Categories
Real Estate

How Real Estate Investors can Prepare for Turbulent Economic Future

Investing in the future is the smartest thing you can do now, considering the economy contracted for two consecutive quarters, the typical textbook definition of a recession. Although, the US is still not technically in a recession, as the National Bureau of Economic Research is the only body allowed to make that call (and they haven’t, yet…), the warning signs are there.

What can’t be ignored is that the economy is contracting while productivity is declining, so it’s best to prepare for the harsh economic days ahead. Because of the unpredictable economic behavior, this article will discuss how to invest in your future so you can ride through the hard times.

1. Create an Investment Plan

The first step to building a financially secure future is to create an investment plan. With such a volatile market, you need a guiding star to help you commit to the master plan and avoid panicked decisions. An investment plan lays down a strategy after gauging all the market variables. That way, you can recognize and weigh all the risks when investing, enabling you to fulfill all your obligations still. The plan should help you realize the best investment vehicles.

The key to creating a plan is to be realistic about what you can achieve. Note that creating an entire financial strategy for the future in one sitting isn’t going to work. Instead, break down each piece into smaller steps that are manageable and achievable. Once you’ve figured out the steps, write them down, so they’re easy to refer back to when needed.

2. Diversify your Investments

As is often said, never place all your eggs in one basket. Diversifying is an excellent way to get the most out of your money, even in the most troubling economic slumps. It means spreading the investments across different asset classes so that if one class tanks, another will likely thrive. Markets you can try your hand at include:

a) Invest in REITs

Real estate investment trusts (REITs) are a great way to invest in real estate without owning any property. They’re publicly traded on stock exchanges and often pay out dividends from their rental income. In a risk-off environment such as the current one, REITs are typically the oasis of hope, and it’s easy to see why. REITs offer relative inflation protection and high dividends but bear a low correlation to the stock market and have low transaction fees.

REITs are excellent investment vehicles for the long term, typically outperforming bonds and stocks in some periods. If anything, REIT’s average yield is over 3%, more than double what you would earn from S&P 500 stocks. What’s more, REITs are liquid, so you can get your cash as soon as the market opens.

b) Home Flipping 

You don’t have to own an entire rental property to reap the benefits of investing in properties. A neat trick to try is home flipping, which involves buying distressed properties at discounts, renovating them, and selling them for a profit.

c) Sandwich Lease

In this arrangement, you enter a rent-to-own agreement with a landlord, then lease it to a tenant. It’s one of the most cost-effective ways to enter into real estate, as the tenant will allow you to purchase the property after several years.

3. Concentrate on Marketing

Investing in your marketing strategy is one of the best ways to create a sustainable business. Marketing will boost sales and build your reputation, increase your relevance and demand, and cements your place among customers, creating a loyal customer base.

One of the most potent forms of marketing is digital marketing. The main way of doing this is through search engine optimization (SEO) using keywords. You target a range of words potential clients use when searching for real estate properties for Google to drive traffic to your online sites.

Digital marketing could take many forms, such as email marketing, blogging—which 56% of marketers say is effective, and social media. Posting content on social media is exceptionally effective considering 82% of Americans use social platforms.

Whichever form of marketing you settle on, you should try videos. According to Wyzowl’s research, 86% of marketers said videos helped increase traffic and generate leads, while 81% said they directly helped increase sales.

4. Automate your Savings

Automating savings is a great way to ensure you always have money available for whatever comes up. The best part is you won’t even have to think about it as it works in the background.

It’s also a great way to start investing in the future. You can set up automated transfers from checking to savings and then start saving with every dollar. It’s easy, painless, and will save you money in the long run. 

To automate your savings, use an app like Acorns or Qapital. These apps allow you to set up automatic savings plans, plan, and invest without making withdrawals at specific times as traditional banks do.

