30
Jun

Sparkling Future For Estate Agency

rt20These days the growth factors have been taking a very vast and quick turn which is entirely leaps and bounds and coping with these immediate changes is something very challenging for the different industries. Every industry has its own setup and this may move according to the demands made and the changes evolving. The technology industry needs a very quick response if a business needs to be in the market for a future intent. However, the property and estate agent industry has now been on a steady position and there are bright chances for it to remain income generating in the future. On the other hand, the internet service providers which used to offer the card system have become extinct.

When it comes to focusing on the real estate business specifically one may expect the brightness of future for a number of reasons a few of these reasons may include the following:

Boom of Residential Spaces

These days at every point what we see is the construction of a new residential space which may be a bungalow or a huge building. The population is increasing day by day and with this the demand of residential properties is also increasing with the same pace. Therefore the future of estate agencies here may prove being a very outstanding one because when it comes to the sales and purchases of these residential spaces there is a major chance of the business of real estate to take a boom. The relation between the real estate and the residential properties is a direct one because people need a home for shelter and real estate may give a perfect deal.

Trend of Shopping Malls

Another very commonly increased concept all over the world is the prevailing concept of shopping malls. Previously people accustomed to run after the differed shops in different corners but with the passage of time these malls are taking very significant place in the lives of every individual. In this regard, the development of malls may leave out numerous shops and stores on individual basis which may need a selling agent and here the role of the real estate is something essential. Many builders may approach different agents for the purpose of either purchasing the individual shops left out or the builders working over the mall projects may move towards real estate agents for huge lands. In every case, the future of the real estate agency is a brighter one.

20
Jun

4 Things That Will Help Fetch the Right Resale Value for Your Property

rt19So, you have decided to part with your home. Wondering how to get the best deal that will justify holding it is an investment property until now. Before you put up a notice for sale, or start passing the news to your near and dear, consider the fact that the reality market is some parts of the country has been sluggish.

Hence, it is worthwhile to put in a little bit of effort that will make your property look a lot more attractive to potential buyers. Here are some expert tips that will help enhance the resale value of your home by tens of thousands if not few lakhs.

Pep up the exteriors

As soon as a home is bought, homeowners spend time, money and energy in designing the interiors to their whims and fancy. What they miss to see is that, the exteriors play a major role in creating an impression in the minds of a potential buyer than the interior. It is the exterior that is first seen before they take a walkthrough of the interiors. Hence, pay attention to pepping up your exteriors in equal measure to the interiors to get a better resale value.

Creating additional space

An extra room is fine, but what if it serves no purpose? Moreover, what if that extra room does not fit into the ergonomic layout of the home properly? Instead, think of ways to increase the space inside the home. There are plenty of architect firms with interior designers and vasthu consultants who help altering the physical dimensions of any home to make it appear spacious and airy. A spacious home will fetch a higher resale price than one which boasts about a tiny and ill-fitting extra room.

Setting right minor repairs

Like drops of water that collect together to form a messy puddle, a number of unattended minor repairs can wash away a significant portion of your property’s resale value. A prospective buyer will be more interested in knowing the present physical condition and the expected longevity of the house before making a final decision.

The scene of leaking walls, falling patches and plumbing problems can definitely take a hit on the property’s sale worthiness. Hence, make sure all minor repairs are attended to on a regular basis.

Keep a cushion for price negotiation

Indians are ruthless negotiators. We love to bargain for the best deal in every transaction. Especially when it is about buying a new home expect the negotiation process to be fiercer than what you can imagine. Hence, make sure you price your property with some cushion for reduction during the negotiation process.

You might want to take into consideration the existing market rate of similar properties and how the deals have ended before fixing the price or agreeing to the price offered by the buyer.

10
Jun

Five Renovations That Don’t Increase Home Appraisal Value

rt18Every homeowner must do routine maintenance to their home that more or less just maintains its current condition. However, some homeowners decide they want to improve their home’s value and marketability. The amount of value certain improvements cost may not add as much value as the cost to do it.

Homeowner’s are very biased when it comes to their own home, they see the things they have done to it and think dollar for dollar the home’s value should go up with each improvement, this is not often the case. A potential buyer or real estate appraiser may be unimpressed with certain improvements, what you must keep in mind is that what you view as a valuable upgrade may not be the same as what the real estate market sees as a valuable upgrade.

