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Contact@MandrellCo.com

Do you have an upcoming or existing vacancy in one of your rental units? Follow these 3 “must do” task to ensure you land a great new tenant.

1. Do your due diligence – Do you fully understand your local rental market? What are your fellow landlords charging for rental units similar to yours? Are you below market value on your rents and leaving money on the table? These are the question you’ll want to answer as soon as you’re informed you’ll have a vacant rental unit. You’ll want to make sure your asking rent is close to market value for the unit. You’ll also want to make sure the tenants quality of living meets whats called for in the neighborhood. For example, if you have a perfectly priced rental unit but all of the apartment features are outdated (and all other available units are updated), you’ll have a difficult time renting that apartment. You can easily find out what going on in your neighborhood by acting as a prospective tenant and searching through current rental listings in your neighborhood. You can also call your local real estate agent to receive a free rental market analysis.

2. Background, Credit check, Employment verification – Many small landlords select tenants with “their gut feelings”. While you should definitely trust your gut, I would suggest also doing a background check for any applicant over the age a 18. This is the very best way to truly know who’s living in your rental. I would also conduct a credit check to verify that they’re financially trustworthy. The last bit of information is probably the easiest to do and the most important. Verify the status of your potential tenants employment and their ability to pay. During the application process you should have asked for pay stubs and for the tenants employer information. Call the employers HR department and tell the representative you’re calling to verify employment for a rental application on the said tenant. Download to packet below to determine whether the your prospective tenants income should qualify for your rental unit.

What Can I Afford To Pay For Rent

3. Take a holding deposit – Okay. You’ve done your due diligence and found a great tenant. They are ready to move in a few weeks, but the lease has not yet been signed. Make sure you receive a “holding deposit” from your new tenants. A holding deposit acts as insurance for you. It insure that your prospective tenants plan to move in and not continue searching for another apartment. Let’s say for example you’ve stopped marketing the apartment because you’ve found the perfect tenant. The plan is for them to move into the property in 3 weeks and you’ll draft up the lease in the process and give them a call when it’s ready. 1 week before move in you call them for the signing and they’ve informed you they’ve already found another apartment. You have nothing from them and you’ve also wasted 2 weeks of marketing while you had the apartment off the market. The easiest way to combat this scenario is to get a deposit. Download the packet below for a sample holding deposit form.

Holding Deposit Agreement

Do you need help finding new tenants? We can help you fill your vacancy at NO COST to you. We conduct a background checks, credit checks, employments/income verification and draft all lease paperwork for you.  Contact us for details. 617-297-8641 or Contact@Mandrellco.com

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Are you looking to buy a home in the near future? Has less then perfect credit stopped you from buying a home in the past? Home ownership is a huge part of the American dream and no one should be denied access. Here are 6 steps to improving your credit so you too, can achieve the American dream.

1. Pay down your credit cards to below 40%.

Ideally 30% but let’s start small and work our way up. It can be overwhelming if you have 5 credit cards that are all near their limit. Here are a couple strategies you could employ.  A. Pay off/down the highest interest card first. The money you save on interest payments will go toward paying off your next card on the list. B. Pay off/down the credit card with the smallest limit. Paying off something quickly gives you motivation to move on to the next. You feel motivated after paying down a $500 credit card in 2 months compared to paying $500 off a $5,000 credit card because you still see a high balance.

2. Slow down on opening new accounts

Each new account places an inquiry on your credit report, which decreases your credit score. When creditors see these inquiries, it decreases your chances of being approved. Also, new credit means less credit history, which is frowned upon. Side note: Choose cards with rewards so you earn while you spend.

3. Add someone’s credit history to your profile

If you have a family member that has good credit and good credit history, consider asking them to add you to their oldest credit card and preferably the one with the best credit history attached to it. While you will not adopt their credit score, you will obtain their history, so if they have owned the card for 10 years, you now have that 10-year history on your credit report. We DO NOT recommend you having access to their credit however. No matter how good your intentions, you never want to jeopardize someone’s credit for your own gain. They can give you their history without giving you access to their credit.

4. Get a secured line of credit

If you were unable to add someone’s credit history to your profile, your next best option is to open a secured line of credit. Essentially, you would put money on a card (like a debit card) and whatever amount you deposit, becomes your new credit limit. For example, you deposit $500 on your secured credit card, you now have a $500 credit limit on your card. If you decide to increase it to $1000, you pay the $1000 upfront and you can borrow against it up to $1000. The benefit is that if you decide to close the account, your money is refunded. Also, secured credit cards report to the credit bureaus unlike a debit card or some other services out there. Do your research and ask questions. See which card is best suited for your needs. The most important thing is to make sure they report to all 3 credit bureaus to help you establish credit.

5. Diversify your credit profile

You do not want all your credit to be of the same type. The goal is to have a diverse portfolio such as credit cards, car loan, mortgage, etc. Creditors want to see that you are responsible over a variety of credit types.

6. Get your credit limit increased with current lenders

I do this every year. If you have a great track record of always paying on time, you can ask your credit card company to increase your limit. Most allow you to do this on the website and it is instant. This serves 2 purposes: A. It increases your credit iimit and the % of credit owed. For example $400 on a $500 limit is 80% utilization, however, $400 on a $1000 limit is only 40% utilization. Do you see how this can improve your credit score without you doing anything more than making a phone call? This is not something you do monthly but rather on a yearly basis because some companies will pull your credit to make the decision which could hurt you in the short term but will be beneficial in the long. B. It gives you greater access to funds. Wouldn’t it be nice to know that you have an extra $1000 of available credit in case of emergencies?

Would you like to learn more about how to improve your credit? Sign up for FREE course – “How To Achieve An 800+ Credit Score & Never Be Denied For Anything“. You can find details on this course with the following link. http://www.meetup.com/Urban-Money-Matters/

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Boston Land Transactions – Take A Look At What Sold

Here are the most recent 25 land sales from Boston and the rest of Suffolk County. Sales range from $20,000 in Chelsea to $4,000,000 in South Boston.

