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Wednesday, December 04, 2013

4 tips to help your home sell quickly

Many properties that have been on the market for a long time must have hidden problems, is often what buyers are thinking. And that could lead to unnecessary price reductions. This specific property online looks great, except for some graffiti on the walls in the children’s room. The homeowner was not stupid, he was taking good care of the home and knew buyers could easily see past a little spray paint. Except that he was wrong. Most buyers do not want to do painting/ fixing at all. There are homes for sale that are in better shape, so compare with the competition in your area. Maybe this home is not ready, but the one down the street is. In the end, this seller not only lost time, he lost big in the math. Had he followed the advise of his real estate agent and spent the $1.000,- to repaint some rooms, it is certain he could have sold the home quickly for its asking price. Leave it to the pros. Welcome to the world of home sales, where a little stubborn behavior can be costly. But there is a solution that can be summed up with two basic points: • Find a seller's agent who you like and trust. Make sure you interview other agents that focus on your area, and then realize that you're hiring a professional who knows how to do this. Listen to that agent. The key is to separate the emotional qualities of your home from the basic functional qualities of the house. To start with; your house is unique, and so is everybody else's. Everybody thinks that their house is unique. Get over it. If the goal is to sell, and to sell fast, then you’re better off trusting the expert, even if his/ her advice, like the paint on a couple of walls or undercutting the price. To get a sense of what we mean, see the 4 tips below, all from experienced agents who say these are areas where home sellers often need some persuading. Price it right; price it low. You can never price a house too low, because the market will take care of it. An agent recently listed a home for $535,000 even though it had been appraised at $560,000. The house sold within weeks. The low price drew quick and competing bids. Had she listed the home for $560,000, she's certain the sale would have dragged and brought in even less than the valuation. If you start high and start lowering it, you will never get to the number that you will get to by starting low and going up, because when you start lowering the price, people will start wondering what's wrong with the house...and if it's been sitting for a while, people will try and make a lowball offer. Some sellers will say; Let's put it 20% higher, then during negotiation we'll have room. No. The rule of thumb is you should go where the last (comparable home) sold for, or right below that. Too high, and your buyers will be scared off. 2. Try a fresh sales approach. In one case we got a condo listing that had been on the market for 2 years with another agent. We immediately placed a large advertisement in a local newspaper. The following day we received over 10 phone calls. Within a week, we had two offers on the table. Sellers think that you need to have ads in the newspapers and an open house weekly, but that has nothing to do with the value of real property. If you have priced it right and cleaned it up, you don't have to do any of those things. 3. Don’t try too hard to fight the market. A beachfront home had been on the market for 3 years. When it finally did sell, the seller got half of his original listing price. He had all kinds of Realtors working for him. "It was hard to sell big houses on the water." Interested buyers either couldn't sell their own homes or had trouble getting financing. Eventually the seller had to accept a loss. Sometimes a seller has to accept that there's only so much an unfriendly marketplace can offer. 4. Remember, renovations aren't a magic bullet. "The Realtor walks through and says, 'If you do these 10 things I can sell your house for this amount,'" But without lowering price, renovations alone often aren't enough. The owners of a beachfront house spent $75,000 on renovations with the expectation that the improvements would put them over the hump needed to fetch a $1.7 million sale price. At the height of the boom, the home easily could have sold for more than $2.5 million. The owner has to get about $1.6 million for it (to satisfy the bank) but the reality is they aren't going to get more than $1.4 million for it. They've got nothing but lowball offers. My advice: be flexible with price. "Price is still what's moving." And if you want the house to move, find an agent willing to be brutally honest. Some Real estate agents want to give an owner a high number to get the listing, but they can't make that sales price indication too high because they're going to have absolutely no chance to deliver on that promise.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Aruba Nov.24 Reef and Mangrove Clean up


Volunteers needed!!!!! Reef and Mangrove Clean up
 

On initiative of FlyFishing Aruba this Sunday November 2 4th,  there will be a Clean up of the reefs and Mangroves. Starting from 1pm at the AWS pier (next to Marandi Restaurant).

Aruba Wakeboard School, Tranquilo Charters  Aruba  and  Fly Fishing Aruba, decided to take action after seeing more and more plastic and other items ending up in the ocean, straight from the dump; dirtying the beach shore, ocean and island, killing the ocean life and environment.

