Saturday, November 24, 2007

We've Moved

This will, in all likelihood, be the very last post at this URL. BBQCapital is moving to it's new address at

Or feel free to visit our newest website/blogsite:

If you use my URL you should be okay and have to do nothing to update your feedreader or RSS. However, if you've been using the Blogger URL you will need to update your information.

I bid a fond farewell to Blogger. This was my first blog and I loved it. But as I began playing around with other platforms I saw expandability and cool tools that Blogger just doesn't offer.

I hope to see you at the new address for all of your Kansas City Real Estate Investing discussions! Feel free to contact us with any questions.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving in Kansas City & Misc Real Estate Thoughts

It's a holiday weekend and so I really don't feel like getting into the nitty-gritty of real estate investing here in Kansas City. However, I do want to bring you these tidbits, real estate related and other wise. And don't forget. Tonight is the night they turn on the Plaza lights. Simply no more romantic place on Earth than the Country Club Plaza at Christmas.

NOTE: I "borrowed" the photo from KC Plaza Flights. Take a look and take a trip that you will never forget.


I posted this over at my ActiveRain blog since Google seems to pick it up quicker. The link will take you to a fourplex for sale in Belton that will make Coasters (as Lani call them) wet themselves. That's right, a Kansas City area investment property that costs around $155,000 and makes about $1,600 in gross monthly rents and it's in a neighborhood I think is on the grow. Eat your heart out Los Angeles.

Like Jay Thompson over at The Phoenix Real Estate Guy I too am proud that my 15 year old son just got his first "real" job. He's raked leaves, mowed lawns and the like but wanted desperately to get out into the job world. He's going to be working for Chick-fil-A, a good Christian company that's closed on Sundays. (Can you believe it?)


Two days ago I was showing an apartment in Olathe to a real estate investor and it was 78 degrees. I had my windows rolled down and a golf shirt on. Yesterday, it snowed! Not much. But it snowed! How fast everything can change.


The Kansas Jayhawks are in for quite a weekend. First, on Saturday, is the Border War with Missouri that has been aptly renamed Armageddon at Arrowhead. Again, if you are not from this region you probably cannot understand the animosity that exists between the two schools. It's gonna be something. Go Jayhawk football!

Then on Sunday evening our Jayhawk basketball team takes on Arizona over at Allen Fieldhouse. Basketball is woven into the very fabric of Kansas culture. So anytime you play a game against such a quality opponent you take notice.

Here's hoping MY Kansas Jayhawks go 2-0 for the weekend!


Real estate investing doesn't have to be rocket science. I've received several phone calls over the last couple of weeks from people saying they are confused and don't know which direction to turn.

My advice is to not spend thousands and thousands of dollars on guru knowledge. Just read this blog, Christopher Smith's Equity Scout blog and Jeff Brown's blog. You'll get better advice and it's free. There are a few others I could mention, as well.

Happy Thanksgiving. Happy investing.

WKRP - As God Is My Witness, I Thought Turkeys Could Fly

As promised, here is part 2 of the WKRP Thanksgiving Day debacle.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

WKRP Turkey Drop

Here is one of my favorite Thanksgiving memories, ever. Part two will follow Thanksgiving morning.

In the mean time, enjoy your families. Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Legal Zoom: Do It Yourself Legal Documents

For those of you so inclined you should check out to see the legal documents services they provide. I first heard about them on the Jim Rome Show, and in fact if you put the name Rome in the promotions box at checkout you are supposed to get a discount.

Now, I'm not endorsing them. I'm simply pointing them out to you if you are thinking of forming an LLC or other such entity to protect either yourself or your investment properties. I still think their is real value in having an honest (well, that may be open to debate) to goodness attorney working for you and intimately familiar with your situation. But if you are independent and always looking to save money, legalzoom may appeal to you.

Good luck. If you use them, let me know your thoughts!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Real Estate Investing Returns Calculations

Calculating projected returns can be of paramount importance when deciding on whether or not to pull the trigger on any particular investment property whether it be here in Kansas City or elsewhere. After all, real estate investing is about securing a return. Without that return your money would do better to be somewhere else.

So before buying that next "income" property you need to know whether there will be any income. (That's why I get paid the big dollars.)
Of course how you calculate that return is completely up to you. Jeff Brown recently discussed his Einsteinian theory over at BawldGuy. See the post here. And a nice little Q&A session happened in the comments section so be sure to read those, as well.
Let me just say that I prefer to know what the equity return on any investment property will be before I buy it. What is equity return? Quite simply it's how much I am receiving in benefits divided by how much I have invested.

