Real Estate News Articles


Updated: Saturday, July 11, 2020


Is It Time to Retire the Master Bedroom?

The Houston Association of REALTORS HAR has announced it will no longer sanction the use of master bedroom or master bathroom in its MLS descriptions.

The decision to remove the term comes after a group of real estate professionals said the term master on property description represents a potential stigma, said Realtor Magazine.nbsp;

The association sent out a statement to its members in which they spelled out the change but fell short of mandating a ban on the terminology. You may still use the term Master Bedroom or Master Bath as you feel appropriate in your marketing materials and in the Public Remarks, Agent Remarks, and photo descriptions, per the statement.

Term being dropped

In addition to the HAR, Chicago realtors including the brokerage firm, GetBurbed, and builders like David Weekly have announced they will also refrain from using terminology like master bedroom and master suite.nbsp;

The push to phase out this term is not new. Back in the mid-90s thenbsp;Department of Housing and Urban Developmentnbsp;issued proposed guidelines for bringing enforcement actions for violations of section 804c of the federalnbsp;Fair Housing Act, said YoChicago. The proposed guidelines, which were met with a firestorm of ridicule, suggested that the use of terms such as master bedroom, views, family room, walking distance and walk-in closet, among others, in advertising was evidence of discriminatory intent against various groups that might result in HUD taking action.

A 2013 report in the Baltimore Business Journal showed that, The master suite is being phased out not from our homes, but from our lexicon. A survey of 10 major Washington, D.C.-area homebuilders found that six no longer use the term master in their floor plans to describe the largest bedroom in the house. They have replaced it with owners suite or owners bedroom or, in one case, mastre bedroom.

History of master bedroom

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the first mention of master bedroom came in 1925. The following year, the term was used in a description of a 1926 Sears Modern Home.

While many have argued that the term has no actual >


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HOA Ordinance or Law Insurance

One example is the current standard of six inch versus four inch exterior walls to improve insulation performance. There are many other examples. The older the structure is, the more out of code it becomes.

While the building code generally doesnt require older buildings to meet current code, if an out-of-code structure experiences fire, flood, wind or earthquake that does substantial damage, the code issue is likely to raise its ugly head. This means that even though the original structure wasnt required to comply, the rebuilt structure will be, or at least the part of it that requires reconstruction. While this is logical why rebuild to an outdated standard?, basic fire and hazard insurance only pays for rebuilding what is there, not what could be. So, if you insure four inch walls, the insurance will only pay the cost to rebuild four inch walls, not six inch walls. You pay the difference.

Fortunately, the insurance industry provides supplemental insurance coverage for older buildings called, "Ordinance or Law Coverage," which is specifically designed to pay the increased cost of reconstruction. However, this coverage must be requested. It doesnt automatically kick in simply because of building age.

If your HOA buildings are ten years old or older, contact your insurance agent to discuss the merits and costs of Building or Ordinance coverage. It is usually very reasonably priced.


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Do You Need Perfect Credit For A Refi?

Minimum credit score

A score above 700 is generally considered to be excellent and will open up your refinance options. But, contrary to what you may think, you can have a lower credit score and still qualify.

Credit requirements vary by lender and type of mortgage. In general, youll need a credit score of 620 or higher for a conventional mortgage refinance, said Experian. Certain government programs require a credit score of 580, however, or have no minimum at all. As is true for other types of loans, the higher your credit score, the more likely anbsp;mortgage refinancenbsp;lender will be to work with you. Not only are your chances of approval higher, but youll typically receive a lower interest rate and more favorable loan terms than qualifying borrowers with lower scores.

Going with a higher rate

Even if you dont qualify for the lowest available rate, any drop will save you money on a monthly basis, and also over time. This refinance calculator shows how a .25 reduction in rate can save you almost 100 a month on your mortgage. Of course, youll want to weigh those savings against the cost of that refi and also consider how long it will take you to recoup those costs.

Buying down your rate

If you dont qualify for the lowest rate and you want to go lower, you can buy down the rate. Mortgage points are one way for homeowners to lower their interest rate, said Bankrate. When you pay for points on a mortgage, you are actually paying interest right now for the loan. In return, the homeowner can lock in a lower and discounted rate. The rate depends on how many points are purchased. Your mortgage rate will drop more if you purchase more points.

Typically, one point means a .25 discount in the mortgage rate, and this will cost you 1 of the total mortgage loan amount. If you were looking at a 300,000 mortgage, it would cost you 3,000 to lower your rate by a quarter point. Homeowners can buy more than one point, depending on their financial situation.


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Financing a Vacation Home vs. an Investment Property

There are distinctions and rates and terms can be different as it >

The primary requirement is the property needs to be occupied by the owners for 30 or more days out of the year. The home should also be a single family home and cannot be a duplex or 2-4 unit property and the property must be suitable in which to live year-round. Think for example a cabin in the mountains where it gets heavy snowfall in the winter making it difficult to access the cabin. How would a lender know if a prospective property will qualify as a vacation home instead of a rental? Simply put, the prospective buyers let the lender know of their intentions. They do so by checking a box on the loan application. On the application, there are three options in which to check: Primary Residence, Secondary Residence and Investment. Its the secondary residence that qualifies as a vacation home.nbsp;

On the other hand, an investment property will typically command a down payment of 20 or more. Interest rates for an investment property compared to a vacation home can be anywhere from 0.25 to 0.50 higher. That means higher rates and more cash needed at the settlement table. As it >

There are some tax implications as it >


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Should You Refinance From An FHA Loan To A Conventional Loan?

