Home Staging on a Budget

Staging is an essential, and cost-effective, part of the home selling process. Staging your home to show off its qualities can only add to your final selling price. On average, people receive $2 in increased sale price for every $1 they put into staging a home.

When staging your home for sale, there are five golden rules to take into consideration as you work your way through each room of your house.

Five Golden Rules:

De-Personalised

The buyer needs to picture themselves in the house – not you. That wedding photo may mean the world to you, but the buyer it’s a distraction that prevents them from seeing a home for their family.

Maximise

Declutter and maximise the space in your home. Closets packed tight with all your clothes make a place like it lacks closet space. Consider temporarily storing the overflow offsite.

Sanitize

This golden rule is the easiest and cheapest way to stage your home – clean it. A sink full of dirty dishes is as unappealing to you as it would be to the buyer. It is well worth the elbow grease in cleaning floors, walls, baseboards, ceiling fans and windows.

Modernise

Unless your home has exceptional period built-ins, all home could benefit from some updating. If someone feels the house is dated, they will reflect that feeling in a lower offer. Consider a few simple changes like swapping out expensive fixtures for nickel or chrome.

Neutralise

Colour can make or break a buyer’s interest in your home. You may love that shocking red wall, but all the potential buyer sees is a great deal of painting in their future because of red clashes with their style. The picture is one of the most inexpensive ways to change a look of a home.

Bonus Tips

Closets

Clear closets of unnecessary clutter, and organise to maximise the amount of open storage space you are showing off to potential buyers. Use boxes stacked together to keep up and hide the clutter.

Use matching hangers for clothes – hooks are inexpensive so splurging on higher quality are inexpensive, so celebrating on higher quality hangers to replace free wire hangers from the dry cleaners will modernise your closets with visual impact and a more luxurious feel.

Bedrooms

A quick and inexpensive way to improve the appeal of your bedroom is to use gender-neutral colours when touching up paint jobs and re-accessorizing to have the broadest possible appeal. Colour coordinate where possible bedspreads, walls, curtains etc. should have a clear theme to their colours if possible.

Bathrooms

If walls are grimy, spray them using a standard spray bottle filled with a mixture of one part bleach and one part water, follow up with a fresh coat of paint.

Clear countertops of everything but the essential to make space look more open and more extensive.

Kitchen

Modernize your dated cabinets; they can be touched up for less than $200 with a coat of new wood stain and or even a good sanding a coat of paint. Replacing brass or wooden cabinet hardware with brushed silver or stainless steel is an effective way of updating dated cabinets as well.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Do-It-Yourself Staging Tips for Home Sellers

The buzzword today with residential real estate agents is staging. Staging a home can change a homes atmosphere that appeals to homebuyers and which may bring a higher price and accelerate market time. By adding small decorative touches, rearranging or deleting furniture or creating vignettes a home can look like a professional stager was hired.

Mark Nash author of 1001 Tips for Buying and Selling a Home has seen the best and worst in home staging as a real estate broker in Chicago and he shares some do’s and don’ts for home sellers that want to try to stage their home.

Do’s

-Pick-up recent home decorating magazines. If your not up to speed on current decorating trends it will help familiarize yourself with how interior design is being marketed. Tab pages with low-cost ideas that which will make your home say today.

-Invite a friend or real estate agent over. A second or third pair of eyes will help you accent the best and edit the worst in your home. Be prepared for some constructive criticism. You want to hear it before you put your home on market, not as feedback from prospective buyers. Go room-by-room with a worksheet so you can take notes. Depending on how much time you have available for an update or a makeover, you will need to prioritize and figure out what will give you the biggest return. Do this at least two months before you put your house on market.

-Stage a home office if you don’t have one. They’re not a trend; they’re required for homebuyers in 2006. Many homebuyers today work from home part or full-time or want a space where they can organize their life and park a computer. Find an extra bedroom, walk-in closet or an unused corner and convert into a home office. Make sure there is a convenient electric, telephone and cable supply.

-Focus on living spaces. These areas are where the majority of homebuyers will spend their time. Place a side table and a floor lamp next to a comfortable chair as a reading corner. Float sofas and coffee tables away from walls for a designer look. Use area rugs to anchor furniture groupings on bare tile and wood floors. Living spaces must have matching table lamps. Streamline family photos and place green plants in room. Fireplaces should always be operable and on in season. Place groupings of candles and clear glass bowls filled with natural potpourri on side and coffee tables. Substantial wicker baskets can organize magazines, remote controls and toys. Limit knick-knacks to make room for staging materials.

