Apartments are empty because people would rather rent houses.

If you were forced to move out of your house, and you looked in the newspaper right now, would you look under apartments for rent or houses for rent? The answer is simple. In addition, in many cases, you can convert that renter into a tenant-buyer, over time because they used to own a home and now have poor credit. If you offer them a chance to own your property with seller financing, in many cases they are going to do it. There is not a better tenant on the planet than a tenant-buyer. They are never late on the rent, they don’t call you when something breaks, they care for the yard and eliminate the need for property management.

I love the doom and gloom that is constantly being reported.  A new Forbes.com ranking lists Las Vegas as the emptiest city in America, the result of the foreclosure crisis and the surplus of empty homes and apartments built when times were good. Construction has ground to a halt. The Commerce Department reports that new home construction dropped 16.9 percent in January when compared to the previous month. That’s the sharpest month-to-month decrease ever.

There are apartments currently offering a flat-screen TV, two months free rent, and $100 off per month.  With apartment vacancies becoming more common around town, apartment owners are offering better and better incentives. But if you have a single family home for rent in good condition in a good neighborhood, you can still fill that up as people who have been forced out of their homes are not thinking about renting apartments.  If you were forced to move out of your house, and you looked in the newspaper right now, would you look under apartments for rent or houses for rent?  The answer is simple.  In addition, in many cases, you can convert that renter into a tenant-buyer, over time because they used to own a home and now have poor credit.  If you offer them a chance to own your property with seller financing, in many cases they are going to do it.  There is not a better tenant on the planet than a tenant-buyer.  They are never late on the rent, they don’t call you when something breaks, they care for the yard and eliminate the need for property management.

The national apartment rental vacancy is at 10.1 percent, up from 9.6 percent one year ago.  And as real estate values continue to dip, homeowners are finding themselves upside down with their mortgage, forcing banks to foreclose and leaving people without their own home, but they still want to live in one.

Passing Detroit as number one wasn’t easy.  The Motor City has seen a heavy decline due to the ailing automotive industry.  But the appeal of Vegas will never die and people should be careful in comparing Las Vegas real estate to Detroit.

In the short run, Las Vegas is going to suffer a little bit just like everyone else. But people are still moving here. December saw an increase in population of 4863. Detroit, nor any other city in the country can make that claim.   And while those numbers are down slightly for Las Vegas, they still are much higher than anywhere else. The demographic trend is still to the southwest, and who can beat weather? Boston is reporting a high of 33 degrees Fahrenheit today with snow possible for Sunday. It will be windy and 65 today in Las Vegas and 70 on Sunday.

Your vacant rental house only has to be more attractive to live in than those apartments and other houses you are competing against. This is a large part of the reason why location is so important. Many investors don’t understand the neighborhoods to buy their rentals in and this can make a significant difference.

If you are even considering investing in Las Vegas real estate, I urge you to contact me.  www.CapeCodAREI.com/contact Let me show you why you should.

Bookmark and Share

Search Las Vegas Luxury Foreclosures?

Well, it had to happen, sooner, or later.  People with money aren’t just investing in Las Vegas, now they want second (or third or fourth) homes at bargain prices.  So, Luxury Realty Group, LLC has announced in a press release their new web site;
www.LuxuryVegasForeclosures.com

Now, finding luxury short sales and foreclosures for homes or high rise condos in Las Vegas is easier.

LuxuryVegasForeclosures.com provides pre-defined searches by high rise tower which is a first to be offered by a Las Vegas real estate brokerage.

LuxuryVegasForeclosures.com provides pre-defined searches for Las Vegas luxury homes and luxury high rise condos. For the high rise condos, specific short sale and foreclosure targeted searches are pre-defined by high rise tower.

The creator of this new website, Bruce Hiatt, broker-owner of Luxury Realty Group, said, “We are the first real estate brokerage in the Las Vegas area to offer a luxury short sale and foreclosure real estate targeted website. We know from feedback of users who participated in our beta version of the website that pre-defined searches were difficult to find on Las Vegas real estate websites.  We believe we’ve filled a niche missing in our market until the arrival of LuxuryVegasForeclosures.com.”

Luxury Realty Group has already closed transactions in 2009 for both short sale and foreclosure luxury properties. Such transactions are expected to increase in 2009 with more of luxury real estate moving into short sale and foreclosure status in Las Vegas.

Some of you may be comforted to know that it is not just the average Joe that is losing his home to foreclosure.

What if you want Las Vegas real estate bargains, but, aren’t looking for luxury? Contact me.

www.CapeCodAREI.com/contact

Bookmark and Share

Loan modification really makes sense, but don’t do it on your own.

What is loan modification?  In its simplest form, loan modification is when your lender modifies the terms of your loan. They can defer amounts that are past due, change the interest rate, even reduce the principal owed.

The most common element being modified at the moment is taking past due payments and putting them ‘on the end’ of the loan, so that you still owe the money, but your loan is considered current.  This happened with a friend of mine.  She had lost her job, and gotten about 4 months behind in her house payments.  When she got back to work, her bank offered her the opportunity to take the 4 months payments, and defer them, which brought her current.  Many homeowners are doing this kind of modification on their own.

Why are they doing that?  Because they are nice?  Of course not!  It’s a business decision.  They are not in the business of owning real estate, yet they own quite a bit of it and they really don’t want anymore.  So if you make enough money to pay a lower mortgage, they lose less money in the long run.

The next element I have seen modified is the interest rate.  If your interest rate has adjusted (or is going to soon), lenders are helping people stay in their homes by offering a reduced and fixed interest rate. If your rate was 5 1/2, and has spiked to 8 for example, many lenders are bringing that rate down to 5.  Some people I know have been successful at this on their own, by simply calling and asking, but only if they are already behind.

