Friday, March 14, 2014
An average individual knows very little about the insurance industry. That is the reason why people accept premiums offered by insurance agents without any debate or discussion. It is blindly presumed that premiums offered are the best deals that insurance companies can offer. That is definitely not the case. Those individuals who refuse to accept the offered deal and insisted on better deals end up with cheaper insurance. How can you find the best insurance rates? Can the World Wide Web help?
The web is the best possible tool that can assist you in this task. You can find cheaper insurance rates online and you can find it very quickly. The trick is to find the right insurance company. We all know that insurance premium vary from company to company. This is because different companies have different risk perceptions.
Some companies may have had a very bad year while others may have earned high profits and may be in a position to offer cheaper insurance deals. If you compare deals offered by such insurance companies, you can quickly identify the best deal.
There are a few ground rules that you must follow before you can find the best rates online. The first is that you should be in a position to compare multiple insurance rates at the same point of time. Secondly, the insurance rates offered by the company should be relevant to your circumstances and situation. That is to say, it must specifically be the cost of insuring YOUR health, automobile, life or home. Generic insurance rates are of no use whatsoever.
The best place to find the right insurance rate is the World Wide Web. A multiple comparison website is the best option. All you need to do is submit the information and wait for the estimates to be flashed on your screen. You will have top rates offered by top notch insurance companies in a span of a few minutes. Once this is done, you can quickly opt for the coverage that offers maximum benefits.
Such websites permit you to complete formalities online and even finalize the insurance deal over the web itself.
Thursday, March 6, 2014
Most real estate investments will fall into five categories - single-family residential investment properties, multi-family residential investments, commercial properties, undeveloped land or lots, and real estate investment trusts. To learn about each type of investment property, keep reading.
Single Family Residential Investment Properties
Whether you're purchasing a traditional single-family home, condo, town house or cooperative, these all fall under the header of single-family residential properties.
Typically, the traditional single-family home offers the easiest purchasing and selling process along with a fairly reliable market and rate of return. Buying a condo means you not only get the unit, but also a share of the common areas. However, you'll also be paying for condo association fees each month to cover the maintenance costs associated with the building.
Town homes are simply attached homes - that is, more than one attached to others. Their only stipulation is that they may have to meet requirements about exterior paint colors, gardens and possibly parking. Finally, co-operatives offer a share in the entire building, which includes the space in which you live. Generally, you need to obtain permission from the co-op association if you want to rent or renovate your unit.
Multi-Family Residential Investments
From a simple duplex to a four-unit apartment building, these are all multi-family residential investments typically purchased to provide the investor with ongoing rental income while the property appreciates in value.
The advantage is that these properties provide cash flow which improves with time since the mortgage payments will remain fixed while rents eventually increase. In addition, buyers of multi-family properties with existing tenants can use a percentage of the rental income toward their monthly income statement on their mortgage application.
Commercial property includes large apartment buildings (more than five units), industrial space, retail space and office space. Typically, investment in these properties can be complicated and dragged down with bureaucracy and taxes.
If you're considering jumping into commercial properties, hire a good accountant and a very experienced commercial real estate lawyer.
This involves simply buying a plot of land that doesn't have a building on it. The advantage is it often costs less and you don't have to deal with tenants or property maintenance. The trick is finding land in an area where property value is steadily appreciating. So, look for an area where a community is expanding, and then purchase land there.
Real Estate Investment Trusts
Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT) are private, for-profit companies that let small investors invest in large, commercial, income-producing properties.
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Insurance is slowly and steadily becoming a necessity in the modern world. Individuals, corporate and even governments need insurance. The question arises; why do we need insurance? Before answering it, let us see what exactly insurance is. To put in simple words, Insurance is the prepayment of a small fixed amount of money called 'premium' to shield against a bigger unpredictable expense called 'loss or claim'. In this way, the risk is shifted from you to the insurance company.
The necessity for insurance springs up out of the dangers we all run throughout our daily lives. Our lives are continuously in danger through illness or accident; our assets may be subject to damage or loss, while losses suffered by others may involve us, in one way or another. There is also the risk of causing injury to other individuals or damage to their property at a subsequent heavy cost to ourselves, in case we are sued for compensation.
Thus, there is a constant need for protection, for some way of wiping out the risk; diluting it or transporting it to someone. This is where insurance comes into the picture.
It is commonly seen that majority of the people are overpaying for insurance. Any type of insurance, whether it is life, auto, home, travel, or medical insurance, presents a challenge to even the most seasoned customer. Getting the best insurance policy is not an impossible task; we just need to research all possibilities.
Since choosing insurance is a bit dicey, here are a few tips:
Before buying insurance, take your time to research and be sure to choose the right policy for your needs.
