Category Archives: investing

How I Built a $1.3M Real Estate Portfolio for the Cost of a 1-Bedroom in NYC

  

Hand of Business people calculating interest, taxes and profits to invest in real estate and home buying

Is this crazy? I sat there with my 23-year-old head spinning—looking at the first $400,000 multifamily rehab project that I had just put under contract.

You’ve probably asked yourself (at least) a couple times if it’s crazy to get into real estate, too. If you asked your friends and family instead, they probably immediately answered, “Yes!”—followed by a spiel about whatever aspect of managing a real estate business that scares them most.

Maybe they mentioned the risk of a market crash, the challenge of dealing with tenants, or the pitfalls of negotiating with contractors. It’s only human. We fear risk.

We fear risk even when our fears are irrational.

Even if you drink the real estate Kool-Aid and know that real estate can be an amazing way to build wealth, the fear probably hits you each time you’re about to write an offer on a building. Do I really know what I’m getting myself into?

Right Before the Plunge

On that night in May 2017, I was on the verge of taking what—to many people—would look like the biggest risk of my young life. I was 23, had recently graduated from college, and had barely six months of real estate experience. This project would pit me and my business partner against countless situations we were not prepared for, faced with countless questions we didn’t know the answers to.

Luckily, as real estate investors, it’s not our job to know the answers. It’s our job to know the numbers.

The numbers on our first rehab deal told us that even in our worst-case scenario—even if everything that people warned us about went wrong—taking the plunge would get us closer to financial freedom than sitting “safely” on the sidelines ever could.

Why are we comfortable losing money, as long as we know how much we’re going to lose?

As a recent grad, most of my college friends ended up in big cities on the coasts.

Related: Mastering Turnkey Real Estate: How to Build a Passive Portfolio

In 2017, the median rent in Manhattan was $3,150 a month. According to Rent Jungle, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco was even higher: $3,334 a month. Over the course of a year, that adds up to $40,000 in rent for a one-bedroom apartment.

For reference, the median family income in the city of St. Louis is $52,000 a year. In St. Louis, that money can buy buildings.

On the coasts, it buys you the right to spend up to 39 percent more than the national average on basic necessities like groceries. The costs are pretty crazy, but the craziest part is that spending a family’s annual salary on rent is somehow considered a perfectly normal financial decision for a young person to make.

Young people spend that money with no expectation of getting a return. Rent, groceries, and transportation are costs—not investments.

What is the risk of embarking on a rehab project compared to the 100 percent certainty of spending $40,000 a year on rent?

How We Measure Risk

Risk is exposure to uncertainty. Because of this, renting doesn’t feel like a risk. Neither does spending a lot to live in a big coastal city. The costs are large, but they’re constant. We know them up front: $40,000, paid in tidy, predictable monthly increments.

Or do we?

What is the real risk of renting away your twenties—and how do you compare it to the risk of a rehab project? Does renting in a big city make your financial future—not in 10 months, but in 10 years—more certain or less so?

When you’re embarking on a rehab project, uncertainty stares you in the face. The risks are all right ahead of you, a landmine of knowns unknowns:

  • Do we have our contractors lined up in the right order?
  • Have we done everything we need to pass inspection?
  • Will we hit our rent targets once all the work is done?
  • Is it cheaper to fix this or replace it?

Those seem like hard questions to answer. Small wonder that most people warn you away from real estate.

Except when you’re following a safe, “normal” path, uncertainty isn’t gone. It’s just waiting for you out of sight.

Five years from now, will I be working at a job I don’t like? Or will I be free and doing the things that matter to me most in life?

Ten years from now, will I have the resources to protect what I love? To support my family, friends, and community?

Those are hard questions to answer.

For me, those questions would have been impossible to answer if I lived in a big city on the coast, took a fancy job where I was well paid but spent most of my salary on rent and groceries, and had to spend most of my time working for someone else.

We are conditioned to deal with long-term uncertainty the same way we’re taught to deal with short-term risk: by avoiding it.

But avoiding risks doesn’t make them go away. It doesn’t teach us anything. It doesn’t get us any closer to answering life’s hardest questions.

The numbers on our first rehab deal told me two things. In the worst-case scenario, I would come out of the deal not losing any more money than someone who chose to rent in a big city. In the worst-case scenario, I would come out of the deal with an education that would allow me to take control of my financial future.

I could live with that.

The Numbers Tell the Story

My business partner, Ben Mizes, and I started our real estate portfolio with an FHA loan. We were only required to put a small down payment on a relatively stress-free, low-maintenance fourplex.

Five months later, we were planning to borrow $315,000 from the bank and $105,000 from private family investors and spend as much of our own time, sweat, and money as it took to come out the other side of our first four-unit rehab.

The project would be our first BRRRR (or buy, rehab, rent, refinance, repeat).

We were upgrading kitchens, bathrooms, and AC units to bring the rents up from $825 per door to $1,400 per door—a 70 percent increase.

With renovations complete, Ben and I would try to appraise the building for $700,000. Depending on the lender, you can borrow between 70 to 85 percent of a building’s appraised value. In this range, as long as we hit our numbers, we could completely repay our investors, recoup our costs, and walk away owning a cash-flowing castle.

The potential upside was clear. Just as important, we looked at our downside.

Ben and I modeled a worst-case, “do-nothing” scenario, trying to understand what would happen to us if we got stuck and couldn’t complete the rehab at all.

What Could Go Wrong? 

Well, plenty.

Ben and I had a contract to buy the building for $420,000. At the closing table, the seller would credit us for the $20,000 worth of repairs that had to be done immediately: fixing a collapsed sewer, repainting and sealing damaged windows, and replacing falling fascia boards.

Note: We always, always, ALWAYS make our buildings watertight before doing anything else. If they aren’t watertight when we buy them, we negotiate for repair credits to fix problems on the seller’s dime—immediately upon closing.

The $20,000 repair credit provided by the seller brought our effective purchase price to $400,000. Combined, our mortgage payments, taxes, and insurance came out to $2,277 per month.

The numbers told us we could make our mortgage payments comfortably, even in its current (read: very rough) condition. The building was generating income of $3,350 per month, or about $825 per door.

Assuming we got completely stuck and had to keep renting the units out for their present value of $825, we would have $1,073 per month with which to pay all of our fixed and variable expenses. Utilities and HOA fees (the building is in a private subdivision with an annual assessment) came out to $380 per month, leaving $693 a month to deal with variable expenses.

In a worst-case scenario, we would be self-managing to save on property management fees. That would still leave us with vacancy, repairs, and maintenance costs, and the need to set aside money each month for a capital expense escrow.

Was $693 really enough?

Under our most-conservative model, we planned to put aside $10,000 each year for repairs and escrow. After five years, that equals $50,000 put into proactive maintenance—enough to deal with a roof, a complete tuck-pointing redo, and major structural repairs.

Then, we figured 10 percent vacancy cost—high for the area but not impossible if we had hard luck. What was the worst that could happen?

deal analysis

Under our worst-case model, we would be losing $600 every month. Losing $600 a month is a losing deal. That’s not a deal that gets you on a podcast. It’s not a deal that successful investors show off in a blog post.

Luckily, it’s not the deal we ended up with, either. (Spoiler alert: We came out of this rehab with a lot more paint on our shoes but a lot more cash in the bank, too.)

But when we talk about “risk,” here’s the curveball question: Would this “worst-case” deal be a step away from, or a step toward, financial freedom? Let’s look at those numbers again.

The Difference Between Costs and Investments

An investment is any place where you can put your money, such that it creates more wealth over time. In the model above, a lot of the expenses that look like “costs”—that is, look like places where Ben and I would have lost money—are actually investments, places where our money helps us build wealth.

Related: Why Turnkey Rentals Might Just Be an Ideal Investment for Real Estate Newbies

1. Loan Pay-Down

In our worst-case scenario, we would pay $600 a month (on average) to cover the costs of repairs and build a sizable rainy day fund.

However, our $1,600-per-month mortgage would be completely paid for by our tenants. In the first year alone, our tenants would pay for our ~$14,000 interest payments and help us build $5,000 worth of equity in the building.

Over time, that equity build-up only accelerates. In our thirties, Ben and I will build up $85,000 through principal paydown alone (pun intended).

The amazing part is that would be the case even if the rehab project was a complete failure. Breaking even on mortgage and utilities and scraping out of pocket to cover unexpected repairs, Ben and I would still be positioning ourselves to accumulate passive wealth in the future.

2. Proactive Maintenance

If you spend $50,000 on a building in five years, it becomes a lot cheaper to maintain. Under our worst-case model, we would have $10,000 a year to deal with maintenance issues before they became more serious.

When you budget to deal with problems up front, it makes for a less-impressive pro forma—but it also means that maintenance costs get significantly lower over time.

If you plow $10,000 every year into it, even a problem-ridden property will get easier and easier to take care of. It might be a painful cost to swallow in the short-term, but you haven’t lost the money that you spend on a property you own. You’ve just re-invested it.

By contrast, if you spend $40,000 in one year on rent, the money is out of your hands for good.

3. Hands-On Education

When you buy your first rehab, the most important investment you make isn’t in the building. It’s in yourself. You’re taking out (quite possibly) the only student loan in the world that can pay itself off in less than a year.

The most daunting part of diving into a real estate deal—the part that makes people say it’s too risky—is that you don’t just stand to lose money but time, too.

The time costs on this project would have made this a losing deal for a veteran investor. We spent untold hours painting, fixing plumbing, and (like you saw above) drilling holes through concrete when a contractor dropped the ball on us.

But we weren’t veteran investors (yet!). As Ben and I looked at the numbers together, we realized we were buying ourselves both a building and an education, too. Even if we broke even, we would come out of the project with an education that in itself was worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

So—What Happened?

A few years ago, I sat looking at the numbers on a $400,000 real estate deal that could either set me on the fast-track for financial freedom or go completely off the rails. In the end, both things happened.

My business partner and I got screwed over by not one but four different contractors before we finished the project. One caused thousands of dollars of water damage to the floors, embroiled us in a months-long insurance claim, and tried to take us to court after he lost.

We dealt with an irascible tenant who threatened us and damaged his apartment.

Time and again, things took more time, sweat, and money than we had expected. But the age-old mantra of real estate investing held true: You make money when you buy. The numbers of the deal were strong.

And now that we’re done dealing with contractors, tenants, and renovations (at this property), we have a building that rents for $1,400 a door, water-tight with low maintenance costs, and a fair market valuation between $650,000 and $700,000.

Now we are on pace to refinance the building, fully repay our investors in the first year, and walk away with the funds to do it all over again.

Taking the Plunge (Again)

Is this crazy? Fast forward and I’m sitting here, head spinning, looking at the numbers of a 20-unit deal in St. Louis.

Since starting our renovation project one year ago, we’ve used the education and cash flow we gained from it to build a 22-unit portfolio—and a high-growth startup.

Now, with a refinance underway, I am looking at a deal that could double the size of our portfolio overnight, all while working full-time.

A new project brings new unknowns. More questions we don’t know how to answer and lots more numbers to keep me and Ben busy.

Source: BiggerPockets.com – Luke Babich

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What is the best age to invest in real

What is the best age to invest in real estate?

Knowing the best age to invest in real estate is one of the most frequent doubts that those who are beginning to think about their future have. Especially because they see in the real estate area a financial security that other types of investment as the stock market no longer offers.

The short answer is that there is no right age to invest, but the sooner you do it, the more opportunities you will have to make money – and your investment will last longer.

However, it is true that investing is not a habit that we have all been taught. Not all of us receive financial education, and some do not even have the habit of saving money. We know that it can be difficult to do when you are young and you are between your twenties or beginning the thirties: travel, shopping, transportation expenses and fashion technology tend to monopolize the attention of your money.

Unfortunately, this lack of financial education ultimately affects the future. Especially when you decide to start investing and you realize how much time you lost because you did not do it before.

Why should we start investing as soon as possible?

As you will remember, one of our 10 tips for investing in real estate and not die in trying your purchase, is to understand that in real estate investment, patience is the key to success.

Something that guarantees the value of a property is the capital gain that it has, depends on the location in which the property is located. The capital gain acquires more value over time. That is why the big investors are those who can analyze the market and see beyond what is trendy. Imagine if 10 years ago you had invested in real estate developments in the Riviera Maya, or in real estate developments in Tulumplaces that are currently a magnet for tourism and foreign investment.

That’s why we say that the best time to invest is now; the more time you spend, the less chance you will have of acquiring properties at a lower cost that guarantees a high return on investment.

We must also consider that the responsibilities we acquire over time can make it more difficult to become a real estate investor. Marrying or having children can make you reconsider your expenses and how much money you can use to invest.

Each individual has different priorities and opportunities. There are those who see in their twenties the opportunity to promote a future while there are others who can invest only after their 30’s or 40’s. It is also normal and natural for some to think about investing until after retirement, when they have the money to do so.

Nor can we deny that each generation has different perspectives on what we should consider a priority and what not. For example, while for millennials acquiring experiences is a priority -as traveling- for generation x and baby boomers, acquiring properties is more important.

However, this does not mean that millennials – who are between the ages of 23 and 38 – have a chip that prevents them from being good at investing in real estate, on the contrary it is they who are changing the notions of success and ways of doing business and even as we think about work and lifestyle, this makes them less incompatible in investing in real estate, they are the ones who are beginning to consider investing their money to obtain financial independence.

For example, for the baby boomers and generation X financial security meant having a stable job and a fixed salary in order to save for retirement or get their pension. Today the notion of working from home without the need to attend an office is a reality for many people, as well as the existence of jobs that 30 years ago were difficult to imagine.

30 years ago it was hard to think that ordinary people could make money using the internet. Computers and the Internet were exclusive to those who were studying something related to technology. Today you do not need to be a hacker to be able to use digital platforms to make money like blogs or investing in services like Uber.

The orange economy – that is, the creative economy – allows retirement to become more possible at an early age. Which has also become possible because more and more people decide to invest their money in a smarter way – and do it at a young age – to be able to live on their investments and not have to be dependent on a job.

Years ago we thought that buying a property was to live in, today thanks to applications like Airbnb, more and more investors decide to buy apartments and houses only to rent them on these platforms.

You do not need to be a millennial to start investing. The technological evolution has made both applications and platforms as well as access to them, are increasingly easier to use.

For example, since 2017 Airbnb host users over 60 years have increased by 120%, while women over this age have become the best rated on the platform. Which indicates that even baby boomers see technology as an opportunity to get a better return on investment with their property.

What is the best age to invest in real estate?
Investing in real estate is possible at any age, but the sooner you do it, the more opportunities you will have to enjoy your money.

What is the best age to invest in real estate?

As we mentioned, not all ages or stages are the same for every person. For some it may be impossible to invest in their twenties and find the possibility of doing it later.

Our best recommendation is that rather than being guided byan ideal age you start doing it for the goals you have and the opportunities that come your way.

There are many myths around investment, especially when you want to do it at a young age, and one of the factors that keep people away from real estate investment is the lack of knowledge on the subject and investor stereotypes. We are not surprised when we hear cases of clients who want to become investors but fear not being able to do so because they do not understand numbers or be experts in the subject.

Knowing the real estate sector is one of the biggest keys to becoming a successful investor, this does not mean that it is a privileged knowledge that you cannot access.

Many millennials have the fear of investing in real estate because they think they need to buy a house to do so, and they ignore the investment possibilities that residential or industrial lots have.

For this reason, they fear not being able to do it because they believe that it is economically impossible for them, and they do not consider the possibilities of acquiring properties in other cities. For example, for some foreigners, investing in Mexico is a better option than doing it in their countries, but in the same way for some Mexican residents, investing in states such as Merida where there is increasingly strong demand in properties not only for housing but also for businesses and offices, it can be more accessible and profitable than doing it in places like Mexico City.

That is why it is important that you do not wait to have an ideal age and start thinking about becoming an investor or making an investment from now on. So the sooner you do it, the sooner you can designate your budget and create a work plan to invest or start saving money and then invest.

Otherwise, as you let time go by, you will be less likely to find suitable properties for yourself and especially if you have the opportunity to invest in places that are in presale in areas that will later have even more capital gain.

What is the best age to invest in real estate?
Millennials are redefining what financial security and quality of life mean, so real estate investments are becoming an option for those who want to travel or retire early.

How to start investing in real estate?

One of the most common mistakes made by young people who aspire to become investors is to obtain immediate profits and be able to spend them on whatever they want. But as you know, this is not possible in the real estate market.

Being an investor is a goal of many to be able to have financial freedom and not be tied to a job or to live experiences like traveling or living in different parts of the world, investing to earn money immediately is not an actual goal.

This does not mean that you cannot earn an income in a short period of time. For example, apartments near tourist areas can generate profits if you decide to rent them. The same happens if you acquire property near schools, universities or hospitals.

What we really mean is that if you want to invest to enjoy the results you need to be patient and prepare constantly about the subject.

The preparation on the subject not only includes understanding how the market works, but also observing and analyzing where it is going.

That is why it is very important that you start to know very well and read everything about the area and the developments that are developing in the city you are looking to invest. Find out about the market and how real estate works in the place. About the papers you must have in order and the types of credits -if you’re considering obtaining one- to which you can access.

Begin to consume information and observe how other real estate investors are generating income with their properties. One of the advantages of investing in real estate is that it is a safe investment, but it also gives you the opportunity to take advantage of your investment.

There is a lot of information especially now that we live in the age of the Internet, but it is always good that you can approach the experts and work with a real estate agent to solve your doubts if you are already thinking about acquiring a property. Ask everything you need to know about the property and the area: the places of access, the maintenance fees, the projection of growth and the amenities with which the development has.

What is the best age to invest in real estate?
One of the keys to real estate investment is patience. Real estate usually increases its value thanks to the capital gain, and this depends on external factors of the property such as the location and the services that are around it.

What factors should I consider when investing in real estate?

We already mentioned in our definitive guide of the real estate investorif you want to be successful when acquiring a property you need to analyze the location and interests of your possible market without letting yourself be guided by the trends.

Actually, what makes your property acquire value is the capital gain of the area. This depends on external factors such as the location, amenities and even the roads that the property has.

Mérida is a city that we love to take as an example because the boom that is experiencing is related to the intervention of factors such as security and the excellent location in an area that attracts tourists and allows them to have access to beaches and archaeological sites.

In the best cities to invest in Mexico we have also mentioned the importance of decentralization that Mexico is living and Mérida is an example of how the diversity of industries can be an important factor in the development of the economy and in the demand for properties and offices, and therefore is another opportunity to ensure your future.

The more diverse of jobs and industries, the more likely you are to be victorious in your investment, as in the case of a crisis, for example, the closure of a factory or a big company that is in the area.

That’s why we emphasize the importance of not investing where everyone is investing, in the end -it may sound cliche- you get what you pay for.

Many new investors make the mistake of acquiring goods in areas that, although cheap, end up being insecure. In the end these investments end up being losses because they end up investing even in luxury finishes in areas where house prices are quoted in an amount lower than what they are thinking of asking for, whether they are rents or for sale.

The capital gain depends a lot on the area, the location and the amenities. And even if you get a very cheap property, in the end you will not be able to generate income if it is located in an area where there is no capital gain or the market cannot access the amount of money you propose. You will lose more money, unlike you decide to invest in an area with a guaranteed gain capital, thanks to all these external factors that we already mentioned.

Another factor that we highlight and that you have to take into account are pre-sales. There is no better way to guarantee your money than buying before, remember our example of the Riviera Maya and Tulum? Now imagine how much it will cost to buy a housing development once it is popular.

Acquiring properties in pre-sale is an excellent way to invest your money, since once the developments begin to acquire capital gain, your property will have more value than what it cost and you can adapt your income according to the costs of the area or decide to sell it to a higher price, or keep it to get more return.

So, if you’re wondering what is the best age to invest in real estate? It is better to start asking yourself; how can I start investing in real estate? And start making a plan so you can reach your goals and start creating a safe economic future for you.

Source:  Peninsula Development – OCTOBER 28, 2019

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How to Get a Reluctant Spouse on Board With Investing in Real Estate

indecision
Is the white-hot fire of real estate investing burning in your heart? Do you solidly know within your gut that real estate investment will be life-changing? Do you have vivid pictures of the freedom owning property will offer you?

Hmm, now how to impart that passion to your spouse…

You want them to see it as you do. You want them to feel as intensely committed as you feel. You want them to be as excited as you are. You want them to see the vision for your future.

Why You and Your Spouse Would Make the Perfect Investing Team

You can do this together. You have a lot of practice.

Now let me say, this may seem different than other decisions in your relationship, but actually it’s not. Really!

I say this because all types of big decisions like this in a relationship require similar elements. Among these are a bit of understanding, a whole bunch of open-hearted listening, a giant amount of belief, and a huge heap of trust in each other. I mean it!

Planning a wedding, having a child, changing jobs, moving, buying a car together, taking out a student loan, purchasing your first home, raising your kids—every one of these requires discussion and negotiation. The point is, every big decision obliges you to be there for each other’s excitement. But it also necessitates being patiently present for each other’s fear and anxiety.

Where to Start the Discussion About Investing

So, let’s step this out.

First, have you already talked to them about investing? If you haven’t, then that is where you need to start. And then keep the tips below as tools in your tool bag to make the convo go smoothly.

Young displeased black couple.American african men arguing with his girlfriend,who is sitting on sofa on couch next to him with legs crossed.Man looking away offended expression on her face.

However, if you have already talked to them—and they were less enthusiastic than you wanted or expected—perhaps the conversation had one or more of these possible outcomes.

You two discussed it and:

  1. They seemed open, but they were not necessarily excited about the idea
  2. They were fine with you doing it, but they don’t want to be part of it
  3. They have no interest, and they do not want you to do it at all

OK, so none of these three scenarios are what you most want, but they are manageable. You have managed to work out compromises on other large events in your life, right? You can do the same here.

Think of it as excellent practice for negotiating a complex real estate deal. (I’m not kidding here.)

Why Don’t They See the Potential in Real Estate That You Do?

Let’s get into the reasons, the “why” they didn’t feel your same sense of sureness and excitement.

When you negotiate with a property seller, your first job is to find out what they really want or what is holding them back from saying “yes.” And honestly, when you first start talking with a seller, you cannot assume that they even know or are truly “in touch“ with what their hesitations are. Nor can you be sure that, even if they do know what’s bugging them, they will confide their reasons to you!

They might be too embarrassed or ashamed to say them aloud—or even to admit them to themselves. Or it might make them feel vulnerable to admit their hesitations to you. You have to uncover objections by asking questions. You have to listen carefully and openly. You need to pay very close attention.

This is the same process you will use with a hesitant spouse.

Focus on Problem-Solving

If they aren’t overly enthusiastic to talk about real estate investing, be patient. Talk with them in a setting that is quiet and relaxed. Let them finish their sentences. Ask questions without anger, accusation, or judgement.

Remember, you are collecting information so you can solve the problem. Don’t make this an argument. Use your best puzzle- and problem-solving skills.

The solution to this puzzle is one of the most important solutions you will ever uncover. So, I repeat, pay close attention. Listen to the clues.

You are not just a “spouse” in this situation, you are a detective, a troubleshooter, an analyst, an entrepreneur, a visionary.

You see, if you can truly get to the heart of what is making them uncomfortable, only then can you begin to brainstorm solutions. Those solutions need to be two-sided, because when you can help your spouse feel better and more comfortable, you minimize their negative reactions and you increase the likelihood of their participation and willingness.

Related: Investing With Your Spouse? STOP and Read These 4 Survival Tips!

You also increase the possibility you will engage your spouse in your excitement about the opportunities real estate offers your family.

OK, after years as a therapist, I will tell you that when it comes to real estate investing, there are some very specific stressors, fears, and anxieties that people tend to experience. These usually boil down to one or more of the primary concerns listed below.

That said, no two situations will be identical. Your situation with your spouse will be unique.

If you review these potential concerns before you have the conversation, you can develop some well thought out and realistic solutions for how you can alleviate your spouse’s specific hesitations. Anticipating objections and concerns this way should increase your chance for a successful conversation and positive movement ahead in your joint real estate investing future.

Pick out the issues below you are most likely to face (or have already experienced) when talking with your spouse about your desire for their participation in a real estate investing venture. Write out the questions you might encounter and how you might respond. Note the trigger words you might want to avoid with your spouse—you know, the ones that tend to spark an unfortunate outcome!

Then, pick a time and place, and go for it!

Consider Their Fears

Money fears: The fear of losing money and being left without security or unable to pay the bills.

Not enough time: In the beginning, real estate takes time and commitment. As with all skills and education, it requires study, reading, practice, and repetition until it becomes seamlessly familiar.

Afraid of failure: Whenever we start new things, we run the risk that until we master the skills and knowledge, we may not be as successful as we want. But practice improves everything!

Uncomfortable with change: Some people love change—even crave it—but there are others who abhor change. Most of us are somewhere in the middle. But in truth, fear of change is almost as common as the fear of public speaking, which is the highest reported fear. The best way to deal with this concern is to just jump in and try. The sooner you start, the sooner the transition is in the past.

Not knowing who to trust/fear of being taken advantage of: Being new at something means listening to lots of other people’s advice, paying attention to tons of new information, and not knowing which is trustworthy and which is not. Practice makes perfect, or at least very good. So, the more you perfect your skills in listening to your gut while really hearing the person opposite you, the sooner you will know “when to hold them and when to fold them.”

Fear of getting started: When learning something new, it can be very difficult to decide where or how to “jump in,” and those concerns can be intimidating.

Don’t think they’re interested: Sometimes when we don’t know a lot about a topic or skill, we perceive it as boring or uninteresting. Then, once we are exposed to it, we may recognize that we have lots of talents that would make us incredibly successful in that area. But we don’t know until we try.

Afraid of handling tenants: It can seem quite daunting to suddenly have so much power over people’s daily comfort and happiness, but it’s not as hard as it seems at first. Start by giving people the service you would want (just that good ole “golden rule” stuff). Over the years as an investor, I have found that communicating with tenants, sellers, and buyers in the manner I wish to be communicated with goes a long way toward creating positive results, happy tenants, and satisfied colleagues.

No experience/“I don’t know enough”: No one wants to look like they are clueless. It never feels good. Word of wisdom: sometimes the honesty of saying, “I’m new at this,” goes a long way in getting people to warm to you, open up, and be willing to help you deal with any of the hiccups occurring in any new line of business.

Other investors will always be able to find better deals: It’s true! My answer to that is, “Yes, because they keep trying.” They keep networking to meet more people, they make offers on more properties, they talk to more sellers. Does any of that mean you shouldn’t start? Nope. Why? There will always be a “Joe Investor” who will do a deal and make $60K. That doesn’t mean that a deal you do that makes $30K is any less a good deal. Your wallet will still be VERY HAPPY! (This I guarantee you!)

Scared to get it wrong and look foolish to family and friends: This is a really significant fear for a lot of new investors. But are those same family and friends taking risks to build wealth? Are they investing in themselves and their futures by learning new things and creating new investment opportunities? Probably not, and therefore your willingness to invest and trust yourself makes you something special. You and your spouse are pioneers on the adventurous journey of increasing your wealth and building your own personal future success.

Related: A 3-Part Plan for Presenting Real Estate as an Investment to Your Spouse

New Skills Bring New Discoveries

So honestly, some of this list may resonate for you, while many of these concerns may not seem realistic or valid at all. It doesn’t matter. You yourself have your own unique worries and stresses in your heart and mind that your spouse does not share.

Your spouse has a different set of concerns.

We all have insecurities and deep-seated discomforts that can hold us back. But remember, if you can be there to provide support, if you can be present and caring for your spouse during these scary and exciting life changes, you are also very likely to discover the two of you are an amazing team that knows NO LIMITS!

Source: BiggerPockets – B.L. Sheldon

 

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The Least Discussed Reason Wannabe Investors Don’t Take Action (& How to Overcome It!)

I’ve never fully understood the obsession with figuring out why other people fail to take action when it comes to real estate investing.

It seems like a lot of people genuinely look for justification not to start.

“If Jimmy didn’t start because he had no money, and I have no money, then I’m justified in not starting yet.”

This is entirely the wrong mentality! Why not focus your energy on figuring out why successful people DID take action?

Regardless, I’m going to tell you the real reason some who are interested in investing never take action. It’s something that isn’t discussed very often.

But first, here are some of the most stereotypical excuses.

Why Some Wannabes Never Take Action: The Typical Responses

Don’t get me wrong. All of these excuses are pretty understandable—yet unfortunate.

Let’s briefly discuss each.

Fear

Fear is a beast. And taking the plunge into real estate isn’t easy.

That being said, everybody experienced the feeling of fear when they bought their first property. It may not have been crippling, but it was there. Anyone who tells you they weren’t at least a little scared is probably not being completely honest with you.

This is why it’s important to make decisions based on numbers and bounce the analysis off experienced investors. Don’t bring your emotions into the deal at all.

Emotions are dangerous—leave them out of investing.

Nervous businessman peeking over desk

Lack of Experience

This excuse drives me nuts!

NOBODY had experience before they took action—you gain experience BY taking action!

If this is your excuse, either quit or work under somebody for free to gain the experience you so crave.

This is a silly excuse to me. Just take action!

No Money

This is an understandable excuse and probably the most common.

I have been investing since 2015. To date, I have never paid more than 6 percent down on a real estate transaction.

Leverage is wonderful. It is risky but wonderful. I house hacked my first duplex for less money than most of my cars have cost.

Theoretically, you could sell your car and buy a house.

You can overcome the “no money” issue by utilizing FHA loans, VA loans (if qualified), seller financing, purchasing subject to the existing mortgage, partnering, other people’s money, hard money lenders, etc.

My point is this: While having no money is scary, if you have knowledge and time, you can invest in real estate!

male showing empty pockets implying moneyless

Not Enough Time

YOU HAVE THE SAME AMOUNT OF TIME AS EVERYONE ELSE!

Set your priorities, and either make REI a priority or find someone with time and provide money/knowledge!

This is a cop-out excuse.

I purchased a property while spending six weeks on a remote island and only having access to the internet through my cell phone a couple of times.

Figure it out.

Why Some Wannabes Never Take Action: The Least Discussed Reason

We have ruled out the most common excuses. And yes, they are just excuses.

Now let’s talk about the least discussed reason some wannabes fail to take action (and how to avoid it).

You’re LAZY!

That’s it.

The number one reason some people fail to take action is the amount of work required.

This excuse is behind the time, fear, and experience excuses. You know it’s going to take a lot of time and energy to make this happen. You’re afraid because it takes a lot of work, and you don’t fully understand what to expect. You don’t have experience because you haven’t done it yet.

In the military, there is a common phrase we use in combat: “Complacency kills.”

Although the meaning is a little different when applied to real estate, the message is the same. It’s not the one morning you sleep in or the one day you get nothing done that hurts you. It’s not the hassle you avoided today or the excuse you used today in order to procrastinate.

However, if you ALWAYS avoid hassle, procrastinate, and sleep in, you will never succeed.

Sloth is one of the seven deadly sins. If you want to succeed as a real estate investor, or in life in general, you need to kill the urge to be complacent—before it kills you!

Related: Getting Started In Any New Real Estate Business

Start Investing NOW: Here’s How

Goals

The first step to conquering the excuse of laziness is to sit down and set goals.

You need to long-, medium-, and short-term goals. These goals should be similar to a five-year plan, yearly goals, monthly goals, and weekly goals.

Think of the cartoons you watched as a kid where a rider would tie a carrot to the end of a long pole and dangle it in front of a stubborn horse/mule in order to motivate them to move forward.

Goals are the carrot you dangle in front of yourself.

No matter how driven you are (or aren’t), there will be days when you lack the motivation to do any work. At these times, it is important to have a carrot (goals) to chase in order to stay on track!

Pensive young entrepreneur looking at laptop screen and drinking coffee at table in cafe

M.I.N.S.

Some of you may have noticed I didn’t say you need daily goals. You may have even been bothered by this and decided to tune out (haha).

The reason I didn’t mention daily goals is that, while they serve a purpose, I prefer to think in terms of the “most important next step.” This is sometimes called M.I.N.S.

M.I.N.S. should be determined every night before you go to sleep. This will ensure you knock out the most important next step toward your weekly goal(s) first thing the next morning.

If you can knock out the most important next step toward your goal every morning, it will snowball into accomplishing your goals quickly!

The key is determining what this step is the night prior, and then doing it first thing the next morning!

Accountability

Most of the actions you take to achieve your goals will not be fun or easy.

It’s easy to find “busy work” to use as a distraction. This busy work is more fun and often easier than accomplishing the most important next step would be.

Since we are all human (I think), it’s safe to assume that you will have days, weeks, months, or even years when you fail to do the difficult task(s) that need to get done.

This is human nature and a hard habit to break. And this is why accountability is crucial to your success as an investor.

You need to find some people who are on the same path as you, as well as a few who are farther down that path, and get together to grow and hold each other accountable!

A common way to do this is through mastermind groups. A mastermind group is comprised of people who have lofty goals for life and are determined to achieve these goals. They meet regularly, whether in person or on conference calls, and talk through their struggles, successes, and so on in order to help each other progress.

These mastermind groups are great for helping you grow and holding you accountable to achieve more!

Mans Hand Reaching For Red Ladder Leading To A Blue Sky

Systems

Real estate investing isn’t easy at first (most things aren’t).

Imagine REI as a large flywheel, and every step you take gets it to move just a little bit faster. As the flywheel speeds up, it takes less and less effort to keep it moving.

This is the power of systems!

Every time you complete a task, remember how you did it. If you complete that task a second time, create a system for streamlining the process. The simpler you can make tasks in real estate, the easier it becomes to buy homes!

For example, one of my favorite systems to date is my Google Drive folder for lenders. Every time I have applied for a loan, I needed to provide the previous two years’ tax returns, W-2s, bank statements, photo IDs, verifiable income, etc.

I created a folder titled “Lender Documents” in Google Drive that has all of this information in it, separated by tax year.

Now, when I apply for a loan, I simply email a link to this folder to my lender and wait for them to tell me if they need any more documentation (which is minimal, if any)!

Talk about streamlining the lending process.

Don’t forget to create systems as you journey down the path of real estate investing. It will make your life so much easier!

Use Laziness to Your Advantage

Lazy people will often find the easiest way to accomplish a task. Use this mentality to succeed as a real estate investor—without losing all of your hair.

Real estate investing isn’t easy, but it is extremely rewarding.

Embrace your laziness, and use the safeguards above to continually attack your goals.

Take the time to put in a lot of work now. You will be happy that you did!

Source: BiggerPockets.com by

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Capital gains explained

Source: MoneySense.ca – by   

 

Capital gains explained

How it’s taxed and how to keep more for yourself

What is it?

You have a capital gain when you sell, or are considered to have sold, what the Canada Revenue Agency deems “capital property” (including securities in the form of shares and stocks as well as real estate) for more than you paid for it (the adjusted cost base) less any legitimate expenses associated with its sale.

How is it taxed?

Contrary to popular belief, capital gains are not taxed at your marginal tax rate. Only half (50%) of the capital gain on any given sale is taxed all at your marginal tax rate (which varies by province). On a capital gain of $50,000 for instance, only half of that, or $25,000, would be taxable. For a Canadian in a 33% tax bracket for example, a $25,000 taxable capital gain would result in $8,250 taxes owing. The remaining $41,750 is the investors’ to keep.

The CRA offers step-by-step instructions on how to calculate capital gains.

How to keep more of it for yourself

There are several ways to legally reduce, and in some cases avoid, capital gains tax. Some of the more common exceptions are detailed here:

  • Capital gains can be offset with capital losses from other investments. In the case you have no taxable capital gains however, a capital loss cannot be claimed against regular income except for some small business corporations.
  • The sale of your principal residence is not subject to capital gains tax. For more information on capital gains as it relates to income properties, vacation homes and other types of real estate, read “Can you avoid capital gains tax?
  • A donation of securities to a registered charity or private foundation does not trigger a capital gain.
  • If you sell an asset for a capital gain but do not expect to receive the money right away, you may be able to claim a reserve or defer the capital gain until a later time.

If you are a farmer or a newcomer to Canada, they are special capital gains rules for you. The specifics can be found at the CRA website.

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Still thinking of home ownership as an investment? Here’s proof you’re wrong

 

Source: The Globe and Mail

Take some advice from rookie home owner Desirae Odjick about houses as an investment.

As a personal finance blogger, she ran the numbers on the cost of owning a home and concluded that breaking even would be a good outcome when it comes time, many years down the road, to sell. “A house is not a long-term investment,” she said in an interview. “It’s not a miracle financial product. It’s where you live.”