-Give attention to Kitchens. Put away in a handy drawer all dish towels and rags. Reduce recipe boxes, barrels of cooking utensils, excess-cooking machines, and cookbooks by two-thirds to open up counter spaces. For a quick update put new hardware on cabinets. Find an out-of-the-way place for a portable dishwasher. Clean off everything on the refrigerator door. Omit throw rugs scattered around the kitchen. Clean off windowsills to open up exterior views. Organize cabinets with clear containers. If you can’t see the back wall of a cabinet, buyers will think you don’t have enough storage space. Ditto closets. Budget to keep a variety of fresh fruit in a glass bowl on the counter. Edit family bulletin boards. Remove old curtains and install new wood blinds on windows.

-Spend time on sleeping and bathing spaces. Often over looked in the frenzy to get a home on market, these spaces can make or break a home. Buy a set that consists of a matching bed skirt, bed spread, pillow covers and blinds to match. Buy a new shower curtain and separate liner. Wash the liner often if mold develops. Add complete sets of towels that coordinate with your new shower curtain. Clear all cosmetics off vanity. If you have an over-the-toilet cabinet consider removing and place a piece of artwork in its place. Remember to keep items in the „too much information“ category, out of view. If you have a king-size bed in a small room, you’ll pay to have buyers over come this negative, so get rid of it now. Clear off dresser and nightstands of excess. Make sure the bedroom receives the maximum natural light. Install closet organizers in closets. Eliminate wall and door hooks for clothes. People might look under your bed, no surprises please.

-Remember first impressions in entries. A simple consol table with mirror over makes a nice entranceway. Make sure this space is well lit day or night. Place adhesive under rugs so buyers don’t trip or slide.

Don’ts

-Use inexpensive silk flowers. Nothing distracts buyers more that silk flowers that are past their time, inappropriate for the season or thrown together. Throw them out, now.

-Forget to upgrade Fido’s bowl. I’ve experienced more unhealthy pet food bowls, watering stations and litter boxes than I care to remember. We know you love your pet, but prove it to homebuyers.

-Overlook window coverings. Buyers today think less is more in window fashion. They want the most light and the least embellishment on windows. And no layered treatments with sheer panels please.

-Use low wattage light bulbs. Dark, dim rooms are unappealing to homebuyers. They want to see what they might buy. Replace bulbs with manufacture recommended wattages and especially the burned out ones. The newer low-energy bulbs don’t cast home or people in flattering light.

-Think that everyone loves wallpaper. No two people have the same taste in this instant decorator finishes. If it’s more than three years old, take it down and paint in a neutral color. And wallpaper boarders are out.

-Paint with commitment colors. If you’ve determined that you need to paint, stay away from bold or as I call them commitment colors. Commitment colors are those buyers either love or hate. It can be difficult for buyers to overlay their style on them. As one client said to me “ I don’t live in a magazine.“

-Think cleaning is a part of staging. Cleaning is what you do before staging. Everything should shimmer and shine. Don’t forget the windows.

Use these do-it-yourself tips to place your home on the stage of your local home sale theater.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

How Can Realtors Help Find Your First Home?

Most people don’t realize it but curb appeal is so important when selling a home. Think about it, are you more inclined to buy a run-down beat up old house that you have to put tons of time and effort in to getting it running again? Wouldn’t you rather buy a beautiful home you were excited about and could already see yourself living in?

Generally speaking it is a good idea to have a polished house ready for showing. If you have to paint it, do so. People are more attracted to buying newer things that are already in good condition to eliminate the work for them. This relates to many different areas of the house, but the exterior of the house is most important because it is the first impression your potential buyers are going to have of the property.

Also it is a good idea to have your lawn mowed and your landscape finished. This is going to create more appeal because it will bring your property to life and make it look more put together. You will be able to give them imagery of what it will be like. This creates opportunity for conversation to get to know the potential buyers and have them get to know you.

It is important to have a well maintained driveway because that is one of the things that frames your house. Your house can look years younger if your driveway is in good shape. It is also one of the first things they see when they arrive at their showing. Anyone appreciates a new waxed walk way or pressure washed driveway.

