Welcome to Southwest Florida Real Estate

Archive for January, 2013

An Overview of the Escrow Account, Real Estate Transaction

Whether buying or selling real estate, you will inevitably deal with an escrow account. If you are not familiar with an escrow account, here is an overview.

ESCROW ACCOUNTAn Overview of the Escrow Account

A real estate transaction is a high dollar transaction. In fact, you will probably never make a bigger one in your life regardless of whether you are buying or selling. Given the high stakes and the fact that feelings can sometimes get ruffled on each side of the fence, the escrow account was created.

An escrow account is really a part of a larger beast known as escrow. To keep the real estate transaction running smoothly and organized, escrow is undertaken. A third-party, known as the escrow agent, is retained to collect documents, money and such. Since people can be tense during transactions involving large sums of money, it is important to have a party involved that is not ESCROWemotionally attached.

The escrow account is an industry term that can mean a few different things. In its strictest sense, the account is a trust account opened to hold monies deposited by the parties for appraisals, inspections and remedial work. It is also used to hold the money provided by the buyer for the purchase. This is true regardless of whether the money is submitted directly from the buyer or a mortgage lender.

In a larger sense, an escrow account refers to the total services provided by the escrow account. In addition to finances, the escrow agent will collect contracts, documentation set out in the ACCOUNTpurchase agreement and so on. In some sense, this makes the escrow agent the referee for the real estate transaction. That being said, an escrow agent does not call penalties, to wit, they will never determine that one party or the other is in the wrong. They will simply facilitate the requirements of the contract. If one party fails to comply with those requirements, the escrow will not close and lawyers typically get involved.

Escrow is standard operating procedure for nearly all real estate transactions. In the end, it is an effective way to get the transaction closed.

Advertisements

Tips on Selling Your Property, The Selling Market

Parting with your property can bring lots of fun and excitement but it is also hard work.

You need to first fix up all those small problems that you have ignored for many years. You also need to decide HOME FOR SALEif you are going to sell it by your self or to make use of a professional real estate broker. The transaction will take time, and will depend greatly on the local real estate market.

Some mental and emotional preparation is needed too. Are you looking forward to moving up to a new dream house or facing the uncertainty of a major move across the country? It might well be hard leaving the memories behind or you might be keen to start a new life without the house you have lived in the last chapter of your life.

To keep your feelings under control concentrate on the multitude of practical matters that need your attention.POOL HOME

There are many questions to be considered in order to influence whether your home will sell or stand empty and weigh you down like a millstone around your neck. A house for sale should be visually appealing and in good condition. It should attract potential buyers driving down the street so pay attention to the following:

•  Are the lawn and shrubs well maintained? •  Are there cracks in the foundation or walkways? •  Does the driveway need resurfacing? •  Are the gutter, chimney (if the house for sale has one) and walls in good condition? •  Do the window casings, shutters, siding or doors need painting? •  Are garbage and debris stored out of sight? •  Are lawn mowers and hoses properly stored? •  Are the kids toys tidied up?

PREVIEWIt is important to clean up the mess inside as this will affect the decision of prospective buyers. These people prefer clean and comfortable homes. It is better to touch up the interior part of your home by putting a fresh coat of paint in the most used areas for example. This will clean as well as brighten up the rooms and will help to dispense off unwanted odours.

Wash the walls where paints are not appropriate (for example wall paper, paneling and tiles). Wash all floor and bathrooms tiles. Clean or better yet shampoo dirty carpets (Again this is _very_ important to get rd of unwanted smells). Get rid of clutter. Clean out all closets, basement and attic. Use self storage if necessary. Replacing air filters and put some fresh plants in will help keep the dust down and the pleasant scents up.

It is natural that sellers want to get top dollar for their home, but know that this will scare off potential buyers. It may also cause the property to languish on the market for many months. A reduction in price later may lead buyers to wonder if there is something wrong with the home. Here are some factors to consider in putting in the right price for your home:

•  The location •  Economic conditions •  Supply and demand in the local housing market •  Seasonal INDOORinfluences •  Local schools •  Average home prices in the neighborhood •  Home’s extras (like pool, fireplace, central air etc)

In determining the value of the home, you will probably be better to seek the advice of an estate agent or appraiser. Agents can prepare a market analysis for you, showing the recent selling prices of three neighborhood properties comparable to your own. They can also help you adjust for the unique features of the home you’re selling.

