The Changing Face of Real Estate Communications

May 3, 2018

Real Estate

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Some of the important features of communications in the Real Estate industry are enumerated below:

Communication of Trust: Buying or renting a property is one of the more significant decisions in our life. And therefore, it also becomes a crucial one. No one makes a decision on this aspect without being able to trust the other party or the offerings available. Therefore in the real estate space, sellers & agents ought to be able to communicate trust to their consumers. Inability to communicate trust or breach of trust in the middle of a transaction can lead to serious implications for both the buyer and the seller.

Communication of Availability: All consumers would like to have an assurance that the seller is available post-sale for any contingency. Often, in case of real estate agents, they are working on multiple leads and might find it difficult to tend to each one of them at the same time. Going incommunicado only heightens consumer anxiety while the agent might be genuinely tied up. Communication technology now allows for remote handling of calls, or auto call forward options which can keep your consumer at peace.

Communication of Transparency: A real estate agent is often misconstrued to be only interested in his own commission even at the cost of endangering a consumer’s interest. However, often it is overlooked that the agent himself might be in the dark on certain issues. Documents and land records are easily fabricated in the physical realm, with the agent completely being unware. Therefore, the emergence of digital records and ownership records means that all the stakeholders involved can swear by improved transparency.

Communication of Consumer Interest: The consumers today are far more knowledgeable, informed and keen-eyed than those from yesteryears. There is a greater availability of information and improved means to cross-verify everything spelt out by agents and sellers. Thus, it is increasingly important for real estate players to embrace the virtue of consumer interest. If an agent or agency fails to communicate the fact that they remain squarely committed to the interest of the consumer, they are unlikely to build any form of viable consumer connect.

In the real estate space relationships count for much – both the real-world and virtual. The relationship forms the basis for trust consumers place in agents. And the fundamental building block of these relationships is to be able to communicate with the consumers. Communications is not limited to spelling out the property details. It is about impressing upon the consumer that the real estate business is trustworthy, available, and transparent and has consumer interests on top of their mind at all times.

Apartment or House?

May 3, 2018

Real Estate

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Apartment is defined as, a set of rooms which have all the facilities like a house. The major types of apartment are studio apartment, bedroom apartment, duplex, lofts, garden apartment. If I was asked where I would I prefer to live in a traditional house or in a modern apartment building, I think, I would hesitate to answer. This question, from my point of view, is a controversial one. In the following paragraphs I will analyze both these options and present my view.

It’s everyone’s dream to have a comfortable place to live. As the majority of people say, I want to get an attractive house someday, but unluckily it is not so easy to get because it is very costly. But there are several differences between owning a house and renting an apartment. The first difference is the noise. If you are renting an apartment and you are a noisy person, it is very painful for the rest of the people who live with you. For example if you are always playing melodic instruments, listening to loud music and cleaning the house with noisy machines you are really troubling the other people and I’m sure that you wouldn’t want to be in their place. But also, in a lot of cases the noise depends on if the owner permits it or not. In contrast, owning a house is more comfortable if you are a noisy person because you are the owner and responsible for all the things of your house and you don’t have to care of disturbing someone. For example, if you are the owner of the house you are free to even have a noisy party or whatever you want because it is your house. The second and most important difference for me is about the policy. When you live in an apartment, you have to comply with the owner’s policy. For example, you have to ask for him or her if you are free to have visitors, pets, parties, etc. On the other hand, when you rent an apartment, you are not as free as you are when you are the owner of a house to do whatever you want. In contrast, owning a house permits you to be free without caring that someone is dissatisfied with your ideas and decisions about your house. In this case you can paint your house, buy a big tape recorder or do all the things that you want. In conclusion, I prefer owning a house that is better than renting an apartment because I can be free to do whatever I want, without policy and it gives me more sovereignty and relieve.

From the one side, living in a modern apartment building brings many paybacks. First of all, it is cheaper than living in a traditional house and paying different kinds of fees I am not familiar with. For instance, my buddy, who recently bought a new house for his family, told me that it is much easier to live in an apartment and I tend to believe him when I see his bills. So, living in an apartment will definitely help me to save some money. Second of all, since I live alone, I do not need a big house with many rooms. I just need a bedroom and a living room where I can take my guests and have my work place. Another important benefit of living in an apartment is that I will not have to buy much weighty furniture in order to furnish all rooms.

Time to Get Out of Real Estate

May 3, 2018

Real Estate

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Talk about exquisite timing.

Even today, a decade after the fact, the leveraged buyout of Equity Office Properties Trust remains one of the largest of all time: $36 billion for nearly 600 office buildings in New York, Washington D.C. and dozens of the nation’s largest cities.

But in late 2006, some wondered if the billionaire who sold the REIT was being a little rash. After all, the real estate boom was in full swing, and the S&P 500 was primed to hit new all-time highs. “Is he cashing out too early?” asked a Bloomberg headline when the deal was announced.

We all know the answer, of course.

Billionaire Sam Zell deftly sidestepped the coming real estate carnage. Then, with prices at generational lows a few years later, Zell bought hundreds of apartment complexes at dirt-cheap prices.

And today? Well, that’s the ominous part…

Once again, Zell is selling his real estate holdings. Last fall, he unloaded a quarter of his portfolio, buildings totaling about 23,000 rental apartments, to Starwood Capital Group for more than $5 billion.

Zell next sold off apartment buildings in South Florida and Denver, with complexes in Phoenix, Boston and other metro areas expected to be sold before the year is out.

“No one has ever accused me of not being a realist,” Zell told CNBC’s talking heads recently.

Reality Bites

Few things are more real than the threat of rising interest rates. Concerned about the Fed’s late-to-the-party threats and distorted capital markets drunk on years of zero-interest-rate policy, Zell is getting out while the getting is still good.

In the past few months, new-home sales hit their highest level in eight years. Pending home sales rose by the largest percentage gain in a decade.

Even home flipping is back in vogue again. RealtyTrac, measuring 2015 data, estimated a 75% increase in active home flippers – the highest since 2007.

Nationally, the average gross profit on a flipped home was $55,000 – the largest since 2006.

But for the realists like Zell, the widening cracks in the facade are plain to see.

For instance, apartment rent is starting to come down in New York and San Francisco – two of the hottest markets in the country. There is simply too much supply and not enough demand.

A few weeks ago, the head of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston warned about overheated speculation in the commercial real estate market. “We care about potentially inflated commercial real estate prices,” said the bank’s president, Eric Rosengren, “because they might risk a bout of financial instability.”

Translated from “Fedspeak,” Rosengren was saying: Get out now.

Even those ultra ultraluxury homes in the $100 million and up range aren’t selling. It’s a rarefied market, for sure, but The New York Times recently noted that a record 27 properties, each with a nine-figure price tag, are languishing unsold on the market. According to figures kept by Christie’s International Real Estate, 19 such homes were on the market in 2015 and 12 in 2014.

Late last year, I wrote about one of those massive palazzos here in Florida – the beachside $159 million, 60,000 square foot Le Palais Royal. It’s still for sale.

Perhaps the extra gold leaf they painted on the front security gate will help.

Beware the Peak

I can’t see Sam Zell taking up residence in Le Palais Royal. But then again, he sold his office properties in 2006, and watched the market crack wide open a year later. Now he’s unloading his real estate portfolio again, so, who knows?

Build a Career in Real Estate With the Certificate of Registration

May 3, 2018

Real Estate

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Are you planning to become a realtor? Do you need any assistance which will give you a kick-start in this field? Read on to know more about building your own career in real estate.

As we all know real estate is one of the flourishing fields in recent years and we also hear success stories every now and then. Owing to such importance in the market, real estate has also become one of the most sought after business segments for many. Especially for young stars who dream to become an entrepreneur, this is the field that gives handsome number of opportunities to grow and diversify. However, there are many who wish to pursue a career in this field but do not dare to take it because of multiple legal and ethical requirements linked to it. This makes it difficult for a starter to understand all these issues alone without any proper guidance. It is here the real estate certificate of registration comes to help.

Getting into this process makes you an authorized realtor with all necessary competencies that you require to shine in the field of real estate. This certificate of registration would pave a smooth path to you and your career by eliminating or guiding you through certain complex issues in the business. Being offered by many institutions in both online and offline modes, it’s very easy for the new incumbents like you to take up a course as and when you want. The course work is offered by numerous institutions across many parts of the world. You just got to get in touch with a reliable consultant and get details and enroll for one which flourishes your career as a realtor. Any person who is an adult can enroll for this course and can earn his certificate of registration. However, to earn this, you need to complete all courses as per course work.

Once you finish the entire course work, you will be issued with your Certificate. No provisional certificates will be issued in the interim period. Various institutes offer the courses in different modes; few take online regular classes while the others supplement the regular classes with once in a while sessions coupled with printed materials. You can take any type of session which is comfortable for you and get aligned with your time. Irrespective of the mode you choose, the session’s end by taking the examinations after classes to get your certificate. The period of the course is also minimal and is very easy. If you have minimum idea on the ethical grounds, you just got to learn legal compliance in a couple of days or in a week and you can comfortably give your examinations. Once done with the examinations you have to wait for your certificate which will be issued as per the discretion of your institution.

6 Real Estate Blogging Tools and Gadgets Worth Considering

May 3, 2018

Real Estate

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If you are someone venturing and trying luck in real estate, you should consider having a blog that speaks up about your interest in the field. Blogging is one of the greatest marketing strategies that are being taken up by various organizations irrespective of their size and niche. Whether it is a company dealing in medicines or some individual fashion designer, blogs can help get online attention and lots of visitors to one’s website which in turn provide many new customers.

Here are 6 Real Estate Blogging Tools and Gadgets Worth Considering:

1. Calmly: This is a professional text editor available online. Calmly encourages distraction free writing. Using this tool one can write, add images, and more. It gives an idea of how one’s blog will look like with all the information and pictures.

2. Hemingway App: Your blog should be readable. It should be written in easy to understand language as it will be visited by people across the globe. So, readability is one crucial thing that should be considered while writing a blog. Hemingway App is one tool that can help analyze your blog for readability. The tool highlights the text that might be difficult to read and even suggest solutions improve the readability of the blog.

3. Irfan View: This is an amazing image editor. If you are planning to start a real-estate blog, you might need to upload a number of images to showcase properties, buildings, and localities. Such images are quite heavy in size and may take hours to upload. Using Irfan View one can edit images to reduce the size of the image.

4. Co Schedule’s Headline Analyzer: Headlines are the first thing that catches the attention of online visitors. If your blog doesn’t have an attractive headline, the chances of it being left aloof or ignored are more. The Co Schedule’s Headline Analyzer helps one analyze the headline and it suggests changes that may make it more interesting to read.

5. Piktochart: This is an info-graphic app. It is easier to inform someone through infographics as it saves one time from reading the entire post. Online visitors hardly spend more than 5 minutes on a web page. The Piktochart can come handy in conveying the message within a fraction of seconds. This tool although takes some time to create info-graphics, it is worth considering for your real estate blog. Using the tool, you can create graphics conveying information about the place such as the society, schools and shopping complexes near the property.

6. Canva: A blog with amazing graphics can help your blog stand out among the competitors. Canva is one blogging tool that allows its users to convey their message through graphics. It is an easy to use the tool and does not require any technical qualification to use it. The graphics designed by Canva can be shared on social media as well.

The internet has made our world appear so small that we can do almost anything while sitting in front of the PC/laptop screen. This technology has proved quite beneficial specifically for the real estate industry. The internet has helped us create a virtual world of our own where we can imagine ourselves in a home that we always dreamed of living.

