With today’s considerably lower Miami Beach real estate prices, the large inventory of foreclosures and bank owned property the question becomes more of what kind of property is worth investing in than anything else. For purposes of this article, we’ll focus on bank owned properties, also known as REO (real estate owned) property.
A home becomes real estate owned if it doesn’t find a buyer during a property auction. Since banks aren’t necessarily designed to function as Miami Beach real estate property-owners, they’re usually very eager to get rid of them which can result in considerable discounts. However since an REO is not the same thing as a foreclosure, lenders can still earn a profit from them so don’t expect as deep of a discount.
A perk of buying a Miami Beach real estate REO is that there’s much less of a risk of dealing with liens, taxes and other unforeseen costs that come with a foreclosure since lenders will take usually deal with them before the sale is closed. However an REO can still be in bad condition like a foreclosure so it remains important to get a home inspection or check the home out yourself, lenders are not at all obligated to make any repairs on the property but they will allow you to back out if something is seriously wrong.
Posted at 10:24:21 AM
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Examining the Interior of a Home
If you’ve been browsing through Miami Beach real estate on the internet, you’ve more than likely come across numerous resources thoroughly explaining how important it is that you carefully consider where the home is located, the values of neighboring homes, etc. If you’ve done your homework, perhaps it’s time to narrow down your assessment to the home you may soon be living in by giving the interior a meticulous examination.
Perhaps you’d like to start off with the electrical wiring. Depending on your familiarity, you may wish to leave this to a professional or have it done as part of the home inspection report, should you request one. Always check this part out regardless of whether the home was built ten years ago or five years ago.
The plumbing is a little easier. Leakage can often be discovered just by taking a look behind sinks since that’s the spot where mold has the best conditions for accumulating. A leaky sink could be an indicator of bad pipes and thus plumbing, something you likely want to bring to the appropriate person’s attention before signing off on the dotted line on your Miami Beach real estate purchase.
Not all homes come with an addict but if there is one, you may wish to make it your first stop. If you want to examine the roof, the attic is the best spot to do so. If there’s wood that shows wear and tear, this could lead to leakage later on.
Posted at 11:00:29 AM
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Compiling Comparable Sales
With the advances in technology and the widespread availability of the World Wide Web, there is more real estate information available than ever. Realtors have a number of resources available to help them with their seller and buyer assistance efforts and among these, it’s important to have a good idea of average sales prices in any given neighborhood, officially known as comparable sales and often referred to simply as comps.
Depending on the state where the realtor is doing business, obtaining information on comps can be done by simply heading over to the local courthouse and browsing through public records or reading newspaper listings to get a glimpse of recent sales figures. However this method means that such services need to actually be provided in order to make use of them.
The most readily available resource is the internet since there are many websites available which can be used for finding comparable sales information while removing the need to do a lot of unnecessary and possibly fruitless legwork. Keep in mind though that there is no guarantee as to how current this information may be. A similar approach is to subscribe to service companies which can mail or offer this information via other means besides the internet. Even so, the same problems of encountering outdated information are still there.
The MLS can be extremely useful and if the person using it is already a licensed realtor then they have access to a wealth of information on multiple listings which is more often than not kept up to date.
At the end of the day however, perhaps the best way to have the sharpest knowledge on comps is to take the self research approach and focus on a certain neighborhood and staying abreast of sales.
Posted at 4:43:12 PM
Friday, October 31, 2008
Existing Home Sales Rose Nationally Last Month
While the economy seems bleak with the stock market fluctuating daily and a steady amount of major companies going bankrupt or merging, the real estate market seems to be headed down a different path. Month-after-month the real estate market has slight improvements. Experts think the worst declines in the real estate market have already past while the economy still has a while before it stabilizes.
Recent reports from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) show an increase in existing home sales. Home sales were up 5.5 percent with a total of 5.18 million units sold across the country in the month of September which was higher than the previous month by 1.4 percent. Lead economist for the NAR Lawrence Yun suggests this is part of “a sales turnaround which began in California several months ago…” and “is broadening now to Colarado, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri and Rhode Island”.