5. Start Investing in Yourself

Another great way to prepare for the future is by investing in yourself. There are many ways to invest in yourself, such as:

  • Go to class: There are many courses available online or at local community colleges that can help you learn more about real estate and expand your knowledge in readiness for the future. Most of these courses have classes on various aspects of real estate, including how to market yourself, use social media, and manage your finances.
  • Subscribe to emails from industry leaders: By signing up for newsletters from real estate professionals or companies, you’ll stay up-to-date on changes in the industry and what you can do to adjust. 
  • Listen to niche podcasts: Podcasts are another great way to learn about topics related to your industry—not just real estate. There’s a ton of valuable information on marketing, management skills, and more. 

The Bottom Line – Invest in your Future, No One Else has More of an Incentive

Just because the economy is tanking doesn’t mean you must sink with it. Since business is low, now is the best time to invest in the future and realign your business so you can reap big when the market turns hot again.

Some of the best tactics you can employ include concentrating on marketing, investing in your knowledge, diversifying your investment portfolio, and automating your savings. Before you set out, you must create an investment master plan to guide you through turbulent times.


By Gurpreet Singh Padda, MD, MBA

Categories
Real Estate

How to Master the Art of Multiple Offers in Real Estate

Making multiple offers on properties might be a numbers game, but it takes time, research, and persistence to get good at it. Once you do, you’ll realize there’s a method to all the madness.

You can’t always score a deal by simply offering a client a deal that’s 70-80 cents to the dollar; you have to do more. You have to come up with really creative offers and provide a ton of options that prospects would find difficult to walk away from.

In a nutshell, find out what the prospect wants and lay out the game: you are willing to do any reasonable price deal as long as they are willing to wait. If they aren’t ready to wait, they will have to fork out more.

Similarly, they could lower their terms and get a property at that moment. If they decide to stick to their terms, they will have to either pay more or wait longer. Whatever their choice, you will have an option for them.

For that to happen, you must have the relevant experience to know how to value a property and hit your target numbers for contingencies, bargaining strategies, and counteroffers. This is how you can assess properties and make offers that a client can’t refuse.

1. Comparable Sales Method

This method, also known as the sales comparison approach, helps to determine the value of a property. It is one of the most common methods real estate appraisers use when dealing with residential and commercial properties.

Comparable sales are applicable in this method when the property under appraisal is similar to other properties recently sold in the area. When using this method, you must consider the following factors:

  • Features and amenities: The more feature-rich the property, such as a walk-in closet or hardwood floors, the more expensive it will be than comparable properties.
  • Location and neighborhood: Homes located in perceived safer areas or near popular attractions such as parks or shopping centers are likely to sell for more than those located further away from these areas.
  • Square footage: larger homes sell for more money than smaller ones because they offer more living space and amenities. However, doubling the cost of a 1000-square-foot home won’t determine the value of a 2,000-square-foot space because smaller homes are generally more expensive per square foot than larger ones. 
  • Age and condition of the property: The age of your home may also impact how much money it will fetch when selling on the open market. Older homes have more character but less modern amenities than newer ones. 
  • Recently sold listings: Provide a starting point for determining the current pricing for similarly specced properties in the same area.

2. Rent Multiplier Method

The rent multiplier method is a simple way to determine how much you should offer for a house. If you’re trying to get a property listed for, say, $200,000, you can offer up to $2,000 per month (the multiplier) over their asking price.

So, if you paid $100,000 for your property and it generates $3,000 in annual rent, your gross rental multiplier would be 33.3 ($3,000 / $100,000). If you want to sell your home at its current value of $100,000, an offer for $33,000 above the asking price would be about right.

3. The 70% Rule

The 70% rule is one of the most important concepts you should aim to understand before starting your real estate investing career, especially if you’re into house flipping. It’s simple:

Max Allowable Offer = (ARV * 70%) – (Repairs + Holding + Selling Costs)

Where ARV stands for “After Repair Value,” which is the amount you think a house will be worth after repairs. You can estimate this number by researching similar properties in your area and their sales prices, and the average of these prices is the after-repair value of the listing, even before you sell.

Repairs are what you think it will cost to make all necessary repairs to get the property ready for sale, including painting and new carpeting. The repair estimate should also include any costs associated with obtaining permits to make changes. You may have to pay extra for these permits or inspections, depending on what kind of work needs doing.  I typically calculate the Repair cost and add 20% as an additional buffer.

