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Published: Thursday, October 19, 2017 @ 5:01 PM
— Getting a home mortgage loan is one of the most important financial commitments most people will ever make, since the terms of your loan can affect your finances in a big way for years to come.
Start shopping for a loan before you actually begin looking at homes, since this lets you know where you stand and gives you greater negotiating power with sellers.
The following are five important things you should know before and during the home loan shopping process:
Know your credit score
Your credit score has a great effect on how easily you'll be able to get a home loan as well as on the interest rate you'll pay, according to Realtor.com. Your score takes into account your credit history, current debt and other factors. Lenders use it to determine your credit-worthiness.
Check your credit report before you start the process of applying for a home loan. This way, you can correct any errors – which do occur sometimes. If your score is particularly low, you may want to delay applying for a loan until you can improve it.
Research, and research some more.
Your Realtor may recommend a mortgage lender, and it doesn't hurt to use this as a starting point. However, if you fail to shop around, it could cost you a substantial amount of money over the years.
Consumer Reports recommends casting a wide net when you're shopping for a home loan. Try large national banks, regional banks, credit unions, online banks and mortgage brokers, but be sure to compare them within a few days of each other since rates can fluctuate.
Make sure you’re making an accurate comparison on loan quotes.
When you're getting quotes from several lenders, you'll need to make sure you're making an apples-to-apples comparison, according to CBS News. The loan terms should be the same, and so should the loan type (variable or fixed-rate, for example).
"Points" are also an important consideration. These upfront fees reduce the interest rate on your loan, and you should get each potential lender to give you a rate with and without points so you can make an accurate comparison.
Ever heard of PMI? You might need to get to know it.
If you're not making a down payment of at least 20 percent, your lender will usually require PMI, or private mortgage insurance. Although you're the one paying for the insurance, it doesn't protect your interests. Instead, it protects your lender in case you default on your loan.
Forbes recommends saving up for a 20 percent down payment if you can, since PMI adds to your monthly costs.
Prepare yourself for closing costs.
Be aware of the closing costs you'll pay as part of your loan, Investopedia recommends. You'll be stuck with some of them, but others can sometimes be negotiated. These include application fees, underwriting fees, mortgage rate lock fees and loan processing fees.
Published: Monday, October 23, 2017 @ 12:59 PM
— Only 15 percent of Americans are investing in real estate other than their primary residence, according to a real estate investing study by Realty Shares. In fact, two-thirds of Americans believe that investing in real estate is too difficult, too costly or beyond their capabilities. This might be true if they were considering commercial real estate investing, which can be a risky move for new investors, but there are safer options.
What is real estate investing?
Investing in real estate means buying property to earn income and build wealth, either on your own or with the help of real estate investment companies. Many investors own more than one property, and their earnings include rent paid by tenants and the equity they build through appreciation. Investment-property owners have different tax considerations for their investment properties than they do for their primary residence.
Investing in real estate doesn’t have to be intimidating. Here are seven ways to start investing in real estate now:
Buying rental property is one way to get started in real estate investing. Buying a rental property starts with choosing the right property, and then finding renters, maintaining the property, dealing with tenants and collecting rent each month.
One stumbling block might be locating an affordable property worth investing in. “Traditional real estate investing is alive and well, although it’s largely dependent on geography,” said Aaron Milledge, founding partner and chief compliance officer of Targeted Wealth Solutions, LLC. “In some places, home prices have appreciated so much that it may be difficult to find a lucrative deal.”
Rental properties not only provide rental income but also tax benefits not available with other investment opportunities. An additional advantage is that you have more control over your rental property than you do over investments such as the stock market.
House flipping involves buying a property at a discount, improving it for the purpose of appreciating its value, and then selling it at a profit. A live-in flip is a property the investor lives in while renovating it.
Living in your flip benefits you in two ways: First, you can make money when you sell the house later. Second, you avoid having to pay for a separate home to live in.
“Flipping a house — acquiring, repairs, and selling — can be completed in six months and result in a substantial payday,” said Lucas Machado, real estate investor and founder of Home Heroes, LLC. “Flips can earn tens of thousands of dollars in a short time frame. It’s the best strategy for those that need capital in the near future.”
