Promising Benefits of Hiring Realtors While Buying Properties

Any transaction related to a house property (buying and selling) is a simple part of human lives. However, while delving deeper into the process, things become quite clearer. Despite of inheriting a house, many people want to invest their earnings with a perspective to capitalize their assets and noting this issue, buying a house property is an extremely beneficial choice. However, the common problem linked to it is at the present age, they do not have much time to deal with such crucial things for which, they mostly look for professionals help.

How Realtors can Help

When looking for professionalized help, it is ideal to hire a realtor who is familiar with the buying process and the market trends of recent times. They help the buyer to find properties at lowest prices and fair conditions, which are as per the specific needs and affordability of the buyer. Following here are some of the reasons for which, seeking professionalized help of a realtor is the best choice while looking for a property for sale.

Gathering Relevant Information

Buying a house property not only relates to getting an offer, negotiating and then settling down. The prospective buyer will need relevant information about the locality including neighborhood, schools, stores, community and other significant things. Gathering such vital details is a time-consuming process, which the realtor will have with him readily on beforehand.

Estimating the Real Cost of Property

It is responsibility of the realtor to stay informed of all the varied aspects of the chosen property with respect to the ratio of demand and supply. They have sound evaluating skills and are capable of understanding the real cost of the property. This kind of information is not easy to get as one requires enough experience to find out such details.

Proper Documentation

The property buying process comprises of a number of complexities and hefty paperwork. It requires extensive knowledge and familiarity with how the process works. The number of documents required to make the deal might be quite huge. Dealing with all such things is not so easy which, the professional or realtor can handle skillfully.

The real estate agents are quite helpful in preceding the property buying decision as they are familiar with the local realty market and have great competence to choose the properties that match the specifications of the buyer. So, while looking for a property for sale, the buyer should hire a realtor by his side as he has efficient skills and extensive experience in preceding the buying process perfectly.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Best Company to Invest Your Money – Guidelines for Evaluating Stocks and Financial Strength

First of all, it’s never a good idea to put all of your money into a single investment. Always keep your portfolio as diverse as you possibly can. It is very common to ask questions such as „best company to invest your money“. It’s ideal to conduct research on a few companies or products at a time and invest regularly. Be sure and join an investment newsletter that offers the top picks by the experts who really have an innovative approach to the stock market.

A beginning investor should never begin with an individual stock. If you’re new and just starting with your portfolio, it is much riskier to buy an individual stock than it is to buy a low-cost mutual fund that includes a group of stocks.

Regardless of your experience level a lot of people recommend that „FAANG“ is a way to go, or at least used as a starting point. These are the „Big 5“ Facebook / Amazon Apple / Netflix / Google. These 5 tech giants have their hands in just about everything these days and still have the potential to disrupt the industries and economy that they don’t already.

Do some research on all of the industries these big 5 are involved in to help you make your decision on the best company to invest your money in. Consider competitors as well, such as Disney, Microsoft, Yahoo!, Baidu, etc… Baidu (BIDU) has a huge stronghold in China, and is slowly growing on a global level.

Is There a Best Company to Invest Your Money In?

Always consider factors like debt, price, and valuation when investing. Do research on a company’s background and current financial situation to find out if it’s in debt. The more debt a business is in, the more money it has to spend on payments and interests. Also, look into dividends, and the company’s history in paying them. Are the dividends being increased or not?

Don’t make the mistake in assuming that a stock is going to be a bargain just because the price is very low. You must understand why and how that price went down and if it is going to rebound. Volatility is to be expected on occasion as well, so don’t panic or be surprised over it.

Some classes or training can really go a long way – especially if you want to try and make a living with investing in the stock market. You won’t get rich overnight, but you will likely find success after a while if you learn about the common evaluation metrics, like price-to-earnings ratio, debt-to-equity ratios, dividend yields, etc.

One way to learn about the stock market and get some ideas on the best company to invest your money is to join Capitalist Exploits. The newsletter is provided by professional money managers who track trends and capital flows to establish where the true value lies.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Real Estate Characteristics

Real estate has several unique characteristics that affect its value. There are economic characteristics and physical characteristics. Real estate is a product to be purchased but it is different from anything else due to the characteristics that will be discussed here.

The economic characteristics that influence value are scarcity, improvements, permanence and area preference. Scarcity is simply demonstrated in the saying, „They aren’t making any more.“ The supply of land has a ceiling and cannot be produced more than what exists today. This value of this supply however, is influenced by other characteristics.

Improvements, such as buildings on one parcel of land may have an effect on the value of neighboring parcels or the entire community. If a large company builds in a certain depressed neighborhood, the value of living their will probably increase because of the introduction of jobs. This value would impact on neighboring communities, thus increasing value in some ways to the real estate in these areas.

