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Position Yourself For Success

Renting? You’re Still Paying a Mortgage…Just Not Your Own

For those who invest in real estate, cash flow is king. Investors considering buying a rental property take into account how much rent can be charged compared to ownership costs. Those costs can include a mortgage, property taxes, insurance and maintenance. If the expected rental is more than that, the property will cash flow. Otherwise, it’s an expense and the investor is likely to move on to another property. There are also some tax incentives for real estate investors.

For renters, they need to consider how much they can comfortably afford each month for housing and utilities. Lenders typically view about one-third of gross monthly income should be used as a general rule of affordability. As rent is paid each month, the investor takes that cash and pays the mortgage with it. In essence, you are paying a mortgage, just a mortgage that belongs to someone else.

For first time buyers, getting financing can be a bewildering process for some. There’s lots of documents that need to be signed and reviewed. Lenders need to make sure you have enough funds on hand for a down payment, closing costs and leftover cash reserves. Credit is reviewed as is employment and income. But it doesn’t need to be an intimidating process. That’s also where a good loan officer comes into play, to walk with you side-by-side from initial prequalification to the settlement table.

Most renters will ultimately end up owning at some point in the future. In the long run, owning compared to renting makes sense in a lot of ways. In today’s interest rate market where rates are low compared to areas where rents are steadily increasing, it’s ultimately cheaper to own compared to renting.

Renters may have a goal of owning but not sure how to get there and when. They realize renting is not a long term solution, but their current situation makes it better to rent than own. Someone that is short term for example is probably a better renting candidate compared to someone with the intent to keep the property for the long haul.

It’s usually at this stage where renters first begin to get the urge to explore buying. They can do their own research online to get an idea on where rates are and even run a few mortgage calculators to see what monthly payments might be. Yet it’s important at this point to stop flying solo and contact an experienced loan officer. If you don’t know of anyone in the mortgage business, your real estate agent can point you in the right direction as well as friends, family and co-workers.

Your loan officer will provide you with an approximate qualifying loan amount for starters. This prequalification takes into account your gross monthly income and expenses and at some point, your credit report will be pulled along with credit scores. Your loan officer will give you an estimated amount for a down payment and associated closing costs. It’s a lot easier to be an owner than you might think. Maybe if you’re asking these questions, it’s time to get your own mortgage and stop paying for someone else’s.

Position Realty
(480) 213-5251

What to Know About Tax Lien Investing

Tax lien investing is a way to expand your portfolio and add a unique element to your investments. When property owners don’t pay their property taxes, you may be able to invest in subsequent tax lien certificates. Investing in tax liens is an indirect way to get into real estate investing.

You’re buying tax lien certificates instead of properties, and the hope is that you’ll eventually get a return.

Below, we dive into some of what you should know about this alternative approach to investing in real estate.

What Is a Tax Lien?

A tax lien is created when a local government puts a lien on the property because of unpaid property taxes. Twenty-eight states currently allow the sale of tax lien certificates. There are tens of billions of dollars in delinquent property taxes every year, so opportunities are there for savvy investors.

A tax lien isn’t the same as a mortgage lien. If a property has a mortgage lien, the lender has a claim to the property in question until the borrower pays the loan back. With a tax lien, the government or owner of the tax lien certificate has a claim to the property.

A tax lien is usually something that comes before harsher penalties, like a tax levy. When there’s a tax levy, the IRS or a local government can seize property.

When a local government or municipality issues a tax lien, they create a tax lien certificate. That certificate indicates how much is owed in taxes and any penalties and interest.

Then, the municipality may be able to sell that certificate to private investors. Private investors cover the tax bill, and for that, they get the right to collect that money plus interest when the property owners pay the balance.

Investors Bid In An Auction

An investor in tax liens will have to bid for the certificates in an auction process, and the specifics of how that works depends on the municipality. There is an organization, the National Tax Lien Association, that provides information on what you should know.

