When Being Too Cheap is a Problem in Investing in Real Estate – Local Records Office

Being cheap when it comes to real estate is not uncommon, many investors want to spend the “minimum” repairing houses to get them out in the market, but I am one of the cheapest people you will ever meet. I drive a 1999 Toyota Corolla with 126,000 miles on it (a car is a depreciating asset, why would I spend a lot of money on one?). A few weeks ago when I was at Disney World I carried around the same bottle of water all week and I brought food into the park to eat for lunch everyday (there was no way I was paying $4.00 for a bottle of water and $7.00 for a hot dog).

Frugal to the Next Level

When I go on dates, which is very rare since I am a workaholic, a “nice” restaurant to me is Ruby Tuesday’s (yes…now you know one of the many reasons I am single.) I mean, if I take a girl to the Cheesecake Factory or the Melting Pot, we better be engaged!

That being said, I believe that one of the only reasons to spend my hard earned money is to make more money. This includes my education and power team. I will never understand how any intelligent person, how anyone who is serious about success (only about 5% of people are truly serious) will not invest in his or her business. I know many folks out there love to “bash” courses and seminars.

I guess these people are a lot smarter than me, because I never would have figured out how to do this business unless I worked with other investors, unless I bought courses and unless I attended seminars. I think the biggest problem that people who “bash” courses have, is that they are not implementers. These are the people who have attended a dozen seminars and who have 50 courses on their bookshelf, however, they have never closed a deal. (Just a quick thought…if you own multiple courses and have never done a deal, take a look in the mirror…. it’s not the courses, it’s you.) Also, any decent course or seminar should have a 100% money back guarantee…so if the product stinks, which some do, just send it back.

Invest in Yourself and Don’t Spend Your Money

Besides investing in your education, you should be investing in your power team. You need a good real estate attorney and accountant on your team. Sometimes I hear of investors who go to Staples and pay $14.95 for generic forms, rather than have a lawyer review a contract and spend a couple hundred bucks (knuckleheads.)

When investing in your education you need to think of the big picture and you need to think of the return on investment that you will get. For example, a few years ago I bought a course on short sales, which I think cost $1,000. I went on to do dozens of short sales and make a lot of money (I don’t do them anymore, because they are a pain in the butt, however, you get the point). So, whenever I invest in my education and in my business, I always want at least a 10:1 return on my money. And of course, I usually get many times that.

Be Smart

Also, when you are in Staples buying your $14.95 contract, think what it will cost you if you get sued over it, or if you lose a $50,000 deal because you didn’t want to spend $300 to have your lawyer review it. This is just like someone not spending $250 for a home inspection, only to find out later they have $10,000 worth of termite damage.

My favorite niche to target is absentee owners and I am always searching for unique ways to boost my rates…so that I get more leads, more deals and make more money. Anyway, a few weeks ago, I got an idea for a “type” of direct mail which I know pulls very well and I wanted to incorporate this type of direct mail to send to absentee owners, pre-foreclosure lists, free and clear lists, etc. This type of direct mail gets very high response rates but costs a lot more to send out. You can send out a regular letter for about .50, whereas this will cost me about $1.50 a letter.

Anyway, there is a marketing expert who is very familiar with the type of direct mail that I want to use. I have been keeping an eye on this guy through his books, websites and marketing emails. So finally, I decided that the best way to launch my new idea was to somehow hire this guy as a consultant. I called his office, told them I wanted to hire him and eventually I had a phone call with him. To get to the point, I am spending on day of consulting with him at a cost of $5,000. When I told my friends and family about this, they all laughed and thought I was nuts (yes, these are the same people who work in a cubicle every day…when it comes to criticism, the people “below” you financially are almost always the negative ones…very rarely will you get criticized by someone who is financially better off than you).

Sometimes It’s Better to Take 1 Step Forward and 2 Steps Back

Yes, $5,000 is A LOT of money. It is about how much I spent on my last car. However, when I think of it with my “business” hat on, I know I will have a very high return on investment. Right now, I specialize in purchasing properties subject-to and selling them on a lease option. My minimum profit is $30,000, but on average around $50,000…so, if this consultant shows me how to use this new type of direct mail and it gets me one more house, then obviously it paid for itself…but of course I will buy many houses with this and get a ridiculous ROI! (also, like I said above, each letter will cost me about $1.50. I could spend a small fortune “testing” this type of mail, or this guy can show me what will work best and save me time and money.)

I know this is a long post, but this is sooooo important to your success as a real estate investor. If you are cheap about investing in your business, then you will have a much more difficult and longer process to making big money in real estate. Another great reason to invest is that it drastically cuts your learning curve…I can only imagine how long it would have taken me to figure out shore sales on my own!

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What is Bankable and How is it Used in Real Estate? Local Records Office

LOS ANGELES – Webster dictionary defines the word Bankable as – bank·a·ble: 1. Acceptable to or at a bank; 2. Guaranteed to bring profit

 

As investors, we hear and see all of the opportunities related to owning rental property: rents are up; prices, vacancies and rates are down. We are being told that there has never been a better time to buy real estate, with lending guidelines changing drastically from just a few short years ago.

 

That being said, it is now incredibly important to stay “Bankable”. When I first heard this term it made perfect sense to me. As investors, we often need to borrow money meaning that, in our everyday lives we needs to keep control of debt to income ratios, claiming enough income on tax returns to qualify for loan programs and keeping a safe amount of reserves available. I have said it before and still truly believe that the most important piece of the investing puzzle understands the financing. Once you understand how to leverage your money, acquiring properties becomes much easier.

