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INVESTORS’ CORNER: Get Information on The Property

(part 10 of a series)

Go to any Starbucks and you’ll see dozens of people staring at their laptops and tablets, mesmerized by whatever is on their screens. Not so long ago, this would be a scene from a futuristic sci-fi movie.

The written word is the key to real estate. You must know how to read and write. When we say “read”, we really mean “comprehend.” Few people take the time to truly read and comprehend. This is a travesty for our nation and it has spelled doom for many business people. It is also a huge benefit to those of us who know that people don’t read their paperwork.

Knowing how to write means knowing how to communicate your thoughts clearly. You don’t want people to misinterpret what you are saying – whether it is oral or written. Making sure everyone is on the same page and understands what is being agreed upon is the key to successful deals and successful relationships.

It is imperative that you really pay attention to what you are reading. It is equally important that you fully understand every document that confronts you in every deal in which you become involved. Therefore, the first, and probably most important concept, is “Anything that applies to real estate must be in writing. If it is not in writing, then it is not binding in any manner.”

I recently sold a duplex over the phone to a couple. Within 20 minutes they faxed over a one paragraph handwritten offer to purchase, with address of property, price we had agreed and wanted to close in 10 days. I forwarded to my attorney and we closed on date requested. (The point is it should be in writing but does not have to be pretty).

The technology for qualifying a property, learning about its owners, as well as the debt history and structure, has grown in quantum leaps. All the essential information about any property and its owners is at our fingertips no matter where we are on the planet. It is never more than a computer away. Your laptop is about to become a very essential tool and your best friend.

Now you must just put in the time and effort and know when a potential “good deal” falls in your lap.

If you never acquire a stick of real estate other than your residence, you should at least make acquiring your personal residence a very good deal. Remember the old adage: you make your profit when you buy real estate, not when you sell it. Learn to live in good deals.

JC Underwood is the director at the Metrolina Real Estate Investors Association, which provides education, mentoring, and networking for real estate investing in the Charlotte region. He can be contacted at jcu@MetrolinaREIA.org. For more information, visit www.MetrolinaREIA.org.

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