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My Inman News Highlights, Reviews, Trends To Look For In Coming Months

Members,

As many of you know one of the benefits of subscribing to this blog is that you not only get access to high-level strategies, news and hot off market properties that we ourselves own on occasion, but we also try to dissect the trends and market stories we see and give you insight on how you can use them to help yourself in your real estate business.

I am an active real estate investor, owner of the largest real estate group on LinkedIn and of course founder of ListedBy.com, but I am not a writer so forgive me if my silly excitement often comes through in the form of ALL CAPS, and un needed exclamation points but if you can sift through all that “fun” there is hopefully some exciting nuggets here to take with you.

We were thankful to attend the big Inman News Real Estate Connect event in SFO this last week for the third year in a row.  Inman for those of you who don’t know is one of the biggest names in real estate tech and is targeted mainly towards technology that real estate agents can use to better their businesses.  As an entrepreneur and multi-time sponsor of the event for ListedBy as an exhibitor I am often more drawn to check out the exhibitor booths to see whats fresh and new to hit the market.  A lot of times there are pretty unreal items there and this year was no exception.

Here are a few of the high-lights for up and coming companies I had a chance to chat with (Full disclosure none of these companies are aware we are posting this so this is strictly my third party review and understanding of what they do and in no way comes directly from them)

HOUSERENTALS.COM

Massive platform up and coming as a resource for landlords and property managers to use for their rental inventory.  I was blown away when one of the founding members told me they are getting more than 200,000 hits per month in traffic!  As a long time investor a resource like this to get more exposure for my rentals properties is very exciting and honestly other than craigslist there really is no reliable option that I am aware for this type of targeted exposure.

NUOFFER.COM

Again full-disclosure on this one, I have known the founder for a couple of years after first meeting him at an Inman event in 2012 and I have to say I have been patiently waiting for this technology to really come live ever since!  What Nuoffer does with digital signature functionality is a life saver in my opinion not only for real estate agents but also real estate investors.  We have often wanted to integrate similar functionality in to the back-end of ListedBy.com to allow users to not only submit offers on properties through the site, but actually take the entire process digital all the way up to the close of escrow!  The time saved for all parties is exceptional and it sounds like Imran and the NuOffer team have already expanded rapidly in Texas so looking forward to seeing them hopefully really catch on.

REESIO.COM 

Reesio is a company that I have been aware also for a while now and know the founder Mark Thomas fairly well.  Their platform is REALLY starting to gain major traction as a transaction management resource for real estate agents and specifically helpful for large real estate brokerages.  I discussed with Mark at the event how it seems that the same core “project/task management” style functionality could just as easily work well for real estate investors also.  When buying and selling having all your documents in one spot and being able to set and manage targets for all the parties involved is ridiculously efficient.  Mark is a true entrepreneurs’ entrepreneur and I am always excited to see what him and his team will do next.

Honestly there were probably an extra 5-6 new items that REALLY caught my eye and got me excited but we had to limit to to 3 for this segment or else my team that actually proof reads this would stab me in the face.

At ListedBy.com we are proud to be a small part of the growing push to take real estate in to the digital era the way so many other industries have gone.  My fundamental dream for ListedBy was and is to streamline the home buying process taking it online and eliminating paperwork, hassle and ultimately bringing PEOPLE together in a direct and effective format.   I would say these three companies and really all of the exhibitors I met with this year at Inman share a vision in their own way that speeds up the process for all parties and takes the research and the actual action of buying a home online in new creative ways we have yet to see.  in 2012 70%PLUS of all home purchases started with an online search.  That statistic tells you everything you need to know.  The researching aspect and informational content has never been easier to receive and never had as much knowledge and desire to go and get it.  Now sites like these and like ListedBy can work together to help the transactional side catch up and ultimately benefit the consumer in a way the world has never seen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Ways For Your Rental Properties To Improve!

The 5 Tops Ways to Make More Money With Your Rental Properties

Rather than just acquiring as many properties as possible, let’s take a step back and think about whether or not the best way to make more money right now is to focus on your current portfolio.

1. Vacancy

To maximize the profit of your rental properties you must first minimize vacancy.

The best way to do this is to find a long-term tenant so that you don’t have to deal with turnover. This is covered separately by my next point because it is not the only way to keep your property occupied.

In the event that your tenant must move, vacancy can also be minimized by keeping turnaround time to a minimum. A friend of mine owns a condo in the D.C. area that is rented to 3 individual roommates.

