Podcast: Opportunity Zones Update – Defer, Reduce, and Even Eliminate Taxes

Opportunity zones is one of the hottest topics in real estate investing right now. Recently released guidelines provide much needed clarity to help investors and syndicators move forward.

In this episode, we re-visit Opportunity Zones with attorney Mauricio Rauld and discuss how opportunity zones are rolling out to help investors defer, reduce, or even completely eliminate capital gains taxes.


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Podcast: Using Market Metrics to Spot Trends and Opportunities

Every property you own sits in a market that’s in motion.

MANY factors affect the all-important supply, demand, and capacity-to-pay dynamics which dictate the health and direction of your investment.

But like a skilled-mariner on a choppy sea, you can read the wind, waves, and stars to chart a safer and more prosperous course.

So listen in to this episode as we explore using market metrics to spot trends and opportunities.


More From The Real Estate Guys™…

The Real Estate Guys™ radio show and podcast provides real estate investing news, education, training, and resources to help real estate investors succeed.


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Agriculture Investing – An Opportunity to Diversify Globally

Everyone needs a place to live … and everyone needs to eat.

Food is the original wealth. The world’s population is growing … and there are more mouths to feed every day!

Investors don’t have to limit themselves to properties with assets like houses, commercial buildings, or shopping malls.

You can harvest dollars from land that doesn’t have anything to do with tenants … and has everything to do with crops.

Agriculture investing is one of the most enduring and common sense investments there is.

Learn firsthand how money CAN grow on trees from a well-seasoned expert in international agricultural investing.

In this episode of The Real Estate Guys™ show, hear from:

  • Your food-for-thought host, Robert Helms
  • His food-loving co-host, Russell Gray
  • Expert agricultural investor, David Smith

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Digging into agriculture investing

We live in a big world with lots of mouths to feed … that means lots of crops … and lots of ways to profit.

In the past, agriculture investing was a difficult business to get in to on a small scale. If you didn’t have huge capital to buy huge plots of land … you were hugely out of luck.

But in the last several years, we’ve seen lots of folks who have figured out a way to let mom and pop play alongside them.

When it comes to investing in agriculture real estate, the pizza theory comes into play … fitting since we’re focusing on food.

Someone buys a large pizza. They take it to a party, cut it into slices, and sell each slice for a little bit of a markup.

At the end of the day, the person who brought the pizza makes a little bit of profit for their effort … and everybody gets to have a slice of something they might not be able to afford on their own.  

In agriculture, somebody buys a large parcel of farmland and puts all the operations and distribution channels in place.

Then, they divvy up a slice of the deal for a small markup to give many small investors the chance to play in that space. We see this as a great opportunity.

Everyone needs to eat

Crops come in all sizes, shapes, and degrees of durability … not to mention that different regions of the world have different opportunities.

In real estate, we often talk about getting the market right. Buying an investment property in the wrong market can get you into trouble.

But with crops, it’s not exactly the same.

It doesn’t really matter where the hungry mouths are … and it doesn’t matter where the food is grown.

Wherever the best farmland is … that’s where you want to buy. With today’s shipping technologies, you can get the food wherever it needs to go.

Another perk of agricultural investment? It is a staple. It meets a basic human need … just like housing.

Everyone needs a place to live … and everyone needs to eat.

And the population … the number of consumers demanding food … is steadily GROWING.

Crops and cash flow in Paraguay

David Smith is an experienced investor. He started in real estate, and for the last several years, he has been involved in agriculture in Latin America.  

After many years living and working in real estate in Latin America, David knew he needed to diversify.

After some due diligence, David decided to invest in agriculture.

“I was so interested in the business model,” David says. “It was a passive, turnkey investment not subject to the whims of the market. I really liked the security of it.”

David landed in Paraguay … a big farming country a bit off the radar … and invested in oranges.

Why oranges?

David says one of the biggest things that struck him about this particular crop was its durability. It also has a great distribution area.

Paraguay imports about 85 percent of all the citrus products consumed in the country.

“We can’t even meet the demand in Paraguay, let alone try to export yet,” David says.

Today, David is expanding to new segments of citrus fruits like lemons, limes, and sweet limes … ingredients that are important in the local diet.

Paraguay is traditionally a row crop producer … foods like soybeans, wheat, corn, and chia. It imports citrus from Brazil and buys greenhouse vegetables from Argentina.

Looking for ways to provide foods locally that are traditionally imported can open up lucrative niche opportunities in agriculture.

By providing a local alternative to imported foods, David provides a cheaper option for local grocers while creating income for his investors.

Going bigger with greenhouses

Like any investment niche, creative solutions can pay off … literally.

