Guest Post by Shelly Henderson, co-owner of Henderson Properties
March Madness has taken on a whole new meaning! When my husband Phil and I started Henderson Properties in 1998, we were in it for just over a year when Y2k and the dot.com bust came along. Then, less than two years later, 911 came along. Fast forward eight years later and in 2008 we found ourselves in Great Recession. There seems to be a pattern to this madness. Our current situation is the novel Coronavirus. As dreaded and terrible as it is, this too shall pass. When exactly? No one knows.
One thing I have learned, is that, for the most part, real estate is sustainable. I am not only a business owner with over 70 employees, but also a real estate investor, with close to 30 units of properties that we have bought over the years that are currently tenant occupied and profitable. In reality, the rental income they are producing could very well be what sustains us personally the next few months.
Real estate has sustained us, our family and the families of our staff for close to 20 years. We have weathered various storms, a few from life, the others from economic strife. Each time we have come out better and stronger. It takes time, dedication and most importantly, patience.
Currently, everything in life has slowed down. Literally, to a halt. The economy is a gamble right now, and the stock market is going up 7% or down 8% or more depending the day. Real estate is steady and remains steady. My company signed 5 new rental leases this week.
Up to this point the real estate market has been a seller’s market. Low inventory with high demand means it WAS a great time to sell. The price increases will slow down, which means now is a good time to buy; whether that is a 2nd home or a rental property. For the next few months, I predict home prices will stay even. I don’t think they are going to drop significantly but who knows. The government has lowered interest rates and the banks might be more willing to loan money to people who may not have perfect credit.
People who get ahead financially are the ones who do the opposite of the general trend. When people are busy buying houses, that is the time to sell. When the stock market is crashing that is the time to buy. Now is a good time to use your resources and inquire into investing in real estate. Getting more information on how this will work for you costs you only your time.
Capitalize on this opportunity if you have some cash to invest. The beauty of real estate is that it is a long term investment. For some it seems a risk. However, ask yourself if the risk outweighs the reward. For us, we turned a hobby into a full time career and are able to positively affect people’s lives through real estate in Charlotte and the surrounding counties. Everyone needs a place to live and call home whether they rent or own. I feel so strongly about sharing real estate and how we do it that I wrote a book called Starting From Scratch. We started our business, from scratch, without a loan or family money.
Here are some tips I can share :
- First time home buyers this is YOUR time! Capitalize on this economic downturn and buy a house. There are government funded programs to help you that require very little down depending on your credit.
- A house is a long term investment, therefore, now is a good time to buy not sell.
- Get representation with a Realtor who can connect you with a preferred lender to guide you through the process. Don’t try to buy or sell by yourself. Not in this market.
- It isn’t as hard as you might think to buy a 2nd home or an investment property. Be diligent and savvy in your household spending because you will need about 10% or more for a down payment.
- Investment properties offer good tax benefits.
- If you are interested in buying an investment property pay attention to location because location is key to obtaining a tenant and for re sale value.
What I’ve Personally Learned During Past Crises:
My company is currently in crisis mode forming a plan for the worst case scenario. We have learned that personally, we should’ve invested in more real estate during the last crisis. When sales were down and banks were eager to loan money and stimulate the economy, we should’ve invested.
Also, professionally, we have always tried to stay as lean as possible. For example, we don’t drive new vehicles (a.k.a. depreciating assets) because investing in our business and providing salaries and benefits for our staff is more important. In my mind I drive a brand new Range Rover but in reality it is a 7 yr old Tahoe. And this year, probably not taking a summer vacation. There will be other times to take a nice vacation. Sometimes you have to do with less in order to get ahead. And our money is invested in real estate for long term wealth, retirement and our company.
I wish I could tell you what the magic formula is but I don’t have one. I can tell you this. Henderson Properties has survived these past economic crises because we are a diversified company. Meaning, we are a full service real estate firm specializing in more than one area. We offer sales, property management, HOA management and maintenance.
Brandon Davis, who is Henderson Properties Real Estate Investment Consultant says “as far as weathering the tough times, you will always do well in investing in real estate as long as you don’t have to sell at the bottom of the market.”.
Ultimately you make the choice. I would encourage you not to let fear get in the way from capitalizing on the market slow down. If you ever wanted to make the dream a reality whether as an investor or a first time home buyer now may be a great time to “start from scratch”.