Feb 032013

If you’ve been following the news lately, you’ll see that there are some good signs that the worst of our real estate woes are perhaps behind us. Generally speaking, most of the recent news includes home prices ticking up, home inventories falling, new housing starts increasing, and so forth. The news, however, is never completely straightforward and clear.  It’s obviously not on an entirely upward slope, but it’s definitely looking better.  Overall things are beginning to look up and as far as the real estate world is concerned, this is definitely a good thing.

Considering the optimistic perspective noted above, it might just be time to get back in the market again. The Sun Sentinel recently ran an article on the real estate market in South Florida, and they note that things are clearly looking up. They point out that sellers have taken “control in negotiations as bidding wars often erupted over a dwindling supply of properties.”

If you’re in the real estate market in South Florida, looking to either buy or sell in the luxury market, particularly waterfront estates and luxury condos in an area such as Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale Beach or Boca Raton, you might want to consider finding a knowledgeable agent like http://www.susanrindley.com. Susan Rindley is focused on the South Florida area and specializes in these types of listings. She’s a native to the area and thus knows the market well and definitely has her finger on the pulse of what the area has to offer.

Since the real estate market is on the rebound, the economy is showing signs of life and buyers are really starting to enter the market, it is important to have an expert who knows exactly what is going on.  This fact is amplified in a competitive area such as the luxury market in South Florida. As the Sun Sentinel article points out: “Homebuilders grew more confident, filling orders amid increasing demand from record-low interest rates. Foreign investors helped gobble up the excess supply of condominiums built during the housing boom, prompting a new wave of condo construction across the region.”

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Nov 072012

It has become a regular habit these past few years for people interested in the home market, both buyers and sellers, to keep a constant eye on the state of home prices. Sellers are trying to see when they might be able to find the right price to enable them to sell without losing any money, and buyers are hoping they can time the market right to buy right at the bottom.

Coupled with this interest in home prices are the figures that are released regarding new home sales. We are seeing this past month’s numbers showing about a 6% increase in this figure, a statistic that leads some to believe we’re going to see a steady uptick in both real estate and the economy at large. The might cause joy or anguish depending on the side of the market you’re in.

What does this mean for a prospective home buyer who perhaps is ready to make the plunge in the market? Well, as usual, the answer will depend on the situation and the specifics of each buyer’s position. Ideally, however, regardless of the situation of home buyers they will make sure that they are as informed as possible and educated on both the market and the builders and developments in their area.

Keeping tabs on the state of the real estate market and the economy is clearly an important step, but since buying a home involves more than just trying to time the market for the best possible prices there are other factors.  Know that all homes are not built equally. You really have to make sure you find a new home builder you can trust with a reputation that is solid and a product that they strongly stand behind. In addition to the quality of the actual home, the residential community is equally important. You ideally want to live in a community that reflects the lifestyle you’d most like to live.

So in short, keeping a constant eye on the state of the market is always an important step in buying a home, but there is more to it than trying to time the market to perfection. In today’s market, as in any other, finding quality and a home that reflects what you’re looking for will usually pay in the long run.

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Aug 232011

What Implications Does The Making Home Affordable Program Have For You? 

Making Home Affordable SignatureMillions of Americans across the nation are losing their homes after having problems with keeping up with their mortgages. This has primarily been a result of the widespread unemployment and fall in home values across the country. Fortunately, the Obama administration has come out with unique mortgage relief programs to help all those who are at the verge of losing their homes to banks with whom they have mortgaged their homes. This unique plan is called the Making Home Affordable Program.

Let us take a look at what this plan really is and what impact it is going to have on you. The Making Home Affordable Plan is basically a two step approach aimed at helping and protecting the interests of the home owners. Continue reading »

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Jul 092011

Households that are struggling to find adequate places to live are not always so fortunate in these difficult financial times. Low income housing is definitely an option to help secure a place to live despite the harsh market conditions.

Since the real estate has become so volatile, renting a home is not as easy for households who are struggling financially. We’ve been in a downturn for some time now, and although the tide has appeared to have turned a couple of times many markets are still struggling to find their way again. Buyers are hoping to find a good deal, a house they possibly couldn’t afford a few years ago, and many sellers are holding out, hoping prices will rebound to get them some of their money back. Many homeowners are choosing to rent their home instead of sell so rental prices are often out-of-reach for many families.

