Friday, August 27, 2010
My insightful friend Kevin wrote this great article on the multi-family state of the market.. Let us know if we can assist you with some wealth management ideas.
Bad news regarding the residential homeowner creates investment opportunities for apartment buildings!
by Kevin J Rocio on Thursday, August 26, 2010 at 10:59am
With all of the bad news coming out right now about the U.S. economy many people are tempted to hide their head in the sand and pretend it isn't happening. From my experience investing in various markets, including commercial real estate, I have found that the most successful investors are always keeping a lookout for a unique situation. In my opinion, we are now seeing one of those unique situations inside of the apartment building market.
For example the New York Times published an article today titled "U.S. Mortgage Relief Effort Is Falling Short of Its Goal". Here is the "bad news":
1) The dropout rate from the Making Home Affordable Program was very high: 96,000 trial modifications were canceled by lenders in July. The number of canceled trials now exceeds 616,000.
2) Many modification seekers did not qualify for permanent status, either because their debt load was not heavy enough, they did not live in the house, their documents were incomplete or they simply failed to make the trial payments.
3) Critics say the program will provide little long-term relief.
In addition to the failing U.S. Making Home Affordable Program, the government now admits that as many and 1 out of every 3 home mortgages is now underwater. This is a startling statistic and it can only mean that we will eventually see more foreclosures.
So how does this affect the apartment building investor?
The answer is simply one of supply and demand. It is obvious that those families who are leaving their homes because of foreclosure will have to live somewhere. The best choice for many former homeowners will be to rent an apartment. This means that demand for apartment housing in the near future could outstrip demand.
As I continually stress to my apartment building investing clients, it is absolutely essential that the beginning commercial real estate investor educate him or herself thoroughly before deciding to invest their hard earned money and time into buying apartment buildings.
Get your head out of the sand and see the "bad news" for the opportunity that it truly is. Message me and I will recommend the best course to enroll in in your area so that you can begin to invest in highly profitable apartment buildings anywhere in the United States.
Apartment Building Owners see a rise in occupancy!
At least one group of housing-industry entrepreneurs are feeling a bit of relief in this dismal economy: the owners and managers of apartment buildings.
According to a new survey from Rent.com, a growing number of apartment property managers and owners are seeing lower vacancy rates in their buildings this year when compared to 2010.
According to the survey, 42 percent of owners and managers are reporting lower vacancies this year than last.
It's also a bit strange that also qualifying as good news is the fact that 70 percent of managers and owners cited job losses as a major reason for the vacancies in their buildings. That doesn't sound like good news, I know. But when you consider that last year 90 percent of owners and managers said the same thing, it actually is.
The trend is now working in our favor and apartment buildings are poised to skyrocket in value over the next five years. The time to take advantage of this unique situation is right now.
Learn everything you need to know to buy, manage and sell your first apartment building. Feel free to message or call me if you have questions or want to know what courses you should take before you start to invest in apartment buildings.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
LIGHT, BRIGHT SOLD!
A home that feels bright and light is sure to get a greater approval rating from any buyer. If yours feels a little lackluster and dull, get the sparkle going with the right light fixtures.
Making the right choice depends on the area served. Lighting falls into two groups: indirect (ambient) and direct (accent or task). The former sets a mood and the latter spotlights centers of interest or focuses on work surfaces.
Nothing beats a wonderful chandelier for creating glamour and ambiance. Wall sconces are perfect for an area where space is at a premium. Track, pendant and recessed lights are ideal for an area that needs more direct light. Use up-lights or can lights that sit on the floor for a wash of soft light behind a sofa or plant.
When you calculate how much light you will need, figure one watt of light for each square foot of space. Double the figure for kitchens and work areas. Buy lighting fixtures close to home so you can 'try them on' and return them if necessary. Make sure that the fixture you choose will fit any special mountings already in place in your home. If changes are needed, call in the electrician.
Make sure that every lamp and fixture you choose has passed the Underwriters Laboratories inspection. You will see a prominent 'UL' on the label, usually on the cord or base of the lamp or fixture. If there is no 'UL,' don't buy it.
Now turn on the lights and get ready for the compliments.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
NEGOTIATE YOUR BEST HOUSE BUY
Keep your emotions in check and your eyes on the goal, and you'll pay less when purchasing a home.
Buying a home can be emotional, but negotiating the price shouldn't be. The key to saving money when purchasing a home is sticking to a plan during the turbulence of high-stakes negotiations. A real estate agent who represents you can guide you and offer you advice, but you are the one who must make the final decision during each round of offers and counter offers.
Here are six tips for negotiating the best price on a home.
1. GET PREQUALIFIED FOR A MORTGAGE
Getting prequalified for a mortgage proves to sellers that you're serious about buying and capable of affording their home. That will push you to the head of the pack when sellers choose among offers; they'll go with buyers who are a sure financial bet, not those whose financing could flop.
2. ASK QUESTIONS
Ask your agent for information to help you understand the sellers' financial position and motivation. Are they facing foreclosure or a short sale? Have they already purchased a home or relocated, which may make them eager to accept a lower price to avoid paying two mortgages? Has the home been on the market for a long time, or was it just listed? Have there been other offers? If so, why did they fall through? The more signs that sellers are eager to sell, the lower your offer can reasonably go.
3. WORK BACK FROM A FINAL PRICE TO DETERMINE YOUR INITIAL OFFER
Know in advance the most you're willing to pay, and with your agent work back from that number to determine your initial offer, which can set the tone for the entire negotiation. A too-low bid may offend sellers emotionally invested in the sales price; a too-high bid may lead you to spend more than necessary to close the sale.
Work with your agent to evaluate the sellers' motivation and comparable home sales to arrive at an initial offer that engages the sellers yet keeps money in your wallet.
4. AVOID CONTINGENCIES
Sellers favor offers that leave little to chance. Keep your bid free of complicated contingencies, such as making the purchase conditional on the sale of your current home. Do keep contingencies for mortgage approval, home inspection, and environmental checks typical in your area, like radon.
5. REMAIN UNEMOTIONAL
Buying a home is a business transaction, and treating it that way helps you save money. Consider any movement by the sellers, however slight, a sign of interest, and keep negotiating.
Each time you make a concession, ask for one in return. If the sellers ask you to boost your price, ask them to contribute to closing costs or pay for a home warranty. If sellers won't budge, make it clear you're willing to walk away; they may get nervous and accept your offer.
6. DON'T LET COMPETITION CHANGE YOUR PLAN
Great homes and those competitively priced can draw multiple offers in any market. Don't let competition propel you to go beyond your predetermined price or agree to concessions-such as waiving an inspection-that aren't in your best interest.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
SAVE WATER AND MONEY WITH A RAIN BARREL
Using rain barrels to harvest rainwater from your roof is a simple, low-expense solution for conserving water and saving on your water bill.
Why pay to pour thousands of gallons of municipally treated tap water on your lawn and garden every summer if you can irrigate for free? That's the thinking behind the growing interest in rain barrels, which let you conserve water, protect the environment, and save money at the same time.
Considering that an inch of rain dumps 500 gallons on the roof of a typical 2,000-square-foot house, it's possible in most parts of the country to collect more than enough runoff for basic landscape irrigation needs. A rain barrel will save about 1,300 gallons of water during the peak summer months, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
In a national survey by DC Urban Gardeners, a rain barrel lowered water bills by about $35 a month in the summer. For as little as $100 for the barrel and downspout fittings, a rain-harvesting system can pay for itself in just a couple of seasons.
HOW MUCH RAIN CAN YOU COLLECT?
The first step is to figure out the potential runoff amount from your roof. Multiply your area's average annual rainfall in inches by the square footage of your roof. If you don't know the exact roof area, it's fine to use the dimensions of your house's footprint. Then multiply that number by 0.623--the amount of water in gallons needed to fill one square foot of space to a depth of one inch. The result is the number of gallons you can harvest. (Keep in mind, though, that most rain barrel systems are set up to collect only a portion of that, depending on irrigation needs.)
If your main goal is to water flower beds or run soaker hoses during dry spells, one or two 55-gallon barrels will suffice. If you want to turn off the garden tap all together, you'll need multiple barrels or a cistern, a large tank that stores from 300 to 3,000 gallons. But cisterns cost considerably more (up to $2,500) and are more complicated to install and use, which makes them best suited for larger-scale rain harvesting systems that include such indoor uses as flushing toilets.
THE COST TO SET UP A RAIN BARREL SYSTEM
Commercial barrels cost between $50 and $200, though you can also make one yourself from castoff food-grade containers. One couple linked together five 55-gallon syrup drums they bought for $10 apiece from the local Coca-Cola bottling plant. Their blog is an amusing and instructive rain-harvesting primer.
A typical system consisting of one or two barrels and off-the-shelf parts such as spigots, downspout extensions, mesh screens, and soaker hoses costs between $35 and $600. Cobbling it all together might take a weekend or two, but it's not rocket science. The Maryland Environmental Design Program offers easy step-by-step instructions for building your own barrel with about $15 worth of supplies.
Unfortunately, most rain barrels are not very handsome, and it's not always easy to camouflage them. Some people like the folksy wooden water barrel look, but generally speaking, the more water you're trying to capture, the bulkier the containers--and the harder they are to make inconspicuous or tuck behind bushes, especially since they need to be located near a downspout on your house.
SAFETY REQUIREMENTS AND CAVEATS
Rain barrels work via gravity, so the barrel must be level, stable, and elevated to allow water to move out of the tank. You'll want two spigots, one at the bottom to connect a hose and the other about two-thirds of the way down to fit a watering can or bucket underneath. If you want to move water to a higher level, you'll have to add a small pump ($50 to $150, depending on type).
You'll also need to take a few other precautions for safety:
Covers and screens: A secure cover keeps children, pets, and wildlife out. Fine mesh screens prevent mosquitoes from breeding (a mosquito dunk, which kills mosquito larvae but is non-toxic to plants or other animals, is also not a bad idea) and block leaves and twigs from clogging the works.
Organic growth: Water that sits for days or weeks, especially in hot weather, can start to grow algae. Try adding a capful or two of bleach to the tank and letting it stand for a few days before using. If that doesn't work, you may have to drain and scrub the inside periodically.
Overflow: A 55-gallon barrel (or even two) will quickly fill up, especially during intense downpours. An overflow system that diverts water to a storm drain or into a moisture-tolerant part of the garden is essential.
Restricted uses: Although good for plants and perfectly fine for washing cars or garden tools, water that comes off the roof is far from pure. It may be contaminated with dust, insects, bird droppings, pine needles, pollen, and other pollutants. Be sure to clearly label all rainwater-supplied fixtures as "Non-potable--Do Not Drink." Nor is it safe to mix fertilizer or garden chemicals in the barrel, even for garden use.
BENEFITS THAT GO BEYOND SAVING MONEY
Collecting rainwater has numerous benefits apart from low-cost irrigation. Free of chlorine and sodium, naturally soft rainwater is superior for plants. Capturing roof runoff also lowers the risk of flooding and reduces the burden on storm sewers and local watersheds.
That's one reason why a number of local and state governments are offering tax breaks or rebates for rainwater harvesting systems. A few, such as Washington, D.C., San Antonio, Texas and San Jose, California, will even conduct a rainwater audit of your property, make recommendations, and implement rain barrels or other storm-water runoff strategies at a subsidized rate.
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