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How blockchain could disrupt commercial real estate

The use of blockchain could simplify commercial real estate transactions as they would be conducted without the need for a third party. This means that someone in California could agree to buy a property or provide financing for a project by delivering the money directly to the buyer or borrower. The ledger that the information is stored on is digital and encrypted to make such transactions safer for all parties involved.

Furthermore, the SEC and FINRA have both started to research potential security issues and how they could be addressed. They have advised individuals to research the process of investing or transferring property. It is expected that blockchain technology will have a gradual impact on how commercial real estate transactions are conducted. Some in the industry are also convinced that the impact won't be felt in the near future regardless of how it comes about.

Mistakes people make when valuing homes

Homeowners in California may be making critical mistakes as it relates to valuing their properties. For instance, some might rely on an algorithm to determine how much their homes are worth. This can be problematic because algorithms may not reflect changes in market conditions or other variables that can drastically alter a home's true market value. As a general rule, real estate websites should be used to track trends in a given area.

Even if an appraiser estimates a home's value, that is still just an estimate based on prior sales and other information. It's just a subjective assessment that can't be proven accurate unless the home is actually on the market. Homeowners may want to scrap the renovations that are planned for just before the home sells. This is because it might not yield a worthy return on investment or a positive return at all.

Is your parking lot ADA compliant?

The Americans with Disabilities Act provides many useful guidelines for business owners who seek to comply with the requirements for accommodating those with disabilities. If your company does any new construction, you must meet the guidelines in the ADA, including carefully researched standards for accessible entrances, bathrooms and other areas.

Over the decades as the ADA evolved to assist more disabled citizens in remaining active in society, it became clear that parking was an issue. You probably recognize that the typical parking space at a shopping center or business does not allow enough room for a wheelchair-bound person to safely and comfortably exit a vehicle. Further, wheelchair-assist vehicles need extra space on the sides to allow for ramps and wider doors. This is why the ADA requires you to follow specific rules when creating parking spaces for your business.

Moving toward the future of commercial real estate

As developers anticipate the next big trends in California real estate, they may look next to the youth of Generation Z. This generation that follows the Millennials consists of people born in 1996 or later. While many members of Gen Z are too young to purchase commercial real estate, the oldest individuals are graduating from university, entering the workforce and developing their own property and investment portfolios. By paying attention to youth trends as well as timeless needs for real estate developments, investors and designers can create projects that will retain their appeal and utility for many years to come.

Trends in housing point at this direction. Multifamily apartment or condo buildings are opting for more technical integration, including connected buildings, "smart home" services and the most advanced wiring for speedy service. In addition, many young people are interested in earth-friendly construction, so sustainable materials and certifications of eco-friendly developments not only can add to their current appeal, but to the long-term viability of the projects. Young people are also interested in mixed-use developments that allow people to live a walkable, urban lifestyle even in a suburban location.

How to check for liens on a property

A California homeowner who thinks they may have a lien on their property will want to check for one prior to selling. In many cases, a homeowner won't necessarily know if there is a lien without doing a formal search. For instance, those who were involved in new home construction may file a lien without telling the homeowner about it.

It's also possible that a lien was improperly filed on a property or remains after a debt was paid. A lien search is generally free, and it can be conducted by doing a search through a county clerk or recorder. If there are liens on the home, a buyer may want to reconsider making an offer on it. However, it is possible that a seller will have the money available to cover the liens and sell the home with a clear title.

Buyers looking to smaller cities for affordable properties

As homes in California and throughout the country continue to get more expensive, even midsize cities are starting to become too pricey for buyers. In Nashville, the median home price has increased to $263,000 and saw several years of double-digit price increases. That played a role in net migration falling to 18,700 in 2017. Kansas City has also seen home values increase significantly. In 2017, prices went up 10.3 percent. However, sales dropped 10 percent in that same year.

While Kansas City is experiencing a shortage in available homes, smaller markets tend to have a better balance of supply and demand. Locations like Winston-Salem and Boise have seen home prices rise by 6.4 percent in the last year. Despite this growth, the median home prices in such areas is $246,000, which is below the national median of $264,000.

How buyers can navigate a seller's market

Sellers in California and in many other parts of the country have the upper hand right now as it relates to the housing market. Homes are selling quickly, and in some case, buyers are engaged in bidding wars to acquire them. However, it is still possible to get a home at a reasonable price even in a seller's market. To do so, it is a good idea to work with a professional real estate agent.

This person can handle negotiations with a seller and act as an advocate for a buyer. Flexibility is key when looking for properties to purchase in a seller's market. For some, buying the right house at the right price may include expanding the search parameters. Another way to get a good deal on a home is to make an offer as quickly as possible. Ideally, the offer will have few contingencies and close in a manner that is convenient for the seller.

Understanding common commercial real estate terms

California residents who enter into commercial real estate deals should understand that they have different terms compared to residential transactions. For instance, individuals may see a term called usable square footage (USF). The USF number lets them know how much space they can use to meet clients or produce goods. Examples of unusable space include hallways or exits.

This figure is separate from the rentable square footage in a building. It includes everything from an office space within the building to any bathrooms or lobbies that it may have. Typically, the total square footage of a given commercial space is what is used to determine the rent. In some cases, a tenant will be given the right of first refusal to take on any additional space that may become available within a building.

Is your apartment building ADA compliant?

As the owner of a California apartment building, you work hard to make your property as safe and welcoming for your tenants as possible. Like other commercial property owners, you have many laws and regulations to follow, including at the local, state and federal levels. Among those regulations are those related to providing access to those with disabilities.

The Americans with Disabilities Act went into effect in 1990, so if your building existed prior to that, there are some exceptions for you. However, it is important that you understand how the laws apply to you and your property and what your obligations are if one of your tenants requests accommodations.

Buyers don't need to put 20 percent down

California residents need to spend 37 years on average to save up a down payment of 20 percent on a home. Throughout the nation, it would take a person 20 years on average to do so. However, it may be possible to buy a home without putting 20 percent down. According to a report by the National Association of Realtors 2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the median down payment across the country was 10 percent.

Among those who bought their first home in 2017, 61 percent made a down payment of 6 percent or less. In some cases, it was possible to get a mortgage with no down payment at all. This may be done through a combination of grants and a seller agreeing to cover closing costs. Home loans offered by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) may also allow a person to buy a home without putting as much down at closing.

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L. Scott Karlin

L. Scott Karlin

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David E. Karlin

David E. Karlin

David E. Karlin is a California attorney with a primary focus on business and real estate, including law and legal issues...

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Michael J. Karlin

Michael J. Karlin

Michael J. Karlin is a Southern California based attorney whose practice primarily focuses on Entertainment Law. Michael began...

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