Category Archives: Real Estate

Real Estate Flipping

Real Estate Flipping – Is Flipping Real Estate the smartest way to get started in real estate investing?

“Flip This House”, “Flip That House”, “Property Ladder”,… and on and on…

Over the past couple years you and I have been hammered on TV with real estate flipping shows that depict these people making outrageous profits flipping homes and making it look easier than heck.

So, is this flipping stuff real? Well… it sure is. There are countless people out there making a darn good living flipping homes. But… the tv shows on flipping are darn deceiving when it comes to the “reality” of real estate flipping.

Is flipping real estate the best way to get starting in real estate investing? I’ll let you decide for yourself. However, in my opinion, for most people, especially in today’s down markets (not all markets are down… there are actually some doing really well), real estate flipping is not the best way to get started in real estate investing.

Here’s why:

First, let’s clarify two kinds of flipping.

  1. The Fix and Flip – Where you buy real estate, rehab it, and sell it to a retail buyer. The kind that is on the TV shows.
  2. The Wholesale Flip – Where you buy real estate (or get it under contract), find a wholesale buyer, and flip the contract. The kind that is less glorious… but has a ton of money in it… with a heck of a lot less risk.

To me, the Fix and Flip method is not for most newbie’s… even though that is the kind of real estate investing you see on TV all of the time.

Why?

  • You need a good understanding of rehab costs
  • You need to have good funding… either from a private lender or a bank (private lender is preferable)
  • You need to be able to float the carrying costs if you can’t sell the property quickly
  • If you don’t calculate your costs just right… there may not be a whole lot of room for error… and room for error means greater risk on you!
  • The market is in a downturn… so there are less retail buyers out there for middle income houses… which is what most people start out flipping

There are many people out there making a very good living flipping… but most of them started several years ago… and have many flips under their belts.

They already have systems down, have marketing channels for getting buyers, have solid lending sources, etc. Not to say that new real estate investors cannot do all of the above… YOU CAN!

But, there are better ways to get started in real estate investing that allow you to get in with little or no risk or money, and will allow you to learn the Fix and Flip business before you ever take a huge money commitment to do so.

What’s the single best way (in my opinion) to get started in real estate flipping to minimize your risk and shorten your learning curve… all the while making nice money in the process? Well… obviously option #2 from above: The Wholesale Flip – or in other words… wholesaling real estate, flipping houses for quick cash, flipping contracts, etc.

When you wholesale real estate you do everything a flipper would normally do… except actually repair the property and sell it to a retail buyer. But, you don’t have the risk or time commitment that a fix and flipper has.

Basically, you as a wholesale real estate flipper (or wholesaler for short), find properties that need work that you can purchase at a large discount and flip them for a fee to a rehabber who will do the work.

Your job is to find the properties, analyze the numbers to determine the repairs needed, create an offer that enables both you and the rehabber that you will sell to to make a profit, and sell the contract to a rehabber who will actually make the repairs.

Often times real estate investors will make between $2,000 and $20,000 on a wholesale deal. So, for a low to no risk way to get started in real estate… there are huge profits to be had.

Another reason for starting out doing wholesale real estate deals is that you learn the ropes of what it takes to be a rehabber. After analyzing several deals and talking to rehabbers to find out what they look for… you will have a good grasp on what a good deal is, how to accurately estimate repair costs, who the rehabbers use as contractors, etc.

So, you actually make money while you are getting a hands on education on real estate flipping and rehabbing.

Anyhow, I didn’t start out to write this article to scare you from the fix and flip mindset. There is good money in it…

My motivation to write this article is to help guide new real estate investors away from the glorified version of rehabbing that is plastered all over TV… and point you toward what I believe to be the best way to get started in real estate investing.

I have something to confess…I may be a bit of a hypocrite… but I didn’t start with wholesaling. I actually started with buying income properties. But, with today’s markets… wholesaling real estate is the way to go to get your feet wet and make some serious money in the process.

There is much more to real estate flipping and wholesaling real estate than the TV “reality shows” show. One of the best ways to learn the ropes is to learn from someone who does it everyday and makes a solid living doing it.

  1. Go to your local REI club and hook up with an experienced mentor
  2. Go out on your own and try to hack it yourself with no instruction (not advised)
  3. Invest in a quality, step by step multimedia course that walks you through A – Z on the exact blueprint that successful wholesalers and real estate flippers use.

If you want to go the route I took, the wholesaling course that I actually still use today is shown below.

The real estate wholesaling and real estate flipping course that I think is by far better than any other out there is below. They always way over deliver and they are the only “gurus” out there that I can truly say are trustworthy and good people. I’ve bought a ton of courses, and the Wholesaling for Quick Cash (link below) is the only one I’d recommend.

How a Foreign National Can Buy Real Estate

Opportunities for real estate investment for foreigners is wide and varied in the United States. It doesn’t matter where you’re from and what currency you’d be using to purchase a property, you have a property waiting for you.

There are generally three kinds of real estate investment available to foreigners. These investments include the commercial estate investment and residential property investment. Residential properties are further classified into single family properties, apartments or condominiums and recreational properties. Regardless of what kind of real estate you are interested in, there are all sorts of tax ramifications, financing options and legal requirements that you have to deal with.

Why Should You Invest in the U.S. Real Estate Market?

You’ve probably heard of the increasing number of foreign real estate investments in the United States. This is not surprising. With the troubles that the real estate investment market is facing in the United States, greater opportunities in real estate investment were opened to foreign investors.

With the dollar’s value in its all time low, foreign investors are finding real estate bargains all over the United States. There are no shortages of deals in this market. More and more distressed properties are being sold everywhere and foreigners are pouring in millions buying these foreclosed or distressed properties. The United States real estate has become a fairly attractive long-term investment for foreign investors.

In November of 2006, the National Association of Realtors released a report entitled “Foreign Investments in U.S Real Estate: Current Trends and Historical Perspective”. The report showed that there has been a steady increase in foreign real estate investment in the United States. This is especially after the euro and the loonie became stronger in the face of the continuous devaluation of the US dollar. Prime bargains were opened to foreigners. Many foreigners have now looked into the possibility of retiring or settling in the United States.

If you’re a foreigner, you would find a lot of reasons why you should invest in the United States real estate market. Aside from the fact that the floating exchange rate has given you a lot of leverage over the bargaining table, the financial market is a pretty good reason why you should invest in the US real estate.

The financial market in the United States in relation to the real estate market is quite liberal and the restrictions against foreign investors are pretty reasonable. This is ideal for foreign companies that are seeking to invest in the real estate market in the United States in order to avoid tariff restrictions and are considering setting up an office or a company in the United States.

Furthermore, despite the devaluation of the US dollar and the wide foreclosures of a lot of property, the real estate market remains to be stable, though slightly shaky, due to foreign investors’ capital appreciation. Domestic real estate buyers may not necessarily share the same opinion, but the market has remained to be strong for foreign real estate buyers. This may be largely credited to the fact that there is minimal risk for them.

Why are Foreign Real Estate Investments Safe and Profitable?

There are a lot of investments you can make, but the safest you can make right now is investing your money in real properties. This is another good reason aside from the fact that you can make a pretty nifty profit, if you like, particularly now with the widespread property foreclosures and seemingly continuous US dollar devaluation. This is especially true if you are going to use the euro or the loonie when making your investment.

But why is US real estate investment safe for foreigners?

It is undeniable that stock investments are not a safe avenue at this point. The recession has not only affected the US economy; the same recession has greatly affected worldwide stock investments. Stocks values are dropping. It is also a fact that even without the current economic situation, stock values fluctuates.

On the other hand, real estate investments are pretty stable if you would compare it to stock investments – or even bond or mutual fund investments. With real estate investment, you’d be putting your money in an investment that would grow in value as years go by.

What are the Benefits of Foreign Real Estate Investment?

US state government supports foreign investments and along this line has formulated various tax breaks to encourage foreign investment on real estate. Many of these tax breaks are not available in many countries. In fact, most countries would frown at foreigners owning real properties within their territory.

Foreign real estate investment in the United States is open to everyone. As long as you can afford to buy the property or at least comply with the mortgage requirements and payments, you can secure for yourself a pretty good property in the United States. Again, with the current economic situation of the United States, this is the perfect chance for you to make an investment.

Another great benefit that you can take advantage of is the availability of mortgage financing. Lenders have opened their doors to foreign investors who are looking into purchasing a property. So, you don’t have to actually deplete your bank account. You can actually secure a mortgage loan and gradually pay it off.

I’m Canadian, What Are My Financing Options?

There is a steady increasing rate of Canadian real estate investors in the United States; and accordingly, the government has made certain that they have attractive financing options available to them.

If you’re Canadian – or if you’re a foreigner – you’d find a lot of reasons why you should buy a piece of real property in the United States. For Canadians, the parity of the currencies or the apparent devaluation of the US dollar is a pretty good reason itself. But how do you finance your purchase?

There are various financing options available to you depending on which state you are in. In Arizona, for instance, you’d get favorable financing terms if you are purchasing a property for recreational purposes, that is, you do not derive any income or benefit from your purchase or ownership. You will be required, however, to sign up a disclosure agreement and give a 30% down payment for your loan. To qualify though for a loan, you may be required to show availability of liquid reserves for a period of three to six months. You may also be required to present a minimum of 3-month bank statement.

If you are purchasing a property for investment, you’d probably meet stricter terms. Requirements may be more stringent. For instance, you could be required to give a down payment of more than 30% and you may be required to show one year worth of liquidity reserves.

Regardless of your reasons, if you feel like you can fulfill the requirements of a financing loan, you can then proceed to actually applying for a mortgage loan. Also, keeping yourself updated with the financing terms flux may be a wise idea.

Understanding the Tax Ramifications of Real Estate Investment

The first foreigner to have ever bought a real estate property in the United States was Peter Minuit. This opened the doors to foreign real estate investors. After a couple of centuries later, foreign real estate investment has grown into huge proportions, accounting for billion-of-dollar worth of industry.

The low risk attached to US real estate market, the availability of countless properties, and the steady market liquidity attract foreign investors in droves. The initial snag, however, is the process of understanding the legal ramifications of foreign real estate investment.

What you have to understand is that foreign investment in the United States can take a lot of forms. A foreigner has various options. He can acquire direct interest. He can acquire an interest in the real estate through a partnership, a corporation, or a limited liability company. The latter is the typical structure used by foreign investors.

Limited partnership or Limited Liability Company offers financial protection or indirect asset protection, especially in cases of bankruptcy, law suits and taxes. Foreign investors are generally taxed on the property as if they hold the property in direct interest.

Ideally, you should secure the services of a real estate accountant to help you out with the tax ramifications, but it would help if you, at least, know the basics before you actually talk to an accountant.

There are tax consequences that you have to deal with when you buy a real estate in the United States. You would need an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number which you will use with all your tax transactions. Your investment in real estates can be treated as a portfolio investment and will be accounted for as an investment income which can either be fixed or a periodic income. This is typically taxed at 30% on gross revenues. This tax though does not apply though to all foreign investors. Tax rates would vary depending on the tax personality the foreign investor opted for. For instance, a corporation would be taxed differently.

Other things that you should take note of are availability and requirements of tax refunds and state tax laws on real estate properties as they may differ from federal laws, among other things.

By knowing all these things, you may save yourself from a lot of hassles when you finally approach a real estate accountant. You’d be in same wavelength when you finally get down to talking business. It is, however, very important that you secure the services of an accountant. You’d have an easier time dealing with the taxes ramifications. You’d also have assistance ensuring that you comply with all the accounting aspect of your investment. This is especially true if you are purchasing a real property for investment purposes.

