Entrepreneur Lynn P. Smith is the founder and CEO at Buy The Block - one of the only Black-owned platforms in the country that is dedicated to making investments in real estate as a group more accessible. The movement is presently on its way to recording massive success in funding for diverse development projects across Black communities in the US.

This enviable initiative offers every Black American an opportunity to invest as little as $100, and connect with other investors - with an added advantage of helping every member buy a piece of their first block. Having a growing database of BlockVestors and Block Developers, all it takes to be a member is by signing up on their website.

With the platform, acquiring property or block of choice in one's local area is achievable. Getting the funds to make such a big difference can also be without hassles. All that is required of a member is to; find a property, make an offer, bring the property to Buy The Block, get the needed funding from other investors if they so desire, and then purchase the block.

The ability to share wealth depending on each person's investment makes it a win-win situation for all block investors. Buy The Block can manage any project from concept to end, and they aim to develop a large number of construction projects, in areas such as; residential, manufacturing, retail, multi-family, medical, religious, and pre-engineered building construction.

With the focus on the Black communities in America, Buy The Block is on track to raise millions of dollars in funding for development projects in these communities. Having the capacity to take on more significant projects and contracts, they project that they will soon change the face of crowdfunding real estate investing in the country.

They intend to do this by committing their time to getting great projects and making it a win-win for all sponsored projects. Their mission as stated on their website is to "change investing from confusing and frustrating, to an accessible and enjoyable social experience."

Speaking excitedly, Lynn said; "Indeed, we have loads of challenges, but I am determined to educate our community and make this work... thanks to the everyone out there, that united as one to embrace and support this unique concept."

Check out all of Buy the Block’s community sponsors

5 Areas New Homeowners Address First

By Richard Brody 

As a Real Estate Licensed Salesperson, in the State of New York, for over a decade, I have often witnessed, potential buyers, seem to focus, far too much on certain, minor, cosmetic items and details, which, nearly every new homeowner, ends up, addressing and altering, anyway. Home buyers should look at characteristics such as, the bones of a home, the neighborhood, property, etc, which are usually, far more essential and important! Therefore, this article will briefly identify, examine and discuss, 5 areas, most new homeowners, generally, address first.

1. Walls: Since one of the first things, new owners do, when they purchase a house, is paint, so their home, represents their preferences and tastes, why do potential home buyers, spend so much time, and effort, examining and focusing on the present colors, etc? In the vast majority of instances, painting the interior of one's house, is one of the first (if not, the first) items, done!

2. Floors: Unless the carpet is the type, quality, and color, which is the new owner's taste, and meets his needs, one should pay little attention, to items, such as the existing carpeting, etc. Remember, your furniture and furnishings, will generally, be in accordance with your personal tastes and preferences, so pay more attention to major issues, which might need extensive attention, rather than something, you will, most likely, change, and/ or alter!

3. Windows and doors: Inspect the quality of the existing windows and doors, to be certain, you will not be required, to expend significant amounts of monies! However, if the condition of these, is okay, ignore paint color, etc, for much of the same reason, discussed, above. In addition, ignore window shades, drapes, etc, because you will change these, anyway!

4. Certain areas of rooms: The dining room light fixture, etc, is often, one of the first changes, a new homeowner makes, so it matches his personal tastes, etc. Certain aspects of the kitchen are generally altered, but the overall condition, especially, of appliances, plumbing, cabinets, etc, should be considered up - front, because those aspects, are often costly to have to immediately replace and/ or alter. One must differentiate between changes made, to reflect individual tastes, etc, versus, major changes/ expenditures.

5. Personalization: It's important to differentiate between necessary changes, due to flaws, inefficiencies, etc, as opposed to personalizing items, to fit your personal tastes and needs! Don't focus on the previous owner's furniture, or how he lays - out rooms, etc, but consider, whether, the major considerations, etc, will adapt and conform to your desire to personalize!

Since nearly everyone performs these minor changes, they should not be the focus, when someone looks at finding the home, of their dreams, and needs! Look at the bones, and physical condition of major components, so you won't discover, the price you actually pay, for a particular house, ends up being far more than you expected!

