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Archive for January 30th, 2008

Jan-30-2008

Office Move Organized

Moving a corporation may actually be more stressful than moving your home and family. You may not have control over many aspects in a corporate move. You must follow a certain guideline that is provided by the company. Make sure you give yourself at least 3 months of preparation. Most people are completely unfamiliar with how to prepare for a corporate move. Unfamiliarity can cause much headache and stress. That is why it is even more important that you follow the office-moving guide.

Preparing for the Move
The most important part of moving a corporation is to plan everything out in advance. Corporations are usually about making money. So, if the company is not up and running, but instead moving, then the company is not making any money. The major goal in a corporate move is to be cost-efficient. One of the ways to obtain this goal is to be time-efficient. The less time you spend moving, the more cost-efficient you will be for your company.

In order to save time, make sure you are very familiar with your new location and offices. Know exactly how large (take measurements) the new rooms are. Notice any differences in shapes of the rooms or new furniture. You want to make sure your old or new desk, chairs, filing cabinets, etc. fit inside your new space. To make sure that everyone knows his or her new dimensions, a floor plan should be created before the move. This plan should include, by floor, location of employees, furniture, plants, and whatever else you are bringing to your new location. Make sure that every employee receives a copy of this plan and that you post them on the building on moving day. Being organized before the move will not only reduce the stress for the employees, but for the movers as well.

Correspond with Everyone
Communication is key when it comes to a corporate move. Make sure that everyone (employees, landlords, movers, renters, etc.) is aware of every detail. They need to know the exact moving plan before the actual move. The less questions on the day of moving, the better. The movers need to be told exactly where each piece of furniture needs to be placed. If you have many desks that look the same, but belong to certain employees, make sure they know that they need to go in certain places. One way of helping out the mover is by using colored labels. All of the furniture that belongs on one floor can be labeled a certain color and you can even get more specific. Label colors and numbers to each employee. Labeling is a very important tool in moving offices. Be sure to label all equipment and furniture that is being moved. The label needs to be placed in spot that is very easily visible to the mover. The easier and more understandable you make the move to the mover, the faster the move will go. Time means money.

Supervisors: It is your responsibility to have your staff follow the instructions in the Office Moving Guide. Be sure employees in your department or section receive an Office Moving Guide. Personnel will be functioning in the new offices on a normal basis immediately after reporting to work, if the move is properly preplanned.

Employees: You will be responsible for your own packing of certain items before the actual move. Follow the instructions in the Office Moving Guide. They will be of assistance to you, not only before the move, but when you unpack in the new office.

Items Being Moved
Any items inside of bookcases, shelves, desks, wall units, or cupboards should all be packed securely in boxes. Filing cabinets do not need to be emptied. Just make sure that they are locked or securely fastened with string or heavy packaging tape.

Personal Items: The mover cannot be responsible for your personal possessions, such as legal papers, money, lighters, fountain pens, pictures, plants, etc. For your own protection, we suggest you move these items privately. If you need special containers, ask your Moving Consultant.

Desks: Pack all contents. This includes current working papers, letter trays, books and other desk items. Seal paper clips, pencils and all other loose materials in envelopes and then pack them in boxes. Protect all glass with paper or other stuffing.

Security Files: All files should be locked prior to moving. If security regulations require escorts, advise the Moving Consultant and he/she will make arrangements with the mover. Security files may then be consolidated.

Supply or Storage Cabinets: Pack all contents in boxes. Cabinet doors should be locked or tied.

“Do Not Move”: If items are not to be moved or if equipment and furniture are to be discarded, be sure to tag them with “Do Not Move” labels. This will eliminate any unnecessary expense.

Garbage
Make sure that you throw away as much garbage as possible before the actual moving day. It is possible to get permission from the city to have industrial size dumpsters placed in front of the building if you have an excess amount of garbage to throw away. The more you throw away, the less you have to pack and haul with you. Make sure that nothing important gets thrown away.

Access to Floors Above Ground Level
Be sure to examine the building before hand and be aware of all elevators. Make sure they are in working order and large enough to move the furniture. If there are no elevators, be sure to inform the moving company so they can come prepared.

