A Home Buyer’s Caveat: KNOW What You Want!

There are a number of reasons, individuals begin to search for a home, of their own, or a new home. While some, are focused on their needs, goals, and priorities, others become absorbed by the concepts of the so – called, American Dream, of owning a home, of your own! Smart home buyers must be ready, and prepared, to proceed, with their eyes – wide – open, so they clearly, KNOW, what they seek, and what they might afford, as well as what will serve their needs, both today, and into the future. With that in mind, this article will attempt to briefly, consider, examine, review, and discuss, using the mnemonic approach, what this means and represents, and why it matters.

1. Knowledge; keep it; kitchen: How will you decide, if a particular house, is best for you, and your true needs? Will you take the time, and make the effort, to learn, as much as possible, about the options and alternatives, as well as relevant aspects, and use your knowledge, to make you, a smarter, better prepared consumer? Are you considering, using this house, as a starter home, or will you keep it, into the foreseeable future? Why do you believe you will be happy, and well – served, living there?

2. Needs; nuances; niche; necessities: How will you determine your needs, goals, priorities, etc? How will a particular house, make you happier, and satisfy your need? Are there, specific nuances, which you believe, are most essential, to being happy, in your home? Would you identify, with some specific niche, and why? If you considered things carefully, can you differentiate between necessities/ priorities, and your personal, wish list?

3. Objectives; options; organized; optimize: Begin your house hunting, process, by clearing understanding and knowing your personal objectives! What specific options, are most important, for your present, and anticipated future, life style? Is the specific house, capable of being organized, to address your priorities, and is it possible to optimize your living experiences?

4. When; why; where; what; wonderful: When do you want to move in, and when do you need to? Why are you looking for a home, and this specific one? Is it located, where you will be best – served? What is needed, and necessary, to make your living experience, more wonderful?

Before you commit to buying, the best home, for you, KNOW what you need to know, and be prepared, as well as what, you seek, to be happy there! Will you commit to the process?

Finding a House For Sale – Top Tips For Buyers

If you are looking for a house for sale in Christchurch, NZ there are several factors to consider. We’ve got some top tips for purchasing property in Canterbury, NZ.

1. Even though it’s a relatively small city, population wise, Christchurch is full of open suburbs with plenty of space and diversity that meets the needs of a range of purchasers. You can select anything from a beach front property, to one in the Port Hills, a central city pad, or a large house in the suburbs. Each suburb of Christchurch has a different feel, and it’s important to find a part of it that fits you and your personality as well as your housing needs.

2. Consider your garden needs. One thing Canterbury residents love is their gardens. Some newer areas have covenants so that gardens are kept to a specific standard. It’s important to find a place that matches the exterior maintenance of your lifestyle. Cottage gardens can look gorgeous, but may take some dedication, whereas native grasses and shrubs can look clean and clear and be low maintenance. It all depends on your lifestyle.

3. Schooling requirements are also an important factor. Many of the popular schools have zoning requirements and moving into a particular area can ensure your child/children have a better change of access to that school, but this often means you pay more of a premium. For parents of children who will attend a private school this may not be so much of an issue. The school culture is considered an important part of family life in Canterbury. Selecting a school in some of the outer suburbs often means your child can go to a smaller school, with a lovely family atmosphere.

4. Sporting and outdoor pursuits are another factor. Most sports are within an easy driving distance, but being situated near a golf course, a surf beach, or near biking tracks can be of benefit for the extra keen sports lover.

If you want a home that’s got all of the benefits of city living, with an outdoors lifestyle at your door, then buying a home in the Lyttleton Harbour and Bay areas can be a good option. The properties in these areas offer an easy commute to the central city if necessary, or you can work closer to home.

As you start looking for houses for sale in Christchurch, NZ, be sure to consider these above buying tips as part of your house buying process.

7 Tips For Buying a Property

Buying a property requires a good deal of research. Even if you are from the same place, you have to take care of a lot things before buying a house or apartment of your choice. Given below are 7 tips that can make the process a bit less stressful for you.

Location

As far as buying a property goes, the most important things is the location. Locations with facilities, such as hospitals, schools and parking lots are a great choice. Properties in these areas cost a bit more, but worth the extra price paid.

