How to Identify Emerging Real Estate Markets

If you are interested in making a career out of real estate investment, it is important to have the ability to spot emerging markets before they reach their full potential. This allows you to get in early and support the growth of the market, while also ensuring that you are in a position to make as much money as possible form your initial investment.

Of course, that sounds far easier than it actually is, as it is not always easy to see where the next market is going to emerge and it can often be difficult to get all of the pieces of the puzzle to align so that you can take advantage of it.

Here we will look at a few tips that will serve you well when you are considering your investments.

Take Away Personal Taste

If you are looking to invest in property, the first thing that you need to do is take away your own personal tastes. After all, the property isn’t intended for your own use, so what you think about it is actually not all that much of an issue.

Instead, try to consider how the property fits into the surrounding area and if there is going to be a demand for what it has to offer. Cheap apartments, for example, may not be to your personal taste but they may well serve a purpose to the area in which they are being built. Put your business head on and try to see the big picture in terms of how the market looks in a particular area.

Get In Early

The term “emerging” is important to consider here, as your investment will be worth less if you jump on a bandwagon that is already well-established. Keep your eyes open for news of potential investments and try to get on board at the earliest possible stage, so that you can reap the largest rewards at a later date.

Of course, this doesn’t just mean that you should invest in everything that is just starting up. Consider the reputations of the people behind the project and their previous successes. Be sure to meet with them to discuss their plans and the research they have put into the project, and be very wary of anybody who is not willing to speak to you directly but still wants you to invest in their venture.

Know The Local Market

The property market is extremely complex, with national cycles not always matching up to the way that the market is going in various localities. As such it is extremely important that you do the research into any area that you are looking to invest in and, just as importantly, you keep on top of the changes in that market that are always bound to happen.

Simply put, you are not going to make any money if you invest in a project where there is no demand. Find out if the area is a renter’s market, or a comfortable place for people to purchase a first home and look for upcoming projects that will satisfy that demand.



Source by Bill Len

Property Development – What’s an Entitlement and Why Do I Need it to Build?

What is An Entitlement?

The definition of entitlement with regard to land development is the legal method of obtaining approvals for the right to develop property for a particular use. The entitlement process is complicated, time consuming and can be costly, but know what you can and can’t do with a piece of property is vital to determining the real estate feasibility of your project. Some examples of entitlements are as follows:

Entitlement Examples:

1. Zoning and zoning variances for building heights, number of parking spaces, setbacks. Your land use attorneys and zoning experts come into play here. My advice is to heavily rely on their expertise and follow their directions to avoid unnecessary delays in your approval process.

2. Rezoning. Depending on the current use allowed for the property, you might need to have the site rezoned which is a complicated process and sometimes cannot be done.

3 Use Permits. You may need to obtain conditional use permits and this goes hand in hand with zoning and zoning variances.

4. Road approvals. Do you need to put in existing roads? Who maintains the roads? Are there shared roads via easements? These are all questions that you need to have the answers to and be prepared to comply with in the regulatory process.

5 Utility approvals. Are utilities available to the site? Do you need to donate land to the city in exchange for utility entitlements? Again, you will need to comply with the municipality regulations and standards.

6. Landscaping approvals. The city planning and development agencies must also approve your design and landscaping. Your architect and engineers will be most helpful in this area.

Hire an Experienced Development Team:

The best advise is to hire an experienced development team of architects, developers, lawyers, project consultants, civil, soil, landscape and structural engineers and consultants at the onset to help you analyze, review, interpret and advise you regarding design studies, applicable zoning and code requirements, and maximum development potential of the property. Without an experienced team, it is extremely difficult and a lot of time will be wasted in trying to complete the regulatory process because the very nature of the regulatory process is so complicated.

Here is how the process works. First, remember to keep in mind that the process is very slow and frustrating and can take approximately 3 to 12 months or sometimes years depending on how complicated the project is. Part of the reason is that each city planner has different interpretations of their local rules. Today, approvals involve jurisdictions overlapping such as city, county and state and these jurisdictions do not communicate with each other. It is extremely crucial that you establish good working relationships with these planners to obtain your approvals. Again, this is why you need to work with a development team that has already built these relationships with local staff of the local jurisdiction where your property will be developed. These relationships will streamline and help to expedite your approval process. Your experienced team of experts will be able to negotiate issues for you and eliminate additional requests by the local jurisdiction to avoid further delays in obtaining your approvals.

Regulatory Process:

Majority of development projects must go through certain aspects of the entitlement process and some projects will be required to go through several public hearing processes for approval depending on each jurisdiction’s rules. To begin, commercial development of land requires a review and approval from the local Development Review Board or Planning Department Review Division. Each municipality has a different name but the functions are similar.

