By . House. Published at Sunday, February 17th, 2019 - 03:56:01 AM.
How To Start Your House Flipping Business Step By Step : Want to start flipping houses but just dont know where to start? Do you need to set up a business? What type? What type of house flipping should you start with? What if you dont have much money? There are a million questions that can be asked. Theres so much information out there and its hard to know which is the right way to go and who to trust. Im going to cut through all of the confusion and show you how to get started in a step-by-step way. This is based on my experience and is my recommended path to getting the ball rolling. Step 1: Know Where You Want To Go We shouldnt just jump in our car and speed away without knowing where we are going. Thats crazy and a complete waste of time and money. Weve got to figure out our destination first. In my opinion, this is the single most important step in this process. You have to know your destination. It needs to be very clear and definite in your mind. An end goal of getting rich is too general and not definite enough to allow you to envision where you want to be. We need to figure out exactly what we want and how we want our lives to be so that we have a clear vision of what it is we are trying to achieve. Would you like to be able to take your family on vacations whenever you want and for as long as you want? Do you want to be able to earn profits instead of wages so that you can do this full-time and be in control of what you are doing and when? Do you want to be able to achieve all that you feel you are meant to achieve without waiting for someone to give you the opportunity? In order to do these things, we have to lay them out as specific goals. You can take getting rich and ask the right questions to figure out what you really want and why you want to flip houses. We could ask WHY we want to be rich. What would being rich do for us? What kind of things would you do if you were rich? What would your average day be like if you were rich? Answer these questions and write down your answers. Something about writing things down helps you to fully realize and remember your answers. Better yet, start a vision board. Figure out what your true dreams are and try to make them as specific and clear as possible. Try to have concrete goals that you can work towards. Narrow your focus. Step 2: Get Educated (dont overdo it) Now that we know our destination, we still shouldnt just jump in that car and peel out into the distance. That might be funny, but it would not be funny for very long. Especially when you find yourself lost and frustrated. We need to get educated so that we know the best way to get to our destination. We need to study the roads and figure out not only the shortest path, but the path with the least amount of traffic jams. The traffic jams in house flipping are the things that slow us down and make it more difficult for us to get to where we want to be. This can be things like having a ton of over-leveraged rental properties with non-paying tenants that are trashing the place and causing you to bleed money at a staggering pace. Youve probably already started your house flipping education. Well, I know you have because you are here reading this. At least you are in the right place! Thats a great start. That shows me you already know what you are doing so far. What do you need to learn and where can you learn it? In order to figure out what you need to learn, we need to figure out which house flipping strategy to focus on. Focus Your Energy On One Strategy There are a lot of strategies out there. Ive seen some really crazy and down right dangerous ones. Most typically just sound great and look good on paper but are super risky in reality. When you add the human factor to a lot of these strategies (tenants that dont pay and completely trash your house, unscrupulous investors and sellers, unforeseen costs and repairs, lawsuits, and list goes on and on), they are just not a good way to go. You have to get back to the basics. To the tried and true things that have been working for a long time for a lot of investors. My Recommended Starting Strategies (and I still use them myself) Starting with birddogging and wholesaling is the easiest way to get into flipping houses without much risk and with little to no money. These are the strategies that I feel you should focus on. I call these the strategies with the lowest entry costs in terms of time, money and experience. Give yourself a better chance of really making it by laser focusing on these two methods. Heck, just focus on one if you want. The great thing is that both of these can be learned quickly and interchanged for each deal as you see fit. Birddogging A birddog is someone that finds leads and gives these leads to an experienced investor to work. Heres how to do it: 1. You drive around and find vacant houses and send letters to the owners of the vacant houses. One of the owners calls you and tells you they are interested in selling the house. 2. You then tell another investor that has the ability to act quickly about the lead and he/she sets an appointment to see the house and makes an offer to the owner. 3. If they come to an agreement and the investor ends up buying the house, he/she will pay you a finders fee. This fee can be as much as $2,000 or more. I typically ask for $1,000 to $2,000 depending on how much potential I feel the deal has. I think most investors probably pay closer to $500 each if the leads are screened as well as I screen mine. What I mean by screening is just that I make sure the potential for a deal is really there. That the sellers have enough equity in the home and there are signs of motivation to sell. Some investors will pay small fees just for the lead (just giving the lead, whether they buy the house or not). Dont expect very much if this is the case (probably between $25-$50). Wholesaling Wholesaling is where you actually contract to buy a house and sell it as-is to another investor. There are several ways to wholesale, but in the spirit of having you narrow your focus, Im going to be discussing the assignment of contract alone. This is the strategy that involves the least risk and very little money. This is where you never take ownership of the house. Heres how to do it: So, if you find a deal where the house should sell for $100,000 and it needs $10,000 in repairs, you would want to buy it for $60,000 LESS THE AMOUNT YOU WANT TO CHARGE FOR THE ASSIGNMENT. If you want to be paid $5,000 for the assignment, simply buy it for $55,000 and offer it to an investor buyer for $60,000. Estimating repairs can be difficult in the beginning. At first, I sure was clueless when it came to what repairs cost. The best thing you can do is find a contractor (preferably one that has worked for house flippers) that can help you with the basic costs of normal repairs. Just