Do You Need to Secure the Service of a Real Estate Lawyer?

If you are considering buying a property in the United States, you need to secure the services of a real estate attorney – someone who could help you with the legal issues concerning your purchase. It is tempting to forego securing the service of a lawyer to save money, but this could cost you a lot of money in the long run. Make sure that you have an experienced and trustworthy lawyer to help you out. Make sure that you have thoroughly checked out his credentials, profile, history of successful cases handled by him, and other factors that would influence your decision. You could check online and look for a lawyer working within the state where you are considering purchasing a property.

Functions of a Real Estate Lawyer

There is no actual distinctive function for a lawyer in a real estate case. However, you would really need the assistance of a lawyer for various tasks. A real estate lawyer would review the sales contract for you. He would also check on the title and other documents relating to the property. A lawyer would also review your mortgage contract and make the necessary adjustments or corrections. You could also get him to review with you the legal and tax issues concerning the purchase. A real estate attorney could also make the necessary adjustments relating to various expenses and costs involved in the purchase. He would assess your eligibility for tax refunds and draft the documents and statements relating to this.

Putting it simply, a real estate lawyer will be your watchdog. He would guide you through the whole process of purchasing a real estate in the United States in order to make sure that you will be legally protected. You will have a capable and trustworthy liaison to help you out with the contract. He will also face legal disputes if any arise.

Tips on How to Invest in Real Estate Successfully

Now, if you’ve fully bought into the idea of real estate investing in the United States, you might just want to know how to go about investing in real estate successfully. If you want to be successful in this venture, the first thing that you have to avoid is overanalyzing. Of course, it is a good idea to carefully think through your actions but it is a bad idea to overanalyze your investment to nonexistence. You might lose a great opportunity.

Before you purchase the property though, it might be wise to check the property value. If it sits well with you and you can reasonably afford the property, go ahead and make the purchase.

If you are considering the property for a quick flip, make sure that the property is in perfect condition and in good area. This is to ensure that you could double or actually triple your return of investment. If you can inspect the property yourself, do so. If not, a good and trustworthy agent can help you with this task.

Another important thing to remember when you’re buying real estate is good financing. You should take your time to carefully consider all your financing options. Foreign investors can email in their queries to various lending institutions. It is a good idea to make sure that you’ve had their terms and rates on paper because they tend to change these terms and charge you with a lot of junk. Your real estate agent can help you with reviewing the escrow charges.

Real Estate Development

The media is currently full of real estate ‘doom and gloom’ – real estate repossessions and arrears are up and real estate prices are down … its almost as if the ‘sky is about to fall’! This situation has seen many real estate developers, and property investors generally, leave the market – and for those thinking of starting out in real estate development, these are scary times indeed.

What seems like the worst time to get into real estate development can, in reality, be the best time. Successful real estate developers today realize that they can use time to their advantage – their real estate development projects will typically not be ready for sale or rent for 2 to 4 years from inception. So if they have bought well, they are less likely to be affected by the economic situation at the time of purchasing their real estate development site.

In fact, a weak market is a real estate developer’s paradise, because a weak market is a buyer’s market, and one of the first steps to any real estate development project is securing a viable real estate development site on the best possible terms.

Although we know that the real estate development business is cyclical, and many parts of the world are in a property downturn, we also know from history that knowledgeable real estate developers are successful in any market – falling, flat or rising.

We’re working towards what we believe the economic conditions will be in 12 to 36 months time. Indeed we ourselves are still active in the market – seeking Council permission for a number of real estate development projects. This gives us the opportunity to act quickly and build our approved real estate development projects when the market does become buoyant.

It is our opinion that the following market signals are some of the key factors that will lead to increased future opportunities, especially for real estate developers:

  • The pent up demand for housing. In March 2008 leading Australian economics forecaster, BIS Shrapnel chief economist Dr Frank Gelber argued that housing prices across Australia will rise by 30% to 40% over the next five years because of the built-up shortages of housing.
  • The current Federal Government has stated that they will work towards increasing Housing Affordability and have begun to announce incentives including Tax Credits of $6000 per year if the housing is rented at 20% below market rent.
  • We believe that an increasing number of people, in the short to medium term, are likely to require the rental accommodation that we intend to build. This is due to either their financial stress (can’t afford to purchase a home) and/or demographic trends (including Gen-Ys who are less likely to buy Real Estate).

Even if our ‘crystal ball’ is incorrect, we know we have the resources to hold real estate development sites during possible further market fluctuations to come, and increasing rents are certainly helping with that!

Our belief is that this is a golden time to act – perhaps a once in a generation opportunity. Maybe it is not the time to sell completed real estate development projects at the moment, but it is certainly a great opportunity to secure the development site and obtain development planning approval. Now this strategy is not for everyone – you must have the necessary resources to hold the development site and especially the knowledge of real estate development to take advantage of these opportunities.

The best approach for anyone contemplating real estate development will depend on his or her own personal and financial circumstances, but the key message here is that you must do something!

There are many strategies that small real estate developers are currently using, if they don’t have the resources to complete a real estate development project right now, including to turn their real estate knowledge into cash by locating ideal property development sites, perhaps taking out an option on the site, and on-selling the ‘Development Permit Approval’ to someone who does have the resources.

Successful real estate developers know that times of opportunity like this only come along once in a while, and they’re taking action so they don’t miss the boat.

Regardless of your immediate financial situation, this is the perfect time to leverage your real estate development knowledge into current or future income. If you have any doubts about your ability to do this, or you would like an experienced real estate development mentor to guide you, act now to get the knowledge and mentoring that you need. There is no time to waste!

The Real Estate Sector

Boom & Bust of Indian Real Estate Sector

Engulfing the period of stagnation, the evolution of Indian real estate sector has been phenomenal, impelled by, growing economy, conducive demographics and liberalized foreign direct investment regime. However, now this unceasing phenomenon of real estate sector has started to exhibit the signs of contraction.

What can be the reasons of such a trend in this sector and what future course it will take? This article tries to find answers to these questions…

Overview of Indian real estate sector

Since 2004-05 Indian reality sector has tremendous growth. Registering a growth rate of, 35 per cent the realty sector is estimated to be worth US$ 15 billion and anticipated to grow at the rate of 30 per cent annually over the next decade, attracting foreign investments worth US$ 30 billion, with a number of IT parks and residential townships being constructed across-India.

The term real estate covers residential housing, commercial offices and trading spaces such as theaters, hotels and restaurants, retail outlets, industrial buildings such as factories and government buildings. Real estate involves purchase sale and development of land, residential and non-residential buildings. The activities of real estate sector embrace the hosing and construction sector also.

The sector accounts for major source of employment generation in the country, being the second largest employer, next to agriculture. The sector has backward and forward linkages with about 250 ancilary industries such as cement, brick,steel, building material etc.

Therefore a unit increase in expenditure of this sector have multiplier effect and capacity to generate income as high as five times.

All-round emergence

In real estate sector major component comprises of housing which accounts for 80% and is growing at the rate of 35%. Remainder consist of commercial segments office, shopping malls, hotels and hospitals.

o Housing units: With the Indian economy surging at the rate of 9 % accompanied by rising incomes levels of middle class, growing nuclear families, low interest rates, modern approach towards homeownership and change in the attitude of young working class in terms of from save and buy to buy and repay having contributed towards soaring housing demand.

Earlier cost of houses used to be in multiple of nearly 20 times the annual income of the buyers, whereas today multiple is less than 4.5 times.

According to 11th five year plan, the housing shortage on 2007 was 24.71 million and total requirement of housing during (2007-2012) will be 26.53 million. The total fund requirement in the urban housing sector for 11th five year plan is estimated to be Rs 361318 crores.
The summary of investment requirements for XI plan is indicated in following table

SCENARIO Investment requirement
Housing shortage at the beginning of the XI plan period 147195.0
New additions to the housing stock during the XI plan period including the additional housing shortage during the plan period 214123.1
Total housing requirement for the plan period 361318.1

o Office premises: rapid growth of Indian economy, simultaneously also have deluging effect on the demand of commercial property to help to meet the needs of business. Growth in commercial office space requirement is led by the burgeoning outsourcing and information technology (IT) industry and organised retail. For example, IT and ITES alone is estimated to require 150 million sqft across urban India by 2010. Similarly, the organised retail industry is likely to require an additional 220 million sqft by 2010.

o Shopping malls: over the past ten years urbanization has upsurge at the CAGR of 2%. With the growth of service sector which has not only pushed up the disposable incomes of urban population but has also become more brand conscious. If we go by numbers Indian retail industry is estimated to be about US $ 350 bn and forecast to be double by 2015.

Thus rosining income levels and changing perception towards branded goods will lead to higher demand for shopping mall space, encompassing strong growth prospects in mall development activities.

o Multiplexes: another growth driver for real-estate sector is growing demand for multiplexes. The higher growth can be witnessed due to following factors:

  1. Multiplexes comprises of 250-400 seats per screen as against 800-1000 seats in a single screen theater, which give multiplex owners additional advantage, enabling them to optimize capacity utilization.
  2. Apart from these non-ticket revenues like food and beverages and the leasing of excess space to retailer provides excess revenues to theatre developers.

o Hotels/Resorts: as already mentioned above that rising major boom in real estate sector is due to rising incomes of middle class. Therefore with increase in income propensity to spend part of their income on tours and travels is also going up, which in turn leads to higher demand for hotels and resorts across the country. Apart from this India is also emerging as major destination for global tourism in India which is pushing up the demand hotels/resorts.
Path set by the government

The sector gained momentum after going through a decade of stagnation due to initiatives taken by Indian government. The government has introduced many progressive reform measures to unveil the potential of the sector and also to meet increasing demand levels.

o 100% FDI permitted in all reality projects through automatic route.
o In case of integrated townships, the minimum area to be developed has been brought down to 25 acres from 100 acres.
o Urban land ceiling and regulation act has been abolished by large number of states.
o Legislation of special economic zones act.
o Full repatriation of original investment after 3 years.
o 51% FDI allowed in single brand retail outlets and 100 % in cash and carry through the automatic route.

There fore all the above factors can be attributed towards such a phenomenal growth of this sector. With significant growing and investment opportunities emerging in this industry, Indian reality sector turned out to be a potential goldmine for many international investors. Currently, foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows into the sector are estimated to be between US$ 5 billion and US$ 5.50 billion.

Top most real estate investors in the foray

Investors profile

The two most active segments are high networth individuals and financial institutions. Both these segments are particularly active in commercial real estate. While financial institutions like HDFC and ICICI show high preference for commercial investment,the high net worth individuals show interest in investing in residential as well as commercial properties.

Apart from these, the third most important category is NRI ( non-resident Indians). They mostly invest in residential properties than commercial properties. Emotional attachment to native land could be reasons for their investment. And moreover the necessary documentation and formalities for purchasing immovable properties except agricultural and plantation properties are quite simple. Therefore NRI’s are showing greater interest for investing in Indian reality sector.

