Category Archives: Real Estate

Real Estate Listings That Go the Extra Mile Online

Real Estate Listings That Go the Extra Mile Online

Marketing real estate listings online no longer has to be a static affair.  There are many reasons why consumers fall in love with a house and while a pocketful of photos helps to keep the roving eye steady there are great marketing gadgets designed to give your real estate listing some extra oomph.  Don’t begin and end advertising your homeowner’s listings on your website.  Reach out and make a connection with some new marketing tools that will keep consumers at your seller’s virtual doors.

If you want to go the extra mile online here are the Top Three Web 2.0 listing tools to drive traffic to your Seller’s doorsteps.

Blogs

Blog your client’s listings.  If you are consistently blogging about local real estate news and events around town, than blogging your listings is a natural fit.  You can use online flyers to create a classified ad of your client’s real estate property and embed them into your blog.  Don’t skimp on the details if you choose this route- make sure to add room dimensions, multiple photos, a great description of the property, and highlight your contact information. 

Tell the story of your client’s property.  If you were a consumer what would you want to know?  Ask your Sellers what attracted them to purchase the house and include that information in your description. 

Every detail counts so make sure that your details are inviting, honest, and clear.  A blog is a tool to be transparent so make sure your posted flyer is true blue original and not an embellished mock up.

Social Media

Don’t let your seller’s listings become dirty little secrets.  Spread the word and shout them out to the world.  The amount of relocating buyers and the surging amount of international buyers makes marketing your clients property online everywhere a must.  The best way to do this with social media marketing is syndication.  When you post a listing on your blog or website, shout it out on Twitter and let your friends on Facebook into the know.  Don’t stop here, there are dozens of sites that allow syndication of real estate listings online and the name of the game of real estate marketing online rests in the extent of your reach.  Use a service that not only syndicates your client’s homes to venues across the internet, but that also keeps track of your traffic for you. 

Report the statistics to your sellers and use them to tweak your marketing effectiveness.  If the traffic numbers are low across several networks you may have to revisit the effectiveness of the classified ad you created.  You may also need to revisit listing price or concessions with your real estate sellers and if this is the case you will have hard data to support your conversation with them.

Single Property Websites

Gone are the days when marketing real estate on one portal was enough.  To have a full belied marketing thrust you must think strategically about your seller’s house.  Create a marketing hub for each of your seller’s properties.  A hub is a place where home buyers can go to get all the information on one real estate property in one place.  A good single property website will include features/amenities, photo tours, property maps, area schools, neighborhood services, census information, city data and mortgage calculators.  Giving home buyers all the information in one place will keep them focused on your client’ real estate listings and off the task of spending time consuming hours online googling keywords for this information.

Don’t stop at creating these real estate listing hubs.  The next step to an effective strategic marketing strategy is to spread the word.  Create a link on your blog’s margins to each of your active real estate listing single property websites. Write a Squidoo page or a HubPage about different types of properties and include links to the websites of the real estate listings that fit.  Include the URL of the real estate property websites when you advertise them offline.  Makeup business cards for open houses with the URL.  Spread the word about these websites- milk it.

When the property has closed you can choose to keep these websites live and add testimonials from your sellers.  Then use these in your listing presentations to new prospective clients.

Get started today and make your real estate listings go the extra mile online.

Items to Protect Your Home While Moving

Items to Protect Your Home While Moving

Hopefully you’ve done the basic research to protect your belongings while you’re moving them, but what about protection for your walls, doors, floors, etc.? There are items available online or at box supply and hardware stores to help prevent damages to your home on moving day.

There is a product called Carpet Shield that you can use to protect your carpet on the day you move. Most people use it in the new home they’re relocating to. It prevents dirt and stains from getting on the carpet due to walking along the same path all day. It is a clear self-adhesive film that is sold by the foot and in different widths. The Carpet Shield also has a roller with an expandable applicator that is sold separately if you don’t want to have to bend over to apply it to the floor. It has a non-slip surface and is resistant to ripping and tearing. Another nice feature is that it won’t leave a sticky residue when you pull it up. When applying, you will definitely need it leading from the front door into the interior of the house and in any other halls that might have heavy traffic. Having Carpet Shield beats having to lay down a blanket because a blanket will move throughout the day and gets folds in it that you could end up tripping over. This product is also great if it happens to be raining on the day you’re moving. Without it you’ll definitely be tracking in mud all over your new house.

