There Are Many Reasons To Hire A Real Estate Agent – And No Reason Not To!

Oftentimes, people think that a real estate agent is an unnecessary indulgence. You are just buying property after all; it’s not rocket science! For my money however, I would go with a real estate agent every time – and as someone who has decades of experience and hundreds of properties as investment, I’d say I know what I'm talking about!

There are 5 reasons why involving a real estate agent is a great idea.

  1. Expertise – In the real estate space, market insight counts for a lot. It tells you where to buy property, when to buy, the sort of documentation required. A real estate agent is basically someone to show you the ropes so that you don’t end up making some very expensive newbie mistakes. This is very important when you're buying a home as an investment; something that you hope will increase in value over the years. The agent is aware of current market trends, whether a particular region is growing or stagnating, and will be able to make educated predictions.
  2. Contacts – They work in the area and in the real estate space so they have all the right contacts with the builders, with property managers, and so on. This can ease a lot of processes for you; smoothen your path so to speak. The personal equation a real estate agent has with these people could even get you a better deal in some cases.
  3. Local knowledge – This one is especially important if you're living in one corner of the country and investing in a whole other corner thousands of miles away. Now you definitely need someone with insight and contacts, who will guide you about local regulations and so on. If you're looking to have your property start to generate a passive income in the form of rent, this local knowledge comes in very handy.
  4. Experience – As a professional you're surely good at your job. This is because you have training and knowledge, and you have done it for a while. In the real estate space as well, on-the-job experience is invaluable. Wise counsel from a seasoned, experienced real estate professional could make the difference between a great investment and a dud.
  5. It is free – Also, what reason could you possibly have not to hire a real estate agent? You're not going out of pocket on this; you pay nothing. It is the seller who will be paying, so there is really no reason not to involve a real estate agent in the process.
Finally of course, it is your call whether you want to use the services of a real estate agent or not. For my money, I would absolutely use the services of such an expert. Not only would I save myself a lot of headaches, I even stand a chance of getting better deals because of the collective bargaining power some of these guys have! Reach out to us to know more about our expo events or services, or if you have any questions. 

How To Buy More Homes to Reach Your Financial Goals

For a lot of people, it is a bit of a leap of faith to commit to real estate investment, even though they know that this is their best chance to create future wealth for themselves and their families. This is a question I often get from people who may be hesitant about taking the plunge into real estate investing: “Is real estate investing easier if I already own property?” There is the idea that once I take the plunge, things will get easier. This is only partly true.

Does it get easier?

If you’ve bought property before – to live in, to make an office or to run a business, or as an investment, you know the nuts and bolts of it all. Buying property involves getting a loan, signing documents, and generally going through the closing process. Basically one knows what the whole exercise entails.
So yes, you do have the comfort of being familiar with the process and the next time around will be less intimidating and more familiar. However, beyond the psychological edge over a complete newbie, there are no major benefits. There are other factors that will decide how easy or difficult it is for you to get a loan, and how many loans you will be able to obtain.

Other factors that influence investing

The number of loans you can take out as an individual is limited, which is up to ten Fannie Mae loans per person. As I often joke with my clients, not even Warren Buffet gets more than ten loans! However if you're married, you can, as a couple, take out up to 20 loans, thereby increasing your chances of wealth creation for your family.
Lenders look at a potential borrower's income, type of employment, and credit history, as well as tax returns to decide whether or not to grant loans. A lot of lenders will prefer to lend to people who have already taken out loans to buy homes as investment over those that have not. This is because those who have already invested may already be generating a rental income for themselves. This makes them a more attractive type of borrower in the eyes of the lender. So if you're financially sound, you may be able to get up to ten, and as a couple, up to 20 home loans.
More details on this here. 
If you have questions about buying homes to create retirement riches for yourself, we at ICG Real Estate are happy to answer them for you. We can help you take that plunge! If you like you can attend one of our quarterly real estate investment events before you decide. 

