Why Sky-High SoCal Housing Costs Just Keep Rising

Any SoCal Resident Can Tell You Rent is High,

But did you know the average cost of a home in Los Angeles ($658,000) is more than double the national average for houses of the same size? Real estate experts say that the gap between the cost of living in LA and the rest of the country will continue to get larger, all the way through 2018. When gainfully employed, educated people with salaries hovering around $250,000 a year are looking to move to nearby cities due to the inability to find a home within their budget that meets their standard of living, it is clear that California is pricing out its own residents. And the truth is – there isn’t really much anyone can do about it.

The Cause

While no single problem is exclusively to blame for the incredibly inflamed housing cost in Los Angeles, the generalized answer is that there are not enough houses to meet the demand, and in addition to that, the cost to build more housing keeps developers away. It is a vicious cycle of economics – people want housing, construction companies can’t fill that demand because the cost to them is too high, this takes money and jobs out of the metropolitan area as builders, investors, and developers look to the suburbs to build, so the demand grows, and the cost grows alongside it.

What is even more unexpected, is that the positive growth in jobs and the rest of the economy is actually putting more of a strain on housing cost. Los Angeles has added tens of thousands of jobs in almost all sectors of the market, from the lower level entry jobs, all the way to opening space for new executives and CEOs, and as you can expect, that means more people look to move to the city to fill the openings which the jobs have created; thus adding to the demand for housing that seems insatiable in Los Angeles.

The Proposed Solutions…

The answer seems simple, right? Just build more houses. Unfortunately, nothing is ever that easy. Up until recently there was a push among lawmakers to, at the very least, keep the cost of housing under control through litigation.

The solution seemed concentrated on reducing the cost for contractors to build homes and new developments. Prior to this year, litigation seemed to offer great tax incentives to builders willing and able to quickly build new multi-family units, especially in urban areas. Especially to those builders who made such new developments more eco-friendly and energy-efficient.

Many state law makers have focused energy and attention on low-income housing subsidies. The legislative analyst’s report estimated that building affordable homes for the 1.7 million low-income households in California that now spend half their salaries on housing would cost as much to finance each year as the state’s spending on Medi-Cal.

… And why they have failed

As much as state litigators may want to deal with the overwhelming housing shortage in LA, there is a huge problem – namely, that most decisions regarding new developments and building fall into the laps of city and local government. The state governments’ hands are tied. Unfortunately, the smaller governments tend to have a much more narrow view of the situation, seeking to raise gains and find solutions for /their/ city, without much consideration for the surrounding areas.

Additionally, the main tool that state legislators could use to quickly build homes, is in direct opposition to a myriad of business and environmental interests. The C.E.Q.A (California’s governing environmental law), in many ways, prevents the building of new housing developments at any rate which would make an impact on the housing shortage.

So the question becomes… what can we do? Should we sacrifice environmental protection laws to lower housing costs? It is a question that has to be addressed, but with so many political influences and issues, most lawmakers won’t touch it.

And SoCal residents and home owners associations aren’t making it any easier. Many of these local governing bodies are in stark opposition of rapid development of housing- because that means that their neighborhoods would have to face the dreaded “D” word… Density.

Push-back from neighborhoods and suburban areas is obvious- no one wants to be crowded in, especially in the areas which are the most affected by the housing shortage (affluent coastal communities). So it seems as though lawmakers are blocked on all fronts.

Have Lawmakers given up?

This year, it seems as if state lawmakers have given up on dealing with the increasing housing cost. Little to no new solutions have been proposed, and those that have are not being passed through and put into place. The state is at a stand-still and lawmakers seem to take the “I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens” approach.

As litigation passes to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour, many people believe that this increase will ease the burden on low and middle-income families and low for economic growth and eventually lead to a reduction in the housing shortage.

4 Advantages of a Virtual Doorman System

Virtual doormen are fast becoming a popular alternative to hiring a regular physical presence for many commercial properties, and their popularity is also rising for residential buildings. The reasons for this are numerous, as are the many advantages that this kind of service can offer.

Although there are several concerns that people may initially have with this kind of remote solution, the reality is that if put in place effectively, people can benefit from the following plus points that automatically come with adopting this kind of system.

