Tag Archives: Huntsville Real Estate for Sale

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Choosing a Property Manager for a Muskoka Real Estate Vacation Rental Home

So you are the proud owner of a Muskoka real estate vacation home – congratulations. But just as with your own home, a Muskoka vacation home needs a lot of tender loving care. Who is going to look after it when you are away? And, perhaps, how is it going to pay its own way? Thoughts like these tend to push vacation home owners into thinking about appointing a property management company. So what should you be looking for in a property manager, and how do you go about finding one with the qualities you want?

First and foremost, you have to decide if you just want the property taken care of, or if you also want it rented out. This will determine what kind of property management firm you want, and whether you need to check their credentials for marketing your firm, or just for looking after it. Assuming that you would like your home to generate some income for you, you need to look for several key capabilities

• A firm which will ensure the highest standards of care and attention to the fabric and contents of your property. Lots of rental income will not make up for the damage caused by careless renters. Make sure that your chosen firm will keep on top of every
• Personal check-in and check-out of every rental. Many firms take advantage of the availability of keyless coded locks to allow renters to check themselves in and out. This means that they never know who is in your property, and whether your four-bedroom home which is supposed to have a maximum of 8 guests actually has 16 grad party celebrants all over the floors
• The highest standards of cleaning. Cleaning a property thoroughly is time-consuming and expensive. Many property management firms cut corners here, and if they do, you will eventually pay the price in worn-out carpets and other forms of dilapidation.
• Superior marketing capabilities. Marketing vacation rental properties has become a sophisticated business these days. Make sure that the primary website on which your property will appear is ranked highly against the most popular keywords for your location. A local firm without much experience in search engine optimization may be able to take good care of your property but they won’t generate a lot of income since no-one will know that they exist.
• Great service for guests. Look for a manager who knows how to offer excellent service to guests: arrival baskets of food and drink, pre-booking of activities, restaurant reservations etc. If guests feel they are well looked-after, they will be more inclined to come again, but also feel more of an obligation to take good care of the property they are in.
• Great service to you. You should expect VIP treatment when you are using your own property, but also VIP service when you call up your property manager to enquire about availability, discuss renovation and maintenance issues, query your income statements or any other matter. Make sure you will always get to speak to someone senior who knows you and your property.

Make sure you talk to them in detail and go over the management contract with a fine tooth comb before you sign on the dotted line. You should expect to pay 30-50% of gross rental income to the management company; if they charge less you might want to be suspicious of what they are offering; if more, they’re probably too expensive. This may sound a lot, but remember that they are looking after your property for no fixed outlay to you, and they only make money when you do as well.

Good luck with your search.

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Real Estate Flipping Basics

You see a lot of articles and books about how to make money “real estate flipping.” Perhaps you’re heard radio or television news reports about the illegalities of flipping real estate. Maybe you’ve seen the late-night infomercials promising you easy overnight fortunes.

What’s the truth about making money flipping real estate?

First, real estate flipping isn’t illegal. Because some dishonest real estate investors conspired with deceitful mortgage brokers and property appraisers, their stories made “good news” for newscasters who love to grab attention with “Investors Scam Banks and Bilk Buyers out of Millions!” sound bites. True, some investors defraud mortgage lenders and/or desperate home buyers. Cheating investors hyped up property values, helped home buyers tell untruths on mortgage applications, and conned banks and buyers.

On the other hand, ethical real estate investors make a lot of money real estate flipping. There are many ways to make money flipping real estate:

1. You can help home sellers in foreclosure save their credit by arranging a sale of the property and never even take title. In other words, buy the property and double-escrow the property to a home buyer who wants to live in the home.

2. Find a seller under stress with a bargain property, secure a sales contract, and sell your contract for roughly $500 to $5,000 to a seasoned real estate investor without financing or taking title.

3. Buy a fixer for a bargain price, fix up the property, and sell for full market price.

You can make money flipping real estate without being dishonest or unethical. But first, you need to:

1. Get your credit in order to finance quickly. ( or have access to private money investors)

2. Study your location so you know what properties sell for.

3. Learn how to negotiate with sellers under stress.

4. Find a good closing agent.

5. Learn how to fix houses or find good professional help.

6. Learn how to sell your property or find a great selling agent.

Before you jump into flipping real estate, do your homework. Copy other successful real estate investors who make money flipping the honest way.

