What Kind Of Investor Are You? Part 1 of 3

Over the next several weeks I’ll be diving deeper into each of the three strategies for real estate investing. I’ll uncover some of the advantages and disadvantages within each path to help you make more informed decisions as you continue to develop your business and grow your portfolio.

Last week I wrote a post on the 4 basic steps to getting started with real estate investing. The framework for your future business. You can read that complete post here but for those of you already familiar with the article, we’re going to focus on the first strategy I referred to in step #1.

  • Long term rental (buy & hold)

This week I polled a handful of experienced investors, all of whom have used Revestor to find buy & hold deals and asked them a series of questions. The information presented in this post is a collection of that feedback and my hope is that it helps you make well informed decisions.

When is the right time to invest in real estate?

When it comes to buy and hold real estate investing you need to think “get rich quick slow”. The benefits to buy and hold real estate investing do not come in the form of a quick buck but rather in the form of appreciation and passive income. Not to say you can’t make quick money by walking into a property with built in equity but you need to adopt the marathon vs. sprint mentality. I also received a lot of responses about “being in the know”. Simply put, decide when to get in based on the numbers, market trends and as much factual data that you can gather. Knowing the numbers is the key to mitigating risk in any real estate investment. One of the main benefits to using Revestor is that we allow you to run the numbers over actual listed properties. Be sure to get familiar with these key indicators to help you make more informed decisions.  

Screenshot 2016-07-19 13.51.35

Just a reminder for those not familiar with some of this terminology, you can find the definitions on our site here.

What should I look for in a potential property?

Doing your due diligence goes beyond knowing the market trends and numbers; especially when it comes to acquiring real property. A savvy investor always wants to acquire property with built in equity. This doesn’t mean getting your agent to write countless lowball offers until someone accepts but rather have a vision of what your property can be. For example, can you add a bedroom or bathroom? Can you update a kitchen or the exterior? These changes don’t require a lot of money or major renovations but they can fetch you higher rents and increase the overall value of your property. It’s also important to be thorough with your inspections. A cracked foundation, faulty plumbing or a deteriorating roof can cause crippling expenses to inexperienced investors. Make sure the property you’re purchasing is in sound shape to help minimize future surprises.  

One of the most common buy and hold strategies for new real estate investors is with multi-family properties. In this case, you the owner, occupy one of the units while renting out the other units to help offset / cover the cost of the mortgage. One of my good friends and one of the most successful real estate investors I know has used this method to build a small empire. He acquired properties by coming in with all cash (hard money loan), giving him the advantage over other buyers. Once he had possession and rented all but one of the units he would take out a mortgage, pay back his hard money loan and begin rehabbing the unit he occupied. He was creating equity and instant cash flow this way.

Next steps

Create a FREE account on Revestor, get familiar with the terminology and start gaining knowledge. By creating an account you will be able to…..

  • Search nationwide
  • Set your own investment criteria
  • Save searches
  • Save properties
  • And more

Creating an account with Revestor allows you to filter and find properties that work for you saving you time and money. You can create your account here and clicking “Sign Up” in the top right corner.

Next week I’ll be going over the basics of short term buy & hold for you vacation rental owners.

Happy hunting,



4 Steps to Getting Started in Real Estate Investing

man-notes-macbook-computer-mediumThis week we celebrated America’s birthday so in honor of the 4th I’m sharing my 4 steps to getting started with real estate investing. Before I get to the list, I want to share a quote that was shared with me earlier this week. It’s a simple quote but will be relevant to you as you start your business.

“I don’t know anyone that makes really good money without working for it”.

So simple, so true. I don’t think we’ll see it written on motivational cards anytime soon but it rings true. So please don’t fall for the get rich quick scheme / investor guru gimmicks that are out there. This is a business and needs to be treated as such. Nobody is going to give you money but you can earn it. Revestor doesn’t have all of the answers but we do offer the ability to search, analyze and acquire. It’s up to you to learn the process and understand the numbers.

That being said, here is a simple format you can follow to get your business started.

