Posts Tagged ‘real estate investment tips’

U.S. Foreclosure Filings Down Slightly In First Half Of 2010

Monday, July 19th, 2010

According to a new report by RealtyTrac, property foreclosures filings in the United States dropped 5% during the first half of 2010; this is due to lenders continuing to delay foreclosure proceedings so they can focus on short sales and load modification efforts.

The same report states that over the past six months, more than 1.6 million homes have received at least one filing, such as default notices, auction sale notices, and bank repossessions. So while foreclosures filings were down slightly during the first half of the year, there is still an abundant amount.

There is growing concern that a backlog of homes in line for foreclosure could build up, which may result in a double dip in the market when said homes are dumped at some future date.

The chief executive of RealtyTrac, James Saccacio, contends that at the current pace, more than 3 million properties will receive foreclosure filings by the end of this year; leaving lenders to repossess more than 1 million of them.

“The roller coaster pattern of foreclosure activity over the past 12 months demonstrates that while the foreclosure problem is being managed on the surface, a massive number of distressed properties and underwater loans continues to sit just below the surface, threatening the fragile stability of the housing market,” Saccacio said.

Saccacio continued, “The second quarter was a tale of two trends. The pace of properties entering foreclosure slowed as lenders pre-empted or delayed foreclosure proceedings on delinquent properties with more aggressive short sale and loan modification initiatives. Meanwhile the pace of properties completing the foreclosure process through bank repossession quickened as lenders cleared out a backlog of distressed inventory delayed by foreclosure prevention efforts in 2009.”

For all the numbers and figures of the RealtyTrac report, visit PropertyWire.com: Property foreclosure filings in US down slightly in the first half of 2010.

U.S. Foreclosure Filings Down Slightly In First Half Of 2010
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Traps To Watch Out For When You Sell A Home

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

Putting a home up for sale can turn out to be a wrenching experience. Although it matter how ready you might be to move on, it still means giving up a part of your history. Selling is even harder if it is prompted by difficult or even tragic circumstances, such as the death of a spouse, the loss of a job, or any kind of shift in financial circumstances.

This article covers common mistakes that that are made by people who want to sell and, more importantly, how to avoid being trapped by them.

Asking Too High a Price

Often it seems that sellers think that they should start out asking for the highest price in the realm of possibility. If it doesn’t sell right away, after all, they can always lower the price by a little, right? Not right. Although it’s true that opening prices can always be lowered, by the time that happens, the house has gotten “old.” People who dismissed your home as being too expensive or above their range as they studied the new listings won’t easily find out so they can come back and give your property a second look now that the listed price has been reduced. Start off by asking a fair price, and you’re likely to sell much faster and without a lot of bother. Considering the value of your time and the monetary and personal expense of holding the home on the market, most likely the right price differential could make months of difference in the time on the market before the transaction is successfully concluded.

Not Being Thorough With Disclosures

Laws in every state require you to disclose any material facts and flaws that pertain to your home. Most Realtors agree that it is safer to disclose too much about flaws and material facts than too little. It can be a problem if the buyer becomes aware of flaws or facts that you knew about, they could cancel the transaction or even take you to court.

Not Keeping the Home “Visitor Ready”

It is essential when you want to sell a home that it has to always look clean, comfortable, and welcoming. You can never tell when a Realtor will call and say they’re around the corner with a client who is ready to view the home. The home has to highlight the prospective buyers’ highest self-image, the way they like to think of themselves living a simple, carefree life. It could ruin your chances if a prospective buyer should walk in on two weeks’ worth of dirty laundry, a dirty bathroom sink, or a messy, cluttered house that looks more appropriate for a garage sale than for the relaxed, uncomplicated everyday life that needs to be the ideal.

Not Completing Your Agreements

When you enter into the contract, you may agree as part of the contract to do a few things, such as do something to fix up the outside of the home or make needed repairs. Be sure to complete whatever you agreed to do before the closing date, or the buyer could walk away from the deal.

Having Restricted Hours

When it finally happens that a prospective buyer wants to view the home, they want to be there now, or very quickly. Making a buyer wait even 24 hours may well keep them from wanting to see your place at all, or lead to them finding another one that they like better. Since the real estate agent will not want you present while the home is being shown, it’s a good idea to have your own list of places you can go or things you can do on short notice. This could be a neighbor’s home, the library, a movie theater, grocery store, etc.

