Monthly Archives: May 2015

Prepare Your Credit, And Reduce The Stress Of Home Buying

Although, most of consider, owning a home, of our own, to be, a key component of the American Dream, few are ready, willing, and/ or able, to prepare effectively, in order to reduce some of the foreseeable stresses and strains, in order to significantly reduce many of the hassles of the process. While some of these, may not be, simply addressed, one area, it makes sense, to be prepared for, is, in the area, of enhancing one’s credit worthiness, and being ready and prepared, in this area. With that in mind, this article will attempt to briefly, examine, consider, review, and discuss, some key principles, and ways, to ease, the stress, and strain, of this transaction period.

1. Get a copy of your credit report: Once a year, you are entitled to a copy of your credit report, free! However, if you’ve been denied credit, or a victim of credit theft or attempted theft, you can do so, more frequently. Carefully, review this report, thoroughly, and go beyond, merely looking at the score. Check to see if, there are any errors, and correct them. Are there any items, which you don’t recognize, and, if so, immediately contact the bureau, and associated company, and officially question/ contest these? In terms of your score, in most cases (depending on the agency), the range is from about 300 – 350, up, to 800 – 850. Most mortgage lending companies desire scores, at least, over 700, and the best loans, are available, when these exceed 750.

2. How much mortgage to you qualify for?: Ask around, interview a few, and contact a professional mortgage banker/ broker. Discover, how much mortgage, you qualify for, and ask for feedback, regarding, ways you might enhance your consideration! When you know, how much you qualify for, and understand, what that represents, in terms of down – payment, reserves, and closing costs, you significantly reduce your stress, and tension, during this tense period of time.

3. Relevant money issues: Never over – simplify how you think about your credit, and credit – worthiness! Do so, in an introspective, objective manner, know yourself, and your needs, perceptions, and comfort zone, and prepare accordingly! Don’t begin the home search, until/ unless, you are prepared, from this essential perspective!

If you truly want to own a house, realize, most take advantage of a mortgage, in doing so. Therefore, to avoid excess stress, tension, and disappointment, begin, ready, and prepared!

Is There A Perfect Time, To Buy A Home?

As a Real Estate Licensed Salesperson, in the State of New York, for over a decade, I have often, been asked, if there’s such a thing, as the best time, to buy a house. However, while this differs, from individual, to individual, the short answer, is, it depends! It depends on the local market, one’s needs, goals and priorities, availability, personal finances, and, whether one locates, what he considers, to be, his dream home. Many perceive, there is something magic about Spring Market, probably because, traditionally, the most houses, have been sold, during this period, but, the reality is, houses sell, year – around.

1. Spring Market: Traditionally, this period, has witnessed the most real estate action, and activity, probably, for many reasons. One is, in most regions, while the weather in winter, is iffy, and in the heart of the summer, there are many family vacations, and the heat is sometimes, offensive, etc, and autumn/ fall, is Back to School, etc,, Spring buyers are able to move into their houses by summer, prepare calmly for school relocations, etc. However, during this period, sellers will have the most competition (number of other houses, listed, on the market), and buyers will also find competition, in most economies. However, it’s important to realize, we sometimes witness a buyers market, other – times, sellers have the advantage, and sometimes, its more balanced and equal. Know which market is taking place.

2. Summer Market: Those houses, listed in Spring, which for some reason, fail to sell, often, remain on the market, during the Summer, and we often, witness, these houses, offered, at lower prices (known as price adjustments). While fewer houses, often, are listed, during the heart of the market, many more, have been coming on, in recent years, because of the prolonged, Sellers Market, and the belief, there may be, an opportunity. Fewer home buyers look, in the hot weather, and more, are on vacation, but, we often, recognize, those buyers, still looking, are often, more serious, etc.

3. Autumn Market: While traditionally, this period was often, a slower one, in recent years, after the Labor Day period, and Jewish Holidays, we have been witnessing a far more active market. In today’s world, people move, when it’s right, for them!

4. Winter Market: Usually, there are, both, fewer sellers, as well as fewer buyers, but, those, buying and selling, are often, very serious, and, therefore, we often witness houses listed, at more realistic prices, from the start, and, although, fewer (in number) buyers might be looking, those, who are, are generally, looking, to buy, rather than, merely, to look!

Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter, when is the best time to buy or sell? In today’s real estate world, the answer is when the combination of needs, priorities, and financial preparedness, are key factors!

Real Estate Caveat: Don’t Market – Time!

