Category Archives: real estate

The New Tax Law Has Made It a Great Time to Invest in Real Estate. Here’s How to Get the Most From Your Investment.

The New Tax Law Has Made It a Great Time to Invest in Real Estate. Here’s How to Get the Most From Your Investment.
Paying attention to both the investment and operational sides of the business will make it a success.

Ryan Coon
Guest Writer
CEO and Co-Founder of Rentalutions

Changes in the new tax law mean it’s a great time to invest in real estate. Between lower effective tax rates for LLCs, potential drops in property prices in coastal markets and fewer tax incentives tied to home ownership, DIY landlords have an extra edge they didn’t last year. But, if you’re thinking of buying an investment property, it’s important to be as diligent about the human side of your business as you are about the financial side. Otherwise, you risk joining the ranks of the world’s worst landlords — and jeopardizing your potential future profits.

First, let me clarify what I mean when I say “bad landlords.” I’m talking about the kind of landlord friends warn each other to avoid. This is the person who’s in it strictly for financial gain. These folks do the bare minimum to keep their properties habitable, make it difficult for tenants to report problems and count on a steady stream of new renters to keep their properties filled (often because they charge below-market rates). This operational model may offer some financial gains but ignores the fact that real estate is an incredibly human business. Disregarding the relationship side of property investment yields bad financial outcomes in the long term.

So, how can you avoid becoming the type of landlord nobody stays with more than a year? Pay attention to both sides of your business: investment and operational.
Getting the investment right

The new tax law makes the investment side of things more appealing than ever. But, that doesn’t mean buying real estate is a smart move for everyone. Before buying a property, consider the following:

Don’t over-leverage yourself. During the housing crisis, there were a rash of renters who, despite paying their rent on time, were evicted because their landlords had stopped making mortgage payments and lost the properties — without telling them. Now may be a good time to buy, but if you haven’t worked out the financial details, hold off until you have. The potential consequences of taking on more than you can afford — in stress, emotional taxation and debt — are too great.

Do your due diligence. Problem-laden properties may be cheap, but they’re rarely good investments. Understand what you’re buying — and what you’ll have to do once and on an ongoing basis — to make that building livable for your tenants. Short-term savings too often mean higher long-term costs.
Getting the operations right

In real estate, you can’t really separate the financial side from the human side; they’re inextricably entwined. And it’s the human side that makes real estate a particularly complex type of investment. Being a successful real estate investor means being a good landlord, which requires getting several things right:

Marketing: Even if you own and rent just a single property, you’re a small business. That means you need to get the word out about your property to as many people as possible. The bigger your audience, the more likely you are to find the kind of excellent tenants who make your life better. These days, online rental sites make it easier to reach big audiences. The challenge is filtering what you get.

Screening prospective tenants: This is one of the hardest and most important jobs a landlord has. Finding good renters can help you avoid all kinds of problems down the road. But, remember: Renters are also screening you. If your property isn’t well-maintained or you’re hard to communicate with, it will be hard to find and keep good renters. That means more work for you in the long term.

Managing maintenance requests: This is the kind of thing you may be able to handle on an ad hoc basis when you have one property but that quickly becomes chaotic as you expand. Do yourself a favor and use a scalable system from the start. In addition to establishing relationships with people who can do any work you can’t, have a system for tracking, processing and closing requests.

Having a back-up revenue plan: Sometimes, tenants don’t pay rent on time. Trust me, your mortgage lender will not care. Making sure you have a way to pay your mortgage even if you miss a few months’ rent is an essential part of succeeding in real estate investment. It’s also a great way to avoid unnecessary stress.

Every investment vehicle comes with risks. In real estate, a big part of managing those risks is managing relationships: with your tenants, with contractors, and even with your bank. Investing the time and energy (and money) necessary to ensure that those relationships are strong will help boost your odds of financial success in the long term.

#6 Tips for Growing and Scaling a Real-estate Consulting Business

#6 Tips for Growing and Scaling a Real-estate Consulting Business
Set your rules/plans based on your past experiences, bend it based upon your current feedback and observations as situation demands, and break rules based on what’s not working

Anjan Rangaraj
Contributor
CEO, Catalyst Properties

The real estate sector is a lucrative one. Great profits and success stories attract a lot of people to try their luck and make a mark in this sector. However, there is a lot of hard work and patience that is also required to grow and sustain in this field. With bigger profits also come equally bigger losses. It is understandably not an easy business to master. You need to have not only the skill but also the determination to make it big in this business.

