March 3, 2021

Commercial Real Estate Company BentleyForbes Sees Opportunity in Volunteerism

BentleyForbesEmbracing the responsibilities of their status in the real estate community, the team at BentleyForbes is a committed advocate for a variety of charitable and philanthropic organizations throughout the U.S. By maintaining consistent support of a number of nonprofit institutions, BentleyForbes has become a role model for other corporate citizens. Here, the leadership of BentleyForbes explains why volunteerism is such a rewarding facet of their lifestyles.

Interviewing Experts: Good morning! Thanks for taking a little time out of your busy schedule to shed some light on the topic of volunteerism.

BentleyForbes: You’re welcome. It’s quite an important message to put across.

Interviewing Experts: When supporting volunteer efforts, what specific advantages have you experienced?

BentleyForbes: Volunteering can make a business feel like a vital part of the community, no matter what the cause. In pursuit of a common goal, volunteers gain a sense of confidence and belief that cannot be found anywhere else. [Read more…]

Kris Krohn of Strongbrook Describes the Building Blocks of a Real Estate Power Team

Kris Krohn StrongbrookKris Krohn of The Strongbrook Group says that a key principle of his revolutionary program, The Strait Path to Real Estate Wealth, is collaboration. Kris Krohn and the Strongbrook team are supported by a staff of more than 200 professional experts. Here, Kris Krohn of Strongbrook explains how his team assists valued clients in turning rental homes into a much stronger portfolio through growth, gains and profit.

Interviewing Experts: Good morning, how are you doing today?

Kris Krohn, Strongbrook: Doing well, thank you.
Interviewing Experts: We’re looking forward to hearing more about the Strait Path real estate system. What’s the most important fundamental of this program?
Kris Krohn, Strongbrook: Without a doubt, the art of collaboration is absolutely crucial to reaching an audience. [Read more…]

Damon Styles Finds Purpose and Greater Meaning During His Foreign Mission Trips

Damon StylesFor real estate investment professional Damon Styles, the opportunity to give back to others is often squandered and even ignored at times. In order to curb this trend, Damon Styles and his family often travel to foreign locations and assist communities in dire straits. In this short interview, Damon Styles provides support and encouragement to people who may be pursuing community service endeavors.

Interviewing Experts: Hello. We’re so grateful that you’re willing to share your insights with us.

Damon Styles: It’s a tremendous honor. People around the world are hopefully encouraged to improve communities and society as a whole through mission work.

Interviewing Experts: Do your children join along in these mission trips?

Damon Styles: On several mission trips, my two youngest kids have come along on this powerful and moving journey. [Read more…]

Kris Krohn: Building a Referral Network to Create a Real Estate Portfolio

Kris KrohnKris Krohn is a well-known real estate investor, investment coach and author. He has developed several real estate investment formulas that have helped people generate residual income and achieve financial stability. His most recent program is called Strongbrook Direct. Here Kris Krohn answers questions about using one’s network of friends and associates to build a real estate portfolio. [Read more…]

Scott Safadi Cautions Overeager Homebuyers

Scott Safadi

Scott Safadi

Scott Safadi is a real estate professional specializing in property management in Silicon Valley. Scott Safadi knows a boom or a bust when he sees one. As Scott Safadi explains, the housing market is starting to sizzle at a remarkable rate in a few pockets around the country, including his home base in California. In this conversation, Scott Safadi warns potential homebuyers not to get so caught up that they miss the forest for the trees.

Interviewing Experts: Tell readers about your company, CBPM.

Scott Safadi: CBPM is a property management company that serves apartment owners and tenants in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Interviewing Experts: Describe what you have seen happening with the housing market in Silicon Valley.

Scott Safadi: It’s amazing. It really feels like the early 2000s again in Silicon Valley.

Interviewing Experts: So things are hot on the housing front?

Scott Safadi: Yes, houses are selling for way over list price and sellers are getting multiple offers again, some have gotten hundreds of offers.

Interviewing Experts: How much over list price have houses sold for in your area?

Scott Safadi: It is not uncommon for houses to sell for 20 percent over list price right now.

Interviewing Experts: What has sparked this housing activity?

