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7/3/17 Hot Real Estate Markets

If you bought real estate, any real estate really, five years ago, you're very happy right now. Everything has appreciated in value. So when you read about those hot real estate markets, keep in mind that just about every city in the country has a part of the area that is growing and is "hot". The key is the timing of when you buy real estate.

Right now, prices are higher for properties but interest rates are still low, so you can make money. But overall, the time to buy was years ago. Did you miss it? Yes. That's fine. There will be another opportunity. The thing to do now is save money and wait for the right property to come along that you like. There's no need to rush into anything.

However, if you must read one of those hot markets articles, here's one from Forbes magazine. Again, I'm sure there are parts of the city that you live in that are growing or there's a city near you where there's great potential in the real estate market, whether that's condos or townhouses or single family homes.

Hottest Real Estate Markets to Watch in 2017


2/7/16 Quicken Loans Super Bowl Ad

A lot of people are giving Quicken Loans a hard time after their Super Bowl ad aired. Why? Because it seems like Quicken Loans forgot about the housing crisis a few years ago when everbody and their mother was getting a loan to buy a house when they really couldn't afford it.

Quicken Loans Super Bowl Ad - Rocket Mortgages


1/1/16 Find Your Niche in Real Estate

Have you heard about real estate investors Kelly and Chris Edwards, two brothers from North Carolina? They've got a great story to tell about making money by buying investment properties:

Kelly explains that when you start out, you shouldn't try to be all things to all people. As he says, "the riches are in the niches."

When the brothers noticed Raleigh making national lists of the best places in the US to live and work, they started buying property in areas they foresaw would appreciate.

Because they were so familiar with their local market, they were able to pinpoint these neighborhoods and create properties for new area residents. "We now own a big portfolio of rental properties that we classify as high-end rentals," Kelly says. "The average client pays $1,200 a month for 800 square feet. We found a real sweet spot with those millennial tenants."

High-end housing for millennials isn't the only niche the Edwardses have developed. On the other end of the spectrum, their company has gotten into affordable housing to diversify their interests. They turn properties into upscale rooming houses and have recently been contacted by local affiliates for low-end housing, who want to continue pursuing ways to offer comfortable, livable, affordable housing.

Read full story over at BusinessInsider.


12/15/15 The New "PoppyLoan" in San Francisco

“POPPYLOAN was created in response to skyrocketing home prices throughout the San Francisco Bay Area,” San Francisco Federal said in a release.

What does PoppyLoan stand for: POPPYLOAN, stands for Proud Ownership Purchase Program for You.

What exactly is a PoppyLoan? Well, it's a 0% interest rate for a "Poppy Loan" for San Francisco workers from this SF federal credit union bank for a home worth 2 million - plus there's no mortgage insurance.

Is this a sign of the housing bubble top....? Many think the POPPYLOAN is a sign of trouble for the housing market, especially in San Francisco.

Read more over at HousingWire.com



10/6/15 Age Restricted Properties

Featured idea this month is about age restricted properties. Is this something that would work for you? Learn more:

Just as you might target a certain type of tenant when you use the strategy of buying apartments or condos near colleges, you can also buy investment properties where 80% of the tenants will be over 55, or retirement communities.

Learn more....retirement communities as investment properties.


12/15/14 Investing in Trailer Parks? Or what the marketing deparment calls them: "Manufactured Homes"? Interesting story from a while back....seems quite risky.

In 2003, Warren Buffett paid $1.7 billion to buy Clayton Homes, one of the country’s largest manufacturers of mobile homes. The industry’s other boldfaced name is Sam Zell, the Chicago-based real estate magnate perhaps best known for his disastrous, debt-heavy takeover of The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times and other dailies owned by the Tribune conglomerate. Zell is chairman of Equity LifeStyle Properties, which he took public in the early 1990s, when the company was called Manufactured Home Communities. With nearly 140,000 lots scattered across more than 370 communities, Equity LifeStyle is the mobile-home industry’s largest landlord. Given that at various times Zell has owned more office space, as well as more apartment buildings, than any other entrepreneur in the United States, it’s indicative of the riches to be made on this down-at-the-heels edge of the housing market that a mogul like Zell is so heavily invested in trailer parks. Not that the marketing departments at either Zell’s or Buffett’s company would describe one of its properties as a “trailer park.”

Read full story over at the NY Times...



11/15/14 Real Estate Goes Global

Interesting article about how Vancouver real estate is soaring based on foreign investors, mainly Chinese, buying up investment properties as a hedge on unrest in their own countries and even global warming coming in the near future...

The globalization of real estate upends some of our basic assumptions about housing prices. We expect them to reflect local fundamentals—above all, how much people earn. In a truly global market, that may not be the case. If there are enough rich people in China who want property in Vancouver, prices can float out of reach of the people who actually live and work there.

So just because prices look out of whack doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a bubble. Instead, wealthy foreigners are rationally overpaying, in order to protect themselves against risk at home. And the possibility of losing a little money if prices subside won’t deter them. Yan says, “If the choice is between losing ten to twenty per cent in Vancouver versus potentially losing a hundred per cent in Beijing or Tehran, then people are still going to be buying in Vancouver.”

