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Category Archives: Real Estate

Deal With a Low Home Appraisal

Here are a few reasons why a home appraisals may come in low:

  • Inflated home price because of multiple offers.
  • Declining real estate market due to a large inventory of homes and not enough buyers.
  • The seller has overpriced the home.
  • The real estate appraiser lacks experience and doesn’t understand the influences on value.
  • The real estate appraiser incorrectly selected his comparable sales for his report which may have resulted in a lower home value than what should have been assessed.

Solutions for Low Appraisals

If a low home appraisal is threatening to sink your sale, purchase or refinance, stay calm, here are a couple solutions:

    • The buyer can pay you the difference between the purchase price you agreed upon and the appraised price in cash, you can sell the property for the appraised value and get the difference from the agreed upon higher price in a lump sum cash payment if the buyer is able to do so.
    • If you are the seller of the home you do have the option of lowering the selling price. If you don’t you will run the risk of every buyer running into the same problem and not being able to get a mortgage because of a low appraisal.
    • The seller can offer to carry a second mortgage for the difference.
    • If the buyer feels they absolutely have to have your home and you are not willing to lower the selling price and the buyer cannot come up with a lump sum to pay you (as mentioned in option 1) you could accept having them make payments to you over a period of time instead of the lump sum.
    • Get a second opinion, have the buyer ask the mortgage lender for a list of their approved appraisers and select another company on this list and hope for a higher value, you could end up wasting another $300 on an appraisal but appraisers are not perfect and a mistake could have happened.
  • Cancel the transaction.

Have your realtor put in your purchase and sale agreement a loan contingency that if the home appraises for a lower value that you will get your money back (if you’re the buyer). If you are a seller being affected by a low appraisal propose on of the above options to your buyer if you would like to try and salvage the transaction.

 

Shadow Inventory

Banks hold on since it allows them to release their inventory over time to keep their books in check and also to provide that easy liquidation to stimulate the real estate economy when necessary. Banks will now be getting more money for those newly released properties, then say 2 years ago, due to the steady increase in home prices and low inventory levels. If they chose to release all at once, it would flood the market with “distressed properties” and bring down property values.

How much “Shadow Inventory” is still out there?

Foreclosures have been steadily declining since 2013 with the highest shadow inventory then at 2.2MM. According to the National Association of Realtors, there is still about 4 years still on the books and it is possible that we could soon see more!

More “Shadow Inventory”? Why? (HAMP) Home Affordable Modification Program

In 2017 and beyond, many homeowners may find it difficult to make their mortgage payments due to “resets” with HAMP thus pushing them into foreclosure. The government’s Home Affordable Modification Program provided temporary relief to borrowers during the housing crisis. These reliefs ended after five years and now payments will be “reset” thus causing loan payment increases for nearly 900,000 homeowners. Some of those are likely to find it difficult to keep up with the payments in our current economy.

Where do Investors find “Shadow Inventory”?

Forget about calling the loss mitigation department or asking the cashier at your Big Bank. They won’t be able to help you. Instead, savvy real estate investors can approach the REO departments of smaller regional banks, credit unions and portfolio lenders to find out what could be “lurking” in the shadows. This presents an opportunity to beat out the competition and purchase at greater discounts.

But my favorite way to locate “Shadow Inventory” is what I call “Driving forDollars”. Simply drive through areas that have high foreclosure activity and look for the white sticker posted on the front window or door of the house. This typically contains the information of the bank or asset manager of the property and their phone number. Give them a call and see where they are in the foreclosure process and if they’re ready to make a deal!

The NEW kind of “Shadow Inventory”!

There is a new kind of shadow inventory on the market these days and I’m not talking about the REO kind. Many successful agents have their own shadow inventory. If you’ve been in the business for an extended period and built up a clientele, these clients typically contact you well in advance of the property going on the market. You advise them of the steps needed to get the house ready to show which typically means doing repairs such as paint, carpet, landscaping, staging, etc. Therefore, there is a period of time before the property actually hits the market creating a different type of shadow inventory. Contacting your favorite realtor about this type of inventory can definitely increase your chances of finding that Dream home.