Driving up to a house even if it isn’t the best house in the world will profit majorly just from the condition it is in and showing the potential buyers it is worthy of their residency.

All of these things are going to help your house sell for more money than it would without curb appeal. The better it looks, the more eye-catching it is going to be. The more eye-catching it is, the more people are going to be attracted to it. The more attracted to it people are, the more interest there will be for people to buy it. And the more interest there is, the faster it will sell.

Curb appeal is majorly important in selling a home not only to show that the house is worthy of being kept in good condition, but also to be selling something that has quality and can hold value.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Avoiding the Emotions When Buying a Home

When you are buying a home it is easy to let your emotions drive you. This is good sometimes, but there are times when this can be a very bad thing. Wrong decisions can easily be made when you are letting your emotions take over. The last thing you want is regret when you are buying a house. It is a decision that will take you until you get your next home, so it is a big one. Making rational decisions is usually the best option. There are three emotional pitfalls that people easily fall into when buying a home. This article will list and detail those pitfalls and tell you why these things should be avoided.

You often hear home owners talking about how they fell in love with their house. This may be the case, but this can easily be turned into a pitfall. It is easy to fall in love with a great house and then not be able to afford it. This can crush the home buyers experience and change their attitude for the rest of the shopping period. This is something you want to avoid. One way to avoid this is by getting pre-approved. If you do this, then you know what your price range is from the start. You can then shop in that range and never have to fall in love with a home you cannot afford.

After you find the dream home that you can afford, you can make an offer on it. But what if someone else wants the same house? They may make an offer that is better than yours and it can turn into a bidding war very easily. This can end up with you paying more than the home is actually worth. If you let your emotions drive you through the bidding war then this is an easy pitfall to get into. You either have to be logical about it, and do the numbers yourself, or have someone tell you when you should stop. The bidding war can be bad if you let your emotions take over. You do not want to pay more for the house than you have to.

Another pitfall comes in the form of repairs. If you are buying a home that is pre-owned, then there may be repairs that need to be done. This can be a good thing, but you need to look at yourself and ask if you can really do everything. Just because you are in love with a house does not mean it is best for you right now. Having a home that needs repairs will be very bad down the line and you want to fix everything as soon as possible. If you cannot do this, then the home may not be right for you.

These three things are crucial to remember when you want to buy a home. When you fall in love with a home, then you know it. But, being rational about everything is definitely a good thing to do. Remember to avoid these things and you will be fine.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Best Way to Find Foreclosures – 5 Tips for Finding Foreclosures

Are you looking for foreclosures in your area? Conditions in various seller’s markets may be different but there are still ways in which you can easily find foreclosed homes for your ownership.

Tap the services of real estate agents. Real estate agents are given access to a system which is known as MLS or Multiple Listing Service. It is through this system that the agents are able to find foreclosed homes in a specific area. Thus, tapping such professional is one way to find a foreclosure.

Scout for real estate yard signs. Banks are still into the practice of putting yard signs into properties that have come back to their stables of possessions. There are variations of these signs but aside from foreclosure, included among the most common signs are bank-owned, bank repossessed, and bank repo. Typically, the real estate agent’s name is reflected on the sign. Take the opportunity to call whoever is written on the sign. with advanced thinking, you can already ask about forthcoming foreclosures in your area.

Join social media groups geared towards foreclosure buy and sell. Social media has become habitat to a variety of groups with different purposes and goals. Foreclosure groups are no different. They have thrived and lived on social media. If you are savvy enough, you will be lucky to find some groups over Facebook. Join them. You’ll not only find foreclosures in your area. You will also be up for learning from the experiences, tips, and suggestions that will be shared by other members.

Visit real estate websites. Apart from the real estate agents themselves, a lot of real estate firms maintain official websites. There are firms which concentrate on foreclosures. There are also those which offer the buying and selling of mixed properties along with foreclosures. Either kind, you can browse through their listings and filter those properties that are already foreclosed or those that are nearing repossession.

Make your own ads. Digital marketing, aside from being free, is powerful in terms of the number of reach it can have. A single post can reach multiple sellers. Utilize your social media accounts for free posts that you are looking for a foreclosed property to buy. Just patiently wait for responses, and you’ll be more than happy to see that there are indeed a number of persons who are willing to negotiate for their foreclosed homes.