#1 Choose a strategy

A couple weeks ago we shared a screenshot of what our new homepage will look like. As a refresher, we will allow you to search by

  • Long term rental (buy & hold)
  • Short term rental (vacation rentals)
  • Fix & Flip (rehab & re-sell)

It’s important to decide which type of investor you are. It will be vital to the success of your business, the execution of your plan and the overall growth of your portfolio. I would recommend getting familiar with each of these strategies, applying them to markets you’re interested in and deciding which works best for you.  

#2 Develop a business plan

Don’t just have a vision of what investing in real estate entails, have a plan. I’m talking about a physical business plan with a market overview, financial projections, executive summary and more. There are countless templates that you can find online, it’s up to you however to do the homework and develop the plan. One of my favorite methods for business development is the critical path. The basic principal behind this method is to start with your end goal and then develop a timeline with all the tasks you’ll need to complete in order to reach the goal. You can find several templates for the critical path method online as well.

#3 Do your homework

If you take the time to truly develop a business plan then you’ll be doing your homework along the way. That’s a good start but you always need to be learning in this business. And if there was one area to master the terminology and the numbers associated with it. Here’s a good place to start.

#4 Expand your network

Here’s another quote for you.

“Your network creates your networth”

If you want to be successful then you need to surround yourself with like minded people. This doesn’t mean cutting off your social circles and attending the next get rich quick real estate seminar. It means pick up a book or two on real estate investing. It means reach out to a Realtor on Revestor and start a conversation. After all, you can’t grow your business and do great things with basic people.

Happy hunting,

We’re Not Zillow

How many times have you been asked this question. “So….. what do you do”? It’s an open ended question but is usually in reference to work. I get asked this question all the time and once I’m done explaining the origin of my name (Irish family name, pronounced like Steven without the “S”) the conversation get’s back to what it is I do. For work.

Them: “So what do you”?

Me: “I work with a real estate tech start up called Revestor”.

Them: “Oh cool! What’s Revestor”?

Me: “It’s a platform that allows users to analyze properties from an investor’s perspective”.

Them: “So…..like Zillow”?

No, not like Zillow. It’s conversations like these that got me thinking. I need to do a better job explaining what Revestor is, who it’s for and what we’re out to accomplish. Revestor can be a very powerful tool. If users understand how to use it. Users who create a free account and understand the benefits of our platform can create efficiencies in their business by…..

  • Setting their own investment criteria. Desired cash flow, desired cap rate and more
  • Saving specific searches (unlimited)
  • Saving specific properties for quick access (unlimited)
  • Receiving email alerts on saved searches and saved properties (you decide)
  • Controlling the numbers yourself
  • + more to come

So let me back up one paragraph and tell you why we’re not like Zillow.

Zillow will tell you what a home’s value is (kind of) and not give you control over that number. With Revestor, we bring in all the key metrics for real estate investing and let you adjust the numbers to estimate things like:

  • Net operating income
  • Capitalization rate
  • Cash flow
  • Debt service ratio
  • Cash on cash return
  • & more

This control gives our users the ability to make more informed decisions when it comes to acquiring real property. You no longer are buying a property just based on its estimated value and the payment you can afford – you’re now looking at it from many different angles. You can answer important questions like:

  • What is the best price to pay for the property?
  • How much rent can I make?
  • What is the optimal down payment?
  • How much can I profit on a monthly basis after all expenses and the mortgage payment?
  • How much can I potentially profit when I sell the property in the future?

So what is Revestor? We are a platform that enables users to search, analyze and acquire investment properties. It stands for Real Estate + Investor

So who is Revestor for? It’s for real estate investors (users) and for real estate professionals (advertisers).

#1 Real estate investors – As mentioned above. Revestor is a real estate investment calculator that allows you to run the numbers over live listings. No more extracting data from multiple MLS’s saving you countless hours of number crunching.

#2 Real estate agents – Investors buy homes at nearly twice the rate as traditional home buyers. So while you as an agent may have to write a handful of lowball offers know that you’re getting a client who will need your services twice as much.

What are we out to accomplish? We’re out to improve the way people invest in real estate. We believe that technology is supposed to make things easier and that technology has not yet improved the real estate investing process (we hope to change that). We will continue to bring you more listings, more tools and certified professionals to help you grow your portfolio. Sign up for a FREE account below.

