Monthly Archives: November 2016

Esay Tips for Owning Real Estate

No more than ever before, people in their 20s are looking into owning real estate. As mortgage payments have increasingly been the domain of younger and younger people, questions have arisen over the true benefit of owning a home at a young age and just what type of person should do so. Certainly, owning real estate at a young age is not for everyone and there are some things to keep in mind when considering the possibility.

Of course, one of the key benefits of being a young person is given up when committing to a mortgage, an element of freedom. It is difficult to pick up and move when a mortgage payment is due every month and that can weigh heavily on a decision to plant roots at any age. Add to that an uncertainty in income as a result of being fairly new to the workforce and it can be easy to see why up until recently, the idea of buying a home was foreign to most 20 year-olds.

Increasingly, the benefits of building equity in a home are speaking to young people, making the prospect of real estate ownership more attractive. While building equity is certainly a big benefit to planting roots with a particular piece of real estate, young people need to understand that those benefits are not instant and that a long-term commitment is necessary to reap any rewards.

Because of the propensity of young people to be in flux whether it be in job, location or relationship status, planting those roots can be difficult. For benefits to truly be seen through a build up in equity, payments have to made for a lengthy period of time on a mortgage. As many initial mortgage payments go towards the interest on a loan rather than the actual loan amount, they do little to build equity in a piece of real estate.

That piece of information can sometimes be missed by young people that simply want to build equity and aren’t sure how to go about doing it or just what it takes. Giving up freedom is a steep price to be paid and the benefits are not immediate.

An additional wrinkle that some young people are adding is early investment desires and the attractiveness of pulling a rental payment on a leased property. Becoming a landlord is no small decision and the burden of having to deal with individual renters and the upkeep that rental properties demand can be a daunting one.

Interestingly enough, that burden has been increasingly taken on by young people, perhaps suggesting a better dissemination of information about real estate investment opportunities and the gradual death of the stigma that being a landlord is only for the old or rich.

A successful real estate investor

The biggest piece of advice any real estate investor can have when just starting out is to invest carefully. There will be many opportunities as you get deeper into the real estate investing field, but not all of them will set you on a path towards prolonged success. The most successful real estate investors deliberated carefully before picking an initial project, sometimes a hard thing to do when you make your mind up to get involved in real estate investing.

What ends up being the case here is that you will find a way to get involved in an investment without laying out your entire nest egg, though it will take some time. A common way to achieve that low-cost inroad is to partner with another investor on a particular property to get your feet wet and share the risk with another party. You may not see the huge windfall you’ve envisioned, but if you choose the right opportunity you will see enough to continue your investing career.

Save, Reinvest, Rinse, Repeat
Investing is a cycle and as you graduate from your first real estate investing experience, the best thing to do would be to put your earnings away in savings and then take a portion back out to reinvest in a new project. The best investors make a strict habit of saving at least a portion of the proceeds of every investment to gradually build up a fall-back reserve should an investment go horribly wrong.

You will find that most real estate investors make a serious commitment to saving and many never have a reason to stop doing so. While you will most likely run into a life event or investment hiccup that causes you to stop investing for a period of time, you will most likely see a rebound from that and begin again. Remember to save and reinvest your proceeds to continually benefit from your investments.

It Will Get Rocky
Very few real estate investors make it through an entire career without having some hardship and difficulty along the way. For most situations, successful investors will tell you that riding out the storm and waiting out a rough patch is the best way to combat a low market or other investment malady.

Markets, just like so many things in life, are cyclical and if your investment looks dour for a time, you would be well served to wait it out as prosperity is likely to return. That may seem a little touchy feely, but look at the stock market for inspiration. Though there will always be dips in the market, there is eventually a peak to offset that loss. Maintaining a similar outlook of patience on your real estate investments will likewise typically pay off in the end.

THE PRODUCTS THAT NEED TO ADD

Every year at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES), we marvel at all the new tech, gaze at the new cars, and generally dream about an unlimited bank account to deck our houses out with all the newest gadgets. But, the reality is that some of the things we see never come to market, some look thrilling but way over promise on a functionality scale, and some are just plain head-scratching.

So, this year we took a look at CES from the viewpoint of what’s most wanted and perhaps even most practical, for today’s consumers. Here’s the stuff we saw at CES this year that can add a little something (or a whole lot) to your house.

