Author Archives: Joe Luca, REALTOR

About Joe Luca, REALTOR

Joe is a Licensed REALTOR, providing Residential Real Estate Services in Massachusetts and Rhode Island and Income Property Advisory Services nationwide. Joe is 2018 President of the Rhode Island Association of REALTORS. Member, Board of Directors, National Association of REALTORS®. Joe has worked with many 501(c)3 corporations as a Broker and volunteering his time, skills, and services.

RELATIONSHIPS AND REAL ESTATE

A REALTOR’s® Relationships with Colleagues, Partners and Vendors Can Save a Transaction.

A REALTOR’s® job (in a nutshell) is to procure the sale of real estate between a willing buyer and seller.

We have all been part of, or witnessed, a transaction that does not go well.  Whether it is buying/leasing a car, or retaining the services of a contractor, unless the parties are successful in communicating extremely clearly, there is always a possibility for a “miscommunication”.  This can lead to wounded egos, unhappy parties, or an issue to be resolved by litigation.  Can a Relationship save a transaction?

My relationship with my network is essential to client-satisfaction.  Whether referring a client to another REALTOR® a thousand miles away, or a local lender, I have extreme confidence in my referral partners.  When you are looking for a REALTOR® to partner with, it is essential that he/she have strong relationships with their referral network.

As a Full-Time REALTOR® for over a decade, I am fortunate that I have not had anything worse than the “wounded ego” (mine) experience in my business.  Live-and-
Learn.  One of the ways I have virtually eliminated the chance of these types of “miscommunications” is by putting all important communications in writing.  Additionally, I am very selective when choosing business partners and vendors to whom I refer business.  My partners and vendors are full-time (so they aren’t distracted by another job,) professional (they conduct themselves and behave appropriately,) ethical (they don’t put anything in front of the client’s best interests,) and licensed, and insured.  Having established relationships with people of this caliber, reduces the chance a client will be unhappy with me, because of an experience they had with a referral partner.

My colleagues who are also at the top of their game usually have strong networks of referral partners that they rely on for their clients’ needs. 

There are lots of good REALTORS®, but what sets some apart is the strength of the relationships they have with their referral network.  There have been times when I have to request that a partner, or vendor, to go the “extra (ethical) mile” to help bring a transaction to the Closing Table.  Maybe it is as simple as asking my preferred moving company to squeeze in an extra moving job for a client who scheduled a move with another mover whose truck broke down, or calling North Smithfield Tree Service to remove tree limbs that the Seller couldn’t get removed and it’s the day before Closing. 

The difference between success and failure maybe the extra effort exerted as a result of a relationship between the REALTOR® and a someone in their network.   

That is why Relationships are essential in the business of Real Estate.  YES, a relationship CAN save a transaction.

Joe Luca is a full-time REALTOR® who helps buyers and sellers achieve their real estate goals.

Multi-Family Properties are HOT!

If you want to become a Landlord, The Following May Be Of Interest.

FACTOID #1:  A full 90% of new multifamily construction today is rentals according to one study.

For the last several years, demand in multifamily has outpaced new construction, causing some places to see huge spikes in rent prices. Still demand has not slowed.

FACTOID #2: Multi-Family prices have been growing by up to 8% year-over-year.

Listed below are some of the most important things that today’s tenants are looking for in a rental.

Location

As with any other type of business, the location of your building can, and likely will, have a large impact on the revenue you bring in. Tenants often look for a property that is close to their place of employment, and that offers easy access to grocery stores, restaurants, parks, and more. Tenants are often willing to pay more, or even overlook less than desirable aspects of the unit, in exchange for the quality of lifestyle offered from being in a great neighborhood.  Millennials are attracted to the convenience of advanced technology. They expect that same kind of convenience in their living environments (grocery store within walking distance, public transportation just a few blocks from the apartment, office or workspace accessible by light rail or bus). The more walkable the location, the more attractive it is to young renters.

School District

With more and more consumers choosing to rent, it stands to reason that more families are choosing to rent rather than own. Along with location, tenants are likely looking at the area’s school district, as well. After all, every parent wants the very best for their child — and a safe, quality education is at the top of many parents’ lists.

Parking

Think about it — no one enjoys driving around for an hour looking for a parking spot that’s close to home. While there may be ample parking spaces for your suburban property, parking can be a bit of a challenge in urban areas. If you can’t offer easy off-street parking for your tenants, consider directing your tenants to a parking garage that’s located nearby.

