Airbnb is Getting Into the Real Estate Industry

I recently wrote a blog that discussed the effect of Airbnb, the popular sharing economy service, on real estate. In that blog, I mentioned that Airbnb could prove to be a real threat to the real estate industry. The service is already disrupting the hospitality industry and has caused a bit of a stir in real estate, but its latest venture could drastically impact both industries.

 

According to a report from Fastcodesign.com, Airbnb is partnering up with a South Florida-based development company, Newgard Development Group, in order to construct an apartment building specifically designed for the sharing economy. Depending on the success of the building, Airbnb could roll out several more buildings throughout the country.

 

Dubbed “Niido,” the apartment building will exclusively host Airbnb rentals and feature 324 units. Niido is being constructed in Kissimmee, Florida.

 

Airbnb has been looking into making deals with apartment complexes for sometime, but has been limited by legal restrictions. By partnering with a development firm to build its own apartment buildings, the company can completely avoid those issues.

 

The Niido building is being specifically designed to accommodate the average sharing economy user. Niido will feature wide open common areas in the hopes that visiting travelers will interact and engage with each other; units will feature home offices that can easily transform into a spare bedroom; each unit will feature bathrooms and kitchens constructed of durable material that is also easy to clean; units will include small safes for travelers to store their personal belongings; each unit will work on a keyless entry system that only grants access during the duration of a visitor’s stay and tenants will be able to access both home-sharing and maintenance services through a single app. Newgard Development and Airbnb have truly pulled out all of the stops in order to provide a unique experience that will hopefully push the sharing economy industry forward.

 

With the Niido building, Airbnb hopes to create something of a small community. A portion of all standard Airbnb booking fees will go towards community projects, such as cooking and art classes. This will help to create a sense of community and offer a great experience and a better reason to stay in a Niido building.

 

Should Airbnb’s Niido building take off, the company could drastically encroach on the real estate industry. What are your thoughts? Do you want to see Airbnb make their own apartment complexes or would you rather they stick with what’s been working?

Where Will Amazon Build its New Headquarters?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you are familiar with Amazon. What once started out as a small, online book store has grown into the world’s largest online retailer and one of the world’s largest retailers, period. Currently, the company is headquartered in Seattle, Washington. However, the company is continuing its growth, and it is looking to build a secondary headquarters. And several cities across the nation are vying for the opportunity to become the newest headquarters for one of the world’s largest companies. Now, the question remains: where will Amazon call its second home?

 

Since Amazon announced its nationwide location hunt, multiple cities around the country have all flocked at Amazon’s door to bring the company, and the prospective 50,000 jobs that it entails, to their town. And Amazon has not been shy about what it wants from its new hometown. In an official statement from Amazon, the company announced that it will accept applications from cities while looking at six core factors: tech labor force, fiscal health, cost of living, college population, culture fit, and state tax rank.

 

At the moment, there seem to be a few cities that are prime contenders. These cities are: Dallas, Boston, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, New York, Nashville, Austin, Minneapolis, and even Newark. Surprisingly, another major contender on the list appears to be Seattle, Washington.

 

The e-commerce company has received at least 238 applications, many of which are from major metropolitan areas. Others are from much smaller areas, like Rockdale, Texas, whose population maxes out at 5,628.

 

Whichever city is chosen to house Amazon’s newest headquarters will likely be looking at some great benefits. Firstly, the building will cost several billion dollars to actually build, and, as previously mentioned, the new headquarters will create around 50,000 jobs, which is certain to stimulate the local economy. The lucky city will also become something of a tech haven overnight.

 

I am not only interested in seeing where Amazon decides to set up shop, but also how this decision ultimately affects the surrounding area. When a major corporation like Amazon builds a new campus, things are bound to change drastically; and not always for the better.

 

What are your thoughts? Where do you want to see Amazon build their second headquarters?

How to Find the Right Real Estate Agent

Looking for a home is a major decision in a person’s life. You want to ensure that you are finding the perfect home to start your independent life, raise a family or whatever purpose you might have. The house hunting process is typically very trying and never goes as smoothly as we’d hope. Luckily, there are professionals that try their hardest to make the process as manageable as possible. But not all real estate agents are created equal. Here’s a quick guide to help you find the right real estate agent.

 

Find a Licensed and Professional Agent

This might seem like a no brainer, but you wouldn’t believe the number of people who hire a close friend or part-time agent only to have the situation blow up in their face. When looking for an agent, ensure that they are fully licensed by their respective. Also, try your best to get an agent who’s had experience in tough deals. You want to make sure that your agent will be on your side and negotiate as hard as possible in your best interests.

