February 23, 2024

In this month’s BiggerNews, the mortgage rate rollercoaster continues, ChatGPT tries to take your job, Facebook tells investors to get lost, and David discusses his love-hate relationship with Jack in the Box. That’s right, we’ve crammed in all the most important news for real estate investors, including AI realtors, dangerous fast food options, and why buyers and sellers keep pushing down hard on both pedals. David Greene and Dave Meyer will go down the real estate rabbit hole, discussing the most important headlines affecting today’s housing market.

Welcome back to BiggerNews, where we touch on the facts, data, and everything else affecting real estate investing. This time, the Dave duo hits on why mortgage rates shot down earlier this year and what’s causing them to rise again, plus what this will do to buyers and sellers who are waiting to get into the market. Then, we’ll hear how the BRRRR method could be in danger as new mortgage rules make a cash-out refinance far harder than before. Ever thought, “We need more artificially conscious investors.” If so, you’re in luck! We’ll touch on how ChatGPT could allow an influx of sub-par investors to enter the market.

And if you’ve been waiting for a revival of Craigslist, stick around. New rules that Meta (Facebook) announced recently may deal a blow to real estate sellers on the popular platform. Finally, David and Dave will give their take on Biden’s new “Renters Bill of Rights,” which could create more protections for renters but with the side effect of rent control for landlords. All these stories could have SERIOUS impacts on the housing market. Whether you’re an investor, realtor, renter, or homeowner, this is news you need to know about!

David Greene:
This is the Bigger Pockets Podcast show 736. Fannie Mae came up with a guideline and said, “Hey, we’re not going to let you refinance anything if you’re pulling cash out unless it’s been seasoned for 12 months.” It used to be six months. This is where that six month rule that everybody looks into that has to do with the Burr method and, well, I can’t refinance for six months. It’s because of a Fannie Mae guideline. Now they’ve bumped it up to 12 months. I don’t believe they’ve said why they’re doing it. My suspicions would be they’re trying to make it harder for investors to buy deals because they want home prices to come down without having to raise rates even more. What’s going on everyone? This is David Greene, your host of the Bigger Pockets podcast here today with my co-host Dave Meyer, doing a special edition of Bigger News.
As you’ve noticed, we are in a beautiful scenic place. We’re here in Denver, Colorado bringing you one of the bigger news episodes where we’re going to be covering what is going on in the world of real estate, what is going on in the headlines and what you need to know about them. We’re going to be trying something new for Bigger News. Dave and I are going to be reviewing the top headlines in the real estate investing space and talking, commenting and diving into how they can affect the real estate market and our position as investors. Dave, nice to see you.

Dave Meyer:
Yes, man, this is a lot of fun. First time we’re doing this in person.

David Greene:
And you’re even more handsome in person than you were on camera. I didn’t think that it could happen.

Dave Meyer:
Wow. It’s all this fancy equipment they have surrounding us.

David Greene:
It doesn’t hurt. This is how hard they got to work to make me look good, but hey, I’ll take it.

Dave Meyer:
I feel like we’re going to break something. It’s a lot of expensive stuff.

David Greene:
Yes, that’s true. When you’re walking through, you have that same feeling like you’re at grandma’s house and you’re in the living room where no one’s supposed to go.

Dave Meyer:
Yes, exactly. And we look like real newscasters. We’ve got our sheets of paper. We need one of those little ear things that they put in.

David Greene:
Yes. I’ll be Will Ferrell and you could be Christina Applegate.

Dave Meyer:
Thank you.

David Greene:
All right, well, why don’t we start with the first headline, what you got?

Dave Meyer:
All right, so our first headline, we need to talk about mortgage rates. I know this is something we talk about a lot, but they’ve been really volatile and just for some history here, obviously we all know mortgage rates went up a lot last year. For a while, it seemed like they had peaked at about 7.4% back in November, and they had fallen down to almost 6%. Now they’re back up to almost 6.8%, and a lot of this seems to be because of recent economic data. There’s just been a lot of things, two things really. One, a really strong labor report back in January and inflation data that was pretty ugly and disappointing, and this to me at least seems like this is a green light for the Fed to just keep raising interest rates. What do you think about that?

David Greene:
That’s what it looks like right now. They’re showing fearlessness when it comes to just being willing to continue raising rates, and we know the reason that they’re doing that is they believe this is going to stop inflation. That’s debatable whether it’s going to stop inflation, delay inflation, it definitely has an impact on the economy in many ways. We can’t predict here, we don’t know, but I would expect rates to continue raising and every time that there’s anything less than optimal in the economy in general, and they think that prices are going to get too high or unemployment is too low, we’re going to raise rates to try to turn that around, which obviously affects our position as real estate investors.
I think this is something that’s very difficult is we typically base our decisions off of a comparable price for a home, and when rates bounce around like this, the value of homes bounce around like this too, it makes it very difficult to just not have a moving target where you can drill in and say well, this is what a house is worth. Have you seen within the bigger pockets community frustration or maybe some hesitancy of people to move forward and pull the trigger where before they may have done it when they felt more stability?

