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HomeRun Homes is a centralized marketplace which helps people Find or Sell a Rent to Own Home, both Nationwide and Globally to the thriving Rent to Own Market. http://www.lease2buy.com
Showing posts with label construction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label construction. Show all posts

September 22, 2011

Home Builder Ingenuity

Hi All,
   Welcome back!

   On the heels of my post this past Wednesday, titled, "Buy it, Build it, or None of the Above?", where we looked at the New Residential Construction Figures vs. Existing Home Sales, and the results showed the clear winner as Existing Homes, we have a new spin with perfect timing

   "Builders generally seem to agree that their stiffest competition is coming not from within their ranks but from the resale housing market and its foreclosed houses and from houses sold for less than their mortgages as short sales." Ironic, isn't it? This comes from a story on the Press-Enterprise site, and it leads us to the following question: For the Builders that are on the short end of the New Residential Construction figures, how can they get people to buy more New Homes and thus, generate more Building Permits, Housing Starts, and Housing Completions? To add some irony, the name of the story I quoted from above is titled, "Builders band together to showcase homes".

   This very well-timed and aptly named article says that for the first time in memory, "home builders who historically compete for buyers are launching a joint promotion to draw consumers to their sales offices". These free seminars, presented by the Building Industry Association of Southern California and the Greater Sales and Marketing Council, range from topics such as interior design trends, energy efficiency and barbecuing techniques.

   I think this is a great idea to strike up business for Builders and for New Construction (the purpose of the seminars is to show off homes and "whip up business").

  "Ingenuity 101"...it's what keeps us going and growing in light of difficult Economic conditions. What do you think?

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Have a Great Week, and Happy Rent-to-Owning !
Rob Eisenstein
HomeRun Homes Blog: http://blogging.lease2buy.com
HomeRun Homes Websites: http://www.lease2buy.com and http://www.homerunhomes.com

TAGS: #Construction #ExistingHomes #homebuilders #resalehousing #California

September 4, 2011

Far-Reaching Impact of the HST on Canadian Real Estate

Hi Everyone,

   Happy Labor Day to you and your family. I hope you are resting and relaxing with your family and friends and enjoying some quality time together.

   As you all may know, our website and our company are headquartered in New York, but we cover the entire globe in terms of Rent to Own deals. After the United States market, the second largest market for Rent to Own deals is in Canada. As a matter of fact, just to let you know how large that market is, last summer I was interviewed for the esteemed "Canadian Real Estate Magazine" for a story on Rent to Own in Canada (FULL ARTICLE HERE). Apart from those that reside within Canada, there are also a substantial number of buyers and sellers of Canadian Real Estate that reside in the United States. Some of these buyers and sellers are Real Estate Investors with offices in Canada, so I felt it important to discuss a hot-button topic of our northern neighbors; the Harmonized Sales Tax, or "HST", for short.

   According to the website hstincanada, the HST is the "combination of Provincial Sales Tax (PST) and Goods and Services Tax (GST) into one unified tax", and in the Spring of 1997, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia implemented a 15% HST (which has dropped slightly since then). However, despite the relative uniformity, the HST is not as cut and dry as it may seem, and as mentioned on the same website, some reports have shown that "implementing HST in the eastern provinces caused consumer prices to fall". Canada is a large country with multiple Provinces with diverse industries and requirements, and not all of the provinces favor the HST. The HST Controversy Hot-Spot is British Columbia (referred to commonly as "BC).

   Just last month, 55% of voters in BC elected to reject the HST, per a story titled "HST is Officially Defeated in BC" on hstincanada. What happens next? The former taxation system will be reinstated, but this will be quite expensive, costing an estimated $3 billion to repay "transitional funding" to Ottawa and to also bring back the administrative structure to process the PST. As is the case in every country, that money will be recouped by trimming some programs and adding new taxes.

   In regards to the relationship between the HST and the Real Estate market, let's review some background on the HST as it applies to the Real Estate Industry in Canada (Building and Construction, Realtors, Renovations, Existing Homes, etc.), since this will help paint a very clear picture of which ones are impacted by the HST.

   Earlier this year, Canada added some new mortgage rules, to stabilize high ratio mortgages and decreasing household debt, per the hstincanada article titled, "HST Impact on Housing Market". These new rules raised concerns over the affordability of housing, due to "two-punch combo of HST and regulations", as it was referred to in the article.

   The first punch of the of the "two-punch combo" - The mortgage rules translate into higher income requirements for buyers for higher ratio mortgages, and thus, higher monthly payments.

   Punch #2 - The HST, which is applied to the purchase of new homes (new homes, not existing homes), and is applied to "any amount over $400,000 with a rebate of up to $20,000", per hstincanada, and is also applied to "any legal fees, closing costs, and processing fees associated with buying a new home", as well as realtor fees and home inspections.

