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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

Buying a Condo – Who’s Running The Show?

Posted by jfortunes on May 31, 2014

When buying a condo, we are all seduced by the decor, the ambiance, the view, and other visual effects, when we should really be checking something else that is not visual!

The Home Owners Association (HOA) often plays a very nondescript part in the whole process of choosing a condo, – especially for first-time condo buyers. However, the HOA can play a very large part in using up your finances if you hit an unlucky situation after moving in.

In order to avoid a surprise, ask a few pertinent questions about the HOA. One of the important factors would be ‘who is running the show?’ In a very small condo complex it may be run by residents, but a professional management company is preferable, especially in a condo of any size.

Professional management companies do charge for their services, but they can often save this fee by obtaining lower quotes for repairs, because they will use the same company many times. There is also less chance of the company using their influence on resident votes, so they may be construed as more fair. Finally, it is a business to them, and it the HOA will be run as such, instead of as a part-time rush before each meeting is due!

Always ask to see the rules of the HOA, the financial report, the by-laws and the minutes of the last several meetings. The conditions, covenants and restrictions (CC&Rs) will affect your lifestyle, so make sure they ‘fit in’ with it.

The financial report will tell you if there are any big increases in the fees coming up, or if there are any ‘emergency’ fees due soon. This raises the important question, what will happen if there is a big emergency? How is it paid and how much money is in the HOA kitty?

The maintenance reserves will be important; there will hopefully be approximately one third of the gross annual fees charged to all residents in the reserves. A favorable minimum amount would be $4,000 per condo, although is manageable.

Another aspect that the HOA manages is the percentage of rental units allowable. Under 20% is passable, but any more and the re-sale of the condos becomes risky. Renters often do not have the same respect for property or neighbors, so they decrease desirability.Also mortgage companies are aware of this and are reluctant to give out mortgages to high-rental complexes.

Once you have ironed out all these questions, you can consider whether you would like to get a professional inspection done. These inspections include the common areas as well as the condo you are interested in. Once all these precautions are in place, you will feel more secure to go ahead and make an offer.

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

Selling Your Home? Don’t Be Tempted By…

Posted by jfortunes on May 31, 2014

Do you want to sell your home right away? Don’t be tempted by “We Buy Houses” or “Sell Your House in 9 days for Cash” ads and billboards.

Savvy real estate investors run these ads and put up posters looking for sellers under duress. These investors want to make the money you earned for holding your home.  Investors only want to pay you up to seventy percent of the (low end) market value.  Many investors who studied late night infomercial real estate scams want you to be their bank and carry the financing.

You do not need to be at the mercy of these scavengers. Selling you home is stressful enough without worrying about getting a fair price.

As a real estate investor who looks for distressed houses with desperate sellers, I give you the following tips for getting fair market value for your home quickly.

For Sellers with No Money to Spend:

Start at the street and clean up the weeds.

Remove dead plants and trim overgrown limbs.

Plant brown spots with cuttings of ground cover from friends.

Remove empty pots and containers or fill with cuttings.

Wash the windows.

Inside, take down tatty window coverings.

Pack personal effects: family photos, memorabilia, magazine piles.

Open window coverings, let the sunshine in.

Air your home out.

Get rid of excess furniture, especially pieces with holes.

Hold a yard sale and use the money to buy flowers.

After a thorough purging and cleaning, your shining home is ready to sell for a fair price.

For Sellers with a Little Cash:

Spend your money wisely on enhancements that boost net proceeds.

Freshen pain.

Fix everything you possibly can.

Use Design and Marketing Psychology to stage your home.

Redecorating your home and adding upgrades for the potential buyerís profile brings you the greatest return for your money. Then, you retain your equity and sell your home for top dollar to a motivated buyer.

Don’t just compete with other home sellers: redesign your home with Design Psychology so buyers compete with each other for your home!

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

How To Use Curb Appeal To Sell Your Home

Posted by jfortunes on May 31, 2014

Curb appeal is the most important challenge you’ll face when selling your home. You must make home shoppers feel like getting out of their car to see what’s behind the front door. Imagine prospective buyers driving up and examining your property for the first time. Your goal is to have them exclaim, “What a darling home!” Or, “What a splendid house.”

