TV Host Tamara Day on Design Trends Worth Trying DESIGN POINT

MARKETS & TRENDS Is a Post-Pandemic Boom in Sight?


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PUBLISHER & CEO Eddie Wilson


SALES MANAGER Rodney Halford


DESIGNER David Rodriguez

CONTRIBUTORS Lorraine Beato Grant Cardone Tamara Day Joe Dyton Ellis Hammond Arianne Lemire Gary Pinkerton Tiffany Richmond Marla Roberds Nick Saifin Brian Snider Steve Streetman Andrew Taylor Larry Taylor Shawn Tiberio Ingo Winzer Michael Zuber


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Are you following Think Realty on social media? Things move pretty fast in real estate. Don’t miss out on the latest trends, tips, insights and news from your trusted resource for all things real estate investing! Follow. Like. Love. Share. Comment. You can do it all with Think Realty’s social media channels. Join the conversations in Think Realty social communities and connect with like-minded members who range from first-time to seasoned investors. Check out all of our social media channels and connect with us - and other investors - today!

SUBSCRIPTIONS :: The annual subscription for Think Realty Magazine is $39.99 in the U.S. Order online at or call 816-398-4130. Provide your full name, address and telephone number. DISCLAIMER :: Think Realty Magazine , its owners, contractors, distributors and their respective representatives do not provide tax, accounting, investment or legal advice and make no guarantee as to the effectiveness or success of any investment or tax strategies discussed herein. Please consult your own independent adviser as to any questions you have or decision you are contemplating. ABOUT THIS MAGAZINE :: Think Realty Magazine is a publication of Affinity Real Estate Media LLC. Reproduction or use of any editorial or graphic, without permission, is prohibited. We are not responsible for the content of any paid advertisements. For reprint rights; to ob- tain a detailed statement of our privacy policy; and for all single-copy requests, address changes and other subscription inquiries:



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4 | think realty magazine :: august 2021


Lasting Trends

looking to sell homes that could “use a little love” with property investors

hile the title of this month’s letter might


sound like an oxymoron, many trends throughout

looking to buy. Read his sto- ry on page 14 and find out how he is bringing transparency to

history are still practiced in the present. Take, for example, den-

opaque markets. And, contributor Steve Streetman informs readers how a hearty plant is the new kid on the building-material block. What is strong, sustainable, and cost-effective that could replace lumber, concrete, insulation, and more? Find out what material is in the infant stages of transforming the building industry on page 54. Plus, the following pages hold what you need to know about online marketing, repositioning properties, infinite banking, the senior housing crisis, and so much more! As always, Think Realty brings you information that inspires and empowers you to build your real estate business, and we think that’s a trend worth practicing for the long term. •

im. Despite its invention in 1871, den- im became popular on the fashion scene in the 1950s and has stayed ever since. I’m sure many of you have your go-to pair of jeans—just like you have your favorite strategy of real estate investing. This month’s issue of Think Realty Magazine addresses trends in the real estate industry as our valued contribu- tors weigh in on what has worked, what has not, and what the future of real estate could look like. The cover story features Josh Stech, a real estate matchmaker who is develop- ing long-term trends in the real estate investing industry. Stech is the Co-Found- er and CEO of Sundae, a California-based firm that specializes in connecting people

Keep Going!


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Josh Stech and his Sundae team connect sellers with property investors by Joe Dyton


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THINK REALTY 8  News & Events

54  Hemp Homes: A New Sustainable Building Trend An efficient, economical substitute for nearly all building materials does exist by Steve Streetman 56  Cardone’s Column: Buyers Must Be Creative

INVESTOR STORIES 12  Presidents’ Circle

as U.S. Dollars Race to Real Estate What a newfound appreciation for real assets means for the future by Grant Cardone

Featured Member: Jason Engelman

13  Contributor Corner

Meet Ellis Hammond

DESIGN POINT 58  Design Trends Worth Trying Popular décor ideas that are proving to stay awhile by Tamara Day 61  What Buyers Want

FUNDAMENTALS 22  Real Estate Trends Better Left in the Past What we can learn from past industry mistakes can save us millions later by Michael Zuber 26 Democratizing Real Estate The need for technology in the investor process by Ellis Hammond 28  Is Your Website a Billboard in the Desert? How property managers can create the proper brand by Tiffany Monday Richmond 30  Online Marketing Trends Real Estate Investors Should Not Overlook Gain more online presence with these must-try digital strategies by Shawn Tiberio 40  Reposition Properties to Maximize Profit Seeing potential and transforming spaces for sound investments by Larry Taylor STRATEGY 46  Be Your Own Banker While Creating Generational Wealth Part one of a series on the mindset of infinite banking by Gary Pinkerton, a Think Realty Resident Expert 52  Virtual Assistants: Changing Your Real Estate Business Why you should not wait to invest in a VA by Brian Snider