   In an article written by Sally MacDonald for the Daily Townsman ("HST vote a blow for real estate"), BC Realtor Jason Wheeldon points out the HST is "not applicable to existing housing", but says that "there is a lot of the market out there that believe that even if they buy a house that's two years old, they are going to be subject to HST, and there isn't any. It's only on new homes offered by the developer or the builder".

   Apparently, as told by hstincanada, the "added tax has been reportedly stalling new home projects and causing a decrease in the purchase of new homes in both Ontario and BC", and evidently, in the article by MacDonald, this has translated into confusion, says Wheeldon. He goes further and says that "market confusion" could stall the real estate market while the province reverts back to the PST. "I think people are going to review their big spending decisions and see if they are going to hold off for 18 months".

   It is important to note that from MacDonald's article, we are reminded that Real Estate is exempt under PST as well as the HST, and that the "return to the PST in 2013 will be positive for out-of-province homeowners", as per Wheeldon. He said that when it restores back, "it will benefit home owners, particularly recreational real estate. Recreational buyers were subject to the full HST with no rebates whatsoever".

   From the angle of Housing Construction, MacDonald's article says that housing construction will suffer a blow over the next 18 months, and that the cost of labor (i.e. home renovations), will get hit with the full 12% HST (but not the 7% PST). Also, in the same story, Peter Simpson of the Greater Vancouver Home Builders' Association expects consumers will delay renovation projects until the PST is back in place (very similar to what Wheeldon mentioned above). Simpson recommends a system that "makes it neutral whether you do it now or wait".

   Things do not look much better from the perspective of foreign investment, as hstincanada points out that in BC, it is still a concern that "foreign investment will be lost and businesses will see a rise in expenses with the former taxation system reinstated which in turn will translate into higher consumer costs". To balance this out, they are hoping for the "supposed influx of provincial investments to balance out the economy".

   Are you either a buyer or seller of Canadian Real Estate or Real Estate in British Columbia? If you are, I would love to hear your "inside scoop" on what is really going on up there and what people are thinking. Even if you are a foreign Real Estate Investor and you buy homes in Canada, your insight would be incredibly helpful here.

Would You Like Our Blog Posts Directly to your E-mail? Here's How:
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Have a Great Week, and Happy Rent-to-Owning !
Rob Eisenstein
HomeRun Homes Blog: http://blogging.lease2buy.com
HomeRun Homes Websites: http://www.lease2buy.com and http://www.homerunhomes.com

TAGS: #HST #Canada #CanadianRealEstate #RealEstateInvestor #BritishColumbia #BuyHomesCanada #RenttoOwn

June 2, 2011

Current Building and Construction Trends

Hi Folks,

   Another week in the books, and a hot/humid one it was, at least here in New York.

   On the topic of Building and Construction Trends, the market has changed for sure! Jim Rasche, owner of a Contracting/Construction Management Company, says that for over 43 years, he has seen it all, and in terms of the housing/building/construction market, he reflects on just a few years back when, "the money was flowing", and, "the market for all types of construction investment knew no bounds". As we all know, that has ended. Melanie Taylor of Melanie Taylor Architecture, says that Condo conversions have halted - places converted in 2007 are still on the market. So, with the "Good Old Days" behinds us, today we'll be looking at some of the latest building and construction trends.

   Lydia Player of Virginia Cook Realtors, says that the homes that are, "successfully being built and sold are smaller. No one wants a home over 6,000 square feet." Player says that she sees this trend as, "a function of downsizing and simplifying."

   Rasche adds that the money for new projects was "dried up" for several years, but he says that there are signs of loosening up, "as evidenced by the sporadic requests for proposals I am getting from private entities." He says, however, that these projects are primarily, "renovations and restorations of existing as commercial building owners attempt to update their facilities without incurring long term permit processes and expensive ground up development."

   Jeanette Chasworth, A Certified Interior Designer, says that people doing more remodeling, and she says that one of the key areas is, "Aging in Place". Homes that are being built are more, "accessibility oriented" and many of the new retirement communities are using this as a key feature in their designs. Chasworth says that many homeowners are making their current homes, "more accessible so that they can stay in them longer and avoid the high cost of assisted living."

   Rasche concurs, and says that there are more and more owners making do with what they have and updating facilities (both commercial and retail) to, "maintain user interest in their facilities". He says that the public sector, however, "is going strong as new projects for heavy and highway and buildings are going out for proposals daily. The ARRA has funded many of these projects and they are now becoming reality." Rasche points to a very interesting morsel of information: "In 2006, there were at least 60 tower cranes on the skyline of downtown Miami. Today you would be hard pressed to find just one! Construction unemployment is listed as being around 20% but I know for a fact that the unemployment among construction management staff is at least 40 to 50% in this area."

   In line with some of the trends discussed above, Cas Mollien CIO of Foram Group, says that you need to, "differentiate from competitors and bring something new and exciting to the market place.", and he provides the example of one of his properties that they redesigned. As Mollien describes it, "We decided to design the new property in a way that we would like real estate to be constructed for current day businesses, with full business continuity in mind. The conclusion of our ideas is a building with unsurpassed business as well as environmental benefits."