“Enough is Enough”he thought, and Flyfishing guide Laurenz van Mook posted his idea on Facbook  and many great responses came in right away. People and businesses directly got to work with his idea and offered to volunteer people, boats, gloves, and garbage bags, dumpsters, printing posters, food and drinks for the volunteers and so on.

It will be a great accomplishment on Sunday November 24th from 1pm till 6pm. Starting at the AWS pier (next to Marandi Restaurant), behind the airport.

Please come and help, and make sure you wear your water shoes and protect yourself from the sun.

For more information, please follow the Facebook page of FlyFishing Aruba.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Feng Shui choices when buying a condominium

When you are looking to buy a condominium, your Feng Shui criteria will certainly be different from the criteria of buying a house.

Good Feng Shui is good Feng Shui, and understanding what good energy is made of, will come in handy when you decide to go house hunting.

Add this Feng Shui list to your "must-have" list and you are ready to find that perfect condo.

 

1. Building location and energy.

The energy of the building influences the energy of the apartments in it. Since you have no control over the main entry of the building, be sure to choose wisely. A clean, well-lit main entry of an apartment building in a safe, friendly location is always a wise choice.

Feng shui-wise, you might be wondering which of the main doors can have your lucky feng shui directions: the main door of
your apartment or the main door of the building? The answer is: the main door of your apartment.

Another popular feng shui question: how important are the numbers of the building or condo? Not that important, I assure you. The concept of numbers in feng shui is a highly charged one. Feng shui of number 4 seems to be the one taking most of the hits, all based in a misunderstanding of a cultural interpretation. Number 4 is considered bad in traditional Chinese feng shui because it sounds like "death" in Cantonese.

Furthermore, how would you deal, feng shui-wise, with house numbers that you consider to be bad feng shui?

Let's start with the big picture.

Once you connect deeper to the energy of your home, you begin to understand how the feng shui of
your bedroom, for example, is connected to the state of your health; or how good feng shui at the main entrance strengthens the energy of the whole house

2. APARTMENT LEVEL AND LOCATION

If possible, choose a condo on a higher floor, rather than on a lower level. The feng shui and real estate reasons behind it are obvious: the higher you go, the less condo’s above you, which means lighter energy for your condo. There is also more natural light, as well as a better views.

 

Feng shui-wise, it is best to avoid a condo directly facing the elevator or the staircase doors.

3. FLOOR PLAN AND CHI FLOW

It is very important to check the flow of Chi, or energy before buying a condo/apartment. Later on it might be too expensive, or just plain impossible to make the desired changes for better feng shui.

Do you face a wall as soon as you enter your condo? Do you step into the kitchen right away?

Be sure the Chi either already flows smoothly in the condo, or you can adjust its flow with easy feng shui decor and furniture repositioning.

One of the basic ways to check the energy flow in your home is to imagine Chi, or energy, as water. If water where to flow into your home from the main door, where would it stagnate?

Would the water harmoniously and smoothly flow to all areas of your space, gently refreshing them, or would it rush right out the back door?

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

The best time to buy a property is now

 For many years now we are noticing the interest to sell is much bigger than the interest to buy, so we call this a buyer’s market.
Meaning that buyers can negotiate prices much more than some years ago. Remember that prices will rise in some time from now, so the time to buy affordable Real Estate is now. Waiting means fewer options.
There are many properties for sale, and fewer buyers. Interest rates are still lower than some years ago, so check out the local realtor websites so see if there is anything of your liking.

We have no MLS in Aruba yet, so please check the following websites for Aruba’s Real Estate listings:
www.arubahouses.com
www.coldwellbanker.com
www.remax.com
www.sothebysrealty.com and so on.

It is still cheaper to buy then to rent. Buying a home gives you a chance to start building equity, and you are investing in your future. Even if you end up selling your home in 5 or 10 years, you could profit from the sale and invest that money elsewhere. If you’ve been dealing with rising rent or the hassles of costly moves for the past few years, settling in to a home can stabilize your housing expenses – especially if you get a fixed-rate loan at a great rate.
You won’t have to worry about your monthly housing expenses changing significantly for a few years, and you will pay for something that has more value than a rental property. Consider the benefits of making this type of contribution to your future month after month.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Selling your home? 3 great tips for writing descriptions that sell;

ARUBA - So you’re trying to sell your home. You know the basic facts; number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and so on, but how do you know what other information is important to buyers? Just the facts and figures are not enough; you also need to tell people what is really important about your home and sell all the features that make it special. That’s where your home description comes in. In newspaper ads, you only get a few sentences, so you have to make every word count. Online you have a lot more flexibility and can go into much greater detail about your home. Here are 3 great tips:


Consider the following two Descriptions – Nice home, good condition. Large master bedroom. Many upgrades. Garage: 24’x30’. Quiet gated community. or Walk right into this beautiful Palm Beach home with an open floor plan! The home is in excellent condition, with fresh interior paint and new kitchenr. The spacious master bedroom has a walk-in closet and private bath. The over-sized garage has plenty of room for two cars, extra storage, and a workbench. Live in a quiet gated community, with just a short walk to the clubhouse and pool. Located close to the bus line, it’s only a 10 minute trip to the mall, several restaurants, and medical facilities. Don’t let this one get away! Call today – I would love to show you this home.



So what’s the difference between these two ads? Well, the second ad follows three simple rules…



1. Write an opening line to catch the buyer’s attention.



As buyers scroll through home listings, will they stop at yours? What you need is a strong opening line to draw the reader in. Not sure what to write? Think about your audience. If your home is in a family community, the school district might be important to mention. A senior might be more interested in activities in the area – golf, fishing, tennis, shopping, and things to do with the grandkids.



Here are some words and phrases to consider including in your opening line:



Waterfront – Priced to sell – Open Floor Plan – Affordable – Recently updated -Sea view – Priced below appraised value – Like new – Corner lot Must sell – Screened in porch – Professional Landscaping – Walk right in – Garage – Nature lover’s dream – Gated community – Look no further – Walk to the beach – Must See.



2. Mention the best features.



Why do you like your house? Is it the pool? Or the deck/patio where you enjoy grilling? To get started, make a list of all the great things about your house, including any improvements you’ve done since it was purchased. Then work those items into a paragraph about your home. Think about your community as well – buyers may not know there is a pool and a clubhouse with activities, or if pets are allowed. Here are some examples of features to mention:



Fruit Trees – Close to schools – Gourmet Kitchen – Private backyard – Near shopping – New roof – Fenced in yard – Quiet community – On Golf course – Spacious storage shed – Close to beaches – Cathedral Ceilings



3. Close with a call to action.



The last part of your Home Description should prompt the reader to do something. Let them know you are available to provide more information or photos. Encourage them to call you and set an appointment. Make sure to mention if you are flexible on price or willing to consider offers. Think about including the following phrases near the end of your ad:



Make an offer – Call today – For more information call… – Call with questions – Don’t let this one get away To view the home, call… Retire in style – Don’t miss your chance – Take a look – Motivated seller so call today!



Tip: Provide as much contact information as possible. Some buyers may prefer to email while others are more likely to make a phone call. Give them both options! Also remember to return emails/phone calls promptly. Don’t give the buyer time to find something else.



Sunday, October 13, 2013

Timing is everything: buy NOW.


 

For starters, you can use the same techniques that have worked for many who live by the “rule”; Buy low and sell high.

The first step is to determine the type of real estate market that exists in your area.

Types of Real Estate Markets

Although there are many variations and twists, basically real estate markets fall into three categories:

  • Buyer's markets
    Buyer's markets exist when there is more inventory, meaning houses for sale, than buyers. Because buyers have many homes to choose from, not every home for sale will sell. Most experts agree that if six months or more of inventory is on the market, it is a buyer's market.
  • Seller's markets
  • In seller's markets, there are more buyers than available inventory. Because there are fewer homes for buyers to choose among, almost every home will sell. Typically, there is much less than six months of inventory in a seller's market. In extreme seller's markets, there is less than two months of inventory in reserve.
  • Neutral markets
    Neutral markets are balanced. Typically, interest rates are affordable and the number of buyers and sellers in the marketplace are equalized. The scales don't tip in either direction, meaning the market is normal without experiencing swings. Inventory is generally around four months.

In this current market, any young person that hasn't bought a house ought to buy one.

A buyers market doesn't come along that often, you can make money on whatever you buy today at the prices they are."

Interest rates are only going to go up over the long term, so borrowing will cost more if you wait.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

How to set a Rental Price for a House?

The difference between success and failure in real estate rentals often is based on charging the right price for a property.
Charging too much might make the property unattractive to potential tenants and lead to nonpayment of rent. Charging too little, though, can eliminate the potential for profit and even put a property owner in a difficult financial position.