sit down and make a list of normal repairs and what they typically cost. Some of the items can be priced based on square foot or linear feet. Market for leads (youll find out more about this further down in this article). Start taking calls and analyzing the leads. Most investor buyers are looking to purchase investment property at 70% of market value minus the cost to repair the property.The key with estimating repairs is that you will never get it the cost correct to the dollar. You are just trying to get a good estimate. Be conservative in your estimate. When you find what seems to be a deal that could work based on your analysis, you make the offer. If the seller accepts, you will sign a purchase and sale agreement (contract) with the seller that spells out the terms of the agreement. Most people use their own state approved contract for real estate transactions. I actually prefer a single page contract of my own that is straight and to the point. Most of the state contracts are full of CYA stuff for Realtors and tend to be 9 pages or longer. Talk about taking forever to get the contract signed! I dont enjoy explaining TIDE WATERS and other gobbledy-gook to sellers for several hours. Its important to make sure that your contract has and/or Assigns after the buyer name so that you can assign the contract. For the buyer name, you will use your name unless youve set up a DBA or company (read more about that below). In the beginning, its best to have an escape clause. This is where you have a statement in the contract that allows you to back out if you are unable to find a buyer for it. The clause should be simple and could be something like, This agreement is subject to further inspection of the property by the buyer. If the contract you are using has a section for a termination option, you can use that. This is typically used by buyers to pay a certain amount to be able to terminate the deal if they are not happy with the inspection or other aspect of the deal within an agreed upon amount of time. Once you have the house contracted, you take it to a title company and have it receipted. This is where you pay the earnest money you agreed to with the seller (I typically only pay $10 or $25 for earnest money. Its not a big deal unless you make it seem like a big deal (remember that). Contact your buyers and let them know about the deal. You will end up finding out who the serious buyers are by doing this. You really only want to work with buyers that take action quickly and let you know whether they want the deal or not. Dont waste your time with people that ask a million questions, like whether the bathroom toilet needs to be replaced. You are selling at a deep discount so those matters are irrelevant. Dont waste your time with these people.After a while you will develop a short list of go-to people that you can call and tell about the property. Its best to try and give them 12-24 hours each to see if they want the deal (one at a time of course). If they know there will be a lot of competition, they may not want to waste their time. If they know they have first dibs, they will be more than willing to check it out. Once youve found your ready, willing and able buyer (must be able to close by the date you specified in your contract with the seller), you will sign an assignment of contract form with them. This is just a single page contract (you can download a copy of mine here: Flipping Houses Resources Page. This assignment contract will then be taken to the same title company where you receipted the purchase contract. You could get a non-refundable deposit from the buyer to help ensure that they are serious. Good buyers will not hesitate to do this if it is a good deal. Non-refundable deposits can be as much as you want, but are typically $1,000-$2,000. When the deal closes, the title company will cut you a check for your assignment fee. Congratulations! Youve just made several thousand dollars without even owning the house. There is an alternative way to do this. This involves finding investor buyers and figuring out what types of deals they want and marketing and directing your efforts to find those types of deals. This way you can find exactly what they want so that you already have a ready and willing buyer. These investors might also help you analyze each deal so that you are buying at a price that makes sense for them (and of course you get the house for a little cheaper so as to cover your assignment fee! You do want to make some money for your efforts, dont you?) Theres no wrong or right way to go about it. Its really up to you as to which one fits better for you. You can try one method and then switch to the other or work at doing both at the same time. Your choice. This doesnt cover every possibility, but its a great introduction and good starting point for you to know what you need to learn about the process. Stay focused my friend. What if you stand to make a HUGE assignment fee? Good for you. If your end buyer doesnt like it, find another buyer. You are the one with the deal. If its a problem for them that you stand to make a lot of money for simply assigning the deal, tell them tough cookies. Thats the way its going to be. Simple as that. Why I Dont Recommend Rentals and Rehabbing - IN THE BEGINNING Rentals Some people want to start out by picking up rentals. The reason why I dont recommend that is because you should really have a certain level of cash reserves in case your places get trashed and go vacant, or tenants just stop paying and you have to spend a lot of time and money just getting them out. Rentals dont generate the kind of quick cash that wholesaling and birddogging can. Rehabbing Rehabbing is another one that I feel is better to start after gaining experience in wholesaling. This way you get a lot of experience in determining what the right prices are to buy the properties and in determining the repair costs, holding costs, selling costs and any other costs involved when rehabbing houses. Theres a lot more risk when rehabbing. If you start by wholesaling you might even end up developing a relationship with a local rehabber that can then help you to make the transition to rehabbing. Stay Focused Dont keep buying course after course trying to find that new secret way to do this easily. It doesnt exist and you are just putting off getting out of your comfort zone. Focus on one strategy, learn as much as you can about it and start taking action to gain experience and make a real go at it. Doing this will separate you from 95-99% of other people. Where To Learn Here, of course, is the best place. Im only slightly biased. But, you should also spend some time on the incredible forums over at Bigger Pockets and REIClub. These are great places to really fill in a lot of the gaps. I wanted to talk about figuring out where to start first, because when you spend time on the forums you