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Archive for the ‘Buying’ Category

Flip That House!

Sunday, March 14th, 2010




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Flip That House!

-By your Staff Writer for the Property Network, Matt Giles

If you can afford to buy, renovate and sell a house right now, good for you! You are doing way better than most people. Flipping houses is a great way to make money and with this economy, now is the time to buy.

The ideal situation is to buy now, fix it up and rent until the real estate market comes back into full swing, then sell. Even if you buy now and sell it is worth it. But just remember the market is what it is right now, so don’t expect to be making a fortune on flips, unless you buy something really low and sink some money into it and sell for a moderate price.

Now, if I were you and could flip houses the first thing I would do is make buddy-buddy with a real estate agent (I would suggest Nicole Borsey, she is the only real estate agent I would trust with a project like this). Real estate agents get the listings first and by making friends with one or two can help get you the inside tip to a great buy. Plus they are always full of great suggestions to get the most bang for your buck on renovations.

Foreclosures and bank owned properties are a great place to start. Banks just want enough money so it is not a loss for them. So if the house is worth $300,000 but the bank only needs a $150,000 to cover the rest of the mortgage, you can probably get the house for around a $150k. This is sweet because it already puts you a head of the game when it comes time to resell.

Know your numbers. What you can afford to put into the house and what you will get out of the house. Go over the numbers with your contractor and than go over them again. Don’t go over. Stick to the numbers.

Once you find your property and get your mortgage, you have to really look at what is worth fixing in the house. Is it going to be a good return on investment??? Kitchens and bathrooms are usually the money makers. You give a kitchen a make over and it is usually instant relief when someone walks into the house.

*****Remember if you open up the walls, whatever you find behind the sheetrock has to be brought up to code if it is below code standards. So opening up the walls can be a gamble, if you find that you need to up date all the electric and plumbing the price of poker just went up.******

Finding a contractor you can trust is worth it’s weight in gold. Some contractors are willing to work with you if they know they are getting more work on the next house. Having a contractor who is consistent, uses good sub contractors and can get the work done quick, clean, and at a good price is key to flipping houses.

If you are going to do the work yourself on nights and weekends, flipping a house is not a quick process. There are advantages to doing it yourself if you are capable of doing the work. If you are not…by all means don’t be ashamed to hire someone. I have friends that think they are more “handy” than they really are around the house. They cause more damage and make the job cost twice as much if they hired someone. Figure out what your time is worth and where you make more money, being a contractor or doing whatever it is you do everyday. More than likely you will make more money at your job rather than the contactors.

Finally, don’t pull a Richard Gere in Pretty Woman, DON’T FALL IN  LOVE! It’s a flip. You come in, do the work and get out. No need to get emotionally involved in the house. The house knows what you are using it for; it’s why you paid for it in the first place. You wanted something quick. It’s nothing personal, it’s a business deal. You are in it to make money, remember that.

-Matt Giles, Staff Writer for the Property Network, Freelance writer for hire. For more info visit www.mdgcopywriting.com



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Economic Update – March 1, 2010

Monday, March 1st, 2010




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Last Week in the News


The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city housing price index rose a seasonally adjusted 0.3% in December. It was the seventh consecutive monthly gain and follows a 0.2% increase in November.

The consumer confidence index fell to 46 in February from an upwardly revised 56.5 in January. Economists had anticipated a reading of 55. The index was benchmarked at 100 in 1985, a year chosen because it was neither a peak nor a trough in consumer confidence.

The Commerce Department reported new home sales fell 11.2% in January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 309,000 units from a rate of 342,000 units in December. Economists had expected a pace of 354,000.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits rose by 22,000 to 496,000 in the week ending February 20. Continuing claims for the week ending February 13 rose by 6,000 to 4.617 million.

Orders for durable goods — items expected to last three or more years — rose 3% in January after a revised 1.9% increase in December. Excluding volatile transportation-related goods, orders posted a monthly decrease of 0.6%.

Existing home sales fell 7.2% in January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.05 million units from 5.44 million units in December. The inventory of unsold homes on the market fell 0.5% to 3.27 million, a 7.8-month supply at the current sales pace, up from a 7.2-month supply in December and a 6.5-month supply in November.

