How to Buy An Investment Property

How to Buy An Investment PropertyIt is important for everyone to take steps to diversify their assets. While many people take this to mean holding multiple stocks, bonds, and mutual funds in the market, this also includes branching out into the real estate industry. The real estate industry is far more stable than the stock market and provides a fantastic opportunity to generate reliable returns. At the same time, there are lots of options to choose from when it comes to investment properties.

Here are a few tips everyone should keep in mind.

Buying And Renting

One option is to purchase a single-family home as a second building and then rent it out. On the other hand, it is also possible to purchase a multi-unit property and rent out each individual unit. One of the biggest factors to keep in mind is that the owner is going to be responsible for collecting deposits, checking the backgrounds of potential tenants, conducting repairs, and completing maintenance tasks.

If the property is located in a desirable area, it is possible for someone to collect enough rent to cover the cost of the mortgage and more. At the same time, it is also possible that someone might end up spending a considerable amount of time managing the property. It might be a solid idea to hire a property management company; however, this will eat away at the revenue. These are a few of the key factors to think about.

Flipping Houses

Another option real estate investors can consider is flipping houses. In this process, someone buys a home (which is often in a state of disrepair and inexpensive), repairs it, and then sells the home for a profit. It is also possible that someone might end up spending a significant amount of time and money renovating the home, which might eat away at any financial gains. Be sure to know exactly what repairs and renovations the home is going to need before buying.

A Real Estate Investment Trust

Sometimes, it might be too much for someone to buy individual properties. One possible option is called a real estate investment trust (REIT). This is a company that owns numerous big properties that generate incomes. Therefore, these trusts are often compared to mutual funds in the stock market but for real estate. Different REITs specialize in different areas, so there are lots to choose from.

If you are interested in buying a new home or refinancing your current property, be sure to consult with your trusted home mortgage professional.

More Than 25% Of Millennial Homebuyers May Be Financially Unprepared

More Than 25% Of Millennial Homebuyers May Be Financially UnpreparedMillennials are the first generation in America that will probably not be able to do as well as their parents. In the United States, there is not as much upward mobility as there was in the past. What is the cause of this?

CNN reports that Millennials have more college degrees than their parents. They also have an enormous amount of student loan debt. Many millennials have lower-paying jobs than their parents had at the same age when adjusted for inflation. Spending patterns changed as well, due to the high cost of living.

Finding The Money

Saving is not easy. The net worth of Americans, who are from 18 to 35 years old, decreased by 34% since 1996. Even though millennials are financially savvy, the 2008 global financial crisis made it difficult to find jobs and made saving for many nearly impossible. Those who have been able to put aside some money in the last ten years are lucky if they have $8,000 in savings, which is the average for those millennials trying to save for a home purchase.

Soaring Home Prices

By 2018, the real estate market recovered from the 2008 collapse. In most American cities, housing prices are going up significantly. The home prices surpassed pre-crash levels and now continue to rise. Soaring home prices make buying a home very challenging.

What To Do?

For most millennials, the best choice is to continue to live with their parents and use the lower cost of living as an opportunity to put away enough money for the required down payment to buy a house. Many plan to live very frugally and to save for up to five years if they want to buy a home of their own.

For others, they are developing co-ownership plans, where millennials plan to share home buying with more than one person. In these deals, they become the landlord and the tenants of a multifamily property that they buy together.

The Math

The median home price in America is $226,800. First-time buyers, who qualify, can get FHA-backed mortgage financing with as little as 3.5% down. Still, that is $7,938 just for the down payment. There is also the need to have 2% to 5% of the loan amount for closing costs, which can add up to $10,943.

Financial prudence recommends having at least three months of living expenses in savings to cover any unexpected temporary emergencies, like losing a job. Add another $12,000 for this contingency. This means to safely buy a home at the median price, with a low-down-payment loan, a millennial may need to have as much as $30,881.

For conventional financing, with 20% down, the numbers are much higher. For that type of financing, a millennial needs about $66,432!

Summary

Millennials face significant challenges in homeownership that are unique to their generation. For these reasons, many are delaying homeownership for at least five years and living with their parents longer, to save more money, to make their dream of homeownership come true in the more distant future.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional.

The Average Mortgage Payment Is Declining. Here’s Why.

According to a report that was recently published by the United States Census Bureau, the average mortgage payment has been dropping. According to the bureau, the average payment is just over $1,500 per month. This is shockingly close to the average cost of renting, which is just under $1,500 per month.

This data shows that the average mortgage payment is declining, down by around three percent in the past 18 months. This trend is expected to continue. Some people might be surprised that the average mortgage rate is dropping, given that the average real estate value continues to rise across the country. There are a few reasons why mortgage payments are dropping.

Why The Average Mortgage Payment Is In Decline

The Average Mortgage Payment Is Declining. Here's Why.The average mortgage rate is dropping because the average interest rate applied to each home loan is dropping as well. They are hovering around three-year lows.

This means that even though the principal of the loan that someone might take out to purchase a home is staying the same (or going up), the total cost of the mortgage is going down. This is great news for anyone who is looking to buy a home in the near future. Low interest rates may make the cost of buying a home more affordable.

The Importance Of The Average Mortgage Payment

It is important to remember that the average mortgage payment is simply a statistical measure. These statistics are evaluations of the overall trend. In reality, every mortgage is going to be different. Two people who are buying properties that are very similar may end up with mortgages that look very different.

The mortgage payment is based on numerous factors that can vary widely from person to person. In addition to the interest rate applied to the loan, other factors include the size of the down payment, the buyer’s credit score, how much debt someone might have, their average income, and the possible requirement of private mortgage insurance (PMI).

Lowering A Monthly Mortgage Payment

Anyone looking to lower their monthly mortgage payment has a few tools at his or her disposal. Consider making a larger down payment, improving the credit score, or reducing any current debts. This can help someone negotiate for more favorable mortgage terms.

Consult with your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss your best financing options.

How To Find Places To Buy Rental Investment Properties

How To Find Places To Buy Rental Investment PropertiesReal estate, which is a rental property, has the unique characteristic under the tax code of being able to depreciate it and pretend the asset is going down in value, while, if you are a clever investor, you will acquire property that actually increases in value. Additionally, there are other tax advantages for owning a rental property that can help shelter income.

Positive Cash Flow

The key to success with a real estate investment portfolio of rental properties is to build value while it is self-sustainable. Have the goal of creating positive cash flow from every owned property. Making $100 per month positive cash flow from a single property may not sound like much until you multiply that by 25 properties. A portfolio with those characteristics makes a nice passive income of $2,500 per month or $30,000 per year.

Leverage

Using leverage increases the return on investment (ROI) as long as you choose properties that are cash-positive enough to cover their carrying costs and do not lose value over time. The lower the amount of your money that you invest, the greater the leverage you have and the higher your ROI will be.

Finding Rental Income Property

Commercial rental income property is more challenging so it is best to focus on residential rental properties, especially when starting to build up a real estate portfolio. The things you want to look for when hunting for residential rental properties are a manageable median price for the area, an area that is showing steady annual appreciation in home values, and an area that is stable with no severe negative challenges now or in the foreseeable future.

City Opportunities

It is possible to find properties that are excellent investments in many parts of the United States. Here are some examples of cities that currently have investment opportunities so you can consider them and compare them to your location.

Here are the top ten residential rental markets as ranked by TurboTenant for 2020:

1. Reading, PA

Median Sales Price $140,000 — Annual Increase 11.1% — Average Rent $957

2. District Heights, MD

Median Sales Price $252,000 — Annual Increase 0.4% — Average Rent $1,408

3. Allentown, PA

Median Sales Price $145,000 — Annual Increase 19.0% — Average Rent $1,063

4. East Orange, NJ

Median Sales Price $273,000 — Annual Increase 10.0% — Average Rent $1,534

5. Nashua, NH

Median Sales Price $283,000 — Annual Increase 4.5% — Average Rent $1,524

6. Cincinnati, OH

Median Sales Price $163,000 — Annual Increase 3.1% — Average Rent $1,048

7. Paterson, N.J

Median Sales Price $268,000 — Annual Increase 11.9% — Average Rent $1,614

8. New Castle, DE

Median Sales Price $188,000 — Annual Increase 8% — Average Rent $1,884

9. Rochester, NY

Median Sales Price $136,000 — Annual Increase 5.6% — Average Rent $1,126

10. Hyattsville, MD

Median Sales Price $279,000 — Annual Increase 0.4% — Average Rent $1,982

Summary

It is possible to find cash-flow positive properties in all of these markets, so they are all excellent examples of what to look for when you are hunting for a residential rental property to acquire. Be sure to work with a qualified local REALTOR® who knows the market well that you are considering as well as your trusted home mortgage professional.

Tips On How To Get The Home You Want In A ‘Seller’s Market’

Tips On How To Get The Home You Want In A 'Seller's Market'A “seller’s market” happens when there are more potential buyers than homes for sale. In a seller’s market, people looking for a home may feel frustration and not easily find the home that they want. When they find a home for sale that they like, the seller of the home may receive multiple competitive offers at the same moment.