Read the full article over at The New Yorker.


3/19/14 Google Invests $50 Million in Property Broker Auction.com

“Like EBay kind of drove transparency and created a marketplace for hard-to-find items, Auction.com is creating transparency in part of the real estate market,” David Lawee, head of Google Capital, founded last year, said in a telephone interview. “Here, you can go on to a site and see thousands of properties that are listed for sale that would be great investment opportunities.”

Very interesting, Google getting into the real estate market....read story here.


4/25/13

New: 4 Essential tips to help you buy an investment property


1/19/13 Reasons to Buy an Investment Property Right Now


8/6/12 Millionaire Buys Every Foreclosed Home

Here's another sign that the bottom in the real estate market is in. Millionaire buys every foreclosed home in Michigan county for $4.8 million:

A Michigan millionaire decided to go into the real estate business with a bang last week by buying every tax foreclosed property offered at a recent county auction.

MyFoxDetroit.com reports Bill McMachen, a businessman and former yacht dealer, paid about $4.8 million for all 650 tax foreclosed properties at Macomb County's July 31 sale.

Authorities had announced at the auction that the properties could be sold as a package deal for the price of the back taxes, which totaled about $4.8 million. McMachen jumped at the chance. 

"I got a deal nobody else could have got," he told MyFoxDetroit.com. "I paid all the back taxes that was due and that's what the county wanted."

Read more at MyFoxDetroit.com


7/25/12 Ripe Moment for Real Estate Investors

Even a novice real estate investor can tell you the secret to a successful investment: buy low, sell high and, in between, rent for the maximum possible cash flow.

After years of struggling with the aftereffects of the burst housing bubble, real estate markets across the country finally seem to have hit bottom. At the same time, rents are rising and mortgage rates are low. This may be a uniquely perfect time for real estate investors to reap the benefits of low costs and potentially high profits.

Read more at: Ripe Moment for Real Estate Investors.


10/27/11 Government May Offload Foreclosures to Investors

This story comes from Diana Olick of CNBC's Realty Check:

What's weighing on confidence are still-falling home prices, and what's pushing those home prices down are foreclosures. That's why the Obama Administration is pushing a potential plant to auction off foreclosed properties in bulk to investors, specifically the quarter of a million properties currently on the books of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the FHA. As demand for single family rental properties rises, so too do potential investor returns.

"There is a hope that we'll be able to do a pilot in the near future, perhaps by the end of 2011 or early 2012. However, there hasn't been any decision on timing yet," according to an administration source.

The hope is there, and apparently the cash is there as well.

"Many investors are out there raising billions of dollars to buy these properties," says Jaret Seiberg of MF Global. "It's a great idea, and it's one of the few things that we've heard in several years now that could really help housing in a meaningful way."

Read full story here.

6/13/11 Why Investing in Rentals Could Be a Good Move

As home prices fall and rents rise, some investors are plunking their money into real estate, chasing the cash flow that comes along with becoming a landlord.

“For the first time in a long time, you can buy that home and can get a cash-on-cash return immediately,” said William King, director of valuation services for Veros Real Estate Solutions, a supplier of housing data to the country’s largest banks, as well as government organizations. “There are a lot of places in the country where an investor can buy a single-family home, rent it, and get a positive cash flow.”

In fact, investors bought 20% of all the homes sold in April, according to the National Association of Realtors. Some of them are buying with cash.

Read more...


9/7/10 Foreign Buyers in U.S. Choose Florida Property

International buyers have helped buttress Florida's real estate market with 22 percent of all foreign clients nationally choosing property in the Sunshine State.

That makes Florida tops for attracting foreign interest, according to a summer report by the National Association of Realtors. California came in a far second with 12 percent of the international market.

While Florida's share of foreign clients has slipped from a recent high of more than 26 percent in 2008, bargain basement prices and a weakened dollar have continued to lure Canadian and overseas buyers.

The study, which looked at sales between March 2009 and March 2010, found that buyers with permanent residences outside the United States spent an estimated $41 billion on residential property nationally during the period of the study - that's 4 percent of the total residential market during the same time.

"I had an open house in the mid-$500,000s and a man from Canada came and bought it the same day," said Palm Beach Gardens Realtor Jeff Lichtenstein, who has a page on his Website dedicated to foreign buyers. "Once they're here, they tend to bring friends."

Read more...


9/3/10 Government to Deploy Broader Mortgage Aid

This is an amazing number of home owners underwater....

One of the biggest dangers facing the housing market is the glut of underwater homeowners who could default if their personal finances or home prices worsen. About 11 million borrowers, or 23% households with a mortgage, were underwater as of June 30, according to CoreLogic Inc.

From the Wall Street Journal...


9/3/10 New Articles



8/24/10 Housing Isn't Really Dead

Population shifts evolve over decades, not years, and are based on fundamental factors that run deeper than short-term blips in the national, or even regional economy. Demographic movements, not short-sighted speculation, are behind the creation of real estate wealth in the long run. These shifts explain why rural towns with stagnant populations won't see appreciation for decades (if ever), while regions with expanding job markets and a growing population are ripe for smart investment (yes, such areas exist, even now).