The Commerce Department announced that gross domestic product — the total output of goods and services produced in the U.S. — increased at an annual rate of 5.9% in the fourth quarter of 2009, rather than the 5.7% increase initially reported last month.

Upcoming on the economic calendar are reports on construction spending on March 1, and factory orders and pending home sales on March 4.

Click here to visit my website and apply on line:
www.DavidJGarofalo.com


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Is this a legally binding contract???

Monday, March 1st, 2010




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Modern technology is a wonderful thing, creating easy “connectivity” between people all over the nation. But it’s also causing problems in many areas, and buying Stamford real estate is one of them.

Here’s the problem: Many people selling Stamford real estate may live in another city or state. In this case, negotiations may be conducted over the phone, through email, via Yahoo conversations – some even use Twitter for real estate deals and information.

At the same time, this also means that legal documents may be passed through email, uploaded to a website for easy viewing or through any number of other online methods. PDF documents, for instance, have become a very popular way to pass on legal forms because they’re easy to fill out, don’t have to printed, etc.

As the buyer, you can’t afford to take the seller’s word that they’ve accepted your position – especially through email. For instance, a buyer recently had a home sale fall through. The seller accepted the terms through email, told the buyer that the seller had signed the contract and sent it on to the agent. Somehow, even though the buyer was positive the contract had been agreed upon, the house was sold to another buyer. Although laws change from state to state, it’s always best to have the contract in printed form, with an actual signature – in ink! Without the actual contract, all you have is an email.

Although emails can be legally binding, they don’t hold a candle to having the printed and signed contract in hand.

Here are a few tips to make sure your housing purchase goes off without a hitch:

• Meet in person – This may be a difficult prospect, especially if the seller lives out of state. However, if you can’t meet them in person, their agent should at least be local. Meeting with the home seller’s legal representative (i.e. Real estate agent) is the next best thing.

• Get it in writing, and get it in print – Who wants to wait for the post office to deliver a paper contract when you can get it from an email? Well… you do. Yes, it might slow the process of buying a house and closing the deal, but so will having the seller back out.

• Verify the important points – Make sure you and the seller really do agree on the terms of the contract before you put your signature on it. You, or preferably your buyer’s agent, should go over the contract with the seller’s agent who should go over it with the seller.

It’s a great time to buy Stamford real estate, but don’t let technology lose you the contract. Cross your t’s and dot your i’s – on paper!

If you’re looking to buy a home, I’ll make sure all those t’s are crossed and i’s are dotted for you. Call me at 203.667.0897 or email me at nicole@thepropnet.com for more information. icon smile Is this a legally binding contract??? | CT Real Estate

Nicole Borsey,  Broker/Owner



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Economic Update – Feb 22, 2010

Monday, February 22nd, 2010




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Last Week in the News


The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo housing market index rose two points in February to 17. It was the first gain in five months. Economists had anticipated a dip to 14. An index reading below 50 indicates negative sentiment about the housing market.

The combined construction of new single-family homes and apartments in January rose 2.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 591,000 units. However, applications for new building permits, seen as an indicator of future activity, fell 4.9% to 621,000 units.

Industrial production at the nation’s factories, mines and utilities increased 0.9% in January, following an upwardly revised 0.7% gain in December. It was the seventh consecutive monthly increase. The overall factory-operating rate rose to 72.6% of capacity in January from 71.9% in December.

The producer price index, which tracks wholesale price inflation, rose 1.4% in January, following an upwardly revised 0.4% increase in December. Economists had expected a gain of 0.8%. The gains were largely due to higher energy costs.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits rose by 31,000 to 473,000 in the week ending February 13. Continuing claims for the week ending February 6 held steady at 4.538 million. Experts believe snowstorms in early February may have cost the economy as many as 100,000 jobs.

The index of leading economic indicators — designed to forecast economic activity in the next three to six months — rose a smaller-than-expected 0.3% in January after a revised 1.2% gain in December. It was the 10th straight monthly increase and the longest series of gains since 2004.

