Are parking garages the next wave of mixed-use properties?

Gene Bernshtam has had quite a career in real estate. He has witnessed some of the biggest trends in the industry. Over the past few decades, Gene has seen the rise in mixed-use properties or structures that have more than a single-use such as condo buildings with commercial spaces below and residential units on the upper floors.

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For this blog, Gene discusses a more radical (for lack of a better word) type of mixed-use property – converted parking garages.

At present, several developers all over the country have been converting parking garages to accommodate more than just cars. With the vision of architects, the expertise of engineers, and efforts of construction companies, residential and commercial spaces have been added to some public parking garages.

Done right, Gene Bernshtam agrees that it’s a winning scenario for everyone involved since parking spaces have become just as in-demand as living spaces and business areas. It also contributes significantly to the rise of business centers confined to within a single city block. With the addition of mixed-use parking garages, residents, as well as employees, can park, work, and live in the area without needing to suffer the long travel between work and home, or the stress of merely looking for a parking spot.

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While the concept and construction of mixed-use parking garages, in general, are still in their infancy, Gene Bernshtam is confident that Americans will see more of these structures and enjoy its benefits in the decade to come.

Avalon Holdings, LLC’s Gene Bernshtam graduated from the Loyola Business School with a degree in finance. He received Series 7 and 63 licenses that allowed him to work for an investment banking firm right after college. He then started an auto business and a real estate company. More on Mr. Bernshtam’s work and interests here.


Is weightlifting good for you?

Weightlifting offers more than an increase in muscle mass and endurance. Whether one pursues it as a hobby or a career, lifting weights has a number of benefits. Many people have had their lives transformed when they started lifting.

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Much like any sport, weightlifting requires an investment in focus. Paying little attention to strength workouts can lessen their effects on the body. Focus is developed through persistence and mastery. Strength training encourages one to care about what they’re doing. Weightlifting relieves stress. Physical activity helps reduce stress by releasing feel-good hormones or endorphins. The body produces endorphins in a faster period of time when weightlifting compared to when one does cardio. According to Gene Bershtam, people who do strength training have better control over their blood sugar than those who do not. Muscles get glucose from the bloodstream, preventing blood sugar levels from rising alarmingly, which prevents diabetes.

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As a person ages, their bones might get weaker. Through strength training, one’s bone density is increased and their risk of developing osteoporosis decreases. Weightlifting enables one to feel younger and stronger, both physically and mentally. In addition, people who lift can gain confidence and self-esteem as they continue to challenge themselves to improve in the sport.

Discipline and mental toughness are two great qualities one can gain when lifting weights, says Gene Bershtam. The sport tests one’s limits and strengthens their mental toughness. Weightlifting reduces symptoms of depression. When the body produces happy hormones, one can expect to be in a good mood all day.

Gene Bershtam has been a CEO of multiple companies. He currently leads commercial real estate investment and development firm Avalon Holdings LLC, which specializes in apartment buildings and mixed-use properties. Outside of work, Gene enjoys collecting cars, traveling, scuba diving, and weightlifting. For more updates, visit this blog.

Investing in commercial real estate: An exemplary financial move

Gene Bershtam firmly believes that there’s no investment quite like a real estate investment. Since people will always need space for living, working, selling, and everything else in between, investing in real estate will always be a trend.

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For this blog, Gene Bershtam shares the importance and advantages of investing in real estate – specifically, commercial real estate.

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• The collateral from commercial real estate likewise is higher than residential real estate. For residential real estate owners, the security deposit presents itself as the buffer. Sometimes, it’s a month’s rent; other times, it’s two months. For commercial real estate, this buffer is dependent on the tenant’s business, which is, at times, more flexible.

• Leases for commercial spaces are often longer than those of residential areas, though not all the time. Having a longer duration for a lease is beneficial for both investors and tenants, providing continuous cash flow for property owners while allowing tenants more time to build their business.

• Many business owners spruce up the spaces they rent. On many occasions, even the exteriors are given a makeover, making the property more aesthetically appealing. Ultimately, a more beautiful property means a higher rate for tenants to come.

• There will always be people looking for places to put up their businesses, which is why commercial real estate properties in strategic locations are seldom, if ever, vacant, Gene Bernshtam adds.

Commercial real estate professional Gene Bernshtam was born in Eastern Europe. He graduated from the Loyola Business School with a degree in finance. His interests include collecting cars, weightlifting, scuba diving, and traveling. For more on Gene and his hobbies, visit this page.

Classic car care: Storage tips

Gene Bernshtam has already touched on the topic of setting up the car garage for classic car enthusiasts before, but he still has a number of important tips for storing and maintaining these priceless automobiles. He reminds classic car enthusiasts, especially those new to the endeavor, that to keep the resale value of these cars up, they should be stored and maintained the right way.