Housing trends that are here to stay by Marla Roberds

MARKETS & TRENDS 66  A Tale of Two Surges

Is the start of a post-pandemic boom in sight? by Ingo Winzer 68  Real Estate Agents – Doomed or Different? Adaptation will save the agents who mean business by Lorraine Beato 70  The Hygienic Housing Trend

The impact of smart-tech and wellness innovations by Andrew Taylor 72  The Growing Homelessness Crisis How communities can work together to help a generation by Nick Saifan

MINDSET 74  Too Many Investing Trends? How to stay the course and not get distracted by so many new ways to invest by Arianne Lemire

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Reasons to Attend the Think Realty Event in Baltimore The Think Realty team is very excited to come back to Baltimore on September 18-19, 2021! We have made some awesome changes to our events and have many well-known speakers ready share their real estate and lending expertise with you!




A one-stop event for every facet of the real estate investing industry: Single-family, Multifamily, Lending, Technology, and more!

Finally, a panel with Lenders FOR Lenders – our first “State of the Lending Industry Panel.”

A must-attend Cocktail Reception for all attendees Saturday evening! A place to see and be seen, you nev- er know who you will meet!




Network and connect with like-minded local, regional, and national real estate investors! You might just find a new deal or two!

Over 50 well-known speakers bring- ing you investing strategies, market insights, and invaluable business tips.

More than 30 vendors sharing their products and services that can help your business.




Keynote speaker and regional real estate superstar, Sherman Ragland, will talk about what you can expect in the Baltimore market.

Jeff Tesch from RCN Capital will moderate the State of the SFR Industry panel AND the State of the Lending Industry Panel.

Jorge Abreu from Elevate Capital will speak on the State of the Multi- family Industry Panel.


Jack Lupo from CIVIC Financial will talk about “How to Get the Capital You Need to Fund Your Deals.”

This will be THE real estate investing event of the season that you won’t want to miss! There is no reason NOT to attend. With virtual and in-person tickets, you choose how you want to participate. Either way, Think Realty events are key to helping you invest in yourself!

“The Baltimore/D.C. Real Estate Market is ON FIRE! It’s time to stop sitting on the sidelines and get into the game, and the best way to jumpstart your growth as an investor is to join us this September at the Baltimore Think Realty Event. Get the knowledge, connections, and insider secrets to start making (more) money in this investor-friendly market!”

—Sherman Ragland, “America’s Real Estate Mentor!” ABC-TV and Member of the FORBES Real Estate Council

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Experience what the Think Realty Conference has to offer:

Network with top-tier real estate professionals at the Cocktail Reception. Meet 30+ exhibitors offering real estate investment tools, products and services. Attend sessions and specialty workshops on a variety of investment strategies. Access deal-making opportunities with the biggest names in the business.

Register at

Think sponsorship with Think Realty! Find out more at

thinkrealty . com | 9

The Think Realty Paint Program

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The Benjamin Moore® National Accounts Partnership Program makes it easier to buy and manage paint, color and coatings. The program offers online access to all Benjamin Moore products at consistent, negotiated pricing. It also provides project management from planning through completion. Aimed to help you reduce the total cost of ownership of any painting project, the National Accounts Partnership Program combines tailored service with online efficiency.

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The Think Realty and AAPL Presidents’ Circle is a select group of top-performing executives and entrepreneurs from both the private lending and real estate investing industries who gather several times a year at exclusive events to network, learn, and encourage each other in a confidential setting.

We asked Think Realty contributor and national speaker Jason Engelman what he has learned from being a member of the Think Realty/AAPL Presidents’ Cir cle:

“The Presidents’ Circle has been life- changing for me. When I first joined this mastermind, I was fairly new to real estate. Immediately, I noticed the amazing opportunity to be in a room full of investors who had much more experience and success than I had. Being surrounded by great people elevated my thinking and my vision. Tapping into the wisdom in this group helped my business grow on the fast track.”

—Jason Engelman, Freaky Fast Home Buyers & Investments

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The Contributor Corner

Meet Ellis Hammond

Winner of the 2020 Think Realty Honors Multifamily Investing Award, Ellis Hammond, has been writing for Think Realty each month of 2021. He manages a private network of investors seeking passive investment opportunities in multifamily syndications across the United States, and created a mastermind community called Kingdom Capitalists, to unite established Christian real estate entrepreneurs. Here is why he is passionate about real estate investing:


This was the radio advertisement that caught my attention for my first real estate investing seminar. To be honest, I can’t actually remember what I learned at that two-hour seminar, but I will never forget what I witnessed. For the first time in my life, I saw ordinary people sharing stories about the wealth they had created through real estate. It blew my mind. I always thought that you only purchased real estate AFTER you had become wealthy. I walked away from that seminar realizing a new and

profound reality: real estate investing is NOT the end game for the wealthy, but the starting point for anyone who desires to build wealth. Three years later, I am a full-time real estate investor and have purchased over fifteen million dollars in cash-flowing apartment buildings with other like- minded investors. Real estate has given me the opportunity to build a predictable financial future for my family while helping others feel better about their financial security as well.”

