Archive for November, 2012

Hsieh’s $350M Development Project Pumps-up Tech Jobs in Downtown Las Vegas

Friday, November 30th, 2012

Las Vegas is now one of the country’s emerging markets for tech jobs according to a report from the Jones Lang LaSalle on Tuesday. Tony Hseih, chief executive officer of Zappos.com has just infused $350M into downtown development. In 2011, Las Vegas was ranked 2nd on the Jones Lang LaSalle’s high-tech employment growth with a 22.9% increase from the previous year. San Francisco was still ranked number 1 with an annual growth of 28.6%.

One great factor that will probably appeal to a lot of young entrepreneurs is the low cost of living in Las Vegas. Another key ingredient is the active 24-hour workforce in the area.
This Downtown Project will introduce a big change into Las Vegas City. The city will transform into an ideal platform for a lot of startup companies. The total venture capital for high-tech companies spiked to $15.5 billion in the last four quarters up to June of 2012. These high-tech services are responsible for the 17% of the annual employment growth but comprises only 8.6% of the of the office jobs in the country.

There is a steady increase in capital activity in Las Vegas and support for startup activity is also steadily rising. These will likely boost up future jobs and create new companies. Zappos.com’s top executive Hsieh is helping nine start-up companies with a $50M technology fund. The relocation of his Zappos home base to the former Las Vegas City Hall from Henderson is also expected to draw in a thousand of tech workers next year.

Due to the general optimism in the marketplace there is a constant demand for qualified workers. After 12 months that ended in Aug. 31, there was a growth of 4.6% for the high-tech services section while the overall office-using employment increased 2.3% due to the addition of jobs during the same time frame.
Viney Singal, founder of Valtus Capital Group said that Las Vegas is indeed a land of entrepreneurs because it has the right blend of technology, gaming, hotels, and hospitality.

Local Developers Buying Unfinished Buildings in Las Vegas Valley

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

Las Vegas Valley is full of a lot of half-finished buildings and structures that were shelved during the real estate bubble. But local developers are seeing potentials behind these unfinished projects and are buying them. These developers have the intention of finishing the projects themselves and hope to gain big profits behind these deals. These structures are being sold with discounted construction costs and cheap prices.

But getting them off the market is not that simple. Sometimes the procedure can take too long and can be too costly. According to Mike Montandon, Former Maryor and managing director for Voit Real Estate Services, there are times when the process can even seem next to impossible.

The procedure for buying out these kinds of properties in Las Vegas Valley involves the “buyer” identifying the “seller.” This may sound simple enough but can be a bit complicated especially if the property had been foreclosed by the bank and already been auctioned off. Another thing the “buyer” must check the property’s debt load and find out “who owes who what?”

Safety is another concern; the buyer should see how sound the structure is to continue with the project. Other issues will be the piping, wiring connections, and validity of the construction permits. And naturally, the buyer should need to check on the demand for the finish product.

Las Vegas is known to have a very dry climate and very low humidity, this help minimize sun damage to open and exposed construction sites. Although rust can still attack the metal, it’s easily scraped off or sandblasted. Another issue is rain; this can cause corrosion, mold and raise other concerns. Theft is also another issue on the list. Some piping or wiring connections will attract thieves because of their value so these unfinished projects are usually fenced off.

The mothballed projects across the valley are mostly residential projects. Some of these projects with still unknown futures include the St. Regis Residences, a 68-story Faontainebleau, a 113-condo Mercer project, the 400-luxury-unit Spanish View Towers.

Big Come Back for Las Vegas as Real Estate Prices Steadily Rise

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

Las Vegas used to always make the headlines for being the “Foreclosure Capital” of the country for several years. But now it is slowly making a comeback. Last year, there were about 12,000 short sales listed on MLS. Today, as of November 15, 2012, there are only 375 listed MLS for sale.