I have been in this sector for over 18+ years and have gained an insight into the field. Here are my 6 tips amongst many for growing and scaling a real estate consulting business either from the start-up level or an existing one would be as follows:

1. You are What You Represent

Ensure that the properties that you represent are of good quality, value and legally verified. This is a tough one to follow, especially if you are starting out. But this is the also the biggest aspect of the business that you need to understand if you are going to survive and shine in this sector. The extra effort put on identifying and entering into representation contracts with such properties might directly translate into less effort in selling it. Consistency in doing this will ensure long-term credibility.

2. Be a Curator Not a Crusader.

Don’t be tempted by high commissions offered by assets in distress. Don’t try to be the salesperson who believes that he can sell a refrigerator to an Eskimo. Listen to your gut. If you want cold hard facts then do a thorough market assessment. Find out the true picture from customers and industry leaders before taking a conscious call. But remember point 1? You are what you represent. If at any point in time your customer starts to think that you have pulled a fast one over them, your credibility will take a huge hit. It does not take long for word to get around. Even if it works now, it will not work in the long run. So, curate, curate, curate!

3. Create a Bouquet if You Do Not Wish to Specialise in a Particular Segment.

Multiple properties, multiple locations, multiple price brackets, multiple formats will surely help in accelerating sales as one can reach out to a larger audience and also will help in increasing the conversion ratio. Once you identify what values your company represents and stands for … stick to it zealously. The customer should be able to identify your company, irrespective of the project, with a certain set of values. Be clear about this and expand your portfolio accordingly if they meet these criteria. It is always a safe bet to expand when you are starting out as you have a higher chance of finding more and varied customers.

4. Help the Customer Find You.

It’s a lot more effective and easier for one to help the customer find you than you trying to find him. A serious buyer is always on the lookout through various mediums and channels. So ensure that you are present and visible and he will eventually find you. Understand where your customer is, identify the markets and how they research or decide on the property consultant/property. Be there. Be where your customer is and engage them with your company.

5. In Every Adversity, There is an Equal or Greater Opportunity

Innovate yourself to take advantage of bad times. Be a Bull be a Bear change your skin when you have to. If it’s a bad market, it’s obviously much harder to sell. No one knows this more than the property owner, use this to your advantage, negotiate better terms on a success fee, in most cases, they will be happy to pay you extra if one can deliver and deliver fast. But in every adversity is a hidden opportunity. Find it and use it to your advantage. Be the optimist.

6. “Rules”

Set it! Bend it! Break it if you must! Set your rules/plans based on your past experiences, bend it based upon your current feedback and observations as situation demands, and break rules based on what’s not working. But don’t break the law. Keep working on your business model. Keep improving and improvising it. The model needs to benefit your business and your customers. It needs to be flexible enough to be able to adapt to market changes.

7. Patience Pays But Cash Burns.

If you have set yourself a goal, try and fast-track it, the longer you take to get there the more you will end up investing. So, if you have decided to be in this sector. Then go for it not tommorrow but today, infact now.

Rapid Startup Growth in These 4 Cities Has Led to Big Changes in Commercial Real Estate Here’s an inside look at four commercial real estate markets that are ready to explode.

Rapid Startup Growth in These 4 Cities Has Led to Big Changes in Commercial Real Estate
Here’s an inside look at four commercial real estate markets that are ready to explode.

Richard Sarkis
Guest Writer
Co-Founder and CEO, Reonomy

According to PwC’s “2018 Emerging Trends in Real Estate — U.S. and Canada,” Seattle is set to become the strongest real estate market in the country this year. Driven by a massive influx of young, highly educated new residents — the city’s population growth rate is twice the national average, and the metro area is expected to gain nearly 30,000 new residents annually through at least 2022 — Seattle appears ready to stake its claim alongside cities like San Francisco and New York City as a true blue-chip real estate market.

This years-long upward trend started to take shape in the wake of the Emerald City’s startup revolution — for years, Seattle was rivaled only by Silicon Valley when it came to tech-oriented startup activity — underlining the strong correlation between startup activity and commercial real estate (CRE) growth.

Unfortunately — for entrepreneurs and CRE investors alike — the Great Recession took a heavy toll on the startup world. According to the 2017 Kauffman Index of Startup Activity, 2013 had the lowest volume of startup activity in more than two decades, bottoming out a precipitous post-2008 drop that saw nationwide entrepreneurship not only slow down, but actually start to contract.

Encouragingly, startup activity has rebounded strongly in the half-decade since its 2013 low, and Kauffman’s Startup Activity Index is now the highest it has been since the mid-1990s. In addition to the New Yorks and Seattles, cities like Austin, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami and San Diego have enjoyed robust growth in their startup sectors, leading to parallel — and, arguably, consequent — expansions of their CRE markets.

