3 Ways Baby Boomers Are Changing The Face Of Real Estate

In the post-war era, birthrates spiked as millions of soldiers came home from war eager to start families. This “baby boom” led to the creation of the largest demographic in the U.S. As Baby Boomers aged, they made a significant impact on the world around them. In the 80’s they became the largest voting demographic in the U.S. and they currently hold roughly 70% of the disposable income in the U.S. As boomers are now reaching retirement age, they are a large enough demographic to change the entire face of real estate. Here are three ways retiring baby boomers are changing real estate.

Massive shift from buying to renting

Baby boomers are not the first generation to offload the large family homes they raised children in as soon as they reach retirement age but they are the largest. Unlike their predecessors, however, they may not be as inclined to purchase a smaller home or condominium as they are simply renting new digs. Boomers have grown up in a world that is more mobile than ever and that may be how they want to live out their last days.

Movement into urban centers

Previous generations of retirees have shown a strong propensity for heading south as soon as they no longer have a job holding them in the colder northern climes. Some have opted to keep family homes and purchase smaller homes in the south or simply live in an RV to follow the moderate weather. Baby boomers, however, are more likely to want to age-in-place. That doesn’t mean they necessarily want to keep their family home, however. Boomers are more likely to move out of the suburbs and back into urban areas. The premier retirement communities of tomorrow may not be on golf courses or the beach but right in the heart of medium to large cities.

Transportation and retail are key

Baby boomers were a hardworking but affluent generation. In the post-war era, they grew up enjoying a number of government subsidies geared towards boosting the post-war economy. They enjoyed cheap housing and even cheaper educational opportunities making them the first highly educated generation but without the subsequent debt load of the generations that followed them. In retirement, they will turn shopping into a leisure activity but prefer brick-and-mortar stores to online shopping. Boomers, like Millennials, are likely to pay attention to walkability scores and to move into areas where they have everything they need within walking distance or quick transportation readily available.

This article was originally published on JasonCohenPittsburgh.org

3 Tips For Maximizing Income From Your Rental Property

Any time you make an investment, you do so with one thing in mind: getting as much of a return on that investment as you can. While any gain is a good thing, you always want to get the most out of your investment as you can. Your rental property investment is certainly no different. While you may already be making some money on your investment, wouldn’t it be great to find a way to increase your profits? Here are some tips about how to go about maximizing your rental property income.

Be Picky About Your Tenants

Your ultimate success or failure as a rental property owner will be decided by the people who rent off of you. The burden of vetting your renters lies solely on your shoulders. It’s imperative that you run thorough background checks on every person who fills out a rental application and do your due diligence on each person who shows an interest in renting from you. Require references from past landlords, verify employment, check into employment history and be sure that you’re renting only to people who you won’t have to spend time in court battling with later on.

Regular Inspections

A successful landlord is one that always knows what’s going on with his or her property. Many landlords only bother to inspect the properties they own when tenants are moving in or moving out, which often leaves them finding the need for extreme repairs. Performing regular inspections will not only help you remedy issues before they become high-cost problems, but it will also allow you to keep tenants happy by maintaining a good place for them to live.

Minimize Tenant Turnover

Not only do you want to minimize your repair costs, but you should also be looking for ways to minimize your amount of tenant turnover. Keeping your good tenants for longer periods of time can only benefit your bottom line. Offer incentives to them for prompt rent payment and maintaining your property. It will cost you less to reward them from time to time than it will have vacant properties. Vacant properties are a direct hit to your bottom line.

Ideally, you’re already making money from your rental property, but there’s always a way to increase your profits.

This article was originally published on JasonCohenPittsburgh.net

3 Ways Big Data Is Impacting Real Estate

In a connected world, gathering and collecting data has become an increasingly simpler task. Compiling that data and using it to create accurate or actionable analyses, however, continues to remain a bigger challenge. A challenge that advancements in AI and machine learning are slowly conquering. Big data is changing almost every industry and aspect of life, including real estate. Here are three ways that Big Data is impacting real estate.

Faster transactions

At one time, it may have taken home buyers anywhere from 6 months to a year to find and close on a home. Today, between shopping for a home and a mortgage online to electronic filing and signing of documents, it takes homebuyers an average of just 50 days to find and close on a home. Commercial real estate is also moving at a much quicker pace, with big data giving potential buyers or lessors access to much more information in order to make faster decisions.

More detailed information for comparison

The price of real estate has always depended highly on comps, where agents use the price of a comparable piece of real estate to determine the asking or offering price of another. Needless to say, however, there can be a vast difference between one three-bedroom, two-bath house and another even when the square footage is roughly the same. When it comes to commercial real estate, the differences between one property and another can be even more staggering. Big data, however, can compare dozens of different features that are harder to calculate such as lot size, area population growth, walking score or access to schools and transportation to come up with a more fair and reasonable price than just what another similar property recently sold for.

Lower risk

Real estate is a big investment. For some people, it is the biggest investment they will ever make. Once you buy or rent a home, building or office space, you are generally stuck for at least a year or more. Constantly changing markets may mean you can get stuck with a property for a decade or more before being able to get out of it what you put into it. Better data and predictive analytics are decreasing that risk.

This article was originally published on JasonCohenPittsburgh.org

Tips For Avoiding Real Estate Scams

Some real estate scams are easy to spot while other schemes use sophisticated methods to defraud people of their hard-earned money. Unfortunately, the digital era is making it easier for fraudsters to steal money from potential renters and homebuyers. However, people can easily protect themselves from fraud by following a few simple steps.

Avoiding Escrow Fraud

When potential renters and home buyers receive an email from a third party claiming to represent a title company, but the email is from a free account, alarm bells should go off. Most title companies and lawyers do not use free email accounts. The best thing to do in this situation is to delete the email and contact the title company or escrow agents to see if they did send an email, especially if the email contains new wiring instructions for funds to close.

Flipping Mortgages

Predatory lenders can persuade unsuspecting homeowners to refinance their mortgages multiple times. Scammers charge outrageous fees and closing costs each time they convince homeowners to refinance, and they often fail to mention the new terms will have higher monthly payments because of larger loan balances.

Many seniors are vulnerable to mortgage flipping, especially those with significant amounts of equity in their homes. The scammers will convince seniors they can find them a better loan at a lower rate, and they also convince them they will have access to a large amount of equity. However, higher fees and a new, much larger loan balance eliminates most of the home’s equity and significantly increases the monthly payment (if there was one, to begin with).

Rental Fraud

Rental fraud is not as uncommon as many people think. People scammed by rental fraud have lost millions of dollars over the past several years. In today’s digital era, many scammers will post homes, condos or other structures for rent on social media platforms and sites like Craigslist.

The fraudsters will then ask for an upfront cash deposit to view the rental. However, the “owner/landlord” actually has no connection to the property, and the rental listing was a ruse to steal the deposit. Experts suggest potential renters should immediately be skeptical of any listing where an upfront cash deposit is required to view the property.

This article was originally published on JasonCohenPittsburgh.net