Remember the 4 Benefits of real estate investing?
  1. Cash flow before taxes.
  2. Principal reduction.
  3. Depreciation.
  4. Appreciation.

Let's take the calculation of these step by step.

#1 was cash flow before taxes. Simple enough. Just take the amount the property is actually bringing in and subtract the amount the investment property is actually costing you. What's left over is your cash flow before taxes.

#2 was principal reduction. Again, quite simple to figure out based on the loan you have taken out. If you took out an interest only loan (you're welcome, Jeff) then you won't have any. If you have taken out almost any other kind of loan you can just look at your amortization table and figure out how much principal reduction there should be in any given year for your rental home.

#3 is depreciation. Okay, I could do an entire post here. Or two. If you are breaking down your depreciation between land and building only then you depreciate the building over 27.5 years. Rather simple to calculate and all you have to do to figure out the number is to refer to a depreciation table as to when you put your rental property into service.

If you choose to accelerate your depreciation through cost segregation then you will need to do some more figuring. But it's really only a few more steps. Although, that may be over simplifying things.

#4 is appreciation. Wow! Have you ever tried to predict appreciation? How did that work out for you? Listen, you can guess at what it will be and be awfully darn sure of what it was. But when figuring out if an investment property will be a good buy RIGHT NOW you are going to want to buy a rental property that will make sense based on the previous 3 benefits of real estate investing. Then appreciation is icing on the cake! And you wouldn't buy a cake unless you knew it would have icing, right? (I know, there's pineapple upside down cake. But let's move on.)

Again, before buying your next Kansas City real estate investment property you need to know before you buy whether or not that was a good idea. Take the time to work through your calculations to see if the rental property will be a good buy or a drain on your current resources. After knowing you are making a good investment then you can go back to planning your retirement worth having.

This Is War! Well, A Border War.

At the risk of losing any of my loyal real estate investment clients because of their misguided loyalty to the University of Missouri I have to take a stand right here, right now on the Border War coming up next Saturday night in Kansas City.

For those of you that need some background on this, the most fierce of rivalries, take a minute and read this article by Blair Kerkhoff titled Border War: An uncivil beginning to a great rivalry printed in today's Kansas City Star.

I am urging publicly that Govenor Sebelius station Kansas National Guard troops on the border at State Line to be able to respond quickly to any danger the Kansas Jayhawk football team and/or their fans may face from the hostile Missouri crowd.

Why is this necessary? Three reasons:

  1. Kansas and Missouri have agreed to play the next several games against each other in Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium. Missouri soil. This offers us no protection from the descendants of Quantril and his raiders.
  2. They are Missourians. You cannot trust them.
  3. Alcohol will be served at the game.

Add those three things together and you can only have a recipe for disaster!!

Editor's note: Most of this blog post is done tongue-in-cheek. Well, except for the part where you might figure I don't like Missouri. While the rivalry is truly fierce, let us hope that people on both sides of the matter can accept a win with class and a loss with dignity. It will only take a few idiots from either side to ruin a great night in Kansas City next weekend. Please, show respect and restraint. Cheer for your side. Have a great time...oh, and know that KU will win. :)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Ask Chris

I received this email early this morning from a would-be real estate investor that I'm working with:

I know appreciation is a big piece of the return, but in this market I don't know what I can count on. It makes me think I should maybe look cash flow instead until the market turns around and move more toward growth at that time. Your thoughts?

Well, I'm glad you asked.

First, let me state unequivocally that this would be investor is sharp. He is looking at real estate investing as a way to secure a retirement worth having. But when you are newer at anything there is always a period of confusion and wonderment. Now to the question at hand.

Appreciation and growth are always going to be important when you are working with me planning out your real estate investments. I don't advise heavy cash flow (run-down housing, mobile homes, etc.) income property and I believe that when you are starting a good healthy dose of leverage (with proper cash reserves) is in order.

Having said that, a rental property that pays for itself is of paramount importance. As the writer wonders, what will this market bring? What isn't stated, but implied, is:

  • How long will this market last?
  • How can I time it to move from cash flow to growth?

Quite simply, you cannot know any of those things. You have to go with historical growth calculated along with growth assumptions, population & job trends, available real estate and desirability (along with a few other things) plus experience and then you blend those all together so that you come up with a target area and property type. Easy, right? :)

In the mean time, you absolutely must acquire properties within those parameters that will pay for themselves based on the down payment you have, the loan product you choose and the expenses you expect (and don't expect).

