Category Archives: Entrepreneurial Attitude

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.

“Transfer of Wealth” – Just for the “Rich”?

Hopefully everyone will have a healthy and prosperous 2018.  It certainly seems to be shaping up that way so far.  The Dow, has broke 26,000, dropped below 25,000 and closed up over 300 points today.  We have experienced well in excess of $1 trillion of new wealth in the stock market in the past twelve months.  That is a good thing.  It is not just the wealthy, the stockbrokers, and other “big shots” that realize this increase in wealth from the stock market.  It is the little guy too.  The laborer/teacher/police officer/fireman who has paid into to a union pension reaps these benefits too.  The pensions invest in the stock market, bonds, real estate and other assets.  As do many mutual funds, some directly and some indirectly.  The word “Wealth” has, in many sectors of society, been erroneously associated with “evil”, “greed”, and other nefarious behavioral traits.  Increasing your wealth is not a bad thing for you, your family and your heirs.  Pretty much everyone wants to make it “easier” for our children to have a better life than we do.  Which brings us to the whole “transfer of wealth” issue.  Full disclosure, I was raised in a family that owned a small business.  My parents, aunts, and uncles all worked hard to assure that their families could be supported by the business.  Was it easy? I don’t think so; trying to sell musical instruments when interest rates were 18% must have been a challenge.  But they did it, they worked hard to increase the value of the business every year.  When the time comes that they pass on they will have the value of their business as a part of their estate. An estate that is composed of assets (typically cash, stocks, bonds, real estate) that are taxed annually.  Why does it make sense that upon their death, the estate should have to pay a tax on these assets yet again? This the government acting like a silent partner, reaping the rewards of decades of hard work without ever participating in the “work” aspect of the business.  So the “wealth” of a small family-owned business will be transferred to the heirs, after the proverbial “pound of flesh” is taken by the government.  We are not talking Kennedy/Rockefeller/Getty wealth, but small time family business “wealth”.  This scenario is repeated millions of times across the country with immigrant families, first and second generation American families, who work hard to build something of value that could be decimated by estate taxes.  This confiscation of wealth is not a good thing. It discourages hard work for the delayed gratification of leaving children and grandchildren in a better financial position than their predecessors. Is that good for America?

A Rant About Writers

Communication is important – it is how we convey information to each other. To communicate effectively, and be successful in conveying the information accurately, we need to do a few things well:

  • Word Choice, use language your audience can understand. If I am trying to explain something to an audience (even if it’s one person,) I should be less concerned with trying to impress them with my knowledge and more concerned with them understanding and comprehending my message.  If I use “$2 Words”, and no one else knows what they mean, what did I accomplish other than wasting everyone’s time?
  • Spelling, homonyms can be tricky for many.  Are you drinking “Sweat Tea” or “Sweet Tea”? Both are spelled correctly but mean something totally different. Allowed and aloud are others that have different meanings but sound the same. Then there are the plain-old typos and misspellings. Some of my favorites are: “Peeface from the Editor”, “Panty stuffers”, and “School of Pubic Affairs”;
  • Punctuation, “Did the Bear eat John?” or “Did the bear eat, John?” and everyone has seen “Let’s eat Grandma!” instead of “Let’s eat, Grandma” …a comma CAN save a life.

Perhaps errors like these should be expected from grammar school students, but what drives me bonkers is when the NY Times, the Providence Journal, and GolocalProv make these errors. Spellcheck is not adequate, and is for lazy writers.  Why don’t these writers check their own work with their own eyeballs? After-all, it has THEIR name on it. I submit to you that it is due to a lack of self-pride.  They are not proud of themselves, and they are not proud of their own work which represents them.  What do you think?

 

A Little Christmas Cheer

Secret Santa has brought your gift early this year.  A holiday recipe for finding the best deal on your home purchase this year: sauté •strong demand with •less competition from other listings marinate in •low interest rates and add a dash of •Holiday Season. The result?  The perfect blend for an Artisan deal.

The Holiday Season is upon us, and everyone’s mind is occupied with shopping, parties, sending out cards and wrapping gifts. But, all holiday shopping isn’t done on line, or at the mall, or at that swanky boutique…

In fact, there is a significant amount of home-buying that happens during the “holiday shopping season”.  Last year there were almost 1,000 Rhode Island houses that went Pending between November 15, 2016 and January 15, 2017!  This “shopping List” was valued at OVER $317 million …THAT is a lot of shopping!

Why is it good to go House Shopping during the Holiday Season???  Well to start, there is less competition from other buyers, so it is less likely that that there will be a “Bidding War” for your dream house – as has happened throughout the year with some houses in high demand areas.  The same holds true for putting your house on the market during the Holiday Season.  There are fewer active listings as the temperature drops; but according to the National Association of REALTORS, demand for houses remains strong through the Holiday Season.  Additionally, interest rates are still below 4% for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage.  This is half of the historical average of 8% for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage.

Strong demand, less competition from other listings, and low interest rates.  That is a holiday recipe for getting an excellent value on a home purchase.

While the average buyer has pushed the average price for a single-family home in Rhode Island almost to the $270,000 marker, there are houses that sell for a multiple of that as well.  In fact, Little Rhody, The Biggest Little State In The Union, has had its fair share of “celebrity” buyers too.  The most recent was the announced purchase of The Seafair by Jay Leno and his wife Mavis for $13.5 million.  This year it is the highest so far, and the highest since The Fairholme Estate in Newport sold for $16.1 million in 2016.  And get this, for $13.5 million, he didn’t even get the whole house! (He bought 4 condo units.)  So technically, since it was bought in parcels totaling $13,500,000, this year’s record stands at $11,650,000 for a single-family sale in Newport.

