? Are there time wasters at work that are killing your productivity that you might not realize?

Your days seem to whiz by in a flurry of activity. But how much are you really getting done? According to recent research, the answer is, not that much. With productivity down, American businesses are looking for the reasons why. What they have found is astounding.

Today’s worker is wasting more time than ever before – and that is cutting deeply into employers’ profits.

When surveyed, the average worker admitted to wasting about three hours of their workday on non-work-related tasks. That’s three times as much time as employers had suspected, costing businesses about $759 billion in wasted salaries every year. But, it gets worse.

According to a report issued by this year, about 4% of workers admit to wasting as much as half of their workday doing things that have nothing to do with their jobs. So what are people doing during work hours?

Kickstart Your Productivity at Work With This Free Time Management Tool

How We Spend Our Time

According to statistics, 64% of workers use the internet for personal use during the workday and 50% make personal phone calls or send texts during office hours. As many as 60% of workers admit to making online purchases when they are supposed to working, and many more play video games.

But, the personal use of time aren’t the only workday wasters impacting businesses. Here are some in-office time wasters that employees report:

  • Gossip (42%)
  • Social interaction with C-Workers (32%)
  • Snacks and Breaks (27%)
  • Meetings (23%)
  • In-Office Noise Distractions (24%)

How Much Our Time Wasters Cost

None of us have to waste much time to have a real impact on a company’s profits. It makes sense that wasting hours each day is going to cost your employer big bucks. But, what about those small time wasters we rarely think about?

One report estimates that if every employee in the United States wastes a mere 36 seconds per day, the cost is an astronomical $120,484,000 every year! Now, multiply those few seconds by the minutes and hours most of us waste in a single day and you can see how much productivity is being lost in America’s workforce.

How to Break the Distraction Habit

No matter how conscientious you are, we all need to look at the tasks that strip us of the time necessary to get real work done. Here are a few of the most common culprits, along with some simple solutions:

1. Office Gossip

It’s hard not to fall into this trap, but statistics show that gossiping eats away as much as an hour a day in some offices. The easiest solution is to walk away when the gossip starts.

2. Socialization

Limit friendly banter to breaks and lunchtime.

3. Distractions by Noisy Co-Workers

If a noisy co-worker keeps you from being productive, wear noise-cancelling earphones, or ask to have your cubicle moved to another part of the office.

4. The Internet

Unless you need it to get the job done stay off the internet altogether while at work.

5. Email

Sifting through dozens of emails every day can be a real time waster. Instead of reading and responding to every message when it comes in, set aside a time each day to handle non-emergent correspondence. Here’s another tip: only read the most important messages. Skip over the rest.

6. Meetings

If meetings are eating away at your productivity, do your best to eliminate unnecessary ones. If you really aren’t required to be present, skip it. And when you are required to be in the room, do your best not to sidetrack the discussion. Keeping everyone on task can save hours of table time every week.

Snacks and Breaks

Everyone needs a break from time to time, but do your best to limit them to only a few minutes once or twice each day.

It may seem impossible to get through your to-do list in a mere eight-hour workday, but if you are diligent to eliminate these common time eaters, you may discover that your day goes much smoother, and you get a lot more accomplished!

Eliminate these time wasters and see how your productivity improves! Learn how to structure your day at work so you don’t waste any time with my Prioritization Tool.

Flipping Small Spaces: Our Condo Rehab

Hey Flipping Junkies! Melissa again, here with another rehab article. This property is a little different from what we typically do. Condos are so small, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to talk about flipping small spaces.

But first don’t forget to join the Flip Pilot group on FaceBook to become a part of our fast growing community of active investors. And if you want to master lead generation like me and Danny have, click the button below to go to our weekly webinar!

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Flipping Small Spaces Is Tough

Some of the bigger reasons why we don’t normally flip small spaces like a condo is because you don’t get as much of a return. The numbers on this property aren’t bad, though:

  • Bought for: $36,000
  • Repair costs: $9,700
  • Total expenses: $45,700
  • Listing price: $89,900
  • Gross profit: $44,200

Really, those aren’t bad numbers for a small, just under 900 square foot condo. The thing is, these condos tend to sell quickly and for a good price. That was definitely something that we took into consideration when we decided we were going to flip this small space.

However, flipping small spaces isn’t always quick or easy. A lot of times you’ll end up battling with the building owner if you’re working on a condo, townhouse, or apartment. Because these structures exist in units, it’s easier for the building owners to have them all look and function the same. Since we bought this space, though, we flipped it!

Flipping the Living Room

flipping small spaces living rooms

There were two great things about this condo’s living room:

  1. The hard wood floors were already there and in great shape
  2. The shelving unit was already there

It’s things like that, that make flipping small spaces so much easier. Since the shelf inserts were already there, all we did was clean them up and they were good to go. There honestly wasn’t much to do with them. And the same goes for the hard wood floors. They were in good shape, so we cleaned them and called it a day.

The fireplace was a whole other story. It wasn’t bad, not compared to other fireplaces I’ve dealt with, but it wasn’t a wow factor. If you’ve been watching our videos and reading the blog then you already know that I love making the fireplaces a wow factor.

