Daily Archives: January 20, 2016

What is turnkey real estate investing?




Will New York's White Hot Real Estate Market Fizzle In 2016?
New York City's real estate market has reached blistering temperatures, with record sale prices reported at the end of 2015. In the fourth quarter alone, the average sale price for a Manhattan apartment hit a lofty $1.95 million, representing a 12 ...
Shine a Light on Secret Real Estate DealsNew York Times
Business Report: Real estate money launderingHawaii News Now
COLUMN: Anti-money laundering finally targets real estate marketN.C. State University Technician Online

all 9 news articles »

I am Joshua Hunt. My company, TRELORA, has created the first home search site that lets buyers see the commissions being offered to their real estate agents. Now, the local MLS is trying to stop us. -- Ask Me Anything!

Wed, 11 Feb 2015 21:32:41 +0000

My company, TRELORA, is a full-service, commission-free real estate brokerage.

Our mission is to make the home buying and selling process more transparent by allowing buyers and sellers to see exactly how much money is being allocated to agent commissions on each listing. We launched www.search.trelora.com this week and, within hours, received a cease and desist letter from the local MLS, REColorado. They are stating that the commission being offered by the seller to pay the buyer’s agent is “content developed by others” and therefore should not be visible to the buyer. We believe, because a buyer’s check at the closing table actually pays for everything (including commissions), that all buyers deserve to know where their money is really going.

I would love to answer your questions about transparency in real estate transactions, broker commissions, or a commission-free brokerage model.

I’ll begin answering questions at 7 PM Eastern, and continue for about an hour!

EDIT: Thanks for all your questions, this has been a lot of fun! If you have other questions, we are easy to find and you can call the office at any time!

submitted by JoshuaHuntTRELORA to RealEstate
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114 Beacon Blvd, Sea Girt, NJ 08750-New Jersey Real Estate


Will New York's White Hot Real Estate Market Fizzle In 2016?
New York City's real estate market has reached blistering temperatures, with record sale prices reported at the end of 2015. In the fourth quarter alone, the average sale price for a Manhattan apartment hit a lofty $1.95 million, representing a 12 ...
Shine a Light on Secret Real Estate DealsNew York Times
Business Report: Real estate money launderingHawaii News Now
COLUMN: Anti-money laundering finally targets real estate marketN.C. State University Technician Online

all 9 news articles »

Save TONS of money when selling/buying a home (advice from a former real estate agent).

Tue, 19 Jan 2016 15:45:21 +0000

I started writing some of these points in a different thread and realized that many of you frugal folks might appreciate some tips to save THOUSANDS of dollars when selling or buying a home. I used to sell real estate before the bubble burst and I went broke but I did it just long enough to realize the traditional real estate agent model is set up in a way that really doesn't always benefit consumers. I honestly thought that the old school model of an agent listing a home for 6% commission would completely shift when the internet started becoming more sophisticated in that industry. While that has happened to some degree, the Realtor's association is very strong and I think most people are still unaware that you don't have to hire someone at 6% commission to sell your home and you don't really need to hire a buyer's agent either. In fact, the benefits of hiring one are usually negligible at best and actually often worse than the alternative. In almost all cases there are specialists (attorneys, photographers, appraisers, inspectors etc.) that you can hire who will do a better job for way less money. And while it may seem as though managing all of that by yourself might be difficult or time consuming I would argue that with the tools available to us through the internet it's comparable to hiring an agent on both counts. As with most things, there are plenty of exceptions where my advice doesn't apply but I think this will be helpful for many people buying/selling a home (even seasoned veterans of home sales and purchases) to understand that there are alternatives besides the old model. Since every circumstance is different, I encourage you to meet with agents and see what they have to offer to determine what's right for you but this should help you with some behind-the-scenes context that agents aren’t likely to mention. With no further ado, I give you my guide to buying and selling a house on the cheap.

Selling your home:

Why you think you need a seller's agent - If you're selling your house, you may think the only way to do it is to hire an agent. Maybe you believe the process is too complicated for you or you think that the real estate agent has some sort of magical house-selling power or they can bring a list of buyers that will pay top dollar for your property. You may even think that they can take the pain away from what is typically a very painful process.

