3 Things You Must Know Before Buying Real Estate Investments

Have you ever wanted to become a real estate investor?

That’s a question I am sure lots of people are asking themselves right, especially when we look around and see that some of the wealthiest people have large portfolios of real estate investments, whether that is single-family residences or apartments or even commercial space.

Real estate has always been an avenue for creating extra income as well as, really, building a financial future for your family through income-producing properties.

I wouldn’t blame you if you wanted to be in real estate right now because the market is hot. And this makes a lot of people want to jump into real estate and it couldn’t be a better time to get into real estate.

But you also may be saying to yourself that you don’t know a lot about real estate.

And there are a few things you need to know before you even start going out and looking at properties, making offers or even evaluating real estate deals. Those few things boil down to what we refer to as the three things that you must do before buying real estate.

Let’s talk about them.

  1. Know your market. This is crucial to your success when it comes to doing the right deals in the right area. You need to know where the markets are for rental properties; or which areas are going to be best for fix-and-flip type properties. You can do this through gathering data from a real estate agent. By knowing the market it helps you understand when you’re looking at deals how to figure the right strategy for that area. For example, you don’t want to try to fix and flip a property to sell that’s in a heavy rental market.
  2. Build a power team. In real estate, you’re only as successful as your power team. Your power team will have professionals – real estate agents, contractors, handymen, property managers, mortgage brokers, bankers and closing attorneys.
  3. A financial source. This is something that a lot of people don’t do right away, but you want to be prepared, so you want to go out and build relationships with local banks, community banks and credit unions. The local relationship is vital because they’re going to be easier to work with. They’re going to have better programs and they’re going to really want to help you build your real estate business in the local community.

From here, you can start getting the specialized knowledge for what you want to do in real estate investing. But the ultimate key is if you want to become a real estate investor, identify these three things and then move into specialized knowledge.

Now, you may ask, “Where can I find some of this specialized knowledge?”

Right?

Well, you can find it in investment books and videos on YouTube.

You can also get this information from a mentor to help you grow or, if you want to be a part of a like-minded group, you can come out to a local real estate investors association meeting.

Locally, the Madison County Real Estate Investors Association has been helping area investors for more than 15 years. The group holds monthly meetings on different topics and it might be something that you’re interested in. For a schedule visit www.joinournextmeeting.com.

I encourage you to look into that and I’m looking forward to seeing you out at one of those meetings.

(Zack Childress is president of the Madison County Real Estate Investors Association).

Good Economy Attracts Bad Daddy

Huntsville’s growth continues to draw companies from out-of-state, hoping to latch onto the good fortune here.

Charlotte, N.C.-based Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar is opening its first Alabama eatery in the Rocket City. The restaurant will be in Times Plaza, the work-retail-dining development on South Memorial Parkway.

“We chose Times Plaza as our first Alabama location because of the growth the city is experiencing and the location’s visibility from the adjacent (Memorial Parkway),” said Bad Daddy’s CEO Boyd Hoback. “The area includes major upscale retailers and offers synergy among businesses.

“Its heavy traffic will allow us to cater to lunchtime business crowds, family dinners, and be a great place to grab a drink after work.”

Bad Daddy’s is a scratch kitchen serving premium angus burgers and quintessential American fare. The 4,107-square-foot restaurant is slated to open in the fall.

“Simply put, Bad Daddy’s elevates the standard beer and burger to a whole new level,” said Amy Nedwell, director of marketing for Bad Daddy’s. “We are a high-intensity scratch kitchen serving chef-driven menu options made to customer specifications. Best of all, we have something for everyone because we go beyond beef.

“Our appetizers, salads and veggie burgers have won us much praise, and we make sure Bad Daddy’s has something to satisfy everyone’s taste buds.”

In an effort to be an inclusive destination, the eatery serves an expansive menu that includes much more than its award-winning, premium burgers and fries. Guests can also enjoy bison, tuna, turkey, chicken, and a vegetarian black bean burger.

