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Posts tagged ‘Fort Myers Homes’

Good Home Buying Tips

Welcome to the home buying market! This is an exciting time to be purchasing a home, with an array of new homes coming onto the market these is some excellent value to be found. All it takes is a little time and effort in looking and you can find your dream home for a dream price. But you should always be a smart buyer. There are those out there that will take advantage of someone who is eager to buy so, if you do your homework; the deals will follow.

The first thing you should do is get your finances in order. This involves finding out your credit score, fixing any outstanding issues affecting your credit, ensuring that these are properly released from your report, and finally securing your mortgage before you start looking. When I say secure your finances I do mean being pre-approved fully, this is different from a pre-qualification in that a pre-qualification does not “secure” you any amount of money, it is simply a judgment of whether or not you qualify to receive a mortgage.

Next, start working with a realtor that knows the area you are looking to buy in. This is a huge step so be prepared to move from merely wanting a home, to actively looking for one. Sit down with your realtor and make a list of things you require in a home. This is a list of those things that you can absolutely not be without. Once this is compiled, then list the things that you would like. With these lists ready, its time to start looking at homes. Your realtor should be able to provide you with a complete list of homes that fit your criteria, and some that come close. Also, they will be able to guide you to properties that fit your pre-approved mortgage amount.

After finding a home or homes that suit you make sure to have a certified inspector take a thorough look through the home. Have them check all questionable areas of the home. Don’t forget to have the inspector check for mold as this is something that is often overlooked. If the home passes the inspection than carry on with the offer if you are so inclined. If it doesn’t then either continue shopping, or utilize the necessary repairs as a bargaining point. Usually you should be able to have the cost of these repairs deducted from the cost of the home. It’s a good idea to bring in your own contractor or expert to get these estimates. By doing this you know that everything is above-board.

Buying a home is a huge process and one that you must be careful to handle with all due care and attention. Such an important investment can benefit you financially for years to come as well as providing safety and financial security. Don’t sell yourself short on what you buy as your home. After all, your family deserves the best don’t they?

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FSBO Tip – Don’t Do It

My Number one FSBO Tip? Don’t sell it yourself! A “FSBO,” or house “for sale by owner” can sell fast, and for as much as it would have if listed with a real estate agent. Sometimes – but not normally. Consider the following ten points.

 1. Buyers work with agents. Most look at MLS listings. Sell it yourself, and they won’t see or hear about your home. How do you find that “right” buyer or get top dollar when you’re invisible to most of the market?

 2. Your FSBO will get lower offers. Naturally, the buyer thinks you’ll take less because you’re saving the commission! Save a $10,000 commission, get $10,000 less – where’s the advantage in that?

 3. Advertising is expensive. The costs the real estate office normally pays are yours if you sell it yourself. How much could you spend on ads if it takes a year to sell?    4. They have the resources. And you don’t. Agents have books of sold properties to look at, for example, to determine the best price for your home. You can dig through county records, but you do have to value your time too, right?

 5. They know the market. What’s the target market for your house? Young couples, retirees? What features do they want? You should know these things before you write your ads. An experienced real estate salesperson will know.

 6. They know the laws. What about written disclosures, and who pays for the real estate transfer tax? When you sell it yourself you don’t get to ignore the laws.

 7. Are you a good salesperson? Can you develop rapport and properly answer objections? Could your defensiveness scare off a buyer who criticizes your home? Think back on your own purchases, and you’ll realize that a good salesperson makes a difference.

 8. Paperwork. Will you help the buyer properly fill out an offer to purchase? An agent would. Do you have the other closing documents ready?

 9. Agents negotiate for you. When did you last learn a new negotiating technique? Can you counter-offer without scaring off a buyer? A good salesperson is trained in these skills.

 10. You may not save anything. The documents, newspaper advertising, signs for the yard – it’s all your expense when you sell it yourself. After your hard work, you may get low offers and negotiate poorly. Honestly, sellers often net less money from the sale when they try to save the commission.

Most “FSBO” sellers eventually turn to a real estate agent for help. You could learn the things an agent does, but is it worth it to spend all that time and maybe not even save any money? Don’t sell it yourself unless you really know what you’re doing. That’s my number one FSBO tip.

Four Real Estate Investment Tips, that you can learn from Warren Buffet, and other Stock Investors

Some of the most successful stock investors ever have based their investing principles on value investing. Investors such as Benjamin Graham, Irving Kahn, and Warren Buffet, have used value investing to build vast empires of wealth.

Value investing was conceived by Benjamin Graham, and David Dodd, in their classic book, “Security Analysis”, written in 1934. Although they were talking about stocks, there is still a lot to be learnt from value investing that can be applied to other investment vehicles. This article will show four things that real-estate investors can learn from value investing…

1: Investing vs Speculating – In value investing, it’s important to make the distinction between being an investor, and being a speculator. In “Security Analysis”, it is defined as this:

“An investment operation is one which, upon thorough analysis promises safety of principle and an adequate return. Operations not meeting these requirements are speculative”.

So, there are 3 things needed for something to be an investment: – You need to have done thorough analysis. – You need to be reasonably sure that you won’t lose your money. – You need to be reasonably sure that you will make some money.

In terms of real-estate, this means that just buying and selling real-estate, does NOT make you an investor. If you’re buying properties at random, just because there is a boom and all property is going up in value, you are not investing. You are speculating.

There is nothing wrong with speculating, you just need to be aware when you are speculating, versus when you are investing.

2: Value vs Quality – Value Investing doesn’t really have any formulas, or rules. It is more of a theory, with some general principles. Because of this, there are many ways to do value investing, and different ways to apply it.

Benjamin Graham focused on buying stocks significantly below value, with little emphasis in the quality of the stock, in regards to their long term prospects.

This can be a useful strategy for a real estate investor, particularly when they are first starting out, and need to build up equity fast.

Warren Buffet still looks at the value of a stock, but puts a lot more emphasis on the quality of the stock. He only buys stocks that he thinks have good long-term prospects, with a bright future in front of them.

This is generally a good strategy for real-estate investors to move to later on, when they have built up their portfolio. Long term, well-chosen property will make significantly more capital growth than poorly chosen property, and may be worth buying even if it can only be bought at market value.

And with commercial real estate investment, it may be worth getting a lower rental yield, if this means you can have a high quality tenant, who will pay the rent reliably. This is a strategy that famous New Zealand commercial real estate investor Bob Jones has applied, with great success.

3: Margin Of Safety -“One of the most important principles in value investing is a margin of safety”.

Margin of Safety is the idea of making sure that you only invest if your calculations show that there is a significant profit to be made. There is no way your analysis can be 100% accurate, so the margin of safety gives you a buffer, to use when your calculations are slightly off, or you get worse than average luck, or any number of unexpected problems occur.

So when estimating the value of a stock, you use conservative estimates for earnings etc, to come up with the value. If your estimated value comes in at $10, then you don’t buy the stock if it’s currently selling for $9.75, because it’s too risky, and if your calculations are off, you wont be buying a bargain. If the price is currently $6 though, you might buy it, because you have a $4 margin of safety to use if you estimated incorrectly.

The same principle applies to real-estate.

Suppose you are looking at a deal, and you find you can buy some land for $100,000 and you can build a 4-bedroom house on it for $150,000.

If new 4-bedroom houses in the area are selling for $270,000 then should you do the deal? Theoretically, it will only cost you $250,000 to buy/build with a sale at $270,000 so you should make $20,000 profit.

But that isn’t much margin of safety. What if building costs blow out, and it cost more than $150,000 to build? What if you can’t sell it straight away so you have some holding costs? What if the other 4-bedroom houses in the area have much better kitchens than you realized, and you can actually only sell for $245,000?

There are a lot of unknowns here, and because your margin of safety is so small, unless everything goes right, you can quickly find yourself making a loss.

If on the other hand, 4-bedroom houses in the area are selling for $350,000 then you have a projected profit of $100,000. You can afford for a lot of things to go wrong, and you can still make a profit.

In the first case, if building costs go up by $50,000, the deal will cost you $30,000.

In the second case, because you have a much larger margin of safety, if building costs go up by $50,000 then you will still make a profit of $50,000.

Margin of Safety is a very important concept to all investors, and all real estate investors should think about it if they want to be around for the long-term.

4: The myth of Risk vs reward – Conventual wisdom says that to increase your reward in investing, you must increase your risk. This is often true, but the Magen of Safety principle can turn this around.

When margin of safety is used, a higher reward actually means a lower risk!

You can see this is the example above. The deal that is projected to make $20,000 is quite risky, whereas the deal with a projected profit of $100,000 is much safer, because a lot more can go wrong before a loss is made.

This doesn’t mean than high reward always means lower risk though. The conventual Risk vs Reward wisdom is still correct in general. So if you borrow more to buy a property, your risk and reward have increased. If you buy in a small town to get a higher rental yield, your risk and reward have increased.

This Risk vs Reward theory is only incorrect when directly applied to the Margin Of Safety concept. So if you buy something for $100,000 that all your analysis shows is worth $200,000, then your reward has gone up, while your risk has gone down.