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Huntsville Real Estate – Five Easy Steps to Owning Your Own Home

Buying your own home is one of the largest purchases you will ever make. What should you do to get ready?

The key to a successful home purchase is making your choice through your finances, not your emotions. This takes research and patience. Here are five steps that can help you make a good decision.

1. Decide how much you can afford.

You should look at your finances in order to determine how much you can afford to spend on a home. Look at your income, assets and current debt level. You aren’t looking at what percentage the lender says you can afford, you are looking at what your finances dictate. If your lender says you can spend $1,200 a month, but you know you are struggling with a rental of $1,000 a month, you probably know that you don’t need any more than you already have.

You should also consider the down payment and closing costs. Lenders are usually looking for a 5% to 20% down payment.

Don’t overlook other expenses, such as property taxes and homeowners insurance. Your total interest, principal, taxes and insurance payment should not exceed 28 percent of your gross monthly income according to lenders. Your total monthly debt, including your mortgage, autos, student loans and credit cards should be under 36% of your gross income.

You don’t have to have a house in mind before you apply for a mortgage. It is a good idea to be pre-approved when you are looking for a home It will give you the security of knowing that you have funding and the buyer will know you mean business.

2. Look for what you want.

Spend the time to find the home you want. Find a professional realtor that can help guide you through the home search. Start by checking out neighborhoods and then narrow it down to a house. You should consider the schools, parks, commuting times and availability of public transportation.

When choosing between homes, look at the size, number of bedrooms and baths, design and amenities. Decide what your “must haves” are and what the “nice to haves” are. For example, you might be willing to trade a large kitchen for a swimming pool.

3. Negotiate for the right price.

Once you have the funding in place and have found a nice home, make an offer. Your realtor will help you in submitting your purchase contract. This will include the offer price and any contingencies, such as home inspection and appraisal.

The seller will either accept your offer, reject it or make a counter-offer. Negotiations can go back and forth until both parties are satisfied. Don’t get caught up in having to get the home and loose sight of how much you can afford. You don’t want to pay more for the home than it is worth.

4. Pick out of mortgage.

There are many types of mortgages to choose from. The basic two are fixed rate and adjustable rate. Fixed-rate mortgages have interest and monthly payments that remain the same throughout the life of the mortgage, which is usually 30 years or less.

Adjustable-rate mortgages are also called ARMs. They come with a lower initial rate than fixed rate mortgages, but the rate and payment amount can move up and down with the financial index. This can happen as often as twice a year.

5. Close on your home.

The closing, or settlement, is the point at which you finalize the transaction. You walk in with a check and out with your keys and the property’s title. You can expect to pay between 2% and 5% of the purchase price towards closing costs. These costs include fees, services and points paid.

After closing, you can settle in to your home and enjoy all of your hard work. Five simple steps and the house you dreamed of is yours.

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Huntsville Real Estate – Finding Hidden Treasures

Finding a diamond in the rough could help you get some fast equity. Look beyond the curb appeal to find a real hidden treasure.
As a real estate buyer, you have a tremendous opportunity for finding great deals if you look past curb appeal. There is a lot of talk by real estate professionals and real estate articles about curb appeal. It is widely known that improving the curb appeal on a house can get you an extra $10K-$20K+ when you sell your home. This also means that there is an opportunity for home buyers to save $10K-$20K+ when you buy a house with less curb appeal.

When looking for a house with less curb appeal this does not mean to look for a run down house. It means to find a house that with a very small amount of work or money can be greatly improved. By looking for a house with less curb appeal and improving it, you can afford a house more expensive then you would be able to afford otherwise, and you can gain instant equity in your new home.

Look for homes that need paint. Paint is very cheap and can make a huge difference on the inside and outside of homes. An unpainted house will typically not be as desirable to buyers as a well painted home, so there is an opportunity to get a good deal.

Find a home with a messy yard. The yard can have a huge impact on the curb appeal of a house. Houses with large untrimmed bushes, dead trees, unmanicured yards, or junk in the yard will greatly lower the perceived value of the home. Yard work is also very inexpensive to fix, and can add a lot of instant equity to your new home. Carpeting and window treatments are also fairly cheap, and can make a huge difference in curb appeal.

Old porches may mean an opportunity to make a gain. Very often porches and decks become damaged, rotted, or start sagging badly. A porch on the front of the house that is badly damaged can make the whole house appear unsound, when actually porches have no bearing on the structural integrity of the house. The porch can have such a negative impact on the way the house appears that it can lower the value sometimes by more then $20,000. After talking to a contractor, you may find that the porch may be fixed for a couple hundred dollars or completely rebuilt for a couple thousand dollars. This is a great chance to get a good deal on a house.