Avoiding these home seller mistakes will increase the chances that your home will sell successfully and easily.

This information was provided by Automated Homefinder, Colorado’s Longmont real estate specialists.

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Planning The Landscaping Of Your Garden

Friday, June 25th, 2010

Author: Owen Jones

Landscaping techniques allow the gardener to transform a simple backyard into a lovely garden. There are many paths to having a beautiful garden, because there are many types to choose from and there are different tastes too. Chacun a son gout. Some types of garden need a great deal of maintenance and others less so, but even a slabbed or concrete backyard requires some maintenance.

The best way of going about making something beautiful out of your backyard is planning and perhaps the easiest way of planning is to create a plan or a drawing of your garden.

If you decide on this route, the first thing you will have to do is obtain some graph paper and plot the exact size and shape of your garden onto it, using as large a scale as will fit on the sheet of graph paper.

When you have done that, put in in unmovable objects like a brick shed, a drain or septic tank, a fish pond and doorways et cetera. Then you should photocopy it, maybe five or ten times. This is so that you can make mistakes, change your mind or even allow everybody in the household to make their own design from their own investigations and imagination.

If you consider that this is beyond your abilities, you are probably wrong. It really is not difficult, kids draw on graph paper all the time in maths lessons. Nevertheless, if you do not want to do it this way, then you will have to rely on plans cut out of magazines.

So, collect all your ideas from magazines and place them in a file. Similarly, if you are making a diagram on paper, save your ideas in a folder, but also draw them on your graph paper.

Set yourself or your team a deadline of say, a fortnighy or a month, but you do want to do the majority of your work in the spring or the summer, when the weather is warm. On the appointed day, get together and combine all your plans into one.

Put all the superfluous material aside and forget about it. Do not overcomplicate the situation by having all the designs in the active file. Now you are ready to go to work and instigate the ideas.

The choice is now whether you do the work yourself or whether you get a contractor in. A builder will have experience, and so will be able to get the work done quickly. They will also be able to offer practical suggestions, if what you want to accomplish is tricky. The other side of the coin is that it is a great deal more expensive.

If you decide to do it yourself, you might find it a good idea to divide your plan into segments. It could be done in quarters of the garden at a time, if that is feasible, or you could do all the groundwork first, followed by the brick and blockwork, then the pond etc. Depending on your plan. The only thing that should to be done last is the planting of the plants

Owen Jones, the writer of this article writes on quite a few topics, but is at present concerned with outdoor accent lighting. If you would like to know more or check out some great offers, please go to our website at Outdoor Wall Lamps.

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About the Author: [Owen Jones has traveled extensively for many years and has various websites]

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City Of Tracy To Spend $2.75 Million Revitalizing West Valley Mall

Friday, June 11th, 2010

Calling it a “calculated risk,” the City of Tracy is looking to spend $2.75 million to help bring a Macy’s department store to town in an effort to revitalize the suffering West Valley Mall.

On Thursday June 10th City Manager Leon Churchill said city employees will present the City Council with a plan on how the money will be spent on fixing up the anchor space of Tracy’s West Valley Mall, left empty by Gottschalks last year. The plan is to have Macy’s move in and open its doors sometime in October – in time for the holiday shopping season.

The voting will be held during a special meeting after the council’s regular meeting on Tuesday June 15th.

The Tracy Press Reports:

Churchill said the $2.75 million would come from the residential specific plan fund, money set aside years ago after a settlement with developers. The money — which amounts to developer impact fees and is not tax revenue — can’t be used for things like the fire or police departments, Churchill said. It can only be spent on one-time projects.

“Every so often, the city has to take some calculated risk if it wants to create a better end result. I think this is one of those opportunities,” he said.

…The declining state of the mall is one of the reasons the city manager gave for the city’s courting of Macy’s. He said having a high-end fashion store in the vacant Gottschalks property could have a lasting benefit for the entire mall, in addition to the city and its residents.

