How Will Real Estate Recover from Covid-19?

As one of the largest markets in the world, the real estate industry has been heavily influenced by the coronavirus pandemic. However, things might not be quite as bad as they seem. Unlike the hospitality industry, real estate has not shut down entirely. Since people need housing now more than ever, there is still hope for recovery.

Statistics for the past few months show that there has been a little bit of a downturn, with 15.7 percent less homes than usual being sold in March and 24 percent less mortgages being applied for. This decline has led to a corresponding drop in interest rates and house prices. Most real estate analysts agree there will be some market contraction in the short term, with less properties available and less money being invested in the upcoming months.

However, some experts think that things will pick back up quite rapidly. Summer is often the busiest time of year, as buyers often want to find a new house to move into right after the school year ends. Many people stuck at home for months are starting to rethink their current living situation, leading to some renewed interest in the housing market. Thanks to new technological developments, buying online is easier than ever. Therefore, the more optimistic predictions have the real estate market recovering by late summer or early fall.

Though things look fairly promising for residential real estate, the outlook is not quite as bright for commercial properties. Retail and restaurants are one of the areas hardest hit by the coronavirus, with many unable to make rent or purchase new properties due to their lack of income. Many current developments are still underway, but banks and realtors have noticed that future development plans have been put on hold in many places.

Until the economic uncertainty ends, it will be impossible for commercial real estate to continue moving forward. Since commercial and residential real estate are closely linked, this has some experts thinking it may take until 2021 for the market to recover entirely. In this worst case scenario, there may be a small drop in property values, longer times on the market for housing, and less development. However, those who have the funds to remain patient and hold onto their investments will most likely end up seeing positive results eventually.

Originally published to marcmenowitz.co

Managing Your Home Office for Commercial Real Estate

Working From Home and Commercial Real Estate

If you’re not prepared for the worst, then adjusting to it is the best thing to do in a pandemic. 2020 is written in history as the era of COVID-19, and the vacant offices of commercial properties that it induced around the world is evidence of the lack of revenue that property developers have to accept. Adjusting to the unexpected spread of a viral disease calls for professionals in real estate to consider their prospects of continuing to work but from home.

Why Working From Home will Work for Commercial Real Estate

If you work in commercial real estate (CRE), then you must look at the developments of COVID-19 as a way of improving your career—by adopting new methods and philosophies. Society is determined to continue to thrive, so you must define your own adaptation based on these truths within the quarantine of CRE:

Companies Must Recover—Working at home makes sense for CRE because companies need to operate but with social distancing taken into account. Keeping you working but at home can also help businesses to operate at lower costs.

Online Leads Exist—2020’s pandemic helps wireless technology to secure a stronger “footing” within the business world, so working remotely is an opportune time to learn how to generate CRE leads without leaving home.

New Processes are Underway—Ensuring that the CRE industry is protected from future pandemics can only be done by redesigning the current business models that we work with. Expect remote positions and processes to be core concepts integrated into a CRE market that’s better prepared for viruses.

What to Consider in Your Home Office

Remain competitive by studying the nuances of working from home; then develop a routine that fits your lifestyle. Patience plays a large role in how you handle any economic recovery from a pandemic, for not knowing when we’ll return to “normal” may lead you to panic. Your best bet is to look into new ways of marketing.

Generating new business is still your means of success in CRE, and you can learn how to do that from home.

Originally published on marcmenowitz.co

Sustainable Architecture: An Environmental Solution

In one sense, the Greeks and Romans built sustainable architecture since it has lasted throughout the ages. Today’s denotation of sustainable architecture differs. While it does give attention to a pleasing structure, the focus of the design of commercial or residential real estate is on the minimalization of any environmental damage. That is, sustainable architecture balances out the adverse effects that building construction may have upon the environment by utilizing developmental space, efficient energy and environmentally-friendly materials.

Today, 40% of the energy consumption in the United States is attributable to commercial and residential buildings. Because a growing number of new homeowners and businesses are concerned about the future of the environment, attention to energy consumption and the usage of materials that are not environmentally harmful has become a priority. The National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) 2019 survey reported that 59% of consumers demonstrated an interest in sustainable architecture or green home features. Those concerned with conserving energy and using environmentally-friendly materials may contact LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), a green building certification system internationally recognized for its use of strategies focused upon conservation and efficiency of water, gas and electricity. For such care in the usage of energy, specific features can be installed that work effectively with the site and the climate conditions. Installation of such technology can reduce CO2 emissions and improve conditions indoors, such as water efficiency, energy-saving measures and conservation of other resources.