 

Communication

Another fantastic trait of a great real estate agent is great communication. You want an agent who is going to be constantly communicating with you, either through text message, email or phone call. Obviously, they shouldn’t be overbearing, but if something of note happens, you should be the first to know as quickly as possible. They should also be very good at communicating the pros and cons of your house or property to potential buyers. If they cannot communicate effectively to buyers, there is no hope for a sale.

 

Organization

You want an agent who is organized. Point blank. If they seem to be disheveled and all over the place, you might want to consider a new agent. If your agent is punctual, keeps notes, records and all necessary information in an easy to access and read manner, then you’ve got a winner.

 

There are several other factors that go into making a great real estate agent. These are only a few of the important characteristics. When looking for an agent, talk to them and get to know them. You’ll probably have a good idea of who they are and how effective they will be after a few minutes of discussion.

 

Good luck!

Disruptor: Bitcoin in Real Estate

Technology is an absolutely invaluable part of our society. Objectively, the Internet is no longer an option, it is a necessity; we are constantly performing a variety of tasks on our smartphones, which are really supercomputers condensed into a device that’s barely larger than a deck of cards; and we are moving closer and closer to self-driving cars that no longer run on gasoline. The world around us is evolving into a digital utopia, and it’s taking no prisoners. Almost every industry, field or sector has been heavily influenced by some form of technology. One of the more recent impacts technology has made on our society is in our money. And this new form of money is impacting another important aspect of life: real estate.

 

Before I go any further, let me explain what exactly Bitcoin is. Originally introduced in 2009, Bitcoin is a digital form of currency known as cryptocurrency. The system works on a model known as peer-to-peer, meaning users exchange monies with one another directly without the use of a “middleman.” In the simplest description possible, Bitcoin is an online-exclusive method of virtual payment. And even though it has been around for roughly 10 years, it is just beginning to catch on in the mainstream market now.

 

Bitcoin seems to be most prevalent in the retail and restaurant industries. It is quickly becoming a viable option for payment. And now it looks to take on the real estate industry.

 

A report from CNBC.com states that there have already been properties purchased through Bitcoin in New York, Texas and California. President of Magnum Real Estate Group, Ben Shaoul, who was featured in the article, claims that he has begun to see Bitcoin make an impact in the Texas real estate market. He believes that the younger demographic of America is looking for alternative methods to purchase homes and property; they no longer want to rely on traditional U.S. currency. Bitcoin offers that freedom and variety in spades.

 

If Bitcoin continues to become widely accepted, it could take over the world and become just as easa to use as a credit card or a check. I am very interested to see if this new trend will take over or fizzle out.

How AirBnB is Affecting Real Estate

We all love the wonders that technology has bestowed upon us. Truly, it has changed our lives in some fascinating ways. We have instant access to virtually all of the world’s knowledge, we can communicate with almost anyone in the world, instantaneously, and we are making significant advancements in a variety of industries, like healthcare and finance. That being said, although technology has been a major boon for us as a society, it has also been a bit of a nuisance to others. Technology has a knack for “disrupting” longstanding traditions and industries. And almost every industry has been disrupted in some form or another. For those unaware of the term disruption in this context, it can be quickly summed up like this: disruption occurs when a new technology or method of completing a task, objective or service displaces longstanding traditions and methods.

 

And while disruption tends to move our society forward in a positive direction, it can pose challenges to our pre-existing industries. A great example of this can be seen in the sharing economy. Services like Uber and Lyft, where ordinary citizens can become overnight chauffeurs, are giving the taxi industry a run for its money. But I want to focus on another sharing economy service: AirBnB.

 

AirBnB takes the concept of Uber and Lyft and applies it to the hospitality industry. Homeowners and landlords can post a room or building on the service and host visitors, travelers or anyone else. You simply sign up with AirBnB and, essentially, turn your house into a hotel. And while this may sound like a novel idea, it poses a potential threat to the real estate industry.

 

According to recent reports, the wildly popular sharing economy company is looking into getting into long-term real estate. Currently, AirBnB focuses primarily on short-term leases. Most AirBnB hosts rent rooms out for a few days, but now, because of the company’s growth, they may be expanding into more lengthy leases.

 

Industry professionals are unphased, claiming that AirBnB could not make the necessary impact on the industry to make any real impact. However, with the company’s massive growth and popularity, they could certainly hurt other real estate developers and investors. Many of the hosts that use AirBnB purchase multiple properties for the sole purpose of using AirBnB.

 

These are still just rumors, but if they come to fruition, then multiple real estate developers and investors could wind up competing with one of the largest growing hospitality services in the country.

4 Key Tips For Selling Land And Lots

You may think that selling land is the same as selling a home, but in reality the two are very different. In a changing real estate market, it is hard enough to sell a house, but selling land and lots can be even more challenging.

