Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Recently, our congress successfully passed new legislation, courageously recomposing century-old U.S. financial rules. It seems our buddies in D.C. have acquired great economic know-how, unseating 80 years of financial thought in a single, 24-hour session. The method of attack dealt with added regulation in derivative trading, and more specifically - Credit Default Swaps. Today, I will explain CDS's, their influence on U.S. real estate, and how this new legislation will drastically affect everyone from the mighty real estate investor to the common renter. So, get involved and find out how this revolution to financial rules will affect both your personal and professional world.
Quick Hitters: side-effects of new bill
-Slow, steady increase in size of middle class
-Fewer home purchases
-Decrease in American home ownership -Increase in the renting community
-Increase in rental prices
-Critical paradigm shift in banking
Most critical to the real estate market is how the bill imposes derivative regulation on all U.S. banks. Certain types of derivatives, Credit Default Swaps, are used by banks to hedge or protect against the risk of default or non-payment on loans. In essence, CDS's reduce some of the risk associated with providing loans, and for our purposes - mortgages. A third party will offer a bank to pay the amount left on the loan if the borrower is no longer able to make the loan payments. To make the third party willing, the bank will pay a premium to the third party, similar to premium payments to insurance companies. Here is an example:
Bank A decides to provide Minesh the Borrower with a 30-yr fixed mortgage of $250,000 to purchase a home. Bank A cannot afford to lose $250,000 if Minesh is unable to pay, but the bank can afford to risk losing $100,000 of the principal on the mortgage. Now, since Bank A still cannot afford to lose the remaining $150,000, it offers to pay a third party company $1000 every three months if the third party company agrees to pay Bank A $150,000 in the event that Minesh Borrower is unable to pay his mortgage. It is similar to insurance, without the insurance regulations - a way for banks to hedge against financial loss from borrower default.
The added security of CDS's to our mortgage lending environment instigates and encourages lending to home buyers, as mortgages protected with CDS's are more likely to be issued, and are more marketable for re-sale. Anything that makes mortgages more appealing, facilitates mortgage approval, and thereby, makes home purchasing more frequent and attainable. In many situations, loans are not made without credit default swaps.
So, what does this all mean? The added regulation on CDS's may remove their safety net from mortgage lending, increasing associated mortgage-default risk. In order to balance or reduce risk, costs to borrowers will increase. At times, the lack of CDS's will lead to such an increased default risk that any prospects of bank profitability are eliminated, leading to declined mortgage applications.
Why are Credit Default Swaps the target of legislative assault? Large corporations exposure to certain CDS's such as AIG- America's insurance giant- led to corrosion of corporate balance sheets. AIG sold a number of CDS's to banks all over the world, providing bank protection in the event of mortgage default. With nearly $440 billion of coverage provided in the form of CDS's to banks, AIG faced a crises when the American people simultaneously began defaulting on mortgages, as the climbing of the federal funds interest rate provoked many newly issued floating-rate mortgages to blunder. Without enough cash to maintain its side of the CDS agreement to cover the loss on mortgage default, AIG liquidated many other, profitable assets out of necessity, killing the company's financial well being. Unable to provide banks in need with the promised cash recuperation, and also unable to maintain the promise of a security blanket against default to other financial institutions sent the banking system into a frenzy. Now, banks had to deal with mortgage default losses alone, and banks not yet facings mass defaults were forced to look elsewhere to protect their mortgage assets against default; however, the protection was now significantly more expensive, considering the shift in the perceived risk surrounding mortgages. The poor investing of AIG funds corrupted its primary line of business - insurance, requiring government intervention, as too many Americans depended on insurance benefits from the giant corporation, requiring tax dollars to protect the insurance benefits, as the company was no longer able to secure funds elsewhere
How will all this affect the real estate market?
Wave good-bye to the ease once associated with CDS issuance and trading - bye, bye. Banks are no longer to engage in "risky" derivatives trading to prevent catastrophe exemplified by AIG - a situation relying on taxpayers for correction. Now that banks are no longer able to deal in potentially risky derivatives trading, the government is, in essence, lifting the ability of banks to offer mortgages to anyone other than the most capable home purchasers. Effectively, banks will only have the availability to approve mortgages with significant down payments (a minimum of 20%) and borrowers with outstanding credit. Such borrowers are not in need of any form of default insurance, considering the debtor's financial strength.
The stated goal of those drafting our new legislation is to eliminate the use of Credit Default Swaps as a means of speculating the quality of a loan/mortgage, using the AIG example as the evidence of potential catastrophe with speculation in Credit Default Swaps. Oh no no no no, Barney! Mr. Barney Franks! Again you misinterpret the fundamentals of American financing, it was not bank speculation that led to the problem; it was the speculation of the companies investing in CDS's like AIG who put the system in jeopardy. I submit that government regulation is imposing harsh regulation on a mistaken culprit. The banks simply use the vehicles to purchase security, but the companies supplying the CDS's speculate that they will collect enough premiums to counterbalance any claims on defaults they may on day need to pay. There is no speculation on behalf of the bank, only hedging for safety measures. The regulation, if any, should be levied on private sale of CDS's by companies such as AIG - regulating their exposures to certain derivatives trading would be more appropriate. AIG's mistake was acquiring too many CDS's of similar complexion, all with sub-prime borrowers, similar loan start dates, and floating interest rates. Such negligence left the company vulnerable to catastrophic loss. For AIG, the catastrophe was a progressive climb in interest rates. I submit that regulation preventing companies from pursuing too many of one category of CDS's could protect conpanies, banks, and individuals from the risk of catastrophic loss.
As a result of the new legislation, the mortgage game will be more challenging, as a loan without the security of a Credit Default Swap is less marketable, and therefore, less attractive to banks. There is little money to be made off of non-CDS supported mortgages unless the borrower brings accompanying financial strength that dispels the need for added, hedged security. Also, the loans will only be designed with strength, including only financially strong debtors and loans built off strong equity positions (large down payments).
Investors: the practice of flipping houses will no longer have short-term profitability, as the buyers market will be a fraction of it once was, and the frequency of real estate purchase will thereby decline. Real estate investment will shift from seeking gain on house value, to designing strong revenue from cash flow - income properties. With cash on hand and appropriate ratios of debt to equity, investors with cash retain access to low interest rates, unavailable to others, and should be able to use their cash-rich situations to design a cash flow from rent. Interest rates will remain low, as few will have access to the low rates, and with a small number actually able to take advantage, the widespread demand of borrowed money will never be great enough to quickly drive up interest rates. The wealthy will be able to borrow for cheap, and likely rent out the property at high returns, as home ownership will decrease dramatically, and the American dream of home-ownership will turn to distant fantasy
Renters: You will soon be greater in numbers, as many American will revert back from ownership into the conservative life of renting. Without available funds, young professionals will no longer be afforded the opportunity to leap into early home ownership. Furthermore, some home-owners of the past will be sent back to the minor leagues, presented with new obstacles on the path back to the top. As I'v mentioned before, increased renting will drive up monthly rent prices (another reason why the investors mentioned above may want to take advantage of income property).
Property Managers: prepare to expand your business at lower prices to your clients. In the coming years, an increasing number of houses and various other units will be used for rental activity. Form strategy on how to accommodate the new renting generation, as they will likely seek the quality of a home, in rental form. These are long-term renters with a likely heightened demand for quality. Keep the complexion of the incoming tenants in mind, and adjust your business plans to accommodate for the surplus in renters.
Real Estate Agents: Depending on your niche in real estate, you will likely need to alter your approach to profitability. The purchasing power will now rest primarily in the hands of investors, and after the houses on the market now are unloaded, there will be no quick turnover on homes as we have grown accustom to over the past 40 years. Ownership will remain constant, so it is important to focus sales efforts in cities with substantial investment capital and great rental demand, as housing purchases will come from investment for the purpose of generating cash flow, requiring a renting population. Personally, I suggest cities containing large colleges/universities. Next, you will likely need to incorporate property management into your business model, as it will be the best way to secure consistent income in the long-term. However, many agents will also shift into property management, so be sure to provide a competitive advantage - use new technology available to create an efficient management company. Remember, the current state of the industry has little technological influence, and requires too much leg work to function properly.
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Most home inspections today run between $300 to over $1000 and sometimes you don't really get your moneys worth. There are home inspection companies that guarantee, any problems that they miss will be repaired at their expense over a desired period of time, usually a year. It seems like, most home inspection companies are just inspecting the property and have no guarantees or liability from their inspection.
It's not a good idea to buy or sell a home without getting a home inspection from a licensed home inspector. This is like having a second opinion from someone who is usually skilled in the process. I would like to point something out to unsuspecting, potential home buyers and sellers. Sometimes a home inspection company will get a little behind in their work and need to hire other home inspectors if these home inspectors don't have any experience in the construction business or have never inspected a home before. In other words there fresh out of home inspector school. You might not get a good home inspection.
