When you’re ready to sell your first home, you’re going to have a different mindset than when you were a home buyer. At this point, you’ll be familiar with the associated costs of home ownership, upkeep requirements, and the fact that being a homeowner isn’t as easy as it seems. Even with all that knowledge, however, when you’re selling your home you’ll be back to square one. [Read more…]
Cash home buyers are a relatively new trend, but have become an alternative to selling your house traditionally through an estate agent. Cash house buyers are generally companies with a team of people that are experts in surveying, estimating, buying, and selling houses. By having all of these skills in the business, they don’t have to rely on third-party people or companies to estimate or survey your house. This means you can get an estimate on your house very quickly, and the company will make a cash offer for your house. This comes with several advantages.
Avoiding selling fees
As cash home-buying companies have all of the stuff necessary to make the sale, you avoid the significant fees that come with selling a house. This includes the money spent on getting an estimate, which will usually be done by a third party for a cost. It also includes solicitor fees. Usually, both you and the seller will pay solicitors to do all of the communications and negotiations. With a cash home seller, this isn’t necessary. Some cash home sellers will try to add in a fee for the survey and estimate of the value of your home. If this is the case, then make sure to avoid them, as some can charge over $1000 for this service. Find a company that’s as inclusive as possible.
Most house sales take a considerable amount of time. Depending on if the house is a new build or not, you may find yourself in a chain of sellers all needed to get confirmation on the purchase of their own home before you can buy theirs. If one sale falls through, then you’ll need to wait for your seller to buy a new house before you can move in. This process can sometimes take a year or even more. This is how cash home buyers can help. Because cash home buyers are never in a chain and are buying your house with cash, the time of the sale is reduced significantly. There’s no waiting for your seller to find a new house, and there are no issues with mortgages falling through.
Selling a house is a traditionally stressful job. There’s a lot of money at stake, and the process can take a long time. This is particularly stressful if you need to sell the house of a loved one that has passed, or if you need to sell quickly to get the money to cover another investment. This is where cash house buyers can be very useful. You can get your house sold in a short amount of time with the least amount of stress possible. Be aware that the amount that a cash house buyer will buy your house will typically be 10-15% lower than if you sold privately through an agent. Some of these fees will be covered by the saving you make in fees, though, and the rest can be attributed to the cost of having a stress-free sale.
Seeing as the housing market is incredibly hot right now, I found it appropriate to talk about buying and selling a house.
This is a very big decision and can be an extremely stressful endeavor. You can alleviate some of that stress if you know what to do and what to expect.
Do your homework
Whether you are building new or buying an existing property, you need to do your homework. Hire reputable contractors, realtors, inspectors, etc. You can cheap out with these services, but over the long-term, it’ll cost you.
Always do the inspection
This is a must, must! The inspection can save you so much money! Say you visit a house and love it, but want to get in ASAP, so you skip the inspection. After a few months, you notice some significant shifting and cracking.
Guess what, you need your foundation fixed. That could run you, depending on the severity of the issue, $20,000 or more.
Another example and costly example would be a roof replacement.
Not only can it save you money, but some issues found in the inspection can be added to your contract. If the inspector comes back with some issues, you can include that in your amended contract, and have the seller fix whatever the issue is before closing.
There are many financial conditions that come into play when buying a house.
- Hidden costs – Inspection, appraisal, down payment, earnest money, etc.
- Once you own it – property taxes, insurance, utilities, maintenance, etc.
- Pre-approval – Get this done by a lender before you buy. If you have a pre-approval when you make an offer, your offer is more competitive
- Improve your credit – Having your credit in the best possible condition is a must. A higher credit rating can lower your rate and could increase the amount you’re approved for.
- Stay on budget – Don’t buy more house than you can afford. Live within your means and look for a price that’s below your pre-approval amount.
- Avoid big purchases and new credit – This goes along with the rate you get and the approval process.
- Debt/income ratio – This is one of the big parts in the approval process for your mortgage. The lender compares your income to all of your outstanding debt, along with what your possible mortgage payment will be. Income/debt ratio should be 43% or below.
- What you need – W2s, tax returns, paycheck stubs, verification of employment
Clean and declutter
Make your home spotless. Vacuum and put lines in the carpet if you can. Sweep and scrub floors. Clean windows. Make sure the kitchen and bathrooms are especially clean.
Take pictures and art off of the walls, and leave minimal amounts of furniture. People want to walk into a home and imagine their art and their furniture. They want to “make themselves at home,” and imagine what it would be like if they lived there.
Fix the big issues
This could come out during the inspection too, but fix blatant, big issues. Roof repairs/replacement, furnaces, air conditioning units, etc. The goal is for someone to buy your house, so if you have the big issues taken care of, people have fewer excuses to say yes.