Dave Meyer:
I hadn’t really thought about that point, about the calming aspect of this, but it does seem like for a while in January and February, I think we talked about this recently, that people were starting to get back into the market a little bit. And people were starting to feel like inflation was on a positive trend, mortgage rates were trending downwards, but now that it’s reversed, I do think there’s a risk that there might be some demand pulling back out of the market at least for the next couple of months, but I don’t know yet.
I think it’s just going to be really hard for people who are new to this to jump in with all of this volatility because it’s up, it’s down. It’s really hard to get a beat on it, and unless you’re an experienced investor who has been through something like this or just knows your numbers so cold that you’re can be confident whether your mortgage is six and a half or 7% that your deal is going to work out. I do think there’s a chance that people take a step back and pause at least till there’s some more stability.

David Greene:
We were talking before we recorded about what you call the pump and glide method of driving where my Uber driver was making me sick because they hit the gas and then they take their foot off the gas and the car slows down.

Dave Meyer:
If you drive like that, please stop for all of our sakes. Just don’t drive like that.

David Greene:
Well, it made me think that’s what the market’s doing. Is you’re seeing, we just had, on the David Greene team, a really good February because rates had just come down, so it was like we’re moving forward, and then the rates come up and everything slows, and then it’s moving this back and forth, and investors are having a very hard time getting a grip. So what I would expect for maybe at least the near future in 2023 is you’re going to continue to see buyers jumping in as a group and buyers withdrawing as a group, and you’re sort of playing this game where you’re trying to catch the wave. Maybe you can think of kinking a hose, letting it out, kinking a hose, letting it out, and as long as interest rates keep doing this, we probably just have to get used to the fact that this is how the market’s going to operate.

Dave Meyer:
Totally, and I think inventory is going to be kind of the same way, right?

David Greene:
Yes.

Dave Meyer:
We’re starting to see more people start to list their property.

David Greene:
Because the rates went down. They think they can sell for more.

Dave Meyer:
Exactly. So there’s just going to be, like you said, the pumping glide effect, and unfortunately it just doesn’t seem like there’s a good line of sight on economic stability. Inflation was looking good, took a step back. We’re hearing a lot of layoffs in the job market and tech market. Tech makes up 2% of the labor market, and now we’re seeing that the January labor numbers were actually pretty strong, surprisingly strong, and it just shows that no one really knows what’s going to happen right now, and we all just have to admit that and expect some of this volatility. It doesn’t mean you can’t find deals, but you should not expect things to be clear I think for the next, at least three, maybe six months, and then hopefully by then we’ll at least know some direction, whether good or bad, which way things are heading because it’s just so murky right now.

David Greene:
Now, the good news if you’re looking to buy in this market is that sellers are feeling that same thing. They’re putting their house on the market, then they’re hearing the labor report come out, they’re seeing interest rates go up. They’re also going from greed to fear and they’re cycling. So if you are in the market to be buying a house, whether you just want to live somewhere or you’re looking to invest, you’ve got your eye on a property, you’re waiting on the right time. I always watch the news and I wait for the doom and gloom, and then I go, right, more aggressive offers, and that’s worked for me several times where a seller saw the same news and we’re like, Jerome Powell just said they’re taking this thing to the moon. I need to sell now before there’s blood in the streets. And then three months later, rates came right back down again.

Dave Meyer:
That’s very good advice. All right, well, maybe one day we’ll stop talking about mortgage rates, but that’s not today.

David Greene:
It’s given quite a bit of fodder to get into, right?

Dave Meyer:
Yes.

David Greene:
There’s always some new dramas. Mortgage rates are the Kardashians of the real estate market now.

Dave Meyer:
Yes, exactly. They are. Everyone wants to know. But there are other good headlines for us to talk about. The second one today is about refinancing and really will impact one of your favorite strategies. The Burr method. What happened was on February 1st, Fannie Mae, which is a giant mortgage lender, government backed entity, updated its eligibility policy for cash out refinance transactions to require that any existing first mortgage be paid off through the transaction, be at least 12 months old as of measured from the note date of the existing loan to the note date of the new loan. So first and foremost, can you just explain what that means to everyone?

David Greene:
Yes, so Fannie Mae. You’ve often heard the name Freddie Max, another one. This isn’t going to be perfectly accurate, but in general, they are the enterprise that will buy the loans from whoever your mortgage broker is when you’re getting conventional financing. So because they say, “Well, if we’re going to buy a loan, it has to meet these guidelines.” Now all the mortgage brokers and the lenders go conform to what those guidelines are so that they can sell to Fannie Mae.
This is keeps what we call liquidity in the market. So if I lend you my money and you just kept it for 30 years on that property, I can’t go lend to somebody else. So by lending you the money and then you go sell it to somebody else and Fannie Mae ends up pushing money back in thumb when they buy these notes, the government is able to keep rates lower than they would normally be. Even though rates are higher right now than they’ve been traditionally, they’re still lower than what they’d be if we didn’t have Fannie Mae.

