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 October 31, 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:
Hi, 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, that’s T-E-M-P-L-A-Rcashforhouses.com, it’s one word, or you could call us at 973-240-8593. Again, that’s 973-240-8593 and we could answer any questions you may have. Also, you could email us from our website and we could discuss anything via email or you call us directly.
My company is a real estate investment firm, we buy houses for cash, we purchase apartment buildings, and we do joint ventures with other real estate investors, we loan money for rehabs and provide transactional and gap funding as well. We work with individuals that want to invest with us in single-family houses up to apartment buildings. I’m not a real estate agent and we’re not a brokerage, but I have individuals on staff that are agents that will sell your house through the traditional Multiple Listing Service.
This show will go through everything there is about real estate and those things that impact real estate. We’ll talk about our rehabs, some of our investments, what went well and what did not, and especially how we overcome 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 my opinion, it’s only my opinion, okay? I ask everyone to research and do your due diligence, it doesn’t matter what you’re doing, for any financial situation or anything like that, do your research and always ask lots of questions, even on the Internet. I always say, be careful about what you see on the Internet because you’ll see certain things slanted a certain way based on what the author wants to present, so that’s sometimes a challenge. Also, when you’re speaking to other individuals, you’re asking for recommendations, they always say, “You gotta ask the right questions.” Well, what is the right question to ask? And that’s always the hard part, and I think you just have to ask lots of questions. I think that’s the right question, to ask lots of questions.
Case in point, I was out to eat a while back and I was ordering paella, and I saw a picture of it in Yelp and it looked like there was lots of peas in it, and I like peas, a little bit of fresh peas, but I don’t like it a lot and I thought I was going to be drowned in all these peas and I wasn’t going to enjoy it, so I asked for, the server came over and I asked her and I said, “I don’t want any peas in it,” and she looked at me and she said, “I’ve never heard that request before.” I was like, oh, okay, but I could have, I was like, okay, and she served the paella and I was talking to her a little bit longer, and then she told me that, I was asking about the job, how long have you been here? And so on and so forth, and she says, “Well, I’ve only been here two weeks,” and she says she only works on the weekend, so if she was working just two weeks and only work on the weekend, there was four days she’s been working, so for her to say ‘I’ve never heard that before,’ of course, it’s not that common but originally, I had the impression that over the years, no one’s ever asked for that. So if I didn’t ask more questions, just in general, I wouldn’t have figured out from her that she’s only been here two weeks and she’s only worked four days, so again, you gotta kind of ask the right questions or continue to ask different questions when you want a recommendation on someone or anything like that, just ask lots of questions and that’s the biggest thing.
I’d like to talk about some of my listeners that I’ve called and continue to give me positive feedback always which I’m really thankful for, Paulette, John T., and Cindy G., to name a couple. For me, I never did a radio show, that wasn’t really what I was ever interested in doing, so over the past year, this is something that’s very new to me, and I was never formally taught about radio and communication, so just kind of doing it by the seat of my pants, so the positive feedback is always great and any constructive criticism is also great too. Sometimes, that’s even better. So I encourage anyone to tell me what they like or don’t like, so maybe I could make changes. I’m always happy to do that.
Again, when you call us, if you need to sell your house fast for cash, please give us a call. There’s a lot of companies out there that say, “Buy my house for cash,” their advertisement is, and we’re one of them, obviously, but I feel and I really know that what separates us is really our integrity and our ability to close on any house that we put under contract. There’s a lot of individuals out there that’ll put something under contract and they will what’s called wholesale it, they’ll find another investor to purchase it. Well, if they’re upfront with it, that’s good and if you’re okay with that, that’s fine, but if they can’t find someone, that’s the question, and a lot of times, wholesalers will put a number on the house just to win the deal, but then they can’t find the investor to purchase the house, and then basically, you might’ve tied the house up for not selling for a month or whatever the case may be, and that’s something that again, if you don’t mind doing that, that’s great, but when we put something under contract, we purchased it directly, and I think that’s an important factor.
The other thing I’ve talked about before is that you might have someone that states that they purchased the house but basically, they’ll continue to make the payments and they will give you some money for it, and then they will make the payments for you and they will put the title in their name, okay? That is technically illegal. The reason it’s illegal is that the contract for any mortgage states that’s it’s called due on sale clauses, and unless it’s a very, very old mortgage, like very old, there is a due on sale clause. Due on sale clause, basically, it says when you sell the house, the money is due to the mortgage company. I have talked to attorneys numerous times on the subject and any good attorney says to me, “Joe, there’s so many issues being broken there in terms of laws. We will never handle anything like that.” Now, I know investors in other states that do this all the time but again, that doesn’t make it right, and the issue is that when they put the title in their name, if the bank finds out, now usually, the bank doesn’t but if the bank finds out, they are going to say, “We want the money immediately,” and if they don’t have it, then there’s going to be an issue. The second thing is that if the investor doesn’t pay on time, it will affect your credit. You might have bad credit to begin with and you say I don’t care, but just be wary of that and realize really the ramifications of that. Again, you talk to any good real estate attorney, they’re going to say, “We don’t do anything like that.” It’s just not right. So please understand that.
So one of the things I’d like to talk also about is attorneys, so I was just talking about attorneys, so I’m very fickle with them. Sometimes, I love them and sometimes, I don’t, and it really depends, I think, on the day, so I’m very, like I said, fickle on it and they’re a necessary part of any real estate transaction or they should be, or a lot of different business transactions, you really need a good attorney, but it’s not that, it’s something I love all the time, and sometimes, we are dealing with attorneys and we have some challenges with them, and I feel there’s always two types of attorneys, there’s dealmakers and dealbreakers, and it depends when you’re on the other side if they are dealmakers or deal breakers, I will not deal with an attorney of mine that’s a dealbreaker, so all my attorneys are dealmakers and that’s an important thing.
So one of the things I’ve encountered, I’m currently encountering is an attorney where they are throwing a lot of language at us about warranties and some things we can’t warranty, we just can’t. We purchase houses and we don’t live in them, and we rehab them and we don’t know all the underlying issues. Now, we look at it, we get inspections, so on and so forth, but until you live in a house, you won’t see certain issues, you just won’t, and that’s over time, so traditionally, our rehabs are two, three months, sometimes longer depending on different factors, but they’re pretty quick, so when an attorney wants a warranty and they’ve talked about litigation and things like that, that sends up a lot of red flags for me, and usually, deals are not worth it for me if I am getting indirectly threatened like that, it’s just, that’s the way it is, and a lot of times, because we are a company and we are selling a house to an individual, if we go to court, even if we did not do anything wrong, it doesn’t matter, we did everything that could possibly be done correctly, we could always potentially lose because you never know in court. First of all, when something goes accordingly, you don’t know if you’re going to win or lose, but second is that we are a company, so it’s very easy to paint that, the big bad real estate company and this poor person, so on and so forth. So we always strive for the best possible solution and we work very hard to make our houses the best possible product we put out, and sometimes, inspections come back and we are missing this, we are missing this, and we are more than happy to fix it. We had a situation that I’m talking about now where we had some water come in and just, the water is always an issue with us, and there was some water that came in through the basement and we said we’ll put in a sump pump and they said, “Well, you’re going to guarantee that you’re not going to get any additional water?” And I can’t guarantee that, there’s no way to guarantee it, so it’s a concern. We are going to put our best effort forward but we can’t guarantee that there’s not going to be any additional water, and so these are the types of things that we encounter all the time and we have to be smart about it. Even when someone has their own house and they sell it to someone else, they can’t guarantee that something else isn’t going to happen. If there is an underlying problem and they know about it, well, that’s something different, but if it never happened before and then it happens in the future, you don’t know, so those are some of the challenges that we encounter and also, we handle and work with our sellers when we are selling directly through the MLS, so we will tell you what’s good, what’s bad, whether you should get out of a transaction or not, and I think that’s one of the biggest things we bring to the table.
So I’m going to close out the segment, again, if you need to reach us, you could call 973-240-8593, or templarcashforhouses.com, that’s T-E-M-P-L-A-Rcashforhouses.com. Thanks a lot.
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 you could reach us also at templarcashforhouses.com. That’s T-E-M-P-L-A-Rcashforhouses.com, that’s one word.
