Real estate loan – Understanding the concept

Real estate loan – Understanding the concept

Real estate loan is what a lot of people use to buy their home. Real estate loans have been instrumental in bringing joy to people by making that unaffordable house affordable. Some More »

Tips On Tenant Improvement Allowances

Tips On Tenant Improvement Allowances

Tenant improvement allowances, funds provided by the landlord to improve office space, are becoming increasingly prevalent during landlord-tenant negotiations, and all companies should consider their role in creating an ideal office space. More »

Great Prospects For A Real Estate Investor

Great Prospects For A Real Estate Investor

In the face of the difficulties faced by economies worldwide, we have to take cognizance of the urgency of looking for sound investment prospects for a real estate investor. Most would obviously More »

The Five W’s of Real Estate Training

The Five W’s of Real Estate Training

Who? Who can and who should take the real estate training or course? Practically anyone who wants to make a career in the property industry can choose to go for the training. More »

5 Smart Real Estate Investment Options

5 Smart Real Estate Investment Options

In the real estate scene, there are a lot of viable options available for every individual who wishes to invest in an excellent asset. With today’s unbalanced economy, now is the best More »

 

Real estate loan – Understanding the concept

Real estate loan is what a lot of people use to buy their home. Real estate loans have been instrumental in bringing joy to people by making that unaffordable house affordable. Some real estate investors too make use of real estate loans for buying properties. However, real estate loan is not free money and anyone who buys real estate or plans to buy real estate using real estate loan must understand the concept of real estate loan very clearly.

Real estate loan (also known as motgage ) is the money that you borrow from someone (a financial institution i.e. a motgage lender) for the purpose of buying a property. The real estate loan generally covers a part of your purchase price and the remaining portion has to be paid by you upfront i.e. as down payment. The amount (i.e. the percentage of total purchase price) that you have to pay as down payment is dependent on a number of factors and you can generally reduce it to even 5% by going for mortgage insurance.

FHAand VA loans (i.e. mortgage insurances through FHA and VA) reduce the down payment requirements on real estate loan even further. Whatever you borrow from the mortgage lender as real estate loan needs to be paid back to the mortgage lender over a period of time (and, of course, you will also need to pay appropriate interest on that real estate loan). The tenure of your real estate loan and the prevailing market rate will determine the amount of interest you pay for your real estate loan. Generally, you are required to pay back the real estate loan in the form of monthly instalments which are composed of both interest and principal portions of your real estate loan.

Also, there are various types of real estate loans e.g. fixed interest rate loans and adjustable interest rate loans. So depending on what type of real estate loan you have gone for, your monthly payments might either remain constant ( fixed rate ) for the full tenure of the loan or keep getting adjusted periodically (adjustable rate) on the basis of a financial index. Besides that, some other costs are also associated with real estate loans e.g. there are closing costs , inspection costs, attorney fee etc.

Also, in case the property needs some repairs, there will be costs associated with that too. Again, there is stamp duty and other taxes that you need to pay. So, really you need to understand the concept of real estate loans and the related costs clearly before you actually go for the real estate loan. And understanding these concepts is really not that tough.

Tips On Tenant Improvement Allowances

Tenant improvement allowances, funds provided by the landlord to improve office space, are becoming increasingly prevalent during landlord-tenant negotiations, and all companies should consider their role in creating an ideal office space. However, companies seeking to lease at least 5,000 square feet of Class A & B office space with a lease term of at least five years can exercise much greater leverage on the landlord and will typically find it easier to achieve many of the suggestions below. If in doubt, you should consult with a real estate broker to determine the feasibility of any specific item.

1. In todays economic environment, many landlords are providing and funding 100 percent of the building standard installations required by tenants.

2. Tenants should try to negotiate above-standard items, such as millwork, extra HVAC, large glass walls, plush carpeting or special lighting, to get them included in the tenant improvement allowance provided by the landlord.

3. When landlords refuse to fund all or a portion of above-standard items, tenants can try to amortize their cost into the rent over the term of the lease instead of paying out of pocket.