However, the ongoing private mortgage insurance PMI you have to pay when you have an FHA loan makes your monthly payments more expensive. And, unlike a conventional loan, which allows you to remove your PMI at a certain point, you can never get rid of it with an FHA loaneven when you have tons of equity in your home. So, with rates at historic lows, should you refi out of your FHA loan to a conventional loan? Were looking at the pros and cons.

Pro: You can get rid of private mortgage insurance PMI

FHA loans require certain provisions which sometimes place a heavy burden on a homeowners budget, often in the form of premiums paid for mortgage insurance, said PennyMac.nbsp;

That mortgage insurance on an FHA loan ranges from .451.05 of your home loan amount every year. On a 285,000 home, families could be spending more like 3,420 per year on the insurance, said Investopedia. Thats as much as a small car payment

That money is literally insurance for the lender in case you default on your loan. And, unfortunately, they continue to collect that insurance regardless of how far you pay down your mortgage balance or how much your home appreciates.nbsp;

To stop paying PMI on annbsp;FHA loan younbsp;will need tonbsp;refinancenbsp;into a conventionalnbsp;mortgage, said The Lenders Network.nbsp;

The solution: refinance to a conventional loan. Assuming you have enough equity in your home, you wont have to pay mortgage insurance on the new loan. Combined with a lower rate, your monthly payment will drop. Ifnbsp;younbsp;have paid down thenbsp;loannbsp;to 78 of the value of the homenbsp;younbsp;cannbsp;refinancenbsp;into a conventionalnbsp;mortgagenbsp;without having to pay PMI.

Pro: Mortgage insurance for conventional loans may be less expensive

If you refi to a conventional loan and still have to pay mortgage insurance because you dont yet have enough equity in your home, you may be able to benefit from the lower payments.nbsp;

The mortgage insurance fee on a conventional loan is lower than it is with FHA. FHA MIP rates are 0.80 1.00, said The Lenders Network. Many conventional mortgages have an annual PMI fee of 0.50. On a 200,000 home that is savings of almost 80 per month. While it is not a huge savings, the PMI will drop off once the LTV reaches 78. After dropping PMI, the savings is almost 2,000 per year. You can generally refinance out of FHA into a conventional mortgagenbsp;after 6 months

Cons

With any refi, youre going to pay closing costs. When youre refinancing out of an FHA loan into a conventional loan, you can count on those costs ranging from about 1.5 to as much as 3. So, on a 300,000 mortgage, youre looking at about 9,000. There may be a few out-of-pocket costs involved in the process; Typically, youll be responsible for paying for an appraisal. The rest of the closing costs will come from your equity.nbsp;

When youre trying to decide whether or not to refinance, look at the cost to you, and determining how long it will take to recoup the money with your lower payment. If you wont break even for seven years and youre planning on moving in three, perhaps its time to reconsider whether you should refinance at all.nbsp;


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Preparing Your Home for Sale During the Pandemic

By now, youre probably getting pretty good at making adjustments in your everyday life to protect the health and safety of yourself and those around you. Along the same lines, there are steps you can take to show your home to potential buyers without risking your health or hurting your chances of a sale. Here are some tips to prepare your home for sale in the coronavirus eranbsp;

Get Help with Staging

According to The Mortgage Reports, staged homes sell an average of 73 faster than non-staged homes. Staging involves eliminating clutter, incorporating decorative elements, and adjusting the layout of your furniture to improve the flow of your home. The overall goal is to make your home appear bigger, brighter, and more inviting to potential buyers. Fortunately, some staging steps are easy to tackle on your own, such as cleaning, decluttering, and depersonalizing. These steps will help buyers picture themselves living in your home instead of feeling like intruders in someone elses space.nbsp;

When it comes to dcor, however, its best to hire a professional. An interior designer can help you stage your home to effectively show off key aesthetic elements as well as the features that make your space functional. You can easily find freelance interior designers on job boards like Upwork. To keep yourself and your designer safe, make sure they have adopted special procedures to conform with CDC recommendations for COVID-19.

Dont Neglect Your Curb Appeal

Dont let your home preparations stop at your front door Even if buyers arent visiting your home in person, they will still want to see your home exterior. In fact, a picture of your home exterior will likely serve as the bait that draws potential buyers to your online listing. Dont neglect your curb appeal

Tool Review Lab recommends several ways to boost your curb appealeven if youre on a tight budget. For example, you could power wash your front porch and siding, install a new mailbox, hang modern house numbers, and do some basic lawn maintenance.nbsp;

When it comes to your front yard, make sure your lawn is lush, freshly mowed, and free of weeds and dead spots. Consider planting new flowers and remember to weed and mulch the beds to keep everything looking neat. You may even want to hire a professional to give the trees and shrubs around your yard a good trim.

