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First-Time Buyer Mortgage Share and Mortgage Risk Index Update 

Contrary to public perception, first-time buyers (FTB) are alive, but highly leveraged. Agency FTB volume surged 7 percent and 25 percent compared to one and two years ago, respectively. The First-Time Buyer Mortgage Risk Index (FBMRI) for Agency purchase loans stood at 16.1 percent in February, a series high and up 0.4 ppt. from February 2016. Agency first-time buyer (FTB) share reached a series high in February. FTBs accounted for 60 percent of all agency purchases, up from 59 percent and 56 percent one and three years ago respectively. An expanding economy and credit easing are offsetting higher prices, higher mortgage rates, and tight supply, allowing FTB to grow share.

The First-Time Buyer Mortgage Share and Mortgage Risk Indices (FBMSI and FBMRI) are key housing market indicators based on monthly data for nearly all government-guaranteed home purchase loans, which greatly reduces the risk of sample error. By relying on millions of loans, this approach stands in contrast to traditional first-time buyer surveys based on small samples of homebuyers or real estate agents. 

The National Mortgage Risk Index (NMRI) measures how government-guaranteed loans with an origination date in a given month would perform if subjected to the same stress as in the financial crisis that began in 2007. This is similar to stress tests routinely performed to ascertain an automobile’s crashworthiness or a building’s ability to withstand severe hurricane force winds. An NMRI value of 10 percent, for example, for a given set of loans indicates that 10 percent of those loans would be expected to default in a severe stress event, based on the actual performance of loans with the same risk characteristics after the financial crisis. 

The First-Time Buyer Mortgage Risk Index (FBMRI) for Agency purchase loans stood at 16.1 percent in February, a series high and up 0.4 ppt. from February 2016. The Agency FBMRI is 6.4 ppts. higher than the repeat buyer MRI. The gap has widened 0.8 ppt. from a year earlier. Maintaining a series high, FHA’s First-Time Buyer NMRI stood at 25.1 percent in February, up 0.9 ppt. from a year earlier and up 1.0 ppt. from two years earlier (before FHA’s mortgage insurance premium cut).

“The on-going housing boom is built on the backs of first-time buyers,” noted Edward Pinto, codirector of the American Enterprise Institute’s (AEI’s) International Center on Housing Risk. “These buyers are using government guaranteed financing to take on ever greater levels of leverage to chase rapidly increasing entry-level home prices, a trend that is unsustainable over the long term,” Pinto added. 

Other notable takeaways from the February First-Time Buyer Mortgage Share and Mortgage Risk Indexinclude:

• 55 percent of FTB loans were subprime or high risk (MRI above 12 percent) in February, up 1.5 ppt. from a year earlier. 

• Median FTB downpayment in February 2017 was only 3.5 percent, or $8,300. 

• Fueled by solid job gains, low mortgage rates, and high and growing leverage, the national seller’s market is now in its 56th month. Median home prices for the U.S. as a whole have risen relative to median household income, retracing about a third of the drop from the 2006 peak to the 2012 trough, thus crimping affordability.

“Downpayment requirements don’t pose the hurdle to homeownership as commonly believed,” said Tobias Peter, senior research analyst of AEI’s International Center on Housing Risk. “Helped in part by various programs from State Housing Finance Agencies, 21 percent of first-time buyer purchases in February did not require any downpayment,” noted Peter. 

With the addition of the data for February 2017, the First-Time Buyer Mortgage Share and Risk Index cover over 5.6 million Agency first-time buyer purchase loans dating back to February 2013. The NMRI covers nearly 26.6 million Agency loans dating back to September 2012, comprised of over 12.2 million Agency purchase loans and over 14.4 million Agency refinance loans. The NMRI is published for purchase loans (with separate indices for first-time and repeat buyers), refinance loans (with separate indices for no-cash-out and cash-out refinance loans), and the composite of purchase and refinance loans. 


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Posted by Michael Hobbs on May 26th, 2017 12:26 PMLeave a Comment

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Executive Summary

This report analyses the basic characteristics of American real estate appraisal and compares the US Appraisal system with the appraisal systems in the UK. For most of the clients from China with great interest in investment in American Real Estate, the business of appraisal still seems to be unfamiliar as the appraisal business in China are still at a beginning stage. What’s more, the appraisal business in China just started compared with the developed appraisal business in US and UK. The report gives briefly introduction to the appraisal business in America and aims to help the clients get to know the residual appraisal which is closely related to their own profit and also help the Chinese appraiser to learn some experience from these two countries.



  1. The current situation of American residential appraisal

    In the United States, there are a large number of real estate appraisers who are in a position of independent operation and have not joined in any other company. And a lot of appraisals are in partnership, with only two to five appraisers in a small company. Therefore, it can be seen from the survey, the size of the U.S. real estate appraisal business unit is significantly smaller than the U.K. Therefore, the residual appraisals in US are more like to take a family workshop style management.

    In some extents, the independent decentralized mode of operation has its superiority. First of all, in the case of an independent business, the assessor can freely control the time, flexible work, therefore, in contrast, the United States appraisers are more satisfied with their work. At the same time, due to the independent operation, there would be less problem in the management sector of the company, so that the appraisers can concentrate on the assessment of business and improve efficiency of the whole group.

