Amsterdam

Hey Folks:

Just finished a 3 day visit to Amsterdam. I must say the people here are wonderful. Every where you are greeted with a smile. The playful moto here is, “If it ain’t Dutch, it ain’t MUCH!” HaHa…

Took a tour of the canals, learned why every house in the city has a hook hanging from the highest gable on the front the house. Curious? Turns out the houses are built narrow smallish and 3 to 4 stories high. Results in steep narrow stairs taking you from floor to floor. So to move any kind of large furniture (beds, sofas…) you need to use the hook (in front of the house) hang a pulley front it and hull the furniture up the outside of the house. Remove a window then swing the furniture in on the correct floor. Cool uh?

Toured a couple museums and here many of the works of art ( pictures) are not behind glass but right of you! I was within inches of works by paintings by masters like Rembrandt and Van Gogh. Took 3 hrs to truly tour both museums.

With regard to our interest in property, now is not the time to get into Apartment building in Amsterdam. The cap rates are in the 3%- 4%, the building are older and there appears to be a little chance of appreciation in in the near to mid-term future. One thing to note is there a general acceptance that the housing market has not hit bottom which is an advantage to the buyer.

On the other hand, if you believe in the long term property value and you have a percentage of your money to park in a safe haven then Holland might be a consideration. Couple of advantages to this country is a stable economy, stable government and respect for rule of law.

In any case, even you are not buying apartment buildings or houses here Holland is certainly worth a visit. 

By the way, watch out for the bicycles. They are every where and while considerate they are moving at a fair clip…

Where to Buy…

Imagine you are now ready to buy a Apartment Building, or a 4plex or single family house which you would like to rent out. On your way to letting your money work a little harder for you and a little closer to your financial Dreams!!! 

Well OK, but where are you going to look for this purchase. Just down the street, just in the next city, through out your state or province?

The advise you will normally hear is don’t own what you can not see. 

This good advise for anyone but particularly the smaller investor because it allows you to make mistakes, recognize them and fix them BEFORE they blow up. It also more likely you will know the demographics and values of your tenants because they are likely to be some what like yourself. You will also be able to ascertain what you should charge them in rent. Once again because you know this market.

If you are looking at bigger properties you maybe forced to consider neighboring cities or states to see enough of a deal flow to be able to pick something in the right price range, right cap rate ( which is the Net Operating Income [or Gross Revenue minus Operating Expense] divided by the price you paid for the building).

In this case, do you buy in a big city (less fluctuation in the economy)? or in rural areas (to get cheaper price)?

A good rule of thumb is to look at local economy…meaning what is the unemployment rate there, how does it compare to the national unemployment rate? Is the population growing or shrinking in that area? (obviously growing is better…HaHa) A simple google will show what the population was over the last three census. By the way, Google is also a good way to check crime rate in the area. Does not hurt to call the local police station and ask them what good spots or bad spots in the city or town. After all, unless you have some special friends, who wants unnecessary challenges? 

After all that then it’s time to become as familiar with that neighborhood as you are with the place down the street…who will your tenant/customer be? How much do they make? What do they expect in amenities? Do they bus? Drive? Ect… and now you are an expert in that one area! And so able to consider buying in that area. 

Congratulations you are one step closer! 

JFK Museum in Dallas

Just standing in the JFK Museum in Dallas over looking where he was shot from the “sniper’s nest”. What a moving experience! 

As you look at the pictures, video and mementos from that time, you are struck by the tragedy and what flowed from it, as others worked to bring his dreams into reality.

I guess all any of us can hope for is to leave a legacy that changes the world a little for the better. 