You can always ask the question, how long have you been in business?... How long have you been a home inspector?... have you ever worked in the construction business or have any skills in home building and remodeling. If the answers to these questions are satisfactory, it doesn't mean, that they're telling the truth and being sincere and could lead to problems later if they are lying to you.
Let me rephrase the question now, "Do I Need a Home Inspection" from an unqualified home inspector? Absolutely not. But how can you really tell the difference and is the report going to be worth the money that you paid for it.
What would you say, if I had the solution to your problem. How about a pre-home inspection, using a home buyers checklist? What if I could give you a check list with questions, that you could ask your home inspector? Some of these questions are not going to be part a regular inspection but should always be asked and make sure you get the answers to them, before purchasing the property.
Would you be interested now? What if I told you, for under $20, you could purchase a home buyers checklist, now for the tough question, this checklist could save you thousands of dollars and prevent you from purchasing a home with major construction problems or defects, and can be used on every house you look at.
Don't buy a home without purchasing a professional home inspection checklist. These lists of questions can save you some serious headaches and stress in the future.
Monday, March 31, 2014
Optimism remains high in the Bradenton real estate market in Florida because of the splendid values that can be possibly had in the golf communities in the area. One of these properties is The Links at the Greenfield Plantation which count among real estate agents' choices of properties that they recommend to prospective buyers.
Location, the most important factor to consider in a due diligence for a property, is a great plus for The Links at Greenfield Plantation real estate. Its State Road 64 main transit point is only two miles east of Interstate 75. Hence, this places the community only minutes away from the commercial areas of Bradenton and Sarasota to the south, as well as the latter's arts and culture district. The urban centers of Tampa and St. Petersburg up north are also within ten miles from the community.
The alluring combination of a residential community with a golf course and its clubhouse also work well in favor of The Links at Greenfield Plantation. Opened in 1998, the course has grown in popularity in the Bradenton area not only for some memorable play but also because of its hospitable clubhouse. This community center comes out enticing with its Snack Bar storied for its home-style deli specials, hot and cold sandwiches, delectable soups, and fresh salads. Likewise contributing to the homey atmosphere are the comfortable appointments at the clubhouse which include a large screen projection TV. There's also a swimming pool with a spacious deck contributing to the laid-back lifestyle at Greenfield Plantation.
The 18-hole, par 72 golf course in the community was designed by the famed course architect, Chip Powell. The layout measures 6.719 yards with its well-maintained grounds wending through a dramatic landscape of lakes, woodlands, and marshes that has become a natural habitat for local birds and wildlife. Some drama looms in every play with the wide bunkers and water hazards that were built subtly into the layout. To help golfers solve these riddles, the club recently acquired a ParView GPS system to enable access to graphic overviews of each of the eighteen holes of The Links course.
Options for sales-listed homes in The Links at Greenfield Plantation can consist of single family residences either in ranch-type Florida style or in Mediterranean-inspired architecture. Reputable builders like La Maison and Bruce Williams, were behind the construction of these homes. Their superior values can best be appreciated in homes with floor plans of about 1,300 square feet that can carry tag prices in the $140,000 range. Another good reference point are houses with floor areas of around 2,500 square feet listed in the $300,000 price range which can fully show the great property values in this golf community.
Saturday, March 29, 2014
Not so, says the author of this article and four real estate books including the recent "1001 Tips for Buying and Selling a Home". The upside of the hype is for real estate consumers and investors. The housing bubble topic has produced real estate market information for new or nervous investors about specific markets. Little reporting on the bubble topic exploits the "sell now" syndrome. The downside of the hype is the occasional real estate industry naysayer (never say never?) who has a financial interest to protect.
Media stories have included balanced perspectives from real estate analysts, brokers, consumers, educators, and trade associations. Their experiences remind us that real estate remains a market based upon supply and demand. The value for consumers is the wealth of updated information about their market and current real estate practices. These new resources help them make informed investment decisions concerning the management of their real estate holdings.
Housing once relegated behind the headlines has become the cover and lead story. It's certainly struck a relevant cord with its appeal to consumers, as sixty-eight percent of us are homeowners. Online monitoring service Hitwise confirmed consumer searches for real estate and housing bubble information reached a twelve-month high at the end of May 2005.
Thursday, March 27, 2014
Zoning can be a confusing issue regardless of where you own real estate, whether it's a large city like Charlotte (NC), a small city like Asheville (NC) or a rural area like Buncombe County Western North Carolina. Zoning is a tool used to designate individual areas of land for specific purposes. When used correctly zoning can help fast developing cities and counties create a smart growth plan. This is one of the reasons Buncombe County commissioners are implementing new zoning in the metropolitan region surrounding Asheville, North Carolina.
The new zoning, adopted in May of 2007, impacts property owners throughout Buncombe County, as well as future homebuyers, sellers and real estate investors. A clear understanding of the zoning ordinances and restrictions is essential if you are going own real estate. It affects the value of your home and the choices you can make when selling or building on your property. This applies to residential real estate as well as commercial property owners.
Zoning Rules for Real Estate in Asheville, NC: The Importance of Community Accountability
In a video entitled "Will Zoning Affect You?" on the Buncombe County web site, [http://www.buncombecounty.org/governing/depts/Planning/landUse.htm], Assistant County Manager Jon Creighton explains the county's motivation for implementing new zoning in the spring of 2007 and describes the proposed zoning changes. He also confirms that concerns about the increasing number of county residents, real estate developers and homes being built on the tops and sides of mountains have compelled Buncombe County and city of Asheville officials to make zoning a priority.
Creighton begins by defining an Open Use zoning designation. Open Use, or OU, is zoning usually found in rural areas. Land considered available for Open Use means property can be purchased and sold for a wide variety of residential and commercial purposes with the exception of certain restricted uses. The uses restricted on Open Use land include incinerators, concrete plants, landfills, asphalt plants, chip mills, mining operations and motor sports facilities.
According to Creighton these types of businesses have a large impact on the community, as a whole, so any real estate investor or property owner interested in these ventures must present a project proposal at a public hearing. This allows other property and homeowners in the Asheville area to hold Western North Carolina business and real estate developers accountable for the impact they have on existing neighborhoods and residents.
How Does Zoning Affect Buyers and Sellers of Mountain Homes and Land Near Asheville, North Carolina?
The comprehensive zoning throughout Buncombe County and Asheville, NC also changed in 2007. Comprehensive zoning differs from Open Use because it separates residential and commercial areas into designations like R-1 and R-2 residential districts, employment districts, and neighborhood and commercial service districts. Buncombe County and Asheville homebuyers and sellers can find their property's zoning designation using the county's online GIS system. The system can be found at [http://www.buncombecounty.org/governing/depts/Planning/landUse.htm].
Property owners and real estate investors interested in changing the zoning designation of specific land can approach the Buncombe County Commissioners and Board of Adjustment. Public hearings are required if an Application for Variances or Conditional Use Permits or an Application to Amend the Buncombe County Zoning Ordinance Text or Maps are submitted. In order to obtain a building permit for any zoning district other than Open Use real estate investors and property owners must file for Certificate of Zoning Compliance. The cost associated with these applications varies.
Size Does Count! Downtown Zoning in Question on Merrimon Avenue
The most recent zoning debate taking place in Buncombe County is actually happening in downtown Asheville, NC. In an article written by Mark Barrett in the January 15, 2008 issue of the Asheville Citizen Times the Asheville City Council will explore two major zoning matters in 2008. First, the developers of the Horizons Project, which would erect nine buildings including two 10-story towers, have asked to postpone a public hearing until July in order to evaluate neighborhood opposition and economic conditions.
Barrett also writes that the Asheville City "council is scheduled to hear from city staff on zoning proposals for the 2.4-mile stretch of Merrimon between Interstate 240 and North Asheville Library near Beaver Lake." "The city had considered creating a new zoning district for much of the property along the street that would encourage taller buildings closer to the street," Barrett continues, "but several property owners and some residents objected."
As Buncombe County moves forward into the future growth is inevitable, but the real effects zoning will have on real estate in Asheville, North Carolina is yet to be seen. Local homebuyers and sellers can achieve more real estate success the more they educate themselves about zoning restrictions and changes. To learn more about zoning or buying and selling real estate in Asheville, NC visit http://www.MarkGJackson.com.
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
If you're like most people, your home is the biggest single investment you've got. You expect it to increase in value over time, and you probably have more money tied up in it than in any other investment. This money is your equity, and a large chunk of it disappears when you sell your home using a real estate agent.
In this article, you'll learn how real estate commissions affect your equity, you'll see just how many real estate agents make money from a single commission, and in the section called Avoiding the Pressure, you'll get an inside look at why many real estate agents are so persistent at getting their sellers to accept low-price offers.
A Quick Word to Buyers
Buyers and sellers alike benefit when there is no real estate agent involved. The term "fair market value" has a different ring to it when the middleperson is taken out of the equation, and prices trend to a truer value when they no longer reflect real estate commissions.