While there may be certain periods of time, when one, might find a better opportunity, than another, in terms of buying or selling real estate, it is rarely a good idea, to try to apply the principles of market – timing, to this endeavor. There are so many factors, which might impact pricing, some more obvious and/ or predictable, while others more dependent on less predictable current events, etc. While human nature, is such, we all like to find a bargain, the actual fact, is, doing this, has certain risks and uncertainties, and other factors, involved. With that in mind, this article will attempt to briefly examine, consider, review, and discuss, some reasons, market – timing, is challenging, and often unwise.

1. Are you selling one house, and buying another?: If you are, as many do, when you sell the first home at a higher price, the new home, will also cost more. Therefore, how might market – timing make a difference?

2. Mortgage interest rates: So many factors affect interest rates, and the effect of rising interest rates, generally raises the rate one pays monthly, for mortgage expenses. Every increase in rate, means someone may not qualify for the same amount of loan, and will pay, more, every month, for every dollar borrowed.

3. All real estate is local: Market conditions change from region to region, and, in some cases, from neighborhood, to neighborhood (even when nearby). The adage, All real estate is local, explains, how conditions vary, depending on location, and since factors, such as supply and demand, pricing, schools, safety, conditions, etc, should also show you, why it is not only challenging, but often, ill – advised, to proceed, that way!

4. World and domestic changes/ conditions: When events in Washington concern financial markets, we sometimes witness increases in interest rates, real estate value, etc, which go beyond, logic, but are often based on emotional factors. In addition, unrest in areas, in the rest of the world, trade wars, and restrictions, etc, have an often – unanticipated result!

5. Supply and demand: The economic law of Supply and Demand, states, when supply is high, or demand is low, prices drop, and when they are the opposite, we witness rising prices. What causes certain changes in market inventory, and when this might change (often, somewhat, suddenly, and not expected), makes market – timing, considerably challenging!

A simple rule should be, to know your needs, goals, priorities, reasons, and personal finances, consider mortgage rates, etc, and, if you find the right house, for you, at a fair price (based on local market), try to buy it. Will you have the discipline to do, what’s best for you?

10 Tips for First Time Home Buyers

Planning to buy a home? Here are some things to be aware of:

1. Lender: Step one – meet with a lender FIRST to find out if you qualify to buy and how much you can afford.

2. Income: Spending no more than one fourth of your income for your home is best. That way you can afford other expenses and, hopefully, keep your home if one partner looses their job.

3. Plan ahead: Make a wish list. Start with what would you love in your home, then narrow down to what you must have. For example, a fireplace is an absolute must have for me. I don’t bother looking at homes without one because I would not be happy living without a fireplace. Minor? Maybe, but not to me.

4. Location: Do you need to be close to work, to schools, to restaurants, to movie theaters? What’s important to your lifestyle? A little extra driving to work may seem like only a minor inconvenience when you find a home you love further out than you’d planned. But, after six months of driving that extra 25 minutes each way, you may not be thrilled with the idea of living in that location for the next 5-10 years. And, what’s it like to get home at rush hour?

5. Schools: I’ve had people say, “oh, we don’t care about the schools, we don’t have children.” Well, you may someday. And, even if they’re grown and gone, good school districts are a huge influence on how quickly you’ll be able to sell your home later.

6. Sunlight: Drive by the house you’re considering at different times of the day. Where does the sun shine into the windows at different times? Do you want plants to bloom in your family room? If so, the room better get plenty of light! Sunlight also impacts things like moss and mold growth.

7. Noise: If the neighborhood is quiet at 10am when you view it with your realtor, is it still quiet at 4pm when the kids are all home from school? What is it like in the evenings?

8. Closing Costs: Get good information about all of your closing costs to avoid surprises at the closing table. Surprises at closing are, unfortunately, not uncommon.

9. Move-in/Ownership Costs: Remember move-in costs like window treatments, carpets, shower curtains. Do you need to immediately buy a refrigerator? And don’t forget additional monthly expenses that may not show up on your buying estimates like: taxes, homeowners dues, mortgage insurance, homeowners insurance, utilities, maintenance, etc.

10. Repairs: Nine times out of 10, there will be repair costs. No home is perfect. Doors may not shut (or stay open), faucets may drip, toilets may run. Expect to find a number of fairly minor annoyances that you will want to fix when you begin living in your new home.

Buying a home is an exciting time. It can also be stressful! Hopefully, these tips will help you avoid some of the stress.

What can you add? What did you learn?

I’ve currently buy about 60 houses per year, 80 percent of which I wholesale – the rest we rehab or hold for our rental portfolio.