Happy hunting,



The Only Constant is Change

We’re out to redefine the way people search, analyze and acquire real estate investments. At Revestor, we’re constantly improving and our latest update is focused on how you search.

While we’re pretty lucky to have a solid team, we know we don’t have all the answers. So we’ve taken your feedback, walked it through design and are currently having our developers test. Here’s a little peek at what your new homepage will look like.

Screenshot 2016-05-18 12.39.54

The entire process of real estate investing begins with a search. How do people look for real estate investments? Initially, we referred to our platform as a search engine for real estate investing. While we’ve grown Revestor to be much more than that, the logic behind this starting point remains the same.

Think about Google for a minute and why they’re successful. It’s relevance. If you do a search and aren’t given relevant results you’re not going through page after page. What you’re doing is returning to the homepage, refining your search and continuing to do so until you can find what it is you’re looking for. The same logic applies to our new homepage. We don’t want you to search through properties that aren’t relevant to your investment goals.

So what kind of real estate investor are you?

#1 – Buy & Hold (Long term rentals)

Are you looking to acquire properties and hold them for an extended period of time?

#2 – Buy & Hold (Vacation / short term rentals)

Are you looking to acquire properties and rent them out daily or weekly on sites such as Airbnb?

#3 – Fix & Flip (Rehab & resell)

Maybe you’re looking to buy, rehab and sell?

Based on your answer, we will display the relevant properties and allow you to control the numbers to begin analyzing opportunities. Speaking of analyzing, be sure to sign up for email notifications as we’ll be releasing new posts and videos each week explaining each of these methods in great detail.

*Revestor Tip*
Create a free account to gain access to these features

  • Refine search – Allows users to set specific investment criteria
  • Save search – Allows users to save specific searches
  • Save properties – Allows users to save specific properties in their profile
  • Email alerts – Receive notifications when properties that meet your investment criteria come on the market or have a change in status  

Happy hunting,

We’re Back!

When you’re a start up business, especially in the technology space, it’s tough to cover all of your bases. Case in point, we haven’t updated our blog since November. Seems like a good time to do that.

Let me take you back to where it all started.

Like any good idea the concept of Revestor was born while drinking beer. Our CEO, Bill Lyons and myself were sharing a couple brews on a Sunday afternoon when we landed on the topic of real estate. At the time I was with another technology start up. We were in the process of building a piece of software that would improve on what we deemed a faulty process. Bill and I found a similar fault in the real estate investing process and decided we could improve it. That was in 2012.

Fast forward a few years and we’ve built an amazing platform but real estate and technology are still in a vicious tug-o-war. Brokers and agents who used to control the data and inventory no longer do. Now, it seems technology is controlling that data and inventory. Agents have no choice but to embrace this change and get in between the technology and consumer to stay alive. The ultimate winner in this battle is the consumer, who now comes to the negotiating table armed with information. Unfortunately it’s not always good information (think Zestimate). When we built Revestor it was important for us to…

  1. Use technology to improve the process of real estate investing
  2. Give investors a platform where they could control the numbers
  3. Give agents a platform to market investment opportunities and attract investors

Technology is just that, improving a process, saving time and money. When we started Revestor there wasn’t a clear starting point for real estate investors. There were, and still are, plenty of books, how to’s, seminars and Gurus that claim they have the secret recipe for real estate investors. A lot of times these recipes come with a heavy price tag for the investor too. A few things about us:

  1. We built a platform that allows you to search for investments, nationwide
  2. We allow you to run the numbers over actual properties
  3. We have a network of professional agents that can help you
  4. We’re 100% free to use

One thing that all real estate investors have in common is that they are business owners. If you’ve been a business owner before you know there are two things you can count on with absolute certainty.

#1. Everything will take more time than you expected

#2. Everything will cost more money than you calculated

In the 15 years that I’ve been self – employed I have yet to meet an entrepreneur who told me their business took less time and made them more money than they anticipated. If I asked each of these people what they’ve learned along the way I’d have a hard time getting them to stop talking. My point here as it relates to real estate investing, Revestor and running your own business is going to take some time. Educate yourself on the process. Decide what market(s) are good for you. Talk to a professional agent who can help.  

