The Worst Cities For First-Time Homebuyers

The Worst Cities For First-Time Homebuyers

Buying a home for the first time is a very important step in a person’s life. Deciding what city your home will be in is a huge part of that decision-making process. There are plenty of good places that first-time homebuyers can choose to live, but there are also some cities that are not such good options.

Bankrate studies of 50 metropolitan areas show the best places in America for people buying their homes for the first time. The locations were decided based on wellness, affordability, safety, employment, and the tightness of the market. Out of those 50 metro areas, Los Angeles, California, was last on this list because its average income for homeowners was so low. Another problem with homes in Los Angeles is that the price is often very high. The number one city on this list is Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, because even though its average income is about the same as Los Angeles, the housing market in Pittsburgh is much tighter.

According to those studies from Bankrate, the top ten cities that rank as the worst places for first-time homebuyers to live are San Diego for the tenth number place, Orlando, Florida, San-Francisco, Houston, Denver, San Jose, California, Riverside, California, Seattle, Las Vegas, and in the number one spot in Los Angeles. One of the most noticeable things about this list of cities that are the worst places to purchase a home is that so many of these cities are in California. Another noticeable thing is that each city in California ranks at the bottom as far as affordability goes. 

Despite what this list shows, some of those cities that rank at the top of the worst may still have some good qualities. Los Angeles has a high ranking for wellness and culture despite its low ranking for jobs and affordability, so it is possible that some first-time homebuyers could find those advantages to be more appealing. Several of the other cities on this list may have similar advantages that make them more appealing as well. It is very important for first-time homebuyers to do their own research to choose a home in a location that really feels right to them.

Protecting Yourself From Another Housing Bubble

Protecting Yourself From Another Housing Bubble

In 2006, real estate was a hot area for investment in many parts of the country. Prices went up, and credit was easy. Liar loans and mortgages with adjustable rates allowed people to buy more homes than they could afford. Then, the market crashed. Foreclosures increased rapidly, and many people found themselves underwater with their loans. They owed more than their homes were worth. There is a real fear that American real estate is in another bubble. This is why it’s important to be proactive in protecting yourself from the possibility the bubble will burst. 

Don’t Buy What A Bank Offers

Most realtors will want to see pre-approval for a loan that shows how much a buyer can borrow. It’s not a good idea to search for a home at the maximum loan amount. Buying a house at a lower cost will make the monthly payments easier to make. 

Put Money Down

Some government programs allow people to buy a home with no money down. Others, like the FHA loan, require a mere 3.5% down. This is a dangerous loan if the market collapses. Coming to closing with a 10% or 20% down payment provides instant equity and makes it less likely that you’ll wind up underwater with your home mortgage. 

Stay Put

Situations change unexpectedly, but those who plan to move within five years should avoid buying a home. Because most of the payments go to interest in the early years of a loan, equity will be difficult to build in the short run. Closing costs and realtor commissions can come with financial stress. Therefore, unless you plan to stick around for at least five years, renting is usually a better option. 

Have An Emergency Fund

Having some money stashed away is a great stress reliever. That money can also go toward paying down a home that winds up underwater during a housing bubble. Most experts recommend having three to six months of expenses available. An emergency fund can alleviate the need to use home equity or a credit card for an unexpected expense. 

Housing bubbles can lead to higher rates of foreclosure. They can also erode the wealth of many households. Taking these steps before purchasing a house can make it less likely that a family will be hurt badly if a housing bubble bursts.

Are Airbnb Properties Good Investments?

Are Airbnb Properties Good Investments?

Airbnb has had a huge impact on travel accommodations, and those who have chosen to stay in an Airbnb may wonder if hosting an Airbnb rental is a good investment. Becoming an Airbnb host is appealing in several ways, including the ability to add to your income without being an expert in real estate. However, hosting an Airbnb may not be right for everyone because there are some disadvantages to it as well. It is important for potential Airbnb hosts to research and learn if hosting an Airbnb will be a good decision and investment for their life.

The first thing potential Airbnb hosts should learn is the difference between an Airbnb and traditional investment property. Airbnb rentals are short-term with several different renters over time, and traditional investment properties are for tenants who plan to stay for a very long time, even years or decades in some cases. The next thing potential Airbnb hosts should do is research the market to find out if any outside circumstances are causing it to change, such as the recent COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic had a huge impact on the Airbnb industry by creating quite a decline in customers in 2020. However, there has been a recent surge in Airbnb customers who are becoming more comfortable with the pandemic, trying to find ways to stay safe and have a fun vacation at the same time. Those people find comfort in an Airbnb that is located in a travel destination place that is both secluded and desirable.

