Hints For Buying Property

Buying property is not only one of the biggest investments you’ll make, but also one of the most exciting ones. However, seeing that the South African property market has seen its ups and downs of late, you would be wise to follow a few tips for buying property in South Africa just to make sure you are well prepared for your newly-acquired investment.

Know Your Budget

First and foremost, you need to have capital available to use as a deposit. After that you can consider scouting for that perfect home by establishing what your budget will be to avoid any disappointment. An easy and convenient way to determine what you can afford is by using an online calculator provided by bond originators and mortgage lenders on their websites. This way you can get an idea of exactly how much you could qualify for as a home loan. Alternatively, visit a home loan consultant.

A mortgage advisor will not only be able to give you an estimate of how much you would be able to borrow, but should also be able to tell you about what home loan products they have available, and which would suit your needs the best with regards to interest rates and so forth. They will be able to assist you with all the necessary documentation in order for you to apply for the home loan.

Remember to include transfer costs and conveyancing fees in your budget.

Conveyancing fees vary and can easily be in the region of about R20 000. Transfer fees depend on the purchase price of the property. This you’ll obviously only be able to establish once you have chosen the property and know the purchase price of the property. If it’s a new development there usually won’t be any transfer duty fees to pay.

Finding the Right Home

When buying property in South Africa, or anywhere in the world for that matter, location plays a major role in the decision.

Decide which suburb or area would best suit your needs. What amenities, such as schools, shops and so forth are close by that add value to the property?

The reason for purchasing property will influence your choice of area. If you are only purchasing it for investment purposes with the idea of selling it again later on, you’ll probably look at an area where the market value has seen major growth, whereas if you are buying property for the family, the safety and security of an area will play a bigger role in your decision making.

Once you’ve found your ideal property, make your offer. Remember that the purchase price listed is not cast in stone, so don’t be afraid to negotiate in order to get yourself the best deal possible.

Once you’ve agreed on the price of the property, make sure to read your purchase and sale agreement documents carefully before signing. If need be, seek out the advice of a property lawyer to set your mind at ease.

Talk to your real estate agent if you have any queries or problems so that these can be sorted out with the owner of the property. Once the offer to purchase has been signed, both you and the seller of the house will have to perform certain activities to make sure the purchasing process continues smoothly.

Property Inspection

You are well within your rights to have the property inspected, so use it! Although by South African law you are not obliged to do so, it will set your mind at ease to know of any patent or latent defects the house may have.

Once you’ve signed the contract, should any defects occur, the rights of a buyer are minimal due to the Voetstoots Clause in deed of sale contracts. By having the property inspected first, should any major defects be found, you can still change your mind about the purchase.


Before finalising the contract, have insurance lined up. As with mortgage advisors, it would be advisable to source which products and deals suit your personal needs best. This can easily be done online by requesting quotes from different insurance companies and making your decision upon the results of your request.

When you finally sign the contract, don’t be shy to ask any last minute questions.

Remember this is a big investment, so be 100 percent sure before making it final.

As soon as the contract is signed, enjoy the luxuries of your new home.

Buying Property in Portugal

Portugal has been on a financial roller coaster in the past two decades. In the nineties, the country experienced its heyday in buying property in Portugal. After the late nineties financial currency crisis, the market was able to recover until the most recent global recession again put the country in the doldrums it is still trying to recover from.

There are many areas in the country that provide many options as well as enticements to individuals wanting to buying property in Portugal. The most popular destination has been the Algarve, making it the most developed in terms of tourism as well as condominiums and villas. Its best kept secret is the Silver Coast with its beaches as well as greenery. The first area to be developed in response to the high demand for individuals buying property in Portugal is Albufeira. Its metropolitan hubs are still the nation’s capital, Lisbon and it industrial area, the port city of Oporto.

There are some things you need to do though when you have decided on buying property in Portugal. The following are some tips to make the decision as smooth and as easy for you while in a foreign country.

