I Can Haz Real Estate?

I Can Haz Real Estate?

An Millennial’s guide to the home buying process in Stuart, Florida.

This post has been authored by Eric Slifkin, REALTOR® serving South Florida’s Treasure Coast. You can reach me at 888-288-1765, or visit my Web site. As your resource for information on new or resale homes throughout the Treasure Coast, please be sure to contact me about any home you may find on the Web, yard sign or ad and I will research the property, arrange showings and handle all the details.

How to Buy a House – As Told by Real Estate Memes

Benefits of Real Estate Investment vs. Stocks and Bonds

As the economic recovery continues to build, Americans are again able to consume and invest; and with recent reports from the U.S. Census Bureau noting 34 percent of American households are rental units, investors are taking notice and rushing to reap benefits of placing investment funds in single- and multi-unit residential property.

“Investor demand for single family properties remains strong,” says Kirk McGary, CEO of Real Property Management, citing a recent study from Zelman & Associates that found investor demand for residential properties ranking at 60.9 on a scale of 0-100. “Trends like this in the housing market have created significant demand for property management companies like ours, as investors choose to put their money in real estate as opposed to the alternatives.”

Although there are many investment options available, real estate vehicles offer the ability to finance a portion of the purchase price to leverage the initial investment to control an asset valued much higher – unlike stocks, bonds and CDs. With lower interest rates available, a small increase in the value of a leveraged property investment can carry a greater return than an unleveraged investment — approximately 12 percent gross according to the same study by Zelman & Associates.

Investing in real estate also offers tax benefits where earnings from investments in CDs, bonds and stocks are taxed. By making deductions from the profit on mortgage interest, cost of property repairs and depreciation, property owners are writing off depreciation of an asset that is actually ascending providing yearly benefits to a long-term investment.

Most importantly, ownership of property improves cash flow. Subsidizing the investment with consistent rental income puts money in the investor’s pocket, covering the mortgage, repairs and additional homeownership costs.

Being able to minimize tenant turnover through timely and concise management reflects on the bottom line, maximizing the return on investment overtime.

This post has been authored by Eric Slifkin, REALTOR® serving South Florida’s Treasure Coast. You can reach me at 888-288-1765, or visit my Web site. As your resource for information on new or resale homes throughout the Treasure Coast, please be sure to contact me about any home you may find on the Web, yard sign or ad and I will research the property, arrange showings and handle all the details.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2013. All rights reserved.

3 Big Myths About Home Buying

3 Big Myths About Home Buying

If youʼre serious about buying a home in Stuart, Florida, donʼt fall prey to these three big myths about the home shopping process. Donʼt learn the hard way…

Myth #1: “That house has been on the market so long I bet we can work the seller down easily.”

Not necessarily. Exceptionally high days on market could mean almost anything. The seller could be bullheaded about their price. The seller may not be particularly motivated to sell for emotional or other personal reasons. Donʼt forget: A sales-weary seller isnʼt likely to respond to your host of rational reasons why their house should be a bargain.

Myth #2: “I want to look at foreclosed homes because theyʼre a real bargain and the banks need to unload them.”

Banks, like entrenched sellers, donʼt always make decisions which seem rational based on obvious information. You can have a hard time divining the reason a bank chooses to reject an offer for a foreclosed or distressed property, and their decision
may be based on financials which seem counterintuitive. The truth is, many distressed sales can be longer and more fraught than regular sales, especially when it comes to unresolved disputes with local government agencies, taxing authorities, and home owner associations.

Myth #3: “I liked this house a lot, but with this market, I bet it will still be there if I decide to buy it.”

Itʼs very, very painful to see a client love a home but fail to make a move to purchase that home. If you fell in love with it, why wouldnʼt someone else? Just because a property has been on the market a little while doesnʼt mean it will stay on the market. The bonus myth in this one? Your “perfect” home is probably going to be a home with some small compromises. If you donʼt make an offer on a home, youʼre effectively saying, “Iʼm comfortable losing this home.”

My job as an agent is to represent your interests and do my best to protect you along the way. If youʼre pursuing a home purchase in the near future, please get in touch. There are many other ways I can lower your stress and help you find a great home.

This post has been authored by Eric Slifkin, REALTOR® serving South Florida’s Treasure Coast. You can reach me at 888-288-1765, or visit my Web site. As your resource for information on new or resale homes throughout the Treasure Coast, please be sure to contact me about any home you may find on the Web, yard sign or ad and I will research the property, arrange showings and handle all the details.

