Embrace Home Loans expands into Texas

 Recent reports from the Texas Association of Realtors and Fitch Ratings call out how hot Texas real estate right now, as more homes were sold last year than ever before in Texas.

Fitch’s report notes that Dallas housing is so hot right now that it’s bordering on overheating.

Embrace Home Loans, a mortgage lender that currently has more than 80 offices and is licensed in 46 states plus Washington, D.C., said that its first Texas office will be located in Frisco, a northern suburb of Dallas.

The office will serve Dallas, Ft. Worth, and all the surrounding suburbs, the company said.

“For more than 30 years, Embrace Home Loans has been a trusted mortgage provider throughout the east coast. Because of their solid reputation, they are ideal for the Texas market,” said Billy Holloway, branch manager for Embrace Home Loans’ Frisco office.

“As the demand for home financing strengthens, we’re ready to support the lending needs of individuals and families in Frisco as well as the surrounding communities,” Holloway continued. “We look forward to not only offering a best-in-class mortgage experience for our clients, but we’re also thrilled to be a part of the Embrace team.”

Jeff McGuiness, chief sales officer at Embrace Home Loans, said that as Texas housing continues to strengthen, borrowers will need a “trusted” option for their mortgage loan.

“Adding the right talent to support those markets is essential, and we’re confident Billy and his team will be an outstanding addition to our organization,” McGuiness said. “His customer-centric approach aligns with Embrace’s commitment to provide superior service to our clients, and we believe he will not only greatly support the needs of those in Texas, but also exceed our goals for years to come.”

High-velocity housing market in Northwest

 The housing market in the Northwest continued its high-speed pace as the number of pending home sales outpaced the number of new listings, according to the latest release from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

The report, which covers 23 counties in and around Washington state, showed that the region saw 7,745 pending home sales versus 6,507 new listings.

“Properties are moving through the market at an unusually fast pace,” said John Deely, chairman of the board at Northwest MLS and the principal managing broker at Coldwell Banker Bain.

“Although we have a high number of new listings, they are moving into a pending or sold status within the typical 30-day reporting period,” Deely said. “This phenomenon causes a low active listing count.”

Active listings in the Northwest totaled 9,752 listings, a decrease of 21% from last year’s 12,357 listings. In fact, only three counties in the area, Ferry, Jefferson and Kitsap, reported improvements in the number of active listings.

But other markets hit historic lows in housing inventory. At the end of January, there was just under 1.7 months’ supply, down from last year’s 2.5 months’ supply.

“If home buyers were hoping that January would start to bring more balance to the housing market, they’re going to be sorely disappointed,” Windermere Real EstatePresident OB Jacobi said. “The number of homes for sale remains at record lows, and the growth in pending sales tells us that sellers are still firmly in the driver’s seat.”

And the market won’t be seeing relief anytime soon.

“The real question is whether there will be relief in the near future, and the unfortunate answer is no,” said MLS director George Moorhead, designated broker at Bentley Properties, citing the combination of new jobs, a shortage of new homes, and a reluctance of sellers to list their home for fear of not being able to find their next one.

This shortage continues to push up home prices in the area with an increase of 9% in median home prices from last year’s $300,000 to $327,175 this year.

Homebuilder confidence slightly declines

 Builder confidence continued its steady decline in February, gradually falling back to a normal range, according to the National Association of Home Builders and Wells Fargo Housing Market Index.

Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes declined two points in February to a level of 65, compared to 67 at the start of the year.

“While builders remain optimistic, we are seeing the numbers settling back into a normal range,” said NAHB Chairman Granger MacDonald, a homebuilder and developer from Kerrville, Texas.

“Regulatory burdens remain a major challenge to our industry, and NAHB looks forward to working with the new Congress and administration to help alleviate some of the pressures that are holding small businesses back and making homes less affordable,” he continued.

Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for 30 years, the index gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as good, fair or poor.

The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as high to very high, average or low to very low. Scores for each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor.

All three HMI components fell in February. Broken up, the component gauging current sales conditions declined one point to 71, and the index charting sales expectations in the next six months registered a three-point decline to 73. The component measuring buyer traffic dropped five points to 46.

The report also broke up the data by regions and looked at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores. The Northeast fell two points to 50, as the Midwest rose one point to 65. The South dipped one point to 67, and the West held steady at 79 for the third month in a row.

NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz noted that due to the decline in buyer traffic in February, builders continued to struggle to minimize costs while dealing with supply side challenges such as a lack of developed lots and labor shortages.

“Despite these constraints, the overall housing market fundamentals remain strong and we expect to see continued growth this year as some of these concerns are addressed,” concluded Dietz.

Your Real Estate Double Agent

Choosing a real estate agent is perhaps one of the most critical parts of the real estate process as that agent will become your closest ally in the long term effort to buy or sell a home. Real estate transactions are major milestones in a person’s life and that real estate agent is the key person to be involved in making sure your wants and needs are met throughout that process.

After that extensive process, you are then faced with a person that you have invested a great amount of time and effort in. Trusting that real estate agent to represent you fully at all times may seem to be at the foundation of a realtor’s responsibilities, but there are other types of responsibilities those agents are motivated to serve that you need to be aware of.

Knowing who is on your side during a real estate transaction can go a long way towards helping you not only select the best agent but do your own best job throughout a real estate transaction to provide that agent with information that will help you buy or sell a home. For example, many realtors through the course of showing a prospective home buyer different properties will show them a home they are listing.

Obviously, that dual responsibility of representing the best desires of the buyer and seller can create a conflict of interest and should you informally say that you would pay a particular amount for a property, that real estate agent is more or less obligated to share that information with the seller. Of course, this can ruin any negotiating tactic you might want to try.

Real estate agents are required to disclose when this is the case and sometimes a special kind of arrangement, the dual agency arrangement, is used to at least make sure that the buyer and seller are both served properly. Under a dual agency agreement, the buyer and seller are represented by different parties working for the broker that has both the buyer and seller as clients.

In this type of agreement, both buyer and seller must agree to the situation and the individual real estate agents are charged with making sure they serve their own client fully. In some real estate markets, this kind of agreement can be common if a particular real estate broker has a multitude of listings and a strong supply of prospective buyers. It is only a matter of time until a buyer and seller match up on a property for an individual broker.

The conflicts of interest in these types of situations are largely removed by the dual agency agreement, but you must still be sure that your needs are being met by your agent. You want your agent working vigorously for you and that can mean negotiating fervently with another agent in their same office, perhaps one that they are friends with and have daily interaction with. That can be difficult for some agents and a dual agency agreement takes another layer of oversight by the buyer or seller to make sure that things are on the up and up.

After expending so much energy to choose your real estate agent, you may feel that you can sit back and let that agent do their job without interference. While that is generally true, you still must remain active in the process, asking the right questions and making sure that your needs are communicated to the other side.

In a strange situation like a dual agency agreement, a special emphasis is needed on that active, vocal role of a buyer or seller to make sure that a transaction is completed to the best ability of the agent involved. Never be afraid to speak up and get involved.

The Power of Real Estate Competition

To say that competition defines the value of homes is a bit short-sighted, though it does impact the price you will see for your home. The only thing that can define the value of any piece of real estate is a buyer willing to pay for it, but the market and the competition seen within the market can give a prospective buyer a framework to derive a value from.

That is a powerful trait of market competition, underscoring the need to understand the market and diagnose what kind of competition your home might see. Every home for sale in your local area has the potential to be a direct competitor to your own home. Of course, houses vary in size and amenities, so only those that most closely resemble your own property truly present meaningful competition for a buyer’s attention.

Pricing a home is often the most crucial step of the real estate process and can ultimately determine what kind of transaction you will have. If you price your home properly, you will see a short time on the market and a sale price to your liking. If you price the home wrong, you could sit in limbo for months and have to accept less than what you’d like.

The difference between those two outcomes can hinge on the level of competition in the area for your property. The first step to combating that competition is understanding the current market trends to determine if it is a buyer’s or seller’s market. If homes are tending to stay on the market for a long time, that is a good indication that supply is out distancing demand, creating a buyer’s market. That can affect your pricing strategy.

A buyer’s market also means that a home may have to be priced more aggressively and more directly positioned against competition to sell quickly. One way to sell a home is set the price a bit higher than market value in order to drop the price gradually until it nets a buyer. However, that can mean a long stay on the market and a weak position in relation to competition in the area.

Another way is to do a careful comparative analysis of all homes in the area to not only help price the home, but determine the amount of competition amongst similar properties the market holds. If there are many homes like yours, it may be wise to price the home more aggressively to draw interest in a crowded market segment.

