Netflix to release horror movie called ‘The Open House’

Inmannews - Tue, 01/02/2018 - 3:34pm
Fictional suspense movie premiering Jan. 19 uses the open house as a plot-device for scary high jinks ...
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Connect/Reflect: Relationships that last a lifetime

Inmannews - Tue, 01/02/2018 - 2:50pm
The new year is already upon us, which means Inman Connect New York (January 22-26, 2018, Marriott Marquis Hotel, Times Square) is only three weeks away. We recently caught up with Inman Ambassador Brandon Doyle to understand what keeps him coming back to the New York City cold every January, how to find the best seat in the sessions and what to pack in advance ...
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Connect the Speakers: Nick Pasquini on maintaining relevance

Inmannews - Tue, 01/02/2018 - 11:41am
CFO, director of business development and co-founder at Century 21 Redwood Realty Nick Pasquini will speak at Inman Connect New York (January 22-26, 2018, at the Marriott Marquis Hotel, Times Square) about how he approaches business development and relocation services for one of the East Coast’s largest real estate franchise brands ...
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Special Report: 2018 real estate industry outlook

Inmannews - Tue, 01/02/2018 - 10:37am
Real estate professionals express optimism for the housing market, economy and their own personal success as they start a new year ...
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‘The Bachelor’ Season 22 is packed with real estate pros

Inmannews - Tue, 01/02/2018 - 10:34am
The self-described Racing Realtor from Scottsdale will be matched up this season with a bevy of 29 admirers—including at least four other real estate professionals ...
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Connect the Speakers: Seth Price on creating the unfair advantage

Inmannews - Tue, 01/02/2018 - 10:21am
Marketing and branding expert and author of "The Road to Recognition" Seth Price will share his thoughts at Inman Connect New York (January 22-26, 2018, at the Marriott Marquis Hotel, Times Square, New York) on how to create an unfair advantage utilizing content to nurture customers at all stages of the browsing, buying and selling process ...
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Real estate scheme may cost Utah family their life savings

Inmannews - Tue, 01/02/2018 - 10:02am
Email scammer masquerading as the couple's real estate agent convinced them to wire $91,000 for their dream home ...
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Value of housing market in the US increased at its fastest pace for four years

American Apartment Owners Association - Tue, 01/02/2018 - 9:49am

The total value of all homes in the United States is now $31.8 trillion, having risen $2 trillion in 2017, new data shows.

Overall, the cumulative value of the nation’s housing market grew at its fastest annual pace for four years at 6.5%, according to the latest figures from real estate firm Zillow.

It means that the housing market has gained $9 trillion since the lowest levels of the recession and the value gained in 2017 alone is equivalent to more than the valuation of two companies the size of Apple.

The Los Angeles and New York housing markets each account for more than 8% of the value of all housing and are worth $2.7 trillion and $2.6 trillion, respectively. San Francisco is the only other housing market worth more than $1 trillion.

Among the 35 largest markets, Columbus grew the most in 2017, up 15.1% while San Jose, Dallas, Seattle, Tampa, Las Vegas and Charlotte in North Carolina also grew by 10% or more over the past year.

‘This was a record year for home values as the national housing stock reached record heights in 2017. Strong demand from buyers and the ongoing inventory shortage keep pushing values higher, especially in some of the nation’s booming coastal markets,’ said Zillow senior economist Aaron Terrazas.

‘Renters spent more than ever on rent this year, but the amount they spent grew at the slowest pace in recent years as more renters transitioned into home ownership and new rental supply slowed rent growth across the country,’ he explained.

‘Despite recent changes to federal tax laws that have historically made home ownership financially attractive, the long term dynamics pushing up home values and rents are unlikely to change significantly in 2018,’ he added.

The report also shows that tenants spent a record $485.6 billion in 2017 on rent, an increase of $4.9 billion from 2016. Those in New York and Los Angeles spent the most on rent over the past year. These markets are also home to the largest number of renter households.

San Francisco rents are so high that renters collectively paid $616 million more in rent than Chicago renters did, despite there being 467,000 fewer renters in San Francisco than in Chicago.

Las Vegas, Minneapolis and Charlotte in North Caroline had the largest gains in the total amount of rent paid, with each increasing by more than 7% since 2016.



The post Value of housing market in the US increased at its fastest pace for four years appeared first on AAOA.

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Paint your bathroom this color and boost your home’s selling price by $5,400

American Apartment Owners Association - Tue, 01/02/2018 - 9:45am

Pantone released its 2018 color of the year this month: Ultra Violet, a warm shade of purple. Some homeowners have reason to celebrate feeling “blue.”

