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John Riggins

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Displaying blog entries 191-200 of 243

Where does my money Go?

by John Riggins

 

With the exception of a mortgage payment, the largest homeowner expense is utilities; and energy is the major component. There are lots of contributing factors such as air leaks, insulation, heating and cooling equipment, water heaters and lighting.

It's estimated that 75% of the electricity to power home electronics is consumed when the products are turned off. Computers, monitors, TVs, cable and satellite boxes, DVRs and power adaptors are spinning your electric meter even when they're not being used.

Unplugging devices can actually make a difference in the size of your electric bill. Plugging several of these offenders into a power strip with a single on/off switch may make the task easier. Most computers have options to put them into sleep mode or even turn off when not in use.

Take 3 1/2 minutes and watch Energy 101. Consider hiring a professional home energy auditor or do-it-yourself. The Department of Energy has a checklist with some valuable suggestions.

Print this and keep in your car for emergencies

by John Riggins

 

Subject: Print this and keep in your car for emergencies
4 Things you might not have known about your Cell Phone
For all the folks with cell phones. (This should be printed and kept in your
car, purse, and wallet. Good information to have with you.)
There are a few things that can be done in times of grave emergencies.

Your mobile phone can actually be a life saver or an emergency tool for
survival.
Check out the things that you can do with it:

FIRST (Emergency)

The Emergency Number worldwide for Mobile is 112. If you find yourself out
of the coverage area of your mobile network and there is an Emergency, dial
112 and the mobile will search any existing network to establish the
emergency number for you, and interestingly, this number 112 can be dialed
even if the keypad is locked. Try it out.

SECOND (Hidden Battery Power)

Imagine your cell battery is very low. To activate, press the keys *3370#.
Your cell phone will restart with this reserve and the instrument will show
a 50% increase in battery. This reserve will get charged when you charge
your cell phone next time.

THIRD (How to disable a STOLEN mobile phone? )
To check your Mobile phone's serial number, key in the following Digits on
your phone:
*#06# .
A 15-digit code will appear on the screen. This number is unique to your
handset. Write it down and keep it somewhere safe.

If your phone is stolen, you can phone your service provider and give them
this code. They will then be able to block your handset so even if the thief
changes the SIM card, your phone will be totally useless. You probably won't
get your phone back, but at least you know that whoever stole it can't
use/sell it either. If everybody does this, there would be no point in
people stealing mobile phones.

And Finally....

FOURTH (Free Directory Service for Cells)

Cell phone companies are charging us $1.00 to $1.75 or more for 411
information calls when they don't have to. Most of us do not carry a
telephone directory in our vehicle, which makes this situation even more of
a problem. When you need to use the 411 information option, simply dial:
(800) FREE411 or (800) 373-3411
without incurring any charge at all. Program this into your cell phone now.
This is sponsored by McDonalds. 

Converting a Home to a Rental

by John Riggins

 

What's keeping you from taking advantage of the low prices and mortgage rates available today? Concerned that you may need to sell in a few years and won't be able to get your equity out of your home?

Suppose a buyer purchases a home and finds out that they need to move in two years. Instead of selling the home, they could convert it to a rental. It's possible that it could have a positive cash flow even with the small down payment. In most cases, the conversion would not accelerate the mortgage.

The price of homes and low interest rates combined with a very strong rental market in most areas has attracted a lot of investors. Non-owner occupied mortgages generally require 20-30% down payment compared to a 3.5% down payment for a FHA owner occupant.

The following example looks at a home that might have been purchased as a principal residence and then converted to a rental at the end of two years. There are certainly lots of variables to consider but the high indicated rate of return merits closer examination of the possibilities.

For the buyer who has good credit and ample funds for down payment and acquisition costs, there may never be as good a time to buy a home as now. For the buyer who is concerned that they might have to move in the near future, converting it to a rental might make a great investment opportunity.

 

Competing with Cash

by John Riggins

It's not fair! 29% of all sales made in June and July 2011 were cash. How does a buyer who needs a mortgage compete with a cash buyer?

You've been looking for a home for months after thinking about it for years. You've found the home you want and meets your family's needs. You write a contract but before it's even presented to the seller, another offer comes in. With all the homes on the market, you'd think you wouldn't have to deal with multiple offers but you'd be surprised how many times it does happen.

There are some proven strategies that can minimize the advantage of an all-cash buyer.

  1. Get pre-approved and submit the letter from the lender with the offer
  2. Move fast to minimize competing with other offers
  3. Submit larger than normal earnest money to show your sincerity
  4. Be flexible about closing and possession
  5. Avoid unnecessary contingencies in the contract
  6. Write a letter emotionalizing why you want the home

Significant Problems

by John Riggins

"The significant problems you face today cannot be solved at the same level of thinking you were at when you created them." Albert Einstein

The housing market has definitely caused significant problems for some people but is also providing some amazing opportunities for others. Agents aren't like retailers who wake up one day realizing they have the wrong merchandise on the shelves.

Everyone needs a place to live and whether you rent or buy, you pay for the house you occupy. While the home for sale remains the same, the methods that produce results have to change.

Listing agents are diametrically opposed to the objectives of buyer's agents. This is not to say that there cannot be a win-win situation but each agentis trying to negotiate the best price and best terms for their client.