Why you don't - Unless you have a lot of varied skills and recent experience with buying and selling homes already, you will need help. But the real question is whether a seller's agent is worth 5%-6% of your home's value and are there cheaper/better alternatives. As a reminder, 6% comes out to $12,000 on a $200,000 home! Here are some things an agent can actually do for you to earn that 6% commission. Provide advice on pricing and home improvements to get your house ready for sale. Take pictures, write copy and enter all the other relevant data into the local MLS service (basically, fill out a form online). Help lead negotiations when you have a deal on the table. Of all of those benefits, the most important is getting your property listed on the MLS. This is the service that companies like Trulia and Zillow use to populate their websites and is the service that other realtors use as the main database to find properties to show their clients. If you're not on the MLS, you're basically not really for sale. This is something that realtors rely on to keep normal people like us coming to them. But there is a solution to that problem (included in the bullets below). Other than the MLS thing, though, the internet renders most of the realtor’s benefits obsolete. So here’s how to get the above benefits without spending $12,000:

  • Pricing advice (Max value; $400) – There is no true science to pricing a home. Realtors and appraisers will argue that point but real estate is so much more nuanced than a scoring spreadsheet will tell you. Ultimately, it comes down to just knowing your market. Use sites like Trulia to see current properties on the market to evaluate your competition. Then look at properties similar to yours that have sold within the last 3-6 months or so to get an idea of a realistic final selling price. Assuming you’re not delusional and you know your neighborhood, you will get pretty close. Even when people hire agents, the agent often just lists for whatever the seller wants anyway. If you so desire, you can have a professional appraisal done on your property for less than $400, though many agents will offer a free “home valuation” as part of their marketing efforts hoping that you will ultimately list with them. If you’re comfortable having them do this with no intension of hiring them, that’s kind of up to your personal moral code, but it is an option. Many agents will do this for you even if you explicitly tell them you are going to try to sell on your own because they know you may call them if you decide to list with an agent eventually.
  • Home improvement advice (Max value; $0.00) - You could read countless articles on how to prepare a home for sale and follow their advice, which will probably be all you need. An agent will not actually help you prep your house for sale, that’s still on you, so the value here is minimal if anything at all. The most important things in my opinion are to DECLUTTER EVERYTHING and make sure the place is clean. Seriously, before you decide to put $5,000 into a bathroom or landscaping or whatever before you sell your place, consider renting a temporary storage unit and putting everything you don’t absolutely need in there. I’m talking couches, big furniture, stuff jammed in closets. Get rid of it all.
  • Marketing (Max value; $200) – You will need to have pictures and marketing copy to put your property on the MLS and other real estate websites. Your biggest cost here will be photography. You can find local photographers who focus on real estate who will charge you a completely reasonable rate. Photos are important, so I really don’t recommend doing this on your own unless you really know what you’re doing. Many agents even take photos of their properties themselves and they are terrible. As for copy, never in the history of real estate has excellent copy sold a home. You don’t need to be Keats with your copy. Just the facts. Take a look at a few examples of other descriptions that you like on other homes and just use that same structure for your home. There are other details you’ll need like number of beds/bathrooms etc. but you will already know that and the agent doesn’t add any value there. You may have some additional investment in something like a $10 “For Sale” sign or maybe something else but the days of agents incurring marketing costs to list your property in the newspaper are long gone yet the commission rate remains the same.
  • Listing on the MLS (Max value; $500) – This is one area you will need to hire a realtor for but you do not need to pay them 6% or sign a long-term contract with anyone. Look for a local agent or agency who offer flat fee service. For around $500, they will list your property on the local MLS. Once it’s listed there, it will get picked up by all of the major real estate websites and added to their databases automatically. For this, it is important to find a local realtor rather than a faceless online entity because if you need to make changes to your listing for any reason, you will need a human being to be responsive to your needs.
  • Paperwork (Max value; $0-$1,000?) – Okay, so lots of flat-fee agents will also offer an option to buy standard real estate documents for your state. That’s what you want. I don’t recommend buying them online or trying to cobble together your own homemade contract because you can’t be sure it’s any good. Each state is different and the standard contracts are frequently updated. I recommend you ask your flat-fee agent for any paperwork you will need to list and sell your house. Agencies that specialize in flat-fee service will likely be able to explain each document to you as well to help you with that “I have no idea what I’m looking at” anxiety. Some of the forms can be intimidating but if you take your time with them and familiarize yourself with them before you have to fill them out, it’s really not bad at all. Even if you’re very worried about screwing this part up, you can just hire a real estate attorney to review your documents to make sure they’re in line with what you want. It will be expensive, maybe up to $500/hour, but it will still save you money overall. Plus, an attorney is almost always better than an agent at getting these documents right. So why is the commission so high? At one point, selling a house was a lot more work. Running newspaper ads, marketing houses, attracting buyers was kinda difficult. But the fact is that even back then, only a small portion of that commission ever went to the seller’s agent him/herself. They split any commission they receive with a buyer’s agent (50%) and their broker (usually 50% depending on the agent’s deal with their broker) and they incurred costs along the way. Nowadays, they do not incur similar costs to market your property but the overhead of maintaining a brokerage still exists. Someone needs to cover the cost to keep the place going which includes high costs for attorney retainers and errors & omissions insurance for the agents in case they make a mistake. Since you are not a licensed professional, you do not need E&O insurance and if you want to consult an attorney, you can do so hourly instead of on a retainer.
  • Total max value of agent's services if you hire individual professionals: $2,100. Assuming that you are still offering 3% to a buyer's agent, your total max cost would be $8,100 on a $200,000 home. That's a savings of $3,900 over the standard 6% commission model but I honestly think most people will be able to do this for closer to $1,500-$1,700 though.