They recommend that if you’re interested in investing in liens, you get familiar with the local area. You can contact tax officials in your area to determine how they collect delinquent property taxes.

Bids may be based on a cash amount that someone is willing to pay for a certificate. Bids can also be based on an interest rate they’ll accept. If it’s a cash offer, a certificate goes to the highest bidder. If it’s an interest rate, it goes to the lowest bidder.

The lower the interest rate you bid, the lower your profit.

What If You’re the Winning Bidder?

If you’re the winning bidder, you then take ownership of the lien certificate. You don’t own the property at this point, but you do have the right of ownership through a foreclosure, or you have the right to be paid back if the homeowner covers their tax bill.

You are immediately responsible for paying the tax bill if you win in an auction. You have to pay any owed interest or fees as well. Then, a homeowner has a period of time before what’s called the redemption deadline. They have to pay the investor, or they’re at risk of foreclosure.

Those are the two outcomes—essentially, the homeowner pays their property taxes, or they don’t.

If they do, you get your initial investment back and the interest rate you bid during the auction. If the homeowner doesn’t pay the property taxes, you can start the process of foreclosure.

Most homeowners do end up paying their property tax before it gets to that point.

What Are the Downsides?

There are certainly upsides to investing in tax liens. Namely, you can see significantly better returns than you would on other investments, and it can be a passive investment at least initially.

There are downsides to weigh, too, though.

This is a very risky investment, and you should work with a professional before taking it on.

It can be time-consuming once you purchase a tax lien certificate because there are a lot of deadlines and expiration dates.

Tax lien investing can be lucrative but not something for a person with no experience to dive into without preparing.

Position Realty
Office: 480-213-5251

What is the Hardest Part of Buying a House?

Everyone experiences things differently, and that includes buying a house. You may think one element or purchasing a home is hard, while someone else could find another more challenging.

With that being said, in general, the following are some of the things many people say are most difficult when they’re buying a home.

Home Price

Home prices have been soaring since the pandemic. Homeowners say even after they’re able to purchase a property, when they look back on the experience, the prices were the most challenging part of everything.

In certain markets currently, major bidding wars are going on, especially for starter homes but often for properties across all budget ranges. There’s a limited inventory of homes, people are afraid to sell because they don’t know if they’ll find something else, and mortgage rates remain at record lows. All of these factors can make it feel impossible to buy a home.

The Paperwork

When you decide to buy a home, you may find the paperwork most challenging, although how hard this is depends on the type of loan you’re applying for and your job and financial situation.

For example, if you’re self-employed, the paperwork and loan process itself can be more difficult. You’ll have to show several years of tax returns and bank statements, just to start.

As you’re waiting to finalize the loan, you may find that it creates a lot of anxiety. Your loan often isn’t finalized until just a few days before you close. You have to wait in limbo until the last moment, and you may not have a clear idea of what’s happening with it during this time of uncertainty.

The Emotions

You may not realize it until you actually start the process but buying a home can be highly emotional in different ways. You might find yourself falling in love with a house that’s way out of your budget for example, and overspending. When you work with a great realtor, they can help you stay objective so you don’t put yourself in a precarious financial situation because of your emotions.

It’s easy to start to feel overwhelmed and discouraged when you lose out on a house as well.

You overall have to learn how to manage your expectations when you go into the home-buying process. You have to prioritize the most important things and be ready to walk away if something like a bad inspection happens.

Saving for a Down Payment

The down payment is related to the cost of the home you plan to buy, and it’s one of the biggest hurdles to buying a home. It can be incredibly challenging to save for a substantial down payment when you’re already paying rent.

Agreeing

If you’re buying a home with your partner, agreeing might end up being the hardest part for you.

You may have an ideal home in your mind that’s completely different from what they have in mind. You could fall in love with something that your partner says absolutely no to. It can be challenging, but you can void some of these pitfalls by having in-depth discussions about what you both want early on.

Many of the other hardest things about buying a home can be navigated by an experienced real estate agent—that’s what they’re there for—to make things easier on you and bring their expertise to an otherwise stressful situation.

