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Should You Consider Real Estate Investment Trusts?

Pulling the trigger on your first real estate investment is daunting and not everyone has the risk appetite to go it alone.  If you want to start investing but don’t want to take a leap of faith, you may want to consider a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT). A REIT is an investment vehicle that can invest in any real estate class and they’re operated by experienced executives. The benefit of investing in a REIT is that you do receive some of the benefits of real estate ownership/investing, but you have seasoned professionals managing the properties.  Since you’re really buying stock in the company, your investment is spread out over a portfolio of properties along with other investors, which helps to mitigate risk. REITs are required to pay out substantially all (90%) of their taxable income and most pay above-average dividends, so consult your CPA to see if this may affect your tax position. Of the 172 publicly traded REITs listed on the major U.S. exchanges with market capitalizations greater than $500 million, 94% have higher dividend yields than the average S&P 500 company. REITs are excellent stocks to add to any long-term investment portfolio. Not only are REITs income generators, but as property values rise they have the potential to produce some impressive returns over time. Similar to when you look for your own properties, you need to look into the assets that the REIT has that have an interest in buying. Due to the strong dividend income REITs provide, they ......
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What Causes HVAC Systems to Fail and How to Prevent It

What Causes HVAC Systems to Fail and How to Prevent It
Preventative maintenance goes a long way in keeping HVAC systems operating as they should be, but breakdowns can still occur. These complex systems are made of many components. Without being familiar with how HVAC units and their many parts work, diagnosing issues can be difficult. Especially when you’re managing large multifamily properties, it’s helpful to know about some of the most common causes of HVAC problems, as it can save you, your team, and your residents from a lot of frustration.   Swollen Capacitors  Air conditioners cannot run on their own when their capacitors stop working. The job of a capacitor is to start the motor and to help keep it running. It does this by sending jolts of the energy it stores to the fan. Without the jolts, the fan simply can’t get going. There are a few ways to tell if a capacitor has gone bad. A visual inspection is often the easiest, as a swollen capacitor is a problematic capacitor.   What causes capacitors to swell? Gas is created when the conductive electrolyte within the capacitor decomposes, which happens with time or damage. Capacitors have a lifespan that can vary but is definite. The HVAC systems that house them can outlive them, meaning there naturally comes a time when a capacitor must be replaced. Swelling is a sign that the time has come, as any swollen capacitor has reached its end. You can tell that a capacitor is swollen when its shape has become altered, usually resembling a can of soda ......
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How Not to Be a Bad Property Management Company

How Not to Be a Bad Property Management Company
There’s nothing special about bad property management companies. They ought to be literally a dime a dozen, because they usually end up costing owners far more than they can bring in or help keep. Bad property management companies provide much opportunity for great property management companies. They can snatch business away from the bad ones easily, as well as gain big through referrals. But, how can you know if your company is good or bad? Here are a few things that make it good: Care About the Residents Caring about the residents should be the number one rule. They are the ultimate source of profit after all. Ironically, the trouble starts when you think of residents more as numbers than people. A cold-hearted push to reduce costs and maximize revenue at the expense of your residents’ happiness will only undermine your goal. Think of your residents as a community and communities as families; serve them well and the benefit will be great. Care About the Property Generally speaking, the better the condition of the property, the happier the residents, the lower the repair costs, and the greater the potential to attract great residents who are willing to pay decent rent rates. To be a great property management company, go the extra mile in upkeep and maintenance. Get creative. Do what you can to make the property you manage a wonderful place to be.  Care About the Owner Besides taking good care of their property and its residents, how can property managers show the......
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The Positive and Negatives of Owning A Rental Property

art.pngInvesting in property is no small affair; investing in property and deciding to rent is even scarier. However, knowing exactly what you’re getting yourself into in advance can help save a lot of headaches. So, before making your final decision, take a look at what the potential benefits and downfalls of renting a property. The Pros When weighing out the pros and cons of renting your property, the advantages seem to be slightly outnumbered by the disadvantages. However, the pros are more powerful, and if you put in enough time and energy into research before investing, it can pay off. Property is always in high demand and often much more predictable than other markets. It makes it a long-term investment that you can benefit from for years to come. Perhaps the most motivating factor is a monthly rent. Such a stable income is hard to argue with, as occupied property means monthly rent checks that go straight into your account. Monthly rent can also help settle your monthly expenses if you’ve purchased a property with the help of a bank loan. Another big plus is property value growth over time. Your property value increases, and you can bring in so much more income over the years without you investing more. However, this is where proper research is vital. If you invest in an upcoming area, your property can experience a significant rise in price. There are also many tax benefits you can claim and take advantage of to deduct your costs annually when owni......
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What to consider when buying a single or a multifamily investment

Many first time investors have the idea that their first investment should be a single family home due to the cost of entry and ease of managment, however, this may not always be the best path to go down. One of the main issues that you have to consider is the fact that if the single family homes goes vacant you will have to cover the entire mortgage until you find a new renter, now if you have a duplex, triplex or fourplex that mortgage will be spread out across more units giving you some cash flow to help with the mortgage. Another reason the first time investors tend to like the single family homes is that you can put a lot less down then you can on a commercial loan and the residential loan can be amortized out over the life of the loan. Residential loans can be on properties that have 4 units or less and can be acquired with as little 5% down, however, commercial loans are on 5 units or more will require at least 25% down and you will need to show a business plan plus as well as management experience and cash flow. When shopping for a commercial loan, be prepared to answer a lot of background questions regarding the property. Some of these questions include: Who pays the utilities? What types of maintenance are required? Numerous questions regarding cash flow will also be asked. Commercial mortgage borrowers should be prepared to provide proof of......
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Are You Aware Of the 7 Year Rule In Background Checks

