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“While home prices still haven’t hit bottom nationally, demand is
starting to grow, especially for distressed properties on the low
end of the market. Large scale investors, like hedge funds and
other private equity firms are rushing in with cash on hand, and
that gives them the upper hand in competition for these
properties. So how does an individual investor, without extra
cash lying around, get in? Retirement funds. It may sound risky,
but with strong rental demand and relatively little supply of
single-family homes, it could be far less risky than the stock
market. That’s because your gains are largely coming from rental
income, not home appreciation, which is why this works so well in
today’s market. ‘Here in Reno, prices are half of what they were
at the top of the bubble, so, yeah, it might go down a little bit
more but I don’t think it will go to zero, like some of my
stocks have gone to zero,’ says Terry Vander Ploeg, who invested
$105,000 in a Reno foreclosure.
The catch is that you have to do it through what’s known as a
self-directed IRA. Not a lot of firms do this, but some do:
Guidant Financial, Sterling Trust, IRA Resources and PENSCO are a
few. The firms act as custodian of your self-directed IRA,
holding the property and dealing with all associated expenses.
‘It’s really an account that provides greater flexibility than
what a third party administered 401K, for example, would
provide,’ says Kelly Rodriques, CEO of PENSCO, which has doubled
its assets in the past four years. ‘That’s in part because real
estate has become a pretty well priced or at least valued
investment area, given the downturns,’ according to Rodriques.
Rich Pregel had money in a 401K from a previous employer and
experience in the real estate business. Late last year he decided
to put his money to work in real estate. The 48 year old
Cincinnati resident bought a commercial foreclosure in his home
town to rent. ‘I’m generating close to $80,000 on $140,000
investment after expenses, it’s pretty much a no brainer,’ says
Pregel, who used a self-directed IRA. This type of IRA does
carry restrictions. The property must be used purely as an
investment, with all the income going directly back into the IRA.
The owner may not occupy the home or even use it as a vacation
property. The owner can manage the property, doing maintenance
and supervising the renting, or can hire a rental management
company which would be paid for out of the IRA.
It is also possible to get a mortgage through the IRA, but it has
to be what’s called a non-recourse loan. ‘It’s a loan that can
only seek the property, the collateral, as its sole recovery, if
the property goes into default, so you as an individual can’t
sign up to guarantee the loan,’ says Rodriques. The IRA is not
just purchasing the property, but it is responsible for
liabilities and payments. All this may sound complicated, but
some say it’s worth the extra time and energy. With a rising
number of foreclosed properties coming to the market this spring,
and banks far more willing to do short sales on troubled loans,
opportunities are everywhere. ‘Right now, we bought it for a
good price, put some money into it to get it up to rentable
specs, and now we’ll see,’ says Vander Ploeg. ‘We have a renter
in, and we’ll see how it goes. You’ve got to have the right
How to Keep Investment Real Estate Profitable In Any Economy Home » Finance » Real Estate By: Todd Millar
If you analyze your real estate, update and improve your investment team, review your long- and short-term investment plans and stay focused on the end result; your real estate portfolio will be a rock solid fortress that can weather any storm.
The first and most important thing is to carefully analyze your Canadian Real estate investing portfolio.
• What properties are doing well?
• Are there properties that are slowly leaking dollars like a dripping tap?
• If so how can you fix them?
If you don’t know the hard numbers on your properties, then you are risking everything that you have worked for. Keep your budgets in line and carefully evaluate every purchase and renovation. Once you have a better idea of where you stand, you can start to recession-proof your properties. First, your customers are your tenants, so learn how to keep them happy and decrease vacancies. For example:
• Provide Internet or free cable
• Give lease incentives or rewards for rents paid on time, or even the best garden.
Increase your revenue by adding rental units to your properties or other moneymaking add-ons like renting garages separately, extra parking spaces or coin-op laundry facilities. You can also refinance your mortgages with longer amortizations, increase rents where reasonable or rent your properties furnished.
Evolve and involve your team
• Is your property management up to par?
• Are you getting discount rates for a big portfolio?
• If you have few properties are they being managed in a way that will help you grow your portfolio?
• Are their rates competitive and are they keeping your property in excellent resale condition?
Streamline your team. I don’t mean fire everybody and do it all yourself, but rather make your team out of the best players available in your area. Once you have the all-star team, get their input and advice, use their knowledge and experience to protect and improve your assets and your position in the Canadian Real Estate market. Accountants can help you lower your taxes, lawyers can protect your assets, bookkeepers keep you aware of money liquidity and property management can up the cash output of your investment property.
