Buy Investment Property Without Seeing It

Why would you buy investment property without seeing it? It’s a numbers game. Whether or not you see the property before you make an offer isn’t nearly as important as making sure the numbers make sense.

A man in California used to just send out offers on a hundred MLS listings at a time, offering 25% less than the asking price on each one. Occasionally a few sellers would accept his offers. He never had to look at the homes beforehand. Including an “inspection and approval” clause in the offer meant he could always back out of the deal later when he saw the house. Meanwhile, he efficiently found the truly motivated sellers.

This true story demonstrates that with a good clause or two in the contract, you don’t have to worry about making an offer before you see a property. It’s true when you buy investment property or your next home. When it isn’t everything the seller says it is, you can reject the deal with little or no loss. So why wouldn’t you want to look at the property?

Buy Investment Property By Numbers

The main reason you might skip looking at a property before making an offer is time. This is certainly true if the property is far away. If you don’t get a price that makes sense, why spend your time traveling to look at real estate investments? A price and terms that make sense – this is what is important. Of course you’ll probably want to look at the actual property eventually, but looking at the numbers is how you invest.

Investors value income property according to current cash flow (or should if they want safe and viable investments), so start by verifying income. Get the actual income figures for the past 12 months. Always consider the potential income if rents are raised, vending machines are added, etc., but base your offer on the current income.

Verify all expenses with investment properties. If any expenses listed by the seller seem unusually low, they most likely are. Just substitute your own best guess in place of any suspicious numbers.

After you determine the net operating income, apply the appropriate capitalization rate to arrive at the value. If you’re not sure how to do this, get help. However, you really should understand the principle of how to figure a cap rate. This is a numbers game you’re playing.
Calculate loan payments (talk to your banker), and see how much cash flow you’ll have. Then you can figure your cash-on-cash return based on how much of your own money you put into the deal. Just divide the cash flow by your investment.

When the numbers work, you can safely make an offer. Inspections will tell you if there are problems that will affect the cash flow. You can always renegotiate if there are such problems (assuming you made your approval of all inspections a contingency of the offer). Of course, you can even go take a look now that you are truly ready to buy that investment property.

Descriptive Terms in Real Estate Ads – Even More Definitions

If you are buying or selling a home, the chances are good you struggle with the meaning of descriptive real estate terms. Here are explanations and definitions for more terms.

“Living Room” & “Family Room”

When a home has both a living room and a family room, we know which is which. It used to be that when an ad mentioned a family room, we could assume it also had a living room. Now some builders are building houses with something akin to the first use of “Great Room” above and calling it the “Family Room” on the floor plan. Thus houses and their terminology seem to be evolving. I suppose in the new builder speak we should just think of the room as an informal family living room.

“Patio” & “Terrace”

Both are outdoor living areas paved with something like slate or brick. A patio is level with the ground around it. A terrace has adjoining areas of ground which are higher, or lower, or perhaps both.

“Solarium,” “Sun Room,” “Florida Room”

These terms are used to describe rooms with lots of windows (often on three sides). Many times these areas also have skylights. The choice of what to call them seems purely personal. They tend to be charming, bright, sunny places in which to over winter plants and sit in the garden in chilly or downright cold weather.

“Jack and Jill Bath”

A bathroom with two doors into it. It is frequently situated between two bedrooms with doors to each. Sometimes the doors are into a bedroom and into a hallway.

“Waterfront” vs. “Water View”

Waterfront property actually has a common boundary with (frontage on) the water. Sometimes the property line actually goes into the water. Water view just means water can be seen from the property. Sometimes there is a beautiful view. Sometimes it means the water can be seen from one upstairs window when the leaves are off the trees! Also, many times a new structure might block the view at some time in the future unless there is a protective covenant or something to prevent it.

If you can get the verbiage down, you’ll be way ahead in the real estate game. Look for future articles on this subject or visit our site to read more terms.

Buying An All In One System

These days, more and more people are turning away from memberships to gyms and instead choosing to invest money in a home gym. You can put a home gym in a spare corner of your home, or even in the basement if you wish. Along with helping you save money by combining several different types of equipment into one machine, these types of equipment can easily fit in small spaces and type up a lot less weight than their individual counterparts.

When you are considering to buy an all in one piece of exercise equipment, you should first think about your goals. You should consider what you hope to achieve from exercising and just how well this piece of equipment will benefit you.

There are several types of all in one equipment for exercise on the market and almost all of them are advertised well on television, in magazines, and on the internet. The most popular types on the market are those types that are geared towards individuals who are interested in lifting weights.

Right now, the two most popular types of all in one exercise systems are the Bowflex and Total Gym brands. The Bowflex system uses resistant bows that bend instead of the traditional weights that simply lift. Bowflex is designed to fit a wide variety of budgets and needs, it’s widely adaptable and extremely popular as well.

To make things even better, you can store the basic Bowflex system in small and tight places, even under a bed if you choose. The larger and more expensive Blowflex system competes with the types of professional equipment that you can find in gyms, which allow you a quality workout on quality equipment.

The Total Gym system is great as well, as it is advertised by martial arts legend Chuck Norris and supermodel Christie Brinkley. It is less expensive than the Bowflex and uses gravity and resistance instead of traditional weights. By using this system, you have the ability to adapt the machine to a wide variety of exercises that will work many different areas of your body.

When you make that decision about buying an all in one exercise system, you must also decide on price, features, brand, and just who will use the machine. If your family plans to use it as well, then you’ll need to get a system that everyone will agree on. You obviously wouldn’t want a machine that is too complicated for others in your home.

Even though Bowflex and Total Gym are the 2 most popular types of all in one equipment, there are several others out there as will, from brands such as Weider and many others. Before you make your choice, you should look at several to see which one offers you more for your money.

Aerobic Exercise for Weight Loss Can Be Fun

The word aerobic literally means “with oxygen” or “in the presence of oxygen.” Aerobic exercise is any activity that uses large muscle groups, can be maintained continuously for a long period of time and is rhythmic in nature. Aerobic exercises utilize oxygen as the major fuel for sustaining activity for relatively long periods.

In general, aerobic exercises are those activities that require large muscle work, elevate the heart rate to between 60 percent and 80 percent of maximal heart rate, are continuous in nature and are of 15 to 60 minutes in duration. An aerobically fit individual can work longer, more vigorously and achieve a quicker recovery at the end of the aerobic session.

Aerobic exercises fall in two categories:

Low to Moderate Impact aerobics – These include walking, swimming, stair climbing, step classes, light water aerobics, rowing and cross-country skiing. Nearly anyone in reasonable health can engage in some low- to moderate-impact exercise. Brisk walking burns more calories than jogging for the same distance because it takes more time to walk than jog that distance and poses less risk for injury to muscle and bone.

High-Impact aerobics – Activities that belong to this group include running, dance exercise, tennis, racquetball and squash. High-impact aerobics should be performed on alternate days. People who are overweight, elderly, out of condition or have an injury or other medical problem should do them even less frequently and only with clearance from their doctor.

Here are some of the many aerobic exercises you can do and because of the variety you have to choose from, it can not only take the bordum out of doing it, it can make doing it downright fun as well.

1. Walking
Walking is a popular form of exercise because it requires little in terms of equipment or facilities. Walking an extra 20 minutes each day will burn off 7 pounds of body fat per year. Longer, moderately-paced daily walks are best for losing weight.

2. Jogging/Running
In jogging or running, an individual is able to cover greater distances in a shorter period of time. Therefore, greater numbers of calories can be burned per time spent.

3. Choreographed Aerobic Exercise
Choreographed aerobic dance is a very popular form of exercise throughout the world. Aerobic dance helps in toning up the muscles of the body and many people find it fun to do as well.

