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Archive for April, 2009|Monthly archive page

Selecting a Property Manager in Atlanta

In Uncategorized on April 18, 2009 at 1:16 pm

Because of the current economic climate, property managers are popping up all over the nation. Some just got their license, some have been listing and selling for a living, and most don’t have a clue what they are getting into. If you are considering hiring a property manager you need to understand the issues. What you don’t know can hurt you! Here are some things to think about before you make the decision, “Who can I trust to manage my rental property?”

First, there are thousands of good realtors in this country that make great listing (buyer’s) agents but are currently starving and looking for ways to supplement their incomes. As properties sit on the market longer and longer customers are asking their listing agents, “Can you rent it?” Realtors who are accustomed to saying “no” to that question are starting to say “yes” and enter a world they are neither trained for nor familiar with. These well-intentioned agents have the license to manage rentals but their skills are not developed in this unique field and it will take them a while to figure things out. Property management is very different than what they are use to and it can cost you plenty of your own hard-earned money to be part of their learning curve.

Next, Property managers must be licensed by the real estate regulatory agency of their state. There are lots of well-intended entrepreneurs running property management businesses out of their homes without a license. This has become a cottage industry, much like the listing and selling business, and it takes almost no capital to get into the management business. They manage properties for others for a fee but are not licensed to do so. This means they are not under the scrutiny and control of the regulatory system created by the states to protect the public from dishonest managers. They typically are not holding other’s money in a trust account registered with the agency and you have no one to report them to when they mismanage the property, the money, or you. If they steal from you there is no place for you to go for help, as there is no regulatory authority with jurisdiction over the unlicensed manager. You are on your own with unlicensed managers so be on your guard.

Lastly, they should manage rentals as a primary business, not as a sideline to another business. Many real estate agents hold themselves out as property managers when their real business is listing and selling. Lots of real estate agents manage a few rentals as a sideline to their brokerage business and these businesses naturally compete for their attention. There are plenty of mom and pop property management businesses in every town and the owner of a rental property needs to consider the shortcomings of these sideline operations. Property management needs the total focus and attention of a manager because it’s demanding and more complicated than it looks. If they are listing and selling homes for a living, and managing a few houses on the side, make sure they have plenty of extra staff doing the managing. The big dollars they get selling houses will distract them from the “nickel dime” business of managing rentals. There is a natural conflict of interest between these businesses and you don’t want them competing for your attention as a landlord. You do not want them having to decide, “do I show a house for sale today, or show a house for rent?” The sale option will always win out because the potential reward is much greater. Find somebody who is focusing on the management business for a living. “I do both” is the wrong answer.

EOTM Real Estate Group is a full service for all real estate needs for Owner’s, Residents and Investors, with services ranging from financial advice, consultations on all aspects of real estate including tax liens, foreclosures, to tenant placement, screening to real estate rental services, management, and sales & marketing training.

With over 10 years experience in Real Estate, Mortgages, Property Management and Marketing, EOTM Properties has positioned themselves as leading providers in Property Management, Real Estate & Mortgages.

We encourage you to visit our site to learn more about the company, our partners and how we are structured to help you achieve the highest investment on your most prized investment.

With the implementation of the new H.O.M.E. Initiative program we predict being able to help thousands of Georgia Families that have been directly affected by the mortgage crisis.

Contact us today for more information on our company and this new initiative.

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Changing The Game In Real Estate

In Uncategorized on April 16, 2009 at 2:02 pm

changethegame

EOTM Real Estate Group Announces

The H.O.M.E. Initiative

EOTM Real Estate Group launches the H.O.M.E. Initiative. A new program dedicated to helping those homeowners that were directly affected by the Mortgage Meltdown. Launching programs and seminars whereas these consumers can get back on track to homeownership, being educated on the process along the way.

Accelerating Positive Change In The Mortgage Industry

EOTM Real Estate Group is stepping up to the plate. Taking responsibility for having played a part in making the Real Estate/Mortgage Industry what it is today.

“EOTM Real Estate Group’s Community Building Initiative is to right a wrong, so to speak. Creating hope, sooner rather than later. Building stronger building blocks, the kind that will withstand storms and leave a legacy for our children. An initiative that is needed”. Carla Barnes, President of EOTM Real Estate Group says.

