Sunday, February 20, 2011

Short Sale Homes: Things You Need to Keep In Mind When Buying

Now is a great time to purchase short sale properties. This is because of the abundance of properties whose values are less than the value owed to the lender. However, it is not that easy to buy a short sale. You will need to think of various considerations when buying such property. An advantage of a short sale is that the seller is motivated to sell the property. This means that you have the upper hand during the negotiation process. Although this is the case, you will still need to be careful when making an offer. Another benefit is that there are several short sale properties to choose from. This means that most of the properties are in good shape because sellers want to attract buyers. And since there are fewer buyers, you have the luxury of choosing the property that works for you. But what is short sale in the first place and why are these properties cheap? Short sale happens when a lender accepts a discounted payment for the mortgage. This usually happens when the balance of the mortgage exceeds the value of the property. However, the steps taken are not simple. The buyer making an offer will not be able to close the deal right away. It is true that a short sale is a waiting game. You will need patient if you want to be able to acquire the property. If your first offer was rejected, you can make a higher offer and wait for the decision of the lender.

Here are some tips to help make the short sale purchase easier.

Work with an experienced agent. It is essential that you work with a realtor who has handled short sale purchases before. This way, he can assist you better and can help you make favorable decisions. He will be able to have access to listed short sale properties as well. Moreover, he can negotiate with the seller and facilitate the immediate approval of the short sale application.

Find the right home or investment property. If you are looking for a property, where you can move into right away, and then rethink the purchase of a short sale property. As mentioned earlier, it is unlike that you will be able to close it in a month. In addition to that, making an offer will not guarantee that you will be able to purchase the property. This is because the lender may still reject it.

Make a good offer. This is crucial in owning the short sold property. If you have a good offer, the lender may approve it and you will be able to close the deal. But what is a good offer? The best thing to do is to have the property appraised. This will help you identify the real value of the property. Your offer does not have to match the appraised value. However, it would greatly help ensure the approval of the short sale. If the lender agrees to the offer you made, you will be able to purchase the property and close the deal.

North Wales, Montgomery County Pa. New Construction Pulte Townhomes

North Wales, Montgomery County Pa. New Construction Pulte Townhomes

I just found a property and wanted to share it with you!

Friday, February 11, 2011

5 Tips for First Time Home Sellers

5 Tips for First Time Home Sellers

Selling your home can be a seamless, smooth and successful transaction – but only if you have the right information to help you make it through the real estate maze. This is particularly important for first time home sellers, who certainly can’t afford to “experiment” with selling their house; because the consequences of any mistakes can cost thousands, or more likely tens of thousands of dollars.

However, generally speaking there are 5 solid tips that first time home sellers should know:

1. Have a customized plan. If there’s one thing that all first time home sellers must have – but not all of them do – it’s a customized plan. Each market is different. And within markets, there are sub-markets that are categorized into neighbourhoods, or types of homes, or proximity to amenities (e.g. malls, hospitals, schools, etc.), and more. It’s vital to work with your Realtor and create your unique plan. Even if you know someone who “was in the same boat as you and sold their house without any problem,” I can assure you that there are key details that will differ.

2. Stage your house. There was a time when simply cleaning your house was enough to make it attractive and compelling for buyers – those times have changed. Now, home staging is essential to not merely attracting the right kinds of buyers, but influencing them to make an offer that will make you happy. Staging goes far beyond merely cleaning. It looks at your house “though a buyer’s eyes” and proactively beautifies anything that may detract from your home’s overall appeal. As an experienced Realtor, I can always immediately tell the difference between a staged home and one that’s just merely clean. And guess what? Buyers can tell the difference, too!

3. Make any major repairs. Home staging is about cosmetic (how things look) improvements, but if there’s something that needs to be fixed – like, say, a big hole in the roof or the gutters are about the fly off – then you certainly want to repair those before you start showing your home. This not only helps attract favourable offers, but it prevents potential buyers from having contingencies in their offer (e.g. the seller must repair A, B and C by a certain date, and it must pass an inspection, or else the offer is null and void).

4. Be competitive. The real estate market is competitive. The price that your next door neighbour sells his or her house for will influence the value of your home. And the same goes for a comparable house in your neighbourhood, or even for a comparable house on the other side of the city. It’s important to work with a Realtor who will scope out the competition and give your home an edge.

5. Work with a Realtor. Your home is your biggest asset. Just as you wouldn’t perform surgery on yourself, you shouldn’t try and “go it alone” or, often just as mistakenly, choose a low-cost or discount option. When you’re talking about an asset that is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, spending a few thousand dollars on the services of a Realtor more than pays for itself. You’ll get the peace of mind you need, plus you’ll access a variety of services that will help your home sell for top dollar. Obviously, there are more tips out there – and as noted above, your unique situation and plan will determine the selling strategies that work best for you. However, the 5 tips above are the essentials that you should always keep on-hand and ready to help you experience a smooth, stress-free and successful first time home sale.