Dave Meyer:
That’s right.

David Greene:
Well, Fannie Mae came up with a guideline that said, “Hey, we’re not going to let you refinance anything if you’re pulling cash out unless it’s been seasoned for 12 months.” Now that used to be six months. This is where that six month rule that everybody looks into that has to do with the Burr method and well, I can’t refinance for six months. It’s because of a Fannie Mae guideline. Now they’ve bumped it up to 12 months. I don’t believe they’ve said why they’re doing it. My suspicions would be they’re trying to make it harder for investors to buy deals because they want home prices to come down without having to raise rates even more. And so this gives an advantage to people that are just a primary residence person who’s going to be going in to buy, and there’s also probably going to be an element of risk reduction for them, because when rates fluctuate like this, it causes a little bit of anxiety in us buyers, but it causes massive anxiety in the lending industry.
So they’re going to take this loan and they’re going to sell this to a pool of people who are going to buy it as a mortgage backed security. Those people don’t want to go invest all their money into interest rates at 7% if they think they’re going to be at 10% later or if rates are going to be going down, they’re going to want to buy more when they’re at 7%. So the pricing of these loans bounces around every time that the rates bounce around. All the people that are making loans right now, they typically have about two and a half years before they break even.
So if I give a mortgage to somebody, the costs that are included in doing that, I usually don’t get my money back for about two and a half years. So they don’t like it when cash out refinances or rate and term refinances happen frequently. They want to slow that down. So this is another way that lenders who are actually putting money into the market to sponsor these loans can protect themselves by not letting someone go in, get a mortgage and then refinance six months later when rates are down by a point and a half.

Dave Meyer:
That’s a really important note because at first my thought was yes, they’re sort of taking aim at flippers and perhaps Burr, but it also really matters that this is their business model and that they need to make money as well, and so they’re probably doing it, I would imagine some combination of it. So what do you think? Is this going to impact Burr?

David Greene:
Yes, I think this is going to impact Burr. People who are already struggling with Burr because rates were going up and values weren’t increasing as fast as they were. So one of the common mistakes I think people make with the Burr method is they assume they got to get 100% of their money out of the deal and that they have to do it in a six-month timeframe, that’s like a grand slam if you can do that. When you compare it to the traditional method where you put 20 or 25%, then you dumped another five to 10% of the property value, and on a rehab, you’re looking at somewhere between 30 and 45% of the property’s value is invested and stuck in it. So if you do a bird and you leave 10% of your money in there, that is still a clear win over leaving 35%.
It doesn’t have to be 100%, but this does make it a little bit trickier there. There’s no doubt about that, that these lending fluctuations are like an earthquake and then the ripples go out all throughout the industry, but we’re having earthquakes every single time the Fed announces something new. It’s like it’s going this way, then it’s going that way. So there’s all these changes that are happening. It does affect probably more Burr than flipping because it’s only is for cash out refinances. This is if you’re looking to take more money out of the deal than what you put in. So a flipper, they’re just going to be selling the note.
They don’t have to worry about a cash-out refinance, but it also makes it even more important to pay attention to what’s going on in the fit. I’ve been saying this is the time in real estate where education information matters more than it ever has before. For a long time, real estate was just the same thing for years, for decades, it didn’t really change a whole lot, and now as we see these changes that are being made at a high level are having massive, massive impact on the way that we’re doing business and what we expect home values to do.

Dave Meyer:
So what do you think people should do? Is there a way to mitigate this or something that you can do to continue to do the birth strategy despite these new regulations?

David Greene:
I think it makes it harder to do buy a house, cash out, refinance, get all your money back, at six months buy another one. That was a supercharged method that people were, I was doing this too, growing your portfolio very, very quickly with the same capital recycling it. These principles work, but you’re not going to be able to execute it at the same speed. What this really does is it benefits people that have a larger portfolio of properties that were accumulated over a longer period of time. So if you bought real estate consistently for the last four or five years, you can still cash out, refinance the stuff you bought four years ago, get that capital, put that back into new properties, and then refinance the stuff you bought three years ago. It makes it harder for the person who’s trying to get started.
So the advice that I’m continually giving is one will keep house hacking because if you could put three and a half percent or 5% down, you don’t need to do the Burr method. There’s not a whole lot of money you’re having to take out of it. That’s one way you can get your portfolio started picking up steam. And the other one is just to decrease your expectations that real estate should never be a sprint. It is a marathon all the time. So it doesn’t really matter what’s happening right now because you’re building wealth over the next 10, 20, 30, 40 years, and as you pick up that steam, you’ll be able to do a cash-out refinance, building, use any of the tools that we talk about without these regulations changing. They’re always tools that affect the short term, and if you can get out of the short term model and into a long-term model, you can operate independently of this stuff.

