Archive for April, 2018

Skating to the 80s with our clients!

Posted on April 21, 2018. Filed under: Client Appreciation events, First Time Buyer help | Tags: , , |

 

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We love the 80s!

Client Appreciation 2018

Every year we host a client appreciation night to celebrate our clients and make sure they know just how much we appreciate doing business and life with them. This year for our appreciation night we decided to throw it back to the 80s with a roller skating party! We had so much fun skating and dancing to our favorite 80s tunes at Holiday Skate Center.

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Cha Cha Slide by DJ Casper with our clients.

Thankful for you!

We are so thankful for all of our clients whether you were able to make it out or not. We appreciate your business, but we also love getting to be apart of your lives from the beginning of our work together. We hope those who were able to join us this year had a great time, and those that were not able to make it can come next year!

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​Michigan & the Marijuana Debate

Posted on April 20, 2018. Filed under: Informed Investor Alliance, Property Mangement, Real Estate Stories | Tags: , , , , , |

IMG_9279This blog post comes from deep in the country of MI, a little township called Richmond. My grandparents have owned property there since before I was born, and two years ago my sister, cousin, & I purchased their 10 acres of land; because it is ‘Our Happy Place’. Recently we received a postcard invitation to attend a town hall meeting & have a discussion on whether or not Richmond residents will ‘opt in’ to any or all aspects surrounding Canna-biz.

California is such a progressive state – we always seem to be one of the first to embrace new ideals and directions. It’s been interesting to follow our evolution from viewing marijuana as a problem to recognizing marijuana as a solution. Other states are still struggling with this. Like really struggling. We thought it might be helpful to see how property values have fared in states that have opted for recreational marijuana….are they up in smoke?

The first article we came across is by the University of Wisconsin and states there is a positive correlation found between property values and cannabis:

http://www.westword.com/marijuana/marijuana-dispensaries-linked-to-rising-denver-home-prices-by-university-of-wisconsin-study-9531562

As all of us know, we can pretty much find an article to support any angle, and this one claims it ‘could’ affect values:

http://www.sacbee.com/news/business/real-estate-news/article173621656.html

So I dug deeper. I conducted a couple phone interviews with highly respected Realtors in states that offer recreational reefer.

First call was to Kerri Hartnett, past President of the Portland, Oregon Association of Realtors. Kerri is a single mom, homeowner, & a business owner. She explained that Oregonians are fighting things that increase property tax or limit land use. It is a liberal state but there are still plenty of old school attitudes. Particularly, there’s an attitude anyone who makes money is evil. (I also heard this in the Richmond MI meeting) She said that it’s too soon to really tell if marijuana affects property values either way. That said, she is seeing challenges such as title companies not wanting to insure properties of that sort. She’s also seeing income from Cannabis not ‘qualifying’, and loans getting denied. Furthermore, Oregon’s tax structure setup is at point of sale, not point of grow. This has caused issues with crime since the $$$ isn’t going back to the grow area. She feels these are all challenges with any new type of industry, so the wrinkles will get ironed out eventually and there will a proper balance.

Other calls made had similiar results. I did not hear from ONE active real estate agent that property values have been affected in a negative way. Here in California, I’m seeing & hearing positive appreciation, especially in the commercial realm.

Back to the Richmond, MI town hall meeting. Residents weren’t just concerned with money or equity (OMG). Obviously bringing cannabis into our homes and neighborhoods is about much more than that. What shocked me were some of the fears and world views on cannabis that a small town community…farming community of all things.. has. I wondered if they were backed by facts, and wanted to share what I found.

