buying (30)

Buying A San Jose Condo That is in Litigation

Brickyard San Jose

Developers don’t build condos with the intention of sloppy work that they hope no one will notice. But never the less, they almost always get sued in about year 8-9.


In California, new construction comes with a 10 year warranty on latent defects on the structure. In plain terms home owners and homeowner associations have 10 years to sue a developer if they find problems with the structural components of a building such as the roof, walls, plumbing or electrical systems, garages, decks, etc.


So, around year 8, if no problems have emerged, many HOA communities will hire a company to look at the building and see if there are potential problems that can happen due to faulty construction. If there are known problems they hire someone to try to figure out the fixes to the issues.


The communities will approach the builder to fix the discovered issues, and if the builder does not feel there is a problem, or the problem is not their responsibility then a law suit may be filed.


Once the suit is filed most lenders will not make loans on the property. The few who do will charge interest rates 1 to 2 pts higher than a traditional lender.


This can put the brakes on sales in the development, and will temporarily depress the price.


If you are a cash buyer, buying a San Jose Condo in litigation for a rental property can be a good idea if you follow these steps:


  1.      Look at the report that explains what the problems are that need to be addressed. If the issues are ones that do not need immediate attention that is better. If the plumbing system has failed, or there is major water intrusion into the building the homeowners may be hit with a special assessment during the multi year lawsuit. Even if the HOA of the San Jose condo in litigation wins the individual homeowners may not be reimbursed.
  2.      Find out what the estimated cost to repair the issues are for the San Jose condo in litigation. Take that number and divide by the number of units, or if available the percentage of ownership the condo in question has. So if the estimate is 10 million dollars, and there are 500 units with equal shares then each unit would be responsible for about 20 thousand in repairs if all units pay condo fees equally.
  3.      Find the market value of the condo you are interested in by looking at the most recent sale of that model before the San Jose condo litigation.
  4.      Subtract the amount of potential assessment.
  5.      If the market is slowing down overall subtract more.
  6.      Explain that you are taking the risk that the HOA of the San Jose Condo in litigation will not prevail in court, and even if they do the homeowners may be assessed before then. You are taking that risk, and buying when most others are not able. You are betting that you will not be assessed.
  7.      Even in a very hot market, this is a good way to get a better price on a San Jose condo in litigation than you would otherwise be able to.
  8.      It is safest to do it when the builder is a very large and stable company, rather than a less well capitalized entity that is more likely to go bankrupt.


There is obviously risk involved, but since such a large percentage of builders get sued, it can be a good long term investment. For example, The Brickyard in San Jose was in litigation in 2011-2012. During 2011 one bedroom condos sold for $140,000-$180,000. The litigation was setteled and in 2016 one bedrooms condos sold for $365,000-$395,000. If you bought a condo for at The Brickyard with cash in 2011 for  you would have at least doubled your money in 5 years plus get an additional $800 to $1500 a month profit in rent over the last 5 years. And this was a building with serious problems that have now been fixed with proceeds from the successful law suit.

Most suits are settled, the deficiencies are fixed, and the San Jose condos in litigation go on to appreciate.


If you have any questions about buying a San Jose condo in litigation as a rental property please feel free to contact me.

Marcy Moyer

Keller Williams Realty

Specializing in Probate and Trust Sales


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Anyone who has looked for acreage in places like Pescadero, Gilroy, or Morgan Hill has probably come across a situation where a neighbor or friend has horses or goats or cows who graze the property. You ask to see the lease and the response you get is often, “There is no lease, they have an informal agreement that Ms X gets to keep her livestock on the property in exchange for the livestock grazing Mr Y’s land.


Mr Y does not have to pay the high cost of keeping the grasses and weeds cut and Ms X does not have to pay the high cost of boarding and feeding her livestock. It is a win win, and for decades no one has formalized the agreement.


Then, unfortunately Mr Y dies and his heirs need to sell the Probate acreage in Pescadero, or Gilroy, or Morgan Hill. There is no documentation of the agreement and no one is sure what Ms X’x rights are, or what the estate has to do to terminate the relationship. Or maybe the buyer of the Pescadero Probate acreage’s , Mr and Mrs Z’s don’t understand what their  responsibilities are if they want Ms X to continue grazing, but don’t want her to have full tenant’s rights. In other words, Mr and Ms Z still want to use the land, so they do not want to lease out a portion of the Pescadero or Gilroy, or Morgan Hill land. They just don’t want to have to pay someone to mow it.


The answer to this dilemma is for Mr and Mrs Z to grant Ms X a license for Ms X’s horses to graze on a portion of the Pescadero Probate property they are buying. The license can be terminated at any time by the owners of the property. There are no tenant’s rights for exclusive use and Mr and Mrs Z do not need to give any notice or have any cause to terminate the agreement. The right to graze horses is a personal privilege and is not tied to the property in question. The horses do not have any exclusive use and Mr and Mrs Z can use the grazed property any time they want.


If Ms X had a lease then she and her horses would have exclusive right to use the property and Mr and Mrs Z would have to give notice to enter that portion of the property and could not tell Ms X to leave whenever they want.


It is a distinction that is important to preserve the rights of Mr and Mrs Z to use their new Probate property in Pescadero, or Gilory, or Morgan Hill.


I suggest if you are going to do this you consult a lawyer before closing escrow on that gorgeous view property in Pescadero, or Gilroy, or Morgan Hill, or anywhere else you may find it.


