Saturday, 31 July 2010

Buying A House – Checking Exterior Wood

You need to be very careful before committing to the purchase of a house. If the house has wood and brick on the exterior, you need to consider the following issues.

Wood Issues

Wood is a beautiful material, particularly when it is used on the exterior of a home. Compared to stucco and other materials, it is a wonder wood isn’t used more often. The reason, of course, is wood simply doesn’t hold up as well as man made materials. If you are looking at a home with a heavy emphasis on exterior wood siding, trim and so on, here are some things to watch out for when evaluating the opportunity.

1. The first thing to realize is the appearance of wood has almost no relevance to the  condition. A perfectly good looking piece of wood trim may be infested with termites or rotting and you will never know by just glancing at it. When inspecting wood exteriors, never trust your eyes.

2. One of the biggest issues with wood is degradation. When looking at particular areas, make absolutely sure you physically touch the wood. In fact, you are probably best off giving it a fairly good poke with a finger. In doing so, you should be looking for soft areas. Soft areas are indicative of rot in one form or another. Finding rot in one area should make you very concerned about finding rot throughout the structure. Put another way, you may want to start looking at other homes on your list.

3. Finding soft spots in wood can be troubling, but there is something worse. If you poke or squeeze a piece of wood and dust or bits fall off, run for the care. This type of degradation is often a sign of termite problems. Termite problems should be a huge red flag for any prospective home. If you buy the house, you are going to have to tent it to kill the bugs and pay to inspect and repair the damage done by the evil little bugs. In short, you are buying a minor, but expensive, nightmare.

Make no mistake, wood can be very attractive on the exterior of a home. Just make sure you don’t rely solely on a visual inspection of it when deciding on the merits of the house.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Buying a Home versus Renting a Home in Tampa Bay Florida

Renting a home is not uncommon as it is clear that some people cannot afford to buy their own home. The natural assumption is that it works out cheaper to buy a home over a long period of time. However, where many of us cannot afford the down payment on a new purchase of property, so renting a property on a yearly lease may be the way to go while saving for your first house.

Finding a home for rent in the Florida, Tampa Bay area depends on the availability of seasonal as well as year round property. What you need to consider are all the costs involved with renting a home. The cost of renting a home is normally determined by the value of the property and location. Unlike buying, most landlords require you to make a 3 month rent payment before moving in. This usually encompasses the down payment, the first months rent, and second months rent.
The problem with renting a home is two-fold: you will never get back what you put into your rental property (equity and ownership), and secondly you will have restrictions imposed on you that you would not have while owning your own house. However, as a short term solution, renting a home in a new area can be ideal while you save money and slowly shop for your dream home.  I often recommend this to people who are relocating from the north and are not sure of where they want to buy or how big of a house they want to purchase.

The cost of buying a home is not cheap, we all know and respect that. Depending on the location that you choose within the Tampa Bay area, the costs can vary.  Buying a home entails many costs especially if you do not have the immediate finances. But the rewards of home ownership make it all worthwhile.  Some of the costs to consider are the initial down payment, closing costs, property inspections, taxes and of course homeowners insurance. In a renting situation, the landlord usually covers the costs of maintaining the apartment (fixtures, property landscape, etc). But of course, the rent that you pay will include these things, and rent in this area is getting more and more expensive all the time.
Buying a home opens up the option of choice in terms of architectural style and place of living.  While the opposite applies for renting. Often you might be obligated to choose the place to rent that is cheaper and often not the best looking. That simply means renting can pigeon-hole you into living in an area or structure that although may be available and within your price range, it may not appeal to your sense of style. 

Owning your own home is about benefiting from long term personal and financial satisfaction. Your own home means security and also having the option of creating the dream home the way you have always wanted it. Home ownership is also about experiencing the freedom of having your own serious investment. The point of emphasis therefore lies in being equipped with the right kind of service that will help you choose which home is right for you. Talking to people who can help you know which option of owning are available to you is without a doubt the right step to take.
In the Tampa Bay Florida Real Estate area there is an abundance of houses and condos to choose from. While property prices during the late ’05 season seemed to rise quite quickly, it's not too late to buy your dream home. Normally the best thing to do is to talk to a Tampa Bay, Florida real estate agent who can give you a better and realistic property pricing estimate.

Naturally what you have to remember is that your own needs are important. The type of lifestyle you envision can help you determine whether renting or buying is the feasible option.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Buying a Home in Rancho Santa Fe

<b>Homes in Rancho Santa Fe</b>

For those who like a little more luxury in their lifestyle a home in idyllic Rancho Santa Fe, California is just the ticket. 

This exclusive location is the favoured home to the super-rich and the famous, as a quick scan through the list of past and present residents of Rancho Santa Fe's luxury houses, mansion and developments will show. It is also the highest income community (with at least 1000 households) in the United States.  It's zip-code - 92067 - is also listed in Forbes Magazine as being the second most expensive zip-code in 2006.

<b>Rancho Santa Fe California Real Estate</b>

Rancho Santa Fe properties have to be designed within strict restrictions.  This means that many of the houses of Rancho Santa Fe cannot be seen from the road-side, due to the fact that they sit within large land-scaped grounds and gardens. 

Apart from the downtown area, which exists aroung the intersection of Linea del Cielo/Paseo Delicias and La Granada/Via de Santa Fe, the region is nearly exclusively residential - the only other buildings being Golf Clubs and Country Clubs.

All of this means that the entire region of Rancho Santa Fe is a beautiful part of the world to live in, and this makes Rancho Santa Fe Real Estate highly sought after.  Rancho Santa Fe houses therefore makes excellent investment properties.

The prices of homes for sale in Rancho Santa Fe range from condos for sale from just over $500,000 to elegant mansions priced at well over $8,000,000 in the more sought-after sub-divisions.

<b>Rancho Santa Fe Homes Information</b>

There were 1,204 households at the time of the 2000 census, for which the median income was in excess of $200,000.  The population is broken down as follows:

- 25.9% under the age of 18
- 2.9% from 18 to 24
- 17.7% from 25 to 44
- 33.0% from 45 to 64
- 20.5% who were 65 years of age or older

<b>Buying a home in Rancho Santa Fe</b>

Rancho Santa Fe is broken down in to the following sub-divisions, all of which provide their own unique flavour of luxury and decadence:

The Bridges
The Crosby Estate
Del Mar C.C.
Del Rayo Downs
Fairbanks Ranch
The Groves
Hacienda Santa Fe
Las Villas
Rancho Del Lago
Rancho Del Rio
Rancho Diegueno
Rancho Farms Estates
Rancho Glens
Rancho La Cima
Rancho Santa Fe Farms
Rancho Santa Fe Lakes
Rancho Santa Fe Meadows
Rancho Valencia
Santa Luz
South Pointe Farms
The Summit
The Tuscan Estates
Whispering Palms

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Buying a Home Could Make People Wealthy

With the real estate market slowing, many potential homeowners and investors are worrying that they missed the boat. But it's not too late.

According to David Bach, author of the best-selling "The Automatic Millionaire Homeowner: A Powerful Plan to Finish Rich in Real Estate," buying a home is still a wise move.

"We're seeing home ownership become accessible to more people," says Bach.

But owning a home isn't for everyone. Those that don't want the expense of maintaining a home and the commitment it involves may consider continuing to rent. The renter is able to move quickly and has little responsibility in the long run. And they have less of a financial interest in the property.

If you are convinced that your area is still in a housing bubble that will start to go down soon, you might consider waiting to purchase until conditions are more favorable to you.

If you have doubts whether owning or renting is best for you, you should consider all of the costs, pros and cons and long term consequences.

One pro that is rarely brought up is the net worth of a homeowner. American homeowners have a median net worth of $184,400, while renters are worth $4,000, according to the National Association of Realtors.

"For most people, it truly is their best asset, their most valuable asset," Bach says of homeownership.

"People work their whole lives and save, save, save, but buying a home and living in it will make them more money than anything else they do."

Bach suggests to ask yourself some questions before making up your mind.

First, how much home can you afford? The basic rule from the FHA is that your total housing costs, including mortgage, insurance and taxes, should not exceed 29% of your gross income. Your total debt, including credit cards, alimony, child support, student loans and car loans, should not exceed 41%.

Then ask where you will find the money. Mortgages come at a cost.

"You have to find some money," says Bach. "You can't borrow everything. But you can go in with pretty little. With $2,000 to $5,000, in many communities you can afford to buy a house."

Finally, look at ways to save money after buying. Look into the total cost of the mortgage. Bach recommends cutting that cost by paying your mortgage off early.