Be aware of longer-term trends and statistics. Don’t get caught up in the moment—especially when making decisions. There are both positive and the negative things that are happening in headlines. Take both sides into account and be realistic as you evaluate what’s really going on. Review your business plan both short-term and the long-term and adjust it as necessary. Don’t knee-jerk react, but also don’t drift back and forth without any solid goal in site. Have multiple investment strategies all with a clear exit in place.
This is not the first economic downturn the world has seen nor will it be the last. What is important is to mind your business and your properties to make them profitable no matter what comes your way.
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Todd Millar is an expert in Oil Sands Real Estate. His company Glenn Simon Inc. delivers superior, revenue joint venture properties in the economic power house region of the Alberta Oil Sands, Canada. Millar’s goal is to create wealth for his partners through equity building Real Estate investments, strong appreciation and consistently profitable, safe and secure Joint Venture partnerships. They will help you in your Canadian Real estate investing. Also, protect and improve your assets and your position in the Canadian Real Estate market.
Innovative projects give new life to retired shipping units
This is the kind of inovative thinking I have had my eye on for many years.
Reprinted from Inman news
By SUSAN GALLEYMORE
A trend in recycling structures not traditionally considered “real estate” is changing how potential home and business owners, not-for-profit organizations, government agencies and the U.S. military view shipping containers.
The use of rudimentary containers to ship cargo began in the late 17th century. By the 1950s, Malcolm McLean of Sea-Land Shipping, pushed by the U.S. military to standardize their design, was building strong, uniform, theft-resistant, stackable shipping containers that were easy to load and unload by truck, rail and ship, and easy to store.
In 2005, an estimated 18 million containers made a combined total of about 200 million trips. Many containers measure 20 feet or 40 feet in length, and a 40-foot-long shipping container offers 304 square feet of floor space.
A trade imbalance has led the containers piling up around U.S. hubs, and storing them increases the cost of doing business.
One response to the problem: Re-engineer the containers. As architects and designers around the world evolve and refine creative reuse, containers are reshaping as disaster-relief shelters,coffee shops, student housing, custom homes, retail towers, even storing physical books after they are digitized.
Alex Klein and Heather Levin highlight container home designs in their book, “Introduction to Container Homes and Buildings.” The container home shown here is disguised by a more traditional home design. Photo courtesy of Alex Klein, Container Home Consultants Inc.
The U.S. military, for example, has deployed “Containerized Housing Units,” or CHUs (pronounced “SHOOS”): Army and private military contracting companies use the converted shipping containers to house troops, contractors and others.
A soldier from company D, 1-12 Combined Arms Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, exits a CHU at Forward Operating Base Warhorse in Baqubah, Iraq. Photo courtesy of Army Spc. Ryan Stroud, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, public affairs.
The units offer hard floors, windows, air conditioners, beds for up to three people, and some are outfitted with refrigerators.
According to the U.S. Army Environmental Command, the first multistory commercial structure built of recycled steel containers on a U.S. Army base opened in Fort Bragg, N.C., in April 2008.
Twelve containers, each measuring 9 feet 6 inches in height, 8 feet wide, 40 feet long and made of 14-gauge steel, form the two-story, 4,322-square-foot 249th Engineers company Operations Building that houses two company detachments.
This multistory building at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, which incorporates shipping containers, cost an estimated $750,000. Photo by Christine Luciano. Photo courtesy of U.S. Army Environmental Command.
Living in former shipping containers may have begun as a fringe novelty, but it is far from such these days. Many entrepreneurs are exploring new niches amid the growing assortment of shipping container-based structures.
Alex Klein of Container Home Consultants Inc. has been involved in shipping container conversions for 30 years, while Heather Levin said she appreciates container homes after noticing how much of her hard-earned dollars went to a bank as mortgage loan interest.
Victor Wallace of ContainerHomes.info authored the free downloadable book, “The 30 Most Influential Shipping Container Homes Ever Built!” His website presents extensive tutorials and videos for container conversions and also offers a free download of the book with designs from around the world.
21st Century Homes & Structures builds modular homes and claims it is the “original approved shipping container home manufacturer in New York … certified since 1985.”
That company reports that its modified shipping containers are “eco-friendly, (energy-efficient), hurricane-resistant, pest-free, affordable and green.” The company offers units in sizes ranging from 480 square feet to 1,280 feet, and prices starting at $89 per square foot. That does not include excavation site work and foundations. The company offers turnkey packages and ships throughout the U.S.