Below I am going to outline Five Renovations That Don’t Increase Home Appraisal Value.

1. Swimming Pools

There aren’t many areas of the world where backyard pools are common place. Before adding a pool think about your neighbourhood, do the majority of properties have pools? Would a potential buyer expect there to be a pool? If pools are not common place in your area and/or have a very short season you likely will not be adding much value to your home, definitely not as much as the cost to put one in. In fact, Many potential home buyers view swimming pools as dangerous, expensive to maintain and insurance claims waiting to happen. Potential buyers with small children could really be turned off by there being a swimming pool. In-ground pools come at a very steep price, my opinion is if buyers in your area would not expect a pool then this money is better spent elsewhere as you are not likely recoup the cost in a sale or appraisal.

2. Elaborate Landscaping

Home buyers and appraisers definitely appreciate good landscaping, but there is a line where elaborate landscaping no longer adds its equivalent in value to what it costs. Keep in mind that the next person buying your home may not want to take on the upkeep work of elaborate landscaping and may not want to have to hire a professional landscaper to take care of it. An appraiser will also only assess so much value to landscaping in their report as not a lot of emphasis is put on landscaping by the market, how often have you heard of someone buying a home because it had great landscaping? sure it is a plus but you are better off to just meet the standard in your area than to get too carried away.

3. Overbuilding for the Neighborhood

It is better to have the other homes in your neighbourhood “pull-up” your home’s value than to have them drag it down. Your neighbourhood plays a large factor in your home’s value, you do not want a large, elaborate, two storey home surrounded by older bungalows. The people that will be looking for that type of home will go to a neighbourhood where it will be surrounded by similar properties. Likewise, it will be very difficult for an appraiser to find similar comparables in your area and this could lead to a lower value being assessed.

4. High-End Upgrades

Most people are on a strict budget when it comes to home improvements, so what they will do is they will pick a room and do a complete remodel adding higher end flooring and fully modernize the room. This is good and I understand the strategy, next time you have some extra funds, pick another room and the same and after 5 years or so your home will be fully updated. But does that full remodel of that first or even second room really add as much value to your home as it costs? My opinion is now, if you full remodel one room and then plan on selling or getting an appraisal the appraiser is going to see the other 80 or 90% of the home is still dated and would be considered a project. An alternative strategy might be to take all of those funds that you were planning on sinking into an elaborate bathroom and spread them over the whole home, the cost of a full bathroom remodel could redo the flooring and paint throughout the entire home and this would be look upon much more favorably by a potential buyer or appraiser in their assessment of value than you just having one high quality room.

5. Invisible Improvements

New plumbing, electrical or HVAC might be necessary, but don’t expect to be adding dollar for dollar value for their cost. Home buyers and appraisers simply expect these systems to be up to date and in good working order. These items would be considered more home maintenance than home improvements.

The Bottom Line

When spending money on your home assess why you are doing it, if it is purely for your own comfort and enjoyment with no real intent in adding value then go ahead and add that pool. But if you are consciously trying to add value to your home then where to spend your renovation budget requires much more thought. Consider speaking with a realtor or appraiser and ask them where they feel your funds are best spent to improve value.

1
Jun

You Need to Know This About Home Appraisals

rt17A home appraisal is a critical component of any real estate transaction that involves a mortgage loan. If you are refinancing you will need an appraisal, if you are selling your home to someone that needs to get a mortgage, he or she will need to have an appraisal done.

What Is a Home Appraisal?

A home appraisal is an opinion on value by a qualified, unbiased third party. Mortgage lenders require an appraisal to be completed when you are refinancing your mortgage. An appraisal is also completed in a transaction when someone is buying a home to make sure they have not over paid for it.

Mortgage Lenders require appraisal to ensure that homeowners are not over paying for a property because if the borrower stops paying for the mortgage the lender will take action to remove the borrower from the home and sell it to recoup their money, this is why it is important for the home to be worth more than the money loaned. In essence, a home appraisal is a lawyer of protection for the mortgage lender.

The Appraisal Process and How Appraisal Values Are Determined

These are the main factors that influence your home’s appraisal value: current market trends which are reflected in the comparable properties the appraiser selects, the house’s features,, square footage, number rooms/bedrooms & bathrooms, condition, is the property considered up to date, landscaping and exterior condition and parking (garage). The appraiser will do an interior and exterior inspection for the above noted factors and will also make note of any deferred maintenance which will be included in the report for the lender.

