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15 Ways to Prep Your Multi-Family Building Exterior for the Spring Market

In international buyers, Investing, Investor, miami, Miami-Dade County, Multi-Family Real Estate, real estate, Sellers on April 6, 2013 at 8:46 am

Spring is the season for rain, sun, flowers and humidity buildup. It is also the season buyers and sellers traditionally come out of hibernation. It is a time when folks turn to spring cleaning, regardless of whether they are selling their property or not.

However, if you are in fact, looking to sell, you will definitely want to pay close attention and properly prepare. This article will hopefully, help you get started and get you to a fast closing that nets you the most money in your pocket, ready to enjoy, retire other debt or reinvest.

As I flip channels and sometimes watch a particular product they may be selling, particularly jewelry, I notice that ‘shine’ is critical. I also notice the effect I feel when I walk up to a car dealership that keeps its cars sparkling clean versus when I walk up to a car that seems poorly maintained.

Similarly, I notice what I feel when I approach a property. As I walk through it, I notice the big and little things that say WOW. The question is, what follows that “wow”? Is it, wow this is great or is it, wow this needs a lot of work!

As rents climb or stabilize, buyers are watching for opportunities. Your job as a seller is now to convey the message to the buyer that your property has been well taken care of and that it will provide a handsome return and that it is therefore, worth their investment.

The tips below will cost little money and could go a long way to convey the right perception that attracts buyers to make an offer. Even if you are a distressed seller, the more appealing your property looks, the higher the perceived value and the more money you could net.

With this in mind, here’s how to get the exterior of your building shipshape so it tell buyers, “yes, this is a good investment”:

1. Clean the glass covers of all light fixtures and make sure to remove all bugs. Also, replace any broken or missing glass covers. Make sure they all match. If not, replace them all to match and improve the look of the fixtures.

2. Replace missing or burnt bulbs. Consider replacing every bulb with bright white energy efficient bulbs. They brighten up the common areas making it more appealing and saves energy while helping deter crime.

3. Clean or replace mailboxes. Busted mailboxes often convey a sense of neglect.

4. Clean or paint all doors and frames and replace or polish their hardware so they all match throughout.

5. Make sure the building address number and each unit number are clearly visible and neat.  You may also want to consider replacing them for a clean look.

6. Make sure all stairs, hallways and stair guardrails are clean and/or painted as needed.

7. Wash all windows and seal them right to avoid water leaks while improving energy efficiency. See that tenants cooperate by keeping old tape used during a prior hurricane watch or warning and even odd window coverings, off windows.

8. Make sure to pressure clean parking areas and that they are swept clean. If necessary, cover driveway and parking areas with a fresh coat of tar. Check that all parking stoppers are painted and if appropriate, labeled.

9. Rake the lawn and ensure all green areas are trimmed.  Use fresh mulch or stones accordingly to cover patches, driveways and other areas. Plant fresh flowers or plants if possible. These are often inexpensive and greatly ‘green-up’ common areas.

10. Clean all debris from gutters and drain spouts and repair or replace them as needed.

11. If there is a community barbeque, be sure to clean it thoroughly and wash down the lid if there is one.  Replace a worn cover if needed.

12. If there is a community swimming pool, make sure it sparkles. Treat or repair any surrounding pool ground area that isn’t perfect.

13. If there is patio or pool-area furniture, make sure it is clean. Remove or replace any broken pieces.

14. Check your roof and make sure to repair or replace any missing or damaged shingles or tiles. Make sure to apply a sealant to flat roofs. Even if it does not seem necessary, this is a small expense compared to what a poor roof inspection result may represent.

15. Paint. Although this could be the costlier of the cosmetic preparations, I can’t say enough about this, especially if the building has not been painted for 3+ years. When it comes to selling, remember, ‘sparkle’ is key and nothing sparkles more than a fresh coat of neutral color paint. Make sure it is properly done and that cosmetic cracks are patched prior to application.

Now, go ahead and comment on any of the above or add your own to the list.

As a buyer, what items do you look for when you walk through the exterior of a building you are considering?

Also, as a buyer, HOW is your offer price affected by either a positive or negative impression you experience while walking the exterior of a property? How much more or less would you offer be as a result of your experience?

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So You Want To Buy a Condo, huh….Get Ready Then to Take Some Responsibility

In Buyers, credit, fannie mae, First Time Sellers, First-Time Buyer, florida, forclosure, foreclosure, foreign nationals, Freddie Mac, Home Buyer, home sellers, homeowner, Industry trends, Interest Rates, international buyers, Investing, Investor, Lease-Option, lenders, Loan Originator, miami, miami beach, Miami-Dade County, mortgage, real estate, REO, second home, Self-Directed IRA, Sellers, Short Sales, South Beach, vacation home, Wenceslao on October 6, 2010 at 2:43 pm

Here’s the scary part…I don’t recommend anyone in particular – you must consider the professionals you work with carefully and examine several before you can make the right choice.

Once you’ve chosen which seller type you will pursue (there are at least three and some will argue, four – they are at least, those in distress, REOs and regular sellers), you’ll need to consider what strategy will work for each, and for this, you’ll need at least two professionals: a Realtor and a Lender/Broker

Like you, I have also worked with a number of professionals in different industries and, you get good and bad in each.

One of the first things you need to do BEFORE you find that “ideal” place you want to buy or BEFORE you decide to sell, is to interview several real estate agents. If you are buying, you must also choose, in a close second, a mortgage professional.

Focusing on your financing alternatives, you’ll need to choose between a mortgage broker and a traditional lender (typically a bank), and make sure they will treat you with honesty and a high degree of integrity and professionalism.

Your agent will not (normally), offer you the name of a lender who may have ever done something to jeopardize that agent’s license or relationship with a buyer.  Remember though that each, will have different experiences, access to different resources and each can be an asset to you in their own way. It is up to you however, to discover which among the many, many choices, is right for you and your needs.

In my humble opinion (and you know what they say: “Opinions are like noses….everybody has one”), mortgage brokers often have access to more than one source of funds and this is why I like brokers best. They’re not tied to what their boss says they must provide as an option to their clients/ borrower-applicants and they are actually…not the boogeyman the media has played them to be.

Remember that, a mortgage broker’s main job is to counsel you on loan alternatives, take your application, collect data and “shop” to find the best lender for your needs. In the end however, it is the actual lender who must evaluate the entire package submitted by the broker on your behalf, during a process called “underwriting” when the lender decides if they want to approve the loan.

Therefore, the funds do not come from the brokers, the brokers act as intermediaries. The funds come from the actual lenders who approve the loan.

These lenders then either keep your loan in their portfolio or sell them in the secondary market to any number of investors, including Freddie and Fannie. This is how our economy takes each dollar lent, and turns it into $10 in a process I now forget what is called.

Just the same, buyers must vett these brokers (or any lender for that matter – after all,  look at all the trouble they are ALL in), and ask all the right questions. Choose one, and keep a backup.

In the end, always remember that is not the company (mortgage brokerage or institutional lender), who provides you professional service, it is the broker/loan officer you select who provides you service on behalf of their employer and you need to vett them both.

Let them know a bit about the property you’re looking to buy, they’ll need to know about your financials, and at the appropriate time, they’ll need to pull your credit and obtain your tax returns, etc in order to give you a valid pre-approval/pre-qualification letter (which we’ll need to provide along with your offer).

Ask them how long have they been in business, how many lenders do they represent, how to find out about their company and their personal license (you can check the status and record of their license online), how do they determine which program is best for you, can they provide you more than one or two choices for the purchase you’re looking to make, how do they communicate with you, how do you keep track of your file, how do they handle your questions throughout, etc.

In short, you need to determine if they’re a good fit for you, just like folks may want to know about you and your services before they hire you – you’ll want to know about any service provider, including Realtors(c), attorneys, doctors and CPAs.

Brokers can only control how they qualify “you”, and as a second step, help you determine if a property you like, meets financing criteria. Once they can put a checkmark on both…we have the potential for a deal.

After that, or when they advise, you’ll need to complete a formal loan application (AKA: 1003 application), provide any additional documents they require from you, request a Condo Questionnaire from the association (which will typically cost you between $100-$150), verification of employment and domicile, request appraisal, etc.  In other words…that’s when the fun begins.

Up to the day of closing, they’ll need to re-verify that the building is not in worse financial shape than when the process began, that your credit has not dropped, that your DTI (debt-to-income) ratio is still within guidelines, that there are no new surprises (in conjunction with the title agent), that can affect closing (lien, open permits or other title issues that may come up), make sure property insurance coverage is in place, that you have condo association approval, etc.

In short, there’s a LOT of paper and behind-the-scenes work we all have to do (I also need to keep all parties communicating and all dots or links in the chain connected throughout), and working with a professional that will help you the way you expect them to, is critical.

A professional Realtor(c) (remember that, only a real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of Realtors, and who adheres to their strict Code of Ethics, can call themselves Realtor(c)), will want to make sure to guide you and empower you to make the right decision. By the same token, you nust make sure you are being served by the right professionals along the way, including the lender you choose – and the choice is yours.

Speak to them (there’s no charge or obligation for this process – we all get paid when we close the deal), reach them by email, ask them to call you, see how responsive they are, do they answer all your questions to your satisfaction and like in a beauty contest – you’ll need to then choose a winner  😉

With the situation in condo financing the way it is, you don’t want to waste your time using an agent who does not know how to qualify your buyer (if you are selling), or if you are buying, qualify and guide you as a buyer. Either can kill the deal and potentially cost you money.

Other points to consider is the recent Halt of all foreclosures by some of the major lenders (see previous post), and the fact that condo units in some buildings simply, can only be purchased with cash since no financing may be possible in many of them due to current market conditions.

In short, buying real estate is not like buying a can of beans at the supermarket. You  don’t just pick one, pay for it, and enjoy it. Most people find buying a car confusing. Buying real estate is no different and, being that this is among the largest purchase you’ll make, you should approach it responsibly.

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Your comments / opinion welcomed

Existing Home/Condo Sales Improve in August

In Distressed Sales, Fl, florida, Home Buyer, home sellers, Industry trends, international buyers, Investing, Investor, miami, miami beach, real estate, REO, Sellers, Short Sales, Trends on September 27, 2010 at 11:35 am

Florida’s existing home, condo sales up in August

ORLANDO, Fla. – Sept. 23, 2010 – Sales of existing homes in Florida rose 1 percent in August, with a total of 13,997 homes sold statewide compared to 13,908 homes sold in August 2009, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®. Statewide existing home sales in August increased 3 percent over statewide sales activity in July.

Ten of Florida’s metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) reported higher existing home sales last month, while 13 MSAs posted increased existing condo sales. Florida’s median sales price for existing homes last month was $134,000; a year ago, it was $146,500 for a decrease of 9 percent. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.

The national median sales price for existing single-family homes in July 2010 was $183,400, up 0.9 percent from a year earlier, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). In Massachusetts, the statewide median resales price was $333,000 in May; in California, it was $314,850; in Maryland, it was $267,489; and in New York, it was $227,000.

In Florida’s year-to-year comparison for condos, 5,706 units sold statewide last month compared to 4,662 units in August 2009 for an increase of 22 percent. Statewide existing condo sales last month increased almost 2.7 percent over July’s condo sales. The statewide existing condo median sales price in August was $81,600; in August 2009 it was $107,200 for a 24 percent decrease. The national median existing condo price was $176,800 in July, according to NAR.

The housing sector faces a long recovery process, due in part to slow job growth and the still-fragile economy, according to NAR’s latest industry outlook. “Home sales will remain soft in the months ahead, but improved affordability conditions should help with a recovery,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. The pace of sales has slowed since May, following the expiration of the federal homebuyer tax credit, Yun said, who predicted this “pause period” likely will last through September.

“However, given rock-bottom mortgage interest rates and historically high housing affordability conditions, the pace of a sales recovery could pick up quickly, provided the economy consistently adds jobs,” he said.

The interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.43 percent in August, down from the 5.19 percent averaged in August 2009, according to Freddie Mac. Florida Realtors’ sales figures reflect closings, which typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.

Reprinted by Permission: © 2010 Florida Realtors®

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In Miami-Dade County specifically, we have also seen improvement in segments of the market. Overall, the county has experienced a slight increase in inventory of 1.2%, although inventory levels dropped 10.4% year-over-year as depicted in the graph below.

1 month 1 year
Jul 10 Aug 10 % Change Aug 09 Aug 10 % Change
For Sale 23976 24271 1.2% 27083 24271 -10.4%
New Listing 5465 5391 -1.4% 4098 5391 31.6%
Sold 1957 1832 -6.4% 1761 1832 4%
Pended 2874 3327 15.8% 2618 3327 27.1%

The opposite was true with new inventory levels where a 1.4% drop in the month of August was reported, as compared to July, 2010. In contrast, notice the amazing increase in inventory levels year-over-year of 31.6%, signaling that possibly, we are seeing new foreclosure units come to market as compared to 2009.

The following charts depict non-distressed  vs distressed property activity in Miami-Dade county. These charts demonstrate the state of affairs in the county and easily proves where the market activity is.

Non-Distressed activity:

1 month 1 year
Jul 10 Aug 10 % Change Aug 09 Aug 10 % Change
For Sale 13754 13773 0.1% 17674 13773 -22.1%
New Listing 2317 2190 -5.5% 2477 2190 -11.6%
Sold 686 633 -7.7% 820 633 -22.8%
Pended 719 754 4.9% 1238 754 -39.1%

Distressed (Short Sales & REOs) activity:

1 month 1 year
Jul 10 Aug 10 % Change Aug 09 Aug 10 % Change
For Sale 10215 10491 2.7% 9409 10491 11.5%
New Listing 3148 3201 1.7% 1621 3201 97.5%
Sold 1271 1199 -5.7% 941 1199 27.4%
Pended 2155 2573 19.4% 1380 2573 86.4%

To further brake it down, below is the chart depicting REO activity in Miami-Dade county, Florida:

1 month 1 year
Jul 10 Aug 10 % Change Aug 09 Aug 10 % Change
For Sale 2111 2298 8.9% 1029 2298 123.3%
New Listing 1548 1613 4.2% 696 1613 131.8%
Sold 767 779 1.6% 779 779 0%
Pended 1021 1425 39.6% 766 1425 86%

While the following chart depicts Short Sale activity in Miami-Dade county, Florida:

1 month 1 year
Jul 10 Aug 10 % Change Aug 09 Aug 10 % Change
For Sale 8104 8193 1.1% 8386 8193 -2.3%
New Listing 1600 1588 -0.7% 925 1588 71.7%
Sold 504 420 -16.7% 162 420 159.3%
Pended 1134 1148 1.2% 614 1148 87%

Clearly, the Short Sale market seems to be the most active, showing a 159% increase in activity from last year from 162 units sold in August 2009 to 420 units sold in August, 2010. However, it also suffered the largest month-to-month decline in closed sales between July, 2010 and August, 2010 for a 16.7% drop from 504 units sold in 7/10 to 420 units sold in 8/10.

In the Coastal, Eastern Miami-Dade county areas I serve (Zip Codes: 33109, 33129, 33130, 33131, 33132, 33139,  33140, & 33141), the overal acticity chart follows:

Overal Market Activity for Miami Beach, Downtown-Biscayne and Brickell areas are as follows:

1 month 1 year
Jul 10 Aug 10 % Change Aug 09 Aug 10 % Change
For Sale 5601 5625 0.4% 6168 5625 -8.8%
New Listing 982 951 -3.2% 778 951 22.2%
Sold 300 274 -8.7% 230 274 19.1%
Pended 433 452 4.4% 367 452 23.2%

Note again that, although new listings and sold units in August were down as compared to July, they’re both robustly up as compared to last year. Just the same,

Pending sales (a forward indicator), continues to show (except for non-distressed sellers), that the following months show promising results as those properties under contract close.

With 40-unit Onyx on the Bay near Downtown Miami going up for Bankruptcy auction on October 5, 2010, including 56 parking spaces and some storage units, it is easy to see that though we may be reaching a recovery point, we are also still on a long road to full recovery and reversal of current market conditions.

However, conditions are ripe for buyers to capitalize long-term on great deals. Only those who take action will benefit though.

1 month 1 year
Jul 10 Aug 10 % Change Aug 09 Aug 10 % Change
For Sale 23976 24271 1.2% 27083 24271 -10.4%
Sold 1957 1832 -6.4% 1761 1832 4%
Pended 2874 3327 15.8% 2618 3327 27.1%

“View from the Beaches” Comes to South Beach

In events, FIU, florida, foreign nationals, Home Buyer, home sellers, Industry trends, international buyers, Investing, Investor, lenders, Market Report, miami, miami beach, Miami-Dade County, Monty's, REAAC, real estate, second home, Smith & Wollenski, South Beach, Texas de Brazil, Trends, vacation home on September 25, 2010 at 4:14 pm

Craig Werley to speak at REAAC‘s “View from the Beaches” event, this Tuesday, Sept. 28th starting at 5pm and ending at 8pm after a 1-hr networker at Texas de Brazil, located at 300 Alton Road (by Monty’s), with all you can eat food and prizes will be raffled, including an industry report from Condo Vultures LLC.

The Real Estate Alumni & Affinity Council or REAAC, is a Florida International University (FIU), alumni chapter in Miami-Dade County, Florida. It is open to alumni and supporters of Florida International University and works with the Alumni Association Liaison and the Director of Real Estate Programs in the College of Business at FIU to serve as a continuing network of FIU anchored real estate professionals.  A main goal of REAAC is the provision of networking opportunities between local and national real estate professionals in the various specialties that make up the real estate industry.

Mr. Werley is founder and President of Focus Real Estate Advisors, LLC, a Florida based real estate consulting firm providing market research, analysis and strategic advice to real estate investors, developers, builders and lenders.

He will speak along with Bob Waun, Managing Director of Americor Mortgage /Vacation Home Finance and Peter Zalewski, a principal with the consulting firm Condo Vultures® LLC, with guest, FIU Dean, Dr. Joyce Elam, Executive Dean and James L. Knight Professor of Management Information Systems, College of Business Administration and Vice Provost FIU Online.

Due to limited space, everyone is encouraged to register early.

The event is expected to draw a good crowd among FIU students, alumni, industry professionals (Realtors and financing) and members of the public.

The main topic of this event will focus on Second Homes, Vacation Homes and Condo market in Miami-Dade county, Florida and Miami Beach.

Anyone interested in real estate topics, out of town buyers and anyone looking for relevant information or to meet top industry and academic specialists, should attend.

Registration to the event is open to the public and will include all you can eat food plus prizes to be raffled. The speakers will take the podium between 5pm and 7pm and the event will close with a networking hour between 7pm and 8pm and you are strongly encouraged to bring plenty of business cards.

To register, follow this link

View from the Beaches Event coming up soon

In Buyers, florida, foreign nationals, Home Buyer, Industry trends, international buyers, Investing, Investor, lenders, miami, miami beach, mortgage, real estate, second home, tax deductions, Tax Matters, Trends, vacation home on September 19, 2010 at 2:42 pm

Upcoming event (Please forward to your colleagues, make sure to click imagebelow for RSVP and sign-up):

View from the Beaches

Condo/Vacation/Second Homes

The Real Estate Alumni & Affinity Council has a great event coming up called View from the Beaches. Our last event had 120+ individuals in attendance and was a definite success!

View from the Beaches is a yearly real estate event that is for individuals that work with international investors or that are interested in condos, vacation, and second homes which talks about data and trends in what brings people to Miami and purchase a vacation home.

Speakers:
Peter Zalewski – Principal of Condo Vultures, LLC
Craig Werley – President at Focus Real Estate Advisors, LLC
Bob Waun – CEO at Vacation Finance – Americor Mortgage, Inc.
w/ special guest – Dr Joyce Elam – Dean of the College of Business for FIU

When: Tuesday, September 28th, 2010 5pm SHARP! Followed by networking event 7-8pm
Where: Texas de Brazil, 300 Alton Rd, Miami Beach (by Monty’s)
Price: $40 prepay securely online

What you get:
1. Great talk
2. Great speakers
3. “All you can eat” dinner
4. Prizes including a very pricey condo report from Peter Zalewski
5. Network. See old friends again and meet new ones!!!

Sponsorship opportunities also available. More information and Sponsorship application may be found HERE

CLICK IMAGE OR THE LINK HERE TO RSVP!

And join us on facebook here!

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