Buying a home:

Why you think you need a buyer’s agent: - You may want a buyer’s agent because you think they are free. After all, the seller’s agent will split his/her commission with your agent, so it’s no money out of your pocket. Or maybe you feel like you need someone to help you find the perfect home, or get you financing or maybe you just want someone to help you through the process. It can be nerve racking!

Why you don’t: - Buyer’s agents are not free. Someone has to pay them and the cost always comes from somewhere. If there is no seller’s agent, then you will likely be responsible for paying your agent out of your own pocket (read your agreement!!) If there is a seller’s agent, then they will split their commission with the buyer’s agent. However if there’s a seller’s agent and no buyer’s agent, the seller’s agent will often be willing reduce their commission by 50% and put that toward the home price. So if the seller is offering their agent 6% on a $200,000 house ($12,000), they can ask their agent to reduce the commission to 3% since they won’t have to split it with a buyer’s agent. Then, the seller can reduce their sale price of the home by $6,000 without affecting their out-of-pocket costs and the seller’s agent still gets the 3% they would have gotten if they split it with your buyer’s agent. Basically, you just saved $6,000 plus 30 years of interest on that money. The key here is to negotiate the price to as low as the seller will go, then ask for the agent to cut the commission. Otherwise, you can’t be sure you’re getting the bottom price. So if you want to buy a house without an agent, here’s how to get (most of) the benefits without spending $6,000:

  • Find the perfect home (Max value; $0) – Trulia, Zillow, Realtor.com, whatever. Your agent doesn’t have magical powers. You can find your own property just as easily and you run less of a risk of missing one that you want. You can set up alerts, too. In this case the agent is really only a middleman slowing down the process.
  • Coordinate showings (Max value; $500) – This is actually a pain in the butt if you’re the type to look at a ton of houses but if you’re smart about it, you can schedule multiple showings on the same day to keep things fairly easy. Like book yourself to look at three houses on Saturday instead of looking at them one at a time. It shouldn’t take too long but if saving yourself a few phone calls to set up showings is worth $6,000 to you, then by all means hire an agent. Or, if you really like the frugal lifestyle while also living like a baller you could just hire a personal assistant online to handle that for you for probably around $30/hour or less. You could set up a TON of showings for well under $500.
  • Neighborhood awareness ($? - You decide value) – If you’re moving across the country or otherwise unfamiliar with your new town, an agent may be worth the money for peace of mind but you'll need to decide if that's worth $6,000 to you. With the internet, a few hours of research will show you everything you might want to know. Determine what is important to you when finding a location and there's virtually nothing the agent can tell you that the internet won't tell you. Commute times, school districts, tax rates. All of that stuff is online.
  • Financial advice ($0) – Working with a mortgage broker (A broker is someone who works with multiple banks) or directly with a reputable bank will often provide you better advice than an agent. Most agents will just tell you to talk to the lender anyway. Tell them what you want to do with your home purchase and they will work it out with you.
  • Pricing advice (Max value; $400) – See explanation above. Also, you have the added benefit here if you are getting a mortgage that the bank will require an appraisal before you can get financed. In other words, it’s nearly impossible to overpay for the home.
  • Answering questions/consulting ($1,000-? - You decide value) – Of all the reasons to have a buyer’s agent, I think this is the best one. If you haven’t purchased a home before, you will probably have a ton of questions and there is some real benefit to having someone on call that you trust to help you through your anxieties. If you don’t have a friend or family member to do this with you and the prospect of buying a house is overwhelming to you, an agent may be worth the money just to ease your fears. That being said, if you buy a house from a seller with an agent who doesn’t suck, that agent will be able to walk you through your issues too. There are even a lot of agents who would be happy to answer some of your simpler questions even though they won't get paid. Agents are generally a nice bunch of people who legitimately want to help. The only thing is you’ll be on your own until you decide to put an offer in on a property but that’s when you’ll really need help. Up to that point, it’s just arranging showings for the most part. Remember, the seller’s agent wants the process to go as smoothly as you do. They will help you get your financing in order and help you work though all of the issues and questions you may have as you go along. But remember, the sellers agent really want you to buy that particular house so be sure to get a home inspection before you finalize your sale, even if you're buying a brand new house! It generally costs around $300 or so and it's always money well spent. Even if you hire an agent, though, you will still pay for this out of pocket, so you won't save any money here by having an agent. Also, you will want to buy standard home sale contracts for your state if the seller doesn't already have them and if you want to be totally sure your deal is air-tight, you can hire an attorney to review the contract before you submit it to the seller, though I believe that wouldn't be necessary unless there is no seller's agent at all.
  • Total max value of agent's services if you hire individual professionals: $1,900.

Okay, I spent way too much time writing that and I’m sure there are things I’m leaving out and things I should have thought through better and other general errors, but I believe this would be a good start for anyone looking to save money buying or selling a home.

submitted by hulkster69 to Frugal
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The Power Of Leverage In Real Estate Investing


Tech boom starts to transform Oakland real estate
As big companies like Uber move in and more small start-ups set up shop, real estate companies have to stretch their thinking to accommodate companies that want everything from flexible lease arrangements to kombucha bars and community hammocks.

and more »

I am a 20 year old US Soldier with plans to begin a career in real estate after I leave the military.

Wed, 14 Oct 2015 10:27:22 +0000

So I am about a year away from the end of my service. I have served honorably up to this point, including currently being on my second deployment. I am an infantryman and unfortunately that includes not having an actual skill outside of the military. Before joining the military I had aspirations to have a career in real estate flipping houses. I put that aside, joined the military first and served like I planned. Now that I have achieved that goal and served our country honorably, my mind is back on track to my next goal.

So the question is where do I even begin? Where should I look for help? What should I read? Who should I talk to? What should I research? What should I not get caught up in? Where did you begin? Where should I network?

I have the Montgomery and Post 9/11 GI Bill available to me after I am out. The benefit is designed to help servicemembers and eligible veterans cover the costs associated with getting an education or training. So I could go to school and get educated in Real Estate.

I am looking to begin my career in my hometown of Bradenton, FL, with the little researched knowledge I have, I would like to say that it is a decent market to begin. I am willing to begin elsewhere but not too far that my children will grow up with little relations to their grandparents. I forgot to mention I have my first son on the way in a few months. That much more reason to be determined.

If anyone could help me out in any way, that being advice, tips, opinions etc. Thank you kindly. 🙂

Edit 1: I didn't mean to sound like my only intention is to flip houses. First and foremost I have zero experience in real estate, I have only what I have read and researched. I need a place to start and who better to ask than someone who has done that already. I would like to maybe someday be experienced enough, and then flip houses.

Edit 2: For anyone wondering, my mindset before was to not go to school but rather jump into an investment group with one of my best friends in Jacksonville, FL. Now I can see more than just my intentions, this thread has only helped shape the plan to my future and I will take as much as I can into account. I would like to thank everyone who had positive input, I have read every single comment and saved the ones I believed to be the most helpful to my development. To all the debbie downers, I appreciate your concern, but if I had any I would give up on the dream. Any further opinions would be helpful and appreciated. Thank you

submitted by armyranger319 to personalfinance
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