Investment Radio to be launched!

There’s been something that Tauri from the Isepankur blog and I have been working on for the past few weeks and it’s time to share what we’ve been up to! We’re starting a podcast called Investment Radio!

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Why a podcast?

There are several reasons why a podcast is a great way of sharing information. Firstly you can share much more information than you would be able to in writing – we just talk that much faster. Another good side of podcasts is that it’s a much more casual format of discussing topics than written posts. Thirdly, there aren’t almost any radio shows or TV shows in Estonia that are focused on discussing investments. (Sorry to all foreign readers here, the podcast is going to be in Estonian!)

What will the podcast be about?

We are currently aiming to talk about topics that would help both people who are just getting started and investors who are at a similar level to us. When Tauri & I started investing, then good information was very difficult to come by and it was even more difficult to find any reliable information about actual people’s experiences. This is what we’re trying to solve – we want to talk about what’s happening on the market, what we’re doing with our own portfolios and what other investors are doing and thinking.

How will the podcast work?

Our current tentative plan is to have two different types of episodes. The longer episodes will talk about general investment related topics that are more timeless and the shorter episodes will discuss important news in the investment world (with a slightly bigger focus on crowdfunding and social lending). The episodes will be available to listen to online or to download.

Will you still write the blog?

Yes, of course! Neither of us are giving up our blogs. We will both still be writing about our own portfolios and general thoughts. The Investment Radio will just give us a chance to learn how to share our thoughts and information in a different format and add a breath of fresh air into the field of investing.

How can I find out more?

You can sign up to receive notifications about new episodes at the radio’s home page. You can also keep an eye on our Facebook page for updates. The first episode has already been recorded and we’re doing some behind the scenes work to get everything set up to release it! We’re both super excited to share our thoughts with all of your! Hear you later!

 

 

First look into Estateguru

Estateguru is one of the six crowdfunding/social lending platforms that are active on the Estonian market. It’s one of the two portals that focuses on real estate, and while Crowdestate helps investors make capital investments then Estateguru is focused on giving out loans that have real estate as collateral. (Meaning if a loan defaults then there’s something you can take away from the lender, unlike in social lending.)

estateguru-logo-live

Why not before?

Estateguru is currently on its 10th project (and it’s a 400 000€ project!), and has definitely gotten the project pipeline going. When I was picking an additional site to invest into, I ended up choosing Moneyzen before, because they were just around earlier, but currently since there’s not money really moving at Moneyzen, then it’s probably time to think a bit about switching out a part of my portfolio to Estateguru.

Upsides & downsides of Estateguru

For investors who are looking at reliability, I can see the definite appeal of investing into real estate loans. If something were to go badly, then it’s obvious why an investor would feel more confident if there’s collateral attached to the loan.

One of the downsides is probably a similar issue that Crowdestate has – it’s difficult to quickly diversify your portfolio, since the minimum sum here is 50€ (it’s 100€ at CrowdEstate). This means that while in social lending it’s easy to reach a goal of 100 contracts to diversify then you can’t really reasonably expect that when it comes to real estate crowdfunding.

Another key difference that a lot of people probably enjoy is the fact that while Crowdestate is more focused on capital growth investments, then Estateguru investments allow for cashflow, which means that you can get the ball of compound interest rolling quicker.

The interest rates of real estate loans are obviously far lower than in the consumer credit market (Estateguru averages 11,5%), but since in theory they have less risk, then the difference is probably justifiable for most investors.

Current plan

Since my original plan for 50€/month into MZ has turned out to not be viable, then I’m currently planning on investing the 50€/month into Estateguru instead. Depending on the way they get their project pipeline going that might end up being more if they have projects I truly enjoy. Since there is curerntly silence on the CrowdEstate front, then I’m intrigued to see what will happen once both sites have projects up at the same time – whether or not investors will have the resources to fill up the investments.

(If anyone feels like signing up, they have a referral program that earns a 0,5% cashback to you and your referrer. Feel free to use the code EGU05422)

I purchased my first piece of rental real estate

Even though, it’s not the first time I had to sign off on a real estate purchase, then it’s still scary enough to get started with rental real estate. However, this puts me more than half way to filling one of my goals for this year.

What did I buy?

I ended up buying a very typical starter apartment for a lot of real estate investors – a small 12 m2 apartment in a dorm style house in Põhja-Tallinn. I’ve been looking for a piece of rental real estate for quite a while now, and several that caught my eye sold very quickly, so I was unsurprised when this apartment was already booked.

