Buying a Foreclosed Home

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In today’s economic times, the foreclosed home market is huge. If you are in the market to buy a home for yourself or to use as a rental unit, now is the time to buy. Buying a foreclosed home is a great investment for the real estate community.

To explain foreclosure, it is when a lending institution uses a legal process to terminate a property owner’s right due to their inability to pay their mortgage. It is a lengthy process but once a foreclosure has been delivered, the families leave immediately. This means all foreclosed homes are vacant and ready to be lived in upon purchase. That does not mean that all foreclosed homes have been cleaned prior to moving in.

 

Because the lending company wants to sell the house quickly, the starting price is normally lower than market value. The key to buying a foreclosed home is to buy it as far below it’s assessed value as possible. This will help secure a larger profit margin when you sell the property. If the property is being bought to ‘flip’, the lower the price paid – the better the chance of selling it and making a bigger profit.

 

Purchasing a foreclosed home is relatively easy. The hardest part is tracking or finding the foreclosures in your area. A good website to use is www.foreclosuredeals.com. Your local county courthouse is another good resource. The legal section in your local newspapers also prints the foreclosures and when the foreclosure auction will be held.

 

Before you buy your first foreclosed home, do some research. It is very important to understand your states foreclosure laws. This information can be found on your state website and possibly on your county’s website. Individuals at your local county courthouse will be able to advise you were to find the information.

 

If you are buying the piece of foreclosed property as an investment, there are a couple risks. If you pay too much for the property you may not be able to sell it in a timely manner and you may not make as much profit. So be careful and do your homework.

 

Besides the price on a foreclosed home, there are other benefits. The first benefit, knowing there are no liens against the property as the lending institution will have taken care of that. The second, knowing there are no delinquent taxes.

 

Once you have found a foreclosed home to purchase, supplied and secured financing, you are ready to place a bid on the home. Bids may be made at a foreclosure auction or by sealed bid. There are times that a local realtor may submit your bid for such a property. To optimize the foreclosure situation start out bidding low to maximize your investment.

Is Real Estate Still a Good Investment?

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Over the past 2 years real estate prices have dramatically declined all over the United States. The foreclosure rate is higher now as compared to the past few decades. Some banks are even going under due to what’s happening in the market. We are officially in a recession, and there is even talk that the economy is headed for a total collapse. While none of us can predict the future we can look at what has happened in the past to help us make our decisions now.

Some people are wondering if real estate is still a good investment. Yes, real estate is still a good investment because while prices may go down, they typically go back up again over time. Real estate is still one of the best investments because it tends to hold its value longer than other investments. If you currently own a home and you’ve wanted to sell, its best to hold on your house for the time being. You want to maximize your profit and sell when the market changes and yes it will change. Back in the 1980’s prices plummeted due to high interest rates and a poor economy, similar what’s happening now. In time things picked back up again and homes retained more value.

 

So if you do own a home it’s best to hold on to your house and simply watch the market. If you have money to invest now is a good time to buy more real estate. If you buy low now later on you may be able to cash in on your investment in the future. Currently there is a wide variety of choices right at your finger tips. Rather than worrying about the poor economy why not take advantage of the situation.

How to Find the Best Real Estate Investment Club for You

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A real estate investment club can offer excellent opportunities for real estate investors to further their education, network with other investors, find real estate service providers such as real estate agents, attorneys and general contractors, and to find investing partners for real estate projects. However, you do need to do your homework before you join and pay any dues to a real estate investment club. Some clubs are formed with the main intent to pitch courses and products to their members. Other investment clubs may focus on areas of interest that do not match up with yours. So it pays to do your research before joining.

To find a real estate investment club you can search the internet and also local real estate publications. Spend some time thinking about what you would like to get out of an investment club. Are you interested in specific types of real estate investment opportunities? If so, you will want to check to see if the real estate investment club covers this type of investing. Are you looking to further your education, looking to network with other investors and real estate professionals, looking to form investing partnerships for real estate projects? Once you know what you are looking for, it will make evaluating a real estate investment club much easier.

 

Before joining a real estate investment club and paying any membership dues, ask if you can attend a few meetings for free. Find out what the main purpose of the club is. Is it to further the investing education of its members and provide networking opportunities, or is its primary purpose to pitch products and courses? Look at the line up of speakers and the topics that are covered in the meetings. Are the topics on practical, real world techniques or risky, unproven strategies? Also check to see if the club is primarily made up of real estate service providers such as real estate agents, loan officers and attorneys, or is the core membership made up of serious, experienced real estate investors? Try to talk to members to get feedback on what the real estate investment club is like. If you do your research ahead of time, chances are you will be able to find a good real estate investment club which meets your specifications.