Pre-Approval Letter – How To Use It To Get Your Dream Home

When house hunting, many buyers make the mistake of waiting to contact a lender until after they have located their dream home. As a buyer, you will be in a much stronger position with a seller if you are pre-approved.

Pre-Approval Letter

To effectively house hunt, you must know the amount you can borrow from a lender. There is nothing worse than find your dream home, but failing to qualify for the amount you need for a loan. Avoid this by asking your lender to pull your credit information and to let you know what needs to be done to get a pre-approval letter. If you are going to have problems with getting a loan, it is better to know about it as early as possible.

Sometimes buyers resist contacting lenders because it’s not the enjoyable part of home buying and they’re afraid an extra credit check will reduce their credit score. This resistance is penny wise and pound foolish. Buyers who get their loan arrangements lined up at the beginning of the house buying process are really doing themselves a favor.

Much of the country is experiencing a hot, sellers’ market. It is not unusual for a seller to get more than one offer on the same day. If that happens to you, your pre-approved status can give you an edge over the competition. In fact, it can make a seller choose you over another bidder.

Presenting Your Letter to a Seller

When you tell the seller you want to buy their property, give them a copy of your pre-approval letter. They will probably recognize the value of the letter, but don’t depend on this assumption. Make sure the seller realizes the loan is already approved.

As you give the seller the letter, explain to them that you are serious about making the transaction go smoothly and, for that reason, you have already been through most of the loan application process. Point out that the lender has pulled your credit info and you’ve provided copies of W-2s, pay stubs, and all the other things the lender needed to decide that you do qualify for a loan. Tell the seller that the only remaining thing to do is to give the lender a copy of the contract that you and the seller sign, and the property needs to appraise for an appropriate amount.

Taking this approach puts you in a very strong position. The seller knows you are not just wishing; you are capable of buying his property. One of a seller’s worst nightmares is signing a contract with someone, taking his property off the market, wasting time and then finding out that the would-be buyer cannot get a loan. On the other hand, you and your pre-approval letter are dreams come true.

Put on your shining armor and get pre-approved by a lender. Once you have the letter in hand, get out there and find your dream home.

How to Learn More about Your International Airport

When scheduling a flight, whether that flight be domestic or international, all passengers are advised to familiarize themselves with the airport that they will be flying out of, as well as the airline that they will be flying with.  Unfortunately, not all air travelers know how to go about doing this. If you are looking to familiarize yourself with international airlines or airports, namely the ones that you will be using, you will find that you have a number of different options.

Perhaps, the best way to learn more about an international airport is to use the internet to your advantage. You can do this by performing a standard internet search. You will want to search with the name of the international airport that you would like more information on.  For instance, if you are looking for more information on Des Moines International Airport, you will want to search with the words Des Moines Airport or International Airport. Whichever international airport you search for, it is likely that your search will return a number of results. One of those results should be the online website run by the airport in question.

Once at the online website for an international airport, you will find that you now have access to an unlimited amount of information; information that you were likely looking to obtain. Although all online websites will vary, you will find that most airline websites display the same information. This information may include, but should not be limited to, information on incoming and outgoing flights, air travel rules, shops and other dining establishments, parking, airport directions, and terminal locations.  You are advised to examine all of the information on the site, regardless of whether or not you feel that you need to know it.

As previously mentioned, it is likely that your internet search will return a number of different results. In addition to the airport’s online website, you will also find sites that discuss the airport in question.  Many times, these websites are operated by travelers who frequently use the international airport being discussed. You may be able to find detailed information on low-cost dining or information on quick and easy ways to maneuver around the airport.  While this information may be useful to you, it is important to remember that it is not guaranteed. For the best information, you are advised to examine the online website operated and monitored by airport staff.

In addition to using the internet, you should also be able to obtain information on the airport in question by directly contacting them. If you are researching a local international airport, you should be able to find the contact information for that airport in your local phone book.  When contacting an international airport for general information on their services and features, you will want to try to reach the customer service department. Customer service representatives should be willing to answer your question, where as the maintenance department will likely be unable to assist you.

Although not all international airports recommend it, you could also learn more about the international airport that you will be using by visiting it. If you live within a reasonable driving distance to the airport or if you are in the area for another reason, you may want to quickly stop by. While this is a great way to familiarize yourself with the airport, you will not have access to all areas. All airports have restrictions when it comes to security checkpoints, passengers without boarding passes are not allowed past them.  Stopping by the airport, may enable you to scope out the parking situations, as well as obtain informational brochures on the airport, if they are available. 

