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Buying Real Estate For Rental Income

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Real Estate InvestingBuying real estate for rental income is one place to put your money that has historically been considered a good, income producing, and long-term investment. Once you start to investigate opportunities and options you will find that it is an entirely different market from that of homeownership.

Buying Real Estate For Rental Makes Bank Managers Nervous

You will have to approach your bank as a business and so you will likely get a better response from the sort of banks that work with small business. Stay away from the big retail banks; you will be able to build a more product relationship with a local banker.

Lenders do not like to give mortgages based on rental income without at least two years of history. So you are not going to be able to buy a property based on the tenant’s promise to pay, lenders just do not take that type of risk.

Most mortgage insurance does not cover rental properties so it is going to be difficult to get financing unless you can make a 20% down payment. Your lender will want to see an excellent credit history and FICO Score above 740. They will need to see that you can make the down payment and still have cash reserves to pay for any contingencies or get you through periods of rental vacancies of up to six months.

The balanced approach that you will find that institutional buyers use is to leverage the cash on hand will reasonable amounts of loans. Investors with cash on hand can find that lenders will give them a 50% to 75% loan to value ratio. Real estate loans on these terms will also receive a preferential interest rate.

This effectively leverages your cash by a factor of four. The cost of borrowing will be fairly constant, subject only to any pre defined rate adjustments. Any increase in the value of the property will go to you as the investor, as will any increased rents when the market heats up.

Alternative Sources For Financing Your Rental Property

Some owners who want to dispose of their property might not need all cash. It can be a great way to make the deal happen if you can arrange seller financing. In recent year there have been developments in financing through peer-to-peer lending sites, such as where investors will be more willing to consider loans to first-time landlords. This is the most recent trend in what has been traditionally called creative financing.

As the landlord you have to ensure that the rental property is in a safe condition. Managing tenancies is a topic in its own right. Risks include damage, bad tenants and vacancies while you still have to cover your costs.

You do take on some serious liability if you are a landlord; any thing that causes an injury to the tenant that they somehow could blame you for could be very, very expensive. This can be covered with insurance but you will pay increased premiums for any claim.

Buying real estate for rental is a different endeavor than buying a home to live in. There will be strict limits to the way you can use the income to qualify for a mortgage. If you have enough cash on hand or in your 401K that you can cover six months of lost income then having rental properties as investments could be a great way to round out your financial portfolio.

Three Things You Should Know To Sell Your Home Faster

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Sell Your Home FasterIn a declining real estate market, where the competition for buyers is fierce and the supply outruns the demand, you will probably consider selling a home by lowering the price of the property. Rather than lowering the price of the property, first make a serious attempt to increase the attractiveness of it and sell it more quickly at the right market price.

In spite of the growing competition in the market, you can sell the property at good prices if it stands apart from the rest and captures buyers’ attention and hopefully their hearts. If you are selling your property in a chilled real estate market, here are a few tips, which will help you sell your home more rapidly and at the right price.

Keep Curb Appeal In Mind

First impressions matter! A house with old and peeling paint, a yard overgrown and unmaintained, with overgrown hedges and patchy grass won’t do any good to the seller as well as the buyer. Fixing small things, which improve the overall look of the property and adding props to it, can produce a great return on investment. If you maintain the outlook of the house, buyers will view it as one less thing they have to consider spending money on.

Give It That Ready To Move In Look

A property for sale should be well maintained; the doors, windows and the paint job of the house can be renewed for an overall good impression on the buyer. The idea is to leave an impression on the buyer that they can move in the place anytime and enjoy their new home, not spending their time repairing the home even after spending their money. This creates an impression that is an extension of the curb appeal and little things can make a big difference.

Clearing out all the clutter from your house is one of the most important things that you need to do. Remove all the unnecessary items to make the space look bigger. Hiring a stager is also a good option, as professional stagers are known to be effective at making homes more salable. Every buyer would want a place the they can immediately associate positive experiences and a stager can create an appealing vibe and a look that is more attractive and generating a positive emotional response.