Equity is the value of the unencumbered interest in your home. It's the difference between the fair market value of your home and the unpaid balance of your mortgage, plus any other outstanding debt on the home.
Real Estate Commissions
Real estate commissions are the fees earned by real estate agents and are based on the selling price of the property. They're usually in the range of 6%, and they represent an excessive portion of the property's equity, equaling thousands and thousands of dollars.
Your equity increases in two ways: as you pay off your mortgage and as your home appreciates. It decreases when you borrow against your home. But nothing reduces your equity quite like a real estate commission. You get nothing for it that you couldn't have got on your own.
Here are three assertions for why you should sell your home yourself:
Lower Cost of Selling
If you sell your home using a real estate agent, the commission you'll be charged is around 6%. For a $250,000 home, that's $15,000. For a $600,000 home, it's $36,000. You have to ask yourself what you're getting for all that money. The cost of selling your home on your own is negligible by comparison, and the result is the same: your home will sell. If you list your home on a For Sale By Owner real estate wed site, run a few classified ads in the real estate section of your local paper and prominently display a For Sale By Owner sign in your front yard, the cost of selling your home could be less than $1,000. With the amount you'd save in commissions, you could still afford to advertise more, if necessary, in places like local real estate publications and newspaper supplements.
Retaining Your Equity
Let's say a couple decides to sell their home. It has a fair market value of $300,000 and they have $60,000 of equity in the home. They decide to use a real estate agent and agree to pay a 6% commission, or $18,000. The house sells. After the closing, the couple realizes they've lost 30% of their equity. The $18,000 commission paid at closing meant that instead of walking away with $60,000, they only walked away with $42,000. So they have much less to put down on their next home.
Avoiding the Pressure
The economist Stephen D. Levitt and co-author Stephen J. Dubner wrote recently in their book Freakonomics (HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.) of Levitt's study showing that when real estate agents sell their own homes, those homes stay on the market an average of 10 days longer than their clients' homes. The same study shows that the selling price of real estate agents' homes is on average 3% greater than that of their clients.
Here's why. A couple who lists their home with a real estate agent for $250,000 may hear from the agent that someone has offered $240,000 for the home. The agent will typically insist that this is a good offer and that the sellers should take it. Why would the real estate agent be so eager to accept a price that's $10,000 below the seller's asking price?
It's simple. Agents split their commissions: half goes to the buyer's agent, half to the seller's agent. Then it's usually split again: each agent gives half of their commission to the agency they work for. So the agent representing the seller is only getting 1.5% of the sales price of the home (6% ÷ 4).
With a $240,000 offer, the price of the home is reduced by $10,000, but the commission is reduced by only $600. The real estate agent's cut of this is $150. It will cost the seller's agent only $150 to accept the low-price offer. What does it cost the seller? An additional $9,400.
This situation happens every day. There is a strong incentive for real estate agents representing the seller to entice their sellers into accepting offers well below their asking price.
As you can see, there are tremendous financial advantages to selling your home yourself. That's not to say it's for everyone. It requires a little more effort, and some are willing to part with all that equity to have a real estate agent do it.
But selling your home yourself can be easier than you think. The right research will help you price your home correctly, understand the paperwork involved, and prepare you getting the home ready to sell.
Make sure you walk away from your closing with your equity intact.
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
If you owe money and have a below average credit score you may find it difficult to get a mortgage loan. In view of these facts, you may find interest in asking a qualified real estate agent help you find a home. These agents have a database full of houses that stream from land contracts, bad credit approval, and so on. The real estate agent may help you find a home you can buy despite how bad your credit maybe.
If you have outstanding debt, the lender will inquire about your credit history and debts incurred. The lender will ask if you have any outstanding loans, and if so, what amount do you pay monthly. In other words, if you have car loans, you will need to supply the balance owed and the amount paid monthly toward the loan.
Lenders will ask about credit card debts. If you reply yes, then the lender will ask how much do you pay monthly. Overall, the lender will ask how much monthly do you spend on incurred debts that come from your pretax salary on credit card repayments etc.
You will need to answer questions pertaining to assets, which includes cash on hand. The underwriters will investigate information relating to the questions. For example, they will examine and ask, "What is the estimated amount in your banking account?" How much funds will be available in your account after you have paid closing fees, down payment costs, and other fees applicable to mortgage loans. Do you have a saving account?
The lender will ask how much cash do you intend to apply to the loan. The lender may ask also if the down payment is money coming from your pockets. If the answer is no then the lender will ask where the money is coming from...
The loan purpose is of interest to the lender. Accordingly, you will respond to questions relating to the purpose of the loan, which includes, are you refinancing a current home, or are you an innovative buyer?
If you respond to the question pertaining to the loan, letting the lender know that you intend to refinance a current home with the money lent; the lender will ask, "Do you require cash at closing to repay debts? Of course, the question that follows will be, "How much" cash will you need to pay the debts in full?
The lender will require information pertaining of the home's purpose. Do you intend to use the home for work or dwelling? Is the loan intended to invest in the property?
Type of Property
The mortgage lender will also need to know if the home is duplex, condominium, or single-family housing.
Monday, March 24, 2014
Blogging and the real estate business go hand in hand. Real estate is about forming long-lasting relationships with people, giving them information that will help them make prudent buying and selling decisions, and see the transaction through from start to finish. Blogging is all about relationships as well, and making sure that the readers are getting the information they want and need.
Realtors and other real estate professionals can easily start a blog that focuses on their farm area, the area that they do most of their business in, or one that focuses on their area of specialization, such as listing homes, short sales, first time buyers, or other area of interest to one segment of the people who are looking to buy or sell a home or condominium at any given time.
There are several blogging platforms to choose from. Blogger, maintained by Google, is free and very easy to set up and get going. One downfall is that you have very little support and there are times when Google may decide to shut down your blog without warning. Poof, it is gone, and your hard work is gone right along with it.
WordPress is also free and has many technical capabilities, but requires its users to be more tech savvy in certain areas. Support is also minimal to the users.
I use TypePad, and have maintained over ten blogs there for a year and a half. TypePad costs from five dollars to fifteen dollars a month, but the customer service is great and most of the features are built in. I recommend that you start with a free, 30 day trial and see if it is for you.
Blog posts should be written regularly, at least twice a week, so that you can build up your readership. Each post can be as short as a paragraph, and should include valuable information for the reader. Blogging can increase your expert status very quickly and have prospects calling you for more information.
Saturday, March 22, 2014
How can the ancient art of Feng Shui be helpful to Real Estate Agents? With the diversity of the market, you will want to know what your clients may be looking for in their new homes and addressing these issues ahead of time will put you ahead of the competition.
A basic knowledge of Feng Shui is important for all real estate agents. Feng Shui is a widely held belief of many cultures where potential homeowners will look to see if a home will "support" them in all the areas of their lives. For example, the front door is very important as many consider this area the "Mouth of Chi," a place where all good energy enters. Checking to see that the pathway leading up to the front door is clean and unbroken as well as having an immaculate front door will help a sale right from the beginning. In Black Sect Feng Shui, all doors are considered the "voices" of the occupants. They should all be able to open freely without squeaking or knocking into each other.
What other things will your clientele be likely to be looking into? They are very aware of what we call "missing pieces:" When a home is not in a square shape, depending on where the area is, they will determine this is a missing piece and will affect a certain area of their life depending on where it is missing. For real estate agents, having a simple understanding of The Bagua can help you to understand why they believe this. Feng Shui consultants who are trained in Western method as well as some of the other forms can make all corrections simply and inexpensively; they never believe a home won't support the new occupants.
New homeowners are also looking at the new home in relation to the street or outside energies that are surrounding it. They are unfavorable to homes in Courts (where energy can sometimes pool) or T-Junctions where streets will cross-sect into their homes. Again, using Western methods these are relatively simple issues to address.
The number "Four" on a home is probably the least likely of all of the other areas that will deter a potential buyer. For many, the number "Four" sounds like "death" much as like the number 13 is considered here to be unlucky. This is a difficult area to address though some have suggested painting the house numbers in a circle to "contain" this energy.
They may well want to know a history of the home and something about the previous owners, so you may want to prepare for that was well. It is important for them to dispel the "predecessor" energy of those that have lived there before.
These are just a few of the ideas you can arm yourself with when selling a home in today's market. It might be wise to enlist the aid of a Feng Shui consultant who is familiar with various methods of Feng Shui including Western methods to dispel their fears and help you, as their real estate agent, sell the homes, knowing that someone who practices from a positive perspective will not deter the sale of a home.
Friday, March 21, 2014
Simply put, the process of flipping houses can be described at purchasing a property and reselling it for a profit. The house flipper (potentially you) tries to complete the entire house flipping process within the shortest time interval, thus making quite a hefty profit.
Attaining success in the house flipping game requires the potential investor to think like a real estate power investor and capitalize on the available opportunity by executing a series of well timed decisions to the best of one's ability and access to resources.
If you're planning to resell houses (better known as 'house flipping'), you need to have a solid framework of the strategies and techniques that can be put into practice, in addition to the technical know-how in areas such as tax planning.