Homes with blue bathrooms — specifically light shades like powder blue or periwinkle — fetched $5,400 more than expected when sold, according to a paint color analysis from real estate website Zillow. The analysis looked at more than 32,000 sold homes, comparing the sales prices of ones painted certain color versus similar properties that had white walls.

Blue paint isn’t just effective at boosting a home’s selling price when used in a bathroom though. Dining rooms painted in darker blue hues will cause a house sell for $1,926 more than anticipated on average, while homes with light blue kitchens and blue bedrooms will garner a price that is $1,809 higher than expected.

Other colors that increased home prices included grays and beiges. “Painting walls in fresh, natural-looking colors, particularly in shades of blue and pale gray not only make a home feel larger, but also are neutral enough to help future buyers envision themselves living in the space,” said Zillow chief economist Svenja Gudell in the report.

But not all paint colors have this positive effect on sales prices. For instance, a brick red dining room will slash a home’s price down by more than $2,000 versus what was expected. Other ill-advised paint choices — at least where a home’s value is concerned — included yellow, pink and brown.

Where a paint color is used is also important. While blues may wow in kitchens and bathrooms, when used in a living room it decreased home prices by $820 on average.

Those poor color choices all pale in comparison to leaving a bathroom’s walls white though. That decision can reduce a home’s sales price by more than $4,000, showing how a fresh coat of paint can work wonders when it comes to get a home to sell more quickly (and for a higher price.)

These negative reactions to certain colors (or different uses of the same colors) is a reflection of people’s taste and the way specific colors may clash with the furniture and other items prospective buyers already own. Experts recommend choosing colors with mass appeal that can work with a range of décor. It also depends on the specific property — white walls can work in a room with lots of natural light, but will make the space feel “dead” if it’s small or dark, according to designer Emily Henderson.



The post Paint your bathroom this color and boost your home’s selling price by $5,400 appeared first on AAOA.

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Home prices climb 7% in months-long surge

Inmannews - Tue, 01/02/2018 - 9:05am
CoreLogic today released its Home Price Index (HPI) and HPI Forecast data for November 2017, which boasted 7 percent year-over-year growth. November is the fourth consecutive month with year-over-year increases measuring more than 6 percent. Gains were solid month-over-month also, at 1.0 percent ...
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Buying Rental Property Vs. Investing In A REIT, Part I

American Apartment Owners Association - Tue, 01/02/2018 - 9:02am

One of the most common questions I get from aspiring real estate investors is whether to buy property directly or purchase shares in a real estate investment trust, commonly referred to as a REIT.

For those who aren’t familiar with REITs, these vehicles allow individuals to buy shares in companies that own real estate as their primary business activity. While some REITs are private or non-traded, in this article we’ll focus on the publicly traded REITs, which are the most visible and can be purchased by any investor with a brokerage account. I used to run one of the largest publicly traded single-family rental REITs called Starwood Waypoint (now part of Invitation Homes), which I took public in 2014. Today, I’m the CEO and co-founder of a marketplace for buying, owning and selling single-family rental investment properties — so I’m pretty familiar with both sides of the argument.

While both methods of investment allow investors to achieve real estate exposure, it’s a bit like comparing apples and oranges. One represents direct ownership, while the other is characterized by owning shares in a company whose sole purpose is to own and operate a portfolio of real estate assets. I own shares in several REITs as part of my personal equity portfolio, as well as some real estate directly. I view both of those investments differently and see the advantages and disadvantages to each.

To help you better understand the appeal of investing in brick and mortar real estate versus a publicly traded REIT, here is a list of considerations. In the first half of this two-part series, we’ll explore situations when direct investing comes out on top:

Investing Goal: Hedge Against Stock Market Risk

Real estate is cyclical, as is the stock market. But the two do not generally move in lock-step — meaning they are not directly correlated. In order to have a diversified portfolio, by definition, it is important to hold investments that react differently at the same point in time. This is perhaps the most compelling reason to own real estate directly as opposed to owning REIT stock, especially during periods where equities may be fully-priced and potentially facing more near-term downside risk than upside potential.

Investing Goal: Greater Ability To Use Leverage

Buying property directly often gives you the ability to use a higher level of debt financing than is typical in the REIT universe, as institutional investors frown on REITs that employ more than 40% leverage. By contrast, an individual investor buying an investment home can borrow up to 80% of its value through Fannie and Freddie programs. So instead of putting $20,000 into a REIT, you could use it as a down payment and obtain $80,000 in financing for a $100,000 investment property and reap the gains of the entire asset appreciating in value over time. All things being equal, greater leverage can lead to higher returns on equity in upside scenarios.

