09 Mar Letter From CEO: Finding Good Buys in a Seller’s Market
It has been an incredibly busy year on the real estate acquisition front. Our strong recent investor growth was followed by commensurate levels of new real estate acquisitions. That means I travel. A lot. Even though we are in a pandemic. It’s given me an opportunity to send snapshots to my mother of me wearing a mask while flying. She worries. Plus, she always wanted me, her only son, to become a doctor. Mask wearing is about as close as it’s going to get.
Over the past ten months, we’ve acquired nine new residences. Big Sky, Napa Valley, the Florida Keys and Miami were the most recent additions to our residence portfolio. And stay tuned for some new announcements soon.
Wait a minute, Philip. Isn’t this a terrible time to be buying right now? If you’ve been looking for a second home (or third), you might have noticed luxury real estate markets are very competitive. So how do we continue to find gems at the right price? In short, we’ve had nearly fifteen years to perfect our residence buying best practices. Keep reading and I’ll let you in on some of our secrets.
The Perfect Storm Creating This Tight Real Estate Market
Homes aren’t just selling. They are selling at a record-setting pace in some markets. While that’s good news for sellers, it can give buyers heartburn…especially in affluent neighborhoods and the most desirable vacation home markets. I recently had a phone conversation with our realtor in Lake Tahoe to review newly listed homes. Within three days, they were all under contract. Many realtors look and sound exhausted, and they have right to feel that way—it is that busy in many markets. Here are a few articles that I found in a quick Google search:
- New York Times – Hamptons Real Estate Hits Record Levels in the Pandemic
- Forbes – What Will Real Estate Look Like In 2021? 3 Homebuying Trends You’ll See This Year
- Realtor.com – U.S. Luxury Market Has Strong End of 2020, Especially in Suburban and Second-Home Areas
- Bloomberg – Millennials Are Changing the Luxury Real Estate Market
- Consumer Affairs – The 2021 housing market is off to a red-hot start
- Washington Post – Experts predict what the 2021 housing market will bring
With unprecedented low levels of inventory and equally low mortgage rates, the market has become competitive to start the year. Coupled with COVID-fueled demand for residences outside traditionally hot metro areas, prices are reflective of handsome appreciation over prior year, and most home listings priced right are getting contracts within 30 days.
In many cases, potential buyers are outpriced in competitive markets or forced to make rush decisions. Not a good formula for new or infrequent buyers. Regardless of how many years down the line you might want to exit, you need a proven way to ferret out good buys if you wish to make money.
The Equity Estates Difference
So how do we do it? How do we continue to find smart buys which will deliver the right travel experience with the right return? Over the years, we’ve learned (sometimes the hard way) these three keys to successful acquisitions in any macroeconomic environment.
- Understanding investor preferences
- Building long-term relationships with realtors
- Extreme patience + robust due diligence + stomach for renovations
First, keeping our fingers on the pulse of investors’ destination preferences is an ongoing, purpose-driven exercise. It helps us identify meaningful targets while excluding trendy fads which won’t stand the test of time. We receive regular feedback from our investors. Last month, we asked hundreds of prospective investors where we should buy next. The results, as always, were extremely informative. They validated that we’re currently looking in the right areas plus added a few new opportunities to our shopping list. We have even doubled down with more than one property in certain high demand markets like Turks & Caicos, Costa Rica, and Los Cabos.
Second, when we circle in on a new market, we find the right local real estate expert. Sometimes we buy right away. Other times it may not happen for a decade. But we maintain our relationships and keep tabs on the markets we care about. We find partners that get to know us, understand the expectations of our investors, and who are willing to work hard to uncover motivated sellers, i.e., those that want (or need) to liquidate.
We are also very data-driven purchasers who analyze market trends over time on key metrics like price per square foot. Access to this information is critical for us, but not all realtors can (or like to) work on that part of the transaction.
Finally, there’s no substitute to patience and hard work. Short cuts and time pressures often lead to poor decisions. It never ceases to amaze me what doesn’t get caught with a typical home inspection or what fails to get disclosed by a seller (knowingly or not). Don’t be afraid to get into the attic and explore the crawl space like I do. Where we find problems, it gives us an ability to negotiate from a position of strength due to first-hand knowledge. We feel empowered to walk away when we uncover undisclosed impairments which may impact our objectives and goals for a property.
Especially when renovations are planned, going in eyes wide open is important. In certain markets when you can’t check in personally on daily progress, managing renovations can be very challenging. It’s a great way to lose your shirt. This is where Equity Estates leverages our expertise to find long term value—with years of lessons learned now that we are on Fund IV.
Now Is A Great Time To Join
The Phase II Investment round of Fund IV is expected to sell out this month. Wouldn’t you love to diversify your overall holdings with an investment that is both a known hedge against inflation and an enjoyable way to create hassle-free, lasting memories for your family and friends?
We would welcome an opportunity to discuss why now is a great time to invest in Equity Estates.
If you are ready to learn more now, there are incentives for any new investor who acts before the end of the quarter. And if you are not ready, that’s perfectly fine. We will still be here when it’s the right time for you.
Call us at 404.445.8501 or click here to schedule an appointment with one of our Investor Relations Team members.
Until next time, safe travels!
CEO, Equity Estates