FOMO

Just before the Great Recession managed to dash homeowner dreams and investor real estate businesses, most of the different methods promoted common profit goals.

Which Type of Real Estate Investment is Right For You?
And, as a business model you could evaluate different types of real estate investments

An excerpt from Book Five in “The Knowledge Path Series” dedicated to helping you find the place of your dreams in the Sierra Mountain resorts.

Part One in a 5-Part Series: Is An Investment in Real Estate Right for You?

Part Two: Real Estate Investment Types

Part Three: Building Your Rental Real Estate Business

Housing markets.

Real Estate opportunities.

What Do You Really Need to Know?

Are we experiencing the fear of missing out (FOMO) again?

Are we experiencing the past all over again?

But with a new generation?

Remember the absolute real estate feeding frenzy before the melt down?

  • Rich Dads,
  • Trump University,
  • Wealth Management Expos.
Real Money Was In The Training Programs

We sat in the audiences and listened to their high pressure pitches to buy their training programs in downtown LA.

We encountered no shortage of

  • books,
  • tapes,
  • seminars pitching ways of making money with
  • OPM – Other People’s Money.

Timing?

The worst case materialized when thousands jumped in and over-extended themselves just as the bubble burst.

They got caught holding the bag.

Risk of Foreclosure

In a game of real estate musical chairs, the economy pulled the chair out from under them.

  • What were they thinking?
  • Obviously, not expecting a reverse cycle?
  • But, looking back now and projecting ahead, do the methods work?
  • Can you still find opportunities with the degree of risk you can afford?
  • What should you know?

So far we focused on moving to resort communities that bring out the best in you.

  • Should you just buy a second-home, but keep your primary residence and rent out your vacation home?
  • If you do move, are there any other ways to make money in real estate that make sense for you?

Just before the Great Recession managed to dash homeowner dreams and investor real estate businesses, most of the different methods promoted common profit goals.

Each recommended real estate deals that only …

  • generated a positive monthly income,
  • appreciation growth, with
  • zero or near zero down payments
  • securing a mortgage, and
  • cash in your hand on each deal.

Your job, then is to research and then visit communities that fit your criteria with fewer tradeoffs.

And, as a business model you could evaluate different types of real estate investments —

  • multifamily residential properties,
  • industrial and commercial units,
  • shopping centers and strip malls,
  • raw land or self-storage warehouses.

Steps:

(22) Selectively evaluate the best quality-of-life communities to live in and weigh the tradeoffs of risk and rewards for accruing real estate appreciation along a progression of rural and small towns that meet what your pocket books can afford.

(34) On your visits look for any newer developments that may trigger changes in neighborhood patterns. New construction in or around the neighborhood? Major regional economic adjustments? Transition from households with children to ones that are empty nests? Rezoning, and dramatically rising/falling land values?

 

Who’s Free to Move About the Country?

California doesn’t have a corner on the market for individuals and businesses seeking pristine natural quality-of-life communities with an open and innovative social environment.

Psychologists have found that midlife is typically a time when many of us take stock of our values and goals. 

Part Three in a 4-part Series evaluating real estate and consumer predictions as generations transition throughout successive life stages.

Part Two: Demographic Lifestyles and Buying Power

Part One: Determinism

What about those aging Baby Boomers?

If they follow the broad trend lines, they will retire in place.

Importance of Grandchildren

The community they now call home after their last corporate transfer.

Where their children and grandchildren call home.

Dent recommends checking out the best suburban and exurban communities on the edge of attractive cities in addition to the more compelling resorts and university towns.

If we look at the trends in which cities and geographical areas have attracted the most retirees in the last decade we can get a better clue as to where the growth will continue to accelerate as the pre-retirement and retirement age groups grow in the coming decade. 

Mammoth Mountain Getaways

For this next part, remember what Mammoth realtor Paul Oster wrote – Dent’s track record makes him a better demographer than an economist.

Remember that on a 63-year lag for average retirement, baby boomers will be retiring in rising rates from 2000 – 2026.  

After this boom ends, deflation is almost certain to ensue for at least a decade and possibly into the early 2020’s. 

Resort Retirement Benefits

Dent said that means the cost of living, the price of real estate, and the interest rates should drop substantially.

This deflationary downturn will offer direct benefits to real estate owners and buyers. 

Has the time come and gone – when Dent’s trends wither on the vine?

We only have to review Lake Tahoe and Mammoth Lake’s real estate markets to call into question the accuracy of Dent’s first trend.

Lake Tahoe Traditions

The first trend is a broad migration pattern towards exurbs and small towns, many of which will continue to hold most of their value through the downturn.

This third wave of migration – an exodus from the suburbs – will accelerate through the first half of the 21st century, continue long after this Deflationary Shakeout ends.

The second trend will be a strong and consistent rise in retirement home purchases.

Mountain Retirement and Second Homes

Baby boomers will drive the market for this kind of property from 2002 into around 2030. 

A third long-term real estate trend to take advantage of after late 2008 is the rising demand for rental property in urban and suburban areas.

Why?

Apartments will be in relatively strong demand through about 2017 due partly to the aging of the echo baby boom generation. 

Seems reasonable, and while we may have dodged the “Mother of All Depressions” he predicted instead with the Great Recession, Dent’s view on demand may be currently playing out.

Demand will be further strengthened by the effect of the depression era on individuals who are of an age to shop for starter homes, but who must delay this purchase until the economy improves.

Stuff happens in our lives.

Second Half Dream Homes

Recall two midlifers, Johnny from Boston and David from Canada — two refugees from the cold weather who moved to Cabo San Lucas to start over.

Dent writes

Psychologists have found that midlife is typically a time when many of us take stock of our values and goals. 

He ticks off several reasons.

We attain a certain level of affluence through the combination of high earnings and a sudden drop in necessary family expenses as children leave the nest.

What’s Important in Our Lives?

We confront our mortality, either by taking care of ill or elderly parents or by seeing the inevitable aging in ourselves. 

For baby boomers and older Gen X-ers each reason can usher in a more positive ending.

Above all, retirement looms on the horizon as an expanse of freedom that many of us, working 8-to-5 jobs, have not known before. 

All of these reasons compel us to pause, reflect, and consider how we are going to live the rest of our lives. 

California doesn’t have a corner on the market for individuals and businesses seeking pristine natural quality-of-life communities with an open and innovative social environment.

While Dent believed California would grow, other communities in the West were forecasted to grow much faster.

And without paying a high price tag for a similar lifestyle.

Dent suggested these additions to your Western bucket list.

From Hollywood to Silicon Valley, along the coasts into Portland, Seattle and Vancouver, and inland to  Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, we see the most innovative cities in America spawning most of the growth companies.

What do they have in common?

These businesses, primarily in the fields of high technology and entertainment, are the backbone of the new information economy.

If you’ve ever lived or traveled in the West, you know there is a clear difference in culture between the western states, the east coast, and the central areas of North America.

Steps:

(19) Anticipate the growing shifts in life and business. Nobody wants to swim upstream if the current is moving everything in the opposite direction. Clue your fans in.

An excerpt from Book Five in “The Knowledge Path Series” dedicated to helping you find the place of your dreams in the Sierra Mountain resorts.

Demographic Lifestyles and Buying Power

As time marches on they’ll move the Baby Boomers aside as target real estate buyers of resort property …

Resort Vacation Home
Will the majority of retirement age baby boomers move to remote resort locations like Mammoth Lakes, Dillon, Colorado or in recreational areas like Lake Tahoe?

Part Two in a 4-part Series evaluating real estate and consumer predictions as generations transition throughout successive life stages.

Part One: Determinism

For each of the following predictions more current forces may delay and extend the age ranges for the Millennial generation.

But first, what about the Gen X generation?

They “occupy” several life stage demographic profiles.

Recall that the Gen X cohort accounts for roughly 51 million who were born between 1964 and 1980.

By 2015 they range from between age 35 and 50 years old which stretches across

Active Midlife Couples
  • 30-44 year old Singles and Midlife
  • 35-54 year old Families
  • 45+ year old Families and Empty Nest Couples.

They have or are just now reaching their “peak spending years,” between the ages 46 and 53. Dent correlates demographic age to real estate segments.

Spending on trade-up homes accelerates from age 35 and reaches a peak by around age 44.

As time marches on they’ll move the Baby Boomers aside as target real estate buyers of resort property …

Sales of vacation property begins to accelerate from age 46 and peaks around age 52 to 55.

The Baby Boom generation conformed except for those members caught by surprise during the Great Recession.

Investment in retirement property begins to accelerate from the late 50s and peaks in the mid-60s.

In 2014 the huge generation numbered 75.4 million.

Born after World War II between 1946 to 1964, their median age 60 years old anchored their range between 51 and 69 years old.

Having moved through all of the other life stage and age segments they now occupy

Retiring Baby Boomer Couples
  • 55+ Baby Boomer Couples,
  • Empty Nests, and
  • 65+ Couples and Seniors

In addition, Dent describes how broad geographical migration patterns significantly influence long-term real estate trends.

Certain areas of the country clearly and consistently have experienced faster growth than others. 

For example in 2002 …

The Northeast and the Upper Midwest Plains states have generally been losing population; the Midwest has seen flat or modest growth; and the Southeast, Southwest and Northwest have all been growing substantially.

Will the majority of retirement age baby boomers move to remote resort locations like Mammoth Lakes, Dillon, Colorado or in recreational areas like Lake Tahoe?

No.

Part Three: Who’s Free to Move About the Country?

Steps:

(19) Anticipate the growing shifts in life and business. Nobody wants to swim upstream if the current is moving everything in the opposite direction. Clue your fans in.

An excerpt from Book Five in “The Knowledge Path Series” dedicated to helping you find the place of your dreams in the Sierra Mountain resorts.

Two Ways to Stay Home

Part Four in a 4-part series weighing the pros and cons of investing in real estate over the course of a life time.

Peace of Mind that Home Equity Affords
Pulling the trigger on any major decision like this one with consequences (intended or unintended) will significantly impact the rest of your life.

Back in February of 2007 I read a FidelityReport published by Fidelity Research Institute that compared unlocking equity for investments to risks and relative returns of stocks, bonds and cash.

NOTE: Don’t take what follows as financial advice. If you haven’t consulted professionals, well, what are you waiting for? Do so at once!

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

DOUBLE AND TRIPLE CHECK YOUR SCENARIOS WITH A FINANCIAL PLANNER WHOSE FIDUCIARY DUTY IS TO YOU!

Option Four – Stay in your home, invest your equity

Two Tactics.

Reverse Mortgage or

Home Equity Line Of Credit (HELOC)

HELOC scenarios:

HELOC rate is 8.0%; this is based on a loan for 80% of the home’s value and is .25% below prime (Source: Countrywide).

Assume that there is one refinance after 10 years.

HELOC mortgage interest deduction is limited to the interest on the first $100,000 of the loan.

Assumes home is sold off to pay the loan; if another mortgage is taken out, transaction costs could be lower. 

Pros: 

  • Allows both couples to live in their home.

    Enjoying the Fruits of their Labor
  • Works well when the home continues to appreciate in value.
  • The HELOC debt is covered by the increase in value.
  • After paying off the credit line heirs receive substantial legacies

Remember both couples could deduct the mortgage interest by itemizing on Federal taxes attributable to the first $100,000 of the loan.

HELOC transaction costs are also quite low at about 1% of the loan and the credit line offers flexibility in timing any drawdown.

Cons: 

  • The costs and responsibility of home maintenance.
  • As cost of living expenses increase both couples may be tempted to spend down more than the initial 80% debt value ceiling.
  • Or, as their home value increases they may  continually ramp up their debt.

    Risk of Foreclosure

Of course, they will need to make regular monthly payments on their HELOC or face the risk of foreclosure.

Reverse Mortgage scenarios:

Assumes that proposed legislation is enacted that would change housing limits to a national limit of $417,000.

Limit increases at 4% annually.

Assume current interest rate of 7% – includes the 6.5% interest rate and the .5% insurance premium.

Monthly servicing fee of $30/month is added annually.

This scenario assumes that interest rates stay fairly constant.

Reverse mortgage interest deduction is limited to the interest on the first $100,000 of the loan; accrued interest is deductible by the heirs in the year that it is paid. 

Leaving a Legacy for Heirs

It is assumed that the heirs will be able to deduct the mortgage interest in the year that it is paid, and that the heirs will be able to utilize $100,000 of that interest deduction. 

The utility of the deduction will depend on the individual tax situation of the heirs.

Assume home is sold to pay off loan; if another mortgage is taken out, transaction costs could be different.

Reverse mortgages

Enable these couples to receive regular payments (actually loans) secured against the value of their homes and be assured that they can remain in those homes for life. 

Pros: 

  • Homeowners live in their homes and tap into their substantial amount of equity.
  • Depending on their age.
  • Home value.
  • Prevailing interest rates.
  • As long as they live in their home, life is good.

No payments need to be made on the reverse mortgage (though they must, of course, cover the home’s routine expenses and maintain it). 

Better still, loan payments to the borrower may feel — and function — like ordinary income, but they are not taxable income. 

Under current law, payments received by a reverse mortgage borrower don’t count towards Medicaid resource limits provided they are spent each month and not accumulated. 

Here’s the bonus while you live in your home.

They don’t count toward the income threshold for determining whether regular Social Security payments are subject to federal income tax. 

Social Security Income and Taxes

Also, reverse mortgages do not count toward the $500,000 – $750,000 home equity test for nursing/long-term care assistance under Medicaid. 

Here’s the bonus for your kids.

Heirs to a home carrying reverse mortgage debt do sell, they should be able to deduct the mortgage interest (subject to any applicable limitations).

Cons: 

During 2007 Fidelity cautioned.

  • Because the reverse mortgage market is still emerging, upfront costs are much higher than a HELOC — up to several percent of the loan value. 
  • The product is complex and the amount available for lending is inversely correlated to interest rates — which are difficult to predict and impossible to control.

Are these five options the only scenarios for both couples?

It is possible to combine these strategies in various ways. 

Both couples could choose to combine the first scenario, 

Sell Home and Buy a Less Expensive Home, with either a HELOC or a Reverse Mortgage on the new home. 

Why would this be in their best interests?

They could generate incremental cash flow. 

Heirs would benefit from the new home.

Equity could be extracted for their comfort or future investments

But, here’s the kicker.

  • Time to age 94.

    How Long Before Age 94?
  • One couple’s planning horizon is 32 years while the other is just 19 years.

What’s yours?

You need to take into account the difference in possible home values, cash flows and other variables.

Think of it this way — if these couples chose one of these options in the (year 2016) — the results we project would be realized for the Walkers (by 2035)… the Smiths would not see the results the table suggests until (2048 )— the last year of their 32-year planning horizon. 

Since this age and timeframe difference is so substantial, the only meaningful comparisons to make are among each couple’s own options. 

Takeaways?

Remember, don’t rely solely on your home equity as a significant retirement funding source.

  • Recurring cyclical downturns in real estate can inflict severe damage.
  • Investment returns on residential real estate have been lower historically than
    Nest Egg

    on stocks and bonds.

  • If you pour all your funds into your home you’ll have nothing left to invest for higher marginal returns.

Don’t count out the emotional components of owning a home.

The emotional aspects of homeownership can also present significant barriers to the use of home equity for retirees.

Whatever the financial case, the emotional investment involved can make it hard to sell, rent or float debt on a home after a lifetime of paying off mortgages — even if that strategy makes sense financially.

The comfort of living in a familiar home as one ages or the desire to leave the home’s full value to heirs compound many retirees reluctance to tap their home equity by either sale or leverage.

If you’ve planned well and acquired significant equity when reaching retirement age you’ve got multiple options for mobilizing it.

Decisions on precisely how to tap home equity require careful analysis and he financial and emotional trade-offs change as retirees age.

Non-financial personal preferences may quite reasonably trump sheer financial or cash flow benefits.

Peace of mind, convenience, familiarity are all real, if hard-to-quantify values.

Reverse mortgages do offer many advantages for retirees —

… notably, regular cash flows that do not count as taxable income. 

But this market needs to mature.

High initial costs of reverse mortgages scare off many retirees.

Many fear losing their homes to the lender, even though there is no such risk.

The reverse mortgage market will likely grow substantially once upfront costs drop, securitization takes hold, and customer awareness of potential advantages grows.

With your financial planner double-check all of the

Feel free to use this image, just link to www.SeniorLiving.Org
  • assumptions,
  • scenarios,
  • tradeoffs,
  • pros,
  • cons and
  • your spreadsheet calculations.

If the calculated risks are baked in, then go ahead with your eyes wide open.

Like all carpenters know, measure twice and cut one.

Pulling the trigger on any major decision like this one with consequences (intended or unintended) will significantly impact the rest of your life.

An excerpt from Book Four in “The Knowledge Path Series” dedicated to helping you find the place of your dreams in the Rocky Mountain State.

Pros and Cons of 3 Options

Part Three in a 4-part series weighing the pros and cons of investing in real estate over the course of a life time.

Home Sale Assumptions
NOTE: – Double and triple check your scenarios with a financial planner whose fiduciary duty is to you!

Option One – Downsize and Buy.

Couples sell their home and purchase a less expensive house.

Pros:

For both couples, this option

Generates extra income for consumption, provides a legacy for their heirs and allows them to enjoy the comfort and autonomy of home ownership. 

Security to Enjoy Life

It also preserves the option to further tap home equity in the future through various types of loans which will be discussed later.

Cons: 

Don’t forget both couples have to

… maintain and cover the continuing expenses of a home. 

They might also have difficulty finding a less expensive home in the same community — or timing that purchase with the sale of their original home. 

Or, the stress of relocation.

Once they find their new home, they have to incur the emotional and monetary costs associated with moving.

Option Two – Sell and Rent a less expensive residence

Pros: 

Both couples escape the expense and responsibility of maintaining a home.

Enjoy the Amenities

They might also have greater latitude to move to a different location immediately or as their circumstances change.

Cons: 

As renters, both couples lose control over their future housing costs.

They’ll face constraints when they want to personalize their home to suit their specific needs or tastes.

And maybe more significantly.

The Smiths, in their early 60s, could also face high cash outflows in rent for many years — longer than it takes to pay off a 30-year mortgage if they live until their mid-nineties.

Option Three – Become a landlord. And a renter.

A third option available to our couples would be to rent out their existing home and to rent a less expensive home.

If they convert their home to an investment property, this will introduce some changes to their financial situation. 

The income they receive from renting out their home will be treated as taxable income. 

They can now deduct certain home expenses such as insurance and maintenance and are able to take depreciation on the property.

Pros: 

Good news. The original home can be handed down to future generations —

… a potentially substantial benefit.

Cons: 

Cash flow concerns.

Unless the rental unit is significantly less expensive than the original home this choice will produce minimal additional cash flow.

At this stage in life do you really want a part-time job?

Fixing Up After Last Renter

Plus deal with the emotional wrench of maintaining your home for someone else.

Also, remember the following points for the renting out existing home scenario:

Home is depreciated on the 27.5 year straight-line method as required under current tax law. See IRS Publication 257 — Residential Rental Property.

Home maintenance and insurance are deductible as rental expenses.

An excerpt from Book Four in “The Knowledge Path Series” dedicated to helping you find the place of your dreams in the Rocky Mountain State.

 

Equity

“Buy land, they’re not making it anymore.” — Mark Twain.

Unlocking Equity. From www.SeniorLiving.Org
Figure out if you should unlock that equity for investments.

Or more specifically, how to tap into your source of capital to fund your retirement.

Part One in a 4-part series weighing the pros and cons of investing in real estate over the course of a life time.

Nest Egg

Leaving aside rental and commercial property or other indirect forms of investing in real estate, such as REITs, a more common scenario involves typical homeowners.

Those who bought years ago, paid off their mortgage or will have shortly and despite the negative impact of The Great Recession managed to build a decent amount of equity.

Point one.  

Don’t take what follows as financial advice.

If you haven’t consulted professionals, well, what are you waiting for?

Do so at once!

Back in February of 2007 I read a FidelityReport published by Fidelity Research Institute that compared unlocking equity for investments to risks and relative returns of stocks, bonds and cash.

Point two. 

Fidelity emphasized how much a home, and therefore it’s equity, is subject to market cycles.

History lesson.

Previous generations of Americans treated home equity as an illiquid asset being built up almost invisibly as mortgages were paid down. 

History Lesson

They considered this growing equity either as an “asset of last resort” or as a source of bequests to heirs.

And, of course, back then those homes cost what a luxury car today goes for today.

So, it’s no surprise that future generations are on track to carry much larger mortgages.

And, they will continue to do so into their late middle age and even deep into their retirement years

… perhaps on the assumption that these larger debts will be compensated for by a continued rise in home values.

By 2007, more than 80% of all Americans over age 65 owned homes.

The median price of new homes in the United States has averaged an annual appreciation rate of 5.9% since 1963.

Point three.

Fidelity cautioned, even before the more recent Great Recession

Market Cycles

… historical experience suggests that real estate investments can suffer serious and sometimes prolonged downturns. 

Sometimes it can be across the board.

But, baring a prolonged deflationary slump teetering on an economic depression, it is certainly true for local regions struck by extended economic decline.

Local real estate prices and your return on investment rise and fall with economic factors

… such as interest rates, per capita income, building costs and unemployment rates. 

Shifts in your mortgage loan market can reduce your monthly payments.

Those innovations make housing more accessible.

Like variable rate and interest only loans.

But, they don’t come without their own set of risks.

Beyond the loan market, don’t forget to monitor important variables expanding or constricting the local supply of real estate properties.

  • General availability of land.
  • Land use restrictions.
  • Tough zoning rules.
  • Building regulations.
  • Slow administrative procedures.

And, of course shifts in demographic trends

  • Population growth.
  • Migration patterns.
  • Immigration rates.
  • Average household size.
  • Household formation age (individuals in their thirties).

Fidelity said American real estate values endured three sharp “corrections” during ten-year intervals.

  • From the early 1970’s to the early 1980’s.
  • During the early 1990’s.
  • And, during The Great Recession at the end of the 2000’s to mid 2010’s

With the severity and duration of the downturn that occurred in 2006 still uncertain (published in 2007).

Fidelity tracked investment performance back to before you were born.

How did they say real estate investments held up?

Returns on a dollar invested in residential real estate in 1963 have been only lightly better than returns on low-risk Treasury Bills.

What about compared to stocks, then?

Over this more than forty-year time period, real compound returns to stocks outpaced realty, averaging 5.95% versus returns of just 1.35% to real estate after adjusting for inflation. 

Downturns and Rebounts

So, if you took a dollar and invested it in the 1963 stock market it would have “compounded to $12.36 by 2006.”

But, the same dollar invested in real estate would have grown to just $1.79. 

What about those higher appreciation regions on the coast?

Golden Gate Bridge
On the West Coast. Golden Gate Bridge. Courtesy of http://www.burningwell.org/gallery2/v/Objects/100_5478.JPG.html

Even the highest appreciating regions of the country, the Northeast and West Coast, only realized real returns of 2.35% and 2.49%, respectfully, and underperformed the returns on bonds at 2.74%.

Don’t they say past performance isn’t a guarantee of future performance?

Still data are data.

Home values have underperformed stocks and bonds in terms of average annual returns over every five- and ten-year period from 1963 to 2005, but have only been slightly above the returns on treasury bills.

Why bother, then?

Part Two: Five Options for Unlocking Equity

An excerpt from Book Four in “The Knowledge Path Series” dedicated to helping you find the place of your dreams in the Rocky Mountain State.

The Rules Have Changed.

And, they keep on changing!

A previous version originally appeared in the How We Got Here section of Adapt! How to Survive and Thrive in the Changing World of Work, in 2009, Co-Authored by Steve Howard .

It ‘s no longer enough to simply dream – it’s now more about making the best decisions possible in uncertain, confusing times — whether as individuals, teams or as organizational leaders.

When we come to a crossroads in our lives the path you’ve been on may feel like a dead-end.

But, you have many more options available to you than you initially realize.

You can choose any one of 11 options:

  1. Change positions in same organization;
  2. Change organizations in same field;
  3. Change careers;
  4. Work in the same job while moonlighting;
  5. Start a business from scratch;
  6. Buy a business with its own customers;
  7. Buy a franchise with a proven business model;
  8. Launch a consulting practice;
  9. Turn a hobby or artistic talent into a lifestyle business;
  10. Move to a lower-cost-of-living community and live on your investments and volunteer; or
  11. Retire, yet freelance or consult to supplement your income.