Real estate investing is part science, part voodoo and a little bit of luck mixed in doesn't hurt. (See California's 20% a year growth. How 'bout the guy who sold it all at peak without knowing it was peak? That's luck.)

What am I saying? Buy your rental property, income property, investment property (whatever term you use) based on sound financial principals. Base your growth projections on sound homework. Then you should be fine.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Real Estate Guru Ratings: A Must Read For The Real Estate Investor

Okay. So I must have been living under a rock to be the one person involved in talking about real estate investing to not know about John T Reed's Real Estate Guru Rating page. I found it today's through Christopher Smith's Equity Scout.

I must say that Mr. Reed seems a bit (how should we say?) cranky. But, I like cranky. And in most cases I laughed out loud because I agreed with him.

Oh, dear. What will he think of me?

Well, I cannot control that. But in the mean time if you want some truth and entertainment, why don't you click the link above.

(Sorry no pictures. I'm treating you like a grown up. I knew you could handle one post here about real estate investing that didn't have pictures.)

More Kansas v Missouri

Providing both Kansas and Missouri win this weekend in football I can see next week as one of the ugliest weeks in history around the Kansas City area. I was just emailed this shirt.

It's not the Border War. It'll be Border Armageddon!

I want to encourage your trash talking here! This doesn't all have to be about real estate investing in Kansas City. We can have a little fun, too. Right? Especially after Kansas whoops up on you from Mizzou!

Kansas & Missouri: The Border War

People throughout the sports world think they understand rivalries. There's Michigan v Ohio State in football. Duke v Carolina and Indiana v Kentucky in basketball. Boston v New York in MLB.

But there is nothing like the rivalry there is between Kansas & Missouri. Nothing. Sure, we haven't won as many championships between the two schools. But each and every competition between the two is called the Border War. And while ESPN can pimp all they want to the Duke v Carolina basketball rivalry, it is Kansas v Missouri that stands out in front.

Don't like each other? Seriously, what two other rivalries had great-grandparents that shot at each other? That burned each other's town to the ground? And look! The Missourians are still proud of it. (For those of you that don't know, that's Lawrence, KS burning on the shirt. Nearly 150 men of Lawrence were left dead or dying that fateful morning after Quantrill's Raid.)

I credit the Missouri nation for their creativity and success this year. It's one of the reasons I love to "hate" them. And I know they feel the same way. :)

By the way, the most creative shirt floating around Kansas right now refers to our successful football least this year.

Our coach beat bulimia.

Rich Dad Poor Dad in Kansas City

While reading today's Kansas City Star I noticed in the Local section an advertisement that Rich Dad Poor Dad Education was going to be putting on three days worth of seminars right here in the Kansas City area.

While I find the book to have some great principals and mildly entertaining I couldn't help but think of Christopher Smith's thoughts on the book. Well, actually. I think along those same lines.

If you choose not to follow the link here is a bit of Christopher's post:

In reality, real estate investing isn’t fluff. And it’s not rocket science or mysterious. It’s a practical, hands-on form of investing and a proven way to diversify your returns and build wealth. It’s not particularly sexy to talk about discipline, managing risk, building credit, evaluating properties, managing tenants and negotiating with contractors – but that’s what real estate investing is all about.

Think twice before buying the whole program hook, line and sinker.

Kansas City Foreclosures: Right In The Middle

Living in Kansas City means growing up with a chip on your shoulder. We aren't New York. We aren't Los Angeles. Heck, we aren't even Dallas, Atlanta or Denver.

No, we're right in the middle...of everything.

We're in the middle of the country geographically. Housing prices hover around the national median. Sales of units...middle of the pack. Check out the rates of growth here during a real estate boom and you'll find we're right about the middle.

But also, during the foreclosure crisis facing much of the country where will you find the Kansas City housing market? Number 54 out of a 100. (The linked table comes from

I've said 1,000 times and here it comes again. Do you want your real estate investments in a safe harbor? Nothing fancy. Just predictable growth? Think about the Kansas City area.

Give me a call.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Are You Listening To The Right Person?

Sooner or later you have to decide who you are going to listen to when it comes to real estate investing. Newbies have the hardest time deciding.

Many would be real estate investors begin to get interested from the shows they see on tv whether they be the HGTV or A&E variety or whether they be the infomercials put on by Carlton Sheets. Or maybe they read all the way through a Bob Allen newspaper ad.