Let’s say you’re looking at a house listed for $100,000 with a repair list of $5,000, and you think you can sell it for $120,000. That means your maximum allowable offer would be $79,000: ($115,000 * 70%) – $5,000.

The 70% rule is a great way to value a home because repairs may end up higher than anticipated, or the market might dip into your profits. Note that in a hot market, you might have to pay more, and in a potential declining market you might be applying a lower percentage.

4. Sandwich Lease Option  

The sandwich lease option is a strategy where a property owner (landlord) leases their property to an investor (lessor), who then leases it to the end user (lessee). The lessee pays a higher rate than the lessor, allowing them to make a profit.

It is a good strategy for beginner real estate investors who don’t have the capital to start as you don’t need to make a down payment or obtain a mortgage. You can even enter a lease-to-own agreement with the landlord, a deal you can then pass on to the lessee if they are interested.

The sandwich lease option is an excellent choice during a seller’s market where potential first-time property owners can’t afford it because of punitive mortgage rates; hence they settle for leasing.

Final word

It would be best to be a little creative to survive in the current real estate environment—the old tactics of offering 70 or 80 cents to the dollar won’t cut it anymore. You have to provide a raft of options if you are to walk away with a deal.

Explain to clients that they could get a property for the price or terms they want if they are willing to wait. To ensure you hit favorable price points, even during an economic downturn, opt for the sandwich lease option, rent multiplier or comparable sales method, or the 70% rule.

I always attempt to define the true needs of the seller and “create” my offer based upon those needs, I want the seller and myself to be sitting on the same side of the table and negotiate with the Mr. Market on the other side.  This results in a collaboration rather than a competition.  Although the examples I am giving are for smaller properties, they apply even more to multimillion dollar commercial properties.

By Gurpreet Singh Padda, MD, MBA

Categories
Real Estate

Creating Cornerstone Content That Converts Leads Into Clients for Real Estate

Real estate investors often get stuck in a rut of creating text ads, which, while effective at generating leads, rarely convert them into partners.

You should consider cornerstone content to build your brand and turn leads into partners.

Write cornerstone articles to make the potential customers’ decision-making easier. The cornerstone content should be the go-to resource for information about your industry and business that people can hold onto for reference and use as they look for more information about your services.

For instance, the return on investment (ROI) on commercial real estate is reportedly 9.5% per annum. Use cornerstone content to show how much experience you have in helping people purchase or sell such property at an even higher markup. So, here’s how you can use cornerstone content to convert leads into clients.

What is cornerstone content?

Cornerstone content is a post that provides in-depth and valuable information for your clients. It could be a series of your best articles that you intend to rank highest on search engines.

Since they provide exhaustive content that includes comprehensive information rather than sell products, they tend to be longer and more complex. It could be simple blog addition or a stand-on page.

Cornerstone content is vital because it’s ideal for building trust and credibility since the foundational content helps build traffic and brand awareness by establishing you as an authority in the industry. That is crucial to showing potential customers what you can do, making them interested in your services.

The goal of the cornerstone content is to create a positive first impression, making them more likely to convert into paying customers. For best results, create cornerstone content once or twice every month, depending on how often you publish new content on your site.

How to create valuable Cornerstone Content

Here are sure-fire tips for creating cornerstone content that will help your real estate agency grow:

1. Choose the Right Topic

It may seem mundane, but this is perhaps the most crucial step of the cornerstone content.

Before settling on the topic, you have to ask yourself a series of questions, chief among them is the major pain points or problems the target audience faces. Next, find out what hasn’t been answered sufficiently on other websites, then determine which issues you can answer competently.

It helps to ask members of your team if there are common questions they face. In addition, ask real customers too. That should allow you to formulate cornerstone content containing unique insight that addresses burning issues.

2. Keywords and SEO Optimization Strategies

It’s not just the real estate industry; the first page of Google is where all the action is. As 95% of web visitors rely on the first-page result, ensuring your website makes the cut and appears on the first page is essential.