4. Step Aerobics
Step aerobics incorporates the use of a step or bench typically about one foot wide and three feet long and about six inches high. Instructors use many moves that require participants to step up and down from the platform. This way, the activity will not be boring and tiring, but will be lively and motivating.

5. Water Aerobics
Water aerobics incorporates a variety of movements from both swimming and land aerobics to develop vigorous routines that are aerobic in nature. It utilizes the resistance to movement that water creates to elevate heart rates and also helps you if balancing yourself on land is difficult. It is a good way to lose weight.

6. Swimming
Swimming is a very popular form of regular exercise. Due to the resistance of water, the amount of energy required to swim a certain distance is greater than that needed to run or walk the same distance. In other words, swimming can burn more calories than running per time spent.

7. Stationary Cycling/Bicycling
Stationary cycling or bicycling are excellent forms of aerobic exercise when done continuously. Like swimming, cycling is a non weight bearing activity that builds muscular endurance and strength and improved flexibility of selected muscles of the legs and thighs.

8. Jumping Rope
Jumping rope can be a great aerobic workout as long as it is performed at a slow to moderate pace and is done continuously for a relatively long period of time (15 minutes or more).

The key to effective weight loss is through use of a healthy exercise program which is performed on a regular basis while following a healthy dieting & nutritional plan. Aerobic exercise is good for weight loss because it uses more calories than other activities and helps raise your metabolic rate.

This helps your body burn calories at a faster rate. It is an effective way to lose fat only if you are motivated enough to do it frequently. Aerobics only burns fat during the workout itself. So if you want encouraging results you need to be able to exercise daily and for longer periods.

Content Ideas for Ads and Brochures When Selling Your Home

Even in this hot real estate market, selling your home requires a bit of marketing effort. Ads and brochures are important and powerful tools. So, what do you put in you’re marketing materials?

Content

To the degree possible include key information in you’re ad or brochure. A classified ad will contain less than a poster, which will contain less than a brochure, which may contain less than an Internet listing, etc. The key, however, is to make sure each medium contains maximum information and minimum fluff.

In general, people want to know what type home is being offered (single family house, townhouse, condo, etc.), how many bedrooms and baths it has, its general location, and the price. Obviously, you also need to include contact information so potential buyers know how to reach you.

If you have the space, a good tactic is to describe the characteristics of the house that lead you to originally purchase it.

1. Was it the location?

2. A beautiful view?

3. Neighborhood charm?

4. A school district you were seeking out?

5. Lots of storage?

6. Garage spaces for 3 cars?

7. High ceilings?

8. The style of architecture?

9. Large entertainment areas?

10. A beautiful garden?

Don’t be shy. Mention the best features to set your home apart from others for sale.

A note of caution is called for here. When you mention your home’s best features, don’t overstate them. If your potential buyer’s first emotion on actually seeing your property is disappointment, there really isn’t much potential for a sale to that person. With that in mind, I wouldn’t refer to a house with a garden that backed to a small farm pond as “waterfront property,” nor would I call a small, city apartment with windows on an air shaft a “spacious city abode with sunny views.”

Photos

Include color photos of your home whenever possible. When selling real estate, a picture really can be worth a thousand words.

When taking your photos, take lots of them. Take them from typical angles and from unusual ones, too. Cameras often like odd angles. Photos that show three walls very often seem to reduce the size of the room visually. It is often better to show only two walls with the corner slightly, or very, off center. You may want to show the same room from more than one angle. One photo may include a wall of windows and another show a fireplace in the same room. Regardless of your approach, keep in mind the photographs will give a potential buyer the first impression of your home.

Obviously, marketing is one of the key factors in selling a home. If you are creative with yours, buyers will come.

