5 Vital Steps Home Buyers Don’t Want to Skip

Florida is one of the hottest housing markets in the U.S., making buying a home challenging.  Here are five vital tips for finding the best real estate deals in Florida and having a smooth closing:

1.  View properties in person to make sure you see any aspects of a home not included online.  Touring listings with an experienced real estate agent, who can spot potential concerns, is always wise.  If you must rely on a virtual showing, you can have an agent visit the property and make a purchase offer contingent upon a satisfactory professional home inspection.

2.  Be cautious when buying a home remotely, so you don’t fall prey to any scams, such as fake listings or overpriced properties.

3.  Use trusted financial institutions for making necessary payments, such as a good-faith deposit to a brokerage with a purchase offer.  Online payment apps, such as PayPal and Venmo, don’t offer the same protections as a traditional bank with FDIC insurance.

4.  Make sure your finances are in order before spending too much time searching for your dream home.  Getting a mortgage preapproval is best so you know how much you can borrow and at what terms.  It may also carry weight with a potential seller evaluating multiple purchase offers.  Also, make sure your credit is healthy so you qualify for a mortgage with the lowest interest rate possible, which can save thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.

5.  Use an experienced real estate agent who understands the market where you want to buy a home. They can help you navigate the potentially complex process of making offers, negotiating terms, completing contingencies, and getting to the closing table.  The right agent can help you get an offer accepted when competing with other buyers in a hot real estate market.

SOURCE:  Laura Adams, senior real estate analyst at Aceable, a mobile education platform that offers accredited real estate education in Florida and the U.S.

Do You Have What It Takes To Be A Landlord?

Investing in real estate is something that everyone with the means considers at some point in their lives. This is especially true in the current climate since investing in any new-high stock market seems risky and defaulting to real estate appears to be a viable option.

Having a hard asset is seen by most investors as a way to diversify from the stock markets. Still, to do so, it is essential to know if you are the type of person to handle being a landlord. Here is some guidance to follow before dipping your toes into the real estate market with a rental property:

Run the numbers

There is no point getting involved in the rental game if the numbers don’t make any sense. Having cash will make the whole process run smoother and likely get you a discount on the property you are buying. Sellers love avoiding banks, speeding up the process, and cutting off a good chunk of fees. Work out what your costs are going to be – taxes, insurance, any mortgage, charges the landlord is supposed to cover – and make sure that the rental income you will be bringing in supports the decision. Especially when it comes to . . .

Have a savings backup

This should read “do not throw all your money into the rental property,” leaving you broke when – and it will be a when and not an if – something terrible happens. Having a cushion is vital – especially as these bad things always tend to occur in the first year when improvements need to be made, or something just fails in general. That old water heater is bound to give up at some point, and it is going to be up to you to replace it to keep your tenants happy, and speaking of keeping the tenants happy . . .

Are you up for the job

Being a landlord is both a job and a responsibility. Hiring a property manager is fine, but that is a costly expense if being the landlord is something you have the time, the patience, and the skills. Being handy is a big advantage, too, as it means you have to hire less help to take on the various maintenance tasks that crop up. However, knowing how to fix a small plumbing problem or put up a fence is not the only area of expertise required. This is especially true if you own a multi-family rental property where being the voice of reason in an argument between tenants to keep the peace is vitally important.

Will the market support your investment

Think carefully about where to invest in a rental house and study real estate before taking the plunge. Knowing where to buy – and then what to charge in rent – is a huge part of being a successful landlord. Some areas are full of rentals, and the market may be too competitive to make inroads without undervaluing the lease. In contrast, others – especially in rural areas – might not have the interest you need to get the money you need. Also, while student rentals are fairly easy to lease, you may rather have loyal tenants who are not on the edge of throwing a party every weekend.

Look for something that will increase in value

If real estate investing was as cut and dry as it sounds, then everyone would have rental properties in the right areas. Anything from changing demographics to the opening or closing of the right industry in an area can swing a great real estate rental investment into a bad one overnight. Betting on economic growth – be it of a town or even a part of a town – is risky. Still, there are huge benefits long term if a house increases in value while you keep renting it out.

Article by Vital Guidance

Tips For Sellers To Make The Most Of Home Video Presentations

Buying or selling a house in this crazy world is a challenge. Many of the things we took for granted as part of the real estate transaction process have changed in one way or another. One of these is the way that prospective buyers view a house.

It used to be that a few pretty pictures online would be enough work to tempt a buyer into making an initial visit to check out your real estate. Even before Covid-19, however, this had changed to some degree, with buyers increasingly moving towards video footage of their prospective new home to show them if a visit was worth their time. The global pandemic only increased the importance of video, with buyers not wanting to spend time – and potentially risk their health – on properties that are shown in the listings by staged photos only.

As a seller, this can be used to your advantage. A good video presentation of your home will work wonders, with many buyers being wowed enough by that first video impression to have feelings for a home before even walking in the door. Doing the video right isn’t all that difficult, but here are a few tips to help you make the most of your real estate presentation video.

Don’t Be Tricky

No one wants to go to a property and see something that looks nothing like the video. This means that your video should be unedited if at all possible to give an actual and realistic view of the real estate they will be buying. Nothing will break trust between seller and buyer as quickly as a video that has jumped around to show a different layout or that has deliberately glossed over any problems with the property. Do not waste their time and yours by submitting an edited video that creates expectations for the house that cannot be met.

Prepare For Your Recording

While editing out the bad parts of your home to create a jump cut frenzy is a no-no, there is nothing wrong with making your home look its best for your video tour:  know when the sunlight hits your home to show it in its best light; make sure that the home is clutter free and that drapes/curtains/blinds are clean and in the optimal position to show off what your house looks like at its best; and make sure all the light bulbs are working and they give off great lighting in all areas. Spending a little time – and a little money – in getting the staging right for your home tour will get more people wanting to view your real estate in person and increase the chances of a quick sale at (or above) asking price.

Take Your Time

One of the biggest problems with video tours is that the people filming often rush them. A prospective buyer wants to be able to see the real estate in detail without having to slow the frame rate or be constantly pausing the video because the tour is happening too fast. A steady pace is the best bet – one that allows you to control the camera without bouncing and jerking it around (we don’t want to make the buyer sea sick) – being sure to keep equal focus on the things you do and do not like about the home. Nothing is more suspicious than a tour done at the correct pace suddenly speeding up to cover a problem area of the home. Think about what you would like to see – and the speed that you would like to see it at – and use that as a rule of thumb.

Happy house hunting!


Article By Vital Guidance

Spring Is A Time To Be Ready For Real Estate Options

Real estate buying and selling options were way down in March 2020 as a direct result of the Coronavirus outbreak. As potential buyers and sellers watched the economy fall apart across the country, real estate suffered as people who may have been in the market to buy or sell a newly built or existing home, decided to shelter in place versus splashing out their money on a mortgage.

There is no doubt it was the right thing to do at the time. Research on Zillow shows that signed contracts on houses are about one-third lower right now than they were at this time last year with people protecting their cash and other investments. There is – though – a glimmer of hope.

Spring always feels like the perfect time to explore your real estate buying and selling options as the weather gets warmer. This year the threat of Corona is still real, but there is an added feeling of hope that comes with spring.  Retail sales for housing picked up as we moved through April.  This may be a sign the worst part of the crisis – at least from the perspective of the housing market – could be over.

Web traffic – another great indicator of housing interest – also picked up during the last two weeks of April, though the numbers are still lower than average in major metros like New York City and Boston where the virus is a bigger problem. How much of this is people being bored sitting at home versus people actually looking to buy a house is up for debate, but on the back end of this it’s entirely possible that people who were happy with their living condition pre-Corona will be looking for something a little different – a move to space in the suburbs perhaps – that they wouldn’t have considered before.

The whole real estate market has turned virtual in the last month and this is important to consider if you are looking to buy or sell. Housing values have remained steady – impressive given some of our economic markets have gone into free fall.  So if you are someone considering your real estate buying and selling options you should be using this time to get your house prepared and learning about the new methods to be on top of the situation when you decide to make the move.

Article by Vital Guidance

Ready to Buy or Sell – Biggest Investment Choices

The decision to purchase or sell a home are two of the biggest investment choices you could ever make.  After all, a home is usually the largest – and most emotional – investment most people will face in their lifetime.  So, how do you know if it’s the right time for you to buy or sell?

There is never a wrong time to buy or sell the right home.  The key is carefully evaluating your finances to reach the right decision.  As trained financial advisors, we work with Realtors around the world to ensure you are prepared to move forward, or from, a home.

Let us help you explore your options today.  You don’t have to know everything as we are ready to help you through every step of the real estate process.

Buying A House Can Be Easy When You Prepare For It

Are you interested in buying a house? If yes, then you’re are at the best place for insights into the whole process. Buying a house, once considered can become a very emotional activity. You might find yourself stalking listed homes on your home-browsing app or allowing your schedule to accommodate drive-by viewings.

It is very easy to purchase a house you cannot afford and that mistake can seriously impair your ability to accumulate wealth down the line. Understanding the right way to buy a home helps you avoid grievous financial mistakes.

When to purchase

Before anything else, you have to consider timing. Evaluate your finances and make sure you have a steady income and enough cash saved for the down payment. You also have to consider the housing market because you want a home that will go up in value. Discuss the market with your real estate agent. Consider your life stage. The process of buying a house is expensive and you should not invest that much into an activity when you may move the next year.

Save up

Don’t restrict your financial growth by making decisions with a short-sighted perspective. A weak financial foundation is key to regretting your home purchase. You have to be financially ready to buy a house and this means paying off debts and saving up three to six months of expenses. When you become the home owner, you will be in charge of paying for repairs. Saving for the down payment is one of the most difficult aspects. You may consider saving up as much as 20 percent of the home value for a down payment to avoid Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI).  Moving expenses should also be taken into consideration as part of your total savings for a home purchase.

Get preapproved

The optimal way to get a house is with cash. It may sound far out but people do it. If it is not feasible for you, you’ll require a home mortgage loan. To get prequalified to buy a house, a lender will find out about your income, assets and down payment. Getting preapproved is more of a challenge. The lender will confirm your financial information and submit your application for preliminary underwriting. When you begin your home search, a preapproval letter shows you are a serious buyer. Mortgage options varies so decide on the best one for your financial status.

Find the right agent

You can do a lot on your own but getting assistance from an expert will go a long way in finding and securing the perfect place. A buyer’s agent can even help you find a house before it is listed for sale. The agent will also do the job of negotiating offers for you. In most cases, the seller even pays your agent’s fees.

House hunting

Before starting your search, make a list of features of a home that are vital to you and don’t compromise on them to avoid regret. Once you have clarity on what you want, share it with your agent. Your agent will help set realistic expectations and streamline your search to areas you can afford.  One thing to keep in mind is that a great house in a bad neighborhood may not be a good idea.  Your home may be your biggest investment so select a home that should grow in value.

Article by Vital Guidance

How To Win The Home Bidding War Without Breaking The Bank

Real estate bidding wars are less common than they used to be, but they can still happen. This is especially true in markets homebuyers are desperate to move into, with a bidding war driving up the price of the property much higher than was expected when the first bids were made.

The most effective way to close a deal in your favor when it comes to real estate is by making an all-cash offer. This makes sense, if you can afford it, because it’s a much cleaner process with far fewer hoops to jump through for both the buyer and seller, and it was shown in a study by Redfin that paying all-cash more than triples your chances of being successful. If your battle is starting to look competitive, see if this is an offer you are able to make to seal your new home.

Interestingly, the second most successful strategy as checked by Redfin is a much more personal one that has nothing to do with money changing hands at all. That strategy is to simply write a personal letter to the seller. This is far less effective than the no financing deal, but people in this day and age don’t often feel a connection between buyer and seller. If someone has lived in a house for 20 years or so, they want to know that the person buying the property has some level of respect for it. That is why a well written and well thought out letter can – in some circumstances – tip the scales in your favor when it comes to a real estate purchase. Showing that you care about a house and the person selling it can be a huge deal closer, especially with older home sellers.

The other three metrics tracked by Redfin were all less effective. Waiving a financial contingency – basically protecting the buyer from liability in the event of a sale falling through after a failure to secure a loan – had some traction, but it was a much more effective bidding war strategy a few years ago. This strategy, however, was more effective than both waiving the inspection contingency and conducting a pre-inspection of the property, neither of which had any impact at all on bidding wars won.

What this tells us is that cash is still king and that the personal touch of a letter still holds merit in the world today. It is fascinating that something as simple as a personal note from buyer to seller can still help with real estate buying. Perhaps that is an example we should take into all aspects of our everyday life.

Article by Vital Guidance