ditors note: Today’s guest blogger is Colleen Barry, Director of Marketing for Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty, a luxury real estate company in Boston. Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty joins other real estate businesses like Baird and Warner, Ray White, and Cadillac Fairview in switching to Google Apps. Learn more about other organizations that have gone Google on our community map or test drive life in the cloud with the Go Google Cloud Calculator.
We are the Boston-based franchise of an international luxury real estate company. To support sales and marketing, as well as 200 independent agents who are constantly on the go, we needed a more mobile, secure, and fast solution for communication and collaboration. We were providing email services centrally for 300 mailboxes using SmarterMail, but this solution’s capabilities were very limited. People only had 10MB of storage. The service was slow and somewhat unreliable. Everyone had to use an email client, and because many are independent contractors, they chose whatever they wanted to use. This ultimately led to complexity and a higher likelihood of data loss. With Google Apps for Business, the company now has a more secure, consistent toolset that is increasing sales productivity while reducing IT complexity.
Over the years, I have had so many agents call me on the verge of tears because their machine had crashed and they lost everything on their hard drive. If Microsoft ® Outlook is your record-keeping mechanism, you’re in trouble unless you back it up – and let’s be realistic – people rarely do that. They also lose their computers and phones. We wanted to move into the cloud so that we no longer had to worry about data loss or data back-ups.
Another motivation for change was the need for better mobile access. We were using POP mail so agents and others could see emails on their mobile phones, but the experience was limited and ultimately frustrating. Because the email wasn’t in the cloud, you couldn’t do much more than view it. In an industry like real estate, it’s essential that our agents can access their information instantly from wherever they are.
We were pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to deploy Google Apps. We worked with Google reseller, SADA Systems, to purchase Google Apps, but two office administrators and I completed the implementation on our own. Because Google is so great at making information available, we didn’t even need to hire anyone to migrate our data. We brought 300 email accounts to Google Apps, without needing a partner for the deployment.
The ability to share and collaborate on Google documents and spreadsheets has saved us from having to do a lot of repetitive and manual tasks. For example, we can now share “show sheets” – brochures about a property listing – in Google Docs directly with our clients. We previously created PDFs and emailed them around to agents and then the agents downloaded them and attached them in emails sent to clients.
We’re also using Google Forms for requests for services that we offer to our agents. Instead of receiving countless email requests, we can now just circulate a survey, which populates instantly into a Google spreadsheet. That spreadsheet also lets us track trends and forecast. All of the essential data is there and accessible to the entire team.
With all of the snow we’ve gotten this year, Google Talk has been a lifesaver. People can work from home yet still preserve the connected, social aspect of their work while getting questions answered and discussions taken care of in minutes. These examples may not seem like much, but they add up to big productivity gains and help our employees feel connected and part of a team, even when we’re not physically in the same office.
Our employees are happier, and our IT costs are decreasing. With Apps we are dealing with fewer IT problems and are operating at a much quicker pace. Google Apps quickly begins to pay for itself. Our employees know that we’re investing in them and giving them the tools to do their jobs better and work together. We are providing a more valuable service to our agents and, ultimately, to our clients. We believe moving to Google Apps will be one of our great achievements this year.
|Realtor Tips: How to Generate Real Estate Leads|
- Sphere of Influence (SOI)
Even though the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago is cautiously claiming that the current recession is over, the housing market is likely to still suffer a glut of bank-owned foreclosures in 2010.
The Federal Reserve president is predicting that the jobless rate may improve very slightly even though employment fell in the last month of the year and many other experts are forecasting that more jobs will be lost over this current year. Though the official unemployment rate is merely sitting at around ten percent, the percentage of people across the country who are either out of work of struggling with a part-time job instead of a full-time job is much higher. The unemployment rate only reflects the percent of people out of the work force who are actually looking to re-enter it at that time; after being out of a job though, many people give up the search for a while, at least temporarily.
The national GDP rose in the third quarter of 2009, a hint that indeed points towards economic recovery. However, a double-dip in the bottoming out of the economy during a recession is also very common. A general rise in GDP is a good sign, but it would also be more telling if there were rises in particular areas of the GDP that specifically support economic recovery. The anticipated increase in the GDP over 2010 is estimated to be around 3% for the year.
However, even with these signposts of economic recovery, it is still quite certain that the housing market will not be leading the way to recovery as it is inevitable that the market will be seeing an increase in foreclosed home in stock very soon. At this point, many homes are in a pre-foreclosure stage; a huge number of home owners are delinquent in their mortgage payments or struggling to meet the government criteria to have their mortgages modified. However, due to a number of reasons, only about 4% of homeowners with delinquent mortgages have been able to negotiate the process and succeed in mortgage modification with their lender.
This year we will be seeing an increase in foreclosed on inventory that the banks have been holding on to, possibly in hopes that the market would improve enough that they could recoup more of their investment in these properties. This flood of homes combined with the end of the home buyer’s tax credit and the Federal Reserve program ending is going to make for a major disruption to the recovery of the housing market; it may prove to be a stifling combination of unfortunate circumstances that may well delay the normalizing of the real estate market.
Puerto Vallarta is one of the most vibrant cities in Mexico. Therefore, it does not come as a surprise to know the Puerto Vallarta real estate market is also vibrant. The property market in Puerto Vallarta is always in news for new developments.
