Monday, March 30, 2009

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

ravine townhome

Getting to Know Closing Costs as a First Time Homebuyer

Purchasing a new home and finding a great deal heavily involve aother aspect known as closing costs. Very few beginning homebuyers understand that closing costs may be as high as 15 percent of the selling price, and most lenders will ask you to directly pay for it.  While some lenders can roll the closing costs into the loan package, knowing what these are ahead of time may help you plan your budget better and even negotiate down the final price so that you can afford the total closing costs as part of the deal.

It’s important to remember that the maximum loan amount offered by the lender is based on the sales price and not the net price (sales price minus closing costs) paid by the buyer.There are varied means to allocating closing costs but you can consult your realtor and lender in having the best possible plan with your funds so you may avoid overspending.

The first step in understanding closing costs is to learn what buyers are typically responsible for. Barron, the author of 'Smart Consumer's Guide to Home Buying', points to the significance of knowing that it is not the law but custom that prescribes the allocation of closing costs and the responsibilities of both the buyer and seller as stipulated in the contract.

The buyer's obligation may include all fees and discount points of the loan.  These are often added at the end of the contract by the lender, and vary significantly by financial institution.  Some bankers will waive this fee for preferred customers or as part of your contract, but it’s important to get an accurate estimate of this as early as possible during your loan financing process.

Among the responsibilities of a buyer is to settle the payment of the premium of the homeowner's title insurance policy, since this may hinder the home buying process when not taken into consideration.  It’s generally a good idea to have extra cash available to pay for this premium so it doesn’t get rolled into the loan, and the premium cost varies by the insurance company you choose to work with.Signing the contract right away may not be appropriate but doing some basic research about the homeowner's insurance policy rates or looking around for more options may be a better idea.

Most of the time, these costs form part of the seller's obligation. Depending on the agent, sales commissions or the fees allocated to the buyer's and seller's agents, may vary accordingly.

Inspection Costs - the expense of having the various inspections and the other inspections required for homes before they are purchased, are covered by the home-seller.

Many first time homebuyers inadvertently neglect the title insurance due to their assumption that all costs associated with the title company must be first taken cared of.Most of the time, the costs for title-insurance are included as a cost at closing and are the seller's responsibility.

Understanding the breakdown of closing costs can give you a more accurate overview of what the final price will be at signing.Early in the loan financing process, lenders can give you an estimate and may discuss with you the fees that you'll be paying, discount points, and all other concerns related to your loan.

Author and Realtor Alexandria P. Anderson helps clients to find and purchase Richfield Minnesota real estate as well as Richfield MN homes and houses in the Twin Cities.

Real Estate Foreclosure Investing: Making The Best Of A Bad Situation

You'd have to be dead not to be moved by the foreclosure stories in the press, on television and maybe even in your own neighborhood.  Americans in particular find their identity through their homes.Although a house does not make a home, any kind of foreclosure can drive a person crazy.  This is now the best and worst times for real estate foreclosure investing.

Sticks And Stones

It is recommended that you keep your enthusiasm for real estate foreclosure investing to an absolute minimum.  Although there is nothing illegal in real estate foreclosure investing, the current American recession has made the general public very easily angered.  The general public looks at the turmoil, weeping and destruction around a simple HUD foreclosure home and then assumes that you are a heartless Scrooge for being into real estate foreclosure investing.

The best thing you can do in this situation is not to argue back.  You quietly do the best you can with the foreclosure property that's fallen into your lap and turn it onto a home for someone.If you believe in a God of some sort, than you can pray for the people who were kicked out of the home you now own.  By giving generously to homeless shelters and Habitat for Humanity, you also prove that you are putting your money back into the community and not just in your pocket.

Trust In Allah, But Tie Up Your Camel

It also is a sad fact that some people are trying to take revenge in any way they can on anyone who takes possession of their former home.  On the morning of this writing (July 24, 2008) a Massachusetts woman committed suicide in a foreclosed home that was going under auction.