The seller is in an excellent position when this happens. Sellers can pick from the purchase offers to choose the one they like the most. Even if an offer is the same as another one, sometimes it is not the offer chosen by a seller.

Causes Of A Seller’s Market

Seller’s markets arise because a particular area is very desirable. There can also be limitations that do not allow any further development of residential properties in an area. Well-established neighborhoods in up-scale market areas are typically likely candidates for becoming a seller’s market. Easy credit financing is another contributing factor.

Check the median sales price as a percentage of the listing price for an area. If it is greater than 100%, this is a seller’s market.

Buying A Home In A Seller’s Market

If you must live in a certain area, and there are extremely compelling reasons for buying a home in a seller’s market, then expect to pay more and work harder to get the type of home that you want. Here are some tips about how to buy a home in a seller’s market:

1. Work With A Top Real Estate Professional: You want to go into this challenge along with the best professional help that you can find. You want to choose a top real estate agent that specializes in the market area that you desire. They should know the neighborhood intimately and represented both buyers and sellers in that market.

2. Pre-Approved Credit Commitment: Apply for mortgage approval before looking for a home to buy. Request more than the amounted needed and pay for a written loan commitment that guarantees the financing is both approved and legally-committed for the time, plus a little more, that you need to find a home to buy.

3. Move Fast: Make a purchase offer as quickly as possible when a new home listing comes up that meets your criteria.

4. Cash Earn Money Deposit: Offer the seller earnest money in cash that is a significant amount to accept the purchase price you offer. By cash, we mean physical dollar bills of around $5,000 or more. Cash makes people sign a deal.

5. Offer More Money: If you want a specific home, make your purchase offer 1% or more than the asking price. Also, offer in writing to match any other competing offers plus a bit more. You may get into a bidding war and have to pay much more to get the home.

6. Off-Market Properties: Seek to buy a property that is not yet for sale. Ask your agent to call people who they sold a home to before. Ask everyone in the local area if they know of one that is like the one you want. Knock on doors of homes that are one you might like to buy and ask the owner if they will sell the home.

Summary

To get the home you want, try to be flexible with the basic criteria of what type of home it is. Work with a great real estate agent. Move fast and use our tips to be competitive with other potential homebuyers.

If you are interested in purchasing a new home or in refinancing your current property, be sure to consult with your trusted home mortgage professional.

5 Excellent Pathways To Home Ownership For Millennials

5 Excellent Pathways To Home Ownership For MillennialsMillennials are a huge socio-demographic group of over 83 million people. Many of them want to buy a home but face challenges that their parents did not necessarily have. Homes are more expensive. In most places, home prices rebounded to exceed the pre-2008 economic collapse values. Moreover, home prices continue to go up.

The encouraging news is that there is home financing readily available and mortgage interest rates are still reasonable. Even if it is more challenging, the greatest investment that most Americans can make is buying a home. Paying rent is only helping the landlord get rich. Homeownership is still highly desirable and a part of a wise long-term investment strategy.

Here are some tips that millennials can use to become homeowners.

Save For The Down Payment And Build An Excellent Credit History

The best rates for home loans are for those with an excellent credit history who can put down 20%. It is possible to borrow the down payment. The problem with this strategy is that the cost of the loan is higher. The mortgage rate may be higher and the lender may require private mortgage insurance (PMI). PMI pays off the loan balance to the lender if the homeowner defaults on the loan; however, it does not protect the homeowner’s equity in the home or any down payment. PMI just adds another monthly expense.

Create Non-Location Dependent Income

Home prices are somewhat dependent on the local economy and the employment available in the local area. By creating non-location dependent income through the “gig” economy. Work as a freelancer or a person who telecommutes by working from home. With this income, you will be freer to look for a home in a rural area or an area where the home prices are lower.

Take Advantage Of First-Time Homebuyer Programs

Many first-time homebuyer programs are offered by programs of the federal government through the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and other agencies. Be sure to investigate those possibilities when considering buying a home.

Hunt For A Home In Low-Cost Areas

Use the online systems when searching for a home to compare two things, 1) the median price of homes for each area and 2) the cost of living for each area. The areas with low median prices and that have a lower cost of living are usually easier places to buy a home.

Partner With Others

A home-buying partnership is something many are using to make owning a home more affordable. Multigenerational ownership is used by many families to buy a large home together and share it. Other partnerships can be made among individuals, who are not relatives, to share ownership. Choose ownership partners very carefully and be sure to have competent legal counsel when creating a written ownership agreement.

