Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Flip This House, The Hat Trick

This house was flipped this house in the historic Mahncke Park neigborhood of San Antonio, Texas Spring 2009. A Craftsman Bungalow built in 1900 that was originally a 1450 s.f. 2/1 and completely reconfigured the floorplan, added 480 s.f. and made it a 1930 s.f. 3/2 with a master suite. A complete high end renovation from the studs out. This house got everything new from top to bottom but we made a huge effort to keep the historical exterior appearance.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

2011 Top Trends in Home Renovations

Home renovations always seem to lead in one direction or another each year. What was hot and trending last year is no longer the norm this year and probably is not the following year, either. While trends do come and go, money is spent each year in different areas of the home and as homeowner, it pays to keep up with these trends.

You can use them to help build a bigger return on your investment of property by updating and renovating your home. This is how you can keep all the rooms and areas of your home looking great, while also keeping up the value of your property.

The top trends for 2011 have been projected to be smaller projects that are more necessary in nature rather than working on large-scale renovations.

Here are some 2011 Top Trends in Home Renovations

Bathrooms - The bathroom is a much quicker and less expensive renovation than other rooms in the house, in most cases. Renovating the bathroom can be as simple as putting in new tiling and flooring. The return on the investment can be much more than the cost of time and materials particularly if it is a DIY project instead of using a contractor.

Warmer Tones - It is has been very popular to be minimalist and to use whites and clean looks for homes. The new trend is moving away from that outlook and home interiors are becoming warmer. Instead of black and white floor tiles, warm tones of oranges and browns are taking their place. Carpeting is also becoming warmer along with painting and other upgrades and renovations. Simply switching out the flooring is a great return on the investment as buyers are looking for these warmer tones when they are considering their choice of home.

Immediate Repairs - If a home has repairs that are needed, they should be taken care of before renovating a room that does not have any issues. Simply fixing a leaking roof or replacing a cracked driveway can add thousands to the value of a home and are repairs that absolutely must be completed. These types of renovations are not as cosmetic as others but need to be completed nonetheless.

Create One Space - One of hottest trends this year is creating one large living space out of two or three smaller spaces. If the home has a small kitchen, living room and dining room, knock out the walls and create one large space that has a flow to it. This can also work in the bedroom that has an adjoining bathroom. Create a larger area by opening up the bathroom and only enclosing the toilet. Put in a Jacuzzi tub and an enclosed shower and you have more space and larger fixtures. This renovation also has a great return on investment and adds a great deal of value to the home.

The Green Theme - This is a trend that is continuing and getting more and more popular. Anyone who wants the best investment percentage and the highest return on their investment in their renovations is "going green". This means uses sustainable materials such as bamboo for flooring, water collectors for collecting rainwater for gardening and tri pane windows. Any type of energy saving renovation does increase the value of a home by a great deal. Some are more costly than others, but if a homeowner starts with small projects, in no time at all they can have a home that is worth much more and is much better for the environment.

Home renovations follow trends just as any other industry and the savvy homeowner knows that they need to stay on top of these trends if they want to increase the value of their house. Simply changing flooring colors or replacing a leaking roof can add thousands to the value of it. Do an assessment of your home today to see what types of changes you might make in keeping with the 2011 home renovation trends as well.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/5733986

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What Is A 203k Fixer Upper Home Loan?

The 203k "rehab" loan is the most popular loan for fixer uppers. It allows you to buy a home that needs minor to major fixup and also loans you money for the work you want done. Here's how it works:

  1. Meet with a Mortgage Pro who is experienced in doing 203k loans and get preapproved. You will need to get preapproved for not only the purchase price but also the fixup costs you expect as well (for example $150,000 for the home and $25,000 for fixup= $175,000)
  2. Start house hunting with your Buyers Agent. Your Agent needs to be comfortable and knowledgeable about fixer upper homes. If this is not a specialty of theirs, you'll want to find someone else as they will be a huge part of the process.
  3. Write an offer and negotiate the purchase price on a home. You can still ask the seller to do some repairs even though you'll be having more done with your 203k funds.
  4. Decide what you want to have fixed up with the amount of fixup money you are approved for. Lets say its $25,000. You'll need to prioritize what you want to repair or remodel because you can almost always spend more and more money on fixup.
  5. Get bids from contractors on your priority list of fixup items. If work is minor like painting, you can probably do that yourself and not have to use a contractor- but ask your lender to be sure! Give your list of bids to your lender for their approval.
  6. Have appraisal completed that gives an "as is" and an "as completed" value. Your Mortgage Professional will order the appraisal and give the appraiser your list of repairs that you would like to have done.
  7. Close on the home and start the repairs within 30 days. You'll have 6 months total to get all the work done and your lender will pay for repairs at regular intervals as they are completed.
  8. Sit back and enjoy your fixed up home!