Position Realty
Office: 480-213-5251

Cleaning Your Home Before Selling? 5 Surfaces to Leave to a Professional

When cleaning your home, it’s easy to begin feeling burdened by all the areas that you’ll have to tackle. This is especially true for those surfaces that just won’t seem to clean up no matter how hard you scrub and wipe. To save yourself some effort, leave this type of work to a professional. With their higher strength cleaning solutions and tools, they’ll be able to make different parts of your home look like new again. The surfaces that are best for professional cleaning, in particular, can be found below.

1. Upholstery

Cleaning your upholstery can help get rid of stains, dirt, and even bad smells. However, many cleaning solutions on the market can damage fabrics and leave them discolored or ruined. When you hire a professional to clean instead, they’ll use gentle yet effective cleaning solutions that will refresh your upholstery beautifully. This can be done on your ottomans, couches, chairs, and even pillows. More importantly, most cleaning companies guarantee their work so you are protected from damage. This is one of the best solutions if you have antique furniture or fabrics that you just need to have deep cleaned.

2. Stone

If the stone in your home, such as the granite or marble on your countertops, is beginning to look worn, then hiring a professional is a great way to go. They will use time-tested cleaning solutions and techniques to carefully clean and seal your surfaces so they are restored to their natural beauty once again. This can even help get rid of scratches, stains, and other signs of wear and tear, making it especially beneficial to the value of your home.

The equipment that professionals have is expensive and difficult to find, so you’ll be saving money by hiring someone instead of taking on the job yourself. What’s even better is the fact that the professionals will do all the work so you can avoid the physical distress that can come with a large stone cleaning job.

3. Tile

Professional tile and grout cleaning can get rid of deep down stains and even make your grout look like new again. While you could try to do this on your own, it would take hours of back-breaking work and it’s very unlikely you’d end up with results that would mimic those of a professional. By hiring an expert, you save time and enjoy the look of new tiles without having to do any renovations in your home.

If you don’t think your tile and grout needs to be cleaned because you sweep and mop often, get down on the ground to take a closer look. Chances are, you’re going to see many areas that are discolored and some that are completely stained. While this can be disheartening if you clean often, professional service can resolve these issues.

4. Windows

Cleaning your home’s exterior windows can be difficult and even dangerous if you have more than one story. When you hire a professional instead, they use special equipment and cleaning solutions to wipe these clean in the safest manner possible. Most companies even include interior window washing in their price, which can make your windows shine like new again.

5. Wood Floors

Regular mopping and sweeping will help keep your wood floors in good condition for years to come. However, even with weekly cleaning, they can begin to fade and look scratched due to daily use. If you want to restore the appearance and overall condition of your hardwood floors, then hiring a professional is crucial. They have the experience that ensures your floors will be deeply cleaned and restored with zero mistakes. In just a short amount of time, their professional techniques will transform your floors with no effort on your part.

Give Yourself a Break

Some surfaces in your home are just better left to professional cleaners. Not only do they know how to carefully treat all types of materials but they also have higher quality machinery and solutions. Their help can make your home shine and save you from unnecessary cleaning throughout the year.

Position Realty
(480) 213-5251

Safety Tips for Showing Your Home

Showing your home is an integral part of the overall process to ultimately sell it. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, there were concerns about being safe when strangers came to look at your home. Now, with the pandemic continuing, homeowners are even more cautious.

With that in mind, the following are some general safety tips when you show your home, but also some related to COVID-19.

Avoid An Open House

If you’re a seller, you might want to talk to your agent and tell them you don’t want to have any open houses. A lot of real estate agents don’t think they’re beneficial anyway. During an open house, you’re taking a more significant risk than you are if you have scheduled private showings.

During an open house, it’s not only more likely that someone could target your valuables or look around to come back to your home later, but you also have more exposure to people who might be sick.

Have Your Agent Meet with Prospective Buyers First

If you’re feeling nervous and unsure about showings, talk to your agent about potentially meeting with prospective buyers outside of your home in a neutral setting before having an in-home showing. From the perspective of your real estate agent, it might add more work to their job, but at the end of the day, safety is critical.

When you do have showings, you want to make sure, regardless of whether or not your real estate agent met with them beforehand that they’re qualified buyers. You certainly don’t want people coming during a pandemic because they’re window-shopping or they’re just curious or being nosy.

You only want people who are serious about buying a home.

To find qualified buyers, there are various ways to screen them. For example, you or your agent can screen them using only appointments and asking buyers to do a virtual tour before an in-person showing.

Your agent can request a pre-qualification letter before setting a showing date.

Set Up Your Home For Contactless Showing

As far as COVID-19 concerns, if you’re a seller you might request that your real estate agent sets up your home for contactless showings. To do that, your agent might have their own strategies, but recommendations include opening all the doors and cabinets and turning on all the lights. Your agent can also pull all shades so that buyers can see everything without coming in contact with high-touch surfaces.

You can also do these things as a homeowner. Think about the touchpoints throughout your home and how you can help people avoid them when they look at your home.

Sanitize After Showings

It’s a good rule of thumb even outside of COVID-19 to sanitize your home after showings because it’s not the only infectious disease out there. You should wipe surfaces with a disinfecting wipe and do a quick clean.

Put Certain Items Away

There are some items you don’t want to have on display during showings. Your valuables and heirlooms are more obvious, but there are less obvious things to put away. Prescription pain medications are one example. Your mail and bills are other things to put away in preparation for a home showing.

Use Smart Home Technology

Finally, you might consider using smart home security while your home is on the market because this is when it’s especially vulnerable to various threats. Plus, if you add some safety and security features, it can make your home more appealing to buyers. At a minimum, using a smart lockbox is a good idea because it gives you control over who comes into your home no matter where you are.

Could Your Garage Get Your Home Sold?

You’ve made updates to your kitchen. Made sure your bathrooms look fresh and clean. Decluttered EVERYTHING. Even dropped your price. But your house still isn’t selling. Could your garage make the difference?

It just might.

“When prospective buyers visit your for-sale home, they’re going to inspect every room in the house—even the garage,” said Sara Reese of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Beach Properties of Florida on RISMedia. “It’s not exactly a glamorous space, but if your garage is a mess, it’s going to send a bad signal and turn off visitors. Therefore, it’s helpful to spend a little time in your garage and make it look its best.”

Here are a few tips to get your garage in great shape.

Replacing your garage door

If your garage door works perfectly fine, replacing it may not be a high priority. But consider it curb appeal. Garage doors are large items, and they take up a lot of eye space. Especially if your garage faces the street, a dented, chipped, or dingy door could be stealing focus from the rest of your otherwise-put-together house.

“Remodeling Magazine found in its 2019 Cost vs. Value study that an upscale garage door replacement can actually net you a return of 97.5%,” said HomeLight. “A new garage door will run you between $300 to $1,500, depending upon the size and style, while installation typically costs between $500 and $800.”

If the garage makes a loud or creaky sound when it opens, spending a few hundred dollars to replace the garage door opener is a no-brainer.

Finishing out the garage

Finishing out your garage isn’t recommended if you’re looking for the best return on investment (ROI). While this type of upgrade may appeal to a niche buyer, most aren’t going to pay extra for it, and you likely won’t recoup your costs.

Just adding epoxy to the floor can cost between $1,400 and $3,000. You could do it yourself for about $100, but the process can be tricky and the results may reflect your novice status.

If you don’t want to go to the trouble and expense of epoxying the floors, make sure you get them nice and clean. “If your garage floors are cracked and covered in oil stains from cars gone by, it’s a good idea to give the floor a good pressure washing and repair those cracks (depending on how big or noticeable they are),” said Nexx. According to homewyse, power washing the garage floor will cost around $200.