Moving Electrical Machines
Before moving any technological machines, make sure you know what you are doing. Many machines need to be handled certain ways. If you are renting any of your equipment, make sure you notify your rental company before the day of the move. Disconnect and dismantle computers properly. Make sure there is an employee that knows what he/she is doing when taking apart the equipment. Remove all fluids from the photocopy machines. There may be loose parts that can easily be lost, so make sure that all parts are securely fastened or put them in a separate box close by. Remove all items from the vending machines. Empty water from any water dispensers. Make sure to take extra notice to any machines that are dismantled. Items get lost very easily in a move.

Here’s a simple checklist to make sure nothing gets left behind or overlooked:

  • Desk empty?
  • Supply cabinets cleared?
  • File cabinets cleared?
  • File drawers locked?
  • Wall items taken down?
  • Breakable items properly packed?
  • Computers and other machines disconnected?
  • “Do Not Move” tags placed?
  • Liquids drained from equipment?
  • Desk pads and chair pads labeled?
  • Have a set of spare keys available.
  • Make sure that your Internet connection is ready to go and that the phones and fax machines are working. The sooner you get back to work, the sooner you can continue working and making money.
  • Make sure the electricity works.
  • Make sure the bathrooms work.
  • Don’t forget to throw away (or use as scratch paper) any old stationary that has your old address on it and create new stationary with the new address on it.
Posted under Moving
Jan-30-2008

Advantages to Leasing Your Office Space

For many entrepreneurs and small business owners, the question of whether to buy property or to lease office space can be a confusing issue. If you ask a professional real estate broker, he or she will probably tell you that it depends on the particular situation. The truth is, when it comes to this important business decision, there really is no “one size fits all” solution.

Of course, if you are lacking sufficient capital to purchase a commercial building, then the decision becomes an easy one. But leasing may be the smartest move anyway: Statistics show that most new business owners start out by leasing office space, and many business consultants advise leasing your work space until you get on your feet and your business starts operating in the black.

 

Some advantages to leasing your business property:

  • Flexibility. One obvious advantage to leasing property is the flexibility it provides. When the lease is up, you can easily relocate to another office that better suits the needs of your business and your budget.
  • Fewer responsibilities. The property manager or landlord is the one responsible for maintenance, security, remodeling, and other management issues.
  • Deductible payments. If the arrangement is a true lease (and the Internal Revenue Service agrees it is), then lease payments are deductible as operating expenses.
  • No mortgage. Not being locked into a mortgage loan allows you to free up cash and put it where it is needed. This is especially helpful for new business owners.
  • Tax credits. An investment tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction in federal income taxes, equal to 10 percent of the cost of the equipment in the year the equipment is put into use. While the lessor usually takes the tax credit, it may pass part of the benefit on to the lessee in the form of a reduced lease payment.
  • Negotiable rates. If real estate properties in your area are plentiful, it may be possible to negotiate a lower price on your lease amount.
  • Less tax paperwork. If your business is leasing office space, your income tax return will be simpler to file, compared to the endless forms that building owners must fill out.
  • No down payment. When you purchase a building, you typically pay 20 to 25 percent of the price as a down payment and then mortgage the balance. When you lease office space, you need only pay one or two months of the lease value before moving in, which can be a real blessing for cash-strapped small business owners.
Posted under Lease
Jan-30-2008

Here are some questions to ask before signing a lease

  • Does the lease specifically state the square footage of the premises? The total rentable square footage of the building?
  • Is the tenant’s share of expenses based on total square footage of the building or the square footage leased by the landlord? Your share may be lower if it’s based on the total square footage.
  • Do the base year expenses reflect full occupancy or are they adjusted to full occupancy (i.e., base year real estate taxes on an unfinished building are lower than in subsequent years)?
  • Must the landlord provide a detailed list of expenses, prepared by a CPA, to support increases?
  • Instant offices offer fully-equipped professional office premises, along with reception and telephone answering services and secretarial support. Thanks to flexible short-term lease arrangements, their executive suites are an ideal solution for growing businesses.
  • Does the lease clearly give the tenant the right to audit the landlord’s books or records?
  • If use of the building is interrupted, does the lease define the remedies available to the tenant, such as rent abatement or lease cancellation?
  • If the landlord does not meet repair responsibilities, can the tenant make the repairs, after notice to the landlord, and deduct the cost from the rent?
  • Is the landlord required to obtain nondisturbance agreements from current and future lenders?
  • Does the lease clearly define how disputes will be decided?
Posted under Lease
Jan-30-2008

Pros and Cons of Office Space Leasing or Buying

All growing small businesses may someday be faced with the question of leasing versus buying office space. This question has many pros and cons. In order to make your decision easier, your About.com Guide for Small Business Information has assembled the key facts of leasing versus buying office space.

