Real Estate

Why Do Lenders Offer the Best Remortgage Rates? Receive Approval for the Best Fixed Rate Mortgage Deal

Best Remortgage Rates

Since house prices started to slide, lenders have become increasingly cognisant of high risk secured borrowing. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, 1 in every 200 U.S. family homes will be repossessed during the current downturn. It is a fair assumption that the best remortgage rates will be offered to homeowners who are least likely to default. Foreclosing on a property is not only time consuming, it is financially expensive and tarnishes the image of the lender.

How to Get the Best Remortgage Rate

In order to minimise risk, banks use a more stringent set of criteria to determine eligibility. The cheapest mortgage loans will be made available to customers who are in stable employment, have a low income to debt ratio, have excellent credit and are able to offer a decent house deposit. This approach ensures that the borrower is well placed to make their monthly repayments. Also, the bank knows that they can easily recover the full loan value in the event of default.

A Low Interest Mortgage Requires Good Credit

Any homeowner who is looking for the best remortgage rate will need to avoid a low credit rating. Those who have missed payments will only be eligible for a bad credit mortgage. Whilst it can take several years to improve credit, some credit reports do contain inaccurate data. It is important to get hold of a report from Experian, Equifax and TransUnion to check for errors. Always get these corrected several months before performing any mortgage refinancing.

Stable Employment Leads to the Best Fixed Rate Mortgage

The borrower’s employment is fundamental to sustained affordability. Not surprisingly, the best remortgage rates won’t be offered to those who are in temporary employment or still in their probationary period. This is because their income can stop at any time. Customers in a trade or professional job will always be favored by lenders, but it is the length of time that person has held their job that is most critical.

A Low Income to Debt Ratio

Just as the sudden loss of employment regularly leads to default, an unsustainably high level of debt relative to income can be equally catastrophic. Lenders are unlikely to lend money to those who have an income to debt ratio that is greater than 36%. In practice, the lower this figure the better.

Mortgage Refinancing Requires a Sufficient House Deposit

Whilst this criteria is often relaxed when property prices are rising, the greater the home equity the more likely a homeowner is to receive approval for the best fixed rate mortgage deal. Should the customer be unable to maintain their monthly repayments, the lender wants to be able to recover its money. Whilst they are obliged to get fair market value, equity provides a cushion against any repossession deficiency.

Achieving the Best Remortgage Rate

The cheapest mortgage loans will only be offered to homeowners who present minimal risk of default to the lender. This means that credit history, employment and home equity are fundamentally important. Always compare mortgage rates online and check for feedback regarding how existing customers are treated.

House Auctions Offer Cheap Property: Buying Properties at Home Auctions Can Save a Lot of Money

House auctions are exciting affairs. The normal long-drawn out process of house buying is telescoped into a few minutes of frantic bidding. While the unwary may be in danger of paying over the odds, the pressing need to sell ensures that auctions offer an excellent opportunity to buy cheap property.

Repossessed homes are always on the menu, and not everyone likes the thought of benefiting from someone else’s misery. But the dispossessed would be still worse off without home auctions. In order to get some money back they need people to buy their former home.

Finding Cheap Property at House Auctions

Those interested in buying properties in this way must first find their auction. Home auctions are advertised in specialist property publications, on the property pages of newspapers and magazines, and online. And all property auctioneers will, of course, happily give information on their upcoming sales. Having established where and when an auction is to take place, the next step for those in search of cheap property is to acquire a catalogue. This will give details of all the properties available.

Viewing Auction Properties in Advance

The prospective buyer must now move fast, for there is seldom more than three weeks between the appearance of the catalogue and the auction itself. And while some are prepared to take the risk, it really is pretty stupid to buy a home without checking it out carefully in advance.

The sort of property sold at house auctions is always different in some respect from that marketed in the normal way. Houses for auction include, for example, property which is considered too run down for a normal sale. This is why many property developers are to be found at auctions.
For the ordinary home buyer, the most promising auction properties are repossessed homes. Generally speaking, these are sold at home auctions simply because the lender, having no interest in owning a house, wants the quickest possible sale in order to recoup the unpaid loan. There is no point in being squeamish about buying properties which have been repossessed: only when the house is sold does the former owner get any money back.

