Search Results for: real estate

Ready to Try Your Hand at Passive Income? Here’s How to Find Great Real Estate Deals

“Money for nothin’ and chicks for free.” 

We’re not too sure about free chicks, but most people are pretty excited about getting money without working for it. “Passive income” sounds like earning money for little to no effort. The reality, however, is that you put in the work up front. 

Real estate investing is a common way to build up assets that can pay you over time. Buying property has always been a solid investment.

When you talk to owners or realtors, remember that you aren’t the only one in your area looking for a good deal. You will have to have a few tricks to get in on those extra special properties before anyone else.

How will you find the real estate deals of your dreams?

Like this.

Drive Around

Knowing an area well will help you with your investment strategy. You also don’t want to drive three hours away if something happens with your property. 

When you drive around, look for houses that could use a little love. Look for the telltale signs.

  • Overgrown grass
  • Tarps on the roof
  • Old mail in the mailbox
  • Worsening condition over time

These signs indicate that the place could be empty or that the owner cannot afford to fix the place up. 

Write down the address, do some digging, and reach out to the owner. See if they want to sell.

Check Eviction Records

Most counties will have some public record of evictions that are being processed. Evictions are terrible for landlords. If you can be the answer to their property woes, you could get a great deal.

Once you find out where evictions are happening, you can find the landlord’s information. Then it is a matter of calling or sending a letter to show your interest.

Search Craigslist

Look at the rentals. Keep an eye out for landlords that seem like they could be your average Joe/Jane. They will typically have their phone number in the ad.

Your expressed interest to buy may not be right for them, but hold on. Landlords may have another property they are looking to sell. Being the first offer puts you in the winner’s position.

Collect a Lot of Real Estate Deals

You want to look at a lot of potential deals. Don’t jump at the first property that seems nice.

There are many types of properties to consider. Your next deal could be a single family home, small storefront, or multi-family real estate. You can be smart by creating a funnel for finding bargains.

Here’s what to do:

  1. Search properties with the three tips above (you can also get listings from wholesalers and real estate agents)
  2. Collect 50-100 properties (Not so passive anymore, is it?)
  3. Get down to 10-30 properties to go look at
  4. Make offers on 5-20 of those listings

Get Ready for Business

Once you show up, get ready to pitch your deal and negotiate. Be considerate and honest. Remember that you are dealing with people who also need to feed their families.

Knowing about the many areas involved in real estate will help you be confident in your dealings. If you are not that savvy, bring along someone who is. 

It’s Getting Good for Buyers

After coming through the housing bubble of 2008, the market has become increasingly competitive. More buyers are confident enough to make an offer.

Now, things are looking good for buyers in the future. Signs suggest we’re entering a buyer’s market. Real estate deals will be easier to find. Let’s hope you find one of these gems in your area. 

Want to learn more to help you in your real estate investing? We’ve got more for you here!

8 Tips For Negotiating the Best Real Estate Deals

real estate deals

So you’re ready to buy a piece of real estate.

Or maybe you have property to sell. Whether you’re a buying or selling, you should work with a real estate agent. Here’s why.

Negotiation skills matter a lot. Great real estate deals are only available to powerful negotiators. If you buckle too easily, you risk being taken advantage of by knowledgeable buyers or forceful sellers.

Here are 8 tips that you need to master before you negotiate your next real estate transaction.

1. Hire A Good Real Estate Agent

A bad real estate agent can cost you tens of thousands of dollars.

Spend time choosing your agent. A strong choice will pay off your investment tenfold. The person you choose should have shark-like negotiation skills needed to secure good real estate deals.

Interview your choices, preferably in person. A seasoned, experienced agent will be able to answer all of your questions.

2. Understand the Neighborhood

Real estate deals depend on the neighborhood. If you don’t know how much the neighbor’s house sold for, you won’t know how much your house is worth. Become an expert in the neighborhood.

If you’re selling your house, you’ll get a better deal if you price the home to suit the neighborhood. Your Realtor(R) should be able to help you.

If you’re buying a property, become an expert in its location. Visit at all hours of the day. The charming neighborhood may seem quite different at night when most of the partying residents are home.

Are there any good schools nearby? Even if you don’t have kids, your proximity to quality schools affects your home value.

