Charlotte North Carolina Real Estate

Charlotte is one of the quainter lands within North Carolina. This region was established 250 years ago by Scottish and Irish immigrants and is a conjunction of two different cultures. This region has two popular lakes, Norman and Wylie. The property around these lakes is considered to be valuable in Charlotte.

The entire town of Charlotte is divided into nine zones – uptown, northeast, east, old south, new south, southwest, northwest, Lake Norman and Lake Wylie. These divisions are based on the properties located in these regions. The lakes Norman and Wylie have some very expensive properties on their banks, having average values of $369,000 and $315,000 respectively. The region of old south in Charlotte still has old style Victorian bungalows and is a competitor to ‘the most expensive real estate in Charlotte. It also has properties averaging about $326,000. The northeast region of Charlotte is the least desirable property, mainly owing to a mixture of old world charm and a business center side by side. As it is easily accessible to highways 1-77 and 1-85, this region is bustling with traffic y. Properties in northeast Charlotte can be obtained at as low as $155,000; almost half the value of lake property.

Charlotte has a large number of exclusive buyer agents. These agents do not get their commissions from sellers, but from the buyers. Therefore, they are interested in securing as low a price for the buyer as possible. Most exclusive buyer agents within North Carolina are members of the National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents.

To Invest or Not to Invest – Dubai’s Dilemma in Real Estate

Readers who scroll through hours upon hours seeking an answer to the dilemmas of Dubai Real Estate Investing are familiar with its challenges. The United Arab Emirates sits at the coast of the Arabian Gulf with a rich history that is interspersed with trade, oil, industry and property.

This history is surpassed by a future that promises a landscape fit for expansion and investment. But the dilemma of Dubai Real Estate Investing in this region has sparked a great deal of doubt over its feasibility. The time has come to put such matters to ease and declare the UAE as not one of the best, but ‘the best’ place to invest.

To begin with, the UAE has consistently shown its prowess as an investment destination gaining the title of the 13th Most Promising Home Economy for Investment in 2017-19. The region is expected to attract more than $1.8 trillion in global investments in 2018 (a 5% increase from 2017).

Due to its strategic position in the global landscape, it offers the Best Investment Opportunities by Top Real Estate Companies in Dubai. The UAE served nearly 2.4 billion market traders in 2017 within just five hours from recent Thomson Reuters reports.

The region is also the 3rd most attractive investment destination for those in infrastructure.

With more than a hundred smart city initiatives set to take effect as part of an elaborate plan for the upcoming EXPO, opportunities are abound for investors. More than a thousand government services have already been made smart in 2017.

REITs

REIT or Real Estate Investment Trusts in UAE are increasingly gaining commonality. The country’s REIT sector rose sharply in 2017 with a number high profile acquisitions such as the purchase of The Edge, Uninest and South View School by ENBD REIT.

While only representing a small chunk of the sector, they are expected to be a great way for small investors to enter the market.

The Freedom of Freehold Properties

The introduction of the Freehold Properties Decree in Dubai in 2002 was the first platform that allowed foreigners to buy, sell and lease property.

The Decree helped launch multiple projects like the ‘New Dubai’ area comprising of the Dubai Marina, Jumeirah Lake Towers and Emirates Living.

This helped advocate the growth of construction, architecture, engineering and other real estate services. With time, Dubai turned into a global hotspot for investments attracting the best and brightest.

High return on investment (ROI)

The ultimate purpose of any investment is to get more bang for your buck. The UAE commands an ever-flourishing real estate market that grows with its population.

Miami Luxury Real Estate Options For High-Net-Worth Individuals: Golden Beach Homes

Golden Beach homes are considered to be one of the top choices for high-net-worth individuals that come from many different places around the world in search for the finest luxury real estate options that are currently available within the Miami region.

If you are among the many property buyers who are actively seeking available luxury real estate options within the region, you may find Golden Beach homes to be among the best choices available on the market that will live up to the highest expectations in terms of modern luxury living.

Location

The town in which Golden Beach homes are found is located in the northeastern part of Miami-Dade County in South Florida. It is a community that is situated between the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean which makes it one of the region’s top oceanfront community options today.

Being located near cities such as Aventura, Hallandale Beach, and Sunny Isles Beach, residents are given easy access to the many different attractions that each neighboring city has to offer which is usually an important aspect when it comes to high-net-worth individuals who are looking to take on the full experience of living within Miami.

Community

When it comes to the people that make up the actual community, property buyers will find that the town consists of a relatively small population which tallies up to less than 1,000 people in total, including numerous high-net worth individuals who manage to achieve the satisfaction they seek when it comes to everyday living which includes a guarantee of safety and security higher than any other community within the region.

Also, there are many famous personalities that have chosen Golden Beach homes out of the many other real estate options that are available in the United States. Some of these famous personalities include Benjamin Rose, Ricky Martin, Paul Newman, and even Bill Gates.

Given the high stature of the residents within the community, it is only natural to be able to expect outstanding living standards which are clearly an important aspect to consider for many of today’s high-net-worth individuals who are looking for luxury real estate options within the region.

Price Range

The fabulous selection of homes that can be found within the community are easily considered to be among the most spectacular luxury homes that can go anywhere from being a three-bedroom inland property to a twelve-bedroom mansion right by the ocean with prices that can range from $1 million up to $21 million on today’s property market.

Top 7 Mistakes Rookie Real Estate Agents Make

Every time I talk to someone about my business and career, it always comes up that “they’ve thought about getting into real estate” or know someone who has. With so many people thinking about getting into real estate, and getting into real estate – why aren’t there more successful Realtors in the world? Well, there’s only so much business to go around, so there can only be so many Real Estate Agents in the world. I feel, however, that the inherent nature of the business, and how different it is from traditional careers, makes it difficult for the average person to successfully make the transition into the Real Estate Business. As a Broker, I see many new agents make their way into my office – for an interview, and sometimes to begin their careers. New Real Estate Agents bring a lot of great qualities to the table – lots of energy and ambition – but they also make a lot of common mistakes. Here are the 7 top mistakes rookie Real Estate Agents Make.