Foreclosed properties are just near your place. By finding them and giving good offers, you are not only taking a step towards buying a dream house or an investment property. You are also making someone benefit from the amount that will be granted when deal is closed.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Money Secrets Of The Amish by Lorilee Craker – Personal Finance Book Review – Shopping Secondhand

Challenging economic times inspire people universally to make wise financial decisions. One culture that has always lived an austere, yet meaningful existence is the Amish. Increasingly, people are inspired by their lifestyle; and seek ways to simplify their own lives.

Lorilee Craker is the author of the new book, „Money Secrets Of The Amish-Finding True Abundance in Simplicity, Sharing and Saving.“ She examines their practices, extravagant in peace, family and community closeness. For them, thrift is a muscle that is exercised regularly.

Craker interviewed Amish folk in Indiana, Michigan and Pennsylvania, including an Amish banker whose clientele is 95 percent Amish. During the Great Recession in 2008, his bank had its best year ever. Amish experts and Englishers‘ (Amish reference to anyone non-Amish), financial perspectives accentuate the book too. Here, the money-saving habit of shopping secondhand is highlighted.

Shopping secondhand is a key money-saving secret of the Amish. Thrift stores are a great source for many items, including clothing, furniture, bedding and games. Craker quotes an Amish woman who says, „You don’t have to buy something new to buy something good.“ Here are some tips to complement your resale shopping experience:

Tips on Buying Used Clothing

  • Rethink it. Reject the belief that used clothing is gross because other people have worn it. Buy clothing at a high-end store. Odds are good, even there, that others have tried it on at some time.
  • Mix and Match. Pair something new with something gently used from a second-hand store. Leave your findings to serendipity vs. a specific search.
  • Try things on. Many thrift stores have nice, clean dressing rooms, so there’s no reason to observe fit.
  • Don’t buy clothes you won’t wear. It’s no bargain if you won’t get use out of your purchase.
  • Don’t limit yourself to favorite brands. It’s cool to find old favorites, but once you develop your thrift eye, you’ll appreciate pieces from unknown labels.
  • Think accessories. Many accessories are available at thrift stores, including jewelry, belts and handbags.
  • Brief yourself on what’s vogue. Google trends before visiting resale shops.
  • Institute a one in, one out policy. Every time you purchase something new, discard something old. Give it away or make a donation to an organization.
  • Define your upper limit. What is your flinch point? It’s the amount that forces the questions, „Is it worth it?“ „Can I really use it?“ and „Can I live without it?“

Tips on Buying Furniture and Home Decor

  • Debrief yourself with a great flea market magazine. Studying such magazines will give you new perspective on home decorating possibilities via thrift stores.
  • Think junque. Mix serious antiques with „junque.“ Rethink how and where you’re going to decorate and furnish your home. Vintage style adds instant heritage to any home. Vintage objects promote expressing individuality and creativity on a limited budget.
  • Buy only what you love. Home décor and furniture resells at an average one-tenth of original cost. Ask yourself, „Do I love this or just like it?“ „True love stands the test of time,“ says Craker.
  • Buy only what you need. Sure, buy smaller items for future anniversary, birthday and baby/bridal shower gifts. It’s senseless however to buy something you don’t need but simply like when it’s a larger item.
  • Buyer beware. Here are five guidelines when purchasing used furniture:
  • Buy solid hardwoods such as maple or oak, which endure. Some furniture only lasts for one owner.
  • Look for quality construction. Check underneath seats for bolts vs. glue, etc.
  • Assess furniture smells. Fouls scents in upholstery will never end; pass on the purchase. Wooden armoires, chests and drawers placed in the afternoon sun will open their wood’s pores and release odors.
  • Open drawers, sit on chairs, lean on tables. Watch for creaking, moaning or wobbling.
  • Consider original use sometimes. It’s ok to fill an antique china hutch with towels, linens, books, etc., but not electronics. Inadequate ventilation can generate heat and become a fire hazard.

Garage Sales. „Garage sales are a complete hit or miss,“ says Craker. Here are some tips to enhance your shopping experience:

  • Arrive early. The early bird gets the worm and the best selection.
  • Arrive late. Attend later in the day and be prepared to haggle with the seller. Try bundling two or three items and quote the seller a discounted price. They may seize the opportunity for a sale in exchange for unloading the items.
  • Peer deeply. Scan all the offerings and you may find some hidden gems.

