Certainty in an uncertain world …

It’s been said the only thing certain in life is death and taxes.

Of course, properly structured and well-advised real estate investors can usually mitigate most of their taxes. 

Meanwhile, before people die, they live.  Along the way, they get older.  And as people age, their needs change …

… and because entrepreneurship is about serving needs, it’s a safe bet there’s some opportunity in meeting the needs of aging people.

In a recent radio show, we talked about investing in undeniable demographics … specifically, the baby boomers … who are moving into retirement and beyond.

A few days later, this headline popped up in our news feed:

More Growth Ahead in Seniors Housing – NREI August 16, 2017

“… research shows continued confidence in improving fundamentals …”

 Of course, if you’ve been following The Real Estate Guys™ for any time, you know senior housing in general … and residential assisted living in particular … is a niche we REALLY like.

The article affirms our belief that …

“ Demographics continue to be a big driver for development.”

“ ‘As active as the market is with the product that we have today, we are looking at the tip of the iceberg in terms of boomers hitting retirement age,’ says Scott Stewart, a managing partner at Capitol Seniors Housing, a private equity-backed real estate acquisition, development and investment management firm based in Washington, D.C.”

‘The fast-paced growth of that population in that sector is going to make today’s discussion of overbuilding obsolete, because there just aren’t enough places for everybody today,’ ” he says.”

 The article is addressing … diffusing … concerns about over-building in the niche …

“ Demand mops up new supply.”

“Despite the new supply coming online, respondents remain confident in improving fundamentals. A majority of respondents (78 percent) anticipate that rents will rise over the next 12 months …”

Other notable comments include …

“When asked to rate the strength of market fundamentals by region, the South/Southeast/Southwest rated the highest.”

“When comparing with other property types, respondents continue to rate seniors housing as a highly attractive property type. Its scores topped that of the five major property types on a scale of one to 10.”

Okay, so it’s probably clear there’s some real opportunity here. 

But if you’re a Mom-and-Pop investor, does it make sense to jump into a niche that’s attracting big players … or are you just cruising for a bruising?

No … and YES!

When you invest in housing for seniors it’s critical to understand the difference between a high-density community and a residential facility …

… and not just from the investor’s perspective, but from the resident’s perspectve.

Let’s start with the resident …

 There are some seniors … probably MOST … and their children (the decision makers in many cases) who’d rather see Mom or Dad live in a real home …

… in a tree-lined residential neighborhood, with a backyard, and neighbors … where residents don’t feel like inmates in an institution.

Please understand … we’re not slamming the great people or services provided in bigger facilities. 

We’re just saying from a senior’s perspective, having a room in a home in a regular neighborhood FEELS a lot different than living in a room at a campus for old people.

But for a BIG investor, those individual homes are a logistical problem. 

To move BIG money, you need economies of scale and the ability to buy or build a lot of inventory at one time.

It’s the same problem Warren Buffet alluded to when he told CNBC …

“I’d buy up a ‘couple of hundred thousand” single-family homes if I could.”

The challenge, as noted in this Forbes article about Buffet’s statement, is …

“… the cost and logistics of making such an investment in large enough size to move the needle for Berkshire Hathaway is prohibitive.”

The point is big money can’t play well at the single-family residential (SFR) level …

… even if the SFR’s are being converted into highly-profitable residential assisted living facilities.

But YOU can.  And that’s why we like them.  Think about it … 

The supply and demand fundamentals are solid. 

The priority for expenditure is near the top of the list for any family.  Taking care of Mom or Dad is far from a discretionary purchase …

… so as an investor, being that far up your tenant’s payment priority ladder is a much safer place to be in uncertain economic times.

Plus, much of the money to pay you comes from insurance, government, and the senior’s estate.  In other words, you’re very likely to get paid … even in a weak jobs and weak wages economy.

Also, you don’t have to compete with big money investors, even though they clearly see the opportunity and are moving into the space. 

That’s because the barrier to entry for the big money isn’t how MUCH money is needed … it’s how LITTLE is needed.

Meanwhile, the customers would rather live in YOUR product than big money’s product.  So while big money is adding to supply, they’re not really in your niche.

This is a BEAUTIFUL thing.

But it gets better …

Residential assisted living homes can’t be mass produced.  They need to be built or converted one at a time.  There’s very little threat of a big player glutting the market.

And taking lessons learned from watching hedge funds move into the SFR space … big money was only able to acquire tens of thousands of SFRs because huge blocks of inventory were available temporarily through mass foreclosures. 

We don’t think there’ll be mass foreclosures in residential assisted living facilities.  They’re way too profitable.

But because this kind of senior housing is in high demand and highly profitable, at some point big money will start assembling them …

… buying up groups of homes from multi-facility operators … and then buying up nearby individual facilities which can strategically integrate into existing operations.

It’s called consolidation … and when it comes, big money will bid up existing operations (creating equity for those already there) …

… because they can recover the “over-payment” through operational efficiencies and financial leverage.

Between now and then, for the street level investor, the big opportunity is to be part of building the inventory by converting homes into residential assisted living facilities …

… cash-flowing along the way … then one day cashing out to big money players. 

And if those big money players never show up … just keep on cash-flowing while providing a much needed service to the community.