1) No Business Plan or Business Strategy

So many new agents put all their emphasis on which Real Estate Brokerage they will join when their shiny new license comes in the mail. Why? Because most new Real Estate Agents have never been in business for themselves – they’ve only worked as employees. They, mistakenly, believe that getting into the Real Estate business is “getting a new job.” What they’re missing is that they’re about to go into business for themselves. If you’ve ever opened the doors to ANY business, you know that one of the key ingredients is your business plan. Your business plan helps you define where you’re going, how you’re getting there, and what it’s going to take for you to make your real estate business a success. Here are the essentials of any good business plan:

A) Goals – What do you want? Make them clear, concise, measurable, and achievable.

B) Services You Provide – you don’t want to be the “jack of all trades & master of none” – choose residential or commercial, buyers/sellers/renters, and what area(s) you want to specialize in. New residential real estate agents tend to have the most success with buyers/renters and then move on to listing homes after they’ve completed a few transactions.

C) Market – who are you marketing yourself to?

D) Budget – consider yourself “new real estate agent, inc.” and write down EVERY expense that you have – gas, groceries, cell phone, etc… Then write down the new expenses you’re taking on – board dues, increased gas, increased cell usage, marketing (very important), etc…

E) Funding – how are you going to pay for your budget w/ no income for the first (at least) 60 days? With the goals you’ve set for yourself, when will you break even?

F) Marketing Plan – how are you going to get the word out about your services? The MOST effective way to market yourself is to your own sphere of influence (people you know). Make sure you do so effectively and systematically.

2) Not Using the Best Possible Closing Team

They say the greatest businesspeople surround themselves with people that are smarter than themselves. It takes a pretty big team to close a transaction – Buyer’s Agent, Listing Agent, Lender, Insurance Agent, Title Officer, Inspector, Appraiser, and sometimes more! As a Real Estate Agent, you are in the position to refer your client to whoever you choose, and you should make sure that anyone you refer in will be an asset to the transaction, not someone who will bring you more headache. And the closing team you refer in, or “put your name to,” are there to make you shine! When they perform well, you get to take part of the credit because you referred them into the transaction.

The deadliest duo out there is the New Real Estate Agent & New Mortgage Broker. They get together and decide that, through their combined marketing efforts, they can take over the world! They’re both focusing on the right part of their business – marketing – but they’re doing each other no favors by choosing to give each other business. If you refer in a bad insurance agent, it might cause a minor hiccup in the transaction – you make a simple phone call and a new agent can bind the property in less than an hour. However, because it typically takes at least two weeks to close a loan, if you use an inexperienced lender, the result can be disastrous! You may find yourself in a position of “begging for a contract extension,” or worse, being denied a contract extension.

A good closing team will typically know more than their role in the transaction. Due to this, you can turn to them with questions, and they will step in (quietly) when they see a potential mistake – because they want to help you, and in return receive more of your business. Using good, experienced players for your closing team will help you infinitely in conducting business worthy of MORE business…and best of all, it’s free!

3) Not Arming Themselves with the Necessary Tools

Getting started as a Real Estate Agent is expensive. In Texas, the license alone is an investment that will cost between $700 and $900 (not taking into account the amount of time you’ll invest.) However, you’ll run into even more expenses when you go to arm yourself with the necessary tools of the trade. And don’t fool yourself – they are necessary – because your competitors are definitely using every tool to help THEM.

A) MLS Access is probably the most expensive necessity you’re going to run into. Joining your local (and state & national, by default) Board of Realtors will allow you to pay for MLS access, and in Austin, Texas, will run around $1000. However, don’t skimp in this area. Getting MLS access is one of the most important things you can do. It’s what differentiates us from your average salesman – we don’t sell homes, we present any of the homes that we have available. With MLS Access, you will have 99% of the homes for sale in your area available to present to your clients.

B) Mobile Phone w/ a Beefy Plan – These days, everyone has a cell phone. But not everyone has a plan that will facilitate the level of use that Real Estate Agents need. Plan on getting at least 2000 minutes per month. You want, and need, to be available to your clients 24/7 – not just nights and weekends.

C) Computer (Preferably a Laptop) – There’s no way around it, you have to have a computer & be savvy enough to use email. You would be wise to invest in some business management software, as well. If you’d like to save some money (and who wouldn’t) then you can get the client & email management software Thunderbird from http://www.mozilla.com and you can get a free office suite from http://www.openoffice.org The only downside to these programs is that they do not sync with your PDA or Smart Phone. A Laptop is a BIG plus because you’ll be able to work from home or on the go. New Real Estate Agents are often surprised by just how much time they spend AWAY from the office, and a laptop helps you stay on top of your work while on the go.

D) Real Estate Friendly Car – You don’t have to have a Lexus, but your Miata won’t do the trick. Make sure that you have a 4 door car or SUV that is comfortable and presentable. Keep it clean, and for God’s sake, don’t smoke in it! You’re going to spend a LOT of time in your car, and put a lot of miles on it, so if it’s fuel efficient, it’s a BIG plus. If you’re driving a sporty convertible, or still have your KILLER Jeep from college, it’s time to trade it in.

4) Lack of Proper Funding

If you’ve taken the time to create your business plan, than you should definitely have your budget, but I can’t stress enough the importance of having and following your budget. However, the budget alone doesn’t address the important aspect of funding. 90% of all small businesses fail due to lack of funding. Typically, new agents will want to have 3 months of reserves in savings before taking the leap into full time agency. However, money in the bank isn’t the only way to answer the question of funding. Maybe your partner can support you for a certain period of time. You can keep a part-time job that won’t interfere with your business as a Real Estate Agent. Many successful waiters make the transition to successful real estate agents with no money in the bank. When you start your new business, don’t expect to earn any income for, at the least, 60 days.

5) Refusing to Spend Money on Marketing

Most new Real Estate Agents don’t realize that the hardest part of the business is finding the business. Furthermore, they’ve just shelled out around $2000 for their license and board dues, so the LAST thing they want to do is to spend more money! Again, the problem lies in the lack of understanding that you’ve just jumped into the Real Estate Business, you haven’t taken a new job. And any good businessperson will tell you that how much business you GET is directly correlative to how much you SPEND on marketing. If you choose the right brokerage, then you will get some good inbound leads. However, don’t neglect a good, personal marketing campaign from the beginning to get your own name out as the Real Estate Agent to go to.

