Tips On Picking "Sleeper" Real Estate Property

Real estate investing is all about perception. Your perception of where the market is going, in conjunction with where it’s actually going. The aim, as always is to buy low and sell high.

You want to buy a cheap tract of dirt and sell it as a high priced piece of developed real estate, after it’s appreciated enough to turn a tidy profit. Selling the property is an art in and of itself.

Buying an initial tract of dirt lends itself to some solid, rational guidelines:

First, look at trend lines for housing prices in your area. While most housing markets are in decline (and the housing markets in Florida and California are adjusting from more than a decade of over-valuation), there are markets where the housing prices are going up. This is a decent leading indicator that there’s a market for expansion.

Second, look for job related news. Home purchases require a steady source of income. New employers moving into a city, or a government branch office opening up are a strong indicator that good, well paying jobs are likely to come up. Where well paying jobs roost, home purchases follow.

Related to this, talk to your local city planning office. Are there recent purchases of „right of ways“ to lay down sewer lines? Is the local telephone cable making plans to run out fiber optic lines – a „must have“ trend in new home construction. These things point to areas where home growth is immanent. Other big tip offs are school bond issues (found in your local news paper) and new parks being opened up.

Before you look at the land, check out the adjacent commercial real estate usage. Look for „family friendly“ or „residential friendly“ commercial properties: Houses that are close to grocery and clothes shopping tend to fetch a higher price than ones that are farther away. If there’s a movie theater nearby, or plans for an elementary or middle school, factor that into the size of the homes you build, and what their amenities will be; buyers looking for those features are looking for „mover upper“ homes – with a bit more floor space, and two (or three) bedrooms for the kids. Other spots to look for are anchor stores, like Wal-Mart and Best Buy. These companies spend millions on surveys of purchasing patterns before buying a store location; if they’re buying a plot of land, you’ve got about a year to a year and a half window to look into nearby real estate for single family residential and rental residential properties.

You can even flip this on its side – if you can talk to a group of commercial real estate investors, building a shopping center as the nucleus for home development is also a viable combined strategy. This also applies to highly urban areas. Many downtown areas that have been abandoned by businesses can be converted to apartment buildings, and some of the older housing projects are being torn down for mixed-use spaces with combined commercial and residential areas. In particular, you can often get block grants to help with the financing on projects like this, and there are programs from HUD that can help out a great deal with „urban renovations“.

Another source to investigate is the demographics in your area. Look at the US Census figures (and local county figures) for median age, and median birth rate per capita. You want to invest in areas where the population is growing already. High skews in the ’40s and ’50s indicate that you’ve got a bunch of people who are going to retire soon, and retirees are highly prone to selling properties off. Places to watch carefully are most of the urban parts of California, and great swaths of the rural Midwest, where demographic trends have been changing entire towns since the 1950s as the country’s population has shifted to urban areas.

If there’s a local planning council, or urban development council, make it a point to get the minutes of all the meetings from the past year. The city council offices will have them on file as a matter of public record. Also try to get into the next range of meetings as an observer. Discuss with the city and county managers where they see housing and construction trends moving. What you’re looking for is real estate that will be desirable in two to three years; look at road planning atlases, and look for all the data you can find. Also look for real estate that will be scenic – lake front property is as close to a guaranteed bet as you can get in real estate investing, particularly if there’s a lake that’s at the „far end“ of a development axis. Likewise, if there’s land that the city council is looking to acquire for parks, buying the adjacent lots now means you’ll be able to sell them later.

Lastly, talk to the professionals in your communities. Talk to architects who can tell you if they’re busy or not. Maintain professional contacts with engineers, bankers and attorneys. They will usually know about projects well before the general public. Also make a habit of reading the local newspaper’s business section. Often times, the first clue that a business may move in to your area is buried at the bottom of a column on page 8.

Using the guidelines suggested above will help you to find „sleeper“ raw land properties. These „sleeper“ properties are perfect for the buy low, sell high strategy used by successful commercial real estate investors.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Boarding Stable Barn Etiquette

Each barn has its own personality, its very own unique feel. Some are friendlier than others. Some are fancy, while others are more down home. Some house very serious competitors, and there are those who just want to have fun. But across the board, the basics of barn behavior, barn etiquette if you will, is universal. When riding in an arena going the same direction as another horse, let the person ahead of you know if you are going to pass to the inside or the outside, say „inside“ or „outside“ and stick to it. Don’t change your mind at the last second. The horse and rider in front of you needs to rely on you to make the right choice. It’s hard to ride when you’re looking over your shoulder.

When a horse is approaching you from the opposite direction, it’s just like driving a car. That horse should most always be on your left. Changing directions and reversing should be announced also. You don’t have to shout, just simply state the fact. Most often the other riders will oblige. Let them know if you are going to school over jumps. There is nothing more annoying, not to mention potentially dangerous, than having a horse and rider start taking jumps without advance warning. When entering and leaving the arena, say „Door“ to let others know you are entering and leaving; approach crossties with regard to the horse and rider. Horses can spook for seemingly no reason at all, don’t give them excuses.

