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Foreclosed Homes Likely To Swell Housing Market Although Feds Claim Recession Is Over

Even though the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago is cautiously claiming that the current recession is over, the housing market is likely to still suffer a glut of bank-owned foreclosures in 2010.

The Federal Reserve president is predicting that the jobless rate may improve very slightly even though employment fell in the last month of the year and many other experts are forecasting that more jobs will be lost over this current year. Though the official unemployment rate is merely sitting at around ten percent, the percentage of people across the country who are either out of work of struggling with a part-time job instead of a full-time job is much higher. The unemployment rate only reflects the percent of people out of the work force who are actually looking to re-enter it at that time; after being out of a job though, many people give up the search for a while, at least temporarily.

The national GDP rose in the third quarter of 2009, a hint that indeed points towards economic recovery. However, a double-dip in the bottoming out of the economy during a recession is also very common. A general rise in GDP is a good sign, but it would also be more telling if there were rises in particular areas of the GDP that specifically support economic recovery. The anticipated increase in the GDP over 2010 is estimated to be around 3% for the year.

However, even with these signposts of economic recovery, it is still quite certain that the housing market will not be leading the way to recovery as it is inevitable that the market will be seeing an increase in foreclosed home in stock very soon. At this point, many homes are in a pre-foreclosure stage; a huge number of home owners are delinquent in their mortgage payments or struggling to meet the government criteria to have their mortgages modified. However, due to a number of reasons, only about 4% of homeowners with delinquent mortgages have been able to negotiate the process and succeed in mortgage modification with their lender.

This year we will be seeing an increase in foreclosed on inventory that the banks have been holding on to, possibly in hopes that the market would improve enough that they could recoup more of their investment in these properties. This flood of homes combined with the end of the home buyer’s tax credit and the Federal Reserve program ending is going to make for a major disruption to the recovery of the housing market; it may prove to be a stifling combination of unfortunate circumstances that may well delay the normalizing of the real estate market.

How to Generate Leads for Real Estate Agents

Lead generation is a constant challenge for real estate agents who must always be on the lookout for properties to list or clients to represent. The key to successfully finding leads is realizing that even if a prospect doesn’t want to buy or sell their home or property on the spot, obtaining their contact information is the first step in eventually landing the listing or making the sale.
Place Classified AdsCreate generalized ads for online classified sites to offer your services to both buyers and sellers. If you have a property to list, offer just enough photos and a limited but enticing description of the property to pique their interest. If you do not have a property to list, use the ad to explain how you can help people find their dream property or help them get the highest price when selling. Track the results of your ad to see how much traffic your ad generates, and then refine the ad and test it again to boost the amount of leads you receive.

Purchase a ListLists of homeowners are available for purchase from a variety of companies like Experian. Look for lists including the length of time homeowners have been in their homes. A list showing renters is another option for representing buyers, as many renters will be transitioning into homebuyers. Older generations that may want to downsize give you another potential list to pursue, especially useful if you represent properties in senior communities. Once you obtain a suitable list, create a letter or other promotional materials to encourage them to list their home with you or to seek your representation in finding a new residence.

Boost Open House SuccessOpen houses give you a way to generate leads from people who are interested in buying a home, but who have not yet enlisted the services of an agent. Use your open house signs, social media posting, website and advertisements to let everyone know they are welcome to the event, not just other agents. Talk to everyone who comes to the open house to find out if they need representation. For those without an agent, get as much detail on what type of property they want as possible, including the neighborhoods they like and their budget. Contact them as soon as the open house is done to set up a time to look at properties that fit their needs.

Promote OnlineTighten up your website to make it welcoming and friendly, and provide a form visitors can fill in to indicate their interest, including price range. Use social media to keep followers informed on your listings. Include a few photos to show off each property to pique interest and encourage visitors to go to your website for more details. Tell success stories of each home or property you sold or found for your clients. Let followers know what type of real estate you want to list in case they, or their acquaintances, know someone who wants to sell.

Contact Past ClientsIf you’ve been a real estate agent for a while, seek referrals from your past clients. Email or call them to mention properties they might be interested in for themselves if they’re back on the market. Explain that if they are not looking now, you welcome the chance to work with their family members or friends who are interested in buying or selling a property. Find out if the person is buying or selling. Rather than wait for your past client to share your contact information with the interested party, take the initiative and ask for the referral’s phone number or email address. Then contact the person and be prepared to talk about a potential property for sale, or explain how you helped someone else get top dollar when they sold their property.

Job Description for a Real Estate Sales Manager

Throughout the country, there are many real estate offices filled with agents going about their day selling homes. Although real estate agents are usually better known, most of them have to report to someone, especially if they work out of a broker’s office. The real estate sales director is the person charged with running the team of sales agents and making sure they stay on task to do their job.

Experience and Salary

  • In order to become the sales director of a real estate office, you need to have spent some time as a real estate sales agent. Many companies require you to have had at least 5 years of real estate sales experience and at least a few years of management experience. Often an advanced degree, such as an MBA, is also required. This experience is rewarded handsomely with the median income for this type of position being more than $78,000 per year.

Managing Sales Agents

  • Managing the sales team is perhaps the largest portion of this position’s duties. The sales director is responsible for recruiting and retaining sales staff. Once hired, they are tasked with ongoing training and leadership. They must coach and counsell team members should any issues arise with their performance.

Managing the Sales Office

  • The sales director is also responsible for the running of the sales office. This usually includes preparing and sticking to a yearly operations budget to make sure costs are kept in check. They need to schedule and conduct staff meetings to get information into their staff’s hands quickly and be available to answer all questions. They should have a strong knowledge of any regulatory requirements to guide the sales team in the right direction.


  • There is a selling aspect to this position as well. Often, the sales director will have his own sales goal. In addition to selling his own properties, he must come up with selling incentives and training programs to keep his agents at the top of their game. Part of his job is to oversee the implementation of any program in order to keep attracting clients to the business.

Knowledge of Mortgage Lending

  • Finally, the sales director must be able to calculate mortgage rates and be able to provide insight to what the laws are regarding various types of mortgages. Although a bank is the provider of a loan, many buyers look to their real estate agents for help. The sales director should at least be able to answer simple questions about mortgages and lending and have a good relationship with a lender to get answers for more difficult questions.

How Real Estate is Growing in Hyderabad

Hyderabad is a place located in Andhra Pradesh, India; also called as Pearl City. One of the largest cities in south India and best suited for business trading. Hyderabad has people coming in from every place in India; it has an IT Hub, Great Educational Institutes and also the best travel destination. Though ever y sector has grown the real estate has been peaking top since 5 years. People have invested in real estate and made good income.

Most of them would like to know how real estate is growing in Hyderabad, as many people from different states of India come here to start this business. They invest huge sum and expect great outputs.  The scope of real estate has increased in Hyderabad as the land valuations, huge populations and software hubs are making their way.The growth of real estate in Hyderabad has made people to own lands, apartments and villas very quickly before the rates reach higher than expected.  NRI’s are the one main reason why real estate is flourishing in this city; NRI’s invest a lot on lands and apartments.  Even people with less education have started real estate offices on outskirts of Hyderabad. Most of the farmers are selling acres of land at cheap price which is making people purchase them and sell them for huge pricing.  It’s very easy to start a real estate business for a fresher in Hyderabad as it gives opportunity to earn in different ways. You can be a broker or agent and get good commission from both the seller and buyer.  You can also advertise using different media and sell houses, villas and plots with huge commission, but you need to have good deal with the real estate owner.  There are places in Hyderabad where land rates are moving up and down, there could be many reasons for the land valuation.

This Pearl City has provided opportunity of thousands to live a happy life; people have started many web portals on real estate and maintaining a vast database of information with convenient locations, Luxury Features, budget and type of property.  People have given more importance in purchasing apartments which are cheaper and make a good community.  The real estate owners have almost build apartments in every location with good planning.  Since last two years there were rumors that due to regional conflicts the real estate has gone down drastically but which is not true and it still stand the same.  The city has been expanding very rapidly which is actually giving IT and software companies to purchase their land no matter what the cost are. If one is looking to purchase any property in Hyderabad you have many options, you can contact many real estate agents or owner and also look in for many good real estate web portals where you have option of choosing your budget, location and type of property.

Selling Real Estate Without a Real Estate License

You do not need a real estate license to sell real estate…unless you are representing another party and receiving compensation for it. That is the law in most states. The sellers and buyers are excluded from the law, thus the FSBO.

As a real estate investor, you must be careful on how you transact your deals. If you are using an agent now, or if you are buying directly from a seller, then you are okay.

If another investor or a friend calls you and asks you to sell their property by getting a buyer, please be careful that you are not acting as a realtor. Or if a friend owns an apartment building and asks you to manage it for him, you will be acting as an agent if he is paying you. One of his disgruntled tenants may report you?

As an investor, if you want to manage your own properties and or sell them, you are lawfully permitted. For the most part, anything that you do for yourself is permitted.

Now here is where you have to watch what you are doing. As you advance as a real estate investor and want to get involved with assignments, you must learn to do it correctly within the exclusions of the real estate laws.

As a real estate investor who wants to do assignments, you may do with a realtor who understands the whole transaction. You and or your closing company need to sit down with the real estate agents and sellers, and explain it to them. The transaction is simple…if you understand it.

To those that do not understand, it may seem suspicious? So take the time now so it can be explained in the future to all the involved parties. You don’t want a nice deal falling apart later?The mechanics are as such…the real estate investor agrees to purchase the property from a seller with the ability to be able to assign it. The real estate investor now has an equitable interest in this property.

The real estate investor now becomes the seller, in that he is selling through an assignment process his equitable interests within the property to a new resale buyer. For an assignment fee, the difference between the buy and sell price, is paid to the real estate investor by the resale buyer in exchange for the rights to the original agreement of sale between the seller and the investor.

It may appear to sound complicated, but trust me, after you close the first one and you have a nice check in your hand, it only gets easier. A good agent and closing agent make for a smooth closing.

Why not just do it the traditional way you ask? Very simply, it is faster and has much less costs involved to the real estate investor. Many end lenders have a seasoning time of 6-12 months. This means that if a real estate investor buys a property, that a conventional lender will not loan money on a resale for at least 6-12 months after purchase. Ties up the investors money for up to a year, and adds additional holding and closing costs.

With an assignment transaction, you can turn many more properties without tying up monies. This means that you get paid faster and not have to worry about a changing real estate market. Your agents will also earn more money.

4 Beginner Friendly CrossFit Workouts

A CrossFit workout is a high intensity workout which combines the best of bodybuilding, running, gymnastics and such. If you are just a beginner don’t be intimidated by the cross fit athletes. Cross fit workouts are for everyone. Listed below are a few CrossFit workouts which will challenge you and will inspire you to make it your workout regime.

Workout #1: Half Cindy

This Workout of the day (WOD) consists of 5 Pull-ups, 10 pushups and 15 Air squats.

It starts with 10 minutes and as per your body’s stamina you could repeat As Many Rounds As Possible(AMRAP). Once you are okay with this, you could go for Full Cindy which will take about 20 minutes of your time.

Sometimes when you are just a beginner you may feel tired and would have the urge to abandon the exercise midway, which is a normal thought. But CrossFit workouts are flexible, it allows modifications like assisted pull ups instead of pull ups, to help you finish the workout routine.

Workout #2: CrossFit total

Are you willing to test your strength and will power? This WOD is not about the time. It’s about getting you familiarized with the weightlifting aspect of it. It involves 5 back squats, 3 overhead presses and 3 dead lifts.

Workout #3: Helen

This WOD involves a 400 m run, combined with 21 American kettlebell swings and 12 pushups, three times(3 Rounds). You are expected to do it as fast as possible. You might get all excited and use up all the energy in the first round. But the key to doing this the right way is strategically putting in equal energy in all the 3 rounds so you are not exhausted in the first set.

Workout #4: Situps, Lunges

15 sit-ups and 15 Lunges for 3 Rounds makes this WOD. In this workout you need to work out as fast as you can for three minutes with a rest for 2 minutes in between and then workout again. You need to repeat this and yes, you need to focus on matching the count of sit-ups or lunges you had done in the first round. So save up on energy and get going.

So, now that you know about these amazing CrossFit workouts, why not try them out in your spare time? If required, you can also use Groupon Coupons and get an amazing discount on the workout tutorials and even your favorite gym membership in Denver.


Listing Your Commercial Property with a Commercial Real Estate Agent

The growth of the real estate industry has prompted more and more people to invest in the business. A lot of people are acquiring commercial properties, and then they are selling them off or leasing them for profit. However, a number of people get stuck when it comes to listing the property with a commercial real estate agent. It is a fairly simple process, but it has proved to be a daunting task for people who do not know what to do. The following are steps to follow when one wants to list a commercial property with a commercial real estate agent.

Make all necessary preparations

This is the first and most important part of the process. When one wants to purchase or lease a property, the first thing they will check is the state of the property. This is why one has to prepare the property before it is listed. These preparations include clearing the property of any unnecessary furniture, dirt and the likes. Properties that go to the market looking dirty do not do well. The next thing that one should to is to try to renovate where necessary. This may include painting, installing light fixtures and the likes. This is done in an effort to make the place more attractive for any potential buyers or tenants. Once the property has been cleaned and repaired, one can be sure they will get a good response from the market.

Due diligence

Due diligence is an equally important step when one is listing a commercial property for sale of lease. Due diligence, in this case, refers to the extra steps that the owner of the commercial property will take to ensure that the property being offered for sale or lease gets the required kind and amount of targeted customers. Here, the owner of the property will conduct in depth research of the property that he or she is offering to the customers. This is done in an effort to answer most, if not all of the customers questions way before the ask them. The owner will write a description of the property, which includes its location, the size of the space, the state in which the property is in, the amount of rent required per square foot if the property is up for lease as well as any other relevant information. This will ensure that the owner reaches his or her targeted clients.

Using a commercial real estate agent

This is the last part of the listing process. Once the property has been prepared and the due diligence has been done, one will seek out a commercial real estate agent.  The commercial real estate agent will take all the information that has been provided and will also take some photographs as well as any other relevant information from the owner. The agent will then be tasked with the duties of advertising the property to potential buyers and tenants and also answering any and all questions that they may have concerning the property.

In conclusion, the real estate industry has grown significantly over the years. To ensure one gets the result that he or she was hoping for, one has to ensure that the necessary steps are followed when listing a commercial property with a real estate agent. The extent to which one goes to ensure that the process is followed to the letter is more often than not directly proportional to the response that the individual will get from the market when the commercial property is listed. It is important to ensure it is done right.

Written by the experts at Columbia Real Estate, the most knowledgeable agents for commercial real estate Columbia, MO has to offer.

Antriksh Eco Homes ensure smart connectivity

Antriksh group presents new township named Eco Homes in one of the most sought after location of Delhi. The project is proposed to be constructed in L zone which adjoins Dwarka in West Delhi. This housing project is a dream comes true for majority of people who wish to own space in Delhi. Investing in this project        is added advantage as people will enjoy smart transportation in future. Transportation is one of the important challenges in smart city.

The location of Antriksh Eco Homes is offering easy accessibility to Dwarka, South Delhi, Gurgaon and other adjoins areas of Delhi. The township ensures smooth ride to destinations like Dwarka sector 21 metro station, IGI airport, upcoming Diplomatic Enclave, forthcoming AIIMS 2 and IP University.

Capital city Delhi is dealing with the problem of congestion, longer time in commuting and sometimes out of service red lights. The city has registered increase in vehicals in past few years and with it what has aroused is the pollution level.

The township is planned to ensure fresh and healthy air to all its residents along with smart transportation. Transport infrastructure of the city is poor and needs to be constructed in a modern way.


New Delhi Municipal Corporation is reviewing suggestions from experts in order to provide silky smooth transport facility to the city. Delhi can get rid of traffic congestion with

Smart traffic routing

In accordance to this process, smart sensors will be placed in and alongside roads to detect traffic flows. Traffic flow can be analyzed through back end system which can determine number of intervals for traffic signals for easy flow of traffic even during peak hours. Traffic signals response in real-time will improve mobility and trips. Application like TrafiCam xstrem in Moscow can also be introduced in the capital city Delhi which can provide traffic update on mobiles.

Smart Parking

The township offers covered car parking inside the fence but people find parking difficult at public places. Wireless sensors can be put in at parking zones that can detect whether the parking space is occupied or not. This is an international way of parking used as MobyPark in Netherlands and Streetline in New York City. The data received through this process will be then transmitted to a central system which will be sent to smart phones of those who are searching for parking spots.