An Argentinian-born woman living in California identified by faircompanies.com as “Lulu” (no last name given), was reportedly forced by the recession to downsize, and found and modified a free shipping container. She took a couple of months to gather mostly recycled components to remodel the unit, faircompanies.com reported, and it took another month to convert the original 360-square-foot space into a home for herself and her small daughter.
With hot water on demand from a small camping device, and camping stoves for cooking, Lulu noted that her home features a separate bathroom and second bedroom, and she plans to add a teahouse and a greenhouse.
One New Jersey-based company, Sea Box Inc., offers a 1,000-square-foot, three-bedroom home — the Modular Systems Housing Unit — built from shipping containers. The structure also features a living-dining room, kitchen, bathroom and storage.
Sea Box Inc. offers a three-bedroom, 1,000-square-foot home — the Modular Systems Housing Unit — built from shipping containers. Photo/Sea Box Inc.
Exterior view of the Sea Box Inc. Modular Systems Housing Unit. Photo/Sea Box Inc.
“For multifamily housing, we can deliver and erect a four-story, 16-unit apartment building, fully furnished and move-in ready, in three days,” according to Robert A. Farber, director of contracts and counsel for Sea Box.
“All of these living quarters will last more than a hundred years, are impervious to pest infestation (termites can’t bite through steel), and can withstand hurricane-force winds that would destroy conventional housing,” he also said in an email message, adding that the company bid for a job to potentially supply tens of thousands of housing units built from shipping containers to New York City in the event of a major natural disaster.
The company offers a range of designs, he said, “including offices, laundry facilities, machine shops, personnel shelters, and even a giant movie screen: 90 feet high.”
Sea Box structures have also been used by the U.S. military in Iraq, Afghanistan and other nations, he said, and “We’ve sold two-story container configurations, which individually house 2,000 computer servers used to power the search engine Bing.”
The interior of a container home in Houston, Texas. The home was designed by architect Christopher Robertson and Numen Development. Flickr/joguldi
A two-story container home in New Jersey, designed by architect Adam Kalkin and completed in 2008. Photo courtesy of Architecture and Hygiene.
Exterior of New Jersey container home designed by architect Adam Kalkin. Photo courtesy of Architecture and Hygiene.
Stacked shipping container housing in England. Flickr/plentyofants
Container home in Oregon. Flickr/davidburn
Container house in France designed by CG Architects and completed in 2010. Photo courtesy of CG Architects, France.
This container home, Cove Park in Peaton Hill, Scotland, was designed by Urban Space Management and completed in 2002. Photo courtesy of Container City.
Designers from a Clemson University architecture program develop affordable housing solutions for the Caribbean region. This complex in Haiti provides short-term emergency housing. Photo courtesy of Clemson University.
Container homes in Canberra, Australia. Flickr/leighblackall
Soaring 85 feet high, Freitag Shop in Zurich, Switzerland, is both the world’s tallest building made from shipping containers and that city’s tallest building. The eco-conscious structure is built from 17 shipping containers. Photo: Roland Tännler, Courtesy of Freitag.
Do you struggle with selecting a property management company? Home » Business » Management By: Lawrence Cameron
Selecting a great property management company in South Florida is one of the most time consuming task that you will undertake once you manage to find a good rental. In searching for a property management company, you would surely wish to conduct a thorough interview through which you would be able to figure out if they are reliable and worth working with. Following are certain tip that would help you in interviewing the managers.
The basic thing that would set the parameters would be the cost. Usually the property managers charge a monthly fee to watch and maintain your property. Those fees can range from as low as 5% to upwards of 20% and it is necessary to look for a company that would charge reasonably and provides more services. Proper communication with the South Florida real estate company is important. It would be better if the company uses email and is responsive to both telephone and email. If you are not getting a response back in time, it is better to avoid that company as you need someone who would have a good dealing with you. Look for a company that would be flexible for your needs.
Before signing the deal, make sure to get a clear idea on the termination of your agreement. If the deal doesn’t seem to strike between you and the property management company, you need to know up front what exactly it will take to terminate your agreement. Check if there would be some penalties for breaking your contract. Most of the South Florida property management companies handle repairs and maintenance. You need to check if the company has their own maintenance crew or they contract to third parties. Understand their billing strategies and see if they handle all kinds of repairs. Also you need to ask for alternate options if they are not able to do certain repairs. If you are very particular, you can even ask for invoices or receipts.