Trim the hedging, cut the grasses, and make that garden look perfect. You need people to say wow before they walk in. If they love the house before they step inside, they’ll be in a better state of mind going in.
If your yard is ugly and they know it, they’ve already been disappointed, and everything they see inside won’t be as impressive.
Get the word out
Put that house on every and any social media, website, etc. as you can. Hopefully, your realtor does a lot of this for you, but the more people know about it the better.
Make sure you tell your neighbors also because the people who buy your house will, obviously, be living next to your neighbors. They want good people next door. Preferably, someone they know and trust.
Buying and/or selling a home is a very important decision, and probably the biggest purchase you’ll ever make.
Use these tips to help you through the process.
To learn more about the financial aspect of buying or selling a home, and for our disclosures, visit www.crgfinancialservices.com.
If reading this blog post makes you want to try your hand at blogging, we have good news for you; you can do exactly that on Saving Advice. Just click here to get started.
Getting financially prepared to buy your first home can be complex and potentially confusing to the uninitiated. But take a little time to familiarize yourself with the process and get some timely and targeted free advice from mortgage consulting groups like On Q Financial, and you can successfully navigate your way to home ownership.
Here are some key factors to take into consideration as you move to prepare yourself financially for your first home purchase:
1. Time Things Right
Don’t try to buy your first home until you are financially ready to do so. Having a defaulted mortgage on your record can be a hindrance for the second time you attempt to buy a home. Make sure you have the monthly income and enough savings to proceed. And it’s generally best to only buy a home if you think you will live there 5 years or longer (otherwise you may want to rent.)
2. Don’t Become “House Poor!”
It’s one thing to buy a home as an investment so you can quickly turn around and sell it. But if you are planning on living there for any length of time, make sure you house payment is less than 30% of your monthly income. There are exceptions on the exact number, but the point is you don’t want to scrimp on food, gas, bills, and other necessities in order to make your house payments.
3. Plan for Your Down Payment
It’s possible to get a mortgage without a down payment or with a very low one. It’s even possible to get financial assistance for your down payment. Usually, however, you need from 3.5% to 20% down. That’s a substantial chunk of change, with most house prices, but it can be worth it. It will lower what you owe and the total interest you pay on it over the years. And if you put less than 20% down, you will likely have to make PMI (private mortgage insurance) payments to the lending bank along with your house payment.
4. Get Pre-approved When House Shopping
You’ll want to find out your credit score and find ways of improving it quickly, if possible. You’ll need to collect pay stubs, W2 forms, checking and savings account statements, tax returns, and other documentation. This and other information will be used to get you pre-approved for a mortgage within a specific price range, which will put you in a much better position to buy the right home when you come across it (and to show the seller you are serious and good for it).
5. Get Sound Mortgage Advice
There is a plethora of mortgage options these days, and you can often “customize” a mortgage that fits your exact situation. But it can be very confusing to those not familiar with the process. Should I take out a 30 or a 20 year mortgage? Should I opt for fixed or adjustable rate? Where will I get the financing for my mortgage at the best possible interest rate? Talk to a mortgage consulting firm that will “simplify” the process for you and help you make the right decision.
Investing in real estate does not automatically mean you have to buy a fixer-upper to work on yourself and then flip for a profit. If you want to get into real estate but don’t have those kinds of skills, there are other ways you can accomplish it, like owning rental property.
But even owning and operating a rental home can be a lot of work. If you don’t hire someone to help you with management, you’ll be responsible for finding and vetting tenants, collecting the monthly rent, performing repairs and upgrades, and more.
These traditional types of real estate investing are a lot hands-on work, but alternatives have become more popular in the last few years, allowing people to get in on the good of real estate investing without all the work. Here are a few ways you can invest in real estate without getting your hands dirty yourself.
If you’ve been dreaming about investing in real estate without getting your hands dirty, you may need to look into options you hadn’t thought about before. Crowdfunding is a relatively new concept that could help to turn your dream of investing in real estate into a reality. By crowdfunding you combine the money you have available with that of other people who also want to invest in real estate so that together, everyone gets a share of the profits. This is done through a Real Estate Investment Trust, or REIT.
Modeled like mutual funds, REIT’s allow investors to have a steady stream of income and diversify their investments. REIT’s have experts making up a management team that devises a plan for investing the pooled money in ways not usually available to the average real estate investor. They will charge fees for this service, but dividends are paid out to shareholders regularly. Several different companies now offer these types of crowdfunded real estate investment options. Usually the investments are spread over more than one property which can make growth of your investment more likely and at the same time, reduce the possibility of losses. Some of these companies allow you to withdraw money a couple of times per year and minimum investments can be very reasonable.
