Transform an Office Building into a Home

Many people are transforming rooms in their homes into home offices, but some people are transforming commercial spaces into homes.

Unused and Vacant

Today, CNN reports that outdoor retailer REI is selling their newly finished unused 8-acre corporate campus in Bellevue, WA as they redefine their experience of “headquarters.” Their new model they say will make remote working the “normalized model” for headquarters employees and the future headquarters building will be instead multiple satellite campuses in the Seattle area.

Businesses all over the US are seeing what REI is seeing and adjusting their business models. Office building occupancies are going down in the downtown areas of large cities across the US primarily because of the effect of the coronavirus pandemic and its associated lockdowns. Businesses are either moving, transitioning to remote working, or closing altogether. Landlords of downtown office buildings in big cities are in danger of losing the income from their properties as companies move to small communities or have their staff work from home. If the landlord has a mortgage and cannot keep up with their payments, they could lose the building. These buildings are then left vacant.

According to STR, a global hospitality data and analytics firm, hotels are suffering as well. Their data show that a fifth of hotel properties are still closed and have been since March. Many of these hotels will not survive the pandemic.

This devastating business and economic situation may offer a sliver of optimism if we look at investing in converting office buildings and hotels into much needed housing.  

According to an article in ( office buildings and hotels in urban downtowns are attractive for conversions to apartment housing because they have wifi and cable infrastructure in place, parking areas, and common areas. While offices will require more plumbing to provide bathrooms and perhaps kitchens to each apartment, hotels can be converted less expensively because they are already divided into individual spaces with individual bathrooms.

Creating Affordable Housing

One example of a hotel converted to apartments is Plato’s Cave at 3524 Keetor St. in Branson Missouri. Repvblik (pronounced Republic) LLC, a Los Angeles based firm, converted a vacant six-building Days Inn into multi-family or workforce housing. The complex includes studio apartments, renting for $495.00 a month, and one-bedroom apartments, renting for $695.00 a month. According to its website,, the complex incudes a gym, commercial kitchen, large dining area, an outdoor pool and beach volleyball on the property. There is plenty of parking and it is right on the strip within walking distance to the jobs there. It is affordable housing that is so badly needed.

Living and working in crowded downtowns were very popular until the pandemic hit these communities so hard. It is not clear how many people will be willing to move back to crowded downtowns after the pandemic ends or if it lingers for years. It looks certain that there will be many vacant office buildings and hotels around by the end of 2021 or when long-term leases run out. Landlords will have to keep their prices in line with demand and it is too soon to tell what demand will be.

Too Early to Give Up

Clare Trapasso, the author of the article, “As the Pandemic Empties Office Buildings, Can Those Spaces Help Solve the Housing Crisis” says, “… it may be too early to write the obituary of urban office buildings and hotels, as many did in the wake of 9/11.”

However, development can drive what happens, so you might want to be thinking about a strategy to help cities, people in need of housing, and your own financial security by seriously studying the risks and rewards of converting vacant downtown office space and hotel space into affordable housing in your own city.

If you need funding, apply now. I am working online with the rest of you.

Patrick St. Cin

W – 512-213-2271

M – 505-239-3026


Trapasso, Clare, Realtor,com, As the Pandemic Empties Office Buildings, Can Those Spaces Help Solve the Housing Crisis, August 12, 2020. com (

CNN,  Leah Asmelash and Alison Kosik, August 13, 2020.

Platos Cave website:

Picture of downtown, USEPA Environmental-Protection-Agency / Public domain

Keep Moving

I am sharing with you a blog from a science writer that contains information about respiratory coronavirus transmission. The blog, The Risks – Know Them- Avoid Them, by Erin Bromage, offers information that we laymen and women might not have processed yet. The information is biological and physical and spelled out very clearly. We need to reopen for business, but we need to do so safely, and in order to do that, we need to know the risks and how to avoid them. I was most impressed by how the article, highlights how being in an enclosed space, sharing the same air for a prolonged period increases your chances of exposure and infection. Our guidelines for reopening our economy tend to emphasize distance but have not mentioned much about exposure to the virus over time.