Once you have a strong educational framework ready, you need to start planning on achieving success.
Your Planning activity should include:
- Setting your short (daily, weekly, monthly), medium (quarterly, half yearly, yearly) and long term goals (more than one year).
- Determining exactly what tasks you would like to achieve in a given period.
- The strategies you'll be implementing in executing your plan.
You'll be performing these strategies everyday, thus as you probably know by now - real estate investing is locating properties that can be sold with comparative ease, negotiating the details of the process and then choosing the best path of action that should be implemented by you for archiving the maximum profit.
If your lucky, it'll be a quick flip after a minor (or major) property rehab, while at other intervals you'll just be required to buy and hold your house so that it can be sold at a higher price at a future price, while sometimes its a little bit of both. Thus, the key to real estate investment success lies in determining what the market wants in order to make the maximum profit.
If your getting started now, and are scared about making mistakes, thus will cause a sense of dread within you, that will prevent you from reaching the peak of success. Don't allow this dread to set in, instead take the assistance of an experienced real estate investor, who has gone down a similar road as you, for being your mentor of sorts, who has the ability to gently guide you by the hand until you reach the winner's circle with up to date advice, encouragement and valuable words of wisdom.
Real estate investing is an art and one needs to know exactly what strategies to use no matter what situation the market is in (it hasn't been hotter in the past 30 years than it is in 2009), and you will need all the tools of the real estate investing trade, such as the acclaimed patented real estate home analyzer robot software to quickly determine the value of a property and identifying the relevant comps, thus arming you with the correct information as part of your property research. Best of all, it automatically pulls the values and comps from three of my favorite websites. Then it prints a PDF report that you can save and utilize it while comparing different properties, so as to make the most economical offer.
Real estate investing does take commitment and stamina. You too can start today, by taking these simple lessons to heart and allowing the touch of a master's hand to transform your dreams into a reality.
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Whether you are interested in buying a single family home, a luxury condo, a townhouse or anything that is in between; you will have the chance to work with a licensed real estate agent who is knowledgeable about the realty process ins and outs and can help you stay one step ahead of any prospective snags along the way.
What you need to know
It is very important to keep in mind that different states across the U.S.A follow slightly different rules and regulations for sale and purchase of homes and other properties and one has to be familiar well with them in order to make the most out of a deal.
Orange County California is one of the more populous counties in California State and also one of the best places to trade homes and other pieces of land. It lies beside the beautiful coast of the Pacific Ocean of Southern California. The seat of the county is located in Santa Ana and although it has no decisive main city, it is home to downtown regions for several cities including Anaheim, Orange, Fullerton, Santa Ana, and Huntington Beach. Of course Anaheim is the major tourist destination and Irvine is the business centre of the county.
There are about 34 cities that are unincorporated in the county. The Orange County inhabitants were estimated as of 2008 to be over three million and that is sufficient to make it the 3rd largest of all California's counties. There are 4 cities in Orange County each having populations of their own of over 200,000. With increasing population within its confines, trading homes can be quite profitable provision in Orange County.
Use Search Feature
Searching for homes and condos couldn't be easier than computers and internet has made it. A little search on internet can help you great deal in finding the desired information about buying or selling any type of residential unit in Orange County, or for that matter, anywhere else.
By using any Real Estate agent's website, you are able to search through every home, piece of land and condominium currently available in any state you are looking into. You will receive the latest listings as they hit the market by saving your preferred criteria for search. You will also be able to save properties that are your favorites to refer to them later.
Short sales, bank REO's and foreclosures have been growing in housing market over the last several years. Quite often, these can offer you some amazing deals. You may effortlessly discover if there are any good deals by using any real estate agent's foreclosure search, where you are able to find the current foreclosures in this particular area.
The driving force in Orange County is tourism, with Knott's Berry and Disneyland attractions together with numerous beaches that stretch along more than 40 miles of Pacific coastline. There are 2 water parks, Soak City in Buena Park and Wild Rivers in Irvine. Recreation areas outdoors include Cleveland National Forest and Seal Beach National Wildlife Refuge.
These are things for you to take into consideration if you want to end up with some profitable deals by selling homes in Orange County, CA.
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Daily headlines in the Wall Street Journal discuss the unprecedented damage done to retirement funds due to the economic crisis and corporate scandals. With social security evaporating rapidly, baby boomers retiring, and everyone living longer, investors are desperate for an investing alternative that can offer safe, strong return.
Many investors are not aware of a long-standing Internal Revenue Service ruling that allows investors to put their IRA funds and even some 401(k) plans into what's called a "self-directed IRA" or SDIRA. This little known retirement tool is believed to be the future of retirement investing since investors actually have direct control over what they are investing in.
SDIRA's can be used in a wide variety of nontraditional investment. Real estate investing is the most widely used investment vehicle for SDIRA investors.
Here's how it works...
1. Open self-directed IRA account with a specialized custodian
2. Transfer current IRA funds to the new self-directed account
3. Direct custodian to invest the funds into the specified asset. After an administrative review to determine if the asset can be administered, the custodian forwards the funds to purchase the asset, and the asset comes into the ownership of the individual's IRA account.
The IRS code does not specify which types are permitted; however, typically you can purchase investment property such as
- single or multifamily dwellings,
- commercial buildings,
- raw land,
- vacation property,
- mobile homes
You can also lend money against these types of property and become a private lender.
You cannot buy a property, or invest in a secured loan, that involves yourself, a son, daughter, parent, or other disqualified party -- such as a fiduciary or your sole proprietorship.
Teaming up with the right "custodian" is critically important, especially as SDIRA's become more mainstream. Make sure your custodian has a proven track record, reasonable transaction fees, and is as flexible as the law allows in letting you direct your money toward the investment of your choice.
Many investors are looking for simple solutions where they can leverage other peoples' knowledge when making investments.
Monday, March 17, 2014
Cypress Canyon Homes
Cedar Park has a beautiful new real estate community called Cypress Canyon. Homes in Cypress Canyon real estate are either in Cypress Canyon Vistas or Cypress Canyon Preserve. Homes in this community are old, new, and built starting in 2005. Prices for homes in this place range from the mid 200s to mid 600s. Homes in this community are adjacent to Deer Creek Ranch real estate, south of Lime Creek Road, and west of Anderson Mill Road. Homes for sale in this real estate have a tax rate of 2.5% and include features such as crown molding, butler pantries, and high ceilings.
Cypress Canyon Real Estate Amenities
The parks of Colby Lane, Cluck Creek, Nelson Ranch, and Elizabeth Milburn surround these homes. Elizabeth Milburn Park has a pool, soccer fields, tennis courts, a basketball court, and a waterslide. Residents of this community share many amenities with Deer Creek Ranch, including Quiet Moon Pool and Zappa Pool. Not to mention, those living here also have Zero Edge Pool and a Jr. Olympic Pool. Sandy Creek Park is a mere 10-min drive from homes in this community. Twin Creek and Crystal Falls Golf Club are also near these homes. A pool house and amenity center is also available to residents of these homes.
Cypress Canyon Homes for Sale
Residents here have a plethora of restaurants to choose from, and all types. Guadalajara, Serranos, and Los Reyes are great Mexican restaurants for residents to enjoy. In the mood for Asian food? Hunan Chef, Classic Thai, Hayasji, China Café, Panda Express, Tokai, and Rosie's Pho are great options. In the mood for something else? Moonie's Burger House, Red Brick Pizza, Jamba Juice, Starbucks, Chili's, Wingstop, and Railyard Grill are also available for residents of these homes. If residents of these homes are in the mood for a movie, Regal Cinemas Lakeline 9 and Cinemark are right around the corner. Gold's Gym, Walgreens, and Lakeline Mall are not too far from homes in this community either.
Schools Near This Community
The Leander Independent School District services the homes of these homes. Homes for sale here are less than a 7-min drive from the three schools that serve the students of these homes. Deer Creek Elementary School, Cedar Park Middle School, and Cedar Park High School educate the children of these homes. This school district will provide your children with a great education.
Sunday, March 16, 2014
A conniving pro?
In a real estate agents' newsletter, an agent shared her secret for getting more listings. She said that when she sees a For Sale By Owner (FSBO) sign go up in a neighborhood, she immediately calls the number on the sign and tells the seller she has a client who isn't comfortable seeing the home without an agent.
In reality, the agent's "client" is actually her mother or a friend, posing as a buyer. The agent goes along and says very little, at least in the beginning. All she does is give the homeowner a business card upon arrival, and then she stays in the background, listening and observing. The bogus buyer asks all kinds of questions, and eventually the homeowner begins to feel comfortable with having the agent there.
After awhile, the owner begins asking the agent questions about the market, financing, or the many other things involved in selling a home. According to the agent, she converts a fairly large percentage of such appointments into listings, and apparently has no compunction about the deception involved in getting them.
