buying a home

Leave Heavy Costs Behind When You Move

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You might think that the biggest cost when moving home is buying the new property and this is technically true. However, you shouldn’t underestimate how fast the other costs can build up and become unmanageable.

For instance, you will always need to hire a solicitor when you buy a new home. They will ensure that your rights are protected when you purchase the property and that the transaction is completed without issues. The best solicitors can charge at least a few thousand for transactions like this, adding a fairly large bill onto the initial purchase of the property. This is certainly not the only cost that you will need to contend with either. You’ll need to think about estate agent fees as well.

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You could be selling your old house, and if that’s the case, you’ll need to pay an estate agent to market it for you. You might think that you can cut costs by hiring an estate agent that exclusively markets your property online. However, you may discover that using a full service is actually more beneficial and better value for money. This will certainly be the case if your home is part of a niche market due to the build or location. This is one example where the cheapest option isn’t always the most valuable. Here are a few other price considerations you’ll need to make when buying a new home.

Travel and Transport

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Depending on how far you’re moving the travel costs can be crazy. However, there are a few ways to cut them right down. First, try to move in a season such as winter where there isn’t much demand for moving. At times like this, movers have no choice but to cut their costs down to size and services are often cheaper.

You should also think about using a specialist company for moving certain items such as your vehicle. If you use a service such as Shiply car transportation, you can get your vehicle transported to the new home, even if it’s in another country. This is often a lot easier and cheaper than arranging to move it yourself.

Careful Of Surveys

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Surveys can be incredibly expensive because usually, you’ll need to complete more than one. If you like the house and you’re interested in buying it, you’ll complete a survey. If that survey brings to light serious issues, you might decide not to buy it. At that point, you’ll have to look for another house and complete another survey.

The best way to avoid this issue is to make sure you can recognize serious issues without a survey. For instance, structural issues will be apparent due to doors that stick and buckled floors. Any issue like this and you can guarantee some costly repairs will be needed if you buy the property.

You also need to watch out for gazumping. Sometimes, you might have completed a survey, it comes back clear, but another buyer has put an offer on the house. At that point, you might have to arrange your original offer to secure the sale. It’s a nasty business and one that can make buying a new home a lot more expensive than it should be.

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Renting vs. Buying a Home: Which is the Best Route for You?

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Rising rental rates and low mortgage rates are driving people down the real estate ownership road much sooner than they had originally planned. Other individuals prefer to settle back and wait until the Malaysian real estate market makes a full recovery, in spite of incentives, before they buy in. Truth be told, there is no definitive or right answer to the question on whether to lease or purchase a house.

There are several factors that you have to consider as you make a decision. Both options offer you several advantages and disadvantages, and your own financial strength is the strongest factor of them all.

Renting

In spite of the fact that you cannot build equity, renting offers you more flexibility and freedom, especially if you are doing so on a monthly basis.

Advantages:

  • You do not have to deal with maintenance issues. If a fixture in the apartment breaks or you require an electrician to pop in, getting maintenance is as easy as calling in the building’s manager.
  • Easier to move. If you are in a place in your career where you have not settled or there is a possibility that you will have to relocate to a new town in the near future, it is much easier to make the switch rather than choosing to sell.
  • No depreciating asset. Property prices stabilize, rise, or fall in the housing market. However, there is no guarantee that your apartment’s value will increase within a specific amount of time.

Disadvantages:

  • Monthly payments may increase. Renting rates are periodically on the rise, especially in larger cities. This means that you could be facing another increase in your housing payments as soon as your lease expires.
  • No equity. The payments you make monthly offer you a place to live, but do not provide you with that asset that you can finally sell when you are ready.
  • No tax benefits. According to an Asia One Business report, homeowners will continue to benefit from various government homeownership incentives, like those stated by AsiaOne Business. Tenants cannot benefit from these incentives.
  • Owner approval required for remodeling of any type. Some landlords may be kind enough to offer their tenants some leeway when it comes to painting the residence. However, you will be required to consult them regarding your choice of color. Any changes that have to do with upgrading an appliance will require putting in a request with your landlord or housing complex manager.

Buying

Purchasing is not something for everyone, but it does offer you some enticing emotional and financial advantages.