Alright, you and I both know nothing goes quite that smoothly so let me give you some tips, cautions, and details:

  • Not all lenders are experienced with this loan so you absolutely must have someone with a track record of doing several 203k loans for other buyers.
  • There are two versions of the 203k- Streamlined for under $35k in fixup and Regular for over $35k.
  • The Streamlined 203k is only for non-structural repairs so no tearing out walls or fixing foundation problems.
  • You can use an FHA loan with only 3.5% down payment with this program!
  • Some safety and energy efficiency upgrades may be required as your first repairs.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/5681741

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The FHA 203k Loan: Streamline Vs Full

The government came up with the FHA 203k Loan idea in the late 1970's. Then a few years ago lawmakers decided to change things up a bit and introduce something called the "Streamline 203k." To get a better idea in this program, we need to dive into what the 203k loan is all about.

HUD defines the 203k loan as its "primary program for the rehabilitation and repair of single family properties." This means the loan helps pay for improvements, renovations, repairs and rehabilitation. This covers that fixer-upper a lot of potential home buyers are finding in this era of short sales, foreclosures and bank-owned homes on the market. But not every home needs a ton of repairs. The Full 203k loan covers things like pouring a new foundation, or jacking up the home to replace a sill plate. These are major repairs. However, sometimes a buyer simply wants to replace carpet or repaint the home. Maybe the house has some mold that needs to be removed. This is where the Streamline comes in to play. The Streamline covers repairs up to $35,000.

Both loans take time and patience, but the horror stories of taking months to close should not happen. This happens when someone in the process may not be educated on the process. A 203k expert should know the ins and outs of the government requirements, and should have a network of licensed and trusted contractors to get the work done. Since HUD does not make direct loans to help people buy homes, buyers must find a lender who specializes in government-backed programs like the 203k.

The 203k loan, whether it's the Full or the Streamline, can help turn renters into first time home buyers. This program can also turn blighted neighborhoods into desirable places to live again. Take time to find a 203k specialist in your area and ask about this great option.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/5919308

Monday, August 15, 2011

Buying A Foreclosure Home

With the market flooded with foreclosure homes, many see distressed properties as the golden ticket of real estate. There are certainly good deals to be found but buying a bank-owned home can be a complicated and time-consuming prospect. Here are some tips to help you on your way.

1. Matching the Criteria - Keep in mind that banks will be wary of selling their foreclosed property to someone with weak credit. No bank wants to be put in the same position in another year so they will look for buyers who have outstanding credit, a hefty amount of cash for a down payment, or both.

2. Patience - It can take a great deal of time to find the right property in the foreclosure market, and once you've found the right home, it can take even longer to deal with the bank and the paperwork. If you're in a hurry, buying a distressed property probably isn't for you.

3. Be Specific - The housing market is full of options for a buyer right now, and the foreclosure market in particular is overflowing. To save on wasted time and energy, try to narrow your search before you start looking for a home. Sticking closely to a single neighborhood or small area of town can help things considerably. Additionally, you should try to look in a neighborhood that has relatively few foreclosures. These areas will be more likely to rebound quickly once the market improves.

4. Do Your Homework - Knowing as much as you can about the market and the properties that you are interested in will always help the process. Look at property values and employment trends to determine which neighborhoods may see their home values rebound quickly. A good Realtor would be a big help with this kind of research.

5. Learn About the Seller - Along with researching local areas, you should also research the bank that you are planning to buy the property from. Try to talk to the bank directly and find out what they're looking to get out of selling the property. If they tell you that the monthly costs of upkeep are too high, they might respond better to an offer to buy quickly. If their biggest concern is the minimize losses, you might benefit from putting in an offer close to market price. Find out what the bank needs and you'll have an advantage.