Why Direct Real Estate Investments Win Out Over REITs

I often get questions about REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts), and whether investing in these is a better idea than actually buying homes as an investment. In my experience, REITs are a good option and may be a good way to figuratively dip one’s toes into the real estate space. However, I would recommend direct real estate investments over REITs for several reasons. You can click here to learn why I say so.

What are REITs and how do they work?

Investing in REITs is a little like investing in the share market or investing in gold in dematerialized form. You don’t actually own X piece of land or Y address. You, along with others, own a share of what are usually huge commercial properties. The fund managers usually raise tens of millions, even billions via REITs, and make massive investments.
However, this does not give you the benefit of the 30-year fixed-rate loan; something that I am always waxing eloquent about – and with good reason! This is a gift that keeps giving in a sense over the entire duration of repayment. The amount never increases – rather it keeps getting easier and easier to repay as the years go by, as inflation rises and everything around becomes more expensive. This is something that Warren Buffet himself recommended when speaking with me. Read more about it in this Entrepreneur Magazine article.

Why invest in single family homes?

And then there is another reason why I believe direct purchase of single family homes is the best kind of investment – and that is rental incomes. When you buy homes in some of the larger metropolitan areas in the Sunbelt states, you are creating a source of passive income for yourself by way of rental income. While the rent income will follow inflation and keep increasing over the years, the repayment amount of your 30-year loan remains the same.
In just about ten years, you would find that your loan balance is just about a quarter of the value of the home you own. This makes it possible for you to repay the loan early, even to buy several homes as investment. Owning several homes can help you create valuable assets for yourself while at the same time generating a passive rental income for you for life.
So, for all of these reasons, direct purchase of real estate is a better option than REITs investments for those who want to create wealth and achieve their financial goals. You can listen to my latest episode about this, and if you have any questions, feel free to contact us at ICGRE. 
How A Few Months' Waiting Doesn’t Impact Your Property Investment Prospect
 
There are a lot of questions that come my way during or soon after our lively, exciting ICGRE Events – our quarterly real estate expos. Where do I invest? What market is good for me to buy in right now? What markets should I avoid? And then I get this question from all the impatient people – what to do if I get on a waitlist for buying property? So here’s what I tell them about waiting lists...

 

Waiting lists are not a bad thing.

 

Yes I know waiting can be frustrating. First you go and make that all important decision to invest in real estate – congratulations! This is probably the smartest decision you’ve taken for your future financial security. Then you go ahead and do your due diligence and you research the property market to see where you should invest. The research seems to point in a particular direction. The trade pundits also seem to indicate that X or Y market is a great investment opportunity because it is poised to grow in times to come. So you make up your mind.
Then when you want to take the plunge, someone tells you to wait – they put you on a waiting list. Frustrating? Maybe. A problem? Not necessarily. So, first ask yourself: why are there waiting lists in the first place? This means that it is a good market to buy real estate and a lot of people are seeing the sense of investing in this particular market. This probably means that you're making a wise choice.

 

Look at the bigger picture.

 

What is the aim of your investment? It is that you should be able to secure your financial future, right? Maybe you're looking to finance the education of your grandkids or create the sort of retirement riches that help maintain a great lifestyle even in your later years? Whatever your aim is, the fact is that with real estate you're investing for the long term. You're looking at returns 10, 15, maybe 20 years down the line.
So when you take that long view, a few months here or there doesn’t really matter. My advice is that if you're really interested in a particular property market, you shouldn’t let yourself be dissuaded by some waitlist. Just wait for a while and do absolutely nothing. And remember, even after you’ve bought your property, you need to do absolutely nothing! At ICGRE we take care of all the nitty gritty for you. 
Check out this episode to know why wait lists don’t really matter; and why you shouldn’t worry about waiting a few months to make the right real estate investment. If you like, you can also check out some of our Investor Stories to know how we literally work to put cash in your pocket. 
Simple Reasons Why Foreclosure Investments Are a Bad Idea
There are some people who are convinced that investing in foreclosures is the way to go; that this is the way they are going to make the millions that they dream of. I would gently disabuse people of this mistaken notion. Foreclosure investments are neither as common nor as simple as people believe them to be. For a number of reasons foreclosure investments are not advisable. In this economic climate, the idea of making big money off of foreclosures is going to remain a pipe dream mostly. I explain why here.
 

