Archive for January, 2015

WGN Rates Chicago 13 out of 33 Richest Cities

WGN rates Chicago 13 out of 33 Richest Cities.  I am not surprised that Chicago and our Midwest upbringing rates us in the middle of the pack. This to me is a good thing to be rated in the middle because then we have room to improve. While I am glad Chicago is not the cheapest City to live in I am happy we are not considered the most expensive. My only objection to this report is the number 13 and that is because I am a little superstitious.

Written by Jack Lewitz | Discussion: No Comments »

Not All Real Estate Investments Are The Same

I get calls almost every daIy from investors looking for deals in Real Estate. They all have the same formula and its simply Buy Low/ Sell High. If  Real Estate was that simple we would all be Billionaires and I say Billionaires because it is no longer important to be just a Millionaire any more.

To all those interested about learning about Real Estate Investment then you need to do some research first and develope a plan.

  1. Types of Real Estate:

First you must understand the different types of property to invest in and the risk vs reward for each type. For expample a single family home is probably the easiest to get financing but there are more investors looking for SF homes just like you so the downside is there is too many people looking for the same property type. I personally do not like SF as an investment for several reason. As a rental SF homes are either 100% occupied or 100% vacant. There is no in between. You either have cash flow or money is coming out of your pocket. SF homes are also difficult to manage if you have multiple properties and they are not located near each other. This can be a nightmare for an investor.

Other Types of Real Estate to consider are Multi-Family but anything under 6 units will probably not have the cash flow required by most investors.  Mixed Use is a preferred property type. If you can find a good location with retail and apartments then you have the ability to get a commercial tenant on NNN lease and have apt rents above. By mixing up the tenants with commercial/retail and apartments you will have less vacancies and if one is vacant then the other may be easier to rent. There are other types of real estate to consider but not a topic for this discussion.

2. Length of Time to Hold:

I see many people looking to flip real estate. I am not a fan of working with these type of investors because they have this formula that they have to buy, fix up, and flip and make profits. I say to them its not that simple. Real Estate was not intended to buy and hold for a short time to make money. Real Estate was supposed to be something you buy and hold to build up equity and it was equity in real estate that gives you wealth.

3. Price:

I understand that people who have a little money saved want to invest that money to make more money. I also know that people are always attracted to low prices and yet the saying goes you get what you pay. Lower priced homes are going to require some money to maintain and have limitations on what someone else will pay for it when you decide to sell.

4.Valuations:

There are different ways to value real estate.  Some are quite simple  while others are more complex. What ever model used it must have a way to analyze a Return on Investment (ROI) . In other words this ROI analysis should  give you some indication of what you investing and costs involved, risks involved, that will eventually give you a summary of ROI. If you do not have an understanding of real estate values and the risks involved then you should not be investing in real estate.

 

Written by Jack Lewitz | Discussion: No Comments »

The Concept of Luxury Real Estate

 

I am interested in the Concept of Luxury as it relates to Real Estate.  On one level it is kind of selfish of me to be drawn to the Luxury Real Estate Market because the higher the price of the home the more money I can make and the fewer sales I need to make in a year. So why not work with Buyers and Sellers who have a lot of money and live in luxury is one thought.

On the other side what do I know about Luxury and the people who desire to own and live in Luxury. Is Price the only variable used to describe Luxury? If price is not the only variable then what constitutes Luxury? I decided to look up the concept of the word Luxury and research it a little bit further.

I found the word Luxury is often associated with terms as “upscale” “quality” “class” “good taste”. While these are postive words “flashyness” and “bad taste” were negative words to describe Luxury. The  fact that there are both positive and negative words associated with the word Luxury shows how ambivalent we are to the concept of Luxury. While we can aspire to live in Luxury we also find ourselves feeling guilty about living a life of Luxury.

As you can see the concept Luxury is a complicateed one which needs to be examined further.

Written by Jack Lewitz | Discussion: No Comments »

Five Reasons To Buy A Home

1. Rent VS Owning:

Do a quick analysis of your living expenses. What are you paying in rent each month and is it time to buy a home.  Does your rent include utilities, phone, gas, water, electric, cable, parking. rental insurance. Calculate all of these together and find out how much your paying out to a landlord each month. Is it cheaper to own vs rent.  Typical expenses of homeownership includes mortgage payments, insurance, real estate taxes plus utility expenses listed above. There is one other major expense home ownership has which renters are not concerned with and that is maintenance. If anything goes wrong like furnace, hot water heater, new appliances, new roof, etc. these must be as a reserve when thinking about home ownership.

2. Savings:

How much money do you have in savings? Do you have enough money for a down payment? Typically a conventional loan will require 10-20% of the purchase price for a down payment but other expenses include a home inspection, attorney fees, 4 -6 months escrow reserves for taxes and insurance. If you have money saved is it invested and earning more money than you can on investing in a home?  Which leads to the next benefit Equity.

3. Equity:

One of the biggest financial benefits of home ownership is the ability to build equity by owning a home. Equity is the difference between the mortgage balance and the fair market value of your home. You will build more equity when the home appreciates if the fair market value is higher than what you owe. Historically a lot of people will rely on their homes value as a source for determining the Net Worth of an individual. Warning: We are now recovering from a declining real estate market where home values went down not up. You can never time the market but you should be warned that you should prepare to live in your home for 7-10 years to build up enough equity before you will want to sell.

4. Stability

Home ownership  has many rewards but the biggest reward is it gives you some stability. A place that you can call your own and build relationships with friends, family, neighbors, and community.

5.  Comfort:

Home ownership should give you quiet enjoyment and comfort and remember a house is just a house until you call it a home.

 

Written by Jack Lewitz | Discussion: No Comments »

Experience Counts When You Decide To Sell

Experience

TOP OF CLASS LISTING AGENT :  Five Star Agent is an elite class of agents  who have the ability to sell REO Properties and have represented banks in the marketing and sale of residential properties. These bank clients have included Fannie Mae, Wells Fargo, Chase, Nation Star, Hedge Fund Investors,

SHORT SALE FORECLOSURE RESOURCE (SFR): SFR certified agent who negotiates directly with the bank. This is a three way transaction that involves buyer, seller, and short sale lender approval. It requires someone very skilled to communicate and negotiate with all parties in the transaction.

ESTATE SALES: Representing families and executors of family estates who need an experienced agent to manage, list, and sell asset for family members.

TRADITIONAL SALES: As the market transitions to a normal market then traditional sales will become the norm again. When selecting a Real Estate Agent it is important to know and trust that your agent can act as your consultant, give you good advise, price your home accordingly, and get you the highest price you can.

INDEPENDENT VS BIG NAME COMPANY: I find it important to educate the public and tell them you do not have to work with a big company to be successful in Real Estate. Agents who work for Big Name Companies are considered Independent Agents. Sometimes Big Name Companies are inflexible and unable to make decisions that are in the sellers best interest.

TEAM CONCEPT: Many Real Estate Companies work in Teams. While I am not opposed to a team they sometimes are counter productive and can work against you the seller if you do not have someone who is in charge of the team who you can talk to directly when things are going wrong. My philosophy is you can always call me and the buck stops here.

 

Five Things to Look For Before Selling Your Home:

1. Motivation: There are many reasons to sell your home. Some are voluntary while others are by necessity.  Voluntary sales are by choice and are normal sales where homeowners are looking to sell a home because they have outgrown their existing home, or life style has changed.  Involuntary sales are distressed sales commonly referred to as Short Sales and Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure. It is important to discuss what motivates you to sell the find  the right agent to work with you.

2. Pricing Your Home: Getting the highest price for you home is important. Your agent should be provide you with information comparable properties that have sold in the last 3-6 months and provide you with 3 properties that are Active on the market. They should also provide you market data like average days on market to sell and whether it is a buyer or sellers market. Pricing a property too high or too low has consequences that you should avoid.

3. Preparing Your Home for Sale: Fixing your home up or selling As-Is should be something to think about before you put your house on the market. Some minor repairs will be recommended and some major repairs should be considered if they will give you a better return on house value when you sell. Obviously some people will need to sell “As-Is”.

4. Marketing Your Home: More home buyers are searching the internet for a home to buy. Your real estate agent must know all of the ways to generate more buyers to your home via the internet.

5. Negotiation and Sale Process: Your real estate agent must be able to handle all of the negotiations with other real estate agents, attorneys, appraisers, mortgage brokers,  short sale lenders. Your agent must be able to handle multiple offers, recommend counter offer strategies, and make sure you the seller are getting the highest and best offer.

Written by Jack Lewitz | Discussion: No Comments »

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