Determine The Listing Price

When it comes to buying a home, most potential buyers will use the listing price to as the number one factor to determine the homes that they look at. Even though you and a realtor may determine the asking price, the buyer will determine the selling price. If the price is too high, most buyers won’t give it a second thought – which is why you want to determine the listing price carefully.

If you set the correct price, you’ll notice a much faster sale. Setting the right listing price will also attract more potential buyers to your property as well. You’ll also notice an increase in response from realtors, and receive more calls about the property. The listing price is very important – and it can ultimately determine whether or not you sale your property.

A home can be overpriced due to several reasons. Overpricing is something you want to avoid, as buyers tend to steer clear of homes that have been overpriced. Normally, this happens when a buyer asks a lot more than the home is worth or valued at. Some buyers ask a lot more than the value of the home due to location. Although the location is very important, most potential buyers won’t give the home a second look if they think the price is too high – and more importantly out of their price range.

When you put your home up for sale, most activity will happen within the first couple of weeks. If you put the right price on your home, you’ll notice immediate interest. There are always buyers looking for homes in their price range, waiting for new homes to be listed or homes to be reduced in price. Buyers who are waiting to purchase may miss seeing your home completely if the price is too high.

To determine the listing price of your home, you should always have it appraised before you put it on the market. This way, you’ll know the full value of your home. You can sell it for market value or go a little under, although you should never attempt to go way over the value. In doing so, you’ll miss out on a lot of potential buyers. The home market is very competitive these days, which is why you want your home to draw as much interest as possible.

Keep in mind that realtors really have no control at all over the real estate market, only the plan behind marketing. Realtors don’t determine the asking price – the seller does. You can ask a realtor for advice, although you are the decider of your listing price. If you do things right and take each thing step by step, you’ll set the listing price in the right area and have no problems selling your property.

Choosing Your Real Estate Appraiser

If you have been thinking about purchasing a real estate property for personal use or as an investment, you’ll need to hire the services of a real estate investor. If you play to finance your home through a bank or other lender, you’ll more than likely need to get the property appraised first. Banks and most lenders want to know the value of the home for your protection, as well as make sure that the home they are financing is worth the total amount that you take on the loan.

In most cases, the appraisal indicates that the home does indeed meet or exceed the asking price. In some cases however, the appraisal will come back saying that the home is worth less than the selling price. If this is the case, the buyer normally has to either drop the deal or try to negotiate with the seller to get a price that meets the appraisal.

For those very reasons, a real estate appraiser is very important. When you are dealing with a home, one appraisal can make a deal or break it. Even though you may not be financing your purchase through a lender or the bank, you should still make an effort to get the home appraised and find out the true value. You should also make a point to find the best appraiser that you can afford. If you hire an appraiser who isn’t that experienced, you’ll pay for it later when you discover that the property isn’t worth what you paid for it.

A real estate appraiser will go through the home performing an evaluation, and then provide you with a written evaluation after he has gathered all necessary information. Appraisers will also taken into consideration the replacement costs as well. Also, they will have to very land descriptions as well. There is a lot of work involved with appraisals, which is why it’s so very important that each step of the process is performed correctly by a qualified real estate appraiser.

If you have a real estate agent, he or she will more than likely be able to make a recommendation. Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean the recommendation is the best; it’s just someone who your agent works with. To ensure that you get the right appraisal on your home you’ll need to find yourself an appraiser who is capable of completing the job.

When you look for your real estate appraiser, you should look for someone who comes highly recommended. You can ask family and friends for their opinions, or search local papers, even the Internet. If you take your time and search for the best real estate appraiser that you can find – you’ll normally get an appraisal that is right on target.

Common Risks Involved in Real Estate Investments

While a good many millionaires will agree that their fortunes were made in real estate, the honest ones will also tell you that they’ve probably lost a few fortunes in real estate along the way. This is a risky business and every property purchased doesn’t always pan out to become a successful investment. There are many risks involved in real estate investing and you would be going to battle unprepared if you didn’t take a moment to carefully study these risks and work to avoid them when planning your property investment strategy.