Such is the confidence of the investors in Puerto Vallarta’s long term future that the real estate market in Puerto Vallarta didn’t slow down considerably even when the recession scourged USA and much of the western world. The prices did dip and demand also slowed down but what was quite evident was this was a knee jerk reaction of short term investors. The long terms investors who acknowledge Puerto Vallarta preeminence as a tourist magnet stayed invested in the real estate market and just waited to storm to pass over. Real estate investors know the crises are cyclical in nature. Puerto Vallarta is blessed with so much beauty and tourist infrastructure that it will continue to perform strongly in tourism sector.
Tourism sector is the precursor to all other development and economic activities in Puerto Vallarta. A strong tourism sector promotes infrastructure development, ramping of city amenities, gives renewed life to economy of a city and increases the demand for real estate. Land, hotels and homes are needed not only for tourists and expatriates but also for the work force that migrate to Puerto Vallarta for jobs. This has resulted in the rise of middle class in Puerto Vallarta with disposable income and aspirations to live a good life.
Real estate developers have been introducing new projects to this ever increasing demand for luxury Puerto Vallarta condos. One such development is Signature by Pinnacle. On 4th august, 2011, there was a ground breaking ceremony at ‘Signature by Pinnacle’. The excavations are in full force now and soon, the work on foundations will commence.
‘Signature by Pinnacle’ is a 40 unit development located block from Pinnacle Residences in the heart of Puerto Vallarta’s Old Town. It is just a short walking distance- just hop the Pinnicular down to Las Olas. All amenities and facilities are within your reach and a walking distance sway. This is also the heart of Puerto Vallarta. If you have heard about the charming character of Puerto Vallarta, this is where you will experience it.
The views of the area are also spectacular. One can see the Banderas Bay and downtown Puerto Vallarta. No wonder, Signature by Pinnacle has the one of the most convenient and coveted locations in all of Puerto Vallarta.
The project consists of 15 one bedroom, 20 two bedroom and 5 three bedroom Penthouses.
Each condo has marble flooring throughout, granite countertops, high-end stainless steel appliances, private laundry, built in BBQ and bar, and large terraces with bay and town views.
If you are looking for a Puerto Vallarta condo with great location, view, close access to beach and near all the amenities, then Pinnacle will surely grab your attention.
Welcome to the Department of Marketing and Real Estate at the University of West Georgia.
Our Marketing degree prepares students for a wide range of careers in Marketing, including Brand/Product Management; Sales Promotion; Sales Management; Personal Selling; Advertising; Public Relations; Retailing; Direct Marketing; International Marketing; and Marketing Research .
Our Real Estate degree prepares students for careers in all aspects of Commercial and Residential Real Estate, including Sales and Marketing; Appraising; Brokerage; Mortgage Banking; and Investment Analysis.
We also offer a Certificate in Sales and a Certificate in Advertising program which can be completed by business or non-business majors along with classes for their degree programs. These certificates can significantly enhance the chances of securing a job and succeeding in any sales or advertising related field.
A Marketing Minor or a Real Estate Minor (15 credit hours) is recommended for non-business majors interested in these fields of study. Adouble major is recommended for business majors interested in more than one area within business.
Working with the College of Education, two Master of Education Degrees are offered in Business Education. These degrees prepare students for careers in teaching, instructional service and leadership positions in secondary education, and for business positions requiring business/teaching backgrounds
Qualified juniors and seniors have a chance to work on internships with local businesses, enroll in our study abroad programs in Londonand China, and to join the local student chapter of the American Marketing Association (The Marketing Club). Our department is strongly committed to the university’s philosophy of educational excellence in a personal environment, and our highly qualified faculty makes every effort to ensure the success of our students.
Like any other profession, there are good and bad things about what are available. Each of the things that happen in the profession is just part of the business. If you want to know what you are getting into, you will want to make sure that you know all sides of the coin of the profession. This will help you to be prepared for looking into property or buying into the occupation of real estate.
The good part of real estate is that you will be helping others to find a home. Anyone involved in real estate will say that the largest perk of being in the profession is that you are able to help people with their living situation. Another good benefit of being a real estate agent is that the finances are usually stable and do not come in small doses. For those that love their jobs in real estate, they will most likely base it on these two factors.
Despite the benefits of being a real estate agent, there are also some tough parts of being involved. One of the major frustrations is that the properties that are available will be dependent on the type of market, the neighborhood and the sales of that area. At times, there may be an overflow of properties available, while at others, everyone will be holding onto their property. For those involved in finding or buying real estate, this can cause for a challenge in finding what you want and when you want it.
Of course, for anyone becoming involved in real estate, other frustrations may come from the terms and the details that are used in the process as well as the process itself. It is not uncommon to find a home, have it inspected and then not have the ability to buy the home because of the condition of the home. There also may also be financial problems with real estate during the process of finding a home for an individual. All of these factor in to spending a lot of time looking at homes without the benefit of buying.
Whether you are buying or selling, it will be important to know what to expect from real estate. By factoring in the different parts of property, you will have the ability to decide what is best for you and can stay ready for the potential problems that may occur while you are going through the process. Knowing what to expect will help you to get past half of the battle of the real estate market.
Celebrity New York fashion designer Vera Wang has splashed out US$9.2 million on a Steve Hermann designed property in Coldwater Canyon, Beverley Hills, Los Angeles.