   Mollien hit upon a very important trend; Environmentally Conscious, or, "Green". Kevin Costenaro of The Augusta Group, says that the, "most glaring trend we are seeing is that of going "green.". He says that nearly every one of his clients for the past 2-3 years has at least, "inquired about the use of alternative heating & electrical systems, if not actually had them installed.", and that, "We have installed a combination of geothermal systems, wind power systems, solar PV systems, and/or solar thermal systems on 50% of our projects." Interestingly, Costenaro says he, "does not see any evidence that these trends are due to economic reasons but rather a feeling of wanting to be better stewards of the environment."

   One other feature that Cas Mollien mentioned is that they decided to, "approach network connectivity as a fourth utility", by offering, "massive amounts of scalable and redundant bandwidth directly to one of the nation's largest Internet Exchange Points (IXP's).", which, he says, "provides an unsurpassed experience to our tenants, allowing them to use the latest in Cloud and mobile technologies, as well as an unrivalled choice in carriers, service providers and connectivity options." This sounds like a trend that could possibly build up more steam over time.

   What are your thoughts? What kind of trends are you seeing?

Have a Great Weekend, and Happy Rent-to-Owning !
Rob Eisenstein
HomeRun Homes Blog http://blogging.lease2buy.com
HomeRun Homes Website http://www.lease2buy.com

TAGS: #Construction #CommercialBuilding #RealEstate #Green

March 4, 2011

Happy Blog Birthday And Some New Housing Numbers

Hi All,

   As the month of March has arrived, we are glad to be celebrating our 1-Year Blog Anniversary. We started the Blog as a source of information regarding our Rent to Own website, and it has blossomed into a machine that keeps pumping out info on the Real Estate Market, Housing and Economic Numbers, Rent to Own, along with experts and professionals providing their invaluable info, comments, and opinions. Thanks for sticking with us, and remember, our Blog can be delivered directly to your E-mail as soon as we post (See the right hand side for subscription options - yes, it's free, and you will NOT be on a mailing list - it is only a subscription to receive the Blog posts, we promise!).

   In the spirit of keeping the information machine running, Pending Home Sales and Construction numbers were released this week, and we would like to take a look at them together with you today.

   Pending Homes Sales dropped 2.8% from December 2010 to January 2011, and is down 1.5% from January 2010 to January 2011. It is interesting to point out that the numbers are 20.6% above the "cyclical low last June", according to the National Association of Realtors®.

   In terms of Construction numbers as a whole, they dropped 0.7% from December 2011 to January 2011, and also dropped from January 2010 to January 2011, to the tune of almost 6%. Private Construction dropped from December 2010 to January 2011, with Nonresidential Construction dropping almost 7% during that period. Another interesting point here is that Residential Construction increased by 5.3% over December 2010. Public Construction was up 0.1% from December 2010 to January 2011, with Highway Construction dropping 0.7% during that period, while Educational Construction increased 1.7%.

   Does a decrease in Highway Construction, coupled with an increase in Educational Construction indicate a stronger emphasis on building more schools vs. building more infrastructure, or is it just an aberration? What are your thoughts?

   Thank you again for being a part of our Blog and a part of our family !

Have a Great Weekend, and Happy Rent-to-Owning !
Rob Eisenstein
HomeRun Homes Blog http://blogging.lease2buy.com
HomeRun Homes Website http://www.lease2buy.com

November 17, 2010

Mixed Construction Numbers and Important News for Sellers

Hi Folks,

   Good Morning and I hope your week is going well.

   As of this morning, the October figures for New Residential Construction were released, which encompasses building permits, housing starts, and housing completions.

   To summarize, both privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits and the single-family authorizations were up from September. Privately-owned housing starts in October were down substantially (in excess of 11% !) from September, while single-family housing starts were down marginally. The last piece of data shows that privately-owned housing completions in October were below the September figures, while single-family housing completions were above the September numbers.

   Now, as the subject of this post mentioned - "Important News for Sellers":

We are offering 50 Free Seller Ads (2-Month Ad duration) - so you can list your home for Sale or for Rent to Own (a $9.99 value). Is there a catch? Not at all. Let's just call it some early "Holiday Spirit".

   If you are selling a home, how can you grab your free Ad? Just CLICK HERE to send us the E-mail address that you will use to create your ad. We will then send you a user name, password, and the link to log in and place your Ad, add images, etc. This is a very rare opportunity, trust me, so make sure you stake your claim today...CLICK HERE.

Have a Great Day, and Happy Rent-to-Owning !
HomeRun Homes Blog http://blogging.lease2buy.com
HomeRun Homes Website http://www.lease2buy.com/

November 12, 2010

The Building Trades Association (BTA) Accepts Our Membership

Building Trades Association (BTA)
Hi Folks,

   Happy Friday to all of you !

   Today, we are excited to announce that we have been accepted as a member of the Building Trades Association, or BTA, which consists of member companies involved in all phases of the building and construction industries.