Cannabis & Kids

kidOf course, family is a huge concern. People didn’t want to expose ‘that’ to their children. Others felt their children might get lured into a world of addiction. Yikes & no thanks! But is that really what’s happening out there? Are we setting up our kids to fail? Here’s an article from the Washington Post that states 12th grade kids in Colorado are no more likely to engage in the ganja than they were before.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/news/wonk/wp/2016/12/29/what-happened-in-washington-state-after-voters-legalized-recreational-weed/

Jobs & the Weed Industry

170809073246_1_900x600Another comment made by some folks at the meeting is they did not want to drive in their beautiful town & see the landscape all changed up with mega-sized industrial and commercial grow buildings. Richmond does pride itself on being stuck in time, and it’s honestly one of the things I love about it. I am seeing these enormous commercial buildings purchased frequently in CA’s Inland Empire, but in MI they would need to be built or we could repurpose existing eyesores. This means that proactive towns have the opportunity to define what that looks like. If you’re in an area having this debate – get involved & voice your opinion so you don’t end up with a green dispensary next door! My suggestion for MI: make it look like a barn. And if you want to talk about EYESORES….how bout you do something about your real barn that has been falling down plank by plank for the last 20 years??? (just sayin, ppl)

I’m all for the landscape, but let’s lean into what those buildings could do for the town. MI as a whole has been struggling with unemployment for a long time with all the car factories relocating, and less blue collar needs in general. On top of that… farmers have struggled to make a living there as mega farms take over. Here’s an article from Forbes that discusses how many jobs the marijuana industry will create. As a Realtor, I know anything that creates jobs helps keep people in homes, & eventually buy bigger homes. And then businesses. It’s the necessary circle of life in a healthy community of any size.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.forbes.com/sites/debraborchardt/2017/02/22/marijuana-industry-projected-to-create-more-jobs-than-manufacturing-by-2020/amp/

What’s in the water?

Another voiced concern was what kind of chemicals we are putting into our water & soil with this potential ‘opt in’ status. I was SO glad to hear the town residents thinking this through. We don’t want to hurt our precious land in any way. According to MI law, no pesticides are permitted when growing medical marijuana. If they find pesticides, they have to throw the crop away. According to section 31(3) of the MI Marihuana Facilities licensing act:

Except as otherwise provided, if a sample collected pursuant to Rule 32 or provided to a safety compliance facility pursuant to these rules does not pass the microbial, mycotoxin, heavy metal, pesticide chemical residue, or residual solvents levels test based on these rules, the marihuana facility that provided the sample shall dispose of the entire batch from which the sample was taken and document the disposal of the sample using the statewide monitoring system pursuant to the act, marihuana tracking act, and these rules.

Such a relief that home and landowners are already covered on this matter. We don’t want to end up famous like Flint.

Dude, You Stink

There were multiple residents who were very concerned about the smell of cannabis penetrating their property. Personally, this cracked me up a bit since the town has smelled like cow booty for like 20 years. But again as a Realtor smell is a REAL concern. I have had plenty of listings struggle to sell because of tobacco, pet, and food smells. Is marijuana next on my list???  Maybe…according to this article 30% of smell complaints in Colorado are related to marijuana. On the other hand, the smell has not been deemed hazaradous in any way:

http://projects.registerguard.com/rg/news/local/34040437-75/as-oregon-pot-grows-proliferate-so-do-complaints-about-plants-odor.html.csp

I’m curious if anyone reading this has experienced the issue. Please comment. I have a home in Santa Ana, where there are a TON of in home grows & dispensaries, and I have never noticed anything, personally. Have you?

Cannabis & Violent Crimes

It was stated there were shootings at Port Huron dispensaries, & we are inviting a ton of crime onto our precious Richmond soil. Whoa. That’s hefty. I tried to find the articles to support that, and couldn’t find any shootings that were directly related. If you do have an article supporting this, please share it!

