Comprehensive Rental Housing Tour

Comprehensive Rental Housing Tour

relocation servicesRelocating to a new city means for most people the search for a new home. Yet, the search for a new home overwhelms many people. Not only do they have to get used to a new environment and job, but they also have to search for a new place to call home.

A city like San Francisco and San Diego offers lots of different neighborhoods and different types of accommodations. Every neighborhood has a unique touch with lots of opportunities for everyone’s unique lifestyle.

Before the home search

It is important to think about all the details, which are important to you, before starting the home search. These search factors could be the type of neighborhood, price, number of bedrooms, parking and many more. Defining these factors will prevent from wasting time when searching your home and making a move in the wrong rental and neighborhood.

Finding the right place

Do you need help finding a place to live? A comprehensive rental housing tour is designed to help those who wish to be guided by a professional real estate agent to find the right place. The search is ongoing until a new home is secured and the lease is signed.

Want to learn more about the comprehensive rental housing tour? Then click here

Foreclosures Off 30% This Year

Foreclosures off 30% this year

By Les Christie, staff writer

April 14, 2011

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — On the surface, the foreclosure crisis seems to be easing. The number of foreclosure notices filed during the first three months of 2011 fell 27% compared with the first quarter of 2010, according to a report from RealtyTrac released Thursday.

Only 681,000 properties got hit with some type of filing — a notice of default, a scheduled auction or a foreclosure sale — during the quarter, one for every 191 households.

There were 215,046 borrowers who lost their homes, down 17% year-over-year.

That improvement was in sharp contrast to other recent housing market metrics, with sales of existing and new homes very weak and home prices still sliding.

“The nation’s housing market continued to languish in the first quarter, even as foreclosure activity fell to a three-year low,” said James Saccacio, RealtyTrac’s CEO.

The explanation for this contradiction is that the foreclosure improvement has been artificial, fueled by banks reacting to paperwork processing issues — the infamous “robo-signing” scandal — by cutting back on filings until they can clean up their procedures.

According to RealtyTrac spokesman Rick Sharga, without the cutback there would have been 900,000 filings during the quarter instead of 681,000. There would have been 280,000 to 300,000 bank repossessions instead of 215,000, he added.

Houses: What a million dollars buys

Fewer homes were repossessed even though banks are modifying fewer loans to make them more affordable. Hope Now, a coalition of servicers, community groups and mortgage investors working to stem foreclosures reported last week that its members had modified 87,000 loans in February compared with 110,000 in December 2010.

Hope Now’s director, Faith Schwartz, said fewer mods hardly means that the foreclosure crisis is clearing. “In the midst of all the disruptions, it’s difficult to pinpoint a trend,” she said.

The big positive that Schwartz cites is the significant month-over-month drops in both new foreclosures and in the number of borrowers who are 60 days or more late with payments. If fewer borrowers are entering the foreclosure process, fewer should eventually lose their homes.

On the other hand, said Schwartz, the severity of the delinquencies is increasing, with these borrowers falling 527 days past due, on average.

In New York and New Jersey, according to Sharga, it’s more than 800 days now between when a typical delinquent borrower first receives a notice of default to when the home goes to a sheriff’s sale.

“It’s likely that most of those are not making any mortgage payments” during that period, he said.

The drop in foreclosures is widespread. RealtyTrac reported that filings dropped in each of the 20 hardest-hit metro areas. Year-over-year declines reached as high as 59% in Cape Coral, Fla., for the quarter. Even in Las Vegas, ground zero for the mortgage meltdown over the past few years, filings fell 8%.

Nevada, Arizona and California continued to rank as the states with the highest foreclosure rates. They came in 1-2-3 both for the quarter and for the month of March. The Fourth Horseman of the Foreclosure Apocalypse, Florida, has dropped down in the standings, to eighth place for the quarter and ninth for the month.

Las Vegas is once again the highest ranked metro area in per-capita foreclosures. One of every 31 homes absorbed a filing during the quarter, about six times the national norm. Modesto, Calif. (one in 46), Stockton, Calif. (one in 47), Vallejo. Calif., and Phoenix (both one in 48) filled out the top five.

http://money.cnn.com/2011/04/14/real_estate/foreclosures_first_quarter_2011/index.htm

Americans Doing More Home Improvement Projects

Americans Doing More Home Improvement Projects

Homeowners, feeling more secure in their jobs, are tackling maintenance projects delayed during the recession. That’s lifting the fortunes of the home-improvement industry.
By Sandra M. Jones April 13, 2011
Reporting from Chicago—

After several years of perusing real estate listings and spending Sunday afternoons at open houses, Denise Majeski decided to stay put and fix up her 25-year-old Gurnee, Ill., home.

As the housing market languished even as the economy improved, Majeski determined the financially prudent course would be to fix up the house a little at a time, starting with replacing the windows and renovating the bathrooms.

“Initially we were thinking about moving,” said Majeski, 55. “But that would require a mortgage and additional amounts of money. We can do a home improvement at a pace that we can afford.”

It is a choice more homeowners are making these days and one that is lifting the fortunes of the long-suffering home improvement industry.

Seasonal hiring at Lowe’s Cos., the nation’s No. 2 home improvement retailer, is up 15% this spring as homeowners, feeling more secure in their jobs, tackle maintenance projects delayed during the recession.

And Home Depot Inc., the largest home improvement retailer, in February reported its first annual sales increase since 2006, before the housing market crashed. The home improvement business is stabilizing despite the continued weakness of the housing market, Home Depot Chief Executive Frank Blake said at the time.

“People are doing what it takes to be happy where they are,” said Jack Horst, retail strategist at Kurt Salmon, a consulting firm. “They are more likely doing maintenance and replacement than big fundamental changes.”

A few buckets of paint, brighter lighting and some new door handles are enough to make Rebecca and Bill Klies happy in their new home. The couple, in their 30s, bought their first condo last October in a short sale, in which a lender allows a homeowner to sell a property for less than the amount owed on the mortgage.

Now the Klieses spend weekends at Home Depot and Lowe’s getting ideas on how to fix up their West Loop loft without spending a fortune. They’ve swapped out light fixtures, recaulked the shower, put up new towel racks, installed a ceiling fan in the bedroom, bought new light switch plates, painted several rooms and touched up the molding.

“These are simple little fixes that make a big difference overall,” Rebecca Klies said.

At the same time, home improvement stores are getting an extra sales boost as homeowners dig out from a winter of lengthy cold spells. The severe weather has left shingles, gutters and downspouts in need of repair and lawns littered with broken shrubs and damaged trees.

“These are the have-to-do projects,” said Jim Kane, president of Home Depot’s northern division. “We’ve just come through a tough winter, and the winter has just taken its toll on all those things.”

Maintenance and repairs account for about 40% of Home Depot sales, up sharply from recent years when home sales slowed, said Daniel Binder, an analyst at Jefferies & Co., in a report last month.

Spending on home remodeling is expected to rise 9.1% in the first quarter to $125.1 billion from the same period a year ago, according to a widely followed index from Harvard University‘s Joint Center for Housing Studies. The last time remodeling activity for a three-month period topped $125 billion was the second quarter of 2008.

The center predicts the industry to gain momentum this spring with sales jumping 12.7%, to $132.9 billion, in the second quarter from a year ago, before tapering off to a 6.5% gain, to $123.5 billion, in the third quarter.

More homeowners are tackling basic house projects on their own instead of using general contractors, bringing in electricians or plumbers only for the toughest jobs, said Rich Cowgill, Chicago-area chapter president of the National Assn. of the Remodeling Industry.

Cowgill said he had noticed an increase in the size of the do-it-yourself classes he teaches as a volunteer at ReStore for Habitat for Humanity as more homeowners try to lay tile, replace windows or put up drywall.

“People are dressing up their homes because they’ve come to the realization with housing devalues that they’re not going to move,” said Cowgill, who also owns a home remodeling business.

Kris and Dennis Cortes of Flossmoor, Ill., are typical of the post-recession home remodelers, industry experts said. The parents of five children said they chose to stay in the home they bought 20 years ago and to give the house a face-lift. They are adding a couple of gables to the roof, installing a new garage door and updating the landscaping.

“We could buy the megamansion, but we choose not to,” said Kris Cortes, 46. “We’re choosing to allocate our resources more toward education, charity and savings. I do think the country at large is headed in that direction.”

smjones@tribune.com

Copyright © 2011, Los Angeles Times

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-home-improvement-20110413,0,7527522.story

Buying a Home in Today’s Market

Buying a Home in Today’s Market

As a first time homebuyer you probably have many questions. Besides how to get a mortgage and finance your new home, you should consider whether buying in today’s market makes sense for YOU and what price you should pay in order to get to the home of your dreams.

When is the best time to buy?

There are many factors and aspects to consider before anyone can say when is the best time to buy. All in all today, being a buyers market gives you leverage when buying a home. Low home prices result from this excess of supply over demand. What is essential is that you make your decision after having considered both the real estate/housing market and the mortgage market. Currently low home prices combined with low interest rates make purchasing real estate a viable and good decision.