Advantages:

  • Build equity. Conventionally, apartments rise in value anywhere between 4 percent and 6 percent annually. Even in situations where it is not increasing in value, you still build equity as you make your mortgage payments as long as your property maintains value.
  • Tax breaks. Homeowners have the added advantage of gaining from Malaysian tax benefits. These deductions go a long way in offsetting the cost of acquiring your housing.
  • Stable housing payments. A fixed-rate mortgage offers you the same principal and interest payments for the duration of your loan. However, insurance and taxes may change.
  • Home as an investment. If you choose to purchase a unit and lease it out, you will be creating a steady source of income. However, this works if you can cover mortgage from your tenants’ payments. Consequently, any time you are looking for a unit, choose one that will be a profitable asset in future.
  • Settle in a community. The commitment towards purchasing a piece of property will make you more involved in your local community since you will be there for years. You get to know your neighbors, join a Residents’ Association (which offers you several advantages as explained by the National House Buyers Association) or even volunteer in local projects that improve life around the community or a local school.
  • Freedom to decorate. One of the biggest joys of this option is the freedom to change your immediate environment to suit your lifestyle. However, if you live in within a homeowners’ association, you will enjoy less freedom when it comes to redoing the exterior décor, but you can still paint the kitchen luminous yellow if you want.

Disadvantages:

  • Maintenance is on you. You will find yourself spending more time and money in keeping your residence in good condition.
  • An illiquid asset. If you experience a sudden career change, relocation or circumstances change, you cannot quickly sell your unit and get as much money as you want.
  • Pay property taxes. Taxes can easily go up, making your property less affordable.
  • Loss of value. There is no guarantee that your unit will increase in value.

Purchasing a new place to live in is a major decision that should not be made lightly. However, rising costs and low mortgage rates can make purchasing a better option. Take your time and consider all the pros and cons of each. Depending on the factors mentioned above, you will likely find that an apartment for rent in KL on PropertyGuru Malaysia may be the best financial decision you can make till you are ready to make the jump into full ownership.


Relocation to Dallas Made Easier

homeRelocating can be both a dream and a nightmare. Coming into a new community can mean a brand new start and a new life for many people. However, coming into a new community can mean not knowing where to live, where to work, or where to play. Without close friends and family nearby, it can be even more confusing. But, relocation is a bit easier when you have a good real estate professional at your side.

Real estate professionals have the community knowledge to steer you towards a residence that will make you and your family happy for many years to come. They know where the best schools are located and what kind of commute times is common between certain points. This makes narrowing down new home choices a bit easier. They can give you the knowledge of your new community to make home buying or leasing easier.

Most people relocate to a new city for a job offer or for the potential of a new career. They may be leaving good and bad memories in their old home. But, the new home can represent a fresh start after a major change in life. Those who are graduating college may have received a job offer in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Others may be coming off a divorce or the breakup of a long-term relationship and need to make a new start in a new location. There are dozens of other reasons for moving, but all of them represent a major change in life and location.

Are you single and moving on your own? For you, the options are quite diverse. If you want to work and live within a short distance, you might consider residential units in the downtown or Uptown areas of Dallas. These areas are becoming easy living for urban dwellers with top businesses just steps away from luxury condos. Restaurants, shops, and other amenities are just steps away from both the job and the home. These areas promote walking and biking back and forth for most activities. There are both luxury and affordable living options in both areas. These are very popular areas for young professionals as well as the arts communities.

Do you have a young family? Then finding a home with a good school district is likely your priority. Dallas/Fort Worth has many cities with good school districts such as, Highland Park and University Park. You may find a gated community on the outskirts which is a good option. Most of these communities are within a short drive of major commuting routes. You might find one of the historic neighborhoods a good place to balance family and business needs. The homes available on the market are diverse and will give you plenty of choice.

For others moving into the DFW area, the housing options are wide open. There are many communities within a short distance of downtown. There are many communities also tucked into rural enclaves with plenty of land around them. The real estate opportunities in Dallas – Fort Worth are deep and wide, so you will find something to fit your family, budget, and lifestyle. If you are unsure how to proceed, you may want to stay a few months in a rental while trying to find your ideal family home.

Omni Chaparala works for DFW Realties, a DFW real estate company serving home buyers and sellers in the Dallas – Fort Worth metroplex.


