July 29, 2012

A request for information

We get all kinds of mail at Burbed.  Here’s one that asks us for some advice.  Instead of our just sending our answer, wouldn’t it be awesome if we sent several responses?  Our readers are a fairly high-powered bunch, so let’s go!

Dear Burbed.com,

My name is Darren and I am a business student at <school not in the Real Bay Area>.  I’m taking part in a summer business incubator program in <city not in the RBA> where students create startup companies.  I believe the best businesses begin by solving a problem and I’m interested in building my business around helping real estate investors since this has always been an area of interest for me. 

I was wondering if you could take a few minutes to answer some of my informational interview questions below?  I am trying to determine what problems/inefficiencies real estate investors encounter that I could solve through developing a software solution.

I appreciate your help.

Thank you,

Darren <last name goes here>


1.)    What is the biggest hassle real estate investors have to deal with?

2.)    If you could wave a magic wand and change something about what you do, what would it be?

Here are our answers for Darren.  What are yours?

120729-ugly-house1.) The biggest hassle for real estate investors is buying a property and subsequently discovering that it wasn’t in the RBA after all.  Usually this is revealed right after the comps drop.

The second biggest hassle is when business students ask anyone running a website even remotely related to one of the topic terms to do their homework for them.

2.) What would we change?  We would find a way to monetize this site using advertisers who would pay us $1000 per pageview.  Also, we’d implement better email tools to direct these sort of blast requests directly to our readers who are here to help.  Plus we’d give ourself super powers.  No way are we letting go of this magic wand.  We may throw it open to our readership to suggest how to use it on people like Darren.  We’re debating between “sic a high-pressure real estate investment salesman on him” and “replace his computer with a motivational book.”

We’ll be sure Darren sees your answers.  Hopefully he’ll also answer some of our questions.  Our first one is “If you could be any kind of house, what kind of house would you be?”

This is also your Weekend Open Thread.  Feel free to tell us what kind of Open House you’d be as well.  If you could wave a magic wand and change something about the house, what would it be?

Comments (17) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:05 am

17 Responses to “A request for information”

  1. SEA Says:

    I’d suggest developing a software solution to the light bulbs and Drano problem. “Can’t really think of anything else.”

  2. nomadic Says:

    1. The biggest hassle is how banks require a down payment and all of that pesky paperwork since the global meltdown. It used to be that anyone who had a pulse could access unlimited credit to buy houses.

    2. I don’t actually have rental properties, but if I did, I’d wave my magic wand to make rentards more grateful for a roof over their head and make it so they do their own maintenance. That way, as landlord, I could sit back and collect checks every month without any work!

  3. Crissa Says:

    All my solutions harass real estate investors to make the market more liquid and transparent: A better method of certifying appraisers; better appraisal methods. Taxation on land based upon zoning, not only based upon improvements – so that empty lot next to condos downtown is taxed at the same rate but the one ceded to the city as parkland isn’t. Bank regulations which require them to be transparent about their qualifications and requirements on mortgages and liens; regulations which require them to take the loss in first mortgages when the market goes down – so they’re more circumspect about the appraisals they accept.

    And I’d need a magic wand to do any of it.

  4. waiting_for_the_fall Says:

    I would develop an alternative to the MLS so that for sale by owner houses can be viewed more easily by everyone.

  5. SEA Says:

    “…so that for sale by owner houses can be viewed more easily by everyone.”

    Have you ever tried to negotiate with a FSBO seller?

    It reminds me of the well-known statement: An attorney that represents himself has a fool for a client.

  6. sprezzatura Says:

    I see a future for Darren involving a custom suite of software and workbooks to help new RE Investors to learn the tools of the trade and help them find untold riches.

    After all, real estate only goes up in value right? They’re not making any more land!

  7. mabledu Says:

    i always hated group projects. most of the group worked, but there was always one kid who skated along and mooched off the others. but, in the interest of encouraging higher education-

    #1. realtors
    #2. time travel. i’d go back 10 years and buy stock in apple & google, and a lean-to in palo alto that’s now worth millions, even if it’s mere spitting distance from the train tracks.

  8. Petsmart groomer Says:

    #1. Tenants
    #2. I’d kill Prop 13

  9. Petsmart groomer Says:

    > […] that I could solve through developing a software solution.

    Create a solution to compute a rentard score (much like a credit score).

  10. Banker East Says:

    The biggest problem for me is physical distance. I need a faster way to get to San Francisco.

  11. madhaus Says:

    The biggest problem for me is physical distance. I need a faster way to get to San Francisco.

    You’re going to need Darren’s magic wand.

  12. PK Says:

    If I could wave a magic wand, I would give that house a better yard. That’s atrocious!

  13. Reloguy Says:

    1. Interest rates. Please make sure they stay low forever.

    2. Rental market transparency. On MLS I can find out lots of ownership history on a property, but nothing on it’s rental history or the average rents in the area. How can I buy property thousands of miles away and know there will be tenants fighting to pay me 2x the mortgage?

  14. nomadic Says:

    How can I buy property thousands of miles away and know there will be tenants fighting to pay me 2x the mortgage?

    Do your homework? That is, do your homework with a bit more effort than Darren.

  15. SEA Says:

    #13- Finance 25%. It’s very likely you’ll have no problem getting a line of tenants willing to pay 2x the mortgage.

  16. Alex Says:

    1) finding hot MILFs in the neighborhood

    2) I’d be a porn star.

  17. SEA Says:

    Looks like the RBA has some competition, and maybe Darren’s software solution will find deals like this:

    “NEW YORK (AP) — An octagon-shaped penthouse in midtown Manhattan is on the market for $100 million.

    The 8,000-square-foot apartment features six bedrooms, nine bathrooms and a wraparound terrace with 350-degree views of the city. It has an internal elevator and a wine room for 1,000 bottles.

    The penthouse, on West 56th Street, is being sold by Long Island real estate developer Steven Klar. It’s listed with Prudential Douglas Elliman.

    The asking price reportedly is the highest for any New York City apartment currently on the market.

    It’s also believed to have the highest terraces in the city. It occupies the 73rd through the 75th floors.

    Klar bought the property for $4.5 million in 1993, and spent at least as much renovating it.”

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