Kathy Foran - REALTY EXECUTIVES Boston West



Posted by Kathy Foran on 6/17/2012

It is a great time to be a real-estate investor. If you are looking to jump in the investor market low home prices and low interest rates make this a great time. According to Zillow.com. the real-estate market is starting to recover: U.S. houses lost $489 billion in value during the first 11 months of 2009, but that was significantly lower than the $3.6 trillion lost during 2008 and things only continue to look up. While the timing may be right, you will need to have all your ducks in a row. An investment purchase is different than your typical purchase. Consider your options. Have a strategy and know what kind of investor you would like to be. Ask yourself if you want to be a landlord, or are you planning on flipping or restoring and reselling properties. What types of properties are you interested in? There are many choices from land, to apartment buildings, residential housing and other commercial real estate. Partner with experience. Real estate agents experienced in investment property deals know what to look for in a deal. You may also want to consider asking a more experienced real-estate investor for advice. If you plan on becoming a landlord make sure to familiarize yourself with the local laws regarding being a landlord. Location, location, location. If you buy a property with hopes of renting it out, location is key. Homes in high-rent or highly populated areas are ideal; stay away from rural areas where there are fewer people and a small pool of potential renters. Also, look for homes with multiple bedrooms and bathrooms in neighborhoods that have a low crime rate. Also think about potential selling points for your property. If it's near public transportation, shopping malls or other amenities, it will attract renters, as well as potential buyers if you decide to sell later. The more you have to offer, the more likely you are to please potential renters. Have capital lined up. Speak to potential lenders or a financial planner about what you will need for assets and cash flow. You will need to have enough assets to handle the ups and downs that could come with investing. Most experts suggest a fallback of about six months of mortgage payments for landlords. You will need this in case or vacancy or repairs. If you're planning to fix up a home and sell it, you will need reserves to cover the costs to maintain the home while it is on the market. Becoming a real-estate investor is much different than being a residential homebuyer. A buying decision is a business decision not one based on emotions.





Posted by Kathy Foran on 4/29/2012

Many buyers today think buying a foreclosure means big savings and this can be true but buyers also need to be aware of potential pitfalls. A foreclosure takes place when a homeowner or property owner cannot pay the mortgage fees on the property and is forced to give up the property to the bank. First, potential buyers should know there are different stages of foreclosure.
  • Pre-Foreclosure
Pre-foreclosure stage is the earliest stage of foreclosure. Reaching pre-foreclosure status begins when the lender files a default notice on the property, which informs the property owner that the lender will proceed with pursuing legal action if the debt is not taken care of. At this point, the property owner has the opportunity to pay off the outstanding debt or sell the property before it is foreclosed. In this stage, many homeowners may opt for what is called a short sale. Many of these homes will sell for near their appraised values. Banks may be willing to negotiate on these properties but the process can be lengthy. Properties that sell at a 20 to 40 percent discount usually need repair or are in unstable communities.
  • Foreclosure Stage
If a property doesn't sell in pre-foreclosure, and the home owner actually defaults on his mortgage, the home goes to public auction. During this stage you can find the best bargains but it can be filled with unexpected changes and last minute details. Preparation, patience and knowledge are key here and remember if a property does go to auction it will go to the highest bidder which is often the bank.
  • Many auctions are canceled at the last moment as the property has been sold or payments reworked.
  • Court-appointed trustees only accept cash or cashiers' checks.
  • There's little time to arrange inspections, so bidders may have no clear idea of what they're buying.
  • Properties are sold "as is," without warranties. Sellers needn't disclose problems. Buyers may find themselves with unexpected and expensive repairs.
  • Post-Foreclosure
  • In the post-foreclosure stage, the lender has already taken control of the property. The home is then in the possession of the lender's REO (Real Estate Owned) department, or in the hands of a new owner or investor who purchased the property at auction. Lenders are typically extremely willing sellers, because an REO on the books is an obvious sign of having made a poor lending decision. Both the overhead and losses involved with an REO -- reflected in both the added reserves a lender must maintain as well as any potential property management fees incurred -- means the bank is likely a willing negotiator.
    • Bank will not agree to do any repairs; as-is sale.
    • Bank will usually require additional paperwork.
    • Bank cannot provide disclosures as to property history/condition issues.
    Bank foreclosure properties can definitely help you make a good buy in real estate properties and still have lots of savings. Doing your homework on the neighborhood, comparable sales and property condition are essential in making a good buying decision.





    Posted by Kathy Foran on 4/8/2012

    Preparing a will is probably one of the most important things on the to do list but often it gets overlooked. There are many ways you can create a will; from inexpensive software packages to hiring an attorney. No matter how it is prepared, it is money well spent. There are many things to consider when creating a will. According to Caring.com, here are the key points you should consider. 1. Name a personal representative or executor. In an individual will, your parent can name a person or institution to act as personal representative, called an executor in some states, who will be responsible for making sure that the will is carried out as written and that the property is divvied up and distributed as directed. It's also wise to name an alternate in case the first choice is unable or unwilling to act. 2. Name beneficiaries to get specific property. Your parent's will can specify separate gifts of property -- called specific bequests -- including cash, personal property, or real estate. Likely beneficiaries for such bequests are children and other relatives, but they may also include friends, business associates, charities, or other organizations. 3. Specify alternate beneficiaries. In fashioning their wills, most people assume that the beneficiaries they name will survive to take the property they've specified for them. The most thoughtful wills provide for what should happen if those beneficiaries don't survive -- either by naming a backup recipient or indicating that the person's spouse or children should take the property instead. 4. Name someone to take all remaining property. If your parent has opted to make specific bequests of property, a will is also the place to name people or organizations to take whatever property is left over. This property is usually called a "residuary estate." 5. Give directions on dividing personal assests. If your parent wants assets divided among children, charities, or other beneficiaries, the will should note precisely what property is included in that pool. It should also specify whether assets are to go directly to beneficiaries or whether they're to be sold and the value divided among the beneficiaries, either equally or according to stated percentages. 6. Give directions for allocating business assests. Business assets are often separate from personal assets -- and most business owners have very specific ideas about what should be done with them after their deaths. If your parents don't have a written plan covering the windup of their business, encourage them to see an experienced estate planning attorney to ensure that their wishes are clearly indicated in each of their wills. 7. Specify how debts, expenses, and taxes should be paid. The will should spell out your parent's wishes regarding how to settle debts and final expenses, such as funeral and probate costs, as well as any estate and inheritance taxes. Usually a specific source, such as a bank account, will be tagged to cover these costs. 8. Cancel debts others owe. A nice added touch is that people making wills can use the documents to relieve those who owed them money from the responsibility of paying that debt -- along with any interest that accumulated on it -- to them or their survivors. 9. Indicate special instructions for maintaining real estate. If your parents name someone to keep their house, they should list any specific instructions for its care and upkeep in each will. 10. Provide a caretaker for pets. Since the law considers pets to be property, the best way for your parents to assure a good home for theirs is to leave the animal to someone named in each will who has agreed to give it a good home. Many people also leave that person an amount of money to help cover the caretaking expenses.





    Posted by Kathy Foran on 4/1/2012

    Getting a mortgage these days can be tough and it is even tougher for small-business owners. Potential self-employed borrowers usually have variability in their income streams. Today, banks are requiring more financial documentation from all buyers, and self-employed borrowers tend to face more scrutiny. Small-business owners may have a smaller income because they are typically knowledgeable about tax deductions and credits. This often reduces the amount of taxable income they have. Reducing the amount of taxable income on your tax returns means to the lender there is less income to qualify for a loan. There are ways self-employed borrowers can increase their chances of getting a home loan, however. Here are a few tips: What is the lenders history? Find out if the lender has a history of working with self-employed borrowers. Self-employed borrowers should focus more on finding a lender that will understand their situation rather than shop the loan rate. There are individual loan officers who will be able to think out of the box or come up with solutions. The lender you choose is key. Consider portfolio lenders. Portfolio lenders have more flexibility in originating loans because they don't have to sell the loan to Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae. Portfolio lenders hold their own loans. That makes a big difference in their ability to loan. Another option may to consider credit unions. Many credit unions also keep a good portion of loans on their books. Boost your income. Show you make as much money as possible on your tax return. You might need to amend your tax returns. Some lenders will look at a loan application again if they have sent in amended returns to the government. Sometimes by rethinking deductions and credits on income taxes, a borrower can increase his qualifying income. Of course, with this strategy, the borrower would also face a new tax bill.





    Posted by Kathy Foran on 1/22/2012

    The recent drop in homes prices, affordable mortgage rates and the popularity of television shows showing investors turning over homes has many people wondering if they can make money flipping homes. Flipping a house simply means buying and then selling a home quickly for profit. There are different ways to do this, but if you are interested in buying and selling houses, or just want to find a good deal to invest your money in. You will want to follow some tips on how to make sure you make money and not end up busting the budget. 1. KNOW THE AREA It is not just about the house you want to buy but also the area. Focus on buying homes in an area that holds value and where homes sell quickly. The golden rule of a home, location, location, location, applies here as you will want the home to be able to be sold quickly. Get to know the average costs and days on market for homes in that area. The more information you have about the market you have chosen, the better decisions you can usually make when it comes time to buy. 2. DO NOT GET EMOTIONAL This is a business venture; your goal is to make money. Emotions and money rarely mix well. Do not get emotional about house flipping. When choosing colors, fixtures and carpets go neutral, you will not be living in the home. Be careful of becoming too attached to the flip. Choose a price to sell the home, do not overprice the home. Overpricing typically leads to you holding the flip longer thus reducing your profit. 3. KNOW YOUR LIMITS If you are new to flipping homes, it is important to know your financial and work limits. The budget will always be more than you anticipate, plan for unexpected problems. Start with homes that mainly have cosmetic problems. Look for houses that need new, modern paint or updated fixtures. Homes where the outside yard and landscaping are unappealing are usually a great buy and can yield more profit. Curb appeal is usually a problem that can be fixed very easily and relatively inexpensively while greatly increasing the value of the home. 4. HAVE AN EXIT STRATEGY The point of flipping is to get in and out as quick as possible. Every day that you own the homes costs you money. Have a plan and know exactly what you're going to do with the home before you buy. Make a schedule of when work will get done and drop dead date of the house going back on the market. If you don't know if you can sell it quickly, don't buy it.