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Appraised Value: The Ups & Downs Of How Much A House Is Worth

Posted by jfortunes on May 31, 2014


Determining Fair Market Value is an eternal struggle and major balancing act. That’s because buyers want a house to appraise on the low side keep the purchase price down. While sellers want the same house to appraise on the high side make the sale price higher. And then you’ve got the owners of the house who also want the appraisal to be on the low side, in order to keep the property taxes down.

So with all these different agendas and points of view, how is the fair market value of a real estate property actually determined?

Once a year, your county sends all area homeowners official notices that put a dollar value on their property. And property taxes are based on those dollar values. But before those notices get sent out, a long, detailed process usually takes place. First, the land is valued as if it’s a vacant empty lot, in other words. Then any improvements are described and measured. Improvements consist of the house and any other structures, pools, sheds, garages, and so forth. Next, most counties check the Marshall Valuation Service Cost Guide. It’s a standardized nationwide guide for determining the value of the cost per square foot to build a building that fits the description of the improved property. Next, if the house isn’t brand new, the replacement cost is considered, as well as depreciation; the year the house was constructed and the condition of the property are factors here. Appraisers then must take the critical step of comparing the value of the house with recent selling prices of similar homes in the neighborhood. At this point, the appraisal might stand as is or it might be adjusted upward or downward.

Market Value is a theory, in other words not an unchanging fact.

In a perfect world, you have to have willing buyer and a willing seller. Neither is under duress. Both are in a position to maximize gain and are trying to do this. But in the real world, things are rarely that simple and equally balanced. Which is why people feel differently about the appraisal value of a house. It really depends how strong their position is as a buyer or seller.

Does the local economy come into it at all? You bet it does.

Ask a successful Realtor about that! He or she will tell you they’ve noticed that the Rio Grande Vally is fast-growing economy is attracting people from other areas who consider real estate here a bargain. That helps fuel increases in property values.

So now you know where that Grand Total comes from.

You’re armed with the information you need to make a better house-buying decision. For instance, you can understand how two virtually identical houses that are in two different neighborhoods could be very far apart in price and appraised value. And why your choice of the right house in the right neighborhood could be worth a not-so-small fortune to you right now and years down the road.

For more information, do not hesitate to contact us or call James directly at 562-746-7263

Evaluating A Home – Water Pipes

Posted by jfortunes on May 31, 2014


When evaluating a home you are considering buying, it is easy to get caught up in the visual aspects of the home. Water pipes are just one unseen area you remember to inspect.

Water Pipes – Drip, Drip, Drip

Alright, I’ll admit right away water pipes are not exactly the most glamorous aspect of a home. In fact, water piping in most homes is more than adequate to keep you in hot showers while you live there and take care of all your water needs. If there is a problem with the interior water pipes, however, you are in for a very costly and disruptive experience.

The main issue with water pipes on the interior of a home is their location. It is easy to forget about them because they are primarily hidden behind the walls of the house. While this is good from a visual perspective, it quickly becomes a negative if a pipe starts leaking or, god forbid, actually bursts inside a wall. Leaks lead to rot and mold problems that can effect the health of you family. A burst pipe leads to flooding, new carpets, rebuilt walls and large bills.

When evaluating the water pipes in a home, keep in mind the following issues.

1. Copper – The best piping material for water pipes is copper. It will last forever and is resistant to hard deposit build ups which can impact the amount of water flowing through the pipes. Copper pipes are also the sign of a quality construction effort as they tend to be more expensive than alternatives.

2. PVC – If you see PVC water pipes anywhere other than on the sprinkler system or from the main street line to the house, red flags should wave before your eyes. The presence of PVC piping is an indication of an owner doing the piping themselves, as most construction companies will not use PVC. In a majority of locations, such use of PVC is outright illegal. Do not buy a home with PVC piping in the walls! Ever!

3. Iron Piping – For a long time, iron piping was pretty much the standard in home construction. There is nothing particularly wrong with using such piping with one exception. Iron piping is susceptible to water and will rust over time. If you find this grey, metal piping in the home, find out when it was put in and check for rust. Iron piping should last roughly 30 years without any major problems. If replacements must be made, go with copper.