There are two groups of real estate in Las Vegas; under Group A are short sales, new construction, and some foreclosed properties at current market value. Under this group, the properties are selling like hot pancakes, they move very quickly; Group B is composed of properties that are still yet to recover from the real estate collapse from a few years ago. These are the properties that are difficult to sell and are not being sold because the sales price is almost double what they’re worth in the current market. Homeowners are still trying to hold on to these houses with the hope that the market will recover soon enough for them to have a good return on their investments. However experts don’t see this coming anytime soon despite the rise in real estate prices in Las Vegas.
The booming prices back in the early 2000s up to 2007 went way above and beyond the 3-4% annual growth but after that prices suddenly steadily fell. Presently the prices are gaining steady footing. And they are right where they should be. New construction is now being added to the Las Vegas housing market, which is something unheard of for the last several years due to the high rate of foreclosures. Houses back then where being foreclosed and sold for less than their replacement value.

Now that prices have risen back, new homes are being constructed because the new rates make it more possible for developers to compete with the prices of foreclosed homes in the market. But despite the real estate situation in Las Vegas, it still continues to be an ideal investment destination for investors and entrepreneurs.

Downtown Las Vegas Chosen Site for “Life is Beautiful” Food and Arts Festival

Monday, November 26th, 2012

The “Life is Beautiful” festival to be held in the fall of 2013 is expected to draw thousands of visitors and locals to Downtown Las Vegas. The festival is spearheaded by Another Planet Entertainment, the Aurelian Marketing Group, and MAKTUB Marketing and Downtown Marketing. CEO of Aurelian Marketing Group, Rehan Choudhry said that they are excited about the unique partnership that has come together because of this spectacular festival.

The Aurelian Marketing Group is a seasoned company composed of highly trained and experienced brand strategists, expert producers, and creative directors. These experts all have track records of conceptualizing branded entertainment and events.

Another Planet Entertainment will be the partly responsible for handling the stage production and music booking for the festival. This outfit also produces the Treasure Island Music Festival and the Annual Outside lands Music and Arts Festival held in San Francisco. They were also the ones behind the promotion and production of events and artists such as Dave Matthews Band, Neil Young, Radiohead, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Metallica, Kanye West, and Paul McCartney.

Joey Vanas, Executive Director of the First Friday Foundation and MAKTUB Marketing and also managing partner of First Friday Las Vegas, said that they’re bringing the event to Downtown Las Vegas because of its active community that’s aiming for real change. They are working hand-in-hand with the community to transform it to become the world’s largest community-focused city. They are hoping to make this great event an integral part of the neighborhood.

The goal is to direct investments to real estate, education, residential development, small business and startups, and a well-meshed urban core. Vanas is the one who has seen the development of the First Friday Foundation, a non-profit institution dedicated to backing civic and local art. It has drawn the attention of around 20,000 people and created awareness for the arts scene in Downtown Las Vegas. It successfully paved the way across the country and the world.

Tips on How to Shop for the Best Mortgage Rate

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

A mortgage on your home means that you will pay back your loan to the lender with interest. It’s always a smart decision for anybody looking for a loan or mortgage to get the best possible deal on their collateral. It would be stressful to end up with a mortgage that could bury you in interest rates even larger than the amount of your loan.

The best deals don’t usually come to you, most of the time you have to go around and look for them. There are ways on how to get the best deal on your mortgage, here are some of them:

Spread the Word

One effective way of landing on a great deal is if lenders are aware that you are indeed looking for one. Time is always precious, so they won’t spend time on just anybody looking for a deal if they feel that you’re not serious about getting one. Let them know that you are in the market for a great deal and be willing to share the best option you’ve heard so far. You could even convince a lender or two to waive some fees for you or even cut some points off the interest rate.

Lay Your Cards on the Table

There are some things that you would be sharing with your potential lenders for a pre-approved mortgage. Gather up all the data you’ll need before you sit down with one of them. Laying all your cards on the table will make it easier for your lender to get a clear picture on your financial situation.

• You will need to tell them about your current income to give them an idea of what you can afford.
• They will also need to know your credit score. If you have no idea on where you stand, when it comes to your credit score, you could always go online and use some free tools to help you get a ballpark figure. They may not actually give you the exact digits but it’s more or less close to your value.
• Let them know if you have other obligations. This can even help you get comparisons later on.