  1. The process starts with obtaining site approval from the local Planning and Development Department. By contacting the local Planning and Development Department Review Division, your expert team will then put together a land use pre-application which complies with the codes of that particular jurisdiction. By complying with the codes, this will eliminate additional requests by the jurisdiction, further review and extension and unnecessary delays of the approval process.
  2. Next a meeting date will be set. You and/or your representatives will meet with the Planning Department to discuss the proposed project and review process. The process includes approval of your site plan, elevations, colors, landscaping, vicinity map, etc. Environmental information will need to be submitted also. There is usually a fee that accompanies the application. The fees vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.
  3. If for some reason your site plan is denied, you can appeal to the City Council. The appeal process varies from each jurisdiction.
  4. Once you obtain site approval, then you will need design approval, master use permits. The design approval process is where your architect will design the building shell, core layout, exterior appearance, building height, site layout, landscaping concepts, traffic impact, site access and utility layouts and submit them for approval.
  5. Neighborhood hearings are generally required for all general plan conditional use permits. You may be required to send out written notice or post information on the site. Normally the City will send notices to the neighbors also. Signs should be placed on the property, and an open house meeting is generally held. Your development team will be instrumental in advising and assisting you so that you have a higher probability of achieving success in obtaining neighborhood approval. Be prepared, even if you comply with the regulatory process codes and regulations, there is always the possibility that the neighborhood may have their own agenda and that the hearings and decisions may not be favorable to your project going forward. This is where your attorneys and the rest of your development team’s expertise and participation are crucial.

If wetlands are located on the property you will need special documentation that states whether the Wetlands Act applies or not. If it does, either it will result in significant or insignificant impact as granted by evidence of a permit. Sometimes it is best to set aside or donate the wetlands portion of the property and avoid development issues. Your development team will be able to advise you on the best course of action once they have assessed all the information and reviewed the reports.



Source by Bart S Pair

Making the Transition From an Apartment to Your First Home

Between myself and my real estate team, we have worked with several first time home buyers we have had several times where a first time homebuyer was moving from an apartment complex and into their first home.

We found that this transition in real terms is not that big of a deal, however it is the sentimental, emotional, and financial part of the transition that can have the biggest effect on a first time homebuyer. In other words, first time homebuyers that have been renting in the years leading up to the purchase of their first home have, on average, moved a half dozen times before the move into their first new home. The average age of a homebuyer is 32, and i can remember making at least 5 times before planting down in my first place. Point being, its not the actual move that causes the fear or the challenge in the moving transition; we have found that its all inside the buyer’s head.

With that said, the biggest change for a first time homebuyer will be the emotional and financial changes that occur through the process of buying one’s first home. Most notably, in most cases, a buyer’s monthly payment will go up compared to the rent that they were paying. Also, renters are used to calling the landlord when something breaks in the place that they are renting. For a first time homebuyer, something we do with our initial consultation is set expectations and try to ease the “sticker shock” for a first time homebuyer. We do this by encouraging the buyer to “pretend” to make his or her would-be payments so that they can get a feel for it and not get all stressed out the first month they move in. I’ve found that this fear of a higher monthly payment is all inside your head. Many buyers initially fear the higher payment, and sometimes it is a deterrent from buying a home in the first place, but I’ve found that all buyers get used to their new payment and make it a part of their lives and adapt and adjust their finances accordingly. A buyer gets qualified for a home loan, so the bank is taking a statistical bet that the buyer will be able to handle the payments, and i tend to agree with them on this as well.

However, a buyer can get over this financial concern by making the “pretend” payment; for example, if rent is $1500 a month, but the new mortgage is going to be around $2200 a month, then make the rental payment, and throw $700 into a savings account every month leading up to your home purchase. For some buyers who are buying a short sale, this may entail more than a few months of saving, which is even better and directly addresses the second most common concern about the home-purchase transition for a new buyer which is maintaining and taking care of the home they just bought.

By saving each month with your pretend home payment, you are building a reserve for the rainy-day (or Maintenance fund) for your new home. Any good realtor professional will (or should have) a great list of referrals for all types of service providers and tradespeople, and we let our clients know this so that no matter what could happen, we have them covered with a good, reliable professional that can assist. Furthermore, if and when something may occur, or if our buyers are just looking to upgrade the home in a necessary or desired manner, they have the funds to do so rather than dipping into credit cards and getting further into debt, which we recommend staying away from at all costs.

The pretend mortgage payment is one great strategy that if implemented correctly, reduces stress, fear and concern in the mind of a first time homebuyer and allows them to focus on the task at hand and make the homebuying process a fun one.