Dave Meyer:
Yes, and that’s excellent advice. I think for the last couple of years, this low inventory where people have to buy quickly and sell, and there’s just so much going on frenzy and you had to move quickly, at least on the acquisition side. People get ramped up and they feel like they need to do everything really quickly and it’s not necessary. The other thing you can do too is if you want to refinance something quickly, you can look into portfolio loans, as David was explaining, conventional loans, conforming loans get sold and repurchased to people like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Portfolio loans are when the bank hold onto the loan, so maybe they’ll be-

David Greene:
That was a great-

Dave Meyer:
… Emergence of portfolio lenders who’ll be willing to do cash out refis for investors.

David Greene:
That’s a great point. Portfolio loans, you avoid the whole Fannie Mae situation. The other one that I forgot to mention is DSCR Loans. We do a lot of those at the one brokerage, and when you get that loan, it’s not being sold to a conventional lender. It’s being sold in a private markets basically. So some of those DSCR lenders are going to follow the Fannie Mae guidelines because they’re the big dog in charge. What they do, everyone else falls in line, but other ones won’t. So asking a mortgage broker or asking a lender, do you have a DSCR lender that will do this without making me wait 12 months? That’s another workaround also. It’s pretty much just applies to people that want the very best rate and the very best terms they could get.

Dave Meyer:
Absolutely. But I feel like when these regulations happen in a capitalist system, someone fills the void. And there’s going to be a lender, there’s going to be someone who sees that investors still want this type of product and probably will create something like that. It’ll probably take a little while, but.

David Greene:
That’s literally how DSCR loans came to be.

Dave Meyer:
Oh, really?

David Greene:
Yes. Someone like me that has more than 10 properties, I just couldn’t get another loan. I can’t get a conventional loan. So there was enough people that wanted them, and they were like, well, we can’t use Fannie Mae guidelines for this person. What can we do? We can use commercial underwriting standards where we just look at the cash flow of a property we’ll qualify it based on that, and that’s literally what happened. Is this new thing stepped into where there was a need in the market. So don’t panic. Don’t eat panic in Anikins.

Dave Meyer:
Cleaning around.

David Greene:
Wait, and there will be a solution that will come to fruition.

Dave Meyer:
Awesome. All right. Well, that is very good advice and something we’ll definitely be keeping an eye on. For our third point, we got to talk about Chat GPT.

David Greene:
Are people talking about that now?

Dave Meyer:
I don’t know if we’re even a news show. If you don’t mention it, you have to talk about it. Have you used it yet?

David Greene:
No, but everyone else has.

Dave Meyer:
I have.

David Greene:
I’m a little scared to use it. Is that weird?

Dave Meyer:
You should be because you’re going to like it.

David Greene:
That’s what I’m afraid of.

Dave Meyer:
So Chat GPT, if you haven’t heard of it, is called a generative AI platform. Basically what it is you can go on and text, you can ask it questions and a computer program, which has studied 1,000s of textbooks and websites and books. Will use the information from that studying to form unique and novel answers for you so you can have a real conversation with it. Honestly, it’s pretty remarkable to use, and stuff like this has existed before. But I think what’s unique about the recent advances is how conversational it feels, it sort of feels like you’re talking to another human being and it’s not as generic as it used to be. And this is clearly just the beginning and the pace of acceleration here in Chat GPT, and it’s not just Chat GPT. Bing also has a new program. Google is working on one called Bard. So I think it’s likely that these types of interactive AI systems are just going to keep growing and growing and growing from here.

David Greene:
Do you think they’re going to get along with each other, or do you think we’re going to have a rivalry?

Dave Meyer:
Yes, see, everyone always talks about AI versus humankind as the battle that might happen. The matrix. Maybe it’s going to AIs versus each other, and we’re [inaudible 00:17:24].

David Greene:
[inaudible 00:17:24] relevant.

Dave Meyer:
Yes, exactly. It’s like Transformers.

David Greene:
It’s like Transformers versus human, deceptive cons versus auto bots here. Who’s going to win?

Dave Meyer:
Yes, but we’re still going to be the collateral damage.

David Greene:
Yes, that’s true.

Dave Meyer:
It’s kind of fun. And as a data science background person, I really enjoyed playing around with it. It’s pretty fun.

David Greene:
What are some of the things you’ve done with it so far?

Dave Meyer:
Oh, I was asking it real estate questions, honestly. I started asking it data questions which is not very good at yet, like interpreting data. So my job is safe for at least six more months, but it does do a really good job of it… It is what’s called generative AI, so it can have a conversation with you, which is remarkable. And I was curious what your feelings about this and how it’s going to impact the real estate industry.