Tag It With The Right Price To Sell Your Home Faster

Even after setting up your place yourself or getting it done by a professional stager, you have to work to set the accurate price of the place. Setting price of the place is equally essential because you need to keep yourself updated with the current rates in the real estate market. Working with a professional realtor who has years of experience can help to put it on the market at the right price. In residential real estate the differences in price of a few percent above the right market price will make a difference of days or even weeks of time on the market. Get professional advice from your realtor, their market analysis should be able to get it right the first time.

Selling your home at a cooling real estate market might require a bit of hard work. But developing curb appeal, keeping the interior well maintained and setting the right price can increase the rate at which your property will be sold.

How Mortgage Backed Securities Affect Mortgage Rates

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Mortgage Backed SecuritiesThis article is intended to help the reader understand the cryptic sounding term mortgage backed securities or MBSs and how they affect mortgage rates. To begin with let us look into what mortgage backed securities are all about.

Mortgage Backed Securities

Mortgage backed securities are simply bundles of mortgages with similar terms, such as interest rates. In other words, when a bank makes a loan it bundles all of the mortgage loans with similar interest rates and sells them to quasi governmental agencies such as Fannie Mea and Freddie Mac or to investment banks or the large insurance companies. These bundles of mortgages or groups of similar mortgages are held and traded by large institutions, in way that is somewhat similar to bonds, stocks or mutual funds.

When the FHA set up its home loan guarantee program the problem of holding on to all of those low down payment mortgages was solved by collecting them into large bundles and holding them as investments under the supervision of what was to become Fannie Mae. Homeowners will pay their principal and interest to the company responsible for servicing the debt. The servicer passes on the income from the loan to the institution after subtracting their management fee.

Big Boys Of The Bond Market

Like all other fixed income securities, the price of one of these MBS bonds is set based on the value of the income stream. Because they have traditionally been seen as safe investments, these bonds are often sold at a price higher than the face value of the bond. For instance, if an investor is buying a bond of $100 he or she will have to pay $101 or more to buy it, which often depends on the yield of the bond. Yield is the rate of return an investor gets on that particular bond. It could be 3%, 4% or 5%. The higher the yield of a bond, the more the buyer is willing to pay for it.

If the demand for a particular bond decreases the seller lowers the price of the bond. On the other hand, if the demand for a particular bond increases the seller increases the price of the bond. In this way we can say that price of a bond is directly proportional to demand. Because the income is constant the variation is in the price to buy and sell the bond. Of course, investors want to understand it in term of what their dollars buy and so, looking at it from that perspective, when yields go down and bond values go up. In the reverse situation, as yields go up, the bonds become cheaper.

Higher Yield Means Cheaper Bonds

The MBS bonds reflect the demand for mortgages in the economy. If demand is for mortgages is increasing then the Fed will respond by increasing interest rates. This increases the income from new lending, which lowers the sale value of existing bonds (to give them a higher yield) as investors pull out of mortgage backed securities to finance other higher income investments.

Inflation also plays an important role in affecting the demand for bonds, which also impacts the mortgage rates. In the event of high inflation, investors often demand bonds at lower rates to cover their margins. In other words, since bonds produce a fixed rate of income it is quite natural for the investors to buy bonds at cheaper rates so that they can buy more bonds with the same investment. Moreover, booming economy forces investors to divert their funds in businesses where they could earn more profit. Thus, sellers often lower the price to attract investors resulting in rising in mortgage rates.

Gross Domestic Product Basics And The Meaning Of GDP

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GDP BasicsGDP or gross domestic product is used to judge the national economic output. It puts a number to the quantity of all work done over a particular time period; you can consider it the extent of the economy.

Gross Domestic Product Measurement

GDP measures the money related estimation of goods and services that are purchased by the final consumer. It measures the majority of the wealth created inside the borders of a nation. It includes merchandise and services available to be purchased in the business sector and incorporates some non-market activities, for example, training services.