11 Questions for Home Buyers


11 Questions for Home Buyers in Stuart, Florida

If you’re thinking about buying a home, you can save a lot of time and effort by considering a few questions before you meet with a real estate agent. These questions not only give shape to your desire to buy a home, but they ensure your meeting with an agent will be productive.

1. How long have you been searching for a home?

2. When are you interested in purchasing?

3. What type of home are you looking for? Condo? Single-family? Etc.

4. What family needs do you currently have? How do you think that will change in the next few years?

5. How many homes have you seen so far?

6. What are you looking for that you haven’t found yet?

7. What is your present living situation?

8. Do you need to sell a home before you buy your next home?

9. What is your comfort zone in terms of price? Or to look at it a different way: What sort of monthly payment is within your budget?

10. Have you looked into financing at all yet?

11. Is there anything in particular you want/need to be close to? (I.e. job, other family members, major airports, etc.)

It’s OK if you don’t have answers to all of these questions. In fact, I’d be glad to walk you through any questions you don’t understand, or the implications of some of your answers. please feel free to get in touch.

 

This post has been authored by Eric Slifkin, REALTOR® serving South Florida’s Treasure Coast. You can reach me at 888-288-1765, or visit my Web site. As your resource for information on new or resale homes throughout the Treasure Coast, please be sure to contact me about any home you may find on the Web, yard sign or ad and I will research the property, arrange showings and handle all the details.

Five Top Home Buyer Credit Score Facts


Home Buyer Credit Score Facts

With mortgage rates low and prices just about perfect for buying, Iʼve had a lot of  discussions lately with first-time home buyers about what it takes to get a loan these days at a good rate. Naturally, a good credit score is important. (Typically, weʼre seeing the best rates for buyers with scores above 740.) You may not be ready to buy soon, but if youʼre thinking about it in the next couple of years, now is a great time to work on your credit score. If youʼre not familiar with how credit scores work, hereʼs what typically goes into them:

• Your past payment history = 35%. The more paid on time, the better.

• Amount you owe = 30%. The less you owe relative to your total available

credit, the better.

• How long youʼve had credit = 15%. Longer is better.

• How much new credit = 10%. Lots of new credit lowers your score.

• Kind of credit = 10%. Itʼs better to have different sources of credit.

Of course, credit score is only one part of the picture. Having a down payment of

20% or more can also influence your shot at the best rate.

If you ever have any questions about the path to home ownership or the ins and

outs of financing, please feel free to get in touch.

 

This post has been authored by Eric Slifkin, REALTOR® serving South Florida’s Treasure Coast. You can reach me at 888-288-1765, or visit my Web site. As your resource for information on new or resale homes throughout the Treasure Coast, please be sure to contact me about any home you may find on the Web, yard sign or ad and I will research the property, arrange showings and handle all the details.

A Strategic Approach to Real Estate Contracts and Deadlines

A Strategic Approach to Real Estate Contracts and Deadlines

By Keith Loria

Whether you’re buying or selling a home, adding deadlines to the real estate contract process is a tricky subject. After all, if someone makes an offer on your house, you may think they’ll go to any lengths to buy it. On the other hand, a buyer may think that just because they’re putting a bid on a house that’s been sitting on the market, their bid will be accepted regardless of what it is. That’s why many real estate agents discourage their clients from putting a deadline within the contract because when they aren’t met, it becomes a frustrating endeavor.

And what happens if you place a deadline on your offer and the seller doesn’t meet it? Are you automatically going to withdraw your bid? Probably not. Bluffs don’t play very well in the real estate game, so if you set a deadline and then no consequences come from not meeting it, you may find the rest of the negotiations going the other person’s way.

Additionally, when you place an offer that must be decided on by 9:00 p.m., this will be seen by the other party (buyer or seller) as a hard-sell. While it might seem like a good negotiating strategy on your end, it might be the exact opposite from the perspective of the other party. If you want to include deadlines like this in your offer, you must be willing to walk away if they aren’t met.

That doesn’t mean the deal can’t be worked out down the line, but if you’re not going to stand by your deadline, it’s probably better to leave them out of the equation altogether. Speediness is the essential strategy here on both sides of the transaction.