You may have been loathe to use resale shops in the past. Here’s hoping the above cash-saving tips have inspired you to at least visit a local store. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

How a Foreign National Can Buy Real Estate in America

Opportunities for real estate investment for foreigners is wide and varied in the United States. It doesn’t matter where you’re from and what currency you’d be using to purchase a property, you have a property waiting for you.

There are generally three kinds of real estate investment available to foreigners. These investments include the commercial estate investment and residential property investment. Residential properties are further classified into single family properties, apartments or condominiums and recreational properties. Regardless of what kind of real estate you are interested in, there are all sorts of tax ramifications, financing options and legal requirements that you have to deal with.

Why Should You Invest in the U.S. Real Estate Market?

You’ve probably heard of the increasing number of foreign real estate investments in the United States. This is not surprising. With the troubles that the real estate investment market is facing in the United States, greater opportunities in real estate investment were opened to foreign investors.

With the dollar’s value in its all time low, foreign investors are finding real estate bargains all over the United States. There are no shortages of deals in this market. More and more distressed properties are being sold everywhere and foreigners are pouring in millions buying these foreclosed or distressed properties. The United States real estate has become a fairly attractive long-term investment for foreign investors.

In November of 2006, the National Association of Realtors released a report entitled „Foreign Investments in U.S Real Estate: Current Trends and Historical Perspective“. The report showed that there has been a steady increase in foreign real estate investment in the United States. This is especially after the euro and the loonie became stronger in the face of the continuous devaluation of the US dollar. Prime bargains were opened to foreigners. Many foreigners have now looked into the possibility of retiring or settling in the United States.

If you’re a foreigner, you would find a lot of reasons why you should invest in the United States real estate market. Aside from the fact that the floating exchange rate has given you a lot of leverage over the bargaining table, the financial market is a pretty good reason why you should invest in the US real estate.

The financial market in the United States in relation to the real estate market is quite liberal and the restrictions against foreign investors are pretty reasonable. This is ideal for foreign companies that are seeking to invest in the real estate market in the United States in order to avoid tariff restrictions and are considering setting up an office or a company in the United States.

Furthermore, despite the devaluation of the US dollar and the wide foreclosures of a lot of property, the real estate market remains to be stable, though slightly shaky, due to foreign investors‘ capital appreciation. Domestic real estate buyers may not necessarily share the same opinion, but the market has remained to be strong for foreign real estate buyers. This may be largely credited to the fact that there is minimal risk for them.

Why are Foreign Real Estate Investments Safe and Profitable?

There are a lot of investments you can make, but the safest you can make right now is investing your money in real properties. This is another good reason aside from the fact that you can make a pretty nifty profit, if you like, particularly now with the widespread property foreclosures and seemingly continuous US dollar devaluation. This is especially true if you are going to use the euro or the loonie when making your investment.

But why is US real estate investment safe for foreigners?

It is undeniable that stock investments are not a safe avenue at this point. The recession has not only affected the US economy; the same recession has greatly affected worldwide stock investments. Stocks values are dropping. It is also a fact that even without the current economic situation, stock values fluctuates.

On the other hand, real estate investments are pretty stable if you would compare it to stock investments – or even bond or mutual fund investments. With real estate investment, you’d be putting your money in an investment that would grow in value as years go by.

What are the Benefits of Foreign Real Estate Investment?

US state government supports foreign investments and along this line has formulated various tax breaks to encourage foreign investment on real estate. Many of these tax breaks are not available in many countries. In fact, most countries would frown at foreigners owning real properties within their territory.

Foreign real estate investment in the United States is open to everyone. As long as you can afford to buy the property or at least comply with the mortgage requirements and payments, you can secure for yourself a pretty good property in the United States. Again, with the current economic situation of the United States, this is the perfect chance for you to make an investment.

Another great benefit that you can take advantage of is the availability of mortgage financing. Lenders have opened their doors to foreign investors who are looking into purchasing a property. So, you don’t have to actually deplete your bank account. You can actually secure a mortgage loan and gradually pay it off.

I’m Canadian, What Are My Financing Options?

There is a steady increasing rate of Canadian real estate investors in the United States; and accordingly, the government has made certain that they have attractive financing options available to them.

If you’re Canadian – or if you’re a foreigner – you’d find a lot of reasons why you should buy a piece of real property in the United States. For Canadians, the parity of the currencies or the apparent devaluation of the US dollar is a pretty good reason itself. But how do you finance your purchase?