You might also want to purchase a door jam. It’s something you’ll need to use on the front door to keep it open while you’re bringing items in and out of the house. It prevents having to set items down to open the door and is great if you have a door with a tendency to swing closed on it’s own. It’s also a plus to have on hand if it’s windy on moving day and the wind keeps trying to close your door.

If you have large furniture that needs to be moved across hard surface floors there is a product called EZ Moves Furniture Slides. It is used on the corners of the furniture to prevent easy movement of the piece and protection to floor at the same time. Each slide has a hard foam top that conforms to the corner of the item being moved and that helps to keep the slide in place while you’re moving it. The bottom is made of felt to protect the floor and to provide easy movement of the furniture across the floor. It’s also convenient to have on hand for future use when you want to move a large item to clean behind it. The slide can be used on wood, ceramic tile, linoleum or finished concrete.

There is an item you can buy to protect your doors while you’re moving stuff in and out of your home. It is called a door jam protector pad and is sold individually or you can buy them in packs. They’re also great for use on stairway banisters and hall entryways. The pads have springs to hold them in place on either side of the door you want to protect. This means you can protect either the edge of the door that swings out or apply it to the edge of the door near the hinges to protect the door and the frame at the same time. Not only will the pads prevent damage to your door, but they’ll protect the item you’re moving also.

Now that your home is protected you can remove one less stress from moving day: worrying about damages.

Bank REO Properties – Top 5 Benefits to Buying Bank Owned Real Estate

Bank REO Properties - Top 5 Benefits to Buying Bank Owned Real Estate

Buying REO properties are becoming the best entry point for starting real estate investors to acquire significant investment returns.  Below are 5 of the best reasons why:

1)      It’s less overwhelming than dealing with upset homeowners in pre foreclosures. It is also less challenging than bidding in foreclosure auctions, wherein you need to make fast decisions based on minimal information.  

2)      Liens on bank owned real estate are removed by the bank, prior to selling them. And with these properties you can get title insurance for your investment.  

3)      Opportunity to perform detailed inspection on the property is given when buying REO properties, unlike when bidding for properties at foreclosure auctions.  

Of course, you can expect bank owned properties to require significant repairs. But you can add a contingency that purchase is subject to inspection, to be sure that the amount of work the property needs is not beyond what you can recover profitably from the investment.  

Moreover, banks generally sell properties with major repair work needed at low prices to make it salable to investors. 

4)   In most cases, you won’t need to handle the eviction process yourself, since the bank has already seen to it. 

5)   There are opportunities to acquire attractive investment deals, near the bank’s financial reporting period, because they want to improve their balance sheets for their shareholders by liquidating more non-performing assets.   Banks have taken back an abundance of properties over the last few years and will be taking back a bunch more over the next two.

Now is the time to focus on these type of properties so start researching for the right REO buying agent who can help you find and close good deals fast.

How to Buy Bank Owned Properties

How to Buy Bank Owned Properties

Believe it or not buying a banked owned property is about the most difficult transaction that you are going to come across in the real estate world. Unlike agencies and home owners that are trying to move the property off the market as quickly as they can, the bank has more important things to deal with than the foreclosure homes that they have inherited. This is both a good and a bad thing for you. It is good because the bank will be willing to let go of the house for well below market value. It is a bad thing because you are going to have to be persistent and do all of the leg work that is associated with obtaining the house.

Starting with the good, you are going to get the property unbelievable cheap. The longer that the bank has had the property the easier it will be for you to get it at a lower rate. It is the main goal of the bank to at least break even on the deal. If the owner was more than half way through paying back the home owners loan when the property was foreclosed you could get the property at less the loan amount.

The bad side to dealing with the bank is that your wanting to buy the property is relatively low on their lists of must dos of the day. A bank is not a real estate agency. They have their own business to conduct that has nothing to do with the property you want. Do not get discouraged and give up. If no one is calling you about the house you are interested in take a trip to the bank and talk to someone in person. With a little persistence and drive you will be able to get the property that you want at a great cost, meaning that you will make more money when you resell.

