If working with a real estate appraiser feels like a frustrating and complicated matter, you’re not alone. There’s a reason it feels as though your appraiser is keeping something from you and that’s because he or she is keeping secrets. Here are a few things you probably didn’t know about your appraiser.
- Appraisers are Under Pressure
When the housing bubble burst a few years ago and created the Great Recession, mortgage lenders weren’t the only ones that took the heat. Appraisers also came under fire and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Protection Act of 2010 now requires the government to keep a closer eye on all real estate appraisers. This is why the process is so much more complex and takes more time.
- Appraisers are No Longer Local
Those same reforms have created a situation in which appraisers are often sent to regions with which they have no familiarity. Since they don’t know the markets that are local to the properties they’re appraising, their estimates may be either too low or too high. This can keep a homeowner from getting the true value for their home and, conversely, can prevent a buyer from affording a home that should be within their range.
- Who Does the Appraiser Really Work For?
In a normal home-buying scenario, the buyer pays the fee for the appraiser, which can fall anywhere within the $350 to $500 range. Even so, the appraiser doesn’t work for you and his reports go directly to the lender. This means that neither the buyer nor the seller will likely see the appraisal firsthand. According to federal law, you have to be given a copy of the appraisal, if you submit a written request for it. However, most people aren’t aware of the law, so they never see the appraisal for which they paid.
- Always Get a Second Opinion
It can be beneficial to get an appraisal of your own in advance, so you’ll have something to compare to the official appraiser’s findings. This can be fairly simple by asking your real estate agent to deliver a broker’s price opinion. While your lender may not accept the broker’s opinion in place of the appraisal, it does provide that point of reference. A difference in estimates can end up saving you as much as $20,000 on a home purchase.
Appraisers won’t tell you everything about their jobs. This is partly because they have to react to pressure from banks and that affects every appraisal. By staying alert and seeking outside advice, you may be able to better ensure your appraisal is fair and on point with the area market.
The most obvious way to capitalize on the current booming housing market is to invest in traditional real estate opportunities. However, there is a myriad of other ways to grow your wealth through real estate by going through less risky back channels. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
EXPLORE NEW HOME CONSTRUCTION: Limited inventory of existing homes has led to an even bigger boom in the new home construction sector. Real estate experts expect this trend to continue for decades to come, making this industry sector a safe bet for your investment dollars.
PUT MONEY INTO REAL ESTATE FUNDS: As the stock market continues to see unprecedented growth, many financial experts are recommending investing in both real estate focused exchange-traded funds (ETF), as well as real estate specific mutual funds. By diversifying your accounts across a wide range of real estate markets, you will mitigate risk and have the opportunity to jump into emerging global housing markets.
LOOK ONLINE FOR OPPORTUNITIES: In today’s high tech market, digital is king. The real estate industry has not been left out of this trend and it seems like new online real estate companies are popping up every day. To capitalize on this emerging market, it would be wise to look into investing your real estate dollars into commercial and residential markets while receiving cash flow dividends in return.
INVEST IN A REAL ESTATE SPECIFIC COMPANY: Savvy investors often look to bypass the traditional real estate investments, instead choosing to place their funds into companies focused on real estate. Some examples of this type of company would be classic residential real estate companies, resorts, and timeshares.
REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT TRUSTS: These REIT’s are a popular way to put your money into this strong housing market without having to hold any physical property. This strategy is also an ideal way for novices to the field of real estate to get their feet wet and learn about the market without taking on the risk of buying property or having to learn how to be a property manager. Because REIT’s are required by law to provide a minimum of 90 percent of their taxable income to shareholder dividends, investors are guaranteed cash flow.
Mark Twain famously advised, “Buy land, they’re not making it anymore.” For most of modern history, this has been sage advice. Now, more than ever, following this advice can often lead to big investment returns.
The stock market has seen a nine-year run up. Many experts expect a correction. Cryptocurrency has been hot, but it’s speculative and risky. Bitcoin and its brethren are no place to park money you are counting on for the future. What if you want more safety but a decent, predictable return?
Real estate investing provides the perfect solution. It provides real returns without the risk of a chunk of your cash disappearing overnight. However, many potential investors fail to realize that you can get started in real estate with as little as a few hundred dollars.
As noted in an article on Penny Hoarder, real estate starter portfolios, such as the Fundrise Starter Portfolio, have investment minimums of just $500, at a time. Investors buy shares of a diverse real estate portfolio that encompasses rental properties, land investments, commercial real estate, and other large projects. Investors have access to a dashboard that shows the properties they are invested in and their performance. The Fundrise Starter Portfolio pays a quarterly dividend and enjoyed an 11.44 percent gain in 2017.
