Friday, January 31, 2014

Real Estate and Homes - What to Expect When Attending an Open House

As a first time home buyer in Ahwatukee you are likely to encounter numerous first-time experiences. The process of buying your first home can be exhilarating and daunting all at the same time. During this process you may work with a real estate agent who will make appointments for you to view various homes for sale in the area that meet your needs. You may also have the opportunity to attend open houses. If you have never attended an open house, you may not know what to expect.

An open house provides multiple prospective buyers with the opportunity to view a property that is for sale during a window of time on a specified date. For example, an open house might be held from 2pm to 4pm on a Saturday afternoon. During that time real estate agents and buyers are encouraged to tour the home. The sellers may or may not be present during the open house.

When you first arrive you will likely be greeted by a real estate agent and asked to sign in. This will allow the agent to follow-up with you later regarding your interest in the home. In many cases you may also be provided with a flyer or brochure that details information about the home. Many real estate agents conduct tours of the home to new arrivals, while others encourage interested buyers to wander through the home and inspect it.

Refreshments are often provided at an open house as way to encourage buyers to feel at home and mingle while they are there. Generally, there will be a real estate agent present who will be able to answer questions you may have, but you should not expect to have the agent's undivided attention.

Do not be afraid to poke about, open closet doors and ask questions. Even if there are others present, including the sellers, you should take full advantage of the opportunity to find out as much as possible about the property. Purchasing a home is a big decision and an even bigger investment, so take full advantage.

If there are several open houses being held in the area where you want to buy on the same day you may find it helpful to carefully schedule your outings that day so that you can take advantage of the opportunity to attend as many as possible and find out what is available in the area before making a decision.

With that said; however, you should be prepared for the fact that there are often several prospective buyers who attend an open house and if the property is highly sought after more than one offer may be submitted on the property on the day of the open house. As a result, if you are interested in the property you should not delay in making an offer or you may find that it already has a contract on it by the time you get around to submitting an offer.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

2010 RMLS Statistics For Eugene Real Estate and Surrounding Areas

The final 2010 RMLS stats are in. When we compare the market activity for 2010 with that of 2009, we can see that close sales were up 1.8%! That is great news given that if we were to compare December 2010 to Dec 2009 closed sales were down 6.1% New listings fell to 19.2% and pending sales decreased to 2.2%. If I led with that one could get a false impression. I'm not sure if it will be true for other offices or not, but at my office, Hybrid Real Estate, we have seen a large uptick of "paper" coming in. That to me says that buyers are writing offers this January. They may not all close, but at least the conversation is being started.

Back to statistics. If you compare the average sales price over the last year we can see that it is down 3.9% for the year (2.1% if looking at the median price). When comparing the average sales price of December 2010 with that of November, we can see that the average sales price grew from $202,900 to $205,800 a 1.4% increase. When looking at our inventory we are up from last year at 8.1 months. With that said we did decrease from 9.2 month of inventory the month prior.

The bid appreciation winners of December 2010 were Mohawk Valley at 23.2%, West Lane County Properties at 4.8% and the Coburg Area at 4.4%. We were down overall this month and these areas do not have a lot of volume exchanging hands right now so these numbers to me are a little misleading. Who was hit the hardest with depreciation? Junction City with a 16.6% depreciation (ouch), Pleasant Hill area down 13.3%, Danebo down 9.8%, and River Road down 7.1%.

My beloved Ferry Street Bridge remains consistent at.2% appreciation. Neighboring Gilham continues to suffer down 8.2%. Springfield is hanging in there down just.7% in December. I expect more of the same in 2011, but only time will tell. Consumer Confidents (in the real estate market anyway) seems to be getting stronger. With that said real estate loans are getting harder to obtain and I expect interest rates to start creeping back up. As I have stated in the past, if you can financially afford to do so "Now is the time to buy!" I hate owning rentals (although I have owned several over the years). If I am looking to invest in some cash flow properties again you better bet that there are some deals out there that are just too good to pass up.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Low Cost Auto Insurance - How to Get the Best Insurance Quotes Online and Save 50% Or More

There are thousands of car insurance companies out there and from all of them you need to pick one that has the best price and cover for your car. And no, it doesn't take that long once you know how to do it.

People always make the mistake of looking for a car insurance using some sort of guide book or even the phonebook, and usually they either say no or they charge a lot of money. This is because those people get commissions, if they sell a cheap auto insurance to you then they don't make enough commission for them, simple as that. And besides that it will take you A LOT of time to go trough a decent sized list of car insurance companies, AND it will probably cost you...on your phone bill.

Many people don't realize that even the smallest things related to you and your car can make the difference between expensive and cheap car insurance and that is why you should have as many options available.

If you live in a bad area of the city can affect the price on some companies, if you did modification to your car can increase the price with some companies, if you are a young driver can affect the price in others etc... A lot of things just like these make up your final price.

And if you just settle for the first few companies that you see you might be spending ALOT more money then you would have if you used something like a car insurance quotes comparison website.

Getting on the internet and looking at all the best insurance providers for your car and in your area is probably the best thing that you can do. Once you have all those quotes, you find the ones that are in your price range and then you can see more details about each company so that you can get the best offer possible.

Two Ways to Passively Invest in Real Estate and Earn a High Return

First, before we begin discussing the two ways to passively invest in real estate and get a high return on the money you do invest, I want to acknowledge that should you need to step in and protect your investment, it may become an active investment for you (or the team you might hire). Also, the selection of the investment up front should be an active process. However, excluding those two possible active roles, I would consider this a passive real estate investing strategy. With that full disclosure, let's continue with our discussion of the two ways to passively invest.

First, you could become a private lender.

Private lenders usually lend money secured by a particular property. They earn a return on the money they invest. Payment arrangements can range from monthly payments, to quarterly payments, to yearly payments and even to lump sum payments when the property is sold. You may receive interest only payments for these payments with the entire principal amount to be paid at the end of the investment period. Or, the agreement might include interest and some of the principal so that over time the entire balance of the loan is paid off like more conventional, amortized loans.

Typically when you become a lender on the property you are receiving a set amount of interest on the money you loan and not part of the profit produced in the deal. Using an oversimplified example excluding all discussion of transaction costs, if the loan lasted one year and you had loaned $100,000 at 8% per year you might earn $8,000 on that investment.

Second, you could become an equity partner.

Instead of lending money secured by the property, you may want to find a professional real estate investor and come to an agreement on how to partner on the deal. You may be providing the money and/or credit to buy the property and the real estate investor would be responsible for the activity part of the arrangement.

With this type of investment you may, in some cases, receive interest on the money you have put into the deal as well as part of the profits. Or, you may just receive part of the profit from the deal.

Again giving an oversimplified example excluding transaction and other costs, if you loaned $100,000 in exchange for half of the profit on the deal and the deal took a year from start to finish, but the profit on the deal, after all expenses, was $30,000, you might make $15,000 on the deal and the real estate investor would receive $15,000 as well.

Structuring win-win deals like this is fun and can be extremely rewarding if done correctly. There are almost limitless possible ways to structure them depending on the needs of the people involved. Some lenders might want monthly income. Others may want to maximize capital growth. Some real estate investors might need living expenses while investing the time to manage the project; others might have alternative sources for that. Part of what makes the process of structuring these enjoyable is finding solutions that truly are win-win for all involved.

Monday, January 27, 2014

A Flipping House Tip For Real Estate and Property Investors Who Are At Home Just Doing Deals

Flipping houses can be very profitable. Mainly because of the leverage the transaction provides. A tip to remember is to avoid seeing the prospective house through rose colored glasses. Personal preferences should be left at home, because all that matters is the numbers to a successful home flipper.

If you love real estate, it is an expensive taste to have because the time to be admiring of properties is when the work is done and you are shopping for your own personal habitat. When you have the fiscal capacity to have the luxury of actually enjoying the property for yourself. Until then you are strictly shopping for a market. You are searching for what you know your specialized niche want and need, which brings us to the tip I think will improve your prospects and your results greatly.