6. Get a Good Realtor - Even if you do all of the research and legwork yourself, sometimes a bank will not be willing to work with a buyer directly. In this case, you'll have to find yourself a good real estate agent. Luckily, a good Realtor can also help with your research, dealing with the lender and handling all the complicated paperwork. Research local agents like you would anything else. It's important to find someone who has a great deal of knowledge and experience in the local area. You also want to find someone who is patient, personable and diplomatic. Buying a distressed property can be very time-consuming and you don't want an agent who will give up halfway through.

There are plenty of great deals to be had if you want to buy a distressed property. Just follow this advice and the process will be much smoother.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6476001

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Use An FHA 203K Loan To Buy A Home That Needs Renovation

The recent housing collapse has many people who were considering buying a home feeling a little uneasy. There are many questions on the minds of would-be homeowners.

If you are one of these many people, you may be wondering if the market is right for you, if you can afford to own your own home, and how you go about it without sacrificing everything. The good news is that the market is perfect for first time buyers and that there are options even if you don't have a tremendous amount of money for a down payment.

I Can't Afford to Own My Own Home

This is a common belief held by many renters or other potential homeowners. First, you probably think you need to have a huge amount of money just sitting in your bank as a down payment before you can even think of owning a home.

In today's economy, setting aside tens of thousands of dollars for a big down payment can seem like an unconquerable obstacle for a first time buyer. After that, you would have no money left over to renovate, buy all appliances you need, or even have a safety cushion in case of an emergency.

Prior to the 203K renovation loan, you would have to pay for all of your needed renovations right out of pocket. Fortunately, there is an option for you that you may not know about.

The Advantage of the 203K Loan

FHA insured 203K renovation loans are designed especially for first time home buyers who don't feel as though they can afford the costs associated with a home that needs repairs. You may already have considered distressed homes listed as foreclosures at a local bank.

These homes are ideal for a first time buyer, and a 203K loan is ideal for these kinds of homes. What a 203K allows you to do is wrap up the mortgage from a distressed home and all the renovation costs into one affordable package. The initial down payment is incredibly low and the interest rates are historically low.

With one of these loans, you can afford a distressed house from a bank foreclosure which will typically be had for substantially less than a renovated house since the bank will want to unload it quickly. You will also be able to use the loan to pay for certain renovations without incurring a huge out of pocket expense.

Find an Experienced Realtor and Lender

You will want to discuss the 203K option with your real estate agent if you have one and if you don't you will want to consider multiple lending agencies or loan officers before you make your decision. If you decide that a 203K is right for you, you can begin looking at properties to assess what the initial costs will be and how much renovation they will need.

If you are able to find a distressed home in a neighborhood you like, you can get it for well below market value and spend the money you save on renovations. In the end, even someone with little money to put down can turn a foreclosed distressed home into the home of their dreams.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6454358

Monday, August 8, 2011

Advantages Of Buying A Fixer Upper

If you have the time and determination to fix all the problems in a house, you get a few fantastic perks that you deserve. Not only are you fixing the house, but you are raising the equity and improving the value of homes in the area by bringing one home up to standards. Here are the most notable advantages to buying a fixer upper home:

Reduced price. Some homes go on the market for a lower price because the seller doesn't want to do the extra work. Instead of taking their own time putting money into it, they would rather just list it for less and let the next person take on the work. Because the property is in such poor condition, you can sometimes offer well below the current market value. These are especially good deals if you buy a beat up home in a very good neighborhood where homes tend to sell for more.

Choose your own look. Buying a home that's already fixed up is nice, but it will never look exactly the way you want it to unless you design it yourself, install your type of cabinets, sinks, bath tubs, flooring, etc. You can take out non bearing walls and not worry about destroying the paint job because you will want to paint them a shade that you prefer anyway.

Create your own equity. You can buy the house for less than market value, which is 's what it's worth because it needs so much work. The real advantage comes with every improvement you make, big and small. As you make the house look better, equity will begin to rise up to market value and depending on how much you fix it up, it can be in the upper range of home prices in that area.

