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From Realtor John

The internet is use by all of us to find the best deal for merchandise, hotels, air fare and even real estate. Internet companies Realtor.com and Trulia provide property information on MLS listed properties. These sites are helpful because they identify properties for sale, but they offer you the investor little information about the specific properties.

When investing in real estate you should have the right advisors in place to guide you. Your Realtor is that person. He will be working for you. He will have your best interest in mind on every offer you make. You already have your accountant, lawyer and insurance company. So let’s get started.

As your Realtor, I will provide you more specific information then the internet companies can and it will be done in real time. I have the knowledge of what is happening in the specific market of interest to you. I will set up showings for you and accompany you to view the homes. I will also help you negotiate the best deal for you. I can recommend mortgage companies, attorneys, home inspectors and even contractors to you, should you need them. Lastly as your Realtor I will guide through documents needed for a mortgage, set up your inspections and be there for you at your closing.

All I need from you is a little communication. Please let me know exactly what you are looking for (area, price range, type of property, etc.), so I can provide you the list of properties that fit your needs. I will also explain to you your monthly expense and help you choose the best options for making the purchase. My job will not be done until you find the property you like and you have closed on it. I look forward to being a part of your real estate investment team.

Keeping hope alive. Realtor John

HOA Fees

Let me explain a little about these fees. You need to consider what they included before you freak out at the amount. The main thing you want to check for is: Does it include your home owners insurance? That’s a big one. Some times you pay on your own, some times its included in the HOA and paid by them, some times you are given an assessment at the beginning or end of each year to come up with the whole amount at once, and some come as an assessment spread out in extra payments throughtout the year or quarterly.
Next see if it comes with lawn maintenance: Some maintain all of it, or parts of it. Most times residential they just maintain common areas and you are responsible for your own yard. I have seen some cut the front and sides and you are responsible for the back yard. Condos usually maintain all of it. 55 plus communities could go either way. So for example in a 55 plus community that includes it, you need to back out of the HOA fees how much it would cost you to maintain that yard or pay somebody to do it.
Just to have an HOA costs money for you to be represented and for legal fees and accounting. This usually isn’t a huge amount. For those neighborhoods that just have that and common grounds involved with no amenities, its usually about 25 a month.
These neighborhoods usually are more desirable as far as upkeep goes, which helps keep your property values from dropping.
If you have amenities, these things require upkeep, such as pools, hot tubs, tennis courts, and others. You do want the pool to have the proper cleaning and chemical combinations.
Some have Clubhouse facilities for community or private use.
Think about Trash pick up, if its included. That’s about $45 quarterly you would pay to have trash pick up.
If they allow pets or not, there is usually some clean up there.
When talking about condos, they might include, one or more utilities. Some include basic cable, internet, electric, phone, security systems, water and sewer, etc.
If you have a security gated community, that costs money to maintain.
So for example. You have Condo on the Golf Course:
HOA fee is 350
HOA Fee Includes:
Electric Common – Street lights and Hallways, etc.
Water and Sewer – This would be about 30 a month
Trash Pickup – would be about $15 a month
Pool Service – Clean pool
Landscape/Lawn – Common Areas
Insurance – This one includes Home Owners Ins. About $100 or more
Manager – Manager on site.
Legal and Accounting – for HoA
Master Antenna/Cable TV – Basic Cable. Approx. $50 a month
Common Maint/Repair – to building our outside areas that may need repaired. Usually includes roofs and sometimes balconies and outside doors.
Internet Access – Approx another $50 if you don’t’ want something compared to dial up.

So $80 dollars left to pay for electric common areas, maintenance on building, landscaping, and equipment. The pool service, restrooms at the pool, lawn chairs and umbrellas, manager, and legal and accounting. Now it doesn’t seem so bad.
If you have an elevator in the building, Surely you want to keep that serviced too.
Some have gyms, or beach van service, etc. Just take into consideration what the HOA includes, back out how much it would cost you, and then see if it is worth it to you.
If you are buying a condo Oceanfront and it includes Home Owners Insurance value that at about. $150-$200 a month.
Most condos are going to require that you have H06 insurance. Everybody in the building must have it. What does it cover??

The best “rule of thumb” for condos is; everybody pays for their own damage. If a toilet on the third floor leaks and does damage to the units below, everyone must pay for their own damage. The person on the third floor is not responsible for the units below.

Your HO6 policy would pay for any improvements that you have personally made to the condo. If the building burnt down and you have replaced old counter tops with new granite, it would cover the improvements also.
H06 is not expensive. Usually on average about $200 for a year.

Generally if I have clients looking for Oceanfront Condos and I find some with HOA fees under 500 a month that includes Home Owners Ins. I consider that a deal. If they don’t include it, I try to find the ones around 350 a month. There are not many, but they are there.

FHA Program for 62+

Purchase your dream home with as little as 44% down and never make another payment. Yes its true. Its the HECM purchase program. Different from your normal reverse mortgage, this one helps you purchase a home. It is aged based. Now you don’t have to put all of your cash into brick and mortar, you can do want you want with the rest….. Invest, travel, etc. All you have to do to qualify is be 62 or over and it will be primary residence. Minimal credit requirements, minimal income requirements, no employment requirements. You are responsible for taxes, HOA’s, and upkeep of the home or condo.
For example… You are 68 years old purchasing a 225,000 home, you make a one time payment of 110,611 at todays’ rates, and that’s it, no more payments, grow the rest of your money however you would like.

5 Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Professional

5 Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Professional
> They help with all disclosures and paperwork in a heavily regulated enviroment.
>They are well educated in and experienced with entire sales process, along with
simply and effectively explaining the process throughout.
>They act as a “buffer” in negotiations with all parties throughout transaction.
>They understand today’s real estate values when setting the price on a listing or an offer to purchase.
>Every market is different, and a local agent will know the local market.

FHA Credit Policy Change Makes it Easier to Qualify

Effective immediately, policy changes in the way the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) views certain derogatory credit will make it easier for some borrowers to qualify for purchasing a home. Allowances will be made for certain “Economic Events” resulting in poor credit ratings, which previously would cause borrowers to be ineligible.

What do the new rules say? Potential borrowers who experienced a decrease of income by 20 percent or more for at least six months, and that resulted in serious derogatory credit such as a short sale, foreclosure, or bankruptcy, may still be eligible as long as:
1. The loss of employment or income was due to an extenuating circumstance beyond his or her control and can be documented;
2. A satisfactory credit history has been restored for a period of 12 months; and
3. Housing counseling has been completed.
Other changes effective October 15, 2013 include amendments to underwriting guidelines in the area of outstanding, prior judgments and collections, including the exclusion of unresolved medical collections from the underwriting decision.

What Ranks High With Luxury Home Owners

What Ranks High with Luxury Homebuyers

DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS | WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 2013
Luxury home owners and buyers place a high value on real estate, according to a new survey conducted by Better Homes and Gardens of 500 luxury home buyers.

In fact, the survey finds that 75 percent of luxury home buyers believe home ownership is a sounder investment than the stock market. What’s more, 57 percent of luxury home owners say home ownership is a bigger indicator of success than their job or title.

“The luxury consumer is considered a trendsetter in most industries, and to see the strong connection this consumer has with ‘home’ is very significant as we look at the real estate market as a whole,” says Sherry Chris, president and CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC. “The luxury home buyer has high standards and invests the money, the time, and the commitment to making their home fit their needs and reflect who they are. It’s remarkable that they do this so well that nearly all — 93 percent — believe their house is the best one on their block.”

