Investment Series Investor Versus Trader
Many people have mixed up the terms " Investor " and " Trader " to mean the same thing. They can't be more wrong. It is exactly the mixing up of these 2 very important terms that led to many people starting on the wrong foot in the capital markets.
An Investor is a person who puts his money where it can potentially generate a return. He does not usually get involved in the money making process. Investors include buyers of investment real estate and buyers of funds.
A Trader is a person who fights in the capital markets front line personally in order to generate equity. He is the one who personally chooses the investment instrument (e.g option trading), makes an opinion on it and executes a series of trades in order to make money out of it.
Too many people have mixed being a trader for being an investor. This has led to a lot of misunderstanding. The misunderstanding comes from the wide spread teaching that anyone can choose to break out of the "rat race" by choosing to be an investor rather than a worker. That person then turns to exploring option trading or forex or such instruments "as an investor" and completely finds that not everyone can excel in those areas.
While it is true that anyone can be an investor by putting your money in a well diversified portfolio, not everyone can be a successful trader. Active trading requires far more skill and finesse to master and to make consistent money for income replacement. This is especially true when a lot of the strategies that are available today are highly subjective.
However, only by being a trader will anyone be able to generate the legendary returns that they yearn so much. And being a trader is exactly the hardest to do unless you have a proven system to follow or someone to mentor you.
Therefore, before you take the plunge into the capital markets, make sure you know what you are really into. If you have decided to become a trader, make sure you keep your full time job while you look for a proven system to learn. A proven system is something like the Star Trading System which I have followed with great success for years.
How Investment Options Works The For Buyer
A call investment option is a financial contract involving two parties, the buyer and the seller of this type of investment option. Often it is simply labeled a "call". The buyer of the option has the right but not the obligation to buy an settled quantity of a particular commodity or financial instrument from the seller of the option at a certain time for a certain price. The seller is obligated to sell the commodity or financial instrument if the buyer should decide to buy. For getting this right the buyer pays a premium.
As the buyer of a call investment option wants the price of the underlying instrument to rise in the future; the seller either expects that it will not, or is willing to give up some of the upside profit from a price rise in return for the premium plus retaining the opportunity to make a gain up to the strike price.
Call investment options are most profitable for the buyer when the underlying instrument is going up, making the price of the underlying instrument nearer to the strike price. When the prices of the underlying instrument surpass the strike price, the option is said to be in the money.
The initial transaction in this situation - buying/selling a call option - is not the supplying of a physical or financial asset - the underlying instrument. Instead it is the granting of the right to buy the underlying asset, in exchange for the investment option price or premium.
Precise specifications may differ depending on option style. A European call investment option allows the holder to exercise, to buy, the option only on the delivery date. An American call option allows exercise at any time during the life of the option.
Call investment options can be purchased on many financial instruments other than stock in a corporation. Investment Options can be purchased on interest rates as well as on physical assets such as gold or crude oil. A call option should not be confused with a stock option. A stock option is the option to buy stock in a particular company. And it is a right issued by a corporation to a particular person, normally an employee, to purchase treasury stock. When a stock option is exercised, new shares are issued. When a call option is exercised, if it involves shares, the shares are merely being transferred from one owner to another. Nor is stock investment options traded on the open market
Net Income Over Cash Flow
Some Financial Analysts argue that using cash flow will provide a more accurate picture in determining the fair value of a common stock. What gives? They reason that investors should follow where the cash is. Cash flow will track the flow of cash in and out and this is the reason business exists; to get cash.
Things are not that simple, however. Just as net income, cash flow can be easily manipulated. Cash flow here refers to cash flow from operations found on the statement of cash flow published regularly by publicly traded companies.
Let's take a look at the statement of cash flow for one publicly traded company, Amazon.com (AMZN) and decipher its components. We will use the statement of cash flow for the year ending on 31 december 2004. Here is the source from Yahoo! Finance: http://finance.yahoo.com/q/cf?s=AMZN&annual
The top part is net income, which is self-explanatory. This is what a company earns during a period of time. For the time period earns $ 588 M. To get into the cash flow figure, we need to add depreciation expense, subtract any increase in accounts receivable and inventory and add any increase in short term liability such as accounts payable. Sometimes, there will be some adjustments made to the net income which will increase or decrease cash flow depending on the charge.
