Category: Featured


For the first time home buyer, buying your first home is one of the most exciting things you will ever do. If you have spent years living in apartments, there is nothing more satisfying than owning your own property. The process can be a little lengthy and you might hit a few bumps in the road to home ownership. The following tips will help the first time homeowner avoid some of the hiccups.

Step one is to talk to a real estate agent about the home buying process. It should not be a sales meeting and you should be able to find an agent that will agree to meet with you about the basics without having to sign a sales agreement with them. If you cannot find a good agent to talk to, you might want to consider talking to a loan officer at your bank or a mortgage broker.

An equally important tip is to get your finances in order before you apply for a mortgage. Order a copy of your credit report so you can check it for accuracy. Mistakes are common and you want to make sure that there is no fraudulent activity. You have the right to dispute errors on your credit report. If you come across something that you know is an error, circle it and send it to the reporting agency along with a letter of dispute.

Next, you should really study the mortgage industry. You need to be able to find the right loan and lender most suitable for your needs. Familiarize yourself with industry terms like debt to income ratio and adjustable rate mortgage. Learn the difference between pre-approval and pre-qualified. It will all seem foreign at first, but taking the time to learn the business will spare you from headaches in the future.

Also, you need to figure out what your wants and needs are. What kinds of amenities are you looking for? How many bedrooms? One story or two story home? You also need to consider the size of the down payment and figure out what you need to do to come up with the money for it.

You must learn about how real estate agents work. There are buyers agents and sellers agents. A buyers agents responsibility is to negotiate the best deal for the buyer. The goal of the sellers agent is to get the price that the seller most desires. The best way to find the right agent is to ask your friends for suggestions. They have all probably been in the same boat, so they can probably recommend a good real estate agent.

When meeting with a potential agent, pay attention to how they treat you. Make sure they listen to you when you talk about what you want. Also, how are their follow up skills? Do they take the time to return your calls or emails? If they do not take the time to respond, move on. There is a better agent out there for you.

When looking for a home, consider all of the possibilities. Look up real estate agents websites. Do not rule out For Sale by Owner Properties and foreclosed homes. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) homes can often be found for very reasonable prices. You do need to find an agent that is approved to sell HUD homes if you choose to take that road to home ownership.

Before you even think about making an offer, you need to consider the resale value. You might plan on being there for a long time, but you just never know. You might opt for a different climate to alleviate your allergies or you could simply be transferred by your company. You want to pick a good location that will be attractive to others as well.

Another issue that cannot be ignored are the deed restrictions, which govern what you can and cannot do with the property. If it has always been your dream to have a pool, you want to make sure that you do not buy a home in a subdivision that will not allow it because of deed restrictions.

Home inspections are an important part of the equation. Talk to your agent to find out when the inspection will be performed. It varies state to state. Sometimes the inspection will be right before the contract is signed and other times, they are performed right after an offer is made.

Finally, make sure you stay on top of things. Any number of problems can crop up at the last minute and delay the purchase of your home. If you are not sure about something with the paperwork, do not be afraid to ask questions. You might think of something that everyone else has overlooked.

Purchasing a home is a time consuming and sometimes frustrating task, but it is worth it when you have your backyard barbecues.

The cost of maintaining a real estate property is indeed treated an expense that must be spread over the asset’s useful life even if it depreciates. In real estate, when you shed a sum for maintenance, repairs, and other property necessities to be used to generate sales, you treat the item as an expense. Let’s put things in a much comprehensible example: let’s say you purchased a van to be used for your business. The van losses its value the very minute you drive it out of the dealership and the measure of the loss in value is known as depreciation expense. This happens on both vehicle and property investment. But in the case of an asset, when what you’re indebted cost more than the original value of the house, this only calls for one thing: a short sale.

Now how do you go about short sale investing? The following may answer this query in both an investor and a seller’s end:

Learn the trades of a short sale like the back of your hand. Or to put simply, you should learn the dealings from inside out. Short sale is the process by which a homeowner deals with a bank or a lending firm concerning a property on the brink of foreclosure. This usually happens when the property is no longer a marketable one and the homeowner out of negligence or incapacity to pay the mortgage owe more than the entire cost of the house. Therefore, to make it simple and comfortable on both end, it is a must that short sale is well elucidated and detailed for the benefit and understanding of both parties.

