Sunday, January 26, 2020

Details for a Quicker Sale

They say kitchens and bathrooms are what women look for in a house or apartment. Now I know some will be offended by that statement, but most anyone in the real estate business will tell you the same thing. What they don't tell you is that guys like toys... women like the convenience too. So whether you are a rehabber, a landlord or if you are just trying make your house more attractive to potential buyers you may want to add a few gadgets that they won't usually find at the price point you are looking at. If it is a high end project, you really need several of these gadgets.

Starting with some simple and relatively inexpensive upgrades, you may want to look at lighted GFIs. During the day you don't see anything unique, but at night they can save whacked knees or banged toes. I put one in each bathroom and one in the kitchen. It's only a few dollars more for each one and they make late night trips to the bathroom or sneaking into the kitchen a bit easier with the built in night lights that come on when the sun goes down. They are LEDs so there is very little power drawn.

While we are on the subject of bathrooms, I like to use dimmer switches on the lights. They aren't just for romantic candlelit dinners in the dining room. They are great for those who arise before the sun and want to avoid the jolt from the bright lights when they get ready to greet the day. With the dimmer they can just ease into the visible world. With the new LED bulbs you need to get the dimmable bulbs otherwise the thing won't work. Another nice touch is a few judiciously placed outlets with built in USB ports for charging the multiple devices found in many homes.


Another inexpensive upgrade is a porch light that comes on automatically at dusk and turns itself off again in the morning. Some have the added security feature of turning on brighter when motion is sensed. These help you when you are coming home at night as well as giving anyone skulking about your property in the dark the idea they may be watched.


One of the more recent additions to home security and convenience is the Ring doorbell, and many others who have come along since,. Alerts and video let you know what is going on around your property. They are available at variousl price points depending on the bells and whistles you want to include. However even the low end adds a nice feature to point out to buyers or tenants. Along the same line are things like WiFi controlled entrance locks and the like.


There is the whole home automation area that can included, but they can add considerably to the cost and include a wide variety of equipment and features. These things are often unique to the owners preferences but on higher end properties it may be worth looking into.

These days people are more security conscious than ever. Along with this trend, video surveillance systems have become more economical ubiquitous. Wireless systems are simple to install. Depending on your market such systems may be just the feature to tip the sale in your direction. Even in sellers markets there is some competition, and getting a full price or higher offer means having a product that catches the attention of potential buyers.


There are many other gadgets that can add to the desirability and salability of you property. As you may be spending thousands on stainless steel appliances, granite counter tops, and tiled tub s, you may want to look at putting a few hundred into some gadgets that your buyers have heard about, but don't have yet. Make them happy and they will write the checks to make you happy.

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Sunday, January 19, 2020

Options are Optional

You may think you know real estate options but until you've heard their nuances explained by Pete Fortunato you probably are not aware of the full range of their usefulness. Yesterday I and the pleasure of attending a lunch time seminar hosted by the good folks at self directed IRA servicer Advanta IRA. Pete is one of the real estate wizards residing in the Tampa Bay area. While he has spoken to groups of various sizes around the country he is not one of the gurus that spends his time on self promotion and course sales. He just quietly buys up more of St Petersburg every year.

First of all, neither Pete nor myself are lawyers. To my knowledge neither one of us has ever played one on TV. He regards them as soul stealers and I have found very little reason to argue with the exception of Ken Cuccinelli who once was my counsel and has gone on to bigger and better things. But before you go too far down the road of using options it would be a good to check with a real estate attorney who understands investors – especially if you are not working in the Sunshine State.

Let's start by defining a real estate option. It is the right to purchase a property at some time in the future for an agreed upon price. It an be a specific dollar amount or some other figure such as a percentage of appraised value or some other readily determined price. Being a legal agreement, the one who receives the option (the optionee) must give some sort of consideration to the property owner (the optionor). This can be dollars, personal property such as a car, or something else of value.

In the stock market you would buy an option on a stock if you anticipated that the price would increase and the seller would sell the option if they anticipate the stock holding is price or decreasing. While this is a perspective, real estate options are not quite so simple and the reasons people use them are far more diverse.

Some of the uses can best be understood through examples.

There may be a property you wish to purchase and the owner may wish to sell, just not yet. They may be induced to give you an option that can be executed anytime after a certain number of years have passed or after a particular event has taken place such as a resident no longer lives in the property. The purpose of this would be to give the optionee the right of first refusal when the property is no longer needed for its current purpose.

Options can be used to finance the repair or rehab of an income producing property. For example you own a rental property worth $120,000 and it needs a roof because the tenant is getting cranky about the raindrops that keep falling on his head. The problem is you don't have the $10,000 to pay the roofer. You could offer an investor an option to buy the property for $125,000 sometime in the next 10 years – perhaps after 5 years so you retain a suitable benefit.

What would this do. Your roof gets fixed. You keep the income and amortization, the tenant has a dry home and the optionee participates in the appreciation of the property value. What happens if the values don't increase as anticipated? That is the risk one takes when one buys an option, but the time period can be extended – for a fee – to help protect his investment.

The same can be done for someone in the neighborhood who has a roof, septic or other high dollar repair. In this case they would receive the fix and continue to enjoy the use of the home for the period agreed upon, such as while the kids are still in school.

In either case it would not be a greedy investor taking advantage of someone in a bind as some of our socialist politicians would want us to believe. It would be an investor solving someone's problem that they could not solve themselves.

Options can be used tactically as well. Pete told a story of this first real estate deal after he got his license. The house was sold for $20,000. Yes that's right. It's been a long time. The buyers came to the closing several hundred dollars short. This could have put the kabosh on the whole deal. They looked to the sellers who needed every penny to take to the next closing where they were buying their next home. They looked around the room and asked if anyone could lend them the money.