When it comes to appliances showcased at CES, there are typically some big wins, and then some curious other stuff. Eater called this year’s show “a Jetsons-esque carnival of futuristic electronics, homewares, and appliances,” which would be a hilarious description if it didn’t also ring true. “For every item that shows innovation or promise, there’s at least one more that appears to be the product of a failed brainstorming session where somebody suggests, “why not make this appliance connect to the internet?”

While some experts were generally unimpressed with appliances that did little to best last year’s reveals, there were a few that shined, including the Panasonic Countertop Induction Oven. “It quickly grills, bakes, re-heats and requires little or no preheating, resulting in perfectly cooked meals,” said Panasonic. The appliance was selected as one of CES’ 2017 Innovation Award Honorees and is available now for $599.95.

Whirlpool emerged as one of the biggest winners are CES, with several exciting advancements and enhancements that people should love. They “unveiled a new Alexa skill that’ll let you control its web-connected appliances using voice commands. That includes the new smart all-in-one washer-dryer hybrid that Whirlpool also announced this week,” said cnet (more on Alexa later). “We also got a preview of Whirlpool’s new Scan-to-Cook feature, which lets you use your phone to scan the barcode on the packaging of whatever you’re cooking. From there, you can send ingredient-specific cooking instructions straight to your connected Whirlpool appliances. All of it added up to a busy show for Whirlpool, and signaled that the venerable brand is determined not to get outsmarted.”

TVs

CES is the favorite place to roll out the biggest, fanciest, thinnest, most drool-worthy TVs of the year, and the 2017 show was no different.

The Sharp 85″ 8K TV has a picture – and a size – that people went nuts for. COOL MATERIAL called it “mind-blowing,” saying that, “No picture will do it justice, unfortunately. You could get an inch from the screen and still not believe you were looking at a picture. Due to the insane crowd around it at all times, a heist would have been extremely difficult.”

Not big enough? How about the Hisense 100 Inch Laser TV, which “uses a short throw projector underneath it to achieve that maximum size” and project a clear 4K HDR picture. “The $13,000(!) package even comes with a nice pair of speakers (and subwoofer),” said Paste Magazine.

NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS ON TRACK

As we wake up from the holiday haze, most of us think of some new year resolutions. The sense of renewal seems like powerful fuel for change, and it inspires brave efforts. But sadly, most of the time, these resolutions end up being set aside all too quickly. One of the reasons this happens is that they often don’t show immediate results, and take a lot of effort to accomplish. Fortunately, when it comes to real estate, there are some great steps you can take to make sure your marketing strategy works all year:

1. Find the right tools to give you the right rhythm

For many agents, online marketing seems like a daunting task to tackle. All of the steps needed can seem very scattered and complicated, which is why people get easily tuned off, and miss out on the tremendous benefits for their businesses that a good strategy offers.

Don’t miss out! It’s best to have an all-in-one marketing solution at your fingertips, like the one designed by Point2. This way, you get instant access to a web-based Online Office which is your one-stop control panel for all the tools you need. Starting from this main hub, you can easily deploy and profit from the following tools:

  • A mobile-friendly agent website that you can easily tweak and maintain yourself
  • Individual property websites that showcase your VIP listings and draw more attention
  • Integrated CRM with proven effectiveness when it comes to incubating leads
  • Drip email campaigns that come with templates or that you can customize, to keep your leads engaged and talking about you
  • Advanced advertising options to seriously boost your exposure With these tools at your disposal, you are in control.

When you make your online marketing schedule, start with one hour each day. Learn the ropes, see what works, remember that things take time — stay on top and don’t rush the process. That’s one of the best ways to keep a new year resolution fired up each month.

2. Be smart about budgeting and advertising

Agents often have trouble keeping on top of an advertising budget, because sometimes it’s difficult to tell whether you’re getting the bang you’re expecting from your buck. Some advertising options work right away, like a listing ad on a highly trafficked portal. Others are meant to build more slowly, like the visitor count on your website, but the results do appear in due time. When people get these two strategies confused, frustration sets in.

Do better! Be smart and try to use listing ads designed to send your exposure sky high, for a fast result. Point2’s listings portal Point2 Homes offers featured advertising to highlight your listings and show up on top of search pages. The portal gets 18,000 listing views every hour — imagine what that could mean for your exposure in the short term!

To get your listings on Point2 Homes, all you need is a Point2 membership, which includes $1,000 worth of ads each year for the Professional solution, and $6,000 worth of ads each year for the Elite solution, now at a fraction of the cost.

At the same time, follow good practices and update your site and your blog, for long-term results. Knowing what to expect of both strategies, and working to employ them at the same time is a very good path to success.

Pacing your efforts and planning ahead are the only ways to keep your new year resolutions on track and working for you, not the other way around! Play it smart and efficient, and you won’t run out of steam by the middle of the year.

The Point2 solutions are now on sale, for a limited time. This offer is only available by phone, so call 888-277-9779 now to find out more, or click here to check out the Winter Promo.

Great News for home buyers and real estate investors

Many home buyers and real estate investors have been prompted by steadily increasing interest rates to be more aggressive in their hunt for bargain homes. Competition for the best-priced and most attractive homes has only increased in most real estate markets and because of that intensity, foreclosures are drawing more and more interest from prospective home buyers and investors.

While foreclosures certainly offer some financial benefits, there are also risks involved, as you might expect. Not every foreclosure is the same and while the interest in them is growing, you need to be aware of what to look for when evaluating whether or not a foreclosure opportunist is right for you. Here are some things to look for.

Pre-Foreclosures
Pre-foreclosure properties can offer an attractive investment or home purchase opportunity to those willing to work for it. There exists a period of time in between when a home owner is notified that their loan is in default and when the bank actually seizes the home to put it on the market to recoup expenses. During that period of time, it is possible to purchase the home and satisfy financing requirements on it.

There are two negatives at play when going the pre-foreclosure rate and both discourage a majority of the potential investors that contemplate the pre-foreclosure route. One is the extremely brief period of time available to complete a deal. The period of time is regulated by individual states and usually consists of a couple months.

The other discouraging aspect is the necessity to deal with a home owner that is probably embarrassed by the foreclosure and may not even be aware that such information is made public. Knocking on a door or picking up a phone to contact someone that may not even be aware of pre-foreclosure purchases can be a difficult thing to do.

The Risky World Of Auctions
The best advice for those pondering auctions as a way to get in on foreclosed property is to simple not get involved at all. The risks are immense when dealing with a bank-run auction as you will most likely not have seen the house, have no way to protect yourself against title problems should they exist and must pay in cash.

That collection of traits discourages most investors and rightfully so. There is simply too much uncertainty when dealing with auctions to know for sure that the low sticker price is necessarily worth the hassle of going through title clean up issues and scraping together the cash for a purchase.

Foreclosed Homes
As the final step on a bank’s path of foreclosure, the home is put up for sale on the real estate market, though often for at least close to its market value. Because a home has traveled through a variety of steps and banks are in no hurry to lose money on any loan, savings are often slim on foreclosed properties that make it to this step.

However, there are certainly positives. Most likely there will be at least some kind of discount off of the market price of a property, albeit slim and deals are much easier to put together. Real estate transactions more closely follow the format of common real estate transactions and offer similar protections.

Cheap Home For Great Living

When items are discounted at the grocery store, there’s always a reason. Maybe the bread is a little bit stale or the item has been discontinued. Before buying any discount produce, you should probably understand why it is being discounted. The same is true for homes and while there are many cheap homes on the market, learning why that real estate is selling for such a low price will go a long way towards telling you just how worth your effort that property may be.

There are some common reasons why property sells for a low amount or may be listed for a low price initially. Some of these reasons may indicate a home you do not want to get involved with but some may indicate a good deal. When you see a cheap piece of real estate on the market, evaluate it to see which of these situations it falls in to.

A Less-Than-Stellar Area
The location of a home affects its value profoundly and while that can mean great things for a home owner in a posh location, it can also mean suppressed real estate prices in an area that is anything but. Many people think that no matter what, real estate will increase in value. That is not necessarily true and the future fortune of a neighborhood will directly translate into whether your real estate investment or home price swings up or not.

The Fixer-Upper
We have all seen homes that simply need work. For whatever reason, the current owner has simply grown tired of updating a home and that state of disrepair translates into a steep discount in the home’s sale price. If you do not have the stomach to go through the arduous process of repairing a home, these cheap pieces of real estate are certainly not for you. If you are not scared off by the prospect of some labor, these can be great targets.

The Speed Sell
Sometimes a seller needs to sell a property fast, whether to get out of town for relocation or to quickly liquidate some assets. These types of homes present the best opportunities for prospective buyers as these pieces of real estate suggest the least amount of problems. Of course, these homes get snatched up quickly, the very goal the seller has in mind, so finding them can be a bit of a difficult prospect. The best tactic is to monitor an area of town or maintain searches on a set of criteria on a regular basis to turn up all of the new homes that get put on the market every day. The real estate market is a competitive arena, so make sure you are doing all you can to get an edge over the rest of the prospective home buyers out there.

Packing up all of your worldly possessions

Some estimates have stated that 20 percent of all consumers have some kind of issue during a move resulting in damage to their possessions. While large-scale moving companies are federally required by law to offer at least some insurance, it is done by the pound and anyone with an iPod knows that your possessions are often worth more than their weight indicates.

Often, homeowners insurance may offer some kind of moving protection, so before any move, it would certainly behoove you to look through your policy to see if that is the case. Research her is necessary as policies vary in what they cover. Some may offer fire protection but not transportation damage issues while others will. Investigate your plan to get a solid idea of what is covered before ever moving on to looking into purchasing additional coverage.

Of course, anytime insurance is involved, taking down an exact inventory of what you’re packing and what it’s worth will give you the basis for any future claim and the ability to accurately shop for the level of insurance that fits your belongings. If you have some free coverage as a part of your homeowners insurance, you only need to purchase extra coverage to bridge the level of your free coverage and the level of your belongings. Obviously that number cannot be known until you sit down and calculate what your belongings are worth and what portion of that amount you want insured.

That coverage is often available directly through your full-service moving company and is again based on the weight of your belongings. That can of base coverage can come in handy if you do not have the time to fully go through your belongings, but doing so will give you an idea whether the amount a moving company will pay in the event of a catastrophe will sufficiently cover the value of your belongings.

For more exact coverage, some insurance companies will offer moving insurance and if you have an insurance agent that you use for other services, inquiring into moving insurance with them would be a good idea. As with other types of insurance, pooling all of your policies with one company can sometimes give you discounts based on volume.

If your insurance company does not offer moving insurance, there are a number that do and it is a matter of research and homework to determine who will give you the best coverage at the lowest cost for the amount you need. Online resources can also play a role here and doing some searches on moving insurance can give you some quick price levels for particular amounts of coverage.

Of course, as with any type of insurance, the more quotes you get, the better off you will be. Policy details and deductible amounts will vary from company to company and the more quotes you solicit, the better your results will be. Keep in mind that with all of your possessions in one truck, a disaster could be just that, disastrous.

Potential home buyers

Indeed, getting a financial frame of reference for your home search first can greatly cut down on the amount of time you spend looking through ads and walking through properties with a real estate agent. These are often the most time consuming parts of a home search and by simplifying them at least somewhat, you can spend more time on homes better suited for your financial situation.

However, there has been some misconception over the difference between getting pre-qualified for a particular amount and getting pre-approved for a particular purchase price. These two terms mean very different things and as a seller is looking over your offer, each term conveys something different and has a very different impact on that offer.

What Is Pre-Qualification?
In both processes, a lender will take down your financial information and provide you a rough estimate of what you can afford to pay for a home. A pre-qualification exercise can be seen as more of a rough draft of what you might be able to afford. While a lender will ask for your financial information, the lender will not typically go through the process of verifying your information or doing more research into your financial viability.

If you tout that you have been pre-qualified for a particular amount, it is certainly better than not having any idea of what you can afford. However, it says nothing about your actual ability to get a loan for that amount and instead says that you could probably get a loan for that amount. If a seller sees that you are pre-qualified for an amount approximating the sale price of the property, that does communicate some amount of credibility but not the credibility pre-approval suggests.

What Is Pre-Approval?
In contrast to pre-qualification, pre-approval is given to a potential buyer by a lender that has done significant homework into your financial history and has agreed to loan you the amount you have been pre-approved for. This carries much more weight than pre-qualification and communicates very clearly that your finances are in order and you are in prime position to buy a property that falls within range of the pre-approved figure.

When a seller sees that you have been pre-approved for the amount of the sale price, that seller takes your offer as a much more credible prospect than a contract that does not have pre-approval attached. Not only can pre-approval save you time during the search for a home, it can save you time when you eventually find that property. Pre-approval saves the time typically taken to secure financing after an offer is made and can often deliver a home to a potential buyer quicker.