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The Real Estate Matchmaker

Josh Stech and his Sundae team connect sellers with property investors


FOR JOSH STECH, helping people find a better place to live has never been a job, but a calling. Stech is the Co-Founder and CEO of Sundae, a California-based firm that specializes in connecting people looking to sell homes that could “use a little love” with property investors looking to buy. His interest in real estate goes far beyond his co-cre- ation of Sundae three years ago, however. Growing up in a real estate family, the industry was always top of mind for him. Stech’s mom was a sales agent and property manag- er, and his dad was an investor in pre-construction developments and opportunity zones. That’s why it’s not surprising that he applied the

Bachelor’s degree in economics he earned at Stanford to real estate, and the ongoing 2008 housing crash in particular. “I did my honors thesis on the subprime lending crisis—not just what was happening economically to the country, but specifically how that was impacting some of the under- served segments of the population,” Stech said. “Remittance activity back to Latin America and other parts of the world shined a light for me on the distress that the country was seeing, specifically the housing driven distress that was happening at the time (2008 and 2009) and the number of families that were being impacted by it.”

The moment was a formative one for Stech. He became focused on understanding how to revitalize the dilapidated, bank-owned homes that were bringing down neighbor- hoods’ value. Stech moved to Las Vegas after he finished college and jumped into the real estate busi- ness. He began to purchase homes from bank auctions, manage the construction and ultimately sell them. He also provided loans to other property investors who were doing the same. “I started the business with my dad. We were a small, one-stop shop for quite some time,” Stech said. “It was exciting, challenging and rewarding to improve the condition

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thinkrealty . com | 15


of these houses and get them back into the hands of homeowners or renters who needed a better place to live.” After his time as an investor and private lender, Stech set his sights on applying his experience to the venture-backed startup world and became Founding Partner and SVP of Sales for the team that would go on to build LendingHome, an online mortgage bank specializing in short- term residential bridge loans. During his time at LendingHome he helped the company outperform veteran competitors as the company scaled to 350 employees and $150M in ven- ture funding, becoming the largest player in the space.

of the seller market in a way that also benefited the small business owners in the property investing space that he’d grown to know over the years. “After being in this business for 10 years and getting to know thou- sands of property investors and real estate agents, I realized that sellers of dated or damaged homes needed a platform, marketplace, and an ally to help them broadcast their proper- ty to a wider audience,” Stech said. “They needed someone to package it as an investment, in a way that only property investors would under- stand, in order to get the most offers, best terms, and highest price.” The solution would become known as Sundae, which Stech described as

With more than a decade of expe- rience in the property investing busi- ness across acquisitions, renovations, and lending, Stech saw a new focus area that needed attention. He real- ized there was a big opportunity at the beginning of the fix-and-flip trans - action value chain to assist home- owners looking to sell. He saw how often people with a dated or damaged home were dealing with a hardship that required a quick sale. For many sellers, fixing up their home was impossible, leaving them with few options at a desperate time. Stech saw an opportunity to change that. His vision was to help what he per- ceived to be an underserved segment

Sundae’s leadership team pictured left to right: Madhav Ranjan (SVP, Product & Engineering), Shane Steele (CMO), Josh Stech (CEO, Co-founder), Beth Sallomi (VP People), Marc Geredes (SVP, Lending Operations), and Kartik Ramachandran (CFO & COO)

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I wanted something that got everybody the best outcome while creating transparency in what has been historically a pretty opaque market.”


“a marketplace for houses that need love.” The company connects home sellers to thousands of qualified buyers who are looking for prop- erty investment opportunities. The homes are typically ones that are not ready for the end consumer because they need significant investment before the owner occupant buyer can move into it. Stech says their goal is to serve both sides of the transac- tion: sellers get competitive offers to ensure the best potential price for their home, while investors get a reliable partner for finding proper - ties to grow their business. “I wanted something that got everybody the best outcome while creating transparency in what has been historically a pretty opaque market,” said Stech. I wanted to try to help both sides of the transaction and hopefully build a valuable com- pany in the process.” Sundae’s marketplace makes them unique in the off-market home sales category and different from cash buyers or wholesalers. Once a seller decides to work with Sundae,

the company packages and pres- ents the property to thousands of local property investors who bid on the house without having to visit the property. Many of Sundae’s custom- ers receive dozens of offers for their property within just a few days. This gives sellers a competitive set of offers to choose from, and more than would be manageable if the seller had to do the work of calling indi- vidual cash buyers themselves. The offer spread in Sundae’s market- place is $71,000 on average, accord- ing to Stech. The seller not only ben- efits from having Sundae manage a

