Know More About A Condominium

Condos were once thought of as homes that attracted singles or couples, often without children. But today, condos are growing in popularity and attracting families of all sizes.

Condos can be an excellent choice for the right buyers. Here are a few things that should considered before purchasing a condo. Most buyers start with the condo itself. That may be a good place to begin but, before they buy, buyers should also consider other factors outside of the condo.

Some developers are building condos that have a look and feel like single-family homes. These modern condos have great rooms and open, flowing floor plans that look and feel like a single-family home rather than an apartment or condo.

One of the major attractions of condos is the low maintenance. The community area is maintained by an association funded by the dues that homeowners pay into it.

That’s why buyers’ first consideration should be to explore the development and make sure they like the look and feel of the complex and surrounding community. There are codes and restrictions, often referred to as CC&Rs (covenants, codes, and restrictions) that buyers will have to abide by once they purchase a condo. Buyers should ask to review them before making an offer to purchase a condo. These regulations help ensure that the community maintains its general appearance and any necessary repairs of the external areas.

Review the association’s budget. It may be necessary to get the seller to provide this information because it may not be released to a non-owner who is only a potential buyer. However, in considering buying into a development, it’s almost like going into business with the neighbors in the complex. It’s important to make sure that the association is running properly and has enough of a reserve for necessary expenses and maintenance. The budget and CC&Rs will give an idea about how stable the association is and if increases in the homeowners’ association dues are likely each year.

Find out how many owners in the development are delinquent on their dues. A condo complex that has a high level of delinquencies can cause problems for buyers when it comes time to get a loan or sell the condo. Some loans are not approved if delinquency rates are higher than 15 percent.

Review the minutes from the association’s board meetings. They will reveal the day-to-day issues that occur each month and give an indication of how the development is run. For instance, lots of complaints and filings about noisy residents, loud parties, or dog droppings on the lawn reveal potential problems with neighbors. The minutes will also reveal if the development is engaged in any lawsuits.

Understand what your responsibilities are for the upkeep of the condo. Find out what the association takes care of and what the homeowners have to maintain. Look at the association’s property management team and see how many times the association has changed management companies. Find out why. This will may reveal how responsive the association will be should residents need its assistance.

Ultimately, buyers need to ensure that when they purchase a condo they’re not buying into any legal battles the association is in the middle of and that they will be able to live in their condo the way they want. Study the CC&Rs and do due diligence before buying.

Cheap Homes Are Cheap

When items are discounted at the grocery store, there’s always a reason. Maybe the bread is a little bit stale or the item has been discontinued. Before buying any discount produce, you should probably understand why it is being discounted. The same is true for homes and while there are many cheap homes on the market, learning why that real estate is selling for such a low price will go a long way towards telling you just how worth your effort that property may be.

There are some common reasons why property sells for a low amount or may be listed for a low price initially. Some of these reasons may indicate a home you do not want to get involved with but some may indicate a good deal. When you see a cheap piece of real estate on the market, evaluate it to see which of these situations it falls in to.

A Less-Than-Stellar Area
The location of a home affects its value profoundly and while that can mean great things for a home owner in a posh location, it can also mean suppressed real estate prices in an area that is anything but. Many people think that no matter what, real estate will increase in value. That is not necessarily true and the future fortune of a neighborhood will directly translate into whether your real estate investment or home price swings up or not.

The Fixer-Upper
We have all seen homes that simply need work. For whatever reason, the current owner has simply grown tired of updating a home and that state of disrepair translates into a steep discount in the home’s sale price. If you do not have the stomach to go through the arduous process of repairing a home, these cheap pieces of real estate are certainly not for you. If you are not scared off by the prospect of some labor, these can be great targets.