6) Not Focusing Their Marketing Efforts in the Most Effective Areas

One reason why many new Real Estate Agents who do begin spending money on personal marketing stop is because they spend it in the wrong place. The easiest place, and where conventional Real Estate tells you to spend your money, is in conventional print marketing – the newspaper, real estate magazines, etc… This is the most visible place to see real estate advertising, it’s where large offices spend a good part of their money, and so many new agents mistakenly spend their money here. This becomes very frustrating to new agents because of its low return. Large brokerages can afford to spend their money here because they’re filling two needs – they’re marketing their own properties for sale while creating new buyer traffic for their buyer’s agents. New Real Estate Agents should look to their own sphere of influence and referral marketing to see the most effective return on their investment. An agent can spend as little as $100/month marketing to their family, friends, and colleagues and see an incredible return. There are many great referral systems around that all focus on the same premise – that if you consistently market yourself to your sphere of influence as the Real Estate Agent to go to – then you will get more business. The key is to pick a system and to follow that system. You will see results.

7) Choosing the Wrong Brokerage for the Wrong Reasons

New Real Estate Agents choose their new broker for a variety of reasons – they have a good reputation, they offer the most competitive split, the office is close to their house, etc… While these alone aren’t bad reasons to choose a broker, they aren’t going to do a lot to help you in your success. The #1 reason to choose a broker, and the question to ask is, “What do you offer your new agents.” If the answer is, “The most competitive split in town” you should definitely keep looking. Remember, 100% of $0 is still $0. If you’re leaning towards the largest broker in town, who has a great reputation, remember this: You’re starting a BUSINESS not a JOB. While it might be fantastic to brag to your friends about landing a job at a prestigious company, it’s no accomplishment to hang your license on the same wall in the same office as other successful agents.

Your #1 concern when interviewing new Brokers is what they offer you as a new agent. Do they have incoming leads? What does their training program consist of? What’s their retention level? What’s their average sales price? Do they encourage their agents to promote themselves? A Broker’s purpose is to help new agents start successful careers and to help established Agents progress their careers to the next level. As a new agent, concern yourself less with commission split or agency name and more with specific programs and agency standards.

A new career in Real Estate is very exciting. Starting a Real Estate business provides the new Agent with opportunities for limitless potential and freedom. New Agents have a notoriously high failure rate, however, so a new Real Estate career can also be a very scary prospect. However, if you avoid the 7 Top Mistakes Rookie Real Estate Agents Make, then you’ll be far ahead of the competition!

3 Of The Top 9 Reasons That The Real Estate Bubble Is Bursting

If you own real estate or are thinking of buying real estate then you better pay attention, because this could be the most important message you receive this year regarding real estate and your financial future.

The last five years have seen explosive growth in the real estate market and as a result many people believe that real estate is the safest investment you can make. Well, that is no longer true. Rapidly increasing real estate prices have caused the real estate market to be at price levels never before seen in history when adjusted for inflation! The growing number of people concerned about the real estate bubble means there are less available real estate buyers. Fewer buyers mean that prices are coming down.

On May 4, 2006, Federal Reserve Board Governor Susan Blies stated that “Housing has really sort of peaked”. This follows on the heels of the new Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke saying that he was concerned that the “softening” of the real estate market would hurt the economy. And former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan previously described the real estate market as frothy. All of these top financial experts agree that there is already a viable downturn in the market, so clearly there is a need to know the reasons behind this change.

3 of the top 9 reasons that the real estate bubble will burst include:

1. Interest rates are rising – foreclosures are up 72%!

2. First time homebuyers are priced out of the market – the real estate market is a pyramid and the base is crumbling

3. The psychology of the market has changed so that now people are afraid of the bubble bursting – the mania over real estate is over!

The first reason that the real estate bubble is bursting is rising interest rates. Under Alan Greenspan, interest rates were at historic lows from June 2003 to June 2004. These low interest rates allowed people to buy homes that were more expensive then what they could normally afford but at the same monthly cost, essentially creating “free money”. However, the time of low interest rates has ended as interest rates have been rising and will continue to rise further. Interest rates must rise to combat inflation, partly due to high gasoline and food costs. Higher interest rates make owning a home more expensive, thus driving existing home values down.

Higher interest rates are also affecting people who bought adjustable mortgages (ARMs). Adjustable mortgages have very low interest rates and low monthly payments for the first two to three years but afterwards the low interest rate disappears and the monthly mortgage payment jumps dramatically. As a result of adjustable mortgage rate resets, home foreclosures for the 1st quarter of 2006 are up 72% over the 1st quarter of 2005.

The foreclosure situation will only worsen as interest rates continue to rise and more adjustable mortgage payments are adjusted to a higher interest rate and higher mortgage payment. Moody’s stated that 25% of all outstanding mortgages are coming up for interest rate resets during 2006 and 2007. That is $2 trillion of U.S. mortgage debt! When the payments increase, it will be quite a hit to the pocketbook. A study done by one of the country’s largest title insurers concluded that 1.4 million households will face a payment jump of 50% or more once the introductory payment period is over.

The second reason that the real estate bubble is bursting is that new homebuyers are no longer able to buy homes due to high prices and higher interest rates. The real estate market is basically a pyramid scheme and as long as the number of buyers is growing everything is fine. As homes are bought by first time home buyers at the bottom of the pyramid, the new money for that $100,000.00 home goes all the way up the pyramid to the seller and buyer of a $1,000,000.00 home as people sell one home and buy a more expensive home. This double-edged sword of high real estate prices and higher interest rates has priced many new buyers out of the market, and now we are starting to feel the effects on the overall real estate market. Sales are slowing and inventories of homes available for sale are rising quickly. The latest report on the housing market showed new home sales fell 10.5% for February 2006. This is the largest one-month drop in nine years.

The third reason that the real estate bubble is bursting is that the psychology of the real estate market has changed. For the last five years the real estate market has risen dramatically and if you bought real estate you more than likely made money. This positive return for so many investors fueled the market higher as more people saw this and decided to also invest in real estate before they ‘missed out’.

The psychology of any bubble market, whether we are talking about the stock market or the real estate market is known as ‘herd mentality’, where everyone follows the herd. This herd mentality is at the heart of any bubble and it has happened numerous times in the past including during the US stock market bubble of the late 1990’s, the Japanese real estate bubble of the 1980’s, and even as far back as the US railroad bubble of the 1870’s. The herd mentality had completely taken over the real estate market until recently.