Benefits of Fix and Flip Loans

There are many advantages to fix and flip loans and the demand for this source of funding is steadily increasing in the real estate investment industry.

Four key benefits include:

    • Quick Approval: Getting approved for a fix and flip loan is a far quicker process when compared against the traditional banking system. If the borrower has submitted the requested documents, a private lender can approve the loan within a couple of days whereas a traditional financial institution can take at least a month. In addition to the significant longer wait time for bank loan approvals, the borrower will be required to submit numerous documents and clear multiple conditions as part of the process.
    • Any Property: Properties in varying states of the condition can qualify for a fix and flip loans. Whether the property is bank owned, a short sale, a foreclosure, or in a dilapidated state, a borrower is still likely to find a hard money lender willing to fund the deal. Once again, a borrower may not have the option of funding these types of real estate opportunities with a bank. Banks are very risk averse and have strict rules in place as to what type of property they can accept as part of their loan portfolio.
    • Zero Prepayment Penalties: If you take out a loan from an established bank, you may be hit with penalties should you have the opportunity to pay the loan off before the maturation date. This is called a prepayment penalty. Most fix and flip lenders will not subject you to this fee.
  • Repairs Covered: When you buy a property with the intention to flip it, a significant portion of your budget will be spent on construction and renovation costs. A fix and flip lender will usually set up a loan reserve which will cover repair costs of the property in addition to interest. This can alleviate a lot of stress and pressure for builders and developers since they don’t have to worry about spending money out of pocket for repairs or payments.

Teaming up with a solid lender who understands your property, the local real estate market, and is willing to help you throughout the acquisition, construction and selling process is vital. When choosing a hard money lender, keep the following in mind:

    • The lender must have sufficient experience in the industry. A private lender that has deep roots in the real estate investment market will not only be able to offer you a better deal but will also have numerous contacts that will prove helpful along the way – from recommended settlement companies, to permit expeditors and other preferred vendors. This can prove to be a great asset as speed, quality and efficiency is the name of the game in the fix and flip world. The less time you need to spend vetting companies and contractors is more money in your pocket.
    • Check the history of the lenders to ensure that they are genuine and have a good track record. It may be worth taking a closer look at lenders that tempt borrowers with “teaser rates” or a “no documents” underwriting process. As with most things in life, if it seems too good to be true – it usually is.
  • Finally, you should check out what previous or current customers have to say. Is the lender responsive and knowledgeable? How many loans do they have on the street? Do they have good ratings on Google or the BBB? Just as the lender performs due diligence on their borrowers, the borrowers should, in turn, conduct due diligence on the hard money lender. It’s a partnership and both parties need to be solid and committed to the process in order to ensure success.

 

Risks Of Trying To Market

1. This past year or so: In the past year, or so, we’ve witnessed, the price of real estate, in many markets, escalate, exponentially, in a short – period of time. For example, one of the houses, I listed, and represented, not only sold, at nearly 15% over asking price, but there were 22 qualified offers, by the end of the first weekend. We all remember, that, often, in the years before, having to re – price, and adjust listing prices, to get a house sold. Up – markets, often, arise, because of a confluence of factors, such as supply, and demand, low mortgage rates, and the perceptions of improving overall economic and employment conditions. However, prices rose, so quickly, now that mortgage rates have risen slightly, and more houses are listed, we are now, in a somewhat, normal, real estate market. Those who were represented by knowledgable real estate agents, were prepared for the eventualities, and, avoided the danger, of pricing a house, too high. In normal, or weaker markets (e.g. buyer markets), home sellers get the best results, when they price, their houses, properly, from the start!