Short sales are not a speedy course of action. If you’re a homeowner who’s in the process of short selling, you have to realize that this isn’t a speedy process. This isn’t the same as a 30-day release of results. It takes more than that and certain things would probably dishearten you. So for the faint hearted, this isn’t the way to go. You have to deal with painstaking paperwork and formalities, red tape considerations, and a lot of other hindrances that may come along the way. So it pays that you brace yourself for the inevitable.

Consider your figures. You do not just invest on short sales without doing the math. This is of course on a buyer’s perspective. On average, if the property you’re rooting for has a value of no more than $150,000, aiming for at least $20,000 in the sale is already a sound number. However, if it goes the other way around, and basing on your calculation, you wouldn’t be netting $15,000 at least, then it’s not going to be worth it. Keep in mind, the property may require renovation and reconstruction cost that would perhaps cost you more, so you really have to weigh your options.

Finally, just take it easy. If you’re a homeowner, expect to meet stumbling blocks that will stand between the short sale procedures. If you’re the buyer, be emphatic. Understand that a homeowner is going through a difficult time. Make the homeowner comfortable in own your pace. When you’re able to do this, you’ll most likely end up getting the sale.

Read more: http://www.articlesbase.com/wealth-building-articles/short-sale-investing-guidelines-on-both-a-buyer-and-a-homeowners-perspective-1473343.html#ixzz0peFF6L4P
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Real estate investment is perhaps one of the most lucrative forms of investment today. But it is also equally risk bound especially when one is not well versed with the trends and nuances of the real estate market. So if you are contemplating on investing in real estate, it is best to avoid costly mistakes in real estate investment especially when you invest your hard earned money into it. Knowing the most common mistakes made by real estate investors helps one steer away from making such mistakes in the future and ensures good return on investment.

Here are the top ten mistakes made by real estate investors, according to bankrate.com. Bankrate has put together the top ten mistakes after speaking to established, full-time real estate investors and other professionals involved in real estate investment such as bankers. Read on to know them and avoid them.

1. Not planning up ahead. Lack of a proper plan is the biggest mistake made by novice investors. Finding a house after forming a proper investment strategy is the right way instead of looking for a house to fit the plan. Many make the mistake of buying a house because it seems to be a good deal and then trying to see how they can fit it into their plan. Instead of buying a house and thinking one can plan in due course, investors should rather concentrate on the numbers and try to make offers on multiple properties. This will ensure a good property that not only matches their investment model but also works out well with the numbers they had planned for.

2. To believe you can make money quickly. The second major mistake that real estate investors make is to think it is very easy to get rich in real estate. This is only a myth and the reality is that investing in real estate is a long term project.

3. Doing it single-handedly. For becoming a successful real estate investor one needs to build a team of professionals who would assist the investor in his deals. This would ideally include a real estate agent, an appraiser, a home inspector, a closing attorney and a lender.

4. Making excess payment. One another reason that investors in real estate goof up in their investment is by paying too much for the properties they buy. Paying too much and locking up all the funds in the erred property deal will leave you with no money to redeem yourself.

5. Leaving out the groundwork. Not doing your homework could be a costly mistake if you were a real estate investor. Every field of business needs sufficient amount of homework to be done, and real estate investment is no exception. Learn the fundamentals and then venture into investing in properties.

6. Throwing caution to the winds. Investors have to exercise a certain degree of caution and take earnest efforts while making a deal. New investors often fail in this regard and sign a deal without doing adequate research on the property.

7. Miscalculating money flow. Investors whose strategy is to buy, hold and rent out properties need to ensure sufficient cash flow for maintenance. Property managers could be expensive and the owner has to incur more expenses such as mortgage, taxes, insurance, advertising costs etc. Investors have to allocate their budget such that all these expenses are taken care of, or end up having their asset turn into a liability.