 

A real estate investment club is an excellent way to network with other real estate investors and share experiences, tips, and resources based on real life experience. It is a great way to become familiar with real estate investment opportunities in your local area and to become familiar with who the major players are. If you do decide to partner with others on investment opportunities or hire service providers be sure to check references and credit history before making a final decision. Provided you do your research and investigate any clubs, potential investment partners, and service providers ahead of time, a real estate investment club can really enhance your real estate investing opportunities and help you become a well educated, successful real estate investor.

A Guide to Water Rights in Real Estate Transactions

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Water is one of the world’s most valuable resources, so it’s only natural that water rights should be considered when making real estate transactions. Water rights cover the use of ground water, as well as streams, rivers, and lakes. In addition, water rights are required to be able to construct a structure such as a boat ramp or dock ramp over the body of water itself.

Water Rights in Eastern States

 

Typically, all states east of Texas with the exception of Mississippi follow the riparian doctrine for water rights. This doctrine was developed during the Spanish colonial period and incorporates elements of English common law. Under riparian water rights principles, landownership is expressly tied to water rights. A property owner can not legally sever the water rights for land from the property rights.

 

Essentially, riparian water rights permit anyone who owns land which faces a body of water to use the water from it. Riparian water rights allow the property owner unlimited usage of the water surrounding the land as long as the flow of water is not altered and the water itself is not contaminated, although rights can not be used for long term storage such as the formation of a reservoir. In the case of a navigable stream or river, the property line is considered to end at the water’s edge. The state retains rights to the land under the body of water and the waterway itself is considered a public highway.

 

Water Rights in Western States

 

Western states typically follow the prior appropriation doctrine when determining who has the legal right to use water on a particular piece of property. Prior appropriation is based on the principle of “first in time, first in right” to settle disagreements over ownership of water.

 

Beneficial use is a key principle under the prior appropriation doctrine. Examples of beneficial use include growing vegetables, supporting wildlife, enhancing area recreation opportunities, or commercial uses such as growing fish in hatcheries. Water usage must be reasonable, without waste, and approved by the appropriate state controlling agency in order to qualify.

 

Selling Water Rights

 

Water rights encompass the right to use ground water, streams, rivers, and lakes for recreation, farming, or commercial purposes. Depending upon where you live, water rights to a particular piece of land can be worth several thousand dollars to prospective buyers.

 

Western states that use the prior appropriation doctrine to determine water rights allow these rights to be sold separate from the property itself. For landowners with a significant acreage, it is advisable to seek the assistance of a real estate property attorney before selling water rights. Farmers may be tempted sell water rights when it seems they can make more money from giving up their rights than by growing crops. Since water rights have a sizable impact on future property values, however, this is a decision that requires careful consideration.

 

Many people find themselves wondering how water rights and mineral rights are related to real estate transactions. In most cases, water rights and mineral rights are considered to be separate entities. Property owners are legally allowed to sell mineral rights to a piece of land without selling the water rights. However, many speculators and energy firms ask to purchase water rights when buying the mineral rights to property. Landowners who have previously sold mineral rights should review their contracts carefully to make sure they still own the water rights for the property.

 

Buying Water Rights

 

When buying real estate, it is important to make sure water rights are transferred with the sale of the property. Transfer of water rights should be conveyed in the same manner as a normal property deed. In most states, once a property owner has established beneficial use of the water, he is not required to give up water rights with the sale of the property. For this reason, you must keep in mind that appropriators are not necessarily landowners located near the source of the water in question.

 

If a particular piece of property does not have water rights, the owner may be able to buy water rights from another property and have them transferred. However, the transfer of water rights for a different purpose or at a different location requires permission of state authorities and public notice of the intended transfer. If no individual files a formal protest of the transfer, state authorities can then choose to either approve or deny the application.

How to Buy Las Vegas HUD Homes

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Las Vegas, Nevada, commonly known as Sin City, is well known for having many foreclosed properties for sale. HUD buys some of these foreclosures because they were backed by FHA before going into default. This a big financial loss, so HUD needs to resell these homes to members of the public to get back that money. Those trying to scout out cheap homes in Vegas can find Las Vegas HUD home listings online through a government website. These potential buyers can then find what they are looking for and place bids to buy HUD homes in Las Vegas through a Vegas real estate broker approved for HUD bidding.

