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New Construction Home Buying Process

New Construction Home Buying Process

New Construction Home Buying Process

Some home buyers may prefer to start from scratch and build a new home from the ground up.  While there are developments that offer newly built homes often times those homes lack customizability and instead the home buyer may only find cookie cutter homes with some ability to decide on what types of interior upgrades they may add.  Home buyers who want to get their own home plan put on paper and then get built will be looking at the custom build option which this article explores further.

First Step, Work With A Lender

Home buyers need to start the process of talking with a lender first since there are different mortgage programs for new construction builds.  Sometimes if a builder is large enough they will have their own financing program where while the home is being constructed they can offer a short term construction loan to the buyer and then at the time of project completion the buyer will get a traditional 30-year mortgage for the home.  Especially with the changes brought about as a result of the COVID19 shutdowns, mortgage loans types and qualification requirements can change on a daily basis so getting a pre-approval before hand is the best path to take.

Home buyers should not be talking just to one lender but comparing different lender offerings.  Buyers can find different lenders to speak with through family and friend referrals and referrals from their real estate agent.  Certain professions like doctors or veterans have available to them specific mortgage designing floor plan...

Updates For The Home

What to Consider When Making Updates For The Home

What To Consider With Updates For A Home

With the change in economic conditions some who were previously considering selling their home may decide to stay put and instead update the home.  Others who still want to sell their home might be considering what updates can help them obtain the best value for their home.  This article explores the types of updates homeowners may want to consider and what makes sense for homeowners who want to stay put versus homeowners who want to sell soon.

Updates For Those Wanting To Sell

For those homeowners who want to sell their home the updates done should be ones that bring the home up to a modern look and function.  Homes with old appliances, outdated cabinetry and fixtures can easily get a good return on investment (ROI) without going to extreme lengths in terms of spending on the updates.  Since the homeowner plans on selling their home it does not make a lot of financial sense to overspend as the short-term ROI will not be positive especially if they plan on selling within 6-12 months.  Instead homeowners should be looking for cost effective updates that make the home look better than it already is and will satisfy buyers who are looking for modern features.

Appliances

Kitchen appliances are one of those areas where home buyers look to right away when they are touring homes.  People spend time in the kitchen on a daily basis and having modern updated appliances are something they expect to have when buying a home.  Homeowners...

Why Now More Than Ever It Is Important To Have A Mortgage Pre-Approval Letter When Buying A Home

mortgage pre-approval covid19

Why Now More Than Ever It Is Important To Have A Mortgage Pre-Approval Letter When Buying A Home

With the impact of the COVID19 shutdowns still echoing throughout the economy many home buyers are wondering whether now is the right time to buy a home.  Many still desire a home of their own for building equity, laying down roots or simply being able to say they own a home.  With most home purchases happening with a mortgage it is very important that home buyers understand the process of getting a mortgage and get their pre-approval before they start looking for a home.  Getting a pre-approval lined up ahead of time is critical due to the changes brought about as a result of the virus.  This article explores some of the impact of those changes.

What Does A Pre-Approval Letter Do?

First and foremost, the process of sitting down with a lender for getting pre-approved should involve asking the lender what types of mortgage loans do they have and what will work best for you.  Mortgages come with different down payment options and different payback options that buyers need to understand so they can fit the mortgage payment into their budget.  Most home sellers will not take an offer seriously without a pre-approval letter and even more so during this time frame of the virus many home sellers will not allow buyers into their home without the same letter.

A pre-approval letter means a mortgage lender has analyzed a home buyers credit, debts and assets and determined they qualify for a mortgage loan to buy a home for no more than a certain amount.  The pre-approval letter is basically a good to go decision by a lender that they will lend to a home buyer so they can buy a...

Podcast: Insurance For Homeowners and Real Estate Investors

Insurance For Homeowners and Real Estate Investors

For this podcast about insurance I chatted with Matt Kincaid of Meridian Captone.  In the podcast we discussed insurance for homeowners and real estate investors.  Topics included first time homebuyer tips for arranging insurance, insurance for real estate investors with long term tenants and insurance for investors working in the short term rental space.

I hope you enjoy the podcast and find it informative.  Please consider sharing with those who also may benefit.

Listen via YouTube:

You can connect with Matt at LinkedIn,  You can reach out to Matt for more information on their insurance products by emailing him at mkincaid@meridiancapstone.com.

You can connect with me on FacebookPinterestTwitterLinkedIn...

How Real Estate Investment Owners Should Be Dealing With The Lack Of Rent Payments

how to deal with lack of rent

How Real Estate Investment Owners Should Be Dealing With The Lack Of Rent Payments

With the recent closure of many businesses that were considered non-essential due to the COVID-19 (corona virus) many people find themselves without work and without pay.  As a result real estate investment owners are also facing challenging times due to their tenants being unable to pay the rent.  Many governments are also banning evictions during the time of the virus.  This article looks at some of the ways landlords can deal with their rental income being reduced during this time of COVID-19.

Cash Reserves Are Important

This tip is an often repeated one but still important to talk about here.  Those who are investing in residential real estate need to maintain cash reserves in order to cover for times when major repairs are needed or during times like these when the rent may not be coming in.  Buying investment real estate requires the owner to have cash on hand to make the down payment and pay for closing costs.  Investment owners also need to have a reserve fund while owning rental property and those funds need to be easily accessible.  Funds located in IRAs, 401(k)s, life insurance policies that are not that easily accessed can work as reserves for mortgage purposes,  but they are not the right type of reserves the investment owner should have for their rainy day fund.

Investment owners need to have a separate bank account where their cash reserves are held for a time of need like during recent shutdowns due to the virus.  Virus issues aside cash is still needed in cases where large repairs may be needed (HVAC, plumbing, fire issues etc), where...

Tips For Avoiding Foreclosure

Tips For Avoiding Foreclosure

Tips For Avoiding Foreclosure

With the recent troubles caused by the COVID-19 virus (also known as Corona virus) many homeowners find themselves stuck at home with no ability to go to work.  While some may be able to work from home and still get paid, those who cannot work from home may start to find their financial resources under pressure.  This article provides tips for homeowners to help prevent the possibility of a foreclosure on their home.

Communication With Lenders Is A Must

Whether a homeowner is expecting to be late on a credit card payment or their mortgage it is always best to contact the lender before the payment is due and find out what options are available.  Simply missing a payment without communicating with the lender is more likely to end up with the lender sending a late payment notice to the credit reporting agencies and tacking on late penalties.  Due to the extreme nature of the virus situation many lenders are understanding of situation homeowners find themselves in and are offering to waive late fees and offer payment options.  Without contacting the lender though they have no idea of an individual situation and will proceed with business as usual.

Many lenders are offering forbearance on bill payments in the short term which basically means they will accept that debt payments cannot currently be made and are willing to work with homeowners in order to avoid foreclosure.  An important thing to note though is if a homeowner can afford to pay their mortgage because they are working and getting paid then they should continue to do so.  Do not consider this as a mortgage or debt payment holiday.  Forbearance simply means the lenders...

Tips For Homeowners To Save Money

Tips For Homeowners To Save Money

Tips For Homeowners To Save Money

By having a savings fund in place homeowners can weather the good and the bad times with less stress.  Even non-homeowners can benefit from having a savings fund since the money will be helpful during a “rainy day” event.  Building up that savings fund does not mean big sacrifices either as some seem to think.  Easy things can be done to start saving money that can translate into big numbers with the right effort as this article explores.

Refinance High Interest Rate Debt

Mortgage Refinance

When people think of refinancing high interest rate debt they often think of high interest rate credit cards.  While credit cards do carry high rates homeowners can benefit by refinancing their mortgage when the rates are lower than their current interest rate.  Many homeowners lock in interest rates with fixed term mortgages.  With a fixed term mortgage the interest rate stays the same for the life of the loan (usually 15 or 30 years).  In order to get a lower interest rate for the fixed term mortgage homeowners will need to refinance their current loan.  