If you have any questions about buying or selling property, especially in Probate in San Mateo, Santa Clara, or Alameda County please feel free to contact me.


Marcy Moyer

Keller Williams Realty

Specializing in Probate and Trust Sales


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Who is a REO agent?

The real estate market is a very volatile place to conduct your business – and for many of us, it’s an absolute necessity. After all, you need somewhere to live, right? This seems to be the problem for a lot of people, though. Because they feel they “need” a real estate agent, they are less likely to actually take into consideration what is being said, at least fully. One of the “new” breeds of estate agent that has arrived in recent years is an REO Agent.
Various PR issues and a lack of understanding about the world of REOs leaves a lot of people with the opinion that they are only out for themselves – especially REO agents. However, when you can actually see what they are trying to do on the market for you – beyond the sales talk – then it’s far easier to take an REO agent at face value.
So what does an REO Agent actually assist you with?
They are, undoubtedly, one of the most important cogs in a deal which involves an Bank Owned property. They regularly get the best deals, and if an investor is looking to pick up a property for up to a fifth off the asking price they need to be prepared to do a little dealing and this will, at one stage, most likely involve an REO Agent.
While it’s easy to paint an REO Agent as somebody who benefits from the suffering of others, the work that they put in is simply incredible. For example, your traditional real estate agent will be helping sellers keep a home in good shape and offering advice to help sell it as fast as possible, and in return can get anything from 4-6% commission for giving advice, being there to assist and putting you in contact with the right people.
An REO Agent on the other hand will walk into a dilapidated and vacated home with squatting pets and dangerous appliances and get the sleeves rolled up, cover all of the repair and maintenance costs themselves for up to 90 days after the sale, and then turn the house around to make a sale in the end. They may only walk away with about 1.5% commission, by the way.
For all the talk of REO Agent and real estate agents doing dirty deals, teaming up or even just downright ignoring offers along the way for their gain and benefit, the majority of REO Agents get into this line of work because the “traditional” form of real estate agency has not worked out for them or they have been forced out of the market for a variety of reasons.
As long as you get the right Home Inspection team in and the right staff to help out with the process, working with an REO Agent can be much easier and if you are willing to tough out the bad days together you can really make a significant change around the household and get the price that you are really looking for. They can be hard working and they come with a bad name, but with a bit of faith and an understanding that they are not the same as your normal real estate agents, you can go a long way together.
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Buying a Home with Cash

Pros and Cons of Cash Buying

All-cash home purchases hit a record in the first quarter of 2014, reaching 43 percent, according to RealtyTrac, which has been tracking cash-buying trends since 2011. Home-Cash-PurchasesThis latest figure represents a 19 percent rise from last year—a number industry watchers attribute to stricter mortgage qualification standards coupled with high buyer demand and competition. If you're thinking about buying your next home with cash, you might be wondering how this option stacks up against a mortgage—not to mention, how you'll come up with the money.

Why Cash? Pros & Cons

On the pro side, using cash lets you sidestep mortgage loan qualifications and much of the paperwork and administrative fees. This accelerates the buying process and makes you more attractive to sellers who are eager to close. You have better odds of out-competing other buyers and better leverage to negotiate a lower price. Finally, the prospect of not having to pay monthly mortgage obligations and interest is appealing.

On the other hand, the cash you tie up in your house won't be as readily available for emergency spending. This could place you in a position of needing to sell or mortgage your home in the event of an emergency, and convincing lenders to extend a mortgage or equity loan could be difficult if you lack a steady income, a situation many retirees face. One way to address this issue is opening a home-equity line of credit after you buy your home to make sure you have emergency funds available. A reverse mortgage can also help in a pinch.

Another issue is whether the amount you save on mortgage interest might be better invested. Buying a house with cash amounts to investing in a bond with an interest rate equivalent to what you would pay with a mortgage. Compare this interest rate with other investment options to evaluate how buying your home with cash affects your long-term savings.

Finding Funds

If you want to pay for your home with cash but don't have a lump sum handy, how do you find the money? Options include:

  • Realtor suggests a few strategies, including investing in a long-term CD, a method that can be combined with CD laddering if you don't want to lock up all your cash.
  • For current home owners, another option is refinancing your existing mortgage into a larger one, known as "cash-out refinancing." Zillow recommends weighing this option against others, such as home equity loans and lines of credit.
  • If you're receiving regular payments from an annuity or structured settlement, you may be able to sell all or a portion of your future payments to a financial services firm and put the money toward your home purchase.

What About Taxes?

Paying for your home in cash precludes the tax breaks you would get from your mortgage interest payments. Use the calculator at Mortgage101 to estimate the potential tax benefits of a mortgage so you can weigh this against buying with cash.