Investing Goal: Dividend Potential

Many equity REITs have annual dividends in the range of 2-3% or less, while owning individual properties could generate annual distributions of 5-8%. This disparity results from the fact that REITs: 1) often focus on institutional quality assets and markets that have relatively low yields; 2) have corporate overhead costs to cover; and 3) want to avoid the risk of having to lower their dividends in the future — and thus only pay out a conservative level they believe to be sustainable. As a result, REIT dividends tend to be lower but also highly predictable.

Investing Goal: Building Equity

While REIT investors can generate capital gains as the share price ideally increases over time, when you buy an investment property, you’re continuously building equity in a tangible asset. All the while, the tenant is paying your mortgage and your equity stake can increase as the value of the asset typically appreciates over the long term. Having more equity in your asset also gives you the ability to refinance over time and use the proceeds to buy additional assets and grow your portfolio.

Investing goal: Tax Efficiency

Both investing in REITs and investing directly in real property have tax advantages, many of which are nuanced and depend on the specifics. At a high level, REITs are exempt from income tax at the trust level, but a good portion of their dividends are taxed as ordinary income (some may be taxed at a lower rate as capital gains or exempt if characterized as a return of capital, which reduces your basis). However, when you invest directly in real property, you are able to deduct operating expenses and depreciate the asset, which can significantly reduce your taxable income. Another very significant tax advantage of investing in real estate directly is the ability to defer capital gains through a 1031 exchange, which allows investors to sell appreciated property and transfer their original cost basis over to new investment properties without triggering any taxes. Keep your eyes on the tax reform bill to see if this provision remains, as it represents one of the most significant tax advantages for long-term real estate investors.

Investing Goal: Control Over Your Investment Strategy

For many investors, having full control and owning the asset outright holds major appeal. You decide what markets and assets to invest in, how much debt to employ, whether to manage yourself or use a professional property manager, and you sign off on big decisions such as when to make capital improvements or sell properties. While direct investing can take a bit more effort, the payoff could be higher returns and some insulation from the volatility of the stock market.

This concludes Part I of our series on investing in real estate directly versus buying shares in a REIT. In the next section, we’ll discover the benefits of investing in publicly traded REITs.



The post Buying Rental Property Vs. Investing In A REIT, Part I appeared first on AAOA.

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Tax Bill Causing A Year-End Frenzy To Pre-Pay 2018 Property Taxes

American Apartment Owners Association - Tue, 01/02/2018 - 8:34am

The newly passed Republican tax bill is creating end-of-year confusion and anxiety for homeowners. With just a few days left in 2017, many are in a frenzy trying to figure out how they can pay some of their 2018 property taxes now to save money once the bill goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2018.

The new tax bill caps the amount you can deduct for state, local, and property taxes at $10,000.  That’s going to hit hard in states such as California, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey – states where the average state and local deductions in 2015 all topped $17,000,” said the Houston Chronicle. “In New Jersey, the average property tax bill alone was nearly $8,300 last year and there are scores of towns where the average bill is above the $10,000 threshold.”

Can you really pre-pay your 2018 taxes?

In some jurisdictions, prepayment has been allowed for years, although, “Others are scrambling, working to ensure that those who want to pre-pay can — even if the jurisdiction can’t necessarily guarantee the pre-payment will be deductible, said CNN Money.”

That’s because the IRS has has not ruled on whether prepayments for 2018 taxes will be deductible on 2017 tax returns. But, that hasn’t stopped some jurisdictions from trying to help.

According to the Washington Post, “The Montgomery County Council broke its winter recess Tuesday to pass a bill allowing residents to prepay 2018 property taxes, a last-minute chance for homeowners in Maryland’s largest jurisdiction to mitigate the impact of a new federal cap on tax deductions.”

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order Friday “allowing for partial payments on 2018 property taxes, which could help some looking to at least pay off some of the 2018 bill in 2017,” said the Democrat and Chronicle. “There’s a state law now that does not allow partial prepayment and we are going to suspend that law through the emergency executive order until Jan. 2,” he said.

The publication added that, “Counties and towns in New York are scrambling to get their property-tax bills out to give people a chance to pay before the new federal income-tax overhaul takes effect.”

Homeowners lining up

Newsday reported that “Thousands of Long Island property owners are rushing to prepay their second-half school taxes, as well as their general taxes, before the year ends on Sunday.

Similar trends are being seen across the country. In Minnesota,” Counties throughout Southeast Minnesota are reporting a surge in early payments in an effort to cash in – for one final year – on a deduction that the coming federal tax overhaul will limit,” said the Post Bulletin. While, in Tampa, the Florida Tax Collector’s Association crushed homeowners’ dreams by issuing a memo that read, “No, 2018 taxes may not be prepaid in 2017 in Florida because prepaid installments may only be made once the current year’s tax roll is open for collection,” said the Tampa Bay Times.

