LOCAL RECORDS OFFICE — Serving the military and buying the house of your dreams is the real American Dream. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers many great programs to help those who have served in the military get a decent home loan with low rates. The bad thing about these programs is that is not flawless, there are still a lot of risks involved.
Veterans and military personnel are among those who make the biggest mistakes when buying their first home. Dealing with lenders gets so complicated and confusing that people who have purchased multiple homes still have trouble. The professionals at the Local Records Office in Los Angeles, CA created a list of mistakes to avoid when buying a home as a veteran or military personnel.
Veteran Mistake #1: Not Working With a VA-Savvy Real Estate Agent
Working with an agent that isn’t Veterans Affairs savvy is a big mistake; every agent doesn’t have the knowledge to work with military programs.
“One of the biggest mistakes a veteran can make is to work with a real estate agent that doesn’t have the knowledge of the Veterans Affairs programs. Clients may think that they qualify for any home because of their military background but this isn’t correct. I see this mistake over and over again.” Says, Fernando Ramirez from Greenleaf Real Estate Firm in downtown Las Vegas, Nevada. “I have worked with many clients who think they can pick and choose whatever house because they are in the military, this is not correct information. A VA loan program appraiser will have specific criteria, like homes that are fixer-uppers and even some older homes won’t qualify, it all depends on the house and the county where the house is located.” Says, Ramirez.
Do your research first and save yourself a headache and disappointment before making an offer on a house that may not get the green light. There is online help for veterans at the Veterans United Realty website.
Veteran Mistake #2: Not Being Open on What You Want With Your Mortgage Lender
Serving in the military has its perks and veterans have a powerful tool on the real estate market called arguably. The bad thing about this is that over 33% of vets don’t know why they have a mortgage benefit.
The right mortgage lender should have knowledge of the correct programs for veterans.
The biggest benefit of VA loans is that you will qualify for a 0% down payment, yes, this is right, 0% down payment. This helps many families who don’t have the money at the moment the house hits the market.
“Veterans have one of the best benefits in the real estate market I’ve seen,” says, Tom Sachs from Forever Real Estate Homes in Los Angeles, California. “Different states have different loans but the majority qualify for waived appraisal fees waived fees for veterans with good credit scores and other lender credits. You can really accomplish the American Dream when being a veteran,”
The process becomes easier when the mortgage lender knows what the person qualifies for, so speak up.
Veteran Mistake #3: Not Knowing About ALL the Upfront Home-Buying Fees
While having fees waived and getting 0% down payment are good perks the buyer still needs to have an idea of how much he or she will give down. Your down payment will mainly go to home appraisal and inspection.
This will definitely not be as much as a regular homebuyer will have to pay upfront.
LOCAL RECORDS OFFICE — Choosing the right roommate is a big deal; it’s not like picking a girlfriend, a dog or a couch. The biggest problem is that you don’t know the potential roommate. You don’t know if this person smokes, has a criminal background, uses drugs or has mental problems.
The professionals at the Local Records Office created a list of important questions you should ask your potential roommate before letting him or her rent out a room to avoid headaches.
Being a smoker is a deal-breaker for many people who rent out rooms. Smoking cigarettes isn’t just a disgusting habit but it makes the entire house smell like a chimney. Not to mention if there are kids in the property, it can be a serious health risk.
Recreational marijuana is legal in many states including; Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, D.C. Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, and many other states. Even though recreational marijuana is legal it is not legal nationwide. Many people still see marijuana as an illegal drug that might have neighbors complaining and even worst calling the police.
If you’re ok with a smoker you need to set rules on where he or she can smoke. For example no smoking inside the house, but it’s ok in the backyard and patio with the doors and windows closed.
#2 – Are You a Morning Person or a Night Person?
Morning people and night people don’t tend to mix well as roommates. The main reason being that you’re in opposite schedules. Night owls and morning birds don’t mix like chocolate cookies and orange juice.
A problem that might occur is if one person works during the day and wants to have friends over on the evening but this is the time when the roommate sleeps.
#3 – Work Schedule
A good question to ask is if he or she works in the morning or at night. This will give you an idea of when you guys will see each other. Another reason to check each other schedule is to know when one will need the bathroom to get ready for work. This will cause a problem if there is only one bathroom in the house or apartment.
#4 – Pets
The majority of people like pets but some people can’t be around them because of allergy issues. In some cases, people can’t even be in the same room where a pet has been in. Other people don’t like to hear dogs bark, while others don’t want to have kids near large dogs.
Knowing if a potential roommate has any pets before moving in will avoid future issues.