Researching Auction Properties

Having found something which appeals, the prospective buyer should look carefully at other properties in the area in order to see how attractive the guide price is – always bearing in mind that that figure is designed to attract interest, and is often lower than the price finally achieved.

Unless the building is new and built to stringent standards, it should be looked at by an expert. It goes against the grain to pay for a survey of a house which may in the end go to someone else, but it would be much worse to buy one which turned out to be unsound.

Houses for auction come with legal packs which are available from the auctioneers. A prospective bidder should show the legal pack to a solicitor in order to be aware of potential difficulties – there often are with auction properties.

Buying Properties at Home Auctions

It is possible to preempt the whole process by submitting a bid before the auction. If the seller accepts, the property is then withdrawn from the list.

But for properties sold on the day of the auction, the buyer must have financial arrangements – for example, a mortgage or a bridging loan – already in place. A ten percent deposit, payable on auction day, will be forfeit if the balance is not paid within twenty-eight days.

On the day itself, auction rooms usually being very crowded, those who arrive late may well have to stand. And those who mean to bid should make quite sure that they are easily visible to the auctioneer. For those who cannot be present, it may be possible to bid by telephone. The auction house will advise.

Having decided on a maximum price, the bidder should not exceed it. If the property goes to someone else, then time and money have been wasted, but this simply has to be accepted. Otherwise, when the hammer falls, the deal is done. There will be no anxious weeks of waiting, no possibility of being gazumped. Everything has been accomplished in three weeks.

Advice in Renting Cumbrian Holiday Homes for Lakeland Exploration

Advice in Renting Cumbrian Holiday Homes

How to Find the Ideal Holiday Home within the Lake District

The following advice on renting accommodation within the Lakes may help in selecting the right one:

An activity holiday within the Lakes District can be enjoyed more if the opportunity to partake into the desired activity lies within the vicinity. A walking holiday for instance, can be enjoyed when residing within such towns as Ambleside, Grasmere, Windermere, Keswick, Elterwater and Hawkeshead. Many walking routes intersect these areas including the Allerdale Ramble and the Coast to Coast route, which will dispense with the need for a car journey to get there.

Family Friendly Holidays in the Lake District

Family walks within the Lakes can be enjoyed within Whinlatter Forest and Grizedale Forest which are road-less. These are close to Keswick and Hawkshead respectively. Buttermere Village offers an easy circuit of Buttermere. Levens Hall and Holehird Gardens also offer interest for youngsters. Bowness Village has Beatrix Potter Land and a convenient location for Lakeland Cruises across Windermere.

Advice on Activity Holidays within the Lakes

Water sports such as sailing or swimhiking can be enjoyed when located within a Lakeside village, such as Patterdale , Bowness or Derwent. Alternatively, mountain biking or mountain hiking can be enjoyed within the locale of Coniston, Glenridding or Seathwaite. Lake District cycling routes can be enjoyed within locales such as Keswick, Windermere, the Langdales, Ambleside and Elterwater. A holiday with a difference can be found when looking for a painting holiday in the Lakes or a writing retreat, where plenty of inspiration is in supply.

Holiday Lodge, Caravan or Cottage in the Lakes?

With the village or location selected, the type of accommodation within Lakeland requires thought. The following considerations will help in obtaining the most suitable cottage or lodge within the Lakes District:

  • The budget available
  • Whether the accommodation allows for dogs and smoking
  • Facilities for parking, particularly if several cars are to be used
  • Disabled access if this is required, such as ramps and ensuite bathrooms
  • The views desired
  • Family friendly facilities such as an enclosed garden and whether high chairs and pushchairs are provided
  • Someone to contact if problems are encountered such as a breakdown

Ideal Places to Stay in the Lake District

The following Lake District parks supply top quality lodges, caravans and facilities for tourers and campers for those wishing to holiday in the Lake District.

  • Fallbarrow Park, Bowness Village
  • Limefitt Park, Windermere
  • White Cross Bay, Windermere
  • Troutbeck in Windermere
  • Silouth, Wigton on the Cumbrian coast
  • Caldbeck, Carlisle
  • Thanet Well Lodges, Penrith

Websites offering Cumbrian cottages to hire are:

  • Cottages 4 You
  • Lakeland Cottages
  • Heart of the Lakes

Finding the Ideal Accommodation within the Lake District

The most suitable Lakeland accommodation is often in its locality, as different areas of the Lakes offer something unique. Close proximity to facilities to enjoy a particular pastime is likely to result in a more enjoyable holiday. Of course, there are many different types of accommodation on offer, so careful thought on the holiday makers’ needs will help in selecting the best place to stay in the Lakes, whether it is an idyllic cottage, a pine lodge or caravan. A well established company with a quality seal is a safer bet.

How to Choose Between a Fixed Rate or Variable Mortgage

Fixed Rate Mortgage

One of the main decisions that many homeowners have to make is whether to choose a fixed rate or variable mortgage. Each of these options has its own general pros and cons. The circumstances of the individual and the mortgage market as a whole may also affect how cost effective these mortgages may be. Which criteria should consumers use to choose between a fixed rate or variable deal?

What is the Difference Between a Fixed Rate or Variable Mortgage?

A fixed rate mortgage will set monthly repayments at a specific amount. During the time that a deal lasts the homeowner will always make the same payment. A variable loan comes with repayments that may go up and down depending on any movements in the underlying market or lender rate to which the deal is tied.

Monthly Spending Budgets May Influence the Decision Between a Fixed or Variable Rate

Some consumers will choose a mortgage type based on how repayments influence their monthly spending. For example, those that want or need to know exactly how much their repayments will be may well opt for a fixed rate deal.

This is often the route chosen by first time buyers, many of whom are working with tight budgets and who like the security of guaranteed payment levels whilst they find their feet. Those that are not so concerned with needing to budget for an exact payment every month may find that a variable deal suits them better.

Market Conditions and Fixed or Variable Rate Mortgages

The effectiveness of fixed and variable rate mortgages is also influenced by external market conditions. In some circumstances, a fixed rate deal may be more cost-effective than a variable option and vice versa.

So, now you have an idea of the difference between fixed rate mortgage and variable rate mortgage. And it is time to get started in the mortgage industry, isn’t it?

You Can Sell your Home Today: Even in Down Market Buyers Still Need Homes

Buying A home

The news regarding the state of the housing industry is far from positive these days.

The National Association of Realtors reports that existing-home sales, which includes single-family homes, townhouses, condominiums and co-ops, fell 5.3 percent in January of this year when compared to the last year. The numbers are even worse when comparing January sales to the same month one year earlier; Home sales dropped 8.6 percent across the country from January of the last year to the same month this year.

That means there are a lot of sellers out there still trying to move their homes. It also means that buyers have more options than ever when it comes to buying homes.

Sellers, then, have to do whatever it takes to attract fair offers on their homes.

Set the Right Price

The biggest mistake that sellers make in today’s market is overpricing their homes.

Housing values across the country are falling because buyers no longer want to pay sky-high prices for their homes. The National Association of Realtors reports that the prices of existing homes fell from an average high point of $230,200 in July of 2014 to $175,400 in December of last year.

Sellers who are still pricing their homes like it’s 2016 may find that few buyers are willing to make them offer. These buyers will instead move on to the next home that’s priced just a bit lower.

Fix That Dripping Faucet

Buyers hold the power in today’s real estate market. When they tell sellers that they want a purple bedroom painted a neutral color or that they’d like to see an old roof re-shingled, sellers have little choice but to either hire someone to do the work.

Sellers may also provide potential buyers with a credit or the money to repair the problem themselves, depending on what the buyers want.

Gone, though, are the days when sellers could boast that their homes came “as is.” Sellers who do that today will find few takers for their residences.

Hire a Stager

To attract a buyer today, homes have to stand out in a positive way. One way for buyers to showcase a house to the best of its ability is for them to hire a home stager.

Stagers will either work with existing furniture or art or bring in their own pieces to set up a residence so that it looks its best. They can also position furniture so that it hides a room’s flaws. For instance, a stager might position a bed and dresser to make a small bedroom look larger than it is.

Sellers usually pay for stagers. However, rates vary around the country, so homeowners should shop around before hiring a stager.

Be Willing to Compromise

Finally, sellers should be open to compromise during negotiations. If buyers need to move into the home at an earlier date, sellers should do what it takes to accommodate them. If they’d really like the kitchen refrigerator to stay behind, sellers should at least consider it.

Sellers may think they’re giving up a lot to buyers. And they are. But sellers have to remember that buyers hold the advantage in today’s market. To get them to make an offer, sellers have to be willing to compromise more than they ever have.

Property Disclosures—Hmmm What Do We Disclose?

Property Disclosures So many people are talking about property condition and what they have to disclose when they list their homes for sale. Hopefully this article will point you in the right direction.

Long gone are the days of “buyer beware” ! We have the most litigious society in our history–so welcome to the era of “seller beware”! Most states have regulations requiring a seller to notify a buyer of the known condition of the property and any known defects. Failure to do so could result in a devastating civil lawsuit! Most states have forms for you to provide the buyer detailing this information. I will provide you a list outlining most of the required disclosures; however, you need to find out what your state requirements are. You can do this by asking a local REALTOR, an attorney, state real estate board or title company representative. While your state may be absent of regulations regarding disclosure, you might consider it a moral obligation rather than a legal obligation to disclose certain property traits.

Expect to disclose the following: What items the property has (and whether or not they convey) like: range, dishwasher, washer/dryer hookups, oven, trash compactor, window screens, microwave, gutters, alarm system, satellite system, intercom/stereo system, ceiling fans, cable television wiring, television antennae, window air condition units, central air and heat, attic fans, plumbing system, septic system, public water and sewer system, fence, patio and decks, swimming pool, hot tub, yard sprinklers, fireplace, garage, garage door openers, water heater, etc… See your local requirements to add and delete from this listing.

Do these items work properly? If any of these items do not function as they are intended you will need to let the buyer know. If an item is not functioning as it is intended, do you plan on fixing or replacing it?

What about the roof? You need to have atleast a basic knowledge of the type, condition and age of your roof. If you have had a roof put on during your ownership try to find the records. If the roof is under warranty find out if the warranty is transferable to the new owner. Have you had repairs made? Did they come with a warranty?

Knowing the type and age of your existing roof will help the buyer calculate the life span of that particular roof and make allowances for repairs.

What about walls, ceilings and doors? Do you have holes in walls or stains on your ceiling? How about doors that don’t hang right? If you’re not planning on fixing them (which we will talk about later) you better disclose them. If you are planning on

fixing them–do it now, before showing your property. Do not hide defects from a prospect. (Please note that I am not suggesting you paint over the ceiling stain to hide the roof leak. I am suggesting you find the cause for the stain, repair it, and then repair the damage it caused.)

Are there termites in your house? Termites and other wood destroying insects are very common in the South. Newer homes even have pest-control systems built-in to help deter them. If you have had previous treatment or are under a termite contract have the certificate ready for review. While termites are the most common, other wood destroying insects must be disclosed if prevalent in your home. It’s a good idea to check with a local pest control specialist if you have concerns. If you know of existing problems I would suggest that it is money well spent to have treatment done immediately. The longer you wait the more costly the treatment will be and the more serious the damage. Treatment and the expense of it are inevitable–so get a grip on the problem at the earliest possible interval.

Any fires or flooding? Yep, you need to disclose it. Chances are you have left no evidence of previous fires or flooding, repairing all the damage, however, you need to let a prospective buyer be made aware of this anyway. Remember–it’s always better to be up front about these details. I assure you these secrets will not remain secret forever. At the first remodeling project evidence of such will come forth.

Is there a mandatory membership in an association? Many of the newer subdivisions have associations that pay for upkeep to the entrance, common areas, security lighting and such. If you have a mandatory membership in a homeowner’s association have the dues amount available and be aware of any special assessments or requirements.

Have you received a notice of deed violation or ordinance violation? If you have received any notices from authorities that something on your property is not in compliance with their restrictions or easements you need to let the buyer be made aware of.

Are there lawsuits affecting the property? If you are involved in any type of lawsuit that directly affects the property disclose it to the buyer. Also be sure to discuss your current listing situation with your attorney.

Pay Off a Mortgage Early To Increase Cash Flow: Real Estate Investors Can Use Assets for Greater Profits, Expansion

There are times when real estate investors want or need to increase the income generated by properties in their portfolios. It could be that increases in taxes, regulatory fees, or maintenance are cutting into the cash flow. Or it could be that an investor wants to take advantage of an opportunity to expand the portfolio with a property that can bring in greater profits.

One challenge for many investors is how to obtain financing. Applying for a sizeable loan may not be viable these days when banks seem reluctant to lend large amounts of money to anyone other than the “perfect” borrower who has high credit scores, a flawless credit history, and reliable income and assets. Selling a property could be an alternative way to obtain cash, but in today’s market this may take a long time and may not bring in a sum that satisfies the investor.

Investors should not overlook an important source of funds: the money devoted to paying the mortgages on property they already own. In other words, paying off a mortgage early may be an attractive alternative or supplement to conventional mortgage financing.

As appealing as the idea may be, however, paying off a mortgage early should not be taken lightly. It is a decision that requires serious thought and calculation, always with reference to one’s real estate investment plan.

Early Mortgage Payoff Pros and Cons

These are several advantages of paying off a mortgage early. A substantial amount of cash that was devoted to the mortgage is freed up and can be directed to other purposes. There is also the peace of mind of owning a property free and clear of a major debt. In addition, each extra dollar that goes toward reducing the principal of a mortgage loan also reduces the interest that is paid over the life of the loan, resulting in a savings of thousands of dollars.

There are also potential disadvantages to early mortgage payoff, such as:

Payment rejection. In an e-mail to this reporter, Andrew Housser, co-CEO of Bills.com in San Mateo, CA, noted that some borrowers who try to institute their own pay-down schedules by making half a mortgage payment on a biweekly basis may find that their lenders reject the payment for being less than the amount that is due. This could end up costing the borrower late fees. (Housser suggested that it may be better to divide the monthly mortgage payment by 12, add that amount to the monthly payment, and write the extra amount on the “additional principal” line of the statement.)

Prepayment penalties. In some areas of the United States, it is legal for lenders to include a provision for penalties in the event of early mortgage payoff. Lenders include such provisions as protection against the loss of the cash flow that they expect over the life of the loan.

Inflation. Because inflation erodes the value of the dollar over time, mortgage payments made in the future will cost less than at present because the dollar’s actual buying power will be reduced.

Short-term financial hardship. Investors may find it a sacrifice, at least short-term, to reduce the cash flow from a property by the amount sent in as additional principal each month.

Meet Real Estate Operating Expenses, Above All Else

Every investor’s financial situation is different, which is why it is essential to carefully weigh the pros and cons of early payoff of a mortgage. A tax or financial advisor should be consulted, if necessary.

Nonetheless, investors can avoid many problems and hardships through prudence and adherence to their investment plans. This means using only discretionary funds to pay down mortgages on their properties – never the money needed to meet the operating expenses of a property.

Buying Property in the Foreclosure Phase

buying property

The foreclosure process in the United States can be viewed as consisting of five phases:

  1. Pre-foreclosure
  2. Foreclosure
  3. Sheriff’s sale
  4. Redemption
  5. Post-foreclosure

The focus of this article is the foreclosure phase. Foreclosure means that the mortgage lender will seek the aid of a court to obtain title to the loan collateral – the property – so that the lender can sell it to satisfy all or part of the loan. Thus, a judgment of foreclosure cuts off the homeowner’s right to sell the property or use it as collateral for other loans.

Buying Property: Foreclosure Listings

The procedure for initiating a formal foreclosure action differs from state to state. In some states, mortgage lenders, like other creditors, must file a notice of default in the county in which the property in question is situated. In other states, a document called a lis pendens must be filed in the home county. Both of these legal instruments are formal notice to the public of the default of the debtor and the intent of the creditor to sue to the debtor.

Investors can find out which properties are facing foreclosure through word of mouth, by searching the public records, reading public notices of default in the local newspaper, or subscribing to a service that provides foreclosure listings for a fee. However foreclosure properties are tracked down, it is crucial that investors maintain the attitude that the purchase of property from financially and emotionally distressed owners is nothing more than a business transaction.

Buy Before Judgment

Many homeowners seem to wake up to the fact that they are in financial distress only when the mortgage lender has put the matter in front of a court. While a foreclosure action is pending in court, the homeowner may realize that his or her only alternative is to sell the property to stop the proceedings. It is in the homeowner’s interest to do so because a foreclosure judgment remains part of the homeowner’s credit history for as long as 10 years. A sale is also in the lender’s interest because the lender will not have to move to the subsequent phases of foreclosure.

