Save Money On Relocating: Useful Information You Should Think About

When you are moving, you are already spending a lot of extra money.  It helps to know some tricks for saving some money.  Then your moving expenditures will not be so great.

One of the easiest ways to save money on relocating is to move less stuff.

Be sure to go through your things beforehand and throw out, give away, or sell whatever you will not need. A lot of people get into a time crunch when they are relocating, and they don’t have time to do this. They end up moving a lot of stuff that they then throw out when they reach their destination. 

Talk about a waste of money. Take the time to get rid of these things before you move.

Remember that if you give some of your stuff away, you should request a receipt so that you can deduct the amount donated from your taxes.  This will save you money again.

Another way to save money is to do a lot of the work yourself. Even if you hire movers, you can do the packing yourself. This will save a lot of money. The time-intensive work costs the most, so do your own packing and save a bundle.  Remember to get started early if you are going to be doing your own packing. You can’t pack up an entire household at the last minute.

Of course, you can save even more by renting a moving truck and loading and driving it yourself. But here you have to think about how much help you have. If it takes you two days to load the truck, you might be cheaper off to hire professionals to do your relocation. They will do it a lot quicker and you will lose less friends too.

When you are relocating, there are a lot of ways to save money besides the obvious. For example, make sure you leave your old apartment in pristine condition, so that you will get your security deposit back. This is like found money that can be used for other things when you are moving.

You can also save money by canceling your cable service a month early. You won’t have much time to watch it anyway. You will be too busy packing and going through your things in preparation for the move. In the place you are relocating to, wait a month before hooking up the cable. In this way, you save the money of two months of cable service.

On the day of the relocation, pack yourself some meals in a cooler and you can save a lot of money on restaurant meals.

Sometimes the stress of relocating makes you spend money just to save time and energy. But if you plan ahead, you will not have these unexpected expenses. Instead of renting an expensive hotel room, try to stay with friends, or at least pack the kids of to Grandma’s until the move is over.

Be creative, and you will come up with a lot more ways to save money on relocating.

Shopping For a New Home

Congratulations on your decision to get a new home, now is the time to consider some aspects to help you find your dream home.

First and most importantly, find a professional Real Estate agent to help you get through the process.  Before you decide how many bathrooms you need, or what area is the best, it’s important to know how your credit is and if your actual financial situation is in good condition, and finally, how much you are going to be able to qualify for on a mortgage.

All these aspects are important to consider before you get in your car and drive around looking for you next home.  So the beginning to buying a property starts with researching for a good real estate agent, somebody that you like and trust.  You can find these qualified people on the internet or through the newspaper or possibly by referrals.  The second step is to interview the agent and see what service he or she is able to offer to you and if you have to make a commitment to work with one person at a time.

After you select the agent that you feel most comfortable with, it’s time to bring all the questions that you think are important to you in order to know if you are going to be able to aford the house.

The financial part is the most important one – that means your credit score, your monthly income, proof of employment, downpayment, etc.  You will need to know how much money you are going to need for closing the transaction.  Generally closing costs are 10 percent, byt sometimes it’s up to an additional 3%.  Finally, earnest deposit money is the first thing you will need to make the offer.

A proffesional real este agent is trained to help you through this financial part, but in addition to that, after you establish your criteria, is able to search easily for your criteria in a computer system, looking around all tha neighborhoods that you are interested in and show you all the properties available in the real estate market, before you get in the car.  This means you get pictures and sometimes virtual tours, etc. so that you can disqualify the properties that you do not like, saving you time and inconvenience.

When you find your dream home, it’s important to ask questions about the area, school, amenites like grocery stores, doctors offices, recreation areas, libraries etc. Sometimes driving around the neighborhood to identify these factors helps you to make the best decision.

Remember that working with a good agent, saving you time, money and inconvenience, is the best way to find what you want. Somebody that does the job for you, review all the contracts, negotiate the best deal, make sure the house passes all the inspections and is ready for you to move in immediately.  Good luck on your new home.