 

SLD 63 Highland St Chelsea, MA 0.03 Residential acres (1425 sq.ft.)  $20,000
SLD 170 Tremont St Boston, MA 0 Parking acres (0 sq.ft.) $34,900
SLD 10 Everton St Boston, MA : Dorchester 0.08 Residential acres (3301 sq.ft.)  $25,000
SLD 11 havelock st Boston, MA : Dorchester 0.09 Residential acres (4000 sq.ft.)  $45,000
SLD 21 Father Francis Gilday Boston, MA : South End 0.02 Parking acres (999 sq.ft.)  $59,000
SLD 151 Tremont UL308 Boston, MA : Midtown 0 Parking acres (0 sq.ft.)  $64,000
SLD 2 Rollins St. L2- 179/180 Boston, MA : South End 0 Parking acres (0 sq.ft.)  $66,000
SLD 2 Rollins St. L2- 246/247 Boston, MA : South End 0 Parking acres (0 sq.ft.) $66,500
SLD 15 Balina Pl Boston, MA : Dorchester 0.11 Residential acres (4907 sq.ft.)  $90,000
SLD 1313 Washington Street U:L115 Boston, MA : South End 0.01 Parking acres (500 sq.ft.)  $120,000
SLD 29 Lawrence Ave Boston, MA : Dorchester 0.15 Residential acres (6431 sq.ft.)  $115,000
SLD 18 Albion St Boston, MA : Roxbury 0.11 Residential acres (5000 sq.ft.)  $83,000
SLD 42 Olney St Boston, MA : Dorchester 0.27 Residential acres (11756 sq.ft.)  $135,000
SLD 336 Beacon Boston, MA : Back Bay 0 Parking acres (0 sq.ft.) [ $170,000
SLD 0 Geneva St Boston, MA : East Boston 0.06 Residential acres (2800 sq.ft.)  $170,000
SLD 312 Sumner St Boston, MA : East Boston 0.05 Residential acres (2250 sq.ft.)  $291,000
SLD 148 Warren Avenue U:PKG Boston, MA : South End 229.57 Parking acres (9999999 sq.ft.)  $225,000
SLD 120 Bolton Street Boston, MA : South Boston 0.02 Residential acres (892 sq.ft.)  $249,000
SLD 0 Goldie Lot 4 Revere, MA 0.22 Residential acres (9554 sq.ft.)  $245,000
SLD 19-25 Ufford Street Boston, MA : Dorchester 0.3 Residential acres (13227 sq.ft.)  $220,000
SLD 21 Custer St. Boston, MA : Jamaica Plain 0.16 Residential acres (6935 sq.ft.)  $585,000
SLD 101 Summer Street Boston, MA 2.14 Residential acres (93218 sq.ft.)  $585,000
SLD 165-167 Bowen + 217 D + 80,84 Baxter Boston, MA : South Boston 0.13 Residential acres (5869 sq.ft.)  $1,631,500
SLD 1266 Soldiers Field Rd Boston, MA : Brighton 0.72 Residential acres (31363 sq.ft.)  $4,450,000
SLD 170 W.Broadway Boston, MA : South Boston 0.4 Commercial acres (17399 sq.ft.)  $4,000,000

Are you interested in land opportunities in Suffolk County or other areas in Massachusetts? Would you like to receive available listings? Send us a quick message with your name, email and the neighborhoods where you have interest. We can email you a list within 24 hours or your request.

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Okay, so you’ve found great tenants and their expected to move in on the 1st of the month. Now what? Here is a quick “to do” list to make sure you and your rental property appear super professional from day one.

  1. Change the locks and get new keys to the apartment – You’ll like your tenants to feel as safe as possible when they take possession of their new living space. The last thing you want is for them to start questioning whether the old tenants still have access to the unit. Be sure to make several copies and keep a copy for yourself. You’ll need your set of keys if your tenants happen to lose theirs or if you need to enter the apartment for an emergency.
  2. Get a new mailbox key – In the haste of new tenant preparations, many landlords forget the also place a new lock and key on the mailbox. Your previous tenants should have changed their address with the post office so there is no need for them to come back and access this box.
  3. Change the name on the mailbox – Make sure to let the mailman know your old tenant have moved and the new tenants are coming in. The easiest way to do this is to place a new label with the tenants name on the mailbox. If you don’t have one already, get yourself a label maker. When your new tenants see their name on the mailbox on move in day, it will make them feel right at home.
  4. Get the apartment professionally cleaned  – Make sure the apartment has a clean/ fresh feel to it. If you want your tenants to stay for awhile they’ll need to feel as if it’s truly there home. The best way to do that is to make sure there are no remnants of your prior tenants. I always replace the toilet seat and leave the plastic wrap on top. For $20, this shows my new tenants that I truly care about making them feel comfortable.
  5. Add a fresh coat of paint on the walls – Paint is the “new car smell” for apartments.
  6. Check the batteries in the smoke detectors & change the light bulbs – There is a good chance the tenants that just moved out didn’t change the batteries or light bulbs. Do these things before your new tenant moves in. You’d rather not have a smoke detector chirping a week after move in and you certainly don’t want light bulbs dying as they’re moving in boxes.
  7. Prepare a “Welcome Basket” – Moving isn’t easy and there are often things that are lost in boxes the first couple nights after a move. Help out your new tenants out with a couple a basic items. Prepare a welcome basket with toilet paper, tooth paste, tooth brush, soap, local take-out menus and any other low cost item that they may need the first night. Anything you can do to help them get settled in is going to be very much appreciated.
  8.  Get a list of service providers for your new tenants – Prepare a list of companies your new tenants will need to contact. They’re going to call you for this information anyhow, so you might as well have it ready for them at move in. Who provides gas or oil heating? Who provides electrical services? What about cable and internet?