   BTA had invited us to submit a membership application, but I personally figured that since our segment of the industry is different than their regular types of members, that it might be a stretch. Ultimately (and fortunately), we were accepted, and I believe it is primarily due to the vast amount of Builders that list their homes on our website.

   Some of the other top brass over here were mentioning to me at our morning meeting that they think it's also about our longevity in the industry and the service we provide to the Building/Construction segment. Whatever the deciding factor(s) were, we are honored to be a part of this highly-respected trade association. (You can view our BTA Membership Certificate Here)

   On a different topic, on Wednesday the 17th, the New Residential Construction figures are being released, so we'll keep an eye on those numbers.

   Also - don't forget to sign up to receive our Blog via E-mail. It's very easy...On top of the upper right column (under, "SUBSCRIBE BY E-MAIL", just enter your E-mail address, and when you receive the confirmation E-mail, click the link. Super-easy !

May You have a Wonderful Weekend, and Happy Rent-to-Owning !
HomeRun Homes Blog http://blogging.lease2buy.com
HomeRun Homes Website http://www.lease2buy.com

November 10, 2010

UPDATED: Private Money...Any Available For Real Estate Deals?

Hi Folks,

   Happy Mid-Week to everyone, and welcome back.

   When we posted on the topic, "Best Markets For Commercial Real Estate Investing", we had a few requests to cover the topic of "Private Money", so as per your request, that is our topic for today!

   We spoke with 3 respected figures in the field to gauge their feeling on the topic. All 3 of them seem to agree that there is private money out there that is available for Real Estate deals, and we present their viewpoints below.

   Alfred Miller, President, Private Lending Solutions, LLC, states that, "Capital isn't scarce; vision is. There is tons of money available for real estate deals.", but says that he wants his, "money invested in solid deals (diamond in the rough)!" and the deals can be either residential or commercial.

   Vernon Martin, a commercial appraiser with American Property Research, who specializes in serving private lenders (96% of his work is for private lenders), says that, "There's no shortage of money waiting to be lent, but there also seems to be a shortage of credit-worthy deals.", which is similar to what Miller has said. "Most loan applications to private lenders are for refinancing deals which are already over leveraged, so there is no way the borrower can pay off existing debt at a safe loan-to-value ratio", says Martin.

   Martin also says that private lenders are, "very interested in financing REO purchases by new investors.", and provides an example, where last week, he worked "on a $35 million construction loan that is being purchased for only $5.2 million. The private lender feels safe in lending $2.8 million. The difference is that loans can be underwritten at today's market values without any disappointment to the borrowers.". Martin points out that some private lenders are looking overseas for deals in potentially "stronger markets" (i.e., "Canada, Australia, Fiji, Barbados, South Africa, Mexico, Costa Rica and Jamaica.")

   Dennis P. Fassett, a Real Estate Investor who interacts with many sources of private money, says that, "there's quite a bit of private money out there. But it's gotten more difficult to get to, despite what the late night gurus want people to believe.", which he attributes to, "the stock market crash and Bernie Madoff scandal". The impact of the crash and the scandal had a few ripple effect impacts on private lending, Fassett says, such as, "with people out of the market, there is a lot more money on the sidelines looking for a reasonable rate of return", and "the Bernie Madoff scandal has made a lot of people quite wary of where they invest their money.",and says that, it's ironic that the scandal has also helped make local real estate investing more attractive, because the investor can go drive by the asset that they either lent against or have an equity piece of."

   Fassett provides a hint into the mentality of the private investors. He finds that, "the private investors that I deal with are looking for a track record for one and a sense of stability by me as well. I'm fortunate that I have couple of dozen deals and now own or control 54 rental units in nice areas that are all doing well. I had one investor tell me that one of the reasons that he invests with me is because I have a whole lot to lose if I screw up in terms of reputation in the community.", and he continues to say that he's also finding that, "the direct approach to getting private money doesn't work anymore, as people are getting pitched to death about everything under the sun, so I have switched to an oblique approach that focuses on drawing people into being interested in my business to the point where they ask questions and close themselves."

   As the recession lingers on, Michael Stark, a licensed real estate broker in California, is clear about the future. "The greatest transfer of wealth since the Depression is underway.". Where this will ultimately channel the private funds is yet to be seen, however, we all hope and pray that it stokes our housing market and the economy. Comments are welcomed !

Have a Great Day, and Happy Rent-to-Owning !
HomeRun Homes Blog http://blogging.lease2buy.com
HomeRun Homes Website http://www.lease2buy.com

UPDATED: Top 5 Blog post for 2010 (For more information, CLICK HERE)

November 3, 2010

Construction, IHOP, and FSBO

Good Afternoon,
   I hope this week has been kind to you, so far. Well, I have been asked offline to not discuss the fact that my birthday was Halloween, so there...I did not mention my birthday was Halloween (Yay!)