Lastly, its interesting to note that nearly every new buyer that comes into the office, when we ask them why they are looking to buy their first place, one common thread that they all have is to quit paying someone else’s mortgage because they are sick of paying rent – this is the motivation enough to know that by purchasing a home they are staking a claim into their financial future and making their future that much more secure which is the emotional push that they draw upon whenever the buying process gets challenging, or when fears or concerns begin to mount. We always remind our clients why they came to us in the first place and that helps them get through the finish line and on with the enjoyment of their new home.



Source by Michael Justin Wolf

Fraternity House Decoration Ideas

Okay, so, decorating your frat house might not be absolutely at the top of your list of things to do, but have a nicely put-together place can make everyone more comfortable, and it can even make parties more fun. We’re not going to go all Martha Stewart on you. These ideas will be quick, cheap, and easy, and they’ll add some character to that lifeless place that is probably now full of dust and bachelor grossness.

1. Clean up. Dirty socks and beer cans do not count as decoration. You don’t have to actually set rules about this or anything, but just make sure everyone does his part to keep things picked up around your frat house. And once a week or so, you should actually clean the kitchen, dust, and clean the bathrooms so that girls aren’t totally grossed out every time you host a party.

2. Throw on some paint. Painting is one of the cheapest, simplest ways to make a room look better. Your furniture doesn’t all have to match, and you don’t have to have nice curtains. Just buy a can of paint in an interesting color, and go to town. You can do an entire room in a bright – but not neon – color, or you can use a bold, deep color on a few accent walls.

3. Add a few – a very few – decorative pieces. Nothing makes for a more interesting conversation piece than an original piece of artwork. Head over to your school’s art department to see if anyone is willing to make a custom painting or sculpture for your frat house. Don’t go with anything too fragile or girly. You can get some really cool impressionistic or modernist pieces now, and buying a piece from a fellow student will save tons of cash.

Instead of using lots of small pieces on different walls, try a simple look with just one huge painting on the main wall of your living area. This makes everything more streamlined, and it gives you less stuff to dust, too. The same thing goes for other pieces of decoration. Just get a few big, sturdy, interesting pieces instead of a whole bunch of little, breakable, dust-gathering pieces.

4. Don’t use a theme, but pick out a few colors to stick to. Obviously, you don’t really want to worry too much about everyone’s bedrooms, since that would be overboard. When it comes to living areas and kitchens and such, though, you can go a long way just by choosing a few colors to stick to. Use complementary colors like blues and oranges, or go with colors that are similar, like two different shades of green.

Can’t decide? Head to your local hardware store and pick up a bunch of paint chips. You don’t necessarily have to sort through every single little variation in shade, but you can take a quick majority vote to see which colors you’ll use throughout your frat house.

It’s going to take a bit of effort to make your frat house look decent, but it’ll be well worth it. It will feel more like a house than a den, and it will also keep your girlfriends, girl friends, and potential girlfriends happier when they come over to visit.



Source by Crystal Galbus

Importance of Postbox Rental

Receiving mails through a postbox is still very fashionable today not just for individuals faced with different kinds of needs but also for big companies and all kinds of businesses. In as much as the technological developments have been established, there are some mails which are better off being received through the physical mail addresses or the postbox. This is especially the best way of receiving mail privately when there is no urgency.

Renting a postbox therefore has proved to be of great importance. You will have the choice for the period you would like to rent the postbox. This option is very important since you will get the chance to receive an awaited mail and pay a good amount for the postbox before then leaving it. The categorized rental period also proves to be very helpful for individuals who are living in an area on a temporary basis since they will effectively enjoy the services of the post office for the exact period they will be within the locality.

Renting a postbox comes with different options for the different kinds of needs that people have out there. The most important thing is that you will be in a position to select the right postbox depending on your working situation or the mailing needs that you have. The most common types of postbox are personal, business and corporate which accommodate different numbers of named mail recipients. The rental charges for the postboxes are quite reasonable relating with the number of people as well as the period within which you will manage to enjoy the great postal services.

Renting a postbox will definitely provide you with the privacy that you need as far as the inbound mails are concerned and you will find it even more important if you are the kin of a person who travels a lot or is in a temporary residence within the area you are renting the postbox in. The boxes are also most important and effective for people operating business from their homes.

Together with the postbox, you have the chance to enjoy numerous other services from your postal service provider including shipping and packaging as well as the mailing. It makes it all possible to also send and receive packages within a reasonable time thereby providing the missing link between two parties or businesses. Always make sure that you are renting the most appropriate postbox to enjoy all the benefits coming with it.



Source by Albert Bond

What Does a Real Estate Consultant Do?