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On that note, here are Gene Bernshtam’s best practices for storing classic cars.

Oil and filter

Once all the appropriate changes to the home garage have been made, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty. Changing the oil and filter, even if the car isn’t used all too often, is important. Having new oil go through the car protects it from all sorts of harm and keeps it going even during the winter months.

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Greasing up the fittings on the many hinges of the car, from the trunk and the latch of the hood to the doors and interior compartments, will go a long way. Remember to use white lithium grease.

Fuel stabilizer

Car owners shouldn’t forget putting in fuel stabilizers as well. Once done, take the car out for a spin to ensure that the stabilizers and the fuel mix well.

Air pressure

Lowering the air pressure of the tires slightly below their normal pressure is a good way to ensure that the tires last. Gene Bernshtam adds that classic car owners don’t use their automobiles on a daily basis, which is why lowering the pressure means prolonging the tire life.

Gene Bernshtam is a member of the Ferrari Club of America (FCA) and is the secretary of state for the Lamborghini Club of America in Illinois. Gene has won many awards from participating in judged classic automotive concourses all over the country. He also shows his support for several Chicago aldermen by attending fundraisers. More automobile reads on this page.


Important reminders for classic car restoration enthusiasts

While everyone can admire classic cars, Gene Bernshtam notes that classic car restoration and ownership may not be for everybody. It is a worthwhile and fulfilling endeavor, Gene admits, however, there are some very important points to consider before a person decides to get their classic car. Here they are.

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1. Think about the parts.

Classic cars naturally have rare parts. It is a very important thing to consider since looking for these parts may prove quite frustrating. What Gene Berhshtam suggests is that people have a list of classic car parts suppliers before actually getting a classic car.

2. Classic cars are not meant to be used daily.

One of the biggest mistakes people with classic cars make is to use them every day for everyday things such as going to work and coming home. Classic cars don’t perform as well as modern vehicles, even those that are well-restored. They are not fuel-efficient, and their maintenance costs a lot more than most modern cars. Speaking of costs …

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3. Classic cars are a continued investment.

Probably, the most discouraging factor about owning a classic car is how much it actually costs. This is why Gene Bernshtam notes that a person has to have their whole heart into it. He explains that with all the expenses needed to restore and maintain a classic car, it would be easy to regret such a decision.

Gene Bernshtam is heavily involved in auto restoration. He is among the Illinois Secretary of State’s licensed auto dealers and currently holds membership in both the Ferrari Club of America (FCA) and the Lamborghini Club of America. For more tips on cars, car collecting, and restoration, follow this Twitter page.


2018 Real Estate Trends To Watch

Things are looking bullish for the 2018 real estate market with more and more Americans hoping to acquire that new home before interest rates soar beyond reach. The U.S. economy is also anticipating significant changes. Here are some trends worth attention:

Expect more homes to sell in high-tax states like New York or California. A large number of second homes in these areas will hit the market. This is a result of the new tax reform bill that limited state and local mortgage deductions to $10,000. Real estate specialists see key markets having a bump in inventory; this will cause a plateau in prices, driving the affordability of homes.


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Mortgage rates will rise by 0.25% up to 0.50% in 2018, but expect the U.S. Federal Reserve to intervene if they go any higher. The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate already stands at 4.0%, according to data from Wells Fargo. The U.S. Federal Reserve will step in if it gets crazier, reinvesting more principle and buying up mortgages to lower rates.

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We can look forward to more vacation-home buyers in 2018. This is another effect of the tax reform bill, which gives more extra cash to rich Americans and allows for cash transactions. Interest in second homes, especially vacation homes, is expected to spike. Lastly, we should see more loan opportunities in the coming year, as banks get more aggressive about mortgage loans and actively pursue buyers.

Gene Bernshtam heads commercial real estate investment and development firm Avalon Holdings LLC, which specializes in apartment buildings and mixed-use properties. For more on Gene’s work and interests, visit this page.

Why Real Estate Developers Need Market Research

In today’s challenging economic environment, real estate developers need an intelligent approach so that they can establish and maintain a competitive edge over other similar businesses. There are many factors to consider in the real estate industry, such as pricing changes, market movements and a shift in consumer preferences.

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One way of addressing these is through market research, a business tool that involves gathering and analyzing data on the targeted market segment, the industry, and competitors. In doing so, strategies can be formulated by adding value to the properties and services offered to both current and potential customers.

Here are some ways how market research can affect a real estate developer’s bottom line:

Minimize risk, maximize profit: This is the general objectives of most companies or entrepreneurs who want their business to remain relevant for a long time. With the help of market research, real estate developers can learn how to price their properties and how to position their products in the market in ways that would appeal to consumers. It is also easier to yield a more accurate return on investment computation if thorough market research was conducted.