Financial Planning, For Buying A House

We, so often, become, so emotionally involved, with the concept of home ownership, that, we overlook, and forget about, the necessary details, involved, in properly planning, for, buying a house. When one seeks a house, based on, meeting many needs, goals, and priorities, and considering, present realities, and foreseeable contingencies, he, generally, remains happy, with his decision. Since, for most of us, our house represents our single – biggest, financial asset, doesn’t it make sense, to be well – prepared, and fully plan, for the process? With that in mind, while accepting there are many emotional considerations involved (Why would someone want to live somewhere, which doesn’t make him satisfied or happy?), this article will attempt to consider, examine, review, and discuss, some basic essentials of financial planning, for owning a house, of one’s own.

1. Before you begin your search: The better you plan, the easier this process becomes! At least six months, before, you begin your search, either, personally, review your Credit Report, for accuracy, etc, or, consult a recommended, mortgage professional, and ensure, you optimize your credit – worthiness. The better, your credit, the easier the process, of getting the needed loan, as well as, qualifying, for the lowest possible, available rate. Remember, the lower the rate, you pay, the more house – for – your – dollars!

2. Down – payment, and closing expenses/ costs: Since most people, depend on financing (generally via a mortgage loan), you will need, to save, for the down – payment. Most conventional loans ask for 20% down (although some require less), and you must have these funds, liquid, and available. In addition, you will have to pay, a significant amount in closing costs, including, pre – paid real estate taxes and utilities, filing fees, title (title and title insurance), legal costs, etc.

3. Reserves: Will owning a home, of your own, be your American dream, or some sort of nightmare? When prospective homeowners, realize, and commit to the need, to maintain reserves, especially for: a) Unanticipated needs for monthly payments (6 – 9 months reserve is recommended); b) repairs (regular); c) major repairs/ unanticipated; d) maintenance; and, e) renovations, they experience a far lower degree of stress, and tension, during the home ownership experience.

A smart, well – prepared, homeowner, is far more ready, and able, to enjoy, the positives of owning, a home, of one’s own! Will you be a prepared owner, or, cause yourself, lots of extra, unnecessary stress and tension?

What Can Be Done About Overpriced Homes?

Buying a house always reach its climax when price is talked about it. Despite exerting efforts to find homes that are reasonably priced, there will always surface as overpriced. What can you do with them? Or is there something you can really do?

Technically, you can’t do anything about it. Price tags are the decisions of sellers. But realistically, you can make lower offers. In that sense, you are entering into negotiations which may or may not prosper.

If you’re just beginning to look for a house to buy, you can check with the agents how many days the house has been on the market. According to real estate insiders, when a house stays in the market for more than two months, there is something wrong with its price tag.

Further, those homes are also those whose owners may not still be ready to let go. There are strong emotions attached to ownership which may be pushing them to have an over price.

Spotting overpriced homes requires a lot of evaluation. If you are keen enough, you can see how much is the difference of two homes for sale in the same neighborhood. This assuming that both have the same floor area and total area, slightly differing in architectural design and amenities.

Location also plays an important part when telling that a house is overpriced. Despite similarities in footprint, differences in price may exist when site is considered. What could be a cheaper priced house in the inner part of the community may be more expensive near the entrance of a gated community since it is more accessible from main roads, shopping districts, government offices, and service providers.

Overpriced homes tend to stay longer in the seller’s market. Taking this cue, what you can do is to turn its price into an anchor to make lower offers. Yet, make sure you are not offering figures that may seem insulting to the owner. You also have to ready yourself and give reasons for lowering your offer.

Buying a house requires some mathematical analysis, comparisons and calculations. If for these reasons, you tend to be in doubt whether a house you are going to buy is overpriced or not, you can always tap the services of your local real estate agent. Their expertise in handling multiple buy and sell from different clients is already an assurance that you can spot and buy an ideal house that is within your economic capabilities.

The Essentials Of Home Ownership FINANCES

Wouldn’t it be nice, and make more sense, if, potential homeowners, fully considered, the essentials of FINANCES, and planned, accordingly, to achieve their finest goals, expectations, and needs? Since, for most of us, the value of our house, represents our single – biggest, financial asset, shouldn’t we prepare, as well as possible, and proceed, with, eyes – wide – open? With that in mind, this article will briefly consider, examine, review, and discuss, using the mnemonic approach, why this, so often, makes the difference, between truly enjoying owning a home, and becoming overwhelmed, and needlessly, stressed, by the day – to – day, obstacles, of home ownership.

