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Investing in today’s market

January 9th, 2024 by admin

More buyers and investors see the value and opportunity of investing in today’s housing market.  With approximately 6.5% interest rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage and a healthy rental climate, most investors get positive cash flow after putting a 40-45% down payment.  That sounds like a lot of down payment. The good news is that with interest rate expected to drop, homeowners can refinance to reduce their monthly mortgage payment. The challenge right now is getting that property before it get snapped by another investor.  Investors shall get the pre-approval letter ready before house hunting.  They need to make a decision fast and get the contract in on time for consideration.

Building a Real Estate Investment Porfolio for Retirement

January 8th, 2024 by admin

What is your new year resolution for 2024? Is building a real estate portfolio one of your financial objectives?

Buying real estate is particularly attractive to many investors these days. With higher capital gain expected, especially for stock investments, many investors turn to real estate for long term wealth accumulation. Real estate builds wealth through rental income and price appreciation. Investors can even delay capital gain tax using 1031 Exchange for like-kind assets. All expenses including mortgage interest, homeowner association fees, insurance, property tax, ongoing repair and maintenance costs are all deductible from rental income. With reasonable interest rate and decent down payment amount, most properties recently acquired may be able to generate decent cash flow overtime. Keep in mind that if properties are located in growing areas, rental income will increase steadily, thus expanding your cash flow.

Investing in real estate is not just for the rich. If you are making $50,000 or more, have a steady job and a reasonable credit history, you should start thinking about buying your first property. Start with a home for yourself to live instead of renting. There are loan programs available for first time homebuyers with down payment as low as 3.5% of the property value. You may qualify for VA loan with zero down payment if you are a veteran. Then save up in the next 2+ years (hopefully sooner) for down payment for your investment property. Lenders require 20-25% or more down payment for investment loans.

The Kirin Real Estate team can help you chart out a customized plan to turn your American Dream to a reality. Many of our investor buyers have been able to build their investment portfolio from zero to 2, 3 or even 4 properties in the last five years. This is not a get-rich-fast scheme. Instead the process is very systematic. It is very important to ensure that the properties are financially sustainable with good rentability and fixed mortgage payments. These investors do not flip properties which require much higher risk. Instead, the investors hold their properties for a long haul. Some keep the properties to build college fund, while others keep them to generate cash for retirement.

Feel free to contact us at for a private, no-risk, no-cost, consultation.

What buyers should know before entering the housing market

January 7th, 2024 by admin

The Greater Washington DC market is heating up again due to the impending mortgage interest rate drop.  Many listings in sought after locations have multiple offers.  In one of recent transactions, my buyer had to compete with 9 other contracts and the winning bid had to pay substantially higher than asking price.  Many properties are under contract in a matter of weeks if not days.  Location, showing condition and price are three key decisive factors for buyers. To get better prepared, buyer should have a pre-approval letter ready before house hunting. That way, a contract can be submitted right away as soon as a desirable property is identified.

Buyers today compete not only with other regular buyers but also investors. Properties under $600K are in the highest demand because they are more affordable and less risky. Locations that are located closed to metro stations and/or within good school districts are still most desirable.

For investment purpose, is townhouse or detached home better than condo?

May 21st, 2023 by admin

Investors select specific type of properties based on their budget, anticipated responsibilities and projected return. Let’s look at the pros and cons of each property type.

For a starter who has limited time and energy to manage the property but still wants to do it herself to gain some landlording experience, condo is a good one to start, especially for someone with a smaller budget. The responsibility is primarily limited to the condo interior. Roof, siding and landcaping are taken care of by the condo association. The major downside is the high monthly condo fee which covers the master insurance, reserved funds for building repair and maintenance as well as utilities for the common areas,

Townhouse and detached home are more expensive and require much attention inside and outside of the home. Common issues to address include roof leak, exterior wood rots and landscape maintenance. As a result the maintenance costs can be high despite the more affordable monthly HOA fee compared to condos.

Just like any investment portfolio, it is good to diversify, That applies to property type and geographic coverage in your portfolio.

Kirin Realty specializes in investment properties. We offer customized solution to meet your needs. Contact us today for a free consultation or sign up to get on our email distribution list for future educational workshops.

Smoke detector certification requirement for residential rentals in Virginia

February 27th, 2023 by admin

In accordance with §55-248.13 (8) of the Code of Virginia, generally known as the Virginia Residential Landlord Tenant Act, the Landlord shall: “Provide a certificate to the Tenant stating that all smoke alarms are present, have been inspected, and are in good working order no more than once every 12 months. The Landlord, his employee, or an independent contractor may perform the inspection to determine that the smoke alarm is in good working order.” Upon each such inspection, Landlord shall:
1. Test the smoke alarms of Tenant to confirm such alarms are in good working order and that batteries (if such alarms are not AC hard-wired) are not expired as per the manufacturer’s recommendations.
2. Confirm that all smoke alarms are still in the installed locations and have not been moved, removed or tampered with.
3. Replace any removed, damaged or expired smoke alarms.
4. Confirm that all smoke alarms are compliance with the uniform set of standards for maintenance of smoke alarms established in the Statewide Fire Prevention Code (§ 27-94 et seq.) and subdivision C 6 of § 36-105, Part III of the Uniform Statewide Building Code (§36-97 et seq.)

Feel free to contact us should you have any questions regarding property management.