…but not all tenants have cars.

Multi-Modal Transportation Options for Residents

Parking lots are disappearing to make room for more pedestrian friendly options. Most millennials in urban areas do not own cars. They bike, walk, or ride to work. Some high-end multifamily developers are including bike repair and storage “shops” in their buildings or providing ridesharing pickup and drop-off locations on-site.

Convenient On-Site Package Delivery Systems

More than a quarter of the workforce today does not work from an office. Mailing letters or shipping packages usually requires a trip to a FedEx or post office. One amenity attracting young professionals are on-site package delivery systems where packages are received and signed for in real-time through an alert sent to a tenant’s smartphone. Packages can also be sent out from the apartment with pickups scheduled from the apartment’s online platform.

Activities Space and Luxurious Common Areas

Gyms are not the only community spaces tenants want. New developers will need to think about adding an on-site café, workspaces, and lounge areas. Some unique ideas include community gardens and wine tasting rooms, community theaters or apartment pubs or pool halls.

Renovations and Upgrades

Sometimes, the smallest details are the ones that really make a house feel like a home — and that can secure a lease on your space. Upgrades that are smart and strategic, such as hardwood floors or stainless-steel appliances, can help attract higher quality tenants. Other renovations that rank highly among tenants include renovations in the kitchen and bathrooms, updated cabinet hardware, central air conditioning, and a new kitchen backsplash.

Think of these features you offer your tenants as a way of demonstrating to them how you expect to be treated in return — and the care you expect to be given to your building. Even small steps can indicate to your tenants that you really care about the property and that you will be responsive to any necessary property maintenance — always a big concern for renters. By offering these features that tenants are looking for, you are differentiating your property from the competition — allowing you to attract and retain better tenants and enjoy a better return on your investment.

If you have any questions about any of the above information call or text Joe Luca, REALTOR® at 401-580-9797.

The above information was obtained from various web articles published by NAR, CBRE, and NAI Global.

10 Reasons NOT To Sell Your Own House – FSBO

  1. Time
    When you decide to FSBO be prepared to sacrifice a lot of time. From staging the property and taking perfect pictures to getting the description and marketing right. You’ll also spend time showing the property, entertaining lookie-loo’s and door-kickers, and talking with agents who won’t take you seriously.
  2. Costs
    When you sell by owner you may think you’re saving money but in reality you’re often spending a lot of money up front with no guarantee of any return. Listing agents spend a calculated amount of money up front to make sure a listing sells and ultimately pays both you and them both fairly.
  3. Saving On Commission
    Choosing to FSBO doesn’t really save you money. On average, homes sold by agents get $230k compared to $180k for FSBO. When you find the right agent they will price your property to get the most money in the shortest time, a combination that can mean 10-30% more net profit. When you are considering saving 1.5-3% on a listing commission you should take that into consideration.
  4. No Money Up Front
    Listing agents do not charge anything upfront to sell your home. If they spend thousands and can’t sell it for the price you want, they are out those thousands, not you! This is perhaps one of the greatest things about using an agent. There is an extremely low risk and cost to doing so!
  5. Perception
    The perception of FSBO sellers is that they are not serious about selling their properties and are often just testing the market or seeing if they can get some far fetched price or perfect buyer that isn’t realistic. They are often not taken seriously in the real estate community because they don’t see the value in representation by an agent or broker.
  6. Marketing
    You might be ready to post your home on Facebook and Craigslist a few times, but you don’t have the ultimate home selling tool – the MLS. The multiple listing service can be accessed by licensed real estate agents, and is the way to get your home listed on sites like Realtor.com, Zillow, and Trulia. A large majority of home buyers begin their search on sites like these, and you want your home to be seen by as many buyers as possible to get the best price. It’s no surprise that homes sold via FSBO have seen a steady decline as online real estate has become the norm.
  7. Liability
    When you sell your home without an agent, any mistakes you make can cost you greatly. Agents have something called E&O (Errors & Omissions) Insurance. This protects them when mistakes are made in contracts. When you sell on your own, others can make sure to exploit every little mistake you make.
  8. Agent Boycott/Sabotage
    When you decide to sell your home yourself you are telling other agents that you don’t understand their value in a multi-billion dollar industry. Agents often see FSBO sellers as easy marks to negotiate against because they have the upper hand. They control the buyer/offer and can negotiate their own commission. They can also pick your property and price apart because they have the expertise to do so. They don’t need to worry about treating you unfairly because the chance of them dealing with you again is slim to none. More often than not they will simply ignore your listing altogether to avoid the hassle.
  9. Pricing Incorrectly
    Pricing your home incorrectly when you list it can be the worst mistake, and can greatly affect days on market and final sales price. Pricing too high will mean fewer people see it, resulting in fewer offers. Price it too low and you’re conveying that something is wrong with the property or that you are desperate to sell. More days on market will also signal to buyers that something is wrong and can ultimately mean less money upon final sale. Learn more about setting the price right here.
  10. Low Ballers
    When you FSBO you attract investors and low-ballers who see your inexperience and ignorance as a prime opportunity. What may seem like a lot to you may be a steal to them. An experienced agent will understand this and negotiate the most money possible for you.

