Category: Our Group

How to Evaluate A Real Estate Investment Deal in Cape Coral, Florida

This blog was forwarded to me by one of my Wholesale Property Investors, Brandon Mitchell from his Investor Carrot web site.  Timeless information for anyone interested in Investing in Real Estate.  Thanks Brandon:

We talk with lots of people looking to buy real estate investment properties in Cape Coral and surrounding areas. Some of them know what they’re doing… and some of them are still in the learning process.

But, since our entire business is finding great deals… and often passing those deals onto real estate investors like you at huge discounts… I thought it would be a great idea to share with you some resources on how to effectively evaluate a real estate investment deal. This works in any market… Cape Coral, surrounding areas, florida, any other states across the country.

When you really boil it down… evaluating a real estate deal is a pretty simple process. If you’re looking to buy real estate as an investment, wholesale properties, hold them for rent… whatever, one of the most important parts is buying it right (i.e. – not overpaying).

So lets dive in.

How To Evaluate A Real Estate Deal – (for single family houses)

There are just a few main elements when you’re evaluating a deal.

  • Cost of repairs needed to get it back up to good condition
  • The after repair market value of the property (what it’s worth and can sell for today once it’s fixed up)
  • If you’re going to buy and hold for a rental… you need to know what you can rent it out for and what your “debt service” (mortgage payment) will be. Knowing this makes sure you’re buying so the property cash-flows each month

There are other things you can (and should) look at too… but those 3 are the main important things to look at first.

Cost of Repairs

One of the things you should do when you are looking at a property is find out how much it’ll cost you to fix it up to a point where it’s in great shape. In other words, the cost of repairs. This could be a new roof if it needs it, carpet, paint, a new kitchen, yard, maybe even more.

To find a good estimate of cost of repairs, the best advice we have is to get to know a contractor or two in your area and have them walk through the properties with you the first few times… have them quote out the repair cost… and build that into your offer.

After Repair Market Value

This is simple, but many investors get stuck on this part. This is essentially what you could sell the property for today… after you repaired it and brought it up to a great condition. This is found by finding out what other similar houses in the same area are actually selling for. NOTE: Don’t look at the “Listing” price… look at what houses similar to yours have actually sold for in the past 3 months. This helps you determine how much you could actually sell that house for if you had to… right now. You never want to over pay to a point where you can’t sell it for a profit in the next 3 months.

How do you find this? There are services out there that can help you with this… but often times the best way to find out the true value of a house is to talk to a Realtor that you know… or an appraiser. Heck, if you don’t know one… call up a few today… tell them you have a property that you’re potentially going to sell in the near future… and ask them what they think it should sell for.

Buy And Hold For Rental 

So, you’re going to buy and hold for rental? Great! You don’t need to worry about what it’ll sell for right away. What you need to know is if it’ll pencil out on a month to month basis. You know… cash flow.

So, talk to a mortgage broker (or a private lender) and find out what the monthly mortgage payment will be for that specific property.

Then find out what you can rent the place out for on a monthly basis.

Then, you work backwards… and find out at what purchase price your mortgage payment will be low enough so you can make the monthly cash flow you need to make on the property. Be sure to figure in other expenses too like property taxes, maintenance expenses, property management fees, and keeping money in reserves for future repairs.

So, your offer price here should be:

Monthly Mortgage – Monthly Rents – Operating Expenses – Taxes & Insurance – Monthly Cash Flow = Offer

Simple enough right?

The cool thing is, the more you’re bringing into the deal in cash… the lower your mortgage is.

Making An Offer

We’ve been talking about how to look at the numbers and analyze a real estate deal.

From there, just make an offer. Many times the properties we let you know about will already be so deeply discounted that we get multiple offers… often above our asking price.

So, if you really want a property… find out what is the bare max you could buy the property at… and offer that. Otherwise you may lose the deal because someone else is likely making an offer too.

With that said, the golden rule in real estate is to never over pay for a property. That’s why our own deal analyzing criteria is so darn strict… and why our buyers (like you) get such great deals.

I hope this little tutorial has helped you sharpen up your real estate deal analyzing skills… and we really look forward to working with you in the near future.

If you have any questions at all… don’t hesitate to contact us anytime for anything.

Happy investing!

Crystal Snyder – Property Wholesaler

Crystal Snyder has only been buying and selling Real Estate for less than two years.  Prior to becoming an agent she received a certificate in Cosmetology, an Associates degree in Science and two degrees, one in Economics and the other in International Business.  She was working towards her Master’s Degree when she decided on a career in Real Estate.  When I met Crystal, she was a mother of 4 children but recently adopted a 5th child.

When she started in Real Estate, I suggested she find a niche rather than try to do everything.  Crystal took to working auctions and flipping contracts as if she had always been doing this.  She had immediate success, so much so that she discovered the “Secrets” of one of the major online Real Estate Auction sites.

She has privately mentored several new Investors.  One earned his first equity on a property after only 2 1/2 months after starting.  His share of the property was over $16,000.  Did I forget to mention he was only 18 years old with no Real Estate experience?

I will write about some of her most current closings in another blog.  Crystal’s company will be working directly with mine, Real Estate Services of SWFL to bring these properties to our Buyers’ lists.  She will also be teaching people how to duplicate her system.

Welcome back to Florida, Crystal.  Let’s help these new Investors get in one the Action!



Mario Franchini – Co-Owner, Residential Home Sales & Property Manager

Mario Franchini is a real estate professional/Broker and top producing agent in the SW Florida area.  In his words:

“I have lived in Cape Coral since 2004 and have called Cape Coral, Florida my home and the place to develop my passion for real estate which I started in 1998 in the Miami area.Mario Franchini

In my practice of over 16 years in Real Estate, I am well known for great customer service, communication and strong attention to the details which makes every transaction a pleasant experience for all parties whether you are buying, selling or renting. In the last 5 years, I have added Property Management with great success representing investors from different parts of the world like Japan, Israel, Canada and United Kingdom.

Since 1998 I helped nearly 300 families achieve the dream of home ownership in South Florida. I know what it takes to successfully close a transaction.

I’m not #1, YOU are!”

Mario Franchini
Broker Associate/Property Manager
Real Estate Services of SWFL
13180 N. Cleveland Ave # 207
N. Fort Myers, Fl. 33903
Cell: 239-810-1822

5th Year in a Row, Thanks!

Thanks to my Readers’ for your support!  This is the 5th year in a row I am on the Top 150 list posted from Duke Long.  (Click on picture)


Mike Cathell,
Broker/Owner, Investment Property Consultant
Real Estate Services of SWFL, LLC

Cell:  (239) 770-6250   Fax:  (239) 288-2505

Real Estate Services of SWFL welcomes new Agent – Molly Jennings

We are growing again to keep up with the business being generated.  This week Molly Jennings has joined the team and will be leading our Residential division.  Already she has become a valued member of the team finding Waterfront properties as well as Gated Community homes for our prospects and clients.  Here is a short bio in Molly’s own words:

“Originally from upstate NY, Owned & Operated a Marketing Company for many years. Relocated to SW Florida and have been P1-258f9involved in the real estate business for 12 yrs in the SW Florida Market.  Have managed brokerages, trained new agents, operated a vacation rental business, property management & annual rentals. Extremely knowledge in all aspects of residential sales, residential marketing, new construction-sales programs, Design/build- “on your lot”  building, Certified new home specialist, Investor programs, foreclosures, & land sales. Have been a Top Producer for many years.  Having a strong marketing background enables me to see the big picture & how to go about marketing a property for best exposure to the market.  I specialize in listings/sales of Luxury Waterfront Estates. All of my clients get my un-divided attention to their needs while hunting for their home all the way to closing.  If you are looking for an agent with integrity, knowledge & experience, that will work on your best behalf and treat you like your family then call me today.”

Molly Jennings

Cell:  (619) 592-6829


Should I put my Florida homestead in my living trust?

Hello Friends and Colleagues:

So I’m fighting off the Florida summer heat and the doldrums to continue to deliver great estate planning content to you offered like no other law firm.

One question that has often come into my practice, and has actually been the subject of some debate within the legal community, is whether a Florida Homestead should be titled into a revocable living trust?

This question arises due in large part to the unique homestead protection offered under the Florida Constitution. First, when we talk about homestead protection in this context we are not talking about the tax exemption status offered by the county of residence. Rather homestead protection in this context refers to the protection against creditor attachment or protection against liens and/or judgements filed against the homestead by a creditor of the homeowner.

Florida is unique in offering 100% homestead protection provided the real property meets the requirements of 1/2 acre within a municipality or not more than 160 acres outside of a municipality.