MAJOR INVESTORS

o Emmar properties, of Dubai one of the largest listed real estate developer in the world has tied up with Delhi based MGF developments to for largest FDI investment in Indian reality sector for mall and other facilities in Gurgaon.

o Dlf India’s leading real estate developer and UK ‘s famous Laing O Rourke (LOR) has joined hands for participation in airport modernization and infrastructure projects.

o A huge investment was made by Vancouver based Royal Indian raj international cooperation in a single real estate project named royal garden city in Bangalore over period of 10 years. The retail value of project was estimated to be around $ 8.9 billion.

o Indiabulls real estate development has entered into agreement with dev property development, a company incorporated in Isle of Man, whereby dev got subscription to new shares and also minority shareholding the company. But in recent developments indiabulls have acquired entire stake in dev property development in a 138 million-pound sterling (10.9 billion ruppees) share-swap deal.

o Apart from this real estate developments opens up opportunity for associated fields like home loans and insurance. A number of global have shown interest in this sector. This include companies like Cesma International from Singapore, American International Group Inc (AIG), High Point Rendel of the UK, Colony Capital and Brack Capital of the US, and Lee Kim Tah Holdings to name a few.
Following are names of some of the companies who have invested in India

International developer Country Investment
(US $ million)
Emmar properties Dubai 500
Ascendas Singapore 350
Salem & ciputra group Indonesia 350
GE commercial finance U.S 63
Tishman Speyer Properties U.S 300

Simultaneously many Indian retailers are entering into international markets through significant investments in foreign markets.

o Embassy group has signed a deal with Serbian government to construct US $ 600 million IT park in Serbia.
o Parsvanath developers is doing a project in Al – Hasan group in Oman
o Puravankara developers are associated with project in Srilanka- a high end residential complex, comprising 100 villas.
o Ansals API tied up with Malaysia’s UEM group to form a joint venture company, Ansal-API UEM contracts pvt ltd, which plans to bid for government contracts in Malaysia.
o Kolkata’s south city project is working on two projects in Dubai.
On the eve of liberalization as India opens up market to foreign players there is tend to be competitive edge to give quality based performance for costumer satisfaction which will consequently bring in quality technology and transparency in the sector and ultimate winners are buyers of this situation.

However this never ending growth phase of reality sector has been hard hit by the global scenario from the beginning of 2008. Analyst say situation will prevail in near future, and latest buzz for the sector comes as a “slowdown”.

Sliding phase of the reality sector

In this present scenario of global slowdown, where stock markets are plunging, interest rates and prices are mounting, the aftermath of this can now also be felt on Indian real estate sector. Overall slowdown in demand can be witnessed all across India which is causing trouble for the major industry players. Correcting property prices and rentals are eroding away the market capitalization of many listed companies like dlf and unitech.

Fundaments behind slowdown…

Propetry prices move because of the basic principle of demand and supply
o when demand is high and supply low prices will go up
o When demand is low and supply high prices will go down.

For example let’s assume that somebody has bought a property for Rs X and he is trying to sell the property (say after a year), there can be three options, assumption being that the owner is in need of money and cannot wait for more than 3 months to sell the property.

  1. When the property prices are gliding everywhere : now owner will try to add as much premium to the property as possible, in order to book profits, therefore he will wait for 3 months and sell off in last month at the highest bid. Where he ill get total of Rs X + Rs Y.
    2. When property prices have stabilized: here owner will not be able to sell at premium and book profits due to market stabilization & since he don’t want to sell at a loss, he will try to get same amount he brought the property for. Where he’ll get total of Rs X = Rs Y
    3. when property prices are going down : owner will try to sell the property at least profit or least cost. Therefore he ill get Rs X-RsY.

Reality deals in major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad have shown enormous downfall from October 2007 – March 2008. The downfall had been cushioned by fall in stock markets as it put a stop for wealth creation, which leads to shortage of capital among investors to invest in real estate activities. Apart from this in order to offset their share losses many investors have no choice, but sell their real estate properties.

Other factors which have contributed to this slowdown are raising interest rates leading to higher costs. Due to this almost all the developers are facing serious liquidity crunch and facing difficulties in completing their ongoing projects. Situation seems to be so disastrous that most of the companies have reported 50-70% cash shortfall. The grade A developers which are facing cash crunch include DLF,MGF, Emmar, Shobha developers, Unitech, Omaxe, Parsvnath Developers, Hiranandani Group, Ansal API, BPTP Developers and TDI Group. As a outcome of this liquidity crunch many developers have started slowing down or even stopped construction of projects which are either in their initial stages of development or which would not effect their bottom line in near future.

Also with increasing input costs of steel iron and building material it has become it has become inviable for builders to construct properties at agreed prices. As a result there may be delays in completion of the project leading finical constraints.

At the same time IT industry which accounts for 70% of the total commercial is facing a slowdown. Many residential buyers are waiting for price correction before buying any property, which can effect development plans of the builder.

Aftermath of reality shock to other sectors

Cement industry hit by reality slowdown

The turbulence in the real estate sectors is passing on pains in cement industry also. It is being projected that growth rate of cement industry will drop down to 10% in current fiscal. The reasons behind such a contingency are higher input costs, low market valuations and scaled up capacity which are in turn leading to reduced demand in the industry. High inflation and mounting home loan rates have slowed down the growth flight of real estate sector which accounts for 60% of the total cement demand. The major expansion plans announced by major industries will further add to their misery as low market demand will significantly reduced their capacity utilization.
Setting up new facilities will impart additional capacities of 34 million tone and 45 million tone respectively in 2008-09 & 2009-10. This is likely to bring down capacity utilization in the industry down from current 101% to 82%. Even as it loses power to dictate prices, increased cost of power, fuel and freight will add pressure on input costs.

Ambuja Cements too is trading at a higher discount than previous down cycle, suggesting bottom valuations. However, replacement valuations for Madras Cements and India Cements indicate scope for further downslide when compared to their previous down cycle valuations.
All this has added to stagnation of the cement industry.

Dying reality advertising

The heat of reality ebb is also being felt by the advertising industry. It is being estimated that all major developers such as DLF, omaxe, ansals & parsvnath have decided to cut down on their advertising budget by around 5%. The advertising industry in India is estimated to be around 10,000 crore. This trend can be witnessed due to weakening spirits of potential buyers and real estate companies call it a reality check on their advertising budgets. A report from Adex India, a division of TAM Media Research, shows that the share of real estate advertisements in print media saw a drop of 2 percent during 2007 compared to 2006. According to Adex, the share of real estate advertisement in overall print and TV advertising last year was 4 percent and 1 percent, respectively. It’s a known fact that infrastructure and real estate companies are responsible for advertising industry maintaing double didgit growth rate. Therefore its understood that a recent slowdown in iindian reality sector has made things worse for advertising industry. The Adex report indicates that the top 10 advertisers shared an aggregate of 16 percent of overall ad volumes of real estate advertising in print during 2007. The list include names such as DLF Group, Parsvnath, Sahara, HDIL and Omaxe group. However, the real estate had maximum share in South India publications followed by North and West publications with 32% and 26% share, respectively, during 2007.

According to many advertising agencies consultants, this phenomenon is taking a toll as all real estate companies want a national foot print and also these companies are turning into professionals. Therefore they are setting standards when it comes to advertising to sales ratio.

Falling stock markets knock down reality stocks

Reality stocks have been hard hit by uncertainties prevailing in the stock market. The BSE reality index is the worst performer having shed 51% of its 52-week peak reached in reality. The BSE benchmark index has shed 24% since January. The country’s largest real estate firm DLF scrip lost 54% while unitech lost 64% from its peak. The scrips of Delhi bases parsvnath and omaxe have lost 68% each since January.

The sector is facing a major downfall in sales volume in most markets of the country. The speculators have exit the market and Mumbai and NCR, the biggest real estate markets in markets are cladding subdued sales. In Gurgaon and Noida, which had seen prices almost treble in four years, sales are down 70%, leading to a price correction of 10-20%.
Lets us have a look how major cities are affected by reality downfall.

Top 4 metros taking the lead – in slowdown

Delhi &NCR

While bears are ruling the stock market, the real estate sector in Delhi & NCR region has started facing departure of speculative investors from the market. According to these developers based in region the selling of flats has become very complicated at the launch stage due to lack of interest from the speculators. Developers attribute this to stability in prices against the past where prices were up surging on monthly basis. The scenario has changed so much in the present year that developers are now facing difficulty in booking flats which may delay their projects and reduce their pricing power for instance a year ago, if 100 flats were being sold in month at launch stage now it has come down 30-40 per month. Till mid 2007 speculators made quick money by booking multiple flats at launch of the project and exiting within few weeks or months. But now due to the stabilization of the property prices little scope is left for speculators to make money in short term. Therefore outcome is their retreat from the sector.

Mumbai

Mumbai real estate market, which witnessed huge increase in prices in recent years, which made the city to enter in the league of world’s most expensive cities, is now feeling the heat of slowdown. Property sales that have been growing at a clank of around 20% every year have been plumped by 17% in 2007-08.

Though slowdown news of property market in country’s financial capital has been much talked about, but it was first time that figures proved the extent of slowdown. Information about residential and commercial property sales from the stamp duty registration office show almost 12,000 fewer transactions during the last financial year compared to the year before. From April 2007 to March 2008, 62,595 flats were purchased in Mumbai as against 74,555 in 2006-07.
According to reality analyst sales volume can die out further in south as developers persist on holding to their steep prices and buyers anticipate a further fall with current rates beyond reach. They further add that market is on a corrective mode and downward trend is anticipated for another 12 months.

Between 1992-96, the market ran up the same way it did during 2003-07. Post-’96, the volumes dropped by 50%. This time again it is expected to drop substantially though not so steeply. The demand is now extremely sluggish and customers do not want to stick out their necks and transact at prevailing rates.Chennai in past few years we witnessed reality index gaining huge heights on BSE and it also impact could be felt allover India. Amongst them Chennai was no exception. With IT boom in past few years and pumping of money by NRI’s have led to prices touching skies. Chennai also witnessed a huge boom property prices over the last few years. However in past few months it has been facing slowdown in growth rate.

Following factors can be attributed to this:
o This is one of the common factor prevailing all over India- rise in home loan interest rates, which has made it extremely difficult for a normal salaried person to be able to afford a house.
o Depreciation of US dollar, which means NRI’s who were earlier pumping money into the real estate are now able to get less number of rupees per dollar they earn in US. Therefore many of them have altered their plans for buying house in India.
o The Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) has imposed stricter norms for apartment construction and penalties for violations are more severe than before.
o Failure of the legal system of chennai to prevent intrusion, forged documents and illegal construction has added to the problem as many NRI’S are hesitating to buy plots in chennai.
o Apart from this tsunami of 2004 has shaken the confidence of many investors to invest in real estate.

However many analyst are quite bullish about this region. Especially in areas like old mahabalipuram, south Chennai etc because of numerous IT/ITES/ electronics/automobile companies are expected to set up their centers in these areas. Once these projects are complete and companies begin operations their, many people would like to live near to such areas and outcome will be boom in residential sector.

Bangalore

As discussed for above cities Bangalore is also dwindling between the similar scenarios. Bangalore seems to be in midst of low demand and supply. This trend is due to myopic developers, due to sudden growth in Bangalore in last few years, lot of builders have caught the opportunity of building residential houses thinking their will be lot of employment, increase in salaries and hence demand for housing. Past few years have been jovial for Bangalore as IT industry was doing well and banking and retail sectors were expanding.

However with this sudden economic slowdown, due to which Indian stocks markets are trembling, interest rates are high, jobs and recruitment put on freeze have led to cessation of investment in local property markets.

According to the developers real-estate industry of Bangalore has experienced a drop of about 15- 20% in transaction volumes. Adding to it grade A developers have faced a dropdown of 50% on monthly levels of booking compared to what they enjoyed in December 2007.

Future outlook

The real estate explosion in Indian real estate is due to by the burgeoning IT and BPO industries. The underlying reason for all these moves is that the Indian real estate is tremendously attractive, because of basic demographics and a supply shortage. Truly Indian real estate is having a dream run for last five years.

However in the current scenario Indian real estate market is going through a phase of correction in prices and there are exaggerated possibilities that these increased prices are likely to come down.
In this scenario hat will be the future course of this sector?