It has been suggested by housing experts that as the America housing crisis grows, so will the revenge patterns.  Homemade bombs are being found, tons of pets locked in a home to die of starvation and someone leaving a ten foot alligator with attitude has also occurred.In this day and age, you need to keep your identity a secret and get a good security system for your home. 

You need to keep your guard up about strangers coming around your house, calling your or offering business proposals.  You need to educate everyone in your family not to talk to strangers, or let a strange person in the home.  Even though you might trust that no one will so crazy as to try to hurt you over real estate foreclosure investing, you never know.  As the old saying goes, "Trust in Allah, but tie up your camel."

Go here for more about Foreclosure Prevention and Stop Foreclosure

An Easy Guide to Buying an Investment Property in the UK

Has buying an investment property crossed your mind? It looks a little complex to first time investors. It's not clear how to start.  Don't worry. You can make a lot of money from a wise investment property purchase. Some people have become rich. Follow these tip for success.

Buying an Investment Property in UK : House Flipping for the Timid

Sometimes a real estate investment property is acquired specifically for flipping. If you can buy a home for little and then sell it for a lot, you're flipping houses. House flipping is done it a number of ways. Number one is buying property when markets are down, then selling when the markets rise. Second is buying a distressed house. Make the necessary repairs and do work that will add additional value to the property and sell it back . Flipping properties can earn you some good returns.

Buying an Investment Property : Rent What You Buy

Another option for real estate investing is by owning rental property. This is a property where you purchase in order to rent it out. People rent a place to live, and they rent vacation homes. You can also get into commercial real estate investing in this way. You can even occupy an office in a commercial rental property while renting the rest to tenants.

UK Investment Property : Land as an Investment

When thinking land investment, UK is as good a place as any for a start . Think about it this way. If you buy a larger piece of property at a fairly discounted price at auction or if property is simply listed for less than its value, you can then sell it in smaller pieces for a larger profit. This can earn you a lot of money. Also you can build on the land then sell or rent the buildings.

Buying the Property – How to Start

Remember a few simple things before buying investment property. Know the property type and the location. Then begin looking around for properties. It's also wise to contract an agent. A good agent is essential. Yes, you can handle investment real estate.

Utah Condominiums Info

Utah condos in places like downtown Salt Lake City or Provo are a really feasible option for owning a home. Numerous people choose for a condo or loft style living because they like the apartment type set up. They as well don't require the trouble of a house or enjoy living close to other people while still observing their privacy.

A particular attraction to a condominium, especially condo in utah properties by the way, is that condos extend affordable housing in a highly coveted area that typically is beyond economic reach of say a house of the same standard. Condos are fully self-contained, providing kitchens, enormous living and all of the sumptuousnesses of home to their guests.

Many also provide high-speed Internet and data access to their business-class guests. For many family members, the completed kitchen is the choice advantage of a condo, in that, they will not get to eat almost every meal in a restaurant, allowing the vacationer to drop his or her funds on attractions rather than on restaurant foods. Additionally, condominiums benefit from holding limitations that preserve and enhance value, providing control over blight that plagues some vicinities. Major North American urban centers, including Miami, San Francisco, Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles, Calgary, Vancouver, and Toronto, have much condo growth.

Typically, a condominium dwells of multi-unit dwellings (i.e., an apartment or a growth) where every unit is individually closely-held and the popular areas, such as hallways and recreational facilities, are jointly owned (usually as "tenants in standard") by all the unit owners in the building. It is also possible for condominiums to comprise of single family dwellings so-called "detached condominiums" where homeowners do not keep the exteriors of the dwellings, yards, etc. or "site condominiums" where the owner has more such control and possible ownership (as in a "whole lot" or "lot line" condominium) over the exterior appearance. These structures are preferred by some planned regions and gated communities. What other utah condos deals are there to consider? Well, if you are investigating Utah real estate, check out places not like Salt Lake City and Provo, but as well, Layton, Ogden, West Jordan, West Valley, Sandy and other top destinations in Utah.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Could a rise in house prices mean the housing market is recovering?