Do you need help finding qualified tenants for an empty apartment(s)? We can help you fill your vacancy at NO COST to you! We do a complete a background and credit check as well as income verification and several other services. For more information, call us at 617-297-8641 or email Willie@Mandrellco.com

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I recently received a lead from a friend of mine about a 10 unit multifamily building going up for sale in the coming weeks. This friend knows I’m an investor and thought it would be a good opportunity for me. While I appreciate my friend thinking of me, this property one of the worse investment option I’ve ever come across….despite the price.  Here are the 8 features of this building that kept me from pursuing the opportunity.

  1. The property’s street position – The first thing I thought when I stepped out of the car was “what an awful position this building was in” It was located toward the bottom of a steep hilly street. There was no doubt in my mind that when it rains this basement would be taking on water. Upon entering the basement, it took a matter of seconds to smell the damp air.
  2. The condition of the roof – The roof was one of the things that was not very visible from the photos my friend sent. Once I arrived at the property I could see a couple immediate turnoffs. The 1st was that the roof was slate.  Slate is a great material when it’s in good condition but can be very expensive to repair. From the street I could see that the roof had already been patched and at some point and the patch was done with shingles versus the original slate material. This was probably done because the owner couldn’t afford the cost of the slate replacement. The 2 note I took was the steepness of the roof. When you’re replacing a roof the steeper the roof’s angles are the more difficult the work becomes. When the work become more difficult the price goes up.
  3. Public Transportation/ Parking – Before we entered the building I asked the owner about public transportation in the area. He replied that the bus stop was about 3 blocks “that way”. While 3 blocks isn’t very far for most people, please remember that this building is located on a hilly neighborhood in New England. Walking up or down a hill in the snowy weather is not the easiest thing to ask when you are trying to recruit good tenants. I also noticed there was parking for 6 vehicles while the building consisted of 10 units. Assuming each tenant had only one car, there would still be a few units without an open spot.
  4. Beautiful Victorian Structure – While Victorian homes are very appealing when properly maintained, the upkeep for this property style can be very costly. I don’t believe this is the best building style to choose for a rental apartment investor. This is something I noticed prior to visiting the building but the low price sucked me right in.
  5. No Uniformity – When you purchase a building with 10 plus units and none of the apartments are similar in size, shape or layout, the building become difficult to manage. For example, if I’m purchasing new kitchen cabinets for this building a would have to access each unit and measure whats needed for each individual space. If the apartments were uniform in terms of the layout, I would be able to measure one unit and multiply the order by 10.
  6. One Heating Unit – This isn’t a problem for every landlord but I personally do not like the idea of having one heating system for an entire apartment complex. Every tenant is going to either be too cold or too hot depending on the temperature you maintain in the building. Those that are too cold will consistently be calling the landlord to increase the heat and those that are too hot will a crack window to regulate the temperature in their units. In either case you have trouble. The alternative is to convert the building to separate heating systems for each unit, but this isn’t exactly a small investment.
  7. Inconsistent Rental Income – When I initially asked the owner about the occupancy of the building I was told that 9 of the 10 units were filled and rents flowing. By the time we connected with the property manager and received a tour of the building we found the it was closer to 6 units filled. I’m not sure where the disconnect happened but it didn’t appear the current owner could keep these units rented.
  8. Poor Job Market – Before we concluded our tour of this building I asked the property manager about the economic state of the city. His answer was less than encouraging and in so many words he told me that the “no one in the area could find work”. If that’s true then “no one in the area” can pay rent and this certainly isn’t the investment for me.

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There are two very important investment calculators buy and hold investors should pay more attention to. Both of these calculators are forward looking and help investors predict the future of there real estate holdings.

The 1st of these two calculators in what’s called a “compounding calculator”. The compounding feature can help us estimate property values at a given point in the future. Say for instance, we purchased an investment property today at $550,000 and we want to know where we’ll stand in 10 years. Let’s then assumed the value increases at an average of 3% per year (which is a relatively safe assumption for the Boston Market). If our assumption hold true, at the end of year 10 this property would be worth almost $740,000 which is nearly $200,00 more than we paid for the property.

The 2nd of these two is simply a mortgage calculator with an “amortization schedule” attached. Assuming you make all your monthly mortgage payments on time, an amortization schedule will show you what your (principal) mortgage balance will be after every month.

Let’s go back to our investment purchase of $550,000 and assume we purchased this property with a 20% down payment ($110,000). Let’s also assume we financed the remaining balance ($440,000) at a rate of 4%, with a 30 year amortizing loan. If we looked 10 years down the road (payment number 120) we would find a principal balance of roughly $340,000.

We the combination of these two calculators we’ve been able to make some predictions as to what our investment will look like 10 years from now. With the $110,000 down payment we were able to secure this investment property and leverage the remaining balance. At the end of 10 years you will own a property worth $740,000 and have a mortgage balance of $340,00.

$740,000 Value – $340,000 Debt  = $400,000 Your Equity.

If you sold this property after 10 year you would have nearly quadrupled your initial invest $110,000. Your equity position would have grown 400% or an average of 40% annually. This doesn’t include any cash flows you received from the property over this 10 year period.

You can find both of these calculator with the links below!

http://www.amortization-calc.com/

http://www.moneychimp.com/calculator/compound_interest_calculator.htm

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Boston Investment Specialist

 

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Drinks & Networking – Local Investor Gathering!

Come join us for drinks, appetizers and networking. This is an informal gathering for local Boston Real Estate Investors and a great opportunity to meet potential partners and mentors. The best way to push forward with your investing career is to surround yourself with people who want the same. Here’s your chance! Look forward to seeing you there!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015 – 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Savvor Restaurant & Lounge, 180 Lincoln Street, Boston, MA

RSVP @ http://www.meetup.com/Networth-Investors/events/220073418/

Boston Home Center University – Meet The Lenders

Meet The Lenders is a one-stop shopping opportunity to meet different mortgage lenders and learn about special mortgage programs, money to close, free mortgage pre-qualification, affordable homeownership listings applications, home repair, lead paint assitance and sign up for a free homebuyer and credit course.  Come learn about your options to get you on the right path to Homeownership! FREE Event!

