10 Tips For Real Estate Investing

Written by Victor E. Bomi, ATLCO REAL ESTATE ADVISORS

1. Don’t Speculate – A lot of beginner investors watch shows like HGTV and think that it is as easy as buying a property for $80,000, putting $30,000 and somehow they will sell it for $300k and make a $189k profit. The key for you to be a successful investor is to set a reasonable expectation from the beginning. You need to know what properties in excellent condition within a 0.5-1 mile radius of your target investment property are selling for. We call these COMPS. You also need to know what properties with the same bedroom/bathroom as your investment property are renting for if you intend on renting.

Invest based on real numbers that you can actually see, not based on what you “want” them to be. Also, when it comes to renovating homes always be conservative with your repair estimates. Get bids from licensed contractors and add a 10-20% contingency for unexpected expenses to that estimate. If you do these things – you will sleep better at night when investing in real estate.

2. Not All Agents Understand Investors – Real Estate Agents are great to have on your team, however a lot of them don’t understand the real financials that go behind actually investing in real estate. Most of them come from a traditional retail background and don’t actually invest in real estate themselves. So it is important to work with experienced real estate professionals who can educate you on the market and professionals that understand key metrics such as cap rate, vacancy rates, return on investments, holding costs, cash on cash returns, net income, cash flow and some of the other financial metrics that investors need to know.

Ask the agent and professional what types of returns have they been able to get their investors? Do they even have experience working with investors? What type of investors do they usually work with? These are 3 simple questions you can ask to qualify your agents before ever deciding to do business with them.

3. BUY GOOD DEALS! – Don’t Pay Retail for an Investment Property – You make your money when you “buy” – this is an age old saying in the real estate investing industry. It is important as an investor that you focus on buying “good deals” because this increases your overall return on investment. Good deals can be defined as any investment in which you are acquiring the property at steep discount to retail.

Typically most of our investors look for 65-70% “all-in” discounts off the retail price. all in means the purchase price + renovation costs added together can not equal more than 65-70% of the actual retail value of the home. Regardless of whether you aim to be a landlord or a rehabber, this rule of thumb will keep you in business longer and leave you with a lot of equity in your investments.

This rule works mainly for single family residential acquisitions but for commercial acquisitions the key to understanding if it is a good deal is to pay attention to the net cash flow of the investment and look at the expenses / debt service. To determine the value and overall returns for those types of investments. At ATLCO, we specialize in finding this types of opportunities for our investors and educate our clients on a lot of these key financial metrics to make sure that they understand the profitability of each investment. The key here is to be patient and not jumping on the first opportunity you get just because you really want to do a deal.

4. Teamwork Makes The Dreamwork – Don’t try to do it all by yourself. The most successful investors have a team of people around them that work together to help them accomplish their real estate investment goals. Who is your real estate attorney? Your licensed agent? Real estate investment advisor? Your contractor? Insurance agent? Your asset manager?

The key to being a successful investor is to focus on your own strengths while letting the real estate professionals around you focus on their strengths. When you have a great team working with you then you will be able to accomplish your real estate goals in a much more efficient and prudent manner. Since its inception, ATLCO has spent a lot of time building relationships with key resources that our investors would need in order to be successful; all in house.

5. Learn Your Market. – It is also good to be proactive and educate yourself. Don’t just rely on the information other people give you. The real estate market is cyclical. It goes up and it goes down. Pay attention to which market cycle you are in. Educating yourself about the market is key when you first decide to invest in real estate so learn what areas are hot, what areas to stay away from, and where the market is trending.

Pay attention to where corporations are moving into in your market, where there are a lot of cash sales going on, where there is a lot of construction activity and positive percentage of population growth, where the schools are great, and upcoming plans by the city to create new developments, commercial centers, in the area. Those are some key indicators to notice when trying to educate yourself about your market and trying to decide what areas to invest in.

6. Don’t Get Emotional – It can be very easy to fall in love with a project that you are a part of however this is where most beginning investors start to lose their money. Focus on your numbers when investing and your key financial metrics that must be met for you to generate the most profit and most net return on your investment. Basically, don’t take on a project like it is a house that you will be living in. Instead, know what amenities other retail homes which have recently sold in your area have. There is no need to reinvent the wheel or try to be “super extravagant” when it comes to flipping / renovating homes, because it can cost you money and increase your project costs.