House prices have shown an unexpected rise since the start of the year, according the monthly January report from the Halifax. Halifax admitted to being confounded by the figures, which contradicted expectations that prices would show a further drop after falling steadily throughout 2008. Instead the figures show that the average price of houses in the UK has risen by 1.9% since December. It is the first rise in the prices of property for sale since January last year, when prices rose by just 0.1%.

A Halifax spokesman said that although the figures do show early signs of the housing market beginning to stabilize at a low level the property market was still likely to have a difficult year. He also stressed that the three-month figures, which are generally a better indicator of trends in the market, show an overall drop in prices of 5.2%. For now, it would seem the report from the Halifax is the exception to the rule – rival lenders Nationwide reported a 1.3% drop in prices for January, a figure far closer to predictions.

These national figures are unlikely to affect most local property markets and most are still seeing the reduced prices we would expect from a country in recession. The cost of property for sale in Sussex is closer to reflecting the expected drop in prices than the surprise increases of the Halifax report. It seems although we may be seeing the first signs that the property market is beginning a slow recovery, there is still a way to go yet before things get back to normal.

The anomaly in the Halifax report could be partly explained by the recent boom in some areas of London, which has just been listed as the third most expensive city in the world (after Monte Carlo and Moscow) in the World’s Most Expensive Residential Real Estate Markets 2008. It’s believed that prices in London have risen partly due to overseas buyers attracted by lower prices and a weak pound.

Advice On Selecting the Best Contractor for Your New Home

Buying a new home can be one of the largest financial investments you will make. With so much at stake, you certainly don't want to encounter problems that could have been avoided by making the effort to adequately investigate the contractor.

Choosing a good builder is thus essential. It is imperative to have a builder who is well-accomplished and of high integrity, one with the proper know-how and skills in building a new home. One of the key aspects of this is getting a builder who is skilled at supervising the team of subcontractors necessary for building a quality house.

Here are several important pointers in choosing the right contractor for you, from Aspen Valley Homes, your premier Prescott home builders:

Never underestimate the importance of forming a good working relationship with your home builder. The preferrred prospect is one you belive you will like, trust and respect.

Request references from the builder and verify their claims. Make certain the prospective contractor is insured and certified - you can stave off wasting time investigating builders if you're uncertain of their qualifications in the beginning. Contact the state or local licensing body, the Better Business Bureau or National Association of Home Builders to see if any charges have been made against the builder.

Go Over the records on file for former homes constructed by the builder. Obtain a list of previous projects and visit the local government office where records of inspections and permits are maintained. These are public records and should be easily accessed for viewing. Look specifically for failed inspections or permit infractions. Understand that even the best of builders will often have a few minor items on the record; however, repeat infractions or extensive failures should raise a red flag.

Find out how many years the builder has been building custom homes. Longevity is an important indication of quality workmanship and customer satisfaction.

Find a good design checklist and use it when interviewing prospective builders. Requesting information like what areas, cost ranges, and materials they specialize in allows you to evaluate the builder's expertise with respect to your specific needs.

Speaking of which, be sure to look for a contractor who builds the particular type of homes that you are looking to build. Builders will have different areas of expertise - be sure to select someone with the proper experience.

Personal referrals can be the best method for identifying superior contractors. Ask satisfied homeowners in the region for builders they would eagerly recommend.

Be certain to talk to people who have recently had homes built by the builder you are considering. The input of actual customers is very important.

When you are finally prepared to hire the contractor, be certain to read the contract carefully - make sure it is thorough and correctly addresses all aspects talked about previously. Also, be sure the builder offers a warranty with your new home. A warranty will help to protect your substantial investment.

Selecting the right home builder is perhaps the most essential step in building your new home. Following proper guidelines can help you find a quality builder in your area and avoid the pitfalls of substandard workmanship. These tips will assist you in selecting the {home builders|Prescott home builders} who are most qualified and best-suited to build your dream home.


Before You Buy Overseas Property Just Mull Over The Next Questions

When you need to buy overseas property, more selections exist now than in the past. UK investors can pretty well choose any part of the world and find property for sale sometimes at surprisingly good prices. Anyone who is a novice at the investment trade must conduct a study into it prior to investing.