Now here is how companies can manipulate cash flow. This will in effect temporarily give an impression that cash flow has improved markedly.
Temporarily Delaying Payment. This will increase Accounts Payable which in turn will improve cash flow. While only good companies can demand its suppliers to delay payments, all the debt eventually needs to be paid.
Demanding faster payments from customers. While an efficient collection is needed for a firm's survival, giving less credit to customers will result in them balking away. In the short term, cash flow will improve due to improved collection. In the long run, customers will go to competitors who can offer better credit.
Keeping a tight supply of inventory. While bloated inventory is wasteful, there is a certain level of inventory that is needed to keep a business running. Short-minded management will try to manipulate cash flow by keeping a short supply of inventory. When you run a retail business, certain inventory is needed. It is not similar to a built-to-order company like Dell Inc. (DELL).
These three items vary from quarter to quarter and year to year. When determining fair value, it is best to ignore these fluctuations and focus on operational earnings generated by the company.
Another misleading cue from cash flow is that it adds up depreciation as the amount of cash generated from operations. While depreciation expense is a non-cash transaction, it is a necessary cost of doing business. For example a company bought a computer and depreciate it for five years. For the next five years, the company incur a non-cash charge, which is the reason why we add depreciation expense to our cash flow. However, we need that computer for our operational purpose. Unless we stop spending in our capital expenditure, adding depreciation expense to our cash flow does not make sense. Sure, you enjoy the benefit now. But five years from now, you need to spend money on a new computer, which is a cash outflow.
As with other investing tools, cash flow from operations cannot be used independently of other ratios. Each and every financial ratio has its strengths and weaknesses. I believe that cash flow does not reflect the true earning power of a company because of short-term fluctuations of the balance sheet and the addition of depreciation expense into a firm's cash flow.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average Failing The Average Investor
In addition to a well thought out Investment Plan, successful Equity investing requires a feel for what is going on in the real world that we all refer to as "The Market". To most investors, the DJIA provides all of the information they think they need, and they worship it mindlessly, thinking that this time tattered average has mystical predictive and analytic powers far beyond the scope of any other market number. A cursory review of New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) Issue Breadth figures (93% of the Dow stocks are traded there) clearly shows how the Dow has neither been prescient nor historically accurate with regard to broad market movements for the past eight years. Additionally, this financial icon that investors revere as the ultimate "Blue Chip" Stock Market Indicator has lost its luster, with less than half its members achieving S & P ratings of A or better, and 20% of the issues ranked below Investment Grade.
Is the 120-year-old DJIA impotent? No, it's certainly helpful for Peak-to-Peak analysis right now, for example, to see if your Large Cap only Equity Portfolio is as high as it was six years ago. But it's based upon a seriously flawed Buy and Hold investment strategy and universally used as a market barometer, when its original role was as an economic indicator. This is not just semantics. It's Wall Street's rendition of "The Emperor's New Clothes". Possibly, a weighted average of investor perceived business prospects for thirty major companies is a viable economic indicator, but leading or lagging? Clearly, there is no conceivable way that any existing average/index can measure the progress of the thousands of individual securities (and Mutual Funds masquerading as individual securities) that, in the real investment world, are "The Market". And is there just "a" Market, when REITs, Index ETFs, Equity CEFs, Income CEFs, and even some Preferreds are all mixed together in such a way that most brokerage firm statements can't quite distinguish one from the other? Investors are dealing with multiple markets of different types. Markets that don't follow the same rules or respond to the same changes in the same ways. The Dow is dead, long live reality.
