5 Essential Books To Read Before Starting In Real Estate

November 20, 2019

5 Essential Books To Read Before Starting In Real EstateIt is important for everyone to put money in a position to make money in order to make financial dreams come true. One of the common targets that people circle is real estate investing.

Before jumping into the world of real estate investing, it is important for everyone to be prepared. This starts by reading a few fantastic books that can help people learn more about the environment associated with investing in real estate.

The Book On Investing In Real Estate

One of the first books that people need to circle is called The Book On Investing In Real Estate. This is a fantastic book that explains to everyone how they can get involved in real estate investing with limited capital. It doesn’t take much to get started. The strategies discussed in this manner are similar to those involved with investing large amounts of money.

The Millionaire Real Estate Investor

A book titled The Millionaire Real Estate Investor is another great read. This book was put together using interviews with more than 100 millionaire investors in the world of real estate. Those who would like to be successful in this arena need to make sure they learn from the successes of those who came before them.

How A Second Home Can Be Your Best Investment

This book, titled How A Second Home Can Be Your Best Investmentis a great read for anyone who is looking to get started in this investing world. This book is written by some of the world’s leading experts in the world of real estate. Using plain language, everyone has the potential to learn about the basics involved in investing in real estate.

One Rental At A Time

This read, titled One Rental at a Time, is an easy and straightforward read. The book compares the world of investing in real estate with an ancient Chinese proverb. This proverb can serve as a powerful guiding principle that can help people get started in the sector of real estate investing.

The Entrepreneur Mind

It is important for those who are looking to get started in this investment state to read everything they can. At the same time, this is also about building a business, which The Entrepreneur Mind addresses. The business world is useful for every aspiring real estate to understand.

Reading high-quality books about real estate investing is a great way to improve your knowledge. Combine that knowledge with a trusted team of real estate industry professionals like a trusted real estate agent and mortgage financing expert and you’ll have a winning combination!

Four Common Headaches Of A Homeowners Association

November 19, 2019

Four Common Headaches Of A Home Owners AssociationWhen you are looking to purchase a home, you might hear a lot about something called a homeowners association, often shortened to HOA. While there are benefits of having an HOA in a living community, these benefits also have their drawbacks.

There are a few common headaches that people often experience when they move into a community that has an HOA. Anticipating these problems ahead of time can help everyone prepare for what they might encounter.

The Maintenance In The Common Area

Whether you are living in a condo or in a neighborhood, the HOA is supposed to maintain the community common areas. This includes pool maintenance, lawns, landscaping, gyms, and more.

In some areas, your HOA might even be responsible for cleaning up after a storm goes through the area. Sometimes, this simply doesn’t happen. This can cause the neighborhood to look like a mess. If the neighborhood isn’t properly maintained, your property values may suffer. 

Problems With Parking

Without a doubt, parking issues are among the most common problems that you might encounter with your HOA. When someone is driving through town, traffic and parking issues are handled by the police.

In the neighborhood, the HOA is typically responsible. The bylaws of the homeowners association might even give them the right to fine people. Make sure you read the agreement with the HOA carefully. You need to know the laws as well as your rights.

Antenna Issues

It is important for you to remember that your HOA cannot control who you have handle your cable and internet connections. In addition, they cannot force you to remove a satellite dish from your house even if they don’t like the look of it.

On the other hand, if you use an antenna, there are still some HOA rules that can control its location. Make sure you read the rules if you elect to go with an antenna.

Understanding Homeowners Association Problems

Some of the other issues that you might encounter with your local homeowners’ association involve pets, holiday decorations, and other random fines. You should read up on the bylaws ahead of time so you know what lies ahead. While not every HOA creates problems, others can be a real headache.

As always, your local real estate agent can answer specific HOA-related questions on any community in the area. 

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to consult with your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss financing options.

Three Important Benefits Of An Open Floor Plan

November 18, 2019

Three Important Benefits Of An Open Floor PlanIf you are looking for a new home, or if you are looking to renovate your existing home, you might have heard about something called an open floor plan. In today’s era of housing, this layout has become more popular.

In an open floor plan, there is a single, large space that can act as multiple rooms all in one. Often, hallways, walls, and doors are left out. This makes the entire space feel more inviting. There are numerous advantages to this plan that everyone should keep in mind.

Added Natural Light

One of the biggest benefits of this plan is that there is added natural light. Without the interior walls, light has an easier time passing through space. This connects the indoor world to the outdoor area.

In order to maximize this benefit, it is a good idea to add a few extra windows in the kitchen or living area. This will bring a little bit of brightness to the indoors, making it glow. Also, because fewer light fixtures are needed, this may reduce your utility costs.

Makes Space Feel Bigger

Next, if the home has an open floor concept, the whole area is going to feel larger. Typically, when this plan is put in place, there are vaulted ceilings.

Without the added walls, there is room to open the space upwards. This is going to make the entire area feel larger than it actually is.

With the added, spacious feel, family and friends will be able to relax and enjoy each other’s company that much more!

An Easy Space To Entertain

If someone has a traditional floor plan, the spaces often feel a little bit cramped. This can make it hard to entertain a large group of people.

With an open concept, this is a worry of the past. Now, you can be in the kitchen and still interact with people who are in the living or dining area. This concept is great for people who like to throw parties.

Advantages Of An Open Floor Plan

These are a few of the most important benefits of an open floor plan. It is easy to see why these plans have become more popular in recent years. 

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss financing options.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – November 18th, 2019

November 17, 2019

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – November 18th, 2019Last week’s economic reporting included readings on inflation, testimony by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, and weekly readings on mortgage rates and new unemployment claims.

Rising Gas Prices Fuel Jump in Inflation

Consumer inflation increased at its fastest pace in seven months according to the Consumer Price Index for October. Consumer prices rose 0.40 percent and exceeded analysts’ forecast of 0.30 percent and September’s reading of 0.00 percent inflationary growth.  Analysts attributed the jump in prices to rapidly rising gasoline prices.

October’s reading for core inflation, which excludes fuel and food prices, supported this view. Core inflation grew by 0.20 percent in October, which matched expectations and exceeded September’s core inflation reading of 0.10 percent.

Year-over-year inflation rose from 1.70 percent to 1.80 percent; this was lower than the top year-over-year reading that approached 3.00 percent.

Fed Chair Says Interest Rates on Hold Unless Economy Deteriorates

In testimony before the Joint Economic Committee of Congress, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said,: “We see the current stance of monetary policy to remain appropriate as long as incoming information about the economy remains broadly consistent with our outlook of moderate economic growth, a strong labor market,  and inflation near our symmetric rate of 2.00 percent.”

Mr. Powell said that Federal Reserve Policy is flexible and subject to adjustment as required by future news and economic events. The benchmark Federal Funds rate range is currently 1.50 percent to 2.00 percent.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported higher average mortgage rates last week. Rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose six basis points to 3.25 percent. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages rose seven basis points to 3.20 percent;  the average rate for 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages rose five basis points to 3.44 percent.

Discount points averaged 0.60 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and 0.50 percent for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. Discount points for 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 0.40 percent.

225,000 first-time jobless claims were filed last week; this exceeded expectations of 210,000 new claims and the prior week’s reading of 211,000 new jobless claims filed. Analysts said the spike in new claims was caused by seasonal anomalies and not by layoffs. New jobless claims are likely to fall as the holiday season approaches and seasonal hiring picks up.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes readings from the National Association of Home Builders on housing market conditions; the Commerce Department readings on housing starts and building permits issued. Readings on sales of pre-owned homes and consumer sentiment will also be released along with weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

How To Navigate The Changing Remodeling Market

November 14, 2019

How To Navigate The Changing Remodeling MarketRemodeling is a common project that homeowners take on. If you are looking to remodel your home, it is important to keep in mind that this involves more than just improving your living area. If you remodel your home, you might also be expecting to generate a return on your investment. 

In prior years, a home remodel meant an increase in the value of your home. Furthermore, some people actually make money by buying homes, fixing them up, and selling them. This is commonly called “flipping.” Unfortunately, like other sectors of the economy, this market ebbs and flows. Recently, it looks like the drive to remodel homes has taken a downturn.

Why Homeowners Steer Away From Remodeling

There are financial and real estate professionals who analyze this market just as other professionals look at other areas of the economy. According to the professionals, there are a number of reasons why people might be steering away from a home remodel.

First, there has actually been a decline in home sales. This goes along with a decline in homebuilding activity. 

These factors cause homeowners to hesitate when they remodel their homes. If you are looking to sell your home, this is a prime time to remodel. You might think this remodel is necessary for your home to succeed on the market. If you aren’t looking to sell your home, there is less reason to remodel. When home sales drop, the remodeling market drops as well.

Home Price Appreciation Plays A Role

Another important factor involved in the home remodeling market is the pace of home appreciation. In prior years, the growth of home prices was outpacing the rate of income appreciation. In recent years, this trend has flipped.

When home prices aren’t rising faster than wages, there is less pressure to remodel. Instead of investing this money in a remodel, homeowners are looking to invest this money in other areas that might generate a bigger return. This has led to a reduction in the remodeling market.

Considering A Home Remodel

If you are looking to remodel your home, think about these factors ahead of time. You should expect a return on your remodeling investment. Take a look at the market before the remodel begins.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to consult with your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss financing options.