So what exactly is it that makes selling land and lots so different from selling a house? First of all, land and lot buyers are different from homebuyers. They have different needs and perspectives. While homebuyers want a home they can move into, land buyers are looking for the opportunity to customize the land to fit their needs. Selling land also requires different sales techniques, and the market for land is significantly less active than the market for existing homes. Additionally, it takes longer to sell a lot or vacant land, so the process requires patience.

Here are a few steps you need to take to successfully sell land and lots:

Understand your buyer.
When you’re selling land, it’s important to evaluate who your likely buyers will be. This depends on what type of property you’re selling, the location of the land, whether it has been developed, the market conditions and more. There also may be different buyers depending on whether it is a parcel of suburban land, a finished lot or rural acreage. After you’ve identified your likely buyers, try to think like them so you know what message to convey.

Make sure the land or lot looks presentable.
Before showing your lot to potential buyers, you’ll definitely want to clean it up. First impressions are extremely important in real estate. Make sure you remove trash and cut the grass. When your property is looking its best, take marketing photos. Some people who are selling vacant land will even plant wildflowers to make the land look more appealing.

Choose your price.
Picking a price is something that you need to put a lot of thought into. One of the biggest mistakes sellers make is pricing their lot or land too high. Pricing land can be harder than pricing a home. If you’re selling a developed lot in a community, you may be able to determine the “market” price based on the sale of similar lots. Raw land is a bit more difficult since there isn’t as much to compare to. The price you can attract for undeveloped land or a singular lot can vary based on the buyer’s intended use of the property. Land that a buyer feels is suitable for a high-end home development will likely bring a higher price per acre than land that a buyer only wants to use for a single home.

Use online listings specific to land and lot buyers
You’ll want to market to land and lot buyers in particular. While MLS is a helpful tool, it is focused on marketing existing homes. Therefore, it you want to sell land or a lot, MLS should not be a the only tool you use. Use a tool that is specifically for these listings, such as LotNetwork.com. Make sure that when you writing your listing, you understand your buyers and provide the information that they are likely to need.

Selling land and lots can be wildly different from selling a home. There may be some added difficulty, but with these tips you’ll be able to successfully sell your land or lot to a satisfied buyer.

6 Steps To Becoming A Real Estate Developer

Real estate development can be described as the act of buying real estate, making improvements and then selling the real estate. The improvements usually involve making the buildings better or creating new buildings on the land. Real estate can be very lucrative, but only if you can predict market trends and recognize opportunities. If you cannot do this, you could suffer some heavy losses. Here are a few steps to become a good real estate developer:

Get an degree.
There is not one particular degree that lends itself to real estate development. It is however, important that you study something that is relevant to this line of business. If you want to go into real estate development, it’s a good idea to earn a degree in construction management, business administration, urban development or finance. You’ll also need to take the necessary classes and assessments to receive a real estate license in your particular state.

Work for someone in the real estate business.
Seek out a job that allows you to be involved in the buying, selling or development of real estate. While you’re working in this position, try to absorb as much information as you can about the industry. In the meantime, make sure you’re building up your credit score and your personal savings in order to help you finance your future real estate development business.

Establish your business’ legal identity.
The real estate business can lead to high financial risks. For this reason, you should form a business entity that provides you with liability protection, like a corporation or a limited liability company. When you form an entity like this, you will likely encounter more accounting issues and higher fees than you would come across if you had a sole proprietorship or a simple partnership. However, these issues are nowhere near as major as the personal costs you would face if there was a sudden downturn in the real estate market.

Work alongside professional contractors and construction firms.
Once you’ve set up your company you’ll need to construct new buildings or improve your properties. In order to do this, you’ll need to work with construction firms or professional contractors. Once you build relationships with construction professionals, you will have people to rely on for timely and quality work in the future.

Build relationships with lenders.
The best way to finance your investment activities is to connect with local and independent lenders. When theses lenders begin to trust you, they will give you quick personalized services for competitive rates.

Research market trends.
If you want to be a successful real estate developer, you need to be able to project rises and falls in real estate prices. Sell when prices are high and buy when prices are low. Make sure you get up-to-date information about real estate prices using specialized Internet tools.

Being a real estate developer can be an extremely rewarding and lucrative business if you are able to predict market trends. Follow these steps and you’re bound to achieve a lot of success in the field of real estate development.

3 Reasons You Should Be Investing In Real Estate

After the economic recession of 2008, many people avoided investing in real estate. This was because this era was often linked with the housing bubble and subprime mortgages. But the truth is, real estate is a smart asset class to invest in. When you invest in real estate, you are purchasing a future income stream from property. It is in reality quite unfair that real estate investment is given a bad reputation. Here are a few reasons to invest in real estate:

  1. You can diversify your portfolio.

Investing in real estate can give you incredible potential to diversify your portfolio. The correlation between real estate and other major asset classes is low, and in some cases, negative. This means that if you add real estate to your portfolio of diversified assets, the portfolio can decrease in volatility. This can also provide higher return per unit of risk.

