Ten Tips for Moving in the Winter

May 3, 2018

Real Estate

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Moving in winter poses special challenges, whether you’re moving between two high rise condos in the same city or crossing the country. Although the weather is far less conducive to the hard work of moving, it can be cheaper to hire a moving company at this time of year. Whether you’re using a professional outfit or relying on the kindness of friends, following are a few pointers for making the first day in your new home as smooth as possible.

Be Ready

Be sure the new house is ready for the move before you head over with all your belongings. Check that lights and plumbing are working and if the weather’s nippy, consider having the heat on for a few days so it’s warm for the move-in.

Clear the Snow

Slipping on snow and ice can turn a simple move into a disaster. Before you even start, make sure all walkways at both old and new homes are clear; ice or sand if necessary. Keep shovels, salt and sand on-hand.

Parking Considerations

Whether you’re using a moving company or getting help from a gang of friends, be sure there’s adequate parking for the moving truck at both locations. Parking at urban condos can be particularly, and this could mean a bit of negotiating with new neighbors or the landlord if space is tight.

Protect Your Floors

Winter’s snow, ice and salt are notorious for dirtying up or even scratching some kinds of flooring. Protect floors and carpets with big pieces of cardboard or plastic sheeting for the big day. You can use duct tape if the floors can withstand it, and small tacks work well on carpeted areas.

Have a Plan B

With the constant threat of winter storms, there’s always a chance that your move will have to be rescheduled. If you’re using a moving company, call and see what their storm policy is, as some may want to reschedule the move, meaning you can’t move out and new tenants or owners can’t move in. Check with your landlord or real estate agent to see if it would be alright to stay a few more days. If you can’t, you may have to arrange a few days of temporary housing.

Keep an Eye on Mother Nature

If you’re moving a distance, keep an eye on the weather along your travel route, checking with local authorities by phone or on-line if the forecast is ominous. Scout out overnight accommodations in case you need to make an unexpected stop.

Prep Your Car

Be sure your car is serviced and winterized, with brakes and tires checked and fluids topped. If you have chains, be sure you know how to use them, doing a trial run on installation in the garage before you go. Carry salt or kitty litter in case you get stuck, pop a snow shovel and blanket in the car and be sure you have a gas can and roadside assistance membership.

Keep a List

Your winter move emergency contact list should include roadside assistance, highway control and a number for road conditions. Be sure someone who’s not on the moving trip knows the route your taking and schedule a call-in with them to be sure all is fine.

Extra Clothes

Not only do you want to stay warm and dry during the move, you’ll want to be sure your helpers are comfortable. Bring along a bag of gloves, hats, sweaters and socks in case of changing weather or wet clothing.

Feed the Gang

Keep your moving pals warm and well fed by keeping hot drinks and easy cold weather eats like chili and instant soup mixes on hand along with morning donuts and lunchtime sandwiches. Try to have a warm space in the house for enjoying a tea break, and be sure to have mugs and spoons along with paper cups and plates.

4 Various Types Of Real Estate Contracts

May 3, 2018

Real Estate

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Before going through with a real estate transaction, ask yourself if you know about the different types of contracts that exist in the market. Do you know how they work? If your answer is no, then you should definitely read this article. Below are some of the basic contracts that are usually seen in real estate.

1. Lease Contracts

This is a type of agreement that comes into play when an individual leases out their spare property to earn extra income. In a lease agreement, the landlord specifies the deal that they have agreed upon with the lessee (tenant), which includes the rent and the security deposit agreed upon by both parties.

2. Power Of Attorney

Power Of Attorney is an agreement that you sign when you give complete control of your transactions to a person of choice named in the document. This comes when you are ill or when you on a business trip halfway across the world. Note that, you will not lose the ownership of the property, you are only allowing a close associate act in your absence.

3. Purchase Agreements

Purchase Agreements are the ones you see the most. This is when a buyer/seller comes to an understanding before disposing off of their property and handing it over to the other party. This contract will have details of the buyer and seller along with the price that was agreed upon and the closing date of the deal.

4. Contract Deed

A Contract Deed is the riskiest arrangement of all real estate contracts. This is where you obtain a loan on your property from a local money lender, by offering the original documents as collateral. This is also where the loaner has complete advantage over you as the contract will not be transferred to your name, until the entire amount is repaid with interest. Defaulting on any payments would mean that the lender can foreclose your house and walk away with the documents.

These are the basic contracts that are most used by both veterans and real estate newbies. You can also make a contract template with terms and conditions you agree with, and just use it the next time you buy or sell a house. Overall, a basic knowledge of the real estate market does not account too much when you are handling a real estate transaction as it involves considerable sums of money. Which is why, you should probably hire an agent to represent you.

