March 30, 2008

Real Estate Blogging Update

April 18, 2007

It has been a crazy couple of week.  While I have been doing some writing, I have spent the bulk of my time working on purchasing my first apartment complex for Cooksquared Enterprises.  There will be a lot more writing to come, but in the mean time please check out the blogs below.

 Suite 101: I have been doing the most writing here.  Check out the following articles about subprime lending affects on banks and consumers, differences between residential and commercial loans, and ways banks are attempting to help consumers avoid default.


 Thanks for reading.

Summary of Articles from the Past Week

March 25, 2007

It was a busy week this week.  I turned out 5 new articles, with two at bloodhound and 3 at Suite101.  I tackled a few questions about subprime lending (a homeowners perspective), property taxes, and the art of the quick sale.  Over at bloodhound I showed people how to avoid the greater fool theory of market investing and talked about the key character trait of good investors, persistence.  If you get a chance, have a look.

Blog Carnivals Abound

March 22, 2007

Check out the following blog carnivals which feature articles from my other blogs

 These are great forums to get a wealth of information about real estate, mortgages, and finance in general.  Enjoy.

My Three Blogs

March 16, 2007

As much as I love blogging, I can only carry on three blogs at once.  In stead of posting duplicate content, I thought I would simply refer you to the other two.

 Bloodhound, a great site, which I am sure most of you are familar with.  Here, I am one in a cast of almost a score of other great writers.

 Suite101, a site that covers a variety of topics.  This blog has been my experiment into the world of home buying and selling for the consumer.  My post on bloodhound are more investor related, here, I try to give the first time home buyer some practical advice

 Thanks for taking the time to read me.

Buying a House vs. a Home: Being an Investor vs. a Personal Home Buyer

January 20, 2007

A lot of people have asked me recently how to start their own real estate business.  Over the last few entries I have tried to give a good overview of how I got into the business.  Today I want to share some key differences between real estate investing and personal home buying.  It is very important that anyone approaching one or the other understand how they are different.  

Personal home buying represents turning a house into a home.  In this situation you are looking through a very personal lens.  If you like finished basements or large kitchens, you need to look for a house that either can be completely redone or that comes close to meeting your needs.  You go in expecting to put in several years (or more) worth of work to get things just the way you like it.  Have you ever wondered why some houses have more bathrooms than bedrooms or why the walls are pink under that wallpaper?  The answer is simple; everyone who moves into a house makes it a home.

The goal of real estate investment buying is almost the opposite.  In this situation you are taking a home and turning it into a blank canvas for future renters or buyers.  Those flower window dressings you like so much, might not appeal to perspective tenants.  Additionally, while you might be able to live with that hole in the door, future buyers might see that as a sign of disrepair.  Most importantly, the properties you look for will be diamonds in the rough.  Properties with broken doors and windows, but fairly new appliances, a good foundation, and an intact furnace make excellent investments.

Good investors have great vision.  They know how to separate buying a home from buying a house.  These investors know how to change little things to make a big impact.  New door knobs, a new address sign, freshly cut grass, and a few shrubs in the front can turn a house completely around.

New investors need to keep this in mind as they approach an opportunity.  The quickest way to kill a return is with expensive upgrades that you fall in love with.  A keen understanding of personal home buyers is important.  Home buyers expect to purchase or rent a house and make changes to fit their lifestyle (not yours).  Save money by providing them a blank canvas and let them create the vision.

Cook Squared Enterprises: The Beginning

January 19, 2007

I have decided to start a blog chronicling the rebirth of Cook Squared Enterprises, the real estate business my wife and I started several years ago with our first investment in Detroit.  The ups and downs, tears of joy and pain, will hopefully serve others well as they pursue similar endeavors.  Friends and family alike seem to enjoy our tales of woe and comical misfortune as we battled the Detroit Water Company, an organization comparable to the relentless Borg for Star Trek fans, (for others, just substitute the most evil thing you can think of and that would be the Detroit Water Company).


Other more comical mishaps we hope to avoid this time around involved the surly contractors who drink on the job.  The adage you get what you pay for really applies here.  Projects filled with cost overruns, surely due to the high beer tax in
Detroit, along with an old house that seemed to be a death trap lying in wait for its next victim combined for some long penniless nights.  For those of you who have ever tried negotiating with a contractor with nothing to lose (not even his teeth), you will know that my Cornell degree add very little value to this situation.


But for the grace of God and some great tenants, all is well that ends well.  After taking a two year hiatus, Cook Squared Enterprises is back in business.  Armed with a new Cornell MBA in Real Estate, we are pursuing our first apartment building in Greensboro, North Carolina, a great southern town experiencing moderate growth.  Again, we are starting with a small budget, so the readers of this blog can expect plenty of hilarity as we try to save money using family, friends, and others to get off the ground.