“Infection could occur, through 1000 infectious viral particles you receive in one breath or from one eye-rub, or 100 viral particles inhaled with each breath over 10 breaths, or 10 viral particles with 100 breaths. Each of these situations can lead to an infection (Bromage Blog).”

Although we have not determined just what the infectious load is for COVID-19, for other coronaviruses the number is 1000 virus particles. It is this principle that is behind why grocery stores can open and bars and restaurants must close. It is this principle that should concern you if you share a small office or work in an open space with a lot of people, or work 8 hours on an assembly line 6 feet from another human being who is potentially infected. In the grocery store you pass through quickly, shelves break up the aisles, and you typically don’t talk much as you shop. In bars and restaurants, you linger and talk. At work, you talk and breathe for hours near or in the same room with others.

Photo by Pixabay on

Taking this to heart, I would suggest that real estate buyers, agents, and lenders pass through homes that you are viewing quickly. Don’t linger too long. Don’t carry on discussions face to face in small rooms or cars.  If you must discuss things, do it outside the home and stand more than 10 feet apart with the wind behind both of you.

Keep greater than 6 feet of distance between you and another person, especially if that person is talking, yelling, or singing and is upwind of you. In an Indoor situation, up wind means between you and an open window, the air conditioner blower, or a fan.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is pexels-photo-3775132-e1589563961957.jpeg

Don’t drive in the same car to a property.

If you are showing a house, make sure it has been vacant for several hours before showing it, so all airborne virus particles have had time to fall out of the air. This doesn’t address surface contamination, but at least your clients won’t breath in an infectious dose as they move from room to room. You should wipe down counters, door handles, and surfaces that will be touched.

Do in-person showings and meetings by appointment only. This way you can judge how many people are around you.

Always pay attention to the physical situation when you are moving about the community. Ask yourself, how many people are here? How big is this room? Is there ventilation and enough of it?

Be sure to read this great article by Erin S. Bromage and apply the knowledge you gain to your work and play.

I am working online with the rest of you. If you need funding, fill out the BLN application at or send my an e-mail or give me a call.

W – 512-213-2271

M – 505-239-3026


No-Handshake Survival

I have had to really watch myself with this social distancing thing.  I am a toucher. I lean into hugs, always shake hands, pat shoulders. I soak up touch. When I’m talking, I find myself creeping closer to the person I am talking to as if I can’t see them or hear them well enough at a distance. 

I am certain this economy will recover. People still need homes and loans, but we still may not be able to shake hands for a long time.

In some American states, selling real estate is still an essential occupation as is banking. When we are selling homes or signing loan papers, we are working with others in small groups, but we may be working with people from other states or countries and need to keep ourselves and our families safe during this Covid-19 pandemic.


Use only appointment-only open house formats this way you know who is coming when and you are not surprised. But advertise this new situation on the door so people don’t come in unannounced. This will help you assure that only one group is walking through a house at a time.

Use social media to make virtual tours, even if people will want to see a property before they buy. They can spend more time exploring the house online and visit the website multiple times without having to worry about personal protection equipment.

Fill out the BLN application at or send my an e-mail or give me a call.


Prepare business cards and signs to reflect appointment-only restriction.

Place a separate set of clothes and shoes for home just inside the door to your home or in your mudroom if you have one.

Remove your wedding ring.

Stop using a purse or briefcase and instead use a plastic or washable cloth bag for business cards, open- house guest books and pens.

Place a fresh set of business cards and other items in 6 or 7 bags and label them for each day. Take a fresh bag of supplies with you to an open house or to the office every day.

Equip yourself with gloves, face mask, face shield, and booties for your shoes (For open house).


Spend time cleaning doorknobs and surfaces before and after a showing, A glossy kitchen counter can be a magnet for a tactile person. They just have to run their hands over the surface. Windowsills might also need some disinfectant. If your store is out of prepared disinfectant use original unflavored Listerine in a spray bottle.

Wash your hands before and after a showing.

Invite your potential buyer to wash their hands before and after touring the house. And, provide a hand sanitizer.

Remind everyone to be aware of where they set down their mobile phone so they don’t set it down on counters or in the bathroom or on other shared surfaces.

Stay alert to what is touched during a showing so you can be sure to clean these surfaces with extra attention after the showing.

