Trends in Real Estate Nowadays

For most people, the word “house” conjures certain images found in childhood drawings. If you have a building with mostly right angles, a single front door, a few chest-high windows, and a chimney, you’ve probably got a prototypical home. However, real estate is a changing field, and people are seeking unique housing options that don’t quite fit inside the box.

Tiny Houses

By all definitions, tiny houses possess most of the features of their more spacious counterparts, just in a much more condensed way. A favorite in both rural and urban areas, tiny houses are as much a choice in dwelling as a statement of one’s principles. While there is no presently agreed-upon size restriction before a domicile is no longer “tiny,” 500 square meters is an accepted point in some circles. Got a few too many boxes of t-shirts weighing you down? Tired of walking such great lengths to get to the light-switch before bed? Trying to keep your real estate tax down to a minimum? A tiny house might be for you.

Passive Houses

Not entirely in another world from tiny houses, passive houses are for those trying to reduce their environmental impact. Less a set of aesthetic rules and more an internal set of standards to maximize energy efficiency, this enterprising style is making considerable in-roads in the real estate market. Originating in Germany in the late 1980s, the style has slowly found a niche amongst people with a penchant for all things “green.”

Staples of these energy-efficient dwellings are superinsulation, airtightness, advanced window technology, solar techniques, and many others. Passive houses incorporate the entire system of real estate, so even the landscaping is efficient. For example, trees that shade parts of the dwelling appropriately and wind-reducing hedges can be a part of the design.

Treehouses

Perhaps living in trees will never constitute a substantial amount of the real estate world, but there is no question that they are gaining popularity. From increasing prevalence as an airbnb destination to a full-time paradise for more intrepid souls, life in a treehouse offers a lot of simple perks, as well as some drawbacks. Clearly for the more adventurous, many treehouses are entirely off the grid, and many of them are not quite up to code. Even a cursory internet search will reveal numerous forums on the subject of whether or not certain dwellings are legally allowed to be inhabited. Treehouse owners have to contend with being mindful of protected trees, wildlife protection acts, and other tight restrictions. If all of the criteria are met, however, the resulting home is something of a nature-lover’s paradise.

These alternative designs and ideas scratch the surface of present trends in housing. While they aren’t likely to replace conventional homes any time soon, they might be an indication of where things are headed.

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How To Get Approved for a Real Estate Loan

What does it Mean?
There is a difference between getting pre-qualified and pre-approved to buy one of the condos for sale downtown. The difference is a pre-qualification means you may be able to get the loan based on skimming of your income and other information. This is why you may get pre-qualified credit card loan offers from time to time. The information usually comes from a list.

When you are pre-approved for a real estate loan, it means you are able to get that money. You can use it to buy one of the condos for sale downtown that you are in love with. This process involves you actually applying for a loan, providing all of your documents, and completing everything the lenders needs to get you approved.

They will tell you the amount of money you can borrow and the interest rate. The offer is going to be good for a set period of time. Typically, it is going to be up to 90 days after you have been approved. Armed with this information, you can start looking around. Once you find the place you wish to make an offer on, they can help you to proceed.

Know what you can Afford
It doesn’t make sense to look for condos for sale downtown that are outside of your price range. With the pre-approval process, you are able to shop within your market price. You can use filters online to find those at or below your approved amount. You can talk with a real estate agent and they can refer you to real estate on the market that fits that amount too.

If you can find one of the condos for sale downtown that you want to make an offer on that is less than you were approved for, that is exciting! Not only does it mean you can buy it, but it also means you can reduce your monthly payments below what you know you can pay. That means more money for savings or you can use it to pay off the mortgage early.

Make an Offer
You have bargaining power with the pre-qualification for a mortgage loan. When you make an offer on one of those condos for sale downtown, the seller is going to see you are already approved. It can be enticing to them to accept the amount you offer rather than to hold out for another offer to come along.

Since you are already approved, you aren’t going to be on pins and needles after the offer, hoping you can get the money. It is very upsetting to some consumers who find the perfect place but then they can’t get approved for the loan. The closing can be done in less time too if you already have your loan approval completed.

Sometimes, there are credit report issues that prevent someone from getting the loan. Finding out about them early on before you look at property can be helpful. It gives you time to evaluate the situation and to work to clear it up. Then you can move forward with buying a place and not have unexpected surprises crash your dream.

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How to Buy Rentals With No Down Payment

This tends to be a pretty controversial subject, and for good reason. When I was getting started in the business, I was young and broke and had no credit to speak of. I was not qualified to borrow money, yet I figured out how to buy properties, and I bought a lot of them. It was not long before I became a full time real estate investor, and on paper, I was a millionaire long before my 30th birthday. I accomplished this with a lot of hard work, education and tolerance to take the risk.

With all this said, just because you don’t need money to buy houses, does not mean you should have no money. I am a big, big believer in this. You see, although I was a millionaire at a young age, I basically lost it all when the market shifted. I was too aggressive with my growth, and did not establish an appropriate amount of reserves. After starting over, I structured things differently and am in a good position to not only survive a down turn, but to thrive in it. In this article, I will briefly walk through 4 ways to buy rentals with nothing out of pocket, but want you to understand that this does not mean you should own rentals with no reserves.

