February 29, 2008
There are some amazing deals on condos popping up in Las Vegas. During the condo boom out there, thousands of people put money down and signed reservation agreements. Now that the market is a bit softer out there, not everyone wants to follow through with their reservation and some people have even given up their initial deposits. This leaves the developers in a sticky situation because they thought they had the Las Vegas Condos sold and now they need to find another buyer. Usually they need to find another buy quickly in order to move forward with the condo project and go to the next phase on their construction loan.
I am personally going to explore some of these Las Vegas condo opportunities next week. Besides some great investment opportunities, it is always great to have an excuse to go to Las Vegas. There still are some high end projects doing very well such as City Center and Cosmopolitan, but some of the smaller ones are struggling with the market. A lot of investors called vulture investors are going into the Las Vegas condo market right now to pick up some amazing deals. If you can pick up a unit for a significant discount and rent it out for a few years until the market stabilizes, you can find yourself making a nice profit when you sell in a few years.
I am looking at three different condo projects in Las Vegas next week, so I will update the blog when I return about any possible condo deals out there right now.
February 28, 2008
Almost everyone knows by now that you have to be online to generate the most exposure for any business. It is of course no different for real estate. When builders, agents, or investors, are marketing their condos and homes to the masses, the most cost effective way to this is online. OK…so we have established this as pretty much fact. Now we have to dig into the true realities of online marketing for condos and homes.
The “internet” buyer or “Internet” lead MUST be treated differently that someone who walks into the sales office. Many people know this, but many still refuse to grasp this reality. NAR studies show over 80% of buyers use the Internet as their primary initial tool in searching for homes and condos, vacation condos, rentals, etc. And yes, this is now regardless of age or demographic…everyone is online. People spend months sometimes looking online.
Here is where agents fall short much of the time (I hope no one takes offense to this because this message is meant purely as an educational tool)…the “Internet” lead may not be ready to buy for months. That is OK! This is where the relationship must begin. If you are an agent and you receive an email from a possible buyer inquiring about your product, that is a good sign. Yes, there are a lot of “lookers” out there but most of those “lookers” eventually turn into buyers. The question is…are they going to buy a condo or home from you, or are you going to let them slip through your fingers and buy from someone else because you didn’t feel like taking the time to build the relationship?
So many agents out there consider an Internet lead “poor” or “unqualified” because they don’t purchase within a couple months. Who came up with this term “unqualified” anyway? It has no real meaning. People simply do not fill out their information online if they are not at least somewhat interested in buying. Experienced agents will take that “looker” and turn them into a willing and ready buyer…but I warn you, it might take some work. We are no longer in the days of buyers taking 2 days to decide. There are many other factors and market conditions weighing on their decisions. But when they do make a decision to buy new condos or homes, will you as the agent be there? Will you be the first person they call? That is solely up to the agent and a direct correlation with how much effort they put into making the sale
Now let’s get out there and make some sales!
February 27, 2008
Some days are just a lot more meaningful than others, I mean this in a truly eye opening and humbling way. I was having a very routine and calm Thursday, doing some scheduled call backs and updating the exciting new Mexico Alive condo project that I have been working on for some time now. I decided to take a break to start calling some of the dozens of media kit requests we get over here on a regular basis and started fielding some of the requests.
I found myself scrolling thorough some of the more exciting developments and came across the condo project Metro Manor Townhomes and in that media kit request were just a few words that caught my attention — METRO MANOR TOWNHOMES in bold and capitalized lettering. I know that the Arizona Condo Market is hot, so I called up Mr. Richard K. Olsen and that’s where my day definitely changed from the routine and expected to something very humbling and eye opening.
A member of the Arizona Association of Realtors, Richard K. Olsen has been serving the real estate needs of Arizona’s retirees, attorneys, bankers, developers and investors since 1975. Mr. Olsen utilizes the Arizona Regional Multiple Service to locate residential and commercial properties for purchase. Additionally, he offers clients several highly specialized real estate services.
His skill in crisis management of income properties has made Olsen the choice of Arizona attorneys to serve as a court-appointed receiver in foreclosures. Olsen has been a receiver for condos, cinder mines, RV parks, mobile home parks, apartments, shopping centers, motels, and other businesses.
In addition to all these things, Richard is the creator and creative mind behind a very important website: www.stillnomore.com. This website is committed to getting the word out about the serious grip that this “birth defect”, being still born has on families all over the world and in the medical society. Richard and I had a very serious conversation about his passion for spreading the word and informing everyone about the dangers and simple precautions for preventing still born births. A passage from Richard’s website stillnomore.com:
“Welcome to the official web site of The National Stillbirth Society, an activist organization comprised of parents and other family members and friends who, having lost one or more babies to this vilest of all “birth defects”, are fighting back.
