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2009 (2)
2008 (9)
2007 (6)
Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Understanding an REO

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 05, 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 05, 2008

Environmental Awareness

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.

It’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 Advisors’ initiative as ineffective since they won’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 recover—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.

 
Posted at 10:09:56 AM

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Updated: Monday, July 13, 2020


Things You Can Do to Help Your Property Appraise

First, the property must be in good condition with no deferred maintenance. While the appraiser does not perform a full physical inspection, thats the job for a licensed property inspector, but can make note of any noticeable issues with the home. A sagging roof or foundation cracks come to mind. That said, the current property value must also be in line with the rest of the neighborhood. When a full appraisal is needed, the appraiser first does a little homework at the office before visiting the property. A bit of research is performed identifying homes in the area that have recently sold, primarily within the past six to twelve months. The appraisal is important to the lender because in essence the home is the lenders collateral.

Most conventional loan programs allow for the loan-to-value, or LTV, with a refinance be as high as 90 of the current market value of the property for an owner-occupied home. If the value exceeds this 90, the loan might not make it through the approval process. If for example the LTV is 92, the borrowers must decide whether or not to move forward. Moving forward means paying the current loan balance down to the 90 level or requesting a second opinion from another appraiser.

With a purchase transaction, the appraiser has a head-start. The value of the property is the lowest the sellers were willing to accept meeting the highest price the buyers were willing to pay. The appraiser then begins the process with this information. With a refinance however, there is no such sales price. The appraiser must begin with recent sales in the area. What is the value the appraiser must look for?

On a mortgage loan application there is a space where the owners opinion what the current value should be. This is based upon knowledge of similar homes that have recently sold in the neighborhood. Thats a starting point. But if value may be a concern, there are some things homeowners can do to boost the value.

The first is to pay attention to curb appeal. How does the property look from the street? This first impression can play a key role in helping the property appraise. Is the lawn trimmed? Trees cared for? Is the property clean? Maintaining the landscaping and physically cleaning the exterior will help the property shine.

Next, the interior needs some treatment. The floors should be scrubbed and polished. New paint will help. Do the appliances sparkle or do they need a little love? You can give the interior of your home a thorough cleansing, but many choose to hire a professional team to give the inside a fresh, new look.

Finally, let the appraiser know of any recent for sale by owner transactions. Such sales wont be listed in the local multiple listing service. Appraisers count on this sales data to help arrive at a final value. A private sale could help boost the value of your home, so if this is the case, its important to point out that property to the appraiser.


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5 Ways a Home Garden Can Boost the Aesthetic Value of Your House

A well-spruced and aesthetically-pleasing garden enhances the value of your property, especially if you plan to sell it anytime soon. Here are some things you can do to boost the value of your property with a well-maintained home garden.

De-clutter and maintain

Just like the interiors of your house, your garden also has to be de-cluttered and maintained. Winters can be harsh on your gardens, especially if you live in a place that is cold and snowy. In particular, it can affect the fences and t>

Make it colorful

Humans are genetically predisposed to colors and this is why it plays a big role in triggering emotions in us. To make your garden attractive and also a great place to >

For example, a blooming purple flower not only adds elegance to your garden but also soothes and calms your mind, especially when youve had a bad day. Likewise, pink flowers are known to induce romance and kindness while red is sure to excite you. Depending on the kind of impact you need in your life, choose the right flowering plants. You can, in fact, combine many colors to add to the synergy of emotions and vibrations.

Add a focus area

When someone walks into your garden, what is the first thing they see? The answer to this question cannbsp; determine the chances of selling your house. For example, if a beautiful fountain is the focus area of your garden, it is sure to boost your property value and the chances for it to sell. Thats why its important to have a clear focus area that is stunning and attractive for even passers-by.

Paint the fences

When you paint the cabinets and walls of your home, they look bright and fresh, right? The same applies to your fences and garden walls too. It can, in fact, be a cheap way to spruce up your garden and make it more inviting for you and your guests. The best part is you can do it by yourself too, as a hobby

Consider some furniture

Imagine youre a buyer. Youre walking into a house full of furniture and another one that is completely empty. Which of the two would appeal to you?

Most people would like to see a house with the furniture as it can give them a perspective of the layout and different rooms. Similarly, when you add some garden furniture, it is sure to spruce up the entire place and make it more inviting to your guests. It can also double-up as a cozy place for you to >
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Easy Home Office Design Ideas To Boost Your Productivity

As a Realtor, I spend a lot of my time working from home. Though I do take clients around, most of the "magic" happens over the internet. This is where I build >

Declutter Your Desk

Your work desk is where all the work happens and lets be honest, its always in a mess. With our busy schedules, we normally dont have time to declutter. We tend to pile more stuff onto it, that the moment we need something specific to get a task done... we can no longer recall where we placed it.

Now, the problem with decluttering is we dont even know where to start. Theres just too much on your work desk that you might as well throw the entire thing out. I know how tempting that is, but dont. Start by throwing pens that arent working anymore, files or papers that you no longer need, as well as any fixture or electronic device thats already broken. The trick here is to simply get the momentum going. Once youve already started, youd be surprised at how much trash youve already taken out.

Improve Your Lighting

Several studies have shown, time and again, that certain lighting conditions have a profound effect on our level of productivity. Apparently, its in our DNA to work better when under a cooler light. However, warmer lighting also has positive benefits on our physical and mental well-being, especially on workers who remain cooped inside an office the entire day. Heres another surprising fact too... natural light emitted both during the day and night can actually reduce depression, and improve mood, energy, alertness andnbsp;productivity.

Besides adjusting the temperature of your lighting fixture from a warmer to a cooler shade, move your desk near a window where you can enjoy some sunshine Dont be afraid to rearrange your furniture, but be careful. Some electronic devices may be sensitive to heat, so you may want to keep them away from sunlight.

Add A Natural Touch

This age old tip never fails. You see, in order to be productive, you mustnbsp; feel "free" and unconfined in your workspace... and since you cannot bring your home office outdoors, why not bring a little touch of nature into into your home? Well, the common way to go about this is to bring in a potted plant that you can easily place on your desk. But there are so many other natural elements that you can introduce into your workspace. Instead of using furniture made of artificial materials, why dont you use ones that are made of wood? Theyre easy on the eyes, and are much durable too.nbsp;You may also opt for netural tones when choosing various design elements, and then try to use the least amount of technology when working.

Get More Home Office Design Tips

nbsp;These are only a few of the home office design tips that Ive tested and proven throughout the years. As a retired military wife, weve moved a lot around the country and had different home office spaces to work with. That means, Ive so much to share... Luckily, you can find them all in the latest blog post I published on my site. I highly recommend that you go and have a look at it, especially when youre already feeling burnt out with working from home. Remember that sometimes, all it takes is just a simple fix to become more productive


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