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2009 (2)
2008 (9)
2007 (6)
Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Understanding an REO

With today’s considerably lower Miami Beach real estate prices, the large inventory of foreclosures and bank owned property the question becomes more of what kind of property is worth investing in than anything else.  For purposes of this article, we’ll focus on bank owned properties, also known as REO (real estate owned) property.

A home becomes real estate owned if it doesn’t find a buyer during a property auction.  Since banks aren’t necessarily designed to function as Miami Beach real estate property-owners, they’re usually very eager to get rid of them which can result in considerable discounts.  However since an REO is not the same thing as a foreclosure, lenders can still earn a profit from them so don’t expect as deep of a discount.

A perk of buying a Miami Beach real estate REO is that there’s much less of a risk of dealing with liens, taxes and other unforeseen costs that come with a foreclosure since lenders will take usually deal with them before the sale is closed.  However an REO can still be in bad condition like a foreclosure so it remains important to get a home inspection or check the home out yourself, lenders are not at all obligated to make any repairs on the property but they will allow you to back out if something is seriously wrong.

 
Posted at 10:24:21 AM

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Examining the Interior of a Home

If you’ve been browsing through Miami Beach real estate on the internet, you’ve more than likely come across numerous resources thoroughly explaining how important it is that you carefully consider where the home is located, the values of neighboring homes, etc.  If you’ve done your homework, perhaps it’s time to narrow down your assessment to the home you may soon be living in by giving the interior a meticulous examination.

Perhaps you’d like to start off with the electrical wiring.  Depending on your familiarity, you may wish to leave this to a professional or have it done as part of the home inspection report, should you request one.  Always check this part out regardless of whether the home was built ten years ago or five years ago.

The plumbing is a little easier.  Leakage can often be discovered just by taking a look behind sinks since that’s the spot where mold has the best conditions for accumulating.  A leaky sink could be an indicator of bad pipes and thus plumbing, something you likely want to bring to the appropriate person’s attention before signing off on the dotted line on your Miami Beach real estate purchase.

Not all homes come with an addict but if there is one, you may wish to make it your first stop.  If you want to examine the roof, the attic is the best spot to do so.  If there’s wood that shows wear and tear, this could lead to leakage later on.

 
Posted at 11:00:29 AM

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Compiling Comparable Sales

With the advances in technology and the widespread availability of the World Wide Web, there is more real estate information available than ever.  Realtors have a number of resources available to help them with their seller and buyer assistance efforts and among these, it’s important to have a good idea of average sales prices in any given neighborhood, officially known as comparable sales and often referred to simply as comps.

Depending on the state where the realtor is doing business, obtaining information on comps can be done by simply heading over to the local courthouse and browsing through public records or reading newspaper listings to get a glimpse of recent sales figures.  However this method means that such services need to actually be provided in order to make use of them.

The most readily available resource is the internet since there are many websites available which can be used for finding comparable sales information while removing the need to do a lot of unnecessary and possibly fruitless legwork.  Keep in mind though that there is no guarantee as to how current this information may be.  A similar approach is to subscribe to service companies which can mail or offer this information via other means besides the internet.  Even so, the same problems of encountering outdated information are still there.

The MLS can be extremely useful and if the person using it is already a licensed realtor then they have access to a wealth of information on multiple listings which is more often than not kept up to date.

At the end of the day however, perhaps the best way to have the sharpest knowledge on comps is to take the self research approach and focus on a certain neighborhood and staying abreast of sales.

 
Posted at 4:43:12 PM

Friday, October 31, 2008

Existing Home Sales Rose Nationally Last Month

While the economy seems bleak with the stock market fluctuating daily and a steady amount of major companies going bankrupt or merging, the real estate market seems to be headed down a different path. Month-after-month the real estate market has slight improvements. Experts think the worst declines in the real estate market have already past while the economy still has a while before it stabilizes.

Recent reports from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) show an increase in existing home sales. Home sales were up 5.5 percent with a total of 5.18 million units sold across the country in the month of September which was higher than the previous month by 1.4 percent. Lead economist for the NAR Lawrence Yun suggests this is part of “a sales turnaround which began in California several months ago…” and “is broadening now to Colarado, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri and Rhode Island”. 

The cause of this influx of real estate business, according to NAR President Richard F. Gaylord is “low home prices and low interest rates”. The nearly thirty percent discounts in home prices in major cities and rural areas have attracted buyers back to the real estate market in certain areas of the country. Richard F. Gaylord is optimistic about recent gains and thinks the real estate market is on its way to recovery.

Lawrence Yun, while also optimistic about the recovery of the real estate market, warns of “market disruptions” on the road to real estate market recovery. The credit markets have a significant impact on the real estate market and as they experience tough times it may have averse effects on the real estate market. But that aside, the NAR is predicting that the worst for the real estate market is over and that it will recover sooner than the economy itself.

 
Posted at 10:53:28 AM

Friday, September 5, 2008

Environmental Awareness

Global warming, damaging fuel emissions, they’re all more of a concern on people’s minds these days as they become more and more aware of their long term effects on the environment and how important it is to try and incorporate “green practices” into your daily lifestyle whether that means doubling up your recycling efforts or reducing the amount of time you spend sitting idly in traffic.

In real estate, many developers have taken into account how they too can make homes “greener” and many have made use of natural resources to create environmentally friendly condo buildings like Ten Museum Park which uses its glass design to allow tons of natural sunlight to come into the building, thus reducing the need to flip on artificial lights, at least during the day.

The Ten Museum Park condo is only a small part of a bigger picture.  Its home, downtown Miami is recognized not only by its sweeping business and condo skyscrapers, but also the numerous and elaborate light displays that bring the city to new life during the evening.  Obviously all this visual eye candy, while certainly nice to look at does not do the environment any favors.  Thus, to reinforce the message of how important it is to turn off nonessential lights whenever possible, Ten Museum Park and all those other high rises in downtown Miami’s will turn off their own unimportant lights on March 29 in a global effort to encourage environmental awareness.

Regardless of whether you live in a Miami single family home or a luxury condo, the efforts required by you to help out the environment even a little are that simple: turn off lights when you leave a room, drop a plastic water bottle or soda can into a recycling receptacle instead of the trash.  It may seem useless but it’s always good to know you’re doing your part in making the world you share with everyone else that much more pleasant.
hat require little to no repairs.  Don’t get caught up in the fierce competition without having a limit of how far you’re willing to bid, always remember the winning bid is only a component of the other fees that follow.  As you learn the ropes, you’ll eventually get a feel for how real estate auctions work and who knows, if you become good at it, they may become your preferred method of buying Florida real estate.
 

 
Posted at 2:50:44 PM

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

International Florida Real Estate Assistance

To some degree the foreclosure situation has transitioned from how to prevent foreclosures to how to get rid of the hundreds of foreclosure properties already available on the market.  South Florida homes are among the highest in foreclosure filings, contributing to an already overcrowded housing glut.  The answer to appeasing the situation may lie beyond the U.S. borders.

Strategic Real Estate Advisors is an asset management firm situated in London that plans to raise $1 billion dollars in order to purchase luxury property like Miami Beach oceanfront condos currently owned and being sold by the banks through the Florida Prime Residential Opportunity Fund.

It’s interesting to note that not only is Strategic Real Estate Advisors located outside of the United States, the majority of the funds which will go towards the purchase of all these luxury properties will be coming from well to do investors and funds located throughout Europe and the Middle East.  Recent reports have consistently pointed towards international investors and buyers as integral towards maintaining interest in Florida property investments and sales.

Critics may see Strategic Real Estate Advisors’ initiative as ineffective since they won’t be making a profit.  The firm actually plans to buy and then hold onto these properties for next six years or so, a move that may cost considerable funds as the market fluctuates but which should bring considerable profit by the time it decides to sell them off as a residential property investment or something else entirely.

Within a seven year timeframe home values and the real estate market in general will certainly be in much better shape and buying activity will likely have increased so in a sense Strategic Real Estate Advisors are providing a worthwhile short and long term solution.  Is this just another flash in the pan or is it a viable strategy?

 
Posted at 12:30:39 PM

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Homes Are Selling Again

Amidst the doom and gloom of housing market reports comes a recent report suggesting the real estate market is showing strong signs of life. In these tumultuous times it's easy for people to think that the economy is headed for recession or even a crash. Despite current market reports that suggest we are beginning to see slow signs of recovery there are still those who would rather build a bunker under their homes to prepare for an apocalypse then invest in real estate.

The last half dozen months have not seen much progress in the way of homes sold. The highest percentage of drop in home sales occurred during that period leading many to believe that the market would eventually begin to recover—and it did. In April homes sales increased slightly, which wasn't enough to ease all tensions in the housing market but enough to show that the market is on the right track to recovery. 

Property value also rose slightly across the nation showing encouraging signs of the real estate market's enduring strength. Though the median home value is comparably low to just four years ago the fact that property value is stabilizing across the country is a sign that things will return to normalcy sooner than later. When property values experience steady rise it will be more practical for people to sell homes and to convince investors to buy homes. 

So, how should one react to recent reports of trends reversing in real estate? Real estate transactions rising are a sign that demand for property is still alive. Prices are almost at a low enough level that many people sitting on the fence on whether or not to invest will soon become active. As sales increase, so will home values and soon real estate investments will become stable enough to return to business as usual.

 
Posted at 10:09:56 AM

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Updated: Thursday, December 5, 2019


You Dont Need 20 Down and Seven Other Myths That Are Getting in the Way of Homeownership

You need to be well-established in your forever career

There has been a lot of discussion about how millennials are waiting longer and longer to purchase homes. As a result of their consequent struggle to save,nbsp;millennialsnbsp;are delaying major life milestones like getting married and buying a home, said Business Insider.

Nonetheless, there are still millennials jumping into the market because, even know their name isnt yet on the door, theyre excited to have a home in their name. Having a stable job, a comfortable salary, and the desire to own a home may just be enough.nbsp;

Sure, you might not be ready to buy the house of your dreams or move to the neighborhood where you can imagine raising kids and, someday, retiring, but that doesnt mean youre completely out of the game. A smaller place closer to work or an attached property can, quite literally, get your foot in the homeownership door and allow you to start earning equity.

You have to be completely out of debt

Recent data shows that nearly half of all undergraduates are delaying homeownership because of student loans. According to a recentnbsp;Federal Reservenbsp;study,nbsp;a 1,000 increase in student loan debtnbsp;lowers the homeownership rate by about 1.5, equivalent to an average delay of about 2.5 months in attaining homeownership, said Clever Real Estate. For the average college debt holder with 37,000 in debt, that ends up being about a 7.7-year delay in their path homeownership.

Regardless of your debt, whether its from student loans or credit cards, it may still be possible to qualify for a mortgage and afford the payments, especially because rents are often comparable to mortgage payments. Mortgage underwriters dont expect homebuyers to be debt-free; In fact, having no debt might actually work against you. They like to see responsible credit use and management.

You need to have a family

Yes, many would-be homebuyers hold off until parenthood is looming, because theyre not ready to move to the suburbs, get married, and have kids. But, a third of todays new homeowners are unmarried, according to CITYLAB. The shift is detailed in anbsp;new working papernbsp;from Harvard Universitys Joint Center for Housing Studies, in which researchers crunched demographic data from HUD and from American Housing Surveys taken every other year between 1997 and 2017. Perhaps the most notablenbsp;departure from 20 years ago is the marital status of new homeowners. According to the paper, the share of married buyers declined from 61 percent in 1997 to just over half by 2017. Meanwhile, 35 percent of first-time homebuyers in 2017 had never been married.

You need to be a man

There was a time when single women wouldnt even have considered buying a home on their own. That time has clearly passed. According to the National Association of Realtorsnbsp;2018 profile of home buyers and sellers, single women homebuyers outnumbered single male homebuyers bynbsp;2 to 1

You need a 30-year conventional loan

There are tons of different loans that can help you purchase your first home, make payments more affordable and/or give you the flexibility you need to make homebuying affordable. FHA loans are among the most well-known and most popular loans for first-time buyers because they require just 3.5 down and have low credit score requirements. Other loans worth looking into depending on your circumstances include: government VA loans for veterans; USDA loans for properties in rural areas; and loans like Fannie Maesnbsp;Home>

You need to have great credit

If your score isnt in the 800s, or even the 700s, it doesnt mean youre going to be living that apartment life forever. You might be surprised to see the credit score minimums for some loans. While there is no official minimum credit score for a home loan approval, the minimum FICO credit score for conventional loan approvalnbsp;tends to be around 620, said Credit.com.

It has to be your primary home

Some rich urban millennials are choosing tonbsp;rent in the city and buy a vacation homenbsp;instead of a primary residence, said Business Insider. Meanwhile, some other savvy investors are continuing to rent and plunking down money to purchase homes in tourist-friendly locations so they can take advantage of the AirBNB craze. According tonbsp;Priceonomics, hosts on Airbnb are earning more than anyone else in the gig economy and are raking in an average of 924 a month, said Travel amp; Leisure. Airbnb hosts make nearly three times as much as other workerswith some hosts making more than 10,000 per month.nbsp;


> Full Story

Are You Buying For The Right Reasons?

In the push to buy, have you stopped to decide what is driving you into homeownership in the first place?
With this in mind, are you sure youre well equipped to buy whats best for you?

The U.S. Census Bureau census.gov, which recently >

percent.nbsp;

Of the nearly 123 million occupied housing units in the US, almost 57 percent of them are owner occupied.
Although homeownership rates were highest in the Midwest 69.0 percent, homeownership levels have not statistically differed from rates a year ago in the Midwest, Northeast, and West.

Homeownership is valued and is a persistent trend, but not an escalating one. Existing homeowners bought for a variety of reasons over a wide time frame. Some love where they are and what they bought; some are disgruntled; some are planning to move again for reasons that matter to them.

What is your main reason for buying a house? That is, how will owning a home improve your life and that of your family?

Six Top Reasons For Buying A Home

Prioritize the following list of Six Top Reasons For Buying A Home to clarify exactly why you are buying real estate and how to do it well:

1: To Gain More Living Space

Has your family expanded or are you launching a home-based venture? Or, do you just love the idea of room to spread out, inside and outside? Space costs money, so if you want to keep costs down, smaller is better. How have you arrived at your desired square footage? Just following the pack or is it based on experience? Clarify whether you need more space for living and sharing or for storing your ultimately-expendable stuff.

Reality Tip: Good design is more valuable than square footage. Cleverly-designed traffic flow, room placement, storage utilization, lighting including windows and skylights, and interior decor including furnishings can make a small house feel like a spacious home. The more you learn about how good design pays off, the more effectively you can evaluate the true value of any property you view.

2: To Further Career amp; Income Development

If a location puts you near work, clarify how stable the employer and your job are. However, if mobility and career flexibility are essential to your chosen profession, buying a home now may not be the best plan. If career research confirms that you may have to move out of the area in a few years to get ahead, you might not recoup the cost of buying and maintaining a home in that short ownership period. Renting may be the best approach.

Reality Tip: If you love this location and hope to return to it when your career is established, buy now and rent out the house while your career takes you away. This property can function as collateral for buying more real estate and will provide income and equity-building potential. If you love the location, this strategy may keep you from being squeezed later out if area prices increase while youre away.

3: To Find a More Affordable Location

If all you can afford to do in your current area is rent, buying a home will probably require a move to a new area. How does that balance against commuting costs, work potential, amenities, and what you love about where you live now? Do the math: is it better to rent and save to invest, or buy elsewhere? Ideally, housing costs should be 30 to 35 percent of gross income. Have experienced real estate professionals fill you in on the benefits and realities of living in new areas youre considering. For instance, even if you dont have kids, local school quality will still have a big impact on how quickly your new location appreciates. Dont just wander around online. Spend time walking and touring the new areas. Before you invest time looking at a lot of houses, this complete reality check will let you know whether the shift to a less-expensive neighborhood or a move further out of town makes life>

Reality Tip:nbsp; To stay in the area that means a lot to you, you might consider the shift from a detached house to an attached townhome or even a condominium. Townhomes, condominiums, and lesser locations all tend to appreciate in value more slowly than detached homes and highly-desired locations, so consider the long-term costs of settling for less at the start.nbsp;

4: To Invest amp; Build Equity

Determined to improve your finances by investing in a fixer upper and building sweat equity through do-it-myself renovations? The savings can be amazing, especially if you buy the best location you can afford and take advantage of the value your improvements and location add. If you are not trained or experienced in construction, invest time locating contractors who deal fairly and who have a lot of on-the-job experience. You dont want to pay them to learn on the job. Cheap quotes and fast talk can be expensive in the long run. Recent home buyers hired a renovator to get the 30-year old home they bought looking good and to renovate bathrooms and the kitchen. That all went well, but serious problems with the foundation were glossed over by the renovator who had no experience with foundations and water issues, just decor. Those homeowners overspent on renovations and now have to refinance to tackle foundation repairs.