competitive offer process, but there’s no fee to the seller. “The price an investor is willing to pay for any given house is very subjective and varies from investor to investor. If you look at our average offer spread, it goes to show, if you are a homeowner, just calling an investor or two, means you are leaving money on the table,” he said. “That is what Sundae is all about—helping make sure that does not happen.” In addition to skipping the has- sle of home repairs, cleanings, and showings, Sundae’s value proposi- tion to sellers includes a few other

thinkrealty . com | 17

they can buy to grow their business. For investors, Sundae helps with the difficult task of finding these prop - erties and offers an online platform at where they can view available properties and make offers. Once an investor signs up to join the marketplace, they’ll have access to the full inventory of properties with detailed informa- tion including photos, floor plan, 3D walkthrough, and a third-party inspection report, plus they have access to Sundae’s Investor Advisor team to answer questions and pro- vide support on transactions. “I know from experience how hard it is to be a property investor. Our goal is to support the investors who’ve joined our marketplace by providing a reliable source of fully vetted deals, as well as advice and insights to help them navigate the complexities of the business,” said Stech. Sundae also sees a great oppor- tunity to provide realtors with a new arrow in their quiver—a partner that works with them to package and market their seller’s home to quali- fied property investors when the MLS is not the right place for them. “Traditionally realtors have had a hard time helping sellers in these situations. We get it—real- tors are experts at packaging and marketing homes in good condi- tion to end consumers. Realtors often shy away from homes that need updating because they’re more comfortable selling a house that’s move in-ready,” Stech said. “When a realtor finds a seller with a property that needs love, and the seller needs a fast, quick sale to a property investor, they don’t always know how to handle it. In addition to working directly with homeown- ers, Sundae partners with agents in this situation to help them find the right type of buyer. We manage

benefits - no closing costs or fees, even a $10,000 cash advance before closing, which many sellers use for moving costs or other expenses. For some sellers, speed is also a factor and Sundae allows for closing in as quickly as 10 days. Sundae proved to be the perfect solution for homeowner Joy Davis, a former realtor who was looking to relocate from California to Idaho to be closer to family and for a more affordable cost of living. Her Vis- ta, California home was built in the 1970s, outdated and in desperate need of upgrades, which required time, effort, and money. Not wanting to deal with the hassle that comes with selling a home the traditional way, she started to research Sundae. Davis was skeptical at first because she had heard of companies taking advantage of people, but her con- cerns subsided when she learned how Sundae could ensure a fair price without the troubles that come with putting a house on the market. She was 100% sold on Sundae after she saw how much time and money it would cost her to sell her house the traditional way. “Sundae came along and made us a good deal,” Davis said. “We could pick when we wanted to leave, and we could leave behind anything we didn’t want to take with us. We got a fair offer without ever having to list the house, without anyone having to be in my home.” Davis also appreciated the open lines of communication she had with Sundae’s Market Expert. Once the sale was closed, she felt like a weight had been lifted off of her shoulders. “Sundae made it comfortable for me to sell my home with the quick- est process and the least amount of headaches.” Similarly, Bert, another Sundae customer, was looking to sell his

father’s home after his passing with as little hassle as possible. He’d done the multiple listing service (MLS) process in the past, but this time wanted to sell the property “as is” and not have to worry about get- ting it ready to sell or dealing with showings. Bert recalled a letter he’d received from Sundae a few months prior and connected with the team to get an offer. Within just a couple of days, Sundae prepared his detailed property profile and began marketing the property to hundreds of local, vet- ted investors on their marketplace. Sundae presented Bert with multiple cash offers for him to review within days—no showings required. “It was an excellent opportuni- ty for me,” Bert said. “I had gone through a normal agent for a house that I sold on my own, and I just didn’t like that experience at all. It was a lot of work on my part, a lot of money out of my pocket, and at the end of it all, you don’t recover that amount. You just have to subtract all of your time and effort from the pro- cess of selling the house. I under- stood that with Sundae, I didn’t have to go through any of that.” After selling his father’s home, Bert decided he’d continue to work with Sundae to sell his other properties. “If you’ve gone through the sale of a house, you know it’s never easy,” he said. “I learned that I actually made more money selling through Sundae than selling independently to an agent.” APARTNER FOR PROPERTY INVESTORSAND REAL ESTATEAGENTS In addition to helping sellers, Sundae’s two-sided marketplace serves the needs of real estate agents working with those sellers, and investors looking for properties

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We try to find sellers that need help given what’s happening in the market. We cultivate this robust database of active property investors who can buy any home in any condition in anymarket cycle.”