The studious would be investor may even go to the bookstore and find the real estate section and be amazed at the variety of books available concerning real estate investing.

There are books on:

  • Short Sales
  • Buy & Hold
  • Fix & Sell (Flip)
  • Buying Tax Liens
  • Subject To
  • No Money Down

And I haven't even scratched the surface with that list. Confusion can set in. Should I listen to the REALTOR that gets a commission when he sells me a house? Should I listen to the "real estate investor" who seems to spend more time selling thousands of dollars of books and tapes than he does investing in rental property? Should I listen to my best friend's friend who says he's making a fortune in flipping?

I feel for you if you are a newer real estate investor. I went down a lot of these thought highways myself when I was getting started. But ultimately I chose a path of real estate investing that matched both my ability (financially and time-wise) to my values.

You should do the same.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


It's the weekend. Get out. Listen to some blues. Eat some BBQ. Here's a band that's fun to see. A high school friend is the singer. The setting is BB's Lawnside BBQ...a favorite hang out for authentic blues and blues reviews like you'll see here.

Friday, November 09, 2007

A Missouri Property Manager...That's Licensed.

As most of my frequent readers know I have often moaned and groaned about the fact that I have not been able to find a property manager in Missouri that:

  • Has an understanding of Missouri landlord/tenant law.
  • Knows that they have to be licensed in the state of Missouri AND complies.
  • Understands that I am a working REALTOR who works mostly with Kansas City real estate investors and that if they mess me over that will be the end of a lucrative partnership.
Well, I still have to go through all the materials they left me yesterday but I believe I may have found one, Advantage Homes. Funny thing is, I didn't find them, they found me. They found one of my blogs lamenting the fact that I cannot find anyone I can trust fully.

Side Note: I even had one dude here in the Kansas City area that works with real estate investors and manages properties. Now, aside from my basic belief that you cannot do both extremely well - maybe somewhat well, or kinda well, but not extremely - he told me, yes told me, that if I referred my investors to him for property management that he would now consider them his customers. And besides, after they worked with him they wouldn't want to work with me, anyway! Seriously? I won't name the guy. But what an ass.

Property management in Missouri has been my Achilles heel. Now I won't have to "temporarily" manage these properties for my real estate investor clients. I can, in good conscious, turn them over to a professional property manager.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

See Where Kansas City Real Estate Stands

From the blog SocketSite comes this nice little article. Read it and see where Kansas City stands. You'll be pleasantly surprised.

Finally. A Man Worth Killing.

I love the 2004 version of the tale of King Arthur. The movie was done very well and is more historically correct than previous versions. The movie relates the very human principles of honor, purpose and destiny. It speaks to a side of me that is very dominant. The side that says these principles are not lost forever. Rather overlooked by pop culture. But exist they still do.

In the movie the Germana invasion leader is a fierce sort. A man who has lived by the sword his entire life. When he finally meets Arthur he finds a man more afraid of not living on principle than of dying in battle. As Arthur turns to go to ready for himself for battle the warrior says to no one, "Finally. A man worth killing."

A compliment of respect to be sure.

I work in a business where dishonesty and quick gain are there for the taking. There are many, many chances a year to overlook my moral code and to grab the cash. I'm not perfect. Nor are you. But the complete lack of respect for the laws, principles and morals that made this nation what it is today are what has given us the savings & loan debacle, Enron, Westar, the sub-prime crisis...and more.

What does this have to do with real estate investing and real estate sales? Well, I implore you to live by the verse found in the Bible located at Matthew 7:12.

"Do onto others as you would have them do unto you. For this is the law and the prophets."

You don't have to be a Christian to see the wisdom in that. You just have to be human.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Securing A Retirement Worth Having

Securing a retirement worth having takes forethought, perseverance and planning. Exactly what a couple I'm working with right now has.

You see, they have a sweet equity position in their current principal residence. Now they could go out an buy a bigger home. One with another garage, an extra bedroom for that once a year visitor (wouldn't a hotel room be cheaper?) or the back yard that would blow all their friends away.

Or they could take money out and go on that vacation that would make you drool. Or how about driving a car that will turn heads?

No, this couple decided to do something rather boring. They decided to get rich slowly. They decided to plan for a retirement worth having by investing in real estate. Not the kind of real estate investing that you see on HGTV. Not the kind of real estate investing that is helping to bring down the sub-prime mortgage market.