Three Ways to Increase Property Values

May 3, 2018

Real Estate

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Real estate investors live and die by their ability to add value. With no added value, there are no profits. This is true with any business, but what makes real estate such a great business and a great investment, is the number of ways you can add value and cash in on big profits. Here are three ways you can add value to your properties.

Upgrades and Repairs: OK, this is the obvious one and is the reason fix and flippers can make money. Some repairs add a lot more value than it costs to do. The more creative you are with the improvements, the more value you can add. For example, I have a client that adds square footage to every house he buys. He really likes the inner city properties because they are the hardest to add square footage. You either need to finish an unfinished basement, or add a second story. There is not typically enough land on the lot to add an addition by increasing the foot print of the property. This client does a lot of basement finishes and “pop tops,” but where he has made the most money is the basement that is only 5 or 6 feet deep. He will go in and dig out the basement to a full 8 or 9 foot height and then finish it. Something most investors would not think of, so he is able to get the deal most other investors pass on. I have also seen some investors find houses that don’t really fit into a neighborhood and they make them fit. This could be limited bedrooms or bathrooms or funky floor plans. All of that can be changed. Obviously many cosmetic fixes like kitchens and bathrooms add a lot of value too. There is a lot more to it than this, but the idea is to buy a property at its true ‘as is’ value, (don’t over pay), and then add value with the repairs and upgrades.

Owner Finance: I love this one because it is so easy to add value with very little to no work. You will need to wait to cash in on your profits, but it is a way to increase a sell price significantly. You can also use this strategy to defer tax gains over a few years, instead of taking a big hit all in one year. When you have a property for sale there are a limited number of buyers for the house, although right now that pool of buyers seems pretty big. If you can increase the pool of buyers, the demand for that one house increases, which forces the price to go up. Someone that cannot qualify for an ordinary loan, limiting the supply of houses to choose from for that buyer, will likely buy your property. That also increases the price. You are adding value by giving them the chance to own a home that they normally would not be able to own. For this value, you should be compensated with a higher price and a decent interest rate on the profits, while you wait for the buyer to refinance and pay you off in full.

Shared Units: This is one area of real estate that I have not dabbled in, but it is extremely inviting. The idea here is to sell your property to multiple buyers. You are seeing this a lot in resort towns. It is always a vacation or second home. Have you ever been to a time share presentation? They are pretty enticing aren’t they? About 13 years ago my ex wife and I were in Florida and got sucked into a time share sales pitch. We decided to go because they offered us free tickets to Disney. We sat there for about an hour and a half and then the hard sale came. They were very good at selling the “idea” of the time share and had my ex wife sold. She asked me to move forward with the deal, but I could not bring myself to do it. I told her that I was not comfortable with an emotional purchase and that we needed time to think it through. “Can I please have our Disney tickets?” was my response. As we rode back to the hotel that afternoon, I started thinking about the math. Each unit can be sold to 52 different people because your purchase only gets you 1 week a year. Add that to the annual maintenance fees and the numbers are staggering. I know people who have flipped time shares successfully, because you can get them for free or near free on Craigslist, but it is not an investment I was interested in. With that said, I have considered doing a half or quarter share on a house in a ski town in Colorado. In this scenario, you are sharing a house with 1 to 3 other people so there is a ton more flexibility. You can use or rent out your weeks and you can be guaranteed valuable high demand weeks every year. It is a way to get a second home without the full expense. From the seller’s point of view, it is a way to get more for the house. ½ a share of a house is going to cost the buyer more than ½ of the fair market value. I have seen business plans from investors that would buy a house and quarter share it out. The idea was that after they improved the property and sold ¾ of the house to 3 different buyers, they would own the last ¼ free and clear. Obviously this strategy will work best in areas where people want second homes. The downside is if there are any improvements or major issues. I can see there being disagreements, so this is something you would want, as a buyer, to work out with all the other owners in writing before you buy.