I am affiliated with a great many investors and a good proportion are active real estate investors. Some focus in more specialized areas like art, precious stones and sea going vessels. What I noticed about my property investor friends is many spend a lot of time searching. Does this sound familiar? I have seen many give up after a few months of this, quipping that they just can't find the property they are looking for.

In actual fact, this is an attitudinal problem and not a supply problem of appropriate flip deals. If you would repeat this with me as you read and remember it in your real estate career, we can both sleep sounder. Ready? "I am seeking to uncover a profit" Again! "I am seeking to uncover a profit"

Good, I feel a little better now. Now that I know you have said these words in your head, I know it might bounce around for a few minutes while you read the rest of this article.

You see, noticing imperfections in the property yourself will weaken your deal. Looking at the unmown grass and the falling apart letter box will make you willing to take less. The point is grass can be mown and letter boxes can be repaired fairly cheaply.

A property flipper, an expert property flipper deals in numbers. He can translate emotive factors like a messy porche and a garage full of junk into cold hard figures, like $230 and 1 days work. A retail buyer will look at these things and turn their nose up at the entire offer, no matter how cheap it is, they will subconciously tie in a garage full of junk with, "there is something wrong with the entire house" "Who knows whats wrong with it" Retail buyers want to buy emotively. Wholesale buyers want to buy logically.

As a flipper of properties, you want to buy wholesale and sell retail. However there is an imbetween. What if you don't have much money to do your first deal. You don't have the cash to put down in escrow. This is what many of the quitters I mentioned above suffered from but did not recognize it. They had some money, only a little, and they felt they could maybe do a flip if they found exactly the right property.

If they recognized their situation they would have taken my advice, the advice I am about to offer you. Yes there are retail buyers, yes there are wholesale buyers who are cashed up. Then there is the hybrid. This buyer has little money but plenty of time and enormous enthusiasm.

A hybrid buyer usually sells to a wholesaler. For example a mom and pop investor is a wholesaler. They want to buy and rent out properties for long term capital gains and a little cash flow. So they generally are very picky about price, but not so picky that they would not pay a few percentage points over wholesale. Thats where you come in.

You do not buy the property, which immediately means you don't incur stamp duty and a host of costs that the wholesaler will incur. All you are doing is finding properties and presenting them to the wholesaler in a way that it makes it appealing for them to buy. Things like a list of likely repairs and the estimated costs, all ordinary fees and charges and practically everything about the property on a fact sheet.

You will need a few special forms that commits the seller, so your wholesaler cannot go around you and take your 5% or so, but apart from that you are a free agent.

The real tip is this. These mom and pop wholesale buyers are just one type of buyer. They buy multiple properties per year not just one. You must foster links with maybe 20-30 of these wholesalers. You should keep in constant touch with them and offer them fact sheets nearly every week. Not all will be ready to buy when you have something to sell, but sometimes, you will hit one in just the right way and even if they are imbetween deals, they may still take yours on too because it was right up their alley.

Of course, the real beauty of this is that if you fail to interest anybody, you lose nothing. The 10 days or whatever you negotiated to control the property has passed and you failed to find a buyer, nobody lost a thing and you had a chance to pick up a quick and clean $5,000 to $40,000 in a weeks work. It's a numbers game.

A car, some gas and a newspaper is all you need.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

How To Buy More Houston Area Real Estate Investment Properties Than You Can Handle

There are several ways to buy houses: Houston foreclosures from the downtown auction, Houston pre-foreclosures by mailing to a list of those about to go to auction, or even from the primary website for Realtors (

But what are the top investors in Houston doing to find bargain priced properties? Well, they use several different methods, that's for sure. But one method in particular has been used regularly by EVERY top investor I've spoken to, including myself.

So what is this method? It's buying properties from OTHER Houston real estate investors at huge discounts.

But first, some vocabulary for you: When one investor sells to another investor at a discount, it's called "Wholesaling". The person who buys (you) is called a "Rehabber" if they plan to fix and resell it or "Landlord" if they plan to fix and rent it.

Most new real estate investors don't realize how powerful this source of deals (other investors) can be. Heck, most don't realize that wholesaling even goes on! "Why would another Houston real estate investor sell a house to me for dirt cheap?," they say.

Well, the reason is that the selling investor wants to make a quick buck by selling "as is" quickly an easily with no hassles. The seller doesn't want to deal with fixing it, marketing it, and eventually selling it to a retail buyer.

That's where you step in: You buy the property, fix it, re-sell it, and make the big profits.

I have wholesaled a number of properties in may day, and all of the buyers (investors) made some good money by fixing and re-selling the houses. And I was happy to get some quick $$.

But my best profits have come when I bought from a Wholesaler and fixed and sold the property. I still do a combo of wholesaling, rehabbing, and renting. I wholesale when I need a small amount of fast cash. And I rehab when I'm willing to wait 3-5 months to make the big bucks.

Ok, now you know the basics! So the next logical question is, "Where do I find these wholesale deals?" Fortunately for you, I've become a master at rounding up these wholesale deals, so I'm qualified to tell you.

Just do these four things consistently:

1. Go to most of the RICH Club (Realty Investment Club of Houston) meetings ( so that you can get to know some of the active investors in Houston. Find out what deals they are wholesaling. The RICH Club has 20+ meetings per month now.

2. Call ads in the newspaper (Houston Chronicle, Greensheet, Thrifty Nickele, etc.) that say "We buy houses". These ads are always placed by investors. Ask them if the wholesale properties and which properties they're selling.

3. Search the Internet for deals: You can use Craig's List (, the Rich Club's website (, Linda Purcell's group (, Joshua Berg's list ( and more.

4. Follow up with everyone that wholesales deals on a weekly basis with phone calls and emails.

That's about it! But it actually does take a lot of time an energy. I should know. I spend much of my week doing the things above. But it's worth it!

Happy (and profitable) investing,

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Real Estate and Property Rights, a Cautionary Tale That Is a True Story

As a child I received a piece of advice from my mother. She told me never sell your mineral rights or your water rights on a piece of real estate you own. She also said don't buy a piece of land where those rights don't convey.

This may not be the kind of advice little kids usually receive from their moms, but it is very good advice.

My mom was the daughter of a farmer. People tend to think of farmers as ignorant rubes. In fact good farmers have to be pretty savvy about property legalities and scientific matters like soil conservation, plant propagation, animal care and biology, too.

As an adult I was a Master Gardener with our local county Agricultural Extension office. In my training course we learned that plants need somewhere between 16 to 18 minerals to be present in soil to grow. Most farms use fertilizers that include only 3 minerals, nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous.

About 14 years ago I read the annual report of a large mineral company. In it they said that when they mined minerals from a piece of land it is so devoid of nutrients that without intensive efforts to restore the fertility of the land they have mined nothing will grow for 1,000 years or more.

Plants cannot grow without minerals.

Many less educated people who farmed in the US and other places sold their mineral rights to this company. They believed they could make money from the sale of the minerals and still farm the land they owned.

In fact the land became profoundly infertile after the minerals were gone. Worse still, the company knew what would happen.

Was it deceptive?

Of course it was.

Mom, the farmer's daughter, knew what she was telling me was important.

With oil producers, oil leases and "fracking" it's more important than ever. Ask yourself, "What will this do to the land?"

This is an important issue for other property owners, too.

Many developers of subdivisions and gated communities reserve the rights to minerals, water and other resources when they sell lots. It might be a real shock to look out the window of your dream home and see an oil derrick pumping away, or someone digging a mine.