There are ratings given in five categories for evaluating green building and design:

  • Energy and Atmosphere
  • Indoor Environmental Quality
  • Water Efficiency
  • Resources
  • Materials

Points are awarded to the extent that a building’s performance is improved. There is also a point system for rating green building designs and constructions. Higher numbers of points will award buildings higher levels of certification, ranging from Certified, Silver, Gold, to Platinum. In 2003, a survey by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) concluded that such ratings are significant for real estate sales since 59% of consumers demonstrate an interest in green building features and sustainable architecture.

It is now relevant for investors or builders to be aware of the pros and cons of using sustainable architecture for their next build. During the construction, there is more expense than there is for other construction; however, reduced energy consumption and technology improving the building’s efficiency as a result of the green construction will save owners money. Other benefits for sustainable architecture are the following:

  • Reduction of ongoing ownership expenses
  • Qualification for government incentive rebates and programs
  • Improved marketability of the building
  • Improved working/living conditions for in habitants
  • Reduction of waste stream from the building
  • Improvement of the living/working conditions for those in the building
  • Lessened environmental impact

Originally published to marcmenowitz.net

Joining an Investment Club within Real Estate

Joining a club makes sense if you need to build a strong network within real estate.

Just be cautious about what role your membership club plays within the lives of its members like you. You might be surprised to find some clubs saying that they offer opportunities in real estate while they only offer “programs” for sale. Diversity within a club is also necessary if you want a full overview of your property market.

Below are some benefits of joining a club that represents your market in real estate:

Education—As long as what you learn is free or part of the provided mentorship of your club, have confidence in knowing that you’ll meet professionals with enough experience to seek advice from. A club full of realtors and agents can teach you the basics of real estate as well as the complexities of long-term success.

Networking—The buyers and sellers that you need for your property portfolio can be collected through a membership club. Use your club membership to also improve the networks of agents who you might need to rely on in the future.

Negotiations—Every property market has to be approached in a unique manner, and the professionals of your local club can tell you about the nuances within your region. Not only can you begin real negotiations with associated members, but you can practice with them to develop your lingo.

Investment Strategies—Being able to share your ideas and concerns is a freedom that you gain from your club membership. The ideas that your fellow members have to share will also give you insights into how to strategize.

Advertising—Clubs that represent property markets often have advertising outlets available for you to use without paying additional costs. You can promote yourself through the resources that your associate members also have.

Finding the right club of professionals within real estate can scale your brand above your competitors. Every property market holds a wealth of information that you’ll need help in acquiring. Reputable clubs do have membership fees for realtors and agents, but a bit of due diligence can ensure that your money is in the right place.

Originally published to marcmenowitz.com

How to Find the Right Real Estate Program for You

Real estate can be a great career. It’s a good fit for people from all kinds of backgrounds. Task-oriented people with vision can make great real estate developers. People with great communication skills can be great at selling real estate. One of the keys to launching a great career in this field is education. To find big success in real estate, it’s generally agreed that an MBA is necessary. This is because real estate requires good skills in several areas.

There’s a big range of real estate MBA programs to choose from. The very best ones have unique perspectives that set them apart. It’s a good idea for students to choose carefully applying. Not every program will be the right fit for every program. Some MBA programs are even designed with input from industry organizations like the Urban Land Institute. These provide real, practical information that graduates can apply in their work lives.

For example, Wharton is well-known for connecting the students in their program with successful people in the field. They do this by hosting events, including luncheons, where real estate titans interact with students. Wharton also provides students with a solid foundation of general business training. For example, the professors there know that students will need to be comfortable interpreting legal documents and have other practical skills.

Columbia University is a little different. They provide students with insights from other business fields like organizational change and accounting in addition to real estate. Of course, case studies and hands-on work are also very important. Students often work with actual case studies of problems encountered in the real estate world. Often, the people involved in those cases come in to guest lecture about those experiences. Good problem-solving skills are crucial in real estate, where permits, labor, and finance are all at play.

Stanford University’s real estate MBA program is notable for combining elements from a number of fields. Urban planning, psychology, architecture and art are all fields outside the business world that impact real estate careers. The emotional ties of home and family mean that many buying and selling decisions aren’t made on rational grounds alone. Successful real estate pros need to know about the factors that influence the choices consumers make.

Originally published to marcmenowitz.com

Refinancing a Loan

People usually have to get a loan at least once in their life. Whether it’s for school, a car or a house, you might need a loan to cover the costs until you make back the money. Luckily, you can look into refinancing if you want to make your debts easier to pay off, so here’s what you need to know about it.

What is Refinancing?

Refinancing means that you get a debt to pay off another debt. This way, you can start from a clean slate for your debt since you’ll work with another company. This works out when others seek to get away from a much higher debt or interest rate.

Refinancing, in essence, lets you restart your debt with another institution. You will still need to pay off the money you owed since you will get a new debt, but you could enjoy benefits through refinancing.

How Refinancing Helps

Refinancing can help you by allowing you to leave a previous debt and go to another one. This works great since you can find debts with lower interest rates so that you end up paying less money overall.

You can also use it as a way to get your debt from another bank or institution that you have more trust in. Make sure to look into your different options to find the best one for your situation.

Research Different Loans

To increase your benefits when you refinance, you need to spend some time doing research. Find out what loans you can get and if they have lower interest rates than your original debt. Compare them and take the better deal.

You can also see if you’ll get less interest overall. For example, the Federal Reserve was affected in 2008, so interest rates dropped. Keep your eye out for changes such as this.

Conclusion

You can get a better deal with your debt and potentially lower the overall costs for interest as you look at refinancing options. This happens as you look around at different loans and see if there’s one that will work for your situation. Make sure that you understand your current position and how you can improve it.

The Impact of Technology on Real Estate

As mobile technology, automation, artificial intelligence, and big data revolutionizes almost every business and industry, real estate is also looking at big benefits and challenges.

Here are a few ways that the age of post-big data technology is changing real estate.

Social Media Presentation for Agents

Just as many businesses and marketers can’t do without Facebook and Twitter, real estate agents are tethered to the way modern people look for information.

For almost any business that needs to reach the general public, knowing the top social media sites are vital. Having a Facebook and Twitter presence isn’t just about reach, but having an easy way for someone to contact with a question.

At that point, social media augments your emails and texts. It’s just another place to check for contacts, but social media updates can be sent to emails and phone numbers easily.

That said, there are social media sites that are for real estate–and they’ve been around longer than Facebook! Social media is a new term for the many communities and common areas around the internet, and places like Zillow and Trulia fit the bill.

It’s about knowing where people go when they want to buy or sell a home. You’ll certainly want to boost your own visibility, but popular real estate websites have branding and big search engine optimization (SEO) power to stay on top.

In the early 2000s, that could have been competition. Today, it just means another platform you’ll use. Trulia and Zillow are just examples; apartments.com, rent.com, hotpads.com, and many other sites show up depending on the address and information.

Figure out which sites are the most popular by doing a few basic searches for your properties and simply make accounts on those sites. Social media managers can help you, but if you’re on your own, just make sure to have contact information up to date.

Smart Technology Makes Attractive Real Estate

What new features do your properties have? Do your homes have smart thermostats installed? Does your industrial space have warehouses rigged with smart cameras or RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) inventory tracking?

The Internet of Things (IoT) industry has a lot of fancy bells and whistles that can enhance properties in the eyes of buyers and renters. Some of it has practical benefits, while others are just nice for people into futurism or new tech toys.

Smart thermostats are probably the most useful and least risky of smart technology. Being able to remotely control thermostats through a mobile device is just the start; they can save money for property owners, renters, and anyone involved in the upkeep.

The realm charm in smart thermostats is gathering information. Trends about temperatures, energy use at certain times/days/seasons, and other data helps the smart thermostat suggest better temperature ranges.

It also gives information about how efficient the system is working, which can also help you determine specific upgrades for the property as far as climate control efficiency.

For more information on technology’s impact on real estate, contact a real estate tech consultant.

Funding Solutions for Affordable Housing

One recent trend across the US is increasingly unaffordable housing. Communities across the country are affected. Most famously, this issue is affecting communities like San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York City. However, it’s also a big issue in places like Georgia, Vermont and Ohio. Each community is addressing this issue in different ways. Savannah, Georgia is currently in the exploratory phase for possible solutions to its housing crisis. Vermont has a system that uses real estate transaction fees to fund affordable housing projects. This has been successful for that state for decades. In Columbus, Ohio, what has worked is essentially a public-private partnership.

