In this Flashback Friday episode of the Creating Wealth podcast, Jason Hartman looked back at episode 626 from January of 2016.
Hartman discussed the tremendous losses of the stock market within the first month of the year compared to the funds in the global economy, as well as the possibility of financial bubbles being engineered by the extremely wealthy.
He also spoke with guest Gino Zahnd, founder and CEO of Cozy, an application designed to be a one-stop property management tool. The service allows landlords to perform tenant screening, view credit reports and background checks, as well as receiving rent payments from a smartphone or tablet. The service is available anywhere and allows property managers to supervise their properties from thousands of miles away.
Major Stock Market Losses in Under a Month
Hartman begins the episode by mentioning a devastating piece of information taking place at the beginning of 2016. This year, the world’s stock market has lost roughly $8 trillion in January alone. This has caused nervous investors to pull out of the stock market and place their money into the hands of government bond funds.
He wonders how possible it is that these issues are engineered. Hartman mentions an exposé that Rolling Stone magazine did on Goldman Sachs and the Federal Reserve, a famous story that covered the giant bubble machine and the ups and downs of the economy.
Hartman mentions that the Federal Reserve was supposed to put a stop to the rollercoaster-like gyrations in the economy, but notes that the dollar has been debased more than 96% since the Fed was established in 1915.
He poses the idea that if there were a group or secret society of extremely wealthy people running the world behind the scenes. Theoretically, this group could shift wealth from one group to another by running the stocks up, selling their own stocks at high prices and burdening middle class investors. The stock market would begin to tank, but the group would have already moved losses off. Other investors would become worried and pour their money into government bond funds for the sake of safety.
After that, the rationale of most people would think that something needed to be done to improve the down market. This causes mal-investment due to people rushing in the market and leads to the creation of a bubble.
Hartman mentions that people have asked him if he thought that the government could change laws and take away the tax advantages involved in real estate investment. His answer is, yes they could, but it would tale a long time being that real estate markets are difficult to control and take time to manipulate.
He states that the tax advantages have not changed significantly since the Reagan administration and the ACRS, or Accelerated Cost Recovery. With this system came acceleration of depreciation and big tax advantages for real estate. This is a thing of the past in today’s market, except for a few unique cases, like the Go Zone.
To explain how much money $8 trillion is to lose, Hartman explains that the global economy in a year is just under $60 trillion and the GDP of the US in 2013 was around $17 trillion, so for the stock market to lose $8 trillion is quite an unfortunate feat.
Aside from the creation of a bubble, people start looking for some way to fix the problem, and the reckless answer seems to be changing the monetary and fiscal policy as well as printing more money. It’s quantitative easing, money creation out of thin air that creates inflationary pressure.
Hartman mentions that this has been happening and it has not caused much inflation but questions how much of it is baked into the cake, when is the other shoe going to drop?
There is no limit to the amount of money that can be created out of nowhere and no limit to the inflation that comes about as a result. He offers examples of economic problems happening in Hungary, Argentina, Zimbabwe, and Venezuela.
Free PowerPoints on Investment Matrix
Hartman mentions that there are free PowerPoints available on his website that discuss the ways that different investment vehicles act during periods of inflation, deflation and stagnation. He encourages listeners to take advantage of this information by visiting www.jasonhartman.com/matrix to download these slides about the investment matrix.
He also states that there is a tentative date set for the Jason Hartman University event. It’s set to take place in Salt Lake City, Utah in March, likely on the 12th and 13th.
He also offers slides from the IMN presentation, available at www.jasonhartman.com/imn, and information about his online course at www.hartmaneducation.com.
COZY for Property Management
Hartman mentioned that if someone told him years ago that he could self-manage a property he’s never seen and tenants he’s never met, he’d have thought that person was crazy. He mentions that he’s done it successfully a few times now, and so have other clients.
Zahnd explains that Cozy is a simple-to-use service for landlords, property managers, and tenants. It’s designed to handle rent collection, rental applications, credit and background checks, and offers the best tenant screening services. It’s a one-stop rental management business.
He mentions that the concept of Cozy came from several bad experiences he had while living in San Francisco. He lived and worked in the area for almost twenty years before starting the planning for Cozy in 2009. He talked about it with his business partner about it for years, but in 2011 when he was planning to move again, he had a good deal of applications to fill out. One landlord ran his credit six times in three hours and this made him angry enough to seriously think of a better way to conduct business.
He was running another company at the time and had to remove himself to begin planning his work on Cozy, and during that time he spoke to forty different markets to talk to people about their plans and issues with managing their rentals. He also discovered that Microsoft Excel is a popular tool for property managers, and looked into where the main headaches were in management.
Initially, Zahnd thought that marketing his service in places like New York City would be difficult but he has quite a few customers in the area today. Cozy launched in July of 2013 and now he has customers in over 4000 cities throughout the country.