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Zoning according to Investopedia refers to the municipal laws or local government laws which dictate the use of real properties in some areas. Zoning laws therefore tend to limit the commercial uses of the land area in order to prevent manufacturing business and other kinds of businesses which could begin in residential neighborhoods. But it is vital to note that these laws may be modified to allow for construction of some properties which allow for economic advancement.
Zoning therefore plans out the use of a land through a system of allocation of certain areas and includes restrictions within the different areas. Some of these restrictions may include the buildings height, the density of the area as well as the types of businesses that will be seen in these areas.
A good instance is that of the zoning laws which restricts parks, businesses and homes. The zoning area will therefore include the commercial, industrial, agricultural and school zones. Generally, zoning tends to be confusing to people as it is used to designate areas irrespective of the size of the state. The correct use of zoning allows for the development of cities and countries and impacts the lives of future property buyers, sellers as well as investors. This is due to the fact that zoning will always tell on the value of a property irrespective of it being residential or commercial. The major types of zoning today are basically:
Commercial Zoning – Commercial property basically refers to properties which are not residential and they range widely from small offices to mega shopping malls and night clubs. As a result of this, they are zoned commercially.
Residential Zoning – is basically the opposite zoning to commercial as it is done for individual family and can be manifested in zoning of single family homes, condos, duplexes and various other forms of apartments.
Industrial zoning – This zoning is basically for the operations of the manufacturing sector and for warehouses.
Agricultural zoning – This is usually mentioned in the same breath as the rural zoning as they basically deal with zoning regulations for ranches as well as farms.
Another Zoning type includes Historic zoning, which is used for historic monuments and buildings such as museums. Zoning is however not a totally definite situation in terms of rigidity as the option of using a variance gives the option of an exception. The process is long to acquire a variance, depending on the local government, but can redirect the future of a property in the long term.
Something else to note about types of zoning is that they also have sub-categories and we can take the example of the residential zoning which has the sub-categories of sleeping units which are designed for transient occupants’ e.g. motels and those that are for residents who dwell more permanently such as apartment houses.

If you are buying real estate, be sure to determine the type of zoning and restrictions placed on the property.

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Are you not sure how much of a down payment to put down on a home? You would need to consider that the figure will need to be at least 20 percent, if you want to avoid paying any Property Mortgage Insurance (PMI). This insurance covers all home buyers that have not deposited at least 20% as a down-payment on the value of their new home in the event you default on your monthly mortgage payments.
The lenders and banks will introduce this insurance as a way of protecting its own assets should the home buyer fall into financial difficulties and not be able to meet payments due. The lender can dip into the insurance funds and use that money to cover any short fall. In the United States it is possible to get private mortgage insurance or one from the government. The government scheme is handled by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and a number of companies are available for home buyers to use for underwriting private mortgage insurance.
How Much Premium Will I Have To Pay?
This depends on the amount of deposit or down-payment you have managed to raise on your new home. The PMI can vary from as little as 0.3 percent of the total value of the property per year, to as much as 1.15 percent. So, if you pay the smaller amount (0.3%) on a home valued at $200,000 you would look to be paying around $600 premium per year. The upper limit of 1.15% would see homeowners forking out $2,300 per year in PMI fees.
But this does not have to be a payment you would have to make throughout the lifetime of your mortgage; when you reach the stage where the loan-to-value ratio hits 80 percent, tell your bank or lender that it is time to stop PMI premiums as you won't need them at this point.
In fact, its law now that lenders should be telling you when you are likely to reach that 80 percent ratio and federal law insists the premiums must stop when the figure reaches 78 percent. The premiums will automatically be cancelled at this stage and you should not have to chase your lender for this to happen.
However, there are some Federal Hosing Administration loans that insist mortgage insurance premiums be paid for the life of the mortgage.

If you would like more information on Property Mortgage Insurance, be sure to ask your Lender directly.
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I'm sure you may have wondered what the average home buyer in the U.S. looks like today, or not so much what they look like but how old they are, where are they coming from, what sort of job or income are they earning and which region of the United States are they coming from.
It is all interesting information - to some - and in particular those in the business of selling real estate, prospectors, sellers and investors alike. So who are they and what is the market for real estate buying actually like in the flesh?
In the previous four years to 2013 in America the average age of the first-time buyer has been about 38 and an annual income just above $80,000. These are averages of course but in those four years the large majority of first time buyers have managed to put down a 25 percent down on the home they have bought.
So generally speaking, your average American has got a nice job and earns around $80,000 and has managed to save a large deposit to allow a lender to approve a mortgage for their new home, condo or apartment. It is possible to buy a nice condo in Florida for $100,000, so if you can afford the typical 25 percent deposit, your mortgage would be for $75,000. This is the average American today, or at least in the last four year period from 2009 to 2013 but you can rest assured that these typical average examples would not have been the case in the four year period between 2005 and 2009 nor the four-year stretch before that.
The housing market in America took a hefty downturn in 2007 and the car has only just stopped rolling down the interstate bank and coming to a rest but as America recovers. What about foreign investment in real estate properties? Just as Canada has enjoyed recently in affluent cities like West Vancouver, real estate buyers are flocking in to American cities from as far away as China and Vietnam. The Chinese have plenty of dollars since its economy began a boom from the early 21stcentury.

There are also many second home buyers looking to grab property and you will find the average age of these people is 47 and they will earn on average about $90,000. The majority of home buyers are from the south (41 percent) and the affluent north-east sees the lowest percentage (13%) of first time buyers.
You may be close to these averages, but you may not be in a more affordable home buying area. Whether you are buying your first or second home, be sure to contact a real estate professional for assistance.
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A home warranty is an affordable way to cover the costs of unexpected mechanical failure of a major system or appliance in your new home. A home warranty is specifically designed to cover the kinds of repairs that home insurance does not: appliances, plumbing and electrical, air conditioning and furnaces, and pool equipment.

