Happy Tuesday!

Source: American Luxury

You think home prices are through the roof in your neck of the woods? Well, in New York, the 9,800-square-foot penthouse owned by billionaire Daniel Och just sold for $190M in an ultra hush hush off-market transaction… after being on the market for a (relatively paltry) $93 million just three years ago. That's right, he turned a $97M profit on the 220 Central Park South condo. Meaning he made more in reselling than he spent on the house to begin with.

– James and David

Today's Blueprint:

  • It’s not too late to score a great rate

  • Top five most under-the-radar home markets

  • Things are looking up for downtowns

  • Save time and get digital with these three showing tips

The most "interest"-ing tidbit you'll read all day

Source: Money

Interest rates may have hit their highest level in years, but it’s not too late for your clients to tap into their home equity or benefit from a refinance. For homeowners with strong credit and a healthy debt-to-income ratio, it’s possible to score an interest rate around 3%. If your client can lower their rate by at least half a percentage point, that’s enough to save them money in the long-term. 

If a refinance isn’t profitable right now, another option homeowners with strong credit scores can consider is drawing on their home equity line of credit. HELOCs allow owners to use the equity in their home like a credit card. To qualify, the value of the house must be at least 15% more than the owner owes on the property. But in this market, that’s not a problem for the majority of people. Right now, the average interest rate on a HELOC is around 5%. And as banks are loosening their purse strings again, this option is becoming increasingly accessible. 

Our take

A refinance is an excellent option for your clients, especially if they’ll be in that home for a while. The savings add up considerably over the lifetime of their loan. With a low-rate refinance, they’re taking on good debt that’s secured by the value of their property and can be used to generate more income. But with a higher-rate HELOC, they’re just taking out more bad debt. It may be a better move than running up a credit card, but HELOCs are certainly not as financially beneficial as refinancing.

These cities are a fit for firsts

Source: Data USA

A handful of under-the-radar cities, rounded up by Realtor.com, might just grant first-time buyers all their homeownership wishes. The charming towns on this list offer short commutes, a foodie scene, strong housing value, plentiful jobs, and overall affordability. 

At the top of the list sits Magna, Utah. Just 20 minutes west of Salt Lake City, this suburban town got its big shot as the setting for Disney’s Halloweentown franchise. But don’t let its slightly spooky history scare your buyers away. With a higher-than-average number of eateries and strong forecasted price growth, it’s a small town with big potential. 

Want more cheap and charming locales? Check out the full list:

  1. Magna, Utah

  2. Chalco, Nebraska

  3. Mauldin, South Carolina

  4. Beech Grove, Indiana

  5. Portsmouth, Virginia

  6. Cottage Grove, WI

  7. Grimes, IA

  8. Kuna, ID

  9. Ferndale, MI

  10. Maitland, FL

Our take

The best thing first-time buyers can do is find ways to create value for themselves. That’s why we’re huge believers in emerging cities. Your new buyer may not be able to get their dream home in the hottest zip code, but these smaller, less expensive markets allow them to get their foot in the ownership door. 

High-rise apartment prices are, ahem, rising highly

Source: Apartments.com

Investors are clicking their heels over the influx of urban dwellers. In Q3 of 2021, investors poured $32.2B into high and mid-rise apartments, even though downtown living demand was lagging at the time. Those forward-thinking investments paid off… big time. Many of those previously vacant properties have waiting lists as apartment occupancy rates hit 96.4%, compared to a rate of just 94.2% back in Q3. 

High occupancy rates trigger high prices. In 2021, apartment rental rates grew over 14% in the downtown areas of the top 14 metros. CoStar expects rates to rise another 7.6% this year. Expect even higher rents in big cities along the coasts.

Our take

It takes the right kind of investor to find success by renting out an apartment or condo. Unlike with single-family home rentals, these landlords often have to deal with HOAs, building codes, renovation guidelines, and tedious extra rules. Owning apartments or condos (or even the whole building!) can be incredibly lucrative for the right investor, but you’ve got to be up to the challenge.


The news that just missed the cut

Source: The Art Newspaper

  • Sotheby’s metaverse mansion comes with a matching real one

  • He’s the most influential man in real estate

  • How to bribe your way onto the repairman’s crammed schedule

  • It takes little energy to get on this list

  • 22 real estate tech tools that will maximize your time

Foundation Plans

Advice from James and David to win the day

In this industry, time is money. The more showings, open houses, and events you have, the more clients you can help. But we all have the same 24 hours in a day. So how can you maximize every opportunity? Get more eyes on your listings in less time with these three approaches to virtual showings: 

  1. Host a progressive open house on social: A progressive open house is when you team up with other agents to virtually showcase multiple homes, back-to-back. It’s a huge time saver because you can share all your best listings with a wide audience in a short amount of time. 

  2. Offer virtual home tours: You can book a greater number of tours in one day when you offer virtual showings over FaceTime or Zoom. Set aside one day for each property you have, then book out your whole day with showings for it. Driving high interest within a single day also helps your seller get the best possible price.

  3. Record a teaser showing: Got a new listing? Record yourself showing the best details of the property. Now you’ve got a personalized video on file and ready to send out to your interested clients at a moment’s notice.

Just in Case

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

Source: Rocket Mortgage

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Thanks for spreading the word!

– James and David