Although multiple tenants have moved on, he has kept occupancy at essentially 100% by posting ads the minute he learns of the move. Demand in the area is so high that he will have immediate interest and line up a new tenant to move in on the coat tails of the old one.

You might be thinking “how does that apply to my property in an area with lower demand”. The thing is, nearly every property in every neighborhood has solid demand at a price.

What do you think would happen if you lowered the rent of this property by 25%?

People would be falling over each other to live there, even if it meant breaking their current lease, wouldn’t they?

If not, then you have invested in a seriously economically depressed neighborhood!

I am not suggesting that you offer your properties for ridiculously low rents, but am exaggerating to make the point that if your vacancies are high you may be doing it to yourself and need to think about your price point.

Every month of vacancy costs you 8.3% of your potential yearly revenue, so you would be better off renting every property one month faster for 5% less rent, two months faster for 10% less rent, and so on.

Another way to think about vacancy is this. If a property does not have some characteristic that sets it apart from the rest and sells itself such as a prime location or a to-die-for kitchen, you can give it one by providing the best value in town.

I once had a vacancy problem that cost me almost six months in rent. By my calculations above, I would have made out much better if I had lowered rents by 30% and found a good tenant immediately! Of course, I was not expecting such a problem in the beginning.

The property is a large 4 bedroom 2.5 bath home in a very family friendly community. It became vacant right around Thanksgiving, which I learned is the worst possible time to be selling or renting a home to families since very few want to move during the holidays and in the middle of the school year.

The first mistake that I made was to slow play the work that needed to be done to make the home truly desirable as a rental. It needed new interior paint and carpeting, and rather than taking care of it immediately, I prioritized a big vacation to New Zealand that I was about to embark on.

Two months later there had been very little interest and I realized I needed to lower the rent a bit and get the home in prime condition right away. The work took a few weeks and I waited some more. Still no one was biting. I could not figure out why there was no interest.

Finally, I lowered the rent to about 8% below market value. I had lost almost 50% of the property’s annual revenue before I found a renter! What I learned from this is that it hurts much more to keep a property vacant than it does to drop rents, pay a contractor to put it in prime condition immediately, and provide value to a new tenant.

In retrospect, I would have been better off lowering rent by 10% or more at the first sign of trouble. For this type of property in this area, I also learned to make sure that leases come due in the summer months when there is a much larger pool of renters.

2. Minimize Turnover

Turnover costs money in multiple ways.

There are advertising costs, the cost of patching and painting walls and replacing flooring that your previous tenant would have lived with, and, of course, vacancy. It’s a little counterintuitive, but this is another area where relatively lower rent may have the tendency to increase revenue.

Recall my example of lowering rent by 25%. For that price, your tenants may never want to leave. It would take a job transfer or personal situation to force them to give up such a deal.

One of your goals should be to find quality tenants that take care of your property and pay consistently. When you find these people, do what you can to keep them!

Some people will inevitably leave because they are moving across the country or buying a home, but the last thing that you want is to lose your best tenants to the landlord down the street, dealing with the expense of acquiring a new tenant and lost revenue in the vacancy.

The price of rent is not the only factor involved in tenant retention. The other key that is in your control is customer service. Whether you personally manage your properties or have a property manager, make sure that your tenants are treated with respect and professionalism, their concerns are valued, and matters are dealt with urgently and to their satisfaction. A good tenant/landlord relationship keeps tenants from thinking about moving.

To assess whether your property manager is performing in a way that fosters good tenant/landlord relationships, send a post card soliciting feedback from your tenants, letting them know that their opinion is valued and they can contact you directly if a they are dissatisfied with their manager.

3. Increase Rent Strategically

Now for the contradiction.

After telling you that lower rents can lead to higher revenue, I will proceed to tell you to increase your rents on your longer-term tenants. This is really not a contradiction at all. Rather, it is a delicate balance that requires knowledge of your property’s value relative to your competition.

Increasing rents is a touchy matter. As I mentioned, tenants may be more loyal if they can’t find lower rent elsewhere. But this doesn’t mean that you should never raise rents when you have good reason to do so.

Once you have acquired a tenant, there is a cost for them to move. If the value of their current rental is significantly better than the value of a new rental plus the cost of moving, you still have the upper hand.

Make sure that you know the rents in the area, researching sites such as Zillow, rentometer, Craigslist, and the MLS if you have access. You may find that there is plenty of room to increase your revenue a small percentage each year (1-3%) while remaining competitive, and there is no reason to give this up.

Two tactics that I use to increase rents are to communicate an offset to new costs such as increased HOA fees, which cover utilities and amenities that they enjoy, and to have them coincide with an upgrade to the rental.

For instance, I may plan to paint the exterior of the home or upgrade old windows from single to dual pane anyway, but I will schedule the work to coincide with a lease renewal and the tenant feel they are getting something out of the deal.

I may even ask them if there is anything that would make them more comfortable and select items from this list that will justify rent increases while increasing the market value of the home. In other words, make improvements that are necessary for maintenance or have immediate return on investment.

4. Be Diligent on Late Fees

Showing kindness and respect to your tenants does not mean being a pushover when it comes to rent collection and late fees.

Collections are not the most enjoyable part of being a landlord, but are an essential part of running a profitable business. Make sure that your tenants understand that this is a business, they have signed a contract, and it is your job to complete this transaction, following the contract and all applicable laws (including eviction proceedings if necessary).

Realizing that this is your business, you are leaving money on the table by only loosely following the contract and allowing tenants to get away with paying late without the appropriate fees.

By doing this, your tenants will likely see if they can get away with late payments several more times, causing you extra work and stress which should, of course, be compensated through those fees.

If your tenant goes as far as sending you a late check without including the late fees, politely explain that rent is not considered paid until all fees are collected, and that unfortunately you cannot accept this payment until all fees are paid. If you hold firm, they will quickly learn that you cannot be taken advantage of and will most likely comply.

5. Add Revenue Streams

This form of revenue does not apply as easily to single family residences (SFRs), but can be a great way to increase cash flow in multi-family properties.

Look for the opportunity to add services like coin-operated laundry and vending machines, which will not only provide revenue but will add resale value by raising the CAP rate.

If you are particularly entrepreneurial, you may even find additional revenue streams in your SFRs. An idea that I have had is to offer house cleaning and landscaping services to my tenants at the time they sign the lease. These are responsibilities that they have per the lease and may not be excited about taking on.

Basically, you become a one stop shop for taking care of their home. You can negotiate the rates of independent landscaping and cleaning services, contract them out, and collect a fee as the contractor. For instance, if a cleaner agrees on a $75/month fee, you may offer the service to your tenant for $85/month, increasing your annual revenue by $120.

Before you worry about buying additional properties, think about whether or not you are maximizing those that you already own.

Are vacancies and turnover as low as they could be?

Are you increasing rents in a way that will not cause you to lose quality tenants?

Are you collecting all of the fees that you are entitled to?

Could you easily create new revenue streams?

You may find that you can reach your business goals not only through acquiring a large number of properties but by operating a smaller number of properties more intelligently.

Would you add any tips or steps to this article?

Be sure to leave your comments below!

Stephan Piscano ListedBy CEO Does First Google Interview With FlipNerd.com

It was truly a pleasure getting to sit down with the FlipNerd team and review exciting aspects of ListedBy.com, and Social Media (Specifically LinkedIn) for the real estate sector.  We covered some fun topics that hopefully add some extra value to real estate investors in how they can use LinkedIn for real estate investing and use ListedBy.com as a real estate investor and real estate agent.  You can watch the interview HERE and we sincerely thank you as always for being a part of the site!=)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stephan Piscano Does Google Interview With The Real Estate Income Magazine Team

Rich Chinese Are Top Foreign Buyers of U.S. Real Estate

Overseas buyers scooped up $92.2 billion of U.S. real estate last year, driven mainly by wealthy Chinese looking for a safe haven for their families and fortunes. A new report from the National Association of Realtors says sales activity from international buyers surged 35 percent in the 12 months that ended in March. While international buyers represent only 7 percent of total existing home sales nationally over the period, their buying is highly focused on high-end homes in Florida, California, Texas and Arizona. Chinese buyers were the largest foreign buyers measured by dollar volume, with sales jumping 72 percent over the 12 month period to $22 billion. Chinese buyers now account for 24 percent of all sales made to overseas buyers by dollar volume. Canada was second with $13.8 billion in deals, followed by the United Kingdom and India, each with $5.8 billion. Overseas buyers tend to pay all cash and prefer higher-end homes. Chinese buyers were the biggest spenders. The mean price they paid hit $590,826, and more than half of their purchases were in California, Washington and New York.


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Happy Independence Day!

The day those of us gather to celebrate this countries birth,
Celebrate the men and women that fought hard to draw that firm line in the dirt,
The dirt we as real estate agents, and investors now sell to survive,
We say God Bless America, with a sense of humility and a strong sense of pride,
237 years have passed since it was signed in to law on this special day,
When the founders of our country vowed never to let our freedom slip away,
From the ListedBy team to every single reader, supporter, and member who enjoys what we do,
Happy Independence Day from all of us and a sincere thanks directly to you!

This Sappy Real Estate Moment brought to you by the ListedBy Team, Happy 4th of July everyone!=)

 

 


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Shocking Real Estate Murderer Still LOOSE

UPDATE: Police don’t believe Ashley Okland’s murder was a random act, and think she may have been killed by a fellow realtor. They’re now looking for a scruffy-looking man previously seen driving a Cadillac Escalade. See update after the jump…

Ashley Okland was out doing what realtors do Friday afternoon, showing townhomes to prospective buyers at the Stone Creek Villas in West Des Moines, Iowa. Just after 2 p.m., a woman who works in the development found her covered in blood in a model unit.

Ashley died at the hospital. She was shot once in the head and once in the chest.

So far, police have no suspects or motive in the slaying. They believe it was an isolated incident, but really have no way of knowing at this point. Just to be on the safe side, Iowa Reality, Ashley’s company, canceled all home showings for the following day.

The motive could have been robbery. Realtors like to put on the affectations of wealth, leading a moron to believe that they could be a good target for a takedown. In February, two men were arrested in Ottumwa, Iowa for robbing an agent in which they got away with cash and her cell phone.

But Ashley would seem an unlikely target for a beef. She was 27-years-old and served on the boards of civic social groups. Her family says she has no known enemies.

Ashley-Okland-younger.jpg
Police are looking for scruffy man previously seen with Ashley at the model home where she was killed

UPDATE: Police believe Ashley may have been killed by a fellow realtor.

They’re now looking for a man believed to be a fellow realtor who has been seen multiple times in February and March outside the townhomes where she was shot. The man is described as “scruffy-looking” and driving a black SUV along the lines of a Cadillac Escalade.
It also has tricked out wheels.

He was spotted talking to Ashley outside the model townhome in the months leading up to her slaying. On one occasion, he reportedly followed her when she left the area in her own car.

But detectives remain tight-lipped about the details of the case. They won’t say whether Ashley was robbed or assaulted prior to her murder.

 

REFERENCE truecrimereport.com

 


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WOW 25 Homes That Are More Than 35,000 Sq FEET!

These homes are the 25 biggest and baddest homes here in the USA, WOW, WOW, and WOW!


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Inspirational Quotes

Hello All!
Those of us that are in the small business arena know what persistence means on an entirely different level, but ALL of us have moments in our business and personal lives where driving through and continuing to push, continuing to have FAITH is so extremely important.  With that in mind I was thinking about the fun roller-coaster ride that we have had the last few years and how thankful I am for it, and how extremely thankful I am for where we are today.  I thought it might be fun to find some of the better known “persistence quotes” and share them with all who care to enjoy!  Being the dramatic, sappy, and sarcastic sense of humor son of a gun that I am I would also add to the list
“Think of all the times when you considered shooting or stabbing yourself in the face but DIDN’T…  Now think of all the great things that have happened since that moment that you would not have gotten to enjoy had you made the wrong decision.  Never give up, never stop, set a goal work towards whatever that goal is and surround yourself with the people that you care about and truly care about you to help you get there and YOU WILL”.  – Stephan Piscano

Quotes About Persistence

Quotes tagged as “persistence”
Maya Angelou

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.”
― Maya Angelou
Winston Churchill

“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”
― Winston Churchill
tags: failure, persistence, success
2077 likes
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Robert Frost

“The best way out is always through.”
― Robert Frost
tags: feelings, persistence, problems
1621 likes
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Tupac Shakur

“Did you hear about the rose that grew from a crack in the concrete? Proving nature’s laws wrong, it learned to walk without having feet. Funny, it seems to by keeping it’s dreams; it learned to breathe fresh air. Long live the rose that grew from concrete when no one else even cared.”
― Tupac Shakur, The Rose That Grew from Concrete
tags: beauty, concrete, dreams, hardship, persistence, roses
827 likes
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Tom Hiddleston

“You never know what’s around the corner. It could be everything. Or it could be nothing. You keep putting one foot in front of the other, and then one day you look back and you’ve climbed a mountain.”
― Tom Hiddleston
tags: dreams, goals, life, mountain, path, perseverance, persistence, tom-hiddleston
534 likes
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Thomas Edison

“The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are, first, hard work; second, stick-to-itiveness; third, common sense.”
― Thomas Edison
tags: common-sense, enterprise, hard-work, inspirational, perseverance, persistence, success, thomas-edison
424 likes
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Calvin Coolidge

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On! has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”
― Calvin Coolidge
tags: persistence
408 likes
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Joyce Meyer

“One mistake does not have to rule a person’s entire life.”
― Joyce Meyer, Any Minute
tags: inspirational, mistakes, persistence
291 likes
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Winston Churchill

“If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time – a tremendous whack.”
― Winston Churchill
tags: persistence, public-speaking, speeches
258 likes
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Isaac Asimov

“You must keep sending work out; you must never let a manuscript do nothing but eat its head off in a drawer. You send that work out again and again, while you’re working on another one. If you have talent, you will receive some measure of success – but only if you persist.”
― Isaac Asimov
tags: persistence, writing
203 likes
like
Hal Borland

“Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience. Knowing grass, I can appreciate persistence.”
― Hal Borland
tags: patience, persistence
139 likes
like
James A. Michener

“Character consists of what you do on the third and fourth tries.”
― James A. Michener
tags: character, perseverance, persistence, tenacity
139 likes
like
Edgar Allan Poe

“If you run out of ideas follow the road; you’ll get there”
― Edgar Allan Poe
tags: misattributed, misattributed-to-poe, persistence
138 likes
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Richelle E. Goodrich

“Don’t ever give up.
Don’t ever give in.
Don’t ever stop trying.
Don’t ever sell out.
And if you find yourself succumbing to one of the above for a brief moment,
pick yourself up, brush yourself off, whisper a prayer, and start where you left off.
But never, ever, ever give up.”
― Richelle E. Goodrich, Eena, The Tempter’s Snare
tags: commitment, dedication, drive, eena, inspirational, perserverance, persistence, resolve, richelle, richelle-goodrich
136 likes
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Louis Sachar

“It is better to take many small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward only to stumble backward.”
― Louis Sachar
tags: incrementalism, persistence
125 likes
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John Wesley

“Unless God has raised you up for this very thing, you will be worn out by the opposition of men and devils. But if God be for you, who can be against you? Are all of them together stronger than God? O be not weary of well doing!”
― John Wesley
tags: good-works, inspiration, persistence
112 likes
like
Kobayashi Issa

“O snail
Climb Mount Fuji
But slowly, slowly!”
― Kobayashi Issa
tags: buddhism, haiku, persistence, struggle
99 likes
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Peter F. Drucker

“Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes; but no plans.”
― Peter F. Drucker
tags: commitment, persistence, planning, resolve
99 likes
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Criss Jami

“Persistence. Perfection. Patience. Power. Prioritize your passion. It keeps you sane.”
― Criss Jami
tags: ambition, business, commitment, determination, entrepreneur, faith, genius, hobbies, living, passion, patience, peace, perfection, perfectionist, perseverance, persistence, power, priorities, risk, sanity, strategy, strength, success
88 likes
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Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

“The only things you learn are the things you tame”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
tags: determination, education, learning, persistence
85 likes
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Robert Fanney

“In my experience, nothing worthwhile has ever really been all that easy. But it certainly has been worthwhile regardless how difficult it seemed. ”
― Robert Fanney
tags: inspiration, persistence, work
80 likes
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Kevin Brockmeier

“…When you die, the energy that kept you alive filters into the people you loved. Did you know that? It’s like a fire you’ve tended all your life, and the sparks are all scattered into the wind…. That’s why we survive as long as we do, because the people who loved us keep us going.”
― Kevin Brockmeier, The View from the Seventh Layer
tags: death, energy, life, love, persistence, survival
77 likes
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Octavia E. Butler

“First forget inspiration. Habit is more dependable. Habit will sustain you whether you’re inspired or not. Habit will help you finish and polish your stories. Inspiration won’t. Habit is persistence in practice.”
― Octavia E. Butler, Bloodchild and Other Stories
tags: creative-process, habit, inspiration, persistence, writing
75 likes
like
William S. Burroughs

“Whether you like it or not, you are committed to the human endeavor. I cannot ally myself with such a purely negative goal as avoidance of suffering. Suffering is a chance you take by the fact of being alive.”
― William S. Burroughs, Letters to Allen Ginsberg, 1953-1957
tags: life, persistence, suffering
65 likes
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John Steinbeck

