More Than Finances

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Smarter Home Shopping: How to Negotiate a Better Price Without Breaking a Sweat


Purchasing a home of their own is a dream than many people have. There is a sense of accomplishment and freedom when you have a piece of land and a house that you can call your own. Actually finding and buying that dream, however, can be a difficult proposition that many people aren’t prepared for.

A home is one of the largest purchase you’ll ever make, so you want to save as much money as you can during the process. This means that you have to be able to negotiate a price that you can live with, and you can only do that if you know what you’re doing and are in a good position to do so. Here are a few tips that will help you during those negotiations.

Get Your Financial House in Order

The first thing you need to do before you start looking for a home to buy is to know exactly what you can and cannot afford. This means going over your finances to see where you stand.

Make a simple budget of everything you have coming in and going out so you can see how much of a mortgage payment you can afford. Include everything you can think of, from grocery bills and student loans to existing mortgages and other large debts. Then you’ll get an accurate picture.

The reason you want to do this is so you can get a preapproved to get a property loan offer from a bank. Your negotiating power increases if you know exactly how much you can bring to the table.

Go for Value, Not Price

Someone who is selling their home — whether by themselves or through an agency — can really ask whatever they want to for the property. Sure, it might not sell and they will need to adjust, but they can start wherever they want.

This means that you need to know the property’s value rather than the selling price. If a home is listed at or below the value, then there’s a great chance you won’t find a better deal and you can take it. If the home is overpriced, you can use that knowledge to negotiate for a lower final price. This can be a savings of thousands of dollars in the long run.

Why Are They Selling?

One of the best things you can do to improve your negotiating ammunition is to find out why the house is on the market in the first place.

Motivated sellers — those who need to sell quickly because of some life changing event like a new job or a divorce — give you a great opportunity to negotiate the final price down so they can unload their property and move on with their life. Ask questions to the seller and the agent so you can find the reasoning behind the sale and use that knowledge to your advantage to get a better price.

Remember these tips when you want to find a new home.

Abbie Dodd works as a real estate agent and shares her tips and insider insights online with her articles.


Ways to Save Money Selling Your Home


Selling your house can be a difficult task, more so when it comes to trying to stick to a budget. Those who have had lots of experience either moving around or flipping properties will have discovered some of the many tricks to saving money when selling a home, but for others it feels like you can be tied into things you never knew you could renegotiate.

Fast Florida House Sale is an online realtor that have had many years experience in dealing with home sales, and understands where money can be saved, especially for those looking to sell their home fast. Here is there quick guide as to the things you should look out for.

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Tips For Purchasing Your First Home

Buying your first home is a huge milestone that can be a very exciting experience in your life. This does not mean that it doesn’t require a lot of hard work and due diligence. Whether you are months out from looking or you are already in the process, it is never too early to start preparing for the big purchase. By following some of the tips below you will be well on your way to purchase the home of your dreams.

Know what you can afford.  The Internet proves to be a great place to start when it comes to pricing out your home and what exactly you can afford. There are several online calculators that are very detailed in the process they take to calculate the amount of house you can afford. Such considerations in these calculations are property taxes, homeowners insurance, escrows, etc. This exercise helps you prepare by allowing you to create a budget which is crucial when you own a house.

Research for a reputable lender or mortgage broker. Being able to work with a mortgage broker on your first mortgage is well worth the legwork that is required to find one. Securing a good lender will hopefully pay you back tenfold in that they usually know of incentives or ways to save time and money in the home buying process. Do not automatically go with the least expensive banker. Make sure that you have done thorough research before committing to working with someone. With the amount of time that you will spend working with this person, you will want to make sure that they are someone you can get along with easily.

Save up on a down payment. Despite the fact that you may not need a large down payment on a home, it is not to say that you should not save for one. The more that you are able to pay down on a house, the better the rates you will be able to secure. Depending on your particular situation you most likely will want to put down at least 20 percent of the purchase price. This not only allows you to pass on paying mortgage insurance, but you will also be able to take advantage of lower interest rates.

By following these simple tips, you are well on your way to owning your first home. The journey is a long and sometimes trying one but in the end your new home will be well worth it.