Your real estate agent should be able to answer most of your questions about the neighborhood. Choose someone who is well-respected in the area.

Searching for a vacation home near Disneyland? Choose Jeeves Realty. Looking for a fabulous loft in Cancun? Choose a Realtor(R) who’s based nearby.

3. It’s Not Real Unless It’s In Writing

In real estate, words are meaningless until they’re put on paper. Don’t depend on verbal contracts. If you haven’t signed your name to it, the agreement doesn’t exist.

Sellers sometimes lure buyers by feeding them false hope. Once offers start flying in, the seller manufactures a bidding war to entice desirable buyers. Don’t get your hopes set on a single property.

4. Don’t Be Discouraged By Friction

Negotiations only end quickly if one person is making a mistake. If buyers leap at your price, you’re probably asking for too little. By the same reasoning, buyers should be wary if the seller is too eager to close the deal.

If the entire negotiation goes smoothly, it might mean you could have gotten a better deal. Be cooperative but don’t bend over backward to make the other party happy. It’s ok if there’s a little friction

5. Someone Has to Get the Last Concession — Make Sure It’s You

Here’s a simple rule to remember during the negotiation process- always get the last concession.

A concession in real estate is anything that sweetens the deal. You might be able to convince the seller to repaint the property’s walls or perhaps install new flooring. Realtors(R) often negotiate for the seller to cover entire closing costs.

If you always demand the last concession, the other party will quickly learn to stop trying to get extra goodies. She’ll realize that nothing that she wants is free. If she’s going to ask you to give something up, you’re going to do the same to her.

For example, during the last round of negotiations, instead of announcing that you’re happy with the proposed price, say that you agree, as long as you can have one last thing.

Perhaps you want the contractor to finish sooner. Maybe you want a couple of appliances thrown into the deal. It doesn’t matter what it is.

6. Remember: You’re Buying a House, Not Choosing a Life Partner

If you’re buying a house, focus on what you’re trying to do. Great real estate deals aren’t made based on emotions. You might be in love with the cozy breakfast nook or the spacious backyard, but don’t let that blind you.

Real estate investments are tricky, so you need to go into them with your eyes open. A bad financial decision can take years to recover from.

7. Real Estate Deals Depend On The Market

The type of deal that you’ll be able to negotiate depends on the market conditions.

Buyer’s Market

A buyer’s market means that there are more homes on the market than homebuyers. It’s the best time to be a buyer, so push your advantages.

If you’re trying to sell a house in a buyer’s market, you need to be flexible. Properties may take longer to sell. Buyers might demand that you lower your listing price.

Seller’s Market

In a seller’s market, buyers fight for a limited number of homes.

If you’re trying to buy a house, understand that the seller has the advantage. If you’re tangled in a bidding war, trying to convince the seller to cover the closing costs or take a couple thousand dollars off the final price probably won’t work.

8. Get a Home Inspection

Hire a home inspector. It’ll cost a couple hundred dollars upfront but it could potentially save you thousands. A home inspector will give you an unbiased opinion about the property and any issues it has.

Here’s what you need to do if you’re the buyer:

If you’re the seller, you should:

  • Prepare your home
  • Get a presale inspection

Thinking About Buying Or Selling A Piece Of Real Estate?

Everything is negotiable. Choose a real estate agent with fearsome deal-making skills and you might walk away with a great deal whether you’re buying or selling.

Practice before you come to the negotiation table. Prepare yourself mentally for battle. If you don’t fight for what you want in real estate, you’re not going to get it.

There are others ways that you can prepare to make a great investment. Poke around on our site to discover more tips.

Why You Should Invest in Getting Your Real Estate License

real estate licenseIf you’ve ever considered working towards your real estate license, you’re in good company. As of June 2017, there were a total of 415,458 real estate licensees, including brokers and salespeople.

Even if you don’t have prior experience in the field, a career in real estate is possible for anyone. It’s important to note, though, that passing the exam to get your real estate license does require work.

Choosing to invest the time in getting a real estate license could have a significant payoff for your future and the future of your family. Working in real estate offers many benefits, in addition to a fulfilling career.

Below, we’re reviewing the top reasons why getting your license to work in real estate is a worthwhile investment.

Read on to learn what you can get out of the job, and how becoming a real estate agent can benefit you and your family.

1. Get Access To MLS Deals With A Real Estate License

The ability to legitimately access your local Multiple Listing Service, or MLS, is one of the biggest benefits to getting your real estate license.

If you’re interested in acquiring multiple properties or purchasing a rental property, this could be a huge asset to you. You won’t have to rely on an agent or Realtor to notify you about new deals because you’ll hear about them as soon as they are posted.

That will give you a competitive edge over others in your area who may be interested in similar properties, but don’t have a real estate license themselves. Rather than getting word of a good deal every few months, you’ll have access to all the local deals that are available.

You can make an offer as quickly as possible, and secure the perfect property or properties for your needs.

2. Flexible Income And Hours

While real estate can be a fulfilling career, you don’t have to work full time to make it worth it to get your license. If your goal is to earn a little extra income — rather than to support your family full time — real estate is a great way to accomplish that.

Once you have your license, you can choose how many listings you take on based on your income goals for that month. If you’re saving up for an expensive item or luxury vacation, you can list more houses. If you don’t have any pressing financial needs, you can take a month off.

How much you choose to work is entirely up to you, which also makes it a great career option for parents or anyone who wants flexibility during the day.

A career in real estate is not a 9-5, in the office kind of position. Your schedule will depend on your listings, and while it’s important to be available to your clients, you will still have time during the day to get other things done.

You can also choose to start smaller with fewer listings, and then scale up as you gain more experience and your client base grows.

3. Build Strong Community Relationships

Working as a real estate agent or broker is much more than a desk job. It requires you to be out in your community on a daily basis, which provides you with a great opportunity to make connections and build relationships.

Open houses will give you the chance to meet members of your own community, including your own neighbors and people who are new in town and looking for a home. Your success in real estate can depend a lot on client recommendations and word of mouth, so it’s important to build strong relationships whenever you can.

Networking events will also help you meet others in the real estate industry, who could learn from or potentially work with in the future.

Meeting more people can help you close more deals, but the benefits of being an active member of your community go far beyond business. Through your work in real estate, you’ll have the opportunity to get to know people you would never have met otherwise.

4. Make Dreams Come True

So many of us have the same goal for our career: we want to do something that can make a meaningful impact on another person. Working in real estate can empower you to do just that.

As a real estate agent or broker, you’ll have the opportunity to assist first time buyers, who have been working hard to find American dream homes for their families. You can develop a relationship with your clients that’s hard to find in other fields.

Once you get your real estate license and are working in the field, you’ll find that selling homes is about so much more than the commission. It’s about helping people find a place that’s theirs and making their dream of becoming a homeowner come true.

5. You Can Work Anywhere

Life is unpredictable, and it’s hard to know with certainty where you’re going to be in a year, or five or ten. That’s why a career in real estate is such a practical choice — it can be done anywhere.

Each state does have its own requirements that you’ll have to meet in order to get your real estate license, but once you’ve gotten your license in one state, you’re better prepared to work anywhere.

Working in real estate is also a great way to get to know a new area if you do move. You’ll quickly get a sense of different neighborhoods, and will have many opportunities to meet different people.

Want More Flexible Career Options?

Once you have your real estate license, there are lots of ways you can use it to design a flexible career for yourself and earn additional income for your family.

Having a job where you’re able to work when you want to can be extremely important, especially if you’re also trying to juggle the demands that come with being a busy parent.

For more information flexible ways that you can earn additional income for your family, please contact me at any time.

For Sale By Owner vs Realtor: Which is Right for You?

Selling your house is one of the most intense times for your finances. No matter what your home’s price range might be, it’s one of the largest transactions you’ll ever make you so want to get it right.

Of the many decisions you’ll make along the way, the one that has the largest effect is to list your home for sale by owner vs realtor-listed. If you’re still trying to make that choice, these pros and cons can help.

For Sale By Owner Vs Realtor: The Pros and Cons

Do you try to take on the home-selling journey yourself or do you trust it to someone you don’t know? Here’s how to decide.

Pros and Cons of Selling Your Own House

If you’re thinking about the “for sale by owner” or FSBO route, here are the pros and cons to consider:

Pro: No Commission Payout

The largest reason homeowners choose FSBO is to save on the commission cost. As you’re adding up your expenses for the home sale, that commission is a big number to cut out if you can.

Pro: You Control the Whole Process

The fact is that selling your home can be intrusive, with agents and buyers poking their heads into every nook and cranny of the house. For some homeowners, listing the home themselves gives them more privacy.

Con: Potential for a Lower Sale Price

As much as you know about your home, you don’t know the market as well as a real estate agent does. There’s a high likelihood that you won’t be able to negotiate as high of a sale price as an agent could.

Con: More Likely to Have a Slower Sale

On top of the final price, an agent’s knowledge will probably help you sell your home fast. If that’s a priority for you, FSBO might not be the best choice.

Pros and Cons of Hiring a Real Estate Agent

You know the advantages and disadvantage of FSBO, but what about the alternative? Here’s what you need to know.

Pro: Less Time-Consuming from Start to Finish

When you hire an agent, they take the process off your hands. Most will handle all the marketing, scheduling, and showing for you so all you need to do is have the house ready for showings.

Pro: Lower Chance of Contract Problems

Real estate sales are complex transactions, and they’re hard for the average person to navigate. A real estate agent can handle the intimidating paperwork so you don’t find yourself in a legal mess.

Con: Losing Out on Commission Fees

As helpful as a real estate agent is, their commission fees can be more than many sellers bargain for. A typical real estate commision is between 4% and 7% in most areas. For a $300,000 home that’s up to $21,000 out of your pocket, or more in some locations.

Con: Not All Agents Are Equal

The scariest thing for many homeowners who hire an agent is that their agent won’t live up to their fees. While a real estate agent can offer you plenty of financial and time-saving benefits, that’s only true if they know what they’re doing. It’s possible to shell out a commission fee without enjoying the full benefits you’re paying for.

Setting the Tone for Your Real Estate Sale

Deciding between for sale by owner vs realtor will affect every aspect of your home’s sale. The pros and cons above can help you make the right choice.

For more great tips for your financial life, check out our frugal living blog.

Want To Save Money On Your First House? Work With a Mortgage Broker

Although many reports state that home sales are slowing, things are actually picking up for first-time homebuyers. Now, more than half of all new mortgages go to first-time buyers. 

Buying your first home can be incredibly exciting: you can finally customize your own beautiful living space! But it may also leave you with a lot of questions. Many of those questions have to do with money — how can you get the home you want without breaking the bank? One of the keys is to work with a mortgage broker.

What is a mortgage broker, and what can one do for you? I’ve got the answers for you in this guide. Keep reading to find out why you need a mortgage broker for your first (and any) home purchase!

What is a Mortgage Broker?

Mortgage brokers essentially act as the go-between for you and the mortgage lender. These licensed professionals have the financial know-how that you don’t, so they can help work things out so that all parties are happy with the outcome.

For example, a mortgage broker can help you find more lenders who will meet your needs, so you can find the best possible rates for your home loan. They’ll help you navigate the complexities of getting a mortgage, so you don’t run into any trouble with the lender.

Although your mortgage broker is a “middleman,” they aren’t one that you can cut out to save money. In fact, working with one typically translates into more savings for you. They work with your best interests in mind, while also keeping the needs of the lenders in mind too. 

They earn money by earning commissions from the loans they help secure. Although this adds a bit more money to the costs of buying a home, you’ll usually make up for it by saving money on the loan you get. 

Why You Need a Mortgage Broker

Although you can probably already see why working with a loan broker is helpful, let’s take a closer look at the ways they can help you.

1. Saves You Time

Buying a home is a time-consuming process. You’ll need to add many new responsibilities to your daily schedule, while still managing work and other responsibilities. Anything that saves you time is a bonus. 

Of course, you could do the work to research and compare lenders by yourself. However, that takes more time than many homebuyers realistically can spare. 

Mortgage brokers don’t just research lenders so you can target the best ones that fit your needs. They also fill out the paperwork for you, so all you need to do is sign. If any negotiations with the lender are needed, your loan broker will handle those, too.

Most of these loan brokers work with certain banks, so they already have working relationships with lenders that will speed the whole process along. You’ll get your loan faster, while also saving your own precious time.

2. Accesses More Loan Options

Some lenders actually work solely with brokers. This means there are home loan options that will never be available to you unless you’re working with a broker. Sometimes, these “hidden” options are much better than what you can find on your own. 

3. You Can Leave at Any Time

Although working with a mortgage broker generally goes well, if you run into any problems along the way, you’re not locked into an agreement. You can leave at any time and find a new broker or decide to take another approach to finding your loan.

This freedom is just enough to help some people feel confident as they start working with a broker. You won’t sign any contracts so there’s nothing to lose.

4. Gets You Better Rates

You can sometimes get preferential rates by working with a loan broker to get your mortgage. The broker can help you learn how to get better rates in ways you might not be aware of. For example, certain banks will give you a better rate if you also have a separate account, like a savings account, with them.

5. Gives You Personalized Feedback

In the process of buying a home, many things might feel like navigating the deep woods without a compass. A loan broker offers personalized feedback and guidance that you can’t get anywhere else. 

For example, you might wonder if a 30-year loan is best for you, or if a fixed interest rate is the way to go. Your mortgage broker will help you answer these questions and many more. 

The loan that’s great for one buyer might be completely wrong for another buyer. It all depends on unique factors, such as your credit score and income. Brokers have the knowledge needed to help you find a loan that fits your particular situation well.

They’ll also help homebuyers with unusual situations navigate the challenges of getting a loan. For example, if you’re a small business owner, or just changed jobs, your broker will help you get a loan even though these look like red flags to many lenders.

Brokers can even help people with bad credit find lenders who will work with them. From the unusual to the typical, a broker makes navigating these challenges of homebuying much easier. 

How to Find a Great Mortgage Broker

Most mortgage brokers operate under their own name. When you Google “mortgage brokers near me,” you’ll find names from Hunter Galloway to Mike the Money Man. But how can you tell whether or not they’re the right broker for you?

Your best bet is to look for referrals. Ask your network who they recommend. If you find someone online who sounds like a good fit, ask them to share customer testimonials with you.

Real estate agents can also be great sources of referrals. If you already have an agent, ask them which mortgage brokers they recommend. 

Ready to Buy Your Own Home?

Whether it’s your first, second, or tenth home, working with a mortgage broker makes everything easier. Don’t let the challenges of homebuying slow you down: find a professional who can help smooth out the process.

Once you have your broker, you can start planning ahead for all the cool things you’ll do with your new home. Don’t miss our guide to making your house a “smart home” here!

The Perfect Bid: Your Guide to Negotiating Pricing on a House You Refuse to Lose

So you’ve found your dream home. In this hot seller’s market, you will likely need to be strategic about putting in an offer. Many homes are selling quickly and above asking price, so you’ll need to negotiate a price that’s fair and also attractive to the sellers.

Keep reading for your guide to negotiating pricing so your dream house becomes your reality house.

Negotiating Pricing: 5 Tips To Get The House

One of the first steps to negotiating a purchase price for a house is to assemble the right team. Find a broker you trust and who knows the market and find a real estate lawyer who will look out for your interests.

Once you have your team assembled, think about these things as you make your offer.

Be Realistic With Your Offer

Don’t completely low-ball the seller but then again, don’t offer a price so high that the home will never appraise for that. If you are getting a mortgage, the bank will only give you a loan for what the home appraises for. What this means is that if you offer above asking and the appraisal comes in low, you’ll be responsible for making up the difference.

Be Prepared To Move Fast

In a seller’s market, properties go quickly once they hit the market. If your particular real estate market is extremely competitive, your first offer should be your best offer.

You should assume that there are other offers out there, so present your best offer right off the bat. It’s a big decision to make quickly, so be sure you know what you want and if you are buying with a partner, make sure you are both on the same page with what you want and what you will compromise on in a home.

Know Your Price Ceiling

Although you need to move fast and make your best offer, don’t get carried away. Know what your price ceiling is and if you hit it, be prepared to walk away from the home. Set your absolute maximum budget ahead of time and know when it’s time to throw in the towel.