#5 – Working From Home in Los Angeles, CA
One of the biggest benefits of working from home is the peace, quiet and distraction-free environment. The last thing you will want is a person talking your ear off when you want to get work done.
Working from home has its benefits but it can also be a distraction with the wrong roommate.
#6 – Are You a Party Animal on the Weekends?
If you enjoy pre-gaming before going out to a game or club and hosting an after hour party at 2 am, rooming with a homebody can cause a problem.
Even if you and the roommate have similar work schedules some people might not want to stay up late.
#7 – Do You Pay Rent on Time?
Living with a roommate that doesn’t pay rent on time will be a big problem. This can cause issues with the lease agreement and can lead to an eviction. Make sure to know when they will have the rent ready and at what time.
LOS ANGELES, CA – Starting, as an apartment investor is a good thing because you will gain tons of knowledge on how property investing works. The cash flow that comes from renting apartments is great along with the loans the bank gives out. The professionals at the Local Records Office talked to a few investment experts on how newbies can make money by investing in apartments to rent.
“Ever since I was younger I noticed there has been a big demand in apartments all across the country, and we expect that to continue. The biggest groups in demand that I’ve seen are ‘echo-boomers’. These are the children of baby boomers. With the growing demand on shopping centers, it brings in demand for apartments in the area” says, Christopher Loner from RT&Y Realtor LLC in San Diego, California.
Getting a Loan From a Bank
“Loans are widely available to borrowers to buy his or her first apartment building. Banks love lending to apartment investors because the income stream is consistent and steady. Banks see apartment investors as a safe loan for this reason unlike lending to new homeowners that will not bring in income besides the mortgage every month. “ Says Brandon Christenson from Villa Doors Investment Group in downtown Los Angeles, California.
4 Things to Look Out for When Investing in Apartments
Have a goal: You need to have a goal when investing in apartments, is your goal to benefit from the cash flow? Earning extra money to prepare for retirement? Are you planning to live in the apartment? Is it all three? You need to think about how you’re going to accomplish a goal.
tArea / Location: There’s a saying that goes “You can fix a property but you can’t fix a location”. If the location is declining the property will go down with it, the tenants will start to move out and that will be a bad thing.
The first thing you should look for is JOBS. How is the job market in that area? If there are no jobs there will no tenants, that simple.
Contacting the local management company in the area and ask them about the employment market is a great way to start. Management companies know what attracts tenants and what makes them move, most of the times they will let you know upfront.
Property: What is the properties condition? You want to know what you’re getting yourself into before investing in an apartment. You need to look at two things the exterior and the interior. When looking at the exterior you need to pay attention to:
The condition of the roof
Look for what needs to be repaired
Cracks on the wall
Cracks on the floor
When looking in the interior of the apartment look for these things:
All of these things are crucial to look for as a beginner. You don’t want to buy an apartment only because it was on the market. The best thing to do as a beginner is to find an apartment with the least repairs needed. The last thing you want to do is major rehab. Too risky!
Numbers: You need to make sure that the properties income exceeds the properties expenses. By giving the numbers 12 months to see if money is being made or not.
Management Strategy (BONUS): The last thing you want to do as a beginner is to deal with tenants on your own, you need to hire a licensed management company to collect rent, hire the right people to do repairs, give out eviction notices and all that’s needed to do.
LOCAL RECORDS OFFICE – The 2019 real estate market saw record sales numbers while the mortgage rates remained low. What does this mean for 2020? Will the market still show growth? It can be tricking figuring out what you should do when it comes to real estate. According to the Local Records Office in Norwalk, CA, whether you’re buying or selling, these are some of the trends that will be affecting the housing market for 2020.
Home prices are still increasing
The median home prices this year won’t see the same growth it had the previous year, but the increase in not showing sign of stopping any time soon. The demand for homes in the Los Angeles area is overtaking the current supply nationwide. New home sales are expected to reach up to $704,000. That’s an almost 11 percent increase compared to last year.
Where the market is showing signs of slowing down is in the existing home sale price. The expected growth for the median sale price is only a 4 percent increase from last year averaging around 270,400. Still, these numbers are promising to the real estate market in 2020, showing a stabilization that is welcomed
Las Vegas; Fort Collins, Colo.; Colorado Springs; Dallas/Fort Worth; and Columbus, Ohio are some of the areas that are projected to have home price appreciations that exceed the national average over the next three to five years. However, higher housing prices do not always mean that those houses will sell.
Lower interest rates
The mortgage rates have been hovering just below 5% for quite some time. As long as these rates remain relatively low there will be plenty of new buyers looking to take advantage of them. The good news is that the government in regulating the rates to prevent them from going all over the place.