With ever-changing U.S. office vacancy rates and stock markets, it is uncertain what the future may bring. A small business owner needs to carefully weigh the pros and cons of leasing or buying office space.

    Pros of Office Space Buying

  • Fixed Costs: Locking in your commercial mortgage long-term can give your business clear, fixed costs.
  • Tax Deductions: The associated costs of owning and running a commercial space can provide expense deductions in the form of mortgage interest, property taxes and other items.
  • Additional Income: Owning your office can offer the advantage of renting out extra office space adding another source of income.
  • Retirement Fund: The prospect of owning commercial space and having the property appreciate over time, allows the owner to sell out and fund their retirement.Cons of Office Space Buying
  • Lack of Flexibility: A new or growing business may experience unexpected needs in the future.
  • If your business continues growing, your owned office space may become inadequate forcing a sale of the property.
  • Upfront Costs: Buying commercial space will initially cost far more upfront. There are property, appraisal and maintenance costs along with a large down payment and possible property improvement costs.Pros of Office Space Leasing
  • Prime Property: A leasing office space option provides a business with the chance to rent in an area with a good location and high image. If your small business is dependent on location and image, such as retail or restaurants, the leasing option is much more affordable.
  • Free-up Working Capital: With your money not tied up in real estate your business can respond to opportunities in the market. In addition, your ability to borrow funds will not be as limited as with buying office space.
  • More Time: Any type of ownership comes with headaches. A leasing option affords the time to focus solely on running your business.Cons of Office Space Leasing
  • Variable Costs: With a leasing option you may be subject to annual rent increases and higher costs at the time when your lease expires.
  • No Equity: While leasing you will be funding someone else’s retirement with your lease payments. However, owning requires you to get involved in the property management business.

The answer to lease or buy office space is not clear-cut. Your decision will hinge on financial, tax, and personal issues. Do not make this decision sparingly. Bring in your accountant and financial planner to guide you with the best advice.

Posted under Lease
Jan-30-2008

Are Mortgages liens?

In the housing world usually most houses have mortgages. A Mortgage or A Deed of Trust with a Note is a lien against that property. However legitimate mortgages are not a problem. They technically are clouds, but they are so common that it’s just expected for them to exist. And they are easy to remove; they just need to be paid off before property ownership transfer.Actually in many states any other lien except for government liens will be wiped out when buying Tax Liens and later foreclosing on them or when buying Tax Deeds. Make sure you check with the county officials and the statutes for your state. But if your state is one of them, then you can easily go and pretty much disregard mortgages. They just mean that the property is more likely to be redeemed because the entity holding the mortgage will not let the property go for taxes and rather redeem it themselves. But in that case you get your money back PLUS a great interest rate (usually).

When buying properties directly from the owner, you will need to find out the pay-off amount so you can determine if this property is worth your efforts. This is easily obtained by having the seller sign a simple form authorizing you or the title company to talk to the lender to get the figure, and then basically as part of the closing process you pay, or the title company pays, it off (and of course that amount is subtracted from what the seller gets for the property).

Posted under Financing
Jan-30-2008

Irresistible Techniques For Selling Your Home

New signed purchase agreements are down 17.7 per cent from this time last year in Minneapolis, Minnesota. There is always an annual pause in realty at this time of the year, so it is not surprising that buyer activity is reported as slow at the moment. If you are living there, or in one of the many other places suffering a slow-down, you may like a few down-to-earth tips for beating the competition and selling your home.However, there are several steps you can take to make sure that your home gets a fair chance. The very first chance you have at getting a buyer is to ensure that they SEE your home, the second chance is to ensure that they will be IN your home and the third chance is in offering an INCENTIVE to close the deal.

With regard to the first chance of ‘seeing your house’; over 80% of all buyers browse the Internet first when choosing a home. Make sure your real estate agent has a great spread of your house on line on his web page.

The main picture is the one that will attract viewers into the virtual tour. If your home has beautiful trees in the garden, get him or her to step back and get some greenery in the photo. Wait for a sunny day; it makes a lot of difference.