The cause of this influx of real estate business, according to NAR President Richard F. Gaylord is “low home prices and low interest rates”. The nearly thirty percent discounts in home prices in major cities and rural areas have attracted buyers back to the real estate market in certain areas of the country. Richard F. Gaylord is optimistic about recent gains and thinks the real estate market is on its way to recovery.
Lawrence Yun, while also optimistic about the recovery of the real estate market, warns of “market disruptions” on the road to real estate market recovery. The credit markets have a significant impact on the real estate market and as they experience tough times it may have averse effects on the real estate market. But that aside, the NAR is predicting that the worst for the real estate market is over and that it will recover sooner than the economy itself.
Posted at 10:53:28 AM
Friday, September 5, 2008
Global warming, damaging fuel emissions, they’re all more of a concern on people’s minds these days as they become more and more aware of their long term effects on the environment and how important it is to try and incorporate “green practices” into your daily lifestyle whether that means doubling up your recycling efforts or reducing the amount of time you spend sitting idly in traffic.
In real estate, many developers have taken into account how they too can make homes “greener” and many have made use of natural resources to create environmentally friendly condo buildings like Ten Museum Park which uses its glass design to allow tons of natural sunlight to come into the building, thus reducing the need to flip on artificial lights, at least during the day.
The Ten Museum Park condo is only a small part of a bigger picture. Its home, downtown Miami is recognized not only by its sweeping business and condo skyscrapers, but also the numerous and elaborate light displays that bring the city to new life during the evening. Obviously all this visual eye candy, while certainly nice to look at does not do the environment any favors. Thus, to reinforce the message of how important it is to turn off nonessential lights whenever possible, Ten Museum Park and all those other high rises in downtown Miami’s will turn off their own unimportant lights on March 29 in a global effort to encourage environmental awareness.
Regardless of whether you live in a Miami single family home or a luxury condo, the efforts required by you to help out the environment even a little are that simple: turn off lights when you leave a room, drop a plastic water bottle or soda can into a recycling receptacle instead of the trash. It may seem useless but it’s always good to know you’re doing your part in making the world you share with everyone else that much more pleasant.
hat require little to no repairs. Don’t get caught up in the fierce competition without having a limit of how far you’re willing to bid, always remember the winning bid is only a component of the other fees that follow. As you learn the ropes, you’ll eventually get a feel for how real estate auctions work and who knows, if you become good at it, they may become your preferred method of buying Florida real estate.
Posted at 2:50:44 PM
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
International Florida Real Estate Assistance
To some degree the foreclosure situation has transitioned from how to prevent foreclosures to how to get rid of the hundreds of foreclosure properties already available on the market. South Florida homes are among the highest in foreclosure filings, contributing to an already overcrowded housing glut. The answer to appeasing the situation may lie beyond the U.S. borders.
Strategic Real Estate Advisors is an asset management firm situated in London that plans to raise $1 billion dollars in order to purchase luxury property like Miami Beach oceanfront condos currently owned and being sold by the banks through the Florida Prime Residential Opportunity Fund.
Itâ€™s interesting to note that not only is Strategic Real Estate Advisors located outside of the United States, the majority of the funds which will go towards the purchase of all these luxury properties will be coming from well to do investors and funds located throughout Europe and the Middle East. Recent reports have consistently pointed towards international investors and buyers as integral towards maintaining interest in Florida property investments and sales.
Critics may see Strategic Real Estate Advisorsâ€™ initiative as ineffective since they wonâ€™t be making a profit. The firm actually plans to buy and then hold onto these properties for next six years or so, a move that may cost considerable funds as the market fluctuates but which should bring considerable profit by the time it decides to sell them off as a residential property investment or something else entirely.
Within a seven year timeframe home values and the real estate market in general will certainly be in much better shape and buying activity will likely have increased so in a sense Strategic Real Estate Advisors are providing a worthwhile short and long term solution. Is this just another flash in the pan or is it a viable strategy?
Posted at 12:30:39 PM
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Homes Are Selling Again
Amidst the doom and gloom of housing market reports comes a recent report suggesting the real estate market is showing strong signs of life. In these tumultuous times it's easy for people to think that the economy is headed for recession or even a crash. Despite current market reports that suggest we are beginning to see slow signs of recovery there are still those who would rather build a bunker under their homes to prepare for an apocalypse then invest in real estate.
The last half dozen months have not seen much progress in the way of homes sold. The highest percentage of drop in home sales occurred during that period leading many to believe that the market would eventually begin to recoverâ€”and it did. In April homes sales increased slightly, which wasn't enough to ease all tensions in the housing market but enough to show that the market is on the right track to recovery.
Property value also rose slightly across the nation showing encouraging signs of the real estate market's enduring strength. Though the median home value is comparably low to just four years ago the fact that property value is stabilizing across the country is a sign that things will return to normalcy sooner than later. When property values experience steady rise it will be more practical for people to sell homes and to convince investors to buy homes.
So, how should one react to recent reports of trends reversing in real estate? Real estate transactions rising are a sign that demand for property is still alive. Prices are almost at a low enough level that many people sitting on the fence on whether or not to invest will soon become active. As sales increase, so will home values and soon real estate investments will become stable enough to return to business as usual.
A lot of people, thanks to low interest rates, are thinking about home renovations right now. You have different options to pay for these projects if youre not going to pay in cash. One option is a Home Equity Line of Credit or HELOC.
A HELOC is a way to borrow against your homes equity, and it provides flexibility. With that being said, because of that flexibility, you need to be careful to stay on budget when you use funds.
The following are some things to know about a HELOC, particularly if youre thinking about using it for a renovation.
How Does a HELOC Work?
With a HELOC, youre spending in a way thats similar to a credit card. You borrow up to a certain limit as defined by your lender. Then, you pay back whatever you borrow with interest. You can withdraw and make payments on whatever basis works best for you.
A lender gives you a draw period, which is the time you can withdraw money. When your draw period is ended, you may be able to renew the credit line.
If you dont or cant renew, you pay the outstanding balance either all at one time, or you do so over a repayment period.
HELOC lengths can run as long as 30 years.
The benefits of a HELOC and flexible repayment include the fact that you only borrow what you need, and many have no fees. The interest on a HELOC might be deductible if you use your funds for home improvements.
What Are the Risks?
While HELOCs can work well for funding a renovation, there are possible risks to be aware of before you borrow.
Since your home is your collateral, if you dont make the payments, you could lose your home. Typically a lender will try to protect against this by limiting borrowing amounts, but its still a big consideration.
A lender can also freeze a credit line or reduce it. Youll only see this usually if you havent made your payments or your homes equity changes, but its something to think about.
The interest rates on a HELOC are variable, and theyre tied to the prime rate. If there are changes in the market, you may end up paying more so that uncertainty may not be ideal.
How Does a HELOC Compare to a Home Equity Loan?
A home equity loan is another financial product often used to fund renovations and home projects.
A home equity loan also involves borrowing against the equity in your home, which is used as collateral. A home equity loan differs from a HELOC because its a lump-sum loan rather than a revolving line of credit. You pay the loan back over its life plus interest, and you make those payments based on a set schedule. Most home equity loans have a fixed interest rate, which alleviates the worry of fluctuating market conditions impacting interest rates.
When is a HELOC the Right Choice?
If youre deciding between a HELOC and a home equity loan, the loan might be better if youre certain of the cost of your project. If youre comfortable with a fixed monthly payment, a home equity loan could be the better option.
On the other hand, a HELOC might be right if you want a lot of flexibility in how much you borrow. Maybe youre not sure about the scope of your project or what your budget will be.
The biggest differentiators between the two will come down to first, flexibility, and second, certainty. If you want flexibility, consider a HELOC. If you want certainty, think about a home equity loan.
Maybe youve heard this and maybe you havent, but when someone asks when the best time is to close on a contract its typically at or near the end of the month. Why? Because its how mortgage interest is accrued. When someone makes a mortgage payment on the first of the month, the payment doesnt apply to the month about to be lived in but instead its for the interest that accrued for the previous month. But at the settlement table when a purchase mortgage is taken out there are no previous occupied days, yet interest is still collected.
Its called prepaid interest and its an amount that includes interest on the first day of the new note up until the first of the following month. If a closing takes place on the 20th of the month, the lender will collect interest up to the first of the following month. In this example that would be 10 days. If on the last day of the month, there will only be one days worth of interest collected.nbsp;
Then, there would be no mortgage payment on the first of the following month because its already been paid. So, with a purchase transaction, it makes sense to close as close to the end of the month as possible. Some like to give a little breathing room and close on the next to last day of the month just in case something happens to cause a delay.nbsp;
The closing date on a purchase is clearly laid out on the first page of the contract. Closing must take place on or before that date. Any extension must be agreed to by both parties. Theres really no wiggle room about that. If the buyers cant close on the specified date, they run into the possibility of losing their earnest money deposit.
On the other hand, theres a bit of a difference as it >
When refinancing, there will be interest in arrears for the number of days for the old mortgage plus prepaid interest collected up to the first of the following month. Again, because the interest has been prepaid, there will be no mortgage payment on the first day of the next month because its already been paid.
During a purchase transaction the closing date is established upon execution of the contract. When refinancing, its completely up to the homeowners not just whether or not it makes sense to refinance but setting a closing date.
One area that many people never think about changing is their driveway. Over the years, a lot of people have learned that they can expand their driveway to hold more cars. This is especially useful if you have multiple vehicles that members of your family drive.
In the average neighborhood, there is simply not enough space for more than a few cars. It is a small investment to expand the driveway of your home, and the potential future buyers will love this feature.
The kitchen is one of the most important areas of the home when it comes to selling. Cabinets are a central point of any kitchen. If you want to improve or replace your cabinets, it is vital to work with a company that has experience in the field. Look for cabinet refinishing companies near you through online sources.
The cabinets in your kitchen should flow with the rest of your home. With such a large investment of both time and money, make sure that you have conducted research on the best cabinets for your current home.
Tile in Bathroom
Another vital room in your home is the master bathroom. You will spend a lot of your time in this room, so it is important to make it as inviting as possible.
Upgrading the floors in your bathroom is a great choice. Tile is the most common piece of material to use. Not only does it last longer, but it looks much better than other options as well.
Heated tile is another feature that many people enjoy. In the cold mornings of the winter, heated tile can be a nice luxury. As soon as you walk on the tile, your feet will be heated and you will enjoy the bathroom experience much more. This is new technology that a lot of people are upgrading to.
Smart HVAC System
Everyone knows that a new HVAC system is not cheap. However, there are new HVAC systems that focus on reducing your total energy consumption. Although these units are still expensive, you will save some money every month on lower electricity bills.
With so many options on the market today, it is vital to spend some time finding the right model for your home. If you live in a cold area, make sure the heating unit is large enough to heat your entire home. In many areas, the upstairs part of the home is difficult to heat in the winter without a large unit.
Perhaps the easiest way to improve the value of your home is to simply paint the walls. New paint on the walls can really improve the look and feel of your home. Although you can do the painting yourself, it makes sense to hire someone who has experience painting.
Painting an entire house is a long process. Although it will not be cheap, it will improve the value of your home greatly. This is one of the best things to do right before you list a home on the market.
Investing in your home is one of the best financial decisions that you can make. As the housing market continues to improve in value, investing in your home will help you financially. You can even use the equity in your home to pay for the new upgrades that you want.