2. Knowing and understanding the different types of real estate markets: There are three, basic types, of real estate markets: (1) sellers; (2) buyers; and; (3) normal. A sellers’ market is when there are more buyers than sellers, a buyers market is when there are considerably more houses, available, than sellers, and a normal market is when, conditions are somewhat, in – between. Low mortgage interest rates, and optimistic perceptions (regarding the overall economy), often introduce higher prices, and a sellers’ market. When the market becomes over – heated, and prices rise, too quickly, eventually, it cools and dampens enthusiasm, and brings forth a different mindset, and set of conditions. Of course, there’s often, many gradations, in – between.

3. Potential dangers: Buyers who believe, they know – it – all, often offer too low, offers, which not only are refused, but the seller, often considers the offer, insulting, and won’t negotiate. Greedy home sellers, often, over – price their houses, and lose their opportunities of selling their homes.

Reasons Some Rent

1. Down – payment: There might be several reasons, certain individuals, lack the necessary down – payment, needed, to put down, in order to purchase a house. Some lack the necessary discipline, while others might not have the financial necessities, or have experienced major obstacles (economic/ financial, etc), which have made it challenging, to put together the funds. Others are afraid, to proceed, because they lack the self – confidence, etc, which makes them, ready, willing, and able, to handle the stress, etc.

2. Reserves: In addition to having the needed, up – front, funds, there are many other financial obligations. and preparations, needed and necessary! Wise individuals put together, at least 6 to 9 months, equivalence, in case of any interruption in earnings, etc. In addition, there should be separate reserves, for initial changes, or modifications, most new homeowners, perform. Then, money should be put aside, for regular repairs, upgrades, modifications, renovations, and unforeseen issues.

3. How much do you want it?: Are you prepared for home ownership? When you rent, your landlord is responsible for necessary repairs and maintenance, but when you own, you not only have to pay for it, but be responsible for either, performing the task (if you are capable) yourself, or bringing in a professional, to take care of it. This includes: electricians; plumbers; painters; concrete workers/ masons, etc.

4. Confidence: Do you have the necessary degree of self – confidence, to trust yourself, and your abilities, to handle the stresses and tensions, involved, in owning, a home, of your own? If the stresses and tensions, are things, you don’t want to get involved in, and/ or, handle, then, owning a house, may not be, for you.

Getting New Clients As a Realtor

Create your own circle of offline connections and influences. As much as the online world is essential to widen your connections, the offline connections and influences is equally essential. Start with your family and friends. Then add your past classmates even those from your elementary days whom you still remember. Your teachers can be great additions. Move on to those whom you are tapping services as professionals such as your doctors, dentists, hair stylists, pet groomers and fitness coaches. The parents of your children’s classmates and friends can also expand your offline connections. If you have business contacts, add them as well. Don’t forget your neighbors. They can be great sources of referrals.

Build a better online network of friends. Through social media, you, as a real estate agent is bestowed greater power to enhance online connections. Your network can be a greater web of interconnected persons starting with your family members down to their own friends, acquaintances, friend of friends, and so on. Before you notice it, your network has expanded to include professionals of diverse titles not only in your locality but also in adjacent towns and nearby cities. If you think they are not relevant, you may be wrong with the impression. Anyone in your online network of friends can always be a great source of referral even those who you seldom see to be adding activities in their social media accounts.

Send mailers, both online and offline. Now that you have established both your online and offline connections, it is time to introduce yourself as the rookie real estate agent. For offline mailers, be sure to have a formal tone. Give your full name, license number, the firm you are connected too, its address, and contact numbers of you and the firm. Inform them of the services you are offering.

Wholesale Real Estate

Contract Assignment: This is the easiest, but comes with some risks if not done correctly. It is also somewhat restrictive as bank owned properties will prevent this. This works well when you negotiate your deals directly with the seller. The way this works is you will get a house under contract and then you will assign your rights in the contract to another buyer for a fee. That new buyer will take on the rights and responsibilities in the contract and will close in your place. It is best to get your fee paid up front, but it is very common to get your fee when your buyer buys the house. Here are a few things to keep in mind when assigning contracts.

Be sure that you always disclose to your seller that you are or may assign the agreement to another buyer for a fee. I suggest you actually put this in the contract. Sellers should be OK with this if you are transparent that you are an investor who buys houses for a profit before you start to negotiate.

