Top House Hunting Apps

Many would agree that one of the most stressful task you will complete in your lifetime is trying to find a new home. To make the task even more daunting is not having enough time to physically visit each home. However, if you’re one of the many individuals that has a smartphone this task can be accomplished with a tad bit more ease.

There is is an app for everything. Everything. Below you will find several apps to help with your house hunt.

Homesnap

Homesnap is an app that allows you to submit a photo regarding a home and in turn provides information about that exact home. The app also provides you with the option to connect with real estate agents, friends, and spouses directly through the app.

Additional features include:

  • Search for homes by school zones
  • Open house listings by date

Dwellr

Dweller, administered by the U.S. Census Bureau, provides users quick and simple access to This app is actually run by the U.S. Census Bureau and gives you access to information regarding specific cities and neighborhoods they are looking to reside in.

Additional features include:

  • Population
  • Demographics
  • Viewer rating for specifics that include climate and job type

Zillow

Zillow allows users to search by city/state or zip code to view listings.

Additional features include:

  • Price filters
  • Bedroom/bathroom filters
  • Square footage filters
  • Age of home

Realtor.com

This app is free on both Android and iOS systems.

Additional features include:

  • Nearby restaurants, banks, shops, etc.
  • 3D view of neighborhoods and homes
  • School and district search filters

 

Getting Started on Real Estate Investing

Looking for a new financial opportunity ? Investing in stocks, bonds, and mutual funds are great ways to make money for the young investor. However, real estate investing has a particular advantage over these traditional investments practices. Why? Investing in real estate grants you, the investor a degree of autonomy that is simply not possible with stocks, bonds, and mutuals funds. Sure, you may be able to control in which stocks you put your money in, but you simply cannot control the volatility of an unpredictable stock market.

Investing in real estate is more than a one-and-done investment, but works instead like a business. According to Donovan Ryckis, advisor at J Donovan Financial: “It will require time, management, and due diligence above and beyond most investments.” On the plus side, you have almost complete power over decisions related to the property. In a way, you become your own CEO, even if you’re only managing one property. So how do you start investing in real estate successfully? Check out these great tips from Jeff Brown of US News and World Report.

Buying A Vacation Property

Buying a vacation property is only suggested if you intend to use your vacation property. You can rent out the property for short-term renters while you’re not using it for your own personal luxury. You will want to find a property that is affordable, but that is still close to the main attractions and town-centers. Just remember that vacation home markets are susceptible to volatile markets unlike other forms of rental properties. When the economy is in a slump, luxuries like vacation homes take a toll.

Buy a Full-Time Rental

Renting a home or a property is one of the oldest forms of producing an alternative income. You can either buy a home or a condo and choose to rent it out, or rent out your current home or property. Many people decide to convert their homes into, two family homes in order to collect rent while maintaining their living space. It’s a stable form of making money and should be considered. Just watch out for bad renters.

Flipping a House

Unlike in reality shows, flipping a home is very difficult. The process will most likely take a few months as well as decent sums of money. You will need knowledge of how homes are built, and expertise on how to make the changes you want. Brown’s article suggests staying away from this step if you are neither patient, nor construction savvy.

Investing in your Own Home

Investing in your own home means adding new value to your home. Certain remodeling and renovation projects can add a great deal of value to your home. Things like a kitchen remodeling, adding a patio or a deck, or renovating your basement can add extra value to your home. Not to mention, you can also enjoy the immediate benefits of doing so as the homeowner. Once you sell, your home’s overall price should appreciate.

Buy into Real Estate Investment Trusts

REITs act much in the same way that mutual funds do, however in terms of real estate instead of stocks and bonds. Certain REITs specialize in certain property types such as residential or commercial, so make sure you know which ones are best for you. REITs also spread risk among many different properties, and are professionally managed by experts in the field.

 

New housing model to keep families together at an affordable cost

The prices of properties in Vancouver have been climbing at a rapid rate. One of the concerns that this causes is that of the younger generation that is growing up today. Many young people will want to move out from home without traveling too far from their parents. With the high housing prices in the Vancouver area, the younger generation will struggle to purchase homes that are in the communities that they have grown up in. One couple has created a model that could be the solution to this, at least in the more suburban areas surrounding Vancouver.

This couple is Kathleen Higgins and her husband John, who is an architect. They live in North Delta, and recently gained approval from Delta Council or a revolutionary new housing model. This housing model allows adult children to stay near their parents at an affordable price. The couple’s plan involves subdividing their 66-by-100-foot property into two 33-foot lots.

The lot currently accommodates a 4-year-old rancher, but when this plan goes into action, this will all change. The rancher will be replaced with two new duplexes on each of the smaller lots. Of the four dwellings, one would be occupied by the couple, and the other three will be bought by their two adult sons, and/or other homebuyers.

Kathleen and John Higgins first began working on this model seven years ago. They noticed that when old ranchers such as their own were sold, developers would demolish the property and build much larger homes on the land. These homes had very large price tags, and were out of reach for a number of young people.

The Higginses strongly believe that this new model they have created is a brilliant rezoning effort that could help others seeking affordable housing in the Lower Mainland. This model will be applicable in suburban areas, but it may not work in the city of Vancouver.

This is because there is no evidence that shows that within the city of Vancouver, subdivision and compact dwelling units lead to a truly affordable housing option. The issue here is the high cost of land. Take the West Side for example. There, even properties that feature tear downs tend to command around $2 million. This means that a cluster of small houses on any lot, even subdivided, would still be fairly pricey, even if this cluster would be more affordable than a single big house.

Also, many people who live in the city of Vancouver are not big fans of this densification. The city of Vancouver allows three residences to exist on lots zoned for single-family housing. These residences would include a basement suite and a lane way house. The residences, however are for renting rather than for sale. The Higginses plan could definitely take hold in less costly areas, however, such as North Delta. Kathleen and John Higgins have created a new model that will help suburban young adults live on their own while remaining close to home and spending a pretty penny.

 

Will Canada’s Real Estate Boom Extend Into 2016?

At the beginning of 2015, many predictions were made about the Canadian real estate market. People thought that the housing bubble would burst and the result would be a housing market crash. But the Canadian real estate market proved these predictions wrong, breaking a number of records. The hottest spots were Toronto and Vancouver, while the rest of the country’s housing markets moved towards a more stable market. But will this high remain into 2016?

According to Gurinder Sandhu, the executive vice president of RE/MAX Integra Ontario-Atlantic Canada region, the three housing markets that currently make up Canada’s real estate sector will most likely continue to do so. Sandhu expects the Vancouver markets to continue to excel, while the rest of the country may experience modest price increase. The markets that are oil dependant, however, are likely to experience fewer transactions and reduction in prices, thus pushing down the average prices of Canadian real estate.

But how exactly will the changes in the real estate market affect the people of Canada? And what should we do in light of the real estate market being at possible risk in 2016? Well of course, this depends on your situation. Whether you are looking to buy a home or sell one, here is some advice for you in Canada’s 2016 economy:

For home buyers:

If you’re looking to buy a home in Canada in 2016, you are lucky in that you have a bit of time to do so. This is because the market is likely to be steadier than has been in the three- year period from 2012 and 2015. In this three year period, prices drastically and consistently increased, thus leaving home buyers scrambling to get homes before they became too expensive. In 2016, buyers will have time to shop around before buying properties. However, in Toronto and Vancouver, buyers may need to prepare for tougher mortgage quirements. If you’re looking to buy properties in oil-producing provinces such as Alberta and Newfoundland, there is likely to be an erosion of housing prices in this area. But don’t get too excited: the eroding job market could ultimately create tougher lending conditions.

For home sellers:

If you’re in Canada and looking to sell your home, expect a slower market. This means that multiple offers will no longer be the norm. Homes will be on the market a bit longer while buyers shop around. But there are a few types of homes that should sell quickly with no problem: single family detached, semi-detached or row homes in Vancouver and Toronto. These housing types made up the majority of sales in 2015 in the Greater Toronto Area. In oil producing areas, there are likely to be job losses in 2016 due to low oil prices. For this reason, it may be best to wait to list until oil prices rebound, thus creating a larger job market.

There is no way of knowing what will happen in Canada’s real estate market in 2016. But from a number of predictions, it appears that the market will remain stable with Vancouver and Toronto continuing to experience real estate booms. If you’re looking to buy, sell, or invest in Canadian real estate, make sure you do your research and take all aspects of Canada’s real estate market into consideration.

World Economy 2016

With 2015 concluding last week, it gives us the opportunity to make resolutions for the year ahead. But what will be some resolutions for the global economy in 2016 ? The global economy can also have significant impact on the real estate market as well. The reason is because if the economy is not performing well it could lead to people not looking to buy houses or having people not being able to pay mortgages.  It is too early to tell on how much of an effect it will have and we may not have the answers for awhile, but here are some ideas on what to expect in from world economy in 2016.

The United States and China are two of the largest most important economies in the world and how the two economies perform have a drastic effect on everyone else.  For the U.S, the Federal Reserve has raised interests rates for time since 2006, which is huge deal. This can obviously cause much of a concern for economies that have started to be on the rise .  According to bbc.com the change in the United States interest rate will  “likely to lead to higher borrowing costs, and lower currencies, because money will be moved to the US to benefit from the rising interest rates there”  However, so far there has been nothing to worry about in the financial world since this has occured, but you never know what could happen down the line.  

China, is another prolific economy and they have encountered some negative economic growth recently. However, due to  the slow economic growth there has not been a sufficient crisis that anyone has to be concerned about, but  it is still nothing to brush away.  The decline in manufacturing was seen to be as an issue for China and the with this type of decline it has had a major impact on global commodity prices such as oil, metals and food.

Oil has been yet another concern for the economy. The price of oil is not as expensive as it was a year ago, but many consumers feel they are not seeing the full benefit of it. Professor Kenneth Rogoff, a former IMF chief economist said that people in some countries are using oil “as an opportunity to cut subsidies rather than allowing consumers to get the full benefit”.


For more information, check out: http://www.bbc.com/news/business-35191325

Pros & Cons of Investing in Tax-Lien Properties

A tax lien is something no one wants on their record because it can be such a financial burden to overcome. When a owner of a property does not pay local or state taxes the government has the option to place a lien on the property. Once this takes place, the government issues a tax-lien certificate, which are usually sold in most counties and cities to people who are looking to invest in tax-lien properties through an auction process. Investing in tax-liens can have huge benefits but there can also be some risks to go with it. Here are some of the pros and cons of Investing in tax-lien properties.

Property Ownership

The taxpayer is granted an time period to pay off the tax-lien certificate.  If the taxpayer’s time is up and it is still not fully paid, then property is all yours! That’s right, all yours. You will be taking ownership of whatever property you held the lien on.

Homeowner Bankruptcy

A huge con for investing in tax-lien properties is when the owner of the property declares bankruptcy.  This is something no investor wants to be a part of because once the owner of the property declares bankruptcy there is strong possibility that your investment may be at risk. I know– that is not something you want to hear especially if you invest a great deal of already. The reason for this is because you won’t be the only one to have claims on the property… the IRS will too.

Return on Investment

When investors look to purchase tax-lien certificates, they gain property plus interest on the tax-related debt of the property. The investor then collects interest on the debt until it is paid off by the owner of the property.

Property Value

Investors should be doing some major research on properties before investing in a tax lien. The reason I say this is because there could be some significant damage done to the property and may require some expensive repairs that may not even be worth investing in. There are investors out there that take the chance, but it can be extremely risky because property can be worth much less than originally expected once inspecting it.

For more infromation on Investing in Tax-liens, check out: http://homeguides.sfgate.com/pros-cons-investing-tax-lien-properties-1191.html

 

Federal Tax Liens: Here’s What You Need To Know

In the United States, When you don’t pay your federal taxes, the government will eventually file a tax lien against you. To understand what a tax lien is I will go by the definition on NerdWallet who describes it as, “the first step the IRS takes to begin the forcible collection of tax debt. It secures the government’s right to your personal property.” To understand what happens when the government files a tax lien against you, review some of the subtopics below. A tax lien is also a  public document and is often called a Notice of Federal Tax Lien. What does a tax lien do? It lets other creditors know that the government has a legal claim to your property. The functionality of a lien- It covers all of your assets, such as your home, investments and vehicles, and it includes any property you acquire while the lien is in place.

Understanding The Tax assessment Process

To receive a lien, you first have to be charged a tax. If you are familiar with this process, you can ascertain that when you file your tax return and owe the IRS money, you’ve been assessed taxes. If you don’t pay the amount you’ve been assessed when you file, a lien could eventually come your way, and if you don’t pay that lien, the Federal Government will place a lien on your property.  NerdWallet also notes, “there is a statute of limitations on tax collection. The IRS has 10 years from the date of assessment to collect unpaid taxes.”

The Collections Process

So what happens when you fail to pay your taxes? How does the IRS react? Well, if you fail to pay your taxes, the IRS will send you a letter every 30 days, called a Notice and Demand for Payment. Then, a final letter from the IRS will arrive and this letter will note a final intent to levy notice. It will indicate the agency’s intent to seize your property to satisfy your tax debt. After this letter is sent you have 30 days from the date of that letter to pay your taxes or go with the option of appealing the assessment.

If you are not able to pay or appeal with the assessment within nine months of the final letter, the federal government will file a lien against you in court.

What happens next?

Once the IRS files a lien they can or will start collecting the debt by garnishing your wages, seizing your account receivables,  if you own your own business, or even collecting your homes and automobiles. Unfortunately, a lien becomes part of your credit history, it can cause you to be denied credit, and it can also affect your marriages with your spouse.

To learn more about Tax Liens and the Federal Government, visit this article by NerdWallet

New Jersey Is On The Fore Front of The Sale of Tax Liens

The tax lien system generates more than $325 million in annual revenue for New Jersey state’s municipalities and huge profits for the “suits” on wall street as well as other institutional players.  In Manchester, New Jersey the October 6 tax lien auction day is a sight to behold. Hunched over their papers , raising their hands to bid on tax liens, members of the community flock to the municipal town hall to take part in the tax lien sales. The sale of these tax liens took less than 90 minutes, and $160,000 deposited into the township treasury is testimony to the success of the day’s events.  In this sale, three institutional investors walked away with more than half of the tax lien.

The real challenge to this day comes from when the property owners realize how expensive and tasking it is to fall behind on property tax payments.  These small tax debts can quickly snowball , as it is considered debt now owned by a range of investors from private citizens to corporations and usually carry annual interest rates as high as 18 percent. If these debts are not paid in full within two years, the lien holder has the right to seize the property by means of a foreclosure, and it would not matter if the remaining debt is as small as $20, which was the case in the Manchester, New Jersey October 6 Tax Lien day.

States across the country use tax liens sales to ensure the on time payment of delinquent taxes. States like Delaware and North Carolina keep liens on properties until the debt is paid. New Jersey however, sells more liens than any other state a reported average of 400 per day.  Last year’s sales in the state of New Jersey amounted to more than 146,000 liens which totalled to $327 million in unpaid bills, according to the National Tax Lien Association.

According to The Daily Record,  “at least one homeowner impacted by the Oct 6 sale lien didn’t seem to fully grasp exactly how precarious her situation might be.” The article went on to relate on the lack of transparency of the New Jersey state officials in the sale of these tax liens. Most investors it seems. are interested in seizing the properties and this might be the root of some of the problems.

To learn more about New Jersey state tax lien sales , visit this article by The Daily Record.

Avoiding Mistakes: Things to Watch Out for in Purchasing Tax Liens

 

Have you ever heard of anyone speak about an issue of a tax lien? You may be wondering what a tax lien is and what it represents to an individual financially. To explain, If you can’t pay a federal tax bill and you also fail to setup a payment plan the government can try to collect the money by issuing a lien on your assets.

To issue a lien means that the government is placing a claim on your assets, be it your house, mortgage, car or even income. An individual can also be issued a tax lien through failure to pay property taxes or other state or local taxes. Tax liens are enforced to ensure that citizens comply with tax rules. Counties, federal and state governments require taxes, and one of the ways to ensure compliance in taxes is through the issue of tax liens on unpaid property.

In purchasing Tax liens, one thing to note is that the immediate purchase of a tax lien does not indicate an immediate ownership of the property. Here are some things to note about purchasing Tax Liens on property.

Most real estate investors go into the business making terrible mistakes. In an attempt to purchase tax liens one lethal mistake investors make is failing to make the right preparations. It is very important to be fully prepared before you attend the tax lien auction. To be fully prepared means that you are checking important details of the list. The first being, making sure to  register ahead of time and paying any fees needed for the sale. Reviewing a  list of the properties up for auction is important, in looking for a proper guide to the property available.

Website Slider Tax Liens_0

Financial competence is also important and an often forgotten element of investing in tax liens. If you do not have enough money to purchase a certain tax lien, it might be counter-productive to move on with the investment process.

To learn more about the lethal mistakes real estate investors make, read more on this article by Bankrate

Important Factors To Consider In Building A Real Estate Career

I’ve always advocated for getting into real estate investment early, if this is the industry you are interested in. I started my business at a young age and it took me a lot of time and learning to really gauge what niche part of real estate I wanted to get into. Part of the learning process came with reading a lot of material, sitting in on seminars and seeking out professionals who were in a higher place than I am in the industry. Mentorship is just as important as the learning process, because it motivates the apprentice to learn from the master. These days, young people face numerous challenges when they try to get into real estate investment. Factors like student debt, and motions in the economy affect the choices a lot of young people make. You don’t have to be limited by these external forces. There are many ways you can shape your practice, and build systems in your personal life to facilitate your entry into real estate investing.

Some of the challenges young people face in real estate are intricately tied to their financial habits and what opportunities they have fiscally. Here are some reasons why young people have problems getting into real estate investing:

  • Lack of Motivation in pursuing real estate investment goals
  • Inadequate resources to understand traditional and modern real estate best practices
  • Not treating real estate investment as a school of thought
  • Financial limitations in the form of debt, lack of savings and unemployment

careers

Aside from these factors mentioned above, treating real estate investment as an education in and of itself is the best way to begin learning about the industry. You will not get very far if you don’t treat this as a learning experience. Education does not begin or end in the four corners of your academic institution. To run a business, you must treat education as a life long practice . Here are some of the best ways to be involved and learn about the industry:

  • Motivation
  • Mentorship
  • Time Management and System building
  • Financial Education
  • Industry Education
  • Practice Pilot

In my next post, I will write on each practice and how this can be effective in building your business. Thanks for stopping by.

To learn more about the important factors to consider in building a real estate career, click here 

Dustin Hahn is an internet entrepreneur, tax liens and deeds consultant and the owner of Dustin Hahn International. To Learn more about Dustin, visit his adventure site.