4 Key Tips For Selling Land And Lots

You may think that selling land is the same as selling a home, but in reality the two are very different. In a changing real estate market, it is hard enough to sell a house, but selling land and lots can be even more challenging.

So what exactly is it that makes selling land and lots so different from selling a house? First of all, land and lot buyers are different from homebuyers. They have different needs and perspectives. While homebuyers want a home they can move into, land buyers are looking for the opportunity to customize the land to fit their needs. Selling land also requires different sales techniques, and the market for land is significantly less active than the market for existing homes. Additionally, it takes longer to sell a lot or vacant land, so the process requires patience.

Here are a few steps you need to take to successfully sell land and lots:

Understand your buyer.
When you’re selling land, it’s important to evaluate who your likely buyers will be. This depends on what type of property you’re selling, the location of the land, whether it has been developed, the market conditions and more. There also may be different buyers depending on whether it is a parcel of suburban land, a finished lot or rural acreage. After you’ve identified your likely buyers, try to think like them so you know what message to convey.

Make sure the land or lot looks presentable.
Before showing your lot to potential buyers, you’ll definitely want to clean it up. First impressions are extremely important in real estate. Make sure you remove trash and cut the grass. When your property is looking its best, take marketing photos. Some people who are selling vacant land will even plant wildflowers to make the land look more appealing.

Choose your price.
Picking a price is something that you need to put a lot of thought into. One of the biggest mistakes sellers make is pricing their lot or land too high. Pricing land can be harder than pricing a home. If you’re selling a developed lot in a community, you may be able to determine the “market” price based on the sale of similar lots. Raw land is a bit more difficult since there isn’t as much to compare to. The price you can attract for undeveloped land or a singular lot can vary based on the buyer’s intended use of the property. Land that a buyer feels is suitable for a high-end home development will likely bring a higher price per acre than land that a buyer only wants to use for a single home.

Use online listings specific to land and lot buyers
You’ll want to market to land and lot buyers in particular. While MLS is a helpful tool, it is focused on marketing existing homes. Therefore, it you want to sell land or a lot, MLS should not be a the only tool you use. Use a tool that is specifically for these listings, such as LotNetwork.com. Make sure that when you writing your listing, you understand your buyers and provide the information that they are likely to need.

Selling land and lots can be wildly different from selling a home. There may be some added difficulty, but with these tips you’ll be able to successfully sell your land or lot to a satisfied buyer.

6 Steps To Becoming A Real Estate Developer

Real estate development can be described as the act of buying real estate, making improvements and then selling the real estate. The improvements usually involve making the buildings better or creating new buildings on the land. Real estate can be very lucrative, but only if you can predict market trends and recognize opportunities. If you cannot do this, you could suffer some heavy losses. Here are a few steps to become a good real estate developer:

Get an degree.
There is not one particular degree that lends itself to real estate development. It is however, important that you study something that is relevant to this line of business. If you want to go into real estate development, it’s a good idea to earn a degree in construction management, business administration, urban development or finance. You’ll also need to take the necessary classes and assessments to receive a real estate license in your particular state.

Work for someone in the real estate business.
Seek out a job that allows you to be involved in the buying, selling or development of real estate. While you’re working in this position, try to absorb as much information as you can about the industry. In the meantime, make sure you’re building up your credit score and your personal savings in order to help you finance your future real estate development business.

Establish your business’ legal identity.
The real estate business can lead to high financial risks. For this reason, you should form a business entity that provides you with liability protection, like a corporation or a limited liability company. When you form an entity like this, you will likely encounter more accounting issues and higher fees than you would come across if you had a sole proprietorship or a simple partnership. However, these issues are nowhere near as major as the personal costs you would face if there was a sudden downturn in the real estate market.

Work alongside professional contractors and construction firms.
Once you’ve set up your company you’ll need to construct new buildings or improve your properties. In order to do this, you’ll need to work with construction firms or professional contractors. Once you build relationships with construction professionals, you will have people to rely on for timely and quality work in the future.

Build relationships with lenders.
The best way to finance your investment activities is to connect with local and independent lenders. When theses lenders begin to trust you, they will give you quick personalized services for competitive rates.

