Real Estate Investing

Real Estate Investing: Single Family Homes

Single family real estate investing involves buying, owning, and managing a single family home as an investment property. This can involve purchasing a home to fix up and resell for a profit, or buying a home to rent out to tenants.

One of the benefits of single family real estate investing is that it allows investors to potentially earn passive income from rental properties. By purchasing a home and finding reliable tenants, investors can generate a regular stream of income from their investment.

However, it is important to keep in mind that real estate investing is not without risks. There are a number of factors that can impact the value of a property, such as changes in the local real estate market, natural disasters, and maintenance and repair costs. Therefore, it is important for investors to carefully consider the potential risks and rewards of single family real estate investing before making a decision.

Some of the key considerations for single family real estate investing include:

  • Location: The location of a property can have a big impact on its value and rental potential. Look for properties in desirable neighborhoods with good schools, low crime rates, and access to amenities.
  • Condition: A property that requires a lot of repairs or renovations may not be a good investment. Look for properties that are in good condition or that only require minor repairs. If it requires a lot of repairs, you’ll need to ensure you have the right knowledge or the right contractors to fix the property. While this can be profitable as problematic homes can be bought at a deep discount, it requires more work and analysis. When starting out, focusing on homes with less repairs is usually a better choice.
  • Financing: There are a number of financing options available for real estate investing, including traditional mortgages, hard money loans, and private financing. Choose the option that best meets your needs and financial situation.
  • Management: If you plan to rent out your property, you will need to manage the property, which can include finding tenants, collecting rent, and handling repairs and maintenance. Consider whether you have the time and resources to manage the property yourself or if you will need to hire a property management company.

Overall, single family real estate investing can be a lucrative way to generate passive income, but it is important to carefully consider all of the risks and rewards before making a decision.

Real Estate Investing: Single Family Homes

Why single family homes?

There are a number of reasons why some people choose to start their real estate investing journey with single family homes:

  1. Affordability: Single family homes are often more affordable than other types of investment properties, such as multifamily properties or commercial properties. This can make them a good option for investors who are just starting out and may not have a lot of capital to invest.
  2. Simplicity: Single family homes are generally simpler to understand and manage than other types of investment properties. They typically have only one unit and do not require the same level of management as multifamily properties or commercial properties.
  3. Potential for appreciation: Single family homes can appreciate in value over time, which can provide a good return on investment. The value of a property can be influenced by a number of factors, including the location, condition of the property, and local real estate market conditions.
  4. Tax benefits: Owning a rental property can provide a number of tax benefits, including the ability to write off expenses such as mortgage interest, property taxes, and repair and maintenance costs.

While rental properties can provide a steady stream of passive income and the potential for appreciation, they do come with a certain level of risk. One of the biggest risks is the potential for vacancy. If a tenant moves out and the property remains vacant, you will not be earning any rental income. Additionally, rental properties require a significant amount of time and money to maintain, and unexpected repairs can be costly.

Another risk to consider is the potential for tenants to damage the property or not pay rent. It is important to screen tenants carefully and have a solid lease agreement in place to protect your investment.

It is important for investors to carefully consider the potential risks and rewards before making a decision.


There are a number of factors to consider when selecting a location for a single family real estate investment property, including:

  1. Desirability: Look for properties in desirable neighborhoods with good schools, low crime rates, and access to amenities such as shopping, dining, and public transportation. These factors can make a property more attractive to potential tenants.
  2. Job market: Consider the strength of the local job market when selecting a location for your investment property. A strong job market can lead to higher demand for rental housing.
  3. Renters’ demographics: Research the demographics of the local rental market to get a sense of the type of renters who may be interested in your property. For example, if the local market is predominantly made up of young professionals, a property that is close to public transportation and in a trendy neighborhood may be more attractive to potential tenants.
  4. Future development: Look for areas with potential for future growth and development, as this can lead to an increase in property values over time.
  5. Renters vs Owners: Consider the level of competition in the local rental market. If there are a lot of other rental properties available, it may be more difficult to find tenants and generate a good return on your investment. On the opposite side if there are only owners and no renter in a neighborhood it may indicate that people in that area prefer owning a home rather than renting one and it may difficult to rent the property. It is often good to find that sweet spot where there are some owners and some renters.

Overall, it is important to carefully research the local real estate market and consider a variety of factors when selecting a location for a single family real estate investment property.