The average annual cost of a home warranty policy is between $250 and $400. Most home warranty companies offer comparable coverage within the same price range. The premium is payable at close of escrow and customarily protects you for one full year. Repairs are typically handled through the home warranty company with a minimal deductible. Often times the cost of the first year premium is offered as an incentive by sellers to solicit the sale of the property.

The age and condition of the home should be a consideration when choosing to purchase a home warranty. A fifteen year-old home with original equipment, versus a two year old home will likely have different financial risks. Your Realtor can help you decide if a home warranty policy is right for you based on your individual circumstances.


Why Should I Consider a Home Warranty?

Homeownership is expensive enough all on its own, without adding the cost of repairs and replacements. When moving into a home where appliances and systems have been previously used, there is always the chance that the general wear and tear, or the way in which they were previously used and maintained, could cause breakdown and/or complete failure. These repairs/replacements can be astronomically costly and often times occur unexpectedly. A home warranty will protect you financially from most of the frequently occurring breakdowns of home system components and appliances.

No matter what policy or Insurer you use be sure to read the details of coverage, ie: the fine print. Many of these companies require that you call them absolutely FIRST when a repair is needed. If you call your neighborhood plumber, hvac or electrician, then the insurance company may not cover the work. So be aware of this detail now, before any emergency repairs are needed.

Discuss your unique needs and concerns with your home warranty representative. If you do not have a trusted home warranty representative, your Realtor can refer you to one.

This information is meant as a guide. Although deemed reliable, information may not be accurate for your specific market or property type. Please consult a Realtor professional or home warranty representative for more information home warranty policies.

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To replace a gas water heater in your home, you need to follow a five-step plan. It is very important, first of all, to consider hiring a licensed and experienced contract to do the job.
The first stage is to get the old gas water heater off the wall or remove it from its current position in the home. Before you even attempt to remove the old water heater, you must shut off the gas using an open end wrench that can be adjusted to fit the valve.
Make sure that no gas is leaking by looking closely at the pilot light. If you have successfully shut the gas off at the valve you will see the pilot light die out (this is a slow process and does not happen instantly). Then smell the area and satisfy yourself that there is no small of gas in the area.
Turn the pilot light switch off and take off the exhaust duct which you'll see at the top of the water heater unit. Next you will need to close off the water valve (often positioned beneath the kitchen sink) then release the water from the heater into a large bucket or bowl. While waiting for this to drain, use a wrench to disconnect the gas from the heater.
Then connect the new parts of the flex pipe for the hot "in" and cold "out" before connecting a new flexible gas line. You will need to secure the gas line connections with strong putty over the fitting. Make sure you get the old fitting removed on the incoming gas supply using a wrench.
The next stage is to connect the new gas water heater to the water supply. Use sand paper or an emery cloth to shear off the ends of the pipes. You have to solder the segments of pipes using a propane torch. Now your new valve unit is ready and you must apply strong tape over the new fitting to allow a clean connection to the cold water flex-pipe. Next, you will need to solder a new connection between the valve assembly and the supply pipe that allows incoming water.
Once you have established the cold water connection, you need to attend to the hot water system. Solder a fitting to the outgoing pipe and then fill the heater with water. Turn the mains water stop cock on and then connect the gas flex pipe. Once the water has filled, open up the gas valve and ignite the pilot light.
From here you can set your desired temperature and begin using your new gas water heater.
It is always recommended that you hire a licensed and experienced contractor to replace your water heater.
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Buying a new home is quite an undertaking. The stress of buying a mortgage and planning on how you will pay back your lender can be a daunting process. It seems that a mortgage term can take a lifetime. Some mortgage periods last 20 years, most will go on for 25 years but there are 30-year terms available if you want to stretch out your payments over a longer period.


Before you can even start to do any calculations – and we will at a later stage – you will need to get some figures written down first. The significant figure, of course, is the price of the home you are buying. Next, you will need to write down a figure representing any down payment (or deposit); this is assuming there is a deposit, in this example we will work without a deposit sum.


So, how exactly is a real estate mortgage payment amortized? We have the price of your home – let us say you are buying a small condo in South Carolina valued at $100,000. You will have made the offer to the seller (via the real estate agent of course) and then you will need to establish a lender that is prepared to loan you the sum of $100,000 (remember you are not putting down any deposit).


 The lender will offer you an interest rate by which you must pay on top of your $100,000. If you decide to reduce the amount of monthly payments you would normally go for a 30-year term, rather than a shorter period. At 30 years with a fixed rate of 4.5% throughout the life of the mortgage you would have to pay $506.69 a month.


Now, there are 360 months covering the life of your mortgage, so that's 360 x $506.69, which means over the life of your mortgage loan you will pay a total of $182,408. The first thought you will have is that you are paying some $82,400 more than the actual selling price of your South Carolina condo.


Well, it's the way a mortgage payment is amortized, so if you want to drag out the loan over 30 years then any fixed rate is actually a good bargain, despite the US interest rates at an all-time low in the present climate. These low interest rate figures may well go up at some point in the future but it would be unlikely that we will see the historic highs before the housing market collapse pre-2007.