Credit Reports, Background Checks, and the Best Tenant Screening Services
Zahnd explains that with Cozy, a tenant has the ability to use the service to look for a new place to live. It takes one application, then the running of credit and background checks. Landlords can view these reports to take a glance at the tenant’s history.
As tenants, customers do not have to give out their social security numbers, and they’re in control of their own data and the results of their reports. They can apply to a rental, run the reports and share them as part of the application. The information is kept up to date, and using the service is very safe as it leaves nothing open to identity theft.
Landlords can use Cozy in two ways, using it for rent collection, and as a screening tool for rental applications. Finding tenants is easy with the service. Zahnd states that there are a lot of agents that only use Cozy and the best tenant screening services to find tenants.
When it comes to landlords using Cozy for rent collections, the payments are automated. A landlord can set up payments with their tenants, and receive notifications when rent is due and when payments have been sent.
COZY and Application Fees
Cozy has decoupled the idea of application fees as there are no real fees for the application itself. The landlord can choose to have an application fee if desired, but Cozy does not have one. The credit and background checks, however, are $34.95 as a pair or $19.95 each. In the rare case where a landlord or property manager is only asking for applications with no reports, there is no fee.
Zahnd mentions that when researching, he asked 3000 landlords and property managers about what their application fees are for, and the vast majority use these fees to pay for background checks and reports. Less than 5% of landlords used application fees for the sake of collecting a fee.
Cozy has been in business for two years, and Zahnd mentions that only three or four people have ever asked to charge an extra $10 or $25 in fees.
This is because the tenants who are serious about finding a place to live will pay to get their reports done. Those that have their reports done and are quality potential tenants, their applications bubble to the top and they get noticed. The service weeds out potential tenants who are not serious or not ideal tenants.
Though Cozy is a free service to customers, Cozy makes money by two different revenue streams, the credit reports and the background checks. Zahnd states that in the next month, Cozy will allow tenants to pay rent and utilities with a credit or debit card. Landlords can use a credit or debit card as well, to have payments almost immediately pushed through. Cozy has also negotiated the ACH, or Automatic Clearing House, fees for processing payments.
There is also a link on the website that explains exactly what happens to a payment when it leaves a tenant’s bank account and the process it goes through to get to the landlord’s account at www.cozy.co/achexplained.
COZY Eats Transaction Fees
Cozy processes payments at no cost to customers. It costs Cozy itself a small fee, but it provides a convenience for customers. It’s a sticky product, says Zahnd.
Cozy can be used even thousands of miles away. Zahnd mentions that he has a customer in Saudi Arabia who is nine-time zones away from the properties he manages, and he has had very positive things to say about Cozy and how well it helped him manage his properties.
Two Ways to Initiate Payment
There are two ways to initiate the payment process through Cozy. Either a landlord can find a tenant through Cozy and set them up for payment when they move in, or they can onboard established tenants onto the service and accept payments that way.
Set up is very quick, only taking around thirty seconds to collect a few pieces of information like email addresses and a bit about the property. The tenant then receives an invite to pay rent through Cozy. They must then verify their identity and bank account, and the payment process is ready to be initiated. Notifications are available to both landlord and tenant to remind them of upcoming due dates, and of payments that have been sent. Notifications can be sent through email or phone.
What is the Goal?
When Hartman asks Zahnd what his main goal is with Cozy, he states that he wants to build the best one-stop service for anyone to run their rental business.
The service is growing quickly, making money, and bringing in new revenue streams. Zahnd states that after the launch of the credit and debit feature, the volume of cash being moved will be even more significant than it is.
He also mentions that in the future, everyone is going to need renter’s insurance, and every small business owner is going to need liability insurance. This is a chance to make a positive impact on the way the business works. In the long-term, Zahnd plans to build the best product he can, continue growing the business and keep the main goal based around the customers. He wants customers to wonder how they ever got along without this product.
He mentions that when he started planning Cozy, he and his partners were a few people alone in the sea with no competitors. He also states that this may be because the sub 25-unit building is the bigger market but no one really thought of it because it’s a fragmented market.
Luckily, thanks to the reach of the internet, Cozy can get its name heard and reach out to the right people. There have been some copycats, Zahnd says, but it has not quelled his desire to see what happens with his company within the next five years.
Cozy was specifically designed for the smaller independent rental owner, but professionals that manage larger properties heard about it and became interested. Zahnd is now designing the product for large-scale projects as well. He has a growing audience and though it’s still fragmented, companies are approaching from different angles.
For more information about Cozy’s service, visit www.cozy.co.
Zahnd mentions that because of this URL, Cozy has often been referred to as Cozy Co. He also notes that he just launched a new mobile app for landlords to use. He’s also got a big partnership coming up in the near future, with more information available on that soon.