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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: Sunday, August 9, 2020


What Should You Know About Virtual Home Tours?

The pandemic is still going on, despite most states being in some phase of their reopening plan, and people are doing more things virtually than ever before. nbsp;

For example, some employers are saying theyll keep their employees working remotely for the foreseeable future.

A Changing Real Estate Market?

Inevitably, these changes have impacted the real estate market. The market has been surprisingly strong through this, with mortgage rates historically low, but that doesnt mean buyers and sellers arent doing things differently.

The virtual tour is one example. Increasingly homebuyers are going through the entire process online, meaning realtors are showing them homes virtually.

A survey that came out in January, before the pandemic affected America, found that prospective homebuyers preferred to work with agents offering virtual tours. The National Association of Realtors 2019 report called Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends, found that 48 of buyers between the ages of 39 and 63 said they found virtual tours very useful as they searched for homes.

The following are things buyers, sellers, and real estate agents should know about virtual home tours.

Agents Can Go in the Home to Do the Tour

The term virtual tour is somewhat generalized, and it can refer to a few different scenarios.

In one scenario, theres a virtual tour thats prerecorded, and then anyone can look at it on demand.

There are also instances, particularly now, where real estate agents representing buyers will go into the home and then walk them through it live, but still virtually using something like Zoom or FaceTime.

For some buyers, this represents a better option because their agent can help them understand the nuanced details of the home that they wouldnt have access to otherwise. If you have a real estate agent whos doing a tour for you, its a much more dynamic experience.

You can ask your agent to show you closets, or provide different angles. You can also ask them to look in the backyard or to examine certain components of the house like the foundation.

What are the Pros of Virtual Tours?

Since were still dealing with the effects of the pandemic, one of the perks of virtual tours for buyers is that it provides them with inherent social distancing.

Some people who might be planning a move far from their current location may not even have the option to travel right now, so virtual tours are the only way for them to conduct their search.

Its also convenient, and theres a lot to be said for that.

When you take a virtual tour, you dont want to spend time traveling to the property if its something youre not interested in.

Even if you dont buy your home completely sight unseen, virtual tours can save you time in the overall process.

Virtual tours can help you get a handle on what you like and dont like as well.

What Are the Cons of Virtual Tours?

There are downsides to virtual tours. First, you dont get the full sensory experience of a home. It sounds silly, but homes have a vibe and you may feel one way or another about a space when youre there in person. You dont feel what the ceiling heights are as an example, or what the finishes feel like.

Youre also not getting a feel for the location if you buy a home without seeing it first. You can ask your real estate agent to provide you with information and perhaps even a virtual tour of the neighborhood, but still, its not the same as seeing it for yourself.

Tips for Virtual Tours

If youre a buyer, there are some things to know going into virtual tours.

First, know what to ask your real estate agent if youre doing a live tour. For example, remember to ask about the fundamentals like the laundry room, the garage, and the storage spaces. Have your agent show you the roof and the foundation, as well as the less glamorous parts of the house like the water heater and the furnace.

If possible, even if you arent going to go to the home, but you live >

Finally if at all possible think of virtual tours as one part of your home buying process rather than a complete replacement. They can supplement your experience and save you time, but if you have the chance to go into the home it can help you visualize yourself there.


> Full Story

Tips To Make Your HOA Newsletter Pure Gold

Focus on Building Community. Get HOA members to become participants rather than observers. Offer opportunities to do that on committees and social events.

Understand Your Audience. How old are they? What is their financial status? How do they like to spend their time? Find out by getting feedback from your readers with a questionnaire.

Inspire Your Readers. Make sure events, activities and volunteer opportunities are well publicized. Create headlines to grab the readers attention.

Be Consistent in Layout and Content. If you have a "Rules amp; Regs Corner" which highlights a particular HOA rule or policy, publish it in every issue. Always include current board and management contact information mail, email and phone.

Dash the Draft. Write the rough draft as quickly as possible and then go back to polish and flesh out the details.

Archive Your Newsletters and Articles. Many articles bear repeating and as time passes will have new eyes that see them for the first time. Repeat seasonal reminders. Create folders on your computer for the months you publish your newsletter and put article files in the months they fit best. In time, you can build a reservoir of content to draw upon that will make newsletter writing much simpler and quicker.

Lead With Your Strong Suit. Put the most important information up front. Organize the strongest points of an article before you write it.

Keep Articles Short. If an article is long or complicated, readers will move on. If there is simply too much good content to abbreviate, break the article into several articles.

Give Credit amp; Contact Information. Include the newsletter committee, writer and editor names and contact information. This rewards volunteers and encourages others to step up.

Be Positive amp; Uplifting. While criticism has its place, too much of it is a downer and chases most readers away. Strive for the positive. Be upbeat.

Proofread. Editing is a rewording experience. Carefully review your work for grammatical and spelling mistakes or get a detailed oriented person to do it for you. Make sure your facts are straight.

Reprint with Permission. Search the internet for content that would be of interest to your readers. If you find an article that includes author and contact information, be sure to get permission before reprinting and give credit where credit is due.

Have Fun With It. Give them a giggle or two. The internet is full of jokes, puns and cartoons.

Publish Pictures. Folks love to see themselves in the paper. Share event pictures, photos of board members, the manager, committee members and other volunteers.

PDF It. Programs like Adobe Acrobat make it possible to convert word processing and newsletter programs into Portable Document Format PDF which can be posted on the HOA website or emailed to those that do email. PDF was designed with HOAs in mind. Using it can save thousands of dollars in printing, supplies and postage each year plus countless processing hours each year required of paper newsletters. Get Advertisers. If your HOA is large enough and newsletter regular, it may attract advertisers like real estate agents, insurance agents, painters and remodelers and help pay for itself.

Newsletters are a wonderful way to bind your community together in a custom way. Keep your homeowner association in the know with timely and >
> Full Story

Tips for Landlords During COVID-19

The CARES Act also established a federal eviction moratorium, but now thats come to an end, for the time being, leaving around 40 of renters in America at risk of losing their homes.

Eviction notices can now legally go forward, but as a landlord, you probably realize the situation isnt cut and dry.

What can you do as a landlord to help your renters, even if youre worried about how to pay your own bills?

Know Local Regulations

If youre a landlord, you may already be aware of what your local regulations are under normal circumstances as far as evictions, but theyve likely changed in recent months.

In California, for example, more than 80 local governments have put temporary holds on evictions beyond what the federal government had in place.

Your state or city should have information on their website.

With that being said, even if you can evict a tenant that doesnt necessarily mean you should for a variety of reasons. One of those reasons is the fact that it could be nearly impossible to find a new renter right now.

Regardless of the specifics of your situation, empower yourself with knowledge as a landlord during this time.

Communicate Transparently with Tenants

Many tenants are facing serious stress and uncertainty right now, and the idea of being evicted is only going to add to that.

Of course, they may not be thinking that as a landlord, youre facing the same things.

Try to communicate as much as you can with your tenants now and as long as were in the pandemic.

Let your tenants know what youre thinking, what your plans are, and also let them know they arent alone during this time.

If you have several tenants or more, consider communicating by setting up an online portal.

Verify

If a tenant is telling you they cant pay your rent, you may need to verify what theyre saying. This can be uncomfortable, but if a tenant is simply nervous about the future but still has their job, then they have a responsibility to pay their rent.

By verifying information, you will send a message to your tenants that while youre willing to work with them, you also take rent collection seriously. There has to be a balance between compassion and potentially being taken advantage of.

There may be local laws dictating what you can and cant ask of tenants right now, so again, youll need to check in on local laws and regulations.

Work with Your Tenants

If your tenants truly are facing financial challenges, the best thing you can do is work with them.

You might talk to them about partial payments, for example. One option would be to prorate how much they owe over a certain period and then add that to their monthly rent when things normalize.

If your city allows it, you may be able to work out some other type of payment plan as well. In some cities in the U.S., you can ask tenants to sign payment plans, so youll have to check that first.

Talk to Your Lender

Finally, if your tenants are having financial problems, then you as a landlord may be as well. Just as there has been >

Contact your lender, and when you do, be prepared to show them how much rent youre losing and also outline your monthly expenses.

If youre honest and proactive, theyre more likely to work with you to lower monthly payments or help you find another solution to avoid default.


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