5 Financial Considerations For House Buyers

Whether you’re a first time buyer, an old hand, or a buy to let investor, buying a house is no small purchase. So you need to be sure that you’re making a wise financial decision before taking the plunge.

save_moneyResale Value

Before investing in any property, it’s a good idea to consider how ‘sellable’ it is before you even buy. Curb appeal, size, location, and proximity to good schools or public transport are all important factors for potential buyers to consider. So if you can tick all these boxes and the area remains the same, you should be on to a good financial bet. However, it’s always a good idea to check for any upcoming developments in the area. If a waste disposal site is planned for the field over the road, you’ll need to change your plans!

Cost of Buying

The cost of buying a home isn’t all about the cost of the house. Always take into account the following extra costs you will have to stump up the cash for:

Deposit

Mortgage Arrangement Fees

Stamp Duty

Legal Fees

Valuation Fees

Survey

Removal Costs

Estate Agent Fees

Mortgage and Income

Lenders will assess you based on both your living costs and mortgage costs, so you need to be sure you can comfortably cover your mortgage and living costs in order to buy a home.

They will also factor in future interest rate rises, so you need to bear this in mind too. Generally, most lenders will calculate what mortgage repayments you can afford based on a quarter of your take home pay after tax. Using an online mortgage calculator is a good way to get an idea of what you can afford. Whatever you do, you should also factor in ‘what if’ scenarios. If for example, you lost your job, could your partner bear the cost until you started work again?

Mortgage in Principle

If you have no actual house in place but want an accurate idea of what you could borrow, you can arrange for a ‘Mortgage in Principal’ MIP). This tells you how much you could borrow if you find somewhere within a certain time. This can give you a head start when making offers on a property, as proof of deposit and a MIP can be a big advantage in a competitive market.

Buy to Let Finance

If you own an existing property and are considering investing in buy-to-let, then your finance options are slightly different. You will still need a deposit of at least 25%, but a remortgage deal could work out to be a cheaper option than a buy-to-let mortgage. Alternatively, you could consider a bridging loan to help with the costs of a house purchase if you have existing assets you can draw on to pay the loan off within a short period of time. Bridging loans are often more expensive than conventional loans, but the advantages include speed and flexibility. Use a broker such as First4Commercial to help you find the best deal. Click here to find out more.

Wendy Lin is an author and entrepreneur. While she lives in the UK, she travels about 4-5 months out of each year. She is also a women’s rights activist and a painter.


Joint Mortgages: Things To Keep In Mind When Buying A Property With Other People

People who want to get on the property ladder are looking to pool their resources to secure joint mortgages in order to purchase a property. It does not have to be a luxury property. A home they can call their own can seem unachievable these days, given the requirements for deposits of at least 25% of property value. Unless young people have millionaire daddies, or are lucky enough to win the lottery, they are unlikely to be able to afford property as a sole buyer, particularly in London.

As a result, mortgage products have been developed for groups of up to four people, such as friends, work colleagues and family members, in addition to the usual joint mortgages for couples.

In the past, for the purposes of the loan, the amount of lending would be based on two and half times the joint income of a couple. These days lenders tend to require a higher deposit and offer around four times the joint income of all parties.

Protecting the owners

It needs to be remembered that all borrowers are jointly and severally liable for the whole loan, regardless of whether all parties live in the property. The more people who are involved; the more complicated the situation can become over time. Life has a way of throwing curved balls; needs, relationships and commitments change. It is therefore important to obtain a written legal agreement prior to finalisation of purchase to protect all owners, for example from being forced out of the property against their will, of a loan raised being against the property, or shares being sold without agreement.

Since the amount each person contributes toward the deposit is likely to vary it is imperative that everyone understands and agrees the way the property is held by all parties.

There are two ways in which property can be legally held: Namely Joint Tenancy and Tenants in Common. Joint Tenants have equal shares in the property. Couples often hold their property in this way which means that when one of them dies, the remainder of the property reverts to them, despite what they may have stipulated in their will. Tenants in Common would have been a more prudent choice for an elderly married couple in this case as the survivor now holds all the marital assets, making it unlikely she or he will qualify for means tested state benefits or funding for care home costs. Tenants in Common means each party holds a specified share in the property, which may not be equal. This means each party can bequeath their share in their will.

Deed of Trust

The respective interests of all parties in the property can be recorded in the transfer Deed, which is sent to the land registry, but solicitors do recommend that this is legally recorded in a Deed of Trust.