“By far, our most popular menu item is the Create-Your-Own burger or salad option,” said Nedwell. “We have more than 60 options that patrons can pick and choose to create the perfect burger or salad, in addition to our signature selections on the menu. Actually, the team has calculated well over a million options with the different ingredients we have.”

Local beers will be available on tap at the Times Plaza location, as well as a signature cocktail menu. There’s even a selection of adult milkshakes and a Happy Hour menu that’s available daily. Kids are also welcome to treat themselves thanks to a children’s menu featuring sliders, hot dogs, grilled cheese, tenders and more.

“Bad Daddy’s is an iconic brand that already has a dedicated following in several states,” said Anusha Davis, Crunkleton Commercial Real Estate leasing agent. “They have been searching for a way to enter the Alabama market, and we are thrilled they chose Huntsville as their introduction.

“We have a community that readily embraces new concepts and our city’s growth is attracting more well-known brands to join developments like Times Plaza.”

Visit baddaddysburgerbar.com

New Tower is Hospital’s Largest Project in Nearly 40 Years

Huntsville Hospital has broken ground on the biggest medical construction project in the downtown area in almost four decades.

The new Orthopedic & Spine Tower will feature 375,000 square feet of surgical, patient care and specialized physical rehabilitation space in the heart of the hospital campus. The tower will house the hospital’s orthopedic and spine surgery programs.

Scheduled to open in 2021, the seven-story building is across Gallatin Street from the main entrance of Huntsville Hospital; a walking bridge will connect the buildings.

“As our community and region continue to grow, our hospital is keeping pace with the need for advanced health care services and facilities,” said David Spillers, CEO of Huntsville Hospital Health System.

Jeff Samz, the system’s COO, said the Orthopedic & Spine Tower will have 72 private patient rooms, as well as 24 state-of-the-art operating rooms. It will also have a restaurant on the ground floor.

“With the new tower, we will also eliminate most of the semi-private accommodations in our main hospital,” Samz said.

Designed by Chapman Sisson Architects, the Orthopedic & Spine Tower will fill a city block at the corner of Gallatin Street and St. Clair Avenue. It is the largest medical construction project in downtown Huntsville since the hospital opened its north tower in 1980. Robins & Morton is the general contractor.

Super Chix to Open Its First Alabama Store in Times Plaza

Why did the Super Chix cross the road?

Well, that may not be the right question but the Dallas-based chicken and frozen custard restaurant is coming to Huntsville.

Super Chix is slated to open this summer in Times Plaza, the retail-office-dining development on South Parkway, adjacent to Arby’s, Crunkleton Commercial Real Estate announced.

“Super Chix is a premium, fast-casual dining experience that is devoted to quality offerings and great customer service,” said Nick Ouimet, the restaurant’s founder and CEO. “This will be our first location outside of the Dallas market and we are very excited to partner with local restaurateurs Kumar Patel and Rajesh Patel to bring the concept to Huntsville.

“The Times Plaza location will serve our delicious never-frozen tenders and fillets, hand-breaded or grilled chicken sandwiches, salads, fresh hand-cut fries and daily-churned frozen custard to a whole new market that appreciates high-quality fare in a fun and lively environment.”

All menu items are made-to-order and feature gourmet toppings free from MSG and GMOs. The fresh, never-frozen chicken is marinated in-store, grilled or hand-breaded and cooked in peanut oil free from additives. Even the toppings come from whole vegetables that are delivered daily and sliced by hand.

“This isn’t fast-food chicken—there are only six ingredients in our breading on our lightly breaded, high-quality tenders and fillets, and we believe simple is best,” Ouimet said. “We have no drive-thrus and our interiors have a cool, modern vibe that’s perfect for a casual lunch or dinner.”

In addition to its first-rate chicken, Super Chix also specializes in frozen custard, which is served as hand-dipped in cones or cups, or in milkshakes and fusions (concretes). Chocolate and vanilla are churned each morning and are always on the menu, but Super Chix also offers a special flavor of the day.