Homeowners need to look at the overall numbers rather than just the interest rate as there are many mortgage expenses that can eat up any savings that come from a lower rate.  So while the interest rate may be lower the homeowner can end up in a worse situation when they are paying points or other mortgage fees as part of the refinance process.  When financed into the loan those mortgage fees also may not be noticed upfront.  Homeowners need to be checking that their overall monthly payment is lower as a result of the refinance.

Once a homeowner has ...

The Top 10 Highest Priced Homes For Sale Today In The Greater Cincinnati Area

THE TOP 10 HIGHEST PRICED HOMES FOR SALE TODAY IN THE GREATER CINCINNATI AREA

The Top 10 Highest Priced Homes For Sale Today In The Greater Cincinnati Area

Cincinnati is the third largest city in Ohio and the Greater Cincinnati Metropolitan area covering Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana is the largest metropolitan area in Ohio and the 27th largest metropolitan in the United States.  The Greater Cincinnati area has a unique variety of architecture and the homes offered in Cincinnati are no different in their unique style and features.  You can find 100+ year old one of a kind homes in different neighborhoods in Greater Cincinnati as well as brand new homes with modern features.

The Greater Cincinnati is no stranger to luxury homes and has many luxury apartments, condominiums, and homes to choose from.  The neighborhoods these homes are found in are in and around the Greater Cincinnati area and represent the best the city has to offer.  These homes offer some of the latest and greatest in luxury as well as technology and are found in the following great neighborhoods:

Indian Hill, OHio 45243:

What began as a farming community in 1904 the Village of Indian Hill later was reshaped into more of an area for large estates.  The homes in Indian Hill represent some of the best of what Cincinnati has to offer.  In 2002 the Robb Report rated Indian Hill, OH as one of the best places to raise a family.  Of the top ten priciest homes in the Greater Cincinnati area Indian Hill has 7 homes on the list.

...

Who Should You Hire To Sell Your Real Estate Investment Property?

Who Should You Hire To Sell Your Real Estate Investment Property?

Who Should You Hire To Sell Your Real Estate Investment Property?

Real estate like many other fields has many niches that make up the overall market.  In real estate there are buyer agents, listing agents, agents who specialize in luxury homes, agents who specialize in investment real estate, agents who specialize in the renting out of real estate and more.  So while any real estate agent with Multiple Listing Service (MLS) access can list investment real estate for sale that does not mean they will provide the best service, service which will make the transaction flow much smoother for both the seller and the buyer.  This article looks at why real estate investment owners who are looking to sell should connect with real estate agents who have experience selling investment real estate.

Would Any Listing Agent Do?

Certainly any real estate agent who has access to the MLS can list investment real estate for sale and may be even able to successfully get some offers in for the seller.  That does not mean the process will be easier for a real estate agent who has no experience selling investment real estate (such as a real estate agent who specializes in selling luxury real estate).  While that agent may have learned the ins and outs of selling all types of luxury real estate, selling investment real estate is a different ballgame.  When listing any type of real estate the goals for the agent are to make sure they target the right buyers with the right marketing mix.  Once the right buyers take notice of a piece of property they will want to come and explore it further.  Thus...

Should You Sell Your Home To An iBuyer?

Should You Sell Your Home To An iBuyer?

Should You Sell Your Home To An iBuyer?

Many might be wondering what exactly is an iBuyer in the first place as most companies that offer the service don’t call themselves iBuyer by default.  iBuyer basically is a service provided by large real estate companies that seek to buy homes directly from the homeowner.  These companies imply they are making it easier for homeowners to sell their home without all the need for home preparation, marketing and whatnot.  While selling to an iBuyer may indeed be easier and quicker it does not come without a cost as this article explores.

What Is An iBuyer?

As noted above an iBuyer is usually a large corporation that is looking to buy homes to fix them up and then sell the house for a profit after repairs and updates have been made.  Some of the companies operating as iBuyers include Opendoor, Zillow Offers, Redfin and others.  The reason for the iBuyer name is that it is internet based like other products that add the extra i to their product name.  Most of these companies are using a computer generated algorithm to determine the price of a home and some might be familiar with the Zestimate that Zillow puts out for homes on their websites.  The computer generated number is just that, a number based on computerized data collected from recent sales around where a particular home is.  Those numbers are not always accurate and can leave homeowners confused with their over and underpricing.

iBuyers should be not confused with wholesale real estate investors (We Buy Homes For Cash type investors) who are...