beyond. The company’s expansion will partly hinge on finding City Gen - eral Managers to run these markets. “The City General Manager position requires a strong leader with a unique set of skills, and deep local market knowledge,” Stech said. “As soon as we find the right general manager, we’ll quickly launch our local market- ing efforts and begin matching home- owners and property investors.” So far, Sundae has not had much trouble finding the right people. Stech co-founded the company with Andrew Swain, former CFO at Airbnb. The two worked together for a number of years before embarking on Sundae together. Their pedi- grees and Sundae’s combination of innovation and speed to market have attracted an impressive team. “Having a great co-founder and a talented network to hire frommade all the difference,” Stech said. “The other thing that was helpful was we’d seen what venture capital could do to other

the necessary inspection reports, the 3D virtual walkthroughs, the floor plans—all the things we do for sellers. With Sundae, agents now can help sellers they weren’t able to help before.” AGROWTH STRATEGYTHAT STARTSWITH GREAT PEOPLE Sundae is currently in nine mar- kets including Los Angeles, Inland

Empire (CA), San Diego, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, Dallas, Jacksonville, Tampa and Atlanta and is rapidly expanding. In most of the Califor- nia markets where it’s been oper- ating since 2019, Sundae is already the largest player in the off-market home sales category. The company also has its sights set on additional Texas markets including Houston, Austin and San Antonio, as well as the Pacific Northwest, Boise and

thinkrealty . com | 19

trends, according to Stech. The issue is compounded by the fact that with interest rates still below three percent, there’s high demand. The Sundae team has noticed more de-urbanization and movement from highly dense cities to less densely populated suburbs. Sellers want to upgrade or downsize but are stuck in a holding pattern. They can’t sell their home until they know there’s something available for them to buy and move into. Meanwhile, home price appreci- ation is increasing, much to home- owners’ and property investors’ delight, said Stech. The other side of that coin is affordability, however. If or when upward pressure on interest rates begins to translate to higher mortgage rates, potentially due to robust employment gains and infla - tion, double-digit annual apprecia- tion could subside. Stech believes this is going to be good news for the buyers who are on the sidelines because they have given up after being outbid a dozen times. The concern is, the biggest wave of millennials to reach the median home buying age is yet to come, while a lot of baby boomers prefer to age in place. Meanwhile builders, scarred by the events of the last recession, are proceeding cautiously, so the supply issue isn’t going to ease for a long time, especially when it comes to entry-level homes. “Every year, fewer and fewer homes under 1,400 square feet are built, the typical entry level size for younger, first-time home buy - ers,” Stech said. “At the same time younger home buyers prefer newer or renovated like-new, open concept homes with a space for home office. This is an exciting opportunity where Sundae can help out.” Additionally, Stech has noticed a lot of innovation within the residen-

fragmented, opaque businesses. I call venture capital ‘optimistic capital’. It’s people who say, ‘Here’s a bunch of mon- ey. You’re a smart team and you’re going after a big, exciting problem. I don’t need a financial return for a long time. Just make a big, transformational company that does a lot of good in the world.’ “I saw that at LendingHome; it was the first time I’d seen venture capital in action, allowing us to transform an industry. I wanted to do that again, so I pointed my focus at a massive problem for which I had tremendous passion.

Starting Sundae or starting any busi- ness, no matter how big or small, comes with its challenges. But with the right people around the table, it’s worth it. It’s been almost three years, and it’s the most rewarding experience of my life by far.” HANDLING THE BIG DEMAND, LIMITED SUPPLYREAL ES - TATE ISSUE The lack of inventory is one of today’s most dramatic real estate

20 | think realty magazine :: august 2021

property investors who are saying, ‘any market, up or down, I’m going to find a way to make money.’ As the market changes, we make sure that we’re finding homeowners in need. COVID is a good example—we certainly hadn’t predicted that out of state landlords would really need help due to the eviction moratoriums.” Some of the landlords Sundae helps include those who are expe- riencing tenant turnover in their property, have property that a tenant damaged, or have a property in need of repairs like a new air conditioning system or roof. The Sundae team has found a lot of these landlords are apprehensive about those moments because of the foreclosure and evic- tion moratoriums. “You have landlords saying, ‘If my tenants stop paying, I’m going to be in a bad spot,’” Stech said. “We start- ed to see that sub-segment of our customer base needing more help than normal. We try to find sellers that need help given what’s happen- ing in the market. We cultivate this robust database of active property investors who can buy any home in any condition in any market cycle.” Sundae is also happy to play an advisory role for its customers when needed. The company recognizes that at times when homeowners are experiencing financial distress, there’s a chance a property investor might leverage their desperation to try to purchase the home at a low price. In other cases circumstanc- es might be well suited for a more traditional sales process. Sundae’s Customer Advisor team spends time with sellers up front to under- stand their circumstances and walk through all of their options even beyond Sundae to make sure they get the best outcome. “One thing that we’re always counselling sellers on is no matter