1. Funding; future: If we, first, examine and consider, as many areas of funding, etc, as possible, we reduce much unnecessary, and avoidable stresses, and hassles. Prepared homeowner, look, at both, current, as well as future needs, and structure, a relevant, quality, financial plan. Most only consider the need for having a down – payment, but overlook the necessary, future reserves, for repairs, renovations, upgrades, maintenance, and, in case of an unforeseen setback. Doing so, requires, a large degree of focus, and discipline!

2. Intentions: Know your personal intentions, before buying a house. Are your plans, to keep it for the longer – term, or, simply, as a starter home? This will dictate, the best way, to organize your personal finances, as it relates to owning a home, of your own!

3. Needs: Do you know, both, your present needs, as well as probable future ones? Those who plan, accordingly, are usually, best – prepared, and enjoy home ownership, in a less stressful way!

4. Asset: Think of your house. not only from an emotional perspective, but, also, as the most significant asset, in your portfolio! Protect it, by preparing for potential eventualities!

5. Nervous: It’s normal, to be, somewhat, nervous, about being a homeowner. The better you plan, and prepare, the happier, and least stressed, you will be!

6. Choices: You’ll face several choices, throughout the process, from the house – hunting, beginning, to owning a house. What kind of house, and property, do you need, will meet foreseeable future needs, and will satisfy, much of what you want, seek and desire? What renovations, upgrades, etc, might align with both your emotional, as well as logical components?

7. Emphasis: Don’t try to keep up, with the Jones’, but determine what’s most important to you, and where you should place, your emphasis!

8. Service; solution: What will serve you, and what is your solution, to aligning and coordinating, your approach, in a head/ heart balance?

The wisest homeowners consider, and prepare, their FINANCES. Will you be, your best friend, or, own, worst enemy?


The Real HOPES Of Buying A New Home

Why is home ownership, often considered, a core component, of the so – called, American Dream? Although every potential home buyer, seeks some different things, perhaps, unique to him, nearly all, enter the process, and period, with specific wishes, and HOPES, so it creates a meaningful, motivating experience. If one begins the process, by focusing on what he seeks, in his own home, as well as, can realistically afford (without becoming home – rich, but otherwise, poor and stressed), the normal and stresses and strains, doubts and insecurities, will be far more limited, and severe! With that in mind, this article will attempt to briefly, consider, examine, review, and discuss, using the mnemonic approach, what this means and represents, and why, smart buyers, will pay some attention to some of these core ideas.

1. Heart; heating: The heart of a home, must focus on, the essential bones, of the specific property. A smart buyer recognizes, while one can alter, and amend, the cosmetic aspects of a house, such as painting, flooring, etc, with a minimum of hassle and costs, if the main components, of the property, are weakened, and/ or compromised, you may be purchasing a Money Pit, instead of an enjoyable place to live! Carefully inspect, and consider, the condition, age, and effectiveness of the heating and air – conditioning (HVAC), as well as overall, air quality! Consider, how long, you will be satisfied, with items, such as your kitchen, and bathrooms, because, if this will need renovation, in the near future, a wise home buyer, will factor that additional cost, into his financial estimates, and abilities.

2. Options; opportunities; organized: Is the way, the particular house, is set – up, and organized, something, which you feel, will fit your needs, goals, and personality? Are there any specific options, which you believe, are essential and relevant, to your potential, to fully enjoy, the house? If there’s something, you aren’t 100%, in love with, are there realistic opportunities, to make certain changes?

3. Priorities; perceptions; pricing: Begin with your eyes – wide – open! Seriously, know, and abide by, your personal comfort zone, in terms of pricing, including the selling price, and the costs of any renovations, etc, you will make, in the first year, or two. Does this home, align with your personal perceptions, of where you want to live?

4. Emphasis; energize; energy costs; efficiency: Know your personal emphasis, from the start! A new home should energize you, in a positive manner. Don’t forget to seriously consider, total energy costs, as well as your monthly payments, including, principal, interest, real estate taxes, escrow, and costs of utilities! If you proceed, with a realistic perspective, the process, and adjustment, will be more efficient, and satisfying!

5. Strengths; service; sustainable; systems: Know the house’s strengths and weaknesses, before buying it! Do the strengths, outweigh the potential weaknesses? Will it service your present needs, as well as into the sustainable future? Be certain, all major systems, are in good, reliable, working order, from the start!

When a potential homeowner, focuses on the HOPES of buying a specific house, he becomes more capable of making a wise decision. Since, for most, his house represents his single – largest, financial asset, doesn’t that make sense?


Reasons For Buying, Your Starter Home

Although, we often, consider, home ownership, as one of the core ingredients, in the American Dream, the financial realities of doing so, often, begins, with buying a starter home, rather than, the home of one’s dreams! As a Licensed Real Estate Salesperson, in the State of New York, I have often discussed, this concept and approach, as opposed to simply, waiting, and hoping, for the ability, in the future, to buy something else. Life is evolving, and our needs, goals, priorities, and perceptions, often, change over time. Many of us, must, decide, if buying something, focused on now, rather than for the longer – term, may be a smart approach, and alternative, to merely, renting. With that in mind, this article will attempt to briefly, consider, examine, review, and discuss, some reasons, for purchasing, a starter house.

1. Renting versus buying: When one rents, all the funds, are merely expenses, and go, to your landlord. They become, similar to, paying monthly charges for utilities, and bills. If there is an affordable way, to purchase a house, rather than, merely, renting, you become to build – up, and create, a genuine asset, which usually grows, over time! Wouldn’t you benefit, in a real way, from creating value from your monthly home payments, and, eventually, being able to use the proceeds, towards a down – payment, for something, closer to your dream home? If you have collected, at least some funds (or a family member will provide you, with it), then, a starter home, may be a good idea, for you, and your needs, and priorities!

2. What is a starter home?: What is meant, by a starter house? Generally, it means, accepting your current financial abilities, and situation, and creating a process, for building up your total assets, when the time comes. Since, needs, goals, priorities, etc, change and evolve, over time, as long, as this home, meets your current needs, as well as an apartment rental might, it’s often, a smart approach! Many younger couples begin this way, before they have families, or other needs. Sometimes, this permits someone to sell, and buy something more appropriate in the future, while, for others, if the property and neighborhood, permit (and it makes sense), you might expand it, renovate, and enjoy living there, for a longer- term.

Historically, real estate has been, one of the best overall investments, because it handles, both our housing needs, as well as builds equity, while doing so. Since, for most, our house represents our single, biggest, financial asset, doesn’t it make sense, to take advantage of, the possibilities?

Credit And Financial Considerations For Potential Home Buyers: The RICH IDEAS

While home ownership is often considered, from an emotional perspective, as an important component, of the so – called, American Dream, achieving one’s objective, requires consistent effort, planning, focus, and attention, in order to ensure, your personal credit and other economic considerations, doesn’t interfere with getting, what you seek, and desire! One must open – his – eyes, and look at the bigger picture, and objective, in a realistic, well – considered manner. This means, having a strategy, preparing, well, in advance, proceeding with well – considered, priorities, and addressing, some of the economic challenges, etc. With that in mind, this article will attempt to, briefly, consider, examine, review, and discuss, what I refer to, as the RICH IDEAS of smart planning.

1. Responsible; relevant; rationale/ rational: Only when one, commits to responsible behavior, in the period, at least a few years, before you begin your search, for a new home, and prioritizes relevant actions (keeping the goal and objective, as a priority), in a rational way, will you reduce the stress of buying a house. Your rationale must be the big picture, which means, acting responsibly, avoiding unnecessary debt, preserving and saving money, and building financial reserves.

2. Imagination: Imagine what you want, and know, why you do? Realistically, know, both, what you can afford, as well as your personal comfort zone, in terms of home – related obligations. Be prepared!

3. Can – do; creative; credit: Focus on what you can – do, instead of, merely, why you can’t! Seek a creative course of action, leading up to the search, so you might, maximize your credit worthiness, in order to obtain a mortgage, with a minimum of stress, and, on the best terms!

4. Head/ heart: Purchasing a house, requires proceeding, with the finest aspects, of, both, your emotional and logical components. This head/ heart balance, is needed, to be capable of effectively handling, the obstacles, we witness, during this process!

5. Issues: One can obtain, without charge, a copy of his credit report, once, per year. Do so, beginning a couple of years, prior to your home search, so you can address any issues, that need, to be addressed, etc.

6. Delve deeply; discover: It’s important to delve deeply, into every aspect of your personal financial picture. Discover, both, the strengths and weaknesses, and begin fixing any weakness, as soon as possible!

7. Economics; efforts; examine: Examine each economic/ financial aspect, and focus your efforts, in order to, be as prepared, as possible!

8. Attitude; aptitude; attention; actions: Give yourself a check – up, from the neck – up, and enhance your attitude, so you might proceed, with a can – do, positive attitude. Combine this, with developing a relevant aptitude, and paying attention, to your priorities. Never procrastinate, but proceed, with relevant actions, which might improve your credit factors!

9. Self; serves; strengths: Know thy self, so you might enhance your financial strengths, while addressing areas of weakness! Doing so, serves your best interest!

If you really want to purchase a house, try these RICH IDEAS. and let them help you, help yourself! It’s up to you.