It was hardly surprising when I knocked on the door and a beautiful young woman in a bikini opened the door. I used to marvel at how hard Leo would work seventy hours a week. Of course that was the big reason why his wife left him. Fortunately for him she had her own millions and had no reason to take any of his from him. At any rate the day he turned fifty was the day he retired and told us he would play harder than he had ever worked. At least three Russian escorts were there to help him out, or at least I thought they were Russian. I knew about his scheme. He moved to Las Vegas and went into the entertainment business. He had a pair of strip clubs, an enormous one. I did not really understand exactly how the escorts worked, but he did stuff for them and they did lots of stuff for him. Continue reading
Admit it or not, finding clients on the vast real estate market is very challenging. It is challenged by the existence of big real estate firms which employ hundreds of experienced real estate agents on their teams. If you are a newbie, you could easily be swallowed by the efforts exerted by the established firms. But have you ever think that they also started out as rookies in the field? If you are in this situation, here are some tips to at least give you a leverage on finding the right clients for you.
Create your own circle of offline connections and influences. As much as the online world is essential to widen your connections, the offline connections and influences is equally essential. Start with your family and friends. Then add your past classmates even those from your elementary days whom you still remember. Your teachers can be great additions. Move on to those whom you are tapping services as professionals such as your doctors, dentists, hair stylists, pet groomers and fitness coaches. The parents of your children’s classmates and friends can also expand your offline connections. If you have business contacts, add them as well. Don’t forget your neighbors. They can be great sources of referrals.
Build a better online network of friends. Through social media, you, as a real estate agent is bestowed greater power to enhance online connections. Your network can be a greater web of interconnected persons starting with your family members down to their own friends, acquaintances, friend of friends, and so on. Before you notice it, your network has expanded to include professionals of diverse titles not only in your locality but also in adjacent towns and nearby cities. If you think they are not relevant, you may be wrong with the impression. Anyone in your online network of friends can always be a great source of referral even those who you seldom see to be adding activities in their social media accounts.
Send mailers, both online and offline. Now that you have established both your online and offline connections, it is time to introduce yourself as the rookie real estate agent. For offline mailers, be sure to have a formal tone. Give your full name, license number, the firm you are connected too, its address, and contact numbers of you and the firm. Inform them of the services you are offering.
For online mailers, the same can be followed. But since it is an electronic form, you may want to add some enhanced graphics and video.
Create your own website. For personal branding, having an own website is an essential. This is where you can provide listings, value added services, frequently asked questions, and even informational articles that can help spark the interest of your potential clients. Support it with a blog, and connect it with your social media accounts in different real estate online platforms.
Sports and recreation are key elements of a balanced and happy lifestyle. However, the lives of people in metropolitan cities are increasingly being characterized by a strenuous work culture, which combined with the rise of technology-driven electronic gadgets is becoming a barrier to healthy living. While most people want to relax and take care of their health after coming back from the office, they are either too tired or don’t have access to recreational places in their immediate vicinity.
Let us now look at some of the important sports and recreational amenities that should be a part of every housing society:
1. Swimming Pool
Swimming is a rigorous, full-body exercise that can greatly improve our fitness levels. It boosts the weight loss process, aids in muscle toning, improves lung capacity, and helps maintain heart health. After a long and tiring day at work, a pool session can provide a really rejuvenating experience. For this reason, modern residential societies designed by the best housing architects generally include a swimming pool.
2. Indoor Games
At times, people want to stay away from an intense physical workout and just relax. Indoor games such as snooker and billiards, carom boards, bowling, table tennis, indoor skating, etc. help people beat stress and feel refreshed. Moreover, most indoor sports can be played by people of all ages, so including them is beneficial for the health of all residents.
3. Health Clubs & Gymnasium
Nowadays, a gymnasium is a must-have amenity in every housing society. Working out helps us keep our blood pressure in control and get a perfectly toned body. Keeping this in mind, the top residential architects are building housing societies that include high-tech gyms with state-of-the-art equipment and the best trainers.
4. Outdoor Sports
Playing outdoor sports is the most preferred way of staying fit and healthy. Amenities for playing popular sports such as cricket, badminton, volleyball, can be incorporated in most modern housing societies. Besides, a segregated children’s playing area with slides and swings could also be included.
