October 2020

This has to be one of the most unique time periods we’ve experienced for real estate investing. So many events are swirling around us now, coming together in the next few months. We have an election that may radically transform the way we do business. A virus pandemic that will come to an end soon with a vaccine. Or not. An economy that until eight months ago was on a tear, then dropped faster than we’ve seen before, and is now climbing back to the growth, unemployment, and stock market levels we had before the drop. And interest rates that we were all certain could do nothing but rise, but in fact fell.

What’s a real estate investor to do? Here’s a suggestion – stop looking at the next three to six months.

Change your focus instead to the next three to six years. How many times has the desire to own real estate been less than it was three to six years ago?

Hardly ever. Nobody has repealed the law of market cycles so expect volatility, but if you think we’re at the peak of a seller’s market, move cautiously but don’t step away from the market. Negotiate the right deal or no deal, and don’t over-pay.

Also keep in mind there are still massive equity accounts on the sidelines, waiting for opportunities. Waiting for a big dip into a bona fide buyer’s market might be a long wait.

Provo, Utah – Home to two big universities but known for so much more. With recent job growth of over 5%, people are moving there. Located just over the Wasatch Mountains south of Salt Lake City it is a magnet for new technology companies, considered the second largest concentration of software technology companies in the U.S.

Include Orem, the city next door, into this mix as well. Forget about the big 24-hour city life, these are quality-of-life communities. These areas will see growth for many generations to come.

University life draws not just the software tech but also the biotech workforce. These universities include BYU, with a student population of 33,000, and Utah Valley University with 37,000.

With average house values under $300,000, the service community can still afford to live in the area. Not like Seattle and so many other big cities.

This growth, however, is relatively recent. You won’t find many 100 unit properties built in the 70s or 80s if that’s your model. You will see rent growth, as developable land is limited by mountains and a lake.

You’ll also have a great recreational destination when you travel there to visit your property!

Technology – Embrace It!
How eager are you to try new technology? Around the house, on your job, real estate – what is useful rather than just cool. I’ve worked in tech my whole career, with my first job writing software for ground control to send and receive messages from spacecraft, including a rocket launched from the Space Shuttle. I’ve watched it evolve from basic business information tools to the social connectors that we love/hate today (strong movie recommendation: Social Dilemma on Netflix). What are you using today in real estate and thinking about using?

Some easy choices are around security, convenience, safety, even Covid:

Smart locks – how easy it is to rekey in a turn, how easy for a tenant to rekey, with the security of knowing a prior tenant won’t have that key.

Security systems – Simple wifi cameras in strategic locations around the property. Then you need a hub and connectivity to the Internet but no problem if you have an office. Cameras too far from the office? Don’t let that stop you, get a wifi amplifier to extend your reach. Better yet, hire a local IT service firm to set it up for you.

Lighting controls – frivolous? Certain types of tenants love them. They can’t wait to tell their friends.

Remote thermostat controls – I’m heading home from work, gonna turn that heat up so it’s warm when I get home! Check out Nest. Again, tenants will tell their friends.

Leak detectors – this could save you an expensive emergency repair.

Remote access management – a contractor or prospective tenant is at the door to the unit, a camera shows you who they are, you release the keys or talk to them. The tenant didn’t need to meet with you (contactless!), you didn’t have to send someone to meet them (time saved). I saw a great product overview by Lubn although I can’t verify their credibility.

Virtual tours – this has become very prevalent. If you’re not using it, you’re missing a great opportunity. And tenants have come to expect it. Hire a Matterport photographer. If you don’t know them check out their website to see what they do. Photographers in your market buy the Matterport cameras and you hire them to come to your unit to create a virtual walk-through. It is completely amazing.

Who We Are

Cardinal Oak Investments acquires, improves, and manages under-valued commercial apartments. We buy B and C class properties of around 100 units in the Southeast and Midwest. We look for properties whose amenities, aesthetics, and appeal have fallen into obsolescence, whose care reflects tired management, and whose location is where a stable workforce wants to live.

And we partner with like-minded investors looking for stable assets that produce good cash flow and strong appreciation.

Founded and managed by John Todderud, Cardinal Oak Investments has acquired properties on both coasts and in between creating annual double-digit returns.

For more information, schedule time with me or contact us.

Please note: Past performance is no indication of future performance.