The Speed Sell
Sometimes a seller needs to sell a property fast, whether to get out of town for relocation or to quickly liquidate some assets. These types of homes present the best opportunities for prospective buyers as these pieces of real estate suggest the least amount of problems. Of course, these homes get snatched up quickly, the very goal the seller has in mind, so finding them can be a bit of a difficult prospect. The best tactic is to monitor an area of town or maintain searches on a set of criteria on a regular basis to turn up all of the new homes that get put on the market every day. The real estate market is a competitive arena, so make sure you are doing all you can to get an edge over the rest of the prospective home buyers out there.

The Mystery
The rest of the cheap homes generally fall in the mystery category and these pieces of real estate are the ones that you need to be most cautious about when investigating for a possible purchase. Homes are always cheap for a reason and there is certainly a reason buried somewhere in the floorboards. Is it near an airport? Does a railroad run through the backyard? Not all mystery homes hold mysteries that are this obvious but the seller is obligated to disclose anything that affects the value of the home, so just make sure you and your realtor ask the right questions.

Doing your homework on why a piece of real estate is selling for the price it is will go a long way towards determining the worth of a potential investment or home purchase. Cheap homes can look attractive at first glance and then lose luster with further inspection. Ask the right questions and do the right research so that you too can make that determination accurately to avoid potential headaches later.

Tips To Hunting Down the Perfect House

When the time finally comes to make a move to a new home, families can often times be on one hand extremely excited about the prospect of shopping for a home and on the other hand be unsure as to how to start the process. There are a few important steps that should be taken in any home-buying process to ensure a smooth real estate transaction.

Know What You Want
If you’re upgrading from your current home, odds are you have a good reason. Perhaps your family has grown too large for your old home or perhaps a bump in income has given you the ability to upgrade any of the features of your home. You know why you want to move, now write those reasons down on paper.

When you come to a real estate agent or decide to go out on your own, knowing the kind of square footage you might be looking for, the number of bedrooms, the general area, the school district and other requirements will quickly narrow down your search to homes that are the most relevant to you. By having a good handle on the type of home you’re looking to buy, you cut out a lot of the guess work and wasted time that can take place in the early going.

Pick the Right Real Estate Agent
The best real estate agent is not always the one with his face on the bus bench. Publicity gets the name of particular realtors and realty companies out into the public, but publicity does not always translate into the time and care it takes to make sure you get the home buying process you’re looking for. Interview multiple realtors, asking plenty of questions each time.

You will probably be spending a large amount of time with whoever you choose, so make a wise choice. You are entrusting perhaps your biggest single possession into your realtor’s hands, so feeling comfortable with your choice will go a long way towards feeling comfortable with the process as a whole.

Take Control of the Showing Process
Shopping for homes is usually the most time-consuming portion of the home-buying process and can often leave people frustrated if they feel that they are wasting their time on improper homes. Knowing what you want comes in to play big time in this step and can trim a lot of the fat from what is out there on the home market by narrowing down the entire set on a few key pieces of information. If you see a home online or just driving by, don’t hesitate to ask you realtor to set up a showing. That’s what they’re there for so make use of them.

Don’t ever be afraid to simply drive up to a home where you have a scheduled showing and never take a step inside. This is going to be your prospective home, so factors such as the appearance of nearby homes, the area of town and accessibility to things that are important to you are all entirely legitimate reasons to not want a particular home. Communicate that to your realtor and she/he will be able to get a better idea of the type of area you are looking for. Keeping that communication going leads to better showing and less time wasted on homes that just aren’t right for you.

Know More About The Right Rental Property

Deciding to get involved with investing in a rental property is an important decision and finding the right property for your efforts can make the difference between a profitable, successful career in rental properties and a discouraging experience that leaves you unwilling to continue on. No matter if you are looking at a rental property purchase for the first time or the 50th time, there are some key things to consider when searching out a good deal.

More Than Just The Rent
Money plays into your investment in a variety of ways, making an impact beyond simply what kind of rent payments you will be receiving. Knowing what kind of cash flow will be available through rent payments is important, but so is knowing what kind of cash you are going to put up for needed improvements or routine maintenance to the building. Whoever is selling the rental property is doing so for a reason, so make sure that high maintenance costs isn’t one of them.