Feeling statistically naked? Don't fret Nell, here are a few real market statistics and lists that are easy to understand, easy to put your cursor on, and useful in keeping you up to date on what's going on in the multiple Markets of today's Investment World:
1. Issue Breadth is the single most accurate barometer of what's going on in the markets on a daily basis! Statistics for each of the Stock Exchanges are tracked daily, documenting how many individual issues have advanced versus how many have declined. Rarely are these important numbers reported, especially if they are painting a picture different from that being jammed down investors' throats by institutional propaganda. Would you believe, that in 1999 (when the DJIA and other indices) last achieved All Time High (ATH) levels, monthly Issue Breadth on the NYSE was positive only in April, followed by a 12 month paper bloodbath extending through May of 2000. Since then, Breadth has been positive for six consecutive years. Surprise!
2. Pay close attention to the number of issues hitting New Fifty-Two Week Highs (52Hs) and Lows each day: a) for trend corroboration, and b) to obtain a wealth of important information for daily decision-making and periodic performance understanding. The recent NYSE Bull Market (not a typo) is clearly evidenced by six consecutive years (from 04/00) with more issues hitting new 52Hs than new 52Ls... New Highs nearly tripled New Lows. So much for the standard market tracking tools... not to mention Wall Street manipulation of all the news that's fit to print for investors. Looking at the daily lists of 52Hs and 52Ls will help you determine: a) which sectors are moving in which directions, b) if interest rate expectations are pointing up or down, c) which individual issues are approaching either your Buy or Sell targets and, d) which direction your portfolio Market Value should be moving.
In recent months, REITs, metals, and energy stocks dominated the hot list while regional banks, utilities, and other interest rate sensitive issues were notsos (sic). These lists always indicate what's going on now, without any weighting, charting, or hype, making your job almost simplistic. Take your reasonable profits in the issues that have risen to new peaks (Sell Higher), and purchase the quality issues among those that are at 52Ls (Buy Lower). High prices often reflect high speculation with Bazooka potential, while lower priced value stocks often turn out to be bargains. Ishares, foreign Closed End Funds, Mining and Energy bloat today's 52H List while preferred shares and Utilities occupy the 52Ls... a bit more meaningful than "the Dow is near an All Time High", and a bit scarier as well.
3. Throughout the trading day, periodic review of three lists called "Market Statistics" will keep you current on individual issue price movements, active issues, sector developments, and more. How you interpret and use this information will eventually affect your bottom line, weather you are a Value Stock Investor or a Small Cap day trader. The Most Active and The Most Declined Lists describe individual and group activity, identify where some more detailed research might be appropriate, and provide potential additions to your Daily Stock Watch List. The Most Active and Most Advanced Lists will identify the hottest individual issues and sectors, identify areas where news stories may be worth reading, and instantly make you aware of profit taking opportunities.
I know you are tempted to shout "Blasphemy" at the top of your lungs, but the DJIA was developed in a pre-internet world (actually, pre-automobile) where the statistics discussed above were unavailable, only the wealthy cared about the stock market, there were no Mutual Funds, and, frankly Scarlet, 95% of the population just didn't care. Now here's some blasphemy for you: It is likely that not one person reading this article has an investment portfolio that closely resembles the composition of the DJIA. It is just as likely that nearly everyone reading this article will use the Dow to evaluate portfolio performance. I've never understood this phenomenon, and I know that change takes time... but really, the Dow (and the other averages) have had their day, and far too much of your nest egg, for you to ignore this reality any longer.
Wealth Management Solutions Options Abound
Wealth management is a difficult concept to grasp for many people, especially in terms of investment and savings for the future. With options like stocks, bonds, 401K's, 529's, and more, choosing the right wealth management option can be tough at best and impossibly confusing in many circumstances. That's why there are wealth management firms who are experts in these services and exist soley to help guide high net worth individuals through the aches and pains of wealth management and private banking, as well as educating people on where to put their money and how each investment will help their finances grow.
If you are interested in learning more about the various ways to invest your money or plan for retirement, you should perhaps look into private banking options. In private banking, you have a direct account manager that you can contact any time with any questions regarding your account and how your assets are being handled. There are many options for investment through private banking, and most are fairly simple to understand, making this a preferred option for many individuals who are unfamiliar with wealth management.
