Wednesday, 12 May 2010

7 Quick Tips to Tidy Up a Property to Improve the Street Appeal For Potential Buyers

Home buyers often spend a lot of time driving from street to street looking for properties advertised for sale. It is also a good way for them to assess the neighborhoods first hand. The problem is; sometimes these potential home buyers will often slow down at a property with a real estate agent sign in front, do a quick visual assessment, and then drive on. They don't bother phoning the agent to arrange an inspection so never get past through the front door to see what else the property has to offer. They never get to see the spacious living area, the newly refurbished designer kitchen, or the wonderful outdoor dining area in the backyard. All because, they made a quick judgement to eliminate the property from their search, based on what they saw from the street.

There is a lesson in all this for any home owner who is trying to sell. First impressions do matter, street appeal is important. If the property fails to attract potential buyers past the front gate, it doesn't really matter how flash it is inside. They may never get to see it.

Needless to say, a property that is visually appealing from the street, and appears in good condition will attract potential buyers.

Here are 7 quick tips to tidy up a property and improve its street appeal:

1. Mow the lawns and trim lawn edges.

2. Trim hedges, prune the shrubs and cut back any trees that overhanging paths or driveways.

3. Weed the gardens and remove dead leaves or rubbish. Spreading some bark, pea straw, or decorative stones can sometimes help with the look.

4. Maybe plant some small flowering plants for instant color.

5. Remove junk, trash, kids toys, and hose reels from the front yard.

6. Repair broken fences and replace damaged palings. Consider a repaint.

7. Repair or replace a damaged mailbox. A coat of paint, or new house number, may be all that's required.

None of the above improvements are very costly, or overly time-consuming, so there is no reason not to consider putting them into action. They could make a big difference when selling your home. It will make the real estate agents job a whole lot easier... not that most vendors want to do that.

Seriously though; making the real estate agents job easier is to the vendors advantage. The agent and the vendor should be working together as a team, not fighting each other. The agent is simply trying to get a sale and hopefully maximize the price achieved. So, any help the vendor can provide will work towards meeting the ultimate goal of selling the property in the shortest time for a good price.

Noel recommends a website with helpful information on selecting good Kapiti estate agents who market Paraparaumu real estate. This site offers home owners a free report.

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Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Six Rules When Buying an Investment Property

Investing in properties is a good way to make money and build up your net worth. It is a very safe option of getting rich over the long term, as real estate values generally increase over time. However, returns are not very fast and you have to wait for considerable time before you make substantial money from real estate. To make the most of your investment into real estate, follow the six simple rules below.

1. Use Your Expertise and Knowledge

When purchasing investment property, look into your areas expertise and knowledge. Do you know about vacation homes, single-family homes, multi-family buildings, or commercial properties? You should know how and when to sell the property to earn the highest returns. If you are unaware of all rules and regulations relating to that property type, you may not be able to sell the property at a high profit.

2. Study Your Options

It is not essential to sell an investment property immediately after purchase. You can hold on to your investment until real estate values increase and then sell the property. Sometimes, it is best to bide your time and wait for real estate booms to sell and earn good profits on your investment. Another opportunity is to make suitable renovations and sell the property at an escalated price to earn very good returns. Property values increase over time and net worth of your investment increases. You can invest in real estate to receive a regular income from rent while you are waiting for property values to rise.

3. Consider the Benefits of the Location

Purchase your investment property in an area experiencing higher growth than other local areas. Inspect properties in different areas and choose those that satisfy necessary requirements. If you plan to invest in the property for several years, look into how the area will develop in the next few years and whether you can receive desired returns. You should have sufficient foresight and knowledge of the area.

Visit local councils and research what developments are happening in the vicinity in the near future. Drive around and scout for development and other area investments. Check the property is located near essential amenities like schools, hospitals, banks, transport, and supermarkets.

4. Reflect on Rental Demand

Your investment property yields good returns if there is sufficient rental demand for the property. Renters should be interested in renting the property. Normally, rental demand is high in densely populated areas like cities. Countryside locations do not have high demand and rental income could be substantially less.

5. Buy Property for Less than the Current Value

If you want to make money from real estate investing, choose properties that are being sold for less than the current market value. These properties may not be in the best shape and condition, so plan to incur repair and renovation costs. Before buying, hire a renovation consultant or home inspector to evaluate the cost of all repairs and renovations. Decide on the purchase price after deducting all additional costs. Ensure you can make a good profit when you sell the property after the renovation is complete.

