Advice from Expert Real Estate Investor Zach Steinberg

 Welcome to RentRedi’s Investor Spotlight series! We’re highlighting investing experts & their real estate investing tips.

Our Investor Spotlight features real estate investing tips & quickfire questions about the tools, advice, routines, and strategies beginners & professionals use to grow their businesses and gain passive income.

Let’s dive in!

Real Estate Investing Tips from Zach Steinberg

1) How long does it take you to analyze a property for investment?

We are experts at deal analysis and can analyze most properties in a matter of hours. New Western is able to use comps from our marketplace as well as MLS to review values quickly and then will have one of our agents physically inspect the home within a matter of hours.  

2) What is the #1 piece of advice you would give a new real estate investor just starting out? 

Take your time. Make sure you have the correct financing setup, a trustworthy contractor and agent in advance of doing any purchasing. These things take time and make sure you do your homework as not all are equal. The market moves quick so not having good partners in place will hurt your business.

3) What’s a landlord hack to make your life easier?

Take professional photos. Most rental advertising is done online these days and photos from your phone do not look as good as the professional ones. You will get more clicks on your ad which should hopefully lead to a quick leasing process. 

4) What is the process for flipping a house?

When flipping a house, the first thing you want to do is inspect the property. You want to look for the major things that need to be repaired, like the roof, electrical, heating/air, foundation and plumbing. Those big projects should be the first thing you tackle. 

Cosmetics come next – kitchens, bathrooms and closets are what sell a house. However, before you start upgrading the cosmetics, look at comps in the area and search to see what’s trending online. Websites like Houzz are a great resource for researching trends. Once you have your cosmetic finishes selected, begin installing and then when that’s finished you’re ready to list the house. 

Keep in mind that an end buyer will have an inspection done on the property to ensure it’s a safe, sound house. So be prepared to get all systems functional and in working order because eventually that needs to be done.

A few things to remember, budget is everything. You may want to have a contractor do an initial inspection of the house with you to put together a rehab estimate. Since you’re trying to make a profit on the house, the one thing you can control is the rehab, specifically which materials you use for the rehab. So having an expert contractor, who has experience working with investors, can help save you money in the long run.

5) How do you go about choosing the right property to flip?

We tell our investors that you make money on the buy, so that means that finding the right deal is the first step. However, we also tell them not to sit around and wait for the perfect property because there is a cost to sitting on the sidelines. 

In order to choose the right property you have to be open minded. But the age-old real estate mantra is still very much alive – location, location, location matters! According to our recent New Western survey, 55 percent of the nearly 1,400 investors we surveyed said that location and neighborhood are the most important things their buyers are looking for. With that in mind, you always want to buy the cheapest house in the best neighborhood. We also recommend looking at the intangibles of the house/property. What type of build is it? If it’s say a mid-century modern in the middle of traditionals, it may be more desirable. Does it have mountain views or a huge lot, those are things that may make it more attractive to buyers too. Is it in a good school district? Again, another major selling point for an eventual end buyer.

Before making the purchase, you should always check the comps. If there are no comps in the neighborhood, you’re taking on a lot of risk with the investment.

6) What are some common hurdles to avoid when flipping a house?

Again, the end goal here is to make a profit from your investment, so you never want to pay a contractor up front in full. Try to make payments in installments or when the work is done. We’ve seen people pay up front and lose money when a contractor walks away.

Another pro tip is to work with a contractor who is used to working with investors. Most contractors are used to working with conventional buyers/homeowners, so you will want someone who has worked with an investor before because they better understand timelines and budgets and how to move fast on projects.

Never remodel a property you’re going to flip or rent with your own preferences in mind. You always want to look at trends and check the comps in your area, especially when making cosmetic upgrades.

Know your experience level. When you’re first starting out, you don’t want to take on a house that needs a full plumbing, electrical and foundation rehab. You want to start small and work towards bigger projects as you gain more experience.

And lastly, don’t cut corners! The end buyer will find out.

7) What should you do to prepare if you’re considering flipping a house?

One of the first things you should do if you’re preparing to flip a house is get your team in order. Find experienced contractors that are familiar working with investors and have solid references. If you’re using financing to purchase the property, make sure you shop around and get lenders that can close quickly. You will also need insurance and eventually a realtor to help you sell the property or a property manager to help you rent it out.

Having a contingency plan helps. If the flip doesn’t work out – do you have another exit strategy? Do you know if the property can be rented? While this step isn’t always needed, it is better to be prepared in case the unexpected happens. 

If you’re still waiting around for the perfect investment property, we would advise you to mentally prepare to make the jump. A lot of investors get frozen buyer syndrome, but at some point there’s a cost to sitting on the sidelines, so you may want to be a little more open-minded about the properties you’re considering.

8) How can you make sure you make a profit on a flip?

If you’re going to flip homes, you have to be realistic and understand that not every flip will be 100 percent perfect. 

A few things to remember when budgeting to flip a home:

  1. Always make room for the unexpected. Every time you flip a home, you’re going to run into something you weren’t expecting.
  2. If you’re trying to stick to a budget and refuse to go over, you might be cutting corners. It’s better to go over budget and have the house sell than to stick to your budget and watch the house sit on the market.
  3. You make your money on the buy, so if you buy properties that are off market you usually have less competition and typically get a better price on the property than you would if buying through traditional sources. When the properties are in off-market marketplaces, like the New Western marketplace, you’re not competing with the traditional buyer and you have a better chance of closing quickly on the property.

About the Investor

Zach Steinberg is a Senior General Manager and broker for New Western in Dallas, Texas. He began his career at New Western in 2012 as an acquisition agent. New Western is a real estate investment marketplace that makes investing more accessible for more people. Operating in most major cities, our marketplace connects more than 200,000 local investors looking to rehab houses with sellers. As the largest private source of investment properties in the nation, we buy a home every 13 minutes. New Western was honored with a Glassdoor Employees’ Choice Award in the U.S. small and medium company category, recognizing the Best Places to Work in 2023 and 2024.

About New Western

Connect with investor-friendly agents to help find and buy rehab-ready properties through a national real estate investment marketplace at New Western.

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