· Due diligence. It is best that you conduct your due diligence prior to any decision to be made on the purchase of property in the country. It is also recommended that if you can rent the house, then rent it first to know its true condition before making a decision on buying property in Portugal.
· Discuss with seller/agent. Here, you need to discuss the fine print of the sale as well as finalize all the paperwork needed for the purchase. When this is done, you are well on your way to buying property in Portugal when you have signed the preliminary contract of sale.
· Transfer of property. Before ownership vests on the purchaser, the full payment of the purchase price needs to be completed as well as payment for all the taxes and other fees. The full ownership vests upon the signing of the deed or escritura as well as registration of the transfer of title, submission of documents to the land registration office and the tax office of the area where the property is located.
· Off Plan purchases. In doing off plan purchases, you need to make a full due diligence as well as investigation before deciding on buying property in Portugal. The recent financial downturn has created many scams as well as misrepresentations, thus it would be best to protect yourself before sinking your hard-earned money.
· Resale Property Purchases. In doing this, you need to go into deep research on the survey, certifications as well as the licensure of these properties as this may haunt you later on when you are in the midst of processing your purchase of property in Portugal.

As you can see, Portugal is really a paradise for those buying properties as a second home or for retirement. One way to make the process easy for you is to engage the services of an expert in buying property in Portugal. Also, taking to heart the given advice would make your Portugal property your home in the long run.

Local Real Estate Agent

The real estate market has been in such turmoil over the last few years, it has made a lot of potential home buyers excessively cautious when it comes time for them to consider contacting a real estate agent. Lately, there has been the noted controversy regarding real estate professionals breaching contracts and of charlatan realtors swindling unsuspecting homeowners or prospective buyers out of their money. The need to rely on old-fashioned word of mouth reputation has become a vital aspect to any estate agent’s business. In order to garner the best results, there is an obvious need to use a local real estate agent, to be sure that the cover is a solid representation of the proverbial book.

Reputation in the Neighborhood

If you are moving to a new location for your home, then looking for a Realtor® that is involved in the local neighborhood is a great place to start when seeing out a reputable housing professional on which to rely. The neighborhood can provide a character assessment of the agent’s business practices and knowledge of the local market. Not yet listed.

A local agent that is personally involved in their community will have their finger on the pulse of the local real estate market and will more than likely have foreknowledge of properties not yet listed for sale. This gives you an advantage of being the first one to contact the prospective seller through your agent.

Knowledge of the Amenities

Every prospective home buyer has a specific list of Must Haves for the right home selection. Some top “Haves” are:

  • Good school system
  • Safe neighborhood.
  • Low crime rate
  • Family-oriented neighborhood

A local real estate agent will know their community well enough to apply all your search criteria to the properties they show you. This will save you time on your search as well as ensure a better chance of finding the perfect home for your needs.

Using a Local Real Estate Agent Can Reduce Stress

If you are planning on selling your home, you should consider finding a local real estate agent.  Agents are professionals trained to help the sale of your home go smoothly. They know things that a person who is trying to save money selling the home themselves may not know.  It is true that you have to pay a fee to someone who sells your home, but it may be small compared to what you may end up paying if a professional is not on your side to help make the sale as smooth as possible.

An Omaha real estate agent would be a considerable asset to anyone who was trying to sell their home. The knowledge of how to give the home curb appeal, to having the inside set up to perfection to invite anyone that looks at the home feel they cannot live without it. That is only some of the knowledge a local real estate agent can bring to the table. Negotiating with possible buyers and their agents is also a specialty that an Omaha real estate agent has over an owner trying to sell their own home.

Selling a home by owner is certainly possible, but it is not always in the best interest of the seller. If you decide to try and sell your home yourself, you have to pay the cost of advertising and be home on a regular basis to show your home at any given time. Your time no longer is your own. You have to do all of the paperwork yourself, which in itself can be very confusing. A local real estate agent does all of those things that you will be trying to do part time, for a living full time. They have the knowledge to draw up all of the papers, and negotiate the best price for your home. If you are selling it for yourself, it is easy for a buyer or their agent to try and take advantage of you.

New York Real Estate Lawyers

A New York real estate lawyer practices in accordance with New York law. A New York real estate lawyer handles purchases and sales of condominium apartments, co-operative apartments and homes, commercial and residential real estate transactions, assignments of sub-leases and leases, and more. A New York real estate lawyer also handles litigation involving real estate with banks, architects, building contractors, insurance companies and landlord-tenant litigation. A real estate lawyer handles building and remodeling agreements, and works to settle disputes regarding budget, materials, craftsmanship and other issues.

There are two categories of real estate lawyers in New York: litigation lawyers, who mainly work on lawsuits involving real estate, and transactional lawyers, who mainly deal with agreements and contracts involving real estate. Before hiring a real estate lawyer, clients should decide on which of the two types of lawyers they need. A New York real estate lawyer helps clients drawing up a lease agreement based on New York real estate law when leasing a real estate property, and represents the client if any landlord-tenant disputes arise. When purchasing real estate, one has to sign up a Promissory Note, so it is always advisable to keep a real estate lawyer present.