Responsible property managers send out monthly or quarterly statements to the land or house owners. Ask if they send the report regularly. It is important to understand the way in which company handle evictions and the costs to evict. There are other things that have to be reviewed like the billing for yard work and landscaping. Ask if the company take care of snow removal, lawn mowing and also the cost involved with each task. Most of the managers go for certain amount of reserve in case anything comes up. Find out what kind of reserve is required.
The main aspect of property management lies in the marketing skills of the company. Check where do they advertise properties and if they put the ads in paper or online. You would definitely want your properties to be advertised effectively. You need to find out if the company has the skills to add images to the ads online since images contributes to the success of ads in a large way. Last but not the least you need to enquire how many properties have been managed by the particular South Florida real estate company and their specific areas.
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Lawrence Cameron is an author for miami rental property management.He has written various articles on palm beach county property management companies. For information visit our siteproperty management south florida
According to the Richmond Times Dispatch:
Condo buyers who sat out last year’s real estate market, waiting for prices to bottom out or their own financial footing to improve, find themselves in an enviable situation.
Prices have plunged, and mortgage interest rates, while slowly rising, remain near 5 percent, creating the best home affordability in decades for consumers who qualify for loans.
There’s just one problem. It’s not just the borrower who has to be up to snuff; it’s the building, too, and there are buildings that lenders won’t touch.
Among the deal killers: too many renters in a building, pending litigation, inadequate association reserves and delinquent assessments. Those are some of the criteria lenders must look at in order to sell the loan toFannie Mae or Freddie Mac, the troubled, government-sponsored entities, and the Federal Housing Administration, the first choice for many first-time homebuyers. Combined, the three agencies account for about 90 percent of the secondary loan market.
The average down payment on condos is 20 percent of the loan amount, compared with 10 percent or even 5 percent on single-family houses, White said.
What’s more, lenders are taking into consideration homeowner association fees and including those fees with mortgage payments to determine whether borrowers qualify. “It’s tougher to qualify for condominiums.”
Also, a majority of units in a condo complex needs to be owner occupied to get the best interest rates, Whitesaid. That requirement can be tough for newer condo buildings.
Agents and lenders say they are seeing more developers, condo associations and individual owners in economic distress, and, as a result, so are buildings.
“Anybody who can’t hang on anymore, that stuff is starting to come out,” said Eric Rojas, a PrudentialRubloff agent in Chicago. “We have people who want to buy units and sellers who want to sell units, and it’s not going to happen.”
Real estate agents have learned from experience what buildings to steer buyers clear of, and in other cases they are investigating a building’s health before they schedule showings. Meanwhile, some lenders maintain a frequently updated list of “blackballed” condo buildings, where they know a loan won’t get approved. They also are working with homeowner associations to improve their building’s lending potential by improving financial reserves and limiting the number of condo units that are turned into rentals.
The situation is slowing any recovery of the condo market, often the housing of choice for first-time buyers. Owners in troubled buildings aren’t able to refinance, and sellers who want or need to sell find thin ranks of buyers.
The requirements are thwarting the plans of some potential purchasers, who have abandoned their searches and remain renters.
Others continue to pore through real estate listings after finding that the condo they thought was perfect for them isn’t so perfect after all.
Some lenders will look past a problem in a building and still offer to take the loan and hold it in their own portfolio, but that acceptance comes at a price. The borrower’s credit has to be stellar, they have to make a sizable down payment, and the loan will carry a higher interest rate.
Staff writer Carol Hazard contributed to this report.
Here is what the Richmond times has to say about current trends in homes.
Goodbye to the armoire and the dining room (in many cases, the living room, too). Hello to the home office.
Repurposed rooms, recycled materials and an increasingly relaxed decorating style characterize the end of a decade that began as a party on a grand scale.
These are among the home décor trends cited by experts as the 2000s drew to a close.
In the past 10 years, the formal living room in most homes has been reinvented — it’s now a library, workspace, perhaps a music or game room. Many are now willing to buy a new home without a living room at all, according to a survey this spring by the American Institute of Architects. What we want is some combination of kitchen and great room where the family can interact. Homes are more laid-back and user-friendly.
The most well-liked rooms now are the home office, mud room and media room, the survey indicated. What we don’t want so much anymore? Three-car garages, guest rooms and formal living rooms.
While the economic downturn has caused people to scale back their dream-home wish lists, “households are using their homes as intensely as ever,” AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker noted in the group’s newsletter this fall.
Technology has continued to transform the home. At a recent housing industry conference, Steven Bomberger of Delaware-based Benchmark Homes said, “Ten years ago, baby boomers didn’t know how to program their VCR. Now they want computers, structured wiring, programmable thermostats and security systems.”