If you are a Real Estate Agent and need our Virtual Assistants, CONTACT US

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(NAPSI)—It may seem surprising to some, but real estate investors can not only do well for themselves, they can do good for the community too.
Here’s How
Back when the housing market went bad, investors got a lot of the blame. They were accused of taking on more properties than they could afford, which resulted in increased foreclosures. Now, however, investors are finding valuable opportunities and earning a more respectable reputation.In several areas that were hit hard by the housing and economic recessions, investors are playing a key role in the turnaround. Many of today’s investors are ordinary people, simply buying a second home in their own neighborhood and turning it into a rental property.
So why the surge in real estate investment? These investors see the “perfect storm” of opportunity: historically low interest rates, attractive home prices and a great selection. The new breed of investor also removes many damaged and vacant properties off the market and makes much-needed repairs to improve the value of their investment and the neighborhood.
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The Pitfalls of Buying Real Estate On Your Own

You can buy real estate on Craigslist, or straight from a Facebook page. You may even buy one from someone you know or from a friend of a friend of a friend. There are, indeed, a lot of ways to buy a new property directly that the thought of not tapping a friendly real estate agent can be taken out of the picture. But is it wise?
Not As Simple As You Think
In this day and age, buying a property without the help of a real estate agent may sound appealing. You can strike a deal on your own and simply be done with it. But buying real estate is not as simple as going to Target and picking out the latest HDTV or a pair of laced-up boots. It requires due diligence and tons of paperwork. With the staggering amount of money involved, it is only imperative that you understand the common pitfalls people encounter when buying a real estate property without the aid of a realtor.
 Not Reading or Understanding the Fine Print
One of the most prevalent mistakes in buying a property on their own is not thoroughly reading and digesting the fine print of the purchase contract.  As a rule, purchase contract is essential on real estate transaction to warrant its veracity and legality. There is no room for verbal agreements in a real estate buy-out, even when dealing with a family member or a next-door neighbor-friend. A purchase contract is usually prepared by the seller with the aid of a lawyer. If you have no idea about legal jargons, consider hiring a lawyer or have a real estate agent do the dealings for you.
 Not Safe for Your Earnest Money
In most real estate transactions in the US and the UK, earnest money deposit is usually given to secure or put the property on reserve for you. Some people call this reservation fee while others call this initial down payment. This can be very misleading and can put a huge dent on your financial coffers should the deal turn out to be a dud. To guarantee that you put your money right where it’s due, an escrow company is a wise option but having a real estate agent to handle it for you would be so much better as they can easily connect with a title company to keep it safe.
 Big Room for Complacency
Unless you have complete firsthand information about a real estate property, it is imperative that you do earnest ocular inspection. Some buyers, however, in their eagerness to buy from someone they are “familiar” with tend to be complacent. A real estate agent usually gives full disclosure on a property to protect their reputation in the market. Through them, you can gather “black-and-white” information about the property and assess it from there.

The risks can be quite high when buying real estate on your own. This is even more so when you rely so much on buyer-seller trust and relationship factor. When it comes to money, remember these words: it is a jungle out there and you, the buyer, are always the unsuspecting prey. If it is a real-deal hassle-free investment you want, have a professional and trustworthy real estate agent to seal the deal for you.
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5 Factors Affecting Sales Demand For Real Estate

Wherever you go, real estate holds a distinctive role in shaping up a country’s economy directly affecting the buyers and sellers in the market. Highly responsive to the law of demand and supply, realtors and independent sellers alike have to keep watch on various factors critical to their income-generating means. With hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of money on the loop, finding time to scrutinize the following critical factors affecting real estate demand will help generate positive results to your planned resale.
1. Current Demographics
The composition of the overall population concerning age, income, migration and population growth is critical. Most home buyers usually consider location as a top priority when researching for home investments making demographics highly critical when it comes to demand and, subsequently, pricing. Florida’s real estate market, for instance, has continually been tagged as a perfect haven for retirement due to the consistent number of baby boomers migrating to the area.
2. Demand Vis-à-Vis Supply of Real Estate Properties
There is no doubt that real estate properties’ supply largely affects demand in the market. As real estate can go through various cycles, so does its demand and supply. When supply surpasses demand in the market, prices can easily plummet. This is what took place in the US real estate market in the last three years or so. As the number of foreclosure rises, price of real estate took a nosedive. If you are in a realty buy-and-sell business, buying low and selling high later on will give bang to your buck. For someone selling a home, this can mean disaster as you will be competing with low-priced foreclosures.
3. Employment Condition
Areas with high employment availabilities are sure-ball real estate buying magnets. Cities usually equated with well-paying jobs can easily shift migration patterns leading to an increase in demand for more developments. Most cities with more employment requirements most often enjoy an upswing trajectory in real estate demand. As a result of this high demand, prices have the tendency to rise, too.
4. Correlating Credit Markets and Interest Rates
Not everyone can buy homes in cash. Most rely on mortgage or real estate loans to buy a property. If interest rate is low, loans can be had at a much lower cost making it highly beneficial for buyers. Low interest rates means easier to acquire loans or credit from financial markets and, subsequently, lower monthly amortization. With this, more demands for real estate will be imminent.
5. The Overall Economy
The health of the overall economy, of course, largely influence sales demand for real estate. A strong economy attracts more jobs and population growth increasing the demand for housing and development. A sluggish one does the opposite as consumer confidence is usually stunted. 

When you have a home or a piece of realty and you have plans for resale, it is important to take these critical factors into consideration. Do remember that in real estate, selling a property requires not just efforts but, most importantly, the right knowledge and timing. The perfect convergence of these factors will largely contribute to lucrative sale deals in the market.