Although every area is still going to have crime, statistically speaking, marijuana does nothing to increase violent crimes (aka shootings) according to Internet Fact-Checker, Snopes:

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/marijuana-legalization-violent-crime/

PTSD & Cannabis

PTSDvetsThe saddest moment of the meeting to me was when a Veteran stood up and said he was a medical cannabis patient and he truly tried every ‘drug’ to help the anxiety until he came across marijuana. He said marijuana helped him heal & he encouraged the attendees to view it as medicine. Another VA had the nerve to speak up & say he went to war too & didn’t need any of that. To me….how dare any of us judge what heals another. I was tempted to stand up and shout that the real poisonous drugs were the Big Pharma ones in everyone’s medicine cabinet…but that would not have went over well hahaha! Baby steps people… Start by watching The Truth About Cancer Episode 8 & Disjointed on Netflix. Whether you do or you don’t….others are finding relief to both physical & mental issues with CBD & cannabis.

Just the Facts

 

The attorney’s presenting facts to the town were great and kept it neutral. They told me I can find their presentation for the city of Sterling Heights on this matter via YouTube…but alas I cannot locate 😦 If you have a link, please share! The people there were anything but neutral, though. I appreciate a healthy debate and encourage homeowners on either side to comment here & keep commenting to your elected officials. It was nice to see Richmond’s attitude, particularly Richmond Township Supervisor Cynthia Greenia truly seemed invested in discovering & delivering what the residents want. That was refreshing, just like our pond’s water 🙂

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Global Forum – International Real Estate

Posted on April 17, 2018. Filed under: First Time Buyer help, Informed Investor Alliance, International Properties, Lenders & Loan info, Making Life Easier, Orange County Real Estate | Tags: , , , |

 

Ways Immigrants Can Buy California Property

Have you been thinking about buying in the US, but live in a foreign country? We can help! There’s lots of talk in real estate about EB 5 Immigration , it’s a program United States offers to encourage foreign investors to purchase property here in the US. Because Trump administration has been putting the brakes on immigration recently, a Green Card is tough to get! This has caused major issues and investors (particularly from China) are getting turned away. 😦 But don’t be discouraged. According to Immigration attorney Qiang Bjornbak, depending on your country of origin and job, there may be options for your visa:

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If you would like to explore which immigration solution is best for you, we would be happy to put you in touch with Qiang for a consultation. She can help pave your path 🙂 Once you are able to legally own a home in the United States, then the next challenge is to obtain financing.

How Foreigners Can Obtain US Loans

Foreign loans don’t come without challenges. Seasoning, or the amount of time your money has been in the bank, can be a big one. Another issue can be a newer social security number. Furthermore, reported income, foreign bank statements, and low appraisals are all landmines that can explode during the loan application process. Red flags everywhere…what’s an investor to do?!

It was great to hear from a panel of lenders who are open to working with foreign buyers, and have experiences to overcome challenges. If you’re buying for the first time in the US, you NEED an experienced lender to make your loan process smooth. Regardless of which lender you select, always run a DU (Direct Underwriting) to make sure your loan is fully approved. Usually about 30% down is required on foreign investments, and you need 2-12 months of reserves. Certain lenders also offer down payment programs. Sometimes these loans can be closed in 30 days, but usually they take about 40-45 days. It’s best to make sure your funds are already in the US to ensure there are no delays.

According to feedback in the room… Sterling Bank & Trust is very easy to work with and has fabulous programs that are easy to qualify. ChinaTrust Bank has an ‘asset based’ program which is great when income isn’t high. Cathay Bank offers a foreign HELOC, which is very rare! Here are all the panelists, just fill out the form below if you would like an introduction!

  • Sterling Bank & Trust – Steven Chang
  • New American Funding – Frank Fuentes
  • HSBC Bank – Buddie Krugh
  • Cathay Bank – Howard Tung
  • ChinaTrust Bank – Kevin Yang

What States Do International Investors Prefer in the US?

Interesting question! Literally, it’s all over! According to 2017 data, here’s the top 5:

  1. Florida
  2. California
  3. Texas
  4. Arizona
  5. New Jersey

If you think sunny Southern California is the best state for you, let’s talk! Just fill out the form below or text call Angie at 949-338-7408. Happy investing – we can’t wait to help you open the door to your US property!

 

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    Orange County, CA Real Estate for hip first-time buyers and investors. Plus, fun things to know and do in OC.

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