Learn about Real Estate by one of the premier Real Estate Investors in New Jersey. Each week Joseph J. Zoppi will be talking about investing in real estate including buying and selling houses and apartments. Understand how the economy, the Fed and world events impact real estate and how to adjust to these dynamics.
Templar Real Estate Radio Show for December 5, 2020
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The following program was paid for by Templar Real Estate. The views and opinions expressed on this program are not necessarily those of the staff and management of WMTR. As always, it is advisable to consult a professional before making a major decision.
It’s time now for the Templar Real Estate Talk Show. Here’s your host for the program, Joseph J. Zoppi.
Joseph J. Zoppi:
Hello, welcome to the Templar Real Estate Talk Show, my name is Joseph J. Zoppi, a real estate investor, consumer advocate, author, and managing partner of Templar Real Estate Enterprises. You could reach us at templarcashforhouses.com, and that’s T-E-M-P-L-A-Rcashforhouses.com, or you could call us at 973-240-8593. Again, that’s 973-240-8593 and we could answer any questions you may have, or you could email us from our website, and you could ask us any questions, anything you want discussed on this radio show or any questions you may need in general.
For first-time listeners, my company is a real estate investment firm, we buy houses for cash, we purchase apartment buildings, we do joint ventures with other real estate investors, we loan money for rehabs, and provide transactional or gap funding. We work with individuals that want to invest with us in single-family houses up to apartment buildings. We do not speculate and we’re very protective of our money and our investors’ money. I’m not a real estate agent and we’re not a brokerage, but I have individuals on staff that are agents that could sell your house through the traditional Multiple Listing Service.
This show will go through everything there is about real estate, those things that impact real estate, we’ll talk about our rehabs, some of our investments, what went well, what did not go and how we overcame those issues. We’ll talk about the economy and interest rates, we’ll discuss trends in the real estate market. Real estate is one of your biggest investments, so it’s important that you know as much as possible about it.
I’m going to provide you with my opinion, it’s only my opinion. I tell everyone all the time to do a lot of research and ask a lot of questions, and you have someone that provides you with a recommendation for someone, ask a lot of questions. That’s the only way you’re really going to know if it’s the appropriate person for you, and again, just don’t accept while this person’s good; ask lots of questions because what might be good for one person is not good for another person, so it’s extremely important that you do that.
I hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving. I bet you, most people said, yeah, it was pretty quiet. I guess maybe for that, it’s good that it was quiet maybe this year and the biggest thing is for everyone to be healthy and stay healthy, and hopefully, that is the case.
To a couple of my favorite listeners, Paulette and as well as John C. and Susan T.. I would also like to thank a couple of my private investors. They are Nick and Cheryl T.. Private investors, you may hear me talk a lot about, it’s individuals that invest in our projects and receive a rate of return. Depending on the project, they are either paid monthly or at the end of the project, and what we usually do is after the completion of the project, we always give back the full amount, the principal, as well as any interest, all interest that was incurred, and then if the individual wants to do another deal with us, then they send us another check back, but we always like to return our full amount. Now, some people say, “Well, it’s just easier, Joe, just to keep our principal and just send us the interest,” and it is easier that way but we always like to just give it back, and it’s just the sign of who we are and to see that you have your money, and then when you want to invest with us again, and usually, people just invest, they get their check back, they deposit it, then they cut us another check once it’s cleared and then send it back to us, and that’s what we like to do. We always want you to see your money. It’s very important to feel comfortable with us as well as who we are, as well as what the money is going towards, and that’s extremely important.
Again, if you’re interested in selling your house for cash and you do a search on the Internet and say, we buy houses or we buy houses for cash, that’s who we are. That’s one of the things we do, at least, it’s not the only thing. We also, like I said before, we invest in apartment buildings, so if you know of anyone that’s selling apartment buildings, please give us a call. We prefer 100-plus units but we do smaller units as well, like 10, 20, 50. Again, we like to go towards higher numbers and we don’t care what state it’s in. As long as it’s not in New York or California, we are pretty much open to any investment from an apartment perspective.