“Times Plaza is the perfect location for the new-to-market Super Chix thanks to its easy accessibility and prominent visibility from the parkway,” said Crunkleton Commercial Real Estate leasing agent Anusha Davis. “Nearby professionals will have another great option for a fast-casual lunch with both healthy and indulgent options and dinner crowds will discover a new excellent eatery they can enjoy with family and friends.”

4 area shopping centers purchased

Reflecting investors’ confidence in the Huntsville area economy, four shopping centers were recently purchased, according to Newmark Knight Frank, a commercial real estate advisory firm.

The four deals – Highway 53 Centre in Huntsville, Hazel Green Shoppes, Hazel Green Centre and Hartselle 31 Centre – are valued at more than $13 million and encompass 84,616 square feet of premium retail space.

NKF Senior Managing Directors Drew Fleming and Mark Joines, and Associate Henry Kushner represented Athens-based Ming Enterprises in all four transactions. Ming Enterprises, a commercial real estate development and brokerage company, is operated by father and son team, Bill and William Ming.

In the last year alone, several economic development projects were unveiled across the region that represent more than 6,000 new jobs and $4.1 billion in growth. Major employers expanding or relocating in metro Huntsville include Mazda-Toyota Manufacturing, Facebook, Google, GE Aviation and Aerojet Rocketdyne.

“The successful disposition of these four properties exemplifies the investor appetite for e-commerce resistant, un-anchored strip shopping centers located within markets that exhibit strong demographics and job growth,” said Fleming. “Strip centers have become a top choice for private capital seeking both yield and stability, and we anticipate healthy growth across this entire retail portfolio as North Alabama’s economy continues to expand and flourish.”

Ming Enterprises sold the 43,000-square-foot Highway 53 Centre at the intersection of Alabama 53 and Research Park Boulevard to a private buyer. The center is 100 percent leased to tenants Edward Jones, ALFA Insurance, ABC Liquor and other service-oriented uses.

The area boasts a combined traffic count totaling more than 40,000 cars per day, and is a major thoroughfare for commuters who work at Redstone Arsenal and Research Park.

In Hazel Green, Ming Enterprises sold the 30,500 square-foot Hazel Green Shoppes and the 6,212-square-foot Hazel Green Centre.

Hazel Green Shoppes on U.S. 231 was completed in 2017 and is 100 percent leased to anchor tenants Dollar Tree, Hibbett Sports and Verizon Wireless.

Hazel Green Centre, across the highway from Hazel Green Shoppes and in the same parcel as the Walmart Supercenter, was completed in 2015 and is 100 percent leased to tenants Arby’s, AT&T, Great Clips and Papa Murphy’s pizza.

In Hartselle, Ming Enterprises sold the 4,904-square-foot Hartselle 31 Centre, which was built in 2017. It is 100 percent leased to Arby’s, Great Clips and Papa Murphy’s pizza.

Matt Curtis counting his blessings after a stellar year

The real estate market is booming and, as a result, Matt Curtis has a lot of blessings to count.

Over the past 13 years, Matt Curtis Real Estate has grown rapidly. In 2018, the agency received the following distinctions: Huntsville Chamber of Commerce Service Business of the Year, Nationally Ranked Website by Real Trends and, for the past two years, Inc 5000 Fastest Growing Companies in the Nation (No. 17 in 2018).

“2018 has been one of the best years – inventory is at an all-time low; growth rate is up at 10 percent,” Curtis said. “Although nationally the market will start to slow down, Huntsville-Madison can anticipate 5 to 10 years of solid growth. This has been the busiest January we’ve ever had.”

After graduating from the University of Tennessee with a degree in computer engineering, Curtis started out selling test equipment for National Instruments to the Army and NASA. Then, after landing his biggest sale, he was offered a job at Woodland Homes. During his stint at Woodland, he honed his business acumen for real estate.

For Curtis and his team, giving back is important.

“For the past three years, we have been building homes in Nicaragua,” he said. “For every 100 homes sold, we build a home in Nicaragua for a family living in unsafe conditions.

“2019 will be our fourth year. There have been 65 houses built to date, with the 20 more being built this year, that’s 85 houses by the end of the year. Habitat for Humanity is also involved with the mission. The way it’s been usually, is that half the funding comes from donation, the other half coming from builders.”