For small investors who want direct ownership, raw land offers big opportunities. The price is generally cheap, and so is the ongoing costs of ownership, as explained by Fortune Builders writer JD Esajian. Property taxes can be as little as $100 per year. You are free to develop the land or sell it at a profit. Many raw land deals can be funded with just a few thousand dollars or less. Buyers should always beware if the land comes with any covenants or restrictions and consider only buying land unencumbered by a homeowners’ association. For example, a neighborhood association could restrict certain types of development or require development by a certain date. They can also prevent you from selling your land or force you to sell it.
Those enjoy being hands-on do well with fix-and-flip investment properties. Many lenders provide loans based on the after repaired value, which, if you find the right property, can mean $0 down and even cash in your pocket to fund the improvements. If being this hands on doesn’t interest you, you can get in on the lending side. Many private lenders are seeking investors with investment minimums of just a few thousand.
If you’re a first-time homeowner new to property renovation, the idea of fixing up your outdated home is probably extremely intimidating. The professionals on all of those home improvement shows make the demolition and renovation process look so quick, easy, and painless, but you’re smart enough to know it isn’t that simple. For those who are unsure of how to start their first property renovation, this article will give you a few tips on how you can make your home remodel simpler, cheaper, and less stressful.
Get to Know Your Builder
If you’ve never renovated a home before, it’s best to sit down with a builder or an architect to better flesh out how you want your home to look. Additionally, are you planning on flipping this home in the near future, or do you want to settle down in this house and raise a family? Your builder will bring his or her experience to your project, and help you find ways to renovate your home so that it suits your needs.
Your builder will also help you plan ahead and keep your family and pets safe during your first home rebuild. For example, if you’re re-doing your home’s plumbing and need to shut the water off for an afternoon, your builder will notify you well in advance so that you can make the appropriate arrangements.
Stick to Your Budget
Creating and maintaining a budget is the most effective way to ensure that your home renovation will actually add value to your life, instead of leaving you in financial ruin with a partially remodeled property.
One rule of thumb to keep in mind is that your home renovation will always be more expensive than you anticipate. Experts suggest that you should save at least 20% more than your projected budget to cover unanticipated emergencies or hidden costs.
Think About Comfort
One thing first-time renovators often overlook is the idea of comfort during their rebuild. A good question to always ask yourself is, “How can I make my home more comfortable?”
Comfort doesn’t always have to be about adding high-end appliances or fixtures in your home. Instead, comfort can be as simple as making sure you have enough electrical outlets in your living room, or that you’ve got the right lighting in your kitchen for meal-time socializing. As you progress in your first property renovation, always be thinking about adding comfort to your new space.
Investing in real estate meanings putting the money you have today to work for tomorrow. Simply put, real estate is a business that requires a healthy dose of foreknowledge, confidence in your research, and skill in assessing the lucrative real estate markets of today and tomorrow. The revenue you make on your return must be enough to cover things like taxes and the cost of owning real estate investments like paying for utilities, maintenance, and insurance.
Basically, real estate is the real world equivalent to monopoly. But just because the concept is easy to grasp doesn’t mean that the industry is easy to excel in. Below are a few helpful tips for those who are novices in real estate investing.
Deciphering the best cities and bustling towns to start investing in real estate is crucial. If you can develop the foreknowledge it takes to scope out lucrative areas, then you are already off to the best possible start. An old real estate investing adage is to look for the worst house on the best street. Why? Well, a good location provides strong potential for tourism, and “fixer-upper” property allows you to buy low, invest your money into renovating and upgrading, and then sell for a price that reflects your renovations.
The 1% Rule
If you plan on purchasing a property that you’ll rent out to one or more tenants, then you should utilize the 1% rule.
The 1% Rule states that an income producing property must produce 1% of the price it costs you every month. For example, if you buy a property for $150,000, then the monthly rental income should be 150,000 x 1% = $1,500. Simple enough, right? Well, the true skill in this area comes from searching out and capitalizing on properties that are conducive to the 1% rule.
Appreciation is when the land and market around you goes up due to an outside factor in the community. A major new shopping mall, city upgrades, and even the investments you put into your properties that make it more appealing to potential buyers all help produce appreciation. While extremely lucrative, this is one of the riskiest elements of real estate investing, and caution should be taken when playing the tricky game of real estate appreciation.
Real estate investing is a great industry to enter into, and simple as it may be in its description, the application of it is something that requires skill and precision. However, difficult as it can be, implementing these three steps will prove to be extremely useful for you in the long run.