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VA Loans

by Erna Sigurdsson, Realtor

Those who have served our country in the US military may be eligible for a VA loan. These soldiers have made sacrifices for our country and this is one way that the government repays them for their service.

The Veteran's Affairs administrates a program that helps those who have served and are eligible to obtain a home loan. The VA loan is up to 100% of the purchase price as well as it is guaranteed by the government.

The first step to obtaining a VA loan is to obtain a certificate of eligibility online.

To find out more about the VA loan program, click here.

Contact Erna and Petur Sigurdsson, Realtors at The Viking Team, Realty at 321-263-5096 for help buying or selling a home in Longwood, Lake Mary, Altamonte Springs, Sanford, Seminole and Orange County and the surrounding areas of Central Florida. To Search For Homes For Sale in Central Florida Click Here. 

Photo courtesy of: The U.S. Army

Flag Photo courtesy of: Jnn1776

Twitter is fired up with Tweets about a change in the Horoscope. A story broke that claims that there is a change in the zodiac signs, adding an additional sign that is called the Ophiuchus, the 13th sign.

According to statistics, 1/3 of females read their horoscope every day. Many people have their zodiac sign tattooed on their body or they have a coffee mug with their zodiac sign. Dating sites ask you what zodiac sign you fall under and to some that is a helpful tool to find that perfect mate.

If you were counting on your horoscope to tell you when a good time to buy a house is, you don’t have to worry about the changes and how to read your horoscope. An article from CNN explains that this does not apply to those using the tropical zodiac which is the one used in the United States, therefore nothing has changed for you. If you were a Scorpio, you are still a Scorpio. You can continue on with your house shopping (if that’s what the horoscope told you).

Contact Erna and Petur Sigurdsson, Realtors at The Viking Team, Realty at 321-263-5096 for help buying or selling a home in Longwood, Lake Mary, Altamonte Springs, Sanford, Seminole and Orange County and the surrounding areas of Central Florida. To Search For Homes For Sale in Central Florida Click Here. 

Photo by: Poonomo

Maintenance to Protect Your Investment

by Erna Sigurdsson, Realtor

Have you thought about what needs to be done to keep your home in good condition? Here is a quick list of things that need to be done to keep your home maintained and avoid those pesky problems that arise when it is not kept up.

Seminole County Maintenance

-Change the filters on your heating/cooling unit regularly and have the unit serviced annually.

-Have your dryer vent cleaned out by a professional annually.

-If you have a Fireplace, clean out the chimney before and after use every year.

-Change the batteries in each one of your smoke alarms at least twice a year.  The best times are in the spring and fall.  A great way to remember is to change batteries at the beginning and end of Daylight Savings Time.

-Check all your plumbing for leaks.  If you find any, have a professional come out to fix it right away.

-Drain two gallons of water from your hot water heater twice a year to extend its life.

-Repair any tile grout in need of repair annually.

-Check the foundation of your home for cracking.

-Replace any weather stripping and caulking around doors and windows that may be missing.

-Clear gutters and downspouts in the fall and spring.

-Check the coils on your fridge, sometimes they need to be vacuumed because they gather a lot of dust.

-Following these simple tips will help you protect one of the most precious, life-long investments you will make.  It will also help keep costs down on repairs if you find yourself wanting to sell your home.

Make sure to check out our other blog post on Honest Contractors to find local Seminole County contractors that will help you make the most out of your Real estate investment.

Contact Erna and Petur Sigurdsson, Realtors at The Viking Team, Realty at 321-263-5096 for help buying or selling a home in Longwood, Lake Mary, Altamonte Springs, Sanford, Seminole and Orange County and the surrounding areas of Central Florida. To Search For Homes For Sale in Central Florida Click Here. 

Where is that Foreclosure Data coming from?

by Erna Sigurdsson, Realtor

As we have watched on the news for the past few years the news anchors keep telling us how many people are going into foreclosure because of the economy, some of you may have noticed that there is no consistency among the numbers that they report. It could be 1 in 10 homes are in foreclosure and in another, 1 in 6 homes. The fact is that they are using different sources to support their statements and those sources use different methods of collecting data and doing research. Some of those sources are only using certain areas, while others take a random sample, and yet another may be using information from mortgage industries.

This report, prepared by The Mortgage Bankers Association takes some of the top sources of information for Foreclosure data and analyzes their tactics and how they gather their information.

Contact Erna and Petur Sigurdsson, Realtors at The Viking Team, Realty at 321-263-5096 for help buying or selling a home in Longwood, Lake Mary, Altamonte Springs, Sanford, Seminole and Orange County and the surrounding areas of Central Florida. To Search For Homes For Sale in Central Florida Click Here. 

When considering an investment property, do Homeowners and Condo Association fees make a big difference?