A less common type of modification is to get the amount owed reduced.  This I have only seen done by professional loan modification firms.  Companies that do this for you.

There is an attorney here in Las Vegas, helping homeowners (and there are many companies – just check the internet).  He is asking the bank for a principal reduction to 10% below the current value of the property and 4% – 6% interest rates, fixed. In other words, if you currently owe $300,000, and are paying 8%, but your house is only worth $250,000 – after the modification you are only paying 4% – 6% on a principal balance of $225,000. Of course there are many factors involved in your final outcome – not the least of which is that you have to be able to prove that you can afford the new payment, so that the bank is not wasting their time stalling the inevitable.

Here is the best part! He only charges $1,250 and if he can’t modify your loan, you don’t pay!  Oh yeah, did I forget to mention that they do not pull credit? You do not have to have good credit to get the modification.  Sometimes you don’t even have to be behind! (depends on the lender)

Think about it. If he reduces your monthly payment by $200 per month, in 7 months, you are ahead – even if he did not reduce your principal!  If you are interested, let me know.  www.CapeCodAREI.com/contact

What if you just don’t have the $1,250?  Drop me a line, let me see if I can help.  www.CapeCodAREI.com/contact

Bookmark and Share

They finally recognize that we are part of the solution.

They finally figured out that we are not the enemy. For more than a year real estate investors have been called very nasty names, been blamed for the housing market and been generally dismissed as ‘the problem’. There is no doubt that speculators contributed to the current state of the economy. But in most cases, we were just trying to capitalize on certain opportunities. I think that is what makes this country great. And the truth is, investors, if given the opportunity, will help the housing market settle down and turn around. Why, because we will buy.

So, last week, FNMA announced on their website that the 4 loan limit has been removed, and, under favorable circumstances, they will allow an investor to have up to 10 loans. This is great news for investors who are picking up foreclosures and other distressed properties and keeping them for rental or selling on lease-options.

You can get all of the details at FNMA’s website by clicking here.

What does this mean? Well, certainly it is not an end to the credit crunch, however, if you have some cash and good credit, you can own more properties and ensure your ability to prosper when all of the dust settles. Let’s face it, people have to live somewhere, and someone needs to provide that housing. Now please let me remind you. Being a landlord is not rocket science, but you should take some time (and probably some money) to learn how to be an effective landlord, so that your tenants help make you wealthy instead of miserable. I’m actually in the process of getting ready to write a home study course for landlording – but it will be awhile before it is finished. Come to think of it, I have to finish my negotiating course first.

Are you ready to buy more now? Are you interested in Las Vegas real estate? (You should be.) Drop me a line and let’s see what we can find you. Visit me at http://www.MyFastEasySale.com

Bookmark and Share

 

The numbers don’t lie (or do they?)

What does the national real estate data tell us? Maybe nothing.

As many of you may know, yesterday the national real estate data came out for the month of December 2008.  What did the data say?  Existing home sales up 64%, median home price down 15.3% to $175,400 compared to December 2007 numbers.

Now I don’t have the December numbers for Las Vegas, yet, but in November, existing home sales were up 79.0%, median price $173,900, down 31.5% compared to November 2007.

Have Las Vegas homes really lost that much value?  Well, they certainly have lost that much perceived value.  What do I mean by that?  When the prices were rising astronomically, homes could not have truly gone up in value that quickly, but people perceived that that they did, so they paid the prices.  I remember seeing a map that showed that real estate in Summerlin, went up 73% in one year (I thought I still had that map somewhere, but can’t find it). Then prices came back to a reasonable value.  So what is the real value of the real estate in Las Vegas?  When will it stop declining here in Las Vegas?  Nationwide?  You might want to ask Barack Obama – I certainly don’t know.  What I do know, is that it will go back up, eventually, and when it does, if you bought some, you’ll be smiling! And if you bought right, you’ll be drinking umbrella drinks someplace warm and sunny, anytime you want.

So how do you buy real estate right in Las Vegas?  For starters, visit www.MyFastEasySale.com, click the “Wholesale Buyers” link, and fill out the form.  After that, I’ll show you some real values, and tell you why they are values.

Bookmark and Share

Understanding the new homebuyer tax credit for first-time buyers

If you have recently purchased your first home, or are considering doing so in the next year, here is good news for you . . .

If you have recently purchased your first home, or are considering doing so in the next year, here is good news for you!

One of the programs included in the new housing bill signed by President Bush recenlty is a $7,500 homebuyer tax credit.  While this tax credit has benefits, it is important to understand that this “tax credit” is actually an interest-free loan which will be repaid over a period of 15 years. 

Below is a Q&A that summarizes the program’s features that was put together by the National Association of REALTORS®.

Q: What is the Amount of Credit?
A: 10 percent of the cost of home, not to exceed $7,500

Q: What properties are eligible?
A: Any single-family residence (including condos, co-ops) that will be used as a principal residence.

Q: Is the tax credit refundable?
A: Yes.  It reduces income tax liability for the year of purchase.  Claimed on tax return for that tax year.

Q: Is there an income limit?
A: Yes.  The full amount of credit is available for individuals with adjusted gross income of no more than $75,000 ($150,000 on a joint return).  The benefit of the credit phases out above those caps ($95,000 and $170,000, respectively).

Q: Is this program for first-time homebuyers only?
A: Yes.  A portion (6.67 % of credit) has to be repaid each year for 15 years.  If the home sold before 15 years, then the remainder of credit recaptured on sale.

Q: What is the effective date of the program?
A: The credit is good on home purchases on or after April 9, 2008

Q: When does the program conclude?
A: July 1, 2009

Q: What is the tax credit’s interaction with Alternative Minimum Tax?
A: The credit can be used against AMT, so credit will not throw individual into AMT.