Haggling

Just because a property is on sale at a certain price doesn’t mean it’s worth the higher price. Moreover, the seller may not have taken an oath to sell it at the listed price no matter what. So, do your homework, find out the prices of other properties in the same area and then negotiate with the seller.

Go for a less sought after property

For instance, you can go for an apartment built above a popular shop. The apartment may offer more than enough space to meet your needs. Moreover, it may not cost as much as other apartments.

Control your enthusiasm

If the vendor or real estate agents comes to know that are in love a property, they may stick to the price offered, and you may not be able to get the best deal. Therefore, when viewing a property, you may want to control your enthusiasm.

Talk to the locals

To get a good idea of the neighborhood, you may want to talk to the locals. They can tell you how it is to live in the area. They will tell you about the nearby shops, pubs and other places. Aside from this, talking to the locals will give you an idea of what type of people they are. After all, you may not want to live with not-so-good people.

Auctions

Auctions are a good option too. Make sure you have gone through the paperwork before choosing a property. Also, don’t forget to view the property before signing the documents.

Team up

You should team up with your friends if you need help. What you need to do is be creative. While you may not want to share a flat or house with someone, your family member or friend may be on the lookout of a good investment opportunity. This can help you get the required capital to buy your desired house. Of course, you can pay become a full owner of the house after paying them their share of the property.

So, these are some simple but useful tips to help you new buyers like you. Buying a property is not a rocket science but it does require some research on your part. Therefore, you should not do it alone if you are a beginner. Instead, you should get help from someone in the light of the tips given in this article. Hopefully, you can get your hands on the right apartment now.

Why Every Home Buyer Should Do Mold Testing Before Buying A Home

No one wants to buy a house when it has a mildew problem. Unfortunately, spores can grow in places that potential buyers cannot see such as around leaking pipes and between walls. If you are considering buying a home; learn about spore detection, request that specialized testing be done, require that the seller disclose all mildew issues, and stipulate that the problem, if any exists, be resolved before you purchase the house.

Begin The Process By Asking Your Home Inspection Professional About Possible Damage

If you have a home inspection professional inspect the premises before you buy the property, he or she may see obvious signs of water damage during their inspection of those less seen places. While it is not their job to look for spores, most home inspection professionals will mention noticeable signs of water damage and the possible presence of spores. Also, do not be afraid to ask the inspector if they saw signs of mildew or noticed potential problem areas and ask them to include their observations in their report.

Set Mold Testing As A Top Priority

For individuals who are sensitive to spores, a home inspection specialist’s observations may need to be augmented by a mold testing expert. While some species of spores are visible and will often times produce an offensive odor, others can grow in areas that are less noticeable such as in wall paneling and under ceiling tiles. Specialized testing can unearth a potential problem, pinpoint the source, and determine the severity of the situation through the use of air sampling; swab and tape lift sampling, moisture mapping, and thermal imaging.

Mold Remediation Options

If spore growth is recent and confined to a small area, the issue can be remedied by scrubbing the area with detergent followed by a solution of bleach and water and then allowed to thoroughly dry. For problems that have been allowed to exist for long periods of time, a remediation expert could be the best option. For elevated levels of mildew, a mold remediation company will eliminate spore sources, clean the air with specialized equipment, apply antimicrobial treatment to infected areas and areas that could become a possible source, and dispose of items that cannot be cleaned. After mold remediation has been completed, the company will run a clearance test to make sure the problem has been eradicated.

Addressing Remediation Before Purchasing A House

If you purchase a house and later discover it has a mildew problem, it will be too late to ask the seller to defray the costs for spore remediation and for fixing the damage. This is why it is important to have mold testing done before purchasing the property. If testing reveals mildew issues, the buyer can ask the seller to reduce their price to cover mold remediation costs or can ask the seller to remove the mildew before the contract is signed. Be alert; protect your interests from the beginning.

Five Lessons Your Dog Can Teach You About House Hunting

1. Focus Anyone who has played catch with a dog has a good example of a dog’s laser focus. In our culture of distraction focus is a rare beast. To succeed in owning the best home develop single minded focus on the project to its completion. You, your family, and your dog will benefit for decades to come.

2. Hunt a dog’s most basic interest is to hunt, not only for food but also for shelter and a mate to raise a family. This is basically what house hunters are all about. Home and family, including the family dog, are essential to human and canine happiness. While house hunting is often laborious and time consuming, enjoy the hunt as would the dog.

