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 November 7, 2020
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, 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.
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. 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 and those things that impact real estate. We’ll talk about our rehabs, some of our investments, what went well, what did not, and especially how we learned from them and adjusted accordingly. 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 you know as much as possible about it.
I’m providing my opinion, it’s only my opinion. I ask everyone to do lots of research for any financial matters, real estate matters, whatever the case may be, but it’s very, very important you do research. Now, on the flip side, the problem sometimes with research is you get so much information, you’re not sure what the answer is, so I’ve had that happen a lot of times and I’m like, I have no idea what to do, and it is kind of tough sometimes. Sometimes, you just gotta take a step back and not do anything if uncertain situations and just have some time to think it over because there’s just so much information out there and it’s really hard to sometimes figure out what is right, what is wrong. A lot of people that write have very good arguments why something should be a certain way, and then you read something else on the contrary and say, well, that’s a good point too. So research and making a decision isn’t always that easy.
The other thing I always say is that remember, there’s a lot of people and a lot of companies that are out there that are very average. That’s just the way it is, there is a lot of average and then there are some really good companies and individuals, and then there are some that are not good at all. So that’s always difficult to figure out who’s really the cream of the crop and who’s just average because we all don’t want to use average. So that’s very important.
The other thing is just because a family friend is a so-called expert, just be wary of that as well, especially when you’re dealing with real estate or your financial investments. I know a lot of people that said, “Well, my friend’s brother is an investor,” or a real estate or a financial investor and “he can invest my money,” so on and so forth. Just really, really be wary of that. Sometimes, it’s better not to have someone that’s too close to you because if there is a problem, what are you going to do? And that’s always the issue, and sometimes, you say, “Well, I have to do it because it’s my friend” or it’s my family member, so on and so forth, and I’m not saying that’s not difficult, but just be really wary of it and just tread lightly.
I was using a public relations firm not that long ago and a good friend of mine, his daughter is VP in a PR firm and I would’ve wanted to go with them but I thought that it was just too close in terms of my relationship to my good friend, so I went with another company as a result of that, and I think it was the right thing to do and I think it’s for the best even though their company is very, very good. There’s a number of good companies no matter what it is out there and good individuals, you just have to really take your time and try to select the right one.
Also, I’d like to do a shoutout to Paulette and Jimmy G. and Samantha V., some of my listeners, so they are always commenting, and thank you very much for that.
Again, we always do everything very privately and very discreet. If there are any issues at all, we don’t share names or anything like that with anyone. Any discussion we have is very private and that’s very, very important to us, and who we are, we are very sensitive with that. If you need to sell your house fast for cash, please give us a call. Even if you just need to sell your house, please give us a call. We buy houses all the time for cash. That’s of the biggest things we do, but with the market where it is, we are just selling a lot of houses through the traditional Multiple Listing Service as well, and I’ll talk a little bit later about what I think the future is for that, the immediate future, at least, but please give us a call and I’ll send someone out or I’ll be out there to visit your house and we’ll talk. Again, there’s no obligation and it’s an easy process, and we just talk, and I think that’s the biggest thing, I think, is to understand people’s challenges and what they want to get out of the transaction. Some are more towards speed and others are for the top dollar, so there’s different scenarios for that and we will work with you on that.
Also, if you’re interested in investing passively within real estate, please give us a call on that. Second thing is if you know of someone that needs to sell their house fast for cash or there’s an apartment building that a friend might be selling, please give us a call, we will provide a finder’s fee, and again, that too will be very discreet, so we don’t have to say anything if you don’t want to, so we understand the situation.
One of the things that we are always interested in is apartment buildings especially over 100 units, but we will do less than that, okay? We will even do some that are tens units. I don’t like to go too much smaller than that at all, really, probably 10 is my limit but usually, we prefer very large apartment complexes. It’s just a little easier. Even though it’s bigger and it costs more money, it’s just easier from a management perspective. I know a lot of individuals that have single-family houses and they rent a number of them out, and unfortunately, when there’s a problem, they have to run from one to the next, to the next, or hire someone for that. It takes a lot of the time, whereas if you have a 100-unit and you have someone that just is set for that one complex, it’s just a lot easier to manage, so a 100-unit complex is a lot of easier to manage than 100 single-family houses, so that’s why we like to do what we do.
Last week, I talked a little bit about attorneys and how fickle I am with them. I brought up the point about some attorneys are dealmakers and others are dealbreakers. I always say that, and we were dealing with one where it was under contract and the language he was putting into the letters that came back were very aggressive talking about litigation, that if something comes up, they might litigate, and we are just in the transaction of selling a house, then all of a sudden, we’re getting letters like this, so that really just set me back in terms of my concern due to the transaction. So we went forward with it and they had a long list of things that they want to fix or change, and a lot of them were petty things. There was a couple things we knew we had to fix and we were going to fix them anyway, and after we came back, we gave in on just about everything, and I don’t always do that, it depends on what the situation is, and how petty they are or not petty, so we did that, then they came back again, and they wanted some other remediations done, and then we had to respond again saying we’ll will do some of those but as we stated before, we are not going to do other ones.