Also, another thing that is very important to us is, with private investors, we like to have a relationship. I’m going to talk later on about relationships and how important that is but if we don’t feel comfortable with you or you don’t feel comfortable with us, we don’t want to have a relationship from an investor perspective. I want people that when I be with them, that they’re like my friends and I think it goes a lot further that way and we have some commonality but if you don’t feel comfortable with the individual you’re giving money to, then you should definitely walk away, and the same thing with us. Sometimes, people want to give us some substantial money for certain investments and we just won’t do it, and again, the relationship part is extremely, extremely important to us. So sometimes, we will walk away, and it’s not anyone’s fault but we want to make sure that in the end, everyone’s happy, and that’s very, very important to us.
We had an individual I spoke about last week and we’re purchasing her house for cash, she’s in Bergen County, and I came by the other day and she said, “We’re closing on January 7,” and she said to me, “Joe, I’m a little worried.” I said, “What are you worried about?” Her name is Dorothy and I said, “Dorothy, what are you worried about?” and she said, “Well, we close on Thursday and I don’t fly out to Florida,” because she’s moving to Florida, “until Friday. What am I supposed to do?” I said, “Well, that’s not a problem.” I said, “You just stay in the house, and then you could just leave on Friday afternoon or Friday morning, and then we’ll go into the house and we could start our rehab, but just stay here until Friday,” and she says, “Oh, okay, that’s good.” I said, “You could ask any question you want but the one thing is, you don’t have to worry, so whatever it is, you’re going to get your money, it’s going to get wired to you directly, so after we sign, within three hours, it will be in your bank account,” and that’s it, it’s really simple, and she was really very happy about that and very pleased how easy it is. She says, “Joe, it’s just so easy.” I said, “Yeah,” I said, “We are not going to worry about any of these other things – inspections and I’m not going to nickel and dime you, I’m not going to change the price after we signed and say, whoops, I found something. The only time that it will occur is that if we find a major structural issue that we didn’t know about, and that’s the only time.” We do a tank sweep, and what a tank sweep is, and I’ve talked about this before, is an individual will walk the property with a device and it sends down radio waves and comes back, and if there is a hidden or underground oil tank and I don’t know about it, we have to talk about it because there could be potentially an environmental issue, and that could run up to $100,000 if not more if there are some leaks or some things like that, so those are the only two circumstances that there will be an issue, but we have really never, I think once, we encountered a hidden tank, that was about it, so in all of the transactions I’ve done, so that’s really very, very rare, so anybody that purchases a home, we will be doing a tank sweep no matter what. Now, there are, sometimes, investors that don’t do tank sweeps but that is just reckless and careless, and it’s that simple, and it’s a scary thing. If someone doesn’t think it’s important to do a tank sweep, you have to question the company, you have to question the individual, you need to question a few things if they are not taking some prudent measures. Maybe they’re not even taking ownership of the house, they might just flip it or sell it to another investor, so those are things you have to always worry about when you’re dealing with an investor, is those types of scenarios. It’s very, very important that you are confident that the person that’s going to buy your house has the money and is a stable company that could pay for the house.
Another thing that I always ask for is if you know of anyone that wants to sell their house for cash or even just want to list it, please give us a call, we will provide a finder’s fee for that as well, as well as for apartment buildings, so we get calls constantly on that and we are more than happy to pay a finder’s fee. It’s just part of what we do and it’s a thankful thing that we want to pass on to individuals, especially in this time with money so tight and all the things going on with COVID and employment, and the potential for anyone to lose their job. No matter how stable a company is, we don’t know a year from that where the economy is going to be. I’m going to talk about that in the next segment when I get back, but the economy, some parts are humming and some parts are not, and that’s a major concern. It’s what’s called basically a divergence where one’s going one way and one’s going another way, and when you have a strong economy, everything is moving in the same direction, but that’s not the case now. In those divergence, as time progresses, gets bigger and bigger and that’s where you’re usually going to have a problem and that’s how you have a correction and you have some financial problems or economic problems in the economy is when things like that do occur.
So, I’m going to close out the segment and I’ll be right back, but again, if you need to get in touch with us, you could call us at 973-240-8593. Again, that’s 973-240-8593, or templarcashforhouses.com, thanks.
Joseph J. Zoppi:
Hello, welcome back to the Templar Real Estate Talk Show. My name is Joseph J. Zoppi, managing partner of Templar Real Estate Enterprises. You could reach us at 973-240-8593, again, that’s 973-240-8593 or templarcashforhouses.com.