An alternative idea, gross national product or GNP, tallies all the earnings of the occupants of a nation. So if a German owned firm has a plant in the United States, the yield of this industrial facility would be incorporated in U.S. GDP, yet in Germany it is part of GNP.

Not all work is incorporated in GDP. Case in point, unpaid work, (for example, that performed in the home or by volunteers) and underground markets are excluded on the grounds that they are hard to measure precisely. That implies, for instance, that a pastry specialist who produces a roll of bread for a client would help GDP, however the same would not help GDP if he or she prepared the same item for his or her own family.

Additionally, the calculation makes no note of the wear and tear on the equipment, structures, etc. (the supposed capital stock) that are utilized as a part of delivering the goods. Equipment depreciates or is used up but that does not get counted unless you subtract it from GDP. This calculation is referred to as net domestic product.

More Than One Way To Add Up Your Economy

Hypothetically, GDP can be seen in three separate ways:

  1. The total value added at each one phase of generation, where worth included is characterized as aggregate deals less the estimation of middle inputs into the creation process. For instance, flour would be the middle component and bread the final product; or an architect’s drawings would be an intermediate and the building the final product.
  2. By including the estimation of purchases made by the final customer. For instance, the utilization of Food, durable goods, and medicines by family units; the interests in hardware by organizations; and the buys of products and administrations by the administration and outsiders.
  3. Totaling the livelihoods produced by creation for instance, the recompense workers get and the working surplus of organizations (gross adjusted revenue).

GDP in a nation is typically ascertained by the national factual org, which aggregates the data from an expansive number of sources. In making the figuring’s, in any case, most nations take after settled universal guidelines. The universal standard for measuring GDP is contained in the system of National Accounts, 1993, aggregated by the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United Nations, and the world.

What Is A Homeowners Association Or HOA?

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HOA BasicsHomeowners associations, or simply HOAs, are corporations or the legal entities set up by real estate developers in order to maintain the common areas of developments and managing the homes in residential subdivisions or condominium developments.

In today’s market most condominium developments and townhomes have an HOA, which is created after the development has been completed and before sales and occupation of the units has commenced. HOAs take care of everything from maintenance and repairs, and gardening to handling the building insurance and compliance with building code.


Homeowner associations first emerged in the U.S during the mid nineteenth century. They had limited growth until the 1960’s, but due to rapid expansion of homeownership and large-scale residential development, the condominium lifestyle became popular. That in turn further led to the modification of federal mortgage rules to include condominiums and cooperatives.

Features Of A Homeowners Association

  • Membership is mandatory for all the property owners in the development
  • Members are usually charged a monthly service fee
  • The HOA has the authority to enforce the standards of design and maintenance of the development
  • An HOA is a corporation with formal rules and regulations
  • It is run by a governing board comprised of members that are elected by the property owning members of the association
  • The board appoints and supervises a property management company in order to enact and enforce the maintenance issues of the development
  • Many HOAs publish a regular newsletter

There are various restrictions that are enforced by these associations, such as parking restrictions, fencing restriction, pool restrictions, and maintenance of the development, as well as many other features controlled by the HOA.

Members often have a love-hate relationship with their associations. It is possible to be annoyed by the rules of the association and still appreciate that an HOA protects the value of their houses and neighborhood.

The rules and regulation are there to ensure maintenance, defining the limits of behavior, such as limiting the color of paint to a predefined, approved palette. They prevent the neglect of units or such things as members who leave vehicles dismantled on the street. However, these same rules can be oppressive, overzealously implemented and overbearing.

Things You Should Keep In Mind

The prospective homebuyers should keep certain things in mind before going for any property under the management of a homeowners association:

  • Go through the covenants, conditions and restrictions associated with the property and make certain that you understand and are comfortable with the terms and conditions
  • As the cost of HOA dues vary according to the property make sure you have room for them in your budget
  • If you fail to pay dues in any way, the association can take legal action to satisfy the debt

There are pros and cons to everything, when it comes to buying it to an HOA maintained development, it depends on the individual whether this type of shared property management is suitable or not. Having an association take care of many of the common functions of a building or development can bring some real practical advantages. The price, as well as financial, is the set of rules and restrictions that come with it.

Mortgage Lock Basics

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Mortgage Lock BasicsSo what do you prefer, something certain, a rate on a home loan that is fix, while you hunt for a home? Or would you prefer to take the chance and wait until you have found the right home to live in before you worry about the interest that you will pay on your homeland?

These can be tricky questions as a small deviation of interest rates one way or the other are likely to have a major impact on the affordability of your new home. That doesn’t mean you will loose everything but fifty or one hundred dollars more or less in a monthly budget can make a difference if times are a little lean.

Is That A Bird In Your Hand Or A Snake?

If interest rates are rising and look like they will be even higher by the time you have selected your purchase by agreeing an mortgage lock. You can protect the rates available now by choosing a lender who will offer to lock your interest rate in now, for when you finally get to close the deal.

Banks and mortgage lenders use the offer of locking in your rate as a way to get business moving. It is a risk for them as much as you, except reversed; they lose if rates go up and win if they go down, when you have locked in your mortgage rate.

How Long Is Your Piece Of String?

The problem with agreeing to a locked rate is that you never know how long it could take to find the right home. You could get into closing and find a cloud on the title that makes it impossible to complete the purchase. Or the seller might choose an offer they like better after protracted negotiations. Sometimes the house that suits you best just doesn’t come onto the market for a long time.

Mortgage Lock Basics In Summary

If you are worried about losing out on a rate lock you might rush to a decision more than you would do in perfect circumstances. So there may be other factors to think about besides the rate you can lock in and what interest rates are doing.

However, if you prefer to know now what the numbers are going to be in the future, now, you might sleep better if you have this side of one of the most stressful things that a consumer can commit to tied down with a mortgage rate lock.

Refinance Basics: Should I Refinance My Home Loan?

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Should I Refinance?Two Main Reasons To Refinance Your Home Loan

There are several reasons you might consider refinancing your home loan but it comes down to just one of two types of situations: Either you are getting better terms or taking equity out of your home. The particular details of your situation and of the present market conditions will have some impact but it really comes down to one of these two things.

There are a few reasons that you might think to get better terms but they come down to either the property value increasing or you have gained a larger equity stake. There are good reasons to withdraw equity and there are some less good reasons.

Take Advantage Of Better Terms

You might want to change the payment structure of your loan. If there is a balloon payment that you can pay it off. When you have an adjustable rate that has reset and you can get a fixed rate mortgage that gives you more certainty as the future rates look likely to be more expensive.

Withdrawing Equity From Your Home

A good reason to refinance to withdraw equity would be to invest it in an income property. Another reason might be to pay off a high-interest credit card balance. Or you may be looking to do some home improvement that will increase the value of your home. The poorer reasons include things like taking expensive vacations, buying a boat or a racehorse.

There are plenty of good reasons to refinance your home and plenty of finance companies and banks that will be more than happy to help you do it. The equity in your home can be a useful tool and you can leverage it into smart investments by shopping around for more favorable terms. The secret behind home loan refinance is that over the lifetime of a typical thirty-year home loan you are paying a huge amount of interest.

Some Interesting Facts About Interest

The way that mortgage finance works is that interest in due on the balance of the loan and the rest of your payment goes to your principle. Your initial payments are almost entirely interest. Over the full lifetime of a thirty year loan you will pay almost enough for two houses, even at the current low interest rates.

When you refinance there will be a finance charge that is around 3% of your loan, which is added to the balance. Even so, you could potentially save the price of a couple of new cars by refinancing with a ½% lower rate, which will reduce your monthly repayment.

Faster Repayment Means Lower Rates

If you chose to refinance for a shorter term, say you go from a thirty year fixed rate to a fifteen year fixed rate, two things will happen. First lenders will give you a slightly better rate because they like it when you pay back the loan more quickly.