Do not let an insurance agent confuse you with insurance terminology. Ask him or her to explain all the points in a plain and simple language.
Get quotes from different companies and compare them for price and features. You may find a low-priced policy with better coverage.
Always ask for a discount. Most companies give discounts, but they are not forthcoming about it. Make enquiries and be prepared to bargain.
Ask about the fines and penalties for lapse and charges for renewing.
Purchasing insurance can be a wearisome experience. You need to speak to many companies or their agents, then fix appointments and compare all the policies physically. It is much faster and easier to do these chores online. Checking for insurance online gives you many advantages.
First, there are many websites from where you can get a quote on any kind of insurance policy you may need. Second, you have all the data and comparisons in front of you. You can check it in detail and really get all the information. No hiding and misinformation on the agent's part and no surprises for you in the future.
Regarding the rules, it doesn't matter whether you are doing your insurance shopping online or offline; these would always be the same. Be patient, don't rush, ask for the discounts, don't get confused with terminology, always compare the policies and be mindful of the fines and penalties.
Last but not least.....always remember that a knowledgeable and educated buyer is a happy buyer.
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
If you have decided to become a landlord or have a few properties that you own that you do not have enough time to oversee properly; maybe it is time for you to consider hiring a company to take care of your real estate for you. There are companies that specialize in property services. They in action only, take over your duties and maintain your houses, buildings and facilities for you. It doesn't matter what the reason is why you can't attend to them yourself, just know that once you hire a reputable property services firm, your days of being a mediocre owner are over.
There are many benefits to using property services. The first is that it allows you to spend more time investing in more real estate. Instead of having to be localized to one are, you can actually travel to different states and diversify your portfolio. If you decide to move to another state, you don't have to get rid of your properties, you can maintain ownership and leave them in the capable care of a good property management company.
You could use a property services company to increase the value of your properties. This is really great if you have tenants or other entities that are leasing your facilities. By fixing up your properties, you can collect more rent.
You don't have to deal with your tenants yourself anymore. With a property services firm, the only point of contact your tenants will have with you is through the company. This allows you to keep all of your business dealings strictly professional. All correspondence from and to your tenants will be done by the service. This will make your actual business operations much easier for you to handle.
As you may be aware, the task of being a landlord is very liberating since you are self-employed; but it can be challenging, draining and frustrating as well if you manage all of your properties by yourself. One of the biggest problems that can arise out of this type of situation is that you may end up with bad tenants who destroy your property or do not pay their rent. Instead of you making a profit and running your business successfully, you are struggling and losing out on your investment. Instead of throwing in the towel, you need to get a good management company right away.
All of your tenants can be screened more thoroughly, so there is no risk of you getting a lousy tenant. Your property will always be looked after to prevent damage from occurring, so instead of you constantly having to fix things that have been destroyed, if you wanted to, you could make improvements to increase the net worth of your properties.
Before you hire any companies to make over your duties, make sure you know all there is to know about them. Make sure you are comfortable with any agreements you both come up with. Get everything in writing and make sure that you come out on top. After all, it is your real estate they are maintaining.
Monday, March 3, 2014
Real estate investing is still a great way to earn extra income. The past several years has brought about massive drops in home and investment property prices. This means you can find better deals that garner much greater monthly cash flow. The rents charged have not dropped nearly as much as property prices. For example in Las Vegas, NV property has dropped up to 60% in some areas while rents have dropped only 10-12%.
I recently saw a 4 unit property listed for sale at $195,000 but in 2004 sold for $330,000. This is a massive drop in price and will make for a massive drop in monthly payment. The rents have not dropped nearly as much and this property still brings in nearly as much rent as in 2004.
There is no evidence that real estate is not a great investment even after the housing meltdown. The advantages of owning real estate far outweigh the disadvantages and if you are serious about making money and improving your prospects for the future, you need to start learning the real estate business. You can start as a part-time investor and just get one property, get your feet wet and learn the details of managing property for profit. Once you try it you will realize that most renters are good people and are excellent tenants.
Everyone has heard the horror stories from a disgruntled landlord who has left the business after years or weeks of headaches. Of course they all advise everyone to stay out of the rental real estate business. However, this is not the advice you want to take because most of it is just not true. Typically you will get good tenants if you treat them well and treat your property for what it is: It is someone's home. Your rental property is your tenant's family home. It must be treated with respect and care. Your tenants should always be treated with respect, care and dignity as well. If you treat your tenants well, in turn, they will do the same.
Of course there will be issues with tenants if you are in the business long enough but most tenants want a nice place to live and a good landlord. It is so rare that you will find someone trying to get free ride or who refuses to pay rent if you provide them with a clean, well cared for home or unit.
I have done this in more than one area of the country and have seen it first hand. It is a myth to say that tenants are going to always give you nightmares. I have had wonderful tenants over the years and many have been wonderful people.
You likely will have to address some of your own misconceptions and fears if you are going to enter the real estate business but it is well worth it. It is well worth it because you can set yourself up for a fantastic future. It will be hard work but anything that is worth doing usually ends up being hard work. The rewards of investing in real estate are much greater than the drawbacks.
Sunday, March 2, 2014
I work in the Atlanta, Georgia real estate market, and I can tell you that homeowners are hurting. If you want to sell your house in our city or state these days, you're going to have a really hard time because of the glut of foreclosures and people selling really cheap on the market. If you own Atlanta property, you might want to look into a Flat Fee MLS service to help you enable to sell your home at a very competitive rate.
How Do I Sell My Home Cheaper?
Whether we are talking Alpharetta homes for sale or Marietta homes for sale, no matter what county or neighborhood, it's difficult to stand out from the ocean of single family residences out there. The number one factor in how fast your property sells is the price. Someone is looking for a home in your neighborhood's price range, but unless that price is very attractive, that person is going to have a lot of choices that seem just as good as the next one.
So how do you sell your home for cheaper? Cut out unnecessary costs!
Real Estate Agents Fees Can Eat Up 3% to 6% of Your Home's Sale Price
The typical contract gives the listing agent 3% of the final sale price of your property, and 3% to the buyer's agent. There's a way to cut out each of these, but one is easier than the other.
The easiest approach is to cut out the listing fee. And the best way to do this is to list your property on the MLS yourself. The MLS is an online database of homes for sale that only real estate agents have access to...UNLESS you use a flat fee service that will list your home for you. This means that you don't pay the 3% listing agent fee when your house sells!
Now, is there any worth in having an agent do the listing for you? Maybe...but is it worth $6,000 on a $200,000 sale price? One of the main things he or she will do is put your residence on the MLS. If you can do that for $49 to $399, and put up your own sign, don't you think that maybe that's worth $5,600 on a $200,000 sale price?
Or think of it another way: if you could list your $200,000 home for $194,000 because you didn't have to pay a listing agent's fee, don't you think you could sell your house faster? Of course you could!
For instance, in the suburbs of metro Atlanta, a price range of $350,000 - $400,000 is somewhat typical. In Gwinnett county (which, incidentally, won the 2010 Broad Prize for best school district last week, which is an astronomical plus for selling a home in any residential area), a house that is on the market for $350,000 could immediately knock off $10,500 from the sale price. When a house in a good school district lists for $339,500, while comparable houses are going for $350-400,000, wouldn't you say that house is going to get a significantly larger percentage of traffic and views than comparable homes?
Another great example is Buckhead, an upscale neighborhood inside the perimeter of Atlanta and closer to downtown. Prices here range from $350,000 at the low end to $800,000 at the upper end (before you start getting into ultra luxury homes). If you have a home that is priced at $500,000, you are going to see more foot traffic and interest if you can advertise that it's a $500,000 home priced at $485,000. The psychological impact of bringing down your home from the $500,000 range into the $400,000 range should not be discounted, plus a $15,000 savings? Fantastic, IF your Buckhead home was priced competitively to begin with at $500k. And what kind of buyer response do you think you would get if you advertised that you could offer another $15,000 discount to people who buy without an agent? A $500,000 home for $470,000? Outstanding!
Let's say that you decided to aggressively pursue buyers without agents, through your own advertisements, local real estate clubs, etc. Now you could offer the same house for $329,000 - $21,000 less than your nearest contenders. That's a phenomenal deal for any home buyer. You benefit in two ways: your house will have much more to offer than the competitors in the same price range, which draws in people looking in the under-$330,000 price range. And if you specifically advertise that you are giving greater savings so that people know you are offering a $350,000 valued house at a 3 to 6% discount, you can draw in a large number of people looking in the $350,000 price range.
Now, getting rid of the buyer's agent commission is tougher, because buyer's agents actually look at the MLS and bring prospective clients to your home. That 3% fee is what makes it worth their while to drive clients to your house and show them the property. If you are really motivated, you could work overtime (open houses, signs in high traffic areas, approaching real estate clubs, online and print ads, etc.) to find your own buyers instead of going through a buyer's agent...but I don't necessarily recommend this approach. You cut out too many good leads. If you do decide to go this route, you must totally commit and be very motivated to make up for the leads that buyer's agents would otherwise send your want.
If, however, you find a buyer without a buyer's agent, jackpot! You've just eliminated that extra 3% fee. If you sign with a listing agent, though, in their contract will be an item guaranteeing them the entire 6% - even if they didn't do any work at all! So, remind me...why would you sign with a listing agent, when you can get the vast majority of what they do for a reduced price of $49 to $399?