This is an example of the biggest reason why real estate agents have traditionally gotten a bad rap. Some of them are downright dishonest. That's why some investors seem to think they should avoid using real estate agents to buy or sell properties. However, I disagree, and I'm not alone. In fact, contrary to popular belief, many of the most successful real estate investors buy and sell properties using agents. My husband and I often use agents to sell our properties. We've sold some houses ourselves, but we generally appreciate professional help, for a number of reasons, all related directly to our bottom line.
Why Professional Agents Earn their Commissions
We have several agents who call us when they find bargain properties because they know we'll call them back when that house has been fixed up and is ready to sell. Those agents can count on receiving commissions on both ends of the transaction, which gives them incentive to keep finding us properties to flip. The more they find, the more they make, and the more WE make in the end. As far as we're concerned, having reliable, honest agents help us buy and sell properties is simply sound business practice.
Another reason we like agents is because they schedule appointments, show us properties, do the negotiating, and take care of all the paperwork. Not having to deal with all those details frees us up to spend more time on the houses themselves, which is our main concern. For us, the real estate agents we work with on a regular basis are invaluable and make us far more than their commission on every transaction.
Saturday, March 15, 2014
E-books have become the newest weapon in the war for leads in the real estate market. The fierce competition among real estate agencies to get leads for potential buyers and sellers has moved from the streets of big and small town America to the pages of the Internet.
The Internet has proven in recent years to be the most fertile ground for finding and developing potential leads for buyers and sellers and many agencies are investing thousands of dollars in online marketing.
E-books are becoming one of the most powerful and popular ways for real estate agents to generate leads.
Many website design and development firms are urging that real estate clients offer free e-books to enhance lead generation. With an initial cost ranging from $500 to $1,000 for a typical e-book the cost-benefit analysis clearly points to the creation and use of e-books.
Some website design and development firms have actually hired writers specifically for real estate projects that can quickly write unique e-books for each client that provide value to potentials buyers and sellers and provide the real estate agency with a valid e-mail address for follow-up marketing.
E-books have ranged from topics including: How to Get Your Home Ready to Sell; The Ten Commandments of Buying a Home; First Time Homebuyers Rulebook and How to Buy Your First Home.
The key to having an effective e-book is a catchy title, valuable content and the need for someone to enter a valid e-mail address so the e-book can be delivered.
Busy real estate agents generally prefer the website design firm to create the e-book on their behalf and often partner with mortgage lenders and other real estate professionals to defray the cost of the e-book. An e-book can contain links to those professionals selected by the real estate agency.
With more home buyers and sellers turning to the Internet to both buy and sell their homes, real estate agencies must continue to invest in online marketing and e-books are one of the easiest and most cost effective ways to develop leads in the highly competitive field of real estate.
Friday, March 14, 2014
This article deals with the recent single family residential sale statistics for Orillia, Ontario for the month of January 2011 and compares it to January 2010. There are so many different statistics that can be manipulated in many ways to produce either positives or negatives... Basically, what I was concerned with was the activity on our local real estate board with a focus on the average sale price and the sales/listing ratio.
Once again, I am strictly looking at single family dwellings that were reported to the Orillia & District Real Estate Board. I am not taking into consideration any commercial, multi-family, or rental dwellings.
Average Sale Price $233,031
January, statistically speaking, was quieter than a year before. From personal experience, I have been busy but my clients are taking a more cautious approach to the start of the year. The average sale price for the month, $233,031, is far off the twelve month average (February 2010 - January 2011) of $262,189. This can be attributed to the relatively small sample size of 32 sales where a few lower priced sales can trend the average sale number downward.
Last year, the January 2010 numbers:
Average Sale Price $244,036
So, for 2011, the single family residential market for the Orillia area has had nine fewer sales, resulting of a sales/listing ratio being down 4% and an average sales price being down $11,005 from a year ago at this date.
With February being a short month, the spring market is approaching and the numbers above should see a trend upwards based on the activity that has started in the past week or so. There have already been some larger waterfront listings brought to market and once the ice breaks, there will be more and more.
In terms of in-town homes, I am getting a lot of calls from people wanting to buy a home that has the ability to provide rental income as well. People are looking at the university and college students as a way to help pay off their mortgage.
I am really excited by the opportunities that I think the Orillia real estate market will provide for 2011... will you be part of it?
Thursday, March 13, 2014
Radon. It's just five letters, but this little word can terrify home buyers and sellers alike. The presence of radon in a property is no laughing matter; however, neither is it the end of the world. Yes, radon is an odorless, invisible, carcinogenic gas. Yet, it doesn't have to make a home uninhabitable or drastically reduce its value. When it comes to radon and real estate there are a lot of myths and half-truths out there, so don't believe everything you hear. This is what you need to know, whether you're looking to buy or sell, about radon tests, radon mitigation, and the real estate market.
Start by having a radon test done before you put your house on the market. That way you won't end up surprised by results when a sale is pending. If the radon testing process turns up concentrations of more than 4 pCi/L (the EPA's recommended threshold for unsafe levels), you need to put in a radon system. This not only helps keep you and your family safe in the time you continue to live in the property, but it also removes a potential hurdle to a sale. If the test turns up a lower level of radon, you may still want to investigate putting in a radon mitigation fan as the EPA reports that there is no known safe level of radon exposure. Keep in mind that properties with the lowest levels of radon--thus the safest in terms of this gas--are the homes with abatement equipment installed.
In fact, your best bet is to approach your radon mitigation system as an asset, rather than a liability. Especially if your property is located in an area of the country that is known to have high radon levels (EPA red zones), you may even want to advertise that your home has a radon abatement system. If you take the angle that your property has this additional feature that others may not, buyers, too, will see the radon mitigation fan as a pro rather than a con.
It's the perfect house: spacious kitchen, updated bathrooms, plenty of bedrooms... But when they see that radon mitigation system, many prospective buyers bolt. However, there's nothing to be afraid of. As mentioned above, homes with radon abatement systems are actually SAFER than homes without. So don't just run when you see that a property has a radon system already installed. Just like you wouldn't buy any old house just because it didn't have a radon system, all things being equal, you also shouldn't nix a property just because it does!
If you're interested in a home, and it doesn't currently have radon mitigation system, you'll definitely want to have a radon test performed. In fact, many savvy buyers make a clean radon test a stipulation of the contract, creating a starting point for negotiating with the owners if abatement is necessary.
In short, whether you're buying or selling a property, it's important to have a radon test done. Radon mitigation systems can ensure that your home--and your family--is safe and sound, making them an asset rather than something to fear.
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
There is a new threat to the mortgage market, which is the federal debt debacle playing out in Congress.
It all boils down to this. If the Congress cannot authorize the rise in the country's debt ceiling then the United States of America will have to default on some of its payments. The whole economy would be adversely affected and that includes the housing market. That's because a default will push up interest rates on every form of credit including mortgages. Some analysts are predicting that the interest rate increase could be as much as 1 percent.
It is said that 95 of every 100 home loans being written today are put into mortgage-backed securities that are guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or Ginnie Mae. When they guarantee securities, that guarantee is coming from the U.S. federal government. The inability to raise the debt ceiling would mean that the value of these guarantees would plummet because the U.S. government would have to default on some payments.
The way the system works is that when the value of the securities drop, then the securities market would immediately demand a much larger rate premium on new mortgage backed securities to compensate for the greater risk. The results will be sharply higher interest rates charged to new borrowers.
The adverse effect on borrowing will not just be one immediate reaction by the markets. Instead, it will be spread out for years. If there is a serious and extended problem, U.S. bond holders like China will demand higher interest rates. This will ripple through all the markets and cause the further increase of interest rates in the mortgage market. Of course, this, as well as problems in other markets resulting from such a move by bond holders will slow economic growth more and the results would be higher mortgage rates, a double dip recession or -- the worst result of all -- a full scale depression.
As previously mentioned, the increase in interest rates could be as much as 1 percent. This could cause a 1 percent decrease in economic growth and the loss of 800,000 jobs a year.
Moreover, many analysts are saying that it won't be just the higher interest rates that would be impacting the U.S. economy. As this crisis plays out stocks, bonds and the dollar itself could plummet and all of this will continue to buffet the mortgage market. as it affects everyone's ability to borrow money regardless the reason.
Furthermore, analysts say that the default could freeze the short term lending markets. Treasuries and other government-backed debt are used as collateral for loans and the value of these securities will be plummeting because rating agencies will downgrade U.S. debt. So lenders could demand that borrowers must provide more collateral which could force consumers to sell other investments. Analysts say that this could cause a selling cycle that would spread chaos across markets much like the Lehman Brothers collapse did in 2008.
The issue is not just the federal deficit and debt. The repercussions of a U.S. government default will ripple through every nook and cranny of the U.S. economy affecting everything including mortgage interest rates.
The housing market has taken enough of a hit already due to the Great Recession, the record rate of foreclosures, the plummeting value of homes and the reluctance of buyers to take the plunge and buy a home. It certainly doesn't need more problems caused by a small group in the U.S. Congress who demand that "It is our way or the highway!"
