Given the recent closure of 2013, which incidentally was a critical transformation year into 2014 in terms of essentially finally getting over the real estate hump, the next 12 months promise to be an encore performance at the very least. That is why, it may be declared the year of the Idiot. If the Chinese name their respective years’ by ID’ing animals, then there’s no reason not to focus on a sub-set of professionals within the real estate mortgage finance industry that make everyone’s job a bit more challenging. Hence, failure is their daily business. And to those savants, it is those real estate naysayers within that industry that will impede and facilitate some of the positive predications that may come to fruition in 2014.More particularly, here is the punch list: access to residential home loans, user friendly home buying experiences, crowdfunding will be on the rise by financiers, more technology to execute transactions (i.e., expect Glass Google to integrate itself into real estate deals), and robo real estate brokers that will be self-securitized. All of the latter predictions and prophecy from those that have the ability to read the New York Times without moving their lips.Better Apps for Real Estate Professionals and ConsumersAccording to Marty Frame, President of Realtors Property Resource, there will be “Better mobile apps for the professional. For all of the elegant, even beautiful, mobile apps for the consumer, there are very few utilities for the real estate practitioner that are anywhere nearly as nice. Our devices have capabilities that professionals need to do their jobs – really good GPS, cameras, microphones, accelerometers – and our industry has a lot of room to grow in terms of design and usability as well.”The Monetization of InformationTo be clear, the monetization of information is nothing new. In fact, it’s likely the second oldest profession in the world. Yet, for the real estate industry, an accelerated pace has occurred in monetizing information, since the advent of manipulating information more smoothly into technology is starting to reach a crescendo. A handful of real estate thought leaders are on the cutting edge of this financial windfall.Saul Klein, an industry principal, who sells information, believes it is his mission to “Work to give every MLS and association that so desires an opportunity to have a consumer portal their brokers, agents and the public will love, and that will generate revenue for the organizations. [And to] Continue to socialize the concept of protecting, controlling and monetizing MLS data.”As Klein sees it, the following informational categories will not only generate more income that had not existed before, but will be the hot ticket issues in 2014: Syndication/distribution of MLS data, MLS data licensing, MLS and association public search portals, Off-MLS offerings, Agent ratings, and the public display of sold data.”Google GlassCasino moguls hate them, real estate brokers love them. And just when you thought Google Glass might become even more potentially ubiquitous, expect to see the migration of this strange new technology morph its way into real estate transactions. It’s even rumored that the makers of Google Glass are trying to hardwire the spectacles with a ‘BS odometer’, in order to weed out unctuous, greed ridden/self-absorbed real estate agents that constantly Google themselves.As Dick Greenberg, a principal with Elevation Real Estate noted, “Google Glass of course, is a computer you wear like glasses, with an optical display, a smartphone-type interface and voice commands. IBeacon is a Bluetooth Low Energy system that allows small transmitters to send push notifications to iOS or Android devices, such as Google Glass, in their vicinity.”As Mr. Greenberg further stated “… when you think about pairing the two of these in an information-sharing environment, very powerful capabilities emerge, and the potential is enormous. As a minor example… a simple transmitter placed on a yard sign could send a video tour of the home, along with full information on the property, all appropriately formatted, to a curious wearer of Google Glass who happened by. But that’s just one tiny tip of the iceberg. I think the efforts to implement something new will be widespread and far-reaching.”CrowdfundingHere’s the skinny on crowdfunding. It’s a new age term that beats up on an old age maxim — that you somehow need institutional money to fund real estate investor activity. Wrong.Crowdfunding for real estate has risen in popularity, because small, medium, to large investors have had the same type of access to capital issues that the everyday man has had. If you think you were pissed about not being able to refi your home, how do you think the owner or manager of a $5 million shopping center feels when he can’t shave $10,000 to $12,000 a month off his mortgage payment, all because Bank of America just denied his loan request.”Crowdfunding and online finance will be an increasingly important player in real estate, both for individual investors and for investment advisers who can use crowdfunding (online) sites to get their clients into opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise have had access to.” Jilliene Helman, CEO of RealtyMogul.comIn short, through crowdfunding, investors can pool money together and buy shares of real property like apartment buildings, office buildings and retail centers. From the borrowers’ perspective, they access that pooled money — which has near identical interest rates as the major banks, and refi their investment product and/or buy new product that they otherwise could not have done. With President Obama’s JOBS Act, passed in 2012, and with certain provisions clarified by the SEC in 2013 regarding real estate financing, crowdfunding is here to stay.Real Estate Brokers Self-Securitize Themselves?As an editorial point, one of the wildest predictions to be floated in 2014 comes from industry leader, Inman News Publisher Brad Inman, who stated, “An investment opportunity to buy equity in individual top-producing real estate agents will unfold, like what is being done with stock offerings for individual athletes. Buyer beware”.