will tend to get pulled in a lot of directions. You have to go in with a specific question to get answered. Search for answers to your specific questions and TRY NOT TO GET SIDE-TRACKED. People tend to get side-tracked easily because its easier (MORE COMFORTABLE) to just keep learning other things than to actually TAKE ACTION. Dont fall into that trap. Stay focused. Incidentally, the NUMBER ONE place to learn is on the streets. You will learn more hands down by taking action and finding out what you need to know. You dont have to know everything about a topic to get started. You should educate yourself on the basics and GET STARTED. Taking action will put you out of your comfort zone. It will be uncomfortable, but only in the beginning. Step 3: Start Marketing Youve got to find deals and you need to find buyers to buy those deals. Im a firm believer that it is much easier to find awesome deals by targeting motivated sellers. You arent looking for the right houses as much as you are really looking for the right sellers. A lot of new people think the only way to start is to find a real estate agent and have them find listed deals for them. Theres simply too much competition and the deals tend to be too slim. Its possible to work it this way, but why when it is much easier dealing directly with motivated homeowners. Marketing For Buyers It would benefit you to start immediately looking for cash investors. These are the people that you will try to sell your leads and/or deals to. Typically, rehabbers (people that fix up the houses and sell them) and landlords are going to be the people you want to find. These are the ones that are always looking for fixer upper houses, the kind you will be finding. Other wholesalers can also be great people to network with. If you are having trouble moving one of your deals, you can see if theyve got a buyer that would be interested. You would work out a split of the profits with the wholesaler if they do find a buyer for your deal. Here are some excellent places and ways to find buyers: • Local Real Estate Investor Association (REIA) meetings • Calling we buy houses advertisers (call numbers on bandit signs, yellow pages, online, etc) • Marketing your deals - you do want to market your wholesale deals (bandit signs, newspaper ads, craigslist ads, etc) • Have a Realtor look up investment properties that were sold recently and find who bought them • Calling For Rent signs • Driving neighborhoods where you want to invest and looking for houses being rehabbed Marketing For Sellers To find deals, I recommend marketing directly to motivated sellers. This is the We Buy Houses type of advertising. You are trying to find people that have a house they need to sell. This does not just mean people facing foreclosure, which is what most people immediately think of when talking about motivated sellers. There are a lot of other reasons that people will sell their house at deep discounts. These reasons could include (and are certainly not limited to): • House needs a lot of repairs the owner cannot afford to make • Person inherits a house and would rather have cash • Landlord is sick and tired of dealing with their rental property • Owner needs to relocate and sell their house fast • Divorce situation where the single owner cannot afford the house • Owner just doesnt want the hassle of selling their house the conventional way I could list the techniques on how to do this marketing, but a much better way would be to show you what I do and how I do it. And, in case you didnt already know, Ive blogged about 34 weeks of all the marketing I did and the leads that came in. Be sure to check out the first and second weeks on my blog where I show my marketing. Step 4: Start Building Your Team As you start to find and work deals, you will find it necessary to have good people on your team. These are not employees. Rather, they are people like a great closer (title company), real estate attorney, contractor (to help determine repair costs), accountant (hopefully you will need this as it means you are making money!), and a real estate agent (some are worth their weight in gold). Step 5: Set Up Your Company Heres a question that comes up a lot. People tend to get themselves stuck on these kinds of questions (including myself, in the beginning) and I think it is because it really is just another excuse to not get started. NOTE: I am not an attorney, nor am I an accountant, and I dont play one on the internet. Im not giving legal or financial advice so take these suggestions for what theyre worth. When you are starting out, there is no problem with just using your name. As long as you are conducting business in an ethical manner, there really is nothing to worry about. DBA or LLC? My suggestion is to wait until youve done a deal or two and then set up an LLC. If you want to check into which entity would be best for tax purposes, contact a competent accountant/tax person (try to get a referral from a successful investor if you can). For asset protection, contact a good real estate attorney. In the beginning, I did business with an assumed name (DBA - Doing Business As) because we were actually closing on the houses and I didnt want my name on record. When birddogging and assigning contracts, you dont take ownership at all, so this isnt an issue. Step 6: Get A Business Bank Account If you do set up a company or DBA, you should set up a business bank account. Remember, this is a business bank account and should never be used for anything other than your business. You dont want to end up with problems because you werent running your business like a business. The protections that a business provides can be eliminated if you do not run it like a business. So dont be spending money from your business account on something that is for personal use. You should consider whether you want to start one with a large national bank or a small local bank. Theyre definitely not the same. Ill discuss some of the benefits and negatives of each. Large National Bank Large national banks can be more convenient. They tend to have more options in the way of online banking and apps. The negatives that really, really grind my gears is that everything is done by their rules. What I mean is that when you try to call to find out one simple thing, you end up in a crazy labyrinth of a menu system... only to end up being hung up on just when you think you reached the right person. Another issue is that you cant typically go in and talk directly with a decision maker when it comes to a loan. Small Local Bank Small local banks are not as convenient when it comes to having branches all over the country (obviously) and online banking and apps that do as much as the large ones (though this seems to be changing quickly). The biggest benefit to the small banks is the ability to build relationships and the ease with which customer service is