Sunday, November 16, 2014

Increasing Usable Space

I came upon a deal in the western suburbs of Chicago this weekend that had a great walk-up attic.    How simple would it be to some wiring... sheetrock... paint...  carpet this 800 square foot space?   

Due to the low and angled ceilings, I don't think making additional bedroom(s) out of this space would be advised.   Although, the thought of a kid's play zone or man cave would economicaly add signifacant living space. For less than $5000 this conversion could add an amazing amount of value to this home in DuPage County.

Happy investing,
Rob Hayes

Sunday, November 2, 2014

A Fresh New Book

Thanks to, I have something to distract/educate me for the next week!   I've heard so many good things about, but I haven't spent much time exploring it for myself.  I just cracked their new book, "No (and low) Money Down", over the weekend and I've been pleasently surprised!

Eventhough I'm only two chapters in, the fact that the author, Brandon Turner, pokes fun at "the Guru's" does nothing but grab my attention and give the author instant credibility.   I've been investing for a long time now and have experienced the sales pitch from many self-proclaimed "Gurus".  The get rich quick techniques and the "no money, no credit, no job" gimmicks have gotten very old.    NO... I'm not going to spend $5,000.00 in order to spend the weekend with you so that you can pump me up full of your Kool-Aid and than leave me with a wicked financial hangover the following Monday.

Again, I'm only two chapters in, but the real techniques of buying your first investment property with FHA financing is simple and realistic.   So chew on this for a while.   For you newbie a three flat with FHA financing with 3.5% down and have the seller provide you with a 3% credit at closing. After collecting the property tax prorations, tenant security deposits and prorated rents there's a good chance you could pick up an investment property for "No Money Down"!   There are some down falls though, you will have to live in one of the units for twelve months...but if you don't have 20%-25% to put down on a deal that compromise may be well worth it for you.

All of a sudden, I feel like moving!

Your mentor,

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Period Rehabs

I recently viewed a property for sale in Downers Grove that was straight out of the 1960's.   The home needed extensive remodeling due to the collapsed kitchen, the mold and mildew odor in the home, the lime green shag carpeting and the wall paper that even is found on numerous ceilings.   The issue that my client and I struggle with is whether or not we can do our typical rehab or if we need to reproduce the 60's style that the exterior of the home exudes!   

We discussed this issue for hours and seemed to go back and forth with our opinions.  Our typical rehab is a very standard "cookie cutter" style, but it's very simple and straight forward.   The contractors can easily spit out the final product in a matter of a few weeks.   My client wondered if while previewing the finished product weather or not the general public would think that they had one foot in the 60's and one foot in modern time?   How would that affect resale value?

On the flip side... a "Period Rehab" may cost 20% more in materials and take considerably longer to complete!  Should we hire an interior decorator?  How much more time would we spend at the local Menards?  How much longer would this rehab take our contractors since this isn't the typical "cookie cutter" rehab that we have them done?   We unanimously agreed that this final "Period Rehab" would sell for a fair amount more... but how would the net ROI be affected and would it be worth it?

What do you think?

Rob Hayes

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Real Esate Agent

Since I am a liscensed real estate agent in the state of Illinois, I am obviously biased on this topic!  I do strongly believe that you should have a qualified, experienced, dedicated real estate agent in your power team.  There are a many reasons why this is the case.

  • Greater knowledge of "The Market" than you
  • Greater knowledge of the contracts and documents you will be useing
  • Saves you time finding the great deals
  • Additional strength in negotiating you a better deal
  • May bring other valuable contacts to the your us
  • Provides an unbiased opinion of things
  • "Pocket Listings" 

     These are just a number of the reasons why you should have a real estate agent involved in your power team.  I could go into great detail in discussing each one of these points, but we can have that conversation another time.  The greatest part of this power team member, is that he/she won't cost you a single dollar.  Don't get use to it though, the rest of your power team members can get quite pricey.

    Your Real Estate Investing Mentor,
    Rob Hayes

    Saturday, January 28, 2012

    Develop your power team

    In the next couple of blogs, I will be focusing on your "power team."  Your power team, is the group of different professionals that you will be working with regularly in your investing career.  These are the men and women that will be helping you at ever level of investing. When investing in real estate you will need the help of dozens of different professionals (real estate agents, loan officers, property inspectors, insurance agents, a real estate investing mentor, etc...).  The list of people you will need is very extensive, and it will take you years to develop a great power team.

    The first thing you will need to do is develop a list. Think of all the professions and their services that you might use as a real estate investor.  In order to get the most out of your power team, you'll next need to realize why you need each of them. Most importantly, you need to realize what level of services you should expect from each of them.