At the same time, established, snobbish communities of aging baby boomers may see home prices flatline for years, while buyers in many gritty, neighborhoods on the fringe currently far outweigh sellers. In these markets, prices are creeping back up based on fundamentals, not government crutches.

So as stubborn housing bears drone on, spouting their frail generalities, the precious few of us with vision to see beyond next quarter's GDP data will be the landlords of the future.

Read full article here...


8/6/10 New Articles


6/4/10 New Articles


1/23/10 NEW Content


1/8/10 NEW Content


12/29/09 NEW Content


12/10/09 NEW Content This Week


12/4/09 NEW Content This Week


11/24/09 NEW Content This Week


11/22/09 Foreign Buyers Scooping Up Real Estate

Canadian investor Arthur Wong is buying condos in Las Vegas and Phoenix like a shopper at Costco: In bulk, with slashed prices.

Wong, president of Optimus U.S. Real Estate Fund, has bought 60 condos at heavy discounts from developers in financial trouble. Wong paid about $62,500 each for 18 Las Vegas condos that once were priced at about $250,000 apiece.

"This could be a once-in-a-generation opportunity for real estate investment," said Wong, whose Calgary, Alberta-based fund has already invested $5 million cash and will spend millions more in the U.S. Southwest over the next several months.

Read more...

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11/18/09 NEW Content This Week


11/12/09 NEW Content

11/4/09 NEW Content


10/8/09 Calculate the Walk Score

If you have a good idea, whether in life or in business, it won't be long before someone comes along and copies it. So it has proven with Walk Score, an online service which allows you to calculate the "walkability" of a given address. Walk Score has proved popular for homeseekers looking for a convenient location in which to live -- and for agents who like to cite a listing's Walk Score if it means a coffee shop and BART station is withing striking distance.

Read more...

9/25/09 Housing Economist Thomas Lawler

New normal: Housing prices have moved down and are now consistent with incomes and rent, housing construction is low, and mortgage rates are low. Things are looking better.

 


7/23/09 New Site Partner

Visit one of our new partners:

Real Estate Zing Real Estate Zing is a comprehensive resource on USA Real Estate. Find informative write-ups on mortgage, foreclosures, realtors and several other realty related issues.


7/7/09 In the News


6/25/09 Short Sales Harder to Come By

This is from CNBC

Short sales, which have taken off in the past year, have become a way out for some Americans in trouble with their mortgage. But just as the concept is gaining favor, it is already running into problems—another reason why the housing recovery is taking longer than many had hoped.

Real estate industry experts say banks are becoming more reluctant to agree to short sales, in part because the change in mark-to-market accounting rules gives them less incentive to take less than the mortgage is worth. As a result, they say, banks are holding out for what Realtors say are unrealistic offers.

Read more...


6/10/09 U.S. Foreclosure Filings Top 300,000 as Bank Seizures Loom

A total of 321,480 properties received a default or auction notice or were repossessed last month, up 18 percent from a year earlier, the Irvine, California-based seller of default data said today in a statement. One in 398 U.S. households received a filing last month.

Read more...

5/5/09 NEW Content


4/18/09 Walk Score

Makes a lot of sense to me. The McMansion is now vacant and not what home buyers are looking for or can afford these days - well sure, all those big houses are cheap now, but we want community rather than space. Simple is the new cool. I hadn't heard of this site before, take a look:

Better health: A study in Washington State found that the average resident of a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood weighs 7 pounds less than someone who lives in a sprawling neighborhood.1 Residents of walkable neighborhoods drive less and suffer fewer car accidents, a leading cause of death between the ages of 15–45.

Reduction in greenhouse gas: Cars are a leading cause of global warming. Your feet are zero-pollution transportation machines.

More transportation options: Compact neighborhoods tend to have higher population density, which leads to more public transportation options and bicycle infrastructure. Not only is taking the bus cheaper than driving, but riding a bus is ten times safer than driving a car!2

Increased social capital: Walking increases social capital by promoting face-to-face interaction with your neighbors. Studies have shown that for every 10 minutes a person spends in a daily car commute, time spent in community activities falls by 10%.3

Stronger local businesses: Dense, walkable neighborhoods provide local businesses with the foot traffic they need to thrive. It's easier for pedestrians to shop at many stores on one trip, since they don't need to drive between destinations.

Learn more...


3/20/09 HOUSING: Banks selling properties in bulk for cheap

From Calculated Risk

Lenders have become so overwhelmed by the foreclosure crisis that they are starting to unload properties in bulk to investor groups at steep discounts.

Investors then flip the properties for a profit without necessarily improving the home.

For example, a unit of Citigroup, the troubled financial giant, sold a foreclosure in Temecula to an Arizona investment firm for $139,000 when comparable homes in the area were selling for $240,000 to $260,000.

The firm listed the home for $249,000, received multiple offers and the property has entered escrow, said Amber Schlieder, the real estate agent who handled the listing.

CR Capital was the firm that flipped the Temecula foreclosure property, an investment group based in Tucson, Ariz. Calls to CR Capital were not immediately returned.