An Overview of Home Mortgage Loan Modification

An Overview of Home Mortgage Loan Modification

Mortgage loan modification is the perfect answer for borrowers who can’t pay their mortgage loan payments on time. The single biggest hope of those who get loan modifications is a reduced interest rate on their mortgages. By modifying your loan, you could not only reduce the interest rate but also extend the loan’s life and eliminate negative amortization. If you’re lucky, you could even see both options work together in your new modification to help lower your monthly payments.

Steps for Modifying Mortgage Loans

Home mortgage loan modification varies by lending institution, but the basic processing is usually very similar no matter who the lender is. The first step for any interested borrower is applying for modification. This means getting in contact with the loss mitigation department of your mortgage provider. They can provide you with an application for loan modification and a checklist of required financial documents. Getting a loan modification approval requires a lot of documentation on your financial status.

The documents most often required are documents proving hardships, bank statements, monthly pay stubs for income verification, tax returns, proof of homeowner insurance, and the BPO that shows current property value. After submitting all the necessary documents, you have to ask after your application and check on its status regularly with phone calls to the department of loss mitigation. Someone from your lending institution may contact you to talk about your loan modification.

Keep in Mind…

The most difficult and important challenge in getting your loan modification request approved is demonstrating your eligibility for modification in the first place. The updated modification chart explains that the following factors are the most important:

o No previous bankruptcies by the primary loan holder.

o The mortgage loan must have originated prior to January 1, 2008.

o The owner must be the primary resident of the property who lose is being modified.

o The borrower must be a minimum of 3 months delinquent.

o The ratio of the loan value to the exact value must be more than 90%.

Honestly, there is no law that stops lenders from approving any request for home loan modification programs for its customers. But if lenders determine that it isn’t an economically profitable thing for them to do compared to foreclosure, they will probably choose foreclosure. It’s best to always hire outside help from a professional loan modification consultant when you’re applying for loan modification from your bank.

Countrywide Loan Modification – Eliminating Stresses and Strains on Your Wallet

Countrywide Loan Modification - Eliminating Stresses and Strains on Your Wallet

Loan modification is the name for adjusting your existing mortgage. Many mistakenly believe that forbearance agreement and loan modification are identical, but there is an important difference. The first just gives temporary relief, but the second gives permanent solutions.

Countrywide loan modification is granted to mortgage loan holders facing financial hardships that make them unable to make monthly payments. however, not everybody qualifies. To apply for a loan, Countrywide asks to see pertinent financial documentation.

Necessary Application Paperwork

o Hardship letter outlining the financial hardship causing the problem. Make sure to include what steps you are taking to resolve the problem.

o Income verification and list of monthly expenditures.

o Financial statements and applicable paperwork.

o Bank statements and tax returns for the last two years.

Once the application form is filled out and returned with the necessary documentation, the lender cuts down interest rates to reach an affordable monthly payment amount for the lender. And usually, no fees are ever charged to the borrower.

Rules and Policies Applicants Need to Know

Countrywide loan modification is offered to help homeowners in distress. Interested homeowners need to do the following in order to access this lifesaving source of help:

In order to get modification approval, your application needs to be full and complete. Knowing what’s required of you in the application process is definitely advisable. People who haven’t even defaulted yet but worry that they soon will can indicate that on their application. The lender needs full financial disclosure in order to make a decision in your best interest, so be complete and comprehensive. People with the means to do so can even hire a company or financial counselor to facilitate their application for modification. Researching all their options will eliminate costly mistakes in regards to your loan modification.

For homeowners that have suddenly lost jobs or had other financial crises in their lives, Countrywide brings needed relief. Paying on a modified loan is realistic and affordable due to its lower interest rate. The Internet has free copies of guides that can help you in completing the application process. It includes tips on filling out the application form and correctly calculating the debt ratio you have. It gives advice about explaining your finances to lenders and writing hardship letters, as well.

Loan Modifications More Essential Than Ever As First Quarter Foreclosures Rise

Loan Modifications More Essential Than Ever As First Quarter Foreclosures Rise

Average Americans have been hit especially hard due to the financial condition of the economy with the collapse of the mortgage bubble. Due to the sheer volume of foreclosures, real estate and home values have decreased to an extent that many Americans are now underwater or upside down on their mortgages, with their homes worth less than what they owe. Across America, many homeowners are confronted with having to make the choice between letting the house go to foreclosure, or paying higher mortgage payments on ARMs (Adjustable Rate Mortgages) that have adjusted on property that they owe more than the home is worth.

