Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The time to buy is now!

Am I the only one tired of all the doom and gloom that is associated with real estate these days? Is all of this doom and gloom even warranted? If you did want to buy a house, could you find financing?

The answers to the above questions are as follows:
Hopefully, everyone is tired of the doom and gloom.
NO, doom and gloom is not warranted.
Yes, you can find financing - and at very reasonable rates!

Obviously, home sales and resales have been depressed this year – which is all the more reason NOW is the time to buy. Unless a property is the lowest priced in the neighborhood, sellers are being forced to negotiate. Consequently, you can find some very good deals right now - plus interest rates are still in the low six percent range.

One of the biggest falsehoods regards financing. The belief that buyers can no longer get financing is just plain wrong. There are a variety of mortgage products available including investor financing. FHA loans are a good product for those with little money for a downpayment and less than stellar credit. And you can even get 100% conventional financing under certain circumstances.

The difference between now and a couple years ago is that there is no longer a free wheeling flow of money; where almost anyone could get a mortgage. Restrictions and standards have been put in place for borrowers – but they are not unreasonable standards. Undocumented financing is difficult to obtain - but not impossible if your credit score is 680 or above. There are still mortgage programs for those who have less than a 680 FICO score and if you can document your income, that works to offset a lower FICO score. Also, there continues to be special financing programs for community workers, such as firefighters, policemen and teachers.

We are happy to refer you to reputable mortgage lenders who will assist you in finding the best financing based on your individual situation. Housing prices are good now – why wait to buy?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Preparing Your Home for Buyers in today´s Real Estate market

To do so you need every advantage possible to get your property sold. The condition of a property and how it looks is something you, as an owner, have total control over. As you prepare your home for sale, there are things you can do to make your home appeal to buyers. Keep in mind Buyers like a property to look like a model home, so keep in mind that is what you are striving for.

Here are some suggestions!
Clean, Clean, Clean! This cannot be stressed enough! Bathrooms should sparkle, trash emptied, no dirty dishes sitting out, clothes and personal items put away, floors mopped, beds made, etc., etc., etc. If you don´t have time to do it, hire a cleaning service.

Eliminate any odors. Smell is very important to buyers. Some people are especially sensitive to pet odors. Cooking odors can be another culprit. And tobacco odors are the ultimate turn-off. Living in a property you can get accustomed to a smell, so it is a good idea to have a friend or family member come in to make sure there are no odors. Use smell to your advantage by using fresh smrlling cleaners or potpourri. And you can use an old Realtor trick of baking cookies right before your house is shown.

Clear out the Clutter: Counters should be as cleared as possible, newspapers, magazines and mail organized, no stacks of CD´s or picture albums setting out, children´s toys are put away. Collections of any kind no matter how lovely and valuable, should be packed and stored until your house has sold. Make your house appear as unlived in as possible.

Light Sells: Have all blinds, shades and curtains open; allowing as much natural light as possible into the home. The only time to have a window covered is if the view out of it is horrendous. Always turn on all the lights when you are having a showing.

Create a feeling of Openness and Space: If you have to, rent a storage locker for excess furniture, toys, electronics, clothes or anything else that takes up room in your house. Clean out as much as possible from closets to make them appear larger. Make sure it is easy to maneuver around furniture in the rooms and the main living areas have an open flow.

Curb Appeal: Every professional will tell you the importance of curb appeal. Most real estate agents have had at least one buyer refuse to even go inside a house because of the way it looked from the outside. Besides having your front yard mowed, edged, and landscaped, you should have some nice potted plants and a clean welcome mat by the front door. Door knobs and knockers should be polished and the doorbell needs to be working. Planting some colorful annuals is also appealing. Anything that makes a buyer want to go inside and feel that the house has been cared for.

Depersonalize: Buyers get distracted and need to project themselves into the home. Only have one or two family photographs sitting out. Remove any questionable objects or decorations which might not appeal to the masses. This includes nude pictures, religious artifacts, wild posters, hanging beads, black lights, insects or reptiles in jars, and make sure the false teeth are put away.

Neutralize: The single most inexpensive thing a seller can spend money on to make their house appeal to buyers, is paint. Even though dark wall colors are popular, any wall that is dark, bold or a unusual color should be painted a neutral color. Buyers like neutral houses so they can decide how to decorate. Also use accessories and/or accents to neutralize.

Staging: There are professional stagers and some Realtors who will bring in furniture and accessories to an empty property or assist a seller rearrange and stage their existing furniture and accessories to maximize how a property shows.

Visit my site at http://www.interactiverealty.com/ for more useful information.


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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

10 Important Tips to Successful Real Estate Investing

Be a Real Estate Investor - 10 Important Secrets

When it comes to investing, everybody has certain goals andaspirations. However, we have found that there are certain guidelinesevery aspiring real estate investor needs to know:

1. Compare Property Values and RentsFinancial statistics only go so far; the best measure of a property'smarket value is often the sale prices of nearby properties. The sameholds true for area rents. A low price can often be justified by areasonable rent; renters who can afford a high rent can afford to buy instead, so reasonably priced rent is a need.

2. Be Careful - Tax Laws May ChangeDon't base your tax investment on current tax laws. The tax code is constantly changing, and a good investment is a good investment regardless of the tax code. The right property with the right financing is what you should look for as an investor.

3. Specialize In Something You KnowStart in a market segment you know. Whether you focus on fixer-uppers, foreclosures, starter homes, low-down payment properties, condominiums, or small apartment buildings, you'll benefit from experience by specializing in one aspect of investment real estate properties.

4. Know The Costs Going In!Know the financial statements inside out. What are operating expenses? What are loan payments? Vacancy costs? Taxes? What does the cash flow statement look like? These are key issues that must be addressed before making a solid investment.

5. Know Where Your Tenants Are Coming From If the last rent increase was recent, your tenants may be considering a move. If tenants have a short-term lease, they may be living there simply to attract unsuspecting buyers. It is also important to collect the tenants' security deposits at closing.

6. Assess The Tax Situation Taxes are an integral part of successful real estate investing, and they often make the difference between a positive cash flow and a negative one. Know the tax situation, and see how it can be manipulated to your advantage. It may be a good idea to consult a tax advisor.

7. Investigate Insurance CoverageIf seller's coverage is based on lower-than-current replacement value, your insurance cost may increase when you pay a higher purchase price.

8. Confirm Utility Costs Ask the local utilities to verify recent utility expenses, especially if any of these costs are included in your tenant's rent.

9. Consult Your Accountant Taxation is a key element of successful real estate investing, so be sure to find an accountant who is well-versed with the constantly evolving tax code.

10. Inspect! Make sure that you always perform a thorough inspection of the property before buying it. Never, ever buy any property without at least examining the site. In some cases, hiring professional inspectors to examine the structural mechanical system may be a sound investment.

Visit my site at www.interactiverealty.com for more information lke this and
thanks for reading.

Monday, August 13, 2007

August 9, 2007

Lately, I have noticed a lot of discussion on what it takes to get a house sold in today’s market. Sellers are frustrated because they are not getting offers on their properties. My sales associates are frustrated because they are not getting offers on the seller’s properties. Everybody is frustrated.

While buyers are not plentiful, they are out there. But, make no mistake, this is a “buyers market” – which means buyers can take their time, be picky and hold out for that “good deal”. And, buyers are doing just that!

So, what DOES it take to get a house sold in today’s market?

Cleaned, decluttered, staged and a pleasant smell I am amazed at how much this subject is harped on and how many people still have dirty, cluttered, smelly homes. When I walk into a home like that, I want to say “What are you thinking?” With so much inventory to choose from, buyers do not have to settle for anything less than perfect. If you need assistance, contact me or one of my associates; we would be happy to do a walk through with you – with no obligation! Also, our website has information for sellers on how to prepare a home for sale.

$5000 less than the lowest priced house in your neighborhood Barbara Corcoran, who owned one of the most successful real estate companies in New York, is a regular on the Today Show. On the show, she said if you really want to sell, price your home $5000 - $10,000 below the lowest priced home in your neighborhood.