Location, location, location: Up until now, this has been the mantra of most real estate businesses. Due diligence in market research can help determine if the proposed project can indeed meet intended sales expectations and its location is feasible.

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Gene Bernshtam is currently the head of Avalon Holdings LLC, a commercial real estate investment and development company that specializes in apartment buildings and mixed-use properties. Visit this link for more articles on the industry.


Gene Bernshtam: ROI Potential of Mixed-use Property Development

Gene Bernshtam is a real estate investor and developer who has undertaken numerous mixed-use development projects. He advises anyone looking to invest in a mixed-use property to study all available information first on the economic factors and market potential of the project to protect their investment. While every type of investment poses a risk to the investor, this risk can be mitigated through a carefully planned and developed profit-earning strategy. To further expound, Gene Bernshtam shares the following:

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A mixed-use property is called as such primarily because the structure was built to serve two distinct purposes: residential and commercial. Gene Bernshtam says that typically, in a mixed-use building, the commercial establishments are found on the first floor and the residential units start on the second floor and up—with office spaces also taking up one or two floors. Commercial establishments could include retail shops, restaurants, and residential services like a laundry shop or Laundromat.

With that said, one way to enhance the earning potential of the property is by integrating commercial services into the residential market, and vice-versa. Gene Bernshtam puts it this way: the commercial establishments and offices in the building should first have a need for one another, and your residential market should, in a way, be the target market of the commercial establishments. In other words, says Gene Bernshtam, your tenants, both commercial and residential, should be “ripe” for a mutualistic relationship, where both players benefit from one another.

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This is important because keeping both happy, and keeping the commercial tenants profitable could mean long-term profits for you as well. This may seem simplistic enough, but you must perform an in-depth analysis of both factors, particularly their market potential at your target location, so that your investment can give you a satisfactory ROI.


Exterior home trends to watch in 2018

The exterior of a house drives a large part of a property’s value and how people view it. Keeping up with exterior home trends then helps ensure that quick sale or continued value of the property if it is on the market. Here are trends to watch in 2018.

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Making a statement with one’s home color palette as well as complementing the exterior is a big one in 2018. This usually means creating a mix of light and dark shades over the exterior instead of a more subtle palette. Going bold and dynamic, pairing up lights and darks, and having a very bold accent all work.

Natural finishes

There tends to be a more authentic and natural approach to building materials, including timber with a clear, natural or lighting stained finish. There’s also the movement toward sustainability, such as using fiber cement, which does not crack, peel, fade, chip, or rot.

Red bricks

These are no longer just for heritage structures and generic suburbia, but instead making waves in most new houses and offering a warm, premium finish. Red bricks help enhance the building’s form and combine well with other materials for a contemporary vibe.

Upgraded landscape

There’s attention to the “peripheral” aspect such as fences, garage doors, sheds, and water tanks, which work in tandem with the house and the streetscape for a solid overall look. They are now integrated into the overall exterior scheme, with a huge impact on landscaping.

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Gene Bernshtam has been a CEO of multiple companies. He currently leads commercial real estate investment and development firm Avalon Holdings LLC, which specializes in apartment buildings and mixed-use properties. For more real estate updates, click here.

A Primer on Mixed Use Real Estate Development by Gene Bernshtam

For real estate developer Gene Bernshtam,  mixed-use properties are a great investment as they can give you regular monthly income from rental fees. But as with any type of investment, a thorough analysis of all factors involved, as well as strategic planning, is critical to its outcome. First off, Gene Bernshtam shares that a mixed-used property is typically a singular structure or building that serves two purposes: commercial and residential. Urban development over the past decade or so has turned to mixed-use property development to address the needs of the public, while also addressing common urban problems like traffic congestion and daily commutes—generally by providing people with the option to reside and work in the same building thereby eliminating the need to drive or commute to and from work.

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Sometimes, Gene Bernshtam adds, a mixed-used project is confused with a multi-purpose development project; probably because they both serve the same purposes: for residential and commercial use. However, a multi-purpose development project generally covers inter-connected structures whereas a mixed-use property is a singular building or structure.

In mixed-use property development, several key factors should be considered first prior to deciding on whether the project is a feasible venture. First, you need to know the market. How will the property fare in terms of market demand and value? Secondly, you need to be aware of local regulations including zoning laws, if any are applicable to your project, and to what extent will this affect the development project from start to finish.

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You also need to decide on the design, taking into consideration your purpose for the project, and the community as well. Finally, there is the financial aspect of the development project. How much is your allocated budget, and what is your estimated timeframe for earning returns on your investment? These and more should be carefully considered, says Gene Bernshtam, because you could end up either earning profits beyond your expectations or losing on your investment big time.