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Category Archive: Articles

1st Time Home Buyers Lowest in 30 Years {New Report}

The share of first-time buyers fell to the lowest level in nearly three decades, just 32 percent of all purchases, according to the National Association of Realtors’ annual profile of buyers and sellers. Investors are not included in the survey.

 

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The share of buyers saying their primary reason for buying was the simple desire to own rose overall and most dramatically among first-time purchasers. 

“There are several reasons why there should be more first-time buyers reaching the market, including persistently low mortgage rates, healthy job prospects for those college-educated, and the fact that renting is becoming more unaffordable in many areas,” said Lawrence Yun, the Realtors’ chief economist. “Unfortunately, there are just as many high hurdles slowing first-time buyers down. Increasing rents and home prices are impeding their ability to save for a down payment, there’s scarce inventory for new and existing-homes in their price range, and it’s still too difficult for some to get a mortgage.” 

Debt was the primary reason cited by first-time buyers for the delay in home ownership. They said debt kept them from saving for a down payment for at least three years. More than half of those citing debt pointed to student-loan debt as the main culprit.

While debt continues to stall younger buyers, their attitude toward home ownership appears to be making a dramatic move. Sixty-four percent of first-time buyers surveyed said their primary reason for purchasing was the “desire to own.” That is up from 53 percent just one year ago. For repeat buyers, ownership tied with the desire for a larger home. The view of home ownership as a good investment also moved slightly higher to 80 percent; 43 percent of those surveyed said they see housing as a better investment than stocks.

The report comes as the home ownership rate in the United States sits at the lowest level in a half century, 63.4 percent. It did, however, stop falling in the third quarter, the first time that has happened in two years.

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Cash is still playing an outsized role in the housing market today. While the majority of buyers do finance their homes with mortgages, that share dropped slightly in the latest survey. Nearly half of first-time buyers said the mortgage applications and approval process was more difficult than they expected.

The average FICO credit score for those getting a mortgage is historically high today, but more borrowers are getting approved, according to an analysis released Thursday by Zillow. Loan approvals are especially improving among middle-income black and Hispanic applicants, although they still lag the overall market. 

A few things that have not changed in housing — the median age of buyers (31), sellers (54), and the share of multigenerational households buying (13 percent), according to the Realtors survey. Builders have been focused on what they see as growing multigenerational housing demand, adding separate entrances and second kitchens.

Today’s buyers are using the websites and mobile apps at an ever-increasing pace to find their potential purchases. They are also moving faster, buying in an average 10 weeks compared with 12 between 2009 and 2013. The median time on the market for recently sold homes stayed at four weeks for the second-straight year. This is far less time than historical norms and is due to the still very low inventory of homes for sale that plagues most of the country.

Rising home prices are giving sellers bigger equity gains and consequently bigger sale profit. More buyers are also seeking larger homes again, and slightly more are heading to the suburbs to buy. The market continues to be dominated by married couples who are seeing their household income increase. The share of single female buyers, while higher than male buyers, dropped to the lowest level in 14 years.

(http://finance.yahoo.com/news/first-time-homebuyers-fall-desire-150004872.html)

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5 Things That Can Kill Your Real Estate Biz

1. Lack of knowledge: Obviously you can’t be a success in any field if you don’t have the knowledge. What you choose to do with it, of course, is up to you!

2. Lack of motivation: This is a tough one because we are all motivated in different ways and by different things.  What works for one person, may not work for another. Some of us are motivated by the promise of a great reward, others by a fear of loss. Whatever the case, there is one guarantee that I can make: if you don’t find what works as your personal motivation, you will not be a success. So spend the time necessary to figure this out before you go any further with this process. Is it wanting to secure a great future for your family? Is it enjoying the finer things in life without worrying about the money? Is it travel? Is it quitting your job? Find your motivation today and use it to your advantage!

3. Lack of Belief: You need to believe that you can actually be successful in this industry. My guidance counselor told me that I would be a good fit for menial work like being a janitor or rudimentary construction. Not to mention, I have ADD. (Who doesn’t, these days)? Trust me, if I can do it . . . anybody can do it. I know this, but if YOU don’t know it, then it doesn’t matter. Trust me, you can do this. I want this for you more than anything. If I can help you on the path to success it will be good for me as well because you will become part of our network and together we can all accomplish more.