Clean up after your horse in the grooming area and crossties. Until that bridle is on, there is no reason to not do it right then and there. If your horse is completely tacked, it’s a given you’re not going to unbridle him and put him back in a halter so you can clean up. Nor do you want to hook crossties to his bridle. Clean it up when you finish riding. Chances are if it is a busy barn, someone will go ahead and clean it up for you before grooming and tacking their horse. Thank them and remember to return the favor. A boarding stable with horse owners that look out for one another is the best barn to be in.

Thus said, this does not apply to giving treats to another person’s horse. Do not, I repeat, do not assume it is okay to pass out carrots, apples, sugar cubes, low-cal treats, or anything of the like. It is not your right. Let me say that again. It is not your right. It is wrong. If you have asked the owner’s permission and it has been granted, that’s a different thing. Aside from that, even if the horse is the best beggar in the world and does handstands and summersaults for carrots, please, please, please, walk on by. That horse could be on a special diet, he could have just been wormed, treated with medication. He could be allergic. You don’t know. His owner knows, and rightfully so. It’s not your horse.

In certain barns, it’s alright to give your horse extra hay. Not anyone else’s, just yours. The best thing to do if you are finding that your horse doesn’t have hay and you hate leaving him or her that way is to talk to the barn manager or owner. Ask them what time horses are hayed and how often, when is night check, when is water topped off? As a rule, horses are not always going to have hay in their stalls, particularly the easy keepers. They eat quickly and take a dream-filled nap in preparation for the next feeding.

If you do give your horse hay, be quiet about it. The other horses are bound to get stirred up when they see you blatantly serving up hay to your horse and not them. It is not acceptable in any barn that I know of to hay your horse and then go hay everyone else’s because you feel bad, now that you have them all riled up. It goes back to not knowing each horse’s needs. Again, check with the owner or barn manager. This applies even more so with grain.

Do not borrow another person’s tack, blankets, and turnout sheets, fly masks; fly spray, etc. without asking. Do not borrow grooming supplies such as hoof picks and scissors without asking. Do not borrow grooming brushes and combs, period. It’s not good practice. Don’t leave your horse’s halter hooked to the crosstie. Before you leave for the day, snap your horse’s halter and lead shank together and hang it in the designated area by his or her stall. In case of emergency or fire, this step-saving measure could possibly save your horse’s life. Post your contact information on the front of your horse’s stall, including blacksmith and veterinarian’s phone number. If you water your horse, rewind the hose. If you pick out your horse’s stall, empty the muck basket and put the pitchfork away. Flush the toilet when you use it. Don’t let things spoil in the refrigerator. Don’t get into barn gossip, nothing good will come of it. Turn out the lights. Close the gates and doors. Be careful. Sound like home? It is your home; it’s your second home. It’s where your horse lives and chances are you spend a lot of time there. Enjoy!

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

5 Tips for the First Time Home Buyer

Buying a home is a big step in your life and should be a very exciting time. Unfortunately, many individuals rush into buying a home with out considering the implications is has on their future. If you’re considering making the move to own it’s important you weigh all the options, and consider what if anything will affect the feasibility of you’re purchase. If this is you’re first time in the housing market consider the following before you make your big move.

  1. Get Your Finances in Order

    Have a lot of debt racked up? If thats the case, you may want to play catch up before you even think about buying a home. Bad credit is bad news for those who want a buy a new home. In most cases you will need to get a mortgage before you buy and this means your credit will be under scrutiny. Start getting acquainted with your credit score and begin fix the problems well before you apply for a mortgage.

  2. Think about the Future

    If you have a job or other obligation that may require you to move or travel for extended periods of time you want to think twice about rushing into the housing market. Buying a house is a commitment that will tie you down to a particular location for at least a few years. It’s not easy or economically feasible to pack up and sell your home at the drop of a hat.

  3. Educate Your Self

    As a first time home buyer one of the worst thing you can do is go into the market unprepared. Familiarizing your self with words and phrases that are used will allow you to better comprehend the market. A better understanding of the home buying process will enable you to make a well educated decision when it comes to you’re final purchase. Entering the market blindly can turn you’re home buying dreams into a nightmare.

  4. Be Rational

    We all want to live in the home of our dreams. Unfortunately, like most things in life, the housing market must be approached from the bottom up? Renting is the start of the home owners journey. With your dream home serving as the final destination you will most likely need to take a few stops on the way there. The logical step is to buy a house you can afford not one that lands you in economic turmoil. Consider your first home an investment that you can improve upon over time. Once the home is improved you can sell it and bring yourself one step closer to your dream home. Buying out of your league can be a huge problem so set a budget and find a home within your means.