Richard has owned businesses, been a COO, CEO, Director of Development, consultant, professionally run events, consulted to thousands, conducted personal development seminars, for 4 decades, and a RE Licensed Salesperson, for a decade+. Rich has written three books and thousands of articles. Website: and LIKE the Facebook page for real estate:

Tricks You Should Play While Dealing With Commercial Landlords

By Sahaana M Jai

Commercial real estate deals like leasing, renting and purchasing the office space or any other commercial properties can turn out to be disgraceful if you go bland in front of the landlords who are very much experienced in the field.

In order to avoid such things happening, you should be playing some tricks while dealing with commercial landlords.

So, what are those tricks that put you in an upper edge over the landlords in a deal?

There are lots of tricks, but the best and effective ones are here.

1. Don't show your weaknesses

Well, your weakness can be a trump card for the landlords! It's same as in other businesses; people look out for your weaknesses, and you're out if you keep it to display.

Of course, you can't be an expert in all the fields, but how you manage is what matters.

Suppose you are Looking for an Office Space in a specific area and you found one; the office space has all the amenities you were looking for, and you don't want to look for any other spaces. In this case, if the landlords get to know you are in love with the property, definitely you will not be in a good position to negotiate. The landlord may also quote a high price for the property taking your urgency as a benefit.

2. Play like an expert (Even if you're not)

The real estate sector is not for those who are not aware of the field and the market. However, you are looking out for an office space to set your business up, and not to get into the real estate business!

But what you need to know is it's always a benefit for landlords when the tenants are not aware of the market value and the field. You'll be in a position to accept and agree for whatever the landlords say. So, play like an expert even if you are a novice in the field of real estate. As said in the above point, don't let them know that you have no idea about the market value.

3. Make a great first impression!

First impression is always the best impression!

Yes, when you meet the landlord in the deal, try building a great first impression. It definitely makes a huge difference that sometimes the landlords will be convinced for a low rent or the advance amount.

Reducing the cost is not the only reason for making a good impression at first, as there are lots of other benefits like the landlord might not be willing to proffer the space to any others even if they offer high rents. So, build an impression such that the landlord sees you as a potential and trustworthy tenant.

4. Hire a skilled commercial real estate agent

One of the simplest tricks ever to deal with experienced landlords is to hire a skilled commercial real estate agent. An experienced can play all the above mentioned tricks with great ease, and put you in an upper edge in the deal. Even when you are not in a good position to negotiate for a space, a skilled agent can completely turn the deal to your side making it rewarding.

Micro Joint Ventures - The Best Way To Buy A Brand New Home

By Ray Chua 

Micro Joint Ventures (or "Micro JVs") are when a small group of like-minded buyers pool their resources to benefit from the "grouped" buying power. In the context of buying a brand new property, the group would partake in a small property development project. The aim would be for each micro joint venture partner to come out ahead. The project feasibility can be calculated from the start even before agreeing to proceed with the deal, and under the guidance of a property buyers advocate, the group's risk could be reduced significantly.

Ideally, if you have family or friends willing to form a micro joint venture with you, then you could venture down this path of buying property wholesale with them. However, if you don't have family or friends in a position to join you in this journey, there are now buyer-matching resources that could match you with other qualified buyers who are looking for something similar to what you want.

The key with micro joint ventures is that each member of the group needs to bring an equal amount of resources to the table and can complete the deal. That's why before micro joint ventures start their property search, they should get finance qualified by a mortgage broker as a micro joint venture group to buy the land, and as individuals to construct after subdividing.

Being part of Micro Joint Ventures is similar to buying any other new property, except:

    you get to be in an "infill" location that's closer to amenities that you love without settling for an apartment

    you get to customize your building design to suit your needs

    you'd have access to potentially lucrative profits from property development by building from the ground up.

You'll still have to qualify for finance as if you're buying a new home. So, you will need a deposit and earn an income (or you could pay with cash). A mortgage broker needs to assess your situation and highlight your options before you can join any micro joint ventures.

    There may be some excellent home loan rates if you can come up with 20% deposit (plus purchase costs).

    However, there are also options needing only 10% deposit (plus purchase costs).

    Furthermore, if you're buying your own home, there may be specialist lenders such as "Keystart" in Australia, who offer deposit requirements of as low as 2%!

Speaking to an expert and accredited finance and mortgage broker will quickly reveal all your lending options very quickly.

Financial benefits of buying brand new:

    First home buyers would still qualify for any government grants and/or duties concession for buying new;

    Duties are only payable on the land, not on the building. This works out much less than duties on an established house;

    Rents for brand new dwellings are generally higher than older houses;

    Full depreciation benefits are available for investors, compared to reduced/removed benefits with established investment properties.

