Sunday, 31 January 2010

Cheap Houses For Sale

We found cheap houses for sale all over the country. My wife Ana and I were on a seven-week drive around the country. It was a vacation, but we looked at houses too, and bought one in a great little town in the mountains of western Montana. It cost $17,500, and after $2000 to fix it up, we lived there for several months before selling it for $28,000.

We loved Anaconda. Where else can you fly fish, go to a three-dollar movie  in a beautiful old art-deco theatre (the 5th most beautiful in the country, according to the Smithsonian), drop some nickles in a slot machine, eat at a fine restaurant, stop by the bar for a dollar beer, and buy a house for  under $30,000 - all within a four block area! There are good schools and churches, a library with fast internet service, and wildlife (including bears) a few hundred yards from downtown.

<B>Why Are There Cheap Houses For Sale?</B>

There are cheap houses in Anaconda, and nearby Butte because there aren't many good jobs. I easily found jobs in Anaconda - but not good ones. This explains why people left the area in the 80's, after the mines and smelters closed.

Thirteen percent of the "housing units" in Anaconda are vacant, according to the 2000 U.S. census. This has driven down the home prices dramatically. Since it still has all the basic ammenities, is cleaner now, and is slowly recovering, it's a great place to retire to or to move to if you have an internet or other non-location-based business.

A poor local economy is the reason you can buy cheap houses in many parts of the country. These are towns that have seen troubled times, but are often recovering, sometimes with good reasons. Anaconda, for example, now has, in addition to it's beautiful mountain scenery, a ski resort and a Jack Nicholas golf course. Houses cost four times as much an hour in any direction, and those prices are bound to reach Anaconda eventually.

<B>Cheap Houses You Don't Want To Buy</B>

There are towns like the one in South Dakota where we stopped for lunch one day. A bulletin board had ads for cheap houses for sale by desperate people trying not to be the last to leave town. There was a photo of a beautiful old five-bedroom farmhouse for $11,000. As we ate, we looked up the deserted street and noticed that most of the buildings were boarded-up. This was a dying town, with nothing to help revive it. A free house wouldn't be a good enough reason to move here.

<B>Cheap House For Sale - Our Criteria</B>

There are many wonderful towns, from Florida to Oregon, where there are cheap houses for sale. After our Montana experience, we started a website about them. What does a town need in order to make our list? The criteria are certainly subjective, but include at least the following:

1. Population of 4,000 to 80,000.
2. Decent library.
3. Good grocery store.
4. Movie theatre.
5. At least six houses for sale under $50,000.
6. The town has a good "feel" to it.

After much research, we found a number of towns that met our criteria, including some with homes for under $30,000. There really are nice towns out there where you can find cheap houses for sale.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Chicago Properties - Title Insurance Tips

If you plan to buy a Chicago property, the sooner you learn about title insurance, the better. For many first time Chicago real estate buyers, the first time they hear about title insurance at the closing of their Chicago property. This article presents the basics of title insurance for protecting your new Chicago real estate acquisition.

What is Chicago Properties Title Insurance?

When you buy a new car, do you insure your car? Of course! When you apply for car insurance, does the agent ask to see your title? Of course! That’s the basic idea behind Chicago Properties title insurance - to protect your Chicago real estate investment , The mortgage lender requires proof you own the Chicago property and no one else has a lien on your property. The chances or securing a Chicago real estate mortgage without title insurance are like the Chicago Cubs winning the pennant this year –only better!

Title Insurance - NOT Casualty Insurance

Casualty Insurance such as car insurance assumes risks for damage to your car or other property. When you have a covered accident or loss, they pay you. Title insurers earn their money by finding and eliminating risks to your Chicago property BEFORE you sign the contract. The amount of money involved is so LARGE, there is no room for mistakes. The Chicago real estate buyer and Chicago real estate seller both want the deal for the Chicago property to go through and title Insurance is the vehicle to close the deal.

Title Insurance Benefits Chicago Properties

First you should be healthy and live to a ripe old age in your new Chicago property… Because the problems that could befall you without title insurance could endanger your health such as investing your life savings in a Chicago property only to find you don’t have a clean title to it and wind up in court. The lawyer fees alone will set up back a small fortune or a big one depending how long and costly the fight to secure title to your Chicago property.

Chicago Properties Title Insurance Policies

Title insurance policies come in two types of policies: An "owner's" policy which insures you, the homebuyer and your heirs. The other type is a "lender's" policy to protect their security interest in your Chicago real estate acquisition. As opposed to car insurance, the title insurance premium is a one time payment based on the size of your Chicago property purchase. Also, shop around for title insurance to save money better spend on your new Chicago property. Happy Home Hunting!

Friday, 29 January 2010

Dallas Apartments

Apartments, townhouses, condos, duplex, studio or loft – whatever you may be looking for, Dallas apartments has it all. Dallas rental apartments vary in their size conveniences and locations, but most are modern dwelling units with a host of features and all basic amenities. Depending on your requirement, select from apartments in the city with conveniences of restaurants and shopping complexes or choose a suburban apartment complex with open areas, ample parking space, games facilities, swimming pools and recreation centers. Two bed, three bed, terraced, apartment sharing, corporate apartments, senior housing and more – you can select from a wide choice of apartments for rent in Dallas and Texas area.

Apartment interiors, neighborhood, facilities and rent rates - you can be sure to find the best deals at Dallas and Texas. Once you have chalked out your requirements, you are ready for your Dallas apartment search! But, unlike the traditional search, now your apartment is just a few clicks away; you don’t have to go through the rigors of the normal home hunting experience. We make it easy for you to find a home in Dallas and Texas area. All you need to do is fill in a small form on the website giving your specific requirements. Use precise search criteria such as price, number of bedrooms, type of housing and area. We give you a list of apartments that meet your needs and you can then weigh the pros and cons.

Browse through the selected list of Dallas apartments from the convenience of your home or office, read the reviews and then decide. Also view photos, floor plans, price, and detailed descriptions and contact the apartment community. Dallas Texas apartment search is done from a database of thousands of apartments in Dallas and suburbs. We provide free customized rental search from our exhaustive listing. Our specialists know where the best apartments are located and you can get them at the best prices.

Our Dallas apartment finder services make it easy for you to find an apartment with specifications you have in mind, and in any area of your choice. Unlike dealing with middlemen, you don’t need to pay a penny for the Dallas apartment locator services provided by us. It saves you all your time, effort and money. So, if you are moving to Dallas and looking for an apartment on rent, you know where to look. We help you locate the best apartments at the lowest rent rates in Dallas.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Connecticut Real Estate - Pleasant Northeastern Escape

Connecticut is close to all the major attractions in the Northeast, but has much to offer on its own. If you’re looking for a little peace in the Northeast, Connecticut real estate is a good option.


With a colonial history, beach towns and little seaside villages, Connecticut is a classic Northeastern state. Unlike its neighbors, Connecticut tends to be less populated and have a bit slower pace of life. Sitting close to New York City, Connecticut is a popular relocation spot for people working in the city, but trying to avoid the population crush.


The capital of the state, Hartford is a modern city and considered the insurance company capital of the United States. With such a title, you might think Hartford isn’t exactly a vibrant city. Unfortunately, you’re correct. There isn’t much to recommend the city if you’re looking for nightlife or outdoor experiences. Real estate prices, however, are reasonable for the Northeast and it is a relatively short trip to more vibrant locations.


Unlike Hartford, Mystic is town with a ton of culture. Located on the Atlantic seaboard, the town has a strong seafaring history and takes pride in it. With colonial architecture, the city is bursting with color as the leaves turn in the fall. A classic seaport, Mystic celebrates the history with maritime museums, classic whaling schooners and as pleasant a group of people as you will ever find. You can even order 5-cent beers in a few of the local taverns. Admittedly, the glasses are very small, but 5 cents is 5 cents!

Connecticut Real Estate

Connecticut real estate prices differ greatly from location to location. Generally, the closer the location is to New York City, the higher the prices. A single-family residence in Hartford will set you back $325,000, but prices range from the low $200,000 to over $1,000,000 throughout the state.

On a positive note, Connecticut real estate has a strong growth pattern. Appreciate rates for 2005 were over 13 percent, which is above the national average.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Creating Real Estate Notes Can Help Sell a House Quickly

Banks and mortgage companies have been selling mortgage notes in the secondary for years.  They even buy and sell those notes to other lending companies.  This most likely has happen to you or to someone that you know at some time or another.  Why do lenders do this?  They do it in order to keep a steady reserve of cash on hand to make other loans.

The information in this message is designed to help you understand about creating trust deeds, real estate notes, or if you have a business and have contracts you also have a business note which will bring you a cash flow that you can receive monthly payments, which brings you steady cash flows. You can also have the option to sell whole or part your real estate notes, trust deeds or business notes.  The whole idea here is to first elevate your potential of meeting a home buyer to sell your home to.