David Greene:
I am a bit of a contrarian in a lot of ways in general. I think people ask the wrong questions sometimes. When people say, “How do I buy real estate so I can quit my job in two years and never work again?” Wrong question. You’re probably going to get into the wrong deals if that’s what you’re trying to do. Real estate works better over a long period of time, buying in the right locations, letting an asset stabilize naturally over time than it does if you just rush in and try to buy a bunch of $40,000 properties in some turnkey market that end up causing you headaches. One of the wrong questions people ask is, “How do I make this easy? How do I automate this thing so I don’t have to do the work?” And the problem with that approach is once it’s made easy, it can be replicated and amplified at a big scale as someone with more capital resources than you can come in and do it very easily.

Dave Meyer:
Hey, you need a barrier to entry.

David Greene:
Those are so crucial.

Dave Meyer:
Yes, absolutely.

David Greene:
Yes. Imagine if you’re trying to get people across a body of water and you’re the guy that is hired because you know where the rocks are, you know where the sharks are, you know where the areas that you could get shipwrecked are going to be, you know the area very well. You will always have a job. The minute that you remove all those and you just have a big deep water, nice channel, some huge boat can come in and load up way more people than you ever could and take them across and you’re out of work. This is the problem with us always looking for an easy answer. The minute real estate investing became something that could be done at scaled from all the software, the systems, the ways that we were able to do it easily. BlackRock comes in and they buy all the houses.
So I’m worried about AI doing the job of copywriting, doing the job of making your pictures of your property look better, looking at what short-term rental listings are doing well, copying it, and then just blasting it across everybody because then you’re not winning doing the job of what the best people did. You’re just leveling the playing field and now your property will not have an advantage over somebody else’s because you pay more attention to it. That’s my concern for how this could work with real estate investing is if you were a short-term rental operator and you were paying attention to the market and your competition was lazy and they weren’t, you were following the algorithm that Airbnb or VRBO had, you were changing your description, you were getting new pictures taken, you were adding amenities as you saw what was happening in the market, you were the person on that little raft navigating these dangerous waters to help people.
The minute that AI can come in and do that for you, the person who’s not paying any attention to their property gets all the benefits of what the good operator was doing. So one of the ways that I’m looking at, I’m expecting that’s going to happen. I’m trying to figure out what properties can I get into, what asset classes could I buy, what approach could I take that could not easily be replicated? The hacks that we’re always looking for, do you remember when Craigslist was brand new when you would list your Toyota Camry for sale, and then people learned if they put Honda Accord in the description, that it would trigger the search engine of people that were looking for Honda Accords?

Dave Meyer:
Yes. Or everyone would put $1. So everything, no matter what your price actually was, it would just show up.

David Greene:
Yes, it was a way of getting traffic to your page you wouldn’t normally have got. That, I think is just going to happen everywhere, that type of thing. And so I don’t know what the answer’s going to be yet, but when I look at AI affecting real estate investing, it means the masses will be able to do this. So you’re going to have to be extra picky about the property you take. So when I’m looking to buy, let’s say a cabin in the mountains as a short-term rental, I need to that cabin to have something that other people cannot replicate because AI is going to be able to replicate any advantage I might have had in other areas. So AI can’t replicate a view that other cabins don’t have or a location that’s going to be better. These fundamentals are the things we talk about all the time will become more important when technology improves to the point that everybody loses their advantage. What do you think?

Dave Meyer:
Yes, that’s a great point. I totally think so, and I think copywriting is definitely one of them. Anything where content creation I think is going to be really interesting. People who are marketing for properties, for example, sending out mailers, that’s something AI could do really easily and probably write a pretty compelling letter to someone. I think as an agent, it will be really interesting. I read some article about how agents are already using it to write their descriptions of listings that they’re putting up, which doesn’t seem that hard. I don’t know, but put a lot of big adjectives and big fancy words in there, but I’m sure there is some art to it.

David Greene:
I’m sure that’s what they’re doing, and they think that it makes their job better. The problem is every listing’s going to read the same way, so it’s not going to stand out anymore.

Dave Meyer:
Yes, totally. So I think it’s going to be really interesting. I was saying I was asking it data questions, and it doesn’t really do that yet, but I do think that is an inevitability. Eventually you’re going to be able to say, what’s the best cash flow market or something, and it will tell you, and then everyone’s going to go to that, like your point. And so I think there’s going to have to be this contrarian view where there’s going to be have to be some sort of genuine thought leadership where people actually are doing something different than everyone else, and you can’t just follow the herd of what the AI is telling you to do, but you’re actually going to have to be doing the analysis for yourself and doing the hard work, like you said.