Coupling these financial benefits of buying a brand new home with the additional equity that's manufactured from developing the right property - you'll find yourself ahead of the pack by getting involved in a properly qualified, and well-orchestrated micro joint venture.

Catalyst Developments can help with Micro Joint Ventures by:

a) putting you in touch with a mortgage broker;

b) matching you to other finance qualified buyers who wish to build brand new in a similar area & budget as you;

c) getting the micro joint venture group finance pre-qualified;

d) connecting you with a property buyers' advocate;

e) introducing you to building consultants.

Register for free at http://catalystdevs.com.au/ to be matched to other qualified buyers.



Do you ever dream of buying and renting out houses and apartment buildings or maybe fixing up and flipping houses like on HGTV or perhaps building a strip mall with commercial tenants paying you rent? Then mortgage broker, Herndon Davis of Houston, TX, definitely wants you to use his firm, Mortgage Real Estate Services, to find the perfect financing vehicle to fuel your commercial real estate dreams.

We recently interviewed him, and here's what he had to say!

So what exactly does your company, Mortgage Real Estate Services, do?

Herndon Davis: We consult and connect both individual and business borrowers with many types of commercial financing opportunities available to them through private money, real estate investment firms or capital investors all looking for a high return on their investment. We focus on helping to fund commercial real estate and residential investment management projects. Simply put, we want more people who look like me to own, to invest and to control real estate and not just live in it.

But isn’t buying and managing Commercial real estate a lot riskier?

Herndon Davis: Yes, buying commercial estate can be riskier but the financial rewards and gains can be far greater and much longer-lasting than any other asset you may invest in. It’s definitely a trade-off but with careful planning, I can help you mitigate those risks thereby increasing your net worth and creating generational wealth for your children and grandchildren to come.’

But with Commercial Real Estate don’t you need perfect credit to even get approved for a loan?

Herndon Davis: No, you don’t, far from it actually. Ideally your FICO score should be at least 660 which is an entire 40 points below the national average of 700. Some lender investors I work with will accept scores below 600 but higher interest rates will apply.

But with Commercial real estate don’t you need a lot of money saved to get approved for a loan?

Herndon Davis: No, you don’t. In fact, in some cases you can even get 100% financing. However, if you’re just starting out with your first few projects typically, most of my lender investors will fund your project at a 75% Loan-To-Value (LTV) which means you must bring a 25% down payment to the table plus additional closing costs. But remember you can also partner with someone or a small group of individuals and split the 25% down payment equally thus reducing the savings you need.

For more experienced real estate investors, I have a few lender investors who will finance at 85-90% LTV and even 100% of construction costs of a new rental or fix and flip property but only if you own the land free and clear. So, the amount of money you need to bring to the table really varies depends on the type real estate project you have, your experience level flipping, constructing or managing rental property, and in some cases the state you live in. Through my numerous lender affiliations, I can match borrowers in 46 states and the District of Columbia.

But with Commercial Real Estate don’t you need a really high income to show you can repay the loan?

Herndon Davis: No, you don’t. That’s the beauty of commercial real estate! For example, if you want to buy a rental property say a 4-plex, your personal income is NEVER considered or documented neither are your tax returns! What matters most is how much net income is generated from the property divided by your mortgage payments on the building, called your debt servicing.

Let’s assume that your 4-plex grosses an annual rental income of $48,000. However, you estimate after building maintenance costs, insurance and property taxes your net annual income is actually $36,000. Let’s also assume your annual mortgage payments are $28,000 a year. This results in a Debt Service Coverage Ratio (DSCR) of 1.28 ($36,000/$28,000). This means that your rental property brings in 28% more net income than needed to cover the debt on the property. Most lenders look for a DSCR ratio of 1.2 or above to approve a loan to purchase rental property. Again, through my lender investors your personal income is never considered.

Now if you’re looking to buy then fix and flip a property the process works differently. In this case we operate on an Asset Based Lending model which includes short term loans called Hard Money loans. Let’s say you buy an extremely distressed home in a really nice neighborhood at a discounted price of $100,000 and you estimate you need $50,000 to bring it up to market value condition. So, in total you need $150,000 and you also estimate it will take 2 months to finish the project. The good news is that once the repairs are made on the home it will appraise at $300,000 After-Repair-Value (ARV) just like the houses that surround it.