    Despite of these advantages, the disadvantage of this approach seems to be more obvious. The most important thing is to limit the ability of the real estate appraisal agencies. The individual's experience and ability of an independent appraiser is very limited, and even setting up a small company in partnership can not be the solution to completely overcome this disadvantages. As a result, the majority of independent real estate appraisers and most of the real estate appraisal companies, can only provide services to local customers. At the same time, they are more engaged in the assessment of residential property which is relatively simple, and the other relatively complex property types (such as commercial property) are rarely involved. In most cases, they can only provide services to private clients, but rarely provide services for investment funds, insurance companies and other institutional customers a large volume of business under more complex situation.

    In addition, most of the United States real estate appraisals provide relatively simple business segments because of the limitations of their size, generally in the traditional sense of the real estate appraisal services except providing services including real estate brokerage, market analysis and other related business. In addition to the capacity constraints, another serious drawback of the US appraisals development pattern is that they may not conducive to the long-term development of the industry well enough. An independent appraiser generally does not accept interns, and even in a small appraisal, the number of trainees could be acceptable is limited. According to the results of the survey, nearly half of the appraisals in US do not accept trainee or intern of appraisers. And this is an important reason that may lead to the lack of experienced appraisers and will does harm to the appraisal business in US in long term.


    2) The differences between the US appraisal business and the UK appraisal system

    Compared with the US appraisals, the appraisal business in the UK is in large-scale and group oriented pattern. The survey results show that more than half of the appraisals has more than six appraisers in the company, while more than 50 people in the large number of companies which are also significantly larger than the United states. The size of the UK's real estate appraisal is much larger than that of the US.

    Expanding the on this scale, there are inevitably restrict limitations on the degrees of freedom to the appraisers and they have to spend more time in the management of the company, but the advantage is very obvious. The expansion of the company not only increases the number of appraisers with the simple superposition, but also greatly enhances the business segments in market research, business information collection and study ability. Therefore, the UK appraisals can not only work for local and regional property evaluation, but also involves in the country and even the worldwide business.  For example, the company may settle in London and has branch offices in other regions in the country and around the world. And this group model has been used for many British appraisal companies.


  2. The reasons that result in the differences between the US appraisal business and the UK appraisal systems

The elements leading to the differences are as follows:

  1. The regional differences between US and UK.
  2. The barrier in the appraisal business.
  3. The government and industry associations.
  4. The expectation to the ability and rewards of the appraisers


Further more, there are also some other reasons that may effect the business structure of the real estate appraisal industry like the differences in value.


Conclusions and Recommendations

Based on different national conditions, there are different development patterns in the residual appraisal business. Both the American and the UK appraisal industry have afforded the lessons that merit attention to the newly developed Chinese appraisal business.

From the above discussion, we believe that the real estate appraisal industry in China should learn experience from the US and UK experience:

  1. Settle up the qualification requirements to appraisers
  2. Gradually realize the evaluation system of the qualification level of appraisers
  3. Promote the reorganization of the real estate appraisals
  4. Achieve expansion of real estate appraisal agencies
  5. Build multiple management model.
  6. Provide a variety of real estate related services in the area of the larger companies.

For the foreigner investors who have strong interest in investing the real estate in American the appraisal can help them to make evaluations on the property and make their investment more profitable.

Posted in:General
Posted by Michael Hobbs on April 11th, 2017 12:58 AMLeave a Comment

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March 23rd, 2017 11:37 AM


Real estate is a huge industry and there are a lot of opportunities to invest in real estate. But where should you start? What types of real estate investing is best for you? Learning the basics of how to invest in real estate is the first step in choosing a strategy. Exploring different real estate investment strategies and picking one based on your time, budget, and long-term goals. That been said, real estate investors did more than survive in the last 10 years after the recession : they thrived thanks to a few important real estate investment strategies. Wholesaling and rehabbing became known as two of the best real estate investing strategies of the time. The environment created by the recession made these exit strategies incredibly lucrative for those who knew how to execute them. Lets discuss few strategies adopted in the market.



The indicators used in the report are over 10-year evolution of the average of the sale price, also index such as Market type, construction type, property type data from Infosparks, is taken into consideration


Graph 1: Trend of new construction and resale property in last 10 years


Investment strategies

Buy and Holds

These are good long-term investments because of the steady additional income and the opportunity to gain appreciation. If looking for an active, long-term investment, buy-and-holds are the way to go. Buying an investment property as a buy-and-hold requires research about the market, neighborhood, and property expenses. Positive cash flow is very important with this investment because money is otherwise lost every month. Depending on location and cash flow, an investor might choose to rent out an entire single-family home to a family or rent out individual rooms to individual tenants. Multi-family homes are popular if the investor wants to have a personal residence at the same location as their investments. As observed in the Graph 1 above the resale of new construction and resale property has decreased from the third quarter of year 2011 and is constant for last 3 years. This trend indicates that the buy and hold strategy adopted by the customers and reduced the hold period to average 25 yrs as compared to previously (55yrs)



Graph 2: Trend of Market time for Resale and New construction over a period of 10 years



The trend above in Graph 2 indicates that since Jun 2013, customers are following the strategy of reselling properties with less number of market time i.e holding for less amount of time and hence following the pattern of strategies mentioned below


Become A Private Money Lender - With interest rates at traditional lending institutions expected to rise, as they have already started to do, more and more investors are looking in to the services of private money lenders. Private mortgage lending has typically provided an annual return of 8-10%, based on the historical interest rates charged to borrowers.