4 Ways To Wholesale Real Estate

May 3, 2018

Real Estate

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Want to invest in real estate with no financial risk and no money or credit? Wholesaling houses is a popular choice. I personally think wholesaling can be a challenging way to get started, but the fact that you can get started in real estate investing without any barrier of entry makes wholesaling an attractive option. If you can get good at this side of the business, you will be success with anything you want to do. The reason I say that is finding deals is what makes a wholesaler successful. If you can get good at finding deals, you have unlimited potential.

Once you find a deal, you need to understand how to sell it to make your profit. Here are four ways you can structure your wholesale properties.

Contract Assignment: This is the easiest, but comes with some risks if not done correctly. It is also somewhat restrictive as bank owned properties will prevent this. This works well when you negotiate your deals directly with the seller. The way this works is you will get a house under contract and then you will assign your rights in the contract to another buyer for a fee. That new buyer will take on the rights and responsibilities in the contract and will close in your place. It is best to get your fee paid up front, but it is very common to get your fee when your buyer buys the house. Here are a few things to keep in mind when assigning contracts.

Be sure that you always disclose to your seller that you are or may assign the agreement to another buyer for a fee. I suggest you actually put this in the contract. Sellers should be OK with this if you are transparent that you are an investor who buys houses for a profit before you start to negotiate.

I would get money from your money that is at least enough to cover any earnest money you put up with your seller. That way if your buyer defaults on the agreement you at least cover your costs. Always try to get the entire fee paid when you assign the contract.

I like this way the best because it is easy to do on your end, it is easy for the buyer and the buyer’s lender, and it is the cheapest way to go.

Double Close: This just means that you actually buy the house and then resell it. There are several ways to do this, but the most common is to buy and sell in the same day or within a day. Typically, you will need to bring in financing to get your closing done with the seller, which is why this is my least preferred method to wholesale. Also, because you have two closings you will have two sets of closing costs, so it is the most expensive way too. With that said, some wholesalers prefer this method because they do not have to disclose to the seller their intent to resell and they can both keep their deal with the seller and their deal with their buyer private. It is believed by some that this is a good way to protect your profits. The information will all become public record at some point, but that is well after the closing.

This is the method you will use by default if you do not do your contract on the front end correctly, so we do see double closing frequently.

Flip the Entity: This has become the most common way to wholesale in my market. Most, if not all, the successful wholesalers will use this strategy. Especially when wholesaling foreclosures where contract assignments are forbidden.

The way this works is the wholesaler will set up a separate entity, like an LLC or a Trust, and put that entity as the buyer of the house to be wholesaled. They will then sell the entity itself for a fee. The benefit with using this strategy is that actual contract on the house does not change. Since the buyer of the house is the entity, there are no issues with any regulation or assignment restrictions. The downside is it could be more work because of the extra step to set up the entity, and there could be additional fees to register the entity with the state. The risk for the buyer is whenever you buy a company you are buying all of it. So, if the entity was used in another transaction and owes money to anyone, the new buyer could be on the hook. Knowing this, the best way to do this transaction is with a brand-new entity used for this one purpose.

Relationship Close: I don’t know if there is an actual name for this method. In fact, it is rarely seen. What I mean by relationship close is that you have such a strong relationship with a buyer that you write offers in the buyer’s name. For this to work, you should be a licensed agent and preview houses for your buyer. You would need to understand their criteria and only offer on houses they will want to buy. I have a client that works this way. He has an agent write his offers and the agent/wholesaler gets paid a commission with each successful closing. They do 2 to 3 deals a month with this strategy. My client just signs contracts without looking at them at this point and trusts what the wholesaler is putting together solid offers. There is always an inspection clause protecting the buyer and the agent, but more than 9 out of 10 houses that go under contract close. That is because the agent/wholesaler knows the business and knows what this buyer will buy.