The value of surrounding real estate, rental or not, can influence the kind of activity you receive at your rental property. In areas of expensive homes, rental properties will often pull in higher rental amounts even if the property isn’t up to those standards. Consumers that have their heart set on a particular area may turn to renting in the face of expensive home prices that would yield unaffordable mortgage payments.

Other rental properties in the area of course also play in to your cash flow situation and purchasing a rental property operating with rent payments below what the area is worth are great targets. Sometimes rental property owners get set in their ways with rent and avoid raising rent to scare off customers. Knowing that you can later raise a rent after purchasing a rental property is a great way to get an early jump on profitability.

Who Are You Buying From?
Understanding why someone is selling a rental property will go a long way towards understanding whether or not it is a good investment. Property owners that live far from their rental properties often get fed up with managing a property so far away and sell out of convenience. These types of sellers offer great opportunities as they are often more willing to deal in order to be rid of the obligation that they have grown tired of.

Additionally, the history of the property often reflects the history of the property owner. If you are dealing with a stable seller with a history of good rental ownership, it is probably that the property has been kept up to date with adequate repairs and improvements when necessary. Ask for all improvement records available on the property to look for a history of care taken with the property. Those that have been taken care of well will be less likely to cause headaches later.

What Does The Code Say?
Older buildings are more likely to have issues with building and fire codes. Do research not only into the age of a particular property but also into the history of updates done in regards to building and fire codes. Has anyone ever been out to inspect the property to ensure that is up to code with various local statutes? As soon as you sign on the dotted line, those obligations become yours so investigating just what issues may arise will save you from uncovering code surprises down the road.

Rental properties can be fulfilling, profitable investment opportunities, but selecting the right rental property for you is perhaps the most important step of the process. Protect yourself by asking some key questions about the property and its owner and you will avoid the pitfalls that beset many real estate investors out there.

Tips To Motivate Your Seller

When purchase prices for homes escalate into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, sometimes a $10,000 difference in an offer price can seem like a small variation, but $10,000 is $10,000. As you go through the process of making mortgage payments, you will no doubt wish you could shave a few months off of your payment term, which is exactly what shaving $10,000 or more will net you.

One of the prime ways of doing so is to locate a seller that is truly motivated to sell a property, sometimes at a minor expense in return for a speedy, smooth transaction. Making low offers is something all realtors have probably done in the past, though it can sometimes seem like a slap in the face to send a below-list offer.

The prospect of saving $10,000 or more should take that embarrassment out of the equation and motivate you to explore all avenues for saving money. There are a few ways to spot motivated sellers that might be more apt to accept an offer below list price than they otherwise would.

Everyone Sells For A Reason
One of the best ways to investigate the motives of your seller is to simply ask. That might seem like a common sense approach, but people often go through entire real estate transactions without asking even the most simple questions about who they are purchasing a very expensive item from.

Your realtor or the seller’s realtor may have that kind of information at hand and while they might have reason to guard it, more often than not they will make polite conversation about what a seller’s plans are. At open houses especially, realtors may make the effort to chat with you, sometimes answering such questions, in hopes of getting you interested in the property. Let that eagerness work for you and get the information you need that might help you.

There are quite a few situations that might result in a motivated seller, but perhaps the most common are relocations, divorces and financial troubles. As you can imagine, if a seller is involved in any of these three situations, it is probable that speed is an issue and sometimes that speed is worth a bit of a discount on the list price of the real estate property.

Relocations especially can split a seller’s attention between two locations, greatly motivating the seller to quickly get rid of an old property to focus on a new one. That split focus can be your gain with a big of a discounted offer that nonetheless represents a quick chance to be done with the real estate.