As long as the rates stay around the 5 percent where they’re at, the real estate market will remain in a good shape for the year. Mortgage rates may increase if inflation kicks in and economic activity reacts, but there isn’t any evidence of that to likely happen. The mortgage rate and to an extent the real estate market is likely to even out in 2020
More millennial buyers
There is an increase in younger buyers in the market. Despite the common belief that Millenials don’t want to own homes, many are willing to save up enough to finally make the big move. The rising cost of rent combined with the continued low-interest rates makes homeownership more appealing than ever.
The areas most affected by this are in rapidly growing cities like Austin, Nashville, and Raleigh, North Carolina. Recent job growth in these cities is incentivizing first-time buyers to move there.
Larger cities might have increased housing pricing because of their bigger population, but with the higher rent cost of luxury apartments, people are considering buying homes further from the city or in other parts of the city that might be underdeveloped.
A shortage of new homes
There is currently a construction boom expected to happen. In small towns and even in some cities, new construction for housing is going up to fast. Suburbs are popping up where there was only a plot of land last year and neighborhoods are being sold even before they’re finished.
The rise of prices in existing homes is also encouraging people to consider getting a new home built instead of waiting for the prices to go down. People are also able to get more customized homes when they are part of the building process from the beginning.
A lot of first-time buyers are less picky about the exact location of their homes as long as it has all the amenities and features their looking for. Places that are a bit further from larger cities or major highways are seeing a spike in sales where they normally wouldn’t in the past.
Slowing down instead of crashing
Things are looking stable for the real estate market in 2020. Unemployment and interest rate are at a record low. People have jobs and income enough to consider purchasing a house maybe for the first time.
The days of endless double-digit price increases might be over, but the real estate market is still showing room for growth as the year goes on. With the increase in housing needs being meet with new constructions and previously less popular locations being considered, the market is in good shape for slow but steady growth.
The worst-case scenario is another housing crash happens as we enter this new decade. However, that outcome looks less and less likely to occur with the way things are currently playing out. It’s hard to say for certain, there are a lot of external factors that may affect the real estate market in 2020. Most experts are optimistic about the coming years as things start to stabilize.
With the way things are looking, now is a good time to be a homeowner looking to sell. The demand is high in most major cities and surrounding areas and people are looking to take advantage of the stability 2019 brought. If you’re a buyer, you might not have many options for existing homes, but there will be plenty of new choices with the recent increase in construction of new homes occurring in the suburbs.
LOS ANGELES, CA – Southern California has been a booming state ever since the early 1900’s so it’s not a surprise that people want to live here, says, Local Records Office. Los Angeles along with San Francisco has been the two major cities that attract homeowners and tourists.
As you schlep your ski gear to your favorite resort for the umpteenth time or search for lodging near your favorite beach on a holiday weekend, you may think how much easier life would be if you had your own vacation home.
An estimated 1.13 million vacation homes were sold in the U.S. in 2017, the highest number since the National Association of Realtors began collecting the data in 2012. And vacation home sales made up 21 percent of residential transactions in 2017.
While owning a vacation home can make logistical and financial sense, it’s not a decision to be entered into lightly.
“For some people, it’s not a matter of dollars and cents,” says Marian Schaffer, president and founder of SoutheastDiscovery.com, which publishes information on retirement and vacation home communities in the Southeast. “It’s a matter of experience.”
For most people, money will play a big role in the decision. Baby boomers who have sold their family homes for cash may choose to invest some of that cash in a winter home in a warm climate or other future retirement destination, says Valerie Dolenga, a spokeswoman for Del Webb, which builds active-adult communities throughout the United States. In those cases, homeowners don’t rent out their properties but move from one home to another, perhaps spending winters in a second home in Florida or Arizona and summers up North near family.
Others may buy a vacation home with the idea of renting it out when they’re not using it to defray at least some of the costs. Some may only be able to afford a vacation home if they rent it out when they’re not using it.
Rob Stephens and his family bought a three-bedroom condo in Vail, Colorado, in 1999 with rental income in mind. “Having a getaway place in the mountains was a motivator,” Stephens says. “When I started, I really needed that rent to make my mortgage payment.”
“To us, owning real estate in Vail long-term is a good investment,” says Stephens, general manager of Avalara MyLodgeTax, which helps owners comply with local lodging tax laws.
If you want the rental income, it’s important to choose a home that can be rented at the frequency you need to cover expenses. That means both choosing a community that allows vacation rentals and then making sure you’re set up to take advantage of the rental potential, from furnishing the unit to having a plan for advertising and handling tenants. You need to know before you buy whether you will rent the home when you’re not using it.