Time and time again you might find houses that are for sale but are on the market for a very long time.  Most of the time home buyers don’t qualify for a 100% loan and must get 2 loans to equal the 100%.  The home seller can offer “Seller Financing” in order to get the house sold.

The home seller has one objective and this to sell that property as quickly as possible.  To do this you can create a trust deed which is secured by real estate.  This is a real estate note.  The real estate note has several purposes and the most important reason is to help the home seller close on the house. 
The trust deed that you now have is because you agreed to finance the home buyer so that the buyer could get the house and you can your cash at closing. 

Not only do you have cash at closing but you now have a real estate note that you will be receiving monthly payments on from the new home owner.  Your home is sold and you have residual income from the trust deed you created.  This creates steady cash flows from the trust deeds, real estate notes or business notes you may have. This is what “Seller Financing” is.  This occurs when the buyer makes regular monthly payments to you instead of the bank.  You now hold an asset that you can choose to keep for steady cash flow or sell part or all of it for cash right now.

This should motivate any home seller to give this a try, after all what could it hurt and it will be a win/win situation for the home seller, as well as for the home buyer.  “Owner-Financing” is widely accepted and is an alternative for the home buyer who can’t qualify for a conventional loan.  Even if you have real estate notes, business notes or trust deeds for a while you can generate cash flows by selling all or part of it for cash now. 

Isn’t that great news for the home seller?  This will give the home seller a boost in getting the house sold.  Most people would consider buying that house if the they knew that the home seller was willing to create a real estate note or trust deeds to secure the home buyer qualifying for the house.  Just envision selling your home much faster then your neighbor down the street because you possess the key to selling your home.  “Owner Financing”.
You also have created cash flows created from your real estate notes, trust deeds, or business notes and that can be the key to your financial future.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Create a Commercial Real Estate Empire by Specializing in One of These Commercial Properties

There are many types of commercial properties available to those who work in the commercial real estate industry. Many people like to work in a specific area by working with only one or two types of commercial properties. They do this because they have expertise with that specific type of property.

Commercial properties differ more than in just their appearance and use. How you purchase, sell, operate, manage, evaluate, and price each property can be very different. Although there are some similarities, being an expert in one or two properties can greatly increase your ability to analyze good deals and maximize your profit potential. When you know the inside and out of the processes that take place with a certain type of property, know what hidden things to look for, and what mistakes to avoid, you are less likely to run into problems, and will generate positive, long lasting results.

Let's look at the main commercial properties that you may already be involved with, or are thinking about moving into.

The first are office buildings, or office parks. The term office can be used to refer to floors, parts of floors, an entire building, or an entire office park with multiple buildings positioned in a community type setting. Office space is used for a variety of reasons. It can be used for actual offices for companies, or it can be used for places of business operations, or to meet a tenant's specific functional and technical needs. An example of this would be an office building for medical purposes.

Office buildings can be segmented into three basic levels. The first is low rise, which has fewer than 7 stories above ground. A mid-rise has between 7 and 25 stories above ground. A high-rise has more than 25 stories above ground. These buildings are often rented by the square foot according to the total useable square feet available to the tenant.

The next type of commercial property is retail property. These are places of business where products and services are provided. There are many types of retail properties which include big boxes, outlet centers, strip centers, regional centers and power centers. Each of these has distinct characteristics that differentiate one from another. Business owners can better choose where they want to lease by identifying their product position, where the best location is, and the type of retail center that will best sell their products and services.

A big box is a large, free-standing building that is often much like a huge warehouse. They can often be found near major shopping centers and along major corridors. Companies such as Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Target are all example of big boxes.

Outlet centers are usually located in tourist or rural locations, and the businesses there offer their products and services at a discount. Strip centers are consecutive narrow parcels that have a variety of stores. They are often found along main roads and commercial corridors.

Regional centers are characterized by an enclosed, inward orientation of the stores. A walkway or common area connects the stores that offer a variety of products and services. There is usually a large, common parking lot found along the perimeter of the regional center.

Power centers are areas of business where large retailers, including large discount centers lease out the buildings. Category killers can also be found here. These are companies that offer a large selection at low prices. Ross, Mervyns, and Kohl's can all be found in power centers. Think of the one stop place to shop retail center, and you have a power center.

Any of these types of retail centers can be chosen areas of specialization for an investor, developer or builder. This gives them a competitive advantage in the commercial real estate industry because it is the only thing in which they concentrate their efforts. You can bet there is not one thing that can pass by these people when it comes to retail centers, and they know exactly how to maximize their resources.

Industrial and warehouse properties are the next category of commercial property where you will find freestanding properties, research and development, large manufacturing, as well as industrial park properties.

Freestanding industrial properties can vary greatly in construction type, design, and overall function. They stand alone, and are usually occupied by an end user, so the building is specific to a special purpose.

A research and development property is characterized by having office space and manufacturing on the premises. You can find them most often near universities, and close to other locations of professionals.

Industrial parks are large, planned developments that can be used for special scientific and technological use, or sophisticated communications uses. They have many buildings for mixed-purpose or a single purpose that are scattered in an often functional way.

Industrial buildings and warehouses are crucial to a city's economic development, and cities often provide tax incentives when jobs are provided and new companies are brought to a city, especially to one experiencing rapid growth.

Multi-family property is another type of commercial property in which you can specialize. They offer huge opportunities to create value. A multi-family property is not considered a commercial property unless it is greater than 5 units. Duplexes and fourplexes are not considered commercial properties, though they can be a great investment. The larger the apartment complex, for example more than 100 units, the more money you will be able to return on investment. These multi-family units have living space, appliances and amenities. Multi-family units can range from low-end to luxury type units.

The last type of commercial property is raw land. Raw land is characterized by untouched land with no improvements such as utilities and roads. It can be the most difficult property to involve yourself with; however, it can return the greatest results.

Whichever property you decide to specialize in, only begin a new project in a new area with a person who has lots of experience. You can learn a lot from someone by using this strategy. It will give you a solid foundation to do the next project on your own. This partner or associate will help you to gain the experience and insight that may otherwise take you years to learn.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Descriptive Terms in Real Estate Ads – Even More Definitions

If you are buying or selling a home, the chances are good you struggle with the meaning of descriptive real estate terms. Here are explanations and definitions for more terms.

“Living Room” & “Family Room”

When a home has both a living room and a family room, we know which is which. It used to be that when an ad mentioned a family room, we could assume it also had a living room. Now some builders are building houses with something akin to the first use of “Great Room” above and calling it the “Family Room” on the floor plan. Thus houses and their terminology seem to be evolving. I suppose in the new builder speak we should just think of the room as an informal family living room.

“Patio” & “Terrace”

Both are outdoor living areas paved with something like slate or brick. A patio is level with the ground around it. A terrace has adjoining areas of ground which are higher, or lower, or perhaps both.

“Solarium,” “Sun Room,” “Florida Room”

These terms are used to describe rooms with lots of windows (often on three sides). Many times these areas also have skylights. The choice of what to call them seems purely personal. They tend to be charming, bright, sunny places in which to over winter plants and sit in the garden in chilly or downright cold weather.

“Jack and Jill Bath”

A bathroom with two doors into it. It is frequently situated between two bedrooms with doors to each. Sometimes the doors are into a bedroom and into a hallway.

“Waterfront” vs. “Water View”

Waterfront property actually has a common boundary with (frontage on) the water. Sometimes the property line actually goes into the water. Water view just means water can be seen from the property. Sometimes there is a beautiful view. Sometimes it means the water can be seen from one upstairs window when the leaves are off the trees! Also, many times a new structure might block the view at some time in the future unless there is a protective covenant or something to prevent it.

If you can get the verbiage down, you’ll be way ahead in the real estate game. Look for future articles on this subject or visit our site to read more terms.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Curb Appeal is Key to Real Estate Investing

To sell a property for profit, you need to ensure that your property is attractive, and a  large part of that is making a first great impression. Make sure that your property makes a great impression from the curb by cleaning, repairing, and using good color contrast.

If you are interested in real estate investing for handsome profits, you need to consider the curb appeal of any property you wish to rent or sell. A big part of the real estate game is buyer and tenant psychology. One thing that researchers have found about tenants and home buyers alike is that emotional response accounts for a great deal of investor success. In other words, the investors who can appeal to a tenant or buyer’s emotions -- and make the tenant or buyer imagine themselves in the property -- has the greatest chances of success. Curb appeal means improving the first impression that your property makes. Studies have shown that when the first impression of a property is positive, it is easier to convince a tenant or buyer to invest.