Step 1:

 

You can easily find these HUD foreclosures in Las Vegas by going to hudhomestore.com/HudHome/Index.aspx, which is a HUD-owned government website that lists HUD’s properties for every state. In this case, select Nevada and then Las Vegas to find the HUD Las Vegas homes in this area.

 

There is a wide range of houses for sale in this area, so you may also choose to narrow your search for Vegas properties by several other factors, including cost of the homes, size by number of rooms and other characteristics. You can choose those options with the search tools at the top of the Las Vegas HUD homes search results.

 

Step 2:

 

Only a Nevada real estate broker will be able to place HUD bids for the properties you seek to purchase. Thus, you need to go back to the same website’s home page and click on “Find a Broker” to get to the broker/agent listings. Select Las Vegas to find a broker in Sin City that can help you bid on HUD homes in Las Vegas.

 

Step 3:

 

Most HUD Las Vegas property buyers do not have the actual cash to buy a home. If you fall into this group, then you need to speak to Las Vegas mortgage brokers to get a home loan.

 

Step 4:

 

Once your finances are in order, ask your Las Vegas broker to go ahead and start sending in bids to HUD Las Vegas. You might be limited to one bid at a time, so have patience when trying to buy Las Vegas HUD properties.

 

Step 5:

 

When the agency approves your bid, it will send work to your broker. You will then have to submit a deposit and start preparations for paying for the home at the closing. This “closing” will be conducted by a Las Vegas closing agent approved by HUD for home closings.

 

Step 6:

 

The last major step in a real estate deal is to complete the proper local deed filing. In all areas (not just Las Vegas), you should obtain a deed from the seller and file it in the county of the property that you bought. In this case, take your deed from HUD and file it in the recording office of Clark County unless you buy a Las Vegas-area HUD home outside of that county.

 

Sources:

 

HUD Home Listings

How to Buy Atlanta HUD Homes

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Atlanta is a very popular place for seeking out cheap real estate. This area tends to have many foreclosed properties throughout the year, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) buys many of these houses at the local foreclosure auctions. HUD then sells them to average members of the Georgia public through a HUD bidding process. Buyers can use online resources to search for suitable Atlanta HUD homes. The buyers then hook up with an Atlanta real estate broker approved to submit bids to HUD on Georgia HUD properties.

Step 1:

 

HUD operates a website that lists data and even pictures of the HUD homes in Atlanta. You can access this home-listings government website at hudhomestore.com/HudHome/Index.aspx. Of course, you should look for the map and then select “Georgia” to get all listings for the state. You then pinpoint local homes by selecting “Atlanta” as the city.

 

Now, some HUD home buyers are owner occupants looking for a family home. Others are investors looking to make bucks off of flipping houses. Both buyer types may bid on HUD Atlanta homes, but investors are sometimes excluded from bidding on certain properties. To find the Atlanta properties open to investors, use the “buyer type” search option.

 

Step 2:

 

Atlanta has a slew of real estate brokers and agents. But you need one specifically approved by HUD to place bids on your behalf for HUD Atlanta properties. Select “Find a Broker” on HUD’s site (from the main page). Then, select Georgia or just Atlanta as the city to find local HUD brokers or agents.

 

Step 3:

 

If you need financing for a HUD Atlanta property, you will then need to speak to Atlanta banks or mortgage lenders about getting a loan. This is an important component of your HUD bid.

 

Step 4:

 

Get your Atlanta broker to go ahead and submit bids on the properties that you want. You might be limited to one bid at a time, so it could take a while to purchase an Atlanta HUD home.

 

Step 5:

 

Now, wait for HUD Atlanta officials to accept your bid. Once accepted, then a Georgia closing agent will be assigned to wrap up the sale. However, in the meantime, be aware that you will have to quickly pay a deposit and get ready to buy the house in full at the closing.

 

Step 6:

 

It is very important to protect your property interests in HUD homes in Atlanta once you have completed the sale. The way this is done is by getting a deed from HUD and then filing it in the county recorder’s office where the property is located. So if your property is in Fulton County, you would file there. Otherwise, you would file in DeKalb County or whichever other county your Atlanta-area home is located.

 

Sources:

 

HUD Home Listings

Patrick Mackaronis Presents: Building Your Online Space

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The following is a guest post from Brabble Director of Business Development Patrick Mackaronis. Patrick is a champion in the online realm. 

In this article, I’ll continue to discuss the general method you’ll need to use when building your web site. Remember–all businesses are unique, so don’t be afraid to adapt the method to suit your particular needs.

