5 Things to Know Before Investing in Real Estate

Real estate has become a popular investment vehicle because it usually does well, no matter how bad the economy is. At the very least, it often does better than stocks in the time of an economic downturn.

Investing is a popular way for entrepreneurs to start saving and building security for their future, since housing is always in demand. Real estate can also be a good way to offset the effects of inflation and taxes.

Real estate also usually keeps appreciating upward even if there are occasional economic slowdowns. Many think it’s the best way to create wealth since people who have become successful in the industry do not necessarily have to be exceedingly rich.

Here are a few things to know about investing in real estate before you get started.

1. Set financial goals and plans

Try and figure out what you want from your real estate investments and how that comes in line with any financial goals. Smart real estate investors make savvy purchases that get them closer to their monetary goals with every purchase. You can also spend time with a financial adviser if you need some guidance.

2. Spend time learning the basics of the industry and how to invest

Don’t spend all your time reading and actually ignore taking action. To prevent against this, write out certain questions you want to be answered and take deliberate approaches to books you read so you can keep moving forward while still getting educated.

3. Look at a lot of properties before actually investing in one

A lot of real estate investors will buy the first property that they come across and not take any time to really survey the market to find good deals. You need to view investing through the lens of economic motivations since you are not going to be personally living in an investment property yourself. Start with a wide scope and narrow down.

4. At the same time, don’t hesitate to make a deal if one comes across

Too many people try and find the perfect property before making their first investment purchase. You will never buy anything if you hold dear to this strategy. The perfect deal is not going to come across, so make a purchase if you see a good property deal to get buying experience under your belt.

Click here to learn 6 ways to sell your home fast during the holidays!

5. Run the numbers on the property before making the purchase

It would best to first see if you can get a better deal somewhere else, and be especially wary if your numbers are not adding up with what a seller might be telling you. A lot of sellers might try to overestimate a property’s value or embellish in other ways. Looking over tax returns and bills will give you a good idea about the month-to-month costs of a property.

Overall, keep in mind that real estate investing is about supporting your other ventures. Some choose to make real estate investing a full-time deal, but those who are not careful can see their financial prospects suffer if a few deals start to go bad. If you’re looking to invest, be sure to have a healthy perspective on transactions so you make smart decisions that will set you up well for the future.

Do you have a question about investing in real estate and finding the best investment property? Click here to contact Stacy and Nicole today!


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6 Ways to Sell Your Home Fast Around the Holidays

A lot of people think selling a home around the holidays is a hard thing to do. It doesn’t have to be, especially since a lot of people are trying to buy a home before the holidays get in full swing. As a result, it is actually easier than you think to sell a house and get moved out before the holidays start.

Read below to learn 6 ways to sell your home around the holidays.

1. Clean Up Online Listings

A lot of buyers around this time are going to be searching online and you should have a real estate agent make digital advertisements to entice people to make appointments to check out your place in-person. Make sure photos are crisp and up to date, while ensuring all information is filled in so buyers have a good sense about what they are going to see before making  a trek in cold weather to check out a home. A lot of buyers are going to make an early decision based on online information.

2. Put a Holiday Twist on a Listing

Buyers around the holidays want to dream about settling in before the holidays start, especially if they have a family. As a result, a decorated home would draw people in at this point of the year. You put garland on your staircase or a light up your beautiful fireplace. Adding in holiday lights or other decorations before taking listing photos can help people visualize what they could be moving into if they decide to purchase.

3. Offer Flexible Showings

Buyers are going to want to see a home before they purchase it, but the holidays can get busy with scheduling. So keep your plans open so buyers will be more apt to visit your home. Flexibility is key to making quick sales, especially during the holidays.

4. Make Your Home Move-In Ready

This means keeping things neat and tidy even if there is not a showing, and it also means having a pre-inspection done beforehand. These are helpful because they help homes sell faster and could result in saved costs on your end. It will give you another good chance to highlight the good parts about your home, especially if you have a lot of nice upgrades as well.

5. Make Curb Appeal a Big Priority

Picking up leaves or trimming trees outside make a home seem more enticing to potential buyers. Don’t be afraid to decorate with lights, wreaths, and other decorations to give off a holiday spirit that is inviting to potential homeowners. People will be more inclined to buy if the exterior is looking good, clean and well-manicured.

Click here to learn tips to make your home stand out to buyers!

6. Offer Incentives

Since people are looking to buy around the holidays, making a small incentive for buyers can seal a deal. This could come in the form of new appliances, offers to pay closing costs, or more flexibility with negotiations. These can help you stand above other houses and offers and entice people to speed up the purchasing process so they can move in even faster. This means you’re out of your space with money in hand, while the buyer gets to settle in before the holidays get in full swing.