It’s usually best to have a professional home inspector assess the condition of the home, as they will have the expertise and equipment to identify any issues that may not be immediately visible. To assess the condition of a single family home the main components are:

  1. Conduct a visual inspection: Walk through the home and take note of any visible damage or issues, such as cracks in the walls or ceilings, water damage, or wear and tear on the flooring.
  2. Check the roof: Look for signs of damage or wear, such as missing shingles, leaks, or standing water.
  3. Examine the foundation: Look for cracks or other visible signs of damage.
  4. Check the plumbing: Look for signs of leaks or other issues, such as slow drains or low water pressure.
  5. Test the electrical system: Turn on all the lights and appliances to make sure they are functioning properly. Look for any outdated wiring or electrical panels.
  6. Inspect the HVAC system: Make sure the heating and cooling systems are working properly and look for any visible signs of wear or damage.
  7. Look for any other major issues: This could include things like mold, pest infestations, or problems with the sewer or septic system.


There are several options for financing a single family home, including:

    1. Banks: Many traditional banks, such as national and regional banks, offer conventional mortgage loans. You can check with your local bank or credit union to see what mortgage products they have available.
    2. Online lenders: There are a number of online lenders that offer conventional mortgage loans, often with competitive rates and fees. These lenders may be able to provide a streamlined, fully online application and approval process.
    3. Mortgage brokers: A mortgage broker is a professional who works with multiple lenders to help you find the best mortgage product for your needs. They can help you compare rates and terms from multiple lenders and guide you through the mortgage process.Conventional mortgage: This is a mortgage loan that is not insured or guaranteed by the government. Conventional mortgages typically have stricter requirements for credit score, down payment, and income compared to other types of mortgage loans. There are several options for obtaining a conventional mortgage, including:
  1. FHA loan: An FHA (Federal Housing Administration) loan is a mortgage loan that is insured by the government. These loans have more flexible credit and down payment requirements than conventional mortgages, making them a good option for first-time home buyers or those with less-than-perfect credit.
  2. VA loan: A VA (Department of Veterans Affairs) loan is a mortgage loan that is guaranteed by the government and is available to veterans, active duty military personnel, and some surviving spouses. VA loans have more lenient credit and down payment requirements than conventional mortgages.
  3. Jumbo loan: A jumbo loan is a mortgage loan that exceeds the conforming loan limits set by government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These loans typically have higher interest rates and stricter credit and down payment requirements than smaller, conforming loans.
  4. Portfolio loan: A portfolio loan is a mortgage loan that is held by a lender and not sold to the secondary mortgage market. These loans can be more flexible in terms of credit, income, and down payment requirements, but may have higher interest rates.

It’s a good idea to shop around and compare rates and terms from multiple lenders before deciding on a mortgage loan. It’s also a good idea to speak with a financial advisor or mortgage professional to determine which type of loan is best for your situation.

A cash offer can also be an alternative to financing a purchase. A cash offer is when a buyer purchases a property using cash rather than taking out a mortgage loan. This means that the buyer has the full purchase price available in cash and does not need to borrow money from a lender.

There are several advantages to making a cash offer on a property:

  1. Faster closing: Since there is no need to go through the process of obtaining a mortgage loan, a cash offer can often close more quickly than a financed offer.
  2. Greater bargaining power: A cash offer can be more attractive to a seller, as it eliminates the risk of the deal falling through due to financing issues. This can give the buyer greater bargaining power and potentially allow them to negotiate a lower price.
  3. No mortgage contingencies: With a cash offer, there are no contingencies based on the buyer being approved for a mortgage loan. This can make the offer more attractive to the seller, as there is less risk of the deal falling through.

However, it’s important to note that making a cash offer may not always be the best option, especially if the buyer doesn’t have the full purchase price available in cash. In these cases, it may be more beneficial to take out a mortgage loan and use the cash for other purposes, such as building up an emergency fund or investing. It’s a good idea to speak with a financial advisor or mortgage professional to determine the best course of action for your situation.


Here are some steps you can take to manage a single family home effectively:

  1. Develop a budget: Determine how much money you have available to maintain and repair the home, and allocate those funds accordingly.
  2. Create a maintenance schedule: Develop a schedule for routine maintenance tasks, such as changing the air filters, checking smoke detectors, and inspecting the roof.
  3. Set clear rules and expectations: Develop a set of rules and expectations for tenants, such as rules regarding noise levels, pet ownership, and property maintenance, and make sure all tenants understand and agree to these rules.
  4. Respond promptly to maintenance requests: It’s important to respond promptly to any maintenance requests from tenants, as ignoring these requests can lead to larger problems down the road.
  5. Conduct regular inspections: Regularly inspect the property to ensure that it is being well-maintained and identify any potential issues that need to be addressed.
  6. Keep good records: Keep detailed records of all maintenance and repair work, as well as any communication with tenants or contractors. This can help you stay organized and make it easier to track expenses and resolve any issues that may arise.

