Real Estate Vs. Da Stock Market - Part 1

11 February 2010

One of the things that drives me nuts, is when I hear people say "Real Estate is my thing", or "Real Estate is what I am into". It is not a drug it is an investment! You buy Real Estate, (as an investment), for it to go up in value and maybe collect rent. Hmmm, that sounds just like buying a stock, and the rent would be the dividend (or even a stock buy back). Real Estate, (from an investment standpoint), is not a way of life. It is not something you are into. It is not "your thing". It is 100% an investment. So many people, particularly young people, don't get that. With this post I am kicking off a series of blog postings talking about the importance of understanding all markets not just the one "you are into". First of all lets clear somethings up. When I say Real Estate investment I am not talking about your home, or a vacation home. Those have personal emotional aspects; you need a home to live in and you love staying at your ski condo on the weekends. I label these assets as personal property, there is a luxury element you may or may not be paying up for. I am talking about the rental property you purchase, to collect rent, or even flip. Second thing I want to clear up, I am giving general statements and rough numbers in this blog series. With any investment there is always another side, another stat, another point of view. I get that. This is what makes markets if we all thought the same way no one would buy or sell anything. This is just one man's view. I hope you can share you view points in the comments below. Lastly, I am not talk to the people that do this for a living. If you are a Real Estate Developer, or a hedge fund manager you have built a business around a particular asset class. While I think every point I am going to make applies 100% to you as well you can make a business case against some of my statements and I might agree with you.
 
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Real Estate Vs. Da Stock Market - Part #2

23 February 2010

From my first post (Real Estate Vs. Da Stock Market - Part #1) many people contacted me and told me that they disagreed with me. The stock market and the Real Estate market were not the same. Many people expressed that they liked Real Estate, (and made it their "thing"), because they had far more control over the investment. You can pick your tenants, you can pick your lender, you can remodel, and so on. While in the stock market you have no control unless you have the capital to be a major share holder. All you have is the ability to cast your vote in a share holder meeting. While this is true, in fact you do not have much control over the direction of the company you own stock in, you have control over if you own the asset or not. In terms of personal wealth, this is way more powerful than than the direct control you have with Real Estate. Having the ability to liquidate your ownership in an asset within seconds is very powerful. When managing your assets their is two parts; growing your assets, and protecting your assets. Wise investors can spot a downturn coming, such as the one in late 2007. No one really knows how bad a downturn is really going to be, but a wise investor should know when to shift from capital appreciation mode to capital protection mode. Below are the things you can do to protect your stock and real estate assets in a downturn.
 
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Real Estate Vs. Da Stock Market – Part #3

8 March 2010

Overview

The point I am going to make in this post is you can use the different markets outside of Real Estate to help with timing your Real Estate transactions. Great timing can do wonders for your bottom line. I have to setup my point so read all the way through. I will put it all together at the end. To continue my argument, (see past posts), that I believe that at the very least if you are a Real Estate investor you should have an eye on different markets outside of the Real Estate world I am going to highlight Mortgage Back Securities and what it means for the common Real Estate investor. First lets define what a Mortgage Back Security is, or MBS. More or less a MBS is a bond sold on wall street from the big government backed firms Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These loans are originated by banks we all know and love. Then the banks sell these loans off to Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac in big pools (collections of mortgages). For example (and to keep things simple), lets say Bank of America lent out 100 thousand dollars to 10 people (total of 1 million dollars). Bank of America collected a bunch of fees for putting the loan together (from the borrower), also mostly likely will get to continue to service the loan (charge more fees for the service of collecting loan payments). Now, BofA will sell this pool of loans to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. So the amount of loans BofA is willing to make each week/month/year is almost a factor of how willing Freddie and Fannie are willing to buy the loans. Once the pool of loans are sold and out of the bank's hands, Fannie and Freddie then bundle the loans up into bigger pools and sells them off on Wall Street as bonds. So when you make your home mortgage payment you send the money to your bank, then the bank send your payment to Fannie and Freddie, and then Fannie an Freddie sends your payment to the owner of the bond. You can learn way more about this process at Wikipedia.

Why should you understand all this?

It is one big chain of influencers; The seller, the buyer (borrower), the bank, Fannie/Freddie, and the bond holder. Each phase of this chain relays on entity below it. So lets look at each phase.
 
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Why Don't People Think In Terms Of ROI?

2 December 2011

Something that bugs me is entrepreneurs who are starting a company or making an investment but do not think in terms of return on investment, or ROI. Simply put, ROI is an estimate: if you invest a dollar how much will that dollar grow to? Typically you calculate your ROI as a percentage. Lets say I invest a dollar today and 5 years from now that dollar is worth $1.20. That means you got a 20% return over 5 years (or 3.71% per year). roi image Also, for the record this rant is not in relationship to the Mark Zuckerbergs, Bill Gates, or Steve Jobs of the world. These guys all started companies when they had no financial worries. The only risk was failing and going back to college. I am speaking the commoners, those who already have jobs. Those who already have a family. Those who already have a mortgage and a car payment. I am speaking to the people who buy rental properties, start web companies at night, or quit their job to go all in on a ice cream shop -not kids in dorm rooms (many of us missed that boat)
 
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Why Amazon Is Amazing To Me

11 February 2012

I love Amazon.com. I buy almost everything I can from them. Retail, hosting, media, and more. I even own stock in Amazon. I am a very happy consumer and investor. However, what I find so interesting about Amazon is not my consumer joy or my nice gains as a shareholder; it is their business model. In so many ways they have re-engineered traditional business models. The single most fascinating aspect of Amazon to me is their way of monetizing business bi-products. As an Internet retailer Amazon has to make major investments in data centers. Trust me: Amazon runs on more than just a Linux computer under Jeff Bezos’ bed. They have built data centers all over the world. Normally, this would be a cost of doing business. In order to sell products online they have to build data centers. Using the bi-product of having to build data centers Amazon built a billion dollar hosting business, Amazon Web Services. Amazon leverages their infrastructure and rents the use of this space to web sites all over the world. This is like Best Buy starting a construction company because they are building big box retail locations. Amazon turned what traditionally would be a fixed expense into a most likely very profitable business unit.
 
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