Money is the primary motive for real estate investing, the essential reason why people invest in real estate, and typically the first thing people think of when they consider owning investment real estate.One of the advantages of owning income-producing property is that income generated from rent can be quite considerable if a property is bought and managed correctly. If a real estate investor doesn’t overpay for a property, keeps expenses down, the apartments rented, and the building well maintained, a real estate investment can generally make the investor money, even while the investor sleeps!Notwithstanding, there are there factors that can cause a real estate investment to lose value. Moreover, it can have a drastic effect upon a rental income property’s ability to generate profitability, despite the investor’s efforts.Okay, let’s look at undoubtedly the 7 worst contributors to the deterioration of rental property value.1. Neighborhood DeclineThe community surrounding the income property can change in a variety of ways that adversely affect your real estate income property. Increasing vacancy, for instance, can lead to reduced rents, which in turn means reduced maintenance causing building deterioration, in turn causing the whole neighborhood to slip into decline and therein triggering a domino effect that simply compounds the problem. The nearby construction of facilities such as sewer treatment plants and airports will also likely have an adverse effect on the area. Also, perhaps more subtle and slower in coming, is a decline due to increased crime, perhaps resulting from an adjoining neighborhood spill over.2. Impact of Adverse InfrastructureThe impact of being directly under the flight path of aircraft, for example, can have a negative impact on a property’s ability to attract (or keep) tenants. Likewise, construction of a major highway or intersection can limit access to the property, and cause noise and dirt by the construction to drive tenants out. Perhaps the result may be an increase in your investment real estate value, but construction can take up to a year or more and during that time you can expect your real estate investment value to drop.3. Controls and RegulationsGovernmental controls and regulatory changes to zoning can adversely impact real estate investment property. Real estate investors that purchase raw land for development, for instance, can see their plans grind to a halt because of a building moratorium or anti-development sentiment. All of which, of course, results in a plummeting value.4. Wear and TearWhether its air and heating equipment, driveway surface, electrical wiring, hot water heaters and boilers, roofing structure, plumbing or paint, sooner or later it will require maintenance and/or replacement. The value of investment real estate is reduced by the economic obsolescence (out-of-date) items if they are not properly maintained.5. Supply and DemandTwo major factors of supply and demand causes real estate values to go down: overbuilt and tight money. Overbuilt is straightforward. With multifamily property, for instance, overbuilt would imply that there are many more apartment units available to rent than there are tenants to rent the units. In this case, the market can decrease quickly and stay down for a long time when new construction gluts the market causing an overbuilt situation. Tight money means less availability of long-term financing from lenders and therefore less qualified buyers for your rental property.6. Lack of Proper MaintenanceA run-down property in the neighborhood, if left unchecked, could drive down the values of all adjoining properties. A deteriorating property, whatever the reason, will have an adverse affect on your real estate investment.7. Pressure to SellHighly motivated sellers may reduce a property to a bargain basement prices and smart investors watch for property owners who must sell to take advantage of the owner’s strong motivation to unload the property. Always try to avoid ever reaching the moment when you are forced to sell.