Real Estate

Episode 41: Bob Owens, Termite Guy

Bob Owens is a native of Chicago, Illinois where he lived until joining the United States Air Force at age 19. He served the Air Force as an aircraft maintenance specialist for twenty years, working all over the globe, before being invited by an Air Force buddy to come to Santa Cruz “for a week” – 20 years ago! He’s been in Santa Cruz ever since.

Bob Owens is the owner/operator of O2 Termite in Santa Cruz, California. They specialize in termite inspections and treatment, and have a well-deserved reputation as one of the best termite companies in town. Bob brings a strong ethic of providing high-quality, no-BS inspection reports. He tells it like it is; he wont’ sugar coat a problem but he will not exaggerate it either.

You may not think of termite inspection and treatment as especially sexy fodder for a podcast, but wood destroying pests and organisms are a multi-billion dollar issue in California, and understanding how to protect the wood in your home is critical for any homeowner, or prospective homeowner.

Find Bob and O2 Termite on the Web: https://o2termite.com

Episode 36: Jeanne Radsick on Service, Leadership, and Real Estate

On the day that I was formally installed as the 2019 President of the Santa Cruz County Association of REALTORS I had the distinct privilege of sitting down for a chat with Jeanne Radsick. Jeanne is currently the president-Elect of the California Association of REALTORS (CAR) for 2019 and will become president of the trade association in 2020.

CAR is a huge and very influential organization, with over 200,000 members. The association is very influential in the state of California but also nationally as well. Real estate comprises about 7% of U.S. GDP so it is a hugely important sector of the economy. Real estate matters, and so the individuals who helm our nation’s real estate associations are important to folks in the Bay Area, as well as coast to coast.

Anyone who listens to this episode of the Bay to Bay Podcast will certainly be reassured that the association is in capable, caring hands. What comes through is Jeanne’s commitment to her family, her clients, colleagues, and to the industry as a whole. We talk about a wide range of topics, with a particular focus on leadership and service in and to local Realtor Associations, the California Association, and the National Association. We also talk about the value that Realtors bring to the transaction, new business models for real estate sales, and the California housing crisis.

If you’re a REALTOR or interested in the real estate business, this is an episode of the Bay to Bay Podcast you won’t want to miss!

Episode 32: Evan Siroky, YIMBY: Yes to Housing!

Evan Siroky is the founder of the Santa Cruz YIMBY’s.  These are the Yes in My Back Yard folks who are advocating for increased housing construction in Santa Cruz county.  The YIMBYs are the opposite of NIMBYs, who seek to block most new residential projects.  We’ve got an interesting dynamic in Santa Cruz, and in the Bay Area in general.  On the one hand, people complain vociferously about the high cost of homes, both for rent and for purchase.  On the other hand, very few people want to see much more housing get built around here.  They’d rather that the new housing go somewhere else – anywhere else, other than their own back yard.  And that’s the mentality that the YIMBYs are fighting against.

In this episode, Evan recounts how when he moved to the area, he was not too surprised to see that housing was super expensive, being in the shadow of Silicon Valley and all.  But then he read that the City of Scotts Valley had planned to add only ten new housing units in a year.  Ten units – that’s effectively zero growth.  There was literally no plan at all to increase the supply of badly needed housing.  And that’s when Evan decided to get involved and form the Santa Cruz Chapter of the YIMBYs.

Do you think housing costs too much?  We know that rent control is not the answer – it’s a band-aid at best (and at worst, it stifles the construction of more badly-needed housing while raising rents for new tenants).  The solution is that we need more housing – and we need it now, and we need plenty of it.  That’s what the Santa Cruz YIMBYs are saying – so please listen up in this episode of the Bay to Bay Podcast.

Santa Cruz YIMBY – Facebook Page, Twitter Page, and Web Site

Episode 31: Alicia Heber with the One-Stop-Shop for Vacation Rental Management

Alicia Heber works with Vacasa.com, and their mission statement is succinct:  “Vacation Rentals Made Easy.”  If you know anything about vacation rental management, you understand that there’s not much that’s truly easy about it.  Which is what makes Vacasa such an interesting business.  Their mission is to make it easy to own and operate a vacation rental.  Vacasa takes all the grunt work out of the business, so that when you own a vacation rental, you’ll be able to spend a whole lot more time enjoying it versus worrying about keeping the vacation rental part of the equation humming along.

Vacasa also has a very interesting value proposition:  they say they’ll make you more money using them versus managing the property on your own, or having it managed by any other vacation rental management company.  Actually, they guarantee it, with money back to you from their management fee if they are not able to deliver more net proceeds to the vacation rental owner.

How do they do that?  I gather from my conversation with Alicia that they use a proprietary algorithm to make sure that all the rentals they manage are priced just exactly right to keep them occupied at the highest dollar possible.  And that’s the key – instead of guessing how much you should be charging on any given day, Vacasa employs a finely tuned algorithm to dynamically update the rental fee, across all the different platforms they list the rental on – AirBNB, VRBO, FlipKey, etc.  And not only do they keep the property occupied and money flowing to you, they also take care of all the little details that make running a vacation rental so time consuming.

If you own a vacation rental, or if you’re thinking about buying one, you’ll definitely want to hear what Alicia Heber of Vacasa has to say!

Episode 27: Jake Knight with Confessions of a Bay Area House Flipper

Jake Knight confesses to living the dream – he’s a Bay Area house flipper. It seems that house flipping is all the rage these days, and the idea of flipping homes here for big bucks is a fever dream of many. In fact, ATTOM data estimates that nearly 6% of homes sold in the US in 2017 were flips – hundreds of thousands of houses each year. From coast to coast and state to state (and in every county in California!), houses are getting flipped, probably just down the street from where you live.

Who’s doing all this flipping? The answer is people like Jake Knight of Skye Homes LLC. He says flipping is the only thing he’s really wanted to do since he got out of high school, when he read Rich Dad, Poor Dad.  It took him a while before he finally got into the business for real, but now he’s been a legit Bay Area House flipper for the past several years. With a background in finance and mortgage lending/underwriting, he takes a keen eye to every project he works on to ensure his ventures are profitable. But more than that, he’s concerned with creating value at every step in the process, including for the sellers of the flip homes he buys.

We had a very wide ranging discussion and covered a lot of hot topics which will be of interest:

  • What makes a house a good flip candidate
  • Finding houses that are good candidates for flipping
  • What kinds of people sell to flippers?
  • The value proposition for home sellers working a flipper
  • Competition in the flipping business
  • Financing flip projects and buying real estate with no money down
  • Determining how much to pay when acquiring a property
  • Pricing Strategy for the Resale
  • Working with REALTORs
  • Determining what materials, appliances, fixtures and such are appropriate
  • Books and web sites useful for flippers
  • How long does it take to flip a home
  • Saving on taxes
  • Real estate flipping in a changing market
  • The importance of networking and where and how to do it in the Bay Area

If you’ve been thinking about getting into flipping, this is certainly an episode you’ll want to tune in to and listen to over again.