   Construction numbers were released this week, and it is in line with our post from Friday ("Not-So-Spooky Housing Numbers"). Specifically, construction spending during September was above the revised August estimate, however, when comparing September 2009 to September 2010, there was more than a 10% drop.

   I don't know about you folks out there, but I am amazed at the amount of white-washed windows and "Out Of Business" signs. It can be frightening, especially when it affects stores and businesses that you have been patronizing for years. Waldbaums, which is a major grocery supermarket here in the Northeast, has just closed a store nearby. I had to do a double-take when I saw it's huge windows white-washed with an "Out of Business" sign. On the flip-side, we have a brand new IHOP (International House of Pancakes) being built here. Does the need for pancakes outweigh the need for basic food and groceries. Makes me wonder, but I'm a big fan of chocolate flapjacks !

   The next numbers that are coming out will be the Pending Home Sales Index on Friday the 5th.

   In closing, I wanted to let you know that our post titled, "Top 5 Concerns When Selling a Home FSBO", has become one of our most popular posts of all time. I can honestly say that I'm glad we posted it for you, and please make sure you pass the link (http://blogging.lease2buy.com/2010/10/top-5-concerns-when-selling-home-fsbo.html) to all of your friends so they can also thank you for the wealth of information in that post. If you can kindly Link to it, Tweet it, Facebook it, Digg it, Buzz it, etc,...that would be wonderful !

Have a Great Week, and Happy Rent-to-Owning !
HomeRun Homes Blog http://blogging.lease2buy.com/
HomeRun Homes Website http://www.lease2buy.com/

October 20, 2010

Mixed Message from The New Residential Construction Numbers

Hi All,
   It's time for the mid-week "Hello"...so, Hello.

   As the title suggests, the New Residential Construction Numbers were released yesterday, and it has arrows pointing all over the place. There are 3 main components: Building Permits, Housing Starts, and Housing Completions.

   In terms of Building Permits, for privately-owned units, the numbers came in below the August rate and well below September 2009. Single-Family authorizations were slightly above August. What can we tell from this component. Not much, just that the privately-owned side has taken a large hit.

   For the Housing Starts component, privately-owned starts were slightly above August and well above September 2009, while single-family housing starts were also well above September 2009.

   Finally, for Housing Completions, privately-owned housing completions were well above August, however, substantially below September 2009, while single-family housing completions were well above August. Within these figures, we can certainly see some positivity over the past month vs. the past year. However, I don't want to rain on any ones parade, but the HUD does add a disclaimer as follows, "In interpreting changes in the statistics in this release, note that month-to-month changes in seasonally adjusted statistics often show movements which may be irregular. It may take 3 months to establish an underlying trend for building permit authorizations, 3 months for total starts, and 5 months for total completions."

   OK, now onto a new topic, which is a response to a question from one of our readers, who has asked us for the locations of our other Social Media accounts. Since we are listed on quite a lot of them, I have listed the main ones for her (and your) convenience:

Twitter: http://twitter.com/homerunhomes
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/homerunhomes
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/lease2buy
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/homerunhomes
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/lease2buy
Google Profile: http://www.google.com/profiles/lease2buycom
FriendFeed: http://friendfeed.com/homerunhomes
Plurk: http://www.plurk.com/homerunhomes
YouTube: http://youtube.com/user/renttoownleaseoption
ITunes: http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=373351426

Have a Great Week, and Happy Rent-to-Owning !!

October 8, 2010

Valuable Real Estate and Construction Industry Associations

Hi Folks,
   Friday has come upon us quite fast this week. The sun is shining and it's cool out. Fall is here. Hooray !

   Today, I'd like to discuss the mortar that holds the Real Estate and Construction industries together, and that would be the industry associations. These groups and organizations allow the professionals from all sectors and niches of the Real Estate and Construction industry to mingle amongst each other in order to create better opportunities that drive the housing market.

   The first one that I would like to mention is the Building Trades Association (BTA), which is, as they describe on their website, "made up of thousands of companies involved in all phases of the building and construction industries". Additionally, they have an invaluable Contractor Directory, which can prove as vital to anyone in our industry. They charge a nominal fee for full access to their services and registration.

   Jessie Sidhu, a multi family investor and Real Estate Broker, names the Apartment Association as a very valuable resource, stating that, "They keep you informed of all latest rules, regulations, laws (local, state & federal) pertaining to landlords and renters", as well as, "provide insights into the industry/current trends along with local vendor resources and more".

   Raj Persaud, a Sales Agent and Business Development Manager for Manhattist Inc, cites the National Real Estate Investors Association (NREIA), Multiple Listing Service (MLS), and the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), as his most valuable industry associations.

   Persaud says that the NREIA is a, "very sophisticated association but you can tell that they do very real work which has very practical implications for the industry", and that he thinks that, "they are the most future-forward in fore-seeing approaching challenges and mobilizing investors and professionals to address them".