To protect yourself find good legal representation and learn all you can about property rights. The risk is, you could discover a very bad surprise down the road, particularly as natural resources become even more scarce.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Zoning Your Real Estate - Commercial Property Land Can Be Somewhat Challenging

Proper zoning for the type subdividing you have in mind is critical! Eighty percent of the counties in the US having zoning of some kind. Some people look at this as an advantage as it controls the amount and quality of the growth in an area, while others look at it as an infringement of their rights as owners. The counties have zones which are created by the planning or zoning commission and some of the basic zones are; residential, commercial, industrial, and agricultural, with each one having several categories of restrictions. There can be restrictions on the minimum number of acres per parcel that you can subdivide your property into, limits on the number, size, or purpose of buildings, number of homes and population density per acre, etc.

New zoning is not normally that much different from the type activities or zoning already in the place for a neighborhood. But there are stories of people who have owned their property for many years and suddenly are restricted as to hat they can do with it! And without compensation! Zoning laws for particular areas cause some problems but their absence can also. You may have a beautiful tract of land and unexpectedly have a paper mill built near you, or have mobile homes or very small houses appear nearby, or a stock car track! Who knows? Personally I prefer zoning restrictions as long as they aren't greatly restrictive. If you are involved in real estate, it is beneficial to stay informed of the present zoning laws and proposed changes, as well as other county activities, such as planning for new roads or industrial parks, etc.

Once zoning laws are in effect, the county building and health departments ensure they are abided by as they won't issue building or sewage permits until they have analyzed your proposed building or subdivision plans. Should you locate a parcel of land that you like but it has the wrong zoning for your plans, there is a possibility that you might get a particular zoning changed. Once I was successful in getting the zoning changed from residential to commercial on a large building lot my wife and I had acquired, which allowed us to sell it to a doctor for a new office. But it was a great deal of trouble and was certainly time consuming. After I submitted the request to the planning commission, we had to get signatures from property owners in the neighborhood stating that they didn't object to the zoning change, and present them to the commission. Once they received the signatures it still took forever as it had to be advertised and presented at a council meeting. But if finally worked. If a Realtor tells you that the zoning can be changed or a variance received on a particular property, I would be cautious as it is difficult, and sometimes impossible.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Real Estate Commercial Property

The buyer's market in real estate these days has created all types of real estate available for investors. One of these markets that are considered cheap and more affordable is the commercial real estate market. This can be one of the most profitable markets for investors, but many investors do not put much effort in purchasing commercial properties, because they do not understand the benefits. By comparing costs with benefits, you will soon come to know that commercial real estate is the actual way to go. You should consider the use of property that you are selecting. If it is a commercial property then it is only good for business world, you will find it difficult to sell out property in the future. By choosing a property that is flexible and supple in its usage, you will raise the chance of success with your investment.

You should also consider the location of property. Is it located on main road? Is it behind other buildings? By checking all these facts, you will be able to get the property that is right for your needs. Try to find the profit margin of the property. By considering the profit margin of the property, you will be able to decide if it is good for you or not. This is an important decision for you to make, so run those numbers and try to find if this property best suits your financial condition. Commercial investment is said to be a great choice over residential investment, simply because it doesn't look to fluctuate so much. By choosing the right property with right place, considering the profit margin, you will be able to invest successfully in commercial real estate and make most of your profit.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Earn By Means of Real Estate Investment Properties

Because of the financial meltdown that has impacted most of the countries in the world, individuals have recognized the importance of spending their funds correctly. They have learned their lessons and do not want to make the same mistakes once more. It requires lots of time to search for the finest investment available. Lots of individuals are taking advantage of the gullibility of other folks who are willing to spend their money on anything that would make them make money. What they do not know is that not all these investments are great ones. If there is one thing that has stayed optimistic despite this monetary turmoil, then it is the opportunity of earning big through real estate investment properties.

Many people are interested in real estate properties. These are not only the rich folks, but also those people who want to earn money by buying and selling properties at a high price. As opposed to what some people believe, making money through real estate properties is not only for the wealthy. Anyone can make millions of dollars by being involved in buying and selling these properties. There are even several methods that will enable individuals to earn money without investing a single dollar.

Real estate investment properties range from small houses to luxury houses. Some people prefer to go with luxury homes because the costs of these houses are high. This signifies that any individual who can sell one will have the potential to earn big. Then again, lots of people are concerned that they will not have any profits in the future. This could happen if you buy a house and sell it in the future. Nonetheless, there is a different way to earn money without needing to buy a house. All you have to do is to locate a purchaser and acquire part of the sales.

Marketing a real estate property could mean counting on newspaper ads or going to auctioneers. Both of these techniques might be costly, but they are also effective. There are plenty of auctioneers in existence, and the cost of marketing a home through an auction company could reach thousands of dollars. Nonetheless, there are also several auction companies that do not ask for too much and also have much better conditions. This is how folks generate income. Selling even just one home can result into earnings as high as hundreds of thousands of dollars.

When it involves spending an individual's funds, real estate investment properties are still the smartest choice. Now that there is a way to make money without needing to spend just one dollar, people must take advantage of this wonderful opportunity. There are plenty of individuals who are hoping to sell their properties, but they are having a difficult time finding a buyer. Any person, even those who have no experience in selling, could make money by looking for inexpensive and efficient ways to market these properties. Lots of people have become extremely successful simply because they did the right thing of going with real estate instead of wasting their time on other ventures.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Real Estate Investing? 5 Ways to Buy a Perfectly Priced Real Estate Investment Property

Looking for the "perfect real estate investment property?" Is there such a thing? Yes, but you have to find it first.

There are few investors who would argue the old adage that "every profitable investment begins with a bargain purchase." That's not to say that you can't buy at regular retail price and still make a profit. It just reduces that profit margin, or makes it more difficult to sustain.

With the goal of a buying a property below market value, where should a real estate investor look for properties?

1. Your own website. There are certainly value buys through wholesalers and other property marketers. However, getting to a distressed homeowner when they need you with an offer to help them avoid foreclosure or bankruptcy is the most direct route. If you buy directly from an owner, you won't be passing along some of your profits to someone in the middle. Put up a small free or inexpensive website with articles about how you help homeowners by buying their homes.

2. Ads and area signs. You've seen them. The "I buy homes" signs and classified ads. The reason you see them a lot is because they work. You must be consistent though. Run a classified ad continuously, and in the same area of the paper.

3. Foreclosure websites. There are a number of national foreclosure websites. You'll find listings placed there by lenders. They can be old, so check on new listings promptly.

4. Wholesalers and "flippers." Though we've placed someone in the middle, this is still a useful approach. Those who have excellent resources can locate properties that you may never find on your own, and their markup to flip them to you can still leave an excellent return on investment.

5. Realtors and MultiListing Service listings. Though the least lucrative for you, there can be bargains listed on the MLS. You might also create relationships with agents who list properties in your chosen locations. They may tell you when their desperate homeowner client is about to go into foreclosure.

Though you may find that you can hone one of these approaches to a fine art, keep them all on your list to avoid missing that perfect real estate investment.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Indian Real Estate and Property Market

Indian real estate and property market has received huge investment in recent years. The growing Indian economy is still attractive to both national and international investors and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future.

As the spending power of Indians increases, there is a growing demand for high-end properties. Besides the software industry, other IT enabled services and outsourcing services industry has driven up the demand for real-estate. Another key contributor that is fuelling this growth is the retail industry. Retail industry is itself projected to grow by more than 25 per cent for the coming years.

The huge and growing, Indian middle class is another driving force causing increasing demand for real-estate. Large number of shopping malls, multiplexes and other public recreational establishments are being built all over India. These construction activities are not just limited to the metros and bigger cities such as Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Kolkata, Chandigarh, and the National Capital Region (NCR), but also smaller and upcoming cites and towns.

Every major international firm is trying to get involved with the Indian Real estate market. Unlike many other businesses in India, real estate is a low maintenance and high return of investment business opportunity. Before investing, you should make sure that the location is to your liking. If you are buying just to sell it later then location is the most important aspect in selecting property, followed by infrastructure and connectivity. If you are planning to reside then other factors, such as basic amenities, proximity to markets, schools, hospitals etc. also needs to be considered.