Get a Move On With Real Estate

May 3, 2018

Real Estate

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When it’s time to make a big change, life may offer a subtle sign, like a spouse’s note on your pillow that reads, “I never want to see you again”. But how do you know when to nail that “For Sale” sign in the front yard of your real estate?

As life-changing decisions go, selling your home is right up there. Whether it’s to take a promotion, care for aging parents or something more personal, only you can say if it’s the right move for you. But if the choice to sell real estate has been made and the only thing left to decide is the timing, a few pointed questions should tell you if that time is now.

Can We Afford it?

It sounds like an obvious question. Yet given that household total credit-market debt – mortgages, consumer credit and non-mortgage loans – rose to 162.6 per cent of disposable income last year (how is that even possible?), it’s not. Maybe you got in over your head with your first home, but now that you’re slightly older and much wiser, take a close look at your finances before making a move with real estate:

• Is all of your non-mortgage debt paid off?

• Do you have an emergency fund with 3-6 months of expenses put aside?

• Has your home recovered enough value to give you at least 20% equity for your purchase? This will enable you to make a 20% down payment on your next home, saving you thousands of dollars in mortgage insurance costs. If you don’t know the answer, ask an experienced realtor for a free comparative market analysis that will indicate the approximate market value of your real estate.

If you answered “yes” to all three, you may be ready to take the plunge in selling real estate. If you’re not sure what an emergency fund is, you still have work to do.

Are We Still Emotionally Attached to our Current Home?

Do you tear up when you see the notches in the wall where you measured your child’s growth, or do you just think “they must have an app for that now”?

On the other hand, you may have recently experienced a divorce or other loss that necessitates a fresh start.

Usually the reality is somewhere between those two extremes. Whereas the question about finance was directed at the head, this one is clearly for the heart. If you’re quiet for a moment, it will tell you what to do. You just have to listen.

Remember, an expert realtor can offer a wealth of advice on the sale of your real estate. If you’re not ready to take it, however, you’re not ready to sell.

Does our Home Still Fit our Lifestyle?

In most cases, moving out of real estate is more than just moving over. It’s moving up or down. If you have a new addition or one on the way, it might be time for another bedroom or two to keep the “happy” in “one big happy family”. Conversely, when the kids (finally) leave the nest, downsizing can mean less upkeep and more time to enjoy the peace and quiet. After all, you’ve earned it.

With so much at stake and so many factors to weigh, the decision to sell your real estate is rarely a simple one. Nevertheless, taking stock of your finances, emotions and lifestyle can go a long way to giving you clarity. And if you should get that nasty note on your pillow, look on the bright side. Your moving decision just got a whole lot easier.

Is There More Growth in the Real Estate Market?

May 3, 2018

Real Estate

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Cast your minds back to the start of 2014. There we were, twiddling our thumbs, wondering if the real estate market would ever recover from the GFC and return to those golden years of growth in the early 2000s. None of us could have anticipated the growth we experienced in our capital cities in 2014. But where does this leave us for the rest of 2015 and into 2016?

Capital cities

Let’s begin with Sydney. After a stellar year in 2014 that saw the real estate market rise by 13.9%, Sydney is expected to rise again by another 8% this year.

It’s forecasted that Hobart and Canberra are set for more growth over the next year, with Hobart expected to rise from 2.1% to 4%, and Canberra to scale from 0.9% to 2%.

After seeing great rises in 2014, Melbourne and Brisbane are expected to plateau over the next year at 4% and 6% respectively.

The real surprise

The surprise package that has everyone excited is the upsurge of Darwin. After experiencing a loss in growth in 2014, Darwin went from -2.5% to being expected to grow by as much as 2%. After a really good decade of growth, Darwin has dropped off the top of the list in the past 2 years, and against what some experts had predicted, has re-established itself as one of Australia’s best places to invest in housing.

Real estate market auction clearance rates

Last month, we witnessed an ‘auction frenzy’, as one weekend saw an unbelievable 79% of auctioned properties sold nationally. That is the second highest level in data going back almost seven years. Buyers are seeing no end to these price rises, with the median price for a Sydney house now in excess of $900,000, with Melbourne approaching a median house price of $700,000.

What does all this mean for you?

2014 capped off a year that saw capital city homeowners add an average of 7.9% in value to their properties, and experts are again forecasting more growth.

Prices in our capital cities have more or less doubled in the last 10-12 years, and in particular parts of those metropolitan areas it has gone through the roof. What we all need to figure out for ourselves is not ‘when should I buy or sell’, but rather ‘where’.

Some say that, if you’ve considered selling, there’s never been a better time. And with the national real estate market set for more growth in the up-coming years, cities such as Hobart, Canberra and Darwin have emerged with great opportunities for buyers and sellers alike.

The Power of Real Estate Signs

May 3, 2018

Real Estate

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Over the ages of professional real estate signage has played an important part. Passersby are attracted by signs and people who are looking for the houses can find them easier. People frequently go out on the weekends to look at houses with for sale signs hanging in front of them. While that is happening less and less the real estate sign still holds power and very few companies have changed them over the years.

Coldwell Banker uses a white background sign with a blue logo that is easy to distinguish from most other signs. Over the years little has changed about this sign. A new 3D sign was released not too long ago but only the effect of the design is changed, the core elements remain the same. The only major real estate company that you could confuse a Coldwell Banker sign with is Windermere. Windermere signs also use a white background but the text is also displayed on that white background. What makes it easy to confuse for a Coldwell Banker sign is the blue backgrounded for sale label that runs across the top of the sign.

Sotheby’s sign is relatively close to both Coldwell Banker and Windermere’s sign but just in the fact that it uses white and blue. The Sotheby’s sign is blue with white text. In complete contrast Keller Williams uses an almost completely red background for some of its signs. Depending on the usage of the real estate sign it may also contain a partially white or black background. No other major reality companies use the distinctive red backgrounds but a few smaller ones do.

Century 21 signs have a black background and are the only major real estate company in the United States to do so. The design is finished off with a yellow house logo and white text. A few smaller companies such as Platinum Realty, Reece Nichols, and Semonin Realtors use black signs but they all lack the distinctive yellow house shape.

Each one of these signs you were probably able to recall in your head because chances are you have seen them before. All of these companies have created a brand image that allow someone to instantly identify who is selling a house. Realtors get a sense of authority from their signs, people know who they are and who they work for based off the real estate for sale sign sitting guard in the yard.

The Changing Face of Real Estate Communications

May 3, 2018

Real Estate

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Some of the important features of communications in the Real Estate industry are enumerated below:

Communication of Trust: Buying or renting a property is one of the more significant decisions in our life. And therefore, it also becomes a crucial one. No one makes a decision on this aspect without being able to trust the other party or the offerings available. Therefore in the real estate space, sellers & agents ought to be able to communicate trust to their consumers. Inability to communicate trust or breach of trust in the middle of a transaction can lead to serious implications for both the buyer and the seller.

Communication of Availability: All consumers would like to have an assurance that the seller is available post-sale for any contingency. Often, in case of real estate agents, they are working on multiple leads and might find it difficult to tend to each one of them at the same time. Going incommunicado only heightens consumer anxiety while the agent might be genuinely tied up. Communication technology now allows for remote handling of calls, or auto call forward options which can keep your consumer at peace.

Communication of Transparency: A real estate agent is often misconstrued to be only interested in his own commission even at the cost of endangering a consumer’s interest. However, often it is overlooked that the agent himself might be in the dark on certain issues. Documents and land records are easily fabricated in the physical realm, with the agent completely being unware. Therefore, the emergence of digital records and ownership records means that all the stakeholders involved can swear by improved transparency.

Communication of Consumer Interest: The consumers today are far more knowledgeable, informed and keen-eyed than those from yesteryears. There is a greater availability of information and improved means to cross-verify everything spelt out by agents and sellers. Thus, it is increasingly important for real estate players to embrace the virtue of consumer interest. If an agent or agency fails to communicate the fact that they remain squarely committed to the interest of the consumer, they are unlikely to build any form of viable consumer connect.

In the real estate space relationships count for much – both the real-world and virtual. The relationship forms the basis for trust consumers place in agents. And the fundamental building block of these relationships is to be able to communicate with the consumers. Communications is not limited to spelling out the property details. It is about impressing upon the consumer that the real estate business is trustworthy, available, and transparent and has consumer interests on top of their mind at all times.

Apartment or House?

May 3, 2018

Real Estate

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Apartment is defined as, a set of rooms which have all the facilities like a house. The major types of apartment are studio apartment, bedroom apartment, duplex, lofts, garden apartment. If I was asked where I would I prefer to live in a traditional house or in a modern apartment building, I think, I would hesitate to answer. This question, from my point of view, is a controversial one. In the following paragraphs I will analyze both these options and present my view.