Make your Pros and Cons List

It’s easier to make comparisons of what each lender has to offer if you could see them on paper. It gives you a clearer perspective. It’s hard to miss on great deal especially if you can see every bit of detail right in front of you.

The Benefits of Choosing a Home through Rent-to-Own

Monday, November 19th, 2012

The Rent-to-Own system of acquiring a house allows buyers to purchase their dream home without going through the traditional nitty-gritty process of purchasing real estate asset. This is an excellent way for buyers to pay for their home without really putting a big dent on their budget or their savings. It’s a convenient set-up because the prospective buyers can better plan their finances and can even improve credit scores and standing. Basically, this process gives them more time.

Not all sellers are in a hurry to receive a full payment for their homes. Some sellers would even prefer a rent-to-own scheme than the conventional method because this method makes it easier and faster to sell their house. This makes it a perfect opportunity for buyers who are tied up in other loans or those who do not have instant cash to buy their house.

The Rent-to-Own method can even land the buyer into a great deal that will suit their monthly financial capabilities. It’s so hard to pass up on this opportunity especially when the policy allows a lot of flexibility on the pocket. The future homeowners who are on this scheme will still be considered “renters” of the property until they have fully paid off the house, which means that they don’t have to worry about real property taxes until the property has been transferred under their name. It will still be the sellers’ or owners’ obligation to pay off their real property taxes.

The only amount of money that the buyer has to worry about is the initial deposit, which can be equivalent to two month’s rent on the property and that’s it. The Rent-to-Own scheme is available for newly built homes or foreclosed properties, so sellers do have a wide selection of choices on the type of home that is ideal for their needs and their budget.

Las Vegas Urged to Speed up Short Sales on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Friday, November 16th, 2012

The newly implemented guidelines by the Federal Housing Finance Agency are intended to put short sales of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into the fast lane. These short process sales are being eyed as delaying tactics in an attempt to land on a higher sales price.

It was set into action on November 1st and is a great part of the FHFA’s Servicing Alignment Initiative. Fannie Mae is still hopeful that by the short sale scheme it will have more approvals. One of the changes under this initiative is to limit the subordinate lien holder payments to $6,000.

The Servicing Alignment Initiative also stops the negotiations by second-lien holders to get larger checks from their deals. Senior Vice President of the National Servicing Organization of Fannie Mae, Leslie Peeler, says that as much as possible they are trying to avoid foreclosures on homeowners’ properties. One way of getting it done, according to Peeler is to hire junior lien holders and mortgage insurers to get into the market.

But he further agrees that the new set of guidelines will allow more homeowners to qualify for short sales. Fannie is also cutting the amount of paperworks that is required for a short sale under difficult circumstances. This will mostly benefit borrowers who have a credit score rating lower than 620 and those are over 90 days delinquent in payments of their loans. Under the new initiative the deficiency is waived automatically.

The Obama Administration has made new arrangements with these two firms and strictly arranged the companies’ portfolios to be not higher than $650 billion each. The plan is to shrink the holdings of these two mortgage companies and require them to pay the government of quarterly profits.

Foreclosure Level in Las Vegas Steadily Drops

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Las Vegas foreclosures rates continue to dive even in the third quarter. It’s listed as having the 25th highest foreclosure rate among the 212 metro areas in the U.S. This is based on the report made by the California based Realty Trac. During the previous year it was recorded that 1 in every 39 homes was foreclosed in Sin City. It was the highest foreclosure rate among the U.S. metro rate areas with around 200,000 people.

In the past three months, one in every 139 home units was foreclosed in the area. This was based on the records ending on the 30th of September. It was down by 31% on the second quarter but with a higher rate based on last year’s third quarter.

