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 February 1, 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, I’m Joseph J. Zoppi, a real estate investor, consumer advocate, author, managing partner of Templar Real Estate Enterprises. You could reach us at templarcashforhouses.com or call us at 973-240-8593 and we could answer any questions you may have, or you could email us from our website. If you want to have a topic answered on our air, we’ll try our best to answer it and you could just send that to us as well.
My company is a real estate investment firm. We buy houses for cash, we purchase apartments, we do joint ventures with 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’re constantly looking for additional houses to purchase as well as apartment buildings. For apartment buildings, we’re looking at usually, anything – we prefer around 50-plus units, but we’ll do units from 10 on up, so if anybody out there has any apartment buildings or interested in selling, please contact us.
Another thing is that we do not speculate, we’re very protective of our money as well as our investors’ money. I’m not a real estate agent, I have individuals on staff that are agents that could sell your house through the traditional Multiple Listing Service, but again, we’re not a brokerage.
The show will continue to go over everything that deals with real estate and how it impacts your financial future. Real estate is one of the biggest investments anyone has, so the more you know about it, the better it is. Also, I’m going to be providing my opinion. It’s only my opinion, and I ask everyone to do research all the time. Everything that you do, please research – everything from your own attorney to a CPA, always double or triple check.
Last week, we had a guest on the show, Edwin Kelly, he’s talking about investing using your IRA to invest in real estate or other business ventures. We will be having an event on Sunday, late February or early March, we should know by next week when it will be, and we’ll go over in more detail in the Parsippany region about investing your IRA in different types of business ventures, specifically more towards real estate and that’s what we do. So we have a lot of private investors that come to us and they use their IRA to invest in real estate. We believe that real estate is one of the safer – not the safest – but one of the safer ways of investing your money. Right now, the real estate, the stock market continues to move up, and eventually, it’s going to top out. The question is, when is that going to happen? So real estate, it’s always good to be there, you might take a little bit of a hit from a valuation perspective, but the way we invest, you will continue to have monthly returns as a result of the way we do it.
There also will be a lunch and learn in the coming month for real estate agents and different potential ways that they could make additional money, not just through selling the houses, so that’s going to be very exciting. So we should be doing that, again, probably the end of February or early March.
One of the things that I constantly talk about is when someone reads something, they take it as gospel. So that’s why I’m always talking about looking up the information, getting a balanced approach to what it is. Sometimes, you might look at a very liberal set of ads or commentary, but I would request you should look at the other side also, so you could balance it out and see each one has their own good point, but unless you get a full picture of it, you might not really get the accurate depiction of what’s going on. Case in point, I was just reading something the other day about an economist from MIT that said that, I guess in 2016, once Trump gets elected, the world economy is going to go down. So this is an MIT economist and he was saying that the economy was going to go down. Well, the economy hasn’t gone down, the world economy hasn’t gone down, so again, we must kind of balance what’s being said and understand that unfortunately, in this environment, everything’s politicized, whether you’re on one side or the other side. I think what was really clear to me after not trusting a lot of things on shows is there was, it was for the weather channel, so there was a hurricane coming but it really wasn’t that bad at that point, and the gentleman talking announcing on the weather channel, he looked like he was on a 45-degree angle because the wind was blowing, but when they were taping it, someone was talking behind him and they were just walking casually, so we see that it wasn’t real, it was fake. So I think that really says it, if even the weather channel is not accurate in everything they’re announcing, that says it all. So it’s not really about politics only, it’s about gathering headlines and putting on a narrative of whatever that may be, whether it’s weather or politics. So I always say make sure you look it up, make sure you research it really clearly.
So over the past few weeks, I’ve talked about different things you need to look at when you use a cash buyer. A cash buyer is just like our company where we purchase houses for cash, so some of the things I already went over is how long a business is in existence, being part of the BBB, the Better Business Bureau, signing a contract and then the signing of the contract is where you sign a contract and then that contract is given to someone else to fulfill, and we normally do not do that at all. Also, in terms of signing a contract immediately, someone puts a contract in front of you, they say you have to sign, do not do that. Make sure you send it to your attorney.
Next one was proof of funds where you substantiate or the buyer should be able to substantiate that they have money. If they’re buying it for cash, they should have it or they should have a line of credit.
Next one we said was a place of business, so if someone’s going to purchase your home and they say they’re in the business of purchasing homes, they should have a place of business, whether it’s an office building, a house, but you should know where their place of business is.
Next thing that we’ll go over today is about their website. So nowadays, everyone should be having a website, so I think it tells a lot about a business. You could look at the website and you see their phone number, you see their business address and some additional things about them. One of the things that I’ve seen on competitors’ websites is where they have only two pages. One is basically we want to buy your house for cash and the second one was basically to fill out a form, or maybe it’s on the same page, but I think it gives insight of how the company is, so you want to see different things in there. Maybe they have blogs or maybe they have testimonials. We have lots of testimonials on our website, but you need something to really understand what’s going on and who this business is.