You don’t want to find yourself in a situation of being house poor because you bought more house than you can afford.

Think Beyond Price

If the market in your area is hot and houses routinely have multiple offers, often above asking price, you might need to get creative. Instead of just focusing on the price and what purchase price you can offer, think outside the box. Maybe you can offer a higher deposit of earnest money rather than the standard amount. This shows the sellers that you are committed to the home.

You could guarantee a quick closing, especially if the seller needs to sell and move quickly. You could also offer to forego inspections. Be careful with this one though, and only do this if your broker thinks its safe to do so.

Add a Personal Touch

When a seller is presented with multiple different offers, they see price and terms, not the people making the offers. If you offer a personal touch, such as a letter or picture of your family, the sellers might feel a connection to you and choose your offer, even if it’s not the highest.

Tell them why you love the house and why you want it. Convince them that you should be the ones to live in their home.

The Bottom Line

Buying a home is an exercise in patience and stamina, especially in a seller’s marketing. Use these tools for negotiating pricing and rest assured that you will end up with the house you are meant to have.

Take a look around at some of our other blog posts for tips and tricks on earning money, saving money, and frugal living.

How to Make the Home Buying Process Nice and Easy as a Single Mom

Are you a single parent looking to purchase a home?

As a single mom, you may feel that you have enough on your plate. Buying a home may feel all daunting, especially when you are daily responsible for your child’s welfare.

Luckily, it is entirely possible to purchase your dream home even if you are doing so solo. Read on for insight into the home buying process for single parents!

1. Know Your Budget

It’s vital to identify your financial standing before you start browsing properties on the market. This means assessing income sources, assets, and current outstanding debt. These numbers will help you ultimately determine your maximum budget for purchasing a home.

If you currently own a home, it may be wise to initiate the selling process sooner rather than later. This can help you nail down your budget even more precisely.

Click here if you’re thinking, “I need to sell my house fast!”

Be realistic when identifying your budget, and be liberal (rather than conservative) when calculating your monthly financial obligations. It may also be wise to check in on your credit score’s health.

A higher credit score will boost your eligibility for securing a mortgage with good rates.

2. Know Your Mortgage Options

As a single mom, you may be heading straight for a conventional home loan. However, single parents are at a disadvantage in that they typically do not have a co-signer (i.e., a spouse or domestic partner).

For this reason, it may be harder to secure a conventional mortgage. Yet you do have options when it comes to mortgages.

FHA and USDA loans, for example, cater to individuals of a certain income bracket within more rural areas of the U.S. VA loans may also be an option if you or your family have served in the military.

You may also wish to consult a lender to learn more about your financing options as a single parent.

3. Ask Friends for Lender Referrals

There’s nothing worse than navigating the home buying process alone. Reach out to family members and friends to ask for lender referrals.

Because there are so many lenders out there, referrals can save you both time and money. After all, your friends have already done the work of finding and selecting a reputable lender if they are current homeowners!

Browse consumer reviews online to learn more about what it will be like to borrow from specific lenders. Prioritize the ones that are reputable, certainly, but also don’t neglect locally-based lenders.

4. Meet With All Prospective Lenders

Once you have your list of prospective lenders, be sure to meet with each one in person (or over the phone). When meeting with lenders, clearly state your needs as a single parent.

Ask the lender for advice about which mortgage may be right for you, and be sure to pre-qualify for mortgages with lenders you like.

Pre-qualification will make the home buying process easier and faster. It will also help you compare rates from different lenders.

5. Work With an Agent You Like

Start browsing properties only once you’ve been pre-qualified for a mortgage. When doing so, work with an agent with a positive local reputation.

The best real estate agents will be attentive to your specific needs and supportive at every step of the home buying process.

Final Thoughts: The Home Buying Process

The home buying process can be intimidating, especially if you are navigating it alone! Luckily, even as a single mom, it is possible to purchase a home without too many headaches.

Be sure to identify your budget and mortgage type ahead of time. Ask your friends for lender referrals and be sure to compare offers from multiple lenders.

Get pre-qualified for a home loan before you start looking at properties, and be sure to work with a real estate agent you trust!

At Thrifty Momma Ramblings, we know that life can be challenging as a single mom. Find more personal finance tips here!