There are many ways that you can increase the curb appeal of your properties without a great deal of time and money:

1) Clean. A very tidy appearance is paramount to good curb appeal. Therefore, be sure to scrub the sidewalk, flagstones, walkway, windows, and siding. Mow the lawn, rake the leaves, clear the snow, and do everything you can to create the neatest possible appearance. You can do much of this yourself, although you may want to hire professionals or at least rent a high-pressure cleaning system for taking care of the exterior tiles or brickwork of a home. If the sidewalk outside your rental property or home is crumbled and in poor shape, you can generally contact the municipality to fix the problem.

2) Choose great colors. The color of your property goes a long way towards asserting good appeal. In general, you want to consider the colors of the properties around your property. If you are selling a suburban home, for example, located in a lot surrounded by pastel colored homes, you do not want to paint your property a right color. It would stand out too much. The right color blends well with the properties on either side of it. Make sure that the colors are fresh by applying a new coat of paint. Don't forget the colors around the property, either. A bright green lawn or even crisp white snow contrasted with the few pine trees create visual appeal as well. If you're interested in real estate investing, learn which colors to select, or hire a professional to select the right colors for you.

3) Repair. It should go without saying that you should ensure that everything outside is in good working order and looks attractive. This means that any broken walkways, bare patches on the lawn, and rickety shutters should be fixed up at once. You'll find more success in real estate investing if you are selling a property that people want to buy.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Don’t Rely Excessively On Appraisals

Getting an appraisal on a home is a fundamental aspect of making a purchase. While appraisals are certainly helpful, you should not put too much stock in them.

Don’t Rely Excessively On Appraisals

An appraisal is a valuation of a property by an independent appraiser. The appraiser does an evaluation of the home, considers the home in comparison to others of comparable type and so on. Once completed, the appraiser then issues a written appraisal value of the home. Many homebuyers make the assumption the appraisal is the true value of the home both now and in the future. This can be a dangerous assumption.

First, appraisals are limited by something known as a moment in time. The appraisal done today, may not be entirely relevant a month or two later. If a property has been on the market for a few months, the appraisal may not reflect a slowing market. This, in turn, means the appraised value is actually higher than the current market will support. Homebuyers run into problems when this occurs because they put too much value on the appraisal. A seller will often list the home below the appraised amount and homebuyers will think they are getting a deal. In reality, they are not and may actually be paying more than a new appraisal would support. The older the appraisal, the less value you should put into it.

Most homebuyers assume an appraiser inspects the home for defects and discounts the value of the home accordingly. This is not really the case. An appraiser is not really doing a critical home inspection. In fact, the appraiser contract and/or report usually contains a long disclaimer whereby the appraiser covers his derriere by noting he assumes the property is in good condition and isn’t liable if it is not. Obviously, that should scare you. This, of course, is why you should insist on a home inspection for any property you make an offer on.

An appraisal is a solid part of the equation when considering a home purchase. It is not, however, the piece de resistance when valuing the property.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Educated Consumers Can Save Money on Mortgages

Not only is owning a home an integral part of the American dream, but our home is likely the biggest purchase we will ever make and the biggest asset - or liability - we will ever have. Until about a year ago, of course, no one would have imagined that a home could be a liability. That's when housing prices started to drop and relatively new homeowners realized that it was only a matter of time before their adjustable rate mortgages would skyrocket.

Experts agree that house values haven't yet reached their nadir and that many homeowners are poised on the precipice. While some people might find it easier to stick their heads in the proverbial sand, smart homeowners and homebuyers see the current market as an opportunity to either take a second look at their existing mortgages or to shop around for new mortgages. Either way, it's important to learn all that you can about different ways to finance a home before you take the plunge. Here are a few scenarios that illustrate some of the choices available today.

Nine years ago, Sam and Jenny Thompson bought a home that was ten years old. They were savvy enough to buy their house just before prices went through the roof. They have well over $100,000 of equity in their home, but their home is showing signs of wear. It's time for a new roof, a new heating and air conditioning system, and they know that they need to have some dry rot repaired and have the house painted. They don't have much in savings, though, and want to borrow money so that they can get the repairs done.

Sam and Jenny have a few options to pay for home improvement. They can refinance their home and get cash out for the repairs, they can get a home equity line of credit, or they can get a second mortgage. Which option is best depends largely on that status of their current mortgage. If they have a low interest, fixed rate loan, it probably doesn't make sense to refinance. If they're planning on staggering their home improvement over the next two years, it probably doesn't make sense to get a lump-sum second mortgage. Instead, a home equity line of credit might work best. On the other hand, if they have an adjustable rate mortgage, it might be financially prudent to refinance to a fixed rate loan and cash out part of their equity to make their home repairs.

Cynthia and Bill Williams have owned their home for five years, but are concerned that Bill might be laid off in the next six months. They have quite a bit of money in savings, but have racked up considerable credit card debt. Because they're paying a high interest rate on their credit card debt, they may want to use a home equity line of credit for debt consolidation purposes, and to have a cushion in case Bill does lose his job.

When Rebecca Richards bought her home two years ago, she thought housing prices would continue to soar and interest rates would go down. She bought her house with an adjustable loan and is terrified that, when the loan adjusts later this year, she won't be able to make her payments. In this scenario, Rebecca needs to meet with her lender now, rather than wait for the other shoe to drop. If possible, she should convert her adjustable rate home loan to a fixed rate loan.

The bottom line is that, whatever your circumstances, you need to learn all that you can about the options available to you. Thankfully, there are resources on the Internet that not only have a library of informative articles on mortgages, but that also provide the calculators and tools you need to find the answers to your questions. The best sites even offer a variety of loan programs and will prepare a personalized quote for the types of mortgages that you might be interested in.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Descriptive Terms in Real Estate Ads - Even More Definitions

If you are buying or selling a home, the chances are good you struggle with the meaning of descriptive real estate terms. Here are explanations and definitions for more terms.

“Living Room” & “Family Room”

When a home has both a living room and a family room, we know which is which. It used to be that when an ad mentioned a family room, we could assume it also had a living room. Now some builders are building houses with something akin to the first use of “Great Room” above and calling it the “Family Room” on the floor plan. Thus houses and their terminology seem to be evolving. I suppose in the new builder speak we should just think of the room as an informal family living room.

“Patio” & “Terrace”

Both are outdoor living areas paved with something like slate or brick. A patio is level with the ground around it. A terrace has adjoining areas of ground which are higher, or lower, or perhaps both.

“Solarium,” “Sun Room,” “Florida Room”

These terms are used to describe rooms with lots of windows (often on three sides). Many times these areas also have skylights. The choice of what to call them seems purely personal. They tend to be charming, bright, sunny places in which to over winter plants and sit in the garden in chilly or downright cold weather.

“Jack and Jill Bath”

A bathroom with two doors into it. It is frequently situated between two bedrooms with doors to each. Sometimes the doors are into a bedroom and into a hallway.

“Waterfront” vs. “Water View”

Waterfront property actually has a common boundary with (frontage on) the water. Sometimes the property line actually goes into the water. Water view just means water can be seen from the property. Sometimes there is a beautiful view. Sometimes it means the water can be seen from one upstairs window when the leaves are off the trees! Also, many times a new structure might block the view at some time in the future unless there is a protective covenant or something to prevent it.

If you can get the verbiage down, you’ll be way ahead in the real estate game. Look for future articles on this subject or visit our site to read more terms.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Condotels Meet Investors’ Business and Leisure Objectives

What could be better than owning a vacation home and earning rentals when you aren’t using it? Until recently, John Thomas with his Filipina wife from London, UK, owned a traditional vacation home, in Metro Manila, Philippines. But after a year away from the country — they arrived during the summer holidays to find the tenants that were renting the property had run away leaving the property abandoned and his caretaker, whom was no longer to be found, had pocketed the rent — he sold the house and bought two condo hotel units instead.

Now, Mr. Thomas and his family own Condotel Suites in Manila and Cebu, and expect to earn money when the rooms they own are rented out to other guests. Mr. Thomas, his wife April and their seven year-old daughter are planning to spend their 2007 Summer Vacation in their unit at the Lancaster Suites in Manila, Philippines, a 450-unit Condo Hotel built and managed by Pacific Concord Properties Inc under the Lancaster brand of Hotels.

Mr. Thomas says. “If Lancaster rents out the unit during 11 months of the year, I’ll make enough money to take my family on a second trip to the Philippines during the Christmas Holidays and go a long way to covering the mortgage payments”

Expectations like Thomas’s are driving the market for Condotels — condominiums you buy that can be rented out as hotel space — to new heights in the Philippines.

Owners of Lancaster Condotel units can arrange to stay in their units and they share 60% of any rental income. The Lancaster Atrium together with the soon completed Lancaster Suites Manila, one of the hottest real estate investments in the Philippines, will be the hub for Lancaster Condotels. The 42-story Lancaster Suites Manila, scheduled for operations next year, will feature studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom Condotel units, as well as penthouse suites. The units will be available for daily, weekly or monthly rental, Collingz said.

“Lancaster Atrium is going to have a property manager and will be operated as a four-star hotel.” The Condotel development will include the Lancaster mini mall with grocery and convenience stores, retail center, restaurants, business center, a private exclusive members only Businessman’s Club and spa on the site, she said. Prices range around 150 per square foot on up to 250 a square foot. Construction already commenced on the Atrium project, excavations, foundations, sub basements, 5-levels of basement parking and the lower ground floors are already in place. Construction of the superstructure will commence next year for completion from December 2009. Lancaster – The Atrium is also located in Shaw Boulevard, Metro Manila, Philippines, adjacent to the nearly complete Lancaster Suites.

Several new Condotel projects also are in the works on the other side of the country. Collingz said that a major condo hotel project is being considered by the Company with several investors in Cebu, Philippines next year. “We’ve got so many clients requesting for Luxury Condotel Suites in Cebu and other areas in the country,” she said. “It’s like a whole new era of Overseas Investments that are coming up — it’s not something that we’ve typically seen in the past. (These Investors) are all characteristically looking for a five star hotel resort, with all the features of a hotel that can be used for vacations and then rent out the units when not in use”.

There are new and exciting luxury five-star properties or high end developments planned in Cebu Philippines next year that will be sold by invitation only and may start in the 150,000 to 200,000 dollar range, but can go all the way up to 600,000 dollars for 2 bedroom Penthouse suites and 800,000 dollars for a Grand Penthouse. Of course, International gateways from Europe, South East Asian and the United States to Cebu-Mactan International Airport is within 10 minutes and, all units have sea views, beach toys and other lifestyle amenities such as spa and fine dining restaurants and will come fully furnished and finished to the highest European or US standards with fully fitted kitchens, fitted bedroom suites and every unit will be sold including all appliances, split type central unit air-conditioning, plasma TVs’ and state of the art condotel management systems. Units will be significantly larger in size than a typical hotel room yet still a much better value for money investment option than paying 800,000 dollars for a studio suite in maybe Dubai or Panama or a cool million dollars for a condo in Chicago.

The planned high end Lancaster Mactan Resort condotels will be near the new Cebu Convention Center and Cebu International Airport which is key, to good year-round occupancy numbers, she said. The square footage can range from 700 square feet to 1,800 square feet for one and two bedroom suites or more than 3,000 square feet split level penthouse suite. “Why can’t we build, and sell, a - Trump Quality Condotel - in the Philippines and get the same buyers that flock to invest in his lifestyle developments” enthuses Collingz.

A financing solution

Condotels started in the Philippines as well as in the US and Europe in the mid 1980s, but did not become popular until after the Asian Crisis of 1997 made it difficult for hotel developers to obtain conventional financing for new projects. They turned to the condotel concept, pre-selling rooms to individual investors, to raise equity.

In theory, the Condo Hotel meets two objectives — that of the developer to get a project built and that of the buyer whom, like Mr. Thomas, wants a hassle-free place to vacation and the chance to make a little money on the side. Baby boomers are becoming active vacation homebuyers, says Collingz. “If you buy a condo in Manila,” she says, “you’re not likely to use it more than 30 days a year. If you want to rent it out, you’ll have to hire a management company and take your chances.

The attraction of a Lancaster Condo Hotel suite is that you can own a unit in a hotel, enjoy first-class amenities and standards of maintenance, then let the hotel company arrange all rentals for a 40% share of the revenues”

Deciding whether Condo Hotel Suites meet your objectives is not so complicated. Condotels are a little more expensive, costing 10% to 20% more than traditional residential condominiums in most markets because of the nature of the income earning investment potential and generally more amenities and facilities than would be found in most residential condo buildings. Monthly maintenance costs, to pay your share of the hotel’s upkeep, run about $50/month for your 300-square-foot studio unit which is much the same as a typical residential condo. The “Win-Win” clincher is the 12-16% ROI expected through rental returns that residential condominiums will never yield because of the Condotel Rental Pool concept of the development.

Buying a Condotel unit makes you an investor in the hotel industry. Collingz says the Philippine hotel industry is currently hot. Shangri-La, Four Seasons, Marriott and other resort and hotel developers are in build with several new hotels in the country. “We have more heads than beds and the industry should remain healthy for many years to come because we don’t have a lot of new Hotel Condominium projects coming into the market.”
Mr. Thomas says he purchased the least expensive condotel units available in the Philippines. Spending less than $45,000 for his Lancaster Suites Manila studio unit and about $85,000 last November for a one bedroom unit, expected rental revenues from his Lancaster units will more than cover his new 15 year mortgage payments currently being offered by Banco de Oro for the soon to be completed development.

Beth Collingz

Director - PLC International Marketing Networks

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Common Builder Blunders - and How to Avoid Them!

When it comes to building a house, there are dozens of opportunities for making mistakes or bad decisions. Not to worry, you've hired a reputable builder who knows what he's doing; these mistakes shouldn't be an issue. Maybe in a perfect world, but all builders can make errors. These may be as simple as locating a shower head too low, causing you to stoop ever time you have a shower, or inconveniently locating a toilet paper roll so that you have to reach. It's not a huge issue, but over time it gets pretty annoying.

Here are a few of the more common builder errors to keep an eye out for.

Outside of the House

Air conditioners should be located on the east or north side of the home for maximum efficiency, but ensure they are not located close to bedrooms. Although the newer units are fairly quiet, you'll still here the compressors when the unit is in use.

Driveways should be wide enough that you don't have to step on the grass when you get out of the car. If you have a double car laneway, you should be able to park two cars, side by side, without dinging the doors. A single lane drive should be no less than 12 feet wide and a double-wide driveway should be 22 feet wide.

A covered porch is a simple improvement you'll thank your builder for time and again. Especially the next time you're standing in the rain with your arms full of groceries, and fumbling for your keys.

Outdoor faucets should be conveniently located at the front and rear of the house. Think of where your gardens and planters will be situated for handy hose access.

Exterior electrical outlets are not used that often, but when they are needed, you want them close by. You'll want them at the front, back and possibly the side, depending on the type of exterior work you'll be doing. It's great to have outlets installed in your soffits for handy Christmas light plug-ins.


Interior Electrical outlets can be a huge source of frustration if they aren't conveniently located. You'll want to ensure they're installed in the walls directly behind end tables, next to beds or couches, or on top of a fireplace mantle. You may also want some floor outlets in a home office or coffee table situated in the middle of a room. My biggest source of frustration was not having an outlet in the island in my kitchen.

Traffic flow should be examined when you're planning your floor layout. Ensure that areas designated as pathways, won't be obstructed by furniture. Usually a 36 inch width is chosen for stairways, you'll appreciate increasing this to 42 inches or more in width.

Spongy floors can be avoided if you request extra stiff floors. The average building code for floors is 1/360, ask your builder to upgrade to a 1/480 deflection design instead.

Trusses are probably one of the least concerns of most new home owners, but so important for future renovation possibilities. If you intend on creating added living space in an attic or above a garage, request that your builder install a truss that will allow for added headroom in these areas. Also, have him install a real staircase in these spaces, not a fold-up model.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Commercial Real Estate Guide- Earn more with Commercial Real Estate

Commercial Real Estate refers to the property that has potential to generate extra income for the owner of real estate. Commercial real estate generally includes office buildings, retail properties, apartment units, condos and raw land. Every property that can produce revenue for the owner is known as commercial real estate. It doesn’t include habitable real estate like houses or apartment buildings.

In 21st century, large number of people is generating income with commercial real estate. Commercial real estate business is based on certain principles. These principles are generally same for property owner, developer as well as for commercial real estate agent. Commercial real estate agent helps you to identify the best features of commercial real estate agent. Real estate agent enables you to make a finest deal of commercial real estate. Commercial estate agent is helpful to both buyers as well as tenants.

You should choose best commercial real estate as per your requirements. Choose your property at best location that has great future. Commercial real estate at good location will offer more benefits in the coming days. You’ve to choose finest piece of land that you can use efficiently. You may select commercial real estate nearby high traffic areas that can be easily used for full-service restaurants, hotels, stores or other shopping malls.

Investment in commercial real estate business is the best way to get more revenues. Always keep in mind that a right time investment is the best opportunity to earn more profits. You should consult financial advisors that will provide help to find the best commercial real estate. Investment in commercial real estate is good for large as well as small-scale businessmen.

Buyers should check the reputation of commercial real estate provider. Before any type of agreement or purchase, they should check rate, terms & conditions, and other essential aspects of commercial real estate for the best deal.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Coconut Grove Real Estate - Cocowalk Caribbean Style

Coconut Grove is located in the state of Florida and it has distinction of having the first hotel in South Florida built in it. At the time of its being built that is in 1882 it was referred to as Bay View Inn. Later its name got changed to Peacock Inn. City of Coconut Grove, which is also referred to as Cocoanut Grove, is located in the city of Miami in Miami Dade County. Lying towards west of Biscayne Bay, whole of this city comes under single zip code of 33133. Average home price is from $600,000 to $1,700,000.