    Next you will need to search for these individuals and determine which ones you would like to hire.  You will need to interview several of them in each category.  This is very important, you never want to contact just one Lawyer, Accountant, Plumber, etc...  In order to conserve time, you would interview them all over the phone.  Unfortunately, you won't learn the true value of any of their services until you actually hire them and put them to work.  This is a portion that will take's the part in which you hire them and find out if they are really worth their cost. And don't feel obligated to stay loyal to any one of them.  Just because you've used the same electrician for the last 5 projects, doesn't mean you need to keep working with him.  If he's not giving you great service, than you should be shopping around for a new one. Never get locked in with one member of your power team.

    This may seem like a lot of work, but years down the road when you've developed a very strong, reliable, affordable and thorough power team you will be very happy that you took the time to do this.  It's with out a doubt that a good power team will positively affect your return on investment, your passive income, your equity positions...which ever way you measure your success.

    This may seem like a daunting task, but start now... do some research on  Look up three different accountants in your area and give them a call.  Ask them why you should have them do your taxes.  Than next week call three loan officers and ask them why you should get a loan through their bank.  Spend the time, do your homework.

    When you buy your next investment property you'll be glad that you've already done your research!

    Your real estate investing mentor,
     Rob Hayes 

    Sunday, January 22, 2012

    Real Estate Investors Associations

    There is an amazing amount of value and education when participating in these groups.  It breaks my heart every time I talk to a new investor and hear they just came back from a "Real Estate Investors Boot Camp" in which they got at a great deal on.  They took advantage of the holiday pricing of only $3,000.00 for the entire weekend!!!  What hurts even more is when I think of the 100's of new investors who have done this, and have yet to put together a deal.

    If you ask me, I think that joining your local real estate investors association is the best value when it comes to real estate education.  In the Chicago suburbs alone there are a number of different associations to choose from.  I'm not hear to sell you on a particular one, but I think that they all have a great deal to offer.  For around $100, you can get a one year membership to any of them...and this is where you can really get an education.  It may take some time to figure out who in the organization is worth talking to, but there probably is wealth of knowledge to be found at one of these meetings.  Whether you're looking to find a real estate coach, or to learn more about passive income, or being a landlord, the people who actually have the experience doing these things are at these meetings.  So be proactive and search these people out!  Don't be pushy... Don't try to get all of questions answered at the first meeting... but act professional and sincere and you can get a lot out of these organizations with spending just a fraction of the money.

    So my advice to all of the new investors out there... Put the credit card back in your pocket when it comes to the weekend boot camp, and join your local REIA.  You can find a list of them in your area at  With the extra $2,900 in your pocket you have the down payment to buy your very first real estate investment.

    Your real estate investing mentor,
    Rob Hayes

    Friday, January 13, 2012

    Just Do It

    Yes, we have all heard this famous catch phrase and no, this is not another advertisement from Nike! This is the simple advice that I want to give to all the people in my life that do not invest in real estate. This is the simple advice that I want to give to all the people that approach me and ask, "How do I get started?"

    As a long time member and the current Library Chairman of the Chicago Area Real Estate Investors Association (, I find myself with a unique challenge. I would love to see every member of the group borrowing a new piece of material every month... Although, if every month they are reading a new book, studying a new program, or watching a DVD when are they ever going to get out there and start their first deal? One of the most common issues that prevent a first time investor from doing their first deal is a thing called, "analysis paralysis". My simple advice to those people would be, JUST DO IT!

    One of the investors and authors I have learned a great deal from is Robert Kyosaki. In addition to being one of the key authors in our industry, he has also designed a board game called, "Cash Flow". If you have never heard of the game or played it, I would highly recommend that you try it.  The Chicago Area Real Estate Investors Association hosts a game night once month for its members.  If you don't live in the Chicago area, you can start your own game night, or find one that's already running.  Sites like are great for finding and starting a Cash Flow game night.  A fellow investor and myself do host a monthly Cash Flow game night in the western suburbs of Chicago.  We would love for you to join us for a night of games, networking, and great real estate conversation.  All the details can be found at "Chicagoland Cashflow Club" on

    My goal as a real estate investor is to get out of the "rat race", and through this board game I've learned that this can be done no matter what my profession is.  The one common thread that I see, is that you must be doing deals. This is vital.  I cannot move toward my goal if I am sitting on the sidelines and watching all the deals being done by others.  Whether I am buying 500 sq. ft studio condominiums or 64 unit apartment complexes, the important part is that I am doing something to increase my real estate portfolio.

    So, to close this blog, I encourage everyone to do what it takes to keep yourself motivated in your real estate investing career. You can join a local real estate investing organization... You can participate in social activity like joining a Cash Flow game night... You can read blogs such as this... No matter how you grow as a real estate investor, Nike and I would like to remind you: JUST DO IT!

    Your real estate investing mentor,
    Rob Hayes