Posts Tagged ‘Real Estate’

Important Tips To Help Kids Adjust To The Move

August 16, 2019

Important Tips To Help Kids Adjust To The MoveMoving takes a certain amount of adjustment. Kids of all ages may need a little help getting used to the new environment. Help kids adjust to the move by keeping the following in mind. 

Kids Are Resilient

Don’t overly worry about how your kids will adjust to the move. Kids are resilient. They tend to acclimate to new situations fairly quickly. It may even be that your kids get used to the move before you do!

Make Friends With Other Parents

You could facilitate your kids’ making new friends by making friends with parents of kids the same age as your child. To do this, attend any school functions and meetings that come up. Make a point of seeking out other parents and perhaps inviting them and their kids over to your house for lunch.

Add Bonuses To The Move

Help get your kids excited about the move by adding some bonuses they didn’t have before. Has your daughter always wanted to take ballerina lessons? Has your son always wanted to try horseback riding? Consider paying for some local lessons in your new area. This will incentivize your child and help them see how moving is a beginning, not an end.

Cut Them Some Slack

In the beginning, your child’s grades may slip at their new school. Be patient and allow them this period of adjustment until they get used to the new routines. Your child may also undergo some mood changes after the move. Let them know that you’re ready to listen whenever they want to talk about what they’re feeling about the move.

Help Them Fit In

Fitting in is very important for most kids. At their new school, kids will likely be into different things than at your child’s previous school. Even the trendy fashion may be different. Do what you can to help your child fit in with a few new outfits or a different style of shoes. Although you know how little material things matter in life, these things can make a huge difference in how comfortable your child feels as school.

Let Them Help

One reason kids feel afraid about moving is the lack of control. When you let kids help with the move, they regain some control. Let kids help with choosing new furnishings, packing belongings or other small tasks.

It’s likely that one reason you’re moving is for better opportunities for you and your children. Once your kids adjust to the move, you’ll be able to see for yourself how they are thriving in the new environment. 

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.

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Should You Brace For A Potential Market Downturn Next Year?

August 15, 2019

Should You Brace For A Potential Market Downturn Next YearDon’t panic, a looming recession may be good news for those wanting to sell their homes. The experts say this recession may happen in 2020, so there is still plenty of time to make plans for how to deal with a potential economic downturn.

In many parts of America, especially in popular cities, the real estate markets are super hot for sellers. Home sales are coming in at prices that are record highs. For sellers in these hot markets, it might be time to sell. For buyers, able to wait until next year, the prices may come down.

What The ‘Experts’ Say

A Pulsenomics survey of 100 real estate market experts says that the pressures on the economy, which are negative, are not coming from the housing market this time. In fact, the Federal Reserve announced it will not make any changes until 2021, so the financial market supporting home loans will be coasting along pretty much as it is now.

The damage to the U.S. economy is coming from the delayed effects of the tariffs. Whether one agrees or disagrees with the tariffs is not the issue. The tariff changes that already went into effect, will have an economic impact next year or the year after.

Economists use the analogy of observing a big, slow-moving tidal wave. Scientists can see it coming from miles away. If those potentially affected by the danger pay attention to the warnings soon enough, they may have a chance to get out of the way.

Half the experts see the tariffs having a significant impact in 2020. Most of the other half see it coming in 2021. Nobody thinks the recession will hit before the end of 2019.

Summer 2019 – Selling Time

Home sales toward the end of summer are usually the strongest when compared to other times of the year. After returning from vacation, and before school starts, it is a popular time to look for a home when the weather is still nice outside.

Next Year 2020 – Buying Time

If a recession hits in 2020, then home sales prices may go down due to lowered demand. Again, this may be helpful for buyers who wait until next year to buy a home.

Conclusion

It is interesting to see that any possible recession will not be caused by the housing market this time. Real estate experts think that the housing market will price-in the effect of the recession up to one year ahead of when it hits.

If there are plans to sell a home, such as going into retirement and wanting to downsize or buy an RV for a happy retirement traveling, now may be an opportune time to consider selling.

If there are plans to buy a home and there is no rush, just take the time to work with your real estate agent to get a good deal and wait for a possible overall economic slowdown to get a better price. And be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss your financing options.

A $400,000 Profit From Flipping A Single House?

August 14, 2019

A $400,000 Profit From Flipping A Single House 1Flipping homes is popular once again. It took about eight years after the Great Recession that started in 2006 for home prices to rebound to the levels seen before the recession. Then, by 2016, in many areas, home prices started to rapidly increase.

The increases in home prices caused more flipping activity due to the potential profits. CNN reports the average gross profit on a flipped home sold during the past three years was about 50%.

In 2017, one real estate speculator took nearly one million dollars ($985,00) in cash and bought a home in an “as-is” condition, sight-unseen. That is what Mr. Lin He did, hoping to make some easy profit.

The Math

Flipping properties successfully is math with a bit of luck mixed in. Mr. He had good luck with his purchase in that it was in Malibu, California. He bought the home at a price well below its market value. The home was a foreclosure that listed for sale at $1.39 million. There were no buyers at that price, so the home went up for auction in 2017. Mr. He was the high bidder at $985,000.

That price was irresistible. Simple math meant that there was about $400,000 in potential profits between the purchase price and the value of the home, once the home was back in a nice condition.

Mr. He was very happy to buy the home for that low price. Then, he went to visit the property.

The Mess

The house was a disaster. The previous owner, who lost the house to the bank, was obviously angry about the foreclosure and intentionally broke as much as possible. The condition of this home, made the most-wrecked fixer-upper look like a palace compared to the mess bought by Mr. He.

After he saw the home in person, Mr. He admits the home was in even worse condition than he expected. On top of that, there was an extended delay caused by the local building department, which took six months to issue the building permit needed for the construction. Then, renovations cost $300,000 and the comprehensive remodeling work went on for three full months after it started.

The Result

In early 2019, the home was ready and beautifully prepared for sale with expert staging. It listed with a very successful real estate agent in the Malibu area who marketed the property well as a featured listing.

The listing price was $1.97 million, which was double the price paid by Mr. He to buy the home. In less than three weeks, it sold for the full listing price, giving Mr. He about $400,000 in gross profits after the renovation expenses.

Mr. He was very lucky that the home prices rose so quickly that he got the $400,000 profit he thought was in the deal when he bought the home, even though he had to invest $300,000 in the renovation work.

Summary

With 50% average gross returns potentially possible, flipping is attractive to many; however, as Mr. He says, “It is not as easy as it looks on television.”

If you are interested in investing in a property to flip, be sure to consult with your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss financing options.

How Important Is The Land Around A Potential Home?

August 13, 2019

How Important Is The Land Around A Potential HomeWhen viewing a potential home, how much consideration should you give to the surrounding land?

In many ways, the land should be carefully regarded, since land is the thing that is hardest to alter. You can rip up carpet, paint walls and even knock down walls, but it takes a lot more effort to change land. 

Mature Landscaping 

Mature landscaping is typically cited as a benefit, but what if you’re the type who enjoys looking out at wide open spaces? It could also be that the mature landscaping – older trees – are situated dangerously near the house.

Weakened trees could lose heavy branches in storms and cause damage your roof. Mature trees also have vast root systems that can damage or destroy septic lines.

Downward Slope

It’s charming to stand at the top of the street and look down upon your future home. In the winter, your kids could have a front yard sledding hill. But if torrential rains come, your valley home will likely be prone to flooding. Even if you’re not in a designated flood zone, you should probably carry flood insurance in a case like this.

Upward Slope

Everyone envies the owner who lives atop the hill. Your home will look impressive to anyone passing by. But bear in mind that the lawn mowing will be especially tricky because you’ll be navigating that steep slant in your landscaping. 

Rocky Lawn

If you’re looking forward to starting your own home garden, pay attention to the quality of the soil surrounding your home. If it’s overly rocky, you’ll likely need to have raised beds or potted plants for your garden to thrive. Also, consider if the land around the home is very shady. If it is, you may need to remove some trees in order to capture enough sunlight for your plants.

Poor Quality Lawn

If the lawn isn’t lush green and instead it’s kind of a mottled greenish-brown, just realize that you’ll need to invest time and money to bring it back into good condition. A land treatment company can help you with this, but it will take some time before you see results.

The nature of the land around a potential home is important. But there are always steps you can take to resolve land issues. While it’s important to note the condition of the land, don’t let it stop you from making and offer on a truly awesome new home.

