What are the three most important sources of information you read, watch or listen to every day to help you in your investing?

LENNY LAYLAND Broker/Owner Invest Orlando Realty

Invest Orlando Realty

I can’t say that I go to any one information source daily. Nevertheless, there is an abundance of random sources and media about real estate investing that bombards my inbox daily. Much of that is self-serving content or blogs and is often ignored.

But there is also plenty of good general information that covers nationwide trends or techniques. Real estate investing opportunities can be very different regionally and locally, so I pay particular attention to this information.

My favorite sources for the best information would have to include this magazine. The content is well-researched data and expert opinion.

The next source that comes to mind is the National Association of Realtors, along with state and local associations. They provide great articles, education and data on current activity and trends.

Other sources are more random. I tend to view headlines about what the institutional investors are doing because, even though they are relatively new to the market, they seem to understand the asset class.

Finally, I listen to the market and watch the numbers. Do they continue to make sense? What are my hedge fund clients and other small investors saying and doing—buying, selling, holding, leveraging?

With all the information out there, it is possible to draw your own conclusions. Mine is that real estate is still the best place to invest.



DAVID KERN Vice President PRG Commercial Property Advisors

Vice President
PRG Commercial Property Advisors

The first two sources, local to my Louisville, Ky., market and essential to me, are Louisville Business First and Insider Louisville.

Both are comprehensive with their business content and, to their credit, recognize the inherent real estate component in everything—whether it be the potential impact on downtown office leasing of Aetna buying Louisville’s Humana, or more neighborhood-centric entrepreneurship at the restaurant/bar/retail level and its relationship to residential development.

I read both every morning and look for updates throughout the day.

The third essential information source for me is The New York Times. As a general newspaper, it can’t be beat.

That excellence extends to its coverage of real estate. From developments in lending to block-by-block redevelopment, The Times covers what’s happening now on a national and global scale.



CHRIS BOWES President Coastal Investment Network

Coastal Investment Network

As an organization, we have three steady methods or points of reference when sourcing information for our company and clients, relative to investing.

The first is the National Association of Realtors’ website, which provides detailed information on the industry as a whole, from industry news to financing options to statistics. The information tends to be broad in nature, but it keeps us informed as to what’s happening nationwide.

Second, because so much of our business model is related to new construction, we rely heavily on what information is provided by the National Association of Home Builders.

This has been a valuable resource tool for us and allows us to monitor all kinds of data relative to new homes. We track various patterns based on permits, starts, supply costs and market trends in the building industry, as well as the organization’s stock performance.

Finally, many of our clients seek investment opportunities along the southeastern coastline. It is imperative for us to stay informed not just nationally, but locally.



JERRY LUCKER Partner Mobile Homes Make Money

Mobile Homes Make Money

Owning a mobile home in a park is the housing of choice for millions of Americans. That niche is my specialty, and understanding it requires some targeted information-gathering.

Many times, a mobile home represents the only affordable alternative to renting. Mobile homes are considered personal property (bought and sold just like a car or motorcycle), not real estate. Savvy investors are learning this distinction offers unique opportunities for housing flips.

Lack of competition, low initial investment and unusually high profit margins on these quick and easy transactions are being realized by investors who take the time to understand this amazing niche.

Profit is determined, of course, by acquiring a unit reasonably and reselling at retail. Often a good spread is realized by buying and selling pretty much as is. Other times a little “TLC” can add significant value.

Retail values (comps) are found by daily reviews of the “sold” sections of real estate websites or reports from a title company.

Bargains to buy are found on bank repo lists, from bird dogs, on Craigslist, a myriad of other sources and—ironically, my highest profit project—right on the MLS!



VIOLETTA VARENKOVA Director Investor Income Properties

Investor Income Properties

Successful real estate investment has much more to do with local economics than with what may be happening nationally. Primary news channels may have you thinking the next Armageddon is fast approaching, but a closer look at your local market often tells a different story.

When monitoring our primary cash flow market of Cleveland, Ohio, we study three key factors: local employment, market rental rates and the percentage and ratio of distressed properties. Issues that affect the nation are invariably going to trickle down, but it is at this local level where an astute real estate investment company can react fast and successfully if it is run by local professionals.

Identifying value and rental potential as a result of being focused in very specific areas will pay dividends, but it takes discipline. I don’t necessarily believe the hype that many real estate journalists write, so I don’t rely on third-party stories to give me indications of movements in a market.

From my point of view, success really comes from being a professional at a local level or, for the distant investors, doing business with a professional organization that knows and has controls on its local market.


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