This city has witnessed several stages of development during its appreciably long history. Out of all these stages of development, first one took place in 1825, soon after opening of lighthouse, operated by John Dubose, in Cape Florida. Next phase of development made its presence felt in this then quaint city in second half of the nineteenth century. This period, especially the 1870s, saw an influx of a large number of people to Coconut Grove. People who came here during were mainly a mixture of Northeast Americans and British immigrants. But from that time onwards a lot of development has taken place in this city.

Today this city happens to be one of the most popular cities in not only state of Florida, but also in the United States. As its name suggests this city has a touch of Caribbean life too. And this becomes most evident during Goombay Festival, which transforms this city takes on an atmosphere completely reminiscent of Caribbean lands. Shopping is one major attraction in this city in Florida. Food is another specialty of this city, which is sometimes also called as just “Grove”. Due to concentration of a large number of food outlets in this city, Grove is also known as Food Court of Miami. Besides all these, an annual art festival held over here is another major crowd puller. The Vizcaya Museum, Cocowalk, Monty Trainer’s The Playhouse are a must see in a visit to this city.

A holistic combination of all above mentioned factors has made this city very attractive to real estate hunters as well as real estate dealers. As it is the market of real estate is witnessing a massive upswing in recent times. This corner of the country has not been an exception to this trend. People are large numbers are flocking to this city with intention of making this city their home. With an active nightlife, especially after this city got annexed to city of Miami, this city is has now become a dream destination for many. Prices of homes have already crossed hundred and seventy five thousand dollar mark. And numbers of empty estates which are available for sale are also dwindling at a very fast rate. And if this rate of growth is maintained by Coconut Grove, it will soon outstrip some of its more illustrious counterparts. The nightlife is this city is only second to South Beach.

Coconut Grove Real Estate is coming back from the recent boom years and is expected to rebound by 2009. Coconut Grove Real Estate is slow, following two fantastic boom years.  A few excellent communities in Coconut are Fairhaven, Terranium and Utopia. Condos subdivisions include  Beacon Harbour, Cloisters on the Bay, Grovenor House. Upscale Hotel Resorts include Ritz-Carlton and the Sonesta Bayfront Hotel.  Coconut Grove Real Estate is an excellent investment opportunity as inventory levels continue to rise.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Considerations For A Landlord Before Proceeding To Evict A Tenant

Word Count:

There comes a time when every landlord finds himself / herself in a difficult position of having his rental property occupied by a tenant who is not paying rent, or is making a nuisance of himself and causing problems for other tenants, or is causing immense damage to the rental unit, or his / her conduct makes it impossible to continue with a landlord / tenant relationship.

e-renter, tenant screening, landlord tenant screening, landlord background check services, landlord tenant credit check, landlord credit reports, tenant background screening, employee screening

Article Body:
There comes a time when every landlord finds himself / herself in a difficult position of having his rental property occupied by a tenant who is not paying rent, or is making a nuisance of himself and causing problems for other tenants, or is causing immense damage to the rental unit, or his / her conduct makes it impossible to continue with a landlord / tenant relationship. Though, state laws governing eviction vary significantly, the following are a few tips to help landlords finding themselves in the unpleasantly messy situation of evicting a tenant.

As the owner of a significant number of residential units, it will be to your benefit to engage a lawyer to advice you on eviction issues, as well as, for handling legal actions. An established relationship with a lawyer is useful as he will carry out various legal tasks charging a flat fee only, whereas, hiring a lawyer on a case to case basis can result in much higher legal fees.

<b>Evicting a Tenant for Non-payment of Rent</b>

The eviction process involves serving a formal notice, informing the tenant the rent is overdue, and he / she faces possible eviction, if they do not pay on time. If a landlord is not knowledgeable about the legal terms of a notice, there are pre-printed forms which fulfil all legal requirements for a proper notice. In case, the rent arrearage has not been paid after the legally defined period i.e. usually, about a week, a landlord can begin eviction proceedings on the basis of non-payment of rent.

Bear in mind, if the tenant makes a partial payment during the eviction process, in most jurisdictions the acceptance of any payment of rent, even a small amount, can result in dismissal of the eviction lawsuit for non-payment.

<b>Lease Violation</b>

When a tenant does not comply with the terms of the lease he / she signed, a landlord must provide a written warning, referring to the lease clause being violated, and allow him / her time to remedy the problem. This is so the tenant cannot later claim ignorance that he / she did not know, they were in violation of the lease, or they received no notice of the violation. The judge will be in favour of the landlord if it is established the tenant ignored a prior notice and the deadline.

<b>Health and Safety Issues</b>

Certain tenants may pose a health or safety problem for other tenants or for the property, in general. In many jurisdictions, it is permissible for the landlord to evict tenants whose conduct is hazardous to the health of other tenants or can damage the property. First of all, a landlord should serve the tenant with a fixed period of time notice (a week) to remedy or repair the problem, or else move out. If no corrective action is taken, a landlord can proceed with the eviction proceedings.

Even if a tenant resolves the issue, but you still want him / her out, serve them a notice on eviction on health or safety grounds, as well as, a notice stating their tenancy is being terminated.


In the event a tenant files for bankruptcy, an automatic stay prevents a landlord from continuing with the eviction proceedings until the bankruptcy is resolved, or the bankruptcy court permits eviction proceedings to continue by lifting the stay. This may require a motion to be brought before the bankruptcy court, asking for the stay to be lifted.

<b>Tenant Counter-Claims</b>

When a landlord begins eviction proceedings, some tenant may bring counter-claims against the landlord, such as, inadequate maintenance of property or violation of the lease, and may ask the court to stop eviction proceedings or else for a substantial rent decrease in arrearage owed.

This is why it is good practice to keep written records of any complaints received from tenants about the rental unit or common areas, and steps taken by the landlord to resolve them, as also with warnings of tenant misconduct. Remember a landlord’s can preclude a tenant’s claim that despite repeatedly complaining about a problem with their unit, the landlord failed to respond with positive action, as long as the landlord has kept records of all interaction with the tenant and of action taken.


Before going to court, a landlord must ensure all his documentation in relation to the case is in order and there is nothing missing. Unless a landlord is conversant with the rental laws of his state and has had enough experience in eviction cases, it is also advisable to engage a lawyer, well versed in property law of the state a landlord’s rental property resides in.

The above should provide you with enough knowledge of what is required for a successful eviction.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Canadians Keep the Secret of Sun City, Phoenix

The Phoenix Valley is a great place to live and be healthy. With recreational options abounding and sunshine for 300 days a year, it's no wonder that many people plan to move here. It is a very popular place for 'snowbirds'. There are many large companies offering varied job opportunities that insure a healthy economy for the Phoenix Valley.

There is also a fairly well-kept secret that - once discovered - entices a particular group from all over the world. This secret is an area, located only thirty minutes from downtown Phoenix, which has the largest concentration of year round recreational facilities in the whole United States! Of course the population group that loves it is the retirement community.

Not far from the Sun Dome and the Mayo Clinic is the aptly named Sun City. It boasts eight golf courses of its own from amongst the hundreds in Arizona, three country clubs, Sun Bowl, Viewpoint Lake, two bowling centers and seven recreation centers.

Sun City is the perfect place to retire to and it has even been made easy for you to have a peaceful retirement here! The whole area is a zoned 'adult' community.

This means that at least one resident of a Sun City home must be over 55 years of age and other residents must be over 19 years of age. Most homes in Sun City are single homes, apartments or duplexes, and there is no age restriction on property ownership. House prices in this area start at just over $100,000 and keep going up!

Sun City is a great community - one where, to some extent, you can have more 'say'. For instance, residents voted to have golf carts legalized for street use, and now they are a popular way to travel! This also reduces emissions, speeding cars and traffic jams!

Phoenix has its own International Airport, the 18th busiest airport in the world for passenger traffic. West Jet, Aeromexico and British Airways are among the international carriers alongside all the recognized U.S. carriers.

Not surprisingly, one of the carriers serving Phoenix Airport is Air Canada, supporting the many Canadians who leave their arthritis in the frozen North, and fly south for the warmth and dryness of the Phoenix climate. Phoenix is among the driest cities in the world, so there really are less aching bones and wheezing chests in this nurturing climate.

There are varied and interesting recreation classes offered. You can learn almost anything, from Tuscany Style Cooking to Beginners Boxing! If you are still wondering about basking in all this pleasant heat, there are actually courses to explain to you all about moving and living to the Phoenix Valley.