While it might be too late to “buy low” in these now top-tier markets, there are a number of smaller markets around the country with immense potential. Using Kauffman’s index as a framework, we’ve referenced Reonomy’s proprietary data sets to investigate the correlation between a city’s startup activity and the CRE properties within that market. The result? A list of four cities whose rapidly growing startup ecosystems are increasing the value of local CRE — meaning smart investors would be wise to keep their eyes on them in the coming months.
Charlotte, N.C.

According to our data, Charlotte has seen the median sales price for commercial properties within city limits grow steadily from $198,000 in 2015 to $343,750 in the first quarter of this year.

It’s not surprising, then, that the city ranked 17th in Kauffman’s 2017 Startup Activity Index — up three spots from its place in the 2016 Index. Though this latter figure is still affordable in contrast to other, “trendier” markets, the relatively rapid increase in median sales price over the last three years suggests that it might be now or never for CRE insiders looking to make a low-cost investment in the Charlotte market.

With powerhouse financial institutions like Bank of America and Wachovia headquartered alongside unicorns like Red Ventures and AvidExchange and emerging tech companies like Passport, it’s no surprise that 100 new residents flock to the city every day. In fact, five-year job growth is up 115.7 percent.

Notably, while sales of general use commercial properties have remained fairly stable in recent years, sales of vacant lots zoned for commercial uses have more than tripled from 1,202 in 2013 to 3,692 in 2017. As such, Charlotte may be a particularly attractive market for CRE developers looking to build customized assets from the ground up.

Cleveland

Cleveland jumped nine places on Kauffman’s Startup Activity Index between 2016 and 2017, the second-best improvement among all the cities assessed. Like in Charlotte, the median sales price in Cleveland’s CRE market leaped an impressive 60 percent from 2015 to 2017, and figures from the first quarter of 2018 suggest continued growth for the foreseeable future.

According to our data, multifamily residential properties have become particularly popular in Cleveland, with total sales rising steadily from 5,697 in 2013 to 8,366 in 2017. This strong growth has seen multifamily properties’ share of the CRE market expand from 51 percent to 67 percent between 2015 and 2017, cementing the multifamily asset class as the one to watch in the 216.

Interestingly, according to the city’s former “Tech Czar” Michael Dealoia, Cleveland’s industrial history has pushed its technology sector toward B2B and data-driven startups geared toward transforming aging industries. Thanks to startups like ViewRay — an MRI-guided radiation device with over $310 million in funding — and MacroPoint — a supply chain visibility software company with over $44 million in venture funds — the city’s tech sector saw job growth of 84.3 percent in 2017.

Arguably the highest-placing “under-the-radar” CRE market on the list, Kansas City climbed four places to 15th on Kauffman’s 2017 Startup Activity Index. Interestingly, much of the attendant CRE growth has occurred on the Kansas side of the city — traditionally the less commercially oriented side.

While the total number of commercial sales in Kansas City, Mo., grew by a respectable six percent from 2015 to 2017, the total number of commercial sales in Kansas City, Kan., increased by more than 21 percent. Our data shows that, as in Charlotte, the expansion of Kansas City’s CRE markets (on both sides of the state line) has been driven largely by a boom in vacant lot sales.

Much of this growth has been driven by investment from major telecom players like Sprint, which in 2013 partnered with Techstars to launch the Kansas City-based Sprint Mobile Health Accelerator to offer funding and expertise to local entrepreneurs. According to Crunchbase, Kansas City saw nearly 100 seed, angel, VC and equity crowdfunding rounds between January 2015 and July 2017, totaling $192 million.

If its CRE market continues to expand at the current rate, The Biggest Little City in the World might need to shed its nickname sooner than anyone would have ever imagined. Our data shows that total commercial sales in Reno have increased by nearly 50 percent since 2015, driven in part by sales of vacant lots, but even more so by the CRE asset classes one would expect: hospitality and “special purpose” (e.g. casinos).

Total sales of hospitality properties jumped by an astounding 125 percent between 2013 and 2017, and 2017 saw the sale of 75 special purpose properties, a sizeable increase over the 37 sold in 2016 and the 17 per annum average from 2013 through 2015. That said, Reno isn’t only a haven for hospitality- and gambling-oriented CRE investments. Both Tesla and Panasonic have opened impressive facilities in the area in recent years, and the resulting influx of workers has led to solid, albeit modest, growth in the city’s multifamily residential market.
While no CRE investment is ever a sure thing, Charlotte, Cleveland, Kansas City and Reno represent four of the most promising emerging markets in the U.S.