2) The income return is attractive and stable.

One big upside to real estate investment is the sizeable proportion of total return, accruing from rental income over the long term. Between 1977 and 2007, about 80 percent of total U.S. real estate return came from income flows. This leads to a decrease in volatility. Investments that rely more heavily on income return have a tendency to be less volatile than those that rely more heavily on capital value return. In addition, real estate is more attractive than more traditional sources of income return. The asset class usually trades at a yield that is premium to U.S. Treasuries. It is especially attractive in an environment with low Treasury rates.

3) It has competitive risk-adjusted returns.

Data from the National Council of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries (NCREIF) shows that over the 10-year period from 2000 to 2010, private market commercial real estate returned 8.4 percent on average. This has a lot to do with low volatility relative to equities and bonds. Many critics feel the the reason real estate has a low volatility is that real estate transactions have not been frequent. As a result, property values are often determined using third-party appraisals, which often cause the market to lag. As a result of infrequent transactions and appraisals, there is a smoothing of returns. In an upturn, reported property values tend to underestimate market values. In a downturn, they tend to overestimate market values.

Real estate volatility should be adjusted upward, but real time markets could undergo sudden shocks at any moment. One example of this occurred during the “Flash Crash” of May 2010. In just 15 minutes, $1 trillion in stock market value was erased. When market volatility is an issue and the dynamics of algorithmic trading are murky, real estate is an attractive investment due to its more stable pricing.

While many people will tell you that investing in real estate is a bad idea, this is in many ways a myth. With a stable income return and the potential to diversify your portfolio, real estate is a worthwhile investment.

Top Things You Should Do When Selling Your Home

One of the hardest things you to do on your own while your house is on the market is figuring out how to make your home more appealing to potential buyers. If your house is currently on the market or you’re considering putting your house on the market, consider following the tips listed below to assist you with having an effortless home sale process.

Find a Realtor

Realtors can help with placing your house on multiple listing services (MLS). This can be most helpful when it comes to screening potential buyers before who wish to visit your home. This saves you the time of having to separate the real buyers from the fake ones.

Working with a realtor can also help to make your home sale process safer. Realtors have access to electronic lock boxes that are used to allow other Realtors entry to your home with their buyer’s without you having to be present. This lock box has the ability to track who accessed your home and when.  

Depersonalize and Declutter

Removing the most personal items from your home, such as family portraits, is extremely helpful when trying to sell your home. Doing so, takes out the pieces of the home that are unique to you and helps buyers see the property from a fresh point of view.

Similar to putting away personal items, decluttering your home is a good way to reel in potential buyers. Decluttering will look more spacious to potential buyers if there are less items inside of it. Buyers want to be able to imagine themselves living in the home before they purchase it. Eliminating the distractions of personal items can help them accomplish that.

Tips To Help You Get Your Mortgage

It’s no secret that there are many obstacles that often arise when trying to get a mortgage. Among those obstacles are poor credit scores, not enough money in the bank, or no knowledge of the process.

Here are some helpful tips to assist you in improving the your chances of landing the mortgage loan of your dreams.

Boost Your Credit Score

Your credit score has a significant effect on the type of loan you will be able to receive. You typically need a credit score of 620 or above to be considered  for a standard mortgage. You will also need to have a score of at least 740 or higher to be qualified for the best rates.

The best way to enhance your credit score is to:

Make payments on time

Utilize websites like credit.com and creditkarma.com to check the status of your credit, debt, and payment history.

It is common for lenders to check and then re-check your credit report during your mortgage application process. Missing a payment during this process has the ability to lower your credit score and as a result may have a negative effect on your loan.

“If you miss a payment during the loan application process — particularly a mortgage payment — and the lender re-checks your credit report, it could result in a much lower credit score and could derail the loan application,” said Anastos.

Remember, your credit score can keep you for getting a mortgage or affect your mortgage rate (more on that below).

Pay down your debts

Lenders are more often than not willing to lend money to individuals who do not need it. Therefore, the less debt you have, the more likely it is that you will be approved for your loan.

Make sure your paperwork is organized

The amount of items necessary to apply for a mortgage loan is pretty extensive. Try your best to have any and everything you need before you begin the process.

Items you will need to have include:

 

  • W-2 forms for the past two years
  • Paycheck stubs from the past few months
  • Proof of previous mortgage or rent payments for the past year
  • A list of all your debts ( credit cards, student loans, car loans, etc.)
  • A list of all your assets ( bank statements, auto titles, real estate, investment accounts, etc.)