The boring kind of real estate investing. The kind where you buy a house or duplex and you rent it out. Then reap the Four Benefits of investing in real estate. What were the Four Benefits, again?

  1. Cash Flow Before Taxes
  2. Principal Reduction
  3. Depreciation
  4. Appreciation

Want to know how these numbers work together in concert? Just email me and I'll send you a sample analysis. You can judge for yourself.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Los Angeles Here I Come

The University of Kansas Jayhawk basketball team plays the Trojans of USC on December 2nd. So mixing business with pleasure, I will be visiting the lovely city of Los Angeles from November 30th to December 4th. I have to come out to watch my Jayhawks put the beat down on OJ Mayo and his Trojans. (Or so I hope!)

Anyway, after speaking with a couple of my Los Angeles clients it looks like I'll be getting together with them and a few of their friends (thanks Jeff Brown) to discuss real estate investing in Kansas City.

I would love to meet you to. We can get together for a coffee or something and just meet so that you can see I'm not the Boogie Man or the guy from Glengarry Glen Ross.

Again, if you have even a passing interest in moving some of your real estate investment portfolio from the Los Angeles area to the Kansas City area, just give me a call at 913.568.1579 or drop me an email. I'd love to hear from you.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Why Are All Register Recipts Two Feet Long?

What I want to know is how much of our national forest is being devastated so that each and every purchase in America can take place with the customer receiving, in return for their hard earned money, both merchandise and a two to three feet of register receipt?

Seriously, this is getting ridiculous. I pay for everything with my Visa card that subtracts immediately from my checking account. So I have to keep the receipts. Easier said than done when you stop at the local CVS for a pack of gum, deodorant and razors that cost $11.27 with tax and then you are presented with 18" of coupons, advertisements, who the manager is, etc.

Pardon me, but where the hell is the amount I paid? Can't I just get that?

I've taken to ripping off the top 3"-5" with the important stuff like the amount paid and the date and company and just leaving the rest with the register person who ALWAYS looks at me dumbfounded.

Now, I realize this has nothing to do with real estate investing. But I'm telling you I'm not the only one that has noticed this disturbing trend that I am sure is going to bring down Western Civilization.

Sorry for the rant. But I do feel better. :)

Thoughts About KC Real Estate Investing

Miscellaneous ramblings about the Kansas City real estate investing market...

- I spoke the other day about a real treat I had found from an investor. I put the word out to my real estate investors and they responded in far greater numbers than I could satisfy. Why?
The properties were 3 duplexes in a 55+ community. Both sides rented at $1,075 on 4 of the 6 units, $975/side for the other duplex. Asking price was $220,000 and HOA took care of all exterior maintenance for $100/mo. per building. Oh, did I mention they were located in one of the fastest growing suburbs in Kansas City?
Now here's the good news. The seller of those properties have given me a tip on another builder also looking to get out of his construction loans. He too has had to rent out his new construction homes to help keep from going under. So I'm entering negotiations today to see where those will head.

I've been predicting good things for this winter for the Kansas City real estate investor. Looks like it's going to happen. (But don't get too excited. Every year I predict the Jayhawks will win the NCAA tourney, too.)

- Where is fall? Seriously, I had to take my sweatshirt off at my son's football game on Saturday because I was hot. Enough already. Jeez. Some of the trees still have green leaves.

- I know of a Waldo home that is 3 bedroom and 2 full baths that just rented for $1,150/mo. I have a 3 bedroom 1.5 bath home in Waldo for rent at $965/mo. that is generating some traffic. The rental market remains very strong in Waldo. And for that matter, throughout much of Kansas City.
- Congratulations to the Jayhawk football team. They are in rarefied air at #4 in the BCS standings. Unbelievable. I'm still peeing my pants from hanging 76 on Nebraska. Sure I know Nebraska isn't up to their usual standards. But they are still Nebraska. Those kids were recruited over the kids Mangino has. And they've hung 60+ points a game on us for decades!

- This Saturday I'll be teaching at UMKC's Communiversity a class on real estate investing. As I understand it the class is about 75% full. I'd love to see you there. We'll talk about real estate investing in general. But specifically we'll talk about getting rich slowly to build a retirement worth having.

Come on out. It's about real life real estate investing for real people.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Myths of the Real Estate Investing REALTOR

Here are a few myths that need to be dispelled about my abilities. I'm doing the best I can. But I'm only human. This just happens to be my full time profession. Well, that and rasing four kids!