8. Lowering the volume. A larger volume of deals or transactions helps in increasing the profits by reducing the impacts of marginal deals.

9. Getting trapped in your own deal. Having more number of options at hand for the property you buy is a wise strategy. This helps one to be prepared for fluctuations in the real estate market. Plans to rent out the house could go awry when the rental market slumps. Having alternative plans helps you cut down losses and tackle unexpected situations.

10. Making incorrect estimates. People who plan to rehab their house need to check if they will still reap the benefits at double the time that they had estimated. This ensures they do not miscalculate and lose money on the deal.

Read more: http://www.articlesbase.com/real-estate-articles/avoid-top-10-mistakes-made-by-real-estate-investors-151870.html#ixzz0peFljr8N
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The best rumors have the longest staying power, and the untruths about the connection between Bank of Canada interest rate cuts and mortgage rates is a prime example. Why? Well, though Bank of Canada interest rate cuts do affect the financial industry, they do not affect every segment of the financial sector; some segments are directly affected, others are only indirectly effected, and then there are segments that are directly or indirectly effected depending on the financial product. The mortgage industry falls into that third category.

Shocked? Well, you’re probably not alone. The idea that Bank of Canada discount rate changes cause mortgage rates to change is a common misconception that’s been perpetuated for years. So, let’s set the record straight!

TRUTH: When the Bank of Canada adjusts interest rates, it does affect interest rates of financial products. However, only interest rates for short-term financial products—things like car loans, credit cards, etc.—are directly affected by Bank of Canada interest rate cuts or hikes. Meanwhile, 10, 15, 30, and 40-year fixed mortgage loans are considered long-term financial products. As such, the Bank of Canada’s decisions do not directly influence fixed mortgage rates.

TRUTH: Though Bank of Canada rate cuts have no direct influence on fixed mortgage rates, the Bank of Canada’s decisions do directly sway one type of mortgage loan: Adjustable rate mortgages (ARM), which are also sometimes referred to as variable rate mortgages, IF the ARM is specifically stipulated as being tied to the prime rate.

TRUTH: Fixed mortgage rates are based on mortgage bonds (sometimes called mortgage securities), NOT the 10-year T-bill. Therefore, what actually has a direct effect on a mortgage rate increase or decrease is the buying and selling of mortgage bonds.

TRUTH: Though Bank of Canada rate changes do not have directly influence fixed mortgage rates, they can have a Domino Effect on fixed mortgage rates. How so? Well, the purpose of the Bank of Canada’s rate adjustments is often to increase or decrease consumer spending. For instance, when interest rates are cut, the goal is to increase consumer spending. As a result, investors speculating that the Bank of Canada’s tactic will work pull their money out of the bond markets (which are less volatile, low return investments) and put their money into stocks because they believe they can make greater profits from their investment. When this happens, that can cause mortgage rates to fluctuate. Remember: Mortgage bonds / mortgage securities affect mortgage rates. If money is cashed out from mortgage bonds, rates will increase. Conversely, if the monies are withdrawn from other types of bonds, mortgage rates may dip or they may remain unchanged.

So, what does all of that mean if you’re looking to modify or refinance your mortgage, or if you’re waiting for mortgage rates to change before you apply for a mortgage loan? First, it means that you should keep an ear out for what the Bank of Canada is doing regarding interest rate cuts and spikes ONLY if you’re interested in a variable rate mortgage—which would not be ideal for most consumers in the current economy. However, if you prefer a fixed rate mortgage, it means you can (and should) stop wasting your time tracking the 10-year T-bill and keeping tabs on the Bank of Canada. Instead, keep watch on what’s happening with mortgage bonds so you’ll know when mortgage rates are where you want them!

Read more: http://www.articlesbase.com/mortgage-articles/the-truth-about-mortgage-rates-821138.html#ixzz0peJX6JCl
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You may wonder what the differences between home equity loans and home equity lines of credit are.
Home Equity

When you have a mortgage on your home but the value of the property exceeds the amount owed, the difference between the outstanding debt and the property value is referred as Home Equity. This remaining property value can be used to guarantee another loan: A Home Equity Loan or Line of Credit.

