April 27

4 Things That Will Help Fetch the Right Resale Value for Your Property

images (90)So, you have decided to part with your home. Wondering how to get the best deal that will justify holding it is an investment property until now. Before you put up a notice for sale, or start passing the news to your near and dear, consider the fact that the reality market is some parts of the country has been sluggish.

Hence, it is worthwhile to put in a little bit of effort that will make your property look a lot more attractive to potential buyers. Here are some expert tips that will help enhance the resale value of your home by tens of thousands if not few lakhs.

Pep up the exteriors

As soon as a home is bought, homeowners spend time, money and energy in designing the interiors to their whims and fancy. What they miss to see is that, the exteriors play a major role in creating an impression in the minds of a potential buyer than the interior. It is the exterior that is first seen before they take a walkthrough of the interiors. Hence, pay attention to pepping up your exteriors in equal measure to the interiors to get a better resale value.

Creating additional space

An extra room is fine, but what if it serves no purpose? Moreover, what if that extra room does not fit into the ergonomic layout of the home properly? Instead, think of ways to increase the space inside the home. There are plenty of architect firms with interior designers and vasthu consultants who help altering the physical dimensions of any home to make it appear spacious and airy. A spacious home will fetch a higher resale price than one which boasts about a tiny and ill-fitting extra room.

Setting right minor repairs

Like drops of water that collect together to form a messy puddle, a number of unattended minor repairs can wash away a significant portion of your property’s resale value. A prospective buyer will be more interested in knowing the present physical condition and the expected longevity of the house before making a final decision.

The scene of leaking walls, falling patches and plumbing problems can definitely take a hit on the property’s sale worthiness. Hence, make sure all minor repairs are attended to on a regular basis.

Keep a cushion for price negotiation

Indians are ruthless negotiators. We love to bargain for the best deal in every transaction. Especially when it is about buying a new home expect the negotiation process to be fiercer than what you can imagine. Hence, make sure you price your property with some cushion for reduction during the negotiation process.

You might want to take into consideration the existing market rate of similar properties and how the deals have ended before fixing the price or agreeing to the price offered by the buyer.

The resale value for a property is highly dependent on various factors. Location, floor space, number of rooms and furnishings all play a major role in determining the resale price. However, other factors like well-maintained exteriors, perfectly functioning plumbing and sanitation, additional space for storage, etc. can help further increase the resale value to a higher denomination.

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April 27

Professionals Make a Beeline for Madipakkam Residences

images (89)Flanked by Velachery and OMR, Madipakkam is definitely a great place to settle down in Chennai that is ever expanding its municipal borders. Guess who are heading straight to Madipakkam for an address to call their own? Professionals from all corners of Chennai. It is no wonder that Madipakkam has grown into a commercial centre of sorts since the last decade.

A few years back, the region had only few houses in a block. Today the streets are teeming with multiple storey apartments of all sizes where occupants have already flocked in. Madipakkam rental properties are in hot demand owing to their quick connectivity to all parts of Chennai. Although big names of Indian real estate development are yet to set foot in Madipakkam, the region is already dotted with a good number of properties that represent lifestyle living.

St. Thomas Mount is the nodal railway station that provides MRTS connectivity across Chennai. A journey from Madipakkam to Chennai Central station can be covered in less than 45 minutes. The Velachery railway station is also in close vicinity for those who want to reach Central Chennai locations like Mylapore, Mandaveli, Triplicane, Santhome, etc.

Take the Velachery Inner Ring Road down the Alandur high court road and you can reach the Chennai International airport in less than half an hour. The Keelkattalai bus terminus offers bus connectivity to as far as Chengalpattu and Chennai Fort.

Madipakkam has come to be a second choice for all those who are unable to find housing in Velachery region. It is serving as the next region where shortage of housing facilities in Velachery is giving boost to the real estate sector. The real estate scene here is largely dominated by small scale builders who build affordable properties of 1 BHK to 2BHK properties in Madipakkam to serve the lower rung of customer base.

Affordable pricing, ample social amenities, health care facilities, professional coaching centres and places of worship are some of many features of this region. Madipakkam is definitely a splendid choice for any aspiring home buyer who wants to live in a place that represents Chennai’s true lifestyle and culture.