Want to know more about the mortgage market outlook? Then read The Real Estate Report from AMSI Broker, Robb Fleischer for local market trends in San Francisco http://rereport.com/sdc/print/RobbFleischerSF.pdf

Ultimately, the best time to buy is when you are personally ready to settle in, when your finances are in order and when the home prices are low. (…and in today’s market, when interest rates are low, and with the availability of inventory it does make perfect sense).

How to qualify to buy a home?

 

Before you start your search for your home, you should get pre-qualified, to find out if you do qualify to take on such a significant purchase, but also to find out how much you can afford. The first step should be to get your finances in order and get pre-approved for a mortgage, so you know the types of loans, financing and rates extended to you.

Want to know more about how to qualify to buy a home? Then read our article on “How to qualify to buy a homehttp://amsires.wordpress.com/2011/03/02/699/

 

How to know which price to pay?

 

Buying a home is a process one must learn, whether you are a first time buyer or a savvy investor. Each transaction is unique and differs from another. It is important that you work with a professional expert or good team so the entire process is efficient.

Working with a real estate professional is important; not only he or she will make the process smooth for you but also check all disclosures, and make sure you do not pay more than the current market value of the house of your choice. A real estate agent knows how to evaluate a property but also how to negotiate the best price, which will satisfy both you as the buyer and the seller, and ultimately make you the new homeowner!

Want to know more about real estate sales? Then visit our website www.amsires.com

Benefits of Buying a Home

Benefits of Buying a Home

Great investment

Home values fluctuate over the years, but show a steady increase over time. Statistically home prices have risen constantly in the US and real estate has been a proven investment to build wealth. Most likely home value keep up with the inflation or exceed it to one or two percent (or more depending on the region).

Stable and secure environment

Owning a home means that you and your family can settle in a stable and secure environment.

Independence

It will be your own home and you can remodel and renovate the place whenever you want (subject to zoning and building codes), and have the place you always wanted. As long as you abide with Condo and Building rules, you can make your home the place you always wanted to be.

Building equity

When you are paying rent, that money goes to someone else, without any benefit to you besides the right to live in a space. When you pay into a monthly mortgage for your own home or investment, instead of paying a monthly rent, you are investing into something you will be eventually be yours; you are acquiring an asset and investing in your future or retirement.

In the process of paying back your mortgage you more and more own the home and build equity.

Property taxes

IRS Publication 530 contains tax information home buyers. There are many deductions and benefits that first-time buyers or investors can take advantage of when it comes to property.

In 1978, the passage of Proposition 13 in California established the amount of assessed value after property changes hands and limited property tax increases to 2 % per year or the rate of inflation, whichever is less.

Mortgage interest deduction

A mortgage payment includes the items principal, interest, taxes and insurance (PITI). The largest component of your mortgage payment especially the first years after the purchase is the interests, which is deductible from your taxes.

Capital gain exclusion

If you lived in your house for two of the past five years, you can exclude up to $250,000 for an individual or $500,000 for a married couple of profit from capital gains.

For more information about  buying a home read here.

Disclaimer: Please consult with a Tax attorney or specialist. Real estate agents cannot give tax advice.


Corporate Housing Compared to Hotel Accommodations

Corporate Housing Compared to Hotel Accommodations

Corporate Housing AMSIAre you wondering about how you or your employees benefit by Corporate Housing compared to a Hotel stay?

A hotel is the provision of a basic short-term accommodation, which is essentially a room with basic amenities and furniture. Corporate Housing by comparison means that you rent a fully furnished apartment, condo or house on a temporary basis.

More space and comfort

When you rent a fully furnished place instead of a room in a hotel, you will have a separate living room, which will give you more space and freedom. Your stay will be more pleasant due to more comfort in a homelike environment.

Own kitchen and dinning area

Would you rather dine out or do you prefer a kitchen where you can cook your own meals? A hotel serves expensive food and drinks within certain stated hours. If you would rather cook your own meals, save money and eat whenever you want, then corporate housing and having your own kitchen is the better choice for you.

The costs are less

Have you made the calculation of cost per night yet? Corporate Housing is much less expensive then a Hotel Stay and offers you much more comfort at the same time.

Desirable locations

When it comes to the location, Corporate Housing is more flexible. Apartments, Condos and Houses are located in desirable locations in the prime neighborhoods, often residential areas. Hotels are usually located in non-residential commercial areas, whereas corporate housing is where the locals live and play.

When you are considering whether to choose Corporate Housing or a Hotel, you need to first determine what your preferences are. If you prefer a homelike environment, want more space and to live and experience the city in a the same way as the locals, than Corporate Housing is the best fit for your housing needs. Also consider that Corporate Housing is less expensive than a Hotel per night.

Are you excited about Corporate Housing now? Then read more about short-term housing.

