First-Time Expo a Good Forum for California Investors

Cash may be king in the real estate investment business, but the old idiom that “a fool and his money is soon parted” is still applicable in many circumstances.But there is help.

The most successful investors in the business have been there. They’ve made the mistakes and have lost a lot of money in the process. Fortunately, they’ve learned from those mistakes and are passing on the knowledge they garnered to other investors, hopefully helping them avoid the pitfalls along the way, and invest their money wisely so they can become successful that much sooner.

If experience is the best teacher, then this past weekend’s Real Estate Investors (REI) Expo at the Anaheim Hilton Hotel in Anaheim, Calif., had decades of experience on display for more than 250 eager real estate investors of all levels to learn from.

Spearheaded by Tim Herriage of HomeVestors in Dallas, Texas, and Arnie Abramson, founder of Texas Tax Sales Resource Group, this was the inaugural REI Expo event in California. Between the attendees and the more than 50 exhibitors in the trade show, the results bode well for a return engagement in 2014.

Speakers were instructed to provide substantive content in what they do and how they do it in a 75-minute format, reserving just the last few minutes to promote their businesses. And for the most part, the speakers I observed during the weekend were following that directive.

The variety of subjects covered was impressive. From flipping single-family homes and using self-directed IRAs as an investment vehicle, to investing in Texas tax sales, assisted living facilities, mobile home parks, real estate notes, multi-family properties, and commercial properties, there was literally something there for everyone from the most experienced of investors to the wannabes.

The event wrapped up Sunday afternoon with a keynote presentation by well-known California real estate guru Bruce Norris of The Norris Group based in Riverside, Calif. A local investor, hard money lender and real estate educator with more than 30 years of experience, Norris’ presentation focused on historical trends at the national, California and Southern California levels. All of which was good background information for local investors to keep in mind as they work their way into 2014.

“As an investor you’re rarely stagnant in what you do,” Norris said, noting his expectation that although they may be around next year, he does not expect to see short sales in abundance in California in just a couple of years from now, so investors need to change with the business.

“You can’t just concentrate on your small box. You have to look outside of it now,” Norris added.

While bank-owned listings (REOs) and short sales were once a major source of inventory in California, Norris noted that equity listings are dominating the state’s real estate landscape now, accounting for as much as 85 percent of all real estate for sale, according to the California Association of REALTORS, he said.

As a result, the conversation for homeowners has shifted, from how much cash for keys did you get, to how much has your house’s value increased, enabling sellers to become buyers much quicker, eventually leading to the need for a move-up market once again.

Asked about the ability of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to survive in the future, Norris answered that he expects the agencies to stay around, but in a smaller form with the private sector taking over the rest of the business.

“There’s going to be a transition,” Norris said.

REI Expo moves on to its big show in Dallas, Texas, being held Jan. 25-26, 2014 at the Gaylord Texan Hotel.

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