OPPORTUNITY IN ANY MARKET!

Whether the market is up or down (and particularly if it’s down), buying a “fixer-upper” and updating it can prove to be a profitable venture. As with any real estate investment, however, it’s wise to enter with eyes wide open. Knowledge and caution will help you avoid common pitfalls.

The ideal candidate for such a purchase would be priced roughly 30 percent below the value of nearby homes, and located in a community with low crime rates and good schools. The only thing you can’t repair or improve is a poor location.

And just because you can improve almost anything doesn’t mean that you should! Avoid homes in need of truly major (and unprofitable) repairs such as the foundation, structural plumbing, or complete kitchen and bath renovations. Because these features are simply expected by buyers, they won’t necessarily add any value to your offering.

Another aspect that is often overlooked is your fixer-upper’s proximity to where you live. Keep it within an hour’s drive, because you’ll want (and need) to check in regularly, probably daily, while your repairs and renovations are in progress. The cost of fuel is high enough these days that you don’t want to blow your profits on your gas tank!

There are many fine homes being offered at lower prices by motivated sellers. Don’t overlook the opportunity these properties present!

Understanding real estate dilemmas and their solutions is our business, and we’ll happily share our knowledge with you. Why not give us a call at (772) 323-6996 or visit us on the web at www.GabeSanders.com. Our office is located at 1121 SE Ocean Blvd. in Stuart, (Sewall’s Point) Florida; please ask for Gabe Sanders or .

IT TAKES MONEY TO SAVE MONEY!

Okay, you’ve found the home of your dreams. You’ve determined how much you can afford because you’ve already been pre-approved by your lender, and your offer has been accepted. But wait. If you’re financing the purchase, like almost everyone does, you’ll actually be paying more than the final sale price of the home.

Many buyers don’t stop to think about how much they’ll really be paying for their home by the time they’ve reached the final payment. It’s worth considering, and it makes it evident that you should shop around and get the best loan terms possible.

Be sure to discuss your options with a trusted local real estate agent, who can provide mortgage information, illustrate different financing options, and even recommend lenders suited to your needs. With literally hundreds, if not thousands, of options available, it’s helpful to begin with the basic facts to help you whittle down your choices.

Determine how much is available for a down payment. If you’re putting up less than 20%, you’ll need a guarantee that often comes in the form of PMI (private mortgage insurance). This will add to the overall cost of your loan, at least until you’ve paid off a significant percentage.

Again, discuss your loan options with your real estate agent before you make any offers, in order to avoid unpleasant delays and unexpected expenses.

Understanding real estate dilemmas and their solutions is our business, and we’ll happily share our knowledge with you. Why not give us a call at (772) 323-6996 or visit us on the web at www.GabeSanders.com. Our office is located at 1121 SE Ocean Blvd. in Stuart, (Sewall’s Point) Florida; please ask for Gabe Sanders or .

READY FOR SOME GOOD NEWS?

Some financial experts have labeled 2007’s market as the “roulette economy.” As we all know, whatever goes up must come down, but the nice thing about real estate is that whatever goes down always comes back upward again (much like stocks work).

On the Treasure Coast of Florida, a healthier market is anticipated in 2008, as Wall Street cleans up the lending mess and the pressure cooker of home demand releases its top. While the national average of home prices declined between one and five percent in 2007, that’s peanuts compared to how much homes appreciated in the previous years. And many markets are appreciating still.

Keep in mind that “national” statistics for real estate mean about as much as a forecasted high temperature for the entire nation. Consumers get skittish when they hear that 40% of foreclosures are due to doubtful subprime loans, but it’s important to put that in perspective, because those loans only constitute about 10% of all mortgages.

As the lending industry stabilizes and interest rates rise only slightly, buyers who are ready to purchase will discover that housing is still the best investment out there. As your real estate agents, we can monitor new listings, selling times and final sales prices, and then advise you when conditions are right to either buy or sell. 2008 should be a year of opportunity in the real estate industry.

Understanding real estate dilemmas and their solutions is our business, and we’ll happily share our knowledge with you. Why not give us a call at (772) 323-6996 or visit us on the web at www.GabeSanders.com. Our office is located at 1121 SE Ocean Blvd. in Stuart, (Sewall’s Point) Florida; please ask for Gabe Sanders or .

FOUR FORMS OF PROTECTION!

When you purchase an automobile, what’s the first thing you take care of before driving around town? You’ve got to get insurance, of course. It’s no different when you’re ready to buy a home, but you have some more options.

First, understand that there are four basic types of insurance, some required, some not. Title insurance protects you in the event that title to the property is found to be in question. You definitely want to purchase title insurance as part of the closing transaction.

Homeowner’s insurance provides coverage in cases of theft, damage and liability. If you have a mortgage, your lender will require this policy, so this is another absolute necessity.

Flood insurance may or may not be required, depending on the location of your new home. The federal government provides this policy to cover replacement value of the home and its contents. Consult with a your local real estate agent to determine necessity and restrictions.

Finally, a newer and very popular form of “insurance” is the home warranty, often provided by the seller as “peace of mind” for the buyer. These are often one-year policies that cover repairs to systems and appliances, and more details on this are coming up in my next column. In the meantime, consult with your local real estate agent or give us a call if you have any questions or concerns about any of the insurance policies addressed here.

If you need information to help you solve a real estate puzzle, call us at (772) 323-6996, or visit us on the web at www.GabeSanders.com. We’ll be happy to share our knowledge with you at no cost or obligation, and if we aren’t sure of our answer we’ll direct you to the best Martin or Saint Lucie County resource. Our office is located at 2391 SE Ocean Blvd. in Stuart, Florida; please ask for Gabe Sanders.

CRASH COURSE!

When you’re buying a home, who do you think is the most important person in the transaction? YOU, of course! That doesn’t mean you won’t need experienced professionals for guidance and assistance, but quite frankly, if YOU choose not to buy, the entire process comes to a halt.

While home ownership is called the American Dream, it’s a shame that nobody teaches it in school. Most folks face the biggest purchase of their life without any experience. That’s why it’s critical for someone to help you understand everything that happens during the process, whether it’s your accountant, your banker, or your trusted real estate columnist!

Demand explanations to questions like how much home can you afford? How do you get the best loan? Do you choose a new home or a resale? Which properties will increase in value? Where do you begin?

Since YOU are in charge, take command of the situation, and surround yourself with a team of experts in every aspect of the transaction, all of whom can be coordinated by a local real estate agent.

Plan from the very beginning to educate yourself and approach your purchase with confidence and intelligence. Then you’ll be sure to find the home of your dreams and the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you’ve made the right decisions all along. Flex those buying muscles!

Understanding real estate dilemmas and their solutions is our business, and we’ll happily share our knowledge with you. Why not give us a call at (772) 323-6996 or come by the office at 2391 SE Ocean Blvd. in Stuart, Florida. Or visit us on the web at www.GabeSanders.com