Speaking of videos, we made a tour video of this property. Check it out on our YouTube channel!

using tiles when flipping small spaces

Anyway, this fireplace originally had dark, matte finished tiles around it. It just didn’t look like my style. So to turn it into a wow factor, I used these tiles from Floor and Decor. These should look familiar to you if you watched out before and after video “How to Make an Open Floor Plan Rehab“.

In that house I used these tiles in the master bathroom to make it pop more. For the condo, I used those cool funky tiles to make the fireplace really stand out. Like I said in the video, these are pretty big tiles. My contractor cut them down so that they can be used for the fireplace, and I think they look really great.

The tile I’m using is called Cottage Gris Ceramic Tile from Floor and Decor. At $1.19/square foot, it’s a great find that really makes a room pop!

The Dining Room

For the most part, the dining room wasn’t a huge rehab. The floors were already there, so we basically just painted the walls and add a new light fixture. Yes, for my frequent readers and watchers, that is one of the chandeliers we bought from IKEA! If you missed out on the IKEA inventory shopping article, check it out! I talk about the things I look for when I’m stocking my house flipping inventory, and give you a breakdown of the things I bought and their prices.

add more light when flipping small spaces to open it up

When I’m flipping small spaces like condos, lighting is a super important feature. This condo had pretty good natural light because of the placement of the windows, but parts of the main living area were still dark. This IKEA chandelier that I got really brightens the dining room up, and gives this condo another fun and modern feature. I really love how it makes a starburst shape on the ceiling when it’s lit up. Super fun!

Other than that, we did go ahead and put in wide baseboards. The original owner had started doing that, but it never got finished. To make the entire condo feel more cohesive, I had my contractor finish the wide baseboards.

flipping small spaces means everything needs to be perfect

Flipping Small Kitchens

This was a very small kitchen. Everything about it was small. The breakfast bar opening was much, much smaller before I got my hands on it. I had my contractor open up that space so that it wasn’t so dark and narrow in the kitchen. This worked for two reasons:

  1. The small space feels more open with a large “window”
  2. This cut out allowed more natural light to come into the kitchen

You can’t tell in these pictures, but there’s a huge glass sliding door on the other side of the dining room that faces the kitchen. When the blinds are open, it lets in a lot of natural light that this poor kitchen just wasn’t getting with the original small opening.

After that space was added, we put in those pendant lights for more light. Again, this kitchen was very dark. Adding more light, or more ways for natural light to get in, really helps when you’re flipping small spaces because it opens the area up.

open walls when flipping small spaces

Adding the granite to the countertops was pretty cheap because of how small this kitchen space was. In total, it cost us roughly $1,200 for the kitchen, and we had some left over for the bathroom countertop!

Ok, I know I talk a lot about not replacing the cabinets. I’ve mentioned it in almost every video or blog post I make. Of course, there are exceptions. These cabinets had rotted wood, and a lot of them were missing doors.

I couldn’t find doors that matched the few that were there, so I said “Forget it. Get new ones!” Sometimes when you’re flipping small spaces you have to know when to throw in the towel. Luckily for me this condo wasn’t expensive to rehab, so adding new cabinet doors wasn’t a huge expense.

making the kitchen feel bigger when flipping small spaces

After we replaced the cabinets, I added new brushed nickel hardware. The kitchen really wasn’t a big flip. Actually, this whole condo wasn’t a huge project at all. That might be why I liked it so much, it was much easier than the normal houses I do!

The Bathroom & Master Bedroom

Just like the rest of the condo, the bathroom didn’t need too much work. I really liked the tub surround tiles, so we cleaned up the grout and kept that how it was. The countertop was replaced with the same granite that we used in the kitchen. Again, because the whole flip was really cost effective, I was able to make all of the countertops match. It just makes the whole place feel more cohesive.

flipping small spaces bathroom

The master bedroom got new carpet and a new coat of paint. For the most part, it was pretty simple. The problem was the closet. Unfortunately, I don’t have any before pictures of this condo or else I would let you see what I was working with.

Ok, so the thing with this closet is it was a huge single closet with a water heater just open and exposed. This closet functioned as a storage closet and a clothes closet. I know, weird right?

So what we did first was build in a wall and close off the water heater so that there wasn’t a safety issue. We built in a wall in the middle of the closet and blocked in another door to divide the space. Now there’s a storage closet where the water heater is, and a clothes closet next to it. It’s a much nicer use of the space!

flipping small spaces with two closets

Flipping Small Spaces Wrap Up

Working with small spaces isn’t always confining. Finding ways to open up the space, or make it feel bigger than it is is important. And don’t forget to work with what’s there! We kept the hard wood floors and tub surround because they were in good shape.

Always be aware of what needs to be replaced and what doesn’t. Normally I don’t replace the cabinets, but in this case we really had to. In fact, we talk a lot about that in the Flip Pilot group on FaceBook. You should join! Come network with active real estate investors like yourself! 🙂

That’s it for this before and after blog post. Stay tuned on Flipping Junkie for the next one! And don’t forget to check out the Flipping Junkie YouTube channel for full podcast episodes, before and after videos, vlogs, and more. See you all next time!

The post Flipping Small Spaces: Our Condo Rehab appeared first on Flipping Junkie.

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