How Crowdfunding is Revolutionizing Investment in the Real Estate Sector

How Crowdfunding is Revolutionizing Investment in the Real Estate Sector
Crowdfunding is a disruptive and decisive force to the real estate industry, and it’s ready to offer much more in the days to come

Arjun Dublish
CEO & Co-Founder, Prime Shares Estate

Business is all about innovative ideas and concepts: when hatched on feasible plans, they don’t only grow but flourish too. Nowadays, converting an idea into a business is no more a big deal because any breakthrough concept can become a big hit if one is smart in crowdfunding. Pebble Time that raised more than $20 million on Kickstarter is one of the easiest examples to manifest the power of crowdfunding. Sectors like IT, Health, and Entertainment are already the top beneficiaries of crowdfunding, but it is the Real Estate that is going to be the foremost choice of the investors in the future. This modern form of financing has become the reality of the realty sector to start and accomplish dream projects. Also, it is a highly transparent approach for investors to multiply their money through immensely lucrative investment opportunities in the real estate sector.

A Healthy Transformation

Earlier due to various legal and technical reasons, making investments in the real estate projects was almost impossible for small investors and people with no in-depth knowledge of the sector. The dawn of crowdfunding has corrected the previous shortcomings, minimized the gap between industry players and potential investors and created opportunities for mutual gains. Now, real estate is not restricted to millionaires and billionaires, with the help of crowdfunding, even the wage earners can register their entry into the world of real estate. Also, as crowdfunding is an out-and-out online process, people all around the globe can participate in it without any geographical barriers and can optimize their investments through a vast gamut of options in the realty sector.

According to the RBI, Indians have invested almost $112mn in the financial year (2015-16) in foreign properties through LRS (Liberated Remittances Scheme) which means buying apartments overseas is no more a big deal for Indian customers and investors. Crowdfunding has created a win-win scenario for both investors and realty businesses. On the one hand, it splurges ample opportunities for small as well as big investors to invest their money in high income generating real estate projects and on the other hand, it connects businesses with potential investors on favourable terms and conditions. In the light of the changing scenario, crowdfunding is an opportunity to disrupt this sector through organized platforms where investment and management of real estate properties would be more systematic apart from currency hedge that international investments are generally exposed to. That’s why it is the opinion of a majority of people that the marriage of real estate with crowdfunding is not just highly compatible but gainful too at both ends of the relationship and the chemistry between the two is expected to produce long-term profits in the future.

It’s All about Transparency

Easy communication and transparency are the prerequisites of every successful relationship in the business world. Clarity in communication and exchange of every minor and major information among the stakeholders helps build trust between fundraisers and investors. In crowdfunding projects, an investor knows all the essential details such as where the amount is invested, what the present status of the project, and when the project is expected to complete. In fact, before making a final decision, the investors can cross-check all the information pertaining to a project. Moreover, he/she can view online that how a particular holding/property is performing. In case of any discrepancy or delinquency, the aggrieved investor can raise the issue in the forum and may seek the help of other investors. So, risks associated with crowdfunding are very less in comparison to traditional methods of investing.

The Disruptive Driver

Be it a Fortune-500 company or a startup firm; crowdfunding is very much imperative for real estate businesses in the present era of communication and competition. It has bestowed the industry with a platform that is global, transparent, flexible, fast, and profitable to both industry players and investors. It has infused a fresh life into the realty world and opened new vistas of opportunities for everyone. All in all, crowdfunding is a disruptive and decisive force to the industry, and it’s ready to offer much more in the days to come.

Hurdles of Mid-size Agencies are Real but the Rewards are Sweet

Hurdles of Mid-size Agencies are Real but the Rewards are Sweet
Considering that small agencies can’t afford to have large teams, it’s very important that they have water-tight processes and room for no error

Haresh Motirale
Contributor
Founder Director – Brandniti+Design

In a highly competitive market space of agencies of every size and specialization, it’s very natural for a medium size business owner to feel overwhelmed by each challenge. For us, every challenge feels unique and insurmountable at the beginning.

The time is difficult for agencies irrespective of sizes, clients are becoming increasingly demanding while margins are dwindling. The tech companies are trying their hands in agency business while more brands are preferring in-house set-ups. Real estate scenario is no better than other businesses. In fact, it’s harder considering that the industry itself has gone through a hardship recently in the wake of demonetization, RERA and GST.

Though the agency scenario at the background of real estate advertising is diverse and complex, here are a few notable areas of struggle which are loosely based partly on our experience of running an agency business and partly on years of observation.