So this week, we had an individual, we are right now in the process of selling one of our investment properties or flips, and a nice woman came by with her child and she said that she loved the house and she needed to get a house immediately, and she was ready to close on a house, she was two days or three days away from closing on a house and all of a sudden, they had to do a CO, certificate of occupancy, and the township came in and failed them for doing work without permits, and it was just a nightmare, so as a result, it was going to cost the seller of the house $36,000 to fix all the problems based on the failed CO. So, if you think about it, $36,000, you’re ready to close on the house, you’re ready to sell it and all of a sudden, you get hit and say, it’s going to cost you $36,000 to fix the house, that’s just unbelievable and again, they didn’t pull any permits for the finished basement, so basically, they’re going to have to rip down all the drywall down to the studs and they’re going to have to file for permits and they’re going to have to go through at least the electrical and building, and that’s for all the drywall, that’s the building department, and they’re going to have to go through what’s called a rough inspection which is where everything is open, and then after it’s completed and everything is closed up, then they have to do a final inspection. So they’re in for a lot of heartache right now, so the individual that was interested in our house said, “I want to buy your house and we’re going to put a contract in,” the agent told us and we are fine with that, that’s great, and we’re waiting on the contract, waiting on the contract, and we don’t really push on that because if you want to send the contract, they’re going to send the contract, so we never come back to them and say, “Well, where is the contract?” Because a lot of times, people change their mind, and finally, we got a text back saying, “Thank you very much,” but they are going to wait and have everything done with the house, and “We appreciate you and if something changes, we will give you a call.”
One other note is that when the CO failed, the listing agent and the homeowner were in tears, and think about it, a CO is supposed to take, it’s a 10-minutes, 15-minute walk-through with the township and they come back and said, “Yeah, you have $36,000 worth of work to do,” so there was a lot of heartache associated with that. I always say, you gotta do your permits. Do not not do permits, no matter what the contractor, when the contractor says that, you better watch it. It’s one thing for you to say to the contractor, “You shouldn’t pull permits,” or “You don’t have to,” or something like that, but again, again, I’ll make it very clear: if you get caught, you might have to have the work redone and you really don’t want that. Now, obviously, one other problem with taking permits is that it extends the amount of time in terms of doing the construction, installation, whatever the case may be, and that’s one of the reasons why individuals don’t pull permits, is because of that, because it’s very tedious, and depending on the town, it’s just, it’s a lot of pain. We have one town that we work a lot with in Bergen County and we just call up and we get a permit very quickly, and they approve things very quickly, but a lot of times, certain towns, it’s basically, they have up to, like, 20 business days to respond and that’s a month’s time, so if you’re in a time crunch, that’s a considerable amount of time. So, with these individuals, I think even though they’re going with it, I don’t know if it’s a really wise decision and obviously, the agent for the buyer, she doesn’t know a lot about construction, and that’s one of the challenges, so we told her, “You’re at least six weeks out if not longer,” and I don’t think she thinks that, and that’s the difference between someone where the staff at Templar, because we know construction, we know how to sell houses, we know how to list houses, we know how to buy houses, it’s not the same as just a regular real estate agency where they know how to list the house, they know how to market a house to some extent, and so it’s a lot different. That’s what brings the value that we have as an organization to anyone that’s either buying or selling. We know these processes, we know it very, very well, and I think it’s unfortunate, but I think in the end, the buyer for this transaction is going to be very disappointed because she has a time crunch, she’s moving out of her house and she has to stay somewhere temporarily, and she really doesn’t have a place but I think she’s going to make do, so I think they think it’s going to be very quick to do the inspections and everything else like that, but that’s not the case, and even if they fast-track it, it’s going to take considerable time.
The other thing is that traditionally, with some of these towns, you could at least fail once, and then as a result of that, you have to reschedule again and then you have to worry about the contractors being on top of it, and it’s going to be a disaster for them. It’s just, I can’t see it not happening, and it’s something that I’ve spoken about before, is about experience. It’s very important that people have experience with these things, and based on experience, you could kind of tell what’s going to happen in the future based on previous experience. Not always, but on this scenario, they’re going to run into a lot of problems. They have to pass all these inspections, they got to get the drywall up, they gotta close everything out, then they got more inspections. It’s not going to take a month, it’s going to be probably months, and you’re going into the holidays, people are going to be taking off, so it’s going to be a problem for them, it really is.