The bubble continues to rise as long as there is a “greater fool” to buy at a higher price. As there are less and less “greater fools” available or willing to buy homes, the mania disappears. When the hysteria passes, the excessive inventory that was built during the boom time causes prices to plummet. This is true for all three of the historical bubbles mentioned above and many other historical examples. Also of importance to note is that when all three of these historical bubbles burst the US was thrown into recession.

With the changing in mindset related to the real estate market, investors and speculators are getting scared that they will be left holding real estate that will lose money. As a result, not only are they buying less real estate, but they are simultaneously selling their investment properties as well. This is producing huge numbers of homes available for sale on the market at the same time that record new home construction floods the market. These two increasing supply forces, the increasing supply of existing homes for sale coupled with the increasing supply of new homes for sale will further exacerbate the problem and drive all real estate values down.

A recent survey showed that 7 out of 10 people think the real estate bubble will burst before April 2007. This change in the market psychology from ‘must own real estate at any cost’ to a healthy concern that real estate is overpriced is causing the end of the real estate market boom.

The aftershock of the bubble bursting will be enormous and it will affect the global economy tremendously. Billionaire investor George Soros has said that in 2007 the US will be in recession and I agree with him. I think we will be in a recession because as the real estate bubble bursts, jobs will be lost, Americans will no longer be able to cash out money from their homes, and the entire economy will slow down dramatically thus leading to recession.

In conclusion, the three reasons the real estate bubble is bursting are higher interest rates; first-time buyers being priced out of the market; and the psychology about the real estate market is changing. The recently published eBook “How To Prosper In The Changing Real Estate Market. Protect Yourself From The Bubble Now!” discusses these items in more detail.

Louis Hill, MBA received his Masters In Business Administration from the Chapman School at Florida International University, specializing in Finance. He was one of the top graduates in his class and was one of the few graduates inducted into the Beta Gamma Business Honor Society.

Mr. Hill received his undergraduate degree from the University of Florida with a double major in Finance and Risk Management.

For the past several years he has been working in a South Florida commercial real estate lender that specializes in financing real estate developers. Mr. Hill has seen firsthand the challenges and pitfalls that real estate developers are experiencing, and how the real estate market has been deteriorating rapidly. He is also a professional consultant to professional real estate developers and investors.

Previously, he was in management consulting. Additionally, he was a professional trader in the stock market and witnessed the stock market bubble bursting in 2001 and now is concerned about the real estate bubble.

Home Buyers and Sellers Real Estate Glossary

Every business has it’s jargon and residential real estate is no exception. Mark Nash author of 1001 Tips for Buying and Selling a Home shares commonly used terms with home buyers and sellers.

1031 exchange or Starker exchange: The delayed exchange of properties that qualifies for tax purposes as a tax-deferred exchange.

1099: The statement of income reported to the IRS for an independent contractor.

A/I: A contract that is pending with attorney and inspection contingencies.

Accompanied showings: Those showings where the listing agent must accompany an agent and his or her clients when viewing a listing.

Addendum: An addition to; a document.

Adjustable rate mortgage (ARM): A type of mortgage loan whose interest rate is tied to an economic index, which fluctuates with the market. Typical ARM periods are one, three, five, and seven years.

Agent: The licensed real estate salesperson or broker who represents buyers or sellers.

Annual percentage rate (APR): The total costs (interest rate, closing costs, fees, and so on) that are part of a borrower’s loan, expressed as a percentage rate of interest. The total costs are amortized over the term of the loan.

Application fees: Fees that mortgage companies charge buyers at the time of written application for a loan; for example, fees for running credit reports of borrowers, property appraisal fees, and lender-specific fees.

Appointments: Those times or time periods an agent shows properties to clients.

Appraisal: A document of opinion of property value at a specific point in time.

Appraised price (AP): The price the third-party relocation company offers (under most contracts) the seller for his or her property. Generally, the average of two or more independent appraisals.

“As-is”: A contract or offer clause stating that the seller will not repair or correct any problems with the property. Also used in listings and marketing materials.

Assumable mortgage: One in which the buyer agrees to fulfill the obligations of the existing loan agreement that the seller made with the lender. When assuming a mortgage, a buyer becomes personally liable for the payment of principal and interest. The original mortgagor should receive a written release from the liability when the buyer assumes the original mortgage.

Back on market (BOM): When a property or listing is placed back on the market after being removed from the market recently.

Back-up agent: A licensed agent who works with clients when their agent is unavailable.

Balloon mortgage: A type of mortgage that is generally paid over a short period of time, but is amortized over a longer period of time. The borrower typically pays a combination of principal and interest. At the end of the loan term, the entire unpaid balance must be repaid.

Back-up offer: When an offer is accepted contingent on the fall through or voiding of an accepted first offer on a property.

Bill of sale: Transfers title to personal property in a transaction.

Board of REALTORS® (local): An association of REALTORS® in a specific geographic area.

Broker: A state licensed individual who acts as the agent for the seller or buyer.

Broker of record: The person registered with his or her state licensing authority as the managing broker of a specific real estate sales office.

Broker’s market analysis (BMA): The real estate broker’s opinion of the expected final net sale price, determined after acquisition of the property by the third-party company.

Broker’s tour: A preset time and day when real estate sales agents can view listings by multiple brokerages in the market.

Buyer: The purchaser of a property.

Buyer agency: A real estate broker retained by the buyer who has a fiduciary duty to the buyer.

Buyer agent: The agent who shows the buyer’s property, negotiates the contract or offer for the buyer, and works with the buyer to close the transaction.

Carrying costs: Cost incurred to maintain a property (taxes, interest, insurance, utilities, and so on).

Closing: The end of a transaction process where the deed is delivered, documents are signed, and funds are dispersed.

CLUE (Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange): The insurance industry’s national database that assigns individuals a risk score. CLUE also has an electronic file of a properties insurance history. These files are accessible by insurance companies nationally. These files could impact the ability to sell property as they might contain information that a prospective buyer might find objectionable, and in some cases not even insurable.

Commission: The compensation paid to the listing brokerage by the seller for selling the property. A buyer may also be required to pay a commission to his or her agent.