Saturday, February 7, 2015 – 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM

Edward Brooke Charter School, 190 Cummins Hwy, Roslindale, MA

RSVP @ http://www.meetup.com/Urban-Money-Matters/events/219759172/

Building Wealth Through Home Ownership

Come learn how many build wealth through smart home ownership. Topics will include but not limited to the following:

• Why the surest path to wealth is through home ownership

• Basics of home buying and getting yourself on the path to ownership

• Home buying timeline and what to consider when searching

• The pre-approval process and mortgage loan basics

• How to manage yourself through bad times and avoid foreclosure

• Quick tips on how to repair bad credit and save for a down payment

• Loan programs and grants offered for first time buyers

• Intro to personal finance software and monitoring your financial position

Thursday, February 19, 2015 – 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM

Roxbury Community College, Academic Bldg #3 Rm 121, 1234 Columbus Avenue, Roxbury, MA

RSVP for FREE @ http://www.meetup.com/Urban-Money-Matters/events/219829343/

Dorchester Real Estate Agent

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Are you a current or aspiring landlord in Dorchester?  No matter your years in the rental business, fully understanding your local market is one the most important things you can do to ensure your long-term success. Receiving regular market updates will help you determine when’s it time to buy and when it’s time to sell.  It will also allow you to see what your units rent for in comparison to your neighbors. Should you be increasing your rents?

Here are Dorchester’s multifamily sales and rental market statistics for the last 6 months.

Total Multi-Family Listings SOLD: 123

Average Living Area by Square Feet: 3,517

Average Listing Price: $532,918

Average DOM (Days on Market): 58.85

Average Sales Price: $527,420

Average Rent for 1 Bedroom Units: $1,451

Average Rent for 2 Bedroom Units: $1,691

Average Rent for 3 Bedroom Units: $1,823

Average Rent for 4 Bedroom Units: $2,170

Want to get a FREE Sales and Rental Market Report for your specific area(s)? Just send a quick email (or complete the contact form below) to Contact@MandrellCo.com to receive your monthly report. In the title put the words “FREE Boston Sales Statistics” and in the body, add the up to 3 areas you’d like to receive data for. Your name and email will be added to the next monthly reporting cycle. It’s that simple to stay up to date and ahead of the curve!

Please call us directly at 617-297-8641, for custom reports or questions above the data provided.

 

 

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We have a unique opportunity that’s just come into our office. We have a client looking to sell a 4000 square foot lot in Dorchester with approved plans to build a 3 family home. The building would consist of 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom units and would include one parking spot for each unit. The seller is looking for $195,000 or B/O. The Dorchester multifamily market is still red hot and this deal is not expected to last long. Please email us at Contact@MandrellCo.com for more information and/ or a copy of the city approved plans.

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Are you a landlord in the Boston area or are thinking about getting into the rental business? If so, make sure you fully understand the required and optional insurance coverage available to you. Having the right insurance in place could mean the difference between a well run real estate business and financial ruin.

Here are several insurance policies every Massachusetts landlord should be aware of:

Owner Occupied Coverage – If you purchase a multifamily building and you intend to occupy the property as your primary residence you’ll be required to obtain homeowners insurance. This insurance will typically cover the building itself as well as all the buildings fixtures. This policy will not cover your tenants personal belonging (or yours if not specifically written in the property).

Rental Property Insurance – Let’s assume you initially purchased a Boston triple decker as your primary residence and then you decide you want to move out and rent the unit you’re currently occupying.  It would be a very good idea to contact your insurance agent prior to doing so. When you initially purchased the property you paid for insurance that covers you as an owner occupant, but not as an investor. Once you move out of that property and it now becomes and investment and no longer “owner occupied”. Investment real estate requires different coverage and you’ll need to discuss these changes with your agent. If you don’t switch your policy after moving out, and attempt to make a claim, the insurance company may argue that you had improper coverage and deny any payments to you.

Vacant Property Insurance – If your property ever becomes entirely vacant for an extended period of time, make sure you alert your insurance agent. There is often a different policy needed for a property that isn’t being occupied due to a higher risk of damage. Vandalism, rodents and frozen pipes are just a few of the many things that are more likely to take place in a vacant building. Make sure you’re fully covered.

Renters Insurance – One of the best things you can do as a landlord is alert your tenants about renters insurance. If there is ever a flood, fire, break in or anything that results in your tenants loosing personal property, they are not covered under your homeowners policy.  It’s a good idea to alert them of this fact (during move in) and encourage them to get coverage. Renter’s insurance policies can be obtained for as little as $300 annually for approximately $10,000 in coverage.

Email us (Contact@MandrellCo.com) and we can send you the form we use to educate our tenants about the need for renter’s insurance.

Umbrella Insurance – If you own more than one rental property, you should speak with your insurance agent about an umbrella policy. Simply put, an umbrella policy protects you from any losses that exceed the coverage amount in your property’s policy. Ask your agent if this type of coverage would be right considering your future investment goals.

Anytime you make a significant change to the occupancy or the structure of your investment property, you want to be on contact with your insurance agent. It’s also a very good idea to review your coverage amounts and deductibles to really understand what your policy covers…and what it doesn’t.

Visit us on Real Estate Investment VideosYou-Tube for more investment real estate tips and tricks.

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REDUCTION IN FHA MONTHLY MORTGAGE INSURANCE!

I hope all is well!  I wanted to let you know that FHA has recently announced that as of January 26, 2015, the monthly mortgage insurance on FHA loans is being decreased from 1.35% to .85% on loan to values between 95.01% – 96.50% and from 1.30% to .80% on loan to values at 95% or less.

On a $100,000 loan, for example, this reduction in monthly mortgage insurance will reduce the monthly mortgage insurance payment from $135/mo to only $85/mo.

On a $400,000 loan, for example, this reduction in monthly mortgage insurance will reduce the monthly mortgage insurance payment from $450/mo to $283.33/mo.