  • I cannot tell the future any better than you can when it comes appreciation, foreclosures, etc. (I can use market data to tell you historical trends.)
  • When negotiating I cannot tell you the exact thought process of the opposing party. (I can give you best "guesses" based on experience, suspected motivation and deduction.)
  • I cannot control the behavior of the opposing party or their REALTOR advocate. (I can be a buffer between you and them and give sound, reasonable arguments as to why you are making the offer or counter offer you are making.)
  • I cannot find income houses that fit your criteria if your criteria is not realistic. (No, there are no brand new duplexes selling for $150,000 here in Kansas City that have 100% occupancy and rent for $900 a side. At least not that I'm aware of.)
  • I cannot control the market. (I realize you want $300,000 for your property. I get that. But the market says it's worth $250,000. I'm not saying that, the market is.)

Of course, I could go on. Here's the deal, if you are an experience real estate investor here in the Kansas City market you may have a lot of the same opinions on property that I do. We may even come to a lot of the same conclusions. But wouldn't you be wise before making any sizable investment purchase to compare notes and have a neutral set of eyes looking at your potential deal.

And if you are brand new at real estate investing, even if it's new to investing in the Kansas City market, you really do need the expertise of a REALTOR advocate. One that knows the Kansas City market. One that knows real estate investing.

Kansas Basketball

I realize that many of you simply do not care. You want to read about real estate investing. Well, wait till the next post!!!
Last night I took my dad who was in town visiting from Charlotte, NC to the KU Jayhawks basketball game over in Allen Field House. He had never been to AFH and by all accounts, he had a great time. The Jayhawks rolled to a rather yawn inspiring 94-59 victory. But what do you expect from an exhibition game? Still the crowd was out in full force (how many places in America can they say that?) and the students were, as usual, a riot.
If you ever get the chance to see a game in Allen Field House you should do so. For that matter, Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, OK is fantastic, too.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Trick or Treat? Treat!!!

Yesterday while combing through the MLS I found a real treat! I emailed the listing to my investor client base that actively invests in real estate here in the Kansas City area. To give you a clue as to how good the investment looks I have 11 potential buyers for 3 properties. Ooops.

That's a good thing for me, I guess. But I need to see if I can dig any more of these up to keep the others happy.

If you want to be added to my "mail-to" list just email me. Just so you know, I work on a first response, first served basis. It's the only way I know to be fair.


Keep in mind the time of year. As you drive home this evening be careful! I don't want you driving over a little ghost or goblin. So slow down and enjoy the ride.


One thing I try to remind everyone at Halloween is how real estate signs seem to magically move from one part of a city to the other. So if your house is for sale, do your REALTOR a favor and put the sign in the garage for the night.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Passive Loss Rule As It Pertains To Investing

I'm not an attorney or CPA but I was trying to explain passive loss to someone who is the other day concerning his real estate investments here in Kansas City. So I did a Google search and came up with this web page regarding the Passive Loss rule as it pertains to real estate investing.

Despite what the title of the page says you do not have to be a REALTOR to be a real estate professional. Enjoy.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Kansas City Real Estate Investing

Kansas City real estate investing is alive and well. And counter to the rest of the real estate market things are beginning to really heat up for the active real estate investor. In fact, I actually have more ready, willing and able buyers than I do properties I feel great about recommending.

But I believe that is changing. The properties side of the equation, anyway. You see as the high inventories begin to creep into the holiday season many sellers are beginning to get a little more flexible as far as their expectations are concerned. I'm seeing in the desperation of their agents.

"Motivated seller."

"Make offer!"

"Owner may finance."

These are all signs that the real estate agent and seller are feeling the pressure. (By the way, isn't it odd that the National Association of REALTORS is running it's a great time to sell commercials here in the Kansas City market? Really?) And when people feel pressure from within they tend to bend where they wouldn't bend before.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Kansas Jayhawk...Football?

Be sure to tune into ESPN2 tomorrow at 6:00 pm (Central) to watch the Kansas Jayhawk football team continue their march to the inevitable BCS Championship game.

Watch as these Jayhawks grind out yardage against the once proud Texas A&M faithful and...

...I'm sorry. I had to stop and laugh. It's hard to say Kansas football and BCS in the same sentence. But who knows? If Florida can win titles in basketball (which I still consider sacrilege) then why can't Kansas win one in football?

I invite you to give me even one good reason we can't do it!