The pipes moving water around the interior of a home may seem uninteresting. Your attitude, however, will change if one of them bursts in the middle of the night.

For more information, do not hesitate to contact us or call James directly at 562-746-7263

Buying Real Estate for Your Family

Posted by jfortunes on May 31, 2014


The very best and most enjoyable reason to purchase real estate by far is in buying a property in which your family will live and grow together. There is a lot of fun involved in finding the perfect place for you and your family to call home. There is also a great deal of stress involved as well and that should not be overlooked.

Some things to keep in mind when searching for the perfect property for your family are the following:

1) Make your first step the step of finding a realtor or buyer’s agent that you are confident has your needs, desires, and best interests at heart. Your realtor can prove to be a lifesaver when you’ve reached the final hours before closing and the sky looks as though it’s going to fall. Far more than that though, your realtor can help you find the home that you simply cannot see your family living without.

2) Once you’ve found a real estate agent that you trust to help you find a home for your family it is time to identify the things that are absolute necessities in your search and those things you can live without. The most important thing to decide upon is a budget that you are comfortable living with.

3) Once you’ve established a budget you need to decide the features that are important to meet the needs of your family. The number of bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage, and yard space. Do you need a fenced in yard or a basement? These things are important as they do affect the comfort and in some cases safety of your family.

4) Another important thing that must be considered when purchasing a home for your family is the neighborhood. This is more important than many people may realize. It is well worth having a smaller home in a neighborhood that is poised for growth rather than a larger home in a neighborhood that is in the state of decline or on the verge of the state of decline. Crime rates in the neighborhood and the school district are other things that need to be considered as well before deciding to view a potential home.

5) You should also take the time to look at several properties before deciding on one property over another. The more properties you see, the better the chances are that you will actually find the one perfect property for the needs of your family home. The more homes you see the more you will learn about your likes and dislikes. You will also get ideas about possibilities and things that can be added on to the home you eventually select. Regardless, the more homes you see, the more choices you have when the time comes to make a decision.

6) Never offer the asking price right away. Even if you are willing to pay the full asking price, offer something a little lower and allow some negotiating room. Be sure, if you truly want the house in question not to be insulting with your offer but make the offer just the same. Some things you may want to consider when you make your offer is how quickly you are likely to need a new roof, new flooring, new heating or air conditioning, and countless other improvements that may need to be made on the property. Each of these things costs money and they add up over time. If everything is fairly recent and in good working order you may want to consider that when making your offer as well.

You will find many houses along the way but few will reach out and impress themselves upon you as home. Those are the ones you should consider long and hard. Weigh the options, the prices, and your likes and dislikes. If you do all of this you should be well on your way to the home of your dreams.

For more information, do not hesitate to contact us or call James directly at 562-746-7263

Flipping Houses For Fast Real Estate Profit

Posted by jfortunes on May 30, 2014


One of the rising stars when it comes to real estate investment is known as ‘flipping’ properties. This works by buying properties that are in need of either minor cosmetic repairs or in need of serious renovations, doing the work, and selling the home for a much greater price. In theory this brings in a significant amount of profit in a rather small amount of time. This is the case for many who attempt to flip properties but it takes a little more than the idea in order to make the process work. For this reason, there are many who end up sacrificing profit or losing money in the process when plans aren’t well conceived.

If you are considering a future in real estate investing, this is one of the quickest ways in which investors can turn a profit. It is also a method for bringing in high profit in a short amount of time. Unfortunately, this once closely guarded secret has gained some degree of infamy and there is fierce competition for the undervalued properties on the market as more and more would be investors decide to throw their hats into the collective ring.

If you are considering real estate investments in general and house flipping in particular there are some things you should keep in mind.

1) Treat this as a business rather than a hobby. Far too many investors do not take their investments seriously. This is a mistake because in this business time is money and every month that the house isn’t sold is a month that the house is costing you money. Create a plan, make a schedule, and stick to them both.

