How to Buy Your First Investment Property

Are you a buy-and-hold real estate investor, a Nomad™ real estate investor or a house hacker looking to get their first deal done? Whether you’re interested in real estate investing, preparing for your first deal, or even just looking to buy your first home, you’ll find invaluable resources here.

There’s a lot to cover before we get your first deal done! Just about every topic covered in this class could be a class unto itself—and many of them are their own classes on our website. Here’s what you can expect to learn here:

  • Create Your Plan: Learn the importance of a strong WHY; finding a passion-fueled goal to rally your efforts around is crucial to become a successful real estate investor.
  • Build Your Team: Find the right real estate broker, lender, attorney, CPA, and other supporting elements of your team can make or break your investment plan.
  • How to Get Started: Create actionable goals and ensure you’re ready to take on the properties you’re looking forward to with the best possible strategies.
  • Navigate Financing Options: Whether you’re self-funding your dream or counting on lenders, you need to know where the strengths and benefits of your financing lie to leverage them fully.
  • Set Buying Criteria: Determine the non-negotiables you have in mind and use them to create specific parameters and ensure you’re only buying the best properties for your goals.
  • Actively Attend Showings: Anyone can walk through an open house, but real estate investors need to quickly see beyond the surface level.
  • Analyze Deals and Properties: Use The World’s Greatest Real Estate Deal Analysis Spreadsheet™—it’s free—to quickly determine which deals fit your criteria and what is just noise.
  • Make Offers like a Pro: Making offers can be the best feeling in the world when you know what to expect and prepare for—remove the stress with these easy steps.
  • Offer Accepted; Now What? Once you have an offer accepted, there’s a lot more to do than just celebrate. Leverage our comprehensive system of checklists (seriously… like 700+ pages of checklists) to avoid the panic and be a great buyer.
  • Final Walkthrough: Discover the importance of doing one last check-in and identify exactly what you should be looking for and why before you head to the closing table.
  • Closing on Your Property: While a lot of the work is done at this point, we’ll review what you should expect at closing and some things to watch out for.
  • After Closing: Congratulations! But, now that you have your new property, there are some things to check off before the rent checks flow in.
  • Rent to an Amazing Tenant: There’s a lot that goes into ensuring that your business thrives after you have a property in hand. If you’re at this step already, check out our amazing tenant screening classes.
  • Habits of a Successful Investor: Finally, see what attributes successful investors have. If you can see yourself here, real estate investing may be the path for you.

Watch the recorded classes that this article is based on and check out the written summary below for even more helpful information.

If you’re already in the process of getting your first deal done, congratulations! Please feel free to use our extensive checklists for wherever you’re at in the house buying or investing process here:

What’s Your Goal?

“If you don’t have a goal, it’s really hard to get there.” — Brian Williams

Determining your goal is a great starting point for just about anything. When it comes to long-term buy-and-hold real estate investing, however, it is especially important to determine where you want the journey to end up and why.

To put it bluntly, many investors quit long before they get anywhere close to what it is they envision gaining with real estate without having a strong, passion-fueled goal to drive them.

Why? Because it’s hard.

At times, it can be really tough to own multiple properties. That isn’t to say it isn’t rewarding, because it is—we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t—but the ultimate reward goes beyond money, passive income, and even the coveted FIRE (financial independence, retire early).

If you poll a group of aspiring real estate investors about exactly why they want to get into it, they’re likely to indicate one of the above. But is that really enough to do something difficult for years? Is someone that just wants to quit their job going to stick with it through the sudden calls, the tenant screenings, the deals that fall though? Not super likely.

If you were to instead poll successful buy-and-hold real estate investors and ask them their WHY—the thing that drives them to get into real estate—they’ll probably have a specific, motivating reason that they’ve stuck to for years.

Before you look to get started with real estate investing, we strongly encourage you to set specific goals for yourself and have a passion-fueled WHY behind it.

So, what is your WHY?

The exercise to find your WHY is a simple one. Just keep asking yourself why you want to get into this, why that answer is important, and keep going until you run out of answers. You want to quit your job? Why? To have more time at home? Why? You get the point.

Then, ask yourself: “Is that WHY worth the plan that I need to put in place to get there?”

Start with your WHY and your goals or plans become much more focused; more real; more motivating. If you lead with a powerfully-motivating force, you’ll find that you can get through challenging times and more readily enjoy the successes along the way.

From there, you’ll need a numerical goal in mind. What kind of a number do you need to hit on a monthly or yearly basis in order to live in your WHY? Make that your goal and set your sights on creating a plan—maybe a Real Estate Financial Plan™—that can get you there. We did literally write the software for being able to create and model your own plan.

If you want to leave your job and retire early to enjoy more time with the kids, put the effort in now to think about what that means and remember that anytime you encounter a setback. This is probably the most important thing you can learn from this class as it will truly serve as the foundation for everything you build from here.

Real estate investing isn’t for everyone or everyone would do it. Whether you choose to enter into long-term buy-and-hold real estate investing or not, remember that it is the passion behind your plan that will make your dream a reality.

How to Start

Now, we know what you’re thinking: “Wasn’t this supposed to be about how to get my first deal done?” And yes, you’re right. Goal setting, finding your WHY, and creating a passion-fueled plan are major pillars of your long-term success, but are definitely not all it takes to get a deal done.

Here are the steps outlining for how to get your start as a real estate investor:

  • Set goals
  • Connect with your WHY
  • Get your financial house in order – this could mean budgeting, saving for down payment, paying down debts, or improving your credit score (pro tip: shoot for 720-740+)
  • Start building your team
  • Get your first deal done

We’ve covered the first two and will also cover building your team and getting your deal done next. Getting your financial house in order can be the easiest or the hardest of the 5 steps depending on your situation, so we chose to not cover it in detail here.

If you’re concerned about your credit score or other financial barriers, check out our financing classes and resources here for some creative or helpful tips. In those classes, we cover all the different types of financing, how to evaluate different lenders and different loan products and much, much more.

Building Your Real Estate Investing Dream Team

While you may think that it’s enough to have a real estate agent or broker representing you, that’s really only one piece in a much larger puzzle.

Here are some of the experts you’ll want to consider tracking down to be part of your team now so that you’ll be positioned for success in your first deal and beyond:

  • Real estate agent or broker
  • Investing mentor
  • Attorneys covering a wide range of specialties like contract and other paperwork creation and review, business entity creation, maintenance and asset protection, plus evictions
  • Mortgage brokers and lenders
  • Insurance agent
  • Home inspector
  • Title agent and closer
  • Bookkeeper, accountant and/or CPA
  • Repairs: handyman, plumber, electrician, HVAC, carpet cleaner, house cleaner
  • As needed: painter, flooring contractor, roofing, landscaping, snow removal, remodel team
  • Over time: private investors, partners, hard money lenders—especially if you plan to do more creative real estate entrepreneurial activities beyond the typical real estate investing like buy-and-hold, Nomad™ and house hacking
  • Support from your inner circle is crucial. If your family and friends aren’t on board with your plan, that can be really tough to deal with. Invest the time now to talk with them about what you’re doing and be sure to share your WHY!

Obviously, that’s quite the list. While not all of them are necessary day one, it’s worth considering just how many people you may have to work with as you begin to manage your investment portfolio.

Think about it like this: While the average homeowner may only have to worry about replacing a roof once or twice in their lives, you could easily need 5 roof repairs or replacements in the same week after a hail storm hits your area. Wouldn’t you want a great insurance agent and contractor ready to call if that time comes?

If this is your first ever property, we would recommend that before you move forward with your first deal, you start by finding a great real estate agent or broker, a mentor in real estate investing (if possible), and work out your financing.

Lucky for you, we’ll cover all three here.

Building Your Team: Agent or Broker

If you’re in the Northern Colorado market and are willing to take Brian’s word for it, we’ve done the hard work for you and can already recommend James and Tammy Orr. If you’re in another market, let James and Tammy help you by referring you to an agent in your market.

However, if you do not happen to be in Northern Colorado and want to get into real estate investing, there are some things you should know about real estate agents or brokers before you commit:

  1. Not all agents are created equal, but most are paid the same – While this may not come as a shock, there is a big difference in value to your deal between a brand-new agent (even if they’re your friend or relative) and an experienced agent or brokerage. However, most agents are paid an agreed-upon commission rate that is the same regardless of who you work with… So don’t you want the best? Of course you do. Politely apologize to your friend or relative that just got their license and find the best possible agent you can. It’s worth it; trust us.
  2. Not all agents understand real estate investing – There are plenty of agents out there that specialize in primary residence-only sales. That’s totally fine and can help people find their perfect home, but is probably not the best fit for you. If your agent doesn’t either own investment properties or specialize in working with investors, we’d recommend you keep looking until you find one that does. That difference alone can cost or save you in some pretty profound ways.
  3. Read Your Buyer Agency Agreement – It is not at all uncommon for agents or brokers to require a Buyer Agency Agreement from prospective buyers. This is essentially a contract between you and the agency that commits you to working with them for a period of time. It is critical you read and understand this agreement before signing, as you can be locked into a relationship you don’t enjoy or have even worse consequences for not abiding by this agreement, even accidentally. Always understand what it takes to get out of such an agreement if things don’t work out—it’s absolutely worth asking about upfront.
  4. Transaction Broker vs. Agent – There’s a very big difference between having an agent represent you and your best interests in a real estate sale compared to working with a neutral transaction broker. In almost all cases, it is better for you to have an agent on your side advocating for you to get the best possible deal rather than a transaction broker playing in the middle. You should be especially careful around any situation in which an agent began representing the other party and wishes to represent you as well. After all, it’s tough to imagine anyone being entirely impartial here.
  5. Don’t try to play the field – While you don’t have to work with the same agent all the time, it is not recommended to try to fish for deals with multiple agents. Remember, if you’re loyal to your agent and tend to choose them whenever you’re looking for a deal, they are going to be far more likely to think of you when they hear about opportunities down the road. This is especially worth mentioning to new investors, as Buyer Agency Agreements can cost you huge if you violate the terms of that contract.

Building Your Team: Financing

Having a great agent in your corner isn’t the only step. You’ll also need to know how you intend to finance your next property before moving forward with any offers. When executed right, financing relationships open doors for real estate investors to secure deals they may not otherwise have been able to, so it’s definitely worth having a relationship with one or, ideally, multiple lenders.

There are various avenues investors can take to secure financing on a property. Here are the most common:

  • Federally-backed mortgages through a lender – Most properties sold in the United States will include a mortgage of some sort at the time of sale. There are many types of mortgages to consider and plenty of lenders to choose from to access this financing. We have several two hour classes on just this topic alone so be sure to check out the financing classes for more information.
  • All-cash offers – While less common, investors that are willing to pay for a property in cash enjoy some handsome benefits, such as fast closings and likely lower risk of deals falling through, which can make all-cash offers tough to beat if you’re up against one.
  • Private lending – Whether you’re working with a hard money lender or structuring a partnership deal, this type of funding can provide fast closings similar to all-cash offers, but tend to come with higher mortgage rates than a mortgage would or require some sort of partnership structure to make all parties satisfied.

If you’re like most investors, you’ll probably start with mortgages through a bank or other mortgage broker. There are plenty of mortgage lenders out there to consider and many structure deals in different ways and offer unique benefits to attract their customers.

Unlike with agents, we recommend forming relationships with multiple mortgage lenders, even if that’s just with a quick phone call or email.

Here are some tips to help you secure the best possible financing:

  1. Get recommendations from your agent, mentor, or other investors in your area as to the best mortgage lenders to work with for your situation and goals.
  2. Have rates pulled from multiple lenders using the same criteria and ensure they are pulled on the same day. Rates change daily but you can generally get a gauge on the lender’s competitiveness when comparing same-day rates.
  3. Do not allow them to pull your credit score until you’re ready to commit!
  4. Be sure to compare origination fees, appraisal fees, and other things that go beyond the rate so you know what to expect before you commit to a lender and submit an offer.
  5. Remember that responsiveness is a tremendous asset in a lender. You’ll be working with them closely in the time leading up to closing on a property and any mistake in the process could cause delays or even make the deal fall through.