Hermann bought the 408 square meter house in June 2008 for US$5 million. He spent the next two years completely redesigning and renovating the 1967 built property at a cost of US$3 million.
Two new bedrooms were added. The ceilings were raised to a height of 3.6 metres. The original swimming pool was removed and replaced with a sunken, infinity-edge pool and Jacuzzi. And a tiered, thirty seat movie theatre was built.
“It was a mid-century modern [property] with good bones, but it hadn’t been touched in decades,” Hermann commented.
The house has been dubbed “The Glass Mansion” because it features floor to ceiling glass walls to creating a feeling of open space.
In fact, from the rear entrance it is possible to see right through the property and take in the view of the Los Angeles basin below.
Hermann, who renovates homes for A-list celebrities, put the property back on the market in March 2011, with an asking price of US$10.9 million.
Vera Wang is one of America’s best known fashion designers. She is of Chinese descent but was born and raised in New York City. Her parents are from Shanghai, China and migrated to the USA in the 1940s.
Originally trained as a figure skater, Wang competed in the 1968 U.S. Figure Skating Championships but failed to make the U.S. Olympic Team.
Wang started her fashion career in 1972 as designer for Vogue where she spent the next sixteen years. She then worked with Ralph Lauren for two years, before opening her own design studio at the Carlyle Hotel, New York in 1990.
The designer has since made wedding gowns for Chelsea Clinton, Ivanka Trump, Alicia Keys, Mariah Carey and Victoria Beckham.
Wang’s dresses have also been featured in US television shows ‘Sex in the City’ and ‘The West Wing’.
In 2010 Wang was presented with the Leadership in the Arts Award by Harvard-Radcliffe Asian American Association, for her contribution to costume and fashion design.
She has now expanded her brand to include handbags, perfume, jewellery, eyewear, shoes and house-wares.
It’s something you may hear casually thrown about at the office, or maybe something you even say it to yourself after you barely avoid an accident on your way to work—I need a will. And while everyone needs a will, small business owners have very special needs that they themselves may not even realize.
Your business, and the value you have built into it, is the greatest asset you can preserve for your heirs. Surprisingly, many business owners do not have a clear plan of action for how to protect that asset if they should suddenly be “out of the picture.”
First of all, every business owner should incorporate their business into some form of filing entity (corporation, limited liability company, limited partnership, etc.).
Second, every business owner should have a written agreement which controls the governance of their company. This is especially true if there is more than one equity owner, but still prudent even if owned by a single individual.
Finally, every business owner should have a will which acknowledges and cooperates with the written agreement that controls the business. Nothing is more frustrating than having to litigate two documents which conflict with each other after the person who signed them is long gone.
When creating these documents you should contemplate the following questions:
- Who will run the business after I am deceased?
- Who will own the business after I am deceased?
- How will the above transfers take place?
- Will my business have enough capital to survive the transfer?
- Should I integrate life insurance into my business planning?
- How will this affect my business partners (if any)?
- How will this affect my creditors (loans, lines of credit, etc.)?
Having a defined and well thought out plan, will make a difficult time easier for those you leave behind. Additionally, the plan will also give you a plan should you suddenly be disabled or otherwise unable to maintain your previous duties, and can also serve as a jumping off point for a retirement plan. And as all good business plans, they should be made with the advice of financial and legal professionals with very careful consideration given to continued smooth operations. At the Vethan Law Firm, P.C., we work with business owners and financial planning professionals to help them protect and preserve what they’ve built. We assist business owners with choosing the best corporate form for their business, drafting the written agreements that outline and describe management of the business, and work with or recommend financial planning professionals to help ensure the final plan is effective and accomplishes the business owner’s goals.
Last night I presented a seminar in Edmonton to a group of customers invited by our Ottewell and Wagner Road branches. All of the customers are owners of their own businesses. What a fun time we had! There were plenty of questions and lots of laughs too. Nobody thinks that estate planning seminars can be fun, but this group proved otherwise.
Thanks go to Morgan Ree of Roynat for giving us some great examples of creative financing for business owners. And I’d particularly like to thank the folks who had read my book called Succession Planning Kit for Canadian Business and told the group how much they liked it. Feels great to get positive feedback from readers.
In the commercial and residential real estate investment market condo conversions have become a controversial topic. Many experts say there are still profits to be made with condo conversions, while others assert that condo conversions are high risk and potentially lead to big losses. According to a January 16th, 2007 article in the New York Times, “Buyers Scarce, Many Condos Are for Rent”, written by Vikas Bajaj, “Since the middle of 2006, the frenzied condominium market here and in several other big cities like Las Vegas, Miami and Boston has collapsed.” “Once roaring sales have slowed to a trickle, sparse inventory has mushroomed into a glut and soaring prices have flattened out and started falling,” Bajaj continues, “In many cities, banks have significantly scaled back loans to condominium builders. Some have demanded that developers sell half or more of the units in a building before even beginning construction.”
Many condo conversion projects have reverted back to apartments due to slow sales. Often referred to as “repartments”, these projects leave large holes in the pockets of investors who didn’t do their homework before construction began. Although condo conversions are high risk, if an investor thinks carefully, completes research on the local region and investigates the potential buyers most prominent in the market profits can still be made.