Get real – your home is NOT worth what it was 1 – 3 years ago. It doesn’t matter what it was appraised for two years ago. It doesn’t matter what the house next door sold for last year. The only thing that matters is what currently is for sale in your neighborhood. If you could buy a nicer home for less money across the street, wouldn’t you do that?

I know this is a very difficult time for sellers – especially anyone who purchased their home in the last couple years. Just remember, when your Realtor tells you that your home is worth 20% less than it was worth two years ago and that you have to pack up your favorite spoon collection and all your family photographs need to be taken down, they are not being mean, they are trying to help you get your home sold.

Jeanette Meehan

Monday, August 6, 2007

Good Deal Of the Month

My good deal of the month, is a newer, riverfront condominium listed for $359,900.
This lovely, gated community (Venetian Bay) was built in 2004 by M.H. Williams construction, one of Brevard´s premier construction companies, and has 2159 square feet with 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. The views are spectacular and the unit has many features including custom cabinets, granite countertops, and 10 foot ceilings with crown molding.

Here is why I like this property-

The condo is beautiful, the views across the river are some of the best I have ever seen and it is undervalued compared to comparable properties in other parts of the county. Besides, it is being sold for less than the owner paid for the property!I think this condo is still available because it is located in the South part of the county and there is not a lot of development around. Consequently, people seem to think it is too far away. But, it only takes about 5 minutes to get to Melbourne and 15 minutes to drive to Sebastian. What most people do not realize is that this property is located at the beginning of a beautiful stretch of U.S. 1 that has river views all the way to the town of Sebastian. Sebastian has redeveloped into an upscale community. At some point, development will come north. In addition, the City of Palm Bay is in the process of redeveloping their riverfront, which will make that area very desirable. Venetian Bay Condos are in a serene, great location and I don´t think you can find anything that compares for this price.

To see more on this Property including a Virtual tour click here

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Pam Harrell Joins Interactive Realty

I am pleased to announce that Pam Harrell an eight year veteran to the real esate industry has chosen Interactive Realty, Melbourne, Florida as her new home. Pam has lived in Brevard for 30 years and has seen incredible, exciting growth. Her entire family resides in Melbourne/Palm Bay Dr. Thomas Harrell, Pam's husband, is a Professor of Psychology at Florida Tech. I

She have been involved in the building/real estate business for over 8 years and in 2005 closed more than $22 MILLION. Her motivation is to help every family/person that wants to realize the American Dream of owning their own home. In order to realize their dream they should have the best representation possible. Pam strives to stay knowledgeable about Brevard so that she will be the best Realtor for those home owners interested in selling their homes.

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Broker Insider!
Issue 1: How Is the Real Estate Market.

Hi. I am Jeanette Meehan, Broker/President, of Interactive Realty Inc. Since I have a strong background in real estate and business and I am on the front lines so to speak, I think I can provide an insight into what´s going on in the world of real estate.

Everywhere I go, I get asked, "How is the real estate market?" I equate the down turn in the real estate market to a stock market correction. Something can go up for only so long before it has to come down and settle into some kind of equilibrium. I can go on and on about this subject, but I won´t. You can call me if you want to discuss the economics of the housing market.

Bottom line is that until we absorb the existing inventory of housing to have more balance between sellers and buyers, housing prices will continue to drop. You know that old saying, "Buy low and sell high" Buying low is possible now because the inventory of housing is still high, putting pressure on sellers to reduce their prices. Buying when prices are depressed will provide the most amount of appreciation and over the long-term real estate remains a good investment. A lot of people say, "I want to wait and see if prices drop even further". To this I say that you won´t know when prices have bottomed until they are not at the bottom any more. It is like trying to time the stock market. As I already said, the key is the existing inventory.

So, how is the inventory? Inventory for the resale market of homes and condos remains high. New construction inventory is dropping due to all the incentives builders are offering buyers.

Once the new construction inventory drops and builders stop offering everything but the kitchen sink to get their houses sold, existing home sales will start to increase. We already are seeing decent activity in houses priced below $200,000. There are little signs, like single blades of grass, that interest is resuming in the over $200,000 houses.

My personal opinion is that improvement in the real estate market will be a slow, gradual process. So, for right now, while prices are down, think "Buy"! Jeanette

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