Consumer prices rose 0.2% in January. Excluding energy and food, the so-called core index unexpectedly slipped 0.1%, the first monthly decline since December 1982.

The Federal Reserve Board raised the discount rate charged to banks by a quarter-point to 0.75%.

Upcoming on the economic calendar are reports on the housing price index on February 23, new home sales on February 24, and existing home sales on February 26.

Click here to visit my website and apply on line:
www.DavidJGarofalo.com


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The Hazards of Asbestos

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010




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The home buying process is an exciting time, but one that may bring additional responsibilities into your life. Having the assistance of an experienced and honest Connecticut real estate agent will make this process smooth and stress free. While the process of choosing a home is an exciting and rewarding time, additional repairs or renovations may be needed upon purchase. It is also a time where additional responsibilities will enter ones life.

Many older homes built prior to 1980 may still harvest obsolete and corrosive building materials which can create health concerns. Environmental efficiency is on the rise throughout the state because of technology and green building methods progressing rapidly.

Asbestos

Asbestos is a fibrous mineral that was utilized throughout the 20th century as an ideal form of insulation and piping in construction applications. Asbestos is often in old fireproofing, roofing, vinyl flooring, pipe and boiler insulation, and some roads and cement pipe and cement sheet products. Exposure to asbestos is easily avoidable by taking simple precautions.

Tips & Advice

It is not always an easy process to determine whether or not a particular insulation contains asbestos. If asbestos is located, it must be left un-touched until a professional can provide a course of action. In many situations, the best action is no action. Leaving it undisturbed is advisable as this will prevent its fibers from becoming airborne.

The Connecticut Department of Public Health administers an asbestos program that aims to reduce potential exposure to asbestos, including asbestos abatement and removal. This process should be undertaken by a licensed asbestos abatement contractor.

Asbestos exposure can lead to the development of a rare, but severe form of asbestos lung cancer known as mesothelioma. Current research indicates it can take as much as 20 to 50 years for this illness to develop. This makes accurate diagnosis a difficult task for physicians. Mesothelioma compensation has become tough to predict for victims and their families because diagnosis can take 20-50 years. For this reason, many people refer to it as a silent killer.

Going Green!

Green methods of building and construction have become a prominent aspect of Connecticut’s communities. Implementing green methods of building can have positive environmental, health and economic benefits. These include: Conservation of natural resources, enhance air quality, protect Eco systems, energy sustainability, increase property value, improve quality of life, improvement of pulmonary and cardiac health, Reduction of waste.

Green building is the consequence of a design that will increase energy efficiency, water and have a direct impact on your health and the environment. In a recent article published by Reuters, the green building movement has been steadily increasing. However, home owners feeling the financial crunch have been un-decided about going green because of fiscal reasons. Going green can and will have several positive economic benefits.

Cotton fiber, cellulose and lcynene, water based spray polyurethane foam are all viable replacements to asbestos. Cotton fiber is quickly becoming a favorite for home builders and renovators. Made from recycled batted material, it is also treated to be fireproof. Research has demonstrated that the use of Eco-friendly insulation alternatives can reduce annual energy costs by 25 percent. These green options have the same beneficial qualities as asbestos, minus the health deteriorating and toxic components.



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Foreclosure Solutions

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010




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Foreclosure Solutions

The current U.S. housing market and national financial crisis has caused untold stress and heartache for many American families. Foreclosure is one of the most devastating financial challenges that a family can face and one that many times can be avoided. The options available to Stamford-area residents for foreclosure are many. Following is a brief explanation of these solutions, including their benefits and drawbacks:

Reinstatement
A reinstatement is the simplest solution for a foreclosure, however it is often the most difficult. The homeowner simply requests the total amount owed to the mortgage company to date and pays it. This solution does not require the lender’s approval and will ‘reinstate’ a mortgage up to the day before the final foreclosure sale.

Benefit: Does not require the mortgage company or lender’s approval.

Drawback: Requires that a homeowner be able to pay all back payments, fines and fees.

Forbearance or Repayment Plan

A forbearance or repayment plan involves the homeowner negotiating with the mortgage company to allow them to repay back payments over a period of time. The homeowner typically makes their current mortgage payment in addition to a portion of the back payments they owe.