The current AAP Government has introduced a new law to curb traffic congestion and pollution problem in the city. The new law undertakes that personal cars with even and odd numbers will be running on alternate days from January 1st 2016. Expert’s feels that this rule will help in allowing smooth flow of traffic, reduction in air pollution and increase in usage of public transport.

Delhi smart city will be enabled with metro corridors which can offer easy connectivity to people who commute to any which part of the city. The already in use DMRC (Delhi Metro Rail Corporation) is an additional transport facility people can enjoy in Delhi. The smart city project has come as a gift for the people of Delhi. The project Eco Homes is in close vincity to Dwarka metro station. The metro ride provides comfortable travelling time and the expansion of metro routes in South Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, West, East and North Delhi will help people enjoy more time with their family and friends.

For More Information:     Antriksh Eco Homes

Real Estate Agents in Almaty

In some previous post, the topic of accommodation was covered, however,  I thought I should just create an additional post about real estate agents, as this question is asked quite frequently by visitors to this blog.

There are quite a large number of Real Estate agencies available in Almaty.
My personal experience is that some agencies are more interested in the higher end of the rental market, so if you find that you are receiving poor service just move on the next agency… I am sure someone will value your business.

Here is a list of those that I am familiar with… there are many more but they tend to be smaller agencies.

Almaty Property Solutions

Almaty Real Estate

Cores Group

Luxor Realty  email: Tel: +7 727 3179996, 2324233

Mayor Mr

Scot Holland

Solomon Real Estate


The Real estate agencies don’t update their websites frequently and I have found that some apartments and houses has been on some of these sites for years. They also tend to “recycle” the photos, using one apartment’s photos to advertise a different apartment. So, it can be really hard to judge an apartment based on their websites. The only way to know what you are getting is by viewing the actual apartments.

However, if you really want to do your research, I have a solution.
Krisha is a local website where agencies and individuals can post their properties for sale or for rent
This is a good site if you just want to get a realistic idea of what is available at what price at this moment in time, as individuals post on this site on a daily basis. Many locals and those fluent in Russian use this site to find their apartments in Almaty and skip the real estate agents all together. However, if your company will not be assisting you with all the legal paper work etc. in renting accommodation in Almaty, I would not suggest this option to you.
Google chrome to translate the website in to English – if your Russian is bad or non- existent, at least this site will give you a better idea of what you could find in your price bracket.

How-To Guide – Is Real Estate Investing Right For You?

For me the greatest source of income is still movies. Nothing – stocks, financial speculation, real estate speculation or businesses – makes more money for me than making movies.
Jackie Chan

I have 1900 units, why do I need a 401K?
Robert Kiyosaki, recent interview Time Magazine

To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.
William Shakespeare

From Robert Kiyosaki to Donald Trump, from Robert Allen Carleton Sheets, from Dolf de Roos to Diane Kennedy, investing in real estate is touted as a way for average people with time, money and patience to build wealth.

But is investing in real estate right wealth vehicle for everyone? If this were a one-size fits-all-world the answer would be yes. But, then, stocks would be the perfect investment vehicle for everyone and the discussion would end there. I have had investment real estate since 1994. I have had tenants attempt to squat in my properties, I have been sued, I have had a unit vandalized, someone drove into one of my buildings and I gave gone through my fair share of property managers.

If I knew then, what I know now, would I have bought my first property? The answer is yes. Real estate has done more for me than the stock market has with less overall financial risk despite the headaches and they have been many.

Five Ways to Know if Real Estate Investing is Right for You.

1. Are you a good manager of your personal resources or do you have significant amounts of short term debt? If the answers are no and yes, in that order, do not invest in real estate until you address these issues. Real estate is illiquid. Once purchased, the hold time on your new property may be significantly longer than you anticipate. This means that your potential exposure to unplanned expenses on your property may be longer than anticipated. Significant amounts of short term debt or the inability to plan your finances in anticipation of expenses may turn your real estate investment into a financial nightmare.

2. Are you a team player and can you captain that team? Investing in real estate means partnering with others to ensure your success and recognizing that your partners may know more than you. You will encounter brokers, property managers, attorneys, handy men, plumbers, electricians, contractors, roofers, inspectors, mortgage brokers and appraisers. If you are a control freak, prefer to work alone or cannot be direct in your communication when working with people, real estate investing may not be right for you.

3. Do you understand the kind of investing you will be doing? Will you be investing for cashflow or speculating for appreciation? Do you have the analytical tools necessary to help you work up a pro-forma for the property you will be buying?

4. Do you truly understand that wealth-building in real estate occurs over many years and that you have to “survive” your first couple of properties to build wealth? Over 20 years ago I started baking bread. The guide book I bought featured a “loaf for learning”, a basic loaf that I could practice kneading, mixing and still turn out an edible product. Your first properties will be “buildings for learning”. As you move beyond the initial learning curve, you will move on to create wealth. In certain markets, real-estate can produce appreciation returns beyond expectations and create the illusion that real estate produces instant cash. In my life I have seen two such markets. Frankly I would not want my future financial well-being to rest on my ability to time markets. Sophisticated investors have as their core investments, cashflow properties, properties that perform during hot or cold markets.

5. How do you react to unpleasant business news? Is your overall reaction anger that dissipates into a sense of helplessness or do you become a problem solver? Being able to solve problems is the key to having a successful business and investing in real-estate is a business. Real-estate is also a people business, by this I mean your tenants are people and the service personnel who will work on and market your properties are people. If the failings of others afflicts you with moral indignation and heartache, real estate investing is not for you. Tenants will fail to pay the rent and you will have to evict them, your property manager will charge you market or above market for repairs and will fail to market your properties properly in order to keep them full.

While real estate investing is a great way to build wealth, investing in real estate isn’t for everyone. It is easy to “catch the fever” and jump without looking, the first step is to make sure that you know yourself; these five points of consideration will assist you to that end.

The next step is to educate yourself about your local market, financing options, price and rents. You can start by finding a local Cashflow or real estate investing club. If you join a local real estate investing club make sure some of the members actually own investment property. That way the club won’t just be a club of “wannabes”.

Next assemble your team of property managers, accountants, brokers and agents. You will do this by interviewing prospects. Once you decide on a team, you will still have to trade the members out from time to time.

Real Estae For Beginners

There are many ways to make money in real estate. If capital is available, investing in property can create a steady cash flow of income. If cash isn’t readily available, the easiest way to get into real estate investing is to become a sales agent. Once you make enough cash as an agent to begin investing in real estate, there are several options to generate money and utilize your first-hand knowledge of the market.

Selling Real Estate

  • A career as a real estate agent can be lucrative as the income potential is unlimited. Agents are paid on a commission basis. The commission is a percentage of the selling price of a home. Money from commissions can be set aside to be put toward investing in real estate. If you have no prior experience with real estate, becoming an agent can teach you to recognize market trends and the best times to buy or hold onto property. Agents are also the first to know about the best investment opportunities on the market.

Income Property

    • Investing in real estate is a great way to earn passive income. Many real estate investors will buy a property and rent it out to a tenant. Investment properties located next to a beach or in the mountains can be marketed as vacation rentals. When purchasing an income property, determine the costs associated with having a rental. If the property is purchased with a loan, then mortgage payments, property maintenance expenses and property taxes will need to be deducted from the tenant’s rental payment before you pocket the cash.

Flipping Homes

  • Another income-earning option in real estate is to purchase a distressed home, rehabilitate it and resell it at its new value. This process is known as flipping a home. Many investors will look for homes priced below market in need of repairs. Many times these homes will not qualify for a loan, so the investor must have cash available to make the purchase. The investor must also have a good idea of the cost to rehabilitate the home so a profit can be made once it is resold.

Tenants in Common

  • An easier way to get into real estate investing is to gather a group of friends or family members and buy a piece of property together. This way of holding title to a property is known as tenants-in-common. All the parties involved hold a fractional ownership of the property. The burden of a down payment and other costs are lessened if it is divided among many people. Every owner will have access to the property and each will be responsible for paying his own share of the ongoing expenses. Any income that is generated from the property is divided among the owners.

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The Quick Home Selling Guide For The Real Estate Investor

Selling a house is something that anyone can do. You can find all of the information you need by a quick search on the internet. Whether you use a Realtor or do it yourself, it will go much more smoothly if you do a little preparation first. Here is a guide to selling your investment property.

1. Before you sell: Buy right: If you want to sell your investment property quickly, Capital Construction recommends you renovate it quickly to make for a quick flip. Make sure that your numbers work. If you calculate the cost of buying and cost of selling and there is not a profit to be found, do not even buy it. If it is the wrong property to sell quickly, it is likely not to sell for a long time.

2. Advertising and find buyers: Once you buy a property right, you need to think how you will market it. It is best if you have a huge buyer’s list already but there are many other ways to market the property to potential buyers. These include advertising on the internet (powerful tool), bandit signs, direct mails, and open houses. Write down all the details and description about the property, and put on as many pictures as you can. This makes buyer’s decision much easier. Show the house in its very best condition. Make the first impression the best impression. Get rid of dirt and garbage, de-clutter and remove any excess furniture. Paint and repair as necessary.

3. Prescreen buyers: Unfortunately, not all buyers are as equally interested in your property, some are not ready to buy yet. You want to prescreen buyers as quickly as possible so that you can focus on a few serious and qualified buyers and do not waste your time on the others.

4. Negotiating: Once you have an offer you need to decide what is the maximum price that you can achieve. Think about the offer, how close it is to the price you want and how quickly they can move.

5. Follow up: Sometimes property buying can take some time so you need to follow up from time to time right up until closing day. Build up a good rapport with your buyers as it helps things go quickly and smoothly.

6. Closing: It is important to ensure that all the tax and legal requirements are adhered to, so this is best handled by your lawyer. There are a considerable number of legal documents that need to be understood and completed. This is not a task for the untrained.

I hope that this guide will help you sell a house quickly. Real estate investing is team work. Always ask for professional advice when you need it. Good luck!

Purchasing a Second Home in College Towns

Investing in real estate has long been a proven way of accumulating wealth. There are some investors who make their millions by speculation and a deep understanding of the changing real estate market around them. Others fall into the category purely by luck! It was a job transfer, where they grew up, inheritance, etc. Regardless of the basis, the common denominator is real property. A way to diversify your assets from the often volatile stock market.

There are as many different types of real estate investors as there are mutual funds to invest in. You have those who flip property, foreclosure sales, auctions, speculate, residential, commercial, industrial, raw land, rental income, etc. The list goes on and on. For most conservative investors who make their money in a specific profession, the types of real estate investments that interest them are typically a little less exotic. It might be making the transition from renting into buying a primary residence or a second step could be the purchasing of a second home.

What I would propose more parents think about is the possibility of purchasing a second home for their son or daughter while they attend college. On the scale of risk aversion, this type of real estate investment is fairly safe. First of all, it fulfills an immediate need. Either way, money will most likely be spent on rent for the 4-5 years that kids go to school these days. And that is simply for a bachelor’s degree, not including the possibility of an extended masters program. If the money parents typically spend on rent goes towards a mortgage payment, the possibility of walking away with an appreciated asset is significant.

Managing rental property might not be too appealing for the introductory level investor, but it doesn’t necessarily equate to a negative experience. In fact, there are several management companies that can assume the role of property management for an average fee of 7-8% gross monthly income. However, don’t miss the opportunity to let your son or daughter learn how to manage the property investment while they are living there. In fact, there is an excellent real estate investing guide specific for college students that I’ve read recently called, “College Real Estate.”

One thing is for certain though. There is plenty of room for growth in the Texas real estate market. And to take that one step farther, I would submit to you that one of the next big areas of real estate growth will continue to be the acquisition of off campus student housing by both large investors and financially savvy parents looking for a return on their investment. As the number of college students enrolled in America grows 20% over the next 10 years, so to will the demand for student housing.

Five Rules to Remember When Dealing with Real Estate Agents; Why are New Home Sales So Low? How Big is the Pool of Eligible Home Buyers?

A reader asked me to comment on historically low mortgage rates and their effect on housing. He asked because Realtors are telling him mortgage rates prove now is a “great time to buy”.

That comment prompted me to write Five Rules to Remember When Dealing with Real Estate Agents

Rule Number One

Real estate agents will always say “Now is a Great Time to Buy” no matter what the trend of prices, mortgage rates, or inventory.

Here are some phrases to expect depending on current conditions.

  1. Prices are going up, better act fast.
  2. Alternatively, prices are falling, homes won’t last long at these prices.


  1. Interest rates are going up, better buy quick before you get priced out.
  2. Alternatively, mortgage rates are falling, they won’t go much lower.


  1. Inventory is huge. It’s a buyers’ market.
  2. Alternatively, Inventory is shrinking fast. Don’t let your dream home pass you by.

Rule Number Two

Unless you specifically have a buyers’ agent negotiating on your behalf, the agent represents the seller.

Rule Number Three

The agent has only two missions:

  • To get you to buy something
  • To get you to pay as much as possible so the agent make the largest commission possible

Rule Number Four

As a result of rules one, two, and three, it is imperative to be skeptical about anything positive your agent says.

Rule Number Five

It’s equally important, if not more important, to take cues from what the agent does not say. For example, if the agent does not say anything about the school district, it is probably a poorly rated school district. Also, don’t expect the agent to tell you if a crack house is next door, gangs have taken over a neighboring block, the tap water tastes like sulfur, or the street floods every April. At most, agents will only disclose what the law says they must.

How Big is the Pool of Eligible Home Buyers?

Here is a set of questions that will explain what is happening now.

How many people ….

  1. Don’t have a house?
  2. Want a house?
  3. Can afford a house, upkeep, and property taxes?
  4. Have a needed cash cushion in the bank?
  5. Have a decent down payment for a house?
  6. Have a salary that can support interest and principal payments even at these low rates?
  7. Are not scared s*less about the loss of a job, assuming they do want a house and meet the rest of the conditions?

Someone needs to meet all of those conditions before they will buy a new house. How many is that?

I just happen to have the answer.

New Home Sales at 1963 Levels

The Los Angeles Times reports New home sales drop to six-month low

Sales of newly built homes fell in July to the lowest level in six months, as the nation’s housing market continues to struggle.

Newly constructed single-family homes sold at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 298,000, putting the industry on a pace to post the lowest annual sales since the Commerce Department began keeping data in 1963.

Is the eligible buyers’ pool getting bigger or smaller?

The trend says smaller, in spite of falling interest rates and falling prices. Many items on my 7 point list are more important than interest rates, notably 1, 2, 3, 5, and 7.

That is the psychology of the situation and I see little reason for it to change until the labor market changes first.

Stepping Your Way to Real Estate Investing Riches

A championship caliber athletic team doesn’t begin the season by climbing into a bus and heading to the stadium to collect the trophy without having played a game. There are a number of stops along the way, some intense competition, and probably at least a few losses. Only by learning from mistakes and capitalizing on opportunity does a team get to play for the championship – and hopefully – the lessons learned along the way have laid the groundwork for their ultimate victory dance.

The same holds true for a real estate investor with dreams of creating wealth out of thin air. Succeeding in real estate requires a series of well-timed, perfectly executed steps to ensure your financial victory in some of the most competitive markets in the world. You don’t simply go from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’, collect a few deeds along the way, and write your way into “Who’s Who in Real Estate Investing”.

Instead, you have to start with a solid framework of educational know-how – techniques and strategies that you can put into practice – that will give you a place at the table and the opportunity for you to create sustainable real estate wealth.

Once you’ve got an educational framework in place, you need to plan for success. Planning includes goal setting – making a determination of what you want to accomplish – as well as deciding how you want to execute your plan in reaching your destination.

These strategies are daily activities you’ll perform like clockwork. Just as washing your hair is a process of rinse, lather, repeat, real estate investing is a process of locating properties that make sense, negotiating their purchase, and deciding on the best course of action to take to pull maximum profit out of every deal. Sometimes it’s a quick flip after a rehab; other times you’ll buy and hold. Determining the best strategies for maximum profits is critical to your success as an investor.

When you’re first getting started, you’re afraid of making mistakes, and this fear can cause paralysis, which will prevent you from reaching the success you’re dreaming of realizing. Instead of allowing this paralysis to set in, reach your hand out to someone who has been down the road you’re on; a mentor of sorts that has the experience to gently guide you towards the winner’s circle with advice, encouragement, and welcome words of wisdom.

The one element missing that stands between you and reaching your dreams is a good coach. No ball team has never won a championship without good coaching, and real estate investing is no different. By navigating your web browser to REI Conferences you’ll receive the individualized support you need to shave years off your real estate investing learning curve, avoid costly errors along the way, and expedite the process of creating a real estate dynasty all your own.

Will it take work on your part? You betcha. Are your results guaranteed? If you listen to your coach and follow their advice, you can’t go wrong. While nothing in life worth having is guaranteed, one thing is assured. Your coach will give you rock solid advice, encouragement, and education that will put you in the best possible position to succeed in real estate.

By placing your trust in REI Conferences you’re assured that the future is bright and that the championship is yours. You can’t win the championship if your rear end remains firmly planted on the couch. So what are you waiting for? A solid plan for the future, a step by step process, and a willingness to take action to affect your future – and that of your family – is all that stands between you and the financial rewards you’re dreaming about. The first step is the easiest: Move your right hand and click your computer mouse on

The Optimists’ Club aka PT Barnum was Right

Seems there are people out there who are still determined to many money in real estate. So says an article in the Sunday NYTimes.

Two words for them: Good luck.

While I admire their drive and ambition, having been there and done that, I can honestly say that the odds are that this young woman will be getting a reality check in her name much sooner than an actual paycheck:

“I’m a very self-sufficient person,” she said. “I did my clothing line because it’s my passion, my creativity, how I express myself. I’m doing real estate for money. To fuel my passion, I need money.”

Ms. Tomas made $47,000 a year at H&M; as an agent, she said, “I’m looking to make twice that, if not more.”

Expectations, however, can be a mismatch with reality.

“I ask them, ‘What are people telling you you’re going to make?’ And they say $250,000 — in their first year!” said Olinda Turturro with a laugh. She is the director of recruiting at Bond New York, a midsize brokerage that employs about 200 sales and rental agents.

Recruiters for brokerage firms say that a new agent can expect to earn about $50,000 a year.

I’d say that $50K in the first year isn’t even that realistic. Consider the source: It’s a recruiter talking, and $50K sounds like okay money for a first year agent, right? I’d say the reality is more in the $30K range. And this is before taxes.

Several colleagues of mine from the biz would definitely agree, and we’re talking hard-working, educated, driven people, not scrubs who stumbled into this line of work because it’s easy to get into and less messy than burger flipping.

This is more realistic:

The journey from contract to closing can drag on for months. And even longtime agents may not close any deals for weeks on end.

Kevin Ryan-Young, 45, a former arts administrator and stay-at-home father, closed his first sale in December, six months after starting as an agent at Bond New York. So far, his take has been in the low four figures. “There’s not a lot of money,” he said. This despite working 10 hours a day for six or seven days a week.

His experience is not atypical.

“Someone coming into the biz, who is going to focus on sales from Day 1, should have at least a six-month nest egg, and it would probably be better to have more than that,” said Stephen Love, a longtime broker who directs recruiting at Ardor New York Real Estate.

“I see it happen all the time,” Mr. Love continued. “People come in without enough money behind them. They find themselves in a situation where they become highly anxious and it can be a downward spiral. It affects you mentally. Your bills are coming due every 30 days and you’re not making any money.”

Yes, been there, done that. Luckily I had backup, but even that backup wasn’t the sort of thing I liked relying on day to day or month to month. Let me put it to you simply: It’s incredibly disheartening to work your ass off seven days a week and see NOTHING. Not a single dollar. And yes, this can and does happen in real estate.

People think they can get into RE and have time to pursue their hobbies, passions, and volunteer to do benevolent things like help homeless pets. However, the most successful agents are constantly on call. The job never really ends. Weekends aren’t yours–they belong to customers and brokers who need to see available properties. That wouldn’t be so bad, but weekdays aren’t yours either, as those same customers and brokers expect agents to be around daily to attend to their needs. Don’t believe me, newbie agents? Just try taking a day off and see what happens. The work can become quite all-consuming and exhausting pretty fast.

It’s a devil’s deal, in my opinion. Perhaps if a person actually makes good money, the tradeoff (your life for money) is worth it. Maybe they can bank the money and eventually pursue other interests and have a real life again. However, the odds are in favor of a lot of hard work and an income that’s not in at all in proportion to the work one puts in. In other words, totally suckage for as long as one is willing to put up with it.

Sounds like a whole new batch of rookie brokers are about to learn that hard, soul-sucking lesson. Good luck.

Trouble In Paradise – Celebrity Foreclosures

The popular media, ever bored of actual news, has been enjoying something of a field day, thanks to the more extreme stories arising from the problematic real estate market. Perhaps, in an attempt to make millions of people faced with mortgage problems feel better about their own desperate situation, the feeding frenzy surrounding the failed finances of the rich and famous, has reached fever pitch.

Whether it’s celebrated California beach houses, once valued at $30 million and now selling for peanuts, or acres of South Florida condos being devastated by a hurricane of foreclosures, the national press, TV news and web bloggers seem positively thrilled to be able to deliver the latest tales of doom.

And the global obsession with celebrity has, of course, allowed for some truly depressing tales of excess and failure. Take, for example, Academy Award winning Hollywood actor Nicolas Cage. His apparent obsession with multiple home ownership, and subsequent losses, has made him a popular target of much media derision. Several homes lighter, he has become the poster boy for seriously flawed property portfolio management. And as each overpaid sports star, musician, actor or reality TV ‘celebrity’, joins the growing list of those faced with losing their multi-million dollar houses, the media are there to revel in the sordid exploits, and depressing downfalls, of once lauded names.

Should it really come as a surprise to us, that those living in, what appears to be such an artificial world, are just as likely to find themselves in trouble as the rest of us? After all, they are only singers, movie stars and quarter backs, not finance experts. Some, sadly, have employed greedy, or incompetent, accountants while others have simply squandered money on lavish lifestyles, without a thought for tomorrow. The majority of home owners in trouble today have not had the luxury, or the arrogance, to believe that they are untouchable. The global crisis affects us all, whatever our circumstances, and we should be concerned equally, or more so, for our neighbors as we are for celebrity defaulters.

Like the rest of us, it seems that the popular media really doesn’t know what will happen in the housing market in the near, or long-term, future. Despite the daily diet of upbeat predictions, or equally frequent counter-tales of forecasted gloom, we are at least able to gain some gratification and comfort knowing that those big names, to whom so many of us look for inspiration, are as equally impaired and desperate as the rest of us. Well, nearly.

Lugano Real Estate Agents

“Moving on, is a simple thing, what it leaves behind is hard.”
Dave Mustaine

Springtime not only brings out the flowers, blooms and strawberries (yes, we are big “Fragole” lovers) but the season also uproots many expatriates who start planning their move from one place to another over the summer period in order to fit in with childrens’ scholastic calendar.

I have received quite a few requests via my blog over the last couple of weeks from people who are considering moving to Lugano.

With these readers in mind, I have posted more logistical information over the past days and will continue doing so up until Easter. I have written about Shipping companies, Supermarkets and the Cost of living in Switzerland. Furniture stores, Kitchen outfitters and tips for moving to Switzerland will follow soon.

Below you’ll find a list of Real Estate agents that I have worked with in the past either to buy or to sell our house. Remember Lugano is a small town so make sure you don’t waste time visiting the same house twice, especially if you are only flash-visiting and need to decide on the spot. Been there, done that! 😉

The two largest Real Estate websites in Switzerland and Just click on the link, chose your region and you’re surfing.

By the way, our house is also on the market. Click her to take a peek inside:Villa for sale in Lugano.

Get Smart And Follow These Tips On Selling Real Estate

When you decide to sell your property, you get what you put into the process. The sellers who is most informed and educated will often reap the best in real estate arm themselves with information.This article has many tips and methods to ensure you become smarter about real-estate selling.

Make sure all the rooms in your home are well-lit before inviting potential buyers for a viewing. A well-lit home will not only appear larger, and will put buyers at ease about potential problems in a home that is darkly lit.You may see more interested buyers if you turned on the lights.

If you are going to resell your home, you should look at it as a valuable commodity and take better care of it than you would your own home. This allows you break your expectations and negotiations once you the ability to market it to its fullest extent.

Use as many different channels as necessary to find or market your real estate. You will want to exercise every option available in order to achieve the avenues that are open to help you find the success you are seeking.

Try to sell your old house before moving to your new one if possible. It can be extremely difficult to keep up payments on two residences while waiting to obtain a buyer for your previous home.

A newer investor will likely to learn the hard way that there are serious downsides to being new to the game.

Clean up your yard to boost your home for sale. Things like busted fences, like broken fences, overgrown plants, giant compost heaps and dingy garden furniture can quickly turn off potential buyers and lower the overall value of the property.

Select a real estate agent with care before selling your home.You should know that your agent you are working with knows what they are doing. An experienced real estate agent with good credentials will make your transactions run more smoothly and at the best price.

Price your home fairly to save yourself time and trouble.

Get rid of the clutter if you show your home.

Just by making some small updates to your kitchen you can have a big impact on the value of your home. You may want to switch out one appliance to update the look and provide a focal point. It’s quite expensive to install new kitchen cabinets, so try repainting them for a new look.

The little efforts involved in keeping up with painting, painting, and other small repairs can be a bother for many homeowners. However, if you don’t keep these items up to date, the home will require a great deal of work and expense before it is ready to sell.

New flooring could be an expensive investment in which you won’t be able to enjoy it.Instead, just do a thorough cleaning of the existing flooring, so that they do not reflect negatively on the house.

Once the interior is ready, try going outside and walking around to check the exterior of the house. Focus on your home’s “curb appeal.” The exterior of your house must create a good impression on the home will make or she approaches your house for the buyer’s first time. If you see problems that would put potential buyers off, then you want it taken care of as soon as possible.

Where To Get Cash Buyers For Wholesale Real Estate Investing

As you probably know, you must sell your houses fast to keep a good cash flow and remain profitable in real estate investing.

When wholesaling houses, you must have a ready source of cash buyers for your properties.
Here are a few ways to find cash buyers for your houses:

1) Build a buyers list
Regardless of where potential buyers come from, you must send them to your website to view property details.

You must ensure that each person leaves you with their name and email, preferably before they can view property details. Next time you need to sell quickly, just send them an email with property listings for a quick sale.

A good real estate investor web site that permits you to activate a squeeze form to collect name and email before they can view property details will be very handy in this. Such a website is suggested at the bottom of this article.

2) Sources on the internet
In this day and age, advertising your property for sale must begin online. An excellent place to start is Again, your goal must be to get them to view all property details from your website directly. Of course, even though someone may not necessarily buy, they will probably join your buyers list and be potential future buyers.

3) Newspapers
I built my first mailing list by advertising on newspapers. advertise houses for sale in your local newspapers. Instead of advertising a phone number, you put your website address.

Of course, the goal is for them to join your buyers list as they come to view the houses you have for sale on your website.

4) Local meetings
This is a sure way of getting house buyers with cash right where you buy and sell houses. I always make sure I get as many business cards as possible, and always ask them if I can put them in my buyers list so they can receive a list of the wholesale houses I have for sale.

They always accept.

These people have cash ready to buy the next cheap house they find.

5) Responding to local classifieds
Call all We Buy Houses ads posted in your local newspapers and magazines. Call all investor related ads in your local newspapers and magazines. Tell them you buy houses and regularly wholesale cheap deals to other investors.

They will be keen to give you their contact information so they receive your deals as soon as you get them.

6) Networking with professionals
Chances are you come across lots of houses for sale that you cannot buy because the owners are looking for retail prices. I am sure you come across people selling houses you cannot buy because they retail price. Refer these deals to real estate agents. Send these deals to realtors. Refer such deals to a realtor. Pass these deals to a realtor. In turn, they always come across houses that cannot be sold because they need too much repairs and they would be happy to refer such deals to you.

Mortgage brokers can also refer deals to you if you send them business.
With these few sources, you are likely to sell your houses fast and get that cash flow going.

Grants for Real Estate Investors

Real estate investors can search and apply for for grants through the government website real estate grants are provided to local governments and non-profit organizations that are committed to serving low income communities. Real estate investors are eligible to apply for funding as long as the real estate project will provide affordable housing or create jobs for low income communities. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Economic Development Administration and the U.S. Department of Treasury provide grants and tax credits for real estate development projects.

Affordable Housing Grant

  • The Community Development Block Grant Program provides funding for low income housing. HUD administers this program to local governments who then distribute the funds to qualified organizations who provide affordable housing to low income households. Typical affordable housing projects include housing for seniors, people with disabilities and families. The affordable housing developer must agree to keep rents affordable for low income households as a condition of the grant. A real estate investor can partner with a affordable housing developer to apply for funding. The developer must allocate a portion of the units to be restricted for only low income households.

Emergency Capital Repair Grant

    • HUD provides capital grants to affordable multifamily housing property owners for emergency repairs. These repairs are anything that affects the health and safety of the tenants that reside in the affordable housing project. These grants are available to property owners on a one time only basis. The maximum grant award is $500,000.

Assisted Housing Stability and Energy and Green Retrofit

  • HUD provides funding to retrofit affordable housing properties with energy and green improvements. A survey is conducted on the property to determine the grant amount. The property owner must agree to continue to keep rents affordable as a condition of receiving the grant. The grant must be spent within two years of receiving the funding. As of December 2010, HUD has allocated $250 million for the Assisted Housing Stability and Energy and Green Retrofit program.

Economic Development Grant Programs

  • Economic development grant programs are for the purpose for stimulating economic growth in low income communities. These grants are provided to organizations to create job opportunities for qualified applicants. The jobs are created by acquiring, constructing, or rehabilitating a building to be used as a place of employment. EDA provides investment assistance to qualified projects in distressed neighborhoods. The organizations will be required to match EDA’s contribution with their own funds. The New Market Tax Credit program administered through the Department of Treasury allows investors to take a 39 percent tax credit on the costs of a development over a seven year period. The tax credit helps reduce the costs of developing employment opportunities for low income communities.

The Real Dope on Buying and Selling Real Estate

Note:  This is a revised re-posting of an article that originally appeared on December 19, 2008 under the title ”  The Real Dope on Real Estate” .

Buying or selling a home is something most people do only a few times in their lifetime.  As a result, most folks don’t understand the process or the players.

Buying and selling a home is something that most people do maybe two or three times in a lifetime. So most of us do not get enough experience in Real Estate transactions to understand what is going on. Many home sellers (and buyers) make the same common mistakes, over and over again.

Now that the bubble in Real Estate has burst, we are going back to the “old ways” of doing things in Real Estate – making money slowly, over a long period of time. But even in this new market (or especially in this new market) it pays to understand what Real Estate agents are all about, and how they can help you, or hurt you. It also pays to understand the basics of how to sell a home.

The following is a summary based on my years in buying and selling Real Estate for investment purposes, and also based on my experiences with friends who were Realtors(R), Mortgage Brokers, and Closing Attorneys:

Commissions: Real Estate agents generally charge a 6% commission on sales of Real Estate. This commission may be divided between the “listing agent” and the “buyer’s agent” if separate agents are used in the transaction. As we shall see, one of these agents has to work for the money, the other gets mostly a free ride. During the bubble, many folks got tired of handing over a big chunk of the profits to Real Estate Agents and as a result, commissions have been dropping to 5% or even 4.5%. Usually the broker who brings a buyer keeps the full 3% while the listing agent takes a cut. Some Real Estate Agents have tried to raise fees to 7%, on the theory that “inflation” justifies this raise. However, since home prices have skyrocketed in recent years, this argument makes no sense at all.  (And in addition, percentages match rises in prices, so increasing the percentage of a commission makes no sense at all, but then again, “you don’t need to know math in real life” – right?)  In reality, this raise is used as a gambit to get customers to accept a “reduced” commission of 6%. In many markets, however, a seller should shop for a reduced commission.

REALTOR(R): The term “Realtor” is a licensed trademark of the Realtor association. You do not have to be a “licensed Realtor” to sell Real Estate, but you may have to be a licensed Real Estate Agent in your State. The Realtor organization provides a lot of benefits to its members, including the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). In the past, the Realtor organization and specifically the MLS have been accused of monopoly practices.

MLS: The Multiple Listing Service is what sells houses, period. When you list your house, the Real Estate Agent enters the data on the MLSdatabase. How this data is entered is critically important, so be sure to ask for an Agent’s copy of the listing and scrutinize it carefully. Whether an agent shows your house or not to a prospective client depends on how well the listing reads and how good the photos are. Make sure the information is accurate, and don’t be afraid to put in laudable details. If the photos are no good, take some of your own and give them to the Agent or ask for new ones. 90% of houses are sold through the MLS, so your presentation on this database, as we shall see, is of the utmost importance.