It is essential for all New York real estate lawyers to pass the bar exam, which includes multiple-choice questions and essay questions. On passing the bar exam, one must apply to the Appellate Court to seek entry to the bar and, after passing the interview with the Character and Fitness Committee, one can practice law in New York. Some of the most prominent real estate law firms are the Law Office of Kevork Adanas; Silverberg, Stonehill, Goldsmith and Haber; the Harry Herbertz Law Offices, and many more.

Virginia Real Estate Lawyers

Real estate lawyers are lawyers whose practices specialize in cases involving real estate transactions, land disputes, and property claims. These lawyers assist buyers and sellers of real estate and property by answering the questions they have regarding the legal aspects of real estate transactions and by guiding them through the entire process of buying or selling real estate. Virginia real estate lawyers are lawyers who offer their legal services for real estate transactions in the state of Virginia. Most of the real estate lawyers in Virginia provide the entire spectrum of real estate legal services like counseling their clients, summarizing documents, and discussing and finalizing the terms of the contracts or transactions.

If you are planning to engage in a real estate transaction in Virginia, then you need to consult a Virginia real estate lawyer. The lawyer must have experience in all commercial and residential real estate transactions. Expertise is particularly required in matters related to the sale of property, financing and development, construction contracts, and real estate and property investments. Typically, experienced real estate lawyers in Virginia are well aware of their clients’ business concerns and objectives.

Real estate lawyers seek both individuals and companies as their clients. Companies that wish to hire a real estate lawyer have to be careful to ensure that the lawyer is not only faithful to the business objectives but is also a thorough professional who can represent the company in a respectful manner. Companies should also make sure that the real estate lawyer that they select has enough experience and adequate training in handling the kind of transactions that the company normally engages in.

An experienced real estate lawyer would prepare the contracts favoring their client. They would conduct a title search to ensure that no claims exist against the property that is being bought. Such careful handling of cases is warranted to ensure that the deal is completed in a secure and hassle-free manner.

Defaulting Real Estate Loans

Major reasons for default risk on commercial real estate loans is a bubble economy. An often-quoted definition of “bubble” is the one given by Stiglitz as follows: ” If the reason for the price is high today is only because investors believe that the selling price will be higher tomorrow – when “fundamental” factors do not seem to justify such a price – then a bubble exists”.

The basic reason for the connection between a bubble and banking problems is over-expansion of bank credit fuelled by the build-up of real estate prices and increasing credit risks. The acceleration of economic growth and increased demand for real estate triggers “euphoria” as households and companies anticipate these further properties’ prices rise and increase their willingness to engage in debt-financed investment.

There is a special thing about real estate lending: as price increases create “an extra” collateral that can be used for additional borrowing. Increases in the price of real estate property held by companies mean a rise in the value of this asset on their balance sheet. Such capital gains lead to easier access to bank loans, which may be used for new productive investments or more speculative real estate investments. For various reasons lenders may incorrectly rely on trend-based analyses, which assumes that current market conditions continue in the future.

Thus, increased real estate prices, when related to fundamental improvements in the economic outlook or declines in real interest rates, can lead to increased borrowing. Therefore bank lending may also be a source for upward pressure on real estate prices; especially, if banks relax lending policies. Thus, lenders may undertake extremely tolerant lending policies at the peak of the cycle and extremely conservative lending policies at the trough of the cycle.

At the peak of the cycle banks may have borrowers that are highly exposed to a sharp price decline. These borrowers are known as the latest entrants in the real estate markets and they are especially vulnerable, since they have borrowed when prices were close to the peak and possibly expected that the price rally and trend would continue. These borrowers would experience the largest capital losses and the largest risk of default. Once these borrowers stand face to face with the possibility of default, they are also likely to take increasing risk (moral hazard).

Once the peak of a cycle is being approached, real estate prices become increasingly cut off from their “fundamental values” and vulnerable compared to exogenous shocks. The shock can be an unanticipated change in the overall economic performance. This event damages market confidence and causes a capital flight away from the relevant assets. When real estate prices are so high that buyers do not want to buy anymore at this price level, and of course, sellers are not able to sell at his level, there will be market correction – a bubble crashes. The price collapse can be affected substantially by forced sales of properties. The difficulties experienced by borrowers are transmitted to banks. The bad loans of banks and capital adequacy problems may lead to tightening of lending standards and credit rationing.

The next situation was common in Japan at the end of 80’s: Land is the main problem in the non-performing loans held by the Japanese financial institutions. During the period of the bubble economy, banks competed with one another in offering a large amount of loans and accepting the pieces of land as collateral. The combination of low interest rate and abundant liquidity activated real estate investments and affected most sharply on the inelastic urban land supply to generate accelerating in increase of land prices. Increases in the market value of land (land as asset) held by corporations mean a rise in the value of this asset on their balance sheet.

There have been two links between increases in land values and banks’ credit in the Japanese financial environmental. First, banks gave land-related loans directly to real estate companies or indirectly trough loans to subsidiary companies that are the main loan channels to real estate companies in Japan. Such lending policies rose very sharply and accelerated joint land and equities asset prices. Secondly, banks in Japan have traditionally relied on collateral rather than project quality and cash flows. The soaring value of land provided the collateral against which Japanese firms could borrow at home to buy assets abroad.

After the collapse of the bubble economy, however, those pieces of land could not be disposed of in order to reconstruct loans because the prices of the land fell significantly and banks have been obliged to retain the pieces of land with depreciated values. Liquidity was cut back because of restriction policies and the discount rate was raised five times from 2.5 percent to 6.0 percent by the end of 1990. The so-called bad-loan disposal, which is expected to continue for the next several years, is actually nothing, but a higher level of the reserve fund covering the losses of loans.

The reserve fund for loan losses is a fund prepared to cover the losses caused by default of borrowers and it gives favourable tax treatment for such funds. Non-performing loans have not been worked out directly, but reserve funds were raised. This means that the indirect “disposal” of bad loans is officially approved for taxation purposes and the disposal method used for the past several years has simply built reserve funds. In other words, non-performing loans are still recorded on the financial institution’s balance sheets and therefore the amount of bank loans has not been reduced. The real estate market is depressed with the illiquid lands kept idle by banks without being traded in the secondary market.

Low Commercial Real Estate Loan Rates

Acquiring or buying a property for commercial purposes involves huge funds and hence borrowings play a key role in real estate business. Even if there is sufficient finance at hand to own a property usually one prefers to borrow as the surplus money can be used for other business purposes. Cost of a loan is what a borrower thinks all the time as it is crucial in deciding the fate of the loan seeker. And it is all the more important in commercial real estate matters. Commercial real estate rates therefore should be carefully studied before taking the loan.

Commercial real estate loan rates depend on some basic factors. First of all it should be made clear that commercial real estate loan rates are usually lower interest rate loans. The rate of interest depends on whether the loan is secured or unsecured. Any secured loan comes at lower rate of interest rate and unsecured one with bad credit history on the top of it comes at higher rates. In case of commercial real estate loan lenders keep the very commercial property the borrower intends to buy as collateral. With the loan fully secured lenders provide commercial real estate loan at lower interest rate.

Usually commercial real estate loan rates are lower in the range of 6-7 percent. This means buying any real estate is cheaper through commercial real estate loan. But lower interest rate also depends on lender to lender and credit history. In the competitive loan market each lender has own rate of interest. Compare them and further lowered interest rate can be achieved. Your credit history also determines the rate. A good credit history certainly gives more confidence to the lender and he can lower the rate of interest. Another way is to see how much you are borrowing in relation to the value of commercial property. If the borrowed amount is way lower than value of the property you can take a reduced interest rate. See if you can make a larger down payment so that borrowings remain smaller. Surely for taking commercial real estate loan at lower interest rate one needs to fulfill some high condition like good credit history.

In case you are not that highly qualified borrower, you have the option of ‘hard money’. There are lenders who are willing to accept risks in lending money to say bad credit people at high interest rate. Hard money loans for commercial real estate buying may range 12-16 percent based on risk factors.

A lot on interest rate front depends on how many commercial real estate loan providers have you studied and compared. These lenders can easily be approached on their websites. Compare individual interest rates and settle for the suitable lender. Apply online to him for fast processing and approval of the loan.

Commercial real estate loan rates are usually lower rates but a lot depends on how much eligible a borrower is. Good credit history and lesser borrowing as compared to the value of collateral certainly enable in taking a reduced interest rate.

Choose the Right Rented House

Renting a house to live in is an option when you are residing in a city far from your own or do not have a house of your own to live in. Renting out properties is a lucrative business where several homeowners are giving out living spaces to people in return for valuable benefits. The scale is balanced as the number of houses given out on rent is simultaneous to the people looking out for rented houses to live in.