Real Estate and Affordable Housing: The American Class War
The United States of America was built on the sweat, commitment and integrity of the working class. So why is it so hard for fire fighters, police officers, nurses, teachers and average Americans in general to buy real estate for an affordable price? As the United States economy shifts and changes, the middle class continues to shrink. Increasing health care, real estate, education and utility costs often exceed a typical middle class income. Working class people employed in the city can’t afford to live or purchase real estate in the city, yet as gas prices rise commuting becomes more difficult. Many of the companies who have recently invested and lost on condo conversion projects were overly focused on the luxury market. Condo conversions can be built with more affordable prices in mind if the property is chosen correctly and the plan is designed with working class buyers in mind.
Economic Growth Means More Opportunity for Everyone
It doesn’t make good economic sense that people who risk their lives to protect the public, teach our children and nurse us back to health should have trouble finding homes they can afford. Condo conversions can create affordable housing available to working class families, especially in areas where single family home prices are too high for middle class residents. Investors interested in selling condos to the working and middle class have a great chance of being successful if they buy the right property, in the right location, where affordable housing is a necessity. Savvy commercial and residential real estate investors have the power to make condo conversions part of the affordable housing solution rather than a problem. All it takes is the creativity, knowledge, planning and the courage to think outside the box.
Tips for Condo Conversion Success
One of the keys to making a successful and profitable condo conversion investment is research! Don’t invest in a property you plan to use as a condo conversion without following these tips:
Tip 1. Learn everything you can about the area where your property is located. Find out the local standard of living and what resources are in close proximity such as hospitals, schools, shopping centers, etc.
Tip 2. Explore the various target markets you will have for your units. Who are your potential buyers? What is their lifestyle? What kind of properties and perks are they searching for? When marketing a condo conversion property think carefully about your niche markets. First time homebuyers, single mothers or women and retiring baby boomers often search for condo solutions because they are safe, easy to maintain and cost less.
Tip 3. Consult a professional. Make sure you fully understand the local zoning, permit and construction laws. Do your homework and don’t make any decisions until you have all the information to consider.
Think Outside the Box with Condo Conversion: Commercial Investment Options
If you invest your money in a project that is smart and has appeal to the community your condo conversion project has a better chance of success. In addition to these tips consider rehabbing the property and creating both residential and commercial floors. A condo conversion investment can be more profitable if residential space is sold on upper stories while first floor property is sold as retail or office space. Also consider offering lease to own options to buyers. If you think creatively about your condo conversion investment you will discover all the possibilities. If you are looking to buy a conversion property educate yourself as much as possible before you purchase. The real estate you buy with condo conversion in mind must be well suited for this kind of project.
If you live in an apartment in Ottawa, in particular in the Westboro or Nepean, you will be happy to know that these districts are full of activity shopping street of many possibilities. In addition, many small independent shops (including several outdoor sports shops),
Major shopping centers
There are many large shopping centers in the area, including Bayshore Shopping Center. The mall with three levels of more than 150 shops and services, is located on Highway 417 can also visit the Carling Wood Shopping Center, over 125 shops and services is plenty of free parking.
Other sites include Lincoln Fields Ottawa West Shopping Center (includes a Wal-Mart and a Loeb), Pine Crest Shopping Center (with the famous treasure of IKEA to the Queensway), University Square (a popular destination for Algonquin College students and people with rental holiday near Baseline and Woodroffe) and Westgate Shopping Center (with a priceless 24 hours Shoppers Drug Mart).
Museums and Art Centers
For those who live in an apartment in Nepean compare and study more about the history of their community where Nepean Museum (16 Rowley Avenue), a number of antiques (including some over 100 years) is the weekend afternoons ideal.
For fans of outdoor sports, the head of the Canadian Ski Museum (200-1960 Scott Street). Founded in 1971, is the best album of the memoirs of the public to ski in Canada, housing more than 6000 photos and ski equipment from more than 150 years.
Theatre lovers will want to ride Center Pointe Theatre (101 Center Pointe Drive). The 1000-seat theater is home to several excellent local groups, including Orpheus Musical Theatre Society, society and Savoy Petits Ballets.
A vital Properties West Ottawa apartment is ideal for students of Algonquin College, as our Maples Apartments are only a few minutes walk from the school and our Green Bank, Wellington Park and Carling homes, you quickly to the campus by bus . And for those with young families, West Ottawa also has about 20 primary schools, 9 Catholic elementary schools, five secondary schools and two Catholic high schools.
If physical activity is for you, and you’re looking for apartments in Ottawa, especially in Nepean, you can not go wrong with a day of Nepean Sports Plex (1701 Woodroffe Avenue). This is a huge deal includes a lot of you want to play baseball, hockey, soccer, basketball, curling, soccer, squash, bowling and much more! Sports Plex also offers a range of excellent programs for children and the elderly.
Along the Ottawa River is the gorgeous beach Westboro, which is the city of Ottawa and became a public bathing place since the early 1920s.
Britannia Park is a paradise picnicker, many tables dotted on the grass and the trees provide a range of dark warm sunny days. There are two play structures and swings for children to have fun, and it is a good place to swim or surf, is a service rescue swimmer from mid June to September. Also in the park is Ron Kolbus Lakeside Center, the banquet hall and community center can be up to 300 people for special occasions.
