Thursday, April 20, 2017

Spruce School of Real Estate - A great experience!

I live in West Virginia and I love this state!  It's not the most technology centric place on the planet which can make life difficult at times.  It's particularly challenging to me since I know how much of a benefit technology can be to saving time.  When I decided to get into Real Estate I looked around for schools I could attend to meet the licensing requirements for a WV real estate license.  Since I live in Yellow Spring this meant that if I was going to attend a class, in a physical classroom, I was going to be driving a long distance.  My broker Mike Cooper recommended I look into Spruce School of Real Estate and I couldn't be happier with the outcome.  Yes, here in WV, there are options to take your Real Estate licensing class online!  Spruce School of Real Estate offers an online class that meets all of the West Virginia Real Estate Commissions licensing requirements.  Even better, they actually teach you what you really need to know to pass the licensing exam.  This combined with the "go at your own pace" approach the online class offers, made it an ideal choice for me.  In short, I signed up for the class in late April of 2016, took the class online over May, June, and July, and then sat for the licensing exam on August 5th of 2016.   I passed the exam on the first try but I can honestly say that without using the Spruce School of Real Estate and following their instructions to prepare for the exam I likely would not have passed the first time.   If you're looking for a good online coarse to help you prepare for your WV real estate license exam while meeting your licensing requirements then look no further than Spruce.

Spruce School Blog (the online course instructor posts here often)
Another students experience  (I'm not the only positive experience, by far)

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Do it yourself landlord resources

I'm just getting started as a real estate professional.  This past year I obtained my licenses to sell real estate in Virginia and West Virginia.  I have always had an interest in real estate as an investment. Before becoming licensed as a real estate agent I became a landlord managing my own property.  It has been a learning experience to say the least about the situation.  In the course of  this "learning experience" I located some very useful resources that I want to share.  If you have the need or interest to become a landlord and manage your own property you might find these resources very useful.

The most important thing to know about being a landlord and managing your own property is that you don't have to be completely alone in the "adventure".  There are many licensed real estate professionals that can help you be successful.  Before getting my real estate license I used Cornerstone Business Group, Inc. and Mike Cooper to list my property for rent.  On top of being a successful real estate investor and broker, Mike is also a property manager.  His expertise was helpful in making the decision to manage my own property.  Mike found and qualified a renter for my property and although Mike could have also helped by managing the property, I stepped up to do that part myself.  Although I highly recommend using a licensed real estate agent to list your rental property, you can also do that part yourself.  Just be prepared for scheduling and showing your property and become familiar with your rights and the rights of tenants under the law.  Here are some resources that can help you with listing and screening your tenants:
After you've located a tenant for your property you're going to need a good lease.  I believe this is likely the most important tool you have as a landlord.  A good lease answers questions for the tenant before they even ask and protects you as the landlord should you ever have to go to court.  There are some federal laws that govern the landlord tenant relationship and each state also has its own laws. Let me say this upfront, "I'm not an attorney.  My advice should not be construed as legal advice."  (my disclaimer)  You should seek the help of a competent attorney to draft your lease.  However, in my experience you'll likely need to be heavily involved with that process or even draft the original lease yourself before reviewing it with your attorney.  In coming up with the lease for my property I started with several boiler plate leases for the state of West Virginia.  Then using some advice from other property managers I crafted a lease that meets my needs.  Here's some resources you can use:
I hope this post has been useful for those of you considering becoming a landlord.  You can contact me if you have an questions or need help with your rental property.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Back in the area and starting a new career

I've been a professional software developer since 1985 and early in my career I decided to relocated to northern Illinois near Chicago.  The time I spent in the midwest made me realize how much I missed the east coast and northern Virginia.  Since I'm now a free lance software developer working from home. There's never been a better time to make a big change so decided I should move back "home" near family and old friends.

I have recently relocated to the eastern pan handle of West Virginia after spending twenty years in northern Illinois.  I grew up in Virginia and spent my high school years in Frederick County where I graduated from James Wood High School.  Moving back to the area and seeing how much it has changed has been eye opening.  I spent a year looking around Frederick County VA, Clarke County VA, Berkeley Count WV, and Hampshire County WV to find our forever home.  That experience has reacquainted me with the place I use to call home and I decided to start a second career in real estate to begin helping others to find their dream homes.  I'm now licensed to sell real estate in VA and WV.  If you're looking for your dream home let me help you discover it.

Spruce School of Real Estate - A great experience!

I live in West Virginia and I love this state!  It's not the most technology centric place on the planet which can make life difficult a...