Scott Safadi: A number of factors come into play. There are fewer houses for sale, as owners who were underwater are still recovering and hoping to sell for profit. Also, new home construction is just starting to crawl back.

Interviewing Experts: Have low interest rates helped spur home buying?

Scott Safadi: Yes, record low interest rates and low home prices are attracting people who are financially able, looking to upgrade, or want to get into a home for the first time.

Interviewing Experts: This sounds like a good thing, isn’t it?

Scott Safadi: Yes and no. It’s a great sign that the economy is recovering. On the other hand, people get attached to a boom and bust mentality and it can be devastating.

Interviewing Experts: Can you explain what that means?

Scott Safadi: Buyers get enamored with the thrill of the hunt. In bidding wars for example, buyers end up paying a lot more just because they want to have the winning bid.

Interviewing Experts: What if it’s the perfect house for the buyer?

Scott Safadi: Work with an agent who has your best financial interests in mind, not just their commission. And, hold on, as it could be a bumpy ride.

Interviewing Experts: How do homebuyers choose a good agent?

Scott Safadi: Get a personal referral. Talk to family and friends; they offer the best connections.

Interviewing Experts: What advice do you have for homebuyers?

Scott Safadi: A cautionary tale: Don’t buy out of your price range, consider many different properties, and don’t let a bidding war entice you to spend more than you can afford.

Interviewing Experts: Thanks for your advice!

Scott Safadi: Glad to help homebuyers avoid the disasters of 2008.

About Scott Safadi:

Scott Safadi is a Northern California native who currently lives in Saratoga with his wife and daughter. Scott Safadi experienced both the boom and bust of the housing market in Silicon Valley through the purchase of his own home in 2007 and through his property management business, CBPM. When not immersed in real estate, Scott Safadi enjoys spending time with his family, playing tennis, and backpacking.

Travis Jones of Rush Properties Says Johnson County Is a Hot Market

Travis Jones Rush Properties

Travis Jones Rush Properties

Located just outside the Kansas City metro area, Johnson County is one of the top 20 counties in per capita income nationwide. Travis Jones of Rush Properties explains current housing trends in this Midwestern jewel.

According to Travis Jones of Rush Properties, Johnson County, Kan., is notable for having three of the top 100 best cities to live in according to Money Magazine. Today, the county is still considered one of the best places to live in the United States and is currently enjoying remarkable market conditions for both buyers and sellers, says Travis Jones, Rush Properties founder.

Understanding the market

Travis Jones of Rush Properties explains that the market can be a confusing concept for many people. There are numbers and statistics that don’t seem to make sense. Travis Jones of Rush Properties explains that it isn’t that difficult when you break it down into layman terms. Using Johnson County as an example, Travis Jones of Rush Properties sites April 2013 statistics.

  • Median versus average list price was $283,425 in Johnson County, which means that exactly half of the homes listed were above that price point.
  • Average list price, which Travis Jones of Rush Properties reports was $368,059, is the average price of all homes on the market.
  • DOM is an acronym for Days on Market. Travis Jones of Rush Properties clarifies that the average DOM for Johnson County was 77 days.
  • Price per square foot was $115. Price per square foot is calculated according to heated and cooled space in the home, explains Travis Jones, Rush Properties founder.
  • MAI stands for Market Action Index. According to Travis Jones of Rush Properties, the MAI measures the amount of inventory versus the number of buyers. In Johnson County during April, the MAI was just under 40. Travis Jones, Rush Properties founder, explains that this indicates a seller’s market.

A strong market

Travis Jones of Rush Properties reports that Johnson County is an extremely stable market. With the number of sold homes and the number of listed homes virtually balancing themselves out, Travis Jones of Rush Properties notes that there are very few homes available at any given time.

Much like the rest of the U.S., Johnson County did suffer during the economic downturn of the mid-2000s. However, as Travis Jones of Rush Properties reports, the market has seen a steady recovery over the last few years. Johnson County is known for having an excellent school system and for offering a remarkable quality of life, which Travis Jones of Rush Properties explains has helped keep market value fair even during the worst of the recession.

