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Favorable housing rates create opportunities for job seekers

The housing crisis in Las Vegas has generated quite a lot of bad news, but local property managers, real estate agents and homeowners associations say that there is some good news in that more jobs have been created for many reasons.

The 30-year mortgage rate was at a new low of 4.12 percent as of early September, and that has created a market for first-time buyers who couldn’t previously afford a home. However, with the economic crisis, many have taken a hit on their personal credit scores due to losing their homes or jobs or they were downsized or haven’t kept up with payments, and this has created a larger market for rental properties.

Matthew Mullin, broker/salesman with Prudential Americana Group, Realtors in Henderson, said that the real estate and property management company is hiring — not because of the recent housing crisis in Las Vegas, but rather the better rates for new businesses to buy or rent real estate. This leads to more jobs for cleaning companies, landscapers and repair experts.

"(It’s) not due to the high amount of foreclosures," he said. "Our extra workload is coming from general business growth from many sources including a larger amount of investors buying property in Las Vegas given the tremendous value opportunities as well as many home­owners that must move but are choosing not to sell given the current state of market pricing."

Prudential is seeing a lot of first-time homebuyers and move-up homebuyers capitalizing on opportunities that they never thought they would see in their lifetime. 

"There are many people buying homes right now that never thought they would be able to afford to be a homeowner," Mullin said. "We work with many satisfied homebuyers who are taking advantage of this market cycle to buy the home they plan to live in for the next 20 years."

The challenge for many current homeowners is that the existing pricing levels make it very difficult or costly to decide to do the move. 

"Sometimes this decision can even impact the ability to accept job offers and/or relocation opportunities," he said.

The property management side of Prudential handles homes in areas that have been hard hit by the recession.

"As a property manager, we do not have a significant problem with empty homes," he said. "Our job is to fill vacancies as quickly as possible with high quality tenants that are seeking a clean, well-maintained home to live."

This has created a boon for employment because for each home that is leased out, you usually need a property manager, real estate agents and vendors to service that property. Homeowners often reach out for assistance when they decide to rent their properties, either due to a move out of state or a decision to buy another property.

"We are generally consulted as they are trying to decide what to do with their property given the decision to move," Mullin said. "We help them evaluate all options and if selling appears to be a less desirable option than leasing the property out, we help the homeowner prepare for and convert their home into a rental property."

Prudential handles all aspects of this process including finding tenants, screening tenants, managing repairs and managing tenant relationships, all with the ultimate goal of preserving the asset value for the homeowner and maximizing cash flow obtained from each property.

Deciding to rent a property out instead of selling could be, in some cases, one of the best financial decisions a homeowner could make over the long term, he said.

"Take a homeowner that may have zero or negative equity today," he said. "Rather than selling the property, disposing of an asset and giving up all future rights to any financial benefit of owning real estate, one could convert the property into a ‘retirement account’ and use the rental income to pay off their mortgage over several years at which point they will then own the property free and clear with 100 percent equity of the future market value and have significant additional fixed monthly income in retirement."

While Las Vegas is currently experiencing much lower pricing as a market than five or six years ago, this same lower pricing is changing many lives in a very positive way and creating some great opportunities. 

"Fundamentally we are currently experiencing a very vibrant, active and relatively healthy real estate market when it comes to pure supply and demand," Mullin said. "Unfortunately, the pricing shift of the last few years has made it very difficult for some homeowners to decide to move either voluntarily or involuntarily given major life changes."

Ken Templeton Realty & Investment Inc., Carefree Senior Living, owns senior apartments and commercial centers. The foreclosure crisis has impacted the company by the number of seniors who have walked away from their homes and into apartments, according to Carrie Barone, chief operating officer of Ken Templeton Realty & Investment Inc., Carefree Senior Living.

"They come to rent an apartment from us versus paying the mortgage on the house they’re upside down in," Barone said. "This is a good thing for us, as it increases our occupancy, and this is happening with all apartment communities across the valley. Slowly but surely, occupancy is increasing and rents are now on a slow rise as well."

This increases employment for the industry in many areas.

"More residents means more maintenance to take care of and more customer service requests in the office," she said. "We will hire when we need to, although at the moment we’re staffed effectively."

To apply for future openings, go to www.thetempletongroup.com.

Debbie Primack, manager of Primack Team, is a local property manager and says the recent downturn in housing prices has created an opportunity for those looking to get into the real estate field.

"I have a property management sticker on my license," she said. "There is a need for good property managers in Las Vegas. With so many investors buying homes, the need has grown. Also, so many people have lost their homes or have short-saled them and now only qualify to rent."

However there are many obstacles.

"You are dealing with tenants who don’t want to take responsibility for the property and owners (who) want them to, because they don’t like paying for repairs," said Primack, who has more than 24 years of experience in real estate locally. "Owners are also nervous when their properties are not leased."

The Primack Team is associated with Prudential Americana Group, Realtors. Primack herself is a permitted property manager in the state of Nevada. Her team offers property management services for single-family and multifamily home developments as well as some commercial real estate. She has a staff of three as well as herself. Go to www.primack.com for more information or to apply for future employment opportunities. 

"I am the only (property) manager," Primack said. "I have a customer service manager to handle walkthroughs and repairs, a leasing agent and a full-time assistant in the office to handle inquiries and anything that comes to our attention."

She uses many local vendors, from air conditioning repair companies to landscaping firms, which she relies on for their quality work. Each outside vendor she works with comes with referrals so that she, and her customers, can be assured of the skill and attitude toward work.

"I get vendors for various sources, (such as) other Realtors, my current vendors," she said. "My husband and son are general contractors. They make recommendations."

Her work brings her satisfaction on many levels.

"It can be fun when you are moving someone into a house and they are so excited," she said. "It doesn’t matter how big or where it is. That excitement keeps us going.

"Also, the thanks from my owners.  Most of them really appreciate our service and refer us to their friends. I have been a real estate broker or broker-salesman for 23½ years. Most of my clients are my friends. I’m lucky. My clients always come first."

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