3 Tips for Apartment Hunters

Courtesy of pathwaycommute.com

If you’re looking for next spot, we have some helpful advice on how to find the best spot.

1.    Visit the place during rush hour and at night. You will get a good sense of the type of people you will live around and whether you can handle the traffic.

2.    Ask the landlord for references. See if you can talk to a couple of the neighbors living there.

3.    Make sure ALL repairs are completed before you move in. If the landlord wants to do them after you move in,  tell ‘em ‘no deal’.

How to Increase the Number of Qualified Homebuyers

The best way to increase the number of qualified homebuyers is to lower the screening parameters. It’s a taboo idea but there really is no other viable way to increase home ownership.

In order to accomplish this goal, you have to hedge your risk, as a homeowner or investor, while simultaneously providing a sound, yet flexible opportunity for first-time buyers. I’m not talking about subprime loans. That just postpones the inevitable flood of banking fees.

The best approach is to reduce the fees.

Qualified homebuyers exist not only because of job stability, but because of equity they acquired in their existing home. And they were able to do that because the market was growing. It was a completely different culture when most of the current homeowners bought their first house. Now that the best of times seem to be behind us, we need another approach.

To help young graduates take baby steps towards ownership, let’s get them in the door of a home, instead of an apartment. Let’s let them see how much property taxes are and how much maintenance fees cost. These things should be taught, not stumbled upon.

Then they will learn how to budget their income because of the experience, not because they did everything perfectly or had a 6-figure income. And they can gain experience if we adopt an easier method of entry rather than the current platform. Giving more people the chance to earn equity creates more qualified buyers. Which, in turn,  increases everyone’s chance of selling our houses quickly.

Don’t think it’s possible? It is. Let’s do it together. :)



Should you renovate before listing your house?

I have been researching 10-12 zip codes in the Atlanta metro area for the last few weeks. The market obviously slowed down because of the holidays but there were a few homes that sold over the break. It gave me a chance to analyze the market.

I noticed that the homes that have been completely renovated, from top to bottom, seem to sit a bit longer than the other homes that haven’t been recently renovated (but are still in good condition). This indicates that it is possible to overbuild in certain situations.

If you are going to renovate in order to yield a higher offer, renovate your home in such a way that the design is modest and not too chic. Homebuyers seem to still love a home that is beautiful but slightly homey. However, don’t underbuild your kitchen. Kitchens with a modern and sophisticated design will always sell.


Shorter Mortgages Are Coming

Research shows that people move every five to seven years. This information indicates a disconnect between the current real estate lending industry and the needs of today’s buyers. People need shorter mortgage payment schedules so they can have a chance to build wealth.

Have you ever thought about why the government needs to step in and FORCE people to buy health insurance? I can tell you that if I have to choose between paying my rent or mortgage and my health insurance bill…well, I’m sure you can guess which one I am paying. To me, this is a clear indicator that the economy is worse than any of us really understand. Losing 1.3 trillion dollars a year is bound to show its effects sooner or later.

Plum Genius feels the only way to truly provide a viable way for homebuyers to have a chance of living a financially free lifestyle is to offer another solution. Shorter mortgages.

It is the 21st century. Why are we still doing it the old way?


Are Atlanta Homes Sizzling or Fizzling?

There are a lot of interesting properties on the Atlanta market right now. In the heart of the city, near Buckhead, properties have an asking price of $200+ per square feet. A short distance away from the city, $170 per square feet is the usual asking price for a completely renovated place.  And in other zip codes, like 30331, you get get a huge house for $70 per square feet.

So how do you choose which area? Assuming the schools are decent in the lower priced areas, research homes that are ten years older than the house you are considering. If those homes are competing well against new homes, then you may have found the perfect area.

One of the other key things to consider when buying a home are obviously the comps, but also evaluate the current listings. How many views does each listing get? How long has it been on the market? How many times has the seller relisted or changed the asking price? If the listing shows how many people have favored it, does it get 10% of the viewers to star it?