tial real estate space from Internet buyers (iBuyers) like Opendoor and Zillow to trade-in models like Knock and Nested. Housing options include rent-to-own models, sale leaseback models, and fractional home equity models such as Point and Unison. “Those are all good companies, and they serve the 87 percent of homes that sell every year in good condition to an owner occupant,” Stech said. “They are houses that are in good shape, and owners with good options for selling who now are being given even more options for how to sell. That’s really exciting to see.” That of course leaves 13 percent of the housing market that trades off-market to investors, the segment innovation has not touched. That’s where Sundae has found its foot- ing within the residential real estate market. “That’s really where Sundae stepped in. With the technology advances, and the access to data that we’ve seen proliferating in the last 10 years, someone needed to step in and make this a better experience,” Stech said. “We’re focusing on the 13 percent of homes that need love—a meaningful segment of the market made up of people in tough circum- stances who deserve a fair shake.” SUNDAE — THE REAL ESTATE COMPANY FORALL SEASONS One of Sundae’s biggest advantages is that it offers a necessary service in any environment. It doesn’t matter if home prices are accelerating quickly, there’s an acute shock like the 2008 financial crisis or an acute cyclical issue like the fourth quarter of 2018 that Stech deemed, “a weird quarter.” “I think the reality is there will always be a number of homeown- ers looking to sell a home that needs love as-is,” he said. “There are always

how urgent your circumstances, no matter how bad things have gotten or how much work your home needs, you deserve to get a fair price,” Stech said. “Every homeowner deserves a competitive and trans- parent process when selling their home. You need to get the property in front of hundreds of investors; please don’t call one or two because you’re not going to get the best price unless you expose the property to a wide range of potential buyers. “How we think about the seller side of it is, no matter what’s going on, give us a shot because there’s no obligation or fee to the seller, and no one else has the reach of potential buyers we do. This is what we do, day in and day out. We can help you.” Sundae’s tremendous growth means they’re becoming a go-to resource for investors to find a steady stream of well vetted deals. The firm focuses on making sure any property they bring to their mar- ketplace is a qualified investment opportunity that’s ready to go. For investors, it’s all about saving them time and money. Sundae eliminates the hard work and cost of finding deals and takes the burden of things like direct mail and search engine marketing off of their shoulders, allowing them to put their money to work as soon as possible. “There are parts of what (inves- tors) do that are really specialized, and they should continue working hard at that,” Stech said. “(Things like) doing new construction and reselling the home. But there are pieces of it where a platform part- ner like Sundae can really help. Let us find the properties for you, let us help you with other services like financing, and even resale broker - age and escrow, so that you can focus on the value add that you bring to the table.” •

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Real Estate Trends Better Left in the Past


by Michael Zuber

s most real estate investors know, real estate without ques-

tragic. These falsehoods attract the truly desperate and the people who push them deserve what comes to them. You cannot microwave wealth consistently in real estate. It takes time, daily execution, and a commit- ment to get through the bad days. A few specific trends in real estate that I am happy to see go away are the investing gurus who say bet on “Appreciation” and were fond of repeatedly saying Real Estate Values Only go up. You might be surprised to know that in the last cycle there were teams of people going all over the country saying, “Buy this new prop-

erty in the Midwest and rent it out. Sure, you will lose $200 a month, but heck you have a good job, right? You could afford to lose $200 a month!” The story was these new houses would go up in value faster than you lost money because real estate only goes up. WRONG. These folks not only lost money every month but they also bought a story of new construc- tion in a market that didn’t need it, so they lost as prices fell. Many investors got tired of looking at $200 negative a month when the asset was worth 50 percent less and they just threw in the towel.


tion can facilitate financial freedom and wealth creation when done well and consistently over time. I often refer to real estate investing as the “Get Rich For Sure Business” and not the “Get Rich Quick Business.” I like to talk about earning a better financial future first, then financial freedom, and (if you choose) legacy wealth. Having 20 years’ experience in the business I have seen gurus try to turn real estate investing into this “no money down, go to the moon and get rich instantly” story and it is

22 | think realty magazine :: august 2021

Real estate is the get rich for sure business, not the get rich quick business.” —MICHAEL ZUBER

My investing strategy works long term because you start with positive cashflow day one and are not even considering appreciation. Positive cashflow allows you to hold through any blip in value as you don’t have to sell. Sure, appreciation happens and sometimes appreciation is awesome like the last 12 months, but we never count on it. We treat it like ice cream with a topping of whip cream. Ice cream (positive cashflow) is great all by itself but better with a dollop of whip cream (appreciation). Another trend I am happy to see disappear is the reliance on short- term adjustable-rate mortgages. The depth and length of the last crash was exacerbated by a constant flood of new mortgage adjustments that kept coming every month. This

help people climb the ladder for it to really pay off. We cannot have inves- tors get on and then get kicked off because they believed in some story about instant wealth or they choose to buy negative cashflow and just hold on. Your financial future will be better if you keep getting fixed rate debt and remove any future interest rate and payment adjustment. •

constant stream meant there were new people every month who could not afford the new payment and the foreclosure and short sale process started on another wave of unfortu- nate homeowners. I believe more than 95 percent of new mortgages are fixed rate and that is a very good thing as you don’t have interest rate risk with fixed rate debt. I suspect a lot of investors who have fixed rate debt at three percent (more or less) are going to feel really good when interest rates eventually go up to five or six percent. As I look at the current trends, I like what I see in the real estate education space as more folks are talking “think long term and be con- servative.” Getting on the real estate wealth ladder is critical, but we must

Michael Zuber worked in the Silicon Valley since graduating from Santa Clara University 20+ years ago. After wasting time and money in his 20s, he began

investing buy and hold rental properties and never looked back. Michael grew his rental property portfolio from a single rental house to financial freedom in 15 years. Now that he no longer has a day job, he shares his story via his self-published book and YouTube Channel, both called One Rental at a Time.

