Minnesota Real Estate Investors Association, Inc.


Ready to Join me for a GREAT 2009?

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It’s that time of year again, when we sit down and reflect on the previous year and look forward to the year ahead of us. This past year has been filled with extreme swings in the economy and our emotions. For some people 2008 was a great year and for others it was a nightmare. I have been caught right in the middle of both, so I guess for me, everything evened out and it was a year that makes me look back and ask, what the heck happened. I had some winners and some losers. The losers of course came in the last quarter of the year and I did pretty well during the first 3 quarters of the year. Some might look back with discouragement and frustration. I however am looking ahead with a clear determination to make 2009 the best year ever.

With the shake up in the credit markets and the stock markets, I see huge potential for 2009 in real estate. I believe we have hit the bottom, for the most part. A new president and administration will take office on January 20, 2009 and they have made it clear that they are focused on stimulating the economy. Again, for some this will be good and for others it will be bad. For real estate investors, this will be very good. Just like when the real estate market was hot, the economy seemed unstoppable and real estate prices climbed to artificially high prices, the collapse of the credit and financial markets has artificially lowered real estate prices below the point of where they normally would have settled at. Read More...


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Curb Appeal at Christmas Time

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Every real estate professional knows that the first impression a buy gets of a property is when they first drive up to the house. It is called “Curb Appeal” and if you don’t have it, you risk losing the buyers interest in the property before they even get out of their car. Most real estate professionals know the importance of curb appeal. Real estate investors will spend a lot of time and money creating a good curb appeal for the property before they ever put the for sale sign in the yard.

Buy what do you do in the winter to create the kind of curb appeal that will not turn buyers away before they even get out of their cars? This is a big challenge in the middle of the winter, but there are a few things to concentrate on and we will cover a few of them. I did however find one thing that a few people have done, even though they might not have their house up for sale, it gave me ideas on how to create that curb appeal that buyers like. Watch the following video and you can find many more examples just like this one from Youtube.com.

The most important item to concentrate on in the winter, if you have snow is to make sure that the driveways and sidewalks are clean and clear. The best thing is to use a snow blower rather than a plow or a shovel. Reason being if you are trying to attract a first time home buyer and they see a huge pile of snow from a plow, they will wonder if they will be able to move that much snow on their own without a plow. If they see the snow banks and the markings of a shovel, they will think about their backs. However, if they see a nice clean edge on the driveway without any banks or piles, they will think that this looks nice and clean. Read More...


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Technology & Real Estate - A Blast From the Past

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Real Estate WebsitesAs a real estate investor and a student of technology I have been preaching for a long time that every serious real estate investor should look into taking advantage of the incredible reach technology provides us. While looking through some archives I found an old radio interview where I had been the special guest and shared my ideas on thinking outside the box, using technology to boost business, and essentiality of having a website. The original interview can be heard in its entirety here at Realty Talk Radio:
http://www.realtytalkradio.com/index.php/component/content/58?task=view

Looking back at this interview we have come a long way since the interview (aired 2/21/2006) and I still hold the same views on the subject. The internet is one of the most incredible tools ever to come our way, a complete transformation in how information is sought and exchanged is something that cannot be ignored. Every business card you hand out, every bandit sign you stake in the ground, each promotional item you print up, and all other advertisement that does not have a website address with a website behind it can be considered a waste of money.

For years I have been working on creating websites for the real estate investor who doesn’t want to put in the time and money to develop the site and then have to add another significant monthly expense keeping someone around to do updates, fix bugs and monitor the web hosts stability so the site is always working. There is a lot that goes into creating a website where even a quick simple independent site will require numerous costs that can be confusing and you still don’t know if it’s going to work. Your hands on ability to update your site and control its content depends on your computer savvy, but typically most real estate investors aren’t knowledgeable in such things.

After years of work we have finally released our brand new real estate websites that fit perfectly into the real estate investors business. As a real estate investor myself, I’ve run into many of the same problems that anyone else would have and have taken all of those lesson and integrated them into our websites. Let me go over a few of these issues and how I have designed the websites to make the best of them.

Problem #1 – We aren’t accessible 24/7, some sellers maybe hesitant to call on the phone but would be more open to something a little more impersonal. Read More...


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Housing prices and mortgages rates make real estate affordable.

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As prices drop, foreclosures go up and interest rates fall, there has never been a better time to buy. Whether you are an investor or a first time home buyer, now is the time to buy. So why are most people just sitting on the fence? According to the Minneapolis Association of Realtors the median sales price fell to $175,000, that’s down 19.2 percent from the same time last year and the lowest November showing since 2001.

With all the bail outs and market uncertainty, buyers are waiting to see how low prices will drop. Meanwhile those buyers still need housing which is making for a strong rental market.

Buyers are willing to Lease with the Option to Buy, but they are not willing to put down a lot of money for fear of property values dropping even further and losing their non refundable option consideration because they have opted to not exercise their option to buy.

These market conditions are creating an artificially low price. I believe that once the credit market settles down, real estate values will stabilize and maybe even increase slightly right away. The only question is, when will this happen? I can't answer that, but I do know that now is a great time to buy and hold. Properties at these prices are cash flowing very well today, so why wait to see where prices will stop falling and pass up one all that cash flow and depreciation to someone is going to get, so it might as well be you.


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Who will bail out the banks?

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We know that the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 otherwise known as the $700 Billion dollar bailout bill was never intended to buy up the defaulted loans that the banks are holding onto, right?  And we also know that the bailout bill has increased to several trillion dollars, that’s Trillion with a “T”.  But what about the bad loans on the banks books, wasn’t that the purpose of the bailout bill in the first place?  Well yes, originally it was.  Do you remember the original 3 page bailout bill that President George Bush proposed, but was voted down?  The finally bailout bill that was passed one week later was 450 pages long and they must have excluded the 3 original pages which was supposed to direct the bailout to buy up all those bad notes that the banks were holding.

It boggles the mind to see what is happening with all that money that we the tax payer is going to have to pay for, for many generations to come.  There is a few extremely large banks getting the money, but they aren’t even using it to cover the bad debt that they have on the books, they are using it to buy other banks with very little bad debt.  Basically what we are doing with the money right now is giving it to the biggest financial institutions and telling them to use that money to buy smaller companies that weren’t reckless with their money so that you can become so big, that you will be able to do whatever you want and we won’t be able to let you ever fail again.  We will have to bail you out from now on.  And it seems that Americans are ok with this.  I for one am not, and I have been trying to get other people to see what is really going on, but no one wants to listen. Read More...


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It is now our time to shine!

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This is my first ever blog post, but what better time to start one then right now.  We have had a very interesting year featuring a myriad of different twists and turns.  When we started out the year, we basically knew where we were headed and by the end of the year, no one knew which way to turn next.   Every day something new happens and I have had so many thoughts and concerns that I decided it was time to start writing and share them with you on a regular basis.  I want your comments and feed back as we take on the golden era of real estate investing.

 

I am actually very excited about the real estate market that we find ourselves in right now.  Many of us have been saying that this is one of the best times in our lifetimes to be an investor, and the closer we get to the end of the year, the more real that statement becomes.  The government keeps stepping in to bail out everyone except the ones who actually need the bail out.  While that may seem cynical, it has presented us with even more opportunities and the longer the government tries to figure out what to do, more confusion lingers in the market.  This only prolongs our window of opportunity as investors. Read More...


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