When in the midst of a seller’s market, it may make sense for a seller to set a deadline for reviewing all offers, as this will alert all interested buyers that they need to have their best offer in to compete with any other offers. This type of deadline is actually helpful because buyers can view other homes and put together a bid before the deadline, understanding that the seller isn’t going to make a decision prior to it being submitted.

For buyers, negotiation techniques typically recommend that you add a drop-dead date so that the seller can’t shop your offer or drag things out forever. This will protect you from losing out on other homes that might interest you.

If you’re making an offer in the evening, be sure to make the expiration early the next afternoon so no competing offers are likely to roll in. Have your agent express that there are other homes on your list that you’re just as happy with, that you’re ready to make an offer on. In this case, a deadline can be used to your advantage.

Contact our office today to learn more about the pros and cons associated with incorporating deadlines into real estate transactions.

This post has been authored by Eric Slifkin, REALTOR® serving South Florida’s Treasure Coast. You can reach me at 888-288-1765, or visit my Web site. As your resource for information on new or resale homes throughout the Treasure Coast, please be sure to contact me about any home you may find on the Web, yard sign or ad and I will research the property, arrange showings and handle all the details.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2013. All rights reserved.

Five Inside Credit Secrets for Getting a Great Mortgage

Five Inside Credit Secrets for Getting a Great Mortgage

With home prices rising and interest rates well below historic norms, many potential buyers would like to get into the marketplace but are stymied by one hurdle: credit.

“The credit process mystifies many borrowers,” said Ray Brousseau, executive vice president of a nationwide lender. “They worry that their credit may be imperfect or that a late payment from long ago will doom a loan application, when the reality is different.”

Brousseau explained that “lenders and borrowers have similar goals. They both want the mortgage application to go through. The lender will create a package to provide a full picture of the borrower’s financial status. In many cases, borrowers will be surprised that their credit standing is stronger than expected.”

So, how do you make sure you have tip-top credit when applying for a mortgage? Here are five strategies that can lead to a faster – and better – mortgage credit review.

First, prepare for your mortgage application.
Since 2010, most real estate financing has been in the form of “qualified mortgages,” loans that meet the standards outlined by Wall Street Reform. A qualified mortgage – or QM – must show that the borrower has the ability to repay the loan. To meet QM requirements, you can expect lenders to want signed tax returns or W2s for at least the past two years, year-to-date pay stubs from the past 30 days, plus complete copies of all financial statements, usually for at least the last two months. If self-employed, a lender might also want a balance sheet as well as a profit-and-loss statement. Having such information in hand can greatly speed the mortgage review process.

Second, check your credit report in advance.
The better your credit report, the better your credit score, thus the reason to check credit reports for errors and outdated items.
Under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA), consumers can get one free copy of their credit report from each of the three nationwide credit reporting agencies every 12 months. This can be done in a few minutes by going to the official website, AnnualCreditReport.com. Print out your report or save it as a PDF.

Third, know how credit scores work.
In basic terms, credit scores weigh the answers to five questions:

Have you paid bills on time?
How much of your credit is now in use?
How long have you had credit and when was the last time you used selected accounts?
What is your mix of credit card debt, auto loans, student debt, mortgages, etc?
Have you recently opened additional lines of credit?

“Once a loan application is made, most lenders will automatically provide borrowers with a free copy of their credit score,” said Brousseau. “A good credit score can greatly help in the application process, and a lower score can often be overcome by selecting a certain type of mortgage product.”

Fourth, a lower credit score does not always mean no credit.
Borrowers can readily finance and refinance with an 800 credit score, but it’s also true that mortgages are available with lower credit scores. For instance, more than 40 percent of recent FHA borrowers had credit scores between 620 and 680.

Fifth, beware of surprise credit snags.
It used to be that lenders checked credit reports when a loan application was first made and then again just before closing. Now lenders have the ability to even check for daily credit report changes. When new debt or credit lines show up, lenders re-calculate the ability of borrowers to qualify for financing.

Avoid opening new lines of credit, making big purchases or getting more credit in the middle of the application process. When your credit reports are re-checked, and new credit activity shows up, that activity can sometimes scuttle a once-solid mortgage application.

Source: Carrington
This post has been authored by Eric Slifkin, REALTOR® serving South Florida’s Treasure Coast. You can reach me at 888-288-1765, or visit my Web site. As your resource for information on new or resale homes throughout the Treasure Coast, please be sure to contact me about any home you may find on the Web, yard sign or ad and I will research the property, arrange showings and handle all the details.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2013. All rights reserved.