Buying a single family home to rent out is another way you can invest in real estate. But as I said before, it can be a lot of work. This is where companies that offer turnkey rentals come in. A few companies have cropped up in the past few years to help you find turnkey rental properties to fit your investing goals. They can also provide help with property management in most cases, so you don’t have to do all the work yourself. without getting your hands dirty yourself.
Another option you can choose if you want to get started in rentals is to go through FHA for a first time buyer loan. There are specific rules that apply, such as living in the home for a minimum of a year, but you may be able to qualify for a loan with only a 3.5% down-payment. Most banks require 20%, so this is a huge advantage if you don’t have a lot of money to get started with. After living in the home for a year, turn it into a rental. If you don’t want to do the managing or maintenance work, hire a company to do it for you.
It is possible to invest in real estate without getting your hands dirty or taking a lot of work yourself. Just make sure your do your research to find out what will work best for your investment goals.
Kayla is a personal finance blogger in her mid-20s who loves to write about money topics of all kinds.
Real estate investing is a key ingredient for creating a long-term investment plan that will maximize your wealth and can even lessen your risk. But it seems like there are limited options available to you, considering most investors don’t have the necessary time or experience to do it successfully. You can:
Purchase your home. Although this is considered more consumption than investment, this is still an investment in real estate with potential appreciation.
Purchase rental property. Most people have heard about the ups and downs of owning rental properties, but collecting monthly rent from tenants is great way to generate income. The downside is the need to manage the property yourself or hire a property manager to directly handle tenant and property issues.
Purchase REITs. Similar to purchasing stocks, a real estate investment trust is a corporation that raises money by trading on major exchanges, and it pays investors 90 percent of its taxable profits via dividends.
Besides these options, there’s another that the majority of real estate investors are unaware of: investing in real estate through private lending. As a private lender, you essentially become the bank. You lend your money to other investors (borrowers) and charge an appropriate interest rate for the use of your money. Here are some of the benefits of real estate private lending:
1) Monthly cash flow: The borrower pays you interest every month, which is typically between 8 and 15 percent.
2) Security: Your investment is secured by a lien on a tangible piece of real estate. That gives you collateral when lending your money, aside from just the soundness of the borrower. Typically, you shouldn’t loan more than 75 percent of the property’s current market value, giving you some cushion in the event that the property’s value decreases.
3) Diversification: Real estate private lending gives you the ability to diversify your portfolio — and not only from a real estate perspective. If you want to create current income, it’s another fixed-income option.
4) Lower volatility: You can better manage the market risk if you keep your real estate loans short term.
5) Passive investment: Instead of learning the nuances of real estate development, construction, management, etc., you can lend to other experienced real estate investors who do all the work. You just act as the bank and receive interest payments, and your money is returned at the end of the investment.
Being a real estate private lender is a great way to get exposure to real estate without doing all the work. But you still have to understand some of the risks involved. The market value can cause properties to quickly increase or decrease in value due to local and national factors.
Borrower credit can also be volatile; you need to make sure the borrower is in stable financial condition and can pay back the loan. Also, verify that the borrower’s investment strategy is solid.
Finally, make sure you have good legal representation to draft loan documents, coordinate the transaction, ensure your loan is properly recorded, and see that agreements are in place to protect you as the lender.
Real estate private lending is a great way to get exposure to real estate and generate passive income for your investment portfolio. As with any investment, you need to understand the risks involved and do your homework before jumping in headfirst. But if done right, real estate private lending can generate some of the best risk-adjusted returns in the marketplace.
Jeff Carter is the managing director and founder of Grand Coast Capital Group, where he oversees all aspects of the business. Grand Coast Capital Group is a national private lending firm based in Boston that provides creative short-term financing to real estate investors, builders, and developers across the country.
The pace of telephone technology amazes me. Only 30 years ago you were the exception if you carried a “cell phone.” Now you can do pretty much anything on your phone. You can check the weather, do your grocery shopping online, have a business meeting seeing your client’s face on video without having to travel eight time zones, and even dictate a text so the phone writes it for you when it gets too complicated to thumb it. The pace of change has been fast and has dramatically changed how we use technology.
Well guess what? I’ve just been introduced to another app that’s been added to the list, allowing you to manage your rental properties on your smartphone as well. The mobile Landlord app from Direct Line for Business helps you stay on top of every aspect of managing a rental property.