Wealth Management Services
For those who don't quite understand the concept behind wealth management services are available from a number of avenues to assist in the determination of how to handle finances. Wealth management means more than sticking to a budget; it also means planning for the future, and various institutions can assist in teaching individuals how to manage their money, as well as in providing complete wealth management services.
Wealth Management Firms
Have you considered a wealth management firm? You've spoken to private bankers and don't like the options they provide for wealth management. You aren't a fan of computers, so you don't want to invest in wealth management software. However, you need a customized solution for your assets to build at a greater rate, and you have no idea where to invest. Wealth management firms are built on the basis of helping you to follow the right avenue. With a personal advisor, you'll be able to configure your investment options to achieve your specific goals with as much or as little input as you feel is necessary.
Wealth Management Software
You may also consider the benefits of wealth management software. Many people have a hard time managing their finances enough to plan from paycheck to paycheck, much less to have a goal for the future. When it comes to wealth management, most people are completely flustered by the thought of having a budget that considers not only the groceries to buy tomorrow, but also the ones you'll need to buy after retirement in 40 years. Wealth management software is a helpful tool in building your financial plans so that you can feel comfortable with your current lifestyle, be assured that you'll have the assets you need in the future, and can fulfill some of your dreams in the interim.
Give Me Egg Yellows
There once lived a man fixated on contrarianism. If a clear sky blessed his town, he pointed to the distant storm clouds over the horizon. When the hometown team played its rival, he cheered diligently for the opponent. And as the stock market posted tremendous gains, he preached of a bear market seduction.
"Don't be lured by the recent gains, you will eventually face misfortune and lose everything!"
The entire town knew him as the inconsiderate contrarian and avoided him at all costs. It was his place in the community to doubt and his viewpoints proved unpopular to everyone. He disrupted their jubilant ways of life and distracted them from their daily routines. But, it was his explosive display of antagonism one particular morning that encouraged the town people to rethink their complacency.
On the morning in question, he paid a visit to the neighborhood health diner. The diner advertised itself as an alternative to fast food restaurants. As he sat patiently to place his breakfast order, he became disgruntled with the consistency of orders requesting "egg whites." It seemed every patron ordered the same. Egg whites ... egg whites ... egg whites.
"Stop with the egg whites!" he told himself.
The contrarian, however, was an educated man and he knew the benefits of egg whites. The yolk contained a lot of unhealthy fat and cholesterol, but not egg whites. The high protein from egg whites provided the benefits of muscle building and weight loss. Remember though, he was the town contrarian and it was his obligation to propose a second opinion. As he contemplated the best way to introduce salmonella to the diner's most popular topic of conversation, he had a revelation.
"Give me egg yellows!" he shouted rebelliously to the waitress. Every fork, spoon, coffee cup, and orange juice glass dropped. Silence breached the busy diner and the contrarian smiled with satisfaction. As the contrarian, he rejected the healthier egg white option.
With one statement of defiance, he disregarded all medical advice to limit egg yolks, he argued popular opinion, and he glorified the alternative. His personal entertainment relied solely on the responses of those he confronted and he laughed at the shocked expressions. Although the diner spoke about the ridiculous incident for years to come, some patrons began to deviate from the diet and ate the entire egg from time to time.
Most people find embracing the contrarian a difficult proposition because it goes against the tide of popular belief. Yet, there are times when one must consider alternatives.
Contrarianism has its benefits and disadvantages in the areas of investing and saving. It takes a delicate mixture of confidence, education, and control to make the theory successful. The contrarian investor often sells when the herd is fervently buying and buys when the herd is frantically selling. The contrarian recognizes the extremes of hysterical selling and overly optimistic buying. And to the contrarian, the genesis of a great investment opportunity occurs during intolerant and erratic market episodes.
Capitulation is an important concept for the contrarian to understand. It refers to sellers theoretically selling all positions as the market abandons its belief of an upward bias. In an effort to reduce further losses, investors sell positions at unreasonable prices and the market reaches oversold extremes. Some signs of a market capitulation include above average volume, negative mornings resulting in positive closures, and dramatic increases in mutual fund cash positions. For the market contrarian, exorbitant pessimism is an ally.