Home Equity Loans are secured loans with a fixed or variable interest rate, a fixed loan amount and a fixed, though negotiable, repayment program. A home equity loan is just like any other loan, only it is secured with the equity you have built on your home and thus carries fewer interests.

A Home Equity Line of Credit on the other hand, comes only with a variable interest rate, there is no fixed loan amount, though there is a credit maximum and the repayment is extremely flexible. The home equity line of credit is also secured on the home equity.

Interest Rate

Since both are secured, the interest rate charged is considerably low. Only home equity loans with a fixed rate can have a slightly higher interest. Home equity loans with a variable rate usually carry a somewhat lower interest rate. Home equity lines of credit, on the other hand, carry only a variable interest rate that is usually similar to the home equity loan fixed interest rate.

Loan amount

Home equity loans come with a fixed loan amount that can equal or be a bit higher than the home equity value. Home equity lines of credit are somewhat different: There is no loan amount, a credit maximum amount is set and you can borrow as much money as you need up to that amount. For example: If a $50.000 limit is set you could borrow $10.000 and a month later borrow $20.000 more. And so on till you reach the credit maximum.

Repayment
Home equity loans come with a fixed repayment schedule which has to be followed strictly with some exceptions. Though, there are in some cases grace periods and waivers you could apply for, if you request a home equity loan you will probably have rigid installments or at least a fixed amount plus a variable amount depending on interest rate variations.

Home equity lines of credit let you repay the amount you owe they way you want to do it. You have an open line of credit where you can borrow and repay as much as you want as long as you do not exceed the credit limit. Moreover, as opposed to home equity loans, lines of credit do not require to be renewed as you can always borrow more as long as there is credit left. If your home equity grows either by an increase on your property value or because of a reduction on your mortgage debt, you can ask for your credit maximum to be recalculated.

Read more: http://www.articlesbase.com/credit-articles/the-flexibility-you-need-benefits-of-home-equity-lines-of-credit-279295.html#ixzz0peKezPxB
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Baby boomers, baby boomers, baby boomers; we all hear this term over and over again. So who are the baby boomers? Baby boomers are people in the United States who were born between 1946 and 1964. Approximately 78.2 million people fall into this category.

As a group, baby boomers comprise the largest population cohort in the history of the United States. The size of the group gives it vast influence over American politics, popular cultural, and of course, real estate. To evaluate the influence of the baby boomers on the future of real estate, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) conducted a study in 2006. The findings of the research were published in report entitled Baby Boomers and Real Estate: Today and Tomorrow. Below are some highlights from the NAR study.

AGE DISTRIBUTION

According to the NAR report, baby boomers now range in age from 42 to 60 years old. The typical baby boomer is 50 years old, and the oldest of the baby boomers turned 60 in 2006. About 46% of baby boomers are in their 40s, and about 25% are at least 55 years old.

HOUSEHOLD INCOME

As a group, baby boomers are in their peak earning years. In 2005, baby boomers had a household income of $64,700, and about 25% them had a household income of at least $100,000 per year.

HOME OWNERSHIP

About 78% of baby boomers own a home, which is higher than the national ownership rate of 69%. About 96% of baby boomers believe that home ownership is a good financial investment.

FUTURE REAL ESTATE PURCHASES

About 10%, or 7.8 million of all baby boomers, said they were likely to purchase additional real estate in the next 12 months. Of these potential buyers, two-thirds were planning on buying a primary residence, 26% want to buy land, 19% want rental property, 15% want a vacation home or seasonal home, and 14% want a commercial property.

WHAT FEATURES ATTRACT BOOMERS

When baby boomers were asked about what features are most important to them, 38% wanted a lower cost of living, 38% wanted to be near family, 38% wanted easy access to quality health care, 37% wanted a better climate, and 36% wanted to be near a body of water.