You can do this by paying biweekly, instead of monthly. Or simply add an extra payment to each year, for a total of 13 payments. This could cut your mortgage by years.

Bach says the average person can save between $50,000 and $100,000 on their mortgage by simply looking for ways to save.

"That's a lot of money," he says.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Buying a Home: How to Handle the Legal Documents

by Clare Stevens

Shopping for a home can be a little more complicated than finding the property and the money to pay for it. Between you and the night you sip champagne on the porch of your newly acquired house lie mounds of paperwork, with very small print, and jargon that you probably have neither the time nor inclination to wade through.

Why you need a conveyancer

That’s what conveyancers are for. As solicitors who specialise in real estate properties, they can handle all the documents and make sure that you are fully protected by the law.

     For example, if you’re selling your home, your conveyancer will prepare the contracts and the property deeds. If you’re buying one, he will coordinate with your mortgage lender and handle all the necessary searches to make sure that you’re not being swindled out of your well-earned pounds.  These include a local authority search (to check if your property is sitting on what will later be converted into a highway), a drainage search, a land registry search (so you know you’re talking to the real owner of the property), and a land charges search (to assure the mortgage lender that you can afford the payments).

    Some counties have an even longer list of required searches, making a conveyancer even more important. For example, Cheshire county residents need a brine search, to detect if the levels of minerals present in the ground can affect your house or your health. Most conveyancers will also evaluate your property for any damages or hazards that may need repair or correction, which he will then use to negotiate for a better sale price.

   Your conveyancer will also be the one to deal with the solicitor of your house’s seller (or buyer, whatever the case may be). He will prepare your offer sheet, schedule the necessary meetings and negotiations, and then prepare the final contracts.  Once the sale has actually been made, your conveyancer will also take care of the deeds and make sure that the necessary documents are given to your mortgage lender.

Choosing a conveyancer

With the large amount of money involved in purchasing or selling a home, and the paperwork required by the institutions that will lend that money to you, the fees of a conveyancer are well worth the investment.

     Some conveyancers charge a fixed rate, others set the amount according to a value of the property.  However, fees should not be the sole determining factor behind your decision to hire someone as your legal representative. Choose someone that you’re comfortable with, who offers excellent customer service, and will update you between the long stretches when documents are being processed. As a rule, legal firms that specialise in conveyancing are more likely to provide this kind of dedicated service. You are guaranteed that you are talking someone who knows the ins and outs of real estate, and will not have to worry that the person assigned to you isn’t too busy in the courts to work on your documents.

      It’s also important to ask what is included in the fees, to uncover any hidden charges or at the very least clarify who will shoulder small costs of processing paperwork, such as documentary stamps.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Buying a home? Consider Hiring an Attorney

The most expensive thing most people will buy in their lifetime is the house in which they live.  In addition to being expensive and taking decades to pay for, the purchase of a house also represents one of the more complicated legal transactions most people will ever encounter.  Despite the need for contracts involving bankers, city, state and county tax assessors and other legal entities involved in the sale of land, most people never even consider hiring an attorney to assist them with the purchase of a home.  That's unfortunate, as the relatively small amount of money saved by hiring an attorney now could possibly save thousands of dollars later.

How can an attorney save you money?  By double-checking all of the terms and documents of the transaction to make sure everything is legal and proper.  Most people who buy homes don't bother to check zoning ordinances or whether or not the home or fence on their property encroaches on that of a neighbor.  An attorney can check these things along with tax issues and any one of a number of minor things that most buyers never even know to think about.

Right now in Texas, a number of homeowners who lost their homes to foreclosure are engaged in lawsuits against the company that sold them their houses.  Among the allegations in the case are suggestions that the company that sold the property did such things as:

Tell buyers with bad credit and even previous bankruptcies that they qualified for unusually large home loans.  Some of these loans had monthly payments that exceeded 50% of the buyers' monthly income.  In short, they agreed to lend buyers money that they knew the buyers could not afford to repay.

Provide buyers with mortgage documents that stated that the property wasn't being resold but was rather being refinanced by existing owners.

Offer loan documents that contained a number of blanks which the sellers filled in sometime after closing.  Buyers were later shocked to discover that their monthly mortgage payments were much higher than they had been promised.

Showed the buyers fraudulent appraisals that suggested that the property in question was worth 2-3 times its actual value.

A lawyer would have caught any one of these problems, had even one of the displaced homeowners bothered to hire one ahead of time.  And yet hundreds of buyers appear to have been victims of mortgage fraud because they weren't willing to spend a few hundred dollars to have an attorney look over the documents before they signed them.

Buying a house is agreeing to an obligation that can tie up your finances for decades.  It only seems reasonable that if you are going to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a place to live, you might want to consider spending hundreds of dollars to make sure that the terms of your purchase are legal and reasonable.  A little money spent now could save you a lot of money later.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Buying A Home – Zoning and Architectural Review Board Restrictions

When you buy a home, you need to be aware of the various things that can limit your control over the property. This is as true for finished lots and single family homes as it is for townhouses, condos, and apartments. It’s a good idea to understand these limitations before you buy, so that you can decide whether you’re willing to live with them or not. After you buy, it’s too late; you’re stuck.


In most jurisdictions, zoning limits how a piece of property can be used. There are many variations of residential zoning. In some, no business activity is permitted. Some allow business activity but no signs. In some, no commercial vehicles can be parked regularly.

Some residential zones permit only a single dwelling per quarter acre, per acre or per ten acres. Most limit the owner’s ability to subdivide land. Some allow only single family dwellings while others allow high rise apartments. Still others allow apartments, but limit the height of apartment buildings. Many do not allow mobile homes.

Some jurisdictions have “overlay districts” in addition to zoning. These are common in areas with many older buildings and a community desire to preserve them. Additions to homes of this type are obviously restricted, but restrictions regarding the location, style, height, and even whether they’re allowed at all or not, also applies to fences, sheds, walks, gates, and similar ancillary structures.

Fredericksburg, Virginia has a forty block “historic district.” Residents of this area must follow normal zoning rules. However, they must also submit an application to the Architectural Review Board for any changes to the visible exterior of their homes. This can be a surprise for some new homeowners in the area.

You can find detailed information about zoning, overlay districts and the like fairly easily. Simply visit the courthouse for the county in which the property is located or ask your real estate professionals for assistance.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Buying A Home – What Is That Noise!?!

You’ve found the perfect home, closed escrow and just finished moving in. As you happily fall asleep, all seems well in the world. An hour later, you bolt up in bed to an ear splitting sound. All is no longer well in the world.

An Unholy Racket

If you saw the movie “My Cousin Vinny”, you know what I’m talking about. For those that haven’t, the movie centers on a lawyer, Vinny, who comes to the south to defend his nephew against criminal charges. Every evening, Vinny goes to sleep only to be awoken by some blasting noisy. When house hunting, you need to make sure you don’t get “Vinny’d.”

When you find an area or home you like, make absolutely sure you drive the area looking for any potential noise producers. Roll down the window, turn off the radio and just listen. You might be surprised at what you hear.

If you run across railroad tracks, you better figure out how close they are to your prospective home. Make sure you are near the house when a train goes by, so you can get the full effect. While trains and plains are obvious sources of noise, you also need to consider more subtle situations.

Weekend vs. Week Days

Many homebuyers look at houses early on Saturday and Sundays. This makes sense since you have to work for a living, but it can result in some nasty surprises. The characteristics of a neighborhood on weekends are entirely different than during week days. Make absolutely sure you check out the property during both time periods. To guard against “partying” neighbors, make sure you check the area during evenings as well.

They say home ownership brings peace of mind. Check your neighborhood to make sure this cliché will apply to you!

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Buying A Home – Rain, Sun, and Weather Issues

When buying a home, it can be easy to overlook year-around weather issues. You may think you are purchasing a home in a sunny area, but come to find there is always a heavy cloud cover. This is just one of a number of weather issues to consider when selecting your dream home.


If you must have a sun deck as part of your new home, you better make sure it is going to be sunny! Just because a general geographic area has a lot of sun doesn’t mean your home will. Things to look for include fog and heavy cloud cover for a home in a valley. If the home is located on the side of a hill or valley, make sure you know when it will get sun and shade. Temperatures can be radically different depending upon the amount of sun you get.

When it rains, it really pours! One potential nasty surprise for new homeowners can be the condition of a neighborhood after it rains. In San Diego, for instance, the total rainfall averages roughly 12 inches a year. Despite this low total, there are certain beach communities that grind to a halt because of flooding issues. Even an inch of rain can flood streets to the point that you can’t drive at all. Make sure you stop by a gas station or local store to ask about flooding problems in the area.