The above was sourced from UpNest.

Is NOW A Good Time To Invest In Real Estate?

Timing the market isn’t usually a fruitful endeavor…it’s certainly not rewarding. The decision to invest in rental property should be driven by objective data, not “timing”.

Some things you may want to consider:

  1. Are you personally prepared to be a landlord? “Landlording” isn’t always easy, and it isn’t usually fun. Unlike owning mutual funds, stocks and bonds, it is an active investment. You need to be engaged and committed to being a good Landlord. Unlike the aforementioned, you CAN buy an investment worth five times the amount of money you are committing to the investment by leveraging your investment with a mortgage.
  2. How much money do you have to invest? You need to have enough for a down payment and some reserves for repairs, maintenance, and vacancies.
  3. Will you live in the investment property? This can be a great way to get started if you buy a multi-family.
  4. Will you qualify for a mortgage? Mortgage products for investment properties have different guidelines than mortgages for single family properties.
  5. What are the rental rates in the neighborhoods where you would be looking to invest? Rental rates have been increasing much faster than the cost of ownership nationwide. For example: three rental units generating $3,600/month can support a lot of debt-service, taxes, insurance, and vacancy ratio of 5%. (A $375,000 mortgage with 20% down would have a PITI payment of under $3,000/month at 6.5%.)

While I can’t predict when the next “Crash” is going to occur, it doesn’t appear to be on the horizon based on the empirical data. If it is, and you buy a good property in a good neighborhood, in a desirable town, you will be shielded from the downturn much better than if you bought a property in a not-so-good neighborhood. You will be shielded even more if you are uber-selective with your tenants. Good tenants are almost worth their weight in gold if you compare them to the cost of bad tenants.

Knowledge is power so your best first step may be to have a conversation with an experienced, full-time REALTOR® to assess if investing in real estate is the right “move” for you.

Is Providence, RI Worthy?

The late Mayor Buddy Cianci believed the people of Providence have had a self-esteem problem. Perhaps that should be considered since there are so many “nay-sayers” about new developments in the city.

From http://www.VisitRhodeIsland.com

Providence certainly has “issues” that it needs to deal with. However, so does every other city in the country.
1) ” Traffic is terrible”: Have you driven in Boston recently? Constant changes in traffic patterns, parking is never available where and when you need it, and traffic could mean an hour delay, not a delay of minutes like in Providence.
2) “Providence is too small”: Providence is a boutique city, that is its strength and it should be leveraged. The “mega-conferences” will never come to Providence. Larger cities like Boston, San Francisco, and Chicago have logistical problems with “mega conferences.” (I know because I have gone to those cities for conferences of 20,000.) Providence will never, nor should it, be considered for a “mega conference”.
3) “Where is the money going to come from?”: The money should come from the private sector; no guarantee or loan from any government entity. If an opportunity makes financial sense the big lenders will flock to the opportunity to invest in it. As a REALTOR® with over 20 years’ experience in the commercial sector, I have seen it firsthand. That’s Capitalism and it is very efficient.
4) “Our taxes are too high!”: Tourists and shoppers don’t care about traffic/parking tickets, high taxes, or bureaucratic “red-tape.” They want a good experience. The challenge is for the private sector to put out a product that the consumer wants and will pay for – despite these challenges. CASES-IN-POINT: Walk around Boston, or NYC, or Chicago and observe the parking tickets and “Boots” on vehicles. The afore-mentioned cities have more taxes and they are higher than those in Providence and have more “red-tape.” The consumer may not know or doesn’t care; they just want a good experience.
5) “Good business and high-end consumers won’t come to Providence.”: The city of Providence and many of its detractors and supporters should stop behaving like the city isn’t deserving of “good” businesses, “nice” developments, and “high-end” consumers. Too often, the city is ready to “give away the store.” The city should have Standards and not behave like someone who is so desperate for money that they go to a “pay-day-advance” store. Perhaps that’s the problem. CASES-IN-POINT: Baltimore has had riots and still receives development projects, San Francisco seemingly has a panhandler on every street corner asking for $10 and $20 and people still travel there, political corruption and high shooting and murder rates haven’t hurt Washington DC, Chicago, or New Orleans.

