6 Tips for Home Buying Right Now

1. Get pre-approved for a loan.

Most sellers require a pre-approval letter along with your written offer. You should have it ready to go so that when you find the right home there is no delay getting your offer submitted. There’s a lot of confusion about pre-approved vs. pre-qualified… even Realtors sometimes use the terms interchangeably! But the pre-approval is the real deal. With a pre-approval, the lender has run your credit, and you will usually have filled out a loan application and provided documentation to the lender, who will then tell you the amount for which you are approved. With the pre-qualification, you will typically have provided some information verbally to the lender about your credit, income and assets, and the lender will give you a ballpark amount for which you are likely to be approved. Sometimes a pre-qualification letter will be sufficient; the main thing is to talk to a lender before you start looking at homes.

2. Decide if short sales and bank-owned properties are for you.

Don’t waste your time looking at properties that don’t meet your home-buying needs. Each of these types of sales has its own challenges for the home buyer, so it is important to know the basics of each and decide if either one fits in with your game plan. For example, if you need to get into a new home within a fairly short time frame, a short sale may not work for you, as they frequently take many months to complete. And bank-owned properties are often in need of work, which can add to the overall cost, or make it difficult to get certain types of loans. If you can be patient with a short sale, or have the ability and/or resources to fix up a bank-owned home, these could be excellent avenues to explore. If not, tell your Realtor® to skip the short sales and bank-owned houses.

3. Check out neighborhoods ahead of time.

One of the best things you can do at the start of your home-buying project is to take a weekend or two and cruise around various areas and subdivisions, especially if you are new to the area. Tell your Realtor which neighborhoods hold the greatest appeal for you – it will really help her understand the type of home you want and your taste in houses. Some buyers are looking for newer homes in areas with lots of families and kids; others prefer the quieter, “mature” neighborhoods. Fortunately, there’s something out there for everyone, and a real estate agent who has plenty of local area expertise and knowledge will be a huge help in finding those neighborhoods that are hidden gems.

4. Make time for house-hunting.

Don’t plan to only go to showings on the weekend – in this market that’s not a winning strategy. There is actually a shortage of well-priced homes in good condition, and the ones that are also in a desirable location sell almost immediately. If you’re serious about finding your dream home, clear the decks and be ready to jump when your Realtor tells you a new listing just hit the market that fits your requirements. And more importantly – be ready to make an offer if it is the right house. It could easily be gone in a day or two.

5. Don’t waste time on houses that are already sold!

Do you spend your spare time house-hunting on Zillow, Realtor.com or Trulia? Or driving around and calling about houses with signs out front? Then you’ve probably already learned that a huge number of those homes – which appear to be for sale – are not really available. They are very often “under contract” which simply means that another buyer made an offer that was accepted by the seller. These often still show as available on the public real estate websites, but in most cases the sale will close in a few weeks. Work with a Realtor® who will set up a custom search for you so you can focus on just those homes that meet your criteria and are actually still available.

6. And of course, the most important thing is to find a really professional and client-oriented Realtor!

A great agent will make your home buying experience smoother and more enjoyable. Get referrals from friends or family who’ve recently had a good home-buying experience, or call or email a few local agents. See which ones are responsive and return your call or email right away, and get a feel for how professional and knowledgeable they are about the local area and current market conditions. Also check out their commitment to their clients in terms of training above and beyond that needed to get a real estate license. Realtors® who work diligently on behalf of their clients have often invested in advanced training and designations such as:

  • GRI – Graduate Realtor Institute, only 19% of Realtors®
  • ABR – Accredited Buyer Representative, only 15% of Realtors®
  • CRS – Certified Residential Specialist, only 10% of Realtors®

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We hope these tips are helpful, and wish you success in your house-hunting!

7 Tips To Keep In Mind When Buying Your First Property

Many people got rich buying and selling real estate. So, investing in real estate is a lucrative business. Unlike buying stock, you can easily put in millions of dollars into your first purchase. But you have to have the necessary information before getting started. Below are some tips for you to get started.

1. Repairs

Do you know how to use a toolbox? Can you repair drywall? Can you unclog a toilet? There is no doubt that you can call a professional to get these jobs done, but this will cost you a significant amount of money. Most property owners, especially those with a few homes, do the repair work on their own in order to save money. So, if you can’t do these projects yourself, you may not want to be a landlord.