So I’d like to talk a little bit about the psychology of buyers and things that we look out for, and there’s a lot of dynamics when you’re buying a house and selling the house. So I have a good friend of mine that just put up a house, it was originally a Cape Cod type house in this one town in North Jersey, affluent community, and what he does is he usually takes the roof off, takes all the siding off and a lot of the interior, and then builds up and around it. A lot of individuals do that, and he’s a restauranteur also, so with a number of restaurants that are successful and he does this as well, and he completed the house in pretty fast time especially with Covid going on and issues with supplies and things like that, and I looked at the house and I was pretty impressed by it, to tell you the truth. It was a really well-done house and it looked good, the finishes were nice, the colors, everything about it. He did a really nice job, and I met him through another house I had next-door to him which I was going to rehab and I did not and he bought it off me, so we became friends and like I said, I looked at the house, I said, “Yeah, you did a really good job at it,” and I asked him if he had any offers and he was selling it for $750,000. It’s an expensive house, it’s, like, 2800 ft.² and that’s what the neighbor, around the neighborhood calls for, and it might be a little high, maybe, I don’t know, depends, but I think it was priced fairly right and he said, “Yeah, Joe, I had an offer on it.” I said, “Great, excellent,” and then I talked to him on a follow-up day and he said, “Well, now the buyer is not sure because the dining room might be too small,” and I thought the dining room area was small because it’s a 2800 ft.², it’s a nice house and the upstairs is very big but the downstairs, when you walk in, you walk into the dining room and then there’s the kitchen the kitchen seems very close and it’s because the dining is very small, and he said, “They are not sure,” and I said, “Okay,” and one of the issues they said is that there was no box in the ceiling, electrical box to put a chandelier, and I said to him, I said, “So they are purchasing a three quarters of a million house and the issue they have is because of a $200 box, electrical box in the ceiling that’s not there? That doesn’t sound right.” I go, “There’s a lot of apprehension there,” and he says, “Yeah, I know, I know.” I said, “I’d walk away from the deal.” I said, “I would not, if someone has trepidations about something as small as that on a new, brand-new house, there’s an issue.” He says, “Yeah, I think you’re right.” So I spoke to him a couple days after that because before I saw the house, but I saw some pictures of it, and then I went to the house and I saw the house and I said, “You did a great job,” and he said to me, “Well, it’s back under contract, they’re going to accept it, I’m going to put an electrical box in, it’s going to cost me a couple hundred bucks.” I said, “Okay,” I said, “I don’t know, it just doesn’t seem right that they were worried about that one thing after all the money you invested,” and he said, “Yeah, I was going to put in that if they needed that, there was no issue with it.” So I said, “Good, congratulations,” so it went under contract and then I looked afterwards, and a day later, it’s back on the market, and he said to me, he said, “Yeah,” he said, “The person had a meeting at work and they might lose their job,” and that might be the case, but there was, again, a lot of trepidation over a missing electrical box or one that was in there. I think the issue was the dining room and they thought about it some more and they said no.