Ten Benefits of Owning a Condo Hotel

You may have heard about the latest trend in vacation homes – condo hotels.  Suddenly, consumers have the ability to own a second home in a wonderful destination without any of the hassles of ownership.  To see why the condo hotel concept has so much appeal, consider these benefits:

1. You can own a piece of a world-class property.  Most condo hotels are of three- to five-star quality.

2. You’ll have a vacation home in a fantastic destination.  Most condo hotels are located in premium locales – on the beach, near golf courses, next to ski slopes and in bustling downtowns.  Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Myrtle Beach, Las Vegas, Chicago and the Bahamas are some of the most popular condo hotel locations.

3. Use your vacation home when you want.  Flexibility in use means you always have a place to “get away from it all.”  When you’re not using your vacation home, place it in the rental program.

4. A professional management company will take care of all maintenance and operational issues.  Most condo hotels are managed by premier hospitality firms, often the biggest names in the business, Ritz-Carlton, Trump International, Hilton, Starwood and Hyatt, to name a few.

5. You receive approximately half of the rent revenue your condo hotel unit generates when you’re not using it.  The management company takes care of renting your condo for you.  The revenue helps offset your costs of ownership.  Plus, most management companies have sophisticated reservation systems and invest in professional marketing, enabling them to keep your unit rented far more than you likely could on your own.  

6. The management company deals with the guests.  Part of the hassle-free nature of condo hotel ownership is that the management company handles everything regarding guests, from attracting them to checking them in and out of the hotel and solving any problems that arise during their stay.  

7. You’ll have access to luxury hotel services.  Unlike a single-family home, in a condo hotel vacation home, you can take advantage of all the perks of the hotel such as a brand-name spa like Canyon Ranch or Elizabeth Arden Red Door, concierge, room service, fitness facilities, pool, fine dining restaurant and more.

8. Share your condo hotel unit with family and friends.  The unit is yours, so you decide how it’s used.  Want to lend it to your Aunt Betty and Uncle Lou?  No problem.

9. Purchase your condo hotel unit with traditional financing or even as part of a 1031 exchange.  A variety of loans are available to invest in condo hotels.  Condo hotels also qualify for tax-deferring strategies like 1031 exchanges.

10. Realize appreciation when you resell your condo hotel.  Like traditional real estate, over time your condo hotel unit has potential to appreciate.  Because of its quality location, professional hotel management and on-site luxury amenities, the value of your vacation home should increase.  You keep the profits when you sell.

Understanding Shingle Architecture

Shingle architecture helped define the look of many of America’s most popular waterfront communities in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Reminiscent of the Queen Anne style, this building form helped residents make the most of lake and ocean real estate with a variety of ornamental features to enhance view, and construction materials that worked well in wet, coastal climates. 

As the name suggests, Shingle architecture relies heavily on the use of shingles on roofs and exterior walls. As a result, shingle style homes looked naturally more ornate than most homes, and required less ornamentation. The shingle skin of these homes also provided extra insulation, and kept the homes dryer and warmer during wet winter months. Stone counteractions on many of these homes also helped extend their life span for many generations of residents.

The exterior style of shingle homes was also defined by large, asymmetrical shapes, and generally horizontal profiles. Unpractical on small city properties, the style worked well on large coastal estates – many of the most famous examples of shingle architecture were built on the New England seashore. Shingle style homes tended to rely less on form than their Queen Anne predecessors, although they employed many of the same shapes. Features like gambrel roofing, polygon towers, and multiple eaves helped evoke the Queen Anne style while allowing for progression of the form. Since Shingle architecture is less clearly defined in shape, it’s sometimes more difficult to identify at a glance, except for the telltale shingle roof and siding.

Although Shingle architecture became fairly widespread around the turn of the 20th century under New York architects like William Rutherford Mead, Stanford White, and Charles Follen McKim, the style never attained the same popularity as Queen Anne architecture. 

The interior style of Shingle homes was often characterized by the use of natural light. Shingle home floor plans were generally more open, and room to room transitions were often more informal than Queen Ann style homes, primarily because of their larger size. In this way, Shingle homes were often more accommodating to guests and large families.