There are some things that you should avoid unless you are looking to do a total remodel project. Items that you may want to avoid are problems with the windows, electrical systems, plumbing systems, foundations, chimneys, roofs, or floors. Be sure to have a trustworthy inspection who will alert you of any more serious problems.

If you want to find a really great deal and are willing to do a little work, look beyond the curb appeal. If you find a house that is less then appealing, but structurally sound, you may have found a hidden treasure.

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Feng Shui in Real Estate Sales

Literally translated “Feng” means wind and “Shui” mean water. Deeply rooted in connection to nature, Feng Shui is the 4000 year old Chinese are of placement and philosophy that supports living in awareness and harmony with our surroundings.

As the awareness of Feng Shui increases, more real estate agents are being asked to show buyers homes with “good” Feng Shui. If a real estate agent has knowledge of this ancient and highly respected design philosophy will assists him/her to:

  • Increase the value, marketability, and emotional appeal of a home.
  • Build confidence with Feng Shui savvy buyers and sellers.
  • Provide solutions to remedy a home’s Feng Shui energy challenges.
  • Build referrals by selling “Feng Shui friendly” homes that support the well being of your clients and their sphere of influence.

This section will explain the 5 Feng Shui tips for your references.

Tip 1 : Main Entrance

The main door is like the mouth for the house. It is the gateway between the world and the privacy of the home and air currents literally enter and exit at this point.

  • The positioning of a main door can determine the fortune or misfortune of the occupants. Therefore you must keep the entrance clear of any clutter to allow the energies to flow freely.
  • Make sure there is nothing in direct alignment with the door such as a tree or telegraph pole. To remedy this place a Bagua mirror over the door so it is reflecting the Sha Qi.
  • Avoid facing a dark, pokey room, an interior staircase, mirror, stove, sink, fireplace, the door of a toilet, laundry, bathroom or bedroom. To remedy this keep the doors closed or place a screen between the doors.

Tip 2 : Bedrooms

Bedrooms should be sacred spaces where an adult or child can retreat and regenerate. Most people spent roughly one third of their lives in their bedroom, so maintaining balance and serenity in this area is essential.

Tip 3 : Kitchen

In any case, it’s better if you don’t see the kitchen immediately upon entering the house, as this can portend digestive, nutritional, and eating problems. Having the kitchen at the entry point can also mean that guests will come over and eat and then leave immediately, and such a placement can also encourage the inhabitants to eat all the time.

Tip 4 : Windows

A house should have sufficient windows. Windows are in very important to allow sufficient light or pleasant views into the room.

Tip 5 : Dining & Living Room

Whenever possible the dining room should be separate from the living room. It is a social area for family members, thus it better to have as big as possible.

Summary

So with the above tips, you as a real estate agent when meet with a Feng Shui savvy buyer, you can use the above tips to talk with them, the chances to close the deal is high because the buyer see you as a knowledgeable in Feng Shui and the property you propose to them must be good in Feng Shui. And Feng Shui is a very good topic when come to a price negotiation with the sellers, agents with Feng Shui knowledge might be able to negotiate a better selling price for their buyers and close the sale.

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Buy Your First House Before You Can Afford It

Purchasing a home is most likely the biggest and often the best investment that you will ever make. Why not make that investment now?

If you are saving up with the goal of getting your dream home within the next two to five years, the following ideas could help you buy your house sooner than you planned.

* Buy from a motivated seller. A motivated seller is someone who has a house he or she wants to get rid of quickly. It could be that the owner was unable to sell the house on his or her own or that, even though the house was listed through a real estate agent, it just didn’t sell. Because only about 5 percent to 10 percent of sellers are truly motivated, you may need to relax your must-have requirements in a house.

* Find a seller who doesn’t need cash upfront. Most sellers will need the money from the sale of their home to buy their next home. Instead, look for someone who has already bought his or her next house. Vacant properties or homes that have been rental properties also are good candidates. By looking for properties like these, you’ll be working with sellers who are more likely to wait to get their money.

* Structure your offer as a lease purchase. Instead of buying right away, offer to rent the home for four or five years at a set rate. This will help the seller cover the current costs of the property while giving you the ability to live in your home now, continue to save for the down payment and then buy the home when you’re ready. Make sure you’re offered the option to buy the home at or below today’s value. If the seller is not willing to go along with this, then look for someone who is more motivated to sell.