Airbnb Investment Properties- There has been an increase in the number of Airbnb investors as Airbnb investment properties have proved to be lucrative and sometimes produce more income than traditional investments


Commercial- These properties are leased to businesses which can range from tiny little stores to shopping malls. While there’s an opportunity to rent out to big businesses and get significant cash flow, vacancies can last a longer than with residential properties


Real Estate Wholesaling - Making money in real estate does not always require spending money, there are so many diverse opportunities to invest. Wholesaling is one of the ways you can create an income without having to spend any money at all. A wholesaler finds a seller who wants to put their property up for sale and has not yet gone on the market. The wholesaler finds a buyer and then is entitled to a share of the selling price. To be successful with the real estate investment strategy, you have to network and make contacts in order to have a database of potential sellers and buyers.



Rehabbing is still one of the best real estate investing strategies in 2015 and 2016. Rehabbing, or flipping as it has been dubbed in the past, is one of the most popular exit strategies exercised by real estate investors. Rehabbing is the practice of acquiring a property at a reduced price and selling it for a financial gain after incorporating the appropriate upgrades. In 2015 single-family homes have already established themselves as the prime targets for real estate investors. Subsequently, single-family homes offer the most attractive spreads for the amount of work required. While rehabs are accompanied by the most work-intensive process, the rewards that ensue are well worth it. Rehabs reward investors with the largest spreads in the shortest amount of time.

Real estate investors mostly consider rehabbing a property when the following criteria have been met:

  1. Immediate payment is not expected .
  2. Intent is of generating brand awareness, as it is a prime marketing opportunity.
  3. There is a potential for large profit margins on a subject property.
  4. The property is a safe location.



It is important to note, however, that even the best investment strategies are contingent on the market they are carried out in. Take, for example, San Francisco, which has long held the title of one of America’s best real estate investing markets. Not surprisingly, San Francisco has held the top spot for quite some time, as it was recently named the hottest housing market in the summer of 2016. Those implementing the right real estate investing strategies have likely come out on top, regardless of where the market currently resides.


Not far behind San Francisco, the Los Angeles real estate market has also seen great improvements since the depths of the recession. The median home price in L.A. was $458,900 during the first quarter of 2016 - nearly double that of the national average. Investment strategies used here are typically of the buy and hold variety, as holding on to the home and collecting rent is a great way to offset high prices. Before deciding on any real estate investment strategies, make sure to thoroughly understand what each strategy entails. It is recommended to do investment property analysis before investing in a rental property or commercial property. Using analytics can help you find the best investment properties and neighborhoods. Few ways to do research before investing is to join real estate investment clubs to learn about investment strategies and to find partners to work with. Also location is key in real estate. Try to explore areas that will give the highest returns and avoid staying in your area just for the sake of convenience.


Real estate investing offers a lot more opportunities than most investments. Once enough research is done about different real estate investment strategies, a better idea of which investment strategies need to be adopted








Eric Macy, CFA. (n.d.). Retrieved February 24, 2017, from


I. (2017, February 13). A Guide to Real Estate Investing. Retrieved February 24, 2017, from


Real Estate Investing For Dummies Cheat Sheet. (n.d.). Retrieved February 24, 2017, from

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Posted by Michael Hobbs on March 23rd, 2017 11:37 AMLeave a Comment

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Local actors who influence the public real estate market in the Chicago Area are mainly public institutions, professional organizations, and large companies.

  1. Public actors influencing the Chicago Real Estate market


    First of all, public institutions in the real estate are the Department of Planning and Development of the City of Chicago, the Chicago Housing Authority, the US Government, the State of Illinois, and the Federal Reserve. The Department of Planning and Development of the city of Chicago as well as the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) roles mainly consist in promoting a comprehensive growth and sustainability of Chicago and its neighborhoods. It controls the area’s zoning and land, regulates the policies (from simple household who wants to invest and build a new land to real estate companies who wants to invests and build large blocks of buildings), and advise on the economic development. Their role is also to promote a sustainable development and avoid any law enforcement against the environment. They provide help for business and real estate development as well. The Chicago Housing Authority, in his purpose of helping individual with limited means to settle down in the Chicago area also have an influence on the real estate market, as their involvement is mostly political and it might stabilize the housing prices in some zone, while the overall price in the area might increase during time. So in addition to provide security and stability to some Chicagoans, they also influence the market, as these zones outshines different data than the overall tendency in the whole area of the city of Chicago. The US Government and the State of Illinois also influence the real estate market, by offering and controlling the tax credits, deductions, and subsidies. It directly affects the mortgage market, and therefore, the real estate market in overall. The Federal Reserve Bank can also affect the real estate market, by modeling the interest rates.


    On another aspect, professional organization, such as the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, local neighborhood chambers (North side, South, Loop…), and foreign-American chambers (FACC, GACC, SACC…) can also influence the real estate market, as they have a political influence and an advising role to companies when they want to choose their location. They also can advertise some neighborhoods that are in redevelopment to companies, to bring new investors and business to a certain area. The Urban Land Institute of Chicago also influence the market in the same way as a CC. The Chicago Bar Association also influences the market from a legal stand of point.


    At last, large companies implemented in Chicago indirectly affect the real estate markets, business wise, as the industries and the dynamism of Chicago in general affect the real estate, as it can influence the buying power of the Chicagoan, also increase the inflation rate in the area. It also affects the market directly, as employees of these large companies tend to settle down lose to the area they go to work, and therefore influence the housing price.


  2. Zoom on the role of the Chicago Department of Planning and Development and the Companies implemented in the area


    Let’s analyze in more depth the role of the Department of Planning and Development and the large businesses in the Chicago area.