handled. Those are enough for me. We still bank with a large, national bank, but that will probably be changing soon. I cant even deal with them anymore. Anytime there is a problem, Melissa (my wife) has to handle it. And I thank her very much for that. Step 7: Grow Your Business When you start making money, be sure to reinvest it back into your business. OK, you should use a small part of it to celebrate your success. But the rest needs to go back into marketing and building your company. The first years are the most difficult and you have to do your best to build a strong company. Spending money on marketing can be hard at first. It sure becomes easier after youve made a couple grand with a simple birddog deal or several grand wholesaling a house. Dont be afraid to spend money on marketing. Make sure you are always planning your strategy and keeping an eye on your goals. Please be sure to figure out why you really want to do this. Step 1 above is the most important of all of these steps. Believe me. Rehabbing Rehabbing is where you close on a property, fix it up and sell it to an end buyer that is either going to live in it or rent it out. The logical progression for most people is to go from birddogging, to wholesaling, to rehabbing. With rehabbing you will need a source of money, insurance, contractors, patience, design sense, creativity, a desire to turn a dump into a beautiful home. Did I mention patience? Good.
Buying A House - Design and Style Tips : We are going to start this entry with a basic overview of the designs and styles of houses. The different types are as follows: Ranch - One level Split Level Split Foyer 1.5 Story 2 Story Patio Home Condominiums Town House To understand the difference between the types of houses we should look at things someone would normally consider when they buy a house. If someone does not want to walk up and down stairs it would be a natural assumption a ranch or patio style house would best suit their needs. Someone that does not want to cut grass would be more interested in a condominium or town house. The people with children or an expanding family would probably lean toward a split level, split foyer, 1.5 story, or 2 story. Especially if they need their own space. Does the House Conform When we ask if the house conform we are asking a basic question. Does your house look like the Jones down the street? We all want to be different in some ways but being different in Real Estate is not always a good idea. This can drastically affect the value of the house youre buying. If the house is a lot bigger or smaller than the other houses in the neighborhood, it does not conform. When buying a house you never want to buy the biggest house because the value will never be maximized to its full potential. If you are going to buy a house that does not conform, buy the smaller house. Think of it with this example, if Donald Trump lived in your neighborhood would his house help or hurt your value? The answer is Donald Trumps house would help the value of your house because he is always going to have the very best house. Your house on the other hand would hurt Donald Trumps value because your house would bring his value down. This is why you see similar designs and styles in a neighborhood. The reason for buying a house smaller than any others in the neighborhood is because the only way the value can go is up. The most inexpensive addition anyone can make to a house is adding square footage. No one ever tears down part of their house to make it conform to their neighbors. Things You Notice But Do Not Realize Have you ever noticed there are always more condominiums, town houses, and patio homes for sale in a neighborhood than there are in a traditional neighborhood? There are many reasons for this activity but we will cover the most important. When buying a house you should examine competition. Competition is what is for sale in the neighborhood, how many and for how much, compared to the house youre interested in buying. For these types of homes, they are usually a first or last time home buyer. This means the young married couple or the elderly that down-sized. In these neighborhoods, there is always what I refer to as a fire sale. Someone is expecting a baby and needs more room so they need to sell fast. When a fire sale takes place there is always a drop in the asking price to try to sell it before any of their neighbors. This is a good strategy for them since all of the homes are identical. This is not good for you though. This is also called the principle of substitution. Why pay more for the exact same thing when you can get it on sale down the street? The value in these neighborhoods struggle to appreciate and go up in value because there is so much competition compared to a traditional neighborhood. How and Why to Bargain Shop When Buying a House It is unfortunate to have as many deals on the market as there are today. It does not make you less of a person to look for a foreclosure or short sale when youre buying a house. A house is your greatest savings account. If you look at these types of houses they will most likely need repairs. This is perfect for you as a buyer. The market is slow and Lowes is not selling as much. If Lowes isnt selling as much then contractors are not working as much. This benefits anyone buying a house if they will use the discounts available to them in the market. The house down the street is selling for $150,000, but the foreclosure is selling for $65,000. The foreclosure looks horrible and not very appealing in its current state. Take the blinders off and imagine it like the house down the street once the repairs are completed. Lets say the repairs cost $30,000, with the foreclosure. You saved $55,000, instantly by buying the foreclosure. If you buy the house down the street you are going to paint it at the least to match your taste. Now youre in debt because you paid full price and spent money after the fact. There are mortgage loans to buy and repair from the very beginning so take advantage of them. The most recognized is the FHA 203(k) loan. There is also Homepath sponsored by Fannie Mae. You can look at their website for available houses in your area. You can also visit the HUD Home Store. When youre buying a house make sure you dont buy with short sighted thoughts. Buying a house is an investment you are making today but is one of the most important investments you are making for your future. If you buy a house right today, it will provide the equity for security in the worst Real Estate market. Its a long term saving account to draw from if its ever needed.
The Macro-Dynamics of the US and the Canadian Housing Markets: An Analytical Comparison Introduction: This article examines three key fundamental questions: (1)-Would the US housing market face any reversal given what is happening in the US and global economy? (2)-As predicted by some pundits, would the Canadian economy undergo any serious correction? (3)-What are the key macroeconomic factors which impact the Canadian and the US housing markets? And using this framework what predictions can we make both for short and long term trends of real estate markets? The US Housing Market: Its Evolution from Crisis (2007-2008) to Present: The US housing bubble was created by Steroids Banking using Securitization process and taking advantage of low interest rates and massive inflow of investment money from abroad. The housing prices in most regions almost doubled 2001 to 2006; and subprime lending escalated astronomically. The private Mortgage banks were applying their creativity and greed in designing highly risky esoteric mortgage products using the Securitization process. What is Securitization? Put simply this is packaging of mortgages (including subprime) into structured products (Mortgage backed securities, Collateralized debt obligations). The manufacturing mortgage bank then removes these esoteric products from its balance sheets to minimize any risks and sells these products to institutional investors using SIV (Structured investment vehicles). The buyers of these products erroneously assumed that the underlying mortgages of these securities were safe collateral given upward trending housing market. However, when subprime mortgages defaulted and housing market began to sink, these structured products built around defaulting mortgages fell sharply in value, thereby freezing the entire global credit system. Added to this turmoil was dilution of commercial paper because of potential default of big lending institutions. The global financial system was under siege. Ironically, the Credit default swaps, which mean to insure against default of these mortgages collapsed under their own weight, thereby reinforcing the Credit crisis. The US Treasury and the Fed intervened and injected trillions of dollars to save the collapsing US Housing and Banking system. This crisis is a classic example of Moral Hazard issue. Who was responsible for over-leveraging the system beyond its buoyancy point? Technically the Mortgage banks had packaged the mortgages and passed on the risks to the institutional investors. The institutional investors made the wrong assumption that the US housing market will move North forever. The Fed and other institutions did not have a proper regulatory-monitoring structure as envisioned in the BASEL guidelines to avert such over-leveraging. Nobody knew who will be responsible if the edifice collapses. Worst of all, the institutional investors assumed wrongly that the Credit default swaps (CDS) instruments would work miracles; and bail out defaulting mortgages. This is known as Moral hazard problem. Ultimately everybody was looking forward to the Fed and the Treasury to bail out the global financial system from reaching the doomsday. The US Housing Market in the aftermath of Crisis: The Mortgage Delinquency Rate (MDR) is a key metric that speaks of the real fallout of the US housing crisis (2007-2008). It measures the percentage change in delinquency of residential loans. In June 2007, the MDR was 2.17% and reached its highest level in March 2011 at 11.36%. It recovered back to 2008 levels at 10.4% recently. MDR is a key lagging indicator that reflects economic difficulties. Another key metric reflecting the state of housing health in the US is the S&P/Case Shiller Home Price Index. This is an index reflecting change in housing prices of 20 (and 10) key US metropolitan areas. The home prices in April 2012 for 20-city composite have reached the level existing in the start of 2003. In April 2012, the home prices have declined about 34-35% from its peak level in 2006. The main reason for a stagnant US housing market as evidenced from the MDR data is a fragile labor market. Slow job growth rate is due to weak consumer spending, which is the 70% component of real GDP and key driver of job creation in the US. Consumer spending is directly related to job growth rate, the saving rate and the consumer confidence. In an uncertain environment, spending falls and both the US dollar and saving rate increases. Although savings are recycled by the intermediaries as investments for businesses, this does not necessarily translate onto investment spending and GDP growth. Companies in a high risk environment aim to trim their balance sheets by paying off their debts, a process called as deleveraging. They do not want to burden their balance sheets by borrowing from banks. This deleveraging process slows down the level of investment in the economy thereby indirectly moderating the job growth rate. Deleveraging also runs counterproductive to low interest rates and impedes growth in jobs and therefore fast recovery of real estate prices. Why the Canadian housing market is not poised for a serious correction? The Canadian Mortgage system is more robust and conservative than the one prevailing in the US. First of all, the Canadian subprime market is only 5% of total outstanding mortgages whereas during its peak years 2004-2006, the US subprime market captured 25% of total outstanding US mortgages. The Canadian mortgage system executes better risk management tools including limited exposure to securitization and tight lending practices backed by insurance mortgage. The recent changes in the Mortgage lending have further tightened the belts to avoid any risks to healthy housing in Canada. The supply and demand conditions in Canada are monitored by all players actively. There is a great degree of transparency and authenticity in the housing data and practices. Supply dovetails both current and future demand leaving little room for creation of bubbles. Remember bubbles happen when there is a huge undiscovered lag between supply and demand. For example, there is an anticipated constraint of commercial real estate supply in the wake of surging demand both in Toronto area and Western Canada. A large number of Canadians are currently disillusioned by lower and volatile investment returns in the core financial assets, stocks and bonds. The ongoing volatility in the Capital markets is expected to last in the next few years, given some long lasting problems like risks of Sovereign debt crisis in Europe & the US. This situation has mobilized a great number of people to invest in real estate as most viable alternative investment in the wake of record low interest rates. This process might continue for some years as the core financial assets (stocks, bonds and mutual funds) may not pick up momentum soon. The concept of a bubble is not quite relevant in the context of the Canadian housing market. This is explained in terms of a typical sales cycle witnessed in Toronto and other places in Canada. The sales cycle woven around tighter demand-supply conditions mitigates the probability of bubbles. For example, in