Monday, September 26, 2011

Fresno Association of Realtors 09/23/11

Investor/ Exchanges Meeting
By Erica Mendoza

At the beginning of the Investor/Exchange meeting the first topic of discussion was about Real Estate Agents being more diligent about the protection of the homes they are listing. Some of the suggestions included being proactive by searching there listings on the web and making sure they weren’t listed as rental properties. A problem that they have seen come up is that some how the listings are being placed on websites such as craigslist that are making these homes targets for potential burglaries. Another problem in connection with this includes the lock boxes that are on properties listed on MLS. The problem with the lock boxes is that many agents that are showing homes in a certain area see the boxes and simply stop by and take a look at the property. The problem with this is that there is no call before the showing which doesn’t give property owners the security of who is entering there home. After some quick research from Paul one of the attendees we also discovered that Appraisers do not have to be agents to have an MLS lock box key, all they need to do is pay there dues and register with MLS. This adds another professional that agents need to be aware of since they can have access as well.

Other topics discussed were surrounding rental properties and what you should do as a landlord or suggestions as to how to handle a certain situation. One of which included the discussion of when tenants contacted the landlord about a leaky faucet. Many said they would just send the handy man to go out and fix the problem but, some said they would ask about other potential problems at that time. Mr. Hyatt suggested that they always get a written statement from tenants after each repair. This would protect the landlord from tenants saying later that the landlord never took care of problems presented on the property. Something that I was very surprised to find out was that many landlords didn’t take the extra step of taking a tenant to small claims for damages. When Mr. Hyatt asked how many had taken a tenant to small claims only two of the group of approximately sixteen attendees said they had. Both of which said it was not worth there time and effort. It was better for them to write if off as a business expense then to go through the hassle and file all the appropriate paperwork to not even end up getting the money. A question also asked was about homes that were bought on front steps of the court house. An investor wanted to find out from the group what they would do if they purchased a home from there and found out that the home was not vacant if they would simply go and change the locks. From the discussion it turns out that because of human rights you simply can’t change the locks on the home because you purchased it, in fact you have to go through the proper procedure as a tenant and give them proper 30 day notices.

One of the last topics of discussion was about the low rates that we currently are seeing offered such as a 3.75% fixed for 30 years. Mr. Hyatt spoke about how he’s been in the business for over 40 years and has never seen such low financing available. Along with Affordability rates of 80%. In Mr. Hyatt words, “This is perfect storm to start investing.” A strong point that they brought out various times and that they wanted me to share with the class is that, “Cash is gold, and he who has the gold makes the rules.” What they meant by this was that we have no influence on what the economy does, or what the government changes but we do have an influence on our survival in the future is we keep reserves for that rainy day. Investing in real estate is the toughest today then ever before. But, they do recommend that if we are given the opportunity or have the way of doing so we should invest in what we know and what we know is real estate.

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