Where things got a bit dicey for awhile related to an inconsistency between the 4th Circuit which held that homestead protections were secure within a living trust and a Federal bankruptcy case which seemed to suggest the opposite. Consequently many practitioners were opting not to title homestead property into living trusts for many years. The inconsistency in the court decisions has since been remedied such that now it is clear that full homestead protection is afforded to homestead real property that is held within a revocable living trust.

As a side note…you need to be sure to understand the difference between a revocable and irrevocable trust because the homestead protection is not available for irrevocable trusts.

Another nugget…recent Florida legislation also allows a homestead to be afforded full protection if held in a Florida Land Trust…the topic of a future article.

The take away is that if your homestead is not in your revocable living trust you should have it looked at by your favorite Florida estate planning attorney, hint, hint…

Until next time friends.


Steven Gibbs, Managing Attorney

Gibbs Law Office, PLLC

8695 College Parkway, Suite 2012,

Fort Myers, FL  33919

Phone:  (239) 415-7495

Fax: (239) 243-9029


SW Florida Mobile Fusion – Shawn Jones, Application Designer

I try to stay on top of technology to grow my business.  Unfortunately, I do not want to take the time to learn but as you know I find specialists to add to my ever growing team.  Recently I met Shawn Jones through a business contact and we are working on my mobile apps.  Here is a message from Shawn about his background:

“For over 20 year I have been in management with B2B, B2C, Retail and the restaurant industry. I grew up overseas in Europe and learned the value of a well- rounded cultural and educational back ground, and how it has come to help me in various areas of my life. Educationally my BA studies have covered psychology, business, marketing and some pre -med courses.  After moving to FL from New England in 2004 I worked in the mortgage and real estate industry (both buying and selling as well as rehabbing) for about 4 years. I took time off for my second kidney transplant and while recovering started to study and learn (through online courses and books) all about the social mobile marketing industry and saw where it was headed and that everyone was going to need to know about it. I believe I have made the right connections and partnerships to be able to put together an awesome team that will help businesses of all types lead their industries into the future via the growing social mobile marketing industry.”

Shawn Jones

Cell:  (239) 297-5965

Web site: SWFL Mobile Fusion link


Can Your LLC Be Pierced By A Creditor?

Hello Friends and Colleagues!

So many business owners take steps to address housekeeping issues during the summer because there may finally be enough time to focus on “protection” verses “production” before things ramp up for the season and approaching Holidays.
Housekeeping would include making sure your business entity binder is being maintained and up to date.  Your business or investment LLC is in place to protect you and your business; however, often an LLC is vulnerable to be pierced by a creditor?
Understand that “piercing the veil” means to disregard the entity as a legitimate business entity and thereby a creditor could gain access to the owner’s personal assets…so this is very important.
A few common pitfalls where an LLC may become vulnerable to piercing the veil are:

1.  Failure to maintain adequate business records…

Do you keep an LLC Binder with relevant business records in it?  What are relevant business records you might ask?  Generally, you need your annual meeting minutes included in your LLC Binder.  Minutes from your annual should include a summary of business conducted at your annual meeting…this would reference any changes agreed upon by the board of managers throughout the year, major expenditures for assets or personal having been approved, business strategy analysis or changes, etc.  Other records may include resolutions of the managers concerning major decisions or records of the assignment of membership interests to new members…again the list could go on.  The important point is that there is a paper trail in place to support the legitimacy of the independent business entity (apart from the individual owner/s) because a creditor would seek to discredit the legitimacy of the entity if seeking to pierce the veil.

2.  Commingling of personal and business assets…

This issue often is the product of disorganization as much as one of malice…in other words this may not be intentional but owners often times pay personal expenses from the business checkbook or pull out cash for personal reasons.  Other concerns may be using business assets for personal reasons or otherwise treating the business entity as an “alter ego” of  the owner.  In seeking to pierce the veil, a creditor will content that the business entity was not legitimate because it was simply an “alter ego” of the owner/s.  They way to prevent this, in general, is of course to treat business and personal matters separately and document all personal debits from the business as distributions.

3.  Signing business documents in personal name…

How documents are signed, especially contracts, is extremely important and often overlooked.  Generally, business agreements should be signed under the Company Name (LLC name) as Manager.   If a business owner consistently signs personally, a creditor could utilize this fact to again argue that the LLC was simply an “alter ego” for the owner.

So friends, we’ve covered a few of the big pitfalls.  Just know that there are many areas of concern when maintaining your business entity and that competent legal advice is needed to address the specific circumstances of your business and assets.