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

 

 

 

 

 

4 Simple Tips To Make Sure Your Home Smells Inviting

August 9, 2019

4 Simple Tips To Make Sure Your Home Smells InvitingAs a diligent home seller, you’ve taken all your real estate agent’s advice about preparing your home for showings. You’ve de-cluttered, enhanced curb appeal and developed efficient strategies for leaving your home while viewings are taking place.

But have you given any thought to how your home smells to strangers?

Newcomers to your home will naturally be more sensitive to the smells of your house. Your nose is likely desensitized to your common household odors, but a prospective buyer may be put off by how it smells. Here are some ways to make sure your home smells inviting.

Don’t Burn Incense

If you enjoy burning incense, you might think this is a nice way to impart a lovely scent in your home. But don’t burn incense before showings. The visitors may be unfamiliar with common incense smells like patchouli, myrrh, jasmine and others. And if they can’t identify it, even a pleasant scent can be off putting. The best thing is to save your incense for when you’ve moved into your new home.

Move The Litter Box

If your cat uses a litter box, be sure to change or refresh it daily. This will help keep the scent from spreading throughout the home. Also, move the litter box to a less noticeable part of the home, such as the mudroom, garage or basement.

An odorous kitty litter box is more forgivable if it’s in an out of the way spot. And, as long as you let your cat know where it is, it will likely have no trouble adjusting.

Have Your Pets Professionally Groomed

Invest in professional pet grooming services to reduce the smell of dogs and/or cats in the home. Pet dander is not only an allergen; it imparts a musky scent that some homebuyers may not enjoy. A once a month grooming should be sufficient unless your pet is exposed to heavy rains or muddy conditions; in which case an extra grooming session is recommended.

Avoid Cooking Prior To Showings

Just like incense, if a homebuyer can’t recognize a scent, it can be off putting. Avoid cooking just before showings, if possible. Things like onions and garlic smell wonderful if you’re hungry, but not necessarily to a homebuyer. Of course, the scent of a fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies is always appreciated – let’s be honest!

Don’t forget to take your home’s smell into consideration when preparing it for showings. These tips will help ensure your home smells its very best.

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.

How To Find Motivated Sellers In Your Real Estate Market

August 8, 2019

How To Find Motivated Sellers In Your Real Estate MarketBargains in real estate may come from identifying motivated sellers who are willing to let a property go for less than it is really worth. Real estate investors who acquire properties at a discount from current market value enhance their success by increasing their profit potential. Real estate agents who list properties owned by motivated sellers increase their chances to sell a property quickly and have happy sellers who might refer them in the future.

Here are some tips on how to find motivated sellers:

Distressed Discounts

A property that lists for a long time and then the listing shows a discount is a clear sign the owner is becoming motivated. However, just because a property shows a discount from the original listing price, it still may not be a bargain. It is important to learn if the present owner has an unreasonable expectation. Check the recent comparable sales (comps) and then offer no more than 25% less than the sales price of the lowest comp.

Track Foreclosures

For real estate investors with the liquidity to do all-cash deals, tracking foreclosure dates creates opportunities. Properties may be bought just before the final foreclosure date at a large discount because the owner knows that the house will soon be lost anyway.

Short Sales

Another all-cash deal is the short sale. In this type of sale, the lender is driving the deal. The lender is willing to accept a steeply-discounted price to avoid an expensive legal foreclosure process. These homes almost always sell for way below market price and the seller is highly motivated.

Divorce Proceedings

A couple going through a disputed divorce may be forced to sell a home in order to be able to divide the assets owned by them. These are highly motivated sellers who may simply want to get rid of the home fast as part of the process of being finished with the relationship.

Estates

Another reason why a home may need to sell is if the person who owned it died. An estate sale may be a good deal if the executor of the estate is motivated. This happens if there are multiple family members who are impatient and have claims to a portion of the assets as their inheritance.

Will Pay Cash For Houses

A simple sign or flier posted many places with “Will Pay Cash For Houses” and a telephone number on it actually may work in some areas to find motivated sellers.

Personal Networking

Ask everyone if they know of someone who needs to sell a home quickly.

Summary

Finding motivated sellers is a useful thing to do for investors looking for great deals and real estate agents wanting faster-selling properties to list. Ask a homeowner why they want to sell to learn their motivation. Property owners who experience troubles create opportunities for others who are ready to help them sell a property fast and when the need is urgent.

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.

New York Penthouse Sells For $238 Million – Is This A Real Estate Bubble About To Burst?

August 7, 2019

New York Penthouse Sells For $238 Million - Is This A Real Estate Bubble About To BurstThe most expensive home sold in America, so far, was a New York penthouse that sold for $238 million in January 2019. It is on the top of a building that overlooks Central Park. The 26-story luxury condo building designed by Robert A. M Stern is nearly all sold out.

Who Has That Kind Of Money?

The proud buyer of the penthouse is Ken Griffin. His net worth is estimated to be $9.6 billion. He is the founder of the Citadel hedge fund. Griffin is 50 years old. A few days before buying the NYC penthouse, he closed on a home in London that overlooks St. James Park near Buckingham Palace. For that 200-year-old home, he paid just a paltry $122 million.

Griffin’s New York penthouse is 22,000 square feet of ultra-luxury living. It sold for more than twice the amount of the second palace record-holder in America. That is a penthouse on the One57 building, which sold for $100.5 million in 2014.

Boom Or Bust?

One might think that a penthouse sale setting a new almost unfathomable record would indicate a vibrant bullish market in New York residential real estate. Well, not exactly. It did raise the median sales price of a residential sale in New York City to over $1 million from being below this amount at the end of 2018. Prior to this sale, the median price was trending lower.

Forbes reports that the current economic trends are not normal. Usually, the NYC real estate market goes up when the stock market is up. However, the NYC residential real estate is down in spite of the robust economy.

Properties selling for top-dollar at prices that are hard to imagine could be a sign of a real estate market collapse. In general, the NYC residential market has been in a steady decline over the past year. The lowest number of closings in a decade happened during the first quarter of 2019.

Investor Uncertainty

There is a general sense of uncertainty for residential buyers in NYC, where the average one-bedroom condominium sells for over $1 million. Uncertainty makes potential buyers take longer to decide on making a home purchase in the Big Apple.

Add to this uncertainty, there is the new “mansion tax” that was approved by New York City as part of its budget in April 2019. The mansion tax is now 1% on residential sales of $1 million or more that goes up to a maximum of 4.15% on homes sales of $25 million and up.

Did you just do the math? Griffin would have paid $9.87 million for the new mansion tax if he waited until April 2019 to buy his penthouse. So maybe he feels like he got a bargain by saving nearly $10 million on the purchase?

Summary

In spite of the record price for the penthouse sale in NYC, the residential market continues to soften. The new mansion tax is not going to help sales either. Unless you have money to burn, as Griffin does, it may not be the best time to invest in residential properties in NYC if you hope to make a return on your investment when selling them.

Your trusted home mortgage professional is well-informed about the market trends in your area. Be sure to set up an appointment if you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property.

Why Do People Stage Homes To Sell?

August 2, 2019

Why Do People Stage Homes To SellIf you’re selling your home, your real estate agent has likely advised you to stage your home to sell. But why exactly do people stage homes to sell? Some people go to great lengths to stage their home too, even going so far as moving possessions into storage units or renting furnishings!

If your home is already nicely decorated, why should you go to the added trouble of “staging” it? There are many good reasons to stage your home to sell.

1. Staging Makes Your Home Appear More Spacious

Having lived in your home for a number of years, you probably haven’t noticed how many things you’ve accumulated. When you stage your home to sell, these things get put away out of sight. This tends to clear tabletops, open up floor space and generally make your home look larger. Homebuyers will see the spaciousness as a huge asset.

2. Staging Gives Every Area A Purpose

Part of the staging process is to give every area of the home a purposeful identity. A space by the front door becomes a true foyer, a bay window becomes a reading nook and a short hallway becomes a mail organization station. This lets homebuyers imagine how organized and productive their new lives will be in your home.

3. Buyer’s Agents Will Be Proud To Show Your Home

It may seem odd, but the homes that a buyer’s agent shows can reflect on the agent. When your home is beautifully staged, seller’s agents will be delighted to bring their buyers to see it. This can result in more traffic, which can lead to increased offers on your home for sale.

4. Staging Helps Buyers Envision Living There

Another process of staging is the removal of personal items from your home. This would include trophies, family portraits and similar memorabilia. This enables homebuyers to more easily envision themselves living in your home, which is more likely to lead to them making an offer.

5. Staging Takes The Burden Off The Seller

As the homeowner, you need to make sure all your possessions are in tip top shape for showings. Your favorite “sloppy” couch would have to be refreshed and steam cleaned to pass muster with discriminating buyers. Instead of going though all that, you can rent temporary staging furniture that’s already in pristine condition. 