Many analyst are of view that tightening of India’s monetary policy, falling demand and growing liquidity concerns could have negative impact on profiles of real estate companies. Slowing down would also aid in the process of exit of some of the weaker entities from the market and increasing the strength of some of the established developers. A prolonged slowdown could also reduce the appetite of private equity.

Its also been projected that large development plans and aggressive land purchases have led to a considerable increase in the financial leverage (debt/EBITDA) of most developers, with the smaller players now being exposed to liquidity pressures for project execution as well as a general slowdown in property sales. Property developers hit by falling sales and liquidity issues would need to reduce list prices to enhance demand, but many still seem to be holding on to the asking price – which, would delay the process of recovering demand and increase the risk of liquidity pressures.
It was being witnessed that before the slowdown phase the projects were being sold without any hook at an extravagant rate. But at present negative impact is highly visible as lot of high end projects are still lying unsold. In such a scenario, there may be blessing in disguise as high profile speculators will be out making way for the actual users.

Steps of Real Estate Investing

Real estate investing in Miami real estate is now becoming popular again as there are many properties in foreclosure, short sale, bank reo’s, and government foreclosures. With such an overwhelming inventory of homes available for sale a real estate investor must be able to determine which one to purchase. Investors must follow six steps in order to learn, understand and achieve Miami real estate investment success.

These are the six L steps to Miami real estate investing:

  1. Location – Location, location, location is still the key of buying Miami real estate. Buying Miami real estate just because the price is low in a declining area is big mistake that should be avoided. Look for homes in an excellent location like, good schools, economic stable and growing neighborhoods, near shopping centers and malls, near bus stops and metro rails, near hospitals and restaurants. Sometimes it is better to pay a little more for a property in a good location than getting a bargain in a place where it is very hard to sell or rent the asset. Location is often overlooked in purchasing real estate as many investor think they can overcome a bad location if the price is low enough. Out of two homes that are exactly the same, the one in the best location will command a much higher sales price and rental income. Location is the number consideration when purchasing Miami South Florida real estate.
  2. Long Term – Real estate investing is a long term proposition. Don’t think you are going to be a millionaire over night. It takes years of hard work and dedication in order to succeed. Hold any property at least one year before selling it. Capital gain taxes will be greatly reduced. Consider renting the property for at two or three years. The rental income generated will help you to properly repair and renovate the property. Many investors purchased properties in the middle of real estate boom with no money down and no equity. These investors were thinking of flipping the homes fast and make a killing in the process. Many homes now in foreclosure are due to investors that were caught in the middle and now realize that real estate investing is very hard to time. Long term Miami real estate investing is the secret to a successful real estate career.
  3. Lease Option – Never rent a property with a lease option to buy. Either sell or rent it straight out. A lease option usually is a disaster for both buyers and sellers. The tenant will demand a large discount of the rent to go towards the down payment and closing costs. The problem is that tenant will not buy the property at the end of the lease and the landlord/seller will have wasted a lot of money in rebates given to the tenant/buyer. Demand a 20% or 30% deposit from the tenant/buyer and a clause in the contract that if they default on the purchase they will lose the deposit. This technique will force the tenant/buyer to purchase the property or lose the deposit. The risk of losing the deposit will eliminate the tenant from taking advantage of the landlord by walking out of the contract after receiving a monthly rental discount.
  4. Local – Buy real estate close to where you live. Don’t buy real estate in another state or in another country. Keep real estate investing local. Buy in your own county and in your city. The more you know about the area where you are buying the better the decision will be. The investor should always be close to the investment property. The Miami real estate investor should inspect the property often to determine any repair, roof and other problems. The landlord must inspect the property every month when collecting the rent. Check for the number of tenants actually living in the property, check for damages and destruction of the property and overall condition of the place. The investor/landlord will not be able to inspect and determine the condition of the property if it is located far away. Keeping real estate local is an essential step in real estate investing.
  5. Leverage – Most real estate books and seminars tell you to use other people’s money when purchasing real estate. This technique is not the best and buyers should try to buy the property in cash if at all possible. Buying a house in cash will help you get a better deal and allow you to negotiate from a position of strength. A cash buyer will always have the upper hand in negotiating with banks, property owners, and other sellers. Cash buyers will not suffer and go into foreclosure if the market turns and they are unable to sell or rent the house right away. Like Dave Ramsey always says “cash is king and debt is dumb”. Buying an investment property in cash is an excellent way to avoid Miami real estate investment mistakes.
  6. Learn – Research the property and learn everything about it before you buy. A mistake in Miami real estate investing can be very costly. Usually you make your money when you buy not when you sell. Buying the property at the wrong price the wrong place and at the wrong time could be detrimental. One mistake could wipe you out and put you out of business before you start. Ask questions to the experts, real estate agents, appraisers, mortgage brokers, and other real estate investors. Learn, research, educate yourself in all aspects of real estate investing before you purchase the asset.

Real Estate Property Values

Rob Norquist, a real estate agent admits that Newport Beach is as active as it used to be, with some good record sales. He also agrees with the fact that a property, should never be considered deprecated, and as a seller, you should never give up and use the low end price. It is true that, during a certain period of time, depending on the real estate market, client’s desire, real estate auctions, there may be moments when a property’s price drops, but not forever.

Other cities such as, Huntington Beach, Costa Mesa, Irvine or Mission Viejo – are considered among other 25 cities as being the ones with the best real estate property values, with average values of $680,000 and more. The national average value in 2007 was $194,300.

However, some property values are based on subjective answers from residents living in a certain home, so the given numbers , and real estate evaluation may be hanging on a wishful thinking instead of a real appreciation . This is where real estate auctions come in picture, to inform potential clients about the property, and the investment possibilities, giving them a clear image of the real estate’s worth.

Even though some buildings such as Orange County properties , dropped their values in 2007, but they recovered extremely well after. So this is another reason why as a seller, you should never fear if you observe a temporally value drop, because it is normal from time to time.

For instance, about 81% owners, sellers, agents, trusted in 2007 that their estate property values were over $1 million, against 75% in 2006. So things are for the best and it would appear that most of estate agents have finally understood what this business is really about. It takes a lot of patience and ability to maintain your property’s value among top ones on real estate market.
But Norquist, trusts that many Newport Beach arguments are near the mark, sustaining that this city has survived the “housing slump” better than other locations. However, the unexpected surprise attacked more on sales, which he admits that they are on a falling edge right now, but there is still hope for better times.

Newport Beach is very well known for its highest-valued real estate properties in the U.S., being a perfect place for real estate business . It’s location and proximity to the water, and the beach front view increase it’s real estate value considerably. Auctions in this area are very interesting and those who are interested in real estate business domain should never miss them. You can learn a lot on such events.

Experienced real estate agents or even friends will surely advise you that as a buyer you are very likely to come across many real estate properties in foreclosure having perhaps no equity,being over priced . In such moments, lenders sometimes choose to accept a smaller amount than the initial.So you get in the negotiations process. As a hint, when you realize the over pricing phenomenon, you have to understand that this happens when the real estate agent , or seller is aware of the real estate property’s value, and he tries his luck in a raising price. So watch out! The negotiation can become a difficult process especially when reasonable terms are not agreed by both sides: owner and buyer. Negotiations can occur privately or in public, where real estate auctions come in the picture. Of course, a real estate auction is safer and more trustful than a private one. Private negotiations occur especially when the agent is a close friend or relative to buyer’s, and because of the friendly environment some details regarding even the real estate transaction may be skipped. So in situations like this be careful.

Even as a friend, for a real estate agent , money comes first, and friendship after. Of course, during such a negotiation, there can be all sort of problems, such as mortgage value, real estate market, all sort of official formalities, conflict of interests in a particular area etc. Moreover, time a very important issue when real estate auctions are involved. As a general rule, and as an advise for a potential buyer, negotiation process should not be extended on a long period of time, because, as I said before, in time, real estate properties drop their values, and the client’s interest together with it. In this case, not only does the buyer loose, but the real estate agency as well. Why?Because if a property’s value drops, the price must drop as well, if you ever want to sell it again. In this case the under priced phenomenon appears. This is why short sales are preferred. Many Realtors, and clients started using this strategy, because they faced the problem regarding their property’s value.So they decided the selling process should not take too long.

Another important issue refers to the well known “acceleration clause” , which is an official word met in any mortgage document, meaning that the lender, after the real estate property is sold, can demand the payment of the remaining balance for the loan. Realtors can provide more information about this contractual right. If this clause is good or bad for a real estate transaction, it is hard to say, because it has its advantages and disadvantages. Buying a real estate property which has already a mortgage loan represents a pretty raised risk. Why? Because first of all, if the mortgage loan was contracted for many years, depending on the interest’s rate, and marketplace evolution, you may come to pay the house’s price 3 times more. However, if you have experience in monitoring the market place, and find a right moment when every interest’s value drops, you could go for it. It’s kind of a gambling in this business, and Realtors, or individual real estate agents know it best.

Realtors and real estate agents are here on the real estate market, to help clients understand how they can value their houses, what should they look for when trying to sell or buy a house, how to negotiate, and how to win a real estate transaction. Some may say that buying or selling a real estate property is easy, but the fact is that pricing a house is a very difficult process. Many real estate agents, brokers, have suffered many defeats before their first good business, so do not expect their job to be an easy one.

Unfortunately, a concerning price and sales gains of these past years have determined in many cases quitting the real estate business. Many real estate agents who have seen the future preferred to do something else than real estate business. The credit market is also in a critical position, as many Realtors have observed. Mortgage values are also a result of real estate market position right now. Real estate investors have diminished their participation number to real estate auctions, as a sign they have seen it too.

Addicted to Real Estate

The All-Money-Down Technique

So how does the all-money-down technique work by purchasing a home with cash? First of all, let me repeat that I really didn’t have any cash, but I had a significant amount of equity from Terry’s home and several homes that I owned put together to give me a substantial cash down payment. Banks and mortgage companies alike will accept money from a home-equity line of credit as cash to purchase a home. At least they did in 1997 under the financial guidelines of the day. What you must remember about mortgages and lending is that the guidelines change constantly, so this technique I used in 1997 may or may not be able to be used in the future. Whether it is or isn’t able to be used again doesn’t really matter to me as I believe that there will always be a way to buy real estate with limited money down sooner or later. There will always be a technique to acquire real estate but exactly how that will be done in the future I’m not completely sure.

I began purchasing homes in the Mayfair section of Philadelphia with the prices in the $30,000 to $40,000 per home price range. I would purchase a home with three bedrooms and one bathroom on the second floor with a kitchen, dining room, and living room on the first floor and a basement. What we call a row home in Philadelphia would consist of a porch out front and a backyard the width of the home. Most row homes in Philadelphia are less than twenty-two feet wide. For those of you who are not from Philadelphia and can’t picture what a Philadelphia row home looks like, I suggest you watch the movie Rocky. Twenty-two homes on each side of every block will really test your ability to be a neighbor. Things that will usually cause an argument with your Philadelphia neighbors often stem from parking, noise your children make, where you leave your trash cans, parties, and the appearance of your home.

In 1998 my girlfriend and I moved in together and to the suburbs of Philadelphia called Warminster. After living on a street in Tacony, much like Rocky did, I really looked forward to having space between my home and my next-door neighbor. I told Terry not to even think about talking with the people who lived next door to us. I told her if one of them comes over with a fruitcake I am going to take it and punt it like a football right into their backyard. I believe I was suffering from Philadelphia row home syndrome. My new neighbors in Warminster turned out to be wonderful people, but it took me eighteen months before I was willing to learn that.