If the seller has too little information about the home selling market, it’s better to contact a realtor. In finding a realtor, find someone who you feel comfortable with.

First ask your friends and acquaintances for any recommendations but make the final decision based on your needs. A realtor should show you research to support any recommendations, this includes information about SOLDrecent sales, current listings and recent expired listing in your neighborhood.

The realtor will be knowledgeable in the area in which the home is located. They will get better co operation from other agents. You should ask for references from the realtor as he or she should be willing to give you names of previous clients. Look for a realtor who can tell you what he or she knows from experience in the market, and not what they think you want to hear. 

These home selling tips can avoid headaches when selling your home. Do not make yourself regret everything for not doing the right thing. Don’t underestimate the demands of buyers as many people now wish to move in.

Going Off To College, Obtaining A Student Loan

For students who are unable to get student loans, the fun and kicks of college might be virtually non- existent. There are many more payments to make apart from books and Tuition. Just imagine how difficult it can be for TUITIONstudents who also have to pay living expenses because they have to live apart from their families while in college.

Student loans can be a lifesaver because it saves many students from breakdowns that can occur as a result of the stress of payments and college courses. At the beginning, a student may find it difficult to get one of these student loans. This doesn’t mean that getting student loans is a piece of cake.

These Federal student loans are supported by the government and this sees to it that you don’t pay high interest rates. Any student who opts for the private student loans will have to pay increased interest rates and will need good credit records. Subsidized and unsubsidized rates are available for students obtaining student loans.

Except if the interest is being paid by another person that is when rates may accrue while the student who takes the loan is still enrolled in school. It helps a student to know that he/she won’t have to pay any extra rates while he is still in school. You might not be so lucky if your type of interest rate is unsubsidized because rates will be accrued even while you are inCOLLEGE school.

If these payments aren’t made, the interest will keep rising thereby increasing the amount to be paid back, but the good thing is that you will have more time to pay. Are you a student interested in a federal loan? Then go ahead and fill out a FAFSA form. You may also have to fill a college scholarship profile application form.  No need to start getting hot and bothered over the cost because it is almost free.

FAQs about getting a student loans:

What is a ‘credit record’? A credit record is, in essence a documented history of any type of credit you have been given for the last six years. It discloses how much you have been lent and whether you have ignored any obligations etc. A credit record allows potential loan providers to search through your financial past so that they will be able to make a determination as to whether to extend you a loan. The data on your record is complied by credit reference agencies for instance, Equifax and Experian. They take data from public LOANdocuments (e.g. the electoral roll, legal judgments etc) and from loan companies as well as financial institutions: e.g. credit accounts, credit applications.

What is a ‘credit check’? A credit check is a search performed by a possible lender to determine your suitability for borrowing. They will look at your credit record to see your current and previous credit history. They can then award you a credit score to identify whether the manner in which you control your financial affairs fulfils their criteria for being granted credit.

What is a ‘credit score’? A credit score or credit rating is an approach that would-be loan providers use for calculating the credit eligibility of a borrower. They will research the potential borrower’s credit file, the data on their application and the amount of loan requested. They will then employ a numerical rating process to evaluate the size of ‘risk’ connected to lending to the CREDITpotential borrower.

Credit Reference Agencies :

Experian is one of the important credit referencing agencies in the country. Loan providers will turn to credit referencing agencies to find out about the qualifications of an applicant founded on their credit record. This is known as a credit file. As a consumer, it’s possible to get a printed copy of your report from Experian to check that all the facts and figures on it are truthful and that your particulars aren’t being used in some fraudulent way.

STUDENT LOANEquifax is one of the significant credit referencing agencies in the country. Equifax gathers all your financial data from various places to establish a file that details your personal credit history – i.e. your credit report. When you fill out an application for any kind of credit, loan providers will examine you report to see your credit record. You may get a printed copy of your credit report when ever you like to check that all is in order. The Equifax website has plenty of valuable advice on sensible financial choices and guarding yourself from fraudulent schemes.

Dulles International Airport, Washington D.C.

When many travelers make the decision to visit another country, many try to find an international airport that is located close to their home.  That is not always the case with the Dulles International Airport. While the INTERNATIONALmajority of travelers use the Dulles International Airport because it is located within a reasonable distance to their home, not everyone does. Since Dulles is located in Washington, DC, many travelers make the decision to schedule a mini-vacation before they begin their big one, often overseas. 