You can wear gloves but know how to take them off and dispose of them correctly without contaminating your hands and everything around you when you take them off. Peel them off before you touch your car, turn them inside out and place them in a plastic bag and tie it shut. Put the plastic bag in the trunk of your car for later disposal if there is no trashcan nearby.

Keep your distance from each other. This is the best way to prevent the spread of a respiratory disease.

Wearing a mask will protect you and your client. While wearing a mask, smile more, wink and speak so you are sure to acknowledge people even if you keep your distance and do not touch.

coronavirus covid-2019 girl in mask – stop pandemic


Hang up the bag of supplies you return with near the door, spray it with disinfectant and Let the bags hang unused for a week to 9 days so the virus will have time to die out before you use the bag again.

Strip out of your outside or work clothes and shoes near the doorway or in the mudroom.

Wash your hands.

If you are wearing gloves, dispose of them before touching your clean clothes. If you want to reuse them, place them in a plastic bag so you can disinfect them later.

Dress in your indoor clothes.

With gloves on, bag us your work clothes and wash them immediately.

Let jackets and hard items rest for a week or 9 days at room temperature before using them again to give the virus time to die out.

An open house is not as dangerous as a concert or a basketball game. Usually there are 3 people involved and they are usually adults.  Perhaps sometimes parents bring their children, but that is something that can be avoided right now.

Unlike a family, the 3 people involved in the showing usually do not know each other intimately.  The buyer does not know where the realtor had been recently and neither know where the homeowner has been recently if they are still living in the home being shown. Precautions need to be taken so you don’t catch the coronavirus or bring it home to your family.

I hope that I can be of help to you this month. I can be reached at


Austin, Texas

Partners in Private Funding

I know a banker and his partner who recently purchased and remodeled a building that was once a doctor’s office. They turned the space into 7 small suites, a conference room and a kitchenette. They advertised for occupants with an ad looking for entrepreneurs with ideas for a business who needed some space in which to grow and offered seed loans for the startups.  His motive is multifaceted, to rebuild the downtown business section of the town he lives in and to put some of his money to work for his community. He also wants his hometown to be vibrant and is offended when someone says, there is nothing going on in that downtown. Like all good investors, the partners are also interested in putting their money to work to make more money in the form of income.

These partners specialize in fix-n-rent business investments. Most recently the duo closed on a property that they will remodel from a Victorian house on the corner of a small downtown into a used bookstore, bar, and coffee shop with an outdoor patio area. The purchaser? A publisher who still loves physical books more than online articles.

What else has these small town fix-n-flip investors been up to? They remodeled a ballet studio into a financial investment office with a family psychologist renting a back office with a separate entrance, turned an insurance office into a yoga studio, turned a paint store into a gift and DIY furniture rehab shop, and helped a daughter purchase her mother’s restaurant business lock, stock, and liquor license.

If you are interested in putting your money to good work in your community, become a private lender and work with me. I am focused on funding success, both yours, and the buyers.

Competition for good rental properties is stiff, and in order to buy a property in a climate of competition a buyer need funds fast. As a broker, I help people find funds for their fix-n-flip and fix-n-rent project. Be a private lender with me and put your money to work for you.

Call me and let’s set up a meeting.

Patrick StCin, 512-213-2271


2 Home-Buyer Surveys of Note

Buyer Surveys

Earlier this year, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) surveyed nearly 4,000 home buyers, those who have either recently purchased a home or plan to purchase a home within the next 3 years. also reviewed home transactions between January 2018 and September 2018 and compared them to the 2017 home sales to come up with some statistics about who will drive home sales in 2019.

These statistics become meaningful when you apply them to your own real estate investment plan as much as possible. As you approach your real estate fix-n-flip project, it is important to apply the money in your budget toward the areas that will give you the most buyer draw for the dollar. This is not easy, and the target is constantly moving as new products come onto the market, new buyer demographics emerge, incomes fluctuate, and young buyers learn from their parents, study what their parents have done and listen to what they would have done differently.

