• About Frank

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 613 other followers

  • Frank Rizzi manages Bos Commercial in West Covina and has been in real estate since 1988. Since then, he has made millions for his investors over the last decade.

    With his team of experts, he has built a solid reputation as a responsive expert with in-depth market perspective of a local firm coupled with the sophisticated capabilities of a national company.

    BOS Commercial has positioned itself to handle every aspect of your commercial property
    investment whether it be purchases, management, leasing, renovations, or sale of your property.

  • Advertisements

8 Questions to Ask a Prospective Contractor

Are you covered?
This is a question with no wiggle room. Under so circumstances should you work with an individual or company that is not licensed and bonded. That means requesting–and verifying–proof that he or she is currently state licensed, paying employees legally and carrying workers’ compensation, property damage and liability insurance.

What clubs do you belong to?
If your prospective contractor has a list of clubs and associations they belong to, it’s always a good sign. Usually, members are encouraged to attend continuing education program courses, and they often receive professional designations such as Certified Graduate Builder (CGB).

What is the estimate?
Along with the other questions you want to ask during the process of hiring a contractor, you should request an itemized estimate from each. Be sure to look over the information thoroughly, paying particular attention to those that seem too high as well as too low. Estimates that fall in the shallow end of the pool can be a red flag for a hasty job that won’t leave you with a quality product; those on the high end might have artificially inflated prices.

Can I have a copy of the schedule?
You need to know exactly how long that kitchen renovation is going to take. Before you hire a contractor, you should ask them to provide you with a fixed start date and a completion date–including any cleanup duties. These dates should be included in the formal written agreement, along with a timetable of the work that’ll be done and a material list of everything that’ll be needed.

What is the payment schedule?
Most professional builders work on a pay-as-you-go basis, receiving partial payments throughout the process. The payments for new construction, also called draws, typically are scheduled as a certain percentage of the total cost when specific stages of construction are completed. Avoid any contractor who wants full payment before starting the job.

In addition to your references, can I have a list of previous customers?
It’s one thing to talk to a list of people the contractor has prepared for your call; it’s another thing to cold call prior customers from whom you’re more likely to get an honest assessment.

Can I see some of your projects?
Good builders are proud of their work and enjoy showing it to potential clients. Ask to see photographs of complete projects, and choose someone whose work looks similar to the job you’re planning.

How do you schedule call backs?
You want to know what to expect and how to best contact the contractor if, for any reason, they need to come back and fix or redo a job. Go with the person that has a concrete plan for these types of issues.


Property Values

When will the nation’s property values begin to appreciate again? This is the $64,000 question that real estate professionals, investors, and mortgage professionals would like to know. The truth is nobody can accurately predict the return of the real estate market. Like everyone else, I can’t predict the end of this crisis either, but what I can do is tell you what will have to happen to facilitate that change. The answer is quite simple: America must reinvest in herself once again. Without an investment, real estate is as worthless as the Dollar is today.

Think back, or read a history book, about how families in the ’40s and ’50s used to buy homes. Young couples lived with Mom and Dad during the “courtship” prior to getting married, until they had saved 20% to put down on their “dream home”. They made an investment in America, (i.e. the American dream). In the years that followed we have devalued that investment in lieu of credit and the easy access to it. Property values rose artificially and our nation became addicted to credit.

The value of the dollar has been demolished due to the same principle. When we place value in assets based on their ability to be easily bought and sold versus the value that has been invested in the asset, we devalue its worth. For example, two years ago I could have bought an $800,000 house (and I assure you that I cannot afford a house that expensive). The owner of that asset (the $800k house) placed value on his asset based on the availability of buyers like me who could buy the home. The problem is, this homeowner probably had less than 5% invested in the home. Where do you think that homeowner is today? Had he put 20% down on his home, he would then own a valuable asset in which he has a real investment. This outlay of cash forces him to buy and sell his home in the same manner he would move an $800k investment around in the stock market – very carefully. Thus, the home has REAL value. However, having bought the home with little or no money down, the asset became disposable and so follows the real estate market.

So, as I said earlier, I cannot predict when the real estate market will bounce back, but I can tell you what needs to happen before it does. America needs to reinvest in herself by getting back to solid buying and selling principles. This strengthens home values, which encourages investors who employ builders who employ carpenters, painters, real estate agents, loan officers and so on. America was built on the “American Dream” which has turned into the “American Nightmare”; she can only be rebuilt by hard working Americans, not by Wall Street.

HOA: What is it?

While co-ops and condos have maintaince fees, houses located in housing developments have homeowners’ association fees. These could be either new homes, or exsisting ones.

The Homeowners’ Association collects the fees, as they are the legal entities created to maintain common areas and enforce deed restrictions. Shortly after you move in, you will receive the Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (CC&R’s) which should clearly state what needs to be adhered to in order to maintain the quality and value of the properties located within the community.