I have found that many are not aware of the 7 year rule when running a background check so I wanted to be sure you are all fully informed. The 7-year rule states that all civil suits/ judgments, non-conviction arrest records, and paid tax liens can’t be reported in a background investigation after 7 years. This rule applies to every state in the U.S., some instances, states chose to take it even further with their regulations, such as in California, New York, and Kentucky, where non-convictions can’t be reported at all, except for pending charges. Most criminal convictions are not governed by the 7-year rule. (see this chart for some of the exceptions) Since the 7-year rule is a federal guideline it applies to all states for non-criminal convictions and to many states for criminal convictions, you may find that your background check provider will only provide information according to those parameters. People earning over $75,000 annually may see arrest information longer than seven years in the past included on their background reports due to a Salary Exception, but this also depends on the state. Before requesting the report from the agencies, employers are required to provide the applicant with a clear disclaimer of disclosure and obtain the applicant’s written consent of the query. The employer is also required to inform the applicant about the types of information that will be requested in the report. If the employer decides to take adverse action as a result of the report, they are requi......
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How Real Estate Can Be Socially Responsible


Partners Joe Killinger and George Pino were recently guests of the "Lifetime Cash Flow Through Real Estate Investing with Rod Khleif" podcast. We've broken up the podcast into segments for convenience.

First topic of conversation is how #realestate brokerage can also be socially responsible.

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How Can Cities Address the Affordable Housing Crisis

A few weeks ago I wrote about the prospect of the repeal of Costa-Hawkins act in California.  This measure is being pushed by tenant rights groups claiming it will help with affordable housing.  Although I do believe there is an affordable housing crisis, I do believe that the repeal of Costa-Hawkins  would only be a short term relief and significantly hurt affordable housing in the long term.  So what can cities do to address the affordable housing crisis? Cities have many tools available to them, and if utilized correctly can significantly positively impact the affordable housing market.  It boils down to simple economics, if a developer can build affordable housing, and make money doing so, then they will.  How can cities promote the development?  It starts first with the approval process.  After the cost of land and actual hard construction costs, the time cost and soft costs are the highest expenses for a developer.  The city of Dallas did this earlier last year.  They passed measures to streamline the process to construct affordable housing.  By streamlining local administrative review of plans, and lowering the costs of permits they have made it easier for developers to develop low income housing.  With faster approval processes and lower costs affordable housing becomes that much more attractive to a developer.  Another benefit for streamlining the process is that it minimizes the risk to a developer, and like any other investment development is a risk vs. reward calculation, with lower risk translating to lower demand for r......
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Don't Let the Sign Police Outsmart You- Know Your Sign Code!

We all know that sign code enforcers love to catch us trying to advertise our properties! When I leased for CLASS in the late 90's, most of our clients were under the belief that they really couldn't do much advertising with temporary signage and balloons. It was our job to educate the client and ourselves on the code and rethink how we work around what is permitted/not permitted.  Over the years sign code has closed some of the loopholes we found, but there are still some there if you are savvy enough to find them. We recommend becoming familiar with your sign code and keeping a copy saved to your desktop. Code enforcers take advantage of the fact that most properties are unaware of what their sign code says. Back in the day, we used to put a banner on our rental car and tie balloons to the antenna to attract drive by traffic. We've used bubble machines in Orlando, FL (strictest sign code EVER), purchased the largest American flags allowed by code (they could be seen from the interstate!), and lined the wrought iron fence with red, white, and blue buntings. There is a way around pretty much any code, if you just look hard enough. I challenge each of you to peruse your local sign code and come up with a few ways to advertise your community using temporary signage, balloons, sign spinners, etc. It is as easy as 1-2-3! 1. To find your code, visit Municode.com and click on the red library tab at......
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Why Repealing Costa Hawkins Will Only Hurt Affordable Housing

There has been much talk in the news of the tenant advocate groups receiving enough signatures to add a measure in this November’s ballot to repeal Costa-Hawkins.  The Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act is a California state law enacted in 1995 that placed limits on local rent control ordinances.  Costa-Hawkins did not outlaw rent control, but instead placed two main limits to municipalities that had/have rent control:  1) It exempted certain types of buildings from rent control (Single Family Residences, Condominiums and new construction), and 2) it instituted vacancy decontrol (whereby the rents of a unit subject to rent control could be brought up to market rate upon a resident moving out. Citing that Costa-Hawkins is responsible for high rents in California is the mantra of the tenant advocate groups.   Unfortunately, this is not the case.  High rents boil down to one simple economic fact…   supply and demand.  When supply outweighs demand we see a decrease in prices, conversely when demand outweighs supply prices will increase.  Currently demand for housing outweighs the critical supply, causing a dramatic increase in rents.  Repealing Costa-Hawkins may have a short term effect of slowing rent growth, but ultimately will cause higher rents and less options for tenants. Why is this?  Well, if developers cannot get market rate rents on new developments, or on properties that are repositioned, then they are disincentivized to build new developments or put in capital improvements in older properties.  This will cause a supply issue where demand is continuing to grow.  Also, in......
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