Creating a unique value proposition

Creating a USP is always difficult for a mid-size agency, however, it is even more challenging when you are catering to a specific industry. Real estate industry cares less about branding and focuses more on active selling. It’s an agency’s task to create value in branding communication and make the clients see that value over and over again. It’s not an easy task! It should be a conscious call, taken after hours of critical evaluation that will cater to real estate brands regardless of their size or stature. The consistent efforts to deliver more value than promised resulted in client satisfaction and retention.

Building client’s credibility

Real estate brands aren’t among the most trusted ones in the market. They are often be looked at with doubt and it takes longer for a real estate brand to earn credibility. It’s an agency’s undertaking to build trust through clear, concise and trustworthy communication – throughout the brand’s lifecycle. For a mid-size agency, it may look like a humongous task considering the amount of hard work and consistent efforts it has to put to establish the client’s brand as a preferred identity in the eyes of its customers.

Finding clients (who pay in time!)

Clients are hard to come by and it’s even more, a difficult task to acquire clients that pay well and pay in time. Small or mid-size agencies keep struggling with cash flow, hence it’s always a tricky question whether or not to engage in business with a client you aren’t sure of. The temptation is high to grab each and every business opportunity that appears, however, it is necessary to always do a background check on the brand that you decide to associate with. The brand’s reputation, track record should be evaluated, clearly communicating the payment terms before signing on the dotted line is important as well.

Technology and keeping up with time

This one was tricky. Being technologically able is a costly affair, especially for a new business. There are costs of setting up systems, adapting to new technologies, training the team, the list goes on.

Honestly, there is no shortcut solution to this. Being in the business and succeeding without burdening the working capital much is a matter of assiduousness and consistent effort. Agencies working with real estate brands need to decide which arrays of services they want to specialize on. If an agency decides to offer rendering or 3D modelling services, it’s of absolute importance that the right technological supports are put in place. This may include high-end systems and software, high-load servers etc.

Talent retention

“I don’t want to work with just real estate brands” – have you ever come across such questions from interviewees? You will, pretty often.

It’s any way a difficult task to hire and retain talent in the agency business. Being in the service industry, no matter how much of technology comes to play, an agency will always heavily bank upon its manpower. Who you hire directly affects our business and a poorly constructed team is more than enough to ruin years of hard work and dedication. Perfect mix of Individual talents and strong team chemistry is what that takes our business forward.

Not everyone offers hefty and shining employment benefits which are common with larger corporations. So, you can make your employees a part of your growth. Keep trying to get those employees on board who seek competitive environment and are not weary of challenges.

Processes and structures

I had saved the most important factor for the last.

Bigger agencies afford to employ numbers of means, people and tactics to finish an assigned task in time. Agencies working with Real estate clients often deal with extreme deadlines such as times when a project gets launched or multiple lead-generation campaigns kick-off simultaneously etc. Considering that small agencies can’t afford to have large teams, it’s very important that they have water-tight processes and room for no error.

The business’ success lies in the processes and structures that one manages to put in practice. The team should be trained to adhere to deadlines and deliver impeccable service to the clients.

Subject matter knowledge

Last but not the least, real estate is not just bricks and lands. It’s a tremendously interesting field with complex and powerful communication needs. Unless an agency is led by people who are intrinsically attached with the real estate as a subject or at least have a robust interest in the same, it’s very difficult to keep delivering profitable and rewarding results.

If you love the intensity and complexity of real estate as a business, if you understand the myriad of emotions that run behind every real estate brand story, you truly are up for a really interesting specialization rewards of which can be very sweet and worthy.

With real estate industry going through unprecedented reforms and an assortment of challenges, it’s harder than ever before for the agencies to deliver optimized results within the tighter budget and as per newer communication objectives. We must remember that it’s not about just ‘leads’, it’s effective communication approach resulting into long-term business gains and augmented brand image.

VR Technology a Boon for the Prospective Property Buyer

VR Technology a Boon for the Prospective Property Buyer
The probability of visualising the real world without actually being in it is an experience that is becoming increasingly popular in the real estate industry

Shailesh Goswami
Founder of Foyr

Are you still putting your best bet on brochures & a sample flat? Or are you still making your clients imagine spaces for ideas? Well, changing the way people experience and search for property, through technology, innovation and design is no longer a thing of the past. The probability of visualising the real world without actually being in it is an experience that is becoming increasingly popular in the real estate industry. As people desire something different, something more personalised, providing them with a 360-degree preview of a futuristic space is not only realistic but also unique; making the process of buying and selling property revolutionary and dynamic. Virtual Reality is indeed a transformative innovation that is gradually becoming a boon for the prospective buyer. Here’s how –

