19 questions agents should ask brokerages when interviewing

Inmannews - Wed, 10/11/2017 - 2:00am
If you're a new agent interviewing at San Diego-based Realty National, make sure your first question isn't, "What are your splits?" That drives broker-owner Randy Zimnoch crazy. Zimnoch is an agent, developer and investor who co-founded Realty National -- sister company to FortuneBuilders, the real estate coaching and education company that was founded by Than Merrill -- in 2012 and has 50 to 60 agents ...
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Doss, a voice-powered home search tool, gears up for national launch

Inmannews - Wed, 10/11/2017 - 2:00am
Doss, an artificial intelligence voice-powered real estate assistant, will become available nationwide next week. The technology delivers home searches by verbal command for real estate consumers while serving as a lead generation tool for agents ...
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This platform helps you find (and hire) the perfect real estate photographer

Inmannews - Wed, 10/11/2017 - 2:00am
Stilio is an online marketplace for real estate agents to find and hire local real estate photographers. The company has a network of more than 500 photographers in California and is now looking to build networks in other markets across the country. ...
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Airbnb Open Homes offers free shelter to California wildfire victims

Inmannews - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 2:44pm
In a matter of 24 hours, at least 1,500 homes and structures have been destroyed by a series of 14 fires sprawled across 73,000 acres of land in Northern California. While residents have many things to worry about, such as getting in touch with loved ones and salvaging any remnants from their homes, Airbnb is working to make sure they don't have to worry about finding a place to call home for the next month ...
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Real estate daily market update: October 10, 2017

Inmannews - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 2:43pm
All the latest real estate market news ...
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As Northern California wildfires rage, ‘real estate must go on’

Inmannews - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 2:22pm
Real estate agents in Santa Rosa are watching and waiting with quiet despair as their once-thriving, low-inventory market disappears before their very eyes ...
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California fires threaten over 172K homes worth billions

Inmannews - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 12:55pm
The wildfires ravaging Napa and Santa Rosa since Sunday night have put a total of 172,117 homes at risk that would take a staggering $65 billion to rebuild in those metropolitan areas alone, according to a new report from CoreLogic ...
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How to launch a real estate career with Facebook marketing

Inmannews - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 11:00am
When Mor Zucker became a real estate agent, she was a newbie at a brokerage full of industry veterans. And she was told, this is how we do real estate: Send out flyers, put your ads in magazines and pay $500 to be in the newspaper. But this puzzled her --  "Why would I be advertising where I don't spend my time?" she wondered. "All my friends are on Facebook." ...
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New Zillow tool peers into the minds of renters

Inmannews - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 10:52am
Zillow Group has announced the launch of Rental Inform, a cloud-based data dashboard comprised of exclusive, real-time rental market and aggregated consumer insight data aimed to help property management companies make decisions about operations, marketing and investments ...
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Agents spill their most embarrassing home showing stories

Inmannews - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 3:00am
A home is its owner's castle -- and when kings and queens put their castles up for sale and then invite strangers to tour them, things can get a little blush-worthy. From falling down in front of clients to interrupting a shower to stumbling over, ahem, intimate accoutrements, there's a ton of opportunity to embarrass yourself (or the seller) when a home is listed on the market ...
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What are comps? The rules of using comparables

Inmannews - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 2:30am
Comps, also known as comparables, are a critical tool that real estate agents use to determine a home’s value. My rule of thumb is this: Comps only have a shelf life of 90 days ...
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Why these two real estate influencers aren’t scared of Zillow, Redfin

Inmannews - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 2:00am
In the past 20 years, we’ve seen major industries disrupted or vanish completely due to tech innovation: Netflix said goodbye to the video rental industry, Amazon put brick-and-mortar bookstores under, Apple made buying CDs obsolete -- the list goes on and on ...
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10 tips for fearless door-knocking

Inmannews - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 1:30am
Rachel Adams started her career knocking on 200 doors and holding three open houses a week. In three years, she went from a brand new real estate agent to one of Wall Street Journal's top 1,000 U.S. agents. Below you’ll find 10 tips for door-knocking that can make it a pleasant experience for all involved ...
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6 free apps real estate rookies can’t ignore

Inmannews - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 1:00am
Getting started in real estate is full of ups and downs fueled by both the excitement of starting a new career and the terror of failing at it ...
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Sweet tea, anyone? Americans love their front porches

Inmannews - Mon, 10/09/2017 - 4:40pm
If you’ve noticed an increase in homes with front porches, it’s not just your imagination. According to a data analysis from the National Association of Home Builders, 65 percent of new single-family homes started in 2016 included a front porch ...
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Adam Ruins the Suburbs, and raises real estate industry demons

Inmannews - Mon, 10/09/2017 - 3:41pm
"Adam Ruins Everything" takes on the bleak history of the American suburb ...
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How to Mitigate Risk as a Landlord or Airbnb Host

American Apartment Owners Association - Mon, 10/09/2017 - 2:17pm

Landlords face a variety of potential downsides – receiving unexpected insurance claims, getting stuck with a big repair bill or, in the worst-case scenario, finding themselves saddled with a large legal judgment after an injury or accidental death.

But perhaps the toughest lesson for rookie landlords to learn is how to not be burned by tenants who can’t pay the rent or won’t pay on time.

Tips from a Landlording Pro

Veteran landlord David Dweck, head of the Boca Real Estate Investment Club in Coconut Creek, Florida, says he’s adopted an approach that’s polite and professional but also unwavering.

“It’s not a friendship; it’s a business relationship,” Dweck says.

Dweck starts with a thorough screening before he allows a prospective tenant to even tour a property. He wants to see proof of a job and a credit score of at least 640; although, he’ll consider an applicant with a lower score if it’s due to owing money toward student loans or medical bills. He also checks tenants’ personal and professional references.

To further drill down into prospective tenants’ profiles, Dweck uses a rental application that asks several unusual questions: Do you own a vacuum cleaner? Do you rent or own your furniture? The answers help him gauge just how risky a tenant might be.

Dweck also insists on an initial payment of the first month’s rent, the last month’s rent and a security deposit. “I never negotiate that – ever,” he says.

Dweck’s also clear with tenants that he’s strict about late rent payments. He encourages tenants who hit financial turbulence to contact him before they miss a payment rather than avoiding his calls and hoping he doesn’t notice.

If a tenant hasn’t paid their monthly rent by the fifth day of the month and doesn’t respond to his phone calls, Dweck files a notice with the local court system communicating his intent to start eviction proceedings in three days. If the rent still isn’t paid, Dweck turns the matter over to his eviction attorney.

Dweck’s reliance on personal questions and three-day eviction notices to prompt a rent payment may be too heavy-handed for some landlords, but it serves as a reminder that everyone renting out a home needs to do background checks on every prospective tenant and set clear limits with their tenants.

A crucial step for the background check is to ask for a copy of each prospective tenant’s driver’s license or state-issued ID card; some brazen scammers have used other people’s names and Social Security numbers in order to pass a credit and criminal background check for renters.

Limit Landlord Liability

Among his other risk-management strategies, Dweck suggests that a landlord form a limited liability company (LLC) for rental properties, rather than personally owning homes. That move helps protect the landlord from personal liability in the case of a lawsuit. However, you should do this with the help of an attorney, since changing the status of your property could void your title insurance or trigger other consequences you may not anticipate.

Speaking of liability, Dweck advises against renting out homes with swimming pools – the legal risk seems too steep to him. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 3,500 people – on average – unintentionally drown every year. Dweck knows of one landlord who was hit with a multi-million-dollar judgment after a death in a backyard pool.

Dogs are another area of potential risk. Dweck allows most types of dogs and insists on meeting the pet before he approves its (and its owner’s) tenancy.

Less Stress for Airbnb Hosts

If getting paid is the major challenge for landlords, Airbnb hosts say they don’t have to worry about that particular problem. Airbnb stresses that it collects money from guests up front.

“I’m never really concerned about the financial aspect because Airbnb makes sure the guest pays the bill even before they step over the threshold,” says Kevan Full, an Airbnb host in Easton, Maryland.

Full’s Airbnb space is a converted corn crib (a ventilated building for storing ears of corn) on his property on Maryland’s eastern shore. He and his wife, Chris, host guests for $110 – $125 a night.

No Guest Parties Allowed

While the Fulls don’t fret about getting paid, they are careful about who they allow to stay at their home. The risk-management process starts with a property description written to discourage rowdy guests.

“We’ve mitigated risk by being very clear with our description,” Kevan says. “We’re quite clear that it isn’t a place to party.”

The couple also doesn’t allow for automatic reservations on Airbnb. Instead, they require guests to request a stay. That gives them a chance to look at guests’ profiles and weed out people with poor reviews or who seem to enjoy partying.

Kevan says he has never experienced major damage to his property, just the occasional stuff that requires a minor paint job.

“People are typically very kind to the space,” he says.

Airbnb host Cindi Sherman, who rents out the top story of her home in Westminster, Colorado, also takes pains to play down the party possibilities of her place. She forbids smoking and affirms that even though Colorado is a cannabis-friendly state, her home isn’t. Instead, Sherman offers family-friendly features such as baby gates and a playpen.

She requires a hefty security deposit of $325, and her living area is separated from the Airbnb space by a door with a lock. She says her most common loss occurs when hand towels and washcloths are stained by makeup.

Mixed Feelings About Airbnb’s Insurance

In another bit of assurance, Airbnb says it provides each host with $1 million of insurance coverage for property damage.

Former Airbnb landlord Scott Shatford says he had a good experience with the hosting site’s insurance coverage. Shatford was renting an apartment in Santa Monica, California when he got a call from a guest reporting a stolen car and stolen luggage.

“I was like, ‘This has got to be a practical joke,’” Shatford, who now runs AirDNA, a Denver-based short-term rental industry data collection firm, recalls.

It was no joke, but Airbnb cut the guest a check for the full amount, he says. Shatford later determined the theft was perpetrated by a former guest who lived nearby and had copied a key to the unit.

From the experience, Shatford learned two valuable lessons: First, be suspicious of Airbnb guests who live in the same town as your Airbnb rental and who book at the last minute. Second, ditch traditional locks with keys for digital locks that issue a new combination for each guest.

But not everyone is sold on Airbnb’s insurance coverage. Cindi Sherman says after hearing other hosts gripe about the quality of Airbnb insurance, she shopped around for her own coverage.

“The hoops that need to be jumped through to get Airbnb to actually pay out on their coverage are incredible,” Sherman says. “From what I see on social media, hosts trying to get damage covered by the Airbnb insurance have a ton of constraints that can be pretty tough to complete given Airbnb’s timetable for claims.”

She says Airbnb requires hosts to provide photos of the damage, original receipts for any damaged goods and repair or replacement estimates 14 days before the next guests check in for their stay.

“Some hosts have same-day turnarounds, so the ‘before the next guests check in’ clause would cause them to have to cancel that next booking, which reflects poorly on their ratings and causes lost income,” she says, adding that incidents like this create a Catch-22 situation.

Sherman also says it was difficult finding home insurance coverage that accommodated short-term rentals.

“We were almost canceled for having an Airbnb property because traditional insurers didn’t want the risk.”

Hosting Guests Takes Work

Kevan says his biggest surprise to date as an Airbnb host is the time commitment. Crafting a professional property listing with high-quality photographs takes time. So does cleaning the space for new guests, monitoring reservations and cancellations and otherwise communicating with customers. He estimates he spends two – four hours a day on his Airbnb gig.

“It is a lot of work,” he says. “You have to be willing to work on it.”

Are you a landlord? An Airbnb host? What tips do you have for folks considering a similar path? Let us know in the comments!