David Greene:
It’s a very good point. If you think about how most people make decisions, they watch social media, they watch a podcast, they go on a blog, they hear what everyone else is doing, then they go do it, and for a while, that has been a pretty good, solid strategy. The problem is AI’s going to make this happen so quickly that by the time you hear about what everyone’s doing, it might already be done.

Dave Meyer:
It’s just like Jim Kramer, no offense to Jim Kramer, but these guys who talk about stocks on CNBC. By the time it’s on CNBC, it’s already too late. And I think there’s going to be some element of that in predicting real estate markets, where to buy neighborhoods, that kind of stuff. Maybe I’m just saying that because I do that a lot with my time and I think I can do it better, but I do think they’re at least going to attempt to start doing that.

David Greene:
The other thing to be concerned about or just pay attention to with AI is the version of it we’re talking about now is radically different than what it’s going to be in six months.

Dave Meyer:
Of course. Yes, absolutely.

David Greene:
So us thinking that we can use AI to strategize what we’re going to do, it’s very possible by the time the person listening to this hears it, it’s already evolved way past what’s going to happen. So-

Dave Meyer:
It’s already in the matrix, by the way.

David Greene:
Yes. If there’s someone using AI to build their business an incredible way, how long before AI figures that you can ask it, well, help me do what Grant Cardone [inaudible 00:24:30]. He goes, “Boom, here’s the game plan right here. Go do the same thing.” How do I grow my followers from this to this? And it can just do that for you. So I really think this is going to make real estate more valuable because business I think is just going to be leveled out. The playing field is going to become very, very plain for so many people that are getting into it, but real estate is something that people are always going to watch. One reason why I’m more interested in investing in real estate when I see all the technological advances.

Dave Meyer:
That’s a really good point. Hard physical assets will not be as-

David Greene:
AI can manipulate cryptocurrencies. They’ll build it and manipulate NFTs. I can’t control anything that’s happening. It will not be able to, at least I hope, build another property in the same place where mine is where people want to visit.

Dave Meyer:
Absolutely. All right. So our next headline is about Facebook or their parent company Meta, which will no longer support the ability for sellers, people who want to sell real estate as a business anymore. So you basically have to use your individual personal account. So for example, if you were a car dealer in the past, you could list all of your cars, even though that you’re a business on Facebook now, only an individual who wants to sell a car or real estate in our industry are going to be able to do that. So this brings up a lot of questions. I’m first curious, do you think this is going to impact people who are wholesaling or trying to sell businesses or even looking for tenants?

David Greene:
I think it will, but I think this is a positive change for us in real estate. I don’t want some huge house flipping business or BlackRock to come in and say, “Hey, here’s 400 houses that you could buy in the same forum where somebody’s trying to do a for sale by owner on a property.” So if we’re the investor, we’re looking for the deal, you want to be person to person. I want to be talking to another human that’s not experienced in this, that is not a business that knows more than I do. I want to buy a car from a regular Joe. I don’t want to buy a car from the dealership that has skills and experience, what gives them an advantage. That’s why you go to Facebook marketplace is to avoid getting taken advantage of by the people that know more than you. So I like Facebook getting rid of the professionals out of the mom and pop type of a group, which is cool because we don’t see much of that in real estate. We’re losing the mom and pop feel as institutional money kind of comes into our industry.

Dave Meyer:
Totally. Yes. I think it allows Facebook to almost specialize a little bit more. It’s like if you want to see all the deals that a agent has, go on the MLS, the MLS is [inaudible 00:26:57]. If you want to find tenants, you can market that on dozens of different aggregator websites. It is actually nice for Meta to be able to do this and allow people to sell individual properties or to just be able to amplify their personal businesses and listings in a way that they’re not competing with major businesses. But I’m just curious, do you think this has any risk? It sounds like some of the feedback about this is that if you’re a seller and you have to use your own name, that there might be a security risk there.

David Greene:
Yes, I suppose. But that’s always been the case. If you’re going to use Facebook marketplace, I believe it’s linked to your Facebook profile anyway, so people can find out who you are.

Dave Meyer:
And that’s true.

David Greene:
I don’t think it’s going to be additional risk that wasn’t there before. I’d like to see Airbnb do the same thing. I don’t like when I’m looking for a Airbnb to stay at, and then some big hotel has their stuff on Air. I think most people see that and they’re like, I’m trying to avoid the big expensive hotel and I’m trying to look for a local person to support or more value a bigger space or less money, whatever it would be. When you let the people that are professionals at doing this come in, they just bully everybody else out. They have resources, they have marketing, they have skills, they have experience. We’re trying to create almost a barrier to that, like a barrier entry like we were saying before. So I’m happy to see Facebook making this move. I would love it if VVRBO and Airbnb would take a similar step. I don’t want to see a Hilton listing when I’m looking for a short-term rental stay at in some city I’m going to be visiting.