Financing can make listings more marketable and structure a transaction to provide the buyer with the cheapest cost of housing. Personal experience is a great teacher but a very expensive way to learn. An expert, like a Residential Finance Consultant can provide information and tools to make better decisions to be able to profit in the current market.

Silent Killer

by John Riggins

Carbon monoxide is colorless, odorless and toxic. It's called the "silent killer" in homes because some victims are not even aware that the deadly condition exists.

Homeowners must be concerned about unmaintained furnaces, water heaters and appliances that can produce the deadly gas. Other sources could include leaking chimneys, unvented kerosene or gas space heaters and even exhaust from cars operating in an attached garage.

The Environmental Protection Agency suggests the following to reduce exposure in the home:

  • Keep gas appliances properly adjusted
  • Install and use an exhaust fan vented to the outdoors over gas stoves
  • Open flues when fireplaces are in use
  • Do not idle car inside garage
  • Have a trained professional inspect, clean and tune-up central heating systems annually
There can be many symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning that can resemble other types of poisoning. Headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness and feelings of weakness or fatigue are a few of the most common symptoms. Lower levels of exposure may be mistaken for the flu.
Roughly half the states have laws regarding carbon monoxide detectors in homes. Regardless of the requirements, what person would want to put their family, guests or themselves at risk for something so deadly? The devices can be purchased for as little as $20 and plugged into the wall like a night light.

More to Sell

by John Riggins

If you had a 3.5% mortgage on your current home and were buying another home, transferring your low interest rate mortgage would be ideal. Unfortunately, lenders don't allow that.

When buying a home today, it would be smart to think about selling it in the future. To have a good home with unique features makes it marketable. To have attractive financing that could be assumed would add to the salability.

Consider getting a FHA or VA loan to purchase your home. The present advantages are that these loans are priced competitively and a little easier to qualify for than conventional loans. The future advantage is that FHA and VA loans are assumable at the original note rate for qualifying buyers.

There's more to sell than the home itself when you have an assumable loan. The mortgage payment could lower the cost of housing significantly. A buyer may easily be willing to pay more for the home due to the attractive financing, especially if it helps their equity grow faster.

The Investment Alternative

by John Riggins

To say the investment market is unsettling is an obvious understatement. The market is down 8% in the last ten days and the news doesn't give much hope that things are going to get better in the near term.

Preservation of capital is probably today's most important investment consideration and making a profit would be a bonus. Of all the conventional investment alternatives like stocks, bonds, mutual funds, gold, commodities, CDs and annuities, housing is the best asset class in America.

Homes have had a 30% to 40% price correction in the past four years. Mortgage rates are at near all-time low rates with 30 year terms available for investors. Rents have increased significantly over the past two years while vacancy rates have decreased. People will always need a place to live.

Five year certificates of deposits earn a little over 2% but rental properties are yielding eight to ten times more than that. Income properties are tangible assets that have benefitted dramatically in inflationary times. Cash assets can be devastated by inflation and diversifying into income properties can provide real protection.

Single family homes offer investors the opportunity to borrow large loan-to-value mortgages at fixed rates for long terms on appreciating assets with tax advantages and reasonable control. Investing in rentals can provide stability, safety and a higher rate of return.

Woulda-Coulda-Shoulda

by John Riggins

It is the mantra of people who missed a great deal. It's the theme song of the procrastinator. It's the refrain that reminds us of the one that got away.

Some people are still beating themselves up because they didn't recognize the housing bubble was really going to burst. It is impossible to change the past but will they see the signs of the next housing trend?

In the past four years, prices have adjusted with 30% corrections nationally and much more in areas with high percentages of foreclosures. New homes are almost non-existent. Interest rates are slightly above record lows. Consumer goods are skyrocketing; our budget deficit and national debt are staggering and escalating inflation appears certain.

"Forget stocks. Don't bet on gold. After four years of plunging home prices, the most attractive asset class in America is housing." states Shawn Tully, Senior Editor at-Large for Fortune magazine in a March 28, 2011 article.

"If I would have known that this was the best buyer's market ever, I could have taken advantage of the prices and interest rates; I should have fixed my cost of housing for years to come." Don't catch yourself saying this. You owe it to yourself and your family to get firsthand information to see what your options really are.

I Want a Bigger/Nicer Home but...

by John Riggins

 

I Want a Bigger/Nicer Home but...

There are homeowners that would like to have a larger/nicer home but are patiently waiting for the market to improve. A frequently heard objection is that they can't sell their home for what it is currently worth.

Buying up in a down market is actually advantageous because while you might get less for the home you're selling, you're also getting the larger home for less. For instance, if you had to sell a $200,000 home for a 10% discount, you might feel that you left $20,000 on the table. However, buying a $300,000 for the same 10% discount would put you $10,000 ahead on the sale and purchase.

The other obvious matter is that when the mortgage rates increase while you're waiting for the market to improve, it dramatically increases your cost of housing with higher payments. The cost of housing is affected by price and mortgage rates.

To accurately evaluate your current options, you need facts and assessment tools that will provide you the information to make an informed decision.

Displaying blog entries 191-200 of 243

Contact Information

Photo of John Riggins REALTOR RB11175 Real Estate
John Riggins REALTOR RB11175
John Riggins Real Estate
1003 Bishop Street, suite 2700
Honolulu HI 96813
808.523.7653
808.341.0737
Fax: 888.369.3210