The idea that owning a house is an investment is so ingrained that a recent survey found one-third of homeowners expect rising prices to provide for them in retirement. But rising prices do not necessarily mean houses are a great investment.

Ms. Odjick lives in a suburb of Ottawa, where the real estate market’s recent strength still leaves it way behind price gains seen in the Toronto and Vancouver areas. But her point is relevant to all markets where prices aren’t soaring, and probably to hot markets as well if you’re just now buying a first home and understand that continuous massive price gains are unlikely.

In terms of home upkeep costs, Ms. Odjick and her partner have had an easy time of it since they bought in the spring. But they’ve still had expenses that surprised them. “You can use all the calculators you want and you can plan as much as you want, but until you’re in it you really don’t know what the costs are going to be.”

One example is the $3,000 spent at IKEA to equip the house with furnishings as mundane as bathmats. Another was the cost of term life insurance, which, incidentally, is a smart purchase. Term life answers the question of how the mortgage gets paid if one partner in a home-owning couple dies.

Estimates of the cost of upkeep and maintenance on a home range between 1 and 3 per cent of the market value. Her house cost $425,000, which means that upkeep costs conservatively estimated at 1 per cent would come out to an average of $4,250 per year and a total $106,250 over 25 years. Ms. Odjick is too recent an owner to have much sense of these costs, but the housing inspector she used before buying warned her to expect to need a new roof in two or three years.

She and her partner don’t have grandiose plans to fix their place up right now, but she did mention that they are looking at having children. There will almost certainly be expenses associated with getting the baby’s room ready.

In her own analysis of housing costs, Ms. Odjick estimated the cost of property taxes at 1 per cent of a home’s value. That’s another $4,250 per year. This cost would add up to $106,250 over 25 years, and that’s without annual increases factored in.

The biggest cost homeowners face is mortgage payments. Ms. Odjick and her partner made a down payment of 10 per cent on their home and chose a two-year fixed-rate mortgage at 2.71 per cent. Assuming rates stay level and no prepayments are made, this would theoretically work out to a total of $542,122 in principal and interest over the 25-year amortization period.

But rates have crept higher since mid-summer and could increase further in the months ahead. In a post on home ownership on her Half Banked blog, Ms. Odjick said the idea of rates staying level “is bananas and will not happen.”

Let’s add up the costs of home ownership as likely to be experienced by Ms. Odjick over 25 years. There’s the $42,500 she and her partner put down to buy the house, the $106,250 cost for each of property taxes and upkeep/maintenance and $542,122 in mortgage principal and interest. Total: $797,122.

Now, let’s imagine the $425,000 house appreciates at 2.5 per cent annually for 25 years. That’s in line with reasonable expectations for inflation. The future price in this case would be $787,926, which means Ms. Odjick and her partner would have paid a bit more in costs than they get for selling their house in the end.

Houses can be sold tax-free if they’re a principal residence, so there is something to the house-as-an-investment argument. But the numbers comparing what you put in and what you take out over the long term don’t exactly scream “financial home run.”

Ms. Odjick’s fine with that, because buying her home was a lifestyle decision. “If we’ve lived here for 25 years, even if it does end up costing money, then it will have been a great place to live.”

Are you a Canadian family that has made a financial decision to remain lifelong renters? If you would like to share your story, please send us an email

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Real Estate Investing, It Isn’t Just for the Boys Anymore

When 51 year old stay-at-home mom and part time piano teacher Gena H. from Washington State woke her husband up at 1:15 AM and said “I want to be a real estate investor,” he patted her on the shoulder and said, “that’s nice dear.” In the morning he shared all the reasons he believed it could not work for her. Fast-forward a few years and Gena, who obviously didn’t listen to the husband she adores, is a successful and very profitable investor. She has in her words “dramatically changed the financial course for me and my entire family.”

Stories like these are coming to my attention at a rate like I’ve never seen in my well over 20 years of investing. I’ve been fortunate to watch countless people go from real estate observer to successful real estate investor. But never before has there been such a massive wave of women taking ownership of the household finances using real estate.

In watching this transition, I believe it’s due to a couple of primary factors. First, we all know that the real estate market peaked like never before around 2006, and then the bubble burst and the market crashed. It reminded me of flying down Space Mountain in Disneyland. However, after the bottom comes the inevitable shift in the market, when it begins trending back up as we are seeing now. This is truly a magical time for investors.

Second, I think we are heading into the years of more empowerment of women. I could be criticized for saying this, but I think it’s less about women’s liberation, as that was yesterday’s news. I see it as more that women are just losing any hesitation at all to do anything they want. I think it’s a very positive trend for our country. I watched my single Mom struggle to support my sister and me growing up, so I’m always cheering for the ladies. I think we are entering a whole new era of advancing equality. But that’s for another story.

Jen G., a single Mom, was working in an accounting office with no windows and too little pay each month to support her and her son. Frustrated, stressed and wanting a new path in life, she decided to reinvent herself through real estate investing. Friends and family told her real estate investing was for people with money and experience. Some even expressed resentment and actively discouraged her. Recently, Jen called to tell me: “Just six months after starting, I got to walk into my office and tell my boss I no longer needed her services!” Jen quit her job and has done more than 185 real estate transactions so far and feels she is being the Mom she always wanted to be.

Tammy R. lives in a crazy fast moving market in CA. This is a market where even seasoned investors are afraid to take the plunge. However, this determined Mom of four, who was homeschooling her children when she started investing, refused to yield to her fears. She didn’t listen to her husband who said “it won’t work for you.” Like Jen, she didn’t have a ton of money to start, but researched a method called “wholesaling.” Wholesaling is matching up monied investors with good deals, and making money in the middle. On one transaction alone she made more then she did the prior two years, and she is currently working on her 23rd deal. “You just can’t let the naysayers spoil your dreams” she said when asked about the secret of her success.

Whether you’re in a strongly rebounding large urban market like Tammy, a more rural and smaller city in Alabama that’s coming back at a slower pace like Jen, or somewhere in the middle like Gena in Washington State, it doesn’t matter. The current state of all of these markets is opening up endless opportunities for investors to gain the knowledge to profit and who aren’t afraid to go for it.