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
With a new President of the United States only days away from being sworn into office, are we bound to see a light at the end of the recession tunnel? Things are bad across the United States, but will a new leader truly make a difference in the world of personal finance and real estate? We can all hope the promises of the new leader end up boosting the economy and bringing back the powerful economical reign the United States has come to love.
With a new President comes much of the excitement a child feels with a new toy. That excitement is enough to make people believe in the practices, rules and regulations that the leader preaches will turnaround our financial world. Along with that novelty, comes the fact that the current President of the United States is facing approval ratings lower than anyone every thought possible.
Is a Turnaround Out of the Question?
Some people, including the President Elect, believe the state of the financial crisis is bad enough that a change needs to be made today in order to save the United States from years of recession. Not unlike the months before President Bill Clinton took office, the United States economy is in a slump and needs a boost. It took President Clinton four years to change the slump and four more years to gain the total trust of the United States people. Unlike that time in history, today people are looking for change and President Elect Obama may be the change the people need.
How Will The President Elect Change Real Estate?
The real estate market is directly related to the financial well-being of the people of the United States. If there is money flowing in the economy people are more likely to invest in a home of their own or investment real estate. When the media, friends and family are facing harsh economic times, lost jobs and reduced pay, the money is just not there to invest. And, even if the money is available, the savings rate in the United States is on the rise because people are saving that money in wait for the final financial shoe to drop.
The entire real estate community and agents across the United States stand together in hopes that the President Elect will be able to make good on many of the promises responsible for his election. A new day is on the horizon and we all can only cross our fingers that President Elect Obama understands what the American people and the real estate community need to climb out of the recession and become the financial leaders we once were as a nation.
Sunday, March 9, 2014
Out of the many luxury real estate options found within Miami today, it seems that a vast majority of wealthy individuals are inclined to purchase Key Biscayne homes due to the fact that they are located in one of the most celebrated tropical paradise settings within the entire region.
The Community Location
Most property buyers within Miami consider their options based on the community's location since the region is one of the finest places within the United States. With its fabulous weather conditions, sunny skies, and exceptional natural beauty, people are particularly drawn to communities which are able to showcase all of these features in the most opulence areas possible.
Key Biscayne is among the prime exclusive communities which provide people with a fabulous selection of luxury homes which are situated upon a secluded island off the coast of Miami Beach. Over the decades, the community has been a preference among high-profile individuals who are looking to get away from the turbulence of everyday living in order to indulge in the elegance of living within a community situated along the Atlantic coast of Miami, Florida.
Exclusive Luxury Living
Aside from the natural beauty that is showcased from the island, the fact that people can easily look forward to exclusive luxury living is definitely among the main reasons why wealthy individuals are drawn to today's selection of fabulous Key Biscayne homes. If you look forward to living within a peaceful, private tropical island community that is known to live up to its own rules and regulations which aim to provide the best quality of living for all its residents and guests, Key Biscayne will definitely prove to be the best community for you.
Another amazing feature that comes with the exclusive community is Crandon Park's Tennis Center which has become the host of the Sony Ericsson Open Tournament that people from all over the world look forward to annually. People who are particularly fond of tennis will absolutely love being able to live within Key Biscayne homes that are found within such close range to the finest tennis courts within the United States today.
Real Estate Value
As of July 2012, the median sales price for Key Biscayne homes was $822,500 which marks a rise in value of 1.2 percent from the previous quarter. On an annual basis, the increase in value is 1.7 percent. The average listing price for Key Biscayne homes for the second week of August 2012 was $2,152,621.
If you would like to learn more about your available options on the property market, you are encouraged to contact a professional real estate for more information.
Saturday, March 8, 2014
The last 150-200 years have been a period of extraordinarily cheap energy. Besides energizing almost all our methods of production, cheap fuels have also seriously distorted our way of living so that most of the middle-class section of the North American population live far away from their places of work. More specifically, cheap fuel and commuting, though expensive in time, meant the coming to reality of social status elements the likes of the 'American Dream' - owning a single-family dwelling or the equivalent 'Canadian Dream' - owning an interest in land, but distorted to the excess of becoming status symbols. As such, at the bottom of these two elements of economic reality in our social structure lies the fundamental desire on the part of many individuals to obtain some sort of status satisfaction from the social environment in which they live by flaunting their real estate possessions in a rather ostentatious way.
The impact of this attitude has been felt not only on the ever-increasing prices people have been willing to pay throughout the years for the acquisition of real property assets that fulfill and complement their status satisfaction, but also on the very designs and architectures of homes and residential complexes. Thus it is possible to find, nowadays, in many metropolitan centers exceptionally beautiful homes and villas and elaborate constructions, which go well beyond the rather simple conception of the aforesaid dream of owning a home. As cheap energy has fueled this constant social trend in both Canada and the United States these past few decades, if we imagine that energy starts to become steadily more expensive in the coming years then we can reasonably expect that the trend will gradually be reversed and the present separation between home and work will steadily decrease.
Often overlooked, but an important design consideration affecting the total energy used by the home, is the size of the home. Recent statistics compiled by the US Department of Energy show that new homes on average use more energy than older homes, partially due to larger home size, increased use of air-conditioning, and the widespread use of numerous electronics. While home size will likely be determined by factors other than energy efficiency, considerations are now on the drawing board as to whether the same function can be delivered in a smaller package. Smaller homes, because there is less space to heat and cool and less wall area for energy loss, use less energy for heating and cooling than larger homes. For example, in many climates a screened porch can add practical living space without the cost of adding air-conditioned space. Additionally, architects and home designers are coming to grips with the realization that comfort has almost nothing to do with how big a space is but, rather, that it is attained by tailoring our houses to fit the way we really live.
On the economic aspect of things, a recent study undertaken once again on behalf of the US Department of Energy details that home heating costs can be expected to skyrocket in the forthcoming years. For example, the Department of Energy predicts that homes heated with natural gas could see their fuel costs explode by as much as 48 percent by 2007. And the cost of home heating oil could surge by up to 32 percent. As oil becomes scarcer and more expensive there is a high probability that the economic shock waves will hit hard throughout the economy. Petroleum is a basic raw material used in the manufacturing of many products including chemicals, paints, plastics and synthetic textiles. Other industries - steel, aluminum, electric power - use large quantities of oil and oil derivatives in the course of their production. When petroleum supplies become pinched and prices push up, these industries may well be forced to restrict output and raise prices, thus putting even more inflationary pressure on the economy. Scarcely any enterprise is immune to the oil squeeze, as the lessons of the '70's and the '80's have taught, and real estate is definitely no exception.
As shortage of supply is typically followed by price increase in many economic models, there is a general consensus in many circle that the inflationary cycle will start all over again, prompting the Federal Reserve Bank to hike interest rates. This process has begun already, as interest rates are slowly oozing upwards. An increase in the prime rate means typically a subsequent increase in both passive and active banking rates, that is the rates banks charge for mortgages, credit cards and consumer loans as well as the interest they pay on bond, term deposits and certificates of investment. A question arises, therefore, as to whether an energy crunch - not the mythological real estate bubble - could cause a market slow down and how concerned should people be not just about the value of their own homes, but about the economy of the entire country. Afterall, real estate has positioned itself after five years of continuous expansion as the single most ingrained and relevant market in the economic basket of goods.
The answer is to be found in what economists refer to as the wealth effect. Consumers tend to spend more when their net worth increases and less when it decreases. Economists use this rule of thumb: a $1 change in household wealth leads to a roughly 5-cent change in consumer spending. By that measure, a 10 percent decline in real estate prices would knock about half a percent off the gross domestic product. Even more significant for the economy, though, would be a collapse in home equity lending. The industry has been booming as housing prices have soared. But if prices stop rising, new borrowing against home equity will drop, and may disappear. This is important, because home equity lending in Canada amounted to more than $20 billion last year - or nearly 4 percent of the economy. If all that borrowing - which freed up cash that was spent on new furniture, appliances, vacations, cars and the like - simply vanished, the effect could be large enough all by itself to send the economy into recession. But that's not all. The housing sector has even broader effects on the economy, by some estimates accounting for 25 percent of all activity. A decline in property values would most likely lead to declines in other industries, like construction, brokerage, banking and insurance. And these are important for future growth.
Construction, for example, amounts to 7 percent to 8 percent of the economy, according to the Economic Council of Canada. Then there is banking. Because of the leverage associated with real estate, a fall in values would affect banks and other lenders. It would probably lead to tightened credit standards, less lending and higher interest rates. If lenders begin to suffer steep losses, there is always the danger of financial contagion, in which problems at one institution ripple out to others it does business with.
In essence energy is so important for real estate and real estate so important for our economy, that the impact of an energy crunch would be felt not only on real estate but would spread and engulf the entire economy and impact our very own way of living.