One of the best ways to do that is through keyword optimization. It involves using words and phrases relevant to what you’re selling and what clients are searching for and answering the potential customers’ most pressing needs.

For example, if you’re selling a house in San Francisco, you might want to put “San Francisco” and “Bay Area” in your title tag and Meta description. You might also include those phrases in the body text of your page so that search engines will pick up on them.

Another strategy is ensuring your site is easily crawlable by search engines using proper coding standards and following web design best practices.

3. Be consistent with formatting and style

Your clients will recognize your brand more efficiently if your content follows a similar pattern and uses familiar language and branding. Engaging, high-quality, consistent content impacts a potential customer’s decision-making more than any other technique.

4. Internal linking

Send the most internal links to your cornerstone posts as this signals to search engines that they are the most important, allowing them to rank higher. It helps to use text links, that is, the keywords as the anchor text for links and then link within the text itself. Ensure you’re linking from pages with related content.

5. Call to Action

Considering you’re creating the cornerstone content aiming to convert them into clients, it helps to insert a call to action (CTA) at the end of the article. A CTA instructs the reader to take a course of action. You can do this by using call-to-action buttons at the end of your post.

CTA’s are highly effective, but the best performing is personalized, which HubSpot found to be 202% more effective than their basic equivalents. For instance, ContentVerve turned the phrasing in their CTA into the first-person point of view. Instead of writing “start your 30-day…,” they wrote “Start my 30-day…” and realized a 90% rise in the click-through rate (CTR). So, how do you ensure your call to action is clear and compelling?

  • Tell your readers exactly what you want them to do next: Make it clear what they need to do next. Use action-oriented writing instructing them to take action, such as clicking a link to another page on your site or even asking them to leave a comment with their thoughts. The key is to be specific, so there’s no room for confusion.
  • Ensure the CTA is visible and eye-catching: If your readers can’t see the button clearly, it won’t matter how good your copy is—they won’t click on it. Make sure that whatever design element you use for your CTA is highly visible, accessible, and super apparent where to find it. The goal of any call-to-action is getting people excited about taking action—and for that excitement to translate into clicks.

6. Promote the content

You can create the best cornerstone content, but it will be pointless if your target audience doesn’t read it. Since it takes time for new content to rank organically, make a splash by promoting the content in the meantime.

Email promotion is one of the most impressive ways of doing it, with 4 billion daily users. It’s telling that 59% of respondents said email marketing influenced their purchasing decision.

Social media is another potent outlet considering 72% of Americans use social media daily. Focus on platforms that work best for real estate, personalize text and images for each platform, and share more than once.

7. Maintenance

Finally, you must maintain the cornerstone content’s health to remain evergreen. Monitor the performance, update information regularly, improve loading speeds, and give it a style refresh every few years to keep it looking up-to-date.

Final Word

If you’re a real estate investor, cornerstone content might provide the tipping point of turning leads into clients. You can do that effectively by researching suitable topics, conducting keyword research, and creating content with plenty of internal links and a personalized call to action.

Ensure you maintain consistent messaging and branding across the cornerstone content, promote the posts, and keep updating the content to keep them evergreen.

 

By Gurpreet Singh Padda, MD, MBA

Categories
Real Estate

7 Real Estate Trends to Watch Out for in 2023

We are just barely into the second half of the year 2022. Much of the economic news is doom and gloom; perhaps it’s best to look into the future if one wants to find an iota of good news. For that, a glimpse of the past could provide near-accurate future predictions.

Six months on, the Russia-Ukraine war is causing a considerable downturn in every sector of the economy, including the real estate market. The ongoing war has triggered fears of a global recession, with the World Bank dropping its growth prediction from 4.1% in January to 2.9%, causing supply chain disruptions, high commodity prices, inflation, and food insecurity.  

While COVID-19 might seem like a thing of the past for most Americans, pandemic lockdowns are still alive and kicking in the “world’s factory,” China. That translates to supply chain issues, which explains why there’s a push to bring some of those jobs back onto American shores. With that background, here are the top trends in real estate to watch out for in 2023.

1. Housing Prices Likely to Remain High

According to Zillow, the typical monthly mortgage payment increased 75% between June 2019 and today. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) also states that home sales dropped 5.4% from May to June, marking the fifth consecutive month of declining sales—but median prices reached a record high in June: $416,000, up 13.4% from a year ago.

Although incomes have risen over the same period, they haven’t kept up with inflation. Wage growth in June was 6.7%, below the 9.1% rise in inflation that month. Moreover, mortgage rates continue to stagnate, and there’s the ever-present threat of further interest rate hikes. The overheated markets of early 2022 will drop precipitously in the later half of 2022 and most of 2023. But that still means, even if home prices were to drop 20-35%, they probably would remain beyond the reach of most first-time homebuyers.

2. Expect an Uptick in Mortgage Defaulters

To fight rampant inflation, the Federal Reserve activated its nuclear option—hefty interest rate hikes. Inevitably, mortgage rates rose as well, with the national average mortgage rate hovering at 5.08% as of August 2022.

Considering the August inflation rate is in the upper 8%, higher than the long-term average of 3.26% and the Fed’s target rate of 2%, it’s inescapable that the Fed will announce further interest rate hikes.

That means higher mortgage rates, and since the wage growth in June was 6.7%, below the inflation rate. As the economy continues to contract, you should expect an uptick in mortgage defaulting that will likely stretch to 2023 and beyond, and more people are likely to choose adjustable-rate mortgages over fixed-interest mortgages.

3. Affordability of Homes Still a Problem

Affordability of homes is still a challenge for many Americans, but it’s not the only one. According to a recent survey by Pew Research Center, 46% of Americans say affordable houses are still a challenge.

That is exacerbated by the rising cost of rent, with New York recording an average of $3,500 in June 2022, an all-time record high. With the raging inflation and considering rent prices hardly drop significantly over time, it’s difficult to see how homes will become more affordable in the near future.

The only hope lies with the Fed cooling down inflation sufficiently, imposing more agreeable interest rates, and the cost of living dropping significantly to lower the price of everything, including real estate.

4. Suburb Living and Higher Prices in the Suburbs

With rental prices in major cities shooting past most people’s capabilities and mortgage prices continuing to lock people out of home buying, there’s a push towards moving to the suburbs to access affordable housing.

More employees are also pushing for more opportunities to work from home to save on the daily commute. That should see the prices of suburban houses rising to meet this new demand, which should persist into 2023.

5. Prevalence of Technology Usage

The trend of increasing use of technology in real estate is nothing new, but it has become more widespread in the last few years. For instance, the NAR states that 97% of all homebuyers used the internet to search for a new home.

That trend will continue, allowing homebuyers to access a broader home listing catalog. The same is true for realtors as it will enable them to advertise to get their listings before more prospects. The apps and websites also come with matching and software to make it easier for buyers to filter homes that fit their descriptions better.

Technology also comes in handy when showcasing a home. Instead of hosting an open day which may force prospects to travel great distances, a real estate agent can conduct virtual home tours. Virtual staging will save the agent a ton of money as they don’t have to spend time and money collecting and setting up furniture that matches a listing.

You’re also likely to see an increase in drone videos and photos to capture stunning overhead footage of properties and the surrounding amenities to enhance the desirability of the listing. Social media sites that use videos and photography, such as YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok, may also prove vital as independent platforms for showcasing real estate.

6. Emphasis on Amenities as a Selling Point of a Home

In the next few years, you will see a substantial shift in how people choose where to live. What was once a matter of location, price, and square footage will soon become a question of amenities.

As more people focus on their health and wellbeing, they’ll look for homes that offer more than just a place to rest their heads. They’ll want easy access to gyms and pools, dog-friendly apartments, and pet-sitting services—and they’ll even want walkable neighborhoods with local stores and restaurants. 

7. Luxury Homes

The need for luxury homes has steadily risen over the past few years. These refer to homes that go for $1 million in the smaller cities. In major cities, that starts at $4 million.