5 Common Mistakes Made by Property Investors

Real estate investments seem to be a reliable way of making money in these tough economic times. However, there are number of traps to be wary of in order to protect your investments.

1. Insufficient Research

Often an investor will fail because they purchase the best home on a street that is in an unsuitable location, or in an area that’s run down due to the economic times. It’s important to do your research and choose a wonderful property that’s in a desirable spot. To be able to recognize the flow of your investment, check the listings over the past ten years. This will give you an idea if the market is depressed or if the costs are on the rise. Run a list of the comparables in the area you’re thinking of purchasing also and see how they have fared. For an expert opinion, think about hiring a professional estate agent to help you with the process.

2. Exceeding What You Can Afford

The primary goal of investing is to spend only what you have figured within your budget. Make sure you know your limits and try not to get caught up in the enthusiasm of the projects at hand. Real estate is a long-term investment and you won’t reap the rewards immediately. It takes time for your property values to rise and for them to generate sufficient money. You will also need to factor in any necessary improvements and renovations. When it comes time for making home improvements, be conservative and choose only the projects that will add value to your property first.

3. Not Having an Emergency Plan

An investor can fail in the real estate market if they don’t have an emergency plan ready in case something goes wrong. Today’s economic climate is tough to figure out, so you need to have an emergency plan figured out for a quick evacuation. Be prepared for the unexpected and have a professional expert handy in case you need to get rid of your investment quickly.

4. Don’t Be Impatient 

Unlike other ventures, investment property is a long-term project that you’ll probably make money on once you resell. Plan ahead for renovations and general upkeep and expect these projects to set you back financially at the beginning. It may even be a struggle to meet your mortgage payments on the property at times. Depending on a quick sale will only set you up for financial disaster.

5. Getting Emotionally Attached to the Aesthetics of the Property

This is a major area where investors struggle. They could get emotionally attached to a specific feature or room of the house and fall in love with the investment. It’s definitely a plus to like the home that you are purchasing, but you have to remember that you aren’t going to be living in it. Clear your mind and see the property for its imperfections and the costs that you will have to incur to fix it up. You may love it for its quirkiness and charm, but you need to make sure that you can still rent it out.

Andrew Potter is the resident property blogger for My Online Estate Agent partners with the leading property websites, providing an unbeatable service for landlords and sellers.


Take Advantage of the Housing Market to Become a Landlord

One way to build wealth is to become a landlord.  As you gain rental properties, you will have more and more passive income at your disposal, which can help supplement your day job income and increase your cash flow.

Take, for instance, Matt and Jessica who bought a home 10 years ago and have been aggressively paying down their mortgage.  Now, they only owe $50,000.  Despite the market, their home has retained its value, and they have $155,000 in equity in the home.

Since they bought the home 10 years ago, they have also saved aggressively by working side jobs in addition to their day jobs—Matt is a D.J. and Jessica is a photographer.  They have banked all of their side job money and now have quite a large amount.  They have decided to take advantage of the historically low interest rates to buy a bigger home.  However, they won’t be selling their current home; they will instead rent it out and become landlords.

If you are in the market for a new, larger home, there are a variety of home loans available to you, so when preparing to buy a bigger home, you need to determine what mortgage is the best fit for you personally.  Should you take out a 5 year adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) and take the chance that mortgage rates will be lower than they currently are, or should you take out a fixed rate mortgage with the assumption that today’s rates are quite good and locking in those rates would be wise.  Using  mortgage calculators as well as talking to a mortgage broker or loan officer can help you choose the mortgage that is right for you.

With careful planning and the right mortgage, you can find yourself in the enviable position where your tenants pay for your own mortgage payment through their rent payment.  Then, you can continue to grow your own wealth and, if you are interested, buy additional properties.

While being a landlord is sometimes difficult, such as when you have tenants who cannot or will not pay or when your property needs to have expensive repairs, it also has many financial perks.  You can grow your wealth and develop a passive income stream that can give you a good return on your money for years to come.

People enter the rental market through a variety of means.  If you are thinking about becoming a landlord, consider waiting until you plan to move to a larger property.  Then, you can use your former home as your first rental property.  You will know exactly how the property has been taken care of and what condition it is in, so you will not have any surprises as you might if you were buying a new property.