Another thing that I’ve seen on my competitors’ websites where you’ll see, it might say, “As seen on NBC or Wall Street Journal,” so on and so forth, so if they’re saying that, that means they should have been publicized and they should have an article or something written about them on these different media outlets, whether MSNBC, Wall Street Journal, so on and so forth. Well, a lot of times, if you do the research, you realize that they’re just icons or pictures that are put on the website, but there’s nothing behind it in terms of being real, so that gives you a lot of insight into the type of business it is, because if they’re publicizing it, it should be true. So that’s something that you have to look at very carefully and it’s very easy now with the Internet to find all these things.
Another thing that I’ve seen competitors do that state that there’s no township certificate of occupancy required, they don’t need to apply for that, well, all townships require that you get some type of CO which is a certificate of occupancy or CCO which is Certificate of Compliancy, but all townships require it. If someone’s telling you that’s not the case, either they don’t know or it’s a downright lie. It’s one or the other. And they require that for many reasons. One of them specifically is to ensure that the house that’s being purchased, even it’s by an investor, they understand what’s in the house in terms of is it habitable? Is it not habitable? The other thing they require is all of them require a fire inspection so that there is fire detectors up there, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors – that’s always required, and anyone that says that’s not the case, that is wrong. Certain townships will find you as well as the person buying it if you do not get a CO or a temp CO. So for Newark, you can be fined $5,000 and the person buying it could be fined $5,000. In East Orange, it’s approximately $3,000 for the buyer and the seller. So it doesn’t matter whether they said you don’t need to do it, you have to do it. And in terms of the different types of CO, like I said, you could get a temp CO, so if the house is, we’ll say uninhabitable or it needs a lot of work, most townships will give out what’s called a temp CO. So a temp CO says basically, okay, it’s not habitable but eventually, it will be and the person that buys it is responsible to fix it up, and then that’s okay. A lot of times, when we buy a house, we’ll buy it with a temp CO and we’ll put the temp CO on it, and that’s fine. And then, in 60 to 90 days, the township will come out again, take a look, and see if we need some additional time to fix everything that’s necessary, but all townships do require it. So if you see something that says otherwise, run the other way. You could also very easily call the township up and they will tell you what it is. Now, certain COs, when they go through it, certain townships require certain things to be corrected, and sometimes, if you’re just selling also retail to another person that’s buying it, you might have to fix certain things. Case in point, like a township like Ewing which is down [inaudible], they require that you fix the sidewalk. So if there’s any sidewalks where it’s lifted up, you need to fix that. Each township is different in terms of what they want and what they don’t want. Edison, for example, when we went there and purchased a house, they were saying basically that they don’t even issue COs always and they have to go through a process, which concerned us a little bit, but we were able to get it approved for a temp CO, but most towns will just say, “Okay, you could get a temp CO,” whereas Edison was saying, “Well, we have to look into it and determine whether we’re going to give you a temp CO. If not, you’re going to have to fix everything beforehand.” So there was some anxiety with that when we were purchasing one of our houses.
Another one is like New Milford, so New Milford is another township. Their requirements also looked at whether you had a sidewalk, if there was any issues with it, They were always very concerned about the driveway and the ramp which is the apron going into the driveway, so they were always concerned about that, as well as their fire inspection. Usually, with the fire inspection, what the standard is, is that you should have a smoke detector on every floor and depending on the situation, you can also need carbon monoxide, especially near the bedrooms, and they also usually require a fire extinguisher very close to the kitchen, right near the kitchen. That’s usually it. Now, certain townships will say you have to have it mounted on the wall, and that’s the majority of them, but we’ve encountered some that said, “Well, you don’t have to have it mounted on the wall, you just have to have it on the counter for the inspection because we know it’s going to be taken off the wall because it’s just an eyesore,” so it really depends on the township that you’re working with and your house is in.
Next thing I’m going to talk about is curb appeal. So when we purchase a house and also when we were assisting sellers in selling a house, curb appeal is very, very big. We have a couple things that are very big: location, location, location is obviously very big. The second one is curb appeal. So I’m going to go over a few things in terms of what we do to brighten up the house and make sure that when someone drives by, they’d want to come in, and if it doesn’t have curb appeal, if we can’t get him through the door, that is a major problem.
So the first thing is the lawns. Lawns should be manicured as best as possible, you should use an edger to make it clean and everything in its place. The other one is bushes, so a lot of times, what we do is we rip out the old bushes, new bushes at Home Depot are very, very inexpensive, so we usually replace all the bushes that are around the house. It might cost you a couple hundred bucks. The biggest thing is just pulling them out, and most of that, depending on the situation, could be done yourself.
So an interesting story is a lot of times, when we buy these bushes, we also buy this grass, it’s a big grass bush and we do that a lot for all of our houses, so one of our contractors, he’s from Uruguay and we install it and he starts laughing at us. I asked, “Well, what’s so funny about this?” He says, “Well, we usually use those just for like, the horses to lay on. We never use it to plant around the house to make it look nice.” It’s always kind of funny what one person uses or what one country just for one thing, another one uses for something else.