See if you can get the seller to give you a credit toward the purchase of the home for each month that you pay rent.

Using these ideas, you’ll be able to buy that special house this year rather than waiting another two years or more. If the home you get is worth $200,000 today, then at a 10 percent appreciation rate, you could make an extra $40,000 or more simply by getting into the real estate market years ahead of schedule.

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Buying a Rural Property – First Steps

Perhaps for years you’ve dreamt of owning a place in the country – maybe a private lakefront lot in the Muskoka’s, a chalet next to the ski hill or maybe your own rural retreat just outside Huntsville. Today’s real estate prices combined with great interest rates are making it possible for more people to realize this dream. Before you get out your checkbook, here are some things to consider before taking the plunge.

1. Determine what things are important to you. If you are an avid skier and find yourself spending the equivalent of a mortgage down payment in condo rentals every year, maybe purchasing a property closer to the slopes is just what you need. Keep in mind, however, you won’t have the freedom to move around, so choose a location you’ll want to return to year after year. If you’re only thinking about taking up a new sport or hobby, consider renting for a few seasons to ensure your dream still holds the same appeal once it becomes a reality.

2. What sorts of ties do you have to your current home? Do the kids come to visit on holidays? How will your having a second home affect your family routines?

3. Begin to zero in on the perfect location for your rural home by making a list of all areas that fit. List your favorite sports and past times, desirable weather, geography (do you want rural living or waterfront), available employment opportunities, ethnic or social conditions, taxes and utilities, and price range.

Next, do some research and determine which areas are most compatible with your needs. Try to get your list down to about three favorites.

4. Contact the chamber of commerce and local government agencies for as much information as they will send you and begin compiling a portfolio on each region.

5. If this is not an area you’ve previously visited, try renting a place for at least a few weeks to get a feel for the place. Another option is to visit some home sitting sites to check for house sitting opportunities in the area. It’s one of the best ways to immerse yourself in an area and feel like part of the community.

6. Once you’ve planned your visit, contact area realtors and make appointments to tour some houses. Send them a list of the properties you want to view as well as your list of criteria and maximum price range. The agent will undoubtedly include other houses on the tour; and you may find it helpful to take notes and pictures of your favorites as they will all start to blend together after awhile.

7. Revisit your favorite homes, inspecting inside and out, looking for obvious deficiencies such as water stains, leaks, odd smells, leaky faucets, or poor water pressure. Find out the age of the roof, furnace, well and septic (if applicable) and request maintenance records.

8. Once you’re ready to submit an offer, make it contingent on a successful home inspection by a professional. Add up any of the big ticket items you may need to repair or update and deduct the costs from the asking price. Note that the seller typically will be responsible for the cost of the survey, and any other pertinent inspections such as water, soil, structure, etc. You should reserve the right to cancel the deal if any of these inspections produce what you consider an unsatisfactory result.

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Buying: Knowing The Area

One of the most important aspects of any home that you move into is, without a doubt; the area. Homes may look fantastic online, but there is always the possibility that the area this fantastic home is in may be less than desirable. Before you move to any new town, subdivision or city, its a good idea to do a little research and find out as much as possible about the place that you are considering calling home. The logical place to start asking questions is to your realtor. Whether you are moving from a distance away, out of state or even out of country you may want to try to find a realtor that specializes in the area that you are interested in. Realtors are a great source of information and usually they know more about a given area than just about anyone.

In finding out about a new area there are some definite things that you will want to find out about. Start by finding out about the area itself. Is is an industrial town? Tourism Based? What kind of atmosphere can you expect when moving there? The next things that you should consider are the employment market and the education system. It’s always comforting to know what kind of job environment is in the area you are moving to. Is there room for your career to flourish? Additionally, even if you do not have children, knowing the education system is just a good idea. It is one of the things that people usually consider important in a new town, and if you have to move again; a home in a good education district will fetch a higher price.

Try to find out what the future hold for the area too. This can usually be accomplished by talking to your realtor, but also seeking info from the city itself. Find out if there are any development or expansion plans for the area. Things like proposed developments, both residential and commercial can drastically effect your property values. You will always be well served to stay cognizant of the future of any area that you move to. Keep in mind that potential developments and future plans can make or break an area, so the more info you have at the beginning the better.