There used to be a time when Madipakkam was not an attractive real estate proposition due to its monsoon water clogging problems. Even the slightest drizzle used to leave the streets flooded till knees. But after the construction of the storm water drains and active lake restoration activities, the problem of flooding and rain water clogging is now almost eliminated. Today well paved streets with neatly marked dividers is the scene that Madipakkam carries across its map.

The average property prices in Madipakkam range from Rs. 4,000 to Rs. 5,000. 2 BHK flats in Madipakkam command Rs. 9,000 to Rs. 15,000 depending on the facilities and location. Further, landowners stand to gain more undivided share of land than properties located in OMR or distant parts of Chennai. With proposed metro water connection and improvisations in sewage connections the region is sure to get uplift in the eyes of owners and investors.

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April 27

Rent or Buy? Which Option Makes Sense for You

images (88)If you are the individual who is weighing the option of buying or renting a house, you need to consider a few factors. Your financial situation has to be assessed for your long-term planning and that it is not that simple as well.

Understanding your house budget and expenses

It is wise to review your household budget in comparison to the expenses before you begin looking for a new house. You have to find out how much can you afford to pay for accommodation without putting a burden on the budget.

You simply cannot go for rent or mortgage payments if you are unable to pay them on time. Several factors are involved both for renting or buying that should be considered prior to making a decision.

What are the requirements while renting or buying a house?

Your credit history and credit score are crucial and that they will be looked upon by the rental agency or the landlords for the mortgage or rent. You will be checked whether you are can pay the bills on time and are not overdue with the loans or the credit card balances. You have to check your score and credit history before applying for the apartment or the mortgage.

Other factors that are important include your strong employment history, W-2 forms and current bank statements that have to depict a good picture. A few rental agencies require professional or personal references as well as background check and contact information from the previous landlord respectively.

When is renting a viable option?

If you have uncertain employment: According to Evelyn Zohlen (financial planner), if you are unsure about your living paycheck and job situation, it is best to save money for the future living expenses. This will help you to build an emergency fund for you as well.

Limited funds: Renting is the better alternative when you do not have enough money for making the down payment or for managing the additional costs of owning the house.

Short time frame: If you have an assignment that lasts two years or you plan to move abroad in a couple of years, then renting a house is a better option.

When is purchasing a house a feasible option?

Buying a house only makes sense when you have the ability to cover the additional costs for owning a house. It is vital that you pay the closing costs and the down payment before you buy a house. It is seen that many banks receive a 20 percent down payment. This means for a house that costs 250,000 dollars, at 20 percent the down payment will be 50,000 dollars. So, the total amount includes percent in commission and another one percent in closing cost as well.

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April 27

This Housing Bubble Is Set to Pop

download (30)For generations, it was always a good bet to invest in a place Americans call home. Housing had almost always increased in value, and you received a multiple of whatever you invested into it in your total return.

Until 2008 that is.

That’s when home prices tanked and our economy entered a recession, leaving people like you and me holding the proverbial paper bag when it comes to overpriced and overleveraged mortgages.

Since then, the root cause of the housing bubble has remained in place – easy-money policies by the Federal Reserve to fuel lending. It has led to another housing bubble.

One that is set to burst sooner than most are anticipating.

Since 2009, the Fed has pinned interest rates near zero in an attempt to prop up our aging, lackluster economy.

With a sub-2% GDP growth rate, it’s hard to believe that this has been a success.

But the easy-money policies have propped up aspects of the market, just not in the pockets of the everyday American. Instead, it has bloated the pockets of Wall Street and investors.

Had someone told you in 2006, 2007 or even most of 2008 to sell your home, you likely would have ignored them. Not many people on Main Street noticed the lending practices going on behind the scenes and understood the extent of the bubble that was in place.

But hindsight is always 20/20.

The problem now is spotting similar bubbles going forward.

I’ll be the first to say that timing the week, month or even year that a bubble will pop is extremely difficult. But that doesn’t mean you can’t notice when that day is near, and for housing it may be just around the corner.