Each Property Has Its Own Traits
More than just investigating a seller, you can investigate a particular property as well to perhaps indicate a seller that is tired of a particular piece of real estate. For example, properties that are not kept up as well, rental properties especially, could indicate that a seller is tired of dealing with a property and is more motivated to sell quickly, even if at a small discount.

If you want to go the extra mile and go through county tax records, it is entirely possible to find properties where sellers have home addresses far away from the property in question. In those cases, sellers that live far away are usually selling property that they can no longer maintain from a distance and have grown tired caring for. These are perhaps the best candidate to accept an offer below list price as they are tired of the hassle of maintaining a long-distance piece of real estate.

No matter your tactic, there are sellers out there that want desperately to sell you a piece of real estate. Do your homework and investigate just why a seller is doing so and why a particular property is on the market. Those two bits of information could produce the difference between a list-price offer for a piece of real estate and an accepted offer below list price

Should You Know About Some Important Things To Know About New Home Upgrades

Getting ready to buy a brand-new house? Moving into a home that no one has ever lived in before is incredibly exciting. So is picking out all your finishes so everything really suits you. But there are several important factors to keep in mind when it comes to the upgrades and options that are offered by the builder, starting with the fact that anything you choose beyond what is considered “standard” will raise the price of the home.

The home price is just the starting point

Have you fallen in love with a model home that’s all decked out with sleek countertops and fancy appliances and hand-scraped floors and elaborate window coverings? Depending on where you’re buying, you may have to pay more for some – or all – of what you see in the models. The “standard” home is typically a much more stripped-down version than what you’re shown in the model complex.

Want to make changes to the floorplan or select higher-end finishes? Be prepared to pay for them. “A surprisingly large amount of the money you spend on your new home will be determined by the options and choices you make,” said NewHomeSource.

You may be limited in the options you can choose

If you have something specific in mind and you don’t see it offered by the builder, always ask your real estate agent or the sales professional in the new-home community. Depending on how flexible they are, you might be able to negotiate custom-ordered items into your home. Or, it may turn out you’ll have to compromise, or add in the items after the home is finished… which isn’t always such a bad thing.

It might make sense to hold back a little

Two more great benefits of adding upgrades from the builder:

  1. The work is done before you move in.
  2. The upgrades are included in the builder’s warranty.

However, you definitely pay for those conveniences. If you price compare some of the items you’re looking at adding, like countertops or flooring, you might find that you can get them for much less elsewhere. Many of the upgrades offered by builders are huge profit centers for them. If you’re willing to go through some renovations after you take possession of the home and either pay out of pocket or finance those options elsewhere, you could save some money.

 

But, having to spend thousands of dollars out of pocket for upgrades after you’ve just spent so much money on your new house may not seem ideal. An added benefit to handling your upgrades through the builder is that you can roll the added costs right into your mortgage instead of having to deal with a separate payment that might have a higher interest rate. The payment may be nominal – $10,000 in upgrades could cost you about $50 a month. But, you’ll have to make sure that the additional cost doesn’t push you over your loan approval amount.

You may have to go back to your lender for more money

If the new home you’re buying is already at the top of what you’ve qualified for and you’re raising the overall price with thousands of dollars of upgrades, a conversation with your lender is in order. If you can’t raise your qualification amount, you’ll have to whittle down those upgrades.

Not all upgrades will bring you ROI

Making smart choices is key when picking your upgrades, because not only do you want to create a home that suits your needs, style, and taste, but you also want to make sure the money you’re spending will pay you back when you go to sell someday. Yes, thinking about selling a new home you’re just now buying may seem odd, but it’s all about return on investment (ROI). If you’re not thinking about it when you’re spending your money, you might not get that money back later on.

When considering where to spend, concentrate on the kitchen first. “The kitchen is the heart of the home, the spot where you will spend the majority of your time and make the most memories,” said NewHomeSource. “It can never be overly well equipped. Pay special attention to cabinets and appliances, as this is what future buyers will focus on, as well as the tools you will use every day.”