Proceed With Caution On Your Real Estate Investments

The basics of real estate investing have never been more important than they are right now. I read a headline on Yahoo! that Countrywide Home Loans has announced a loss last quarter of $1.2 Billion. I read in the Kansas City Star that some analyst are expecting this real estate correction to last into 2009.

And while I cannot tell the future any better than you I can tell you that perception can become reality. For that reason alone I urge you to make sure that when you are purchasing your next income property that it makes sense financially to do so.

Listen, markets go up (we like that) and they go down (we like not so much). During a Seller's market it might be tempting to purchase income property on more of a "speculative" basis. A little negative cash flow may be acceptable so long as there is a belief that you will make money on the appreciation on the back side. I'm not advocating this! Just merely pointing out behavior.
But the real estate market here in Kansas City has come to a standstill, overall. Yes, there are definitely some areas of town where appreciation is still happening. Population growth and housing demand don't stop just because the credit crunch hits. But there are also many parts of town where days on market is soaring and prices are softening.
As I have always advocated and now yell from the mountain top, do not purchase income property you cannot afford to keep. Make sure that you are honest with yourself on the expense expectations including capital improvements and vacancy. Make sure rents will cover your PITI PLUS the improvements and vacancies mentioned.

Don't gamble with your retirement worth having. There is too much at stake. Now, if you are in a position to buy and buy right now, you should be smiling. But if you are in need of selling because you got caught speculating, you are probably nervous. You should be.

Just look at the slippery road caution sign. It doesn't say stop. But it does say proceed with caution and be aware of the pitfalls. The same is true with your real estate investing.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Changing Relationships

I love it when I see real growth out of my clients. I had about a twenty minute conversation this evening with a gentleman I helped to buy his very first home three years ago. I said his first home. Not his first real estate investment property.

Today, he owns more property than I do. Seven to be exact. He had called for some advice regarding a particular concern he had. Hopefully I got him the answer he needed. But as we talked I asked him questions and gained insight to some things he was doing.

It seems I'm still his mentor in many ways. I'm about 16 years older. I've been working with real estate longer. And the advice of mine that he has followed has really provided him with some sweet, sweet equity positions. But I feel the relationship changing. Changing for the better.

It's a lot like when I talk with my fifteen year old, now. There was a time when I told him everything he needed to know. I helped him get dressed. I helped him fight his fights. Now I sit back amazed at the path he is taking. The answers he comes up with himself. Amazed at the man he is becoming.

Sure, I'm still there to say "what about this" now and again. But my role isn't so much to dictate as it is to advise. My boys, both literally and figuratively, are growing up.

Calculating Returns on Real Estate Investment Property

When I calculate returns for my real estate investment property here in Kansas City I am usually worried more about what my equity return is than any other issue concerning returns.

What do I mean by Equity Return?

Quite simply, the money that you have tied up in the real estate investment. For instance, in your first year your equity will be:
  • Your down payment.
  • Any difference between what it's worth and what you paid for it.

A couple of years later (say the 5-8 year window I talk about for trading in/up your real estate investments here in Kansas City) you equity will be:

  • The difference between what you sell it for minus what you owe (including your down payment).

So keep in mind you've had principal reduction going on (unless you went with an interest only loan, which could have been a good strategy depending on your situation) in conjunction with appreciation to raise that equity.

Here in Kansas City when you first purchase an investment property I would encourage you to make sure you are getting at least an 18%-22% return on your equity investment. But as you can probably figure out 6 years later that equity investment return will probably have been reduced by as much as 7%-10%.

Why? Because your accelerated depreciation has been exhausted on most facets of the personal property in the rental property and the percentage of net equity to value has steadily dropped, therefore lowering your leverage.

Knowing how you measure what a successful real estate investment property is provides you with the fist step in knowing whether or not that particular house is the right house for you and your investment property portfolio.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

As California Burns...

Remember the people in southern California today in your prayers. I can imagine replacing my house. But replacing the memories, the photos, the keepsakes...those things you can't replace.
If you have your money in 401Ks and IRAs you are going to want to read this from last week. It's worth your time. Sound financial planning takes more than one vehicle. So go read Jeff Brown's Trojan Horse.
As I understand it the workshop I'm doing at UMKC regarding real estate investing already has more students registered than I usually speak with at one time. I've liked the smaller groups in the past because of the active participation. It will be interesting to see how this goes. You can register for this class by calling 816. 235.1448.
I was speaking to a would be real estate investor on the phone today and she said she went to a 3 hour course on REI and the only answers she got was to buy the books and tapes they had to sell. Gee, that sounds familiar.
You DO NOT have to spend thousands on books and tapes to be a good real estate investor. Work with someone that has a vested interest in your success. You could be reading one, right now.