The Ottawa River Parkway is a partial access parking services Carling Avenue Portage Bridge near downtown Ottawa. Full of lookout points, maintains the National Capital Parkway Commission (NCC), and is balanced over 20 km of cycle paths, so you can drive all the way to the center of Kanata. Sunday during the summer months, the Parkway is closed to vehicular traffic for the Alcatel Sunday Bikedays – Preferred day of the week for pedestrians and cyclists.
When many people think of Mexico beachfront for sale, they imagine it’s the same everywhere you buy. Not so. Let’s take, for example, two of Mexico’s biggest real estate markets for expats – Puerto Vallarta real estate and Cancun real estate; a comparison of the two will show the contrast in style and the variety of opportunities.
Of course, Puerto Vallarta and Cancun share some important common factors, including:
– Beautiful beaches
– Full modern services and easy and affordable air access
Yet the two areas are very distinct in their visual style and lifestyle atmosphere. Consider some of the following contrasts.
Sunsets vs. Sunrises – Condos in both locations offer splendid views. However, since Puerto Vallarta is on the Pacific, facing westward, the views included the magnificent sunsets over the Pacific. These views are incredible. While Cancun doesn’t offer sunsets it does offer beautiful views of the sunrise for those who enjoy rising early and drinking a coffee with the chill of the night can still be felt. Cancun’s views also include the unique turquoise of the Caribbean Sea, which is fairly unique to the area.
Hillsides vs. Lagoons – Closely related to the views is the style of the surrounding nature. In Puerto Vallarta the surrounding hillsides actually form part of the views, and offer beautiful places for real estate owners to make little excursions into the countryside. Around Cancun, on the other hand, one of the most enjoyable features of the natural setting is the naturally occurring lagoons, one of which is located directly “behind” the beachfront hotel and real estate area. There are also naturally occurring fresh pools called “cenotes” which are wonderful for sight-seeing as well as swimming.
Old town vs. New town – Both areas have developed into thriving, modern tourism and real estate regions. Yet Puerto Vallarta grew up around an old town which still forms the center of the city, and still has little white homes and cobble stone roads. Cancun, on the other hand, was created from scratch just over 40 years ago, and is defined by wide, easy-to-use access roads and completely modern buildings – much like a newer American suburb.
Tequila vs. Mayans – Both areas offer residents a good deal of history. Not too far from Puerto Vallarta is the region where the famous liquor was born. Near Cancun there are many fine examples of Mayan ruins, including Chichen Itza, one of the “New Wonders of the Ancient World.”
For those who have been to both areas, the hard part is choosing between them!
Once you’ve decided to buy Tulum real estate, if your final goal is to enjoy a home in Tulum, you have two basic choices; one is to buy Tulum land for sale and have your home built, and the other is to buy a complete Tulum home for sale. The following are a few advantages of each to help you choose.
Having a Home Built on Your Tulum Land – Advantages
– Lower initial investment: Buying land, you can wait until you have the rest saved up to invest in the construction of the home. Some of the finishing details can also be completed as you have the funds available. For many, this is one attraction of buying land in Tulum.
– High-potential market: Just as importantly, as a real estate market that is just beginning its boom, land in Tulum has a high potential to increase in value significantly compared to total investment, especially if you have a home built on it. This fact is currently attracting many investors to Tulum.
– Large market to choose from: Since Tulum is just a small town, but interest is growing, there are a large number of land developments putting lots up for sale as well as raw land sales appearing on the market. Buyers can choose between different locations, prices, zoning areas, development types, etc. and have a good deal of options within each style.
– Custom design: Again, from the perspective of simple home ownership, buying a lot means you can have a home built the way you want it, in the style most appealing to you and the size you need.
Buying a Complete Home for sale – Advantage
– Immediate use: Those who wish to use their property immediately will find greater value in a home ready to use. There are a number of fine homes available on the market, and some are even sold furnished. This means no waiting and a lot less planning.
– Investment potential: While land holds the highest investment potential, all property in Tulum promises to be a good investment over the next few years. Certain properties may also hold rental income potential.
– Mortgages available: On a completed home in Tulum, American and Canadian buyers will be able to gain mortgage financing. This helps to make a vacation or retirement property more accessible more quickly in financial terms.
Which is better for you will depend largely on your needs. Carefully consider the timeline of when you need your property and how much you can invest how soon. On the most basic level, simply consider which type you feel most comfortable with.
When you consider your options in Playa del Carmen real estate, an option very worth considering is a home in a gated community; there are two general approaches you can take; buy a completed Playa del Carmen home for sale, or buy Playa del Carmen land for sale and have a home built. Each approach has its advantages.
First of all, let’s briefly review what both share in common in gated communities:
– Security – Regardless of the property type, a gated community offers added security. While Playa del Carmen is already a very safe community, this added security can offer complete peace of mind for Americans and Canadians living here.
– Quiet lifestyle – A gated community also prevents unnecessary traffic from passing through the community. On the whole, gated communities tend to be quiet and relaxing. At the same time, the often offer basic services and close driving access to shopping areas.
– Green, natural setting – Besides living close to the beach, residents can enjoy living in a community with lots of trees lining the roads, bike trails and plenty of green areas. Combined with reduced traffic, this makes the air very fresh and offers a pleasant atmosphere!
