Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Benefits of Getting a Professional Home Inspection

by Karen Rhodes

What is a professional home inspection?

Professional home inspections are becoming an important factor for everyone seeking or planing to buy or sell a home. A home may look to be in very good condition but if we go through the things that can't be seen with the eye we may find issues that need to be addressed. The need of a professional home inspection is increasing day by day because of increasing litigation due to unknown or undisclosed defects.

A normal individual is not supposed to be the expert of all these technical details. This leads to the need a professional home inspector who inspects the home. A typical home inspection will take several hours to complete. If testing is being done for things such as mold, radon, etc it could take several days to get these results back from the lab.

There are many advantages or benefits to hiring a professional home inspector, some of these benefits are:

Benefits for the buyers

1) With a professional home inspection a buyer can calculate the most realistic price of the property he is going to buy. However, in most cases, the inspection is done after negotiating the price. The home inspection results can be used in negotiating repairs or if the repairs are extensive a buyer may want to back out of the transaction if the contract allows it. The buyers can compare the features and drawbacks with the similar properties available in the same condition.

2) Ridding the buyer from the stress of legal or documentary formalities as the inspector will provide a written report.

3) A Buyer can better guess the possible lifetime of the structure; this will enable him in planning the prospective use of this structure.

4) A buyer can better understand the impact of any unknown natural disaster on the home structure.

5) This could also save hundreds of dollars by making the buyer aware of repairs needed at the surface, fitting, flooring or roof of the structure as well as electrical and plumbing.

6) It satisfies a buyer by familiarizing them with all the maintenance and repair details, well in advance.

Benefits for the sellers

1) A professional home inspection gives the sellers a better idea about the current condition of their property. This is most important in cases where seller has not lived in the house and isn't very familiar with it. Such as rental property, inherited property, etc.

2) With the better understanding of the main features of the home seller can bargain more confidently about the pricing by making any necessary repairs prior to putting the house on the market.

3) Gives you confidence of well-trained, professional helping hands with you.

These benefits of a professional home inspection make this service very popular among buyers and sellers. I suggest working with an inspector who is a member of ASHI, American Society of Home Inspectors. A professional inspection, in the Chattanooga TN area, will cost about $325 but it's money well spent by either a buyer or a seller.

Karen Rhodes is a lifelong resident of the Chattanooga area and is a successful REALTORĀ®. Visit for more information on Chattanooga and its surrounding areas.

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Ways to Make Your House More Saleable

by Tim Mai

Curb appeal is one of the most important aspects of your marketing and the first way to make a house more saleable. If the house or yard looks poorly maintained from the street, it is doubtful that many people will even desire further viewing. It is critical to have the yard in the best possible shape; lawn mowed and trimmed, leaves picked up, windows and screens washed, any sidewalks swept clean and a paint-job that looks fresh. A few seasonal decorations help, as well. If the sale is during the summer months, a pot or two of flowers by the front door will add a nice touch.

A furnished house shows better than a vacant house, but be sure to remove excessive clutter or furniture. People usually buy a house because they need more space and uncluttered rooms exaggerate the space. In addition, clean out closets. You can leave a few items in them, but the more space, the better. Similarly, try to have any built in shelves sparsely decorated, emphasizing the space available.

Hopefully, the potential buyers have decided to tour the home. What next? Begin by putting yourself in the buyers' shoes. As you enter the house, look and listen for repairable flaws. Does the front door squeak? Do the windows have screens? Be overly critical, as you know any potential buyers will be also. It has been stated that most potential homebuyers come to a decision within the first few seconds of walking in the front door. To that end, it is important to make sure that the entryway and front room are clean (this includes clean smelling, too!), well lit and, overall, establish a welcoming atmosphere to your home.

Just as important as the overall atmosphere is the condition of smaller, hidden areas. Specifically, examine faucets for drips and under sinks for leaks. Fix any leaks and repaint/replace the liner if necessary. Make sure the oven is clean and the light works. Check doors and windows for binding and ensure good lighting throughout. One of the best expenses is often a simple paint job. Avoid bright colors and stick with an off white. The fresh paint will not only cover any small cracks, but also help freshen the air.

Money spent to pep up a house prior to sale will almost inevitably be recouped by the sale price. Fresh paint, a clean carpet, new screens and a few other expenses will benefit the seller greatly by giving a pick-me-up to the appearance of the home, thereby making the house more saleable.

Tim Mai is the founder of Community Real Estate Investors Association, a network of real estate investors who advertise "We Buy Houses" across the nation. Visit our website at to sell your house fast for cash.

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Basics of Real Estate Law

by Sandra Stammberger

Real estate is such a broad topic. This topic covers almost the whole world and every individual has concerns regarding this.

Like any other things in this world, certain laws govern real estate, the so called real estate law. Nevertheless, to fully understand what real estate law is, it is necessary to define real estate. What is real estate?