Adding storage

After giving the garage a good cleaning, this is the No. 1 must-do to get the space in good shape. According to Kiplinger, 85% of buyers said they want garage storage.

You can easily spend thousands on dedicated garage storage systems that make the space look pristine, but creating spaces to neatly stash your stuff doesn’t have to be costly. A few large metal shelving units placed side by side will only cost you a few hundred dollars. These freestanding units are popular with buyers because the doors hide messes. And, when you put a few of them together, you can turn the top into a work surface.

Adding a garage

If you don’t have a garage and you’re in an area where most homes do, adding one might be on your mind. Your real estate agent should be able to advise you on whether or not this is a smart move, especially given the expense and expected ROI. “At a national level, home sellers can expect to recover close to 64.8% of their initial garage addition costs,” said Clever. “Let’s say that you invest $27,000 in adding a garage to your home, you may recover about $17,496 when you sell your home.”

Doing a garage conversion

Perhaps you’re thinking of converting your garage to living space. It is less expensive than adding on; According to Realtor.com, a garage renovation “comes in at $11,000 on average.”

While a conversion isn’t necessarily a recommended strategy if you’re looking to get your home sold right away because of the expense and the time involved, there are some instances where this might be a good move.

“Nearly 30% of shoppers rate a garage as one of the most important home features, just ahead of an updated kitchen and open floor plan. But “a ‘well-done’ garage conversion to living space can give you up to an 80% ROI.”

The decision of whether to go this route largely hinges on that expense, but also on the specific area in which your home is located. It’s best to talk with your real estate agent before dropping the hammer on your garage conversion. It could be that homes without garage in your area just don’t sell. Or, perhaps there is a growing trend toward multi-generational living locally that could inform your renovation and make your home especially desirable.

Sure-Fire Ways to Enhance the Value of Your Home

As a homeowner, any investment in your home should be one that enhances its overall value. There are many different ways to improve the value of any home. The trick is to choose those features which will bring you the most return on your investment and satisfaction for your everyday living environment. Here are our best suggestions for areas to improve the value of your home.

Landscaping

The curb appeal of your home is in straight connection with the perceived value of the home. It’s important to remember that the value of your home will be determined by the buying market. For this reason, you’ll want to ensure that your home looks amazing. Curb appeal is an area that you simply can’t ignore. The outside of your home is the first glimpse that people get of your house from a listing and when driving up for a showing. You want to impress them at first sight. Investing your money in different landscaping features can provide a great return on your investment. Features can include trees, shrubs, flowers, fountains, fences, benches, ambient lighting, and so forth.

Energy-Efficient Features

Aside from the mortgage payment, one of the most expensive parts of owning a home is paying the electricity bill. This holds especially true in the dead of winter and drought of summer. To help keep energy levels low, there are various energy-efficient features that can be installed throughout your home. Solar panels tend to be some of the first features that most people think of when they hear about cutting energy costs. By producing your own energy, you can avoid the high costs of paying your utility company each month. Heat pumps are another great way to majorly reduce your heating and cooling costs. Even adding energy-efficient kitchen appliances can be a great idea to help lower the electric bill each month.

Replace Old Windows

Older windows in your home can be a big avoidance of potential homebuyers. They know that windows can be somewhat costly to fix and will avoid buying homes that will need a lot of windows replaced. You can fix this problem by installing new windows in your home. These newer windows will be more energy-efficient and make your energy bills much cheaper. According to EnergyStar, the average homeowner can enjoy savings of up to 500 per year in energy costs just by installing new windows. Also, by installing new windows, it can modernize the look of the home which is a big plus for potential buyers.

Convert Extra Space Into Rooms

One of the biggest ways to improve the value of a home is to add another bathroom or bedroom. While not all homeowners have the space to do so, it can be advantageous for those who do. Look for those spare rooms that can be converted. Even an attic space that is tall enough to be converted into a bedroom can drastically improve the value of your home. If you have a lot of open basement space, consider installing a downstairs bathroom and bedroom. The more bedrooms and bathrooms you can install, the higher the value increase for your home.

