Tips On Picking "Sleeper" Real Estate Property

Real estate investing is all about perception. Your perception of where the market is going, in conjunction with where it’s actually going. The aim, as always is to buy low and sell high.

You want to buy a cheap tract of dirt and sell it as a high priced piece of developed real estate, after it’s appreciated enough to turn a tidy profit. Selling the property is an art in and of itself.

Buying an initial tract of dirt lends itself to some solid, rational guidelines:

First, look at trend lines for housing prices in your area. While most housing markets are in decline (and the housing markets in Florida and California are adjusting from more than a decade of over-valuation), there are markets where the housing prices are going up. This is a decent leading indicator that there’s a market for expansion.

Second, look for job related news. Home purchases require a steady source of income. New employers moving into a city, or a government branch office opening up are a strong indicator that good, well paying jobs are likely to come up. Where well paying jobs roost, home purchases follow.

Related to this, talk to your local city planning office. Are there recent purchases of “right of ways” to lay down sewer lines? Is the local telephone cable making plans to run out fiber optic lines – a “must have” trend in new home construction. These things point to areas where home growth is immanent. Other big tip offs are school bond issues (found in your local news paper) and new parks being opened up.

Before you look at the land, check out the adjacent commercial real estate usage. Look for “family friendly” or “residential friendly” commercial properties: Houses that are close to grocery and clothes shopping tend to fetch a higher price than ones that are farther away. If there’s a movie theater nearby, or plans for an elementary or middle school, factor that into the size of the homes you build, and what their amenities will be; buyers looking for those features are looking for “mover upper” homes – with a bit more floor space, and two (or three) bedrooms for the kids. Other spots to look for are anchor stores, like Wal-Mart and Best Buy. These companies spend millions on surveys of purchasing patterns before buying a store location; if they’re buying a plot of land, you’ve got about a year to a year and a half window to look into nearby real estate for single family residential and rental residential properties.

You can even flip this on its side – if you can talk to a group of commercial real estate investors, building a shopping center as the nucleus for home development is also a viable combined strategy. This also applies to highly urban areas. Many downtown areas that have been abandoned by businesses can be converted to apartment buildings, and some of the older housing projects are being torn down for mixed-use spaces with combined commercial and residential areas. In particular, you can often get block grants to help with the financing on projects like this, and there are programs from HUD that can help out a great deal with “urban renovations”.

Another source to investigate is the demographics in your area. Look at the US Census figures (and local county figures) for median age, and median birth rate per capita. You want to invest in areas where the population is growing already. High skews in the ’40s and ’50s indicate that you’ve got a bunch of people who are going to retire soon, and retirees are highly prone to selling properties off. Places to watch carefully are most of the urban parts of California, and great swaths of the rural Midwest, where demographic trends have been changing entire towns since the 1950s as the country’s population has shifted to urban areas.

If there’s a local planning council, or urban development council, make it a point to get the minutes of all the meetings from the past year. The city council offices will have them on file as a matter of public record. Also try to get into the next range of meetings as an observer. Discuss with the city and county managers where they see housing and construction trends moving. What you’re looking for is real estate that will be desirable in two to three years; look at road planning atlases, and look for all the data you can find. Also look for real estate that will be scenic – lake front property is as close to a guaranteed bet as you can get in real estate investing, particularly if there’s a lake that’s at the “far end” of a development axis. Likewise, if there’s land that the city council is looking to acquire for parks, buying the adjacent lots now means you’ll be able to sell them later.

Lastly, talk to the professionals in your communities. Talk to architects who can tell you if they’re busy or not. Maintain professional contacts with engineers, bankers and attorneys. They will usually know about projects well before the general public. Also make a habit of reading the local newspaper’s business section. Often times, the first clue that a business may move in to your area is buried at the bottom of a column on page 8.

Using the guidelines suggested above will help you to find “sleeper” raw land properties. These “sleeper” properties are perfect for the buy low, sell high strategy used by successful commercial real estate investors.

Important Tips to Consider When Selecting a Real Estate Agent

The ample amount of online information regarding how to hire a real estate agent can be helpful for homebuyers and sellers, but finding the right one can still be a challenge. Professional agents should have the necessary skills and expertise to help find exactly what the client desires. These four qualities can clue in buyers and sellers that a real estate agent is a great choice.

Suggests Realistic Prices

When planning to sell a house, it is recommended to get listing presentations from several agencies. They will provide the market prices of comparable homes, as well as the amount of time it usually takes to sell similar properties. Working with professionals to ensure that a home is priced appropriately will make the process less time consuming and stressful.

Works Full Time

Some real estate agents connect home buyers with sellers as a part-time job; however, it is wise to choose one who works in the industry full time to get the best results. Such professionals are in a better position to provide accurate recommendations and tips as they have more experience and a deeper understanding of the industry. A full-time agent will likely spend more time scouting for a home on various listings or showing prospective buyers the house to ensure that the clients acquire or sell a property quickly and at the right price.

Charges an Appropriate Commission

In most states, the commission ranges between five and seven percent and is split between the selling and buying agents. Ask agents about commission rates when putting a home on the market or beginning a new home search. This is an ideal method to ensure that all parties understand the agreement. Also, be sure to ask about any offered rate rebates, as some companies actually pass on a percentage of the commission to the seller or buyer.

Has Experience in the Area

A buyer who is interested in purchasing a full-time residence should pick an expert who specializes in selling such properties in the area. On the other hand, people who are looking for investment properties are better off working with someone who has been facilitating such deals with other investors for years. It is also important to note that most professionals in this industry have multiple specialties.

Even if a candidate meets these four qualities, organize a face-to-face meeting with the home expert to get a full picture of his or her skills and expertise. Most professionals are more than happy to speak with potential customers to answer questions. Finding a real estate agent by following these guidelines will make the entire process of buying or selling a home far simpler.

10 Tips For Choosing a Real Estate Agent

Whether you are buying or selling a property, choosing a real estate agent may be the most important decision you make. Good real estate agents can save you a substantial amount of time and money. They can also ensure that the buying or selling process is an enjoyable and memorable experience. Here are some tips for choosing a real estate agent:

1. Ask Friends/Family for Referrals

Ask family and friends for their advice on local agents. This way you will be sure to find an agent with a good reputation.

2. Consider More than One Agency

There is an array of agents that will kill for your business. That is why you should interview as many agents as you can. Compare agents with regard to their knowledge of the area, experience and qualifications. Also, ask for references from previous clients.

3. Choose an Agent that Knows the Importance of Customer Care

While interviewing different agents you will be able to establish their level of customer care or how far they will go to satisfy the customer. Look at things like their attitude towards returning phone calls and their willingness to meet with you.

4. Choose an Agent that Handles Homes in Your Price Range

When you opt for an agent that deals with homes in your price range, you will be sure to end up with an agent that will give his or her best effort. Some agents deal only with high-end properties and are used to high commissions. They are more likely to attend to these properties first.

5. Choose an Agent that Respects Your Time Schedule

If you will not be able to view properties during office hours, you need to find an agent that is willing to do business after hours or over weekends.

6. Look for an Agent that You Can Communicate With

Communication is vital when buying or selling real estate. Make sure that you choose an agent that understands your needs and that communicates them well. You will be best off if you choose and agent that registers a high level of comfort with you or with whom you are compatible with.

7. Choose an Agent that Provides Multiple Services

It will be a bonus if you can find an agent that can handle the buying/selling process as well as other additional services like arranging property inspections or who can refer you to a trustworthy real estate attorney.

8. Choose an Agent That Can Negotiate

Negotiating skills is an essential quality of a good real estate agent. Make sure you choose and agent with impeccable and proven negotiating skills.

9. Choose an Agent with Lots of Resources

Ask agents where your property will be advertised. Make sure that the agency uses print advertising (newspaper/magazines) as well as other promotional material such as brochures. Also check if the agency makes use of the Internet for advertising their listings.

10. Follow Your Instinct

Choose an agent that makes you feel comfortable and whom you trust. You level of comfort and satisfaction will let you know if you’ve met the right agent.

Tips For Choosing a Real Estate Appraiser

Whether you’re investigating the value of your own property, the potential of an investment property or trying to obtain financing for a home, you’ll need the services of a certified real estate appraiser. If you’re trying to hunt down the value of a particular property and need to hire a real estate appraiser, keep reading for some tips on how to locate a quality person.

1. Ask your Bank

Because most lenders require proof of the value of a property before they will finance its purchase, they can often recommend trusted appraisers that they work with on a frequent basis.

If you trust your bank or lender, ask your mortgage agent for an appraiser recommendation.

2. Check with your Real Estate Agent

Your real estate agent is there to help you make this sale happen. Since they work in the business, they deal with appraisals and appraisers every day. Likely, your agent will be able to recommend a number of appraisers that they work with and trust.

3. Opt for Experience

The value of a home, whether you’re buying or setting an asking price, is going to depend largely on the appraiser’s recommendation and appraisal. Hiring the wrong appraiser or an inexperienced person could cost you a lot of money, whether you set the asking price for your house too low or you buy a home that’s simply not worth its stated value.

When hiring a home appraiser, look for experience and good references, not the cheapest price.

4. Ask Family and Friends

Some of the best recommendations come from our trusted friends and families, so ask around. If a member of your family or circle of friends has recently purchased a home, ask them about their appraiser and whether they would recommend them.

When hiring a service provider on a recommendation, always mention that you were referred to their business and who gave the referral. Referral-based business can often go a lot smoother than a cold call.

5. Check Online Customer Reviews

Many consumer review sites, like Yelp.com, let customers review and rate service providers and businesses in their area. These sites let you read actual customer reviews that include the good, the bad and the ugly about a particular business. So, before you hire, check online for customer reviews and comments.

Hiring a real estate appraiser is necessary, but also easier than it sounds. To get the best results, ask your bank, real estate agent and family and friends for recommendations. Finally, remember to opt for experience and check available customer reviews.