A Guide to Buy Or Sell Real Estate

Most of the people buy a house in Kelowna because there are various golf courses, vineyards and various sporting events taking place. It is ideal for people who want to live in a relaxing, carefree environment, surrounded by natural beauty.

This place is home for a number of activities like biking, camping, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, bird watching and water activities like motor boating, sailing, water skiing and tubing on one of the many area lakes. Golf lovers can choose any golf course and play. During winter, various winter sports activities like skiing, snowmobiling and snowboarding takes place. Be it a child, young adult or old age people there is something for everyone to enjoy.

People who do not want too much physical exertion, there’s galleries and wineries. Other places to enjoy are museums, orchards, theaters, symphony and casinos that provide entertainment. With so many activities every individual would love to stay in this place.

Now that you have decided to shift to Kelowna, your search for dream house will begin. A lender can help you know how much to borrow, monthly payments and current interest rates. Based on your price range, you can find houses through property listings in websites. Another way is to hire a real estate agent. Other aspects for negotiation are possession dates, inclusions/exclusions, initial deposit and other conditions such as a home inspection and bank financing.

If you choose a real estate agent he may charge you more commission. But buying a house from Realtor can help you make correct and informed decisions so that you can find the right house for you. After knowing your wants and needs your Realtor may prepare a list of homes for you that might interest you.

You can take a tour of these houses based on your price range. If you like any house you can appoint a home inspector who will tell you the truth worth of the house. He can point out if there are any structural problems, roof leaks, unrepairable water damage etc. After all this process is over, a lawyer will ensure that the home registers in your name and there are no outstanding liens.

One more thing to consider while buying a house is Community. Community is an essential part of family, lifestyle and real estate. It is important that you understand local conditions before buying or selling real estate, but neighborhood you choose can have a dramatic impact on your lifestyle.

Tips to consider while choosing a neighborhood

1. List all the amenities that are close to the neighborhood you are considering as your new residence.

2. Determine what the best features of the neighborhoods are.

– Are parks located nearby?

– Does that community has safe neighborhood

– Are there many houses for sale?

– What is the proximity to schools?

– Are there community events or organizations?

3. One best way to determine the cleanliness and friendliness of the neighborhood is to walk around in it and meet its residents.

Top Reasons to Buy Maui Real Estate

With a national real estate market in a volatile condition, there are many opportunities for investors and vacation buyers. How does Maui differ from the myriad of potential choices? The list is endless, so for the sake of brevity I will go with my top 5 reasons:

* It is a unique destination with an array of activities to enjoy and the unparalleled beauty that few places in the world can even compare. Whether you enjoy kayaking, surfing massive waves, paddle boarding, hiking, sunbathing, or walking on the beach, the only limit to what you can do is your imagination (unless you also imagine shoveling snow, blizzards, or freezing temperatures).

* For the time being, it is a buyer’s market. A high inventory of properties, including distressed bank-owned properties and short sales, results in motivated sellers eager to price competitively. For those looking to sell, it is also a great time. Sure, you will sell at a low price point, but will also be upgrading at a low price.

* It is a vacation destination unlike many others, where you can enjoy the safety and comforts of the U.S., enjoy an exotic culture, all while avoiding complexities and heavy taxation of foreign ownership. The Hawaiian culture is the perfect setting for enjoying a relaxing vacation away from home, a mai tai poolside, a luau with the family, Hawaii is America’s paradise and Maui is the epitome.

* Maui is on the forefront of land conservation. What does that mean for property owners? With limited areas for development, land becomes more and more valuable as more people try to buy here. The opportunities for appreciation are rarely seen (think of Manhattan or Boston… if only they were on the beach).

* And lastly… because it’s Maui! As one of the most renowned islands in the world, Maui was recognized yet again as “Best Island in the World” by Conde Nast and named the “Best Place to Own a Second Home” by Barrons. Such acknowledgments brings more interest from mainlanders and foreign investors. More interest equals more appreciation.

