According to CareerBliss, real estate agents are a happy breed. That’s because CareerBliss ranked real estate agents as the No. 1 happiest profession in the U.S.
The list of happiest professions was based on a survey of more than 65,000 professionals nationwide last year, who rated several happiness factors in their professions, such as company culture, compensation, daily tasks, growth opportunities, and relationships with bosses and co-workers.
Why the sudden happy dance? Likely rising home prices and a profession suddenly in demand is creating the stir.
Here is the official top 10 “happiest” professionals of the year:
Real Estate Agent
Senior Quality Assurance Engineer
Senior Sales Representative
Senior Application Developer
Executive Administrative Assistant
And let us not forget those unhappy folks. Here is the list the top 10 most “unhappiest” careers/jobs:
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has asked real estate developers to create “tiny apartments” of about 300 square feet each in order to meet the housing needs in New York.
If you’re in the corporate housing business, you may be wondering if a tiny apartment would be a good investment for you.
I asked the co-founder of CHBO to weigh in on this hot topic. Here’s what she had to say:
“The first condo I ever bought was only 400 square feet – a tiny apartment in San Francisco! I think these properties offer wonderful opportunities for individuals who want to live in a highly populated area. First of all, when I bought my tiny apartment, I was just out of college and the condo was at a price point I could afford. At the time I got a FHA first-time homebuyer’s loan and later turned the property into a fantastic, well cash-flowing rental. The tiny apartment had everything someone would need when working away from home for a month or two at a time – it had a closet, washer dryer, and functioning kitchen. I even installed a murphybed wall unit with built-in desk and had a love seat and kitchen counter with stools. Everything I needed was there.
“The rest of the world has much smaller living spaces than in the U.S. and let’s face it when you live in a major city the most fun is not found at home – more and more we are turning into a 24-7 social society. My opinion is if a condo building has a nice common area with big screen TV, isn’t that more fun to do with your neighbors than watching TV alone anyways? During my trip to Paris recently, I noticed very few stores selling big items – I figured it was because there were no large cars to transport these items. This is how the rest of the world lives – there’s no need for McMansions if it’s just one person (or even a couple) needing to buy or rent a living space.”
Overall, tiny apartments can make great corporate rental properties because:
They can be bought at a low price point and cost less to maintain, enabling an investor to earn better returns from the property.
They provide all the amenities of a typical rental property and make the perfect furnished rentals – no need to have your tenants haul furniture in and out of these tiny abodes!
They enable more people to live and rent in thriving cities vs. sprawling suburbs, which can cut back on commute costs and add to the excitement of a business trip to the heart of New York City!
With a low price point and a high potential for renters, tiny apartments may just be the next exciting thing in corporate housing!
Gen-Xer’s are those born between 1960 – 1981. They comprise one of the most mobile workforces in our country. Why? Experts say that on-the-go Gen-Xer’s are on the look out for career advancement opportunities and are willing to go the distance to find them. They are anxious to build new networks and restless to learn new skills.
That leads us to the point of this
Boston, MA - Unique neighborhoods, a collegiate scene and a start-up hotbed make this city attractive to the young-ins. post – where are the young people living, working and renting? This article on the Realtor.com website lists the top cities where Gen-X and Gen-Y youth are living, playing, working and renting. Does your corporate rental property appeal to them?
Chicago, IL – This thriving city of 3 million may be cold and windy, but it bears the moniker of Fortune Magazine’s “Best City for Business.”
Denver, CO - A picturesque city coupled with outdoor living, fanatic sports teams and steady business opps makes 35 and younger folks flock in droves to the Mile High City.
Minneapolis, MN - A solid economy and strong culture make Minneapolis an “it” place for young professionals.
Portland, OR – Portland’s economy is healthy due to a broad manufacturing, distribution, wholesale and retail trade base. Plus, its scenic rivers and stunning mountains make you feel all tingly inside.
San Francisco, CA - Always a mecca for the young and vibrant, the Bay City offers diverse cultural and ethnic neighborhoods and a dynamic work environment that appeal to youth.