Update The Kitchen

The two most popular rooms in a home are the bathroom and the kitchen. The kitchen is one that is highly desired to be modernized. This includes new appliances, beautiful countertops, and more modern features. If you’re going to be investing your money in updating any room of your home, you should opt for the kitchen first. This will bring you the biggest return on your investment.

Increasing the value of your home can be done through many different methods. The above are just some of the most popular methods that are used by homeowners. It’s always a good idea to consider the return on investment that you’ll get from any home improvement that you intend to do. This will ensure that you get your money back when you go to resell your home in the future.

Avoid FIVE Real Estate Regrets

Can you tell good real estate advice from bad?

Unfortunately, for buyers and sellers the answer is usually, “Yes, in hindsight!” That is, after they have bought or sold.

After buyers move in or sellers move out, many things become clear. Buyers and sellers begin to discover whether the advice they followed—from family, friends, social media, how-to’s…—was the best advice to act on.

I have always believed that a type of stress-driven “temporary insanity” can descend on buyers and sellers. This is especially true if they put extra pressure on themselves by searching for a “dream or forever home.”

Clear thinking, capable individuals become frazzled. They are caught in a high-pressure vortex of unfamiliar real estate decisions, most of which must be made quickly and often without knowing or understanding all the implications:

• This is particularly true for sellers who are attempting to decide whether to let go of the home they love and at what price, often without knowing exactly what will be next for them.

• Buyers, especially first-timers, are frantically trying to project their lives into someone else’s home, under time pressures and without really understanding all that’s involved.

The most common hindsight regret and disappointment for buyers is “the one that got away”—the real estate they could have bought but didn’t.

These unmade decisions haunt some people for decades. Avoid hindsight regrets with foresight:

The 5 Most Common Hindsight Regrets

Regret #1. That we didn’t buy the house beside or behind ours, or both.
We’d have had an undisturbed view, privacy, and an amazing pool-sized backyard. The resulting large real estate holding could have set us up financially. Instead, we have a huge new house towering over ours—this is often the result when new neighbors renovate. “If only we’d…” regrets are no solution to not acting when opportunities arise.

Regret #2. That we began the search for a seasonal home, then got distracted, and nothing happened.
We keep kicking ourselves for not following through and buying that wonderful get-a-way. Now, vacation properties have climbed in value and may be out of reach. Hesitation undermines many buyers.

Regret #3. That we compromised on permanent, physical real estate characteristics to buy a property for its trendy, cosmetic features.
Letting go of a dream, like buying a detached home or a preferred location, cannot be reversed. Choosing a property because of “must have” fashionable decor features like open concept or a dream kitchen can represent short-term thinking. These features will wear out and go out of style; location and neighborhood values usually keep appreciating.

Regret #4. That we got swept away in a bidding contest and paid more than we intended.
That extra money could have bought us a different property which would have put us in a better home or a better neighborhood. Now that regret has materialized as a larger mortgage.

Regret #5. That we waited for prices to drop back to “normal” when, in our ever-changing world, that “normal” is now “history.”
When sellers become buyers, they may end up with similar regrets. If they don’t apply forethought based on evaluating the success of their last purchase, they may find additional “history repeats itself” regrets in their next purchase.

Sellers can have “selling” regrets
Some sellers may get swept up in a hot market, without much thought about where they’ll live next. This same hot market can turn on them, so they don’t have as much purchasing power as they expected. They may regret they sold if they have to settle for less in their next home. Buying before you sell can make sense when listings are scarce and you have specific demands.

Not taking the time to calculate what you’ll net out of the sale, after all expenses, including real estate commission and legal fees, can be a big regret. This is especially true if the seller zeros in on price and picks the highest sale price out of the multiple offers. Fixation on sale price can lead to regrets about expenses related to transition housing or storage necessary to meet the closing date, replacing what was included in the sale, and/or the “close-ability” of the buyer if the deal falls through.