4. Funding above-standard work can also be achieved via negotiating tactics, for example, offering to decrease the quantity of free rent and increase the tenant improvement allowance instead.

5. We recommend tenants hire an architect to represent their interests and suggest a layout and design of the space to ensure tenant improvement allowances are put to the best possible use.

6. Tenants can avoid the need for a large tenant improvement allowance by touring many suites and finding one with a suitable existing configuration. However, we advise tenants to avoid compromising the amount of their tenant improvement allowance just to decrease the rental rate.

7. Landlords are providing generous tenant improvement allowances for new tenants, and tenants can use this as leverage even if they are only renewing, especially if they have occupied the space for the past five-to-ten years.

8. If landlords offer a specific dollar amount for a tenant improvement allowance, we advise tenants to negotiate an open-bid format, based on an expert review by their own architect, project manager or construction firm.

9. Many companies are using tenant improvement allowances to create more light in the workplace by adding glass in offices and conference rooms. From narrow, vertical side-windows to full walls of glass, natural light illuminates interior areas and provides sight-lines for workers to improve communications and productivity.

10. We always recommend tenants hire an architect to brainstorm about the best uses for tenant improvement allowances. Many companies are decreasing hard-walled offices in favor of flexible workstations and huddle rooms, small two-to-four person conference areas, to accommodate departments changing needs.

Great Prospects For A Real Estate Investor

In the face of the difficulties faced by economies worldwide, we have to take cognizance of the urgency of looking for sound investment prospects for a real estate investor.

Most would obviously avoid real estate investment prospects like a bubonic plague. However, seasoned investors are actually excited about the latest leading economic indicators that points to a definite windfall in the real estate sector.

Emerging Trends in Real Estate Business

The reason that most of us are doubtful of any prospects emerging in the real estate sector is the fact that it has triggered this economic turmoil that we are suffering right now.

When the real estate bubble burst a couple of years ago, it led to a series of turbulent shockwaves that rocked the very foundations of the US economy. Most see the sector in total ruin with no apparent hopefuls in sight.

There is actually a silver lining to all the debacles that real estate has been experiencing. Amidst the sub-prime issues, real estate mortgage defaults and liquidity and bankruptcy issues, we see one emerging investment hopeful. This we have to take advantage of, as it will be a hot item very soon!

It is an accepted fact that during economic recessions and meltdowns, real estate assets are undervalued. However, it is the kind of asset that leads in appreciation every time the cycle recovers and makes a rebound. It is one of the safest forms of assets. Cashing in on real estate properties at this stage would surely pay dividends as you purchase prime properties way below their real values.

Further, amidst the dips in the stock market, we see the erosion of our wealth. The stock market would not be an attractive investment opportunity at this time. In order to preserve the value of wealth, the best option for real estate investor is to cash in on prime properties.

These two-tiered beneficial effects are the strong arguments for a real estate investor to continue to keep their faith on real estate investment properties.

There is more to it than these two acknowledged beneficial effects. A real estate investor stands to earn huge profits if he makes his move now and engages in a buying binge!

A real estate investor should closely watch the emerging trends in space rentals. There is a clear indication of good investment opportunities for a real estate investor. Due to the downtrend in home buying and coupled with the high incidence of mortgage home foreclosures, there is now a sudden increase in the demand for rented space.

A real estate investor with equity must take advantage of this opportunity as it would immediately lead to significant profits even in the short term. As the market forces increase rental rates, buying prime real estate properties at amazingly low prices would be an extremely attractive investment prospect for the real estate investors.

The good news does not end there. This investment opportunity gives the opportunity for the real estate investor to assume enviable and strong position to gain even greater profits once the economy makes a comeback.

The concurrent economic indicator of this event would be the increase in value of these prime real estate properties.

This is the main reason why a seasoned real estate investor is buying real estate property like there is no tomorrow.

The Five W’s of Real Estate Training

Who?

Who can and who should take the real estate training or course?