For more, visit the Indian real estate and property market website.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

You Too Can Make Fast Money In Real Estate - And Pigs Will Fly!

It's time for some tough love. Contrary to what you may have learned on TV shows such as 'Flip This House', you are in all likelihood never going to make fast and easy money by snapping up houses and spending 30 minutes renovating the kitchen (less 12 minutes for commercial breaks). While you may watch Donald Trump on The Apprentice, you are not Donald Trump. And in any case, Donald Trump doesn't make his money by flipping houses.

Here is your absolute best strategy for making money in house-flipping: write a book titled 'How To Make Money Flipping Houses', and sell it to others.

The promise of fast and easy money has always been the huckster's most effective lure. Don't fall prey to that siren call! If you are considering pursuing real estate investment, then make sure you aware of these typical novice investing mistakes...

Buying on a whim - "Gee, honey, that seems like a good deal. Let's buy it!" Bad move. You need to do your homework first, since you're embarking on a journey which may last for years. Better make sure you are really committed to all the work involved. You can't just take your investment property back to the store for a refund if you later decide it's too much work.

Assuming all the profits will come from growth in property value - TV shows and hucksters always dangle the capital gains carrot in front of starry-eyed beginners. In reality, the operational profit earned while you own a property is arguably more important that the capital gain you earn when you sell. Why? Because if your property is profitable for you every month, you will never be forced to sell. If the market tanks and you can't get as much for the property as you prefer? No problem... you can hold it for a few more years, collecting profitable rents the whole time.

Don't pay attention to the cash flow - This is an extension of the point above. There's a temptation to focus on the potential capital gain when deciding whether to buy or not. But it's really more important to focus on the property's cash flow. They say 'cash is king' for a reason. Maybe, for strategic reasons, you decide to buy a property which has negative cash flow. That's fine. But you have to be certain you will be able to handle putting out that amount of cash (or more!) for the time you own the property. Better to know about the commitment you are making up front, before you get yourself committed to a situation you can't endure. Just read the newspapers lately for some examples of why that is good advice.

Not prepared to manage renters - If you are going into the business of managing renters, it should go without saying that you need to be of the proper temperament for managing renters. Alas, many landlords find out too late that they are just not cut out for it. The timid and easily bullied should think twice about applying for this job. Landlording bulletin boards are filled with horror stories about collecting rent from tenants and dealing with damage. Read up on them before getting into the business, and ask yourself "Is this for me?".

Bad timing - Nothing like buying at the market peak to take the wind out of your sails. The news media is awash in stories of investments gone bad and miserably under water. Unfortunately, there's not a whole lot you can do about timing, regardless of what anyone tells you. That being said, if you do your homework, you are less likely to be hurt (or will at least limit the damage) if the market turns against you.

Lack an exit strategy - While we advise you against planning on quick flips, we do recommend that you spend some time thinking about the end game before you make the investment. Don't count your chickens, but do think about the scenario in which you would like to sell, and then evaluate it for whether it is realistic or not. For example, there is a Pennsylvania town called Centralia which is located directly over a coal mine. For decades, the coal mine has been on fire. Gradually, the town has withered, as the government tried to get all of the residents to move so that the town can be closed. You might be able to get a good deal on an investment property in Centralia... but that doesn't mean you should buy it, since who in their right mind would ever buy it from you?

Real estate is a 'buy-and-hold' game, not a 'quick flip' game. You should aim to buy low, make money while you own the property, and then, years later, sell high. In other words, Get Rich Slowly. It may not have quite the same allure as getting rich quick, but you have to admit, it still has a nice ring to it!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Real Estate and Stock Market Investing Require Different Strategies

It may not seem obvious to many people, but the strategies involved in real estate investing and stock market investing are different from each other. Many people, disenchanted with the lackluster performance of their stock portfolio, first become interested in real estate investing after someone they know makes a large sum of money in real estate in a relatively short time.

If that sounds like YOU, be warned: investing in real estate in the hopes that the market will increase rapidly and steadily is, and always has been, a risky strategy, and can cause severe difficulty if you guess wrong about a piece of property--or if the entire real estate market begins to collapse, as has happened many times in the past.

If you can afford to buy real estate and hold on to it for five to fifteen years, you will nearly always realize a substantial profit. If you are savvy enough to buy a significantly discounted piece of property and then sell it within a year, you'll make money, too. But buying an investment property at its fair market value that only gives you a break-even cash flow (or worse yet, loses money every month) can sink you in a relatively short time if you don't have the wherewithal to feed it until you CAN make money on it.

It's like riding a horse. If you don't know how to ride, you'd better take some lessons before you sign up for a rodeo! The results could be disastrous if you make a mistake. And if you haven't done your homework, you WILL make a mistake. The wrong real estate investment could cause not just financial hardship, but also financial ruin.

So know your real estate market, inside and out. Know where it is in its overall cycle, because all markets, no matter how hot, have ups and downs within the overall trend. There are always bargains available, regardless of the market. Watch your local housing market so you know how much rental income to expect and if there is a vacancy glut on the market. Two years ago you could buy an apartment building in Las Vegas for zero down because investors couldn't rent the apartments. Some investors who could afford to make up the negative cash flow each month made a killing in appreciation. Investors with financing or cash who transformed the apartments into condominiums made even more money.

Finding the lowest-priced financing also helps make the most return on your investment. Unlike stock investing, you need strong credit to use other people's money to finance investment property.

Even if you're frustrated by a lackluster stock market, don't expect to make a short-term killing in real estate to make up for it. In both cases, one of the best strategies is to buy excellent examples--and then hang on for awhile. It's also a good strategy to maintain a cash reserve, especially when it comes to real estate. That way, even if the market heads south, you won't find yourself being overwhelmed while you wait for the inevitable rebound in prices.

Real estate investing can carry more significant consequences than stock market investing if you guess wrong, since there's generally a great deal more money involved. So take it easy, do your homework, and don't rush into anything until you've learned as much as you can about how to become a prudent real estate investor.

Copyright © Jeanette J. Fisher

How to Find the Best Insurance Company

It's not easy to find the best insurance company when there are so many different ones to choose from. On the one hand, you might be inclined to choose a local insurance company since they will be there for you to answer any questions you might have. You can personally make an appointment with them to ask questions, talk about premiums, consider new types of coverage, and more. On the other hand, sometimes these companies are more expensive, and you believe you'd be better off buying coverage from an online company.

Depending on whether you choose a nationwide insurance agency or a local agency will dictate how many different insurance agencies you need to deal with. For instance, some online insurance companies are for car insurance only. This means you'll have to find someone else to cover you for health care, life insurance, and home insurance. This extra need can be a hassle, so it might pay off in the long run to go with a local agent.

However, agencies that cover all the bases, so to speak, can charge high premiums and demand high deductibles. The best insurance company will be the one to give you the most coverage for your premium and offer you different deductible options that might be more attractive than others.

Another consideration you need to factor into the insurance equation is if you're self-employed or employed by a private company. If you're self-employed, often an insurance agency will charge you a much higher deductible than if you were employed by someone else. Part of this reason is due to their mindset that, because you're self-employed, you pose a greater risk and might not be able to pay your insurance costs if you're out of work.

The best insurance company will also have a good reputation. There are many sites online that give credibility to certain companies more than others. If you have a problem in a wreck, have questions about your health insurance policies, or anything else that might require a little negotiation, you want to be covered by an insurance company that you can trust to act in your best interests.

One of the most important things an insurance company can cover you and your family for is health care. Many insurance companies are rather stingy on which doctors, medical groups, and hospitals they approve. Again, by checking online you can find out which companies are most lenient and flexible regarding medical care.