Real estate is my life, and with over 20 years of non-stop investing I’ve personally experienced that there is always a profitable strategy that fits the current market cycle. However, the massive spike in real estate, followed by the inevitable and dramatic crash, is setting up a solid rebound. I truly believe this is the greatest time for everyone who would like to secure a better future to get educated, learn from those who are doing it, and jump into real estate investing.

I’m currently doing 30 to 50 deals every month all around the country, in 9 states actually. I’m working with women like Gena, Jen and Tammy, as well as a slew of others who are crushing todays shifting real estate market rather then complaining about it.

Maybe real estate investing is cooler and more possible then you think. All I can say is that the boys better step up.

Source: The Huffington Post 07/12/2013 –   Dean Graziosi

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Syndicated mortgage a high-risk investment bet – analyst

Syndicated mortgage a high-risk investment bet – analyst

The emerging trend of syndicated mortgages for Canadian condominium units might appear to be convenient for would-be investors, but Maclean’s senior business and finance writer Chris Sorensen argued that the arrangement is a high-risk choice that might even upend the market in the long run.

A syndicated mortgage involves hundreds of individuals lending money—in some cases even as little as $25,000—to a developer “in exchange for a fixed annual interest rate of between eight and 12 per cent over a term of two to five years.”

The popularity of the set-up is such that in Ontario, it has garnered nearly $4 billion in sales in 2014 alone, the latest year with available numbers.

However, Sorensen noted that much of the money in a syndicated mortgage goes to expenses for the development and pre-sale of enough units to convince banks to provide financing. The analyst said that this presents the risk of buyers not getting their funds back should the deal go south.

“Even in a hot market like Canada’s, there are no guarantees a given condo project will get off the ground, regardless of how quickly buyers snap up the units,” Sorensen wrote in an April 4 piece published on the Maclean’s website.

“If something goes wrong with a project, syndicated mortgage investors are subordinate to banks and other primary lenders, meaning they’re further back in line for repayment—assuming there’s enough money left over after other lenders have received their share,” he added.

The analyst cited the observations of Toronto-based mortgage broker John Bargis in proving why the present wave of syndicated mortgages isn’t sustainable in the long run.

“I’ve been exposed to multi-million-dollar projects where things have gone bad really fast. It’s not because it’s not a viable project, but there’s just so many moving parts. You’ve got construction managers, contractors, builders—so many things that can go wrong from an investment perspective or a sales perspective,” Sorensen quoted Bargis as saying.

Despite the dour prospects, Sorensen acknowledged that syndicated mortgages would remain popular among enterprising individuals for the foreseeable future.

“The myriad risks explain why syndicated mortgages pay interest rates approaching double digits at a time when a five-year Guaranteed Investment Certificate, or GIC—a truly ‘safe’ investment—offers only 1.5 per cent annually for a five-year term,” he said.

Source: MortgageBrokerNews.ca by Ephraim Vecina | 13 Apr 2016
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Are syndicated mortgages sufficiently regulated?

With syndicated mortgages back in the news, one veteran suggests further regulatory restrictions on these investments may be needed.

“Here is simple proposal for FSCO: put a moratorium on all syndications over $2 Million,” Ron Butler, a broker with Butler Mortgage, wrote in the comments section of MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “Just freeze this multi-million dollar sales activity today and wait until further study is finished and a total redesign of the rules around large syndication are completed.

“I think it is important for the public good and it will also protect our whole industry.”

The Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) revealed sales of syndicated mortgages for condo units in the province reached nearly $4 billion in 2014, the latest year with available numbers.

Their growing popularity has one analyst questioning the safety of these investments.

“If something goes wrong with a project, syndicated mortgage investors are subordinate to banks and other primary lenders, meaning they’re further back in line for repayment—assuming there’s enough money left over after other lenders have received their share,” senior business and finance writer Chris Sorensen wrote in MacLeans earlier this week.

And while some question whether or not syndicated mortgages are sufficiently regulated, one industry veteran who specializes in them argues they are.

“Private mortgages, syndicated or not, and rules governing disclosure, suitability, etc. are, in my opinion, all adequately addressed in Ontario via the Mortgage Brokerages, Lenders, and Administrators Act and subsequent Regulations. The Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) ensures brokerages follow these rules,” Glen May-Anderson, president of FDS Broker Services, wrote in an email to MortgageBrokerNews.ca earlier this year.

May-Anderson also pointed to the fact that FSCO has recently addressed the regulation of syndicated investments.

“Improvements to the governance of traditional private mortgages and syndicates for development and construction mortgages were implemented by FSCO last year, with the introduction of the revised Investor/Lender Disclosure Statement for Brokered Transactions (Form 1) and the new Addendum for Construction and Development Loans (Form 1.1),” May-Anderson wrote.

Source: MortgageBroker.ca Justin da Rosa | 07 Apr 2016

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The one market to target in Toronto?

It may be the one market many investors are now overlooking, but one industry veteran argues Toronto is still a great buy for potential landlords.

“Everyone is concerned about all the condos being built in Toronto but every year there are 81,000 new permanent residents coming to the city,” Andrew Adams, vice president of finance and investments for Capital Developments, told Canadian Real Estate Wealth. “Compare that to the 95,000 total new residents in Toronto; prices and rents are growing.”

Prices in Toronto jumped 14.9% year-over-year in February to $685,728. Condos, however, remain a more affordable option at an average of $403,392.

One neighbourhood Adams is bullish on is the Yonge and Eglinton area in mid-town Toronto.
“The Yonge and Eglinton area is one of the strongest markets for investors in Toronto,” Andrew Adams, vice president of finance and investments for Capital Developments, told Canadian Real Estate Wealth. “It’s got the Yonge line and the Eglinton LRT and it’s one of the strongest rental markets in the city.”

According to Adams, there are two types of condo buildings available in the neighbourhood; older, circa 1970 apartment-style condos and new-build condos that boast modern amenities and finishes.
The older condos often yield rents in the $2.60-$3.00 per square-foot range, while the newer units earn investors, on average $3.00-$3.50 per square-foot, Adams says.

“The Yonge and Eglinton neighbourhood has everything you need; the RioCan Centre has recently been updated, it has great access to public transit, and its surrounded by great amenities,” he said.

Source: Canadian Real Estate Wealth by Justin da Rosa 23 Mar 2016

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