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Lose Money in Real Estate Today

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

Real estate professionals often preach about all the ways you can make money buying property. Rarely are we told about how we can lose money. I’m a real estate professional, and I’m here to set the record straight. Here are ten sure-fire ways to lose money:

1.  Not Understanding the Deal

Never put money into something you don’t understand. Get advice from a professional who does. My attorney is my best friend when it comes to money, because he has been protecting real estate clients for 40 years and points out things I would miss. An experienced real estate attorney will protect you and is well worth the investment.

2.  Not Understanding Tax Implications

Plenty of people are learning this lesson today. Anyone who did a short sale or walked away from a property may be facing debt relief taxes. Never make any financial moves without the advice of a CPA who specializes in real estate.

3.  Believing, Not Seeing

There’s wisdom in the old saying, “You’ve got to see it to believe it”. Too many people are buying U.S. real estate today based on what they are being told, without verifying it themselves. It seems obvious, but never buy a property you haven’t seen - especially from someone you haven’t met. Believe it or not, it happens all the time. Even hedge funds were doing it - make sure you know who’s managing your money!

4.  Saving $350 on an Inspection

It’s fairly easy to protect yourself in real estate by ordering an inspection and an appraisal. It could be the best $350 you’ve ever spent.  Get a professional who represents you, not the seller. Make sure there’s no connection between the two. Consider choosing from associations like www.ashi.org and http://www.appraisalinstitute.org/

5.  Trusting the Internet

This could be the #1 source of buyer regret. Just like on-line dating services, everything looks better on the internet. Nothing beats a real-life meeting where you can see the property, drive the neighborhood and meet the neighbors.

6.  Doing it Yourself

If you’re not a contractor, property manager, lawyer or accountant, don’t act like one. Using the services of qualified professionals will pay off in the long run. No one wants  to inherit low quality work, except the IRS. They thrive on your weaknesses. Anyway, how much is your time really worth?

7.  Confusing High Distress With High Profits

Money can certainly be made when purchasing distressed property for a discount and then fixing it up. But when the entire area is distressed, no amount of fixing will help. When the majority of properties for sale in an area are foreclosures or short sales, you are no longer getting a deal. You are buying at market value (like Las Vegas). And what will you do with your property? If you plan to live in it for at least 5-7 years, you may be fine as long as the area doesn’t suffer from high crime. If you plan to rent it or sell it, plan to have lots of competition. Competition in real estate means lower prices.

8.  Breaking S.E.C. Laws

If you are raising money to buy real estate, you may be entering into the zone of securities. If you are lending money to someone who wants to buy real estate, you may be entering the twilight zone. Always get legal advice before borrowing or lending money to anyone (even family or church members.)

9.  Not Getting Enough Insurance

It’s no fun, but you’ve got to read the fine lines - or get an attorney to do it. Get as much insurance as you can get. It doesn’t cost much more but will cover things you may not be expecting.

10.              Taking Poor Advice

Everyone seems to be an expert when it comes to real estate. Don’t listen to your neighbors or your hairdresser, unless they are super successful real estate investors. Get your advice from someone who’s successfully done what you’re trying to do.

For more tips on how to protect yourself and make money buying real estate as an investment today, visit www.RealWealthNetwork.com and download the free report: “7 Steps for New Real Estate Investors.” 

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You can email John Ransom at thfinance@mail.com 

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