Here Are 10 Things to Consider When Looking at Vacation Homes
Can you afford it? Real estate is not a liquid investment, and you can’t count on being able to sell a home for a profit or even break even, especially in your first few years of ownership. During the recession, homes lost more than half their value in Florida, Arizona, and Nevada, among other places.
Know all the rules. Not all homes can be used as rental property. Homeowner or condo associations may set rules for rentals, as many cities. Some resorts may require you to use their programs, which set standards for interior furnishings and amenities, but the property handles the logistics for a percentage of the rent. If you plan to rent out your property, it’s especially important to research all these rules before you buy.
Calculate all the costs. The actual purchase price is only part of what you will need to spend. You will also have to pay utilities, HOA or condo fees, property taxes, insurance and the cost of furnishing a new home down to the spoons and forks. If you’re in a resort area, you may also need or want skis, snowboards, kayaks, water toys or other gear.
Be realistic in your expectations of rental income. Renting out a vacation home comes with expenses. You will need to pay for cleaning between tenants, advertising and perhaps property management. If you’re part of a resort rental program, it will take a percentage.
Know how often you will really visit. If you don’t rent out your unit, you want to make sure you will visit enough to make the purchase worthwhile. Pick a place you love and want to return to often, advises Dolenga. You don’t want your home to sit unoccupied for long periods.
Have a plan for emergencies. If you don’t visit the house often, make sure someone does. A water leak can be devastating. If you’re renting, repairs need to be made quickly, so get to know a good handyman or property manager. If there is a hurricane, you may need someone to put up shutters before the storm and remove them afterward and secure the home if it suffers damage.
Protect your home when it’s vacant. Vacant homes attract thieves. Take steps to keep your home from looking empty. Consider lights on timers or asking neighbors to occasionally park in your driveway. Make sure someone picks up mail and fliers so its not obvious no one is home.
Have a rental business plan. Will you go into a rental program, hire a management company or do it yourself via services such as Airbnb or VRBO? If you’re handling your own advertising, you will need great photos. You also need to be able to take payments from tenants (services like PayPal or Stripe typically work well) and have a way for them to get in (Stephens uses a keyless entry system with codes). A reliable cleaning service is essential, especially when you have only a few hours between tenants.
Calculate your return on investment. If owning a vacation home is part of your overall investment strategy, make sure it’s a good move. Estimate returns and weighs them against other uses of the same money.
Expect to pay taxes.Rental income is taxable on state and federal returns, though most vacation homeowners won’t earn enough after expenses to face a significant tax liability. If you are doing short-term rentals, usually of less than six months, your state and county consider you an innkeeper and expect you to collect the same lodging taxes that hotels collect and pay those to the appropriate authorities. “If you’re renting a home, an apartment, a room, you’re basically running a mini-hotel,” Stephens says, with the rules varying by state and county. In Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for example, a tax of 11 percent is due, 6 percent to the state and 5 percent to the county, he says.
How to Rent Out Your Vacation Home and Make It Pay
Renting out your vacation home can yield significant financial benefits – but only if you do it right.
“It starts with a commitment to customer service,” says Jon Gray, chief revenue officer for HomeAway.com, which also owns the vacation rental website VRBO.com. “You’re basically having to market your house and get people to want to stay there.”
Renting a vacation home is a business, which means you’ll need the proper business tools in place, from being able to accept credit cards as payment to paying lodging taxes to get the home cleaned quickly and completely between guests.
“It’s really quite a lot of work, and a lot more work than people anticipate,” says Michael Joseph, co-founder, and CEO of InvitedHome.com, which manages vacation properties. “There’s a lot to keep up with. … Guest expectations are becoming higher.”
One of the first decisions when starting the vacation rental process is whether to hire a management company or manage your rental yourself.
While websites such as HomeAway.com, VRBO.com and Airbnb.com provide online marketing tools, access to credit card processing, booking tools and other infrastructure, the individual owner still has to handle guest inquiries, screen renters and arrange for cleaning.
Full-service management companies charge 20 to 50 percent of the rental proceeds to manage the entire process, from bookings through cleaning. You also can hire people to manage parts of the process for less. The online portals usually charge an annual fee for listings. VRBO and HomeAway start at $349 a year and also offer a pay-per-booking option of 8 percent, while Airbnb charges both hosts and guests a small processing fee – 3 percent for hosts and 6 to 12 percent for guests.
The home rental industry has grown significantly in recent years, as online listings and reviews make travelers more comfortable with the model. But travelers who are accustomed to staying at hotels and resorts expect significant amenities and, in some cases, service.