Do you have a question about selling your home before the holiday season? Click here to contact the Stacy and Nicole today!


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What to Know About Escrow

The escrow process plays a big role in a real estate transaction. However, people have a hard time understanding the process. Many current home buyers have paid into escrow without even knowing the why or what is behind it.

Read below for a simple guide to understanding the process of real estate escrow.

What is escrow?

Escrow is when a neutral third party holds on to funds during a real estate transaction. It is a way to protect both the home buyer and seller during the home buying process. After a home is purchased, the new homeowner will continue to put money into escrow as a means of paying the mortgage and insurance payments.

The purpose of escrow is to guarantee the seller that the buyer has the funds needed for the purchase and that these funds will be handed over when the title is transferred. This guarantees that the buyer that they won’t be scammed by a fraudulent seller who actually holds no claim to a title. At the end of the day, escrow helps ensure trust in a high-stakes transaction where neither party may be familiar with each other and where both have a lot to lose.

Escrow agents

The escrow process is arranged by an escrow agent. This is a neutral person who is entrusted with holding payments until specific conditions have been met – usually a title transfer. Because escrow agents play an important role in closing real estate transactions, they are sometimes called title agents.

You will usually not be responsible for securing your own escrow agent.Your real estate agent will facilitate the process. You will just need to supply the funds.

What if you would like to choose your own escrow agent?

You have the right to pick your own escrow agent. You might want to do this if you have a strong recommendation for a particular escrow agent, or if you would like to be as knowledgeable as you can on the several parties involved in your property sale or purchase. Typically, it is the seller who has the final say when making power on which title company is used for escrow.

Click here to learn how to prepare your new home before moving in!

What you need to do in the escrow process

You play an important role in the escrow process as the home buyer or seller in a real estate transaction. In addition to the home buyer being responsible for depositing funds into escrow in a timely manner, there are various other things that both parties could do to make the process run smoother.

Read over all escrow documents and making sure you fully understand them. If you have a question or are unclear about a few things, you should ask your real estate agent to help you. Remain available to quickly answer any questions or necessary next steps as the escrow process moves forward. Read the closing documents thoroughly so that there are no surprises or last-minute questions when the deal is ready to be finalized and closed.

Do you have a question about the escrow process? Click here to contact the Stacy and Nicole today!

 


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3 Ways to Build Home Equity Faster

Buying a home is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make. A good home is an investment and a great place to raise a family. It’s also a relaxing and safe place to spend time in at the end of the day. As a result, it’s vitally important to do everything you can to increase the value of your property.

The best way to utilize your time in your home is to increase home equity. Home equity is essentially the current value of your house with any amount owed on it subtracted. Obviously, you want this to be as big as possible.

There’s a number of ways and strategies to build home equity faster. These usually revolve around increasing the value of a house and paying off a mortgage quicker.

One of the easiest ways to build home equity faster is to just pay off your mortgage sooner. Each month you’re paying the mortgage, you’re just paying more interest to the lender. Getting off mortgage payments means money is now going towards your net worth.

Some ways to pay off a mortgage faster include rounding up. Pay a little extra each month so this money will go straight to principal and boost your equity. Send any gifts and work bonuses into your mortgage and budget for extra payments to pay things off quicker. Otherwise, opt for a shorter mortgage length to pay things off quicker and boost home equity.

Another way to build home equity is to just buy a cheaper house. It’s going to take longer to build equity on a pricey home. Cheaper houses will come with smaller mortgages that can be paid off quicker, and you might even be able to place a bigger down payment on a cheaper house as well. When buying a home, consider these factors during the buying process to help you build equity faster.

Click here to learn how long you should wait to buy a second home!

A third way to build home equity faster to simply make a larger down payment. Putting down more money will help you immensely down the road and get you more home equity. Most people put down about 20% of a home’s value, but you can look at your finances and see if it’s possible to do more. Remember, every dollar counts when it comes to building equity.

Keep these three strategies in mind if you’re trying to build equity in your house. It might seem hard to put down more money now, but it will pay off in a big way down the road, especially when it comes to your financial health. Home equity can also be built through a variety of improvement projects that are targeted towards improving value, while also keeping everything in good condition.

Even if you feel like it might be too late to start building equity, rest assured that it’s not. In fact, starting later is always better than not starting at all. Sit down to figure out what’s financially feasible and keep the above three tips in mind while doing so.

Do you have a question about building home equity? Click here to contact Stacy and Nicole today!