I have been known to enjoy a good boating trip and perhaps you have as well. I am pretty sure neither of us would enjoy it in our house. Still, millions of people a year buy homes in flood plains without even knowing it. Eventually, this can lead to a disaster when heavy rains come and you find out the reason they call it a flood plain.

Unlike streets with bad drainage, floods are much more damaging. When a river overflows, flood levels are typically measured in feet. Can you image the effect on your home of a flood that reaches five feet in depth? Well, you probably always wanted to renovate the first floor of your home.

Mother nature has a way of doing whatever she wants. Make sure you avoid her grumpy spells by looking into the effect of weather on your prospective dream home.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Buying a Home – Dealing With Lender Letters

Most people who set out to buy a home, be it house, townhouse, condo, apartment, or mansion on a hill, know they need to have a lender letter in hand saying they are qualified for a loan. What most “civilians” (people not in the real estate business) don’t realize is how much the value of a lender letter varies.

Let’s look at some of the general ways a lender letter varies, which sort you want, and how to present it to a seller to put you in the best possible position to buy that seller’s property. If you’re working with a broker, he or she will coach you in these matters. If you’re shopping on your own, and especially if you’re looking at FSBOs (for sale by owner properties), you need to know this stuff.

Lender letters come in two general types, pre-qualification letters and pre-approval letters. The bold print on the page may call it one thing, and when the letter is read, it actually proves to be the other, so pay attention. A pre-qualification letter is weaker than a pre-approval letter.

Pre-Qualification Letter

The weakest pre-qualification letter basically says that “if everything the borrower has told me is correct, he/she is eligible to borrow $XXXXXX.” All you really have here is the buyer’s word paraphrased by a lender. Unfortunately, there is an old adage in real estate that “buyers are liars”. This is well known, so presenting this type of a letter tells a seller you are not in a very strong position with the lender.

A stronger version says “I have looked at an ‘in file’ credit report, and based on that and what the borrower has told me, he/she is eligible to borrow $XXXXXX.” This is still not great, but it is a step in the right direction.

Pre-Approval Letter

The pre-approval letter says “I have checked this person’s credit reports, seen all necessary substantiating materials relative to income…assets…etc., and my firm is committed to making a loan subject only to receiving a copy of a contract to purchase and the property’s appraisal for the contract price or higher.” The letter may not say it, but it is also subject to the underwriting process that includes looking at updated credit information. Regardless, this letter carries a lot of power and sellers will be very happy to see you.

A Word to the Wise

The above discussion of lender letters brings up something you should be keenly aware of as a buyer. Your credit must not change in any substantial way between the time you first apply for a loan and the time you go to settlement on your new home.

If you’re buying waterfront property, do not go out and buy a boat until after you’ve closed on the property. I once saw someone make this mistake and almost lose the property purchase because of it. He had to quickly find a new lender and accept a higher interest rate to keep the deal from going south.

If you’re moving from a small condo to a larger place, there’s the temptation to run right out and buy more furniture for your new quarters. Fine. Just wait until after you’re the proud new owner.

If you are serious about buying a home, a lender letter is a key part of your negotiating ammunition. To save yourself a lot of aggravation during escrow, get a pre-approval letter before you go house hunting.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Buying A Foreclosed Home Or Property – A Wise Decision?

Foreclosure as the name suggests means a situation in which a homeowner or a mortgager is unable to make payments of principal and/or interest payments on his or her mortgage, so the lender, be it a bank or financier, can confiscate and sell the property as per the conditions in the terms of the mortgage contract. A home that was kept mortgaged becomes a foreclosed home when the owner of the home is unable to or unwilling to release his/her mortgaged home by paying his dues.

The first stage of a foreclosed home is pre-foreclosure that happens when the home owner has missed his/her one payment and is thus considered overdue on the loan. A formal cautionary letter or notice is then sent to the homeowner based on which he/she will have to react at the earliest and make the due payments. In such situations, most of the time foreclosure home owners are driven to sell their home or real estate property to home buyers for fast cash.

Quick and easy sale of home or real estate property for cash is always advantageous for home sellers. Foreclosures can in some cases benefit a seller who will either get paid in full at the foreclosure sale or get the house back to sell again for a second profit. Most of the house sellers are always in a look out for a better deal when they are trying to sell their house for fast cash. The main advantage that the home sellers get is that they can appeal to the large number of home buyers by accepting the greatest number of financing plans.

Also for home buyers, the main advantage behind buying a foreclosed home or real estate is financial savings. Buying a foreclosed home at a foreclosure auction will be much cheaper than under normal context. Buying the foreclosed or pre-foreclosed property by paying less will allow the home buyers to do some investments in its betterment and/or selling it at higher price than it costs. It is a general belief that on an average a home buyer saves up to 30% to 40% when buying a foreclosed property or home.

Along with advantages, there are also some disadvantages in buying a foreclosed home or property. For home buyers, the condition of the interior of the home usually remains undiscovered. Home buyers always tend to buy the foreclosed home or property at a very low market price so that they can afford to spend some amount in doing some restoration or repair work.

There are various ways to invest in foreclosed properties. The most popular way is by purchasing a real estate property or house and then giving it on rent to create a positive monthly cash flow. The second popular way to earn money is to search out foreclosures, buying them, investing in repairing and remodeling and then selling them at a high price. The third way is to purchase a nice foreclosure that is under priced and sell it immediately at a higher cost.

Over the years, it is empathized that buying foreclosed homes is very remunerative. Foreclosures are on the rise and people are unable to retain their home any more. They are anxious to sell their homes quickly before they are foreclosed on. With more and more homes popping up for sale, home buyers will have enough to choose from. Home buyers can pay fast cash for homes that are foreclosed or going to be foreclosed; thereby helping the mortgager to ease out his/her stress.

In today's fast paced lifestyle, many people are lagging behind on payments. Plenty of people are facing financial problems. So, if you are encountering foreclosure or a pre-foreclosure, trying to relocate or transfer job, divorce, multiple mortgage, or just need to <a href=>sell your house</a> fast, there are many home buyers who will simply solve your real estate issues or your foreclosure problems and provide you with a fast cash offer on your house. Normally <a href=>home buyers pay cash for your homes</a> to ensure your fast closing.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Buying a Diamond in the Rough

It may be your budget, or the thrill of doing it all yourself, but you are in the market for a diamond in the rough. But just how rough can a house be before a lender decides not to take the risk on a mortgage?

When you negotiate the contract, make sure that you include a provision for a home inspection for structural integrity, defects and potential problems. This isn't part of the appraisal, it is a separate detail. A home inspection ascertains the health of the house you are buying. Whether it be a bad roof, leaky plumbing or termite damage, a professional inspector will find all of the major problems. As part of your report, you will receive a list of what needs to be repaired or replaced, the time frame and the potential costs. If you are buying a fixer-upper, you may find that your lender will require an inspection. Some will and some won't. But you should insist on one to protect your best interests.

What if you luck out and there are no major problems, just minor ones? Maybe the carpet is worn and needs replacing. Perhaps the deck needs a little work. New paint and fresh air could be all it needs.

Minor, cosmetic concerns are usually not strong enough to scare away lenders, but could lead to negotiations between the buyers and sellers. Unless you've done this before, you may find a good agent is invaluable to negotiate for you.

If you want certain things repaired by the seller, such as the mailbox fixed and the deck painted, make sure it is in the contract. If it is, the seller must perform. You may be able to have the appraisal include the repairs spelled out in the contract. This can help you when getting a mortgage, as lenders will only lend on the lesser of the appraisal or purchase price. Just make sure that it is all in the contract.

Occasionally, your seller may ask to perform the repairs after closing. Many buyers simply ask for a seller's concession. Instead of installing a $5,000 carpet before closing, the seller agrees to reduce the purchase amount by the $5,000 it will cost the buyer to put in new carpeting.

But if you don't have that $5,000 in hand to buy the carpet, don't expect your lender to give it to you. Even if your contract states that the seller will give you back $5,000 after closing, don't expect it to happen. Cash allowances written into contracts can't happen. The lender will not allow the seller to hand over cash at closing. Your real estate agent should steer you away from this and help construct a sales contract that will please both the buyer and the seller. But don't expect to come home with $5,000. It just won't happen.

Buying a fixer-upper can be rewarding. You get to choose how you want to improve the home. But it is a lot of work and definately not for every buyer or lender. Your best bet is to be completely upfront with your lender about your intentions. This will help the transaction to go smoothly.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Buying: Knowing The Area

One of the most important aspects of any home that you move into is, without a doubt; the area. Homes may look fantastic online, but there is always the possibility that the area this fantastic home is in may be less than desirable. Before you move to any new town, subdivision or city, its a good idea to do a little research and find out as much as possible about the place that you are considering calling home. The logical place to start asking questions is to your realtor. Whether you are moving from a distance away, out of state or even out of country you may want to try to find a realtor that specializes in the area that you are interested in. Realtors are a great source of information and usually they know more about a given area than just about anyone.

In finding out about a new area there are some definite things that you will want to find out about. Start by finding out about the area itself. Is is an industrial town? Tourism Based? What kind of atmosphere can you expect when moving there? The next things that you should consider are the employment market and the education system. It's always comforting to know what kind of job environment is in the area you are moving to. Is there room for your career to flourish? Additionally, even if you do not have children, knowing the education system is just a good idea. It is one of the things that people usually consider important in a new town, and if you have to move again; a home in a good education district will fetch a higher price.

Try to find out what the future hold for the area too. This can usually be accomplished by talking to your realtor, but also seeking info from the city itself. Find out if there are any development or expansion plans for the area. Things like proposed developments, both residential and commercial can drastically effect your property values. You will always be well served to stay cognizant of the future of any area that you move to. Keep in mind that potential developments and future plans can make or break an area, so the more info you have at the beginning the better.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Buyers Not on Vacation In Sizzling Resort Market

The phenomenal real estate boom of the past several years has not been confined to sales of primary residences alone. Sales of second homes also have ratcheted up dramatically as vacationers and investors look to snap up these properties amid the lure of low mortgage rates and rapidly increasing home values.

According to a study conducted by the National Association of Realtors, 2.82 million vacation home purchases were made in 2004, up 16 percent from the previous year.

With the rising demand, prices also escalated; the price of a typical vacation home increased 21 percent from 2003 to 2004, about twice the rate of appreciation for the overall home market.

In addition to vacation homes, sales in the second-home market were bolstered significantly by those searching for steadily appreciating investments. Nearly 25 percent of all homes purchased in 2004 were done so for investment purposes - a 14 percent increase from 2003.

Against this backdrop, real estate firms are recognizing the importance of understanding and servicing this influential group of homebuyers.

"Second-home buyers represent a vital and growing part of the overall market," said Brenda Casserly, president and chief operating officer of ERA Real Estate. "These discerning buyers have extremely specific and often widely varying needs, and real estate firms looking to lead in this segment must continue to provide these consumers with an efficient mix of one-on-one and Web-based services and resources."

ERA Real Estate has been an industry leader in this area with its established Resort Properties International program. The program features a team of trained resort experts who can instantly access key resources from around the world and provide specialized information on second-home properties across all price levels and comfort needs.

ERA Real Estate also recently launched, a Web site designed specifically to meet the needs of second-home buyers. Visitors to the site can search for properties categorized by state or other criteria, such as waterfront locations, ski resorts and golf club communities.

Through the site, consumers can connect with sales associates who specialize in the resort and second-home market, and access links to state and local resources as well as market trends.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Buy Your First House Before You Can Afford It

Purchasing a home is most likely the biggest and often the best investment that you will ever make. Why not make that investment now?

If you are saving up with the goal of getting your dream home within the next two to five years, the following ideas could help you buy your house sooner than you planned.

* Buy from a motivated seller. A motivated seller is someone who has a house he or she wants to get rid of quickly. It could be that the owner was unable to sell the house on his or her own or that, even though the house was listed through a real estate agent, it just didn't sell. Because only about 5 percent to 10 percent of sellers are truly motivated, you may need to relax your must-have requirements in a house.

* Find a seller who doesn't need cash upfront. Most sellers will need the money from the sale of their home to buy their next home. Instead, look for someone who has already bought his or her next house. Vacant properties or homes that have been rental properties also are good candidates. By looking for properties like these, you'll be working with sellers who are more likely to wait to get their money.

* Structure your offer as a lease purchase. Instead of buying right away, offer to rent the home for four or five years at a set rate. This will help the seller cover the current costs of the property while giving you the ability to live in your home now, continue to save for the down payment and then buy the home when you're ready. Make sure you're offered the option to buy the home at or below today's value. If the seller is not willing to go along with this, then look for someone who is more motivated to sell.

See if you can get the seller to give you a credit toward the purchase of the home for each month that you pay rent.

Using these ideas, you'll be able to buy that special house this year rather than waiting another two years or more. If the home you get is worth $200,000 today, then at a 10 percent appreciation rate, you could make an extra $40,000 or more simply by getting into the real estate market years ahead of schedule.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Buy to Let Rental Property

Condotel Investments in the Philippines, Buy to Let rental properties are now being preferred to failing Pension Plans as more and more Filipinos and Overseas Property Investors look to the future and retirement.

20 Dollars a day for 6 years will buy you a Studio Condotel unit in the Philippines with a projected ROI through rentals of some 500 dollars per month after 3 years. With preconstruction property appreciating at some 20-30% per annum not only does the Real Estate Appreciation look good but the rental income is in excess of what many Pension Plans offer for the same or similar investment.

With many Overseas Filipinos and Offshore Property Investors looking to start saving for retirement, the Philippines with its comparative low cost of real estate yet high rates of Hotel Accommodations, make the Condotel investment an extremely attractive investment proposition.

Beth Collingz, International Marketing Director for PLC Global, a company specializing in Condo Hotel Sales and Investments in the Philippines for the Lancaster Brand of Condotels, said that many new investors are looking to replace failed pension plans and other future saving schemes with a solid investment in Real Estate.

“Many of my clients are looking for investments that will give them an income for retirement as an alternative to traditional private pension plans that have failed. Personally, I have always regarded Pension Plans as a glorified ‘Pyramid Scheme’. Most company pension plans are insufficient as are Government Pensions. Bank rates for Savings accounts are at record lows. Savvy investors are now looking for a more solid investment with potential for monthly income. Condotels in the Philippines fit the bill”

This potential, high rates of rental returns from Condotel Investments, currently from 8% up to 16% per annum, opens up a huge market not traditionally looked at by Real Estate Agents and Brokers whom all so often run around like headless chickens looking for normal residential profile “buyers” without looking at the by far bigger picture of investments, investing and retirement.

“We look at Condotels as pure investments. Not primarily as Real Estate. If you look at the Condo Hotel market as investing for future income, and think outside of the box, it is plain to see that Condotels are not only real estate investments but more importantly income generating property. Think of Condotels as a Managed Pension Plan. After all, Condotel units are fully managed property. The owner of the property does not have the hassle of renting out the unit and contend with all the normal pit falls of being an amateur land lord. This is taken care of by the Condo Hotel Management” said Collingz.

“One of my clients from Chicago, just purchased 4 Studio Condotel Suites at Lancaster – The Atrium Manila which is currently in preconstruction sales. His plan is to retire in the Philippines in 2012, live in one of the Suites and receive the Condotel rental income on the other three. His outlay for the purchase is only around 85 Dollars a day for 6 years by opting to purchase on a 6 year no prequalification, no down payment, no interest payment plan. Even before completing payment for the units, he will be receiving some $1,500 a month in rental income in additional to any Government or Private Company Pension Plan. Better yet, the rental income is in tune with inflation and buying on preconstruction terms gives real estate appreciation of some 60-80% over 3 years. As Hotel Rates increase yearly, so does the rental income”

Foreign Nationals are legally allowed to purchase as much as 40% of the total number of condominium units on the market at any given time. Overseas Filipinos and more and more foreigners are now emerging as a market for condotel units. Many or our clients are coming from different countries like South Korea, Australia, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia and other parts of the Middle East,” Collingz said.

Lancaster - The Atrium Tower II [which is the second Tower adjacent to the existing “Sold Out” Tower I] is now accepting Reservations for Studio, One, Two & Three Bedroom Suites adopting International Standard Escrow Trust Account “Buyer Safe” Easy Secure Payment Plans… with 6 year interest free payment terms or up to 12 year “In-House” financing available, full condo ownership, no management costs for Condotel Suites and minimum monthly maintenance fees – “You really should take a moment to look at this Philippine Condotel Investment Opportunity” enthused Collingz.

All units at the Lancaster Suites have kitchen facilities. The standard unit price provides for the suite to be finished but not fully furnished. Included in the current price are the interior finishing’s such as tiled & fitted bathrooms, bedrooms with simulated wood plank flooring, living and dining area tiled floorings and lower kitchen cabinets/work tops installed. A complete optional extra interior fit-out package including appliances will be available towards the time the units are closer to being completed towards the latter part of 2009. Monthly condo dues are currently around 80 pesos/square meter of the unit floor area/month..