Potential Airbnb hosts must also consider the legalities and expenses that come with renting out an Airbnb, including maintenance, furnishing the property, extra amenities like Internet and entertainment subscription services, utility bills, home insurance, and specific Airbnb laws in each state. On the upside, it is possible for someone to have an Airbnb almost anywhere since many people use Airbnb for business and events that could take them anywhere in the country instead of just the standard vacation spots that were once the norm. If potential Airbnb hosts price their rental correctly and does their best to make their rental appealing to potential tenants, an Airbnb can be a very smart investment income.

A Look into Zoning Laws

A Look into Zoning Laws

A legislative process, zoning allows the government to divide a property into different zones for different uses. These laws regulate the construction and use of structures on the property. Zoning laws are important to determine whether the types of structures that can be built on a property are compatible with its surroundings. They also determine if an existing structure can be repurposed or if a new one can be built. Understanding the various aspects of zoning is important to ensure that the necessary changes are made to improve the appearance and function of the property. Even if these aren’t changes to your property, your neighbors might try to make these changes and, consequently, negatively affect your property.

To protect the health, safety, and general welfare of the people, zoning laws are designed to ensure that the use of land doesn’t affect the people in negative ways. They also try to minimize the impacts of land use on the people by separating incompatible uses and ensuring that the properties’ value is protected. Developing a comprehensive land-use policy allows for the orderly development of the city. Aside from protecting the health, safety, and general welfare of the people, zoning laws also ensure that the city has adequate public infrastructure.

Cities are generally focused on developing industry as a way to stimulate economic growth as well as developing areas for residential use. However, if the two are developed side-by-side, this can cause upset amongst residents. This is the task of zoning, a process imposed by the government that aims to make both parties happy.

The goal of zoning is to create a set of rules that will allow the community to develop a compatible and sustainable use for their land. After considering the various factors that affect the development of the city, it then divides the city into multiple districts. These laws then regulate the use of structures within each district, as well as the types of buildings that can be built within each zone. Because of the law’s recognition that life is not always black and white, zoning laws can also provide the government with the flexibility to accommodate the changes in the city’s development. Although it’s possible to decide for yourself what type of project you want to develop, given the varying jurisdictions of the city and the complexity of the laws, it’s important to consider taking the advice of a knowledgeable individual.

Learning about Real Estate with TED Talks

Learning about Real Estate with TED Talks

It’s a great time to be an agent in the real estate industry. Multiple markets across the country are experiencing strong growth. The average number of houses on the market is decreasing, and list prices are rising. Despite the uncertainty surrounding the stock market, the residential real estate sector is still resilient. Even if you’re a top producer in your region, there are still areas that you can improve and people who can help you reach your goals and improve your marketing efforts. To take your real estate practice to the next level, here are the top 5 TED talks to improve your expertise in real estate.

“Never Split The Difference” by Chris Voss

In real estate, an agent is likely aware that every aspect of a deal is negotiable. Some of these include the price you can expect to receive, the length of time a seller has to sell their property, and the commission split. In this video, Chris Voss, a former FBI negotiator, discusses the various techniques that the agency uses to help its agents successfully negotiate. He also notes that one’s last impression between parties can significantly influence the outcome of a deal and leave a lasting impression of you. Although negotiation skills are commonly beneficial for other business people, they are very important for real estate agents as the profession is predicated on being a negotiator. This is because acting as a mediator is a requirement in order to get the best possible deal for their clients.

“Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance” by Angela Lee Duckworth

Without the necessary grit, you’re going to have a hard time making it in the real estate industry. Even if you have the necessary sales skills, you’re going to receive more no’s than yesses during your first few years. In her video, Angela Lee Duckworth, a former corporate consultant who left her job to pursue her passion for teaching math in New York City, talks about the importance of persistence and how it can help agents succeed in their endeavors.

“The Four-Letter Code to Selling Anything” by Derek Thompson

The ability to sell is critical to your success in the real estate industry. Besides selling properties, it’s also important that you can effectively communicate with buyers and sell yourself. This process involves understanding the pain points of each individual and how to approach those issues to connect with the client. Derek Thompson, an editor at The Atlantic, will help you sell anything that you can think of.

“The Skill of Self Confidence” by Dr. Ivan Joseph

On the surface, real estate agents have different backgrounds, educational attainments, and interests. However, when it comes to being successful in the industry, the best agents are known to have a passion for their work and exude self-confidence. As the athletic director of the Varsity Soccer team at Toronto’s Ryerson University, Dr. Joseph often gets asked what skills he’s looking for in his recruits. In his talk, he discusses the importance of self-confidence and how it can help people succeed in their lives.

“How to Spot a Liar” by Pamela Meyer

As a real estate agent, you’re likely to run into unethical and dishonest people. We are lied to anywhere from 10 to 100 times a day. In her book, “Liespotting,” Pamela Meyer talks about the various ways people are trained to spot deception. She argues that honesty is a valuable trait that people should work to protect. It’s important to note that plenty of people will try to bend the truth in order to get the best possible deal for their clients. If you’re not able to spot the signs of an unethical or dishonest agent, you could end up losing money and putting your reputation at risk. In her talk, Pamela Meyer discusses the various ways that real estate agents can protect themselves from being exposed to a potential fraudster.