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Quick Selling Tips When Staging Homes

Selling a home is not for the faint of heart, whether done privately or via the services of a real estate company. It takes time, effort, and deeply thought-of strategies to enhance your chances of snagging the right deal in the market. A quick sale is good, but one that comes with sure profits would be much better. One way to ensure a quick profit-making sale is by organizing a home staging initiative accordingly.
Significance of Home Staging
Staging a home is one lofty preparation of your abode prior to its presentation to the market. Its main objective is to make a home more appealing to more prospective buyers in the shortest time possible. Here, a homeowner or a realtor will get rid of the obvious flaws of a home such as clutter, defects and any sign of dilapidation. It systematizes clean-up, repairs, or home improvements to further enhance the overall aesthetic appeal of a property. From interior to exterior, home staging will make a potential buyer envision the property as her own.
Important Areas to Consider
Staging your home largely depends on your budget. If you can afford major improvements, then, the better leverage you have over its selling price. However, a limited budget is quite common among homeowners selling their homes. With this, it is wise to focus on areas that directly influence first impression of a buyer such as the landscape or exterior aesthetics, front entrance, kitchen, bathroom, masters’ bedroom, and living area.
Don’t Just Clean, Manage Your Clutter
Cleanliness is a must when it comes to home selling. A buyer love spotless properties. From bathroom tiles to kitchen countertops, ceiling, and toilet bowls, it is your goal to make every nook and cranny immaculate. Of course, make sure to remove unnecessary odors, too. Your favorite garlicky smell might not work with everyone. This is even more so for homeowners who love smoking indoors. Scented candles might do the trick in eliminating unpleasant odors.
When cleaning, consider organizing things like furniture, appliances, and decorative elements to generate ample legroom. No matter how pristine the floors and ceilings, if you have knick-knacks lying everywhere, your efforts are for naught. Sell, store or donate unnecessary stuff. Do not hide these in your closet or garage. Buyers check those, too.
Make An Exterior Space Standout
Does your home have a patio or garden? How about a lawn or a backyard? Let any of this space standout. Repaint your patio furniture or change its flooring. Mow grass on your front- or backyard. Try adding vibrant and fragrant blooms. An excellently defined exterior attracts buyers instantaneously.
Exert Efforts on Defining Interior Spaces
Buyers have the tendency to maximize square footage when looking for the best deal. Increase your leverage by creating fluidity in design and richly designed purpose for its space. Transform an attic into a mini-office or a guest room. Make your garage double as a storage room. Your basement can be an entertainment room or an office. A buyer may not use it with the purpose you have in mind, but this will give him a perspective that every inch of your home is functional.  
Play With Paint and Lighting
When thinking of a paint job, keep in mind that colors are highly personal in nature. What could be ideal for you may not apply to everyone. For a limited budget, a repaint using neutral colors will help “de-personalize” a home. To add more life to your new paint, updating interior lighting and fixtures will help enhance its appeal.

Indeed, home staging is of great help in increasing a home’s face value and in quickening its resale. Though preparations are essential, it is important not to invest a lot in the processes involved. By planning carefully the home staging processes, you are guaranteed to get the most bang for your buck.

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The Art of Negotiations When Buying A Home

There is no doubt that you want the best deal possible when buying a real estate property. Negotiations are commonplace in the real estate market. But, often, one only thinks about offer-to-buy and counter-offer as their main source of negotiation. You need to keep in mind though that the real estate agent that represents you can only do so much when it comes to negotiations. The best ones provide you with important data on legalities, market trends, and other aspects relevant to the deal but most of the time, your decision is what matters. Your behavior and efforts from the first offer up until closing on escrow hugely matter when buying a property.
Proper Timing
Buying a new home is not a competition. If you try observing real estate agents, they often keep a “likeable” and approachable behavior. The good and experienced ones are often easy to get along with, adept in providing you the right information at the right time, and are easy to talk to. When negotiating to buy a house, mimic how realtors behave. Be nice and careful without being too finicky. Taking an aggressive posture when negotiating will lead you to nowhere. Rather maintain your composure and likeability when releasing every piece of information just at the right time. This will not only earn the respect and trust of the seller or realtor you will be talking to but also gives more competitive advantage on your position in the midst of the transaction.
Appropriate Valuation
Buyers are always aiming to acquire a house or property at the least price possible. However, when you go on a preliminary offer, it is imperative that you are aware of the current housing market in the particular locality where you plan to buy a home. Here, the knowledge and expertise of your real estate agent can be of great help. Keep in mind that you would not want to risk insulting a seller’s asking price by offering too low. This will only make the seller evade further negotiations. A real estate agent’s advice on proper valuation of property would come handy. Negotiation built upon verifiable data usually works big time.
Home Inspection
To give you leverage, a certified home inspection must be done even if preliminary offer has already been set with the seller. Unless it’s brand new, there will always be some repairs needed to be done. These repairs or renovations usually mean price reduction.
Continuing Effort
Negotiations when buying a home is not the usual touch-and-go process. An artful way of handling negotiation is by being consistent in your efforts all throughout the deal. A buyer’s continuing effort from offer submission to counteroffer and then to closing of escrow can spell S-U-C-C-E-S-S to your initiative. It is important to always be consistent and focused, never forgetting every action or decision done during the whole process. Be reminded of proper timing during positioning offers and counteroffers while remembering to never get into uncompromising situation or concession without gain.