Toronto, condos are sold or flipped by investors, who generally do not live in those condos. When interest rates would inch up in future, these investors will find it difficult to keep highly expensive condos. They will sell these condos putting downward pressure on prices of the condominium market. Intuitively, the falling prices will give opportunity to new immigrants and other investors to purchase condos, as they could not previously afford it. This process is further strengthened by different ethnic groups who support their new immigrant friends and families toward the purchase of their first homes in Canada. Overall these processes would push prices upwards again. To conclude, given these tight supply-demand conditions, the chances of any serious correction are quite minimal in Toronto. What are the Macroeconomic factors which impact the prices of Real Estate? Interest Rates and Inflation: Interest rate is the price of money. It is determined by supply and demand of loanable funds. However the countrys Central bank can greatly influence the rate by tightening credit conditions or making those relaxed by pumping money into the system. This is typically done through Monetary Policy and open Market operations. Lower rates make it cheaper for potential buyers to borrow money and make purchases. It also helps current homeowners to refinance their homes and save money. All this will lead to stronger demand for mortgages and housing. Increasing rates will have the opposite effect and dampen the level of sales activity in the Mortgage market. Carry forward trades, borrowing at lower rates in one region and investing it in other, also indirectly impact real estate. For example, foreign institutional investors can borrow money overseas at cheaper rates and invest in Canadian real estate market. More important, real interest rates equal nominal rates minus inflation. Rising level of inflation will lower the real interest rates and declining levels will inflate real rates. Inflation typically feeds into asset prices including real estate. Tightening of money supply is done to control inflation, and this process leads to rising interest rates. Easing of money supply is done to trigger growth and this is accompanied with declining interest rates. However greater supply of money and rising oil prices (supply side) feed into inflation and ultimately inflates asset prices. Economic Growth, Consumer spending and Employment level: Economic growth is measured by growth in the real GDP. Slowdown in economic growth-both global and regional-raises fears of deflation or declining prices, which does not bode well with overall economic affluence. Deflation can be compared to freezing of an economy. Japan experienced sustained recession due to deflation for a long period. Fear of deflation due to declining growth can have negative impact on the real estate market. Labor Market dynamics and in particular the level of unemployment has a critical relationship to the health of the housing sector. Rising unemployment during recession is often accompanied with low housing demand and mortgage delinquencies. For example, when Enron crisis erupted, there was general softening in the regional housing market. Another example is the current state of the US housing market. Economists say that the slow pace of housing recovery is attributed to a stagnant US labor market, which is stuck up at over 8% of unemployment rate. Consumer spending plays a key role in the US while the export sector plays an important role in China. As well in Canada, consumer spending has correlation to the GDP growth. In case of the US, Consumer spending constitutes 70% of GDP and is therefore most important driver of GDP growth rate. Higher consumption level, driven by consumer confidence levels, leads to greater economic (job creation) activity and ultimately translates into greater demand for housing. Surging consumer debt, as it is happening in Canada, is also not healthy for a sustainable consumption and GDP growth. Over-leveraged consumers do not have the capacity to absorb shocks like layoffs or increase in interest rates & inflation. Institutional Capacity of Economy to absorb External shocks: The housing crisis of 2007-2008 contaminated the global financial system. The Fed and G-7 countries had to undertake unprecedented bail out measures to save the global financial system from getting derailed. Fortunately, the Canadian housing market was resilient enough to absorb the shocks and did not sink. This happened because of a relatively conservative mortgage system prevailing in Canada. Regulatory measures also impact the resilience of the housing market. For example, tax credits in the US had triggered growth of the housing sector in the aftermath of crisis. Canada has applied its regulations to keep the housing sector strong and healthy. Demographics and Migration: These play an important role in shaping the long term prospects of the real estate market. In Canada and the US, the aging population of baby boomers will create more demand for residential and vacation homes in the next decade. International migration to Canada is also an important determinant of housing market in Canada. Technology, Oil-Commodities boom and Exports: The Canadian economic and housing activity is also impacted by three external forces: Chinese Investors, Oil-commodities prices and economic activity in the US. The Western Canada is impacted by the level of Chinese and foreign investments, mainly in the Mining and Oil sector. The Eastern region, mainly Ontario and Quebec, is impacted by the level of exports to the US and therefore indirectly on the state of the US economy. Stronger Canadian dollar does not augur well for exporters. Overall, the Canadian economy and dollar are strengthened by rising demand for Oil and commodities. National Level of debt: In the US, the national level of debt is reaching about $14 trillion and will continue to grow in the years to come. National debt piles up due to persistent fiscal deficits in the economy. In the US, there is a challenge of twin deficits-both fiscal deficit and external imbalances. The twin deficits not only lead to faster growth of national debt but trigger anticipation of higher interest rates and inflation. This happens through the following mechanism: Higher debt in the US is monetized by either selling bonds to China (or other surplus countries) or by printing money from thin air. In either case it leads to greater risks and consequently higher interest rates, fast depreciating currencies and therefore more inflation. Some economists say that if debt is not contained by the US policy-makers, we may enter an era of hyperinflation where all asset prices (including real estate) will become very costly. Applying Macroeconomic Framework to analyze current & future trends: (I)-Current Global Economic Outlook: The global economic growth is