Even though you are buying overseas property there is nothing to be frightened of; you should still look into every aspect of it so as not to be thrown off by something in the future. If you find yourself seriously considering a property, you should ask yourself the following questions before you make a final decisionWhen you are totally interested in property, before coming to a permanent conclusion about it, answer the proceeding questions.

Buy Overseas Property UK : What Choices Will You Make Concerning This Property?

Will you be relocating abroad? Do you intend to lease the property for revenue purposes? Will you be using it for family vacations? Do you need a pleasurable location to live in when you retire? Could you be hoping to locate a convenient funding venture which can turn a quick profit? The worth of a distinctive property to you could rely on the way you respond to the next questions.

Overseas Property UK : Do You Have A Profitable Venture Or Even A Just Price?

To estimate if you are receiving a face price on yours, just take a survey of the community for properties that are the same. Think about the latest financial status – is there stability or do you see a rise and fall in prices. If prices have been falling, current asking prices may not reflect where the market is heading. To put it another way, it’s possible to locate a better price here or on a property that is equivalent to it.

Is the Property Suitable For Your Purposes?

In some cases, a foreign investor does become enchanted with a place because of things such as atmosphere and it’s true charm; however, they fail to realize that it may not meet their needs anyway. For example, if you plan to live there year round, make sure it's a place you will be comfortable in during all seasons. A great number of attractive places possess a different climate in wintertime than in summertime.

If you plan to let the property, be sure that it has all the features that people will want. Is it aesthetically pleasing~. Does everything work well or is there mending to do? Is it located near an airport, ,the beach, a shopping mall, or nighttime recreation {clubs, etc}? Depending on where it is, these or other factors may be crucial.

Overseas Property : Is Everything Apparent About Economic And Legal Concerns?

There are many financial issues that may be relevant when buying an overseas property. If your purchase is being conducted by an agent, be certain that you know what their commission is. In other countries, it is a lot more pricey than you think.

Do you realize the amount of taxes that can be attached to? There may be special taxes for foreign buyers in some cases. Are there any restrictions on what you can use the property for? In case you aren’t totally positive regarding any of this, you should get the advice of an attorney who deals with the country from which you are purchasing real estate.

Whenever you buy overseas property, you need to be secure in knowing that you are gaining capital, and in addition, that you will receive prosperity and happiness.

Cheap Real Estate - Ten Ways To Find It

How many ways do you know to find cheap real estate? Whether you are looking for a home, rental house, land or other property, at least a couple of the suggestions here can help you pay less for it.

1. Talk To Your Bank

Now more than ever (this is being written in 2009) banks are trying to unload the homes and other real estate they have foreclosed on. Talk to them. Although most banks sell through a local real estate office, you may learn of properties that are not yet for sale, so you can be ready, or even make an offer before they list it.

2. Sign Up For Real Estate Alerts

Some websites, like, have a free service that allows you to give them your preferences, and then they send you the latest listings. You can find out about many properties the day they are listed in this way - before most other buyers know about them. Be prepared to move fast if a great deal comes along.

3. Watch For FSBO Signs

Keep your eyes open for homes and land for sale by owner as you drive around. These sometimes sell for less because the owner didn't properly appraise the property. More often, these properties sell cheap because the owner gets tired of dealing with the sales process and just wants to be done with it. The seller is also saving the cost of the commission he would pay an agent to sell the home, so he may share that savings with you in the form of a lower price.

4. Watch For Abandoned Houses

An empty house is sometime owed by the bank, and not yet listed for sale with a real estate office. If so, you might get an offer in before anyone else has a chance. Other times, it is a rental, and an empty rental sometimes makes landlords anxious to sell. Train your eyes to catch the overgrown lawn and other clues that a house is vacant.

5. Make Low Offers

This is the oldest negotiating technique in existence. Simply offer a low price and see what happens. Even when a seller says no he may come back with a counter-offer that is much lower than the original asking price. Be prepared for a lot of "nos" if you do this often.