However, this year there will be no building.

“We usually go once a year and I was planning to take my family this year,” Curtis said. “But due to safety concerns, we had to cancel our trip. It was sad not to be able to go.”

In addition to the Nicaragua effort, the Curtis team supports local community projects.

“We have funded numerous charitable initiatives including 88.1 WAY-FM’s local concerts and a new gym for Madison Academy,” Curtis said.

And, there is also a love of sports and supporting the local teams.

“It’s a good, fan-based experience for the family,” Curtis said. “Huntsville Havoc, Rocket City Trash Pandas, we are big fans.

“We have already bought our box seats for the 2020 (Trash Pandas) season.”

It’s a Seller’s Market in Area Real Estate

Everywhere you look, there’s well-plowed red clay, the evidence of cleared land. Huntsville-Madison County is bursting at the seams with growth.

With the new Mazda Toyota plant, along with a host of other companies setting up shop in the area, coupled with the projected growth on Redstone Arsenal, it’s no surprise that that developers and the real estate community are busier than ever, just to keep pace with the rapid expansion.

Along with those jobs that are coming to town, people are following. Those people will need a place to live.

With low inventory coupled with high demand, it’s clearly a seller’s market.

“There are lots of new developments, the new home market is going well,” said Barry Oxley, executive officer of the Huntsville-Madison County Builders Association. “However, it takes time for homes to be available – from developing the infrastructure – sewer, utilities, flood plains. It’s a good six to nine  months after the infrastructure is set before the homes are built.”

But, he did say, remodeling and rehabbing homes is growing.

“The remodeling marketing is also doing well,” Oxley said. “The older generation is staying in their current homes and are remodeling instead of moving. Usually X number of homes become available for sale, but the remodeling market has changed that.”

Adding to that is the “tear down” movement, he said. Older homes in established neighborhoods such as Blossomwood, Five Points and the Lowe Mill area are being leveled and new homes are being built on the sites.

For the home owner, this is a good time to consider selling. With a low inventory of available houses, sellers control the market.

“Last month (December) has been indicative of the entire year of 2018,” said Cindi Peters Tanner, president of the Huntsville Area Association of Realtors. “What we have seen has been a reduction in inventory. With fewer homes available on the market, what this means is that it tightens up the market for buyers.

“Low inventory means there are qualified buyers making multiple offers, which is a great thing for sellers.”

And buyers must act quickly because houses are on the market for just a few weeks.

“There’s been a reduction in average days on the market,” Tanner said. “Currently, houses are now on the market an average of 49 days. This is a great market to be in with all the economic enhancements; the city is funding the growth.”

But, she cautions that sellers also need to be realistic.

“When it comes to home selling, listen to your Realtor and they’ll work with you to create an effective marketing plan,” Tanner said. “By doing that, you will be more successful in selling your home.”

Stovehouse to Offer Mediterranean Fare al “Fresko”

An all-new, fast-casual restaurant will add Mediterranean flavor to the food garden of the Stovehouse development on Huntsville’s Westside.

Fresko Grille, created by local chef Abrahim Hassan, will open a 760-square-foot space in the development and serve dishes such as beef and chicken shawarma, falafels, baba ghanoush and much more, made with traditional Mediterranean ingredients and preparation methods. The eatery is scheduled to open early this spring.

“Fresko Grille is a family business where guests can see the food being cooked and prepared right in front of them,” said Hassan. “Thanks to its open-kitchen concept, Fresko will give patrons the option of choosing their desired protein, fresh veggies, sauces and sides so that each order is customized to their liking. Vegan and vegetarian options are readily available, and the menu will include rotating specials so you can always come back and try something new.”

The menu features a list of Mediterranean favorites such as falafels, beef and chicken shawarma, Kafta kebabs, baba ghanoush, fresh veggies, homemade hummus, tahini and tzatziki sauce. The restaurant will also have vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options.