Millennial Generation Buyers

When you first start looking for the right property to remodel, you may want to consider looking in areas where the largest group of people are looking. The survey of emerging home buyers in 2019 points out that affordable homes, jobs, and the availability of entry level homes are “magnets for young buyer.” A large segment of the millennial generation will be turning 30 years old in 2020, so they are starting families, and, as rents rise, moving out of apartments and buying houses.  According to the NAHB survey, 64% of buyers preferred to buy a home in the suburbs. 24% of buyers were looking for a house in a rural area. 11% of buyers were looking for a house in or near the center of a city.

Storage and Energy Efficiency

The information in the NAHB buyer survey gives you some general guidelines on what home buyers are looking for in their homes. After location, buyers prefer

  • laundry rooms
  • energy saving appliances
  • energy saving insulation
  • energy saving windows
  • home storage
  • garage storage
  • walk-in pantries
  • hardwood flooring
  • patios
  • exterior lightening

A few rising trends were noted in the NAHB buyer survey that may pique your interest and inspire some research, including: houses are getting smaller, engineered quartz countertops, vinyl and resilient flooring, wireless controls, open interior and exterior spaces in kitchens, and higher-end fixtures in bathrooms, such as wall-mounted sinks, faucets, and toilets, are becoming more popular.

REI Capital Resources built its reputation on finding private funding for investors for quick turn purchases and difficult situations.  This is still true today.  

Give me a call or send an e-mail and share with me your plans and needs, and I’ll see what lending solution I can generate for you.

Patrick St.Cin

512-213-2271 Menti

Sigh of Relief and Then … Start Planning For 2019 Taxes

Many of our customers are both employed and self-employed, painting a tax picture that reveals itself slowly as incomes, deductions, and taxes paid are added and subtracted from a variety of the tax forms. If you just finished your 2018 taxes, this is a good time to review how well your business and employment worked together to pay your 2018 tax bill.

Personal: Review your W-4
On the personal side, review your W-4 form with the payroll or human resources manager at your place of employment. The W-4 is the form you fill out that tells your employer how much tax to withhold from your paycheck. Did you pay too much and receive a big refund or pay too little and owe a lot, perhaps even having to pay fines for underestimating? The taxes withheld from your paycheck reflect your filing status (single, married, head of household) and the dependents you claim. Check to make sure the information on your W-4 form is accurate.


Business: Set up a Paper and an Electronic Filing System
On the business side, make yourself a filing system so you can organize your business-related receipts and invoices in folders or envelopes if your receipts are paper and in computer files and folders if your receipts and invoices are electronic. Most likely you will need both paper and electronic files. Determine the categories your business expenses and income usually fall into and make folders and files that are named accordingly. Things like fuel, advertising, landscaping, construction materials, permit fees, banking fees, equipment repairs and maintenance, and new equipment purchases, contractor payments, interest on business loans, and home office expenses are common expenses in a fix-n-flip business. Check to see that your online folders are named the same as your paper files and then use that same name to enter the expenses in your Excel table or Quick books program. Remember, the IRS requires that you use these things for business if you deduct them.

Track and File Weekly or Monthly
File and enter your expenses weekly or monthly to avoid the pain of finding yourself in February of 2020 sorting stacks of receipts at the kitchen table for tax year 2019. You are bound to miss something and spend a lot of time searching for missing receipts. And, just running your unsorted papers in a shoebox over to your tax consultant means you are going to be paying them to sort out the papers, and they probably will not be able to do so without your help anyway.

woman in grey shirt holding brown cardboard box

Photo by bruce mars on

Life Science Space Rentals


Texas has not been on the list of the top life Science research hubs, but it could be according to an article by Chris Davis of KXAN, a post on the website.

Central Texas has a need and it is something commercail real estate investors can help with. Central Texas needs for wet lab space for a growing life science industry. One example of the possibilities is the Austin Community College’s (ACC’s), Austin BioScience Incubator (ABI), a State-of-the-Art facility that leases space and equipment to start-up life science companies. The ABI is booming with 16 companies leasing space. Three companies have moved on, outgrown the facility.

Science/Business Incubator

This science business incubator was born out of an approximate 9,500 sf renovation of the iconic Highland Mall in Central Austin, TX. According to its website, the facility features 4,000 sf of wet labs, two ISO I clean rooms, open workspace, conference space, and support offices. Member companies have access to core laboratories and instrumentation.