One of the things they wanted was the entire basement floor which had waterproof vinyl tile and they wanted it all ripped out because there was a little leak in the corner. We said we were going to put a sump pump, and these vinyl strips, they are waterproof and they look good and they are very reasonably priced, and we said we’re not going to do it because it was going to cost, just the material, probably $2,500 and another $1,400 in labor, so it was going to be a considerable amount of money when we knew where the leak was but he wanted the entire thing pulled up, and we said no to that and he pressed on it again. So we were in the attorney review and going back and forth in terms of remediation and we decided to cancel the contract. It was that simple, and we didn’t want to do that and if the individual that we’re selling two, she was a really nice person and she was a single mom with a few kids, but the tone of the attorney, and I don’t believe it was her, it was the attorney, was very aggressive, and we have to protect our company, especially for future litigations because they were pressing on warranties, and we can’t warranty that no water will ever come into the basement, we just can’t, and if I have a contract, that they are good not going to warranty to work either. Sometimes, situations occur.
We had a situation where there was leaves stuck in a gutter and it overflowed and went underneath the roof line and water came into one of the rooms. It was dripping through the drywall, and that’s just something that happens and you can’t control some of those things, so we wouldn’t want to say we’re going to be liable or we have to warranty for that. Certain transactions go very, very smooth and probably 97% of the transactions go very smooth, and there’s a few that do not, and after doing so many transactions, it just, it happens and it’s unfortunate that we had to cancel the contract because I don’t want to put it back on the market, it’s not in our best interest either but in the end, it’s our best interest because I don’t know what this guy is going to do next. He keeps pushing for more things, every time we respond, it takes him a long time to respond and it’s drawing out the entire process.
We had that we closed a week or so ago, it was just the smoothest transaction possible. The buyer asked for a couple concessions and we were more than happy to give it to them, and a couple of things, we said no on and they said, okay, and it was just a smooth transaction. They bought the house, they sent us pictures, them on the front stairs sitting down with their dog, it was a nice experience, again, and a lot of times, we will have these great experiences but on some of these, it’s just really, really difficult.
Well, closing out right now on the segment and I will be right back. Again, thank you very much. If you need to call us, you can call us at 973-315-7990 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 or templarcashforhouses.com. That’s T-E-M-P-L-A-Rcashforhouses.com, and that’s one word.
So as I was saying before on the last segment about attorneys and had unfortunately canceled to the transaction, these are the types of things that when we have a client that’s selling their house, we go through the same process, and that’s a big benefit to them, so we would definitely give them our opinion, we are not going to be shy about that, it’s a fair decision in the end, but we will give our opinion on certain things. Again, we never like to cancel a transaction for ourselves, or for our clients, recommend that, but there are situations where that is a necessary thing to do. When we were on the phone with our attorney and we’re talking about, one of the things they wanted is the entire floor pulled up, she said that she only had one other instance where an attorney asked for that and the seller said no to it. So again, there are certain things that are just unrealistic and they’ll ask for these things, and sometimes, they’ll try to strongarm into it, trying to do it for their client but on the flip side, there has to be a realization and a practicality about what they are asking for, and you’re going to paint someone in the corner with certain things and depending on the individual, they might say yes or no to it, but especially in this market, one has to be very cognizant that houses go very quickly on the market, and there’s multiple offers being put in and there has to be a balance, but I think everything is always for the right thing to do and it was just right that this occurred the way it did because it gave us some insight into the attorney and what could have occurred in the future because of the situation. So I feel very blessed that this did happen and it happened the way it did, so we know not to go along with this transaction, so I think in the end, we benefited from it. If the seller had so many issues or concerns about it, this probably wasn’t the right house for them, and we love the house and the rehab we did was really excellent. We had some water come in, unfortunately, but I always felt it was for the best that we found out now instead of after and we could have fixed it. I think that was a good thing but dealing with the attorney and all the roadblocks put up, we did find out that this wasn’t the best for us.
One of the other things I talked about last three and I just fitted it real quick because I didn’t have much time, was we have a house, a four-family in Belleville, and we had a little leak, it was kind of a little leak, in the basement and the basement didn’t get filled up because we had a door that had a gap underneath and the water went out of it, but it must’ve been leaking for at least a week, and we finally shut it off and we fixed that, and then we received our water bill and the water bill was traditionally about $250, and it was $1,450, and he said, what happened with that?” And we called the Township and the Township said, “Well, traditionally, your bill is around $250 but we hiked it, the water usage just in terms of the fee, we doubled it,” so now, it’s going to be $500, but that exasperated as also is obviously, the leaking water and the constant running water, and you don’t realize sometimes, if you water your lawn a lot or anything like that, you’re constantly using the water, how quickly your water bill could go up, but the issue I had was that we didn’t receive anything in the mail that they were increasing the water usage price and that’s just a pet peeve of mine with the government and municipalities, is that they just do, they just want to do it, they do it and there’s no really consequence as a result of that, so I’m not into big government because of things like that, and there’s really no recourse for us. It’s just, it is what it is and we have to just live with it. Again, I do understand because COVID, some of the money was not coming into the townships, or to the government and so on and so forth, but a lot of times, it’s not based on, well, let’s see how we could fix it internally to reduce some of that. It was just a blanket, okay, we’re going to increase it by 50%, and it’s just that simple. That’s the issue, when you say public sector and private sector, so what’s the difference? Public sector is obviously like the governments, law enforcement, the electrical grid, that’s all public infrastructure and public type of sector things, and then we have the private sector which is anyone that has a company, whether it’s Amazon or any other company, it’s privately held, it’s not held by the government.