Monday, October 22, 2007

A Real Estate Joke: Rated PG-13

A businessman met a beautiful girl and agreed to spend the night with her for $500. They did their thing, and, before he left, told her that he did not have any cash with him, but he would have his secretary write a cheque and mail it to her, calling the payment "RENT FOR APARTMENT."

On the way to the office, he regretted what he had done, realizing that the whole event had not been worth the price. So he had his secretary send a cheque for $250 and enclose the following typed note:

Dear Madam,

Enclosed find a cheque for $250 for rent of your apartment. I am not sending the amount agreed upon, because when I rented the place, I was under the impression that:

  • #1 - It had never been occupied;
  • #2 - There was plenty of heat; and
  • #3 - It was small enough to make me feel cosy and at home.

However, I found out that:

  • #1 - It had been previously occupied,
  • #2 - There wasn't any heat, and
  • #3 - It was entirely too large.

Upon receipt of the note, the girl immediately returned the cheque for $250 with the following note:

Dear Sir,

  • #1 - I cannot understand how you could expect a beautiful apartment to remain unoccupied indefinitely.
  • #2 - As for the heat, there is plenty of it, if you know how to turn it on.
  • #3 - Regarding the space, the apartment is indeed of regular size, but if you don't have enough furniture to fill it, please do not blame the management.

Please send the rent in full or we will be forced to contact your present landlady.


Thanks you to Al S. for sending this way.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Kansas City Royals Have New Manager

The Kansas City Royals have hired a new manager by the name of Trey Hillman. He's the guy pictured below celebrating a Japan Series win with the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters. (Try saying that three times quickly with a straight face.)

As stated here before my first choice would have been for Frank White. Having said that, I don't think you want me running a baseball team with my vast knowledge of college basketball.
To date most of Dayton Moore's decisions have been spot on as to changing the talent make-up and losing culture of the Royals. We had very modest improvement this year with a manager that came in with a lousy record. So in walks this guy who knows how to win. He knows how to adapt. He wasn't a golden boy. He was the kid you wanted to cut but couldn't. At least that's what I get when I read between the lines. See Joe Posnanski's article in today's Kansas City Star.
Also, doesn't this all make you wonder about Buddy Bell's "retirement?" He retired to spend more time with family and work in the Royals' front office. Then, an hour and a half later, he takes a scouting job with the Chicago White Sox. Does that sound like he retired? Sounds like Dayton Moore allowed him to leave with dignity so that he could make a hire of a younger manager more in tune with all the young talent the Royals have both here in Kansas City and Wichita.
In a closing thought this can only help real estate investing, right? As the Royals begin a ten year tear winning 3 World Series titles the value of the team and the city will rise exponentially. It's perfect! :)

Friday, October 19, 2007

UMKC Communiversity Class On Real Estate Investing

On November 10th, 2007 I have been asked to teach a class on practical real estate investing here at the University of Missouri-Kansas City's Communiversity. Communiversity is an adult outreach service of UMKC.

Of course I have agreed to do so because it is in everyone's best interest that as many people know about and understand real estate investing as possible. I didn't say everyone needed to be a real estate investor, though that wouldn't be a bad idea. But if people understand the basic dynamics of income property and real estate investing then maybe they won't fall victim to the get-rich-quick gurus out there.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Boston Legal To Take On Foreclosure Mess

I was speaking to a client today and the subject of his work on Boston Legal came up. I asked him when Alan Shore and Denny Crane were going to take on the whole real estate foreclosure mess that has been taking place.

There was a pause, and then he said "soon." Seems Alan Shore is working up one of his passionate closings to expel the evils of banks, mortgage brokers and quite possibly real estate agents.

One of the reasons I like Boston Legal is because it takes on relevant current events. The show's format and characters allow several points of view to come forward before the inevitable closing filled with emotion, un-arguable logic and conviction.

Since real estate, real estate investing and the current condition of the market are of great importance to me I cannot wait to see how Hollywood interprets this current condition we find ourselves in.

As noted, here in Kansas City, Tulsa, Dallas and other cities the market really isn't that bad when compared to California, Arizona and Florida. I can't wait to see what their view cooks up. And I'll probably be siding with Denny Crane. :)