Happy hunting,



Second Home Properties – Rental Income Now Okay

Fannie Mae just announced on 11/3/15 that rental income is now okay on second home properties. This is huge news for those looking to rent out their second homes on Airbnb, Homeaway or Rent Like a Champion without them being considered “investment properties”. You can now purchase property as a 2nd home instead of an investment property. Most lenders require 20%+ down payment on investment properties and charge interest rates about 1/2% higher than 2nd home rates. Today, (11/20/15) you could put 10% down and get an interest rate of 4% on a 30yr fixed mortgage with no monthly mortgage insurance.


Here is a excerpt directly out of FNMA’s guides:


Second Home Requirements
must be occupied by the borrower for some portion of the year
is restricted to one-unit dwellings
must be suitable for year-round occupancy
the borrower must have exclusive control over the property
must not be rental property or a timeshare arrangement1
cannot be subject to any agreements that give a management firm control over the occupancy of the property

If the lender identifies rental income from the property, the loan is eligible for delivery as a second home as long as the income is not used for qualifying purposes, and all other requirements for second homes are met (including the occupancy requirement above).


In other words as long as you occupy your one-unit second home for some portion of the year and you don’t use the rental income to qualify you are not subject to the restrictions of investment properties. Here is a link to the update. Now has never been a better time to buy second homes and rent them out on vacation rental sites. You can earn cash flow and get to travel to them for free once a year.


Five Real Estate Trends to Watch in 2016


Tracking current trends in the real estate industry can allow you to achieve higher profits to help you make the most of your investments. The experts at the Urban Land Institute and PwC recently released their Emerging Trends in Real Estate US & Canada (ETRE) forecast report for 2016, which offers insights into the direction of the marketplace in upcoming years. Here are some of the most important “must watch for” trends identified in this influential report.

Must Watch Trend #1 — Secondary Markets on the Rise

While the highest real estate values and rental prices are typically found in large urban environments like New York and Los Angeles, less populous cities are also making a significant mark on the real estate industry. The ETRE forecast identifies San Diego, Denver and Austin as three cities to watch in 2016 thanks to the high degree of entrepreneurial investment and development underway in these real estate markets. Looking beyond the obvious primary markets and exploring investment opportunities in second-tier population centers can provide added opportunities for profitability and growth.

Must Watch Trend #2 — Office Buildings in Demand

Commercial properties have often been considered a bellwether for the entire real estate industry. Office space is currently in high demand in many areas; however, the configurations and expected amenities have changed considerably. Cafeterias are reentering the corporate arena to promote greater productivity in the workplace. Open floor plans and shared spaces are also in demand. Opting for commercial buildings that already have these features can save on remodeling costs and can boost lease fees for real estate investment.

Must Watch Trend #3 — Climate Change Reducing Demand for Parking

With more urban residents opting for public transportation, Uber or bikes to manage their daily commutes, the need for parking structures and lots to manage vehicle storage has been reduced considerably. Concerns about climate change and an added emphasis on green-friendly living may have had an impact in this area of the housing market. According to the ETRE report, some cities are reducing the amount of required parking for new housing developments. Tenants and city officials also take walkability scores into consideration when considering the need for parking in the residential real estate marketplace. And for those that still drive there are now services like Luxe that will park your car for you.

Must Watch Trend #4 — Sticking with the Suburbs

Despite many doom-and-gloom predictions about the death of the suburbs, these areas at the outskirts of large urban metropolises continue to attract families and individuals seeking a respite from the bright lights and noise of the big city. The suburbs are reinventing themselves, though, and providing many of the same options once only available in the heart of the city. This hybrid approach to residential areas will have a significant impact on housing for the foreseeable future.

Must Watch Trend #5 — Interest Rates on the Rise

The ETRE forecast also predicts that interest rates will begin to rise in upcoming months, making mortgages more costly and investments somewhat riskier. This also typically means a higher demand for rental properties, as higher rates generally result in less of the population being able to take advantage of mortgage loans. By acting now on the still-low interest rates and available bargains, investors can ensure the highest returns on investment for their real estate portfolio.