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.

Investing, infrastructure and you …

Timeless real estate wisdom says three things matter most when deciding what to buy … location, location, location.

It’s tongue-in-cheek, but the point is real estate derives its value from demand.

The key is choosing properties most likely to surge in demand relative to supply.

Of course, deciphering supply and demand means looking at demographics, economics, migration, and the potential for increases in supply.

The concept is simple.  But understanding actual market dynamics is more complex.

Still, it’s worth the effort because real estate investing is about buying and holding a property for the long term.

And even if your time horizon is shorter, you still need new buyers coming into a market to take you out.

So getting the market right matters a lot more than simply making sure the property’s free of termites and the plumbing works.

When it comes to residential rental real estate, some major demand factors are jobs, affordability, and quality of life.

Sure, everyone would LOVE to live in Tony Stark’s mansion in Malibu … it’s got a GREAT location and is low in supply.  But it’s not affordable.

And with so many retail jobs being automated or Amazoned … and manufacturing jobs still more off-shore than on …

… what kind of jobs and geographies offer the kind of growth potential likely to support working class folks?

We’re keeping our eyes on infrastructure for clues.

Both the Obama administration and now the Trump administration have said U.S. infrastructure needs attention.

It’s not a blue or red only issue, so maybe something will really get done.

We’ve commented before on Trump’s plan to spend a trillion dollars on infrastructure … and though it may seem to have fallen off the radar, infrastructure might be making a comeback.

First, even though the Fed backed off on the last rate hike, they’re still talking about reducing their balance sheet.

That’s code for tightening “monetary stimulus”.

This puts pressure on President Trump and Congress to fire up some “fiscal stimulus” … which is code for good old-fashioned government spending.

And while the military is quite likely to be on the receiving end of a chunk of it, we think some funding will probably find its way into infrastructure.

Of course, we’re not the only ones paying attention to this possibility.

Check out this headline from Bloomberg …

Buyers Bet on Infrastructure, With or Without Trump

The article is about one big company buying up another big company to get in position to feed off government spending on infrastructure.

“This rush to get positioned for an infrastructure-spending boom is a striking contrast to the stalled progress in Washington on legislation of any kind, let alone Trump’s proposed $1 trillion infrastructure plan. But like the private-equity firms raising buckets of money for infrastructure-focused funds, industrial firms are wagering the country’s roads, bridges and sewer systems have gotten so bad they can’t be ignored for too long.”

Of course, the big question for real estate investors is … where???

Some clues can probably be gleaned from the prospectuses of the private-equity and industrial funds … all of whom are presumably spending considerable resources on researching their mega-investments.

But there are also clues in the news.

The New York Times published an article claiming Trump Plans to Shift Infrastructure Funding to Cities, States and Business.

More recently, Reuters reports U.S. Construction Spending Falls as Government Outlays Tumble.

U.S. construction spending unexpectedly fell in June as investment in public projects recorded its biggest drop since March 2002 … The decline pushed public construction spending to its lowest level since February 2014.”

So even though Uncle Sam wants to spend money on infrastructure, they’re not doing it in earnest … yet.

But think about this …

Big companies and private-equity funds are getting positioned for big infrastructure spending.  They expect it to happen.

President Trump says he wants to spend a trillion dollars in infrastructure.

We can’t imagine Congress not wanting to spend money.  It’s what they do best.  Then again, getting anything done is what they do worst.

But everyone seems to agree infrastructure is in bad shape. And we’re guessing some places are in worse shape than others.

So like the big players, we think at some point, the need is going to force the spending … ready or not.

Now if the Feds don’t pay … or if Trump puts more responsibility on the states … it seems like those states which already have the best infrastructure … or the best economic ability to build or improve it … will have a big advantage.

And because we’re always looking for an advantage, we decided to look up those U.S. states in the best fiscal shape.

Not surprisingly, several of our favorites are in the top ten …

  1. North Dakota
  2. Wyoming
  3. Texas
  4. North Carolina
  5. South Dakota
  6. Vermont
  7. Tennessee
  8. Indiana
  9. Utah
  10. Florida

Of course, when picking a market to invest in there’s more than just fiscal strength.

Affordability, market size, business and landlord friendliness, quality of life … and your boots-on-the-ground team … are all important considerations also.

Nonetheless, with record levels of debt at every level, rising healthcare costs, pensions in crisis, and fiscally cancerous unfunded liabilities growing daily …

… we think companies and governments in relatively good financial shape are best positioned to make critical investments, gain competitive advantages, and attract an unfair share of population and business.

The goal, as Wayne Gretzky says, is to skate to where the puck is going.

Until next time … good investing!


 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.

Pig in a Python – Investing in Undeniable Demographics

There are three undeniable certainties in life.

We are born. We live. We die.

We don’t have control over the birth and death part, but we can decide how we want to live.

In this episode of The Real Estate Guys™, we have invited Gene Guarino to teach us his secret solution to the age-old problem of, well … aging. Gene won’t be sharing secrets about erasing wrinkles, but he will teach us how to invest money wisely by following one undeniable demographic — the Baby Boomers.

Gene has trained thousands of investors and entrepreneurs about how to invest in and operate Residential Assisted Living homes. And today Gene is teaching us how the baby boomer generation can bring a financial boom to your bank account.

