Financing with an Interest Only Mortgage

Interest only mortgages are a relatively new phenomenon in the re-financing industry as well as the home buying industry. While the appeal of an interest only mortgage is typically a greater monthly cash flow, this increased cash flow can come with a hefty price tag. In exchange for more cash flow each month, the homeowner may be sacrificing the ability to obtain a fixed rate mortgage as well as the ability to build equity. This article will further examine these features to provide the reader with more information on the subject of interest only mortgages.

Greater Monthly Cash Flow

The one main advantage for many homeowners in an interest only mortgage is the ability to increase monthly cash flow. Homeowners who re-finance by utilizing an interest only mortgage will likely have more money available each month because they will only be paying interest on their mortgage initially. The reduction of the principal payment can make it easier for the homeowner to either afford a larger house or have the ability to live more extravagantly on their budget. However, there is often a significant price to pay for these types of re-financing options.

While interest only loans may not be ideal, they can be beneficial in the situation where the homeowner is having a great deal fulfilling his monthly obligations. In this case, the homeowner may be willing to sacrifice an overall financial loss for the ability to continue to pay monthly bills in a timely fashion.

Unknown Risks of an ARM

Interest only re-finance loans are typically offered with an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) this means the interest rate is not fixed and may fluctuate with the rise and fall of the prime index. This risk can be quite costly for the homeowner if the interest rate rises significantly. There is usually a cap placed on the amount, in terms of percentage, the interest rate can rise in a certain period but this can still be a very costly mistake for the homeowners.

An ARM re-finance option with an interest only component may be worthwhile in some situations. For example if the homeowner has a hybrid mortgage which features a fixed interest rate during the interest only portion and an ARM during the principal and interest portion of the loan they might benefit from this situation if they do not plan to stay in the home for longer than the interest only period. This period may vary depending on the lender and the circumstances. Homeowners who plan to sell the house before the interest only period ends and the ARM period begins enjoy the benefits of lower monthly payments and the security of fixed interest rates before they ever have to worry about repaying the principal or dealing with the varying interest rates.

No Equity in the Home

Another disadvantage to the interest only re-finance loans is they do not allow the homeowner to build equity in the home during the initial period where only the interest on the loan is repaid. This can be a problem for homeowners who are looking to profit through the sale of their home. These homeowners may find the participation in an interest only re-finance has had a damaging effect on the profit they are able to generate from the resale of their home.

Lease to Own Real Estate

Credit problems plague people across the globe. These problems can lead to many other problems not limited to difficulty purchasing vehicles, getting jobs, opening checking accounts, and purchasing or renting a home. For those who are experiencing credit problems hope seems like a long lost commodity when it comes to the very American dream of owning a home of one’s own.

The good news is that there are some savvy investors around that are willing to take the risk on those who have had credit problems but are attempting to get their lives back in order. The bad news is that this good will often comes at a rather high price to the consumers. Getting into trouble with credit takes a while from which to recover. For many the process is long and filled with pitfalls and missteps along the way. For those that are living the nightmare of poor credit there are times in which the situation must seem hopeless.

For this reason investors that offer lease to own real estate to those with less than spectacular credit are often viewed as saviors on the one hand and villains on the other. However, they are taking a risk that others are unwilling to take on a person that has proven not to be the best credit risk in the business. In other words, many would find that they are justified by charging a higher price or interest rate than traditional lending institutions will charge. After all, it is their money that is on the line if the lessee decides to default on the contract. It is also their money that will be required to make any repairs that will be needed if eviction becomes a necessary conclusion.

For investors who are interested in ‘buy and hold’ investing this is one way of making that system work in their favor. Many times the ‘buyers’ will find another property after a couple of years and will have essentially rented the property for a specified amount of time. At other times they will seek alternative financing once they have been able to straighten out their credit situations. Either way there are many occasions when the property is returned to the investor and has turned a relatively decent profit while holding those who took some degree of ‘pride of ownership’ in the property during that time rather than ordinary renters who often have little or no regard for the condition of the landlord’s property.

There is more than one way that a lease to own deal can work. The most common however, is that there is a specified amount of time typically 2-5 years in which those that are leasing the property can live in the property with a portion of the monthly lease being applied towards a down payment for the property once they are able to get traditional financing. If a twenty percent down payment is achieved during that time the odds of them being approved for a loan are greatly improved. If they (being the lessees) combine this opportunity with serious efforts to improve their credit scores then there should be no problem achieving this.

As a real estate investor this situation is so much more attractive than renters for many reasons. First of all, the maintenance in these cases becomes the problem of the lessees rather than your problem, you have ‘renters’ that are hoping to have ownership of the property in time, and you can charge a little more each month for rent in order to cover the money being applied to the down payment on the property.

Has Television Changed the Face of Real Estate Investing?

If you take a look through the television stations on almost any given day there is a television show somewhere that features home improvement, real estate investing, or some sort of combination of the two. From shows that teach people how to sell homes that have lack luster reviews to shows that teach viewers that it is possible to purchase, repair, and re-sell a home in a matter of weeks for astronomical profits, there are shows that appeal to the entrepreneurial wannabes in audiences around the globe.

These shows have made and lost fortunes a few times over by convincing viewers that they too can do the wondrous things seen on television. The truth is that many viewers are capable of doing these things but television never really shows how hard the work actually may be. The television cameras do not always show the blood, sweat, and tears that go into making these projects successful and rarely mention the countless complete and total failures that occur along the way.

The cameras are also not to keen for showing up at 4 am and rolling well after midnight when the work for the day is finished. It doesn’t catch the heart attacks and nightmares as credit cards are going dangerously close to being completely maxxed out while dreams of quick riches fade right in front of investor’s eyes.

This does not mean that every project is doomed to failure only that things are not always as rosey as they may appear to be on the television shows. Flipping houses may seem to be a bit glamorous and a lot hands on. The problem with that is that too few people really realize how much work goes into the hands on part of the program. This is not easy money no matter how much the television cameras would like to convince you otherwise.

It is very possible to turn a substantial profit in a relatively short amount of time if you keep your cool, use your head, and buy and sell in the right conditions. The problem is that so many people do not consider the big picture and find themselves in over their heads and out of money before the project is anywhere near completion.

One thing that television has definitely done for this line of work is make competition for the flappable houses a little fiercer. The early bird in this business gets the worm and while the cheapest house isn’t always the best candidate the less competition you have driving the prices up, the better in this situation. The goal is to buy low and sell high. Most people do not have a terrible amount of competition, as of yet, on the selling high portion of the program. The real trouble at this point in time lies in the buying low portion as there are many more would be real estate investors that are interested in buying the inexpensive properties than there are that will actually see the projects through from beginning to end.

So yes, television has greatly changed the way people invest in real estate. Whether this is truly good or bad for the overall real estate market remains to be seen. In light of the recent down turns in real estate it is to be expected that some of the popularity may diminish. The sad thing is that this is still one of, if not the best ways to make a large sum of money fairly quickly that is legal in the world today. Fortunes can be made and lost in real estate; the trick is always in placing your bets on the right property at the right time. For those who are willing to take the risks associated with this type of investment in today’s market and those that are willing to wait for a slight upturn in the market the profit potential is phenomenal.

Benefits of Flipping Real Estate

The obvious benefit and sought after benefit of flipping real estate is the profit. This is one incredibly tangible benefit, particularly when the profits are large and quick to come your way. Of course there are risks. Most ventures that offer high profit also come with a high degree of risk. Money, however, is not the only benefit that can be associated with flipping real estate though it is certainly the one on most investors’ minds when they get into this line of work.

Let’s talk profit first. Profit is the one reason that most people get into this business. The days are long and the work is hard. This is definitely not the type of work one would ordinarily undertake for the simple love of getting one’s hands dirty. This is real work that leaves you bone weary at the end of the day. However, when all the work is done and you get around to making the sell, you will find that the profit involved in a successful flip is well worth the effort you’ve put into the process.

The good news is that the savvy investor can still manage to make money even when the situation may not work out quite as planned. This is yet another benefit to flipping real estate. If the flip doesn’t work out, there is always the option of leasing to own the property or renting the property out. The profits in these situations are considerable less than a straight out flip but it can prevent financial ruin that is often the risk of a flip gone wrong. The fact that there are options and that you aren’t necessarily left ruined at the end of a bad flip is definitely a benefit. There aren’t many types of investments that allow you the option to save yourself the way real estate does.

One of the intangible benefits of flipping houses is that you are in essence working for yourself. In other words you do not have to punch a time clock or worry about overtime (at least not on your part). This can be a bad thing too if you lack the discipline required to get the job done. However, most of us will view this is a huge check in the pros column when deciding whether or not to take the plunge into the wonderful and frightening world of real estate investing.

Even though this is a business that requires a lot of work in order to turn an attractive profit there is some satisfaction at the end of the day involved in knowing that you are working for yourself and not to make someone else wealthy or in order to punch a time clock. That feeling of satisfaction is one that you should hang onto when the brand new toilet you’ve just installed becomes a geyser. Of course there are mistakes along the way, what other job keeps you on your toes quite like this one?

Real estate investing, house flipping in particular, can be one of the most frustrating types of investments a soul can pursue. At the same time it can also be one of the most rewarding mentally, spiritually, and financially. This is something you should keep in mind when deciding whether or not this is the right path for you.

Choosing Your Real Estate Appraiser

If you have been thinking about purchasing a real estate property for personal use or as an investment, you’ll need to hire the services of a real estate investor. If you play to finance your home through a bank or other lender, you’ll more than likely need to get the property appraised first. Banks and most lenders want to know the value of the home for your protection, as well as make sure that the home they are financing is worth the total amount that you take on the loan.

In most cases, the appraisal indicates that the home does indeed meet or exceed the asking price. In some cases however, the appraisal will come back saying that the home is worth less than the selling price. If this is the case, the buyer normally has to either drop the deal or try to negotiate with the seller to get a price that meets the appraisal.

For those very reasons, a real estate appraiser is very important. When you are dealing with a home, one appraisal can make a deal or break it. Even though you may not be financing your purchase through a lender or the bank, you should still make an effort to get the home appraised and find out the true value. You should also make a point to find the best appraiser that you can afford. If you hire an appraiser who isn’t that experienced, you’ll pay for it later when you discover that the property isn’t worth what you paid for it.

A real estate appraiser will go through the home performing an evaluation, and then provide you with a written evaluation after he has gathered all necessary information. Appraisers will also taken into consideration the replacement costs as well. Also, they will have to very land descriptions as well. There is a lot of work involved with appraisals, which is why it’s so very important that each step of the process is performed correctly by a qualified real estate appraiser.

If you have a real estate agent, he or she will more than likely be able to make a recommendation. Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean the recommendation is the best; it’s just someone who your agent works with. To ensure that you get the right appraisal on your home you’ll need to find yourself an appraiser who is capable of completing the job.

When you look for your real estate appraiser, you should look for someone who comes highly recommended. You can ask family and friends for their opinions, or search local papers, even the Internet. If you take your time and search for the best real estate appraiser that you can find – you’ll normally get an appraisal that is right on target.

Seek Recommendations When Re-Financing

Homeowners who are re-financing their home for the first time may need a great deal of advice to assist them during the process. While homeowner can certainly research the process of re-financing by themselves, this can be a cumbersome task which is difficult, if not impossible. While it might be possible for a homeowner to educate himself enough to make informed decisions, it is unreasonable to expect a homeowner to be up to date on the most current information in the re-financing industry. It would also not be reasonable for homeowners to learn enough to make a definite decision regarding re-financing. The homeowner may still require some direction regarding which options are best suited for the needs of the homeowner.

Fortunately there are two simple steps homeowners can take to tips the odds of obtaining the most favorable re-financing in their favor. These simple steps include consulting with friends and family members who have recently financed and turning to industry experts for assistance.

Consult Friends and Family when Re-Financing

Believe it or not consulting with family and friends is one of the first steps a homeowner should take in the refinancing process. Those reading this article might be somewhat confused by this suggestion because in the previous section we stressed how it would be virtually impossible for a homeowner to thoroughly educate themselves on the re-financing process. Surely, we are not implying every homeowner has a friend or family member who is capable of given detailed financial advice in regard to re-financing. However, friends and family members can be helpful in a different capacity.

Friends and family members who recently re-financed their own home likely did a great deal of research and legwork before making their decision. They also likely formed useful opinions, either negative or positive, about the lender they used in the process. It is this information which can be very useful to homeowners who are considering their own re-financing. Homeowners can obtain information such as which lenders are currently offering the best rates as well as which lenders are easy to work with and responsive to the needs of the homeowners as well as which lenders do not take a vested interest in helping the homeowner to succeed.

Ask Experts for Advice when Re-Financing

One piece of advice which cannot be overlooked when re-financing a home, is asking an expert in the re-financing industry for advice. These experts may have costly consulting fees associated with their assistance but most homeowners would agree these fees are certainly worthwhile especially if the result in a significant cost savings for the homeowner.

We previously stressed how the issues associated with re-financing can be quite complex and difficult for those outside of the industry to fully understand, however, those in the industry spend their days devoted to learning more about re-financing, keeping up to date with changes in the industry as well as new developments and figuring out how to best serve the customers. All of these characteristics make it clear that homeowners should really consider employing the services of a financial planner with a great deal of experience in re-financing when they are making decisions regarding the best re-financing option for their situation.

Again, friends and family members who previously consulted with an industry professional can supply candid opinions about those they met. This can save the homeowner a great deal of time by eliminating potential candidates who friends and family members thought performed poorly.

Selling Real Estate in a Sluggish Market

Real estate is one commodity that many depend upon to get them through the rough times in their investment strategies. The problem is that unlike stocks and bonds, real estate is not the most liquid of assets to turn into cash when the going gets rough and money is needed immediately. This may be the one large drawback when it comes to real estate. You cannot rely solely upon real estate to get you through the financial rough patches, as real estate is a very fickle market.

There is only one way in which real estate can truly be sold in a sluggish market such as the one that is rocking the real estate world at the moment and that is not always a way that is ideal for investors. However by offering an exceptional value to consumers, you can almost always manage to sell real estate. This is by far not the method of choice for investors. Investors are often encouraged to hold onto properties during the rough patches by any means possible (and ethical of course) in order to get the maximum profit they are hoping to achieve in the endeavor. When this is not possible, make sure the property being offered and sold is the best value for the money that is currently on the market.

Play up the attributes of any given property and offer several properties for sell at once (assuming you own more than one). More importantly, offer different types of properties rather than one style of property. If you own a few rentals, a couple of vacation homes, time shares, and perhaps a corporate office building or two put one of each on the market and see which sells more quickly.

Another thing that must be considered in a sluggish market is that you cannot attach an emotional value to the price of the property. This is simply bad business. No matter how much sweat, tears, and blood have gone into the property you must realize that just as it is a business transaction for you, so it is for the person placing the bid. You cannot afford to run off potential bidders by becoming insulting or feeling insulted by their bids. Make a counter offer and see what happens rather than letting emotion rule the day. In a buyer’s market there will be low offers.

There are many who make livings (like most investors are attempting to do) by buying low and selling high. This means they will make an insultingly low offer the first time around to see where the seller stands. This doesn’t mean they are the scum of the earth only that they are in this for the greatest possible profit. Do not take their actions or attitudes personally. They are not insulting you or the property only attempting to gain the most money in the process. Most businesses operate that way no matter what they claim.

Selling property in a sluggish market can be a disappointing and gut wrenching process but it is often necessary for one reason or another. Unexpected expenses arise and money is needed when it is needed. This is after all why we make these investments in the first place, to be able to handle the unexpected twists and turns that life tosses our way.

Finding A Real Estate Agent

Whenever you buy or sell real estate, you may be like millions of other people out there, in thinking that you don’t need a real estate agent. Most people who buy or sell homes, generally think that a real estate agent is a waste of money. Those who choose to buy a new home, think that real estate agents only add to the cost of purchasing the home.

What most people aren’t aware of, is the fact that real estate agents are normally paid by the seller, not by the buyer. As a buyer, you’ll get to work with a professional real estate agent without really having to pay for it yourself. The policies can vary greatly from state to state and company to company, which is why you should always check any paperwork or contracts that are provided to you to ensure this is the case. When you are interviewing agents, make certain to ask about any type of fees as well.

A lot of real estate agents out there may work with both buyers and sellers, although most specialize in working with either the buyer or the seller. If you are buying a home, make sure that the agent you choose has prior experience of working with buyers and transactions that involve no money down. This way, you can count on your agent to be there when you need him the most – especially if you don’t have a down payment.

If you are interviewing a real estate agent and he or she isn’t familiar with down payment assistance programs, you shouldn’t hire their services. Agents who aren’t familiar with these types of programs generally aren’t on the level, or they may lack the experience necessary to help you purchase the home of your dreams.

You can also make a list of real estate agents that you can interview based on referrals from friends, lenders, and even family. Lender referrals are normally a great choice as most lenders have worked with their recommendations in the past and both are already familiar with each other. Choosing a lenders referral can also prevent you from encountering any obstacles or surprises.

When you interview a real estate agent, make sure that you have the agent explain his fees. This way, you’ll know exactly how much he will be getting from the purchase. You should also find out how much experience he has in the field, and how long he has been working with real estate. You can also ask about sample contracts as well. If you are buying a home, you should make sure that the agent works with buyers. If you happen to be selling your home, then you’ll want to make sure that the agent works with sellers. Agents that are dedicated to one or the other are the best to choose, as they will have more experience than agents who work with both buyers and sellers.

Find a real estate agent is an easy task – providing you know what to look for. If you take things one step at a time and carefully make a decision, chances are that you’ll end up with an agent who has the experience you want. You should always be careful when you choose, and never rush the process. Real estate agents are easy to find, although finding one who fits your needs and has your budget in mind is a little tougher to locate. When you make that final decision, you should always choose an agent who has your best interest in mind – and isn’t just after the money.

Buying Real Estate for Your Family

The very best and most enjoyable reason to purchase real estate by far is in buying a property in which your family will live and grow together. There is a lot of fun involved in finding the perfect place for you and your family to call home. There is also a great deal of stress involved as well and that should not be overlooked.

Some things to keep in mind when searching for the perfect property for your family are the following:

1) Make your first step the step of finding a realtor or buyer’s agent that you are confident has your needs, desires, and best interests at heart. Your realtor can prove to be a lifesaver when you’ve reached the final hours before closing and the sky looks as though it’s going to fall. Far more than that though, your realtor can help you find the home that you simply cannot see your family living without.
2) Once you’ve found a real estate that you trust to help you find a home for your family it is time to identify the things that are absolute necessities in your search and those things you can live without. The most important thing to decide upon is a budget that you are comfortable living with.
3) Once you’ve established a budget you need to decide the features that are important to meet the needs of your family. The number of bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage, and yard space. Do you need a fenced in yard or a basement? These things are important as they do affect the comfort and in some cases safety of your family.
4) Another important thing that must be considered when purchasing a home for your family is the neighborhood. This is more important than many people may realize. It is well worth having a smaller home in a neighborhood that is poised for growth rather than a larger home in a neighborhood that is in the state of decline or on the verge of the state of decline. Crime rates in the neighborhood and the school district are other things that need to be considered as well before deciding to view a potential home.
5) You should also take the time to look at several properties before deciding on one property over another. The more properties you see, the better the chances are that you will actually find the one perfect property for the needs of your family home. The more homes you see the more you will learn about your likes and dislikes. You will also get ideas about possibilities and things that can be added on to the home you eventually select. Regardless, the more homes you see, the more choices you have when the time comes to make a decision.
6) Never offer the asking price right away. Even if you are willing to pay the full asking price, offer something a little lower and allow some negotiating room. Be sure, if you truly want the house in question not to be insulting with your offer but make the offer just the same. Some things you may want to consider when you make your offer is how quickly you are likely to need a new roof, new flooring, new heating or air conditioning, and countless other improvements that may need to be made on the property. Each of these things costs money and they add up over time. If everything is fairly recent and in good working order you may want to consider that when making your offer as well.

Home Shopping The Smart Way

When shopping for a home, there are quite a few things that can snatch your attention. When you look at a home, it’s very easy to fall immediately in love with it. New homes are clean, decorated perfectly, and many are what you pictured in your dreams. If you don’t shop the smart way though, you’ll end up like many other home owners and find faults shortly after you move in.

When you look at your potentially new home, you’ll want to check and see if you can fit your furniture in the way you want. A lot of homes these days are configured so that the furniture will only fit in one position. Often times, this leaves a television or other device in a weird location, sometimes making your furniture nearly impossible to fit through the doors. This is surely something to bear in mind, as you certainly don’t want to have to buy entirely new furniture.

You’ll also want to be sure that you get the right home for yourself and your family. Even though you may be a young couple now, you may want to get a house with enough room in case you decide to have kids later on down the road. If you don’t get a big enough house and end up having to move, you’ll find that moving with kids is a hard task indeed. If you have babies when you move, you’ll find moving to be even more difficult.

Once your children start to leave home, you may want to look into getting a smaller house. The choice is entirely up to you, and what will work the best for your needs. Anytime you purchase a house though, you’ll want to think about the size of your new home and consider the future needs of your family as well. This way, you’ll have everything covered for years to come and won’t have to look into getting a new home.

You may also want to look at any extras as well. Things like a pool and a hot tub may be a great thing to have, although you should look into the money that regular maintenance will cost you as well. There are a lot of things that may be great to have along with your home, although you should always look at long term costs before you purchase.

Location is also something you’ll need to consider as well. Some prefer to live out in the country, while others prefer the city life. Some prefer to be close to stores and such, while others prefer to be miles and miles away. The location of a home is very important, and in most cases will have a big impact on the price. Living in the city will cost quite a bit of money, although a home out in the country can cost just as much if there is a lot of land included with the property.

Whenever you decide to buy a house, there is a lot of things that you’ll need to consider. Buying a home is no easy feat, with a lot of things you’ll need to decide on. If you give yourself enough time and plan out your budget and the type of home you want, you’ll have plenty of time to make that very important decision. You never want to rush the process, as you could end up with a home that is less than perfect. If you take your time and look at several different houses, you’ll end up in your dream home before you know it.