Second the larger payments on a shorter-term loan will pay down the balance more quickly reducing the interest you pay; you will pay much less interest over the lifetime of the loan. So, by cutting the term in half you will increase your payments but they will not be doubled.

Talk to your bank or finance company to find out the exact numbers. Depending on the present market and your particular circumstances and your monthly budget you could save a considerable amount over the lifetime of your loan.

Renting Versus Buying Your Home

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Renting vs Buying a HomeYour Freedom To Leave Is Their Freedom To Make You Leave

Home ownership is something that makes you feel secure. Knowing that a landlord cannot come knocking and reclaim their property because they want to turn it into a coffee house or studio apartments or just take it back to refurbish and rent to someone else for twice as much. In most places tenancy laws make it much more difficult than it sounds to recover a house or apartment from a tenant, but it could happen.

If you own your home you will probably have to deal with taxes, insurance home loan payment and repairs. In either case, there are hassles and burdens that you have to respond to. So the question is: What are the basic differences and what might make one way better for you than the other?

The short answer is of course that it depends. Renting might be right for you one year and owning another. However, in the United States today the game is tilted in favor of home ownership. That is why around 65% of residences in the U.S. are owner occupied, according to the Census Bureau.

Home Ownership Is Still A Good Deal

Renting gives all of the equity to the landlord if home values rise. You are paying the interest payments for their loan on the property as well as adding to their principle. This got turned around during the property bubble of the last decade. Housing prices but rents did not keep up. So if you wanted to buy a home the interest payments alone were way above market rents. You would have been better off renting at that point in time.

As property values have returned to a more sensible level, rents have caught up. According to the National Association of Realtors, the number of renters paying half of their income or more in rent has increased dramatically. In the urban areas of the country tenants accept high rents as the price to be where they need to be for work, family and quality of life.

The right time to buy is when you are ready. Leasing a rental property lets you keep your options open if you are unsure of where you will be in a year. The costs of buying a home and home loan fees mean that it is a long-term decision, one that ties you down while you wait for your equity to grow enough to cover all of your costs.

Buying And Owning Your Home Made Easy

Financially it usually works out that the cost to buy your home is lower than renting the equivalent house. Government-backed loan programs, such as FHA and mortgage insurance makes low down payments possible. The hassles of finding the money for property taxes twice a year are less of a concern when you finance. Lenders will impound the taxes as part of your monthly payments, making it a non-issue.

It is true that, as a homeowner, you have to worry about insurance and repairs but for many people, dealing with such things in return for the right to control how they fix up their home is a bargain.

Freedom Versus Equity Building

Renting gives you flexibility and the freedom to move, without responsibility. Buying gives you control over your domain and stability that is very desirable at a settled stage of life. If you work out the numbers it tends to favor ownership because of government-backed loans such as FHA and low down payments, as well as the equity stake you will build over time.

If you want the freedom to pick up and leave anytime that is great, but you might have pay a financial premium for it. Otherwise, if you are more settled and looking to build some equity, buying your home might be an option that is priceless.

The Simplest Possible Explanation Of Prepayment Penalty Basics

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prepayment-penalty-basicsWhy on earth would you be willing to pay for the privilege of paying off your home loan? That is essentially what you will be agreeing to, if your finance company attempts to include a prepayment penalty in the terms of your loan. The simple advice is don’t walk away, run!

Good For Lenders Bad For Borrowers

Banks and other finance companies are in the business of making money. And thank goodness they are too! Because they provide an excellent service that has enabled consumers to reach high levels of prosperity, of which previous generations could not have dreamed.

Lenders like to be able to count on a monthly income and it annoys them when a borrower pays off a loan. That means the lender has to find another borrower to lend their funds to. From the time that you pay off your loan until the time they receive the first payment from the next borrower, they’re losing interest.

Prepayment Penalty Basics: The Short Answer Is No

Fortunately the lending market is big enough and competitive enough to keep this sort of thing in check. So, prepayment penalties are mainly for borrowers with poor credit histories and limited options, also known as the sub-prime lending market.

