ects are in flight. Remember, you want to find areas where multiple teams are investing to reduce risk and maximize return. New investors should not look to be the lone wolf trying to improve an area by themselves. Instead, lever- age the power of groups and the volume of work being done by oth- ers. For example, if you visit an open house and then drive the neighbor- hood and see three other dumpsters and projects in various stages, you have found a market to research. The great magic of real estate investing is that individual focus and execution on a single house can spark effort and investments in oth- er properties. The ability for a single project to impact the surrounding area is a huge source of pride for many real estate investors. Many real estate investors tackling big projects live in those very neigh- borhoods, their kids go to school nearby, and they want the whole community to improve. The best and most successful real estate investors I know are always thinking about the bigger picture of the community and neighborhood. They might be myopically picking out colors for one house, but I know they are also looking down the street to find their next project to continue the evolution of the neighborhood. As a seasoned investor, I have purchased and fully rehabbed a known drug house that plagued the neighborhood for a decade. I have purchased and fully remodeled several squatter homes that had no water or electricity, but 20 people occupied it on any given night. Tackling huge projects like these are terribly stressful, require a ridic- ulous amount of positive thinking, and lots of money. I have had to hire 24-hour security for several weeks to stop break-ins and repeat damage

from squatters and drug addicts. However, when you fast forward two months and see the wonderful new house shake off its past and a new family move in, it is a great feeling. Then, come by two months later and see five other properties going through their own transfor- mation, it is rewarding knowing you’re a part of something greater. Real estate investors can change neighborhoods and lives by tackling projects that are very risky and ex- pensive. Think about this. I elimi- nated a known drug house from a neighborhood and that could have changed the lives of people on that street. Maybe now instead of trying drugs that one time and getting hooked, the kids will play ball in the street or play with their dogs and never try drugs. I think about that drug house a lot as I know the power that drugs can have on people and I have seen the neighborhood and the com- munity improve as that problem was removed from their immediate surroundings. The best part of this story is it is only one of thousands of examples that occur every day as real estate investors choose to tackle huge problems and improve neighborhoods and communities one property at a time. •

Keys to Better Communities

neighborhood as very few investors have the capital strength to tackle enough projects to move the needle by themselves. Hence, they often rely on the collective group and will stay focused on an area for years before moving to a new area. One way to identify neighborhoods primed for improvement is to simply drive down streets looking for large remodeling projects in progress. Start by going to your local MLS and look for new listings of fully remod- eled houses. Visit them during the open house, see the quality but then more importantly drive the neigh- borhood and see if any other proj-


by Michael Zuber

Michael Zuber worked in the Silicon Valley since graduating from Santa Clara University 20+ years ago. After wasting time and money in his 20s, he


umpsters in front of houses might be unsightly, but what

dollar invested will return more as the overall community evolves. This force of combined effort raises the standard for the neighborhood, which leads to higher comps and a higher price per square foot, better- ing the entire community as well as

benefitting investors. Seasoned investors know it is far better to invest in new projects where others are investing and having success. Real estate inves- tors generally do not want to be the only game in town improving the

began investing buy and hold rental properties and never looked back. Michael grew his rental property portfolio from a single rental house to financial freedom in 15 years. Now that he no longer has a day job, he shares his story via his self-published book and YouTube Channel, both called One Rental at a Time.

you are seeing is community develop- ment sparked by real estate investors. If real estate investors concen- trate their combined efforts in a specific area or community, every

38 | think realty magazine :: november / december 2019

thinkrealty . com | 39

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