6. Gather Financial Support

Investment property purchase requires strong financing. You may not be able to pool the entire cost, so consider the options for property loans. Assess all your mortgage options, so that you do not have excessive burden of repayments. If you are renting the property, apply the rent directly to the mortgage. Select a mortgage that can be repaid from the sale of property without additional fees or penalties for early repayment, especially if you plan to resell the property quickly.

Real estate investing for profit is a good option to earn money if you are an educated real estate investor. Investing in real estate is wise and can give even conservative investors high returns in the long-term. Renting the property while waiting for the best time to sell will increase your current income and cover the mortgage repayment costs.

Real estate is a complicated market. Even more so thanks to economic slips and slides. The best way to survive it is to save thousands buying a home. We've got the ultimate inside scoop on

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Thursday, 11 March 2010

How to Make Money in Real Estate - 5 Facts That Investors Should Know

It is no doubt that there are more people who want to make money in real estate now as compared to the previous years despite the economic downturn. One big reason behind it is the increasing number of low-priced properties in the market right now. Despite the great opportunities in the market right now, there are some facts that people must remember when investing in real estate.

Here are some of the points to remember:

· Location is not just about a great view. While it is true that location is a key factor to consider when investing in real estate, a nice looking home with an overlooking view is the only thing that matters. A great location for an investment property depends on things such as its accessibility to establishments such as hospitals, schools and malls. Other considerations worth pondering on are the community's surrounding infrastructures, as well as the security levels in the neighborhood.

· Sometimes it is better to hold on to a property than to flip it. There are cases that a property is better for purposes other than wholesaling or rehabbing. Some real estate properties are better off with other investing options such as leasing, renting, and just waiting for the prices to appreciate.

· There are financing options that allow investors to do repairs on a property. Investors who want to venture in rehabbing need not to rely on their own pockets in order to finance a home's repairs. Financing options such as bank and hard money loans are available for people who want to make money in real estate through this method.

· Finding motivated sellers is a secret to closing great deals. The best way for an investor to get the best real estate deals in town is to scour neighborhoods with people who are will to sell homes fast. This is the great thing about the current market, since there are many homeowners now who are motivated to sell their properties as soon as possible.

· Do not buy the best house on the block. A savvy investor is smart enough to realize that he or she does not have to purchase the nicest looking house in the neighborhood in order to earn big profits. The other homes that surround a property are enough to make the property's price skyrocket.

These facts are only a sample of the things that aspiring real estate investors must learn in order to succeed in the business.

For more help on how to make money in real estate, visit websites such as for more information.

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Thursday, 25 February 2010

Prospects For Buy To Let Property In The UK In 2010

Most UK buy-to-let investors will be glad that 2009 is now over, especially those who got into the market in 2008. By the middle of the year the market had become unrecognisable:

-the number of buy-to-let mortgage products had shrivelled from thousands to less than 100
-the maximum loan-to-value went from 85% to 75%
-the number of lenders reduced to a handful as many went bust or withdrew from the buy-to-let market
-lenders who remained in the market became very fussy indeed about who they would lend to
-property prices dropped significantly especially for new build apartments which the majority of recent investors had opted for, leaving remortgages to release equity almost impossible
-developers had all piled into the one and two bedroom new build apartment market, leading to over-supply, resulting in all lenders bar two or three deciding that they would no longer lend on such properties.

The immediate consequence of this was that many landlords got cold feet and bailed out of the market, those who did not often ran into cash-flow difficulties as the level of voids increased.

But what of 2010? In many ways the main issue in 2009 was that it was a year of adjustment with constantly moving goal posts which made it difficult for property investors to be confident of what would happen with any particular property which they decided to buy. Everything became unpredictable and deals took longer and longer to take through to completion. By the end of the year, and certainly in the last quarter, conditions had settled, even if far from satisfactory or conducive to a healthy buy-to-let sector. 2010 should therefore in some ways be easier in that investors will take on deals in full knowledge of the what they are up against with lenders and the mortgage products available. They will not be stuck in the middle of deals with conditions suddenly changing around them almost daily.