Permanence has to do with the infrastructure. As buildings, houses or other structures are demolished, the infrastructure, such as sewers, drainage, electricity, and water remain intact. Permanence effects real estate, or the type of infrastructure. If you buy a piece of land in an area with no utilities, drainage or paved streets, it will most likely be worth less than a parcel of land that has this infrastructure intact and developed.

Area preference refers to the choices of the people in any given area. This is usually referred to by most people when they talk about real estate as, „location, location, location.“ The location of a preferred area, for whatever reasons, is what makes values of homes higher. Conversely, the location of a nonpreferred area, for whatever reason, is what makes the values of homes less. 8000 square foot brand new homes on the coast of Long Island’s, East Hampton will be worth much more due to their area preference, over an area with 1200 square foot starter homes in the middle of Long Island, located next to a garbage dump.

The physical characteristics of land represent its indestructible nature, immobility and nonhomogeneity. Working backwards, we’ll start with nonhomogeneity. This simply points out that no two parcels are the same. Two pieces of land may be very similar, but every single parcel is different geographically because each parcel is located in a different spot. This includes two lots right next to each other. It is important to remember that parcels are created by subdividing land, so as one large parcel of 20 acres is subdivided, each individual lot becomes its own separate piece of land.

Land cannot be moved, therefore it is immobile. Even when soil is torn from the ground, the part of the Earth’s surface will always remain. It is important here to note how this physical characteristic affects real estate law and markets. Immobility of land is the reason why real estate laws and markets are local in nature.

The indestructibility of land simply means that it is durable and cannot be destroyed. It can be damaged by storms and other disasters, but it remains and weathers the changing times and will always be there. This is a main reason why land is talked about as being a sound investment.

So the basic characteristics of real estate include scarcity, improvements to the land, permanence, area preference, nonhomogeneity, indestructibility and immobility. Please note there is a big difference between land and real estate. Land is the the part of the earths surface, subsurface and air above it. Real estate is anything that becomes attached to land. So when you’re looking for investments, it is important to note the infrastructure of the area, the surrounding neighborhood and the preferences of the area or…location, location, location!

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Moving – Organizing For A Stress-Free Day

To help organize things to run as smoothly as possible, read on for tips on how to organize the best possible moving day. So you have bought the house that will accommodate all your needs, now it is only a matter of relocating your family and all your stuff. Believe it or not, simply transporting the belongings you have had for years can be even more stressful than purchasing a brand new home.

When the idea of moving comes up, most people immediately think of a bunch of cardboard boxes. Something that may not come to mind right away is informing everyone from businesses, government utilities, your bank, and the post office of your imminent, new home address and contact information. It is a great idea to take care of all this a month ahead of time. You will definitely not want to deal with paying for your old property’s utility bills or not receiving your mail after you are ready to settle in your new home. With all the hustle and bustle of packing, labeling, loading and unloading, this step is easy to forget.

If you are leaving an apartment, be sure to contact your landlord in advance to collect your deposit and return your keys. Leases can contain all sorts of fees and penalties that are easy to forget about, so make sure this process is dealt with.

Get your realtor to collect the keys to your new house prior to packing everything up and moving. This tip may sound like common sense, but you would be surprised how sidetracked people can get with something as big as relocating their family. Imagine all of the trucks with your things pulling up, getting ready to unload everything and not being able to drop it off anywhere safe.

In the event that your move is a distant one, to another region of the country for example, be sure to schedule hotel reservations ahead of time.

Creating an overall inventory is a must when transporting every ounce of personal property you own. Getting every family member involved in this process gets it done a lot quicker than you would think. Also, specific family members will probably make more of an effort to organize and keep track of their things.

The stage of packing should begin at least two weeks before it is time to go. As long as it is a group effort and a good portion is done each day, it will progress smoothly and efficiently. Also, label all boxes as you see fit. This will come in handy later on, as you will not have to open up everything to locate specific items.

In terms of getting rid of things you do not need any longer, there is no greater opportunity than this one. Collect all the clothes and items you can live without and donate them. As for your perishables and other food items, empty your refrigerator about a week in advance and be sure to unplug it when you are done.

Moving day will undoubtedly be exciting for everyone, but it does not have to be hectic. Plan ahead and take your time and it will run as smoothly as it can. Do not forget about friends and family during all of this, either. Plenty of them are willing to help out. Lastly, household appliances may be cheaper to purchase later on rather than transport the ones you have presently. Take it all in steps and stick to a schedule and it will be a pleasant transition.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Real Estate Lead Generation Without Fear of the Do Not Call List

Many real estate agents feel a little uneasy about calling people since the Do Not Call List was established in 2003. Even though it has been 5 years, some agents are still unsure about how to call prospective clients and remain within the guidelines of the Do Not Call List’s regulations. Many real estate agents relied on cold calling to generate leads and drum up new business. With the Do Not Call List in place many agents believe that they cannot call anyone that they haven’t actually spoken to face to face before. But in reality, that is not the case.

