Re/Max: Real estate expected to boom in 2018

After a year of rising home prices, low inventory levels and ongoing homebuyer demand, these conditions will increase even more in 2018. As the year begins, one expert breaks down some of the major trends to come in 2018, saying the year will bring an abundance of positive trends. “Turn up the volume on new home building,” Re/Max Co-CEO Adam Contos said, citing housing starts that are down 2.9% year-over-year and well below the historic 50-year average. “We’d love nothing more than to see the next generation of homebuyers start building equity now.” Contos gives these four predictions for 2018: 1. Inventory is key Contos explained that the volume on new home building will increase, but until that happens, the market will struggle with low inventory and some markets will feature all-out bidding wars. Changing migration patterns Home buyers discouraged by affordability and low inventory in certain cities, markets and states, will look to other, more attractive and more inviting neighborhoods. Contos said he expects to see more home sales in the suburbs, less-populated markets and even more affordable states. Always the unexpected Gadgets, apps, online tools, real estate agents and technology – anything that makes buying and selling a home more plausible and less stressful will continue to launch and evolve, especially in 2018. “We’ll certainly see our share of challenges in 2018,” Contos said. “But with the challenges will come ecstatic home buyers and sellers, new and booming communities, one boasting the new Amazon headquarters, and fresh innovations in real estate that we never saw coming.” To see more forecasts for 2018, click here.

Wildfire insurance out of reach for many Californians who need it

California homeowners located in areas most vulnerable to wildfires are finding it increasingly difficult to find or afford wildfire insurance, according to a December 2017 report by the California Department of Insurance (CDI). Since wildfires in the state claimed 3,000 structures including 1,700 homes in September 2015, CDI has seen a rise in complaints from homeowners in high-risk areas that insurance has been unaffordable or difficult to obtain. “Insurers are increasingly using computer models to assess the risk of fires for individual homes and deciding that homes in some areas face too high a risk,” said California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones in a statement. The legislature has given insurers broad latitude to decide whether and where to write fire insurance; therefore we are recommending new laws to improve fire insurance availability.” The extensive wildfires also present growing challenges for homebuilders in a state desperately in need of more housing. “Add to the equation, increasing development in areas more vulnerable to fire and you can see why wildfires are now an everyday threat to life and property for Californians.” According to realtor.com’s director of economic research, Javier Vivas, after the initial “darker picture” of last year’s wildfires, positive changes can come out of the events for the real estate industry. “It could enhance affordability and get other areas thinking about ‘how do we better tackle what buyers want,'” said Vivas. The state has big populations centers and a strong economy but imbalanced supply and demand for housing, which has pushed prices to a certain level. “Our hope is that we will see new construction pop up pretty quickly, not just in the North Bay but down in Southern California where there is also a big population,” said Vivas, who is based in Santa Clara, California. Vivas is hoping there will be more discussion about what kind of housing stock is needed by cities such as Santa Rosa, which lost over 5,000 homes in the North San Francisco Bay wildfires. “The market definitely needs housing supply in the mid to low end,” said realtor.com’s director of economic research.

3 Reasons You Should Consider a Duplex as Your First Home Purchase

When most people think about buying their first home, a nice little brick house with a white picket fence comes to mind. And while there’s nothing wrong with this, maybe you should actually be thinking about a duplex. Duplexes are everywhere, and they can be extremely wise investments in certain situations. While you probably don’t want to buy a duplex if you have a family with kids, it’s perfect for someone who is young and single (or newly married). Here are a few of the benefits you’ll get to enjoy. Mortgage Benefits Before you can even consider buying a duplex, you have to get your financing squared away. Early in your search, you can work with a mortgage professional to get prequalified and search for homes within your wants, needs, and budget.” What you’ll find is that a duplex may actually help your mortgage situation, if you plan on renting out the other half. For example, let’s say the mortgage on a duplex is $1800 per month, but you can rent out one half for $1,000. Give Yourself a Financial Headstart When it comes to buying your first house, perspective is key. Think about the pros and cons, weigh them against each other, and determine whether or not a duplex will work in your situation.