6. Look For Developer/Landlords

Those investors who have both rental properties and development projects may be in trouble. In many parts of the country houses and condos are selling for less than the cost of construction. If a developer also has rental houses, a strip mall or other income property, he may appreciate the opportunity to sell it cheap and solve his cash flow problems resulting from the "spec" homes he has sitting unsold.

7. Head For Miami

There are areas of the country which have been so over-built that prices have fallen by half. I recently saw a house in Miami listed for $10,000, and there were two dozen brand new ocean-view condos selling for less than $80,000. If you are looking for a second home, a vacation getaway, or possibly an investment for the future, check out the cities and towns which have been hit hardest by this slump.

8. Gather Your Cash

Cheap real estate is always more likely when you have more cash. You can close more quickly, meaning you may have an edge even on a buyer who offers slightly more. You also save the cost of mortgage insurance if you have a down payment of at least 20%. A home equity line of credit on your own home may help you have that cash available if you are a serious investor.

9. Talk About Your Goals

Whatever kind of real estate you are looking for, if you let your friends and associates and everyone else know, a deal may come to you. This happens all the time. A man mentions to a friend that he wants to sell his building lot fast, for example, and that friend recalls overhearing that you are looking for lots, so he tells the seller.

10. Check The Newspaper

Some of the best deals on cheap real estate can be found in the newspaper classified advertisements. Many towns have one paper which has most of the cheaper properties, and this is often a weekly paper with lower advertising costs. See which paper in your area is best, and get it on the day it is published. You can also find most daily newspapers online now.

Copyright Steve Gillman. To see a photo of the house we bought for $17,500, get a free ebook on how to buy Cheap Real Estate, and a free real estate investing course, visit:

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Million Dollars - And The Kids Sleep On The Couch?

Are people aware of the housing options out there? Sometimes it sure doesn't seem like it. The other night my wife and I were watching a program on one of the cable networks. In it, Deepak Chopra, famous writer and teacher on spiritual topics, was shopping for a condo in Hawaii. He was shown several and had to choose one quickly due to limited time. The condos ranged in price from about $600,000 to 1.3 million dollars.

Now, I understand entirely that when it comes to the price of things, everything is relative. While it is crazy for a middle class couple to pay a million dollars for a condo, it makes perfect sense for someone with enough money. You have to spend it on something after all. I also feel strongly that it is nobody's business what a person spends his money on. On the the other hand, I guess we gain the right to ponder those choices when they are made on national television.

In this case, Deepak finally decided on a condo that cost about $700,000. Again, it makes sense if you have enough money. You look at your housing options differently. A nice condo on a Lake Michigan beach might go for as little as $300,000, but if you want that Hawaiian climate and you have the money, why not look at that warm-weather real estate, right? Another $400,000 may not be that much for you to pay.

But what is difficult for some of us to understand is how with that kind of budget, the kids still have to sleep on the couch. Yes, you read that right. The condo he chose was a one bedroom condo, not even on the beach (but with close access). In the course of the program, we hear Chopra and the real estate agent discussing how nice the view is and how the kids can sleep in the living room.

How much money do you have to spend now to have a condo with a nice view that doesn't require that the kids sleep on a couch? Obviously a lot less than the Chopras, who chose the view and location over space considerations. With an hour of internet searching, anyone could find a dozen places with great waterfront condos that were less than $700,000 - and which have a room for the kids.

Now, once again, I have to say that it is not my right (or anyone else's) to say what someone should buy with their money. But it certainly does make one wonder if sometimes people lose touch with what housing options are out there. Maybe all their friends are buying in a certain area, or buying a certain type of housing, and that is all they see in their choices.

With that in mind, what are some of the housing options that are available for $700,000? Here are some that come to mind.

- How about four beautiful condos for around $175,000 each in four great locations around the world. If you don't think this is possible, you aren't looking very hard.

- How about a beautiful condo on a lake somewhere for $400,000, and then invest the other $300,000 to pay for a $25,000 round-the-world vacation every year for the rest of your life?

- Maybe a little shopping in Hawaii could mean a $600,000 condo with two bedrooms, so the kids get a place to sleep and you have $100,000 left over.