Condos can range from entry-level units starting at approximately $100K, to popular Kihei Akahi units, to high-end Wailea Golf Vistas. Homes also run the gamut from starter homes to beachfront estates. Which is YOUR Maui real estate dream property?

How To Buy Montreal Real Estate

According to a survey made on behalf of the Greater Montreal  Real   Estate  Board (GMREB) at the end of 2003, it was reported that an estimated 213,000 households were planning to  buy  a home in the next five years.

This trend has proven to be correct because during 2004,and onwards, almost 50,000 units of  real   estate  properties were sold through the GMREB MLS system, and almost 28,500 during the first six months of 2005.

According to  real   estate  analysts these numbers match those obtained in the first survey that they conducted in 2001. According to local realtors, the family worth has increased since 2000, as the average price of a property in the Greater Montreal area has increased by 50%, which is a healthy indicator of growth.

Factors That Helped In The Growth Of Montreal’s  Real   Estate  Market

– Interest Rates

Currently interest rates are considerably low, which means easier access to a property. The good news for home borrowers is that in the short-term, there are no indications of a major and significant interest rate increase.

– Increasing Consumer Confidence

The economy has grown by 14% since 2000. The higher the level of confidence, the more consumers invest and buy properties. This has a positive influence on the  real   estate  market.

– More Job Creation

Since 2000, 353,000 jobs have been created, which means that Quebec is in a period of prosperity. When you are employed, you have the means of buying a house.

– Increasing Numbers Of Baby Boomers

Many baby boomers today have reached retirement age. They are at a stage when they sell the family residence in order to buy properties which better meet their needs, and they could either buy a condominium or a cottage.

At the same time, the 25 to 35 year old generation is getting into the  real   estate  market and is actively looking for a property for them to settle down in. The effect is an increasing number of transactions and a growing interest of families in the  real   estate  market.

– Rental Unit Vacancy Rate

The Greater Montréal rental vacancy rate in 2006 stands at 2%. The option left to consider is to buy a house, an apartment or condominium. It is definitely advantageous to trade up from being a renter to a homeowner,thanks to low interest rates and incentive programs such as the Home Buyers Plan (HBP).

How To Buy Property In Montreal

In order to smoothen the process of  buying  a home in Montreal, start by getting yourself a professional  real   estate  broker. In doing so, they will help you save you time, money, as well as protect your interests. Purchasing a home without a realtor may put you in a situation where you may be taken advantage of.

You may also check out the offices of the Greater Montreal  Real   Estate  Board (GMREB) for assistance in finding accurate info on the local property markets, as well as contacting the offices of the Canadian  Real   Estate  Association (CREA). Another good way in finding good  real   estate  choices here, is to look at MLS sites, or Multiple Listing Services.

http://www.montrealrealtyfinder.com – Montreal  Real   Estate 

Tips For Canadians Looking to Buy Real Estate in California

I have had several conversations with Canadians this last year that are dreaming of heading south to California and other states to both beat the cold and to invest in real estate. The strong Canadian dollar (or should we say weak U.S. dollar) combined with a hurting housing market in the U.S. is providing Canadians with arguably as good of a time as any to buy real estate in the U.S. in the last 30 years.

If you are looking to move, invest, or purchase a second home, you should first have a basic grasp of the key differences between buying real estate in Canada versus buying real estate in the U.S.

Regarding Taxes: When it comes to taxes I will never profess to be an expert. This is too critical and the best is to contact a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) to talk about your situation and issues that you might need to look out for. Here in Santa Barbara, CA., I would be happy to recommend my father, Mike Schmidtchen at 805-963-0881. He has been a local CPA for roughly 30 years.

With that said, here for example are 2 key points that might be different than in Canada.

1) Here in the U.S. 1031 exchanges allow for capital gains taxes to be deferred from an investment property and rolled into another investment property several times over. From what I understand, this apparently is very different in Canada where this option is not allowed.

2) For a primary residence here in California, you are able to right down the interest paid on your mortgage as well as property taxes.

Regarding Lending: With the crisis that has gone on in the last 12+ months here in the U.S., lending practices are changing weekly. So if you are looking to finance a property here in California, check back home in Canada as well as with a local lender in the U.S. to see about the options you may have. The most recent that I have heard is that you would need at least 30% for a down payment and proven liquid funds for 6-12 months that would cover your payments.

Regarding Escrow: After you have talked with experts on taxes and lending (or if you are in the fortunate position to pay cash) and you have ultimately decided to look into a real estate purchase here in California, then here are some basics about the escrow process.

1) Escrow is simply the term we used to describe the time from when your purchase offer has been accepted to the time that you close sale on the property. Here in the Santa Barbara, CA. area, a “normal escrow” is around 30-45 days.

2) When writing up a purchase contract, you will need proof of funds (bank statement, letter from a lender etc.) that covers your down payment as well as earnest money (roughly 3% of the purchase price). Your Realtor will then provide you with the paperwork that is needed to write the offer.

3) Upon acceptance of your offer, your earnest money is cashed and deposited into a neutral 3rd party escrow company within 3 business days. So this is money that you will readily need available.

4) As a buyer, you have 2 major contingencies, the loan contingency and the physical inspections contingency. Generally these last 14-21 days from acceptance of your offer. During this time you will receive numerous disclosures about the property from the seller as well as other general disclosures. Also, during this time you will do a home inspection of the property and then based on the results of this and the disclosures you will hire experts to look into any negative issues/concerns about the property, go over potential requests for repairs, etc. Ultimately, this is the time to negotiate if needed and make sure you feel comfortable about the home you are buying. If you do not feel comfortable or can not reach terms with the seller under the contingency period, you can cancel escrow and your earnest money is returned to you.

5) Upon releasing contingencies, you will sign loan documents (if needed) generally within 4-6 days before the close of escrow. Money from you for the down payment or the entire purchase is generally needed within 36-48 hours before the close of escrow date.

Regarding Costs: As a buyer here in California, the costs you will incur are for escrow fees, lending fees, home inspection fees etc. There are no fees to work with a Realtor for the purchase of your property. Commissions to Realtors are 99% of the time paid for by the seller. For example, with a purchase price for a property of $1 Million, you are looking at estimated costs of $2300-$3200 at the time of close.

Regarding Property Taxes: Here in California, Proposition 13 has set property taxes as 1.02% of the purchase price of your property. So again with a purchase of $ 1 Million, you are looking at roughly $10,200 for the year which is again a tax right down. Property taxes can be paid in full once a year or in 2 installments, due December 10th and April 10th.

Should You Buy Real Estate Now?

As has been reported in the media lately, the  real   estate  market has cooled off dramatically. This raises the question of whether you should buy now or wait for a bit for prices to fall further.

Should You  Buy   Real   Estate  Now?

First off, timing anything in the financial arena can be a bit of a misnomer. History has shown that  real   estate  is a good investment over time regardless of when you  buy .  Real   estate  also has the secondary benefit of being something you can actually live in even if the value drops, a dramatic difference from stocks which make very leaky homes. While stocks can be traded on a daily or hourly basis, the nature of homes is such that you pretty much have to sit on your investment for some time regardless of how the market is going. That being said, the market always heats up again. The time it takes for it to do so is time you can build equity in your property by paying down the mortgage.

If the market is cooling down now, does this present you with the golden opportunity to purchase properties at a discount now? Maybe or maybe not. Every location in the country is different. While formerly hot markets like San Diego are definitely beginning to stagnate, other local markets like Jacksonville are actually picking up. In practical terms, the first thing you need to do is evaluate what is happening in your local market.

If your local market is cooling down like much of the nation, you are definitely coming into a better position as a buyer. The reason primarily has to do with the timing of previous buyers during the hot phase of the  real   estate  market. Those that got in during the beginning of run up, say five years ago, are sitting pretty on big appreciation gains and will be able to handle any temporary dip in prices. These people are not going to be interested in dumping their properties, but another group certainly is going to.

Imagine purchasing a property in March of 2006. You would have picked up the property at literally the highest point in the market. As  real   estate  cools down, so does the value of your property. Demand for homes is dropping, which pushes prices down. Individuals that bought during the last year of the seller’s market are facing going upside down on the mortgages. Unfortunately, many of them have no realistic way of getting out of the mess. This means foreclosures by banks. Yes, it is going to be one of those periods again.

If you are considering buying, it may be worth waiting till the end of 2006 or early 2007 to see how the market is doing. My suspicion is prices will drop significantly as more and more properties come on the market.

The Importance of Location in Buying Real Estate

 Buying   real   estate  is one of the most important and mature decisions anyone enters into. It involves a lot of planning and consideration. For a couple, it could be one of the first major investments they will ever try on their way to pursuing a life together.

Buying against renting

When a couple first sets out to rent an apartment, their primary considerations would be their ability to afford it and its convenience to their place of work or study. Aside from being within their ability to pay on a monthly basis, it should also be accessible to basic commodities like food and groceries, transportation to work and school, and security in the home and neighborhood. This prepares them for the future endeavor of earning, saving up, and possibly owning their own home.

After weighing the advantages and disadvantages of buying against renting, a couple may decide to become first-time home buyers. This is a dream come true for any couple who anticipates a transition towards building a family life.

Choosing a location

In finding a dream home, one of the most important aspects to it would be choosing a location. After living in cramped apartments, a couple may want more rooms and additional space in their new home. After making do with busy, noisy neighborhoods, they may want to have more peace and privacy in a secluded or suburban setting. They may already have a certain area in mind, after having heard about it by word of mouth or after positive feedback from friends. It all depends on what the couple want and feel they need in their transition to a new way of life.

More so than they did when they were renting and with the intention of keeping their house long-term, choosing a location means a couple should evaluate the kind of neighborhood they will be moving into and the condition of its surroundings when it comes to health and safety. They will not only be adjusting to a new environment, but they will also be interacting with new people.

Location largely determines the price at which  real   estate  goes, so a couple must have assessed its affordability. When they plan their resources, they must study how to put up the initial downpayment, how their credit standing could affect the mortgage loan they avail of, and how their income will fit the monthly payments.

How a  real   estate  agent helps

These initial stages of planning do take a lot of time and effort, and this is when trustworthy advice from a reliable  real   estate  agency could make the transition easier. A good  real   estate  agent would arrive at an idea of what you want in a home, where you want it located, and how to go about  buying  it in the smartest, most convenient way. He should clearly conceptualize the neighborhood you prefer, a choice of possible locations, and other important details which go with your lifestyle and finances.

In this way,  buying   real   estate  for the first time becomes a less stressful and more comfortable experience for a couple. They will be able to make a wise investment of money and a happy realization of their dreams.

Time to Buy Real Estate?

With the drastic drop in the national economy came a drastic drop in just about every area of commerce out there, including  real   estate . Some areas have only felt a minor portion of it while other areas, such as New Jersey, are experiencing some of the lowest prices on home sales that they have seen in five years. For people selling their home this can make the process almost painful, but for potential buyers out there it is the perfect market; it is a buyer’s market.

If you’re looking to find a home near the east coast, you’ll find that there are hundreds of New Jersey homes for sale. Because it is a buyer’s market, more than likely you’ll be able to find your new home at an affordable rate. It’s also the perfect time to buy because many lenders are lowering their interest rates and giving better incentives for people who take out a loan through them. A lot of homeowners are also willing to let their homes go at a discounted rate so they can get out of them and move on with their life. All of these things work to the buyer’s advantage.

As you begin your house hunting keep in mind that you aren’t the only one out there. This is an investors market as well. If you find the house that you’re looking for at an extremely good deal, don’t wait on it. Get it under contract as quickly as possible. This will give you time to work out your loan while keeping the house off the market. Again, if you’re thinking of buying a house in New Jersey, this is the perfect time to start looking. You may just find the home of your dreams at a price you can afford.

Buying a Real Estate Property

Sarasota is one of the most beautiful spots in Florida. It boasts its warm white sand, scenic sunsets and glistening gulf and its amazing culture and entertainment. They are also proud of their charming streets with elegant shops and exquisite restaurants that can make your mouth water. They also have majestic natural wonders and exciting, colorful festivals. Sarasota is really a place for all nature lovers.

If you like the nature, try and make all the difference by  buying  a Sarasota  Real   Estate  Property. There are a lot of properties that you can choose from. One very good thing about Sarasota is that it has islands where you can live and rest in the simplest way possible.

To  buy  your dream Sarasota  Real   Estate  Property, first, you must research on where in Sarasota you would like to live. Would you like it near the beach? Near majestic and scenic sites? Browsing in the web can help you a lot in choosing the place that you really want to have. In addition to this, you can also research on the  real   estate  properties that are currently on sale in Sarasota. Would you like a condo unit or a 3 bedroom house for your family? Researching really helps a lot in finding a perfect place but, sometimes, human touch is also very much needed in buying a property.

A  real   estate  broker from Sarasota can help you a lot. Why? They know all the things that you want to know of the place. They know the in depth position of the Sarasota  Real   estate  market as of the moment, the neighborhoods and most of all check out and look for a property that suits your taste and lifestyle.

You don’t need to be there in looking for a property in Sarasota. All you need is a very good  real   estate  broker who will keep you line of communication open for all properties that is for sale. The broker must also be eager in showing you all the new properties available in pictures or by e-mail. A  real   estate  broker should also send updated property listings and exhibit interest in your likes and dislikes in  buying  a property.

By having a  real   estate  broker,  buying  a Sarasota  real   estate  is very, very easy. Even if you are not from Florida or anywhere near Florida, but you want to buy a place in Sarasota, all you need to do is visit the place that you have chosen to buy, visit it and check the neighborhood, and finalize everything. If  real   estate  broker is good, she/he will be giving you all the options that you can have and make sure that the property fits your needs and wants.  Real   estate  brokers also help you in fixing certain government dictated processes in  buying  a property like transfer of land title, deed of sale and other tax related processes.

Buying Real Estate Abroad – Part 1

It’s easy to do things right when  buying   real   estate  abroad, but how many people do? This is what you need to know.

1. Never buy anything you haven’t seen. Get out there and have a look. If you want to rely on others, good luck. You will surely need it.

2. When you are out there rent a property. Do not live in a hotel. Stay for as long as you can, preferably at least a month. Buy all the local newspapers and check re-sale prices and rental prices. Do not look in a single realtor’s window. That is a very important point. You get your prices from the market place, not from a salesman.

3. Find out if you like the place. That includes not just visiting the beach and a restaurant or two. It includes doing some shopping to get an idea of prices. It means testing out the infrastructure. Do most things function efficiently? How about the phones and broadband? Can you get replacement cameras if yours gets stolen or broken? What about medicine? Check out how the health centres and hospitals work. Are there frequent, easily accessible flights back to your home town that don’t cost a fortune? And are you less than an hour’s drive from the airport?

4. Check whether there are facilities for carrying on your hobbies, and whether you can survive without speaking the language. Do they cater for English speaking residents, or is everything done in the local language? Is that language easy to learn? Do you want to learn? If not, are there ex-pat groups who will help you survive?

5. Check whether prices are reasonable. This is where it pays not to have visited the agents first. If you go to the local agencies you will have your brain cluttered up with their prices, which may or may not be reasonable. You need to realise that there is price, and there is value. They are rarely the same. Prices relate to fashion, availability, hard sell, all kinds of extraneous reasons which shouldn’t concern you, and also interest rates (you’ll see why later). Value remains constant, and you can work it out yourself without help from any smooth talking agent.

How do you work out value? Easy. You find out from the newspapers how much it really costs for a long term rental. I’m Europe based, so I’m using local examples, but it’s the math that counts, not the place named. In an average area in Southern Spain or the Algarve you can rent a 1 or 2 bed apartment for anything from €75 to €150 a week. Let’s take a figure bang in the middle. Multiply that by fifty-two and you now know how much it costs to live in your own pad for a year (52 * 100 = €5,200).

Now work out how much it would cost to buy a similar property if you had to borrow the money. Say the apartment was advertised for €150,000. Interest on borrowed money currently would cost you 3.8%, call it a round 4%. 4% of €150,000 = €6,000. The apartment appears to be a trifle over-valued. It’s marginally cheaper to rent than to buy. So why would you want to buy? Prices may be going up? Not if the place is already over-valued.

There is one other thing to bear in mind. Major currency interest rates are at the lowest they have been in recorded history. They wont stay there. In fact they may not be particularly low in your chosen country. You would do better to use a more realistic interest rate in your calculations. How much would your apartment cost if rates went up just by 2%? The answer in the above instance is €9,000. Note that a 2% increase has increased your mortgage costs by 50%! Your apartment would then turn out to be rather expensive. In short, it would cost you nearly twice as much to buy than to rent. That’s stupid. If interest rates rise, and they will, sale prices will have to come down. That also means that now is not a good time to buy for investment purposes in Europe.

I see advertisements all the time for places that cost only €5,000 or €10,000 down, with “nothing more to pay”. That of course is simply not true as you have the mortgage interest to pay. And you will be paying that for ten or fifteen years, maybe longer. When the rate goes up remember how much that interest is going to be. Even at a relatively mild 7% it could turn out to be quite a burden.

There is one point here which most people tend to overlook, and that is the opportunity cost of the money. If you have the money from the sale of another house and you don’t need a mortgage, that means you don’t have mortgage costs to think about. That is true, but it does mean that once you have bought the house you no longer have the money. What could that money have bought you? There are literally dozens of ultra-safe investment deals around paying more than 10%. I’m looking right now at one guaranteed by the British Government that pays 14%. 14% of €150,000 is €21,000 a year in income. Use the capital to buy your apartment and that apartment is effectively costing you that lost €21,000 a year. Think about it!

Buying Real Estate – There Has Never Been a Better Time

Despite the downturn in housing values and sales last year, figures have shown that New Zealand house values have risen over one percent in the last twelve months, according to QV Valuations. An optimistic future is predicted for 2010, with the early months of January and February anticipated to experience increased activity in housing sales, leading to a more balanced marketplace. Consumer confidence is matching the market trends, with the November ASB confidence survey which showed that New Zealanders’ are increasingly optimistic about the housing market with the majority of respondents indicating that now was a good time to buy a house.

With the popularity of online auction sites such as Trademe, the appeal of listing and purchasing your property independently seems to be on the rise. However, statistics illustrate that there are many benefits to using a reputable  real   estate  agent when  buying  and selling.  Buying   real   estate  is one of the most important decisions that individuals and families will make in their lifetimes, and all care and due diligence should be taken when going through the complex process, which can involve many legal loopholes.

An accredited and experienced realtor will be able to assist with the whole process, from setting a price to negotiating and closing the sale. As realtors are aware of the market trends in housing, along with recent sales that may have occurred in the area of interest, they will be able to advise you on a suitable and fair price for the property, avoiding any costly agreements that may be overpriced. Additionally, the knowledge of the neighbourhood can provide important information to base your decision upon, including noise levels, shopping, demographics and schooling.

With a purchase of this scale, agents have injected some much needed objectivity into the process, providing an unemotional view of the home, highlighting the potential drawbacks and flaws of a home, something an owner has little incentive to do. Agents possess the skills required to draft contracts, with the knowledge of what information must be included in the documents, including any stipulations that should be made on the contract.

The process of negotiation can be time consuming and stressful. With acquired skills in the art of selling, agents can effectively and efficiently accept or modify an offer or counter-offer. Once the offer has been accepted, many  real   estate  professionals will also be able to provide advice on inspection, finance, title searches,  real   estate  lawyers and ensure that any stipulations in the contract are fulfilled before the purchase and possession is complete.

There is no doubt that rising consumer optimism coupled with increasing sales figures in New Zealand will result in increasing demand for  real   estate  in 2010 and beyond. As one of the biggest decisions of your life, ensure that you utilise the services of a professional  real   estate  agency to get the best value for money in the market, while providing sound advice and support through the whole process.