Read more...


3/7/09 From Misery to Fortune: Foreclosed Houses Auctioned

From the NY Times:

In rapid-fire speech that resembled a horse-race announcer’s, an auctioneer introduced the first of the day’s 375 properties: a seven-bedroom, five-bathroom home in Roselle, N.J., with an estimated value of $565,000 and a starting bid of $129,000. (Final sale price: $245,000.)

On the floor, four men called the bids, screaming, blowing whistles, thrusting their arms into the air and using their fingers to signal how much more they were offering over the last bid.

One man’s misery is another man’s fortune,” the saying goes, and perhaps nowhere was it more true than at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on Sunday, where a mob of potential buyers convened for an auction of foreclosed homes, a fast-paced and somewhat unusual happening in a place more used to trade shows and corporate events.

Read more...


2/28/09 The Chinese Are Coming, To Buy Bargain US homes

While China's ultra-rich have been buying property in the U.S. for years, the buying tours are new, made attractive by still-rising Chinese income levels and American real estate prices that have been falling for two and a half years.

More than 100 Chinese buyers have joined such tours since late 2008, according to Chen Hang, the China-born vice president of real estate at Fortune Group. The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, company shows foreclosed commercial property to Chinese buyers.

"The Chinese are going to seize the opportunity to take advantage of some great deals," Chen said.

Read more...


1/23/09 Home Sales Soar

Foreclosures drive down prices in the Bay Area

Fully half of all existing homes sold in the Bay Area in December were foreclosures unloaded by banks at fire-sale prices. Those sales sent median prices tumbling to new lows and attracted droves of buyers, according to a real estate report released Wednesday.

"If you are OK with a little bit of work or a Class-B neighborhood rather than Class-A, you can get a smoking deal," said Stephen Bloom, a Realtor with Lawton Associates in Berkeley. "The banks understand if they want to move these things, they have to be quite aggressive on pricing. They're not fooling around anymore. They want to get them off their books."

Both investors and first-time home buyers are avidly pursuing foreclosure bargains.

Chai Chanthapak, 37, of San Ramon is one such investor.

Read more...


12/23/08 NEW Content


10/28/08 Real Estate Crash, Credit Crunch, & Financial Collapse


10/25/08 Solar-Powered Homes

There's some concern that the effort to move towards alternative sources of power, and specifically solar, will diminish since the economy moves towards a recession. But the tax credits are in place and were renewed with the bailout plan, so the real estate industry should promote the long-term benefits of solar-powered homes:

The loan processes at Fannie Mae (FNM) and Freddie Mac (FRE) don't give special treatment to buyers who make improvements to lower utility bills, says Shea's Andreen. Builders wish lenders would start to take stock of eco-features. "Solar panels free up household cash flow," Andreen says. "Lenders should recognize that." Read more...


10/20/08 Foreclosure Graphics

We're putting together a bunch of articles on the financial crisis and the credit crunch. We are also working on gathering together useful graphics and charts with interesting housing data and foreclosure updates.


10/5/08 Real Estate: New Amenities Packages

Extravagance is gone in many ways in the real estate market. People are looking for more efficiency, economical value, usefulness, and just overall quality.

  • Hiking and biking trails rather than an athletic facility or swimming pool for a development
  • Man made bass fishing holes rather than golf course
  • Community connectivity via intranets – message boards for the neighborhoods
  • Developers getting involved in the types of schools in the area (schools being one of the most important factors in many homebuyers)

Read more...

NEW Content:


9/7/08 LeFrak Family Buying LA Commercial Properties

What I found interesting was they were willing to sell apartment complexes in New York in order to have the cash to buy the commercial properties in LA. Deal must have been too good to pass up. The apartments they sold must not have been good long term investments. The LeFrak family sold $300 million dollars worth of Brooklyn apartments to fund the purchase. Buy they did avoid paying capital gains taxes by buying the LA buildings within six months of deal.

The LeFrak strategy angle on this deal is they think all the profits of the entertainment industry will go back to the employees and thus feed the real estate market of LA. They like New York as the financial hub of the world and LA has the entertainment hub. However, I was surprised they paid top dollar for the commercial properties they bought what with the real estate market so depressed in general.

What's great is how big time investors who have the ability to get cash and then can come in and grab properties that they think will have good returns in years to come - buying on the dips and in depressed times. But again, the LeFrak group paid top dollar for the new buildings.

Read the LeFrak article in Business Week...


8/29/08 New Content This Week


8/13/08 A Tale of Two Homes

Homes are still selling when priced right in Boise Idaho! I recently had a Seller client call wanting to sell a home they purchased in July of 2006 for $293,000. It was a single level home, just over 2,000 square feet, 3 car garage that was about 10 years old and backed to a beautiful common area w/rod iron fencing.

Read more....


7/21/08 The Next Slum?

Another article about the declining of the suburbs, here the Atlantic Monthly takes a look at how the fringes of the suburbs are suffering with foreclosures and more and more people would like to live closer to the city and near public transportation. The main crux of the article is that the new slums will be the cookie cutter suburbs that have been over built.