Qualify for a renovation loan. There are some types of financing that you can get to make improvements on a home, such as an FHA 203K loan. There are more loans that you can get when funds become available from the government, or other programs. Usually, they are offered to improve neighborhoods and increase property value. For many of these types of loans, you must reside in the property to qualify. Talk with an experienced lender to find out what loans you can get.

The satisfaction of doing it yourself. Taking a house in poor condition and turning it into something impressive is quite a great accomplishment and something you can take pride in every day.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6051557

If you're interested in buying a fixer upper consider a 203k loan! Mike Young, the 203k expert, can help walk you through the process and answer any questions you may have. Call today for more info.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Home Equity Loan Meltdown Causes A 203K Loan Rebirth

I was reading an article the other day that said the home equity loan market could lose over 65 billion dollars this year. It doesn't seem that long ago that if you didn't use a first and second mortgage combination loan to purchase your home that you could get a HELOC up to and even in some cases over 100% of the value of the home before the ink dried after you signed your final loan papers. This was the case with many a California real estate loan.

As long as you had decent credit, you were able to get a HELOC without a problem. In our existing economic climate many lenders are losing their entire HELOC balance. A typical foreclosure involving a California real estate loan simply doesn't have enough funds to payoff all the mortgages owed on the property.

The result has made it much more difficult to obtain a HELOC or second mortgage for homeowners in todays market. You need at least 20-30% equity before a bank will consider lending in second position. It's understandable but unfortunate.

The 203k loan which has been around for over 30 years is enjoying a rebirth of sorts with the home equity market on the brink of a meltdown. The 203k loan I'm referring to is the 203k streamline. The 203k streamline allows prospective applicants to purchase a home plus receive up to $35,000 in additional funds to fix minor cosmetic repairs on the home such as new carpet, cabinets, interior and exterior paint jobs, flooring, a new roof, HVAC unit, countertops, and even appliances just to name a few. You get half the funds upfront after escrow closes typically to cover materials and the other half after all the projects are deemed as finished.

This loan could be looked at as a $35,000 home improvement equity loan. It is an FHA loan so all that is needed is a 3.5% down payment and a 620 FICO score and you get to wrap up the purchase money loan along with the $35,000 all into one low fixed rate loan. Lenders may have additional guideline overlays for qualifying.

The 203k streamline is also used for refinances as well. Many people don't realize this, but if you are an existing homeowner and you don't have the 20-30 percent equity needed to obtain a cash out refinance loan, the 203k streamline may be available up to a 97.5 loan to value. If you are in need of some of the minor home improvements listed above and you lack equity the 203k streamline refinance loan is worth checking out.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/5040256

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

FHA 203k Streamline - The Best Way to Purchase Fixer Upper Homes

Buying a home that is need of repair has always been a struggle. The lender wants the property to be in tip top shape before the loan can be finalized. The seller does not want to pay for repairs. But the buyer really wants the home and they can see the potential value with a little bit of work. What is a person to do? The FHA 203k loan is made for this exact type of scenario.

The streamline version of the FHA 203k was changed in 2005 to allow borrowers the flexibility to make small improvements as well as enhance the look through cosmetic features. The streamline version of 203k is different from the full 203k loan. The streamline version allows a person to buy a home and add up to $35,000 to cover these small repairs.

There are documentation requirements for getting the work approved by FHA. However, the home buyer is allowed to choose the contractor, the type of work being performed and the color, if appropriate. This essentially allows a prospective buyer to contact a reputable contractor, find a suitable home that needs only modest repairs, and get approved for the loan. The lender will need to qualify the buyer for the amount of the purchase price plus the maximum $35,000.

The purpose of having the contractor with you when you look at homes is to get an accurate estimate for the necessary adjustments. Repainting the walls, replacing the carpet, adding modern appliances and updating the roof are a few examples of the type of work that can be performed with the 203k streamline loan.

Getting together an accurate bid from the contractor is also critical in the appraisal stage. This allows the appraiser to determine the current value of the home and the value after the repairs and modifications have been completed.

The FHA 203k streamline also offers an escrow feature to protect the home buyer and the lender. The contractor will receive an initial portion of the funds in order to purchase materials and begin work on the home. The final amount of the money will not be disbursed until the work has been completed and inspected.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/4919667