Finding a Qualified Home Inspector

As you should already know, a home inspection is a key part of the real estate process. Of course, your home inspection is only as good as your home inspector.

Finding a Qualified Home Inspector

If you are considering buying a property, you absolutely must get a home inspection. What most people don’t realize, however, is it can also be valuable to retain one before you sell a property to identify any problems before your accept an offer. Fixing such problems before hand makes a lot more sense than panicking in the middle of escrow.

Regardless of your particular position in the real estate process, the home inspection is only as good as the inspector. Frankly, some inspectors are less than credible when it comes to qualifications and their background. To bypass these individuals, the following organizations should be used as a resource.

The American Society of Home Inspectors, Inc. is located in Des Plaines, Illinois. Known as ASHI, it was founded in 1976 to create a resource and quality control atmosphere for home inspections. You can get referrals to ASHI inspectors in your area by contacting the Society at 800-743-ASHI. In doing so, you will avoid hacks calling themselves inspectors.

The National Association of Certified Home Inspectors is another credible organization. Located in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, the Association maintains both a code of ethics and strict standards of practice for its members. With over 9,000 members in North America, you can find an inspector in your area by calling 1-877 FIND-INS.

Another organization that stands out in the home inspection industry is the National Association of Home Inspectors, Inc. Located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the organization also requires members to abide by strict practice standards and a code of ethics, which should be comforting to you. You can contact it to find a home inspector in your area by calling 800-448-3942.

The old cliché is garbage in, garbage out. By using a credible home inspector, you can put this cliché out of your mind.

Foreclosure Investing – The Pros And Cons Of Investing In Foreclosures

Investing in foreclosures is no doubt one of the best opportunities to make money in today’s economy. As with any type of business venture, there are risks involved. Investing in foreclosed properties offers great opportunity to buy homes significantly under market, but there are some risks such as considerable research, under lying lien problems, long-term carrying costs and several others. If you are willing to take the chance on a property or two you may prosper in the end.

Foreclosed homes can be purchased at several stages. First is the pre-foreclosure phase, then the auction phase and finally the REO phase each of these presents their own set of pros and cons. Familiarize yourself with each of these different types of foreclosures, weigh the pros and cons for each, you may be able to avoid a costly mistakes and headaches through the process of investing in home foreclosures.

Take a look at the possible pros and cons at the various stages of a foreclosure:

Pre-Foreclosure Phase
This is the stage where the homeowner is still in control of the property. Although the loan is in default and the pressure from the lenders is just beginning. The homeowner is usually in a position to sell the property quickly and avoid the foreclosure process all together. This means hue savings and large potential profits for you.

Pros
20-40% discounts on the estimate value
Low or no down payment, due to the built in equity
Research and inspection opportunities
Sales agreements that are flexible

Cons
Home owner may not be reachable
Fierce competition, many investors are trying to buy these type foreclosures
Time to research documents and court filings
Undisclosed or underlying liens against the property

Auction Phase
Possibly the most profitable stage of a foreclosure. Auctioned properties usually offer the best potential profit when buying foreclosures. An auctioned property is sold during a public auction to the highest bidder. If you have done you, research these types of properties are sometimes sold way under market value.

Pros
Greater discounts can be as high as 35-50%
Great ROI, return on investment
Greater potential profit

Cons
Property inspection is generally not available
Postponed auctions mean valuable time lost and research wasted
Large down payments that must be paid at the time of auction
Incomplete research can cost you a lot of money
You may not win the auction at all

For Sale By Owner Misconceptions

With the rising popularity of selling homes by owner, have risen some misconceptions that should be straightened out to clarify the process. The first thing that we should look at is how financing works in the FSBO world. One thing that occurs more often than it should is when buyers think that “for sale by owner” means that the owner is also offering financing. Most of the time this is not the case. This error is usually seen when people with little or damaged credit feel that it is in their best interest to avoid mortgage brokers & realtors. This is a huge mistake as individuals such as mortgage brokers are experienced and trained to deal with these individuals and to help them repair their credit and obtain a favorable mortgage.

Its a good idea to seek out a mortgage company that is experienced, even specializes in the financing of FSBO sales. These companies differ from most mortgage companies in that their services are more comprehensive than most. They have expanded their offerings to include many things not usually covered by traditional mortgage companies such as closing contracts, title issues and inspections. The closing of a home contract is one of the more confusing aspects of the purchase process and should be handled by a trained professional. Also take into account that most mortgage companies rely on realtors to bring them the bulk of their business, therefore they are ill-equipped to provide educated FSBO financing. This is why its good to find a FSBO specialist mortgage company when dealing with someone who is selling their home themselves.

Another misconception deals with the fact that the buyer is saving money by dealing with an FSBO situation. The truth is that usually the seller is the one trying to save money on agent commissions. If they have subtracted the price of the agent from their asking price, it is possible to save some cash.But this is hardly ever the case. Most FSBO sellers are listing their homes at market value as if an agent was selling the home. Then they attempt to do everything themselves and pocket the cash that would normally go to the agent.