Arthur C. Nelson, director of the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech, has looked carefully at trends in American demographics, construction, house prices, and consumer preferences. In 2006, using recent consumer research, housing supply data, and population growth rates, he modeled future demand for various types of housing. The results were bracing: Nelson forecasts a likely surplus of 22 million large-lot homes (houses built on a sixth of an acre or more) by 2025—that’s roughly 40 percent of the large-lot homes in existence today.


7/15/08 Rule of 15

The Rule of 15 – This is a rule that’s used to gauge if a home is worth buying when comparing it to your rent. Take your rent and multiple it by 12 (12 months in the year) and then multiple that by 15.

This is something that Carmen Wong Ulrich espouses in her ‘On the Money’ video segment on CNBC. If a home that is comprable and below this number then it might be time to buy, if it's more, then you can still wait.

Here’s an example: Your rent costs $2,000 a month x 12 x by 15 = $360,000. Say there's a home nearby that costs $325,000, then that's worth looking into as far as a purchase.

The key advice she gives overall, get your credit together and stick with a simple 30 or 15 year mortgage, not an adjustable rate mortgage - too risky.

Learn more...

Other new content:


6/19/08 Celebrity Real Estate


6/17/08 Reverse Mortgage Info


6/9/08 Not Sure Whether To Rent Or Buy? Check the Heat Map.

This is by way of the excellent blog TechCrunch run by Michael Arrington. Take a look at the rent ratio heat map from HotPads:

I can’t resist a good heat map, especially on real estate sites. HotPads, which brought us the foreclose heat map, now offers a handy rent ratio heat map. The rent ratio is a home’s sale price divided by the annual rent of a comparable home in the same neighborhood. Looking at the rent ratio gives you a quick sense of whether it makes more sense to rent or buy in a particular neighborhood. If the ratio is high (red on the map), it is usually a good indication that you are better off renting. If it is low (blue on the map), you are better off buying.

Read more...


6/3/08 NEW Content


4/13/08 The Government Wants to GIVE YOU $7000

The benefits of buying foreclosed homes are about to get A LOT better thanks to the $15 billion Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2008 that just passed through the Senate on Thursday by an impressive 84-12 vote. Once passed by Congress and signed by The President, homebuyers and investors can soon take advantage of a $7,000 tax credit with the purchase of EACH foreclosure property you acquire. WOW! That's money in your pocket on top of the already discounted 30-40% off real estate deals you can find on Foreclosures.com.


4/9/08 NEW This Week


3/28/08  NEW This Week


3/15/08  NEW This Week


3/5/08  NEW Content this Week


2/29/08  Can You Be a Successful House Flipper?

The idea is not to catch a shooting star in a rapidly appreciating market. Rather, the real plan lies in finding undervalued properties, rehab them, present them in an attractive manner, and sell them for a reasonable profit. House flipping is an art. It's a business, which reveals your mind - the smartest wins - and your inner world - charisma and the ability to present your property in an attractive manner. If you think you cover these two characteristics, follow this article to the end to see what else is required from the successful real estate flipper.

Read more...


2/29/08 Micro Cap Investments

Guest post on investing in the stock market and micro caps:

Greed is something that investors often feel on their own experience. Greed has no top, no point of satisfaction. But that's not the true goal of investment. It's clear for everyone that the investment aim is profit. Real and tough competition starts when there's a profit from risky penny stocks otherwise commonly known as micro cap stocks.

If you are decided on small cap stock, you should set realistic expectations on the profits and specific targets. Trading small cap stocks is a very careful process. Whether it is after an increase of 50% or 200%, you should know them and stick to them.

Read more...


2/22/08  NEW Content This Week


2/4/08 NEW Content


1/27/08 The Breakdown - In the News


1/21/08 Real Life Real Estate

Every once in a while, a good success story—or a negative turn of events—makes for inspiring literature and gives you ideas about what and what not to do with your property.

Read more...


1/17/08 NEW Content


1/7/08 Happy New Year to All!

We're doing a big update on our site.  Hope to have a lot of new, interesting, and useful content in the coming weeks.  Thanks for visiting.


9/8/07  NEW Articles

Extra: 


7/25/07  Top Lender Sees More Woes in Housing Market & Good Risk Mortages

Wow!  Countrywide Financial, nation's largest mortgage lender is seeing defaults from good risk mortgages.  Due to loss of jobs or divorce, many home owners are struggling to make their mortgage payments and having to foreclose it looks like.  With all the hype in the housing market I think a lot of people got in over their heads and now that home prices are falling, they're struggling to even sell their homes and recoup on second mortgages.

Read more...


7/24/07  Real Estate News Before It's News

We all want to get insider information, right? The latest news or news before it becomes news. Where should we buy property and when—where are the hot markets, the real bubbles?  Is this a good long term property buy?

Read more...


7/18/07  Terabitz - Real Estate Site

A real estate Web site that aims to be all things to all home shoppers will join the burgeoning ranks of online housing marketers today.  Read more...


7/17/06 Redfin Versus Brokers

The news is that Redfin has got another round of funding and are looking to continue to shack up the real estate industry.

Read more...