There are various financing options available to you depending on which state you are in. In Arizona, for instance, you’d get favorable financing terms if you are purchasing a property for recreational purposes, that is, you do not derive any income or benefit from your purchase or ownership. You will be required, however, to sign up a disclosure agreement and give a 30% down payment for your loan. To qualify though for a loan, you may be required to show availability of liquid reserves for a period of three to six months. You may also be required to present a minimum of 3-month bank statement.

If you are purchasing a property for investment, you’d probably meet stricter terms. Requirements may be more stringent. For instance, you could be required to give a down payment of more than 30% and you may be required to show one year worth of liquidity reserves.

Regardless of your reasons, if you feel like you can fulfill the requirements of a financing loan, you can then proceed to actually applying for a mortgage loan. Also, keeping yourself updated with the financing terms flux may be a wise idea.

Understanding the Tax Ramifications of Real Estate Investment

The first foreigner to have ever bought a real estate property in the United States was Peter Minuit. This opened the doors to foreign real estate investors. After a couple of centuries later, foreign real estate investment has grown into huge proportions, accounting for billion-of-dollar worth of industry.

The low risk attached to US real estate market, the availability of countless properties, and the steady market liquidity attract foreign investors in droves. The initial snag, however, is the process of understanding the legal ramifications of foreign real estate investment.

What you have to understand is that foreign investment in the United States can take a lot of forms. A foreigner has various options. He can acquire direct interest. He can acquire an interest in the real estate through a partnership, a corporation, or a limited liability company. The latter is the typical structure used by foreign investors.

Limited partnership or Limited Liability Company offers financial protection or indirect asset protection, especially in cases of bankruptcy, law suits and taxes. Foreign investors are generally taxed on the property as if they hold the property in direct interest.

Ideally, you should secure the services of a real estate accountant to help you out with the tax ramifications, but it would help if you, at least, know the basics before you actually talk to an accountant.

There are tax consequences that you have to deal with when you buy a real estate in the United States. You would need an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number which you will use with all your tax transactions. Your investment in real estates can be treated as a portfolio investment and will be accounted for as an investment income which can either be fixed or a periodic income. This is typically taxed at 30% on gross revenues. This tax though does not apply though to all foreign investors. Tax rates would vary depending on the tax personality the foreign investor opted for. For instance, a corporation would be taxed differently.

Other things that you should take note of are availability and requirements of tax refunds and state tax laws on real estate properties as they may differ from federal laws, among other things.

By knowing all these things, you may save yourself from a lot of hassles when you finally approach a real estate accountant. You’d be in same wavelength when you finally get down to talking business. It is, however, very important that you secure the services of an accountant. You’d have an easier time dealing with the taxes ramifications. You’d also have assistance ensuring that you comply with all the accounting aspect of your investment. This is especially true if you are purchasing a real property for investment purposes.

Do You Need to Secure the Service of a Real Estate Lawyer?

If you are considering buying a property in the United States, you need to secure the services of a real estate attorney – someone who could help you with the legal issues concerning your purchase. It is tempting to forego securing the service of a lawyer to save money, but this could cost you a lot of money in the long run. Make sure that you have an experienced and trustworthy lawyer to help you out. Make sure that you have thoroughly checked out his credentials, profile, history of successful cases handled by him, and other factors that would influence your decision. You could check online and look for a lawyer working within the state where you are considering purchasing a property.

Functions of a Real Estate Lawyer

There is no actual distinctive function for a lawyer in a real estate case. However, you would really need the assistance of a lawyer for various tasks. A real estate lawyer would review the sales contract for you. He would also check on the title and other documents relating to the property. A lawyer would also review your mortgage contract and make the necessary adjustments or corrections. You could also get him to review with you the legal and tax issues concerning the purchase. A real estate attorney could also make the necessary adjustments relating to various expenses and costs involved in the purchase. He would assess your eligibility for tax refunds and draft the documents and statements relating to this.

Putting it simply, a real estate lawyer will be your watchdog. He would guide you through the whole process of purchasing a real estate in the United States in order to make sure that you will be legally protected. You will have a capable and trustworthy liaison to help you out with the contract. He will also face legal disputes if any arise.