For the rest of us, penalties can be easily avoided by shopping around. One of your most important demands of a lender must be that they do not include any prepayment penalties.

The Long Answer Is Also No

When you are in the market for a home loan and you are choosing a lender, make sure that you establish that there are no clauses in their contract that amount to a prepayment penalty. If you have poor credit you may not be able to avoid penalties and they usually contain certain limits, such as the first five years.

A penalty may be triggered for even a partial repayment of principle within the penalty period. The particular terms of prepayment penalty clauses will vary according to the policies of each lender, again, shop around.

Since lenders are attempting to put cash into assets and earn some interest, the loss of interest is what prepayment penalties are meant to recover. That means they are generally expressed in terms of that lost income, say, six months of interest on 85% of your loan balance. That can be a pretty big chunk of change! Add on broker’s fees and transfer taxes and all the other costs of selling a home and you’re easily losing money, even in a rising market.

In Summary

Avoid prepayment penalties if at all possible because they will do exactly what they are supposed to do: Tie you into a home loan with unfavorable terms. Most homebuyers should be able to avoid them with ease. It just requires that you pay close attention when you are reviewing the terms of the loans on offer and decline any that require you to pay for the privilege of paying off your home loan.

Credit Report Basics (As They Relate To Mortgages)

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Credit Report BasicsThe Credit Data Big Three

Credit card basics form one of the key features of modern life. When you think about it, it’s pretty amazing that a person can borrow enough to buy a house, based entirely on electronic records. However, the most important thing to know about credit report basics is that lenders will want to understand who you are, as a financial entity. So, it is vitally important that you know too.

The records of almost anything that you have ever officially borrowed are stored in the databases of three very powerful multinational companies: Equifax, Experian and Trans Union. These three companies have made your financial existence their business. Any time a company has agreed to lending you money it is safe to assume that they reported it to at least one of these three agencies.

Financial companies sell your financial information to these services and buy it back, to judge your financial trustworthiness, in deciding whether or not to extend credit to you. This is related to your credit score but it goes into much more detail. Every time you apply for a loan, get credit and whether or not you make your payments is tracked by each of the credit agencies.

Credit Report Basics (As They Relate To Mortgages)

When you decide to purchase a home or refinance your current home, you are going to need approval from your lender before they agree to underwrite your loan. This requires that they get to know who you are. They want to make an accurate estimate of the risk that they will be taking by extending credit to you.

Your lender will request a copy of your records from each of the three agencies. The reports that they will receive will add up to something the size of a telephone directory when printed out, if you have had credit for an adequate length of time to qualify.

Your lender will be looking for records of what you have borrowed in the past, how punctual you were in making your payments and what your financial condition looks like at the time of application. They are trying to establish your behavior and your present net worth, as well as your net worth once they extend credit. Finally they will want to be assured that the monthly payment obligations will fit your budget. All of this information will be available from the records that they source from the three agencies.

Prepare To Be Judged

The laws that govern credit and lending as well as credit reporting state consumers must be able to review their credit files once a year, at no charge. The Federal government has a website that is the only place that is authorized to do this on the World Wide Web. By going to the approved site at and requesting your reports.

Not all companies report to all three so you can expect there will be some minor variations on what is posted to your credit report. That is why lenders will be looking at all three reports, they want to make certain that they do not miss any important details. It is prudent to check your credit reports with all three agencies every year, as you are allowed by law. Another good reason is that, because there is the potential for variation in your three credit reports,there is also the potential for some error to crop up in one of them.

One word of caution when you are searching for your free credit report: The only site authorized for this purpose is There are credit-monitoring services and the reporting agencies themselves will offer to give you onetime access with strings attached. Be warned that they will attempt to tie you into a contract for expensive monthly services. While credit monitoring may or may not be something in which you are interested, that is not the objective here. You want to simply establish the credit report basics before you approach any lenders.

Requesting a copy of your three credit reports should be the first step when you are preparing to apply for a home loan. It will help you understand what lenders know about you and you can deal with any obstacles before they derail your application. It’s a matter of credit report basics.

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