7/7/07  Finding Foreclosures:  More Tips and Tricks

Finding great deals on foreclosures might require a little digging, but it’s definitely worth it. This article expands on the ideas we discussed in our first article, Locating Foreclosures.

Among all the methods to obtain foreclosures, you’ll probably hear more about auctions. Foreclosed properties are usually sold at auctions which function in basically the same way as an auction at the county fair or on eBay. The difference here, however, is that price tags are much higher and more risk is involved. Poor decision making, lack of knowledge, and excitement during intense bidding (which leads to overbidding) can be catastrophic. For this reason, it’s wise to be calm, realistic, sensible, and most of all patient. You don’t want to overpay or end up with a piece of property you can’t afford.

Read more...


6/29/07  How to Calculate a Return on Investment

ROI = Appreciation +/- Cashflow divided by initial investment

For example:

Purchase Price: 449, 900
Appreciation: 6%
Downpayment: 45k
Cash Flow: $200 negative per month

449,900 x 6% = 26,994
Negative cash flow for year = $2400
$26994 - $2400 = 24,594
24,594 divided by 45,000 = 54% ROI first year

If you put 20% down ($90k) and you have $300 positive cash flow your ROI would be 26,994 + 3600 divided by 90,000 = 34% ROI

In summary based on the assumption of 6% appreciation and the cash flow, putting 10% down will give you a better ROI.

Contact:  Anthony Navarro
Company:  Trada Group
Tel: 415.227.4047 ext. 108
Cell: 415-305-3291

The Trada Group is the only company to develop and sell high quality, investment property across the US to individual real estate investors at pre-construction prices and provide professional on-site property management to maximize returns.

Learn more: 


6/21/07  Student Helps Teacher Buy Home

This is a great story on a number of different levels.  A student rises above the rough circumstances he grew up in, dad deported due to troubles with the law, to lead a seminar for teachers on how to buy homes, and also earn a scholarship to UC Berkley.

I think a lot of people don't realize that there a number of avenues to buying property, whether it's an investment property or your first home.  It pays to get the ball rolling and keep your eyes and ears peeled.  Attend a seminar when you have the chance.  Set goals and create a plan.  Rather than paying substantial rents, when not pay a mortgage.  Sure, you have to way other things.  Stability of your job, upkeep and maintence, how long you want to live in the area.

How she did it:

Lisa Shafer's monthly mortgage and tax bill for her $383,000 condo will be about $1,880. After income tax savings, she thinks it will come to about $500 more than the $1,022 she pays now for rent. She plans to get summer jobs to boost her income.

Down payment: $30,500

$10,000 from IRA (the Internal Revenue Service allows first-time home buyers to withdraw this amount without penalty)

Read more...


6/17/07  Celebrity Homes - Toby Maguire Sells Home

Every now and then we like to post a home sale by a celebrity, thisSpiderman time it's for Spider Man, meaning Toby Maguire.  He made quite a sum on this sale, his first home, in just four years.  But not sure how much he paid to have the house re-designed by Waldo Fernandez, that may have made the home a much more attractive buy. 

Where is Spider Man moving to now?  Tough life, having a gym and spa in your home, not to mention a chef's and maid's quarters.

Read more...


6/16/07  Just Outside the City of Trees:  Eagle, Idaho

I got the inside scoop on a suburb just outside the city of trees:  Boise, Idaho that is growing by leaps and bounds. 

With a river running through Boise, full of trees and a getting the good four seasons (spring, summer, fall, and winte), less snow now, but heat in the summer.  The Boise area is ideal for those who like the outdoors and are raising a family.  Living costs are low and the up side is proximity to McCall, Sun Valley, Bogus Basin, Luck Peak (for water skiing).  Here, the middle class can live like the rich, and Eagle is a nice area to start.  Right now traffic is an issue believe it not the area is growing so much.  For the investor, there are a number of opportunites to buy family homes, land and or townhouses.

Read more...


6/15/07  Signage - Make Your Property Standout

From Rain City Guide (a great site that has a number of bloggers contributing to the blog on a regular basis, a lot of good information about real estate that's applicable to all regions, not just Seattle):

'Every once in a while, when I’m reading Bloodhound Blog I come across an idea so brilliant, so obvious in hindsight, I just stare at my monitor stupefied in amazement wondering, why doesn’t everybody do this? It’s obvious he has Dustin’s money quote hanging in his office. Maybe all that time in front of fruit computers has caused him to “Think Different“?

I am talking of course about Bloodhound Realty’s Sign Philosophy. Mr. Swann has blogged about the evolution of his signing philosophy and related marketing efforts, more than once during the past year. I was driving around my neighborhood this week, looking at the homes on the market, and it really hit home. I almost felt like howling at the houses on my block “Where is Greg when you need him?” The vast majority of the “for sale” signs in my neighborhood, are the usual boring rectangular shape and size. It’s sad because the most interesting yard signs in my neighborhood are from Redfin (memorable because of its non-rectangular shape and the BUY ME “button” on the sign) and from Plateau Real Estate, a small & local company down the street from me, (memorable because it’s logo has gradient greens and a unique font). It’s not like Redfin’s logo and Plateau’s signs are that great, but at least they try to stand out amidst an ocean of boring, rectangular, monochromatic signs from most of the big and independent brokers in the area.'