Summary

Millennials are challenged with new obstacles when seeking to buy a home. The strongest challenge is the cost of homeownership. However, there are many clever ways to improve the chances of enjoying an affordable ownership situation. Be patient and do not give up. Work with a REALTOR® who understands the challenges and is an expert in the area where you are thinking about buying and with a trusted home mortgage professional to find the best financing options for your situation.

Why Buying A Home In An Adjacent Area To The Best Neighborhood Is A Wise Strategy

Why Buying A Home In An Adjacent Area To The Best Neighborhood Is A Wise StrategyHave you ever seen a scientific experiment with things growing in a Petri dish? This is a metaphor for how neighborhoods grow as well. Things in a Petri dish grow towards the areas that have more nutrition to attract them and repel from areas that have bad things that they do not want.

A popular neighborhood does a similar thing. It may have boundaries that are certain street or other physical barriers. Nevertheless, if the area builds its popularity, it tends to grow and might also cause an improvement in the surrounding areas.

Homes In Adjacent Neighborhoods

An adjacent neighborhood is one that is right next to another one. For example, in the Los Angeles Metro Area, just to the west of Beverly Hills is Century City. Century City is a fine area so it is usually called by its name. However, properties in Century City are also “Beverly Hills – Adjacent.”

This nomenclature is a bit like identifying a “used car” as a “pre-owned vehicle.” It is a marketing technique to say a home is located in a neighborhood adjacent to a popular one. However, those homes are indeed special. If the popular area appreciates significantly, this may have a positive impact on the neighborhoods surrounding it.

Mapping Adjacent Neighborhoods

It is a terrific strategy to look at the opportunities for buying a home in an adjacent area near the best neighborhood in town.

Use Google maps to find the map that includes the best area of town and what is around it. Then, research the listing prices for homes that are within the best neighborhood and those that are in the adjacent areas. For comparison, look for homes of the same style, type, and size

Zoom in on the satellite view of the streets to get a close look at the places just inside and just outside the official boundaries of a great neighborhood. It may be surprising to find areas that have a significant pricing differential, even just for a few blocks on a few streets. Those particular areas are worth further exploration.

Barriers To Progress

Be aware that physical barriers are stronger than psychological ones. A river, a very wide street, a public park or another major physical barrier can permanently separate a neighborhood from another adjacent one. These may block a growth opportunity.

What to look for are adjacent areas where the barrier between the neighborhoods is psychological and there is nothing at all very different between the great neighborhood and two blocks down the street. These few blocks in the adjacent neighborhood are where one might discover a treasure. It is possible to find a home that has a slightly better price. It might appreciate at the same rate as the best neighborhood next door or faster to catch up with other similar homes.

Summary

Using the adjacent neighborhood strategy may help avoid buying a home only in the most expensive areas that may be over-priced. Many find that the adjacent areas are just as nice and a home there may be a better value.

Work with a real estate agent that knows the area well. Your agent should be able to help you discover the up-and-coming adjacent areas and properties that might offer an enhanced investment opportunity. As always, your trusted home mortgage professional is the best resource for current financing options.

When’s The Best Time To Buy A House?

When's The Best Time To Buy A HouseIf you happen to want to move to a hot market for home sellers, here is some advice. Go looking for a home to buy when it is freezing outside or the weather is otherwise severe. Buying a home is both about finding one you like and beating out others if the market has buying competition.

Days On Market

To find out the competition for a particular market, check the median number of days that a home is listed on the market before it sells. This is called the “days on market.”

In a hot seller’s market, the median number of listing days may be very low. The national average days on market (DOM) is 62 days in America.

The top ten cities where homes sell the fastest with the lowest DOM as reported by Realtor.com® are:

  1. San Francisco, CA – DOM 28
  2. Spokane, WA – DOM 31
  3. Boston, MA – DOM 32
  4. Colorado Springs, CO – DOM 32
  5. Lafayette, IN – DOM 34
  6. Columbus, OH – DOM 34
  7. Sacramento, CA – DOM 34
  8. Santa Cruz, CA – DOM 34
  9. Midland, TX – DOM 36
  10. Odessa, TX – DOM 36

Time Of Year

Most homebuyers look for a home during spring and summer. That is when the buying competition is normally stronger. June is the worst month to buy a home if you want to get a discount.

If you can wait until fall or winter, you may see more price reductions. The best time to make a low offer may be during the short window of time between Christmas and New Year’s when virtually no one is looking to buy a home.

Use bad weather for an advantage. Go looking for a home in the dead of winter, when the roads are barely passable, and you may be the only buyer interested. Another advantage that comes from viewing a home during severe weather is that you get to see how much trouble the weather will be if you own it.

Tax Time

One very successful real estate investor buys homes right before tax time because that is when sellers are worried about paying taxes and might be more flexible on the price.

Estate Sales

It is possible to get a nice deal on a house when a family is liquidating assets.

Divorce

A seller may be motivated by having to sell a house as part of a divorce settlement.

Summary

The main factors, if you want to get a discounted price for buying a home, are not to be in a rush to buy one and take your time finding a home that is for sale by a motivated seller. Always ask, “Why are you selling your home?” when negotiating with a seller.

If you are interested in buying a new home or in refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss current financing options.

Young Home Buyers Are A Growing Trend

Young Home Buyers Are A Growing TrendA new group of young American adults is emerging as home buyers. These are the young adults who were born after 1995 and are part of the demographic group named Generation Z (Gen Z). In 2019, there are 31.5 million Gen Z members who are adult age. This will increase to 44.5 million adults in this demographic group by 2032 as all the younger members become adults.

Right now, there are around 14 million adults in the Gen Z category who are using credit for the first time.

Not Too Young To Buy A Home

Transunion reports that most Gen Z members are getting credit cards, which is the easiest form of credit available to them. However, they are also applying for mortgage financing in record numbers. The year-over-year increase in home loans among this demographic group is up 112%.

Planning For The Future

In a study conducted by Bank of America, the majority of Gen Z consumers, who are between 18 and 23 years old, are already saving for the down payment needed to buy a home. A huge number of them, 59%, report that they plan to purchase a home during the next five years.

Most dream of owning a home before they are 30 years old. They want to buy modestly-sized and lower-priced homes. They have a high interest in homes that are energy-efficient, homes that use smart technology, and those with renewable energy systems.

Smart Homes And Smart Financial Planning

Many of this generation are still living with their parents to save money for a home purchase, which they would otherwise have to pay in rent. Having lived through the Great Recession in 2008, they are, in general, more pragmatic than previous generations. They take home ownership very seriously.

Manifestation Of The American Dream

Over 71%, of those desiring to buy a home, are already designing it in great detail by selecting things they find on the Internet, which appeal to them. They use social media systems like Pinterest and others to get interesting decorative ideas. They share their home decor ideas with friends.

Conclusion

REALTORS® who work with this new group of home buyers will likely find them more motivated to buy a home than previous generations. They are usually more dedicated with their serious financial planning efforts in how to go about achieving their dreams.

The Generation Z consumers know what they want. They are willing to make sacrifices to get it. The majority want a home and are making plans about how to pay for it.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss your financing options.

Are Tiny Homes Here To Stay?

Are Tiny Homes Here To StayThe average size of an American home has been increasing since the 1970s. The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) reports that, in 1973, the median size for a new home in the United States was 1,660 square feet.

Over the past 45 years or so, this increased by more than 1,000 square feet. The median size of a new home is now 2,687 square feet.

The Problem With Big Houses

At first, a big house is appealing until one tries to clean it or pay the utility bills. Many baby boomers, who are now nearing retirement age, are downsizing, especially if their children have all moved away.

Moreover, Millennials are the first generation of Americans to experience a reduced standard of living when compared to their parents.

Many millennials see big houses as wasteful, environmentally destructive, and not sustainable. Also, with the challenge of paying off massive student debt, these young adults are delaying buying a home or may remain renters for their rest of their lives, foregoing the chance to have their own home.

One solution for the problems with big houses is to make homes smaller.

The Tiny House Movement

There are strong motivators for the social trend called “The Tiny House Movement.” Many want a smaller space to live in, which they can more easily maintain and afford. Tiny houses are no more than 400 square feet. That is like living in a compact studio apartment.

TheTinyLife says that tiny houses are being built all over the country. They come in almost any style imaginable. The median price for a quality tiny house is about $40,000, although do-it-yourself types can build one for a lot less.

Some are built on a trailer bed that makes them portable. Others are built to function properly in off-grid locations using solar power. There are even tiny houses that have been printed using 3-D printing technology.

Tiny houses can be luxurious, or they can be built to provide inexpensive solutions for housing that helps the homeless.

The Denver Tiny House Community

Denver is trying an experiment with a group of tiny houses called The Beloved Community Village. This is a group of private one-room units that share a communal kitchen and bathrooms. They started with 11 units and plan to expand to 20.

The challenges they experienced were not necessarily construction related. They needed to change the zoning and occupant density rules to allow the development.

Summary

People make a conscious choice to simplify their lifestyle for the freedom that a minimalistic philosophy brings. It is quite possible to live well while also living with less. Tiny houses may even be part of the solution for the approximately half a million homeless people living on the streets in America as the successful tiny house community village in Denver is now demonstrating.

If you are interested in a new home or in refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional.