Monday, February 23, 2009

Everything You Need

Beware The Rent Versus Buy Calculator

You probably have seen a rent-versus-buy calculator here and there online, and you may have even used one. They are supposed to help you decide if buying a house makes financial sense for you, but do they really tell you what you need to know? Let's take a look at how they work, and how they sometimes don't.

To Rent Versus Buy

The idea of these calculators is to take into account all the costs of both renting and buying over a given time, to compare them and see which option is better. There are a number of criteria involved, though, and this means there will always be some guessing. How many years will you be in the home? How much will rent be up to in ten years? How high will your property taxes be? These fields will be filled in by default in most calculators, and you'll change them as needed.

I just went to the U.S. Government's site, to see their rent-versus-buy calculator. Their fields start (mid 2007) with an assumption of ten years in a house, a 7.5% interest rate, and 2% annual appreciation - all very conservative guesses. Here is what all of the criteria were preset at:

Your Current Monthly Rent: $750
The Price of Home: $150,000
The Down Payment: $15,000 (10%)
Term Of Loan (years): 30
Interest Rate On Loan: 7.5%
Estimated Years In The Home: 10
Annual Property Tax Rate: 1%
Annual Home Value Increase: 2%

You can change any of these. For example, property taxes are closer to 2% of property value in some areas. Over 10 years appreciation will probably be more than 2% annually (although it could well be a negative number this year and next). Hitting the "calculate" button, this is what was shown:

Home Value In Ten Years: $182,849
Loan Balance After 10 Years: $117,340
Your Equity: $65,509
Tax Savings (at 28%): $32,549
The Average Monthly Payment Over Time: Rent: $834 - Buy: $550
Total Payments Over Ten Years: Rent: $100,080 - Buy: $66,017
Your Total Savings On: Buying - $34,063

Confusing. My amortization table shows that the payment on a 30-year, 7.5% loan would be $944 per month, not $550 - and this doesn't include mortgage insurance, property taxes or home owner's insurance. They may take into account the tax savings, but that still doesn't explain how they arrive at $550. There is this little note at the bottom:

"The above rent-versus-buy calculator uses the following in its calculations: homeowner's insurance, loan costs, mortgage insurance, cost to sell the home, property tax, homeowner's tax savings, and increases in rent. Results are estimates. "

Well, that certainly doesn't clear things up, but it does point out some other issues, like the fact that there is no calculation at all for repair costs. Having owned several homes, I can tell you that there will be repairs and maintenance. We also don't know if rising property taxes were taken into account. Also if you are in the 15% tax bracket (likely if you're renting a $750 apartment), the tax savings would be about $15,000 less than calculated - a little bit of difference.

Now, even at a more reasonable 6.5% interest rate, the monthly cost of owning a $150,000 home (with taxes, insurance, and minor repairs) is a minimum $1,150 - and probably higher than that. Using the above example, this is $400 more per month than renting. My guess is they take into account the "opportunity cost" of not having that $400 per month to invest over 10 years. That might even surpass the equity gain from owning.

Buying is often a good idea, especially since you probably won't invest that $400 monthly in extra cash flow you get from renting. But do some of your own thinking, understand what criteria are being used, and be skeptical of these rent-versus-buy calculators.

Short Term Long Term Furnished Apartments Boston – Listings

Are you looking for the perfect boston furnished apartments? If you are in need of an apartment for rental for a limited or long period of time you should consider apply for a furnished apartment. This way the basic process will be cheaper and you could save money for other vital necessities.

There are a number of offerings for furnished apartments so all you have to do is see them and decide upon the one which exactly meets your needs.

Short term or long term furnished apartments in Boston that fit the perfect dimensions, location and budget are often difficult to come by. But in general, this kind of accommodation has its definite benefits. What are some of the critical components to be considered when renting a furnished apartment?

At first, you should decide on the precise locale of the flat so that it would be close to your office or college. Additionally you should set your standards such as the what you want to pay for renting, the living dimension provided, the physical amenities to be furnished. As you probably know, the place to look for what you want is by all means a great Boston apartment finder site.

In order to be economical, contemplate utilizing the no free services of apartment broker who can send you a listing of the furnished apartments which match your housing choices.

Use the cell number given by each announcement so as to organize your appointments for viewing the particular locations and apartments. In addition, you should pay attention to the total details such as: parking, area markets and so on.

Don't neglect to investigate the agreement very precisely before you finalize it so that every factor in the contract is suitable to to you.

Furthermore, the utility costs like: water, sewer, electricity cable internet, waste or gas, may be or not be included in your rent price. You have to be aware of this aspect of your contract or ask which utilities are included.

This aspect has to be included in your contract. What you do not see in it does not exist – plain and simple. The contract is a type of binding agreement for you and the property manager.

Ask a fully aware advisor to look over it so you can prevent any unwanted requests from the landlord.

Before signing an agreement which does not comprise the details including the utilities, ask the property owner for the estimated price for them to be aware if it makes sense.

The Boston apts location may be a very high end one and you can face the undesirable situation of not being able to pay for the utilities bill.

For a long-termed contract it may be advisable for you to considering renting an unfurnished apartment to. Sometimes, furnished apartments are suitable more so than short term apt contracts. Make sure to decide upon the length of your contract prior looking for a furnished or unfurnished apartment. And, for more tips on how to find boston furnished apartments info - along with using links, videos and more, don’t delay – search for what you want today by visiting the sites described here.

Cheap Real Estate - Ten Reasons Why

Why is there cheap real estate? Is it just that some sellers don't know what their property is worth? Sometimes this is the case, but only rarely. More often a seller is willing to sell for less because it means selling faster or more easily. In other words, sellers will trade a little equity for a fast sale or peace of mind, as in the following situations.

Ten Cheap Real Estate Motivators

1. Death - After the death of a loved one, family members may want to sell any real estate cheap to be quickly done with the bad memories, or to get their inheritance faster.

2. New Job - A job transfer or new job can give a person a lot of motivation to sell fast, and therefore sell cheap. Often, the seller will end up with two payments, and you will be helping by taking one off his hands.

3. Divorce - When people divorce, sometimes they need to sell to settle things, and the faster the sale, the sooner they get to be done with it all. Also, sometimes neither one can afford a home that was being paid for with two incomes. A fast sale prevents late payments and credit problems.

4. Behind in Payments - If a seller is already behind in payments, he or she is facing possible foreclosure. Selling to you at a discount is preferable to losing a lot more equity in a foreclosure.

5. Back Taxes - In most places an owner has to be more than a year behind on property taxes before he faces losing the property. If he is close the the deadline, however, you may get a deal. Just be sure you take into account the taxes that have to be paid.

6. Absentee Owner - It is difficult to deal with a property from a long distance, especially rental units. These sellers often get to the point where selling fast and regaining peace of mind is more important than getting full market value.

7. Income Problems - Whether due to a lost job or declining business, a seller may no longer have the income necessary to keep his home or other real estate. He may need to sell fast to avoid further financial problems.

8. Negative Cash Flow - It doesn't make sense to lose money on real estate every month, so sellers with negative cash flow may drop the price to sell fast. Just be sure that you have a plan to increase that cash flow once you own the property.

9. Damage - This is one of the most common reasons for cheap real estate. The walls have holes, the roof needs replacing, and the cats peed all over the carpets. Fixer-uppers always sell for less, and the scarier they are the cheaper they get. But be sure you know what you are getting into.

10. Sudden Cash Requirements - Sometimes a seller has a better investment or other reasons to need cash fast. For example, selling fast might prevent him from losing another property to foreclosure, or it might mean getting into an investment that will make him far more profit than the little bit of equity he loses selling cheap to you.

Other reasons people sell below market value include sickness, partnerships gone bad, bad tenants, excess debt, and any number of changes in people's lives. Remember, however, that the immediate reason for a lower price is to get a faster or easier sale. To get cheap real estate, then, make offers that close fast and easy.

How to Make Money in Michigan Real Estate Investing During a Recession

News of the fact that the nation as a whole is in the midst of a recession has become a hot topic of late. Everyone seemed to avoid using the term until the last few weeks of 2008 when the government released a report that confirmed what experts were predicting.Now you stand in line in a crowded restaurant waiting for a table on the weekend and it's all anyone is talking about. (which is strange considering that these restaurants never seem to be going through a recession themselves...hmmm).

However, unlike the rest of the country, Michigan has been experiencing it’s own private recession starting as far back as 2004.

That’s almost four years pain!

Now I've heard it said that "when God closes a door, he opens a window" and you'll see that this holds true for Michigan Real Estate Investors these days.

You see, prices in Michigan never experienced the sensational run-ups that were seen places like California, Las Vegas, Florida, and Washington D.C. So prices have maintained a more affordable level all along.

In addition, the big 3 auto makers troubles started after the 9/11 attacks and never really made a full recovery. As plants started to close in 2004 and restructuring began in earnest, many local residents began to lose their jobs.This outflow of workers moving south has put a lot of pressure on the demand for homes in the local area.

It’s hard to think about how the recent decline in housing prices nationwide for the past year is being taken so hard and then realize the fact that Michigan has been in this same situation for almost half a decade now!

However, while prices have declined to artificially low levels, rents have not, which means it’s a VERY good time to be a “buy and hold” Michigan real estate investor.

You see, each year there are a certain number of people that are looking to move up from renting an apartment to renting a house(many just want a yard for their dog), but add to that an influx of people who have lost their homes to foreclosure as well as people that want to “sit the market out” and wait for prices to bottom out, and it’s easy to connect the dots and see why demand is so high for rental properties.

Just 24 months ago a good 3 bedroom home in a good area would costs more than $100,000 and would bring in around $965 p/month in rent.An investor buying this house would be paying about $875 per month PITI on a mortgage payment.

A similar house, needing little work, could be found for around $50,000 today!Under the circumstances, five hundred dollars per month in positive cashflow is a realistic goal for many investment properties!

There is no better time to get involved in Michigan Real Estate Investing.Whether you live in the Great Lakes State or not, this does apply to you. There are plenty of well run property management companies that can keep an eye on your growing real estate empire for you so you can invest from afar.

New technology such as automatic draft payments and e-check payments solutions mean that you can avoid ever worrying about whether a tenant has put your check in the mail on time or not.

Considering the foul treatment the stock market has doled out to pretty much everyone of late, it might be a good idea to do some research on Michigan Real Estate Investing. Try to find a good list of hot Michigan wholesale properties that need little to no work in order to get them rentable and leased out fast…so they can start putting sizable returns in your pocket today.

Top Three Real Estate Secrets

Some real estate secrets are right out there in the open for everyone to see. The second secret below, for example, is simply to make low offers. Real estate agents and others will argue that you just waste everyone's time because low offers just aren't accepted, but common sense and experience say that they do sometimes work. Other secrets are not so obvious, as this first one demonstrates:

The Value Is In More Than The Property

Real estate prices are determined by the market. If buyers are paying $200,000 for similar homes in your area, that's probably about what you'll get, unless you make your property better in some way. If buyers will pay $10,000 more for a finished basement, for example, then it makes sense to finish that basement if the cost is say, $5,000. When you think "better" however, don't limit your thinking to the property itself. How else can you raise the price?

You can raise your price by making the property easier to buy. This is one of the most overlooked real estate secrets. I once bought property for cash and sold it for 30% more a few weeks later simply because I sold it with easy payments. No cash? You might refinance your home to raise the cash. A $18,000 lot, for example, paid for with money borrowed on your home at 6%, might be sold for $24,000, with 9% interest, if you make the down payment and monthly payments low enough for the buyer.

The other way to make it easier for the buyer and so raise your price, is to sell on a lease-option. The buyer pays higher than normal rent, with part of that rent applying towards the down payment if he chooses to exercise his option to buy. The price is typically set according to what the house will be worth at the end of the option period (two years is common). With a non-refundable deposit or "option fee" and high rent, you do well whether or not the house is bought.

How much more can you ask when you make buying easy? It depends on a lot of factors, of course. Here is an example: a couple years ago, we wanted to sell a mobile home (with a lot) that we owned. Because these are difficult to finance, we figured we could get about $36,000 cash. We sold it for $45,000 however, by letting the buyer make a reasonable down payment and then making payments to us directly. We also are making thousands from the interest over the years.

The Secrets Of Low Offers

Making low offers can be a great way to get cheap real estate. But don't expect to make a few really low offers and snag a great piece of real estate at half-price. Be realistic in your offering prices, and use this two-step plan to make this strategy effective:

1. Find sellers likely to accept a low offer.

2. Make a lot of offers.

Start by identifying "motivated sellers." This can mean looking in areas that are temporarily slow markets, but primarily you are looking for sellers that need to or want to sell fast for some good reason. These reasons can range from needing to move for a job to just being tired of owning a rental.

Make a lot of offers. Most sellers - even motivated ones - will say no to an offer that is 15% to 20% below their asking price. This is what you'll often have to aim for, though, if you intend to flip the property for a profit, because transaction costs (commissions, taxes, closing, etc.) can eat up 10% of the value. This strategy will annoy real estate agents, by the way, and may even embarrass you. That is the price you pay for getting a great deal.

On the other hand, if you don't have a property in your hands by the time you've made 100 offers, you may be going too low on your offers, or targeting the wrong properties.

Counting Backwards

When doing fixer upper for a quick profit, you have to start at the end and figure backwards. The "end" is the sales price you are likely to get when you sell. Subtract all costs and your desired profit from this figure to determine how much you can offer.

For example, decide what a potential fixer-upper needs and then - with help if necessary - determine what it will sell for once you do the planned improvements and repairs. Let's suppose that this is $225,000. Now you have to figure as carefully as you can what every single costs will be. These costs include buying costs, repair and improvement costs, utilities, taxes, interest on loans, sale's commission, advertising costs, selling costs, and anything else you can think of.

All of those costs AND the profit you want for your effort have to be subtracted from the projected sales price. This is how you arrive at the maximum price you can offer. This procedure is often ignored by investors even though it is one of the simplest and most important real estate secrets.

An Overview Of Putting Together Plans For Your Dream Luxury Vacation Home

There are some distinct differences between vacation home plans and traditional home plans. The plan of a vacation home usually have specific features which may include more of an open floor plan and living area, decking area, indoor sports room for a pool table and other activities, patio area and a screened room offering a fantastic view. Location is important for vacation homes and popular areas include in the mountains, on the waterfront or close to the beach. The style of home will depend upon the location and local planning consent but could vary between traditional, Victorian, Prairie style, contemporary or cottage.

The process of developing your dream vacation home can prove stressful and you will need a strong determination to drive the project forward to a successful conclusion and overcome any barriers which hinder progress along the way. It is a good idea to consult a professional who will be able to offer expert advice on every aspect of the house, whether this be from an engineering, design or project management point of view. Compromise may be necessary during parts of the development process so it pays to be practical and reasonable in your demands, but make sure the key aspects you specify within the house are delivered wherever possible as this is your investment and will help to determine the quality of the time you have while enjoying your new home or rental income it may generate if you decide to let it out in the future.

Although many rental homes have great amenities and are beautifully furnished the big advantage of developing your own vacation home is that you have control over not just the exterior look and style of the property, but can also determine the interior feel. This comes down to details as choosing the perfect fire surround or having that sensational glass dining table you have always dreamed of.

Home Buying Tips You Haven't Heard

The following are not your usual home buying tips. For example, almost everyone will tell you that you should buy a home, but the first tip below suggests an alternative.

Consider Renting

This is all about time and place and your own situation. Are you going to be in one place for long? If you are likely to move within a few years, you may be better off renting. Transaction costs of buying and selling will likely eat up any equity gains you get. It may seem profitable to buy at $200,000 and sell at $220,000 two years later, but commissions, closing costs and loan costs can easily add up to $20,000, so where is the gain? Also, there is no guarantee that prices will rise, and if they don't you suffer a real loss.

Also, it is a matter of the ratio between rental rates and the costs of buying, and what is likely to happen in the market. For example, suppose you are in a slow-growing stable area, and your total monthly cost to buy a home is going to be around $1,200. If rent is anywhere near that for the same size home, you should probably be buying a house.

On the other hand, let's look at the example of Tucson, Arizona in late 2005. You could buy a small home for about $190,000, with mortgage, taxes and insurance running about $1,325 per month. But you could rent the same home for just $675 per month. Now add to this the fact that home prices had been rising at 20% or more per year for years, and 12% of all recent sales were to speculators, not owner-occupants (a sure sign of a market top).

In this case, it would have made more sense to rent. Had you bought there two years ago, you would have paid $650 per month extra to be a home owner, or $15,600 over these last two years. In addition, the house would probably be worth a little less now than when you bought it. Better to have banked that $15,600 and bought the home today.

Other Home Buying Tips

Compare ALL costs when you look at various homes. It is easy to consider just the price of a home, or what that means in terms of a mortgage payment. However, there are other costs. If the home is in a flood zone, for example, insurance could be $200 per month higher than for other homes. Look at taxes, insurance, utility costs (big homes cost more to heat) and any other regular costs, so you can honestly compare houses according to what they will cost you monthly.

Go to online forums to learn about a new town. Many people like to talk about where they live. They get to do this in various online forums, which you can search for by entering the name of the town and "forum" into any search engine. Be aware that these are often places where locals complain about their town, but you can also find interesting and useful information, and ask questions.

If your real estate agent doesn't represent you, don't be loyal. If she is really a seller's agent, she is obligated to pass on comment you make to the seller, like "I think we can go higher if they reject our first offer." Even if she represents you, be sure she does it well. If you are shown three houses that have nothing to do with the criteria you laid out, show the agent the door. By all means stick with a good agent who really helps you, but otherwise you can also call the listing agent for each house you want to see.

Inspect the home yourself. You probably plan to have an inspection done by a professional before you buy. But you should also visit the home a second time yourself, to do your own. Bring a home inspection checklist and look over everything, even if this takes an hour or more. In this way you can tell the professional inspector what your concerns are, and be ready with questions for him.

There is another reason to do this inspection. It has to do with a concept called "time investment." Sellers are more likely to accept an offer if they have invested more time and hope into a buyer. Negotiation secrets like this are a whole other area of home buying tips - one that you may want to learn about.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Video History of Olde Meadowvale Village

Buying A Home - Three Mistakes To Avoid

Buying a home is often a stressful process, because it is usually the single largest purchase of your life. Even if it isn't your first house, it's easy to make a mistake that costs you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Here are three common mistakes to avoid.

1. Paying Too Much

This isn't about over-paying for a particular home. That mistake is tough to make if you will be borrowing to buy. An appraisal will be done, and the lender will probably refuse to lend enough for you to buy an over-priced house.

The common mistake here is following the advice of real estate agents, lenders and even your friends and family, who will often encourage you to buy a more expensive home than you can afford. They may call it an "investment" and claim that real estate always goes up in value, so you should get as much as you can. Of course, recent history shows that home values don't always go up, and this kind of thinking has a lot of families facing foreclosure now.

Buy what you feel comfortable with. If you can't easily make the payments, even after a short layoff from work, you may be overextending yourself. And watch out for lenders "solutions" to this problem (see number 2).

2. Trusting Lenders

I am not suggesting that lenders are all out to get you, or that you should look at them suspiciously, but they are not necessarily looking out for your best interest. That's your job. Their's is to sell loans. Buying a home normally requires buying a loan too, and as we can see now (2008), many loans are not suitable if you want a secure future. While there are sometimes good reasons for interest-only, adjustable-rate, and zero-down loans, most of the time these should be avoided.

Never mind what a lender recommends or suggests. Ask him only for facts, and do your own math. If the rate on your loan goes from 5% to 10%, what will the payments be? Can you easily afford that? If not, you are taking a risk that may not be justified.

3. Trusting Real Estate Agents

When you are buying a home, the real estate agent who helps you, like the lender, has his own agenda. It isn't that he or she doesn't wish you the best, but they wish even more for their own families, so the primary goals is to sell something. Also, unless the agent is explicitly working for you, she has a fiduciary responsibility to work against you if that is what is best for the seller. In other words, if she thinks you will pay more because of a comment you make, she must pass that information on to the home owner.

Even a buyer's agent can be biased. It is nice to think that they are working for you, but they still only get paid (typically) when a sale is made. That's a pretty motivation to push you into a home fast, whether or not it's the best one for you.

Pay attention to whether an agent is really showing you the houses that suit your needs, rather than the ones that he or she would buy. Many real estate agents don't listen very well, and will show you what they think you want, rather than asking you more questions. They can lead you to buy a house that doesn't suit your needs or costs more than you want.

One final note about real estate agents: They are not experts on all things. In fact, some are barely an expert on anything. I have met agents who didn't understand a simple seller-financing offer, and others who suggested that cracks in foundations were "no big deal," though they knew nothing about construction. Unless an agent has specific experience in an area, take what they say with a grain of salt, and seek out other counsel.

Buying a home that is actually right for you starts with avoiding the three mistakes above.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

New Home Sale

Store it all in the walk-in pantry of this beautiful home on.5 acres. This convenient floor plan delivers 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, classic living room with built-in bookcases, dining room with hardwood floors, butler's pantry, master suite with walk-in closet, separate shower, vanity, charming den with gas fireplace, extra laundry, kitchen with work island, wine rack, built-in bench, built-in hutch, refrigerator, electric range, some appliances, breakfast area, laminate countertops, gas range, trash compactor, breakfast bar, double ovens, custom cabinets, garbage disposal, electronics closet, mud room, large foyer, wine cellar, luxury baths, maid's quarters, staff quarters, garden room, community pool, three-panel doors, laundry tub, plaster moding, chandeliers, art nooks, heat pump, balcony, chain-link fence, breezeway, porch, geothermal heat/air, 6-car garage, patio, lily pond, screened lanai, stall, Mansard roof, awnings, club house, storage building, garden space, pasture, corral, bay windows, guest house, deck. Brand names include Rheem, Bosch, Kitchenaid, Fisher & Paykel, Frigidaire.

Energy efficiency should be on the priority list for all home improvement work these days. savvy builders will be able to provide homeowners with energy efficient measures which help them to save money and the planet.

Hope Lending is a home mortgage company that donates 15% of its commissions to help put and end to child trafficking.

You can keep the clothes clean with the convenient extra laundry room in this 3-bedroom/2-bath home in greenbelt and only a short walk to the woods. Features include a classic living room with built-in bookcases, dining room with hardwood floors, butler's pantry, master suite with vanity, walk-in closet for lots of clothes, separate shower, charming den with gas fireplace, kitchen with breakfast area, laminate countertops, breakfast bar for afternoon snacks. Brand names include Sub-Zero, Kitchenaid, Fisher & Paykel, Bosch, Frigidaire. This home is affordable with a home mortgage

Your guests with ease from your own personal wine cellar in this 3-bedroom/2-bath 2300-SF home in greenbelt. Offers a dining room with butler's pantry, hardwood floors, classic living room with built-in bookcases. This home is affordable with a home mortgage

Nyc No Fee Apartments Finder

Looking for a No Broker Fee Agent in the New York Area

Apartment buildings and multiple-family housing for the most part comprise a large part of the apartments in the New York, New York area than in most other US towns, and the co-op form of ownership has dominated over the condos/condominium form.

Popular portions of the area like the Upper West Side in Manhattan, the East Village, Park Slope and trendier parts of {Bronx,Brooklyn,Manhattan,Queens} are in style.

That’s why a good no broker fee aparment new york resource is worth its weight in gold.

How to Search for No Broker Fee Apartments in Exactly What are no fee cost apartments for rent ? What is a broker’s fee? It can be umpleasant and exhaustive to hone in on your ideal apartment rental in new york city.

Some individuals end up spending upwards of as 10-15% of their yearly rental bill to let a broker do the search of finding them the right apartment.

One can 9 times out of ten zero-in on no fee apts through sources if you are able to get your hands on listings of happening buildings in your price tag range and or preferred part-of-the city though. By going straight to to a buildings operators companies whether it’s a luxury high rise or a modest studio, you definitely CAN find a pleasing place in New York town, aka the Big Apple New York, New York – as they say the town so nice they named it twice.

This applies to you whether or not you’re from another nation and moving to the city or if you are from {Bronx,Brooklyn,Manhattan,Queens} and want to move to Manhattan, or from the Bronx and want to move to Manhattan; whatever the circumstance, found, tenacious searching the web and tips you can sidestep dishing out for those expensivehigh apartment locators broker fees that cost you an arm and a leg.

Even some of the really innovative or fully decked out apartments can be found within listings, though to be honest, these tend to go quick.

When searching for an,seeking an No Broker Fee Apartmetnt to find what you really want, the bottom line is weed out the background noise and hype sources of info and go for the legit and low cost information internet sites.

Whether you find apartments through a no fee rate/charge website or a broker is contingent on how much green stuff you desire to to come out the pocket with.

This situation is not always smooth sailing and it can be a bit frustrating but the trick is to stay optimistic. The facts are that the few dollarsyou may {shell out} spend to instantly access information on what you want can:

  • 1) save you hours, worry and frustration of searching the web all day long for what you want
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Friday, February 13, 2009

Why Use A Real Estate Agent to Sell Your Home

A popular time to typically sell a home, particularly in demanding areas such as Mississauga, Ontario, is in the spring. Some homeowners consider selling their home on their own without the using a real estate agent in order to "save on commission". However, many opt-out of "going-it-alone" once they determine the complex nature of selling their own home they reconsider using a real estate agent to assist them in completing the task.