Home buyers and sellers in the northeast and great lakes region will likely come across the Shingle style at some point, and a basic understanding of the form could prove a great advantage over other investors.

What Is My Home Worth?

Actually, there are two home values, the value to the homeowner and the value to the potential buyer. Unfortunately, both values are emotional and not facts based on market data.

The homeowner has time in the home, family, years of memories, children growing up, maintenance, perhaps blood sweat and tears in room additions, kitchen or bath remodeling. Obviously the owner places a high value on his/her castle and rightly so.

The buyers on the other hand see things differently and act on different emotions. 

The buyers are looking for that emotional spark at the first viewing. The all-important first impression is what drives the potential buyers…at first. From there the first impression quickly turns to affordability, the cost to get in the home, the closing costs, the monthly notes, the taxes. Should I make an offer? What is the least I should offer?

Market value is somewhere between these two emotional extremes.

This is where the appraiser comes in with an objective opinion backed by market data.

Market value is defined as the price a willing buyer will pay to a willing seller for a product or service. In real estate, this is known as an “arms length transaction” meaning both buyer and seller acted willingly and not under duress.

Where does the appraiser begin and how do they arrive at those magic numbers called Market Value? It is not magical at all; it is a methodical series of analytical steps.

First, the appraiser makes a physical inspection of the property, determining size of livable floor space and making note of all amenities, such as the number of bedrooms and baths, the garage, washing facilities, storage areas, and any special features such as a fireplace, pool, patio or outbuildings.

After a through inspection, the appraiser has a starting point to arrive at market value.

With all the physical data collected, the appraiser uses two or three methods to arrive at market value.

The three methods are:

Market Approach: The appraiser searches for comparable homes in your neighborhood, subdivision or within your city with comparable neighborhoods.

Cost Approach/Cost analysis: The appraiser calculates the cost to build your home at current material and labor costs, less depreciation for structural damage, poor upkeep and neighborhood disintegration.

Income Approach: The income approach does not apply to residential market value. This approach applies to income producing properties such as residential duplexes, apartments and of course commercial properties.

If the property being appraised is a residential structure many factors are taken into consideration beyond the physical attributes of the property. The appraiser also considers the compatibility of your home within the neighborhood, such as does your neighborhood add to or reduce the value of your home? This involves pride in ownership factors, which occur in most communities.

However, location, location, location drives the final market analysis.

The appraiser considers the ebb and flow of growth and its direction within your town or city due to socio-economic factors. In addition, future city planning contributes to a large degree in your home maintaining its present value.

In summary, determining the value of your home is a complex procedure. The appraiser must know his/her city well and all the socio-economic factors driving the market. This takes years of observation, study, and considerable research by the appraiser.

When considering a professional appraisal, it is best to choose an appraiser who is certified and has any of the following professional designations: MAI (Member American Institute) ASA (American Society of Appraisers) SRA (Society of Appraisers) CRA (Certified Real Estate Appraiser) IFAS (Independent Fee Appraisal Society). This list is a few of the most recognized professional appraisal organizations in America.

Why Commercial Real Estate?

Every day I am approached by people in residential real estate, by people in different professions such as medicine and law, and others who are not too informed on commercial real estate and what it is really about. When they discover my profession, they always ask me, “Why?” Of course they acknowledge the most obvious reason, the amount of money that can be made. However, I am quick to inform them that there are so many other wonderful reasons why ANYONE should be involved in commercial real estate.

Here I have compiled the top five reasons why I am involved in commercial real estate, and why you should too.

The first is really my favorite, the concept of synergy. Synergy is the idea that you put in the same amount of effort, but yield a larger result. 1 + 1 = 3. This is definitely present in commercial real estate. Many of the deals you might be involved in require the same exact process and amount of work, regardless of how large the property is, how much the property is worth, what its best use is, and how much of a return you can make from it. 

A $15,000,000 deal can literally require the same amount of work as a $3,000,000 deal! Because of this reason, I always urge my colleagues to think big, and always go for the gusto! Why exert the same amount of time and energy on a low yielding deal, when you can put the same amount of time and energy, and yield 10 times what that single deal would? I am not a rocket scientist; however, this seems pretty clear to me.

The second reason is leverage, and how it can maximize your return on properties. In commercial real estate, you always want to examine how you can decrease your invested capital while returning the most money. A good way is to borrow part of the initial investment and pay a certain percentage on the borrowed money. The total cost of initial investment can be much lower when you use other people’s money (OPM), and it, therefore, increases your overall return. There are not too many businesses that function is this fashion, and you can definitely use it to your advantage.

The third reason why I chose commercial real estate is the impact I can have on communities. Creating more affordable housing, renovating old, large apartment complexes so that people actually want to live there, finding places for companies to establish a customer base and employ jobs, and increasing the economic welfare of cities are all fantastic reasons to get involved in commercial real estate! You can really have an effect on the communities you work in, and everyone will benefit.

The fourth reason is abundance. There is an abundance of properties, types of properties, ways to create wealth, professionals to work with, other people’s money to borrow, and money to be made. There is enough for everyone in this constantly changing industry. It makes it an exciting place to work, as there is always a new and different opportunity for you to pursue!

The fifth reason includes all the various skills you get to use in commercial real estate. It is not like an accountant’s job where you primarily deal with the same math and the same clients day in and day out, with little varying tasks. In commercial real estate you must problem solve, be creative in constructing offers and what to do with properties. It requires negotiation, which is fun, building relationships with other professionals that can lead to friendships and lifelong business partners, and, of course, the ability to create massive wealth and happiness that many others never experience!

There are many more reasons why I enjoy commercial real estate, but I don’t want to spoil it for you. You will develop your own reasons to love the business of commercial real estate.

Commercial real estate can be rewarding personally and financially, and it is a benefit to the community. Think about all the reasons why you want to do commercial real estate and visualize how you can reap all these exciting benefits too! You can make it happen!

Where Can I Buy Homes For As Little As $10,000?

The last couple of years have seen a spurt in attendance at government real estate auctions. The concept of buying bank or government seized real estate from these auctions has gained popularity due to the realization that many kinds of real estate including family homes, multiple unit houses, apartments, townhouses, commercial properties, land and vacation homes at very high discounts. Buying from these auctions can take off almost 80-90% of the market value.

A seized property is a property which has been repossessed by the lender (could be a bank) since the owners defaulted on mortgage payments. This process is also called foreclosure. In addition to this, home or property may be seized by the government due to criminal activities or for evasion of taxes. It is difficult to believe but, properties seized annually are a few hundred thousand.

Since the volume of seized properties has risen, the banks or the government feel the burden of maintenance and resources needed to keep them secure, not to mention the enormous amount of capital involved, they try to recover some of the money by conducting government real estate auctions. This facilitates the bidders to purchase a property of their choice well below the market prices and some time up to 90% discounts on the market value.

Owing to limited publicity, the attendance at these government real estate auctions is on the lower side. Since the banks and government are trying to recover money, they are not willing to spend on publicizing and advertising these auctions. As a token, they only give a small advertisement in the local newspaper. This works out to be a great advantage to the bidders who attend since they would not have much competition to bid against and the prices will remain low as a result.

However, the year 2004 saw more publicity being attributed to these auctions on the internet. Seized property listings are now available and updated on a daily basis for members of certain websites. The details offered have descriptions, and photographs of the properties coming under the hammer.

Provided you do your homework and research well, there is no reason you can not buy a house for as little as $10,000.

What do you need to know about real estate property

An estate agent is one who is involved in the sale of houses and land. The job of estate agent is not new. But with a rise in population, the task of estate agent has gained momentum. With increasing number of people there are more houses and lands to be sold and purchased. This article will thus mainly deal with the job profile of an estate agent, the requirements to enter this business and an evaluation made by enumerating the pros and cons of it. 