I'm all about shortening and skipping steps, and I think that's what the Internet's about and more so real estate.  His comment about the price on the sign is key.  Why do we have to get out of the car to grab one of this pieces of paper?  Put the price on the sign.  Now, whenever we come into a situation, whether it's buying a house, a car, or a book, we have much more information, from review sites online, blogs, articles, friends, and so on.  The web gives the individual more information and the ability to do their own research.

Read more...


6/14/07  Tax Benefit Falls From Favor

From the Wall Street Journal.  This is walled off so you do have to have an account at WSJ, usually don't like to post about articles that are walled off. 

This issue relates more to commercial property, and using the 1031 exchange so you don't have to pay capital gains taxes. 

If you plan accordingly, have a strong network of partners, you shoudn't have a problem finding a property to buy that is of equal footing and satisfy your 1031 exchange.  The key is to plan, and not wait, always be thinking about what you need to put in place for a property in the future.

'Some smaller real-estate investors are turning away from a popular tax-deferral strategy that has attracted scrutiny after fraud allegations.

A number of investors had already started to reject the option out of concern about another problem: high prices for commercial properties.

The so-called 1031 exchange strategy allows participants to defer, or sometimes avoid, paying capital-gains taxes when they sell a business or investment property if they plan to buy another property of equal or greater value. To qualify for the benefit, the seller can't touch the money from the sale. Instead, the money typically is received and held by a "qualified intermediary" until it is used to buy a new property.'

Read more...


6/14/07  Attracting Vacation Home Renters

Make your home stand out.  Add that extra feature that pulls in the renters.  This doesn't just apply to vacation rentals but any kind of property.  Sometimes you need to do that extra bit to rent, lease, or sell a property. 

Think abou the region your property is located in, and what those tenants would need.  Would an elevator in your building dramatically increase the number of tenants, or elderly tenants that live in your building say if the property is in a retirement community.  Is your buidling near a college, would free Internet access greatly increase the cache of your building.  Learn more below and think about how it applies to your situation:

In an increasingly crowded vacation rental market, high-speed Internet access, plasma televisions, and even 500-thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets can help distinguish a home and bring in renters. “It’s a marketing tactic,” Ms. Karpinski said, “but it could be just the feature that pushes someone to your listing over, say, the 50 other condos that are just like yours.”

Read more...


6/13/07  U.S. Mortgage Foreclosure Filings Rise 90% in May

If you have experience buying foreclosed properties, then you're time is now.

U.S. foreclosure filings surged 90 percent in May from a year earlier as more homeowners fell behind on their monthly mortgage payments, RealtyTrac Inc. said.

There were 176,137 notices of default, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions last month, led by California, Florida and Ohio, the Irvine, California-based seller of foreclosure data said in a report today. The median price for a U.S. home slid 1.8 percent the first three months of 2007 as the housing slump entered its second year, according to the National Association of Realtors. The filings rose 19 percent from April.

Read more...

Also see Inman.com for more on this:

Here's a rundown on the metro areas with the highest rate of foreclosure filings:

Stockton, Calif. (1 in 88 households)
Merced, Calif. (1 in 100 households)
Modesto, Calif. (1 in 118 households)
Las Vegas
Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif.
Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif.
Sacramento, Calif.
Denver, Colo.
Detroit, Mich.
Miami, Fla.


6/12/07 Housing Market Hasn't Hit Bottom

For investors right now is a good time to do your research and look to scoop up some properties where sellers are trying to get out.  There's a surge in foreclosures and now people who owned houses are looking to rent, so the apartment area will have a bigger demand and rents will stay at a good or increased rate depending upon the area you're buying in.

Think outside the box right now.  What can you do to help others and at the same time increase your revenue in the real estate market.

'Dotcom-crash rhetoric/predictions back in 2000 and the housing-crash rhetoric/predictions in the last 12 months

Housing obviously won't experience as deep a correction as the dotcoms did, but I haven't heard a single persuasive argument explaining why this downturn won't look like every previous housing downturn: i.e., will last a lot longer and drop much farther than most people think--until price/rent and price/income ratios return to or below their long-term trend.'

Read more...


6/11/07  Tony, Carmela, Paulie and the Gang Loved Real Estate to Death

It is all about real estate--who has the money gets the power.  Real estate gives you not only money but control.  See how it plays out in The Sorpranos.
Sopranos House

Carmela was trying to establish herself, have her own money, by getting into the real estate game.  Tony, in some ways wanted to keep his control over her and now allow her have her independence.  Even deals she was working on he somehow helped connect her too.  He wanted her to take the money she made and bet it--he had a sure pick he said.

'Perhaps it was inevitable that series creator David Chase chose real estate as such an animator of The Sopranos. So much of American money is tied up now in property in all its manifestations—private property, public-private partnerships on property development (the esplanade, with its hotel and galleria), public property. The show that captured so much of the national zeitgeist had to delve thoroughly into what's really now the national past-time.'

Read more...