Don’t ever fall in “love” with a deal, just because you really like the house, or love the area . Make sure that numbers actually work first before deciding to move forward with any prospective real estate investment. Don’t OVER-RENOVATE your projects. its okay to save money by going with mid-grade appliances or fixtures if it means you will get to keep some cash

in your pocket. Always remember, it is better to pass on a deal because it doesn’t fit your required return on investment than to OVERPAY and buy a bad deal.

7. Have A Realistic Plan – It is important for beginning investors to set realistic expectations for what they can accomplish in a given period of time. Have a good understanding of your current financial situation, your monthly income, monthly expenses, and what you can realistically afford to invest into real estate investment projects. Real Estate Investing, like other investment strategies, involve risks and is not for everybody. One of the things I enjoy the most at ATLCO is being able to sit down with each investor, learn about their story, their background, discussing their financial goals, and putting together a practical and executable real estate investment plan that can help them accomplish their financial goals.

8. Define Your Key Strategy – There are many ways to make money in real estate such as wholesaling houses, buying tax sales, renovating houses, buying rentals for cash flow, developing new construction, acquiring commercial properties to lease or flip, etc. These are just a few of the ways that investors we work with at ATLCO tend to invest. The key tip here is to make sure that you have a focus and a niche.

Don’t try to be a jack of all trades in the beginning of your investing career. You will be better off picking a specific investment strategy and surrounding yourself with the resources needed to be as successful as you can in that investment strategy. There is a lot of money to be made in all those niches I mentioned above. When first starting out, pick a strategy and give 110% to be successful at that strategy, then move on to newer strategies if you desire to do so.

9. Be Flexible – Yes, I may have said having a “defined” strategy is important, which it is, however something that is also equally as important is to be flexible. What will you do if your primary strategy is flipping and you decide to invest in an area that is more suitable for is more suitable for buying & holding properties? Will you give up or will you look for an alternative?

The correct answer is to look for an alternative, such as considering another market that may be more suitable for that strategy, or consider implementing a new strategy such as buying & holding. The key here is to not think small and limit yourself to just one place or one market and consider expanding your horizons (and working with people who are local experts in those new horizons in which you are considering).

10. DON’T OVER LEVERAGE YOURSELF – Did you hear about the slaughter that happened in the 2008 housing crisis? If you did, you are not alone. Many investors lost everything, their entire net worth, cash flow, and wealth were wiped out during the housing crash. A lot of the investors who were wiped out over-leveraged and speculated, believing the market was going to keep rising (speculation / counting on appreciation). Instead of over-leveraging, try to maintain a good mix of properties in which you have financed and work towards adding a few free and clear acquisitions to your portfolio as well. That way in the event of another financial crisis you won’t lose “everything” because you can still count on the monthly cash flow from your free and clear investments, especially if they have a low vacancy rate.

Grammy Nominated R&B Legend, Chante’ Moore Releases New EP, “1 Of 4”

VEU: Let’s get into your EP 1 OUT OF 4. Tell us about that

CM:It’s out right now! They can download it right now via Instagram, Twitter, Spotify, Apple Music, and all the places that you can stream music, you can find it right now.

VEU: The first single from the album is called “One Love.” Can you tell us about the inspiration behind that song?

CM: It’s about love and relationships and getting along with the one you’re in love with, and getting in sync. Being able to go through the good times and bad, being friends and lovers, all of those things is what “One Love” is about.

VEU: It reminds me of your “Chante’s Got a Man” song, off your “This Moment is Mine” album. It’s one of the songs that I think a lot of us young women have held on to about how to treat a man in a relationship. Do you still hold truth to some of those things?

CM: Absolutely. I believe in loving and giving the best you can. Whenever you are in love, love should show on the outside as well as the inside. You can’t say “I love you,” but I ain’t doing this, or not doing that. Love is an action word. So get out there and show the person you love that you love them, because if you don’t someone else will.

VEU: You are releasing this project on your own label correct?

CM: Yes maam. CM7 records, this is my third release off of that, I have “The Rise of the Phoenix” which released last September, and then my Christmas album was in December of last year and now “1 of 4” which is the first of the other four releases.

VEU: How does it feel taking charge and being in charge of your own label?

CM: Well you know control is a good thing, but it’s also about taking responsibility, just like being a parent. You know it’s a wonderful thing to give birth to something, but then you have to take care of it, and it’s your responsibility to nurture and feed it, and to help it grow. That’s what I’m doing now, is learning exactly how to do that, and doing the best that I can so that my music can be released to the world, you know, and if they don’t get a chance to hear it, then it’s on me. So, I love the responsibility, however it’s a lot of it, it’s heavy, but it’s good work.

VEU:  If you could leave one thing behind and have people remember you for besides your music, what would it be?

CM: That I’m grateful. I’m grateful to be here. I’m grateful to love and do music for a living. I’m grateful that I’ve had the lengthy opportunity and career that I’ve had for over 20 something years now. It’s been something that’s wonderful, it’s been a wonderful journey. I don’t know about thing, because it’s more than one (laughs). I love the Lord and that’s a wonderful thing. I love that he afforded me the ability to sing for a living, for the world, that I’ve been able to travel. For every song that’s come out of my throat, every time that I’ve been able to get up and sing and fulfill my obligation.

VEU: It’s interesting you brought up the Lord. I know that your parents were both in the ministry, and so were mine. Was it a challenge coming out and working with artists like R. Kelly, and The Isley Brothers, coming from such a religious background?

CM: No, I’m responsible for what I sing, and they both are people that come from religious backgrounds as well. Most people into R&B come from the church, and I know one thing for me that I’ve learned from coming from the church, is singing what I believe. The things that I sing, that come out of my mouth those are the things that I believe in, and their real opportunities and real things that have happened to me, I think that’s what it’s about. I think that’s what it’s about, singing with conviction and being able to invite people in.

VEU: It’s been a pleasure interviewing you. Is there anything else that you would like to add, or want people to know about you?

CM: No, just “1of 4”, keep looking for the next three, which will be out intermittently throughout the 4 quarters of this year

Actress, Writer and Producer Terri J. Vaughn Covers VEU Magazine

Actress, Writer and Producer Terri J. Vaughn covers the May/June 2018 issue of VEU Magazine. Interviewed by Tianna Maxon, Mrs. Vaughn shared with us how she broke into the entertainment industry many years ago, landing her long term role on the “Steve Harvey Show,” starting her own production company, new podcast show, and more. She also shared with us one of the secrets to maintaining longevity in this industry.

Also featured in this issue is upcoming Chicago rapper King Jak, custom men’s wedding suit designer Miguel Wilson, former TV star turned entrepreneur LaTangela Newsome, Colour U Cosmetics founder Karen Stallings, and more. You can also find articles on the latest fashion trends, utilizing the universe to improve your life, and incorporating Moringa into your diet.

Click here to read more from this issue. Digital and print copies are both available.

This New Mobile App Allows Users To Win An Instant Cash Jackpot

A new concept in mobile game apps was just recently released: Three years in development, the explosive 33 Numbers is a totally free app that allows users to win an actual cash jackpot instantly. While there are other game apps out there promising prizes, most if not all of them are either sponsored gift certificates or a nominal cash prize of a few dollars. 33 Numbers, however, boasts a growing jackpot in the thousands. As of the writing of this release, the cash jackpot is just over ten thousand dollars.

The app avoids gambling restrictions in most locations by making the game totally free to play. There are no in-app purchases and there is no paid-version available. The jackpot is supported by advertising revenue in the form of industry-standard banner and page ads unobtrusively displayed during the game. A play for fun version is available for a few certain states where playing any game for a monetary prize might be considered gambling. The app checks the users’ location services on download and formats the game for that location.

The game itself is easy to learn, fun to play and somewhat addicting. The object is to fill in a game board of 33 spaces with numbers between one and one thousand in ascending numerical order.

“The most often asked questions we get are, ‘Is this real?’ ‘Is it actual money?’ and, ‘where does the money come from?'”, said David Mintz, managing partner of 33 Numbers, LLC. “This reinforces the idea that our concept is so new that the market is struggling a bit to understand and accept it. Actually, it’s a very common business model, similar to say TV game shows where revenues from advertisers help support a prize for winners. We’ve just applied it to smartphone gaming. It’s not gambling because it’s totally free to play. And the more players we have, the bigger the jackpot grows.”

33 Numbers is available for download on the Apple App Store, Google Play Store and directly from their website at www.33numbers.com.

Choosing a Spring Dress That is Perfect For You!

Written by Samantha Skinner

Shopping for a spring dress might seem simple. You know what you like and what you don’t, but what if you could find something that completely made you stand out? What if you could find something that fit you in all the right places and also made you feel confident to wear it, as well?

We have so many tips and tricks when it comes to fashion so when you go to choose something from the shelves, consider these tips and also consider what it is that you like. Even though those runways are blazing with hot new fashions, always make sure to choose something you are comfortable wearing!

The Skinny on Stripes

If you feel that you have a little more to love, then stripes are going to be your best friend. Not only are you going to be able to feel good in what you’re wearing, but you’re able to know you have what it takes to rock that look, as well. This is something that not everyone is able to do. However, throw it on, see if it is for you and rock it!

The Neckline Matters

If you are a bit on the busty side, then you want to stay away from extremely plunging necklines. You might lose…yourself in them. You want to wear something that is flattering so go with a neckline that is higher up, but also curve skimming and not clingy in that area. This will help not only make your bust seem more proportioned, but it shapes the body better.

For Those Curvy Mama’s Out There!

If you’re curvy then you want to wear something that is going to really make your waist stand out. Choosing a comfortable spandex-made dress that has a belt around the waist or another type of tie can really help out those curves and get you the looks that you want and need. Unlike some of the other options out there, being curvy is not something you have to hide with a bag – wear a belt and make it look classy!

Small Bust – No Problem

When you have a smaller bust, you don’t have to worry about a higher neckline as much. You can easily go with something that plunges and gives the illusion of a bit more. You want something that cinches cutely at the waist, but also flows freely towards the bottom. This is going to give the illusion of having more curves.

If you want a cute spring dress, then try on something that is ideal for your body type. You don’t have to worry about not being able to wear something worth wearing, and that looks cute! The choice of dress you go with is going to look good since you picked it out!

 

Beyonce’ Announces Donation to HBCUs One Day After Historic Coachella Performance

Written By Aysha Chaudhry

Beyoncé didn’t even let the dust settle from her historical Coachella performance before announcing she will be giving $100,000 to four black colleges.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past week, Beyoncé made history as being the first black woman to headline Coachella. During her two hour-long set, she brought out her sister Solange, Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland to perform hits from the Destiny’s Child years, and even Jay-Z. She also honored HBCU culture and step culture with some of her acts, but she didn’t stop at just paying homage through performances.

On Monday, the singer announced she will donate six figures in scholarships through her Homecoming Scholars Awards Program. The four lucky HBCUs are Xavier, Wilberforce, Tuskegee and Bethune-Cookman.

A portion of the press release from the singer’s website stated:

“One winner from each school will receive $25K for the 2018-2019 academic year for study in various fields. This is the second year for a scholars program created by Beyoncé.

The Formation Scholars Awards Program, a merit scholarship program was established in April 2017 in celebration of the one-year anniversary of LEMONADE, Beyoncé’s critically-acclaimed and globally-lauded 2016 visual album. The Formation Scholars awards encouraged and supported young women who are bold, creative, conscious, confident and unafraid to think outside of the box. The Homecoming Scholars Award Program for 2018-2019 will expand to all qualifying students at the four universities, regardless of gender. The disciplines will include literature, creative arts, African- American studies, science, education, business, communications, social sciences, computer science and engineering. All applicants must maintain a 3.5 GPA or above. All finalists and winners will be selected by the universities. Winners will be announced this summer.”