The ones that have buyers showing real interest are the type of homes that resell quickly. If European or Mediterranean or traditional homes show higher behavioral rates than others, be sure to consider those types of home first.


Las Vegas is Building Again

Las Vegas is building again. Casinos and houses. With a report from Movoto stating that the Las Vegas real estate inventory increased by 91% year-over-year, it’s not that much of a surprise to local folks.

“They are doing it all over again,” one Henderson, NV resident exclaimed. She is referencing the fact that they are building new homes again, making it difficult for existing residents to sell their property. If they aren’t careful, they will find themselves on the highest foreclosure rate list again if they don’t create enough jobs to match the inventory.

Relying on investors to purchase real estate and then rent out properties to transients isn’t the way to go.

How to Get a 7-Year Mortgage

7-year mortgages, are they possible nowadays? Yes of course. Here’s why.

The average family or individual moves every 5-7 years. This reality screams for the need to create another viable road to home ownership. Currently, there are only two methods: buy it with cash or go through a bank. There needs to be another option that matches today’s current trends.

Plum Genius is sensitive to long-term renting situations. We want to abolish them. So we created a program that makes it easier and frankly, gives you a lot of motivation, to stay still for at least 7 years. Participating in the program gives you a way to become rent and/or mortgage free for most of your life. Even if you move after the program concludes, you can sell your place and become an all cash buyer with your next residential purchase.

Apply for one of our properties at plumgenius.com. If you qualify, make a bid for the monthly payment and if you win, you can move into a beautiful house or condo with no down payment. Just a security deposit. We’re serious. Are you?

Custom vs. Cookie Cutter

My parents have always bought houses that mirror every other house. Cookie cutters in large neighborhoods. The last two homes have been Pulte.

I like their taste. They always buy houses that resell very quickly. I think though I would would want a custom build. Not because I want to show it off or to build something that is a dream house. I  want a custom build because I want to feel like it’s mine. My vision.

The question is can I afford a custom build? I’ll need to do some more research to see if the costs are the same. Any thoughts?



A New Rent-to-Own Program

Back in the early 1900′s, around the 20s and 30s, society introduced mortgages as a way to give people a way to buy houses. They thought it wasn’t fair that everyone couldn’t own a home. So they started with 5 and 7-year mortgages. 4 out of 10 people owned a house back then. They put 50% down and paid 50% off in that span.

Over the years, I think around the 40s, they extended the mortgages to make it possible for even more people to buy houses. As of 2012, 56% of people own their own home. However, only 17% of the population own their home free and clear.

We’d like to see the number of people who own their home outright increase. Plum Genius introduces our 7-year mortgages. It’s part of our rent-to-own program. Learn more about it today.

The Black Friday of Real Estate

Do you look forward to Black Friday? I didn’t but now, every since I have been teased intensely about my outdated television, I’m gearing up for it.

Makes you wonder if there are any Black Friday real estate deals out there. There are. You have to know how to handle it. The first thing you do is look in the auction section of the paper or on auction websites. If they require all cash, no problem. There’s a way to make it happen.

This method is a bit risky but only if you don’t do your homework.

1. Find a house that doesn’t need any work done. Many of the auctions have fixer uppers, but sometimes you can find one that wasn’t vandalized or was taken care of.

2. Then, you go get pre-approved from a bank.

3. Next, you go to a hard money lender. They require you to have 30% down for them to cut you a cashier’s check, but there are some out there that won’t take the money. They just want to know its in the bank.

4. When you win an auction, make sure you only bid 70% or less of the comps (in the same neighborhood).

5. Then, you pay the hard money lender their fee, probably about $10,000, and you finalize the loan with your bank.

The bank transfers the money to the hard money lender and you just saved 30% on your real estate purchase. The sticky part is to make sure you have enough cash for the down payment. Negotiate with the hard money lender for buyer-friendly terms. Maybe they won’t require you to write them a check for 30%.

Now it’s really Black Friday! Walmart can’t offer you that big of a deal. Be careful though. Investors say this is a viable option but only if you play it smart.