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How to Decide Which Offer is Best When Selling Your House

Selling a home can be a very exciting process, especially as the offers start rolling in. But just because an offer comes in first doesn’t mean it’s the best one. The highest offer also does not always equate to the best offer either.

There are a number of factors and considerations you should keep in mind when reviewing offers for your house.

Payment Type: The first thing you should do when looking at offers is check out the payment type. Most buyers will not choose to purchase in cash, but offers that are all cash are often the safest offers since sellers don’t have to worry about loan approvals by banks.

Pre-Approval Status: Pre-approval is another important element to consider when selling a house. Essentially, a letter of pre-approval means a buyer will be able to get the loan they need to purchase your house.

This makes these types of offers safer (and stronger) than from people who are not pre-approved. Do keep in mind there’s a difference between pre-qualification and pre-approval.

Repairs: Your house might need some repairs, but maybe you don’t have the time or money to do them. This makes a buyer who is willing to do the work an attractive one when it comes to selling. Some buyers will ask you to fix things in the house, while others will want to do the work themselves.

Taking this into consideration can save you a lot of time and hassle when it comes to reviewing offers.

Additionally, some buyers will want you to take all the appliances, while others will want to use them. Items like refrigerators and washers can be expensive, so keep this in mind when it comes to reviewing offers.

Contingencies: A lot of offers will come with contingencies attached, which are a list of things that have to happen at certain times in order for the deal to actually go through. For the seller, fewer contingencies are always better, so it’s important to carefully review all contingencies in each offer.

More common ones include inspection, financing, and appraisal. Some buyers will put in a clause to back out of a deal if an inspection reveals too many problems, so be sure to read the fine print of each offer and weigh options accordingly.

Types of Loan: Buyers will probably come towards you with a variety of mortgages under their belt, and this can lead to very different circumstances for the seller. Conventional loans are popular because they are pretty simple, but some government-backed ones can get a bit complicated since they require specific approvals and repairs at times. Make sure to keep the loan type in mind as you are reviewing offers, since this can add a lot of time and stress to the entire process.

Closing Timeline: When you are selling a home, you’re probably just ready to get a deal done and move on to buying your new home. Buyers who come with all cash offers will probably then be the best bet for you, even if the price is a bit below other offers.

Click here to learn the pros and cons of all-cash offers!

However, if your plans somewhere else are not yet clear, then you might need an extended closing timeline with a buyer who is willing to take

more time. This gives you more of a chance to prepare to buy a new home, and gives the buyer more of a chance to potentially find more money for their own expenses.

Overall, there are a number of things to keep in mind when reviewing offers for your home. Price does matter, and this might be the most important factor for you, but some offers come with a lot of risks that makes them more of a hassle, even if you are getting more money upfront.

Are you thinking of buying or selling a home? Click here to contact the Stacy and Nicole today!


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Tips For Making Your Home Stand Out to Buyers

There are probably already many things on your to-do list as you’re preparing to sell your home in Orange County. Here are some tips to help you make your home sell fast and stand out.

Think Objectively.

You will need to think about your home objectively and in a buyer’s perspective when preparing it for potential home buyers. This may be hard as a homeowner, but taking generic photos of your home’s interior and exterior features may help you picture your home objectively.

Start with the Exterior.

The exterior of your home is important when it comes to appealing to a buyer. The way your home looks on the outside is what brings buyers to your home as well as entice them into going inside to check out the home. Consider trimming the trees, mowing the lawn and even getting a fresh paint job for the home and the front door to freshen up the outside look of your home.

Declutter Your Home.

Potential home buyers like to see spacious homes so that they can envision how they can fill up the space and decorate the space as their own. It would be difficult for them to picture their own layout in your home if the rooms were cluttered with someone else’s’ personal belongings. So before any potential buyers goes on a tour in your home, make sure to organize and declutter all the rooms in your home as much as you can. A smart strategy for decluttering is packing up half of your household belongings before listing your home. This includes anything that you don’t use everyday as well as any personal pictures and knick knacks.

Stage Your Home Strategically.

Whether you have a small home or a big home, staging your home and utilizing the space strategically will make your home stand out to potential buyers because attention to details and a willingness to go the extra mile can make all the difference.

Think Outside the Box.

This is where you can get creative with putting out decorations, playing around with furniture placement, and overall making your home more appealing. Homes with a clean, stylish, and uncluttered look with generic modern decor is what most buyers look for. Make sure to pay attention to how your kitchen space is staged. The kitchen is typically one of the rooms in the home that potential buyers get excited over, which entices them to complete the sale. Try making your kitchen unique by adding new paints, elegant features, and sleek decor to the space.

