Portability Initiative Is Designed To Help 55 and Over To Sell Their Homes And Buy Another

Portability Initiative Is Designed To Help 55 and Over To Sell Their Homes And Buy Another

Portability Initiative Is Designed To Help 55 and Over To Sell Their Homes And Buy Another

The California Association of REALTORS® (CAR) is attempting to qualify a ballot initiative, The Property Tax Fairness Initiative, that will restructure the way property taxes are calculated for buyers over the age of 55 (and also the disabled and/or natural disaster victims). In many cases REALTORS® are already circulating petitions asking for ballot-placement of the initiative, and, in short order, professional signature-gathering organizations will be engaged as well.

CAR’s approximately 200,000 members have been assessed $100 each in support of the effort; and there are expectations that the Association’s substantial reserves will also be tapped in efforts to support the initiative’s passage.

What would this accomplish and why is it needed? In what follows I will seek to summarize CAR’s answer to those questions. First: the why?

As is well-known, California is currently experiencing a shrinking inventory of housing available for sale. This lack of supply has driven up prices, which makes it extremely difficult — in many cases, impossible — for first-time buyers to enter the market. In many cases, it also makes it difficult for move-up buyers to find replacement property.

There are, no doubt, multiple causes for this, but, no doubt, a major one is this: nearly 75% of California homeowners 55 years of age and older have not moved since the year 2000!

Why? Because of the way property taxes are calculated under California’s Proposition 13. For tax purposes, properties are valued on the basis of purchase price, not current market conditions. (Example: Suppose I bought my house for $600,000 a few years ago; and that my neighbor bought the same model — as identical as can be — in this heated market for $800,000. My tax will still be calculated on $600,000, whereas his will be based on $800,000.)

CAR says, “A large part of the reason why [55 and overs are not moving] is that, even if they want to downsize or move closer to family, the prospect of a property tax increase of 100, 200, or even 300 percent, effectively locks our parents and grandparents in their homes.” Thus, CAR maintains, “…The Property Tax Initiative…will help these homeowners to sell their current homes and move without being subjected to a what is effectively a massive “moving penalty.”

How will it help? By modifying current law to expand the conditions under which those over 55 would be allowed to transfer their current tax base — based on their original purchase price — to a replacement home that they are purchasing.

Currently there are only limited conditions under which someone over 55 may transfer his or her old tax base to a newly purchased home. The Initiative would expand this. “C.A.R.’s Property Tax Fairness Initiative would allow homeowners 55 years of age or older to transfer their Prop. 13 tax base to a home of any price, located anywhere in the state, any number of times.”

CAR’s talking points offer two examples of what would happen if the Initiative should pass.

Buy Up Example

  • Original Purchase Price: $100k
  • Estimate Property Taxes: $1K/annually
  • Existing Home Sale Price: $300k
  • New Home price: $400k
  • New Property Taxes: $2k/annually

The $100k difference between the $300k sales price and the $400k purchase price is added to the original Prop.13 property tax base of $100k for a new Prop. 13 tax base of $200k. The buyer still pays their fare share of taxes but isn’t blocked from making the move.

Buy Down Example

  • Original Purchase Price: $100k
  • Estimated Property Taxes: $1k/annually
  • Existing Home Sales Price: $300k
  • New Home Price: $200k
  • New Property Taxes: 1/3 of $200k = $67k [value] or $670/year for property taxes

If a homeowner buys a less expensive home, the property taxes will be proportionally the same as for the original home. In other words, if the tax base was one-third of the sale price, the new property tax would be one-third of the new sale price. Buying down reduces the homeowner’s annual property tax bill.

Among the objections raised to the Initiative is that it will reduce revenues to local governments. In response to this, CAR says: “The revenue loss is the result of a ‘static’ analysis — it only looks at the revenue lost, not the revenue gained which a ‘dynamic’ analysis would do. All buyers of homes formally owned by a senior homeowner will have the home reassessed to market value and pay property taxes based on the reassessed value.”

Lots to think about. There’s an election coming.

 

 

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Does It Makes Sense To Buy A New House Before Selling The Old One?

Does It Makes Sense To Buy A New House Before Selling The Old One?

Does It Makes Sense To Buy A New House Before Selling The Old One?

You’re interested in moving. You need to sell your old house first before buying a new one, right? After all, you don’t have enough of a down payment for the new house without selling the old one, and you are pretty certain your bank will not qualify you for two mortgages.

You are in a dilemma; houses in your area are currently receiving multiple offers. Inventory is low. Sure, you can sell your house under the same circumstances, but will you be able to identify a new house so that you can simultaneously move from the old house to the new one? Unlikely. Do you sell the current house, move to a rental [or hotel) while you identify and try and close on the new house? Is the extra hassle of moving twice and the added stress of the inability to simultaneously close on the sale and purchase the new worth it? IF you could purchase a new house while still living in the old house, is it worth the added costs involved with having a second mortgage until you sell the old house? How much is “peace of mind” worth in not having the pressure of having to purchase a new house (because you sold the old house too soon)?

These questions are a reality in today’s world in many parts of the country, specifically, the San Francisco Bay Area, because of the real estate rebound after the Great Recession. According to Jeff Stricker, a real estate professional with Alain Pinel Realtors specializing in the Silicon Valley in California, his clients are faced with these exact situations much of the time, as property is swooped up almost as soon as it hits the market, and, many times, with multiple, over asking prices. Jeff states that, although it is great for his clients as sellers, those same clients face challenging hurdles when buying a replacement property; competing against other buyers, some with cash only offers, who are willing to bid up a property far beyond the asking price in many circumstances. Some buyers are just so frustrated with the process of competing and getting outbid that they act in ways that they normally would never have thought. Overbidding. Settling for a house that they may not have originally envisioned. The list goes on.

Jeff, however, decided to think outside the box. What would happen if another house was purchased (without the added pressure of “living out of a suitcase”, if you will) prior to the sale of the old house? Is it even possible with the banking regulations that were placed upon financial institutions as well as homeowners over the past decade due to the “mortgage meltdown” that happened in 2008 and on? Dodd Frank rules that placed inordinate restrictions on the ability of homeowners to obtain financing left many people unable to get loans in which they previously were easily able to qualify.

Jeff decided to come up with a spreadsheet wherein, if he plugged in some assumptions, he could figure out if it would make economic sense to acquire a new house before selling an old house. The other part of the equation was to find a lender who would allow for a homeowner to purchase a new home without first selling the old home; thus, carrying two mortgages at the same time. Since most conventional lenders would not touch this, Jeff had to look to alternative sources. He found a company called Pacific Private Money, in Novato, CA that specializes in such a product.

Pacific Private Money can lend enough to the borrower to purchase the new home if there is enough equity in the old home to justify a combined Loan to Value (LTV) of 70% or less. Sometimes, if there is not enough equity in the old home, the borrower needs to add cash to bring the LTV to 70%, but, the ability to purchase a new home without having to sell the old one first can solve many issues for the homeowner. First, the new home can be identified without adding pressure since the homeowner is still living in the old house until the new house closes escrow. Second, the stress of moving twice is eliminated. Third, and probably the best (and possibly most surprising) is that this solution may actually cost LESS in terms of increasing net equity to the household than selling the old house and buying a new house with the proceeds from the old house (and new mortgage) in most circumstances wherein the new house is more expensive house than the old house.

In a rising market, the earlier the purchase of the more expensive new house and the delay of the sale of the old will increase the net equity to the homeowner more than the costs associated with carrying two mortgages.

For example, let’s assume the old house is worth $1,000,000 and there is currently a 1st mortgage of $200,000. The homeowner desires to purchase a new home for $1,400,000 and has $100,000 in the bank that can be used for a down payment. We will look at two scenarios; the first is where the homeowner sells the current house, rents for a period of time, and then purchases a new home. The second scenario is where the homeowner borrows the money in order to secure the new home while owning the old home.

Obviously, there are many moving targets with both scenarios, such as how much it will cost to rent a place (in the event of selling the old house first) as well as how long it takes to identify and close on the new house, storage costs for belongings, the cost of obtaining a private loan, and the appreciation assumptions for both houses, just to name a few.

Here is a calculation making the following assumptions; it takes nine months to close on a new house after selling the old house; houses in the area (both old and new houses) are appreciating at 1% per month; interest earned on bank deposits are at 1% per annum; storage costs are $1,000 per month, a conventional bank loan is not available because the homeowner does not qualify and has to use a private loan company; the costs for the private loan are 9% plus 2 points; the interest rate on the old house is 3% per annum.

As you can see, in a rising market, where the new house is worth more than the old house, there is a significant benefit to using a private loan to purchase the new home and sell the old home at a later date. Waiting 9 months to eventually acquire the new house has tremendous opportunity costs, as compared to a net benefit of purchasing the new house right away and eventually selling the old house.

Although assuming a 1% per month appreciation of real estate may seem aggressive, the San Francisco Bay Area, and specifically the Silicon Valley, has experienced such growth. However, even if we lower the appreciation to .5% per month, we still see a fairly significant benefit to purchasing the new house now rather than waiting to first sell the old house and then buy the new house.

Aside from the economic benefit, other factors need to be considered; the lack of stress of moving twice should the homeowner decide to sell the old house first and then purchase the new house; what if the homeowner finds the house of his/her dreams now and does not want to let the house slip away? In today’s market, sellers are not willing to take contingent offers. Can the homeowner budget for both houses at the same time while waiting for the old house to sell? Is the market rising? Is the new house more expensive than the old house? How long will it take to sell the old house? These are just some of the issues to consider before deciding one way or the other; however, and this can’t be stressed enough — when a homeowner finds a house they like, they do not want to lose the opportunity of buying it. This means that they can start looking at new houses before putting their old house on the market. This also allows them time to make any repairs or fix up their old house so as to maximize its value prior to putting it on the market.

Once homeowners know that there is a potential to purchase a new house before selling their old house, they can be proactive in obtaining a commitment letter from the lender. Of course, homeowners should see if they qualify for a conventional loan for buying the new house (owning two houses at once), but they should keep their minds open to procuring a private loan should the bank turn them down. Pacific Private Money is such a private loan company.

 

 

 

WRITTEN BY EDWARD BROWN

Home Buyers & Sellers, Pay Attention in 2018!

Pay Attention in 2018!

Pay Attention in 2018!

We may have a tricky year ahead of us, so what’s the best and easiest strategy for consistent success in 2018?

Pay Attention!

Start the year with or without New Year’s Resolutions, but commit to success this year by paying attention:

#1. To how well informed you and information sources you rely on are

#2. To what’s really going on around you — real and fake, and

#3. To how you react to what’s going on around you — online and off.

Whether you are a real estate owner or a wanna-be… whether you intend to buy or sell in 2018, so much is shifting in real estate, in the economy, and everywhere else that nothing should be taken for granted or assumed in 2018. Concentrate on getting the facts not just someone else’s bias view of where advantages lie for you.

#1. A lot changed in 2017 and the full implications of those changes will continue to emerge in 2018.

Pay attention to ramifications and compromises, subtle and otherwise, attached to changes in everything from tax law and net neutrality to technology’s continued re-write and disruption of much we’ve take for granted:

  • Real estate ownership will be impacted by changes to tax law, estate planning, resulting neighborhood development, and interactions between these and many more elements. Where will advantages lie for you?
  • Changes in the business world may directly or indirectly influence job or retirement security for your family. This in turn may impact qualification for financing, mortgage renewal, and real estate affordability. Projected reductions in funding and donations for social and community support programs and organizations may have widespread impact in neighborhoods, community development, and in education. These shifts may reduce location benefits which, in turn, can affect real estate value. How will your location be affected in 2018?

#2. Whoever or whatever you blamed for distractions in 2017 will be with you in 2018 and might even be worse.

There are only so many hours in the day and only so many dollars in your pay check. Distractions that erode concentration on your needs and goals, and distractions that feed impulse spending will be expensive in many ways. Pay attention to what takes you off point, off track, and off goal to ensure you stay in control. You may blame others for distracting you, but it’s your powers of concentration that should be continually honed and improved to keep you ahead of the pack.

  • Saving for a down payment, home renovation, or to pay down an existing mortgage requires a written budget strategy to guide you toward clearly-defined results.
  • Paying monthly condominium fees, mortgage payments, or heating bills is exhausting when approached as month-to-month catch-up. Shift your focus to cutting costs and increasing income long-term and you’ll move beyond a monthly survival perspective to establish a constructive, long-term frame of reference for success.
  • Steady, dramatic increases in online shopping over the 2017 holiday season mean many households may be combining the impulse spending facilitated by credit cards and click-here shopping carts to undermine their budgets even more dramatically than ever. As the volume of online shoppers increases, convenience, cost saving, and product satisfaction may be compromised, so it’s only the novelty of online shopping that addicts. What’s all this got to do with achieving your core real estate ownership goals?

#3. Significant amounts of what you believed you knew in 2017 about real estate, finance, insurance, home security, mortgages, work, and the internet will be out of date in 2018.

Pay attention to which laws, regulations, services, and real estate expenses have actually changed not just been endlessly, sensationally rehashed in the media and online. Accurate information and clever strategies are gold.

  • Tweets, posts, and other online content arrive in increasingly-overwhelming rates and volumes. This leaves less and less time to uncover facts and realities and to actually learn and think about relevance to you. From shopping or applying for a mortgage to searching for a new home or viewing property, virtual video and online content bring these and other real estate activities onto your laptop and your mobile phone. Is this distance-learning leaving you better informed and smarter real estate-wise than face-to-face meetings with real estate experts and hands-on location and property investigations?
  • Searching out professionals who keep up with change within their profession is a challenge. Time pressures leave some professionals parroting what they hear and see in media and online instead of carrying out thorough research themselves. How do you make sure you receive the professional advice you need to interpret changes from your real estate point of view?

Realty Times and my “Decisions & Communities” column will continue to provide you with real estate facts and perspectives that keep you asking more of yourself and the professionals who advise and serve you.

Let’s meet the challenges and opportunities of 2018 head on!

 

 

 

 

WRITTEN BY

What To Do When Your Home Isn’t Selling

What To Do When Your Home Isn’t Selling

What To Do When Your Home Isn't Selling

When sellers start the home-selling process, no one wants to think “What would happen if my home doesn’t sell?” But before you panic, recognize that there are many things that you can do so you don’t wind up in that position.

Tip 1: Understanding the real estate market and the value of your home will help you avoid this dilemma. The first key point is to get educated about the market. Read your newspapers, online real estate sites, and consult with the best experts in real estate for your area to determine the sales price.

While all that may seem basic, you’d be surprised how many sellers rely on emotion to dream up a selling price for their home. Some have done little, if any, research on even their own neighborhood. Instead, their strong ties to their homes cause them to imagine that their home should sell for the price they want. Or they base the selling price on how much they owe which is, of course, of no significance to buyers.

Tip 2: Fix up your home. Most buyers don’t want to purchase a big list of must-do fixes in order to live in the home they just bought. Yet, some sellers think that it’s a waste to spend money on a home that they’re moving out of soon. That’s quite a predicament. Both sides have valid points except one side-buyers-might be in a stronger position. The seller wants out and if the home is a mess, many buyers will simply move on to the next best house.

Yet, if a buyer wants it badly enough, he/she might agree to purchase your home but it’s guaranteed you’ll take a financial hit as the buyer will want to discount the price for the problems that need fixing. In the end, you might have to fix the issues before the sale anyway. So, starting with a house that is in relatively good order is the best way to begin. Read some of my other columns to see which renovations give a good return.

Tip 3: If you need to sell your home, don’t pull it off the market because you think the season isn’t right. Buyers who need to buy a home will keep hunting through all the seasons. There may be some slow times but if people need a house, they’ll keep looking even in the unlikely times.

Tip 4: Consider incentives. Yes, you can make your home more appealing by tossing in some incentives. It’s best to speak with your REALTOR® about which incentives are best for you to offer. Even practical incentives can help get buyers to your home to view it. These incentives can help encourage the buyer to move forward, especially if other challenges arise.

Tip 5: Stage your home. This is not the same thing as fixing up your home. Fixing up your home includes daily maintenance and repairs. Staging your home involves using experts to make your home showroom-ready–like a model home. I know you might say that all your friends tell you that you have fantastic taste but, trust me, if you’re serious about selling your home, then it’s worth at least having a consultation with an expert in the industry.

Here’s why: They are trained to stay on top of the trends that have mass appeal. They also offer a fresh set of eyes on your home. They might easily point out something that you never saw before because you’ve been living in your home for a long time. They will look at your home from an “outsider’s” perspective and that’s exactly what you need.

Taking the time to, at least consult with experts, allows you to gain knowledge and information about your home and the market place. What you do with that is up to you, but it may just be the difference between a For Sale sign and a Sold sign hanging outside your home.

Moving To A 55 and Older Community: Is It Right For You?

Moving To A 55 and Older Community: Is It Right For You?

Moving To A 55 and Older Community: Is It Right For You?mortgages.com

For a lot of people a 55 and older community can mean spending your retirement living with people your own age, being active, and exploring new hobbies right in your own neighborhood. It sounds a little like the social life of college without the studying. And who wouldn’t want that? What should you know before you buy?

Social club

One of the benefits of a 55 and older community is the social aspect. Not only is it easy to meet people your age, but most communities also have planned events ranging from golf to art. We always talk about why location matters in real estate. And this is no different. Think about what you want to spend your days doing? If you love skiing, Florida probably isn’t the best location for you.

Security

Most 55 and older communities are gated and have private security. Find out exactly what kind of security your community will offer. If this is going to be your second home, the extra security can bring big peace of mind when you’re away.

No one under 55 allowed

This one is a given. If you’re thinking about a 55 and older community, you probably consider this a pro. But it can quickly turn into a con. You might not realize how much you enjoyed the sound of kids playing in the street until you don’t hear it anymore. And if there’s a family emergency, it might mean that your adult kids or grandkids couldn’t live with you. There might also be restrictions on how long younger visitors can stay. And that might mean the end of Camp Grandma during the summer.

The old neighborhood

Don’t underestimate the connection you feel with your old neighborhood, especially if it’s where you raised your family. If that’s the case, it might be worth it to keep both homes for now and work your first home into your estate planning. That way it can stay in the family.

HOA

All those activities and amenities come a at a price, homeowners association fees. Like any home with a homeowners association, there might be strict rules about things like what color you paint your home, how many (and what type of) pets you can have, and what you can plant in your yard. That might be a fair tradeoff for you, but if you’re used to making home improvements on a whim, you might want to think twice.

Why Do Home Buyers Wait For Spring?

Why Do Home Buyers Wait For Spring?

Search Mesquite NV. homes for sale at; Mesquite-realestate.com

Why Do Home Buyers Wait For Spring?

Why do they wait until the competition ramps up and all the other buyers are ready to buy? Why do buyers wait for the “hot” spring market with its price increases and multiple offers?

  • Some buyers delay because they are doing what is expected – “we’re always done it this way” thinking is common in real estate.
  • Others may need the first warm rays of sun and the fragrance of spring flowers for motivation.
  • There may be more listings later in the spring, as sellers react for the same two reasons above, but increased buyer competition may cancel out advantages.Indications are that this will be an active spring market with real estate price and mortgage rate increases which extend deep into 2017. Getting ahead of this momentum may bring benefits and real estate you can love.

    You’re got nothing to lose by shopping now and a lot to gain. Here are Five Smart-Buying Tips for Getting a Jump on Spring:

    Tip #1: Find a real estate professional who is has a lot of experience in the locations you’d consider and with the type of property (detached house or condominium) you want to own.

    Learn what you need to do to prepare to make an offer and what to look for in the properties you’ll view. You’ll also discover the listing price range to shop in and which are the best locations in your buying range. If you don’t start this strategic relationship first, you’ll miss out on many of the advantages of an early start.

    Tip #2: Build your professional team to be ready for offer time.

    Your real estate professional may have recommendations for mortgage brokers, home inspectors, real estate lawyers, and surveyors. Take three names for each and interview them to determine the fit and what they consider the extent of their professional responsibilities to you.

    • For example, concentrate on locating a mortgage broker who has the experience, contacts, and interest to help you finance your purchase. The questions you ask the real estate professional about price range, size of mortgage, and steps in the buying process should also be directed to the mortgage broker. The mortgage pre-approval letter, which may be essential at offer time, will only be truly useful when you’ve been professionally vetted and stamped as mortgage-worthy.

    #Tip 3: Stop Wasting Time and Concentrate on Real Estate.

    There’s a lot to learn and to think about when buying real estate, so your productivity matters. The US 2016 versionof Deloitte’s sixth annual Mobile Consumer Survey revealed more online time wasting than ever:

    • More than 40 percent of consumers check their phones within five minutes of waking – text messages (35%) and email (22%)
    • Each day is disrupted since we look at our phones approximately 47 times. Sleep is disrupted: more than 30% check their devices 5 minutes before sleep and about 50 percent in the middle of the night.
    • Every 60 seconds on Facebook, 510,000 comments are posted, 293,000 statuses are updated, and 136,000 photos are uploaded. The average Facebook visit is 20 minutes; Facebook reports visitors spend more than 50 minutes a day using Facebook, Instagram and Messenger. (Source: Zephoria)
    • Millennials (25 to 34-year-olds) demonstrated higher levels of mobile device interest and use than the phone-hooked younger demographic.
    • Postpone binge watching the latest hyped series until after you buy your dream home.

    Tip #4: Sell Yourself on Success

    According to sales inspiration Dale Carnegie, author of How to Win Friends and Influence People, “The only way to influence someone is to find out what they want, and show them how to get it.” To achieve success, clarify, with the help of professionals, exactly what you want and need from a real estate purchase. Then decide to get it. The professional team you select will provide the know-how and will help you refine your dreams into an achievable goal for the location and price range involved. Do your homework, so you understand what they show you.

    Tip #5: Motivate Yourself During This “Buy-athon”

    What motivates you to want to own real estate? Postpone as many non-real-estate distractions as possible. Clarify what will sustain you through the often-stressful buying process. Use slogans, affirmations, or whatever it takes to persist. You may make offers and lose out on one or more properties before you find yours. Persist using self-motivation – that’s your job. No one else can motivate you. No one cares as much about the outcome as you do.

    What are you waiting for? Get the jump on spring!

    Final Smart-Buying Tip:Don’t get in the way of the professionals finding out what you want and helping you get it.

Nevada Real Estate

Nevada Real Estate laws and practices differ from other states. I will help you navigate the complexities and pitfalls of property purchases. I understand the market in the area you desire and will be your advocate throughout the process. Isn’t it nice to know that you have someone on your side looking out for your interests? I trust that you will find your experience pleasant and are confident that once you use me as your Agent you will insist in doing so in all of your future Real Estate purchases.

 

Vacation and Second Home Properties

Whether you are considering a vacation or second home for a weekend escape or a family legacy property let your me guide you through the decision making process as well as the transaction assuring a smooth and enjoyable experience.

Many of these properties are located in resort areas not in the same State or region as your primary home and are subject to local restrictions, taxes and regulations. Dealing with homeowners associations, management companies, local lending, Insurance, covenants, building regulations, Title issues, well permits, weather conditions that might affect value, transportation and technology options can all be a challenge particularly if you are trying to deal with these issues from a distance. Often times I can show you how you can turn these possible pitfalls into advantages with their local knowledge and expertise.

I want you to enjoy your vacation or second home property bringing you and your family great memories for years to come. By using me as a resource before, during and after the transaction with their attention to detail and guidance will allow you this opportunity.

Condominiums

Many second home owners find that condominiums are an attractive property type for a variety of reasons. They allow more time for enjoyment without a lot of worries like maintenance and daily tasks. They can also offer amenities that are not easily available to single family home owners like swimming pools, shuttle services, game rooms, etc. In many areas the possibility also exists that your unit can be rented out to tourists on a nightly or weekly basis helping offset some of your ownership costs. Naturally there is a fee for all of these services but since the costs are shared amongst all of the owners may make it more manageable for the individual owners.

All complexes should have a Home Owners Association (HOA) and in many states it is required. In most cases the HOA contracts with a management company to handle the day to day items needing attention as well as provide a reservation service to manage the rentals. In most cases the HOA meets annually to discuss items pertaining to the property and the management of those items. It is important prior to ownership to understand how the HOA functions and what their contractual relationship is with the management company. Review the HOA financials, Rules and Regulations and, at least, two years of HOA and Board of Directors meeting minutes. Often these will not be released to you until you have a unit under contract. Meet with the President of the HOA as well as the property manager to better understand if this is a complex that appeals to you. Remember also that once you are an owner you are part of the HOA and part of the decision making process.

HOA dues can cover a variety of items and it is important to understand what those items are. Dues can cover trash service, water, common amenities such as hot tubs, television, exterior building insurance, lawn and driveway maintenance, etc. HOA dues may be collected on a monthly, quarterly or yearly basis.

Most management companies provide the HOA a ten or twenty year forecast of what maintenance issues might be upcoming, like replacement of roofs or sidewalks and the approximate costs involved. This is how the HOA can determine the HOA fees to the individual property owners (usually allocated on a sq. ft. basis). If the property is in a short term rental location they will most likely manage your unit and take care of guest check in, cleaning and maintenance. Their fee is a percentage of the rental income. Find out what this percentage is and what they provide for this fee.

In situations where short term rental income of your unit is possible the management company may inspect and rate your unit annually. The management company’s desire is to attract as many return guests as possible so they generally rent the nicest units first meaning more income for the owner (and perhaps more wear and tear). In many instances the management company has someone on staff that can guide you through the cost benefit or upgrading your unit. Find out what your unit is rated and if there is a benefit to upgrading the unit. Also get rental income figures for like units understanding that individual units may vary due to location within the project and owner usage.

Single Family Homes

Whether your desire is to own a secluded cabin in the woods or a home on a golf course, beach or ski slope determining your needs and how you plan on using this home are essential to your selection process. Will you be using this property seasonally or just on weekends, as a gathering place for friends and relatives for holidays or simply an escape from the stresses of everyday living?  Emotions play a large part in your property selection, as it should. However don’t allow your emotions to be the overriding decider.

There are many factors that need to be considered to insure that you will be able to enjoy your escape property. Most important on this list is what will happen to the home when you are not there? What attention to the home might be needed in your absence?

The benefit of single family home ownership is that you have more flexibility on individual choices. The challenge is more daily attention may be required. There are management companies who specialize in caretaking of single family homes and many offer a menu of options. Understanding the costs and paring down what you need or desire will help you determine what the costs might be. Also understanding local zoning regulations and common interest community’s rules and regulations might determine if this home is appropriate for your desired use.

Other determining factors might be property taxes (some states charge higher property taxes on out of state owners), utility costs, transportation costs and options. Local issues such as snow load or flooding, pest control or mold are also vital pieces of information. Once under contract an inspection should be conducted and in many areas of the United States radon can be a factor. This is relatively simple and inexpensive to mitigate and often something the Seller will pay for.

Land

Perhaps instead of purchasing a pre existing condominium or single family home your desire is to build your dream home. One might think that land would be fairly straight forward to purchase. However there are many things to think about particularly as you move forward to building that special home. Again, understand the covenants of the neighborhood and what you can and cannot do on your property. Are there Square footage minimums or maximums? Perhaps there are architectural guidelines or an architectural committee that must approve your design and finish.

Be sure and negotiate the seller providing you with a survey. During your inspection period it might be a wise idea to have an engineer conduct a soils test to see how easy or difficult it will be to build on the site. Is the municipal water and sewer? If so are there tap fees to hook on. If municipal water and sewer are not available is it possible to dig for a well and at what cost? What type of water is generally found in the area? Check to see if the local regulations allow for a leach field or merely a sewer vault and determine what the cost is to pump out the vault. What is your source of heat? Check to see if natural gas is available or if you need to go with an individual propane tank. Understand the plusses and minuses of owning or leasing the tank.

Interview a local architect or two who can give you an approximation on a dollar per square foot basis on building in the area. Check with the City or County building department to see what the set-backs are and if there are any governmental regulations that you should be aware of.

 

As you can see there are a myriad of issues that need attention and direction to insure that your choice of product type will bring you and your family the enjoyment of ownership and usage that you are seeking in a second home or vacation property. Particularly if you are attempting to do much of this from afar the task can be daunting. Remember that you are not alone in this process. I’m here to help you navigate through the issues and process until your purchase comes to fruition. In most cases I will continue to be a source of information and advice long after your purchase. Isn’t it assuring to know that you have a trusted advocate in your corner and on your side?

Housing Considerations For Retirement Living

When the topic of Retirement Living comes up there are a number of special considerations that are usually included in the conversation. This article will discuss some of the absolutes in any search for property for a retired homeowner.

Low maintenance.

Usually one of the reasons for a move is to avoid some of the maintenance obligations that come with a larger traditional home. A good home for the retirement lifestyle will either be low maintenance or there will be a dedicated maintenance crew to take care of the maintenance. Often the best home with combine both. As an example a condominium normally will have a crew to take care of the exterior and sometimes this same arrangement would cover interior maintenance items like plumbing, heating, and air-conditioning

Easy on the knees

Even if there are no mobility impairments now, a good home for retirement will take into account that there will likely be mobility impairments in the future. That is why the vast majority of retirement communities have all the primary living spaces on the main floor. If more space is needed for things like visitor rooms they often go on upper or lower floors. And don’t forget the entryway to the home. If is always best if there is space for a ramp from the garage or a convenient exterior door. Even if you don’t need it, it is likely that some of your visitors may.

Convenient to activities

Another important aspect is convenience to various activities. Those activities are very different for different people but they often center around golf, fishing, church, or family. Sometimes the retirement community is built around these activities, sometime they are nearby. Consider how those retirement hours will be spent before your purchase.

Additionally if you want to increase your chances of having visitors consider moving to an area close to national attractions. This is one reason there are so many retirement communities near the Disney theme parks.

Easy to travel

One aspect that sometimes gets neglected when choosing a retirement community is access to easy travel. You don’t want to be isolated so consider how you will travel and how friends and family might travel to you.

Secure

One final aspect to consider is security. Ideally you want the ability to close your door and travel without worrying about having your home burglarized. Gated communities often help owners feel more secure. Having friends in the development who can check on your home is another option to consider.