You may be wondering if the title of real estate consultant is a meaningful one, and if it indicates anything different from the same old licensed real estate brokers with a vested interest in the fate of a property. While it is true that anyone can call himself or herself a consultant, the term is not meaningless window dressing. For those who take their real estate consulting business seriously, it represents a different model, a different approach to real estate practice.

The first and most important difference is objectivity. Whereas a real estate broker typically is paid contingent on an outcome-in other words, they receive a commission-a real estate consultant is paid solely for their expertise. They have no stake in the outcome. Salespeople are paid only for getting a result-a sale. Real estate consultants are paid for their expert advice only, and by design have no stake in achieving a particular outcome to a particular transaction. This gives them the capacity to be more objective and inherently more trustworthy than a traditional real estate salesperson. Think about it-even the most honest salesperson will unconsciously try to steer you toward a sale. After all, that’s where their pay comes from-from selling! The consultant is paid the way other professional advisors or service professionals like CPAs are, with a retainer regardless of outcome.

Consulting can involve a variety of skills and areas of expertise. You can hire a consultant for legal advice, market research, or to locate possible properties to invest in, among other things. Since they are paid as much for their time if they advise you that there are no properties in an area worth investing in as if they advise you of dozens of viable properties, they have no stake in anything except giving you the best advice possible. After all, their future business depends on word-of-mouth endorsements from investors like you.

If you are looking for properties to invest in, a real estate consultant can tip you off to developer closeouts and bulk opportunities, equity partnerships, joint ventures, and possibly even some very unique and profitable turnkey investment opportunities. The consultant is selling information and expertise, and therefore can provide you with a layer of insulation between you and the people selling the properties. They can work out a lot of the details and business prospects of a property before you have to talk to a salesperson. Once you face the salesperson, you can approach the negotiation fully armed with an array of appropriate information, and thus avoid being bamboozled and negotiate from a position of strength.

If, on the other hand, you are selling properties, especially if you have a lot of properties to sell, a real estate consultant can help you create a strategy to sell the units before you get involved with actual salespeople, which can have many advantages. For example, you can sell a lot of properties in a relatively short time without creating the appearance of a bulk sale by having a real estate consultant distribute the properties among several different sellers.



Source by Peter Vekselman

NMLS CE Review of Kaplan and Proschools

In previous years the states regulated the mortgage industry. In 2011 the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System & Registry (NMLS) is in place under the federal government. A requirement to maintain a NMLS license is 8 hours per year of continuing education (CE).

Options for CE are classroom or an online course. I got an offer for a discount price of $99.95 from “Kaplan Real Estate Education” and decided to do that. Having done CE courses for insurance and mortgage licensing for the last five years with no problems, it seemed like a good option. The Kaplan NMLS CE course is divided into multiple sections. You view the material for a section and then take a take a 10 question quiz. You must get 100% on the quiz to move to the next section. If you get 90% or less you do it over until you get 100%. This is very irritating. Then when you finally get to the end of the eight hour course (more if you spend a lot of time on the quizzes) there is a 25 question final exam. Kaplan gives you two chances to get 75% or better on the exam. Some of questions are worded in a different way from the material presented. Other questions ask for statistical historical information that has no educational value. OK, I am making excuses for flunking the exam twice! The first time in five years I have had any problem with a CE exam. When I called to complain the Kaplan supervisor said I should pay again, do another 8 hours of CE class, and then they would let me try their stupid test two more times….with no certainty of getting a CE certificate. When I asked about a refund I was told that they do not give refunds.

A couple days later a representative called from Proschools to see if I wanted to do their CE course. The rep said they had a satisfaction guarantee. She also said that students rarely had a problem with the exam, and that they allowed unlimited attempts if needed. Preschools offered a discount that made the cost around $100 and I decided to give it a try. The material seemed to be geared a little more towards useful information rather than arcane historical data. Proschools has a quiz after each section but there was usually only two to four questions. This made it much easier to get 100% on the quiz. The quiz offered a choice of a practice or “final” mode. You have to do the “final” quiz, even if you get 100% on the practice mode that has the same questions. It is best to skip the practice and go straight to the “final” quiz. You get multiple chances for the final quiz if needed. Then came the dreaded final exam. The government requires the course provider to require 70% or better to pass. (Why does Kaplan require 75%? So more people will flunk and have to repeat their course?) I was short on time and rushed through the exam in about five minutes. I got 24 of 25 correct for 96%. See, I R smart!!

From my experience this year I would suggest Proschools if you want an online course. Ask if they are offering any discounts and they will give you the code to use for that, if it is available. Of course the quality of the course is far more important than a small difference in the cost.



Source by Glenn Lamb