In reality, a "for sale by owner" transaction usually doesn't result in the cost savings the homeowner may have hoped for. Most often, "for sale by owner" translates into "discount" for potential homebuyers including those buying real estate in Mississauga. As well, the sale of a home requires an organized, step-by-step approach that many homeowners just don't have the time, skill or experience to carry out.

Do you have the time?
A REALTOR® provides many services including identifying your needs and wants, helping to set a listing price within current market guidelines, developing a marketing plan, offering tips and advice to make your home more attractive and "saleable," and acting on your behalf during negotiations to ensure your interests are protected. Even if you had the time to do all this yourself, how much would you really save when you factor in the amount of time you'd have to invest.

Another advantage of working with a REALTOR® is the far-reaching market exposure your home will receive through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). MLS is a computer-based system that relays information about your home to a vast network of REALTORS® and therefore, potential homebuyers in your market. The greater the exposure your home receives, the more likely you are to find a buyer willing to pay your price.

REALTOR® expertise
A REALTOR® has vast amounts of real estate knowledge and the experience required to stay cool, even in a hot real estate market. In Ontario, a REALTOR® is a licensed real estate professional who is a member of a local real estate board as well as the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA). When you work with a REALTOR®, you can expect strict adherence to provincial law as well as to a code of ethics ensuring you'll receive the highest level of service, honesty and integrity.

Setting a price
One of the most important services a REALTOR® will provide is helping you determine the "asking price" of your home. Setting a sales price is one of the most difficult and yet critical steps in the home-selling process. This is an area that requires extensive knowledge and training as well as access to sophisticated market analysis. Most "do-it-yourselfers" lack these resources and end up "guessing" at their price. If you set your price too high, many prospective buyers will be frightened off without even looking at the property; too low, and you could miss out on thousands of dollars. A REALTOR® will work with you to decided upon and negotiate a realistic price that meets your objectives.

Selling your home is not a simple procedure. Whether you're a selling your home in Mississauga or elsewhere, it involves large sums of money, stringent legal requirements and the potential for costly mistakes. A REALTOR® is committed to spending the time it takes to help you sell your home in the least amount of time and for the best possible price.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Understanding Your Mortgage Choices & Faster Ways to Pay it Down

Buying a your home, whether your first or your dream home, is one of the best investment you will ever make. That's primarily due to the fact that you can pay off your mortgage and build equity in your home over time. Renters on the other hand will continue to pay rent and will likely see their rent payments increase significantly as time goes by.

From the moment you make that first mortgage payment, you will probably be dreaming of the day when you can make your last one and be "mortgage-free." For most people that day is pretty far off in the future, but it is possible to speed up the process.

Your REALTOR® will be able to advise you on ways you can pay down your mortgage as quickly as possible. This information will be helpful when you are arranging financing on your home. Be sure to discuss various options with your financial institution before choosing a mortgage.

Amortization schedule
One of the best ways to pay off your mortgage faster is to shorten the "amortization period." By choosing a shorter amortization, you will not only pay for your home in less time, but you will make substantial savings in interest too.

For example, the most common mortgage amortization is 25 years. By shortening that period to 15 years, you will erode the amount of money you owe much more quickly and make fewer interest payments. Shortening the amortization period is not for everyone as it does mean larger payments, but for many people the benefit of long term savings is worth it.

Usually each mortgage payment is blended and applied to both the principal and interest so at the beginning, the interest portion of the payment is extremely high. However, with each payment, more and more of is applied to the principal. Ask your REALTOR® to give you examples of what your payments would be at the current interest rate amortized over 25 years as compared to 15 years.

Payment options
It used to be that most people made monthly mortgage payments, but weekly, bi-weekly and semi-monthly payments are more popular today. With these types of payment options you will reduce the amount of principal you owe faster because you make payments on a much more frequent basis and less interest is accrued. Many mortgages also offer homeowners the option of making an additional payment each year or increasing your payment each month. Making the equivalent of one extra payment a year can save you a considerable amount over time.

Anniversary date
Many mortgages allow you to make a lump sum payment on the anniversary date of your mortgage. Again this reduces the amount of money you pay interest on resulting in long term savings. It's wise to find out what "pre-payment" privileges are available on the mortgage you choose.

Your REALTOR® along with either your bank, trust company or mortgage broker can help you look at all the possibilities for financing your home and can tailor a mortgage that fits your income and your goals.

