Archive for May, 2019

The Benefits Of Developing A Multi-Use Property

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on May 31st, 2019

The Benefits Of Developing A Multi-Use PropertyRenovations that create a multi-use property or the development of a new multi-use project can be a very attractive investment especially in urban areas that are undergoing redevelopment. The concept of multi-use is to make the most of the site that is revitalized or developed.

Multi-Use Projects

Typical multi-use projects have a mixture of retail space, restaurants, offices, and/or living spaces. They may include parking areas. Large multi-use projects can also become destination locations that are core improvements, which create a momentum for the gentrification of an entire area. Waterfronts, boardwalks, and walking promenades are successful as multi-use projects in many cities.

The advantages for investors in these projects include the ability to design the use of the space to maximize the return on investment (ROI). Depending on the area for the project’s construction, there may also be tax advantages.

Tax Advantages

Under the new tax laws, Opportunity Zones all across America have been created to stimulate redevelopment in areas that are distressed. The federal tax advantages include either delaying capital gain taxes or avoiding them altogether if investors hold the investments for more than ten years.

It is also possible to sell a project in an Opportunity Zone for a profit and then reinvest the proceeds under a tax exchange transaction into another investment in an Opportunity Zone and avoid paying the capital gains. Check with a competent real estate and tax attorney to learn how to set up an Opportunity Zone Fund to maximize the tax advantages.

Additionally, the financial basis used for calculating any profits on the second transaction is raised, thereby locking in the tax savings on the profits from the first transaction. This is a very effective strategy for build-to-suit developers who organize a multi-use development project in an Opportunity Zone with the intent to sell it.

State, County, And Municipal Support

Depending on the location, there may be state, county, and/or municipal support in terms of tax abatements and contribution of the land and funds for the development of a multi-use project.

Lack Of Basic Services

Another key consideration is that many Opportunity Zones lack sufficient basic services. Some neighborhoods do not even have a grocery store. A multi-use development, in a distressed neighborhood, which offers services and stores for these basic needs, is likely to experience an immediate consumer demand for the offerings.

Loans And Investment Funds For Multi-Use Projects

Lenders are more attracted to multi-use projects because of the possibility of higher average rents per square foot that will cover the monthly mortgage payments. Multi-use projects can be successfully funded by crowd-sourcing techniques as well.

Opportunities For Real Estate Agents And Brokers

REALTORS® have commission-earnings potential in the sale/acquisition of the properties for a multi-use development, leasing out the properties when developed, and selling a project upon construction completion or after being leased out.

Conclusion

The advantages of multi-use approaches as a development project are significant. There is plenty of support available in many parts of the country for these projects. REALTORS® benefit from many opportunities for commissions on each project as the development begins, the project is leased out, and then potentially sold.

Be sure to partner with a trusted real estate professional if you are interested in purchasing and developing a multi-use property.

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Loan Servicing Companies

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on May 30th, 2019

Loan Servicing CompaniesWhat happens when you suddenly get a notice to pay your mortgage to a company you may have never heard of? How do you determine if this is a legitimate request or a scam?

A borrower may get a written notice or an email that their mortgage sold to another entity or that a new loan servicing company will now be collecting the mortgage payments. The borrower needs to exercise extreme caution before just sending in a payment to the new company. It is prudent to double check to see if the communication is legitimate because many people get scammed by this type of notice.

Borrowers must receive a letter in the mail from the original lender notifying them of the change before getting any communication from a new company. If there was not a letter from the original lender, it is probably a scam.

How To Verify A Legitimate Request With The Original Lender

It is important to be 100% certain that communications are with the lender. DO NOT respond to any notice received by email by clicking on any link in the email, even if the email looks legitimate.

Fraudsters on the Internet use a technique called “phishing” to trick people into thinking they are getting a request from a legitimate company when the email comes from a criminal. These emails are very convincing. They look exactly like the real company; however, they are fake.

Borrowers who want to communicate with their lender online, should type in their lender’s website address and make contact through the company’s official website. 

Better yet, call the customer service number listed on the company’s official website and talk directly to a customer service person to verify that the request is legitimate. They will ask you for identification information and then be able to tell you your loan status.

What Is Loan Servicing? Can A Lender Sell My Loan?

Companies may choose to have the collection of the loan payment done by a third-party vendor. Usually, in any loan, there is a provision that allows the lender to sell it to another party or to change loan servicing companies. These legal rights are normally in the part of the loan document called the “Mortgage Servicing Disclosure.”

This legal right is usually held only by the lender and the borrower has no option but to comply with a legitimate request. Since almost all lenders sell off their loans to other companies or investors, so that they can get more money to loan out, the chance of a new mortgage loan selling is extremely high.

Troubles With Loan Servicing

Many make a smooth transition from one loan servicing provider to a new one by simply following the instructions. Others have troubles. Besides actual fraud by fake companies, there may be problems with real companies if the information in the records is not accurate. The date of a loan transfer may cause an overpayment or a late payment.

Any time there is confusion with regard to a mortgage loan servicing transfer, it is best to be proactive and stay in touch with the original lender for guidance in connecting with the new loan servicer.

Conclusion

Lenders sell their loans all the time. Loan servicing companies change frequently as well. These can be a simple legitimate transfer of the business process from one company to another. However, this is an area that is ripe for scammers to trick people and for bad companies to take advantage of their customers through loan servicing fraud techniques. Be aware of this problem and take care to avoid any negative consequences of loan servicing fraud.

Remember that two of your best partnerships in real estate will be with your licensed real estate agent and your trusted home mortgage professional. Be sure to rely on them if you have questions or concerns about your property.

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Case-Shiller: Home Price Growth Slows in March

Posted in Market Outlook by Michigan Real Estate Expert on May 29th, 2019

Case-Shiller Home Price Growth Slows in MarchCase-Shiller Indices reported slower home price growth in March with a 3.70 percent gain year-over-year as compared to 3.90 percent home price growth for the year-over-year period in 2018. This was the slowest pace of home price growth in seven years.

The 20-City Home Price Index showed Las Vegas, Nevada as having the top year-over-year home price growth rate of 8.20 percent; Phoenix, Arizona had year-over-year home price growth of 6.10 percent. Tampa, Florida had the third highest growth rate for home prices at 5.30 percent. Analysts said that all three cities continue their recoveries from deep home price declines during the recession.

Did Home Prices Grow Too Fast?

David M. Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the S&P Dow Jones Index Committee, said that given strong economic signs in other sectors, housing should be doing better. He said that too-high home price gains may have caused slowing growth in home prices as fewer prospective buyers can afford skyrocketing home prices in many metro areas.

The 20-City Home Price Index showed New York City was the only metro area posting a negative growth rate in March; this was attributed to the region’s already high home prices. Fluctuating mortgage rates likely sidelined some prospective home buyers, especially first-time and moderate income buyers.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reported that home affordability reached a ten-year low in the end of 2018. Coupled with short supplies of affordable homes and builders focusing on high end housing development, shortages of affordable homes are expected to continue, particularly in high demand metro areas.

Slower home price growth indicates that the rapid rise in home prices in recent years aren’t sustainable as fewer prospective buyers can afford to buy homes or cannot qualify for purchase money mortgages. When home prices rise faster than inflation and wages, home buyers encounter more challenges in their searches for affordable homes.

 

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – May 28th, 2019

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on May 28th, 2019

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – May 28th, 2019Last week’s economic news included readings on sales of new and pre-owned homes; weekly readings on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims were also released.

Sales of New and Pre-Owned Homes Lower in April

Sales of brand-new homes fell nearly seven percent in April according to Commerce Department reports. Analysts noted that March sales of new homes were revised upward, which contributed to the difference between March and April readings. 673,000 new homes were sold in April on a seasonally adjusted annual basis. Analysts expected a reading of 670,000 sale of new homes; this reading was based on the initial March reading which was later revised upward to 723,000 sales.

Factors impacting new home sales include affordability, strict mortgage qualification requirements and new homes being built for higher-end markets. The average sale price for new homes was eight percent higher year-over-year at $342,20.

Year-to-date sales of new homes were 6.70 percent higher in April than for the same period in 2018. Inventories of homes for sale was reported at 5.9 months. Real estate pros typically consider a six-month supply of available homes as an indicator of average market conditions.

Sales of previously-owned homes were lower in April. 5.19 million existing homes were sold on a seasonally adjusted annual basis; this reading fell short of expectations of 5.35 million sales and the sales rate of 5.21 million sales of pre-owned homes reported in March. Sales were lower for pre-owned homes for the second consecutive month in April.

Sales of pre-owned homes were 0.40 percent lower month-to-month and were 4.40 percent lower year-over-year. First-time and moderate income home buyers are attracted to lower asking prices for previously-owned homes; declining sales suggest that prices of pre-owned homes have risen beyond affordability for buyers with moderate incomes and less-than perfect credit ratings.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Fall

Freddie Mac reported lower average mortgage rates for fixed-rate mortgages last week. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was one basis point lower at 4.06 percent. Rates for 15-year fixed rate mortgages averaged two basis points lower at 3.51 percent. 

Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages were two basis points higher and averaged 3.68 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for 30-year fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 15-year fixed rate mortgages and 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

Initial jobless claims fell to 211,000 new claims filed as compared to the prior week’s reading of 0f 212,000 claims filed. Analysts expected a higher reading of 217,000 new jobless claims filed.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reporting includes readings from Case-Shiller on home prices; pending home sales will also be released along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

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Make the Most Of A Small Yard Space

Posted in Around The Home by Michigan Real Estate Expert on May 24th, 2019

Living With a Small Green Space: How to Make the Most of a Smaller, Intimate YardIt’s great to have a yard in this day and age, but so many new developments in the city have limited green space for you to let your imagination run wild. If you’re wondering what you can do with your patch of green space or small yard, here are a few options for making it aesthetically appealing and still maximize the potential.

Pick A Centerpiece

In order to stretch the look of your green space, try adding a centerpiece or focal point that will draw the eye and instantly improve your yard’s appeal. Whether you decide on a planter, a birdbath or an awning covered in vines, a unique piece will work to distract from the limitations imposed by your yard. A centerpiece may do nothing to expand your garden space, but by changing the way you view it, it will make all the difference in how you feel about it.

Make It Match

Your garden or back green space is going to look a whole lot smaller if it’s eclectic style diverges greatly from your home, so keep the two aligned. If there’s a selection of colors and style you use in the room that faces your yard, use them outdoors! It’s also important to make it something you’ll really use. As landscape architect Amber Freda of Amber Freda Home & Garden Design says, “A plain dining table with wooden chairs won’t entice you to use it very much, but really comfortable lounge seating will.”

Keep It Clean

It’s a well-known fact that clutter in any enclosed space will instantly make it look smaller, and it’s no different when it comes to your yard. Instead of jamming an excessive amount of stuff into your small space, keep it simple and decide exactly what you want to get out of the area, whether it’s a vegetable garden or a comfortable place to sit. In keeping with clutter free, you’ll also want to make sure you keep any invasive or aggressive plants from making themselves too comfortable!

It may seem limiting to have an undersized green space, but by deciding what you want to get out of it and creating a central point of interest, you’ll be well on your way to a comfortable place. 

If you are interested in purchasing a new property, be sure to contact your trusted real estate professional.

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Buying A Second Home And How To Pay For It

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on May 23rd, 2019

Buying A Second Home And How To Pay For ItHow does an average homeowner become a real estate investor? Certainly, owning a home is an investment in real estate. However, this guide discusses the next step for many to become a real estate investor. This is to buy another property and use it for a commercial purpose. Owning another home is less of a burden when an investor finds a way to make the home pay for itself.

Here are some tips on how to help a property generate cash flow:

Renting Out A Home

Renting the home to others may be an effective way to pay for it. To do this well, a real estate investor looks for a home with special characteristics. The home is for sale at a low enough price and can be financed well enough so that the cash flow coming in for the rent will be equal or more to the expenses of owning and managing the property. It is terrific if the property makes a positive cash flow each month, even if only a small amount.

If a property has a $50 per month positive cash flow, then that small amount builds up over time. Adding more properties with positive cash flow increases the investment portfolio value quicker.

Home Office

Using all or part of a home as an office creates special tax deductions for the expenses that cover the portion of the property used for business. Even if a homeowner does not have enough money to buy another home, starting a small business by using a home office may help create the money for the investment needed as a down payment on the second home.

Renting A Home Out As A Vacation Rental

Many like to rent homes in nice areas for vacation purposes. The home can rent out as a full home or as individual rooms in the home. Airbnb is a useful web-based service that can bring rental customers for those interested in doing this.

Bed & Breakfast

Another way to make money by owning a property is to turn it into a commercial enterprise as a bed & breakfast. Depending on the location, and the number of tourists attracted to a particular area, a bed & breakfast business can be profitable.

Tax Implications

Even if owning a second home does not make positive cash flow, it can still be financially beneficial when it reduces the tax burden. Work with an accountant and/or investigate the tax implications of owning the property. It may be possible to take deductions such as for property expenses and non-cash deductions such as depreciation, which when combined with other income, reduces the overall tax liability.

If owning a second home reduces the taxes to be paid, this is a financial benefit that offsets any negative cash flow. Tax savings is money in the pocket, so this counts as part of the positive cash flow that comes from owning a property.

Summary

These are just a few ideas to consider that may help pay for a second home and make it easier to become a real estate investor.

When you are considering a new property, be sure to partner with a trusted real estate professional.

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Want to Make A Richer Life? Take Time To Make Time

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on May 22nd, 2019

Want to Make A Richer Life? Take Time To Make TimeMany who are financially sound got that way by being skilled at accumulating wealth. The question is, did they also accumulate quality of life? Working all the time to build wealth, while at the same time lacking happy experiences with those who are important, is not creating a rich life. Here are some ideas to promote both a healthy and wealthy lifestyle.

Time Budget

For those who already do a decent job at managing their finances by using a budget, congratulations for doing half of the planning well. In order to have a fully-satisfying life, the other budget that is needed is a time management budget.

Allocate time on a weekly basis to all the other things that are important, which, in addition to money-making efforts, may include:

  • Personal Growth and Development: Examples in this category include daily meditation, yoga practice, and self-help classes.
  • Quality Family Time and Time with Pets: This category is less about the things to do and more about who does them together. Take time to sit with kids and play with them. Walk the dog or use a laser light on the wall to play with the cat.
  • Community Service: Make an effort to spend at least one hour each week doing some community service. This is a “pay-it-forward” way to keep everything in perspective and develop an attitude of gratitude.
  • Stress Relief: Find a way to release anger and frustration in a healthier way, such as going to a gym and working out with a punching bag.

Make More Time

Time is actually more precious than money. The best practice strategy is looking for the possibilities to create more passive income that requires money investment to produce a positive result but little or no time to make it happen. Creating passive-income streams by investing in real estate is a way to achieve wealth, while also creating free time.

Delegate And Outsource

Make a list of the little annoying things that take the most time. Find a way to delegate some of those tasks to others. Consider using the help of freelancers to outsource things that are time-consuming and can be done more efficiently by others.

Let A REALTOR® Do The Work

If there is some investment capital available to work with, find a real estate agent that becomes an integral part of the long-term business strategy. Make an investment plan together and let your agent find the properties that qualify for the strategy. Be happy paying the agent commission for a property acquisition that meets the investment criteria.

Success Creates More Success

Rewarding others who bring valuable deals that create passive income usually improves the results. If possible, start young, be patient, and, step-by-step, build up a valuable real estate portfolio. The life goal is to eventually create enough passive income, which requires so little time that most of the time can be spent playing with pets along with the grandkids. That is the meaning of true wealth.

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How to Become A Billionaire Land Trader

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

How to Become A Billionaire Land TraderTrading land like a billionaire relies on three simple premises. The first one is to acquire the land for cheap. The second one is to never intend to sell it. The third one is, if you trade it, trade up.

Howard Hughes

Billionaires that start with an inheritance have an advantage. Howard Hughes was born into wealth. His father invented an oil drill that penetrated difficult, hard rock, which made Howard Hughes one of the richest men in the world from his inheritance.

Hughes visited Las Vegas during WWII for the first time. Then, in the 1950s, he traded some parcels of desert land that he owned in Northern Nevada for 40 square miles (26,500 acres) of federal land. This property, managed by the US Bureau of Land Management, was in the northwest of Las Vegas.

Hughes died on April 5, 1976. Well after his death, this land would later become the master-planned community of Summerlin. The first family moved into Summerlin during 1991.

Vacant lots in Summerlin now sell for an average of $2 million per acre. This makes the land Hughes originally acquired by a trade of land worth a few million, equal to about $53 billion today.

Billionaire Lessons

Howard Hughes was not exactly clever. He was just greedy and stubborn. He decided to make Las Vegas his home after he came for a party in 1966. He stayed at the Desert Inn in the penthouse. After ten days, when his reservation was over, the manager asked him to leave. Instead, stubborn Hughes bought the hotel.

Next, Hughes went on a buying spree. He bought three casinos. He acquired all the vacant lots around the Desert Inn. He purchased all the vacant land on both sides of the street that became known as the Las Vegas strip. He bought the North Las Vegas airport and the land around the McCarron International Airport, which is right off the strip. Hughes’ appetite for buying things was insatiable.

The lesson learned is to buy and hold all the key land that is available. Be patient. It took 40 years for the land value in Summerlin to really take off in terms of value. Hughes did not live to see this but maybe he is laughing from his grave. One thing is certain, the desert land that, long ago, nobody but Hughes wanted became worth a fortune.

Investing In Raw Land

Investing in raw land that becomes valuable depends on just a few considerations, which include:

  • Location: Select land that is in the path of future growth.
  • Hold: Be prepared to own the land for a very long time.
  • Stimulate Development: Develop the area or encourage others to do so.

Summary

Land traders achieve success by being extremely patient. They are able to imagine the future growth of an area ahead of others. Land trading may create long-term opportunities because of the continual expansion of the population. This happens frequently around metropolitan areas in many parts of America. 

If buying land appeals to you, be sure to schedule an appointment with your trusted real estate professional.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – May 20th, 2019

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on May 20th, 2019

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – May 20th, 2019Last week’s economic reports included readings from the National Association of Home Builders on housing market conditions, housing starts and building permits issued. Consumer sentiment was reported along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

NAHB: Builder Confidence Rises in May, Housing Starts Increase in April

The National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index posted its highest reading in seven months in May as headwinds facing home construction waned. Lower mortgage rates were a positive sign. May’s reading rose three points to 66; component readings also rose.

The index of builder confidence in current housing market conditions rose three points to an index reading of 72; the reading for builder confidence in housing market conditions in the next six months rose one point to 72 and the confidence reading for buyer traffic in new housing developments rose two points to 49. The reading for buyer traffic seldom exceeds 50. A reading of 50 or above indicates positive builder sentiment.

Commerce Department reports for April showed higher readings for housing starts and building permits issued. 1.235 million housing starts were reported at a seasonally-adjusted annual pace. Analysts expected 1.209 million starts based on March reading of 1.16 million starts. Housing starts were six percent higher as compared to March, but remained lower year-over-year. Building permits reported in April rose from 1.288 million permits issued on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis in March to 1.296 million permits in April. 

Mortgage Rates, Mixed New Jobless Claims Fall

Freddie Mac reported lower fixed mortgage rates were lower last week, but the average rate for 5/1 adjustable mortgages rose. Rates for 30-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 4.07 percent and were three basis points lower. Rates for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 3.53 percent and were four basis points lower.

The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages rose three basis points to 3.66 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for 30-year fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 15-year fixed rate mortgages and 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

First-time jobless claims were lower last week with 212,000 claims filed as compared to expectations of 217,000 new claims filed and the prior week’s reading of 228,000 initial claims filed. Analysts said that the drop in first-time claims was a sign of economic strength and job markets.

Consumer sentiment hit a 15-year high according to the University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment

Index. reported an index reading of 102.40 in May; analysts expected a reading of 97.10 based on April’s reading of 97.20. Low unemployment fueled consumer sentiment, but analysts emphasized that consumers were surveyed before higher tariffs on China were announced; the costs of tariffs will be passed on to consumers, which is expected to dampen consumer sentiment.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes readings on sales of new and pre-owned homes and minutes of the Fed’s FOMC Committee meeting. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

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Finding ‘Hard Money’ Lenders Is Easier Than You Think

Posted in Mortgage by Michigan Real Estate Expert on May 17th, 2019

Finding 'Hard Money' Lenders Is Easier Than You ThinkAre you the type of real estate investor that has an interest in a treasure hunt? A real estate investment strategy based on hard money is, at its core, a treasure hunt. There must be an underlying value, the “treasure,” for a hard money opportunity to exist.

Collateral For A Hard Money Loan Is Only The Property

Hard money loans rely only on the value of the real estate property for collateral. The credit history of the borrower is not important. Usually, the limit for a hard money loan is a 60% loan-to-value. The hard money loan must be in the first position, as a first mortgage lien on the property, in the case of a default on the loan.

If the loan amount needed is only 60% of the property value, finding a hard money lender is easy. Just conduct a search on the Internet for a hard money lender in the area of the property.

Please note that the sale amount for a property is the value so it is not possible to use a higher appraisal for a higher hard money loan and then purchase a property for a lower value than the appraisal.

Hard Money Lenders Want To Make Loans

Hard money lenders want to lend money to deals that are qualified. They typically charge higher interest rates plus points (a percentage of the loan amount paid at the close of escrow). They almost always have more money available to lend than qualified deals. The qualified deals are harder to find than the money!

Advance Fees Are Usually A Bad Sign

One word of warning. NEVER, ever, under any circumstances, pay an advance fee for a hard money loan “commitment.” Any fees for the lender come out of the escrow closing when the loan funds the deal and not one second before.

No matter how convincing a lender is, about requiring an advance fee, do not pay it. If you cannot find a real hard money lender, who does not ask for an advance fee, your deal does not qualify for this type of loan.

Joint Venture With The Land Owner

If the land is owned free and clear, a joint venture can be arranged to borrow 60% of the land value for a development project and then a hard money loan can be used on a short-term basis while the land is improved and permitted for development. Then, a property can be reappraised at a higher valuation after improvement and permits are in place.

New financing can pay off the hard money lender. For example, a construction loan that converts into permanent financing can retire the initial hard money loan when the project hits certain milestones.

Advertise For Investors

Under the JOBS Act of 2012 and subsequent revisions, the regulations allow general advertisements for investors. Many real estate developers are now using crowdfunding platforms to fund their deals, as another way to raise capital. Using this method, investor funds can be pooled from smaller investors to provide working capital that can be used along with hard money loans to do real estate deals.

You could surmise that finding and/or creating the deals that are hard-money worthy is the more difficult task than finding the hard money loan funds for a qualified project. Before making a rush decision, consider discussing your options with a mortgage lender. This trusted professional can offer information about a variety of financing options.

The best person to help you find just the right property is your trusted real estate professional. 

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