It’s everyone’s dream to have a comfortable place to live. As the majority of people say, I want to get an attractive house someday, but unluckily it is not so easy to get because it is very costly. But there are several differences between owning a house and renting an apartment. The first difference is the noise. If you are renting an apartment and you are a noisy person, it is very painful for the rest of the people who live with you. For example if you are always playing melodic instruments, listening to loud music and cleaning the house with noisy machines you are really troubling the other people and I’m sure that you wouldn’t want to be in their place. But also, in a lot of cases the noise depends on if the owner permits it or not. In contrast, owning a house is more comfortable if you are a noisy person because you are the owner and responsible for all the things of your house and you don’t have to care of disturbing someone. For example, if you are the owner of the house you are free to even have a noisy party or whatever you want because it is your house. The second and most important difference for me is about the policy. When you live in an apartment, you have to comply with the owner’s policy. For example, you have to ask for him or her if you are free to have visitors, pets, parties, etc. On the other hand, when you rent an apartment, you are not as free as you are when you are the owner of a house to do whatever you want. In contrast, owning a house permits you to be free without caring that someone is dissatisfied with your ideas and decisions about your house. In this case you can paint your house, buy a big tape recorder or do all the things that you want. In conclusion, I prefer owning a house that is better than renting an apartment because I can be free to do whatever I want, without policy and it gives me more sovereignty and relieve.

From the one side, living in a modern apartment building brings many paybacks. First of all, it is cheaper than living in a traditional house and paying different kinds of fees I am not familiar with. For instance, my buddy, who recently bought a new house for his family, told me that it is much easier to live in an apartment and I tend to believe him when I see his bills. So, living in an apartment will definitely help me to save some money. Second of all, since I live alone, I do not need a big house with many rooms. I just need a bedroom and a living room where I can take my guests and have my work place. Another important benefit of living in an apartment is that I will not have to buy much weighty furniture in order to furnish all rooms.

Time to Get Out of Real Estate

May 3, 2018

Real Estate

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Talk about exquisite timing.

Even today, a decade after the fact, the leveraged buyout of Equity Office Properties Trust remains one of the largest of all time: $36 billion for nearly 600 office buildings in New York, Washington D.C. and dozens of the nation’s largest cities.

But in late 2006, some wondered if the billionaire who sold the REIT was being a little rash. After all, the real estate boom was in full swing, and the S&P 500 was primed to hit new all-time highs. “Is he cashing out too early?” asked a Bloomberg headline when the deal was announced.

We all know the answer, of course.

Billionaire Sam Zell deftly sidestepped the coming real estate carnage. Then, with prices at generational lows a few years later, Zell bought hundreds of apartment complexes at dirt-cheap prices.

And today? Well, that’s the ominous part…

Once again, Zell is selling his real estate holdings. Last fall, he unloaded a quarter of his portfolio, buildings totaling about 23,000 rental apartments, to Starwood Capital Group for more than $5 billion.

Zell next sold off apartment buildings in South Florida and Denver, with complexes in Phoenix, Boston and other metro areas expected to be sold before the year is out.

“No one has ever accused me of not being a realist,” Zell told CNBC’s talking heads recently.

Reality Bites

Few things are more real than the threat of rising interest rates. Concerned about the Fed’s late-to-the-party threats and distorted capital markets drunk on years of zero-interest-rate policy, Zell is getting out while the getting is still good.

In the past few months, new-home sales hit their highest level in eight years. Pending home sales rose by the largest percentage gain in a decade.

Even home flipping is back in vogue again. RealtyTrac, measuring 2015 data, estimated a 75% increase in active home flippers – the highest since 2007.

Nationally, the average gross profit on a flipped home was $55,000 – the largest since 2006.

But for the realists like Zell, the widening cracks in the facade are plain to see.

For instance, apartment rent is starting to come down in New York and San Francisco – two of the hottest markets in the country. There is simply too much supply and not enough demand.

A few weeks ago, the head of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston warned about overheated speculation in the commercial real estate market. “We care about potentially inflated commercial real estate prices,” said the bank’s president, Eric Rosengren, “because they might risk a bout of financial instability.”

Translated from “Fedspeak,” Rosengren was saying: Get out now.

Even those ultra ultraluxury homes in the $100 million and up range aren’t selling. It’s a rarefied market, for sure, but The New York Times recently noted that a record 27 properties, each with a nine-figure price tag, are languishing unsold on the market. According to figures kept by Christie’s International Real Estate, 19 such homes were on the market in 2015 and 12 in 2014.

Late last year, I wrote about one of those massive palazzos here in Florida – the beachside $159 million, 60,000 square foot Le Palais Royal. It’s still for sale.

Perhaps the extra gold leaf they painted on the front security gate will help.