Millennials Take New Approach to Work-Life Balance

Millennials Take New Approach to Work-Life Balance

(BPT)—More and more, Millennials are on the road for work. In an average month, one in four business-traveling Millennials travel overnight for work at least once per week.

As the line between “personal” and “business” grows thinner and thinner for this generation, Millennials are increasingly finding adventure through business. More than any other group, Millennial business travelers are more likely to add on extra days to their business trip for leisure travel (84 percent) according to the Hilton Garden Inn Discovery and Connection Survey. Millennials are funding these adventures through their business trips, too. The vast majority of this group (85 percent) is more likely to use reward points from their business travel to book a vacation, compared to a year ago.

As the economy improves, business travel across the nation is on the rise. According to the Global Business Travel Association, U.S. business travel is expected to grow 5.1 percent in 2013. As more Millennials hit the road for work, they are keeping top of mind a few, simple business travel perks to fulfill their appetite for personal adventure and discovery:

* Fly for free – Those flying for business can earn airline miles in their name. These business miles quickly add up, allowing travelers to upgrade seats or add another destination without accruing additional cost. Business travelers can then use these miles to bring a friend or loved one on the trip with them – quickly transitioning from business to family vacation or romantic getaway once the weekend hits.

* Earn hotel perks – Frequent stays in hotels offering rewards programs can grant business travelers benefits like free overnight stays, late checkout, and complimentary breakfast. These extras turn a business trip into much more, especially when additional nights are used to extend a business trip into a vacation.

* Discover local hidden gems – Cities often encourage business travelers to experience the local culture while in town and provide package deals with discounts to restaurants, tickets to local shows or events, helpful tips to find transportation in the city and even sightseeing opportunities to explore during free time. This becomes even more common when a city is hosting a large business gathering, such as an industry convention.

Millennials continue to be at the forefront of achieving work-life balance – utilizing business travel to discover new cities, explore local cultures, taste authentic cuisines and connect with new people across the country and around the globe.

This post has been authored by Eric Slifkin, REALTOR® serving South Florida’s Treasure Coast. You can reach me at 888-288-1765, or visit my Web site. As your resource for information on new or resale homes throughout the Treasure Coast, please be sure to contact me about any home you may find on the Web, yard sign or ad and I will research the property, arrange showings and handle all the details.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2013. All rights reserved.

Choosing a Home with Your ‘Blended’ Family in Mind

Choosing a Home with Your ‘Blended’ Family in Mind

With 1,300 new stepfamilies forming each day, there is a constant flow of families starting over in a brand new home. The interior decorators with Decor&You, one of America’s leading, full-service interior decorating franchises, understand how difficult moving can be and share four key tips on how to handle one of life’s toughest transitions.

“The process of starting a life over with a stepfamily in a new home can be both exciting and challenging,” says Decor&You Founder and CEO Karen Powell. “Whether you are moving across the country or across town, the pressures of blending two families can be stressful on everyone. It’s important to make sure every family member has a voice in choosing the new residence and creating an environment that everyone can call home.”

Decor&You shares the following tips on how to create a smooth transition into a new home while taking your “blended family” into account:

1. Carefully consider the size and floor plan of the home you buy. While there is no single “right” home for a blended family, a house with as many bedrooms as bathrooms will allow the family the opportunity to learn how to live with each other without feeling too crowded. Allow the children to decide if they prefer to have their own bedroom or to share a bedroom with a sibling.

2. Turn a first-floor den into an extra bedroom. Turning the lower-level room into a bedroom allows teenage children or college students to feel independent and maintain their privacy.

3. Consider a renovated house with bedrooms at both ends. Buying a home with bedrooms on both ends and a common living space in the center allows blended families to maintain a degree of physical distance, while still meeting in the middle at mealtimes or for recreation.

4. Include everyone in the decorating process. Involving the entire family in decorating the new home makes starting over much easier and allows all members to feel included. Give a few options for different elements of shared spaces and let each family member share their opinion.

Source: http://www.decorandyou.com.

This post has been authored by Eric Slifkin, REALTOR® serving South Florida’s Treasure Coast. You can reach me at 888-288-1765, or visit my Web site. As your resource for information on new or resale homes throughout the Treasure Coast, please be sure to contact me about any home you may find on the Web, yard sign or ad and I will research the property, arrange showings and handle all the details.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2013. All rights reserved.