The advantages of buying a complete home in a Playa del Carmen gated community include:
– Immediate use – A completed home allows buyers to enjoy it immediately upon physical delivery. Many homes are also sold furnished making this even more immediate.
– Mortgage and financing options – Completed homes qualify for mortgages directly from a Mexican bank; this offers buyers certain advantages. If they are being sold by the developer, there are some who will offer direct financing options as well.
The main advantages of buying a lot and having a home built include:
– Custom design and style – When someone buys a lot, they can have the home built exactly the way they want it; they can plan everything from scratch, from the shape and size of the bedrooms to the location of the flower gardens.
– Lower initial investment – The cost of buying a lot is a small chunk; the construction and completion of landscaping, etc., can be invested in stages as well.
– Save money overall – On the whole, buying a lot and having a home built usually saves money in the total amount. Buyers must consider the factors of time investment as well, but in purely financial investment, having a home built can often be a cheaper way to go.
The choice between these two will depend a good deal on each buyer’s needs, and, of course, their patience to start their life near the beachfront!
Green building is the exercise of enhancing the effectiveness along with which any of the buildings and their sites utilizes energy, water and materials, and decreasing building effects on the health of human body and the environment during the complete life cycle of the building. Green building concepts are not just confide till the building walls but have extended its arms to site planning, community and land use planning issues as well.
Human growth and development has a significant effect on the natural environment around. The factors that are responsible for the consumption of natural resources include manufacturing, design, construction and operation of the buildings in which we live and work.
There are some rating systems founded on prevailing national and international “building codes” like regular codes such as the Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC) and the National Building Code. One of the rating systems is the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). This rating system was created by the United States Green Building Code (USGBC) and now conformed by the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC).
In India, the organization called TERI has built its own independent rating system called the Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA). This rating system has been supported by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Government of India.
All these rating systems assist in evaluating the green proportion of buildings with nationally/ internationally admissible standards. Normally there are ratings scales to decide whether the constructed building should be given a 5 star rating for saving the environment, or lesser such ratings.
The ECBC, as developed by the BEE under the Ministry of Power, facilitates in converting an air-conditioned building energy efficient. Although, it doesn’t help out in categorizing a building as green as there are lot many factors involved other than power conservation which should be taken into account. Factors like water and waste management, renewable energy applications, low embodied energy materials usage also need to taken into consideration prior to name any building “green”.
– Enhance and protect biodiversity and ecosystems
– Enhance air and water quality
– Decreases waste streams
– Conserve and restore natural resources
– Reduce operating costs
– Improve occupant productivity
– Enhance asset value and profits
– Optimize life-cycle economic performance
– Enhance occupant health and comfort
– Improve indoor air quality
– Minimize strain on local utility infrastructure
– Improve overall quality of life
Restaurants are a favorite commercial property for many investors because
1. Tenants often sign very long term, e.g. 20 years absolute NNN leases. This means there are no landlord responsibilities so you have time to do what is important to you. The only time you have to raise a finger is when you start your car engine to take the rent check to the bank for deposit! Some tenants even wire the rent to your savings account on the due date.
2. People have to eat whether it rains or shines. Americans are eating out more often as they are too busy to cook and cleanup the pots and pans afterwards which often is the worst part! According National Restaurant Association, the nation’s restaurant industry currently with 937,000 restaurants is expected to hit $537 billion in sales in 2007, compared to just $322 billion in 1997 and $200 billion in 1987 (in current dollars). In 2006 for every dollar Americans spend on foods, 48 cents are spent in restaurants. As long as there is civilization on earth, there will be restaurants! So you feel comfy that the property is always in high demand.
3. You know your tenant will take very good care of your property because it’s in their best interest to do so. Few people want to go to a restaurant that has a filthy toilet or lots of trash flying in the parking lot.
However, restaurants are not created equal from an investment viewpoint.
Franchised versus Independent Restaurants
You often hear that 9 out of 10 new restaurants will fail in the first year. However, this is just an urban myth as there are no studies with such conclusion. There is only a study by Associate Professor of Hospitality, Dr. H.G. Parsa of Ohio State University tracking new restaurants from 1996-1999 just in Columbus, Ohio (you should not draw the conclusion that the results are the same everywhere else in the US.) Dr. Parsa observed that seafood restaurants were the safest ventures and that Mexican restaurants experience the highest rate of failure. His study also found 26% of new restaurants closed in the first year. Another 19% closed on the second year and 14% closed on the third year. So 59% of the new restaurants closed within 3 years. The closing rate is slightly different between franchised and independent restaurants – 59% versus 61%. Besides economic failure, the reasons for closing include divorce, poor health, and unwillingness to commit immense time to operate the business. Based on this study, it may be safe to predict that the longer the restaurant has been in the business the more likely it will be around next year to pay you the rent.
For franchised restaurants, the franchisee has to pay a one-time franchisee fee about $30-50K and on-going royalty between 4-12.5% of sales revenue. In turn, the franchisee receives training on how to set up, and operate a proven and successful business without worrying about the marketing part. As a result, a franchised restaurant gets customers as soon as the open sign is up. The king of franchised restaurants is the fast-food chain McDonalds with 30,823 locations (about 14,000 in the US) as of 2006 with an average $2M in revenue per US location. McDonalds currently captures 46% market share of the $58.88 billion US fast-food market. Distant behind is Burger King with 14.3% of the market share. Fast-food chains tend to detect new trend faster. For example, they are open as early as 5AM as Americans increasingly buy their breakfast earlier. They are also selling more cafe latte. All these things should increase the revenue and in turn make your investment safer.
