Things every Real Estate Pro will know

Those who consistently make money in real estate know the market. They know the location and the history. They know what new developments are planned. They know the transportation and the schools. They know everything about the area where they invest. They have to know it all.

Staying ahead of the competition in real estate investment means doing your homework. If you are new to the business, it can be daunting, but in this article we’ll teach you five tricks that the old pros use to get ahead of the trends instead of chasing them. (To learn about the perks of real estate investing, see our Exploring Real Estate Investment Tutorial and Investing In Real Estate.)

Study Local Pricing:

The first things to study are the current price trends in the area. For example, a potential investor should look to see if the price of homes is accelerating faster in one area than in others. Next, check to see if the average home price is more than in other neighboring towns. This will provide an idea of where the biggest demand is. Another reason to study these trends is that, over time, you will start to develop a sense for which prices are “fair” for certain properties and which are overpriced. For individuals looking to buy properties at the lowest cost possible, this knowledge can be invaluable.

Realtors and real estate agents are a terrific source for this information given their access to the Multiple Listing Service (or MLS). The local newspaper, the internet and the town hall may have a record of recent sale prices as well.

Look for a Catalyst:

One sign that an area is up-and-coming and that it will be desirable in the future is the development of new infrastructure. When you see new roads and schools being built, it’s a sign that the community is set for a growth spurt. Investing in a growing community can be very profitable. In addition, certain types of development, like new shopping centers, may be extremely attractive to homebuyers, and may also help keep the tax base low.

Spotting new developments can be as easy as looking out your car window as you drive by. Telltale signs of land clearing, surveying or the beginnings of construction in and around major roadways are pretty big tip-offs. Also, look for widening of traffic lanes, the installation of turnaround lanes and the erection of new traffic lights. All suggest the possibility of increased traffic flow.

Next, visit town hall at the municipality or the county level, and speak with the road and the building departments. They should be aware of any major projects slated to begin in the area, and they may even be able to provide you with a connection at the state level so you can find out if any state-owned roads or properties are slated for development as well. Real estate agents also have general idea of what new projects are about to be undertaken. (For added insight, see Profit With Real Estate Land Speculation.)

Explore Low-Tax Alternatives:

If there are two towns side by side – one with high property taxes (or with progressively rising property taxes) and the other with low property taxes – the one with the lower taxes will usually be more in demand.

Real estate agents can help you determine which areas have the best and worst tax structures. In addition, a simple call to the local tax assessor can reveal how much the town charges in taxes per $100 of house. The assessor can also let you know when the last time the area was evaluated by the township. Also watch to see if a reassessment is set to take place in the near future, as it may mean that property taxes are about to go up. Beware of towns and communities that are becoming overcrowded. Signs include schools filled to capacity and inferior roadways. This could mean the town will have to do some major construction to accommodate the influx of people. And how do they pay for that construction? Tax dollars. (For more on property tax, see Five Tricks For Lowering Your Property Tax and Tax Tips For The Individual Investor.)

Check the School Rankings:

Nearly every state ranks its schools by how well students in each district fare on tests in math and English. Sharp-eyed investors should look for schools that are moving up or are atop the list. These areas are often desirable to parents. Access to quality education is a big selling point to new home buyers.

There are several ways to find this information. Check our your state’s board of education website. Also, PSK12.com has public school rankings for most states in its free section. Visiting the schools yourself is also a good idea. Schools that rank the highest are usually quite eager to provide information.

Watch the Outskirts:

If the properties in a major city or town have become overpriced, the areas on the outer fringes most likely will soon be in demand. Areas in close proximity to major bus and rail transportation are even more desirable Nearly any area that is about to install a major train stop or a new major bus route will see its proverbial stock go up in value.

To find out what’s planned, you can check with the local railroad or bus company to see if they will be expanding service in the area. The local town hall or planning department will also have this information.

Bottom Line:

It pays to do your homework and to tap local resources to determine which areas are hot now and, more importantly, which ones will be hot in the future. Much of the information is out there and free for the taking. You just have to be willing to do the leg work.

Original Post by Glenn Curtis, Investopedia http://bit.ly/1wOSOtt

Please do not hesitate to call if you have questions about the information you find here on our web site. - Brad Evans, Sr. Loan Officer. Direct: (877) 323-6803 | EMAIL | WEBSITE | FREE LOAN CONS
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Typical day of a Real Estate Agent

Real estate agents assist people through the process of buying, selling and renting land, homes and other properties. In addition to staying current with real estate laws and trends, real estate agents are tasked with a multitude of daily duties and responsibilities, from lead generation and marketing, to open houses and property closings. One of the appealing aspects of working as a real estate agent is that each day is different, and responding to the changing needs of buyers and sellers often means shifting gears at the last minute. Although every day is unique, there are some activities that may be typical in a day in the life of a real estate agent.