REALTOR.COM: This website of the Realtor(r) organization hasMLS listings for consumers to look at. Many home buyers are now using this website, or ones like it, to find listings. The listing on is based on your MLS listing, so again, it is important that your MLS page not suck. You’d be surprised how many do.

LISTING AGENTS: There are two basic types of Real Estate Agents – those who list houses for sale (listing agents) and those who work with buyers trying to find a house (buyer’s agents). Some do both. There is no formal breakout between the two. However, generally the newer agents tend to do the harder job of working with buyers while the older, more experienced agents try to list houses. Listing a house is the better part of the deal. You put your sign up crooked in the front yard, screw up theMLS listing, and then go to Starbucks and get a Latte and wait for the money to roll in. Seriously, many listing agents do little or nothing to sell a house, other than list it. And yet they get 3% of the take.Cramming down the listing agent’s commissions is not a bad idea, provided the agent does at least some minimal marketing of your home. Nothing is for free, and if you cram down her commission, expect less in the way of services.

BUYER’S AGENTS: Again, this is not a formal title, but many agents end up spending more time with buyers, trying to find them homes, than they do with listings. It is the harder of the two jobs. The buyer’s agent works with the buyer to determine what kind of house they want, and then goes on the MLS to search for houses meeting that criteria. Again, if your MLS listing is poorly done, with vague wording and bad photos, the buyer’s agent might pass it over. Note also that pricing can put your house just out of reach of some search criteria. The buyer’s agent then drives around showing the buyer maybe as many as a dozen houses or more. It is hard work and time-consuming. Once a house has been selected, it is the buyer’s agent who puts together the offer and then tries to push it through. Buyer’s agents help with getting financing, competing inspections and paperwork, and lining up a closing attorney, and the like. Without the buyer’s agent pushing to get all this done, no house would ever sell. Listing agents typically will not raise a finger to help. They just want to get paid, thank you. The buyer’s agent does the lion’s share of the work all the way to closing, so trying to cut their fee is foolhardy. If the buyer’s agent has 10 houses to show, and yours has a reduced 2.5% buyer’s commission, do you think the buyer’s agent is going to show it or promote it to his buyer? Heck no!

HARRIET HAIR HELMET: These are agents who have been working the system for years, and are usually listing agents and they are usually wildly successful, at least for a time. They can be Harry Hair Helmets as well – either gender. You can spot them by their immaculate hair, which can survive a Cat-5 hurricane, and the fancy car (usually a Mercedes or Jaguar) they drive. These agents get a lot of listings because…they get a lot of listings! One mistake many homeowners make is that they see Harriet’s listing signs and advertisements everywhere and they say to themselves, “That Harriet sells a lot of houses! We should list with her!” In reality, it is some unsung buyer’s agent that “sells” the house. The listing agent shows up in a nice suit, fancy car, and gets the listing, but does little else to “sell” the house. Again, most houses SELL through the MLS listing.

OPEN HOUSES: If you list with Harriet Hair Helmet, don’t expect her to show up at your open house. She will pawn this task off onto a young associate who is looking for buyers to represent. Harriet wants nothing to do with driving around buyers all day long. She wants LISTINGS! Open houses sell houses – not your house, though, other people’s houses. Young agents do open houses in order to attract business. Curious would-be buyers show up, and the agent shows them the house (usually out of their price range, anyway) and then tells the would-be buyers he can run some listings for them and show them something next week. The young Real Estate Agent gets a client, but not for yourhouse. The major traffic for an open house is usually the curious neighbors, who are dying to see exactly what sort of squalor you live in. If your agent suggests an open house, go for it. But don’t expect miracles from it. Also, lock up all your valuables. There are groups of criminals who prey upon open houses – with one person distracting the agent on duty while another rifles through your possessions. In addition, there are some “perverts” who might try to collect your soiled undies (eeeeeew!). Yes, that’s an open house, I’m afraid!

FSBO or Fizbo (pronounced “Fizz-Bow”): Real Estate Agent slang for “For Sale By Owner”. Selling your house yourself is often a difficult process. The typical Fizbo owner thinks that since he is selling the house himself, he’ll make 6% more. In reality, if you are going to go the Fizbo route, you should lower your asking price at least 3% instead, as you will save money, but the extra hassle involved for the buyer is worth something. One problem with either route is that home prices are hard to quantify with that certainty. So if you claim you are “lowering” your price 3%, but your house was overpriced to start with, you are offering no bargain. If you are not in the MLS database, chances are, people are not going to find your house, unless they drive by it. If a buyer is working with a broker, the broker has no incentive to show them the house, if they are not going to make any money on it. For this reason, you should always put “broker protected” (meaning you will pay 3% to an Agent bringing you a buyer) on your listing so that brokers will have an incentive to bring you buyers. Very few Fizbo sellers are successful, and most end up listing with an agent. It takes time and talent to sell a house, and if you don’t have either, hire an agent to do it for you.

Seller’s Assistant: (HELP-U-SELL, etc.): There are a number of quasi-FSBO services that have sprung up in recent years to help the Fizbo seller with his listing. For a small flat fee or percentage, the Seller’s Assistant, usually a licensed broker, will list the house on MLSand give you some ideas on marketing, perhaps a yard sign, and maybe a video or book on how to properly market your house. Some of the advice is just common sense – pick up your dirty laundry, clean the house, fix the small broken things, etc. Making your house show well is half the battle. If you are going to try the FSBO route, I would suggest a seller’s assistant, as most folks are not equipped to deal with selling a house, and getting that MLS listing is essential to selling the home.

PRICING: Pricing is one area where many people fall down flat when selling their home. Forget about what you “think” your home is worth, what it is worth is what similar homes in the neighborhood are selling for. Condition and options are not going to add much to the sales price. Some items, like swimming pools, can actually detract from the price in some areas. If you have a hard time setting a price, consider spending $300 on an appraisal – and then list for below the appraised price, so it appears to be a bargain. Many folks fall into the trap of selecting a listing agent based on which one tells them their home is worth the most. “Harriet Hair Helmet told me our house was worth $500,000 while Joe Trenchcoat said it would fetch only $450,000 at best! We’re going with Harriet!” Unless Harriet BUYS your house, she is not going to “get” you any price above market value, no matter how popular her signage is. What ends up happening in this scenario is that the house SITS and SITS for months, and then finally the sellers lower the price to where Joe said it should be – if not lower! By now, though, the listing is “old” and thus harder to sell.

PRICE BRACKETS: When Agents run listings in the MLS, they select criteria such as location, size and, of course, price range. For this reason, think about the range you are in when picking price. For example, if many homes in your neighborhood are selling for $275,000 or more, you may find your house hard to sell at $305,000 as most agents will run a printout of listings between $250,000 and $300,000 for their buyer – and your listing will not show up. If you plan on negotiating down to $295,000 anyway, it might make more sense to list at $299,999 and end up with more hits. Note that this can cut both ways – sometimes if you list too low, your house may not show up when a buyer is in the market for a $300,000 to $350,000 house. Figure out where the price breaks are in your neighborhood for your type of house (starter home, family home, condo, whatever) and then price accordingly.

COMPS or Comparables: When pricing your home, ask to see prices for houses recently SOLD in the same area in the last six months or so. Make sure you are comparing equivalent homes in the same school district and the same layout or size. In some unique areas, this is hard to do. But for a subdivision or urban area, comparable homes are not hard to find. Note that a comparable LISTING is not a “comp” but may help you in your pricing decision. If there are three homes like yours on the market for about the same price, list yours for a few thousand less and watch it sell the first weekend.

DAYS ON MARKET: Why the number of days a home is on the market should affect its saleability is a mystery to many. In a brisk market, any home that SITS on the market has “overpriced” or “has something wrong with it” written all over the listing. Why has it sat for so long, when other homes are selling faster? Some sellers will actually take the house OFF the market and re-list it, in order to get a lower “days on market” number. Note also that new listings are touted by theMLS system to Agents, so when you re-list, it brings the listing back to the agent’s attention.  In a typical scenario, a homeowner will over-price their home, watch it sit for too many days-on-market (months, if not years) and then have to fire-sale price the home to sell it.  Overpricing a home is often not a wise move!

PREPARING YOUR HOME FOR SALE: A surprising number of people are clueless when it comes to preparing their house for sale. I’ve been to houses like this, with dirty dishes in the sink, laundry on the floor, and many personal items scattered throughout the house. If you are serious about selling your house, then you are serious about MOVING. Get a head start on this and rent a storage locker and put at least 1/4 to /13 of your stuff (as much as HALF in some instances) into storage. Family photos and personal items go first. Buyers want to project their lives and possessions into the space, so your “wall of family photos” is very distracting and a turn-off. The buyer feels he is in someone Else’s house, not his. This is one reason why builders have such an easy time of it – every house they sell is impersonal. Excess furniture is next. Most homes have too much furniture, making navigation difficult and making rooms seem crowded and small. Take out extra end tables, lamps, chairs, and whatever else you need to do to make the place seem bigger. Clean out the basement, attic, and garage – they should all be empty of boxes and junk. Throw it away or put it in storage. Renting a storage locker for a few months does not cost a lot. The goal here is to make the home as blank and impersonal as a hotel room. It should look good and it should be attractive, but it should not look like the owner is coming back in 5 minutes, either. “Homey” does not often sell a home.

MAKING A HOME UNSELLABLE: Bear in mind that every home ends up getting sold, either by yourself, or your executor. So think long and hard before altering the home with odd additions or other “improvements”. Disconnecting from the grid and going solar might be the “green” thing to do, but bear in mind that few people want to tend to your bank of car batteries in the attic. That geodesic dome addition may be all Bucky Fuller, but it just makes your house “odd” and hard to sell. Redecorating your home as a medieval castle may be fun, but few folks want to live in a house with a built-in dungeon. Personalizing your home is all well and fine, but be prepared to de-personalize it before selling, or your house may linger on the market or sell at a steep discount as a result. Note that additions (See my article “Should You Remodel or Move?“) can add some value, but if poorly done, may detract from value. Many homes have tiny, awkward additions that look odd (e.g., flat roof addition with a peaked roof house) or require that you go through one room to reach the other (e.g., bedroom leading to another bedroom)

CHOOSING AN AGENT: When picking a listing agent, find someone who is familiar with your area. Picking an agent from out-of-town because you used him in the past is often a bad idea. For example, here on the Island, there are two agencies who sell most of the Real Estate on the Island. Yet there are some sellers who will pick an agent from another city entirely, and then wonder why their home does not sell. The local agents are reluctant to show houses listed by out-of-town Agents. Local agents know the market and conditions, and can realistically price your home. They also can “be there” when the house is shown to answer questions and generally show up on occasion. The out-of-town agent just wants his check. While Harriet Hair Helmet’s sign may be “everywhere”, that does not necessarily mean she is the best person to list with. You will have better luck sometimes picking an agent that is less well known, but more hungry to make a living in the business. Harriet has hundreds of listings – whether yours sells or not makes little difference to her.

BOTH SIDES OF THE DEAL: For a buyer’s agent showing homes, oftentimes the sweetest deal is selling a home that he is also the listing agent for – and getting a full 6% commission. For this reason, many agents will try to steer buyers toward houses that they are also the listing agent for. This is unethical, of course (act shocked). Some agents will discount their commission if they sell their own listing, and this is definitely a good idea. Some Agencies give agents bonuses if they sell listings by other agents in the Agency. So you see, buyer’s agents have motivations to steer sellers toward certain homes and away from others.   In your negotiation with your selling agent, be sure to ask if he will discount his commission if he “gets both sides of the deal” and have that in writing in the listing agreement. Most good Agents will have this in the agreement before you even mention it.

INCENTIVES: One other quasi-ethical thing done with listings sometimes, is to offer a cash bonus to the buyer’s agent who brings a buyer. Such incentives ($1000 or more) create a conflict of interest, as the buyer’s agent may be thinking of the bonus, rather than whether the house is right for the purchaser. If a house is not getting a lot of showings, this can be a way of generating interest in the property, however.

BUYING A HOME – get a buyer’s agent: If you are a first-time home buyer or inexperienced, finding a buyer’s agent to show you homes may be the way to go. A good agent will run listings that will find homes in your price range in the neighborhoods you want – and show you those homes. Bad agents will do shoddy work, try to steer you toward listings you don’t want (but have cash incentives for the agent) or generally ignore you until you find something on your own. Pick an agent carefully, and walk away from any agent who is showing you homes that clearly are not what you had in mind.

BUYING A HOME – go to the listing agent: If you are a more savvy buyer and don’t mind spending the weeks or months necessary to research a particular area and properties (much easier today with and other MLS websites) you may be able to get a better deal by dealing directly with the listing agent. If you have already retained a buyer’s agent, you should go through that agent, particularly if you have a signed agreement. But if you’ve done the legwork on your own, you might find you can drive a better bargain by dealing with the listing agent directly. The listing agent can make as much as 6% on the deal, twice as much as usual, so they have great incentive to “sell” your offer to the seller as the best deal (again, act shocked). An offer for more money, through another agent, will result in a lower commission for the listing agent. In addition, since the listing agent is making more money, she may offer to lower her commission in order to “sell” the seller on your low-ball offer. For the sophisticated buyer, this can be the best option, if you know what you are doing and have done the research.

EXAMPLE OF POOR SELLING: Suzie and Harry think they want to sell (mistake #1, they are not SURE they want to sell) so they hire the agent who sold their last home in another town (mistake #2, agent doesn’t know the area). They think they owe that agent a “favor” (6% of their last home wasn’t enough?) and besides, he has so many FOR SALE signs all over their old town (mistake #3, assuming popularity means effectiveness). They sign an agreement listing the house at what they “think” is a good price, but is far above the asking prices and sales prices of neighboring houses. Their price is based on what they owed on the house and how much they wanted to make on it (mistake #4, overpricing the home). They also neglect to negotiate the listing agent’s fee, particularly for situations where the listing agent sells the home (mistake #5, not cramming down the listing agent).

The listing agent puts up a sign and leaves. He puts the house in the MLS with some unflattering photos that fail to mention the new roof, new furnace, and also place the house in the wrong zip code (mistake #6, not policing the MLS listing). Since Suzie and Harry are not serious about selling, they do not properly present the house – and their listing agent gave them no guidance in this regard. The house is overcrowded with furniture and family mementos, and there is dirty laundry, dishes and other detritus throughout the house and the garage is full of boxes (mistake #7, not properly merchandising the house). Some brave selling agents show the house to prospective buyers (mostly to make other properties look more attractive), but at the price they are listed at, most of these buyers are expecting a whole different level of home. (mistake #8, pricing in the wrong bracket).

Months go by with no offers (mistake #9, too many days-on-market) and the sign out front is tipping over, dented, rusty, and covered with lawn clippings. Discouraged, they take the home off the market.

Oftentimes this scenario can result in a home staying on the market for months, if not years. Or, desperate, the sellers take a “low ball” offer that is lower than even the local market values would dictate.

Few people become “expert” in buying and selling a home, and as a result, many folks make the same mistakes over and over again.

EXAMPLE OF STELLAR SELLING: Sarah and Bill decide they need to sell their house as it is too small for their growing family, and adding on an addition would not increase the value much and the hassle of construction would be too much (kudos#1, being serious about moving). They contact three listing agents and pick one that is familiar with their area, and suggest ways in which they can make their house sell quickly for a reasonable price – based on local “comps”. (kudos#2, picking a reasonable price).

The agent put a sign in the yard and left Sarah and Bill with a laundry list of things to do before putting the house on the market. They took out 1/3 of their furniture and re-arranged the remaining furniture to make the house look roomy and spacious. They got rid of family photos and knick-knacks and put it all in a storage locker. They then cleaned the house from top to bottom and threw out garbage bags of stuff they had no intention of taking with them when they left. (kudos#3, merchandising the home) They also packed up everything in the attic and basement and garage. Bill went through a list of small “chores” – fixing a broken gutter and repainting the mailbox. He painted the garage floor to cover years of oil stains. They put bright fluorescent lights in the basement laundry room and painted the concrete basement walls to make it bright and airy (kudos #4, fixing up broken stuff). Once done, the house showed like a model home.