The Truth About the Housing Bubble

There is a substantial divergence as we approach 2015. Prices have climbed about 50% since 2000 and rebounded strongly from the bottom in 2010 to 2011. But existing home sales – the amount of homes actually sold – have lagged and are up just 5% since 2000.

Median prices have topped their bubbled peaks set in 2005, but this time, the amount of homes sold is 30% less.

That means we are seeing prices set new highs as fewer buyers are in the market.

The rationale is that housing currently has a tight supply, meaning there aren’t enough homes to meet the amount of potential buyers. That may be the case to some extent. But right now, homes that are either in foreclosure, bank-owned or completely vacant are near all-time highs.

Clearly there is more going on here than just a lack of supply. The reality is that many buyers are investors, buying properties and sitting on them. This crimps supply, which helps raise prices.

Back in 2008, you could have heard the same story. The goal was to flip houses, or own a few of them to rent out. We are seeing these actions roaring back today.

And if supply was so tight, buyers would simply build new homes, but those numbers are no better than the existing home sales.

There’s a big discrepancy from new homes sold versus the price these homes are fetching – and this is supply that is practically infinite as we can always build a new home.

Something’s got to give, and it’s going to happen soon.

Fed-Fueled Crash

I see one of two scenarios at play. Which one do you think will ring true?

  • Homebuyers continue to fork over more dollars to buy properties while we sit with stagnant wage growth, stagnant economic growth and low-wage jobs being about all that’s created.
  • We are on the edge of a bubble larger than the one we experienced less than a decade ago as housing prices race back down to where it is affordable and sees demand from new buyers.

The Federal Reserve is held accountable for this fiasco. If it goes forward with a rate increase in the near future, it will be us who pay the price of another bubble.

There’s only one action to take if you ask me – lower your exposure to the industry.

In stocks, that’s homebuilders and mortgage originators. Avoid them at all costs. In your personal investments, that’s being prepared for another real estate shock.

These prices are unsustainable and due for a correction.

Once that happens, opportunity awaits you to pick up houses and housing-related stocks on the cheap.

 

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April 17

The Next Real Estate Collapse

download (31)As daily commutes go, I have nothing to complain about when I point my car toward Sovereign HQ each morning. The traffic congestion on Interstate 95, South Florida’s main artery, is horrendous. So I take the scenic route, the coastal beach road known as A1A.

The views of the Atlantic Ocean are nice. But more recently, I enjoy the drive for a different reason. It’s a ringside seat to the extravagance of the now-deflating luxury housing bubble I warned about three months ago. Recent data point more ominously to a serious problem in this sector.

Each day, my drive on A1A takes me past what is the single most expensive new home for sale in the United States: Le Palais Royal, under construction for the last five years.

Situated on 4.4 acres of beachfront, the “spec mansion” features the Atlantic Ocean as its backyard. The front yard is a nearly 500-foot deep-water expanse of the Intracoastal Waterway – perfect for even the largest private super yacht.

The mansion’s soaring front gates, accented in 22-karat gold leaf, make it sort of hard to miss as you drive by. Just beyond the gates is a 60,000 square foot home with 11 bedrooms, 17 bathrooms, an 18-seat IMAX home theater (with its 50-foot-wide screen), and a 30-car subterranean garage. The building plans call for a second phase on the vacant beachfront lot next door. That’s where the ice-skating rink, go-cart track, bowling alley and private nightclub are supposed to go.

And it can all be yours for just $159 million.

But the tide of money fueling the purchase of luxury homes, big or small, is receding as we speak.

Luxury Homes: The Next Real Estate Collapse?

Largely ignored in the holiday rush was the news that luxury home prices fell 2.2% during the third quarter – the first such decline in nearly four years.

According to the Redfin real estate brokerage, wealthy clients are stepping back out of fear from stock market volatility, and are worrying about tying up too much of their wealth in non-liquid assets, especially if another real estate collapse appears.

The decline is even more notable because luxury homes serve as something of a bellwether for the rest of the “non-lux” real estate market (which still rose just under 4% for the same period).

