Archive for October, 2008

The Basics Of Real Estate Investing

Real estate investments may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but some people who have already tried investing in real estate know that it can be profitable. Real estate investment experts say there are several keys to making significant profits in real estate investment deals. And when the deals are profitable, you will certainly be well on your way to success. Have you tried Sims Valley Real Estate

For real estate investment neophytes, don’t be afraid of the challenges and pitfalls you may encounter along the way. There is definitely a lot to learn, but in the long run after you have gained some experience, you’ll hopefully become a master at closing profitable real estate deals.

There are 5 core skills that are necessary for building a real estate investment business. These will be the key factors in creating a profitable real estate investment portfolio.

These are the 5 core skills of real estate investment:

1) You must learn when and where to find the right kind of sellers.

2) You must learn the art of being a master negotiator when it comes to closing your real estate investment deals.

3) You must be able to quickly and accurately analyze each real estate investment deal so you’ll know exactly when to proceed and when to pull the plug. Have you thought of Estates for sale in north carolina

4) You must become an expert in all areas of real estate investment and understand such terms as lease options, cash sales, wrap mortgages, short sales and other terminology common in the real estate investment trade.

5) You should totally understand the meaning and concept of investing in real estate, including all of the financial risks and benefits.

Now is a great time to consider investing in real estate. There are great potential rewards and the effort you put forth can yield enormous monetary returns on your investment.

Your confidence level will grow when you’ve gained some experience and closed on your first few real estate deals. But, don't stop there...

Continue to learn about real estate investing and to develop your investment skills. In a short time you may find yourself managing a profitable and growing portfolio of investment properties.

Continue to follow your real estate investment "game plan" and always keep an eye out for the hidden investment opportunities. The opportunities are definitely out there and with a little knowledge and desire can be yours for the taking. So, why not get started in what might be a new and exciting (and profitable) career today? For more information please visit blue ridge mountain estates

Virtual Home Staging: Innovation or Misrepresentation?

Many of today's top real estate agents understand the power that the internet has when it comes to bringing together buyers and available inventory. With recent estimates being that over 80% of home buyers starting their search for properties online, it's imperative that real estate agents take advantage of the latest trends in technology.

One of the trends that has emerged recently has been to showcase homes online using virtual staging techniques rather than traditional in-house staging. Using a computer program, virtual home stagers are able to take a picture of a home and alter it any way they like. This can involve everything from changing wall colors to moving around furniture.

Fans of this technique say that virtual staging is far more cost-effective than traditional home staging, which can be expensive and time consuming for sellers. With a few clicks of a mouse, a room can be transformed from dingy to delectable.

Properties that benefit the most from this technology are the vacant homes that have no furnishings or personal touches. Empty houses can prove difficult to promote via photographs. All that buyers see in the pictures are four white and carpeting. It's very difficult for potential buyers to visualize themselves living in the property because it appears so cold and uninviting.

In addition, many empty houses look alike when photographed. Architectural features can get overwhelmed by the lack of personality in the room, and buyers can't see the home's true potential.

With virtual staging however, you can easily add elegant furniture and area rugs in order to personalize the space. Buyers will see a home that is welcoming and homey, which is exactly what they're looking for.

Opponents say that virtual home staging is deceptive and unethical. A buyer sees a perfectly staged and decorated home on the internet, but when they see the property in person, they're disappointed. It is then up to the real estate agent to explain that the listing showed only a computer-generated version of the home--essentially showing the home's potential rather than its present reality.

But if virtual staging is seen as deceptive, is it really any more misleading than traditional staging techniques? When you hire a home staging professional, they come to your home and either rearrange your items to make the property more appealing, or else they bring in their own furniture--props if you will--to make the space look its best.

Another part of the debate is where do you draw the line? If it's okay to change the window treatments to something nicer, is it all right to erase wall cracks and other flaws? What if you want to add virtual furniture to a room? If the furniture you select isn't to scale with the true dimensions of the house, you could make the rooms appear to have more space than they actually do.