However, I ended up being a part of those lucky few people who found a motivated seller – a person who had planned to start with rental real estate himself, but was moving due to switching jobs and the person who had wanted to purchase the apartment failed to pay the deposit, so the deal had failed and he was in a bit of a rush.

Why did I buy this specific apartment?

I’m going to be completely honest here, that my knowledge about real estate is not good enough to claim that my analysis was by any means perfect. The sale ended up being under market price, especially considering the state of the apartment – it had been freshly renovated. The house itself is old but ok outside, the hallways are ugly as sin though, so that can be problematic when it comes to actually renting it out. I’m taking this as a serious learning experience. The apartment itself looks like this:

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How did I finance the purchase?

Essentially I didn’t get too creative with the financing. About 60% of the purchase was my own financing, the money of the company that my husband and I own. The money has been gathered through years of living below our means, and aggressively gathering money for investments. The other 40% was financed with FFF money (in this case friends, who were willing to lend out money at a low %). Currently the loans are relatively short deadlined, but I’ve tried to do my best to balance out the risks.

What are the next steps?

Well, there’s actually quite a few small things that I’ve already done. Such as finalizing everything about the sale, getting extra keys, exchanging all kinds of contact information, looking for furniture etc.

Essentially what I have to do now, is finish with getting in furniture (hopefully done next week), and then find & edit a proper rental contract & then it’s time to start looking for someone to live there!

I’m currently hovering between mad excitement and small slivers of panic, let’s see how it goes!

 

My Bondora portfolio (2015, April)

I must say that I don’t remember the last time I started an update about my Bondora portfolio with a positive tone, but the day has come! Bondora has actually fixed some things that have made things better! I must say, I hope it’s a trend that they keep up.

The bug that my portfolio had with the data from April 1st disappearing was fixed before the end of the month, so I was happy about that. Another, much bigger fix was the pie chart that while always somewhat useless had become even more useless with the amount of loans that bounced back. This means that now you can actually look at the pie chart and get an accurate overview of how your portfolio is doing.

pieApril

I’m guessing some people may have freaked out a bit when looking at their new pie chart though, since the overdue and 60+ loans visually take up a much bigger part of the pie, but they were always there – just not all that well presented. Since I’m going to start reducing the amount of money I’m adding into Bondora, I predict a significant growth of 60+ overdue in relation to the rest of my portfolio.

Interest earned

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April was once again a record month, reaching 98,01€ in interest earned. I hoped that the 100€ checkpoint would be reached, but combining Bondora + Moneyzen returns, I’m over the 100€ marker. It’s definitely a monthly number that was difficult to imagine when starting, and now I’m pretty much guaranteed to not fall below it.

Loans given out

newloansaprilThe balance of loan groups remains quite similar as before. I had some more time to handpick loans, which explains why there is more D-HR group loans. There was a strange lack of C group loans this month, but that might’ve just been because a lot of them bounced back and didn’t go out.

Since I’m probably going to heavily reduce my investments into Bondora, then I’ll probably hand-pick less loans in the future and allow the portfolio to become more conservative.

 

MoneyZen portfolio, 8 months

When I previously described MoneyZen as positively boring, I might have to up- or downgrade the description to just boring. There is very little happening with the portfolio, little enough that I actually forget to check on it at all. Which I suppose in some way is great, because that’s the benchmark of truly passive investing.

Portfolio changes

moneyzen8months

I actually didn’t add any money to Moneyzen in March, because I think I didn’t manage to get a single loan to go out, and I refuse to lower my interest rates even more.  I added in 25€ in April, and even that hasn’t completely gone into loans.

So, there are some fundamental issues here with loan volume, which means that you can’t currently have Moneyzen as your main social lending investment site unless you’re willing to give up on proper diversification and lower your interest rates to somewhat uncomfortable levels.

Overall, at least there’s some movement. They started sending out newsletters this month as well, so things are happening, albeit very slowly.

Portfolio balance

moneyzen8monthsloans

They added a new group of 500-600, but since I don’t fundamentally know enough about their credit scoring model and I have few enough loans to struggle with proper levels of diversification, so I’m currently not planning to add those into the portfolio manager.

Overall, the loans are all paying nicely, and those who fall behind seem to catch up after a while. I currently have one loan that is steadily heading towards bankruptcy, so I’m interested to see how the recovery process works for them.

Also, since there is no way to see how much you earn from interest per month, since the functionality has now been added, then I don’t even really know how much I earned, which is problematic. There is no easy way to find this out either, so I’m hoping for more functional IT updates to be able to run better statistics of my portfolio.