Whether you are a Washington, DC resident or not, there is a good chance that you will use the Dulles International Airport, when it comes to taking a flight across the country.  If you are, there are number of things that you should do before you leave for your flight.  Perhaps, the first thing that you should do is familiarize yourself with the Dulles International Airport.  All travelers, whether you have visited the airport before or not, are encouraged to examine the airport. You will want to be on the lookout for important air travel information, as well as airport changes.  One of the best ways to get your research started is to visit the online TICKETwebsite of the airport. This can be done by visiting www.metwashairports.com.

Once at the online website for the Dulles International Airport, you will have access to an unlimited amount of information.  Some of that information is likely to pertain to air travel rules and safety precautions.  You are advised to examine all of this information, especially if you are planning on taking on an international flight. You will want to learn more about the airport baggage screening centers, as well as prohibited items.  As with most airports, especially international airports, you will find that security has intensified over the past few years. For this reason, you are advised against taking any unnecessary risk, such as arriving at the airport late or tying to sneak prohibited items in your carry-on luggage.

Since the Dulles International Airport is located in the nation’s capital and is one of the most well-known international airports in the Untied States, a large number of travelers use the airport. For that reason, you will CHECK LUGGAGEfind that the airport is large in size.  This is why it is important that you familiarize yourself with the layout of the airport before arriving there. On the online website for the Dulles International Airport, you should be able to find an airport map, which you can print off for your own viewing. This same information can be found at the airport, but you may benefit from familiarizing yourself with this information ahead of time. 

In addition to the location of each airport terminal, you will need to learn about the rest of the airport, namely the parking arrangements. If you are leaving your vehicle behind, while you travel internationally, you will find that you have a number of different options.  With long-term parking, you will have to use the airport’s transportation services to make it to the main terminal. With the Dulles DULLESInternational Airport, there is a good chance that you will be relying heavily on this transportation service, especially since not all airport terminals are connected.

As previously mentioned, you should review the online website of the Dulles International Airport.  If, by chance, you do not find what you are looking for, you are urged to contact the airport’s customer service department. When taking an international flight, especially at an airport the size of Dulles International, you are advised against arriving without knowing what is in store for you.

Buyers Closing Cost, Recurring Closing Costs Usually Paid By The Buyer

Buyers, borrower, closing costs can be divided into two categories. Nonrecurring closing cost and recurring closing cost.

NCLOSING COSTSonrecurring closing costs on a one-time charge paid upon the close of escrow. Recruiting closing costs are peeping items that the buyer pays advance to help offset expenses that will continue as long as the but it only to property.

Nonrecurring closing cost usually paid by the buyer.

1. Loan ordination fee. A fee charged by a lender to cover the expenses of processing a loan. The fee is usually coded as a percentage of the loan amount

2. Appraisal fee. A fee charged by an appraiser for giving an estimate for property value. The fee for simple appraisal will vary throughout the state, with $350 or more being a typical charge for a single-family residence. Appraisal fees for income properties such as apartments or off his buildings are higher.FIGURES

3. Credit report fee. Before a lender grants a loan to borrowers credits is checked. Each lender, broker charges different amounts for a credit report.

4. Pest control inspection fee. A fee charged by a licensed inspector who checks for termites, fungus, pests, and other items that might cost structural damage.

5. Tax service fee. A fee paid to a tax service company that, for the life of the loan, each you can review the tax collectors records. If a borrower fails to pay the property taxes, the tax service company reported this to the lender, who can take steps to protect the loan against a tax foreclosure sale.

6. Recording fees. This covers the cost of recording the deep, deep of trust, and other buyer related documents.

LOAN 7. Notary fees. Signatures on documents to be recorded must be notarized.

8. Assumption fee. A fee paid to a lender if the buyer assumes the loan, that is, buyer agrees to take over and continue to pay the seller’s existing loan.

9.Title and escrow fees.

Recurring closing cost usually paid by the buyer.

1. Hazard insurance. A1-year premium for insurance against fire, storm, and other risks. The minimum coverage is the amount of the real estate loan, but buyers are advised to purchase a great amounts if they make large down payment toward the purchase price.

2. The proration. If the seller has prepaid the taxes, the buyer reimburses the seller for the prepaid portion.MORTGAGE

3. Tax and insurance reserves. This is also known as an impound account or trust account. If a borrower’s monthly loan payment is to include taxes and insurance, as well as principal and interest, the lender that sets up a reserve account. Depending upon the time of the year a lender or the one the borrower to prepay 1-6 months of taxes and insurance premiums in today’s reserve account. Once a reserve account is established, tax and insurance bills are forwarded to the lender for payment.

4. Interest due before the first loan payment.

Investing In Rental Properties, Tax Deductions To Consider

Own residential rental properties? This article discusses how income from those properties impacts your taxes.

DEDUCTIONSWhat Constitutes Revenue?

Generally, rental income is defined as any revenue you receive from the occupancy or use of residential property. Rent, obviously, is included in that revenue. Many owners are surprised to learn revenue also includes rent advancements, expenses paid by a tenant and any security deposits not returned to the tenant. In fact, revenue can also include amounts paid to cancel a lease, even if you had to sue the defendant to get it.

Yeah, Yeah, But What Can I Deduct?

Tax deductions associated with rental properties are strikingly similar to those found in any business. Technically, you can deduct any expense reasonably necessary to “manage, conserve or maintain” the property. Obvious deductions include mortgage payments, cleaning expenses, insurance premiums, service payments such as landscape maintenance, repairs, maintenance, etc. Overlooked rental property deductions include:EXPENSES

1. Expenses incurred in finding tenants,

2. Commissions paid to third parties that arrange for tenants,

3. Paying your accountant and/or lawyer,

4. Mileage for driving to and from the property [I said, “No more parties!”]

5. Depreciation of the property,

6. Depreciation of items in the property such as washing machines, furniture, etc.

Imaginary Rent Deduction

A few creative property owners have suggested that they should be able to deduct their customary and standard monthly rent if the property is empty. The argument goes, “If the property is empty, I am not making revenue TAX TIMEand should be able to deduct the $1,500 that I am missing out on.” At first glance, this almost makes sense. Sadly, it doesn’t fly from the perspective of the IRS. Since you are not receiving revenues, your total revenues for the year will be reduced by the loss rent. You can’t double dip by deducting the $1,500 from the already reduced yearly revenues. The only things you can deduct are the expenses you incur during this period, and only for so long as you are actively trying to rent the place.

Rental properties are a great investment. Even more so if you stay on top of your taxes.

Stopping Foreclosure – How To Stop Home Foreclosures

It’s easy to get behind on your bills. It happens even to the best of us sometimes. When it comes to mortgage payments though, getting behind can mean risking your home’s foreclosure. The best way to stop foreclosures FORECLOSUREis to avoid getting behind on your mortgage payments in the first place, but when circumstances prevent you from paying on time, what can you do? Where can you go?

The first thing to be sure to do, is be open and honest about what’s going on. Don’t try to hide from your lender, or ignore them. This will just give them reason to believe that you aren’t going to pay them back. You need to contact them and be open and honest about your financial situation.

Lenders do not want to foreclose. It is only a last resort for when they feel that you will not be able to pay them any other way. There are a few things you can do to stop foreclosure.

1)Reinstatement – This is when you negotiate to reinstate your behind payments by promising to repay later a lump sum to get back on track with your regular payment plan.

2)Forbearance – This is when you are allowed to hold off on payments for a while with a plan for later getting UPSIDE DOWNback on track with your payments.

3)Modification of the Mortgage – This is when the mortgage is re-negotiated for a new workable payment plan financed over a longer period of time and often smaller regular payments.

4)Selling your Home – This means losing your home, but it can certainly mean getting more money for your home than if you had a foreclosure. You would be given a time period to sell your home in order to pay off the rest of your loan to get out of debt.

5)Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure – This is when the lender and you agree that you will give up your home, and they will forgive the debt. This does not look good on your credit history, nor does it allow you to keep your home, but it is still much better than a foreclosure.

AVOIDAll of these foreclosure stopping methods depend on what your financial situation is in the present, what potential it has for the future, and whether you can negotiate a workable plan with your lender. It’s best to get all your financial documents in order, so that you can present your best possible case to your lender. If they see that there is good potential for you to pay them back, then they will certainly be willing to negotiate with you. You may end up paying higher interest rates over a longer period of repayment, but it’s certainly worth it if you can keep your home.

If you need help in the negotiation process, or getting your financial records in order to plead your case, there are many financial advisors that specialize in helping to stop foreclosures. STOPFinancial advisors can be your savior if you don’t know where to start when it comes to negotiations. If you are going to seek an advisor for help, be sure that they are working on results. That means don’t pay them any fees up front. Foreclosure advisors that know what they’re doing, will only take payment if they do the job for you successfully.