Monthly Archives: June 2015

5 First Baby Steps to Real Estate Investing

This blog is covered with helpful guides that cover every aspect of the buying process. However, it is primarily geared towards people who are already actively seeking homes.

But if you’re someone like a recent college grad or a long-term homeowner, you may not know or remember the very first basic steps it takes before you even contact your agent or bank.

Here’s a quick list of all the things you’ll need to do.

Real Estate Investing is Not Difficult to Get Started In, If You Know The Right ApproachGet All of Your Financial Documents

You can’t make a real estate budget or a long-term plan unless you know how much money you have to work with. Gather all of the paperwork you have that has an impact on your net worth. These things include your properties, debts, loans, and your retirement/investment/savings.

If you don’t have these things in paper form, there are plenty of handy internet tools that can help.

Check Your Credit and Spending

Now that you have your paperwork together, you should read through them and see what your cash flow is and base your real estate budget on that cash flow. If your finances aren’t in good standing, you may want to sort the issue out and come back to it in a year.

Also do beware that if you move to a place with a low cost of living, your salary will probably decrease to match.

Obtain a Record of Past Payments

After you’ve figured out your cash flow, get a record of some of your past payments like loans and bills. If you saved your stubs, then you’re golden. If you didn’t, your bank or the organization you’re paying will be able to give you another copy.

Decide the Area You Want To Live In

This is the fun part.

Look through a real-estate website or search engine and narrow down the areas you want to live in. If you find a house you’re interested in, that’s great! If aren’t able to, don’t worry about that so much. We will be able to help you when you contact us.

Begin Setting Cash Aside For Your Down Payment

Mortgages and apartments of any kind require a down payment.

For a typical mortgage you’ll need between 5 and 20 percent of the total price of the house to put down in cash. If saving that much sounds like a tall order, don’t worry. There are many different financing options and loans that can help you lower the down payment amount even further.

For apartments, the process is much less involved. You’ll need to pay for a background check and the security deposit. You’ll also probably need to pay the first month’s rent in advance. Overall, it shouldn’t cost you more than a few hundred dollars plus rent.

2 Quick Tips to Sell a House FAST!

The business of real estate is a long-term game. Rushing and impatience can cause you to lose a couple grand on your closing costs because you didn’t wait for the perfect buyer.

There Are Some Tips Out There to Help You Sell Your Home More Quickly Than Normal, You Just Have to Know the Right Place to LookHowever, your life isn’t going to wait for your house to get sold. If you’ve found a new once-in-a-lifetime opportunity across the country, keeping your investment property in your current location could end up costing you more money and heartache than if you had just taken the price cut and sold it as quickly as you could.

Here are some ingenious ways to sell a piece of investment property as quickly as possible, without taking too much of a dive in price.

Undercut Your Price Confidently

So your home has been on the market for a while. You’ve had some nibbles but so far no buyers have gone all the way. You think about lowering the price a few thousand dollars again to drum up more interest. But did you know that incremental price drops may have the opposite effect? Lowering the price of your home in small amounts causes buyers to become leery of it. Cutting $3,000 off of a $400,000 home isn’t even noticeable.

The right way to lower the price of a home is to slash off a large amount of the price that looks good (say $10,000 or a little more) and be patient. If you lower your prices in larger chunks instead of smaller increments your house will be fresher in buyer’s minds and it makes you look less desperate.

Chopping 1-5% off of your house’s total value sounds like a lot, but think about it. Isn’t it better to decisively cut that amount off of the value and have someone buy it, than to cut a similar or larger amount over several months with minimal interest? We’ve all seen the houses that start out at $350,000 and end up at $280,000 in a year.

Use Everything You Can To Spread the Word

Trulia and Zillow are great. But if you want that house to go as quickly as possible, you need to put postings up on Craigslist, social networks, and EBay (yes EBay). EBay specifically allows homes to be posted on their site for a fairly modest fee, and they are noncommittal which means that you can remove the posting at any time.

But the internet shouldn’t be the only tool in your arsenal. Consider putting up a billboard. It’s much cheaper than you’d think. A paper billboard is only $50 to $100 depending on the size of it!

You can also be more proactive and work together with your competition. If there are a large amount of home sellers nearby, try to organize a neighborhood-wide open house. You can have a refreshment cart, some flyers, and an organized tour group if you have a good turnout!

You might be thinking that this directly benefits your competition, and in truth it does. But if your house is priced competitively it shouldn’t matter. Besides, your prospective buyers were definitely going to see the other homes in the area anyway.

