Published in the Bozeman Chronicle, January, 2008. In his follow-up book to the bestselling The Automatic Millionaire, David Bach has taken his winning strategies to the next level with The Automatic Millionaire Homeowner, a guide to assist with building wealth through real estate. According to Bach, the plan is quite simple, it works in any market, and it has been thoroughly time tested to work. For years, Americans used their investment dollars in the stock market to grow at a steady pace. When drastic changes occurred, much of that money moved to investment in the real estate market. The purchase of primary residences, home improvement projects, and the investment in second homes all witnessed steady growth as people's wealth became heavily tied to their homes. The bottom line of Bach's process is to buy a home, live in it, build wealth, get great tax deductions, and retire rich. Sound too good to be true? The emphasis, however, is that to truly follow this philosophy, it is not about booms and busts in the real estate cycle or timing the market to take advantage of trends, and certainly not to get rich overnight. It is understanding the fact that real estate is not a passing trend, and “as long as you're alive, you have to live somewhere.” The real wealth building comes from a lifetime of homeownership.
Unfortunately, people often are drawn to schemes and plans with the promise of doing little and receiving much in return. Sometimes it really works, but most of the time it ends up with less than the desired effect. Buyers who flocked to speculative real estate markets to purchase preconstruction homes in order to “flip” quite often found this out firsthand. These situations are what have received much media attention while those who use real estate wisely take the back seat.
So, how do you build real wealth in the real estate market without becoming overleveraged? The key is long term commitment, making sound decisions, and putting yourself in the right mindset.
Some basic action steps to getting on the right road are included below:
Meet with a mortgage professional, whether a mortgage banker (direct lender) or a mortgage broker (independent consultant who will shop your loan with various lenders). Find someone who is knowledgeable and who you trust.
Chose the right type of mortgage to meet your personal needs. There are many options available including fixed rate, adjustable rates, low money down, etc. Ask enough questions to know the pros and cons of each type.
Get the best deal on your mortgage. Shop rates. Know your credit score. Obtain your credit reports and review thoroughly for accuracy.
Find the right home for your situation. What kind of home are you interested in? Where do you want to live? Use the internet to assist in research. Give yourself a “dream with a deadline.”
Work with a great real estate agent. The key things your agent should do for you is listen, help you find out how much you can afford, narrow your search, educate you on the market, assist with price determination and comparable properties, assist you through appraisals, inspections and closing.
Make the mortgage payment automatic. Paying off a mortgage early can save an extraordinary amount of money in interest fees. For example, splitting a monthly mortgage payment into two biweekly payments can cut 5-7 years off of the length of a 30 year mortgage and save tens of thousands of dollars in interest. The difference in your monthly budget will be so gradual, but the payoff is immense.
With negative real estate tales at the forefront in the media, Bach gives a final bit of advice to “bubble proof” your real estate plan and survive potential downturns. First, make sure you can afford your mortgage. Don't depend on possible sources of additional income or hope that adjustable rates will not rise. Make sure you have financial resources in place to ride out a cycle. Next, think local. Always keep in mind that the national market is irrelevant to you. Then, always get the facts. Know the local market inventory, prices that homes are actually selling for, and the amount of time that homes are staying on the market. Also, never purchase just in order to “flip” the home in hopes of a quick profit. Finally, know that in most cases, time cures all. Patience is the ultimate virtue in real estate.
Robyn Erlenbush is owner of ERA Landmark Real Estate (with offices in Bozeman, Big Sky, Livingston and Clyde Park) and Intermountain Property Management. She can be reached at email@example.com.
©ERA Landmark Real Estate 2013. All rights reserved. Robyn Erlenbush CRB, Broker/Owner. Each ERA Office is independently owned and operated.
All information contained herein is gathered from a variety of sources deemed reliable, however, it is not guaranteed or verified by the seller, ERA Landmark, or any of its associates. We urge independent verification of each and every item submitted to the satisfaction of a prospective purchaser.
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