In Contra Costa County, CA, “Some taxpayers have been disappointed that they can’t make an even larger payment now on their 2018 bills in order to deduct more on their 2017 federal taxes,” said The Mercury News. “But that’s just not possible,”  officials around the region stress.  Russell Watts, treasurer-tax collector of the county told them that, “We couldn’t magically create these 2018 bills so these people have a place to park their money.  Our system wouldn’t be able to handle receiving these payments.”

California homeowners can, however, pay “the last installments of your 2017 taxes – which are not due until next year – before 2018. If you itemize, doing so could save you big money on your federal tax bill this year,” said The Mercury News. “California taxpayers pay their property taxes in two installments, due in December and April. Conventional wisdom has long held that it’s better to wait to give your money to the taxman, and many people don’t pay until the deadline. But that’s not necessarily the best plan this year. Paying that second installment by Dec. 31 could make a substantial difference: If you own a $1 million home, for example, you could save more than $1,000. (With a one percent property tax rate, you would owe $10,000 annually, or $5,000 due in April. If you’re in a 25 percent tax bracket, that equals a $1,250 deduction that could be lost if you wait until 2018.)”

So how do you know what you can do?

You have a few days left to consult your tax professional to find out what the best strategies are for your financial situation and your location and make any potential moves before the New year.

“There’s no one-size-fits-all strategy,” Edward Arcara, a Buffalo accountant who heads the New York chapter of the National Association of Tax Professionals, told the Democrat and Chronicle. “Tax professionals have to look at everything on a case-by-case basis. It depends on what your situation is.”


The post Tax Bill Causing A Year-End Frenzy To Pre-Pay 2018 Property Taxes appeared first on AAOA.

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6 Ways to Market Vacancies Positively

American Apartment Owners Association - Tue, 01/02/2018 - 8:30am

Whenever you’re renting out units to students in a college area, you’re going to find yourself facing a lot of competition. With so many properties in the same area targeting the same audience, it’s not uncommon to have some empty spaces left over. When you have vacancies on your property, you have to be careful to ensure that that will not reflect back negatively on the property itself—in other words, you’ll need to make it clear that there’s nothing actually wrong with property so that students don’t get scared away and you can drum up more interest to fill in those vacancies. If you find yourself facing this problem, consider some of the following ways to market any vacancies in your property in a positive way, to ensure that interest in the property continues.

1. Watch Your Wording

Marketing your property positively is all about the wording that you use. Rather than saying that you still have empty spaces, for instance—which could paint the situation in a negative light—instead, say that you still have some spaces available for more tenants. Instead of marketing your property as a rental space that’s unwanted by other tenants, you’ll turn your empty spaces into an opportunity for those who are still looking for housing.

2. Emphasize the Positive Aspects of Your Property

In order to ensure that potential tenants have the best possible view of your property, make sure you include everything that it has to offer when you speak with potential tenants or post listings of the property. If your property has any fun or helpful amenities, like a gym or a swimming pool, those details should definitely be included. It’s also a good idea to mention the laundry facilities, if any, that your property has, and some more specific details about the rental units themselves. For instance, let your potential tenants know how big the apartments are, how many bedrooms are in each unit or if there’s some variety in terms of size, the appliances in each apartment, and the finishes, such as the flooring and countertops. The more details you give about your property, the more your potential tenants will be able to see what your property has to offer and all of the benefits that would come with living there.

3. Use Pictures

In addition to describing your property to students still looking for housing, it’s also a good idea to show them some pictures of the amenities included and the units themselves. That way, anyone who is interested in your property can see for themselves what to expect. Try to take some pictures of an empty unit so that students know exactly what they’ll find if they choose to lease with you, and make sure you clean it up before you take the pictures—dirty floors or nicks on the walls can still show in the pictures, and you don’t want to scare away potential tenants with faults that can easily be fixed.

4. Utilize Social Media

When you still have vacant units in your rental property, a great way to market them is through social media. Especially when you’re trying to reach a demographic of college students, social media will have the widest reach and will probably help you draw the most interest. Whether you use Facebook, Twitter, or another social media platform, students will likely respond well to your choice for advertisement. Include lots of pictures and any relevant details about the property that can help it stand apart from others, such as location and amenities.