Marketing Remarks To Help A Home Sell

Marketing Remarks To Help A Home Sell

Marketing Remarks To Help A Home Sell

Marketing remarks are key to helping get a home sold.  While the pictures draw the buyer in the marketing remarks need to add to the whole marketing pictures so that the buyers want to take the next step and see the home in person.  With more buyers touring a home that means there will be a greater likelihood of getting a strong offer.  There are also marketing terms to avoid as they can turn away buyers who might otherwise be interested in the property.  This article looks at what kinds of marketing remarks work for home sellers and what language to avoid.

What Should The Marketing Remarks Tell About A Home?

Whereas the pictures of a home can convey a thousand words the words from those photos still cannot convey everything.  That is where the marketing remarks come in.  The marketing remarks are a chance to tell potential home buyers about those things not readily seen in pictures.  Have there been updates to parts of the home?  Then mention that.  Talk about the charm, the architecture and unique things of a home that will attract the buyer’s attention.  The pictures of the backyard may show the trees but do they really show the forest and the wildlife to the nature lover?  If not that is where the marketing remarks can add to the image.

Sellers should be using descriptive words that convey the openness of a house, the bright rooms and modern updates as applicable.  Where the photos give a visual description the marketing language needs to provide a verbal description about the things that are fun and interesting about the home.  If a home has a great kitchen and living area that makes for great parties the buyers should be...

Great #RealEstate Accounts To Follow On Twitter

great twitter people to follow

Great #RealEstate People To Follow On Twitter

As much as some like to claim Twitter is no longer relevant compared to other social media platforms most active users know that is far from the truth.  Twitter still has many active users with plenty of information to share. This list represents some of the top real estate related bloggers, social media experts and all around great people and companies to follow on Twitter.  Not only are they sharing their own informative well written content they are sharing great real estate articles, tips and tricks from many different sources thus truly embracing the social nature of Twitter.  If you are not following any of the accounts below be sure to add them to your feed and you won’t be disappointed!

1.  Bill Gassett.  One of the top 5 RE/MAX agents in MA for the last decade. Social media/SEO junkie. Maxrealestateexposure.com

2.  Kevin Vitali.  Tewksbury MA- Realtor. Serving the Merrimack Valley home buyers and sellers.  MerrimackValleyRealEstate.com.

3.  Chris & Karen Highland.  Frederick MD Realtors, Agent/Owners with eXp Realty.  FrederickRealEstateOnline.com

4.  Michelle Gibson.  Wellington Florida REALTOR® assisting...

What Must You Disclose When Selling A Home?

What Should Home Sellers Be Disclosing When Selling Their Home?

What Must You Disclose When Selling A Home?

Many states require the home seller to fill in a property disclosure form to help buyers understand the condition of a home.  Lack of disclosures or intentional non-disclosure of material facts can lead to lawsuits and in the extreme can even lead to the home seller being forced to buy the home back from the buyer.  So what exactly must a homeowner disclose to buyers on a home disclosure form and what are the consequences for a lack of disclosure?  This article explores the answer to those questions below.

What Is A Residential Property Disclosure Form?

Most states offer some sort of standard residential home disclosure form.  In that form homeowners are able to make note about the condition of things in their home like the roof, foundation, water issues, mold issues, who supplies the water, how is waste water handled, the HVAC system and more.  The disclosure form is sort of like a biographical disclosure of a home listing out the condition on all the important aspects of a home that a buyer would like to know about.  Many home inspectors will review the residential disclosure form to give them an idea of any potential areas they should focus on while inspecting.  

Who Has To Fill Out The Disclosure Form?

While every state has their own laws (and their own forms) on who should be filling out the disclosure form when selling a home there are some general rules that can apply.  If the home seller has lived in the home and is currently living in the home they should be filling out the disclosure form.  If the home seller lived in the home in the past but now no longer lives in...