Top Books on Real Estate

Top Books on Real Estate

There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to investing in real estate. It can be overwhelming for new investors, especially if they don’t have the necessary resources. Most people who enter the real estate industry have limited backgrounds and experiences. This makes it hard for them to see the big picture when it comes to investing. It is important for investors to learn from other people in the field to help them get a better understanding of the multiple aspects of investing in real estate. There are plenty of books that cover the various aspects of real estate for people who have little to no experience. These are some of the most effective and useful tools that can help new investors.

Rich Dad Poor Dad

This is a great entry point for anyone interested in learning more about investing and financial opportunities. It doesn’t focus on real estate investing but rather on how to think about finances in a way that’s easy to understand.

The ABCs of Real Estate Investing

This book is an essential addition for anyone who is interested in learning more about investing in real estate. It provides a variety of strategies and techniques that will help them find and manage a property. It also covers the various aspects of property negotiation.

The Book on Rental Property Investing

This book is a must-read for anyone who is interested in learning more about investing in real estate. It provides a variety of strategies and techniques that will help them find and manage a property. It also covers tax strategies and the biggest mistakes that new investors should avoid.

Mastering the Art of Commercial Real Estate Investing

While real estate investing books often focus on vacation and residential property, commercial real estate can be very profitable for experienced investors. This book talks about the differences between residential and commercial real estate. It also provides a set of rules that will help investors make the best decision when it comes to buying a property.

Buy It, Rent It, Profit!

This book is valuable for anyone who is a property manager or landlord. It will give you a deep dive into how you can maximize your time and money. It also covers the various legal forms that can be used to manage a property.

Timing the Real Estate Market

One of the most overlooked factors that investors often fail to consider when it comes to investing in real estate is the timing of the market. This can affect the amount of money a property will make and the trends that will affect its future. Having a good idea about how to predict the market will affect your investment and can help you avoid getting caught off-guard.

What To Do If Your Shopping Center Is Impacted By Climate Change

What To Do If Your Shopping Center Is Impacted By Climate Change

NASA states, “Direct observations made on and above Earth’s surface show the planet’s climate is significantly changing. The planet’s average surface temperature has risen about two degrees Fahrenheit since the late 19th century. The years 2016 and 2020 are tied for the warmest year on record.”

Climate change is impacting nearly everything on the planet in one way or another, and shopping centers have definitely suffered some of the effects. In fact, shopping in general has been changed forever in just the past decade alone. Today you can order almost anything you want online from your computer or phone, quickly and easily, and get it delivered to your home directly. For many shoppers who love convenience, online purchasing has not only helped them from time to time but has become their dominant and sometimes only method of choice. Others still love to visit brick and mortar stores in person and will probably never stop frequenting them. Right now, one does not need to choose. The economy, along with inventory and prices, may rise and fall but shoppers continue to find a way to get what they need.

One major effect of climate change on retailers is changes or complications in their supply chains. The availability of suppliers, products, energy sources, raw materials, and other essentials can be altered or even cut off altogether, so it is instrumental for companies to be prepared. According to BSR (Business for Social Responsibility), “There is a clear business case for companies to reduce these risks and strengthen supply chain performance by building the resilience of operations and communities along supply chains.” Their report includes information on 99 companies that reduced their greenhouse gas emissions by 551 million tons of carbon dioxide and also saved $14 billion via climate change related alterations and improvements.

Businesses that take no action in the consideration and preparation for climate change and other environmental issues are at risk of huge losses. It is predicted by CDP - Global Environmental Impact that by 2030, approximately $4 trillion in assets are in danger due to the earth’s changing climate. Companies that brace for future success focus on sustainability, conscious consumerism, social and environmental responsibility, positive values, best practices, fair labor, cruelty-free products and operations, and other earth-friendly procedures and goals. Along with the ease of online shopping, an increasing number of consumers are conducting research and becoming more concerned with the characteristics of the company behind the product or service, rather than the item itself. Climate change effects are forcing shoppers to organize, prioritize, and choose wisely when they search for their goods.



How To Avoid An Offseason In Real Estate

How To Avoid An Offseason In Real Estate

Certain times of the year are more ideal for selling homes than others, and real estate agents may experience slower business in the off-season as a result. Agents who want to avoid off-season slumps can try certain tactics to keep their businesses going and maintain a strong clientele during times when people often aren’t as interested in buying or selling homes.

Increase a Property’s Curb Appeal

Much of the winter season is considered to be off-season in many real estate markets, and agents who want to attract more buyers should try to make each property that they list look as appealing as possible. Removing the snow, downed tree branches, and other debris that’s often prevalent in the winter from properties so that each home looks great in photographs can help draw in more buyers.

Minimize Holiday Decorations

The Christmas season is often one of the slowest times of year for selling homes. Homes for sale that are heavily adorned in holiday decorations may look tacky and less attractive in photographs and can detract potential buyers. Homes for sale that are open for prospective buyers to tour should also have minimal holiday decorations to give these abodes more year-round appeal.

Optimize Social Media

Real estate agents can use social media to their advantage in the off-season if they know how to get the algorithm to favor their social media accounts. One of the best ways to do this is by interacting more with potential clients through social media. Real estate agents can also like and share relevant content more on social media and use trending hashtags in many of their posts to maximize the algorithm. 

Work with Other Agents

Selling homes in the off-season can be easier if real estate agents are willing to work with other agents. Agents can try co-listing properties and splitting the commissions to try to generate faster sales. Bonuses and other incentives can also be offered to other real estate agents who are willing to work together to try to sell properties in the off-season.

Real estate agents shouldn’t have to suffer major financial setbacks in an off-season. By finding clever ways to keep business going during these slower times of the year, agents can continue to generate substantial profits while helping more clients.


How Do M&As Impact Shopping Centers?

How Do M&As Impact Shopping Centers?

Today’s brick and mortar “shopping malls” are much different than those from decades ago. What were once busy and bustling venues have been diminished into quiet, sparsely occupied, and sometimes even vacant spaces with little to no customers. Malls that remain operational are scarce, and they all too often only echo of past vibrancy and success. Before online shopping, physical stores were necessities, and they experienced heavy and continual traffic flow; however, this trend has been forever changed by factors like the incredible progress of technology, the comfort and convenience of shopping from home, financial crises, and of course, the COVID-19 pandemic.

M&As (Mergers and Acquisitions) have been popular and effective strategies utilized by companies to try to increase traffic flow and revenue by combining businesses. These deals can enhance operations and profit margins by expanding and improving the company’s products and services, growing their consumer base, and maximizing their access to new and innovative technology and countless other opportunities. Unfortunately, while mergers and acquisitions assist in creating successful combined or new businesses, they also hinder existing companies and competitors.

A myriad of shopping malls have been negatively impacted by M&As, and countless stores and entire centers have even been shut down altogether. Many malls still operate, and some have repurposed retail spaces into food and drink venues, while others have been sold and transformed into housing or offices. Some shopping plazas have decided to convert their lots into outlet malls or discount stores.

Many of these mergers and acquisitions are defensive moves and ultimately increase the combined company’s assets and capabilities. Their consumer base is expanded, often on a global scale, and they sometimes end up monopolizing the market completely. With enhanced assets and operations, merged businesses also enjoy better leasing and location options as well. M&As may benefit corporations substantially but they also tend to leave traces of headaches, hassles, and heartbreak for smaller businesses in the process. Today’s economy and available shopping options are constantly changing, and customers will always alter their shopping patterns accordingly. A wise tip is to conduct plenty of research and stay informed about current shopping trends and changes.

Understanding Interest Rates Within Real Estate

Understanding Interest Rates Within Real Estate

A mortgage loan interest rate is the fractional fee a borrower pays for a loan, and there are two basic types - fixed-rate mortgage loans and adjustable-rate mortgage loans. It is essential to learn about the different loan types and their intricacies, options, benefits, and potential risks to make informed and financially wise decisions about your mortgage and its future. Finding the option that works best for your specific situation does not need to be a daunting or negative experience; it requires a bit of research and some useful tips.

No matter which type of mortgage loan you choose, there are a number of factors that lenders use in determining the details. They examine data from your personal/family finances, like your accounts, assets, liabilities, credit history, and other circumstances. Lenders also analyze details from your housing history, career history, and the current state of the economy and housing market. External events such as inflation, recession, and major real estate market shifts are other factors that can impact mortgage loan interest rates as well.

While fixed-rate mortgages lock in one interest rate for the life of the loan, adjustable-rate mortgage loans have interest rates that fluctuate periodically. These shifts are determined by the stipulations of the loan agreement and can occur monthly, quarterly, annually, or at other specified intervals. Adjustable rates contain two major components, a margin and an index value, and are often referred to collectively as fully indexed interest rates. Although the index value is variable, the margin is fixed and remains the same for the loan’s duration. Most mortgage loan rates reflect a standard 10-year Treasury of the United States bond yield, which can be helpful in forecasting future rate changes by referring to the arc of the bond yield.

Understanding key information about interest rates within real estate can make purchasing a home and choosing the correct mortgage loan a much smoother and more efficient process. This venture can seem overwhelming even before you begin, but there is a plethora of resources, tools, and assistance available to help guide you, even if you decide that you want to refinance later on.