“The competition is more fierce today,” says Cathy Ross, CEO of Exclusive Resorts, a vacation travel club that owns its own properties. “Today’s customer is demanding, and they want certainty that what they see online is what’s there.”
Customers expect modern finishes, nice furniture, hotel-quality beds and linens, plenty of bathrooms, entertainment options such as a TV with cable package, a pool table, board games and big gathering spaces for families, one of the groups that favors vacation home rentals. “Those homes that aren’t well decorated or aren’t well furnished just don’t cut it,” Joseph says.
It’s important to screen tenants, collect a damage deposit and have a strong rental agreement in place, as well as the proper insurance, to protect your home from damage. Stevens, who has been renting out his vacation home in Vail, Colorado since 1999, has only once had to deal with significant damage by a tenant. “That concern is way, way overstated,” Stephens says. “These people are generally very respectful of your home.”
Here Are 13 Things You Need to Know and Do Before You Rent Out Your Vacation Home
Figure out if the math works. Create a spreadsheet to analyze what it will cost you to rent out your home versus the income you can expect to generate making it a vacation rental. Expenses will include maintenance, utilities, taxes, insurance, repairs, and amenities. “Make sure you budget for preventive maintenance, and wear and tear,” Joseph says.
Decide whether to manage it yourself or hire a company. While managing a rental yourself provides a greater financial return, it also means more work. HomeAway, VRBO, Airbnb and similar sites offer online booking, calendars, email communication and referrals to other tools such as credit card processors and professional photographers. But even with these online portals you still have to hire and oversee the cleaning crew.
Furnish, decorate and equip your home. Amenities typically depend on the market and the price, but people often expect most of what they would get at a hotel. A fast Wi-Fi connection, an expansive cable package, and other entertainment options are recommended, while a hot tub, pool table, board games, and other recreation options can be a draw for some guests. Have toiletries, paper products, and basic cleaning products available. Stephens provides guest passes to his community’s athletic club. Remember to remove family photos, clothes, and personal items so the guests feel more comfortable.
Get professional-quality and write a great, detailed description. People will choose your home based on the photos and the description of the property. “That first photo is incredibly important because that’s what people see,” Gray says. Be very thorough in your description. List every amenity, down to balconies, cribs and pool noodles.
Find a dependable cleaning crew and other maintenance personnel. If your home is popular, you will have one set of guests checking out in the morning and a second set arriving that afternoon. That makes it imperative that the cleaning crew show up on time. If you don’t live nearby, your cleaning crew is also your eyes and ears. You may also need pool service, lawn service, and a handyman, plus know whom to call if the toilet quits working.
Get proper insurance. A regular homeowners policy rarely covers a vacation rental. Ask your agent what type of policy you need for a home that is used for short-term rentals.
Set up your welcome package and infrastructure. If you don’t plan to meet guests personally, how will they get into the unit? Keyless entry and a hidden key are the two most common methods. Decide which is best for you. Most guests expect to pay with credit cards, though some online portals provide that service or help you sign up for it. Consider creating a welcome packet with the Wi-Fi password, entertainment services, appliance operating instructions and information on community amenities.
Expect to pay resort or occupancy taxes. Your city, county or state may require you to register your vacation home or get a business license, and most municipalities will collect the same taxes from you that they collect from hotels. You can handle this yourself or hire someone to do it. Avalara MyLodgeTax charges by the report, with most homes paying between $60 and $200 a year for the service.
Comply with legal requirements. Make sure you can legally rent your home to travelers. Most homeowner associations don’t allow short-term rentals, though some resorts may handle them for you. Some cities and counties ban short-term rentals. Know the local laws before starting the rental process.
Make rules and create a strong rental agreement. Management companies and online portals have agreements you can modify, and you can also find examples of such agreements online. Decide what number of people you’ll allow per stay and whether to allow pets or smoking.
Be ready to respond quickly. Most online shoppers will send inquiries to several homes at a time. The first suitable home to respond is likely to get their business. “That’s critical,” Stephens says. “Responding a day late is probably unacceptable. You’re going to lose business.”
Create a tenant screening process. Joseph advises talking to all prospective tenants by phone. Ask the number of guests, their ages, why they want the property. If they book, get their full names, addresses, and phone numbers. “You get a lot more information and a feel for people by talking to them,” he says.
Offer a personal touch. In a world of online reviews, you want your guests to recommend your home or become return customers themselves. Anything you offer to make your home stand out and to make their vacation easier is likely to yield dividends.