By following some basic steps, property owners can establish a good medium in pricing that keeps both the tenant and landlord satisfied.
1 Check comparable rental listings in your local newspaper and on brokers websites. See what other property owners are charging for homes/ apartments that match your properties in terms of size and amenities.
2 Obtain the addresses for similar rental properties, particularly those properties with the same approximate value as your properties. This information might be in an ad listing, or you might need to call the number on the ad. Use the information to identify how geographic area affects rent price.
3 Consider geographic factors such as proximity to shopping malls, golf courses, roads, malls and schools. Renters might pay a premium for properties when they are in attractive settings.
4 Network with others who own and rent property and discuss with them the rental market and how much properties are renting for given current economic conditions.
5 Set a base price for your rent based on the information gathered. Figure in slight increases if your property has features that are not common or in high demand. Features might include a swimming pool, a garage, lawn service, new appliances, furniture and common areas.
6 Lower your asking price if you receive few calls on advertised properties.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

7 reasons to buy a house before 2014


Thinking about buying a home? The next few months are the time to do it.

Rates on fixed-rate loans are still appealing, and experts say it's still cheaper to buy than rent.

Here are seven reasons to buy a home by the end of the year:

1. Mortgage rates are still dropping. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate loan is 7 to 8 percent at the time of publication. While this is higher compared to other countries, it's still an attractive rate for prospective homebuyers. The housing sector is getting stronger and inflation rates are low, which promotes low mortgage rates.

2. It's still cheaper to buy than rent. If you live on Aruba, it makes more financial sense to buy a home than rent a house, or apartment.

3. Home prices are relatively low. Housing price trends vary significantly by location and even by neighborhood, but the average housing price trends across the island look promising for prospective homebuyers.

4. It may be easier to get a mortgage. Banks may be making it easier for some prospective buyers to qualify for a mortgage. Less requirements and qualifying criteria may help some people finally get that home loan. If you have good credit and some savings available for a down payment, you might just be able to get a loan for your dream home this year.

5. Less competition from home flippers. Investors looking to buy and flip houses can't move as quickly as they did in recent years. Housing prices in some markets are increasing, making house flipping less attractive. This gives prospective homebuyers more inventory to choose from and the benefit of having less pressure to close a deal because of another pending offer. This could be the time to enjoy the freedom of shopping around for that perfect home and making an offer.

6. Avoid the cost of rising rent. A buyer's market means it might be time to say goodbye to renting for good. If you're tired of rent increases at your current location or want to move but will experience a spike in rent, consider the benefits of buying a home instead. You may be able to secure a great rate with your credit history and end up paying the equivalent or less in monthly payments as you build equity in a home. Renting can be a more affordable option for the short term, but renters still have to face rising rental costs year after year.

7. Invest in your future. Buying a home gives you a chance to start building equity, and you are investing in your future. Even if you end up selling your home in 5 or 10 years, you could profit from the sale and invest that money elsewhere. If you've been dealing with rising rent or the hassles of costly moves for the past few years, settling in to a home can stabilize your housing expenses – especially if you get a fixed-rate loan at a great rate. You won't have to worry about your monthly housing expenses changing significantly for a few years, and you will pay for something that has more value than a rental property. Consider the benefits of making this type of contribution to your future month after month.

 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Working in Real Estate

Posted by Aruba Daily on September 23rd, 2013 ARUBA -
Working in Real Estate since the year 2000 and still going strong; I have many tips to share with you. How to sell your house fast, how to negotiate the best price when buying a house, making money flipping properties, what determines Real Estate prices, staging your condo, how to find the right broker to represent you, and so on. Since June, every Saturday Aruba-Daily has published the Real Estate article that can be found on my blog: www.arubaconnections.blogspot.com

That is how I got here; from working in Real Estate and writing a blog about it to share my experience, to being asked to publish a weekly Real Estate column in Aruba-Daily. I am Miriam Engeln, born in Amsterdam (the Netherlands), I have been working in Real Estate sales since the year 2000. I have worked in Spain, Belize and since 7 years I am happy to add Aruba to the list.



Working at Century 21 I am working with locals, foreign investors, (first time property) buyers, sellers, tenants and contractors, you can expect a variation of columns about all of the above and more.
Next week I will write another Real Estate column in Aruba-Daily, which you can also read online via the webpage www.aruba-daily.com - See more at: http://aruba-daily.com

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

3 things that make a great Real Estate investment


If you’re looking into real estate investments, you likely want to earn wealth on real estate based on risk you are taking, while minimizing the amount of time you need to spend attending to the property. In order to accomplish this, you need to make some smart choices upfront when buying investment property. Your goal should be to strive to get as close as possible on as many of these optimal scenarios as possible:

Pays fair cash-on-cash return

When you buy property you are taking money out of your liquid financial assets – stocks, bonds, CDs and investing it into a very illiquid asset.real estate.