As you can see, there are benefits to home sellers to stage the home. For help with the staging process, consult with your trusted real estate agent.  And, 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.

What Is Eminent Domain?

July 31, 2019

What Is Eminent DomainEminent domain is a law that gives the federal, state, county, and municipal governments in the United States the legal right to “condemn” property and then seize it to allow its use for development. Eminent domain is supposed to be used by the government at the various levels to do things for the public benefit, such as to build new roads or construct new public schools.

Compensation Under Eminent Domain Seizure

The government cannot take property without compensating the owner for its market value. Disputes that lead to lawsuits arise when the property owner and the government have a serious disagreement about the value of the property.

Imagine an acre of desert land in Nevada with no water, nothing built on it, and no utilities. The owner would be lucky to get $10,000 for it. Now, imagine it is less than a few miles away and that same amount of land is on the world-famous Las Vegas Strip. Now, it can sell for up to $10 million per acre.

What if the vacant land becomes a part of a new extension of Las Vegas? Is it worth $10,000 or $10 million? This is the type of thing that causes major legal disputes over the property valuations.

Abuse Of Eminent Domain

Eminent domain is supposed to be only used sparingly for the public benefit. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Developers sometimes use eminent domain laws with the complicit help of government officials to seize all kinds of property that the owners have no intention of ever selling at any price. People may lose their family homes where they lived for generations so that the city can allow a developer to build a parking lot.

To make matters worse, in 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a case called Keto v. City of London that the city could seize property on the mere expectation of increased tax revenues for the city or jobs.

This landmark case basically removed any restrictions and expanded the ability of the government to seize property on a mere pretense of having an expectation of revenues. In response to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling, 44 states enacted laws restricting eminent domain seizures in those states.

Summary

When a property owner gets hit with an eminent domain action, it is usually a surprise. The owner should immediately seek out competent legal counsel to help protect their rights and not necessarily let the abusers get away with using eminent domain laws inappropriately. There are non-profit organizations that are legal action groups, such as the Institute for Justice working on these issues that can help as well.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, please contact your trusted home mortgage professional.

The Community Reinvestment Act Explained In Simple Terms

July 30, 2019

The Community Reinvestment Act Explained In Simple TermsThe federal government adopted the Housing and Community Development Act in 1977, and the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) portion was designed to prompt lending institutions to provide mortgages for low- and moderate-income Americans. The underlying reasoning for the CRA was to discourage discriminatory lending practices that inhibited low-income communities and neighborhoods.

Over the years, its regulations have been revised to improve effectiveness. During the early 1990s, upwards of five changes were made and more following the 2007 financial crisis. With the country currently in the midst of an economic comeback, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency announced that it favored making changes to the rules that govern lending under the CRA. These changes could have a significant impact on the real estate market.

Modernization of the Community Reinvestment Act

Critics of the CRA say that it has failed to keep pace with the emerging technologies readily available in the low- to moderate-income communities it was designed to serve. Falling behind in this capacity reportedly inhibited the worthy goal of the policy.

Organizations such as the American Bankers Association are said to be in favor of modernizing the CRA. This group continues to press regulators to bring resources into the technology era. Improved technological resources appear to be critical elements to meeting community borrowing needs and improving banking transparency.

Another aspect of the CRA some feel has trailed behind the times is that not all lending institutions are subject to CRA guidelines. If the goal of the CRA is to give low- and moderate-income families a fair shot at the American dream of homeownership, other financial organizations may need to come under the CRA umbrella. A greater CRA borrowing pool is likely to increase residential and commercial buying.  

How The CRA Helps Communities Build Wealth

The current administration has made some hay about pushing policies that centralize ownership in community members’ hands. Several of the potential rule changes to the CRA point to improved home and business ownership within low- and moderate-income communities. In essence, the changes are a kind of throwback to the days when the person who owned the local bakery, breakfast restaurant and hardware store lived within the community.

If successful, the discussed policy shift would encourage residents to buy residential and commercial real estate where they live. In some sense, the administration appears to be shielding living, breathing communities from the widespread corporate takeovers that occurred in the 1990s and early 21st Century.

Critics seem to worry that tinkering with guidelines may lead to quantity over quality lending. However, proponents see a long-term plan to revitalize communities by restoring and increasing localized property ownership.

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.