Columbus was able to issue 3-year Affordable Housing Bonds because the city has a great bond rating. The county made funding from a property conveyance fee. Lastly, private foundations and even banks contributed money to the effort. They did this through grants. This kind of option is very attractive to cities like Savannah. A public-private partnership helps to spread the costs of affordable housing projects around. Savannah also has the second highest bond rating possible for a city, which means that they may be able to have a referendum on this issue. It’s realistic to think that the city could issue bonds successfully.

Some other cities in Georgia have found ways to use mostly private funding for affordable housing projects. In Atlanta, the United Way and Ameris Bank provided much of the funding to create 550 affordable housing units. This may be an attractive option to Savannah. The city has only recently stated that the creation of more affordable housing units is a priority. Everyone involved in the process still faces a steep learning curve when it comes to this issue.

Many elected officials in Savannah claim that laws in the state of Georgia make it impossible to raise money for this process. The response to this from advocates is that the housing crisis has never been this bad before. So far, creating more affordable housing has been a frustrating issue for everyone in Savannah. It’s time for government officials and activists to find ways to work together and get the problem solved. Other cities and states have shown that it’s more than possible to do so.

First Time Homebuyers

Buying a home for the first time is a big accomplishment. Those that are interested in becoming homeowners need to become familiar with a couple of things.

First Time Homebuyers

People that are buying homes are going to feel excited about moving into a new environment, but there can also be some nervousness about the first time home purchase. What buyers need to know is that there is a process that involves getting approved for the home first. That may be one of the biggest challenges that home buyers are going to face. If they are planning to finance it is going to be important to find out how much they qualify for. That becomes the determining factor when it comes to just how much money they will need to consider for closing costs and a down payment.

Fixer Up Vs. Move In Ready

There will be a wide spectrum of homes for first-time buyers to consider. This means that they will need to consider what type of home they are interested in. It is ideal to consider a move in ready home because it doesn’t require much work. People that are visiting those homes that have the curb appeal are going to be looking for the move in ready homes. People that may not have the money for this may look at those fixer upper home environments that cost less.

Remember The Tax Deduction

People that are planning to buy a home should be mindful of the tax deductions when tax time comes. They need to know about the deductions for first-time home buyers. This is certainly going to help a large number of people save on their taxes.

Long Or Short Term

The kind of home that a person buys is going to depend largely on whether it is a short-term or long-term environment. There are people that are looking for a home that they will live in for several years. What they may want may be big enough to support an expanding family.

Other people that are looking for their first home will realize that their jobs will change just as their locations will change. These buyers will only be looking for a home for the moment.

Budgeting and Saving

No one likes the idea of making a budget, but we all love the idea of having more money. Many of us look back at periods in our lives and wish we had done more to spend less. Fortunately, no matter what stage of your life you’re in, there’s still time for you to make some changes to your spending habits and have more money in your account. Here’s a few tips to help you budget more effectively and save more money.

How to Budget

No one likes the idea of sitting down and making a budget, but your saving efforts will never work without one. If you don’t get a definite grip on the amount of money that’s coming in, you won’t be able to formulate a method for how to control how much is going out. One solid theory for calculating income and expenses is known as zero based budgeting. In this budget, you start by taking note of how much money you make in a month and subtract all of your expenses and savings until your bottom line has a zero on it. Every dollar is assigned a “job.” If that doesn’t sound like a good idea for you, find a budgeting method that works for you.

Be Disciplined

This should go without saying, but unfortunately it’s so easy to let yourself dip into one area of your budget to do something you’d rather do with that money. Ideally, you leave some room in your budget for entertainment which means you should be able to not access money that’s set up to go for your needs. At the end of the day, no one can make you have will power other than you (there’s a reason they call it self-control). It’s often a good idea to give yourself a quarterly or bi-annual reward of some sort (which you can figure into your budget) by taking a small trip or buying yourself something with money that you’ve built up by sticking to the budget.

Review and Adjust

Undoubtedly, there will be things that come up that you didn’t budget for. An appliance will tear up, the car will break down, or the pet will have to spend some time at the vet. While those things may not be written out on your budget, you probably have some “emergency money” in there. Even if you do, sit down and review your budget often and make the necessary adjustments.

Best of luck in your push to become more fiscally responsible!

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