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May 2016

Before Buying Size Your Residential Real Estate Needs

Before Buying Size Your Residential Real Estate NeedsThe largest investments we make in our lives are often the hardest to refund, that’s why it is really important to figure out what you need and then move on with your search. If we talk about the big investments, one thing that people spend their whole life’s hard-earned money is real estate. No matter whether you are extremely rich or a common man saving every penny to buy a home for his family, you can’t afford to make an impulsive decision and turn your moment of joy into remorse by settling down for something you never wanted. It is crucial to know about the options you have before taking a plunge into home buying, for they say half of your search completes when you are sure about what kind of home you are looking for. The list of the options that any average home seeker can look for in the real estate market includes:

Newly Constructed Home

What could be better that designing each and every detail of your dream home yourself? Planning your house yourself give you the leverage of choosing every little thing from layout of the structure to the color of the cabinet, which is one of the most dominant reasons why the culture of newly constructed house is increasing day by day. The major drawback that comes along buying a brand new constructed house is the list of unplanned expenses that occur meanwhile the construction.

Condominiums

Condominiums are the individual flats located in a multi-story building. The condominium building generally has its own recreation centers, parks, shopping hubs and is governed by an association that determines the monthly fee and takes care of the maintenance and improvement of the building. The major drawback of living in a condominium is the lack of privacy and increased depreciation during a housing- market downturn.

Townhouses

Vertically joined in a row with other similar looking houses, townhouses are perfect for the people who are seeking for the privacy of a single family apartment along with the exterior maintenance of a condo. Townhouses are generally located in the vicinity of schools and parks. They are bit cheaper compared to the condominiums and newly built houses but will not be the right choice if you are overly sensitive about noise coming from the adjacent shared wall.

Foreclosure Property

Foreclosure properties are known to be an inexpensive alternative for the people looking for a previously owned home that require minor repairs and modifications. A foreclosure property is also known as Real Estate Owned property and is often owned by the lender as the previous owner defaulted on paying back loan. Foreclosure properties are usually up to 65% below the market and are considered to be best deals on the market.

Second Homes

The second home is a secret hideaway people buy to get away from the standardization of life and spend a week or two into the woods away from the hustle and bustle of town. The second or vacation homes are difficult to maintain as there is no one to look after the repairs and maintenance of the house when you are away.

Now that you have a brief idea about some of the real estate options available for a home buyer, figure out what kind of house you want and plan your search accordingly. Buying real estate is not a small step but with lots of knowledge and right guidance you can make the most out of your investment.

Apartment or House

Apartment or HouseApartment is defined as, a set of rooms which have all the facilities like a house. The major types of apartment are studio apartment, bedroom apartment, duplex, lofts, garden apartment. If I was asked where I would I prefer to live in a traditional house or in a modern apartment building, I think, I would hesitate to answer. This question, from my point of view, is a controversial one. In the following paragraphs I will analyze both these options and present my view.

It’s everyone’s dream to have a comfortable place to live. As the majority of people say, I want to get an attractive house someday, but unluckily it is not so easy to get because it is very costly. But there are several differences between owning a house and renting an apartment. The first difference is the noise. If you are renting an apartment and you are a noisy person, it is very painful for the rest of the people who live with you. For example if you are always playing melodic instruments, listening to loud music and cleaning the house with noisy machines you are really troubling the other people and I’m sure that you wouldn’t want to be in their place. But also, in a lot of cases the noise depends on if the owner permits it or not. In contrast, owning a house is more comfortable if you are a noisy person because you are the owner and responsible for all the things of your house and you don’t have to care of disturbing someone. For example, if you are the owner of the house you are free to even have a noisy party or whatever you want because it is your house. The second and most important difference for me is about the policy. When you live in an apartment, you have to comply with the owner’s policy. For example, you have to ask for him or her if you are free to have visitors, pets, parties, etc. On the other hand, when you rent an apartment, you are not as free as you are when you are the owner of a house to do whatever you want. In contrast, owning a house permits you to be free without caring that someone is dissatisfied with your ideas and decisions about your house. In this case you can paint your house, buy a big tape recorder or do all the things that you want. In conclusion, I prefer owning a house that is better than renting an apartment because I can be free to do whatever I want, without policy and it gives me more sovereignty and relieve.

From the one side, living in a modern apartment building brings many paybacks. First of all, it is cheaper than living in a traditional house and paying different kinds of fees I am not familiar with. For instance, my buddy, who recently bought a new house for his family, told me that it is much easier to live in an apartment and I tend to believe him when I see his bills. So, living in an apartment will definitely help me to save some money. Second of all, since I live alone, I do not need a big house with many rooms. I just need a bedroom and a living room where I can take my guests and have my work place. Another important benefit of living in an apartment is that I will not have to buy much weighty furniture in order to furnish all rooms.

 

The Current State of Foreign Buyers of UK Homes

The Current State of Foreign Buyers of UK HomesWhat happens abroad affects regular Brits at home – more specifically, the price of the homes they wish to buy. Blame it on the stability of the UK economy.

For a number of years it has been well documented that rich Russians, Chinese, Saudis and others from outside the UK have been buying up pricy real estate in London. That has actually expanded to cities elsewhere in England. And with the outcome of the May 2015 elections, combined with continued instability abroad, that trend may not reverse itself for some time.

And it does affect ordinary citizens in the UK. Part of what drives up the cost of real estate throughout London has been the extreme degree to which the most expensive homes in Central London are sold to foreigners, almost all for cash seeking a safe, stable haven. In September 2014, The Telegraph reported that 20% of buyers in Westminster, Kensington and the City of London were sold to people from Russia, Italy, France and the Middle East. Among the top boroughs favoured by foreign buyers were Camden, Islington and Hammersmith and Fulham.

Most maddening to native residents of Great Britain is the report that 60,000 of these homes in London sit empty. Few of those buyers actually live here as they hold those properties as financial assets. One estate agent told The Telegraph that some developers are specifically building at very high luxury levels specifically to attract these buyers; the average price for prime property in Central London reached £4.7 million as of the middle of 2014.

At mid-price levels at city’s edge and elsewhere in England and Wales, developers are building homes that are affordable to the middle class. This helps fill the yawning gap of the UK’s housing shortage, particularly where homes are needed to house families near emerging companies outside London. That said, The Daily Mail reported in October 2014, “some Chinese buyers who can pay in cash are touring northern towns to find investment opportunities. Experts fear this trend will force up prices for ordinary families.”

In the run-up to the May election, the Labour party spoke of a mansion tax that might diminish foreign interest in buying in the UK. But with that party’s loss, the idea of this type of tax was trounced as well. Estate agents who work with overseas buyers reported an immediate surge of interest on the very night the election results were reported.

Global events play a role in this. Sanctions against the Russians for their aggressive tactics in Crimea and the Ukraine have had an effect. International sanctions against the country in 2014 have challenged the rouble, making those purchasers more expensive to the oligarchs and “medium rich,” who, on the margins, might retract their buying.

However, many argue it should be in commercial property or residential development instead of finished residences that go unoccupied. The Cameron government will undoubtedly wrestle with this question in the years to come.

Investors need to consider what asset classes fit their overall wealth strategies and objectives. The most objective advice can be found with independent financial advisors.

How to Hire a Contractor to Do Work in Your Home

How to Hire a Contractor to Do Work in Your HomeAn important aspect of hiring a contractor to do work in your home is to understand what permits, special requirements or licensure are required for each job. Once that’s understood, you can know whether it’s best to hire a licensed contractor or a handyman.

REFERRALS
Be sure to ask for referrals and references and know the relationship of those referring parties to the contractor. Ask for pictures of installations on similar jobs that have been performed for others and give those referring parties a call or visit to ask how the work was performed, the attitude during the job, coming in on budget and wrapping up on time. Discover if there are any negative remarks online or with the BBB. Be sure he or she is qualified to handle the scope and type of work needed, especially with regard to special conditions such as lead based paint, asbestos, mold, etc.

IDENTITY
If the home is occupied, if personal items are stored there or is otherwise notid_verified vacant, be sure to qualify your contractor if he’s unknown to you through online services such as mysmartmove.com or others. Get a copy of the contractors driver’s license and have him sign a w-9 to include his social security number. If you’re an investor and renovations are common for you, you may want to investigate the Verify Photo ID app recommended by Inman News.

CONTRACT
Next, execute an Independent Contractor Agreement with your contractor. Be certain it has no verbiage or requirements to suggest the contractor is an employee of yours.

PHASES
Now is the time to outline and understand the three phases of the renovation. The initial Phase One is paid on day 1 of the job. The subsequent draws for Phases Two and Three should be paid by the week, on a Monday or Tuesday. In constructing the phases, the contractor should budget for each item and any overages or misquote is the responsibility of the contractor, not the homeowner. Make sure your agreement covers things such as milestones, and outlines the scope and sequence of the work to be completed. The contract should include the description of all work, and condition of Customer Satisfaction such as all items completed in a workman like manner, job site left clean and tidy daily, and no items incomplete.

MATERIALS
Ideally the home owner should have chosen paint colors, sheens, types for each space, cabinets, granite and whatever materials will be used in the project at the source. Have your Independent Contractor pay for those materials and have that provider deliver the materials to the job site, then reimburse the contractor immediately – this strategy avoids any appearance of establishing an employee/employer relationship. Do not pay for routine tools and supplies the contractor uses in his everyday business such as paint brushes, ladders, tarps, etc.

UPDATES
If you’re not the owner occupant at the job site, require the contractor to provide daily pictures and videos of each phase when complete before scheduling a personal inspection and before payment on that phase is released. An investor can use this in the future or marketing.

COMPLETION
In exchange for the final payment the homeowner should sign off that he is satisfied with the job, and the independent contractor should sign that he is releasing all liens in exchange for final payment.