The Fed has attempted to keep mortgage interest rates low to encourage homeowners to refinance, however, the majority of American homeowners would not achieve a benefit that outweighs the cost of refinancing their existing mortgages, or do not qualify for refinancing due to missed payments or other factors, such as credit rating, too little income, or especially now, not enough equity in the home.

There is another alternative to foreclosure that will allow you to save your home, and that is through successful negotiation of a home loan modification. A loan modification can help provide incentive to homeowners and borrowers to keep their homes through lowering their interest rates, payments, and possibly even decrease the amount owed on the mortgage, or “forgive” the amount past due. Through loan modification, there are not nearly the costs of a refinance, such as title fees, lender origination and discount fees, processing and underwriting fees, et. al., and the very best loss mitigation firms offer a 100% money back guarantee on legal services performed in pursuit of a loan modification for their clients. Often through loan modification, homeowners are able to achieve interest rates far lower than would be possible through refinancing, as much of the end results of the loan modification agreement are based upon the financial hardship of the homeowner, and what they can reasonably afford.

Lenders quietly lifted their moratorium on foreclosures earlier in March, and the ramifications are clearly manifesting themselves as foreclosure activity skyrocketed in March and the first quarter of 2009 to record levels. According to Realty Trac, a service that specializes in tracking the foreclosure epidemic, March logged a staggering 341,180 foreclosure filings, a 17% increase from February, and 46% increase from March 2008. Total foreclosure filings increased 24% for the first quarter from last year, with total foreclosure filings for the quarter at an astonishing 803,489 , a 9% increase compared to last quarter.

While throughout America homeowners have been hit especially hard by the economic crisis, some states are feeling the strain worse than others. In California alone, there were 230,915 foreclosure filings for the first quarter of 2009, accounting for 29% of the total foreclosure filings nationwide, with 107,785 of the filings taking place in March.

Keep Your Eyes on the Fine Print – Being Cautious and Avoiding Foreclosure!

Keep Your Eyes on the Fine Print - Being Cautious and Avoiding Foreclosure!

Foreclosure should in fact be avoided like the plague. Thinking that foreclosure is a solution or even an option shows that you need to get your head out and take a breath of fresh air. The fact that this could potentially be an option in your head means that you need to give your local financial institution a call, the business/person that holds your mortgage and research on the internet. You need to realize that if foreclosure is even on the horizon that it is almost already too late and you need to take immediate steps to make things right before it gets to be too late.

What Is This Short Sale I Hear So Much About?

Short Sales allow people to maintain credit and avoid default on the mortgage, which leads to foreclosure and eventually just knocks over the stack of cards and causes so many problems. Searching online to find local short sale specialists would be a step in the right direction.

The specialist will be able to advise you on how to move things along in a manner that is both beneficial to you and the mortgage holder and will help you with the crisis and problems many people in fact are going through daily. It’s not just you going through something like that, its several hundreds of thousands of people caught up in the drama that is slowly infecting and causing problems in many financial branches.

The short sale (also known as Fast Selling) method was developed in response to the severe market downturn. Every month the markets were plummeting in record amounts. It was not limited to just mortgages; every financially related item was hit hard by the crisis unfolding.

How Do I Know If I’m getting a Good Deal, Or Getting a Scam?

Well it is very hard to analyze, as you need to know some of the more intricate parts of the financial aspects that affect you and your situation. You need to seek the proper advice from a person or institution that you trust with the financial stability you desire. It can be a slippery slope if you wait too long or attempt to take things into your own hands. You need to make sure you take care of yourself and your affairs, do not let anyone else tell you how to run your affairs, take control of your future!

Packing Tips For When Youre Preparing to Relocate

Packing Tips For When You're Preparing to Relocate

So here you are all excited about moving to your new home, whether it’s 5 states over or just 5 houses over, and suddenly it hits you; you haven’t even STARTED packing and you have no idea WHERE to start. Don’t worry — it happens to the best of us. You are suddenly faced with such difficult questions as “Do I hire a mover? Do I try to do it all myself? Is it OK to ask my friends to help?” Getting organized for your big move is never an easy thing to do, but, here are a couple of really simple, budget friendly, tips and ideas that I have picked up along the way (I’ve done a LOT of moving!) that might make it just a little less difficult.

First things first… “Decide what goes and what stays”

This is easily the most important part of staging your big move. But, it can get quite complicated. The longer we stay in one place the more “stuff” we tend to accumulate. Often times this “stuff” isn’t really important to us or needed by us, but, we hang on to it “just in case”. Evaluating all of your belongings with a critical eye can make a big difference in how much “stuff” you actually transfer to your new home. Ask yourself questions like “When was the last time I used this? Am I keeping this because I need it or just because might someday have a use for it? Do I really need 4 can openers? When is the next time I can actually see myself needing this?” You will be absolutely amazed at how much “stuff” you don’t have to move. This is important because it helps you determine how big of a moving vehicle you need or if you need to call a professional moving company or not.

Next, “Hold a Garage Sale”

It just makes cents! Take those other 3 can openers and sell the for 25 cents apiece along with all of the other “stuff” that realized you can probably live without. All of those quarters add up after a little while and suddenly you have a lot more room in your garage and a lot more cash in your wallet. Make sure you put the “Garage Sale” signs out a full 5 days in advance. If at all possible hold your garage sale over an entire weekend(Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) in order to maximize traffic. You might also have your kids make a few posts about it on their Facebook accounts!

Last but not least…”Throw a Pizza Packing Party!”

That’s right! Take all that cash that you got from your garage sale and use it to buy a whole bunch of pizza. Then call up all of your friends and tell them “Pizza at my place!!!!) When they get their solicit their help i boxing up all of your belongings and throwing them on the moving truck(if you have already rented one). They wonít mind. They are your friends after all. And there’s free Pizza!!!

I hope you find this helpful and your move goes off without a hitch! Be Blessed!

Common Home Building Problems When Contracting Your Own Home

Common Home Building Problems When Contracting Your Own Home

Contracting your own home is a noble undertaking, and one that requires a good bit of pre-construction planning.  It is important to anticipate things that can go wrong in the building process.  Mistakes can be very costly to overcome, so becoming aware of some of the common problems that plague home builders, from novices to experts, is in order.  Following are some of the major things to watch out for.

Inadequate planning.  Don’t  jump into the project without a complete and well thought out plan.  All your decisions–from design to construction methods to decorating–should be made from the start and there should be nothing left to chance.  Since this is likely your first major construction project, it is important to gain as much knowledge as possible about every phase of the process, including the pre-construction tasks such as estimating and time management scheduling.  In fact, these planning tasks will set the stage for the overall success of the entire project. Many people focus more on the actual construction processes (things that you should be hiring professionals to handle), rather than developing a thorough plan.

Wrong decisions. Even seasoned professionals make wrong decisions sometimes.  Since you are probably new to the building game, you will need to do your homework.  Research, research, research should be your mantra. Learn all you can about the products you plan to use and the people who will be doing the work.  Many novice home builders make the mistake of using the most expensive materials and products thinking that they are better quality. 

But buying expensive materials can make your costs soar, and can even negate the savings you are reaping from being your own contractor. One owner, for example, used a new synthetic-type material for his deck that cost about three times the amount of regular pressure treated deck lumber.  His thinking is that it would last longer.  In fact, it probably will.  But when he needed to sell the house unexpectedly, buyers did not appreciate the extra cost of the material…many even thought it was a cheaper product because it wasn’t “real” wood.  He was not able to recoup any of the costs for the upgrade, and in fact it may have even hurt the saleability of the home. 

Don’t think that using the cheapest subcontractor, or conversely the most expensive, is the way to go either. Some subcontractors will under bid the job and then try to make up the short fall in extras. This does you no good.  Others bid high thinking that you won’t know any better.  The key here is to get three bids and get references.  Yes, it takes some time and energy, but it will pay off in the end.

Blowing your budget. Having a good estimate and keeping track of your finances are both critical to your success!  Cost over-runs are one of the biggest problems builders face.  You can ensure your project stays on budget simply by completing a solid estimate and tracking every dollar you spend.  This means that you need a good cost accounting system.  You don’t have to spend a fortune on software though.  You can track things by hand or use a simple software product to keep good records.

If you keep these three things–upfront planning, mindful decision making, and budget constraints–in mind throughout your project, it should flow much more easily and the outcome will definitely be more successful.