    First, the department of planning and development started a project in which they promote innovation and entrepreneurship, by helping improving public services and rationalizing business regulations in Illinois. They promoted a sustainable development for industries which significantly improved the number of new companies in the areas. Thanks to these improvements, the number of business real estates in Chicago constantly increases since the last decade.


    Moreover, as the companies settling in Chicago are more and more numerous, it affects both the business and the individual household real estate markets. Indeed, from a household stand of point, we can see that the economy in the area directly influence the reality of individuals. From Charts 1 and 2 shown below, we can observe a correlation between the local CPI (Consumer Pricing Index), which reflects the buying power of the Chicagoans, and the average home sales prices. When we look at the period 2014-2015, we can see that the trend in the CPI changes is the same as the average monthly sales prices: as the buying power increases, the inhabitant of Chicago in overall can afford to pay a more money for buying houses.


    Chart 1: Chicago Area Consumer Price index (source: Bureau of Labor and Statistics)


    Chart 2: Monthly average home sales in the Chicago Area over a 3-year span (source: Infosparks)


    Chart 3: Unemployment rate in main metropolitan areas (Source: CMAP)

    From the Chart 3, showing the unemployment rate of the Chicago area in blue. We can see that the unemployment in the area significantly plummeted since 2011. It is mainly due to the dynamism of the corporation in the area, of new organizations settling down locally and the raise of innovation. As more Chicagoan find jobs, they also get more buying power and have more means to invest in properties. However, in the long term, the number of home sold is quite stagnant since 2011, after a sharp decrease in 2009-2010. It is mainly due to the fact that new land are bought by large companies instead of households, so the private individual real estate market stayed still.



    Chart 4: Average Monthly Market time vs Number of Home for Sales over the last 10 years (source: Infosparks)

  3. Sources

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Posted by Michael Hobbs on March 6th, 2017 12:32 PMLeave a Comment

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The conventional wisdom just a few weeks ago foresaw a solid electoral win for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and a smooth passing of the baton from the Obama administration, along with a gentle increase in interest rates in December by the Federal Reserve. No more.

Last week in Orlando, Fla., just before most voters went to the polls, Dennis Lockhart, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, said only “election turmoil” could force the Fed to in December.

“You can never rule things out post-election,” Lockhart said. “We may end up with enough turmoil around the election to create a different set of conditions,” he said during a news conference at the National Association of Realtors annual convention.

Indeed, fears of recession could grow with a likelihood that Trump would cut government spending dramatically in his first year, and stock-market uncertainty increasing over just how his presidency will begin. As such, another year of low interest rates could be in the cards.


“I don’t believe that there will be any significant changes to interest rates, at least in the near term, since the underlying fundamentals that have led us into a low-interest-rate environment haven’t changed,” said Rick Sharga, executive vice president of Ten-X, formerly, a real-estate auction site.

Sharga sees a Trump presidency being good for the housing and mortgage markets in the long term, he said. “He seems committed to bringing regulatory relief — and regulatory certainty — to the financial-services industry, which should make more credit more available to average home buyers who have been locked out of the market by today’s extraordinarily tight credit standards,” he said.

As a result, home buying should remain strong in 2017, which is good news for a market starved of inventory. “This is absolutely a seller’s market and has been for quite some time, and we do not feel Donald Trump’s win will negatively affect the market for those looking to sell,” said Nancy Dennis, a vice president at American Financing Corp., an Aurora, Colo.–based mortgage lender.

Down the road, interest rates could begin rising faster, especially if Trump’s economic-growth plans ignite inflation. “The accelerated economic growth and ensuing inflationary pressure could prompt a quicker pace of rate hikes that are potentially more aggressive than exhibited over the past year,” wrote John Chang, first vice president of research services at Marcus & Millichap MMI,-0.74%   , the largest U.S. real-estate brokerage firm, in a note to investors this week.

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Posted by Michael Hobbs on February 15th, 2017 2:39 PMLeave a Comment

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There's no doubt that international buyers love U.S. real estate. In 2015, 15.4 percent of all commercial real estate buyers in the U.S. were from overseas, according to financial and professional services firm Jones Lang LaSalle.


On the residential side, the National Association of Realtors reports international buyers purchased 4 percent of existing homes sold in the U.S. in 2015, which made up 8 percent of the total dollar amount of existing homes sales for the year at $104 billion. The biggest foreign residential buyers in 2015 were from China ($28.6 billion), Canada ($11.2 billion), India ($7.9 billion), Mexico ($4.9 billion) and the U.K. ($3.8 billion), according to a study examining Chinese real estate investment conducted by the nonprofit Asia Society and real estate economics firm Rosen Consulting Group.


Foreign investors have long viewed U.S. real estate as a good place to diversify their portfolio and benefit from the world’s strongest economy. But in recent years, hard assets in the form of U.S. property has also become an option to safely store money. “We’ve become what is today, I guess, the largest offshore location in the world,” says Ed Mermelstein, an international real estate attorney based in New York.


“To be honest, Chinese buyers have been flooding this market the past few years,” says Conlan, who has been selling homes in Seattle for more than 30 years. “Some of them buy homes sight unseen, while others travel here for a kind of real estate tourism and buy real estate after only one viewing.”