I could go on, but in the end people will make their own housing choices. They will buy their $700,000 or million-dollar condos, and you and I will be left to wonder if they really considered all the options out there.

How To Buy A House

There has been a lot written about the mechanics of how to buy a house. You get prequalified for a loan, then perhaps preapproved, and then you look for a home, make an offer, have inspections done and so on. Many people can help you through the process. But what if you can't get preapproved? What if you have little income, bad credit or other serious problems that prevent you from buying a home?

Mortgage loan requirements are being toughened up again now. Once again you might even need a down payment to get a loan. A bad credit rating no longer just means paying a higher interest rate - it can actually exclude you from obtaining a mortgage loan. But there still is hope. Let's look at how to buy a house when it doesn't seem quite possible.

How To Buy A House With Bad Credit

To begin with, if it is a slight credit problem, you may still be able to get a traditional loan. There are several ways to do this. The first is to correct any errors on your credit report, and challenge any entries you disagree with. You have a legal right to do this. Once changes are reflected in your credit score, you may be able to apply again and get a mortgage loan.

The other way is to go to local lenders which hold their own loans. Ask around to see which ones do this. Most lenders sell the loans they make, and so these loans have to meet the requirements of the secondary market. If they keep some loans "in house" they are not necessarily bound by rules or requirements other than those they have for themselves.

You can also buy a house with another person. Many people think that this is only for married couples, but any two people can buy a home together, and the lender will look at both credit histories to determine eligibility. It can be risky to buy a house with a friend, but sometimes it works out better for both compared to renting. If you had a down payment, for example, and he had good credit, you might help each other out, and sell the home five years later to recover your down payment and the respective shares of the equity you build.

You also can look to seller financing as a way to buy when you can't get a loan. I have seen homes sold without credit checks and with nothing down by sellers who financed the deals. The usual motivation for them to do this is to get a higher price and /or to sell a problem property, but it still can sometimes be a good opportunity for a buyer. Even if sellers don't offer terms, if you know they own their houses free and clear you can make offers that involve making payments to them rather than getting a loan to cash them out. Make it decent offer if you want it accepted, of course.

How To Buy A House When You Have No Money

If cash is your problem, you can start by making high offers on those houses that might be sold with zero-down seller financing, as suggested above. Teaming up and buying a home with a friend who has a down payment is another possibility. There are even a few mortgage lenders out there who are still offering zero-down loans. Check around.

One way that no one seems to like much is to save the money for a down payment. This means putting off owning a home for a while, but that may be a good thing at times. For example, in some areas in 2005 it cost $600 more per month to buy a house than to rent an apartment of similar area. Suppose you could have afforded the house, but had no down payment. You could have banked the $600 you were saving by renting each month, and three years later you would have about $23,000 for a down payment. Meanwhile home prices fell.

What if your problem isn't just a lack of cash, but also low income? Then maybe this isn't the right time for you to buy a house. This is especially true where the cost of buying is significantly higher than the cost of renting. On the other hand, if it will cost you about the same each month to buy as to rent, try everything above to get into a home. You'll be better off in the long run.

You might want to consider cheaper options than the usual starter homes. My first home was a mobile home on a small lot, for example. It cost less than $20,000 and I sold it for $45,000 years later. The monthly payment? $257. That certainly beat renting, and you can see that the idea some have about mobile homes not appreciating is just plain wrong (the land is where the value is, of course).

There are other ways to buy a house when your income is low and you have no money saved. If you expect your income to rise, you might look for a lease-option deal. You rent a house with an option to buy it at a set price within a set time (often a year or two). This buys you time to save money, improve your credit, and increase your income, so you can get a loan.

Buying a small lot for now is another way. Sellers of small lots may not worry about credit ratings, and they often don't need large down payments. They know you can't damage a piece of land as easily as a house, so they feel secure selling it with little or nothing down and they enjoy the interest they make. Your goal here is to get your finances and credit in order as you make those payments, so you can get a mortgage loan in a couple years, and put a house on the lot.

Look at all the possibilities. There is usually a way to buy a house if you keep trying.

*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*