HARRISBURG, PENNSYLENIA – Several factors come into play when calculating your credit score. “According to FICO.com, your credit score is affected by five major elements, in this order of importance: payment history, amounts owed, length of credit history, new credit and types of credit used” say, the pros from ‘Local Records Office’ in Harrisburg, PA.
That said, here are some things you might be doing that could knock your score down a few pegs.
Banning Credit From Your Life
If you don’t use it, you lose it — your good score, that is. Credit score is a measure of how responsible a borrower you are. If you cut up all of your cards — literally or figuratively — “lenders won’t know what to expect from you should the day come when you want to open up a line of credit” says, ‘Local Records Office’. If you want to minimize the amount of credit in your life, try to use one major credit card for small purchases and pay it off in full monthly to keep your credit active.
Closing Old Accounts
You might think since you’re happy with your current credit card that you might as well kick your old ones to the curb, but be careful. If you cancel an account that you’ve had open for a long time, you could be damaging the credit history portion of your credit score. Essentially, when you close an account, you erase that account from your history.
Opening a New Account
Doing this affects the “new credit” portion of your score. Every time you apply for or are awarded a new line of credit, your credit score takes a dip. If you’re planning on applying for a home mortgage or a car loan in the near future, hold off on opening a random charge account. The higher your credit score, the better interest rate you may qualify for, and that could mean thousands in savings over the life of a home loan.
Owing Too Much, Even if You Pay on Time Every Month
You might think that as long as you pay your bills, you’ll have great credit. “While that is the most important aspect of a credit score, creditors think that if you carry high balances, you’re only one emergency or layoff away from being in financial trouble. It’s important to try to keep your debt utilization ratio low – that’s how much you owe as compared to how much available credit you have” say, the pros from ‘Local Records Office’. Experts say keeping it at 30% or lower is best, so if you have a $1,000 credit limit, you shouldn’t carry more than a $300 balance.
Paying a Bill Just One Day Late
Once your credit card company flags you for a late payment, you can expect a ding on your credit report. The damage will be greater if you go beyond 30 or 60 days without making a payment, but even one day late can be enough to hurt your score.
If you’re thinking of making any moves when it comes to your credit, do some research first to see how your plans might affect your credit score. You’ll be glad you did.
Joint Credit Score
There’s no such thing as a joint credit report – for married couples or anyone else. Married or single, you have your own credit report, one that’s linked to your Social Security number. If you’re married, you and your spouse may have a lot of joint accounts, such as mortgage loan, car loans and shared credit card accounts. Those joint items will appear on both your credit reports and will affect both of your scores. But your credit report is yours and yours alone.
BONUS – Thinking a Credit Repair’ Company Will Magically Make Your Credit Score Go Higher
There’s nothing that a “credit repair” company can do for you that you can’t do yourself. No one can remove accurate information from your credit report. Reputable credit reestablishing services can help you come up with a plan to repay your debts, but the only legitimate way to enhance your credit score is to practice good credit management.
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.
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!
This is the ultimate happy hour oyster guide in Los Angeles, California you will ever need. More and more restaurants are having happy hour oyster specials all across southern California, find the best oyster specials around your area here.
1. Herringbone (Santa Monica)
Freshly shucked $1 oysters can be found Monday through Friday from 4 to 6 p.m. Herringbone’s bar and lounge area during Oyster Hour with drink specials starting at $5.
Oyster Director and Chef Spencer Bezaire selects a dozen oysters during happy hour every day from 5-7 p.m. for $26. Pair them with $4-$5 beers, $8 wines and a curated selection of discounted bar bites. Note happy hour is only available in the Upstairs bar area of the restaurant.
Three oysters for $5 from 5 to 7 p.m. during Bandito Power Hour come on a Tuesday and score oysters for $1 each. The happy hour menu also includes dishes like crispy brussels sprout nachos, bean and cheese pupusa, a delicious mahi bowl and more.
Happy hour is daily at this French inspired eatery where oysters are $2 a pop. On Monday specials run 4 to 10:30 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday 4 to 7 p.m. and Friday and Satruday from 10 to 11 p.m.
LOS ANGELES, CA – Local Records Office is going to define some of the basic real estate statistics that get thrown around on a regular basis. To do that, we will use one real estate market, located in Los Angeles County. Even more granular, we will use the single-family numbers for homes in Long Beach, CA, a medium size city of approximately 500,000 residents, which has seen substantial real estate growth in the past 12 months. It is important when reviewing real estate statistics to use a group of numbers large enough for consistency, but granular enough to tell your story.
Real Estate Statistics for Newbies
Local Records Office says, “The statistics that we will be referencing are true and accurate for the year discussed but are being used to define the real estate statistic itself.”