The #1 Little Known Way I Find Cheap Real Estate Deals

I was able to acquire all of the properties using various strategies, but one in particular that I really like to talk about is using Craigslist. In 2014, over the span of about five months, I was able to acquire 34 properties, and I did it by stalking Craigslist every single day. How to Find Deals on Craigslist Now, what you have to do is first have enough capital to acquire a property with cash because a lot of the properties listed on Craigslist are very distressed, rundown, and may have back taxes or a tax lien. Within your zip code, you should know what un-renovated properties are selling for, what renovated properties are selling for, the prices that wholesalers list properties for in that area, who the top performing real estate agents in the area are, and who the top real estate investors flipping deals in the area are. Your network equals your net worth, so make sure you immerse yourself with the numbers and surround yourself with the right people so you truly become an expert in that particular area or zip code. Related: The $30k Rental Property: How to Finance & Profit From Cheap Real Estate So, first, we have the capital, meaning we’ve got the cash to acquire the properties. Once they pop up, because you are a true expert in that particular area, you’ll know if it’s a good deal. That is how I was able to acquire 34 properties in 2014. I knew the numbers in the area, I had the cash to make the deals happen, I was good at negotiating, I worked hard, and I stalked Craigslist every single day. A deal popped up, I was on the phone, I inspected the property, I committed the down payment, I called the title company and signed the contracts, and I closed on the contracts within seven days.

The One Critical Question Investors Forget to Ask When Shopping for Rentals

The numbers matter more than anything, but location will determine whether or not the projected numbers will hold up. Well, you can probably rent it out, but will you have to dramatically decrease the rent or take on subpar tenants just to do it? I believe there are two factors that are absolutely crucial for a rental property to continue to cash flow: The numbers The tenants The market itself plays a role in this too, but numbers and tenants are the most direct impactors in my opinion. However, get this: The only tenant I could find for it was a Section 8 tenant. If you are shopping for a rental property and you’ve run the numbers and the market and neighborhood look good, then these are the rentability questions you need to be asking. A real estate agent may also be able to answer these questions, especially the one who is trying to sell you the property, but typically real estate agents aren’t constantly dealing specifically with rental properties day in and day out for years at a time. Why You Should Enlist the Help of a Property Manager Property managers are truly in the grit of rental properties in a certain area. It isn’t usually kosher to call an agent or property manager up and ask them for an assessment of something without offering to pay them for their time. If you want to know how much a particular property is likely to garner rental income, an agent or manager can run the rental comps in the area and make a best guess based off of those on what a particular property may be able to realistically get. A property manager is likely going to have a general numbers feel for you, even outside of a CMA.

How I Accidentally Landed My First Seller-Financed Deal

I’ve been working on diversifying my real estate investment strategy. The house being small wasn’t a issue. The rural area was not the complete issue either. We acquired the property, subsidies were awarded to us to complete the majority of the rehab, and of course we had county approval. Here’s the problem: During this time, there were county elections, and politics got in the way. We had a property with a $20,000 note. I knew the tenant pool would be small, and most likely they’d have some credit issues, but we had to take a shot. We agreed to decrease the purchase price of the house rather than replacing the garage (part of the money from the fire to pay off the note and repair the vinyl siding). Although the seller financing was completely accidental, I was not closed minded when it came to finding solutions to turn the acquisition around. Free eBook from BiggerPockets!

5 Ways to Land Financing After the Traditional Bank Cuts You Off

Maybe you’ve attained several mortgages from them already, and you’ve been buying up real estate left and right, building your portfolio. You might not see it coming, but once you own a set number of mortgages in your own name, the traditional bank will likely cut you off, refusing to lend you another cent. Find an investor-friendly bank or mortgage broker. Little did I know that there were investor-friendly private lenders out there looking for deals. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of commercial loans that require me to personally sign or that are eligible to recast in, say, five, seven, or 10 years, since now my other assets are at risk in a default (not just the property loaned against) or I may not qualify for the loan to continue if there was a dramatic change in property value or in my personal income or credit. There are also ways to get the deal without the bank. Better yet, you could find a money partner who would either put up all the money for the deal or sign on the loan. Become the bank. At some point, possibly after you’ve grown your real estate portfolio, you may start thinking about becoming the lender, as opposed to the borrower. If so, what are some of your favorite, creative strategies for financing your deals?