You were earning a rate of return on your financial assets, such as 4 percent or 6 percent, and you should strive to earn a fair cash-on-cash rate of return on your real estate. To do this, you need to pro forma your deals and buy cash flow-positive properties that earn you decent returns – not those prize properties that are negative

Isn’t too risky an investment

All real estate is extremely high risk. Development of real estate, land, private real estate funds, fixer uppers, etc., all have much higher risk profiles than just simply buying a nice established cash flow investment property. In many of those investments, you will never see a dime of your money again because there are just so many things that can go wrong! So if you want to own real estate, consider simply taking fee simple title in your own name – or an entity you wholly own – to the properties you purchase. In addition, you must do the proper due diligence, analyze, test, review reports, etc., to make a lower risk real estate decision.

Doesn’t Require a Lot of Time or Managing

Some properties just require way too much time and management to make them smart investments. Examples include vacation rentals, low quality properties in bad areas, college rentals, etc. Nice boring properties rented for as long as possible to decent credit profile tenants seem to take the least time to manage. In addition, treating your tenants fairly and with respect goes a long way towards keeping good relations with them; and reducing your hassles when there is an issue you need to address. And believe me — there will be issues!

It’s the nice, boring, wholly owned, in good shape, cash flow-positive properties that are the best investments. They are out there for your picking, but it’s not as simple as finding a property on the MLS and buying it.

You need to do some hard work, research, read up, and make smart, educated decisions to acquire the best real estate investments!

 

 

 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

How is buying a condominium different than buying a house?


The condominium lifestyle is very attractive to many home buyers. The main difference between buying a condominium and a single-family home is the type of ownership you receive. With a condominium you get the exclusive right to the interior space of your dwelling unit, but the land, walls, grounds, fences and facilities are owned in common with the other owners in the complex. With a single-family home you are the sole owner of the building and the land it sets on. This is called "fee simple" ownership.

A condominium is usually attached to other similar units by a common wall, while a house is detached. However, a recent trend is to develop detached condominiums, where the land and improvements are owned in common. There are also some attached houses where the land is individually owned. These neighborhoods are called Planned Unit Developments (PUD.)

Condominium owners usually can't remodel at will, while single-family house owners are relatively free to make changes to suit their personal needs and tastes. Condominiums are governed by CC&Rs (Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions), which dictate owners' rights and restrictions on those rights. For example, the CC&Rs may prohibit you from changing the exterior color of your without approval. Many single-family housing neighborhoods also have CC&Rs, although they tend to be less restrictive.

When buying a condominium you should include a contingency to review and approve the CC&Rs, the articles of incorporation, the bylaws and the rules and regulations of the condominium association. It's also a good idea to review the minutes of six to 12 months of board meetings to understand the current issues that are being discussed. Look over the financial documents such as the budget, reserve study and any assessments and find out how many of the units are non-owner occupied. This may affect your ability to get a loan. Finally, you'll want to know if the association is involved in any litigation. The seller, real estate agent or escrow company will order these documents from the management company for you to examine and approve.

Condominium documents are long and complex, and buyers often complain that they don't understand them. If you can't make sense of the documents, contact a homeowner association board member for an explanation. Or, hire a real estate attorney who is knowledgeable in condominiums to review the documentation and give you an outline of the important points.

Maintenance of the condominium complex is shared with the other owners. When you buy a condominium, you become a member of the homeowners' association. You pay a monthly fee, which covers management of the association, hazard insurance and routine maintenance. A portion of your fee goes into a reserve account for future maintenance and replacement of the improvements. Sometimes utilities, such as water, garbage and sewer are included in the monthly fee. Exactly what's covered by the homeowner fees varies from complex to complex. The responsibility for maintenance of a single-family house usually lies solely with the owner.
MORE HINTS: No matter what kind of residence you are buying, single-family home or condominium, the property should be thoroughly inspected by a licensed contractor or professional home inspector as a contingency of the purchase. Also, insist on a complete termite inspection and be sure to carefully check out the neighborhood.

Read and understand the CC&Rs and other documents before you buy a condominium. If you're a dog lover and the CC&Rs prohibit dogs, you'll want to know this before you buy, not after.