4. Bad advice/Bad mentors: It’s also important that you don’t listen to the opinion of others that don’t have a vested interest in your success. Naysayers will tell you that now is a horrible time to invest in real estate. That it’s a tough industry and requires years of training. They will tell you “Don’t quit your day job” or sarcastically reply “Good luck with that!” I know because it’s the same thing that they told me. DON’T LISTEN TO THEM! Listen to those that have been successful and broken through their own wall of disbelief. Listen to Donald Trump. Listen to Kiyosaki. Listen to me! When someone tells you that you can’t do it, remember what they are really telling you: they don’t think that they can do it!

5. Lack of focusThis can be a killer, especially when you are first getting started. It’s really easy to get bogged down in all the different paths that you can take in real estate. Instead of choosing one and becoming proficient at it, you can get caught trying to do everything and never become truly competent. This is one of the traps of all beginning real estate investors and I am no exception.  When I first started, I tried to learn everything I could about REOs, short sales, lease options, property management, tax liens, IRAs, and about 50 other real estate investment strategies. It almost made me quit before I even got started! Don’t do this to yourself. Choose a path (you’re reading a book about REOs, so I would start with that), learn it well, and start putting your knowledge into action. Don’t try to be a jack of all trades. Trust me, if you become proficient at one, you will always have the option to learn another at a later time. So, choose wisely grasshopper!

20 Markets Where Buying Rentals Still Makes Sense

Check out this article highlighting the top rental markets. Close to half of these cities are in Florida. That’s right–8 out of 20. If you’re still not buying down here, there’s time. But not for long. . .

While buying single family rental properties has become the darling investment strategy of Wall Street, it may not always make sense for individual real estate investors — particularly in some markets already picked over by the large institutional investors. But there are still markets where the numbers work for the conservative, individual investor looking to purchase foreclosures and other homes as single family rentals.

RealtyTrac developed a list of the 20 best markets nationwide for purchasing single family rentals by analyzing median sales prices and average rental rates for 3-bedroom homes and using that data to calculate capitalization “cap” rates and average cash flows.

Top 20 Markets

Shifting with the market
Good opportunities for single family rentals are available in nearly every market across the country, it just may be harder to find them in higher-priced markets like Orange County Calif., where real estate investor Lin He is based.

“I bought a number of rentals in OC a couple of years back, but now I am getting some smoking deals in Los Angeles and the Inland Empire (Riverside and San Bernardino counties in Southern California),” he wrote in an email. “I just picked up a triplex and a single house on one lot in LA for $217k. Its gross rent is close to $6,000. That’s a heck better than 1 percent rule (see explanation of this rule in methodology below).”

Calculating cash flow and cap rates
Cash flow is simply the difference between the income produced by the property in the form of monthly rent and the costs associated with the property: mortgage payment, property taxes, insurance, repairs, etc. Positive cash flow is always the goal, and negative cash flow is best avoided. The cap rate is the percentage that the net annual income produced by the property (monthly cash flow multiplied by 12) represents of the original purchase price paid for the property.

For example a home purchased for $100,000 that generates $500 in positive net cash flow each month would have a 6 percent cap rate ($500 multiplied by 12 is $6000, which is then divided into the original $100,000 purchase price).

To calculate cap rate and cash flow, we assumed a 20 percent down payment and a 4 percent interest rate to come up with an estimated monthly mortgage payment. Based on feedback from real estate investors we subtracted an additional 40 percent out of the gross monthly rental proceeds for property taxes, insurance and repairs.

More on methodology
We limited the list to metro areas with a population of at least 200,000 where the necessary price and rental data was available and then further restricted the list to markets where the average monthly gross rent of a 3-bedroom home was at least 1 percent or more of the median sales price in that market (using an old rule of thumb that many veteran real estate investors simply refer to as “the 1 percent rule”).  We then sorted the list by the cap rate, highest to lowest and selected the top 20 on the list.

Property particulars important
While the 1 percent rule and the 40 percent rule mentioned above are useful to provide “general overall initial calculations,” veteran real estate investor Tony Alvarez cautioned that the particular characteristics of each property purchased must be taken into account to determine the true return on investment.