Dave Meyer:
Yes, absolutely. That makes sense. Do you think this is going to be the resurgence of Craigslist? All of a sudden it’s going to rise to the top?

David Greene:
Yes. That’s what our producer Kaylin said is this going to be the rise of Superman Craigslist going to come right back again. I think Craigslist has so many bugs, it’d be very difficult. That’s why people moved into Facebook marketplace. They got tired of.

Dave Meyer:
But it’ll always be there. It’s like Craigslist, every other technology can move light years ahead and Craigslist will still be there being the exact same website it’s always been.

David Greene:
Yes, it’s Jack in the Box. 2:30 in the morning, Jack in the Box is always there for you. Is it the best experience you’re going to have? No. Are you going to regret it in the morning? Yes.

Dave Meyer:
Yes.

David Greene:
But it is there.

Dave Meyer:
All right. I’ve actually never been to Jack in the Box.

David Greene:
In your whole life?

Dave Meyer:
Never. If they didn’t really have it on the East Coast where I grew up. It’s like a West Coast thing, but.

David Greene:
I had no idea. I just figured it was everywhere.

Dave Meyer:
I’ve never had it.

David Greene:
So do you have a 24-hour place that you guys can go to on the East Coast?

Dave Meyer:
Not-

David Greene:
You’re just going to be hungry.

Dave Meyer:
… Think of.

David Greene:
The 7-Eleven.

Dave Meyer:
They’d have McDonald’s that was like 20-

David Greene:
24 hour.

Dave Meyer:
I grew up in the suburbs, so not there. All right.

David Greene:
Probably a good thing.

Dave Meyer:
Yes. Next time I come to California, we’ll go. So for our last one, we have one more headline, which is the Biden administration released a framework for rental protections. And so you’ve heard of this, I assume.

David Greene:
Oh, yes.

Dave Meyer:
And my take on this, just so everyone knows this, there’s a lot of intention here, stuff that they’re planning to do, but there’s not a lot of meat. There’s not a lot to sink your teeth into form an opinion on. But do you have some thoughts on what has been released so far?

David Greene:
Well, there’s a couple components to it. One of them has to do with my understanding, it’s limiting background investigations that can be done on your tenant. So they’re already starting this in certain places in California where they’re making it illegal for landlords to run a criminal search on any potential tenant that’s going to be coming in. And they’re claiming that it’s unfair to people who have a criminal history that they don’t have the same access to housing that other people do. So it’s slipping into the fair housing ethos for certain jurisdictions, which obviously, it’s just like every political change, it benefits some people and it hurts other people, or it benefits some strategies and it hurts other strategies. There’s always a give and a take. So if you’re somebody who’s coming from that place, you’ve had a hard time getting housing, this sounds like a positive change for you.
If you’re a landlord who has been relying on criminal backgrounds and help make decisions for tenants, it’s going to change probably where you’re going to invest. I would assume in the cities that do enact these policies, you’re going to see less investor demand. It doesn’t mean houses aren’t going to sell, but you’re not going to have as many investors going there. And if this does become a thing that becomes a sweeping regulation, that this is something where landlords have less authority or control or autonomy, I should say, over the decisions that are made. The location you buy in will become extra important and maybe the price point.
So I don’t know exactly how that works out, but this might affect areas where rent is $400 a month more than it would affect an area where it’s $4,000 a month. So it’s another thing to be thinking about if this does pass, location is going to become different. And then probably some other things like Section eight I think would gain some traction. Because if you’re getting paid from the government for your tenant, you’re not as worried about what the individual tenant is going to be up to considering their ability to repay.

Dave Meyer:
That’s really interesting. That is one of them. I’m interested to see what they actually recommend. And the reason I was saying before, what the Biden administration has announced so far is like they’re going to direct the FTC to look into this or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to look into this. So we don’t know these specific suggestions, but it does sound like they’re following the lead of California, and that might be one of the examples that they look into. One of the other ones is the FHFA, which is the Federal Housing Finance Agency announce it will launch a new public process to examine proposed actions including renter protections and limits on egregious rent increases. This would only be for federally backed housing, but curious what you think about that.

David Greene:
Well, this is a form of rent control. It’s not like it’s a new thing. We’ve had this for a long time in certain areas, rent control is bigger than others. Again, I’m in California, so Los Angeles has significant rent control. San Francisco has significant rent control. Investors still do very well in those areas, but in certain situations it can become problematic over time. So every once in a while we’ll find a San Francisco listing where the landlord is not able to increase the rent past a certain point. So you’ll get somewhere where fair market rent might be $5,500 a month, and there’s a tenant paying $1,200 a month, that will affect the value of the real estate significant. They want to sell this property, this triplex and two of the units are occupied at $1,200 a month. You can’t get a investor that’s going to go buy that property.
But also, this bleeds into house hacking because it’s not all pure investors. There’s people in San Francisco that just have regular W2 blue collar workers that could not afford to live there if they weren’t house hacking. And now you have two of your units that are not available that can’t be rented out because they’re occupied by below market rents. So I think long-term, if you’re looking at how this could affect if this stuff does pass, this would actually make, because traditionally real estate has done better, the longer that you own it, this can turn the odds against you in some of those cases. So maybe short-term rentals will become more popular.
There’s going to be less long-term rentals which ironically would reduce the amount of housing available, make it worse for renters as there’s less housing available, there’s less supply. So now landlords can charge more because the demand versus supply is all whacked out. So this type of stuff, when it happens, there’s winners and there’s losers in every category. You can’t just blindly follow a mold. This makes the person who’s paying attention to these things, it gives them a big advantage over the person who bought a property 20 years ago and just doesn’t pay attention to the market anymore.