We have chosen Long Beach, CA as our example because the growth of the local real estate market that make the statics stand out.
Anytime you are evaluating statistics, especially in real estate, the source of the numbers are extremely important. In most instances, the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) provides the most accurate numbers when referring to real estate says, Local Records Office. This is because they have all listings by all local real estate broker in their database. For the sake of explanation of the data, we will be looking at the numbers for home sales in Long Beach, CA, directly from the MLS. These numbers are meant to give an example of how to read the statistics themselves. Anytime you evaluate real estate numbers, its important to pay close attention to how the numbers are gathered. In this instance, we will be using ONLY single-family properties in the city of Long Beach, California.
These Are Basic Real Estate Statistics
Number of Sales – This one is pretty self-explanatory. It is simply the number of single-family homes sold in a particular month. In January of 2015, they had 51 single-family homes sold. One thing to pay attention to when looking at this statistic is are they using the Under Contract date or the day the property actually went to closing says, Local Records Office. These two dates are usually between 30 and 60 days apart, so its critical that you know which one is being referenced. In addition, many of the homes that get calculated, if you are using the “under contract” number may not actually close! In our example, we are using the number of homes that actually closed. In January of 2016 they had an increase of over 49%, which brought the total to 77 from 51. Growth of that level is very seldom ever seen.
Sales Volume – Sales Volume is simply the total amount of dollars spent on single family housing within that month. Once again, when reviewing this statistic, it’s important to keep the property types consistent. If you are comparing two areas to see which one has grown more and you include vacant land in the number for one area, you must include it in the other too says, Local Records Office. As previously mentioned, our examples only include single-family properties. With Number of Sales looking at the units, you would expect the Sales Volume to go up appropriately, but in this instance, it went up even more than the units (by percentage). The total Sales Volume of single family homes in Long Beach in January of 2016 was $15,191,500 as opposed to the January of 2015 number of $9,281,915. That is an increase of over 63%. Because the Sales Volume went up at a larger rate than the number of units, this reflects the average home sale being much larger in 2016 than 2015.
Months of Inventory – Local Records Office says, “This is a commonly referred to statistic when examining a real estate market.” This statistic refers to at the current rate of sales, how long will it take to sell through the existing level of inventory. This reflects the supply and demand for the market. In our example, in January of 2015 the level of inventory was 9 months and in January of 2016 it had dropped to 6 months. That is a 33% drop in available inventory! This means if you are looking to buy a home in Long Beach, CA, it will be a little tougher in 2016 as there are fewer inventories available to buy.
Median Days To Sell – This stat simply refers to how long it takes for single-family properties to be put under contract. Don’t let the “to sell” confuse you. To accurately show the demand for active homes, you really want to track how long it takes to go “under contract”. The process of acquiring final lender approval, insurance and getting to a closing can vary on a variety of factors. In January of 2015, the Median Days to sell was 88 says, Local Records Office. That number dropped by over 30% to 61. Once again, this tells you if you are looking for homes in Long Beach, CA, you better get your offers in quickly as the most desirable homes are going fast!
Average Price – This statistic can be derived in a variety of ways. We are going to use it in its most raw form and simply be the Average Price of Homes Sold within that month. Be careful when looking at this statistic printed anywhere as how the user defines the date sold can vary. Needless to say, Average Price can be used for active homes for sale or for the homes that sold. The Average Price of ACTIVE homes for sale is generally a pretty useless number as you can list a home for any price, without any possibility of it ever selling. Many homes listed for sale are at unrealistic prices thus the Average Price of Active homes for sale can fluctuate dramatically and give little insight into the market says, Local Records Office. You will want to look at the Average Price of SOLD homes. In January of 2015, the Average Home Sale was $181,998 and it jumped to $199,888 in the same month in 2016. This is an increase of almost 10%. This is not a number that truly tells the increase in home values across the board, but simply of the homes sold in that month, what the average was. Check out videos here.
Median Price – The Average Home Sales Price can be skewed by a variety of factors says, Local Records Office. All it takes is one 5 million dollar home sale to throw those numbers off. To get a better view of the overall increase in value, it can be better to look at the Median Sales Price. Median Sales Price takes the number that is perfectly in the middle. For instance, if you have 11 homes that you are using in your statistic, you would take the sales price of the 6th one. This leaves 5 homes sold higher and 5 homes sold lower. In this instance, they are pretty close as the Median Sales Price increase from January 2015 to 2016 was 9.69%. This shows that we didn’t have the Average Price skewed too much because of an extremely large or extremely small sale.
