Cryptocurrencies and the Real Estate Industry

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are new electronic cash systems that are completely decentralized with no server or central authority. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies advocate that blockchain technology is the key to a secure monetary future. By providing unique access codes, secure transactions can take place from almost anywhere in the world and the blocks of code will create an incorruptible record of each transaction and access point.

This is relevant to the real estate industry because it would allow buyers to provide secure funds in a relatively short amount of time.

According to Bitcoin, there are several advantages of using their form of cryptocurrency. Users can make or receive payments regardless of location or time of day. Transfer fees are cheaper because they are not based off of the total amount of funds being transferred. Since private consumer information is not included in the transaction records, transactions are more secure.

Users can also add layers of protection to their crypto assets by using two factor authentication and alternative backup methods.

The real estate industry is slowly starting to accept Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies because of these advantages. The International Blockchain Real Estate Association is a member-focused advocacy, educational, and trade organization dedicated to implementing blockchain real estate.

According to their website, cryptocurrencies can “reduce costs, stamp out fraud, speed up transactions, increase financial privacy, internationalize markets, and make real estate a liquid asset”. Some luxury homes for sale are already being listed on MLS’ with cryptocurrency price tags and some landlords let renters to pay with virtual currency because landlords do not have to worry about checks bouncing and funds clearing after a day or two.

Blockchain technology is not without its own challenges. Cyber fraud has resulted in the loss of tokens worth millions of dollars. Many sellers currently do not accept Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies because they have little to no experience with them. Currency volatility has always been an issue and new cryptocurrencies are being invented on a regular basis. Despite these drawbacks, more and more real estate opportunities are beginning to welcome blockchain technology.




An Introduction to the FFHA and ADA

Happy 4th of July, everyone!

Who’s ready for a brief history lesson on two historic acts of legislation that affect both renters and landlords all across America?

The United States Government has created multiple pieces of legislation that protect consumers from unlawful discrimination. This article will introduce, and briefly touch on, how The Federal Fair Housing Act of 1968 and The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 affect both renters and landlords. While general information and requirements will be discussed, this article is by no means fully comprehensive and professional advice should be sought when necessary.

1The Federal Fair Housing Act was created in 1968 to protect buyers and renters from landlord discrimination. In short, the FFHA mandates that a landlord may not dissuade, steer, preclude, evict or reject renters or buyers for discriminatory reasons because of their race, color, religion, sex, familial status or national origin. For example, it is illegal for a landlord to write in an advertisement, “no kids allowed.” It is likewise illegal for a tenant to be rejected based on maintaining this familial status.

Protected classes were further expanded with the creation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. In short, the ADA protects tenants with disabilities that were not initially covered under the FFHA. Protected disabilities include, but are not limited to: mobility impairments, hearing impairments, visual impairments, mental illness, HIV, AIDS and mental retardation. Likewise, a landlord may never dissuade, steer, preclude, evict or reject renters or buyers because of ADA-covered disabilities.

The ADA additionally requires that landlords create ‘reasonable accommodations’ for renters with disabilities. For example, in the instance that a mobility-impaired tenant may require a wheelchair ramp, a landlord is required by law to accommodate this person, as long as the request doesn’t create an undue financial burden.

According to Rent Post, “Landlords are responsible for paying for accommodations, though many common ones are free or low cost. Tenants are usually responsible for paying for structural modifications unless the dwelling is listed as a federally assisted housing structure.”

Disclaimer: this article is not fully comprehensive with respect to legislation affecting landlords. This piece serves to provide a basic understanding of two historic acts of legislation. Always seek expert advice when necessary.

Housing Inventory: What does it mean for you?

findperfecthome.jpgThere are many options available when it comes to a choosing where you lay your head at night. Are you planning on buying that dream home you’ve been designing/decorating in your imagination over the last few years, or have you decided to lease an apartment, condo, house, or townhouse that allows you to walk or bike to all the local favorites you’ve been commuting to for far too long?

There are positives and negatives to both, but more and more often your choices are limited if you’re looking to buy that starter (or forever) home. However, there continue to be many options when it comes to leasing a place to live.

You can work with the experts and reach out to a Real Estate firm, then give them your wish list so they can find you multiple properties to view (hopefully in your price range). These are all valid options, and things I’ve done myself, but what I’ve noticed over the last few years in DFW is that once you find something you love there are most likely going to be offers already in. This doesn’t leave you with many options if yours isn’t accepted, or you have to go into a bidding war. According to CNBC, this is because the number of homes being rented out is increasing, which brings down the available options to buy.

11-5-Couple-Moving-Boxes-Into-Their-Perfect-New-HomeSo, what does this mean for you?

Fortunately, there are so many great rental properties available but you might have to check a website hoping they’re up to date and accurate…or we’re back to driving up and down the streets in your favorite neighborhood looking for a sign in the yard. In addition, there is always the option of working with a local expert from a Real Estate firm who already has access to those hidden gems and knows exactly what you need.

If you’re downgrading from an empty nest or having to wait until there are more options available before you buy it doesn’t mean you can’t find a rental with all of your must-haves, but you should know where to look and who to work with to make sure you get what you want.