I hope this was valuable…until next time:-)


Steven Gibbs, Managing Attorney


Gibbs Law Office, PLLC

8695 College Parkway, Suite 2012,

Fort Myers, FL  33919

Phone:  (239) 415-7495

Fax: (239) 243-9029



Jacob Mermin – Mermin Inspections

Jacob Mermin Inspections is one of the few inspection companies that can truly say, we are a Full Service Company. We are able to provide you with complete Real Estate inspections. They consist of Pre- List, Pre-Purchase, Insurance Purposes, Investment Properties, Light Commercial, and Residential. As an affiliate member of the Realtor Association of Greater Ft. Myers and The Beach, Inc., we understand the needs of local realtors.

Jacob Mermin is a graduate of the prestigious Penn-Foster Career School of Home Inspections. We follow all National Standards established by organizations such as NACHI, National Association of Certified Home Inspectors, NAHI, National Association of Home Inspectors, and ASHI, American Society of Home Inspectors.

Jacob Mermin has 19 years experience in the contracting industry within the Southwest Florida area. Jacob Mermin is a Certified Mold plateInspector, receiving his certification through Mold Inspection Consulting and Remediation Organization, better known as MICRO. Other Indoor Air Quality certifications include, American Institute of Respiratory Educators, AIRE. A membership in the Indoor Air Quality Association, and Indoor Air Quality USA.

With nearly 20 years experience in the H.V.A.C. industry, Jacob Mermin is E.P.A. Certified in Freon as a Type ll air conditioning technician. This makes him one of the few Home Inspectors or Mold Inspectors who can continue the search for air quality problems inside your Air Conditioning Equipment or Ductwork. Due to our association with Coolair Air Conditioning & Heating, a well known, state licensed company #CAC055519, we can fulfill all your Air conditioning needs; be it regular maintenance, to emergency service, to air quality issues, to complete Ductwork or Air Conditioning replacements.

Jacob Mermin Inspections can provide all types of Air Quality testing; tape lifts, swabs, carpet or wall cavity samples, and air-o-cell air pump testing. We actually do the testing ourselves, no need to call another company. Jacob Mermin Inspections follow strict chain of custody protocols, hand carrying your refrigerated samples to the lab.

Our inspection reports are easy to read and understand. They can be the checklist type or a narrative, or may be a combination of both. We can post your individual inspections on our web site that only you can access. With your personal password giving you secure information and time to make any intelligent decisions you may need to make. We can also hand carry your inspection to you, we do not like to mail anything. Our inspections can include digital pictures and even video. For example; we can post video of the inside of your ductwork provided by the Rotobrush I-2 Cam, one of the few in the area.

Selling or purchasing real estate; deciding air quality issues and determining HVAC requirements are big decisions- that’s why you call an inspector. When you call Jacob Mermin Inspections you experience the only true one stop shopping in all of South West Florida. Call one company to meet all your needs.

Remember, the first consultation is always free. Consultations can be performed over the phone or at the property. Call for an appointment.

Jacob Mermin Inspections
1242 SW Pine Island Road
Suite 42216
Cape Coral, FL 33991

Telephone: 239-243-7322

Web site:

My F******g Team – Real Estate Investment Strategies in SW Florida

Now that I have your attention, I want to tell you about my “Flipping” Team.  (What were you thinking?)  The largest fear Out-of-State Investors usually face is finding all the people needed to successfully buy, rehab, sell or lease properties in another state.  Real Estate Services of SWFL, LLC takes all the worry out of this process.

Who do you need to find the deals, rehab the property and find buyers or renters?  Our team has everyone in place to be your team.  Our experienced, licensed members include:

Our members have worked as a team for years offering efficient and professional customer service for our clients.  Every month we receive referral business from past clients.  This is the highest compliment any team can hope to receive.

The advantages of working with a team like ours is the combination of niche specialists all working towards a common goal for our client – a successful Real Estate Transaction.  Each member is highly training in their specific field.  We do not attempt to be a jack-of-all trades but rather professionals who are at the tops of their respected fields.  This group effort assists our clients to a  successful transaction with little heartache and hopefully lots of fun.

working together 2The Real Estate Market in SW Florida is one of the hottest investment markets in the United States.  Contact our team to provide you with worry free Real Estate Property Investments.  Don’t get left behind in this great time to be in Real Estate.

Check our our Team Members by clicking on their profession above.

Mike Cathell,

Broker/Owner, Investment Property Consultant
Real Estate Services of SWFL, LLC

Cell:  (239) 770-6250   Fax:  (239) 220-5508