In Paraguay, one of the biggest challenges to growing vegetable is the heat.

“Paraguay gets very hot … and when I say very hot, I’m talking Tucson hot. It can be 120, 130, even 140 degrees in many locations,” David says.

The vegetables grown locally under normal farming conditions don’t grow very well. Their growth is stunted, their colors aren’t as bright, and they don’t taste as good as imported vegetables.

That’s where GREENHOUSES come into play.

By growing high-use … and typically high-priced … vegetables in greenhouses, David and his team can provide a local, tasty, and affordable solution to consumers.

This also provides a unique opportunity for investors. Instead of investing in land, individuals can purchase a greenhouse.

Each greenhouse is approximately 26,000 square feet … that’s a good amount of space for growing some green.

Greenhouses are also a popular investment because of their quick returns. Most investors will receive a return after just one year of making their investment.

“It’s a very stable business that runs 24/7,” David says.

And it’s a business that you don’t have to worry about managing. David and his team employ expert staff members that specialize in growing each crop.

These employees are even more motivated to provide extra levels of care, because they share in the profits.

“We offer them bonuses based upon produce amount, not net profit. In turn, they really put a loving touch into their work,” David says.

Determine if agriculture investment is right for you

Most Americans haven’t invested overseas.

There are a lot of reasons for this … but one of the biggest is not understanding how things operate on the ground in a different country.

That’s why having a local team managing the day-to-day of your investment is so powerful … especially in a niche like agriculture.

Just like any other investment opportunity, it’s important to do your due diligence.

David and his team help investors get a feel for agriculture by providing informative tours of their operation in Paraguay … and he also prepared a new, informative special report Citrus Fruits in Paraguay Investments that Grow Naturally.

Whether or not this particular opportunity is right for you, expanding your thinking to a bigger picture of real estate than just houses and hotels is important … and can yield lucrative results!


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Podcast: Agriculture Investing – An Opportunity to Diversify Globally

Food is the original wealth and it’s still pretty important today. And as world population grows, no matter where it happens, there are more mouths to feed.

So the demand for food … and the farm and ranch land to produce it anywhere on earth … is arguably one of the most enduring and common sense investments there is.

Tune in as we talk international agricultural investing with a well-seasoned expert!


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The Real Estate Guys™ radio show and podcast provides real estate investing news, education, training, and resources to help real estate investors succeed.


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Market Spotlight – Markets on the Move

People, businesses, and their money move around for lots of reasons. New jobs, better opportunities, tax incentives, high returns … the list goes on and on.

Savvy investors monitor these constant migrations. They look for patterns and take action to capitalize on opportunities and avoid risks.

All this movement affects supply and demand … especially for real estate. So today, we’re taking a look at some of the many factors moving markets today.

In this episode of The Real Estate Guys™ show you’ll hear from:

  • Your savvy host, Robert Helms
  • His sassy co-host, Russell Gray

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Read the signs in moving markets

We talk a lot about specific markets that are providing great opportunities for investors right now … but what about a year from now? Five years? Ten?

If you want to stay ahead of the game, you need to know how to read the signs of a market on the move.

It’s important to remember that it isn’t the property that makes you money … it’s the people.

A market is made up of people and businesses that have a relationship with real estate. That’s what makes it valuable.

The more tenants you have in properties that you own, the more positive CASHFLOW comes in … and the richer you become.

When you look at markets, the main thing you are looking at is supply and demand. Are people leaving? Are people coming in?

Then, you need to ask why people are moving in or moving out. There are always underlying factors that affect where and when people move.

As you work to identify these factors, you’ll begin to recognize patterns and principles … information that will enable you to spot emerging trends in other markets and get ahead of the pack.

The power of politics and trade

An article in Bloomberg Business Week points out the upside of a global downturn … juicy real estate deals.

Worldwide, many high-end home prices are being slashed by as much as 30 percent. This market information gives us some interesting clues.

These price cuts could indicate future opportunities … these markets could move!

If you’re looking to flip properties, you could purchase real estate now and have a good chance of selling it in the future for more … and not just because of the equity you put into it to add value.

Take a market like London, for example.

London has a reputation for being super expensive. But sellers of high-end homes are slashing their price tags.

When you do your research, you can discover some of the underlying factors contributing to this lower asking price. Recent changes to tax codes, Brexit, and a surge in populist thinking are just a few.

So, people with the means and ability to move to a more friendly jurisdiction will do it.

But London has a historically great real estate market … when things settle down, there’s a predictable chance prices and demand will shoot right back up.

Sydney, Australia, finds itself in a similar situation. The median home price is down 6 percent year over year since last year.

Australia has an economy that is largely driven by supplying commodities to China. But China is experiencing a slowdown, and Australian markets are feeling the impact.

When you’re looking at markets, you’re looking for clues … and international politics and trade can be powerful factors.

Hong Kong has been a strong real estate market … but like many parts of the world, real estate there is tied to U.S. dollars.

The market is down 10 percent since August of last year and is predicted to be down another 10 percent by 2020.

When you’re looking at moving markets, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Populous markets have a lot of drivers … and in Hong Kong those drivers have caused prices to go down quickly. That doesn’t mean they won’t go back up.

Hong Kong is generally considered to be very safe for property rights, personal liberty, and financial stability. It’s an economic capital in that part of the world.

All of these factors are clues that tell the smart real estate investor it might be worth digging deeper to determine whether a market has a good chance of turning upward.

If it does, a temporary downturn can be a lasting opportunity.

Clue in on taxes

There are plenty of markets on the move within the United States … and a lot of that has to do with taxes.

Any time you have changes in the tax code, you will see changes in the way people invest their money. It’s an essential clue in identifying market trends.

New York City is the perfect example.

For the first time in a long time, the median price of condominiums in Manhattan has dropped below $1 million. That’s DOWN 6 percent from a year ago.

Under the previous tax code, you could deduct your state and local taxes from your federal income tax.

If you lived in a high-tax state like New York, you could mitigate a lot of those high taxes by simply deducting them from your federal liabilities. You can’t anymore.

As a result, markets like New York City and California’s Silicon Valley are moving down … and low-tax jurisdictions like Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Florida are moving up.

Learn from moving markets

You might never invest in London, Sydney, Hong Kong, or New York … but you CAN learn a lot by looking at why those markets are moving.

Markets move in different direction for different reasons. The more you understand, the more easily you can identify patterns in the trends occurring in your market of choice.

Studying markets on the move is an invitation for you to do the research. A market that works for one investor doesn’t necessarily work for another.

Markets have personalities … just like people.

You wouldn’t marry somebody just because they were the first person you talked to or because your best friend thinks they’re interesting.

You decide on your own investment life … where you want to be, and what you want to be doing.


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Market Spotlight – Three Metros Attracting Attention Now

As major markets grow and mature, residents and businesses start to feel the financial pinch … and follow their wallets to greener pastures.

Savvy investors recognize trending, emerging markets and migrate there in search of value.

It’s all about monitoring where people are moving … and moving faster.

Listen in as we visit with a multi-market investor to find out why and where he is looking for opportunities.

In this episode of The Real Estate Guys™ show you’ll hear from:

  • Your moving-up host, Robert Helms
  • His moving-over co-host, Russell Gray
  • Fourplex Investment Group consultant, Steve Olson

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Metros on the move

One of the most crucial tasks for a real estate investor is finding a market that matches their real estate philosophy.

As an investor, you must think about the personality and culture of your portfolio … then find a location that offers opportunities for growth and cash flow.

On your own, you can do high-level research on rent prices, population growth, job creation, and infrastructure … but you need a team on the ground to succeed.

A local team is in touch with the minute details of a market. They can point you to the specific areas of a metro that are best for your investment.

We rely on people on the ground to help us understand what markets our listeners should have on their radars. Steve Olson is one of those people.

As a consultant for Fourplex Investment Group, Steve oversees several up-and-coming markets … and he is here to introduce us to three metros attracting attention now.

Salt Lake City, Utah

There are a lot of exciting things happening in this rocky mountain metro.

The greater Salt Lake City area encompasses a lot of cities … each with unique investment opportunities and cultures.

This long, skinny metro follows the mountains of the Wasatch front … and houses a little over 2 million people.

A high birth rate paired with large numbers of people migrating from other states is a testament to the metro’s family-friendly and business-friendly culture.

With mountains on both sides, the area is a hot spot for skiing and other winter sports. In the summer, hiking and biking are popular attractions.

From a real estate perspective, Salt Lake has been a stable market for some time now … but it’s growing faster and faster.

Two key areas that draw investment attention are Silicon Slopes and the Northwest Quadrant.

Silicon Slopes is home to towns like Lehi, American Fork, and Draper. The nickname refers to the large number of tech companies that have set up shop there.

Organizations like Adobe, Ancestry.com, and even the National Security Agency (NSA) have built major hubs in the area.

With a rapid influx of new residents, there have been some growing pains for the tech towns … but infrastructure is catching up and new construction is BOOMING.

The Northwest Quadrant is what Steve calls “an interesting opportunity.” Being surrounded by mountains leaves only so much space for new growth.