The Lancaster Atrium Suites are now available on the very affordable and competitive New Payment Plan that provides for Suites to be purchased on a No Interest No Down Payment basis with 67% of the payment payable over 60 equal consecutive monthly installments without interest and the 33% balance payable upon turnover of the unit or to be paid over an additional 5 years from turnover through our hassle free no prequalification “In-House” Finance Plans…

The current selling price [effective March 1, 2007] for the Lancaster Manila Atrium Tower A Tax Exempt Studio Units is Pesos 75,888 or $1,615.00 per sqm. The One Bedroom, Two and Three Bedroom Suites are priced at Pesos 84,994.56 or $1,808.80 per sqm including Government Taxes [R-Vat 12%]. Units may be purchased on a Six Year No Interest Charge Term of payment or longer term “In-House” financing plans. Turnover of units for Tower A will be from December 2009/2010

All payments will be made to the Lancaster Suites Manila Atrium Tower A Equitable PCI Bank Escrow Trust Account. It is anticipated, given the track record on sales of Tower I Units that property appreciation for initial buyers of Tower A Atrium Units will be at least 60-70% on turnover of units.

Beth Collingz

PLC International Marketing Networks

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Buy The Most Expensive House In The Neighborhood?

When looking at homes, one is tempted to buy the best home in a neighborhood. Should you buy the most expensive home on the block?  No.

Think Long-Term

Assume you fall in love with the masterpiece home in a particular neighborhood. It has everything you could dream of: black bottom pool, marble, an incredible kitchen, top of the line windows, stunning brick work and so on. The sellers obviously put a lot of time, effort and money into the home. Accordingly, it stands out as the pearl on the block. Why wouldn’t you want to snap it up immediately?

Before you start signing documents, take a look at the sales prices of comparable homes, “comps”, in the neighborhood. If you compare the comp prices to the dream home, you should notice a pretty significant price difference.  This difference should act as a metaphorical slap in the face or pouring of cold water over your head. The dream home is undoubtedly selling for a price range far beyond the comps. Warning lights should be going off at this point.

You are going to have a problem if you give into temptation and purchase the most expensive home on the block. In fact, you are going to have two problems.

The first problem is the appreciation of the value of the home. The appreciation on the best home in a neighborhood is always going to be dragged down by the structures around it. If you take a $900,000 home from a private community and put it on a block of $250,000 track homes, the $900,000 value is going to come down a lot because the neighborhood will not support it. When you eventually sell, buyers are going to look at the comps in the neighborhood and laugh at a $900,000 asking price.

The second problem is “hemming.” Since you own the most expensive house in the neighborhood, your appreciation potential is already limited. This becomes a bigger problem if you want to remodel or add on to the home. Taking such action would typically add to the value of a home. With the most expensive home, not only will it not add value, it may cut into your equity.  Why? If you do a $50,000 remodel, you may see a $10,000 gain for your $50,000 cost. You just lost $40,000.

Dream or Nightmare

Unless you can accurately predict an increase in valuations for an entire neighborhood, you shouldn’t buy the most expensive home on the block.  If you do, the dream home could quickly turn into a nightmare.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Buy Property Abroad - To Close A deal RIGHT AWAY Is Not The Right Way

Have you ever wondered why Spain is the most popular place in Europe to buy property abroad or invest your money. Could it have anything to do with the spanish way of life or culture along with the weather or the friendly locals. Why so many people are choosing Spain as their prime location to buy property or a home abroad is purely because they want to.

If you buy property abroad or intend on investing large amounts of money then do not expect an easy ride if you have not done your homework. Remember when buying property abroad whether it is Spain or anywhere else on the planet you need to remind your self - location location location.
How many times have we all heard this but it is a fact that is overlooked when looking for a prime location to buy Spanish property? To get the best deal-  the best buy - the best location is to have the best knowledge. Do not make any rash decisions before consulting with an expert in this field.

Laws in real estate differ but the number one rule to adhere to is not to close a deal right away after your first viewing. Do a little research behind the scenes of your chosen prime location. Take notes - photographs and an interpreter with you if dealing with the Spanish face to face?

No matter how much you have your heart set on a property abroad do not rush into anything you may regret at a later date. Some unfortunate people have lost their life savings through dodgy deals.

Things to look out for when buying property in Spain is what facilities are available - like installing a phone line - is it close to shops. See if it has letting potential. Any thing that springs to mind be sure to ask.

When viewing spanish property bring along your notes and fire all your questions at the estate agent don`t leave a stone unturned. An independent advisor is good to have with you when attending appointments. Chat with the  locals who can provide you with any intimate details that you need to know of.

If time is not an issue then double back and visit the area 2/3 times this can tell you a lot about the goings on at different times of the day or year. Winter months can isolate areas with solitude so you could be on your own in parts if you intend living in Spain all year round

Spanish property investments with good letting potential are villas or apartments. Remember location location location applies for this type of deal also.
No matter which part of Spain you choose - jot down travel times of local buses/trains to other destinations. Browse all estate agents to check on property prices. In doing this you will know if your budget is in the margin for most house sales.

Take your time with any venture as big as this - view as many properties as you can this will help build up your knowledge of the present market values in the area. Do not cut corners as you may end up losing more than you bargained for.
All legal issues should be left in the hands of a good Solicitor. Before purchasing a property in Spain it is vital to be aware of the legal process and costs.

If you have appointed a good a solicitor then all transactions will be dealt with by an experienced master in the field of legality. By doing this you now have a guarantee that Spanish legal needs are met. Other requirements your solicitor will see to is to make sure the property is registered solely in the vendor`s name and that no hidden clauses lurk like it is free of any mortgages, encumbrances,  charges, debts or other liabilities.

Do not finalize any agreements with any other; have necessary paperwork sent to your solicitor. Let them negotiate and discuss matters with the seller`s solicitor.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Buy Properties in Preconstruction or Off Plan

Interested in getting in on the condo hotel trend in the Philippines? Perhaps you’ve heard about this new type of vacation home ownership and it sounds right for you.

A condo hotel unit, or “condotel,” is typically a three-star or higher property with a management company that takes care of all the hassles typically associated with ownership, including maintenance and finding renters when you’re not using your condotel unit.

With many new condo hotel properties coming on the market, when is the best time to buy? The answer is easy. In early pre-construction phase of development. Most condo hotels begin selling their units long before the property is built, and often before even the first shovel-full of dirt is overturned. The idea behind a pre-construction purchase is that you’re buying tomorrow’s property at today’s price.

One such property now on the market in the Philippines is Pacific Concord Properties, Inc., Flagship Lancaster Suites Condotel [Manila] development located along Shaw Boulevard, Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila, one of the hottest Condotel Investments in the Philippines

To be called Lancaster - The Atrium [which is the second Tower adjacent to the existing “Sold Out” Tower I] PCPI is now accepting Reservations for Studio, One, Two & Three Bedroom Suites adopting International Standard Escrow Trust Account “Buyer Safe” Easy Secure Payment Plans… with 6 year interest free payment terms or up to 12 year “In-House” financing available, full condo ownership, no management costs for Condotel Suites, and minimum monthly maintenance fees, as buyers or sellers of Real Estate you really should take a moment to look at this Philippine Condotel Investment Opportunity

Marketed by PLC International Marketing Networks, the lead Marketing Partners with PCPI, the Lancaster Manila Atrium Tower A, Shaw Boulevard, Metro Manila, Philippines is a “Full Service” Condominium Hotel [”Condotel”] offering Studio, One, Two and Three Bedroom Suites for sale.

To be completed and ready for turnover from December 2009/2010, the Lancaster Suites Manila Atrium Tower II will provide unit owners with premier residential condo units with the option of enrolling their units in the Lancaster Condotel Rental Pool.

Beth Collingz, PLC’s International Marketing Director said ‘This is a great investment opportunity for Fil-Am’s whom visit Manila for Vacations or Business as they can earn Rental Incomes [at current purchase levels] of some 12-16% ROI per annum as Owner Non-Residents when not using their units through Condotel Management and reciprocal arrangement with Lancaster Cebu Resort Residences. This makes Lancaster Suites one of the Hottest Investment Opportunities in the Philippines”.

All units at the Lancaster Suites have kitchen facilities. The standard unit price provides for the suite to be finished but not fully furnished. Included in the current price are the interior finishing’s such as tiled & fitted bathrooms, bedrooms with simulated wood plank flooring, living and dining area tiled floorings and lower kitchen cabinets/work tops installed. A complete optional extra interior fit-out package including appliances will be available towards the time the units are closer to being completed towards the latter part of 2009. Monthly condo dues are currently around 80 pesos/square meter of the unit floor area/month..