If you have not chosen your real estate agent yet, go on line to the realty sites, and see which one is most user-friendly. Can you just click on the houses you want to look at? Do they access the virtual tour very easily? Or did you have to fill in lots of details about yourself first? If so, forget this site, people loose interest too easily!

There are still people who drive by, so display your agent’s board, and make sure the clutter is kept in the back yard and not the front yard. Remember to put on your lights at night, so the house looks warm and welcoming. Park your own car in the garage so that the driveway is clear, to show the house at its best.

If the first step is completed, then the second chance of buyers ‘being in your home’ should automatically follow. Here you can use your discretion a little. If they casually ask if something is included in the house, think before you answer! Do you really need it? Might it clinch a deal?

If it is such a thing as the perfect drapes for the living room, or the kiddies swing set, you could just answer in a positive way, so that nothing is ruled out. For instance, “It could be included.”

Remember to try and view your home the way a stranger would and remove all clutter to keep it looking spacious. Invest in a plug in air freshener right near the front door. Put on all your lamps and try a pink bulb in one of the living room lamps to give added ambiance.

If an offer comes in, cherish it and try and nurture it. Obviously it will be less than you want in these days of the buyer’s market, but these buyers have chosen your house, so work with this. What incentives can you offer to them, while you push up the price? Perhaps the swing set or perhaps some other financial help. Money talks, as they say.

If their lender offered less financing on your home than the buyer expected, they may be short of cash; many sellers before you have clinched a firm deal by offering to pay the closing costs.

This saves their actual personal cash, as the mortgage will cover most of the house purchase, so it is good incentive. Do not offer this without your real estate agent’s agreement as it must be part of a firm and legally binding deal for you.

Why would you help someone to buy your house? Only you can decide if it is worth ‘giving away’ maybe three or four thousand of your own cash to actually sell your home.

Lowering the price will just delay the paperwork, allowing for changes of minds and also it will not solve the problem of the buyer’s immediate cash flow. Life needs strange solutions for strange times – but it will be your final decision to make.

Posted under Seller
Jan-30-2008

New Dark Trend in Vinyl Sidings

Vinyl siding on a house saves huge amounts of re-painting and waterproofing and general maintenance. If you have often wished that you could have vinyl siding on your house, but did not like the pale grays, whites and pastels that were the only option, then read on.A new product has been introduced into the manufacture of vinyl siding which means that suddenly we can have dark and intense colors in vinyl siding! So anyone who prefers the natural dark woody look on the exterior of their home can now choose a dark brown color yet still have the maintenance free care that comes with vinyl home coverings. The most you may have to do is to wash it once a year, and even then it does not usually need a power washer; a garden hose will do it.

Why the sudden increase in choice of color? Well, the original vinyl siding was known to fade slightly with weathering, so it was only ever introduced in the pale – fade-friendly – colors. This fading tendency is because vinyl siding is made in two layers: first is the substrate layer of PVC, and second is cap stock layer (which is the top layer to protect against weathering). This top layer is made out of polyvinyl chloride which can only offer limited buffering against the weather.

A new coating has now been introduced to protect the color against weathering much more efficiently. It’s called Solarkote and it’s an acrylic cap stock which is applied in the manufacturing stage. It has the qualities we are used to in vinyl, i.e. no peeling of the layers, but it also protects the vinyl against weathering effects. The manufacturer states that it will significantly reduce fading or yellowing. So this is great news for all those people who want the burgundy or navy houses, and keep getting out there with the paintbrush every other year!

With this news, so many more people will no doubt be changing to vinyl siding, so here are a few tips that come from the experts:

Be sure to check the brochure or ask about wind resistance; it’s important to know what the manufacturer offers.

Remember that even though vinyl siding doesn’t trap moisture because it’s hung loosely to encourage free flow of air, it is critical that proper materials such as flashing and builder’s felt or house wrap are installed before the vinyl goes up.

Check the certifications of potential installers; if possible ask for an address nearby where they have installed siding.

Compare thicknesses; to ensure quality; look for thickness for durability as thinner siding may sag over time.

Look for the newer product and use vinyl siding that has Solarkote in it to preserve the color and richness.