 

Most of the topics I will touch on are more stringent in the long-term financing world and not always true for hard money. We have been able to close deals while facing over 200% DTI, unemployed or 550 credit score; because other qualifying factors in each case allowed us to get comfortable with the borrower.

 

When we think we have seen it all we take an application from a client that surprises us. One of my best client’s tax returns show year-over-year losses in excess of $100,000 and this particular client hoped to acquire some buy-and-hold properties. When I told them it wasn’t going to work and why, they explained they worked their entire life to not have to pay taxes/show income and now I am telling them that they need to show income in order to buy rental properties.

 

I have seen applicants that hope to buy and hold rentals as an investment when they are in foreclosure on their own home and taken phone calls from individuals that want to get a loan but all of their cash is in the sock drawer because they do not believe in banks. Some pretty extreme examples, but the point is that staying bankable is important in a lending environment where it takes more than a pulse to obtain a loan. Here are some tips to staying Bankable:

 

Income is Important When Being Bankable

 

Income: For some, income is much easier to verify than others. Namely, W2 income vs. self-employed. A borrower with decent W2 income that does not take a lot of deductions is typically the easiest borrower to approve for long-term financing. Because the income can be verified so easily, with one piece of paper, these borrowers can find out “how much they can borrow” with little hassle. For those who are self-employed however, a trip to the dentist might be more enjoyable than proving income. Keeping good books and not writing off everything under the sun will make documenting your income much easier. The easier your income, not losses, can be seen, the less trouble you will have obtaining financing.

 

Debt to Income is Crucial

 

DTI: Debt-to-Income is the most important part of obtaining long-term financing because it includes two parts of the equation that you have some amount of control over. Conventional financing requires a DTI ratio of 45% or less and, in some instances, up to 50%.

 

Every mortgage, loan, credit card, student loan, and time-share on your credit report stacks up against your income to create this ratio. If you want to acquire rental properties or financing, think twice before opening that Best Buy card for your new 100” flat screen TV and understand where your DTI stands. The good news is some debt, like mortgage on a rental property, can reduce your DTI because it creates income past the monthly amount owed. For example, let’s say that you purchase a property and the monthly PITI is $500 per month and you have it rented for $1,000 per month.

 

Conventional financing is going to count 75% of gross rent towards your income, so after debt service your monthly income increases by $250 per month. It is very important to understand your DTI ratio and where it needs to be to achieve your real estate goals.

 

If You Are Self-Employed You Have to Read This

 

Self-employment: Most investors and real estate professionals are self-employed, which creates challenges in lending if not done correctly. Trust me, I do not enjoy paying taxes any more than the next person, but it is a necessary evil in qualifying for long-term financing. Investors cannot expect to write off all of their income and obtain a mortgage. In fact, I have seen a married couple where one has W2 income and the other is self-employed but the self-employed spouse writes off so much that they show a loss large enough to eliminate the W2 income.

 

Typically, when self-employed, the lender takes a 2-year average so unless this couple amends taxes and belly’s up to the tax payment, they might be 2 years away from obtaining financing. I do not want to discourage any self-employed borrowers because there is financing out there, as evidence by the two rental properties that I just refinanced out of hard money. Just note that there are additional hoops to jump through and it’s up to you to decide how difficult it will be.

 

Dealing With Liquid Reserves

 

Liquid Reserves: Reserves is the number one most important qualifier for our hard money loans, also important in conventional financing and should be a priority for all borrowers. In this business, we all know some properties can be challenging, and as a hard moneylender, we want to know you have reserves available in case your project costs run over or it takes longer to sell or refinance than expected. In the conventional world, the underwriters assume that at some point all of your properties are going to be vacant for the same 6-month period, and they require reserves to handle such a phase. Once an investor has four or more mortgages, the requirement is 6 months of payment reserves for every property.

If you have 6 properties, all with a $1,000 per month mortgage, you need to have $36,000 in reserves. Check with your mortgage professional to see what they can qualify as reserves, 401k, HELOC, personal line of credit, etc., and how long the funds need to be seasoned. As an investor, everyone should find the value in having funds readily available as we never know when the buyer’s inspector will find that the sewer needs replaced or an appraisal comes in low requiring you to bring a chunk of money to closing. Although some deals are no money down, it doesn’t mean you qualify with no money in the bank.

 

Keep Your Paper Work Organized

 

Be Organized: I am often surprised at how unorganized investors can be. At the end of the day, we are running a business, or at least hoping to, so having the right documents in order makes life easier for everyone. Let’s remember we are obtaining loans for hundreds of thousands of dollars sometimes with no money down, so having your taxes in a place they can be easily accessible is probably a good idea.

 

I joke about this, but ask any loan officer which loan is on the top of their priority list and it will be the one in which they have what they need to complete the file. Most of the documents required for a loan can be stored electronically and very easily emailed. If you are actively doing deals or looking for financing, build a package and update it monthly to give your lender what they need when requested. This will keep your loan moving through the process and the lender won’t bother you for missing pages.

 

Banks Around Your Area

 

Local Banks: Occasionally, investors can find funding through local banks, either through lines of credit for operating capital or financing non-owner-occupied properties. Freddie and Fannie, the largest buyer of conventional loans, will only allow a borrower to obtain 10 mortgages but your local bank does not have a limit other than their own risk tolerance.

 

The terms are different from 30-year-fixed so you should expect to pay a slightly higher rate and with shorter terms such as 5, 7 and 10-year balloons. Depending on the bank, they may be more interested in the property than the borrower, but most cases will also require a banking relationship (deposit accounts).