Firstly, one of the main advantages of a virtual doorman solution is that it is far less expensive than hiring a physical presence when it comes to commercial properties. Many commercial buildings like to have a physical security presence, but in some cases this can be costly for something that is not entirely necessary.

A virtual system is a more affordable option as it involves only using the service when someone tries to enter a property to make a delivery or carry out some other necessary task. A link is established by video and audio so that identification measures can be made before access is allowed; this means that no full time staff member needs to be employed to complete this identification task.

A second major advantage is for tenants, rather than commercial building owners or users. Millions of parcels and packages are attempted to be delivered each year, yet often the tenant is not present to accept the delivery and therefore this results in a failed delivery.

This is especially important considering that so many people do their shopping online these days, meaning more and more parcels are being delivered at hours when people are at work or at school. A virtual doorman can assist in this instance, allowing parcels to be delivered first time, every time.

This can save a great deal of time and stress, especially if the delivery is urgent. Many residential property owners looking to improve the experience of their tenants would be wise to consider using this simple and highly convenient solution in their buildings.

Another major advantage is that this type of system can actually be used for different reasons other than allowing access for deliverymen. Although the delivery of packages and parcels is a major issue for many tenants, so is allowing repairmen to enter the building for work, or allowing access to emergency services.

A virtual doorman solution can assist in both of these two cases, and in fact entry to a property can restricted in any way that the building owner likes. This can involve using more or less stringent security checks, and can allow access for any number of reasons. This tailored approach can be very efficient in allowing repair work to be carried out or allowing emergency services in during a crisis.

Fourthly, a major advantage of this type of system is that it allows building owners to take advantage of the latest technologies, which are improving each and every day to be safer and more secure. The aiphone intercom systems now used in virtual doorman services mean that identity can be checked in a number of ways.

These technologies are sure to improve in the future, which means that investing in this type of system now can only bring further security gains and advantages in the coming years too. This is another convincing reason why choosing a virtual doorman could be a great choice for modern day property owners.

These are just four of the major advantages of investing in a virtual doorman service. From allowing commercial property owners and tenants to gain significant benefits in the way of allowing access to deliverymen, repairmen and the emergency services, the popularity of this solution looks likely to grow in the future too.

Build a Career in Real Estate With the Certificate of Registration

Are you planning to become a realtor? Do you need any assistance which will give you a kick-start in this field? Read on to know more about building your own career in real estate.

As we all know real estate is one of the flourishing fields in recent years and we also hear success stories every now and then. Owing to such importance in the market, real estate has also become one of the most sought after business segments for many. Especially for young stars who dream to become an entrepreneur, this is the field that gives handsome number of opportunities to grow and diversify. However, there are many who wish to pursue a career in this field but do not dare to take it because of multiple legal and ethical requirements linked to it. This makes it difficult for a starter to understand all these issues alone without any proper guidance. It is here the real estate certificate of registration comes to help.

Getting into this process makes you an authorized realtor with all necessary competencies that you require to shine in the field of real estate. This certificate of registration would pave a smooth path to you and your career by eliminating or guiding you through certain complex issues in the business. Being offered by many institutions in both online and offline modes, it’s very easy for the new incumbents like you to take up a course as and when you want. The course work is offered by numerous institutions across many parts of the world. You just got to get in touch with a reliable consultant and get details and enroll for one which flourishes your career as a realtor. Any person who is an adult can enroll for this course and can earn his certificate of registration. However, to earn this, you need to complete all courses as per course work.

Once you finish the entire course work, you will be issued with your Certificate. No provisional certificates will be issued in the interim period. Various institutes offer the courses in different modes; few take online regular classes while the others supplement the regular classes with once in a while sessions coupled with printed materials. You can take any type of session which is comfortable for you and get aligned with your time. Irrespective of the mode you choose, the session’s end by taking the examinations after classes to get your certificate. The period of the course is also minimal and is very easy. If you have minimum idea on the ethical grounds, you just got to learn legal compliance in a couple of days or in a week and you can comfortably give your examinations. Once done with the examinations you have to wait for your certificate which will be issued as per the discretion of your institution.