I would get money from your money that is at least enough to cover any earnest money you put up with your seller. That way if your buyer defaults on the agreement you at least cover your costs. Always try to get the entire fee paid when you assign the contract.

I like this way the best because it is easy to do on your end, it is easy for the buyer and the buyer’s lender, and it is the cheapest way to go.

Double Close: This just means that you actually buy the house and then resell it. There are several ways to do this, but the most common is to buy and sell in the same day or within a day. Typically, you will need to bring in financing to get your closing done with the seller, which is why this is my least preferred method to wholesale. Also, because you have two closings you will have two sets of closing costs, so it is the most expensive way too. With that said, some wholesalers prefer this method because they do not have to disclose to the seller their intent to resell and they can both keep their deal with the seller and their deal with their buyer private. It is believed by some that this is a good way to protect your profits. The information will all become public record at some point, but that is well after the closing.

This is the method you will use by default if you do not do your contract on the front end correctly, so we do see double closing frequently.

Flip the Entity: This has become the most common way to wholesale in my market. Most, if not all, the successful wholesalers will use this strategy. Especially when wholesaling foreclosures where contract assignments are forbidden.

The way this works is the wholesaler will set up a separate entity, like an LLC or a Trust, and put that entity as the buyer of the house to be wholesaled. They will then sell the entity itself for a fee. The benefit with using this strategy is that actual contract on the house does not change. Since the buyer of the house is the entity, there are no issues with any regulation or assignment restrictions. The downside is it could be more work because of the extra step to set up the entity, and there could be additional fees to register the entity with the state. The risk for the buyer is whenever you buy a company you are buying all of it. So, if the entity was used in another transaction and owes money to anyone, the new buyer could be on the hook. Knowing this, the best way to do this transaction is with a brand-new entity used for this one purpose.

About Evolution of Green Real Estate Properties

Rainwater collectors
Rainwater harvesting is effective way of storing rainwater for domestic usage. By using this method in our home, a large scale of water scarcity can be reduced.

Use of wooden furniture’s
Consumers are considering organic materials like wood and bamboo to be used in interior furniture. Plywood made from wood chips and window treatment, which include bamboo shades are some of the organic designs evolving in the green properties. Wooden furniture can add warmth, richness, comfort and finesse to the household area.

Natural landscaping
It is one of the important factors for the green real estate property. Properties, which have native plants and trees growing in and around the surroundings, have much demand among the consumers. A property, which has artificial grass lawns, requires lot of water to be supplied whereas native plants and trees require only seasonal rainfall to grow. Plenty of water can be saved by having natural growing trees and plants.

Eco-friendly interior insulations
Interior insulation in home is necessary as it affects the room temperature. Use of eco-friendly insulations with wooden chips, cotton, small broken pieces of stones and rocks, newspapers, cellulose insulation can reduce the noise and green house gas emission. Natural insulations have a low embodied energy and are fully disposable/recyclable at the end of their life.

Due to the increased demand in green real estate, many firms have started to promote their properties as eco-friendly homes. Buyers are showing more interest in having energy efficient products and systems in properties. Many financial institutions and private sector firms are investing huge money in green real estate predicting its demand in the future. According to government policies, investors who are investing in this sector pay fewer taxes compared to commercial sector investing. Green building construction has become increasingly popular and construction of such buildings has been a great challenge in long run. A green building is setting up new avenues in sector and increases the talent among the architects, environmentalists and suppliers.

Get the Most Out of Your Property

If you aren’t going to work with a designer and you would like to do it yourself, I suggest going to the library or buying a bunch of up-to-date home style magazine to get ideas of what’s in right now. Knowing your market isn’t such a big deal because most everyone wants something chic and stylish. Something I like to call “urban chic”; a lot of clean lines, minimalism and bright open spaces. A Zen like approach. That look is selling to the mass market right now.

