Protect Your Commercial Real Estate Investments from Fire

Protecting a rental home from the perils of fire is a very hot topic today. Commercial insurance will protect you and your lifetime investments in the unlikely event of a fire. Check your policy for fire coverage.

Did you know that every year problems cause more than 28,000 house fires and massive property damage? Most recent insurance studies indicate “Fires” as causing more than $1.3 billion in property damage (National Fire Protection Association, 2003-2007).

1] Flickering lights, buzzing noises, and face plates that are warm to the touch are all signs that a circuit may be overloaded, or wiring may be wearing thin.

2] Listen to Your Breaker — If you are continually tripping a switch and having to reset your breaker box, your house is trying to tell you something. There may be a fixture with faulty wiring or too high an electrical load on the breaker.

3] Review and Replace — Frayed electrical cords, wobbly ceiling fans, and loose face plates are more than mere annoyances. You should routinely inspect your home and replace or repair items in need of attention.

4] Working smoke and cigarette detectors on all levels of your home is an absolute must. Make sure you have a working fire extinguisher, and you know the proper way to use it.

5] Ban natural Christmas Trees, there are 1000’s of fires nationwide every year.

6] Never rent to smokers of anything, aside from the thousands of dollars third hand smoke causes to a property. Just one errant cigarette or joint can burn down your investment property.

7] Outside BBQ, Deep Fryers and Smokers can cause grease fires.

It is important to consider fire safety at every stage of commercial real estate investing.

This article was developed by Winston Rowe and Associates. They are a nation consulting firm that specializes in working with commercial real estate investors.

Former CIA Officer Reveals How to Conduct Real Estate “Background Checks”

This is a re-post of a great article, check it out it’s really cool.

Working for the Agency [CIA] gave me a healthy paranoia. I’m always watching my back, making sure I’m not being followed, and I trust no one. And I’m always taking President Ronald Reagan’s  advice, “trust but verify” to heart or Mike Pompeo distrust and verify, former Secretary of State.

Because if you “verify” everything in this business then you will eliminate most of your risks and won’t have to worry about losing money on deals or getting ripped off.

The first way I verify is when I get a call from a motivated seller. I go into the tax records and make sure that the person who called me owns the house.

During the boom there was a huge scam going around where people were selling houses which they didn’t own. I remember reading stories of homeowners coming to check on their vacant rental properties and finding people living in them.

In fact, this almost happened to me once. I got a call from a seller, and the names didn’t match up on the records. When I asked him about this, he started stuttering on the phone and then hung up on me.

Another way you verify is by running an actual background check and credit check on homeowners when you are doing a lease option.

With a lease option you are taking on much more risk since you don’t own the property. There are a million and one websites out there which will let you run these checks and they don’t cost much at all.

Obviously, don’t do a lease option deal with a guy who is heavily in debt and who might stop paying his mortgage at any moment.

The next way to verify is by checking driver’s licenses. If you’re signing papers at a kitchen table, make sure and check someone’s license before you start signing.

Make sure they are who they say they are—and not some cousin of the owner who’s staying at the place for the summer and who’s really a con artist.

You’ll also want to check the driver’s licenses of any potential tenants. Before I even have a tenant fill out a rental application, I ask to see their license.

Not surprisingly, over the years, I’ve had a couple of people leave my properties when I asked for I.D.

Yes, it’s easy to produce a fake I.D but most people won’t go to the hassle and most fake I.D.’s are so terrible you can tell they are fake in an instant. In addition to the I.D., you’ll also want to run credit and criminal checks on your future tenant. Do BOTH it’s worth it.

Before I run these checks, I tell the person that I’m going to do it and that now is the time to come clean to me. I’ve heard everything from “I might be going to jail for manslaughter” to “I have to register as a sex offender.”

Owners and tenants aren’t the only people I check out either. Often, I’ll have an investor want to partner with me or do some type of deal with me and I’ll “run them through the ringer” too. It’s no skin off my back since I have my assistant Lisa take care of it all.

And it’s certainly better than losing $50,000 on a deal because the person was a con artist or because you gave a $10,000 deposit to someone on a duplex they didn’t own.

So, starting today, eliminate more of the risks in your real estate business by thoroughly checking out everyone you work with. I don’t care how well they’ve come recommended, or who they say they know. Trust, but verify.

Author: United States of America Central Intelligence Agency [CIA]

Winston Rowe and Associates is a national advisory and consulting firm.

It’s not a ‘labor shortage.’ It’s a great reassessment of work in America.

Hiring was much weaker than expected in April. Wall Street thinks it’s a blip, but there could be much deeper rethinking of what jobs are needed and what workers want to do on a daily basis.

From Wall Street to the White House, expectations were high for a hiring surge in April with potentially a million Americans returning to work. Instead, the world learned Friday that just 266,000 jobs were added, a massive disappointment that raises questions about whether the recovery is on track.

President Biden’s team has vowed that its massive stimulus package will recover all the remaining jobs lost during the pandemic in about a year, but that promise won’t be kept unless there’s a big pickup in hiring soon. There are still 8.2 million jobs left to recover.

At the same time, business leaders and Republicans are complaining that there is a “worker shortage,” and they largely blame the more generous unemployment payments and stimulus checks for making people less likely to take low-paying fast food and retail jobs again. Democratic economists counter that companies could raise pay if they really wanted workers back quickly.

One way to make sense of this weak jobs report is to do what Wall Street did and shrug it off as an anomaly. Stocks still rose Friday as investors saw this as a blip. They think there is just a lag in hiring and more people will return to work as they get vaccinated.

And they point out oddball months have occurred before, especially with some weird quirks in the Labor Department’s seasonal adjustments.

Biden on April jobs report: ‘Our efforts are starting to work, but the climb is steep’

In response to the April jobs report, President Biden on May 6 defended his coronavirus relief package and said economic recovery would be a marathon.

“With the U.S. economy rapidly reopening, and news of pockets of labor shortages emerging, the markets should treat today’s number as an anomaly in a generally positive upward trend,” wrote Seema Shah, chief strategist at Principal Global Investors, to clients.

But another way to look at this is that there is a great reassessment going on in the U.S. economy. It’s happening on a lot of different levels. At the most basic level, people are still hesitant to return to work until they are fully vaccinated, and their children are back in school and day care full time. For example, all the job gains in April went to men. The number of women employed or looking for work fell by 64,000, a reminder that child-care issues are still in play.

Economy picked up just 266,000 jobs in April, well below expectations as economy struggles to rebound

There is also growing evidence — both anecdotal and in surveys — that a lot of people want to do something different with their lives than they did before the pandemic. The coronavirus outbreak has had a dramatic psychological effect on workers, and people are reassessing what they want to do and how they want to work, whether in an office, at home or some hybrid combination.

A Pew Research Center survey this year found that 66 percent of the unemployed had “seriously considered” changing their field of work, a far greater percentage than during the Great Recession.

People who used to work in restaurants or travel are finding higher-paying jobs in warehouses or real estate, for example. Or they want a job that is more stable and less likely to be exposed to the coronavirus — or any other deadly virus down the road. Consider that grocery stores shed over 49,000 workers in April and nursing care facilities lost nearly 20,000.

Grocery workers, already reeling from the pandemic, face new trauma from store shootings

Economists describe this phenomenon as reallocation friction, the idea that the types of jobs in the economy are changing and workers are taking a while to figure out what new jobs they want — or what skills they need for different roles.

“Clearly, there are industries in both manufacturing and services that are eager to beef up staff as the pace of economic activity accelerates. But those efforts are being frustrated. In some cases, the problem is a mismatch in skills. You can’t train a one-time courier on a bike to become an IT specialist overnight,” said Bernard Baumohl, chief global economist at the Economic Outlook Group.

Millions of jobs probably aren’t coming back, even after the pandemic ends

Tim and Sara Wojtala are a young couple completely rethinking their careers due to the pandemic. Tim worked for years as a manager at major retailer. Last year, he was frustrated by what he felt were lax safety conditions at work and having to deal with irate customers who didn’t want to wear masks.

He quit in the fall as the virus surged again. Now he’s going to school to become a wind turbine technician through a program backed by the government. Sara also spent many years in retail and wants to do something more meaningful now.

“The problem is we are not making enough money to make it worth it to go back to these jobs that are difficult and dirty and usually thankless. You’re getting yelled at and disrespected all day. It’s hell,” said Sara, who is 31. She added that with two young kids, finding childcare has also been a huge issue lately.

The couple have decided to sell their suburban Detroit home and buy a camper van to travel the country. They hope to home-school their kids and spend more time as a family.

“During the pandemic, I grew to really appreciate my family,” said Tim, who is 37. “We always thought we were a middle-class family that would do the same plan as our parents. Now we’re both just excited at the prospect of a different way of living life.”

Wage data from April is also telling. When companies, especially fast-food restaurants, complain they can’t find workers, the common retort is, “Why don’t these companies raise pay?” In fact, there is evidence that restaurants are raising pay. The average hourly rate in the hospitality sector is up roughly $1 compared to the pre-pandemic going rate. But the bigger issue appears to be that warehouses have hiked wages by more than a dollar and now pay $26 an hour on average — far more than the roughly $18 average in hospitality.

Even among those who have jobs, people are rethinking their options. Front-line workers are reporting high levels of burnout, causing some to seek a new career path. There’s also been a wave of retirements as workers over 50 quit because they don’t want to return to teaching, home health care or other front-line jobs. More affluent Americans say they are retiring early because their retirement portfolios have surged in the past year and the pandemic has taught them that life is short. They don’t want to spend as much time at a desk, even if it is safe.

Alison Detrick used to clean houses in New Orleans. She cut her hourly rate in half last summer to lure clients back. But she lost nearly an entire month of work in the fall when two of her clients contracted the coronavirus. Detrick didn’t get the virus, but she had to get tested and quarantine, losing much needed pay.

Today, Detrick works at a call center. It’s not as flexible of a job, but she says it pays well and she can do it from the safety of her home. She transitioned quickly, but others will take time.

Companies are also doing a reassessment of how many workers they need and in what capacities. Economists have been warning for months that some jobs won’t come back, especially jobs like hotel check in desk workers, valets, toll booth collectors and some serving jobs that can be automated. There’s also an ongoing decline in employment of administrative support staff. Temporary office help declined by 115,000 in April.

Two supposedly hot areas of the economy — manufacturing and construction — also had surprisingly weak hiring, with manufacturing shedding 18,000 jobs and construction flat. Supply chain holdups are forcing factories and construction sites to slow down or even shut down for a while. But it’s notable that the manufacturing sector has bounced back strongly, yet the industry has only added back about 60 percent of the jobs lost. This suggests many factories are ramping up automation in a way that allows them to do more with fewer workers.

The overall expectation is still for hiring to pick up this summer as the economy reopens fully and more people are vaccinated. But the past year has fundamentally changed the economy and what many Americans want in their working life. This big reassessment — for companies and workers — is going to take awhile to sort out and it could continue to pop up in surprising ways.

This is a re-post of an article by Heather Long, Reporter, Washington Post May 7, 2021 at 4:49 p.m. EDT

10 Steps To Buying Multi-Family Properties

If one of your goals for the new year is to focus on real estate deals that produce high monthly cash flow – then you should be considering Multi-Family properties. Historically, investors get the highest rental cashf low returns in areas where most people are renters and in areas where there are notable shortages of rental housing.

Multi-Family does not have to mean a sprawling Apartment Complex, or a 20 floor high rise. Duplexes, Town homes, Small Condo and Apartment Communities (under 50 units) are everyday affordable real estate deals that you can find throughout the united states.

10 Steps For Buying A Multi-Family Property
  1. Figure out your Buying Strategy
    • High Rental Return (monthly cashflow)
    • Value Appreciation (huge payout when you sell)
    • Distressed Sellers (good properties at slight discount)
    • Distressed Properties (discounted fixers)
  2. Build/Contact Your Virtual Team
    • Realtor/Commercial Broker
    • Title Company
    • Insurance Agent (did you know they can tell you about past claims?)
    • Accountant/Bookeeper (needed after purchase)
    • Property Inspector
    • Appraiser
    • Surveyor (banks usually require you to pay for a report)
    • Contractor/Handyman
    • Property Manager/On site staff
  3. Work Out Financing Options
    • Register with a Hard Money Lender
    • Get a Proof of Funds letter
    • Notarized Bank Balance Statement
    • Pre-Approval Bank Loan Letter
  4. Consider you Entity Structure
    • Think asset protection for your state
    • Think tax advantages for your area
  5. Set A Budget & Prowl For Deals
    • Use Craigslist, Zilllow, Trulia, Loopnet databases
    • Ask Realtor/Broker to set up email alerts
  6. Show Interest & Make An Offer
  7. Due Diligence
    • Order a property inspection
    • Review the rent rolls and past tax returns for the property
    • Order a market rent analysis from realtor
  8. Deal/No Deal
    • Consider if the information gathered during due diligence changes your mind about your plans for the property
    • Renegotiate terms of your offer
    • Verify your financing options for the specific property
  9. Rainy Day Plan
    • Prepare for crisis with a plan for the worse or explore exit strategies
    • Keep cash on hand to fund repairs in the beginning
  10. Management
    • Hire a Property Management Firm definitely if you are more than 200 miles away
    • If you decide to maintain it your self, consider having a handyman live on site for discounted rent

Multi-Family investment properties offer real estate investors many advantages: cashflow, tax advantages, appreciation, etc. You can start out small by buying a Duplex and Fourplex in your area just to wet you feet with a income producing property.