It's important for agents who decide to use this technology to be very aware of how they use it and what their intentions are. If adding faux furniture to an empty room can get buyers to view the property in person, then that's fine. When you start to alter the image of the house itself in order to make it look like something it's not, that's when you're crossing the ethical line.


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Conquering the Clutter

It's a tough market out there. If you want to have any chance of selling your home, you need your house to look its best. One of the simplest - and most important - ways to boost the appeal of your home is to "de-clutter". I know it can be a difficult process but going through your entire house and removing all unnecessary items is crucial step.

The blest place to start you Campaign Against Clutter is in the kitchen. Your kitchen should look spotless, open, and inviting. Go over the countertops and remove anything that you don't use anymore. That means everything - toaster included. Then go through the kitchen cabinets and remove anything you don't need there. In a perfect world, the buyer would be able to see your cabinets and drawers completely empty to get a feel for how much storage space they would have. Obviously, that won't always be possible but make sure you keep it down to the bare necessities. And ALWAYS take the trash out of the kitchen before a buyer comes over.

Go through every room of the house this way, starting with the rooms that your buyer will see first. Try to look at every object in each room objectively. If you don't need it, if you don't use it every day, pack it up in a box and put it in storage somewhere, or get rid of it completely. Take all of your personal items out of the house - photographs, diplomas, trophies, collectibles - anything that could distract buyers from looking at the house itself. Also, remove any excess furniture that you can. You want all your rooms to look as spacious as possible.

When you think you've cleared out as much of your clutter as you possibly can, take a breath and then take a step back. Can you do more? Is anything left? Invite a friend or neighbor over and get their unbiased opinion, or ask your selling agent.

Think of your house as a model home. You want it clean, tidy, depersonalized and clutter-free. When a buyer comes through your door, they should be able to envision themselves living in your house. Whenever possible, try not to hinder that vision by reminding them that you are still living there. Removing the clutter will remove the distractions and will let the buyer focus on the things you really want them to see.

Remember, you don't want a buyer to be looking at your home, you want them to be looking at THEIR home. Conquer the clutter and you will have made a big step towards that goal.


Lee Cameron is the top Orlando real estate agent in the Central Florida real estate market. Lee has over 13 years of experience in the industry, and can guide you in the process of finding properties in Orlando.

To Rent Out or Sell Your Home in a Declining Economy?

With the declining housing market, many homeowner's have been faced with a not so easy decision. While most people have decided not to sell their homes until the market comes back, for some owners that have to relocate for work or family reasons, waiting to sell their house is not an option. For homeowners that have to relocate, the decision of whether to sell for below market value or hold onto the property and rent it out, now becomes a decision they have to face.

So how do you decide what is best for you? For most homeowners, carrying two mortgages is not an option. Every homeowner will have to make a decision based on their own situation, but here are some key factors that will help guide you through the decision process.

1. Value of your home- Some parts of the country haven't been hit as bad as others, so the value of your home will play heavily on your decision. If the market has dropped significantly in your area, than holding on to the property may be the best option. With time, property values will go back up so holding on to it will only increase the chances of getting money back.

2. Monthly mortgage payment- If you decide that renting it out is an option to consider, than you the next step would be based on how much you still owe on your house. By doing a little research or talking to a real estate agent you can figure out what comparable houses are renting for in your area. If you find out that the average rental rate is lower than your currently monthly payment the decision to rental would not have to include how much you could afford to cover each month above the rental income.

3. Location, location- This is a big factor when selling your house and it is also a big factor when trying to rent your house. While a house in the suburbs may be appealing for someone buying the house, someone renting a house will most likely want to be closer to conveniences.

4. Rent or Rent to Own?- with the amount of foreclosures in the past two years, mortgage companies have tightened their requirements for a loan. With that in mind, many potential buyers are looking for some seller financing. Renting to own might be an option for covering the mortgage while the potential buyer builds up enough credit to purchase your home. This is a way to avoid turnover in tenants and get steady income to cover your mortgage.