Benefit: Allows the homeowner to make back payments over time.

Drawback: Requires that a homeowner be in a financial position to pay not only their current mortgage, but also a portion of the back payments owed. Some mortgage companies will require a homeowner to ‘qualify’ for forbearance.

Mortgage Modification
A mortgage modification involves the reduction of one of the following: the interest rate on the loan, the principal balance of the loan, the term of the loan, or any combination of these. These typically result in a lower payment to the homeowner and a more affordable mortgage.

Benefit: Reduces the payment a homeowner is required to make on a monthly basis and may reduce the principal balance of the loan

Drawback: Requires that a homeowner ‘qualify’ for the new payment and will often require full documentation. Lender has to be actively pursuing modifications.

Rent the Property
A homeowner who has a mortgage payment low enough that market rent will allow it to be paid, is able to convert their property to a rental and use the rental income to pay the mortgage.

Benefit: Allows homeowner to keep property indefinitely.

Drawback: The issues that can arise with a rental property are many, and rent often does not cover the full cost of property ownership and maintenance.

Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure
Also known as a ‘friendly foreclosure’, a deed in lieu allows the homeowner to return the property to the lender rather than go through the foreclosure process. Lender approval is required for this option, and the homeowner must also vacate the property.

Benefit: Many times in a successful deed in lieu, the lender will forego their right to a deficiency judgment.

Drawback: Requires that a homeowner vacate the property, and a deed in lieu may be reported to credit bureaus as a foreclosure.
Bankruptcy

Many have considered and marketed bankruptcy as a ‘foreclosure solution,’ but this is only true in some states and situations. If the homeowner has non-mortgage debts that cause a shortfall of paying their mortgage payments and a personal bankruptcy will eliminate these debts, this may be a viable solution.

Benefit: Does not require lender approval.

Drawback: If a homeowner cannot afford their mortgage payment, a bankruptcy will only stall—not stop—the foreclosure process. Bankruptcy can be costly, is damaging to credit scores, and can only be declared once every seven years.
Refinance
If a homeowner has sufficient equity in their property and their credit is still in good standing, they may be able to refinance their mortgage.

Benefit: In some cases, this will lower payments.

Drawback: In today’s market, a refinance will almost always raise mortgage payments, and is an expensive process.
Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (military personnel only)
If a member of the military is experiencing financial distress due to deployment, and that person can show that their debt was entered into prior to deployment, they may qualify for relief under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. The American Bar Association has a network of attorneys that will work with servicemembers in relation to qualifying for this relief.

Benefit: If qualified, this will lower payments on all consumer debt in addition to mortgage payments.

Drawback: Must be ac



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Kick the Tires, Check under the Hood, You’re Ready to Buy.

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010




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-By your local Stamford Connecticut Real Estate Broker, Nicole Borsey at The Property Network

Congratulations, You are ready to buy a home in Stamford! Buying a home is one of the most exciting things you can accomplish. There is the thrill of the hunt, applying for the mortgage, attorney review, all the elements that make the process exhilarating.

Just like buying a car, you want to check out the make, model, kick the tires, check under the hood of your potential new home.  Most of the time you have to find the right dealer and for home buying that is finding the right realtor. Your realtor should understand your wants and needs in a home and take all of your requirements into consideration.

There are many different makes and models of homes, just like cars. Being open minded is key for finding the right home. Ranches, cape cods, condos, town houses, Victorians, etc, are all out there and maybe even in the area you are looking.  If the place is in your price range and in the area you want to live, take the time to visit the home, because you never know what you might find.

First things first, when buying a house….where do you want to live? In a town (obviously Stamford or close by)? The middle of nowhere? On a hill? By the water? Near a school? Within 5 minutes of a Starbucks? Narrowing down these decisions will make the start of the process easier.   School districts, easy commute to work, and property tax are all things to think about when buying.

What features does your dream home have? Fireplace, walk out basement, a yard, a public place for the kids to play, a driveway, a great view, what does your dream home have that no others have. For some people the difference between buying and not buying a home is hardwood floors over a rug. Knowing the hard to change things (like a putting in a fireplace or driveway) will help build your check list of must haves.

