People joke that real estate investing is like a drug, once you start you want more and more. Its somewhat true (and can be a good comparison, as you can ruin your life going crazy on drugs or real estate investing).
My original idea is that I’d follow my buddy’s example and try to get 1 property per year. Since I closed on my first property last December, I still have 7 more months, but I’ve definitely been keeping my eyes open.
I always worry about getting approved for mortgages / lines-of-credit because I’m not a salaried employee. The banks can be difficult if you don’t fit into their cookie-cutter process (basically my income was super low the last few years as I was at school then trying, and failing, to start a business). I’m earning good income now, but its contract work.
Finally I figured it’d make sense to check in with a mortgage broker (like people are always suggesting) and see if they’re better then the bureaucrats I’ve dealt with at the banks so far. Wow, what a difference!
Once I told her my stellar credit rating and that I had claimed business expense over the past few years, all the problems went away. I’ve been approved for pretty well any property I might want to buy (I’m not going to go nuts and get a mansion) from 5-20% down, with rates comparable to what regular people get. Nice!
It always amazes me when organizations throw money away because they’re unable to smooth out their own inefficiencies. Basically they’re paying mortgage brokers big bucks to help them accept clients that they would have rejected if approached directly. Too weird! I had the same experience trying to get insurance, ING Direct wouldn’t insure me, and then I got insurance through a broker, and it was (yup!) ING Direct!
If you’re at all unusual and have had trouble getting a reasonable deal from the banks, I’d definitely talk to a mortgage broker! Just make sure you’re getting a rate that’s a good discount compared to those posted at the big-banks (unless you have crappy credit or no down payment).