…According to city projections that Churchill called “conservative,” the $2.75 million investment should be repaid through sales tax receipts within 10 years of Macy’s opening its doors. He said that timeline could be accelerated, depending the store’s success — Tracy takes in via taxes about 1 percent of all sales, and the future Macy’s is “conservatively” supposed to generate between $15 million and $22 million annually.

That’s compared to Gottschalk’s best sales year of $11 million, Churchill said, adding that Macy’s worst sales years should be far better than Gottschalk’s best.

Churchill said partnering with General Growth and Macy’s is a chance for the city to make a statement and respond to numerous calls for increased economic development.

“I think the community has been asking for some action on the city’s part,” Churchill said, “and I get the impression that this is the sort of thing that’s been asked of the city.”

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Renting Your Appliances

Friday, June 4th, 2010

Moving into a new place is expensive. The move, after all, comes right on top of likely spending a lot of money. Then on top of all that expense there are so many purchases you have to make just to make the home just right for your family, it can be quite overwhelming. Your major appliances will probably be the biggest expense you’ll need to consider when moving in. In that situation, renting appliances can have more advantages than you think. If you’ve been looking into the purchase of new appliances, but find that the cost is too much, here are six benefits of renting them instead.

Sometimes you might only need an appliance for a very brief period until you save enough to buy it. By renting an appliance temporarily, you can have the appliance you need for the short term, and then return it when you have met the goal. You should be careful, however, that you don’t paint yourself into a corner. You don’t want to get into a situation in which your rental must be extended repeatedly as you put off the purchase, because you failed to estimate correctly when you would be in a position to afford it. Another advantage is that you can try out a model of an appliance before committing to the purchase by renting it and either choosing to buy that kind at the end of your rental term, or choosing a different one.

Whenever you deal with a rental company, they will deliver your merchandise and hook it up for you at no added cost. Since it is theirs, they want to ensure it is installed correctly and handled carefully in delivery. Sometimes you may even be able to take delivery the same day. If something is wrong with it, they’ll even come back and get it and replace it as part of the deal. They will even get it at the end of the rental period at no added cost.

Most rental companies have various brands of appliances and pieces of furniture from various manufacturers. A lot of the merchandise is brand new.

It doesn’t cost a lot of money to rent virtually any appliance that is necessary. You can pay the fee on your appliances monthly or weekly depending on the place so they will always have something that can be fit into a small budget. With most places, you can have a nice refrigerator for well under $100 per month, going down to half that for a rental period of six months or longer. With judicious use of appliance rentals, you can keep from needing to shell out what could turn out to be thousands of dollars at one time or having to go into additional debt which might put you over the limit.

Compared with going through the application process of a credit company to purchase appliances, all that is required with a rental company is just to prove your income to rent the things you need.

With the low cost of renting, you can get what you need, and on top of that you may be able to check out some other good things, things that you might not be able to afford if you were to buy them. Have you ever thought of trying out a modern home theater system? Using a rental, maybe it’s a possibility, at least for a little while. For a special event, for example, this can be an affordable answer. Like we pointed out, though, be careful not to get yourself into an unintended extended situation.

To sum up, rental stores are a workable way to get things you need without waiting. With the flexibility and convenience they offer, it’s worth checking it out.

Article presented by Automated Homefinder, your Longmont CO real estate specialists.

renting your appliances

The Wrong Way to Invest in Real Estate

Monday, March 15th, 2010

By William Bronchick

“Real estate fever” . . . it’s hit the Country like a plague. Zillions of “newbies” are hitting the bandwagon, trying to make a profit where they lost in the stock market. I meet them all the time, and many are making big mistakes!

Mistake #1: Stock Market Mentality

You’d think after losing $7 trillion in the stock market people would have learned! Nope, they are making the same mistake, which is assuming what happened yesterday will happen tomorrow. Nine of ten new investors I meet say they are interested in real estate because they saw someone else make money from the rapid appreciation of the market over the last few years. But, buying real estate solely for short-term appreciation is often a big gamble! If you buy real estate to hold for 15 years or more, the chances are you will come out on top. If you buy a property and flip it in within a year, you probably are fine, too. And, despite the risk, many people can intelligently time the “boom” of a local market (or subdivision within a market) and make a profit. But, if you buy a rental property for full market price with break even or negative cash flow, you’d better have a backup plan if the market doesn’t keep going up. Investing is a lot like surfing… if you don’t know how to ride the wave, you will drown!