The Lancaster Atrium Suites are now available on the very affordable and competitive New Payment Plan that provides for Suites to be purchased on a No Interest No Down Payment basis with 67% of the payment payable over 60 equal consecutive monthly installments without interest and the 33% balance payable upon turnover of the unit or to be paid over an additional 5 years from turnover through our hassle free no prequalification “In-House” Finance Plans…

The current selling price [effective March 1, 2007] for the Lancaster Manila Atrium Tower A Tax Exempt Studio Units is Pesos 75,888 or $1,615.00 per sqm. The One Bedroom, Two and Three Bedroom Suites are priced at Pesos 84,994.56 or $1,808.80 per sqm including Government Taxes [R-Vat 12%]. Units may be purchased on a Six Year No Interest Charge Term of payment or longer term “In-House” financing plans. Turnover of units for Tower A will be from December 2009/2010

“Foreign Nationals are legally allowed to purchase as much as 40% of the total number of condominium units on the market at any given time. Overseas Filipinos and more and more foreigners are now emerging as a market for condotel units. Many or our clients are coming from different countries like South Korea, Australia, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia and other parts of the Middle East” Collingz said.

Appreciation Makes Pre-construction Appealing. Some people wonder why they should buy in pre-construction phases. After all, your deposit monies are tied up for one to two years. The answer is you get in on the ground floor when prices are lowest and unit selection is greatest. As the condo hotel is being built, it is gradually appreciating. Developers implement planned price increases at various stages of the selling process, often as many as three to five price hikes.

If you purchase your unit at a pre-construction price, it potentially could be worth significantly more at completion. When you sell, that translates into a higher profit for you. The actual profit of course depends on the general market conditions, interest rates and competition. All preconstruction payments will be made to the Lancaster Suites Manila Atrium Tower A Equitable PCI Bank Escrow Trust Account. It is anticipated, given the track record on sales of Tower I Units that property appreciation for initial buyers of Tower A Atrium Units will be at least 60-70% on turnover of units.

Beth Collingz is the International Marketing Director for PLC Global Pinoy located in Metro Manila, which specializes in the sale of the Lancaster Brand of condo hotels. Visit her web site, for more information on condo hotels and to see condo hotel listings, photos and prices.

Beth Collingz

Director - PLC International Marketing Networks

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Buy Investment Property Without Seeing It

Why would you buy investment property without seeing it? It's a numbers game. Whether or not you see the property before you make an offer isn't nearly as important as making sure the numbers make sense.

A man in California used to just send out offers on a hundred MLS listings at a time, offering 25% less than the asking price on each one. Occasionally a few sellers would accept his offers. He never had to look at the homes beforehand. Including an "inspection and approval" clause in the offer meant he could always back out of the deal later when he saw the house. Meanwhile, he efficiently found the truly motivated sellers.

This true story demonstrates that with a good clause or two in the contract, you don't have to worry about making an offer before you see a property. It's true when you buy investment property or your next home. When it isn't everything the seller says it is, you can reject the deal with little or no loss. So why wouldn't you want to look at the property?

<b>Buy Investment Property By Numbers</b>

The main reason you might skip looking at a property before making an offer is time. This is certainly true if the property is far away. If you don't get a price that makes sense, why spend your time traveling to look at real estate investments? A price and terms that make sense - this is what is important. Of course you'll probably want to look at the actual property eventually, but looking at the numbers is how you invest.

Investors value income property according to current cash flow (or should if they want safe and viable investments), so start by verifying income. Get the actual income figures for the past 12 months. Always consider the potential income if rents are raised, vending machines are added, etc., but base your offer on the current income.

Verify all expenses with investment properties. If any expenses listed by the seller seem unusually low, they most likely are. Just substitute your own best guess in place of any suspicious numbers.

After you determine the net operating income, apply the appropriate capitalization rate to arrive at the value. If you're not sure how to do this, get help. However, you really should understand the principle of how to figure a cap rate. This is a numbers game you're playing. 
Calculate loan payments (talk to your banker), and see how much cash flow you'll have. Then you can figure your cash-on-cash return based on how much of your own money you put into the deal. Just divide the cash flow by your investment.

When the numbers work, you can safely make an offer. Inspections will tell you if there are problems that will affect the cash flow. You can always renegotiate if there are such problems (assuming you made your approval of all inspections a contingency of the offer). Of course, you can even go take a look now that you are truly ready to buy that investment property.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Buy foreclosure homes

If you're looking for someone who can help you find the best deals available on all kinds of apartments, houses and commercial real estate, don't turn to an agent or broker. Instead, just visit, where our knowledgeable staff will teach you how to buy foreclosure homes for discounts that will amaze you! These great chances to save are available everywhere, and anyone can learn how to win them, even if you've never bought real estate before in your life!

No matter what you're looking for in foreclosure houses, you'll be able to find it in our comprehensive nationwide database of listings. Each property listings is extremely detailed and comes with all kinds of information about the home and who to contact to pursue it. You'll find listings for all kinds of real estate as well, and in towns and cities all over the nation. With over 500,000 listings available and more added every day, it's easy to find something you love, and for an incredible price!

The houses we have for sale are much different than normal houses on the traditional open market. Our real estate is on sale from a mortgage lender, as a result of the previous owner's inability to keep up regular payments on their loan. Once a homeowner defaults on their loan, the lender will have to find a way to collect the remaining debt owed, and this usually results in scheduling a public sale. However, many properties are undersold at these public auctions, because the lender only needs to collect a portion of the loan to settle the debt. They can sell a home for anywhere from 10 to 50% off its actual value and still make back enough to cover the debt!

That's why we aim to make finding and buying these great property opportunities simple, because they present one of the best deals available anywhere! As a member, you'll learn all about getting them for the best prices possible with our online library of detailed educational information. We'll show you how to pick the best property by forecasting costs and estimating potential values, as well as how to make the right bids. You'll also have our 24-hour Customer Service to count on, so even if you run into questions, you'll never be without help! Sign up with us today and get started discovering great real estate savings when you buy foreclosure homes!

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Burbank California Real Estate

Burbank, California, is located in Los Angeles County, and is nine miles north of Los Angeles, California. Burbank has a population of 100,316. Among its residents are those who work in the media and entertainment field. NBC, Warner Studios, and Disney Entertainment call Burbank their home. The city is served by Burbank International Airport.

Burbank’s homes consist of luxury homes in the hills, and single and multi-family homes throughout the city.  Its sunny weather, prosperous economy, relative safety, and consistently high-ranking schools make Burbank a popular place to live, especially with families and those in media and entertainment.

Burbank properties pool is 41,608 residential properties including Burbank new homes. The median age of real estate in Burbank is 1956. The average household size is 3.14 people. 7% are one bedroom homes, 39% are 2 bedroom homes, 42% are 3 bedroom homes, 10% are 4 bedroom homes, and 2% are 5+ bedroom homes.

Homes With No Mortgage - 26%
Homes With Mortgage    - 74%
First Mortgage Only    - 56%
First & Second Mortgage or HELOC - 18%

Burbank Real estate Tax: Median Real Estate Taxes (2000) were $1,640 comparing to 1999 Median Family income $ 56,767. Compare to USA median yearly Real Estate Tax $1,300 and USA median Family Income $42,000 (1999).

Burbank School District: The Burbank School District consistently rate as one of the most successful in the County. Parents are keen to purchase homes here in order to send their children to the highly successful District.

Children make up 22.3% of Burbank population. Burbank has 22,337 under 18 years old residents, or 0.46 kids per one worker, or 0.54 kids per one household.

Burbank Real Estate & Burbank Homeownership

There are 14146.72 or 34% one person households, 12482.4 or 30% two person households, and 6241.2 or 15% three person households in Burbank, California. Median residents age is 36.4, Senior citizens (65+) make up 12,859 or 12.8%% of Burbank population.

There are 48,430 workers (over 16 years of age) in Burbank. Of these, 89.33% drive to work. Approximately 2.56% of workers in Burbank take public transportation, reflecting the area’s over reliance on cars. An estimated 2.75% walk to work.

Median Burbank homeowner's housing expenses are 22.4%

Crime in Burbank (2003), crimes per 10,000 residents per year
Violent Crimes       - 28.21
Robberies            - 6.88
Aggravated Assaults  - 19.54
Property Crimes      - 268.55
Burglaries           - 49.84
Larceny-Thefts       - 172.26
Motor Vehicle Thefts - 46.45

When making a decision about buying real estate in Burbank California area, many factors should be considered, along with the following statistical data:
Near Medium City            -
Near Large City             - Los Angeles, California
Burbank Zip Codes           - 91501, 91502, 91504, 91505, 91506
Burbank Area Codes          - 818
White population            - 72.18%
African-American population - 2.06%
Asian                       - 9.15%
American Indian & Alaskan   - {-}%
Hispanic (of any race)      - 24.87%
Median Family Income (1999) - $ 56,767%
Population Below Poverty Level - 10.45%

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Bulgarian accession to the EU. The green light for the serious investor?

Bulgaria has recently met all the causes and articles for accession to the EU. Full entry is scheduled for early 2007.  The country will immediately benefit from worldwide acceptance and a massive investment from the European Community.

Bulgaria is at present a relatively poor country.  The average monthly wage is just €280. Membership of the European Community will ensure that the transportation network, domestic and commercial utilities sector, labour rates as well as the fiscal and banking systems will all be brought into line to mirror their more prosperous European neighbours.

With the increasing prosperity, along will come the private and corporate investors eager to cash in on the country's new found wealth.  Over the past three to four years, Bulgaria has seen consistent rises in the property market between 20 to 30%.  A few pioneering investors have taken advantage of this increase but have tended to be either the long-term corporate investor or highly speculative property gambler.

Entry into the European Union have seen the property prices of new member countries almost double within a one to two year period.  Ireland, Hungary, and even Spain are prime examples of this phenomenon.

Bulgaria is set to be no different.  Property prices and the cost of living are amongst the lowest right across the European states.  Massive price increases are predicted within the next 12 to 18 months to echo prices amongst other member states.

The country itself offers a vast selection of city, coastal, mountain and rural investment opportunities. 

Sofia, the capital, is experiencing massive corporate investment from companies relocating to take advantage of the low labour and rental cost:

The Black Sea Coast, with resorts such as Sunny Beach, Golden Sands and St. Vlas, experiences higher summer water temperatures than the Mediterranean along the Spanish mainland. Tourism is increasing massively year on year as is the number of  visitors investing their own home in the sun.

The mountain resorts, Borovetz, Pamporovo and Bansko offer the longest ski season in the whole of Europe. Prices for ski apartments are around 70% cheaper than other popular European resorts and property purchases are booming.

Existing rural properties can often be purchased for less than the price of a car. Hardy purchasers can expect huge bargains, huge potential and tiny prices.

Many experts agree with that prices are due to surge over the coming months in anticipation of accession. Returning holidaymakers, impressed by the value for money and excellent selection of properties that Bulgaria offers, will further fuel the property boom. The time for the serious investor to take advantage is now.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

BULGARIA - The Hype, False Urgency and Exaggerated Returns

Did you see the episode of the BBC2 program 'How to pay off your mortgage in 2 years'. In this episode the man of the family travelled to Bansko, Bulgaria looking for an investment property. I am not sure of how much he had to spend but he was taken to view a number of properties by an agent from an 'un-named' agency and charged a whopping 1000 Euros for the privilege of doing so. Now this in itself should have started alarm bells ringing.

Many agencies in Bulgaria, both Bulgarian and British owned charge a viewing fee. Some charge a set fee for a day's viewing while some  charge per mile you need to drive to view properties. Now why should you pay for the privilege of looking at properties you are considering buying. The reasoning behind this practice seems to be that there are so many time wasters just viewing properties when they have no real intention of buying anything. But how true is this? Most foreigners going to Bulgaria have at least some interest in investing in property over there as they have all been bombarded with the same hype over the last couple of years.

So this guy I mentioned above settled on a couple of properties that were of particular interest - a new build apartment and a house in a village about 5-10km away from Bansko.

The guy was told by the agent that these types of houses hardly appear on the market and that the one he was interested in would be sold within a couple of weeks so he needed to find the deposit and put it down to reserve the property straight away.

To clinch the deal the agent told the guy that if he bought the property now he would make a profit of an unbelievable £175,000 in a couple of years. Something along the lines of a 200 - 300% increase in value!

Well the guy fell for it, hook, line and sinker. If he had had the thousands of pounds for the deposit in his pocket, he would have handed it over to the agent straight away.

Luckily he didn't and so he flew back home and after discussing the matter with his family, he had second thoughts and decided not to pursue the house in Bansko. In fact I think he went on to buy a house for renovation in the UK.

However, this is so typical of the tactics used by unscrupulous agents in Bulgaria and other countries to try and get you to part with your hard earned cash.

They will try and make you think properties are in short supply, that they will be snapped up by another buyer almost immediately and talk of totally unrealsitic gains. You can avoid being taken for a ride by doing your research and not rushing into anything.

There are plenty of properties available, yes prices are rising a little but is it not better to end up paying a tiny bit more for taking your time and finding out the facts first than rush into something you may regret later.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Bulgaria’s Hottest Property Spots


Sunny Beach
The country’s largest package holiday resort has a good beach with excellent leisure facilities, entertainment and activities. It is close to Bourgas’ international airport and has been a focus for building and buyer interest, although over-development is becoming a problem, with a glut of new properties meaning unreliable rental returns.

Golden Sands
A large package resort with a good beach and facilities set in pretty surroundings on the forested coast north of Varna. Easy access to Varna airport and the city. Strict building controls have limited development and ensure strong demand for property.

The country’s largest ski resort, which is enjoying major infrastructural investment, including a new golf course. The negative impact of rapid development could be reduced by a clamp-down on new developments in the area.

European’s most southerly ski-resort is increasingly popular with the British

Veliko Tarnovo
The picturesque countryside around this historic city is the target for a growing number of foreign buyers looking for peaceful rural retreats and renovation properties. The beautiful scenery has led the area to be dubbed “Bulgaria’s Tuscany”.

Renovation properties and off-plan developments in the country’s capital are popular with investment buyers for their solid rental returns and capital appreciation.

Rising Stars

A small seaside town, north of Varna, that is near a new golf course development. Easy access to Varna city and its airport.

A quiet beach resort favoured by Bulgarian holidaymakers, which is set in beautiful countryside halfway between Bourgas and Varna.

Provincial city on the Danube that has a hinterland of unspoilt countryside dotted with villages.

An atmospheric seaside town with good beaches that is close to Bourgas airport.

A small ski resort near Sofia that has been slated for major investment.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Bulgaria – The Best Property Investment In The EU.

Investing in real estate is regarded as probably the safest and most consistent way to increase your capital. Worldwide property investment is no longer the preserve of the super rich or readily connected but with the event of the internet and a simplified banking system, is open to all of us.

Massive fortunes are built and grown through property investment and the sheer size of the global market offers the chance to build a property portfolio with even if you have the smallest budget.

Emerging markets and the ready availability of cheap investments, can be you’re your pension plan and a source of regular income.   The key is identifying the fastest appreciating areas with affordable property that will offer consistent growth and huge capital returns.

Currently, in the European market, Bulgaria is the current hotspot with an average growth rate of 30% with the cheapest property prices in the EU. There are several other countries in the EU, which attract foreign investment for a variety of reasons. None, however, can rival the sheer number of factors, which makes Bulgaria an irresistible, safe and compelling location for your investment capital:

<li>The cheapest cost of living in the EU-- 50p for a beer and less than £5 for a three course dinner are prime examples of why more and more holidaymakers and repeat visitors are flocking to the country</li>
<li>The cheapest real estate in Europe-- you can buy a detached house in the country with land for less than £10,000!</li>
<li>Outstanding natural beauty-- where else can you find 220km of sandy beaches, 1700 hours of sunshine a year and the longest ski season in Europe?</li>
<li>Ease of Access-- Bulgaria is approximately three hours from the UK by plane with all the low cost airlines now scheduled to fly there</li>
<li>Increasing exposure-- All the major tour operators now offer packages to Bulgaria at roughly 30-40% the cost of the Spanish or Portuguese equivalent</li>
<li>Rapidly growing marketplace-- Visitor numbers and potential buyers are growing at over 20% per annum</li>
<li>Sustained economic growth-- Bulgaria is experiencing one of the best GDP growth rates in Europe at 4.7% per annum</li>
<li>Stable currency-- the Bulgarian Lev is pegged to the Euro</li>
<li>Stable political and religious communities-- Bulgaria is a full member of NATO has no history of civil upheaval and no questions over land ownership </li>
<li>Booming house prices-- 30% growth rates are the norm, your money would have appreciated by over 50% in key areas in the last year</li>
<li>Full membership of the EU-- Bulgaria will become a full member of the EU in 2007. This international acceptance will promote massive government investment and expansion, accelerate the growth of the country and ensure the highest capital growth and rental yields for your Bulgarian property</li>

Property prices are continually rising and will surge with full membership of the European Union. You can invest now in either off-plan developments or existing resale properties at bargain prices that are approximately 25% of Spanish, French, Italian or Portuguese alternatives. The next few years will increase the value of your property to fantastic heights.