“You must address specifics of the properties being analyzed or compared such as, are the properties we are considering only single family residence, what is the age, quality of construction, level of past maintenance, physical location within a given neighborhood, will the owner be paying any portion of the utilities such as water, electric, gas, trash or Home Owner’s Association dues,” he wrote in an email.

Alvarez noted that in the more than 30 years he has been investing, he has owned and rented hundreds of units ranging from small single family residences to higher-end oceanfront condos in Santa Monica and large apartment buildings and commercial shopping centers.

“The bottom line is, the best rental property for an individual to buy is the one he or she both understands best and is able to manage most efficiently and effectively,” he said. “The rest is basically just conversation.”

Source: http://www.realtytrac.com/content/news-and-opinion/single-family-rentals-top-20-markets-7670

‘Underwater’ Officially Becomes Word

Nerd Alert: There’s been an update to Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. I know, I know. This probably won’t change your day, but if you’re like me then you’ll enjoy reading about how our culture shapes our language. Check out this article detailing just that:

The term “underwater” has commonly been used in the housing industry to describe troubled mortgages. Now, Merriam-Webster announced it’s recognizing the word by adding it to the dictionary. So what’s the official meaning of the mortgage-related term?

According to the 2012 update of the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, “underwater” in the real estate sense is defined as “having, relating to, or being a mortgage loan for which more is owed than the property securing the loan is worth.”

Other commonly used real estate-related words added to the 2012 dictionary include: “man cave” (“a room or space – as in a basement – designed according to the taste of the man of the house to be used as his personal area for hobbies and leisure activities”) and technology words like “cloud computing” (“the practice of storing regularly used computer data on multiple servers that can be accessed through the Internet”) and “mash-up” (“something created by combining elements from two or more sources”).

Source: http://www.floridarealtors.org/NewsAndEvents/article.cfm?p=1&id=279851

Making Offers That Won’t Be Shot Down

jan29_contractOne of the most important skills you need to 
develop in this business is the ability to make
 offers. . . NOT just any offers, but offers that get accepted. Unfortunately, there’s no shortcut to acquiring
this skill. The only way you become good at
 this is to consistently make offers.

When you’re starting out, it’s expected to have 
offers turned down again and again. Just make
 sure you’re taking note of the reasons 
your offers are getting rejected. 

Maybe you offered too low. Maybe you made 
a miscalculation on the repairs needed. Maybe
 you’re leaving too little room for your buyers to 
breathe.

 You should take note of all these little things
because, in the long run, this will create a clear guide on the kind of offers you 
should be making in your market.

When making offers, especially through emails,
 it is important to make things as easy as possible for the recipient. You do this by 
making sure all the necessary documents are 
included in your offer such as your proof of funds.

 Let’s face it: it’s a whole lot easier for sellers 
to say “yes” to your offer if you can show them
 right off the bat you got the goods to back it up, right?

Create some criteria and use it to determine
 your threshold for buying. For instance, decide 
that you will pay $50,000 TOTAL (initial investment +
rehab costs) for a 3 bed/2 bath block property 
and refuse to budge from this stance.

 Keep your emotions out of it! You will not be living 
in this house. It is strictly a moneymaker as far as 
you’re concerned, so the floor plan should only 
matter from a “Will my prospective tenants like this?”
 perspective.

When the bank counters your offer (and they most 
likely will!), be prepared to defend your original offer 
if you’re already at your threshold. I would suggest 
sensationalizing the inspection to work them down
on price. For instance, have your contractor/handyman 
create an estimate that includes every single possible
 repair. Be sure the estimate reflects retail (read: inflated) 
pricing as opposed to the investor pricing that he
 typically gives you. Depending on the asset manager
handling the file, this may impact their willingness 
to work with you on price.

At times you may find that you have a lot of competition 
on a particular property. If you get outbid, it may be 
worth your time to contact the investor who got it 
and see if you can work out a quick deal. 

Many times the other investor may want to flip it over
to you for a quick $2k. If the numbers still work for you,
 you can move forward. If not, move one. But don’t ever
 begrudge another investor when they make a profit. 
Just be happy for them and move on. You don’t
 want them begrudging you if you’re the one who
 closed a deal, right?

So start making offers today. The sooner you get 
started, the sooner you hone your skills.

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