Real Estate Investing 101: Identify Your Investing Style

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 21st, 2019

Real Estate Investing 101 Identify Your Investing StyleAre you just starting on your real estate investing journey? Many newcomers are surprised to learn that there’s more to making money on the real estate market than buying and selling. These are some of the most popular strategies real estate investors use to create profits. Which one is right for you?

Buy And Hold

Buy and hold investors play the market like stocks. They buy properties when prices are low, then hold them until values are high. During the holding period, some investors choose to offer their properties as rentals. Apartment buildings are also a popular option for buy and hold investors, as these properties are always in demand.

Buy and hold investors might run into problems with out-of-control cash flows. Make sure you have plenty of backup cash to keep you afloat until the next sale.

Short Term Rentals

Sharing apps like Airbnb are changing the way short term rentals are done. Instead of pumping money into sterile timeshare properties, travelers are choosing a more home-like environment during their vacations. Many real estates investors concentrate on maintaining homes in various locations and offering them as an alternative to more traditional temporary accommodations.

Vacation renters can be particularly hard on properties. Check your insurance coverage to make sure you have access to enough cash to repair or replace any damages your visitors leave behind.

Fix And Flip

Made popular by a plethora of cable television reality shows, fix and flippers purchase distressed properties at low costs. They then spend some time correcting cosmetic defects, sprucing up any signs of disrepair, and making the property ready for new residents.

A quick sale ensures maximum profit. However, those can be hard to find. If the market suddenly changes, you could find yourself stuck with mortgage payments you weren’t prepared to meet. Always have a backup plan to protect your personal assets.

Commercial Leasing

From the corner drug store to a multi-unit strip mall, commercial property presents a unique opportunity for more advanced real estate investors. It takes a lot of buying power to acquire commercial property. However, commercial leasers usually last much longer than their residential counterparts, which means a more secure and longer-lasting income stream.

Keep in mind that empty commercial buildings take longer to fill. Check your resources to ensure you can survive a long period at less-than-optimal occupancy.

Real estate investing is a diverse discipline. Choose the strategy that works best for you to enjoy a long and happy career.

If you are in the market for a new investment property, sure to contact your trusted real estate professional.

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NAHB: Housing Market Index Flat in March

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 20th, 2019

NAHB Housing Market Index Flat in MarchBuilder sentiment held steady in March as headwinds in housing markets affected homebuilder confidence, but National Association of Home Builders Chairman Greg Ugalde said that builders were looking forward to a “solid spring home-buying season.” Builder sentiment mirrored February’s index reading of 62; analysts expected an uptick to 63.

Any Housing Market Index reading over 50 indicates that more builders than fewer have a positive outlook on housing market conditions. The average reading for 2018 was 67, which indicated that builders were less confident current market conditions for new homes than in 2018.

HMI Component Readings Mixed in March

Three sub-readings used to calculate the monthly Housing Market Index reading showed builder confidence in current market conditions rose two points to 68; Builder confidence in market conditions over the next six months rose three points to 71 and homebuilder confidence in buyer traffic dipped four points to 44. Readings for buyer traffic seldom exceed the benchmark reading of 50.

The National Association of Home Builders said in a statement that housing markets are “stabilizing,” but did not say that housing markets were growing. Economists and housing market analysts rely on the Housing Market Index for clues about future housing production. Demand for new homes has been strong for years, but headwinds including tariffs on building materials and labor shortages continued to impact construction rates. More new homes on the market could ease pent-up demand for homes, but rapidly rising home prices are making home ownership less feasible for first-time and moderate-income home-buyers.

Imbalance Between New Homes Built and Consumer Needs

Analysts called out a problematic trend in meeting demands for new homes. Price points are frequently beyond affordable for most buyers, and new housing developments often trend toward larger homes with higher prices. Analysts said that from 2010 to 2017, the average size of new homes increased by 300 square feet while household size decreased over the same period. Lower mortgage rates benefit homebuyers concerned over affordable house payments, but strict mortgage qualification requirements limit the number of potential home buyers that can qualify for mortgage amounts needed to buy homes.

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

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5 Key Tips To Prepare For A Quick Mortgage Approval

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 19th, 2019

5 Key Tips To Prepare For A Quick Mortgage ApprovalWhether you’re finally prepared to get into the real estate market or you want to know how you can make a deal quick, there are a few necessary documents you’ll need to prove your reliability to a mortgage lender.

Here are the documents you’ll want to have on hand when the time comes.

Previous Tax Returns

In order to ensure the earnings information you’ve provided to the lender, you’ll need to have your tax returns for the two years prior to your mortgage application. In addition, you may also be required to provide your W-2s as backup documentation.

Bank Statements

To make sure you’re a solid bet who will be able to make your down payment, you’ll need to present bank statements to ensure you have a cushion in the case that interest rates increase. If you do get money gifted to you for your down payment, you’ll need a letter to prove you’re not indebted to the provider.

Recent Pay Stubs

It can be much more difficult to get approved for a mortgage if you have a patchy work history or happen to be self-employed, so you’ll need 2 months of recent pay stubs to prove consistent employment. The pay stubs provided should also be an accurate reflection of the salary you’ve provided on your application to ensure no discrepancies.

Investment Statements

It’s certainly a good sign to the lender if you have a healthy balance in your checking and savings accounts, but you’ll also need to provide any statements for mutual funds and other investments. While they may not be necessary to prove financial soundness, they will help with approval if you have a lot of money squirreled away.

A Listing Of Debts

While it may be the least popular of the pile, a lender will also want to know about any outstanding debts like auto loans, credit card payments or student loans. It may be tempting to forego these documents, but it will give the lender a good sense of your honesty and your ability to manage your mortgage.

Mortgage approval may seem like a time-consuming process with no certain end, but by having the appropriate documentation and being upfront about your debts, you may be able to speed up the time frame.

If you’re interested in buying a new home, remember to rely on two of your best assets – your trusted real estate agent and your home mortgage professional. 

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – March 18th, 2019

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 18th, 2019

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – March 18th, 2019Last week’s economic reports included readings on retail sales, inflation and construction spending. New home sales Consumer sentiment readings were posted along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims.

Retail Sales Increase after Lowest Reading in 10 Years

Retail sales rose by 0.20 percent in January; analysts expected an increase of 0.10 percent based on December’s negative revised reading of -1.60 percent. Home centers and internet retailers led in overall sales; retail sales without the automotive sector were higher with an 0.90 percent increase in January, which exceeded expectations of an 0.40 percent increase.

December had a negative reading of –2.10 percent. Auto dealers had fewer sales to car rental firms and other business customers; the reading for retail sales excluding automotive sales rose 0.90 percent as compared to expectations of 0.40 percent more sales and December’s reading.

Inflation rose 0.20 percent in February, which matched expectations after a flat reading in January. Core inflation, which excludes readings for volatile food and fuel sectors, rose 0.10 percent, which fell short of 0.20 percent in January.

Construction Spending Rises as New Home Sales Fall

Commerce Department readings for construction spending rose 1.30 percent in January as compared to December’s negative reading of -0.80 percent. The end of the government shutdown likely helped return construction spending return to positive territory, but real estate and mortgage pros said that building more homes is the only solution to persistent shortages coupled with high demand for homes by would-be buyers.

Slim inventories and home prices rising in excess of wages and inflation are factors contributing to fewer eligible buyers. New home sales fell in January, which is not unusual for winter sales. 607,000 new homes were sold on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis in January; 652,000 new home sales were reported in December, but analysts expected a lower reading of 616,000 sales for January.

Mortgage Rates Fall as New Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported lower average mortgage rates last week with rates for 30-year fixed rate mortgages averaging ten basis points lower at 4.31 percent. !5-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 3.76 percent after falling seven basis points. 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 3.84 percent and were three basis points lower. Discount points averaged 0.40 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.30 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

Initial jobless claims rose to 239,000 new claims last week; 223,000 claims were filed the prior week and analysts expected 225,000 new claims. Last week’s first-time jobless claims were the highest in ten years, but analysts said that layoffs haven’t risen significantly, which signals healthy labor markets.

The University of Michigan reported higher consumer confidence in March with an index reading of 97.80. The expected reading was 95.0 based on February’s index reading of 93.80. Increased consumer confidence in economic conditions suggests that more families will enter the housing market. Analysts said rising consumer confidence resulted from the resolution of the government shutdown.

What’s Ahead

Economic readings scheduled this week include reports on homebuilder confidence in housing market conditions, sales of pre-owned homes and Commerce departments on housing starts and building permits issued. The Federal Reserve’s scheduled announcement will be followed by Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s press conference. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be issued.

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Down Payment Money Saving Mistakes

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 15th, 2019

Down Payment Money Saving MistakesAre you saving up money for a down payment? Saving money to put down on a home is always a smart idea, but there are right ways and wrong ways to go about it. Understanding how to best save for a down payment will go a long way toward ensuring you’re ready when you finally find the house of your dreams.

Here are four down payment money saving mistakes to avoid.

1. Not Saving Enough

It’s very admirable to have a goal of saving exactly 20% for a down payment. However, this is a common mistake new home buyers make. First of all, consider loan programs that allow for a lower down payment.

In addition, there are lots of other costs associated with buying a home that you must also plan and save for, including:

  • Closing Costs
  • Title Fees
  • Miscellaneous Fees
  • Time Off Work

2. Not Keeping Track Of The Source Of The Money

Many lenders have strict rules about where the money comes from for a down payment. Pay careful attention to the source of your down payment money, and keep accurate records. You may be asked to present these financial records to prove the source of funds as part of the mortgage review process.

3. Borrowing The Money

In addition, many lenders may allow only a certain percentage of the down payment to come from a family member. They want to know that you have the resources to come up with the down payment yourself without relying on favors from family members. Don’t make the mistake of borrowing excessively for the down payment, even if it’s from a third party lender.

4. Not Keeping Money In Reserve

It’s essential to keep some money in your savings account that isn’t earmarked for the down payment. You’ll need to disclose how much you have in savings and it will factor in where you get approved or not. Lenders want to see a history of consistent saving. This shows that you’re a financially responsible person with cash reserves in the event of an emergency.

The sooner you can start saving money for a down payment, the better. As you save, keep these four down payment money saving mistakes in mind so you have the best possible chances for being financially ready to act when you do find the house you want to purchase.

If you are considering a new home purchase, please contact a trusted real estate professional to assist you with this valued investment.

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Looking For A Major Lifestyle Change? Consider Buying A ‘Micro’ Home

Posted in Home Buyer Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 14th, 2019

Looking For A Major Lifestyle Change Consider Buying A 'Micro' HomeWith the sometimes high cost of buying and maintaining a home and the concept of being sustainable becoming more popular, many people are considering moving to a smaller home to minimize their impact. It’s important, however, to consider what living small is really like before deciding that it’s the right move for you.

If you’re curious about life on a smaller scale, here are some things to contemplate beforehand.

Getting Rid Of The Excess

It’s just a fact that a smaller amount of space means a smaller amount of stuff, but many people don’t realize this works two ways. While you won’t be able to accumulate the same amount of stuff in a smaller home, you also won’t have the luxury of being able to take everything from a larger house with you. It may not be a big deal for you to pack things away or discard the old, but if you’re the type of person who likes stuff, you may want to re-consider micro.

Will You Miss The Space?

Many homeowners spend a lot of time outdoors or even traveling for work, so the size of their home may not matter that much. However, if you’re the kind of homeowner who loves to nest and have their space, the idea of lounging around a small home may not be for you. A micro-sized space can minimize costs and be easier to decorate, but if you like being able to spread out and luxuriate in a variety of surroundings, something undersized can be quite limiting.

Forget The Home Maintenance

Whether you live on a massive estate or in a studio apartment, there are minor things that need to be done to keep your space clean and clutter free. When it comes to smaller living though, there will be a lot less to do, and this can greatly impact your free time. It’s great if you’re the kind of person who has plenty of hobbies to keep them busy, but if you like taking care of the yard and doing an assortment of home maintenance duties, it may be a struggle to own a property that needs less tending.

It’s never been more popular to go ‘micro’ when it comes to home ownership, but it’s important to make sure small living is right for you before taking the leap. If you are currently in the market for a ‘micro’ home or any other type of property, be sure to contact your trusted real estate professional. 

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Reduce Your Carbon Footprint with These DIY Home Projects

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 13th, 2019

Reduce Your Carbon Footprint with These DIY Home ProjectsYour carbon footprint is the measure of your impact on the earth’s natural resources. This number describes the amount of fossil fuel it takes to support your lifestyle. In the United States, each person produces an average of 19.78 tons of carbon dioxide every year. A high carbon footprint means your daily habits are a quickening drain on our finite resources. 

Homeowners can use these DIY projects to reduce the effect of their lifestyle on the environment.

Try Solar Solutions

A residential solar system gathers photo-voltaic energy from the sun and converts it into usable electrical current. Once installed, any energy your system produces is essentially free. However, the initial investment for a residential solar system to power your entire home can be prohibitively high. There are some ways to use solar power without a large upfront investment.

  • Take advantage of state and federal incentives to lower your out-of-pocket costs.
  • Opt for individual appliances like solar water heaters or solar lighting.
  • Talk to your utility provider about existing programs that allow you to sell back your excess power for bill credits.

You could also get your neighbor involved and build a neighborhood solar bank for charging batteries and electric vehicles.

Plant A Vegetable And Herb Garden

Food transportation is one of the leading contributors to greenhouse gases. Reduce your impact even further by growing some of your own food. Use containers, shelves, or construct a hanging wall garden to keep your home supplied with salad greens, tomatoes, and herbs of all kinds. Having a garden means fewer trips to the grocery store, which saves our supplies of natural gas.

Install A Clothesline

Skip the gas-powered appliances and hang your freshly washed laundry out on a clothesline to dry. When the weather is nice, your clothes will come back in with a sweet scent you can’t get anywhere else. And instead of spending the time staring at a spinning machine, you get the added benefit of fitting a little extra exercise into your day. You don’t have to completely ditch your dryer. Save it for rainy days or other unfriendly weather conditions.

Lowering your carbon footprint doesn’t have to be a big life change. Start with small steps and slowly build your property in an earth-friendly fortress.

If you are interested in greener living, be sure to tell your trusted real estate professional that finding an environmentally friendly property is a top priority.

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14 Remodeling Projects That Increase the Value of Your Home

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 12th, 2019

14 Remodeling Projects That Increase the Value of Your HomeYour home is likely your largest investment. Beyond repairs and regular maintenance to keep it clean, comfortable, and safe, there are a number of projects that can increase the resale value of your property. These renovations top the list of changes you can make that positively impact your home’s value.

Kitchen

With the right strategy, your kitchen remodel could return up to 92.9% of your construction investment. The trick is to not overdo it. You don’t need to gut and rebuild the entire room. Instead, make strategic upgrades that increase the comfort and usability of the room.

  • Paint wooden cabinets or install new doors and fixtures.
  • Install track lighting or LED features.
  • Refresh or change countertops.
  • Refurbish flooring and spruce up walls with warm, neutral colors that are easy to clean.

Invest in new appliances right before you put your home on the market to catch the eye of potential buyers and pull them in.

Odd Spaces

Older homes with distinctive architecture stand out from the crowd of cookie-cutter residences. However, these unique buildings often hide a lot of unused space. Make the most of every inch of your home to entice buyers to place a bid.

  • Convert a basement into a bonus room.
  • Turn the space underneath a staircase into a storage closet.
  • Divide oversized dining rooms to create a small home office.

Most buyers aren’t looking for a long-term project. Instead of pointing out the potential of your property, make it easy to see by getting creative with odd spaces.

Increase Energy Efficiency

In 2017, the average monthly utility bill reached $111.67. Help potential buyers lower their monthly costs by installing energy-efficient options throughout the home.

  • Install a solar water heater.
  • Change the windows to more energy-efficient models.
  • Add extra insulation to outer rooms and around doors and windows.
  • Use LED lighting outdoors and throughout the home.

You may be able to get some help paying for your earth-friendly upgrades with state and federal incentives.

Bathrooms

After the kitchen, bathrooms are the most scrutinized feature of homes for sale. Once again, a little goes a long way in these rooms.

  • Update fixtures with shiny metals for a modern look.
  • Change out the toilet seat.
  • Fix up the shower tiles and head.

These projects don’t take a lot of time. However, they can offer a big payoff when you decide to sell your home.

If you are looking for a new home or interested in listing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted real estate professional.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – March 11h, 2019

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 11th, 2019

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – March 11h, 2019Last week’s economic news included readings on new home sales, construction spending, and housing starts. Data on building permits was released along with Labor Department reports on public and private-sector jobs and the national unemployment rate. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released.

Construction Spending Slows as New Home Sales Rise in December

Commerce Department data for December indicated less construction spending than for November. Construction spending dipped by -o.60 percent as compared to analyst expectations of a negative reading of -0.30 percent. Construction spending grew by 0.90 percent in November.

Lower cash outlays for winter months are typical; severe winter weather likely slowed construction activity more than usual. Any downturn in building activity pressures housing markets that continue to struggle with short supplies of available homes and high buyer demand.

Sales of new homes rose in December; the Commerce Department reported 621,000 sales of new homes. Analysts estimated 600,000 sales based on November’s reading of 599,000 sales of newly-built homes. December’s reading was 3.70 percent higher than In November and was 7.00 percent lower year-over-year.

Housing Starts, Building Permits Issued Rise in January

Housing starts increased in January with 1.230 million starts annually, which was an 18.60 percent increase from December’s downwardly revised reading of 1.037million starts. 1.215million starts were expected. The revision of December’s reading contributed to the jump in January housing starts. Single-family housing starts rose 25 percent at a pace of 926,000 starts reported.

Building permits rose by 1.40 percent in January to 1,345 million permits issued as compared to December’s reading of 1.326 million permits issued.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims

Freddie Mac reported higher average mortgage rates last week with rates for fixed-rate mortgages rising six basis points and the average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages rose three basis points. 30-year fixed mortgage rates averaged 4.41 percent; 15-year fixed mortgage rates averaged 3.83 percent and mortgage rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 3.87 percent.

Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for 30-year fixed rate mortgages, 0.40 percent for 15-year fixed rate mortgages and 0.30 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

Initial jobless claims were lower last week with 223,000 claims filed; analysts expected 225,000 new claims based on the prior week’s reading of 226,000 first-time claims filed.

Labor Reports Show Slower Jobs Growth

ADP reported the lowest increase in private-sector jobs since November; February’s reading of 183,000 private sector jobs added reflected declines in jobs within the travel and retail sectors. The Commerce Department reported only 20,000 public and private-sector jobs added for February; this was the lowest reading in 17 months. Analysts cited severe winter weather and seasonal anomalies. Construction and shipping sectors were hardest hit in February.

National unemployment dropped from 4.00 percent in January to 3.80 percent in February.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes readings on retail sales, inflation and the latest reading on construction spending. Lingering effects of the government shutdown continues to impact data released from the Federal government. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

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3 Questions to Ask Before You Buy Your First Home

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 8th, 2019

3 Questions to Ask Before You Buy Your First HomeHunting for your new home can be a confusing process. There are countless factors you need to take into account to ensure your new location fits your family’s lifestyle and preferences. In their excitement, first-time home buyers can easily overlook some essential points about their potential property.

When you’re searching for your new residence, ask these questions to get exactly what you’re looking for.

Am I Financially Ready For A New Home Purchase?

It takes more than money to find the right home. Your credit rating is an important factor in your ability to secure enough funding to finance your dream. Check out your credit score before you buy to make sure you won’t have to settle for less.

Some of the things you have the greatest control over include:

  • Payment history
  • Credit utilization ratio
  • Debt-to-income ratio

Even with a large down payment, having a questionable credit history can endanger your chances of qualifying for mortgage loans. Spend some time shining up your credit report for the best results. Getting a pre-approved home loan is a great way to find out how much house you can afford before you start shopping.

Is This The Right Neighborhood For Me?

No matter how beautiful the structure itself is, your house won’t seem like a home unless you’re comfortable with the surrounding neighborhood. Take a walk around your potential block to assess the area and compare it to your needs.

  • For families with children, are there high-quality schools in the area?
  • Do your neighbors’ homes seem well-kept?
  • What amenities (dry cleaner, grocery stores, parks, etc) do you want in your community?
  • How do the roads and sidewalks look?

Before committing to a purchase, visit the home at different times of the day to get an idea of what you might have to live with.

Am I Ready To Settle Down?

Align your home purchase with your future goals. If you know you’re planning to move out-of-state in the next several years, take that into account when shopping for a home. Will you be able to sell quickly enough before you leave? Or do you plan to retain ownership of the home and rent it out while you’re away?

Think about the directions your life might take in the next 5 to 10 years. By looking ahead, you can make a better plan for the best home you can afford which will accommodate you and your family in the years to come.

Buying your first home is a major decision. Knowing your goals, desires, and abilities before agreeing to a purchase a home will make you the most comfortable moving forward.

One of the best partners in your home search will be your trusted real estate professional. Be sure to make contact as soon as you are considering a new home purchase.

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