Reality Tip: Renovating a home yourself or hiring experts is very doable, but dont confuse what you want with reality. Because you have and want to spend only 30,000 does not mean your planned changes will cost 30,000. Take the time to cost out construction changes and include a healthy contingency fund for surprises. Once you agree in writing on renovation details with your contractor, avoid changes. Changes drive the budget up and dont always improve the outcome. You may benefit from investing time and perhaps a few hundred on a short consult with an interior designer or architect. Theyll fill you in on common renovation problems and usual errors before you start.

5: To Move Ahead In Spite of Everything

Have you stayed out of the real estate market because sluggish wage growth and increasing debt make your dream home seem less affordable every year?

Time for a redo of that dream. Search out a real estate professional who specializes in helping first-time buyers maximize their advantages to make a solid move into real estate. Thats the professional who is very interested in helping you buy well, so youll come to them when its time for you to sell and move up.

Reality Tip: In your mind, separate interior decor from building condition and design. Decor offers a superficial, and often do-it-yourself, fix while changes and improvements to the building can be expensive, but, done well, add space and utility. Buy real estate with solid bones and the best location you can afford. The rest is paint and imagination which can take place gradually as you get to know the building and what really works.

6: To Live More Green

Research will be your friend here. Technology and materials may be labeled green, but they are not always as effective as advertised. They may also be much more expensive. If you want to go green, make sure you know what you and everybody you hire are talking about. One home buyer opted for many environmental systems in his new build. He did not investigate installation requirements but >

Reality Tip: Environmental features can include building orientation, window placement, energy-efficient appliances, lighting, HVAC systems, landscaping for energy conservation, and long-lasting materials and technologies. A home office can be an environmental feature if it saves on commuting costs. The time spent talking to homeowners who have successfully created environmentally-sophisticated homes will be priceless. Learn from their mistakes and mis-spends, not yours.

Clarify why you want to buy a house and youll know what you need to investigate and understand before you start the actual search. This is how to guarantee youll make informed decisions about the best fit.


> Full Story

Co-Signing? Consider These Points

The first is realizing what happens if someone you co-signed for defaults on a loan. A lender typically wont foreclose on a property until two or three payments are showing up as more than 30 and 60 days past the due date. A single late payment wont start foreclosure proceedings but more often than not when these payments become seriously delinquent the co-signer remains in the dark until things start to deteriorate rapidly. If you co-sign, make sure you get copies of monthly statements for the mortgage and monitor them closely.

Another thing to consider >

Opening up new credit accounts will also affect your credit balances. By co-signing on a mortgage, the new payment, including principal and interest, taxes, insurance and mortgage insurance when needed, will be tacked on to your own personal debt. Should you decide to apply for a new mortgage or other larger purchase on credit, the amount you currently owe can affect whether or not you can obtain an approval.nbsp;

Maybe a gift would be a better option? To help someone qualify by co-signing, youre just as responsible for the mortgage as the primary borrower. Instead of co-signing, and you have the funds available, consider providing some financial assistance in the form of a gift. This would lower the amount borrowed and make it easier to qualify. Providing a gift also leaves out any longer-term solution. Co-signing means youre on the existing note. A gift can help but doesnt affect your credit lines. And if you do agree to co-sign, ask if this would be a long or short term situation. Do the primary borrowers need help as it >

And one final note here about co-signing. If one or both of the primary borrowers has damaged credit, co-signing wont help. When there are multiple borrowers on the same application, lenders use the lowest middle credit score of all the borrowers. If your credit score is 780 and their qualifying score is 500, you credit wont help. The lender will use the 500 as the qualifying score and likely headed for a turn-down.


> Full Story



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