The next thing is mulch. We are very big on using mulch which just brightens up and makes everything a lot cleaner, especially around the bushes. What we recommend is, and again, this is just a preference of ours, is the black mulch, so the black mulch, it makes between the grass being green and then the black mulch, it makes everything pop, so it makes it very inviting. The stairways and the walkways should be cleaned and power washed. We always do that and fix up any areas that are raised a little bit, patch them up.
The next thing is the driveway, so what we recommend with the driveway is at least to put some tar down and you could seal them for the driveway. That also brightened it up because again, you can have that black and that color just makes things pop. So we are very much into the black mulch, the black driveway where it’s brand-new, it looks brand-new. Obviously, you cannot seal the driveway if it’s really in bad shape. I’ve tried doing that a few times and it looks probably worse than previous, but I would highly recommend you sealing the driveway. It will look good, it will look very fresh.
Next thing is the screens on the house. If they are old and beat up, just take them off for the time being and just put them aside. You don’t want ripped screens, especially old ones, just even if they are old, it just doesn’t look good, and clean the windows. The other thing that has to do, with the doors and the shutters. So if you’ve got shutters, what we recommend, a lot of times what we do is we paint it black, we paint the door black, so again, what you’re doing is just making the other colors around the house pop because that black, so you’ll see the black mulch with us, the green bushes, and then you’ll have the front door which is normally black, and also the shutters, and as a result of that, it will really pop. Sometimes, we go with a different color, so we did have on 28 Perry Dr. in Ewing, and that one, we went with like a blue gray color, and it looked good but as time progressed, we started using black more and more. We had a house on 24 Weldon Rd. in Edison. If you look at it on Zillow, you’ll see it’s a very simple house. It’s a small ranch but we just painted a few things on it, and we put a new driveway, you could just see the difference with just the contrast between those colors, but the white and the black, and that’s important, just to look at the contrasting colors. We had done a nice house, it was a row house in Dover. It was in 10 Baker St., so what we did is we’re looking at it in the house next to me was none, like very bright yellow, which is not appealing. I’m like, okay, what are we going to do here? And then there was one next-door that was like a beige, so we were trying to figure out what color to do, we are looking at grays, so we said, well, let’s go with a dark blue, and it contrasted really nicely without that was next door which was a yellow, and then we highlighted everything with white, so again, sometimes, what we do is we might put a color on and we’re like, afterwards like, holy mackerel, that didn’t look good. So make sure you get a couple samples to test it out because what you see and when it goes on and it starts to dry are two different things. That’s very, very important. I have painted things before, rooms before and said okay, let’s just do this real quick and then all of a sudden, I’m like, holy, we got to change this color, so I highly recommend using paint samples and try to offset and try to contrast as much as possible.
I’d like to close this segment out and I’ll be back shortly with our next segment. Thank you very much.
Hello, welcome back, this is Joseph J. Zoppi from Templar Real Estate Enterprises. Again, I want to tell you that we’re going to be having an event coming up at the end of next month, February, or early March about investing using your IRA to invest in different types of ventures, whether it’s real estate or any other business venture you may know of. Again, what we’re investing in for the most part from a real estate perspective is either single-family houses or apartment buildings, so there’s a lot of different options with that and we could go over that at the event. It will be in the Parsippany area and it will probably be on a Sunday, but I should have the date probably next week some time or next airing, I’ll go over that.
So, we talk a little bit about, again, we are very big on the rentals and we are very bullish on it, but what we do from a sweet spot perspective is like rentals below $2,000, preferably around $1,300, $1,400, maybe $1,500, somewhere around there, that’s affordable to most people, we’re not into the luxury type of real estate. I do not like that at all. I don’t care that the numbers are great, I don’t care about the rate of return. We don’t care about that because once we do have a downturn, the ones that get hit first are the more expensive rentals or houses, or whatever the case may be, and that it trickles down from there, but on the lower and type houses in decent neighborhoods are always going to be around, there’s always going to be people that rent those houses, so I think that’s very important when you’re looking at it from a strategic perspective and an investment perspective. We will go over rate of returns there, you will go through a lot of different things, why we think it’s good, why we are concerned about the stock market even though it continues to move up, you could be up on the stock market over the course of four or five years 70% and it will take only a 20% hit , the stock market comes down 20%, it will raise 50% of your gains, so if you diversify or move a lot of your money to real estate, you have a hard asset there that’s going to be around for a long time.
So I’d like to again, you could reach us at our website, Templar Buys Houses for Cash, you could call us and will answer any questions you may have, you could leave any type of notes via the website and anything you want to talk about in the future episodes, we will be more than happy to answer. Again, thank you very much and this is again, Joseph J. Zoppi with Templar Real Estate Enterprises.
The preceding 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.
END OF RECORDING
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