Shop around
Look for a mortgage that has as much flexibility as possible. Be sure you can make at least one extra payment a year and can choose the payment plan that works best for you. Your REALTOR® is experienced and knowledgeable about the many mortgage options and the types of payment plans available and can act as your guide to help you become mortgage free sooner.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Living in Brampton

Buying A Home - What Can You Afford?

You probably have a number of ideas of what it is that would suit you in your new home purchase. Some of the typical preferred features are a couple of thousand square feet of space, a two car garage, one or more fireplaces, a quality view and fenced-in lot. But hold on to your horses, it may be time for a reality check.

Most first-time buyers want their dream home right away. However, that dream home likely sells for several hundred thousand dollars and the down payment is more than you earn in two years. Not to mention the mortgage payments - which are three times your monthly take-home salary!

The best way to deal with this reality is to match your financial capabilities with the home that meets as many of your needs as possible.

Many first-time buyers purchase what is commonly known as a "starter home." There's nothing wrong with this approach. In fact, it's good common sense to avoid buying a home that will stretch your budget to its breaking point. Remember, the starter home is just that - a way to get started in long-term real estate investment.

To see how much you can afford, you should take a close look at your financial situation. The vast majority of home buyers lack the funds required to buy a home without assistance from a bank or other financial institution (commonly called a "lender"). So, for most of us, buying our first home means combining our savings with money borrowed through a special type of borrowing arrangement called a "mortgage."

Borrowing to purchase is not only acceptable, it's desirable. Even people buying millions of dollars' worth of real estate borrow to make the purchase.

There are two types of costs in buying a home:

  • The amount of money you'll need for the initial purchase; this consists mainly of the down payment and other costs such as legal fees and taxes;
  • And the ongoing costs of paying back your mortgage, along with monthly operating costs for utilities, maintenance, insurance and annual property taxes.

Costs of buying a home =

  • * Down payment & * Mortgage
  • * Legal fees
  • * Utilities
  • * Inspection fees
  • * Maintenance
  • * Taxes
  • * Insurance
  • * Property taxes

When lenders assess your ability to buy, they look at your ability to pay both types of costs in determining how much money they will lend you. Before you ever visit a lender, you can predetermine this amount, using the same formulas they do.

Lenders use several factors in judging your ability to handle a mortgage, including your income, employment record and credit worthiness. However, one way you can estimate the price range you can afford is to look at the amount of money you have available for a down payment.

The most common mortgage is a "conventional mortgage." In this type of arrangement, lenders will loan up to 75 per cent of the "appraised" value (estimated market value) of the property or the purchase price - whichever is lower. The remaining 25 per cent is the amount you will contribute as down payment.

If you want to buy a home that has an appraised value of $200,000, a lender may loan you 75 per cent or $150,000 on a conventional mortgage when you contribute a down payment of $50,000.

If you plan to borrow funds through a conventional mortgage, multiply the money you have available for a down payment by four. For example, if you have access to $40,000, you may be able to purchase a home with an appraised value of $160,000 ($40,000 x 4 = $160,000).

This assumes, of course, that you have sufficient income to make the payments on a $120,000 mortgage (75 per cent of $160,000). Most lenders will not permit a borrower to take on a debt load the borrower can't carry. That's why reputable lenders "qualify" potential borrowers before issuing mortgages.

Most lenders say that your monthly housing expenses (mortgage payment and taxes), plus condominium maintenance fee, if applicable, would not exceed 30 per cent of your monthly gross family income.

This is called your Gross Debt Service (GDS) ratio. Some lenders will go as high as 35 per cent, depending upon a number of variables.

Lenders also use a second calculation in qualifying you for a mortgage. It's called the Total Debt Service (TDS) ratio. Generally speaking, no more than 40 per cent of your gross family income may be used when calculating the amount you can afford to pay for mortgage payments and taxes plus other fixed monthly expenses.

These other fixed costs are your ongoing commitments and can include auto, student or personal loans, as well as revolving charge accounts. Again, the 40 per cent calculation may vary slightly among lenders.

By knowing exactly what you can afford, you can make your home purchase with confidence.

Article from - February 2009

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Levi Creek Living

A Choice Family Community in Mississauga

*All Articles pertaining to Financial Matters are Offered by a third party unrelated to my services. Please ensure you seek-out the advice of your own financial expert. The rule of thumb is to get the advice and rates of three separate companies or professionals*