Many lenders will start funding your project at 75% ARV or 75% of $300,000, what the asset is expected to appraise for after repairs are done. In this case its $225,000 ($300,000 X 75%). This is basically 100% financing but in many instances, you are expected to contribute either 10-20% or show reserves of, approximately, 9 months to pay for the interim interest payments even though you’ve estimated it will only take 2 months to finish the job.

In summary, you were loaned $150,000 and you sold the property for $300,00 or above depending on market conditions. You now have a gross profit of $150,000. Once you deduct your interim interest rate payments and other closing costs fees, etc you conservatively may net closer to $120,000 still a tidy sum even after a huge chunk of interest and fees have been taken out. Hence it really pays to buy property as deeply discounted as possible in order to maximum your flipping upside potential.

For hard money loans you may be required to show tax returns or other documentation depending on the specific lender investor I match you with. Remember these loans are meant to be short term in nature, just long enough to quickly make repairs and re-sell the property for profit. They aren’t meant to be a long-term financing option.

Okay, but in Commercial Real Estate, aren’t interest rates a lot higher?

Herndon Davis: Yes, interest rates are indeed higher in commercial real estate transactions versus residential owner-occupied home loans. But you must remember that you’re actually earning money in commercial real estate and ideally earning an amount far and above what it takes to pay on your higher interest rate loans. You see that’s the overall goal, to have a sizeable amount of excess cash that’s free and clear above your expenses and taxes: you that you can either move it to your personal assets, invest it in other business ventures, or save and invest for yourself, your family and create generational wealth that’s passed down to your heirs, decades after you’ve passed on.

For rental property loans you may pay anywhere from 6.45% to 9% on a 30-year fixed mortgage. And for short term hard money loans where you buy, flip and fix houses and then move on, your interest rates may be as high as 10-12%, but again it’s typically for few months and then you flip or sale the property ideally at an ARV that’s a lot higher than what you purchased and rehabbed the property for.

Do you mind sharing information about your background and how borrowers can contact you?

Herndon Davis: Sure, I have 15+ years Corporate Finance and Budget Management experience working for mostly Fortune 500 companies. I also have a BS in Finance, an Executive MBA and I’m also dual-licensed as Loan Officer and as a Real Estate agent in the state of Texas.

We look to fund quickly - sometimes we make same-day decisions and closings occurring within 10-14 days. So please come prepared to do business! Once you submit your application through me, things go quickly - so buckle your seat belts!

For more information and/or to get started, visit Herndon's website at www.MortgageRealEstateServices.com, email him at herndon@MortgageRealEstateServices.com or call or text him at 832-457-8951.



-- How to find the best and the safest available low income housing options --

When the U.S. economy first entered a recession, millions of families were forced to take advantage of low income housing programs. And, according to federal statistics, those numbers continue to increase every month.

Low income housing properties are defined as apartments or houses that are a part of some kind of affordable housing initiative, usually sponsored by the federal government, the state, the city, or a non-profit organization. Such properties offer either an income-based rental rate or a flat rental rate designed to be affordable for needy individuals and families.

While there are many helpful programs available, finding the best and safest options can be a task. In addition, it can be difficult to find the best options available to families who qualify to remain in the home that they are already occupying.

Here are the top five resources to use:

1) HUD Office of Affordable Housing (OAP)

This government agency brings federal resources directly to the state and local level for use in the development of affordable housing units, or to assist income-eligible households in purchasing, rehabilitating, or renting safe and decent housing. Learn more

2) Making Home Affordable ® Program (MHA)

This program, sponsored by the Obama Administration, is a comprehensive plan to stabilize the U.S. housing market by helping homeowners get mortgage relief and avoid foreclosure. Learn more

3) PublicHousing.com

This web site provides a listing of public housing properties across the country, and other types of housing deals. The vast majority of their listings are affordable housing bargains. Learn more

4) Affordable Housing Institute

This non-profit organization provides housing finance expertise and thought leadership to other organizations working to make housing accessible to low-income people. Learn more

5) Low Income Housing Authority

This organization produces a free online national resource that is dedicated to helping individuals and families find low income housing, apartments, shelters, and more. The web site also provides answers to frequently asked questions. Learn more

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