Category Archives: Real Estate

Finding A Real Estate Agent

Whenever you buy or sell real estate, you may be like millions of other people out there, in thinking that you don’t need a real estate agent. Most people who buy or sell homes, generally think that a real estate agent is a waste of money. Those who choose to buy a new home, think that real estate agents only add to the cost of purchasing the home.

What most people aren’t aware of, is the fact that real estate agents are normally paid by the seller, not by the buyer. As a buyer, you’ll get to work with a professional real estate agent without really having to pay for it yourself. The policies can vary greatly from state to state and company to company, which is why you should always check any paperwork or contracts that are provided to you to ensure this is the case. When you are interviewing agents, make certain to ask about any type of fees as well.

A lot of real estate agents out there may work with both buyers and sellers, although most specialize in working with either the buyer or the seller. If you are buying a home, make sure that the agent you choose has prior experience of working with buyers and transactions that involve no money down. This way, you can count on your agent to be there when you need him the most – especially if you don’t have a down payment.

If you are interviewing a real estate agent and he or she isn’t familiar with down payment assistance programs, you shouldn’t hire their services. Agents who aren’t familiar with these types of programs generally aren’t on the level, or they may lack the experience necessary to help you purchase the home of your dreams.

You can also make a list of real estate agents that you can interview based on referrals from friends, lenders, and even family. Lender referrals are normally a great choice as most lenders have worked with their recommendations in the past and both are already familiar with each other. Choosing a lenders referral can also prevent you from encountering any obstacles or surprises.

When you interview a real estate agent, make sure that you have the agent explain his fees. This way, you’ll know exactly how much he will be getting from the purchase. You should also find out how much experience he has in the field, and how long he has been working with real estate. You can also ask about sample contracts as well. If you are buying a home, you should make sure that the agent works with buyers. If you happen to be selling your home, then you’ll want to make sure that the agent works with sellers. Agents that are dedicated to one or the other are the best to choose, as they will have more experience than agents who work with both buyers and sellers.

Find a real estate agent is an easy task – providing you know what to look for. If you take things one step at a time and carefully make a decision, chances are that you’ll end up with an agent who has the experience you want. You should always be careful when you choose, and never rush the process. Real estate agents are easy to find, although finding one who fits your needs and has your budget in mind is a little tougher to locate. When you make that final decision, you should always choose an agent who has your best interest in mind – and isn’t just after the money.

Lease to Own Real Estate

Credit problems plague people across the globe. These problems can lead to many other problems not limited to difficulty purchasing vehicles, getting jobs, opening checking accounts, and purchasing or renting a home. For those who are experiencing credit problems hope seems like a long lost commodity when it comes to the very American dream of owning a home of one’s own.

The good news is that there are some savvy investors around that are willing to take the risk on those who have had credit problems but are attempting to get their lives back in order. The bad news is that this good will often comes at a rather high price to the consumers. Getting into trouble with credit takes a while from which to recover. For many the process is long and filled with pitfalls and missteps along the way. For those that are living the nightmare of poor credit there are times in which the situation must seem hopeless.

For this reason investors that offer lease to own real estate to those with less than spectacular credit are often viewed as saviors on the one hand and villains on the other. However, they are taking a risk that others are unwilling to take on a person that has proven not to be the best credit risk in the business. In other words, many would find that they are justified by charging a higher price or interest rate than traditional lending institutions will charge. After all, it is their money that is on the line if the lessee decides to default on the contract. It is also their money that will be required to make any repairs that will be needed if eviction becomes a necessary conclusion.

For investors who are interested in ‘buy and hold’ investing this is one way of making that system work in their favor. Many times the ‘buyers’ will find another property after a couple of years and will have essentially rented the property for a specified amount of time. At other times they will seek alternative financing once they have been able to straighten out their credit situations. Either way there are many occasions when the property is returned to the investor and has turned a relatively decent profit while holding those who took some degree of ‘pride of ownership’ in the property during that time rather than ordinary renters who often have little or no regard for the condition of the landlord’s property.

There is more than one way that a lease to own deal can work. The most common however, is that there is a specified amount of time typically 2-5 years in which those that are leasing the property can live in the property with a portion of the monthly lease being applied towards a down payment for the property once they are able to get traditional financing. If a twenty percent down payment is achieved during that time the odds of them being approved for a loan are greatly improved. If they (being the lessees) combine this opportunity with serious efforts to improve their credit scores then there should be no problem achieving this.

As a real estate investor this situation is so much more attractive than renters for many reasons. First of all, the maintenance in these cases becomes the problem of the lessees rather than your problem, you have ‘renters’ that are hoping to have ownership of the property in time, and you can charge a little more each month for rent in order to cover the money being applied to the down payment on the property.

Seek Recommendations When Re-Financing

Homeowners who are re-financing their home for the first time may need a great deal of advice to assist them during the process. While homeowner can certainly research the process of re-financing by themselves, this can be a cumbersome task which is difficult, if not impossible. While it might be possible for a homeowner to educate himself enough to make informed decisions, it is unreasonable to expect a homeowner to be up to date on the most current information in the re-financing industry. It would also not be reasonable for homeowners to learn enough to make a definite decision regarding re-financing. The homeowner may still require some direction regarding which options are best suited for the needs of the homeowner.

Fortunately there are two simple steps homeowners can take to tips the odds of obtaining the most favorable re-financing in their favor. These simple steps include consulting with friends and family members who have recently financed and turning to industry experts for assistance.

Consult Friends and Family when Re-Financing

Believe it or not consulting with family and friends is one of the first steps a homeowner should take in the refinancing process. Those reading this article might be somewhat confused by this suggestion because in the previous section we stressed how it would be virtually impossible for a homeowner to thoroughly educate themselves on the re-financing process. Surely, we are not implying every homeowner has a friend or family member who is capable of given detailed financial advice in regard to re-financing. However, friends and family members can be helpful in a different capacity.

Friends and family members who recently re-financed their own home likely did a great deal of research and legwork before making their decision. They also likely formed useful opinions, either negative or positive, about the lender they used in the process. It is this information which can be very useful to homeowners who are considering their own re-financing. Homeowners can obtain information such as which lenders are currently offering the best rates as well as which lenders are easy to work with and responsive to the needs of the homeowners as well as which lenders do not take a vested interest in helping the homeowner to succeed.

Ask Experts for Advice when Re-Financing

One piece of advice which cannot be overlooked when re-financing a home, is asking an expert in the re-financing industry for advice. These experts may have costly consulting fees associated with their assistance but most homeowners would agree these fees are certainly worthwhile especially if the result in a significant cost savings for the homeowner.

We previously stressed how the issues associated with re-financing can be quite complex and difficult for those outside of the industry to fully understand, however, those in the industry spend their days devoted to learning more about re-financing, keeping up to date with changes in the industry as well as new developments and figuring out how to best serve the customers. All of these characteristics make it clear that homeowners should really consider employing the services of a financial planner with a great deal of experience in re-financing when they are making decisions regarding the best re-financing option for their situation.

Again, friends and family members who previously consulted with an industry professional can supply candid opinions about those they met. This can save the homeowner a great deal of time by eliminating potential candidates who friends and family members thought performed poorly.

Has Television Changed the Face of Real Estate Investing?

If you take a look through the television stations on almost any given day there is a television show somewhere that features home improvement, real estate investing, or some sort of combination of the two. From shows that teach people how to sell homes that have lack luster reviews to shows that teach viewers that it is possible to purchase, repair, and re-sell a home in a matter of weeks for astronomical profits, there are shows that appeal to the entrepreneurial wannabes in audiences around the globe.

These shows have made and lost fortunes a few times over by convincing viewers that they too can do the wondrous things seen on television. The truth is that many viewers are capable of doing these things but television never really shows how hard the work actually may be. The television cameras do not always show the blood, sweat, and tears that go into making these projects successful and rarely mention the countless complete and total failures that occur along the way.

The cameras are also not to keen for showing up at 4 am and rolling well after midnight when the work for the day is finished. It doesn’t catch the heart attacks and nightmares as credit cards are going dangerously close to being completely maxxed out while dreams of quick riches fade right in front of investor’s eyes.

This does not mean that every project is doomed to failure only that things are not always as rosey as they may appear to be on the television shows. Flipping houses may seem to be a bit glamorous and a lot hands on. The problem with that is that too few people really realize how much work goes into the hands on part of the program. This is not easy money no matter how much the television cameras would like to convince you otherwise.

It is very possible to turn a substantial profit in a relatively short amount of time if you keep your cool, use your head, and buy and sell in the right conditions. The problem is that so many people do not consider the big picture and find themselves in over their heads and out of money before the project is anywhere near completion.

One thing that television has definitely done for this line of work is make competition for the flappable houses a little fiercer. The early bird in this business gets the worm and while the cheapest house isn’t always the best candidate the less competition you have driving the prices up, the better in this situation. The goal is to buy low and sell high. Most people do not have a terrible amount of competition, as of yet, on the selling high portion of the program. The real trouble at this point in time lies in the buying low portion as there are many more would be real estate investors that are interested in buying the inexpensive properties than there are that will actually see the projects through from beginning to end.

So yes, television has greatly changed the way people invest in real estate. Whether this is truly good or bad for the overall real estate market remains to be seen. In light of the recent down turns in real estate it is to be expected that some of the popularity may diminish. The sad thing is that this is still one of, if not the best ways to make a large sum of money fairly quickly that is legal in the world today. Fortunes can be made and lost in real estate; the trick is always in placing your bets on the right property at the right time. For those who are willing to take the risks associated with this type of investment in today’s market and those that are willing to wait for a slight upturn in the market the profit potential is phenomenal.

Home Shopping The Smart Way

When shopping for a home, there are quite a few things that can snatch your attention. When you look at a home, it’s very easy to fall immediately in love with it. New homes are clean, decorated perfectly, and many are what you pictured in your dreams. If you don’t shop the smart way though, you’ll end up like many other home owners and find faults shortly after you move in.

When you look at your potentially new home, you’ll want to check and see if you can fit your furniture in the way you want. A lot of homes these days are configured so that the furniture will only fit in one position. Often times, this leaves a television or other device in a weird location, sometimes making your furniture nearly impossible to fit through the doors. This is surely something to bear in mind, as you certainly don’t want to have to buy entirely new furniture.

You’ll also want to be sure that you get the right home for yourself and your family. Even though you may be a young couple now, you may want to get a house with enough room in case you decide to have kids later on down the road. If you don’t get a big enough house and end up having to move, you’ll find that moving with kids is a hard task indeed. If you have babies when you move, you’ll find moving to be even more difficult.

Once your children start to leave home, you may want to look into getting a smaller house. The choice is entirely up to you, and what will work the best for your needs. Anytime you purchase a house though, you’ll want to think about the size of your new home and consider the future needs of your family as well. This way, you’ll have everything covered for years to come and won’t have to look into getting a new home.

You may also want to look at any extras as well. Things like a pool and a hot tub may be a great thing to have, although you should look into the money that regular maintenance will cost you as well. There are a lot of things that may be great to have along with your home, although you should always look at long term costs before you purchase.

Location is also something you’ll need to consider as well. Some prefer to live out in the country, while others prefer the city life. Some prefer to be close to stores and such, while others prefer to be miles and miles away. The location of a home is very important, and in most cases will have a big impact on the price. Living in the city will cost quite a bit of money, although a home out in the country can cost just as much if there is a lot of land included with the property.

Whenever you decide to buy a house, there is a lot of things that you’ll need to consider. Buying a home is no easy feat, with a lot of things you’ll need to decide on. If you give yourself enough time and plan out your budget and the type of home you want, you’ll have plenty of time to make that very important decision. You never want to rush the process, as you could end up with a home that is less than perfect. If you take your time and look at several different houses, you’ll end up in your dream home before you know it.

Knowing When Your Ready To Buy

All across the United States, there are millions of people looking to a buy home – either now or in the future. Over the last few years, lower interest rates have come along, making it more affordable than ever to buy a home. When most people stop and give it some thought – buying a home makes a lot more sense than renting a home or an apartment.

In order to buy a house, you’ll need to start saving your money and have enough for the closing costs and a down payment. Your down payment will normally need to be around 15% of the price or the value of the property – whichever is lower. To be on the safe side, you should always try to have 20% to put down. If you aren’t able to put 20% down, you’ll need to buy some private mortgage insurance, which will cost you more in terms of your monthly payment.

In most cases, the closing costs will run you around 5% of the property price. Before you purchase the home, you should always get an estimate. An estimate won’t be the exact price, although it will be really close. You should always plan to save up a bit more money than you need, just to be on the safe side. It’s always best to have more than enough than not enough.

You’ll know your ready to buy a home when you know exactly how much you can afford, and you’re willing to stick with your plan. When you buy a home and get your monthly mortgage payment, it shouldn’t be any more than 25% of your total monthly income. Although there are lenders out there who will say that you can afford to pay more, you should never let them talk you into doing so – but stick to your budget instead.

Keep in mind that there is always more money involved with a home other than the mortgage payment. You also have to pay for utilities, homeowners insurance, property taxes, and maintenance. Owning and caring for a home requires a lot of responsibility. If you’ve never owned a home before, it can take a bit of time to get used to.

Before you fill out any applications, you should always look over your credit report and check for any errors. Although you may think you don’t, you can easily get an error on your credit report and not even realize it. If you have an error on your credit report, it can cost you a lot of money in interest rates. An error will decrease your credit score, which will put you in a higher interest bracket and ultimately cost you a lot more money in the end. Therefore, you should always know your credit before you approach a lender.

If you check your credit report early enough, you may leave yourself enough time to fix any problems and get your credit back on track. Rebuilding credit can take time though, sometimes even years. You should always plan ahead – and give yourself plenty of time to fix your credit.

Buying a home will require a bit of commitment on your behalf. You should always strive to get the best possible deals, which means knowing your credit and where you stand. This way, you can get the best interest rates. You don’t want to buy a home with bad credit, simply because you’ll pay a lot more money for the home. If you take the time to fix any credit problems and save up some money – you’ll be able to get a much better home for your money.

Common Risks Faced by Property “Flippers”

The first thing that should be noted is that flipping houses is a great way to bring home a rather large profit in a relatively short amount of time when doing so in a seller’s market so to speak. The problem is that we currently seem to be experiencing what is known as a buyer’s market from one end of the United States to another. Foreclosures are at an all time high, which means that the market has suddenly been saturated with properties for sale.

While this is excellent news (believe it or not) when it comes to getting your hands on a property at a lower price, it also makes a difficult time of convincing buyers to pay top dollar when there are better bargains down the road. This of course is one of the primary risks involved in the real estate investment venture that is known as flipping properties. The massive profits that most investors seek cannot be accomplished if the property cannot be purchased, rehabbed, and sold quickly.

Unfortunately, at the moment, very few properties in any city are selling too terribly quickly. The worst case scenario in a situation like this is that you are forced to either absorb the loss (which can in extreme cases result in serious financial hardship or bankruptcy) or rent the property out (which will in most cases negate all the efforts that were made to rehab the property. An inability to sell the property that is being flipped is probably the worst fear of every property investor who engages in this sort of investment. In these cases it is often better to drop the price and take a loss than hold out for a better price risking further losses in the future.

These are not the only risks associated with flipping properties unfortunately. Another risk would be the risk of seriously underestimating the amount of money that will be required in order to do the necessary work. This is something that many first time investors find is a fairly common occurrence. Most people have unrealistic expectations of exactly how far their dollars will go when it comes to investing in the materials and labor needed to properly rehab a property. Even minor cosmetic repairs throughout a house can easily run into several thousands of dollars in order to repair. The flip side is that once these repairs are made the potential profits run into several tens of thousands of dollars.

Another risk that isn’t often considered is the risk of overestimating abilities. This is one risk that costs not only precious time but valuable money as well. Not only is material wasted in the process of discovering you aren’t exactly skilled in any particular tasks but also there are further expenses (often unplanned) involved in hiring the professional to repair the damage and replace the material that was wasted. When in doubt, it is almost always best to hire a professional if at all possible. This also leads to missing deadlines, going seriously off schedule, and adding yet another mortgage payment (if not more than one) to the overall price of the project.

The final risk is often something that simply cannot be seen or anticipated. This was experienced in the days immediately following 9-11 and should not be forgotten. The unforeseen happens every day. Markets crash; local economies can be devastated by the announcement of a major employer that it is going out of business (thinks of the collapse of companies such as Enron and World Comm and what they did to local economies). In these instances, the market will take quite a while to recover from the shock to its system and ‘flippers’ among other investors are often left feeling just as lost and devastated as those that were victimized by these companies-both through no fault of their own.

Stuff happens and those things that we have absolutely no control over are almost always the things that affect us most profoundly. The same holds true when it comes to property investment. The state of the economy, the housing market in an area, and sudden announcements that affect either can often have the most profound impact on those who are investing in property in those areas whether for better or for worse. The trick is in deciding which risks are acceptable.

Buying Pre Foreclosures

Pre foreclosures are known as properties that have reached the final stages before they get repossessed or taken back by the lender or bank. The owner is still in complete control of the property or home, although the bank or lender will repossess the home if the owner doesn’t attempt to rectify the situation. Normally, if the owner makes things right with payment, the pre foreclosure will settle and things will go back to normal.

When buying real estate, there are several benefits to pre foreclosures. Although there are several ways that you can buy a home, pre foreclosure is one of the best. Even though it is one of the best ways to buy property, many people miss out simply because they aren’t familiar with pre foreclosures and all of the benefits that come with them.

The best thing about pre foreclosures is the prices that are associated with them. In most cases, the owner has no choice but the sell the house, and therefore will listen to just about any offer that he receives. Due to this very reason, you can find pre foreclosures for sale at nearly 50% off market value. This is an ideal time to purchase, especially if you are looking to save a lot of money.

Along with the great prices you can get with pre foreclosures, you’ll also have the luxury of dealing directly with the owner – no third parties involved. This is a great advantage, with buyers being in total control of pre foreclosure sales. In the event that the home owner decides to turn down your offer and cannot find another buyer, he will lose everything. Even if you offer the owner a small price, he will be able to make a little bit of money selling the home.

You can find pre foreclosures that up for sale pretty much the same way that you can find homes in which the bank already has control of. You can look in the local newspaper, on the Internet, or by calling the lender directly. There are several options that you have in terms of finding pre foreclosures, giving you plenty of options. Once you have found a pre foreclosure for sale, it’s up to you to seal the deal and get the home of your dreams at a very affordable price.

When you compare foreclosed properties with pre foreclosed properties, you’ll find that there is less competition involved with pre foreclosures. Pre foreclosed homes are a great purchase, as they will normally come at a very affordable price. Those of you who have been looking for a new home shouldn’t hesitate to check out pre foreclosed properties. They are a great investment – and can indeed be very profitable in the long run.