Consider Safer Showing Alternatives

While its clear that hosting an open house is off the table, you may also want to limit in-person showings. Offer your buyers no-contact alternatives Shoot a video walkthrough of your home and upload it to your online listing so buyers can tour your home virtually. You could even schedule live video-chat showings with interested buyers so they can ask questions about your home or request specific shots of rooms or features.nbsp;

Since buyers will form a first impression of your home based on your listing, make sure it does your home justice. Write a strong listing title, include a detailed and exciting description, and post plenty of high-quality photos. A great real estate agent can help you craft your listing so that it properly showcases your homes best features. Your real estate agent can also help you navigate virtual showings Take the time to find a professional who is well-versed in using online tools to connect with buyers.

Selling a home in the age of the coronavirus is bound to be a bit of a challenge. Thankfully, the real estate industry has been quick to adopt virtual alternatives to open houses and buyers are happy to continue their housing hunt online. With some special attention to staging and a solid virtual presence, youll have no problem closing a sale during the pandemic


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Thinking of a Remodel? Here Are Your Financing Options

The obvious way is to pay cash. Its quick, interest-free and you can tap into a checking or savings account pretty much anytime you need it. You get a bid, decide whether or not to move forward and write a check. On the flip-side however, pulling money out of an account can put a dent in the balance and in any interest-bearing account, money out no longer pays interest. The bigger the project, the more thats pulled out. And, once those funds are used to upgrade the kitchen, the asset is no longer liquid, its in the cabinets, appliances and flooring.

You can get a home improvement loan to pay for a remodel. With a home improvement loan, your loan goes directly toward the improvements. Depending upon the size of the home improvement loan, the funds might be delivered straight to your bank account at your settlement or if you have a larger project in mind, the bank might deliver the funds in stages as the work is completed.

Say for example youd like to add on a third bedroom instead of selling your home and buying an existing three bedroom house. This would be considered a major remodel while at the same time increasing the value of your home by adding a third bedroom. This entails hiring an architect and a builder and paying for inspections and final appraisal as part of the process. With such a loan, it is phased in like most any other construction loan. The bank reviews your plans and specs, comes to an appraised value based upon what the final three bedroom project would be worth once complete. When the third bedroom is added on and finished out, one final inspection is performed to confirm completion. At the end of the project, the construction loan becomes due and a permanent mortgage is needed to replace the temporary construction funds.

A home equitynbsp;loan can also be a solution. A home equity loan is a loan taken out with some of the equity in your home as collateral. There are two basic types of equity loans, a standard equity loan and a home equity line of credit, or HELOC. A standard equity loan is issued as a lump sum payment. a HELOC acts much like a credit card. Youre issued a line of credit based upon the as-completed value. If you want to pull out 10,000 for new appliances, you can do so but you also have the option of paying some or all of that 10,000 back based upon the terms of the loan, freeing up the equity to be used once again at some point in the future.

Another option is to utilize a cash-out refinance. During the process of refinancing an existing loan, homeowners may elect to pull out a little extra after paying off the outstanding principal balance and closing costs. If the loan balance is 200,000 and closing costs are 3,000, the new loan could also include some extra money in the bank account by tapping into the available equity in the home. However, exploring a cash-out refinance should only make sense if a non-cash out refinance lowers the interest rate on a low, changing loan terms, avoiding a balloon payment on its own, then pulling a little extra out in the form of cash might be an option for you.

All of these financing options have their advantages. Your loan officer can break down all the options, compare monthly payments, costs, etc. and help you choose the right financing tool for your individual project.


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What Rooms to Focus on When Flipping a House For Cheap

Create a Multifunctional Spare Room

Many homes today have a spare room that tends to be slightly smaller than the others. In older homes, this room might have once been used as a sitting room to visit with guests. Newer homes often advertise this room as an office. Since the room is smaller, it is easy to do a fast renovation such as adding a fresh coat of paint. You can also upgrade the windows and add a decorative door that allows it to be used for anything from a home office to a kids playroom.

Cook Up a Sale with a Gorgeous Kitchen

Todays modern open floor plans make it impossible to hide a poorly designed kitchen. In most cases, you can expect that the kitchen will be one of the first things that buyers will ask to see. Even when a kitchen is hidden from public view, buyers want to know that theyll have a comfortable place to prepare meals and gather with their friends. Kitchen remodeling is a must for any time that you are flipping a house. Upgraded countertops, cabinets and floors go a long way toward getting people interested in your house.

Dazzle Buyers with a Stunning Master Bathroom

The master bathroom falls close to the kitchen when it comes to areas that people notice. Check out the hottest bathroom trends before you plan a remodel, and try to incorporate a few into your plans. Adding double sinks or a soaking tub will have buyers imagining themselves >

There is an art to making money as a house flipper. Learning where to save on costs and when to invest is as simple as understanding the preferences of the average buyer. When you think about it, it just makes sense to spruce up the areas of a house where people spend the most time. Choosing to upgrade a kitchen or bathroom may require a little extra work, but it can pay off by giving you a much higher profit margin in the end.


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Your Ultimate Guide to Kitchen Backsplash Materials

Tilesnbsp;

You have a few options when it comes to the type of tile you choose, ceramic, glass, or natural stone. Tile is a popular choice because its impermeable and does a great job of protecting the wall. Its also easy to keep clean.