Working with Clients

Whether working on behalf of buyers or sellers, real estate agents typically spend time each day working directly with clients. A seller’s agent, for example, may spend time preparing a listing presentation, taking digital photographs of the property and staging the home so it shows well. A buyer’s agent, on the other hand, may spend time combing through the MLS to find appropriate listings, printing or emailing the listings to the potential buyers and showing the property to interested buyers. Real estate agents also accompany clients to inspections, meetings with loan officers, closings and other activities where their presence is either required or requested.

Meetings and Tours
Regular office meetings allow agents to share their new listings, update other agents on price reductions and discuss buyers’ needs, and can help agents line up buyers and sellers.

Some agents participate in MLS tours to view a number of new listings each week or each month. This can help agents narrow the search for a buyer since they have seen the properties firsthand and can share detailed information with buyers. Likewise, an MLS tour can be beneficial to agents who are working with sellers: after seeing the competition, it may be easier to determine a good listing price for the seller’s property.

Real estate agents balance their time between daily administrative duties and income-producing activities. Often, this means spending time at the real estate office (or a home office), meeting with clients, staging or showing homes and traveling. Most agents have a long and varied list of daily duties and responsibilities that can change with little or no notice. As a result, there may be no such thing as a typical day in the life of a real estate agent – an aspect of the job many agents find attractive.

Unveiled! Check out how to add a secret room to your home.

You walk into what appears to be an ordinary house, but looks can be deceptive. That candelabra by the fireplace? It makes the hearth swivel 180 degrees, revealing a speakeasy bar. “White Noise” by Don DeLillo on the bookshelf? Pull it and the bookshelf swings to reveal a private theater.

This isn’t a movie set, it’s a living room. It could even be yours, if you have the space and the cash. Apparently, many people do. Secret passageways and rooms are surging in popularity in homes across the country.

“Secret doors have definitely become more popular in the past few years,” says Elissa Morgante, an architect and co-principal of the Chicago-based architectural firm Morgante Wilson Architects. “We’ve been in business for 28 years, and it’s only in the last five years we’ve seen them requested more often.”

Continue reading the article via realtor.com here

Boost your curb appeal with these easy and affordable ideas.

You have made the decision to sell your home, this means open houses and people viewing it. First impressions count. You don’t have to break the bank to get that curb appeal up to par. Here are some ideas to get you going.

FRONT DOOR & GARAGE UPGRADE

A fresh coat of paint, new door handle or even stickers will be so visually appealing people will want to come inside and check it out. Upgrading your garage door can also make a great first impression.

GARDEN

Spring is a great time to show a home, this is when plants are not too expensive and just blooming full of color. Try to use filler plants with popping colors. This can be very helpful for a dull looking home.

CAMOUFLAGE

Thats exactly what we mean, camouflage. Hide the trash can and air conditioning units with a simple fence you can buy at your local home and garden center. You can even add shrubs that will grow onto it. Great idea to keep eye sores hidden.

All photos via pinterest

What To Do About All Of Today’s Mortgage Programs.

With so much choice and brand-new rules, it can be tough to know which loan is best. The “rules of thumb” from yesteryear no longer apply. To help today’s buyers make better mortgage choices, check out the Mortgage Reports flowchart below or give me a call with any questions.

How To Buy A Home : Infographic from The Mortgage Reports

Check local mortgage loan limits at The Mortgage Reports.

Don’t Forget These Costs When Buying a Home

Pair of scissors cuts business expense word COSTS in half to sav

You’ve crunched the mortgage rates, estimated your tax payments, and taken a realistic look at how much house you can afford. You’ve stuck within your range when scouring the realtor.com® listings, being careful not to bust your budget.

But there are more expenses involved in home buying than just the property costs. And those additional payments, if you don’t factor them in, can be high enough to derail your conscientious planning.

Home-Buying Expenses: Add Them Up

Here are the line items you should keep in mind.

Buying Costs

You’ve got your mortgage pre-approved, but that’s not all you will need to fork over to get the keys to your new place. Services that need paying:

  • Your buyer’s agent fee
  • An appraisal to confirm a reasonable market price for the property
  • Inspections of structural, mechanical, pest or other potential issues
  • A real estate attorney to review all contracts (depending on the state)

Property taxes vary widely, up to 4.2% of a home’s value in some states, according to a CNN map published in 2013. Depending on when you buy, you may owe the previous owners for property taxes they have already paid. You may also need to pay fees to a local association, such as a homeowners association.

Moving Costs

Moving into a home can involve major expenses for packing, storing and transporting your possessions and yourself. If you are moving across the country, the costs could be significant. Even moving across town can cost more than you planned for truck rental, movers and equipment.

Utilities

Setting up your telephone, electricity, gas and water—did you budget for these expenses? They could cost more at your new place, especially if you’re moving to a larger home or from a rental.

New Stuff

You may need to purchase appliances or furniture for your new home. Some items, like your old particle board bookshelves, may not be worth the cost of moving. Again, if you are sizing up, you face the potentially fun, but possibly financially draining, challenge of filling the new place.

Continue reading this article at http://bit.ly/1pbyAT6

Updated from an earlier version by Ben Apple.

Source Realtor.com