While you look out for a house on rent for your desired location, it is essential for you to keep in mind several aspects that would allow you to make a choice on the right rented house. These points would allow you to analyse well and take care of all that would make your stay comfortable.

• Research well – It is essential for you to conduct proper research and then look out for a house to live in. Research normally involves the area where the house is located. The primary aspect is the accessibility. You should have the right amenities around the house to commute to other parts of the city. There should be appropriate provisions of schools, markets, etc. that would make your stay easy and not spend a lot on travelling to reach these places.

• Look for the right agent – While you look for rented houses to live in, you may want to get hold of real estate agents or have friends and acquaintances helping you find the right house. Agents are the ones who have the right and the updated information on the houses that are for rent in the specified location. It is important to find a trustworthy agent who wouldn’t dupe you of your money and charge the price of what is the price prevailing in the market.

• Convey necessary details to the agent – After you have found a suitable agent to help you find the right house to live in, it is essential to communicate your requirements to him. Details such as your budget, the number of people living with you, the amenities required around you, other details like physical disabilities with any of your family member, etc. would help him find the right house for you.

• Check for the deposits that you have to pay initially – After you have decided upon the rented house, it is essential for you to know about the deposits that you pay as security. A few landlords keep it as a deposit and return it to you when you are done with the rent contract. The rest deduct it from the monthly rentals or do not return it ever. Therefore, it is essential for you to be clear about these issues beforehand and then come to a conclusion.

Renting Out Tips for First Time Landlords

Deciding on renting out your home or condo is no easy task. It requires patience and perseverance, and a lot of responsibility. You do not just find a tenant and let it be. You need to ensure that you obtain the right person to rent out your place at a rate you specify. However, if you play your cards right, renting out your place and becoming a landlord can be rewarding and a good way to make money without selling your real estate property. For first time landlords, coming prepared requires that you do your homework before renting out your property. To get your wheels turning, here are some important renting-out tips to guide you by.

Tip #1 – A Well-Prepared Property Attracts Numerous Renters

It is important to comply with required standards as prescribed by the law such as structural repairs, adequate ventilation and heating, safe electrical system, and other stipulations. Keep in mind that well-kept properties often get the highest nod among potential renters and, often, earn huge respect, too.

Tip #2 – Learn Your Landlord Obligations Properly

There are stipulated obligations required from landlords. In most states, the need to register your property for tenancy is essential for tax requirements. One of your main responsibilities, however, is to ensure that your tenant have a safe and functional living space. This means your rental property must have passed the specified standards stated by the federal and local housing code. This means plumbing, electrical and structural system, lighting, ventilation, and security systems must be in place. Repairs and maintenance must be shouldered by you, thus, when reimbursable when paid by your tenant. Keep in mind to give adequate notice of termination when you plan to cut-off the lease on your property.

Tip #3 – Learn About Your Rights

Never go to war uninformed of the terrain. As important as your obligations, you need to also know about your rights. This means receiving correct rent on stipulated due date, receiving added charges according to lease contract, annual review of rental contract, be informed of damage or any problems in the property, and subsequently, be given due notice on any planned repairs or home improvement. Protect your rights by putting this into writing. As a rule, make sure to have a valid contract before setting out a lease on your property.

Tip #4 – Always Check Tenant’s Payment Ability

Of course, your priority is to gain substantial income from your hard-earned investment. It is wise to check if your tenant can pay-up your rental rate. A reference from previous landlords or employers is a wise move. If you plan to accept students, call in the attention of parents or guardians as guarantors for the lease.

Tip #5 – Better Be Insured

Consider having a rental home insurance. This ensures that your home’s structure, medical expenses, legal fees and loss of rental income is covered when needed. Encourage your tenants to buy an insurance suited for them as renters, too.

Tip #6 – DIY or Professional Real Estate Agent

Advertising a rental property on your own may sound a noteworthy job but it can also be quicksand if not handled right. For first-time landlords, having the assistance of professional real estate agent can help cut down cost involved while increasing your chances of finding a tenant quickly and efficiently. Most real estate firms or independent agents usually do background checks on potential tenants to protect their reputation in the market. If possible, choose one which can also perform managerial functions for your property.

Renting out your home for the first time can be both exciting and overwhelming. This, however, is one lucrative deal that you should not miss if you have a house, a condo, an apartment or even a room to spare. In all these, having a professional (attorney, accountant and real estate agent) to give you sound advice and point you to the right direction will ensure great rewards.