So if you are faced with the decision of whether to sell your home or start renting it out, take these factors into consideration. Renting out your home may be the ideal solution to your relocating dilemma.


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Mississauga Real Estate: 15 Steps To Prepare Your Home For Sale

Selling your home can be one of the most exciting events in your lifetime. It can be an opportunity to change your lifestyle, location and even your living arrangements. Yet oftentimes, homeowners looking to sell overlook the hidden potential in their property. They usually just call an agent, get their home listed and begin the selling process.

Before you contact a real estate agent, think about making your home more ‘marketable’. Making a good first impression with your real estate agent can prove to be profitable. Get them excited about selling a wonderful property with great potential, and they can focus all their energy on finding you a qualified buyer for your home.

Remember, you can significantly increase your home’s market value by following a few simple steps to uncover your home’s full potential. In the end, you will attract more potential home buyers and ultimately increase the listing price of your home. These 15 easy steps are designed to help you showcase your home’s distinct appeal.

1. Remove clutter.
ALL CLUTTER. The more you simplify each room, the better your buyer can envision their furniture and style in your home. Take your trinkets, figurines, and knick-knacks and store them in boxes.

2. Keep the décor simple.
Think of your home as a hotel. Keep the basic furniture, and add a few matching accents. Remove your individual personal style. Make your home feel clean, fresh and contemporary with a style that’s appealing to anyone.

3. You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
As this is true, make sure you home’s front entrance is immaculate. Repaint or replace the front door if necessary, polish the door’s hardware and make glass shine. Also ensure your front lawn is trimmed and the walkway is clear of snow, sand and ice.

4. Go over your home with a fine-toothed comb.
Chances are you may not notice damage or problems that a new buyer would. Be critical, and don’t give your buyer a reason to lose interest.

5. Consider renovation.
Though not a necessity, certain renovations, such as new kitchens, bathrooms and professional landscaping may reap a financial benefit that far outweighs their cost. Consult with your real estate agent before beginning any work to ensure it will be a profitable decision.

6. Freshen up.
A fresh coat of paint is often enough to update the rooms in your home. Remember to choose natural tones, as these are the most complimentary and flattering for all furniture and styles. Say good-bye to your outdated pink, lime green or tacky faux finish walls!

7. Sweat the small stuff.
Dripping faucets, loose cupboard handles, sticking windows and other minor flaws are often more visible than you think. Take the time to make these small repairs.

8. Beautify from bottom to top.
Don’t forget to organize all the junk you’ve stored in your attic and basement over the years. Display the full value of these spaces by removing unnecessary articles and use proper storage solutions to organize what’s left.

9. Make your home inviting.
Light scented candles, check all your light bulbs and replace as necessary, and ensure your home is odour & smoke-free. Show that you care about your home’s appearance. During a showing, turn on lamps for extra lighting and shine, and open curtains and draperies to add a cheerful appeal.

10. Your home should sparkle!
Clean your house and keep it that way. Make your home ready for a showing any day of the week. Yes, people will be critical when it comes to cleanliness, so don’t disappoint in this area. Scrub your shower, clean your fridge, steam your carpets, poop & scoop and freshen that litter box!

11. Ensure all appliances are in working order.
Especially if you are selling them with the house. No one wants to pay for a dishwasher repair as soon as they move in.

12. Clean parts of your home you normally don’t pay attention to.
Dust windowsills, organize the crawlspace, scrub windows inside and out, paint the eaves trough, remove scuff marks from walls, weed the cracks in your driveway…make your house immaculate inside and out.

13. Make the exterior as inviting as the interior.
Outdoors: plant flowers and shrubs, seed and water your grass, add a small patio set or some outdoor lighting, remove Christmas lights, and paint your mailbox. Indoors: decorate with fresh flowers, make rooms feel cozy and complete with proper drapery, rugs, books and matching accessories.