Research market trends.
If you want to be a successful real estate developer, you need to be able to project rises and falls in real estate prices. Sell when prices are high and buy when prices are low. Make sure you get up-to-date information about real estate prices using specialized Internet tools.

Being a real estate developer can be an extremely rewarding and lucrative business if you are able to predict market trends. Follow these steps and you’re bound to achieve a lot of success in the field of real estate development.

3 Reasons You Should Be Investing In Real Estate

After the economic recession of 2008, many people avoided investing in real estate. This was because this era was often linked with the housing bubble and subprime mortgages. But the truth is, real estate is a smart asset class to invest in. When you invest in real estate, you are purchasing a future income stream from property. It is in reality quite unfair that real estate investment is given a bad reputation. Here are a few reasons to invest in real estate:

  1. You can diversify your portfolio.

Investing in real estate can give you incredible potential to diversify your portfolio. The correlation between real estate and other major asset classes is low, and in some cases, negative. This means that if you add real estate to your portfolio of diversified assets, the portfolio can decrease in volatility. This can also provide higher return per unit of risk.

2) The income return is attractive and stable.

One big upside to real estate investment is the sizeable proportion of total return, accruing from rental income over the long term. Between 1977 and 2007, about 80 percent of total U.S. real estate return came from income flows. This leads to a decrease in volatility. Investments that rely more heavily on income return have a tendency to be less volatile than those that rely more heavily on capital value return. In addition, real estate is more attractive than more traditional sources of income return. The asset class usually trades at a yield that is premium to U.S. Treasuries. It is especially attractive in an environment with low Treasury rates.

3) It has competitive risk-adjusted returns.

Data from the National Council of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries (NCREIF) shows that over the 10-year period from 2000 to 2010, private market commercial real estate returned 8.4 percent on average. This has a lot to do with low volatility relative to equities and bonds. Many critics feel the the reason real estate has a low volatility is that real estate transactions have not been frequent. As a result, property values are often determined using third-party appraisals, which often cause the market to lag. As a result of infrequent transactions and appraisals, there is a smoothing of returns. In an upturn, reported property values tend to underestimate market values. In a downturn, they tend to overestimate market values.

Real estate volatility should be adjusted upward, but real time markets could undergo sudden shocks at any moment. One example of this occurred during the “Flash Crash” of May 2010. In just 15 minutes, $1 trillion in stock market value was erased. When market volatility is an issue and the dynamics of algorithmic trading are murky, real estate is an attractive investment due to its more stable pricing.

While many people will tell you that investing in real estate is a bad idea, this is in many ways a myth. With a stable income return and the potential to diversify your portfolio, real estate is a worthwhile investment.

Top Things You Should Do When Selling Your Home

One of the hardest things you to do on your own while your house is on the market is figuring out how to make your home more appealing to potential buyers. If your house is currently on the market or you’re considering putting your house on the market, consider following the tips listed below to assist you with having an effortless home sale process.

Find a Realtor

Realtors can help with placing your house on multiple listing services (MLS). This can be most helpful when it comes to screening potential buyers before who wish to visit your home. This saves you the time of having to separate the real buyers from the fake ones.

Working with a realtor can also help to make your home sale process safer. Realtors have access to electronic lock boxes that are used to allow other Realtors entry to your home with their buyer’s without you having to be present. This lock box has the ability to track who accessed your home and when.  

Depersonalize and Declutter

Removing the most personal items from your home, such as family portraits, is extremely helpful when trying to sell your home. Doing so, takes out the pieces of the home that are unique to you and helps buyers see the property from a fresh point of view.

Similar to putting away personal items, decluttering your home is a good way to reel in potential buyers. Decluttering will look more spacious to potential buyers if there are less items inside of it. Buyers want to be able to imagine themselves living in the home before they purchase it. Eliminating the distractions of personal items can help them accomplish that.

Tips To Help You Get Your Mortgage

It’s no secret that there are many obstacles that often arise when trying to get a mortgage. Among those obstacles are poor credit scores, not enough money in the bank, or no knowledge of the process.

Here are some helpful tips to assist you in improving the your chances of landing the mortgage loan of your dreams.

Boost Your Credit Score

Your credit score has a significant effect on the type of loan you will be able to receive. You typically need a credit score of 620 or above to be considered  for a standard mortgage. You will also need to have a score of at least 740 or higher to be qualified for the best rates.