Don’t forget to check for dings and dents. Does the house need a roof? Does the house need a new septic system? What is a septic system and how much does it cost to replace? Are their cracks in foundation, sidewalks sinking? All things to look for and think about before you buy. Some of these things are quick fixes and some can be quite costly.
Is it roomy enough for you? Literally, is there enough room? Will one bathroom cut it? How many bedrooms do you need? Is one bedroom enough space for you or are you planning on having kids in the future and need something with more room? Do you need a lot of storage space? For the shop-aholics are the closets big enough to store your clothes? Additions can be expensive so if you know these things ahead of time factor them in while comparing houses.

Paint colors, central air, trim moldings are all things that can be added after you move in. Where the home is, the amenities you can’t live with out, storage; style, etc are the starting points when you are ready to buy.  Your home is a BIG purchase and deserves a lot of careful thought and consideration, but is with out of a doubt one of the most exciting investments you can make.

Stamford Connecticut is the home of Property Network. We want make Stamford your home too!



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Buying Foreclosures

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010




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Buying bank owned properties
There is a lot of interest in buying bank owned properties these days. A lot of information, some good and some bad, is floating around about the subject.   Often the information offered is for sale, with the promise that you can make a lot of money with little effort once you know “the secret formula”.  The fact is that there are no secrets, and to make money does require effort.
What’s an REO?
REO stands for “Real Estate Owned”.  These are properties that have gone through foreclosure and are now owned by the bank or mortgage company.  This is not the same as a property up for foreclosure auction.  When buying a property during a foreclosure sale, you must pay at least the loan balance plus any interest and other fees accumulated during the foreclosure process.  You must also be prepared to pay with cash in hand.  And on top of all that, you’ll receive the property 100% “as is”.  That could include existing liens and even current occupants that need to be evicted.  A REO, by contrast, is a much “cleaner” and attractive transaction.  The REO property did not find a buyer during foreclosure auction.  The bank now owns it.  The bank will see to the removal of tax liens, evict occupants if needed and generally prepare for the issuance of a title insurance policy to the buyer at closing.  Do be aware that REO’s may be exempt from normal disclosure requirements.  In California, for example, banks are exempt from giving a Transfer Disclosure Statement, a document that normally requires sellers to tell you about any defects they are aware of.
Is it a bargain?
It’s commonly assumed that any REO must be a bargain and an opportunity for easy money.  This simply isn’t true.  You have to be very careful about buying a REO if your intent is to make money off of it.  While it’s true that the bank is typically anxious to sell it quickly, they are also strongly motivated to get as much as they can for it.  When considering the value of a REO, you need to look closely at comparable sales in the neighborhood and be sure to take into account the time and cost of any repairs or remodeling needed to prepare the house for resale.  The bargains with money making potential exist, and many people do very well buying foreclosures.  But there are also many REO’s that are not good buys and not likely to turn a profit.
Ready to make an offer?
Most banks have a REO department that you’ll work with in buying a REO property from them.  Typically the REO department will use a listing agent to get their REO properties listed on the local MLS.  Before making your offer, you’ll want to contact either the listing agent or REO department at the bank and find out as much as you can about what they know about the condition of the property and what their process is for receiving offers.  Since banks almost always sell REO properties “as is”, you’ll want to be sure and include an inspection contingency in your offer that gives you time to check for hidden damage and terminate the offer if you find it.  As with making any offer on real estate, you’ll make your offer more attractive if you can include documentation of your ability to pay, such as a pre-approval letter from a lender.  After you’ve made your offer, you can expect the bank to make a counter offer.  Then it will be up to you to decide whether to accept their counter, or offer a counter to the counter offer.  Realize, you’ll be dealing with a process that probably involves multiple people at the bank, and they don’t work evenings or weekends.  It’s not unusual for the process of offers and counter offers to take days or even weeks.
Looking to Buy? Give me a call 203.667.0897 icon smile Buying Foreclosures | CT Real Estate or email nicole@thepropnet.com


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