To learn more about the basics of personal finance and real estate investing, Umphery read books such as Rich Dad Poor Dad (Business Plus; $7.99), Think and Grow Rich (Tribeca Books; $12.80), and Start Late Finish Rich (Crown Business; $14.95). He also attended workshops and seminars, and while a student interned at a real estate company.
“If you’re just starting out, consider purchasing a duplex,â€ says Sheryl Ridley Dorsey, owner of Ridley Dorsey Certified Public Accountants. “It’s possible to live rent-free if you rent out the other space. Take the profits and buy a single-family home for yourself, and rent out the whole duplex.â€
Educate yourself about a potential property.
Before buying property, Umphery says he pays attention to things such as neighborhood crime statistics and how much is charged for rent. “Most rental neighborhoods have higher crime stats than neighborhoods that are mostly owner-occupied,â€ he says. Crime statistics can be found on your local police department’s website, and rent estimates can be found on sites such as Zillow.com.
Screen prospective tenants.
“I use an online resource called ResidentCheck.com. This site is fee-based [less than $100 a month, depending on the number of screenings], but provides me with eviction records. I sometimes also have prospective tenants provide tax returns and pay stubs so I can verify income.â€ Umphery suggests familiarizing yourself with laws about tenants’ rights and your responsibility as a landlord; see the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development website (www.hud.gov) for more information.
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