Unfortunately, there are very few one size fits all risks for real estate investing, as each type of investing is inherently different. This means that each type of real estate investment will involve a new set of risks. Below you will find a brief overview of different styles of investing and the common risks that are involved in each.

Rental Properties

This type of investing offers some risks that are unique and some that are also risks when investing in properties that are lease-to-own or rent-to-own as well. First and foremost is the risk of failing to make a profit. If the property in question cannot achieve an adequate monthly income to cover the expenses of operating the property then it is not a solid investment.

Other risks include the risk of getting bad tenants. This is particularly hard on first time investors. Bad tenants are costly and in some cases destructive (which leads to even greater expense). Vacancies are another risk for rental properties. These properties are only costing money as they sit empty rather than earning money as they were intended. Short turnovers are in your best interest as are long-term tenants.

“Flipped” Properties

This is one of the most enjoyable types of property investments for many ‘hands on’ investors. This allows the investor to roll up his or her sleeves and take an active role in creating the masterpiece that will eventually bring in serious revenue (at least that is the hope). This is also one of the riskier investments, particularly when trying to turn a profit in what is known as a buyer’s market.

The risks are simple but often overlooked and they can have a significant impact on the overall success or failure of the project. First of all, the biggest risk is in paying too much for the property. Other risks include underestimating the costs of repairs, over estimating the ability of the investor to do the work him or herself, taking too much time, experiencing a down turn in the housing market, making the wrong judgment call for the neighborhood, becoming overly ambitious, and getting greedy. Sometimes it is much better to walk away with a lesser profit than to end up loosing money by holding out.

Personal Residence

Keep in mind that your personal home is essentially an investment. The intention is that your home will gain in value over time and that equity in your home will build as you age. There are risks involved in this transaction as well. Buying a home that is in a ‘borderline’ area or one that is not showing obvious signs of growth is one of the biggest risks. This puts your home in the position to lose rather than gain value. This can make your home a burden rather than the investment it was intended to be. Other risks involve is becoming involved in a loan situation that is not at all beneficial (such as an adjustable rate mortgage or an unreasonable balloon payment).

Perhaps the biggest risk of all when purchasing a personal residence as an investment is failing to get a proper inspection that could rule out potentially costly and even dangerous problems within the home your purchase for you and your family. Toxic mold is one problem that comes easily to mind that most proper home inspections would almost immediately rule out. Others include structural problems that are costly to repair and dangerous to leave in disrepair. Each of these risks should be considered before an offer is made on any property.

Seek Recommendations When Re-Financing

Homeowners who are re-financing their home for the first time may need a great deal of advice to assist them during the process. While homeowner can certainly research the process of re-financing by themselves, this can be a cumbersome task which is difficult, if not impossible. While it might be possible for a homeowner to educate himself enough to make informed decisions, it is unreasonable to expect a homeowner to be up to date on the most current information in the re-financing industry. It would also not be reasonable for homeowners to learn enough to make a definite decision regarding re-financing. The homeowner may still require some direction regarding which options are best suited for the needs of the homeowner.

Fortunately there are two simple steps homeowners can take to tips the odds of obtaining the most favorable re-financing in their favor. These simple steps include consulting with friends and family members who have recently financed and turning to industry experts for assistance.

Consult Friends and Family when Re-Financing

Believe it or not consulting with family and friends is one of the first steps a homeowner should take in the refinancing process. Those reading this article might be somewhat confused by this suggestion because in the previous section we stressed how it would be virtually impossible for a homeowner to thoroughly educate themselves on the re-financing process. Surely, we are not implying every homeowner has a friend or family member who is capable of given detailed financial advice in regard to re-financing. However, friends and family members can be helpful in a different capacity.

Friends and family members who recently re-financed their own home likely did a great deal of research and legwork before making their decision. They also likely formed useful opinions, either negative or positive, about the lender they used in the process. It is this information which can be very useful to homeowners who are considering their own re-financing. Homeowners can obtain information such as which lenders are currently offering the best rates as well as which lenders are easy to work with and responsive to the needs of the homeowners as well as which lenders do not take a vested interest in helping the homeowner to succeed.