5. Offer New Deals to Draw in Tenants

A great way to drum up new interest in your property and to get students to come check out your vacant units is by offering deals to students who decide to lease with you. Given most college students are on a tight budget, the thought of getting a good deal of housing or just saving a little bit of money will go a long way in terms of motivating them to live in your property. It’ll also be worthwhile for you, even if you end up reducing the rent or offering free parking, as you’ll be able to fill up units that may have otherwise stood empty and generated no money at all.

6. Ask Your Current Residents to Vouch for the Property

When you need to attract new tenants to fill up your empty rental units, remember that you already have one great resource on hand: your current residents. Ask the students who are already living in your properties and are familiar with it what they like about living there, and include their comments as testimonials when you market the property’s vacancies. This will ensure that potential residents are aware of the benefits that come with living in your property, and by having current residents vouch for you, they’ll be able to hear from a source they can trust.



The post 6 Ways to Market Vacancies Positively appeared first on AAOA.

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Older, wealthier Americans are the new renters

American Apartment Owners Association - Tue, 01/02/2018 - 8:23am


  • The number of higher-income rental households has doubled in the last decade.
  • High-income households drove nearly 30 percent of rental growth over the last decade.
  • Today’s older Americans want flexibility to follow their children and grandchildren.
They can afford to buy homes. They just don’t want to.

That is the growing sentiment among older, wealthier Americans, who are now downsizing from big suburban homes and increasingly turning to the rental market.

The number of higher-income rental households has doubled in the last decade, according to a new report from Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, and that trend will likely increase in the coming years as more baby boomers downsize.

“I think it reflects a change in attitude coming out of the housing crash and a greater appreciation for the virtues of renting,” said Chris Herbert, managing director of the JCHS. “There had certainly been a bias toward owning being a better choice, and that is something people are weighing more carefully now.”

High-income households drove nearly 30 percent of rental growth over the last decade. That, in turn, has fueled development of luxury apartment buildings, especially in major metropolitan areas. Completions of these units averaged 300,000 annually over the last two years, their highest level since the end of the 1980s, according to JCHS.

“Much of this new housing is targeted to higher-income households and located primarily in high-rise buildings in downtown neighborhoods. Given that construction and land costs are particularly high in these locations, the median asking rent for new apartments increased by 27 percent between 2011 and 2016 in real terms, to $1,480,” according to the report.

That means households would need an income of at least $59,000 to afford these apartments, which is significantly higher than the median renter income of $37,300.

Jane Fairweather, a Realtor in Bethesda, Maryland, who sells high-end suburban homes, is well-acquainted with the trend. Many of her clients she said, are moving into luxury rentals. They are put off by high prices for condos and seeing less and less value in homeownership.

“You have to own your properties now 10 years to get your sales costs in and out,” said Fairweather, a baby boomer herself. “I think people do wonder, ‘at this stage in my life, is this where I choose to be for ever and ever?'”

She also points to flexibility. Today’s older Americans want to be able to move to where their children and grandchildren are.

Congress is also giving them new reasons to rent. The Republican tax plan will likely remove some of the deductions that favor homeownership.

“They’re really saying why bother owning? It will be interesting to see going forward how many people opt for rentals because there’s no value in it,” said Fairweather.


The post Older, wealthier Americans are the new renters appeared first on AAOA.

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Real estate daily market update: January 2, 2018

Inmannews - Tue, 01/02/2018 - 7:35am
All the latest real estate market news ...
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How real estate agents and brokers can capture more market share

Inmannews - Tue, 01/02/2018 - 2:45am
Whether you’re with a major franchise, a small indie brokerage or an agent who would like to increase your business in 2018, there’s only one question you need to ask about the strategy you choose: “Does it increase my  market share?” ...
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10 ways to make 2018 a more successful year

Inmannews - Tue, 01/02/2018 - 2:30am
It's that time of year, when we reflect on how successful we have been and look forward to where we want to be in the coming year. Everyone wants to improve, but where do you start ...
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Switching brokerages? Ask these 8 questions first

Inmannews - Tue, 01/02/2018 - 2:15am
It’s time to be vulnerable and shine a little light on my past behavior. I’m prompted to do this to illustrate a point very dear to my heart, as it relates to both personal and professional growth ...
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Staging tips for real estate agents in any region

Inmannews - Tue, 01/02/2018 - 2:00am
Every home is different and unique, with each having a personality of its own. Staging your listing for potential buyers allows them to envision themselves living in your space ...
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Real estate agent donates $100 from each sale to help animals find ‘fur-ever’ homes

Inmannews - Fri, 12/29/2017 - 1:51pm
Calvin Acuff, a real estate agent based in Morganton, N.C., is a self-professed animal lover who currently takes care of six pets -- Charlie, Molly, Bow Tie ...
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