Introducing…. Q&A!

Want to ask a question directly to yours truly, James and David? We're harnessing the mighty power of the Internet to allow you to submit a question that we'll answer right here in this newsletter. 

(Just keep it to real estate. We can't give you relationship advice or instructions on how to fix your kitchen faucet.)

Let's kick off this brand-new section with our inaugural question!

  • Q: What’s a good gift to send to your out-of-state clients? I have some great clients I’ve worked with this past year, and I’d like to show my appreciation. What do you send?

– Greg from Alabama

  • A: We personally love Fortnum and Mason gift hampers. Classy, relatively inexpensive, and from the UK! So they’re extra classy 😉 Hope this helps.

Don’t be shy! Drop your own question here.

– James and David

Today’s Blueprint:

  • The brilliant company literally renovating renovations

  • There’s a shake-up in the rental market

  • Light at the end of the inflation tunnel

  • How to talk like a virtual realtor

Renovate now… pay later! 

Source: Contemporist

After raising $65M in Series B funding, Curbio has announced itself as a major new home improvement platform. Their major selling point is their delayed-payment model. Here’s how it works:

  1. Contractors sign-up to offer their renovation services

  2. Real estate agents pitch their client’s kitchen reno or backyard re-do to Curbio’s team

  3. If approved, Curbio matches their contractors with the project and handles everything in the middle. They even pay the contractors and oversee the work.

The biggest perk? Curbio doesn’t charge homeowners for the project until the home sells. 

Our take

We’ve seen other companies try this model, but they’ve missed the mark. To hear of a new company with a fresh approach to pre-sale renovations? That’s VERY interesting to us. A well-done renovation just prior to hitting the market could add serious value to your client's property. We’re definitely keeping our eyes on how this plays out.

Blackstone expands further into the single-home market 

Source: Financial Times

Over the next two years, Blackstone (an investor management company) will be rolling out a new renter assistance program. Across 13 markets, the company will be offering a 10% rent discount to those who earn 80% or less than the average local income. In most of their trial markets, this comes out to about $55K or less a year. At the end of each rental term, the occupant can also choose to buy the property outright at below market value. 

Blackstone recently spent $6B on 17,000 homes when they purchased Home Partners. The company has announced it will pour $1B more into this program over the coming months. That translates to about 4,000 new rental properties with affordable rates.

Our take

That purchase, plus their move to invest heavily in these units, shows the confidence they have in not just the rental market, but also the single-family home market. We’re watching this story closely, because when this amount of money gets poured into the market by big funds, it can have a sizable impact on the everyday broker. 

The light at the end of the inflation tunnel?

Source: Washington Monthly

The latest signs show that all this nausea-inducing inflation might finally be easing up. Though inflation rose 7% last year—the fastest rise since the '80s—there are signs pointing to a possible drop. New data shows that retail spending went down last month. Plus, supply chain bottlenecks finally started to ease and it got a little cheaper for manufacturers to make our favorite goods.

The Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates three times this year, starting in March. That move should further slow inflation and return our economy to the pre-pandemic norm.

Our take

No one has a crystal ball, but these factors do lower the chance that the Fed will step in with multiple interest rate hikes this year. If inflation is beginning to drop on its own and the Fed raises rates in March, we might be back in healthy territory by summer. We’ll keep an eye on this developing story! 


The news that just missed the cut

Source: CNN

Foundation Plans

Advice from James and David to win the day

Even after months of following the virtual real estate trend…. sometimes the Metaverse still makes our heads spin. We thought it would be easier to put together a few simple definitions for the top buzzwords in this industry. 

  • Blockchain: A digital, public ledger that records online transactions. Blockchain is the core technology for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. A blockchain ensures the integrity of a cryptocurrency by encrypting, validating, and permanently recording transactions. A blockchain is similar to a bank’s ledger, but open and accessible to everyone who utilizes the cryptocurrency is supports.

  • Metaverse: An internet-based interactive environment built on a blockchain where people can visit virtual worlds. These spaces use virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) to create a life-like experience. It’s immersive, technology-driven, and collaborative.  

  • Virtual real estate: Parcels of land, buildings, entertainment destinations, and more— purchased in the Metaverse. There are few limits in the virtual world, so the possibilities for land development and property renovations are endless. 

  • Ethereum: Ethereum is a blockchain-based platform that's best known for its cryptocurrency, ETH. Popular virtual worlds, like Decentraland and Sandbox, are built using ETH.

  • Decentraland and the Sandbox: Two of the most popular digital worlds right now. People are dropping millions on land in these worlds. Including Snoop Dogg

  • Tokens: the currency used by people within the metaverse

  • SAND: The tokens used in the Sandbox. It’s built on Ethereum blockchain.

  • MANA: The tokens used in Decentraland. Also built on Ethereum blockchain. 

Just in Case

Keep the latest industry data in your back pocket with today’s mortgage rates:

Source: Rocket Mortgage

Thanks to all the new subscribers that joined us this week. We are creating this community because as brokers getting started in real estate 15 years ago, we really felt like there wasn't a good, reliable resource for us that we could count on. Our goal is to turn The Blueprint into that!

Have a great weekend and we'll see you next week.

– James and David