PREFERRED COMMUNITY AMENITIES

When baby boomers were asked about the type of community amenities that interest them most, about 18% wanted to be near cultural offerings, 9% wanted to be closer to their family, 4% wanted to be on a golf course, and 3% wanted easy access to educational facilities.

WHERE DO BOOMERS WANT TO RETIRE

When baby boomers were asked about where they want to retire, 33% of them want to retire in a rural area, 30% in a small town, 25% in a suburban area, and only 12% in an urban community.

BOOMERS AND THEIR REAL ESTATE AGENTS
Baby boomers consistently use the services of a real estate agent. Approximately 60% of home buyers and 79% of home sellers used a real estate agent in their last transaction.

SUMMARY

The baby boomers have had and will continue to have a significant impact on the real estate market. As the boomers near retirement, they continue to value real estate and will continue to invest in properties and land. Real estate agents would be well served to understand what baby boomers want in terms of their real estate investments, and design strategies that target the needs of this enormous population cohort. For more information, read the NAR report entitled, Baby Boomers and Real Estate: Today and Tomorrow

Read more: http://www.articlesbase.com/real-estate-articles/baby-boomers-will-drive-real-estate-growth-87235.html#ixzz0peKzrDs6
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So, you’re putting less than a 20% down payment on the house you are buying and you are getting a conventional loan. Your lender has given you the option of paying a monthly private mortgage insurance (PMI) premium or offering you a higher rate where the lender pays it, known as lender paid mortgage insurance (LPMI). Which scenario is better for you? You’re confused and don’t really understand it all; you’d prefer to just have the decision made for you rather than weigh the options yourself. However, if you don’t consider all the options, you could be making a financial mistake.

PMI protects the lender against default and is required on loans that are deemed higher risk If you are investing less than 20% of your own money into a home, a lender considers it easier for you to walk away from your debt obligation if you find yourself in a pickle and can’t pay your mortgage. Your lender can buy/pay your mortgage insurance for you, but to do so, they charge you a higher rate plus a profit margin. To make a decision as to which route to take, you need to weigh the pros and cons.

You have more interest to deduct on your taxes because of your higher rate when you have LPMI. But if you and your spouse make $100,000 annually or less, or individually you make $50,000 annually, your monthly mortgage insurance is deductible. Depending on your tax bracket, the higher interest rate may or may not benefit you. You should crunch the numbers or ask your accountant’s advice.

PMI automatically terminates when your loan to value (of the original property value) reaches 78%, and but you can request it terminated when it reaches 80%. Some lenders will allow you to terminate the insurance when the appreciated loan to value reaches 80%. So, how long are you keeping this loan? Will you be paying down the principal balance rapidly? Is this your forever home and your forever mortgage rate? Then perhaps LPMI isn’t such a hot option. You can review an amortization schedule when making this decision to figure out just what payment will get you to that target loan to value (LTV). If you know that you will be making extra principal payments regularly, your lender should be able to help you analyze that scenario as well. However, if you’re going to be in the house a short time, than LPMI might just be the way to go.

Finally, just look at your basic payment both ways. Which way is more affordable for your current needs? The pricing on these products fluctuates. One product may be cheaper than another based on loan amount, term, down payment and other factors. You may also qualify for a second mortgage to make up the remaining 20% down payment and avoid private mortgage insurance altogether. What works best for your needs?

When considering your options, discuss your plans with your lender. Consider the above points and discuss them with her/him. By doing so, you should be able to clear the fog and make an educated decision.

 

It doesn’t matter whether you are purchasing your first home or second or even third, you are going to need to take out a mortgage to cover the costs of this purchase. So it is vital that you dedicate some time initially to finding the best mortgage lenders possible. Below we offer some tips that could help you to do just that.

Tip 1 – When it comes to you getting a mortgage how much the rate is on the loan is crucial. So it is advisable to spend time comparing a number of different lenders before making your final decision. When it comes to rates we aren’t just talking about the interest you will be required to pay on your loan but any closing costs that you will incur as well. These costs could add upwards of $2,000 on to the mortgage you are considering taking out and you may well be required to pay these upfront to the lender.