Ask a Friend for Honest Advice.

Since it is your home, it may be hard for you to see the home for what is really is even if you are thinking in a buyer’s perspective. A smart idea would be to ask a friend for an honest opinion of your home. Ask a friend to come through your home and point out all the things that could raise red flags for potential buyers.

Selling a house can be stressful in a competitive market, but these tips will surely help make your home shine above the rest. Contact Stacy & Nicole today for any of your home selling inquiries!


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How to Make Money Flipping Homes

There is a lot of money waiting to be made in flipping homes. You can go from 0 to 100 in a matter of days. All you need to have is the power of persuasion. But it comes with a lot of other different factors that you need to consider and capitalize on in a very short time. So, your main goal is to first look for a distressed seller, then to find a desperate cash buyer who will ensure that the deal comes to a quick close and you make your profit out of it all. You only need to be persuasive and convincing enough to catch the buyer’s attention and interest in the seller’s home. So, all this starts with finding the right buyer.

1. Identify the right markets

You need to ensure that you know the right markets. Finding the hottest markets in the real estate business at all times will be your first step towards finding out where the relevant buyers are putting their cash. But at the end of the day, knowing the right market for the buyers could be what separates you from heading home with a big check to the bank or empty-handed.

2. Identify the right location

You also need to identify the right location. A home at the right place means where you are not only going to buy the home at the best possible price, but where the relevant buyer is going to be willing to buy the house from you at your stipulated price.

3. Identify the right property

Scour the internet, the MLS and everything you can, through the real estate channels and find the right property. Look for the vacant and distressed homes that are about to fall into repossession or on short sales and make your move. All you need to do is start from somewhere and keep searching until you get the right property. Ask around from your neighbors, and even the real estate agents and keep an eye out for anything that may interest you. You may catch a lucky break.

4. Identify the right buyers

This is the point where you need to line up your buyers and here is where you can even categorize them from the relevant buyers to regular buyers. The relevant buyers are the buyers who have a higher chance of making any purchase. Do your magic and see which one of your buyers pan out. Here is where you start making some crazy money.

5. Identify the right sellers

This point might be a bit tricky since finding a vacant house may sometimes not be as simple as you might think. You may end up doing a lot of searching, digging through the web, and asking a lot of questions here and there and still end up short of finding any vacant home. But even if you do, you still need to come to some sweet deal with the home seller and agree on an amount that beneficial to both parties; especially you.

Do you have a question about flipping homes? Click here to talk to the experts at Stacy and Nicole today!


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Pros and Cons of All-Cash Offers

It is without a doubt that you will have no trouble finding the perfect home if you have an all-cash offer up your sleeves. Even home sellers will be planning sweet deals to offer you if you pass by their homes as this usually means that you have the cash to seal the deal and purchase their homes.

Typically, all-cash home buyers have close to all the advantages over the home buyers with mortgages simply because the there is usually no guarantee that the home buyers with mortgages will get you the balance. A lot of obstacles can end up getting in the way and even interfere with regular monthly mortgage payments. The best thing about an all-cash home buyer is that all these doubts and inconveniences are squashed; it is similar to a no-strings-attached deal.

All-cash deals are usually quite common; it’s not only seen among the super-rich within the community nowadays. When you dig a little deeper, you will notice that a good portion of this 29% is not among the wealthy.

But you need to keep in mind that an all-cash move is not always the best move for every occasion. This article will help you determine whether you should go for an all-cash deal or opt for a mortgage route instead.

Should you go for an all-cash sale?

Here is one simple fact to everyone reading this. Just because you have the cash and know you can afford to purchase the property doesn’t mean that it is always the best way to go. Making an all-cash deal comes with its merits as well as demerits that you need to peek into before you stash a significant amount of your cash into that brand new expensive home.

The pros of going for an all-cash offer

  • Tough sales markets – You may want to make an all-cash offer when you realize that a bidding war is going on for that new home or condo that you want to buy. An all-cash offer will help you cut through the competition like a knife through butter.
  • Strong negotiation stance – An all-cash offer will also give you an added advantage over the negotiation stance for the home that you plan to purchase. You will be able to force the home sellers to drop from their initial asking price to an amount that can suit you.

Faster processes

All-cash offers will also make the whole process of purchasing and acquiring a new home faster compared to applying for a mortgage. This deal comes with less paperwork and almost no delays at all.