Seattle, WA – Despite the rainy forecasts, Seattle boasts a cultural scene like none other and even placed on the “30 Great Cities to Start Out In” list.
Washington, DC - Young politicos love the cultural, political and diverse scene offered by our nation’s capital, making it attractive to today’s young workers.
Five tips to making your furnished rental property more appealing to young professionals:
Be digital. Utilize the latest technology throughout, including high-speed Internet, Wi-fi and charging stations.
Incorporate “green” components into your property. Gen-X and Gen-Y are one of the most eco-conscious generations around.
Offer a “student discount.” Young professionals are continually taking advantage of career and educational advancement opportunities - offer a discount to attract young professionals to your property.
Be responsive. This generation is used to instant gratification. Respond to your tenant inquiries quickly and thoroughly. This digital generation may move on to the next property in a matter of minutes while you’re figuring out how to text them back.
Get good visuals. Young professionals wants to see a home that speaks their language – it’s important to them. Tell a story about your property through good visuals. Use Obeo to help create the images you desire to appeal to young professionals.
Back in the “good old days” when a company wanted an employee or executive to relocate to a different city, often times the company would do whatever it took to move that executive, even purchase the person’s home. Companies didn’t want anything to stand in the way of them acquiring top-notch talent from Anytown, USA. However, also back in the “good old days,” selling a home wasn’t nearly as difficult as it is today with homes taking months, even years to sell and many homeowners holding on to mortgages that are underwater.
However, the current real estate market slump has impacted how companies and their employees view relocation and job transfers today.
A recent article in The Chicago Tribune features a Q&A with Susan Schneider, president of Minneapolis-based Plus Relocation Services and the Worldwide Employee Relocation Council (ERC) trade group. She explains how businesses and the relocation industry’s attitudes have changed regarding corporate relocation and dealing with an executive’s home in this new era.
Schneider says in the past, many executives were reluctant to move for a job because a spouse didn’t want to move away from his/her family, or their spouse had a good job and couldn’t relocate him/herself. However, today, Schneider says the excuse is “I can’t sell my house,” or “I’m underwater by hundreds of thousands of dollars and just can’t afford to move!”
Now, before relocating an employee, Schneider told the Chicago Tribune that companies are offering “candidate assistance” to help with the relocation decision process. They help council an employee on how to get their house sold and some even offer a marketing budget for executives to fully prep their house for a quick sale.
Schneider also says that companies are bringing back a like “buy back” program. Many companies, she says, are offering a “loss on sale” benefit to relocated employees where the companies says it is willing to pay the difference if a homeowner has to take a loss in the sale of their home in order to sell it quickly.
Another way companies are working to improve the mobility of their workforce is that that are offering rent incentive packages to prospective or relocating employees. Companies understand that employees might have to move again in a few years, and again a few years after that. With this in mind, instead of assisting an employee with a new home purchase, which can decrease mobility, they are instead incentivizing their workforce to rent by underwriting rental costs. Corporate housing, like those offered through CHBO, can provide a furnished home for months or years at a time to a relocated individual, without committing them to long-term lease agreements or a mortgage that will be hard to turn over in our soft housing market. In other words, corporate housing is just one of a many options to increase our nation’s workforce mobility.
Interested in reading more about corporate relocation? Click here!
Rock bottom interest rates. In early Aug. 2011, a 30 year fixed was just 4.19%!
Home ownership comes with tax perks that renters don’t get to enjoy – you get to deduct your mortgage interest as a homeowner. You don’t get to deduct your rental fees as a renter.
Low prices – it’s a buyers market and prices are lower than low. If you can afford to buy, consider doing so because it will force you to save your money in a safe investment – your home!
So does this mean you should rent or buy right now?
The answer to this question is, “It depends.” Can you afford to buy? Do you have enough for a 20% down payment? Do you plan to stay in the home at least seven years? Can you afford closing costs and home ownership costs? Do you feel secure in your job or in the job market of where you want to buy?
If you answered “yes” to these questions, then you should consider buying. If you answered “no” to any of these questions, you might want to consider renting until you are more financially and emotionally secure.