The post How to Mitigate Risk as a Landlord or Airbnb Host appeared first on AAOA.

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Northern California firestorm shocks real estate community

Inmannews - Mon, 10/09/2017 - 2:07pm
At 1 this morning, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Wine Country Group's Sarah Carlson was awoken by her teenage daughter as she became alarmed by fast-approaching fire ...
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San Francisco is the most ‘overvalued’ market in the U.S., study finds

Inmannews - Mon, 10/09/2017 - 1:49pm
According to the UBS Global Real Estate Bubble Index, which includes 20 of the globe's largest cities, San Francisco is the most overvalued market in the U.S. thanks to home prices that have outpaced the rest of the country by 260 percentage points over the last 40 years ...
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Prices Rise for Apartment Buildings, But Fewer Properties Sell

American Apartment Owners Association - Mon, 10/09/2017 - 1:40pm
Investors continue to buy fewer apartment properties than they did last year. Yet prices continue to rise.

“It’s another down month for volume, but prices are still increasing,” says James Costello, senior vice president for Real Capital Analytics (RCA), a New York City-based research firm.

Usually prices fall when transaction activity slows down. But strong rent growth and relatively healthy occupancy rates in the apartment sector continue to attract investors, who are then frustrated by the relatively small number and high asking prices of apartment properties available for sale.

“The last three months have been the same story—it has been another month of disconnect between rising prices and falling deal volume,” says Costello.

Property markets cool off

Investors bought and sold $11.7 billion in apartment properties in August 2017, down 8 percent from the dollar volume spent on apartment properties in August 2016, according to RCA.

August would have been even less busy if it were not for a few giant portfolio deals. The dollar volume of single apartment properties sold dropped 18 percent during the month compared to the year before, according to RCA.

Usually, investors start a new year slowly. So far in 2017, the usual declines have been steeper than normal. Experts say fewer properties are available for sale, especially compared to the peak year of 2015. “The volume of property sales was so big… you can’t do that kind of deal volume every year,” says Costello.

Investors are also getting pickier about the properties they buy and the prices they are willing to pay. “Because the market has changed, investors are seeking yield, and in a market where they don’t anticipate any more cap rate compression, that yield is going to come from rent growth,” says Jeffery Daniels, senior vice president and national director for the multifamily division of Institutional Property Advisors, an investment platform.

That pickiness translates to fewer property sales. “In markets that project lower rent growth due to supply and other factors, we’re seeing less investor activity,” says Daniels.

Cap rates still strong for apartment properties

Even though investors are buying fewer assets, they are paying more than ever for apartment properties. The RCA Commercial Property Price Index for apartments rose 9.9 percent in August compared to the year before.

Prices on apartment properties also rose relative to their income in rents, and that kept the yield on investments in the sector near historic lows. “Capitalization rates are flat or even falling,” says Costello.

Cap rates on sales of garden apartment properties shrank to 5.8 percent in August, down 20 basis points compared to the year before. That’s also a full 90 basis points below the long-term average, according to RCA. Cap rates on sales of mid-rise and high-rise apartment buildings remained stable, hovering at or near the 5.0 percent level for most of the last year and a half.

Buyers are still very interested in apartment properties, keeping prices high and cap rates low. But that interest is not always enough to overcome worries about overbuilding and overpaying for assets. It seems less and less likely that prices will rise as quickly in the future as they have in the recent past. “Buyers won’t have cap rate compression to paper over any mistakes they make in underwriting,” says Costello.

Relatively easy access to financing is also helping keep property prices high and cap rates low. Investors have ready access to debt and equity financing to help them buy properties. Potential buyers can also still find partners who are eager to contribute equity capital to their deals.

“The abundance of equity capital in the multifamily space may keep cap rates down,” says Daniels. “The ability of investors to find financing is still very strong.”



The post Prices Rise for Apartment Buildings, But Fewer Properties Sell appeared first on AAOA.

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