How To Practice Electrical Safety Around Your Home

November 13, 2019

How To Practice Electrical Safety Around Your HomeElectricity plays an important role in your home. It helps keep you warm, allows you to cook meals, and brightens up the interior of your house. At the same time, electricity is a common hazard.

Electrocution accidents can lead to burns, serious injuries, and even death. You should feel safe in your own home. Therefore, it is a smart idea for you to remember a few important tips when it comes to electrical safety at home.

Watch Out For Damaged Power Cords

One of the most common causes of electrocution accidents at home is from damaged power cords. Over time, the wires that run through the home might start to degrade. This is a danger that is often overlooked. If the protective coating on any of your wires has been stripped away, cover the cord or replace it. If you need help doing this, call a professional for help.

Overloading The Electrical Outlets

Another common source of electrical accidents comes from outlets that have been overloaded. Your outlets have been designed to deliver a certain amount of power. If you plug too many devices into the same outlet, the circuit will become overloaded. This can lead to a fire or an explosion. If you need to plug in more devices, use a power strip. These are designed to add additional outlets in a safe manner.

An Extension Cord Is A Tripping Hazard

Extension cords are great for providing electrical power to something that is far away. On the other hand, they also should not be left out constantly. These cords are long and represent a tripping hazard. In addition to a fall injury, this can also lead to serious damage to the outlet and the cord itself. This can increase the chances of something bad happening with the home’s wiring. If you are using extension cords all the time, it is a smart idea to call an electrician who can add additional outlets to the home.

Avoiding Injuries With Electrical Safety

Other common electrical safety tips include keeping powered devices away from water and supervising children at all times. Electrical injuries are serious and should be avoided at all cost. Practicing proper electrical safety is vital to preventing injuries.

If you are looking for a new home or if you are interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional.

4 Critical Tips To Consider When Hiring A Home Contractor

November 12, 2019

4 Critical Tips To Consider When Hiring A Home ContractorThere are many reasons why you might be interested in hiring a home contractor. These professionals are an important part of helping someone attain their dream home. While everyone cares about the price of the contractor, this is not the only factor that you should consider.

After all, the home is where people spend a lot of their time. By thinking about price alone, you might be sacrificing quality. It is important for you to take the proper steps when it comes to hiring a home contractor. There are a few factors that you should keep in mind.

Start The Process With A Detailed Plan

This is the step that absolutely must be completed before you even approach a contractor. If you need help with this, think about reaching out to a designer or an architect who can help you. Walk your contractor through your plan step by step. This will help the contractor give you a more accurate price estimate and will allow the contractor to ask important questions. 

Give The Project Specifications Upfront

There are certain finishes or fixtures that you might want in your home. Make sure to provide your contractor with this list ahead of time. These specifications can drastically influence the price estimate. Save your time, as well as the contractors, by providing the specifications as early as possible. That way, the contractor can figure out how much each of these specifications is going to cost.

Ask About Insurance

It is also important for you to make sure your contractor has insurance. Sometimes, accidents happen. This is a reality of the industry. The contractor probably has a large crew that he or she needs to work with to help your project come together. This is not easy. When mishaps happen, your contractor needs to be set up to deal with these issues professionally.

Ask For Client References

Lastly, it is important for you to take a look at some of your home contractor’s work. Take a look at some of the prior projects and make sure you are satisfied with what you see. This will help you get a solid idea of what your project might look like when all is said and done. 

If you are interested in purchasing a new home or refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss current financing options.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – November 12th, 2019

November 11, 2019

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – November 12th, 2019Last week’s scheduled economic news included the Federal Reserve’s survey of loan officers and the University of Michigan’s report on consumer sentiment. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released.

Fed Survey of Loan Officers Finds Banks Tightened Lending Standards

The Federal Reserve’s survey of financial institutions found that lenders tightened standards for credit card and other consumer loan approval. Lending officials said that concerns over the economy drove decisions to tighten standards for new credit cards, auto loans, and personal loans.

Lenders also tightened lending requirements for new borrowers in January and March. January’s revision to lending requirements was the strictest since 2009.

Lending officials surveyed said that less tolerance for risk and concerns over new borrowers’ ability to repay loans drove decisions to tighten loan approval requirements. Growing concerns over student loan debt may have influenced lenders’ reluctance to extend credit to new borrowers.

Survey respondents said that they did not tighten requirements for residential real estate loans, but did increase restrictions on commercial real estate loans. Survey participants included 76 domestic banks and 22 foreign banks and agents of federal banks.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Fall

Freddie Mac reported lower average mortgage rates last week after the prior week’s spike. Rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell nine basis points and averaged 3.69 percent. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages fell six basis points to an average of 3.13 percent.