New landlord clients always told me that the process of becoming a landlord was overwhelming. It can be, if you aren’t organized. There are lots of things to remember, your tenants may be needier than expected, asking you to come over every time a window doesn’t close properly, and some of the most basic tasks may skip your mind, such as the furnace’s annual inspection before winter, creating hefty bills you could have avoided.
That’s where the Mobile Landlord app comes in.
It helps you keep all the important information about your rental in one convenient place: your phone. No more browsing all around for that paper rental agreement, or having to wait until you come home to contact your tenants, it is all there with you all the time.
Here’s How It Works
You can get the Mobile Landlord app on iTunes, it is free to download and install in just a few clicks.
You will be offered a quick tour of the areas the app covers.
Once you reach the home screen, the property tab will ask you to register up to five rental properties, complete with their name, address, the name and contact details of your tenants, how long they are renting and other details of the tenancy (such as the rent amount). You can also add important contact details, such as the repairman, the maintenance company of the building, the neighbors for when you are on holidays and have an emergency, or the council’s.
On a second tab called “reminders,” you can enter any alert concerning your rental property, like a prospective tenant’s visit, a plumber coming over, or a bill that needs to be paid by a certain date.
Finally, the last tab of the Mobile Landlord app is called knowledge centre, and offers an array of small articles directed towards landlords who want to have more information about certain aspects of their rental investment. The articles offer tips about maximizing your rental income, minimizing your costs, the rental trends, and much more.
In just a few clicks, you can locate the people you need, calculate the yield of your investment, and enter a reminder for the next time you need to pay the house a visit.
With all the time you just saved by automating part of your property management, you can use the free time read the third tab’s articles, learn more about investing and make the most of your rental property.
If you are hoping to ring in the New Year in a new home, the holidays may be the perfect time to put your current house on the market. While your own circumstances and the local real estate market play a major role in deciding when to list a house, listing during the holiday season is no longer considered taboo. In fact, listing a house during the holidays may actually be to your advantage. Below are three reasons to consider selling your home during the holidays – and how to position your home for a quick sale:
Buyers are always looking at potential homes online.
In the past, conventional wisdom said that buyers simply did not have the time to view open houses and wade through real estate listings during the holiday season. While last-minute shopping trips and holiday travel may make for poor open house attendance, buyers are still looking for potential homes. Thanks to popular smartphone and tablet apps like Trulia and Zillow, would-be home owners can now browse listings on their morning commute or while waiting to pick up the kids from school.
Be sure your home’s online listing is up-to-date and features flattering, high-res pictures of each room. Consider hiring a professional stager to truly showcase your house for the online photos and create a video tour.
Housing inventory is lighter during the holidays.
Despite the shift in buyers’ behavior, there is still a misconception that buyers are not shopping for homes during the holiday season. Consequently, many real estate agents continue to discourage sellers from listing until after the New Year. This means that if you do list your home now, there will be less competition.
Stand out even further from the competition by completing minor home repairs, such as touching-up the paint, replacing leaky faucets, and repairing cabinet scratches. Have your home inspected for pests, like dry wood termites. A certification that your home is pest-free will put buyers’ minds at ease and assure them that it is move-in ready.
Seasonal décor puts buyers in the mood.
From “Miracle on 34th Street” to “It’s a Wonderful Life,” there’s nothing quite like being home for the holidays. Tasteful seasonal decor helps buyers imagine what it will be like to celebrate the holidays in your home. Prior to hosting an open house, make your home feel cozy and inviting by lighting the fireplace, playing soft classical music, and offering homemade treats. When your home is warm, cozy and tastefully decorated, buyers will spend more time inside admiring your home’s best features.
When decking the halls, keep your home’s curb appeal in mind, too. Your home may look like a winter wonderland from the street, but that doesn’t mean potential buyers will appreciate icy sidewalks or snow-covered driveways. Bare trees equal a more exposed home, so be sure to touch up exterior paint, clean the gutters, and shovel stairs and walkways.
Could you adjust your budget and pay a little bit more toward your mortgage every month? Perhaps you can save a small amount and make a lump sum payment once per year?
It might not seem like it, but paying a little bit extra can actually make quite a big difference over the length of your mortgage. It is possible to take years off the loan by simply paying a small amount more per month or making one extra payment per year. When you shorten your mortgage loan, you also end up saving thousands in interest rates over the years.
You might not feel like you can afford to pay extra money on your mortgage, but there are likely a few adjustments that you can make to your budget so that you can squeeze in more payments.
Paying Biweekly Rather Than Monthly
One strategy for paying more on your mortgage is to change your payments to biweekly rather than monthly. Instead of paying a monthly amount, you will pay half the monthly payment every two weeks. As there are 52 weeks per year, you will end up making 26 payments rather than 24 if you made two payments per month. However, you will not notice the difference to your monthly budget.