   For the MLS, Persaud says that, "to just be a part of this service is incredibly convenient and instantly enhances your company to marketing 2.0. They make a search for any property in NYC with open listings very easy and at your fingertips". In discussing the REBNY, Persaud says that is serves as the, "real backbone to the property market here in NYC. Their unity of professionals brings real hope to the industry and they are always promoting better standards, including energy efficiency in buildings across the state. This is the kind of force we all need".

   Have we missed any associations that are valuable to you? Please comment and let us know.

Have a Great Weekend, and Happy Rent-to-Owning !

July 23, 2010

The Home Building Process, Part 2 of 3

Good Morning,

   Today, we will be covering part 2 of our 3-part series on the Home-building process. In part 1, this past Wednesday, we took a look at the process from the first meeting between a future property-owner, the building company and general contractor. For a different perspective, now we will look at some additional tips from both a property manager and from an interior designer.

   From the angle of a property manager, we spoke with Blake Appleby, President of Cornerstone Property Management, Inc. in Colorado, who has almost two decades of experience managing large mountain homes, and he provided some additional pointers to be aware of during and after the process.

   Primarily, Appleby states that it is important to give consideration to where snow or rain will shed from the roof, to avoid snow, ice, or rain shedding on entry ways, decks, in front of garage doors or other areas that might interfere with basic usage of the home, as it can result in, "snow removal nightmares and added expense." He also reminds us that, "Complex roof designs can lead to ice build up and subsequent roof leaks in winter months."

   In addition, Appleby suggests using climate appropriate building materials on the exterior home, which will also save time and money (taking into consideration the, "temperature fluctuations, amounts of moisture, harmful direct sunlight and any other factors that might cause the exterior to deteriorate more quickly than normal."), and additionally, to install a leak detection system.

   As far as the interior of the home, he suggests keeping the use of technology as simple as possible, and while the latest gadgets are "impressive in the showroom", home integration can be very complex. Appleby suggests to, "stick with simple dial thermostats for climate control.", and to avoid computer controlled lighting.

   In keeping with the interior of the home, we spoke with Jo-Ann Capelaci, an interior designer with Colours & Concepts Interior Design, in California. Capelaci recommends that you, "Ensure that the interior design reflects the style of the outside of the home.", and to select all interior finishes, i.e. flooring, tile, cabinets, paint, etc, and to "produce a book to include all specifications". She suggests doing this before construction begins, if possible.

   Additionally, Capelaci suggests preparing the flooring plan, tile floor plans and elevations, electrical and lighting plan and furniture plan, select the furniture, window treatments, lighting and accessories, and to prepare the budget for these items and purchase them so that when construction is complete, these items are all ready. She suggests to, "enlist the help of a design professional, even if it is to confirm your choices and make recommendations.", since, "Designers truly do see things in a different way and assist clients to do things they might not have even known were possible"

   In closing, Appleby added another fantastic tip - To make sure that you "have records of the make and model of boilers, HVAC units and any other critical components in the home.", because if you need a service call, this can limit the amount of time with no heat, hot water etc. Additionally, Appleby adds that it is important to keep up with "basic preventative maintenance", such as cleaning gutters, dryer vents, changing HVAC filters and having your heating and cooling systems serviced once a year.

   We hope these tips have been helpful. Tune in on Monday for the final part of this 3-part series, where we will speak with some people who have gone through the actual process of building their own home, which will provide a very unique perspective for those of you interested in doing so.

Have a Great Weekend, and Happy Rent-to-Owning !

July 21, 2010

Examining the Home Building Process, Part 1

Good Morning,

   At the request of our readers, we are beginning a 3-part series on the Home-Building process. We always receive a lot of questions about how the process actually works, and we have made contact with some solid resources to bring you some pretty good information that should be incredibly useful to you.

   David Spetrino of Plantation Building Corp (in Wilmington, North Carolina), uses a 10-step process that brings buyers from start to finish. The first step involves meeting their potential customer to identify their wants and needs (this is where you describe your custom dream home and the ideal “move in date,”). They need to know, for example, if you enjoy entertaining in your home, if this is a primary home or a vacation home, and if you would you describe your ideal home as formal, casual, or a hybrid of both styles. They will also ask you if you have any “green” requirements (environmentally-friendly)

   Next, they will discuss where the home will be located. If you have a lot ("home site") already, that's fine, and if you provide them with the address or community of choice, they will do the research regarding setbacks, zoning, architectural standards, etc. After this, they move on to the professional service agreement, estimate preparation (where they collect bids from their trade contractors and vendors), and ultimately, the construction contract (which involves the construction schedule and your financing). Spetrino makes it a point to note that, "the bank that provides the construction financing may not always be the bank that retains your long term mortgage. You have likely provided your lender with tax returns and related financials. Your bank will want us to supply them with a copy of the construction contract, set of construction drawings, specifications and the budget."