Listen in to the show today to hear from:

  • Your timeless host, Robert Helms
  • His hopefully-on-time co-host, Russell Gray
  • Founder and CEO of Residential Assisted Living Academy, Gene Guarino

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Mums the word

Gene Guarino started looking at his finances and his family a little differently years ago when his mother was getting older and needed more daily assistance.

Typically when families decide to move aging parents into care centers, they think there are only two options:

1) high-end, budget breaking assisted living communities or

2) government-subsidized centers with too many tenants and not enough staff.

When Gene started looking at the big-box care centers, he wasn’t too impressed. He wanted his mom to feel at home. He wanted her to feel like she was part of a close-knit community.

And that’s when he had his ah-ha moment.

In order for his mom to feel at home, she actually needed to be in just that … a home!

Many assisted living centers for the elderly are large structures housing anywhere from 100-500 residents. This hardly makes it easy to feel connected to your community.

Gene does assisted living differently and he’s teaching thousands to do the same.

The waves of change

Gene has a little nickname for the impact the Baby Boomer generation is going to have on just about everything from real estate to health care. He calls it the “silver tsunami.”

“You can’t argue with the demographics,” Gene says. “We are talking a demographic shift that is undeniable. There are elderly citizens in every state. You can make money doing this anywhere.”

So what exactly is Gene doing about the silver tsunami?

He invests in regular houses, makes a few key renovations, adds in tenants, staff, and caregivers … and just like that, he goes from landlord to business owner.

The philosophy of Residential Assisted Living appeals to Gene’s customers because they feel comforted that grandma or grandpa will be living a normal lifestyle.

And it appeals to Gene’s personal philosophy to “do good and do well.”

“We always have to remember that our tenant is not actually our customer,” Gene says. “Our customer is who we like to call ‘Daughter Judy.’ In other words, the tenant’s children who are looking for a clean, safe, happy home where their beloved parent will be well cared for.”

Home sweet home

Care and accommodations are crucial to the business model’s success. The average Residential Assisted Living property will house 10-12 residents. Living spaces such as offices and dining rooms can be converted into bedrooms.

Each state has their own rules regarding things like occupancy and structural regulations.

“We have to remember this is a home, not a hospital,” Gene says. “So it needs to feel comfortable. An ideal property to convert would be a single-level ranch style house divided into 300 square feet per resident.”

Over the years, Gene has found that some areas are better than others for Residential Assisted Living. As with all real estate it’s always about location, location, location.

Gene prefers to stay away from HOA neighborhoods because although they can work for the facility, they sometimes cause a little more headache than needed.

“When selecting a location, think about the community,” says Gene. “Don’t buy the property first with the intent to fill it up. First find your tenants and they will lead you to the prime real estate.”

The learning curve

This style of assisted living is new. It’s innovative. Gene started traveling uncharted territory, but he’s now the expert tour guide anxious to get new recruits onboard.

Each year Gene personally hosts the Residential Assisted Living Academy where individuals can learn the business model, tour properties, and speak to field experts and first-time owners.

This three-day, intensive course benefits the students because they can dive right in to see what life is like as a landlord and business owner.

Once finished with Gene’s courses each graduate has the confidence, systems, resources, and support to successfully operate their own Residential Assisted Living business.

Interested in seeing the possibilities for you?

Click here to learn more about Residential Assisted Living Academy Training.

As we like to say … go make some equity happen!


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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.

Cash in on consolidation …

One of the age-old adages of real estate investing is to invest in the path of progress.  Or as hockey legend Wayne Gretzky says … skate to where the puck is going. 

It’s just a lot easier when you’re riding a wave of demand … especially if you can find a substantial supply and demand imbalance

That’s why land near water is so expensive.  People want it and there’s just not that much of it. 

Similarly, homes inside top school districts often command higher prices and rents for the same reason. Ditto for a local market with a lot of jobs. 

But sometimes it’s not just a geographic amenity that attracts people, businesses and money. 

Consider the role of demographics … 

There are two mega-groups of people … at least in the United States … which warrant your attention.  You’ve probably heard of them … and likely belong to one.  

First are the baby-boomers.  The 76 million babies born in the mid-1940’s to the mid-1960’s continue to be a MAJOR economic force. 

Even BIGGER than the boomers are the Millennials … those born in or after the 80’s and entered adulthood in the first decade of the 21st century. 

From a real estate perspective, boomers have created opportunities in over-55 housing communitiesassisted living facilitiesresort areas … to name a few. 

Millennials are also impacting real estate … but not because of housing demand.  At least not yet, though a recent study suggests this could be changing. 

Sure, there are other groups and sub-groups to watch, but these are the two main demographics to pay attention to. 

Of course, economics is also a very important factor … 

But stepping beyond the obvious importance of job creation, real wage growth, availability of loans, and interest rates … 

… there’s another economic phenomenon occurring now which may create a unique kind of opportunity for ambitious and alert real estate investors …  

Pension funds are in big trouble … 

So much so, this article says … 

“Institutional investors, including pension funds, are stepping outside of the box, beyond core asset types of office, industrial, retail and apartments, to consider a growing menu of alternative real estate options. 

“ … property types that were once viewed as ‘alternative’ that are now moving more into the mainstream as accepted institutional caliber assets.” 

And what might those “alternative investments” be? 

“…self-storage, student housing and resorts …” 

Hospitality, seniors housing and student housing are among the former outliers that are now big targets for institutional investors.” 

“… investors are continuing to push the boundaries of ‘traditional’ investments to include a wide range of options, including single-family rentals, data centers, workforce housing, land, timber, golf courses and prisons …” 

And not only are pension funds moving toward “alternative real estate options” … they’re planning to cut out Wall Street and invest directly

So where’s this puck headed? 

Somewhere between mom-and-pop investors and big institutional investors are small and mid-size investment businesses. 

It’s what a mom-and-pop investor might eventually become if they just keep at it long enough.  Like playing Monopoly. 

But until you’re there, no pension fund is coming for your collection of 10 houses, small apartment building, frat-house, or single residential assisted living facility.  

You’re too small for them. 

BUT … someone who sees the opportunity to aggregate a portfolio big enough to bring it to a pension fund might be very interested.  

Of course, if you sell, you lose all that fabulous passive income you’ve built up.  That’s not good. 

Or maybe YOU could raise money from investors who see the opportunity, and be the small business or mid-size business a pension fund would like to buy. 

Conceptually, it’s just a value-add play.  

But instead of just buying a tired house and sprucing it up to make a few thousand bucks, you’re building a much bigger portfolio (with the help of your investors’ money) and flipping it to a whale. 

It’s the same game, but at a much higher level.  And ironically, it’s a lot LESS crowded because most people don’t think that big. 

When you’re done, you take your profits and plow them into your own, privately owned, cash-flowing portfolio.  Best of all you don’t lose whatever you already have … you ADD to it. 

Of course, the opportunity won’t be here forever … but it’s also not going away any time soon.  The pension crisis in America has just begun.  

And we’re pretty sure if history’s any indication, politicians aren’t going to solve the problem.  That’s up to entrepreneurs … like you. 

Until next time … good investing! 


 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.

Finding and Funding Deals that Make Sense

Success in real estate is all about making the right deals. And making the right deals is an art and a science.

Of course, there are processes, vetting, checklists … and these are important. Properly vetting your deals can save you heaps of trouble.

But the art of real estate investing and syndicating comes down to your ability to read the market on a macro level and evaluate the big “compared to what.”

As in, compared to all the things I could invest in, why is this particular market, product, or team worth it?

Listen in as we learn from wildly successful John Bogdasarian, president of the Promanas Group, share his unique strategy for finding (and funding) great deals.

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

  • Your find-and-fund host, Robert Helms
  • His fine-and-fun(?) co-host, Russell Gray
  • President of the Promanas Group, John Bogdasarian

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Success from small and simple beginnings

Like many investors, today’s guest started out small. Everyone starts somewhere, right?

When John Bogdasarian graduated from the University of Arizona with a Spanish degree, he quickly realized that there weren’t a lot of jobs around for Spanish majors.

He found a job with a local area developer, Don Chisholm, who introduced him to the world of real estate.

John discovered he thrived in the real estate world, quickly obtaining a real estate license and then a broker license.

Unlike his experiences in the past with school and other jobs, John discovered that working as a broker on a commission-based structure was perfect for him.

When John started investing himself, he didn’t start out with a huge chunk of money.

In fact, he started out with only $5,000.

He put that money down on his first condo and turned it into almost $20,000 within several months.

Seeing that money come in made him feel like a million bucks. Emboldened by his success, John went through a long period of acquiring single-family homes.

When his equity got tied down, John started doing zero-down deals. He says he was fortunate to have landed in a market that was appreciating rapidly at the time.

Although John wouldn’t advocate that new investors take the route he did, we recommend new investors pay attention to where John started out.

In John’s own words, “You don’t need money to earn money in real estate.”

Once John started bringing in cash for himself, he realized the next logical step was syndication.

That’s why John founded the Promanas Group.

John aligns himself with people and developers who have good properties but little experience or low funds. He’s passionate about finding situations where he can create value for developers and investors.

Deciding deals based on situation

We asked John how he picks his specialty in a market with lots of asset classes.

John told us his decisions aren’t driven by asset type or geography.

Instead, they’re driven by situation. John knows the best deals happen when he understands something about the market that others don’t and takes advantage of it.

Because John makes decisions based on situation, he hasn’t locked himself into a particular product type … which is especially important because the most popular product types tend to come and go.

For example, since 2009, the Promanas Group has moved toward funding development deals because the market cycle has been changing.

Even though he has been moving away from buying new properties, John told us he still thinks “it’s a very good time to build in some markets.”

John ran us through the process he goes through with his associates at the Promanas Group to make a deal happen. This is what they do for EVERY deal:

  1. Start macro: study national real estate trends, debt markets, and evaluate the current real estate cycle. Get a good feel on what’s happening in general.
  2. Hone in on an area itself—just to keep an eye on things. Check out the demographics: employment rate, demand for housing, etc.
  3. If an area checks out, hone in further. Evaluate the neighborhood a property resides in, the block, everything down to whether the building is on a corner or what the parking is like.
  4. Check everything. Verify that demand is there. Verify the numbers. Visit the site and check it out in person. Vet the land itself, the architect, the builder.

John doesn’t do all this by himself, of course. He estimates it takes a team of four 100 hours to do the proper vetting before he commits to a deal.

He also had a realization early on—in order to really get that passive income coming in, to “do the work once and get paid forever,” he needed to develop relationships with developers instead of relying on one-off deals.

For John, making a new deal is decidedly NOT sexy. As Robert puts it, “Real estate can be as exciting as watching paint dry” … and that’s the way John prefers it.

“At the end of the day, real estate should be boring because boring makes money,” says John.

Rather than about flashy numbers, real estate success is about sticking to the basics to create predictable cash flow, vetting the numbers, checking the boxes, doing due diligence, educating yourself, and creating strong relationships.

Interested in getting John’s checklist for vetting a deal from the ground up? Send us an email at vet@realestateguysradio.com.

A unique (and fail-proof) syndication model

When John first started syndicating, he told us he was doing one-off deals like everyone else.

John had put together a handful of deals when he realized that some of the investors in his first deal had pulled out. One investor in particular was his Aunt Barb.

So John called up his Aunt Barb to ask her what was going on. She told him that she didn’t invest because John had all her money.

John started to panic. “I didn’t want that much of someone’s money.” What if one of the deals he’d made didn’t work out?

That’s when it hit him … instead of having people invest in multiple individual deals, he needed to pool all those deals together under a parent company.

That’s what he does today. With the Promanas Group, John will make 30-35 acquisitions funded by around 300 investors. Each individual deal is held in its own sub-entity under a parent company.

When 100% of their invested capital plus their preferred return has come back, then the company liquidates its development deals and sends cash out to its investors.

Share prices for John’s secondary investment fund are $100,000, with the option to buy half a share for new investors.

Investing this way has led to many bonuses, John told us:

  • Instead of reporting on 30 different deals to 30 different ownership groups, John can send one report to one group of people.
  • Reserves are pooled across all assets, meaning any one to three deals could implode completely and the overall fund would still be just fine. A pool structure diversifies risk.
  • Deals that underperform—and John has only seen one or two—can be fixed. John can often solve temporary setbacks with individual investments just by being patient.

“I used to try to be all things to all people, but that doesn’t really work,” John told us. Through trial and error, John’s found a method that DOES work—and works well.

One key element? 100% transparency. Along with the detailed report he sends to investors, John puts together hard data for anyone who asks. References, bank statements, closing documents, inspection reports, contact information for loan officers … you name it, and he’s probably shared it.

Another key element? By deciding deals based on situation, John can say yes to every project that fits the right criteria. He can also make strings of deals with the same developers instead of relying on one-off deals.

Secrets of successful syndication

Successful deals are driven by a set of ideal circumstances driven by moldable factors, big and small.

To take advantage of those circumstances, you have to look for big macro trends.

And instead of getting pigeon-holed into one market or product type, you have to go where the opportunities are, then hire people experienced in that particular niche.

That’s right … you can’t do it all yourself. We’re big fans of getting educated, but the fact is, you simply can’t understand every facet of real estate investment alone.

People like John don’t know everything. They’ve just learned how to vet deals and team members and acquire people who are EXPERTS in what they do.

What makes you a successful investor or syndicator in the long run is not your expertise in the specifics, but your expertise in putting the pieces together so you can see the big picture.

Want to meet John in person? In our upcoming event, we’ll share the secrets on how you can do bigger deals as a syndicator, and how to invest passively with a syndicator.

Now, go out and make some equity happen!


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.

08/16/15: Clues in the News – Is a Squeeze on Rising Rents in the Future?

There’s been lots of talk in the news lately about how and why rents are rising.rents are rising and rents are too high

Of course, if you’re already a landlord, that’s not bad news.  And those who invested in residential rental property a few years back hit the trifecta of low purchase price, falling interest rates and rising rents.

But that was then and this is now.

Is the party over?  Did you miss the boat?  What’s happening today…and where are things headed?

All great questions!

Squeezing their way into The Real Estate Guys™ studio to look for answers in this edition of Clues in the News™:

  • Your plum of a pontificator and host Robert Helms
  • His orange-you-glad-he’s-not-the-host co-host Russell Gray

We like to look at the news for a lot of reasons.

The Real Estate Guys look for Clues in the News to help listeners be more successful at real estate investingFirst, the news helps us see the big picture events which affect our real estate investing.  And we’re especially interested in anything that affects our rental income, our interest expense, or the supply and demand of properties.

Real estate investors tend to live in their own little world…finding deals, servicing tenants, managing cash flow and dealing with vendors.

It’s EASY to get lost in the weeds and miss a macro-trend that could have a HUGE impact on your business.

For syndicators, the news provides insights into the concerns and competing opportunities your investors have.  When you are well-informed, it makes a positive impression on the people who are…or are considering…investing in you.

For this episode we hone in on reports of things that have the potential to put the squeeze on the rising rents so many landlords have been enjoying.

U.S. Health Spending – $3.1 Trillion a Year and Growing

One thing we like about real estate…especially residential real estate…is keeping a roof over their head is a HIGH priority to tenants.  That means with all the things competing for their available income, landlords are high on the list.Healthcare spending is on the rise which could put the squeeze on rising rents

However, healthcare is pretty high on the list too.  And with the new Obamacare mandate forcing everyone to buy insurance or pay a penalty, more of a tenant’s available money is going to healthcare.

This article also says out-of-pocket expenses are on the rise too.  Which, again, means more competition for available cash flow…and a potential restriction on the rising rents trend.

The GOOD news is that if you own property in an area with a strong healthcare industry, your local employment and wages might be above average.  So there’s always a silver lining.

Social Security Disability Fund to Run Dry Next Year

With nearly 100 million people deriving some form of income from the U.S. government, the odds are high that some of your rental income comes from government sources.  So it’s smart to pay attention to any potential cuts.

Social Security it running out of moneyAnd with the substantial increase in people on disability provided through the Social Security Administration, it’s pretty big news when the trustees are reporting there will be NO cost of living adjustments in 2015…and the Social Security Disability Fund will be BROKE by the end of 2016.

Will Congress allow the fund to go broke?  Probably not.

But if they don’t handle it soon, an AUTOMATIC 19% cut kicks in…the same way the mandatory “sequestration” cut in the general budget kicked in when the government couldn’t pass a budget.

If you have tenants who rely upon Social Security disability payments to help with rent, the next year or so could mean a squeeze for your tenants, and therefore for you too.

From Rents to Haircuts, Americans Start to Feel Price Hikes

For some reason, The Fed has been trying to get inflation up to at least 2 percent.  Looks like it might be working.As the cost of living rises, it's harder for people to make ends meet

And while it’s been nice to see the upward pressure on rents, when it hits our tenants’ pocketbooks in other “essential” areas…like haircuts, healthcare and coffee…it means the tenant gets squeezed.

You can only squeeze so much before something’s gotta give.  And that something might be your ability to raise rents…or even maintain the rents you’ve raised already.

Of course, all of this presumes your tenant’s have a paycheck to divvy up.  So this next headline also caught our attention…

Layoffs Surge As Oil Price Outlook Remains Sober

Falling oil prices were supposed to be a big boon to consumers.

falling oil prices has lead to widespread layoffs in the oil industryBut with reports of inflation kicking in and gasoline prices not falling as far or as fast as oil prices, it doesn’t seem like cheaper oil has meant lower living costs for everyday people…like your tenants.

On the other hand, the oil industry had arguably been the brightest star of employment over the last several years.  But with oil prices depressed, not only has the job growth stopped…it’s going backwards.

And as we emphasize on The Real Estate Guys™ market field trips, certain industries are employment magnifiers because they funnel money into a region from outside.

So not only does the primary industry create jobs, but the revenue it generates purchases supplies and services from secondary or support industries.  These are sub-contractors, parts and materials suppliers, and vendors of all kinds.

But it’s even bigger than that…because the employees of BOTH the primary and secondary industries ALL consume local retail services, such as restaurants, dry-cleaners, automotive sales and service, healthcare and yes…residential real estate.  These tertiary industries also provide local jobs.

So if it employment is MAGNIFIED by the growth of a PRIMARY industry like oil…what happens when layoffs occur at the primary level?

That’s right.  The LAYOFFS ARE MAGNIFIED too.

So as strategic real estate investors, it’s important to consider where your rental income REALLY comes from.  And how these news headlines could trickle down to YOUR bottom line.

But lest you think it’s all gloom and doom, it’s important to remember that there’s always opportunity.

And while not really a headline, a recent newsletter we subscribe to from a new contributor to The Real Estate Guys™ blog brought us this news:

A New Opportunity to Build New Detached Homes for Rent

John Burns Consulting provides intelligence to the real estate development industry.  They point out that 10 percent of homes are purchased by real estate investors…like you.

But until recently, new home builders ignored this segment of buyers in favor of selling to owner occupants.

Well, a funny thing happened on the way to the bank…residential home ownership has fallen to a nearly 40 year low.

So builders had realized they might want to serve the growing segment of the market…landlords.

And there are a LOT of reasons to be excited about a better opportunity to buy brand new homes designed with the landlord in mind.

First, tenants prefer…and will pay more for… a brand new home.  That improves your gross income.

Also, brand new homes have NO deferred maintenance.  This keeps your capital expenditures low at acquisition and for the first several years of ownership.  So you add lower expenses to your higher income.

So far so good.

Add to this that the smart builders will value engineer their products to provide a lower cost without a corresponding loss of rent-ability.  That is, the amenities which a home BUYER requires…at extra expense…are less important to renters.

This means you pay less for the same rental income.  Nice!

So even though there are headlines which point out some of the challenges, we know that the flip side of every problem is an opportunity.

This could explain…

Why Most Americans Are Investing in Real Estate, Not Stocks

According to this article from CheatSheet.com, a recent Bankrate.com survey says Americans’ first choice for investment is…real estate.

Makes sense to us.

So listen in as we discuss these and other topics as we search for Clues in the News™!

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

Picking the Right Niche in a Booming Market

We’ve talked many times about the baby boomers.  While many are homeowners and will remain so in retirement, there’s a chunk who will either remain or become renters.

In a 70 million person demographic, a “chunk” can be a sizable market!  And when you’re building any kind of a business, rental real estate or otherwise, it’s nice to have a big market.

But in addition to having a big market, it’s also important to have a good understanding of what the customer wants and needs.

So when a summary of a survey of 55+ year olds from the webinar (below) by John Burns Consulting popped up in our inbox, we took note of some interesting findings.

But before we go there, let’s talk a moment about why a boomer might want or need to rent rather than buy.

You’ve probably heard rumblings from the Fed that they plan to raise interest rates “sometime”. The reason we fixate on interest rates is because rates influence consumer and investor behavior.

Right now, low interest rates incentivize home buyers to finance because a) the payment is as low or lower than renting in many nice areas, b) the money not used in a down payment can be invested elsewhere at a yield higher than the mortgage rate, and c) mortgage interest remains tax deductible, while rent is not.

But if rates rise, things change.

If the house payment with a loan becomes too high, either paying all cash or renting are both more appealing.  And while some boomers will have the wherewithal and the willingness to tie up a chunk of cash in illiquid home equity, others won’t…so they’ll rent.

Also, if rates rise, then fixed income investments like bank accounts, CD’s, bonds and annuities all become more attractive to boomers trying to live off passive income.

When they do the math, some boomers may discover than it makes more sense to rent and use their cash to generate income to live on.

All that to say, there will be a sizable portion of boomers who will be renting.

So back to the survey…

Probably the most-telling, but least surprising, is that 77% of boomers want a single-story home. And while it may seem obvious that aging occupants would prefer to not have to deal with stairs, 77% is an overwhelming majority.

63% of boomers have pets.  Again, not surprising that empty-nesters would like the companionship and security of a pet, but it’s nice to see the assumption confirmed with hard data.

So simply based on those two revelations from the survey, it seems that a residential landlord who wanted to focus on serving the housing needs of renting boomers would be wise to invest in single-story homes with a pet-friendly policy.

Add to the mix that 41% want to accommodate an adult child and another another 33% need room for a elderly parent, and it seems obvious that more bedrooms is better than less…even though it would seem older couples might want to downsize.

But before you go buy up a bunch of single-family 4 bedroom homes in a 55+ community, consider this: Only 23% of the boomers surveyed want age-restricted.

That’s why it pays to do your homework.

Here’s the webinar:

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  • Don’t miss an episode of The Real Estate Guys™ radio show!  Subscribe to the free podcast!
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The Real Estate Guys™ radio show and podcast provides real estate investing news, education, training and resources that help real estate investors succeed.

2/10/13: Musical Chairs – Profiting from Demographic Shifts

Shift happens.  When it comes to demographics, sometimes those shifts affect supply and demand.

As an investor, if you get on the right side of supply and demand, you can make a lot of money.

Sitting in the musical chairs in The Real Estate Guys™ mobile studio:

  • Your host and radio show front man, Robert Helms
  • Your shifty-but-happy-to-have-a-chair co-host, Russell Gray
  • Returning special guest and top international broker, John Turley

When you make your living selling real estate on a tiny little island in the Caribbean, it’s hard to climb into the upper echelon of worldwide top producers for one of the biggest real estate franchises in the world.

But John Turley has done it.  And in a big way!  In the huge worldwide RE/Max franchise, Big John is in the top 3 of all international brokers.  All from a tiny island in the Caribbean.

How?  And why should you care?

Whether you’re an investor or a real estate broker, the message is that when people move it creates demand for real estate.  If you’re there first, then you can profit when all that purchasing power shows up.  Hey, it’s working for John and it can work for you, too.

What John Turley discovered is that the baby boomers (you know, that HUGE demographic of people who’ve powered wave after wave of business profit as they move through the stages of life) are facing an interesting dilemma as they approach their golden retirement years…

There aren’t enough desirable retirement destinations to go around.

So if you’re the purveyor of such things (as a landlord, developer, flipper or broker), you have an amazing opportunity to ride the wave.

Here’s the good news:  Though the race is on, the boomers are only on the front end of their shift into retirement.  Most don’t yet realize the shortage that’s coming.  This means there’s still plenty of time to get in on the action.

But don’t wait too long.  Because when the music stops, there might not be enough chairs for everyone.  And those that are available will probably be expensive.  That means the earlier you get in, the better chance you have of singing a happy tune down the road.

So listen in and discover how demographic shifts affect your opportunities in real estate.

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12/11/11: Back to the Future – Embracing the Changes in Real Estate Investing

With a catchy title like “Back the Future” you might expect a picture of a Doc Brown, Marty McFly or a flying DeLorean.  It’s hard to believe that this now “classic” movie is over 25 years old!

But who is THIS guy?  And what does any of this have to do with real estate?

Since our audience surveys tell us most of you are something younger than a baby boomer, we’ll give you a hint:  this guy is a singer/songwriter and this picture was on his third album cover released in 1964.  It was an LP (which means Long Playing recording on a big vinyl disc that Disc Jockeys, aka DJ’s, would “spin” on turntables at 33-1/3 revolutions per minute…wonder how all tha real estate near the LP factory is doing??? – just sayin’).

Not sure who he is?  Hang in there.  We’ll tell you later.  Meanwhile, back to our blog about his week’s episode.

Back to our blogging…

Think about the world today.  Wouldn’t you agree that the times they are a’changin’?  (Wait. Is that another hint?)  And the changing times affect where people, businesses, jobs and money move.  Therefore, it’s only logical to expect that changing times affect real estate.

We know.  Sometimes it’s hard to see the changes when you’re living in them.  Other times, the changes are obvious, but we fail to connect the dots and anticipate the effects on our investments.  We call that being “blind-sided” and it’s not a good thing.  It happened to us in 2008, so we pay extra careful attention today, which is point of this episode.

In the recording studio for another real estate radio jam session:

  • Your radio rock star host, Robert Helms
  • His radio roadie and co-host, Russell Gray
  • Your baritone boomer, the Godfather of Real Estate, Bob Helms

Now, when Bob Dylan’s (yeah, that’s him) album, The Times They Are A’ Changin’ came out in 1964, there was a lot of turmoil in the world. 

Before he was assassinated, President Kennedy had just confronted the Soviet Union over nuclear weapons in Cuba – right off the coast of the U.S!  The Civil Rights movement was in full swing, replete with protests, riots and all kinds of civil unrest.  Meanwhile, the U.S. government was busy switching out all the real silver coins for nickel plated tokens. 

The point is there was a lot going on and much of it wasn’t pretty.  But let’s stop right here.

If you could jump in a flying DeLorean and go back to 1964, knowing what you now know, would you be more or less inclined to buy real estate in 1964 – even though “the times, they are a’ changin’”?

Now, back to the future, here on the threshold of 2012, assuming the Mayan thing doesn’t happen, do you think real estate will still be here in 2040?  And will it still be a high priority for people and businesses to use real estate to live, work, farm and play?

Sure, we have the Iran nucelar weapon threat and the ongoing war on terrorism.  The Occupy something movement might be considered this generation’s version of the civil rights movement.  Now, it’s economic equality instead of race equality.  And the Fed is busily printing money like there’s no tomorrow. 

We’re not belittling any of these concerns.  They’re very real.  But the point is that there are ALWAYS changes to fret about.  And of course, there are the changes which come from innovation and advancements of all kinds.  Just think about how medical advancements have affected the economy because of longer life spans.

The bottom line is that companies, industries and even governments come and go wiht lots of change in between.  But the real estate remains.  So in uncertain times, when stocks are up one day and down the next, and sovereign nations and municipalities are teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, and fiat currencies are being devalued all over the globe…(take a breath…), isn’t real estate one of the most foundational investments you could make?

We know.  If you’re a fan of the show, we’re preaching to the choir.  But the lesson is not just about buying ANY real estate.  It’s buying the right real estate, in the right markets, with the right financial structures, so you don’t just survive the changing times, but prosper in them.

In this episode, we talk about some of the many changes which have happened and are happening, how they’ve affected real estate, and how to position your investing in the eye of the storm where it’s safer.

So listen in to the conversation, then look at all the change all around you with excitement and anticipation.  In change, there is opportunity – and even more so, because casual observers are paralyzed into inaction, leaving lots of oportunity for the thoughtful and bold.

The biggest real estate investors we know have been and remain very active in this market. They see low interest rates, slow building rates (limiting supply), increasing population, rising rents and a widow of opportunity that won’t stay open forever.

LISTEN:

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

9/26/10: Tracking International Trends – CEO Insights from the Nation’s Largest Local Association

Every day, jobs, money, people and business are going global. Some come to the U.S. and some leave.  Some go both ways.  Maybe you’ve fantasized about cross-border transactions, in which case you may need to seek professional help.

Because we’re us, we get to meet all kinds of bright, experienced and interesting people. It counter balances us.   The latest smart person we’ve met (wait until you see how many letters come after her name!) is our guest for this episode.

Revealing their deepest thoughts on this subtle topic:

  • Your head therapist, host Robert Helms
  • Your head case, co-host Russell Gray
  • Special call-in expert, CEO of MIAMI, Teresa Kinney CAE, CIPS, GRI, RCE, TRC

Teresa Kinney, CEO MIAMI

To avoid confusion, even though she wears the title of CEO of MIAMI, Teresa isn’t an official from the city of Miami.  She’s CEO of MIAMI (notice the ALL CAPS) which is comprised of several organizations: the Residential Association, the Realtors® Commercial Alliance, the Broward County Board of Governors, and the International Council.  You can learn more at www.miamire.com.

What impresses us most is that MIAMI is a top gateway for international real estate both coming into and going out of the United States.  So if you’re interested in international real estate, MIAMI and Miami are great places to get connected.  In fact, there’s a big international real estate event coming up October 30-31 featuring National Association of Realtors® Chief Economist Lawrence Yun, and The Real Estate Guys™!

Now some people think tracking markets and trends is a drag, but we like it! Astute investors watch for economic and demographic trends in order to effectively pick markets and properties poised to perform best over the next 10-30 years.

Located in the #1 hub for global real estate, CEO Teresa Kinney oversees the largest local association of Realtors® in the nation.  With access to all the statistics, plus gobs of anecdotal data from over 23,000 agents, Teresa has more insight into international real estate activity than just about anyone else! Of course, we couldn’t wait to ask her a zillion questions.  Tune in and find out what she has to say!

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