Immersive Experience for the customer:

The property-buying experience is always the most strenuous activity one has to undertake. Fun one expects to have while exploring a dream property turns into an imaginative and stressful game, where, they have to think what the set up might look like with particular furniture, in their picky style or colour. Not to forget, the amount of time it takes to finally give a nod to what might be the right choice. But now, the seamless application of virtual reality in real estate is changing the whole imagination game for the buyer. Mundane spaces have turned into a lively, immersive experience having the exact preview of their dream property. From a minuscule feature like placement of furniture, natural and artificial lighting, view from a balcony and so on, to a real-time experience of their yet to be space; there is no limit to what virtual reality has to offer. Using virtual reality’s high definition display, the buyer gets an interactive and appealing feel of the entire project with complete transparency. When they are able to understand the property better while space-walking into it, it hardly takes a few minutes for them to know how satisfied they are with what they see.

A game changer for the seller:

Whether the company is a large household-name , or a smaller one looking to grow, everyone is considering Virtual Reality a key part of their showcase. Building proposals for existing and potential clients through this technique provides sellers with a sense of reliability, transparency and certainty. It not only creates aesthetically detailed and appealing projects, that has the tendency to persuade the buyer to make positive decisions and take things forward without sacrificing much time; but the seller is able to increase sales efficiency with great ideas. But most importantly, this technology creates an opaque vision free of any misunderstandings, thus liquidating the transgression people consider real estate synonymous with. Virtual Reality can easily be trusted for securing Government biddings, investor funds, surviving the cut-throat competition and for staying relevant in the market.

Future of Technology:

As the world evolves digitally, acceptance of technology has become second nature. The same applies to Virtual technology and its application in the real estate sector. With so much potential to harness, there is a whole spectrum of possibilities that one can look forward to when they go property hunting. Certain aspects they we are eagerly looking forward to are: The ability to use virtual technology at home. Indeed, it is soon going to be possible to simply put own a VR headgear synced with your Smartphone or digital device and experience walking into a potential property while sitting the comfort of your home.

Driving across streets, cities or even countries to view properties will soon become a thing of the past when people will be able to view their options in one go at one place through virtual reality. Another upcoming feature to look forward to is the power of touch. Till date using sight and sound were significant features attracting prospective buyers, but soon they will be able to click on the wall and change its colour; take a judgement call on room layouts by actually switching between options through virtual reality. This will add an extraordinary and transformative boon to prospective property buyer.

An exciting time for real estate has begun. Virtual reality is literally giving wings to every prospective buyer’s idea and imagination by significantly facilitating the whole process of buying and selling at every stage.

3 Must-Know Tips from Real Estate Insiders

3 Must-Know Tips from Real Estate Insiders
Maximize your home sale with these tips.

GOBankingRates
Content Provider
This story originally appeared on GOBankingRates

Jumping into the real estate world is a tried-and-true pathway to wealth. That pathway, although tested, isn’t for the faint of heart — there are many bumps along the way. Before you start buying, take some useful beginner’s advice from the insiders who have been there and done that.

Check out the tips below to learn about some common real estate myths you need to know before you get into the game.

Tip 1: It’s all about the timing.

Dollar signs are directly linked to the calendar when it comes to real estate. Thanks to seasonal fluctuations, the listing date could increase sellers’ profits — or give buyers a serious discount.

tip 2: video made the real estate star.

The online shopping phenomenon has also touched the world of real estate — and over 80 percent of all new home buyers find their new abode online, according to Ben Salem of Ben Salem Properties in Beverly Hills, Calif. His advice? Put that GoPro to good use and give prospective buyers a walk-through of their new, soon-to-be home.

Tip 3: Be wary of home improvements.

Do your homework and learn which home improvements add value to your home, because not all of them do. Be sure to focus on projects that will maximize the return on your investment — think a fresh coat of paint or a new garage door versus a massive undertaking, pricing you out of your real estate market.

(By Rachel Farrow)

How the New Tax Law Affects Your Real Estate Business

How the New Tax Law Affects Your Real Estate Business
Tax reform should have a positive impact on the real estate sector. Make sure your business is prepared for these major changes.

Paul Rosenkranz
Guest Writer
Lead Tax Managing Director at CBIZ MHM

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) brings big tax changes to the real estate sector, the likes of which haven’t been seen since the Tax Reform Act of 1986.

Fortunately, the impact on real estate businesses should be mostly positive. That said, there are some crucial changes that business owners and entrepreneurs in the real estate sector should look out for moving forward.