Major Issues To Be Aware About In A Home Inspection Report

Major Things To Be aware About In A Home Inspection Report

Major Things To Be Aware About In A Home Inspection Report

An inspection report on a home or investment property provides a general opinion on many conditions and factors of the property.  The inspection report is not the final word when it comes to the condition and many inspection reports will state that a professional should be brought in to further evaluate a particular condition.  That language is critical for home buyers to pay attention to since only through the opinion of a professional contractor can the true condition be known.  This article explores those inspection areas where getting extra input is valuable.

Why Another Opinion May Be Needed

Since home inspectors are more general specialists in terms of the home, they do not hold themselves out to be experts in all of the systems of the home especially when some of those areas require licensing to work as a contractor.  Examples of licensed contractor professions include plumbers, Heating Ventilation and Cooling (HVAC), and electricians.  Licensing requirements vary state by state and certain other contractors may also require licensing.

Home inspections can make or break a sale.  A home in great condition with very few problems to make note of will let buyers rest assured they are getting a good home with very little to address prior to move in.  Homes with major issues can break a deal if the home buyer and seller cannot agree on repairs, can’t agree on a price reduction to account for the repairs, or the buyers are just plain turned off by the problems.  A home inspection is the starting point for discovering the condition of a home.  If...

How Do Real Estate Agents Get Paid?

How Do Real Estate Agents Get Paid?

How Do Real Estate Agents Get Paid?

In many lines of work or professions employees get paid by the hour and may get some work performance incentive bonuses as well.  Many sales people on the other hand may make a small hourly wage but rely more on commissions that are earned upon closing of the sale.  Other sales people are strictly commission based which means they only bring in a paycheck upon the closing of the sale.  A majority of real estate agents in the US are paid on a commission only basis which means until they help a client buy or sell a home they do not earn any pay.  This article looks in depth at the ways how and how much real estate agents get paid when representing clients.

Some Of The Not So Common Ways Real Estate Agents Get Paid

There are some companies who pay their real estate agents on an hourly basis.  Companies that primarily deal with leasing of property have more incentive to pay their real estate agent employees on an hourly basis since more of that job entails showing vacant rental units to prospective tenants and screening them for suitability.  These agents usually work directly for a company whose primary business is the managing of rental units.  

There are other real estate companies who pay agents on an hourly basis to handle things like showings and listing appointments.  While not very common these types of real estate companies are exploring different business models of serving their clients.  Whether these business models survive the long term is a topic for another discussion but one possible result of hourly real estate agents is they don’t have as great of an incentive to learn the full depths of different real estate niches in their market.  So long...

Who Pays For Pest Control Treatment?

who pays for pest control

Who Pays For Pest Control Treatment?

Pest control treatment can be either a one-off thing that does not cost much overall or something that is expensive and requires multiple treatments due to the type of pests involved.  This article explores who should be paying for pest control treatment.  In the case of a home for sale or in the case of a landlord/tenant matter the answer of who pays for pest control treatment will vary.

When A Home Is For Sale

In the case of a home up for sale the most common pest treatment that is called for after a home inspection has been conducted is treatment for wood damaging insects (WDI).  Termites are one of the more common WDI, live in the ground and will find their way into homes where they will make a meal of any wood products they come into contact with.  Wood support beams, basement joists, framing 2x4s and more all make a great place for termites since they like to eat dead wood which is what is found in many homes.  Treatment for termites can be relatively expensive (compared to other type of insect treatments) though it is a one-time treatment that should last for a couple of years.  Subsequent treatment may be required or the homeowner may want to consider installing termite bait stations which can keep them away from the house.

If termite damage is discovered during an inspection the home buyer can request the home seller to pay for treatment to stop further infestation in the home.  Sometimes the treatment of the termites will be required by the lender in order for them to approve the mortgage loan as the lender does not want to finance a home that may fall apart due to termite damage.  Generally in these cases the seller will be the one paying for the treatment.  If the lender does not require nor does the buyer...