The cons of going for an all-cash offer

  • You will put a lot of money into one asset when you can diversify and use it in other things.
  • Your liquidity can also be drastically limited if you go for an all-cash deal.
  • You will also miss out on significant tax deductions like a tax break, which homeowners with mortgages get.
  • You may even stand a chance of investing your money better elsewhere, maybe a business.

Do you have a question about all-cash offers? Click here to contact the experts at Stacy and Nicole today!


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Should You and Your Spouse Buy a Home Before Getting Married?

One of the many things that spouses find difficult is deciding to buy a house before or after they get married. You need to give this a significant amount of thought before you make a decision. Be cautious when dealing with matters like these. Take appropriate measures to protect yourself and your spouse during and after you purchase of your new home.

Below are some key pointers you and your spouse need to take into consideration before you decide to buy that new dream home.

1. Current finances

You should sit down with your partner and discuss your financial situation. Make sure your spouse can keep up with the future house payments. You and your spouse need to discuss matters concerning debt, income, current credit score, as well as other financial obligations. After all, you will need all of this information while attempting to get that mortgage.

2. Credit scores

The credit scores of both you and your partner are vital if you and your spouse intend to get a mortgage. If you wish to get that great mortgage rate, then you need to start working on raising your credit scores. You must know both of your credit scores before you even attempt to buy a new home. With improved credit scores, you and your spouse will be able to save thousands of dollars for the span that you have taken the loan.

3. Future finances

As a spouse, you will soon come to realize that money problems are the leading problem in relationships, whether you are married or unmarried. It would be best if both you and your spouse lay down a contract that will explain who will pay for what and how much. Some of the things you can consider when planning to buy that new home are down payment, mortgage payments, fees, maintenance, and upgrades.

4. The kind of home you intend to buy

It is vital that you and your spouse are on the same page when it comes to buying a new home. Discuss with each other what you want and agree on the best home that both of you love and want to live in.

5. Opening a joint bank account

You may consider opening a joint bank account with your spouse if you are planning to buy a new home together. This way, you can always use this account to pay your bills that involve the new house.

6. Title options

There are a couple of title arrangements that you can choose from. These include joint tenancy with the rights of survivorship and sole ownership.

7. What if it doesn’t work out?

You will not want to plan for failure with your spouse. For this reason, you need to consider all the factors that will make your plan to buy a new home a success.

8. Get a legally binding agreement

The title agreement might be legally binding, but any other decision that you make together that concern finances are not, so take caution.
Do you have a question about home buying with your spouse? Click here to contact Stacy and Nicole today!


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Why You Should Hire a Real Estate Pro to Help You Buy a Home

Everyone knows that it is no joyride when trying to own a home. Before you manage to become a homeowner, you will have gone through some unexpected bumps and detours along the way. It is for this reason that you may find it relieving to hire a real estate pro who will guide you through the whole process.

An experienced agent will help you with so much more information in comparison to mobile applications and real estate websites. Here are some pointers on how a real estate pro can be of assistance to you in your quest to own a home.

1. Guidance

Your real estate pro will always take the time to learn about what you prefer, your budget and motivation, and your wants and needs. The agent will use this information to narrow down your home searches.

2. Education

Your real estate agent will also provide you with the relevant information about the local home market near you and also help you compare their sales. The agent should be able to explain all the areas that you do not fully understand.

3. Networking

An agent who knows how to do his or her job will always be one step ahead of the market and stay updated about any homes that may be available for sale around your target neighborhoods.

4. Advocate

You should know that it is always the best option to look for an agent who will be looking out for your own best interest when it comes to looking for a new home. Find an agent who will strive to make sure you are protected and that any transactions you do will be within all the legal boundaries.
It is not always a good idea to assume that you can always go straight to the listing agent and end up getting a lower price for your new home. Work with an agent who will dedicate his or her time to you and your cause.

5. Negotiation

Don’t worry about negotiating when you have an agent. All you need to do is some follow up on how the negotiation goes. Your agent will handle everything when it comes to dealing with negotiations of your new home.

6. Manage minutia

You will most likely end up being overly exhausted while trying to follow up on all the paperwork that comes with real estate transactions. Here is where your agent comes in. You may fail to check a box or even forget to have a clause initialized. These can cause the need to have your documents re-submitted. A real estate pro makes all of this easier by following up on all these steps.

7. Look out

There are dozens of situations that can end up cutting a deal short, even as it edges towards being sealed. Anything can happen; maybe the house’s title isn’t that clear, or even the lender is failing to meet the financial deadline or any other factor. Your real estate pro will realize any problems that may arise with the home or with the contract and warn you before it is too late.

Do you have a question about buying a home? Click here to contact Stacy and Nicole today!


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