The ACC Bioscience Incubator aims to expand on previous successes by establishing a permanent wet lab facility and business incubator to accelerate Central Texas’ biotechnology economy while training a skilled workforce

Austin Community College

The Austin Area Life Science economy was spurred to new growth by the University of Texas at Austin’s Dell Medical School. Austin is now home to more than 240 bioscience companies, according to the Austin Chamber of Commerce, employing 15, 000 workers.

Growing Industry

The life science business is not likely to go anywhere but up in the future. Life science industries involve everything about life including health care for an aging population and DNA research, as well as pharmaceutical research, tissue fabrication, sanitation and food safety, genetics for preventing disease, and nanotechnology for medical devices, computer modeling, and imaging technologies.  This industry has been adding jobs since 2000, 5 times faster than the US economy, according to a report by Cushman and Wakefield published in January 2019.

Adaptable Space

This is an interesting type of real estate to look at for an investment. The key factors in investing in commercial real estate to renovate and rent to life science businesses is that the space needs to have both office space and wet lab space. It needs to be efficient and adaptable space for housing imaging technologies, clean rooms, collaboration, and storage, preferably near universities and cultural amenities to attract and retain scientific talent.

white baby mouse

Photo by Pixabay on

REI Capital Resources is a funding source for SFR Fix-n-Flip, Fix-to-Rent, and Refinance projects as well as larger commercial projects such as office buildings, 5-40 door multi-family buildings, and many others. These programs vary wide and far throughout the gamut of lending. Call or e-mail for more information.

Patrick St.Cin
W – 512-213-2271


Life Sciences: Limited Supply, Increasing Demand Driving Increased Real Estate Costs, 1/31;2019,

Life Science Space Continues to Be in High Demand with Low Vacancies and Rising Rents, National Real Estate Investor, Patricia Kirk, April 22, 2019.

Where scientific breakthroughs happen: Three trends shaping labs of the future JLL , Mike Romer, Chicago, February 15, 2018

“Focused on Funding Your Success”

Taxes: Buy/Flip or Buy/Hold

There is no way around it, when you consider investing in real estate, or anything else for that matter, you need to do your homework to keep your investment safe and avoid surprises.

First, spend time with yourself to define your goals and then, spend time with the math to estimate the costs carefully before you invest. Everything costs something, but somethings are worth the cost.

First your goals: Ask Yourself:

“Do I want to get my hands dirty?”
“How involved do I want to be?”
“Do I want a single pay out of profit”
“Do I want a steady stream of income?

The buy-n-flip model of buying a distressed house at a low price, renovating it, and reselling it for a profit within 12 months is usually pretty hands on. If you don’t actually do the remodeling yourself, you will be supervising your contractors, so you get quality work, on time, and within budget. The Fix-n-Flip model will give you a one-time pay out, and if you did your preliminary market research properly, it will give it to you quickly, in less than a year.

The buy-and-hold model of buying houses, fixing them up or not, and renting them out will give you steady income. In this model, an investor can choose to rent the property out or occupy the property. There are varying levels of involvement for the investor to consider. Landlords are investors who own one to three properties and manage them themselves. This is the hands-on level. Portfolio Investors own four to ten rental properties and hire property management companies to manage them. This level of involvement is less hands on. Turnkey investors are the least involved personally with their investment, they purchase a property that already has a tenant and management company in place. Basically, only their money is involved.

Different Taxes

One of the cost differences between investing in fix-n-flipping and investing in fix-n-holding is the income taxes that you will have to pay on the profits. According to, flipping houses is generally not considered passive investing by the IRS. Most real estate fix-n-flippers are considered dealers by the IRS. A real estate dealer is defined as someone who purchases real estate and sells it to customers “in the ordinary course of business.”

Ordinary Income. Profits on flipped houses are treated as ordinary income with tax rates between 10% and 37%. The profits you make are not considered capital gains with the lower tax rate of 0% to 20%. Taxes for flipping also usually include self-employment tax, which is 15.3%, double what you typically pay as a W2 employee.