Once you finish planning your web site, you are ready to start building. These are the things you’ll need to do:

  1. Work out your design concept & build template.
  2. Scan/create/edit graphics.
  3. Input code, text, and graphics into your template.
  4. Upload your site.
  5. Test your site.

—-Your design concept

The way your site appears to first-time and continuing users is important to the overall impression you’ll make on your site’s visitors. When I am working on a web site, I usually start out “on paper” by sketching out different designs. Remember to keep in mind that you’ll need to include navigation buttons/links, room for headers and footers, room for the text, as well as any additional features you decide you might need. Once you have figured out the layout for your homepage, you are ready to start building!

One tip to remember when considering your design: Not all web browsers are equal. Although the most common web browsers (Netscape Communicator & MS Explorer) have been consistently updated by their respective companies, not everyone uses the most up-to-date versions. This means that not everyone’s web browser will accommodate JavaScript, frames, and other features that you might want to include on your web site. This doesn’t mean, however, that you should avoid features like frames or JavaScript in your site. Just be aware of some users’ browser limitations.

—-Your site’s graphics

Part of the beauty of the web is that you can combine text and graphics in attractive and useful ways. The graphics you use can make or break your site, so create them carefully. Some tips to consider when creating graphics:

** The size and resolution of computer screens varies, and you won’t be able to build a single page to suit everyone’s needs. The best you can do is to try to reach the greatest common denominator. My suggestion is to work to build your graphics to accommodate an 800×600 monitor.

** Most people surf the web over a modem–56K/V.90 being the fastest modems available. While this speed allows for a faster connection than was available only a few years ago, it still takes a long time for large files (like graphics) to download. To minimize this problem, make sure you set your graphics’ resolutions at 72 dpi (this is the highest that most computer monitors are able to resolve) to keep the size of those graphics files to a minimum.

Terminating Jailed Employees: Dealing With The Worst Case Scenario of Having a Staff Member Incarc

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It’s the kind of phone call many managers dread: a staff member for whom they are responsible for is in jail. The most immediate response is normally, “We have to let them go.” But terminating jailed employees isn’t as easy the immediate call-to-action most managers feel. As Chicago-based attorney Margaret Angelucci stated in Privacy and Security Law (The Bureau of National Affairs), “employers have a “particularly high” standard of proof before dismissing an employee for off-duty activity”.

Herein lies the problem: in most states, an employer cannot terminate jailed employees merely because they are incarcerated – unless the charges specifically relate to the job they are performing in the workplace (such as an Account Executive under investigation for company fraud or a retail staff member caught shoplifting while on duty).

Does the employer have any rights in terminating jailed employees? They do, but it really depends on where the company is located geographically. Some states allow for more measures than others, so it’s wise to contact the local government regulatory bodies before moving forward. In most cases, however, there are several things you can do to protect your company’s assets in the meantime.

Keep Excellent Records

First and foremost, start keeping an up-to-the-minute log of the accounts and events that transpire from the moment you received word the employee was jailed. If there is any written documentation to support their incarceration, provide it to your HR department immediately. Where there isn’t, confirm what you are able to on the phone and take note of who you spoke to when, where and why regarding the situation. This way if you do end someone’s employment, you can do so with quantitative evidence backing you up that the terminated jailed employees were unable to perform their job duties.

Terminating Jailed Employees for Absenteeism

Angelucci suggested in the aforementioned article that terminating jailed employees is possible, as long as the focus is on the work missed and not the jail time. This is a creative yet effective method of ensuring that whatever the employees situation is, they are not being discriminated against, since any employee that doesn’t show up for an extended period of time cannot expect to keep their job under any circumstances. Yet not all unions support this methodology. Therefore, check out the legality of terminating jailed employees based on their attendance records before taking action.

Tripplett, M. R. Despite few limits, lawyers tell employers of privacy and off-duty conduct. Privacy and Security Law, 5, No 13, Retrieved from http://subscript.bna.com/SAMPLES/pvl.nsf/4866a14be3b6f56685256ba3004dcb8b/e2de079a6e336da58525713c005765fa?OpenDocument

Open a Church Daycare & Preschool

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Churches provide a large space for community members to open a daycare and preschool. Daycares typically care for children before enrolling in formal school. A preschool focuses on school readiness activities for children during the early years. The demand for childcare workers is expected to increase 11 percent by the year 2018, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Preparing to Open the Daycare

Determine the square footage of the church space the daycare will occupy. Then, contact the state department of licensing to determine how many children can be accommodated in that space. Also, consider the area’s proximity to an outdoor play area for children.

Also, purchase equipment for the daycare and preschool. Arts and crafts supplies, puzzles and a variety of stimulating toys should be offered. Also, purchase a crib for each young toddler or infant. Nap mats are appropriate for preschool age children. Ask the parent of each child to provide their own blankets and pillows and launder the linens weekly.

If your church needs help funding start-up costs, get in contact with the Small Business Administration. They can put you in touch with local lenders who offer small business loans.

Certification and Licensure

Enroll staff in CPR and first aid courses. The American Red Cross offers these courses to childcare professionals. Keep a certification of competition for each employee who completes the course. Some states require this documentation to accompany application materials for licensure.


Safety proof all rooms of the daycare and preschool. This includes covering electrical outlets with protectors and installing safety gates for smaller children. Also, store chemicals and other harmful substances in locked cabinets (out of children’s reach). Most states require an inspection of daycares and preschools. Contact the state ahead of time to request a safety checklist. This will assist with preparation efforts. Purchase fire extinguishers to place throughout the childcare facility.

Church childcares also need to get licensed with their state. After preparing the daycare area, contact the local state department of licensing and request application materials. Expect to fill out a background check for every person employed in the daycare and preschool facility. Some states require a schematic of the childcare facility be submitted (detailing the layout of the childcare space). Some states also require that the owner of the daycare attend a state sponsored course covering local laws and regulations.

Creating an emergency evacuation plan is also important. Some states require this. The plan should cover where children and staff exit the building and meet-up in case of an emergency. Once your daycare and preschool is operating, regular “drills” should be scheduled to practice this plan.

MarketChurch Childcare Services

Market childcare and preschool services to local families. If your church has a newsletter, include information. Some churches also have email lists which could be helpful in advertising the daycare opening. Post flyers at community boards near the center as well. After time, the word will spread about services and less time will be spent on marketing activities.

Selling Your Own Home to Save Real Estate Fee can be Risky

The following is a guest post from Nigerian real estate developer Michael Chudi Ejekam.

Contract

Sellers have to remember that a written contract for the sale of a property is binding. The clauses contained therein can have serious implications. Awareness and knowledge are critical. There are buyers who like to target For Sale by Owners (FSBO) in order to get the best deal possible. These buyers are often more experienced than the seller and can skew the contract to their benefit.

Selling Price

Unless the seller has access to current market information, pricing may be off the mark. If it is too low, there will be a loss and if it is too high there may not be a sale. Nevertheless, the seller selects what he perceives to be a market value price and hopes to make a gain because he doesn’t have to pay out a real estate fee.

Sounds like a good plan. Then a buyer comes along and makes an offer that is lower than the asking price BECAUSE the sale will not incur a real estate fee!

Both parties are trying to save the real estate fee. Often the seller gets short changed.

Advertising

When selling a home, exposure is a must. Advertising is required. This generally consists of a lawn sign, some newspaper ads and, especially, internet exposure. More and more buyers do their initial searches on the internet. Marketing skills and ad writing abilities are a plus. Photos will also be required. All these items have costs attached.

Showings

Availability for calls and appointments are a priority. If employed, showings will be limited to after hours and weekends. People could also knock on the front door without an appointment. This may create a problem if school children get home before the parents.

Pre-Screening & Follow Ups

Pre-screening calls and asking questions about mortgage eligibility is helpful. This could eliminate those who are qualified to buy from those who are not. Similarly, it is ideal if contact information can be obtained for follow-up. This is sometimes difficult for the seller to acquire. Any feedback that is obtained could also be somewhat biased so as not to offend the seller.

Risks

Without pre-screening of any kind, there can be risks in inviting potential buyers to view the home. They are total strangers! Are they serious about buying? Do they have other reasons for wanting to see the home? Should they go through the home without being escorted? If so, are valuables removed for security reasons? Is the medication in a safe place? Or, should the potential buyers be accompanied on their walk through the home? Will they be reluctant to ask questions or make comments because the home is being shown by the owner? Showings are often a dilemma for the seller.

Solution

Hire a real estate agent! In the long run, such a professional can often net the seller the same amount of dollars- and sometimes even more. They know their markets and they have the skills- especially negotiating skills. Peace of mind results from knowing that the real estate agent has the expertise and is looking after the interests of the seller.

Interview two or three experienced agents and select one that is a good fit and in whom there is sufficient confidence.