To know what type of tile you should use, you need to consider the >

White ceramic tile can look great in both modern and retro-inspired kitchens.nbsp;Natural stone in marble can give your kitchen a luxurious feel. Glass can add a bright and funky feel.nbsp;

Glass

Instead of using glass tile, you could use a large sheet of tempered glass. This works great for adding protected lighting above your stove. It also allows you to use any wallpaper or paint you wish behind the glass.nbsp;

Chalkboard Paintnbsp;

A low cost and creative option is to paint your backsplash area with chalkboard paint. You can do this yourself as an easy DIY project. You can write notes, menu ideas, or create a shopping list thats easily seen.nbsp;

When youre ready for a clean slate, all you have to do is wipe it clean. One downside, though, is that the black paint may close your kitchen in and make it feel smaller.nbsp;

Mirror

If your kitchen is on the smaller side, then using a mirror as a backsplash can open up the space. They will reflect the light and make it bounce around the room. The more light, the more inviting the space.nbsp;

The surface of the mirror will be easy to clean, though it will end up taking more effort to keep clean as any little bit of grease or dirt will show.nbsp;

Wallpapernbsp;

This material provides you with a fast any easy option but not the greatest amount of protection. You also need to think about how moisture will affect the wallpaper and cause it to peel.nbsp;

Stainless Steelnbsp;

Lining your backsplash with stainless steel will give it a modern feel and tie all of your stainless steel appliances together. Its ideal because its durable, easy to clean, and resistant to high temperatures.nbsp;

Just be careful with acidic foods. The acid will ruin the finish if not immediately cleaned.nbsp;

Choose From These Backsplash Materials

Consider one of thesenbsp;backsplash materials for your kitchen. Think about the amount of cooking you do and the level of durability and protection you need.nbsp;

Some materials such as chalkboard paint or wallpaper you can apply yourself. Others, such as tile, marble, and stainless steel are best left to the professionals.nbsp;


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Don’t Want To Go To A Hotel: Bring The Hotel Bed Home With You

Westin

If youve slept in a Westin hotel room, you know how comfy their Heavenly Bed is. You can order the mattress and box spring, and all the accessories, to create this wonderland at home.nbsp;

Bed: 995 for a twin to 2,395 for California King

Details: 13-inch mattress with plush, pillow-top construction; choice of standard or low-profile box springnbsp;

Extras: Mattress pad, feather pillows, white stripe sheets sets, and a variety of other accoutrements also available.

Sheraton

Get thenbsp;Sheraton Sleep Experiencenbsp;for "a whole new level of comfort."nbsp;

Bed: 995 for a twin to 2,295 for California King

Details: The 13-inch plush mattress has pillow-top construction and is available in your choice of standard or low-profile box spring.nbsp;

Extras: Upgrade to the Signature Bed and Bedding Set to deck out the bed, priced from 2,826 to 3,8 or the Deluxe Bed and Bedding Set, which includes cotton sateen sheets and pillowcases and is curated with everything you need for luxurious sleeptop off your bed with four hotel pillows, a down alternative comforter and duvet cover, and our signature diamond down blanket, for 2,916 to 3,891.

Four Seasons

Everything about a stay at the Four Seasons is luxurious, and you can bring the experience home with you.nbsp;

Bed: Priced from 1,949 to 3,999.

Details: Available in three >

Extras: You can also purchase a replacement zippered firm mattress topper, priced from 549 to 649.

Hilton

Bring home the Serta bed that puts you right to sleep when you stay at Hilton hotels.nbsp;nbsp;

Bed: The Hilton Mattress and Box Spring is priced from 1,195 to 1,995.nbsp;

Details: Manufactured by Serta, this bed offers extra coil support and a plush top on both sides.

Extras: Upgrade to the Hotel Stripe Bed and Bedding Set for 2,698 to 3,446 or Cotton Bed and Bedding Set for 3,046 to 3,566.

Marriott

Marriots innerspring bed is a travelers favorite. And you can live it up every night.nbsp;

Bed: Mattress and box spring sets ranges from 1,3450 to 1,825.

Details: This 12-inch mattress comes with either a standard or low-profile box spring. Extras: Five different bedding sets are available, which can raise the price to as much as 2,937.

W Hotel

Bring the luxurious slumber of the W Hotel into your bedroom.

Bed: Choose the plush Pillowtop mattress or firmer Euro Top mattress for 1,299 to 2,120.

Details: Each mattress measures 13 with a standard of low-profile box spring.

Extras: Add a luxe bedding set, which brings the price to 3,066 to 3,797. The W Hotel bed collection also includes several platform beds to house your new mattress.


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Frequency of Recency in HOAs

This kind of thinking can be pervasive in the homeowner association environment.

In the heat of discussion, the most recent hot topic can loom large and perspective can be lost. Recency causes skewed decision making driven by passion. How does this phenomena manifest itself?

Consider the enactment of a rule designed to control the scofflaws. An example is the guy that has five vehicles and only one parking place. After repeated notices to thin out his car collection, the board decides to take radical action, enact a no-nonsense tow on sight rule. This approach, however, also applies to occasional offenders and guests. The towing policy is not necessarily a bad one, but needs to be approached with reason.