In addition it is important to remember that for joint mortgagees who are unmarried couples, they do not have the same legal rights as if they were married. It is possible to make a Living Together Agreement, which stipulates what assets and debts are held by each person and what would happen regarding the mortgage and property in the event of separation.

Secure your mortgage

A mortgage is an ongoing liability, possibly for up to 30 years. It is important to consider how this debt will be paid, should any of the parties become ill or lose their jobs. It may be prudent to seek advice regarding income protection insurance for all parties, or the highest earner, which pays a benefit in the event of illness. Joint borrowers can also take out mortgage protection insurance and life insurance together. Payment protection insurance for their joint mortgage will pay the monthly payments in the event of redundancy or sickness. Life insurance is usually a mandatory requirement of the mortgage. The amount of life insurance taken out should equate to at least the borrowings, and should be written on joint lives. This means that if either policyholder were to die during the term of the policy the insurance would pay the sum assured.

Joint mortgages can provide the solution to affordable home ownership, but it is important to consider the long term implications when buying with others. Good legal and financial advice can help potential borrowers fully understand their obligations before entering into such agreements.

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  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://photodune.net/licenses/photo

By Luis Simmons and Rhodium, real estate search company and access provider to financial institutions to structure bespoke funding solutions for luxury properties in North and Central London.


13 Scary Reasons To Hire A Home Inspector

13 Scary Reasons To Hire A Home Inspector

inspectionIn honor of Halloween, here are 13 reasons that anyone who is considering the purchase of a home (new or previously owned) should hire a home inspector:Potential Structural Issues

A trained professional such as a home engineer can look at areas where structural problems normally originate and see if there are any surprises waiting. There are many things about the foundation and structure of a home that the untrained eye would miss. A trained home inspector – preferably a home inspector with an engineering degree – can identify structural issues and advise accordingly.

Hidden Fire Damage

Wood damaged by fire is weakened and can become structurally unsafe, but it can also be hidden be an unscrupulous contractor. A home inspector knows where to look to find old fire damage, which isn’t always easy to see.

Mold Detection and Proper Prevention

If mold is left untreated and undetected, it can spread throughout the entire house. Since mold is sometimes toxic (potentially deadly in some cases), you need a professional to look for it before you buy.

Dangerous Wiring

Bad wiring can become a fire hazard and cause serious damage. A professional home inspector can spot trouble and help you determine if you need a more complete inspection from a certified electrician.

Hail Damage

When hail starts falling, the first place people run to is their homes. As you sit in your home and hear the hail pelting your roof, you are thankful at the protection your home offers. But that hail is doing damage to your roof and siding. A home inspector can spot hail damage that’s often invisible to the untrained eye.

Tree Growth

Trees can be dangerous to a home above and below the ground. Large branches that hang out over structures could fall off and cause damage, while a tree’s root system can destroy the home’s foundation.

Holes In The Roof

The untrained eye can scan a roof and not see a single hole. But when it rains, the ceiling stain gets larger and larger – or worse, the ceiling collapses. The professional eye of a home inspector will find the hard to see holes in a roof and let you know exactly how much roof repair needs to be done to stop the leaking.

Exposed Wiring

Wiring junction boxes without covers and wires that have no insulation on them are fire hazards waiting to happen. A wiring system that may look just fine to the average homeowner may have several spots where exposed wires make things very dangerous.

Water Damage in the Basement

People who don’t spend time in their basement can often be unaware of (or simply ignore) basement water seepage, but that’s unwise. Seepage, especially over a few years, can destroy the integrity of a home’s foundation.

Sawdust Insulation

It is hard to believe, but some homes still have sawdust in the attic as insulation. Not only is sawdust an ineffective form of insulation, it is a significant fire hazard.

Uneven Ground and Ground Movement

Many places in the world have problems with soil movement. If the home you’re considering sits above ground that has the potential to shift, you can have sever structural problems that can cause tens of thousands of dollars to repair. Denver structural home inspectors, for example, need an engineering degree to deliver structural assessments.

Dangerous Electrical Distribution Panels

Specific models of electrical distribution panels and fuse boxes pose a fire hazard at all times and need to be replaced. Many of them were recalled, but most homeowners don’t find out about recalls and so many of the panels with defects have never been replaced.

Asbestos

Older homes have asbestos insulation, siding and floor tiles. This asbestos needs to be removed to make the home safe and brought up to local building codes, the last thing you want to do is buy a home that contains asbestos.


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