Some trends in the past 10 years:
At the start of the 2000s, many jumped on the real estate thrill ride. McMansions, gobblers of space andenergy dollars, became ubiquitous. Now, we’re rethinking how we live, says Jennifer Boles, founder of The Peak of Chic design blog and contributing editor to House Beautiful.
“Some homes had five or six rooms dedicated to living and relaxing, despite the fact that most of us really only spend time in two or three,” she says.
Oversize furniture like sectionals and big coffee tables, popular at the start of the decade, are being scaled down.
However, one oversize space remains popular. “Spa baths have staying power,” says Tampa, Fla.-basedkitchen and bath designer Jamie Goldberg. “They tie into several current trends: creating comfortable environments for aging, bringing back the luxuries of travel and spending more time in our homes.”
Homegoods’ Philip Tracey adds, “The spa bathroom is the new two-car garage — a must-have if you ever want to sell your home.”
Living al fresco
“The outdoor room’s really been one of the biggest changes. Everyone has an outdoor space now, even if it’s tiny,” says Elle Decor’s Cheminne Taylor-Smith. “With seating, dining, even kitchens and sleeping pieces, these rooms are treated like their indoor counterparts.”
Firepits, weather-resistant fabrics and furniture, and commercial quality heaters extend the outdoor season.
After a long fallow period, gardening took off in the past few years. From containers to victory gardens, we’ve got our hands back in the dirt. We’re concerned about the provenance of produce, and about our carbon footprint — how many thousands of miles did that tomato travel? Renewed interest in environmental stewardship starts literally in the backyard. We’re digging up the lawn and planting native greenery that requires little maintenance or water. We’re putting down less pesticide. More of us are composting.
Indoors, notes Boles, “being green moved from the fringe into mainstream design.” We started demandingpaint and other home products that were enviro-friendly. Sustainably harvested wood became a selling feature. Many designers embraced the trend, giving us beautiful art and furniture made of recycled materials. Now your kitchen counter may have once been a truckload of soda bottles, your sheets may be bamboo, and solar panels can power everything from hot water heaters to patio lighting.
We’re spending about $260 billion a year on home-improvement projects, according to the Housing Industry Research Council. That’s up about $90 billion from 2000. Empowered by informative blogs, magazines and TV shows, the DIY boom continues.
We’re turning linen closets into offices, embellishing IKEA stock furniture, and repurposing what we already own in clever, practical ways. Designing on a dime, or close to it, has become a hobby.
With more creative freedom now to express our personalities at home, the world became our inspirational marketplace. Global crafts found a wider audience. Mainstream stores like Target and Pottery Barn brought decorative pieces from every corner of the planet to our doorstep, and design became more eclectic than ever before.
The relaxing life
We’ve loosened up. It’s OK to have the computer and TV in the heart of the home. There’s been a shift toward a more practical, casual lifestyle over the past decade.
Suites of furniture? Passé. Untouchable formal rooms? Over. We’re comfortable mixing and matching — a major shift from the’80s and’90s, when people mostly picked one style for the whole home.
Other hallmarks of the decade include: stainless steel appliances, granite counters, mid-century modern furniture, media furniture, Wi-Fi, home theaters, organics, Scandinavian design, Craftsman style, ottomans, wallpaper, cherry cabinetry, low-profile home-entertainment systems (flat screens, mini speakers, integrated components — many of them standing free, released from the 1990s media armoire), less-is-more window treatments, high pigment one-coat paints.
For some of us we have finally lived long enough to see trends in homes in line with what we have valued all along. What do you think?
Yuri Milner paid $100 million for his new Silicon Valley mansion, significantly more than the previously reported $70 million, according to the Wall Street Journal.
You’ve heard of Milner because he’s the guy who put hundreds of millions of dollars into fast-growing, late-stage startups like Facebook, Groupon, and Zynga.
Basically, he reinvented the way startups grow up – buying equity from founders and early investors who without him would have been forced to IPO.
Milner’s 30,000 square foot mansion sits on 11 acres in Los Altos.
It’s got five bedrooms and nine bathrooms – plenty of room for visiting Zuckerbergs, Masons, and Pincuses!
For those new people who are going to blog the blogger. Please be kind to her with your words because she is a friend of mine and has a good heart. She likes to help people and we need more people like her in the world. Enjoy this site and have fun. So, create a great day everyday because the outcome is in your control. Peace out.