Thursday, March 6, 2014
The real estate industry is something which keeps growing by the hour. Every second you delay an investment might actually cost you a hell lot of lash. Even when the real estate sector is at its lowest there are few sections which are never going to lose its taste. These are especially the ones which target the richer and dominating classes. Luxury real estate sector is something which has almost never seen a low rather it is something which sees new heights with the passing hour. The desire for a luxury life is something dominant in every one. People dream of it but only the ones who are rich enough can turn their dreams into reality. SO if you have money and you dream of living life with style a luxury home is something which you must get. It also is an all time favorite and rewarding investment.
Agents are always on a look out for prospective buyers who will spare a hefty sum to invest in their dreams. Now before you actually spend a huge chunk of your hard earned money on a luxury property you will need to know a bit about the luxury property. Here are a few small tips which will guide you to get yourself the right luxury property.
Keep in mind that the term luxury differs from place to place. What might be luxury in a 3rdworld country might not even be close to a normal well to do life in the states. Keep in mind that the geographic location tagged with a lot of other features actually determine the true value of a luxury property in any specified location.
The first factor you must look at is the size of the house and the whole property. This is a key determinant in the price of the property on sale. Now the surrounding areas of the property! You will want to know if it is a waterfront property and it has the beautiful view of an ocean or another water body. Luxury life is also about other luxury leisure activities like gaming, etc. You will definitely be curious in the proximity of the place from luxury amenities. Say for example a golf course. Now consider the market value of the luxury home.
Now the market value for what is considered a luxury property will be different for different countries. If you consider the United States of America the lower limit of a luxury property is approximately tagged at a million US dollars. You will find luxury properties in the US in locations like New York City, Sun Valley, The Hamptons, Westchester County, Santa Fe, Palm Beach, Jackson Hole, Greenwich, Litchfield County, Northern California and Southern California.
The designs of the luxury properties are usually original ideas of the designers. Some even are inspirations from the different lifestyles across the globe. The creativity of the designer however counts big time. Richer people also get luxury properties customized to suit their needs.
Luxury real estate companies try to provide the best possible solutions to their clients. Their concern is of the highest degree especially because their clients are investing a very large sum of money in the property. It is hence their responsibility to find them the best possible deals. Different marketing strategies are applied by the agents to attract customers not only on a national but on an international scenario.
Before you zero down upon your purchase do all the research required for the investment. The agents are there to help you out but they are sometimes more concerned about their commission. Do not be influenced by anything. Just keep your eyes and ears open and be assured you will definitely find the house of your dreams.
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
That which is not intentionally branded may be accidentally branded. This can pose dangers in real estate agent marketing. But why? What are some examples?
Last time I drove past a sandwich shop in the local area, I noticed someone standing next to the garbage having a cigarette - namely, the guy who prepares the sandwiches. That is rather unappetizing, and tarnished my impression of the brand.
When your message are inconsistent, your brand equity is damaged, because you let doubt intrude about your ability to live up to your brand, your promise. At my hometown bank, the "k" in their sign hasn't lit up in months. Don't they care? Or perhaps they can't afford to fix it? This reflects more broadly on their business. Will they pay more attention to their ATMs - or my deposits, for that matter? I don't care to find out!
When every contact you have with potential home buyers builds on the previous messages you have imparted, you make the customer experience ever more robust. That is consistency in brand messaging.
This doesn't have to be expensive. I recently met a copywriter with a unique visual style. Her business card is shaped like an exclamation point, her brand symbol, and lists some copywriting tips on the back. I'd expect to see creativity and intentional branding in her office, work for clients, web site, email signature and her presentations.
Here's the branding opportunity for real estate agent marketing:
1. List all your brand touchpoints. Brainstorm for awhile so you don't leave any out.
2. Decide how each touchpoint should communicate your brand promise. For instance, if one of your differentiators is efficiency, you could return calls within three hours, have a value statement about efficiency on your business card, and strive to provide tools through your web site that help home buyers increase their efficiency. Have fun and be creative as you think about this.
3. Begin to implement your ideas. And remember - follow through all the way. Rather than do 60 things halfway, do a few things completely.
4. Enjoy the rewards! Well-branded real estate agents enjoy clients who appreciate them more, pay premium prices, refer their friends and are more
loyal. This will increase your profits and reduce your spending on realtor marketing.
For your brand to be effective, you have to communicate your differentiators until potential home buyers know them in their sleep.
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
If you're planning to build a new home in Orlando, Florida, don't miss out on a unique benefit called the "new home rebate." Florida buyers rebates are often left in the pockets of homebuilders because the buyers don't understand how they work or know that the rebates even exist. Obtaining a new home rebate is so easy that you can do it with minimal effort and get thousands of dollars cash back for your new home purchase. But first, you must understand what types of properties come with this offer.
Florida New Homes
New home constructions in Florida, such as in Orlando, qualify for the new home rebate. This means you choose the blueprints for your home and a contracted builder builds the home from the ground up. To take advantage of this rebate, you must go through a real estate agency as your referring Realtor. You'll contact a Realtor that offers the new home rebate before contacting a builder, and the Realtor will refer you to the builder. The Realtor receives a referral commission from the builder, and then you receive a portion of those commissions. Just make sure the Realtor does actually offer the rebate before getting started.
Having a referring Realtor can help you in two ways. First, you'll receive your rebate (an amount ranging from $2,000 to $30,000). Second, you'll receive assistance from the Realtor, someone experienced in realty, to guide you through the home building process. There are many details you could miss if you're new to the whole thing!
Included in new home construction properties could be new homes in golf course communities, vacant land, home sites or lots, resort properties, luxury homes, and waterfront homes in Florida.
Preconstruction means you pay for the condo, town home, or single-family home fully or partially before they are actually built. This benefits you as the buyer and the builder. The builder is able to secure financial stability throughout the project because he has money up front to work with. You are able to secure your home or apartment up front and sometimes even enjoy tremendous savings by paying in advance. These types of properties also qualify for the new home rebate.
Florida Income Properties
If you're planning to invest in properties for income purposes in Orlando or other cities in Florida, you can build new income properties and qualify for the Florida buyers rebate. This gives you a steady cash flow while preparing the homes or condos for renters to move in. Also, you can use your new home rebate to invest in your next building project. It's your choice.
Other properties that qualify for the new home rebate include new second vacation homes, new retirement homes, and new executive homes.
Keep in mind that the new home rebate does not affect other buyer incentives, discounts, specials, upgrade packages, or competitive financing offers that the new homebuilder might offer. So, you can enjoy your new home rebate without making any trade-offs.
Monday, March 3, 2014
Investment properties financing is essential in order for the investor to limit the amount of money he/she puts out of his/her pocket when investing in an income-producing properties; The Debt Coverage Ratio indicator or DCR finds out whether the property generates enough money to cover the debt for one year.
A DCR of 1.00 means you have exactly, greater than 1.00 means you have enough and some left, and less 1.00 means you don't have enough to pay the mortgage. Most banks like the property to have a DCR of 1.20 or higher before they give you a mortgage.
DCR= Annual Net Operating Income / Annual Debt Service
For example, an investor purchases a single home investment property for $62,000 with a monthly rent of $1,600, vacancy rate of 3%, monthly mortgage payments of $1,200, and total annual expenses of $3,000.
DCR= Annual Net Operating Income / Annual Debt Service
DCR= $15,624 / $14,400
Subtracting the annual expenses and vacancy rate from the annual rent income, and dividing it by the mortgage payments for the year calculates the DCR. Most investors employ the use of real estate investment software to calculate the debt coverage ratio.
Investor should know the DCR of each potential investment property. Real estate investment software often allows investors specified the benchmark level by which to accept or reject a property based on the DCR specified by the investor.
The following values have an impact on the Debt Coverage Ratio calculation:
The annual expenses include maintenance, property taxes, and other expenses incurred y the operation of the property.
Sunday, March 2, 2014
When I began in residential real estate agents navigated from home to home the old fashioned way - with a paper map! When Global Positioning Systems (GPS) became available as units mounted on the dashboard, I acquired one. The GPS for me is a critical tool for the practice of residential real estate selling. The last 2 vehicles I have purchased had built-in navigation devices.
The GPS is particularly helpful in those areas where the streets change names frequently or they stop and start in different sections of the community. Arlington, Virginia is one of these communities in which the GPS is extremely helpful. Before having a GPS, oftentimes the buyer client would be in the front seat instructing me on where to turn. With a GPS the buyer and I can focus our conversations, and it allows me to identify more easily for the buyer community amenities and points of interest. Realtors in the listing information often include directions to the home, however those are often written assuming the driver is starting from a central location. But typically when an agent is out showing buyers homes, we are probably not starting at a central location but rather coming from another home in a residential neighborhood. Navigating back to the main roads and then figuring out where one is from that place and getting to the next can be a nightmare! The GPS allows one to focus on driving, rather than worrying about getting lost.