My answer to that question is simple. It depends. In some areas the homeowners and condo association fees are fair and you actually get something in return for those fees. In other communities, those fees can get out of control and actually hurt property values. In these past few years, some communities that have had a higher drop in home values have had that disparaging drop because their community fees were so high that homeowners were more likely to struggle with payments than in other areas where the fees are more manageable. A perfect example of this is a condominium community in Altamonte Springs, it has beautiful condos, close to shopping, highways and in the community it has two swimming pools, a fitness center and a business center, all of this for $438.16 condo association fees per month for a two bedroom condo.  These condos used to sell for $170,000 for a 2 bedroom and $140,000 for 1 bedroom condo; currently these condos are selling for $22,000 for a 2 bedroom and $18,000 for 1 bedroom.  Even those who are considering buying these units now are put off by the condo fees, and the units are selling for 13% of what they were selling for as little as three years ago. In today’s recession, people are cutting back, they are minimizing spending and realizing that fees that were taken for granted in the hype of the housing market are actually a big deal.

Money by Sushi <3 ina

If you are considering investing, I recommend a neighborhood that has moderately low or no homeowner’s fees, the difference in potential income can be great. I have a great example to illustrate why I think so.

On a condo that just sold in Seminole County, for $61,900 I calculated that after all fees, taxes, insurance, and home warranty is paid the investor would yield 8.17% return on investment. I found a similar home, sold in the same time period, it was the same number of bedrooms and almost same number of square feet in the same area for $62,000, this one had no homeowners association fees, at the same market rent rate this property would yield the investor 13.85% return on investment. For simplicity I assumed that the investor was a cash buyer. Now, on these two very similar properties the difference is almost 5% more return on investment for the property with no home owners association.

Condo fees vs communities with low or no hoa

If you are interested in seeing the details of my analysis or which sold properties I used in my example, feel free to e-mail me at Erna@TheVikingTeam.com

Contact Erna and Petur Sigurdsson, Realtors at The Viking Team, Realty at 321-263-5096 for help buying or selling a home in Longwood, Lake Mary, Altamonte Springs, Sanford, Seminole and Orange County and the surrounding areas of Central Florida. To Search For Homes For Sale in Central Florida Click Here. 

Money Photo by: Sushi<3ina

Top mistakes when Investing in Real Estate in the Central Florida Area

by Erna Sigurdsson, Realtor

Many people are tempted to start investing in Central Florida now that the market prices are so low and interest rates are at historical lows. There is a lot of attraction to investing in Central Florida because of tourism, beautiful beaches and theme parks as well as golf courses and good weather.

Investing in Real EstateThe most common mistake investors make when investing in Central Florida Real estate is to become overly emotionally involved in a property. They see a property that they want, fall in love with it and want to buy it. What they don’t see is that this gorgeous 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom home in that beautiful gated community comes with high homeowner’s association fees and other fees that make the investment less than viable.  What you want to do is ask for an investment analysis, which will show you anticipated costs associated with purchasing and maintaining the property and anticipated Return On Investment (ROI).  You may also want to double check with your accountant before you purchase the property to make sure that everything makes sense.

Another common mistake is to not have a plan. Looking for the right property from the beginning saves you time and money. Make sure that you know what you are looking for first before you start trying to snap up deals. The deals are out there, but what fits you and your investment portfolio may not be that really inexpensive condo selling for $10,000 in Metro Orlando.

Don’t make the mistake of not knowing the people that you are working with. A seasoned investor knows that he needs a good team, make sure you have a great accountant that you trust and are able to communicate with, a Realtor that understands your needs and a Property Manager that will protect your investment. A good lawyer may also be needed from time to time to make sure that your interests are protected. Other people you want to have a good working relationship with are a lender, home inspector, an appraiser and insurance agent.

All too often investors will buy a property that needs a little bit of work, often referred to as a handyman’s special and take the project too far. It is fun doing a design project or a home make over project, but this is an investment, not your home or vacation property and you need to treat it as such. Overly fancy ornaments, decorative motives stenciled into the paint, and other projects may be unnecessary and more costly than what was originally budgeted for. You need to make sure that you always have a buffer in your budge, in case a rehab does go over budget since sometimes problems sometimes do not show until after work has been started.

Consult the cost vs. value web-site to better understand how much you recoup in value from the updates that you make on your property. http://www.remodeling.hw.net/2010/costvsvalue/national.aspx

 

Calculator

Make sure that you always do your research before buying an investment property, not understanding how the market is doing could be a great obstacle in reaching the profits that you anticipate. Understand that Real estate is a long term investment and if you are looking for a quick profit, this is probably not the best investment opportunity for you.

Best of luck in your investment ventures!

Contact Erna and Petur Sigurdsson, Realtors at The Viking Team, Realty at 321-263-5096 for help buying or selling a home in Longwood, Lake Mary, Altamonte Springs, Sanford, Seminole and Orange County and the surrounding areas of Central Florida. To Search For Homes For Sale in Central Florida Click Here. 

Photo credit: ThinkPanama and Horia Varlan

Displaying blog entries 1-6 of 6