Although there will be no tables within the restaurant, guests can take their meal to the many areas of the Stovehouse food garden to enjoy indoors or outdoors around live entertainment and games.

“Stovehouse’s food garden will be a place where everyone in the family can enjoy an assortment of food options, outdoor games and entertainment,” said Stovehouse developer Danny Yancey. “Even more important than the variety at the garden is the quality of restaurants that it houses. We invite everyone to experience the incredible talent behind the many eateries at the development.

“They are a showcase of some of the best restaurateurs in and around Huntsville.”

The decor will draw inspiration from Mediterranean prints and patterns while incorporating wood furnishings and warm colors.

“When leasing a project like Stovehouse, it’s important to consider not only what works well within the development but also what the people are asking for,” said Anusha Davis, leasing agent at Crunkleton Commercial Real Estate Group. “Mediterranean food was a popular request, and Abrahim is delivering a product that stands out when it comes to flavor and authenticity.”

For information, visit www.freskogrille.com or follow on Facebook and Instagram.

Multi-use development planned for former Coca-Cola plant site

For some time, there have been questions and rumors about the site of the former Coca-Cola plant on Clinton Avenue.

Now, the questions have been answered and rumors dispelled.

Rocket Development Partners of New York City owns the 13-acre property and have a vision for its use.

“There’s going to be a mixed-use development on the site,” said Mitch Rutter, a principal with Rocket Development. “It will be heavily residential with some office components. We’re not going to overload with retail.

“It will be a live-work facility … modeled after The Gulch area of Nashville.”

He said some of the residential units will be “geared toward artists’ and musicians’ housing” because of its proximity to the Von Braun Center and Museum of Art.

Rutter suggested that some companies with their main offices in Cummings Research Park may opt to also open an office in the project “to help with their recruiting.”

He did not dismiss the possibility of a hotel also being built at the corner of Clinton Avenue and Monroe Street, “if the right hotel came along. We’re not going to be building or operating it.”

Rutter credited Mayor Tommy Battle and city officials for being “very practical” and said the city’s team was a major factor in developing the project here.

“It’s not by chance; we have a process (on project decisions) … and study econometrics,” he said. “Huntsville is blessed with triangulating factors: job growth with good wages; population growth; and the leadership team.

“They have a long-term Huntsville vision. That long-term plan, which includes the Von Braun Center expansion, renovation of Pinhook Creek, greenways and bikeways, is geared to accelerate the growth of downtown.”

Rutter said his company has retained Huntsville architect Paul Matheny and Urban Design Associates, who developed the city’s long-term plan.

“We’re very focused to create the density to bring people who want to live and work here,” he said. “It’s really very exciting.” 

Ahead of Spring Opening, AC Hotel Huntsville Downtown Taking Reservations

It hasn’t opened, yet, but Huntsville’s newest hotel is taking reservations.

The AC Hotel Huntsville Downtown, the first AC Hotels by Marriott in Alabama, said reservations are being accepted ahead of its spring opening.

The six-story hotel is across the street from the Von Braun Center and is the first tenant for CityCentre at Big Spring, a $100 million, mixed-use development in downtown Huntsville. The AC Hotel Huntsville Downtown includes 120 guest rooms, AC Lounge, AC Library, co-working space, event space and three meeting rooms named for the city’s mill heritage – Lincoln, Lowe and Merrimack.

“With its Southern hospitality and strong appreciation for the arts, Huntsville is a great match for the AC by Marriott brand,” said Srinath Yedla, CEO of Yedla Management Co., which will manage the property. “The hotel provides everything essential you need – and nothing you don’t – creating a seamless, tranquil and frictionless experience for guests, whether traveling for business or leisure.”

The hotel will be anchored by Atlanta chef and restaurateur Marc Taft’s restaurant—The Gemini Kitchen + Cocktails, which is set to open in the fall. Gemini will be an approachable polished-casual restaurant for those looking for an affordable, quality dining experience. Taft will provide catering for the hotel as well as oversee menus for the hotel’s second-story terrace, The Veranda.

Reservations for the AC Hotel Huntsville Downtown can be made at Marriott.com.