The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages fell four basis points to 3.39 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. Discount points for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 0.30 percent.

Initial jobless claims fell to a one-month low of 211,000 new claims filed; analysts said that last week’s reading approached a 50-year low and proved the staying power of the strongest job market in decades. In other news, the University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index rose to 95.70 in November as compared to October’s index reading of 95.50. Analysts expected consumer sentiment to fall to 95.00.

What’s Ahead

This week’s economic releases include reports on inflation and retail sales. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and initial jobless claims will also be released.

How To Find Hot Markets For Real Estate Investment

November 7, 2019

How To Find Hot Markets For Real Estate InvestmentReal estate investors who want to build up a strong investment portfolio always keep an eye out for hot markets, which gives them a chance to pick up properties that add to their portfolio value.

A word of caution about hot markets is that if you learn about them after they are already hot, you may have missed much of the run-up that made them hot. 

Clever real estate investors try to anticipate markets that will heat up before they do, so they can buy properties in advance of increasing values. Selling properties in a hot market is how they capture profits. 

The Hot Markets

Realtor.com® identified seven markets in the United States that are currently hot markets for flipping houses. The average gross profit for house flippers is $62,700. This figure does not include the cost of making the repairs. The gross profit equals about 20% to 33% of the home’s sales price after making the repairs.

An evaluation looking for hot markets for flipping homes considered the percentage of home sales that were investment properties.

The current hot markets, in the order of activity, are:

  1. St. Louis, MO – 18.8% of home sales are investment properties. The median sales price is $189,900.
  2. Birmingham, AL – 17.3% of home sales are investment properties. The median sales price is $190,000.
  3. Miami, FL – 17% of home sales are investment properties. The median sales price is $299,900.
  4. Tampa, FL – 16.2% of home sales are investment properties. The median sales price is $230,000.
  5. Memphis, TN – 16.1% of home sales are investment properties. The median sales price is $206,300.
  6. Las Vegas, NV – 15.7% of home sales are investment properties. The median sales price is $301,800.
  7. Phoenix, AZ – 15.1% of home sales are investment properties. The median sales price is $275,800.

Hot Pockets In Cooler Markets

Another way to find opportunities is to know your local market very well and look for areas that are up and coming. Look for a fixer-upper in a decent area. Also, search in areas that are adjacent to high-priced areas. 

Look for soft barriers that can be passed easily, such as a block that is improving, which is next to another block that has already improved. Hard barriers, such as a wide street, a freeway, or a river make it more challenging for an improving neighborhood trend to pass across them.

Summary

Finding a hot market or a hot pocket comes from investigating potential growth areas and watching them. Get a feel for the trends. One strategy is to buy early when the prices are still low, rent the property for a while, and then sell later, once the market heats up.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to consult with your trusted home mortgage professional.

The 5 Most Common Dangerous Home Issues

November 6, 2019

The 5 Most Common Dangerous Home IssuesYou are supposed to feel safe in your own home; however, accidents can happen and there are plenty of hidden dangers that might land someone in the hospital. It is important for you to understand the common household dangers. Knowledge is power and you can take steps to prevent these issues from arising. 

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

This is one of the most common household dangers that everyone should know. Homes always have a smoke detector; however, carbon monoxide detectors are often overlooked. This is an odorless gas that can actually kill someone if the levels get too high. Make sure that your carbon monoxide detectors are working. This gas commonly arises from the tailpipe of a running car.

Lead Poisoning

Lead can be absorbed through the skin or the mouth. Lead poisoning can lead to serious neurological issues. Newer homes are built without lead paint; however, if you purchase an older home, there might still be lead paint on the walls. Check the paint thoroughly and swap it out if lead is present.

Mold

Mold is a common hazard that grows in homes. Mold can release spores into the air that can irritate people who suffer from asthma and allergies. Make sure that you keep your home clean to avoid mold growth. Mold likes warm, humid climates.

Falls

Injuries due to falls are among the most common accidents that happen in homes. If someone falls in their home, they are at risk of breaking bones or suffering a head injury. Make sure that you keep your outdoor steps clean and stabilize your staircases. This will reduce the risk of falls.

Drowning

Unfortunately, drowning can happen even if someone is safe in their own home. Even if a house doesn’t have a pool, people can still drown in the bathtub. In order to reduce the risk of a drowning event, make sure your pool has a fence around it (if you have one). Also, try to supervise bathing children. This will reduce the risk of a drowning event.

Reducing Household Dangers

Knowing about these dangers ahead of time reduces the chances of them happening. Try to inspect your home thoroughly to make sure that these common hazards are avoided.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss current financing options.