Regrets at turning down an OK offer—perhaps the only one received—because the seller and the buyer were a few thousand apart. Sellers may regret that they did not encourage their or the other real estate professional to find a way to “make it happen.” A seller may regret they had not been asked to hold a no- or low-interest second mortgage (a VTB or vendor-take-back mortgage) for the buyer. This would have closed the financial gap so the home sold at the seller’s price. This mortgage may be sold later to give the seller cash in hand.

Regrets are a waste of time and money!
Your real estate professional’s job is not to tell you what to buy nor to tell you when to sell.

Their function is to provide accurate real estate information, dispel misinformation, access available real estate listings and data, and follow your instructions.

Professionals are there to explain the real estate transaction, expedite the buying or selling process, and help you achieve your desired results or get as close to them as the market and location allow.

They can help you clarify your thinking, consider new alternatives, and confirm your priorities.

It’s up to you to take full advantage of this support to avoid regrets and achieve a real estate outcome you can live with.

Are Sellers Crazy Not to Sell Now?

With real estate prices on the rise and multiple-offers the norm in many markets, are sellers crazy not to sell now?

Yes.

And No.

• If this is the right time to cash in your real estate investment, accurately crunching the numbers with your real estate professional will confirm that selling is the right thing.

• If this is not the right time to let go of your home to achieve another goal, it doesn’t mean that later may not be ideal. Real estate professionals are geared up to sell real estate now, so deciding on the actual timing of your sale is up to you. Deciding when to sell should be based on your personal criteria, not the professional’s. Compare what would make selling now right for you with reasons offered by real estate professionals as proof that this is the right time. Is there a fit or not?

Even when broad trends sweep through the real estate industry and across the country, it’s still all about what you—as an individual or as part of a couple or a family—can and want to do with your specific property or real estate dream.

The fact is you won’t know in advance whether either selling now or not selling now is positively the best move. “Experts” may say they know or sound like they know, but they understand less than you do about what’s right for you.

At some point after the sale, you may look back on what happened and decide that was either the right thing to do or the wrong thing. Hindsight is 20:20 in real estate, but by then it’s too late.

Not acting because of indecision or fear is not the answer either.

Over the years, I have met hundreds of people who each told their “if only I’d…” real estate story about what they could have bought or sold, but hesitated. None of them could forget about what they had lost or could have gained, real or imagined.

So how do you decide when to act and when to wait?

That’s the challenge—and that is also a very individual thing.

We’ve all got our own decision-making and investing style, whether we are conscious of these approaches or not. All we can do is keep improving both, so that we make confident, knowledgeable decisions about when to invest and when to take profit.

Three Key Contexts for Deciding If Now Is The Right Time to Sell:
#1. Ignore what’s hyped in the media and focus on facts about the real estate market in your neighborhood.

Go over your listing options with two or three real estate brokerages. Select local real estate professionals who have experience with multiple-offer markets if that’s what’s happening in your area.

Ask a lot of questions. Listen carefully to answers and ask “Why?” a lot. Take notes so you can compare their different analyses of your situation and options.

Don’t just go with the highest bidder. If they are wrong, you’re the one who will suffer. Merely listing under market value to attract multiple offers does not guarantee the seller nets more than they would by listing at market value. Solid marketing strategies and professional substance are what make the difference in real estate.

Nor are you out to make new friends. Stay skeptical. Your sale may just be another deal for the professionals involved, but your real estate represents great value in your life. Perhaps it’s the driver of your entire financial future.

#2. After the sale, what’s next?
Invest just as much time and effort in deciding what you’ll do with the cash after you sell. Will you rent? Where will you live next if you decide to buy another home? Are market conditions there going to limit your choices?

• Cashing Out: Low interest rates make putting cash in the bank a financially unattractive prospect, so what’s your plan to grow that capital or at least protect it? Do you have a financial advisor you can really trust or is this DIY investing? The home equity or value that took decades to accumulate can disappear very quickly if you are not experienced at managing lump sums or you trust the wrong financial advisor.