How does this relate to corporate housing? We (at CHBO) always recommend that individuals rent first, buy later. Renting allows someone to learn about a city, neighborhood and to get their feet wet before locking themselves into a permanent residence where it’s unlikely they’ll get out of the house any time soon, even if they tried. Mobility is severely limited in tough job and housing markets – so be sure before you buy, period.
However, with the uncertainty of the economy, housing and job market, renting might make more sense for someone new to the housing market or the person willing to relocate for work. Renting provides a greater flexibility than buying, as you’re only tied to a short term lease. Plus there are limited upfront costs associated with renting.
USA Today reports more Americans are renting out their vacation homes, because they can’t sell them or are unwilling to sell for a loss. The rental income allows them to stay afloat while waiting for the vacation home market to pick back up again.
While the overall housing market remains in a deep slump, the vacation market is in even worse shape. Sales of vacation properties have been cut in half from their peak in 2006, before the financial crisis hit. Just last year, median sales prices of vacation properties dropped 26.5 percent to a record low of $150,000.
The result is that the vacation rental market has become flooded with new listings, keeping rental rates unchanged this season and creating even more options for those seeking a vacation rental.
While it may sound tempting to rent out your furnished vacation property to other travelers, try listing your property as a corporate rental on Corporate Housing By Owner instead. You’ll avoid entering the over-saturated vacation rental market, and instead be exposed to corporate travelers, where there is high demand for furnished properties.
On The Today Show this morning, real estate expert, Barbara Corcoran, offered some home buying tips worth repeating on our blog. If you’re in the market for an investment corporate rental property, you’ll want to follow many of her suggested strategies when choosing a house to buy and what neighborhood to buy in.
Her tips for doing a thorough neighborhood check include:
Don’t fall in love with the house. Make sure you check the neighborhood first and make sure it’s where you want to be.
Don’t just trust the broker. Yes, your broker can provide crime stats on your potential neighborhood, but nothing beats walking the neighborhood yourself and doing your own sleuthing.
Check local hangouts. The guy running that local coffee shop knows the neighborhood best. Ask him for his thoughts. Why not?
Check out the neighborhood during different times of day. Visit the home during rush hour, weekends, mid-day, Friday nights, etc. You’ll uncover things you need to know about it when you vary your visit times.
Note if there are too many “For Sale” signs. If there are more than three “For Sale” signs in a three block radius, it might be a red flag that the neighborhood is still distressed. (CHBO Note: However, during peak buying/selling season, we think a red flag should be raised if there are more than five For Sale signs in a three block radius).
Analyze specific location. Avoid homes that are near bus or trash pick-up routes or next to an empty lot. You can look at Google Maps and look at streets from a bird’s eye view to get a feel for the neighborhood’s set up.
Talk to neighbors. Neighbors are usually willing to talk and tell you what they think about the neighborhood. Don’t be shy – spark a conversation and get to know those that will be living next door and across the street from you.
Visit local school during drop off or pick up. You’ll see how kids and parents interact with one another – it’s a great way to size up the neighborhood.
Check crime rates. Check sex offender lists and police listings. Information is readily available – do your due diligence!
Visit Town Clerk offices. The clerk knows zoning changes on the horizon and if anew cell tower is being put in next door to you. This can affect your property values so watch what the Town Clerk is doing carefully!
Look at cars in driveways. Look to see how many inexpensive new cars are parked in nearby driveways. Corcoran says this isn’t an “exact science” but it can show you if young people are moving into that neighborhood. Young people go where the jobs are – so young families moving in may indicate a neighborhood on the rise!
Check foreclosure rates. Go on Foreclosure.com and check rates in your neighborhood. If foreclosures are on the rise, give some pause to the neighborhood.
Check tax assessments. Every town assesses differently and you want to know how your town operates. Some access your home when you close – which will give you a different rate than the current owner. Some won’t access until you make a capital improvement. You want to know because this will impact your bottom line long term.
Understand price per foot. Ask your Realtor to check the price per foot for that neighborhood and make sure your price matches everyone else’s price per foot.
Good luck with buying the RIGHT new investment property for you. Hope these tips help!