What basically is the Job of Estate Agent-

An estate agent can work independently or under a broker. There are many agents working under a broker. Most often agents are confined to the estates of a particular area. This job is best suited to those who have excellent interacting skills or those who like communicating with people. Estate agents have the advantage to work liberally. But it requires acute capital investment and endurance. Outlay comes in the form of opening an office, advertisements and making contacts. 

What it takes to be an Estate Agent -:     

Any 18 year old or above individual can become an estate agent. In order to be so, an individual has to join a training college, which will not only impart usual knowledge (rules and regulations and strategy to work) and skills to this business but will also facilitate him with a license. There are many colleges and courses available in this regard. However, try to join the best or eminent college in your area and the course that meets all your essentials. There is ample of information online and in yellow pages with respect to this.

Any individual meeting the age criteria and can apply for a license. The license is given on the grounds of performance in a test. In order to take the test, fees has to be paid. The amount of the fees and the format of the test vary from state to state. But everywhere this test comprises of questions on English, Math and your wisdom about the job of an estate agent. This license thus procured has to be renewed within a span of time like two, three, four years or so. The duration also depends on your state government.   

The merits and demerits-

Like every job or business, the task of estate agent too has several pros and cons attached to it. 

• There is an opportunity to work democratically as an estate agent. There is no pressure by seniors and thirst to impress your boss here but on the same hand large amount of money is needed to make your business a success story.

• Working independent makes you the sole master of your earnings. There is no sharing of it with other agents. But lot of risk is involved in running your own business for it is quite possible that even after some years of your work you may not be able to incur any great profits. 

• The job of an estate agent requires you to be clever and hard working. There is lot of competition in this area. It is upon you that how you make the deal possible by outwitting the rest of the agents of your area. 

• Those agents who endeavor to make money by hook or by crook do not flourish for long. Being adroit in business does not implicate cunningness. The state laws should be followed throughout and one should never aim to deceive the client or government. The amount of margins is fixed and legal on a deal. To accrue benefits apart from that is illicit in any case.

Understanding Title Insurance: Main Things You Should Know

Title to a property is a record detailing the owners of the property and rights associated with the ownership. Title typically shows a progression of ownership from the first owner to the current one. Title is a fairly simple concept, but when it goes wrong it is a nightmare. That is where title insurance comes in.

Title Insurance

Title insurance guarantees that the title on a property is marketable when you purchase the home, condo, land, etc. You should always pay for title insurance. It typically costs a few hundred dollars and will save you a bundle if problems arise.

When you buy title insurance, a title insurance company researches the title for the property. The insurance company will look to see if the title is clear. “Clear” simply means that the seller is truly transferring title to you and no other person can claim ownership. While this sounds fairly simple, rest assured that title problems arise all of the time.

Title Problems

You might be wondering how you could possibly have title problems. Here are a few examples:

1. Divorcing Couples – Divorce is unpleasant and sometime very ugly. In particularly nasty situations, one spouse may attempt to sell a home without telling the other. To gain clear title, you need both spouses to sign off on the sale. If you don’t, you are going to become a party of the divorce proceedings. Now, wouldn’t that be fun?

2. Estate Sales – If you are purchasing a house as part of an estate sale, there can be real problems. The heirs may not be getting along and in an effort to “get what’s mine”, may try to sell the residence without including all the heirs in the transaction. If you buy this home, you could end up involved in a lawsuit filed by an heir left out of the transaction.

3. Ingress and Egress Issues – Title to a property can have technical issues related to egress and ingress. Occasionally, one finds title to a property that is so messed up that the owner doesn’t have the right to enter or leave the land because to do so would require crossing another person’s property. In short, the property is landlocked and something must be worked out with the neighbors. Typically, a solution comes in the form of hard, cold cash…lots of it.

These are just a few issues that can arise with title. With real estate, unique issues can arise all the time.

If you buy title insurance, you don’t have to worry about problems with title. If a problem arises, you calmly pick up the phone and call the title insurance company. The insurance company will come up with a solution, even if it means paying you for bad title.