Should I Outsource Landlording Responsibilities?

November 27th, 2022 by admin

Acquiring an investment property is one thing and managing it requires a totally different skill set. Ask yourself the following questions before deciding whether or not to manage the property yourself:
1. Where is your rental property located? How much time does it take to drive out there averaging 1-2 times a month?
2. How busy is your schedule? Do you have time to take care of tenant’s requests?
3. Are you a handy person? Do you have the skill and interest to fix household related problems?
4. Do you handle stress well? Does it bother you if tenant calls you late at night for urgent matters?
5. Do you have a good supportive network — contractors, plumbers, HVAC technicians, roofers, electricians, attorneys, etc whom you can call upon should the need arise?
6. Are you familiar with the Landlord-Tenant Act that outlines the landlord and tenant rights and responsibilities?

All of the above are considerations when decising if you could manage the rental properties yourself. Having a property management firm to take care of your property is often worthwhile if you don’t have the expertise to handle tenant issues. It will save you money long term because the value of the property will be maintained and any repair or legal expenses could be kept to a minimum.

We offer a Landlording 101 seminar 1-2 times a year. Please contact us if you are interested to be on the seminar distribution list.

Finding a Dream Tenant

October 27th, 2022 by admin

No one likes landlording headache so getting the right type of tenant is key. A dream tenant is one who pays rent on time, takes care of your property, has a multi-year lease term and leaves the house in a move-in condition when the lease ends. He or she makes no unreasonable demands and abides by the rules of the homeowner association throughout the lease term. Does a dream tenant really exist? YES, in fact majority of the tenants that we manage belong to this category. The secret lies in our rigorous screening process. In addition to running a credit check, we also verify the applicant’s employment and rental history. It is extremely important to be assured of the applicant’s ability to pay rent and there is no history of delingency rental payments.

Keep in mind that there are many good tenants out there despite low credit score due to recent short sales or foreclosures. If the applicant does not have a pattern of late payments long before or after the short sale or foreclosure occurs, he deserves a second chance. One of the tenants we manage had filed bankruptcy three years prior to the lease. Because of his determination to rebuild his financial credit, he has been paying rent early and has done a wonderful job keeping the property in top shape. He has now lived in the property for over five years. Because of his steller rental record, he is considered a dream tenant.

In summary, dream tenants do exist. Have a screening process in place and stick to it.

Keys to selling fast and at top dollars in today’s market

September 13th, 2022 by admin

Keys to selling fast and at top dollars in today’s market

The best outcome for any home seller is to get the highest price possible on their property hassle-free. To make that possible, seller has to wear the buyer’s cap and think from buyer’s perspective. Normal resale (not distressed homes) typically target regular buyers who want to either live in the house or rent it out as an investment. What attracts this kind of buyers most is a well-cared for home that has a great curb appeal in the exterior and clean, uncluttered look in the interior.

It is not difficult to create that attractive appeal but it does take effort and sometimes a small financial investment. De-cluttering the space is a must, followed by a fresh new coat of paint and new carpet (both in neutral color) if they look worn. If the bathrooms and kitchen look outdated, consider remodeling them. Next, place the furniture strategically to create a spacious, homey feel. Put in some nice matching pillows on sofas and beds. Clear up any counter space in kitchen and bathrooms and place clean, neutral towels on racks. Add vases of flowers on side tables and dining tables if applicable. Replace any broken windows, screens and blinds.

As for the exterior, remove weeds and trim back shrubs. Plant new flower beds and apply mulch to add a fresh look.

If you follow the tips above and price the house reasonably, there is no reason for the property to sit on the market.

Buying the First Home

July 26th, 2022 by admin

Homebuying can be stressful especially for first time buyers. The whole process can be made simple when you have a team of experienced professionals on your side.

To get started, you will find a real estate professional who will represent you in the transaction. There is a huge difference between a full-time realtor and part-time agent, and an experienced professional versus a brand new licensee. You need someone who knows the market and has the expertise to handle the negotiation or any road blocks along the way. A good realtor will have a network of reliable vendors to refer you when the need comes — home inspectors, pest control technicians, HVAC service providers, roofers, contractors, etc.

Selecting a mortgage lender is a must before you start house hunting. Don’t select a lender just because he or she offers you the best rate. You want to make sure the closing cost is reasonable and the loan can be closed on time with appraisal and underwriting ordered and completed on a timely manner. If the loan cannot be closed on the settlement date as agreed by both parties, buyers will risk losing the escrow security deposit.

Sign up for our next First Time Homebuyer Seminar by getting on our seminar distribution list.

Selling properties at above $1M

June 26th, 2022 by admin

Even though the housing market in general is picking up pretty well in the Greater Washington DC market, properties priced above $1M still post a challenge in many neighborhoods. There are a few reasons for this. First, the target market for properties in the upper brackets is much smaller. The household income has to reach a certain level in order to qualify for mortgage. The income range will be around $200K depending on debt-to-income level, amount of downpayment, credit score and loan terms. The down payment requirement is much higher as well in absolute financial terms. For a $1M house, 20% down payment will mean $200,000 plus closing costs. Most people who purchase properties at higher bracket will need to unload their existing home to come up with the downpayment for a new purchase. All these said, if the property is priced right, shows well and is located in a desirable neighborhood, it will receive offers. Sellers just need to be a bit more realistic in terms of the length of time the listing will sit on the market.