• Buying In: If you are going to switch from seller to buyer in a similar hot sellers market, you may discover that much or all of what you gain by selling can disappear into your next real estate purchase. If that proves true, but you have improved your location and/or made a great lifestyle choice, that financial equilibrium may be acceptable. However, if you end up with less than you had and you’re not happy about that, this may have been an expensive real estate lesson.

#3. If you’re wrong, what’s easier to live with?
It’s your choice. What would be easier to live with? Regret that you could have taken profit out now, but did not, or regret that you gave up your home, but did not improve your financial well-being?

That’s where many real estate owners—sellers—are today. They ask themselves, “Will I look back on this time and say I was crazy to sell or that I was crazy not to sell?”

The smart ones don’t just wonder or end up whining “if only.”

They commit to exploring their options and getting the facts to discover exactly where their best future might lie.

Saving for a Down Payment When You Live Paycheck-to-Paycheck

A down payment is an important component of taking a step toward homeownership. Saving for a down payment is also the biggest obstacle that you probably face when you want to buy a home.

A down payment is the cash you pay upfront when you’re going to make a large purchase. If you were going to buy a $350,000 home with a 10% down payment, you’d need to have $35,000 in cash.

Then, your mortgage lender provides the rest of the money to buy the home, and you pay your lender back over time. There are a few exceptions to lenders requiring a down payment, such as VA loans, but generally, it is required.

It’s recommended that you put at least 20% down if you’re going to buy a house, but that can be a lot of money.

How do you save if you’re living paycheck-to-paycheck? It is possible, but you also might have to make some changes.

Take the First Step
Even though you might feel overwhelmed about the prospect of saving money when you’re barely making ends meet, just take one first step toward your goal. That step may be small or almost symbolic, but it’s the best way to get started.

One good first step is to open a savings account where you’ll deposit money that’s specifically meant to go toward your down payment.

You might want a savings account that pays a bit of interest as well.

Create a Budget
You may be in a cycle of living paycheck-to-paycheck that you don’t necessarily have to be in.

If you can drill down into what’s going out versus what’s coming in, you might find that there are some ways you can save money even on your current income.

Really taking an honest look at your income versus your spending can be challenging and overwhelming because you may not realize how much you’re spending on things that you don’t need to be. Doing it is rewarding and valuable, though.

When you create a budget, include in it money that you’re going to set aside every week or month that will go toward your down payment.

Even small contributions do add up over time if you’re consistent and patient.

If you’re not sure where to start with your budget, a lot of financial professionals recommend following what’s called the 50/30/20 rule. This means that 50% of your income goes toward your essentials, such as your rent. Thirty percent goes toward lifestyle-related expenses, like eating at restaurants. The other 20% should either go toward savings or paying off debt.

Cut Out Subscriptions
One of the best things you can do for your finances is to regularly evaluate what subscription fees you’re paying and cut them out. It sounds simple, but the reality is if you’re like the average American, you might be spending $237 a month on subscriptions. That’s a lot of money that could go elsewhere.

Go Over Every Bill Carefully
When you’re working with a relatively small amount of income compared to your expenses, you should go over every single bill and transaction carefully.

There are a few reasons for this.

First, you want to make sure there aren’t mistakes you’re paying for. You might also find ways to pay less. For example, you could ask for a lower rate on your credit cards if you have a history of on-time payments, or you might be able to talk to your car insurance company about good driver discounts.

There are a lot of opportunities to save money on your bills, if you know where to look at you’re willing to ask.

Add Income
Finally, once your budget is in order, it’s a good idea to add extra income to your life. There are so many ways to do this. When you’re not working your full-time job, maybe you deliver groceries or work for a rideshare service.

It doesn’t matter what it is, but when you add another stream of income, it puts you that much closer to your down payment.

Everything you earn from your secondary income source should go directly into your down payment savings account, so you aren’t tempted to use it on anything else.

Position Realty
Office: 480-213-5251

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