Multifamily properties are buildings that house more than one family. The fact that people always need a place to live results in consistent demand for rental units regardless of the overall economic environment.
Investing in multifamily homes can be lucrative if it’s done properly. Justin Taber, real estate investor and a licensed realtor in Ohio, recommends living onsite. “While you live in this property, you will be living either for free or heavily subsidized by renters,” he said. “When you move out, you will be making money. In about 30 years, once this property is paid off, your cash flow will be quite substantial — just in time for you to start thinking about retirement.”
Crowdfunding is one of the newest and easiest ways to access the real estate markets. Rather than buying an entire property or financing a development project on your own, you can buy into a very small share of a property or project using a real estate crowdfunding platform.
Not all platforms are created equal. Look for one led by real estate professionals qualified to screen investments. From there, you can choose which specific real estate investments you want to buy into. Distribution of future gains is proportionally based on the ownership shares investors purchased. “These private placements are illiquid, though, meaning that you may have a hard time selling your investment if you need to raise cash quickly,” said Milledge.
Real estate investment trusts are a special form of security that invests in real estate. Unlike most other investment vehicles, REITs must pay out at least 90 percent of their taxable income as dividends to investors. When you invest in a REIT, you’re essentially paying a professional management team to do the work of investing your money in real estate while you reap the profits of REITs.
REITs are an easy way to invest in real estate because you don’t need tons of money. “The initial contribution to invest in a REIT is very low,” said John Barnes, certified financial planner and founder of The Annuity Assistant. “For example, you could buy shares of a REIT which manages apartment complexes for $500. Contrast this with a direct purchase in an apartment building, which might cost you $500,000 and the many risks that go with it.”
Real estate wholesaling
Real estate wholesaling is when there is a middleman involved in the transaction between the seller and the buyer, with the wholesaler serving as the middleman.
Kyle Alfriend, owner of Alfriend Real Estate Group, sums up what it’s like to be the middleman. “You focus on only finding the property, negotiating the price, and then selling that agreement to another investor,” he said. “This is called wholesaling and requires no out-of-pocket money from you.”
The fine line of separation between real estate wholesaling, which doesn’t require a real estate license, and real estate brokering, which does require a license, has led some states to set guidelines for wholesaling activities. Texas law, for example, requires that unlicensed wholesalers disclose their financial interest to prospective buyers.
Rent out a space in your home or on your property
Renting out part of your home or property is probably the most immediately lucrative investment you can make, and you won’t need outside funding or a new piece of property. Instead, find opportunities within the property you already own.
Perhaps you’re a homeowner with a garage apartment that only needs a bit of TLC to make it ready for renters. Or maybe you have a spare room in your home that’s sitting empty. With a little bit of money up front, you can start renting it to a tenant almost immediately. Alternatively, advertise the room as a vacation rental on an online booking site such as Airbnb.
Published: Tuesday, January 20, 2015 @ 9:41 AM
Updated: Tuesday, January 20, 2015 @ 9:41 AM
It’s not unusual for some high-end developments to throw in a few freebies to sweeten the pot, but one West Palm Beach, Florida project is taking it to a whole new level.
The Z Palm Beach condominium is offering a complimentary Tesla Model S with each unit. The luxe electric car costs about $71,070, according to the Tesla website.
The unique development will have just eight units starting at $2.3 million. They are expected to be open by the end of the year.
“The innovative Z Palm Beach Residences lifestyle extends to the road with a complimentary Tesla Model S,” the Z Palm Beach website says. “The car will be parked in their dedicated spot and will be titled to them to complement their residential purchase.”
While the building is just a shell now, the posh units will average 4,000 square feet under air, include private elevators, biometric security systems, a rooftop pool, wellness center, five-story atrium, solar energy and wind turbines.
Of course, charging stations for the new Tesla’s will also be available, according the Z Palm Beach website.
The developer for the project is Glozal Group. Designer Steven Gurowitz founded Interiors by Steven G more than three decades ago and now has 70 employees.
Published: Friday, October 02, 2015 @ 11:57 AM
Updated: Sunday, October 04, 2015 @ 3:47 PM
Television personality and heart surgeon Dr. Oz and his wife are evidently behind the purchase of Louwana, a landmarked house built in 1919 that changed hands last week via an $18 million deed, according to records filed with the Palm Beach County Clerk’s Office.
A three-year $5 million mortgage on the beachfront house bears the signatures of Mehmet C. Oz, better known simply as Dr. Oz, and his wife, author and television host Lisa Oz, courthouse records show.
The 12-bedroom, 12,483-square-foot house has four fireplaces, a guest house, a cabana, a tennis court, a three-car garage and extensive gardens, according to its sales listings. There are also original Mizner details including a “Scheherazade” stairway, cypress ceilings and original blue octagonal tile floors and walls in the upstairs master bathroom. Louwana sits on a 1.2-acre lot with 150 feet of oceanfront, a little more than a half-mile south of the Palm Beach Country Club.
The house has a more informal floor plan, with almost all of the rooms capturing ocean views.
Dr. Oz has been a longtime visitor to Palm Beach, where his wife’s family has vacationed for decades, according to a story published several years ago in Palm Beach Life. Property records show Lisa Oz’s parents, Dr. Gerald and Emily Jane Lemole, own two houses on the island.
“Louwana is in a great location. It’s a charming, beautiful house,” said Cristina Condon, a Sotheby’s International Realty agent who said a confidentiality agreement prevented her from discussing the sale, the seller or the buyer.
Condon initially listed the house in early 2008 at $30 million. In 2013 the property was priced at $22 million. The house had been under contract since last year, said Condon. She didn’t provide a reason for the prolonged closing process.
“Every notable visitor or resident of Palm Beach either stayed or was entertained there over the years,” said historian Augustus Mayhew.
Published: Saturday, March 26, 2016 @ 8:25 PM
Updated: Sunday, March 27, 2016 @ 1:08 PM
An oceanfront mansion Donald Trump sold to a Russian billionaire for $95 million in 2008 is going to be torn down.
The demolition of the estate, which was the largest single residential sale ever in Palm Beach, Florida, was approved this week.
Long before he became the 2016 Republican presidential front-runner, Trump purchased the mansion in 2004 at a foreclosure auction for $41.4 million. He then renovated the property before selling it to fertilizer mogul Dmitry Rybolovlev in July 2008, five months before the Great Recession hit Palm Beach.
The Architectural Commission green-lighted the demolition in a 4-3 vote.
Commissioners were not given specifics about what is being planned at the property, which measures 6 acres with 475 feet of oceanfront views.
But sources familiar with the estate told Palm Beach Daily News that it may be subdivided and redeveloped into two or three houses.
The main house encompasses about 62,000 square feet. Outbuildings bring the total square footage to 81,738, according to property records.
Landscape architect Lynn Bender told the board that once the demolition was complete, the lot would be resodded until plans for it were finalized. Only the perimeter walls, fences, access gates, columns and small portion of main entry driveway will be retained. A fountain at the main entrance also will be removed.
Over the past several years, the estate was among the disputed assets in contentious divorce proceedings, stemming from 2009, between Rybolovlev and his ex-wife, Elena. Last June, a Swiss judge reduced her $4.8 billion payout to about $604 million, but the couple reportedly settled for an undisclosed amount said to be close to $1 billion. Details were also not disclosed about whether ownership of the house had changed.
Commissioners discussed the project for about 25 minutes Wednesday. Newly-elected chairman Richard Sammons recused himself from the agenda item because of conflict, although he did not provide specifics as to why.
Anthony Mauro, of Mauro Brothers LLC, spoke on behalf of the owner’s representatives at the meeting.
A carriage house built in the 1930s is the oldest building on the property. The French provincial-style main house, finished by Gosman in 1988, has one story and a basement. “The house is in relatively good shape,” Mauro said.
Commissioner Michael Small said he was given a tour. “It truly is an exquisite property,” he said.
Mauro said there are a number of people interested in buying it.