Curb Appeal and Real Estate Investing

spring sale

To sell a property for the most profit, you need to ensure that your property is attractive to some or most buyers, and a  large part of that is making a great first impression.
 
Make sure that your property makes a great impression from the curb by cleaning, repairing, and using good color contrast.  Curb appeal means improving the first impression that your property makes. Studies have shown that when the first impression of a property is positive, it is easier to convince a tenant or buyer to invest.
 
There are many ways that you can increase the curb appeal of your properties without a great deal of time and money:
 
1) Clean. A very tidy appearance is paramount to good curb appeal. Therefore, be sure to scrub the sidewalk, flagstones, walkway, windows, and siding. Mow the lawn, rake the leaves, clear the snow, and do everything you can to create the neatest possible appearance. You can do much of this yourself, although you may want to hire professionals or at least rent a high-pressure cleaning system for taking care of the exterior tiles or brickwork of a home. If the sidewalk outside your rental property or home is crumbled and in poor shape, you can generally contact the municipality to fix the problem.
 
2) Choose great colors. The color of your property goes a long way towards asserting good appeal. In general, you want to consider the colors of the properties around your property. If you are selling a suburban home, for example, located in a lot surrounded by pastel colored homes, you do not want to paint your property a right color. It would stand out too much. The right color blends well with the properties on either side of it. Make sure that the colors are fresh by applying a new coat of paint. Don't forget the colors around the property, either. A bright green lawn or even crisp white snow contrasted with the few pine trees create visual appeal as well. If you're interested in real estate investing, learn which colors to select, or hire a professional to select the right colors for you.
 
3) Repair. It should go without saying that you should ensure that everything outside is in good working order and looks attractive. This means that any broken walkways, bare patches on the lawn, and rickety shutters should be fixed up at once. You'll find more success in real estate investing if you are selling a property that people want to buy.

Steps for Buying Real Estate

Mortgage signing

When buying property, it is helpful to have a basic understanding of real estate terms involved in a purchase.
 
Pre-Approval Lender Letter – a writing from a lender stating that a potential buyer has approval to borrow a stated amount of money from his firm based on having documented all the personal information needed.  Final approval is subject only to the lender’s receiving a copy of a contract to purchase real estate, a satisfactory appraisal of that real estate, and its underwriting department’s review of all pertinent information.  In other words, the buyer qualifies so long as the property does and no changes occur. 
 
Real Estate, or Real Property – ground, any plants growing in it, any minerals under it, and any buildings or other improvements built on it.

Title Insurance – insurance which will compensate the insured for the value of his ownership or collateral position in real property if a person not thought to be a current owner materializes as an owner.  (I’ve seen this come into play when property was owned by many heirs a generation or two ago.)

Making An Offer
If you have decided that this is the right home for you, decide on a figure and have your agent prepare the Offer (Agreement of Purchase And Sale). With your agent, list everything you want included (i.e., conditions on financing and inspection, survey clause, appliances, light fixtures, etc.). At this time, you may want your lawyer to check it out, and certainly prior to waiving any conditions to make the offer firm. 

A firm offer: means that you will buy the property as outlined in the offer of purchase and that there are no conditions attached. Once the vendor accepts the offer, you are both bound to the agreement. 

A conditional offer: means that you will buy the property if those certain conditions are met. We recommend that a condition on financing is included, especially for high-ratio insured mortgages. If you have a condition on financing clause, get in contact with us right away. We'll get right on it to finalize the mortgage approval. At this time, you will need the following information: 

• Copy of the accepted Offer To Purchase 
• Copy of MLS listing (if listed on MLS service) 
• Completed and signed application (if one is not on file yet, so that we can run a credit check). 
• Confirmation of your earnings: if you are salaried, a signed letter of employment, 3 years tax returns and assessments if commissioned, and 3 years tax returns and financial statements if self-employed. 
• Confirmation of your down payment: it may be from your savings, RRSP, equity from sale of another home (copy of sales agreement), a gift letter for any money gift. 
• If purchasing a condominium, a copy of the financial statements for the condominium corporation 

Once all conditions have been satisfied (the offer has been accepted), a deposit is required as a symbol of commitment to the offer of purchase, and it is made payable to the listing Real Estate Firm "In Trust". Interest on the deposit can be requested, and this deposit will be applied towards your down payment on closing. 

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