3. Trust Your Nose A dog’s nose is its keenest sense; he or she uses it to investigate everything. In real estate we call this due diligence, doing the math, checking out all aspects of a purchase, asking questions, studying the research. It also means sniffing out situations beyond what the numbers indicate, trusting your nose for an advantageous situation.

4. Jumping in Dogs rarely hesitate before jumping into a situation, say when the ball lands in a puddle. Competition for the best homes is often stiff. While it is often easier to walk away, faint heart never won fair home. This is not to say one should act is haste. Here dogs too are an excellent example. They sniff around and approach new situations cautiously. But when they are sure of their prey they go for it rather than second guessing themselves as we humans often do.

5. Team Players Dogs are thrilled when you walk in the room. They are never in a bad mood and never blame or judge you for anything. They cheer you up when you’re feeling down and stick by you no matter how tough the going gets. They are members of your pack and respond with loyalty and trust. Real estate also works best when everyone pulls together, family, Realtors, Attorneys, Inspectors, Lenders, etc.

6. Bury a Bone We get upset when our dog digs up the garden to bury a bone but he is following a primal instinct judiciously telling him to save for a rainy day. This is excellent advice for both owning and maintaining a new home. Having financial reserves can often make the difference between success and failure. Avoid becoming “house poor”. Your dog will love you just as much in a more affordable home. What matters to him or her is you and the family.

Three Critical Factors to Consider When Buying a Home Or Lot on Lake Murray South Carolina

All real estate is not created equal, and this is certainly true with waterfront property on Lake Murray South Carolina. Understanding what to look for can help in the decision making process and can also help to ensure years of enjoyment from your lake-front home. For most people, the three critical factors to consider when purchasing water-frontage on Lake Murray are whether it has fringe-land, whether the property can have a private dock, and whether it has year-round water.

The first critical factor is fringe-land. Fringe-land is a term used by SCE&G (South Carolina Electric and Gas) which basically refers to a seventy-five foot wide strip of land which is owned by SCE&G and lies between the edge of the lake and the adjacent waterfront property.

Owners of the adjacent property only have foot access to the lake and are restricted from encroaching upon the land or cutting trees or shrubs on the land without written consent. While the majority of properties on the lake do not have to contend with this “vegetative buffer”, there are still many properties in the more rural areas of the lake where this is a consideration. Generally, properties free from fringe-land are more desirable.

The second critical factor is the ability to have a private dock. Not all Lake Murray properties can have private docks. SCE&G controls dock permitting, and they have strict guidelines governing permit issuance. Properties that have the ability for a private dock are in more demand and typically command a higher price than those with only a shared dock or with no dock at all.

The third critical factor is whether the property has year-round water. With Lake Murray being a hydro-electric lake, it has an annual draw-down in the fall and winter. The result for land owners is that some properties might be “dry” during the low period. Unfortunately, most real estate agents do not understand how to properly evaluate this aspect of lake properties.

Often times properties will be presented as having year-round water, but they don’t. This is not usually intentional deceit on the part of the listing agent, but usually just a lack of skill. If you plan on purchasing a home or lot on Lake Murray, be sure your real estate agent can do a USGS based depth analysis on any property of interest.

When buying any real estate, you should perform proper due diligence. Now you have an idea of what to look for when considering making a purchase on Lake Murray South Carolina. See you on the lake!

How to Buy a House Without a Bank Loan

There is an unspoken rule in the real estate market. You must have a bank mortgage to buy a house. But did you know there is a secret way to buy a house without a mortgage.

There is a secret financial trick that you can use to buy the house of your dreams in about 8 years and have NO mortgage payment. I know this sounds ridiculous but it’s true. When I write this article, most of the time, I focus on the negative aspects of home ownership and what to avoid when buying a house. This week I thought I would focus on the other side of the table. What to do if you are NOT in financial trouble or at risk of losing your house.

In the last couple of weeks I have gotten emails from people who are trying to get into their first house or upgrade their current house. I rarely get questions on what to do to save a house. So I will try to give more attention to upgrading your current home. Now back to what you really want to know. How do I get a house with no mortgage? Before I tell you how to do this please remember that having no mortgage on a house, while it is a help, it is not the answer to all your financial concerns.