When it comes to international airport shopping, parking, or dining, you may also be able to receive recommendations or tips from those that you know, especially those that have flown out of the international airport in question before.  Regardless of where you get your information from, you will find that are an unlimited number of benefits to knowing everything that you can know about the international airport that you will be using.

Wireless Alarms For Your Driveway

Those of you who want to protect your home from possible annoyances and intrusions, never miss out on a home delivery, or always be aware of someone coming up your driveway – should invest in a wireless driveway alarm.  There are a variety of different styles, with each one offering you a truly unique and innovative way to keep up with what’s going on around your property.

You can get either wireless or handheld models, which vary in detection ranges, from the average 1,000 feet for small driveways to the larger driveways which span 2 miles or more.  Some models will warn you of visitors with tones, while others use prerecorded messages.  The more advanced models on the other hand, well you communicate with visitors through the use of an intercom system, which you install at the end of your driveway.

All types of wireless driveway alarms feature a receiver and a transmitter.  Any presence in your driveway is detected by the transmitter, normally through infrared equipment, which notifies you through the receiver.  Most models will allow you to speak through the receiver, transmitting your voice through the transmitter.  If a solicitor or burglary is trying to visit your home, your voice is normally all it takes to turn them around in the other direction.

Even though the technical name is “wireless driveway alarm”, there are several uses for this technology.  You can install the equipment in your yard, out of plain view, or even use the system as an intercom for anyone who pulls up to your gate.  You can also install the system on your roof, or just use it strategically around your property.  There are several uses for wireless systems, although the intention is to alert you when there is any type of human presence or movement on your property.

When you set up your wireless driveway system, you should always place it somewhere where it isn’t easy to see.  You don’t want someone who visits your property to have plain view of your equipment, as it can easily give you away.  Instead, you want to make sure that you are alert of any visitors, yet they aren’t aware that you are using any type of alarms.

Depending on how much money you have to spend, the systems that you can choose from will vary.  There are simple wireless driveway alarms out there, yet there are also systems that can do just about anything you want.  If you live in a suburban area, you may want to go with a standard wireless alarm.  Standard alarms are best for this type of neighborhood, as they are easy to install and will immediately alert you whenever there is presence on your property.  Another great thing about these types of systems is the fact that you can act immediately without having to physically be in touch with the receiver.

All in all, wireless driveway alarms are a great security measure for anyone who owns a home and wants to protect themselves from unwanted visitors.  You can get a slew of features as well, depending on the type of alarm that you select.  You can install most alarms yourself, although the more advanced models will require professional installation.  The self installation types will come with instructions as well, so you won’t encounter any problems.  Even if you’ve never used them before – wireless driveway alarms are a great investment that will alert you anytime someone decides to visit your property.

Tips For Stopping Spraying

Anytime your cat backs himself up to a door or other object in your house, lifts his tail, and releases urine – you have a problem.  This problem is known as spraying, and is very common with cats kept indoors.  Even though it is a very annoying problem, it’s a problem that can be solved. 

Contrary to what many think, spraying isn’t a litter box problem, but rather a problem with marking.  Cat urine that is sprayed contains pheromones, which is a substance that cats and other animals use for communicating.  Pheromones are much like fingerprints with humans, as they are used to identify the cat to other animals.

When a cat sprays something, he is simply marking his territory through his urine.  The spraying is simply the cat’s way of letting others know that the territory is his.  Even though it may make you mad and annoy you, getting angry with your cat will solve nothing.  If you raise your voice or show angry towards your cat, it can very well result in more spraying.

Cats that are in heat are easily attracted to the odor of urine.  For cats in heat, spraying is more or less an invitation for love.  Often times cats that spray while in heat results in a litter of kittens that are born in just a few short months.  Keep in mind that cats not only spray during heat, as some will also spray during encounters with other cats, or when they are feeling stressed.

Although spraying is a way of communicating for cats, the smell for people is horrible.  The good thing here is that most cats will do a majority of their spraying outdoors.  If you have an indoor cat that never goes outside, spraying can indeed be a problem.  If you’ve noticed spraying in your home, you should take action and do something about it immediately.

The most effective and also the easiest way to stop spraying is to have your cat either neutered or spade, which of course depends on the sex.  Most male cats that have been neutered will stop spraying the same day they have the surgery. If you don’t want to get your cat neutered or spayed, you should look into other options.  If you hope to one day breed your cat, you certainly don’t want to have him neutered or spayed.

The best thing to do in this situation is to talk to your veterinarian.  He will be able to give you advice, and possibly even solve the problem without having surgery.  There may be a medical problem present that is causing the problem, which your vet can identify.  You should always do something about spraying the moment it starts – simply because cat urine stinks and it can leave stains all over your home.