So you just bought your row home for $35,000 in Mayfair, and after $2000 in closing costs and $5000 in repair costs, you find yourself a good tenant who wants to rent the home. After renting the home with a positive cash flow of $200 a month, you now have an outstanding debt of $42,000 on your home equity line of credit that will have to be paid off. When purchasing the home, I did not get a mortgage as I just purchased a home for cash as it is said in the business. All monies I spent on this house were spent from the home-equity line of credit.

The move now is to pay off your home-equity line of credit so you can go do it again. We now go to a bank with your fixed-up property and tell the mortgage department that you want to do a cash-out refinancing of your real estate investment. It helps to explain that the neighborhood you purchase your property in should have a wider range of pricing as the neighborhood of Mayfair did in the mid-90s. The pricing of homes in Mayfair is quite unusual as you would see a $3000 difference in home values from one block to the next. This was important when doing a cash-out refinancing because it’s pretty easy for the bank to see that I just bought my property for $35,000 regardless of the fact that I did many repairs. I could justify the fact that I’ve spent more money on my home to fix it up, and by putting a tenant in, it was now a profitable piece of real estate from an investment standpoint.

If I was lucky like I was many times over doing this system of purchasing homes in Mayfair and the appraiser would use homes a block or two away and come back with an appraisal of $45,000. Back then there were programs allowing an investor to purchase a home for 10 percent down or left in as equity doing a 90 percent cash out refinance giving me back roughly $40,500. Utilizing this technique allowed me to get back most of the money I put down on the property. I basically paid just $1,500 down for this new home. Why did the mortgage companies and the appraisers keep giving me the numbers I wanted? I assume because they wanted the business. I would only tell the bank I need this to come in at $45,000 or I am just keeping it financed as is. They always seemed to give me what I wanted within reason.

This whole process took three to four months during which time I may have saved a few thousand dollars. Between the money I saved from my job and my investments and cash out refinancing, I had replenished most or all of my funds from my home-equity line of credit that was now almost back to zero to begin the process again. And that is exactly what I intended to do. I used this system to purchase four to six homes a year utilizing the same money to purchase home after home after home over and over again. In reality, the technique is a no-money down or little money down technique. At the time maybe I had $60,000 in available funds to use to buy homes off of my HELOC, so I would buy a home and then replenish the money. It was a terrific technique that was legal, and I could see my dream of being a real estate investor full-time coming to an eventual reality even though I wasn’t there yet.

During the years from 1995 to 2002, the real estate market in Philadelphia made gradual increases of maybe 6 percent as each year went on. I began to track my net worth that was 100 percent equity, meaning I had no other forms of investments to look at when calculating my net worth. Generally speaking, the first five years of my real estate career did not go well because of the bad decisions I made purchasing buildings and the decline in the market. Furthermore, my lack of knowledge and experience in repairs made it a rough. The second five years of my real estate career that I just finished explaining didn’t make much money either. I supported myself primarily through my career as a salesman, but I could definitely see the writing on the wall that down the road real estate was going to be my full-time gig.

Realty Professionals of America

I own an office building that has a real estate company as a tenant called Realty Professionals of America. The company has a terrific plan where a new agent receives 75 percent of the commission and the broker gets only 25 percent. If you don’t know it, this is a pretty good deal, especially for a new real estate agent. The company also offers a 5 percent sponsorship fee to the agent who sponsors them on every deal they do. If you bring an individual who is a realtor in to the company that you have sponsored, the broker will pay you a 5 percent sponsorship out of the broker’s end so that the new realtor you sponsored can still earn 75 percent commissions. In addition to the above, Realty Professionals of America offers to increase the realtor’s commission by 5 percent after achieving cumulative commission benchmarks, up to a maximum of 90 percent. Once a commission benchmark is reached, an agent’s commission rate is only decreased if commissions in the following year do not reach a lower baseline amount. I currently keep 85 percent of all my deals’ commissions; plus I receive sponsorship checks of 5 percent from the commissions that the agents I sponsored earn. If you’d like to learn more about being sponsored into Realty Professionals of America’s wonderful plan, please call me directly at 267-988-2000.

Getting My Real Estate License

One of the things that I did in the summer of 2005 after leaving my full-time job was to make plans to get my real estate license. Getting my real estate license was something I always wanted to do but never seemed to have the time to do it. I’m sure you’ve heard that excuse a thousand times. People always say that they’re going to do something soon as they find the time to do it, but they never seem to find the time, do they? I try not to let myself make excuses for anything. So I’ve made up my mind before I ever left my full-time job that one of the first things I would do was to get my real estate license. I enrolled in a school called the American Real Estate Institute for a two-week full-time program to obtain my license to sell real estate in the state of Pennsylvania. Two terrific guys with a world of experience taught the class, and I enjoyed the time I spent there. Immediately after completing the course at the American Real Estate Institute, I booked the next available day offered by the state to take the state exam. My teachers’ advice to take the exam immediately after the class turned out to be an excellent suggestion. I passed the exam with flying colors and have used my license many times since to buy real estate and reduce the expenses. If you are going to be a full-time real estate investor or a commercial real estate investor, then you almost have to get a license. While I know a few people who don’t believe this, I’m convinced it’s the only way.

I worked on one deal at $3 million where the commission to the buyer’s real estate agent was $75,000. By the time my broker took a share, I walked with $63,000 commission on that deal alone. With the average cost per year of being a realtor running about $1200 per year, this one deal alone would’ve paid for my real estate license for fifty-three years. Not to mention all the other fringe benefits like having access to the multiple listing service offered too many realtors in this country. While there are other ways to get access to the multiple listing services or another program similar to it, a real estate license is a great way to go.

Some of the negatives I hear over and over again about having your real estate license is the fact that you have to disclose that you are realtor when buying a home if you’re representing yourself. Maybe I’m missing something, but I don’t see this as a negative at all. If you’re skilled in the art of negotiation, it’s just another hurdle that you have to deal with. I suppose you could end up in a lawsuit where a court of law could assume because you are realtor you should know all these things. I don’t spend my life worrying about the million ways I can be sued any more than I worry about getting hit by a car every time I cross the street.

The Addict
From his first investment property over 20 years ago to his relentless search for the next great deal every day, Falcone is a non-stop real estate investment machine!

Get Addicted
Sometimes addiction is a very good thing. In this book Phil Falcone, the ultimate real estate addict, will show you how to achieve amazing success as a real estate investor:

  • Delve into the details of actual deals he negotiated and learn why his methods were so effective
    • Discover why his residential to commercial real estate strategy will create ultimate wealth
    • Learn how he used apparent liabilities (OCD, insomnia, and workaholic behavior) to help him achieve his goals
    • Explore why he can’t stop investing in real estate, and how you can start controlling your own financial destiny through real estate

Success to Investing in Real Estate

Most real estate professionals flunk within the first few months of trying to create a business enterprise out of real estate investing. The trick begins with a beneficial marketing plan and then practicing a disciplined effort to the marketing plan on a even basis. There is a lot more required to succeed, and you will encounter more tips, tricks and unique real estate marketing techniques in this article.

Is there anyone in your town that doesn’t recognize that you buy homes or that you are a real estate professional? If so, you aren’t performing as well at marketing or rendering real estate investing information about your real estate investing business enterprise as well you could be. I find out real estate investors telling all the time that they aren’t receiving seller phone calls and subsequently aren’t receiving the leads they need to find the real estate business deals they require to earn a living. I say increase the marketing and the sellers will Call. Not only that but if you are canvassing the world (or at least your area) that you buy problem real estate holdings, eventually you will be acknowledged for what you do and sellers will telephone you strictly on your reputation. this is what is called cost effective marketing.

One real estate professional was in a home, garden and hardware store a few calendar weeks ago and went past a couple of guys in an aisle. A conversation was heard while he walked by, I overheard one state, “That is the real estate man”. Now I had never known either of those men and have no idea who they are but that experience lets me acknowledge that I must be doing my business at letting the world to recognize my business is buying real estate in that area. There are many ways to let the area know that you are in the real estate investing profession and getting information out there that helps people realize you buy foreclosures, distressed real estate, do real estate short sales and have got a lot of real estate information and experience to flip properties. Some methods are cheap and some are more expensive. You are going to have to attempt many things and acquire a feel for what brings about for you the best results in your region to get the calls you require to transact real estate deals. I have tried many forms of marketing methods for real estate commercial enterprises of all varieties and have come back to a few that consistently create enough leads for me to purchase the 2 or 3 real estate holdings and houses I want to purchase every single calendar month. They are as follows:

Classified Ads

The classified advertisement in the most prominent newspaper in the region is by far the heaviest producer of leads for local real estate investors that I have determined. I understand it is costly and I understand there are instances it does not generate phone calls but if you are going to persist in the real estate investing business sector just place it in there and leave it. Get used to it making up part of the toll of performing the real estate business. You may expend about $350.00 a calendar month for my 4 line ad and that is the commercial range. I’d consider running it 365 days a year to constantly cue everyone that you are a real estate professional and you purchase real estate in their region.

Over the past few or so years I have watched many “real estate investor” ads come and go. Most folks put them in for a many or even just a couple of calendar weeks and then remove them or try just placing them in on the week ends. Real Estate Marketing just simply does not work this way. Put your real estate ad in the paper and leave it in there. It will more than make up for the price, trust me, and you will see after you finish your first deal. If you are distressed because there are real estate investors ads from many other investors in there, don’t be. They are there because they are getting responses. Just be sure to and actually answer your cell phone and keep it on all the time otherwise you’ll be squandering money.

When a fresh ad for real estate investor information shows up in my newspaper, I will always call on the advertisement. 9 times out of 10 I get a message device or answering service. This is a significant turn off to somebody who needs a resolution to their real estate trouble now. They want to speak to a person who can quiet their anxiety over their current issues with their home and tell them everything is going to be ok. Your answering device won’t do that, they need a human being. As for what to put in the advertising, you will have to work on this one. I have tried various idea and the one I have now hast not changed for over 4 years. I haven’t switched it because I get responses. My ad is:

We Pay CASH FOR HOMES In 24 Hours! Any area, price or condition Call xxx-xxx-xxxx

Now I have had other real estate professionals jockey for place and interchange their ad copy to be leading of mine in the column but it has not made whatsoever difference, at least as far as I can discern. Don’t worry about those things, just get the advertising out there and leave it. It could possibly take a bit of time, perhaps a several weeks to get going but sellers will telephone. As soon as you have your classified advertising running, then you should start working on your other marketing techniques right away. If you only go through one idea a week, within a few weeks or a couple of months you will have a significantly powerful real estate purchasing process.

Ads in the “Freebie” Papers

You might also run advertisements in the freebie papers in your local region or the region you want to conduct real estate investment deals. These are the “Thrifty Nickel”, or whatever they are named in your region. We run both a column ad and a display in this newspaper and expend about $175.00 or so a calendar month for these ads. They pull in seller leads reasonably well and have always rationalized the costs. Remember that these guys are usually open to talking terms on your rates and you will probably get a better rate if you commit to a longer advertising agreement.

Bandit Signs or Road Signs.

Bandit signs are great. They are some of the best lead producing tools around. I have yet to put out a bunch and not be bombed with calls right after I arranged my marketing. I just don’t position them out that often. I might place out a few to a half dozen or so a calendar month and the ones that continue and don’t get taken down continue to pull in phone calls. At an average price of less than $4.00 per sign, they are one of the greatest real estate marketing and advertising values available. Check the net for sign manufacturers for discount signage costs. I use 18 x 24 signs and set them at high traffic crossings around the town I wish to purchase houses in.

I also position a sign in the front yard immediately after purchasing any house. I have purchased several homes in the same regions as a result of marketing this way.

You can either use wood stakes or the wire stakes with your signs. I like the wood stakes because they do not bend like the wire ones, in addition, they are more less expensive and you can find just about any reasonably sized stick of wood or stake at your local hardware store for a really good value. Just get long lengths and trim down to fit. Then just nail the sign to it with the roofing nails with the orange or green plastic tops or you can use screws. There are many variants on what the wording on the sign can say. Keep in mind that traffic will be moving so you want to keep your message short and simple so it may be read. Plus your telephone number must be big, large and easy to read.

If you search the sign advertisement content, you will discover that it is same resemblance my paper ad. I like to brand my advertising because I believe that helps with identification that is probably why the two guys noticed me as a Real Estate Professional..You want to have contrast, so a white sign with dark blue letters usually is the best draw. Some folks swear by black on yellow or black on orange. Again, I say it’s not what or how you say it rather simply that you’re out there marketing and placing out signs that counts. You’ll build a ‘brand image over time if you stay logical with your real estate marketing endeavors. When dealing with bandit signs, be sure that your local code enforcement laws are aware of them. In some areas or counties they can lax on them but a few miles down the road in another county or city, they can be super strict and will ticket you in a minute, pull the signs down and lead off looking for your next posters to go after you again. Some retail merchants in high tax areas can’t put out any A board signage without having them sized and then fined.

Flyers and Bulletin Board Postings

Flyers and related collateral are another cheap way to get the word out that you are a real estate investor buy property, foreclosures or distressed properties. Just create a flyer with any one of the free on-line flyer software internet sites telling people that your are a real estate investor and how to get in touch with you. Make copies for few cents apiece and you have some really inexpensive real estate marketing and advertising. It really is that simple. Then place these flyers on every bulletin board in your Town or region you would like to buy your property, foreclosure or distressed home.. I also recommend that you place some of them in those plastic sheet shielders so the rain won’t ruin them and put them up on phone poles around neighborhoods I like to buy property in.. While not as prominent as the bandit signs, on poles actually in the neighbourhood they still attract phone calls. I carry a file with me in my automobile and put them up whenever I stop at a grocery store or major discount shop or really wherever. Some of the other area to put them are:

  • Laundromats
    · Taped to the inside of telephone Booths.
    · On the counter of any business organization that will let you place them at.
    · Bulletin boards at any local or major rebate store (lots of traffic)
    · Grocery store bulletin boards
    · Fax to Mortgage agents, call first
    · Fax to Real Estate Agents, call first and they may get a lot of these.
    · Take them Door to Door in target regions
    · Employment centre Bulletin board
    · County Courthouse or public office Bulletin board

These are just a few illustrations. Any place that will allow you to set one is a good place. You can never let too many people know that you are a real estate investor and are in the foreclosure market.

Imprinted and/or Promotional Items

Optimum Real Estate Investor Marketing Ideas – These no-lose ideas are sure to get you top hits on leads and calls for your Real Estate Investing occupation.

These are some of my favourites and most fun. While they are not the top producers of leads or the least costly, they will sure position you apart from the average investor.

Pen Knives – These tiny Swiss army knives are the neatest things. They are actually key chains etched with your content, mine being: WE BUY HOMES – All cash or take over payments within 24 hours! Call xxx-xxx-xxx I assure if you give one of these to somebody they will hold on to it it and if they conceive of selling, they will think of you. They are about $1.75 each.

Key Chains – I give these to all my buyers with the keys to their new house on them and leave them all over the place. They come in the shape of a house or #1 or whatever style you like and have your message on them. You can guess what mine says. Cost – about $. 25 cents apiece.

Pens – I use these all the time. Whenever I sign a sales receipt or anything I leave my pen. I cannot tell you how many outcries I have gotten off of these things and since I often need one, I always possess one to give away. My attorney even has a supply on his closing table. I possess two types printed. One for sellers says “We Buy Homes!” and one for buyers says “Everyone Qualifies”. Cost – about $.26 cents per unit.

Coin Holders – These you hardly find anymore so everyone is surprised when I have them. I leave these things everywhere. Mine are bright yellow with blue letters and my message. Cost – about $.30 cents apiece.

I leave all of these promotional items everywhere, on the top of gas pumps, on end-cap displays in grocery stores and in department stores. I look at it this way, if I give away 100 pens, 50 knives and 50 coin holders a month, that is only a little over $100 bucks a month. That is still cheap advertising. And with the money you can make in a real estate deal, it is ‘no cost’ marketing strategy. You can get any of these promotional advertising products at many major promotion marketing manufacturer, and you can find companies online as well.

Business Cards

I order business cards by the 1000’s and you should as well, there are a lot of great places online that can print up nice (and cheap) cards for you and that specialize in real estate as well. As for business cards, well, they are cheap, mine are about $50.00 for 2000, and I pass them out and leave them everywhere I possibly can. I leave my cards everywhere, in pay phones, on restaurant tables, my kids even have their own supply to pass out. Try to get a box a week out. The card doesn’t have to be fancy, in fact the simpler the better. My card is bright yellow with blue letters and says:

WE BUY HOUSES Foreclosure? Need Repairs? Bad Tenants? Divorce? CASH IN 48 HOURS! OFFERS MADE ON ALL CALLS! XXX-XXX-XXXX

Car Magnetics

Magnetics are one of those things where you spend once and get use for a long time. Mine cost about $75.00 and are yellow with blue letters. They say:

WE BUY HOUSES! FA$T CA$H XXX-XXX-XXXX

or

SELL YOUR HOME FAST WE PAY CA$H XXX-XXX-XXXX

I have gotten several deals from these signs. Remember to order a smaller set for the back of your car/truck. People have more of a chance to read the message when they are riding behind you.

Clothing

I like golf shirts and oxford dress shirts with my logo on them. There’s plenty of adverting houses that will help you design a logo if you don’t have one or use the one you already have. There is no charge for set up and all items ordered include your embroidered logo free.

I pass custom imprinted hats out to everyone I know who wears one and have given away many shirts as well. They really look nice and present a nice image for your business.

Real Estate Leads For Realtors

Because real estate prices have dropped quite a bit, the potential commissions that real estate agents and brokers could earn have also dropped. But the drop in commissions can be more than offset by the amount of properties that can be sold. And getting quality real estate leads is one of the keys to making this a reality for real estate professionals. This is because there are so many more properties on the market now than there were before the bubble burst.

The rise in the number of homeowners who are underwater on their mortgages has increased so much that a very large number of them have decided that they cannot afford to stay in their homes. They would rather sell their home and buy a comparable home for a much lower price, and take the loss so that they can improve their cash flow situation by having a lower mortgage payment each month. And since there is no shortage of properties to buy, these people had no problem finding a suitable home for a good price.

And another result of the rise in available properties is that more and more people are becoming first-time homeowners. Since prices on homes are falling, more and more people are able to afford a home for the same amount they are currently paying in rent. So the logical choice for these people is to buy a house rather than continuing to rent.

These factors all lead to one thing – a higher need for real estate agents to help the buying and selling of all of these properties. Therefore, even though prices have fallen, the quantity of available properties, buyers, and sellers has raised which more than makes up for the lower prices in terms of how much a given real estate agent could make in the current real estate market. And as we all know, the more clients a real estate agent has, the more properties they’ll sell and the more money they’ll make.

The problem comes in when a real estate agent has already gone through their current client list. The best way for them to get more clients is to somehow obtain more real estate leads. Not only do they need more leads, they need high quality leads if they are going to be successful in converting a high number of them into clients who actually follow through on buying and/or selling one or more properties.

So how can you get more real estate leads? There are of course many different ways. These include buying them from an agency that offers them, advertising, subscribing to lead generation websites, developing and keeping current your own real estate website that draws potential

clients to it, and best of all by getting them through your own network. There are undoubtedly other ways of generating real estate leads as well, but these are the most common methods – all of which have proven to work to a certain degree.

One of the easiest ways to get real estate leads is by purchasing them. There are companies whose sole purpose is to find people who want to buy or sell a property. They then sell this information to people who are willing to pay for it. So if you are a real estate agent looking for real estate leads and either don’t have the time to find your own, or simply don’t want to, then this may be a good option for you.

There are two different major ways to do this. You can purchase the real estate leads from a company as a set of data that you will get in the form of a list or spreadsheet. Then you will need to start sifting through them and using the data available to qualify and categorize them yourself. And after that, it’s time to start making calls to find out they are valid leads or not.

The other way of purchasing real estate leads is by subscribing to a real estate lead generator website that will send you much smaller lists of leads on a regular basis. This can be nice because the information is likely to be much more current than buying a single very large list of leads. But this also means that there are fewer to work with so it doesn’t give you as much freedom in terms of choosing who to contact first.

Purchasing real estate leads or subscribing to a lead generation website can also be expensive. This can be a very bad thing since the whole intent of buying leads is to find clients, sell properties, and make commissions, if the leads that you buy don’t turn into commissions. In that case, not only did you not sell any properties (or many properties), but you wasted money on worthless information, and you wasted time contacting worthless leads when you could have been working on finding good real estate leads instead.

Another way to generate real estate leads is by advertising. If you are a real estate agent, broker, or business person, advertising your services may be a good way to generate real estate leads. This type of lead generation is great because rather than you doing the work to find people who want to buy or sell a property, the tables are turned and they come looking for you instead.

In addition to having people try to find you instead of you trying to find them, there is another benefit to advertising to generate real estate leads. The people who are trying to find you are already definitely interested in buying or selling a property. This means that you don’t have to worry about whether they are going to turn out to be qualified leads or not, because they definitely will be.

A similar way to generate real estate leads by advertising which can be even more effective than simply advertising on a billboard or in the paper is by setting up your own real estate website. Websites are surprisingly inexpensive to have hosted, and having one developed for you doesn’t have to be expensive either. And if you learn the basics of website development, you’ll be able to maintain it by yourself after it’s been set up so that you can always keep it current.

The reasons to keep your website current cannot be understated. First, you have to keep it updated with the properties you are trying to sell so that the people who visit your website will have something to look at – and since this list of properties will be changing frequently as your client list grows and changes, you’ll need to change your website often to incorporate the new properties and eliminate the ones that are no longer available.

A second reason for keeping your website updated on a regular basis your page rank will grow higher. Search engines use a number of factors to determine how relevant they are to certain keywords, and where to display them in a list of search results. And one of the biggest things that moves a website toward the top of the list is it’s page rank, which is greatly affected by how active and how current the website is. So the more often you update your website, the higher its page rank will be, the higher it’ll show up in search results related to real estate keywords, and the more visitors you’ll get to your site.

Once you get visitors to your site, you’ll be getting the exposure you want to potential clients for free. They can stay on your site for as long as they want to and look at as few or as many properties as they want to. And you don’t have to do anything in order to help them. In fact there could be thousands of people all on your website at the same time. That is something that you would not likely ever have the opportunity to do in person. This phenomenon is what is known as leverage, and leverage is what can turn a small business into a fortune 500 business in short order when managed correctly.

The best way to do real estate lead generation also happens to be one of the most difficult – at least in the beginning. The method of finding leads is by building a very large network, and using it. This is one of the best ways to get leads because it is one of the most surprisingly effective ways. But unfortunately, it’s also one of the more difficult ways to start, and takes a while to yield significant results.

The first thing you’ll need to do is to start building your network. And it’s not that you just need to start building it, you need to intentionally focus on building your network each end every day, no matter where you are or who you’re talking to. This is because for most people, networking does not come naturally.

If you are like most people, you are probably somewhat shy and don’t make it a point to intentionally meet and talk to new people on a regular basis. But if you want to build a network, you’ll have to do exactly that. This is something that can come as a challenge to say the least, both emotionally and technically, but it is well worth the effort in the long run.

It can be emotionally difficult because a large part of building a large network is dealing with rejection. And if you want to build a large network quickly, you’ll have to deal with a lot of rejection each and every day. Too many people, being rejected is taken personally and it ends up wearing them down so that they eventually give up before they gain the benefits that building a large network provides. But if you can learn how to not take rejection personally, you’ll succeed where so many others have given up and failed as a result.

And networking to generate real estate leads can be done almost anywhere. When you need to put some gas in your car, park on the other side of the pump from someone who’s already there and try to strike up a conversation where you’ll be able to tell them that you’re in the real estate business and can help them or anyone else they know who may be looking to buy or sell. And if you’re really serious about it, you may want to only get $10 or some other small amount of gas at a time so that you’ll need to go to the gas station more often and have more opportunities to network.

You can also build your network by meeting new people at any other place. You could talk to someone at the grocery store, library, church, waiting in line at the bank, or anywhere you are around other people for more than a few minutes at a time and starting a conversation wouldn’t be too awkward. It can be done anywhere, with just about anyone, at almost any time. And the more dedicated you are to it, the faster you’ll be able to grow your network and the better off you’ll be in the long run.

Some of the best ways to network are by talking to the people you already know. These are people who are already in your network, and you can use them to help you grow your network even larger. The most obvious way is to simply ask them if they are interested in buying or selling a property in the near future, and to keep you in mind if they are.

But another way to help you grow your network is to ask them who they know that may be interested in buying or selling a property. You are basically asking them for real estate leads using different words. You could ask them for the names and numbers of people who they know who may be interested in buying or selling a property, or you could ask them to give your contact information to the people they have in mind when you ask them that question.

It’s a great idea to have business cards with your contact information made up when you’re networking. That way you won’t have to rely on people’s memories which are definitely not the most reliable things when compared to something they can simply read from a card. Cards on the other hand make it so that the person you are giving your contact information to doesn’t have to rely on their memory, and it puts forth a more professional image as well which can only benefit you.

Real estate values have taken a dive and one of the results has led to there being many, many more properties on the market now compared to before the economy took a dive in 2008. This means that even though the prices are lower, the higher quantity of properties on the market make it possible to buy and sell more of them and make more money in commissions as a result which will more than make up for the decreased individual property values.

I order to sell more properties you must have more clients. And to get more clients, you need to have more real estate leads. These real estate leads can be generated in a variety of different ways, all of which can be useful to real estate professionals. Having reliable leads will definitely result in more clients, more sales, and more money made in commissions. Purchasing them, advertising for them, or getting them from your network is all great ways go get leads that all have their own strengths and weaknesses. Pick the one that will work best for you, and you’ll be on your way to making more money through real estate in less time that you think.

Foreign Investment in California Real Estate

There is some exciting news for foreign investors due to recent geo-political developments and the emergence of several financial factors. This coalescence of events, has at its core, the major drop in the price of US real estate, combined with the exodus of capital from Russia and China. Among foreign investors this has suddenly and significantly produced a demand for real estate in California.

Our research shows that China alone, spent $22 billion on U.S. housing in the last 12 months, much more than they spent the year before. Chinese in particular have a great advantage driven by their strong domestic economy, a stable exchange rate, increased access to credit and desire for diversification and secure investments.

We can cite several reasons for this rise in demand for US Real Estate by foreign Investors, but the primary attraction is the global recognition of the fact that the United States is currently enjoying an economy that is growing relative to other developed nations. Couple that growth and stability with the fact that the US has a transparent legal system which creates an easy avenue for non-U.S. citizens to invest, and what we have is a perfect alignment of both timing and financial law… creating prime opportunity! The US also imposes no currency controls, making it easy to divest, which makes the prospect of Investment in US Real Estate even more attractive.

Here, we provide a few facts that will be useful for those considering investment in Real Estate in the US and Califonia in particular. We will take the sometimes difficult language of these topics and attempt to make them easy to understand.

This article will touch briefly on some of the following topics: Taxation of foreign entities and international investors. U.S. trade or businessTaxation of U.S. entities and individuals. Effectively connected income. Non-effectively connected income. Branch Profits Tax. Tax on excess interest. U.S. withholding tax on payments made to the foreign investor. Foreign corporations. Partnerships. Real Estate Investment Trusts. Treaty protection from taxation. Branch Profits Tax Interest income. Business profits. Income from real property. Capitol gains and third-country use of treaties/limitation on benefits.

We will also briefly highlight dispositions of U.S. real estate investments, including U.S. real property interests, the definition of a U.S. real property holding corporation “USRPHC”, U.S. tax consequences of investing in United States Real Property Interests ” USRPIs” through foreign corporations, Foreign Investment Real Property Tax Act “FIRPTA” withholding and withholding exceptions.

Non-U.S. citizens choose to invest in US real estate for many different reasons and they will have a diverse range of aims and goals. Many will want to insure that all processes are handled quickly, expeditiously and correctly as well as privately and in some cases with complete anonymity. Secondly, the issue of privacy in regards to your investment is extremely important. With the rise of the internet, private information is becoming more and more public. Although you may be required to reveal information for tax purposes, you are not required, and should not, disclose property ownership for all the world to see. One purpose for privacy is legitimate asset protection from questionable creditor claims or lawsuits. Generally, the less individuals, businesses or government agencies know about your private affairs, the better.

Reducing taxes on your U.S. investments is also a major consideration. When investing in U.S. real estate, one must consider whether property is income-producing and whether or not that income is ‘passive income’ or income produced by trade or business. Another concern, especially for older investors, is whether the investor is a U.S. resident for estate tax purposes.

The purpose of an LLC, Corporation or Limited Partnership is to form a shield of protection between you personally for any liability arising from the activities of the entity. LLCs offer greater structuring flexibility and better creditor protection than limited partnerships, and are generally preferred over corporations for holding smaller real estate properties. LLC’s aren’t subject to the record-keeping formalities that corporations are.

If an investor uses a corporation or an LLC to hold real property, the entity will have to register with the California Secretary of State. In doing so, articles of incorporation or the statement of information become visible to the world, including the identity of the corporate officers and directors or the LLC manager.

An great example is the formation of a two-tier structure to help protect you by creating a California LLC to own the real estate, and a Delaware LLC to act as the manager of the California LLC. The benefits to using this two-tier structure are simple and effective but must one must be precise in implementation of this strategy.

In the state of Delaware, the name of the LLC manager is not required to be disclosed, subsequently, the only proprietary information that will appear on California form is the name of the Delaware LLC as the manager. Great care is exercised so that the Delaware LLC is not deemed to be doing business in California and this perfectly legal technical loophole is one of many great tools for acquiring Real Estate with minimal Tax and other liability.

Regarding using a trust to hold real property, the actual name of the trustee and the name of the trust must appear on the recorded deed. Accordingly, If using a trust, the investor might not want to be the trustee, and the trust need not include the investor’s name. To insure privacy, a generic name can be used for the entity.

In the case of any real estate investment that happens to be encumbered by debt, the borrower’s name will appear on the recorded deed of trust, even if title is taken in the name of a trust or an LLC. But when the investor personally guarantees the loan by acting AS the borrower through the trust entity, THEN the borrower’s name may be kept private! At this point the Trust entity becomes the borrower and the owner of the property. This insures that the investor’s name does not appear on any recorded documents.

Because formalities, like holding annual meetings of shareholders and maintaining annual minutes, are not required in the case of limited partnerships and LLCs, they are often preferred over corporations. Failing to observe corporate formalities can lead to failure of the liability shield between the individual investor and the corporation. This failure in legal terms is called “piercing the corporate veil”.

Limited partnerships and LLCs may create a more effective asset protection stronghold than corporations, because interests and assets may be more difficult to reach by creditors to the investor.

To illustrate this, let’s assume an individual in a corporation owns, say, an apartment complex and this corporation receives a judgment against it by a creditor. The creditor can now force the debtor to turn over the stock of the corporation which can result in a devastating loss of corporate assets.

However, when the debtor owns the apartment building through either a Limited Partnership or an LLC the creditor’s recourse is limited to a simple charging order, which places a lien on distributions from the LLC or limited partnership, but keeps the creditor from seizing partnership assets and keeps the creditor out the affairs of the LLC or Partnership.

Income Taxation of Real Estate

For the purposes of Federal Income tax a foreigner is referred to as nonresident alien (NRA). An NRA can be defined as a foreign corporation or a person who either;

  1. A) Physically is present in the United States for less than 183 days in any given year. B) Physically is present less than 31 days in the current year. C) Physically is present for less than 183 total days for a three-year period (using a weighing formula) and does not hold a green card.

The applicable Income tax rules associated to NRAs can be quite complex, but as a general rule, the income that IS subject to withholding is a 30 percent flat tax on “fixed or determinable” – “annual or periodical” (FDAP) income (originating in the US), that is not effectively connected to a U.S. trade or business that is subject to withholding. Important point there, which we will address momentarily.

Tax rates imposed on NRAs may be reduced by any applicable treaties and the Gross income is what gets taxed with almost not offsetting deductions. So here, we need to address exactly what FDAP income includes. FDAP is considered to include; interest, dividends, royalties, and rents.

Simply put, NRAs are subject to a 30 percent tax when receiving interest income from U.S. sources. Included within the definitions of FDAP are some miscellaneous categories of income such as; annuity payments, certain insurance premiums, gambling winnings, and alimony.

Capital gains from U.S. sources, however, are generally not taxable unless: A)The NRA is present in the United States for more than 183 days. B) The gains can be effectively connected to a U.S. trade or business. C) The gains are from the sale of certain timber, coal, or domestic iron ore assets.

NRA’s can and will be taxed on capital gains (originating in the US) at the rate of 30 percent when these exceptions apply.Because NRA’s are taxed on income in the same manner as a US taxpayers when that income can effectively be connected to a US trade or business, then it becomes necessary to define what constitutes; “U.S. trade or business” and to what “effectively connected” means. This is where we can limit the taxable liability.

There are several ways in which the US defines “US trade or Business” but there is no set and specific code definition. The term “US Trade or Business” can be seen as: selling products in the United States (either directly or through an agent), soliciting orders for merchandise from the US and those goods out of the US, providing personal services in the United States, manufacturing, maintaining a retail store, and maintaining corporate offices in the United States.Conversely, there are highly specific and complex definitions for “effectively connected” involving the “force of attraction” and “asset-use” rules, as well as “business-activities” tests.

Generally and for simplistic explanation, an NRA is “effectively connected” if he or she is engaged as a General or limited partner in a U.S. trade or business. Similarly, if the estate or trust is so engaged in trade or business then any beneficiary of said trust or estate is also engaged

For real estate, the nature of the rental income becomes the critical concern. The Real Estate becomes passive if it is generated by a triple-net lease or from lease of unimproved land. When held in this manner and considered passive the rental income is taxed on a gross basis, at a flat rate of 30 percent with applicable withholding and no deductions.

Investors should consider electing to treat their passive real property income, as income from a U.S. trade or business, because the nature of this type of holding and loss of deduction inherent therein is often tax prohibited. However, the election can only be made if the property is generating income.

If the NRA owns or invests in or owns unimproved land that will be developed in the future, he or she should consider leasing the land. This is a great way to generate income. Investment in income-generating allows the NRA the ability to claim deductions from the property and generate a loss carry-forward that will offset income in future years.

There are many tools we can use to assist our NRA clients in avoiding taxation on Real Estate income property, one of which is ‘portfolio interest’, which is payable only on a debt instrument and not subject to taxation or withholding. There are several ways to fit within the confines of these ‘portfolio interest’ rules. NRAs can participate in the practice of lending through equity participation loans or loans with equity kickers. An equity kicker is like a loan that allows the lender to participate in equity appreciation. Allowing the lender to convert debt into equity in the form of a conversion option is one way that this can be accomplished as these provisions usually increase interest rates on a contingent basis to mimic equity participation.