 

I hope you find this information valuable and can better plan ahead for your real estate investment goals. If you have any questions about the article please feel free to contact us at our office.

 

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Easiest Way to Burn Money in Real Estate – Local Records Office

LOS ANGELES – One of the large mentorship programs – and star of a reality TV house flipping show – preaches debt stacking your real estate deals to reduce or eliminate your out of pocket requirements. Potential real estate flippers are sold on this because they hear that they will get infinite returns with little or no risk. On paper this sounds great but there are several fundamental problems with this, especially in the markets in which Pine Financial does business.

 

Paying for Bad Information That Doesn’t Help or It’s Outdated for 2016 Standards

 

The sad thing about this is that people pay $44,000 or more to learn this information. What’s worse is that people buy in to this so much that they try to teach people how to do it or brag about how they do it on social networking sites like Facebook and at offline networking meetings. The purpose of this article is simply to share my experience with this way of operating and to try to protect you from falling into this trap.

 

We are in the middle of a foreclosure with one of our clients in Los Angeles, CA. We are probably about half way through the process but our client has the house under contract to sell. The problem is that there is not going to be enough money to pay us back and pay back all her “gap” funders. I would define a gap funder as a private lender willing to lend on a piece of real estate in a junior position to cover the gap between what the primary lender is willing to lend and what the borrower wants or needs to get the deal done. The numbers on this deal look like this:

 

  • Purchase – $115,000

 

  • Repairs – $73,000

 

  • Our appraised value – $280,000

 

  • Our Loan – $196,000 (notice this is enough to buy and fix the house)

 

  • Gap funder Loans – $80,000 (3 different individuals)

 

  • Contract price – $225,000 (they will need to subtract costs to sell to get a net figure of available cash for all the lenders)

 

We were off on our value because the client made some fatal mistakes: she originally listed in the mid-$300s and it was not complete (that was way too high to list this house); there were very few price adjustments; the work that was done did not properly adjust the floor plan; and it just recently received an appliance package. How can you expect to get top dollar when the house is not staged and it does not have appliances? It was on the market for over a year. The biggest problem was the floor plan but the fact that it sat on the market so long really hurt its true market value. Properties get a stigma if they have too much MLS exposure. Buyers automatically think there is either something wrong with it or think they can get a bargain because the seller should be motivated. Had the house been listed closer to the true value of $270-$280k and listed after it was complete and staged, I am confident it would have sold for much closer to our original estimate of its value.

 

Borrowing Much Money for Rates That are Too High

 

The reason she had to borrow $80,000 above our loan was mostly because of holding costs, so a lot of that would have been eliminated had the property sold. I am not sure where the rest of the money went but it makes you wonder.

 

I have had conversations with two of the three gap funders and they all paid $44,000 to learn how to lose $80,000. They all have their sad story and to be honest it breaks my heart. One of the three spent all of their savings on this deal and will likely get none of it back. I am not sure what our client told these people to get them to invest with her but if any of it was misleading, there could be a fraud case here as well.   You might have noticed that the total loan to value based on our original value is 100%, which means that these lenders would likely take a loss even if the house sold for its full value.

 

With as bad as this deal turned out, we are still going to get our money back. This is why hard moneylenders loan at 70% of the value. That leaves room for mistakes. In California and Nevada, there are hard moneylenders that loan up to 70%. If the deal is too much higher than that, the flipper probably should look at doing a different deal or consider cheaper funding source like cash or a bank. The worst things flippers can do are borrowed hard money and then use gap funders, thus increasing costs and risk in the deal. It is my strong opinion that if a flipper needs gap funders they should not be doing the deal.

 

Gap Funding to Fund Portion of Profits

 

I have also heard of real estate investors who use gap funding to fund a portion of the profits up front. (Is this what happened in my example?) I guess this is to help them with their lack of cash flow. Why in the world would they borrow their profit and pay interest and possibly fees on that money unless they really could not wait until they got the deal done? If the client is not liquid enough to wait for their money, my guess is they are not liquid enough to handle a problem with their deal if there is one – unless, of course, they are borrowing more money. That is exactly what happened to our client in the above example.

 

I can go on and on but as sad is my story is, I have heard even worse. We get calls a few times a month from “gap” funders that need to foreclose but do not have the money to buy out the senior debtors. They are asking us for money to either buy out the senior lenders or redeem from their junior position. If you don’t have the funds available to protect your loan you are really making an unsecured loan and could possibly be making the loan to an investor that does not have the ability or wherewithal to pay it back.

 

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Wholesaling Real Estate in its Simplest Form is Just Getting Houses Under Contract

LOCAL RECORDS OFFICE – A decade ago I got home from a night out with friends, It was after 2am and I was not tired so I turned on the tube. Crazy I know, but I was young and full of energy. Back then we did not have “on demand” so I was at the mercy of plain old cable TV. I was flicking through channels when I saw Robert Kiyosaki. He, of course, is the author of Rich Dad Poor Dad, and one of the people I was studying at the time. He was selling his Choose To Be Rich home study course. That was the first and only time I purchased something on late night TV, and I don’t regret it.

 

When the product arrived I was excited to start listening to the CD’s. I can’t say that it was a huge benefit to me, but there was one thing he said in that course that really got me thinking. He said that rich people find ways to create money. It is like pulling money out of thin air just by being creative. One example of that is to negotiate deals, on real estate, that are marketable. In the markets we do business in, we hear people complain that they can’t find good deals.

