Archive for the ‘Buyers’ Category

Reasons to Invest in Commercial Real Estate

June 8, 2015

buy_commercial_real_estateThere are many reasons to invest in commercial real estate, especially in metro Atlanta and north Georgia. I’ve seen many savvy investors taking the steps to purchase a commercial property such as a retail store, shopping center or more. These types of opportunities won’t last long, so it’s time to get off the fence!

Here are some of my reasons that you should look at the commercial market today:

Income Potential

The best reason to invest in commercial over residential rentals is the earning potential. Commercial properties generally have an annual return off the purchase price between 6% and 12%, depending on the area, which is a much higher range than typically exists for single family home properties (1% to 4% at best).

Professional Relationships

Small business owners generally take pride in their businesses and want to protect their livelihood. Owners of commercial properties are usually not individuals, but LLCs, and operate the property as a business. As such, the landlord and tenant have more of a business-to-business customer relationship, which helps keep interactions professional and courteous.

Public Eye 

Retail tenants have a vested interest in maintaining their store and storefront, because if they don’t, it will affect their business. As a result, commercial tenants and property owner interests are aligned, which helps the owner maintain and improve the quality of the property, and ultimately, the value of their investment.

Limited Hours of Operation 

Businesses usually go home at night. In other words, you work when they work. Barring emergency calls at night for break-ins or fire alarms, you should be able to rest at night without having to worry about receiving a midnight call because a tenant wants repairs or has lost a key. For commercial properties it is also more likely you will have an alarm monitoring service so that if anything does happen at night, your alarm company will notify the proper authorities.

More Objective Price Evaluations 

It’s often easier to evaluate the property prices of commercial property because you can request the current owner’s income statement and determine what the price should be based on that. If the seller is using a knowledgeable broker, the asking price should be set at a price where an investor can earn the area’s prevailing cap rate for the commercial property type they are looking at (retail, office, industrial, etc.). Residential properties are often subject to more emotional pricing.

Net Leases

There are variations to net leases, but the general concept is that you as the property owner do not have to pay any expenses on the property (as would be the case with residential real estate). The lessee handles all property expenses directly, including real estate taxes. The only expense you’ll have to pay is your mortgage. Companies like Walgreens, CVS, and Starbucks typically sign these types of leases, as they want to maintain a look and feel in keeping with their brand, so they manage those costs, and you as an investor get to have one of the lowest maintenance income producers for your money. Fewer consumer protection laws govern commercial leases, unlike the dozens of state laws, such as security deposit limits and termination rules that cover residential real estate.

These are some of the best reasons that make investing in commercial real estate appealing. Do you have any additional items you’d like to add? Sound off below!

How to Spot a Bad Business Broker

February 16, 2015

detectiveWhen selecting a business broker to help sell your business, make sure to watch for the red flags in their business plan. These few tips can help you save time and money during the selling process.

The broker wants a significant or total fee paid up front:

Many brokers have begun taking upfront fees, but generally the total fee is a combination of an upfront fee and commission paid upon sale of the business. An unreliable broker meets with you, runs some quick numbers, tells you that you can get your price or even more for your business, and then asks for a check to get started. In many cases, business owners are so relieved that they’ve found a broker and elated that they’ll write a check on the spot, without checking any references. “They get to ‘take away’ your check when they leave and you may not see them again, if they can help it. (more…)

Determining Premiums for Home and Auto Policies

February 9, 2015

iStock_000011471283XSmallThe age old saying “things just aren’t the way they used to be” still holds true when it comes to how insurance companies price insurance these days. The way it “used to be” was that a company would look at more risk based information when it came to pricing.

For instance, on home insurance policies, the age, location, and features of the home, along with whether or not the prospective insured had suffered any claims over the past 3-5 years, were the sole determining factors when it came to pricing. After determining the rebuild cost of the home to set the amount of insurance, the price for the coverage would be consistent from person to person using this method of pricing. However, this is not so in today’s insurance marketplace.

About 15 years ago, insurance companies began looking at the client more personally, focusing on their credit score, along with other personal information to assign them an Insurance Bureau Score. This score is now used as a determining factor for the price and is more heavily weighted in the pricing system than the risk characteristics mentioned above. The result is the higher a person’s credit score the lower the premium stands to be. Statistics have shown that people with higher credit scores typically are more reliable and responsible when it comes to day to day life. Insurance statistics also show these people are less likely to suffer a loss or file a claim when it comes to non-weather related incidents. Of course no one can predict the weather. However, most all other claims are preventable. (more…)

Working with a Relocation Management Company

February 2, 2015

blog 2At some point in your career, you’ll probably be requested by a corporate transferee to assist them either in a home purchase or home sale transaction. You might be wondering what that means to you. Corporate transferees are customers who have been directed by their employers to make a job transfer. For the most part, they wait until their human resources director tells them what steps they need to make and when, but sometimes the transferees jump the gun and makes decisions on their own that can affect how their employer helps them financially. What does this mean to you and to the customer?

You as the associate and service provider always want to protect the transferee’s benefits, so here are some rules and strategies to make sure you don’t make mistakes that jeopardize their benefits and your commission. (more…)

FHA Mortgage News for the New Year

January 12, 2015

fha_loan_limitsGreat news! FHA loan limits for the major counties in Georgia increased from $320,850 to $342,700 for all new FHA sales contracts written on or after Jan. 1, 2015. This gives homebuyers the opportunity to buy a home with a 3.5% down payment (all from a gift) and FHA has relaxed qualifying guidelines on homes $21,850 more expensive than last year.

The bad news is that the FHA Anti-Flipping Waiver expired on Dec. 31, 2014. Some folks might say, “What Anti-Flipping Waiver?” Many thought a seller had to have owned the home for 90+ days before selling it to a new buyer using FHA financing.

Well, you’re not totally right or wrong. Even though HUD introduced the Anti Flipping Waiver in February 2010 and extended it to December 2014, many FHA lenders and banks ignored the waiver guidelines and continued to require that the seller hold title to the home a minimum of 90 days before re-selling it to a buyer using FHA financing. Since HUD (FHA) only insures loans and FHA approved Lenders actually lend the money, FHA Lenders often have different guidelines than HUD’s guidelines for FHA Insurance purposes. (more…)

Contract in Review: Top 10 Contract Issues

January 5, 2015

contract_reviewIn addition to ready, willing and able buyers and sellers, the real estate professionals’ ability to collect a commission is dependent on how solidly the agreement is written. Whether you are the listing agent receiving the offer on behalf of a seller or the selling agent preparing the offer on behalf of an interested buyer, every agent involved in the transaction has an obligation to ensure the contract is well written. Many contracts are filled with loopholes and scenarios that could render the deal void if challenged. Below are the top ten issues that we see in Broker Support that could cause contract nightmares and possibly cause the contract to be voided by one party or the other. (more…)

What’s Ahead for Real Estate in 2015?

December 29, 2014

2015_real_estate_marketThis has been a great year for the Georgia real estate industry. Prices throughout metro Atlanta are up and Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers has more top producers than ever before. In some areas, the median sales price has met and exceeded pre-recession levels. This was another rebuilding year, but there’s still a lot farther our market has to go to truly recover. (more…)

The Return of the 97% Conventional Mortgage Loan

December 22, 2014

return_of_97_loanDuring the “anything-goes” mortgage days, 97% LTV (3% down payment) mortgages were readily available to homebuyers. In fact, a 97% LTV wasn’t a big deal since many mortgage lenders were offering the 100% mortgages. Then the mortgage foreclosure crisis hit and the mortgage industry experienced extreme new regulation and tightening of loan programs.

Over a year ago in December 2013, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac both announced that their specialty First Time Homebuyer 3% Down Payment loan Programs were also being discontinued. Now, almost one year to the date, both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have both announced the RETURN of the 97% Loan Programs for First Time Homebuyers. (more…)

What’s a Solid Insurance Portfolio and Why Do I Need to Have One?

December 1, 2014

solid_insurance_portfolioMany people have no idea what their insurance limits are. More times than not, they just purchase the least expensive they can legally get by with, as it is considered a “necessary evil”. However, talk to anyone who has experienced a large loss in their lifetime, and they’ll tell you either they’re sorry they did not have enough, or are glad they listened to their insurance agent and went with the recommendations.

The purpose of insurance is to protect your assets, and to put you back in the same place you were before a loss. The homeowner policy pays to rebuild the house, replace the personal property, and pay for a temporary place for you to live while the repairs or rebuild is taking place. It also gives you liability protection in case you’re negligent in causing bodily injury or property damage to a third party. The auto policy provides liability coverage if you’re found to be at fault in operating a car, in addition to repairing your car if you purchase comprehensive and collision coverage.

So what happens if the insurance you carry is not enough to cover the loss that has been sustained?  The answer is simple: You have to come out of pocket for the difference.

What, then, is considered a solid insurance portfolio? Here are my recommendations: (more…)

How to Avoid the Grinch Stealing Your Closing!

November 10, 2014

mortgage_grinchThe holiday season is upon us and the temptations that come out this time of year make the home buying and mortgage process even more hectic and tricky than normal. A common misconception that homebuyers have is that the mortgage approval is complete when the loan officer gives them a pre-qualification letter or when they receive the telephone call that they have been approved in underwriting.

What most consumers don’t realize is that the mortgage approval process occurs in stages and continues to the day of closing. The changes they make to their income, asset, debt or credit profile can change an approval to a decline very quickly. (more…)

Rent It or Sell It?

October 27, 2014

rent_or_sellWhat should I do with this property? This is a pressing issue in today’s real estate environment in many circumstances. Owners and agents alike are posing this question every day.

The market has begun its journey toward recovery and home prices are rebounding. The recovery has made it possible for an increasing number of previously underwater sellers to become equity sellers again. While the recovery is in PROCESS, there are many agents and sellers that remain frustrated with the rate of PROGRESS. (more…)

FHA HAWK Program: Not Yet Approved, but Getting a Lot of Attention

July 21, 2014

FHA_HAWKThe new FHA HAWK (Homeowners Armed With Knowledge) Program designed to give homebuyers a discount on the FHA Mortgage Insurance Premium (MIP) in exchange for them taking approved Homebuyer Education Classes has been getting a lot of attention and press. Real estate professionals and homebuyers are beginning to inquire about how to apply for the HAWK Program.

The most important major detail that many of the articles and news reports are not making very clear is that the HAWK Program has not yet landed its final approval status and IS NOT available!

HUD’s current estimate is that phase one of the four-year, four-phase program should roll out winter of 2014 or spring of 2015.

Below are the basic program details if the program rolls out without any changes to the current program proposal: (more…)

Dangers of Dual Agency: Walking the Tight Rope

July 14, 2014

dual_agencyWhen a Broker represents both the buyer and seller in the same transaction, there is the potential for Dual Agency to exist. More specifically, dual agency is created based on the involvement of the affiliated licensees of the broker.

When the buyer and seller are represented by the same broker, but different licensees respectively, the relationship is known as a Designated Agency Relationship. In the event there’s only one sales associate involved in the transaction and the brokerage only represents one party, there’s no risk of dual or designated agency.

There’s a common misperception that exists in the industry: If I sell my own listing, it’s always dual agency. This is simply not always the case. You can sell your own listings and not be in a dual agency situation. When selling your own listing, a dual agency scenario is based on there being a BBA with the buyer (with you as the agent) in addition to the Sellers Listing agreement signed (with you as the agent). (more…)

FHA vs. Conventional: Which is the Better Option?

July 7, 2014

fha_or_conv_loanMany homebuyers are seeking a loan with very little down payment. If they aren’t eligible for a 100% VA or USDA loan, they have two choices: FHA with 3.5% down payment or Conventional with 5% down payment. Determining which is best can be challenging. There are pros and cons to both loan types.

Most people have heard that FHA loans are good because they offer lower interest rates and are easier to qualify for than Conventional loans.

This is true, but if the buyer can qualify for the Conventional loan, it could be cheaper overall, even if the interest rate is a bit higher. Remember, there is more to a monthly mortgage payment than the principle and interest payment. The big factor that separates FHA and Conventional loan monthly payments is the Private Mortgage Insurance for each loan type.

Let’s break down each loan type: (more…)

Adding Color to Small Spaces

June 23, 2014

color_in_small_spacesI recently helped a friend move into their new condo downtown, and one of the first things that I mentioned is that now would be the best time to start painting! When it comes to room design, a little color can go a long way, but many people hesitate when it comes to smaller spaces. They’re afraid that by adding color, they might make a room feel claustrophobic.

Color is one of the best ways to define a room, and a carefully chosen color can double a room’s apparent size! Here some of my tips for using color to create depth in small spaces. (more…)