Curb appeal has grown up, and using innovative Design Psychology techniques for marketing homes puts curb allure to work, enticing buyers to come inside your home. One way to make your home outshine the others on the market, upgrading your exterior, doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money.

Restore, the outlet store for Habitat for Humanity, resells donated home building materials. They sell light fixtures, window hardware, paint, house numbers, and even white picket fencing. Restore also lets you bargain on merchandise, which means that the tagged price isn’t always the final price. You can even sign up for Restore’s mailing list and receive notices of half-price sales. We found a great exterior light fixture at Restore for one of our fixers for only $25. The same fixture, available at our local home building supply outlet, sells for $99.

Suppliers and Exquisite Details

To sell your home for the highest profit, you need to spend less for improvements to make more; yet spending a little extra can yield significantly more return on your money. Adding exquisite details can add dollars to your bank account. For instance, if you don’t find what you’re looking for at a bargain price, visit an upscale retailer and look for similar items on sale.

If you use ugly, cheap, or tacky fixtures, you’ll actually make it harder to sell your home by lowering your home’s curb appeal. Think of it this way: spending $100 more for a quality light fixture will save you at least one, and possibly more, mortgage payment. That means that your $100 fixture was really an investment, rather than an expense.

Curb Appeal: Create Inviting Access to Your Home

An alluring home setting begins with the access to your home. A problem with many newer homes is that developers don’t provide a separate walkway to the front door. You don’t want to make buyers walk around cars and trip over driveway edges to navigate to your front door. If you have no dedicated walkway to the front door, add a simple pathway. A wandering pathway to the front door psychologically feels more inviting than a straight-shot walkway.

If you have a plain, straight concrete walkway, create undulating flower beds on either side to encourage a relaxed, friendly feeling. Adding a water feature near your entry walk also enhances the ambiance because moving water relaxes the body and mind and refreshes the spirit. You want to create a feeling of balance and harmony, like that found in nature.

Welcome Buyers with Friendly Accessories:

*   Wind chimes add pleasure to your buyers’ sense of hearing.
*   Potted plants, such as flowers or soft ferns, are friendly, but avoid spiked plants with thorns near the doorway.
*   Floral baskets with bright yellow and white flowers show up best day and night.
*   A pair of rocking chairs, a double glider, or a porch swing will convey a friendly neighborhood and invite potential buyers to sit and chat.
*   A welcome mat also adds a homey touch.

Avoid Unwelcoming Attributes

*   Repair cracks in the driveway with cement epoxy.
*   Clean spider webs off eaves, windows and porch.
*   Repair or replace broken doorbells.
*   Clean or replace dirty or burnt out exterior lights.

Buyers forgive little inadequacies in your home if they love it from the first time they see it. So go a few extra steps beyond curb appeal and lure your prospective buyers inside with Design Psychology methods. Take a little extra time and spend just a bit more money, to sell your home fast, and for more money.

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

Home Sellers: Is Your Listing Agent the Reason Your Home’s Not Selling?

Posted by jfortunes on May 31, 2014

Many home sellers sign a listing agreement with an agent who makes big promises and then their home languishes on the market.

Do you know if your agent may be causing your home to go unsold? Some reasons why listing agents hold up home sales:

1. Lack of cooperation from other sales agents who dislike your listing agent. Some agents get a reputation of being difficult to work with. Ask another agent about the popularity of your listing agent.

2. Lopsided commission split. Check to see if other agents get their fair share of the sales commission. Some agents only offer discounted commissions to the selling agent who won’t show the home if they make more selling another house.

3. Busy agents neglect to hold open houses for other real estate offices. Have you had other agents preview your home? If not, ask your agent why he or she hasn’t held an open house for brokers.

4. Lack of exposure. Is your home listed correctly on the Internet? Check to see if you can find it online. Do a search for your city and home for sale to see if your listing or agent’s website pops up. Most of today’s home buyers begin their property search on the Internet. You should be able to find local multiple listings.

5. Poor advertising methods. Did your agent create a sales flyer that showcases your property or a sales flyer that showcases your agent? Does your agent advertise your particular property every week or just rely on generic office ads? Did your property get a photo ad in the local home buyer magazine? Another great sales tool used by aggressive listing agents, mailings to your neighborhood homeowners, generates interest from neighbors’ friends and family.