So normally, if there is a shortage, a company needs to either raise their prices or they’re going to have to do some cost-cutting measures and/or a combination thereof, and with the private sector, they’ll do certain things: they’ll tighten their belt, they’ll reduce expenses here, they’ll look for more efficient ways to save money, or unfortunately, sometimes, lay off people, whereas what you’re talking about the government, there’s usually not layoffs. It’s usually okay, or just going to pass that information or we’d pass that cost on. That’s a big pet peeve of mine in terms of that, and I know certain individuals who work very hard in the government and we’ve had some really good experiences. We had one person, we had sent a question and we left a question on her voicemail, and it was right before Labor Day, and she called me on Labor Day. She came into the office and called the to answer my question, and you have people like that that are very dedicated, I tip my hat off to them, and it’s never a blanket statement that all government employees are this or all government institutions are this, but on the whole, it’s more slanted towards one than the other. A lot of individuals we encounter in townships are just, “Well, this is what it is and tough luck,” and there’s no discussion about it, there’s no working it out. It’s just black and white and those are the things that just leave a really bad taste in my mouth.
We had a CO being done for one of our houses this week and as a result of it, traditionally, there are certain things that the CO process, the Township goes out to make sure that the house is livable and they’re okay with it, and each Township is different. Some just look for a smoke detector and a fire extinguisher, others look for other things to ensure the safety of the family. So this one specific Township which I’m not going to name, failed us for a number of things and it was just, it was ridiculous. We failed for a messy garage which I’ve never been failed for before, and we had a lot of things in the garage: we have a lot of furniture from our other rehabs because we stage everything, so we failed for that and I said, “Well, why are we failing for that?” He said, “Well, shouldn’t the house or the garage be clean for the new buyer?” And I said, “Yeah, when we leave, for going to move the stuff.” He says, “Oh, okay.” He said, “What, do you think we’re going to leave it here?” So there’s this attitude like they’re there to protect everything and that the buyer has no reasonable statement saying the garage needs to be clean, and all that is always taken care of in the contracts, and you have an attorney, they look for those things and they usually say it has to be broom-swept clean and no debris is left. So you have these government institutions that feel that people aren’t capable of determining these things, and we failed because I didn’t have a shower curtain rod in the past, and if it was a rental unit, maybe we should have that, but it wasn’t a rental unit, so again, I’ve talked to other people and they were like, “What?” I’ve talked to a lot of investors and some other people, they were just scratching their head and it was just ridiculous. I failed for one of the, the windows right now are thermal-sealed, so there’s two panes and there’s air between it and it provides some insulation. Those are all fairly standard almost every house right now, and sometimes, a seal breaks and as a result of that, you get some air or condensation between the windows and you’ll see a little constant condensation on the inside. So we had a window that was a really odd shaped window, and one of the seals broke and we weren’t going to fix; it was just an odd shape, and the buyer agreed that they would keep it as is, but we failed for that. And then, when I heard that I was asking where, what statute was I violating? And they gave us a document and I still don’t see it, and I’m going to be challenging them on it. Usually, I don’t challenge and my staff does not challenge the inspectors for the most part because what they have and what they’re saying is, it could be reasonable to some extent and it’s for the safety of the individual but on this situation, they’re taking the steps way too far and there’s no safety issue with it and it was an agreed upon thing that we were going weren’t going to fix and it was simple, so I’m going to be pressing the inspector a lot on some of these things, and we’re not going to give in on them. We’re just going to continue to press it and they’re going to have to demonstrate where these statutes are in terms of that. So that’s where we’re at with that. Like I said, I really never challenge the inspector but they’ve really, on this one, just crossed the line of a lot of things. If it was for us or again, our clients, we stand up for it, it’s that simple, especially when it comes to situations like this. We’re not going to roll over that easily, and when we do anything for our clients, we take a lot of passion in it.
We had one where the buyer came back with a ridiculous number to remedy a situation and we worked with the seller and said, “We’re not going to do that,” and we came back and they said, “We appreciate your passion for our money,” and that’s it, it’s really that simple, and we stand by our clients and stand by what we need to do for them. It’s really, we look at it almost as our money and that’s just the way we do business. They become friends, a lot of our clients because of this.
So I’d like to close out and thank you very much. Please give us a call at 973-240-8593. Have a nice weekend and God bless. Take care, bye.
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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