2. Debt

Experienced investors have debt as an important part of their portfolio of investment. However, a common man can’t afford to carry debt. So, if you have a student loan to pay, or you have some medical bills to pay, buying a rental property won’t be the right move for you.

3. The Down Payment

Usually, if you want to invest in real estate, you should be ready to make a big down payment. Aside from this, investment properties require approval requirements that are more stringent. So, the small sum that you put down on your home won’t work for your investment property. For this, you need a minimum of 20%. So, you have to keep this in mind.

4. Higher Interest Rates

Now, the cost of getting a loan may not be that expensive, but the rate of interest on your investment property may be a bit higher. Keep in mind that you need to make a mortgage payment that won’t be so high. This payment should not be too difficult for you to pay.

5. Figure out Your Margins

Big firms that purchase some distressed properties opt for at least 5% return on their investment. The reason is that they have a staff to pay salaries to. As an individual, we suggest that you aim for 10% ROI. According to estimates, the maintenance cost of the properties is 1% of the value of the property.

6. Buying a Fixer-Upper

You may want to get a house that can be bought at a bargain for flipping into a rental. However, if you are going to buy for the first time, doing so will be a bad idea. Moreover, unless you are good at home improvements, the renovation will cost you plenty of money. What you need to do is search for a home the value of which is lower than that of market. Moreover, make sure that the house doesn’t need heavy repairs.

7. Figure out Operating Expenses

On average, the operating expenses on a fresh property are at least 35% of the gross operating income obtained from that property. So, you should figure out your operating expenses as well.

Hopefully, now you are ready to buy your first home

Distressed Properties Sale: Buying Tips

If you are looking for investments in the real estate market that will double your money, consider buying at distressed properties sale. So, why is a property that has been foreclosed because its owner failed to pay for its monthly mortgages a good investment? It is because a foreclosed property is sold cheaply. For a small amount you can buy your own house, which you can either live in, rent to other people or fix and resell.

Where to Look for Distressed Properties:

Many homeowners who have fallen into bad times and found themselves unable to continue to pay for the monthly mortgage of their properties are willing to sell them instead of waiting for lenders to repossess them. And because they are in a hurry to dispose their properties to avoid foreclosure, they would sell their homes way below the current market value to attract buyers.

If you are interested in buying at distressed properties sale, better arrange your finances first before you approach the owner. There are several advantages of organizing your finances before making an offer. For one, you will know how far you can go when negotiating for the price of the property. Another advantage is, it will give you a leverage during negotiations as the owner would be more inclined to sell to you the property if he sees that you have the ready money.

Some Factors to Consider Before Closing a Deal:

Just because you have found a cheap foreclosure property to buy, it does not mean that you will grab it immediately without taking some steps to make sure that you are getting a good deal. A distressed homeowner who is desperate to sell his house before it goes into foreclosure would opt to withhold any information he deems would turn the buyer away. He knows that information, such as hidden liens, unpaid taxes and major structural damage, can affect his chances of selling his property.

Be aware of these pitfalls so that you will not be left with a property that is more of a headache than a good investment. Buying at distressed properties sale is a good deal only to people who practice due diligence.

Buying Foreclosed Homes – Be Careful of the Great Deal

Unless you have been living under a rock for the last couple of years, you have probably heard that the economy and real estate market have been in a bit of a bind. People are losing their jobs and homes are foreclosing at a rapid rate. While this is a very sad and unfortunate situation for thousands of people each month, it is also an unbelievable opportunity for people buying foreclosed homes. The deals to be had are amazing, but you have to know where to look and what to avoid.

One of the first things you need to make sure about is the actual value of the home. Just because a home has been foreclosed upon does not mean that it is necessarily a good deal. Sometimes the real estate agent or the bank decides to list the home at fair market value for awhile before reducing it down to a really good deal. Be sure to look at comparable sold properties within the last 3 to 6 months. This will help you gauge what the market really is doing since there have been a lot of changes recently.

You also want to make sure that you do a thorough inspection of the property. Nothing is more upsetting to a new home buyer than to find out after closing that the property needs a lot of repair work done. That can cost thousands of dollars depending on what the issues are, so it needs to be uncovered early in the process when the buyer can still get out of the contract without penalties.

When buying foreclosed homes, it is important not to get swept up in the excitement of getting a good deal. Instead, buyers should keep a cool head about them and make sure they do as much due diligence as possible.