According to luxury home marketing, single-family luxury homes only spent 12 days in the market in 2022, compared to 38 days in 2020. At 41.6%, the growth in luxury home sales in 2021 outpaced other segments of the market, such as affordable homes at 7% and mid-priced homes at 5.9%. This trend will likely continue to 2023 and beyond as the trend for buyers looking for luxury homes seems to be going strong. 

Final Word

We can use historical patterns to chart a course for future trends, and what that teaches us is that housing prices will cool down but will likely remain higher than most people can typically afford. Additionally, we will likely experience in the real estate market are the continued high demand for luxury homes, emphasis on amenities for healthy living, the prevalence of technology usage, and the continued preference for suburban living.

Categories
Real Estate

How to Be a Successful, First-Time Homebuyer in 2022

Mid-2022 is probably the worst time to buy a home. Median home prices hit an all-time high of $440,000 in July, and mortgage rates are at 5.5%, almost double what they were last year.

While buying a home now may seem a terrible idea, there are ways to bag yourself a good deal. So, these are some tactics you can employ to ensure your purchase doesn’t become a financial nightmare.

1. Do your Research

Before looking for a home, you must understand the market to know what’s within your budget. Sure, most home prices have skyrocketed over the past few months, but there are some places where it’s coming down.

For instance, according to Redfin, Salt Lake City, Boise, and Denver all witnessed at least 50% cuts in asking prices. Seven more cities, including Tampa and Sacramento, saw asking prices slashed by more than 44%.

So yes, you can still bag yourself a deal in the current environment, as long as you are willing to do the legwork and compromise on the places you wish to live in. 

2. Build your Credit History

It helps to build your credit history if you’re a first-time homebuyer. A poor credit score makes qualifying for a mortgage loan challenging or attracts high premium rates because financial institutions will view you as a risk.

If you have little or no credit history, you may need to take steps to build up your score. Here are some tips for doing so:

  • Pay all your bills in full and on time: Even if you don’t have any credit cards or loans yet, you should make sure that any bills you pay regularly (such as rent or utilities) are paid on time and in full. It will help establish your payment history and show lenders that you’re reliable with money.
  • Don’t open too many credit cards at once: If you decide to apply for a credit card, make sure that you only use one at a time so that it doesn’t hurt your credit score too much if the application gets denied (or approved but with a low limit).
  • Minimize utilization rate: Your balance-to-limit ratio (utilization rate) is just as important as payment history. It refers to the total balances racked up on all your credit cards divided by the total credit limit of all the credit cards. Aim to keep this figure below 30%. 

3. Make a Sizeable Down Payment

Making a sizable down payment toward buying your home is vital. The down payment is typically between 3% and 20% of the home’s purchase price.

You want to make a large down payment because it will lower your monthly mortgage payments, saving money in the long run. Additionally, making a large down payment means avoiding paying private mortgage insurance (PMI).

PMI is an additional fee that many lenders require as part of their mortgage loan package. It protects them if you default on your loan—but it can add hundreds or even thousands of dollars to your monthly mortgage payment.

You can avoid PMI by paying more than 20% of the home’s purchase price as a down payment. Alternatively, you can avoid a down payment by getting a piggyback or 80-10-10 loan, which covers 10% of the deposit while you deposit the other 10% from your savings.

4. Get Pre-approved for a Mortgage

When you’re a first-time homebuyer, getting pre-approved for a mortgage is one of the most important steps to ensure you find the right home.

Getting pre-approved means that a lender has reviewed your finances and determined that you can afford a home at a certain price range. Your agent will know how much house you can afford, so they don’t waste time showing you homes that are beyond your means.

5. Try Out for First-Time Home Buyer Grants and Programs 

First-time homebuyers have several financial assistance programs that will soften the sting of the hefty payments needed to purchase a home.