2) Remember that this is a business. You are not investing in properties to make friends or seem nice. You are in this business to turn a profit. You cannot be timid about making low offers. The ability to buy low and sell high is the lifeblood of this particular business. This means that you are quite likely going to hurt feelings and make people angry (because they often place emotional prices to their homes that are simply not economically feasible). If you cannot deal with this reality then you are going to have some degree of difficulty gaining the high profits you are seeking. Nice guys finish last and you can’t really afford to do that in this line of work.

3) Pay attention to the market. This is vitally important. Many ‘flippers’ lost their shirts in the recent near collapse of the housing market around the U. S. The truth of the matter is that the indicators have been building for years. In cities where there was once a shortage of viable housing options there are currently surpluses. This does not drive the value of properties down so much as it brings them back to their proper values. Investors that were counting on an ability to sell above the actual value of the property were left holding the bag (or rather notes) on these properties for quite some time until they could be sold. Some never managed to sell these properties and were left dealing with the expense in addition to the costs of the upgrades. Do not buy in an inflated market if it can be avoided unless it is during the very beginning of the inflation (before property developers have the opportunity to create a surplus).

4) Do not allow it to become personal. Far too many first time house flippers decide to create a work of art rather than a business investment. It is tempting when making cosmetic and structural repairs to go ahead and create a dream home. The problem with this is that depending on the particular market you are unlikely to recoup the costs involved in doing so. The goal is to invest little and profit large. Granite countertops are lovely but not at all necessary in a neighborhood filled with those of humble means. Cater to the tastes and budgets of your target market rather than your personal tastes.

Despite the risks involved in flipping houses as a real estate investment there is no denying that fortunes have been made doing just that. Even in the current housing market there is a great deal of promise available to those who can do the work quickly and inexpensively. People still want to buy these lovely homes rather than buying a home that needs to be made over after the price of purchasing.

For more information, do not hesitate to contact us or call James directly at 562-746-7263

Termite Damage & Real Estate

Posted by jfortunes on May 30, 2014


Termite damage, no matter how small it may be, is never good for a home.  During a real estate inspection, if any termite damage is found, it will affect the outcome of the home.  In most cases, the buyer is told that the seller will fix the problem.  Although this may sound good to some buyers that the seller will treat for termites, other buyers often wonder.

Of course it’s nice that the seller will pay to have the termite problem treated, which will normally cost around $1,000 or so.  Even though the termites will be gone, you have to wonder about the damage to the structure.  In the more severe cases, damage to the structure can cost up to 50 times the cost of the treatment.  The last thing you want is to move into a home that you know has been treated for termites, only to find the structure to be in very bad shape.

If any type of damage was done to the wooden structure of the home, you may need to get immediate repairs.  While some damage may be visible, there are other types of damage that may seem invisible to the naked eye.  To find out just how bad the damage is, carpets and rugs will need to be lifted, furniture and appliances moved, walls and ceilings will need to be opened, and even some types of excavation may be needed.  This is the only way to tell the extent of the damages, especially in cases of termites.  If you don’t inspect every area of the home, you could be moving into a home that has severe structural damage – which can cost you thousands to repair.

There could also be latent damage present as well.  To determine this, you’ll need to have invasive and destructive testing performed on your home, which will performed by qualified contractors and specialists.  This will help to determine the extent of the damage and the cost of any needed repairs.  This can be very costly however, although it’s the only way to find and repair any latent damage.

Destructive and invasive testing can cost you an arm and a leg, although you’ll need to have it done if you suspect termites or know for a fact that the home was treated for them.  To protect yourself, you should always get a treatment and repair history before you purchase the home.  If you are renting the home, you’ll need get written documentation from the specialist that details the damage to the home and cost of repairs.

Before you buy a home, you should always have it checked for termites.  There are a lot of termite inspection companies out there, many of which go above and beyond to check the home for any type of termite damage.  You don’t want to buy a home only to find out that it has been infested with termites.  If you have the proper inspections performed before you make the purchase, you’ll know for a fact that you don’t have to worry about termites or termite damage.