The current sliding level of the foreclosing rate is due to Nevada’s new law, the “robo-signing law.” The law has brought foreclosure rate to its present state. Banks are now allowing people to stay in their homes free of charge. The “robo-signing-law” is the result of the “robo-signing-scandal” which yielded illegal signatures to foreclose properties. The law is requiring agents who signed the said documents to get personal knowledge of the lender’s authority to foreclose. Some sees this law as just an artificial delay in the system and not a real solution to the root of the problem. But the law has kept a lot of homeowners off the streets as they remain in their homes while the documents of foreclosures are carefully processed and scrutinized.

Looking at the national rate of foreclosure rate, it is one in every 248 homes during the third quarter. Stockton California had it worst. During the third quarter of this year, the ratio in that state is one in 67 homes. It was lower by 13% based from last year.

Plaza Las Vegas Venture Gone Kaput?

Monday, November 12th, 2012

Talks on a debt settlement on the planned Plaza Las Vegas casino and hotel project of Israeli tycoons Nochi Dankner and Yitzhak Tshuva appear to have failed, and the project is likely to be scrapped. The Plaza Las Vegas venture owes a bank syndicate $620 million which was used to purchase the land for the project.

The syndicate this October issued a warning letter to the Dankner and Tshuva over the non-payment of the loan on time. A meeting was subsequently held in New York where the borrowers presented a debt settlement proposal. The banks were offered a $250 million loan payment, with the proviso of a 50-82% loan discount or rescheduling payments over ten years. The lenders, however, balked at these terms and presented an undisclosed counterproposal on the terms of the loan settlement.

The counterproposal, however, were rejected by the Plaza partners who are now considering if there are any options left for further negotiations on the loan settlement. Notably, the bondholders of Dankner’s IDB Development Corp. Ltd., which owns 25 percent of the Plaza Las Vegas project, were at the outset in opposition to the company’s participation in the loan settlement. In particular, the IBD Development bond trustees oppose the $95 million share of the company in the botched proposal for debt settlement.

Because of the differences between the Plaza partners and the bank syndicate, plus the fact that the loan is a non-recourse loan, knowledgeable sources say that the partners will give up on the Plaza Las Vegas project. A $1.24-billion loan was actually secured for the project’s land purchase in 2007. The real estate crisis in the following year adversely affected the Plaza project, and there were repeated postponements of debt repayment. Almost the entire $500 million that the partners have invested in the project have already been written off.

Las Vegas and its Animal Shelters

Friday, November 9th, 2012

Pets are a part of so many people’s lives. They are considered man’s best friends and his most faithful companions, and nowhere is this more true than in the city of Las Vegas.
Sadly though, although pet lovers are a plenty in Las Vegas, not all animals have the good luck of finding a loving home, but it’s nice to know that there are several organizations in the city that can help to provide one for those that need it.
Nevada SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)

Actively promoting their cause, the SPCA has stayed true to its calling and does not promote mercy killing in its shelter. As such, they have increased their efforts to gain more contributions from businesses, individuals, and other animal lover groups. They also campaign for more volunteers to support their cause.

One of their more popular projects they run is the online adoption program, with regularly updated listings of dogs, cats and others looking for a new home. The postings feature photos and brief information on the lovable animals, and families are welcome to apply to adopt one if they feel they can provide a loving home.

Professional services and adoption fees offered are much lower than those offered in veterinary clinics and breeding centers. This organization truly loves the animals it cares for, and as such, careful selection of all prospective new pet owners is carried out.

Nevada SPCA services include adoption services, low cost spray, neutering, surrendering animals, dog training and humane education.

The Animal Foundation

The Animal Foundation is the biggest pet care and animal protection home in Las Vegas, and is devoted to the cause of providing better lives and promoting the welfare of animals. To further this cause, the Animal Foundation not only oversees their adoption services hands-on, but also encourages community members and residents to take care of their animals properly by offering them animal health care services at low prices.

They also have a clean and spacious area for stray animals, where they can stay while waiting for their owners to come and collect them. This service has helped reunite numerous pet owners with their ‘best friends’ in the past.

Some of their services include adopting services, lost and found, low cost spaying and neutering, low cost shot clinic, and humane euthanasia.