Not only will buyer that need to use FHA loans be able to save more money monthly but they will also be able to afford a much higher purchase price due to monthly MI reduction!

Please let us know if you have any current FHA mortgages that you would considering refinancing and we can connect you with our mortgage specialist! Of course if you’re considering making a home purchase, give us a call and we can make the connection.  The FHA 30 Year Fixed rates are as low as 3.125%. Other than FHA he also has access to conventional & mass housing loans with as little as 3% down with NO PMI!.

Here’s to a prosperous 2015!

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Proper Water Use – This one is pretty straight forward. I’ve had past tenants wash their cars in my driveway and go as far as bringing friends over to wash their cars as well. I had to stop that immediately.  People who’ve never owned property may not understand (or care) that water isn’t free. When they shower and flush the toilet the landlord is paying for it which is reasonable and required by law. But what isn’t required is that you fund their outside water activities. Make sure you address what is/ isn’t acceptable within a clause of your lease.

Trash Removal – Have you had a tenant move out of your rental unit and leave large amounts of trash behind expecting you to take care of it? Here is the specific clause we use in our leases to make sure it’s clear that this needs to be done prior to move out!

Trash removal is your responsibility. If there are large items you need to dispose of, please do this prior to move out. We will not be responsible for removing trash from the unit, the basement or taking trash from the side of the house to the street. This also applies to an excessive amount of smaller items and anything that overflows the trash bin provided to you at move in.

Additional Occupants – Make sure you have a clear statement in your lease agreements that addresses additional people occupying the property after the lease is signed. It’s amazing how many people attempt to sign a lease with one or two individuals and afterward try to move in 3 or 4 people…or more. You always want to make sure you know who’s occupying your property.

Direct TV Dishes – Have you ever driven down a street in Boston and noticed a home with 10 satellite dishes hanging off the side? Did you ask yourself how many people live there and why do they all have their own TV service? Well the problem isn’t the number of occupants, it’s Direct TV. The service provide provides a new dish for every first time tenant while never bothering to come remove old dishes from tenants that have moved.  Why does this concern you as a landlord? Well lets say you’ve own a 3 family home for the past 10 years and between those 3 units you’ve had 15 different tenants. If half of these people chose to use Direct TV as there provider you may have up to 7 stat dishes drilled into the side of your home. Not only does this looks horrible and increases the chances of physical damage to your property.

So how do you address this? You take care of it within your leases. You would ideally insert a clause stating that the tenant must you cable or some other service that doesn’t hang dishes and damage your property. You could also state that the tenant must have the dish removed at their expense prior to moving out (or receiving their security deposit back).

Be sure you’re within legal guidelines when inserting clauses in your lease agreements. As a landlord I keep a Landlord/ Tenant legals guide handy and always consult my attorney if there is anything I’m still unsure about.

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Are you a new investor trying to learn his/her local real estate market? Are you a seasoned investor that trying to explore a new investment area? In either case, below are some great way to quickly become a local real estate guru!

Subscribe to your local newspaper – The local paper isn’t real estate focused but it will give you a very good idea of what’s happening in your new market. You really want to be up to date on what new businesses are coming to town, how the local economy is doing, what political changes are happening and anything else that will indirectly affect the real estate values in that neighborhood.

Find a local real estate Investment Association – Put yourself in the middle of local real estate conversations. Your local REIA allows you to connect with people of similar interest. You can learn from them as well as share your experiences. Many times you can find deals from local wholesalers as well as private money investors, and potential partners. Boston Wealth Builders is a local Boston Investment Group and membership is completely FREE. Join Today!

Get Sold comps from your agent – One of the best ways to gather information about your local market is to study what’s selling in that market. What are buyers paying for properties similar to the type you’re considering? How quickly are they selling? Is it a buyers or sellers market? The easiest way to gather this information is to ask your local real estate agent to send you “Sold Comps”.  All you need to provide is your email address and a list if the areas you’re interested in. These sold listings can be sent to you on a weekly basis. If you would like to receive “sold comps” from The Mandrell Co, simply send us an email (Contact@MandrellCo.com) with the towns you’ve selected and we can set that up for you within 24 hours!

Get Rental Comps from your agent – If you’re investing in rental property it’s also important to understand your local rental market as well.  Your real estate agent can also provide you with these “rental comps” just as easily.

Get Google Alerts for your keywords – This is a really cool feature offered by Google.com. It allows you to systematically search the web for information regarding certain keywords you’ve selected. How doe this help you become a local real estate expert you ask? Let me give you an example. If I wanted to become an expert within the Malden real estate market I would set up “Alerts” in google for key terms such as “Malden Real Estate, Malden Homes, and Malden Developements”. Google would then automatically search the web for me daily and email me any news articles relevant  to those search terms. I would be getting all Malden news sent right to my inbox versus having to periodically search for it. To set up google alerts visit https://www.google.com/alerts

Subscribe to a local real estate blog – To sign up for blog post like these by placing your email address in the box at the top right hand corner above! All post are sent directly to your email address.

Neighborhood associations – Join your local Chamber of Commerce. Your local chamber is full of people that make a difference in the community. If you want to know what’s happening in a particular neighborhood, these are the people to speak with.

 

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19-21 Fessenden St., Mattapan MA – A six-unit apartment building in Mattapan has sold for $860,000. The property consist of two side by side 3 family buildings.

The building is comprised of six three-bedroom, one-bathroom apartments. The units are separately metered and the tenants pay utilities. The property offers a paved off-street parking lot located in the rear of the building that accommodates six to eight vehicles. Other features include front porches and coin-operated laundry available in the basement of the building. The cap rate at the time of the sale was 9.2 percent.

The sale was originally reported by Bankers and Tradesman – www.BankersandTradesman.com

Do you want to know what investment properties are selling in your area? Want to know what your property is worth or what you can expect to pay as an investor? Contact us (Contact@MandrellCo.com) for a quick list of sold comps in your selected neighborhoods. FREE, no obligations reports.