7 Great Tips For Getting Your Luxury Home Sold

7 Great Tips For Getting Your Luxury Home Sold

Luxury homes are targeted at a different buyer’s market when it comes time to get listed for sale.  Luxury home buyers in general can be savvier and understand the implications of finance in terms of what they will be paying for a house.  Just because a luxury home buyer can afford to pay more for a home does not mean they are willing to overpay for a home.  Luxury home sellers need to be positioning their home to sell and this article focuses on the top means to help get a luxury home sold quickly.

Set The Right Stage

If a luxury home already has great up to date furniture and has been recently updated with new carpet and fresh paint it may be good to go.  On the other hand more homeowners keep their home in a shape that is suitable for their needs.  When putting any home on the market the homeowner must consider the needs of the typical buyer who will be interested in their home.  As a result a neutral stage does best in the buyer’s mind since they can envision themselves in the home that much easier.  A neutral stage means a de-personalized home, neutral paint colors, and neutral flooring selection.  Luxury homeowners should be removing items like family photographs, trophies and other things that make a home look unique to the homeowner and allow buyers to focus on the home itself.

Staging includes making sure furniture looks nice and excess or old furniture should be moved to storage so buyers can see the actual size of a room rather than get distracted by the furniture.  Luxury homeowners need to declutter their closets as well so that the buyers can see how much space the closets do have.  Furniture should be made to make a room look inviting and sometimes the ...

Understanding Risk When Investing In Real Estate

Understanding Risk When Investing In Real Estate

Understanding Risk When Investing In Real Estate

More investors are considering real estate when it comes to investing their hard earned money.  Some investors are looking for a better return on investment through higher yields as compared to other investment vehicles or they think real estate is a great and easy way to invest based on investment seminars or real estate investment websites where everyone is sharing their success stories.  Investing in real estate can be a great way to own some land and build long term wealth.  The caveat though is real estate investing is more costly than other investments (buying stocks) and if not done properly can quickly lead to an investor feeling financial pain due to mistakes made.  This article will explore some of the different types of real estate investment risks there are so potential investors can make fully informed decisions.

Risks With Buy and Hold Investing

One of the most common real estate investing method is the buy and hold method where investors purchase real estate with the goal of long term appreciation in value of their investment and receiving regular income from renting out the property.  With this type of investment investors will either purchase turnkey rentals (ready to rent out) or look for the value add opportunity where work must be done to the building in order to boost rents.  Buy and hold rental investments can include office space, residential space, commercial retail space, and warehouse space.

Legal Violations With Residential Real Estate

Higher risk comes from residential rentals due to the fact that there are many local and national...

Podcast #3 Topic: What Does a Title Company Do

title insurance podcast

What Does a Title Company Do?

For this podcast I sat down with Chris Finney owner of Finney Law Firm and Ivy Pointe Title.  During our conversation we discussed what does a title company do, title work, covenants, title insurance, the real estate closing process and more.  This podcast is helpful for those about to purchase or sell real estate by showing you what to expect during closing, and how the title company helps you get your your home bought or sold!  I hope you enjoy the podcast and find it informative.  Please also consider sharing with those who may find it useful.

Watch (listen) on YouTube

Feel free to ask any questions via the comments section below or to email either Chris or myself.  Also if you have any ideas for future podcast topics you would like to see let me know!

You can connect with Chris on Facebook via Finney Law Firm, Facebook via Ivy Pointe Title, Twitter @FinneyLawFirm, Twitter @IvyPointeTitle, and Google+,

You can connect with me on ...

Podcast #7 Topic: Home Staging And Selling Your Home

Podcast 7 Home Staging

For this podcast Home Staging And Selling Your Home I sat down with Jo Potvin, Owner of Design To Market Home Staging. During our conversation we discussed home staging, quick staging tips, the benefits of home staging and more. This podcast is helpful for those about to sell a home who are wanting to learn about how to best position their home to sell.  The podcast was named one of the Top 5 Podcasts For Home Buyers by Investopedia.

I hope you enjoy the podcast and find it informative.  Please also consider sharing with those who may find it useful.

Listen via YouTube:

You can connect with Jo Potvin on Facebook,

You can connect with me on FacebookPinterestTwitterGoogle+LinkedIn, and Instagram.

About the author: The above Podcast “Podcast #7 Topic: Home Staging...

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