Negotiating is as common as breathing in real estate. From the start of the transaction to closing, negotiations come in handy on both buyers and sellers. To sellers, the aim is to obtain the most money for their property. To buyers, it is to snag the best property by obtaining the best value out of their hard-earned money. Indeed, negotiations when buying real estate take time, efforts, patience, perseverance, the right timing, and the right attitude—and a reliable real estate agent whose advice is worth in gold.

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How to Buy Investment Properties with an IRA - Step by Step (Part 4 of 4)

Using a self-directed IRA to buy real estate is a sound investment strategy for many people. The ability to buy assets that can provide strong returns is appealing to a wide range of people. Listed below are the basic steps necessary to buy a property in compliance with the IRS rules governing the use of an IRA account.

photo credit: roberthuffstutter via photopin cc
photo credit: roberthuffstutter via photopin cc

1. Contact a financial firm that has experience with self-directed IRA’s. Working with a firm that is familiar with these accounts and the real estate transactions is the most important step.

2. Understand the IRS rules. A property bought via the IRA must be an investment home. Second homes, vacation homes and primary residences are strictly prohibited. Furthermore, distributions from the account are not allowed until the owner of the IRA is at least 59 ½

3. Deposit funds into the account. One of the important rules about buying property with an IRA is that all funds for the purchase as well as any other expenses has to come directly from the IRA. The owner cannot chip in extra money to help cover property tax or replacing the roof, in example.

4. All revenue received on the property must be deposited to the IRA account. The revenue cannot be given to the IRA owner or relatives.

5. Take time to preview multiple properties. It is wise to enlist the assistance of a real estate agent who has knowledge with these types of transactions. An agent can recommend properties in areas that have strong rental history. Furthermore, the agent can help calculate the return on investment based on average rent payments for the area.

6. Once you have picked out an investment property it is time to put down an offer. Contact the custodian for your IRA account and tell them you want to buy a property. The custodian will then fill out the necessary forms and sign all real estate documents on the behalf of your IRA account.

7. It is a wise idea to get a contract with a property manager to handle the finances of the property. This will prevent you from collecting the rent payments and making any necessary repairs yourself. A property manager can keep all the transactions clean and legal and free you from the headache of property management.

It is important to understand the rules concerning using an IRA to buy and manage real estate investments. Failing to follow the rules can lead to penalties and possibly loss of the tax advantages associated with an IRA account. When in doubt consult a tax professional before making any decision or transaction with the IRA funds.

This is Part 4 of a 4 Part Series.

Part 1: How a Realtor® can help you invest in your IRA

Part 2: Purchasing Investment Properties for your IRA

Part 3: How to invest in real estate using an IRA

Part 4: Step by Step Guide to Buying Homes with your IRA

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Rarely Discussed Tips for Buying that First House

Lots of solid information is available online that discusses items for first time home buyers such as choosing the right loan, working with a reputable lender, and arranging a proper budget. While those items are very important, there are some other items that don't get the same publicity but deserve great attention.


Buyer Beware

It cannot be stressed enough: there is no such thing as a perfect home. One home that seems to have a great outside appearance may need significant work on the inside. Another home that is appealing both indoors and out could be located in a terrible neighborhood. Take some time to look over the home as closely as you can. Ask some friends or relatives to come by and inspect the place. If something looks wrong, consult with a professional inspector.

Don't Sign Something that is Unclear

Most people that are buying a home for the first time are not aware that there are LOTS of forms to sign. This does not mean you should sit at the closing and closely read every single word. Many of these items are simply legal documents designed to protect the borrower. However, it also does not mean you should be confused about the process. During the closing process, ask the closing agent or your lender questions about the paperwork that you are signing to be sure you understand everything.

Allow for Improvements and Vacations

Very few people buy a home and leave everything as it sits for the duration of their home ownership. Most people like to add variety by changing out the carpet, adding fresh paint and updating the appliances and light fixtures. All of these things take money, whether they are done now or 5 years from now. Don't pick a home that is at the edge of your affordability. Leave some room for making a few improvements as well as saving up for the occasional vacation.

Don't Buy With Just Your Heart

It is true that most people will live in a home for a number of years. For this reason, they need to be quite happy with the major features of the property. However, falling in love with a property that is over an hour away from your job will make your commute quite tough, and add misery to your life. It is important to find a home that makes you happy and is practical for your situation.


photo credit: joelplutchak via photopin cc

Avoid Unpleasant Features

Just as some people fall in love with a home and buy it based on one or two features, some people loathe one or two features of an otherwise suitable place. It is a bad idea to try and put up with something that makes you unhappy for the sake of owning a home. For instance, some people despise yard work. Buying a lovely modern home, with modern appliances, and in a good area may sound great until you realize the yard is monstrous. All those hours spent mowing the lawn, trimming bushes, cleaning around walkways and other items may actually irritate some people to no end.

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  3. Bad Choices People Make When Buying a Home Bad Choices People Make When They Buy a Home All...
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How to Purchase a Home in 2013

How to Purchase a Home in 2013

As this new year begins many people are setting goals, making resolutions and generally planning for a better year. If you are one of the people considering a home purchase in the upcoming year there is some sound advice to follow in order to make the process smoother and ensure that you get in to a home that truly makes you happy.