 

 

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One of the largest obstacles between you and home ownership is coming up with enough money fund the required mortgage down-payment.  Let’s assume that we’re looking for the average single family home in Massachusetts which is roughly $350,000. Let’s also assume you are like the majority of home buyers in this state and qualify for an FHA Loan, which is a 3.5% down payment or roughly $12,250. This isn’t amount of money most people have sitting in there bank accounts. So how do you find the cash to fund your dreams of home-ownership? Here are a list of things most buyers do to save up some cash:

Side Job or Temp Work –  Can you pick up a side job or work for a temp agency?  It’s may not be something you  ant to do permanently, but it’s worth it to reach your home-ownership goals.  Let’s assume you can pick up a part time job working 10 hours per week at $15 per hour. If you worked 48 of 52 weeks in the year you’d have an extra $7200 (before taxes) to add to your home savings account.

Cut Cable & Phone Bill – Many of us have Comcast or Verizon packages that consist of every movie channel, sport package and various other upgrades. Are these things we can live without for a little while?  The same goes for many phone bills. Many of us are paying $40 per month or more for data packages while the only thing we do with our phone that require data is posting to Facebook.  If you can reduce one of these bills by $50 or two of them by $25 each, you would be saving a total of $600 for the year.

Cut Gift Spending – We all love our family and friends but could you cut back on birthday and holiday gifts for one year? I think your friends and family would stand by you if your gift were less expensive this year because you’re saving to purchase a home.  Statistics show cutting this spending out entirely can put another $600 in your pocket for the year.

Work Overtime – Are there overtime hours available at your current job? Maybe it’s time to stay late or come in early. It may be a good idea to approach your manager and see what extra hours he/she can offer you.

Save Your Tax Returns – Getting a nice check back from the government this year? Don’t view this influx of cash as discretionary spending. Many Americans look at this check(s) as chance to buy a bigger TV or various other luxuries.  Be smart and save this money for your down payment.  The big screen will look better next year in your new home.

Hang At Home – Let’s assume that you’re like most of us and you love to hang out on the weekends. If you’re spending an average of $100 per weekend (drinks, food, movies etc) and your going out every other weekend, you’re spending an average of $2600 per year on entertainment. Can you cut than down this year to just 1 weekend per month? If so you’re saving $1300 per year and you’re that much closer to you saving goals.

Cut Your 401K Contributions – I’m a big believer in saving for your retirement, but I believe even more that every individual should own their own home. It may be a good idea for you to speak with your HR department and cut down (or cut out) your retirement contributions and add those additional funds to your savings.

Ask Your Family For Help – When your family sees all the lifestyle adjustments you’ve made to save for home ownership, they will see how important it is to you and will become important to them as well.  Can they help you with your down payment?

Are you looking for more helpful home ownership tips? Like us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/WMandrell.

You can also connect with us on Google Plus.

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Is your New Years resolution to get yourself more involved in the Boston real estate scene? Here are a few great events to get you headed in the right path.

Mutlifamily Investments 101 – Investing & Home Buying Seminar

Thursday, January 22, 2015  – 6:00 PM to

 This is a great event for first time landlords or if you’re thinking about getting into the business. The seminar will run you through all the basics of investing in Boston real estate including evaluating cash flow numbers and multifamily techniques. You can find further details and RSVP with the following link. http://www.meetup.com/Networth-Investors/events/219497293/

How To Get An 800+ Credit Score & Never Be Denied For Anything

Saturday, January 24, 2015  –  to

Are you or someone you know looking to buy a home or invest but a less than perfect credit score holding you back? This is the meeting for you! Learn the ins and outs of your personal credit and how to effectively increase your score!  For location and to RSVP click the attached link. http://www.meetup.com/Urban-Money-Matters/events/219296945/

Home Flippers Financing Summit

Saturday, January 31, 2015  –  9 to 5

Are you looking to flip houses in Mass but not sure how to get the financing? Have you heard about investors flipping property using private financing or “other peoples money”? Come learn how they’re doing from real Boston investors. This seminar will teach you how to find and recruit private money investors to fund your flips!  Seating is limited!
Purchase your tickets with the following link. http://www.eventbrite.com/e/house-flipping-finance-summit-tickets-14920536727?aff=WillieMandrell

 

 

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The Mandrell Company would like you to give a warm welcome to the newest member of our sales team, Priscila Elias!

A native of Brazil, Priscila brings her warm personality, family real estate investment knowledge and exceptional customer service to the North Shore. Priscila is an accomplished sales professional with over six years of experience in customer-focused positions. Priscila has a natural ability to find innovative solutions and works hard to ensure satisfied clientele. Through her work experiences and connection to the real estate investment industry, we know Priscila will succeed and be a real asset to the firm.

Priscila can be reached at Priscila@Mandrellco.com

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The Mandrell Company would like you to give a warm welcome to the newest member of our sales team, Elizabeth Newcombe! 

Liz is outgoing, cheerful and passionate about real estate and helping her community. Liz obtained her Bachelor’s degree from Christendom College in Virginia where she actively participated in several outreach and missionary events in the community. Her genuine passion for helping people is invaluable when maneuvering the complexities of buying/selling a home. Liz also comes from a family that is active in the real estate industry.  Her experience, knowledge and great personality will serve her well as an agent on the South Shore.

Liz can be reached at Liz@MandrellCo.com

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Are you a current or aspiring landlord in Massachusetts? No matter the years you have in the rental business, fully understanding your local market is one the most important things you can do to ensure your long-term success.  Receiving regular market updates will help you determine when’s it time to buy and when it’s time to sell. It will also allow you to see what your units rent for in comparison to your neighbors. Should you be increasing your rents?

Here are Quincy’s multifamily sales and rental market statistics for the last 6 months.  