The survey revealed some of the following insights into the luxury home buyer and owner:

They desire multiple homes: Fifty-three percent say they prefer owning multiple “lifestyle” homes to support their lifestyle activities, such as skiing or attending the theatre. Fifty-eight percent of the luxury home buyers surveyed say they already owned multiple homes to support their lifestyle activities.
They’re willing to sacrifice square footage for luxurious amenities: Sixty-percent of luxury home buyers surveyed said they would rather have as many upgrades as they can afford in their home rather than greater square footage. Ninety-four percent of those surveyed would be willing to give up 1,000 square feet of living space in their next home in order to get the amenities they most desire, such as living in a better neighborhood, living in a house with “character,” more land, access to dining and entertainment, and a shorter commute.
They want a high-tech home. Sixty-six percent expressed a stronger desire for having a “smart” home than a “green” home. Eighty-seven percent said they would not even consider purchasing a home that wasn’t tech-friendly.
They also value their outdoor spaces. Luxury homebuyers also placed a high value on outdoor amenities as must-have essentials in a home. For example, they expressed a big interest in having a garden oasis, outdoor fireplace or firepit, and a separate guest house outside of the main home.
They turn to their real estate agent for guidance and greater insights. The luxury home buyer is looking for their real estate agent to provide them insight into the neighborhood lifestyle (65%), advance new listing notices (64%), advice on housing trends (55%), and support at a personal level throughout the buying process (53%), the survey finds.

Home Prices On The Rise

Nationally, median existing-home prices rose 13.5% this summer to $214,200. Thats 16 straight months now. The decline in sales of foreclosures account for some of the
increase in home prices. Foreclosures were sold for an average 16% discount, while shorts sales were discounted at about 13%.
Nationally, nearly half of all homes sold in June were on the market less than a month. In May it was about 41 days, and June, 31 days, which is 47% faster then the 70 days on the marked reported last year this time. These are national numbers and vary per region that you live.
As far as the “southern” region, the median home price is now 186,300, which is 13.7% above this time last year.

Hints for Selling Your Home

The real estate market has been improving.  Is it time to sell my home?

Myrtle Beach real estate for sale

It is important to prepare your house for sale. Below are some helpful hints that may help you with this process.

Today’s perspective buyer will search for properties using the internet. They will view pictures of homes. Many of them will even do a drive by of the property to make sure everything about the property and the community is right for them. Then and not until then will they want to set up a showing with their Realtor.  Just remember pictures speak louder than words.

The sellers must provide reason for buyers to choose their property.  The house must show well both inside and out.  The first thing buyers notice when driving up to a property is the homes curb appeal.  This might be the most critical time for decision-making by a buyer.  It could make or break a deal.  It is important that the property shows well from the street.  A clean and inviting property with a manicured lawn, with mulch around the bushes and a freshly painted front door is just what the buyer ordered.

Once in the home, you want to create an atmosphere that is inviting to the buyer.  Freshly painted walls and a clean carpet make rooms look brighter and more spacious.  Many homes are decorated with family pictures and memorabilia.  This tends to be a negative for the buyer’s experience.  Remember you are trying to create the best model home experience for the buyer.  So when possible remove the family photos. Lastly clean off tables, counters and book shelves.  There is no need for clutter when showing a home.

These are just a few helpful ideas that will help you in preparing your home for sale.  I hope they are helpful hints for you.  Good luck with selling your home.

Keeping Hope Alive,   Realtor John

Author Spotlight

This weeks Author Spotlight is the one and only Realtor John Oakes!

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I have worked as a contractor for over 30 years, having completed more than 5000 units for national builders the likes of Ryland Homes and NVR Homes. In 2005, I supervised the building of 30 new homes in South Carolina with Americas Home Place. I am a parent of three young adults, all attending college. I have coached traveling programs in soccer, basketball and baseball. In my free time I play golf and shoot billiards. In May, I participated in the National 8-Ball Championship held in Las Vegas. My experience in construction, buying & selling properties and knowledge of the Myrtle Beach Area can only be a help to you in the purchase or sale of your property.

Blog Maintenance

Our blog is currently undergoing a much-needed maintenance. A few things will be changed to help make the blogging process a tad bit more efficient. These changes will not affect content directly, however, it will affect how content gets delivered. We will be able to link our blog better to popular social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. This way you, our dedicated reader, will be able to better connect with us via these popular sites! Please stay tuned as these exciting new changes will help us to continue to deliver fresh and exciting new content!

 

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