Independent restaurants will take a while to for customers to come in and try. Their business is especially tough in the first 12 months of inception, especially to those whose owners have not had a proven track record. So in general, mom and pop restaurants are a riskier investment for you because revenue is weak initially. If you choose to invest in a non-brand name restaurant, make sure the return is proportional to the risks you take.
Sometimes it is not easy for you to tell if a restaurant is a brand name or non-brand name. Some restaurant chains only operate or are popular in a certain region. For example, Johnny Carino’s restaurant is a very popular Italian restaurant chain in Texas and Georgia but there is only one in California as of 2007. Brand name chains tend to have a website listing all the locations plus other information. So if you can find a restaurant website from Google or Yahoo you can quickly tell if an unfamiliar name is brand name or not. The website <target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow” href=”http://www.entrepreneur.com”>www.entrepreneur.com also has useful information for investors about various restaurant franchises.
Lease and Rent Guarantee
The tenants often sign a long term absolute NNN lease. On top of that, they may also guarantee the rent with their own or corporate assets. So in case they close down the business, they continue paying rent for the life of the lease. However, not all guarantees are the same. The guarantee by McDonalds Corporation with a strong S&P corporate rating is much better than a small corporation owned by a franchisee with 4 restaurants. Sometimes a multi-location franchise will form a parent company to own all the restaurants. Each restaurant in turn is owned by a single-entity LLC (Limited Liabilities Company) to shield it from further liabilities. So the rent guarantee by the single-entity LLC does not mean much as it does not have much asset.
In general the interest rate is higher than average for restaurants due to the fact they are a single-tenant properties. To the lenders the risk for lending to purchase a restaurant is higher because when the restaurant is closed down, you could potentially lose 100% of income. They also prefer brand name restaurants. In addition, some lenders will not loan to out-of-state investors especially if the restaurants are located in smaller cities. So it may be prudent to invest in restaurants in a major metro area, e.g. Atlanta.
You may want to consider these factors before deciding to go forward with the purchase:
1. The restaurant business is very labor intensive in which on the average each employee generates only about $55K of revenue a year. The foods cost should be 25-30% of revenue, labor around 30-40%, operating expenses 10-20%. As a rule of thumb if the revenue is less than 10 times the annual rent than it’s likely the business is not profitable. So do review the profits and loss (P&L) statements if available with your accountant. In the profits and loss statement, you may see the acronym EBITDAR. It stands for Earnings Before Income Taxes, Depreciation (of equipment), Amortization (of capital improvement), and Rent. If you don’t see royalty fees in P&L of a franchised restaurant or advertising expenses in the P&L of an independent restaurant, you may want to understand the reason.
2. Parking spaces: restaurants tend to have higher number of parking spaces because diners tend to stop by within 2 small time windows. You will need at least 8 parking spaces per 1000 Square Foot (SF). Fast food restaurants may need about 15-20 spaces per 1000 SF.
3. Some of the long term leases give the tenant an option to terminate the lease should there be a fire. Of course, this is not desirable to you. So make sure you read the lease.
4. Price per SF: you should pay about $200-500/SF. In California you have to pay a premium, e.g. $1000/SF for Starbucks restaurants which are normally sold at very high price per SF. If you pay more than $500/SF for the restaurant, make sure you can justify for doing so.
5. Rent per SF: ideally you want to invest in a property in which the rent per SF is low, e.g. $1-2/SF per month. This gives you room to raise the rent in the future. Besides the low rent ensures the tenant’s business is profitable so he will be around to keep paying rent. Starbucks tend to pay a premium rent $2-3/SF a month since it is often located at a premium location with lots of traffic and high visibility. If you plan to invest in a restaurant in which the tenant pays more than $3/SF a month, make sure you could justify your decision because it’s hard to make a profit in the restaurant business when the tenant pays that kind of rent.
6. Location: a lousy restaurant may do well at a good location. However, a restaurant with a good menu may fail at a bad location. Please refer to the article title “What Location Means in Commercial Real Estate” by the same author.
7. Risks versus Investment Returns: as an investor, you like properties that offer very high return, e.g. 8-9% cap rate. And so you may be attracted to a brand new franchised restaurant offered for sale by a developer. In this case, the developer builds the restaurants completely with Furniture, Fixtures and Equipment (FFEs) for the franchisee based on the specifications of the franchise. The franchisee signs a 20 years absolute NNN lease paying very generous rent per SF, e.g. $4-5/SF per month. The new franchisee is willing to do so because he does not need to come up with any cash to open a business. Investors are excited about the high return. However, it may be a very risky investment. The person who is guaranteed to make money is the developer. The franchisee may not be willing to hold on during tough times as he does not have any equity in the property. Should the franchisee fail, you may not be able to find a tenant willing to pay that kind of high rent and end up with a vacant restaurant.
8. Track records of the operator: the restaurant running by an operator with 1 or 2 recently-open restaurants will probably a riskier investment. On the other hand, an operator with 20 years in the business and 30 locations may be more likely to be around next year to pay you the rent.