Total Multi-Family Listings SOLD: 66

Average Living Area by Square Feet:  2,543.61  

Average Listing Price: $526,589

Average DOM (Days on Market): 53.89

Average Sales Price: $516,286

Average Rent for 1 Bedroom Units: $1,358

Average Rent for 2 Bedroom Units: $1,737

Average Rent for 3 Bedroom Units: $2,330

Average Rent for 4 Bedroom Units: $2,265

Want to get a FREE Sales and Rental Market Report for your specific area(s)? Just send a quick email (or complete the contact form below) to Contact@MandrellCo.com to receive your monthly report. In the title put the words “FREE Boston Sales Statistics” and in the body, add the up to 3 areas you’d like to receive data for. Your name and email will be added to the next monthly reporting cycle. It’s that simple to stay up to date and ahead of the curve!  

Please call us directly at 617-297-8641, for custom reports or questions above the data provided.

 

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The Mandrell Co would like to give a BIG WELCOME to the newest member of our sales team, Joe Rodriguez!  Joe will be starting with us next week and will be responsible for residential and commercial sales in Boston’s Metro West area.  Joe is a graduate of Wentworth University and earned his Bachelor’s degree in Construction Management.  His work experience includes project management for Vantage Builders and JNL Corporate Interiors.

Through his education, work experience and serious interest in the real estate investment industry, we know Joe is an excellent match for our firm and will be a real asset to the team.

Joe can be reached at Joe@MandrellCo.com

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So you just bought your first rental property? Well, congratulations on the purchase and making a huge investment into your future. Now that you’ve become a new landlord, are you wondering what your next steps should be? Here are 8 helpful tips to get you started on the right path.

1. You’re now running a business and you have to treat it as such. This means getting your house and financial documents in order. It’s probably a good idea to buy a file cabinet or safe if you don’t already own one. Make sure you file mortgage, insurance, tax, water and tenants files in a safe place. It’s also a good idea to keep a digital (scanned) file back up somewhere as well. If your paper documents are lost or damaged, it won’t be difficult to replace them if you have an electronic back up.

2. Make contact with your new tenants. You need to introduce yourself as the new owner, provide them with your contact info and collect each tenant’s personal information. This may be a good time to talk with them about any issues the building may have and a little about your plans going forward.

3. Consider establishing separate banking accounts for your rental business. Ideally, you would like to have rental income come into one account as well as rental expenses paid out of that account. You want to keep rental records clean for tax reporting purposes. If you’re combining rental and personal business into one account it can make things more complex for you and your tax preparer. You may also want to consider a separate savings account (reserve fund) or credit card for your rental business as well. You always want to be prepared for rainy days!

4. While you’re at the bank, you may also want to open your tenant’s security deposit account(s). If you’ve collected or plan to collect a security deposit from your tenants, YOU MUST HOLD THESE FUNDS IN AN INTEREST BEARING ACCOUNT AT A LOCAL BANK. Just tell the customer service rep you want to open a “landlord/tenant” account. Before you’re able to open this account you’ll need to have each tenant sign a W9 form. This is so the taxes on the interest paid are reported under the tenant social security number and not you as the landlord.

5. Buy yourself some basic home improvement tools. You don’t have to be very handy to solve many problems in a home; you just need to have the right tool. I would make sure you own a power drill, screw drivers, hammer, tape measure, and a decent size ladder. One $40 tool that will save you thousands is a toilet auger! It’s very simple to use and will help you avoid some hefty plumbing bills when a tenant’s toilet is clogged.

6. Buy a few books for yourself and make sure you have a basic understanding of landlord/ tenant laws in Massachusetts. You don’t have to read each book cover to cover but you should have some type of reference available to you for when things come up. Don’t rely on Google for your answers. The law is different in each state and there are tons of “gurus” on the internet giving bad legal advice. NOLO has an excellent book selection and they’re always up to date/ easy to read. Grab yourself a book on landlord tax deductions as well. There are so many tax write offs for landlords and you don’t want to be missing ones you should be getting. Don’t assume your tax pro will tell you.

7. Create a maintenance plan for your property. A systematic maintenance plan is the best way to keep each of your properties in top shape and avoid costly repairs. Each landlord will have a different plan based on the properties you own, but your schedule may include the following:
a. Changing out the apartment air filters once every 6 months
b. Hiring a rodent exterminator every 6 months
c. Changing out smoke detector batteries every 2 months (important)
d. Cleaning out the gutter in the spring and the fall
e. Cleaning out heating systems in preparation for winter
f. Covering your AC units before the winter months
g. Sweeping, mopping and changing light bulbs in common areas every month

8. Have your real estate agent send you monthly rental comps for your area. So many landlords leave money on the table because they don’t know what’s happening in their local rental market. They buy a new place and allow tenants to stay in the unit without ever increasing rent. Not only are they leaving money on the table, but they are also hurting the value of their property. When rents are on the rise you want to be in the know. Make sure your agent is sending you rental statistics for your area at least monthly. These reports are automated and easy for your agent to set up.

 10 must have forms for all new landlords! Click here to download FREE rental property forms! 

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Are you a current or aspiring landlord in Massachusetts? No matter how many years you have in the rental business, fully understanding your local market is one the most important thing you can do to ensure your long-term success. Receiving regular market updates will help you determine when’s it time to buy and when it’s time to sell. It will also allow you to see what your apartments rent for in comparison to your neighbors. Should you be increasing rents?
Here’s a preview of Roslindale’s multifamily sales and rental market statistics for the month of September.

Total Multi-Family Listings SOLD: 31
Average Living Area by Square Feet: 2,874.00
Average Listing Price: $532,735
Average DOM (Days on Market): 53.87 Days
Average Sales Price: $520,680
Average Rent for 1 Bedroom Units: $1,367
Average Rent for 2 Bedroom Units: $1,664
Average Rent for 3 Bedroom Units: $2,161
Average Rent for 4 Bedroom Units: $2,400

Want to get a FREE Sales and Rental Market Report for your specific area(s)? Just send a quick email to Contact@MandrellCo.com to receive your monthly report. In the title put the words “FREE Boston Sales Statistics” and in the body, add the up to 3 areas for which you’d like to receive data . Your name and email will be added to the next monthly reporting cycle. It’s that simple to stay up to date and ahead of the curve!