Beware the Peak

I can’t see Sam Zell taking up residence in Le Palais Royal. But then again, he sold his office properties in 2006, and watched the market crack wide open a year later. Now he’s unloading his real estate portfolio again, so, who knows?

Build a Career in Real Estate With the Certificate of Registration

May 3, 2018

Real Estate

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Are you planning to become a realtor? Do you need any assistance which will give you a kick-start in this field? Read on to know more about building your own career in real estate.

As we all know real estate is one of the flourishing fields in recent years and we also hear success stories every now and then. Owing to such importance in the market, real estate has also become one of the most sought after business segments for many. Especially for young stars who dream to become an entrepreneur, this is the field that gives handsome number of opportunities to grow and diversify. However, there are many who wish to pursue a career in this field but do not dare to take it because of multiple legal and ethical requirements linked to it. This makes it difficult for a starter to understand all these issues alone without any proper guidance. It is here the real estate certificate of registration comes to help.

Getting into this process makes you an authorized realtor with all necessary competencies that you require to shine in the field of real estate. This certificate of registration would pave a smooth path to you and your career by eliminating or guiding you through certain complex issues in the business. Being offered by many institutions in both online and offline modes, it’s very easy for the new incumbents like you to take up a course as and when you want. The course work is offered by numerous institutions across many parts of the world. You just got to get in touch with a reliable consultant and get details and enroll for one which flourishes your career as a realtor. Any person who is an adult can enroll for this course and can earn his certificate of registration. However, to earn this, you need to complete all courses as per course work.

Once you finish the entire course work, you will be issued with your Certificate. No provisional certificates will be issued in the interim period. Various institutes offer the courses in different modes; few take online regular classes while the others supplement the regular classes with once in a while sessions coupled with printed materials. You can take any type of session which is comfortable for you and get aligned with your time. Irrespective of the mode you choose, the session’s end by taking the examinations after classes to get your certificate. The period of the course is also minimal and is very easy. If you have minimum idea on the ethical grounds, you just got to learn legal compliance in a couple of days or in a week and you can comfortably give your examinations. Once done with the examinations you have to wait for your certificate which will be issued as per the discretion of your institution.

6 Real Estate Blogging Tools and Gadgets Worth Considering

May 3, 2018

Real Estate

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If you are someone venturing and trying luck in real estate, you should consider having a blog that speaks up about your interest in the field. Blogging is one of the greatest marketing strategies that are being taken up by various organizations irrespective of their size and niche. Whether it is a company dealing in medicines or some individual fashion designer, blogs can help get online attention and lots of visitors to one’s website which in turn provide many new customers.

Here are 6 Real Estate Blogging Tools and Gadgets Worth Considering:

1. Calmly: This is a professional text editor available online. Calmly encourages distraction free writing. Using this tool one can write, add images, and more. It gives an idea of how one’s blog will look like with all the information and pictures.

2. Hemingway App: Your blog should be readable. It should be written in easy to understand language as it will be visited by people across the globe. So, readability is one crucial thing that should be considered while writing a blog. Hemingway App is one tool that can help analyze your blog for readability. The tool highlights the text that might be difficult to read and even suggest solutions improve the readability of the blog.

3. Irfan View: This is an amazing image editor. If you are planning to start a real-estate blog, you might need to upload a number of images to showcase properties, buildings, and localities. Such images are quite heavy in size and may take hours to upload. Using Irfan View one can edit images to reduce the size of the image.

4. Co Schedule’s Headline Analyzer: Headlines are the first thing that catches the attention of online visitors. If your blog doesn’t have an attractive headline, the chances of it being left aloof or ignored are more. The Co Schedule’s Headline Analyzer helps one analyze the headline and it suggests changes that may make it more interesting to read.

5. Piktochart: This is an info-graphic app. It is easier to inform someone through infographics as it saves one time from reading the entire post. Online visitors hardly spend more than 5 minutes on a web page. The Piktochart can come handy in conveying the message within a fraction of seconds. This tool although takes some time to create info-graphics, it is worth considering for your real estate blog. Using the tool, you can create graphics conveying information about the place such as the society, schools and shopping complexes near the property.

6. Canva: A blog with amazing graphics can help your blog stand out among the competitors. Canva is one blogging tool that allows its users to convey their message through graphics. It is an easy to use the tool and does not require any technical qualification to use it. The graphics designed by Canva can be shared on social media as well.

The internet has made our world appear so small that we can do almost anything while sitting in front of the PC/laptop screen. This technology has proved quite beneficial specifically for the real estate industry. The internet has helped us create a virtual world of our own where we can imagine ourselves in a home that we always dreamed of living.