Be Realistic About Your Finances

Buying-in-2013.jpg?width=300If you are currently renting a nice place for $650 a month then it would seem unreasonable to think that you could afford a home with a loan payment of $1,000. WHY, you may ask? Because the expense of owning a home goes well beyond the monthly payment. There are other things like mowing the lawn, keeping the furnace and air conditioner maintained, repainting every few years, updating the bathroom, replacing an appliance or two, and the list goes on. Understanding the expense for these items will help you set your budget accordingly and hopefully prevent you from getting in to a home that you cannot afford.

Talk to an Experienced Mortgage Broker

After determining how much you can comfortably afford for a home, it is time to chat with a mortgage broker. The broker can look over your finances, your credit history, employment history and the length of time you have lived at your current address and determine the best loan for your needs. A broker can also get offer from multiple lenders in order to get the best rate for your mortgage.

It is wise to let the broker know how much you are comfortable paying each month so that they can use this information to establish a price range for your home. Most people can financially afford more than they are willing to pay. Having the right budget amount will help when you begin looking at homes.

Talk to an Experienced Real Estate Agent

Now that you are firm in the amount you can afford monthly for a payment and you have an approval from a mortgage lender it is time to talk to an experienced real estate agent. A good agent will sit down with you and listen to your wishes in order to decide which homes could meet your needs. Using the price range provided by the mortgage lender, the agent can focus on homes that fall in your budget and prevent wasting time on homes that are too expensive. An agent can also focus on other parameters such as a specific school zone, homes with particular features, size of the home and other things that are important to you.

Don’t put it off any longer. Sit down with a calculator and decide how much you can afford. Then make the decision to make 2013 the year that you become a homeowner!

Related posts:

  1. Getting Pre-Approved for a Mortgage Before Looking for a WI Home 

  2. Using FHA 203K Loan to Purchase a Fixer-Upper

  3. 4 Tips to Determine How Much Mortgage You Can Afford

  4. Keep Your Home Purchase on Track

  5. Tips on Buying Your First Wisconsin Home
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Buying again After a Short Sale

Rock Realty Client Testimonials

"Approx 4 years ago.. I was having some financial strain. I wasn't able to keep up with a first and second mortgage alone as a single mom.

Through friends and family, I was introduced to Mike and Matt.

I didn't want to have to go through the foreclosure process, because I knew that I would be able to pull through the mess I was in within a few years and I didn't want to have that looming over me.

Matt and Mike were able to take over and help me with a short sale. They worked with me directly. They both came to my home, sat down, helped me understand this delicate process (which remains total Greek to me), and they were extremely efficient. My bank worked with me and these gentlemen, and withing approx 3 months, my home was sold in a short sale.

I remain amazed at their abilities and their continued efforts to help me.

Now, 3 years later, I'm looking to purchase... I have looked them up again... and they are helping me find a home that I'm looking for within my specifications and they also have resources to assist with lending.

Couldn't ask for more!!

Thanks so much my friends!! you do an awesome job... Keep up the great work!"

Kari B.(Cross Plains, WI)
Rock Realty Seller & Buyer Client

Rock Realty Client Testimonials

Thanks for the kind words Kari! We look forward to finding you the home perfect for you!

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Bad Choices People Make When They Buy a Home

All too often, people fall in love with a home for the wrong reason. And when it comes time to sell, they find that there are not as many people in love with the home like they were. Here are some common mistakes first time homebuyers make and how you can avoid the same errors.

Buy With Reselling in Mind

photo credit: woodleywonderworks via photopin cc

photo credit: woodleywonderworks via photopin cc

The previous generation considered a home purchase akin to a marriage; till death do us part. The new generation does not see it in such lasting terms. Modern families may move up in the value of a home, relocate to a better school district or simply sell what they have and move to a new state to pursue a different career. For people that buy a home with a small, or zero down payment, it will be tough to sell within a matter of just a few years. Staying in a home for a number of years gives the property time to appreciate while also giving you a chance to pay down the loan.

Older homes have lots of appeal to many buyers, but they also come with some major considerations. Modern appliances, up to date electrical systems and comfort due to a good air conditioning & heating system are usually not that common in older homes. You may purchase an old house with plans to improve these things as time goes along. However, if you find yourself in a position that you must sell before the renovations are complete, it may be tough to find a buyer.

Don’t Buy a Home Just on the Payment

Many would-be homebuyers look at the principal and interest payment for a proposed mortgage and say “I can handle that.” For the majority of these people, they are correct in their statement. However, they may be overlooking some major expenses.

First and foremost, a house is like a vehicle in the respect that it must be maintained in order to provide a long, useful life. Replacing the roof, getting new appliances, repairing the occasional plumbing problem, and a host of other items are just a part of owning a home. Homes that end up in foreclosure often show signs of neglect, mainly because the owner could not afford even the basic maintenance items.

Besides maintenance, there are property taxes as well as homeowner’s insurance. Depending on the location and value of the property, these two items can typically cost between $300 to $500 a month. Potential buyers need to do their homework and get a full estimate of their payments, along with escrow, from their lender.


People that are novice to the real estate industry still understand one basic rule; location is king in realty. Homes located near shopping areas, close to good schools and exhibit low crime rates are the best selling properties. If you fall in love with a home and you are the only person considering the property, there could be a reason for the lack of competition. It is important to pick a home in a place conducive to an easy sell. Otherwise, you may be in for a long wait when it is time to get rid of the home in the future.

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