The law states that a company may call a consumer for up to three months after the consumer makes an inquiry or submits an application to the company. That being said, all a real estate agent has to do is get that prospect to contact them first. They are then free to call them for up to 3 months. (If the caller specifically requests that the agent not call them back or put them on their do not call list, the agent must comply.) Now some agents may say that if all the prospects were calling them, they wouldn’t have to worry about not being able to call people on the Do Not Call List. Well, the reason prospects aren’t calling those agents and making inquiries is because the agent is not giving them a reason to.

Agents must provide prospects a compelling reason to call. There needs to be something in it for them or they won’t pick up the phone. So you have to ask yourself, what is it that people in the market to either buy or sell a home need? The number one thing they need is INFORMATION. Information is a powerful thing. Without it everything is a guessing game. How are people to make an informed decision without educating themselves? As a real estate agent, you are in a unique position to provide them the information they need. Becoming an information provider is a great way to generate leads and have those leads call you.

A real estate agent can establish themselves as an information provider by offering people free reports about a variety of subjects that would be helpful to prospective buyers and sellers. For example, if an agent is looking to attract sellers a report on „“How To Sell Your Home In A Down Market“ would be especially helpful to a seller right now. On the same note, a report on „Why Now Is The Best Time To Purchase A New Home“ would be equally popular. You can even be more specific with your reports. Offer reports such as „Buying A Retirement Home In insert your area here“ to generate leads in that market. A report on „How To Go From A Renter To Owner In 90 Days“ will generate leads of a different kind. By offering these reports you are doing a number of things:

  • Getting people to call you so you don’t have to worry about the Do Not Call List.
  • Generating leads.
  • Gathering very specific information about those leads.
  • Positioning yourself as an information provider and someone that is there to help.
  • Building a rapport with prospects.

Now all this is fine and good but, if you can’t track these prospects that are contacting you to get information, it is a worthless effort. One way to do that is by using a toll free number call capture system. A call capture system is going to allow you to capture their name, address, phone number and the report requested by your callers – vital information on how to get back to them and what you will say when you do. Here are 2 aspects of a toll free call capture system that will help you generate leads without fear of the Do Not Call List, as well as track where those leads are coming from:

  1. The toll free number itself is an important part of the system. Unlike a local number, a toll free number cannot be blocked. So that means even if your caller has a blocked or unlisted number, you will still capture it. A toll free number has also been proven to increase your advertising response by up to 30%. They offer prospects a no hassle, free call to get their free information and people like that.
  2. A call capture system uses tracking extensions. By adding a different extension to each of your advertising pieces or sign riders, you are able to gather information on you caller’s needs before getting back to them. As an added bonus, you will be able to determine which of your advertising pieces are generating leads and which are sucking money down the drain.

The Do Not Call List definitely changed the way real estate agents generated leads. However, it does not mean that they are unable to generate just as many – if not more – leads by calling people on the phone. The key is getting those people to call you first and you can take it from there.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Purchase A Home With Free Downpayment Assistance Grants

First-Time Home Buyers Assistance

Florida Housing is a State Financing Corporation created over 20 years ago to help Floridians obtain safe, decent housing that might otherwise be unavailable to them. Their „First-Time“ Homebuyer Program provides low interest mortgage loans and financial incentives throughout the year, for eligible homebuyers who haven’t owned a home as a primary residence within the past 3 years.

Program Highlights

The program offers low-interest 30 and 40 year fixed-rate loans, downpayment and closing costs assistance as well as access to credit counseling.

Teachers, firefighters, healthcare workers, police officers, as well as active duty and veteran military personnel could be eligible for lower interest rates.

Eligible applicants include individuals who:

 have never owned a home,

 don’t claim their mobile home as real property,

 haven’t owned a home as their primary residence within the past three years,

 have established credit worthiness,

 have an annual income that does not exceed program limits.

Downpayment Assistance

Florida Housing offers two downpayment and closing cost assistance programs in the form of second mortgage loans, and one in the form of an upfront cash assistance to help eligible homebuyers cover their downpayment and closing costs.

Downpayment Assistance

Programs: Offers Up To:

(Income limits apply)

FLORIDA ASSIST PROGRAM $10,000- Applicants with annual income at or below 80% Area Median Income

ASSISTANCE FOR MODERATE INCOME (HAMI) $5,000-Applicants with moderate income

The City of Orlando offers a Downpayment Assistance Program, available to low and moderate income first-time homebuyers for the purchase of a home within the City limits of Orlando. Depending on the gross household income, assistance may be $10,000, $20,000 or $30,000.

Teachers and public safety personnel, who are moderate income, may qualify for $20,000 of assistance. City of Orlando employees, teachers, and public safety personnel who are purchasing homes within the city limits of Orlando do not have to be first time homebuyers. Purchasers must occupy the property as a principal residence for at least ten (10) years. The downpayment assistance becomes a grant once the period of affordability has been satisfied.

Orange County provides funds to qualified first time homebuyers for down payment and closing costs associated with purchasing a home. The program provides assistance to qualified low and moderate income persons in Orange County on a first come, first ready basis. The program also requires that potential homebuyers complete a pre-purchase and post-purchase education program.

The buyer must:

 Meet the income requirements. Annual household income cannot exceed 120% of the area median income.

 Provide at least $1,000 of their own funds.

 Complete a home buyer’s education seminar.

 Secure first mortgage financing.

The property must:

 Be new or existing and located in Orange County, outside the city limits of Orlando.

 Not exceed a sales price of $219,000.

 Receive competitive fixed rate financing.

 Be fee simple ownership.

The assistance:

 Maximum ranges from $20,000 to $35,000 depending on household income.

 The County’s assistance is provided to the buyer’s closing agent at closing in the form of a soft second mortgage at 0% interest which is forgiven after fifteen (15) years if the home remains owner-occupied.

 In addition, the total first mortgage and Orange County’s second mortgage may not exceed 105% of appraised value.

Home Buyer’s Education Program

All participants requesting down payment assistance must attend a free Homeowners Education workshop. This provides education and technical services to assist eligible low and moderate income families in the process and procedure connected with the purchase of an affordable single family fee-simple housing unit. Homebuyers Education addresses such topics as choosing a realtor, qualifying for a mortgage, inspecting a house, contracts for sale, home maintenance and credit issues.

The Orange County Finance Authority is a government organization that provides mortgage financing with lower interest rates than what is available in the market. Their financing products reduce long-term mortgage costs. Plus, if eligible, you may obtain additional down payment/closing cost assistance from other sources along with this financing!

In order to qualify for home financing, certain eligibility requirements must be met:

 You have not had an ownership interest in a primary residence during the previous three years. (Unless the property is located in a federally designated „Targeted Area“.)

 Property must be owner-occupied for the term of the loan or until the property is sold.

 Have the legal right to permanently reside in the United States

 Meet credit and loan requirements

 Do not exceed the income & purchase price limit

 Veterans can waive First-Time Homebuyer Rule

City of Kissimmee Community Redevelopment Agency offers financial grants to new homeowners within the Community Redevelopment Agency district (CRA), in order to provide economic support to the downtown businesses. It is designed to attract new residents to targeted areas within the Community Redevelopment district. There will be no income limitations placed on the granting of these funds.

Funding will be granted based on establishment of owner occupancy of the subject property. The grants will be given on a first come, first served basis after certain qualifications have been met.

The agency offers financial grants to eligible employees of employers in the CRA Overlay District on a first come, first served basis to be used towards the purchase of a home. Plus, there are incentives for Teachers to be used towards the purchase of a home in the CRA Overlay District on a first come, first served basis.

Osceola County provides funds to qualified first time homebuyers for downpayment, closing costs associated with purchasing a home, and financing with lower interest rates than what is available in the market. The program provides assistance to qualified low and moderate income persons in Osceola County on a first come, first ready basis. The program also requires that potential homebuyers complete an education program.

The buyer must:

 Not have owned a home in the last three years.

 Attend a Home Buyers Orientation Session and complete a Home Buyers Education Program.

 Have a minimum of $1,000 to contribute toward the costs of buying a home.

 Have an annual income that falls within the area median income guidelines as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Additional terms may apply.

The property must:

 Must be located in Osceola County.

 New home or existing homes must not exceed $200,000. If within the City of Kissimmee homes must not exceed $240,000.

 No mobile homes.

 Manufactured homes must have DCA insignia seal.

 Must be a single family home, condominium, town home or villa.

The assistance:

 Maximum ranges from $39,000 to $69,000 depending on household income.

 The Loan is provided to the buyer’s closing agent at closing in the form of a soft second mortgage which is forgiven after ten (10) years if the home remains owner-occupied.

Repayment of the loan becomes due if:

 Borrower defaults on the first mortgage.

 The house is sold refinanced with equity cashed out.

 The house is rented, leased, subleased or ceases to be owner-occupied prior to the end of the loan period.

 No Home Equity Line of Credit borrowed against the property.

Home Buyer’s Education Program

All participants requesting down payment assistance must attend a free Homeowners Education workshop. This provides education and technical services to assist eligible low and moderate income families in the process and procedure connected with the purchase of an affordable single family fee-simple housing unit. Homebuyers Education addresses such topics as choosing a realtor, qualifying for a mortgage, inspecting a house, contracts for sale, home maintenance and credit issues.

SHIP Program (State Housing Initiative Partnership)

The State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) Program provides funds to produce and preserve affordable housing through the creation of a partnership between the public and private sectors. The funds are derived from the collection of documentary stamp tax revenues, which are deposited into the Local Government Housing Trust Fund. Based on a population-based formula, SHIP funds are distributed to local governments each month.

These funds are available to Home Buyers through the Downpayment Assistance programs above.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Adding A Little Curb Appeal

When it comes time to buy a home, potential homebuyers will make judgments based on the exterior of a home. In most cases potential homebuyers will pass right over homes that appear ugly and outdated on the outside. Because if the outside is beyond help, chances are the inside isn’t far off either. So if you are looking to update the curb appeal of your home for potential buyers or just to increase the value of your current property, there are a few little things you can do to make a huge difference.

First, consider updating your front door. An old cracked and peeling front door makes a huge difference in the overall look of your house. Consider installing a new door, or even better, just update the old one with a new coat of paint. A brightly colored front door can add life to a boring exterior. Do the same to your shutters if you have them. Next, look at your yard.

Is it overgrown with weeds and bushes? Having a nice tidy yard with neatly trimmed foliage and edged grass can make a huge difference in the overall look of your house. You don’t have to have a lush garden in order to make your yard look nice. It just needs to look well kept. If your grass is uneven or if it has dead patches, consider replacing the sod so that you have a nice even look. Take a look at your porch next. If you have handrails on your porch, adding decorate post caps to the ends can really create a nice detail. With a few simple changes you can really increase your curb appeal.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Home Buyers Guide: What to Check in a Final Walk Through

What an exciting day; the day you close on your new home! A few days before, your REALTOR called to schedule the date and time of the final walk-through. You thought, „This is great! I needed to check the paint color in the kitchen and my parents want to see the house.“ But that is not what the final walk-through is for. This is your final chance to see the property before you sign on the dotted line and close the sale. It is an appointment take seriously. You must stay focused and examine the condition of the property one last time.

The purchase agreement signed in the state of Minnesota requires the seller to warrant that the mechanicals including: central air conditioning, heating, plumbing and wiring systems are in working order on the date of closing. It also insures the buyer the right to a „walk-through“ review of the property prior to closing. This is not something to waive. A few years ago, there was a news report of first-time buyers who had just closed on their new home. They intended to move right in after closing but arrived to find a nightmare. In the time since seeing the home and writing a purchase agreement, a pipe had burst and flooded the entire home. They skipped the final walk-through as they felt it a waste of time. They became the proud and very frustrated owners of a huge mess. Although they may have legal remedies for having the home repaired, these buyers would have been in a much better position if they negotiated with the seller prior to closing. Or in the case of this extreme damage, the buyers could have not signed the final documents to purchase the home.

Every buyer should do a final walk-through on the home as close to the closing as possible. I suggest to my clients that we schedule the walk-through immediately prior to the closing. We meet one hour before at the home to review the condition of the property and then go directly to the closing. Any problems are noted and I immediately contact the seller’s agent so they have time to discuss the situation with their seller before our arrival. The walk-through just prior to closing doesn’t eliminate every surprise that a new buyer might face.

But it significantly reduces the chance of closing on an unknown disaster. Here is a quick guide of some of the areas to consider during a final walk through Final Walk-Through Guide

Double Check the Paperwork **Are all work orders complete?

Exterior Review **Check for any changes to exterior since purchase agreement.

Plumbing Review **Check for any changes to plumbing since purchase agreement.

Interior Rooms Review **Check for any changes to interior since purchase agreement.

Electrical Review ****Check for any changes to electrical since purchase agreement.

Furnace and Air Conditioning Review Attic and Basement Review **Check for any changes since purchase agreement.

The final walkthrough should be done with a COMPLETE CHECKLIST and organized plan. After a review of the home inside and out with a checklist will get you back to exciting part of that final walk-through…Will the new sofa look better here or there?

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Real Estate Agents and the Internet – How to Buy and Sell Real Estate Today

Then and Now

Ten years ago, a search for real estate would have started in the office of a local real estate agent or by just driving around town. At the agent’s office, you would spend an afternoon flipping through pages of active property listings from the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS). After choosing properties of interest, you would spend many weeks touring each property until you found the right one. Finding market data to enable you to assess the asking price would take more time and a lot more driving, and you still might not be able to find all of the information you needed to get really comfortable with a fair market value.

Today, most property searches start on the Internet. A quick keyword search on Google by location will likely get you thousands of results. If you spot a property of interest on a real estate web site, you can typically view photos online and maybe even take a virtual tour. You can then check other Web sites, such as the local county assessor, to get an idea of the property’s value, see what the current owner paid for the property, check the real estate taxes, get census data, school information, and even check out what shops are within walking distance-all without leaving your house!

While the resources on the Internet are convenient and helpful, using them properly can be a challenge because of the volume of information and the difficulty in verifying its accuracy. At the time of writing, a search of „Denver real estate“ returned 2,670,000 Web sites. Even a neighborhood specific search for real estate can easily return thousands of Web sites. With so many resources online how does an investor effectively use them without getting bogged down or winding up with incomplete or bad information? Believe it or not, understanding how the business of real estate works offline makes it easier to understand online real estate information and strategies.

The Business of Real Estate

Real estate is typically bought and sold either through a licensed real estate agent or directly by the owner. The vast majority is bought and sold through real estate brokers. (We use „agent“ and „broker“ to refer to the same professional.) This is due to their real estate knowledge and experience and, at least historically, their exclusive access to a database of active properties for sale. Access to this database of property listings provided the most efficient way to search for properties.

The MLS (and CIE)

The database of residential, land, and smaller income producing properties (including some commercial properties) is commonly referred to as a multiple listing service (MLS). In most cases, only properties listed by member real estate agents can be added to an MLS. The primary purpose of an MLS is to enable the member real estate agents to make offers of compensation to other member agents if they find a buyer for a property.

This purposes did not include enabling the direct publishing of the MLS information to the public; times change. Today, most MLS information is directly accessible to the public over the Internet in many different forms.

Commercial property listings are also displayed online but aggregated commercial property information is more elusive. Larger MLSs often operate a commercial information exchange (CIE). A CIE is similar to an MLS but the agents adding the listings to the database are not required to offer any specific type of compensation to the other members. Compensation is negotiated outside the CIE.

In most cases, for-sale-by-owner properties cannot be directly added to an MLS and CIE, which are typically maintained by REALTOR associations. The lack of a managed centralized database can make these properties more difficult to locate. Traditionally, these properties are found by driving around or looking for ads in the local newspaper’s real estate listings. A more efficient way to locate for-sale-by-owner properties is to search for a for-sale-by-owner Web site in the geographic area.

What is a REALTOR? Sometimes the terms real estate agent and REALTOR are used interchangeably; however, they are not the same. A REALTOR is a licensed real estate agent who is also a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS. REALTORS are required to comply with a strict code of ethics and conduct.

MLS and CIE property listing information was historically only available in hard copy, and as we mentioned, only directly available to real estate agents members of an MLS or CIE. About ten years ago, this valuable property information started to trickle out to the Internet. This trickle is now a flood!

One reason is that most of the 1 million or so REALTORS have Web sites, and most of those Web sites have varying amounts of the local MLS or CIE property information displayed on them. Another reason is that there are many non-real estate agent Web sites that also offer real estate information, including, for-sale-by-owner sites, foreclosure sites, regional and international listing sites, County assessor sites, and valuation and market information sites. The flood of real estate information to the Internet definitely makes the information more accessible but also more confusing and subject to misunderstanding and misuse.

Real Estate Agents

Despite the flood of real estate information on the Internet, most properties are still sold directly through real estate agents listing properties in the local MLS or CIE. However, those property listings do not stay local anymore. By its nature, the Internet is a global marketplace and local MLS and CIE listings are normally disseminated for display on many different Web sites. For example, many go to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS Web site, http://www.realtor.com, and to the local real estate agent’s Web site. In addition, the listing may be displayed on the Web site of a local newspaper. In essence, the Internet is just another form of marketing offered by today’s real estate agent, but it has a much broader reach than the old print advertising.

In addition to Internet marketing, listing agents may also help the seller establish a price, hold open houses, keep the seller informed of interested buyers and offers, negotiate the contract and help with closing. When an agent provides all of these services it is referred to as being a full service listing arrangement. While full service listing arrangements are the most common type of listing arrangement, they are not the only option anymore.

Changes in the technology behind the real estate business have caused many agents to change the way they do business. In large part, this is due to the instant access most consumers now have to property listings and other real estate information. In addition, the Internet and other technologies have automated much of the marketing and initial searching process for real estate. For example, consumers can view properties online and make inquires via email. Brokers can use automated programs to send listings to consumers that match their property criteria. So, some agents now limit the services they offer and change their fees accordingly. An agent may offer to advertise the property in the MLS but only provide limited additional services. In the future, some real estate agents may offer services in more of an ala carte fashion.

Because of the volume of real estate information on the Internet, when people hire a real estate agent today they should look at the particular services offered by the agent and the depth of their experience and knowledge in the relevant property sector. It is no longer just about access to property listing information. Buyers and sellers historically found agents by referrals from friends and family. The Internet now provides ways to directly find qualified agents or to research the biography of an agent referred to you offline. One such site, AgentWorld.com, is quickly becoming the LinkedIn or Facebook for real estate agents. On this site an agent can personalize their profile, start a blog, post photos and videos and even create a link to their web site for free. Once unique content is added to their profile page the search engines notice!

Some have argued that the Internet makes REALTORS and the MLS less relevant. We believe this will be false in the long run. It may change the role of the agent but will make knowledgeable, qualified, and professional REALTORS more relevant than ever. In fact, the number of real estate agents has risen significantly in recent years. No wonder, the Internet has made local real estate a global business. Besides, Internet or not, the simple fact remains that the purchase of real property is the largest single purchase most people make in their life (or, for many investors, the largest multiple purchases over a lifetime) and they want expert help. As for the MLS, it remains the most reliable source of real estate listing and sold information available and continues to enable efficient marketing of properties. So, what is the function of all the online real estate information?

Online real estate information is a great research tool for buyers and sellers and a marketing tool for sellers. When used properly, buyers can save time by quickly researching properties and, ultimately, make better investment decisions. Sellers can efficiently research the market and make informed decisions about hiring an agent and marketing their properties online. The next step is to know where to look online for some of the best resources.

Internet Strategies

In the sections that follow, we provide strategies and tips on how to use the Internet to locate properties for sale and research information relevant to your decision to purchase the property. There are many real estate Web sites from which to choose and although we do not mean to endorse any particular Web site, we have found the ones listed here to be good resources in most cases or to be so popular that they need mention. One way to test a Web site’s accuracy is to search for information about a property you already own.

Finding Real Estate for Sale

Despite the widely available access to real estate listings, many believe that MLS databases continue to offer the most complete and accurate source of real estate information. Most MLSs now distribute content to other Web sites (primarily operated by real estate agents). An excellent starting point for MLS originated content is the national NAR Web site, realtor.com, which is also the most popular web site for searching real estate listings. Virtually all local and regional MLSs have an agreement with realtor.com to display much of their active listing inventory.

Some local and regional MLS systems also have a publicly accessible Web site. However, to get complete information you will most likely still need to find a qualified local REALTOR. Many local real estate agents will also provide their customers (via email) new listings that are input into the MLS that match their predefined criteria. This can be very helpful to a busy buyer.

There are also many Web sites that display both real estate agent listed and for-sale-by-owner properties. Some of the more popular Web sites include zillow.com and trulia.com. These sites offer other services too. For example, zillow.com is best known for its instantaneous property valuation function and trulia.com for providing historical information. Another source of properties for sale is the state, regional, and local Web sites associated with brokerage companies; for example, remax.com or prudential.com. Search engines like yahoo.com and classified advertising sites like craigslist.com also have a large number of active real estate listings.

One key difference between these sites is how much information you can access anonymously. For example, at trulia.com you can shop anonymously up to a point but then you will need to click through to the agent’s Web site for more information. Many new real estate search engines allow you to sift through listings without having to fill out a form. The best strategy is to browse a few of the sites listed above to find geographic areas or price ranges that are interesting. Once you get serious about a property, then that is the time to find a qualified REALTOR of your choice to conduct a complete search in the local MLS.

It also never hurts to search the old-fashioned way by driving through the neighborhoods that interest you. There is no substitute for physically, not virtually, walking the block when you are making a serious investment decision. In this sense, real estate is still a very local business and standing in front of the property can lead to a much different decision than viewing a Web page printout.

Valuing Real Estate

As we mentioned, one of the most popular real estate tools is zillow.com’s instant property valuation. Just type in an address and in and you get a property value. It even charts the price ups and downs, and shows the last date sold (including price) and the property taxes. There are other sites that provide similar tools such as housevalues.com and homegain.com. Unfortunately, many people use these estimated values alone to justify sales prices, offers and counteroffers. However, these are only rough estimates based on a formula that incorporates the local county sales information. These estimates can swing wildly over a short period of time and do not appear to always track actual market changes, which are normally more gradual. In addition, these estimates do not automatically take into account property remodels or renovations or other property specific or local changes. This is not to say these sites are not useful. In fact, they are great starting points and can provide a good ball-park value in many cases.

When it comes to getting a more accurate value for a particular property, there are other strategies that are more trustworthy. One is to go directly to your county’s Web site. More often than not the county assessor’s area of the Web site provides sales and tax information for all properties in the county. If you want to research a particular property or compare sales prices of comparable properties, the local assessor’s sites are really helpful. When you visit a county’s Web site you are getting information straight from the source. Most counties today publish property information on their Web sites. Many times you cannot only see the price a previous owner paid, but the assessed value, property taxes, and maps. Some county assessors are now adding a market and property valuation tools too.

Given the importance of valuation to investing, we are also going to remind you of the two most important (non-Internet) valuation methods: real estate agents and appraisers. Working with a local REALTOR is an accurate and efficient way to get value information for a property. While one of the primary purposes of the MLS is to market the active property listings of its members, the system also collects sales information for those listings. REALTOR members can pull this sales information and produce comparable market analyses (sometimes called CMAs) that provide an excellent snapshot of a particular property’s value for the market in a particular area.

Finally, the most accurate way to value a property is by having a certified appraiser produce an appraisal. An appraiser will typically review both the sold information in the MLS system as well as county information and then analyze the information to produce a valuation for the property based on one or more approved methods of valuation. These methods of valuation can include a comparison of similar properties adjusted for differences between the properties, determine the cost to replace the property, or, with an income producing property, determine a value based on the income generated from the property.

The Neighborhood

There are many ways the Internet can help you get the scoop on a particular neighborhood. For example, census data can be found at census.gov. You can also check out the neighborhood scoop at sites like outside.in or review local blogs. A blog is a Web site where people discuss topics by posting and responding to messages. Start by looking at placeblogger.com and kcnn.org/citymediasites.com for a directory of blogs. Trulia.com has a „Heat Map“ that shows how hot or cold each neighborhood is based on prices, sales, or popularity among the sites users.

Schools

When it comes to selling residential property or rental properties that cater to families, the quality of the area school district makes a huge difference. There are many Web sites devoted to school information. Check out greatschools.net or schoolmatters.com. Most local school districts also have their own Web site. These sites contain a variety of information about the public schools and the school district, including its district demographics, test scores, and parent reviews.

Finding the Right Real Estate Agent

A recent addition to the Internet boom in real estate information is Web sites that let real estate agents market their expertise and local knowledge by displaying their professional profiles and socially networking with blogs. You can search to find an agent with a particular expertise, geographic area of specialization, or an agent offering specific services. The web site AgentWorld.com lets users quickly and easily find an agent with the right expertise using keyword searches and clean and simple agent profiles. AgentWorld.com also enables agents to post personalized blogs, photos and videos to help consumers find the best agent for their needs. Plus, many agent profiles include a direct link to the agent’s web site where you will likely find the local MLS listings.

Maps and Other Tools

The Internet has made mapping and locating properties much easier. To get an aerial view or satellite image of a property or neighborhood, go to maps.live.com or maps.google.com or visit walkscore.com to see how walk-able a particular property is. These sites can give you an idea of the neighborhood characteristics and the types of entertainment, restaurants, and other facilities that are within walking distance of the property. Maps.Live.com provides a view at an angle so you can see the sides of houses and Maps.Google even gives you a 360 degree street-level view for certain neighborhoods. If you have not tried one of these satellite map Web sites, you really should if only for amusement.

Final Thoughts on Internet Strategies

The Internet is a very effective research and marketing tool for real estate investors but is not a replacement for a knowledgeable experienced real estate professional. The Internet can save you time and money by enabling quick and easy property research and marketing options. Sites like AgentWorld.com also help you efficiently find a REALTOR who fits your buying or selling needs.

Always remember, when it comes to Internet strategies for real estate: More knowledge is better. You need to use the Internet to build your knowledge base on a target property or to find a real estate agent with expertise you need. However, the big caution here is that the Internet should not replace human judgment and perspective, expert advice or physical due diligence-keys to successful investing.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Townhouse or Condo – What Is the Difference?

Between a townhouse and a condo, there is a lot of difference. Everyone dreams about owning a home some day and if you are considering either of these as your first, or maybe your last, home it is important to know what each one is and how they differ.

Townhouse

It is a type of row or terraced house that is similar in shape and size and will usually share common walls. They are considered a single-family residence with each having a separate entrance. When you buy a townhouse, you are buying a special unit from a long line of properties that are similar. In historic Ireland and UK, it was a house for aristocrats inside a capital city that they used when they had to attend parliament sessions or during social functions.

Condo

It is also referred to as a condominium and is a type of housing tenure that also means common ownership. These were a part of a certain estate that are sold or leased to a tenant. The owner of the whole estate did this. Today it is a term used as a substitute for special unit, or apartment that are leased or purchased.

Major differences

• Ownership specifications-when you own a condo you will be the legal owner of everything that is inside the interior and if the condo owner wants to use the rest of the amenities, they must pay a monthly fee to the condo association. All members who own a condo form this association.

• Property taxes-the one that owns the condo also has to pay property tax on their individual living area but the townhouse homeowner has to pay not only for their living area but also for the ground on which it is built. This can mean that the cost for a townhouse may be higher than the price of a condo.

• The townhouse owner will have to pay a sum to a homeowner’s association for the maintenance of the complex but the monthly dues that a condo owner pays takes care of the overall maintenance without paying an extra fee.

• Structure of the home-mo matter what size of a townhouse that you purchase it is located on the ground level. There are no more floors on top except for maybe a terrace or it could be built in a different style of architectural like Cape Cod. The condo is usually located in a two or three floor complex. It could also be in a luxurious high-end multistory building along with exotic views.

• Condos are safer than townhouses as they are surrounded by a close neighborhood

• Townhouses offer more privacy as you are not surrounded by a lot of neighbors.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg