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.


The Italian Job: Top Italian car manufacturers

To say that the fame and great reputation of Italian cars are well-deserved is an understatement. The country has produced some of the most sought-after models and designs in the history of the automobile industry. Here are four of the most renowned.

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Fiat, which stands for Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino, was founded in 1899. With its acquisition of Alfa Romeo and Maserati, Fiat became the largest Italian car manufacturer. Fiat produces a wide range of cars, from small road cars and sports cars to vans and trucks. Fiat has won the European Car of the Year award twelve times.


Few people know that Ferrari started out as a racing team for Alfa Romeo. Ferrari is one of the most respected racing car manufactures in the world; in fact, it’s the only team to have competed in the Formula One World Championship continuously since its founding in 1950. With the passing of founder Enzo Ferrari in 1988, the value of both used and new Ferrari models increased even more.

Alfa Romeo

A year after its founding in Milan in 1910, Alfa Romeo entered two cars in the Targa Florio motor racing event. This began its long association with motor racing. Interestingly, Benito Mussolini actually instructed the company in 1941 to build vehicles for the wealthy.


With humble beginnings in the tractor business, founder Ferruccio Lamborghini started making touring cars in 1963 with the unveiling of the Lamborghini 350GTV. Lamborghini became a recognized player in the manufacturing industry, gaining acclaim over the years for their high-performance and stylish models, including the 400GT, Miura, Espada, Jarama, and the much-revered Countach.

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Aside from collecting cars, real estate developer Gene Bernshtam is also very much involved in restoration of classic automobiles. Gene is a member of the Ferrari Club of America (FCA) and the Lamborghini Club of America in Illinois. For more car-related reads, visit this blog.

How to increase the value of your classic car

When collecting or restoring classic cars, one of the owner’s objectives is to improve the value of the vehicle. And there are some ways of doing that do not even require the owner to spend a great deal of money and time. Here are some examples:

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Check part numbers

A classic car may appear in mint condition on the outside, but the most valuable classic cars are those that are still installed with original factory parts. And the best way to know it is to check if the major parts have matching numbers; these parts include the engine, transmission, rear axle. Some other key components that are better if their numbers match as well are the alternator, carburetor, distributor, water pump, and cylinder heads.

If the part needs to be replaced, the part must fit the same make, model, and year as that of the original. Sometimes, old stock parts should be bought, even if it less efficient and durable than newer models.

Pay attention to details

While there is more focus given to the repair of internal parts and the vehicle’s body, the small details should not be ignored. For example, one should check the rubber linings inside the car cabin, if the windows and mirrors are free of stains, and the safety and aesthetics of the tire.

Keep record of maintenance

A detailed record of maintenance activities is proof that the classic car is kept in great condition. Buyers or evaluators tend to inspect the history of the car before purchasing or valuing the vehicle.

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Gene Bernshtam is a commercial real estate investment and development executive who has an affinity for collecting and restoring classic cars. For similar reads, visit this blog.

The Basics Of Car Restoration Explained

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These days, car restoration is no longer just a hobby and an outlet for passion. It has also transformed into a business fed by an endless stream of car clubs, auctioneers, and car enthusiasts who seek the thrills of driving a restored vintage piece.

Beginners can achieve car restoration with the help of a few tools and guidelines. You can start off by purchasing an online guide, which will orient you on how to restore any particular vehicle. It could be something that alters the external look or guides you on how to sand the car appropriately.

Here are some basic car restoration project ideas:

Starting an old vehicle: Today’s cars feature intricate electronic systems and digital technologies. Working with an older vehicle demands the knowledge of working on the choke and tuning the ignition. It’s a rewarding process of implementing old-fashioned methods.

Car repainting: You could learn how to paint the car, as well as work on the car trims by changing or painting them for a fresh, renewed look.

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Sanding metal: The goal when sanding the car’s metallic surface is to NOT create unnecessary scratches. While a relatively simple task, sanding requires the right technique.

Fixing car dents: Pound out small and large dents using just a couple of tools, from a hammer to dollies.

Interior restoration: Also qualifying as a simple car restoration project is working on the seats, flooring, as well as interiors of an older vehicle. You may purchase a DIY kit and restoration guides to do it properly.

Classic car collector and restorer Gene Bernshtam is a member of the Ferrari Club of America (FCA) and the Lamborghini Club of America. For more on car restoration, visit this blog.

How To Differentiate Original, Restored, And Resto-Modded Classic Cars

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Restoring cars is both a fun hobby and a thriving industry, and thanks to shows like “Kings of Restoration” and “Counting Cars,” more and people are becoming attracted to restoring their own automobiles or shopping for already-restored ones. Of particular interest are classic and vintage vehicles.

It’s rare to find original classic cars on the market, meaning ones that have not had any parts replaced, having undergone minimal repairs if any at all and boasts of solid maintenance. It would take a really serious collector-owner to preserve such cars, but now and then these gems do pop up.

Restored classic automobiles are more common and are the standard products in the industry. “Restored” vehicles are those that have been brought back to their factory default setting, by refurbishing using original parts. These parts are often newly made, matching the specifications of the original parts. Sometimes so-called “new old stock” or NOS parts (parts from the actual time of the car’s assembly which have never been sold before) do become available, but these are as rare as brand-new original classic cars.

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Resto-modded classics are those that have undergone restoration but modified using modern parts and new technology. The idea is still to make the car look like the original, but owners of retro-mods decide on changing some parts under the hood for more efficiency in fuel usage, to add modern safety features like brakes and airbags, and to comply with current emission standards.

Gene Bernshtam is a graduate of Loyola Business School with a finance degree, and currently works in the real estate industry. He is a classic car collector and restoration enthusiast. For more on his work and hobbies, drop by this website.

Are Mixed-Use Properties Worth The Trouble?

Mixed-use properties can definitely be worth the trouble and it’s best to just get that point out first.Having commercial establishments on the first floor of a building can easily benefit the community and the building tenants. Who doesn’t want easy access to say, a doctor’s office, a bakery, a deli?Moreover, since there are people always up and about in such areas, whether they’re going home, going to work or for a night out on the town, grabbing a bite, getting laundry done, etc., commercial establishments in residential properties add a feeling of security.Local governments welcome mixed-use properties because they easily bring diversification to the area in terms of people and businesses.

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It also benefits property lessors since money will be coming from two sources — residential and commercial tenants. But as rules are different for each type of tenant, property management can easily be confusing. There are so many benefits to mixd-use properties but there are also challenges in their management that can make property investors and developers think twice.

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The legal requirements concerning residential tenants are wider in scope than those for the commercial tenant. Residential tenants are assured services like water, heating, and electricity, as stated by law.Lessors do have the real power here as they can increase the rent or claim to need the property at the end of a lease period and compel the tenant to either comply or leave.

Gene Bernshtam  has been involved in the development of mixed-use properties and repositioning such properties through his company, Avalon Holdings LLC. Read more about what he does with such mixed-use properties in this Google+page .