Travis Jones of Rush Properties notes that there are many reasons that buyers and sellers alike should be confident in the Johnson County real estate market. With its close proximity to Kansas City, noteworthy landscapes, access to major highways, and reasonable property taxes, Travis Jones of Rush Properties insists that the county and its cities are positioned to remain the best places to live for many years to come.

Low interest rates

Despite being a sellers’ market, Travis Jones of Rush Properties reports that low interest rates also offer an advantage for buyers. Rates have hovered around 3.25 percent with even lower rates for shorter-term loans.

About Travis Jones and Rush Properties

Travis Jones of Rush Properties has been buying and selling homes in and around Johnson County for the last 15 years. Rush Properties works with Homeowner in foreclosure, offering alternative options.

Larry Starr, Sarasota Real Estate Developer, Talks about Vacationing in Longboat Key

Larry Starr Sarasota

Larry Starr Sarasota

Larry Starr’s Sarasota area and beyond vacation rental and real estate background make him an expert in his field.

Larry Starr, Sarasota real estate developer and the owner of Resort Vacation Accommodations (RVA), a company that offers vacation rentals in Sarasota and the surrounding areas, gives some valuable insight about Sarasota. According to Larry Starr, Sarasota and it’s barrier islands such as Longboat Key, Siesta Key, Lido Key and Anna Maria Island make it ideal destination for vacationers.

Interviewing Experts: Welcome, and thank you for being here today.

Larry Starr Sarasota RVA: The pleasure is mine. What can I tell you about my favorite place in the world?

Interviewing Experts: To begin with, I have never stayed in a rental home for any of my vacations, only hotel rooms. What are some of the most important questions I need to ask before I book one of your vacation homes?

Larry Starr Sarasota RVA: Well, it’s important to know about the rental’s location. For example, if you are booking a beach home, you should know how close to the beach your rental home is. Will you have to walk for ten minutes or cross a busy street with children to get to the beach? You should always ask about details. Asking about amenities such as a pool or number of bedrooms and baths is also important.

Interviewing Experts: What household amenities usually come with one of the Larry Starr Sarasota area rentals from RVA?

Larry Starr Sarasota RVA: All of our rentals are fully furnished. We offer linens, blankets, pillows, appliances, and just about every thing that a permanent residence would have. Many of our properties offer Wi-Fi and premium cable channels.

Interviewing Experts: What activities would you suggest for visitors traveling to Longboat Key?

Larry Starr Sarasota RVA: The opportunities are endless. Let’s see, to name just a few, angling, shelling, biking, shopping, hiking, canoeing, fishing, dining, swimming, and so much more.

Interviewing Experts: What type of Larry Starr Sarasota areavacation rentals can one expect to find in the area?

Larry Starr Sarasota RVA: We offer condominiums, private vacation homes and resorts. We have one, two and three bedroom units, as well as some luxury estates.

Interviewing Experts: What other things can vacationers do in Sarasota and its’ surrounding islands?

Larry Starr Sarasota RVA: Longboat and Lido Key are just minutes away from all or the many cultural attractions of Sarasota. Siesta Key was recently named the number one beach in the world. Sarasota has a theater and an arts district. It’s a very glamorous city with world-famous shopping, but at the same time Sarasota has a completely relaxed lifestyle.

Larry Starr ’s Sarasota vacation rental and real estate background has been a major part in his success throughout his career. In addition to Resort Vacation Accommodations, Larry Starr also owns AutoXotic, a luxury vehicle company that offers rental and ownership program designed with the thrill seeking vacationer in mind. This Larry Starr Sarasota based firm specializes in bringing exotic vehicles to those who don’t want to own them full time.

Entrepreneur Tiffani Von Alvensleben Opens Up About Her Career and Early Misgivings

Tiffani Von Alvensleben

Tiffani Von Alvensleben

Interviewing Experts speaks with Von Vesting’s Tiffani Von Alvensleben about breaking into the business world and tackling her fears head on.

Interviewing Experts: We are so glad you could join us today, Tiffani Von Alvensleben.

Tiffani Von Alvensleben: I’m glad to be here. Thank you for inviting me!