“For many years, you would just consider it a barren wasteland,” Steve says, “but now it is the only direction to go.”

The Northwest Quadrant is near the Great Salt Lake and the Salt Lake City International Airport.

“If you want land in any kind of quantity that’s affordable, that’s the direction you have to go,” Steve says.

Businesses recognize this and are embracing the blank slate. Amazon recently built a new shipping facility in the area, and so did UPS.

Thousands of new jobs mean new residents … and those residents are looking for affordable places to live.

The two main cities in the Northwest Quadrant are West Valley City and Magna.

In the past 15 years, only ONE new apartment complex has been built in those cities … and it is operating at 97 percent occupancy.

Steve says the location has lots of potential. Tenants can enjoy new, clean, affordable places to live and get to downtown Salt Lake City in 15 minutes.

“You’re going to look at that area in 5 to 10 years and not even recognize it,” Steve says.

Houston, Texas

Houston, Texas, is a go-to market for many investors … but a recently completed toll road is opening new parts of the area for investment opportunity.

After Hurricane Harvey, the fate of the Houston metro housing market was uncertain. But just four weeks after the storm, home sales had rebounded and seen the greatest rental activity of all time.

 

More and more growth is flowing into the northwest part of the Houston metro. For many tenants, Cypress, Texas, is the destination.

This suburb has become one of Houston’s largest communities and recently ranked 50th in the top 100 highest-income urban areas in the country.

The oil and gas industry have a major presence in the area, as well as the healthcare, aviation, and distribution sectors.

With a diverse, expanding economy, Cypress is on track for significant job and population growth … a great sign for real estate!

Boise, Idaho

You don’t normally hear a ton about this market because it isn’t a giant metro. As of 2018, about 700,000 people call Boise, Idaho, home.

But Steve says if you dig into the stats, you’ll feel very confident in its potential. People who are tired of metros like Portland and Seattle are going to Boise.

“Boise is more business friendly, but you’re still in the Pacific Northwest,” Steve says.

Quality of life in the area is marked by access to plenty of outdoor activities like biking, rock climbing, water sports, and skiing.

The metro is notable for its population and job growth … triple the national average … and is landlord-friendly. And who could forget the low taxes?

New residents are moving into suburbs like Nampa and Meridian and targeting new construction.

Find your niche and your market

No matter where you invest, there are many ways to put your money to work for you … and these markets are no exception.

The approach Steve takes with Fourplex Investment Group is a particularly unique niche.

By building brand-new apartment buildings on empty land, Steve and his team can meet rising space needs and offer great incentives and returns for investors.

That means instead of buying the 40-year-old fourplex down the street, you can buy four units in a 100-unit, brand-new apartment complex.

And you’re not at the mercy of apartment or commercial financing!

Whatever your investment approach and chosen market, remember that it is all about finding an opportunity that matches YOUR philosophy and works for YOU.


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Put all your eggs in one basket … then diversify

The blessing and curse of real estate is that trends develop slowly. 

This makes them easy to catch, but also easy to miss … unless you make it a priority to pay consistent attention.

We scour the news daily.  We’re always looking for opportunities, lessons, and trends.  But they’re not always obvious.  In fact, they usually aren’t.

So it’s not answers we’re looking for.  It’s better questions.  The clues in the news simply capture our attention so we can dig deeper.

And because real estate trends move slowly, there’s often plenty of time to investigate … and then move into position to take effective action.

This recent headline reminds us of the process, and some great lessons for real estate investors …

Salt Lake City Tops U.S. In Diversity of Jobs; Las Vegas is Last 
– Bloomberg 2/15/19

Now Salt Lake City isn’t necessarily a market normally associated with diversity, but according to this report, it’s tops for diverse job opportunities.

Of course, jobs are uber important to real estate investors.  After all, jobs are the best way for tenants to get the money to pay rent.

Plus, any market with abundant jobs is going to attract more people … adding to the demand for rental properties.

Perhaps even more importantly … a diverse selection of job types is probably a good indication an area has multiple economic drivers.

Economic diversity is a very important component of stability and resilience.

This should be obvious, but it’s amazing how many investors rush into markets chasing a trend driven by only one big story.

Of course, if that one big story changes for whatever reason, then so does the trend in the market.

Consider how things worked out for real estate investors who rushed in for the oil boom in North Dakota’s Bakken or the Amazon HQ2 boom in New York.

Time will tell, but we’re guessing while some Opportunity Zones will be fantastic successes … some will end up being big busts too.

One story usually isn’t enough.  And there’s no need to move too fast when it comes to catching an uptrend in a real estate market.

Sure, when you take a measured approach, you might miss out on quick gains gleaned from front-running the fast-to-act speculators.

But if you view real estate as a long-term investment, then you’re looking for long-term trends.  Best to let the trend strengthen before getting in too deep.

Besides, there’s plenty to do while you’re watching the trend develop.

Consider our approach to Salt Lake City … since this is the focal point of the headline we’re talking about today.

Salt Lake City popped up on our radar a few years back and we started watching.  The more we saw, the better it looked.

In 2017, Salt Lake City appeared in a report of metros with a low percentage of rent burdened population.

In a related commentary about why we think this metric matters, we pointed out …

“… markets with increasing affordability, and stable rents and occupancies, should probably end up on a short list of markets to pay a visit to.”

We suggested to …

“Look for metros which are affordable locally based on a low percentage of rent burdened population, with increasing affordability … and also affordable nationally when compared to the average rents of other metros.”

Markets that looked interesting based on this metric were Kansas City … along with Oklahoma City, Cincinnati, Louisville, and Salt Lake City.

Since then, and perhaps to no surprise, we’ve built relationships with boots-on-the-ground teams in both Kansas City and Salt Lake City.

Sometimes it takes time to identify and study a market, then get to know the right people … rather than just jumping into a “good” deal in a “hot” market.

Sure, when the market ends up being great, you’ll always wish you moved faster …

… so it’s wise to get good at seeing opportunity, doing your homework, and building relationships sooner.

But again … the blessing of real estate is it moves slowly.  So you don’t have to be a racehorse to win the real estate investing derby.

Nonetheless, you do need to move.  You can’t win or finish a race if you’re still standing at the starting gate.

So when you see a positive market metric, be quick to start the process of exploration … but cautious about leaping into a deal before you look.

And as you explore a market’s potential, whether you’re just starting out or already have a sizable portfolio, consider how to use diversification as a tool for building resilient wealth.

There are several ways to diversify …

Choose economically diverse economies to reduce your exposure to any one industry or sector of the economy.

Invest in multiple units when you can.  More doors provide multiple streams of income and less dependency on any one tenant.

Invest in multiple markets.  Even diverse individual economies can suffer setbacks, so being in more than one market can help mitigate the risk.

Syndicate or invest in syndications to become even more diverse faster.

Syndication pools your money with others’ … and provides scale you might not have on your own … so you can own more units, in more places, with professional management.

The bottom line is real estate is a great “basket” to put all your eggs in … while also providing the ability to create resilient wealth through strategic diversification. 

Until next time … good investing!


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Real estate is NOT an asset class …

When the talking heads on mainstream financial media talk about real estate, they often refer to it as an “asset class.”

And lately, they say real estate is “in a bubble.”

No wonder so many of them are mystified about how the real estate guy in the White House goes about his business.  But that’s a different discussion.

Today, we’re focused on the huge difference between how real estate investors and paper investors see the world … and why it matters.

Because the way you think affects the way you act … which affects your results.  

If you pay too much attention to people who don’t understand your business, you’ll probably make bad decisions.

Folks who deal in “commodity” assets like stocks, bonds, currencies … even precious metals, oil, food and other resources …

… think in terms of charts, graphs, trends, and asset classes.

By “commodity”, we mean a group of individual items which are all identical. 

So an ounce of gold, a share of Apple stock, a U.S. Treasury bond, a barrel of oil, the U.S. dollar, or a bushel of wheat …

… are all virtually identical in any market, anywhere in the world.  They’re essentially commodities.

 And because they’re traded in hyper-efficient, highly-visible, globally accessible exchanges … there’s no room for negotiation.  Only bidding. 

So instead of the Art of the Deal, there’s just the speed of the bid. 

But real estate is different.

There’s ALWAYS room for negotiation.  Properties don’t trade in packs.  Every geography is unique … right down to the neighborhood and property.

Here’s a recent article from ATTOM Data Solutions, who does a great job putting out lots of data rich content … 

Equity Rich U.S. Properties Increase to New High in 2018 

– February 5, 2019 

We like equity, so naturally this caught our attention. 

The article cites a recent ATTOM report which reveals in Q4 2018 … “U.S. properties were equity rich” … at the highest level since Q4 2013.

Of course, a mainstream pundit might surmise this means the “asset class” of real estate is in a bubble.  Watch out below!

But as ATTOM points out …

“… the report helps to showcase a story of the West coast markets having the highest share of equity rich homeowners versus the South and Midwest market, who continue to have stubbornly high rates of seriously underwater homeowners.”

Forget for a moment they’re only talking about houses …

… as opposed to industrial, resort, retail, office, multi-family, farmland, self-storage, residential assisted living, RV parks, campgrounds, student housing …

… and any of a myriad of other sectors of real estate.

Not sure how all those diverse sectors get lumped into one “asset class”.  Unless Earth is an asset class.

Obviously, in just the sub-category of single-family houses … there’s a big difference in price-setting dynamics in the West Coast versus the South and Midwest.

And even while some properties are at record levels of equity …

 “… more than 5 million U.S. properties were seriously underwater — where the … balance of loans … was at least 25 percent higher than the property’s … value, representing 8.8 percent of all U.S. properties with a mortgage.” 

Apparently, while equity is happening in some markets, in others the opposite is true.  At the same time.

So it seems not all the individual units in the “asset class” of housing are uniformly priced … or bubbling up together … or even moving in the same direction.

Yes, we realize “stocks” as a class has both winners and losers on the same day.  Some are up and some are down.

And yes, we realize an individual stock can be up one day and down (way down!) the next. 

But the entire lot of individual units move in lock step. There are still millions of shares of Facebook stock out there … and if it tanks, it tanks everywhere at the same time.

There’s no negotiation.  No deal making.  Just a high-speed bid. 

But this isn’t about whether stocks are good or bad … or whether stocks are or aren’t an asset class. 

Our point is … real estate is NOT an asset class.  And this means there are ample pockets of opportunity in niches and neighborhoods.

And those opportunities are often found in unlikely places.  

Here’s another ATTOM article …

Top 10 Seriously Underwater Metro Areas – February 8, 2019

Not surprisingly, there are a few rust belt cities on the list of underwater cities. 

Until recently, net job losses in manufacturing has hampered economic recovery in many of these locations.

Of course, recent job growth in manufacturing is setting the table for a resurgence in rust belt communities … and creating opportunity in comeback markets.

Meanwhile, a couple of markets where we have boots-on-the-ground teams popped up on the underwater list … including Cleveland and Memphis.

So now we’ve gone from the macro picture of the “equity rich” United States housing market …

… to discovering the macro picture is made up of a blend of the high-equity West and lower-equity Midwest and South.

But even the metro level is too macro for practical Main Street investing.

Consider Memphis … a metro we know VERY well thanks to our long-time friend,  Terry Kerr 

Remember, Memphis is a top 10 underwater metro. Sounds like a loser, right?

Not so fast.

Thanks to Terry Kerr, we discovered Memphis 10 years ago.  And Terry told us about a little sub-market of Memphis called Frayser. 

If Elvis is the King of Rock and Roll … then Terry Kerr is the King of Turnkey in Frayser. 

We won’t bore you with all the great reasons why Terry focuses on Frayser.  That’s not the point of this muse. 

But because we’re interested in Frayser, we pay attention. And this little gem popped up …

Home values in Frayser on the rise – January 17, 2019

“According to the Frayser Community Development Corporation, the areas’s median home selling price has nearly doubled in the past two years.”

“The prices of homes in Frayser are rising higher than in any other part of Shelby County.”

There much we could say … and MANY lessons.  For now, just remember, this is happening in a metro that’s top 10 underwater. 

Frayser is a place both macro and metro watchers have probably never heard of.  But we have.  That’s the value of having a great local team.

Our main point today is …

Real estate is NOT an asset class.  Each sector, region, metro, neighborhood, property, and ownership are unique. 

To find hidden gems, it’s important to go from macro to metro to micro with the help of savvy boots-on-the-ground experts.

So when you hear chatter about the “everything” bubble including real estate … those are trend followers talking about commodity assets at the macro level.

But no one in the real world buys real estate at the macro level.

In the trenches of Main Street, street smart and well-connected investors find and negotiate unique deals at micro level … finding great opportunities in the crevices of inefficiency. 

 It’s one of the many reasons we love real estate.

Until next time … good investing!


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The Real Estate Guys™ radio show and podcast provides real estate investing news, education, training, and resources to help real estate investors succeed.


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Profitable Niches – Single Family Rentals

In our final episode of our Profitable Niches series, we’re ending where many folks probably thought we would start … with single family rentals.

It’s no mystery why this is the most popular way for new investors to enter into real estate investing. Home ownership and single family homes are something that everyone knows well, and it makes sense to start with what you know.

When it comes to investing in single-family rentals, our guest this week knows her market inside and out and has some tips for picking the best deals that you’ll definitely want to hear.

In this episode of The Real Estate Guys™ show you’ll hear from:

  • Your singular host, Robert Helms
  • His family-friendly co-host, Russell Gray
  • Guest, Jean Gillen, real estate agent in Central Florida

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Why single family rentals make sense

It’s impossible to not interact with the real estate economy in some way. Whether you own your own home, rent, or have investment properties already, you’re participating in the real estate economy.

Single family rentals are a great way to enter into the market and interact as a beneficiary. So, rather than just paying rent or a mortgage, you can collect money from tenants. You’ll get cash flow AND build equity over time.

In the US economy especially, the single family market is given high priority by the government. There are incredible tax benefits and incentives given to people who own housing, even if they are renting it out.

After all, having affordable, accessible housing is an essential need and a key part of the nation’s economy.

But, single family rentals are also accessible to small-time investors or folks just starting out. They aren’t very efficient, so larger investors don’t have the ability to cherry pick individual listings. That’s how smaller investors can do the research to find great deals and still enter the market.

One of the first things we talk about with any kind of investment is understanding your investing philosophy. Then, build a top-notch team … a realtor, lender, and other experts. Finally, find the right property to buy.

Our guest this week is a realtor who specializes in investment properties. She knows all about the importance of building a team and finding investments that make sense.

The secrets of successful single-family rentals

Jean Gillen is a realtor in the Central Florida market. She helps investors get good deals. And, when you’re looking to build an all-star team to help with your investments, you want a realtor like Jean who knows what investors are looking for in a rental.

“The wonderful thing about selling to investors is that it’s all on a piece of paper,” Jean says. “If it doesn’t work out on a piece of paper, don’t buy it.”

One of the pitfalls some new investors and certainly new homeowners make is getting too emotionally attached to a kitchen or other part of a house. It can lead to decisions that don’t make sense on paper.

That’s why Jean works with the types of clients that she does.

“I like working with investors because I don’t have to please the woman or the man,” she says. “It’s more fun to find that great investment for people.”

In fact, Jean says she has clients she has never met, and they’ve purchased properties they’ve never seen in person. While this may be a paradigm shift, it goes to show that taking the emotion out of purchasing a property and seeing it as the investment vehicle it is can be a good philosophy.

One of the other things Jean sees as key to a successful investment is a good property manager. Jean has several management companies she works within her market and suggests her clients interview all of them.

“If you feel you can get along with the manager, then it’s going to make your life much easier,” Jean says. In many cases, your property manager will pay the taxes and HOA fees for you.

And, of course, finding a realtor who understands investment property is worth their weight in gold. They’ll be a valuable resource to find additional properties and even to manage current ones and solve problems with property managers.

Single family rentals in Central Florida

Single family rentals are all about the market. Find a strong market and the right realtor to guide you through, and you can capitalize on what single family rentals have to offer.

Jean specializes in the Central Florida market. She knows the streets and neighborhoods where clients can find the best deals. AND she knows the tenant demographics.

Even though Florida is known as being the place for retirees, she says, the average age of residents in Central Florida is 37. Many tenants today were homeowners before the economic downturn in 2008 and have decided they’d rather rent.

“These are just normal people. They could be school teachers or work in hospitals,” Jean says. “I rented a house to a doctor because he worked at a new hospital and didn’t want to buy for the first two years.”

Jean also prefers Central Florida because it’s landlord friendly. Thanks to Florida’s governor, more businesses are coming to the state and drawing in a larger workforce. It’s a hotbed of activity for aerospace, university students, and many other industries.

In fact, Jean says that home values in Florida are expected to rise 35 percent by 2021, meaning now is a good time to consider looking at the market. With new homes coming into the market by the end of summer, Jean is excited about the new opportunities available.

At the end of the day, Jean believes that the deals worth doing are the ones that make sense on paper. She’s put together a presentation on the Central Florida market including who is renting and how to find properties that will cash flow well. We’d love to send it to you!

Send an email to centralflorida [at] realestateguysradio [dot] com and you’ll receive it right away along with Jean’s contact information to learn more.


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The Real Estate Guys™ radio show and podcast provides real estate investing news, education, training and resources to help real estate investors succeed.

Profitable Niches – Agricultural Investing

Throughout our Profitable Niches series, the message has been clear … there’s more than one way to invest in real estate. It’s so much more than single-family homes and apartment buildings. And, in today’s market, when some of the more traditional investments are stretched, it’s a good idea to think about something new and fresh.

Agricultural investing may not have been on your radar, but that’s about to change! And no, you don’t have to have a green thumb to participate. We’re talking with an expert guest who has blazed a trail into a market that’s energizing AND tasty.

As a sweet bonus, you can support a socially sustainable program as well. Check it out!

In this episode of The Real Estate Guys™ show you’ll hear from:

  • Your cultivating host, Robert Helms
  • His growing co-host, Russell Gray
  • Friend and farmer, David Sewell, Founder of International Coffee Farms

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From beans to mug or bar … picking a crop

Just like everyone needs a roof over their head, everyone has to eat. That means there’s a demand for agricultural products and an opportunity for investors to do well in agriculture.

All it takes is a little education on the language of agricultural investing. In housing, it’s all about markets and demands. Agriculture has the same learning curve. Once you understand the geography, the demand for products, and a little of the science behind growing, you’re on your way to getting a foothold in agriculture.

But, agriculture is a wide world, so we’ll narrow our focus.

Our guest, David Sewell, started in agricultural investing with one product: coffee. It has a long shelf life, doesn’t perish quickly, and there’s enormous demand for specialty coffee with limited supply.

Specialty, socially sustainable coffee has been David’s niche since 2014. He purchases farms that are managed poorly, spends time working on the soil, understanding the climate, planting trees, and building a system that delivers product at a great return.

“Specialty coffee is a unique product that’s managed by the tree,” David says. “Specialty coffee is hand-picked, one cherry at a time.”

One of the best things about specialty coffee is that the limited growing geography drives up demand. But it takes some time to get a farm turned around to producing. Just like any gardening project, it takes patience and skill.

Since David started his business in 2014, he has worked through plenty of challenges and developed an amazing model that is blazing a trail in agricultural investing.

And now, he’s moved into a second crop.

“A good way to start the day is with a good cup of coffee and, in the evening, end it with a couple pieces of chocolate,” David says.

The demand for specialty, fine-flavored cacao is rising, and the supply is even MORE limited than specialty coffee. David’s cacao choice is particularly a specialty in Belize.

David took what he learned from coffee in Panama and rehabbed a few farms in Belize with the same, successful model.

With a little science, ingenuity, and care, David has capitalized on the demand for specialty products. He has 154 farmers who sell their crop exclusively to him, in his centralized processing facility.

“It’s what they needed,” David says. “So, we can control the cacao.”

David has three farms as well as a trading company that buys and sells literal tons of beans every weekend.

They’ve all been trained on organic processes, and together, they use the centralized processing systems he has built to make an efficient product that is ready for market.

Socially Sustainable Investing

Conditions on a coffee farm aren’t known for being great. That is different on David’s farms. He takes care of his 35 farm hands, and it has paid off.

“We’re proud to say that with the compensation program we’re able to provide and with the love and attention we’ve paid them, we haven’t had one turnover in 3 years,” David says. “We take care of the people.”

David’s farms change the way workers live. They receive good rain gear, so they aren’t picking cherries or tending to trees in the rain wearing a trash bag. Kids aren’t allowed on the farm … they attend school.

Families live in provided housing with electricity, flushing toilets, and other amenities that we often take for granted.

And, while these benefits for employees are key to David’s business, it’s not all altruistic. Labor turnover is expensive, and taking care of workers keeps them from leaving.

Beyond just the living conditions, workers are sent to seminars and congresses to build up their skills so they become even more educated and grow with the company.

This dedication to his workers shows by the passion and dedication they bring to the field and to the job every day. His workforce is expert in cacao and coffee, and that drives the superior flavor … and price.

That makes investing in opportunities like David’s even more exciting and sweeter for investors. Not only can you make money, but you can also make a difference.

Small-scale agricultural investing

One of the drawbacks to agricultural investing is understanding the science and process to growing, processing, and distributing a product. It takes time and experience to know a good opportunity and to succeed.

For instance, David learned early on that the biggest hurdle was the deeding process for international property. He warns that it is difficult to do on an individual basis.

But, David has found an interesting way to let people play with agricultural investing.

“We’ve focused on the delivery part of the investment vehicle,” David says. “That’s the hard part and where failure happens in many cases.”

With David’s business, he wanted to use his knowledge of syndication to make agricultural investing more accessible for people, regardless of their knowledge level and even for those who couldn’t buy an entire farm.

David’s farms are broken out into ½ acre parcels that can be bought individually or in groups. The parcel is deeded an individual investor or entity’s name, and it’s essentially a turnkey investment. It’s managed and operated by David’s team and investors not only get the returns, but also the knowledge that they’re participating in a socially sustainable program.

For investors looking for a legacy investment to pass on to their kids, or to invest in a program that’s socially sustainable, this is worth a serious look.

To learn more about David’s coffee and cacao operation and how you can get involved, send an email to beans [at] realestateguysradio [dot] com, and we’ll get you his special report on both opportunities!

And, we’d love to see you in September with David at our Secrets of Successful Syndication seminar. Here’s where to sign up!


More From The Real Estate Guys™…

The Real Estate Guys™ radio show and podcast provides real estate investing news, education, training and resources to help real estate investors succeed.

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