Related: The New Tax Law Has Made It a Great Time to Invest in Real Estate. Here’s How to Get the Most From Your Investment.
Pass-through entities

You have probably heard about the 40 percent reduction in the corporate tax rate to 21 percent under the TCJA. However, if you operate as a sole proprietor, or in a pass-through entity such as a partnership, LLC or S Corporation, the TCJA also contains a significant change to how you will be taxed.

A deduction of up to 20 percent of qualified business income is now permitted. This deduction is limited to the lesser of:

20 percent of qualified business income
The greater of 50 percent of W-2 wages, or 25 percent of W-2 wages plus 2.5 percent of the unadjusted basis of qualified depreciable property

Congress and the IRS need to issue new rules to further clarify and explain some of the nuances of this provision, but real estate businesses should clearly benefit from it.

Real estate depreciation rules were already favorable, but the TCJA improved them even further. Qualifying property — including, for the first time, used property — acquired after Sept. 27, 2017 is eligible for 100 percent bonus depreciation in the year it is placed in service.

Eligible assets are those with a depreciable life of 20 years or less. This encompasses personal property, and was intended to include “qualified improvement property” defined as work done to the interior of a commercial building excluding costs related to enlargement, elevators and escalators or the internal framework. Because of a drafting error, however, it was not assigned the correct class life, so this is an important provision requiring Congressional remedy.

Remember that bonus depreciation will begin to wind down in 2023. The rate will drop by 20 percent per year beginning in 2023 until it is eventually eliminated in 2027.

Additionally, Section 179, which permits the expensing of assets for commercial properties, has been expanded. The annual limitation has increased from $500,000 to $1 million, with a phase-out beginning at $2.5 million for qualifying assets. For the first time, this provision now includes roofs, fire protection and alarm systems, HVACs and security systems.

The way the losses and gains from your real estate business are taxed is also impacted by the new law. For example, debt-financed real estate operations should note that any business with more than $25 million in average annual gross revenue over the prior three years will be limited in its interest expense deduction to interest income plus 30 percent of adjusted taxable income. Rental property owners and others in real property businesses can, in some cases, opt out of this rule and claim the full interest deduction, but that comes with certain trade-offs.

If you’re on the opposite side of the scale with an overall tax loss, a new loss limitation rule allows only $500,000 for joint filers ($250,000 for single) to be used to shelter non-real estate income such as wages, interest, dividends and capital gains. These provisions will likely have the largest impact on qualifying real estate professionals.

There are many other pieces of the tax law that could affect real estate companies and investors. Section 1031 like-kind exchanges for real estate (but not for personal property) remained intact, but the taxation of carried interests, doubling of the estate and gift exemption and changes to some popular tax credits could affect your real estate holdings, taxes and financial planning.

In order to ensure you’re getting the most out of your corporate and individual taxes — in real estate and elsewhere — make sure to work with a tax professional well-versed in these changes. The sooner you review these changes with a professional, the less likely you will be caught off guard when the 2018 tax filing season rolls around.

Real Estate and Entrepreneurship: Demystifying Property Processes

Real Estate and Entrepreneurship: Demystifying Property Processes
Smart solutions are the need of the hour in the property sector

Rahul R
Senior Correspondent

With today’s sector-agnostic entrepreneurship resulting in the advent of innovative solutions, it only becomes natural to check for and apply these models to sectors that are generally offbeat. The best example of such a domain is the Indian real estate segment which is often believed, both by consumers as well as experts, to be widely misunderstood.

Today’s entrepreneurs believe that the sector could actually be simplified through technology-driven processes resulting from entrepreneurship. With these, the whole perspective of real estate processes could clearly be communicated to consumers. In this regard, Entrepreneur India interacted with Anjan Rangaraj who is Chief Executive Officer at Chennai-based Catalyst Properties; a property marketing firm which has recently forayed into the big bad world of Bangalore’s real estate offerings.

Anjan is also an entrepreneur with over 17 years of experience in the real-estate domain. He believes that technology-driven management of real estate inventory is the need of the hour displaying favourable entrepreneurial aspects:

Presenting inventory to consumers is the right way to go – A potential entrepreneurial opportunity

“I founded Catalyst Properties 11 years ago. I realised that there were a lot of developers who could develop a good product but weren’t in a position to present it in the right way to the right kind of audience. So I had to come up with the model that was very different from the big players in this segment,” states Rangaraj to Entrepreneur India.

Rangaraj’s statement echoes with that of different entrepreneurial experts (in real estate) who believe that startups in the sector should undoubtedly focus on making inventory, that is clean and free of litigation, reachable to the audiences through technology-driven models in marketing or the very way in which inventory management is handled.