Dave Meyer:
Yes, absolutely. You’re going to have to be pretty nimble and to pay attention to this.

David Greene:
Yes.

Dave Meyer:
I do think this one is really interesting because what the Biden administration said was they were basically looking at public backed properties, which isn’t a huge amount. I think it’s like 28% of the market, but there was also a letter sent to the Biden administration from some members of Congress encouraging a more broad look at rent control. And I do think there’s a lot of studies, I’ve looked into this, there’s a great Freakonomics podcast episode if anyone wants to listen to it, about the pros and cons of rent control. And it just seems like it doesn’t actually work, even for the intended effect, which is like even if you wanted to help provide fair and affordable housing for people, it actually really helps the incumbents, like the people who are already in property.

David Greene:
That’s exactly right.

Dave Meyer:
But for people who are moving to that city-

David Greene:
There’s less-

Dave Meyer:
… Moving into that apartment-

David Greene:
[inaudible 00:35:14] To get into.

Dave Meyer:
It actually goes higher.

David Greene:
Yes.

Dave Meyer:
Because landlords need to compensate for those, the people who stay in their apartments for a long time. So they actually charge more for people who are moving in. And there are some studies in California actually, and I think in Portland also, that goes up. So I understand that there is an issue with affordable housing. I just hope that whatever comes out of this is a evidence backed solution that helps both sides.

David Greene:
Well, my subjective opinion, again, I don’t know this is going to happen. I’m not speaking for anyone but myself, is that these changes make real estate investing less passive than what it used to be. So the idea of passive income buy a couple properties, live off the rent, never work. That’s getting harder and harder and harder to do as we’re talking about, you have to stay on top of the changes that are being made. If Chat GPT comes in and makes sweeping regulations to the short-term rental market, guys like me, we buy short-term rentals. We hire a property manager. We’re like, you do it, I don’t want to hear about it. Next thing you know, revenue’s down by 60% because my proper manager can’t get it booked because everybody’s using the strategies that they used to have an advantage in as a professional.
Well, now there are no professionals because Chat GPT can do it for everyone. Or like we were talking about with rent control. So that makes the people that are investing in real estate have to pay attention to what’s going on with their property. It’s turning it more into you’re a business operator. You’re more of an entrepreneur as you’ve always been an entrepreneur, but it requires more out of you to manage properties than what it did before, which gives people listening to podcasts and reading the news and getting informed and advantage over the people that aren’t paying attention.

Dave Meyer:
Absolutely. Yes. The operational load is-

David Greene:
It’s a great way to inspire.

Dave Meyer:
Yes. It’s just like you have to run a business, but hopefully you already knew that. If you’re going to get into real estate investing, it’s not buying a bond. It’s not buying stuff.

David Greene:
Yes. And the people listening to us right now, they’re fine. Those people shouldn’t be worried. It’s people that don’t know about podcasts, don’t know about YouTube, don’t read books, don’t follow what’s going on. The ones that aren’t hearing this message, that are actually going to be the ones that are at the disadvantage.

Dave Meyer:
Yes. Absolutely. All right. Well, those are all the headlines I got for you. I thought you did a great job putting these together.

David Greene:
Thank you. The production team.

Dave Meyer:
Well, yes. This was all Kalin and Eric, but I thank you. It was really helpful hearing your opinions on all this, and hopefully everyone listening to this got a lot out of it. We’d love to hear your feedback on it. If you like this, please give us a five star review, or you can hit up either David or me on Instagram or wherever to give us feedback. I am at the Data Deli.

David Greene:
I am at David Greene 24.

Dave Meyer:
All right. Well, thanks a lot, man.

David Greene:
Yes, thank you. And if you guys like this show, leave us a comment on YouTube. Tell us what you liked about it. Maybe we missed a headline that you want to hear about. Put that in there. We will look at that, and we will add that in the next show. We really do look at your feedback, we look at your comments, and we incorporate that into the shows we’re doing to make them as good as possible. So thanks for joining me, Dave. I’ll see you on the next one.

Dave Meyer:
All right. Great.

 

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Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.

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