Managing a single family home can be a challenging task, but by following these steps, you can ensure that the property is well-maintained and your tenants are happy.

Finally if you don’t have the time or expertise to manage the home yourself, consider hiring a property manager to handle day-to-day tasks and tenant relations.

Here are some pros and cons of hiring a property manager to manage a single family home:


  1. They can handle day-to-day tasks: A property manager can handle a wide range of tasks related to managing the property, such as collecting rent, handling maintenance requests, and enforcing rules and regulations.
  2. They can save you time: Hiring a property manager can save you a significant amount of time and effort, as you won’t have to handle these tasks yourself. This can be especially useful if you don’t live near the property or if you have multiple properties to manage.
  3. They can provide expert advice: Property managers have a wealth of knowledge and experience in the real estate industry, and can provide valuable advice and guidance on issues related to managing the property.


  1. They can be expensive: Property managers typically charge a percentage of the rent collected as their fee, usually between 8% to 12% of rent collected, which can add up over time.
  2. They may not have the same level of personal interest: A property manager is a professional who is managing the property for a fee, whereas you may have a personal stake in the property as the owner. This can lead to a difference in priorities and goals.
  3. They may not be able to address all issues: While a property manager can handle many tasks related to managing the property, there may be some issues that they are unable to address. For example, they may not have the authority to make major repairs or renovations to the property.

Overall, the decision to hire a property manager will depend on your individual circumstances and the needs of the property. It may be helpful to weigh the pros and cons and speak with a real estate professional or property manager to determine whether hiring a property manager is the right decision for you.

Financial Literacy Investing

What Are The Main Investment Types?

We’ll try to list the main investment types out there, how they function, i.e. how do you make money from them and we’ll try to classify how passive they are and the usual expected volatility.

What Are The Main Investment Types?

1. Real Estate

There are several ways to invest in real estate, from land acquisition, land development, single family rentals, multi family rentals, office rentals, industrial rentals. While there are a lot more hybrid investment types from house hacking to vacation rentals, we’ll only go through the main investment types in this introductory post.

1.1 Single Family Rentals

This is probably the most straightforward investment type in the real estate space: acquiring single family homes and rent them out. The business is simple: rent the home and maintain it in habitable condition for the customer.

The owner of the rental also may also profit down the road by selling the property for a profit if it appreciates.

1.2 Multi Family Rentals

Similar to single family rentals, but the asset is in general an apartment building. Duplexes and triplexes, smaller buildings, also qualify as multi family.

1.3 Land Acquisition

This is usually an appreciation play, where one would simply acquire land hoping to sell later in time, for a profit, if the land appreciates in value over time.

There’s one main exception regarding agricultural lending, where one can lend its land to a farmer to exploit the land. The owner of the land receives a rent and in exchange the farmer can exploit the land growing crops or farming livestock.

1.4 Land Development

Land development consist in acquiring raw land and developing it, usually bringing electricity, water and sewer to sell it to a real estate builder to then build and sell buildings, often multi family or single family homes.

1.5 Office Rentals

This is similar to multi family rentals, in the sense that this involves usually bigger buildings, however they’re usually leased to companies or specialized professionals.

1.6 Industrial Rentals

This is similar to office rentals, but concerns industrial buildings usually leased to companies. In this categories we usually have warehouses or industrial buildings able to house machinery.

2. Stocks

Stocks are usually fractions of a company traded on an exchange.  By buying the stock, you buy a fraction of said company.

2.1 Regular Stocks

By buying the stock, you expect the company to do well and have its share price increase to later sell it for a profit.

2.2 ETFs

ETFs or Exchange Traded Fund are usually funds that invest in several companies/stocks or track some indexes. It allows you to own a pool of investments without the hassle of having to buy every single one of them individually.

Similar to stocks, you’d buy the ETF expecting it to go up in value to sell for a profit.

2.3 Dividend Stocks

Dividend stocks are stocks that pay a dividend, sometimes monthly, but usually quarterly, as long as you’re holding the stocks. These stocks are usually from more established companies, with proven business models, where the growth of the stock usually lower but compensate for it with its dividend.