Factors that typically influence real estate sales in most places, such as income levels and the strength of local economies, do not mean as much when large numbers of outside buyers from places such as China invade a market, says Nela Richardson, chief economist at national realty brokerage Redfin. “Local fundamentals aren’t necessarily the driving factors when that happens,” Richardson says. “That affects buyers who live in these places and can lead to locals essentially being priced out of their own markets.”


With so much of the world interested in holding a stake in the U.S. real estate market, any global issue has the potential to affect who enters or exits the market.


As an international investor with multiple U.S. properties in his portfolio, Rayat notes that some foreign buyers don’t always make decisions based only on expected returns, but rather they’re “using high-quality real estate as a Swiss bank account” to assure themselves safety and security.


As a result, this kind of international investment can artificially boost the U.S. real estate market, with investors more focused on gaining a foothold in the market than following property values or potential worth. “They’re paying up for properties that in some ways don’t make any economic sense – certainly not to me,” Rayat says.

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Posted by Michael Hobbs on January 13th, 2017 4:15 PMLeave a Comment

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December 29th, 2016 10:17 AM

Real estate is an ever growing industry. Though be it the primitive age or the continued or upcoming high-tech times, real estate properties have always been the basic requirement for human kind in some or the other way. Real estate as an industry influence the gross domestic product growth or the economic growth of any country, as it includes construction and infrastructure as one of its parts. Also, real estate is directly linked with the standard of living and production capacity of any country or place. So it impacts the economy directly or indirectly. Hence, it serves to be a potential option for investment.

Real estate investments can be rewarding if done with proper understanding of its rewards and risks. Real estate is very attractive alternative as an investment, as it gives perceptible returns. At the same time, it is equally risky.  Risks or returns depends on types of investment. Investments in real estate can be done in different ways. There is a possibility of direct ownership, that is buying a property as an investment. There can be a partial investment by means of co-ownership or lease. Also there is a real estate investment trust. Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) manages publicly traded funds and so one can buy stocks or invest in REIT mutual fund.

When it comes to buying a property, potential risks will be; being aware of the current state of the market and being able to forecast the future trends of the property market. Buying a property is a massive investment and so it is important to know your market. Opportunity cost of investing in any other alternative investment would be high as real estate investment will grab all your cash and future income. It is not always easy to liquidate property. Moreover, it will be an undiversified investment. Also, the changes in rate of interests for loans will qualify for risk as it can affect your total budget or cash flows. Further, risks depend on the type of property and purpose of buying it; land – for agricultural purpose, for construction, or anything else, residential – to live in it, to give it on rent, etc., commercial – office, production unit, etc. for own business or maybe to rent it to other groups, or so on.

However, buying property has its own potential returns. First of all, expenses from owning a property is tax deductible. Further, value of property increases with time and so it is a capital growth and it serves as an extra source of income when it is fully paid and fully owned. Moreover, owner of the property has rights to influence, that is make required or meaningful changes to the property to enhance its value. Properties can be very rewarding if employed thoughtfully. Owned properties can generate revenues by various means like renting. Even if the property is residential and meant for living with family it cuts down your monthly expenses and add an asset to your personal property.

REIT mutual funds can be considered in case you feel the upside trend in real estate industry and do not want to make massive investment. This type of investment can be done with lower capital and so it is worth a place in your portfolio.

Risk and returns of real investment depends on various factors. Altogether, it is a potential investment when done wisely. 

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Posted by Michael Hobbs on December 29th, 2016 10:17 AMLeave a Comment

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November 15th, 2016 10:01 AM

How to do social media successfully?

Social media is a platform for individuals or groups to exchange ideas or information via virtual communities and networks. In today’s time social media is one of the most powerful media to penetrate the market, if used with appropriate strategy. It takes a great deal of work, flexibility and consistency to be successful on social media.

Following steps can help yield maximum benefits from social media:

  • Determine the goal:

    It is very important to be clear with the goal of being on social network. We need to determine that what we are actually trying to achieve by means of social media. For instance;

  • Identify the targeted group

    Identifying the targeted group will help further planning. Here we need to determine, who are we trying to reach and where will we find them. For example, if we are into the business of kid’s healthcare products, their parents will be our target group. Or like Pahroo, if we are into property appraisal business, we need to figure out who is our target; different group for different types of appraisal. Also we need to research little more on them like what are they involved in on social media; just connecting with people, searching or following pages regarding their interest areas, or so on. What channel of social media is popular among which group; Facebook, twitter, etc.


  • Go deep, not broad

    Once we get clear with our goal and targeted group, it is beneficial to go deep than broad. That is, it is good to go deep in to the channels that our targeted group uses maximum and use it to its optimum level. Popularity on one media will help getting success in other medias. Hence, it is good to go specific with certain channels then being general on every channel.




  • Understand what customer craves for

    Research on what our targeted group is actually looking for. What are their key interests or what are their key problems? This will give us an insight of how to approach them.


  • Create engaging content

    Once target group and their key problems and interests are known, draft messages that can provide solution to their problems or can relate to their interest and keep them engaged. Create that engaging content in various form as follows:

    • Images
    • Blogs
    • Company news
    • Infographics, etc.


  • Set limits and benchmarks

    Once we are on track with content, it is time to set limits and benchmarks. It is time to decide how many and what posts on which social media channel. As discussed earlier, it is better to develop different types of content for different channels depending on the requirement of followers on particular channels. Hence, it is beneficial to be organized and clear about what to do and when to do. Also, it is necessary to set measures for success, that is setting benchmark. Depending on the goal, one will need to set what will be consider as a success for their social media activity. It can be anything from getting more likes (above certain numbers) to generate revenue by online sales.