Tips on How to Invest in Real Estate Successfully

Now, if you’ve fully bought into the idea of real estate investing in the United States, you might just want to know how to go about investing in real estate successfully. If you want to be successful in this venture, the first thing that you have to avoid is overanalyzing. Of course, it is a good idea to carefully think through your actions but it is a bad idea to overanalyze your investment to nonexistence. You might lose a great opportunity.

Before you purchase the property though, it might be wise to check the property value. If it sits well with you and you can reasonably afford the property, go ahead and make the purchase.

If you are considering the property for a quick flip, make sure that the property is in perfect condition and in good area. This is to ensure that you could double or actually triple your return of investment. If you can inspect the property yourself, do so. If not, a good and trustworthy agent can help you with this task.

Another important thing to remember when you’re buying real estate is good financing. You should take your time to carefully consider all your financing options. Foreign investors can email in their queries to various lending institutions. It is a good idea to make sure that you’ve had their terms and rates on paper because they tend to change these terms and charge you with a lot of junk. Your real estate agent can help you with reviewing the escrow charges.

The bottom line, however, is that it is very important that you do your homework before you actually buy a real property. Investing in real properties in the United States can be profitable especially during these times. In fact, it may be the wisest and most perfect investment you can make right now.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Proof of Funds for Commercial Real Estate Investors

Creative Financing

When a Commercial Real Estate Investor is looking to purchase income producing property utilizing any number of creative financing methods, one of the most important keys to their success is that their ability to provide adequate, verifiable proof of funds – P.O.F.- to both the seller and the lender. The verification of funds can enhance the investors credibility with the seller as well as satisfy the lenders requirement to know that the borrower has necessary funds to complete their transaction.

Proof of Funds

There are a few ways acceptable to lenders and sellers to show P.O.F. to close your Commercial Real Estate transaction:

  • Bank Statements or Bank Verification
  • Brokerage Account Statements or Verification
  • Escrow Account Verification

„Bank Verification“ This is the most acceptable and widely used method to confirm the investors can complete the proposed deal. As such money must be put into a bank account and confirmed by statements or letter from the banker.  This is a „hard“ (versus soft) method of verification, because money are deposited in an account in the buyers name to serve as proof the buyer can complete the transaction.

„Brokerage Account Verification“ Similar to bank accounts, brokerage accounts show acceptable means to complete a purchase transaction. Likewise, statements or letter from the brokerage house representative will meet the requirement to prove adequate financial strength. This is also a „hard“  method.

„Escrow Account Verification“ This is the one method that can be hard or soft evidence of necessary assets as the escrow agent simply needs to write a letter of confirmation attesting that the borrower has finances available to complete the transaction. It becomes hard when money is transferred  into an escrow waiting for the closing.

Companies

Finally, there are companies whose sole purpose is to provide evidence of the financial ability of Commercial Real Estate Investors to complete their transactions. Many of them provide „Proof of Funds“ and Transactional Financing. P.O.F. is necessary at the beginning of the deal and Transactional Financing is for the day of closing only. Both of these methods are a necessary part of an investors arsenal when utilizing creative financing.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Defensive Buying – 5 Ways to Buy Smart in a Down Economy

Depending on where you live, your local real estate market may be experiencing a downturn. Historically, these market adjustments have served as a natural protection against runaway price inflation, and in the long-run can be very positive, but as a buyer in one of these markets you must buy smart to protect your financial future.

Here are 5 ways in which you can take advantage of a down market and protect your interests for the future at the same time…

1. Look at the local job market. Know who the major employers are in town and where their employees typically live. Read the papers and pay attention to the stability of these employers. If the company is in financial trouble, or is going to lay off employees, be careful about buying in areas heavily populated by their employees. Yes, you may get a great deal, but home prices may drop dramatically around you and cause you to lose money. Plan for that in your negotiations.

2. Research new commercial developments in your area. If you discover that a new retail / commercial center is going in near an area you desire to live in, take the time to find out what stores are planned for the development, and look at how things like traffic flow and access are going to be addressed. A bad plan can negatively affect area property values, but conversely a well-planned development can draw buyers like a magnet raising property values.

3. Learn about zoning. If you buy a home right next to land zoned for commercial development and you do not realize it, your property value could be negatively affected by the increase in traffic and the type of development. If you are looking in a fully-developed residential area this may not prove to be much of a factor, but be aware of any nearby open spaces and their zoning that could make access to your residential area more challenging. Again, good developments can be to your benefit, but consider how the changes could affect value in your negotiations.