   During this process, the General Contractor comes into play, and there are some pointers provided by Arlene Battishill, a licensed general contractor in Los Angeles. Battishill notes that any proposed home site must be zoned for residential use, and you will need an accurate legal description of the parcel, soil testing, and a structural engineer’s review of the architectural plans to determine if any special reinforcement will be required. Once a licensed general contractor (“GC”) is hired, cost estimates can be made, and once acceptable, the architect or general contractor will submit the architectural plans to the local government building department for evaluation. Once all changes are made and the building permit fees are paid, construction can begin.

   From this point on, Spetrino's company works out the full details, and then begins construction. They provide, "regular updates, photos, and twice monthly, a ‘cost report’ that tracks budget and schedule." Over the course of construction, sometimes changes need to be done, and these requests go into a written format, officially known as the ‘change order.’ Once the "Big Day" arrives, a thorough "inspection and orientation of your new home" is completed. After one month, they schedule a follow up walk through to make sure that you are completely happy, and they also schedule a one year walk through.

   Battishill notes some of the costs of the process, for example, purchasing the land, the fees paid to all of the required consultants, fees to the local government and then the cost of construction. She notes that financing should be obtained well in advance of construction, and to assume that you will need 25-50% more money than the budget calls for to ensure successful completion, as cost tends to overrun in the construction of new homes.

   Please join us on Friday for part two in this series, where we have some additional pointers and points of view from a Property Manager and an Interior Designer.

   Have a Great Day, and Happy Rent-to-Owning !

July 19, 2010

Housing Market, Home Building, and You

Hi Everyone,

   Hope you had a great weekend and took a little time to relax.

   We have a very exciting week ahead here, with a lot of great advertising lined up to bring even more visitors to your Ads. Additionally, there is a ton of information coming out on the strength of the Housing Market this week. Tomorrow, the New Residential Construction numbers are coming out, on Wednesday, the Loan Performance Housing Price Index numbers come out, and then on Thursday, we have both the NAR Existing Home Sales and the FHFA Monthly House Price Index numbers being released. We are holding on to hope that there will be a significantly positive bounce in these numbers, but at this moment, I just truly don't see how that can happen. I'm not being pessimistic, but it will take time, and we are not out of the woods yet.

   On Wednesday, we will begin a very exciting 3-part series that will cover the home-building process. We will have comments from builders discussing how they identify, acquire, and build homes and other Real Estate, along with perspectives from other professionals in the industry with additional points of view and comments. It's should be a treasure trove of information for anyone interested in the Real Estate market.

   We hope you have a great week, and Happy Rent-to-Owning !!!

June 11, 2010

May Residential Construction Numbers - Friend or Foe?

Hi Everyone,

Another Friday is upon us, and we are thankful for another very busy week. As a rule, I try to look back at each week to see what I am thankful for. Let me tell you - some weeks it is tough to find anything, aside from being thankful for my family! However, this past week, we not only received some fantastic media coverage (http://www.familygoesstrong.com/making-rent-own-real-estate-deals-work), but we also had a few other interviews for popular financial and real estate websites that are on the pipeline to be published as well. Additionally, we received some good karma (priceless), by hearing some very kind comments from people who have used our website. Karma, that's what it's really all about !

OK, now on to the Real Estate market, our ailing friend ! The New Residential construction numbers will be released this week (on June 16th), and most importantly, these numbers will reflect the post-tax credit market, since they cover May 2010 (the tax credit ended on April 30th 2010). I, personally, am very curious to see these numbers, and I know a lot of real estate investors, economists, and builders, who are also interested in this. This could have a significant impact on the market. Could the numbers have dropped? Sure they could have...the major incentive expired...but the market has most probably discounted this information into the mix already. If the numbers pop upwards, that could have a dramatic effect on the market, and potentially, the Rent to Own Market, as well. For more information on these reports, please check here: http://www.census.gov/const/www/newresconstindex.html

We have a few infrastructure and marketing projects drawing closer to completion, and when they are finished, we will let you know. They involve ease of accessibility, traffic incentives, and an overall boost to site traffic to increase views to your Ads on our website.

Do you enjoy reading our Blog?

If so, we would love to hear from you in the comments section below. If you don't have time to read it and you would rather listen to it, we do 1-2 Podcasts per week, and you can download them in MP3 format in our Itunes Store, at: http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=373351426

Have a Great Weekend, and Happy Rent-to-Owning !!

June 2, 2010

Caribbean Islands, Architects, Builders, Construction, Pending Homes Sales Up...

Hi Everyone,

Hope your week is going great so far. We have a few new and exciting features that we wanted to inform you of today.

For starters, we have been receiving a lot of comments and requests for a new section for Jamaica, the Bahamas, Trinidad, etc. The amount of requests alone would not warrant a section for each of these countries, however, we have created a broader category for the Caribbean Islands.

The new section for the Caribbean Island Homes Wanted is located at: http://www.lease2buy.com/homes_wanted_listing.php?state=Caribbean+Islands

The new section for the Caribbean Island Homes Available is located at: http://www.lease2buy.com/homes_available_listing.php?state=Caribbean+Islands

Please note that these are freshly created sections, and therefore, they are not populated yet, so you may now begin posting your Rent to Own Homes as well as your requests for Rent to Own Homes.