Posted on June 18, 2015 in Buying a Home, Home Buying, Home Sales, Real Estate, Selling

3 New York Neighborhoods That Won’t Break The Bank

New York gets a lot of flak for being extremely expensive. Sadly, most of the time this reputation is completely deserved; the state has some of the most expensive neighborhoods and cost of living prices in the country and if you try to cut corners you could end up somewhere that’s less than desirable.

New York is a Great Place to Live, and Is Not As Expensive in Some Areas As It Used to BeHowever, New York actually has a few neighborhoods that are moderately priced and safer than the surrounding areas, but still have the metropolitan feel that New York is famous for. If you don’t mind waiting a year or two for the gentrification to take hold, then these neighborhoods might be your ticket to a blossoming piece of investment property.

Harlem

Harlem is the cultural center of New York City. But it was also noted as the crime capital of New York a few years ago. Luckily waves of gentrification have struck the city which has forced crime down and property values upward. The going rate for condos in Harlem is around $400,000 to $500,000, currently.

Buying property in Harlem is a smart investment at this point in time. The value of these homes will increase substantially as the neighborhood gentrifies more and more. Even if you’re not willing to make a forever home in Harlem, you can still rake in a tidy profit when you decide to sell.

Bushwick

Bushwick isn’t quite as far along the gentrification path as Harlem is. The neighborhood is still rough around the edges, and it lacks things like restaurants and other amenities that would cause the prices to increase.

However, the neighborhood is a far cry from what it was just a decade ago. You may not want to move in just yet, but this one definitely should stay on your radar. The prices for condos vary greatly, but it’s recommended that you go no lower than $400,000 in this neighborhood.

Crown Heights

When non-New Yorkers think about the town of Crown Heights, they automatically think of the Crown Heights riots that took place 1991. This event combined with New York’s general reputation as a hive of unrest causes them to look elsewhere almost immediately.

However, the riots were over two decades ago and any unrest from that time period has long since died. Crown Heights boasts affordable (and really good looking) condos that start at around $400,000. It still suffers from a lack of common amenities like restaurants and coffee shops, but remember that this is New York we’re talking about. Something exciting is never farther than a few minutes away.

5 Common Seller Misconceptions

Selling a house can be confusing if you’ve never done it before. It’s even more confusing if you don’t have a good realtor at your back. Here are a few common seller questions and misconceptions that seem to keep popping up.

When Selling A House, Many Sellers Have Some Common Misconceptions About the Process“I’ve Listed Too Low/High, What Do I Do?”

Sellers lose hours of sleep mulling over prices. Most sellers overprice or underprice their homes without the assistance of a realtor or appraiser. Luckily, it’s usually just a minor inconvenience.

If you listed a little too high, just bump the price down a bit and keep up with the open houses.

If you listed the house way too high (50k or more) you might want to take it down for a week or so and then relist it so it shows up better in search engines.

If you listed your house too low, you have two options. You can raise the price to a more appropriate value, or you can use an advanced technique to encourage a bidding war for the potential buyers. This only works if you have a lot of people interested and it can backfire easily, so beware!

“My Buyers Want To Fix The House Before We Close?”

“I’m sorry, I can’t allow that. It’s a liability issue.”

That’s the only answer you should be giving them. If your seller, their realtor, or their repair company comes recklessly knocking around into your home and damages it somehow, that’s still on you.

Any repairs done to the home should be done by you until they sign binding documents.

“If I Massively Renovate My House, There’ll Be a Huge Payout Right!?”

This really depends on what you mean by renovations. If you want to spend a few grand on things like repainting, and carpeting then by all means, go ahead. An attractive interior can more than pay for itself during home tours.

But if you want to renovate the innards of your house like plumbing and electrical, it’s not always the most lucrative idea. If there’s nothing wrong with your plumbing or electrical besides it being a little out of date, just let the buyers make that choice when they buy the house.

“Do I Need A Home Appraisal?”

It helps, but your realtor can do the same thing and is much more personally invested in finding the appropriate price. If you’d like a few extra opinions, then by all means appraise away.

“An Inspector Found X Things Wrong With the House, I Have To Fix Them Right?”

Not necessarily.

Superficial problems should be fixed if you can afford it. Something like chipping paint can be a $40 fix, but might cost you a buyer entirely if they see it. Deeper problems can either be fixed by you or the buyer. What matters is that they know of the problem before they sign the contract. If they can prove that you knew about the issue, you could be in for a lengthy and unpleasant legal battle.

If you’re a seller and you have a question that isn’t listed here, contact us via the web portal and we’ll find someone who can help you out!

Posted on June 4, 2015 in Selling