For the entire state of Rhode Island, Single Family sales greater than $1 million increased to 232 houses from 183 houses last year.  As for Condo sales over $1 million this year there were 16 in 2017, up from 10 last year.

There were five single-family sales greater than $5 million through November 30 of this year; which is the same as 2016.

If you have any questions about the real estate market in your area, the value of your house or any real estate questions whatsoever, call a REALTOR.  If you are going to engage in the largest financial transaction of your life you deserve the guidance of an experienced, ethical, real estate professional.

As of the publication of this Premier Issue of Real Estate Today, there are 80 properties priced over $1 million listed on RILiving.com – a really good place to do your Holiday Shopping.

Five Crucial Home Selling Decisions if You Want to Sell in 2015

Five Crucial Home Selling Decisions if You Want to Sell in 2015

If you’re planning on selling your home in 2015 there are five crucial decisions that can help you maximize your sale price, get your home sold quickly and do it all without the mountain of stress that often comes with the sale of your home.

Decision #1 – Decide to prepare sooner than later. Home sellers who wait until spring to get their home “ready” are already behind the curve. The real estate year is in full swing by March 1st and homes that sell quickly and for top dollar during the “selling season” are the homes where the owner had a plan, got their home ready, staged, and listed early in the year.

Decision #2 – Decide to prepare yourself emotionally. Selling your home can be very emotional. When you receive an offer for less than you think your home is worth, it generates a whole host of negative emotions. You can feel angry, frustrated, and think everyone is trying to steal your home from you.

Well, they’re not. Buyers just want to know they’re getting the best price. We all feel similar when we make a big purchase. So be careful to manage your emotions. And if you get a “low-ball” offer rely on the help of a trusted professional. A good agent can often gently negotiate the price into a range where everyone wins. The key is to keep your emotional swings in check.

Decision #3 – Be realistic and price your home accordingly. One of the big keys to getting your home sold quickly, for the most money, is pricing it correctly. If you price your home too high, thinking you’ll “test the market,” it can be costly. Your home can sit on the market too long and get labeled as a “no-need-to-show” because you’re viewed as being unrealistic.

You see it all the time. Sellers think they are going to “hold out” and get a better price. Well, you need to consider how soon you want to sell? The reality is you can get just about any price you want if you’re willing to wait long enough. If you wait 5-7 years your home will very likely sell for a more than it will today. But if you want to sell in 90-120 days for top dollar, pricing is a crucial issue that you should discuss at length with a trusted real estate professional.

Decision #4 – Reconcile reality quickly. This is somewhat similar to decision #2, but it’s actually more practical and actionable. Emotions can be hard to define and control, like in point #2. But what is fairly easy to judge is your market’s numbers, and the realities of value.

Agents always hear things like, “But my home has this, this and this. Therefor it should be worth a lot more.” In theory that’s somewhat true. However, the reality you have to be prepared to reconcile is, if people won’t pay more for those things, it doesn’t make your home worth more.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to soften you up so you give your home away. The goal is to help you get the highest possible price, in the shortest time, with the fewest hassles. But something that’s very important to deal with is reality, not wishful thinking. Wishful thinking backs tens of thousands of home sellers into very difficult positions every year.

Having a clear objective view of reality, as well as a trusted professional to help guide you through the emotional ups and downs, can help you avoid a massive mountain of emotional stress, while your home just sits on the market.

My encouragement is, prepare yourself for the true realities, while maintaining high standards throughout the process. It’s a balancing act that with the help of a trusted professional can be far easier to navigate.

Decision #5 – Trust your gut. When interviewing agents there are few things more important than a deep level of trust between you and the agent you choose to represent you. And trust comes in two crucial parts. The first is professional competency.

To trust someone with what is likely the single biggest financial transaction of your life, you need to have confidence that the agent you choose has the skills, technology and ability to fight hard and win what’s in your best interests. That’s why choosing someone just because they’re a “friend of the family” isn’t always the best choice.

The second layer of trust is personal. When you work with someone on something as important as the sale of your home, you need to know you can trust that person personally.

You need to feel a deep sense of confidence that your agent puts your needs in front of their own. It’s not about flash and glitter, or how many homes that agent sold. What’s important is, “Can I trust this person with my financial future?”

That’s where “listen to your gut” comes in. most of us can sense authenticity and integrity. It comes out in many ways and generally when you’re in the presence of it you know in your gut. Sometimes the person might be a little quirky, other times they’re not, but again it’s not about flash and charisma.

The bottom line, choose someone you trust on both a professional and personal level and “go with your gut.”

I hope you found these suggestions helpful. Selling your home is a life altering series of decisions. The better prepared you are to make those decisions effectively, the better the end result.

And as always, if there is anything at all I can do to help you, please feel free to call me at 1-401-580-9797. The conversation is always free and you’re under no obligation of any kind. My entire objective in our conversation is always to help you in any way that I can.

Also, if you would like to know approximately what your home is worth before meeting with an agent, feel free to check out my offer below. It’s a free over-the-phone market evaluation. Just call anytime 24 hours a day and if I don’t pick up leave a message with your email address and I’ll get that evaluation out to you ASAP!