Arguably, the most popular capitulation event occurred in October of 1987, also known as Black Monday. In one day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost nearly 23% of its market price and devastated investment accounts worldwide. What a nice way to begin the work week. And although the United States avoided a recession and depression, the plunge resulted in widespread emotional commentaries. Potential reasons for the crash included programmed computer selling, unreasonably bullish investor sentiment, high stock valuations, and the weakened U.S. dollar.
Just as the town contrarian disrupted the diner, in October of 1987 the stock market temporarily swayed investor confidence. Yet, the next day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose almost 6% from its prior day close. By the end of 1987, the index posted an increase of about 11.5% from its October 19th lows, and on the one year anniversary, a gain of approximately 23% from the lows. Today, the Dow Jones Industrial Average price is nearly six times Black Monday's closing amount.
To be a contrarian investor does not mean acting foolishly and blindly. It is important to realize every person has unique investment policies. A thorough review of your risk tolerances, time horizons, and financial goals must be factored into your overall plan. Consult your financial advisor for appropriate direction.
Contrarian investing takes into consideration crisis driven market moves. A contrarian watches for overabundant emotions of greed and fear. Yet, acting on the irrational theories of others is not enough. Review current market conditions and the reasons behind such moves. Fundamental analysis of your positions is another key component to a well diversified portfolio. A contrarian must understand the market place in full.
The market has a curious way of introducing doubt into the minds of its investors when many seem content with the current direction. It is important to stay alert of changes and consider alternatives. Setting realistic goals, adapting to changes, and remaining focused will also aid you in developing an appropriate strategy.
And when the market menu reads just one meal, remember you may have other choices to fill your investment plate. Choices that may assist you in understanding market volatility and thus create a healthier outlook for the future. Contrarianism is not a rule to enforce at all times, however it is an approach that deserves some skeptical attention.
As an investor, you should be aware of all your options and make logical choices. Then, one day you may order "egg yellows for my portfolio, please."
Things To Do Before Investing Into A High Yield Investment Program
We have compiled a short list of some of the things you can do before investing into a program to make sure you get the most for your money:
#1 - Search all HYIP forums for the name of the HYIP. Check for people spamming about the program, as this usually is a sign of a short lived scam. Look for people's opinions. Often those who have been investing in HYIPs for some time are the ones with the best insite. Most importantly, look for complaints of people who have not been paid.
#2 - Do a search on google. Copy small parts (1-2 sentences) of the text from both the hompage and the page with information on how they make their returns. Paste it into the google search bar with quotes around it, and see if anything comes up. A good amount of the time, google will return results that are an exact match, usually a professional traders website. Also, do the same thing with any images of people that are shown to look as though they are the admin of the program. Simply get the name of the file that the image is uploaded as by viewing the properties of it. Then paste this into the google image search. You will be amazed that a lot of the time you will see that the image is a direct copy from another site. This proves that the admin is lying.
#3 - Email the admin. Ask some good questions such as, where are you located, how long have you been around, and how do you make your returns. The common answers you will receive are United States, 2 Years, and Forex trading. Usually if these are the answers the admin is lying to you. about 75% of all new HYIPs claim that they have been paying members offline for over a year. 99.9999% of the time this is a lie. If an investing firm is able to deal with members offline for 2 years, there usually is no need to go online with their business.
#4 - Look at the main HYIP rating sites. If it looks like a program has been cheating the ratings by voting for themselves, or it looks like they may have hired a paid voter, then stay away. You can usually tell if a program is cheating by trying to look at what else each member has voted for. Also check the voters IP, maybe the cheaters were not careful and didn't use a proxy
All in all, if you follow these 4 steps you will likely be saving yourself a descent amount of money in the long run. HYIPs are extremely risky, and these steps alone do not guarantee success. They only improve your chances of walking away with profits.