  • Get the attention of Influencer

    Social media influencers are people who have their own small or large audience, like bloggers. They have very loyal followers and hence, it beneficial to get their attention. This can be done by sharing their posts on our channels without any expectations. By getting into their circle one can reach to the groups that might be very difficult to reach by own. Also, such connections help in building trust which is a vital factor for social media success.


  • Build meaningful relationship

    Now, after being clear with goal, targeted group and all the relevant inputs, we should focus on building connections and maintaining good relationship with them. Connections that feel good about being connected to you will directly or indirectly do better publicity for us resulting in many new connections. Hence it is important to connect and it is even more important to maintain healthy relationship with those connections. There are many ways to do it depending upon the focused group. Some of them are as follows:

    • Connect and collaborate: Connect with people and try to collaborate that is work jointly with them. One can try to build a platform where connections can also give their input regarding a common problem. This will help transforming our group into a virtual community. Such community will actually speak for us and help us achieve our goal.
    • Host social media events: Everyone likes to be a part of some or the other event. Hosting an event will bring all the connections or followers together and build a complete different kind of strong bond between the host and followers as well as each other. Events can be virtual or physical. Such events and post-event posts will attract more people.
    • Create loyalty by one-on-one participating: One-on-one participation makes people feel important. It spreads the message that importance is given on personal basis. Hence, one-on-one communication can make connections or followers loyal to the channel or page. Live chat windows, interactive posts; where people can give their opinion and then they get reply with their name mentioned in the reply, etc. form examples of one-on-one participation that will help create loyalty for the channel.


  • Keep money making activities in sight

It is important to stay focused on our goal. Depending on the goal and the strategy formed for the social media, one should use the results wisely to generate revenue or profit or money in general.


  • Track, analyze and improve

Continuous improvisation, innovation, etc. are always appreciated. Also, social media is a platform where things and circumstances change within the fraction of time. One will always need to adjust as per changing trends on social media. To be able to cope up with fast paced social media, one must keep track of all activities done on the platform; general as well as specific. Analysis is another important step towards improvisation. We must measure the results of our activities on social media using the metrics developed during strategy formation. On basis of the activities and analysis, it can be figured out that where and what kind of changes will help. Also such kind of tracking and analyzing gives room for trial and error experiments. Hence, finally keep on making relevant changes.

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Posted by Michael Hobbs on November 15th, 2016 10:01 AMLeave a Comment

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There are already many research shows the relationship between the tax rate and the house price, why people so care about this kind of connection? Understanding how the evolution of house prices influences property tax revenues is important for at least three reasons:

First, the tax plays a central role in financing local public goods in the U.S. Property taxes account for around three-fourths of local government tax revenue and a quarter of total local government revenue. They are particularly important for education as they provide approximately 95 percent of tax revenue for independent school districts. Given the magnitude of the tax and the fact that most local governments must balance their budgets, fluctuations in property tax revenue – driven by changes in property values – would be expected to influence local government spending decisions. 

Second, the connection between property tax revenues and real estate values likely influences the ability of the state and local government sector to weather fiscal crises. During the state, fiscal crisis of 2002 – 2004, localities responded to cuts in state education aid by increasing property tax revenues to prevent cuts in education budgets Their ability to do so was likely a function of the strong state of the housing market at that time. Localities may not be well positioned to offset reductions in state funding during the current period of slow economic activity given the softening of house values.

 Finally, the relationship between the housing market and property taxes may impact the political viability of the property tax. The share of income devoted to the property tax has risen sharply in recent years, likely due, in part, to the housing boom, and this appears to have generated a political backlash. Several states have either enacted, or seriously considered, significant reforms of their property tax in recent years. 

The evidence suggests that property tax revenues are quite responsive to changes in house prices. Although it takes several years for house price appreciation to feed through to property tax revenues. On average, policy makers are estimated to respond to increasing home prices by reducing effective tax rates to offset 60 percent of the increase in tax revenue that would have occurred in the absence of a change in the effective tax rate. Institutional features of the property tax, such as delays in bringing assessed values into line with market values and caps and limitations on the tax, likely explain the lag between house prices and tax revenues.

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Posted by Michael Hobbs on November 1st, 2016 4:01 PMLeave a Comment

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Interest rates, especially the rates on interbank exchanges and Treasury bills, have as profound an effect on the value of income-producing real estate as on any investment vehicle. Because the influence of interest rates on an individual's ability to purchase residential properties (by increasing or decreasing the cost of mortgage capital) is so profound, many people incorrectly assume that the only deciding factor in real estate valuation is the mortgage rate. However, mortgage rates are only one interest-related factor influencing property values. Because interest rates also affect capital flows, the supply and demand for capital and investors' required rates of return on investment, interest rates will drive property prices in a variety of ways.



Interest rates can significantly affect the cost of financing and mortgage rates, which in turn affects property-level costs and thus influences values. However, supply and demand for capital and competing investments have the greatest impact on required rates of return (RROR) and investment values


As interbank exchange rates decrease, the cost of funds is reduced and funds flow into the system; conversely, when rates rise, the availability of funds decreases. As for real estate, the changes in interbank lending rates either add or reduce the amount of capital available for investment. The amount of capital and the cost of capital affect demand but also supply, capital available for real estate purchases and development. For example, when capital availability is tight, capital providers tend to lend less as a percentage of intrinsic value, or not as far up the "capital stack." This means that loans are made at lower loan to value ratios, thus reducing leveraged cash flows and property values.