  5. Ask For Help

    Don’t be determined to have a go at it alone. Buying a home is a complicated process and sometimes it really helps to have someone walk you through it step by step. Agents are more than willing to help you look through home listing, find what your looking for, and ultimately take you from start to finish.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Purchase A Home With Free Downpayment Assistance Grants

First-Time Home Buyers Assistance

Florida Housing is a State Financing Corporation created over 20 years ago to help Floridians obtain safe, decent housing that might otherwise be unavailable to them. Their „First-Time“ Homebuyer Program provides low interest mortgage loans and financial incentives throughout the year, for eligible homebuyers who haven’t owned a home as a primary residence within the past 3 years.

Program Highlights

The program offers low-interest 30 and 40 year fixed-rate loans, downpayment and closing costs assistance as well as access to credit counseling.

Teachers, firefighters, healthcare workers, police officers, as well as active duty and veteran military personnel could be eligible for lower interest rates.

Eligible applicants include individuals who:

 have never owned a home,

 don’t claim their mobile home as real property,

 haven’t owned a home as their primary residence within the past three years,

 have established credit worthiness,

 have an annual income that does not exceed program limits.

Downpayment Assistance

Florida Housing offers two downpayment and closing cost assistance programs in the form of second mortgage loans, and one in the form of an upfront cash assistance to help eligible homebuyers cover their downpayment and closing costs.

Downpayment Assistance

Programs: Offers Up To:

(Income limits apply)

FLORIDA ASSIST PROGRAM $10,000- Applicants with annual income at or below 80% Area Median Income

ASSISTANCE FOR MODERATE INCOME (HAMI) $5,000-Applicants with moderate income

The City of Orlando offers a Downpayment Assistance Program, available to low and moderate income first-time homebuyers for the purchase of a home within the City limits of Orlando. Depending on the gross household income, assistance may be $10,000, $20,000 or $30,000.

Teachers and public safety personnel, who are moderate income, may qualify for $20,000 of assistance. City of Orlando employees, teachers, and public safety personnel who are purchasing homes within the city limits of Orlando do not have to be first time homebuyers. Purchasers must occupy the property as a principal residence for at least ten (10) years. The downpayment assistance becomes a grant once the period of affordability has been satisfied.

Orange County provides funds to qualified first time homebuyers for down payment and closing costs associated with purchasing a home. The program provides assistance to qualified low and moderate income persons in Orange County on a first come, first ready basis. The program also requires that potential homebuyers complete a pre-purchase and post-purchase education program.

The buyer must:

 Meet the income requirements. Annual household income cannot exceed 120% of the area median income.

 Provide at least $1,000 of their own funds.

 Complete a home buyer’s education seminar.

 Secure first mortgage financing.

The property must:

 Be new or existing and located in Orange County, outside the city limits of Orlando.

 Not exceed a sales price of $219,000.

 Receive competitive fixed rate financing.

 Be fee simple ownership.

The assistance:

 Maximum ranges from $20,000 to $35,000 depending on household income.

 The County’s assistance is provided to the buyer’s closing agent at closing in the form of a soft second mortgage at 0% interest which is forgiven after fifteen (15) years if the home remains owner-occupied.

 In addition, the total first mortgage and Orange County’s second mortgage may not exceed 105% of appraised value.

Home Buyer’s Education Program

All participants requesting down payment assistance must attend a free Homeowners Education workshop. This provides education and technical services to assist eligible low and moderate income families in the process and procedure connected with the purchase of an affordable single family fee-simple housing unit. Homebuyers Education addresses such topics as choosing a realtor, qualifying for a mortgage, inspecting a house, contracts for sale, home maintenance and credit issues.

The Orange County Finance Authority is a government organization that provides mortgage financing with lower interest rates than what is available in the market. Their financing products reduce long-term mortgage costs. Plus, if eligible, you may obtain additional down payment/closing cost assistance from other sources along with this financing!

In order to qualify for home financing, certain eligibility requirements must be met:

 You have not had an ownership interest in a primary residence during the previous three years. (Unless the property is located in a federally designated „Targeted Area“.)

 Property must be owner-occupied for the term of the loan or until the property is sold.

 Have the legal right to permanently reside in the United States

 Meet credit and loan requirements

 Do not exceed the income & purchase price limit

 Veterans can waive First-Time Homebuyer Rule

City of Kissimmee Community Redevelopment Agency offers financial grants to new homeowners within the Community Redevelopment Agency district (CRA), in order to provide economic support to the downtown businesses. It is designed to attract new residents to targeted areas within the Community Redevelopment district. There will be no income limitations placed on the granting of these funds.

Funding will be granted based on establishment of owner occupancy of the subject property. The grants will be given on a first come, first served basis after certain qualifications have been met.

The agency offers financial grants to eligible employees of employers in the CRA Overlay District on a first come, first served basis to be used towards the purchase of a home. Plus, there are incentives for Teachers to be used towards the purchase of a home in the CRA Overlay District on a first come, first served basis.

Osceola County provides funds to qualified first time homebuyers for downpayment, closing costs associated with purchasing a home, and financing with lower interest rates than what is available in the market. The program provides assistance to qualified low and moderate income persons in Osceola County on a first come, first ready basis. The program also requires that potential homebuyers complete an education program.

The buyer must:

 Not have owned a home in the last three years.

 Attend a Home Buyers Orientation Session and complete a Home Buyers Education Program.

 Have a minimum of $1,000 to contribute toward the costs of buying a home.

 Have an annual income that falls within the area median income guidelines as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Additional terms may apply.

The property must:

 Must be located in Osceola County.

 New home or existing homes must not exceed $200,000. If within the City of Kissimmee homes must not exceed $240,000.

 No mobile homes.

 Manufactured homes must have DCA insignia seal.

 Must be a single family home, condominium, town home or villa.

The assistance:

 Maximum ranges from $39,000 to $69,000 depending on household income.

 The Loan is provided to the buyer’s closing agent at closing in the form of a soft second mortgage which is forgiven after ten (10) years if the home remains owner-occupied.

Repayment of the loan becomes due if:

 Borrower defaults on the first mortgage.

 The house is sold refinanced with equity cashed out.

 The house is rented, leased, subleased or ceases to be owner-occupied prior to the end of the loan period.

 No Home Equity Line of Credit borrowed against the property.

Home Buyer’s Education Program

All participants requesting down payment assistance must attend a free Homeowners Education workshop. This provides education and technical services to assist eligible low and moderate income families in the process and procedure connected with the purchase of an affordable single family fee-simple housing unit. Homebuyers Education addresses such topics as choosing a realtor, qualifying for a mortgage, inspecting a house, contracts for sale, home maintenance and credit issues.

SHIP Program (State Housing Initiative Partnership)

The State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) Program provides funds to produce and preserve affordable housing through the creation of a partnership between the public and private sectors. The funds are derived from the collection of documentary stamp tax revenues, which are deposited into the Local Government Housing Trust Fund. Based on a population-based formula, SHIP funds are distributed to local governments each month.

These funds are available to Home Buyers through the Downpayment Assistance programs above.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Advantages and Disadvantages to an MLS Search

MLS searches (or Multiple Listings Service) are based off the principle; „Help me sell my inventory and I’ll help you sell yours.“ It is a unique concept, though one not many other industries use. Real estate brokers acknowledge the advancements in technology once MLS searches became popular, and are willing to present the advantages and disadvantages of MLS queries to interested parties. The decision of utilizing this service is ultimately up to the potential buyer.

No For Sale By Owner (FSBO) Options

One of the big disadvantages to MLS searches is they do not include homes sold by the owner, unless the seller has negotiated a certain percentage of the commission to the realtors. If interested in FSBO’s, the buyer must search potential neighborhoods for FSBO signs and negotiate a price within their range. If the buyer does not know much about negotiating prices, or how much homes are worth, MLS queries still provide some contribution for comparison purposes. If excessive research is undesirable to the buyer, then MLS queries provide another benefit.

Less Research for the Buyer

Buying a home might already be considered a stressful process for some. MLS searches can cut down on some of that stress because it reduces the research the buyer must conduct. There are already so many other aspects a buyer must remember to look into, including the community, crime rate, demographics, school districts, job outlooks, among others. MLS queries place hundreds of homes from the participating brokers into one database, with hundreds of fields with which to search the properties. Knowledgeable brokers with years of experience determine these popular search fields; whereas if the buyer conducts the research by himself or herself, he or she may question whether the information they find is accurate.

The Internet Outdates MLS Queries

The younger generation might claim the Internet is called the „Information Highway“ for a reason. While it is true certain states have their MLS queries readily available on the Internet, not all states have this accessibility. It is also important to consider that information researched on one’s own time might not be as accurate as the MLS searches provided by real estate brokers.

A Trusting Community

As mentioned earlier, all MLS queries are based off the „You scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours“ premise. In other words, there are no hidden agendas. All brokers participating in MLS queries are trying to provide the buyer with the greatest number of options. They keep the buyer’s requirements in mind and try to create satisfactory customers.

Ultimately, the decision to use MLS searches or to conduct the research on one’s own is up to the potential buyer.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

How to Buy a House With Cash

Owning a home is something almost everybody wants do at some point in their life. Nothing can compare to knowing that the home you live in is yours, and you can do what you want with it. No paying rent, no answering to a landlord, none of that…

While it is pretty great to own a home, many people take a hasty decision by taking out a massive mortgage on their home rather than pay for it up front. This is understandable because not many of us have $100,000 laying around that we can buy a house with.

But, for those who choose to save up the money and buy their home with cash, the rewards are plentiful. Not only is it cheaper, but it will save you from being chained to the bank on a lengthy mortgage plan that you might end up wanting to opt out of before its even paid off.

Let’s take a look at how you can avoid a mortgage and buy your next home upfront, with cold hard cash.

Frugality is the Name of the Game

While it’s very likely that everybody would buy their home with cash if they could, hardly anybody does. This is because most people just lack the discipline to save up.

Now, if you make 20-30 thousand dollars a year, you’re going to be waiting a long time to buy your own house, even living on the bare minimum.

But, if you are someone who makes 50 thousand or more per year, or you also have a spouse who makes just as much as you, it is very possible for you to buy your own home with cash, in a couple years.

If you can manage to save just a couple thousand a month for a period of 5 or more years, you’ll be right in range to buy a nice house all by yourself.

Benefits to Buying With Cash

The benefits to buying your home with cash are usually not afforded to those with a hefty mortgage to worry about. For instance, without a mortgage payment, you can plug more money into your retirement plan, thus bringing about your retirement earlier, or having more money to blow when it is time to call it quits.

You can also invest your extra cash into some kind of money making scheme, like the stock market, startup companies, or bonds. As long as you know what you’re doing, this can turn out to be a very useful stockpile of money should you need to pay for an emergency, send your kids to college, or provide for your family in case something happens to you.

Wrapping Up

Buying a house with cash is undoubtedly the smartest way to buy a home, it just takes a certain amount of discipline when it comes to saving the money.

Don’t waste your time and resources doing it alone or working with an amateur agent, contact a reliable real estate agent today and put yourself in good hands.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

How to Find Real Estate Buyers by the Dozen

Buyers are out there, it’s just a matter of rounding them up and keeping in touch. It helps to be able to determine which type of buyer you are hunting for from the start. Remember this: you’re the person who has something they want when a buyer calls you; if you are calling them then you are trying to sell them, let’s insure buyers call you so you remain in the position of power from the start. You should Be a Real Estate Heavy Weight.

Let’s look at a few categories of typical buyers to get some perspective on their mindsets and how and when we’ll market to find them in order to supply their real estate buying needs.

o Rehabbers: These are folks looking to fix and flip property for quick turn profits.

o Landlords: These are folks looking to buy to rent out to others for long-term equity accrual while generating a positive cash-flow every month.

o Wholesaler’s: Will either buy or put an option on your contract to hopefully flip the paper to another buyer who is willing to pay more.

o Lease Option end-buyers: These are folks who can’t qualify for a loan of their own but want to be home owners as opposed to renters again.

o Retail Buyers: These are end buyers who can obtain a mortgage or have cash and generally buy the property for their own housing needs.

There are variations of buyers out there but the above 4 types are generally considered the prime targets of people who have property to sell. Understanding each buyer’s mindset helps you to market to those buyers interests, do they want quick cash, long-term wealth, tax deductions, a place to call home etc… If you ask enough general questions you’ll quickly discern which type of buyer you have at hand. Once you know, you can then tailor your offers and present properties that satisfy what is important to them.

Buyer: Someone who is ready, willing and qualified! Those that aren’t qualified may be perfect tenants, lease option buyers or owner finance candidates, so qualified can have different meanings.

Ready: Someone who is in the market to buy within 1-45 days, keep in mind a retail or lease option end-buyer generally buys once and they’re out of the game, landlords, rehabbers and wholesaler’s are more likely to buy multiple properties from you over time as they accumulate, sell or flip existing assets. Having active buyer’s lists in different categories that are often ready to buy property is a very smart way to operate.

Gee Danno, how do I find these people? Ah! I’m so glad you asked! Let’s start out with one of the all time greatest methods to kick-start your building a buyers list. In your search for bargain priced properties of your own, it makes sense that you will eventually find a very good deal, once you have a superior deal to offer you turn around and market that property at cost! Yep, no profit for you on this one. Why? Because you are going to advertise that property to every investor and potential property buyer on the planet!

The reason for this is that you will get the most calls and response when you advertise a screaming deal! Granted you’ll most likely sell that deal relatively quickly but you’ll be gathering information from each potential buyer who calls to build your buyers list for future properties that you offer. If you don’t have a property of your own to sell, ask someone who does! I can assure you that they aren’t going to turn down your offer to advertise their property for them for free! You might negotiate a small fee if in fact you do sell their property but your main objective is to build you buyers list!

Let me give you an example of one way to collect potential buyers by the dozen, hold an auction, advertise for a solid week in advance so you attract the most amount of buyers, begin with bandit signs, placing about 100 of them around a 5 square mile area of the property, we just did this and had 800 calls because it was a great deal of those 800 calls we had 300 people show up on auction day, of course the home sold but we also added new buyers to our buyers list.

Here are ways to advertise for those buyers:

o Bandit Signs

o CraigsList

o Backpage

o GoogleBase

o Postlets

o Zillow

o Pay Per Click Ads

o Local online Classifieds

o Media Website

o Flyers

o Newspaper/inserts

o REIA’s

o Direct mail/post cards

o Start an investors MeetUp group

o Email

o Phone

o Fax

o Your own website

Use your imagination, the list is limitless, there is a free e-book called the Internet Real Estate Yellow Pages that you can download for free at my site MagicBullets.com go grab that and you’ll find 100 more ideas and places to list your deals. Now go Be A Real Estate Heavyweight!

Dan Auito :~)

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

New Beginnings – Buying A Home

Buying a home often represents a new beginning, whether you are moving to a different area of town or moving to a new city or state.

There are many steps involved in buying a home, and the process can seem overwhelming. Whether you are a first-time home buyer or have bought and sold many times; the process is complicated and ever changing.

The first step is choosing a realtor. Not all real estate practitioners are REALTORS®; the term REALTOR® is a registered trademark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION of REALTORS® and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics. They can assist you by guiding you through the process; providing objective information for you, helping you find the best property, translating real estate lingo into terms you can understand; and they will act as your agent throughout the process.

When interviewing agents to assist you with your home purchase, make sure you understand how they will be representing you. Are they working for the seller? Are they dual-agents, or do they work as a buyer’s agent? You’ll want to make sure they are representing you, and only you.

The next step is to have a conversation with a mortgage professional. Working with a reputable mortgage broker is essential to a hassle free closing. It is the mortgage professional’s responsibility to provide financing for your new home.

Schedule an appointment early in your house hunting process. Your broker will work with you to identify any credit issues that need to be addressed prior to closing on your new home. Based upon the information presented to them, they will also let you know how much of a loan you qualify for. This information is vital to you and your Realtor when shopping for a home.

Your first appointment with your broker will entail providing financial and historical information for the Loan Application. This information will include but is not limited to the following:

– 2 Year Employment History

– If you plan to use a VA Loan your Certification of Eligibility

– If you plan to use a VA Loan and are relocating your Orders

– 2 Year Rental or Mortgage History

– Vital Statistics for you and your spouse (Birthdate, Social, Kids, Assets, Liabilities, etc)

– Last 2 Years W-2s

– Last 2 Pay Stubs

– Last 2 Bank Statements

– Last 2 Quarterly Retirements Account Statements

Your broker will pull a tri-merged credit report to review your credit history. This report shows everything reporting to each credit bureau (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion). Not all creditors report to all three bureaus so your scores may vary. The lender will use your mid-score when evaluating which loan programs you qualify for.

Should your credit report show derogatory information reporting, your Broker can assist you with credit repair options to improve your credit worthiness.

The only liabilities that will be counted in your Debt-to-Income Ratio will be those that report to the credit bureaus. So, regular household bills like utilities, auto insurance, cable do you factor into the mix. If you do not have a minimum of three trade lines reporting, some financing programs allow you to use standard monthly bills in lieu of revolving trade lines like credit cards.

Once all of this information is obtained, your Broker will be able to calculate the amount of loan you qualify for. Many factors are considered when qualifying you for a loan:

– Gross Income

– Liabilities

– Interest Rate

– Loan Type

– Payment

The standard Debt-to-Income Ratio should fall between 40-45%. When discussing your financing options, it is important to know where you would like to keep your PITI payment. You may qualify for more then you feel comfortable paying each month.

Once this number has been determined, and all documentation has been provided, your Broker can shop your loan with many lenders and qualify you for the loan program that will suit your unique circumstances.

At this point, your Broker will put together a Good Faith Estimate. This document will show you estimated costs involved with closing your loan. If you are using a VA Loan there is a funding fee that is built into the financing. It will also estimate your monthly payment based on current interest rates for the loan program you are qualifying for.

Now that you know how much you qualify for and the payment you feel comfortable with you can shop for a house within your budget.

Your Broker will advise you not to make any new credit purchases or apply for new credit until your loan closes as this will affect your credit score and Debt-to-Income Ratio.

Once you have your initial meeting with a mortgage professional, you should decide where you want to live. If you are getting ready to move to a new area, use the internet as a starting point. Research schools, demographics, crime statistics; research any and everything that is important to you. A sampling of some web sites to get you started:

Scorecard http://www.scorecard.org generates a pollution report card at the county level, giving information on such topics as air and water quality.

School Matters – shows academy performance http://www.schoolmatters.com

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s http://www.epa.gov/epahome/commsearch.htm Has a tool that allows visitors to search a community by ZIP code for environmental facts about the area, including pollution statistics, the location of hazardous-waste sites and information about the area’s watershed.

Zip Skinny http://www.zipskinny.com Enter your zip code to see U.S. Census data and comparison with other zip code

If you need assistance finding this information, a Realtor can provide this information for you or tell you where you can find it. Also, most Realtors have comprehensive relocation packages they can customize and send or email it to you.

After you narrow down the vicinity you want to live in, you’ll want to drive around and see if you still like the area. No matter how much research you do on the internet, nothing takes the place of seeing a neighborhood in person. Pay attention to the upkeep of the neighborhood and look at the surrounding traffic. Does it have the components you are looking for? Is it close to shopping, close to work, close to schools? Does it consist of families, or singles, or working couples? Does it seem safe? Are the homes tidy and well-maintained? Are the streets quiet?

Once you decide on the area, then you can start looking at potential homes. Remember, first focus on the location of the house. From there, focus on the floor plan; whether it is a ranch, bi-level, 2-story, etc. The two things you can’t change in a house are the location and the floor plan; almost everything else can be modified. Different floor plans suit different needs; you may want a ranch with no steps, you may want a bi-level and the kids to have their bedrooms in the basement; you may want a two-story with the bedrooms on the 2nd story and for the main level to be the living area.

In- person property searches can take an afternoon or months, some people like the first house they see, and others see 75 before they find the perfect house. As you walk through a potential house the first time, see if you can imagine yourself living in it, will it fit your lifestyle and all of the things that are important to you. As you leave the house, decide on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest rating, where it fits within the range. If it is a 2, discard the info on the house. If it’s a 7 or 8, put it in a „keep pile“. If you spend a couple of days looking, you should be able to narrow it down to your top 3 or 4. You’ll want to look at your top houses again, this time with a more critical eye. Is there anything you missed the first time? Do you still like it? Drive the neighborhood during different times of the day and on different days of the week. Make sure you like the neighborhood, ask questions of the neighbors. Most people are very eager to tell you about the area and why they do or do not like living there. Remember, location, location, location. Ideally you want to buy in an established neighborhood; and you don’t want to fall in love with the most expensive house on the block. You always need to think about resale. If all of the other houses are 3 bedrooms, and the one you love only has one bedroom which is all you need; you may want to think twice about it. Are you going to be able to resell it?

Then, after you have decided you have found your perfect dream house, have your Realtor do a comparative market analysis, CMA, for you. The purpose of this research is to see what comparable houses have been selling for in the same area during the last several months. No matter how much you love it, you want to know if it is priced fairly. If it is overpriced or under-priced, either way you’ll want to know. Remember, the more informed you are the better. The CMA will provide information that can help you decide on your beginning offer price.

The next step is to have your Realtor write an offer with the terms and price you want to offer. Before writing the offer, you’ll want to discuss the purchase price, earnest money, what’s included with the property, closing date, and all types of other pertinent details with your agent. All of these details should be included in the offer. Once the offer is written and you have signed it and written an earnest money check, the Realtor presents the offer along with your prequalification letter to the listing agent who is representing the seller or in some areas it is customary for your agent to present it directly to the listing agent and the sellers at the same time The response to your offer can have several different outcomes; (1) no response from the seller (2) acceptance by the seller with no changes to the offer (3) a counteroffer from the seller which can including anything from the price, to the closing date, to the inspection dates, to the earnest money. Anything in the offer can be subject to a counter. The response from the seller will determine your next move. Ultimately, you and the seller want to come to a joint agreement on all facets of the offer and this will be signed by both parties and detailed out in the counteroffer. In today’s market conditions, many buyers are asking sellers to pay for their closing costs, as well as a home warranty. As a buyer, make sure you thoroughly understand the offer and all of its components. Once it is signed by both the buyer and the seller, it becomes a binding legal contract enforceable by law. In many states, Realtors are required to use state approved legal contracts and forms, and you can get always have a lawyer review the contract.

Once the contract becomes accepted, then you and realtor really start to work. The title commitment (or abstract) is ordered and you, your Realtor and your lender will receive a copy of it. Your agent will help you read through it to make sure you understand the requirements and exceptions that come with the property. This is a very important step, as the title company will be issuing an insurance policy guaranteeing that you have clear title to the property.

Once you have an accepted contract, your Broker will update your application per the contract and submit your file to the lender’s underwriter. Depending on how long it took to find your house, the lender may require you resign the loan documents. The underwriter will review all of the documentation and verifications provided by your broker. Depending on your personal situation the underwriter may ask for additional information or clarification regarding your credit history. This is called a CONDITIONAL LOAN APPROVAL. This means, as long as you can provide the additional documentation, the underwriter will approve your loan.

The most common items on a conditional loan approval list are:

– Letter of explanation on credit history

– Pay off old credit accounts or proof they were paid

– Provide proof of home owners insurance

– Update the title insurance with the lender’s information

– Provide updated pay stubs and bank statements

– Appraisal of the property

– Lock the interest rate

One of the most important steps in the process is to lock in your interest rate. Each lender has their own set of requirements for locking a loan. The rate you were quoted on your Good Faith Estimate is only an estimate based on market conditions at the time of your prequalification. Locking your rate will be a decision you and your Broker will make together prior to closing your loan. Rates are currently at a 28 month low, however rates are subject to change daily, and often times multiple times a day.

From the time your Loan Application is submitted to underwriting until closing can take appx. 21 days. Timing is often times dictated by the time of month you plan to close, how long it takes to gather the Loan Conditions, and the closing date on your contract.