Practically anyone who wants to make a career in the property industry can choose to go for the training. If one feels that they can carve their niche in the property sector and have what it takes to excel in the profession, a good real estate course will be of crucial importance.

Amid the current financial recession when all industries appear to be toppling, property industry is still somewhat stable. Although there is an evident slowdown in the industry, yet it is growing. So the requirement for real estate professionals has not eroded and every property company needs a property professional. Today, when career opportunities in other professions show a great deal of saturation, the potential of real estate industry is slowly dawning upon people who are now taking up real estate training courses to enter this vast field of opportunities.

What?

What are the real estate training courses about?

Real estate of course! Every country of the world has its set real estate laws and ordinances. These laws may vary largely from country to country, and also from city to city within in a country. This is one reason why it is important for a real estate professional to not only become aware of, but also have a deep insight into his region’s property laws and regulations. The real estate training courses consist of a series of classes or lectures which cover anything and everything about real estate in your region. The courses are designed, handled and delivered by the area’s real estate experts with vast experience of the local property market. The most common things covered in the property training are the property laws governing your area’s real estate industry, your responsibilities as a real estate agent, and the types of real estate present in your zone of operation. The courses are also designed to hone your buying and selling skills as a property agent.

Where?

Where are the real estate training courses available?

Probably not far from you. These courses are gaining popularity around the world and many established property companies and agencies have taken this initiative. Not only established real estate companies, but also experienced property professionals have started educationg people about the property business and its ethics with a special focus on the latest real estate trends of their own region’s property industry. So it’s very probable that after a brief search, you’ll be able to find a property company, agency or individual offering this course near your house or somewhere else in your city. And if you don’t, there are numerous real estate training courses available online in which anyone can enroll with ease. All it takes is a little online search and you’ll come across innumerable options. Most people consider online course more convenient than the classroom study as you can study at your convenience without having to rush for taking classes. It saves you the time and hassle of the traditional classroom study. Many online universities and institutions have even started bachelor and master degree programs in real estate development and management.

When?

When can you enroll for the course? How long does it take to complete?

It depends on various factors. Your choice between online and classroom study, the mode of training, and the trainer’s discretion, all these factors come into play. The best way to find an answer to this question is to visit the trainer in person if it’s an offline (classroom) course, or to visit the website of the trainer if it’s an online course. The websites of educational institutions bear all the details of the courses they offer including the course objective, outline, duration, and choice. One trainer may offer more than one property training course at a time designed for different individuals as per their requirements, suitability and market exposure.

Why?

Why should you take this course?

Well, we’ve already discussed it in the 1st answer. One definite answer to this question is that the property market is still booming when the other industries appear to be falling down in the current financial recession. As the industry is expanding, there’s more and more room for real estate professionals in it. Taking a real estate training course can help you make a career in this booming sector and excel professionally.

Daniel Marshel is a senior real estate consultant associated with Better Homes, a leading real estate firm in Dubai, UAE. He has more than 25 years of hands on experience of working in Dubai property market. He has helped thousands of his clients to buy property in Dubai. He is a trusted name in getting real estate for rent among property finders. Daniel is well aware of the latest trends in property for sale in Dubai, UAE. His firm Better Homes offers online Dubai property listings, property management and property investment services

 

5 Smart Real Estate Investment Options

In the real estate scene, there are a lot of viable options available for every individual who wishes to invest in an excellent asset. With today’s unbalanced economy, now is the best time to become a real estate investor. However, you know that there are a lot of choices out there and this can confuse you. The key to becoming a successful investor is to know your options and be open-minded before narrowing down on a certain target.

The real estate world is very big and it comes in two ways – it can either generate you a lot of money or it can pull you down big time because of its risks. The key rule to do well is to know which investments can do you good whether it is in a good or bad condition. In other words, it must stand the test of time.

The following are the top five real estate investments options that every individual can choose to invest on:

1.) Residential Rental Properties

A rental property serves as the playground for first time investors since this is basically the starting point for most investors. What makes rental properties a great investment is because people need not shell out too much money in order to obtain this asset. Plus, it is totally not hard to buy it and then gear it to become for rent homes or for rent apartments.