Your Big Why and Planning the Future

A while back at an event I got the opportunity to sit across from a couple of brand new investors. As I usually do, I asked them what they were investing in; they admitted that they were newbies and weren’t really sure where to begin. We discussed their level of knowledge and expertise, and I found the conversation drifting away from real estate and more into the lifestyle design arenas. I started asking them about their “Big Why” – why were they wanting to leave their corporate jobs, what they wanted to do with their time, and what would make them happy.

We started putting a dollar value to that lifestyle and level of comfort. I saw their eyes get a bit wide as the reality of what they were up against hit them. I quickly reassured them that real estate was a great choice to attain the lifestyle they envisioned if they were willing to work hard and put in the hours, but how? We didn’t get into too much detail on the spot, but we talked about breaking those big goals down into time frames and smaller milestones. We discussed assigning how many and what type of deals could get them to those milestones, as well as what were they comfortable doing and how their personalities would help them to achieve their goal. They made notes on what types of marketing and how many offers they would have to make each month, week, and day in order to acquire the number of properties to hit their goals.

We then went back to their “Big Why” and discussed if it was really big enough. By that, I meant to talk to them about whether their choice to pursue real estate would be big enough to get them up and out of bed every day? Big enough to push them to tackle that daily task list? Big enough to hit those smaller goals knowing that as each milestone is hit that they are that much closer to the lifestyle and freedom they want? They made some more notes, and I think they had some talking points to consider as they pursue their real estate vision.

So what is your “Big Why”? Why are you a real estate investor? Is it big enough to get you out of bed each morning with a smile on your face, ready to face the day? Is it big enough to motivate you after 3 months of busting your butt without finding the right deal? This isn’t something you can come up with overnight if you haven’t spent any time on it already, so let your mind wander. Dream big! Dream really big and write it down. Look at it every day and see yourself living that lifestyle. Then break down how you will get there. Get really specific, all the way down to daily tasks. Now you’ve put goals and milestones on paper and you have created a map showing you how to get to that big dream and lifestyle you desire.

To be honest, this isn’t easy. The dreaming part of this puzzle may be easier than identifying the “Why”, especially when you analyze and determine if your “Why” is a solid vision to which you can remain dedicated. Nevertheless, I promise, if you work hard to identify the “Why”, develop your vision, and stay focused, you will be set up to achieve the vision you set for yourself.

Tips In Making Building Creative Concepts

A lot of business owners wish to have a wonderful office. Of course, having such office can help them experience a better and comfortable work area. Not to mention, good offices can attract potential clients. However, in order to attain this, it is important for business owners to have good building creative concepts. But, there are numerous factors you need to consider to get the best results. Below are some of the things you need to consider.

Identify potential needs and problems

First and foremost, when making building creative concepts, it is imperative for individuals to identify potential need and problems. Knowing needs allow individuals to determine what things must be included in the designs. Not to mention, individuals can also create a better perspective on how buildings must be constructed. Apart from that, identifying problems before starting the project can help you reduce your expenses. Plus, reducing problems can also increase safety in your work area.

Create the right design

After identifying potential needs and problems, it is now time to create your design. Of course, when designing, you need to be cautious. This is essential to ensure that you will all have the features you need which can match your budget. In addition, it is also important to determine your space. This is another important factor when designing to ensure that you are creating a design that will allow you to make you building space more comfortable and appealing. Knowing these aspects will help you create the right designs you are looking for.

Establish safety schemes

When making building creative concepts, individuals need to make sure that they can establish safety schemes. Of course, accidents may occur unexpectedly. It gets even worse if these accidents will harm your employees. So, make sure that you create safety schemes on your designs. With these schemes, you can reduce risks and prevent overhead expenses which can help improve your finances and profits.

Hire professionals

Lastly, in case that you do not have any ideas or skills in making building creative concepts, it is also best to hire professionals. Luckily, there are numerous professionals who can help you create wonderful building concepts. These experts can even step into another level by providing you with other services that can complement your needs. Plus, they can also help you ensure that their designs can complement your needs properly.

Five Renovations That Don’t Increase Home Appraisal Value

Every homeowner must do routine maintenance to their home that more or less just maintains its current condition. However, some homeowners decide they want to improve their home’s value and marketability. The amount of value certain improvements cost may not add as much value as the cost to do it.