These changes in capital flows can also have a direct impact on the supply and demand dynamics for property. The cost of capital and capital availability affect supply by providing additional capital for property development, and also affect the population of potential purchasers seeking deals. These two factors work together to determine property values.

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Posted by Michael Hobbs on October 20th, 2016 2:38 PMLeave a Comment

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University of Chicago located in both Hyde Park and Kenwood neighborhoods. The two neighborhoods have a long history.

The history of Hyde Park can be trace back to 1850s. During two decades, this area has become a stable and popular place to live.

One reason to explain its popularity is that University of Chicago located here. The range of this area is north to 51st St, south to 60th St, west to Washington Park and east to Lake Michigan. Hyde Park has been considered as the forth-lowest crime rates community in Chicago, which makes it a relatively safe place to live. Lake Shore Drive goes through this neighborhood, which is also a safe and beautiful place to enjoy the lake view.

Taking both bus and train will take you directly arrive at downtown from Hyde Park.

Kenwood located in the north side of Hyde Park. It is also considered as Hyde-Kenwood community as southern part of Kenwood also belongs to Hyde Park community. Kenwood used to be very affluent, and it still has some largest single-family homes through the whole city.

Regent Park and TLC are two big organizations that provide good quality apartment for residents.


Regent Park


Regent Park is one of the best living place in Hyde Park, which belongs to the company Mac Property, it provide luxury living experience and excellent service for its residents. Lake and city views may be considered as the most popular part of this apartment. Because its excellent location that inside the university neighborhood, many undergraduates and graduates live in this area, which make this area much safer for living. Price for one bedroom is around $1,500 per month.


TLC Management Co,

Unlike Regent Park, TLC is a property management company that operates many properties throughout the city. They do not only focus on Hyde Park and Kenwood, but within this neighborhood you may find many different type of properties under its company list. If you do not want to buy furniture and decorate the house, the company also has many furnished apartment for choosing. The price may more various compared with Regent Park, as the apartment types are more diverse and you can find some cheaper apartment than that of Regent Park.


Besides these two options, students also choose many other apartments to live from some small property management company. But those two big companies are good options in your list for consideration. 

Posted in:General
Posted by Michael Hobbs on October 6th, 2016 2:04 PMLeave a Comment

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August 12th, 2016 3:16 PM

New semester is coming. Many international students come to US to attend top universities. Going to a new environment, one of the challenges you will encounter is to look for a satisfied place to live. Normally, universities provide accommodation only for freshman. Many students have to take time and look for housing. 

Below is a list for considering when you are looking for a house.  

  1. Transportation 

How would you like to go to school? How long will take you to go to school? Is it convenient for you to go to school? Questions here are the first important things to think about and that is why houses around universities are popular.  

  1. Safety & Convenient 

The biggest thing people concern is the safety of your house. Take an example of Chicago, some neighborhoods may not that safe. Crime rate is high. Students need to check its crime rate and do some research before moving in. If the house located in a safe neighborhood and has market and restaurant around that may be a good choice.  

  1. Rent 

Make sure you do some research on comparing the price of apartment or house because they have different based on their location and house condition. Some apartment may have very similar condition but big gap in rent due to many reasons. Also check the utility fee. Some apartments or landlords will provide utility without occurring of other fee. Some may not. Do not ignore utility because they can be a big amount.  

  1. Housing type & Roommates 

Decide what type of house you want to live. Apartment and house are two big options. By choosing apartment, people can decide number of their roommates or they want to live themselves. If they want to live in a house, normally, they would have roommates for sharing the rent for the whole house.  

  1. Furniture 

If students will live there longer, it is more economic for them to furnished the apartment or house themselves. A furnished apartment or house may cost a lot more than which is not furnished.  


Check comments come from previous leaseholder. They can provide you with truly condition of how the house looks like. 

  1. Pet 

Be aware of pet rule if your have pets or if you do not want pet to interrupt your life. Pet rules always can be found on their websites.  

  1. Contract 

Carefully read the contract before you sign it. Understand and protect your rights.  

Do enough research when choosing house is very important. In the following blog, we will introduce some popular living area around top universities in Chicago for students.  





Posted in:General and tagged: Real Estate
Posted by Michael Hobbs on August 12th, 2016 3:16 PMLeave a Comment

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Going green and building more sustainable properties have been a trend throughout the real estate market recent years. The increasing cost of green is one of the challenging that people faced with when building a green property, but if we deal with this problem in a long-term way, the growing cost can be pay-off in the future.  

In what ways can you own a green and healthier home while saving your money for a long-term thinking? We will discuss in three aspects, which are energy, water, and material respectively.  

  • Energy 

a. Weather-stripping 

Almost half of your home’s energy cost is from heating and cooling. Thus, insulation of a house is very important for avoiding energy running away. Weather-stripping is very useful that keep your house saving energy. 

b. LED &CFLs 

Replacing the normal bulb into more efficient and saving LED or Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). You may save $75 each year only by changing the bulbs according the survey. Getting the same amount of light but cost less money, why not do so? 

c. “Smart” power strip 

Do you know you are using the electric when your devices are plugging in but they are off? A “smart power strip senses can help you save energy and money. 

d. Thermostat 

Using such a appliances can make you produce less carbon dioxides and live a healthier life. Avoid too cool in summer and too hot in winter can lower you bill to a large extent.  