Please call us directly at 617-297-8641, for custom reports or questions above the data provided.
Report data provided by MLS Property Information Network, Inc.

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Are you an investor or are you in the business of speculation? Investors typically look for a cash flow return on their investment based on a sound cash flow analysis. They purchase a property when the projected ROI make sense compared to other investment options. Buying a property with little to no cash flows and hopes of appreciation is called “speculating”. There are no financial predictions, but rather a hope that the market will continue to rise and you will make a financial gain the in the future. There are two main problems with type of investing which are as follows.

1. What happens when the market goes south? If the economy tanks and your property values decrease will you be forced to sell at a loss? An investor with a cash flowing investment isn’t affected as much by down turns in the market. Despite a loss in value, the investor is still putting cash in her pocket every month when their tenants pay rent.

2. What happens when the property needs repairs? If you’re investment isn’t putting cash in your pocket and you need a new roof where are those funds coming from? You’ll now be forced to dip into your personal funds and make a further investment into the property rather than the investment taking care of itself.

Want to know how to evaluate rental property in Boston? Watch the video above and download our Cash Flow Analysis. If you have questions about the form or the video, please give us a call at 617-297-8641 or email us at contact@mandrellco.com

Download the Cash Flow Analysis here!

 

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Understanding local rental rates in your Boston neighborhood is extremely important to your success as a landlord and real estate investor. There are three basic stages to any investor’s career, which are the buying, holding and selling stages. In each phase your knowledge about the current rental market will determine if you come out on top or not.

To give you an example, let’s assume we’re considering at a rental condo in Boston’s Beacon Hill.  When you’re evaluating whether or not the property is a good deal, an obvious factor is the potential rental income the property can generate. You must understand the Beacon Hill market, the tenant base and the length of time or DOM (days of market) of your average rental. It’s also a good idea to understand what your tenant base is looking for in a rental. Is the area dominated by families, single professionals, students or is it and older community? This knowledge will help you determine the types of finishes and improvements you’ll need if any.

There are many investors who’ve had tremendous success in the rental business and have been able to hold onto properties for a number of years. When these landlords eventually go to sell, they’re in a less than perfect position despite their past success. The reason for this is that they’ve failed to keep up with current rental rates in their markets. Often, landlords with long-term tenants will keep rents low despite the steady increase in values throughout the neighborhood. These landlords do this in fear of disturbing “a good thing”. They have a great tenant who’s been paying rent consistently and they fear of increasing rents would possibly disrupt that consistent flow of income. While this is a valid concern, what most investors don’t realize in that they are devaluing the property. The easiest way to put this into perspective is to pretend you’re a potential buyer and you’re considering two identical rental condos. The condos are identical in every way and they are both coming with the existing tenant base. If condo A has rental income of $1700, while condo B has rent income of $3200 (current market rate), most potential buyers are going to value condo B higher despite the fact that it’s identical to unit A. If we assume our Beacon Hill Investor owned unit A, s he would have to take a lower sales prices than her competitor selling unit B, not to mention all the additional rental income she didn’t collect over the years.

The best way to combat this potential scenario is to consistently monitor your local rental rates. Have your real estate agent send you regular reports like the one attached below. The report will tell you what apartments have rented, how long they’ve been on the market, and the average price  those rentals have rented for.

The example report is for a landlord in the Beacon Hill area. She has a 2 bedroom unit with 850 square feet. The report shows activity in the area for the last 3 months.

Beacon Hill 2 Bedroom Market Report

Would you like a FREE rental and sales market report for your area? Simply email Contact@MandrellCo.com with your criteria and we can have it out to you within 24 hours! You can also call us at 617-297-8641.

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5 Must Know Concepts For Boston Real Estate Investors

There are five basic real estate concepts every investor must understand and I’ve outlined each of them in the video below and text below.

 

Appreciation:
When an asset increases in value it is said to have “appreciated”. The opposite of appreciation is depreciation, which is the decrease in an assets value. I concept of appreciation is important to the “buy and hold” real estate investors because (typically) the longer and asset is held the higher it value. The increase in real estate values has usually kept pace or grown faster than the US rate of inflation, hence why it’s known as one of the best hedges against inflation. You can estimate your property’s future value by using a “compounding calculator” and choosing a rate of inflation. I like to use the rate of 2.5% which is relatively conservative.

Amortization (Debt Pay Down):
Amortization is the systematic decrease in your investment property’s debt. When you make your mortgage payment each month a portion of those payments decrease the principal balance of your mortgage and a portion will go to the bank in the form of interest payments for the use of their money. In the first 5-10 years of a 30 year mortgage the majority of your mortgage payments will go toward interest. You start to pay off more of your principal balance toward the middle and end of your amortization period. You can calculate your principal balance at a future date by using a mortgage calculator with an “amortization schedule” attached.

Equity Spread:
Your equity “spread” can be calculated simply by taking the value of the property at any given point and subtracting the debt on the property at that same point. When you first buy an investment property your equity spread is equal to your down payment, assuming you purchased the property at market value. To find your equity position at a future date in time, calculate your future value and your future principal debt on the loan and subtract these two number.

Cash Flow:
Cash flow is the money left over after you’ve collected all your rental income and paid all your rental expenses. If you’re renting two 3 bedroom condos and collecting $2000 from each unit, you have a monthly “gross income” of $4000 from your rental portfolio. If your mortgage, taxes, insurance, water and repair expenses total $3000 per month you have a surplus or “cash flow” of $1000 monthly or $12,000 annually.

ROI (Return on Investment):
ROI is a measure of your investment performance. For example, if I have a stock investment and it provides me with and ROI of 6% and a rental property that give me an ROI of 10%, than my rental property is providing me with a better return on the money I invested. The higher your ROI the better.

Did you find this video and blog post helpful? Please follow our blog for more real estate investment tips.  Drop your email address at the top right hand side of this page!

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