Real estate is a legal term that includes land along with anything permanently affixed to the land such as buildings, fences and things attached to the buildings, such as plumbing, heating, and light fixtures. The properties not affixed are regarded as personal property.

Just like real estate, the real estate law is such a broad topic as well. If you are going to discuss it in a very simple way, real estate law is only the law, rules, regulation and other legal matters that governed real estate.

Real estate law entails things like owning real property, the typical restrictions imposed on owning real property, the common forms of property ownership and many others. As said earlier, it is very broad.

In this article, real estate will be discussed through the basics of real estate law. The basics of real estate law include understanding real property, the ownership, the restrictions, and the forms of property ownership. The basics discuss the topic regarding ownership of real estate.

Understanding its basics, you will definitely have the right thought about real estate law.

One of the basics of real estate law is real property. What is real property? Real property is simply the real estate. The real property is used interchangeably with real estate.

However, for technical purposes, some people prefer to distinguish real estate, referring to the land and fixtures themselves, from the real property, referring to ownership rights over real estate.

Real estate also entails about owning real property. What is owning real property about? Owning real property allows you the right to do with the land as you please aside from those subject to restrictions imposed by real estate law.

Owning a real property means you can do anything with it such as use it; give it away; sell or transfer it; use it for a collateral for loan; bequeath it to intended beneficiaries or let it sit where it is without doing anything to it. In other words, owning real property is having total rights on a land and no one can ever question you for it is yours.

In owning a real estate, some typical restrictions are being imposed by law. There are countless laws that restrict what you can do with the real property. It may be federal, state, county and local laws. The enforcement of these laws resides with the various agencies.

The most common restrictions imposed by government are zoning. It is an environmental hazard, public easement, right of way.

If there are restrictions imposed, there are also forms of property ownership. These are joint tenancy; tenancy in the entirety; sole ownership; tenants in common and community property.

In joint tenancy, two or more people own the property at the same time in equal shares. In tenancy in the entirety, some estates have especial form of joint tenancy when the joints are husband and wife- with each owning one half.

In sole ownership, the property is owned entirely by one person. Two or more persons own common tenants' property at the same time. Meanwhile, community property is only recognized in the estates. It is a special form of joint tenancy between husband and wife, each owning one-half of their properties. Upon death, the decedent's interest passes in a manner similar to tenants in common.

The basics of real estate are the best information needed in order to understand real estate law. With this basics information, although real estate is very broad, you have the capabilities of understanding it into its deeper sense.

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14 Steps to Creating a Real Estate Business Plan You Can Use

by Cheri Alguire

This model of business planning and goal setting for Real Estate Professionals breaks the process down to five sections and fourteen steps.


It is important to first look at who you really are and what your core values are. These things will drive you and carry thorough to your business.

Step 1 - What is your purpose?
Uncover your purpose, what provides the foundation of our values, vision and goals.

Step 2 - What are your values?
Know your core values which dictate what is important in both life and business: how business should be conducted, your view of humanity, and your role in society.

SECTION B: Vision - Goal Setting

This is where you take a hard look at where you are at and figure out where it is you are going in your business and in your life.

Step 3 - The Year in Review
Recognize what it is you have done this year, celebrate the accomplishments and also look at what may have stopped you short of reaching a goal.

Step 4 - Is your life in balance?
The Wheel of Life, sometimes called the Balance Wheel, will help you visualize your current situation, providing a snapshot of how you see your life today.

Step 5 - Business Review
Take a look at the results of the last 12 months. Did you reach your goals and achieve what you wanted?

Step 6 - Goal Setting
Don't hold back, dream LARGE, think BIG, aim HIGH.

Step 7 - Production Goals
Work the numbers. Create specific number goals for the next one to five years.

SECTION C: Creating an Action Plan to Achieve Your Goals

All Real Estate Professionals know they need a Business Plan. By following these steps you will create a plan that will help you hit your business goals.

Step 8 - Define Your Niche and Value Proposition
Become a specialist and build perceived value. Know your true value and learn to articulate your value proposition to your clients.

Step 9 - Lead Generation/Marketing Plan
Recognize what specific changes to your current plans are necessary to make in order to reach your goals.

Step 10 - Define Your Team Organizational Structure
Understand the organizational structure of your team.

Step 11 - Development Plan
Capture all of those things you have wanted to research, create, do, perfect, delegate and implement in your business.

Step 12 - Budgeting
Review your expenses for the current year and include any new marketing and development changes.

Step 13 - Production Plan
Create and monitor goals on a monthly basis in order to hit your production goals for the upcoming year.

SECTION D: Achieving Your Goals: How do I get there from here?

By breaking your large goals into smaller steps you will always know what you need to do next in order to keep working toward hitting your business and personal goals.