Build A New House Or Buy An Existing One? Use Your Head And Your Heart

I am living in living in the fourth house I have purchased during my 23 years of home ownership. To some that may seem like a lot of houses, to others it may seem like I’ve just started. The simple fact is we Americans move a lot… 11 or 12 times in a lifetime depending on whom you consult. Chances are you are going to purchase a house during quite a few of those moves and somewhere along the line you may have the opportunity to build a new home.

Should you?

Everyone has fantasized at some point about his or her dream house. You may want closets big enough to live in; a bathroom that doubles as a spa; a kitchen in which you could produce programs for the Food Network But, as in most fantasies, there is usually some epic journey required to achieve the goal. And building your dream house follows that plot line all too closely.

But isn’t it the dream that makes the quest worthwhile? Yes, if you can weather the storms and battles along the way. And the determination to keep moving forward is usually a function of a strong will and a big heart. But it helps to use your head before you set off on your personal version of “The Lord of the Rings.”

It is likely that you have options when you begin the process of buying a home. There may be existing homes in the area that are affordable and that meet your needs. But there are always things about any property or house that don’t exactly meet with your approval. The basement may not be finished or the yard may be too small or the interior décor may have to be entirely redone. It is virtually impossible to buy an existing home without making compromises.

Building new allows you to imagine, design and build the home that accommodates needs and amenities that are important to you… within a budget of course. And that is one thing that must be considered. A new home will be more expensive, on a cost per foot basis, than an existing one. That is due to the cost of land, the price of building materials and labor expense. You might also find that taxes are high as a new area is developed and the municipal authorities factor in the required infrastructure for a growing population and the need for services like education, law enforcement and recreation. You may find yourself subsidizing some of these costs as an area develops.

The ongoing costs associated with an existing house are more predictable. However, there will likely be more maintenance expense than for a new house and energy costs tend to be higher with older properties because newer homes are more energy efficient.

Commuting costs may be an issue. Developers must go further and further out to find enough land to accommodate a new subdivision. That may mean higher costs for commuting to work and to access other businesses and venues that may be closer to the nearest major population center. You should consider this from both a monetary perspective and to determine if you are comfortable with an additional investment of time.

If your new house is built in a subdivision there may be ongoing fees required. In addition, there may be covenants that are designed to protect property values that may apply serious restrictions on your ability to enhance your home and/or your property down the road.

A new home needs new landscaping. This may be included in the price of the home but there will likely be a limit to what is covered under the agreement. To landscape the property in a way that is truly satisfying may require an additional outlay.

Beware of construction delays! Building contractors are notorious for setting deadlines they miss and making promises they can’t keep. Make sure you do some thorough research about the builder and his track record before you commit. Weather is always unpredictable and may have an effect but that should be factored in from the start.

A new subdivision can be a hornet’s nest of building activity. If you move into your home early in the process be prepared for hammering, sawing, trucks, mud and general chaos for quite a while as the subdivision progresses. This is a lifestyle issue and is a temporary inconvenience. But some have found this level of activity disconcerting and disruptive especially when they are settling into their “dream home” and trying to savor the experience.

If you build new be prepared to stay for a while. With new construction all around you it would be difficult to compete with the rest of the properties available for others who want to build a house from the ground up. You would have to make it worth their while and that usually means a compromise in price.

All this being said (and trust me there is more that could be said) there is nothing quite as satisfying as showcasing the house to family and friends that you designed and built and that reflects your unique vision and personality. If you survive the journey, you will likely have turned your fantasy into reality.

Creative Financing – Ten Ways

Do all the creative financing techniques you hear about really work? Yes, actually. They probably have all worked somewhere for someone at least once. The point isn’t if they will all work for you. The point is to know what is possible, so you can find your own creative ways to invest in real estate. Here are ten methods to get you thinking.

1. Hard money lenders. You can ask around or find these online. They specialize in short-term loans at high interest. You typically use this type of financing for a “fix and flip.” You can often get the money fast, and if you make $30,000 on a project, who cares if you paid $10,000 interest in six months.