The city of Providence needs to look beyond our city, state, and regional boundaries for solutions. The largest commercial real estate conference in the world is every March in France. Why can’t Providence look to the international community for ideas and funding? There are literally thousands of developers and lenders at this conference looking for real estate investment opportunities. I know because I have attended this for my business and I have met with them. Why shouldn’t we be introducing them to Providence? We should. Would you like to get involved? Message me if you would.

What Should YOU Consider Before You Buy A Property To Flip?

Time. The one factor that many “Fix and Flippers” fail to manage effectively is the time it should take to complete a task (or series of tasks) and the amount of time it actually does take to complete those task(s.) Time IS money, especially when you are borrowing money from a Private or Hard Money Lender.

Extra hours on a few tasks become an added day, an extra day soon pushes into another week, and another week will push into an extra month. That’s another month of interest accruing on your borrowed money, another month of property taxes, another month of vacant property insurance (more expensive,) another month of electricity, heat, etc.

If there is something you don’t know how to do well, hire someone who does. A mistake could cause damage, it will take more time to correct and will cost more money.

Plus, the longer you hold onto a property that you want to sell, the odds (although slim) increase that something could happen and work against you. A weather calamity could damage the house, a winter with snow could prevent laborers from showing up at work, the market could change, and on and on. In short, the longer you unnecessarily hold on to a property the greater the odds become that “if something could go wrong it will.”

Before considering a “flip” you need to have everything buttoned up nice and tight. Your team of tradesmen and laborers must be ready, willing, and available to work for you when you need them to. Make sure that you have access to all of the construction materials that will be necessary.

Know what the market wants and deliver it to them market in a timely fashion. The best way to know the market is to get a full time, experienced REALTOR® in your community. A full time, experienced REALTOR® will have the answers to questions you don’t know to ask; and that will

Lastly, be prepared to manage the project. You must to go to the property twice daily if you are not going to be working yourself. Flipping is not easy but it can be rewarding and gratifying.

What is Cash-Flowing Real Estate?

Cash-flowing, or performing, residential real estate is a property that generates consistent, positive net cash-flow month after month. Typically there is a Lease between a Landlord (property owner) and a Tenant (renter) for a specific period of time, (Term) usually one year. The term is the period of time the Tenant is obligated to pay rent and the Landlord is obligated to retain Tenant if Lease covenants are kept by the Tenant.

(However, if it is a commercial property/tenant (not legally intended to be used as a residence by the tenant) the Lease is frequently for a longer Term.)

Positive cash-flow is what remains from the total rent and other income (laundry, storage etc) received by the Landlord after ALL expenses have been paid. This is the “Shangrila” of Landlording; all expenses have been paid, and there is money left at the end of the month. This positive cash-flow can then be utilized to pay down the mortgage debt, saved up to buy another property, or used to fund a retirement. (Typically a CPA can help with this decision.)

In short, “cash flowing” residential real estate is leased to tenants and the rent more than covers all expenses so there is a “profit”.  Landlords should regularly consult with a reliable and honest Lender to see if they can save money on the largest expense; the mortgage.  John Dolbec at First Home Mortgage  401-266-4413 is highly recommended.

Honest, Ethical, and Dedicated to providing great service to his Clients.

The opposite of positive cash-flow is negative cash-flow; when there is not enough money to cover ALL expenses.  If this is the result of a tenant who is not paying rent you should immediately consult with an eviction attorney and get a better tenant.  Tenant-selection is one of the fundamentals that should not be over-looked.  If you have to hire a mover to entice a tenant to move out sooner do it.  Call Gentry Moving and Storage 401-785-1600 for a stress-free experience. 

Your BEST Choice for moving.

Please note: this is not legal or tax advice and an attorney or tax professional should be consulted for legal and tax questions.  We recommend Resnick and Caffrey Law Firm. 

Reliable, Knowledgeable, and Experienced.