These are all factors that come into play when you choose the best insurance company. By doing some due diligence in your research before committing to a company's policies, you are doing yourself a favor in saving a lot of headaches - and money - down the road.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Commercial Real Estate and What You Ought to Know About It

If you have a business, you will need to settle various aspects that can affect the income that you can generate from it. With this, you will also have to remember that one of the most important factors would be the commercial real estate property that you might want to rent or buy. This is a big factor that it can affect your actual profit in the long run.

This is an important decision that you will have to make so you can simply choose amongst the Florida commercial real estate properties that are available and decide when you are sure of the option that you have. You cannot afford to have a mistake so it would be better if you are going to spend just enough time before making any kind of deal.

There are various opportunities in the Florida commercial real estate market. It can be the right place for your business but you should also consider that there are other things that might affect your profit. You will only have to remember that the property that you will buy will have an impact so you should be wary of your choices and the decisions that you will have to do.

You should also know that there are various types of Florida commercial real estate properties available. To be able to get the best one, you will have to know each time. When you learn about the qualities of each type of property, you can assess the different kinds that are available and you will be able to check if there is a type that suits the needs of your business.

Just remember that the property has to have the right location, size and reach to the people that you can cater to. This will be the qualities that you will need to watch out. Once you know the different Florida commercial real estate properties, you can now decide if there is a kind that you can really want and it can be a perfect match for your business.

The kinds of properties will have an effect on the prices so you should also be careful in getting one. Business means that you will have to prefer a property that costs less but you should also consider a property that may not be cheap but if it can generate enough output, hence it can still be considered as a right decision.

A Florida commercial real estate that you will choose will affect your business because it can play a big part in getting in touch with the people that might need your products or services. If you want to get the best out of this business, you will have to ensure that you know your options well and you have considered each type. This way, you can say that you are prepared and there are valid reasons for each decision that you will make.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

How to Invest in Apartment Real Estate and Take Year Long Vacations While Collecting Rent

Benefits from apartment and multifamily real estate investing are great but also take great responsibility, especially the responsibility of managing cash flow. If you're involved in apartment and multifamily real estate investing, then you may as well be considering the job title of landlord. While investing in apartment and multifamily real estate is a great way to invest and make a lavish living, you must consider several matters prior to assigning yourself to this job.

Prior to starting the process of any investment, including apartment and multifamily real estate, you'll want to minimize risk and make certain that you are able to earn positive cash flow as a landlord.

This entails determining a few key factors if you want to take year long vacations while rent is collected and wealth is building.

1 - Find the right place for potential tenants To avoid head ache and wasted resources, make sure you take the time match the tenant with the right place. A tenant that feels good and is highly enthused about their place will take the time to care for it as their own.

2 - Marketing your apartment and multifamily property It is to your advantage if you have the ability to market and find out the proper demographics that you may desire residing in your property. I once heard a saying "millionaires build networks, the rest look for jobs." The ability to network with the correct people will assist you whenever you're considering leasing space and investing in other property.

3 - How to manage cash flow and pay off loans against property True positive cash flow is not reached until you own your apartment or multifamily property free and clear and not having to use rents to pay mortgages. Savvy investors manage cash flow and use banking strategies that increase equity and pay off property free and clear in a fraction of the time.

4 - Do you have what it takes? If you choose to be a landlord and invest in apartment and multifamily property, examine the chambers of your heart and make certain you are made for it. Ask yourself if you are strong enough to put up with the different personalities. Issues like paying rent late, having no concern of the property, and other troubles will often come up. Successful apartment and multifamily property owners address different situations effectively. Make certain that you are able to find the correct solution to handle the different needs of everyone.

For certain being a landlord and owning apartment and multifamily property can earn you massive wealth. When you have proper people in proper places, there is no work. You just collect rent. Most apartment and multifamily property owners, if they have a larger number of properties, put in place property managers to take care of extra concerns that come up. If you're able to invest, mature and manage cash flow efficiently with multiple properties, then you will earn the ability to take a year long vacation while the rent is collected.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

What to Look at When Buying Real Estate Bargain Properties

When looking into real estate investing, home foreclosures and bargain properties are typically the place to look at first. While you do want to save money on a home and possibly fix it up, you also do not want to purchase a home that is irreparable. Here are a few essential principles to keep in mind when buying real estate bargain properties.

The first thing you want to look at is the overall price. You want to make sure to never buy for less than the market price until you know why it is at the price it is. Find out what the sellers motivation was for cutting the price. If it is not because they are in financial problems or are moving, chance are there may be something wrong with the property.

The next thing you want to focus on when buying real estate is the terms and conditions. If you know what you are doing, you can pay full price and use this to negotiate lower interest rates or a smaller down payment as an investor. What you will find is that over time the rental cash flow will far outweigh the initial payment due to the generous terms given.

Something that every investor must know is the local market. If you can learn the local market and understand it better than the seller, bargains are bound to emerge. You want to know from research that upgrades, enhanced security, or location next to a park can up the price and a lack thereof can decrease the price.

As mentioned above, fixer-uppers and foreclosures are something many investors start with. These are the houses that are going to need repairs to some degree. What you need to do is discount the costs of the repairs so they are still profitable in the end.

With some small repairs like painting, basic flooring and minor landscaping, profits may be there. However, profits are more significant with homes that are extremely distressed. The reason for this is because the home will be selling for far less than it would if it were in decent shape. You will find that the seller may ask for 50 percent of the market value so that you can take over and repair it as much as you want.

Buying real estate bargain properties can be a great way to make a large profit. If you take the time to do your research and select the property carefully, you can make a great deal of money.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Buying Real Estate Foreclosure Property

Finding Foreclosures

The easiest way to find foreclosures in a particular area is on the internet. A Google search for foreclosures and an area will provide you with lots of leads. If you are looking locally for foreclosures coupling driving around with a Google search will provide even more information. You can also look up information on foreclosures in county offices in most states. A combination of all three will provide you with many candidates. Try to get an asking price for each property.

Winnowing The List

The next step is to use the asking price (for analysis purposes), taxes, assume an interest rate and estimate insurance costs. Add all of these to determine a monthly payment. Add 25% to 30% to this to get a reasonable rental price. Next couple each property with the bank that owns it. A Real Estate agent can help you with this process but remember, you need to pay the realtor a fee at the sale. If you deal with the bank directly, no fee is required.

Negotiate with the Banks

The next step is to negotiate with the banks. Use your analysis for rental costs to make sure that you can stay within your cost parameters. Explain to the bank why you must have the property at a specific price or lower so that the property will cash flow. Once you have determined a price negotiate a mortgage rate with the bank. This process should be repeated for each of the properties on your list. This may take some time, if a property you negotiated is sold by the bank before you complete your selection process, don't be concerned. This is investment property not something that you will live in. Think of it as a stock, there are always more to look at.

Pulling The Trigger

At this stage of the game, you have all of the hard numbers that you need. Now you must consider some of the qualitative factors. Where is the property located? Is the area desirable? Are there many foreclosures in the neighborhood? These are some of the factors that I use to make a decision. Use your own judgement. Also if you are buying two properties, should you get two medium priced properties or there lower priced properties.This part of the decision making is usually up to your own personal preferences. If you hired a Real Estate agent his or her opinion should be sought out. In any event, het off the dime, make a decision and get started!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Real Estate Agents & Property Buyers - What Is The Difference?

There are many differences between real estate agents and property buyers. Both offer professional services relating to real estate, but the differences are clear. You should be aware of the differences between estate agents and property buyers. Use the right real estate professional for the right house selling situation.

Property Buyers:

Property buyers are people who actually buy homes. If you need to sell your house, property buyers are the real estate professionals who actually give you an offer to buy your house. Property buyers do not charge you any commissions or fees and can typically buy your house very quickly.

Property buyers are real estate professionals that purchase many houses in your local area. Property buyers are also real estate investors so they many not be able to pay as much for your house as an end home owner would. With that said, if you are selling your house you typically have to pay 6 percent in real estate agent commissions. For a $100,000 house that is $6,000 in real estate commissions. Given the large amount of commissions you would have to pay when using a real estate agent, property buyers may be able to give you the price you need for your house.