The state of Arizona supports hundreds of golf courses, many varieties of motor racing, horse shows, horse racing, rodeos and all the major sports. It even caters to the genealogy buffs and the model train addicts. In fact there's everything here in the Phoenix Valley - except you....?

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Buying Orlando, Florida Properties and Real Estate with a New Home Rebate

If you're planning to build a new home in Orlando, Florida, don't miss out on a unique benefit called the "new home rebate." Florida buyers rebates are often left in the pockets of homebuilders because the buyers don't understand how they work or know that the rebates even exist. Obtaining a new home rebate is so easy that you can do it with minimal effort and get thousands of dollars cash back for your new home purchase. But first, you must understand what types of properties come with this offer.

Florida New Homes

New home constructions in Florida, such as in Orlando, qualify for the new home rebate. This means you choose the blueprints for your home and a contracted builder builds the home from the ground up. To take advantage of this rebate, you must go through a real estate agency as your referring Realtor. You'll contact a Realtor that offers the new home rebate before contacting a builder, and the Realtor will refer you to the builder. The Realtor receives a referral commission from the builder, and then you receive a portion of those commissions. Just make sure the Realtor does actually offer the rebate before getting started.

Having a referring Realtor can help you in two ways. First, you'll receive your rebate (an amount ranging from $2,000 to $30,000). Second, you'll receive assistance from the Realtor, someone experienced in realty, to guide you through the home building process. There are many details you could miss if you're new to the whole thing!

Included in new home construction properties could be new homes in golf course communities, vacant land, home sites or lots, resort properties, luxury homes, and waterfront homes in Florida.

Preconstruction Realty

Preconstruction means you pay for the condo, town home, or single-family home fully or partially before they are actually built. This benefits you as the buyer and the builder. The builder is able to secure financial stability throughout the project because he has money up front to work with. You are able to secure your home or apartment up front and sometimes even enjoy tremendous savings by paying in advance. These types of properties also qualify for the new home rebate.

Florida Income Properties

If you're planning to invest in properties for income purposes in Orlando or other cities in Florida, you can build new income properties and qualify for the Florida buyers rebate. This gives you a steady cash flow while preparing the homes or condos for renters to move in. Also, you can use your new home rebate to invest in your next building project. It's your choice.

Other properties that qualify for the new home rebate include new second vacation homes, new retirement homes, and new executive homes.

Keep in mind that the new home rebate does not affect other buyer incentives, discounts, specials, upgrade packages, or competitive financing offers that the new homebuilder might offer. So, you can enjoy your new home rebate without making any trade-offs.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Arizona Real Estate - A Good Buying Opportunity?

If you're looking to move to a new state, Arizona real estate is definitely worth a look. Following is a primer of the state and the FSBO Arizona real estate market.


Phoenix is by far the largest city in Arizona and it is growing fast. The sixth largest city in the United States, Phoenix is the official and economic capital of Arizona. The city is growing at such a high rate that it has engulfed the accompanying towns of Scottsdale and Tempe. Phoenix has a perpetual new feeling to it, which leads to criticisms that it has no inherent culture or roots.

If you want to attend sporting events, Phoenix has a nice selection. The city has professional baseball, basketball and football teams. Phoenix even has a professional ice hockey team, the Phoenix Coyotes. Only in America could a city in the middle of the desert have an NHL team!

If you're looking for warm weather, Phoenix is the place. During the summer, average temperatures are usually above the 100 degree mark without much humidity to speak of. Evenings can get cool during the winter, but day time temperatures remain in the 70's.


Unlike Phoenix, Flagstaff is a town that reeks of the more historic Wild West. Sitting on the famous Route 66, Flagstaff is a college town because of Arizona State University. The University, better known as "ASU", has over 30,000 students who more or less dominate Flagstaff. If you like the feel of a college town, skip Phoenix and consider Flagstaff for your real estate needs.

Arizona Real Estate

Arizona real estate is very reasonably priced compared to other states. The average home price in Phoenix is in the low $300,000s. Arizona has, however, become a hot real estate market with home values appreciating over 25% in the last 12 months.

Arizona is a take it or leave it state because of the heat index. If you prefer hot, sunny days, Arizona real estate may be a very good investment.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

About Rental Insurance

Many renters don’t stop to think about what happens if there is a fire, someone breaks in and steals their new TV or stereo, or a visitor slips and falls on their property. The sad truth is; you will be responsible! While your landlord has
insurance that covers the actual building, that coverage does not include your personal property or liability for injuries which occur in the space you rent ~ be it an apartment or a house and yard.

If a fire should destroy or damage your home, your landlord’s insurance will cover the structure. It won’t cover damage or loss of your belongings. Neither will it provide for the cost of temporary housing for you and your family.

You may think you don’t own enough personal property to make the cost of insurance worthwhile. You’re probably wrong! If you sit down and add up the cost of everything you own, you may be in for a big surprise. Consider what you have invested in such things as:

• Furniture and accessories
• Electronics like TV, stereo, computers
• Small appliances like microwaves, toaster ovens, etc.
• Clothing
• Art work like paintings or prints
• Dishes, silverware and cookware
• Sporting equipment
• Books
• Jewelry

Could you afford to replace all of these things?

Even worse, what would you do if a friend is injured on your property and decides to sue you for medical costs and more? It’s a scary thought, isn’t it?

Are you beginning to see why rental insurance may be a very wise investment?

The cost of rental insurance is based on several factors:

• The dollar amount of your coverage

• Deductibles

• Whether you choose to be reimbursed for Actual Cash Value or Replacement Costs (more about that in a minute)

• Where your rental property is located and the number of previous claims made, not only by you, but by others living in the same area.

Let me explain the difference between Actual Cash Value (ACV) and Replacement Costs. ACV is the value of your property at the time a loss takes place. For example, if your television set is five years old, it’s valued at much less than if it were brand new. The lesser amount is what you are reimbursed.

However, if you opt for Replacement Cost, you’re paid whatever it costs to go out and buy a new TV with similar features. Insuring for replacement cost raises the amount of your premium so it’s a good idea to get quotes for both ACV and Replacement Cost policies. Then you can decide which option fits your needs and budget.

Another thing to keep in mind is that jewelry, valuable collections, and guns are usually covered under a separate policy or “rider”. If you own these kinds of items, be sure to tell your insurance agent. You don’t want to find out after disaster strikes that they aren’t covered or that they aren’t covered for their true value.
One way you can reduce the cost of your rental insurance is to check with whichever company insures your car. If they provide rental insurance you may be eligible for a multi-line discount.

Rental insurance may be worth the investment just for the peace of mind it offers you.

7 Simple Steps To Real Estate Investing

Whether you are BRAND NEW to real estate investing or an expert in the game, it’s critical that you understand these 7 Simple Steps to real estate investing.

First things first…

•    Real Estate is NOT a get rich quick scheme. However, if you learn the foundations and put them into practice, you will make more than enough money to realize any and all of your dreams and goals.

•    The real estate bubble is not going to burst! The real estate market will, however, shift and the real estate market will change – just as it always has! What’s “hot” now may turn ice cold in the next 3 years (or perhaps even 3 months). But, there are ways to “bubble proof” your real estate investments. It’s actually quite simple.

Did you know that in the United States, in 1975, the median home price was $33,300? In 2005, the median home price was $195,000. Historically, the average home doubled every 7 years. If you do the math, it should be well over $200,000.

OK… Now, having said that… The real estate market WILL change and what is “working” today in real estate may not in the future…  The rental market was strong a decade ago, but has been soft in recent years. We are getting ready for a turn once again.

Real Estate IS a cycle… and cycles have some degree of predictability. With predictability, you can grow your real estate business into a cash-producing, profit-pulling machine that runs itself WITH the changing real estate market trends. It is still possible to make money in real estate. In fact, now is just as good a time as any to get started in real estate investing.

But, you’ve got to make wise investments. Sure, you may make some SERIOUS cash in pre-construction, but what happens if (no, not if – when) the market shifts and there are suddenly 35 identical properties on the market for sale in the same building? How long can you afford to carry a negative cash flow on the property?

Or how about taking over property ‘subject to’? Sure, it’s a great strategy and lenders may be inclined to turn the other way and not exercise the “due on sale” clause as long as the interest rates are at rock bottom prices (You know, those sellers that you’re usually taking property subject to from usually don’t have the lowest interest rates, right?) If the interest rates spike to 10-11%, don’t you think lenders might be MUCH MORE inclined to exercise their option to make you pay off the 6.5% note?

What this means is simply that you must be experienced in the basics – the tried and true techniques, strategies and systems that have worked in the past, are STILL working and will work in the future. You’ve got to have all the tools in your bag so that you can go with the flow and not be affected when real estate markets begin to shift (which they are already in the process of doing, in case you’ve missed that memo! ;-)

Step #1 - Set your plan: Figure out what your long term real estate goals are (aka retirement and wealth building) and figure out what your short term needs are with regard to making money in real estate. Then, set up the proper entities and put the plan in place.