What are foreclosures and when do they happen?

Simply put, foreclosures happen when a person is unable to make payments on a property loan they have taken. In such a situation, the bank or financial institution, who is the lender /mortgagee in this case, will ‘foreclose’ the property. They will auction off the property to recover their dues. Theoretically, it makes sense to invest in such foreclosures because banks and other lenders basically want to sell off and get the property off their hands. They don’t want to be stuck with a non-liquid asset that they cannot lend or otherwise monetize, so you can buy cheap.
But think about it – when does a foreclosure actually happen? Well, first the borrower or mortgagor defaults on their payments. Then the lender sends notices and then proceeds with the foreclosure – a process that will typically take months. In the meanwhile the property owner has other options – especially now when it is more or less a seller’s market. Our recent experience has been that in a lot of markets, people receive multiple, excellent offers as soon as they put a property up for sale.
So why would any homeowner let it get to the foreclosure stage when they have other, better options? In the past, when times were tough, banks were foreclosing thousands of properties. So during the 2008 recession and for years after that, this would have made sense. However, it doesn’t anymore, particularly now in these COVID times as I explain in this short video. And that is why I say that right now foreclosure investments remain a bit of a pipe dream.

 

Still thinking about foreclosure investments? You must be brave!

Why brave? Because buying foreclosures is a lot more complicated than it seems. If you decide to bid for a property that is undergoing foreclosure or intervene in a suit, there is a lot you would have to check – are the property titles clear? Is there some other lien or pledge on the property or IRS issue? Foreclosure investments need significant expertise and experience. Plus in my experience, parties sometimes collude with each other as well. I have seen people being financially destroyed as a result of this.
For all of these and other reasons, I advise people against investing in foreclosures. There are other sounder, better investment opportunities out there for you. Get in touch with us to know more.
Why the Limit of 10 Fannie Mae Loans Does Not Matter          
Everyone who is familiar with me and the work I do knows that I have personally bought hundreds of homes by way of investments for myself. However, there is one question I get a lot from my clients and those who attend our real estate seminars. Can we get more than ten loans? If so, how? These questions are of course related to the Qualified Mortgages or Fannie Mae loans as we colloquially call them.

 

Buy more, I tell them.

 

I always advise our clients to buy more homes – 5, 10, 50 or 100 – as many as they possibly can. Because the more homes they buy, the greater passive income they generate and the more their wealth grows. I give the example of myself as someone who bought many, many homes as part of my own investment portfolio. So how did you manage to buy so many homes when one individual can get only 10 loans,” they ask me.
Now there is no doubt that the 30-year fixed rate loan is a gift that no one can or should refuse to take. However, the ceiling of just 10 loans for each individual – which includes the homes one stays in, by the way – is a bit of a dampener, isn't it? You could say that it is. So what are your options?

 

How to get more than ten loans.

 

The first thing to remember is that it is ten loans per individual, so married couples can get up to 20 loans between them. If both spouses are earning, they are seen as a bankable risk and financial institutions can advance up to 20 loans. So that right there is one family’s increased capacity to create future wealth for itself.
And then there are the non-QM loans or the non-qualified mortgage loans. Sure, the terms of those loans may not be as favorable as the Fannie Mae loans but these are good loans to take. It is, in fact, possible to get these loans that are repayable over a 30-year period and at a fixed rate! The rate may be a little higher but this is still a great option! Watch this episode to know why I think the ten loan limit is irrelevant, and creating retirement riches is within everyone’s reach. 
I think that we would all agree that if Warren Buffett gives financial advice, it is going to be worth listening to. He has been one of the richest men in the world for many years now, and his unconventional financial wisdom means that he is widely considered to be the most successful investor of the 20th century. So, without doubt, it feels great to have one of my ideas validated by Warren Buffett himself. Watch this to know which one. 

