Burt M. Polson | Napa Valley and Vallejo's Commercial Real Estate Broker

Guiding you through the real estate part of your life™

Commercial Sales, Leasing, and Consulting

Private Equity Real Estate Funds

Napa Valley and Vallejo, California

Understanding the ADA - part 2

Part one of Understanding the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990) highlighted the difficulty many commercial property and business owners have in understanding and implementing the ADA.

One may ask: “How do I determine if my property is in compliance and how do I get my property into compliance before delivery of a notice from an attorney informing me to do so?” Continue reading for more information and also look for part three where we answer your specific questions.

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Understanding the ADA - part 1

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) law from 1990 in part works to ensure access to offices, stores, restaurants and other businesses by all people including those with disabilities and makes it unlawful to discriminate against people with disabilities.

California’s Title 24 of the Building Standards Code outlines regulations more stringent than the federal ADA guidelines and were actually in place before the federal ADA guidelines.

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How to predict the real estate cycle and profit - part 2

I have not lost my mind. I am not offering a “get rich scheme” or a secret way of “timing the market.” The truth is these teachings usually found at high-energy seminars are full of hot air.

Profiting in investment real estate takes time. There may be a few outliers who tell you how they doubled their money in three months flipping a property, but these are not all that common.

Knowing the real estate cycle can give you a strategy of when to buy, hold and sell as well as what to look for in a potential investment property.

In part one, I provided you an overview of the first two phases of the real estate cycle, recovery, and expansion. Phase 1, recovery, is when the market starts looking better after a recession. You may find vacancy rates decreasing, the Federal Reserve potentially lowering interest rates, and people begin to find jobs.

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How to predict the real estate cycle and profit - part 1

Is it possible to know what the real estate market is going to do in the future? Sorry, to get your hopes up, but there is not a way to foretell what the market will do tomorrow.

However, there are methods to predict what may happen based on trends that occurred in the past. Analyzing the trends in the financial and real estate markets over many years gives economists the ability to recognize a cycle.

Want to know how to profit during each phase? Review “your strategy” in each section below to find what you can do as a savvy investor.

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How to spot a scam in ten steps or less

No one wants to be taken advantage of, but there are plenty of unscrupulous people who want your money and are devising ways to get it.

Scam artists, unfortunately, have always been around us. In the past, they may have been easier to spot, but they are getting craftier and to me in more abundance.

Here is my list of how to spot a scam in ten steps or less:

Step 1 - the unconventional transaction

An unconventional method of executing the transaction could be the first sign of a scam. If the first question you ask yourself is, “That’s a strange way of doing that?” you should probably stop there.

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A snapshot into my private resources

Several of the resources real estate brokers use can cost upwards of $1,000 dollars or more per month. Brokers use several resources with many more thankfully in the range of less than $100 per month, with many being free.

Many of these are not all that private.

Here are a few of my private and free resources you might find helpful. The first website you should go to is burtpolson.com for my current articles and archive of every article I have written.

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Do your due-diligence diligently

If you are purchasing real estate, you probably want to know what you are getting yourself into and perform due-diligence.

I purchased a used truck and was able to negotiate what I thought was a good deal--only if I knew then what I know now I would have passed.

I soon discovered after closing the deal that my truck was driven hard during the first few years of its life in the Canadian wilderness by a contractor for the oil business. You can imagine the hidden wear and tear about every inch of the truck experienced. Well, I do not have to imagine--I have become good friends with my mechanic.

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Retail trends and predictions

The news media tells us Amazon is disrupting the retail industry causing stores to close. Retail is evolving, and it is not all negative.

Below are five trends and predictions in the retail industry.

Who wants to shop at the mall?

Our regional mall that opened over thirty years ago at the time consisted of 150 stores including Emporium-Capwells, JCPenney, Sears, and Mervyns. A cinema and video arcade were the entertainment.