Commission split: The percentage split of commission compen-sation between the real estate sales brokerage and the real estate sales agent or broker.

Competitive Market Analysis (CMA): The analysis used to provide market information to the seller and assist the real estate broker in securing the listing.

Condominium association: An association of all owners in a condominium.

Condominium budget: A financial forecast and report of a condominium association’s expenses and savings.

Condominium by-laws: Rules passed by the condominium association used in administration of the condominium property.

Condominium declarations: A document that legally establishes a condominium.

Condominium right of first refusal: A person or an association that has the first opportunity to purchase condominium real estate when it becomes available or the right to meet any other offer.

Condominium rules and regulation: Rules of a condominium association by which owners agree to abide.

Contingency: A provision in a contract requiring certain acts to be completed before the contract is binding.

Continue to show: When a property is under contract with contingencies, but the seller requests that the property continue to be shown to prospective buyers until contingencies are released.

Contract for deed: A sales contract in which the buyer takes possession of the property but the seller holds title until the loan is paid. Also known as an installment sale contract.

Conventional mortgage: A type of mortgage that has certain limitations placed on it to meet secondary market guidelines. Mortgage companies, banks, and savings and loans underwrite conventional mortgages.

Cooperating commission: A commission offered to the buyer’s agent brokerage for bringing a buyer to the selling brokerage’s listing.

Cooperative (Co-op): Where the shareholders of the corporation are the inhabitants of the building. Each shareholder has the right to lease a specific unit. The difference between a co-op and a condo is in a co-op, one owns shares in a corporation; in a condo one owns the unit fee simple.

Counteroffer: The response to an offer or a bid by the seller or buyer after the original offer or bid.

Credit report: Includes all of the history for a borrower’s credit accounts, outstanding debts, and payment timelines on past or current debts.

Credit score: A score assigned to a borrower’s credit report based on information contained therein.

Curb appeal: The visual impact a property projects from the street.

Days on market: The number of days a property has been on the market.

Decree: A judgment of the court that sets out the agreements and rights of the parties.

Disclosures: Federal, state, county, and local requirements of disclosure that the seller provides and the buyer acknowledges.

Divorce: The legal separation of a husband and wife effected by a court decree that totally dissolves the marriage relationship.

DOM: Days on market.

Down payment: The amount of cash put toward a purchase by the borrower.

Drive-by: When a buyer or seller agent or broker drives by a property listing or potential listing.

Dual agent: A state-licensed individual who represents the seller and the buyer in a single transaction.

Earnest money deposit: The money given to the seller at the time the offer is made as a sign of the buyer’s good faith.

Escrow account for real estate taxes and insurance: An account into which borrowers pay monthly prorations for real estate taxes and property insurance.

Exclusions: Fixtures or personal property that are excluded from the contract or offer to purchase.

Expired (listing): A property listing that has expired per the terms of the listing agreement.

Fax rider: A document that treats facsimile transmission as the same legal effect as the original document.

Feedback: The real estate sales agent and/or his or her client’s reaction to a listing or property. Requested by the listing agent.

Fee simple: A form of property ownership where the owner has the right to use and dispose of property at will.

FHA (Federal Housing Administration) Loan Guarantee: A guarantee by the FHA that a percentage of a loan will be underwritten by a mortgage company or banker.

Fixture: Personal property that has become part of the property through permanent attachment.

Flat fee: A predetermined amount of compensation received or paid for a specific service in a real estate transaction.

For sale by owner (FSBO): A property that is for sale by the owner of the property.

Gift letter: A letter to a lender stating that a gift of cash has been made to the buyer(s) and that the person gifting the cash to the buyer is not expecting the gift to be repaid. The exact wording of the gift letter should be requested of the lender.

Good faith estimate: Under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, within three days of an application submission, lenders are required to provide in writing to potential borrowers a good faith estimate of closing costs.

Gross sale price: The sale price before any concessions.

Hazard insurance: Insurance that covers losses to real estate from damages that might affect its value.

Homeowner’s insurance: Coverage that includes personal liability and theft insurance in addition to hazard insurance.

HUD/RESPA (Housing and Urban Development/Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act): A document and statement that details all of the monies paid out and received at a real estate property closing.

Hybrid adjustable rate: Offers a fixed rate the first 5 years and then adjusts annually for the next 25 years.

IDX (Internet Data Exchange): Allows real estate brokers to advertise each other’s listings posted to listing databases such as the multiple listing service.

Inclusions: Fixtures or personal property that are included in a contract or offer to purchase.

Hawaii Cruises

Hawaii cruises are one of the great ways to enjoy the beauty of the Hawaiian Islands. Brilliant wildlife, volcanic peaks, elegant beaches and perfect temperatures are the specialties of these islands. The main Hawaiian Islands that cruise ships visit are Honolulu, Hilo, Kailua-Kona, Nawiliwili and Lahaina.

There are many activities including snorkeling with dolphins, waterfall kayaking, whale watching, deep-sea fishing, rainforest adventures, hiking across lava fields, horse back riding, sea turtle explorations, eco safaris, golf excursions, scuba diving and glass-bottom boat tours. A walk on the Waikiki Beach is an important part of all Hawaii cruises.

A cruise around Hawaii takes you to the towering cliffs and historic Pearl Harbor, incredible shopping, delicious food and visits with the Island’s friendly people. You can also take part in numerous shore excursions to please your desire to see some of the local land sites. A variety of Hawaii cruises are available to exotic locations. There are many Hawaii cruise companies that offer a wide selection of packages including last minute cruises.

Hawaii cruises are a perfect way to travel around the islands of Hawaii without rental cars, waiting at airports and multiple hotel bookings. It is one of the most favorite vacation options in the travel industry. There are a number of Hawaii cruises offered by major cruise lines such as Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Lines and Holland America. Several cruise lines offer periodic Hawaiian cruises from the west coast of the United States.

Generally, Hawaii cruises are booked for f 15 or 18 days. One-way cruises are also available for those flying back home from Hawaii. Many companies provide extended Hawaii cruise vacations of 25 to 30 days. These extended cruises are an ideal choice for those wishing to take in more of the fantastic adventures that Hawaii has to offer.

Steamboat Springs Skiing

Nestled in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, Colorado has long been believed to be the destination for ski enthusiasts. The history of American skiing was literally writing in the state and Colorado continues to be the preferred romping grounds of legendary skiers even today. The city of Steamboat Springs in Colorado, once an obscure settlement is today one of the best ski towns in the country.

Steamboat Springs if often called Ski Town USA for its natural abundance of ski slopes and winter activities. The area has generated more skiing champions and Olympic medal winners than any other place in the United States. The first ski jump was built in Steamboat Springs as early as 1913, by the Norwegian entrepreneur Carl Howelsen. The area has been named in his honor as the Howelsen Hill Ski Area and is till date, the oldest and largest ski complex in continuous use within the entire North American continent. Carl Howelsen also instated the annual Winter Carnival, which remains to this date the highlight of a visit to Steamboat Springs. The Carnival is essentially a competitive ski racing and jumping event for amateurs and brings together some of the best international talent. Other events in the Carnival include dog-sled racing and chariot runs.

Another popular ski site is Mount Werner located a little out of the town with in the Routt National Forest. Its large ski area of nearly 3000 acres is mostly under the care of the Steamboat Ski Resort. Mount Werner offers about 164 trails from beginner to advanced levels and that still leaves space for longest skiing superpipe in the United States. The area also receives the highest amount of snowfall in Colorado and as a result is ski-friendly for most part of the year. The best time, however for skiing in Steamboat Springs is late summer and early spring. The climate and the slopes are the most congenial at these times and hundreds flock to the city to catch the skiing scene. The safety levels are also the lowest in the peak seasons and accidents are not uncommon so visitors are advised to travel in groups.

Travelogue – Alaska, North to the Future

‘North to the future’ is the motto proudly owned by Alaska. If the future looks like the 49th state of the United States then the future is breathtaking and utterly alive. Bountifully wild, seemingly endless and totally natural- Alaska is unarguably one of the last frontiers because it is one of the places least encroached by humans. In the ‘Great State’, a brown bear expertly catching a leaping salmon from the river with its juggernaut jaw is a common appearance.

Instead of skyscrapers, which gratefully Alaska has none to boast of yet, there are mighty glaciers that are massive and seemingly surreal. It is safe to compare the first time you see a glacier to may be the first time you ride a plane or graduate college. It is that feeling of disbelief that it is happening, that feeling of discovering something completely unknown, that butterfly in the stomach phenomena. How else can you react to the sight of millions of acres of ice formed through thousands and thousands of years tinted a deep, gleaming, sharp blue? A lucky day is when one sees a glacier shift, shedding a chunk of ice the size of a bus to form an iceberg.

Rather than driving a boxy car, one can choose to ride a boat or kayak and row in one of Alaska’s 3 million lakes. It is not so hard to find orcas and humpback whales breeching in the ocean as they scavenge for their next meal. Even sea lions are friends with seals which usually lie on icebergs, their fat bellies facing the sun.

In Alaska there are no billboards crowding the sky, however seabirds and bald eagles hover freely as they hunt for food. An alternative to congested city housing is the spacious alpine glow of mountains and perpetual trees that line the land. That is the real prime estate. So, if Alaska is indeed the future, then the future is actually a frozen time in the past. The time in which people have not savagely taken over, well, everything. It is the time in which people respected nature and built their lives around it instead of taking over it.

Alaska truly is one the last frontiers. And the future for this Great Land probably means that sooner or later it will look like any state in the US or heck any city in the world, lined up with strip malls, a parking lot with SUVs, skyways with depressing traffic and a Pizza Hut delivery in each block. So before the inevitable ‘future’ happens explore Alaska. There are fewer things worth doing than visiting this place.

Check the internet for the right

TO GET TO FAR FAR AWAY:

Alaska’s an out-of-the-way destination which is one its appeals but also makes for a costly trip. Accommodations are expensive and so is transportation. The practical way to see Alaska is to go on a cruise. From the Philippines you can fly to Seattle or Vancouver and take a cruise ship from these ports. Alaska season for tourists is only from May to September because after that it gets too cold and there is only 3 hours of sunlight. Consequently in Alaska, during the summer, the sun still sets high at 9:00 pm!

The usual cruise takes 7 days and goes to 3 cities in Alaska. Cruise-ships also pass what is known as The Inside Passage which is the coastal highway between mainland and coastland. This route means you can get close to glaciers that outline the passage. The ocean view from a cruise-ship is spectacular and you can see whales, seals, birds, dolphins and your occasional lighthouse from the luxury of your staterooms.

These cruise lines go to Alaska: Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line and Carnival.

EXPLORATIONS:

Juneau
It is arguably the cosiest city in the US. Juneau has a mix of historic downtown cling, 360 views of snow capped mountain peaks, an amazing waterfront and a shopping haven of luxury brand items and Alaskan craft. The city is also the cruise-ship capital of the world. It’s also a gateway to many attractions including Glacier Bay National Park and Admiralty Island National Monument.

Icy Straight Point
A quaint fishing village located near the largest indigenous community, the Tlingit village, in Alaska. There is a beach in Icy Straight to dip your feet in while sipping one of the best beers in the world, The Alaskan Amber. The longest zipline in the world is also found here with an amazing eagle eye view of the city as you zip down the mountain.

Ketchikan
Dubbed as the ‘Salmon Capital of the World’ this is home to Misty Fjords National Monument. Thisscenic town is also home to plaid wearing lumber jacks and blacksmiths. If you’re not from PETA and like fur a lot you can stroll into one of the shops that is wall to wall covered with every kind of ‘sleeping’ furry animal and buy yourself a genuine fur coat or gloves.

Skagway
A first class Alaskan borough that was a superstar town back in the gold rush of the late 1800s. When one enters Skagway it feels like it’s still the 18th century. Brothels with busty women in red corsets and feathers still do peek-a-boo shows. There are pubs everywhere serving lots of beers as a guitar playing country man sings. There are horse carriages that are parked alongside 1920 Cadillacs. You can hike here or ride the historic White Pass train and relive the ride gold miners took a thousand years ago.

Sitka
This pleasant town is the where the Russians became the first non-indigenous settlement in 1799. Russia would later sell Alaska to the US for US$7.2 million in 1867. It is also known as the cultural centre of Southeast Alaska and is the only city facing the Pacific Ocean. There are lots of Russian memorabilia’s for sale here.

FRESH FOOD:

Huge King Crabs dripping in butter are easily available here. It’ll probably take you an hour to get to all the legs. There also the sweet tasting Dungress crab which is amazingly fresh. Reindeer hotdogs are juicy to the bite and can be bought in one of the hotdog stands.

Halibut is cooked any way you want, the best is still breaded, fried and served with chilli fries. Salmon is bountiful so you order your meal or catch them.

Top 10 Overseas Property Investments in 2010

1. Brazil

The Brazilian property market has got a lot going for it. The country is attracting a lot of inward investment, has one of the world’s fastest growing economies, a rapidly emerging mortgage market, a general shortage of quality homes, and has been selected to host the 2014 football World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games. This will lead to the construction of new and improved infrastructures and homes across Brazil.

Property investors from around the world are flocking to Brazilian shores with a view to snapping up real estate, in anticipation of future capital growth.

One local expect projects Brazilian property prices could appreciate by up to 200% over the next decade, driven by the country’s burgeoning economy, and the pending introduction of mortgages to overseas nationals.

Investment banking firm Goldman Sachs believes that Brazil’s economic growth could outstrip that of the other BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) member nations over the next few years.

Brazil’s economy is widely expected to become the fifth largest in the world by the time the Olympic Games kicks off in 2016, and yet Brazil property and land prices still remain a fraction of those found in more developed nations.

The Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has already pledged to spend up to £11.5bn on building a million new homes in Brazil between now and 2011.

However, potential high property investment rewards are not with out their risks, as crime and corruption still remains widespread in Brazil.

2. France

In stark contrast to the relatively high risk, high return nature of investing in Brazil, the risks associated with investing in French property are far lower.

France has traditionally always been a rather safe haven for property investors. The nation was the first European country to come out of recession in 2009, reflecting the fact that the global credit crunch had much less of an impact, compared to other European counterparts.

France’s strong economy is having a positive impact on its property market, which now appears to be on the road to recovery.

Increasing property and mortgage transactions are boosting residential values, with the latest FNAIM data revealing that the average price of a French property appreciated by 2.8% between April and September 2009.

Although average prices remain down 7.8% year-on-year, the market is generally expected to improve further, due to France’s prudent attitude to mortgage lending.

Anyone taking out a mortgage in France is generally only permitted to borrow one third of their total gross monthly income. This has ensured that mortgages remain readily available, with 100% loan-to-value home loans available at competitive borrowing rates.

Consequently, mortgage lending in France is soaring. French mortgage broker Athena Mortgages reports that there was a 21% rise in mortgage enquiries in Q3 2009 compared with the previous quarter.

The buy-to-let and leaseback sectors are reportedly attracting particular interest from investors, due to improved yields across the country.

The capital city of Paris has long been identified as one of the most attractive European cities for investment, and is typically the most popular place to buy a home in France, along with Cannes, Marseille and Nice, which are all located along the southern Mediterranean coast.

3. USA

The USA property market may be showing tentative signs of improvement, following one of the worst economic and property crashes in living memory, but the downturn has come at a cost to many US homeowners.

Data from RealtyTrac shows that a record high of 938,000 US homes foreclosed in the third quarter of 2009. If this trend continues, foreclosures would reach around 3.5m by the end of 2009, up from around 2.3m properties last year.

Properties in Nevada had the highest foreclosures rates in Q3, followed by homes in Arizona, California, Florida, Idaho, Utah, Georgia, Michigan, Colorado and Illinois.
Rising unemployment levels – currently at a 26-year high of 9.8% – was cited as the main reason for the increase in foreclosure levels. Yet, there may be worst to come, as the unemployment rate is not expected to peak until mid-2010.

Unfortunately, one person’s misfortune is another’s gain. With around 7m properties currently in the foreclosure process, compared with 1.3m for the same period in 2005, predatory investors are buying up distressed, abandoned and repossessed homes at bargain-basement prices, as now appears to be the ideal time to fill your boots.

Although the sub-prime mortgage crisis started in the USA, there are growing signs that the property market may now be at or near the bottom of the cyclical downturn. Various indices reveal that average residential prices started to rise, albeit marginally, during the second quarter of 2009.

4. Norway

Sales in Norway have nosedived over the past year or so, as residential values have cooled.

However, the Norwegian property market downturn, which has not been anywhere near as severe as in other neighbouring countries, appears to have already bottomed out, and looks ready to lead the Scandinavian property market recovery.

The key to the Norwegian property market is the strength of the country’s economy, which has made it one of the wealthiest in the world, while new housing output has dropped below average, which could fall short of demand next year.

Norway is rich in both gas and oil and this helps to support the country’s economy and ensure that its currency also stays strong – both alluring to property investors.

The country’s population is estimated to increase by 23% – approximately one million people – over the next 40 years, which should make sure that long-term residential demand is robust.

Another positive is the fact that unemployment is extremely low – approximately 3% – compared to its European counterparts.

Almost half of the Norwegian population resides in the counties of Oslo, Rogaland, Akershus and Hordaland, and so this is where property investors should focus their attentions. Property prices in these places remain relatively cheap compared to wages in Norway.

5. Switzerland

Many of the high earners currently living in Britain look set to quit the UK in droves ahead of the introduction of a 50% top tax rate in April 2010, and escape to more tax-friendly shores, such as Switzerland.

The Swiss authorities are actively lobbying to attract many of these disillusioned high-net worth individuals, who are being tempted by assurances that they will be allowed to steer clear of European Union regulation and Britain’s Financial Services Authority.

It is estimated that hedge funds managing in the region of £10 billion in assets have already moved to Switzerland in the past year alone. This has increased demand for homes to rent and buy.

Due to canton restrictions, it has previously been difficult for foreigners to buy property in Switzerland. However, the country has now eased its strict property buying regulations, and opened its doors to more international buyers, partly through the introduction of ‘residence de tourisme’ style investments, which is similar to the ever-popular ‘leaseback’ formula in France.

Switzerland, one of the richest nations in the world, is of course a tax haven.
Anyone who sets up permanent residency in Switzerland would be entitled to take advantage of the country’s favourable tax law, including the lump sum taxation, which charges a levy based on people’s lifestyle and spending habits.

Given that one’s taxable income is charged at just five times their annual rent or rental value of their property, and the fact that assets outside Switzerland remain tax-free, should ensure demand for Swiss properties – to rent and buy – remains strong for years to come.

Historically, Swiss property values have typically appreciated in line with inflation. Properties located at the top end of the market, in cantons like Valais and Vaud, have reportedly increased by up to 20% in the past year.

6. Australia

The Australian economic and property market recovery has been swifter than the other leading nations around the world.

It has been claimed that the revival in the country’s property market and economy is as much as 12 months ahead of the other developed countries in the economic cycle.

Unemployment peaked in September 2009, in stark contrast to Britain and the USA, while increasing commodity demand from China has forced the Australian Central Bank to raise benchmark interest rates. Yet this has failed to cool strong residential demand, which coupled with a general housing shortage, is forcing property values higher.

The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics house price index shows that the average price of a residential property in Australia appreciated by 4.2% in the third quarter of 2009, which means that in the year to September, residential prices increased 6.2%.

Australia could be set for a residential property price boom over the next few years, as the country’s economy continues to show genuine signs of recovery.

A recent Australia property report projected that average residential prices in nearly all capital cities would increase by between 11% and 19% by 2012, with the greatest property price rises expected to be recorded in Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne.

7. Malaysia

I tipped Malaysia to be the number one place to invest in property in 2009, due to the country’s robust property ownership laws, lack of capital gains tax and attractive mortgage rates.

However, residential sales were sluggish during the early half of the year, as the market struggled as a direct consequence of the global credit crunch, while there are some political uncertainties emerging.

But with consumer sentiment improving, the recent positive market recovery, supported by the construction of new residential schemes across the country, should continue in 2010.

While property prices race ahead across much of Asia – in countries like China, Vietnam and Singapore – which has led to heightened fears of budding property bubbles, the Malaysian property market has merely stabilised, making it suited to more balanced investors.

With an extremely young and well-educated population, long-term demand for property in Malaysia looks set to grow.

Domestically, an increasing number of people are moving from the countryside into the larger cities, while internationally Malaysia looks set to cross a demographic landmark of huge social and economic importance.

Malaysia’s population is growing by around 2%, or an extra 500,000 people, every year. The World Bank projects the country’s population will grow annually by 1% until 2050, which will place further pent-up demand on property values.

Malaysia’s property prices are still lower than they were in 1997, due partly to the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990’s, suggesting very real room for growth.

8. Abu Dhabi

The recent property price falls in the fast growing UAE capital of Abu Dhabi, the richest and largest of all the seven UAE states, have been nowhere near as severe as in neighbouring Dubai.

The tax-efficient emirate has the largest fossil fuel reserve in the UAE, is the fourth biggest natural gas producer in the world, has the world’s highest income per capita, is home to almost all of the Arabic Fortune 500 companies, and is currently sitting on over 88 billion barrels of proven oil reserves.

Yet Abu Dhabi is now actively trying to reduce its reliance on oil, and is diversify its economy into the financial services and tourism sectors. Billions of pounds have been allocated for infrastructure projects and the development of residential, leisure and cultural schemes across the oil-rich emirate. The plans are truly remarkable.

Nevertheless, investors seeking out bargain deals will find some of the best opportunities for distressed property investments in the Gulf region in Abu Dhabi.

The recent slowdown in the property market means that just 45,000 are anticipated to be completed in the capital in the next four years, augmenting the exiting housing shortage.

The supply of housing stock remains scant, partly because Abu Dhabi is not part of a community master-plan like those pioneered by Emaar and Nakheel in Dubai.

The housing shortfall in the capital is expected to stand at around 15,000 homes next year, which could mean that property prices and rents are forced up, while residential demand – domestic and international – is expected to increase.

Because Abu Dhabi does not have the same high level of exposure to the global financial crisis, compared with other UAE emirates, mortgages for non-residents – at up to 75% loan-to-value – are readily available again. This is likely to appeal to buy-to-let investors, as well as those people seeking equity release and to remortgage their properties in Abu Dhabi.

9. Oman

The relaxed Arabian state of Oman, voted ‘destination of the year 2008’ by Vogue magazine, has long been a popular holidaying destination for people living within the GCC.

With a population of around 2.3m, Oman is being modernised and liberalised culturally and economically by hereditary Sultan, Qaboos Bin Said Al-Said, a forward-thinking leader.

Sultan Qaboos strategy for economic growth – Vision 2020 – aims to diversify Oman’s economic dependency on oil, and focus on other industries, such as property and tourism.

Demand for property in Oman is primarily being driven by the Sultan’s decision to introduce legislation in 2004 – ratified in 2006 – permitting foreigners to buy freehold property and land in designated tourist areas, most notably Muscat. These projects are referred to as Integrated Tourism Complexes (ITC). Furthermore, foreign homeowners can now apply for residency visas.

A number of luxurious developments are being erected across Oman including, The Chedi, Azaiba, Wadi Kabi, The Wave, Barr Al Jissah Residences, Jebel Sifah, Salalah Beach, The Malkai, Muscat Hills, Al Madina A’Zarqa, Jebel Sifah, and Salalah Beach.

The fact that Oman appeals to end-users – not just investors – means that the medium to long-term prospect for Omani property market growth looks good.

10. South Africa

South African property market conditions look ripe for investment, as the country starts to come out of recession. Recent property price falls appear to be bottoming out, while FIFA’s 2010 football World Cup fast approaches.

From the moment world football’s governing body, FIFA, awarded South Africa the rights to host the World Cup in 2010, shrewd property investors from around the globe have been looking on with great interest, with one eye firmly on cashing in on the sport’s popularity.

The first ever FIFA World Cup to be hosted on African soil has the potential to be the biggest sporting event of all time.

The tournament is expected to attract around 350,000 football fans for a month of football mayhem, starting on 11 June 2010, which is tipped to contribute around £1.5bn to South Africa’s gross domestic product and generate another £500m in government taxes.

South Africa property prices haven softened over the past year or so, due to a fall in residential demand, caused by reduced housing affordability, higher inflation and interest rates.

But residential prices could soon experience growth, on the back of what should be a reinvigorated economy, spurred by the football tournament.

While the odds may be stacked up against the South African football winning the World Cup in 2010, it is not too far fetched to assume that the country’s housing market could prove to be the real winner of the tournament, generating significant returns for property investors in the process.