What I found though is that the GPS is not a thinking person! I have had a GPS take me in what I knew was the most out of the way direction. Also the GPS doesn't know about traffic patterns in a community and possible construction sites. So I believe that having a thinking person involved is still the preferred means of navigation. Even with a GPS, I still use a paper map to identify the properties to view and to lay out a plan for the order of the homes to see. Buyers have told me that they appreciate having the full perspective of the area that only a paper map can truly provide. I plug in all of the addresses into the GPS individually; that way if the client decides to change the order of homes to view from what I had originally mapped out, or a seller has requested we arrive at a time frame different from what was originally planned, those changes can easily be accommodated without the GPS having to recalculate the route.
In thinking of the fabulous uses of a GPS as it relates to my life, it made me think of another correlation. I have found that many people think that just by doing some research on the Internet that they can find out everything they need to know about home buying and selling. That would be like believing that a GPS and a paper map is all you need to get around. Again, having a thinking person aboard is still the preferred method! That is the same in navigating the process of home buying and selling, it is still best traveled with a seasoned real estate professional that can assist through the process.
Saturday, March 1, 2014
The financial system of the United States of America can be pretty confusing, especially to the common person. One question that is often asked is how the credit crisis affects the real estate market. The answer may not be obvious, since the finance and real estate sectors are distinctly separate entities. Taking a good look at how the two relate does reveal how the two interact, and how a crisis for one affects the other.
The current economic crisis has seen a marked downturn in credit for everyone, as well as a serious loss of real estate value. This is because credit is so strongly intertwined with real estate that they will fall and rise together, like twins joined at the hip. Think about it: most homes are actually bought on credit. There are very few people who have enough money on hand to buy homes outright, so most people turn to lending companies and banks for assistance. This is the biggest amount of credit that any average person will owe, and so it pretty much defines the relationship and importance of credit in real estate. Without a means of acquiring property while not having the money on hand, the real estate market would stagnate and shrink.
Now, what happens when a crisis strikes the credit world? Economic downturns lead to the loss of capital, and so banks and financial institutions lose a fair amount of money as well. This in turn means that they have less money to pay for purchases on the behalf of their clients, thus reducing the amount of credit they can extend to customers. If the loss means that the upper limit on loans goes down, or that loan approvals need to become more selective and strict, then applications for home loans go down too.
With less loans having sufficient values and fewer loans being approved, there is less activity in the real estate sector. The slowdown means that prices will stagnate and drop over time due to age-related losses on properties. A house which could have been sold brand new for tens of thousands of dollars will lose several hundred in value as long as it is exposed to the elements without someone to live inside and take care of it.
Some experts argue that the current economic crisis is a vicious cycle of events that started with the loss of faith in the American way of doing things. The Iraq war in recent years, as well as the anti-terrorist hostilities for almost a decade saw the USA's strong involvement. Some saw it as meddling with affairs outside one's place, and so lost appreciation for the USA. This meant that less people wanted to go to the USA or invest in American companies, leading to losses in real estate and credit. As can be surmised from previous statements, these losses can cycle back on each other and make everything worse. With the new President, Barack Obama, there is hope for major changes that can save the US economy, though only time will tell.
Friday, February 28, 2014
Whenever you begin a journey, it is important to know where you are going. As well, it is just as important to know where you are starting from. If you want to go to Chicago for instance, starting from Los Angeles or starting from New York will take a different route. Investing in real estate is the same way. You will begin to see how your unique personal situation will help shape your portfolio of investments. Before you invest in anything, you need to know where you are in terms of income, expenses, assets and liabilities. Knowing where you stand now is critical to how and what you invest in.
If you have not done so recently or ever, write down all of your income and the sources of that income. Next, write down your expenses. This usually takes a bit longer and may take a bit of investigating to find accurate numbers. No one else needs to see this. Accuracy is important. Next, write down all of you assets. These are the things you own that have value. Then, write down your liabilities. These are the amounts you owe to others. Add up the difference between what you make and what you spend. Then, calculate the difference between what you own and what you owe. This will be an eye opening experience for many people.
A person who wants to get the most out of life often has a number of goals they are working on at the same time, in both their personal and business lives. Setting goals is the first step to turning dreams, ideas and wishes, into REALITY!
Recent studies show that less than three percent of the population has written goals. It is no surprise that these are the very same people who are the most successful people in our society. When you set a goal, you commit yourself to a CAN DO attitude. You begin the process of doing what you are dreaming and that is truly a key to success.
Why is it so important to set goals? Mostly it has to do with how the brain works. Setting a goal puts a certain part of your brain into action, especially if your goals are written. If you really want to kick it into overdrive, tell other people about your goals. The more you think about your goals the better your chances of taking action and achieving those goals.
Setting personal goals gives you focus and will solidify an individual's attention into a particular area to the exclusion of other thoughts and activities. The human brain processes thousands of tidbits of information every second. This information comes from the senses, memories and thoughts. The brain processes all of this information and decides which things are the most important to handle now. When you write down your goals, the brain gives more importance to these written priorities. It's like a memo from the President, it gets more attention. If you are constantly thinking about, reviewing and rewriting your goals, your brain becomes more focused and will be much more aware of related opportunities and available resources, which are important to the success of your goal.
When you set a goal, your brain becomes more aware of the opportunities associated with the goal that you might have overlooked or not given any attention to if you had not set that goal. Have you ever noticed that after you start thinking about buying a certain item, suddenly you begin to notice that everyone now has one? It wasn't that everyone else suddenly went out and got the same item, your brain is just more aware of it than before.
Making the choice to set goals in your real estate investing will create a result that far outweighs the person who invests on a whim, like a lottery-ticket mentality or without any concrete path to where they are going.
Thursday, February 27, 2014
If someone owns a piece of property and allows unabated trespassing across the property for long periods of time, and then arbitrarily starts enforcing their property rights, real estate law tells them they may not have the rights to do this, even if they own the property. Currently, we have a new type of trespassing that is absolutely out of control - Foreclosure Squatting.
This is where someone, could even be a homeless person moves into an empty property and just starts living there. After the subprime lending debacle the number of foreclosed homes has risen by nearly 3500%. With all these home vacated, it is prime pickings for someone moving in. Worse, many of the banks that own these properties have let them go, and have not even been out to see if anyone has moved in illegally.
Even if they do inspect the property, getting a squatter to leave is not as easy as it seems. Now many enforcement agencies will not even serve foreclosure demands to remove people from a property. Worse, the note holders who've bought the mortgages and own the homes may not even be in the United States.
If a foreclosed empty home becomes a de facto residence for the homeless, a habitat for wildlife, an alternative parking lot for the neighborhood, a short-cut to the next block or community center for the locals, then once it's sold these groups could indeed sue to maintain their new rights. Especially after many years of unabated activity in the empty homes. Think on this.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
If you're looking for a real estate career that not many other people have discovered yet, unclaimed overages are where you should start. Unclaimed overages are funds being held by the government that belong to private citizens. These people, for whatever reason, have lost track of these funds and stand to lose them if they aren't collected in time.
If you decide to become a "found money" professional, you may be tempted to start with state-held funds. These are the funds you can find on states' "treasure hunt" websites, and usually come from things like stock dividends and utility deposits (i.e., aren't for very much money). Unfortunately, you'll never make much with these unclaimed overages. They are too visible, and too small in amount to make much money - these funds are capped out by state law at a 10% finder's fee.
The unclaimed overages you need to focus on are those created by real estate - tax sale overages, mortgage foreclosure overages and the like. These funds run into the tens of thousands of dollars, and due to a loophole almost no one has yet discovered, are NOT subject to the same finder fee limit laws that state-held funds are. That means 30-50% finder's fees. On many thousands of dollars, that's a hefty paycheck. They also aren't advertised online... so people you contact will not be able to check and find the money on their own.
Something else you'll probably like about unclaimed overages is that collecting them can be done entirely from your home office - online and through the mail. You can find records, find owners, contact owners and process claims all from your desk - whether it's in New York or New Zealand.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
The market is falling, the prices of homes are dropping and people are losing thousands and hundreds of thousands of dollars each and every day in stocks and bonds. Will the real estate market ever rebound?
The simple answer is yes, but the when is the more difficult question to answer. The financial state of the economy is leading people into thoughts of recession and the pending Greater Depression. While some states and real estate areas are not affected as strongly by the fall of the financial sector, others are floundering and in need of great help.
The Presidential candidates both have differing views on how to deal with the real estate crisis. No matter their personal views, the November 4th election results will be the hinge to the future rise or fall of the real estate world. If the right candidate is elected, the DOW will rise and the economy will slowly work its way out of the hole. If the wrong candidate is chosen, the opposite will happen and the Greater Depression will be a reality.
Unfortunately for real estate agents, the right or wrong candidate is not in our hands. The majority will elect who they feel is right or wrong and as long as that person is placed in office, the world will inevitably rebound. However, if there is a close race, the financial, and thus real estate, markets will rebound much more slowly.
What Can a Real Estate Agent Do to Help?
Nothing. The economical world is falling fast and patience is the only solution. Until the new Presidential official is elected, the world will have to sit on the whims of fate and see where the DOW drops today.