Posted under News
Jan-30-2008

Real Estate Auctions: In Your Favor or Not

Everyday we watch as the rising number of bank owned properties increases. Every neighborhood is flooding with these unmaintained eye soar properties. The majority of lenders out there are not willing to negotiate on the price. I bet they just don’t want to comprehend they are on the losing side this battle. There are not too many ways out there to get these properties sold to home buyers or investors. One of the biggest ways to come to my mind is live auctions.Live auctions have general y been a great way to sale that overstocked inventory. Everything from junk to real estate can be sold at auction. They can be held almost anywhere that a microphone can be setup. The mobility of theses auctioneers makes these live auctions very popular today. They are able to setup a whole auction in front of a house in less than twenty minutes.

A great deal of the foreclosure properties all around are going to your local auction house. The lenders believe that they will be able to get everyone hyped out to bid up their devaluating properties. I have personally seen this number of times. Surprisingly people do bid up these properties significantly higher than they could purchase normally without the auction house fees included. The majority of auction houses have a fixed percentage of the final selling price of the auctioned products or homes to be received as their payment. I have seen the typical amounts to be around three to five percent to be added to the winning bid. Always remember when bidding that you have to calculate the auction house’s commission in the price. Just imagine purchasing a house at $200,000 and having to pay 5% commission now your actual purchase price is $210,000. It will amaze you how fast everything adds up.

The problem with a significant number of auction houses today is their rules and guidelines. Usually rules and guidelines are to protect the buyer and the seller but I wish that was true. Be very careful and read all of the small print pertaining to the auction you are interested in attending. Make sure you read the sections pertaining to bidding and buying at auction. You would think that the minimal bid would be the lowest acceptable price for the seller, but no it is only a teaser. In the minds of these lenders they would not sell their properties at that low of a price. The best part is they do not have to sell it for that price even if you bid up the property in question over its reserve amount. The lenders setup minimum reserve amounts for each property they are auctioning off. In the past whatever the property price was bid up to in the end was it. That was the price the property was sold for and on to the next. Did you know that if you win an auction the seller typically has seven days to accept or deny your bid? Even if you win and your bid is higher than their reserve that does not mean that you have won. The most frustrating part is that they made you pre-qualify to bid at the auction. You could have just spent your own time making offers. In the end the lenders decide either way!

Posted under News
Jan-30-2008

Financing Gets Personal

When you decide to purchase a home you will want to be pre-approved for a loan. It shows that you are qualified to buy a home. When you do this before looking for a home you can save yourself some time, energy and frustration. Pre-approval will help you determine how much home you can afford, what your investment will be (approximate down payment and closing cost) and an estimate of what your monthly payments including principal, interest, taxes and insurance (PITI) will be. Applying for a home or real estate loan can be an eye opening experience for many people. You will have to answer many, many questions about your financial, work and residential history. Even in today’s open society, where nearly all topics are open for discussion the topic of money is still very personal for most people. While it is okay to show off a bit most people will not say exactly what they make or what they may owe to even their closest friends or family members. This is exactly what you have to do when you discuss a loan with your lender. You don’t want any surprises when it comes time to close. All questions should be answered directly and honestly both from you and from your lender. There is more to the loan process than calling around and asking what the interest rate is. Don’t be intimidated when choosing a lender. They should be willing to discuss any questions you have. Ask the questions until you understand all of the answers. Are they a mortgage broker or a mortgage banker? How long have they been in business? Is the interest rate locked in and for how long? Finding and working with a lender you trust is very important. You will want a lender who will work with you and your real estate agent. A professional to help make sure your loan will close in a timely manner. This is a team effort. To help ensure that this process is smooth and efficient you will also need to be prepared to answer all manner of personal questions. Most lenders will ask you for the last two years residence history. The previous addresses and length of time lived in each place. If you currently rent, they will want the landlords name and address for the last 12 months. Your lender will ask for your work history. They will want the names and dates of all employers for the last two years, the dates you worked and if there are gaps they want to know why. They will ask for all outstanding loans and credit cards. Have the creditors name, address and account number. Have the amount of your monthly payment, the total balance you owe and the months left to pay. You will need the names and addresses for each financial institution that you may have a savings, checking, or an investment account with. Have the balance or value and the account number. If you currently own real estate you will need the property address, estimated market value, any outstanding loan balances and monthly payment (including insurance, taxes and HO dues). Rental income if it applies. You will need to list your personal property including life insurance, any automobiles and other personal property.This is just a summary of some of the possible questions and information you will ask for or be required to give. There will probably be more as you go along with your house hunting and as the loan process progresses. Again don’t be intimidated. Lenders love to lend money they just want to know the risk. Answer the questions as honestly as you can. Trying to avoid a problem or not answering the question honestly will just cause more problems and delay or possibly cancel your loan. No one wants this to happen. The goal is to close the loan smoothly and on time.