Ask Experts for Advice when Re-Financing

One piece of advice which cannot be overlooked when re-financing a home, is asking an expert in the re-financing industry for advice. These experts may have costly consulting fees associated with their assistance but most homeowners would agree these fees are certainly worthwhile especially if the result in a significant cost savings for the homeowner.

We previously stressed how the issues associated with re-financing can be quite complex and difficult for those outside of the industry to fully understand, however, those in the industry spend their days devoted to learning more about re-financing, keeping up to date with changes in the industry as well as new developments and figuring out how to best serve the customers. All of these characteristics make it clear that homeowners should really consider employing the services of a financial planner with a great deal of experience in re-financing when they are making decisions regarding the best re-financing option for their situation.

Again, friends and family members who previously consulted with an industry professional can supply candid opinions about those they met. This can save the homeowner a great deal of time by eliminating potential candidates who friends and family members thought performed poorly.

Financing with an Interest Only Mortgage

Interest only mortgages are a relatively new phenomenon in the re-financing industry as well as the home buying industry. While the appeal of an interest only mortgage is typically a greater monthly cash flow, this increased cash flow can come with a hefty price tag. In exchange for more cash flow each month, the homeowner may be sacrificing the ability to obtain a fixed rate mortgage as well as the ability to build equity. This article will further examine these features to provide the reader with more information on the subject of interest only mortgages.

Greater Monthly Cash Flow

The one main advantage for many homeowners in an interest only mortgage is the ability to increase monthly cash flow. Homeowners who re-finance by utilizing an interest only mortgage will likely have more money available each month because they will only be paying interest on their mortgage initially. The reduction of the principal payment can make it easier for the homeowner to either afford a larger house or have the ability to live more extravagantly on their budget. However, there is often a significant price to pay for these types of re-financing options.

While interest only loans may not be ideal, they can be beneficial in the situation where the homeowner is having a great deal fulfilling his monthly obligations. In this case, the homeowner may be willing to sacrifice an overall financial loss for the ability to continue to pay monthly bills in a timely fashion.

Unknown Risks of an ARM

Interest only re-finance loans are typically offered with an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) this means the interest rate is not fixed and may fluctuate with the rise and fall of the prime index. This risk can be quite costly for the homeowner if the interest rate rises significantly. There is usually a cap placed on the amount, in terms of percentage, the interest rate can rise in a certain period but this can still be a very costly mistake for the homeowners.

An ARM re-finance option with an interest only component may be worthwhile in some situations. For example if the homeowner has a hybrid mortgage which features a fixed interest rate during the interest only portion and an ARM during the principal and interest portion of the loan they might benefit from this situation if they do not plan to stay in the home for longer than the interest only period. This period may vary depending on the lender and the circumstances. Homeowners who plan to sell the house before the interest only period ends and the ARM period begins enjoy the benefits of lower monthly payments and the security of fixed interest rates before they ever have to worry about repaying the principal or dealing with the varying interest rates.

No Equity in the Home

Another disadvantage to the interest only re-finance loans is they do not allow the homeowner to build equity in the home during the initial period where only the interest on the loan is repaid. This can be a problem for homeowners who are looking to profit through the sale of their home. These homeowners may find the participation in an interest only re-finance has had a damaging effect on the profit they are able to generate from the resale of their home.

Lease to Own Real Estate

Credit problems plague people across the globe. These problems can lead to many other problems not limited to difficulty purchasing vehicles, getting jobs, opening checking accounts, and purchasing or renting a home. For those who are experiencing credit problems hope seems like a long lost commodity when it comes to the very American dream of owning a home of one’s own.

The good news is that there are some savvy investors around that are willing to take the risk on those who have had credit problems but are attempting to get their lives back in order. The bad news is that this good will often comes at a rather high price to the consumers. Getting into trouble with credit takes a while from which to recover. For many the process is long and filled with pitfalls and missteps along the way. For those that are living the nightmare of poor credit there are times in which the situation must seem hopeless.