14. Pay attention to details.
Clean up cobwebs, fold towels in your linen closet to perfection, remove family photos (max. of 2 small), protect your valuables, clean your furnace ducts, and make every detail perfect. Make sure home buyers fall in love with your home by leaving no stone unturned. It’ll be worth it!

15. Make space.
Organize closets, cupboards and the garage to make them look bigger. Neat, uncluttered spaces increase the visual dimensions of the space.

Once you’re done, don’t be surprised if you love your home more than you ever have. Looks attractive, clean and stylish right? If you’re impressed, home buyers will be too!

Placing your home on the market is more than simply finding the right real estate agent and setting the right price. It’s also about presenting the most desirable product possible for potential home buyers. With all the homes they will view, make yours the most memorable. All your efforts will increase your chances of impressing buyers and landing offers. You have a great deal of control over how your property is perceived, and there are several things you can do to prepare it for sale to maximize its value in the eyes of potential buyers. Take advantage of this and showcase your home with pride!

© Copyright 2008 Sonia Fratia


Sonia Fratia is the Copywriter for InCom Real Estate Web & e-Marketing Solutions. She writes real estate related articles for the company and their clients. The HomeLife Team, Ivan Beran and Surinder Khela, is one of InCom’s esteemed clients. They are the Mississauga Real Estate Specialists. They’ll sell your Mississauga Homes For Sale quickly and easily. Looking for GTA Homes Condos? Call the HomeLife Team today.

What’s a Home Appraisal?

A home appraisal is an opinion of value, an educated guess, a hypothesis as to what the typical buyer will pay for any given property within a reasonable amount of time on the market. It's serious business these days. When an appraiser surveys a property, they aren't looking for curb appeal or great staging, they're looking at the whole host of social, economic, governmental and environmental forces that shape real estate sales trends.

Though a home's market value may be increased by replacing the appliances, painting, planting flowers and rearranging the furniture, none of these things will affect the appraisal. If you want to increase the appraised value of your home you will have to look at deeper issues; updated plumbing, electrical and HVAC systems, new roofs, windows and insulation will all affect the appraised value of a home.

The cost of an appraisal typically runs in the $200 to $400 range and they are usually good for 6 months.

What's in an Appraisal?:

- a legal and physical description of the property
- square footage
- measurements
- a list of comparable properties in the neighborhood
- a description of the neighborhood
- a report on current real estate activity and market trends in the area
- an analysis of the "highest and best use" of the property

What a Home Appraisal Can Do for You:

An appraisal's main function is to help determine the true market value of a property, an essential piece of information when lenders define mortgage terms. In many cases, buyers or homeowners seeking refinancing will be required to foot the bill for the appraisal. Once complete, however, the report belongs to the bank. All other parties must formally request a copy of the report if they want to review it. It's highly recommended that all concerned parties do this, you can guarantee that the banks will make sure that their interests are covered.

But while banks insist on an appraisal before they'll lend out any money on a home, that's not the only reason to get one. Ideally, an appraisal will be able to protect the interests of all parties involved in a real estate transaction equally well. For example, before you put your home on the market, you will have to arrive at a price that the market will bear, an appraisal should be your first step. An appraisal is also useful to buyers deciding on the viability of an investment.

Though real estate agents can usually provide you with a comparative market analysis that will give you a good idea of your home's worth, if you're buying a home, these assessments won't replace an appraisal. Unless someone's forking over a suitcase full of cash for the property, an appraisal will be required by the bank before they will lend out any money to any buyer.

Appraisals can also be worthwhile to homeowners that are making renovations. In cases where you're making changes to your home with the intention of increasing your resale value, an appraiser can help you determine whether or not you will get a return on your investment. Occasionally, appraisals are also called for in cases where the value of a property is in dispute ie: divorce, estate settlement, foreclosure and zoning issues.

All states require appraisers to be state licensed or certified. If you are looking for an appraiser to work with, always make sure that the one you hire is certified by the state you live in. This should be a minimum basic requirement. Further qualifications can include certification with a professional organization. The Appraisal Institute and the American Society of Appraisers both require members to go above and beyond state requirements.


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