That’s something that I think is really important, is that sometimes, you want the deal and it’s just not going to happen and you could try to force it or you could try to sell it and say all the good things about something. We don’t do that with any of our houses. When we have an agent come in and is going to sell our house, one of my team members, we just explain what has been upgraded. We don’t try to do a hard sell because the person just needs to know if they feel like they like it. If I have to sell something, it’s not right for them because in the end, they’re going to come back and they’re going to say no, maybe “I had second thoughts about it.” We like individuals that come in, “I love this house, I want to do this to it, I want to do this to it, this is great, I can’t wait to live in it,” those are the things you want to hear, those are the things you want to hear. If there’s any type of trepidation, I can’t stress it enough, a lot of times, those deals do not go through. You want someone passionate about your house that says, “Well, this is good, I like it, it’s got a lot of potential,” or whatever words they want to use but they want the positive thing about it. It’s like when I used to hire and to this day, is that if I have a gut feeling after everything goes through with the person, I think they’re qualified and so on and so forth, if I have a gut feeling that that’s the right person, then a lot of times it is, whereas if I’m not sure, I’m not sure, then it’s a no and I have always said that to my team members, to my staff that when they hire, you gotta feel it in your gut. After all the qualifications, you just gotta feel it, and I think that’s also why we are as successful as we are is that we go to people’s houses, we meet with them and a lot of times, they just say, “Joe, I just have this great feeling about you or your team members, it just felt right,” and that’s what we want to hear, and when we encounter individuals where there’s this wall that’s put up, sometimes, we’ll still go through with the transaction, they’ll be happy in the end, but sometimes, we can’t consummate a transaction because there’s just this wall that they put up or their feeling, and that’s alright. We’d rather have it that way. If you don’t feel comfortable with us or you don’t feel comfortable with any company, then you shouldn’t do business with them, and it’s just that simple. And sometimes, they have a friend that they want to do business with as opposed to us but they go through the motions, say, “Well, we’ll talk to Joe, we’ll talk to Joe’s team,” and so on and so forth, and it’s okay, but I think a lot of times, when we have that connection and you feel that gut feeling about it, the transactions go a lot smoother, and when our customers feel that we are part of their team, whether we are buying the house from them or we are selling the house, or we are investing with them or they’re investing with us, when we do single-family investments with other individuals as well as apartment buildings, I will not do a transaction if I don’t feel comfortable with them. I don’t care how much money they have, I want to make sure that I feel comfortable and they feel comfortable with me. I want to make sure, I’d like to be their friend, and if that’s the case, the transactions go a lot smoother, and it’s that simple.
One of the things we did this week which we’re really, really happy about, so we purchased the house from a woman, she was terminally ill, and she was, we have done this numerous times, and she had some back taxes and it was just wearing on her, the taxes and worrying about that, so we purchased the house from her and she’s going to live there until she passes on, so we expect that she’s thinking six months to a year, maybe a year, but closer to probably six months just based on where she’s at, and then we give her some money and she’s living there and go to her heirs, and everyone’s happy, so she could stay where she’s been for the last 30 or 40 years, and die in peace, and for us, each solution is different. That’s what she needed, and we are more than happy to accommodate her. Sometimes, there’s solutions we can’t provide. We don’t do this normally in every circumstance where someone needs to live there, because we have had issues in the past where they don’t want to leave and I really don’t feel like evicting them. Especially now, you can’t even really evict anyone, but we have had that situation.
I have one right now where the individual is living in the house, he was set to buy back the house and he just needed some money upfront to help his sister out, and I spoke about this probably earlier on in the year, so right now, he is in there and there are still issues and there are still challenges, so now, I gotta just start charging some rent and I wasn’t planning on doing that and I pushed it off as long as I could and he’s more than happy to pay me my rent, but that’s not something I really wanted to do and I really wanted him to get his house back, and for this one, I did not want to be a landlord, and I don’t hear from him which is fine to some extent but I never know what’s going on, and sometimes, it’s hard to get in touch with him, so it’s not the transaction I wanted but it was the right thing to do and I wanted to make sure that while he’s working through the finances to help his sister out, that we were there for him. For X amount of months, originally, it was supposed to be four months and right now, we are on month nine and I didn’t factor in any rent for a month five to month nine, and when he buys back the house, if he ever does, we will factor that in but I don’t want to put a burden on him as a result of that because I knew he was working through stuff and I’m not sure if even I got the full story correct in terms of what he said just based on some things he said and didn’t say. So it’s a little bit of a mess but we are protected, we own the house, but it’s still not something that I’m particularly happy about but again, we had to do the right thing and sometimes, it’s a little bit painful when you do the right thing.
So I’m closing up on our show right now, I wanted to talk about, and I’ll throw it real quick, a little pet peeve of mine, I have a multi-family in Belleville and I had a little water break in the basement, and the basement didn’t flood because I had a door that had an opening so the water flowed out, but it was going on for probably a week and we finally found it, and when we were over there and one of my guys was there and he turned it off, so normally, our water bill is like, $250 and I get a bill for $1450. I was like, holy mackerel. So they raised the water rate, they doubled it but then on top of that, what we encountered with the water overages is just unbelievable, so it’s a little pet peeve of mine especially around raising the water, doubling it.
Well, that’s all I have to talk about now. So I’d like to thank everyone, God bless, and take care.
The preceding program was paid for by Templar Real Estate. The views and opinions expressed 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.
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