Warren Buffett and the 30-year loan.

In a very recent article by Maurie Backman titled Warren Buffett's 5 Best Pieces of Money Advice, Buffett said that he is a big fan of financing a home with a 30-year mortgage, especially when rates are low. 
“When you take out a long-term loan, you buy yourself flexibility by not locking yourself into the higher payments that come with a shorter-term loan.”
According to him, with interest rates as low as 2% it is a no brainer that people should finance their real estate purchase using this instrument. This low rate spread out over a 30-year period makes it an incredibly attractive option. And guess what? I agree!
I’ve been advising my clients and viewers on the same lines.
I had engaged in some personal correspondence with Warren Buffett sometime in 2012. This was after the recession, and at the time he had written to me that he was interested in buying 70,000 to 100,000 homes for Berkshire. He told me that he wanted to get a 30-year loan to finance each of the homes he bought. In his view, with only a 20% down-payment requirement, it really didn’t get any better! No wonder the 30-year loan recommendation happens to be one of his top five financial tips.

Why I recommend the 30-year loan.

I have myself relied on the 30-year loan to invest in real estate over the years, and it has worked really well for me. I advise my clients to do the same because I believe it is a gift that no American should refuse – and it has worked really well for them as well. Believe me, foreigners can hardly believe that such a long term, fixed rate loan is actually available to Americans!
The reasons why I – and world famous experts like Buffett – recommend this loan are easy to understand. With low interest rates and fixed repayment amounts spread out over 30 years, this loan becomes easier and easier to repay. Inflation and rising cost of living do not impact the amount you pay each month; it remains the same. So at the end of say 10 or 15 years, the amount you're paying each month seems to be little more than a fancy dinner somewhere!
Now there is a catch of course. Warren Buffett wanted to finance thousands of homes with the 30-year loan, but there is a limit to how many loans you can take out. Each individual can take out no more than 10 of these loans. A married couple can get 20 loans between them. So how do you buy more homes as I advise you to do? There is a way. This is also one of the topics we will talk about at our next online Property Expo, and you are most welcome to attend.
I Practice What I Preach –– It Just Makes Great Investing Sense
 
For many years now, my firm ICG or the International Capital Group Real Estate Investments has been helping people invest in real estate to grow their wealth. ICG has helped them secure their retirement riches, fund big purchases, kids’ education or just a higher standard of living, they tell me. But they also ask me, Adiel, do you follow your own advice? Do you invest in property as you advise others to?

I am ICG’s biggest investor.

My answer to them is, I absolutely do follow my advice. It is my own experience that has taught me that brand new single family homes are the best option. It all started with me wanting to create wealth for myself. As a Silicon Valley engineer, I wasn’t content to just keep grinding away with nothing much to show after decades of hard work.
So, ICG is something that I started for myself and a small group of investor friends. It was born out of my desire to create an empire for myself. It grew from then on, but I still continued to be the biggest investor for the firm. I have invested in literally hundreds of properties. We have closed thousands of deals over the years, and those include my own investments as well. So yes, I certainly follow my own advice and I continue to invest in real estate – same as I tell my clients.

Getting the ICG advantage.

If you choose wisely, the property will start to yield a rental income right away and the prices will appreciate over time to give you great longer term benefits. This is what we help you do at ICG. People tell me how ICG has helped them connect with developers, financers, property managers and so on. We have our ear to the ground and have a network of connections that make it all very simple for investors – what we call remote control investing.
The bottom line is that I put my money where my mouth is. I own more properties than any other ICG investor. Over time, I gained valuable insight into the business of real estate investments and this is the insight that my team and I share with our clients.
I have bought hundreds of homes, and I would buy even more properties than I currently have – except for this small issue. Click to find out what it is.
 
So, here’s a question I get asked often by investors, after I've explained the advantages of working with ICG: what will it cost me? When I explain how, in most cases, it’s going to cost them nothing, the next question is something like – what’s the catch? Or, then how does ICG make its money? These are legitimate questions, because we all know, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. The answer is, yes, ICG does get paid. However, it isn't you, dear investor, that pays us.

The ICG Real Estate Advantage.

When you work with us at ICG, you are introduced to a whole network of builders, realtors, property managers and even financers. You are given a variety of options and there is always someone there to show you the ropes. I have worked long and hard to simplify the process of real estate investing for my clients, and it works – whether an investor wants to buy one or one hundred homes!
It’s a self-sustaining system, as I explain in this short video. There are a lot of people that are beholden to ICG for bringing buyers and customers their way. It is these people who share their commission with us: realtors, property management teams and so on. However, there are times when buyers have to pay a small amount – as in the case of the Raleigh-Durham area. Here, commissions are really low right now and buyers are having to make up the difference in terms of the brokerage.

Can you afford not to have the ICG advantage?

I think of my own property portfolio as the best advertisement for ICG Real Estate. People see how well I have secured my own financial future and they want ICG to do that for them! We deal in volumes – while the amounts that we make from our various business partners may not be large amounts, it all adds up to a lot.
So really the question you should be asking is not, can I afford to work with ICG, but can I afford to not work with ICG? Check out this episode to know what it’s all about, and check out ICG Events to find out about exciting real estate investment opportunities that you cannot afford to miss.
At ICG Real Estate, we are all about helping you build a secure financial future with savvy real estate investments that are going to fetch you the best possible returns. We crunch the numbers, look at growth trajectories and weed out areas that don’t make sense. We then facilitate your investment by giving you access to our network of developers, property managers, financers and so on.
This helps you and also helps strengthen our networks. So really, it's a win-win for all concerned. However, it is important to invest based on sound market insight and not get carried away by what is trendy or just doing what everyone and their cousin are doing right now.

Territories that just don’t make sense right now.

There was a time when territories like Boise (Idaho), Baton Rouge (Louisiana) or Salt Lake City (Utah) made a lot of sense for real estate investors. At the time this made sense for people who wanted to buy, bide their time and reap good profits ten, fifteen or twenty years later.
Right now, however, these territories aren't a good idea at all. There are no properties to buy and not even any waiting lists you can get on. Each time someone puts up properties to sell, buyers seem to be jostling to buy. Common sense tells us that we don’t buy in a sellers’ market. 
So where do you buy?

The ICG Advantage.

Now your financial aims may be varied – you may want to finance college for your kids or even grandkids. You may want to ensure a comfortable, even luxurious retired life. Or you may just want to have a financial fallback of sorts. Whatever your aims, right now, investing in single family homes in carefully chosen real estate markets seems to be your best bet. Not only does ICG Real Estate examine future growth prospects, but we also examine numbers that make sense in terms of rent – a passive income source for our investors.
Like I said, it’s a win-win for our investors – who pay nothing extra – and for us because it helps us strengthen our networks. You can contact us to set up an investment meeting, or ask us to send you exclusive property listings. You can also attend our quarterly Expo events where we talk about real estate investments and have a lot of fun! We even have teams present from the markets that are good to invest in to share their insights with you.  Reach out to us if you have a question or if you're ready to take the next step to safeguard your financial future – we can tell you how!
ICGRE Logo - Red
ICG uses single-family home investments, bought in advantageous locations and the best U.S. markets. We enable you to enjoy the clout that comes from purchasing a multitude of houses, even if you only buy one.
CONTACT
165 N. Redwood Dr. Suite #150 San Rafael, CA, 94903
Toll Free: (800) 324-3983 
Phone: (415) 927-7504 
Fax: (415) 924-7869 
Email: info@icgre.com
FOLLOW US
BBB Rating of A+