23 May 2016

California and Illegal Immigrant Tenant Rights

Illegal immigrants, undocumented workers, illegal aliens—whatever the chosen vocabulary, there are millions of people residing in the United States and California that fall into this category. Illegal immigrants live somewhere and with California’s notoriously high prices, renting is the only option for many. This raises questions for the landlord. Can you ask about immigration status? Do you have to rent to an illegal immigrant if you do not wish to? Are illegal immigrants reliable renters?...

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16 May 2016

Medical Marijuana and Tenancy in California

Medical marijuana, the controversial practice that flies in the face of federal legal classifications of the drug, has been a troublesome topic for landlords for some time. While California landlords have had the right to prevent tenants from smoking in their residences under existing smoking laws, the law lacked the clarity needed to assure landlords of the legality of medical marijuana smoking bans. A new bill working its way through the state legislature would clarify the law. California A...

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12 May 2016

So Your Renter Applicant Has a Criminal Record

You’re a landlord and you receive an application for one of your vacant units. You get excited, looking forward to the income, but then you learn that the applicant has a criminal record. What do you do? Maybe it matters what the crime is. You might feel comfortable renting to a nonviolent offender convicted twenty years ago. Maybe mental illness was involved and the convicted individual has demonstrably undergone successful treatment. But what about a sex offender or someone recently co...

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02 May 2016

Section 8 Housing: Change Coming in CA?

The Section 8 housing voucher program is at the center of recent debates in the California legislature and in the Appellate Division of the Sacramento Superior Court. Section 8 is designed to provide housing for very low income families, the elderly, and the disabled: the federal government provides the funding and local housing agencies distribute vouchers that essentially guarantee a portion of the rent to a landlord. The Section 8 recipient pays a portion of the rent and the housing agency se...

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29 Apr 2016

Interest Rates on the Rise?

Anyone involved in the real estate industry knows that interest rates are currently near historic lows, which makes sense—the government does not want to slow down spending in a sluggish economy. There has been speculation for months that the Fed would raise rates (it has to happen eventually) based upon the health of different sectors of the economy. This speculative waiting was put to rest (at least for a moment) on Wednesday (4/27/16) when the Fed announced that it would not be raising its ...

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25 Apr 2016

Too Many REALTORS®?

If you’re reading this, you’re probably interested in the real estate industry. Maybe you are considering getting your license or you’re a veteran REALTOR® pondering change. No matter the situation, anyone in the industry wants to know what competition and opportunity looks like in their area or an area they’re interested in operating in. Most REALTORS® probably have a pretty good idea of where other REALTORS® work. Large states with large populations like California, Texas, Florid...

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14 Apr 2016

Selling Your Home With Solar Panels

On the surface, solar panels appear to be a great selling feature for a home. The prospect of lower utility costs are appealing to everyone and many buyers love the idea of “going green”. Because solar panels are increasingly common in residential real estate, the professional REALTOR should be properly informed as to the impact these panels can have on a transaction. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association the number of homes and businesses with solar panels has exceeded 748,00...

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04 Apr 2016

Drone photography in the real estate industry

Drones - also known as Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) by the FAA - are being increasingly used for commercial purposes. Real estate professionals often want to use drones to improve their photography and videography - it’s undeniably sexy. Drones offer amazing visual perspective on property that would basically be impossible any other way. I know many of our real estate school students see videos on YouTube of listings and wonder how they can get cool aerial shots like this on their listin...

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31 Mar 2016

Are Realtors independent contractors or employees?

For tax, compensation and work hour requirements real estate salespeople have long been classified as independent contractors, not employees. It isn’t hard to see why brokers prefer this - they aren't required to reimburse for business expenses, provide health care benefits or pay the employer share of payroll taxes. It would cost brokers a great deal of money and completely change the real estate profession if agents weren’t contractors. In a recent class-action lawsuit Bararsani v. Cold...

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24 Mar 2016

Teams in Real Estate

I got my license in 2002 and have seen many real estate partnerships flourish and work well. I’ve also seen partnerships end in bitterness and hatred due to missed expectations and disappointment. One mentor of mine famously said “If partnerships were good God would have had one.” With that being said, your chances of being successful can (not will) increase if you find the right partner or get on the right team. Everyone has heard the saying “two is better than one” and if you want t...

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