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5 avoidable risks for commercial property owners - part 1

“I thought the only risk you had was making sure the rent check cleared the bank,” exclaimed Paula, a friend of mine who is considering investing in commercial real estate.

Jokingly, I had to explain that investors do not just sit back collecting rent checks each month. There are ongoing responsibilities an owner should perform during her ownership to not only ensure a happy tenant but also mitigate risk.

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Shaking up real estate values with the new fault maps - part 2

The Napa earthquake of 2014 likely affected the value of several homes close to the fault with several owners finding it may be difficult to sell at some time in the future.

In part one, we reviewed the new Alquist-Priolo earthquake fault zone map which now confirms the location of the fault running from north Vallejo, through American Canyon up through north-west Napa.

When examining a map, you will find a yellow-shaded area following the actual fault and averages a quarter of a mile in width.  This area is where development could be restricted.

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Real Estate Applications of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act

Mortgage Interest Deductions (For taxpayers who itemize)

  • The mortgage interest deduction for existing mortgages of up to $1 million (for principal residence and second homes, combined) taken out before December 15, 2017, will not be affected. Homeowners may also refinance mortgage debts existing on December 14, 2017, up to $1 million and still deduct the interest, so long as the new loan does not exceed the amount of the mortgage being refinanced.
  • For any new loans as of January 1, 2018, (for principal residence and second homes, combined) the deduction will be limited to interest on $750,000 of principal.
  • The interest on home equity loans will only be deductible if the proceeds are used to substantially improve the residence.
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Shaking up real estate values with the new fault maps - part 1

I recall going on a run at Alston Park in Napa after the earthquake to find a six-inch crevice that opened up across several trails. Previously living in Browns Valley in Napa I pinpointed the location of my former home on the new Alquist-Priolo earthquake fault zone map to find the house is now within the yellow block signifying it lies within the earthquake fault zone. I am thankful I sold when I did.

When I purchased the home, I suspected the fault was in the area of Century Oaks Park based on previous maps, so I always had bought earthquake insurance. I sold the home back in 2011 and had never experienced an earthquake in that house.

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Salvation Army provides housing for culinary students

Substance abuse and homelessness are part of our community in the Napa Valley, and The Salvation Army of Napa Valley’s Culinary Training Academy was established to make a difference in the lives of those needing a second chance.

Lack of affordable housing in Napa is a dilemma not easily solved. Losing a job or experiencing tough times that takes away your earnings potential is a reality that touches us all.

The academy is a program that gives someone who has struggled with homelessness and substance abuse the independence, self-sufficiency, confidence, and dignity to pursue a professional job in local hospitality industries.

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Crowdfunding and syndications

I am excited about the new year.

As I look back to my previous 25 years in celebration of a career milestone, I am excited about cultivating my relationships with current clients and growing relationships with new clients.

I gave a hint in my previous article of a new venture this year--in addition to continuing selling and leasing commercial real estate, I will be creating a new private equity syndication company.

A primer on syndications

A syndication is an organization consisting of a group of investors who pool capital together to purchase investment real estate.

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25 years ago...

I am excited about this week as it marks my 25th anniversary in real estate. December 1992 seems like a lifetime ago, which in many ways rings true when you look at the growth one experiences in themselves and the world around them.

There have been many positive occurrences in my career and business as well as a few learning experiences.

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The tax bill and other readers’ questions

I value your feedback on my articles as well as the questions. There are many topics to discuss today in real estate, but I would like to take a moment to answer a few of your questions. Please be sure to consult with a professional for any legal or tax-related questions.

Cassandra of St. Helena, CA asks

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Secrets of the MLS - part 1

Have you ever considered how the real estate marketing engine runs? The processing and exchanging of information in a multiple listing service (MLS) is a complicated process orchestrated by several organizations. The advancement of technology and the demands of the consumer are asking for change, but the industry is pushing back.

In the complex world of real estate, the key is the control and dissemination of information. Let's expose a few truths.

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