Mark Emerson is the sales director for Investment Property BG Ltd. The company specialises in high return investment property in all areas of the Bulgaria marketplace with prices from under £10,000. You can obtain a free copy of their investment guide ‘5 Reasons You Must Invest In Bulgaria Now’ and access their properties at <a href=""></a>.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Building Up The Old Neighborhood Hometown Pride-Investors have been working to renovate old neighborhoods.

If you've noticed that the "bad side of town" has taken on a surprisingly good look, you're not alone. That may be because investing in the look and feel of communities has become big business-and towns across the country have benefitted.

Buying and remodeling residential real estate at breakneck speed has become a hot career for private investors and a huge boost to cities in dire need of a facelift.

For instance, a firm called Red Brick Investment Properties, LLC, a HomeVestors of America franchise in Gary, Ind., is an expert in the industry, gutting and remodeling homes from roof to floor in 10 to 12 days and in large volumes. The welcomed changes in return have earned the company a place with Gary's Community Development Department to offer discounts to first-time homebuyers.

But when is a home-even an ugly home-too old for salvaging? For one area of Macon, Ga., the answer is never.

Charles Rutland, a real estate investor in Macon, fought so hard to keep his childhood neighborhood of Pleasant Hill on the National Historic Register that his HomeVestors franchise, PRG Realty LLC, pledged $1 million toward rehabbing homes in the area.

Rather than bulldoze and lose the architectural heritage of the now-famous shotgun houses, Rutland saw a need and an audience interested in rehabbing and owning a piece of history in the city. The area was one of the first places in the state where African-Americans could own real estate. It now has a bright future once again.

That bright future extends to the thousands of homeowners across America who have affordable and attractive starter homes thanks to real estate investors willing to put "sweat equity" into existing neighborhoods. In total, HomeVestors has more than 250 franchisees in 33 states across the U.S. with plans to buy more than 8,000 homes in 2006. Ugly real estate may never have looked so good for the investor and the future homeowner.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Building The Dream Home

Building your Dream Home?

Maybe it’s a Low-country beauty overlooking a sun-kissed green or a contemporary A-frame along the fairway.  Whatever and wherever your imagination goes, the dream homes provided by Golf Magazine, The Progressive Farmer and HGTV demonstrate the latest trends in laying a solid foundation for your dream home.

When plans go from daydream to drafting board to job site, it’s important to involve skilled professionals who share your vision and enthusiasm.  Choosing a qualified architect to map out your dream home is a necessity.  In the case of Golf Magazine’s Dream Home at Reynolds Plantation on Georgia’s Lake Oconee. Cincinnati architect Don Beck created plans for a lavish 4,500-square foot home with four master bedrooms and a locker room. Getting a feeling for how willing the architect is to work within your design requests is also essential.  Emphasizing country living at its best, The Progressive Farmer dream house is designed for people with a penchant for rural life.

Building your dream home might mean incorporating your plans into a themed community – design restrictions and architectural standards.  Builders of  The Progressive Farmer dream house at McLendon Hills, a lake and equestrian community near Pinehurst, N.C., incorporate cottage influences into the design. HGTV’s dream home at Cumberland Harbour in St. Mary’s, Georgia has both coastal and Victorian elements.

Many of the nation’s top builders and suppliers contributed to the materials and amenities of each dream home – products you’ll want to consider using once two-by-fours start going up.  Golf Magazine’s dream home features paint provided by Ace Hardware, broadband phone service by AT&T, and state-of-the-art appliances and consumer electronics by Best Buy.  Your builder should be able to recommend materials that are both energy-efficient and consistent with your home’s design theme.  Altogether – from breaking ground to laying a welcome mat – you can expect the construction of your dream home to take a year to a year and a half.

Sometimes you need to see it to believe it. To stir would-be dream homebuilder’s imaginations, each of the 2004 dream homes spent several months open to the public.

In addition to being featured in its November 2004 issue, Golf Magazine’s dream house at Reynolds Plantation was open to the public. According to Bill Houghton, Vice President of Marketing for Reynold’s Plantation, approximately 17,000 people toured the home in six months.  The Progressive Farmer Idea House and Farmstead was open for tours this summer and was featured in the August 2005 issue.  HGTV’s dream home tours at Cumberland Harbour debuted in May 2007 with a Winner’s Weekend that awarded one of approximately 35 million contestants the dream house itself, worth  $1.2 million. Also a giveaway event, the HGTV 2006 dream house is under construction at Grey Rock at Lake Lure, NC.

At 4,500 square feet, Golf Magazine’s dream house features a spacious, “’Hunt Club’ interior with leather as a fabric of choice, lending a ‘sense of sophistication’”, according to interior designer Jan Vorderburg.   Four master bedrooms with accompanying bathrooms guarantee a luxurious stay even guests will enjoy.  Golf Magazine publisher Chris Whitman said, “The Golf Magazine dream house has exceeded expectations on every level…truly a dream come true for golfers.”

Recalling America’s rural past, The Progressive Farmer 3,500 square-foot dream home at McLendon Hills is “designed for people who choose the country as their place to live…with stalls and a tack room, the tiered garden, the pond and pastures.  It literally sets the standard for country living,” says Jack Odle, Editor in Chief of  The Progressive Farmer.

The warm breezes of coastal Georgia influenced the building of HGTV’s Cumberland Harbour dream home.  The 3,000 square-foot, fully furnished home includes Victorian influences that harkens to a by gone era. A 230-foot, screened-in boat dock allows bug-free access to local waterways. “We want every Dream Home to have its own identity,” said Atlanta consultant Jack Thomasson, who contributed to the 2004 HGTV home.

Capitalizing on its 2004 dream home success at Cumberland Harbour, Land Resource Companies (LRC) was again honored to play host to HGTV’s dream house giveaway.  Currently under construction at Grey Rock resort in western, North Carolina – a mountain living community also forged by LRC – the 2006 HGTV dream home promises the same high quality and attention to detail as its coastal counterpart.  “I am very pleased that we had the opportunity to offer another community that is on the level of Cumberland Harbour”, said Bob Ward, President and CEO of Land Resource Companies, with respect to the 2006 dream home site.

Originally appeared in Living Southern Style Magazine, Winter 2006

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Building Our Soul Around You

In an era wherein real estate prices have gone over the roof and you have much lesser time for your real estate investments and other realty purchases, Rainforest Holdings fervently believes in what we call as the CCC  "Customer Centric Consulting" Paradigm. All our constructions and projects have been thought of and conceived keeping the customer in mind and though it might sound cliched, it is true that we are obsessed with what the customers have to say, feel or think after the completion of the project. We aim to be the one-stop source for anything the customer might have in mind when it comes to realty. We also strive for that one single positive testimonial that has the power to make or break our brand in the highly- competitive market.

The Tag line for rain Forest Holdings goes " Built for Life" - There isn't anything fancy here except for the fact that everything we do, from the Idea, preparation, conceptualizing the Idea, The actual work, the quality of the materials used, the processes Implemented including the ones we have for our back-office run on the High-quality track. This is an almost monomaniacal obsession with the company from the very beginning. We believe that Homes are where Humans live and hence everything nook and corner, every recess and every shelf has been thought of earlier. it is almost like placing you there first and then building the home over you.

Rainforest Holdings has worked on projects which have some of the most beautiful, exotic, exquisite and breathtaking villas, apartments and resorts. As if the customer isn't pampered for choice, each one of these projects has seen some tremendous amount of work from qualified, experienced and dedicated professionals all working together to get you the quality we insist on so much.

Also, When we talk about real estate development projects, we usually come across developers who just finish projects and dump it onto us, well, we don't believe in that. In fact we are totally against it. We have been in this business for a long time and have amassed a lot of expertise in the same. We aspire to help our clients on an individual basis since we know that each customer has unique requirements. We help them in finalizing the paper work, follow the prescribed ownership norms, enable crease less transactions and keep everything simple, fair and easy.

Rain forest Holdings believes in bring a home to you. Every material laid out in our projects has been selected keeping customers and their requirements in mind. Every professional who had partnered with is or worked with us has been hand picked only when we were absolutely sure that he/she could do the job. Our villas, resorts and apartments aren't just brick-and-mortar. We had built them to be an extension of our heart-and-soul, an idyllic representation of who we are, what we do and how we do, to our esteemed clientele.