The next features that we have added are in the Home Services section, and the new services that we have added are "Architects" (See it Here)and "Builders & Construction" (See it Here), which covers the full process from the design of a home, all the way on up through building the home. Additionally, we have added an "Announcements" Section (See it Here), which is ideal for announcing Real Estate Investor Meetings ! If you need to add your services to any of these sections, you can do so via this link: http://www.lease2buy.com/homeservicesinfo.php

The final new feature we have included is a "Share This Property" button, which is included on the page of every "Homes Available" Ad. This button will let you share the link to your home with all of the popular Social Bookmarking Websites (for example, Digg, Delicious, etc.). The goal: Putting your property in front of as many eyeballs as you can !

For some other news, Pending Home Sales hit a 6-month high in April. This is good news as we are now headed into the summer months.

Being the bearer of all of this good news is fantastic! I wish I could bring news like this every day...maybe I can?

Have a Great Week, and Happy Rent-to-Owning !

May 14, 2010

New Residential Construction, Loans, Referrals and Affiliates, Free Book...

Hi Everyone,

A Happy Friday to All.

Things have been simmering here at HomeRun Homes, with traffic to our website at all-time highs, and we are proud to say that we have received the most "Thank You" E-mails from our customers within one week since we began doing business 8 years ago.

OK, some important news coming out next week:

Tuesday the 18th brings the newest figures for New Residential Construction - Building Permits, Housing Starts, and Housing Completions

Friday the 21st brings the Loan Performance Housing Price Index

These are both very important numbers. The announcement of New Construction, coupled with Housing Prices, should paint a better picture of where things have been over the past few months, and if they are positive, they can hopefully continue throughout the summer and beyond.

Now, we usually like to throw some exciting promo on the table at least once a week, so we are letting everyone know that we offer a generous Referral and Affiliate program. If you are interested in learning more, please leave comments here, or you can send an E-mail to homebuyer@lease2buy.com with the subject line of "Referrals/Affiliates", and we'll send you more details. It's a great way to earn some extra money and some free months on your Ads.

As a final note, we are responding to a question from one of the buyers who has received a large amount of responses from sellers this past week. Our best advice is to make a document or spreadsheet with the name and contact info of each seller, along with the details (prices, etc) of their homes. Once you have it all down visually, it's much easier for you to make a decision and make further reminder notes once you have viewed their properties. Good luck, and we hope you found your new castle !

Remember, we are offering a Free Copy of "Secrets of Rent to Own", when you purchase an Ad of 3-Months or longer.

If you're Looking for a Rent to Own Home, you can get your very own "Home Wanted" Ad at http://www.lease2buy.com/prospectivetenants.php

If you're Selling a Rent to Own Home, you can get your very own "Home Available" Ad at http://www.lease2buy.com/prospectivesellers.php

Have a Great Weekend, and Happy Rent-to-Owning !!

April 12, 2010

Helpful Tips when doing your Walk-through...and More..

Hi All,
We hope you had an absolutely fantastic weekend, and we welcome you back.

A few interesting items happening today and this week:

Since the Spring is here for most of us, our market tends to pick up (we hope!), and buyers start doing their walk-throughs of properties that they are closing on. This brings me to the "Tip of the Day":
When doing a walk-through of a property, make sure you bring a small electrical outlet tester, as well as a phone jack tester.
These are two very inexpensive items that can save you time and money !
I've been burned on that a few times and it is quite irritating, so please learn from my silly mistakes.

OK, now, for HomeRun Homes, we have been compacting our database of properties and buyers, since it was a very busy February & March. Basically, to spare you the technical jargon, we compressed the data so that the site works faster.
Additionally, we have edited our YouTube Video for Rent to Own Homes over the past few days. Please take a glance at it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NlOZxvY2gg4

Please also note: You can Follow our Blog and be notified of new posts by clicking on the "Follow" Button on the Right-hand side of the page - we promise that we will not bore you or let you down !

Finally, New Residential Construction numbers are coming out this Friday, the 16th. These numbers, as you can imagine, are very important for the housing market and the Economy, since this takes into account Building Permits, Housing Starts, and Housing Completions. For more information and details on this upcoming Report, here is the link: http://www.census.gov/const/www/newresconstindex.html

Thank you.
Have a Great Week and Happy Rent-to-Owning !!

March 11, 2010

Important Economic News coming out Tuesday 3/16

Good Afternoon,
Just to give everyone a heads up, New Residential Construction numbers are being released on Tuesday 3/16. This specific index takes into account Building Permits, Housing Starts, and Housing Completions, so basically, it's a "Biggie".

What does this mean for everyone? This will show us the relative strength of the housing market. If you are looking to buy or sell a Rent to Own Home, it's still a good time, and is always a good time, since it will always be an attractive option when a creative real estate solution is needed.

We have been developing a lot of cool new features for the website, so please stay tuned for updates.

Have a great day, and Happy Rent-to-Owning