The Process Of Due Diligence
A business which wants to attract foreign investments must present a business plan. But a business plan is the equivalent of a visit card. The introduction is very important - but, once the foreign investor has expressed interest, a second, more serious, more onerous and more tedious process commences: Due Diligence.
"Due Diligence" is a legal term (borrowed from the securities industry). It means, essentially, to make sure that all the facts regarding the firm are available and have been independently verified. In some respects, it is very similar to an audit. All the documents of the firm are assembled and reviewed, the management is interviewed and a team of financial experts, lawyers and accountants descends on the firm to analyze it.
The firm must appoint ONE due diligence coordinator. This person interfaces with all outside due diligence teams. He collects all the materials requested and oversees all the activities which make up the due diligence process.
The firm must have ONE VOICE. Only one person represents the company, answers questions, makes presentations and serves as a coordinator when the DD teams wish to interview people connected to the firm.
Brief your workers. Give them the big picture. Why is the company raising funds, who are the investors, how will the future of the firm (and their personal future) look if the investor comes in. Both employees and management must realize that this is a top priority. They must be instructed not to lie. They must know the DD coordinator and the company's spokesman in the DD process.
The DD is a process which is more structured than the preparation of a Business Plan. It is confined both in time and in subjects: Legal, Financial, Technical, Marketing, Controls.
The Marketing Plan
Must include the following elements:
a.. A brief history of the business (to show its track performance and growth).
b.. Points regarding the political, legal (licences) and competitive environment.
c.. A vision of the business in the future.
d.. Products and services and their uses.
e.. Comparison of the firm's products and services to those of the competitors.
f.. Warranties, guarantees and after-sales service.
g.. Development of new products or services.
h.. A general overview of the market and market segmentation.
i.. Is the market rising or falling (the trend: past and future).
j.. What customer needs do the products / services satisfy.
k.. Which markets segments do we concentrate on and why.
l.. What factors are important in the customer's decision to buy (or not to buy).
m.. A list of the direct competitors and a short description of each.
n.. The strengths and weaknesses of the competitors relative to the firm.
o.. Missing information regarding the markets, the clients and the competitors.
p.. Planned market research.
q.. A sales forecast by product group.
r.. The pricing strategy (how is pricing decided).
s.. Promotion of the sales of the products (including a description of the sales force, sales-related incentives, sales targets, training of the sales personnel, special offers, dealerships, telemarketing and sales support). Attach a flow chart of the purchasing process from the moment that the client is approached by the sales force until he buys the product.
t.. Marketing and advertising campaigns (including cost estimates) - broken by market and by media.
u.. Distribution of the products.
v.. A flow chart describing the receipt of orders, invoicing, shipping.
w.. Customer after-sales service (hotline, support, maintenance, complaints, upgrades, etc.).
x.. Customer loyalty (example: churn rate and how is it monitored and controlled).
a.. Full name of the firm.
b.. Ownership of the firm.
c.. Court registration documents.
d.. Copies of all protocols of the Board of Directors and the General Assembly of Shareholders.
e.. Signatory rights backed by the appropriate decisions.
f.. The charter (statute) of the firm and other incorporation documents.
g.. Copies of licences granted to the firm.
h.. A legal opinion regarding the above licences.
i.. A list of lawsuit that were filed against the firm and that the firm filed against third parties (litigation) plus a list of disputes which are likely to reach the courts.
j.. Legal opinions regarding the possible outcomes of all the lawsuits and disputes including their potential influence on the firm.
Financial Due Diligence
Last 3 years income statements of the firm or of constituents of the firm, if the firm is the result of a merger. The statements have to include:
a.. Balance Sheets;
b.. Income Statements;
c.. Cash Flow statements;
d.. Audit reports (preferably done according to the International Accounting Standards, or, if the firm is looking to raise money in the USA, in accordance with FASB);
e.. Cash Flow Projections and the assumptions underlying them.