There are hundreds of ways to look at the same numbers, when referencing to real estate, so be very careful to read the fine print on exactly what numbers they are using says, Local Records Office. When making comparisons, you will want to make absolutely sure that both are referencing the same property types, dates etc. It like the old saying says… there are lies, damn lies and statistics.
In an effort to describe some of the most basic real estate statistics, we are using the market statistics from Long Beach, California as they have seen some extraordinary growth.
LOCAL RECORDS OFFICE – LOS ANGELES, CA – With interest rates expected to rise later this year; you may be wondering whether you should buy a home at today’s low rates says, Local Records Office. The average rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 3.85 percent last week, according to Freddie Mac’s weekly mortgage market survey, about what it was at the end of 2015.
Local Records Office says, “Interest rates, however, should not be the primary factor that determines when you purchase a home.” For most buyers, other factors are much more important. Rather than buy now for fear that rates might suddenly increase, for example, it might be smart to wait so you can save up a bigger down payment.
LOCAL RECORDS OFFICE: Interest Rates and Payments on Your Home
“Small changes in interest rates don’t make large changes in your payment,” says Casey Fleming, a writer in Los Angeles, California. Fleming actually believes interest rates may drop further. “Interest rates are not the most important piece.”
If you’re ready to buy a home, 2016 could be a good year. The inventory of homes for sale is likely to rise and fewer flippers are scooping up the best homes with all-cash deals, says Nela Richardson, chief economist for the brokerage Redfin.
Low-interest rates are contributing to the higher inventory, she says, because homeowners who are ready to sell their homes and move to a bigger or smaller home, or a new neighborhood, are willing to abandon their low-rate mortgages if they can secure an equally good loan. Plus, home appreciation has slowed, so there is less reason to stay put.
“The payoff to waiting [to sell] is not going to be a lot,” Richardson says. “Right now, it’s the best it’s going to get,” she adds. “Maybe it’s time to rush and sell but not time to rush and buy.”
For most prospective homebuyers, other factors are likely to be more important than interest rates when they do the math about whether 2016 is the right year to buy.
“If you can afford a down payment now and you’re going to be in the home a long period of time, it’s a very attractive time to buy a home,” says Stan Humphries, chief economist for Zillow. But he cautions buyers against making their decision based on what they’ve heard about imminent interest rate increases. “There’s no need to rush out and beat an interest rate increase. You can walk, not run, to your bank the way interest rates are going.
Interest rates fluctuate and may change countless times between the moment someone decides to buy a home and when they actually close the deal. In fact, they change daily and sometimes more than once a day.
6 Factors That May be More Important Than Interest Rates When Deciding Whether to Buy a Home This Year
Length of time you’ll stay in the home. How long you have to live in a home to make it more economical than renting varies by locality and by the individual home a person is considering buying or renting.
“On average, it takes four to seven years to break even on a home, where you’ve got enough appreciation where it can pay you back for the cost of the transaction and cost of ownership,” Fleming says. “If you’re thinking about buying a home, selling it in two years and think it’s going to be cheaper than renting, it’s very unlikely to be.”
Job security. You don’t want to buy a home and then discover you’ll need to relocate to get a new job in six months or, even worse, end up unemployed and unable to make payments. Lenders typically like to see two years of job history, though that isn’t always necessary if you have changed jobs within the same field.
Down payment. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have announced plans to back loans with down payments as low as 3 percent, while the Federal Housing Administration offers loans with down payments of as little as 3.5 percent.
But if you put less than 20 percent down, you have to pay private mortgage insurance every month, which could cost you more than a slightly higher interest rate. “If they’re looking at an FHA mortgage, paying PMI is a lifetime proposition,” Humphries says. With a conventional mortgage, you can ask to have the PMI removed once you have 20 percent equity in your home. That’s not possible with an FHA mortgage.
Emotional readiness. Not everyone is ready to own a home. If your dream is to travel the world, you should do that first. Or, you might not be sure you want to stay in your current city. Plus, homeownership brings additional responsibilities.
“Your life changes a great deal when you go from being a renter to an owner,” Fleming says. “When things break, it’s your responsibility to fix them, not the landlord’s.”
Financial readiness. Before you buy a home, you want to make sure you have good credit, a steady income and some money in the bank beyond what you’ll need for a down payment. You likely will have to pay a year’s worth of homeowner’s insurance and property taxes upfront.
All homes, even new homes, require maintenance. And you don’t want to be stuck with no reserves if the air conditioner or furnace dies shortly after you move in.
Your local housing market. In some cities, buying a home is significantly cheaper than renting. In others, the calculation is less clear. Macro math aside, you might also discover that you can’t afford a home in a neighborhood you want or the type of home you want is in short supply this year.