The good news is that there are resources to help lower income families find a decent place to live, despite the times. LowIncome.Org has a database of over 50,000 properties that are available for low income households. This is a convenient resource that centralizes the search for properties that might otherwise be difficult to locate. The site also features resources that help families in search of affordable housing.

Currently, every state offers assistance to low income families, and once a household qualifies for some help with housing the search for the right place to live is not always easy. The listings at LowIncome.org feature houses and apartments of good quality and come with a detailed description of the property with pictures and contact information.

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Feb 022011

There are many good signs throughout the economy that the bad news is slowly beginning to fade. The news, however, is never completely straightforward and clear. Good news is often followed the next moment with something to temper the mood. Overall, however, things are beginning to look up and as far as the real estate world is concerned, this is definitely a good thing.  It is perhaps useful to look at how a specific market, for instance real estate in San Diego, is doing to see how this economic turnaround is playing out in the real world.

According to this article on the San Diego real estate market, after beginning to show some signs of positive movement, the market was showing signs of weakness in the the latter half of 2010. One such sign was the number of foreclosures, which were up from July to August. The number of homes that were for sale in August of 2010 were down from the year prior. Overall home sales were down from the previous year as well, though homes under $500,000 were doing better that more expensive homes.

The good news for San Diego, though, is that it’s doing better than other parts of the country. A blog post at Forbes.com, listed the 25 worst cities for foreclosures in 2010 with Las Vegas leading the list. San Diego was not on that list although several other California cities were featured. According to the report, originally generated by RealtyTrac, one out of every 9 homeowners was facing foreclosure last year. This is contrast to the San Diego area which, according to data found on RealtyTrac’s website, has a foreclosure in one out of every 28 homeowners.

More important than just the basic number of foreclosures, the trend in San Diego seems to be improving overall as it is down about 17% from the 2009 foreclosure numbers. There is clearly still a ways to go, but the numbers are indicating some improvement from the dramatic figures we were seeing just a couple of years ago. It’s helpful to keep a close eye on the market conditions if you’re considering making a real estate decision in San Diego, but the recent data seems to indicate a slightly more optimistic outlook.

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Dec 022010

We’ve seen some pretty hefty changes in the real estate market these last few years. Clearly, the market has been downright cruel to some and many people have lost their home as well as a lot of money.  For many, a foreclosure on their home is the only way out, leaving an unfortunate mess for both their credit rating and their pride.  An alternative option that we’ve been seeing more and more of these days is a short sale in real estate.

Put simply, a short sale is one in which the amount the house is sold for is less than the amount that is owed on the property.  This type of sale is beneficial to all parties involved.  It allows a lender to recoup some value without hefty fees or litigation, the seller is able to get out of the house without the typical problems of a foreclosure, and it allows a new buyer to get a potentially good deal on a house.

There are some key differences in the procedures between a foreclosure and a short sale, and these are thoroughly examined on the website.   Generally speaking, a foreclosure is forced upon the homeowner by the lender whereas a short sale must be mutually agreed upon by both parties.  The short sale leaves the credit rating of the homeowner unharmed, and there are usually less fees involved for the lender.  There are still quite a few contingencies that may be applied by the lender as well as approval of both the sale price and terms of the new buyer.  These types of purchases are not always the easiest but can provide a good opportunity to a potential buyer or investor looking for a nice price on a new home.

If you’re looking for a good place to begin searching for a home to buy that is offered via  a short sale you can click here or click here to begin your search.  There are a lot of good resources now available online for purchasing a new home and the information found on short sales in real estate is no exception.

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Apr 082008

The argument about whether it is better to buy or rent a home has raged for many years and will probably continue to do so. The consensus is that, basically, when you can do it, all things considered, it is better to buy a home. There are, however, many cases, especially in the short term, where renting a house makes more financial sense.

Recently there was a healthy debate on the issue from different sources, one claiming that are Rent Vs. Buy Myths That Ruined the Housing Market. The second article, written by Trent over at The Simple Dollar, calls the article nonsense and breaks down some very strong reasons whey this is the case.

Both articles are a little one-sided, as things are never really so black and white, but they both make some decent points. Of interest as well are the numerous comments on The Simple Dollar site. It’s obvious that people can get very emotional about this issue and there are strong arguments to be made on both sides.