Benefits of Property Management

Benefits of Property Management

 

Since managing a property can be time consuming, one of the biggest benefits for you will be that you have more time and less stress. Investing in a property manager does not only benefit you personally, but can help you to maximize your investment property income.

When it comes to property management it is important that you work with a competent and trustworthy property manager, to add value to your investment.

AMSI’s Property Manager Nathan Murdock, SFAA (San Francisco Apartment Association) Property Manager of the year 2010, says that within the 12 years of managing properties it is important to build a good relationship with the tenant and involve the landlord with the ongoing management of the property.

While AMSI’s property management team is managing your property, our unique and sophisticated online technology allows you to stay connected and be involved with the ongoing management of your property.

Meanwhile our tenant relations department takes care of your tenants needs.

What a good property manager will keep up for you:

  1. Monthly rent collection, implement annual increases as permitted by law and issue 2-day notices to pay or quit when required.
  2. 24/7 emergency service, your tenants call us and not you if they have a question or need help
  3. Monthly and annual income and expense statements will be issued and can be retained for year-end tax purposes
  4. Repair and maintenance, our maintenance team takes over maintenance requests. Learn more about our Property Maintenance Services
  5. Disbursements and bill paying, regularly scheduled payables such as mortgage payments, insurance utilities and home owner’s fees
  6. Round the clock services, view 24/7 reservations, marketing efforts, financial statements and invoices for maintenance work orders
  7. Tenant relations, a good relationship to our customers, your tenant, is our interest, therefore your tenant relations associate will be your tenant’s main contact person
  8. Rent increases will be performed according to the terms of the residential lease agreement
  9. Property inspections, an annual and departure inspection will be performed to check on the condition of the property
  10. Document management, all correspondence will be maintained by AMSI and are available upon request

Visit our website and learn more about Property Management Services.

Median Home Price Bounces Back

After hitting a two year low in January, the median price for single-family re-sale homes tacked on 4.9% in February from January. Year-over-year? Not so good. The median price was off for the sixth month in a row, falling 7.2%.

Home sales fell to their lowest level since January 2009. The 116 home sales last month were 5.7% lower than last February.

Click here to read more Median Home Price Bounces Back

Things To Know About Buying Foreclosures

Things to Know about Buying Foreclosures

Are you thinking about buying a foreclosed home for yourself or as an investment? Due to the fact that foreclosures are sold below market price, you will definitely get a great investment when purchasing a foreclosed home.

Even though you might not spend as much money on a foreclosed home as you would on a conventional home, before making a lifetime investment you should know in what you invest. Therefore you should start getting familiar with foreclosures and how to prevent from the risk to invest in the wrong property.

What does foreclosed mean?

Foreclosed means, that a borrower/owner cannot pay the loan or mortgage payments back. The lender has to secure the loan and starts the foreclosure process.

The pre-foreclosure process in California starts from the time the borrow/owner misses his first payment. The owner will receive a “Notice of Default”. From then on the owner has 90 days time to find the missing payment, within this 90 days of notice the mortgage company will prepare to bring the home on the market. The foreclosure sets in after the 90 days and the owner will receive a “Notice of Sale”.

How you benefit from buying a foreclosed home

  • Buying a foreclosed home means you spend less money on a property with more market value
  • Some lenders are willing to lower the down payment or interest rate or will not charge closing costs since the mortgage is in default
  • You have a wide selection on foreclosed homes
  • The property can be sold for more money later

What you should know before buying

It’s important that you work with an agent or broker who is experienced with the process of buying foreclosed homes.

Before putting down an offer you need to know what you are buying. It is important that you have the property inspected by a home inspector and find out about the real conditions of the property.

Don’t buy a property you have never seen at an auction. Instead buy REOs through a real estate agent.

The foreclosure process has 4 steps. For you the buyer it is important to know in which state the property is for your strategy to buy.

You need to know that many laws that usually protect you in a conventional real estate transaction do not apply to a foreclosed property.

The property will be sold under market price but might need some renovations. When buying a foreclosed property you have to keep that in mind when making your calculations.

Always do a title search on a property. You have to know if there are any existing encumbrances or liens on the property. Oftentimes property taxes need to be considered.

In some cases the previous owner refused to move out and vacant the property even after the title was transferred. This will lead to an eviction process and you as the new owner have to evict the tenant.

Jump Start Your Relocation

Relocating to a new city can be a big challenge, especially if you are not familiar with the rental and real estate markets, or you are not familiar with the different neighborhoods.

Working with a local housing expert can be an asset. Licensed real estate agents, relocation companies or rental companies offer a variety of services to ease your move to the Bay Area.

Want to read the full article on how to Jump Start Your Relocation?

Do you want to learn more about our relocation services? Click here!