Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Understanding Distressed Properties

The term "Distressed Property" is out there on the minds of many new home buyers these days. Understandably so, since they're typically under the general market value and may potentially able to save you money. These days, information on this type of property is generally the first question posed to us. Understanding such a property is indeed the first step to making a decision to buy one.

While purchasing a Distressed Property may be feasible in some cases, think about this: Is it a Positive Investment for you?

There are many investments that are made in real estate, most of which are expected to allow the price of the property to go up. However, sometimes the value of a property goes down, rendering it "distressed". This has been the primary situation of today's market. If you have run into a property that is like this, you will want to decide if it is worth investing in.

When a property is distressed, it has more than likely lacked the continual care and attention needed by the previous owners. If the seller is facing a short sale, where they may still reside in the home, upkeep is usually not a priority anymore. In other possible cases, the property is part of a foreclosure, now possibly now abandoned as it may not have been lived in for a specified amount of time. These factors may need to be taken into strong consideration when making a decision to purchase. Any home will require work to make it your dream home, but a distressed property will need a lot more attention to it and you need to decide just how much time and money you are willing to invest in it to make it your home.

Before looking at this type of property, you will want to make sure that it will be worth your investment. While a distressed property will usually go down thousands of dollars because of the quality, it may not necessarily be cheaper. It's expected that you will put a specific amount of work and money into the home for repairs to make it a viable part of the neighborhood.

If you personally have the extra funds or plan to get a restoration loan to fix up a home, then a distressed property may indeed be for you. However, if you don't want to put in the extra effort, then acquiring this type of property may eventually lose you money and even the sense of satisfaction that you should have as a homeowner. Also, decide whether you will be able to profit off of the investment in the long run according to the neighborhood, market, and your intentions for using the property. Look at your interested area. Are other "For Sale" signs up? Are other properties in the area being bought, renovated and becoming homes again? This helps to determine the rise or decline of the neighborhood as well as projections of the area's future for your investment consideration. If you are really interested in a particular property or area, we can help with this type of research.

While a distressed property can be beneficial in terms of savings in purchase price, it will need to fit your goals and your lifestyle in order to become a valuable home for you. As long as you have assessed your financial stability and goals and are able to align your extra money, time and work, by all means pursue a distressed property and turn it into what you want - a beautiful home.

If you are interested in purchasing a distressed property to make your dream home, let The Marcus Rice Team help you. As a Certified Distressed Property Expert, Marcus can help you understand the process of purchasing a property within a short sale process as well as a property that's in foreclosure.

The Marcus Rice Team is here to help you find that house to call your home.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

What to Do When Your Home Is Not Selling

Just go from this

to this

Seriously... selling your home is a process that's almost like going to a job interview. One of the key factors to determine the outcome is Presentation. In the world of real estate, presentation is a way of life. To the potential buyer, it's almost as important as location. As discriminating as buyers are in today's market, it's important to understand that many of them base their final decision upon how the home has been presented.

The first thing the potential buyers note is your lawn. If your lawn is trimmed and well-nurtured, he will immediately sense a good impression about your home. On the other hand, if your lawn is a wreck, it is possible he may not want to view your home. His judgment on the exterior of your home may cloud the event of walking around the interior. To give the best impression to the buyer, put some thought into how things look. Consider planting flowers around the walkway and throughout the yard. As spring approaches, you'll find all sorts of potted plants and flowers which would also give your front a quick spruce and look great.

Make sure that the access into your home introduces a positive and welcoming feel. The front door should be in great shape and the entry area should be clean and free of clutter.

You can also add some plants, paintings, and rugs within the entry way, to ensure that your buyer gets a good impression. As the buyer walks in, he should feel comfortable and you want him to keep walking through.

Do your best to highlight the best features of your home, instead of hoping the buyer will find them. The ideal way to bring out the best features of your home is to use the proper lighting. As you thoroughly clean your home, use lighting as a way to bring out those best features - inside and out.

One good example would be highlighting the mantel over the fireplace. If you don't have a light over the fireplace, add a beautiful framed print and place a picture frame light on it. No fireplace in your home? That's not a problem. Your home has another focal point - all homes do. Many homes have some truly outstanding features.

What's your favorite spot? What drew you to your home? Think about it? As you clean the house, give special treatment to that particular area or areas. Paint it in another color or simply add basic furniture, such a chair, table and of course, a lamp.

A nice plant subtlety placed in a normally drab spot would also do wonders to a home.

If your property has a garage, attic or even a basement, take the time to go through them before you sell your home. Chances are that you’ve stored things in one of those areas, which can easily pile up over time before you realize it. If these areas are in disarray, tidy them up. Buyers look for homes that are in perfect condition and anything less than perfect will look bad in the eyes of the buyer and they may take it off of their list for consideration.

As buyers walk through a home, they need to mentally place themselves within each room, nook, and cranny of it. They need to sense themselves living there. In order to help them, your home should be clean, easy to walk through and free of clutter. When possible, consider removing very personal elements of the home during showings. Since you're preparing to sell your home, packing up such items would help you to begin the mental process of seeing your home sell.

Potential buyers love to preview homes before they walk through it. When The Marcus Rice Team lists your home, we display online pictures and video to increase their eagerness of taking a personal tour. Give them more than they bargained for during their visit by offering the best presentation of your home.

Keep in mind that although it may take some time to sell your home, as most homes these days are on the market longer, you will eventually sell your home. If you are still having trouble selling your home, after taking these steps, you can also reduce the price.

Make your home memorable. Your biggest goal is to make sure the buyer is pleased and ready to make an offer. When you take these steps, you have a better chance of allowing them the chance to call it their next home!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Financial Organization for your home loan

In order to make the home loan process easy for you and your lender, you should be financially organized. At the beginning of the year, most people are inclined to have that in order for tax filing purposes. However, it is a great practice to maintain year-round. Especially if you’re ready to begin your home search long after you’ve filed your taxes in the earlier months of the year.

Maintain all your financial records - including your tax records - in one place. You may want to buy a box and keep your separate information in different labeled folders (tax information together, for example, and bills in another folder) for easy referencing. But, don't just keep a file of your bills. Track your progress with them.

* Place a note directly on the bills (on the remaining stub of the bill or on the copy of the bill) indicating the days you paid them.
* Keep a log of how much you owe, where you owe money and when you make payments on those debts.

Seeing all your financial life in one place makes it easier for you to see where your credit and your financial life still needs work. Whatever system you use, you will find it much easier to manage your finances - and your credit - if you don’t have to hunt for random pieces of paper.

Some of the information you may want to keep in your financial file includes:

* Bills
* Tax receipts and forms
* Articles and pamphlets about debt
* Your credit reports and scores (It’s a good idea to order a copy of your report before you meet with your lender as well)
* A list of contacts that affect your financial life (such as your bank and credit agencies, for example)
* Your written emergency plan, detailing what you should do in case of a sudden loss of job or other problem
* Banking information
* Financial forms
* Investment information
* Deeds to your assets (such as your house)
* Agreements you have signed for loans and other financial services
* Insurance forms
* A list of your financial goals

This organized filing process will help you and your lender work together smoothly so you can get the loan for your new home.

For further information about credit, visit our Prosperity and Credit Repair page.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Prince George's County increases Down Payment Assistance Amount

Now is the best time for first-time home buyers in Prince George's County, MD to buy a home! Even more Down Payment Assistance is available!

The new loan limit through the Prince George's County Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) has been increased. First-time homebuyers (including those who have not owned a home in the past three years) can now borrow up to $60,000 to use for their down payment and/or closing cost needs, upon the purchase on one of the county's foreclosed homes!

These new guidelines are effective until the February 19, 2010 application deadline.

This program only applies to buyers within or below the following income levels:

Household Size ....... Income Limit
1-Person ................ $35,950
2-Persons ............... $41,100
3-Persons ............... $46,200
4-Persons ............... $51,350
5-Persons ............... $55,450
6-Persons ............... $59,550
7-Persons ............... $63,650
8-Persons ............... $67,800

Under this new plan, purchasers must be preapproved for a mortgage by their lender before applying for the NSP loan. Repayment amount of the loan is determined by the length of time the purchaser retains the home as his/her primary residence:

Less than 5 years - 100% loan due
At least 5 years but less than 15 years - 70%
15 or more years - 50%

This program provides low-income borrowers a fantastic opportunity to now expand their search throughout the various areas of the county to find their dream home.

The deadline is February 19, 2010. For more information, click here and give us a call: 301-910-6502.

Short Sales in Maryland

As a Certified Distressed Property Expert® (CPDE), I understand the complex issues that many homeowners are facing in the current market.

Are you facing foreclosure? If so, we can help. But, first note that foreclosure may not be the direction for you.

Homeowners need to understand that foreclosure is not always the only option. Understanding the process is the first step and making a determination of what suits your individual needs is the best course of action - away from panic.

So, this brings up the next question... what is a Short Sale? It is the bank's acceptance of the sale of your property for less than the market price - in some cases, for less than what you may owe on the property.

A Short Sale may, indeed, be beneficial to your needs and as a CDPE, I have the tools to help you find the best solution for your situation.

Many real estate professionals have the basic knowledge of the short sale process, but I have the advanced, certified education and team of lawyers to assist you best.

Find out more about how The Marcus Rice Team can help you determine the best way to assist your homeselling needs. Contact us today.