Community Building Activists

The EOTM Real Estate Group’s community initiative will first and foremost help find quality homes for qualified individuals. “It’s such an unfortunate situation, considering these hardworking families have probably filed bankruptcy as a means to try and save their homes. Making it almost impossible for owners/property managers to rent to them.” Carla Barnes says. EOTM will be placing the candidates in homes for 12 – 24 months under a rental agreement or lease to purchase. Within that time frame these families will work hand in hand with credit coaches, debt consolidation experts and other mortgage/real estate professionals to help put them back on track to homeownership.

EOTM will be offering free seminars online and traditonal in the hopes of educating consumers .. tips they need to know before obtaining their next mortgage. Understanding credit, how it works and more. Helping to turn the once subprime borrower into prime borrowers. Building stronger communities in the process.

EOTM currently has homes available to rent or lease with option all across Atlanta and quickly expanding into other regions.

Helping to build stronger communities is the ultimate goal. Investors, Lenders, Builders, lock arms with EOTM Real Estate Group Today. Bring the H.O.M.E. initiative into your community.

“A Home Is a Terrible Thing To Waste, Next Time You Buy Make The Decision To Keep It”

Are You a Mortgage or Real Estate Professional? Join our initiative, contact Carla for more info @ 678.548.9466


http://www.eotmrealestategroup.com

So What If The Sky Is Falling!

In Uncategorized on April 15, 2009 at 1:51 pm

theskyisfalling1

We’ve gone through the up’s and the down’s, this past year in the Real Estate industry.

The thing is, for those of us in the cash flow and real estate professions–it doesn’t matter because at the end of the day…. Guess what?!!? Financing still drives real estate transactions! That dynamic will never disappear. But it will forever change, as the market and the players adapt to the reality of doing business in these turbulent times.

Those in the know recognize that the next few years may present some difficult challenges. They also realize that what is happening now presents a whole set of special opportunities. These survivors understand that although the glass appears half empty, the reality is the glass is half full–and rising.

Disaster Preparedness?

Financial planning is an unnatural act?.?. The brain is wired to make us undervalue long-term goals and exaggerate the cost of short-term sacrifice. Yet studies show that people who do even a little investment planning had twice the results of those who did almost none.

While the pundits address the details and try to analyze what the end result will be, my purpose here isn’t to add to the doom and gloom, but to acknowledge what is happening, to try to make a little bit of sense out of it, and to offer solutions in the middle of the violent storm engulfing the real estate and capital markets.

In this blog, I will show you how to create “win, win” scenarios that allow us to stem the tide and mitigate the damage while getting paid for doing so! Copy that, Captain?

For some, things will get worse before they get better

There is no question we are in a dicey economy right now. The Federal Reserve Board responded to the market turmoil by pumping close to $136 Billion into the nation’s banking system to “promote the restoration of orderly conditions in the financial markets.”

Other central banks around the world had already been doing the same thing! The Fed stated that “financial market conditions have deteriorated, and tighter credit conditions and increased uncertainty have the potential to restrain economic growth going forward.”

They also added “although recent data suggest that the economy has continued to expand at a moderate pace, the Federal Open Market Committee judges that the downside risks to growth have increased appreciably.'”

That is the other side of the coin, and likely a harbinger of things to come, which are likely to get worse, before they get better–to what degree remains to be seen.

Determined investors can help turn things around

But for now the housing sector is in the throes of an overall malaise, and it will continue to be in turmoil for some time. Regardless of what happens next, cash flow and real estate professionals who are determined to succeed can, both individually and collectively, help restore the marketplace one transaction at a time.

Until now, sellers could take comfort in the fact that there was little precedent for a real estate downturn occurring in the absence of an economic one. But the improbable is now a reality, though many believe that the economy is simply “going through a correction.”

So far, the market’s psychology has changed more than the fundamentals have. However, a number of indicators seem to point to deeper, more long-term issues.

Massive layoffs in the lending industry and construction industry are already in full force and have began spreading to the private equity sector, hedge funds, and several other capital markets as well.

House of Blues?

Meanwhile, most housing market indicators have pointed to negative territory. The volume of home sales has fallen in many markets; housing inventories have stretched to a nearly eight-month supply; and new-home builders are reporting big losses.

An increase in delinquencies among mortgage borrowers has resulted in big spikes in foreclosure filings around the nation, unleashing a flood of vacant houses on the market.

Oddly enough, the “whipsaw” going on in the capital markets as investors go in and out of US Treasury bonds, may very well keep conventional mortgage (prime home loans of $417,000 or less) rates in a tolerable range, at least through the next few months.

Now, the segment most at risk is luxury homes. The “jumbo” category (home loans exceeding $417,000) is probably a bigger impediment going forward, than mere psychological or fear factors.

Unable to resell their jumbo mortgages on Wall Street, lenders are already making far fewer mega-loans. Those that are making them, are charging much more in interest. That has spooked investors and dried up the secondary market for mortgages (even those of sterling quality) that don’t fit in Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac purchase parameters.

The mortgage industry meltdown, while not yet a full-blown credit crunch, has definitely led to a massive liquidity squeeze, meaning it’s much harder to get a loan these days for all but the best borrowers.

Too many houses; too few buyers -> Yep yall -> A buyers/renters market

Borrowers, for the most part, now must put more money down, document their income and assets under tighter scrutiny, have fewer dings against their creditworthiness and show conclusively that they can afford the payments.

With credit much tighter today, the refinance option is off the table for many. Tightened lending restrictions eliminate potential buyers from the market, reducing demand even as more supply hits the market due to big jumps in foreclosures and builders finishing up projects initiated before the slump took hold.

As mortgages become more expensive, and financing becomes more difficult, buyers won’t be able to bid as much for homes, while sellers are seeing growing competition from each other.

At this point the number of home sales has dropped a lot more than housing prices, though that may be somewhat explained by the fact that home prices generally trail declining sales in a down market.

Though declining prices have been sporadic until recently, short-term prospects for any reduction of inventory is poor, and motivated sellers may have to slash prices to move properties. The shakeout has already begun.

The end of the rainbow!

It means tremendous opportunity for those who practice ethical, creative investing techniques built on win, win principles and crafted around solving problems fairly for both sides of the transaction. For the Now & Later….as I say 😉

For us, it does not matter how the market shakes out. For now, we know, “They can’t refinance it, they can’t sell it, and/or they can’t afford it.” And though we can’t solve the problem for everybody, we have solutions to help many people stay out of difficulty and assist many of those who are in trouble, but don’t even know it yet.

Those who understand the full scope of real estate financing and realize are many more time-tested options for successfully completing transactions than just the more common “I Sell/You Buy” fee simple transfer will not only survive, they will thrive!

It really is that simple……..

Carla Barnes

EOTM Real Estate Group

www.eotmrealestategroup.com

Feel free to submit all your mortgage/real estate related questions and I promise to respond within 48 hours.

EOTM Radio Airs Segment on Online Dating

In Uncategorized on April 14, 2009 at 2:37 am

Stream Live

dating

The Good, The Bad and the OH MY GOD, what were they thinking of Internet Dating


A few short years ago, the common assumption was that anyone who’d turn to their computer for love had to be a geeky, pathetic loser who couldn’t get a date. More recently, with the Internet changing everything from the way we shop to the way we find driving directions, cyberspace has become the hottest pick-up joint on the planet. Not to mention it’s recession proof!

The Queen’s of Internet Radio talk with listeners about their online dating experience. Highlighting “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” of online dating.

Stop by and hear how these stories prove not only that normal, stable everyday folks are using the internet to find romance, but that sometimes you will find that there are still a lot of freaks and crazies out there.

Call in live to share your stories and listen to some online dating tips on safety, filtering through the “games”, information on reputable online dating directories as well as relationship advice from experts!

Listen Live Wednesday, April 15th @ 9pm est.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/entrepreneursonthemove

Youtube Video –  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTdiU6aHPhU

What to Do If You Can’t Sell a Property?

In Uncategorized on April 13, 2009 at 7:32 pm


Unfortunately, things don’t always go as planned. Sometimes you can’t sell properties for what you originally thought. Markets sometimes change as we are seeing in our current situation. Currently the real estate market is softening up in a lot of areas. Below are some tips to help you sell properties faster and what to do if you can’t sell a property.

1. Keep it clean – Properties should be spotless. Chances are, you’re asking a buyer (or renter) to spend a lot of money. There is no excuse for dirt, stains or extra material lying around.

2. Flower boxes & plants go a long way – Especially if it’s summer time, put some nice plants and flower boxes around. If there is a yard, make sure it’s neat and well-groomed.

3. List it with a realtor – If you’ve been trying to sell it yourself, get a realtor. I know 6 percent is a lot, but most realtors will get more money for a property then you will. Plus they pay the advertising costs. Plus you don’t have to waste your time with open houses or showing the property. Plus they’ll sell it quicker… How much does it cost you every month your house doesn’t sell? How much has it cost you so far? What was that? Were you thinking that you can sell it yourself? Obviously not. If you could, you wouldn’t be reading this.

4. Change realtors – If your realtor can’t sell the property, dump him/her. I never recommend signing listing agreements for more than three months. Always choose a realtor in the neighborhood. A realtor 20 minutes away has no idea what’s going on in your neighborhood. Also, don’t negotiate their commission. If you’re paying them 5 percent and someone else is paying them 6 percent, who do you think they’re going to take the hot buyer to? In fact, pay them more. Offer incentives to sell it quick.

5. Reduce price – I know it stinks, but if it doesn’t sell, either offer concessions or cut the price.

6. Rent it – If it doesn’t sell and you have a hard time making the payment, rent it out. I know you want the big “payday”, but how long can you realistically carry the mortgage payments and expenses with a vacant property? Rent it out and try to sell it again when the market gets better. We specialize in property management and tenant placement, contact us for more information.

Still Trying To Figure Out The Best Time To Purchase Investment Properties?

In Uncategorized on April 12, 2009 at 1:26 pm

I am a strong advocate that now is the time to buy investments properties in the markets where EOTM Properties manages homes. I am putting my money where my mouth is; I am actively seeking buying opportunities right now and have recently closed on two purchases. Two purchases might not seem like a big deal, but I work with what I have and it takes more cash to close on investment homes at this time.

The reason I feel urgency is because now is a lull in the market and when the market picks up again there will be many things changing so you will see a completely different landscape. To qualify this, you need to understand that I look for buying opportunities which I will hold for 5-10 years, I do not look for “buy and flip” situations in our markets. Here are points to consider….

1) It is much better to be a landlord when vacancy rates are low. Vacancy rates are below 5% in all of our markets, a rate which we consider full occupancy. This low vacancy is driving up rents and causing people to adapt their behavior by being better tenants. Because there are fewer units available tenants are less demanding regarding aesthetic repairs and are more likely to be a better partner in taking care of the house they are renting.

The reasons for the low vacancy rate are tied to these factors:

  • Buyers are sitting on the fence. They see no need to jump into a market to protect their future because they believe the house they see available today will be available in the future at near the same price.
  • People are less sure about their future, so they are more likely to rent to insure flexibility to move to a new job.
  • The entry requirement to home ownership is higher, both higher down payments and more stringent credit requirements are making hard work for potential buyers
  • There has been a huge decrease in new construction of single family residences. New construction has had more margins available to attract/entice renters. Now that the new home builders have slowed to a standstill, so have their marketing arms which lured renters away from where they should be. Remember, some people should be renters – home ownership is not right for everybody.

2) Investors need to put 20% down right now. There is money available, but lenders want to see better credit and they want you to have some skin in the game. This money requirement is blocking out amateur investors who shouldn’t be in the market now and making sellers more pliable. If you have money to put down you should be using it now!

3) Interest rates are at an attractive level. Rates are not at all time lows, but my last two mortgages were at 6%, a very reasonable cost of money – especially since these interest payments are deductible! The Federal Reserve has lowered short term rates, but my money people are telling me that mortgages are not expected to drop significantly lower and may actually rise. This is an important consideration since one of the important benefits of buying real estate investments is the opportunity for leverage, so higher interest rates would diminish the benefit of this leverage. I always buy on 30 year, fixed rate mortgages, and since I plan to hold my rental properties 5-10 years the short term benefits of short term ARM’s does not compensate for the risk of higher mortgage costs in the future (for me).

4) The markets where EOTM Properties operates are markets of continued population growth. This is an important consideration because incoming people will need homes! Over the next 30 years the biggest threat to success in our markets is something strange like a “bird flu” which would wipe out 50% of the population. Barring a catastrophic event like bird flu you should see continued migration of jobs and people into areas of the country that have a lower cost of living.

  • High oil prices should accelerate migration to places like Atlanta, Athens and Florida. As transportation costs rise and consume a greater part of someone’s budget, people will not be able to afford to pay $2,000/month for the same house they would pay $1,000/month in Macon. This is true whether they are renters or buyers.
  • There will be a bottom in the markets on the coasts which should still leave our Midwest and eastern states a significant cost advantage for businesses
  • Business will continue to make changes to allow profitability, meaning they should do again what they did in the last great recession of the 1970’s – move to southern states that provide the most efficient costs
  • The world is flat! An information based economy can put their employees where they cost less. This does not always mean sending a job to India, it may mean sending a job to Atlanta! As India and China grow their costs advantages diminish, but there is still a significant cost savings by moving a job from New York or San Francisco to Atlanta.

5) Future costs for new construction should be much higher! The current downturn will not last forever. When the economy picks up again the entry point for new homes will be much higher. The increases in home values on the nation’s coasts were primarily because of increases in land values, the next increase in home value will be because of the increase in the value of the actual product. This works well for the southern states since most of what you are paying for is the cost of the structure, not the cost of the land.

  • Higher oil costs will drive up the costs of all the materials for new construction. If the economy picks up again in 3 years the materials cost of a starter home should be 10%-20% higher then they are right now, even though the builder will not be making any more money. The costs to process, manufacture and transport raw building materials will be impacted by the cost of energy as well as worldwide competition for these materials.
  • Labor costs should increase as well. People will need to make more just to get to work, and with the tightening of our borders as demanded by national security you should expect the building trades to be exponentially affected. This may add another 10%-20% to the cost of new construction.
  • All these factors make it even more likely that people will migrate to areas where they can create affordable housing, but the new house that may be available for $140,000 today will cost $180,000 in 2011 just because of the costs of labor and materials.

6) What new construction is occurring? If you follow current “new home construction” reports you may have heard that new home construction was up last quarter and that we may be at the end of the cycle. If you dig deeper you will find out that the reason for the uptick is because these reports consider apartment construction as “new home construction”.

  • There was a significant increase in apartments because the people with the access (money) to perform the in-depth research have realized that more and more people will be renting.
  • In April of 2008 the US Commerce department report that apartment building jumped by 40.5 percent, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 326,000 units. The larger single-family sector dropped by 1.7 percent, to an annual rate of 692,000 units.

7) Where else are you going to put your money?

  • Do you really feel our stock market will perform at a high level over the next ten years or do you feel unsure about the ability of Corporate America to respond to changing worldwide economic issues and deliver consistent profits?
  • Do you put your money in CD’s (now earning 1%-4%).
  • Do you put your money in high earning AAA bonds earning 7%-10% (remember that the sub prime real estate loans were rolled into investment vehicles rated as A, AA and AAA).

8) This is a business for people with money and time! These are my personal opinions and there are others who say you can do this with nothing down, but if you are not bringing anything to the table why do you expect to get anything in return.

  • It does not take a lot of money, but you should not be doing this with the only money you have and you should not be borrowing to use for a down payment.
  • If you can put 20% down you should be able to find a home where your costs are covered and you do not have to reinvest additional funds as your costs over the first five years should be covered by rental incomes
  • Anyone with over $500,000 in assets should have 20%-50% of this invested in real estate
  • Take $100,000 and invest it in three homes worth $450,000 total. You will have $360,000 of loans on real estate worth $450,000. After ten years the initial $100,000 investment should be worth $300,000 based on growth in the homes values at 3%/year and the benefit of your tenants paying down your loans. You will now have $300,000 worth of loans on real estate worth over $600,00. This scenario turns $100,000 into $300,000 in ten years.
  • You should not expect to touch you investments for 10 years. If you need the money to live off now, then do not go to real estate. However, if you have just retired at 65 and know what you need for the next ten years and still have money left, then this is a good conservative plan for having extra money at age 75. Many people are living longer than expected, so this is a way to cover your bets so you can have money available for those unexpected extra years!

9) No – we are no longer in the “turn and burn” glory years where you buy a house in Los Angeles or a condo in Atlanta with $5,000 down and sell it for a $50,000 profit the same day you close. If you want that type of fun, go buy gold futures on leverage. For investors with a 5-10 year view – you should be looking at residential real estate!

Our goal is to educate you on one of the greatest investments you will ever make. Feel free to contact me with any questions, comments or concerns regarding this blog.

Buying a Foreclosed Home as a Rental Property

In Uncategorized on April 12, 2009 at 1:23 pm

Consider key factors about a foreclosed home before you buy it as a rental property.

Some investors are eager to purchase single-family homes in foreclosure, hoping to take advantage of low prices and then turn a profit by renting the properties to tenants. But many of these buyers are not experienced landlords, and even experienced landlords often fail to consider crucial factors that will make the purchase of a foreclosed home a success or failure as a rental property.

Wise buyers will consider such things as the neighborhood in which the home is located, how the home has been maintained, and whether any existing tenants who rented from the prior owner will remain after the purchase. Here’s a rundown of the things you should consider before you buy a foreclosed property with the intention of renting it out.

Why the Rash of Foreclosures in Some Areas?

A sad fact of sub-prime life is that in many areas of the country, whole neighborhoods are awash in foreclosures. Typically, these areas were hastily built by developers eager to take advantage of the seemingly endless appreciation of real estate, and they all came crashing down when the purchasers (and in some cases, the developers) became unable to meet their mortgages or construction loan payments. For hard numbers on the incidence of foreclosure in your area, use Realty Trac (www.realtytrac.com) to check the concentration of foreclosures by Zip code.

Will You Deal With a Bank or a Homeowner?

Purchasing a foreclosed home may not be the home-buying experience you might imagine. Instead of dealing with motivated individual sellers, anxious to showcase their home by staging it and working closely with their broker, most buyers will encounter an institution — a bank’s asset management department, where it’s hard to reach and converse with an individual, let alone the same individual each time. Don’t expect quick turnaround and individual attention by people who have the authority to make decisions. Instead, you may find yourself dealing with a department that knows banking but not home selling and stops answering the phone at 5 PM sharp.

However, if you are lucky enough to buy a home in preforeclosure (preforeclosure is the period after the homeowner has received a notice of default but still has months before the auction takes place), often you can negotiate a deal with the homeowner instead of the bank.

Consider the Neighborhood

A key factor in the success of your rental is the neighborhood. In general, a rental in an area dotted with foreclosures is likely to command less rent when foreclosed properties remain unsold and, more importantly, unoccupied. These forlorn properties are likely to be unmaintained and are targets for vandalism and even squatters. Few tenants will want to join the ranks in such a neighborhood, and those that do may expect the rent to reflect these negative attributes. When making a bid on such a property, factor in the realistic rent the house can command.

A neighborhood of foreclosed homes bodes ill even if they have been purchased and are in relatively good shape. All of these homes aren’t going to be occupied by the owners — many will be rented out, just as yours will be. That makes for a concentration of rentals — in short, a glut on the market, which will drive prices down. The same property in a different part of town might fetch a higher rent simply because there is less competition.

A foreclosed property in good condition located in a neighborhood with few other foreclosures will most likely fetch higher rent. Of course, such a property may command a higher selling price as well.

Our goal is to educate the consumer on one of the biggest investments you will ever make. Please feel free to contact Carla Barnes of EOTM Properties today for a quick analysis of the market you are looking to buy in, we are here for that investor in YOU!

Carla Barnes

Direct: 678.548.9466

Email: carla@eotmrealestategroup.com

Website: http://www.eotmrealestategroup.com

Hello world!

In Uncategorized on April 12, 2009 at 1:16 pm

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