Capital Gains. On the other hand, according to, profits made from properties held more than 12 months are typically subject to more favorable long-term capital gain tax rates ranging from 0% to 20%. This profit is also subject to self-employment tax .

Keep Your Receipts

The answer to handling the tax expense for a fix-n-flipper or the fix-n-holder is to think like a business; budget for the taxes in your expense calculations and take them out of your expected profits so the return you expect is realistic. And, keep excellent books. You will want to itemize your deductions and income in either type of investment so when it comes time to calculate your profit for tax purposes, you can determine your profit by subtracting your expenses from the final sales price. Keep your receipts. If you keep no records, you might have to pay taxes on the entire amount of the sale, not just on the profit.

white graphing paper

REI Capital Resources is a direct lender as well as a broker of funding solutions. We offer short and long-term financing options that are perfect for buy-n-flip projects or buy-n-hold projects.

Please give me a call when you have the perfect investment in mind and know how much money you need.

Patrick St.Cin

Monumental News

Investors Lending Source (ILS) is changing its name to REI Capital Resources. And, I am proud to announce that I am now a direct hard money lender.

Why This matter?

REI Capital Resources works closely with its clients to determine the best path to take for an investment project that needs funding. As a lender originating loans myself, I have more and improved funding solutions at my fingertips.

We continue to offer private funds and now hard money Fix-n-Flip, Fix-to-Rent, and Refinance with Rehab loans. We have added a NEW 30-year long-term rental mortgage with 3- & 5-year interest-only options!

REI Capital Resources has funding sources for commercial projects as well as non-standard real estate projects such as church financing and oil & gas royalty programs, long-term rental financing for investors in the single-family residential market, and short-term financing for vacation or AirBnB lending.

What Has Not Changed?

Myself. My management. My focus. I am still focused on funding your success and I have more tools to work with. ILS built its reputation on finding private funding for investors for quick turn purchases and difficult situations. This is still true for REI Capital Resources.

Contact me



Skin in the Game ♥

Valentines day! ♥ The perfect day to write about commitment, about putting your skin in the game, trusting a corporation, or a business, or your own dream. Falling back in love when your enthusiasm is running thin.

In the “Business Romantic” by Tim Leberecht, the book that I’ve been reading for a while, there is the story about Kay Compton and her husband, who in 2007 sold everything and charted a course that would take them out on the ocean, off the grid, for almost two years. They were both avid sailors. They decided to make the “milk run,” sailing across the Pacific Ocean, hitting all the most beautiful beaches on their way.

They alternated duties, each serving as captain of the watch while the other stayed below. “You have to have the ultimate trust in the other individual. Your life is in their hands and you have to have faith that they will keep you safe,” Compton told Leberecht. Most of the time the sailing was smooth, but they hit a storm with fifty-five-mile-an-hour winds and twenty-five-foot waves. She said that you have to make peace with your situation and realize you cannot walk away.

Compton says she remembers that time when the ocean surrounded them on her daily commute, and the memory keeps her above the fray in her job as an architect and reminds her that there can be only one leader at a time. You must understand your role and the role of others. “When someone is the Captain, you don’t argue. You don’t start an argument in the middle of the ocean.”

In our business lives, there are times when we need to put faith in the leader and not start a fight in the middle of a project. This means you have to crush down your pride and your own know-it-all self and work at the direction of the other, perhaps not to “survive,” but to make it through the crisis. Employees get this wrong when they are always standing on the edges looking for a better deal. But employers get this wrong when they forget that the crisis cannot go on for years.

To keep employees and to keep your own love of your business alive, you have to keep it real. As Matthew Stinchcomb, VP of Etsy, says, “Go for a walk instead of messing around on the internet to look busy.” This is the final value for Etsy, “Keep it real, always.”

Keeping it “real” is part of real estate.

Remember that Real Estate is solid, made of dirt and trees, bricks and mortar, or sand and stone. It has boundaries and doors and windows and homes are made there. A great business for a romantic to be in.

board center chalk chalkboard

Photo by Pixabay on

Happy Valentines Day.

Pat St. Cin


Austin, Texas


Reference: Leberecht, Tim. 2015. The Business Romantic, Give Everything, Quantify Nothing, and Create Something Greater Than Yourself. Harper Collins.