Building Your Team: Real Estate Investing Mentor

What prompted you to consider real estate investing? For many, there is someone in their lives that seems to have it all figured out and happens to do some real estate investing. It looks like the secret sauce to their happiness or wealth is wrapped up in real estate and it’s really easy to want to be like them.

Often, that person does not make the best mentor for new investors.

Instead of looking for the richest person in the room, we suggest real estate investors seek out someone who is just a couple of steps ahead of them in the process to help guide their next moves. If you’re looking to land your first deal, find someone with 2-3 properties and connect with them.

The person that’s only a little bit ahead of you can likely offer you advice in a more impactful and meaningful way than the investor with a small empire already in place who faces completely different challenges than you’ll have to worry about in the beginning.

While not every real estate investor needs a mentor, it can be a tremendous help when it comes to building the rest of your team. A contractor recommendation from an investor is very, very different from that of a friend or neighbor.

Check your local area for meetup and mastermind groups to see if their investing philosophy aligns with yours. It’s important to find a local mentor, however, as different markets will face entirely unique struggles and are often governed under wildly different tenant, investor, and occupancy laws.

If you’re in our neck of the woods, check us out at Northern Colorado Real Estate Investor Group.

Local groups like ours can help connect you with investors across the spectrum. Whether you find a mentor or not, being able to learn from and share with other local real estate investors can accelerate your knowledge and center you in your plan.

The best benefit is probably just to remember you’re not alone out there. In your area, there are plenty of other folks looking to expand their real estate portfolio and wondering if there’s anything they could be doing better also.

What Can You Afford?

As an investor, it is crucial to know what you can afford before you begin looking for deals.

This often works in two ways: the maximum amount of financing you are eligible for plus the sweet spot number that checks all the boxes for you from a budgeting and return on investment perspective.

Of course, the maximum you can qualify for with your lender should at least be equal to the sweet spot number for the properties you’re looking to invest in. However, often, that number can be crazy high. For example, if you have strong income and have been responsible with taking on debt, it’s not uncommon for a lender to approve a borrower for up to $500k in purchase price when they’d requested financing information on a $300k deal.

Don’t rush out and buy something more expensive just because you could. It’s important to stick to your plan and let the numbers guide you. More on that when we get to analyzing deals.

That being said, there are plenty of types of mortgage-based financing out there. We’ve seen owner-occupant borrowers qualify for down payments of 0%, 3%, 3.5%, 5% and more. Meanwhile, investors often see loans with down payment requirements in excess of 15%. This is one of the benefits of the Nomad™ strategy that has you buy properties as an owner-occupant before, a year or more later, you convert them to rentals.

Those loans span across a wide spectrum of options and programs, such as FHA, VA, Conventional and other types of financing for your mortgage. They can be variable or fixed in terms of interest rate, include or not include mortgage insurance, have restrictions for occupancy, and so on.

So, what’s best for you?

Well, that depends.

No two situations are the same, of course. These loan programs exist because most borrowers are in somewhat unique positions to offer security to the lender in terms of their ability to repay. Your credit score, down payment, income, and more all have a part to play in what you can qualify for.

One major factor in terms of your rates and down payment requirements is whether you choose to live in the property or not. Owner-occupant financing typically has significantly lower rates and low- or no-down payment requirements in comparison to an investor loan. Although, you’ll have to live there for at least 12 months under current guidelines.

Yes, this means that by living in the property before you rent it out, you can get your first deal done sooner and begin working toward building your portfolio to achieve your goals. In fact, you can do that again and again to enjoy the best rates and terms for your mortgages while building up your investment portfolio every year.

We call these investors Nomads™ and you can learn all about how to do it and drill down into the financing and strategy behind it on the Ultimate Guide to the Nomad™ Strategy page.

Determine Your Buying Criteria

If you’ve ever watched those house buying shows on TV, you’ve no doubt seen the somewhat suspiciously-specific lists that pop up on the screen as the young couple touts off exactly what they simply must have in order to move forward with the purchase.

Since the rumor is that many of those shows are filmed after the home has been closed on, it’s no wonder they have such a specific list of qualities they’re looking for, right?

Your list should be that specific before you buy to ensure that you’re only considering properties that bring you closer to your goals and cut out the headaches. Some things to consider when developing your buying criteria are:

  • Type of property – such as single-family, multi-family, or commercial
  • Location – be specific
  • Price range
  • Size – consider including bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage, lot size
  • Condition – rent ready, fixer upper, etc.
  • Minimum bar for cash-on-cash return
  • The Four Areas of Return On Investment: Appreciation + Cash Flow + Debt Pay Down + Tax Benefits
Return on Investment Quadrant™
Return on Investment Quadrant™

For more information about the Return On Investment Quadrant™, check out our resource guide and videos.

Brian’s Criteria

In the recording of this class, Brian shared his criteria for what constitutes a deal. For him, those were:

  • Is it in any of these cities?
    • City 1
    • City 2
    • City 3
  • If not, where and how well do I know that region? How likely is a 2-5 year exit?
  • Also if not, could I get a significant discount?
  • Was it built in 1960 or later?
  • Has the neighborhood performed well or is it likely to soon based on employment, traffic, population, and migration data?
  • Is it in a flood plain?
  • Is it almost rent ready?
  • Is it a property I’ll want to own in 20 years?
  • Does it have 5% CoC (cash-on-cash return) unmanaged? Or 5% managed if not in my typical market?
  • Can I get good financing?
  • Does this purchase greatly impact my future ability to get loans or do refis?
  • Can I get reasonably-priced insurance?
  • Is it more than X% ROI by Year Y?
  • Does it pass my Blink?*

*In reference to Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcom Gladwell:

Put briefly, you’re always processing more information than you realize. If you have a weird or just “nope” feeling, listen to that. It doesn’t mean you should just not move forward, but you should be cautious.

Don’t be intimidated: This will likely take you a while the first time you do it. Practice! Use our deal analysis spreadsheet to work on analyzing deals before you’re ready to buy, and get as much practice in as possible so you’re ready for the real thing.

If you regularly analyze properties that come on the market and drive through neighborhoods you may be interested in at different times of day, you’ll really know what you like or don’t like and have a strong feeling for what the right deal for you looks like so you can act quickly when it comes along.

Finding Properties in the MLS

The Multiple Listing Service, or MLS, is a real estate advertising service company used by real estate firms, agents, and brokers. Most people don’t actually have access to the MLS directly and must count on their agent to connect them with the property information found there. It is the primary place properties are listed, however, so it’s very important that you have a way to gain access.

Many agents use a service like IRES to share specific listing data with clients. In general, you want to ensure that your agent has a bulletproof way to equip you with listing information quickly and effectively so you reduce the risk of missing a new property that meets your criteria as much as possible.

Be careful of secondhand listing services, such as Zillow, as sometimes their information can lag a bit behind. Just note that not all properties listed there will still be available; some may be recently sold, removed, or placed under contract.

As you begin your search, you’ll want to look at as many listings as possible. Familiarize yourself with the layout of the information and do some research into what rents look like in different areas. The more deals you can analyze before placing an offer on a property, the more equipped you’ll be to move confidently on a great deal.

At the Showing

Any listing agent can tell you one thing for certain: people enjoy looking at houses for sale.

It is fun to walk through properties and consider the possibilities of investing there. Do not get lost in that haze or sell yourself on accident!

There are certain things you should look for at a showing to see beyond the finishes and find the things that could cost or save you money down the road.

Pay attention to things like flooring, layout, appliances, living areas, “flow”, and overall pleasantness of the property. It can be helpful to consider if you’d want to live there, but remember that you’re not the only person to consider. Instead, consider asking: “would most people want to live here?” If a majority of people would probably like the property, you are far more likely to see it rented at optimal rates regularly.

Other things to watch for that could be a make-or-break criteria for future tenants would be things like AC, fenced yard for pets and kids, curb appeal, general neighborhood safety, and more. Remember the blink we mentioned above; if you get a weird feeling, it’s likely that some of your future applicants will feel put off by the property in the same way.

It’s also helpful to get the neighbors on your side. Many people don’t like the idea of rentals in their neighborhood, so it can be a tremendous benefit to you if the neighbors like you before you even buy. Take the time to drive the neighborhood and talk with those you see. You may end up learning a lot about the house, neighborhood, and who lives/lived in and around the property, plus you can make a good impression on the neighbors that can eventually help you keep an eye on the eventual tenants you place there.

If you’re going to Nomad™ into the property, it actually will matter if you want to live there or not. Since, as we know, owner-occupant financing requires you to live in the property for a year, you’ll want to make sure it works for your situation for at least that long before considering the deal.

Lastly, if the property has current tenants and you interact with them at all, ask how much they’re paying for rent and if they’ve had any issues with the home. This can tell you a lot about the property’s condition and even help you gauge where you can expect rents to fall if you take over.

Analyze the Property

The Worlds' Greatest Real Estate Deal Analysis Spreadsheet
The Worlds’ Greatest Real Estate Deal Analysis Spreadsheet

If you haven’t already, be sure to download our FREE deal analysis spreadsheet that you can use to determine whether the property is in line with your financial goals. Do the numbers look good year 1, year 10, year 30? Consider the condition of the property and the overall market when making your predictions and always play with your assumptions to get a feel for some great and not-so-great scenarios.

Beyond the numbers, you’ll want to consider the type of tenant this property attracts.

For instance, if you rent near a college, you can assume that you’ll likely have student applicants that may be a bit harder on your property but could also be worth more in rent. In order to ensure compliance with fair housing laws, it’s crucial to think of these factors before you choose to purchase and rent a property.

Finally, always be sure to factor in the opportunity cost of the purchase. This essentially means that if you choose to buy here, that could be one less loan slot available to you, plus funds tied up in the property in terms of down payment, time spent fixing things found in inspection, and more. All of these costs will take away your ability to invest that time and money elsewhere, so ensure you are truly satisfied with the deal before considering the next step.

Since analyzing properties requires more space than we have here, check out our entire series of classes on analyzing properties.

Make the Offer!

We’ve made it. If you’ve done things right, the hard part should already be done. By now, you’ve determined your WHY, set goals, analyzed deals, built at least some of your team, and probably visited or considered more than a few properties with your agent or broker.

But it’s not time to celebrate just yet. For many investors, it honestly ends right here. If you’ve done all the work to get to this point and you feel confident in the analysis you’ve done, all that’s left is fear.

Even in doubt, trust your analysis and get it under contract!

Timing is critical in real estate investing. If you wait for the stars to align and a sign from the heavens to move forward on every great deal that comes along, know that you’re probably going to miss out on most of them. Good deals don’t last long in this business and there are likely other investors and home-buyers out there looking for exactly what you see—likely with far less energy and effort invested to understand just how what they’ve found is!

If it helps, remember that even not-so-great deals can look pretty great 10 years down the road. Home prices and rent prices have historically grown over long periods of time and that doesn’t look to be slowing anytime soon.

Once you’ve committed and resolved yourself to move forward, it’s time to breathe a sigh of relief and let your agent handle the negotiations.

How to Strengthen the Offer

It’s very likely that not every offer you put in is going to get accepted. Some actually may need to be negotiated or re-submitted multiple times depending on the seller’s situation and the competitiveness of the current real estate market.

If you’re looking for ways to strengthen your offer, consider talking with your agent about:

  • Offering more money. Usually this is the easiest way to sweeten the deal for the seller.
  • Better understanding the seller’s situation. Perhaps your seller has something unique going on that could be used to your advantage or help you craft a better win-win deal for everyone.
  • Waive inspection or appraisal objection. This can get a little risky on your end, because you’re essentially removing reasons that you can back out of the deal if something comes up, such as a major issue found during inspection or the home not appraising at the agreed-upon price.
  • Flexibility with closing and other dates. Sometimes, the seller just needs to be out before their next mortgage payment would be due. If you can work out things like financing slightly sooner, this can win you the deal.
Buying Process Overview
Buying Process Overview

If you’d like to check out the entire buying process start to finish, be sure to check out our Buying Process Overview checklist.

Offer Accepted Through Closing

After your offer has been accepted by the seller, there are some things you’ll have to take care of independently, as well as with your lender, agent, inspector, and title company to coordinate the sale and transfer of ownership.

This is a crucial phase for you as an investor because of the financial impact missing even one step can have here. That being said, if you’ve built a great team, they should have your back every step of the way. There is more detail to this than we can cover here so do check out the other resources we have on the contract to closing process.

Here are some things you’ll need to take care of before closing:

  • Deliver Earnest Money before deadline
    • A portion of your closing costs is held “in earnest” to cover closing costs. Some or all of this money can be returned based on the sale falling through at certain objection periods in your contract provided you did not waive that right.
  • Schedule inspection before deadline
    • Ensure you can be present for the inspection – it’s critical you walk with the inspector through the property if at all possible
    • Point out anything strange or concerning you notice to the inspector
    • Remember, not everything the inspector finds needs to become an objection to the sale. Houses will always have some wear and tear. In general, save your objections for health, safety, and major unknown costs. For the rest, just plan to fix them when you take ownership.
  • Title company sends Preliminary Title Commitment for you to review
    • Review this carefully and call an attorney if needed as this shows the chain of title and conditions for issuing the Title Policy
    • Basically, this is what will make sure you are the lawful owner at the time of sale
  • HOA documents as applicable
    • If the property is under the jurisdiction of a Homeowners Association, it is crucial that you review their policies
    • Some HOAs have restrictions on leases, pet ownership, property alteration, and more. Make sure you’re comfortable with everything there before proceeding.
  • Seller’s property disclosure
    • This document is the seller’s chance to outline changes, repairs, and outlying issues with the property to the best of their knowledge to protect themselves from liability should you
      find anything later on. Don’t ignore what’s listed here!
    • If possible, review this document before inspection so you can have any items listed there checked out. Was that repair done correctly, for instance?
  • Start insurance coverage and transfer utilities for the day of closing
    • You own the house for the entire day of closing, even before you get to the table.
  • Schedule final walkthrough
    • The day of closing, you’ll want to ensure you do a final walkthrough of the property before arriving at closing
    • Ensure everything is there that you expect to be and gone if you expect it to be. Check appliances and look for any major issues not present during inspection.
  • If you wish to review closing documents, request them in advance
    • These are massive documents that would take many hours to review. The title company will not enjoy accommodating that request day-of.

At Closing

Most of the time spent at the closing table is passing around large stacks of documents and signing + initialing all over. You want to closely check mentions of yourself and the property, plus keep these things in mind:

  • Bring a cashier’s check for the cash due at closing amount outlined by the lender
  • Ensure all parties are present and have necessary IDs and any other required documents
  • Sometimes the seller is present, other times they are not
  • Review and sign documents
    • Again, you should pay attention to anywhere that mentions names and locations and ensure they’re 100% correct. County name, street name, your last name, all of that.

After Closing

Celebrate—you did it!

There are a couple of things to keep in mind that should be done right away, including:

  • The deed gets filed electronically with county
    • You get a copy in the mail and do not need to buy another. You may receive a letter asking for money to send you a copy and do not need to do that.
  • Owner’s title policy will be mailed to you within 60 days. You can also request this after that time period from the title company.
  • Be sure to file away all of the closing documents you receive at closing right away
  • Immediately go change the locks and reset the garage door openers!
  • Ensure smoke and CO detectors are good and working
  • Service furnace and A/C if not recently done and verified during inspection
  • Do all necessary work and fix things that were found in your inspection

From there, follow your plan and apply our Tenant Screening Mastery tips to find amazing tenants to fill your properties!

Habits of Successful Investors

In closing, Brian shared these 5 things that successful investors have in common. If you see yourself in these 5 traits and have made it through to the end here, you likely have what it takes to achieve your goals and live your WHY.

  1. Take action
  2. Hustle and move fast
  3. Have grit
  4. Make decisions and follow through
  5. Treat this like a business, not a hobby

From here, we offer tons of amazing real estate investing classes, resources, and checklists you can use to work toward your goals and expand your understanding of real estate investing even further!

If you’re in the Northern Colorado market and looking to build your team, consider contacting James and Tammy Orr.

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