Conversely, if your comparative analysis turns up relatively few properties on the market that are similar to yours, you can probably afford to price the home a bit higher as less competition gives you a better chance at garnering interest without dropping price to get it. Obviously, these are two very different situations and without understanding the level of competition in your area, you cannot make the distinction between which route to take.

Remember, a prospective buyer is someone just like you. That buyer wants to get a great home for a great price and will often go through quite a few homes and showings in order to reach that goal. Make it easy on them and understand the competition so that you can price the home to motivate a seller into seeing that your home is not only full of the amenities they want, but it is priced more reasonably than competing homes as well.

Many real estate agents will do a comparative market analysis for you in order to price the home. Get involved in the process and tell your real estate agent that you want to help determine the pricing strategy of the property. The function of a real estate agent is to help you sell your home, so be sure to shape the way it is sold. Taking control of the situation and understanding the competition for your home can help you ensure a smoother real estate transaction for both you and your agent.

Real Estate Vocabulary – Who Are The Players

When beginning a new venture, there is always a new language to learn. In real estate knowing the right language can be the difference between making good choices, and having serious problems down the road. To help buyers and sellers get on the right track, here are a few key words so you, too, can tell the different between real estate personnel.

The definitions here are for the most typical use, though in some states the definitions of Real Estate Agent and Real Estate Broker may be different. It is wise of confirm what an agent or broker means by that before entering into a business relationship with them.

Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is an independent real estate sales person. Typically they are required to be licensed by the state. The majority of Real Estate Agents are employed by or under contract with a real estate broker. Real Estate Agents earn a percentage of the broker’s commission when they sell a home.

Real Estate Broker

A Real Estate Broker has undergone further training for additional real estate licensing. Real Estate Brokers are the homeowner’s direct link to the real estate market. While they do work as sales people, just like Agents, they spend an equal or greater amount of time searching for new homes to sell. Brokers are frequently in charge of supervising the purchasing process and often combine their real estate business with law, insurance, financing or some other related practice.


Frequently in the real estate business a Real Estate Agent or Broker will call himself a Realtor. An agent or broker is qualified to do this when they become members of the National Association of Realtors. The NAR is the worlds largest professional association. In order to be a member of the NAR, and there fore be a Realtor, agents and brokers must agree to follow the NAR’s strict Code of Ethics. This Code of Ethics protects buyers and sellers from unscrupulous business people. Making a point to work with a Realtor instead of an unaffiliated Real Estate Agent or Broker is one small guarantee that a buyer or seller will be treated well.

MLS or Multiple Listing Service

The MLS is a service that real estate brokers and agents have access to. It is a complete listing of all of the real estate available for sale in the area. Because maintaining this system isn’t free, there is a cost to subscribe. By working with an agent, buyers automatically has access to the MLS in addition to the expert advice of a real estate professional. With the technological advances of the past twenty years, accessing the MLS for cross country buyers is as simple as helping someone within the community. This streamlines the home buying process for dozens of buyers every day

Benefits of Owning Your Own Home

The security of owning the roof over your head, the feeling of contentment, satisfaction, fulfillment, it is the wish of most, if not all, Americans, it is what they call the classic American dream, it is called Homeownership.

Owning a home is the biggest and best investment a person can ever make and so he has to manage that investment to the best of his ability. It requires extraordinary commitment not only of funds, but time and attention as well.

There are disadvantages that come with owning a home like maintenance, financial matters, risk of losing equity and the risk of foreclosure.But above all these, there are also a lot of benefits that comes with owning your own home.

-It is the best investment.The value of your home appreciates which means that if you decide to sell it, its price will be much higher than your purchase price. Homes appreciate about 5% every year.

-It is a form of forced savings because you’ll have to allot a certain amount of money for monthly payments or risk losing your home. You also need to set aside money for future repairs or improvements.
-It can help you plan for the future with regards to your finances because mortgage rates are fixed unlike yearly increase in rent.

-It gives a sense of permanence where your family can live and grow.Emotional security goes with this.

-It gives you and your family security and piece of mind knowing that you have a home to call your own.

-It develops lifelong friendships.

-it develops the sense of roots of your family especially the children.Your family becomes a part of a community
-It increases self-esteem knowing that you possess something of value.

-It eliminates landlord hassles.You will have no more worries with regard to lease not being renewed and increase in rent.

-It gives you the freedom to redecorate, remodel, make improvements, have pets, change the color or the décor of your home to your own taste and as you desire.

-It gives privacy. Not unlike renters wherein landlords can have access to the place.

-It gives more space – like larger rooms, laundry area, storage area.


HOME BUYING BLUNDERS – How do you avoid them?

Looking for a home to buy is a very exciting experience.Your emotion balanced with logic is the wisest thing to do. Educating yourself about this long and stressful process of home buying will result in the biggest investment that you will be making in your life.Wrong decisions may lead to an irreversible and costly mistake.

So, what should you avoid so as not to make this mistake?

-AVOID USING YOUR HEART OVER YOUR HEAD. You might fall in love with a home instantly forgetting that you are making a huge financial investment and that someday you might want to sell it, only to find out, when it is too late that your home is tough to resell.

-AVOID VIEWING HOMES ALONE. Bring your spouse, your children or a friend with you.You might miss out on some imperfections because of your excitement.Their point of view will surely be of great help.

-AVOID LOOKING AT HOMES YOU CANNOT AFFORD. Buying a home does not only mean a down payment and fixed monthly mortagages.There will also be expenses for repairs, maintenance, new appliances and furniture, property taxes, insurance.A clear understanding of your finances prevents wasted time.

-AVOID VIEWING HOMES WITH NO CHECKLIST ON HAND. You should have a list of everything you need and what you would like to have according to your priorities.

-AVOID PURCHASING A HOME IN AN UNFAMILIAR NEIGHBORHOOD. Spend some time in the area, ask questions regarding criminal activities, accessibility to schools, supermarkets, or churches.It is not only a home you are purchasing but the location as well.

-AVOID PURCHASING A HOME ON YOUR FIRST VISIT. Do not rush.Visit the home that you like twice, thrice or even more than that.Make sure that this is the home that you really want to settle in.Have a professional home inspection done to eliminate future headaches like the exterior components which includes roofing, gutters, downspouts and the interior systems which includes electrical, plumbing, flooring.

-AVOID LETTING THE SELLER OR THE AGENT KNOW THAT YOU ARE IN LOVE WITH THE HOME. Because in doing so, they could ask for a higher price.

-AVOID GETTING TOO PERSONAL WITH THE SELLER. Be friendly, but treat the transaction as professionally as possible.Remarks about changes and future repairs might not be taken well by the seller.

When Real Estate Lawyers Become Useful

Getting involved in a real estate transaction is truly a milestone in a person’s life, a process that takes thousands of dollars and sometimes months to complete. With something so complicated, there is certainly some merit to involving a lawyer in the proceedings.

While many people may bristle to the thought of adding another layer of oversight to the real estate process, beyond your realtor, there are instances where that lawyer can certainly come in handy, perhaps saving you money and ensuring a smooth transaction, something everyone should strive their in their real estate dealings.

Of course, foreign real estate ownership is the key arena that real estate lawyers get involved with and the various types of laws and regulations that are, pun intended, foreign to you may have a profound impact on your transaction. In some countries, there are laws specifically enacted to target foreign property owners and those regulations can sometimes limit your ability and alter the state of your ownership.

Having a real estate lawyer look over the documents involved can save you this headache. Relying on outside expertise is critical to any real estate transaction and in foreign dealings, an additional layer is sometimes needed in the form of a real estate lawyer.

For your domestic dealings, foreign lawyers are typically not necessary. Realtors in the United States have such a complex and complete education procedure that few issues slip past them in the day-to-day operations of a real estate office. Of course, commercial dealings are somewhat different and even some investment properties could use an additional pair of eyes to read through any special clauses or conditions applicable to a property.

These come on a case-by-case basis and by consulting your realtor, you can get an idea of the kind of complexity involved in a particular real estate contract and just how valuable a real estate lawyer would be to the proceedings. In residential transactions, most contracts are fairly standard and do not need that extra layer of cost and protection. Of course, that determination is up to you and anytime a large sum of money is involved, it can sometimes be a good idea to seek an outside opinion on the viability of a legal agreement.

On the negative side, of course there is an added cost involved in getting a real estate lawyer to look over your transaction. That cost must be weighed about the money you already have involved in the transaction and the likelihood that there are legal issues an outsider party should look at. Those situations are not typical in residential listings, but can crop up in commercial or investment opportunities and certainly take place in foreign real estate deals.

If you have an extensive history working on deals similar to your current transaction, that might negate the need for a real estate lawyer, so never discount your own level of experience and expertise on a particular project. If you have done 10 similar deals and have used a real estate lawyer in the past, it is perhaps advisable to rely on your own knowledge base and forge forward. Of course, as with everything written here, that is a determination you will have to make for yourself.

In the end, a real estate lawyer mostly serves as a comfort to you, ensuring that there are no legal tangles that might come back to haunt you later. On something as important as a real estate transaction, a real estate lawyer can certainly come in handy, but is not applicable to all situations. Consult your realtor for advice on just what kind of worth a real estate lawyer would have to your transaction and proceed from there.

5 Tips Real Estate Investment

There are countless tips on real estate investing available and this is by no means intended as a comprehensive list. While every investment has its own intricacies and problems that need to be worked out, there are some very basic aspects that are common to most investment properties. Understanding those aspects and asking questions about them can help you determine whether a particular real estate investment opportunity is for you.

Anything Can Change
Building in the capacity for change in your investment is not only good real estate advice, but good life advice. Aspects of an investment can change at any given time and building in a little cushion in your profit projections for that change will most likely give you a better outlook on the possible outcome of your investment.

This is especially true for something like the tax climate of your investment as changes in tax laws happen regularly. If the tax situation surrounding your investment is the only thing you like about it, it is probably not a sound investment. Solid investments can withstand changes in the tax code, so never rely solely on the stability of tax codes, you will be sorely disappointed.

Do What You Know
It is tempting to get involved in real estate investment opportunities outside of your comfort zone. Maybe the terms look good or the area is nice, but your lack of expertise in the field will ultimately hurt you over the course of the investment. If you are well versed in multi-family homes, do your best to uncover the best investment opportunities in that field. If your bag is fixer-uppers, stick with that. Success is difficult to replicate so if you have a knack for something, exploit that knack.

Compare, Compare, Compare
As any real estate agent will tell you, valuations for a new home put on the market are a direct reflection of other sale prices of similar properties in that area. Your potential investment is the same way. If you are going to rely on rents to make back the money spent on the investment, compare the rents your prospective investment property takes in against similar properties in the area. Are they too high? If so, that may indicate future trouble filling the building at those prices, which then cuts into your profit forecast.

If you are getting involved in a fixer-upper, compare what you think the home will be like in the future to homes that have sold that look similar to that now. Doing so will help you estimate your eventual sale price and the amount of money you should invest to net a decent return.

Hammer Down True Expenses
Just as you want to examine what your incoming cash flow will be on any real estate investment opportunity, you want to investigate your outgoing cash flow as well. What are the key costs involved in running the property? What are the taxes on the property? How much does it cost you when part of your multi-family property is vacant? Sometimes properties can look great when you examine the rent payments coming in but then lose their luster when you look at the cost of running the facility. You need to investigate both sides of the story to get an accurate view of the financial future of your investment.

Know The Building
In real estate investing, surprises are usually costly. Not only should you do a full walk through of the prospective investment yourself, you should also look in to hiring an independent, professional inspector as well. Uncovering problems with the foundation, roof or furnace early can either save you from making a poor investment or give you ammunition to negotiate a lower price.

Not all real estate investments are the same and you will likely run in to a unique problem on every property you pursue. However, by sticking to the tips here, you can give yourself a great foundation from which to operate. Above all, pursue information on the property as vigorously as possible to eliminate the possibility of regretting your investment later.

The Guide For First-Time Home Buyers

Buying a first new home is a big step in anyone’s life and the process can initially seem like an extremely daunting task. With all of the information available, advice to be learned from and realtors to choose from, it can certainly seem like an insurmountable mountain of information.

While that may initially be true, there are some steps that you can take that will help you cut through all of that and avoid information overload. The new home buying process is an exciting one and while there are certainly many things to think about, they shouldn’t detract from the experience.

Use The Web
Online resources, much like this site, can help you do a great amount of research into a home or area without ever leaving the comfort of your favorite chair. No matter what area you’re looking to purchase real estate in, there are undoubtedly many online resources concerning that area. Everything from county governments to local realtors provide handy region-specific tips and tricks that might help you in your search for a new home.

While your realtor will help you with a lot of the information about home prices in the area you’re investigating and other related bits of information, it can also be empowering to take a hold of the situation and find the kind of applicable information you’re looking for yourself. Anything that helps you get comfortable with the home buying process is a benefit.

Know Your Limits
There are a variety of ways to get frustrated during the home buying process and perhaps chief of all of them is pursuing a home that you simply cannot afford. Every step of the process, from convincing a realtor to show you an expensive property to getting financial backing for a piece of real estate outside your income viability, makes the process more difficult and will ultimately discourage you about the home buying process.

Yes, we would all like to have our first home be the perfect combination of location, size and amenities but many times it is not realistic to purchase a 10-bedroom estate with a first home purchase. If you have an accurate view of what you can afford, it will ease the entire process as your realtor will show you nothing but realistic homes, of which you will almost certainly find one you’ll love for a first piece of real estate.

Use Your Home Inspection Right
While in many areas, home inspections are an accepted part of the home buying process, there are parts of the country that have hot real estate markets that perhaps move quickly and don’t always incorporate home inspections into the process. Nothing has the potential to blunt your enthusiasm over a new home purchase like problems that could be inherited along with a new home.

Home inspections will often go through the health of a home’s furnace, roof and foundation to give you an accurate description of just what kind of state a home is in. Take advantage of that and don’t be surprised after a home purchase with problems you’ll immediately have to deal with.

How Motivated Is Your Seller?

When purchase prices for homes escalate into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, sometimes a $10,000 difference in an offer price can seem like a small variation, but $10,000 is $10,000. As you go through the process of making mortgage payments, you will no doubt wish you could shave a few months off of your payment term, which is exactly what shaving $10,000 or more will net you.

One of the prime ways of doing so is to locate a seller that is truly motivated to sell a property, sometimes at a minor expense in return for a speedy, smooth transaction. Making low offers is something all realtors have probably done in the past, though it can sometimes seem like a slap in the face to send a below-list offer.

The prospect of saving $10,000 or more should take that embarrassment out of the equation and motivate you to explore all avenues for saving money. There are a few ways to spot motivated sellers that might be more apt to accept an offer below list price than they otherwise would.

Everyone Sells For A Reason
One of the best ways to investigate the motives of your seller is to simply ask. That might seem like a common sense approach, but people often go through entire real estate transactions without asking even the most simple questions about who they are purchasing a very expensive item from.

Your realtor or the seller’s realtor may have that kind of information at hand and while they might have reason to guard it, more often than not they will make polite conversation about what a seller’s plans are. At open houses especially, realtors may make the effort to chat with you, sometimes answering such questions, in hopes of getting you interested in the property. Let that eagerness work for you and get the information you need that might help you.

There are quite a few situations that might result in a motivated seller, but perhaps the most common are relocations, divorces and financial troubles. As you can imagine, if a seller is involved in any of these three situations, it is probable that speed is an issue and sometimes that speed is worth a bit of a discount on the list price of the real estate property.

Relocations especially can split a seller’s attention between two locations, greatly motivating the seller to quickly get rid of an old property to focus on a new one. That split focus can be your gain with a big of a discounted offer that nonetheless represents a quick chance to be done with the real estate.

Each Property Has Its Own Traits
More than just investigating a seller, you can investigate a particular property as well to perhaps indicate a seller that is tired of a particular piece of real estate. For example, properties that are not kept up as well, rental properties especially, could indicate that a seller is tired of dealing with a property and is more motivated to sell quickly, even if at a small discount.

If you want to go the extra mile and go through county tax records, it is entirely possible to find properties where sellers have home addresses far away from the property in question. In those cases, sellers that live far away are usually selling property that they can no longer maintain from a distance and have grown tired caring for. These are perhaps the best candidate to accept an offer below list price as they are tired of the hassle of maintaining a long-distance piece of real estate.

No matter your tactic, there are sellers out there that want desperately to sell you a piece of real estate. Do your homework and investigate just why a seller is doing so and why a particular property is on the market. Those two bits of information could produce the difference between a list-price offer for a piece of real estate and an accepted offer below list price.

Where To Put Your Money

As in many aspects of life, the key to real estate investing can be location, location, location. While real estate is perhaps more complicated than hoping for foot traffic at a restaurant with a prime location, location does certainly play a part in the possible viability of a rental property. There are a few things you can look for in the area of your possible real estate investment that can tell you some important things about the possible long-term health of your potential investment.

Check For Growth
Is the area you’re looking at experiencing strong population and job growth? These are two important economic indicators that can help you decide whether a particular area is ripe for real estate investment opportunities. Local government web sites and federal reports are readily available with population and job growth information.

While the benefits of an increased local population are obvious, job growth that exceeds that population growth level can indicate a prospering community with money to spend. Areas that prosper are potential candidates for increased rent payments over time, one sure way to put you on the road to profitability with your real estate investment.

With job growth comes quality of life and as qualify of life improves in the area of your investment, so too grows the level of rent you can charge. It is a tried and true fact that people will pay more to live in an area they enjoy, so the prospect of an area growing more and more attractive will directly influence the financial state of your potential real estate investment.

The Real Estate Market
What is the construction atmosphere of the area like? Areas that are seeing a boom in new home construction often experience those booms because of favorable job growth, income growth and other factors. However, for an area where building permits are outpacing new population, that could be an early indicator of an over supply of real estate that could lead to depressed prices for rent payments.

The best case scenario is an area where few homes are for sale, pumping up demand, and where new home construction is strong but not out of control. That can be a fine line, but because any investment takes a great amount of homework and research, it is something that should be investigated over the course of your decision-making process on a new investment.

The Land Crunch
Just as a low supply of homes on the market can produce an upwards trend for housing prices and, subsequently, the level of rent you can charge, so too can a low level of land available to build on. In an area where population is growing and jobs are strong, all of these new people have to go somewhere.

Whenever more people want to move into an area than there are homes for those people to live in, you will see an upward slope for home prices and viable rent payments. If there is little land left to build on, those buildings that are already built will be able to charge more for their rent payments, putting your investment further towards profitability and the long-term benefit of owning property in an attractive part of town.

All of this initial information will not guarantee a profit on a rental property, but these are crucial steps to take when evaluating whether you want to put your hard-earned money into a real estate property that is sure to experience the ups and downs of the local economy. Especially for properties outside of your own home area, knowing the state of both the growth of the population and the home construction industry will help you more accurately predict the future viability of your investment.

The Right Rental Property

Deciding to get involved with investing in a rental property is an important decision and finding the right property for your efforts can make the difference between a profitable, successful career in rental properties and a discouraging experience that leaves you unwilling to continue on. No matter if you are looking at a rental property purchase for the first time or the 50th time, there are some key things to consider when searching out a good deal.

More Than Just The Rent
Money plays into your investment in a variety of ways, making an impact beyond simply what kind of rent payments you will be receiving. Knowing what kind of cash flow will be available through rent payments is important, but so is knowing what kind of cash you are going to put up for needed improvements or routine maintenance to the building. Whoever is selling the rental property is doing so for a reason, so make sure that high maintenance costs isn’t one of them.

The value of surrounding real estate, rental or not, can influence the kind of activity you receive at your rental property. In areas of expensive homes, rental properties will often pull in higher rental amounts even if the property isn’t up to those standards. Consumers that have their heart set on a particular area may turn to renting in the face of expensive home prices that would yield unaffordable mortgage payments.

Other rental properties in the area of course also play in to your cash flow situation and purchasing a rental property operating with rent payments below what the area is worth are great targets. Sometimes rental property owners get set in their ways with rent and avoid raising rent to scare off customers. Knowing that you can later raise a rent after purchasing a rental property is a great way to get an early jump on profitability.

Who Are You Buying From?
Understanding why someone is selling a rental property will go a long way towards understanding whether or not it is a good investment. Property owners that live far from their rental properties often get fed up with managing a property so far away and sell out of convenience. These types of sellers offer great opportunities as they are often more willing to deal in order to be rid of the obligation that they have grown tired of.

Additionally, the history of the property often reflects the history of the property owner. If you are dealing with a stable seller with a history of good rental ownership, it is probably that the property has been kept up to date with adequate repairs and improvements when necessary. Ask for all improvement records available on the property to look for a history of care taken with the property. Those that have been taken care of well will be less likely to cause headaches later.

What Does The Code Say?
Older buildings are more likely to have issues with building and fire codes. Do research not only into the age of a particular property but also into the history of updates done in regards to building and fire codes. Has anyone ever been out to inspect the property to ensure that is up to code with various local statutes? As soon as you sign on the dotted line, those obligations become yours so investigating just what issues may arise will save you from uncovering code surprises down the road.

Rental properties can be fulfilling, profitable investment opportunities, but selecting the right rental property for you is perhaps the most important step of the process. Protect yourself by asking some key questions about the property and its owner and you will avoid the pitfalls that beset many real estate investors out there.