Interviewing Experts: First, let’s talk about your successes. We understand you have founded more than one successful business…

Tiffani Von Alvensleben: I personally founded Madison Holdings Incorporated. I have also helped with the inception of several other companies including Von Vesting, TKL Home Designs, and American Redevelopment Fund.

Interviewing Experts: And your husband Rich is your business partner?

Tiffani Von Alvensleben: Yes, he always has been.

Interviewing Experts: I understand that when you first started working, you were just 18 years old fresh out of high school, correct?

Tiffani Von Alvensleben: It’s hard for me to believe it now, but yes I was. My first job was as a leasing agent. I actually became their top agent in just under a year.

Interviewing Experts: That’s impressive. You moved on to a position in sales after that…

Tiffani Von Alvensleben: Yes, I began an entrepreneurship as a sales agent for a successful consumer products company.

Interviewing Experts: That sounds pretty intimidating at a young age.

Tiffani Von Alvensleben: Well, yes it was! It felt very complex despite everyone around me telling me how simple it was.

Interviewing Experts: Were you immediately as successful as you had been before?

Tiffani Von Alvensleben: Not at all. I kind of sat around scared, looking at all the successful people around me. It was overwhelming.

Interviewing Experts: So, what finally broke the ice for you?

Tiffani Von Alvensleben: One day I realized that going to seminars and training meetings by myself was counterproductive. I began to understand that the business was something to be shared, not feared.

Interviewing Experts: And you began to believe in yourself?

Tiffani Von Alvensleben: Yes, and when I believed, I achieved. I got to a point where everything I did felt right. Everything I did was working just right. I had the Midas Touch!

Interviewing Experts: So, you were working on you?

Tiffani Von Alvensleben: Like a mechanic works on a hobby car! I decided to work on being the best I could be and started challenging myself to do more.

Interviewing Experts: You were hoping for success?

Tiffani Von Alvensleben: No way. I wasn’t just hoping, I was making it happen, plain and simple. I had the will to win and eventually started teaching others how to find that same determination within themselves.

Interviewing Experts: Do you have any advice to offer those who are currently beginning a new and possibly intimidating career?

Tiffani Von Alvensleben: Business is a great challenge but it’s a challenge that is all in your head. You have to release your fear to make success inevitable.

About Tiffani Von Alvensleben

Tiffani Von Alvensleben, CEO of Von Vesting, has three decades of experience in business, real estate, and interior design to her credit. She uses these skills to help Von Vesting acquire, remodel, and resell residential properties in the Sacramento area. Tiffani Von Alvensleben is also the cofounder of Madison Holdings, Inc. and as the Manager of TKL Homes, LLC is a General Partner of the American Redevelopment Fund, LP. Combined, these ventures make Tiffani Von Alvensleben a real estate powerhouse and an inspiration to young women trying to break into the business world.

Frankie Bordeaux Talks Real Estate, Home Buying, and the Rental Market

Frankie Bordeaux

Frankie Bordeaux

Respected businessman Frankie Bordeaux knows real estate—and he knows that home buying is down and renting is going up. Recently, we sat down with Frankie Bordeaux to find out why this is happening and if it may change in the future. Read on to see some of Frankie Bordeaux’s surprising answers about this modern day real estate phenomenon.

Q: Why do you, Frankie Bordeaux, think people are more likely to rent nowadays?

Frankie Bordeaux: Because this economy is sluggish, people are more hesitant to commit to 15, 20, and 25 years to pay off a house mortgage. Renting is an affordable option for families and there’s a certain freedom that comes with renting.

Q: Do you think people are worried about being laid off?

Frankie Bordeaux: Yes. I think many would-be homebuyers are worried about losing their jobs, not being able to find work, and then foreclosure as they are stuck in a home they can’t afford.

Q: Do you think this is a generational change?

Frankie Bordeaux: In some ways I do. Younger generations may be less likely than their parents to commit to one job, one company, and one home for decades of their lives. They tend to be more transient in their careers; therefore, younger generations are more apt to rent instead of purchasing homes.

Q: Are people’s views on homes changing?

