Finding That Perfect Home Takes Hard Work

Felix Fuentes just closed on his dream home for a song. The three-bedroom foreclosure on a 1.25 acre lot is just blocks from his children’s current school. In May of 2007, Home Realty it sold for $823,000. Not even two years later, he picked it up for $350,000.

Finding it took some work — a year, Home Realty in fact, of eyeballing options and keeping a close watch on prices, but he eventually found the perfect home at a price he could not refuse. Now with South Florida saturated with foreclosures, homes have become much more affordable.

”Be patient,” is Fuentes’ advice for folks considering a home purchase. “The house that you want is out there.”Narrow your focus to an area where you would like to live and start doing your homework, he said. Most of it can be done online.Since many of the properties you’ll be looking at will be short-sales or bank-owned homes, getting the help of a real estate agent is probably more important than ever. However, some would-be buyers complain of overbearing agents who call them every day with new listings. Think about contracting with an agent after you have interviewed a few and narrowed your field of choices.

At the end of January, there were about 64,000 homes on the market across South Florida. Doing some research on your own to winnow your choices will save you and your real estate agent a lot of time. Fuentes said it’s worth holding out until you find exactly what you are looking for. With property values on the decline, you don’t stand to lose much by holding out for the perfect home. ”Don’t just buy a house just because it’s a great deal,” Fuentes said, “If you don’t like the house, it isn’t a great deal.”

By getting prequalified, you’ll not only find out how much home you can buy but you also might gain a negotiating edge because sellers know you can close a sale. Real estate broker Doug DeWitt, who sells properties for banks, said many agents handling foreclosures are swamped managing properties and want to know they’re dealing with a serious buyer before extending the time and effort needed to close a sale.

DeWitt said he had clients lose out on smoking deals because they made unreasonable offers on homes already priced to sell fast. ”If it’s a fantastic deal, don’t try to make it a super fantastic deal,” DeWitt said. Premium foreclosures will sell in seven days with multiple offers, so don’t assume that the bank will give the home away for peanuts.

Don’t get over-excited when you see a staggeringly low price for a short-sale listing. In a short sale, a lender must agree to allow a buyer to sell a home for less than the amount owed on it. Home Realty But usually a lender doesn’t approve until there is an acceptable offer, so any listed short-sale price is usually an agent’s guesstimation of what a bank is likely to accept. Some agents list short sales at excessively low prices just to get the bids coming in and increase the odds of finding a buyer acceptable to the bank.…

Morgan Stanley Posts Bigger Than Estimated Loss

Morgan Stanley reported a bigger- than-estimated $177 million loss and slashed its dividend to 5 cents as real estate and debt-related writedowns overwhelmed trading gains. The shares fell 9 percent Improvement Live.

The first-quarter loss was 57 cents a share, New York-based Morgan Stanley said today in a statement. The average estimate of 19 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was for a loss of 8 cents. The company also had a loss of $1.3 billion in December before the start of its new fiscal year.

The company had $1 billion of real-estate losses in the first quarter and writedowns of $1.5 billion from an accounting loss related to an improvement in the firm’s creditworthiness compared with Treasury bonds. Chief Executive Officer John Mack converted Morgan Stanley, the second-biggest U.S. securities firm, into a bank last year and announced plans in January to take control of Citigroup Inc.’s brokerage as he seeks to restore earnings and limit risks.

Morgan Stanley, which paid a quarterly dividend of 27 cents a share for the past four years, follows Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup in slashing its dividend. JPMorgan cut its payout by 87 percent to 5 cents on Feb. 23, Improvement Live a month after Bank of America and Citigroup cut theirs to 1 cent.

“The stock isn’t really reflecting the dividend, so you might as well just go ahead and reduce it and build your capital base quicker,” said Peter Kovalski, Improvement Live a fund manager at Alpine Woods Capital Investors LLC in Purchase, New York, which oversees about $5 billion. “Right now if you have a strong capital base you sit in the driver’s seat.”

The dividend reduction will save about $1 billion a year, Chief Financial Officer Colm Kelleher said in an interview. Kelleher, 51, said the “great bulk” of December’s $1.3 billion loss, approximately $1 billion, came from writedowns on leveraged loans and residential and commercial real estate.Hintz questioned the decision to cut the dividend, which he said is the main source of cash flow for many of the firm’s employees whose net worth is tied up in restricted stock.…

Thinking through your Basement Remodeling Plans

The basement is one section of a house that can always be changed and modeled to suite different intentions. The only factor that will determine for whatever purpose you can use your basement will be the size of the basement and the creativity of your mind. In any case, some basement remodeling plans should be highly welcomed by anyone who has a basement.

The first and most important determining factor in your remodeling plan is the size of your wallet. This is because like any other construction work, basement remodeling will be quite expensive. Choose the option that when coupled with the size of the basement will give a cost that you can comfortably afford.

While the issue of how much you spend is a constant looming one, you cannot fully evaluate it without analyzing your basement remodeling plans. The analysis should lean on the materials to be used and the purpose for which you intend to adapt the basement to.

The options at your disposal while remodeling the basement are many. You can decide to change your basement into a functional room, a TV room, a media room or a guest room. Whatever choice you make, you have to consider how functional it will be. This is a factor that is directly dictated by the size and location of the basement.

If the basement remodeling plans at your disposal will be more costly than what you will spend if you just move some clutter out of a room and use it, it will be a much better option if you turn the basement into a store room at the expense of remodeling it.

However, if you have no option but to delve into basement remodeling, remember it is still a room in your house and it should be treated with equal respect like any other room. Ensure that you maintain the mood of the other rooms as you remodel the basement and actively choose its fittings like you would for any other of your rooms.

For anyone who has ever tried remodeling any room, you can bear me witness that sometimes the results are totally different from what you had in mind. This might be the case, and in a frustrating dimension especially if you are not an expert. A good option out is to employ a good home design software to put your basement remodeling plans into visible pictures before implementing them.

It is therefore very important that you get all your desires and logistics all figured out before you actively venture into the actual remodeling. This will go a long way in saving you from wasting money and ending up frustrated.…