The original housing-bubble stocks of a decade ago might offer a clue on the timing. Shares of Toll Brothers (NYSE: TOL), the nation’s largest builder of luxury homes, peaked in July of 2005 before starting their precipitous decline. But the stock prices of builders focused on the low- and mid-priced ends of the market stayed strong – at least at first. For instance, the shares of Lennar Brothers (NYSE: LEN), one of the biggest homebuilders in the country, didn’t crack until April of 2006.

Interestingly, Toll Brothers’ shares today are down nearly 25% from their post-recovery highs (to the lowest price in 13 months), while Lennar shares are just starting to break down.

California Dreamin’?

Chinese buyers have been key players in the run-up of America’s luxury home prices. And their influence is felt most strongly in California and the San Francisco Bay area, the hottest of America’s real estate markets this go-round.

Not coincidentally, it appears Chinese buyers may now be pulling back there as well, possibly ushering in the next real estate collapse. Home sales in California fell 20.5% in November – more than twice the monthly average (it’s traditionally a weak month prior to the end of year holidays). October’s home sales also fell a little over 5%, while dropping 1.5% in September.

For now, the real estate community appears to be dismissing the collapse of sales as the result of changes in new loan disclosure rules by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and what is usually a softer seasonal period for home sales anyway.

I don’t blame them. As a media consultant once told me back in my reporting days, “Never let too many facts get in the way of a good story.”

But the “Chinese buyers” real estate gravy train is grinding to a halt fast. Last summer’s 40% decline in the Shanghai Composite Index should have been the first clue. The second was the relentlessly positive “it’s just temporary” narrative spun by so many brokers and property developers who don’t want the ride to end. The third clue may be upon us here at the start of 2016 as the Shanghai index lurches lower yet again.

So what’s it all mean to you?

As Jeff Opdyke has warned, don’t get comfortable with the Federal Reserve’s spin on things. As Chinese buyers retreat from American real estate, it kicks out yet another leg of support for the U.S. economy.

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April 2

How to Deal With a Low Home Appraisal

download (29)Want to learn how to deal with a low home appraisal? In a competitive real estate market, a home being sold may enter into a multiple offer situation which could potentially raise the purchase price above the comparable sales in the area. In a situation like this, it is possible that the home appraisal for the buyer’s mortgage lender will come in lower than the purchase price. In a real estate market that favors buyers (home prices are soft or declining), sellers can also face a home appraisal that is lower than what they paid for the home if they bought the house at the peak of the market. Be aware that a low home appraisal can happen in any type of real estate market.

Why Do Low Appraisals Happen?

Here are a few reasons why a home appraisals may come in low:

  • Inflated home price because of multiple offers.
  • Declining real estate market due to a large inventory of homes and not enough buyers.
  • The seller has overpriced the home.
  • The real estate appraiser lacks experience and doesn’t understand the influences on value.
  • The real estate appraiser incorrectly selected his comparable sales for his report which may have resulted in a lower home value than what should have been assessed.

Solutions for Low Appraisals

If a low home appraisal is threatening to sink your sale, purchase or refinance, stay calm, here are a couple solutions:

    • The buyer can pay you the difference between the purchase price you agreed upon and the appraised price in cash, you can sell the property for the appraised value and get the difference from the agreed upon higher price in a lump sum cash payment if the buyer is able to do so.

 

    • If you are the seller of the home you do have the option of lowering the selling price. If you don’t you will run the risk of every buyer running into the same problem and not being able to get a mortgage because of a low appraisal.

 

    • The seller can offer to carry a second mortgage for the difference.

 

    • If the buyer feels they absolutely have to have your home and you are not willing to lower the selling price and the buyer cannot come up with a lump sum to pay you (as mentioned in option 1) you could accept having them make payments to you over a period of time instead of the lump sum.

 

    • Get a second opinion, have the buyer ask the mortgage lender for a list of their approved appraisers and select another company on this list and hope for a higher value, you could end up wasting another $300 on an appraisal but appraisers are not perfect and a mistake could have happened.

 

  • Cancel the transaction.

Have your realtor put in your purchase and sale agreement a loan contingency that if the home appraises for a lower value that you will get your money back (if you’re the buyer). If you are a seller being affected by a low appraisal propose on of the above options to your buyer if you would like to try and salvage the transaction.

 

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