Just as the value of any one house is dependent on property values in the neighborhood, the value of a condominium depends on the condition and desirability of the entire complex. The best way to get information about a condominium complex is the same as in a single-family house neighborhood. Take a walk and talk with the neighbors.

Condominiums tend to be less expensive than single-family houses in the same area. They usually offer more amenities but have higher monthly fees. Condominiums are a good choice for busy professionals or retirees, who want to be in a good location, but do not want to pay the higher price for a single-family house.
For more Real Estate information, email to: miriam@arubahouses.com

Thursday, September 12, 2013

7 Feng Shui Steps for Your House

The basic feng shui steps to create good feng shui energy in your home are easy. Find out easy clutter clearing feng shui ideas, define the bagua of your house, play with the feng shui elements and apply easy feng shui tips.

One of the basic principles of feng shui is the principle of five elements, which are Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. These feng shui elements interact between themselves in certain ways, generally defined as the Productive and Destructive cycles.

Getting started with feng shui for your house can be easy when you start with the house basics and gradually move on to the more complex feng shui levels.

To help you get started with good feng shui in
your home, here are some helpful steps for beginners:

  1. Clear Out Your Clutter, get rid of everything you do not love in your house. Clutter clearing is a time-and energy-consuming process that will feel like therapy, but it will help you "lighten up the load," so to speak.

  2. Have Good Quality Air and Good Quality Light in your house. These two elements are essential for good feng shui energy (called Chi) in your home. Open the windows often, introduce feng shui air-purifying plants or use an air-purifier. Allow as much natural light as possible into your home, and consider using full-spectrum lights.
  3. Define the Bagua, or the feng shui energy map of your house, by using one of the two main feng shui methods - the classical school bagua or the BTB grid. Once you define the bagua, you will know which areas of your home are connected to specific areas of your life. For example, in traditional feng shui, the Southeast feng shui area of your home is connected to the flow of money energy in your life.
  4. Get the Basics of 5 Feng Shui Elements in order to create balance and vibrant energy in all areas of your home. For example, if you are working on attracting more prosperity, you will introduce the feng shui elements of Wood and Water in the Southeast area of your house. If your need to improve your health, you will place lush wood feng shui element items, such as plants or pieces of wood furniture in the East area.
  5. Find Out Your Feng Shui Birth Element and create a home to nourish and support your energy. For example, if your own element is Fire, you need to introduce the expressions of Fire feng shui element, such as the Fire element colors (red, orange, purple, magenta, pink, yellow), triangular shapes, etc.

    You will also need a strong Wood element in your home, as Wood feeds the Fire in the productive cycle/relationship of five feng shui elements.
  6. Find Out Your Kua Number and Your Lucky Directions so that you can be energized by good energy from your best, or lucky feng shui directions. Adjust the position of your bed, your desk, the seating in your dining area, etc. For example, if your Kua number is 1, it is best to face one of the following directions: Southeast, East, South, and North.
  7. Always Be Mindful of the Feel of Your Home and how its energy influences your well-being. Make a habit of paying close attention to the so-called feng shui "trinity" that is deeply connected to your health - your bedroom, your bathroom and your kitchen. Nothing is static in the world of energy, so be wise and keep your home healthy and happy.

After you have mastered the seven home feng shui steps, you can explore the deeper levels of feng shui, and explore, for example, the annual movement of feng shui stars, or energies. Be sure to start with the basic steps, though, to have fun and to enjoy the process!

For more Real Estate information, email to: miriam@arubahouses.com

 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Plan and Prepare to Sell Your House


Million of existing homes are sold each year, and while each transaction is different, every owner wants the same thing; the best possible deal with the least amount of hassle. Unfortunately, home selling has become a more complex business than it used to be. The home-selling process has changed.
Are you ready?
The home-selling process typically starts several months before a property is made available for sale. It's necessary to look at a home through the eyes of a prospective buyer and determine what needs to be cleaned, painted, repaired and tossed out.

Ask yourself: If you were buying this home what would you want to see? The goal is to show a home which looks good, maximizes space and attracts as many buyers as possible.

While part of the "getting ready" phase relates to repairs, painting and other home improvements, this is also a good time to ask why you really want to sell.

Selling a home is an important matter and there should be a good reason to sell; perhaps a job change to a new community or the need for more space. Your reason for selling can impact the negotiating process so it's important to discuss your needs and wants in private with the realtor who lists your home.

How do you improve your home's value?
The general rule in real estate is that buyers seek the least expensive home in the best neighborhood they can afford. In terms of improvements, this means you want a home that fits in the neighborhood but is not over-improved. Improvements should be made so that the property shows well, is consistent with the neighborhood and does not involve capital investments, the cost of which cannot be recovered from the sale.

Cosmetic improvements - paint, wallpaper and landscaping - help a home "show" better and often are good investments. Mechanical repairs to ensure that all systems and appliances are in good working condition are required to get a good price.

Ideally, you want to be sure that your property is competitive with other homes available in the community.

For more Real Estate information, email to: miriam@arubahouses.com

Saturday, August 03, 2013

7 ways to financially prepare to buy a home


Many home buyers have been haunted by the problem of being able to save up enough money in order to buy a house. Since buying a house is a financial commitment, various factors have to be considered and home buyers need the opportunity to step back and assess their strategies. However, before actually going out and looking for a home, you must first have the money to pay for the house, financially support it and still be financially comfortable. A house is a lifetime asset that provides happiness, satisfaction, shelter and security which only indicates the importance of being financially ready when investing in it.

1. Factors needed for saving strategies

Aside from making every effort to save up money to buy a house, there are a few factors that you will have to incorporate into your strategies to guide you into being able to save the right amount of money before you buy the house and for any other expenses after the house has been bought.

2. Find out the total amount of money needed upfront and other associated fees

Unfortunately, down payments are not the only cash requirements when you buy a house because there are also fees such as transfer tax, notary fees and insurances. When you find out the total amount of money involved beforehand, you can save yourself the stress when you are already in the process of buying the home.

3. Your credit score

If you have a good credit score, you can get better rates and an increase on the amount of money you can borrow. This is why you must pay off any debts you may have before you begin saving up for a house or you will have a hard time getting a bank to lend you a reasonable amount of money for mortgage.

4. A 15 year or a 30 year mortgage

When you have more money to pay for your house then you can expect a short term mortgage. However, if you are unable to produce a reasonably large amount, then you will have to opt for a longer mortgage term so that the monthly payments will be easier to pay. Longer mortgage terms are usually preferred even if there is money available due to the flexible terms and payments can often be made at your own pace. Shorter mortgage terms on the other hand can help you pay off your loans in half the time with less interest involved.

5. Determine the size of the house you intend to buy

The price tag of a house will be based on its size and location, so if you want a large house with upgrades in a desirable neighborhood, you can expect a higher price tag. Determine how much you can afford and then look for a house that meets your budget even if you must compromise on certain features.

6. Funds that you can set aside in cases of emergency

Never invest all your money into buying a house as you will need a security blanket in cases of emergency such as loss of income and other expenses. So you must always have other funds set aside even after you are able to buy a house and settle in.

7. A set timeline until you are able to buy the house

Buying a house cannot be done within a short period of time if you do not have the funds. You cannot rush the process of buying a house and you cannot rush yourself to save up fast either. When you do things in a rush, you will only find yourself making poor decisions.

For more Real Estate information, email to: miriam@arubahouses.com

Saturday, July 27, 2013

5 Real Estate tips for home buyers


By Miriam Engeln, blogger since 2004. www.arubaconnections.blogspot.com


Buying a house is an exciting time for most people. A fresh start in a new home brings a lot of hope and promise for the future. There are few decisions in life that are more personal than choosing the place you will call home. And although we aren't usually in a business mindset when we make personal choices in our lives, it's important to remember that your home is a business venture. After all, it is probably your single largest investment. So go ahead and get your mind into business mode for a moment and think about these real estate tips when conducting your real estate transaction.

1. Hire a Qualified "Real Estate agent"

Purchasing a home is a lot of work. Eliminate a lot of stress by hiring a professional real estate agent to arrange showings, inspections, appraisals, contracts, and negotiations. Talk to the people you trust and get recommendation of. Keep searching until you find an agent who is right for you.

2. Get Pre approved with a lender

Without a preapproval letter you are nothing more than a "wannabe" buyer; and no seller will negotiate their best deal with a "wannabe" buyer. Plus, knowing how much you'll be able to borrow from the bank will help you stay realistic when it comes to the purchase price.

3. Know the Difference between your needs versus wants

We all like to dream about our perfect home, but for most of us, our dreams don't usually equal reality. Your budget will dictate how much of your dream you'll be able to achieve, so prioritize a home's features by their level of importance. Is a three-car garage non-negotiable? Or is it more important to have a private lot? Think about your priorities and be aware that you will most likely re-prioritize several times throughout the buying process.

4. Don't look at too many homes

Many home buyers find themselves feeling overwhelmed and confused after a long day of touring homes. Sometimes you're pressed for time, but be reasonable when scheduling home tours; too many in a short period of time and everything will run together in your mind. Refer to your list of needs and wants, as a way to narrow your search.

5. Get an Inspection

Unless you are home inspector by trade, your skills will only get you so far so hire a professional inspector. A good inspector will identify problems, explain the extent of the problems, and also recommend the appropriate repairs. They can run tests to determine the status of many systems. Certain things such as a roof or electrical wiring are considered major issues and may warrant a specialized inspector all their own. These inspections cost more upfront but they can save you thousands in the long run.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

making an offer


Make an Offer That Sellers Can't Refuse

With shrinking inventories, many home buyers are finding only competitive offers will win them the house they want.

1.   Be preapproved: About three or four months before home buyers even shop for a home, they should review their credit reports to make sure they are accurate and take short-term steps to improve their credit score.

Buyers then should get a bank’s preapproval. While that won’t guarantee they’ll get the loan, it shows sellers that a lender has verified the buyer’s income and credit score to determine that he/ she can afford payments on a mortgage for a certain amount.

2. Don’t lowball: Buyers may only get one chance to get the home they want in a competitive market. They may not get a second try to sweeten the deal later, so a lowball offer the first time around could cause them to lose out. Buyers should use sales prices of comparable properties in the neighborhood to submit their best offer the first time around.

3. Add earnest money: The extra deposit can show sellers how serious the buyer is. Some buyers may even double the amount that the seller requests to show their commitment in purchasing the home.

4. Keep contingencies to a minimum: Sellers prefer no contingencies, but buyers want to protect their interests too. “Offset a financing contingency with preapproval and a strong earnest money deposit. “If you have enough cash, temper an appraisal contingency by assuring sellers that if the appraisal comes in lower than the purchase price, you'll pay the difference or split it with them (up to a certain amount).”

5. Write a letter: Personal love letters about the home addressed to the sellers are winning over some hearts lately. The letters tell the seller about the buyer (e.g. “We’re relocating from ...”) and what drew the buyer to the home (e.g. “We especially love ...”).

 

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Appraisals/ Inspections


What is the Difference between an Appraisal and an Inspection?

When you are getting ready to sell your home, dealing with inspections and appraisals is part of the process. Your home is now a product that is being sold and needs to be evaluated. Many people think that appraisals and inspections are essentially the same thing but there are some key differences. Each property is unique, and the appraiser relies on his general expertise and specific research to arrive at an opinion of value.

An appraisal provides valuable information for the buyer and the seller, but the appraiser’s primary mission is to protect the lender/ bank. Lenders don’t want to own overpriced property and that’s why the appraisal takes place before the lender grants final approval of the buyer’s loan.

The Appraisal Process

Appraisers use a variety of factors in their decision making. They weigh the location of the home, its proximity to desirable schools and other public facilities, the size of the lot, the size and condition of the home itself and recent sales prices of comparable properties, among other factors.

Appraisers are not interested in whether or not the house is clean but they do notice signs of neglect such as cracked walls, chipped paint, broken windows, damaged floors and inoperable appliances.

If the buyer is applying for a mortgage the appraiser must survey the physical condition of the home and disclose potential problems to the buyer. No such obligation exists for cash buyers.

If a home receives an appraisal lower than the purchase price there are some ways the purchase can still go through. The seller can reduce the purchase price or the buyer could make a bigger down payment.

How Is An Appraisal Different From An Inspection?

An appraisal isn’t a substitute for a professional home inspection in fact they have some key differences. The appraiser formulates an opinion of the property’s value for the lender, while the inspector educates the buyer about the condition of the home and its major components. The appraiser is primarily focused on the value of the home whereas the inspector keys in on the home’s condition with an eye toward both existing and potential future problems.

Today’s buyers are more cautious, and an inspection ordered by the buyer is a regular part of the real estate purchase process. Spending the fees for a home inspection can be well worth it both for peace of mind and the potential cost of trouble avoided.

You may also want to ask the inspector if you can come along during the inspection. This will allow you to be able to see the problems or potential issues that will later appear in the report.

Ask your Lender for a list of qualified home inspectors/ appraisers.