Different Types Of Real Estate Investments

The fastest growing commodity in the United States is real estate. In 2005, it increased in value by 12% compared to other goods and services that increased by only 4.5%. With such a high return on their investment, many people are purchasing real estate instead of stocks and bonds.

Some investors choose to invest in run down properties. They buy for a low price and hope to sell for a higher price once the necessary improvements to the house and yard are made. Many investors choose to do the repairs themselves, saving on labor costs. Others hire contractors to do the work. Either way, it is expected that the cost of repairing the home will increase its value. The new value is anticipated to exceed the original cost plus the cost of repairs. If the owner can rapidly sell the property, he/she can recoup their investment, make a profit and move on to another real estate purchase.

Other investors purchase properties that are vacant and require little repair to make them marketable. These houses can be resold or rented out. Here the owner has made the decision that the investment will be reimbursed over time. The monthly rent on the property must exceed the owner’s monthly payment on the loan. In the case of property rentals, the owner assumes responsibility for maintaining the property. He/she will act as the landlord, collect the monthly rent, make any necessary repairs, and handle the paperwork for obtaining tenants. If the owner does not have the time to invest in being the landlord, he/she can pay another person or real estate agency to act on his/her behalf. This saves the owner time and aggravation but it costs money to pay the substitute landlord a salary. This has to be figured into the rental price. Thus the monthly rent should be the monthly cost of the loan plus the monthly cost of maintaining the property plus the cost of the landlord plus a profit for the owner.

Sometimes an investor may choose to buy an apartment building or condominium complex and rent the individual units out. Here the formula for determining the monthly rent should be the monthly cost of the loan divided by the number of units for rent plus the monthly cost of maintaining the property plus the cost of a landlord plus a profit for the owner. If any units are vacant, the owner must make up the difference in the loan payment owed that month. This can be quite expensive if the units remain vacant over time or the number of vacant units grows in number.

There are times when the housing market has slid. This is called the bubble effect. Prices go up until, at last, they burst like a bubble and begin to decline. This can be a serious problem if you have all your money tied up in real estate. If you were depending on your new property to earn enough equity to make you a profit and the value of the property fails to increase or decreases, you may be in financial trouble. Make sure in advance that you can make your monthly payments. You should not depend entirely on the equity to make your payments. Financial experts suggest that, if you don’t have to sell the property and you can make the payments, don’t sell. Wait it out and see if property values rise again.

Financial experts say that an informed consumer will know what is happening in the market place and be prepared for it. Instead of borrowing again to meet the downturn in real estate, they recommend that you cut back on your expenses where you can. Use the extra money to step up payments and reduce the amount of the loan.

Developers of Retail Stores Build with Steel

The design flexibility, cost efficiency, and ease of erection of steel have made steel buildings the structures of choice for retailers across America–especially those stores with multi-site operations. As a result, the increasing demand on steel buildings has created remarkable innovations in steel building technology. There are several factors to explain this phenomenon that are worth identifying.

For example, a number of building developers benefit from the speed and ease in which steel buildings can be constructed and the overall lower cost. A great number of owners are remodeling their current properties or framing new structures with steel. These companies know that the entire costs of building with steel are only a fraction of the price of conventional structures. Several design alternatives are possible–even with the strictest of project budgets. These savings can then be passed on to the patron.

You will appreciate a cheaper cost of labor. Much depends on local labor costs, but the overwhelming majority of steel buildings can be set up rapidly with the economy of a single work crew. Very often, a small amount of professional aide is necessary. As a matter of fact, when building smaller structures sometimes no professional help whatsoever is necessary.

Maintaining a steel building with a comfortable climate is possible thanks to the great improvements in insulation technology. Developers are generally selecting the steel building design thanks to the savings resulting from its ability to conserve energy. A completely insulated pre-fabricated steel building will out-perform traditional structures and warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

Advances in steel building technology have also resulted in such amenities as ridge vents, skylights, louvers, as well as more common features as wind resistance and enhanced steel roofing systems. Regardless of the climate, you can know confidently that your personnel are all safe inside a pre-fabricated steel building. Because of its snug connections and reinforced metal alloy, steel buildings can withstand the weight from heavy snow and the potential leakage from heavy rains.

Almost any combination of structural, roofing, and facade applications are possible due to the current innovations in steel building technology. The clear-span frame, another popular option, can reach up to 300 ft. in width, have unlimited length capabilities, and require no walls or columns to allow your store all of the space it requires in an unobstructed environment. A variety of steel roofing styles are available, such as parapets and mansards. You can also select standing seam applications; and not to mention, having your roof painted in just about any color you desire. Steel buildings are the attractive choice for today’s retail store owners and the smarter choice for tomorrow’s requirements.