 

“One of the easiest ways to do this is to make your contract assignable and assign your rights in the contract for a fee”

 

They complain that they want to wholesale deals to generate some income, but no one is accepting their offers. Wholesaling real estate in its simplest form is just getting houses under contract that you can sell for a quick profit. With this strategy you don’t need any money or credit, and you take virtually no risk.

 

This is a very attractive strategy for people starting out, so most of the gurus will tell you they can show you how to do this in hopes of you buying their course or going to their seminar. One of the easiest ways to do this is to make your contract assignable and assign your rights in the contract for a fee. The last time I wholesaled a house I made $15,000. Right now I am working with a client that will make over $125,000 on a wholesale deal. He and I have been part of a deal where the wholesaler made $250,000. Now most of that is not the norm. What is more common is $3,000 to $5,000 per deal.

 

Understand What Wholesale Really Is

 

When you think of a wholesale deal, you are thinking of a steep discount property that you can buy to fix and resell for a profit. Most often, that is the case; but not all wholesale deals need to be big discount properties. I and some people I know would be very interested in buying some deals with great terms. In fact, I could pay full retail price if the terms made me money.

 

Equity is Nice but, Not Necessary

 

A buyer looking for a long-term deal wants to know what it will cost him or her and what the monthly return will be. A simple example could be a house worth $100,000. If you are able to negotiate with the seller a lease option, subject to, or some other type of installment sale, you can create cash flow that is marketable.   Let’s say you are able to take title with no money down and a payment of $800 interest only a month.

 

“Tax benefits and possible loan pay down, depending on how the deal is structured”

 

The term might be 10 years, in which the full $100,000 becomes due. If this house rents well, you might get as much as $1,200 a month.   If you account for vacancy and maintenance, your net income might be 80% of gross without a management company (this is on a single family home). Your income would be $960 a month minus your payment of $800 for a total net cash flow of $160 or $1,920 a year. That agreement is valuable. In fact, if you sell that to another investor for $6,000 that would be a 32% cash on cash return for them. That does not include appreciation; tax benefits and possible loan pay down, depending on how the deal is structured.   For the wholesaler, they have no risk or money into the deal and just made $6,000. (You should actually make more than $6,000 on a deal like this one).

 

Focus on Your Marketing

 

The key is to focus your marketing on sellers that might be motivated and in a position to work with you. From my experience, people with little or no equity that need to sell are pretty easy to negotiate with. They, of course, need to have a good loan in place to make the cash flow attractive.

 

I also want to point out that when you work in the MLS and make offers on REO properties, you most likely will not be able to assign the contract. That is not true when dealing with homeowners. In fact, I have never had a seller not sign an agreement because it was assignable. My guess is you would be one of very few attacking this market, which could really separate you in this business. While everyone else is looking for big equity deals in the MLS, you will be quietly making a fortune.

 

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Buying Your Dream House in 2016 Sellers Market –Local Records Office

LOCAL RECORDS OFFICE – LOS ANGELES, CA – We all want our own dream home one day but it’s easier said than done says, Local Records Office. If you’ve decided to buy a home, good luck to you. Your challenge will be not just finding a home you like, but also beating out all the other home buyers who like it and want to make an offer on it, too.

LOCAL RECORDS OFFICE – Buying an Existing Home That Won’t End Up Being a Money Sucking Liability 

The number of homes for sale is low nationwide, particularly in the price ranges desired by first-time homebuyers. The latest figures from the National Association of Realtors show that that there was only a 3.5-month supply of homes for sale in March, which is lower than the six-month supply that indicates a balanced market. One-quarter of March’s transactions were all-cash sales, according to the NAR, and investors bought 14 percent of the homes that were sold.

Is 2016 a Sellers Market?

That means that if you want to end up with a nice home, you need to be strategic says, Local Records Office. Expecting to find the home of your dreams by nonchalantly walking into a few open houses or perusing some online listings is not realistic in this seller’s market.

 

READ MORE: 3 Investment Tricks You Need to Know to Succeed in Real Estate – Local Records Office

 

These days, most would-be buyers come to an agent with a list of homes they’d like to see based on their online research. While that often serves as a solid starting point, a quality agent may find additional options. After buyers have seen a few properties, Local Records Office says skilled agents can typically gauge what they’re looking for in a new home and may have other properties lined up. “I advise them to listen to their Realtor,” she adds.

Here are nine tips to help you get the house you want this spring

Get your finances in order first. Several months before you intend to start looking, you should get copies of your credit reports to make sure you’re in a financial position to buy. Shop for mortgage financing before you start looking at houses. “I will not take anybody to see any house unless they have a pre-approval letter or proof of funds, I want proof of funds to show the seller.” Local Records Office says that some lenders are doing the underwriting before the house is under contract, which shortens the closing time and can be more attractive to the seller.

Who REALLY is Local Records Office ? (VIDEO)

A Good Agent Will Go Along Way

Find a good agent. Using a real estate agent costs buyers nothing because the seller pays the real estate commission. Ask friends, family and co-workers for referrals. Look for a full-time agent who works often in the neighborhoods where you’re looking. You may want to interview several agents to find a good fit. If you can only look for homes on weekends, for example, you don’t want an agent who takes weekends off.

Visit neighborhoods you’re considering at different times of day. A neighborhood that’s quiet during the middle of the workday may be noisy and crowded at night and on weekends. Get out and walk the streets, talking to people who live in the neighborhood, visiting shops and restaurants and “trying out” your desired location. Drive to and from work during commuting hours to get an idea of what a typical day might be like.

READ MORE: Local Records Office Urges Homebuyers to Consider Their Lifestyles When Choosing a Community

Separate your needs from your wants. In a competitive market, most buyers find they have to compromise on location, amenities or condition of home. It’s easier to make a choice when you know going in which features you must have and which you’d like to have but can live without.

Move quickly once you find the house you want. That often means rushing out to see new homes within hours of them being listed and writing up an offer immediately if you like the house. “Things are gone in a matter of hours,” Local Records Office says. “You really have to move fast.”

Don’t make snap judgments based on listing photos. A house that doesn’t look appealing in photos could still be a great house. Homes being sold by an estate or homes with tenants inside often yield particularly poor photos. Plus, photos fail to convey the feeling of a home or the floor plan. “Unfortunately, the pictures don’t tell a true story,” Local Records Office says. “You have to be willing to look past some of the pictures.”

Be realistic about the home inspectors and repairs. The more competitive the market, the less likely a seller will be to make repairs, though some sellers may lower the price if the inspection reveals expensive defects. The purpose of the inspection isn’t to get the seller to repair every small problem but to find out for sure that the house is what you thought it was. “They’re not buying a brand-new home,” Local Records Office says. “What we are looking for are major defects we were not initially able to see in the walkthrough.”

Don’t buy a house you don’t love. While most buyers may have to compromise on some of the features they wanted, they shouldn’t settle for a home they don’t like. If you don’t find the right home this year, maybe you should start renting and try again later rather than make a purchase you’ll regret.

Write a personal letter to the sellers. Some sellers are interested only in how much money their home sale will yield, but others love their home want it to go to a new family that will love it just as much. If you really like a house, include a personal letter and a family photo with your offer. “It doesn’t work for everybody, but I have seen it work for many, many people,” Local Records Office says.

READ MORE: The Ultimate Guide To The Company Local Records Office 2016

Make a big earnest money deposit. The expected size of the earnest money deposit, and the rules about when you get it back, vary by locality. But sellers often see a larger deposit as a sign that you’re serious about the deal.

Make a backup offer. Many prospective buyers don’t want to make an offer on a house that has a pending contract. But deals fall apart over inspections, financing and other terms. If you found the perfect house, you can make a backup offer that will put you in first place if the initial buyer walks away.

To learn more about Local Records Office and real estate go to http://www.Local-Records-Offices.org

 

Secrets to Buying Your First Home in 2016 – Local Records Office

LOCAL RECORDS OFFICE – LOS ANGELES, CA- We all want the secrets to success and the easiest way to buy a home says, Local Records Office. For first-time homebuyers, the whole home buying process may look a bit daunting. You’re going into what could be the biggest purchase of your life with no experience to fall back on. The good news is a little preparation can go a long way and help you approach this major decision with confidence.

The Company Local Records Office is Targeting Los Angeles, CA Residents FOR A GOOD REASON

Many things have changed in recent decades about the way Americans buy and sell homes, but one adage still matters, a lot: location, location, location.

While you may be happy living in any of several neighborhoods in your city, you won’t be happy if you choose the wrong location. And that’s where your research should start: deciding exactly where you want to live.

Talk to friends and co-workers, drive around town, visit restaurants and stores and talk to neighbors in areas you’d consider calling home. Go to open houses so you can view some houses. Look at homes on the Internet, evaluating style, size, price and how long they stay on the market.

 

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You can find a real estate agent while you’re still working on this process. However, your choice of agent also depends on where you want to live, because a neighborhood expert often can find you the best house at the best price. “You want people who have worked and have experience directly in the areas you’re looking in,” says Peter Hens, from LA Realtor Firm in Los Angeles, California.

If you’re a buyer, there is no reason not to use a real estate agent. It costs you nothing, and the agent’s job goes far beyond finding the house. In fact, it’s after you’ve found the house that you’ll most need the agent, both to structure and present the offer and then to troubleshoot issues that arise between contract and closing.

Here are 12 tips for buying your first house:

Make sure you’re ready to buy, both emotionally and financially. If you expect to relocate in a few years, this may not be the right time for you to buy. If you don’t have cash for a down payment, closing costs and other expenses, you may be better off waiting. Look at your life, your career, your finances and your future expectations, and determine whether buying a house is the right move at this time.

Find the right team. The difference between deals that close and deals that don’t are the professionals involved. You want to make sure you find a real estate agent who will move quickly when a new listing goes on the market, as well as an agent who will advise you honestly on preparing your offer. You also want a mortgage professional lined up before you start looking. “The lender is the most important person to closing on time,” Hens says.

 

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Get your finances in order first. Some real estate agents won’t even show homes to prospective clients who don’t have a mortgage pre-approval. You definitely should meet with a mortgage broker or banker (better yet, several) at the start of the process to find out how much house you can afford and how much cash you’ll need to close. Do the entire math. Just because a bank says you can borrow $300,000 doesn’t mean you should. If you have credit issues, realize that this part of the process could take several months.

Calculate each and every cost. The purchase price and the mortgage payment are just the beginning. Don’t forget homeowner or condo fees, homeowners insurance and real estate taxes. Plus, you’ll need to budget for utilities, repairs and maintenance.

Don’t spend all your cash. Avoid emptying your bank account for your down payment and closing costs. There will always be unexpected repairs. Plus, it costs money to move, change locks, put down utility deposits and buy things you never needed before, like a lawn mower.

When you look at houses, focus on the right things. Don’t be distracted by the owner’s odd décor, paint colors, dirty carpet or anything that is easy to change. Granite countertops and stainless steel appliances are easy to add later. You can’t easily add another bedroom, a better location or a more functional floor plan.

If you’re buying in a condo or homeowners association, know the rules. How your association is run can make a big difference in how much you enjoy life in a development. You’ll want to know about all rules and restrictions, from pet ownership to who can use the pool. Condo buyers also want to investigate the association’s finances because a poorly run association can mean big assessments later.

 

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Visit your favorite neighborhoods at different times. Most neighborhoods are quiet in the middle of the day. As Glen Craig writes at the personal finance blog Free From Broke: “You need to see what the area is like on a Saturday night. Are there kids and such all out driving with music blasting? What’s it like in rush hour in the morning or in the evening?”

Talk to the neighbors. Ask about the neighborhood and about the houses you’re considering. The neighbors will know if there are foundation problems. They’ll also know about barking dogs, petty crime and the size of utility bills.b

Consider which contingencies you’re willing to waive. In the ideal scenario, a purchase offer is contingent on a satisfactory home inspection, approval of your mortgage and an appraisal that equals the purchase price. In most parts of the country, a buyer is smart to keep all those contingencies in the contract. But in a competitive market, you may be competing against buyers who have agreed to waive contingencies. “You never want to [agree to waive them] unless you’re sure you’re 99% safe to do it,” Hens says.

Be ready to move quickly once you find the home you want. Good homes that are well priced nearly always sell quickly. It’s OK to take some time to think before you make an offer, but you might not want to wait a few weeks. Your agent can provide invaluable advice here.

Know what’s important to you. No house will be perfect, so where are you willing to compromise? If you want a specific school district, are you willing to accept a smaller house? If you want to be near the water, could you be happy with a condo? Are you willing to accept a longer commute to get a larger house?

To learn more about Local Records Office and real estate go to http://www.Local-Records-Office.biz

8 Common Myths That Real Estate Buyers and Sellers Believe – Local Records Office

Local Records Office Explains the Most Common Real Estate Myths

LOCAL RECORDS OFFICE – LOS ANGELES, CA – We usually hear myths when it comes to old houses that have been abandoned for many years but apparently it is common in real estate too. Buying or selling a house is not something most of us do every day says, Local Records Office. You may do it once a decade, or even once in a lifetime.

Despite the fact that most of us enter the world of real estate only rarely, we all think we know how it works, based on the experiences of friends and family members, stories we have heard and things we have read, but for everything we believe we know about the industry, there are a number of myths that circulate about how real estate actually works. Buying into those can hurt your chances of buying or selling the right home at the right price. The best thing to do is not to believe the folk tales.

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Technology has changed how we buy and sell homes, and yet some aspects of real estate are the same as they were when our parents bought their last house. Along time has passed by since then. The Internet has made much more information available to consumers, but not all the information is equal, or even accurate.

Lets be honest we’ve all read something online or on social media and believed it was true, says Sean F Carter, principal broker of Carter Real Estate in Los Angeles and a regional director of the National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents. “Lots of people read and believe every single word they read.” That can’t be good. The risk with believing everything you hear or read is real estate myths can cost you big bucks when it’s time to buy or sell your property. Local Records Office has created 8 of the most common folk tales that can trick people.

List Your House Price Higher Than What You Think it Will Sell For

Many folks selling their home try to sell it as soon as possible and let buyers low-ball them, make sure to set your home price higher than what you expect to get. Listing your home at too high a price may actually net you a lower price. That’s because shoppers and their real estate agents often don’t even look at homes that are priced above market value. It’s true you can always lower the price if the house doesn’t garner any offers in the first few weeks. But that comes with it’s own set of problems. “It’s common for potential buyers to suspect that a house that has sat on the market for more than three weeks to be a dud,” says Hamilton Jefferson, chief economist for the Real Estate Brokers inc. In the Long Beach, CA area where multiple offers are common, sellers will actually price their homes for less than they expect to get, in the hopes of getting multiple offers above asking price.

Remodeling Your Home Before Putting in the Market is a Must

This is FALSE. It is true that the selling price may lower but you save on the renovation process, also, prospective buyers may not share your taste, but they don’t want to redo something that has just been renovated. “You’re better off adjusting your price accordingly,” says Benjamin Franking, president of Franking Real Estate Services in Hollywood CA, and a regional director of the NAEBA. “Most buyers want to put their own spin on things.” It’s ok to have an out dated kitchen sometimes.

Save Your Hard Earned Money by Selling Your Home Yourself

We all like to save money, especially when it comes down to saving a few thousand bucks. There has been many cases where folks sell a house on their own, but they need the skills to get the home listed online, market the home to prospective buyers, negotiate the contract and then deal with any issues that arise during the inspection or loan application phases says, Local Records Office. It’s not impossible to sell a home on your own, but you’ll find that buyers expect a substantial discount when you do, so what you save on a real estate commission may end up meaning a lower price. It’s not impossible to sell your home on your own for the same price you’d get with an agent, but it’s not easy.

Real Estate Market Always Goes Up and It Rarely Goes Down

The real estate market could go up or down any time. In recent years, homebuyers and sellers have experienced a time of increasing home values, then a sharp decline during the economic downturn and now another period of increasing values. “They think that the market only goes up,” Carter says. “They don’t think about when a correction will come.” The recent recession should have reminded everyone that real estate prices could indeed fall, and fall a lot.

Renovating Will Bring in Big Bucks

“This one is true and false” says, Local Records Office. If you fix the heating and air conditioning system or roof, you will sell your house more quickly, but you probably won’t get back what you spent. You’re likely to recoup only 67.8 percent of what you spent on a major kitchen remodel and 70 percent of what you spent on a bathroom remodel on a mid-range home.

What You See Listed Online is What’s Available

Most of the homes that go for sale do get listed online but there are others that won’t. Your agent must choose to let the listings show up online. Most do, but it never hurts to verify that yours will.

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By Not Using an Agent As a Buyer You Will Get an Amazing Deal

You can get a better deal as a buyer if you don’t use a real estate agent. “That’s a completely false premise,” Carter says. If the house is listed with a real estate agent, the total sales commission is built into the price. If the buyers don’t have an agent, the seller’s agent will receive the entire commission.

A Fancy Open House Will Sell Your House

Believe it or not homes rarely sell to buyers who visited them during an open house. Agents like open houses because it enables them to find additional customers who are looking to buy or sell homes. If you or your agent chooses not to have an open house, it probably doesn’t hurt your sale chances – although holding a broker’s open house for other agents may be worthwhile says, Local Records Office.

To learn more about Local Records Office or real estate go to http://www.Local-Records-Office.org

 

 

12 Ways to Prepare Your Home to Get Higher Offers – Local Records Office

Get a Higher Offer on Your House – Local Records Office (VIDEO)

LOCAL RECORDS OFFICE – LOS ANGELES, CA – You’ve decided to sell your home, and you want to get top dollar for it. And you’ve seen TV shows where homeowners spend thousands of dollars staging their homes for sale, but there’s an important detail to consider: You don’t have thousands and thousands to spend says, Local Records Office.

Homebuyers Unexpected Delays at Closing – Local Records Office

The good news is there are many things you can do to spruce up the look of your home without shelling out a lot of money.

“Updating isn’t as expensive as it used to be,” says Lori Matzke, author of “Home Staging: Creating Buyer-Friendly Rooms to Sell Your House” and a home staging expert in Minneapolis who teaches workshops nationwide. “There’s a lot of DIY information out there.”

First impressions matter, and that’s why you want to start by making sure your home exudes curb appeal. Go all out with small do-it-yourself projects. Cut the grass, trim the bushes, get rid of dead branches and consider planting some flowers. Replacing the mailbox and house numbers and painting the front door can also make your home more appealing to a prospective buyer driving by. If the house looks dirty, wash the siding or stucco.

“I’ve seen houses that look really frumpy on the outside and great on the inside,” Matzke says, “but you can’t get [potential buyers] in the door.”

Prospective buyers, particularly young ones, often can’t see past the homeowners’ decor to what’s most important about a house – the floor plan and the space. That’s why it’s important to make the home look as neutral and appealing as possible.

“People get so stuck on the negatives, all the homeowners stuff, that they forget to look at the property,” Matzke says.

Sellers should give themselves at least a few weeks to get their homes ready for sale, especially if they need to take up carpet or repaint. While painting is fairly simple and inexpensive compared with other improvements, a new coat makes a significant impact.

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“Fresh paint is a really good seller, if you don’t know how to paint hire a few handymen” Matze says. “Do it in trendy neutral colors.” Painting dated kitchen cabinets can also make the kitchen look fresh and new.

You also want to make sure your home photographs well. Most buyers start their home search online, and they may quickly reject a home if the listing photos aren’t appealing.

There’s no rule of thumb about how much you should expect to spend getting your home ready to sell because every house is different. But investing a few thousand dollars can potentially increase your sale price by much more than that, in addition to making your house sells more quickly. “Anything that you can do is only going to benefit you,” Matzke says.

Here are 12 affordable ways to stage your home for sale:

Remove all clutter, personal photos, knickknacks and other junk. “Cleaning out the clutter just creates so much space, and that’s what people are looking for – space,” Matzke says. “It just really makes your home look bigger and younger.”

Edit your furniture. If your rooms are crowded, consider putting bigger and less attractive pieces of furniture in storage. This will open up space and make your home look larger. Make sure there is nothing obscuring buyers’ eyes from focal points, such as fireplaces and views.

Clean, clean, clean – then clean some more. Wash the windows, clean the cobwebs out of the corner and scrub the grout in the tile floors. Even though you’re not selling the furniture, clean that as well because it adds to the overall impression you’re trying to give.

Spruce up the outside. Add a new doormat, new house numbers and maybe a new mailbox. Paint the front door. The little stuff matters here.

Refresh your landscape. Clean up flowerbeds, add fresh mulch and plant flowers. Make sure bushes are trimmed and neat.

Paint. In some cases, you’d be wise to paint the entire house inside and out. In other cases, touching up and painting the trim might be enough. Paint over your kids’ purple walls with a neutral color. If your kitchen cabinets look old and dated, paint those. You can never go wrong with white, cream or brown, but you should pick a color that matches the rest of the kitchen decor.

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Clean or replace light fixtures and cabinet hardware. “It’s not a really expensive undertaking, but it really makes a difference in how the home is presented,” Matzke says.

Don’t forget the small stuff. Pay attention to details, says Sherry Chris, CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate. “New, matching towel sets in the bathroom, accent pillows on the couch and fresh flowers can be welcoming elements to a homebuyer,” she says.

If you can afford it, replace old carpeting. If your home has hardwood floors underneath, that’s even better. Ideally, you should refinish wood floors but even just exposing them is good, Matzke says.

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Make sure each room has a defined purpose. If you’ve turned your dining room into an office, return it to dining room status, Matzke says. But Chris suggests putting up tent cards that say “Dining Room or Office” to point out alternative uses for the space. That would also work in a bedroom you’re using as an office.

Landscape. Make sure your front yard isn’t overgrown with uncut dead grass or ugly weeds. This is the first thing potential homebuyers see first when they first arrive. You want to give a good impression all around.