There are still challenges on the horizon however:

-lending is still restricted. The Council of Mortgage Lenders has announced that December lending was lower than November
-major buy-to-let lenders are tightening their lending criteria. Lenders with a 999 (perfect) credit score with the major ratings agencies are finding their mortgage applications turned down as lenders take a closer look at affordability, income and outgoings
-more and more lenders are asking to see proof of deposits, thus making it harder to complete on deals using creative financing methods
-national average property prices may not have bottomed out. Lenders are sitting on a massive stock of repossessed properties which they will have to sell at some point, which will increase supply and push prices down. It is the current lack of supply which is underpinning the clear but weak increases in property prices over the last few months.

How can prospective property investors stack the odds in their favour? I will deal with this in my next article, but in the meantime, get a copy of your credit report and ensure that it is factually correct and if you do not like what you see, get to work on improving it. I will give you some tips on how to do that in a subsequent article also.

Niall Mellors is a Chartered Accountant and experienced UK property investor and host of the Southampton Property Investors Network (Southampton PIN) event. He has also undertaken substantial personal development training to give him the mindset necessary to successfully invest in property. If you have property to sell in the UK then please visit his website at to see if he can help.

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Monday, 22 February 2010

Real Estate - Buy Low and Sell High

There are always stories of smart investors who take advantage of the downturns in real estate cycles, downturns in the stock markets, or overall downturns in the economy. While some people 'hunker down' or even panic during the difficult periods, others look for opportunities, or specifically wait for the opportunity cycle to come, as it has now.

While one of the mantras of investing is to 'Buy Low-Sell High', this doesn't always work out, does it? What we inevitably see is this: when something is 'hot' (like home rentals or condos recently), everyone rushes in to buy, but when it drops or freezes up, everyone panics and sells (or tries to sell). Often we 'Buy High - Sell Low', and that is a pity. Of course, when it comes to the realty world, an added culprit has been financing. Some investors over-financed, or when everything else in their portfolio and life crashed, they had trouble meeting debt service. It certainly seemed that in some cases, credit was too easy - just as now it is extremely difficult to obtain. A majority of lenders have not been open to working with borrowers who are in a jam, either.

When market conditions are in an opportunity state, as they are now, two points seem clear: cash is king and opportunities abound. Many investors are nervous about values or wonder if the economy will soften further. If they are suffering with under-performing real estate bought at the height of the market, they understandably become fearful of new acquisitions or frozen into inactivity. However, others are just nervous in general and fail to see the opportunities in front of them. There is no question that property can be picked up at deep discounts in many parts of the country, whether it be a home for rental or a commercial property. Thorough due diligence is needed, of course, and a basic analysis of cost of ownership should be weighed. It is a buyer's market and a buyer should negotiate hard, as they usually will have the upper hand. One who may acquire a property at a deep discount today with the mantra to hold the property until a solid recovery is in play, and then sell, may find success in their strategy. Timing is key.

For those investors holding under-performing property they acquired during the "up" market, the theme for this year is to "ride out the storm" and make it through whole. But for those investors who have cash, interest and a strategy, look at the great buying opportunities that exist today. The window of opportunity will not last forever. Always make sure to confer with your expert team when considering a real estate acquisition (CPA, attorney, real estate agent, title agent, spouse and lender, etc).

Kathy writes about commercial real estate and is a freelance author. She is President of a commercial real estate firm, Legacy Real Estate & Investments specializing in triple net (NNN) investments, and she is author of "Effortless Cash flow: the ABCs of TICs (Tenant in Common Properties)". Kathy is working on a new real estate book for 2010.

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Property Prices Still Going Up

It is pretty strange at the moment, EVERYONE is reporting house price rises, all the latest data from the biggest names have reported consistent rises, however everyone is playing it down. "Do not read too much into the figures" "Double dip" "Unlikely to carry on increasing", it's as if the people reporting the stats just cannot believe them. You can imagine them double and triple checking the figures just to check that their data gathering tools have got it right !!

If you look back over time at the money made from property investment you will see that current yields are decent, this has not been the case for a long time. Previously a 6% yield was considered good, now you can get 8%+ yields and borrow at sub 5% rates. For those who like the really high yielding stuff and can get commercial funding you can get 12% yields and borrow at 3%. That is a clear margin of 9%, for every £1m invested expect to make £90k p.a.

No money down investing is possible, because you require big discounts from the vendor to do no money down investing and since it is a buyers market investors are buying up big time from those desperate to sell. When property does come back (and it will) whatever you bought will be dragged up in price.