Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Market For Miami Homes Marks the Tenth Consecutive Month Of Value Appreciation In September 2012

According to the Miami Association of Realtors and local MLS systems, the property price for Miami homes have increased again in the month of September 2012 marking the tenth consecutive month of real estate value appreciation.

The median sales price for condominiums within the region increased by 36.2 percent from the previous year to $150,000 while the median sales price for single-family homes within the region increased by 8.6 percent to $190,000.

The Miami real estate market is definitely becoming much stronger as each month of the year passes even though the housing inventory is running short. In fact, the region has seen almost one full year of consistent real estate value appreciation which makes one thing very clear: the fact that now is certainly an ideal time for anyone to consider selling Miami homes since residential properties within the region are receiving great multiple offers from many interested buyers and are currently selling very fast.

During the month of September 2012, the average sales price for condominiums in the Miami-Dade County area increased by 30.2 percent to $277,774 while the average sales price for single-family homes fell by 6.1 percent to $315,521.

Even on a statewide level, people are seeing significant improvements as median sales prices for single-family homes within the state of Florida increased by 7.4 percent to $145,000 while the median sales prices for Florida condominiums increased by 18.8 percent in the month of September 2012. According to data, the national median sales price for existing homes for all housing types increased by 11.3 percent compared to the previous year for a value of $183,900.

The total number of residential sales that were made within the Miami-Dade County area had dropped by 3.4 percent compared to the previous year when the real estate market had achieved record sales levels. Existing condominiums within the area had decreased in sales by 6.7 percent from 1,395 down to 1,302 while the sales of single-family homes had increased by 1.6 percent from 903 to 917 compared to the previous year.

Foreign property buyers remain to be an important factor in the strengthening of the market for Miami homes and condominiums. In fact, the number of purchases being made by foreign property buyers keeps on increasing which further indicates that the region is indeed one of the best markets for foreign property buyers and investors in the United States. Miami homes and condominiums have even provided as much as 31 percent of all international purchases being made within the state of Florida and that marks a 10 percent increase compared to the sales figures generated in 2011.

Over the last twelve months, the residential listing inventory had gone down by as much as 24 percent from 15,264 to 11,595. As of the moment, the inventory supply within the region is expected to last for around 4.3 months.

FSBO - What You Should Know About Selling Your Own Home

The key to selling your home yourself is being properly prepared. If you aren't, your home may remain on the market longer than you expect because you aren't attracting and getting offers from qualified buyers. And this is where many homeowners become frustrated and start to think about giving up the dream of selling their homes themselves. However, some sellers are very successful at selling their own homes, and you can be one of them.

This report has been especially prepared to assist home sellers like yourself understand the process so you can sell your home quickly and for the price you want. To help you prepare, be aware of the following tips before deciding whether or not this is the right approach for you.

Price your home correctly. Setting the correct asking price is critical. Setting the price too high can be as bad as setting it too low. Home prices are determined by fluctuations in the marketplace, and not by your emotional attachment to your home or what you think your home is worth. To establish a realistic price, compare the price, features, and condition of similar homes in both your neighbourhood and locations where similar homes have sold in the last few months. It is also important to be familiar with the terms of each potential sale. Terms are often as important as price in the current market. Work up a careful budget of your selling costs, and prepare a net proceeds sheet to determine an informed estimate of what you can expect to earn from the sale of your home. Prospective buyers may request a similar analysis of buying costs.

Prepare your home for sale. First impressions are crucial. Ensure that your home makes a positive statement by carefully inspecting all details and viewing it, as objectively as possible, through the eyes of a buyer. Don't ignore needed repairs and fix-ups: your prospective buyers certainly won't! Your job is to make sure your home stands out favourably from the competition.

Make sure you have all the necessary legal documentation. There are many important legal contracts and documents which you need to assemble, complete, and understand when selling your home. Below is a partial checklist of forms you will need for prospective buyers and for legal documentation.
Mortgage Payoff
Loan Application
Deposit Receipt
Property Profile Fact Sheet
Buyer's Cost Sheet
Closing & Settlement
Personal Property
Exclusion List
Property Survey
Sellers Statement /Plot Plan of Representation
Market Your Home Effectively. Beyond the sign on your lawn, you need to find effective ways to spread the word that your home is for sale. You can reach local buyers with ads in a newspaper, but you will reach just a small part of the possible market. Be sure to include buyers who may already be working with a realtor. To locate them, notify as many top agents as possible in your market in case their client's criteria match what your home has to offer. Out-of-town buyers are an important target too, so create a strategy to reach them as well. Above all, be very customer service oriented and make it easy for pre-qualified buyers to view your home. That means making sure that someone is always available to answer the phone, respond promptly to messages, and be ready to give qualified prospects a tour of your home as quickly as possible.

Remain objective when showing your home. Be sure to keep your emotions out of the sale of your home. The best way to do this during a showing is to remain physically in the background. If a prospective buyer says something negative about your home, you're better off counter-balancing this point of view by calling attention to the positives instead of becoming defensive.

Pre-qualify prospective buyers. Don't waste time entertaining buyers who cannot afford to buy your home. Research their financial situation with respect to job security, salary, debts, liabilities and credit standing.

Negotiate effectively and knowledgeably. There are a great many details that need to be resolved before a sale is considered final: price, terms, inspections, possession date, and buyer concerns and objections, to name a few. You must fully understand the contract you have drawn up so you can, in turn, explain the details and ramifications to the buyer, and make any necessary amendments to the sale. Have the contract you use thoroughly examined by your real estate attorney. Some real estate brokers may be willing to help you do this. While this is going on, work to maintain the buyer's interest in your home so it doesn't wane during negotiations.

Know your buyer. Your objective during negotiations is to control the pace and set the duration. Try to determine what's motivating potential buyers. Do they need to move quickly? Can they afford to pay the asking price for your home? Answering these questions will give you an advantage in the negotiations: you'll know what you need to do to get what you want.

Do not move out before you sell. Studies show that selling a vacant home is more difficult than selling one that is occupied. A vacant home looks forlorn, forgotten, and simply unappealing. And it could even cost you money. If you move out before you sell, you're also letting prospective buyers know that you have a new home and are motivated to sell quickly. That can, of course, give the buyer an advantage at the negotiating table.

Understand why you're selling, but keep your reasons to yourself. Just as important as understanding your buyer is understanding yourself. Your reasons for selling can affect everything from how you price your home to how much time and money you invest in preparing it for sale. And knowing your motivation helps you determine your priorities: the money you walk away with, how long your property is on the market, or perhaps both. Different goals dictate different strategies. Someone who prefers to sell without a real estate agent to save the commission would indicate that money is a primary considerations (see "How to Assess Your Net Gain" below). Whatever your reasons may be, it is very important to keep them to yourself so you don't put yourself at a disadvantage during negotiations. If anyone asks why you're selling, simply tell them that your housing needs have changed.
How to Assess Your Net Gain 
To find out whether or not you'll come out ahead by selling your home yourself, consider that most buyers use real estate agents because it doesn't cost them anything (the seller pays the agent's fee). Be cautious: buyers, investors, and speculators who seek out For Sale by Owner properties are usually in search of a bargain. Low-ball offers from these buyers will usually net you a lot less in the long run. Determine for yourself the following:

You need to be as prepared as possible with your marketing, negotiations, evaluations, showings, and all legal matters.
Calculate what it will cost you to effectively market your home and put together all the necessary materials, from the "For Sale" sign to the contracts.
What price will a buyer offer you as a For Sale by Owner, minus the costs identified in number 2 above? Is this net amount higher or lower than the price an experienced agent could net for you minus his/her commission?
Contact us to schedule a free consultation if we can help you or people you know with information and tips on buying or selling a home. We'll meet with you for about half an hour and show you the latest home buying and selling technologies and strategies. No high pressure; just plain, honest talk. Your consultation is completely free and does not obligate you in any way.

Growing Family Financial Advantages When Buying Foreclosure Homes

When a family is large and growing, it is only natural to search for an affordable home. One of the best options available to save financially is purchasing a foreclosed property. In fact, buying a foreclosed home can help save money in not just terms of house rates but also property taxes. These benefits are because of the sudden influx in percentage of properties that were placed in foreclosure.

Foreclosures have completely opened new doors for homebuyers. This means that there are more options from which to choose when it comes to finding an improved home for a growing family. In addition, several financial institutions would gladly offer monetary help for homebuyers in the country.

Tax advantages for buying homes in foreclosure:

Homebuyers can receive as much as $6,500 for a home credit. If owned a home previously and now looking for a new property for that large family this can help financially for an affordable foreclosure property. The government will allow a credit of $6,500 if qualified for this type of assistance. Be sure that one will be able to finally purchase that big foreclosed house, that's perfect for a family. Therefore, how will one know they are qualified: They are eligible if previously owned a home for about five years or longer. The house does not have any outstanding unpaid and delinquent bills.

Foreclosed homes are offered at super reduced prices. Since there are many foreclosed properties in the market now, the chances of finding discounted homes are extremely high. The tax benefits that one can get out of foreclosed properties will allow them to save more money on home rates, as well as paying property taxes. Another thing, shopping based on reduced prices could also mean that the real estate market is a playground filled with well-maintained and affordable houses. This also means that they have a choice to stay in the home state or move in to a different city for a fresh start for a growing family.

Credit for first time homebuyers is available. If thinking that previous homeowners are entitled to credits and financial assistance, think again. Even first time homebuyers can benefit from the growing number of homes in foreclosure within the country. New home seekers can take advantage of the government's financial support, which can go as high as $8,000 that is about 10 percent of the home's actual market or selling value. If there is one requirement, it is meeting the annual income rate required for this benefit. If within the $125,000 individual yearly income, or a total of $225,000 for groups, one may qualify for this government assistance.

Three Features That Make Miami Beach Condos The Perfect Real Estate Option For Vacation Homes

Miami Beach condos are one of the most outstanding real estate options within the world-class city that has been recognized for its superb white sand beaches, amazing ocean views, and fabulous quality of living.

Nowadays, these real estate options are viewed as phenomenal vacation homes simply because they offer everything that one could possibly want to have while they are out on vacation, especially when it comes to a beach resort destination that is located right along the Atlantic coast of the South Florida region.

If you would like to find out what makes today's selection of Miami Beach condos a perfect vacation home of choice, you should consider these three features which are sure to showcase the qualities that any vacation home should have:

Modern Home Spaces

Just because you are on vacation does not mean that you should have to opt for hotel rooms or any other generic type of accommodation option which might be available within the city. Given today's selection of Miami Beach condos, people will be able to choose among hundreds of units which have been designed to live up to the high degree of modern luxury living standards wherein comfort and style come together as one.

One of the newest options that can be found within the city is the Setai which can be found along the scenic Collins Avenue. It offers the most fabulous modern high-rise home spaces which have been designed by the remarkable Adrian Zecha whose own signature touch makes each of the Setai residences truly breath-taking.

High-Quality Facilities

One of the important features that people should be able to have in a vacation home is a selection of high-quality facilities which are going to enhance the experience simply by adding options that appeal to one's personal enjoyment. Whether you are someone who would like to indulge in swimming pools that offer oceanfront views, or if your need to pump iron can be further enhanced by state-of-the-art equipment, the Miami Beach condos that are available on today's market make sure that people are given all of the finest facilities which help people feel relaxed and rejuvenated all throughout their vacation.

The Acqualina located along Collins Avenue within Sunny Isles Beach is one of the best options for people who seek Miami Beach condos that come with high-quality facilities.

White-Glove Services

People who go on vacation easily want to forget about all of their worries and focus on the finer things that life has to offer. Miami Beach condos help make that happen by providing people with white-glove services to all of their residents and guests. You can forget about having to clean up after yourself, worrying your laundry, or whatever it is that you would normally have to do in your daily life because condos within the city make sure to provide people with VIP treatment all throughout their stay.

If you are interested in being able to experience the finest white-glove services in the city today, you should definitely consider the W South Beach condos along Collins Avenue because of their Whatever/Whenever signature service which ensures that residents and guests are given whatever they want, whenever they want.

ASSET PROTECTION - Lessons Learned

"The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago...

The second best time is today."

Chinese Proverb

For nearly 35 years, I have represented commercial real estate investors, developers and business owners. Most of that time has been spent helping them acquire, finance, expand, develop, manage and grow their assets and businesses. For the past 5 to 6 years, as we have struggled through the Great Recession, a huge amount of my time has been spent helping clients keep their assets.

Growing up, I was steeped in the practical view that it is not so much what you acquire that counts, but, rather, what you keep. My parents and grandparents were not in the real estate business to make others wealthy. They were playing real life Monopoly®. They played to win. It was less about money for money's sake than it was a means of keeping score. Invest. Reinvest. Expand the bottom line. Control your losses. And keep what you acquire.

A key concern was always asset protection. Perhaps this was a byproduct of my grandfather's experiences during the Great Depression. He did well, while others around him lost everything. A theme underpinning virtually all investment strategies was to structure our business affairs into risk remote compartments, so that if bad things happened to one project, or with one business, the damage could be contained. My father would compare it to the structure of his ship in the Navy during World War II. If the hull was damaged, water tight bulkheads could contain the damage to avoid jeopardizing the entire ship.

This brings to light one of the great misconceptions about asset protection. A sizable number of people start with the belief that the objective of asset protection is to prevent all creditors from ever getting any of their assets or income. Realistically, it doesn't work that way. Not even if you use an offshore asset protection trust or other advanced asset protection devices. To even approach making that happen, you would have to create such a tangled weave of trusts and limited liability entities, and give up so much control, that you would never be able to conduct your business or live your life as a functioning human being. It would be immensely expensive, and it still wouldn't protect everything.

Asset protection need not be particularly complicated or expensive. Basic asset protection strategies can be implemented that do not get in the way of your business or everyday life. Although advanced asset protection planning can utilize off-shore trusts and off-shore bank accounts, those tools and techniques are the exception rather than the rule. They are available if the situation warrants, but for most people there is seldom a legitimate reason to go to such extremes.

Sadly, a significant number of commercial real estate investors and business owners, and many of their lawyers and accountants, pay almost no attention to even basic asset protection strategies. This was never more obvious, and unfortunate, than during the Great Recession we have been working through over the past five to six years. Otherwise sophisticated and historically successful commercial real estate investors, developers and business owners have lost virtually everything. What makes this even more tragic is that, with even modest asset protection planning, many of these catastrophic financial disasters could have been averted.

Clients of mine who planned ahead by structuring their affairs for asset protection have survived this recession and are generally well positioned to move forward to take advantage of emerging opportunities as the economy improves. Many who did not are faced with starting over.

Why not think ahead to protect your assets? You are under no legal obligation to structure your financial affairs in a way that makes it easier for banks and other creditors to take virtually everything you own. Your obligation is to your family, and to yourself, to make sure your life's work and life's savings are not lost in the event of financial calamity.

A key point about asset protection is that, to be effective, it must be done well in advance. Once the proverbial fan has been hit, it is likely too late. There may still be some modestly effective strategies to be employed to minimize damage, but real asset protection with powerfully effective outcomes starts when there are no (or, at least, very few) storm clouds on the horizon.

Once you are in financial trouble, it is often too late. Transfers of assets for less than fair value can be set aside as a preference in bankruptcy, or as a fraudulent transfer. The "fraud" in "fraudulent transfer" is not traditional fraud. It is simply the transfer of an asset for less than fair value for the principal purpose of avoiding creditors.

In Illinois, the statute of limitations for fraudulent transfers is four years. This means attempts to transfer assets for less than fair value can be attacked and set aside for four years after the transfer is made. For Medicaid, the look-back period is five years. Early adoption and implementation of even a simple asset protection plan can avoid these attacks.

One of the simplest examples of asset protection: If you are married and own a home with your spouse in Illinois or Indiana, and in most other states, there is virtually no excuse for not owning the home as tenants by the entireties to protect your home from claims of creditors of only one spouse. This is particularly true if one spouse is engaged in business or professional activities with a high risk of liability (business owner, investor, developer, doctor, entrepreneur, etc.), while the other is not. Remarkably, I discovered while defending real estate developers and investors in loan workout and loan settlement efforts over the past few years that not even this modest asset protection tool is always in place. It would have cost nothing. Instead, its absence cost some families their homes.

Beyond these fundamental considerations, there are many others. A common mistake made by business owners is that they will sometimes form a corporation or limited liability company with the intent to protect themselves from personal liability, but then place virtually all of their business assets in a single company, or in a subsidiary of a high risk operating company. If a judgment is entered against the company, all of the business assets may be lost.

Whenever practical, business operations posing a risk of liability should be separated from asset ownership. Assets can and should typically be owned by a low-risk (preferably tax-advantaged) entity and leased or licensed to the higher risk operating company. The best, and least expensive, time to implement this structure is when you acquire the asset or business. Ownership of the low-risk company should likewise be held by a low-risk owner - perhaps a spouse, adult child, trust or holding company. The asset protection plan can, and often should, be part of a more comprehensive estate plan.

Similarly, real estate investments and business ownership structures are often not adequately designed to militate against the risk of liability arising from loan and lease guaranties or other sources of liability to individual sponsors or principals.

There is much that can be done to protect your assets. Many techniques present tax advantages as well. Exactly what can be done depends upon your particular circumstances and when you begin. The best time to begin would have been several years ago. The second best time to begin is now. It is foolish to leave your hard earned assets needlessly exposed to creditor claims when even basic asset protection planning can protect them.

War stories abound of commercial real estate investors and business owners who have lost fortunes, large and small, because they did not plan ahead. Perhaps they thought they were smart enough to be able to avoid financial catastrophes like we have experienced over the past several years. Or they thought they had large enough incomes or net worth to withstand economic adversity or unexpected liability. Or they believed they had such great relationships with their banks or other lenders that obtaining loan extensions or new working capital lines of credit would never be a problem. I've head most of the "reasons" - but none of them matter when your assets are being attached by hungry creditors. When you go from being worth millions, to having huge unsatisfied deficiency judgments entered against you, the reasons for not protecting your assets, and your family's future, ring hollow.

The past five to six years, in particular, have been an asset protection laboratory. Theory has been tested. We have seen many examples of even basic asset protection techniques that work, and have seen, unfortunately, what happens when little or no asset protection planning took place.

If your real estate investments and commercial activities are worth your time and energy - particularly if you dedicate most of your adult life away from your family working to make them succeed - then they are worth protecting. It is much more cost effective to develop and implement an asset protection plan "as you go", rather than waiting until you decide your estate is "big enough to protect". At that point, it may be too late, it will certainly be more expensive, and will very likely be less effective. Often, asset protection as you go will cost no more to do right than you spend doing it wrong.

Over the next several years a lot of rebuilding will take place. Literally, in the form of new and redeveloped commercial real estate projects and business enterprises, and figuratively, as previously successful real estate professionals and business owners rebuild their financial lives. Do not make the same mistakes this time around as were made by many in the past. Plan ahead. Build-in basic asset protection strategies in every business structure you devise. Don't wait another twenty years. You may not get a third chance.

10 Reasons to Select a Steel Building

If you are looking for an inexpensive, stylish and durable building that is fast to build then you should go for Steel Building. There are many benefits of having offices, residential and other structures made from steel and some of them are listed below:

1. Stylish Modern Designs:

Steel buildings are no longer just boring blocks of metal. The new age metal buildings are made with modern and stylish designs and can have a look of any traditional exterior.

2. Environment Friendly:

It is an environment friendly and it is made from steel which can be recycled. It helps in conservation of energy and also reduces the demand of wood which causes deforestation.

3. Durable Structures:

One of the key benefits of steel building is that it is made of durable and prefabricated material. It need low maintenance and come with 40 years warranty.

4. Speedy Construction:

As these buildings are made according to the specifications given by the builders they come with prefabricated pieces ready to install. Kit to construct the building is delivered in just few weeks time. It is also very easy to put up the structure; anyone can do it by following the instructions from the manual and with little help from the crew.

5. Cost Savings:

Steel buildings allow cost cutting at every stage. First it saves on labor cost as the buildings are fast to construct. Once it is ready to use is helps to save on maintenance cost. The need of renovating the building is also eliminated so such expenses can also be avoided.

6. Better than Conventional Buildings:

It is better than other conventional buildings. Problems like pest infestation are not seen with metal buildings. They are better at resisting fire, damages caused by rains and other natural forces like hurricanes, tornados and earthquakes.

7. Long Life of the Buildings:

Steel buildings are made from inorganic material and can withstand harsh weather conditions. They are mildew and mold resistant and have longer life. It is also easy to make structural changes. Walls can be added or deleted without affecting the strength of the building.

8. Insurance Benefits:

Insurance premiums can be availed at discounted rates as steel is known for its sturdy and fire resistant qualities. Even the construction insurance is needed for a shorter time as metal buildings are constructed and put up faster than other buildings.

9. All Types of Buildings:

Steel buildings can be used to make all types of structures including social, commercial and residential buildings. Kit buildings are used to make schools, shops, business buildings, homes, industrial parks, and even churches.

10. Energy Efficient:

Energy efficiency is an inherent quality of a steel building. Metal roofing and siding reflect sunlight and heat; this keeps the interiors cooler so there is less need of using air conditioners. They keep the interior temperatures moderate during winters so use of heater is also reduced.

Steel buildings are beneficial to its users in more than one way and that is why they are becoming so popular in the cities.

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