- Real estate investor Ryan Chaw earns $ 6,000 a month from his rental property.
- He uses the acronym ALLIES to manage his side actions so that he can work full time as a pharmacist.
- It stands for: Agent, Lender, Licensed Contractor, Residents, Tax Specialist and Supervisor.
Although Ryan Chaw spends most of his professional time as a pharmacist, he earns most of his money through his pursuit: real estate investing. “I spend about an hour a week on real estate,” Chaw said, adding that this number could vary depending on the month.
He first became interested in investing in real estate as a way to build wealth, while still maintaining his full-time career as a health worker. He bought his first property in 2016 and now owns six properties (and is actively looking for two more) across California that currently earn about $ 6,000 a month.
Still, Chaw likes to be a pharmacist and plans to keep his day job for now. For him, the key to managing both responsibilities is to keep property as passive as possible. Here he shares exactly how he does it.
The acronym he uses to minimize the hours he spends on real estate: ALLIES
According to Chaw, the secret of passive real estate investing has less to do with the property itself, and more to do with the people involved in the operation. “When you start in real estate, you want to build a team around yourself and rely on their expertise to help you build your business,” he said.
According to Chaw’s experience, this core team can be summed up with the acronym ALLIES. “It’s pretty simple,” Chaw said, but it works.
‘A’ stands for Agent
“You don’t just want an agent,” Chaw explained. “You want an agent who has worked with other real estate investors.” This means that when he is looking for new properties to acquire, the agent is better equipped to help him find exactly what he needs in less time. “They will know what you are looking for and how to run the numbers.”
As an investor, the things Chaw is looking for in a home differ from what an individual or family might want for a property they buy to live full time. Details such as granite countertops or crown molding can be important for a family or couple, for example, but it will not add much value to a rental property. Chaw, on the other hand, often seeks out square footage to add additional bedrooms, proximity to a school campus and the amount of cash flow he can expect.
“Having a real estate agent who really gets what you’re looking for as a real estate investor is so helpful,” he said. “If they’re an investor themselves, it’s even better.”
‘L’ stands for Lender
Finding the right lender can make a big difference in the amount of cash flow a property can generate each month or year, so it is important to exercise due diligence. “Usually I will talk to at least three different lenders to see what kind of terms they can get for me,” Chaw explained.
Then he will use quotes from other lenders to negotiate the best possible rate. “I would say, ‘I have a lender who gave me this type of loan, and it’s much better than the loan you offered me, can you beat it?'” He said. This type of advance work means that he gets the most out of the properties once it is in his name, which increases the cash flow and makes him focus on other things.
‘L’ stands for licensed contractor
As the owner of all the properties, Chaw is responsible for any repairs or updates that any of his homes may require. Knowing the right people to call – and having the confidence that they are capable of dealing with any problems – makes it easier for Chaw to stay focused on his personal life and professional commitments as a pharmacist, even when something walking wrong at one of his properties.
“I usually recommend having two types of contractors,” he said. The first can act more like a handyman. “Maybe the toilet broke, for example, and I would let them in and repair it,” he said. The second contractor should be able to handle major renovations, things like roofing or adding additional walls and rooms. “The guy who put up walls on my very first house is the same guy who put up walls on my other houses,” he said. After establishing a good working relationship with these contractors, Chaw said he does not have to oversee projects and spend time researching people.
‘I’ stands for residents
“Your tenants are part of your team,” Chaw said. He begins by fully researching potential tenants to make sure they will have respect for the home and pay rent on time. Chaw mostly rents out his properties to college students and said, “I usually look for students who show professionalism.”
While it is important to ensure that tenants will be responsible and respectful of the property, Chaw has also set up systems that allow its residents to solve certain problems for themselves. For example, if the internet breaks down, the tenants know exactly what number to call, what name to give, what the account number is and any other relevant information. “It basically makes them detect problems with the agent on the line versus calling me and I have to be the middleman,” Chaw said.
‘E’ stands for tax expert
“I think it is very important, especially if you have two or more properties, to get a tax accountant as soon as possible,” Chaw said. This not only means you spend less time in the tax season filing and sorting out paperwork, but it also means that the expert can help him find all expenses that are tax deductible. “Tax law is very complicated,” he said. “Rather than trying to learn it all myself, I want to go to someone who has studied it all their lives.”
‘S’ stands for supervisor
According to Chaw, the last piece of the puzzle is the property supervisor. “It could mean either self-management or the appointment of a property manager,” he said. Either way, there needs to be someone who can oversee the day-to-day operations.
While a property manager would make the operation even more hands-down, Chaw prefers to do this work himself. He likes to market the properties and talk to potential tenants, so for now it is a responsibility he likes to take on. “It would definitely be harder to do if I did not have these other systems in place,” he added.