Make a Big Lump Sum Payment Every Year
Another way to reduce your mortgage is to make a single large payment from the amount that you owe. When you do this, it will be taken directly off the capital, which will mean that your mortgage term becomes shorter. For example, if you get a Christmas bonus at work you could use the amount to pay off some of your mortgage. By doing this, you can reduce your mortgage loan length by several years.
Round Up Your Payments
Why not round your mortgage payment to the nearest hundred? For example, if your monthly payment is £573.45, you could pay £600 instead. This will not affect your budget too much, but it will mean that you end up paying an extra £26.55 per month, which adds up to an extra £318.60 per year.
To find out more about how you can pay more on your mortgage, talk to a UK mortgage broker such as First Mortgage.
Photo: 401(k) 2013
While I’m in Ohio kicking my family’s butt at board games over the holiday, Dominique Brown agreed to take over the reins for a day. Thanks, Dom!
For those of you who don’t know him from our podcast, Dominique Brown is a financial planner, landlord, personal finance blogger and video blogger. He is the owner of YourFinancesSimplified.com where he talks about everything from being a new father to his worst financial mistakes. He is also the owner of InsiderRealEstateTips.com where he talks exclusively about real estate. He’s been featured at The Huffington Post and H&R Block. You can find him either on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube or Instagram.
Maybe your adjustable rate mortgage is about to put the ARM on you. Maybe you just took that once-in-a-lifetime job halfway across the planet. For whatever reason, you need to sell your house fast. When your back is against the wall, you might try some of these unusual methods to sell your house fast.
Saturate the Internet
It may surprise you to know that 66% of folks shopping for homes begin their search online. For this reason, make certain your realtor has your property listed on the internet. The top five sites are Trulia.com, Homes.com, Craigslist.org, Zillow.com and Yahoo.com. While there are other sites, these top-of-the-heap places give your property greater exposure, hopefully shortening the time to sell your home. Don’t overlook social media sites like Facebook, LinkdIn, and Twitter. Send out copies of your listing to everyone on your contact list. Start a blog about your home, talk up the neighborhood, schools, and nearby attractions, such as parks or community centers.
I know this sounds wacky, but for about $150, this is a cost effective way to create buzz about your home, and can land you a ton of traffic. The auction is not binding, and if you choose not to accept any offers, that is your privilege. If you need to sell your house fast, consider this part of your advertising expense. Who knows…you might sell your house fast!
Put them to good use. I read about a couple that had “Buy My House” T-shirts made for their children and all their children’s friends. This shouldn’t get you into hot water with Children and Family Services and hey…a lead is a lead, right?
Incentivize Your Broker
Offer your broker a bonus for a quick sale. The bonus should parallel your need to sell your house fast. Avoid cash bonuses. Offer a weekend get away to Las Vegas, Chicago, or Atlantic City. Maybe your broker is a sports fan and would appreciate getting tickets for that big game. Use your imagination. That’s why I suggest you avoid cash. So boring!
Incentivize Your Buyer
Offer to pick up the full boat on closings costs. Maybe you could sweeten the deal by prepaying the property taxes for few months. This could really help a first time buyer.
Price it Right
Work closely with your broker to arrive at a selling price that is attractive, but not so attractive as to arouse suspicion in potential buyers. If you price your house too far below the rest of the market, prospective buyers may think something is amiss with the home, the neighborhood, or the schools. This is a balancing act, and if your broker is clear on your goal to sell quickly, then together you can arrive at a Goldilocks’ price—not too high, not too low, but just right. Another way to sell your house fast and still get a fair price is getting in touch with NeedToSellMyHouseFast.com, a trusted home buyer famous for buying houses in cash.
Some people think that under pricing your home is “good thing.” These people believe that market forces will come into play. They believe potential buyers will actually bid against one another and force your selling price into line with market prices. You and your broker will have to make that call.
Don’t Forget the Basics
Don’t get caught up in the wacky things you are doing to speed the sale of your home and forget the basics. Do not make that mistake. You still need to make certain your home is in good repair inside and out. Make sure the rooms are clear of clutter. Keep the dishes washed and the kitchen spotless. Bathrooms should always be spotless too. If you have pets, consider boarding them with friends or with a kennel. Not everyone is a fan of the furry friends. Make sure you mow the lawn, put toys and tools away and repair any problems with outbuildings or fences. When your broker is showing your home, it is usually best for you to be absent. Spend some time visiting open houses. This is a good way to get ideas for highlighting your property, and it is free.
If you have had experience with selling your house fast, let us know about it. Have you had success in making a fast sale?