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Chris Proctor

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Home Sellers: Five Tips to Make Your Bathroom Stand Out

Home Sellers: Five Tips to Make Your Bathroom Stand Out

Every homebuyer has a vision of their perfect house and the rooms that are most important to them. Because of their relatively small size in comparison to the rest of a home, bathrooms are often overlooked in the staging process, but for many, it could be the most important room in a buying decision. A bathroom is more than just a place for grooming; it’s a sanctuary. It’s a place one can relax in a hot bath and escape the stresses of daily life for a few moments at a time. Updating a tired-looking bathroom is one of the best things you can do to increase a home’s resale value and the fixes are not too costly or labor intensive. Easy fixes include adding new, luxurious-looking towels, replacing the shower curtain and adding candles around a bathtub. However, with a little more money and effort, your bathroom can become a talking point of the house. Here is a look at five great ways to upgrade a bathroom.

1. Beautify:

By adding decorative glass, stone tile or accents to the bathroom, it will stand out among the other houses in the neighborhood that are for sale. Extra-wide wall tiles are popular these days and wood cabinets can be beautifully embellished with intricately carved wooden inlays.

2. Lighting:

Add more lighting options around the room, especially around the vanity to reduce shadows and glaring. This is something that isn’t too expensive and can really highlight the positive features of a bathroom. Mood lighting around the tub area is also increasing in popularity.

3. Bath/Shower:

It’s not too often you hear someone complaining about a bathtub being too large, and that’s because there’s nothing better than coming home from a hard day’s work and relaxing in a big soothing tub. By putting in a new tub and creating more of a spa-like atmosphere, you will have buyers imagining themselves washing their cares away. Adding a massage element to the showerhead or one that replicates rain showers is also something that will appeal to buyers.

4. Update Fixtures:

Not as costly as some of the other tips, changing out the fixtures in a bathroom can add a great deal. From cabinet handles to faucets, the addition of brushed nickel or other metals that are polished and elegant are always a huge hit. And if space permits, add a second sink.

5. Think Green:

The bathroom is a prime place to start putting those environmentally friendly devices to work. Installing fixtures that save water, such as a low-flow showerhead, a low-flow faucet aerator, and a dual-flush toilet, can save thousands of gallons of water each year. Adding energy-efficient windows is another easy option, since the size of bathroom windows are relatively small. Another fix that is both decorative and energy efficient is the addition of natural stone flooring, which helps keep cool in during the summer, and heats the bathroom longer during the winter. When buyers walk into a renovated bathroom that exudes quality and offers an intimate, contemporary feel, it’s one of the top things that people will remember about a home.

Prudential Fox & Roach Realtors is an independently owned and operated member of Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Short Sales, Reos Or Motivated Sellers, Which Is More Profitable?

Short Sales, Reos Or Motivated Sellers, Which Is More Profitable?

In a market full of mortgages going into default, a lot of real estate investors are never sure which way to go to get the best deals.

Do you get foreclosed REOs from the bank? Should you negotiate short sales to buy the houses for less than the mortgage balance? Or should you buy directly from the motivated sellers?
We will analyze these 3 situations here.

These 3 methods all have their pros and cons; let's analyze each one:

1) Buying foreclosed houses from banks - REOs Banks have too many foreclosed properties and they increase in number every day. As soon as they acquire them, they then try to sell them quickly.
Buyers are few and these properties can take a long time to sell.
Banks can therefore offer great discounts, especially if they need to be fixed up.
As a real estate investor, shop carefully for good REO deals because not all them will meet your buying criteria or equity margin for you to make a profit.

2) Short Sales Banks foreclose on homes when home owners are unable to pay. Before they foreclose, they are often willing to take less than the mortgage balance. This is called a short sale.
A bank will order an appraisal to get the true market value of the property. Then they can give you a discount on the mortgage based on their numbers.
A bank that holds a first mortgage is likely to offer very little discount on the mortgage, usually not more than 20% especially if it does not need major repairs.
A bank that holds a second mortgage can lose 100% of their investment in a foreclosure, so they are more willing to negotiate much lower. It is not unusual to get 80-90% discount on a second mortgage.
A property with more than one mortgage is therefore the best candidate for a short sale.
Short sales can also take a long time, usually 3 to 6 months. You must therefore have enough patience and capital to last you through such long waiting periods.
Banks can reject your short sale application even when all numbers look good. You must therefore be ready for rejection.
You must close fast as soon as you get an approval. Banks will not accept creative financing on short sales.
When all is said and done, you can create a lot of equity and profits as long as you select the right deals, have patience to wait for a long time, can take rejection and you can close fast.

3) Motivated sellers You can employ a wide variety of techniques to buy houses from motivated sellers.
This includes creative financing.

This is always a great way to buy investment houses as long as the sellers are in need of selling their houses.

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Author: Kahethu