Real Estate Technology
Article | July 25, 2022
As the global social and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic emerge, indoor air quality, for example, has emerged as a top priority for keeping building occupants safe and healthy. Workplaces and remote work arrangements are being reimagined by business owners, while retailers and restaurant operators continue to convert their physical spaces for social distancing or, in some cases, for an entirely new use.
In this context, the expectations of asset owners from office, retail, hotel, and residential users have grown exponentially, and there is no shortage of new challenges and opportunities for commercial landlords.
Sustainable environments with ergonomic furnishings, biophilic elements, natural daylight, and living green walls are meeting demands for lower operating costs, increased performance, and improved occupant well-being, as are healthy buildings with natural ventilation, enhanced thermal comfort, improved air quality, and green purchasing policies. One of many innovative examples is a manufacturer of smart windows that tint automatically based on outdoor and indoor conditions, improving people's health and wellness while lowering energy consumption.
The digital twin — essentially a virtual copy of a building — is another example of how technology is being used to transform the real estate industry. By leveraging data analysis, building simulation, the internet of things, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and robotic process automation, digital twins have the potential to help building owners and operators bridge the physical and virtual worlds. The digital twin's resulting assessment, calibration, modelling, and scenario planning capabilities enable more efficient operations, reduced maintenance, increased energy savings, and real-time decision-making support for the physical building. The health of a building will be considered an amenity by its occupants as landlords take steps to improve air quality inside their buildings through smart building.
Overall, healthy buildings improve occupant satisfaction, leasing rates, and building value. Buildings with better air quality and more natural light have lower absenteeism and, as a result, lower turnover and higher worker productivity, resulting in financial savings and increased value for the business. The same advantages apply to retail and residential buildings.
Landlords and commercial tenants are discovering that recognized standards, such as WELL and Fitwel, are enabling an effective framework and leading practices in the ownership, occupancy, and management of their physical environments as they develop, implement, and manage healthy building efforts.
A sustainable and healthy building prioritizes resource efficiency (energy, water, and materials) while enhancing positive building impacts on human health and the environment. Building owners and occupiers who are proactive in furthering these efforts are not only building resilience now, but also preparing for what comes next and beyond.
Real Estate Investment, Asset Management
Article | May 5, 2023
While many workers plan, at least according to recent surveys, to continue spending at least part of each week working from home, a shorter commute still seems to be holding increasing appeal. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB ) says its first quarter Home Building Geography Index (HBGI) indicates not only a pandemic driven shift in construction to low density, low cost markets, but a rapid expansion in areas with the shortest commutes.
Litic Murali, writing in NAHB's Eye on Housing blog, says workplaces are moving toward hybrid home/office work models which could affect 30 to 40 percent of the American workforce. This will give renters and buyers increased market power over their travel times and the ability to reduce both housing and transportation costs.
The nationwide average commute is 26 minutes. Those counties in the bottom quintile (lowest 20 percent) have a commute time of 18 minutes or less while the commute in the highest quintile is 28 minutes. The data show that 36.2 percent of the U.S. population resides in the counties in that top slice.
The HBGI indicates that the top two quintiles with the longest commutes together had 63.6 percent of single family building. However, growth was strongest in that bottom quintile with a four-quarter moving average annual growth of 22.2 percent.
Real Estate Technology, Asset Management
Article | May 10, 2023
For first-time homebuyers, making the transition from renter to homeowner can be exciting, overwhelming, and scary all at once. Yet as Gary Keller and Jay Papasan write in the second edition of Your First Home, “Those who live the most fulfilling lives base their decisions on facts, not fears.”
Below, we’ve outlined four powerful facts from Your First Home to help move anxious homeowners toward the fulfillment and abundance Keller and Papasan nod to. Delivered with empathy, care, and your expertise – these facts can help ease fears and move clients closer to experiencing all the bounties homeownership brings.
Fear 1: “I can’t afford to buy a home now.”
Fact: Until you do the math, you don’t know what you can or can’t afford.
If you are currently paying rent, generally you can afford to buy. From a financial point of view, in the United States, the tax savings on mortgage interest alone usually make up most of the difference between your rent and mortgage payments – the tax write-offs you get at the end of year will generally help you save a lot of money.
Additionally, depending on your credit score, you can end up affording more than you realize. Note: The credit scores used for mortgage lending tend to take on a much larger picture of your overall credit score.
Finally, although there may be a higher initial cost to buying a house, if you’re planning on staying in one place for a few years, the equity you build can end up being a financial boon.
Fear 2: “I should wait until the real estate market gets better.”
Fact: There is never a wrong time to buy the right home.
Whether “right” means the right price or the right property for you, waiting for the perfect market timing seldom works to your advantage. If you don’t believe us, look back to the Great Recession when the bubble around the housing market burst, GDP declined 4.5% and unemployment rose to around 9.5%. Everyone still feels the impact of this incredible financial event. But, like those who endured the Great Depression, the people who lived through the Great Recession made it through, and benefited from an era of financial growth. In fact immediately following the Great Recession, the United States entered the longest period of rising prices and general prosperity since World War II. The fact of the matter is, even the biggest economic downturns are, well, normal. Even when there were some events that threatened to dampen the economy, like the COVID-19 pandemic, the housing market still continued to thrive.
In the end, there are two ways to make money in real estate: timing and time. That is you happen upon the right moment to purchase your home before the price appreciates, or you hold it for a long enough time so that appreciation makes your purchase investment right. If you miss the first, you can most certainly count on the second.
Fear 3: “I don’t have the money for a down payment.”
Fact: There are a variety of down-payment options available to you.
While many people believe that making a home purchase requires a substantial down payment, as as much as 20%,, this is seldom true. Options are always available to you that require much less than this number, as low as 5%, some even less. Moreover, most states have down-payment assistance programs that can help you afford to buy.
House-hacking can also be a great way to make homeownership a more affordable option. House-hacking is when you purchase a piece of real estate and lease out one of the bedrooms or units. This rental income can then be applied toward your mortgage. Or, you can participate in home rental programs like Vrbo or Airbnb. While it may not be ideal all of the time, you could always make your month’s mortgage payment by renting your place while you’re on vacation.
Fear 4: “I can’t buy a home because my credit score isn’t good.”
Fact: A less-than-perfect credit score won’t necessarily prevent you from buying a home.
Although it’s valuable to have a good credit score, a poor one shouldn’t necessarily prevent you from talking to lenders to explore your options. You can expect that a good loan officer (or mortgage specialist) will be able to help you resolve your credit challenges, often simply by showing you how to move or consolidate your debts, or by referring you to a credit counselor who will put you on a plan.
If you’re facing the challenge of having no credit history because you are new to the workforce or have not made regular purchases on credit, there are still possible solutions that you may want to explore. One is to secure financing with the help of a cosigner, such as parents or a close relative, who is willing to stand by your ability to make the payments. Another can be finding a lender who is willing to use alternative forms of history such as student loans, rent, and utilities.
Looking For More Homeownership Resources?
Head over to the Your First Home webpage for freebies, including information on how to build out your real estate dream team and for your clients, a resource on how to determine their homeownership criteria.
Article | April 22, 2020
Real estate is a key element of the U.S. economy. Residential real estate provides housing for individuals and families and is a major source of wealth and savings for Americans. Commercial real estate creates spaces for retail, offices, manufacturing, and apartment buildings as well as creating jobs to sell, build, and maintain all these structures.