Sale and Lease Back
Sometimes the restaurant operator may sell the real estate part and then lease back for a long time, e.g. 20 years. This is a quick and easy way for the restaurant operator to get cash out for various reasons: business expansion, other investments, or simply cashing out the capital gain. You will often see 2 different cash out strategies by looking at the rent paid by the restaurant operator:
1. Conservative market rent: the operator wants to make sure he pays low rent so his restaurant business has a good chance to be profitable. He also offers conservative cap rate to investors, e.g. 7% cap. As a result, his cash out amount is small to moderate. This may be a low risk investment for you because your tenant is more likely to be able to pay the rent.
2. Significantly higher than market rent: the operator wants to maximize his cash out. Investors are sometimes offered high cap rate, e.g. 8%. As a result, the restaurant business at this location may suffer a loss due to higher expenses, i.e. rent. However, the operator gets as much money as possible for his investment, e.g. business expansion. This property may be riskier for you. If the tenant’s business does not make it, you will have to offer lower rent to the next tenant to lease it.
Atlantic Beach is a city located in Duval County, Florida. It has 12 parks within its city limits, one of which is the Jordan Park and Community Center. The park covers 1.5 acres of land and contains a children’s playground, basketball court and a picnic area. The community center is 2,000 square feet and is available for rent. Guests of the city are welcomed at all events held at Jordan Park, and so are future Atlantic Beach real estate owners.
Atlantic Beach is the northernmost of Jacksonville’s three beach communities; the other two are Neptune Beach and Jacksonville Beach. In 1899, railroad tycoon Henry Flagler purchased the local railroad and extended it north to the seaport village of Mayport, at the mouth of the St. Johns River. Atlantic Beach was established as a depot and given its straightforward name for its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean.
People passing through were impressed by the coastline’s natural beauty, and before long, prestigious northern families, including the Vanderbilts, were heading south to Atlantic Beach to soak up the Florida sun and fresh ocean breezes. Heading north along residential Ocean Boulevard, it’s easy to see why people are continually drawn to this place. Bikers and lollygagging couples far outnumber cars on the narrow roads overhung by live oaks and lined with houses with mellow monikers like “Idyll Hour” and “Sandstill.”
Most streets end in a discreet public beach approach that passes between stately homes. On the boardwalks leading to the beach, surfers gather to scope the waves and neighbors chit chat. Shells decorating mailboxes and surfboards as lawn art add to the eclectic appeal of what is undeniably a well-to-do neighborhood.
One of the ambiances you’ll love is at Beach Avenue. If you’re ever in Atlantic Beach, you must drive it, starting right in town, from the resort One Ocean, heading north on Beach Avenue and go all the way to 20th Street, where it ends. It’s two miles long. It wends its way about, and you’ll be treated to an eclectic view of homes of various price points; some still in their original humble beginnings and others, obvious tear-downs replaced by Majestic Mansions. Either way, it’s total immersion in Atlantic Beach oceanfront living.
Beach Avenue is a unique and prominent street, where the oceanfront homes are situated in Atlantic Beach. This house is on the opposite side of the ocean. It’s almost like a promenade, Beach Avenue, with cars moving only one way, and lots of bikers, skaters, joggers, trikes, baby strollers, power walkers, dog walkers – you name it – ambling up and down this street.
This Avenue has the most interesting houses lining both sides of the street. Many of the oceanfront homes are set away from the street; their garages with carriage houses at street’s edge and often used as rentals. Anyway, it’s a really interesting street and very unique. It’s fun to travel it (slowly; it’s the ONLY way to go) to gaze at what people are building, renovating, or selling here.
After the trmendous success of Jobs, Hotels and Metrimonial websites in India. How can Real Estate Market remain untouched. If you have a property to sell and are planning to upgrade or move to another location, now is the good time to do…
The markets in India, be it a metro or a smaller city, have been buzzing with real estate activity. Residential developments, malls, commercial centers, IT hubs, FDI, real estate mutual funds, among others are commonly heard terms in almost all the cities across India. It is whole new generation marketing, reforms and evolutions of sorts.
OnlineGhar.com, India’s largest real estate portal. It employs secure registration methods, which attracts only serious users and the technology employed gives prime importance to user privacy. In this website one can advertise a property and also search for a property on the basis of type, price, range and location. The search has been organised after assessing the specific requirements of the Commercial sector.
According to a report of Nielsen/ NetRatings, real estate-related Internet traffic reached 21.6 million users in April 2005, a 26 percent increase from November 2004. And this is the segment that OnlineGhar.com intends to tap. OnlineGhar.com aims to become India’s premier property portal that meets every aspect of the consumer’s needs in the real estate industry and will be a one – stop source for buying, selling or leasing any type of property anywhere in the country.
The CEO of the company Mr. Mahajan has developed this Real Estate Portal.
While talking with him he said, real portal should have a commercial segment that should cater to all possible commercial requirements of the real estate market in India. Properties of the leading property developers from various parts of India should be focused. Whether commercial or residential, www.OnlineGhar.com understands the customer’s requirements and serves with state of the art quality and assurance in every job.”
Coming 5 years will be resourceful for Real Estate Investors. Indian real estate market is booming. $8000 Million will be invested in India before common wealth games. Governments are making best strategies to motivate investors but Real Estate Portals like http://www.onlineghar.com will definitely play an important role.