These five trends will likely have a large influence the rental and leasing marketplace and will have a significant impact on real estate investments across the U.S. and Canada. By taking these factors into consideration, you can enjoy higher profitability as the marketplace continues to evolve.

Five Tips to Ensure You Stay Competitive in the Real Estate Industry



Remaining competitive in the real estate industry requires hard work and persistence. Property managers must provide a wide array of services for their clients, including the following:

  • Marketing properties to commercial and residential tenants
  • Screening potential tenants to reduce turnover and ensure on-time payments
  • Providing maintenance service for all units
  • Handling paperwork and recommending price points for lease and rental fees

For investors going at it alone in the real estate marketplace, managing all these tasks can be challenging. Here are five of the most important keys to longevity in the property management and real estate investment fields.

Tip #1: Solicit Feedback
Finding out what tenants are saying about you and your property is critical to maintaining a positive public reputation. By proactively requesting feedback regarding your properties, your maintenance procedures and your overall business practices, you can ensure a greater degree of tenant satisfaction and can reduce turnover in your investment properties. This can boost your profitability and ensure steady revenues for years to come.

Tip #2: Research Price Points
Making use of available tools to check pricing for comparable properties and to determine the real value of each real estate investment under consideration can help you select the right properties for your portfolio and the right rent or lease price points for your tenants. By staying competitive in the financial field, you can improve your performance and profitability in the real estate marketplace. Don’t forget to take neighborhood information into consideration; the right location can make a big difference in the desirability of a property.

Tip #3: Embrace Modern Technologies
Communicating with clients and tenants via email or text can save time and money in managing reminders and handling necessary correspondence. By paying expenses electronically, you can also reduce paperwork inside the office, allowing you to maintain a green-friendly workplace while enjoying added convenience for all your transactions. Mobile devices and cell phones can provide improved access to information, allowing you to stay productive even after hours or when you are away from the office.

Tip #4: Track Your Return on Investment
Maintaining meticulous financial records is not only a legal requirement but also a good idea to ensure that you are turning a profit on your real estate investments. Comparing revenues with expenses for each property in your portfolio can allow you to identify underperforming investments and take steps to address these issues to ensure the highest level of profitability for your company.

Tip #5: Trust but Verify

The right screening processes can have a real impact on the quality of tenants your properties attract. Checking credit reports, references and past payment patterns can provide added insights into the financial habits and dependability of potential tenants. In both the commercial and the residential real estate markets, acquiring and retaining the right renters and lessees can give a significant boost to your overall profitability. A little due diligence can go a long way toward helping you achieve this goal.

These five core strategies can help you manage properties and maintain a healthy financial profile in the real estate marketplace. By keeping your eyes on the profitability prize, you can expect your investments to pay off for increased longevity in this constantly evolving area of the U.S. economy.

Thinking Outside the Box: Vacation Home Options for Real Estate Investors

Thinking outside the box can help real estate investors make the most profitable use of their available capital. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently released its Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey for 2015, which revealed some surprising information about the current residential real estate market and the opportunities available for investors. While primary residence purchases continue to dominate the market and comprise 60 percent of all sales, vacation home sales are on the rise. In 2013, vacation homes accounted for 13 percent of sales in the national real estate marketplace; by 2014, that figure rose to 21 percent. Understanding the factors that influence buyers of second homes can ensure that investors achieve their fair share of profits in this niche market.


Dynamics of Vacation Home Buying
According to the NAR survey, vacation homebuyers had five primary reasons for purchasing these properties:

  1. Roughly one third were actively looking for a property to use as a vacation retreat.
  2. An estimated 19 percent purchased with the intent to use the vacation home as their primary residence at some point in the future.
  3. Projected appreciation played a role in the decision to purchase for 13 percent of buyers.
  4. Another 13 percent indicated that they had bought a vacation home because they had located a bargain in the local marketplace.
  5. 11% purchased a vacation home to generate income through renting out the property

The latter three reasons bear a striking similarity to the objectives of those looking to optimize their revenues in the real estate marketplace. By taking a more inclusive approach to the types of properties considered, investors can often expand their portfolios while achieving higher returns on their financial investments.