Step #2 - Determine what your target market will be: You cannot be all things to all real estate markets. If foreclosures appeal to you, start investing in the foreclosure market. If you want to be a landlord, look to out of state owners to focus your real estate marketing efforts.

Step #3 - Be consistent and persistent: Real Estate is not a get rich quick scheme. Real Estate is get wealthy over time and put some quick cash in your pocket today. You’ve got to follow your plan and stick with it to see real results in real estate. You’ve also got to continue to increase your education and your experience.

Step 4 - Don’t fall into the “Analysis Paralysis”: Learn to analyze properties quickly. Don’t get caught up overthinking. It’s quite simple actually: What’s the property worth? What does the property need for repairs? And how much can you get the property for? It all comes down to numbers!

Step 5 - Become a master of finance!: Real estate is the business of marketing and finance. You must learn about mortgages and interest rates and loan programs that are out there. You must know how to use finance to negotiate your deals and to sell your properties.

Step #6 - Become a skilled problem solver: The reason you will get real estate deals that others don’t, is because you are able to solve people’s problems. Anything goes on the real estate playing field. You’ve got to be ready!

Step #7 - You must continue your education: It is important that you are always investing in your education and learning new tactics, strategies and tips that will help you make more in real estate.

If you enjoyed this article, make sure to look up the other articles discussing The 7 Simple Steps To Making Money on Real Estate.  The next article discusses Step #1 – set your plan in further detail!

Monday, 11 January 2010

"It's So Easy, Being Green"

With oil and natural gas prices rocketing, stoking terror of long, cold and and expensive winters, a renewed interest in keeping heating costs under control has has been sparked. Homeowner's have an ignited passion in understanding energy saving methods. If you're in this boat, stuck in cold waters, here are some tips for energy saving tricks of the trade.

If you're living in a home with a furnace that's more than 20 years old, you may have already attempted the "buy a sweater" method of keeping warm. This is certainly one approach, but these days upgrading your home's conditioning system is a much better option, and will bode well for you in the here and now, and in the long term, should you decide sell your home. More and more, homebuyers are looking for homes with energy efficient systems already in place. So, think of these upgrades as a long term investment in the resale value of your home, as well a cost efficient and green alternative to your current conditioning system.

Now, with that old choker of a furnace huffin' and puffin' away, guaranteed it's not as efficient as it could be, no matter what fuel type it uses. The newer gas furnaces are mid-efficiency (78-82%) or high efficiency (89-96%). Although the higher efficiency products can cost up to $1000 more than the mid-efficiency products, extra costs will be re-couped in a couple years, as they will burn less fuel. And, you'll be the greenest frog on the block, sending less harmful emissions out into the atmosphere. "It's so easy being green", murmured Kermit, once he upgraded his furnace.

With oil furnaces, there are again, much more efficient products on the market as of late. But, a oil furnace does need to partner with a good chimney, and so this may be an additional cost to keep in mind

Take note, it's still the case that electric heat is more expensive than oil and gas, although a smart combination of central woodstove heat, supplemented by electric heat can be cost efficient.

Let it Flow: Change Your Filters!

Whether disposable or washable, all forced-air heating/cooling systems use filters. And, these filters need to be maintained and changed. Some filters require monthly changes while other last up to three months, and much depends on the conditions within your home. A dirty filter will restrict air flow and with clogged filters you're blocking heat that would otherwise be keeping you toasty warm. Do yourself a favor and keep on top of the regular changing of your heat filters. This is a pretty easy way to boost your energy efficiency and cut costs.

Pump it up: Install a Heat Pump

Air source heat pumps are the most common and they are generally used with a back-up heating system. In terms of function a heat pump works by extracting heat from the outside and bringing it in, (in heat mode), and by removing heat from the inside of the house and releasing it outside. ( in cooling mode).

The king of heat pumps, though, are ground and watersource, or geothermal. And while the initial investment may be great, the saving will be substantial in the long run. These pumps will use 25-50% less energy than conventional conditioning systems.

At the end of the day, another simple method to help with soaring heat bills, is to keep an eye on the set temperature levels in your house, What is normally described as room temperature is around 68 Fahrenheit (20 degrees celsius). Of course, only you can decide where to set the dial. But, if you'd rather avoid the " put on a sweater" method of winter energy conservation, you might consider investing in an improved conditioning system that'll bring you warmth today, and will be a smart investment in the re-sale value of your home.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Buying property in Montenegro

As with purchasing a property in any country, you must make yourself aware of the formalities and "peculiarities" of the foreign market.

Property prices.

Without an official price index, many properties are advertised with a price that is determined by what the vender wants rather than by a market value. If you find a property in a particularly popular area (or in an area like an Old Town where they can be no more development), it is most likely that market has been determined by the price paid for a similar property. If you are looking at a renovation project in an area away from the main towns, then the price you pay will most likely be a result of your negotiation skills.

Legal advice.

Getting a local lawyer is imperative. Many properties have multiple owners (i.e. owned by whole families) and all parties must be in agreement of the sale. When the lawyer has this in writing, the title of the property can be yours.

Paying for your property.

All purchases are cash purchases. The vendor will require a cash deposit of at least 10% of the agreed price and you will need to pay the rest in 30 days. If you cannot complete the deal, you lose the deposit. If the vendor pulls out of the deal, they will have to pay back the deposit plus the same again. Therefore, if you put down €5000 and the vender defaults, you will receive a total of €10000.


In Montenegro, it is the buyer that pays the estate agent fees.

- Property tax: 2% (on the sale price, payable to the government.)
- Agent fees: 4% (approx.)
- Legal fees: €750 (approx.)

Example: Agreed sale price = €45000 + €900 tax + €1800 agent fees + €750 legal fees = €48450

Transferring money.

It is not necessary to carry the whole amount of money to Montenegro as cash (although you may wish to do so for the deposit). You can transfer the outstanding amount electronically to a bank in Montenegro and withdraw the money when you are there. Some banks don't have any method of direct transfer to Montenegro, so you may have to use a currency exchange to do this for you (they quite often get better exchange rates too for those in non Euro currency countries). From there the money can be transferred to a Montenegrin bank (Opportunity Bank in Kotor Old Town only charges a €15 handling fee. Some banks charge a percentage).

Once you have decided on your property (or properties), seek the proper legal advice and look forward to your new holiday home, capital growth or rental income.

Please note: this article does not constitute legal advice and any costs incurred & potential future gains may be different in each instance.

"Don't Sell Your Property Without It"

For most people, the prospect of selling their home can be positively daunting. First of all, there are usually plenty of things to do just to get it ready for the market. Besides the traditional clean-up, paint-up, fix-up chores that invariably wind up costing more than you planned, there are always the overriding concerns about how much the market will bear and how much you will eventually wind up selling it for.

Will you get your asking price, or will you have to drop your price to make the deal? After all, your home is a major investment, no doubt a rather large one, so when it comes to selling it you want to get your highest possible return. Yet in spite of everyone's desire to get the top dollar for their property, most people are extremely unsure as to how to go about getting it. However, some savvy sellers have long known a little financial technique that has helped them to get top dollar for their property. In fact, on some rare occasions, they have even sold their properties for more than they were worth using this powerful financing tool. Although that might be the exception rather than the rule, you can certainly use this technique to get the most money possible when selling your property.

Seller carry-back, or take-back financing, has proven to be a surefire technique for closing deals. Even though most people do not think about when it comes to selling a property, they really should consider using it. According to the Federal Reserve, there are currently over 100 Billion dollars of seller carry-back (seller take-back) loans in existence. By any standard, that is a lot of money. But most importantly, it is also a very clear indication that more people are starting to use seller take-back financing techniques because it offers many financial benefits to both sellers and buyers. Basically, seller take-back financing is a relatively simple concept. A seller-take back loan is created when a property is sold and the seller performs like a lender by assisting in financing all or part of the total transaction. In effect, the seller is actually lending the buyer a certain amount of money toward the purchase price, while a traditional mortgage company usually funds the balance of the purchase price. A seller take-back loan is secured with the property. The loan then becomes the primary mortgage and is fully secured by the property. In most seller take-back financing transactions, the buyer repays the seller with interest in accordance to mutually agreed terms over a period of time. Usually, the terms call for the buyer to send the payments, consisting of principal and interest, on a monthly basis. This is advantageous because it creates a steady monthly cash flow for the note holder. And if the note holder decides to cash out, he or she can always sell the note for a lump sum cash payment.