A first-time homebuyer’s grant refers to financial assistance you may receive to purchase your first home. It typically covers a percentage of the down payment and closing costs. Since it’s a grant, you may not have to repay the amount. Examples include:

  • Downpayment Toward Equity Act
  • Good Neighbor Next Door program
  • Bank of America’s Home Grant
  • Chase Bank Homebuyer Grant

On the other hand, first-time home buyer programs usually come from federal, local, or state governments and take the form of tax credits, forgivable mortgages and closing costs, and down payment assistance.

You may qualify for the Housing Choice Voucher if you face financial challenges due to a low income and receive minimum earnings as stipulated by your local public housing authority. A clever way to use the voucher is to fund a rent-to-own program.

Similarly, you can apply for an FHA loan. These are Federal Housing Administration-insured loans made by private lenders, usually featuring zero-interest loans and deferred payment loans. Moreover, they typically have lower down payments and require lower credit scores than most other mortgage loans. 

6. Use a Mortgage Broker and Agent

It pays to consult a mortgage broker in such a tight financial environment. They know the ins and outs of the mortgage industry, so they can find you a mortgage with lower fees, great rates, and financial perks and help you overcome borrowing challenges.

Similarly, procure the services of a real estate agent. Using an agent is one of the best ways to ensure a smooth process and a successful outcome. No wonder 87% of homebuyers used an agent in their home purchase.

Real estate agents or brokers know the market and can help you find your dream home at your price range. Ensure that the agent knows your unique needs so they can find the ideal property that fits your lifestyle.

7. Consider Variable-Rate Mortgage

A variable-rate mortgage can be a good choice at this point. You don’t want to go for a fixed-rate mortgage with fixed interest rate monthly payments throughout its lifespan, as the current mortgage rates are very high.

An adjustable-rate mortgage will have fluctuating mortgage rate payments, so you will pay lower fees when the interest rate is eventually lower. Further, an adjustable rate payment allows you to make higher monthly mortgage payments without penalty. That means there’s a chance you might pay much less than a fixed rate arrangement.

Additionally, variable-rate mortgages typically have lower initial interest rates than fixed-rate mortgages, which means they’re cheaper upfront. That could buy you some time until the interest rates finally dip.

Finally, you could refinance the variable-rate mortgage and exchange it with a fixed-rate mortgage when the interest rates eventually drop to reasonable levels and it makes financial sense to do so.

Final Word

Many potential first-time home buyers are postponing the purchase because of the hostile economic environment that has rendered homebuying virtually impossible.

Home prices have reached historical highs, and mortgage rates are double what they used to be in January 2022, with more hikes in the pipeline as the Fed is threatening more interest rate hikes.

If you must buy a home, try looking for one in states that have lowered their asking prices, utilize a mortgage broker and real estate agent to find deals for houses and mortgage rates, and build your credit history to score favorable loan terms.

Similarly, consider a variable-rate mortgage, make a sizable mortgage down payment to reduce your monthly mortgage payments, and try to secure a first-time home buyer grant or similar program.

 

By Gurpreet Singh Padda, MD, MBA

 

Categories
Real Estate

9 Things Help Investors Thrive During Real Estate Recessions

There is a concern among many investors in real estate about the possibility of a recession in light of recent economic uncertainties and how that will affect the real estate market.

In most economic downturns, people lose jobs, and mortgage rates typically go higher than most can afford, crippling their ability to purchase properties. But that doesn’t always spell doom for real estate, so here’s a look at how a real estate investor can survive, or even thrive, during a recession.

1. Branding and Marketing

The best way to survive a recession is to keep marketing your brand. It’s about building a brand that stands out from the crowd.

Branding isn’t just about getting customers to recognize your business; it’s about getting customers to keep coming back for more business as you have established yourself as a reputable brand. One of the best ways to achieve this is through positive marketing.

While most businesses would understandably cut down on marketing during an economic downturn, that’s the perfect time to rump up your marketing efforts, as it has healthy returns. For instance, the return on investment (ROI) for email marketing is $36 for every $1 spent. Here’s what you stand to benefit from good marketing and branding:

  • Gaining a larger audience
  • Increased cash flow
  • Help you take some of your competitors’ clients

2. Learn More About the Real Estate Market and the Recession

You need to have a working knowledge of the economy and how it will impact the real estate industry to stand a chance of surviving a recession. Get to know the causes of the recession and where the money is headed.

In a recession, not all economic sectors will slump; some might perform better than others. Use this knowledge to pivot your business to cater to those sectors that are doing better during the downturn.

Take the 2020 recession, for instance: while shopping in malls dipped by 70% and the office industry slumped due to work-from-home initiatives, the booming ecommerce industry led to a steep increase in demand for warehouses.

3. Invest in Technology

Investing in a customer relationship management (CRM) tool during a recession is one of the smartest moves you could make, as it has an average ROI of $8.71 for every dollar spent.

As a real estate brand, you can use CRM to track client information and make follow-ups. A sound CRM system should have features that enable you to access information about potential buyers and sellers easily and communicate with them using various channels. 

Similarly, you can use social media sites and real estate apps to showcase your listings and increase your reach.

Consider technologies such as virtual tours and virtual staging to cut down on costs of staging an open day and staging a listing.

4. Work on Customer Retention of your Current Clientele

Keeping your already existing clients should be a major priority. When you work hard to maintain good relationships with your clients, they’ll appreciate it and return the favor. That makes them feel special goes a long way toward building trust. Try some of these customer service strategies:

  • Maintain a customer feedback loop
  • Provide personalized customer service
  • Start a customer education program
  • Give offers and discounts
  • Provide incentives 

5. Grow your Network

Never underrate the power of networking, as it can help your business stay afloat during recessions. You can build relationships with friends and associates to expand your business’s reach and abilities.

A more extensive network will help in acquiring new business leads, which you can work towards closing to improve sales. Additionally, it will help you keep abreast of the latest trends in the market and identify best practices.

Further, networking will increase your connections and opportunities to explore new markets.

6. Cut Expenses

Tough times call for tough measures. Everyone has to make sacrifices to ensure the firm makes it through an economic downturn, which means cutting costs. Reducing expenses is a brilliant idea even in good times.

Lower your expenditure by eliminating items that don’t offer much to the business, such as a cable subscription in the office. Alternatively, realign your financial spending by reviewing your insurance providers to get a better deal, consolidating bank accounts, and avoiding unnecessary debt.

Improving efficiency will also help in cutting down costs as it minimizes wastage. Purchase the right tools, go paperless, and improve time and project management.

7. Stick to your Business Plan

Economic recession is part and parcel of every business cycle. You don’t need to panic and sell everything. Just stick to your original business plan with just a few adjustments. To stay focused on the big picture, make it a point to refer to your long-term objectives and plans regularly.

Moreover, set short-term weekly and monthly goals, and tweak where necessary as long as they tally with the master plan. You may need to restructure the business plan as recessions can be unpredictable.

8. Re-evaluate the Business

A recession is the perfect time to take a step back and take a long hard look at the business. Since there’s plenty of time on your hands, use the time to evaluate the company and find any weak points that need fixing.

Maybe business is low because you’re not marketing right, your pricing doesn’t make sense, or you don’t understand prospects. Go over your data, try to work where problems are, and implement potential solutions.

9. Create a Unique Value Proposition

Creating a unique value proposition is one of the best ways to thrive in any market. In real estate, this means differentiating yourself from the competition. That means providing something the others don’t offer. 

That could mean anything that offers extras to clients, like diversifying your business by partnering with a mortgage broker, so you offer mortgage provision services in-house.

Final Word

One of the key lessons to surviving a recession is never to stop marketing. That will help build your brand as well as bring in new business. Alternatively, create a unique value proposition, invest in technology, and grow your network to improve sales.

On the other hand, save money by cutting back on expenditure, sticking to the business plan, and retaining your current clients. It also helps to keep abreast of the current economic environment to find opportunities you had not considered before. 

Despite the macroeconomic headwinds of recession, your individual economic success could be amazing, as long  as you can navigate and anticipate this crisis.  What outwardly appears to be chaos may be an historic opportunity.

By Gurpreet Singh Padda, MD, MBA