The Best Way To Profit From REITs In 2018

I’ve spoken to a lot of investors who are still scared of real estate after the housing bubble burst in 2008. Note how RWR outperformed SPY both before and after the financial crisis? Look at FFO. When you look at the last four quarters of FFO, you can compare it to a REIT’s annual dividend payouts to get its dividend coverage ratio. Since Realty Income pays out $2.54 a share in dividends per year, its dividend coverage ratio is 119.7% (3.04 ÷ 2.54 = 119.68). This tells us that the REIT is earning more in rental income than it’s paying out in dividends—the dividend is safe. Rule #2: Look at the Portfolio The other neat thing about REITs is that they’re easy to understand. Realty Income even breaks down its top 20 tenants and how many properties those tenants are renting: Knowing the quality of tenants and their occupancy rate is key; these are the two factors that will predict future cash flow and stock price. Rule #3: Look at the Price The final step is something a lot of REIT investors overlook. By carefully looking not only at how much FFO a REIT is producing but also at how much you’re paying for a piece of that FFO, you can save yourself from big price drops like the one Realty Income suffered last year.

As 2017 Ended, Rents Rose

The median national rent rose toward the end of 2017, contrary to the predominant trend for the year, according to the November Zillow® Real Estate Market Report. “After about a two-year slowdown, rent growth is starting to pick back up across the nation,” says Aaron Terrazas, senior economist at Zillow. “The slowdown in rental appreciation, combined with consistent income growth, gave renters some reprieve from worsening rental affordability over the past few years.” However, “As rental growth begins to catch up with income growth, affordability will deteriorate, placing a squeeze on budget-constrained renters,” Terrazas says. At the time, Zillow expected a 1 percent rise for the year. The challenge is intensified in markets with rapid rent raises, according to the report: Sacramento, Calif., where the median has gone up 7.5 percent year-over-year ($1,829); and Riverside, Calif., where the median has gone up 6.2 percent ($1,847). The cost could prod renters, says Terrazas. “More widespread rent growth could mean home-buying demands stay high, as renters who can afford it move away from the unpredictability of rising rents toward the relative stability of a monthly mortgage payment instead.” For more information, please visit www.zillow.com. Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia’s online news editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at sdevita@rismedia.com. For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

Deedcoin launches private virtual token sale

Deedcoin, a digital currency startup that wants to disrupt real estate commissions by paying agents partly in digital currency tokens, last night began a private pre-sale of its tokens priced between $1.50 to $3.00. The company says these tokens, based on the Ethereum cryptocurrency standard–a popular alternative to Bitcoin with some extra features–can be used by prospective property buyers and sellers to hire real estate agents across the country. Deedcoin says in a document on its website that the private sale will “conclude on either June 30, 2018 or when 40 million tokens have been sold, whichever comes first.” The company claims that it has partnered with registered real estate agents in 28 states who have agreed to accept Deedcoin tokens as part of their payment, in addition to drastically reduced commissions paid in U.S. dollars—as low as 1 percent, according to the company’s launch website. Inman has asked Deedcoin for names of specific participated agents and will update when we receive a response. According to Deedcoin, buyers and sellers will be able to log into its website and list or find properties for sale where agents would accept Deedcoin. Participants in the private sale were instructed to visit the portal site, agree to the terms, enter the amount of Deedcoin they want to order, and click “pay now” to pay with a credit card or digital currencies ether, bitcoin or litecoin. Buyers could expect their purchased Deedcoin to arrive in one business day to their Ether Wallet address, the message said. The company plans to hold an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) on January 25, when it will open its tokens for sale to all members of the public. Deedcoin specifically says it’s complaint with U.S. securities law, noting in its email announcing the private sale: In compliance with SEC regulation, U.S. Deedcoin purchasers are limited to 1,500 Deedcoin ($2,250) plus bonuses, UNLESS you are an accredited investor. Deedcoin is just one of a growing number of real-estate themed ICOs planned for the month and year ahead.

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Housing options disappear for low-income renters

The study compares changes in the number of renters in five income levels between 2006 and 2016 with changes in the number of unites that would be affordable for people in that income range over the same period of time. However, these high-income renters are not in a crisis. Not an option for lower income families. Housing is a growing, the real struggle is for low-income renters, who did not just outpace the rate of rental unit growth – they actually saw a decrease in the number of units they can afford. Click to Enlarge “New supply is clearly not coming online at these low rent levels,” JCHS stated in its report. “Moreover, not enough existing units are filtering down to counter those lost to abandonment, higher rent levels, or conversion to higher-end condominiums. In September, the national average rent decreased, if only just slightly, for the first time in eight months. However, as interest rates make buying a home even less affordable, more and more consumers may be turning to renting as their only option. This could create even more pressure in an already competitive market. “We’ve seen supply finally start to catch up at the high end,” Schuetz said.