The appraiser will complete his report on a standard report form that is required by their appraisal jurisdiction. The information that has to be included in an appraisal report will not vary much from Canada to the United States.

A standard report includes the following: comparable sales, a street map, building sketch, square footage, photos of the front, back and street scene of the home, photographs of each comparable property used; a map showing the location of the comparables in relation to the subject property, plot map, description of intended users of the appraisal report, photo and description of each room in the house.

The cost of a residential appraisal report ranges from $250-$500 and the homeowner is typically responsible for paying the appraiser..

What Homebuyers Need to Know

When you’re buying a home an appraisal could potentially sink your deal. If you make an offer to purchase a house, towards the end of the home buying process your mortgage lender will require that the home being purchased be appraised. If the home appraises for less than your offer to purchase the lender will not provide the loan, however, this could be good for a buyer as well because you may be able to negotiate to lower purchase price but very often at the point of the home appraisal in the buying process an agreement of purchase and sale is already in place.. If a bad appraisal is standing between you and your home purchase, look into getting a second opinion via a second appraisal. Appraisers are not perfect and it is possible for them to make mistakes.

What Home Sellers Need to Know

As a seller, a low appraisal means that you may have to lower your home’s price to get it sold. Lenders won’t approve loans for more than a home is worth, and holding out for an all-cash buyer who doesn’t require an appraisal as a condition of completing the transaction is unlikely to net you a higher sales price. No one wants to overpay for a home but more importantly a mortgage lender will not over lend on the value of a property, therefor if the appraisal comes in lower than what your buyer is offering this will likely sink your deal unless you lower the price.

What Refinancing Homeowners Need to Know

If you’re refinancing your mortgage and looking to access some of the equity in the home the appraised value is very important. Mortgage lenders will have maximum loan to value ratio that they will go up to so the larger the difference between what you owe on your current mortgage and what the home is appraised at obviously the better. Having a better loan to value ratio will also make obtaining the lowest possible mortgage rates possible. Lenders put a lot of emphasis on this ratio so a high appraisal value is very important.

The Bottom Line

The home appraisal is a very standard process these days in any real estate transaction involving a mortgage loan, it should be taken serious, you should know how the appraisal works and what the value is based upon, if you feel your home is undervalued you can speak with the appraiser and make your case or get a second opinion.

27
May

The Importance of Master Planned Communities

rt16Why Master Planned Communities?

According to predictions, there will be changes around the globe in the future that will challenge the way people live. These changes include:

  • Much higher gasoline prices
  • Greater emphasis on energy efficiency
  • Environmental protection and other green features
  • Growing water shortages
  • A 24-7 world that will demand amenities that are open 24-7

To be able to keep up with the global changes, innovations are needed, especially in the real state industry. Understanding the future requires understanding the demographics and how they influenced the market. Thus the birth of the Master Planned Community.

What Is A Master Planed Community?

A Master Planned Community (MPC) is a large scale self-sustaining residential plan. It has a number of various essential amenities not normally found in a regular housing subdivision. A Master Planned Community gives the ability to work, live and play all within walking distance. Some real estate professionals consider this type of luxury real estate development a “Mixed Use” development since they include retail, housing and entertainment In previous times, clubhouses and pools were at the top of home buyers’ lists. Today, access to neighborhood retail services, hi quality restaurants and health care is becoming the top priority according to the latest research. People want to get access to everything they need quickly and at reasonable prices, thus walkable access to civic use areas is in high demand.

Convenience

Master Planned Communities are designed to provide a master planned convenience. In its varied housing within a community layout, homes are designed to conform to the lifestyle of diverse generations. They are created to provide both soft and hard amenities and services in the way people want them delivered. These luxury communities facilitate residents building and living comfortable lives and having more time to spend with their families. This lifestyle also enhances connectivity between neighbors and their surroundings through shared spaces created for everyone across varied demographics to use whether alone or together.

Important Aspects of Master Planned Communities

To highlight the benefits and most significant aspects of Master Planned Communities, listed below are some of the reasons why it is important to the home buyer.

1. Better Access to Important Resources

As mentioned above, people nowadays want to have easy and quick access from their own homes to their most important resources. In regular housing subdivisions, however, people bought all lands and built huge properties to maximize their lots, leaving no space for other amenities. In Master Planned Communities, lots and houses are planned accordingly by providing a required minimum and maximum size. That ensures that there are more open spaces for the building of other amenities. For example, park and play spaces are already built within the community and cannot be removed or replaced by any other infrastructures. In Master Planned Communities, virtually everything a resident needs is within the community or within short distances. This kind of setting is not just good for working parents, young professionals, aspiring entrepreneurs, and retiring baby boomers, it is also great for children going in and out of school most of all.

2. A Sense of Community Among Residents

The quality of neighbors defines a community. Not surprisingly, most people living in a luxury real estate development such as a Master Planned Community share a common interest which instantly creates a sense of togetherness among neighbors. As a result, residents feel safer, more serene, and more secure. Community events are organized within MPCs to provide residents with an avenue to socialize, get to know each other, and build strong connections. Additionally, the Master Planned Communities are founded on good governance with the rules and responsibilities of every community member that are declared beforehand. Many Luxury Master Planned Luxury Communities provide a variety of different community activities based upon the area within the PUD. For instance, in the luxury area, where homes start at $850,000 or so, you may find high end marinas, with wet slips and dry boat storage. Some luxury developments even have their own private beach in the luxury sectors. In the sections of the Planned Unit Development (PUD) where the homes are in the $300,000’s you may find community activities that involve fishing and pool parties.

3. Incorporated Agriculture

Gardens owned by the community is becoming popular in some Master Planned Communities. MPCs work to assist its residents to have their own local food production through either providing community gardens or incorporating small-scale farms.

4. Best Practices for Handling Transportation Issues

The use of multiple trails for biking and walking as well as the presence of sidewalks are necessary features of Master Planned Communities. And, as a solution to the most frequent and current demands of the community on transportation, MPCs implement various, sometimes combined, options of transporting people such as an electric autonomous vehicle systems, bus transit stops, car-sharing services, charging stations for electric vehicles, providing golf carts for driving within the community, or implementing shuttle services.

Other Significant Aspects

Play spaces, fitness boot camps, sand entry beaches, and co-workspaces are a few additional amenities to present in Master Planned Communities. Health and wellness is also one thing that MPCs are giving special attention to as more and more people are wanting to become healthier. The great outdoors with fresh, local produce and fantastic health care are things they are incorporating into the community in addition to sidewalks, pedestrian ways, multi-use trails, and social gathering places. On top of it all, Master Planned Communities have long-term increase in value which leads to great Return On Investment for home owners if planning to sell or rent their property. Master Planned Communities are also great for entrepreneurs. Business opportunities tend to be in abundance as many new partnership opportunities with companies that offer products and services wanted by the new generation of consumers emerge.

19
May

You Need to Know This About Home Appraisals

rt15A home appraisal is a critical component of any real estate transaction that involves a mortgage loan. If you are refinancing you will need an appraisal, if you are selling your home to someone that needs to get a mortgage, he or she will need to have an appraisal done.

What Is a Home Appraisal?

A home appraisal is an opinion on value by a qualified, unbiased third party. Mortgage lenders require an appraisal to be completed when you are refinancing your mortgage. An appraisal is also completed in a transaction when someone is buying a home to make sure they have not over paid for it.

Mortgage Lenders require appraisal to ensure that homeowners are not over paying for a property because if the borrower stops paying for the mortgage the lender will take action to remove the borrower from the home and sell it to recoup their money, this is why it is important for the home to be worth more than the money loaned. In essence, a home appraisal is a lawyer of protection for the mortgage lender.

The Appraisal Process and How Appraisal Values Are Determined

These are the main factors that influence your home’s appraisal value: current market trends which are reflected in the comparable properties the appraiser selects, the house’s features,, square footage, number rooms/bedrooms & bathrooms, condition, is the property considered up to date, landscaping and exterior condition and parking (garage). The appraiser will do an interior and exterior inspection for the above noted factors and will also make note of any deferred maintenance which will be included in the report for the lender.

The appraiser will complete his report on a standard report form that is required by their appraisal jurisdiction. The information that has to be included in an appraisal report will not vary much from Canada to the United States.

A standard report includes the following: comparable sales, a street map, building sketch, square footage, photos of the front, back and street scene of the home, photographs of each comparable property used; a map showing the location of the comparables in relation to the subject property, plot map, description of intended users of the appraisal report, photo and description of each room in the house.

The cost of a residential appraisal report ranges from $250-$500 and the homeowner is typically responsible for paying the appraiser..

What Homebuyers Need to Know

When you’re buying a home an appraisal could potentially sink your deal. If you make an offer to purchase a house, towards the end of the home buying process your mortgage lender will require that the home being purchased be appraised. If the home appraises for less than your offer to purchase the lender will not provide the loan, however, this could be good for a buyer as well because you may be able to negotiate to lower purchase price but very often at the point of the home appraisal in the buying process an agreement of purchase and sale is already in place.. If a bad appraisal is standing between you and your home purchase, look into getting a second opinion via a second appraisal. Appraisers are not perfect and it is possible for them to make mistakes.

What Home Sellers Need to Know

As a seller, a low appraisal means that you may have to lower your home’s price to get it sold. Lenders won’t approve loans for more than a home is worth, and holding out for an all-cash buyer who doesn’t require an appraisal as a condition of completing the transaction is unlikely to net you a higher sales price. No one wants to overpay for a home but more importantly a mortgage lender will not over lend on the value of a property, therefor if the appraisal comes in lower than what your buyer is offering this will likely sink your deal unless you lower the price.

What Refinancing Homeowners Need to Know

If you’re refinancing your mortgage and looking to access some of the equity in the home the appraised value is very important. Mortgage lenders will have maximum loan to value ratio that they will go up to so the larger the difference between what you owe on your current mortgage and what the home is appraised at obviously the better. Having a better loan to value ratio will also make obtaining the lowest possible mortgage rates possible. Lenders put a lot of emphasis on this ratio so a high appraisal value is very important.

The Bottom Line

The home appraisal is a very standard process these days in any real estate transaction involving a mortgage loan, it should be taken serious, you should know how the appraisal works and what the value is based upon, if you feel your home is undervalued you can speak with the appraiser and make your case or get a second opinion.

14
May

How to Deal With a Low Home Appraisal

rt14Want to learn how to deal with a low home appraisal? In a competitive real estate market, a home being sold may enter into a multiple offer situation which could potentially raise the purchase price above the comparable sales in the area. In a situation like this, it is possible that the home appraisal for the buyer’s mortgage lender will come in lower than the purchase price. In a real estate market that favors buyers (home prices are soft or declining), sellers can also face a home appraisal that is lower than what they paid for the home if they bought the house at the peak of the market. Be aware that a low home appraisal can happen in any type of real estate market.

Why Do Low Appraisals Happen?

Here are a few reasons why a home appraisals may come in low:

  • Inflated home price because of multiple offers.
  • Declining real estate market due to a large inventory of homes and not enough buyers.
  • The seller has overpriced the home.
  • The real estate appraiser lacks experience and doesn’t understand the influences on value.
  • The real estate appraiser incorrectly selected his comparable sales for his report which may have resulted in a lower home value than what should have been assessed.

Solutions for Low Appraisals

If a low home appraisal is threatening to sink your sale, purchase or refinance, stay calm, here are a couple solutions:

    • The buyer can pay you the difference between the purchase price you agreed upon and the appraised price in cash, you can sell the property for the appraised value and get the difference from the agreed upon higher price in a lump sum cash payment if the buyer is able to do so.

 

    • If you are the seller of the home you do have the option of lowering the selling price. If you don’t you will run the risk of every buyer running into the same problem and not being able to get a mortgage because of a low appraisal.

 

    • The seller can offer to carry a second mortgage for the difference.

 

    • If the buyer feels they absolutely have to have your home and you are not willing to lower the selling price and the buyer cannot come up with a lump sum to pay you (as mentioned in option 1) you could accept having them make payments to you over a period of time instead of the lump sum.

 

    • Get a second opinion, have the buyer ask the mortgage lender for a list of their approved appraisers and select another company on this list and hope for a higher value, you could end up wasting another $300 on an appraisal but appraisers are not perfect and a mistake could have happened.

 

  • Cancel the transaction.

Have your realtor put in your purchase and sale agreement a loan contingency that if the home appraises for a lower value that you will get your money back (if you’re the buyer). If you are a seller being affected by a low appraisal propose on of the above options to your buyer if you would like to try and salvage the transaction.

3
May

This Housing Bubble Is Set to Pop

rt13For generations, it was always a good bet to invest in a place Americans call home. Housing had almost always increased in value, and you received a multiple of whatever you invested into it in your total return.

Until 2008 that is.

That’s when home prices tanked and our economy entered a recession, leaving people like you and me holding the proverbial paper bag when it comes to overpriced and overleveraged mortgages.

Since then, the root cause of the housing bubble has remained in place – easy-money policies by the Federal Reserve to fuel lending. It has led to another housing bubble.

One that is set to burst sooner than most are anticipating.

Since 2009, the Fed has pinned interest rates near zero in an attempt to prop up our aging, lackluster economy.

With a sub-2% GDP growth rate, it’s hard to believe that this has been a success.

But the easy-money policies have propped up aspects of the market, just not in the pockets of the everyday American. Instead, it has bloated the pockets of Wall Street and investors.

Had someone told you in 2006, 2007 or even most of 2008 to sell your home, you likely would have ignored them. Not many people on Main Street noticed the lending practices going on behind the scenes and understood the extent of the bubble that was in place.

But hindsight is always 20/20.

The problem now is spotting similar bubbles going forward.

I’ll be the first to say that timing the week, month or even year that a bubble will pop is extremely difficult. But that doesn’t mean you can’t notice when that day is near, and for housing it may be just around the corner.

The Truth About the Housing Bubble

There is a substantial divergence as we approach 2015. Prices have climbed about 50% since 2000 and rebounded strongly from the bottom in 2010 to 2011. But existing home sales – the amount of homes actually sold – have lagged and are up just 5% since 2000.

Median prices have topped their bubbled peaks set in 2005, but this time, the amount of homes sold is 30% less.

That means we are seeing prices set new highs as fewer buyers are in the market.

The rationale is that housing currently has a tight supply, meaning there aren’t enough homes to meet the amount of potential buyers. That may be the case to some extent. But right now, homes that are either in foreclosure, bank-owned or completely vacant are near all-time highs.

Clearly there is more going on here than just a lack of supply. The reality is that many buyers are investors, buying properties and sitting on them. This crimps supply, which helps raise prices.

Back in 2008, you could have heard the same story. The goal was to flip houses, or own a few of them to rent out. We are seeing these actions roaring back today.

And if supply was so tight, buyers would simply build new homes, but those numbers are no better than the existing home sales.

There’s a big discrepancy from new homes sold versus the price these homes are fetching – and this is supply that is practically infinite as we can always build a new home.

Something’s got to give, and it’s going to happen soon.

Fed-Fueled Crash

I see one of two scenarios at play. Which one do you think will ring true?

  • Homebuyers continue to fork over more dollars to buy properties while we sit with stagnant wage growth, stagnant economic growth and low-wage jobs being about all that’s created.
  • We are on the edge of a bubble larger than the one we experienced less than a decade ago as housing prices race back down to where it is affordable and sees demand from new buyers.

The Federal Reserve is held accountable for this fiasco. If it goes forward with a rate increase in the near future, it will be us who pay the price of another bubble.

There’s only one action to take if you ask me – lower your exposure to the industry.

In stocks, that’s homebuilders and mortgage originators. Avoid them at all costs. In your personal investments, that’s being prepared for another real estate shock.

28
Apr

The Next Real Estate Collapse

rt12As daily commutes go, I have nothing to complain about when I point my car toward Sovereign HQ each morning. The traffic congestion on Interstate 95, South Florida’s main artery, is horrendous. So I take the scenic route, the coastal beach road known as A1A.

The views of the Atlantic Ocean are nice. But more recently, I enjoy the drive for a different reason. It’s a ringside seat to the extravagance of the now-deflating luxury housing bubble I warned about three months ago. Recent data point more ominously to a serious problem in this sector.

Each day, my drive on A1A takes me past what is the single most expensive new home for sale in the United States: Le Palais Royal, under construction for the last five years.

Situated on 4.4 acres of beachfront, the “spec mansion” features the Atlantic Ocean as its backyard. The front yard is a nearly 500-foot deep-water expanse of the Intracoastal Waterway – perfect for even the largest private super yacht.

The mansion’s soaring front gates, accented in 22-karat gold leaf, make it sort of hard to miss as you drive by. Just beyond the gates is a 60,000 square foot home with 11 bedrooms, 17 bathrooms, an 18-seat IMAX home theater (with its 50-foot-wide screen), and a 30-car subterranean garage. The building plans call for a second phase on the vacant beachfront lot next door. That’s where the ice-skating rink, go-cart track, bowling alley and private nightclub are supposed to go.

And it can all be yours for just $159 million.

But the tide of money fueling the purchase of luxury homes, big or small, is receding as we speak.

Luxury Homes: The Next Real Estate Collapse?

Largely ignored in the holiday rush was the news that luxury home prices fell 2.2% during the third quarter – the first such decline in nearly four years.

According to the Redfin real estate brokerage, wealthy clients are stepping back out of fear from stock market volatility, and are worrying about tying up too much of their wealth in non-liquid assets, especially if another real estate collapse appears.

The decline is even more notable because luxury homes serve as something of a bellwether for the rest of the “non-lux” real estate market (which still rose just under 4% for the same period).

The original housing-bubble stocks of a decade ago might offer a clue on the timing. Shares of Toll Brothers (NYSE: TOL), the nation’s largest builder of luxury homes, peaked in July of 2005 before starting their precipitous decline. But the stock prices of builders focused on the low- and mid-priced ends of the market stayed strong – at least at first. For instance, the shares of Lennar Brothers (NYSE: LEN), one of the biggest homebuilders in the country, didn’t crack until April of 2006.

Interestingly, Toll Brothers’ shares today are down nearly 25% from their post-recovery highs (to the lowest price in 13 months), while Lennar shares are just starting to break down.

California Dreamin’?

Chinese buyers have been key players in the run-up of America’s luxury home prices. And their influence is felt most strongly in California and the San Francisco Bay area, the hottest of America’s real estate markets this go-round.

Not coincidentally, it appears Chinese buyers may now be pulling back there as well, possibly ushering in the next real estate collapse. Home sales in California fell 20.5% in November – more than twice the monthly average (it’s traditionally a weak month prior to the end of year holidays). October’s home sales also fell a little over 5%, while dropping 1.5% in September.

For now, the real estate community appears to be dismissing the collapse of sales as the result of changes in new loan disclosure rules by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and what is usually a softer seasonal period for home sales anyway.

I don’t blame them. As a media consultant once told me back in my reporting days, “Never let too many facts get in the way of a good story.”

But the “Chinese buyers” real estate gravy train is grinding to a halt fast. Last summer’s 40% decline in the Shanghai Composite Index should have been the first clue. The second was the relentlessly positive “it’s just temporary” narrative spun by so many brokers and property developers who don’t want the ride to end. The third clue may be upon us here at the start of 2016 as the Shanghai index lurches lower yet again.

21
Apr

Rent or Buy Which Option Makes Sense for You

The question to Rent or Buy on a notice board reminderIf you are the individual who is weighing the option of buying or renting a house, you need to consider a few factors. Your financial situation has to be assessed for your long-term planning and that it is not that simple as well.

Understanding your house budget and expenses

It is wise to review your household budget in comparison to the expenses before you begin looking for a new house. You have to find out how much can you afford to pay for accommodation without putting a burden on the budget.

You simply cannot go for rent or mortgage payments if you are unable to pay them on time. Several factors are involved both for renting or buying that should be considered prior to making a decision.

What are the requirements while renting or buying a house?

Your credit history and credit score are crucial and that they will be looked upon by the rental agency or the landlords for the mortgage or rent. You will be checked whether you are can pay the bills on time and are not overdue with the loans or the credit card balances. You have to check your score and credit history before applying for the apartment or the mortgage.

Other factors that are important include your strong employment history, W-2 forms and current bank statements that have to depict a good picture. A few rental agencies require professional or personal references as well as background check and contact information from the previous landlord respectively.

When is renting a viable option?

If you have uncertain employment: According to Evelyn Zohlen (financial planner), if you are unsure about your living paycheck and job situation, it is best to save money for the future living expenses. This will help you to build an emergency fund for you as well.

Limited funds: Renting is the better alternative when you do not have enough money for making the down payment or for managing the additional costs of owning the house.

Short time frame: If you have an assignment that lasts two years or you plan to move abroad in a couple of years, then renting a house is a better option.

When is purchasing a house a feasible option?

Buying a house only makes sense when you have the ability to cover the additional costs for owning a house. It is vital that you pay the closing costs and the down payment before you buy a house. It is seen that many banks receive a 20 percent down payment. This means for a house that costs 250,000 dollars, at 20 percent the down payment will be 50,000 dollars. So, the total amount includes percent in commission and another one percent in closing cost as well.