California Based Corporation -- "Personal Shopper Plus" for Best Real Estate Investments

Written by Posted On Sunday, 02 September 2007 17:00

Service is becoming more than just a buzz word. Today, quality service is not only expected it's demanded by consumers in nearly every industry. In all stages of a real estate transaction consumers want to be assisted and cared for.

It wasn't that long ago that the real estate industry mainly viewed the product as only homes, but in reality, many consumers today believe that service is what is being sold in real estate, not just a property. There is even a 10-year-old-nationally-recognized leader in training and measuring quality service, Quality Service Certification. Sales associates earn the QSC designation and adhere to specific consumer-centric guarantees; their clients are surveyed for quality assurance; then consumers can select the best agent after viewing a Customer Satisfaction Rating on a public website.

Today, because consumers are looking for more than just a sale, service-oriented companies that complement and assist with the real estate transaction, such as QSC, are growing based on consumers' service needs. Consumers want to know what the best financial strategy is. Where are the hot markets? How can I build and maintain my financial wealth in real estate? How will I manage a property out of state? They want real educational and consultative help in their real estate transactions. That's where NorthPoint Real Estate Investment Services, Inc. says it can help.

You might say the company is a glorified "personal shopper plus" for real estate investments, handling everything from financial strategies to managing their clients' real estate portfolios and properties. NorthPoint Real Estate Investment helps its clients intelligently invest in non-California real estate.

"We've got a suite of resources that help a client design a strategy for investing in real estate, some kind of a planning component; we have a research team that researches and studies markets anywhere from six months to two years," says Frank Richards, CEO of NorthPoint Real Estate Investment Services, Inc. He adds that the corporation "helps our clients not only pick the best market that we've researched but also help them acquire the right property, in the right market, at the right price."

Especially when you're attempting to buy in an area that you don't live in, timing the market can be tricky. Then finding the right experts to carry out the financing can be the next hurdle.

But Richards says his corporation has that area covered too. NorthPoint owns a mortgage bank and is heavily involved with providing financing for non-owner occupied financing for investors across the country.

"Financing can be challenging at any time and in particular, non-owner financing can be difficult to structure. So we've got some proprietary and extremely competitive financing vehicles for our clients for their investment properties," says Richards.

But in times like these when many people are sitting still and holding on to their investments -- watching and waiting to see what the real estate market will do -- is there still hope for great deals?

"There are great markets across the United States that have deep, rich, economic fundamentals that ultimately support long-term appreciation," says Richards.

His corporation goes into a good investment market and then proceeds to do hundreds of transactions over several years. "We've got a very deep understanding of that market, and deep relationships in that market. We know that market not just in terms of the macro economics, but literally down to the street level in terms of where to buy, what are the best communities, what are the best floor plans, etc," says Richards.

Richards says even though there is a correction going on in real estate markets, he says consumers should understand that building a meaningful, diversified, long-term real estate portfolio will eventually create wealth.

"The reality of the market nationally is that there may be a certain sentiment about the real estate market but there's no such thing as a national real estate market," explains Richards. He adds, "There are markets in both large metropolitan statistical areas (MSA) and small MSAs that have continued to perform very well during this rather challenging year of 2007, (at least in terms of the media's perception of real estate).

Richards says, according to the National Association of Realtors, the markets where his clients are investing with NorthPoint's help are all appreciating and he says national predictors of risky markets have classified the markets that NorthPoint currently invests in as low-risk.

"When you look at PMI's risk rating, each of our markets reside near the lowest side of risk. So, we have hand-selected markets, that again, we feel are tremendous performers over the long haul based on their fundamentals; it's no different from looking at the fundamentals of a stock," says Richards.

The corporation currently invests in: Portland, Oregon; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Austin, Texas; Atlanta, Georgia; and Raleigh, North Carolina. Richards says there are many things that make these markets attractive. He talked to me about Portland, "You've got one of the highest growth rates in terms of population as a percentage across the country. You have an extremely robust job market—a burgeoning market, in fact. You've got one of the highest rated markets for young, well educated 25 to 34 year olds moving into that market."

Counter-balancing that, Richards says the market has an urban growth boundary -- "it constrains growth in that they literally put a circumference around each major population sector." Richards says growth is then constrained to "inside the urban growth boundary for a locked seven-year period and then ultimately upon each seven-year period they will look at potentially the expansion of supply. What that really leads to is you've got a very rich, very deep job market. You've got tremendous population growth trends. You've got a city which is rich in culture, arts, a great education system, highly desirable and a very attractive place to live, but there you have constriction on supply and ultimately we feel that creates security and buoyancy in that particular market that is very meaningful," says Richards.

Finding hot markets and great deals is of course time-consuming work. Leaving it to the experts will help to ensure you make the right investment at the right time. Richards adds one other piece of advice: don't follow the crowds. Instead, buy low and sell high. In other words, buy when others aren't but base your investment selection on great fundamentals that show great opportunity for long-term appreciation.

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Phoebe Chongchua

Phoebe Chongchua is an award-winning journalist, an author, customer service trainer/speaker, and founder of Setting the Service Standard, a customer service training and consulting program offered by Live Fit Enterprises (LFE) based in San Diego, California. She is the publisher of Live Fit Magazine, an online publication that features information on real estate/finance, physical fitness, travel, and philanthropy. Her company, LFE, specializes in media services including marketing, PR, writing, commercials, corporate videos, customer service training, and keynotes & seminars. Visit her magazine website:

Phoebe's articles, feature stories, and columns appear in various publications including The Coast News, Del Mar Village Voice, Rancho Santa Fe Review, and Today's Local News in San Diego, as well as numerous Internet sites. She holds a California real estate license. Phoebe worked for KGTV/10News in San Diego as a Newscaster, Reporter and Community Affairs Specialist for more than a decade. Phoebe's writing is also featured in Donald Trump's book: The Best Real Estate Advice I Ever Received and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Buying Foreclosures. She is the author of If the Trash Stinks, TAKE IT OUT! 14 Worriless Principles for Your Success.

Contact Phoebe at (858) 259-3646 or [email protected]. Visit for more information.

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