Homeowner’s are very biased when it comes to their own home, they see the things they have done to it and think dollar for dollar the home’s value should go up with each improvement, this is not often the case. A potential buyer or real estate appraiser may be unimpressed with certain improvements, what you must keep in mind is that what you view as a valuable upgrade may not be the same as what the real estate market sees as a valuable upgrade.

Below I am going to outline Five Renovations That Don’t Increase Home Appraisal Value.

1. Swimming Pools

There aren’t many areas of the world where backyard pools are common place. Before adding a pool think about your neighbourhood, do the majority of properties have pools? Would a potential buyer expect there to be a pool? If pools are not common place in your area and/or have a very short season you likely will not be adding much value to your home, definitely not as much as the cost to put one in. In fact, Many potential home buyers view swimming pools as dangerous, expensive to maintain and insurance claims waiting to happen. Potential buyers with small children could really be turned off by there being a swimming pool. In-ground pools come at a very steep price, my opinion is if buyers in your area would not expect a pool then this money is better spent elsewhere as you are not likely recoup the cost in a sale or appraisal.

2. Elaborate Landscaping

Home buyers and appraisers definitely appreciate good landscaping, but there is a line where elaborate landscaping no longer adds its equivalent in value to what it costs. Keep in mind that the next person buying your home may not want to take on the upkeep work of elaborate landscaping and may not want to have to hire a professional landscaper to take care of it. An appraiser will also only assess so much value to landscaping in their report as not a lot of emphasis is put on landscaping by the market, how often have you heard of someone buying a home because it had great landscaping? sure it is a plus but you are better off to just meet the standard in your area than to get too carried away.

3. Overbuilding for the Neighborhood

It is better to have the other homes in your neighbourhood “pull-up” your home’s value than to have them drag it down. Your neighbourhood plays a large factor in your home’s value, you do not want a large, elaborate, two storey home surrounded by older bungalows. The people that will be looking for that type of home will go to a neighbourhood where it will be surrounded by similar properties. Likewise, it will be very difficult for an appraiser to find similar comparables in your area and this could lead to a lower value being assessed.

4. High-End Upgrades

Most people are on a strict budget when it comes to home improvements, so what they will do is they will pick a room and do a complete remodel adding higher end flooring and fully modernize the room. This is good and I understand the strategy, next time you have some extra funds, pick another room and the same and after 5 years or so your home will be fully updated. But does that full remodel of that first or even second room really add as much value to your home as it costs? My opinion is now, if you full remodel one room and then plan on selling or getting an appraisal the appraiser is going to see the other 80 or 90% of the home is still dated and would be considered a project. An alternative strategy might be to take all of those funds that you were planning on sinking into an elaborate bathroom and spread them over the whole home, the cost of a full bathroom remodel could redo the flooring and paint throughout the entire home and this would be look upon much more favorably by a potential buyer or appraiser in their assessment of value than you just having one high quality room.

5. Invisible Improvements

New plumbing, electrical or HVAC might be necessary, but don’t expect to be adding dollar for dollar value for their cost. Home buyers and appraisers simply expect these systems to be up to date and in good working order. These items would be considered more home maintenance than home improvements.

The Bottom Line

When spending money on your home assess why you are doing it, if it is purely for your own comfort and enjoyment with no real intent in adding value then go ahead and add that pool. But if you are consciously trying to add value to your home then where to spend your renovation budget requires much more thought. Consider speaking with a realtor or appraiser and ask them where they feel your funds are best spent to improve value.

 

4 Things That Will Help Fetch the Right Resale Value for Your Property

So, you have decided to part with your home. Wondering how to get the best deal that will justify holding it is an investment property until now. Before you put up a notice for sale, or start passing the news to your near and dear, consider the fact that the reality market is some parts of the country has been sluggish.

Hence, it is worthwhile to put in a little bit of effort that will make your property look a lot more attractive to potential buyers. Here are some expert tips that will help enhance the resale value of your home by tens of thousands if not few lakhs.

Pep up the exteriors

As soon as a home is bought, homeowners spend time, money and energy in designing the interiors to their whims and fancy. What they miss to see is that, the exteriors play a major role in creating an impression in the minds of a potential buyer than the interior. It is the exterior that is first seen before they take a walkthrough of the interiors. Hence, pay attention to pepping up your exteriors in equal measure to the interiors to get a better resale value.