You will still have to pay property taxes and electric, gas, etc. And remember I said the house of your dreams. Not your current house so more than likely you will be facing higher gas, electric, and utility bills. Your taxes also could be substantially higher. So if you are okay with these issues then I’ll share my secret with you. Have you ever heard of compounding, or compounding interest. Compounding is basically when you start with a small amount of money and allow it to build up over time, then you take the money that has built up and reinvest it with the original money to get an even higher return.

Over time you can reach huge returns by just continuing to reinvest your profits. Well if I haven’t gotten too technical, this technique of compounding can be used for a house as well. You can buy a house for a below market price stay in the house for about two years, do some minor improvements and sell the house at a profit. This is because house values over time always rise, and by buying a house under market value the value rises even faster.

Take all the profit from that house and put it down on your next house that you buy below market value also. Do the exact same technique, by the fourth or fifth house you will have a larger house, very little if any debt and you won’t have paid taxes on any of the profit from the sale of your other houses. The reason you won’t pay any taxes is because the government allows you to not pay taxes on the sale of your home if it is your principal residence for two years and you take the profit from the sale and put it toward your new home purchase. It’s the government’s way of saying thank you for stimulating the economy (by selling your house and buying another one).

Now I know you are probably thinking that you don’t want to move every 2 years. You don’t HAVE to move every two years, two years is just the minimum that you have to be in the house to qualify for the tax exemption. This is a great technique for younger couples who don’t mind moving (especially to a larger house) every couple of years. Now for the disclaimer. Before you start selling your house please check with your accountant to make sure that you can qualify for this exemption. Also, this technique may seem a little complicated. If you have questions about how to do this shoot me an email and I can explain it a little further.

Till next time, Good luck and God Bless and remember… If you have any questions about saving or selling your home or any topics on real estate that you would like to know more about please email me and I will answer your questions in this column.

Reasons For Buying, Your Starter Home

Although, we often, consider, home ownership, as one of the core ingredients, in the American Dream, the financial realities of doing so, often, begins, with buying a starter home, rather than, the home of one’s dreams! As a Licensed Real Estate Salesperson, in the State of New York, I have often discussed, this concept and approach, as opposed to simply, waiting, and hoping, for the ability, in the future, to buy something else. Life is evolving, and our needs, goals, priorities, and perceptions, often, change over time. Many of us, must, decide, if buying something, focused on now, rather than for the longer – term, may be a smart approach, and alternative, to merely, renting. With that in mind, this article will attempt to briefly, consider, examine, review, and discuss, some reasons, for purchasing, a starter house.

1. Renting versus buying: When one rents, all the funds, are merely expenses, and go, to your landlord. They become, similar to, paying monthly charges for utilities, and bills. If there is an affordable way, to purchase a house, rather than, merely, renting, you become to build – up, and create, a genuine asset, which usually grows, over time! Wouldn’t you benefit, in a real way, from creating value from your monthly home payments, and, eventually, being able to use the proceeds, towards a down – payment, for something, closer to your dream home? If you have collected, at least some funds (or a family member will provide you, with it), then, a starter home, may be a good idea, for you, and your needs, and priorities!

2. What is a starter home?: What is meant, by a starter house? Generally, it means, accepting your current financial abilities, and situation, and creating a process, for building up your total assets, when the time comes. Since, needs, goals, priorities, etc, change and evolve, over time, as long, as this home, meets your current needs, as well as an apartment rental might, it’s often, a smart approach! Many younger couples begin this way, before they have families, or other needs. Sometimes, this permits someone to sell, and buy something more appropriate in the future, while, for others, if the property and neighborhood, permit (and it makes sense), you might expand it, renovate, and enjoy living there, for a longer- term.

Historically, real estate has been, one of the best overall investments, because it handles, both our housing needs, as well as builds equity, while doing so. Since, for most, our house represents our single, biggest, financial asset, doesn’t it make sense, to take advantage of, the possibilities?

How Much House, Can You AFFORD?