expected to moderate in 2012 (and perhaps 2013). Concomitantly, the global real estate market is cooling down a bit. The moderation in growth is spread unequally across different geographical regions. In the US, which been the central point of housing crisis, there is some improvement in key housing indicators. Given sustained low rates, minimal probability of deflation (freezing of economy) and complete preparations by European Central Bank to cope with Eurozone debt crisis-there is less likelihood of any major reversal to the US economic fundamentals and therefore the housing market. The key emerging Global housing trends are captured in the following summary: (A)-The battered US housing market is relatively stable, with less increase in foreclosures and mortgage delinquencies. The US market is currently an ideal buyers market. However, there will be a substantial lag time before we can witness a complete turnaround in the US housing market. (B)-The vibrant Canadian housing market is generally perceived to be ready for some correction in 2012 and 2013. Chart V shows key housing trends in Canada. (C)-The European housing market is (and will in future) undergoing a degree of correction. This stems from recent fiscal crisis in Europe as well as fragility of the German economy exposed recently. The housing market in the emerging global economies is also cooling down a bit. (II)-Some Predictions using the Macroeconomic Framework: The short term perspective of the Canadian housing market might witness come corrections in 2012 and 2013, but as argued in this paper this will be minimal. Also, as argued further, the commercial real estate market will stay steady and strong in 2012 and 2013 in Canada. Given the complex interplay of global economic forces and what is happening in the Eurozone and the US in terms of debt crisis, it is rather difficult to make any certain long term predictions. However, growing complexity warrants a more holistic inter-market analysis to predict about the real estate trends. The seven key global economic trends of the next decade can help us understand the future real estate prospects as well. These seven trends are as follows: (1)-The bubble of Sovereign debt crisis in the US and Europe will last for sometimes, at least next decade. Governments in this part of the world are running unsustainable massive debts, which will ultimately put an upward pressure on inflation and interest rates. (2)-The clear outcome of (1) above will be depreciating value of currencies. (3)-Another consequence of (1) above will be fragile and volatile bonds and stock markets. (4)-Commodities, gold and some alternative investments will become attractive as they will be perceived to store real value. Currencies, stocks and bonds will depreciate fast. (5)-Inflation will be triggered by massive monetization of debt (printing currency from thin air). This situation may be exacerbated if China pulls out trillion of dollars of US bond purchases it made in the last decade; and if oil prices continue to move north. (6)-Demographic trends entail growth of baby boomers in North America and Europe leading to migration to North America. (7)-The US dollar will not evaporate because of spectacular performance of the US companies and technological advancement in North America. Given these seven key economic trends of the next decade, the housing market will stay vibrant and steady in Canada and the US. Baby boomers, foreign investors and immigrants will continue to play a critical role in strengthening the housing demand in North America. Hyperinflation, as worst case scenario, might pull down demand of assets because it would stoke prices of those assets including real estate. At this stage, however, it cannot be predicted whether the European and the US governments will take concrete measures to contain their debts and put in place sustainable debt management policies. Future events will unravel the political commitment of these governments. At this stage, one thing is certain: the current debt monetization policy of these governments is not sustainable in the long run.
Japanese Housing Conditions : In Japan, land price is expensive and housing conditions regarding its rent and size are not good compared to other countries. Accommodation is a very serious problem even for the Japanese particularly in urban areas, which lack spacious and low cost housing. 1. Japanese rental housing In Japan there is both public housing and private housing. Apartments make up the majority of rental housing. a) Public housing Public housing is provided by official organizations such as prefectural, city, and town governments, and housing supply corporations. Any non-Japanese who has an alien registration can apply for this kind of housing regardless of nationality. There are two types of housing: Koei Jutaku (public housing) is for people who have a low income; and Tokutei Yuryo Chintai Jutaku (delux family housing) and Kosha/Kodan Jutaku (Public Corporation housing) for those with a middle-class income. These apartments provide a certain level of facilities at relatively low rent. It is necessary to pay two to three months rent as a deposit (guarantee money) at your tenancy, but key money which is necessary for private housing is not required. However, qualifications such as income are precisely determined, and only those who satisfy these qualifications can apply. As there are many applicants, the tenants are determined by lottery. After moving in, the tenants must comply with the regulations for use (i.e. nobody is allowed to live together with the tenants without permission). This type of housing is mainly apartments, which generally include kitchen, bath, and oshiire (closet), with one to four rooms. b) Private rental housing Private rental housing is owned by individuals and private companies. The type varies in rent and size. 1. Aparto (Apartment) These are mainly two-story buildings constructed from light-weight steel, wood, or mortar, and house 4 to 8 households. Some of them share a toilet and/or have no bath. 2. Mansion (Apartment) In Japan, housing which is bigger than an Aparto and built with reinforced concrete is called a Mansion. The insulation is better than an Aparto, and privacy is better. Some have a custodian living on the first floor or others have an underground parking lot. 3. Detached house Detached houses have recently been designed using a mixture of Japanese and Western styles. Some of them have a garden. There are several rental houses designed especially for non-Japanese but not many. 2. Typical housing size and floor plan The area is indicated in square meters (m2) as well as original Japanese units, jo and tsubo. One jo means one tatami mat, and is roughly 180 cm x 90 cm. (Tatami is a unique Japanese floor covering). One tsubo is 182 cm x 182 cm or about 3.3m2 and equals approximately two jo. There are