Resale a Better Bet than Renting
While investing in a vacation home as a rental property may seem an attractive option for real estate investors, the greatest profits may be available for those willing to earn a bit of sweat equity and to resell these properties in the current marketplace. Financial experts from CNBC, U.S. News & World Report and other reputable sites are touting the financial and tax advantages of purchasing a second home. By entering this sector of the real estate market now, investors can take advantage of this buzz to ensure the greatest possible returns on their financial investment.

Rental Profits Possible for Cautious Investors
Depending on the location and the initial and ongoing costs of the investment, vacation homes can also provide ongoing rental revenues for savvy buyers. TripAdvisor notes that the Southeast region of the U.S. is the most popular area for vacation rentals, attracting 39 percent of all business in this real estate sector. By choosing a location carefully and looking for bargains in high-demand areas, investors may be able to achieve high occupancy rates and competitive revenues in current market conditions.

As demand for vacation rentals increases from sites like Airbnb, HomeAway (just purchased by Expedia for $3.9 billion) and Rent Like a Champion more investors will become hosts and purchase vacation homes to generate income.

By expanding their portfolios to include select vacation properties, real estate investors can potentially enjoy added revenue streams and increased diversification. This can result in greater long-term returns on investment and improved performance in the next few years.


4 Ways to Go “Green” — Our 1-2-3 Guide On How to Be More Eco-Friendly in Real Estate


As climate change becomes an increasingly important part of our daily vernacular, finding ways to increase energy efficiency and environmental responsibility throughout your company can provide you with added savings on utility bills and reduce your carbon footprint. For real estate investors and managers, establishing a green-friendly brand image can provide a distinct selling point for your company while distinguishing you from your competitors in this field. Here are four proven strategies to boost your environmental credentials in the real estate industry.

Green Tip 1: Explore Paper-Free Options

Reducing the amount of paper needed to conduct business can have a dramatic effect on your office’s environmental impact. Some of the most important ways to limit paper use include the following:

  • Opt for online applications rather than print versions of the same documents
  • Allow for and encourage electronic payment and receipt options for tenants and lessees
  • Invest in centralized cloud or server storage rather than maintaining file cabinets and printed copies of contracts and other documents
  • Choose online commercials and a corporate website over printed brochures and direct mailings

These strategies can help you reduce paper use while offering the same top-quality service for current and prospective tenants in the modern eco-friendly environment.

Green Tip 2: Install Energy-Saving Fixtures

Although the cost of full replacement of light fixtures, water heaters and air conditioning units can be prohibitively expensive, upgrading to energy-efficient models over time can provide huge selling points for new tenants and corporate clients. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, lighting accounts for almost 20 percent of energy expenditures in the commercial sector. Installing green-friendly lighting fixtures and electrical equipment, you can reduce the cost of utilities every single month. Water-conserving bathroom and kitchen fixtures are also important in areas hard-hit by drought. Best of all, the cost savings realized by your tenants can result in increased retention and reliable revenues for your investment company.

Green Tip 3: Recycle and Reuse

Recycling aluminum, paper and glass items can be a good starting place for instituting green-friendly policies in your office. Refilling printer toners and recycling electronics can also reduce the environmental impact of your business enterprises. By passing along unwanted and obsolete equipment to charitable organizations or recycling centers, you can provide added help for those who need it most. At the same time, you prevent dangerous or toxic substances from contaminating ground water in your area.

Green Tip 4: Consider Transportation Options

Investing in a hybrid vehicle can not only provide you with added green cred among your potential clients, but can also save you a considerable amount on fuel costs during the course of an average year. By driving a vehicle that is in line with your corporate environmental policy, you can also enhance your company’s reputation among environmentally conscious buyers and sellers.

These four strategies can provide your real estate company with an added selling point for green-friendly clients and can enhance your overall reputation for innovation among potential renters, buyers and sellers. By adopting an environmentally responsible attitude toward all aspects of your business operations, you can enjoy the economic benefits of lower utilities and an improved market position among the eco-friendly demographic of the U.S. economy.