When it comes to rule making, rules need to be widely applicable. They should never be enacted to control the few. The few, frankly, could care less. When a narrow rule is enacted, the many that generally live in harmony with their neighbors are netted with the few that dont. This is a bad mix and is bound to create ill will or inconsistent enforcement of the rule.

Consider collections when they involve a habitual trouble maker. The board may react with "last straw" will and enact an iron clad collection policy punctuated by a foreclosure option. The manifestation of "recency" thinking again affects all members, including those that have a legitimate excuse for their delinquency job loss, disability, etc.. Bottom line: The board needs to be careful in its "one size fits all" rules and policies.

Consider reacting to a members bullying at a board meeting. One of the great advantages of a meeting agenda composed in advance is that the board is given the opportunity to reflect on upcoming discussions, even if theyre controversial. If member concerns are required to be on the agenda to get board action, impromptu tirades can be deflected to a future board meeting. In truth, tirade passion usually dwindles over time and the board ra>

Consider reaction to rumors. This is the most insidious recency of all because it is accomplished by stealth. If the accuser is confronted, they simply deny they said it or claim what was said was distorted or exaggerated. Trying to defend against rumors is like trying to catch the wind. Its at its worst when the rumor mill is churned by a board member who is privy to board discussions and philosophy. While the best approach is to try to ignore such undermining, its also good to confront directly and demand change.

When recent events stir the body politic, its usually time to put the matter on the slow track. Time heals all wounds and moderates hysteria of the moment. If the discussion takes on a personal aspect like, "You worthless ... ", its time to adjourn to another time and place so that reason, and not recency, prevails. There are few issues in an HOA that require immediate board action. When the effects of recency begin to taint board thinking, shake them off and slow down.

For more on Policy Making, see Regenesis.net .


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When It Comes To Real Estate, Does Size Matter?

Think in terms of usable space, not square footage

You may have 3,000 square feet in your mind as your desired space. But whats really important is how that space is used. It might turn out that 3,000 square feet is too expensive. But even if its not, whats the layout like? Are there a bunch of unusable rooms? Maybe there are too many bedrooms at the expense of the living space. And you probably dont want to spend all your time cleaning rooms you dont even use?

You might be surprised to discover that the 1,800-square-foot new build is planned far better than the 2,600-square-foot older home, and that the open layout and use of space makes the house feel even bigger.

Then again

Think about the future

Are you just married? You might think a starter home with just a couple of bedrooms is all you need. But are you planning on having kids soon: It might behoove you to get a house thats ready for babies instead of thinking that you can move up in a couple of years.

Maybe youre an established family with a couple of kids who think a three-bedroom place would be perfect. But are you getting to the stage where you might have grandparents moving in or an older child returning to the roost? Perhaps an extra room is worth paying for.

Ask yourself what you really want

Its time to ask yourself some hard questions. Do you ever need alone time? Want a room you can go into and close the door to read a book? Do you need a man cave or a room you can use as a home theater?nbsp;

How about a dedicated home office or a guestroom? Determining your must-haves can help you decide how much house you want. Now its just a matter of seeing if you can afford it.

Speaking of

How much money is too much?

Its human nature to want as much as we can get. But can you really pay for it? Before you commit yourself to a larger home that comes with a larger payment, do some hard thinking about what you can comfortably afford. You dont want to bite off more than you can chew.

Consider the state of the world

For the past several years, the trend among many luxury homebuyers in the U.S. has been clear: bigger isnt necessarily better, said Realtor.com. As with so many other aspects of day-to-day life, the coronavirus pandemic has turned all that on its head. Preferences vary by price range and region, but buyers in every market are eyeing extra space. Versions of this trend are playing out in markets all over the U.S., making it an opportune moment for sellers looking to unload extra acreage, and a time for interested buyers to move quickly.


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You Can Buy A Home For $1, And 9 Other Reasons To Chuck It All And Move To Cinquefrondi, Italy

For just about 1, you can buy a home in the Italian town, located in the rural southern region of Calabria. We know what youre thinkingisnt Italy dangerous right now?nbsp;

Actually, the country has done a great job of getting a handle on the coronavirus. And Cinquefrondi has had zero reported cases. In fact, The rural southern region of Calabria as a whole was one of the regions least affected by the coronavirus outbreak in Italy, with a >

So why should you consider a move? Let us count the ways.

The purpose

The mayor of Cinquefrondi, Michele Conia, is committed to repopulating his town. The project is so important that he named it Operation Beauty, said Departures. In fact, he remarked, "Finding new owners for the many abandoned houses we have is a key part of the Operation Beauty [mission] that I have launched to recover degraded, lost parts of town."nbsp;nbsp;

The history

Cinquefrondi carries a rich history, dating back to Ancient Greece, said Greek Reporter. Its residents call themselves the Last Greeks and one can hear Ancient Greek words in their regional dialect. The town was a strategic outpost during the Greek expansion in the 8th and 7th centuries BC. Ruins of Greek fortresses and a strategic ancient Greek road built to connect the two seas are a remaining testament to that fact. One of the area landmarks, thenbsp;Aspromonte National Park, with its trekking paths across dry riverbeds, has its name from both Greek and Italian, literally meaning white mountain aspro in Greek and monte in Italian.

Youll get to tap into that Under the Tuscan Sun fantasy

Come onhavent you secretly wanted to move to Italy and restore a forgotten old space? You can buy one here for less than a cup of coffee.nbsp;

The houses currently being offered once belonged to farmers, shepherds, artisans and tanners, said Il Globo. Theres currently about a dozen available, but there are potentially more than 50 empty dwellings that Conia plans to hand over to new owners.

It wont cost a lot

Beyond the almost-nonexistent purchase price, there are, of course, those renovation costs. And when you see the pics of the available properties, with their crumbling facades, you might shudder. But the Mayor predicts that, with the small size of the available homes, the reno costs will be low.nbsp;Renovations shouldnt cost too much, though, as the homes on offer are quite small, at around 40 square meters about 430 square feet, said Greek Reporter. The mayor estimates that the costs will be between 10,000 and 20,000.

The beauty

The town is ensconced in rolling hills and surrounded by the picturesque Aspromonte National Park. And did we mention it looks out over both the Ionian and Tyrrhenian coasts and is just 15 minutes to the beach. Check out the towns Instagram for more beauty shots.

Its remote

Real estate searches in remote locales are way up as a social distance tool. Now this is the way to do remote

The town

Cinquefrondi is a charming old town in the toe of Italys boot, full of olive groves and arched alleys and ruins of Greek fortresses and pastel-hued homes. The town has recently undergone several infrastructure improvements. Roads, piazzas, old fountains, public parks and even a church have been neatly restored and painted in rainbow colors, said CNN. One renovated district known as the Future Hamlet now hosts social and cultural events, while a symbolic staircase of rights is there to remind visitors that locals have embraced the rule of law in a land often plagued by criminality and banditry.

However, despite the scenic natural surroundings, Cinquefrondis urban scenery is scarred by ramshackle dwellings, he told them. "We rise between the refreshing hills and two warm seas, a pristine river runs nearby and the beaches are just 15 minutes away by car. But a whole district of my town lies abandoned, with empty houses that are also unstable and risky."

You can see the properties that are currently available here.nbsp;

The food

The pizza. The pasta. The passion. You can; go wrong with Italian food no matter where you are. The Calabrian area of Italy is known for its great produce, fresh seafood, and abundant. Red wine. CNN calls is a foodie paradise. Among Cinquefrondis top gourmet specialties are spicy, reddish nduja salami made with tonnes of chili pepper, soppressata cold dry sausage with huge bits of lard and a special kind of pasta called struncatura made with the leftovers of wheat and flour served with olives, grated bread and anchovies. Desserts incude zeppole doughnuts made with potatoes and sugar, and handmade twisted nacatole biscuits. Mangia Mangia

Duh, its. Italy.nbsp;

Need we say more?


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Solutions Solutions Solutions

Widespread acceptance of the value and practicality of working from home may have diluted the power of the long-standing real estate value mantra: location, location, location.

Significant societal change and moral reckoningnecessities for a long timeare gaining momentum and will work toward resolution. In the meantime, many real estate owners and wannabes need solutions now for weathering the pandemic and >

In these unsettling and unprecedented times, solutions matter. Homeowners, home buyers, and real estate investors value real estate solutionssolutions to real estate issues and real-estate-based solutions to a variety of other problems.nbsp;nbsp;

Effective forward thinking hinges on ingenious, individualized real estate solutions:

1. Safety and Convenience:

During the pandemic, consumers isolate at home. Home substitutes for the workplace and everything else. Visiting malls and grocery stores was transformed into online shopping, coupled with home delivery or curbside pickup. Post-pandemic, many will continue to let their fingers do the tapping from home rather than returning to retail aisles or work cubicles. How many aspects of real estate will remain online?

The variety of pandemic online shopping options has blossomed. Competition is stiff. Consumers abandon online shopping carts and head to the e-competition whenever a purchasing process is confusing, slow, tedious, or boring. With more real estate buying and selling processes finding their way online, consumers will expect the same degree of convenience, accuracy, and speed they experience with their other online activitiesor theyll move to the competition.

Your solutions: As a real estate professional, how have you redesigned your and your brokerage buyer-and-seller experiences to remove hassles and distractions? How do you ensure social distancing, video touring, virtual meetings, and other safety measures are efficient and effective without compromising speed and convenience?