a.. Accounting systems used;
b.. Methods to price products and services;
c.. Payment terms, collections of debts and ageing of receivables;
d.. Introduction of international accounting standards;
e.. Monitoring of sales;
f.. Monitoring of orders and shipments;
g.. Keeping of records, filing, archives;
h.. Cost accounting system;
i.. Budgeting and budget monitoring and controls;
j.. Internal audits (frequency and procedures);
k.. External audits (frequency and procedures);
l.. The banks that the firm is working with: history, references, balances.
a.. Description of manufacturing processes (hardware, software, communications, other);
b.. Need for know-how, technological transfer and licensing required;
c.. Suppliers of equipment, software, services (including offers);
d.. Manpower (skilled and unskilled);
e.. Infrastructure (power, water, etc.);
f.. Transport and communications (example: satellites, lines, receivers, transmitters);
g.. Raw materials: sources, cost and quality;
h.. Relations with suppliers and support industries;
i.. Import restrictions or licensing (where applicable);
j.. Sites, technical specification;
k.. Environmental issues and how they are addressed;
l.. Leases, special arrangements;
m.. Integration of new operations into existing ones (protocols, etc.).
A successful due diligence is the key to an eventual investment. This is a process much more serious and important than the preparation of the Business Plan.
5 Pitfalls To Avoid When Searching For Your Next Investment Property
Finding a bargain investment property on paper is only half of the process of property investment. The other half of real estate investing is going down to the property to examine the real estate investment property physically for defects either in terms of the construction and legal title and other liens that can be on the property. You do not want to spend lots of legal costs later to undo the bad lemon you bought into. This article will highlight five possible things to consider when searching for your next investment property.
Firstly, unless you find a property that is really run down and you want to tear it down to its foundations, you want to look out for properties that might have potential electrical and water piping problems. The reason why this is critical is that, wiring and water piping is usually hidden behind walls and other furniture fixtures and repairing them can be a very costly affair since you have to hack into the walls and run the piping and wiring if the problem is very serious. If you are new to property investing try to bring a electrical engineer along with you when you are doing some property inspection.
Secondly, foundation problems are usually harder to spot. When walking around the property, look for cracks appearing at the side of the house and the foundation that goes into the ground. Look for large unusual holes found at the side of the property and cracks on the exterior paint of the building. You might want to bring a civil engineer and a contractor along to figure out how much it would cost to fix the property if you suspect the repairs involved will be substantial. You can also bring them along to give a "grim estimate" to the house owner and bring down the cost of the property.
Thirdly, roofing problems can be a persistent nightmare to you and your potential tenant if you are purchasing the real estate for tenancy purposes. When inspecting the house, look around the ceiling near the windows and around the edges of the walls to look for new paint or yellow spots or cracks with water in them. Most sellers would be smart enough to eliminate the water bubbles after a heavy rain when trying to sell the property, but it is always important to figure out if there is a major leaking roof which might cost you are lot into repairing it. Use this defect to negotiate the price of the property further if you are interested in the property.
Fourthly, another reason why the investment property in question might be a bargain might be because there are legal problems associated with it. Common ones include, multiple owners that cannot agree whether to sell or not. Litigation here would be futile and you should avoid such property once you learn about it.
Another problem might be a lack of clean title. Did you know that the seller can be selling you only the building without the land or maybe there are existing tax liens on your property or some other liens that can prevent you from getting good title to the property? Spending some time chatting with a reliable real estate attorney to learn about common real estate problems in your area can save you lots of legal problems later.
Fifthly, bankruptcy of your seller or one of the part owners of your real estate may depending on the legal proceedings of your state affect your ability to transfer title quickly. Most states make it a requirement that the receiver of the bankrupt has to agree so pay careful attention to the bankruptcy legislation of your state. That being said, sometimes the banks are willing to sell you at a bargain so as to recover the bad debts quickly so do your homework before purchasing such an investment property.
In conclusion, these five pointers can be used as a starting point for you to evaluate your property investment. Spend some time to think rationally about the properties that you have seen and see if they have any of the above flaws and consider if you want to continue purchasing them and whether the costs that you may incur in fixing them will justify the discount of the property to the market value. Above all, take massive action today and pursue your property investment dreams.
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