4. Drive the area you desire to live in. Take a camera and a note pad to record what you find. Look for things like for-sale signs, blighted properties, new construction or residential developments, open lots and land, road construction and access, and the availability of retail services. Lots of ‚for sale by owner‘ or real estate signs could spell trouble as numerous homes for sale could cause a price reduction war to sell. Again, it may be to your benefit, but you must consider this in your negotiations.

Blighted properties will reduce the value of homes in the immediate area, and new construction, or anything that increases housing density can ultimately reduce value in a slow market as inventory increases and the number of buyers decreases. Be wary of new developments without any noticeable construction activity as there may be financial issues that could affect the value of all of the homes in the area. Don’t be the sucker that pays top price for a home nobody wants.

Open lots and the availability of land can be a positive depending on the area you are looking in, but keep in mind that zoning can change and there are lots of commercial developers out there looking for any sliver of land possible to develop in many markets.

5. Negotiate strongly with the seller. I am a firm believer in homes being exchanged for fair market values, meaning the transaction should be a win-win, but that doesn’t mean you cannot, or should not attempt to negotiate your best terms. Do your research and come to the table armed with extensive, current market knowledge, and a willingness to set your final terms and stick with them. Be reasonable, but firm. Be aware of the long-term implications of your purchase and ensure you have an exit strategy in place. Most importantly, do not be afraid to stand your ground. If you have done your research, the numbers will speak for themselves.

I hope these ideas will help you make a smart purchase in a down market. You must keep in mind that even if you get a great deal on a home, the market can continue to slow down and negate your gains. Know your market well enough to withstand the fluctuations. Above all, secure competent, knowledgeable assistance from professionals in the real estate industry to answer your questions and educate you so you can buy smart in our current market.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

6 Things You Must Demand From Your Real Estate Agent!

In the United States, there are well – over, one – million, licensed real estate professionals, although, only a relatively, small percentage of them, are responsible for, the vast – majority, of closed – transactions. Therefore, whether, you seek to sell you home, or are a potential, qualified buyer, it is wise, to carefully, choose, your agent, based on, your personal, best – interests, and, after interviewing them, feeling, they have the combination of attitude, aptitude, skills, persistence, professionalism, and expertise, to serve your needs, goals, and priorities! After, over 15 years, as a Real Estate Licensed Salesperson, in the State of New York, I strongly, believe, these 6 things, you must demand, of the individual, you hire. With that in mind, this article will attempt to, briefly, consider, examine, review, and discuss, what this means, and represents, and, why it matters.

1. Integrity: The real estate professional, you choose, must, consistently, exhibit, absolute integrity! To serve and represent you, you need, and deserve, someone, you feel confident, you can, consistently, trust, in good – times, or less!

2. Allegiance: Nearly every state, as well as Realtor Board’s, include a Code Of Ethics, regarding, the conduct, required by a realtor, to his clients, and customers, etc! One of the key components is, owing a client, complete allegiance, and protecting their privacy, etc. Your chosen professional must put – you – first, consistently, and never provide, any information, which might harm or compromise, your interest (however, that does not mean, violating the law, and/ or, providing any material misstatements!)

3. Tell what they need to know: My service – marked, slogan, is, I will always tell you what you need to know, not, just, what you want to hear. You need, and deserve, someone, who will inform you, in a realistic manner, rather than, wearing, rose – colored, glasses!

4. Prepare a client: Agents owe their clients, a readiness, and willingness, to thoroughly, consistently, prepare them, for potential, possibilities, in order to make this process, as stress – free, as possible! When one prepares his clients, properly, the transaction period, becomes, an easier one!

5. Negotiating expertise: One of the reasons, to hire, a specific agent, is their degree of negotiating expertise, in order to achieve the best price, in the shortest period of time, with a minimum of hassle! This requires the individual, to thoroughly, understand, and know the local, real estate market, etc.

6, Handling details: The transaction period, is, often, full of challenges, and requires, handling the details, effectively, and efficiently, on a consistent basis!

Since, for most, the value, of their house, is their single – biggest, financial asset, doesn’t it make sense, to do, whatever, possible, to ensure, you protect it, and make the best decisions, and take the smartest actions! Consider these 6 things, when you hire your real estate agent!

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

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