Rangaraj adds that it was a technology-driven partly underwriting and partly marketing model that clicked for Catalyst. Here, the wannabe startup owners could consider offering clutter-free consumer-centric models through which both marketing as well as finding property becomes easy.

“Today technology is a must,” re-iterates Rangaraj.

Mitigation of issues encountered during critical processes

With automation and futuristic technology viz Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Machine Learning (ML) presenting a potential opportunity to solve plaguing problems, Entrepreneur India sought to know from Rangaraj as to how application of technology could lead the way for Indian real estate.

Rangaraj believes that the entire marketing process could be digitized. Startups could also come out with customized intelligent solutions for digital marketing so that necessary data is generated and properly evaluated at the initial level itself.

“We have a CRM which is thoroughly worked around what we actually do,” informs Rangaraj stressing on the need for smart technology-driven solutions.

Giving rise to new trends

With real estate in India showing clear signs of getting corporatized, going by the CSR initiatives undertaken by major real estate players including Catalyst, there are bound to be new trends which could do more than just ape the west and actually offer consumers extended facilities.

A trend in this regard is that of shared workspaces coming up adjacently with even residential units developed by major companies. Now, this is a sure shot entrepreneurial trend, which could foster the startup founding spirit within people who are also buyers of these residential spaces.

Experts believe that co-workings places alongside residential dwelling units are to encash the startup culture, prevalent in cities such as Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, New Delhi, Pune and more. Here, a buyer could choose a new residential unit just to ensure that he/she gets to enjoy both dwelling as well as access to premium office spaces at affordable prices whilst starting a new venture within these office spaces. This potentially eliminates the need to actually travel long distances to reach places of work.

“If you have to create a good product you have to create things around it. And only if you have a good product you will be in a position to sell. There are so many things which can actually benefit each other and co-working spaces is one of those things,” states Rangaraj categorically.

Property Management Startups are Setting New Trends

Property Management Startups are Setting New Trends
Rise of property management start-ups reflects the changing preferences

Nagaraju M
CEO – Rentprop4u

The rental market in India is growing at a rapid pace. While most middle-class Indians aspired to own a home earlier, people increasingly prefer to take a property on rent than buy one these days.

With job mobility becoming quite prevalent, especially among younger people, many of them think that owning a home is more of a burden. Renting gives the privilege to move cities at your convenience and stay in a locality of your choice. You don’t have to shell out huge EMIs for the dream property you own. And if you cannot be bothered furnishing the home, you can opt for a furnished property and also get help with housekeeping.

One of the main reasons for the growing preference to rent a home is the high level of migration within the country. People move between cities for jobs quite frequently. When you are new to a city, you’d rather rent a home than buy one.

For migrants, it’s not easy finding a property of their choice in a new city where brokers do not speak their language. Add to it the woes associated with lack of documentation and huge security deposits.

The owners, on the other hand, are faced with a different set of struggles to manage their properties. Gone are the days when relatives and friends used to take care of the property in your absence.

The growing preference for renting as opposed to buying and the pain points of the tenants and owners have contributed to the growth of property and rental management start-ups in India. More than 30 million NRIs living in 130 countries across the world has also given a boost to these start-ups.

These start-ups have made lives easier and hassle-free for both tenants and landlords.

One-Stop Solution for Owners and Tenants

It’s imperative that the property is taken care of and maintained well to earn a good rental income. From finding the right tenant and performing a complete background check to offering assured rentals and taking care of repairs and maintenance, these start-ups offer complete rental and property management assistance to owners.

They not only help tenants to find the home of their choice but also assist with documentation work and rental payments. Some start-ups even help with moving in and utility connections.

With a rapid growth in the number of people migrating from villages to cities, it can be estimated that around 60-70 crore people will be living in urban areas by 2030, which inevitably increases the demand for residential property in India.

In fact, it is estimated that real estate will be the third largest sector by 2030, contributing more than 15 per cent of the Indian GDP. Also, real estate is one of the largest employers in India providing jobs for more than 75 million people. With as many people moving into cities, there has been an increase in demand for rental properties. The booming rental market and high demand for residential spaces have created a demand for property management services too.

Lack of time has prompted numerous property owners in metropolitan cities to resort to the services of property management consultancies. Not only can they maximise their profits, but they are also spared the hassle of collecting rent, repairs, taking care of tenant complaints and marketing the property to find the right tenant.

These services have also come to the rescue of NRIs who want help in managing their properties back home. They need not fret about the security of their home or its maintenance while they are away from the country.