Next thing I’d like to talk about which is near and dear to my heart is relationships, and the way we handle relationships and how important it is, and it’s the crux of who we are, and without good relationships with our clients and our tenants, and our investors, then we are nothing, and we could be like any other company, and that’s why I view us as the best company around, because of who we are and what we stand for.
So case in point, I got a text this morning from one of my tenants and it’s a really nice family. It’s a Dominican family, a Hispanic family, and when they texted me, I really don’t know if it’s really the father or the mother, or the son that’s texting me because they kind of use the same phone and they don’t know really English that well, so they’re always using a translator, the Google translator, so sometimes, the words come in incorrectly and things like that, but really, it’s just a great family. They usually are a little late on their rent but they always pay on time, they always pay, but it’s a few days late or a week late, and to us, it really doesn’t matter. But I got a text this morning, I thought it was from the father and it said, “Joe, we’re going to be a few days late on the rent.” I said, “You never have to worry about that and don’t worry about it,” and we’re going back-and-forth a little bit, and then I find out that it was the son that was texting me, and he stated that they needed the money for medicine for his father, and I said, I thought it was maybe COVID and I said, “Is he alright? Is he getting better?” And he stated that he had a stroke and he can’t get out of bed, and I was like, holy mackerel, and he said to me, “I don’t even like talking about it and it really bothers me,” and right now, I guess he’s maybe 15, the son, 15, 16, good kid and I was like, holy mackerel. It just really set me back. So we’re going to try to work with them as much as possible to help the situation out, and probably tomorrow, I’m going to pick up some food for them so the mother doesn’t really have to cook. I’ve got a bunch of trays and so that will tide them over for a bunch of days, and they could also freeze some of the food that I want to give because I’ll give a bunch of trays of penne, [00:26:39], all these other Italian things just to help them out, and what I want to do also is maybe once a week, we will probably drop off some food for them. They have some good specials in the area where you could order a full meal and you could get everything from a pizza plus an entrée, plus some appetizers. It’s like, $40 or something close to that and it’s very, very reasonable in some of these pizzerias, so I just have to get it down to them, they are down in Belleville, so it’s only $40 and that’s the thing that I think is important, is that there’s so many people out there that need help and if you do little things like this, $40 is not really a lot of money relatively speaking and if you could help people that way, I think it goes along way and I think that’s why we are put on here on this earth, is really obviously help people, and something as simple as that, there’s so much out there in terms of people that need stuff, and that happened, it was two weeks ago, I go to this one deli every now and then and I haven’t gone there for a while because of this COVID thing. He was just closed, it looked like, it looked like he was always closed and I don’t think he was but the lights were turned off or turned very low and I decided to go in there and I always get these empanadas, he makes these great empanadas, so I ordered a few of them and with a cup of coffee, and I said, “Can I have a large coffee?” He said, “Yeah,” and he couldn’t find any tops for the coffee. He says, “I guess they were mis-ordered or something,” and I didn’t care. I said, “Yeah, just don’t worry about the top.” I thought to myself, I wonder if even if he could afford the tops and after, I was starting at the empanada which was usually a meat empanada and there was a little bit of potatoes in it, and when I ate it, it was, like, all potatoes and very, very, very little meat, and I thought to myself, I bet you it’s because he’s having some problems paying for it, and he doesn’t have a lot of business coming in, and I didn’t enjoy the empanada but I still wanted to give him additional business, so a few days later, I stopped by again and I didn’t order the empanadas but I ordered some coffee and I said, “Can I have a large coffee?” and I looked around, he said, “I don’t have any large cups,” and I said, “Oh, well, just give me a small,” and after that, he was just shaking his head. I said, “How are you doing?” and he said, “Well, not really good,” and he said, “Well, I’m going to have to close up shop. The landlord wants me out by the end of the year,” and he was just, he looked so demoralized, and you could just imagine if that’s your business, and he just couldn’t keep up with it, and I’ve been talking about this for a while about different places that just can’t sustain this, and just because of COVID, and it’s just a real shame, and I wish I could do something for him, but it’s just, it’s really is a shame and anything you can help for anybody, I think it’s really important, especially during this time.
So I gotta close up, unfortunately, this segment, and I just want to say thank you, take care, God bless, and if you need to reach us, call us at 973-240-8593, thanks a lot, bye.
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