Dividend are taxed differently than capital gains from selling stocks for a profit and can be interesting in that regards.

Also several dividend companies tend to increase their dividend over time. Dividend aristocrats are dividend companies that have increased their dividend for at least 25 years.

2.4 REITs

REITs or Real Estate Investment Trust are companies that invest primarily in you guessed it, real estate. To qualify as a REIT must have at least 75% of its income derived from real estate and it must distribute at least 90% of its taxable income as dividend to its shareholders.

REITs income is usually taxed as income, unlike dividends and based on your tax bracket, it may be advantageous to hold them in tax preferred accounts such as a 401k or an IRA.

3. Bonds

Bonds are loan to a government (government bonds) or to a company (corporate bonds) for a certain period of time (maturity)and you receive interest (the coupon) , until the loans matures at which point you receive the principal payment.

4. Leveraged Financial Instruments

4.1 Options

Options, commonly on stocks, but can also apply against other financial instruments, are just that: option (not obligation) to buy (call option) or sell (put option) at a given price (strike price) until a certain time, the expiration date.

These investments are usually more volatile and riskier, because of the leverage builtin into the contract.

4.2 Forex

This is the currency market, where ones can profit from the gain of a currency against another. While usually reserved for more advanced investors, the concept is often eye opening that whatever you own that changes in value is a paired trade. When the USD/JPY forex pair trade goes up it means the US dollar goes up against the Japanese yen. When your home goes up in value, it means your home value goes up against the dollar. At which point you want to ask, is the house gaining in value or is the dollar losing in value?

Forex symbols are usually traded with leverage which can increase the risk if not managed carefully.

4.3 Futures

Futures are contract, usually on commodities but also on stock indexes and currencies. The contract establishes the price of an amount of a commodity at a certain date, e.g. The June 2020 Gold contract, at $1583, establishes the price of an ounce of gold by June 2020.

The market allows producers of such commodities to lock in a price for their production, while speculators, often blamed for commodities volatility allow the market to exist in the first place.

While not perfect, it should be noted that the existence of the market allow producers to hedge their production and many producers would not be in business without the existence of the futures market.

Futures , like the Forex, are usually traded with leverage which can increase the risk if not managed carefully.

5. Alternative Investments

This involves structured financial products in various area, such as art, real estate, marine, legal… It often involve lending money to a third party using various assets from the third party as collateral.

It’s usually reserved to accredited investors, i.e. investors earning more than $200,000 annually if single ($300,000 if married) or have more than $1,000,000  in assets excluding the primary residence. Or institutional investors like investment banks, pension funds and so on.

6. Private Equity

Private equity is generally speaking part of the alternative investments class, but probably deserves a note of its own. Like for alternative investments, these investments come mainly from accredited investors or institutional investors. There are 2 main segments in private equity: one for early stage companies or startups, one for later stage companies and distressed companies.

6.1 Early stage companies or startups

That’s usually where venture capital and angel investors come in. They will pool money or invest their own money to help develop early stage companies, usually in the hope the resell it at a higher price to a bigger company or take it to the public market, where they can exit their position.

The game in startups investing is that most of your investments will go to zero, but the few who survive will make a disproportionate amount of money.

If you want to put some rough numbers, successful startups investors, often see 90% of their investments go to zero. 9% percent of their investments get a 10-50x returns. And 1% turn into a 100-2000x returns and sometimes more.

The downside is that there’s usually no liquidity, so it’s very hard to liquidate your holdings and it’s usually a long game. It will take usually more than 5 and often around 10 years for those early companies to mature to the point where you can expect those enormous gains.

6.2 Distressed companies

Another side of private equity is to invest in failing or distressed companies. Investors usually buy the debt of a company at a steep discount and will try to turn the management around and eventually turn it into a profitable company again, so they can eventually collect the debt repayment.

If that ideal scenario fails and the company is forced into bankruptcy, investors will try to recoup some money during the bankruptcy process.

7. Institutional Investments

This are types of investments reserved for institutions (e.g. CDS), usually due to the amount required to participate in such investments which can range from several hundreds millions of dollar or billions of dollars and sometimes require special licenses to be allowed to participate into such investments. We won’t discuss much about these but it’s good to know that they exist because they can have some influence into other types of investments accessible to the general public.


We’ve presented most of the common investment classes. As far as building a passive income portfolio, we’ll talk more about rental real estate and stocks. We’ll also touch upon alternative investments and also discuss some opportunities with leveraged financial instruments when they arise.