A property buyer will give you a free, confidential, no-obligation offer for your home. So if you are thinking about selling your house I would recommend getting a free offer from your local property buyer. You have nothing to lose because if you do not like the offer you receive you do not have to sell your house to them.

The best time to use a professional property buyer is if you need to sell your house fast. There are many reasons people need or want to sell their house fast. If you are in any of the following situations I would recommend getting a free offer for your home from a property buyer.

Going through a divorce, need to stop foreclosure, being relocated by your work, you re an investor who want to cash out of an investment property, you do not want to be landlord anymore, you just inherited a property and need to sell it, you do not want to deal with a real estate agent, your home is not in excellent condition, your home is 100 percent financed and you have no equity.

These are just a few of home selling situations where you would be better offer selling your house to a local property buyer. The best way to get in contact with a local property buyer is to complete a very short on-line form from a company that focuses on buying houses. You basically complete the very short form, and then a property buyer will contact you with their offer. You have no risk or obligation to accept.

Real Estate Agents:

Real estate agents are real estate professionals who help home owners buy and sell real estate. They do not buy and sell real estate themselves. Real estate agents typically charge a commission of 3 percent for their service. The 3percent is the percentage related to the price of the home you are selling or buying.

When you enter into an agreement with a real estate agent you are signing an agreement with them that you will allow them to help you sell or help you buy a home. You can not go anywhere else or use any other agent to help you in your home selling or home buying needs.

Many times home owners sign an agreement with a real estate agent and months later, after their house sitting on the market want to cancel their agreement. Because the real estate agent has expenses for marketing, time and effort they are reluctant to let you out of your contract.

The best time to use a real estate agent is when you buying a home. Home sellers typically pay real estate commissions, so when you buy a home it is free to use a real estate agent. Now if you have bad credit and you want to buy a home, real estate agents are not always your best option. Many times a professional property buyer has many homes they will sell to you on terms. You may have herd of the terms rent to own, lease option, or lease purchase. There are homes that property buyers are selling to people who have trouble getting traditional financing.

The best time to use a real estate agent is when you are buying a home. Home sellers typically pay real estate commissions, so when you buy a home it is free to use a real estate agent. Now if you have bad credit and you want to buy a home, real estate agents are not always your best option. Many times a professional property buyer has many homes they will sell to you on terms. You may have heard of the terms rent to own, lease option, or lease purchase. There are homes that property buyers are selling to people who have trouble getting traditional financing, which in our current real estate market can be very easy.

Monday, January 6, 2014

How to Earn Money in Real Estate and Make a Nice Income

To earn money in real estate, you don't have to be someone who is certified and who went to school for you. You simply just have to know the ropes and know how to turn a piece of property into a nice income. By doing this, you'll be able to put some nice income into your bank account, and attain time freedom as well.

When you invest in real estate, you can simply earn money from your property by renting it out. This is what a lot of beginner investors do and it's a great place for you to start also. In this scenario, all you have to do is make minor repairs and upgrades and the place is ready to go. It doesn't matter the style of home you want to invest in, all you need is the right location and the proper tools to get the job done.

There are always risks involved however when investing, so you should be cautious with every transaction. When making investments, it's best to stick with the ones that will make the most sense and that will benefit you in the long run. You will make your money back in time as you invest in more and properties and your return on investment on each property will help with your income.

A simple formula for real estate investing is to fix up and repair your own home, and then sell at a higher price when market conditions are better. This is how a lot of people get their start in real estate and it's something that you can do too. If you can stay on top of the marketplace and know when the market is up or down, you'll be able to price your home accordingly for the best price to make it sell at.

And it doesn't matter how big or small your home is - you can still earn money from real estate by investing in your own home. You should consider repairs such as the kitchen, bathroom, carpet, dining room, and outside appearance to get the most bang for your buck.

For great real estate ideas, you should consider watching HGTV or the DIY channels for great design and home staging tips. These 2 channels focus on designing, renovating, and upgrading your home, and ways to sell your property for higher than what you bought it for.

Investing in real estate can be a great idea if you know what you are doing. Study the marketplace and get a sense of how the market will respond to your home. Take a look at the prices of similar homes in your area and prices that they have sold for. You will want to use this tip when pricing your own home, so don't take it lightly.

You will also want to visit open houses of homes that are up for sale for ideas on how to make your home sell. Whether you're selling your home or a fix-up home that you bought, the ideas that you take away from open houses are sure to benefit in the long run.

Good luck on your real estate investing.

Best Insurance Salesman in the World - Top Sales Tips, Hint Steps and Best Selling Ideas

The best insurance salesman in the world was not created overnight. Becoming the best insurance salesman requires learning the tops sales tips, practicing the best selling ideas, and not bypassing hint or steps in doing so. Adapt top insurance selling ideas for yourself.

Turn your dreams into reality. Streamline your sales presentation while increasing your selling rate. Nothing automatically propels you to the top in the world. James Cagney in a movie thought he was "on top of the world". He was taking control of his mind, reflecting on being the best at what he did. An insurance salesperson implementing the best sales ideas and high enough goals exceeds the wildest expectations.

It is time to awaken your senses to no limitations. The technique is surprisingly easy to master. Take the time to search for and then practice top sales tips and trade secrets. To soar up like an eagle, you can't have clipped wings. This means being one mean selling machine. Awesome achievement provides the incentives to master the required steps. Do not combine ANY portion of your new, highly effective closing presentation with the company man presentation. Hint: Write it yourself, it must sound like you, not a recording.

The steps to a superior presentation are self motivation, knowledge of your product, and confidence to make the sale. Start by making your best insurance salesman sales presentation more powerful than ever. You can get five stars on your forehead! Just do an entire presentation in 10 minutes from start to finish. Have an associate, spouse, or friend time you until you can do it with skipping any steps.

1. Get your prospect's attention. This doesn't mean driving an army tank to the prospects' door. Put yourself in your client's shoes. List a perfect combination of 12 items that will rattle your client's attention. Start immediately at the door with a free gift. A new sports team logo hat, a small bunch of flowers, or even a pocket calculator could be three of your best ideas.

2. Next you need to get the prospects interest in your product or presentation. Telling them you are very busy, is packed with dynamite. Your briefcase is no longer seen as overnight luggage, and it portrays you not fighting over a sale until they say no eight times. Keep control by asking to set at a table where you want you show them a must see option that was just introduced. Ask them if they mind if you take off your tie. The idea is to put yourself in the prospect's environment, and feel comfortable with your presence.

3. Limit yourself to three brief reasons why your plan is superior. Include painting a picture of someone who didn't think they needed your product, yet signed up. Then explain in visual terms how this person or the person's family was paid benefits they would have otherwise never received. One of the best selling ideas is to use a third party, as then no pressure exists.

4. This is the most letters to get leads, and most presentations share in common. THEY OMIT THIS PORTION! Give 3 to 5 essential e benefits your insurance product gives your client. You automatically achieve overcoming some objections from ever coming up. Break out the steps, in a piece by piece manner, how your product is going to solve the puzzle. Each of your benefits must link to an emotion. For insurance salespeople viable emotions include fear, love, security, increased happiness, and greed to build up money. Keep it positive and exciting. Inject motivation and inspirational adjectives and verbs to keep your entire presentation positive.

5. Sales experts know that less talk tops all closing rules. You already instilled the urge, now close the gap. Never say, "Well what do you think?" Here is the sales tip. Instead slowly say, "Does this plan provide the protection you need, or if you can't afford it, I can show you the limited benefit plan? Wait until you get an answer, and this means sometimes a few minutes. Practice with a variety of questions, until you find a couple that work best for you.

Explore the office sales chart, watching how consistently you are giving yourself a raise graduating to the major leagues. It may be time to set a higher goal. There is no harm in striving to become the best insurance salesperson. If feel you are falling short, remember success is a long journey to gaining the top sales tips and best selling ideas. As the journey progresses it becomes very more rewarding.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Eight Biggest Mistakes Buyers Make in Real Estate (and How to Avoid Them)

We see ourselves as advisors. With buyers, our role is to help clients find, negotiate, and purchase properties while avoiding critical mistakes in the process.

Recently we interviewed people from our team as well as our colleagues at Boulder Creative Housing. We also reviewed some of what we've learned in real estate here in Boulder and from our real estate experience on Nantucket.

The result is the Eight Biggest Buyer Mistakes and How to Avoid Them. As always, feel free to contact us with any comments or questions. You can also reach me at 303.746.6896.

The Eight Biggest Buyer Mistakes
(and How to Avoid Them)

Mistake #8. Skipping due diligence on location and community.

From the time it takes to commute to the quality of neighborhood schools, a lot of things can affect the enjoyment of your home that has little to do with the house itself. Will your property be impacted by the new transit oriented developments in Boulder and along the tech corridor?

Where is the nearest grocery store, post office, gas station, and city park? Is there a landfill or factory nearby that might affect the air or water quality? How close is the nearest EPA Toxic Waste Superfund site? Have you looked into the megan's law database for Colorado or contacted local authorities to check whether registered sex offenders might live nearby?

You can do a lot of research online, but community character is nearly impossible to accurately determine from a website. Yes, there are many resources on the Internet including this blog and a list of links and other resources we've collected. But that's not enough.

Before buying a home, you should invest the time to walk the neighborhood, talk to the neighbors, visit local schools, time your commute to work, and more. This kind of information is extremely valuable and may require several visits to the community. And it's well worth it if you want to be happy long term with the choice you're making.

Mistake #7. Not getting a building inspection.

Even if you are an expert carpenter with many years in the trades, we recommend a professional building inspection. In some cases (like established neighborhoods with mature trees between the house and the street which may be prone to root intrusions) we also recommend a sewer inspection with fiber optics/remote cameras. If there are signs of water damage or moisture in the home, we'll recommend a mold inspection as well. The upfront costs for inspection can start as low as $250 and it's cheap peace of mind.

Mistake #6. Overpaying for a property.

In Boulder and surrounding communities, many buyers are from out of state and compared to their home city, our local real estate can look like a tremendous bargain. Often sellers will toss out a high price to gauge the market. This also sometimes happens because the sellers chose a agent based on the highest comparative market analysis, and they'll need some time to adjust to market reality.

Smart shoppers will ask their agent for a list of compables before viewing homes and for more specific comparables before putting in an offer. Even unrealistic sellers have been known to come back to reality when confronted with well documented comparable sales. What else has sold in the past few months that is similar to this property? What is currently on the market that matches this property's characteristics?

Only put in an offer after reviewing comparables and knowing the market. This step can save you thousands of dollars. It's also something a good buyers' agent should be able to prepare for you.

Mistake #5. Compromising on your property requirements.

We ask our clients to take the time to prepare a list of "must have" features in a home. Based on these criteria and their chosen location, we'll set clients up with emailed alerts of modified listings and newly listed properties as they come to market. This is the most efficient way to get listings that fit a client's needs.

Most websites feature property that is days or months old. An MLS driven listing alert system is efficient and, when properly set-up, can save you countless hours cruising the internet.

But browsing the Internet is fun and we'll sometimes have clients call to setup showings for homes found online which don't have all their "must haves" features. If a client happens to fall in love and purchase it, it's likely down the road that the missing "must have" feature will start to bug them.

Just like the jolly guy in the furry red suit. Make a list and check it twice (and then stick with it).

Mistake #4. Not doing your homework on financing.

This mistake can cost your thousands of dollars, cause you to miss on the best properties, and potentially damage your credit rating.

A lot of potential buyers start the process by looking at homes while assuming they can get a loan. Sure, we like window shopping too but it's helpful to do some financial homework. Start by doing the basic math yourself using widely available online mortgage calculators, including the ones we feature on our website (on pages with property's details). You should also familiarize yourself with some financing basics.

Before you start to setup showings and view properties with an agent, it's smart to consult with a reputable lender and confirm your financial plans. You'll find out how much house you can comfortably afford based on currently available loan programs. Importantly, after the initial consultation, good lenders will also be available to provide a prequalification letter matching any offer you might make - a critical element in strengthening an offer.

We always recommend clients check out several lenders and available loans because mortgages are largely commodity products. The right loan for you could be an ARM, a fixed rate mortgage, cross collateralization with another property, or a plain vanilla FRM.

Good lenders can help you find the best loan for your specific situation. A lender with access to the best programs can save you thousands of dollars over the life of your loan. Even when putting together an offer, a good lender can help structuring the financing of your offer strategically and even help you present a stronger offer with a lower purchase price.

Sadly, buyers typically do little due diligence with lenders.

Mistake #3. Not seeing past cosmetics and following first impressions.

Sometimes the best deals simply don't show well. Maybe there are obvious visible blemishes or too much clutter. The dishes may not be washed. Walls may need to be painted and doors rehung. Maybe the basement even smells like cat urine.

To point, this week we closed on a house that was at least 10% under market value. When we first saw this house it was a mess. There was mud on all the floors. Boxes were everywhere from the tenant that was evicted. The backyard was filled with junk. And yes, there was actual critter droppings of some sort in one corner of the basement. In a single word, the property was Nasty!

Luckily, my buyers had vision. Through an inspection resolution we negotiated, the whole house was cleaned from top to bottom. There are no leftover tenant belongings. The yard is clean. All the walls freshly painted. The kitchen was even recaulked and the smell is gone. The house looks like its true market value now and the buyer, who I represented, saw beyond all the cosmetic issues and literally saved himself thousands.

Mistake #2. Trying to deal with the seller directly.

The allure of contacting a seller directly is strong and without knowing much about the real estate, I probably would have once been tempted to make this common mistake as well. The idea most people have is that if they call the agent or owner directly, they'll save on the real estate commissions.

Oops. This is not usually how it happens. If the home is listed, the owner will probably refer you to their agent because (by the contract they've made) even if they do all the work, they'll most likely still owe that agent a commission. Although certain sellers FSBO their property, they nearly always offer a buyers agent commission. If you negotiate directly with a FSBO without an agent, they'll try their hardest to pocket the commission themselves. After all, that's why they are FSBOing in the first place. It's not to save you money. Also in this situation, you have no representation or guidance through the process and your earnest money (and more) could be at risk.

In the worst case scenario, call the name off the sign or advertisement and you'll be dealing with a sellers agent. This person doesn't represent you or your interests at all but still collects the buyers/transaction agent and listing agent commission. In this situation too, you have nobody on your side negotiating and watching out for your interests.

Can you save money? Perhaps. It is possible to catch something before it hits the market. And with one notable $4MM exception, my experience is most FSBO sellers have an inflated sense of what their home is worth.

Top executives and others who deal with large transactions nearly always hire agents to negotiate when dealing with personal matters. Why? It's not because they aren't capable of expert negotiation in behalf of their clients or company. They do this kind of thing everyday, but they choose agents to go to bat when their personal interests are involved because negotiating directly in these circumstances rarely results in the best deal. A experienced and professional agent will present your offer in the best possible light and get you a better deal.

Mistake #1. Choosing the wrong agent.

Real estate is a business with low barriers to entry. We often find part-time or inexperienced agents on the other side of the table. Their unprofessionalism and inexperience can cause big mistakes and cost buyers serious money.

Choose a buyers agent with the same standards you would apply to your attorney, CPA, or other advisor. Once you find the right agent, trust them to do their job. Put them to work for you and you may find a good buyers agent is the best deal in real estate.

Want to know how well the local real estate market is holding up? Is Lafayette appreciating faster than Louisville? Ask your buyers agent.

A couple of weeks ago, I took time with client to go over contracts related to her offer. She had rented for 25 years and was becoming a homeowner for the first time. Nervous is an understatement. Because she was also legally blind, I read the buyer agency contract and the contract to purchase the property out loud, carefully explaining each provision, answering her questions, and covering "what if" scenarios. It took well over six hours.

I'm proud to report that because of the extraordinary efforts of our lender partner, despite multiple difficulties including appraisal issues and several mis-steps by the listing agent, my client closed on her house today. On time and below budget.

It's time to raise the bar in real estate. You can help by choosing your agent carefully.

Tags:Boulder, Colorado, Real Estate, Boulder Real Estate, Tips, Strategy, Buyer's Agent.

Note: Our objective is to make this blog one of the best resources on the web for real estate and development in Boulder Colorado and surrounding communities. The ideas and strategies in this blog are the opinion of the writer and subject to business, economic, and competitive uncertainties. The Silver Fern Team does not provide legal, tax, or investment advice and is in no way responsible for investment results derived from this article. One should always conduct due diligence before buying or selling real estate or other investments and consult with a tax, legal, and investment advisor. Like what you've read? Subscribe to this blog and get new posts in your email.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

What Are Your Retirement Goals? A Case For Real Estate And Alternative Investment

Most financial advisors would have you believe that when planning for your retirement, the goal and the inevitable outcome is subsistence solely on the savings you have accumulated until the point of your exiting the work force. The reason they try to sell this strategy of mere sustainability is because the investments types they put forth-such as mutual funds, life insurance products, stock and bond portfolios, etc.-are typically the ones on which they stand to earn a commission. This designated route barely stands to keep up with inflation, let alone build long-term wealth and consistently pay for living expenses. That being said, the goal should be to NEVER worry about having enough money during your later years, but to see investments comfortably cover expenses while exceeding inflation, all WITHOUT depleting your savings and principal balances in your retirement account.

Think always of working to perpetuate and not simply to preserve. This means having your money continue to work for you, such that perhaps even your heirs will have residual wealth to use towards their own retirement. Investing in real estate allows you to obtain this goal because it produces above-inflationary returns and can grow your wealth in multiple ways.

First, real estate produces positive cash flow after monthly expenses. After the

mortgage payment, property taxes, insurance, repairs, and property management, you can still make 7% - 12% and more on your down payment. Using a loan from a bank or private financing institution to leverage your investment can help you see even higher returns on your money.

Second, depreciation benefits obtained from owning real estate can significantly reduce the amount of taxes owed on the rental income earned. Reducing taxes is imperative to wealth building since it is your biggest expense in life.

Third, properties purchased below market value come with built in equity, allowing for immediate profit. No stock allows for this same benefit, which comes in addition to possible future appreciation of the property's market value.

Fourth, if you purchase a property using a bank and put 20% - 25% down on the investment, you can pay down the loan every year, giving you one more profit center when investing in real estate.

The fifth, and most important advantage of investing in real estate is that you have control over your investment where other types often delegate it to another outside party. Buying a property and buying correctly puts the power of controlling cash flow in your hands. Furthermore, you have control over your exit strategy and you have collateral-in the form of a hard asset-for your investment.

With all of these benefits of investing in real estate, it's a no-brainer that you should include real estate as a large part of your retirement portfolio.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Real Estate India, Indian Commercial Real Estate Investors - Property Sales In India

Commercial real estate sector is in boom in India. After liberalization of the economy, Indian real estate business took an upturn in the last fifteen years. With the advent of multinational companies to India to set up base here, especially the IT sector ,the demand for land has risen up and with that the prices have also shot up. Research estimates that Indian Real Estate market is expected to grow from the current USD 14 billion to a USD 102 billion in the next 10 years. ..

The main growth thrust is coming due to favorable demographics, increasing purchasing power, existence of customer friendly banks & housing finance companies, professionalism in real estate and favorable reforms initiated by the government to attract global investors.

In India, the commercial real estate requirement is led by the leaders of the IT industry, this includes the BPO and ITES sectors.

It is estimated that the demand for space by the IT/ITES sector alone is expected to be 150 million sq.ft by 2010.

The demand for land in metro cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai is huge and prices for the same have shot up to huge proportions. These cities are expanding in a huge manner to accommodate the ever demanding requirement for land. For example, Bangalore which is considered as the IT capital of India, is already short of land and is expanding to create something called as Greater Bangalore. This is to dedicate land to the IT and BT (Biotechnology) industries.

The increase in purchasing power has resulted in big retailing companies setting up base in India; as a result there is a mushrooming of retail centers across the country.

The industrial sector is experiencing a huge surge, resulting in increase demand for land. There is a shortage of land in bigger cities, which has resulted in companies setting up bases in smaller cities. These cities are also called as Two-Tier cities.

Indian real estate is experiencing an overall growth in all sectors like IT, BT, Industies, Healthcare etc,apart from this , in urban India, there is a shortage of space in the residential sector by approx 6.7 million housing units. The bigger cities are expanding to accommodate the growing population and as a result there is a huge demand for land.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Commercial Real Estate and Inflation - Part II

In the first part, I looked at what inflation is and why it is in our future. So now, what can you do about it?

What is the Effect of Inflation on Commercial Real Estate?  

Property acts as a store of value, like gold and other hard assets. Currencies come and go but real estate and gold go on and on. They have intrinsic value, because "the good Lord is not making any more," as the saying goes. In contrast, the government can print and spend money faster than anyone can count, inflating the money supply and thus devaluing the dollar. So, when the money supply is inflating, the dollar's value is falling and your property's value is rising in pace with or faster than inflation.

Rent. A second value that property can bring is cash flow from rents. People need a place to live and businesses need a place to operate and they will pay to use your property. Properties increase in value as the rents increase. Now commercial leases vary in length. The shortest terms are in apartments and self storage which typically lock in rates for 6 to 12 months before renewing with the possibility of a rate increase. Office and retail leases generally run from 3 to 5 years in length and often include fixed rent increases. Some leases to major companies for large spaces may run ten years with renewal options. During periods of high uncertainty about inflation, like the 1970's, the rent increases are keyed to the Consumer Price Index or C.P.I.   Bottom line - the Landlord wants the ability to raise his rents at the rate of inflation or faster. Landlords want short leases with CPI escalations while Tenants want long term fixed rate leases, so the prudent property owner will negotiate to protect himself from the erosive effects of inflation.

How does Inflation affect your Mortgage? The value of your mortgage is being paid down by your monthly payments of principle. But inflation helps because your mortgage value is declining in real terms as the value of the dollar declines. You are paying it off with inflating dollars. And the value of the property is going up faster along with the pace of inflation. So your equity, which is a smaller part of your property's value is going up at the rate of inflation while the real value of your mortgage is declining, magnifying the increase in the value of your investment.

Inflation and Interest Rates Historically, during times of inflation the Federal Reserve has been committed to fighting inflation. They do this by raising interest rates. Remember in the early 1980's when briefly we had 21% interest rates? In the present deflationary environment, interest rates are being kept artificially low to stimulate borrowing. They will rise again, and if inflation really kicks in, then The Fed may substantially raise interest rates to combat inflation. Therefore, the investor may want to consider taking the opportunity to borrow at today's lower interest rate level, as the value of having a lower interest loan will be greater when interest rates move higher due to inflation.   So we can see that Commercial Real Estate can perform well in an inflationary period because 1) property, like gold, is a store of value, 2) rents can be raised to keep up with inflation and 3) and a loan amount declines in real, inflation-adjusted terms, while you pay it back with inflated dollars.  I am definitely not saying inflation is a good thing. Inflation is bad! Inflation will hurt companies and their stocks may not go higher in value in an inflationary period. However, commercial real estate investments can be a good place to protect your wealth during inflationary times to come. First deflation, then inflation whiplash. Ouch!   Investment Realty Company is actively pursuing some excellent investment opportunities clients. Please call me to see how we can help you