The attorney said that would not be possible since in their agreement with the banksters they said they would not be borrowing any down payment money. The speaker asked if they could sell something to raise the money. The attorney nodded. He offered to buy an option to purchase their house for $21,000 for the amount they needed to close. That was pretty much all of his commission, but the deal was completed. A few weeks later the buyers paid him they amount he offered and bought out the option.

The point here was that there was never an intention of taking over the property. The option was primarily security should things not go well. It was a tactic to accomplish a goal.

So what do options do? The things mentioned and so much more. It takes a little thinking and imagination. They give control and/or benefits of owning a property without the responsibility and expenses of ownership. They can be used to provide security in joint ventures. They can be used to solve problems. They can be used to provide financing when institutions don't see the benefit or understand the dynamics of an investment.

The thing is don't get so creative you go beyond what the law sanctions or protects. Speaking of protection, you may be wondering what keeps the optionor from ignoring the agreement and selling the property without your knowledge, consent or payment? Recording the option with the county clerk along with a mortgage will cause it to show up in title search. Title companies should do the job of keeping you covered. Be sure to record it again if they owners should refinance as they will most likely stop searching when they find the new loan in the first position.

Just a quick note if that last two sentences don't quite make sense. When you buy a house, you sign a note with the lender AND a mortgage agreement. Unlike popular terminology, the bank does not give you a mortgage. They give you a loan and you give them a mortgage which is the lien that is recorded in the public record along with the note. It's just a detail but recording the option and the mortgage puts a lien on the property. For non-lien states the terminology will be different but the principle is the same. That is why I suggested consulting a real estate attorney... a competent real estate attorney.


PeopleFinders

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Using a Web Site to Promote Your Business

As a real estate investor, it sometimes makes a difference whether you look to buy and hold, fix and flip, wholesale or do some sort of a combination of these activities. If you are accumulating rental properties over a period of time you may not need much in the way of promotion – just good relations with a realtor or two who will feed you deals that come along.. However if you are actively buying and selling property you efforts to reach potential buyers and sellers may need to be a little more punch in their program.


If you are looking to buy property, you may be using direct mail, out going phone calls, or recently added text messaging along with various other forms of communication to find off market deals. Selling, you may use Craigslist, realtors, REIA meetings, and that sort of thing.

All these are valid ways of reaching potential clients. This is not meant to evaluate, recommend or disparage any of the methods taught by investment gurus. However this is meant to open your thinking to a complementary method of getting your story in front of the people who need to see it.

The personal touch is always the best way of dealing with people. However, if you are like most of us, you are working with a 24 hour day... no more, no less. That is the same number of hours that Ron LeGrand, Dean Graziosi or whoever your favorite guru has. The last I checked, even Warren Buffet and Bill Gates are unable to buy more hours in their days. Because of this,we have found having a web site useful for expanding the number of people we can reach every day with our consistent message.

The other forms of communication can direct the recipient to the details of your properties, collect the information from sellers, tell lenders why they should invest with you or any number of other offers you would like to make.

A web site tells your story 24 yours a day, 7 days a week – while you are doing other things, like sleeping, working on other projects, or vacationing, even in Tanzania – wherever that is. It doesn't have to be elaborate or extensive. It can fairly simple and still get the job done.

If you are internet savvy, you can probably put something together yourself, There are various hosts that make this relatively easy, if you are so inclined. If they last few lines didn't make sense to you, it might be best to find someone to do the job for you. There are shops that can do it for the price of one of the new mid engine Corvettes, but you don't have to pay that much unless spending unreasonably large amounts is a symbol of status in your circle.

You may find someone at fiverr. The kid next door might be a possible choice but make sure you have copies of everything so you are covered when he or she goes off gto school, the army, Canada or any where else they may choose to wander. We might even be able to help. Watch the video and give it some thought.If you are looking to buy property, you may be using direct mail, out going phone calls, or recently added text messaging along with various other forms of communication to find off market deals. Selling, you may use Craigslist, realtors, REIA meetings, and that sort of thing.

All these are valid ways of reaching potential clients. This is not meant to evaluate, recommend or disparage any of the methods taught by investment gurus. However this is meant to open your thinking to a complementary method of getting your story in front of the people who need to see it.

The personal touch is always the best way of dealing with people. However, if you are like most of us, you are working with a 24 hour day... no more, no less. That is the same number of hours that Ron LeGrand, Dean Graziosi or whoever your favorite guru has. The last I checked, even Warren Buffet and Bill Gates are unable to buy more hours in their days. Because of this,we have found having a web site useful for expanding the number of people we can reach every day with our consistent message.

The other forms of communication can direct the recipient to the details of your properties, collect the information from sellers, tell lenders why they should invest with you or any number of other offers you would like to make.

A web site tells your story 24 yours a day, 7 days a week – while you are doing other things, like sleeping, working on other projects, or vacationing, even in Tanzania – wherever that is. It doesn't have to be elaborate or extensive. It can fairly simple and still get the job done.

If you are internet savvy, you can probably put something together yourself, There are various hosts that make this relatively easy, if you are so inclined. If they last few lines didn't make sense to you, it might be best to find someone to do the job for you. There are shops that can do it for the price of one of the new mid engine Corvettes, but you don't have to pay that much unless spending unreasonably large amounts is a symbol of status in your circle.

You may find someone at fiverr (see below). The kid next door might be a possible choice but make sure you have copies of everything so you are covered when he or she goes off gto school, the army, Canada or any where else they may choose to wander. We might even be able to help. Watch the video and give it some thought.