Owner Finance: This could mean many things, but for the purposes of this article I am going to assume that the seller of the home is extremely motivated and is willing to basically sell the house just to get away from the mortgage payments. This is commonly referred to as a subject-to transaction because you, as the buyer, will take title subject-to any other liens that are in place. What this means is you get ownership of the house, but the seller is still on the hook for the loan. You as the buyer will agree to either pay off the loan or make payments on the loan on their behalf. If you don’t, the lender can foreclose and wipe you off of title.

The seller is taking a tremendous amount of risk with this type of transaction, so it is difficult to negotiate and they need to be extremely motivated. It works well for you because you don’t need down payments or to qualify for a loan. It works for them because they have someone else making the payments on their loan, which relieves them of the payment pressure, and potentially can improve their credit. As you become more experienced, this is a strategy you will want to look into. This allows you to purchase an unlimited number of cash flowing properties without ever needing to qualify or sign for a loan.

Lease Options: This is the strategy that really worked for me when I was just getting started. I like it a lot because it is easy to explain to the seller and it is not difficult to get them comfortable with it. They still need to be motivated to want to do this, but nothing like the subject-to transactions.

The way this works is you negotiate with a seller of a home to lease the property for a set period of time. I would typically negotiate 10 years on these, but it can be anything you are comfortable with. The rent amount will be set. From there you agree on a price to buy the property for sometime during the lease term. The price is typically locked in close to today’s value. You then sublease the property, hopefully for more than your rent payment, and wait for the value to increase. If the value does not increase, which has happened to me, you can either re-negotiate the deal or let the property go. You have no obligation to buy, so you are not taking the risk of market fluctuation. If and when the value does increase you have several options: You can sell your option, exercise your option and resell the house for your profit, or just exercise the option and keep the property in your portfolio.

Bridge Loans: The idea here is to find a property that needs a lot of work that will make a good rental. You need to negotiate a price were you can buy it, fix it, and roll in all closing costs, and still be at or below 70% of the after repaired value (ARV). This does not work well unless the property needs to be repaired. This is very different than the first two strategies discussed, and is commonly used with bank owned foreclosures. Although, anytime you can negotiate a great deal will work.

After you purchase the home, you want to get it repaired and get a tenant in place as quickly as possible. You then refinance the loan into your permanent rental property loan. There are some additional details for this to work that are beyond the scope of this article.

Partners: At the time the market was collapsing around me, there were tremendous buying opportunities everywhere. Using the Bridge loan strategy, I was able to pick up a handful of deals that I still have today. I did not qualify for loans, so I brought in a partner to sign on the debt for me, and I shared the deal with him 50/50. Neither one of us put money down, and the properties all cash flow, net of vacancies and maintenance, a minimum of $300 a month. There has also been a tremendous amount of appreciation over the years. The houses have more than doubled in value!

No matter what your strategy in real estate, partners can help you reach your potential. They can provide anything that you are lacking to get deals closed. I have a great deal of respect for partnerships because I think they are necessary, but I also think they can be the worst decision ever made.

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Guide to Value a Freehold Property

There are no yardsticks to measure the value of a freehold property. This is because evaluating a freehold is not an accurate science. However, you can follow certain guidelines on what you need to take into consideration when valuing a freehold, which is produced by the advisory services that give free advice to leaseholders. You must also take these three factors into consideration:

1. The current value of the property

2. The annual ground rent

3. The number of years currently left on the lease

Also, evaluate the expected percentage increase in property value that results from extending the leases of different lengths, along with forecasted long term interest rates and inflation rates.

Take help from an expert valuer rather than trying to work out a figure all by yourself, to present before the freeholder. An expert valuer will be able to give you the best advice, which will enable you to make a practical offer.

You will find expert valuers online. They will help you with the entire process of negotiation and buying the freehold.

For the benefit of the freehold, most surveyors add a little extra to a property’s value. This is done after comparing it with similar property with the same number of years on the lease but no freehold.

First, approach your freeholder informally, before you serve him with a first notice. This document should include your preliminary offer for the freehold, which starts off the legal process of buying it.

A word of caution. Never produce an initial notice without obtaining an expert valuation. If you make the wrong evaluation in the initial notice you won’t be able to take back the offer. After the initial notice, wait for the freeholder to reply to it with a counter notice by a date that you have given. The freeholder must be sanctioned at least two months from the date the initial notice is served.

If the freeholder is not sending his counter notice within this period, the leaseholders can take matters into their hands. They can apply for a vesting order at a court. It is now up to the court to move the freehold to the leaseholders. So freeholder’s should respond on time to the initial notice for their own benefit.

Buying a share of freehold will make little profit if you already have had a decent length lease. You would still have to give the same authorized costs as someone with a short hire, but would lead to a drop in the value of the property.

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