How the Royal Wedding Will Benefit The Less Fortunate

Written by Aysha Chaudhry

You don’t have to be tuned in to all-things Royal Family to know Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s engagement is historical for many reasons. But one company is ensuring that this wedding will also be benefitting the Windsor city homeless, who are often displaced during such royal events. For Richer, For Poorer is the non-profit brand behind the genius idea of creating beautiful memorabilia to commemorate the newest royal couple, with funds from each sale going to purchase toiletries and other useful items for the homeless. Then there are higher-priced items, like the Commemorative Plate (£5,000), that will provide the funds with just one sale to take someone off the streets for an entire year. To learn more about For Richer, For Poorer and their gratuitous initiative, head over to forricherforpoorer.org.

Chance The Rapper to Deliver Commencement Speech at Dillard University

Written By Aysha Chaudhry

It looks like we can add graduation speaker to Chance the Rapper’s already long list of accomplishments. The 24 year-old Grammy-award winning artist just announced that he will be delivering the commencement address at graduation for Dillard University in New Orleans. The Dillard president, Dr. Walter M. Kimbrough (aka the Hip-Hop Prez) teaches a class on ethics and hip-hop. Choosing Chance, who is renowned for his charitable initiatives, including his own foundation Social Works, seemed like a easy decision. The rapper’s extensive accomplishments as a social activist rival his groundbreaking achievements as a musician, which includes becoming the first streaming-only artist to win a Grammy. Not to mention, he still has never signed with a major record label.

We are sure that Chance’s speech will be one the students at Dillard will never forget!

 

Stephen Curry and Brita Team Up to Make Schools Safer

Written By Aysha Chaudhry

When we think of providing the essentials to schools to ensure students are receiving the best care possible, we don’t often think of clean water as one of those things. Contaminated water is just one of the burdens underfunded school systems have to deal with, but Brita® and Steph Curry, the Golden State Warriors point guard, are stepping in to provide a long-term solution. In collaboration with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, the water company and the two-time NBA MVP are pledging funds from each sale of a LongLast™ filter to providing Brita Hydration Stations to schools. These water stations help filter out lead and other harmful chemicals that may be in the schools water, and one filter can replace over 18,000 standard water bottles. Kudos to Steph and the Brita®  team for dedicating themselves to help provide a safer environment for the next generation!

Millions of Hearing Impaired Could Benefit From This Breakthrough Drug

 Written by Benjamin Roussey
A loss of hearing is categorized as a public health epidemic in the US. This seems apt given the fact that at least 15% of the adult population is suffering from hearing loss, which is almost as bad as the economic situation going on in New York and California as those states continue to make the wrong decisions.

There are plenty of reasons why people start losing their hearing. It could be prolonged exposure to loud noise, a one-time occurrence due to standing right next to the loudspeakers at a rock concert, or a result of aging.Irrespective of the cause, the remedies currently available are cochlear implants and hearing aids. These are known as limited solutions as they cannot set right the damage caused to the inner ear nor bring back regular hearing capabilities. However, quite a few biotechnology firms are in the race to come up with a drug that can actually mend damage to the inner ear.

Decibel Therapeutic, a start-up based in Boston, Frequency Therapeutics founded by a pair of biomedical engineers, Swiss biopharmaceutical company Auris Medical, and Otonomy of San Diego, are some of the names engaged in pursuit of this wonder drug.

  • Decibel is looking at developing medication that can heal the damage caused to hair cells and neurons inside the cochlea or the auditory nerve. The company is also getting financial backup from Regeneron as well as access to its sophisticated research tools.
  • Frequency is focused on the search for small molecule drugs that can re-energize progenitor cells which are dormant to mend cochlear hair cells. The company has completed Phase 1 of the human study successfully and is likely to start on Phase 2 later in 2018.
  • Auris Medical is targeting redressal of tinnitus and hearing loss in the inner ear. Tinnitus is when there is a constant buzzing or ringing in the ears. The research is at an advanced stage of clinical development.
  • Otonomy, meanwhile, is using a three-point approach to the drug development. It aims at curing hearing loss caused by chemotherapy and earlier-stage hearing impairment which is often not pronounced enough to be detected on a hearing test. The third program aims at developing drugs to restore loss of hair cells.

It might take many years before these drugs are available for widespread use, but the progress being made is a definite ray of hope to the 360 million affected people across the globe.