3 Expert Real Estate Investment Strategies for 2015

The Housing News Report reached out to some experienced real estate investors in December and asked them what investment strategies they planned to execute in 2015.

Below are some excerpts of what they had to say.

Join them if you can’t beat them

Tony Youngs, a former aircraft mechanic turned real estate investor from Marietta, Ga., has been buying  real estate principles for 25 years.

Youngs said: “When I first started buying foreclosures and rehabbing them in 1989, I would buy them below market, fix it up myself, and either refinance them or rent them out. Today, the market has shifted. What I’m doing now is finding houses for cash investors. Instead of competing with them (Wall Street investors), I’m finding properties for them.”

Stay on top of the latest local trends

Kentucky investor Mike Butler, a veteran Louisville, Ky., landlord, said his primary real estate strategy was building income, not appreciation. In Kentucky, where home prices rarely fluctuate up or down, income is more important than appreciation, said Butler.

“I’m downsizing my real estate portfolio in 2015 because of local government,” said Butler, a former Louisville police officer and author of “Landlording on Auto-Pilot” (Wiley, 2006). “I recently spent three weeks on government appeals concerning some of my rentals. I’m just going to keep the free-and-clear rentals and get rid of the rest. The real estate market is always great,” said Butler, a licensed real estate broker and speaker who largely buys and holds his rentals. “But you need to stay on top of your game. You need to stay on top of trends.”

Find your niche

Jay P. DeCima, known in real estate circles as “Fixer Jay” of Redding, Calif., believes real estate investors should specialize in a certain area, and then become the best in their area in the specialty. For DeCima, his specialty is buying what he calls “colonies” of properties clustered on one lot.

“I define specialty as something you learn to do better than everyone else in your investment area,” said DeCima, who owns more than 280 units. “I buy them in groups of five to 12 houses and get the per-unit cost down. I also work with owners on seller financing. They understand that. Seller financing opens up other opportunities unlike bank financing.

“Now, when you get to my age, you sell them and carry the paper,” said DeCima, referring to income producing seller financing. “It’s womb to tomb investing. It’s not real estate we want; it’s the benefits. Every piece of property has a lot of different benefits. If you can get enough of them (properties) together you’re sitting on a goldmine. There’s no end to it. It’s a great business. Anyone can learn this business and never work again in their life. I’m not in the housing business; I’m in the income business.”

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