Meanwhile, their agent entered all the data in the MLS, including flattering photos of the home. Sarah and Bill read the listing and made some suggestions for improvement (kudos #4, making your MLS listing shine!), Meanwhile, on a daily basis, Sarah and Bill made it a point to keep the house spic and span at all times – doing laundry daily and washing and putting away dishes after each use. It was hard, but the house was always ready to show on a moment’s notice. And show it did. Since it was priced realistically and attractively, it went to the top of many buyer’s agent’s lists. Buyers who saw the home were impressed with how clean and well-maintained it was, and could see themselves living in it. In no time, they had multiple contracts on the home and were able to get MORE than the listing price for the house.

* * *

As you can see, with some hard work, and a little foresight, you can sell a house effectively and quickly.  Sadly, most people fail to understand these basic principles, and wonder why their house “won’t sell” after months, or even years on the market.

Pricing attractively and merchandising your home for sale, and policing your listing agreement are the smartest things you can do.  Most people instead, assume that getting the “right listing agent” is what will sell your house, when in fact, whose sign is on your lawn has little or nothing to do with a quick sale.

Now in this market, some of this advice may be of no use to you. If you own a condo in Las Vegas, it ain’t selling, period. The bubble condos will probably revert to rental properties much as they did in the 1990’s during the last bubble, many after going through foreclosure. For most folks, a deed-in-lieu-of-foreclosure may be the best option. But not understanding Real Estate is what got those folks in trouble in the first place, frankly.

Note that this article deals mostly with SELLING your home.  In a future article, I will address BUYING a home.  Buying a house is a task doubly-fraught with hazard, as there are so many emotional issues tied up in a home purchase.  And I can say this first-hand, having bought homes on little more than impulse in the past!  Fortunately, it has generally worked out for me.  But for others, it can end up being a life-changing and costly mistake.  So, more on that, to follow.

Pros and Cons of Real Estate Sale by Auction

Selling real estate by auction has positive and negative aspects. Real estate auctions differ from the traditional home selling process in that buyers competitively bid on the property at the same time versus putting in their offers and waiting for a response. More homeowners are choosing to go the auction route. The number of home auctions have increased by about 10 percent since the early 2000s, according to the Kansas-based National Auctioneers Association.

Length of Sale

  • One of the major advantages of selling real estate by auction is the quick sales process. The entire process, from marketing to closing, can be shorter than 10 weeks, said Pam McKissick, of auction firm Williams & Williams. This gives sellers that are ready to move on from their home a quick way to do so. The sellers knows exactly when their property will sell.


  • Another advantage of selling real estate by auction is that the closing process can be simpler than during a traditional sale. This is because most auctioned homes are sold “as is,” and the bidder cannot easily back out of a deal before closing. There is no negotiating along the way between buyer and seller. Bidders are required to be prequalified so they are prepared to purchase the property.


  • One negative to selling real estate by auction is that the seller may earn less than he or she wants from the sale. The seller is encouraged to price the house competitively to attract prospective bidders. This may mean a low minimum starting bid or no minimum bid. The buyer determines the purchase price, according to the National Association of Realtors. The home seller will also have to pay a commission on the sale of the house and marketing fees for the auction.


  • Another negative aspect of the real estate auction process is having to open your home to prospective buyers who want to view the property. While this also happens during the traditional home-selling process, a larger number of prospective buyers may want to enter the house to conduct inspections before the auction.

Points to consider while investing in real estate

If you are new in the world of real estate, then you are probably on the lookout for expert advices so that you can base your decision on that. You will come across many experts who would tell you where to invest and how to invest and of course when to invest. There is always a right time to do everything and the same goes from the investments you make as well. But do you think that there is a right time to invest in real estate?

The answer to this question lies not only on the real estate market but also on your personal situations. If you are planning to invest in Aspen Snowmass real estate or anywhere else, then there are few things that you should consider and they are:



Income stability



This is the first thing that you need to consider. It is very easy to take investment decisions when you business is doing well and you are making a lot of money. In such a situation, it is very important that you consider the stability of your income. Would your income be the same, the next year? It is okay if you earn more but what if it goes down. It would not be good idea to take loans and mortgages if you are not sure about your future income. It is better to wait for few months and be sure of your income stability and then take a decision regarding investing in real estate.


Your life situation



Your present life situation can also affect your real estate investment plans. Consider your marital status. Are you single or into lifetime relationship? If you are a single, it is okay but if you are in a lifetime relationship and such a thing can change your life overnight. What if your company transfers you to some other city? Life situations are different in different persons and there is situation that fits all and hence, take your decision based on your life situation.



Real estate goals



Different people have different motives for investing in real estate. Few people invest merely for investment purpose so that they can sell it off when the prices are high while others invest so that they can live in their own property. Many people investment in luxurious apartments as well as they have always dreamed of living in such apartments since their childhood.



No matter what you purpose of investment is, make sure that your purpose is fulfilled and you are able to achieve your goals.



The Real Estate market



It is best to take the advice of a trusted real estate agency in case you do not have much idea about the real estate market in your city. Keep a track of the market is not easy and only a professional can offer you expert advices regarding the same.

An Integral Part of Loan Processing Cycle

Loan processing outsourcing is in fact no alien term to people nowadays. As a matter of fact, it is particular system which is trusted by all the major loan processing companies in the world. With the passing of time the possibilities are truly appearing to be immense. These outsourcing firms that operate in the domain of loan processing fully ensure the fact that a prospective customer can fully meet the requirements pertaining to the lenders as well as banks. There is no denying that these loan processing activities might seem to be a little frustrating as well as time consuming. However these outsourcing firms are there to take the onus on their shoulder and do the needful.

As a matter of fact, a crucial act such as a Loan processing outsourcing is carried out with a great deal of precision. The procedure is taken care of under the high end supervision of seasoned professionals who know this particular field like the back of their palm. There is no denying of the fact that you will find the application processes as well as other crucial parts of these loan processing to be a piece of cake with the help of these outsourcing firms. They do their best to minimize the hassles for the consumers.

On the basis of offshore services a loan processing service in now more of an accessible as well as affordable option for the loan seekers. There is no denying that the rapid growth of web technology has played a major part in making loan sanctioning processes a piece of cake. A Loan processing outsourcing can be carried out with the help of web based communication techniques. There is no problem at all if the lender and the loan seeker cannot meet physically. The communication channel can be established via the internet and both the parties can have a heart to heart talk in a seamless fashion.

With the growth of technology Loan processing outsourcing is in fact entailing more and more lucrative features almost on a daily basis. Based on the high end as well as state of the art technology of the present time it is now possible for an outsourcing company (that operates in this competitive mortgage market) to exercise and establish a strong hold over a number of crucial activities such as gauging as well as analyzing fraud risk factors, maintaining proper as well as timely communication processes with the clients, maintaining an equilibrium in the quality control process, establishing control over the origination process, making a seamless analysis of the underwriting activities, understanding the facts related to credit risks etc.

At the same time an underwriting outsourcing company can also take a creditable role in ascertaining decisive factors in the aspect of commercial loan facilities for business entities. A Loan processing outsourcing is also significant in the task of reviewing the condition of a particular person who has applied for the loan. These outsourcing firms will take crucial decision in the realm of making an approval for the loan. They are also considered to be the most significant entities that gauge as well as decide the amount of collateral risk associated with a particular loan process. So it can be easily fathomed out that the significance of these outsourcing entities should not be taken lightly.

Mortgage Loan Processors helps mortgage brokers and bankers cut costs. There are many Commercial Mortgage Processing Services that cater to Mortgage Brokers and Lenders nationwide with a structured process to ensure success.

Real Estate Agents in Montenegro


Real Estate Agency
Kotor-Tivat, Montenegro
Phone: +382.33.402.452

Mont-Real d.o.o.

Real Estate Agency
Budva, Montenegro
Phone: +382.33.402.452
Montenegro Prospects d.o.o.
Real Estate Agency
Kotor, Montenegro

Phone: +382.32.322.489

Proper Property – Budva
Wild beauty developments
Herceg Novi, Montenegro
Phone: +382.

Expertise or Expert-tease?

Depending on where you choose to source your news, the 2010 housing market is going to experience a positive upswing, stabilize, or suffer further massive decline. It’s easy to understand how many ‘experts’ can have differing opinions. There are simply so many variables informing the many predictions that the optimists will naturally see the good news, the agnostics will look at the data with relative impartiality, and the doom-mongers will hone in on all the negatives. With all these mixed messages flying around, where can a first-time home buyer, prospective seller, or even a concerned real estate agent be guaranteed to find impartial, and sound advice?

The problem is, nobody really knows for sure what is going to happen in the property market in 2010. There is a multitude of well-informed professionals out there, making widely varying predictions. In true Nostradamus fashion, it is likely that some of these will hit the nail right on the head, but equally there will be those that fall way short of the mark. So, who should we trust? The media, the government, private commerce? Maybe you could turn to your educated aunt Mary, or that well-read guy in the gas station? With so many opinions supporting all sides of the argument, it’s as if the future of the housing market is as contentious as the issue of climate change!

As real estate agents so often say, ‘It’s Local’ and of course, local influence will have a huge impact on the market in which we live, with conditions often varying enormously from one place to the next. Is your current home, or planned destination, in one of those areas where an unavoidable rise in the number of foreclosures looms on the horizon, or are those in the know declaring a significant improvement in the housing market in your part of the country? Is local employment looking perilous, or are new shoots of economic growth and confidence starting to emerge?

Ultimately, the decision to sell or buy, is not going to be an easy one to make until the picture becomes much clearer. Interest rates will appear very tempting to those wishing to buy a property, but bear in mind that they can only go up from their current lows. House prices, too, in many areas are highly alluring and, with care and planning, now could well be the perfect time to take your first tentative steps onto the property ladder. If you can, take advantage of any government assistance while it’s on offer. Those wishing to sell a home and relocate, may find that their money will go much further at the moment, than it would during more a more competitive market.

An informed decision should help steer those in the mood for a move in the right direction, but the need for detailed research, and careful consideration, cannot be understated. Read online and in-print opinions, listen to pundits on the TV and radio, ask friends and relatives and, by all means do take note of what the guy in the gas station thinks. But also make sure to seek out your local real estate experts and financiers for up to date, ‘on-the-ground’, opinions before making what will probably be the biggest investment you ever make.

Answering Service for Real Estate Firms

While some real estate agents forward office calls to their mobile phones, they never have the time to pick up many of these calls because they are busy dealing with clients. This leaves them with tons of voice messages to deal with and lots of clients lost because the real estate agent was unreachable. The idea of having a remote receptionist service for real estate firms is therefore one that seems like the best solution for this profession. Answering services are great because they give real estate firms the help they direly need when it comes to handling the multitude of calls coming in. A real estate agent can rest assured knowing that all calls made to their firm will be attended to in the most professional manner. Below we highlight some of the advantages real estate firms get with an answering service.


For starters, an answering service can help you stay organized. Clients call for various reasons, while others are ready to take on the property you recently showed them, others are simply enquiring. This means that you need someone who can help you organize the calls you received and grade them as well. With a remote receptionist service this is exactly what you get. You get assistance when it comes to tasks such as appointment scheduling and even grading incoming leads. This makes your firm more efficient and swift when it comes to meeting the needs of the client. This is a great way of helping your firm enhance its professional image.

Cost Savings

One of the best benefits that come with a 24 hour real estate answering service is that it is perhaps the most cost effective way to manage your office. Phone calls are and will always be an important line of a real estate agent’s work. They come in great volumes and for a firm to run smoothly; it may require a couple of receptionists or even set up a call center. This means major investments and not to mention salaries as well and even more financial pressure if your staff are eligible to benefits. This could drain your firm’s resources. With a real estate call center, these are expenses you can avoid because you do not have to hire several people. You simply take up a package and pay monthly prices, thus relieving your firm of the burden of hiring multiple employees or running an office call center.

Lead Capture

The main goal for a real estate agent is to access as many properties as possible for sellers and buyers. This means constantly meeting new clients, preparing viewings and coordinating contracts as well. Sometimes, it’s impossible not to get overwhelmed. This is where a virtual call center service comes in to provide lead generation services. Your clients get direct responses and you get inbound sales information, after hours phone answering and other lead generation services.


Professionalism is the back bone for success. People want to deal with real estate agents that communicate with them properly and are able to be useful information and assistance always. The good thing about having an answering service for real estate firms is that you can rest assured knowing that all calls made to your firm are handled in professional manner. This means that your clients don’t get a call forwarding service or a call center that simply receives messages. What you get is an answering service that can be able to handle your clients’ needs and this is more like having an office assistance although virtually. Calls are prioritized according to importance and only very urgent are forwarded to you. This means that you do not have to worry about the reception your clients are getting and can also work without being bombarded by phone calls.

An inbound call center for real estate firms comes with very many uses as you can see. This are not simply blanket services but customized to the needs of the client. Calls are not made obvious that they are coming from a data center and clients are therefore able to build a good rapport with the firm. These services are increasingly becoming essential in business and the real estate industry is one that could perhaps benefit the most.

How to Write a Real Estate Sales Contract

A real estate contract is an agreement between the buyers and sellers of a parcel of real estate. In some states the contract is prepared by an attorney, and in some states the blank contract might be prepared by the state’s Realtor Association. Or, it could be a form that you buy in an office supply store. Yet, in real estate school we are taught that a sales contract can be written on the back of a napkin. There are certain elements that should be included in a real estate sales contract.


  1. Come to an agreement on the terms and sales price. The sales price and terms should be included in the real estate sales contract.
  2. Check with the county for a legal description of the property. The legal description of the parcel of real estate being conveyed should be included in the real estate sales contract.
  3. Agree to the title and type of deed that the seller will be delivering to the buyer at close. Included in the sales contract should be an explanation of the kind and condition of title, along with the from of the deed that the buyer will be receiving.
  4. Give proof or evidence of the title. In the contract explain who will provide this information, what type of evidence will be required to prove the seller has the right to convey title, and what will happen should there prove to be a defect in the title.
  5. Include a statement in the sales contract listing all the conditions and any contingencies between the buyers and sellers.

Size Isn’t Everything… Smaller Houses Make A Comeback

It seems the recent recession has changed the tastes of American homebuyers. During the housing boom, big was better; with home theatres, butler pantries, and bathrooms for each resident, home sizes kept growing and growing to the point where a 3500 square foot home seemed the norm. Now, home buyers that are feeling the economic squeeze are leaning towards more modest dwellings.

The NAHB (National Association of Home Builders) reports that in the last 3 years the average size of a new home has shrunk 300 square feet ; that’s like removing 2 rooms. Builders are indicating that 9 foot ceilings, which create a greater sense of space, are being placed higher on the list of must-haves above media rooms and additional family rooms. The amount of bathrooms has been reduced for the first time since 1992 with new homes with 3 or more declining from 28% to 24%. Bedroom numbers have also dropped in new home starts, as the number of homes with 4 or more has fallen from 40% to 32%.

Although a similar trend arose from the ashes of the recession we experienced in the 80’s, it is anticipated that this recent shrinking in home sizes will last much longer. David Crowe, Chief Economist with the NAHB suggests, “The decline in the early 1980s turned out to be temporary, but this time the decline is related to phenomena such as an increased share of first-time home buyers, a desire to keep energy costs down, smaller amounts of equity in existing homes to roll into the next home, tighter credit standards and less focus on the investment component of buying a home”. Crowe further states, “The repeat buyer is going to be more careful about what they buy, too…Any buyer is going to look at this recent experience in the market and realize house price inflation is not always positive”.

Other factors contributing to this trend include average household size which, according to the Census Bureau has dropped from 3.5 children in 1960 to 2.1 in 2006. An aging overall population is also a factor as retiring baby boomers are seeking homes that are easy to maintain and have no stairs. The migration of households from suburban to urban areas, where lots are smaller, is also responsible for the downsizing mindset.

The economic storm we are experiencing has created a climate where less is more. Consumerism is down as people begin to realize the difference between wants and needs and the requirements of a comfortable home have changed as a result.

What You Should Know Before Investing in a Restaurant

Restaurants are a favorite commercial property for many investors because

1. Tenants often sign very long term, e.g. 20 years absolute NNN leases. This means there are no landlord responsibilities so you have time to do what is important to you. The only time you have to raise a finger is when you start your car engine to take the rent check to the bank for deposit! Some tenants even wire the rent to your savings account on the due date.

2. People have to eat whether it rains or shines. Americans are eating out more often as they are too busy to cook and cleanup the pots and pans afterwards which often is the worst part! According National Restaurant Association, the nation’s restaurant industry currently with 937,000 restaurants is expected to hit $537 billion in sales in 2007, compared to just $322 billion in 1997 and $200 billion in 1987 (in current dollars). In 2006 for every dollar Americans spend on foods, 48 cents are spent in restaurants. As long as there is civilization on earth, there will be restaurants! So you feel comfy that the property is always in high demand.

3. You know your tenant will take very good care of your property because it’s in their best interest to do so. Few people want to go to a restaurant that has a filthy toilet or lots of trash flying in the parking lot.

However, restaurants are not created equal from an investment viewpoint.

Franchised versus Independent Restaurants
You often hear that 9 out of 10 new restaurants will fail in the first year. However, this is just an urban myth as there are no studies with such conclusion. There is only a study by Associate Professor of Hospitality, Dr. H.G. Parsa of Ohio State University tracking new restaurants from 1996-1999 just in Columbus, Ohio (you should not draw the conclusion that the results are the same everywhere else in the US.) Dr. Parsa observed that seafood restaurants were the safest ventures and that Mexican restaurants experience the highest rate of failure. His study also found 26% of new restaurants closed in the first year. Another 19% closed on the second year and 14% closed on the third year. So 59% of the new restaurants closed within 3 years. The closing rate is slightly different between franchised and independent restaurants – 59% versus 61%. Besides economic failure, the reasons for closing include divorce, poor health, and unwillingness to commit immense time to operate the business. Based on this study, it may be safe to predict that the longer the restaurant has been in the business the more likely it will be around next year to pay you the rent.

For franchised restaurants, the franchisee has to pay a one-time franchisee fee about $30-50K and on-going royalty between 4-12.5% of sales revenue. In turn, the franchisee receives training on how to set up, and operate a proven and successful business without worrying about the marketing part. As a result, a franchised restaurant gets customers as soon as the open sign is up. The king of franchised restaurants is the fast-food chain McDonalds with 30,823 locations (about 14,000 in the US) as of 2006 with an average $2M in revenue per US location. McDonalds currently captures 46% market share of the $58.88 billion US fast-food market. Distant behind is Burger King with 14.3% of the market share. Fast-food chains tend to detect new trend faster. For example, they are open as early as 5AM as Americans increasingly buy their breakfast earlier. They are also selling more cafe latte. All these things should increase the revenue and in turn make your investment safer.

Independent restaurants will take a while to for customers to come in and try. Their business is especially tough in the first 12 months of inception, especially to those whose owners have not had a proven track record. So in general, mom and pop restaurants are a riskier investment for you because revenue is weak initially. If you choose to invest in a non-brand name restaurant, make sure the return is proportional to the risks you take.

Sometimes it is not easy for you to tell if a restaurant is a brand name or non-brand name. Some restaurant chains only operate or are popular in a certain region. For example, Johnny Carino’s restaurant is a very popular Italian restaurant chain in Texas and Georgia but there is only one in California as of 2007. Brand name chains tend to have a website listing all the locations plus other information. So if you can find a restaurant website from Google or Yahoo you can quickly tell if an unfamiliar name is brand name or not. The website <target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow” href=””> also has useful information for investors about various restaurant franchises.

Lease and Rent Guarantee
The tenants often sign a long term absolute NNN lease. On top of that, they may also guarantee the rent with their own or corporate assets. So in case they close down the business, they continue paying rent for the life of the lease. However, not all guarantees are the same. The guarantee by McDonalds Corporation with a strong S&P corporate rating is much better than a small corporation owned by a franchisee with 4 restaurants. Sometimes a multi-location franchise will form a parent company to own all the restaurants. Each restaurant in turn is owned by a single-entity LLC (Limited Liabilities Company) to shield it from further liabilities. So the rent guarantee by the single-entity LLC does not mean much as it does not have much asset.

Financing Considerations
In general the interest rate is higher than average for restaurants due to the fact they are a single-tenant properties. To the lenders the risk for lending to purchase a restaurant is higher because when the restaurant is closed down, you could potentially lose 100% of income. They also prefer brand name restaurants. In addition, some lenders will not loan to out-of-state investors especially if the restaurants are located in smaller cities. So it may be prudent to invest in restaurants in a major metro area, e.g. Atlanta.

Due Diligence
You may want to consider these factors before deciding to go forward with the purchase:

1. The restaurant business is very labor intensive in which on the average each employee generates only about $55K of revenue a year. The foods cost should be 25-30% of revenue, labor around 30-40%, operating expenses 10-20%. As a rule of thumb if the revenue is less than 10 times the annual rent than it’s likely the business is not profitable. So do review the profits and loss (P&L) statements if available with your accountant. In the profits and loss statement, you may see the acronym EBITDAR. It stands for Earnings Before Income Taxes, Depreciation (of equipment), Amortization (of capital improvement), and Rent. If you don’t see royalty fees in P&L of a franchised restaurant or advertising expenses in the P&L of an independent restaurant, you may want to understand the reason.

2. Parking spaces: restaurants tend to have higher number of parking spaces because diners tend to stop by within 2 small time windows. You will need at least 8 parking spaces per 1000 Square Foot (SF). Fast food restaurants may need about 15-20 spaces per 1000 SF.

3. Some of the long term leases give the tenant an option to terminate the lease should there be a fire. Of course, this is not desirable to you. So make sure you read the lease.

4. Price per SF: you should pay about $200-500/SF. In California you have to pay a premium, e.g. $1000/SF for Starbucks restaurants which are normally sold at very high price per SF. If you pay more than $500/SF for the restaurant, make sure you can justify for doing so.

5. Rent per SF: ideally you want to invest in a property in which the rent per SF is low, e.g. $1-2/SF per month. This gives you room to raise the rent in the future. Besides the low rent ensures the tenant’s business is profitable so he will be around to keep paying rent. Starbucks tend to pay a premium rent $2-3/SF a month since it is often located at a premium location with lots of traffic and high visibility. If you plan to invest in a restaurant in which the tenant pays more than $3/SF a month, make sure you could justify your decision because it’s hard to make a profit in the restaurant business when the tenant pays that kind of rent.

6. Location: a lousy restaurant may do well at a good location. However, a restaurant with a good menu may fail at a bad location. Please refer to the article title “What Location Means in Commercial Real Estate” by the same author.

7. Risks versus Investment Returns: as an investor, you like properties that offer very high return, e.g. 8-9% cap rate. And so you may be attracted to a brand new franchised restaurant offered for sale by a developer. In this case, the developer builds the restaurants completely with Furniture, Fixtures and Equipment (FFEs) for the franchisee based on the specifications of the franchise. The franchisee signs a 20 years absolute NNN lease paying very generous rent per SF, e.g. $4-5/SF per month. The new franchisee is willing to do so because he does not need to come up with any cash to open a business. Investors are excited about the high return. However, it may be a very risky investment. The person who is guaranteed to make money is the developer. The franchisee may not be willing to hold on during tough times as he does not have any equity in the property. Should the franchisee fail, you may not be able to find a tenant willing to pay that kind of high rent and end up with a vacant restaurant.

8. Track records of the operator: the restaurant running by an operator with 1 or 2 recently-open restaurants will probably a riskier investment. On the other hand, an operator with 20 years in the business and 30 locations may be more likely to be around next year to pay you the rent.

Sale and Lease Back
Sometimes the restaurant operator may sell the real estate part and then lease back for a long time, e.g. 20 years. This is a quick and easy way for the restaurant operator to get cash out for various reasons: business expansion, other investments, or simply cashing out the capital gain. You will often see 2 different cash out strategies by looking at the rent paid by the restaurant operator:

1. Conservative market rent: the operator wants to make sure he pays low rent so his restaurant business has a good chance to be profitable. He also offers conservative cap rate to investors, e.g. 7% cap. As a result, his cash out amount is small to moderate. This may be a low risk investment for you because your tenant is more likely to be able to pay the rent.

2. Significantly higher than market rent: the operator wants to maximize his cash out. Investors are sometimes offered high cap rate, e.g. 8%. As a result, the restaurant business at this location may suffer a loss due to higher expenses, i.e. rent. However, the operator gets as much money as possible for his investment, e.g. business expansion. This property may be riskier for you. If the tenant’s business does not make it, you will have to offer lower rent to the next tenant to lease it.

How to Avoid Taxes From a Real Estate Sale

Real estate taxes can come with a very high price tag. Capital gains tax has tripled over the past 100 years, and is a lucrative revenue stream for the US government. When you are selling your home, and making any substantial profit, it’s good to know how to avoid taxes from the sale of your real estate. Here are some good ways to keep your profit high and your taxes low.


  1. Gift the profit to your children. The IRS allows gifts to family members as a non-taxable amount. If the sale of your home is below the IRS taxable limit, you can avoid taxes by gifting the profit into an account for one of your children or disburse the amount among several children to meet the limitations.
  2. Assume real estate losses in the same year that you gain. If selling your primary residence for a profit, move in to a bigger more expensive property or purchase investment property at the same time. Doing so will show a loss on your real estate transactions, helping you to avoid real estate taxes.
  3. Use the property as your primary residence for 24 months prior to the date of sale. Doing this on investment properties can reduce your capital gains tax on real estate transactions very substantially when owning investment properties. Live in the property for 2 years prior to the date of sale, and see your capital gains tax dwindle to next to nothing.
  4. Put your real estate holdings in a trust. A real estate attorney can place all of your real estate and collateral as part of a non-taxable trust that can be conveyed to your heirs upon death. This allows you to make a profit on real estate, buy and sell real estate and do so with little to no tax consequences.
  5. Participate in a property exchange. Individuals trading properties via deed of trust or deed of sale transactions can avoid real estate taxes completely. Both properties have to be clear of any liens or notes to complete this successfully, however, it is a great way to accumulate parcels of real estate with no tax consequence

How to Calculate a Real Estate Sale Price Net of GST

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) is a Canadian federal value-added tax collected on most goods and services. Some items are exempt, such as basic groceries, prescription drugs, educational services and financial services. The GST was introduced at 7 percent on January 1, 1991, and reduced to 5 percent on January 1, 2008. Several provinces have combined their sales taxes with the GST to create the Harmonized Sales Tax, known as the HST.


  1. Assess your eligibility for any rebates on the GST or HST paid on real estate transactions. If you purchase a new home, you may qualify for a rebate of the GST/HST paid. If you make major renovations to your home, you may qualify for a rebate of the GST/HST paid on labor and materials.
  2. Calculate the amount of GST rebate available. In 2010, the new housing rebate was 36 percent of the GST or the federal part of the HST. The maximum rebate available was $6,300 Canadian. The rebate is phased out for houses priced between $350,000 and $450,000 Canadian. For example, if you bought a new home for $300,000 Canadian, the GST at 5 percent is $15,000 Canadian. The rebate is 36 percent of the GST paid, or $5,400 Canadian. Therefore, the net GST is $9,600 Canadian.
  3. Calculate the real estate sale price net of GST. The gross price is the listing price plus the 5 percent GST, plus applicable provincial taxes. For HST provinces, it is the listing price plus the HST, which includes the federal GST. Subtract the net amount of the GST after applicable rebates. To wrap up the example, the gross price is equal to the listing price plus the GST, or $315,000 Canadian. The net GST is $9,600 Canadian. Therefore, the sale price net of GST is $305,400 Canadian.

How to Get Real Estate Leads by Door Knocking

Going door knocking is often a scary concept for real estate agents. The misconception is that your presence will be unwelcomed. On the contrary, this can be more effective than direct mailing or calling. There are a few rules to follow that will make even the people who don’t like solicitors enjoy your visits. All you really need to know is how to do it right.


  1. Visit an area where you or your office has a listing or just sold a home. Don’t just find a house and start knocking. Start with homes close to the listed home, then fan out.
  2. Create an address log containing a list of every house you intend to visit.Your log should have each address listed one after another. Leave a little space for notes, such as: “Never answers the door,” or, “Growing family may be ready to buy a another house in June.”
  3. Ring the door bell and then take a step or two back. People sometimes feel a little scared when there is a stranger standing too close to the door. This is especially true if you are male. Put a soft smile on your face and enjoy the uniqueness of their porch and yard instead of waiting anxiously for the home owner to answer.
  4. Ring the door bell and knock on the door, then wait 30 seconds.There may be an elderly or disabled person inside who can’t make it to the door in less than 30 seconds. If no one answers, knock again and wait another 30 seconds before moving on.
  5. Come bearing gifts. You can buy calendars, refrigerator magnates, pens, notepads and other convenient goodies for a nominal cost with your name, phone number and address on them. Something useful with your name on it is less likely than a business card to be thrown away.
  6. Introduce yourself. Let the homeowner know who you are and what you do, but don’t jump in and ask if she wants to sell her home or knows anyone who does. Instead, start by explaining that you just listed/sold a house down the street and want to get to know the area. Give the homeowner your card and the gift and let her know if she ever needs your services, or knows anyone who does, feel free to contact you anytime.
  7. Find out a little bit about the homeowner if she seems receptive and keep track of it in your log. Some people will be glad to tell you what neighbors might need your services, how happy they are living in the area or if there’s a certain house you might want to avoid.
  8. Continue visiting houses for three months. Then start back at the first house again. Bring your handy log and return bearing gifts. By then you’ll get an idea who is happy to see you and what leads are going nowhere. After they’ve seen you four times in the past year, some will know and trust you. So when they want to buy or sell a property, or know someone who does, they’re going to call you.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Using A Goose Creek Real Estate Agent

Are you a Goose Creek resident, especially one who is looking to buy or sell a home? If so, there is a good chance that you may be interested in acquiring the services of a real estate agent. In the Goose Creek area, that individual would be referred to as a Goose Creek real estate agent. Although there is a good chance that you would end up acquiring the services of a real estate agent, there is still a good chance that you may be wondering whether or not you really need to. For your answer, you will want to examine the advantages and disadvantages to hiring a real estate agent.

When it comes to understanding the advantages and disadvantages of a real estate agent, you will want to take your needs into consideration. For instance, if you are buying a home, you will find that a real estate agent will assist you in different ways, when compared to how they assist home sellers. That is why it is important that you focus on whether or not you are buying or selling a home.

If you are planning on buying a home, you will find that Goose Creek real estate agents are full of advantages. In fact, it is hard and sometimes impossible to find a disadvantage. This is because, when you think about it, real estate agents are only assisting you. That assistance makes it easier for you to buy a home, especially the home of your dreams. A Goose Creek real estate agent would work with you to determine your wants and your needs. They will then help you search for a home, often with private showings or open houses. In the event that you find the home of your dreams, they will also assist you in the final purchasing stages.

If you are not buying a home, but selling a home, you can still benefit from the assistance of a Goose Creek real estate agent. One of the many advantages to a Goose Creek real estate agent is the exposure that your home will get. Real estate agents put a large amount of time and money into advertising their homes. This advertisement means that your home would be seen by more potential buyers than if you were selling it all on your own. Another advantage to hiring a real estate agent is that you will not have to deal with potential buyers. Instead, these potentially stressful situations and meetings will be handled by your real estate agent. Essentially, with a real estate agent, you just need to sit back and wait for your home to sell.

Although there are a number of advantages, to using a Goose Creek real estate agent to sell your home, there are also disadvantages. The main disadvantage is that you will, in a way, have to pay for their services. While you will not outright have to pay, the money will be taken from the sale of your home. This means that you will not get the full amount of money that your home sold for. While this is a disadvantage, you also need to remember one thing. With real estate agents, you are more likely to have your home sold and at the price that you wanted; therefore, in a way, the disadvantage cancels itself out.

The above mentioned advantages and disadvantages are just a few of the many to using a Goose Creek real estate agent. If you would like more information, you are advised to contact a real estate agent. After speaking with a real estate agent for a few minutes, you should be able to make an informed decision.

Points To Remember When Buying Kauai Real Estate

With the country still feeling the heat of the recession that started in 2009, the number of foreclosures hitting property markets all over the US is quite high. This applies to property in Kauai too. In Kauai, lowering interest rates and low prices of property are triggers for investing in property. So, for those who have the funds to buy real estate in Kauai, this is a gold mine of opportunity. However, there are a number of things to keep in mind before investing money.

There are only three reasons to buy real estate now:

– To flip the house and sell it at a huge profit
– To rent it
– To live in a beachfront home of your dreams

Flipping: For those who have just started investing in foreclosures, it is important to know more about ‘flipping’ a house before actually doing it. Sure, buying a house dirt cheap and refurbishing it before selling it for a huge profit is great. However, this is not something that a novice can take on, on their own. Without expert help, you could end up buying a piece of real estate that needs large scale repair. In the end, the house will eat up more money than you can afford to spend. Therefore, if the house needs extensive repairs and if you do not have the expertise to do a good part of this job yourself, then, you’re better off looking for houses that need fewer repairs. Also, foreclosure buyers must always get the best price. All things considered, it is best to use the services of a realtor if you are buying a foreclosed property. No one is better equipped to tell you more about the condition of the home and the neighborhood.

Renting: Before buying property that you want to rent, evaluate the properties that are on rent in nearby areas. Find out what the vacancy rate is. Typically, many vacation homes in Kauai get booked during the holiday season. However, apartments have to be strategically located for it to attract tourists. You might need more information on similar properties that are being sold for similar reasons. This is more so if you are new to Kauai real estate. In such cases, it is best to take the services of a reputed realtor in Kauai before buying the property.

Stay: If your interest in Kauai real estate is to live in the beachfront home of your dreams, then you need to concern yourself only with the aspects that concern your lifestyle. Is the house big enough? Does it have all the conveniences you require? Is the neighborhood to your liking? Do you have the view you desire? Also, it pays to remember that many people invest in homes in Hawaii so that they can enjoy the benefits of appreciation and tax benefits, and avoid paying rent.

Sneaky Real Estate Agents, Protein, Protein, Protein, Goodbye To Two Typewriters & This Week’s Wristwatches.

suggested that I go into selling cars. One fellow I knew used to work in the after-care department at one of the major European dealerships and he told me just how precarious a car salesman’s life could be; “You work with these guys for months and if they don’t make their sales targets, they’re gone. I went in on a Monday and asked ‘Hey, where’s Joe? I saw him on Friday’, and they’d tell me ‘We finished him up on Friday afternoon. He didn’t hit his targets for the last week.’ “
And that’s why I never went into car sales. A few customers suggested I go into real estate, but…
And that’s why I’ll never go into real estate. I think I’d have to make too big a compromise of my moral code, and after a while, I’d look in the mirror and begin to despise the person looking back at me. No matter how much money he was making.
Looking at the plans of this house, we decided anyway that it would need some serious configuration of rooms, since the third bedroom was pretty small. Lady Teeritz and I have sat down and written up a checklist of what we’d like in our next house. And what we don’t want. No flat roof, no corner block, no shoe-box sized bedrooms. The hunt goes on.
Been on a bit of a protein kick this week. The average adult male requires 56 grams of protein per day. So, I began taking a closer look at foods that offered a healthy dose of the stuff. I went slightly overboard on the first day;
– 1 egg (hard-boiled)     13 gms
– Almonds (handful)       3 gms
– Sustagen Sport            14.7 gms (it’s a chocolate powdered milk additive for use after exercise)
+ Skim Milk (250ml)      8 gms
+ 1 egg thrown in          13 gms
Total Protein = 51 gms
And it wasn’t even midday yet! For lunch, I had a tuna salad. That’s another 22 grams of protein. Afternoon snack was another handful of almonds, so there’s another 3 grams right there. And, for dinner, Chorizo sausages with some vegetables, mainly potatoes. That was 22 more grams for the day. Total intake came to 98 grams! Okay, slow it down a little. Next day’s intake? Thirty-seven grams.  Now, if I can just get it all somewhere between these two totals, I should be fine.
Found a copy of Captain America: The Winter Soldier on BluRay for $25 bucks! When I got home, my wife looked at me and raised an eyebrow; “I don’t know how you could have forgotten that I bought a copy of this on eBay a few days ago. You were sitting right next to me when I hit ‘Buy It Now’, and I even asked you if I should get it.” 
I need to improve my memory. After I return this movie to Target.
I was going to switch to the Submariner 5513, but decided to keep the Omega on instead. Looking forward to getting the Skyriter. Seller claimed that it had been recently serviced and is working properly. I certainly hope so. It’s one typewriter that’s been on my mind for a couple of years.
Anyway, gang, it’s now Friday afternoon. It’s been a sunny day here. Although, the nights do get quite cold. Another thing we’d like in our next house- central heating. We’ve spent too many a cold Winter’s night in a chilly house.
Hopefully, we’ll find something sooner rather than later, but I think we’ll have to listen to a little more BS before we get the keys to our next house. Yeah, I’m feeling a little more cynical than usual. ‘Cos I don’t like getting jerked around by real estate agents who keep changing their story.
However, there’s a great deal more good things in my life than bad. And the bad things are just inconveniences, after all.
I switched over to the Submariner, too. Call me weak.

How to Put a House for Sale on Craigslist

Homeowners who sell their own homes frequently save thousands of dollars in real estate agent commission fees. However, the prospect of selling one’s own home is often a daunting one. Fortunately for those who choose to sell their own homes, the Internet has opened up a new world of selling possibilities. Not only are there innumerable potential buyers to be reached, but free classified ad websites–such as Craigslist–allow you to reach those buyers without any out-of-pocket expense.


  1. Visit the Craigslist Website. (See Resources.) Select the city that best describes where you live.
  2. Click on “Real Estate for Sale” under the “Housing” category at the top of the middle column.
  3. Click on “Post” in the upper, right-hand corner of the screen, then click on “I am offering housing” at the bottom of the screen that follows.
  4. Select “real estate — by owner” under the list of categories offered for posting available housing.
  5. Fill in your home’s advertisement. Start with your asking price, the number of bedrooms in your home, an eye-catching title for your ad that will attract prospective buyers’ attention, and the specific town or neighborhood your home is located in.
  6. List your contact email address, and select whether you’d like your email address to be visible, hidden or anonymous. Follow that with your ad’s text, describing your home’s features and including any special amenities that your home has to offer.
  7. Add any pictures of your home that you’d like your ad to include, by clicking on the “Add/Edit Images” button underneath your ad’s text. You may attach up to four pictures to your ad by browsing your computer hard drive’s and selecting the pictures you’d like to attach to the ad.
  8. Complete your ad by listing your street and the nearest cross-street to your home. Click the “Continue” button.
  9. Proofread your ad for typographical or other errors. If the ad and pictures you’ve selected appear correctly, click on the “Continue” button at the bottom of the screen. If the information is not correct, click on the “Edit” button to make the necessary changes.
  10. Accept the “Terms of Use” that are displayed on the next screen by clicking on the “ACCEPT the terms of use” button at the bottom of the screen.
  11. Provide your telephone number for Craiglist’s automated account verification system, and select whether you’d like to receive your verification code by voice or text. Click on the “send the code!” button to receive the verification code for your ad.
  12. Enter the verification code you receive via your telephone into the space indicated on the following screen and click on “submit verification code,” to complete the ad posting process.

Condo Conversions: How to Succeed in a Changing Real Estate Market

In the commercial and residential real estate investment market condo conversions have become a controversial topic. Many experts say there are still profits to be made with condo conversions, while others assert that condo conversions are high risk and potentially lead to big losses. According to a January 16th, 2007 article in the New York Times, “Buyers Scarce, Many Condos Are for Rent”, written by Vikas Bajaj, “Since the middle of 2006, the frenzied condominium market here and in several other big cities like Las Vegas, Miami and Boston has collapsed.” “Once roaring sales have slowed to a trickle, sparse inventory has mushroomed into a glut and soaring prices have flattened out and started falling,” Bajaj continues, “In many cities, banks have significantly scaled back loans to condominium builders. Some have demanded that developers sell half or more of the units in a building before even beginning construction.”

Many condo conversion projects have reverted back to apartments due to slow sales. Often referred to as “repartments”, these projects leave large holes in the pockets of investors who didn’t do their homework before construction began. Although condo conversions are high risk, if an investor thinks carefully, completes research on the local region and investigates the potential buyers most prominent in the market profits can still be made.

Real Estate and Affordable Housing: The American Class War

The United States of America was built on the sweat, commitment and integrity of the working class. So why is it so hard for fire fighters, police officers, nurses, teachers and average Americans in general to buy real estate for an affordable price? As the United States economy shifts and changes, the middle class continues to shrink. Increasing health care, real estate, education and utility costs often exceed a typical middle class income. Working class people employed in the city can’t afford to live or purchase real estate in the city, yet as gas prices rise commuting becomes more difficult. Many of the companies who have recently invested and lost on condo conversion projects were overly focused on the luxury market. Condo conversions can be built with more affordable prices in mind if the property is chosen correctly and the plan is designed with working class buyers in mind.

Economic Growth Means More Opportunity for Everyone

It doesn’t make good economic sense that people who risk their lives to protect the public, teach our children and nurse us back to health should have trouble finding homes they can afford. Condo conversions can create affordable housing available to working class families, especially in areas where single family home prices are too high for middle class residents. Investors interested in selling condos to the working and middle class have a great chance of being successful if they buy the right property, in the right location, where affordable housing is a necessity. Savvy commercial and residential real estate investors have the power to make condo conversions part of the affordable housing solution rather than a problem. All it takes is the creativity, knowledge, planning and the courage to think outside the box.

Tips for Condo Conversion Success

One of the keys to making a successful and profitable condo conversion investment is research! Don’t invest in a property you plan to use as a condo conversion without following these tips:

Tip 1. Learn everything you can about the area where your property is located. Find out the local standard of living and what resources are in close proximity such as hospitals, schools, shopping centers, etc.

Tip 2. Explore the various target markets you will have for your units. Who are your potential buyers? What is their lifestyle? What kind of properties and perks are they searching for? When marketing a condo conversion property think carefully about your niche markets. First time homebuyers, single mothers or women and retiring baby boomers often search for condo solutions because they are safe, easy to maintain and cost less.

Tip 3. Consult a professional. Make sure you fully understand the local zoning, permit and construction laws. Do your homework and don’t make any decisions until you have all the information to consider.

Think Outside the Box with Condo Conversion: Commercial Investment Options

If you invest your money in a project that is smart and has appeal to the community your condo conversion project has a better chance of success. In addition to these tips consider rehabbing the property and creating both residential and commercial floors. A condo conversion investment can be more profitable if residential space is sold on upper stories while first floor property is sold as retail or office space. Also consider offering lease to own options to buyers. If you think creatively about your condo conversion investment you will discover all the possibilities. If you are looking to buy a conversion property educate yourself as much as possible before you purchase. The real estate you buy with condo conversion in mind must be well suited for this kind of project.

90,000 Keller Williams real estate agents go mobile with Google Apps

Editor’s note: We’re excited to announce that Keller Williams Realty International, the largest real estate franchise company in North America, is going Google. We sat down with Jason Tang, Executive Director of Technology, to learn about what drove the move and what they’re looking forward to. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.

Can you tell us about Keller Williams and your decision to move to Google Apps?
Keller Williams is the largest real estate franchise company in North America. We have 200 employees in our Austin, Texas headquarters and support 90,000 agents across our 670 franchise locations throughout the U.S. and Canada. Having a central corporate team and a vast network of independent associates puts us in a unique position from an IT standpoint: we’re responsible for making decisions that help both our internal employees and our agents in the field, whose day-to-day roles differ quite a bit.

Our path to Google Apps was driven by two immediate features both groups needed: a better email platform and a more integrated calendar system. We ran on-premise Microsoft Exchange in our headquarters and a separate system built on an open source platform for our associates. It was an antiquated solution, to say the least. We evaluated Google Apps and Microsoft Office 365, and what clinched it for Google Apps was the future we saw with it. At the 80,000-foot view, our decision wasn’t just about solving our two biggest problems today, but about innovating for the years ahead. We’re betting on a great platform that we know will only get better.

Real estate agents are always on the go. How did mobile play into your decision to use Google Apps?
Mobile, mobile, mobile is our rallying cry. Our agents don’t succeed sitting behind a desk, and when it comes to mobile apps, they want it to “just work” – whether they’re using a smartphone, tablet, or laptop. We’ve spent plenty of time imagining a typical day once we’ve got our associates on Apps. Let’s say an agent and her office team receive an email from a client asking to schedule a showing. The office team sets up an appointment in Calendar for 4:00 p.m. that afternoon. The agent, who is out showing properties, gets an alert on her smartphone for the 4:00 p.m. meeting and shows up at the property at the appointed time. If the meeting changes to 5:00 p.m., no problem, she’ll get an instant alert on her smartphone. What’s more, the back-office team has already uploaded a video presentation of the property and the full disclosure packet to Drive. During the viewing, the agent can pull up the video and documents on her tablet to give a very polished presentation.

That fact that this scenario can play out on whatever device our agents prefer is a game-changer for both us and them, and everyone wins.

What excites you most about the future with Google Apps?
What excites us most is the potential with Google Apps. Yes, we’re thrilled to roll out the core products, like Gmail, Calendar and Drive, with the help of Cloud Sherpas, and our employees and agents are thrilled to upgrade to a system they’re so familiar with. From where I stand, I see endless possibilities beyond the core products. I imagine agents using YouTube to feature videos of properties, Drive to upload disclosure packets, Voice to manage their client calls, and Blogger to create blogs on local real estate trends. Google Apps are the building blocks to create a whole new technology infrastructure for our company.

Google Apps Marketplace will also play a big role at our company. Keller Williams is unique, in that our 90,000 associates are independent operators, not employees. Our agents are free to use many different technology tools to run their businesses. For example, some agents use MailChimp or ConstantContact for email marketing. With the Marketplace, our agents will be able to download these and hundreds of other business apps for use within our Google Apps universe. Our agents use the tools they’re most familiar with, and we support them in their choices however we can.

Investing in Folly Beach Real Estate: How to Cover Costs by Renting Out

Because Folly is the most popular beach in Charleston for vacationers, many home buyers choose this area for buying real estate as an investment. Especially if you’re looking at buying a second home in Charleston, beach real estate in general may be a good option to consider. If you know that you’ll only be staying in the home a portion of the year, why not place the home on a rental program to offset some of the costs of upkeep, insurance, and taxes? There are several good vacation rental agencies in the Charleston area that can handle the headache of finding renters and collecting the money. Out of Charleston’s six beaches, Folly is the surest bet for good rental income, as it has more vacation rentals on average each year.


1) Potential income: Typically a property used for vacation rentals will bring in around 70% to 80% of the overall cost of the property given that you put 20% down on the property. If the property that you are purchasing doesn’t already have a good rental history, we can usually find similar properties to get some idea of what you can expect to earn in rental income.

2) Tax write offs: You can write off the expenses on a second home/rental investment up to the amount that you make in income from its rentals. This means that you can make the income virtually tax free, or another way to look at it is that the property will practically pay for itself.

3) Getting to spend time at the beach: What other investment option allows you to lay out in the sun, swim in the ocean, or watch a beach sunset on your own porch? You certainly won’t get as much enjoyment directly from stocks or CDs! You can set aside as much time as you want for you and your family. Whether you want to be in the beach house for just a few weeks every summer or half the year, you can tell your rental agency exactly what dates you want the house reserved for your own enjoyment. You can even just rent the home out in the off season (and stay there yourself for the whole summer). However, renting just in the off season won’t bring in the kind of income that you can get from the months of May to August, as these are the peak tourist months.


1) Having to deal with renters: A good agency will take care of headache, so be sure to talk with property management companies about what services they offer. There will still be some extra work on your side compared to not renting, but most people think that it’s worth the time it takes to have the additional income. If you can afford to buy a beach vacation home and also keep it up on your own, that’s wonderful! However, if you could use the extra income that renting out provides, this is certainly a good option for you to consider.

2) More wear and tear: You’ll have to replace furniture, etc. more often because the house gets used more throughout the year. But even with replacements every so many years, renting the home should more than cover the replacement costs you’ll pay. And, as an investment property, remember that you can write off furniture and other house needs on your taxes.

If you’re looking for a full time residence (instead of a second home/investment property), Folly Beach is still an excellent choice for buying a home. Even if you never rent out your beach home, you’ll still be indirectly benefiting from renters and investors who put such a large demand in the real estate market for Folly Beach homes.

Regardless of how you plan to use your Folly Beach home, be sure to talk with your Realtor to get statistics and estimates that pertain to the type of home you plan to buy!

How to Become a Real Estate Agent in Oklahoma

Become a Real Estate Agent in OklahomaGetting into the real estate market is a great way to make money and be your own boss. Real estate agents enjoy a high level of freedom at work, and are generally great at working with people. Each state has different requirements, and if you think that you would be a good real estate agent, you’ll need to complete various degrees of training and licensure to be able to legally practice in Oklahoma. With some hard work and training, you could begin your dream job as a real estate agent in Oklahoma.



Complete 45 hours of Part 1 of real estate education. This education must be completed with a licensed real estate school.


Take and pass a Provisional Sales Associate exam with at least a 50 percent grade. A PSA is legally allowed to work as an assistant to a licensed real estate agent. A PSA may not enter into any contracts in buying or selling homes.


Complete 45 hours of Part 2 of real estate education as a PSA within one year of receiving a PSA license.


Submit a Sales Associate application to the state to have the provisions removed from the license once the second phase of education has been completed. Application approvals are contingent upon a passing grade on a Part 2 real estate exam, and the application costs $60.


Complete at least 12 hours of additional instruction within three years of receiving your Sales Associate (Real Estate Agent) license to keep it current and valid.

Make Money In Real Estate Investing: 7 Strategies To Profit From Property Investment

Unequivocally, the real estate market does not have a set trend that it would follow without a glitch. There are slumps and then there are ascents. If all you hope for is to make money via appreciation of your asset, then you probably need to open your eyes to a plethora of other avenues that real estate offers for bagging significant profits. Peruse this primer on how to make money in real estate investing, in order to know about a few of such avenues.

The perceptive investor isn’t solely dependent on asset appreciation to make money. Here are a few other ways that you can make money in real estate investing:-

Positive cash flow from a credible tenant – The rent typically covers the mortgage payment, insurance, taxes, etc. Having paid all that, the amount remaining is your income for the month. A discreet investor would normally have money in reserve, in order to cover the mortgage expense when the property is vacant.

Fixer-upper – This is probably the most favored and the most lucrative form of real estate investment. For instance, you could purchase a property for $70,000 and spruce it up by putting in another $30,000. And then the renovated property could well be worth $170,000 – a high yielding investment technique, isn’t it?

Buying at a wholesale rate – When you purchase a property well below market price, you effectively set the stage for a huge gain when you eventually sell it. Such properties can be bagged at either the pre-foreclosure or foreclosure stage. Since the homeowner is financially distressed, the investor has a great chance of purchasing the property for a bargain price.

Tax deductions save an awful lot of money – As the saying goes, money saved is money earned. Since real estate investment offers a host of tax benefits, the investor has access to increased equity.

Amortization results in equity growth – Say you purchase a property with only 20% down payment and the rest being mortgage finance. Then you find a tenant who provides you monthly rent, which can be used to pay off the debt. As the mortgage debt shrinks, the equity increases. Once the debt is fully paid off, the investor holds 100% equity in the property.

Rent appreciation – This is another excellent way to make money in real estate investing. As the cost of living increases, so should the rent of properties owned by you. Even a petty increase in the monthly rent provides greater cash flow on an annual basis.

Discreet management of assets – You must manage your assets diligently. If you don’t heed to your tenant’s complaints about a recurring problem, your tenant might very well leave the house. And with them would go the chance of positive cash flow. A vacant property simply eats away funds, which are needed for its upkeep. Therefore, proper asset management is crucial.

In a gist, there are a host of avenues that allow you to make money in real estate investing. It’s just that you need to be a bit creative and explore a few of these opportunities.

Us Cities Where Real Estate Has Been Hardest Hit

The upside to this down market is that investors now have a plethora of investments to choose from. From sea to shining sea, you see For Sale signs popping up on front lawns everywhere. It is, most definitely, a buyer’s market and will be for some time to come.

The very best deals are typically in the markets that are hardest hit. If you want to know where to investigate for investments, you should check out the following five U.S. cities for the best real estate deals:

#1 – Detroit, MI – The city hardest hit by the economy, Detroit, experienced 4.8 times the national average for foreclosures last year. Homes in this city start from as low as $1,400.00. No, that’s not a typo. They literally start from as low as one-thousand four-hundred dollars. That’s about $1.22 per square foot. It would cost you more to build one of these houses. So, how could you not invest in rental property in this city with prices this low? Detroit, however, is not known for its safety. No, on the contrary, it’s actually the second most dangerous city in which to live in the whole U.S. of A. Regardless, you have to admit, that is some pretty tempting pricing on that Detroit real estate. Keep in mind, you don’t have to live there to invest, and there are property management companies that you can hire to manage the property for you.

#2 – Stockton, CA – This city has 4.8% of its households in some form of foreclosure action. Homes in Stockton start from as low as $20,000, and rent for as low as $390 per month. That’s a record low for even the Stockton area. Speaking of records, there a record number of homes being auctioned off in this area, too. It’s unfathomable. Who would not want to invest in this area? Unfortunately, this city is not known for being safe, either. Stockton ranked number eight on the list of the most dangerous metropolitan areas in which to live. There are some very good deals here, though, so you may want to pencil one of these auctions into your busy investing schedule.

#3 – Las Vegas – No, it’s not true. Au contraire, everything that happens in Vegas does not stay in Vegas where a 4.2% foreclosure rate has been noted. This once very booming city that sprawled with new growth is now somewhat stigmatized. Due to exceptionally rapid growth, home values became over-inflated over such a short period of time that when the real estate crash abruptly occurred there, it left many home owners holding the bag on homes that won’t be worth their purchase price for years to come. In spite of this, there are still lots of good deals in this market. Home prices start from as low as $126,000. Las Vegas is also ranked fourth on the list of most dangerous metropolitan cities.

#4 – Riverside-San Bernardino – California has been one of the states hit hardest by the down economy in regards to real estate. Average home prices still beat out the national average, but individual home prices have plummeted. Homes start as low as $25,000 in these markets, record lows for both. San Bernardino is the twenty-fourth most dangerous city and eighth most dangerous metropolitan city, although, Riverside did not fall within the top cities for crime.

#5 – Sacramento – Ranked fifth in the list of best cities to buy real estate is Sacramento. Midtown Sacramento, a.k.a. The Grid, has hip bistros and shops that cover the twenty-four square blocks at its center. Even this area of Sacramento holds exceptional real estate investment opportunities, including commercial properties. Home prices start at an incredible low of $15,000 in this market. This city did not fall within the top cities for crime.

Commercial Property in Jaipur Holds Tremendous Growth Scope

Jaipur is amongst the most popular holiday destinations in India especially with foreign tourists. Enriched with cultural heritage, the city offers state-of-the-art architectures like ancient forts, marvelous palaces, artistic museums and sacred temples. But Jaipur is not all about tradition and culture; it has experienced urbanity too with the commercial wave sweeping the city in last few years. Real estate in Jaipur is burgeoning with demands for all kinds of properties-residential, commercial and retail.

An astounding need for development is felt in Jaipur real estate in wake of the boom in its technology sector. The immense potential that it holds for realty developments has been realized and is explored further. This largest city of Rajasthan is the first planned city of the country and spells royalty and splendor with its name. Along with being a favorite with tourists for its ancient construction wonders and rich history, it is also preferred for its proximity to the national capital, Delhi. This is one of the most important factors that help boost the property in Jaipur especially in the commercial segment that includes offices, hotels, lodges, restaurants, etc.

Jaipur has been ranked as the 7th best place to visit in Asia in a recent international survey. The rapidly developing infrastructure in the city is remarkable, surpassing even those of metros like Delhi and Kolkata. A hotspot for property development, Jaipur has an international airport, a railway station, well maintained network of roads with multi-story flyovers and traffic lights. It boasts of global standards of living and high quality housing with well planned colonies and parks. With such world class supporting facilities, Jaipur real estate definitely deserves much more attention than it gets. Since, it is popular worldwide and receives millions of tourists every year, the commercial property of the city demands growth. Better the facilities, more the influx of tourists, thus, higher the revenue. It can therefore be concluded without a doubt that commercial property in Jaipur holds tremendous scope for expansion while promising fair returns.

Just in its nascent stages, Jaipur commercial realty is getting lots of appreciation even as the demand keeps growing. More and more leading realty players are entering ‘The Pink City’ to develop land for both residential and commercial purposes. The development in commercial realty brings along with it the need to develop housing and accommodation facilities. The famous developers like Vatika Group and Ansal API have already acquired the land in Rajasthan industrial belt and Ajmer Road respectively. The construction work has also started for integrated townships equipped with residential and commercial settings, shopping complexes, recreational centre, a five-star hotel, health club, medical facilities and schools. Even land in Neemrana is set to see few Japanese logistics companies establishing their operations in sometime.

An esteemed center for education, Jaipur has one of the best medical and technical institutes in the country. From engineering colleges to business management institutes, from hotel management colleges to pharmacy, medical and dental institutes; Jaipur has them all. Leading hospital groups, cricket stadiums, shopping malls, multiplexes and other such setups make it an ideal place to live in. The swift growth in property in Jaipur makes it a noteworthy destination for property investments. The keen interest of buyers and investors from across the country further boosts the property market of the city. As a result, realty costs have been taking an upward path reinforcing the investors’ belief of high returns in future.

Jaipur is a beautiful place to live in and is witnessing a sudden spurt in its realty sector. It is experiencing a fast paced growth while emerging as one of the leading cities in India.

Buying a New Home? Don’t Forgo Inspections

While it is the case that many home buyers are franticly trying to find an appropriate home to buy and get a binding contract signed as quickly as possible, it is important to not skimp on any of the important steps that are imperative to ensuring that your home buying experience is not just a reaction to the tax credit running out at the end of the month. In particular, one very important step that no home buyer should overlook is having your potential home inspected.

A home inspection should always be a priority for home owners; even if you are well acquainted with the house that you are looking to buy, there can still be problems with it that you can’t see. A good home inspector will be able to point out potential problems that might very well not be evident to you or the present home owners; while some of these may be deal breakers, other types of problems might just be serious enough to be a bargaining tool for you to get a price down a bit. If you have specific concerns, let your home inspector know so that they can take an extra deep look at any potential problems.

Pest inspections are also a very good investment before you sign any papers; even if the area that you live in isn’t known for insect infestations, your new dream home could have rats or other vermin hiding away in it. This is usually a separate inspection from a regular home inspection, because it requires a different kind of expert; always hire the right kind of expert for the job.

No matter what kind of home inspection that you’re looking for, it is a good idea to do some looking around before hiring anyone to do it for you. Don’t just take your Realtor’s recommendation on whom to hire to do a home inspection either; take the time to ask around and make a good choice.

All in all, no one likes to have a nasty surprise when the seasons change or there is a storm in your area and find that the roof that looked just fine when they purchased a home actually leaks in a heavy rain or that the basement has an insect problem. Skimping on the basic preventative steps before you sign a contract could cost you much more than you would save by signing a binding contract without a proper inspection!

A Pretty Fairway to Live

Having a home on a golf course is the dream of every golf nut and with golf’s rising surge in popularity over the last decade or so, golf course homes are harder to come by and come at a premium cost. But is living on the links really a smart choice? Before making the move to the fairway there are some things you might want to consider.

Living next to a golf course can be a wonderful lifestyle, even for non-golfers (surprisingly, over 70% of homeowners in golf communities don’t golf). Having your backyard transition into a well manicured park-like setting and the smell of fresh cut grass every day may appear idyllic but the grass is not as green as it seems.

Be prepared for a big change in lifestyle when your yard backs on to the 18th green. If you are concerned about privacy this is not the place for you. Getting used to a steady stream of golfers going by, and often through your yard is not for everyone. Sleeping in…forget about it; in the summer months courses will have tee times as early as 5:00 am, and these are usually preceded by the sound of mowers and maintenance crews.

If you live in a golfing community there will be rules dictating what you can do to your yard. Some rules might include; no fences, no lawn ornaments, no flags, etc. Where your home is situated on the course will present yet another issue… errant golf balls. Every year thousands of homes and their owners are the victims of slices and hooks and there is a large gray area when it comes to determining who is liable. In general, courses are designed to minimize the chance of homes being struck, but let’s face it; we’re not all Tiger Woods. Some homeowners accept the risk and take measures to reduce it by using unbreakable glass and putting up nets, whereas others are constantly fighting with golf courses to pay for damages.

If the matter goes before a Judge many factors come into play: was the course there before the house, was the golfer being irresponsible, how often is the home being hit? If the course came first, what did the homeowner expect… would you buy a house on Bourbon Street and complain about the noise, or live next to an airport and complain about the planes? Most courses post signs indicating that the golfer is responsible for any damage they cause, but there are a lot of ‘hit and run golfers’. For this reason, certain courses will just pay up to avoid any further hassle. If the house is struck by an excessive amount of balls the Judge will order the course to change its design or install netting to remedy the problem. For the most part, unless there is a blatant flaw with the design, the course is not responsible and the conflict is between the homeowner and the golfer.

There are many advantages to living on a golf course but if you are thinking about moving to the links, you better be prepared for the lifestyle that comes with it. You may also want to get yourself a hard hat for gardening and grilling… Fore!!!

The Pros and Cons of Investing in Real Estate

Like any other profession, there are good and bad things about what are available. Each of the things that happen in the profession is just part of the business. If you want to know what you are getting into, you will want to make sure that you know all sides of the coin of the profession. This will help you to be prepared for looking into property or buying into the occupation of real estate.

The good part of real estate is that you will be helping others to find a home. Anyone involved in real estate will say that the largest perk of being in the profession is that you are able to help people with their living situation. Another good benefit of being a real estate agent is that the finances are usually stable and do not come in small doses. For those that love their jobs in real estate, they will most likely base it on these two factors.

Despite the benefits of being a real estate agent, there are also some tough parts of being involved. One of the major frustrations is that the properties that are available will be dependent on the type of market, the neighborhood and the sales of that area. At times, there may be an overflow of properties available, while at others, everyone will be holding onto their property. For those involved in finding or buying real estate, this can cause for a challenge in finding what you want and when you want it.

Of course, for anyone becoming involved in real estate, other frustrations may come from the terms and the details that are used in the process as well as the process itself. It is not uncommon to find a home, have it inspected and then not have the ability to buy the home because of the condition of the home. There also may also be financial problems with real estate during the process of finding a home for an individual. All of these factor in to spending a lot of time looking at homes without the benefit of buying.

Whether you are buying or selling, it will be important to know what to expect from real estate. By factoring in the different parts of property, you will have the ability to decide what is best for you and can stay ready for the potential problems that may occur while you are going through the process. Knowing what to expect will help you to get past half of the battle of the real estate market.

How do I Install a Real Estate Sign Post?

A real estate sign in front of a house on the lawn is an effective advertisement for a residential property for sale. Many shoppers have been finding homes online in recent years, but some still drive the neighborhood. When a potential buyer drives through an area, you want them to know quickly which house is for sale. A real estate sign is the easiest way to indicate this.


  1. Wait until after you have watered the lawn for at least 20 minutes, if you live in a hot, dry climate. Rocky soil makes it difficult to insert a sign into the ground.
  2. Place the sign so that it is perpendicular to the road. A perpendicular sign gives passers-by an easier view of the sign; if you install it parallel to the road the driver may not see the sign until she is in front of it.
  3. Push the sign into the ground, working each post one at a time. If the posts have crossbeams, step on the crossbeams to get them further into the ground. Each of the posts should be about 6 inches underground.
  4. Use a rubber mallet if you cannot step on crossbeams. Tap the rubber mallet at the top of each post to secure the sign in the ground.

How To Make Sure You Get Your Dream Home

With the housing market full of foreclosures and short sales, it can be a great time to be in the market for a new home. However, particularly in certain areas, it can be a real hassle to be able to make a bid on a home and walk away with a new purchase.

Due to the low costs of real estate in the US at present, it can be a matter of first come-first won for many prospective home buyers. Unfortunately, many buyers who are looking for a good deal on a house to live in have to compete with developers, home flippers, and speculators. In areas of the country that have less real estate inventory, this problem is even more pronounced. There are, however, some ways that you can help the process along; even if you want to buy in an area that has few homes available.

One way that you can get a jump on other buyers is by informing your buyer’s agent that you want to know about properties as soon as they go on the market. Often, a successful buyer will be the one who gets their offer in first, before other prospective buyers have a chance to look at the home.

Another great way to get home sellers more interested in your offer is to go to your lender and get pre-approved for a home loan. Sellers do not want to wait around for buyers to get authorized for a loan after they make an offer, so cut the time shorter and ensure that your financing is settled before you make offers on any homes. The best way to know what your financial restrictions are is to have your financing pre-approved too.

Sellers also do not want to have offers restricted with a bunch of conditions. If you need to sell your home before you can buy the new one you want, be aware that the sellers are unlikely to wait around for you to do that if they can get an offer that does not hinge on waiting for someone to buy the buyer’s home. It is best of the only condition of an offer is the one that says that your purchase is conditional on the inspection of the home in question; anything more can cause your offer to be overlooked.

In short, the more flexible that you can be as a buyer and the more generous that you can be with your offer, the more likely that your offer will be taken seriously. Also, be aware that it is taking home buyers longer to purchase a home now than a few years ago, so you may need to be patient while you are in the market for a new home.