So, should you refrain from investing if you think the market has peaked? Absolutely not! You can find bargain-priced properties in every real estate market, even the hottest. You can find low-interest rate financing that will increase your cash flow so if values drop, you still are covered. You can plan short-term (six to 12 months), because real estate markets rise and fall slowly. And, if you keep a cash reserve for your business, you won’t sweat when the market tanks, because you know that in the long run, real estate markets virtually always come back.

Mistake #2: Investing Blind

You’d think after losing $7 trillion in the stock market people would have learned! Nope, they are making the same mistake, which is blindly buying real estate based on bogus advice or complete lack of education. Real estate is one of the few investments in which risk is directly proportional to knowledge. True, it has a higher learning curve than investing in the stock market, but there’s no proof that having knowledge of the stock market reduces risk (just ask your mutual fund manager).

I read a comment on a real estate discussion group on the Internet. In response to an inquiry as to whether a particular seminar or training program was worth the money, someone answered, “Why waste your money on that stuff? Just use your money as a down payment and learn as you go.” This is probably the worst advice you could ever give a beginner. Money for real estate deals is easy to find if you can find good deals. But, you won’t know what a good deal is without having first invested in your education!

The more knowledge of real estate investing techniques, financing, acquisition, negotiating and, of course, your local marketplace, the less risky your investments will be. A bargain real estate purchase will generally always be a safe investment; a bargain stock purchase isn’t – after all, who says the company you bought into will be in business next year?

Mistake #3: No Cash Reserves

Ask anyone in real estate long term (or any other business, for that matter) and they will tell you the two most important words for survival are: “cash flow.” Heck, even K-Mart failed to learn that valuable lesson!

In order to stay in real estate long term, you need cash reserves. Buying real estate nothing down is easy; handling negative cash flow, repairs and other expenses in the meantime is the trick. In fact, if you can handle the bad times, real estate will always make you come out on top. Lack of cash reserves puts unnecessary pressure on you to do substandard repairs, accept less than qualified tenants and give into tenants’ demands for fear of vacancy.

When you have a sufficient cash reserve, you act rationally. You hold out for a higher sales price. You hold out for a qualified tenant. You leave properties vacant rather than rent to low-lifes. You call a tenant’s bluff when they threaten to leave. You take care of necessary repairs and improvements on your properties. It’s a whole different ballgame than operating from a lack of cash. Like I said, buying properties with no money down isn’t hard; it’s handling the cash flow. In other words, you can buy real estate without money, you just can’t survive in business without cash reserves. Thus, consider accumulating cash reserves before investing in rental properties.

Mistake #4: Being Greedy

Many investors get started flipping properties to other investors, which is a good idea to generate cash reserves. However, you must be realistic about how much profit is in a deal. If there is a potential for a $20,000 profit in a rehab project, you can’t expect to make $10,000 flipping that property to a rehabber. A rehabber has a huge risk in embarking in such a project and wants a large enough profit to justify the risk.

For example, if a house needs $10,000 in repairs, the rehabber investor wants to make at least a $20,000 profit. If you find a deal with $20,000 in profit potential, how could you expect to get $10,000 for flipping the property if the rehab investor you flip it to is only going to make $10,000? You should be happy making $2,500 and moving on to the next deal. If you want to make more than $2,500 on such a deal, then you must find and negotiate a better bargain that has more profit potential.

Mistake #5: Treating Real Estate as Anything Other Than a Business

People are lured to real estate because of the quick buck that it promises. Don’t hold your breath, you won’t get rich quick. An “overnight sensation” usually takes about five years. More than ninety percent of the people who take a real estate seminar quit after three months.

Why the high fallout rate? Lack of action and unrealistic expectations. Real estate investing should be treated with the seriousness of a career. It takes months, even years for a business to cultivate customers and have a life of its own. You need to treat real estate like any other business. Give yourself at least six months to see if real estate works for you. It may even take a year before you buy your first property. Maybe in the second year you will buy three or four properties. If you work hard at it and keep your eyes and ears open, you may even find your first deal in 30 days. Certainly, you will not make money by talking or thinking about it; you must go out and take action.

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