Tip 2 – When it comes to selecting the best mortgage lender you would be wise to know exactly what your credit score is at present. If you get pre-approval from your mortgage lender they will then review your credit report to determine whether you are going to be a risk to them or not. By actually obtaining this yourself you could save yourself a small sum as the lender will charge a fee for obtaining this information themselves. Plus be aware that if too many checks are carried out on your credit report then this could actually lead to your score being damaged because the reporting agencies will deduct points for these searches to be completed.

Read more: http://www.articlesbase.com/mortgage-articles/tips-for-finding-the-best-mortgage-lender-for-you-1409927.html#ixzz0peLglbL5
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Real Estate business has seen tremendous growth and so has been the need of Real Estate agent. Today more and more people are getting interested to become home owner and as the demand for real estate need increases the role of Real Estate Agent becomes more important. In the past one agent use to provide services to both seller and buyer but as the real estate market changed people started to realize that specialized service is more logical and beneficial. In Real Estate industry now buyer/seller are looking for specialized agents who can provide specialized related expertise, information and services required to complete the process. When a real estate agent represents both buyer and seller it really restricts agents to provide impartial service to either party.

Let’s look at the both (Seller/Buyer) scenario separately. A real estate agents who is a listing agent of seller has a fiduciary, ethically and moral duty to represent seller only.

By getting Exclusive Right to Sell Listing, the real estate agent is promising seller that he will live no stone unturned to market the home and find the best buyer at maximum possible market value for the home.

As a Buyer’s real estate agent he need to find the right home for buyer along with should all information of the community. When a buyer is exploring to buy a real estate property in new community, he is very much interested to find out several information related to that particular community such as population, crime, climate, schools, traffic, living standards etc. Buyer’s real estate agent should be well informed with all these information so that he can provide that information to buyer. It will be easier for buyer to make the decision based on these information. Once the buyer is ready to buy real estate property in the community then other part of the real estate agent’s duty starts. As buyer’s agent it is his responsibility to find a real estate property, as per buyers requirement. It is also buyer’s real estate agents duty to negotiate the best market price with seller.

So if seller and buyer are represented by their own specialized agent then both agents can play a partial and specialized role for their client.

So it is quite clear that one real estate agent representing both seller and buyer can not justify providing specialized service to both party. Both buyer and seller are in different need of services. That’s why specialized real estate service has become more in demand where buyer/seller can get impartiality specialized service during the process.

Never before has the role of specialists in the world of real estate been more important. With buyers and sellers requiring more services, the industry has seen an explosion of agents who specialize in either the representation of sellers or buyers. These specialist agents can provide a wealth of services and maintain a complete impartiality during the sales process as there is only one client to concern them.

Historically the sales transaction and the concerns of the buyer were the purview of a single Realtor. However, as the industry has progressed so have the needs of each party and so the specialist arose. Buyers have some very particular needs, and specifically the need to feel that their best interests are seen to. Listing agents are representatives of the home’s owner and in that role they have a primary responsibility to that owner. How could they properly look after the needs of an interested buyer as well?

So what is it that a buyer’s agent does? Primarily the buyer’s agent will begin with the location of suitable properties for their clients. This is usually based upon a list of requirements and desires that the client has communicated to the agent. They will then arrange viewings and recap their findings with their clients and assist in deciding upon a good candidate for an offer. This will be based on the wealth of community information that a buyer’s agent commands. As specialists, they are experts on their given area which is critical in the education of clients on the areas that they are considering. Once a property is decided upon, the buyer’s agent changes significantly, evolving into an overseer-negotiator role. They will typically coordinate the inspections and conduct the negotiations with the listing agent. This includes the execution of the buyers subjects and the closing of the actual contract.

There is an art to representing a buyer. It is a role that has become ever more crucial in an industry where customer service is the single most important thing that an agent can offer. If you are in the market for a home then the buyer’s agent is the friend that you need to make sure that you are given the service that you deserve.

Read more: http://www.articlesbase.com/real-estate-articles/do-you-need-a-real-estate-agent-121699.html#ixzz0peM0Wwem
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