For this reason investors that offer lease to own real estate to those with less than spectacular credit are often viewed as saviors on the one hand and villains on the other. However, they are taking a risk that others are unwilling to take on a person that has proven not to be the best credit risk in the business. In other words, many would find that they are justified by charging a higher price or interest rate than traditional lending institutions will charge. After all, it is their money that is on the line if the lessee decides to default on the contract. It is also their money that will be required to make any repairs that will be needed if eviction becomes a necessary conclusion.

For investors who are interested in ‘buy and hold’ investing this is one way of making that system work in their favor. Many times the ‘buyers’ will find another property after a couple of years and will have essentially rented the property for a specified amount of time. At other times they will seek alternative financing once they have been able to straighten out their credit situations. Either way there are many occasions when the property is returned to the investor and has turned a relatively decent profit while holding those who took some degree of ‘pride of ownership’ in the property during that time rather than ordinary renters who often have little or no regard for the condition of the landlord’s property.

There is more than one way that a lease to own deal can work. The most common however, is that there is a specified amount of time typically 2-5 years in which those that are leasing the property can live in the property with a portion of the monthly lease being applied towards a down payment for the property once they are able to get traditional financing. If a twenty percent down payment is achieved during that time the odds of them being approved for a loan are greatly improved. If they (being the lessees) combine this opportunity with serious efforts to improve their credit scores then there should be no problem achieving this.

As a real estate investor this situation is so much more attractive than renters for many reasons. First of all, the maintenance in these cases becomes the problem of the lessees rather than your problem, you have ‘renters’ that are hoping to have ownership of the property in time, and you can charge a little more each month for rent in order to cover the money being applied to the down payment on the property.

Are You Committed to Your Real Estate Investment?

There are many questions that should be asked before embarking upon a career of real estate investment. The first and foremost question however should be whether or not you are truly committed to making real estate work for you. This is not a business for the faint of heart. In order to truly turn a profit you must be at times ruthless when dealing with buyers and sellers but ethical to a fault when it comes to the work that must often be done in order to get a property in sellable condition.

The reason a serious commitment is needed in order to make real estate work for you is simple. There will be ups and downs along the way. The stock market experiences rises and falls on a regular basis. Just as you cannot dump all of your stock over one bad day the same holds true even more so in the realm of real estate investing. Property values in general rise gradually over time. This means that even if the values in a community falter chances are that they will eventually recover.

Those who bank on the slow and steady growth in the value are referred to as buy and hold investors. These investors are truly committed to their investment. Some of them elect to hold the property as a vacation property while others opt to earn an income on the property by renting it out to other families or vacationers, whatever their choice may be.

This is a great way for many people to enjoy the luxury of a vacation property without absorbing all of the expenses involved in owning a vacation property as the rentals will help compensate some of the costs when the owners (investors) are not in residence. This is a fairly common practice in high demand tourist areas in which people often enjoy vacationing. These types of investors are what some people refer to as serious real estate investors though all real estate investors need to take their purchases seriously.

Those who own rental properties must also be committed to making their investments work for them. Rental properties are not a ‘hands off’ type of investment, as they will need to be maintained in order to remain in demand by tenants. You must also make constant efforts to keep these properties managed and filled along with remaining certain that you are collecting your rent each month and that the properties aren’t falling into a state of disrepair or abuse by tenants.

Many investors retain the services of property management agencies in order to handle the minutia of month-to-month details and collections. This is a great idea whether you have one lone rental property or a vast portfolio of rental properties. Even better however, is the fact that if you keep your rental properties in reasonable repair throughout the years they can become liquid assets in time. In other words, they may actually pay for themselves a few times over if you invest for the long-term rather than focusing on the moment.

No matter what type of real estate investment you intend to have it is important that you are prepared to make the commitment to profit or profitability that is necessary in order for your venture to be deemed a success.