While your loan is going through underwriting, you and your Realtor will get the inspections scheduled. General inspection, structural inspection, termites, radon are just a few of the inspections that can be scheduled and these vary from area to area of the country. As an example, In the Rocky Mountain area you may want to have a structural inspection because of the expansive soil and underground mines; in the Midwest you may have to have an inspection for termites. Your Realtor can suggest the appropriate ones for your area. Remember, this is one of the most expensive purchases of your life, you want to know the condition of the property you are buying. Safety concerns and other major ticket items that come up during the inspection can result in a laundry list of items that a buyer may ask to have repaired or replaced. The seller doesn’t have to agree to fix anything, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. If a contract is going to fall apart, it is usually because the seller and buyer can’t come to terms on inspection items, or it is due to the buyer not being able to qualify for a loan.

If your financing gets secured, if the property appraises correctly, if you come to terms on the inspection(s), if the title (or abstract) looks O.K., and if you get your home insurance secured, then chances are you will close on the property and the property ownership will get transferred to you.

One last thing that should be done before closing, is to conduct a final walk-through of the property. This isn’t a chance for another inspection, but the buyer should make sure that nothing has changed in the property from their last walk-through and the buyer will want to confirm that any personal property negotiated as part of the contract is still there. As an example, if the offer included the refrigerator and washer and dryer; these items should still be in the property during the walk-through. If the property had storm windows on all of the windows, then they should be there during the walk-through.

When a successful closing occurs, it’s the result of a team effort between you, your realtor, your lender, the seller, and the seller’s lender. It’s a perfect way to start a new beginning.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Finding a House For Sale – Top Tips For Buyers

If you are looking for a house for sale in Christchurch, NZ there are several factors to consider. We’ve got some top tips for purchasing property in Canterbury, NZ.

1. Even though it’s a relatively small city, population wise, Christchurch is full of open suburbs with plenty of space and diversity that meets the needs of a range of purchasers. You can select anything from a beach front property, to one in the Port Hills, a central city pad, or a large house in the suburbs. Each suburb of Christchurch has a different feel, and it’s important to find a part of it that fits you and your personality as well as your housing needs.

2. Consider your garden needs. One thing Canterbury residents love is their gardens. Some newer areas have covenants so that gardens are kept to a specific standard. It’s important to find a place that matches the exterior maintenance of your lifestyle. Cottage gardens can look gorgeous, but may take some dedication, whereas native grasses and shrubs can look clean and clear and be low maintenance. It all depends on your lifestyle.

3. Schooling requirements are also an important factor. Many of the popular schools have zoning requirements and moving into a particular area can ensure your child/children have a better change of access to that school, but this often means you pay more of a premium. For parents of children who will attend a private school this may not be so much of an issue. The school culture is considered an important part of family life in Canterbury. Selecting a school in some of the outer suburbs often means your child can go to a smaller school, with a lovely family atmosphere.

4. Sporting and outdoor pursuits are another factor. Most sports are within an easy driving distance, but being situated near a golf course, a surf beach, or near biking tracks can be of benefit for the extra keen sports lover.

If you want a home that’s got all of the benefits of city living, with an outdoors lifestyle at your door, then buying a home in the Lyttleton Harbour and Bay areas can be a good option. The properties in these areas offer an easy commute to the central city if necessary, or you can work closer to home.

As you start looking for houses for sale in Christchurch, NZ, be sure to consider these above buying tips as part of your house buying process.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Staging an Open House

Houses for sale will receive more offers when an open house is staged correctly. The reason that this works so well is that clearing out the homeowners personal things potential buyers can see their things in the houses for sale easier. To stage a correct open house and receive more offers for the home, there are steps that you must take.

Step one

Look at your home with a buyer’s eye and see what turns you off about the home that can be fixed for a small amount of money and little time. One thing that is an easy fix it change unattractive paint colors. It is best if you choose neutral colors or some shade of white. This makes it easier for a potential buyer to picture the walls done in their favorite colors.

Step two

Once you have any paint issues taken care of look at any fixes that need to be dome to the outdated or dated areas of your home. For example, in the kitchen the cabinets can be updated by just changing the hardware. If they have been painted and the paint is peeling, you should scrape the paint off and either paint them again or varnish them. Although it could be expensive and time consuming if the floor is tile or linoleum and it is stained or cracking you should replace it. No potential buyer wants to walk into a room and see stained, cracked flooring. This goes for the bathroom also. In the bathroom, make sure that if there is tiling around the tub or the shower you need to make sure it is clean, mildew, and mold free. You also need to make sure that the carpet is clean and odor and stain free.

Step three

Many houses for sale have small repairs that will need to be repaired before hosting an open house. Take time to check out every room for any repairs such as loose floorboards, a missing railing on the staircases, cracks in the walls, electrical sockets that do not work, or burnt out lights.

Step four

Rent storage unit and move personal accessories and unneeded furniture to the unit. This can include small or large pieces of furniture that does not need to be in the home, personal collections, and family photos. You can make the rooms look more spacious if you keep the furnishings down to the basics. Make sure that every room serves a purpose like a family room, bedroom, etc. You can add accent pieces but not more than is necessary. These pieces can include plants, artwork, and pottery. Make sure that the lawn is mowed.

Following these tips for a successful open house will get more offers on houses for sale.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

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