5. Multipurpose Hall
Activities like yoga, meditation, and aerobics, have gained immense popularity and are increasingly becoming a major part of the regular lives of people. In such a scenario, including a multipurpose hall that allows residents to practice these activities can help them relax and promote their well-being
Real estate in Northeast Los Angeles has been booming for years. We hear about it on television and in the news. Rarely does a news story get published where the term “Gentrification” is used to describe areas such as Eagle Rock, Mt. Washington and Highland Park, regions where home values have spiked. Is it something homebuyers and home sellers need to know?
By definition, “to gentrify” is to improve a house or district so that it conforms to middle-class taste. The middle class, or Bourgeoisie, is attempting to emulate upper-class standards. In the U.K., the gentry refer to people of high social position, specifically the class of people next below the nobility. Therefor the gentrification of an area is a process whereby those of lower socio-economic status are forced out of a region in order to make it more attractive to the people of higher socio-economic standing. Taking deteriorating inner city homes away from working class families to be renovated and sold to the privileged is also known as progress, or gentrification.
That is precisely what is occurring in the once run down neighborhood of Highland Park. This ongoing restorative transformation has helped to eradicate crime and strengthen the local economy. Juice bars and yogurt shops have sprung up in place of derelict Laundromats and liquor stores. Local businesses are now thriving, where the windows were once boarded up and car carcasses rusted.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the Northeast Los Angeles neighborhood of Glassell Park, where police not long ago bulldozed suspected gang homes in a dramatic crackdown on crime. Soon after, investors began investing in fixing up Glassell Park’s hillside view homes and property values began to rise with new shops and restaurants appearing in direct proportion.
At one time, Eco Park stood as the poster child for gentrification in Los Angeles. This forgotten slum went through a complete metamorphosis in the 90’s, turning it into one of the most sought after areas east of downtown. With Echo Park as a model, the restoration movement has continued its march east, rehabilitating other areas, such as Highland Park and Glassell Park, with great potential.
One telltale sign of the up and coming neighborhood is what is known as the Starbucks phenomenon. If this “7-eleven” of coffee houses has chosen to plant its green lady logo on the block, you can bet your bottom dollar that the ‘Hipsters are coming’or more likely, the Hipsters have already arrived. This of course means that property values are climbing. In the historic region of Highland Park, York Boulevard is now bookended by Starbucks. Having a Starbucks on the corner is clear evidence that a moneyed community is on the rise. The values of homes for sale in Highland Park are absolutely exploding.
Another way of measuring affluence is by exploring the high volume of trendy restaurants, bars, and art galleries not to mention the cafes populated by too cool for school patrons everywhere. This enclave has become a hot spot for exotic dining among foodies and the like. Good eats just seem to go along with gentrification. That is one of the advantages. Today you can find French, Italian, Japanese, Vietnamese, and a wide variety of Vegan food in this once neglected district. It has become an amazing multi-cultural mecca. One more example of economic growth is improved public transportation. Business people can commute from paradise to downtown by train in a matter of minutes.
The median price for a house in Highland Park is now approaching seven hundred thousand. In relative terms, this area is still a bargain in Los Angeles’ exorbitant housing market. As the beautification of these older neighborhoods flourishes in NELA, the real estate naturally becomes more desirable and the property values escalate.
Many Investors have been asking me about shadow inventory how much is out there and how to get their hands on it. Shadow inventory usually refers to the supply of homes that has not yet hit the market, but “hiding” in the background. In Real Estate this refers to foreclosures (REO or bank owned properties) or those close to the process.
Banks and mortgage loan servicing companies typically hold onto properties that haven’t seen a mortgage payment for 90 days and in some cases even 2-3 years.
Why do they hold on so long?
Banks hold on since it allows them to release their inventory over time to keep their books in check and also to provide that easy liquidation to stimulate the real estate economy when necessary. Banks will now be getting more money for those newly released properties, then say 2 years ago, due to the steady increase in home prices and low inventory levels. If they chose to release all at once, it would flood the market with “distressed properties” and bring down property values.
How much “Shadow Inventory” is still out there?
Foreclosures have been steadily declining since 2013 with the highest shadow inventory then at 2.2MM. According to the National Association of Realtors, there is still about 4 years still on the books and it is possible that we could soon see more!
More “Shadow Inventory”? Why? (HAMP) Home Affordable Modification Program
In 2017 and beyond, many homeowners may find it difficult to make their mortgage payments due to “resets” with HAMP thus pushing them into foreclosure. The government’s Home Affordable Modification Program provided temporary relief to borrowers during the housing crisis. These reliefs ended after five years and now payments will be “reset” thus causing loan payment increases for nearly 900,000 homeowners. Some of those are likely to find it difficult to keep up with the payments in our current economy.
Where do Investors find “Shadow Inventory”?
Forget about calling the loss mitigation department or asking the cashier at your Big Bank. They won’t be able to help you. Instead, savvy real estate investors can approach the REO departments of smaller regional banks, credit unions and portfolio lenders to find out what could be “lurking” in the shadows. This presents an opportunity to beat out the competition and purchase at greater discounts.
But my favorite way to locate “Shadow Inventory” is what I call “Driving forDollars”. Simply drive through areas that have high foreclosure activity and look for the white sticker posted on the front window or door of the house. This typically contains the information of the bank or asset manager of the property and their phone number. Give them a call and see where they are in the foreclosure process and if they’re ready to make a deal!
The NEW kind of “Shadow Inventory”!
There is a new kind of shadow inventory on the market these days and I’m not talking about the REO kind. Many successful agents have their own shadow inventory. If you’ve been in the business for an extended period and built up a clientele, these clients typically contact you well in advance of the property going on the market. You advise them of the steps needed to get the house ready to show which typically means doing repairs such as paint, carpet, landscaping, staging, etc. Therefore, there is a period of time before the property actually hits the market creating a different type of shadow inventory. Contacting your favorite realtor about this type of inventory can definitely increase your chances of finding that Dream home.
Good habits are the foundation of wealth. If you watch successful people you will see their day is filled with consistent habits that save time, improve focus and ultimately help accomplish more daily. Successful people get up early, learn daily, make lists & set goals and track their progress.
• Get Up Early.
Make the first two hours of your day the most important. It will not only set the tone for the day but will give you a game plan for everything else that follows. These two hours can be used for activities you enjoy such as exercise, meditation or completion of a project or activity from the previous day. The early morning is free from distraction allowing you to do more of whatever you enjoy.
• 20 Minutes Of Learning Daily.
It is important in any business to know what is going on at all times. Trying to master every aspect of the business may seem intimidating but is less difficult if you spend some time on it daily. Regardless of how busy you may be you can squeeze twenty minutes of learning into your daily routine. You can find this time on an audiobook driving to or from an appointment or on the treadmill as you get some exercise in.
• Make Lists & Set Goals.
Success is often easier if you plan exactly what needs to get done. Before you go to bed you should plan for the next day. Tackle the toughest task first and go from there. Planning your goals not only makes you efficient but gives you a sense of direction and purpose. The most successful people in the world have one thing in common, they all say their goals out loud three times daily. This helps to reinforce their direction and keeps them on track in accomplishing their goals. Try it and see how much closer you get to reaching your goals!
• Track Progress.
If you don’t know what is working, is impossible to gauge the results? At the end of every day you should take some time to evaluate what you did to build on your progress. If you failed to do anything, you need to ask yourself why and then develop a new plan to stay on track.
You ultimately control where you go in Life. Changing habits is never easy but is essential for growth. Start by incorporating these four habits into your daily life and see the difference it makes towards your success.
Many homeowners, at a variety of points – of – time, decide to pursue certain repairs and/ alterations. Some are out of necessity, because of damage, and/ or wear – and – tear, while others, are for cosmetic, and/ or taste – related reasons! One should consider a variety of factors, before undergoing costly expenses/ expenditures. These include: how long you will be living in this house; your alternatives; the Return on Investment (R.O.I.), etc. This article will review 5 positives (pros) and/ or negatives (cons), related to home repairs and/ or alterations.
1. Cosmetic changes: This category includes items, which improve the appearance of the property, but usually are minor, in nature! For example, inside or outside painting might be cosmetic. If you are painting, simply to change the look, color, theme, etc, it falls into the category, but if it is necessitated, because of structural damage (for example, from water damage, etc), it’s a far different scenario! If you plan to keep the home, for a substantial period of time, you have far more flexibility, in terms of color, etc, than if you are planning to sell it in the foreseeable, near future!
2. Kitchen: Does your kitchen need remodeling and/ or renovation, for structural reasons, or to improve its look and appearance? How much you spend on remodeling your kitchen, must be put into perspective! A well – considered amount of spending, usually makes sense and has a reasonable Return on Investment (R.O.I.), but exorbitant spending is another thing. A homeowner can spend whatever he decides, but should have a somewhat, realistic perspective of its value, especially to prospective buyers.
3. Bathrooms: What is the reason, you wish to renovate/ upgrade your bathrooms? Compare the options and alternatives, including determining, if a system, such as Bath Fitters, makes sense, as opposed to a complete demolition and rebuilding! Again, upgrading bathrooms, might. either, make financial sense, or not!
4. HVAC: What is the condition of your heating, ventilating and air conditioning, system (HVAC)? What is the useful life of your heating system, and should you change it (for example, converting from oil to gas)? Consider any decisions related to conversions, carefully and thoroughly. If you wish to put a central air conditioning system, into the house, should you go, the convention route, or the ductless one? Consider costs, economies, space – sacrifices, and the positives, versus the negatives! Before acting, always get several bids, and compare apples – to – apples!
5. Grounds maintenance: How much money, should you commit to grounds maintenance, landscaping, trees, bushes, plants, flowers, etc? Those thinking of selling, in the near future, should focus on curb appeal, etc!
Homeowners have options, in terms of the best way to proceed, for home repairs and alternatives. Know what you need, and want, and thoroughly consider!
Buying a real estate property, repairing and selling it quickly tends to be a profitable recipe. However, a key component of this recipe to success is access to capital. If one does not have sufficient funds but is interested in rehabbing a property, a hard money lender who offers a fix and flip loans could be a great financing option. These loans are structured in such a way that allow a purchaser to quickly acquire the property and have access to a reserve of funds for construction and renovation costs.
Buying a real estate property, repairing and selling it quickly tends to be a profitable recipe.
Advantages of Fix and Flip Loans
There are many advantages to fix and flip loans and the demand for this source of funding is steadily increasing in the real estate investment industry.
Four key benefits include:
- Quick Approval: Getting approved for a fix and flip loan is a far quicker process when compared against the traditional banking system. If the borrower has submitted the requested documents, a private lender can approve the loan within a couple of days whereas a traditional financial institution can take at least a month. In addition to the significant longer wait time for bank loan approvals, the borrower will be required to submit numerous documents and clear multiple conditions as part of the process.
- Any Property: Properties in varying states of the condition can qualify for a fix and flip loans. Whether the property is bank owned, a short sale, a foreclosure, or in a dilapidated state, a borrower is still likely to find a hard money lender willing to fund the deal. Once again, a borrower may not have the option of funding these types of real estate opportunities with a bank. Banks are very risk averse and have strict rules in place as to what type of property they can accept as part of their loan portfolio.
- Zero Prepayment Penalties: If you take out a loan from an established bank, you may be hit with penalties should you have the opportunity to pay the loan off before the maturation date. This is called a prepayment penalty. Most fix and flip lenders will not subject you to this fee.
- Repairs Covered: When you buy a property with the intention to flip it, a significant portion of your budget will be spent on construction and renovation costs. A fix and flip lender will usually set up a loan reserve which will cover repair costs of the property in addition to interest. This can alleviate a lot of stress and pressure for builders and developers since they don’t have to worry about spending money out of pocket for repairs or payments.
Teaming up with a solid lender who understands your property, the local real estate market, and is willing to help you throughout the acquisition, construction and selling process is vital. When choosing a hard money lender, keep the following in mind:
- The lender must have sufficient experience in the industry. A private lender that has deep roots in the real estate investment market will not only be able to offer you a better deal but will also have numerous contacts that will prove helpful along the way – from recommended settlement companies, to permit expeditors and other preferred vendors. This can prove to be a great asset as speed, quality and efficiency is the name of the game in the fix and flip world. The less time you need to spend vetting companies and contractors is more money in your pocket.
- Check the history of the lenders to ensure that they are genuine and have a good track record. It may be worth taking a closer look at lenders that tempt borrowers with “teaser rates” or a “no documents” underwriting process. As with most things in life, if it seems too good to be true – it usually is.
- Finally, you should check out what previous or current customers have to say. Is the lender responsive and knowledgeable? How many loans do they have on the street? Do they have good ratings on Google or the BBB? Just as the lender performs due diligence on their borrowers, the borrowers should, in turn, conduct due diligence on the hard money lender. It’s a partnership and both parties need to be solid and committed to the process in order to ensure success.
The ever-changing digital technology is gradually making life on earth easier and less hassle-free. Benefits of digitization encompass the construction industry as well. These days, a range of efficient construction project management software is readily available to make things easier for those, who are involved with the industry.
The assortment of software applications comes with many innovative features that help managing:
- All communication with your subcontractors and crew
- Every electronic correspondence
- Project schedules
- Budget estimation
- Site photos and much more
Extra spadework is required
However, if you’re planning to get such a helpful software tool to drive your projects to successful completion, here’s a word of caution! Just procuring construction project management software will not help you achieve your goal. After all, it’s not any magic wand that will do wonders. You need to do some extra spadework, like preparing a foolproof plan, regularly monitoring the work progress, facilitating personal interaction with both the stakeholders and team members. Moreover, it is important to take care of the cash flow to ensure your project(s) wind up on time. To put it in simple words, the more efficient you’re in handling your responsibilities in the construction industry, the more efficiency you can expect from the range of software tools.
The core competencies
Now, at this juncture you must be wondering if there’s any core competence of the modern software tools. As far as the building and construction industry is concerned, project management software applications help you in the following ways:
- Accessing critical information right at your fingertips
- Having everyone on the same plane, so that there’s no missed information or error
- Alternative plans ready at hand to keep the workflow moving
- Ensuring systematic progress of every project right from the word ‘go’
- Facilitating communication with the peers, colleagues, stakeholders and team members even from remote locations
Considering all these benefits the range of software offers, it’s obvious that there’s hardly any necessity to rework on a module. Thus, project management software helps successful winding up of construction projects right within scheduled deadlines.
Just like any other commercial sphere, the construction industry too expects you to thread in the latest version of technology to achieve greater heights of success faster. However, you should have realistic expectations from technology to help your business grow bigger. Use the web to update your knowledge pool about the benefits these virtual resources offer. This will help you stay at-par with the best performers in the industry.
Looking to buy a house in Northeast Los Angeles – NELA, as it is known – but unclear of the process and amount of money needed? A licensed Realtor can help you figure it out. But for ballpark purposes, it might help to do some preliminary study on your own.
NELA is, after all, one of the hottest markets in all of Los Angeles. Not just the obvious neighborhoods like Glendale and Pasadena, but in smaller, lesser-known neighborhoods.
You might be in love with the schools in Mt. Washington, the housing inventory in Highland Park or the neighborhoods of Eagle Rock, but you have to work through some of these details before you can call any of those places home.
Much is made about closing costs in real estate transactions, and yet these vary for several reasons. The single largest expense, the real estate commission, is covered by the seller (who pays the commission in a split between the buyer’s and the seller’s agents).
Fees the buyer will need to pay at the closing come with some variation; the following are the largest of such costs at closing:
- Homeowner association fees – If the property is a condominium the seller might be in arrears with the homeowners association, in which case you will find this out before entering the sales contract. In distressed circumstances (foreclosures, near-foreclosures and short sales), these fees might amount to thousands of dollars.
- Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) – If your down payment is less than 20% of the price of the property, you will be required to insure the mortgage at between 0.3% and 1.15% of the loan amount.
- Origination fee to the lender – Even while you fix your dreams on a Victorian in Glassell Park, a two-unit duplex in Garvanza or fixer-upper in Hermon, you have to go through a large amount of paperwork with a would-be lender to prove your creditworthiness. And yes, they do charge fees at closing for all that fun.
- Points – These enable you to change the terms of the loan to your favor if you pay one or more percentage points toward the mortgage amount. If you have the cash and plan to own the property for a decade or longer, paying a point or two upfront can save you much more over time.
- Prorated property tax – As the LA tax year begins on July 1, you will need to cover whatever remains in the year in advance from the day of the closing.
- Insurance premiums – Protecting the property (as required by all lenders) from damages and liability is required at closing also.
- Escrow fees – Third parties performing escrow services need to be compensated for that work. Note that fee structures are not fixed or regulated by the state of California, but are generally set according to the size of the transaction.
Technically speaking there are multiple fees that will be part of the buyer’s closing costs but which the seller automatically pays for in a reimbursement. These include the city transfer tax, documentary transfer tax to title and the owners title policy. Multiple other fees under $500 (average) costs include the lender appraisal fee, credit report fee, prorated HOA fees, courier services related to the transaction, notary services, archiving fees, recording trust deed (to title), and loan tie-in fees.
Note that the process of looking at houses and negotiating a price, and perhaps that of qualifying for a loan, are typically more time consuming than the closing itself. An experienced realtor will be able to advise you on all these details, invariably to the point where you are told how much money to bring to the closing and in what form.