Jan 302008

The Real Estate Book is a great resource for finding homes and property listings across the United States and Canada, including focused searches in all major cities and regions in the countries. So, for instance if you’re interested in the Atlanta Real Estate market, the Real Estate Book is a perfect place to start.

No only is the book a free magazine at local gas stations and grocery stores, it is the ultimate tool for searching for real estate listings. You can focus your search in any number of ways, narrowing down you search to number of bedrooms and bathrooms, location, price or even a specific MLS#.

Since the real estate market has been slowing down in the last year or so, and prices have slowed the frenetic rise we’ve been seeing over the prior five years or so, it’s become an opportune time to be a buyer in the market. Recent figures released from the National Association of Realtors show that the number of houses sold recently dropped by about 20% from the same month last year. In addition, the median price for a new home has been falling in the past year. This really spells a great opportunity for prospective home buyers to start shopping around and getting a great deal on a home.

In order to take advantage of this potential buyer’s market, the Real Estate Book provides the tools needed to get started and find the right home.

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Jan 282008

The housing woes continued today as it was announced that new home sales had fallen more expected recently. The sales of new single family homes fell 4.7%, an annual rate of 604,000, lower than the projected 647,000.

This most recent drop makes for a fall of 26% for new home sales last year, the biggest decline since 1963, the Commerce Department said on Monday.

According to the NY Times, “last week, the National Association of Realtors reported that sales of previously owned single-family homes, a large portion of the overall housing market, suffered their biggest annual drop in 25 years. Prices have also fallen sharply. In December, the median price of a new home fell to $219,200, down 10 percent from December 2006.”

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Jan 212008

If you’ve been looking for information on a 1031 exchanges then you might consider the services of Costa Financial Securities, Inc. This company specializes in different tax deferral strategies and this includes 1031 tax exchange property solutions. The basic idea behind a 1031 tax exchange is that you can reduce or relinquish your tax-burdened assets more effectively and efficiently, and you may be able to defer all of the capital gains tax and depreciation recapture tax when you sell certain kinds of property.  If you replace the sold property for a like kind one, you can defer the profit or gain until a later date.

To put this into legalese, the Internal Revenue Code, section 1031 describes it: “No gain or loss shall be recognized on the exchange of property held for productive use in a trade or business or for investment if such property is exchanged solely for property of like kind which is to be held either for productive use in a trade or business or for investment.”

The key for any successful 1031 tax exchange to work right, the transaction must be properly structured.  This is not something you’d want to undertake with the right kind of expert advice.  Costa Financial Securities can work with you in a number of different ways to help guide you through the process or give you the right type of advice so you can effectively use the 1031 exchange. Costa has partnered with leading 1031 exchange professionals and are able to best leverage those relationships to make sure each real estate transaction that can benefit from this tax exchange.

Some of the ways that Costa can help you would be to help you defer all of the capital gains tax and depreciation recapture tax in a real estate transaction, possibly increase your income and capital appreciation, reduce you property management troubles, diversify you real estate portfolio to a better class of asset as well as a more desirable geographical property.  They can also put you in touch with the right qualified tax attorney or accountant, and they can procure a highly trained intermediary who is an expert on 1031 tax exchanges.

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Jan 072008

In our frequent discussions here regarding real estate planning and investing, we don’t get to talk much about building your own home. This is obviously a great option for many homeowners as it allows for the type of hands-on work and input that appeals to many people. If you’ve been thinking of building a home and like the style and elegance of an older home but want a new construction, you might want to consider acquiring Victorian house plans.

The home designs from Garant Homes Corporation feature some unique plans that allow the home owner to build a home with a modern floor plan and amenities while reflecting the architectural details from the past. The Victorian house plans from Garant Homes include many unique ideas that include plans from quaint cottages to much larger and more stately homes. They even have a plan that will provide a home designed as a fully functional bed and breakfast.

If you’ve been thinking of building your own home, you owe it to yourself to check out the house plans from Garant Homes. In addition to their Victorian plans they also have plans for Caribbean and Mediterranean houses so that you can build the home you’ve always wanted.

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Dec 062007

As the real estate market begins to slow and the shifts to a buyer’s market, sellers are trying to find new ways to entice potential buyers to their listing. This might be a good time, if you’re a real estate buyer, to shop around for not only the best deal but some nice perks thrown in the mix. This article in CNN Money mentions a couple of things sellers, including new home builders, are beginning to offer.

In Seattle, a homeowner is offering plane tickets anywhere in the world plus a six night stay in the Four Seasons hotel.

Another seller, a builder in New Jersey, is offering a two year lease on a luxury vehicle if you buy his house.

If the market continues to fall, and most experts feel it will through most of 2008, we should start to see more incentives from sellers as they become increasingly desperate to sell their house.

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Nov 282007

If you’ve been waiting out the seemingly endless rise in home prices the recent declines may bring a smile to your face. For everyone else, it’s just more bad news from the housing sector. A recent report listing a home price index has noted that home prices have fallen an average of 4.5% this year. This drop has been the biggest quarter-to-quarter fall in prices in the last 20 years that the index has been covered.

Unlike previous quarters, this last one has seen prices decline in all 20 cities that are covered in the index. The largest declines were seen in cities that had some of the biggest gains during the boom years.

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Oct 182007

The real estate market has been in the news with a vengeance this past several years, first because of it’s meteoric rise and now because of it’s fall, or at least stumble. It’s certainly cooled off, that’s clearly the case. Some markets, especially those that saw the biggest gains these last few years, seem to be faring more poorly than others. Now we have word this week that housing starts have dropped to their lowest point in 14 years. Seems like a pretty gloomy time to be selling a home. On the other hand, those buyers that have been holding out for a good deal might be in for a good time for awhile. It’s been quite a long time since we’ve had a nice buyer’s market.

If you want to get caught up on the situation quickly or just want to better understand what exactly happened to the market, there’s been quite a bit of ink on the subject this last year. If you don’t have a lot of time, there’s a short little piece at Time.com that summarizes a bit of the situation. SeekingAlpha.com has a very convenient housing bubble and real estate tracker page that will give you a lot of links to relevant links on real estate.

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Sep 272007

After several years of an absolutely white hot real estate market in just about every corner of the US, it seems things are cooling down. In fact, the bubble has really burst just about everywhere as prices have actually begun to fall in many of the biggest markets around the country. Despite this fact, however, people are still buying and selling homes.

Some folks need to relocate, or find a bigger home, or, more likely, downsize a bit and get something more affordable. Whatever the case, homes are still on the market and since the tide has turned, it is now clearly a buyer’s market. Fortunately for these buyers, there are a bunch of online tools they can use to help them weave their way through this changing real estate market.

Most people still choose to use a realtor and these folks still have their place. Thee are, however, some useful websites to help you work your way through the real estate maze whether you’ve chosen to work with a realtor or want to do-it-yourself.

One of the most useful tools is just going to realtor.com and doing some searches for the homes in your area that fit your criteria. You won’t see as much information as realtors can see, but it’s a great place to start.

Another great place to explore is www.zillow.com. You can find homes in your prospective area that are for sale or have sold, but you can also get an estimate…or a “zestimate” …of the value of the home. This site also gives you information such as recent sales prices and tax rates on individual homes.

A similar site to zillow is Trulia.com. This site gives information like that found on zillow such as homes for sale, as well as information on the neighborhood and schools. Trulia also offers an interesting “Heat Map” that shows a colored map of home prices and trends.

If you want to tackle the real estate market yourself, but aren’t quite ready to do a FSBO, you can use the services of Redfin.com. Redfin will help you to either sell your home or buy a new one. If you are selling your home, rather than take the 3% that most agents take, Redfin will take a flat fee of either $3,000 or $4,000, depending on the options you choose. This can be quite a bit of savings, especially if your home is listed for a high price. For this fee, they will place your property in the multiple listing service (MLS), provide you with a lockbox and a sign for your yard, and then they will hadle all the negotiations and paperwork.

For buying a home, you do most of the legwork in finding a home while Redfin provides you with an agent who handles home tours, gives you advice on pricing and handles the negotiations and helps with the closing process. For this service Redfin takes 1% of the sales price instead of the full 3%, and you get to keep the remaining 2%. That can lead to some serious savings.

There are websites and tools popping up all of the time online to help you work your way through the maze of real estate. I suggest you take some time to use these tools to keep yourself better informed and ready for the market whether you’re using a realtor or not.

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