If you feel that you’re wasting your valuable time with an agent who doesn’t perform, ask for a cancellation. If your agent won’t allow a cancellation without receiving compensation for a job not done, insist daily that he or she start performing. If you become the disliked, difficult home seller, your agent will cancel you.

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

Sell A House In The First 60 Seconds…

Posted by jfortunes on May 31, 2014

Selling your house is all about creating the right impression instantly. This first impression will override any little faults found later down the line. The first impression has a remarkable affect  on the brain of the buyer. It says to a buyer ” I want to to live here!”

Property buyers will have already formed an impression before they step into your property. A well-kept garden, pathway and fence, plus a freshly painted front door are immediately appealing, whereas a scruffy outdoor space with a litter bin outside the front door may turn many prospective buyers away.

De-clutter – don’t underestimate the appeal of a tidy property. Throw out the junk – use moving as a good excuse to get rid of old, unwanted and unused items. Clean – dust and clean the whole house thoroughly, from cobwebs on the ceiling to crumbs and stains on carpets and rugs. Remember to wash down paintwork and clean windows.

Natural Colors – research shows that, most buyers prefer natural, earthy colors to bright, bold shades. Although there is a wide range of paint colors available, magnolia is still the top-selling color.

Add a bit of color – to prevent rooms looking too bland, use strong colors for accent walls or cushions and accessories.

Depersonalize – remove personal items, such as family photographs and children’s drawings, which may distract potential buyers.It may sound harsh but it really helps sell property

Maintenance – Complete all minor repairs.

Major Jobs- If you don’t spend out on home improvements to complete major repairs it could have a disproportionate affect on the value of the property.

Lighting – the right lighting can improve the mood of a room. A room looks cozier with a few table lamps rather than bright general lighting.

Create a scent – it may be a bit of a cliché to bake bread or grind coffee beans just before the arrival of a potential buyer, but scent does plays an important role in creating the right impression.

Open windows – most buyers like the smell of a freshly cleaned and aired room. Open the windows every day to let fresh air into the house.

Avoid strong food odors – don’t cook foods such as fish or curry before a viewing as the smell will linger.

Take pets out – ask friends or family to look after pets during viewings. Fresh flowers and fruit – flowers and a bowl of fruit will brighten up a room and provide a pleasant smell.

Define your rooms – a property will be more appealing if rooms have a specific purpose and this allows buyers to see the full potential of the property.

Seasons – the best time for selling property is spring and autumn; the market slows down during late summer and over Christmas/New Year. If a property is sold while the market is buoyant, it’s much more likely to attract the asking price.

Preparing to meet buyers.

Making a useful list of costs – Put yourself in the buyer’s position and think about what questions they are likely to ask then compile a useful list of costs associated with running your house. In the UK council tax bills vary from property to property so having the costs at hand is really useful for buyers. Utilities bills, insurance, maintenance costs may also be useful information. You can use the list as an aide during the viewing and as a helpful piece of information to give to your prospective buyer when they leave.

Keep your property description details – Keep copies to hand of your property description details. Some buyers may have forgotten to bring them along. Be prepared to answer questions relating to what is written on your property details. Know how old your boiler is, how long ago that flat roof was replaced. If you’ve had electrical or plumbing work its good to know what was done, but remember don’t stretch the truth this may return and bite you when you least expect it.

Know the positive and negatives- Every house has positive and negative points, know them and be ready to expand about them

Your attitude – Treat each person who views your property as a potential buyer. You may have to negotiate with them at a later stage. Your aim will be to create a good working relationship you will need to be friendly but not too friendly, a detached informative attitude is ideal. This also helps give your buyer the feeling that you are not desperate to sell your house. It’s a fine line so be careful you don’t appear disinterested. Avoid putting any pressure on the buyer by asking them too many questions at this early stage. Hard sells do not work with major purchases like a property and will only serve to put your buyers off. Take your time and try to feel relaxed. If you feel rushed and tense so will your buyer. Good time management is essential before you allow in potential buyers.

Now you are prepared to sell your home, and so will the buyer be prepared to buy your home.

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

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

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

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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