  • Water 

  1. Low-flow Features 

Any low-flow features will allow you save a lot of water while keep you life qualify in a high level. For example, low-flow toilet and low-flow showerhead are two biggest way to save water. Toilet and shower takes most of you water usage in your life. In order to live green, low-low features should be considered.  

  1. Faucet aerator 

Other parts in your house that use water are faucet. Adding faucet aerators on faucet can conserve water while keep water pressure high.  

  • Sustainable Material  

  1. Bamboo 

Bamboo may be considered as great material when furnished a house. What’s more, it can be even much harder and durable than other normal material.  

  1. Recycled glass 

When choosing glass, a recycled one adds value to your house and keeps you a green living style.  

  1. Insulation 

Choosing a proper insulation material is very important. A good quality insulation material gives your home better condition on preventing running away of warm air or cool air as well as saving energy. Regular maintenance on insulation material allows you save money all the time. 

Moreover, a government program called ENERGY STAR, which points out those efficient appliances and material for you. It is good for people to choose those efficient materials when they are doing furnishing. Using lower energy but being more marketable helpyou to go long and be green.  


Posted in:General and tagged: Real Estate
Posted by Michael Hobbs on August 11th, 2016 11:48 AMLeave a Comment

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August 9th, 2016 5:24 PM

7. Grant Park

As a big city, Chicago did great job of beautifying the area using nature. There are countless parks, big or small, scattered around. Grant Park is one of the most well-known among all of them. It has been referred to as Chicago’s “front yard” with 319 acres located by the Loop. The park’s structure is based on French parks with geometric designs. The actually park is divided in sections by rail ways with lawns, flowerbeds, a statue of Abraham Lincoln and the Buckingham Fountain.

In addition, Grant Park is known as hosting all kinds of music festivals. Lollapalooza, one of the most famous, is hosted in Grant Park during summer every year. It attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists to come to Chicago to join in on this great event.


8. Lincoln Park

Lincoln Park wasn’t called Lincoln Park before 1865. Shortly after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, the park was renamed in his honor. Lincoln Park located along the lakefront from Ohio Street Beach to Ardmore Ave. In Lincoln Park, “City in a Garden” became reality. There are lots to do inside of the park, including the Lincoln Park Zoo. As one of the oldest zoo in America, Lincoln Park Zoo is home to a wide variety of animals. The zoo's exhibits include ?big cats, polar bears, penguins, gorilla, reptiles, monkey and other species totaling about 1,100 animals from some 200 species.

9. Field Museum

The field Museum was originally a World’s Columbian Exposition held in Chicago in 1893. In 1905, the Museum’s name was changed to Field Museum of Natural History to honor the Museum’s first major benefactor, Marshall Field. Gorge M. Pullman and Harlow N. Higginbotham together established the foundation for the Field Museum for about half million dollars by the end of 19th century. These funds allowed to purchase a large collation or important exhibits of War Nature history, the gems from Tiffany and pre-Columbian gold ornaments, etc. Some people said on the internet:” The structure is magnificent, there is so much to see and learn. If you like museums, you should definitely visit.”


10. North Michigan Ave

If I have to make this list, there must be a spot for North Michigan Ave. North Michigan Ave also called the Magnificent Mile, is one of the greatest avenues in the world. It can be on a par with 5th Ave in New York and Champs-Elysees Ave. There are thousands of malls, hotels and restaurants gathered on North Michigan Ave. If you are a shopper, you will feel like in heaven! From low-priced brand like Zara and Gap to luxury stores like Burberry, Armani or Ermenegildo Zegna, you name it! 

Posted in:General and tagged: Travel
Posted by Michael Hobbs on August 9th, 2016 5:24 PMLeave a Comment

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July 28th, 2016 9:16 AM

(Chinese Version)

4. Navy Pier

Navy Pier is a 3,300-foot-long (1,010 m) pier on the Chicago shoreline of Lake Michigan. The Navy Pier was opened to public on July 15, 1916. It used to serve the navy but now, it is the No.1 attractions in the middle west where people can enjoy arid eon Ferris Wheel, musical carousel, Wave Swinger and mini golf course. Navy Pier was surrounded by Children’s Museum, Chicago Shakespeare Theater and IMAX Theatre which good for the people in all ages. A little fun fact, the end of the Navy Pier is probably the coolest place in Chicago. Before the air conditioner was invented, people were most likely host events over there to enjoy the breeze from Lake Michigan.

5. Millennium Park          

People who live in Chicago can be tired about all of the skyscrapers. They want a fast path working style during the work day but, meanwhile, they also want to get away from the engine noise and enjoy the peace. And there you have the Millennium Park. With 25 acres of breathtaking architecture and an iconic collection of public art, Millennium Park is Chicago’s premier green space. After you spend thousands of dollars on the Michigan Avenue, you may want to go sit on the bench in the Millennium Park, enjoy of smiles on the Crown Fountain or take a selfie by the Bean, catch your breath, go shop more.

6. Shedd Aquarium

Some say, “Shedd Aquarium is like no other aquarium in the world.” I can agree to that sentiment. With eye-popping vintage architecture, 21stcentury advanced animal care and over 1500 different species contained, it is definitely unique. In fact, it is largest indoor aquarium in the world. Be sure to visit Shedd Aquarium during your travels to Chicago!



Posted in:General and tagged: Travel
Posted by Michael Hobbs on July 28th, 2016 9:16 AMLeave a Comment

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