Posted under Financing
Jan-30-2008

Office Space Lease – 6 Tactics to Help You Rent Your Ideal Space

Most business owners fear the day they will have to look for office space.

Whether your business is growing or you are starting a new venture, you will always face the same problem: finding the perfect location.

It will take you time, effort, dedication and money to go through hundreds of classified ads and internet referral websites. Of course, you could let a commercial real estate broker do the job for you, but like any consulting services, it will cost you a lot.

The challenge is easier than you think!

By asking yourself the following 6 questions, you will be able to identify your needs and optimize your research. This small reflection will save you time and money. And maybe most importantly, your search will be stress less.

1) Where is my target audience located?

We often confuse where we want to be, and where we need to be. A health professional recently contacted me asking for prices on offices in the Broadway Corridor (Vancouver, BC). He was about to launch a corporate massage therapy business and needed some office space. Instead of talking numbers, I simply asked him where his clients where coming from. His answer was “Downtown Vancouver”.

He suddenly realized the magnitude of his mistake. He wanted to save money before building his clientele. Yet it was more important to be close to his customers.

2) Will an accessible location benefit my business?

Not only should you consider this question from a customer angle but also with your employee in mind. There is nothing more frustrating than driving around the block until you can find a parking spot, or walking half a mile because your office is too far from public transportation. For example, an international language school needs to be central, and handy to travel to.

Keep that in mind and you will see smiling people instead of irritated ones!

3) How should the space be configured to create an efficient work environment?

This comes back to how you want your team to operate. Do they need privacy, and therefore a fully partitioned space, for example investment banks or law firms? Or do they have to work with one another most of the day and consequently would fit best in an open layout (i.e. graphic design firms)?

Few landlords are flexible on customizing their space. Give preference to the ones who can accommodate your requirements.

4) What corporate image do I want to show my clients/customers?

For most businesses, image is everything. It took years of hard labor to take it to the top, and your image should be taken in consideration when choosing your office space. You should consider both the exterior of the building, and the interior of the suite.

I remember going for a job interview and being shocked by the poor condition of the carpet in the reception. Is this the image you want your business to project?

On the other hand, a friend of mine recently invested a large amount of money with a Vancouver private bank. Despite being relatively new in the business, they appear to be trustworthy and stable thanks to a luxurious office located in a stunning building Downtown.

In other words, look for owners who are willing to renovate their space prior to leasing it. This will show that they are serious about their business, as they recognize that you are improving their office and increasing its value.

5) What type of tenancy aligns best with my company’s objectives?

Do you have a short term or a longer term business plan? Are you in a market where the vacancy rate is below 5% and you need to secure a space for 3 to 5 years? Can your future landlord provide you with alternatives while your business is evolving?

Planning ahead is your best option in such a tight commercial market. Securing long term leases will give you stability. Negotiating lease portability will help you anticipate the growth of your business.

6) Will I be using amenities such as a boardroom or reception services?

“There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch”
Who has never heard this sentence from Robert A. Heinlein? Nothing is free in the corporate world, and these services are no exception. They will either be included in your monthly rent, or charged separately. So think twice before choosing an office for its extra features!

Will you really use a boardroom, and how often? If you only use it once a month, then it doesn’t make a difference whether it is billed on top of your rent or not. However, if you need it more frequently, then prefer a contract where the executive services are included in your monthly charges.

Posted under Lease
Jan-30-2008

Top 10 Real Estate Predictions for 2008

2008 Market Forecast for Home Buyers and Sellers 

After the market took a downward turn late in summer 2005, experts claimed the real estate bubble had burst. As the market continued to decline in 2006, many sellers were feeling pricing pinches. By mid-2007, buyers were sitting on the fence in a trance-like state, wondering whether it was a good time to buy and whether they could time the real estate market.

Where will 2008 take us? Based on my study of real estate facts and trends from 2007, here are my professional home buying and selling predictions for next year.