The payments that one can generate from it can cover up the residences mortgages and other rental property expenses that come along with it.

As a landlord or a landlady, you get to reap the most rewards from having tenants. You not only generate a monthly income based on your tenants monthly payments but as well as get hefty pay-offs.

However, rental housings also display a risk especially when renters default in making their payments since you can end up paying all the expenses instead. Thus, you need to be ready on coming up with various solutions to counteract such instances.

2.) Single and Multi-Family Residences

For single family homes, these are great ventures when the economy is favorable and it displays lower risks. The advantage it has over multi-family properties is that the cost of purchasing and maintaining it is lower. It requires lesser paperwork and lower taxes. Plus, its home value appreciates more over time.

Multi-family homes on the other hand can produce more returns, less upkeep expenses and buying costs less since it is for a number of families.

3.) Flipping

Or more known as real estate turn around, flipping is when an individual purchases a house and then sells it to generate profit. This type of asset are best for people who have excellent knowledge and background for residential real estate investing as this includes knowing how to smartly market homes, recognize when the best time for selling houses is and identify what methods can best sell houses fast.

4.) Commercial Real Estate

Entirely distinct from residential real estate investing, commercial real estate investment is an expensive outlay to have but it is considered as tried and tested assets since these investments offer security whether the economy is experiencing highs and lows.

Commercial assets makes for a great outlay since you are offering your assets to large people, meaning, your tenants range from small to big time business people. Tenants rent your place for putting up business firms, shopping malls, grocery stores, gyms and other commercial establishments. If the business is booming, so will your investment’s value.

Stability is the biggest advantage commercial real estate offers to people since one establishment can lease it and the other can rent it immediately. It offers a long-term basis of partnership and profit.

5.) Real Estate Investment Trusts

Also known as REITs, these are units that allows individuals to purchase, develop, manage and sell varying types of real estate assets like mortgages obtained by residential housings (apartments, condominiums, etc.), hotels and office buildings.

REITs are the most popular investment option preferred by people and they are operated just like stocks and is the easiest way to get in and out of investing. These gives off high dividends which makes it a very attractive asset to have and can be liquidated and give every investor high returns and lower risks.

To make investments profitable and advantageous to you, weighing every possible option is the best answer. A lower risk means higher returns and a happy investor.

 

Know The Work Environment Of A Real Estate Agent

Any such person usually has extraordinary skills in researching various properties of the region, making an analysis of the properties and then bringing in together the right kind of buyers and sellers. The work of any Calgary realtor involves hours of research, training and continuous education to stay updated about the property market in Calgary.

The work environment of any Calgary realtor may not always be comfortable and luxurious. A realtor might not spend his office hours in the comforts of his office, but he might be moving from one location to another, attending seminars, workshops and open houses to know more about properties. He might hardly get to spend time in his office and work in a relaxed manner. An agent might often be required to work beyond the standard forty hours a week and work full time during weekends and evenings too to meet the various commitments towards the clients. He usually does not have any fixed working hours and the working hours might really be long and very irregular. A realtor has full freedom to determine his own working schedule as per his needs. It has been observed that agents do not even get the luxury of a Sunday when there is too much of work load.

The recent advancement in telecommunication and the use of internet in property dealing has helped many realtors to work from the comforts of their homes. They can now use internet to get in touch with their previous and prospective clients, have their own websites and store all relevant data in their own office. If any realtor wishes he can make his own home his office and work as per his own schedule. This reduces external hassles related to communication and traveling and makes him have a work environment as per his own liking.

Identifying Investment Opportunities

If you are new to investing in real estate one of the key skills that you need to develop quickly is spotting an opportunity before it passes you by. Through being able to recognise an opportunity when you see one, you will be able to make wiser investments that are able to benefit you over the long term and should see you gain returns in a very short period of time.

Here we will take a look at a few tips you should follow to make sure you stay ahead of the curve and put your money in the right places.

Look At Historical Prices

Your aim with real estate is always going to be to buy as low as possible, so it is a good idea to have a look at the historical trends of an area you are considering investing in. This way you will have an idea about what you should be expecting to pay and will thus be able to spot a bargain.

In particular, you want to be aware of how much a property can sell when the market is at its peak, so you can get a good idea of how much profit there is to be made and how long you will need to wait until you can achieve that price again.

Analyse Profit and Risk

Never go into an investment opportunity without having first analysed the risk that is involved and comparing it to the potential profit that can be made. Ensure that any building you purchase has been thoroughly examined and you know about any issues so that you can account for them in your budget.

You should always have an estimated profit figure in mind whenever you make a purchase and you should know exactly what you need to do to achieve that level of profit before you make an investment.

Management Requirements

Ideally you want to be able to get as much return on your investment for as little work on your side as possible. As such, you should identify buildings that won’t require much management on your part and also, if possible, don’t require much work to bring up to the right standard.

This will allow you more time to focus on other opportunities, in addition to ensuring that the building that you purchase doesn’t end up becoming both a time and money sink that ends up costing far more than you bargained for.

Be Informed

You should always be informed about the property market in every location in which you invest. Losing track of the investment and the state of the market is a quick way towards making mistakes with your purchases and failing to identify the best times to sell.

Furthermore, you should keep your eyes and ears open for any new development projects in your key areas of investment and try to get on board as early as possible. New developments usually ensure a high return, so do your due diligence and make sure everything is above board.

Real estate and professional photography

When it comes to marketing properties, commercial photography plays an essential role. There is a fierce competition on the real estate market and it could take a very long time for someone to respond to your ad. If you live in Liverpool, now is a good time to sell, because Liverpool is becoming one of the leading business destinations in the UK. A city expanding at such an accelerated pace and where investments are pouring is bound to have an increase in population; hence property demand will also increase. The value and consequently the price of a house will increase once the demand increases. While Liverpool is considered an important economical, educational and cultural center, the price for houses will keep increasing and more people will get their properties out for sell or rent. Taking into consideration the fact that large multinationals such as Jaguar, Sony, Eli Lily and Land Rover are investing in this city and many other businesses and entrepreneurs are attracted to this city, the situation on the real estate market is expected to improve considerably. A good photographer can help you gain the competitive edge that you need to sell or rent your property. This is why you should only rely on a professional photographer in Liverpool that can help you enhance the look of your house, apartment or land.

Unless you have property in Liverpool Calderstone Park, Crosby, you will need to invest effort, time and money in marketing your property to ensure you will stand a chance in face of the competition. There are many things that prospective buyers and tenants are taking into consideration first when buying or renting a property such as its location, size and price, but the aesthetic appeal of your marketing picture can increase the number of people that call and therefore increase your chances of successfully selling or renting. Going through every real estate listing is impossible, so most of the times potential buyers use search filters and only scan through the offer. If your property picture is made by a professional, it will set it apart from other similar announcements and give you an opportunity. By appealing to a commercial photographer in Liverpool, you will be able to post ads with stunning images that will convince others of the value of your property and convince them of your reliability and seriousness, not to mention that everyone will be drawn in by a photograph where art and architecture meets.

Architecture and interior photographers make use of light to create hyper realistic photograph and enhance the beauty of a room or a building. This can only be achieved by professional photographers that specialize in commercial photography, because you need to know some things about architecture, materials and textures, own professional gear, have an artistic eye, not to mention that you have to keep up with the latest trends in commercial photography to ensure the pictures turn out great and ready to use in real estate. If you are planning to sell or rent a property in Liverpool, you should resort to commercial photography services to ensure you have all the odd in your favor.

For more information about professional photographer in Liverpool or commercial photographer in Liverpool, visit this website.

Purchasing Real Estate With No Cash Money Down

Have you often wanted to purchase real estate but didn’t have enough money? Or maybe you are new to real estate investing and don’t have good credit, but want to purchase real estate. How do you go about accomplishing this task? One way is by using ‘no cash money down real estate investing’ both a person without the funds or credit can purchase real estate. In this article I will explain one scenario in which this form of acquisition can be accomplished.

First off, let us understand what is required to secure a payment other than cash. Yes, I said other than cash! Remember this is no cash money down real estate investing . Other means can be used to secure a payment as a ‘consideration’ for payment. They can be anything that the seller agrees to that has value, i.e., a car, motorcycle, painting, jewelry, silver, etc… or even the promise to pay as in future rental payments.

The promise to pay means that you are not putting any money down at this time, however in the future once the option is exercised, you will then make payments. This is like the ‘egg’ in a recipe that binds the transaction and makes it a true no cash money down to purchase real estate investing acquisition.

There are obviously different methods and scenarios that could be used to purchase real estate with no money down . But for this example I am going to use what is called a ‘ sandwich lease option’ . In this scenario you not only want to acquire the buyer’s payments but also the equity in the property without ever having the risk of true ownership. To do a sandwich lease option you need a combination of an ‘option to purchase agreement’ and a ‘lease agreement’ . Both should be written in your favor, allowing you the ability to back out at any time with no recourse to you outside of the loss of the ‘consideration’. The option to purchase agreement binds the property for you by giving you the ‘revocable right’ before you purchase.

Is there a downside to no cash money down real estate investing ? Of course there is. For instance, if you are not offering to take the property out of the seller’s name leaving them free and clear of the title, then obtaining the option to purchase can be a difficult task.

Another thing to consider is why is the seller having such a hard time selling the property? This can obviously cause a problem for you as well in the future. And if you are looking at renting the property out, since you are not purchasing the property, you have to consider financing problems. What happens if the rental market is below what your payment is? Then you take a loss! And what if the seller is making interest only payments, later changing to interest and principal payments, greatly increasing your payments leaving you in further financial trouble?

Now knowing this it only begs the question; is there a better option to no cash money down real estate investing ? The answer is of course, yes there is! That is if you have a self-directed IRA (preferably Roth) or good credit and a relatively decent income of about $70,000 annually. But we are discussing the scenario that you do not have the funds or do not have good credit to acquire real estate through other means. Besides that would be a topic for another article.

So now that you know the ups and downs of no cash money down real estate investing , the only thing you need to do is ask yourself if this is the vehicle for you and if so, how to go about it. There are teams and companies out there for you, just for this purpose.
Have you often wanted to purchase real estate but didn’t have enough money? Or maybe you are new to real estate investing and don’t have good credit, but want to purchase real estate. How do you go about accomplishing this task? One way is by using ‘no cash money down real estate investing’ both a person without the funds or credit can purchase real estate. In this article I will explain one scenario in which this form of acquisition can be accomplished.

First off, let us understand what is required to secure a payment other than cash. Yes, I said other than cash! Remember this is no cash money down real estate investing. Other means can be used to secure a payment as a ‘consideration’ for payment. They can be anything that the seller agrees to that has value, i.e., a car, motorcycle, painting, jewelry, silver, etc… or even the promise to pay as in future rental payments.

The promise to pay means that you are not putting any money down at this time, however in the future once the option is exercised, you will then make payments. This is like the ‘egg’ in a recipe that binds the transaction and makes it a true no cash money down to purchase real estate investing acquisition.

There are obviously different methods and scenarios that could be used to purchase real estate with no money down. But for this example I am going to use what is called a ‘sandwich lease option’. In this scenario you not only want to acquire the buyer’s payments but also the equity in the property without ever having the risk of true ownership. To do a sandwich lease option you need a combination of an ‘option to purchase agreement’ and a ‘lease agreement’. Both should be written in your favor, allowing you the ability to back out at any time with no recourse to you outside of the loss of the ‘consideration’. The option to purchase agreement binds the property for you by giving you the ‘revocable right’ before you purchase.

Is there a downside to no cash money down real estate investing? Of course there is. For instance, if you are not offering to take the property out of the seller’s name leaving them free and clear of the title, then obtaining the option to purchase can be a difficult task.

Another thing to consider is why is the seller having such a hard time selling the property? This can obviously cause a problem for you as well in the future. And if you are looking at renting the property out, since you are not purchasing the property, you have to consider financing problems. What happens if the rental market is below what your payment is? Then you take a loss! And what if the seller is making interest only payments, later changing to interest and principal payments, greatly increasing your payments leaving you in further financial trouble?

Now knowing this it only begs the question; is there a better option to no cash money down real estate investing? The answer is of course, yes there is! That is if you have a self-directed IRA (preferably Roth) or good credit and a relatively decent income of about $70,000 annually. But we are discussing the scenario that you do not have the funds or do not have good credit to acquire real estate through other means. Besides that would be a topic for another article.

So now that you know the ups and downs of no cash money down real estate investing, the only thing you need to do is ask yourself if this is the vehicle for you and if so, how to go about it. There are teams and companies out there for you, just for this purpose.

 

Understanding Real Estate Terminology

Purchasing a home can be a complicated and confusing process, especially for first-time buyers. Throughout the process, first-time home buyers will encounter a variety of unfamiliar real state terms. There are several key terms associates with purchasing real estate that are helpful to learn.
For example, many buyers confuse the terms broker and salesperson. A broker is a properly licensed individual, or corporation, who serves as a special agent in the purchase and sale of real estate, a salesperson is an individual employed or associated by written agreement by the broker as an independent contractor. The salesperson facilitates the purchase or sale of real estate.
Once you decide to purchase, a salesperson will prepare a sales contract to present to the seller along with your earnest money deposit. The sales contract is the document through which the seller agrees to give possession and title of property to the buyer upon full payment of the purchase price and performance of agreed-upon conditions. The earnest money is a buyer’s partial payment, as a show of good faith, to make the contract binding. Often, the earnest money is held in an escrow account. Escrow is the process by which money is held by a disinterested party until the terms of the escrow instructions are fulfilled.
After the buyer and seller have signed the contract, the buyer must obtain a mortgage note by presenting the contract to a mortgage lender. The note is the buyer’s promise to pay the purchase price of the real estate in addition to a stated interest rate over a specified period of time. A mortgage lender places a lien on the property, or mortgage, and this secures the mortgage note.
The buyer pays interest money to the lender exchange for the use of money borrowed. Interest is usually referred to as APR or annual percentage rate. Interest is paid on the principle, the capital sum the buyer owes. Interest payments may be disguised in the form of points. Points are an up-front cost which may be paid by either the buyer or seller or both in conventional loans.
In general, there are two types of conventional loans that a buyer can obtain. A fixed rate loan has the same rate of interest for the life of the loan, usually 14 to 30 years. An adjustable rate loan or adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) provides a discounted initial rate, which changes after a set period of time. The rate can’t exceed the interest rate cap or ceiling allowed on such loans for any one adjustment period. Some ARMs have a lifetime cap on interest. The buyer makes the loan and interest payments to the lender through amortization, the systematic payment and retirement of debt over a set period of time.
Once the contract has been signed and a mortgage note obtained, the buyer and seller must legally close the real estate transaction. The closing is a meeting where the buyer, seller and their attorneys review, sign and exchange the final documents. At the closing, the buyer receives the appraisal report, an estimate of the property’s value with the appraiser’s signature, certification and sporting documents. The buyer also receives the title and the deed. The title shows evidence of the buyer’s ownership of the property while the deed legally transfers the title from the seller to the buyer. The final document the buyer receives at closing is a title insurance policy, insurance against the loss of the title if it’s found to be imperfect.
Buyers should plan on a least four to twelve weeks for a typical real estate transaction. The process is difficult and at times, intimidating. A general understanding of real estate terminology and chronology of the transaction, however, will help any real estate novice to confidently buy his or her first home.