6/8/07  Investments for All Ages

There are many reasons that make real estate investment an attractive option. One of them is that there is basically no age limit. Just think about it. Anybody can do it. Latin Dad is 62 years old. And young people fresh out of college can get their foot in the door with real estate investing, too.

Although age is not a limiting factor, it is, however, a variable that will affect how you invest. A retired couple and adults in their twenties will have different strategies in how they wish to invest.  Read more...


3/11/07 To Have, Hold and Cherish, Until Bedtime

An interesting concept, couples sleeping in separate beds or rooms like in the 50s, but now for different reasons.  Maybe that's an addition or unique attritube that makes your investment property stand out from all the rest.  You have a master bedroom and a women's own mrs. bedroom.  The phrase 'master bedroom' is now being deprecated.

The NY Times article is about couples building or having separate bed rooms, to get some peace and quiet from snorers, jimmy legs, and late night email checking obsessive workers. Couples are looking for buildings with two separate bedrooms, or adding them on to an existing home.  From the NY Times:

"In a survey in February by the National Association of Home Builders, builders and architects predicted that more than 60 percent of custom houses would have dual master bedrooms by 2015, according to Gopal Ahluwalia, staff vice president of research at the builders association. Some builders say more than a quarter of their new projects already do."

"At Escala, a condominium project in Seattle, a quarter of the 270 units have double master bedrooms, said John Midby, a partner in the development. In St. Louis County, Dennis Hayden, president of Hayden Homes, said that each of the 30 detached homes in his latest planned community would have two separate-but-equal bedroom suites."

“As a social pattern, this could increase,” she continued. “A lot of people I know fantasize about living in the same apartment building as their husband — but in a separate apartment. That could be next.” Read more...


2/22/07  Most Overvalued Housing Markets:

Latest analysis of 299 markets: See how your hometown ranks.

Sixty-five of the nation's 299 biggest real estate markets are severely overpriced and subject to possible price corrections.

That's according to the latest (third quarter) Housing Market Analysis conducted by National City Corp, a financial holding company, in conjunction with Global Insight, a financial information provider.

The report named Naples, Florida as the most overvalued of all housing markets in the United States. A single-family, median-priced home there sells for $329,970, 84 percent more than what it should cost -- $180,956 -- according to the analysis.

National City arrives at its estimates of what the typical house in these markets should cost by examining the town's population densities, local interest rates, and income levels. It also factors in historical premiums and discounts for each area.

Read more...CNN Money



11/14/06 IAmFacingForeclosure.com

Get some real world advice from someone who is going through the foreclosure process right now.  A 24-year-old aspiring real estate investor from Sacramento CA has a great blog that he updates on a regular basis.

He offers insight on short sales, mortgages, finances overall and just the struggle.  What I like is his compettive nature.  The way that he's trying to learn through this experience and grow.

After going to few seminars he bought 8 houses in 8 months across 4 states with no money down. I fixed and sold 2 and then ran out of cash. He's now facing foreclosure on 4 houses.

Read more....


11/9/06 Zillow Facts:  highest median home prices, least expensive median home prices, and highest appreciation rates

The markets with the highest median home prices were, in order:

San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland ($702,298) Los Angeles-Riverside-Orange County ($555,391) San Diego ($535,391) New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island ($472,042) Sacramento-Yolo ($403,886)

The metropolitan areas with the least expensive median home prices were, in Zillow's ranking:

Oklahoma City ($98,323) San Antonio, Texas ($100,108) Memphis, Tenn. ($106,664) Dayton-Springfield, Ohio ($109,162) Houston-Galveston-Brazoria, Texas ($126,821)

Zillow said the areas with the highest appreciation rates year-over-year in the third quarter were:

Jacksonville, Fla. (19.1 percent) Portland-Salem, Ore. (17.9 percent) Orlando, Fla. (17.6 percent) Richmond-Petersburg, Va. (16.2 percent) Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla. (15.9 percent) Published November 9, 2006 by the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal

Learn more....


11/3/06  Business 2.0 - Articles on the Real Estate Market

There's a great new collection of articles in Business 2.0 this month on the 'new rules of real estate'.  The section is done by Paul Kaihla, Business 2.0 Magazine senior writer. 

Grab the article or take a look at their website for some great insider tips.  They do a wonderful job of exploring the various types of investment strategies one can take, whether it's foreclosures, buying in big cities like San Francicso or New York, buying back large properties to rent to the former owner/company, buying rental properties (scooping up houses for cheap in overbuilt areas do to the boom), buying properties near college campuses, and then finally going green (solar add ons) or small houses.  The magazine is chaulk full of interesting ideas...

The biggest real estate myth, Kaihla says, is that it's one big market.  "Housing markets are always a reflection of local economic conditions," he explains.  "The primary drivers are how many people there are in a town and what they're earning."  This means that while some cities are overvalued, others are just right--and others still continue to be undervalued.  Read more.... Business 2.0 - New Rules of Real Estate


11/1/06 Launch

Please return soon for our launch.  We are in the process of fine tuning an investment properties guide as well as pulling together various reports, articles, analysis, and expert advice.  Thanks for your patience.

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