If you wish, to enjoy, the happiest experience, from your home, doesn’t it make sense, to avoid the unnecessary stress and tension/ hassle, from buying, a place, beyond your comfortable, financial – means? In my, over 15 years, as a Real Estate Licensed Salesperson, in New York State, I have come, to believe, the happiest home buyer, is, almost always, one who purchases a house, he can AFFORD, which meets most of his key needs, and requirements/ personal priorities, etc! How much house, can you AFFORD? This question must be considered, seriously, before purchasing, what to most of us, is our single – biggest, financial asset. With that in mind, this article will attempt to, briefly, consider, examine, review, and discuss, using the mnemonic approach, what this means and represents, and why it matters.

1. Assets; attention; assumptions: Begin the process, by carefully reviewing all your current assets, and determining, how much, you feel, comfortably, is needed, to maintain, your perceived, nest – egg! During this consideration, one must pay keen attention, to his, other – than – housing needs/ expenses, and, what, he can really afford! It’s important to align one’s assumptions, with a well – considered, focus, on aligning your personal comfort zone, with, your true needs, etc!

2. Finances: Take a close, objective look, at your total financial picture, both, at – present, and into the future! How can anyone, fully enjoy their home, unless/ until, they examine their finances, and, objectively, know, what is currently, within their means, and, perhaps, their future potential?

3. Future: What is the objective of the house purchase? Are you considering it, as a starter – home, or your longer – term solution, to your, and your family’s housing needs, requires, and wishes? Depending on this, and, what the future, might bring, your decision, and action, should vary!

4. Options; opportunities; organized: What are your options, in terms of financial affordability, personal comfort zone, region/ area/ neighborhood, commuting to work, safety, etc? Does a specific house, often, any opportunities, because of it’s bones, region, area, neighborhood, lot – size, safety, schools/ educational system, etc? Your search will be better and more effective/ focused, if/ when, you proceed, in an organized manner!

5. Revenue; realistic; reasons; region: Is a single – family house, best, for you, or would you be better off, and feel more comfortable, with owning and living in a multi – family residence? If so, what is the probable, revenue source? Is your approach, realistic, and are your reasons, in your personal, best interests? Is there any flexibility, in terms of the region, etc?

6. Delve deeply; discover: Go beyond the surface, and delve deeply, into your best interests, etc, so you might discover, the best path, for you!

If you know, and are comfortable with, knowing what you can, truly, AFFORD, you will benefit. Are you ready to proceed, wisely?

Have You Ever Purchased a Hoarder House?

When I first saw the TV show ‘Hoarders’, I wondered how they found all those houses.

After buying houses for years, I realize that hoarder houses are everywhere. Shocking!

The above photo is from one of the hoarder houses we purchased. Hundreds (thousands?) of dolls. They were in EVERY room on both floors with only a path to walk through. And boxes. And all of the accessories. I never walked through that house alone. Chucky?

But so many people have houses stuffed with things. Sometimes they’re forced out – this woman was moved into a retirement community by her children. Sometimes I guess they’re just done? We’ve had multiple houses where it looks like the sellers have just gone out to run an errand – all their furniture and clothes still there – dresser, kitchen and bathroom cabinets full – closets full – refrigerator full – personal items still left lying around. Perhaps they just packed a suitcase and left? I guess when you’re done, you’re done.

How do you, the buyer, get rid of all the stuff? That can end up being a huge expense.

One house we purchased had 62 tires inside. What?!

I’ve tried lots of things to avoid hauling it all to the dump (think expense). I’ve tried “moving” sales, selling to vendors at flea markets (“for only $X amount you can have everything”), salvation army, any donation pick-up sources, Craigslist.

One time, I had a house with a number of larger items left. Lots of old, worn furniture but certainly still usable. I put photos on Craigslist and said, “FREE. House open from 12 noon to 12:30pm. Come with a truck.” I left the house open and went back by after 1pm. Nothing left but crumbs. It was fabulous.

Naturally, we have also spent $thousands at the dump emptying houses. We ask sellers what they plan to leave (and hope they’re honest) then reduce our offer by approximate costs to clean out the house.

Real estate investing is interesting on so many levels. We’ve also kept some amazing finds left behind – I have a wonderful and beautiful piano. One seller texted after move-out that he’d left his motorcycle in the garage and the signed title on the kitchen counter. After my husband had some fun on it… we sold it for thousands. Again, shocking. Why didn’t the owner sell it instead of leaving it for us? Who knows – I gave up thinking for the sellers years ago.

So many stories and so much fun.

What hoarder houses have you gone into? What fabulous finds have you gotten with purchase?