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How Aunty buys in Vegas

I do things the easy way, but I try to do them well.  One of the secrets to that is to find good people that help.  I have been blessed with good luck in finding great people.

My realtor, Martin Fajardo (martin@rarealty.net) is the number one key element in my Vegas real estate ventures.  Smart, young, awesome.  His motto is to under promise and over deliver.  That he does, time after time.

It does help to do your own homework.  Before you decide to invest in Vegas real estate, think about what your end plan is, what your finances are, and what you want – i.e. cash flowing rental properties, buy low and sell properties, or joint ventures where the decisions are out of your hands and you just make profit and/or cash flow.

We did buy one property and sell it a few months later in Vegas last year – just to see and also to get our cash back out.  It was a break even sale after the rehab and closing costs.  This taught me not to listen to the news and the naysayers with their one sided pessimism about Vegas real estate.  There is both a buyer and seller market right now, granted the buyers do have the upper hand.  It’s also not a market where you get stuck holding onto real estate in case you want to sell.  Some people are successful in making money doing flips (buy low, fix, sell higher) but it really is a better market for buy and hold – to cash flow.

So how do we buy?  I let my realtor Martin know what and where we are looking for.  Las Vegas is broken into MLS areas with numbers.  Areas 101 & 103 are up north, Henderson has several areas such as 606, 605 (my favorite) and Summerlin is 403, etc.  People don’t go around saying “I live in area 103,” but will give out the area name, like Summerlin, South West, etc.  Kind of like how we say Manoa, Ewa Beach, etc.

It helps to limit the area searches or you might get hundreds of listings with your overly broad criteria.  I usually ask for 3+ bedrooms, 2+ bathrooms, single family homes, at least 1600 sq ft, under $180,000 in my favorite areas.  For cash flow, 5+ bedrooms are awesome, thought your search would have to include more areas.  Once you start getting the daily lists from your realtor, you can adjust your search if you are getting too few or too many.  Figure out what you want, and ask your realtor to find all of them online.

When Martin sends me the search results of my criteria, the first email list from him is usually quite big – because it is all the properties that are in the system that I have never been sent (since it is a new search).  Subsequent email lists are much smaller – sometimes only 1 or 2 properties, depending on how much I have narrowed the search.  If I get too few properties to look at, I broaden the search by increasing neighborhoods, maximum price, or dropping the number of bedrooms or square footage of land and/or building.

I look at each property sheet on the list and determine if it is something I might like.  After awhile you will be able to “judge” the property but at first EVERYTHING looks good.  That’s the honeymoon phase, and it is quite wonderful.  Las Vegas real estate shopping is like being in a candy store.  It comes down to figuring out which is your favorite areas or what your focus will be – higher cash flow, or potential of higher capital appreciation.  You will find both components in all areas, but you will probably not find one with both the highest cash flow and highest capital appreciation potential.  In general, homes in the North Las Vegas area will cash flow beautifully well because the homes are new, large, and inexpensive.  Homes in the more desirable neighborhoods with the higher price tags such as Seven Hills, Anthem, Southern Highlands will not cash flow as beautifully ( they still cash flow nicely) but the upside potential in these gorgeous neighborhoods with lots of trees (I like trees) is potentially fantastic.

When you find a property on the MLS listings that you like, click on the “printer friendly this page” at the top right corner, and the print.  If you don’t do that, the page will be printed with a dark grey background making it harder to read and also using up a lot of your ink.

Circle the things you like about the property (i.e. large lot size, number of bedrooms, gated, pool, area, etc.) and also the things that concern you (i.e. high monthly HOA fees, notes on condition, age of house, etc.)

Sometime the listing will have a “click here for map view”.  It helps to have maps of Las Vegas handy.  One map will show the areas by numbers (101 – 606) which correspond to the sub-areas within the broader areas such as Henderson, North LV, Summerlin, etc.  Another map I have is one with zip codes – this helps me narrow down the area within the area in which the house or property is located.  The third map(s) I have are from AAA (free with membership) on the Las Vegas areas.  Currently, AAA has 3 maps for Vegas – one for Central Las Vegas (North, Downtown, Strip), Western Las Vegas (SouthWest, Summerlin), and Henderson (showing the South part of Vegas).

I also like to “look” at the property, and either go to Trulia.com, type in the property address and zip code, and see a map and other information.  Or, I type the property address into the Google search window, and if the Google truck was on the street, I see the property, its neighbors, and the streets around.

(to be continued – have errands to run, people to see, etc….)

About The Author

Aunty is a new senior citizen and loving this phase of her life. Less responsibilities, less fear of being weird, able to do more of the things that I want to do! Older, yes, slower, yes, but life is even more wonderful in my golden years and I look forward to even goldener ones.

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