Restrictions can include parking on street (including your moving truck on moving day), landscaping approval or types of plants allowed, fence restrictions, pool restrictions, erection of basketball hoops or tree houses, storage of boats and RVs, number of pets and age requirements of residents.

If you are looking to buy a home in a community with a HOA, you should request a copy of the CC&R’s; ask about any CC&R’s recorded against the home; find out what the current dues are; find out how often the dues have been raised during the history of the HOA; and determine if there are term limits for the Board, and if Board members have attended training sessions in efficient HOA management.

3 Ways To Make Your Home More Green For Less Than $200; CFLs, LEDs Lead Way To Energy Efficiency

The problem with many, excellent green products for the home (e.g., rooftop wind turbine, solar panels) is the high initial investment and the long payback period.

There are some conservation measures that homeowners can take that cost less than $200 and realize immediate benefits:

  1. Lighting: CFLs (compact fluorescent light bulbs) and LEDs (light-emitting diode bulbs) are more energy efficient that regular incandescent lamps and can significantly reduce cooling costs. CFLs (seen above) are more widespread. LED bulbs may be up to 40 times more expensive than incandescent bulbs, but use only one-fifth the energy and last up to ten times as long.
  2. Toilet Retrofitting: Kits which provide single flush and dual flush capabilities to tanks cost as little as $30.
  3. Ceiling Insulation: A major source of energy loss in a home is an uninsulated attic access door. A $200 investment in a new pulldown system can significantly lower your heating and cooling bill.

Successful Investment Real Estate Strategies

Our habits say a lot about us. And, as you know, habits are hard to break. I want to address some habits of apartment investors that I feel is keeping them from the success that they want and deserve, or rather, keeping success away from them longer than need be.

Remember, almost everything starts with the way you are managing your time. The reason is simple. You cannot get time back. Once its gone its gone – for good. So, knowing this we need to make the most, squeeze the most money and market share out of every minute we have during the working day.

Mistake #1. Not Having A Plan.
If you are too busy to sit down for an hour and make a business plan for not only the next year but the next few years, bubba, you got serious time management problems. All the more reason you need a plan. Make sure you have a firm picture in your mind of where it is you want to get to and always plan your time around the most productive things that will get you there. Your “competition” wants you to avoid planning and to have no plan. Don’t help the competition.

Mistake #2. Not Asking The Right Questions.
You need to be asking yourself this question all the time. Make it become a habit. Here it is: “Is What I Am Doing Now The Best Use Of My Time?” This will help you refocus on those tasks that will help you reach your goal and avoid those things that will not.

Mistake #3. Spending Your Time On Low Payoff Activities.
Budget arguments aside you need to calculate how much your hourly worth is. By the way, its more than you think since you only get on average about 2 – 4 hours of real productive activities done during the day. So, lets say its $100 per hour. Every time you do the $10 an hour activity just think that you are losing $90 per hour. The solution? Working ON your business.

5 Hints On How To Present Projects Successfully

As the saying goes “Honesty is the Best Policy”.You have to be honest all the time in dealing with your customers. Tell them if their plan is not attainable or if you don’t get all of the resource, cash and time needed to carry it successfully from the beginning. Set their prospects by telling them what you will carry and by when. And if it eventuates that you can’t render on your promises, then state to them about it immediately. By having an “open book” policy, you’ll attain your client’s trust. And if you involve your client early enough, they will be much supportive to your cause.
Hand it over

Managers often fall into the pin down of thinking that they can set matters more efficiently than staff. Of course in a lot of cases they may be appropriate, but the issue is that they don’t have the time to perform everything themselves. So a clever manager constantly attempts to delegate as much as possible to staff. It presents them the time necessary to keep track on the project and support their team. It’s a delicate task, but even if you recognize you can exercise a chore more efficiently than others, delegate it in any case.
Become a leader

When you preserve time by delegating your jobs, you have time for running and prompting your group. Make this by regularly communicating the project to your team, rewarding them for progress and accrediting their accomplishments. Have their honour by presenting them you care. Make group spirit by taking them to lunch regularly and talking about what they achieved together. Think, there is no “i” in “team”.
Expect the unforeseen

Always anticipate matters to change and be prepared for it when it comes. Individuals carry ideas, your client may desire changes, and the industry and technology change over time too. It’s not the change that’s significant, it’s how you respond to the change that counts. Always handle transformation, but be skeptical of it. Question it, double-question it and only when you’re convinced it’s for the greatest, apply it.
Work smart, not hard

Attempt not to start from scratch. Give yourself a head-start wherever workable by applying tools like project management guides. These templates advance the quality of your deliverables, while keeping you time and effort.