Creating additional space

An extra room is fine, but what if it serves no purpose? Moreover, what if that extra room does not fit into the ergonomic layout of the home properly? Instead, think of ways to increase the space inside the home. There are plenty of architect firms with interior designers and vasthu consultants who help altering the physical dimensions of any home to make it appear spacious and airy. A spacious home will fetch a higher resale price than one which boasts about a tiny and ill-fitting extra room.

Setting right minor repairs

Like drops of water that collect together to form a messy puddle, a number of unattended minor repairs can wash away a significant portion of your property’s resale value. A prospective buyer will be more interested in knowing the present physical condition and the expected longevity of the house before making a final decision.

The scene of leaking walls, falling patches and plumbing problems can definitely take a hit on the property’s sale worthiness. Hence, make sure all minor repairs are attended to on a regular basis.

Keep a cushion for price negotiation

Indians are ruthless negotiators. We love to bargain for the best deal in every transaction. Especially when it is about buying a new home expect the negotiation process to be fiercer than what you can imagine. Hence, make sure you price your property with some cushion for reduction during the negotiation process.

You might want to take into consideration the existing market rate of similar properties and how the deals have ended before fixing the price or agreeing to the price offered by the buyer.

The resale value for a property is highly dependent on various factors. Location, floor space, number of rooms and furnishings all play a major role in determining the resale price. However, other factors like well-maintained exteriors, perfectly functioning plumbing and sanitation, additional space for storage, etc. can help further increase the resale value to a higher denomination.

Sparkling Future For Estate Agency

These days the growth factors have been taking a very vast and quick turn which is entirely leaps and bounds and coping with these immediate changes is something very challenging for the different industries. Every industry has its own setup and this may move according to the demands made and the changes evolving. The technology industry needs a very quick response if a business needs to be in the market for a future intent. However, the property and estate agent industry has now been on a steady position and there are bright chances for it to remain income generating in the future. On the other hand, the internet service providers which used to offer the card system have become extinct.

When it comes to focusing on the real estate business specifically one may expect the brightness of future for a number of reasons a few of these reasons may include the following:

Boom of Residential Spaces

These days at every point what we see is the construction of a new residential space which may be a bungalow or a huge building. The population is increasing day by day and with this the demand of residential properties is also increasing with the same pace. Therefore the future of estate agencies here may prove being a very outstanding one because when it comes to the sales and purchases of these residential spaces there is a major chance of the business of real estate to take a boom. The relation between the real estate and the residential properties is a direct one because people need a home for shelter and real estate may give a perfect deal.

Trend of Shopping Malls

Another very commonly increased concept all over the world is the prevailing concept of shopping malls. Previously people accustomed to run after the differed shops in different corners but with the passage of time these malls are taking very significant place in the lives of every individual. In this regard, the development of malls may leave out numerous shops and stores on individual basis which may need a selling agent and here the role of the real estate is something essential. Many builders may approach different agents for the purpose of either purchasing the individual shops left out or the builders working over the mall projects may move towards real estate agents for huge lands. In every case, the future of the real estate agency is a brighter one.

These two factors add a lot to the future of real estate agency and with this the reliability possessed by the agents makes people prefer professionals who are also a plus point for the business of real estate and this is why estate agent jobs are growing.

Rent or Buy? Which Option Makes Sense for You?

If you are the individual who is weighing the option of buying or renting a house, you need to consider a few factors. Your financial situation has to be assessed for your long-term planning and that it is not that simple as well.

Understanding your house budget and expenses

It is wise to review your household budget in comparison to the expenses before you begin looking for a new house. You have to find out how much can you afford to pay for accommodation without putting a burden on the budget.

You simply cannot go for rent or mortgage payments if you are unable to pay them on time. Several factors are involved both for renting or buying that should be considered prior to making a decision.

What are the requirements while renting or buying a house?

Your credit history and credit score are crucial and that they will be looked upon by the rental agency or the landlords for the mortgage or rent. You will be checked whether you are can pay the bills on time and are not overdue with the loans or the credit card balances. You have to check your score and credit history before applying for the apartment or the mortgage.

Other factors that are important include your strong employment history, W-2 forms and current bank statements that have to depict a good picture. A few rental agencies require professional or personal references as well as background check and contact information from the previous landlord respectively.

When is renting a viable option?

If you have uncertain employment: According to Evelyn Zohlen (financial planner), if you are unsure about your living paycheck and job situation, it is best to save money for the future living expenses. This will help you to build an emergency fund for you as well.

Limited funds: Renting is the better alternative when you do not have enough money for making the down payment or for managing the additional costs of owning the house.

Short time frame: If you have an assignment that lasts two years or you plan to move abroad in a couple of years, then renting a house is a better option.

When is purchasing a house a feasible option?

Buying a house only makes sense when you have the ability to cover the additional costs for owning a house. It is vital that you pay the closing costs and the down payment before you buy a house. It is seen that many banks receive a 20 percent down payment. This means for a house that costs 250,000 dollars, at 20 percent the down payment will be 50,000 dollars. So, the total amount includes percent in commission and another one percent in closing cost as well.

But if you have much debt, you should not put your savings for the down payment at all. It will be better to pay off the entire debt first until you get a better financial position for yourself. If there is no debt, then you need to work out the buying or renting options in detail.

Why Are UK Property Funds a Good Investment?

Investors seek profits on the exceptional housing demand. Fortunately, public and private programmes synergistically encourage home building.

“Everyone needs a home over their head at the end of the day.”

This is what a UK residential property fund manager said in January 2015 to Professional Pensions, a website dedicated to institutional investors who are tasked with achieving the highest returns for their clients.

The fund manager (from M&G UK Residential Property funds) described being involved in the property market with built-to-let properties as well as participating as an investor in the development of new-build homes. The 25-34 age group is a focus of this funder, which means they target properties that are near public transport.

That particular age cohort is indeed important, not because of where they stand in wages but more because they represent pent-up demand. With tight lending in the UK – particularly after the 2008 financial crisis – homebuilders were reluctant to construct new homes at the entry level for first time buyers. In the past decade, this has slowed housing formation altogether or put people into the rental class who would likely be owners under other circumstances (working people who rent now comprise about 19 per cent of the market, up from 11 per cent a decade ago).

Homebuilders and developers are fully aware of this demand, but were waiting on the sidelines because of the difficult financing matter. Today, there are several factors addressing this blockage to building – which have spawned creativity in the private sector as well as from the government:

Help to Buy programme – First time buyers and home movers are provided equity loans on properties with purchase prices up to £600,000. Buyers need to contribute at least 5 per cent of the property price for a deposit while the Government provides a loan up to 20 per cent of the price. The buyer then needs to qualify for a 75 per cent mortgage loan. No loan fees are charged for the 20 per cent Government loan for the first five years of home ownership.

Starter Homes programme – Available at a 20 per cent discount to under-40 buyers, this housing bill is targeted at increasing the UK housing stock by 200,000 residences. All homes will be built on brownfield (previous use) land. It is favourable to self-builders and smaller home construction companies with reduced bureaucracy and a streamlined neighbourhood planning process.

Property fund management of strategic land – From an investor’s perspective, this is a way to help increase the country’s housing stock while achieving asset growth. their skills are in designing homes, building and then selling them. With increasing frequency, they are able to buy lots on streets that have utilities installed and planning approvals already cleared, thanks to the work of developer-investors. The investors, typically working in joint venture partnerships, identify where homes are needed most and find land that can increase in value if allowed a use designation change by the local council. Once that is accomplished, they sell lots to builders.

Crowdfunding – Start-up investment companies are launching a global stock exchange for residential properties in the UK and possibly abroad. Launched in early 2015, Property Partner has properties in London and the South East where more than 1,000 investors have invested as little as £50 on up to £50,000 in homes, hoping to receive rental income and possibly capital growth. The shares are highly liquid and can be traded via a one-off transaction fee of 2 per cent. An additional 12.5 per cent fee is charged for advertising, letting and managing the property.

It took an improving economy to convince investors that the homebuyers and home renters were ready to jump out of their parents’ flats and into their own homes. Government programmes have had a measurable impact, but entrepreneurial thinking on the part of strategic land partnerships and others has made the private sector a good partner. With a shortage of one million homes, it will take a decade or longer to bring supply up to demand.

Investors should always be versed in the risks of their positions. Consulting with an independent financial advisor can help identify tolerable risk, particularly in relation to other wealth development goals.