2. Buyer Life>

Shift your marketing and promotion from dream home to home solution to weather these and future uncertain times. You know the types of financial and life>

A multiple-unit income property may provide a buyer with financial security if their employment becomes unstable or ends.
An income-generating home could provide top-up income or emergency financial backup if it were practical to take in boarders, operate an airbnb, or rent out a self-contained suite as needed.
A work-live space may provide security for small business owners or entrepreneurs.
A secondary suite or second home could also allow homeowners life>

Your solutions: What real estate solutions would properties in your area offer buyers who want to be prepared for uncertainties ahead and to benefit from a more secure life>

3. Seller Future Solutions:

Isolation issues that have arisen during the pandemic have revealed how practical multigenerational living can be. Separate living areas for different generations with communal areas for recreation and dining can make it easy to pool resources so real estate is more affordable for all:

If a suite or second house cannot be added to the current real estate, property owners may welcome the option of moving up to a larger home or property that can be shared with parents or grown children.
Some sellers may consider a move to a more natural settingperhaps in a less-expensive urban areawhich would incorporate recreational life> The persistence of virus infections in densely-inhabited urban areas may entice some city dwellers to >

Your solutions: How might the pandemic or the threat of new viral epidemics change location preferences for your target markets or within your selling territory?nbsp;nbsp;

4. Mortgage Solutions:

Mortgage rates are at historic lows, so mortgage renewal can make good financial sense and theres more

Low rates also make life> Your network of mortgage brokers and investors may also offer flexibility in arranging mortgages, especially for qualified buyers who lack traditional employment histories or who are self-employed.

Your solutions: Encouraging buyers and sellers to build flexibility into their real estate and financial plans will help them embrace solutions for future emergencies that resolve many of the problems people have faced and will during this pandemic.

5. Environmental Solutions:

Climate issues have slipped out of the headlines during the pandemic, but questions regarding environmental issues like flooding and wildfires are still significant concerns in many areas.

Your solutions: Your local knowledge will reveal areas that are less prone to natural disaster and that may offer attractive solutions for nature-conscious families. Can you impact local buying patterns by revealing value in previously-overlooked areas?

Real estate markets will be tied to the pandemic until a vaccine removes life-threatening danger:

Many with cash on-hand and/or purchasing power will take on the investor role, particularly where foreclosures climb.
Others are searching for solutions to preserve their real estate holdings in the face of economic uncertainty.
Many buyers and sellers who were intent on a real estate transaction before the pandemic hit are still keen to act, but to proceed they need solutions to the financial and life>

Is it time to reconsider the target market and selling territory you concentrated on pre-pandemic?nbsp;

Significant changes in buying power may shift who will act in spite of global uncertainty.
Some previously-preferred neighborhoods may face long-term or permanent down-grading.
How will the real estate value mantra evolve as technology and digital transformation progresses?
What dramatic changes do you see based on your local knowledge and experience?

Yesterday has disappeared. How are you redesigning your tomorrows and those of your clients?

Who will consider your real estate solutions valuable?

For more on strategic communication, visit PJs blog: Whats Your Point?nbsp;


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June Real Estate Roundup

Freddie Macs results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that "After the Great Recession, it took more than ten years for purchase demand to rebound to pre-recession levels, but in this crisis, it took less than ten weeks. The rebound in purchase demand partly reflects deferred sales as well as continued interest from prospective buyers looking to take advantage of the low mortgage rate environment."

30-year fixed-rate mortgage FRM averaged 3.13 percent with an average 0.8 points for the week ending June 25, 2020, down from last month when it averaged 3.15 percent. A year ago, at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.73 percent.

15-year FRM this week averaged 2.59 percent with an average 0.8 points, down from last month when it also averaged 2.62 percent. A year ago, at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.16 percent.

5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage ARM averaged 3.08 percent this week with an average 0.5 points, down from last month when it averaged 3.13 percent. A year ago, at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.39 percent.


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Why Lenders Sell Loans

Without having the ability to sell mortgages, the lending industry would essentially shrivel up and die. Why? Think of it this way- say a bank had 10 million in the vault dedicated to home loans. If after making 10 1 million dollar loans, the bank has no more money to lend. Instead of selling the loan, the bank would recover its money by collecting principal interest payments each month, but that can take a long, long time to recover the issued funds.nbsp;

Instead, banks and mortgage companies in general operate from a standing line of credit. This process keeps the lender in the lending business and provides much needed liquidity in the secondary markets. The secondary market is where mortgages are bought and sold among various entities. Most conventional loans are sold and ultimately end up in the hands of Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. That still doesnt mean youll send your mortgage payments to Fannie or Freddie; they just own the note. If someone sends a mortgage company to the bank, the bank acts as a servicer and collects a fee for managing the home loan for the owner of the note.

When lenders first accept a home loan application there is a fair amount of paperwork exchanged. Beyond the loan application and supporting documents such as tax returns and paycheck stubs, multiple disclosures are provided to the borrower explaining various parts of the loan process. One such part is whether the lender intends to sell the loan and provide historical information how many loans have been sold. This document is titled the Mortgage Servicing Disclosure Statement and there are different boxes to be checked stating the lender has sold 0-25, or 25-50 or even 100. Most conventional mortgages will show that most all loans generated are sold. Loans that arent sold fall into the portfolio category, so-called because the issuing lender does not intend to sell the loan but keep it in-house, or in its portfolio.nbsp;

Selling a loan doesnt affect the homeowner whatsoever, other than the monthly payments will likely be sent to a new servicer. Nothing in the loan changes and the party that buys the mortgage cannot change any aspect of the note. The terms are still hard-wired into the note, the only difference is where the monthly payments go to each month. So, when someone receives a goodbye letter, it just means someone else bought the outstanding mortgage.


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Unique Ways To Finance Your Home And Save Money

With some due diligence and research, you may find you have other ways of helping pay for your home that you would have never thought of before. There are companies who offer customers flexible financing options that will work for your budget. Below are some alternative ways to finance your home and save money on utilities.

Ask Family For Helpnbsp;

If you are not wanting to ask a bank for a loan, maybe you have family who could help you out instead. Many first-time home buyers choose to ask their parents for a loan when purchasing their first home. If your parents are financially in a position to offer you money, it should be considered. Be sure to have all of the agreed-upon terms written down and signed.nbsp;

Seller Financing

In some cases, it may make more sense to find a home where the seller is offering to finance the buyer. This typically happens when the seller is having trouble getting their home sold. While this is not typically the best deal for sellers, it can offer a lot of benefits to a buyer. You may find yourself able to close much faster than with a mortgage from a traditional bank. Typically, the downside to this type of deal is having to pay higher interest rates. This will allow the seller to make up for the risk of financing the mortgage themselves.nbsp;

Rent-To-Own

Another popular option for financing a new home is a rent-to-own program. These programs are very straightforward and allow prospective home buyers to rent a home theyre interested in for a specified amount of time. Once your time is up, you will be able to choose whether or not you want to buy the home. The downside to this type of program is that the payment is often higher than typical home prices in the area.

If you choose not to buy the home, the money you paid will not be given back. However, if you choose to buy the home after the rental time is over, the money you spent on rent will be applied toward the final purchase price of the home. This deal works best for someone looking to buy a home within the next few years and they are unable to come up with a down payment at the time. It is also perfect for people who are working on raising their credit score to get approved for a low-interest mortgage.

FHA Financing

An FHA loan is insured through the Federal Housing Administration. This allows lenders the ability to offer home buyers better deals with low down payments, easy credit qualifications and lower closing costs. If youre looking to buy a home when are low on cash and have a bad credit score, an FHA loan is a good option to consider, especially if you are a first-time home buyer. If you consider this type of loan, you will be limited to purchasing properties that are FHA approved and will be required to purchase mortgage insurance.

Solar Loansnbsp;

Once you purchase your home and find a way to finance it, you should always be on the lookout for ways to save money and afford your rent. A solar loan is a great option to consider if you are interested in solar energy. These types of loans can be secured against your home. Once the solar panels are installed, the money you save on your electricity can be used towards your mortgage payment.


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Looking To Flip? Don’t Do It Without These Tips

Dont expect to be in an out in a week

According to the recent ATTOM Data Solutions first-quarter 2020 U.S.nbsp;Home Flipping Report, Home flippers who sold homes in the first quarter of 2020 took an average of 174 days to complete a flip, up from an average of 169 in the fourth quarter of 2019 but down from 180 days in the first quarter of last year.

Will it take you that long? Maybe, maybe not. It depends on a whole lot of factors, like the condition of your home, how much work needs to get done, and how fast you can make it all happen. You may think you can turn it around in a month, and you may be right. Then again, that 174 days may look like nothing by the time youre done. The trick is to be realistic, and even to overestimate the time it will take to get any permits, do any needed repairs, get your inspections, and get the home soldespecially if you have an investor who is expecting to be paid back quickly.

And keep in mind that, The longer it takes you to flip a house, the more youll pay in carrying costs, which include utilities, financing, and property taxes, said Lending Home.

Make sure you have enough money

According to Fit Small Business, Costs vary based on where the home is located, property type, and the extent of the renovations needed, but the total cost to flip a house is usually around 10 of the purchase price.

But that doesnt mean your flip will come in right at 10. If you dont have a proper contingency fund, anything that goes wrong could put you over budget and sink any potential profit.nbsp;

Take down that wall at your own risk

Yes, it will open up the space and make it look lighter, brighter, and larger. And yes, youll probably also find horrible plumbing issues or faulty electricity or the need for a 10,000 beam to support the structure as soon as you do. Opening up the floorplan of an older home to make it more attractive to todays homebuyers is a great idea, as long as youre prepared for the potential problems.

Consider bringing in a partner

Want to flip homes but dont have the money for a down paymentor the credit to swing a loan? Many a flipper starts out in a partnership with someone who puts up the cash and splits the profit after the property sells. This is especially useful if you plan to buy homes at auction and need a lot of money upfront.

Start small

Buying a homenbsp;that just needs some cosmetic repairs and some TLC can drastically improve your return on investment, said Lending Home. New investors can learn as they go by starting with a home that just needs a little love, and work their way up to homes that need significant repairs.

Learn some trades

Is your intention to do all the repair and renovation work yourself on your flips? Be sure to prepare ahead of time. You dont want to be learning on the job with money on the line.nbsp;

Put together a team in advance

If youre planning to have others make the fixes, locate and hire them before you close escrow. Time is money.

Dont overpay

If youre eager to start your first flip, you might jump at a listing that costs more than it shouldat least where your profit margin is concerned. This can be especially true if you go to an auction and get caught up in the frenzy. Its important to set a limitand stick to itbased on what you can legitimately afford, and your expectations for your profit margin.

If youre not sure how to set your profit margin, consider the 70 percent rule.

The 70 percent rule states that an investor should pay 70 percent of the ARV of a property minus the repairs needed, said Invest Four More. The ARV is the after repaired value and is what a home is worth after it is fully repaired.


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