The best way to enhance your credit score is to:

Make payments on time

Utilize websites like credit.com and creditkarma.com to check the status of your credit, debt, and payment history.

It is common for lenders to check and then re-check your credit report during your mortgage application process. Missing a payment during this process has the ability to lower your credit score and as a result may have a negative effect on your loan.

“If you miss a payment during the loan application process — particularly a mortgage payment — and the lender re-checks your credit report, it could result in a much lower credit score and could derail the loan application,” said Anastos.

Remember, your credit score can keep you for getting a mortgage or affect your mortgage rate (more on that below).

Pay down your debts

Lenders are more often than not willing to lend money to individuals who do not need it. Therefore, the less debt you have, the more likely it is that you will be approved for your loan.

Make sure your paperwork is organized

The amount of items necessary to apply for a mortgage loan is pretty extensive. Try your best to have any and everything you need before you begin the process.

Items you will need to have include:

 

  • W-2 forms for the past two years
  • Paycheck stubs from the past few months
  • Proof of previous mortgage or rent payments for the past year
  • A list of all your debts ( credit cards, student loans, car loans, etc.)
  • A list of all your assets ( bank statements, auto titles, real estate, investment accounts, etc.)

Urban Land Institute Announces Real Estate Development Finalists

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The Urban Land Institute’s Global Awards for Excellence recognizes and rewards excellence in project development. Since 1997, this prestigious awards program has been honoring projects developed in private, public, and nonprofit sectors. The Urban Land Institute (ULI) allows nomination to be open to all and a jury, which is not limited to ULI members, choose the finalist and winners of the competition. The jury consists of members from various professions including but not limited to real estate development, land development, public affairs, and designs.

This year‘s finalist consist of real estate projects that have the best use of Twenty-six developments from around the globe have been selected as finalists in the Urban Land Institute’s (ULI) 2016 Global Awards for Excellence competition.

The finalist for 2016 include:

The Hall

  • San Francisco, California, United States
  • Developers: War Horse and Tidewater Capital

Chophouse Row

  • Seattle, Washington, United States
  • Developer: Dunn & Hobbes LLC
  • Designer: SKL Architects, Graham Baba Architects, et al.

Antara

  • Mexico City, Estado de México, Mexico
  • Developer: GSM
  • Designer: Sordo Madaleno Arquitectos et al.

Daniels Spectrum

  • Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Developer: Regent Park Arts Non-Profit Development Corporation (RPAD)
  • Designer: Diamond Schmitt Architects Inc.

Heart of Lake

  • Xiamen, Fujian Province, China
  • Developer: Vanke Real Estate Enterprise;
  • Designer: Robert A.M. Stern Architects, BIAD, and Olin

BBVA Bancomer Operations Center

  • Mexico City, Estado de México, Mexico
  • Developer: BBVA Bancomer
  • Designer: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM)

Celadon at 9th & Broadway

  • San Diego, California, United States
  • Developer: BRIDGE Housing Corporation
  • Designer: SVA Architects and Studio E Architects

The Boucicaut Eco-Neighborhood

  • Paris, Ile-de-France, France
  • Developer: Sempariseine;
  • Designer: AUA Paul Chemetov, Jean-Francois Schmit Architectes, et al.

The Edge

  • Amsterdam, North-Holland, Netherlands
  • Developer: OVG Real Estate
  • Designer: PLP Architecture et al.

35XV

  • New York, New York, United States
  • Developer: AGA 15th Street LLC
  • Designer: FXFOWLE

345meatpacking

  • New York, New York, United States
  • Developer/Designer: DDG

For a complete list of finalist for the 2016 The Urban Land Institute’s Global Awards for Excellence, please visit Uli.org

 

A Guide To Smart Home Buying: Part 2

home buying

In previous blog post, we discussed some tips for smart home buying. But that was only the beginning. If you’ve already gotten your cash together and searched for a home, it is now time to purchase the home of your dreams. This may seem simple, but there are quite a few steps left in the process. Here is a continuation, starting at step 6, of the step-by-step guide to buying a home:

6) Make an offer on the home
After you find the house you want, you’ll want to make your bid quickly. You’ll want to get advice from your buyer’s broker, if you are working with one, to figure out the initial offer. If you’re working with a seller’s agent, you will need to figure out your offer strategy on your own. Find the data on at least three houses that have recently sold in the surrounding neighborhood. Generally speaking, do not make a bid that snubs the seller. This may lead the seller to give up due to sheer annoyance. The amount of leverage a buyer has depends on the market’s pace. You have a lot of control in a slow market, but in a hot market, you have almost none at all. It will probably take some creativity to satisfy the needs of the seller. For example, you can ask the seller to throw in some of the appliances if you meet his or her price.

7) Enter a contract
After reaching a price that both the buyer and seller can agree on, the seller’s agent will draw up an offer to purchase. Run this document by your lawyer and buyer’s agent in order to make sure that:

  1. You will obtain a mortgage.
  2. The home was inspected and has no significant defects.
  3. It has been guaranteed that you can conduct a walk-through inspection 24 hours before closing.

You are required to make a good-faith deposit which will typically go into an escrow account. This is typically 1% to 10% of the purchase price. After the deal has closed, the seller will receive this money.

8) Secure a loan
You will now have to call your mortgage broker or lender in order to agree on terms. You will decide whether to choose a fixed rate or adjustable rate mortgage. You will also have to decide whether to pay point. At this point, you should expect to pay $50 to $75 for a credit check, as well as an extra $150 on average for an appraisal of the home. The appraisal price could, however, be anywhere up to $300. The majority of other fees will be due at the time of the closing of the house.

9) Get an inspection
The mortgage lender will make an appraisal of our home, but it is also a good idea to hire your own home inspector. On average, an inspection costs around $300, but big jobs can cost up to $1,000. An inspection takes two hours or more. You should ask to be present during your inspection. This way, you can learn a lot about your house, such as its overall condition, wiring, construction material, and heating. If the inspector finds significant problems, such as a roof that needs replacement, you should ask your agent or lawyer to discuss this with the seller. The seller should either repair the problem before you move in, or deduct the cost of the repair from the home’s final price. If the seller does not agree to do either of these things, you may walk away from the deal without penalty as long as you have a properly written contract.

10) Close the deal
Approximately two days before the closing of the house, you will receive a final HUD Settlement Statement from your lender. This will list every charge you will have to pay at closing. It is important to review this document carefully. It will include important information such as the cost of the title insurance. This is the insurance that protects you and the lender from any claims people may make regarding who owns the property. The cost of this insurance is typically less than 1% of the home’s price, through it varies a good deal from state to state. You may also need to establish an escrow account. The lender can tap this account if you fall behind on your property tax payments, or on your mortgage. The closing itself will not have any surprises, but you should ask your real estate agent or your lawyer to brief you on the specifics.

Buying a home doesn’t have to be overwhelming and confusing. If you follow this step-by-step guide, you will be on your way to buying the home of your dreams in the smartest way possible. Happy home buying!

A Guide To Smart Home Buying: Part 1

home buying

Buying a home can feel overwhelming. You know you want to purchase a home but there are so many steps to the process that you may not know where to start. How will you decide on a good budget? How will you find the right realtor? And most importantly, how will you find the perfect home for you? Buying a home takes a lot of preparation and careful thought. Here is a step-by-step guide to buying a home:

1)Look into your credit
There are three major credit agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. These agencies keep credit reports, which indicate whether you have ever run into any serious issues with credit and whether you tend to be late with payments. Credit scores are calculated from a formula based on the information found in your credit report. Each person has three different credit scores, one to correspond with each of the person’s credit reports. If you have a low credit score, you may struggle to get a good interest rate, or to get any financing at all. If you find any errors in your credit report, make sure you contact the agencies directly and correct the mistakes. This can take two or three months to resolve.

2) Set your budget
Once you’ve got your credit score figured out, it’s time to figure out how much you can spend on a house. A good starting point is using an online calculator. While these calculators are helpful, you will get a more accurate figure by asking to be pre-approved by a lender. This lender will assess was kind of loan is right for you by looking at your debt, income, and credit. If you are looking for a rule of thumb, you can multiply your gross annual salary by 2.5 and use that number as a guideline for the cost of your home. In addition, all of your monthly home payment should be no more than 36% of your gross monthly income. You will also need to take into account the size of your down payment.

3) Get some cash ready
For your down payment and your closing costs, you’ll need to come up with some cash. Lenders typically see a down payment as 20% of a home’s price. If you are able to put down more than 20%, your lender may approve a larger loan. If you don’t have 20%, you will need to search for loans that will help you. Low down payment mortgages can be provided through a number of private and public agencies, such as Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Federal Housing Administration. If you qualify for these mortgages, it is possible that you will only have to pay 3% up front.

However, if you have a down payment lower than 20% you will probably need to pay for private mortgage insurance, which is essentially a safety net that protects the bank in case you do not make your payments. With private mortgage insurance, about 0.5% of the total loan amount will be added to your mortgage payments for the year.

So you’ve considered the down payment. But you still need to make sure you have enough cash to cover fees and closing costs. This includes loan fees, inspection fees, the appraisals fee, attorney’s fees, and the cost of a title search. This may add up to a sum of more than $10,000, and it will often make up 5% of the mortgage amount.

If you don’t have enough cash available to cover these needs, there are many options available to you. If you have a first time homebuyer, you can withdraw up to $10,000 from an Individual Retirement Account if you have one. There is no penalty, but you need to pay taxes on the amount. Another option is receiving a cash gift of up to $14,000 per year from each of your parents. There is no gift tax.

You could also figure out whether your employer can help, especially if you work at a big company. Many big companies will help contribute to a down payment or help an employee get a low-interest loan from certain lenders. Another option is tapping a 401(k) or similar retirement plan so you can get a loan from yourself.

4. Get an agent

The majority of home sellers list their homes via an agent. Those agents, however, work for the seller rather than the buyer. They are paid according to a percentage of the purchase price, typically 5 to 7%, so usually they will try to get you to pay more. When you need in an “exclusive buyer agent.” These agents are either paid directly by you, on an hourly or contracted fee, and other times the commission that the seller’s agent gets upon sale is split. A buyer’s agent will have allegiance only to you.

5. Look for a home.

The first part of looking for a home is figuring out what city or neighborhood you would like to live in. When searching neighborhoods, you should look for indications of economic vitality. This includes low unemployment, good incomes, and a mixture of young families and older couples. Whether you have children or not, you will want to pay attention to districts that have good schools. When the time comes that you will want to resell the property, living in an area with a good school system will allow your home to keep its good value.

It’s also a good idea to figure out the real estate market in the area. If homes in the area are selling near or even higher than the asking price, this means that the area is desirable. Doing your house hunt in the colder months of the year is a smart plan if it is possible. This is the “off season” for housing hunting, and you will have less competition, meaning that sellers are more likely to negotiate with you.

Just make sure your search criteria aren’t too restrictive. Make sure your price range is 10% above and 10% below your true range. In terms of location, search in a 10-mile radius of the location you specify.

These tips will help you to buy a the right home for you. Stay tuned for part 2 of the guide to smart home buying.

 

Three Tips For Buying and Developing Raw Land

 

raw land

Buying raw land can be a very fulfilling experience. Seeing that a piece of nature is now yours not only fills you with pride, but provides with you a number of other benefits. Buying raw land is a very smart move financially. All across the country, especially in rural areas with small populations, reasonably priced raw land parcels are available for purchase. And it’s a pretty good investment! If you buy the right parcel of raw land, it will continue to appreciate. You won’t have the stress of a fluctuating investment that you experience when purchasing stocks.

There is also a lot of earning potential that comes with developing your land. It can be a house, a hotel, farmland or a recreational facility. By developing your raw land, you can increase the value of your land by three to five times its original price. But this can only happen if you buy the right parcel and develop it properly. Here are a few tips for buying and developing raw land.

1) Be aware of the drawbacks

Investing in raw land can be of enormous benefit, but it also has its drawbacks. It is not possible to depreciate raw land, and while there are some tax advantages associated with raw land, these advantages are few and far between. Another important thing to remember is that any purchaser of raw land needs to be in it for the long haul. Even if you start developing it once you buy it, it may take a long time for you to gain any profits. You aren’t likely to be able to sell it quickly. And if you do eventually sell it, there is a risk of losing money, which increases if you do not fully evaluate the parcel before purchasing it.

2) Thoroughly investigate the land parcel.

Before you purchase raw land, make sure you get all of the information you can about the land parcel. Walk through your potential land purchase in order to locate ponds, trails, fence lines, and streams. It is also a great idea to take photos of the property to refresh your memory later. Make sure to find the boundaries of your property and to look for any signs of hazardous waste. It’s also crucial that you research the area that the land parcel is located in. Speak with regional development agencies to get any information you can about planned roads, building costs, utility extensions, or development forecasts. Research whether the population is growing or shrinking. The more information you gather about the land, the more likely you are to make the right decision. And you’ll be spared a number of negative surprises in the future.

3) Consider the factors that affect value

When you buy a parcel of raw land, you hope that this will ultimately bring you profits. One way to gain a profit from your land is to sell it after developing it. While the value of your land may partially depend on the way you develop it, it also has to do with other factors. One of these factors is the shape of the parcel. Make sure to view the dimensions of the property that you are considering. Another aspect that affects value is of course the location. The best parcels for development are corner lots with easy access to roads and parking. Also to be considered is the level of access to sewers, natural gas, telephone service, drinking water and electricity. Trees and streams can add a good deal of value to land as well. Making sure that your land has good value is extremely important.

Buying raw land is a big decision that involves a certain level of risk. It could either be very lucrative or it could flop. Make sure you take all aspects of a land parcel into account before purchasing. If you do your research, your raw land development endeavors will be a huge success!

Three Secrets To Selling Your Home

 

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Selling your home can be tedious and difficult. Sometimes it seems as if many people are walking in and out of your home, but none of them are willing to buy. We all know that we’re supposed to make the house more appealing for buyers, but it is difficult to know exactly how to go about this. Sometimes it is the little things that make a big difference. Here are a few secrets to help you sell your home quickly.

1) Price It RightThere is a general rule of thumb for pricing a house. Do some research to find out what it is worth, and then shave off 15 to 20 percent of the price. Not only will buyers flock to your home, but they will bid up the price higher than what it is worth. This pricing will give you a competitive edge because most home sellers are afraid to price their homes this way. While it is easy to give in to the fear of losing money by putting your home on the market for less than it is worth, it is the proven best strategy to sell a house in the current market.

2) Prioritize your kitchen

The kitchen in the single most important room in your house when you’re selling your house. It may cost money to remodel your money, but it will definitely be worth it in the long run. In fact, you’ll probably get 85% of your money back. Fixing your kitchen will make about a $10,000 difference in the asking price. If your kitchen looks dated, that $10,000 is likely to be knocked off the price by any smart buyer.

You may be wondering how exactly you can update your kitchen. The quickest and least expensive kitchen updates are getting new cabinet hardware and painting the walls. When picking a paint color, it is best to choose a neutral color so that buyers are presented with a blank canvas. This will allow them to envision their own changes they may want to make to the house. If you have enough money, one stainless steel appliance is a great investment. If people see one high-end appliance in your kitchen, they are likely to assume that the rest are expensive as well, thus creating the effect of an overall update to the kitchen.

3) De-personalize your house

When you show your house to potential buyers, it should appear like more of a house than a home. If you leave a lot of your own personal touches in the house, potential buyers will have more difficulty imagining themselves living there. Put about a third of your belongings in storage. Some important things to put away are personal keepsakes and family photos. You may even want to hire a home stager in order to showcase your home in the best way possible. A stager will arrange your furniture in a way that best displays the floor plan while also maximizing the use of space.

4) Make a great first impression

You only have one chance to make a first impression. In this case, this means increasing your home’s curb appeal. Many people think about focusing on the interior of their houses, but potential buyers judge homes long before they walk through the door. It is a good idea to get some inexpensive shrubs and brightly colored flowers to make the house appear welcoming. You usually get 100-percent return on any costs that went into making the exterior of the home more appealing. It is also important to make your entryway welcoming. While many people typically hang their coats in the entryway, it’s best to change this up when selling your home. A great idea is to place a vase of flowers, a small bench or even some cookies near the entryway.
Selling a home can be challenging, but it certainly doesn’t have to be. A little bit of effort goes a long way in selling your home to potential buyers. Follow these tips and buyers will be swarming to your home. From the kitchen to the curb, make sure your house appeals to buyers and it will get sold in no time!