First impressions are always important, so the outside of the house needs the most love. Don’t go boring either. Chose exciting colours like grey/mauve, terracotta or sage. Paint everything that needs it, wood, railing, mailbox, light fixtures, etc. I’m not talking all one colour, have some black or white in their for contrast. If they can’t be painted, replace.

If there isn’t any landscaping or it’s shot, you need to revamp the look. Take out or trim everything that is overgrown. Be ruthless if necessary. Cedars are great when they are green and small, however if they are yellow and too tall, get rid of them. Keep the look short, so you can see the entrance way. Weed the grass if any, add more seed. Clean out the dirt of debris and weeds, add more dark earth and mulch. Make a nice clean line between the grass and garden. I would invest in a couple of bushes that contrast each other and some bright annuals that light up the front.

Floors are the most important. They make such a big impact. They have to be nice. If there is hardwood I suggest refinishing them. Staining them dark is always a nice touch. Parquetry looks incredible stained chocolate. It goes from a bad 1970’s look to something modern and Asian looking. If the floors need to be replaced, bamboo and other sustainable flooring are trendy right now. If the lino is old, change it. If you can afford tile, do it.

Kitchen. If the kitchen is an old wood 1950’s style, no need to rip that out and redo it and spend all that extra money. Paint it glossy cream and add stylish knobs. You could even add a moulding.

If it’s white melamine, you could either paint it with special paint, or keep it as is. Sometimes it’s the surrounding area that can buff it up and make it not look so “melaminy”. Meaning, add a trendy tiled backsplash, a new countertop, and knobs. If the melamine has a 1980’s boarder that can be taken off, remove it for a cleaner look.

If you have the 1990 oak cabinets, they look incredible painted as well. If the cabinetry is hanging from the ceiling dividing the eating area, you could take those down and reuse them somewhere else, like an island.

Get Out of Real Estate

Billionaire Sam Zell deftly sidestepped the coming real estate carnage. Then, with prices at generational lows a few years later, Zell bought hundreds of apartment complexes at dirt-cheap prices.

And today? Well, that’s the ominous part…

Once again, Zell is selling his real estate holdings. Last fall, he unloaded a quarter of his portfolio, buildings totaling about 23,000 rental apartments, to Starwood Capital Group for more than $5 billion.

Zell next sold off apartment buildings in South Florida and Denver, with complexes in Phoenix, Boston and other metro areas expected to be sold before the year is out.

“No one has ever accused me of not being a realist,” Zell told CNBC’s talking heads recently.

Reality Bites

Few things are more real than the threat of rising interest rates. Concerned about the Fed’s late-to-the-party threats and distorted capital markets drunk on years of zero-interest-rate policy, Zell is getting out while the getting is still good.

In the past few months, new-home sales hit their highest level in eight years. Pending home sales rose by the largest percentage gain in a decade.

Even home flipping is back in vogue again. RealtyTrac, measuring 2015 data, estimated a 75% increase in active home flippers – the highest since 2007.

Nationally, the average gross profit on a flipped home was $55,000 – the largest since 2006.

But for the realists like Zell, the widening cracks in the facade are plain to see.

For instance, apartment rent is starting to come down in New York and San Francisco – two of the hottest markets in the country. There is simply too much supply and not enough demand.

A few weeks ago, the head of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston warned about overheated speculation in the commercial real estate market. “We care about potentially inflated commercial real estate prices,” said the bank’s president, Eric Rosengren, “because they might risk a bout of financial instability.”

Translated from “Fedspeak,” Rosengren was saying: Get out now.

Even those ultra ultraluxury homes in the $100 million and up range aren’t selling. It’s a rarefied market, for sure, but The New York Times recently noted that a record 27 properties, each with a nine-figure price tag, are languishing unsold on the market. According to figures kept by Christie’s International Real Estate, 19 such homes were on the market in 2015 and 12 in 2014.

Late last year, I wrote about one of those massive palazzos here in Florida – the beachside $159 million, 60,000 square foot Le Palais Royal. It’s still for sale.

Perhaps the extra gold leaf they painted on the front security gate will help.