Titan Talk Video Series

- Personal Endorsement by Eddie Wilson - 20 min interview by Eddie on location: 1 on 1 with CEO - B roll footage shot of client’s o ffi ce to be used in video - Feature article in both Think Realty Magazine and Private Lender Magazine -Article in Think Realty Newsletter -Titan Talk Web page section dedicated to client for 12 months- Includes video, client pro fi le, feature article and any other articles by client

- Posted on Eddie Wilson’s personal social media pages and website -Posted on Think Realty Podcast -Presidents’ Circle Membership for 1 year -Social media post- Min 1x per month for 12 months on TR and AAPL pages -Line previewing article on cover of both magazines.

INVESTMENT: $15,000 current Presidents’ Club member $20,000 non-member


thinkrealty . com | 23

RealtyTrac publishes the nation’s largest, most comprehensive database of properties in all three stages of foreclosure – pre-foreclosure, auction, and bank-owned homes. And all the information investors need to decide whether a property meets their ROI requirements. Property details like beds, baths, square footage, year built, and lot size. Loan and transaction history to determine the outstanding debt. Sales data on properties in the neighborhood to help assess the property’s value. And, of course, information on the foreclosure itself – including the lender, and the homeowner’s name and address. No other foreclosure website offers the kind of national coverage and in-depth, up-to-date information that you’ll find on RealtyTrac. That’s why RealtyTrac has been the go-to source of foreclosure information for investors, real estate agents, government agencies and the media since 1996. f national coverage and in-depth, up-to-date information that you’ll find on RealtyTrac. That’s why RealtyTrac has been the go-to source of foreclosure information for investors, real estate agents, government agencies and the media since 1996. So it’s important to find “hidden gems,” the properties that can make the difference between a winning investment and a losing proposition. Those “hidden gems” are often foreclosure properties. And there’s no better place to find great deals on foreclosures than RealtyTrac. RealtyTrac publishes the nation’s largest database of foreclosure properties – pre-foreclosure, auction, and bank-owned homes. And the information investors need. Property details like beds, baths, square footage, year built, and lot size. Loan and transaction history to determine the outstanding debt. Sales data on nearby properties to help assess the property’s value. And, of course, information on the foreclosure itself – including the lender, and the homeowner’s name and address. The Country’s Leading Source for Pre-Foreclosure, Auction, and Bank-Owned Properties Real estate investors today are faced with two major problems: lack of inventory and rapidly- escalating home prices. Even if you find a property to buy, the costs are so high that it’s hard to generate the kind of profits you need for a successful fix-and-flip or rental investment. No other foreclosure website offers th ki

Find the foreclosure property you’re looking for at

24 | think realty magazine :: august 2021



The Best Markets for Real Estate Investors in 2021


by Rick Sharga, RealtyTrac

or investors looking to venture forth beyond their backyards in search of the ultimate investment

flipping sales and home flipping profit margins declined across the U.S. in 2020, with just 241,630 single family homes and condos flipped, down 13.1 percent from 2019. Flips in 2020 generated an average gross profit of $66,300 nationwide, up 6.6 percent from $62,188 in 2019. The 2020 year-end home flipping analysis stated that among the 6,806 U.S. zip codes included in the analysis, there were 10 with a population of 5,000 or more and at least 10 home flips in 2020 where flips accounted for at least 25 percent of all home sales last year: 38116 in Shelby County, TN (31.5 percent); 45207 in Hamilton County, OH; 38127 in Shelby County, TN (28 percent); 38115 in Shelby County, TN (27.8 percent) and 38128 in Shelby County, TN (27.5 percent). The typical gross profits in those top 10 zips with the most homes flipped in 2020 were: 38127 – Mem - phis, TN ($50,200); 85142 – Queen Creek, AZ ($37,001); 34668 – Port Richey, FL ($53,250); 37042 – Clarksville, TN ($53,700); 85138 – Maricopa, AZ ($27,250); 85351 – Sun City, AZ ($53,875); 85032 – Phoenix, AZ ($81,300); 08757 – Toms River, NJ ($112,250); 28269 – Charlotte, NC ($24,000); and 38128 – Memphis, TN ($49,900). OPPORTUNITIESARE EVERYWHERE – IFYOU KNOWWHERE TO LOOK Most seasoned investors believe there are opportuni- ties in virtually every market, for investors who are willing to do their homework. Visit RealtyTrac to find the best deals on foreclosure properties across the country. •