Last year over 28,000 babies in the United States were delivered dead. For the most part they were of viable gestational age. About two-thirds evidenced no observable physical cause to explain why they died. And yet, babies, like adults, die for a reason. Medical science just has to search harder to find that reason so many otherwise healthy babies are dying before birth.”
After browsing his site in depth with him, and getting a complete walk-through we came to an impass: He said to me, “James, it looks like what you do at New Condos Online works, and is proven. But what I want you to see if where my passion lies and where all my money goes.” I think he told me this for a few reasons, The first and most important being that he showed me something about himself and his passion to qualify the caliber and level of service of what we do at New Condos Online, it seemed like he wanted me to get to know him better and it made me care very much for his success and his campaign. I believe in what I do here for new condos online and I had no problem confiding in Richard in telling him that we will advertise for his development and drive new home buyers to his developments website. While work is a huge passion of mine and is something I believe in very strongly, Richard managed to challenge my passion by introducing something new to me, a new passion for me. www.stillnomore.com is a charity that New Condos Online will be featuring on the charities page in the near future and he and his website will be in our hearts for a long time to come.
February 25, 2008
We are gearing up for another great year at New Condos Online and have some exciting new technologies and business models that will benefit our users, our clients, and the home building industry alike. We all know that times are tough and they are not about to get much easier any time soon. In the mean time, all we can do is help each other and work together in effectively marketing new condos and homes to the willing buyers…they are out there!
By researching our user based and home buying trends, we have noticed that many people looking for condos and townhomes also have aspirations to live in single family homes. Some feel they can’t afford it or do not need that much space but there are great and affordable opportunities in the home market as well. Throughout this year and into next year, we will see the market flooded with lower prices and good deals for home and condo buyers. Overall, this is not great for the housing industry but the correction does offer the buyers and investors some opportunity. Many people out there, depending on price, are simply looking for a nice home, with plenty of space, that is in the area they desire. This could be a home, townhome, or condo. Through a partnership with one of the largest home builders in the nation, New Condos Online will be offering single family home communities on the site as well. There will be certain functionalities and sorting features so users can easily define what they are looking for.
We are also building out our agent community with better technology and a more advanced networking platform. This will give agents a better resource within our site to grow their businesses and engage in the kind of networking that leads to more transactions. Agents will also be able to upload videos, flyers, etc.
More great features will be rolling out throughout the first half of this year…more to come!
February 24, 2008
The real estate market is not what it once was – shocking. But as I have said before, there are still pockets of good investment opportunities. Take Louisville, Kentucky for an example.
I was in Louisville, KY this weekend for some client relations. Despite the cold and snowy, overcast weather, Louisville still appealed to me. I was put up in my client’s loft – Mercantile Gallery Lofts – for the weekend. If you haven’t checked out these Louisville condos for sale, you’re missing out. These condos are spacious, luxurious and ahead of their time. Louisville is an up and coming city and as Mayor Jerry Abramson notes in his airport welcome monologue, Louisville is America’s 16th largest city. With that annual horse race – the Kentucky Derby – and the Ryder Cup in Louisville this year, I predict Louisville will slowly grow into a larger city. (And that means that Mayor Abramson will have to re-film his airport welcoming speech!)
The Mercantile Lofts are gorgeous lofts and the word is getting out. This past month, traffic and sales have both increased. Real estate market woes? Not here! If you are a resident of or frequent/annual visitor to Louisville and/or simply want to enjoy life for a weekend, I would suggest looking into a Mercantile Loft as an option.
February 21, 2008
I like listening to some local news. Today, as I was drinking my coffee on my way to work, the local news said that the percentage of first-time homebuyers who could afford a median priced home in San Diego rose 7% to from 24% to 31%. Condos and homes both! A quality median house runs just shy of $450,000. To be more specific, $444,480. Can you believe that? That is the median price of a home in San Diego county!?!? Gnarly! How is this rise explicable?
Well, there are multiple factors affecting this rise in first-time homebuyers. 1. Lower interest rates and 2. Over supply of product. With lower rates, more people can afford condos and with the over supply of condos and other types of real estate, the average price has gone down. San Diego is a very unique place to live. It’s a very beautiful area of the US with a very expensive real estate market but there are pockets that are very affordable. I predict that next quarter, the number of people who can afford a median priced house will increase even more. This is great news for first-time home buyers. They are getting such a sweet deal. Developers of San Diego Condos are offering incredible incentives and other sellers are dropping their prices drastically. San Diego condos for sale are a great investment right now. Buy if you can and if you’re selling, hold off for a little bit longer!
February 19, 2008
Costa Rica is one of the most beautiful places in the entire world. How do I know this? My amazing father once took me on a trip to the lush and tropical country and I fell in love instantly. However, many people like me happened to experience the same type of emotions towards this country. When I say many people – I’m talking about real estate developers who see economical gain in this country. Costa Rica condos are sprouting up like zits on a young teenager and you have to wonder where this is heading. Yes – these developments are gorgeous and the amenities that I have seen are first class however, you have to wonder if Costa Rica will become the next real estate bubble. Investors with myopic views about this market will boast that this country is on the ups and investing here is a no-brainer. But what happens when developers start to build in neighboring countries like Panama and Nicaragua. Yes – developers have been building condos for sale here but not at the pace like that of Costa Rica.
One of the most precious things about Costa Rica is that this land has been untouched and the naturalness has not been tainted. I only hope that developers will not ruin a beautiful country with over development.
THe Spire in Chicago is a stunning new project happening in the heart the city and promises to break world records of height and amenities — it certainly defies traditional thinking and design when you first lay your eyes on it. It is said that it’s creator and chief architect Santiago Calatrava was inspired by natures design and the fundamental elements when he sat at his drafting table and sketched out his first rendering of the Spire. The project is creating a buzz heard around the world and The Spire aims to capture prospective homebuyers from far off lands, and here in the U.S — some of the targeted demographics residing in: Greater Asia, Japan, India, Canada, South America and European hubs. Calatrava states that it will be the tenants who will bring the concrete and glass its life and flare. Quite a poetic approach to marketing such an beautiful monolith, but its a great way to get people interested worldwide.
The simple fact that this project is being developed illustrates that the market in the U.S has hope of recovering in a somewhat quick order, even in the face of obvious recession. The Chicago condo market is seeing a great consistency and has grown in the midst of this nationwide fervor. Developments like 400 North LaSalle condos and Avenue East condos are seeing consistant traffic and are yeilding great results over all. This market will remain soft, but won’t break and everyone is banking on it, its a great thing to see that people are risking billions of dollars in every city across the nation to stimulate the economy with new developments in beautiful areas. Times are rough, but not without the ray of hope and proof that its not over yet.
The current housing slump has led many developers and builders to downsize single-family dwellings and focus more on attached style homes to increase affordability and boost sales. This move toward more condos, townhomes, and lofts makes sense during an economic downturn. When sales are slow, developers know that smaller homes beging to make more sense. And with each sale, builders can eliminate homeowner association fees, which they must pay on unsold units.
Many market experts and analysts are claiming that smaller housing will become a permanent mindset in the new-construction market. Furthermore, with less developable land, many major metro areas such as the San Diego condo market, are facing less and less room for large single family homes. With larger homes there are higher costs of all factors of production, particularly costs of materials and labor.
Because there is less money being spent towards new housing, builders must realize that smaller units generally sell for less money. This is actually helping builders target current buyers in the marketplace. If you take a close look at the primary new home buyers in the market, you will see two demographics. One is baby boomers who are downsizing and the second is generation Y (children of babyboomers). This generation is just entering the housing market and has lower income and net worth. I am predicting that based on this we are going to see new construction shift towards to be a higher % of attached housing projects, especially in metro and surrounding areas.
February 18, 2008
It’s a sobering experience when a bank won’t give you a $5 million revolving line of credit to build a housing development in one of the worst states in the country right now for real estate. I remember the good ol days – not too long ago when a developer could pay: a savvy architect to master up some blueprints, a creative mind to draw up some colorful sketch of a high-rise (with of course those fancy cars that haven’t been invented yet parked on or zooming down the street, to the skinniest people sipping their morning cup of Joe while the wearing all the latest fashion on a beautiful sunny day…but I digress) and voila – he could get all the financing (bridge, construction, and mezzanine – thanks NCO Capital) he could ever want.
Well – have the tides turned or what!?!? Developers ofnew condos, mid-rises and master-planned communities are having to check their egos and pizzazz at the door when they enter a lending institution (what we like to call banks) and really plead their case in order to get their project a certain amount of funding. Most developers that I have researched are simply waiting this dry spell out and hopefully will start building again in a year or two. This can be seen in many parts of Florida and really all over the country – especially with condos. Many Orlando condos for sale are not going vertical simply because developers can’t secure the type of funding needed in this housing market. Is the end of this market in site?