Regardless of market conditions, seller take-back financing makes sound financial sense; whereas, it provides both buyer and seller with flexible financing options, makes the property easier to sell at higher price and shortens the sales cycle. It also has the added advantage of being an excellent investment that generates a steady cash flow and high return. If you ever need immediate cash, you can always sell the note through our office. If you are planning to sell a property, then consider the many benefits of seller take-back financing.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Buying a Vacation Home Overseas

With the British and American economies in quite a strong position many more Americans are considering putting some of their hard earned cash into buying a vacation home overseas and apparently one in three Britons has their sights set on buying a holiday home in the sun.

If you dream of owning a sunny villa in Italy, a cottage in Scotland or maybe a beachside apartment in the Caribbean, here are five essential tips to consider when looking for real estate overseas.

1)    Research Your Location

You may already have a favourite destination in mind and be visualising your life lazing by a swimming pool overlooking the Mediterranean Sea…on the other hand you may be interested in shopping around to find the best countries in which to buy a vacation home and make an investment into property. 

It’s wise to do a fair amount of research into any new destination and cover everything from foreign ownership of real estate rules, property taxes, the political and economic stability of a destination and also the investment potential a given country offers.  With this information in hand it will be easier to make the right decision about which location suits your lifestyle objectives, budget and long term investment plans.

2)    Employ Assistance

Finding a realtor able to assist with your search for the perfect vacation home could save you time, effort and even money in the long run – although most realtors take commission from any sales they make of course!  But a local agent will understand the dynamics of their property market and be able to quickly and efficiently track down real estate bargains that match your vision for your vacation home overseas.

Be aware that in some countries real estate agents neither have to be licensed nor qualified however and so take a recommendation if at all possible and tread carefully.

3)    Manage your Money

If you need to raise a mortgage to pay for your vacation home you may need to re-mortgage your home or raise finance in your home country to fund the purchase because in many countries it is difficult for non-residents to get a mortgage and in some of the emerging property markets around the world there is no possibility to get a mortgage.

When transferring money overseas beware of fluctuating exchange rates that can devalue your lump sum significantly and make the difference between you affording your dream home and affording a poor second best.  There are professional companies available who can help those buying property abroad to deal with fluctuating currencies…look into your options.

4)    Title Deeds and Legalities

Legal systems vary from country to country as does the land registry system, and in some countries title deed transfers are not registered at all which can make it difficult to prove who owns property.  Make yourself aware of the legal rights that you will have as a property owner in a given country and find out about any assurances you can get that you own the freehold title to the vacation home that you have bought.

Never buy real estate overseas without the aid of a good lawyer, check their credentials and ensure that any contracts or agreements you sign are translated into your mother tongue and that you check the wording carefully before you sign!

5)    Protect Your Assets

Once you make the transition from house seeker to vacation home owner you will want to keep your real estate assets well looked after.  If you are only going to be vacationing in your home overseas occasionally consider having a management company look after your home when you are away. 

Ensure a property that is to be left for periods of time is well secured because even in countries where there is very low crime a beautiful home left standing empty can become a temptation.

Get insurance to cover the value of your home and contents and make sure someone regularly checks that your property is in good order, that the weeds are not growing over your veranda and that your swimming pool is clean and ready for when you next take a holiday in the sun.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Buying a Condo-Who's Running The Show?

When buying a condo, we are all seduced by the decor, the ambiance, the view, and other visual effects, when we should really be checking something else that is not visual!

The Home Owners Association (HOA) often plays a very nondescript part in the whole process of choosing a condo, - especially for first-time condo buyers. However, the HOA can play a very large part in using up your finances if you hit an unlucky situation after moving in.

In order to avoid a surprise, ask a few pertinent questions about the HOA. One of the important factors would be 'who is running the show?' In a very small condo complex it may be run by residents, but a professional management company is preferable, especially in a condo of any size.

Professional management companies do charge for their services, but they can often save this fee by obtaining lower quotes for repairs, because they will use the same company many times. There is also less chance of the company using their influence on resident votes, so they may be construed as more fair. Finally, it is a business to them, and it the HOA will be run as such, instead of as a part-time rush before each meeting is due!

Always ask to see the rules of the HOA, the financial report, the by-laws and the minutes of the last several meetings. The conditions, covenants and restrictions (CC&Rs) will affect your lifestyle, so make sure they 'fit in' with it.

The financial report will tell you if there are any big increases in the fees coming up, or if there are any 'emergency' fees due soon. This raises the important question, what will happen if there is a big emergency? How is it paid and how much money is in the HOA kitty?

The maintenance reserves will be important; there will hopefully be approximately one third of the gross annual fees charged to all residents in the reserves. A favorable minimum amount would be $4,000 per condo, although is manageable.

Another aspect that the HOA manages is the percentage of rental units allowable. Under 20% is passable, but any more and the re-sale of the condos becomes risky. Renters often do not have the same respect for property or neighbors, so they decrease desireability.Also mortgage companies are aware of this and are reluctant to give out mortgages to high-rental complexes.

Once you have ironed out all these questions, you can consider whether you would like to get a professional inspection done. These inspections include the common areas as well as the condo you are interested in. Once all these precautions are in place, you will feel more secure to go ahead and make an offer.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Boost Your Spain Property Rental Profits with Viral Marketing

If you are pressed for time and tenants, you'll want to read this! Property rentals can be very lucrative if you know how to market to your potential guests. Whether it's an apartment for rent, villa rental for vacationers, or a golf holiday rental, you can boost profits with these simple marketing strategies.

Maximize Holiday Rental Promotions Online

Don't ignore the tremendous power of the Internet. Imagine spending a mere $5 to $15 per month to advertise your Spain property rental to folks around the world 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! That's exactly what you're doing when you start your own website that is focused on property rental.

For only a few dollars per month, you can have an entire website dedicated to promoting your apartment for rent or vacation villa rental. You can put as many photos and updates as you want. There are no limits because you will be the owner! You can even offer online specials and discounts to Internet users.

To make your website really popular with the search engines, include travel articles and city information about nearby areas. For example, if you own a rental property in Marbella, Spain you can write content about that area and include keywords about traveling to Marbella. The same goes for other Spain holiday hot spots including Costa del Sol, Benalmadena, Fuengirola, Mijas, Puerto Banus, and Elviria. Tourists will be searching online for a place to stay. Yours can be the one they choose!

Promote for Events and Recreation

If you have a vacation rental that's near a major tourist or sports attraction or where major events take place, then focus some of your marketing around the attraction or the event. For example, if your rental property is near a popular golf course in Spain where major tournaments are held, you can advertise in golf-focused magazines, golf-related stores, or golf web sites. This enables you to reach a targeted audience.

Don't Forget Past Guests

A guest who rented from you once may visit again. You will have all the mailing addresses or email of your guests, so send a mailing out occasionally inviting them to stay once more. Offer a "special" for past guests only. It's much easier to sell to those who already know you than to find new customers.

Include All Features and Benefits in your Promotions

When promoting your rental property, be sure to include all the features and benefits of staying at your rental property. You should list all the items or appliances that are included with their rental for convenience. The more you tell, the more you'll sell. Tourists want no surprises when it comes to a place to stay on their trip.

With these promotion techniques, you can reach a broader audience for your vacation rental property and watch your monthly profits grow!

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Bankruptcy And Buying A House - Is It Smart To Buy A House After Bankruptcy?

Each year, millions of people file bankruptcy as a means of erasing their consumer debts. While this approach may relieve stress, a bankruptcy is damaging, and will hang over your head for the next ten years. Still, it is possible to overcome bankruptcy. The key is making smarter financial and credit decisions. With this said, some people choose to purchase a home after a bankruptcy. Here are a few pointers to consider when buying a home.

Reasons to Delay the Buying Process after Bankruptcy

If you consult with mortgage or financial experts, they will likely discourage you from buying a home following a bankruptcy. After your bankruptcy is discharged, there is a black cloud that looms over your credit report.

When any prospective lender reviews your report, they will be notified of your recent or past bankruptcy. In some instances, this justifies an immediate denial. On the other hand, there are lenders eager to help you establish or rebuild your credit. Thus, they will approve a loan request. Nonetheless, the penalties are steep.

Higher mortgage rates can be anticipated when purchasing a home after bankruptcy, especially if you have not established other credit accounts. Mortgage lenders consider two factors: credit scores and credit reports.

Although a bankruptcy appears on your credit report, having a high credit score will increase your odds of getting a comparable rate. Unfortunately, if you buy immediately following a bankruptcy, you will not have the opportunity to boost your score.

Reasons to Buy a Home after Bankruptcy

Lenders will approve mortgage loan applications one day following a discharge. Therefore, it is possible to get a home after a bankruptcy. Buying a home is perfect for rebuilding credit. Moreover, it is the quickest way to increase your credit score.

After a bankruptcy, the average person has a credit score below 600. Good credit consist of credit scores 650 and above. Maintaining current mortgage payments will gradually increase your score. After two years of regular payments, you will have established a good payment history. Hence, you may qualify for a low rate refinancing, which may lower your mortgage payments.