Japanese-style and Western-style rooms. A Japanese-style room has tatami mats and a Western-style room has flooring or a carpeted floor. Below is a typical Japanese housing floor plan. • K, DK, LDK - K means kitchen, D means dining room and L means living room. K means only a kitchen and DK means a dining room plus kitchen, and LDK means a room which has the function of a living room as well as dining room and kitchen. Therefore, 2DK means a house which has two rooms in addition to a room having the function of kitchen and dining room. • UB - UB means unit bath (unified formation bathroom), which includes bathtub, toilet and washbowl. • Oshiire (closet) - This means a storage space in a Japanese-style room. • PS - This means a pipe space containing drainpipes and wiring conduits. • MB - This means the meter box for water and gas. Floor plan for One-room Mansions (one-room apartments) (Example) Facilities are compact and there is one room which can be used as a living room. The kitchenette is very small, so that elaborate cooking is not possible. Some of them dont have any space for a washing machine inside the room. Floor plan for detached houses (Example) • Most detached houses in modern Japan have both Japanese and Western-style rooms. • Some of them have a garden and a parking space. 3. Customs regarding Japanese housing a) Shoes - In Japanese housing, there is an area for removing shoes before stepping up into the main entrance. Japanese people sit on the floor and sleep on a futon on the tatami, the Japanese traditional floor mats, so stepping on them with shoes on is not allowed. If you enter a room wearing shoes and dirt the mats, you might have to pay repair costs. b) Bathroom - In Japan bathing is not only washing the body but also a chance to relax while soaking in the bathtub. Recently bathrooms consisting of a Western-style bath with toilet have become popular, but the Japanese traditional bathroom is separate from the toilet and has a space to wash the body outside the bathtub. Bathtubs are mainly made of plastic or stainless steel. If you live with a Japanese family, you must keep the water in the bathtub as clean as possible because the rest of the family will take turns to use the water after you. Do not use soap in a Japanese-style bathtub. The water is heated mainly by gas. c) Tatami mats - Tatami mats are a traditional floor covering of straw sewn to make a mat about 5.5 cm thick and bound by woven rush. One tatami mat (jo) is also the unit used to indicate the size of a room. New tatami is green and the tatami mats are changed every few years or whenever moving house. d) Futon (thick bedquilt), bed and oshiire (closet) - In a Japanese house, generally the futon is rolled out every night and folded away in the oshiire every morning. During the daytime, the futon is kept inside the oshiire. In this way, a single room can be used for various purposes. If a bed is placed on the tatami mats, they are dented and damaged, so it is recommended to put boards under the legs of the bed. e) City gas and propane gas - Electricity or gas is provided for the stove and bath. There are two types of gas: city gas (coal gas), led to each household from gas company tanks, and propane gas, provided by dealers in the form of cylinders. City gas is managed by Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd. and propane gas is managed by individual dealers. Gas cookers etc. should be supplied by tenants. f) Water supply and drainage - Almost all areas of Kanagawa Prefecture have water supply facilities. You can drink the tap water. In most cases there is a drainage or a water purification tank. The drainage system is not suitable for a disposer. g) Toilet - The Japanese-style toilet has a cover (dome) at the front. When the toilet is shared with other tenants, separate toilet slippers should be used. h) Air conditioning / heating - Some housing has air conditioning/heating but in most cases, tenants have to buy their own. Fuel for heating includes electricity, gas, and kerosene. Sometimes the use of kerosene is prohibited. I) Fusuma and shoji - These are unique Japanese sliding doors to separate rooms. Fusuma is a wooden frame with fusuma paper pasted on both sides. Shoji is a latticed wooden frame with shoji paper windows. It is possible to make a room bigger by removing fusuma to connect the rooms. Fusuma pasting should be done by a specialist but when shoji paper is torn, you can buy shoji paper and repair it yourself. 4. Common problems and how to troubleshoot a) Remove footwear - Do not enter a house with shoes on. Be sure to remove shoes at the entrance. b) Deposit -Most of the problems related to renting involve the deposit. In Japan when you rent a house, you have to pay a deposit to the house owner. This deposit is given to the house owner and returned without any interest when the lease is cancelled. However, repair costs are deducted, so the deposit is usually not returned in full. As the specific agreement of the rent is contained in the rental housing contract, please check the contract thoroughly and dont break it. As for the other expenses when making a contract, please refer to page 39. c) Number of residents - The number of residents is confirmed when the contract is made. Additional residents are not allowed. d) Noise - Do not make loud noises late at night. In apartments, the sound echoes more than you think. As the sound of running a large amount of water also bothers neighbors, try not to run a bath or do washing late at night. e) Pets - There are almost no apartments allowing pets other than small birds and goldfish. If you do find one where you can keep pets, please follow the rules. f) Kitchen - If you cook with a large amount of oil, clean the area soon after by wiping the sink and cooking area. The ventilation fan should also be cleaned regularly. g) Putting out the garbage - Garbage is collected by the municipal government. The collection point, date, and method are determined in each area. There are areas where flammable garbage and nonflammable garbage should be separated. As for large garbage items, there are areas where the collection date is already determined, or you can sometimes arrange to have them picked up. Please consult your neighbors or the municipal government. h) Long-term absence - When you are not at home for a long time, you should notify the house owner. Rent must be paid even when you are away. i) Remodeling of the room - If you want to remodel a room, such as by putting a nail into a pole or attaching a hook to the wall for holding clothes, you should first consult owner. It is assumed that you will leave the room in the condition it was in when you rented it. If you remodel the room and it cannot be returned to its original state, your deposit will not be returned, or additional payments may be required.
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