2. No-doc and low-doc loans. No (or low) documentation of your income or credit required. Again, you can find banks that do these online now. The catch is that you will only be able to borrow up to 80% of the purchase price or property value. If you have 10% in cash, you might be able to borrow the other 10% from a friend or the seller.

3. Seller-carried second mortgages. Sometimes a bank will loan you 90%, and allow the seller to take back a second mortgage from you for 5%, leaving you needing only 5% for a downpayment.

4. Land contract. Called “contract for sale” or other names as well, this just means the seller lets you make payments, and delivers the title upon payment in full. I sold a rental this way for $1,000 down, because I wanted the 9% interest, and the higher price I got this way.

5. Credit cards. If a seller will take $10,000 down on a fixer-upper that you expect to make $20,000 on, why not use credit cards? This is a true 0-down deal for you, and if you turn the project in six months, you will have paid $900 in interest on an 18% credit card. Don’t let $900 get in the way of making $20,000.

6. Retirement accounts. The laws get pretty complex in this area, but you can check with a tax attorney to see how you might borrow from your own retirement account to finance real estate investments.

7. Friends and family. Keep it all business, if you use this source, but loaning you money at 7% isn’t a gift if their money is getting 2% in the bank.

8. Note buyers. The seller needs cash. He raises the price, and sells to you for $100,000 with no money down, taking back two mortgages from you for $90,000 and $10,000. He arranged (or you did) for a note buyer to pay him $80,000 cash for the first mortgage at closing, getting him the cash he wanted. You pay two payments now, one to each note holder.

9. Get a loan on other property. Interestingly, if you take out a home equity loan for a vacation, and then forget to use it for that, you can use it for the downpayment on an investment property, without violating the rules of the bank that gives you the primary mortgage. In other words, you got in with no cash of your own.

10. Partnerships. For bigger projects, you could arrange for five investors to each put money into a partnership, with your share being the management responsibility instead of cash.

Aerobic Pictures – The Truth About Their True Effectiveness!

I know how skeptical people typically are about motivational pictures. Everyone has seen and got fed up with that tripe posted on the partition walls of their cubicles – some stranger conquering an impossible mountain against the canvas of a magnificent sunrise with some stupid caption about “persistence”, or “excellence” under it, or some poor little kitten cutie struggling to hang on to the edge of a table with her babyish claws, beneath which is inscribed, invariably in corresponding bubbly cutesy letters, “hang on”.

Hey, you might not believe me when I tell you this. If I were a listener like you, I would probably not believe in it either. Nonetheless, I have an urge to tell you this simple yet rarely acknowledged fact that nothing inspires people quite as much as aerobic pictures to get fit and back in shape.

It is considered a sign of very low refinement even to put such thing up, let alone to confess to be motivated by them – unless you are a middle manager, in which case low refinement is considered more of a virtue than a vice. However, at least in the case of aerobic pictures, it is true. The right picture can really give people that extra push and get them moving.

Well, you think I am exaggerating. No not really. Seeing people sweating every day enables me to tell the gleam of sweat from the gleam of confidence. What I see here is definitely the gleam of confidence. They look at those aerobic pictures and stand up straighter, work that much harder, and I believe, go home feeling a whole lot better about themselves. Even the aerobic exercise classes seem to go better once the pictures are present.

I should know. I am a manager at the Skinny Booty Gym downtown, and I oversee various tasks including decorating the walls. It has given me plenty of time to observe people in their workouts, and the differences that those aerobic pictures make are surprising. Before I stick them up, many people seemed to be just painfully dragging on with their workouts, without hope of ever attaining any fitness goals. Since I put up the aerobic pictures, however, things have taken a dramatic turn. It is like the aerobic pictures lift everyone’s morale that makes them practically shine with confidence.

After seeing this effect on people, I have even taken down my other motivational posters and put up the aerobic pictures around my cubicle in the gym. Even when I am not doing any exercise, the pictures of fit, trim people doing their aerobics workouts seems to tell me I should put in a little bit more effort into whatever tasks I am attending to at the moment. There are many types of decorations which are more beautiful, more exciting, and flashier than aerobic pictures, but I have yet to find one that exerts a bigger positive influence on the work ethics. And isn’t that the most crucial thing of all?

Buy Easily High Value Property At Commercial Real Estate Loan

Acquiring a real estate through one’s own resources is not possible for every aspirant as it requires huge funds. In modern business world, however, buying real estate has become a regular feature since it is viewed as highly profitable investment. Commercial real estate loan has been tailored for the purpose of easy and smooth buying of desired commercial real estate either for business or investment. The borrowers can utilize commercial real estate loan in buying shops, hospitals, pubs, restaurants, guest houses, industrial units or any property that has commercial angel.

There are some requirements from the lenders that have to be fulfilled for availing commercial real estate loan. The borrower is supposed to place the title deed of the real east in consideration as collateral with the loan provider. Thus the loan is fully secured. The title deed will be returned to the borrower once the loan is paid back with interest. The borrowers are also required to put some down payment. Often the down payment is up to 20 percent of the real estate value. Rest of the amount is divided into equal monthly installments. So, higher the down payment, lower the installment amount will be.

A huge amount is at stake in real estate purchasing. Lenders can even fund £1000000 under commercial real estate loan for purchasing a commercial property. The lending amount depends on repayment capacity, financial standing and credit history of the loan seeker. Commercial real estate loan comes with an Annual Percentage Rate ranging from 6 to 20 percent. The borrowers have the option of availing the loan at either fixed or variable rate of interest. The fixed rate remains constant throughout the loan repayment duration and the borrower knows how much is to be paid towards the loan. Variable interest rate will be charged as per the current market rate of interest which may increase as well.

To repay the loan, borrowers have the choice of 10 to 30 years of repayment term to choose from. Remember that lower repayment term results in higher monthly installment amount. The loan amount and repayment term should be decided carefully keeping one’s repaying capacity in mind. Otherwise, the borrower may lose the commercial real estate to the lender who may go for its repossession.

While applying for commercial real estate loan, instead of regular lenders, opt for online lenders. No documentation and fee is demanded from the lenders when applying online. Another advantage is that you get number of loan offers in response to the application and can pick up suitable loan package having easier conditions. Before concluding the loan deal, consult a real estate attorney to avoid any pitfalls.

Commercial Real Estate Loan should be taken in such a way that it makes you financially stronger. Pay off the loan at due date so that you remain in the good books of the lenders.

Deciding on a Price for Your Home

When it comes time to put your house on the market, pricing can make or break your sale. If you overprice your home, you risk watching it languish on the market, but under-pricing it means minimizing your investment. The starting point for pricing should be based on recent sales in the neighborhood, not on personal attachment. Regardless of what you think your home is worth, the pricing should be based on market value – this is why it’s important to find a good real estate agent who is familiar with the area. He or she will start by looking at what other comparable houses in your area have sold for. This is called a comparative market analysis (CMA).

Another important consideration is the market. To be safe you want to allow yourself enough wiggle room to come down in negotiations, but if it’s a buyers’ market you will have to do more to make your home stand out. Pricing your home below the competition should ensure multiple offers, thus driving up the selling price. Other tactics include being flexible around financing options and offering incentives. In any case, you want to price your home low enough that you will get traffic through – the first three weeks are important. If the house sits longer than three weeks perspective buyers may assume something’s wrong with it.

In a seller’s market it’s safe to add 10 per cent to the last comparable sale in your neighborhood and in a balanced market you may aim to add an amount based on the last comparable sale plus the average market increase calculated over the time since that sale.

Remember, pricing your house is as much an art as it is a science. In the end the price is important, but marketing and staging your home plays a vital role as well. A good realtor can guide you through this process and help you get the best price for your house.