“When I face the desolate impossibility of writing five hundred pages, a sick sense of failure falls on me, and I know I can never do it. Then gradually, I write one page and then another. One day’s work is all I can permit myself to contemplate.”
― John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America
tags: creative-process, failure, motivational, persistence, writing
64 likes
like
Tobias Wolff

“We are made to persist.
that’s how we find out who we are.”
― Tobias Wolff
tags: persistence, trial
62 likes
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Rodolfo Costa

“Do not sit still; start moving now. In the beginning, you may not go in the direction you want, but as long as you are moving, you are creating alternatives and possibilities.”
― Rodolfo Costa, Advice My Parents Gave Me: and Other Lessons I Learned from My Mistakes
tags: action, encouragement, motivation, persistence, success
60 likes
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Beth Revis

“I wrote a book. It sucked. I wrote nine more books. They sucked, too. Meanwhile, I read every single thing I could find on publishing and writing, went to conferences, joined professional organizations, hooked up with fellow writers in critique groups, and didn’t give up. Then I wrote one more book.”
― Beth Revis
tags: books, debut-author, first-drafts, inspiration, persistence, publishing, writing
60 likes
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Robin S. Sharma

“Change is hardest at the beginning, messiest in the middle and best at the end.”
― Robin S. Sharma, The Leader Who Had No Title: A Modern Fable on Real Success in Business and in Life
tags: change, perseverance, persistence
52 likes
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Henry Ward Beecher

“The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is, that one often comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won’t.”
― Henry Ward Beecher

Why bitcoin may turn out to be more than a fad and have a significant impact on real estate

The below article was an interview that was posted by Inman News (Reference)

 

Ray Sturm is the co-founder of RealtyShares, a company that allows accredited investors to crowdfund real estate transactions. The company is also one of the first in the real estate space to accept bitcoin as a currency for purchases.

Bitcoin is a virtual “cryptocurrency” that has its own valuation and exchanges. Tech pundits have debated the value of bitcoin, with some calling it a revolution in monetary exchange, while others have questioned its legitimacy and potential for widescale adoption.

 

Concept of bitcoin image via Shutterstock.
Concept of bitcoin image via Shutterstock.

At Real Estate Connect San Francisco, Sturm will talk about the rise of bitcoin, and its potential impact on real estate. With the recent resurgence of the currency, this is sure to be a discussion not to be missed.

Inman: What’s the most disruptive force changing the economy and consumer behavior and why?

Ray Sturm

RS: The emergence of a true sharing economy is in the midst of completely changing the way both businesses and consumers think about the world. From Uber X to Airbnb to crowdfunding platforms like RealtyShares, technology has reduced transaction costs to a degree that makes sharing (selling) assets and services easier than ever.

Inman: Every day there are more services described as “Uber for X.” Do you think this trend will continue? If so, what’s next? If no, why not?

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RS: It will absolutely continue, as incumbents in a number of fields are challenged by new entrants who expose subpar products in services. These traditional powers are going to face a choice in the old saying of, “If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.” They’ll have to get better or eventually get out of the way.

I’m not sure the real estate world appreciates how much smarter and more knowledgeable the consumer has become as a result of all the new information out there today.”

Inman: What’s the one trend you’re keeping an eye on for 2015 and why?

RS: With so many great technologies coming to market that help change real estate, I’m keeping an eye on how many of these companies will start to be acquired vs. trying to build great companies on their own. Some fields are getting very competitive, which naturally leads to consolidation. Will one of the traditional names in real estate make a splash with a big acquisition that demonstrates a desire to be more forward-thinking? I’m curious to see it play out over the next year or so!

Inman: What is the one thing real estate needs to do to innovate on the consumer experience?

RS: While there has been a proliferation of great sites like Zillow and Trulia, I’m not sure the real estate world appreciates how much smarter and more knowledgeable the consumer has become as a result of all the new information out there today. Big data has brought transparency to many industries, and real estate is no exception. I constantly have customers who work in completely different fields now pulling their own comps and asking great questions about valuation, etc. The customer is getting smarter, and in order to continue to attract them as (paying) customers, we all need to get smarter and more knowledgeable, too. I think this is good for everyone.

Inman: What’s the most important takeaway of your talk at Real Estate Connect?

RS: While they may seem like fads at first, new technologies like bitcoin that didn’t at first apply to real estate have had and will continue to have a significant impact on the industry. I’ll tell you why.

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