12/26/10: Getting Started in Real Estate Investing…for the First, Second or Third Time!

Donald Trump is probably the most famous “real estate guy” who made it big, lost it all, then made it all back bigger and better than before.  What took him down you ask?  In his book, The Art of the Comeback, the Donald says it was complacency and The Tax Reform Act of 1986.   Remember that one?  It was that wonderful piece of legislation that crashed the real estate market and wiped out the Savings & Loan industry.  Oops.

Our point?  Actually, there’s a few, such as how important it is to pay close attention (the opposite of complacency) to ANYTHING (including boring politics) that might affect the flow of money into any asset class – especially real estate.  That’s one reason why we’ve had so many economists on over the last several months.  Which brings us to the main point of this episode of The Real Estate Guys™ Radio Show, which is to address the question: What is the best way to move forward in this market based on all of the lessons of past markets?

Pulling the sleigh of broadcast excellence over the mountains and through the hills (and valleys) of the currently snow covered real estate landscape:

  • Robert, the red-nosed show host, Helms
  • Russell, the noseless co-host, Gray (brown was the only color left in the box and he didn’t want to wear it)

When navigating your own real estate investing sleigh through the foggy night of post-recession real estate, it’s very handy to have a shiny red nosed guide (beer consumption does serve a valuable investment purpose!).  There’s nothing like experience to light the way for those just starting out.  And with low prices, a growing population, low interest rates, more renters, and less new building, it sure looks like a GREAT time to get started – or for those who got lost in the last financial blizzard, re-started and pointed in the right direction.

Focusing on the right fundamentals is essential to long term success.  Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi is said to have begun each year’s training camp by addressing his team of professional athletes. Lombardi would hold up a football and state the obvious, “Gentleman, this is a football.”  In other words, start at the beginning and build your career on a solid foundation of fundamentals.

So whether you’re brand new or a seasoned vet looking to kick off the New Year on the right foot, listen in as we unwrap some of the lessons of markets passed and hang ornaments of wisdom on your real estate investing tree.  Lots of people paid a big price for all these valuable lessons, so even though you get them for next to nothing, don’t overlook their importance.

May the New Year bring you and yours health, wealth and happiness!

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The Real Estate Guys™ Radio Show podcast provides education, information and training to help investors make money with their real estate investments.

12/19/10: Winding Down the Year – Maximizing Your Properties, Deductions and Strategies

Let’s face it.  Running even a fledgling real estate empire is hard work.  The only paperwork that’s fun is cashing those rent checks!  Nonetheless, the end of the year is a great time to step back from all the wheeling and dealing and do some strategic planning for the New Year.

In The E-Myth Revisited (on our list of Recommended Reading), author Michael Gerber says you must invest time “working ON your business instead of IN it”.  In Before You Quit Your Job (hey! that’s also on the recommended list!), our good friend Rich Dad Poor Dad (yes, it’s on the list too) author Robert Kiyosaki explains the importance of SYSTEMS in his B-I (Business Owner / Investor) Triangle.  The point is that being organized and thinking strategically are critical components of success.

But where to start?  That’s the topic of this episode!

Behind the microphones, in the Equity Sleigh, winding down the year:

  • Your host, the Santa of Real Estate Wisdom, ho-ho-host Robert Helms
  • Santa’s Helper, co-ho-ho-host (or just “co-ho” for short), Russell Gray
  • Our own Santa look-alike, the Godfather of Real Estate, Bob Helms

Taking a page from Santa’s playbook, The Real Estate Guys are making a list and checking it twice.  But we’re not looking for who’s naughty or nice…well, actually naughty would be okay 😉  …our list has a bunch of things real estate investors should be thinking about this time of year.

When rushing to open your holiday gifts, wouldn’t it be nice to open up a great big tax deduction, reduced mortgage rate or increased cash flow?  Of course it would!  But sadly, no one is going to slide down your chimney and stuff your stocking with enhanced profits.  So, if you want to pad your bottom line, and keep your assets safe and warm, you’re going to have to wrap your own gifts.

So grab a pen and paper (or that brand new iPad you just opened) and get ready to take some notes.  When you’re done listening to this episode, you’ll have very own end of year checklist and a great start of a new holiday tradition!

Happy Holidays!

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The Real Estate Guys™ Radio Show podcast provides education, information and training to help investors make money with their real estate investments.

12/12/10: International Real Estate for Resort, Investment or Safe Haven – Pros and Cons of a Changing Landscape

Whew!  That’s a big title.  But it’s fitting for a big topic – one that reminds us that the world is not only getting smaller, but is changing rapidly.

Money, jobs and people are moving around the world like never before. And while fewer people may feel rich coming out of this recession, there are other good reasons many are still looking at international real estate – both as an investment strategy and a safe haven hedge against inflation.

While we were at the International Property Congress in Miami Beach, in addition to talking big picture economics with National Association of Realtor’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun and Federal Reserve Bank VP Thomas Cunningham (see our 11/21/10 show), we sat down and talked about who’s buying international real estate, where and why.

Behind our well-traveled microphones for an international chat-fest:

  • Your host, the internationally renowned Robert Helms
  • Your co-host and internationally obscure Russell Gray
  • The man who has seen more changing landscapes than a migrant farm worker, the eternally international Godfather of Real Estate, Bob Helms
  • Special Guest #1: International Property Journal reporter, Kevin Brass
  • Special Guest #2: Representative from SECOVI, a Brazilian real estate trade association, Flavio Amary

It’s no secret that every country in the world has it’s own unique strengths and weaknesses.  As the dominant economy in the world, Americans have long enjoyed a uniquely stable and high quality of life.  It wasn’t necessary or commonplace to travel abroad.  Even today, the  majority of Americans do not have passports.

However, the world is changing.  The US dollar, while still the dominant currency, is facing serious challenges.  Job losses, deficit spending, an aging populace and huge unfunded entitlements are all piling up on Uncle Sam.  Meanwhile, other countries are emerging as powerful economies in their own right – most notably China.

But this isn’t an episode about the woes facing the US.  These aren’t the first challenges and they won’t be the last.  Every country has its ups and downs.

This episode is about discovering how and why the dynamics of the world’s economies are changing the way people are approaching real estate.

While we’re more traveled than the average American, we took the opportunity while in Miami to connect with Kevin Brass.  Kevin has been covering the international real estate industry for over 20 years and his articles and analyses have been regular features in the International Herald Tribune and the New York Times.  Today, Kevin writes for the International Property Journal.  His work takes him all around the globe and keeps him connected with many industry leaders worldwide.  In this episode, Kevin shares his perspectives on the changing landscape of international real estate.

We also discuss some recent changes to the once vaunted tax and privacy advantages of Panama, who recently entered into an information sharing agreement with the United States.  Tax and privacy advantages are often a prime motivator for people to acquire real estate and move to a particular country.  Is what happened in Panama a portend of things to come?

Of course, what would an episode on international real estate be without an interview with someone with one of those really intriguing accents?  We were privileged to find someone who not only sounds really cool, but has some very useful things to share with us about the robust economy of Brazil.  If you haven’t been paying attention to Brazil, you may be surprised to hear about what’s happening there.  Hint: not everyone’s in a recession.

Buone Feste, Boas Festas, Felices Fiestas, Frohe Festtage, Wesołych Świąt, Bonnes vacances, Sarbatori Fericite and Happy Holidays!

The Real Estate Guys™ Radio Show podcast provides education, information and training to help investors make money with their real estate investments.

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Why Now May Be a Great Time To Invest in Dallas Real Estate

Finding a strong market to invest in is as simple as looking for population growth, job growth, and a diverse economy. That’s why some of the smartest minds in real estate are focused on the long term strength of Dallas, TX.

POPULATION GROWTH: The Dallas-Fort Worth area’s population has grown by nearly 1.3 million from 2000 -2009.  That is more than any other metropolitan area in the United States.  The Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington MSA is the largest metropolitan area in Texas, the largest in the South, the fourth-largest in the United States (SOURCE: Wikipedia on DFW).

The Dallas, TX metro is forecasted to add 4 million new people from 2010 – 2040 according to the Texas Data Center  and the North Texas Water Board.   That’s one new person every 4 minutes!!! In 2009, the population of Texas grew by 231,539.  That is more growth than Florida, Arizona, California, Nevada and Colorado, combined.

A demographer at the Brookings Institution attributes the population growth to a more diversified economy in Texas and more conservative lending practices during the real estate boom. When combined with the state’s steady growth earlier in the decade, Texas is projected to receive three new seats in Congress.  (SOURCE: Recession Cuts Migration to Sun Belt, New Figures Show 
New York Times).

JOB GROWTH: “Diversified industry and relatively stable housing fundamentals have provided local residents with comparatively secure standards of living. Cities where home prices don’t fluctuate wildly are particularly well-positioned to ride out this recession, because they were spared the domino effect of foreclosures, lost jobs and lost productivity. Rather than chasing rising home prices or apparently plentiful jobs in one-industry towns, families looking for long-term economic stability should seek spots where industry is diverse and housing price shifts are benign.”  (America’s Fastest Recovering Cities
 – Forbes Magazine)  According to the US Bureau of Labor & Statistics, Dallas job growth is twice the national average.  An educated populace and a cost of living below the national average, make Dallas enticing to companies seeking a lower cost but highly qualified workforce.

DIVERSE ECONOMY: The Dallas economy is primarily based on banking, commerce, telecommunications, computer technology, energy, and transportation.  North Texas has 28% of the state’s workforce, employing more than 350,000 in healthcare, 225,000 in high-tech and 68,000 aviation-related jobs.  North Texas has 20 colleges and universities, 17 graduate schools, 3 medical/dental schools, 2 law schools and 20 community college campuses (SOURCE: North Texas Commission).  The Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex is home to over 10,000 corporate headquarters making it the largest concentration of corporate headquarters in the United States.  The Dallas metro area is home to 25 FORTUNE 500 company headquarters and 7 FORTUNE Global 500 companies which bring more than $819 billion in revenue to North Texas. (Source: Fortune Magazine 2009)

  • WORLD CENTER OF AVIATION
    • DFW International Airport is the third busiest airport in the world
    • There are more than 850 aviation-related businesses in North Texas – more than any other area of its size in the world
    • There are more than 68,000 documented aviation-related jobs in the region
  • LOGISTICS HUB
    • DFW is a major logistics hub and has the lowest distribution costs to the top 50 U.S. consumer markets of any region
    • Since the passage of NAFTA, DFW trade to Mexico and Canada has more than doubled – in large part due to the proximity of Interstate 35 – the NAFTA Superhighway
  • FINANCIAL AND BANKING CENTER
    • North Texas is a major financial center and is home to one of 12 regional Federal Reserve Banks, as well as several regional bank offices and corporate headquarters to Comerica
  • HIGH TECHNOLOGY CENTER
    • North Texas is a national and global leader in the high-tech sector, and 8.3% of the region’s total 2.7 million labor force is employed in high-tech fields, according to the Metroplex Technology Business Council
    • North Texas’ 225,000 high-tech workers account for 52% of Texas’ total technology workforce, and North Texas boasts 6,215 high-tech firms
    • Although the high-tech industry employs 8.3% of the North Texas workforce, the high-tech sector accounts for nearly 13% of wages paid to North Texas workers – indicating the relatively high-paying nature of these sophisticated jobs
  • RETAIL CENTER
    • North Texas is the 10th largest retail market in the country. Dallas Market Center, the world’s most complete wholesale marketplace, hosts approximately 50 markets each year attended by more than 200,000 retail buyers from all 50 states and 84 countries, and conducts more than $8 billion in wholesale sales annually
  • HEALTH CARE EXCELLENCE
    • North Texas is known for its extensive state-of-the-art health care facilities with more than 90 major hospitals and two major medical schools
    • Health care is one of the largest and fastest growing industries in the Dallas-Fort Worth region with more than 350,000 health care jobs

LOW TAXES:

  • No personal or corporate state income tax
  • Maximum state and city sales tax of 8.25%

QUALITY OF LIFE:

  • North Texas features world-class athletes, teams and sports facilities, including the new Cowboys Stadium, host of the 2010 NBA All Star Game, 2010 World Series, 2011 Super Bowl XLV, and the NCAA Men’s Final Four in 2014
  • The region is growing as an arts hub with 7.9 million people attending arts and culture events annually
  • Low cost of living
  • Affordable housing
  • Plentiful water
  • Public transportation and excellent highway system
  • Strong k-12 schools and universities
  • Centrally located
    (SOURCE: North Texas Commission)

For more information about Dallas, visit our Dallas Market page or find a local market expert in our Resource Network.

12/5/10: Best Of Replay – Career Opportunities in Real Estate

BIG MONEY!  FLEXIBLE HOURS!  BE YOUR OWN BOSS!

Sounds like a late night infomerical pitch, right?  Well, not exactly.  You’d have to throw in “NO MONEY, NO BRAINS, NO TALENT and NO EFFORT NEEDED!  Your shoes don’t even have to match!  For just three easy payments, we’ll show you how YOU can become the next Donald Trump!”

Why do these pitches work?  Because people almost universally want big money, flexible hours and to be their own boss.  These are some of the great appeals to real estate as a career.  And when the traditional job market is depressed, even more people look at real estate as way to make money.   Have you noticed that the job market is depressed lately?

Even though for the casual observer, some (most?) of the glitter has rubbed off real estate, the reality is that prices and interest rates are better than they’ve been in years.  These once-in-a-lifetime circumstances are drawing investors into the marketplace.  And with the Fed overtly committed to aggressive “quantitative easing”, it isn’t hard to imagine that somewhere down the road price appreciation will return to normal levels (at least!).  But we digress.

The point is that there’s a lot of work to be done in the real estate market to move properties from distressed owners back to banks and then to new owners.  And in many cases, the property will change hands more than once, as investors insert themselves into the process.  It seems to us that with a lot of people out of work and a lot of work to be done, some folks might want to revisit real estate as a way to make a living.

While most people think of a career in real estate primarily as selling houses to people who’ll live in them, there are actually many other options!  In this episode, The Real Estate Guys™ explore the variety of opportunities available when considering real estate as a full time vocation, whether as an agent or an investor – or both!

In the silver DeLorean radio studio for a trip Back to the Future for a show originally broadcast in 2008:

  • Your host and professor of pontification, host Robert Helms
  • Your co-host and fondler of the flux capacitor, co-host Russell Gray
  • The Father Time of real estate, the Godfather, Bob Helms

Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

The Real Estate Guys™ Radio Show podcast provides education, information and training to help investors make money with their real estate investments.

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