There are two levels of tax applicable to a foreign individual or a foreign corporation who owns a U.S. corporation.

The U.S. corporation will be subject subjected to a 30 percent withholding tax on its profits, when the income is not re-invested in the United States and there will be a tax on dividends paid to the foreign shareholders as well. When the U.S. business is owned by a foreign corporation, whether directly or through a disregarded entity, or through a pass-through entity. The branch profits tax replicates the double tax.

The U.S. has treaties covering the ‘branch profits tax’ with most of the European nations, reducing the tax to between 5 and 10 percent. The 30 percent tax is onerous, as it applies to a “dividend equivalent amount,” which is the corporation’s effectively connected earnings and profits for the year, less investments the corporation makes in its U.S. assets (money and adjusted bases of property connected with the conduct of a U.S. trade or business). The tax is imposed even if there is no distribution.

Foreign corporations are taxed on their effectively connected income and on any deemed dividends, which are any profits not reinvested in the United State under the branch profits tax.

The rules applicable to the tax on the disposition of real estate are found in a separate regime known as the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act of 1980 (FIRPTA).

Generally, FIRTPA taxes an NRAs holdings of U.S. real property interest (USRPI) as if he or she were engaged in a U.S. trade or business. As mentioned earlier, this means that the traditional income tax rules that apply to U.S. taxpayers will also apply to the NRA. Obligation to withhold 10 percent of the amount realized on any disposition falls on purchasers who acquire a USRPI from an NRA.

Ownership and interests of Real Estate Property include: fee ownership, co-ownership, leasehold, timeshare, a life estate, a remainder, a reversion or a right to participate in the appreciation of real property or in the profits from real property. For purposes of definition interest in real property would include any ownership of personal property used to exploit natural resources, land, buildings, mineral deposits, crops, fixtures, operations to construct improvements, the operation of a lodging facility, or providing a furnished office to a tenant (including movable walls or furnishings) as well as Improvements, leaseholds, or options to acquire any of the above.

There are several ways in which a partnership interest is treated as a USRPI: A domestic corporation will be treated as a U.S. real property holding corporation (USRPHC) if USRPIs are equal to or exceed 50 percent of the sum of the corporation’s assets. OR when 50 percent or more of the value of the gross partnership assets consists of USRPIs – Or when 50 percent or more of the value of partnership gross assets consist of USRPIs plus cash and cash equivalents. The disposition of partnership interest will be subject to FIRPTA. To the extent that such partnership continues to own USRPIs they will remain subject to this withholding.

The good news is that disposition of an interest in a USRPHC is subject to the FIRPTA tax and withholding but is not subject to state income tax. There is an obvious benefit when compared with the disposition of a USRPI owned directly. USRPI which are owned directly are subject to the lower federal capital gains rate as well as state income tax. If, however on the date of the disposition the corporation had no USRPIs and the totality of the gain was fully recognized (no installment sales or exchanges) on the sale of any USRPIs sold within the past five years Then this disposition cannot be subject to these rules.

Any USRPI sold by an NRA (individual or corporation) will be subject to 10 percent withholding of the amount realized. Withholding applies even if the property is sold at a loss.

The purchaser must report the withholding and pay over the tax, using Form 8288 within 20 days of the purchase. This is to be duly noted because if the purchaser fails to collect the withholding tax from the foreigner, the purchaser will be liable for not only the tax, but also any applicable penalties and interest. The withheld taxes are later credited against the total tax liability of the foreigner.

Instances wherein withholding is not required, are the following:

The seller provides a certificate of non-foreign status. Property acquired by the purchaser is not a USRPI. The transferred property is stock of a domestic corporation and the corporation provides a certificate that it is not a USRPHC.

The USRPI acquired will be used by the purchaser as a residence and the amount realized by the foreigner on the disposition is $300,000 or less. The disposition is not subject to tax, or the amount realized by the foreigner on the disposition is zero.

Estate and Gift Tax: In determining who is an NRA and who is excluded the test is completely different for estate tax purposes. The focus of inquiry will centers around the decedent’s residence. This test is very subjective and focuses primarily on intent.The test considers factors from across the board, such as how long the NRA has been in the United States, how often he or she travels as well as the size, and cost of home in the United States. The test will also look at the location of NRA’s family, their participation in community activities, participation in U.S. business and ownership of assets in the United States. Voting is also taken into consideration.

A foreigner can be a U.S. resident for income tax purposes but not be domiciled for estate tax purposes. An NRA, whether a nonresident alien or non-domiciliary, will be subject to a different transfer taxes (estate and gift taxes) than a U.S. taxpayer. Only the gross part of the NRA’s Estate that at the time of death is situated in the United States will be taxed with the estate tax. Although the rate of NRA’s estate tax will be the same as that imposed on U.S. citizens and resident aliens, the unified credit is only $13,000 (equivalent to about $60,000 of property value).

These may be ameliorated by any existing estate tax treaty. European countries, Australia, and Japan enjoys these treaties, The U.S. does not maintain as many estate tax treaties as income tax treaties.

The IRC defines the following property as situated in the United States: A) Shares of stock of a U.S. corporation. B) Revocable transfers or transfers within three years of death of U.S. property or transfers with a retained interest (described in IRC Sections 2035 to 2038). C) Debt issued by a U.S. person or a governmental entity within the United States (e.g., municipal bonds).

Real estate in the United States is considered U.S. property when it is physical personal property such as works of art, furniture, cars, and currency. Debt, however is ignored if it is recourse debt, but gross value is included, not just equity. U.S.-situs property is also a US property if it is a beneficial interest in a trust holding. Life insurance is NOT included as U.S.-situs property.

The estate tax returns must disclose all of the NRA’s worldwide assets, in order to determine the ratio that the U.S. assets bear to non-U.S. assets. The gross estate is reduced by various deductions relating to the U.S.-situs property. This ratio determines the percentage of allowable deductions that may be claimed against the gross estate.

As mentioned earlier, when real estate is subject to a recourse mortgage, the gross value of the real estate is included, offset by the mortgage debt. This distinction is very relevant for NRAs whose debts are subject to apportionment between U.S. and non-U.S. assets and therefore not fully deductible.

Accurate planning is crucial. Let us illustrate: An NRA can own US property through a foreign corporation and this property is not included in the NRA’s estate. This means that the US Real property owned by the NRA has now effectively been converted into a non-U.S. intangible asset.

And with Real Estate that was not initially acquired through a foreign corporation, you can still avoid future taxation to the estate by paying an income tax today on the transfer of the real estate to a foreign corporation (usually treated as a sale).

An NRA donor is not subject to U.S. gift taxes on any gifts of non-U.S. situs property gifted to any person, including U.S. citizens and residents. Gift taxes are imposed on the donor. Gifts from an NRA that are in excess of $100,000 must reported on Form 3520.46 by citizens and residents, however, Gifts of U.S.-situs assets are subject to gift taxes, with the exception of intangibles, which are not taxable.

If it is physically located in the United States tangible personal property and real property is sited within the United States. The lifetime unified credit is not available to NRA donors, but NRA donors are allowed the same annual gift tax exclusion as other taxpayers. NRA’s are also subject to the same rate-schedule for gift taxes.

The primary thrust of estate tax planning for NRAs is through the use of; the following: Foreign corporations to own U.S. assets, and the gift tax exemption for intangibles to remove assets from the United States. It is very important that the corporation have a business purpose and activity, lest it be deemed a sham designed to avoid U.S. estate taxes. If the NRA dies owning shares of stock in a foreign corporation, the shares are not included in the NRA’s estate, regardless of the situs of the corporation’s assets.

Let us break this down into one easy to read and understand paragraph:

In a nutshell, shares in U.S. corporations and interests in partnerships or LLCs are intangibles and the gift of an intangible, wherever situated, by an NRA is not subject to gift tax. Consequently, real estate owned by the NRA through a U.S. corporation, partnership, or LLC may be removed from the NRA’s U.S. estate by gifting entity interests to foreign relatives.

Ownership Structures: Here we discuss the ownership architectures under which NRA’s can acquire Real Estate. The NRA’s personal goals and priorities of course dictate the type of architecture that will be used. There are advantages and disadvantages to each of these alternatives. Direct investment for example, (real estate owned by the NRA) is simple and is subject to only one level of tax on the disposition. The sale is taxed at a 15 percent rate If the real estate is held for one year. There are many disadvantages to the direct investment approach, a few of which are: no privacy, no liability protection, the obligation to file U.S. income tax returns, and if the NRA dies while owning the property, his or her estate is subject to U.S. estate taxes.

When an NRA acquires the real estate through an LLC or an LP, this is considered an LLC or a limited partnership structure. This structure provides the NRA with protection of privacy and liability and allows for lifetime transfers that escape the gift tax. The obligation to file U.S. income tax returns and the possibility for U.S. estate tax on death remain, however.

Ownership of real estate through a domestic corporation, will afford privacy and liability protection, obviate the foreigner’s need to file individual U.S. income tax returns and allow lifetime gift tax-free transfers. *this refers to a C corporation, since a foreign shareholder precludes an S corporation.

Ownership of stock will not trigger a return filing obligation, unlike engaging in a U.S. trade or business which requires a U.S. tax return

Ownership of real estate through a domestic corporation has three disadvantages: Federal and state corporate income tax at the corporate level will add a second layer of tax. Dividends from the domestic corporation to its foreign shareholder will be subject to 30 percent withholding. Shares of the domestic corporation will be included in the U.S. estate of the foreign shareholder.

Furthermore, the foreign shareholder will be subject to FIRPTA, because the corporation will be treated as a USRPHC (upon the disposition of the stock in the corporation). The purchaser of the shares is then required the file a U.S. income tax return with 10 percent tax withholding. Actual ownership of the real estate may be held by the U.S. corporation directly, or by a disregarded entity owned by the corporation or through a U.S. partnership. An LLC that chooses to be taxed as a corporation can also be the corporation.

There are several advantages to foreign corporation ownership:

Liability protection– There is no U.S. income tax or filing requirement for the foreign shareholder. Shares in the foreign corporation are non-U.S. assets not included in the U.S. estate.

Dividends are not subject to U.S. withholding. There is no tax or filing requirement on the disposition of the stock. There is no gift tax on the transfer of those shares of stock.

Disadvantages of using the foreign corporation: A) just like with the domestic corporation, there will be corporate level taxes, because the foreign corporation will be deemed engaged in a U.S. trade or business. B) Possibly the largest disadvantage of ownership of U.S. real estate through a foreign corporation would be that the foreign corporation will be subject to the branch profits tax.

One of the most advantageous structure for ownership of U.S. real estate by NRAs is a hybrid foreign and U.S. corporation. It runs like this: The NRA owns a foreign corporation that in turn owns a U.S. LLC taxed as a corporation. The benefits to this type of structure is paramount to a good tax shield and offers: privacy and liability protection, escaping U.S. individual income tax filing requirements and it also avoids U.S. estate taxes. On top of that it allows for gift tax-free lifetime transfers, and avoids the branch profits tax.

The beauty and benefit of this is that the timing and the amount of this dividend is within the NRA’s control even though distributions from the U.S. subsidiary to the foreign parent are subject to the 30 percent FDAP withholding.

There are many things to consider and several structures available to limit tax liability, preserve and protect anonymity and increase profits of US Real Estate investments by foreign investors. We must keep in mind that each investment presents its own challenges and no structure is perfect. Advantages and disadvantages abound which will require a tailored analysis in light of the individual or group objectives.