If the inspector or contractor doesn’t find any termite damage, you should always have it documented.  This way, if termite damage does exist, you’ll have the documentation to back you up.  Termites can be very destructive to your home, especially if you are looking towards a log home.  Termites can destroy wood in little to no time at all, which is why you should always do what you can to have your home treated as soon as you suspect any type of damage.  If you know a home has been infested with termites before – you should really make sure that the structure isn’t damaged and the termites are gone before you commit to buying.

For more information, do not hesitate to contact us or call James directly at 562-746-7263

The “Game” Of The Real Estate Market

Posted by jfortunes on May 30, 2014


Just like playing the game of Monopoly, there are specific rules to follow in order to get the right property at the right time.  The rules of the game will be dependent on who you are, what your individual tastes are and what type of investment you are looking for.  However, before you even start to role the dice, you will want to make sure that you know the basic rules of the game.

One of the basics that you will want to know is to decide what it takes to find the right real estate market.  You can use several marketing strategies that will help you to find the right home, the right place, and to make the right type of investment with the market.  Of course, while you are doing this, you will have to investigate the various areas and how they are connected to the community. This will allow you to find what will profit you with the investment in the long run.

Just like Monopoly, you will want to understand the area that you will be in and how this will affect the rules.  For example, everyone knows that by investing in Broadway there will be more profit than the utilities station.  This same rule applies to finding what is available in the real estate market.  You will want to know the area and how it will affect your profits and your way of living.  This can be examined by the demographics, the history of the area, and the flow of people that are moving in and out of the area.

After you have investigated these various things, you will be able to decide when the best time to pass go will be.  This can help you to find the best deals, move at the right time and have the luck of the dice in order to get what you want and need for better living or for better profit.

For more information, do not hesitate to contact us or call James directly at 562-746-7263

Tax Advantages of Owning Real Estate

Posted by jfortunes on May 30, 2014


Usually, it would be expected that the government would take money for the real estate that you own.  Since you are gaining a profit off of it for a livelihood it should work like any other job that you have.  However, you can take advantage of several tax breaks for your real estate, all which will help you with the ownership of your property.

If you own a home, then you can also expect for it to be tax deductible.  All home related expenses and refinancing that you decide to do for your home will be a way for you to take off money at the end of the year.  You can also receive tax deductions from the mortgage interest that you pay.  If you just own a home or if you are considering home equity, you can easily find a way to break off some of what you would owe.

When you are working on owning a home, you will be paying property taxes in your monthly payment towards your loan.  If you have been paying these taxes throughout the year, they will be deductible on your taxes.  In order to make sure this is part of the deduction, you will have to get a statement from the person who carried out the loan as well as find the interest that is connected to the property taxes that you have been paying.

If you have to sell your home and owe tax, you can allow a request for tax relief.  This will be given to you by the IRS if they find a significant cause in selling your home.  If there are uncertain circumstances that have forced you to sell your home, than the IRS can give you some benefits in taxes.

By finding the necessary forms and conditions, you can easily benefit by gaining tax relief with your ownership.  You can easily find how to do this by researching possibilities and finding what the categories are for getting a tax break for the year.

For more information, do not hesitate to contact us or call James directly at 562-746-7263

Defining a Real Estate “Team”

Posted by jfortunes on May 30, 2014


Finding a place to call home is one of the ultimate goals of anyone who is using the term real estate.  However, actually moving into finding that home includes much more than packing boxes and moving in.  Not only will you have to find a home, but you will also have to find the right resources and people to help you achieve your goal of finding exactly what you want.

The first person that you will want to include on your team is a real estate agent.  When you are trying to find a real estate agent, you will want to make sure they have the right credentials and understand your goals.  Real estate agents will be the mediators between you and the right home, as well as the other people that will be considered on the list.

Often times, you will want to find a broker as well as real estate agent, or one who can wear both hats.  Brokers will have the ability to sell you their own properties instead of going through a third person and will also be able to show you what property is available.  This can be an advantage if you want to save money or don’t want to deal with a third source.

After you have examined the various places and are set on investing in a specific place, you will want to begin finding others who will help you with the rest of the process.  Either you or your real estate agent will be responsible for finding an inspector.  The house that you are buying will need to be looked at in order to make sure everything from plumbing to wiring is in the right place.