Frankie Bordeaux: Absolutely. Homes used to be seen as a sign that you’ve made it, but now many people see them more as a ball and chain or a major liability for years to come.

Q: What’s the appeal in renting?

Frankie Bordeaux: It’s a lifestyle thing. Many renters don’t have to worry about yard work or home improvement projects or other maintenance issues.  Renting is less expensive than buying a home and renting gives them more flexibility in managing their lives.

Q: What are apartments doing to attract renters?

Frankie Bordeaux: Many apartment complexes are selling themselves as resorts with luxurious swimming pools, fitness facilities, party and lounge areas, along with other amenities. It’s minimal upkeep and maximum leisure for the residents.

Q: Are rent prices increasing because of the increase in renters?

Frankie Bordeaux: Yes. While home prices have rebounded somewhat, the trend of increased rent prices is still on the rise. Still, when you factor in the costs of home ownership, along with the freedom of being able to move when a lease is up, many people still find it a lot of value in renting.

Q: Are people furnishing their homes with less?

Frankie Bordeaux: That’s definitely another trend. Renters are more likely to move multiple times within a decade now, so they may forgo buying the furniture that homeowners would normally seek out. Furniture rentals have increased as well.

Q: Do you think people will begin buying homes again in the future?

Frankie Bordeaux: The numbers are already rising, but I don’t know if they will ever reach pre-recession levels. And many new homes that are being built are returning to more practical, budget-conscious, and efficient floor plans.

Frankie Bordeaux is from Greenville, North Carolina. He is a businessman, property manager, real estate developer and NCAA men’s basketball official.  He also spends his days advocating for youth and childhood development and working in his community.

Peter F. Spittler on Energy Conservation

Peter F. Spittler

Peter F. Spittler

We recently spoke with Peter F. Spittler, of Forum Architects. Peter F. Spittler is a renowned designer and architect with extensive experience in green-building and energy conservation practices.

Q: Peter F. Spittler, are energy conservation practices all high-tech?

Peter F. Spittler: Not necessarily. Common-sense, old-world ideas like skylights that refract and multiply daylight, shade trees to protect buildings during the hottest part of the day, or situating buildings to take advantage of prevailing winds are all common. Somewhere along the way planners, architects and engineers forgot about these simple and practicable design approaches.

Q: What are some other ideas that come into play?

Peter F. Spittler: Sometimes little things like low-water or waterless urinals, landscaping that doesn’t require much water, or even installing reflective white roofing can make a huge difference over time.

Q: What is LEED?

Peter F. Spittler: LEED stands for Leading Energy and Environmental Design.

Q: What does Leading Energy and Environmental Design do?

Peter F. Spittler: LEED is an outside third-party, market-driven system to provide guidelines for energy efficiency. LEED gives their certification for building projects that meet their marks.

Q: Isn’t LEED compliance expensive?

Peter F. Spittler: That’s a sort of misconception. Some LEED-compliant refits can be cost-prohibitive, but buildings can still meet LEED benchmarks without too much cost on the front end. What people need to remember is that an energy-efficient building plan will more than pay for itself when energy savings are realized over time. There was a time when it was expensive to go Green, but the product manufacturers have caught up with the Green movement and today products and system are readily available and reasonably priced.

Q: Does LEED compliance come with incentives?

Peter F. Spittler: Yes, it does. Federal perks are available to encourage LEED compliance and energy efficiency; many state and local governments also offer incentives.

Q: Is LEED design only for new construction?

Peter F. Spittler: Not at all, we’ve been able to refit many older buildings for energy efficiency and LED compliance. Sometimes we find that older buildings incorporated great ideas from 75 years ago or longer, which were later discarded or covered over for appearance’s sake. Even things like a tall ceiling can make a big difference in the cooling and HVAC scheme of a building, but dropped ceilings were the prevailing style from the 1950s on. Also, air conditioning and climate control systems took the place of gravitational and cross ventilation and now the pendulum is swinging back the other way towards operable windows and other simple solutions.

Peter F. Spittler is an alumnus of Kent State University’s architecture program. In addition to his membership with the American Institute of Architects, Peter F. Spittler is a member of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards.