Helpful Ideas To Consider When You Are Buying Real Estate

You may think purchasing real estate is really confusing and difficult; however, with just a little know-how, you may find it enjoyable and rewarding. Fear not, the tips listed below can help you avoid this.

Do a quantitative analysis of your area’s housing market. Give City-data.com a visit or any other sites like it so you can learn about the average housing prices, number of foreclosures and other relevant market conditions within a 15 mile radius. You can also use this opportunity to check out the location’s job opportunities, crime rates, etc. In some cases, location and presentation are everything, despite worrisome local data.

Always hire an inspector to look at any property that you want to purchase. If you purchase without an expert’s evaluation of the house, you could be facing the cost for major repairs. Not only will you have to pay a lot to fix everything, you may even have to live somewhere else while your new home is getting fixed.

A house that is close to a busy road should be avoided if possible. You might be saving money, but you will soon find out why the price was so low. While having a busy roadside home may not be a bother to you, there will be little resale value in the property when it comes time to move on.

You need to expect extra fees or costs if you are buying a home. Typically, closing costs include your down payment, real estate taxes for the year and points you have to pay on your mortgage when purchasing the house. The closing costs can often include extra charges like improvement bonds, school taxes, and other local charges.

Be sure that any appraiser you are planning on hiring has had several years of experience in real estate. Hire an appraiser independent of any real estate office. Conflict of interest may exist in that situation. Make sure that any appraiser you deal with has a state license.

You need a business partner you can trust, when purchasing an expensive parcel of commercial property. This will help you qualify for the commercial mortgage loan easier as you proceed in buying the property. You may be able to qualify for a loan that you cannot qualify for alone by having a partner. A partner may be able to help with a down payment as well as lowering your debt-to-income ratio.

Request a checklist from your Realtor. Realtors usually have a list that you can go over to ensure that you take care of all necessary things when you are looking for a home and trying to finalize the mortgage. You can use the various checklists to make sure you’re ready for every contingent as it comes up.

So, as you can see real estate buying is not as complicated as it appears. It is involved in terms of research and asking questions, but it is worth it in the end. If you implement the previous tips, you should be better informed when purchasing real estate.

The Home Buying Process Explained

Many times buyers, especially first time home buyers, are interested in a brief overview of the process of buying. This article attempts to outline the steps of the home buying process from beginning to end.

Step 1: Find A Real Estate Agent – I firmly believe that smart, successful people surround themselves with smart, experienced experts that can help guide them to a well thought out decision. If you don’t buy and sell Real Estate every day all day for a living, how could you possibly understand the Real Estate home buying process and all of the nuances and intricacies of the available inventory, purchase contract, title insurance and mortgage process? How could you possibly know what a good deal or a great deal looks like? You can’t! Get referrals from friends, use Google to search, go to open houses and keep looking until you find someone you feel has the experience, resume and personality to represent you and your interests. It costs the home buyer NOTHING and can save you a great deal of stress in the long run.

Step 2: Get Preapproved – Getting a preapproval or prequalification should always be the very first step when preparing to purchase Real Estate, but not surprisingly most home buyers begin searching for homes before they really know what they can afford to spend. I made getting preapproved step 2 of the real estate home buying process only because many times the best lender recommendations will come from your real estate agent. The housing market crash has created an ever changing lending environment that is difficult for even full time real estate professionals to keep up with. Lending requirements change, PMI and MIP charges increase, loan limits increase and decrease, condos become unwarrantable and interest rates fluctuate every day. The only accurate way to have a realistic idea of your borrowing power is by getting preapproved by a reputable lender. Remember too that just because you can afford to spend a certain amount does not mean you have to spend that amount. Determine a monthly payment you are comfortable with and only look at homes with prices that fall into that monthly payment range.

Step 3: Create A Hierarchy Of Needs and Wants – Most buyers of real estate are not sure what they ultimately want other than they know they want a great deal. Buyers should consider all of their needs and wants before looking at any homes. Items up for consideration are: price, monthly payment, beds/baths, square footage, outdoor space, school district, parking, location, walkability, floorplan and neighborhood. Be realistic about what you can afford and then determine what features are essential, and which would be nice but are not deal breakers. Be prepared to decide if you would rather have your dream home in your second or third favorite neighborhood or a nice home in your favorite neighborhood.

Step 4: Search For Real Estate – If you’re working with a Real Estate Agent he or she should be searching the MLS for new listings on a daily basis. You shouldn’t have to send properties to your agent; your agent should be emailing you properties. If you have a proactive, hands on personality and you want to be involved in the search process there are numerous local and national real estate websites that offer free access to the entire MLS. I recommend www.CenterCityTeam.com. Pay careful attention to all of the home’s details, not just the price. Variables like real estate taxes, condo fees, HOA fees, building maintenance fees (co-ops) and amenities like a pool, gym, and parking can affect affordability considerations and must be carefully compared between properties.

Step 5: Submitting An Offer – Submitting an offer can seem intimidating, especially to first time home buyers, but if done correctly there is little risk involved. The standard Pennsylvania agreement of sale includes contingencies that allow the buyer to terminate a signed purchase contract without penalty under certain circumstances. The usual contingencies are for a mortgage, inspections, and an appraisal but there many others that can be included to protect the buyer if needed. If you need to sell a home before making a purchase let your agent know that you will need a home sale contingency. Be open and honest with your real estate agent so he or she can make sure you are 100% protected by the purchase agreement. Research relevant comparable home sales and try to determine a fair price range to pay for the home. Find out what the average asking price to sale price ratio in the home’s neighborhood has been for the past 3-6 months and make sure your initial offer makes sense. Finally, try to make your offer as appealing to the Seller as possible without compromising any of your interests or goals.

Step 6: Accepted Offer – Time to celebrate right? Wrong! Getting your offer accepted is the beginning of the due diligence process, not the end. The contingency periods allow you to inspect the home, shop around for mortgages and perform all of your due diligence on the home. Make sure that the home and all of its systems are in the condition they appear to be. Talk to two or three reputable lenders and make sure you can obtain a loan with an interest rate and fees that you can afford. Contact an insurance company and get quotes for home owner’s insurance and a title insurance company to order title insurance. The lender you select will hire an appraiser to perform an appraisal of the property. Your real estate agent is responsible for overseeing the transaction, coordinating with the lender, the title insurance company, the homeowner’s insurance company and providing any recommendations you need along the way.

Step 7: Settlement – If your real estate Agent has done his job well settlement will be a fun and relaxed atmosphere. Prior to settlement you should perform a pre-settlement walk through to make sure the home is in the same condition as when you signed the purchase contract. Make sure all agreed upon repairs were completed and that there is no new damage to the property. Prior to settlement you should also contact the utility companies that provide electric, gas, and cable/internet. In this means you will contact PECO, PGW and Comcast. The title company will handle the transfer of water and sewer. All you will need to bring to settlement is a check for the amount needed at closing and your state issued identification. Once all the paperwork is signed you can relax and celebrate. Now you are officially a home owner!

4 Things To Consider Before Selling Your Home

When beginning the process of selling your home normal questions like how to get the best price for my property and whether or not to use a real estate agent immediately come to mind for most sellers. Whether you’re a first time home seller or a seasoned home selling veteran the process of selling a home will inevitably be challenging and complex. The best plan for any home seller is to prepare a home selling strategy before putting a home on the market. In this article you will be a given a home sale strategy that will help get you moving in the right direction.

  • Why Sell Your Home? – Before selling your home, it is essential to know and understand why you’ve decided to sell. Homeowners choose to sell their homes for many different reasons. Common reasons are because they’ve outgrown the home, they’ve changed jobs, or something as simple as they need a change of scenery. No matter what the reason may be, a home-seller should always be aware of what their motivation is to sell their home. Understanding the motives to sell will make difficult parts of the real estate transaction more tolerable.
  •  What’s The Home’s Value? – The first thing every home seller wants to know is how much their home is worth. Knowing the value of your house is usually the most important factor in the decision of whether or not to sell a home. The two most reliable ways to determine a property’s value are 1) opinions from real estate agents and 2) appraisals. A real estate agent can usually tell you what the home will sell for and the appraisal can give you an idea of how much the property will appraise for when the new buyers attempt to obtain a mortgage. Sellers are always shocked and upset when their house appraises below the asking price or agreed upon sale price because the end result is usually a price reduction by the seller. The best way to avoid future disappointment is researching value before listing.
  •  What To Do Before Listing? – To avoid issues with the sale of the home the best course of action is a pre-listing inspection. Home inspections will give the home seller an idea of which items or systems in the house need repairs and allow the opportunity to make the repairs before the home is listed for sale. Pre-listing inspections allow the seller to avoid difficult buyer inspection negotiations and will make the overall transaction smooth.
  •  Choose A Local Real Estate Agent To Represent You – When a home seller finally decides to sell their home the absolute best decision is to use a local real estate agent to list the property and assist with the subsequent negotiation and sale. Local real estate agents have an intimate knowledge of the local market and how to best market and advertise properties to the local community. Good real estate agents will show home owners comparable sales, pending sales, and active competition. Once an offer is received the real estate agent will evaluate and present the purchase offer, advise on how to negotiate, and oversee the transaction from contract to close. Find an agent you trust and let them do their job!

Basics of Commercial Real Estate Investing

The financial industry greats will likely be the very first to let you know that real estate property investing has the potential to bring in serious profits. They will also gleefully inform you the risks in some cases far outweigh the potential, especially if they’re among the more cautious investors inside the industry. Those that have made their fortunes in real estate however will state that investing in real estate is worth every ounce of risk when you manage to work through the rough patches and find your way to real estate investing fortunes.

Commercial property is somewhat unique among real-estate investment types. This is the type of real estate that requires a higher investment to enter the game, much higher than most residential property and poses equally great risks based on what you plan to do with your commercial real estate property investment. Naturally you will also find various choices for your commercial real-estate investment that many investors find appealing.

Most investors find leasing office or building space to be the safest route to take with regards to real estate property investing is the path of leasing office space or warehouse space to businesses. They feel that this is often a comparatively steady supply of income because most businesses prefer to keep their locations as long as possible. Smart business owners are well aware that customers, clients, and vendors need to have the ability to find them so that they can do business with them and for that reason, choose to keep their business in the exact same location whenever possible instead of reestablishing themselves in several locations year after year.

Commercial real estate property investing is a bit of a different animal than traditional residential real-estate that many of us are more familiar or comfortable with. You’ll need to complete large amounts of research before jumping in with both feet with this particular form of real estate property investment. Commercial real-estate investments can take on many forms. From strip malls and outright shopping malls to business and industrial complexes to sky scrapers and high rise condos you can see all manner of commercial real-estate interests. Whether your interests lie in business or personal types of commercial property you can find significant profits that stand to be made.

Unfortunately, beginners often discover the path to commercial real-estate investing laden with thorns. You will require a massive contribution to fund your commercial property pursuits and it is probably best if you could find a group of investors so that they can share some of the risks. Real estate property, in and of itself, is a high-risk venture. Commercial property bears a little more of the risks in the beginning however after you’re established and other people, particularly investors, know your name you will find that path to property wealth is much easier obtained through commercial property, in the event you play your cards right than many other kinds of property investing.

To produce even bigger profits it is usually best to work as part of a team of investors regarding commercial property investing. Not only does this approach spread out the risks to some extent but additionally helps discover the good buys, spreads the labor pool, creates an environment of ideas, and allows you to bounce those ideas off one another seeking temperance and enthusiasm for members of your investment group in like measures. It is a great idea if you are looking to develop a prosperous future in the field of commercial real estate investing and can be extremely profitable for all involved.

Commercial real-estate investing is extremely intimidating if you permit it to be. Avoid putting yourself in a situation where you feel out of control or completely uncomfortable for your first commercial property investment but if you have the means, the price is right, the deal appears to be solid, and you feel you’re ready for the challenge, commercial real-estate profits is always a serious motivation.

Things To Know Before Buying Your First Home

If you have decided to take the plunge and become a first time home buyer, it is likely that you are feeling a certain level of stress over the prospect, as well as the process itself. There are a lot of things to know, and it is wise to be prepared ahead of time. Real estate agents can answer many questions for you along the way, but you need to know what questions to even ask. Read on here to find out some basic information about what you will encounter as you launch your search for that first dream home.

One of the most important steps to take from the very beginning is to find out what kind of mortgages are available to you, and how much you will actually qualify to borrow. There is nothing more disheartening than to find the perfect house, only to discover that you do not qualify for the purchase price. You can save yourself this heartache by visiting a mortgage broker or lender ahead of time, to get pre-qualified for a loan. This will allow you to set the search parameters to reveal only properties that you can afford. In addition, being pre-qualified will show home sellers and agents that you are serious about purchasing property, and will put you in a better bargaining position. Home sellers will often negotiate prices if they can be guaranteed a quick sale and closing process.

Know the functions of a real estate agent before contracting with one to help you find your new home. Research the credentials and licensing of each agent, and ask about their experience in not only the overall real estate field, but also in your city and preferred neighborhoods. You want to hire someone who knows the area and its nuances, and who has contacts that could be valuable to you. Make sure they can tell you about schools, crime rates, and impending legislation that could affect things such as traffic, development, roads and businesses.

Know what a “dual agent” is and decide whether or not this is an asset to you. A dual agent is when your real estate agent happens to represent both you and the seller. This can create a conflict of interest, and is often frowned upon. In the very least, you will want to be informed of this and scrutinize offers to see who is actually benefiting the most from the deal. In addition, a dual agent is receiving commissions on both ends, typically 3 percent for selling and an additional 3 percent for representing the buyer. To avoid potential conflicts, consider finding a separate real estate agent to represent your interests in the transaction.

If you plan to have a growing family living in the home in the near future, plan ahead to accommodate young children or aging parents. Make sure bathrooms have tubs, rather than just showers, and look out for tricky staircases or steep drops in the landscaping outdoors. Settling for small spaces now can be a big mistake if your family grows and you are stuck with thousands of dollars in remodeling costs.

With the proliferation of foreclosures and short sales in the United States, there are some bargains out there for the right buyer. Be very careful, however, to know exactly what you are getting involved in. These types of homes often do not have clear title, and can present complications in the future months, or even years. Ask to see titles and release forms from previous owners who have surrendered the property. Always make sure that property taxes and any HOA dues have been brought current prior to the closing date. Regardless of spoken assurances that you will not be held responsible for these things, get it in writing, with a guarantee that the seller will pay them.

Doing a little bit of homework ahead of time, and knowing what pitfalls to avoid, can make the purchase of your new home an enjoyable and fulfilling experience. Apply the knowledge from this article to move forward with confidence and serenity.

Tips In Looking For Real Estate Agents

Once you have decided to buy your first home, you have to prepare yourself as well as your budget. You would need the time and money to purse your dream of being a homeowner. You would also have to contend with the grueling and sometimes frustrating process of home buying. You would therefore need to have someone to help you through it and that means having a real estate agent you can trust and work well with.

With that said, it is important to take note of that the first step you should take is to look for that agent. If you are at a loss where to look for agents, then this article is for you. Below are some tips you can use in your search for that ideal agent.

One of the best ways to find an agent is if someone you know and trust can refer someone to you. This makes a lot of sense especially if your friend or relative recently bought a house with the help of an agent. If they had a good experience with their agent, then you could be sure that you will be working with an ideal agent.

If you are out of luck with referrals, you can use the internet to search for real estate agents. There are plenty of websites that can help you make the right decision. There are sites which lists down the agents affiliated with this or that group operating in a particular area where you are looking to make your purchase. There are also websites operated and maintained by agents. By looking at their sites, you would have a better feel as to their knowledge about the real estate market and how helpful they are to their clients.

Attending open houses is also a good way to spot a good agent. By seeing them work, you would glean some information of how they operate. If they are very helpful to everyone, you could take that as a sign that that particular agent is dedicated to helping match people with the ideal property for them. If they seem to be pushy, then that could be a red flag as they could push you too to buy this or that property just to get the commission from closing a deal.

If you know an agent but cannot work with him or her because you are looking for a property halfway across the country, they might be able to help you get in touch with someone they know and can trust. Having a good real estate agent working with you to find your dream home is very important so you should be careful in picking whose services to secure.

Tips to Make your Apartment Look Spacious

Living in a small house can be difficult, especially if you have a large family. It becomes increasingly difficult if you are living in a rental apartment. Also, with the kind of lifestyle we have today, “space” is a crucial thing. Adjusting furniture and accessories without making the house look cluttered can become a challenge. However, this need not be the case. Done the right way, a small space can be made to look large! Smart organization of furniture and things used to decorate the apartment can make it look considerably spacious. Some tips you can use to make your rental apartment look big are:

Flexible Furniture

Having furniture that can be moved around the house can help you create space in the house. This kind of movable furniture is handy especially when you move into an unfurnished rental apartment. You can arrange the furniture as you like. It also looks different and stylish each time you change the placement of the furniture. You can have furniture that can serve multiple purposes. For instance, a sofa set can be pulled out to make a bed or a trendy side table that can also be used as a coffee table. This way you will use lesser furniture in the house making it look more spacious. Also, low seating furniture can create a feeling of more space.

Paints

Always use bright and light colors in your house. They create an illusion of open and airy spaces. Dark and deep colors can make the house look small and glum since they absorb light. If ceiling has moldings or decorative borders, paint them white or any other natural tone. This way the ceiling can look much higher. Another trick is to use stripes! To make your room longer or larger just paint your room in vertical or horizontal stripes. Use of pastel shades can also brighten it up. While painting your house, don’t forget your floor. The colour of the floor can also enhance the sense of space. Try and have a single color on the floor in the entire house. Paint the floor border that meets the walls with the same shade.

Lighting

The lighting that is used in the apartment can make a house look big or small. Usually, in a rented apartment, light fixtures are already present. However, if your landlord permits you, you can change these fixtures to other bright lights that can help you make the house look spacious. Where and how these lights are placed in the apartment also makes a difference. Lights that are hung and mounted on the walls will help to make the house bigger than table lights or lights kept on the floor as they take up more space. Use techniques like backlights and sliding panels to borrow light from one end of the brightly lit room to the darker side of another room. Use light reflecting wallpapers. Optimize natural light by keeping the windows unblocked.

Upholstery

The color and material of the upholstery used in the house also makes a lot of difference to how big or small a house can look. Like the color of the walls, the upholstery like curtains, cushion covers, bedspreads, etc., should also be bright. Go for lighter and thinner material as it will allow light to pass through the room. Use sheer curtains instead of deep and dark colored curtains. Select airy and light fabrics and bed spreads of neutral shades.

Storage

When you are looking for apartments on rent, you generally do not think of storage space. Most rented apartments do not have sufficient storage facilities. This can cause too much clutter later making your apartment look messy and small. How you store things in your house can make a lot of difference in space. Hence try to have closed storage spaces wherever possible in the apartment. This will reduce the clutter and make it look spacious. Also try and use smart furniture that can also be used for storing. For example, a bed with drawers can be used to store things; a cupboard can be built into the wall, a TV table with cabinets can also be used to stack things up. This will save the extra space that would have otherwise been taken by a stand-alone cupboard and make the room look spacious.

Mirrors

Mirrors can give the feeling of a big room. Big and tall mirrors give a room-enlarging effect. Place these mirrors cleverly. You can have lovely custom cut mirrors, beautiful carved mirrors as per your choice. When the space and light is reflected in these mirrors you get a feeling of depth. These mirrors can be placed on side tables, cabinets or in the hallway. You can have glass top center tables and window panels as well.

Everyone likes to live in spacious houses and apartments. If for any reason, you do not live in a big enough space, then you can always work towards making it spacious. Following these tips can help you make your rental apartment look big and spacious.

Benefits of Property Self-Management

Hello there and thank you for reading this article. In it, I will be speaking about the benefits of property self-management. When it comes to having a rental property of your own, there are two things you can do: you can try and manage it by yourself, or you can go and hire a professional property manager.

But let’s take a few steps back and think of what it takes to successfully run (manage) any rental property. A property is a financial success (and most property owners want their property to be financially successful) when all of its rental units are occupied by tenants who:

• Take care of your property as if it was their own
• Make regular and timely rent payments

So what should a property owner (or a property manager) do to have all those goodies? The answer is: “He should be able to distinguish a good tenant from a bad one.” So, if you think that is something you can do on your own, then you should definitely consider self-managing your own property. Are there any benefits? There definitely are and I list them below:

• You don’t need to pay the property management bill every month. This is a big one especially if you only have just a few rental units and your rental property is still owned by the bank.
• You get to deal with maintenance contractors by yourself. What happens is that most property management companies employ their own in-house maintenance team and they obviously charge more for their work. In other words you get to save on your property’s maintenance.
• Many times a professional property manager will not care as much about your property as you would. They are simply paid to do their job. But when it comes to you, you may have spent all of your savings and borrowed from your bank, so it is important that your rental property is treated with care and full dedication. So, by self-managing your property, you have all that in direct control.
• Most property management firms charge you for every filled vacancy. If you run it by yourself, you get to deal with every prospect tenant in person, so there is no need to pay anyone to fill a vacancy.
• If your property management company is located a bit away from the actual property and they require tenants to show up at their office to pay the rent,, this creates an extra inconvenience and if there are other rental properties in the same area you risk to have your tenants leaving you.
• Since you spend lots of time self-running your property, you know first-hand of the maintenance work that needs to be done. This way you don’t run the risk of having inexpensive issues turning into costly-problems.

As you can see, there are quite a few pros of running your own rental property by yourself. But before you get your hands dirty, make sure you assess your own personality first. To be a landlord involves lots of people work and if working with people is not your thing, then you might consider outsourcing this role to someone else!