opportunities, where are the ideal locations to invest in real estate? RealtyTrac’s parent company ATTOM Data Solutions has released two reports that identify some of the best markets in the country for real estate investors. BEST SINGLE-FAMILYRENTALMARKETS For single-family rental investors, ATTOM’s 2021 U.S. Single Family Rental Report analyzed data from 495 U.S. counties, showing that the average annual gross rental yield so far in 2021 is 7.7 percent, down from an average of 8.4 percent in 2020. According to the report, counties with the highest potential annual gross rental yields for 2021 include Schuylkill County, PA, (26.1 percent); Bibb County, GA, (18.1 percent); Baltimore City/County, MD (16.2 percent); La Salle County, IL, (14.1 percent) and Chautauqua Coun - ty, NY (13.7 percent). ATTOM also ranked the top 10 “SFR Growth” coun- ties with the greatest annual increases in rental returns, among those counties where average wages grew over the past year and the potential 2021 annual gross rent- al yields were above 10 percent: Calcasieu County, LA (29.7 percent increase from 2020); Erie County, PA (13.4 percent increase); Licking County, OH (13.3 percent increase); Delaware County, IN (12.7 percent increase); Tazewell County, IL (12.2 percent increase); Lorain Coun - ty, OH (12.0 percent increase); Wichita County, TX (10.9 percent increase); Clark County, IN (7.4 percent increase); Bibb County, GA (5.8 percent increase); and Miami Coun- ty, OH (4.2 percent increase).

Rick is the Executive Vice President of RealtyTrac, a leading foreclosure search and discovery website used by real estate agents and investors. One of the country’s most frequently-quoted sources on real estate, mortgage, and foreclosure trends, Rick has appeared on CNBC,

BESTMARKETS FOR FIX-AND-FLIP INVESTORS ATTOM also recently released its 2020 Year-End U.S. Home Flipping Report, which revealed that both home

CBS News, NBC News, CNN, ABC News, FOX, Bloomberg and NPR.

thinkrealty . com | 25



Democratizing Real Estate


by Ellis Hammond

“Why Do You Make It So Hard For People To Invest In Your Deals?” A business mentor asked me this question in 2019. After showing him our investor process, he asked why there were so many hoops that people had to jump through before being able to invest. Of course, I blamed it on regulations and the “this is how it has always been done” excuse. But what I really didn’t want to admit was that I, like the rest of our industry, was hesitant

to change and was lagging behind the tech and innovation curve. For so long, the acquisition of large commercial assets had not been made accessible for everyday investors. But the Jobs Act of 2012 made crowdfunding a new reality and opened the door for everyday investors to participate in large, syn- dicated real estate deals. This also meant that many new platforms had to rise to the occa- sion in order to make it possible for investors to have access to sponsors

and vice versa. However, what I see is that many real estate sponsors are still lagging way behind in the imple- mentation of this new technology and software. As a Millennial, I do most things from my phone. I check emails, look at social media, order my lunch, and even invest in assets like stock and crypto. I see a current oppor- tunity and huge demand for real estate sponsors to start making their investment process fit the behavior of their investors.

26 | think realty magazine :: august 2021

For example, Hammond Equities has recently implemented an investor portal to our onboarding process. This is a great tool I think every sponsor should consider using if not already. Investors can create a profile that allows them to have their own dashboard to track cashflow distributions, download K-1 statements, and stay up to date on projects. It’s just like every other investment they have ever made (sarcasm injected). I admit that it has taken me a while to realize the lesson my early mentor was pointing out. Since then, I have taken this issue very seriously in order to create a much easier pro- cess for our investor base. As an industry, it should be a shared goal to democratize real estate ownership. We can’t accomplish this goal without the implementation of technology, like an investor platform for example. There are several great platforms that can create a streamlined on-boarding process for you and your investors. As a rule of thumb, here are some tips when choosing a platform for you and your invest- ment firm: 1 Keep the investor in mind first. Look at the investor portal from the user experience. 2 Demand mobile-friendly interface. If you want to be relevant in 2021 and beyond, make it easy for people to complete the whole investment process via mobile. 3 Eliminate unnecessary steps or “opt-ins.” A portal can help eliminate inefficiencies. 4 Find one that is customizable so you can add in your brand logo and/or colors. 5 Think long term when picking a software. If you are serious about growing your real estate business and plan to on-board hundreds if not thousands of investors in the future, keep in mind the scalability features of whichever platform you decide to use. • Ellis Hammond manages a private network of investors seeking passive investment opportunities in multifamily syndications across the United States. Ellis is passionate about the intersection of faith and capital and hosts a weekly podcast show, Kingdom REI, in order to educate and inspire other investors and entrepreneurs to see capital as a means for greater Kingdom influence. To learn how you can invest alongside Ellis and this community, visit

thinkrealty . com | 27

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