Step 14 - Creating a Master Project List
Change your goals into "projects" to actively work on over the next twelve months, and from this create a "Master Project List."

Real Estate and Life Coach Cheri Alguire has partnered with hundreds of Real Estate Professionals to help them become more successful in business and in life. Coach Cheri is also the creator of the highly sought-after Five Year Business and Life Planning Guide for Real Estate Professionals. Learn more about this and Coach Cheri's other products and services at

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The Proper Price for Your Home

by Sean Remington

Your Realtor wants to sell your home as soon as possible, for the best price. He or she will use a Comparative Market Analysis to help you determine a fair price for your home. A comparative market analysis is based on information from similar properties in the area. The analysis uses information on properties that are currently for sale, properties that have already sold, and expired properties (ones which did not sell). The current sale price of similar homes will indicate what the competition is asking. Properties that have recently sold will indicate what buyers are willing to pay, just as properties which have expired may indicate what buyers are not willing to pay.

By carefully considering these three aspects your Realtor is able to determine a "fair market value"--the price which a buyer is willing to pay and the seller is willing to receive for the property.

In the real estate world, a large group of people are looking to buy homes at any given time. These are the seller's best prospects. This ready group of buyers is wasted, however, if your house is overpriced.

While shopping for a home, buyers will visit many similar homes in their price range and measure the features of each one against the price. They decide which house offers them the maximum value for the price. Buyers do not expect a home to be a "steal" or dramatically under-priced, but they do expect it to be a fair value. If your home is overpriced and they have been shopping around and comparing properties, they will probably refuse to look at your home. You and your Realtor may know that you would sell for $10,000 less, but the buyers do not know this. As a result, your overpriced property may receive little attention.

Don't be fooled into thinking your house is worth more than someone is willing to pay for it, or that it's just a matter of waiting for the "right" buyer to show up. Surveys show that the longer a house is on the market before being sold, the greater the drop in price from the listing price when it does sell. The buying public eventually sets an accurate price. An overpriced house just sits on the market, waiting for a price adjustment before it will attract a buyer.

Consequently, your Realtor may advise you to reduce the asking price if buyers fail to surface after a certain period of time on the market. If you are serious about selling your home, you should take your Realtor's advice. If the first price reduction doesn't generate a buyer, another reduction may be necessary. The monetary value of a house is only what someone is willing to pay for it, but if the market analysis is done correctly, you will get the maximum amount--and a timely sale.

Sean Remington is a REMAX Platinum Club Member along with a Committee Ambassador - Albuquerque Economic Development. To learn more about Sean or his agency, point your browser to Albuquerque Real Estate.

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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Flipping Houses - Is the Party Over?

by Steve Houlihan

When your cab driver starts telling you about how much money he made with his last house flip, it's time to get a little concerned. When this is combined with increasing weakness in the U.S. property market, it is time to have serious misgivings about trying to flip a house yourself. But does this spell the end for the practice of buying a property, doing a quick makeover and putting it straight back on the market?

For most people, the answer is "yes". Despite the fact that so many people have made money with this practice in recent years, the key to their success has had more to do with a very buoyant property market than skilful buying and selling and cost-effective home improvement. In a rising market, you are likely to make at least some money even if your flipping house skills are not that great.

The real problems only make themselves apparent when the market has gone flat, or even worse is declining. This is when house flippers can take a financial hit, if they have committed one of the cardinal sins such as paying too much for the property when buying, spending too much on improvements, or undertaking the wrong improvements. When the market was buoyant, these 'sins' were often covered up by the rising market.

So does that mean no-one should try house flipping any more? Not necessarily.

One thing to remember about the housing market is that the market is not always moving in the same direction all over the country. For example, even when the real estate market is bubbling along, there can be smaller cities that are taking a 'hit' because of the closure of a major employer in the area.

Conversely, even in a flat market nation-wide there will be pockets of growth, for example where a new university is being opened or a new freeway opens up outer suburbs to commuters. If you do your research properly, it is possible to find these niche areas and take advantage of them when many other investors have shifted to other asset classes such as the stock market.

Another factor is that there is always a ready market for well-presented and renovated properties. While many people fancy themselves as make-over kings or queens, the reality is that people are increasingly time-poor and would rather spend their diminishing spare time on family or leisure pursuits rather than on the end of a paint-brush.

There is still money in flipping houses . It's just harder to find, and requires real discipline on the part of the house flipper through the whole process of researching the geographic area, selecting the right property, deciding which improvements to undertake, preparing a budget, and managing the whole process in an efficient manner. Doing your homework properly is now crucial to producing a successful house flip rather than a financial flop.

Steve Houlihan is author of the book "The 10 Deadly Sins of Renovating for Profit". His website on Flipping Houses is a "must-see" resource for those who want to make money through home improvements:

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