1) Home Prices Will Decline and Flatten

Median home prices will continue to fall in softened markets. They won’t take a nose dive; though, they will float, ever-so-gently like a feather, slipping left to right, then left again, and closer and closer to a landing spot. Overpriced listings will die quick deaths.

2) Short Sales & Foreclosures Will Increase

Interest rates on 3-year and 5-year ARMs will begin adjusting, and those who pay interest on Option ARMS, including many buyers who used 100% financing in 2005, will begin to lose their homes. Many banks will refuse to negotiate short sales, paving the way for a flood of bank-owned properties to hit the market.

3) Interest Rates Will Stabilize

Rates will move forward and backward within one-quarter point, and buyers will gravitate toward fixed-rate mortgages. Buyers who cannot qualify for conventional loans will lean toward seller-financed instruments such as land contracts or lease option purchases.

4) More Investors Will Enter the Market

Because investors use different criteria than traditional home buyers, investors will return to the market as they begin to recognize that a buyer’s market is an excellent time to purchase real estate. First-time home buyers will find themselves competing with all-cash investors, and the investors will win.

5) Related Businesses Will Close Doors

Mortgage companies, appraisers, real estate agents, builders, construction-related industries, title companies and escrow companies will either close doors or consolidate to compensate for the slowing real estate markets of 2006 and 2007. Those that do survive the slowdown will reduce staff.

6) Buyers Will Write Lowball Offers

Novice buyers will read newspaper headlines, figure out it is a buyer’s market and write lowball offers hand over fist. Some buyers won’t even look at homes before writing insultingly low offers. Sellers should expect to receive an abnormal number of out-of-whack offers from buyers who will throw lowballs at a wall to see if something sticks.

7) Advertising Will Move Online

As newspaper advertising and readership continues to decline, agents will question whether their home advertising dollars are better spent elsewhere. Print advertising will lose its effectiveness. If postal rates continue to increase, agents will stop using direct mail campaigns and instead post Internet listings for better results and low-cost marketing strategies.

8 ) Inventory Will Increase Before Sharply Dropping

As the New Year rolls around, sellers whose listings expired in 2007 will put their homes back on the market as a new listing. Nobody will be fooled. Inventory will continue to climb until mid-summer, at which point sellers will begin to realize they must either remove their home from the market or be reasonable. Most will choose to remove their homes from active status and inventory will begin to fall.

9) REOs Will Refuse to Pay Some Closing Costs

Banks are sick and tired of taking it in the shorts. First, agents tried to cram short sales down their throats, and then banks were doubly disappointed when no one bid at the trustee’s sales, leaving them stuck with unwanted inventory. Banks will demand bulk discount rates from title and escrow companies. Banks will also stop paying some ordinary closing costs such as city taxes and state documentary transfer tax.

10) Flood Insurance Rates Will Escalate

New assessments of flood risk may lead the federal government to redraw flood maps, possibly requiring more property owners to carry flood insurance or increasing costs. Home owners with preferred risk flood insurance policies could see rates double, while those who have no flood insurance could face paying rates that are 10 times higher than they would have paid under the old risk maps.

Posted under News
Jan-30-2008

2008 Real Estate Conference Los Angeles

Welcome to Real Estate 2008 – the leading networking event for the commercial real estate industry!

There are major questions about the outlook for the commercial real estate market in 2008 and Real Estate 2008 will aim to address them all – Are we heading into a recession? How deeply will the subprime market fallout affect the multifamily industry? How high can rents go for Class – A office space? How can tenants be lured to your property? All these and many many more will be covered during this full day event.

Produced by Real Estate Media, publishers of Real Estate Forum, GlobeSt.com and Real Estate Southern California, REAL ESTATE 2008 will feature an expanded agenda that will include concurrent sessions dedicated to the outlook across each of the four major property types. The 1,000-plus attendees expected for the event will be able to attend up to 12 panel sessions, including economic, investment, development and finance outlooks, and will enjoy the high-level networking opportunities over the course of the day.

Over 70 leading industry speakers, three networking breaks, breakfast, lunch and cocktails…..REAL ESTATE 2008 offers it all, so make sure you are informed and armed with the knowledge and contacts you will need to make 2008 a successful year.

CONFERENCE DETAILS
March 6, 2008

The Westin Bonaventure Hotel
404 South Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, California 90071

Posted under News