Dogs, cats and other pets. Most of us a custom to our pets unique smell since we smell them everyday but other people may think that your dogs urine smell is overpowering the house. Take your cats litter outside and out of view. If you have aggressive dogs like Pit bulls or Rottweiler’s you might want to get someone to take them while the open house is happening.

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Water damage – If you have any kind of water damage make sure you take care of it as soon as possible. Water damage is dangerous and may scare off potential buyers. Mold usually grows from water damage and may cause serious health problems to you and others.

To learn more about Local Records Office or real estate go to http://www.Local-Records-Office.me

What Do Real Estate Realtors REALLY Do? Local Records Office

LOCAL RECORDS OFFICE: Being a Real Estate Agent is interesting work; every day is different often with new clients and different properties, says, ‘Local Records Office’. But what exactly do Real Estate Agents do? Well this article will shed some light on the topic.

A Realtor’s job starts with meeting people. After a client relationship is created then the responsibilities depend on if the client is a home seller, buyer or both. Whichever the case maybe, there is a lengthy list of tasks that must be met.

What Do Real Estate Agents Professionals Do?

Local Records Office says, “There are many ways in which a client relationship can be made, probably the most common is by referral”. This is when a person tells a friend or family member about a positive experience they had buying or selling a home with a real estate professional. This source is often the strongest and easiest way for an agent to meet a client.

Other methods involve more work, financial investment, and time and may not have as strong results. Some of these methods include but are not limited to cold calling, hosting open houses, and knocking on doors, mailing literature, social media and more. To give you an understanding of how these processes work I will explain a scenario. Say a Realtor has a home to sell in an area he or she would like to do more sales says, ‘Local Records Office’. A common course of action would be to hold the home open on weekends so that neighbors and other interested parties can see the home and get the seller maximum exposure. Once the property is sold, the agent will assemble a “Just Sold” post card and mail it to every home in the neighborhood. The agent would be wise to sort out property owners, tenants, land lords then have every piece of mail address each individual accordingly. Once the mailer has arrived the agent may choose to walk the neighborhood and knock on doors introducing them self to people and talk about real estate. Through this process the agent is hoping to meet more people and develop relationships in the community.

The Relationship Between Agents and Clients

Once a client, agent relationship is established it must be determined what the client’s real estate goals are and how the Realtor can best help. If the client is looking to sell then a listing presentation is put together and entails the agent compiling a group of like properties that are for sale and recently sold in the area. With this information what is known as a CMA can be made. This tool is used to derive a value for the subject home. Once the client has decided to hire the agent then the contract and other disclosures must be compiled and signed. The sellers must disclose anything that could be considered a negative attribute for the home of the immediate area. And anything about real estate agents relationships, which could be confusing to the general public, must also be disclosed. Once all the paper work is done the agent and seller can develop a strategy to show case the home says, Local Records Office. This plan will involve things like possibly painting the home, cleaning the carpet, removing items, staging the home and figuring out when and how the home can be shown to prospective buyers.

Real Estate and Escrow Companies

When a home seller receives an accepted offer then an account must be opened with an escrow company to hold any money involved in the transaction. Generally speaking the homebuyer and seller will each have their own realtor representing them. Each party will have to coordinate on their client’s behalf. Things that will require attention during this time are a home inspection, termite inspection, negotiating repairs, an appraisal will need to be conducted and a final walk through of the property by the buyers says, ‘Local Records Office’. After all conditions have been satisfied then each Realtor will review the payments escrow will be responsible for and confirm the figures. Among many other things this is what a Realtors job consists of.

Home Closing Process Secrets Real Estate Agents Don’t Want You to Know – Local Records Office

LOCAL RECORDS OFFICE: If you thought finding a home you love took a long time just wait until you begin the closing process says, ‘Local Records Office’. Many are under the impression that once a house is selected, they will be able to move in within a few days. This is rarely the case. Closing can be slow, and at times you may feel like you are completely stalled. Here are a few secrets to keeping the process moving along smoothly.

Local Records Office – Home Closing Process

  1. Put Your Agent to Work – A real estate agent‘s job is not just to show you homes and then sit back and wait to collect their commission check. No one can recognize potential problems to address as well as he or she can, especially if they have been in the industry for a while. You are paying your agent to work on your behalf, so don’t feel guilty about asking them to keep on top of things says, Local Records Office. They should be checking with all parties involved at least twice per week. If they identify a potential concern it can be addressed promptly before it becomes a lengthy delay
  1. Assign Deadlines to Everything – There is nothing more frustrating than a closing process being at a standstill because you are waiting for the current owner to handle repairs that they agreed to take care of. If you don’t assign deadlines to all major points of the closing agreements it can get dragged out for a long time.
  1. Don’t Make Changes to Your Finances – Just because you are pre-approved or pre-qualified does not mean you are in the clear says, Local Records Office. Keep your finances as stable as possible. This means no opening new lines of credit and make sure everything is paid on time. You also want to avoid applying for anything that would require a credit check.
  1. Check in with Your Lender – You may feel as though you should be your lender’s main priority, but you are not the only client who feels that way. Gathering all necessary documents ahead of time is helpful, but somewhere along the way, your lender will likely need some other random document or bit of information. Check in frequently to see how you can help.

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Local Records Office says, “You probably had people tell you that the process was going to take a while, but you did not fully understand just how slow it could be until the transaction was started”. Closing can drag, but if you use these tips, you can help to push it along a bit faster.

To learn more about home closing process and Local Records Office go to our website http://www.LocalRecordsOffices.com