The foreclosure phase can be very good for the real estate investor. Like an over-matched boxer, the homeowner is pinned against the ropes, with little defense against the blows landed by the lender in the court action. The homeowner knows the fight is lost and that the bell will sound at any moment, with the lender declared the winner. If an investor makes an offer for the property, the homeowner will be highly motivated to accept it.

This is the time for an investor to demand a deep discount in the price of the property. However, if the amount offered by the investor is not enough to cover the mortgage loan balance, the lender is not obligated to accept the short sale, and the homeowner would have to find a source of funds for the shortfall. The deal may fall apart.

Keep Emotions at Bay

Investors must never feel an attachment to any property (“I just have to have this”) that they are considering buying. Foreclosure is frequently a very emotionally distressing situation for the homeowner. Nonetheless, investors must resist feeling an obligation to “help out” a homeowner by offering too much for a property.

Nor must investors neglect their due diligence by failing to ascertain the physical condition of the property (particularly costly items such as foundations, roofs, windows, and the plumbing, heating, and electrical systems) and the state of title (for example, whether other creditors have filed claims against the property). The pre-judgment period is the last chance to do so before the lender gains control of the property.

Finding Buyers When Selling A Home

finding buyers

The following guest post is about finding buyers by Brabble CEO Patrick Mackaronis of New York City.

Prevent one’s biggest investment from selling at a lower market value by learning about who may purchase the home next. In addition to traditional home staging practices, cater staging to cultural backgrounds. Here’s some information on finding buyers.

There are several often unspoken rules in real estate. It’s important to educate oneself on the beliefs and superstitions of other cultures and prevent offensive situations. There are adjustments that homeowners can make on their home that will help avoid cultural embarrassment, and in turn expand their buyer pool. However some things will not be able to change, but sellers can keep these practices in mind so they know what to expect.

Finding Buyers: Home For Sale With No Offers

For example, a house is for sale. It’s been on the market for 60 days, there were ten showings and no offers. The owners followed their realtor’s expertise and dropped the price 10% from the original asking price to $135,000; and they even planted a St. Joseph’s statue in their front yard to make the house sell, which is a superstition Kelley Chambers explores in her Oklahoma City Journal Record article, “New Realtor Store in OKC Stocks Statuettes That Some Say Can Help.” The backyard is lush and green from bright southern exposure, an ornate formal dining room boasts regal crown molding and the King Kong-sized master suite above the garage is to die for. The address is 4 Cul-De-Sac Court. The owners are doing everything right, right?

As a melting pot, America is full of buyers from other fascinating cultures with strong beliefs. These buyers follow specialized beliefs when selecting the right house to make their home. Homeowners may be unintentionally offending buyers of other cultures and minimizing their potential buyer pools. In the description of the home above, the sellers are doing everything wrong.

The number 8 in some cultures is a sign of luck, prosperity and eternity as Janet Farricelli explains in her article “Reasons Behind Chinese Superstitions.” If a home is listed for $190,000, why not change the listing price to $188,888? A buyer looking for their forever home may see the 8s as a sign of good fortune and the slight adjustment could mean good fortune for the seller too. Another way to incorporate the number 8 is through buyer incentives such as an $888 credit at closing or eight $80 gift cards to home improvement, furnishing and electronic stores.

Finding Buyers: Cultures of Home Buyers

The southern exposure the backyard is thriving on in the example above means that the home is facing north. Unfortunately, some adjustments are entirely out of one’s hands. A number of cultures consider homes that face north bad luck, such as Filipinos, Indonesians and Chinese as Jeffrey Hayes outlines in his “Feng-Shui and Qi Gong” piece at FactsAndDetails.com. If the home is a trailer, it may be more feasible to accommodate this cultural hurdle!

The banquet-sized dining room that is always admired by guests happens to be below an upstairs new bathroom with a low-flow toilet and a smooth river rock shower. People of certain cultures, like the Chinese, have the belief that the room above a dining room cannot contain a toilet. No matter how grand the room may be, this is another feature that would be difficult to change, but Master Feng Shui Consultant, Kathryn Weber’s advice is helpful. Weber goes into detail about this in her Red Lotus Letter, “If a toilet upstairs is over a kitchen or dining room, try to move the table or discontinue using the bathroom.”

Over the garage, the tremendous master bedroom is a happy retreat. Room enough for a California King-sized bed and a sitting area. There may even be a Carrie Bradshaw-sized walk-in closet. Some Filipinos are against the master suite being above a garage, and if they learn this first, these buyers will automatically rule out the home without even setting foot in it. A way to remedy this is to market it as a bonus room as long as there is another bedroom of master-suite quality. This is common as many newer homes have two master suites.

The address being 4 Cul-De-Sac Court sounds harmless enough. There are many things one can change about a house, but keep the first three rules of real estate in mind (Location! Location! Location!). The address cannot be changed. Having a home on a court is a feature most buyers find attractive due to less traffic noise and a safer area for kids to play with a slower speed limit. There are some buyers who want a well-traveled, double yellow-lined road for their home, typically if they have a home business and keen on having street signage and a convenient, easy-to-get-to locale. Then, there are buyers from other backgrounds and cultures that may not mind a quiet road or a high-trafficked one, but the number of the house will be important to them. The number 4 is very unlucky in some of the world’s cultures, including Filipinos.

Finding Buyers: Making Changes to a Home For Sale

If homeowners understand the importance that buyers’ beliefs hold, sellers can empathize and accommodate these cultures. Always remember, a home is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. Granted the majority of buyers may not follow strict cultural rules; it’s best to make an effort to accommodate all potential buyers, for their benefit and the sellers’!

Rent-Subsidized Tenancies: Pros and Cons

rent-subsidized tenancies

The following article is a guest post by New York City’s real estate expert Alex Vasser on rent-subsidized tenancies.

As discussed in Rent Subsidies Make Tenants Attractive, there are various federal and state government programs that provide rent subsidies to individuals and families whose income is below specific levels. Accepting tenants who receive this type of rental assistance can be a good way for landlords to fill or prevent vacancies, particularly in areas where unemployment is resulting in more rental units than tenants.

Nonetheless, along with the positives there are negatives involved with having a tenant whose rent is subsidized.

Rent-Subsidized Tenancies Provide Guaranteed Payment, Motivated Tenants

These are some of the benefits to landlords in having tenants who receive rental assistance:

Guaranteed payment. In programs such the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Section 8 housing voucher program, the amount subsidized by the government agency is mailed directly to the landlord each month. In other words, the landlord is guaranteed payment of all or part- depending on how much of the rent is subsidized- of the monthly rent. The remaining portion is usually in an amount that the tenant can readily afford; therefore, a landlord is usually able to collect the full rent each month.

Motivated tenants. Competition for rental assistance can be tough. In some areas, the government agency that administers the rental assistance program accepts new applications for a limited period each year. As a result, those who qualify for a subsidy tend to do what they must to hold on to it. For a landlord, this means that a tenant with a rent subsidy has reason to fulfill his or her obligations under the lease, including paying the unsubsidized portion of the rent on time.

Competitive rental amounts. HUD sets the fair market rental amounts each year in metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties. If the rental market of a particular area has deteriorated after HUD has sent its rates, a landlord may find that the amount of rent that a rental assistance program is willing to subsidize exceeds what other landlords are accepting.

Inspections, Frozen Rents

These are some of downsides of having tenants who receive rental assistance:

Yearly inspections. The agency that administers the rental assistance program will schedule yearly inspections of the rented premises. The inspections may turn up conditions that the landlord will be obligated to remediate if the rent checks are to continue uninterrupted.

No rent increases. A landlord may not be able to raise the rent for years because the government agency that provides the subsidy may decline to pay an increase, the tenant may not be able or willing to pay it, either, and the landlord may not want to have to find another tenant.

Fluctuating subsidy checks. Because the amount of a subsidy depends on the tenant’s income, the amount of the check that a landlord receives from the government changes from time to time when the tenant’s income changes. This means that the landlord will have to go to the tenant for the difference if the subsidy is reduced.

Instability. In a depressed rental market, tenants may want to change homes, knowing that they can get a bigger place for the same subsidy.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, landlords must determine their own comfort levels, always in reference to their real estate investment plans. They may ask themselves these types of questions:

  • Do I want guaranteed rental payments each month?
  • Am I willing to rent to low-income families and individuals? If not, why?
  • How likely am I to find other tenants for my rental units?
  • How long am I able to keep a unit vacant while looking for a tenant?
  • Can I take in stride the yearly inspections required by a rental assistance program?
  • Will renting to a tenant whose rent is subsidized help me reach the goals in my real estate investment plan?