The last person that will need to be on the real estate team is a lender.  Often times, lenders will be a bank that works through a lending company.  You will want to make sure that the lenders or the company you are working with understand what type of investment you are trying to make and how this will make a difference in what you are trying to do.

If you want property, you will also want the right people in the right place to make sure that you achieve your goals.  Finding the above people that will have your best interests in mind can help you to move in faster and more efficient.  By getting the right people in place, you can pack your bags and know that you won’t be waiting for a better place to show up next year.

For more information, do not hesitate to contact us or call James directly at 562-746-7263

California Real Estate – Investing In California Real Estate

Posted by jfortunes on May 30, 2014


California is one of those states where you find all kinds of properties and where the climatic conditions vary hugely from place to place. You have places with moderate temperatures and you have places which experience all four seasons in their full glory. Traffic Jams, beaches and mild earthquakes are all characteristics of California. So there are a number of things to consider before you actually go for investing in California real estate.

The first thing to consider for investing in California real estate is to select the place/area for your California real estate investment. This is more applicable to people who are looking at California real estate more as an option for leading their life (rather than an investment option). That said, even if you have chosen the region for investing in California real estate, you need to be careful with selecting the location in that region i.e. the California real estate piece that will fetch you good profit. Generally, growth of business (e.g. big companies acquiring land for establishing their offices) is an indicator of appreciation in real estate (whether California real estate or any other). That is the consideration with regards to new developments in California real estate or with respect to significant changes in the economic situation of a particular place in California. However, there are always opportunities and they are there everywhere. You just have to hunt those opportunities in order to profitably invest in California real estate. Post cards, phone call, public auctions, foreclosures etc are all possible opportunities/ways of getting a good deal for California real estate investment. You could also partner with the local attorneys in the region i.e. attorneys who handle property matters in case of death, divorce, defaults etc. These people can give you good leads on California real estate investments. In such cases, whoever gets the information first gets the advantage. You can really lay your hands on some good California real estate deals in this way.

Yes, that does take effort and if you were to think that money can be earned without putting-in even that much effort, I would tend to disagree with you. A small amount of effort can really make a difference of thousands of dollars in terms of the California real estate deal that you get. Another good idea is to inform your friends in California that you are looking to buy a piece of California real estate and, in fact, let everyone know that you are looking for a piece of California real estate. A very good California real estate deal might come to you through one of your contacts, you never know.

So with the California real estate prices rising (as always), investing in California real estate does seem like a great idea.

For more information, do not hesitate to contact us or call James directly at 562-746-7263

What Is A Real Estate Broker?

Posted by jfortunes on May 30, 2014


A real estate broker is a word in the joint States which describes a party who acts as an intermediary between retailor and buyers of real estate (or real property as it known elsewhere) and attempts to find sellers who wish to sell and purchaser who wish to buy. In the United States, the association was originally established by reference to the English common law of agency with the broker having a fiduciary relationship with his customers.

Estate agent is the term used in the United realm to explain a person or organization whose business is to market real estate on behalf of clients, but there are important differences between the trial and liabilities of brokers and estate agents in each country.

Beyond the US, other countries take clearly different approaches to the marketing and selling of real property.
In the US, real estate brokers and their salespersons (commonly called “real estate agents” or, in some states, “brokers”) assist sellers in marketing their property and selling it for the uppermost possible price under the best terms. When acting as a Buyer’s agent with a symbol agreement (or, in many cases, verbal agreement, although a broker may not be lawfully entitled to his commission unless the agreement is in writing), they assist buyers by helping them acquire property for the buck possible price under the best terms. Without a signed agreement, brokers may assist buyers in the attainment of property but still represent the seller and the seller’s benefit.

In most jurisdictions in the United States, a person is required to have a license in order to receive salary for services rendered as a real estate broker. Unlicensed activity is illegal, but buyers and sellers performing as basic in the sale or purchase of real estate are not required to be licensed. In some states, lawyers are allowed to handle real estate sales for compensation without being licensed as brokers or agents.

For more information, do not hesitate to contact us or call James directly at 562-746-7263

 

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