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Although most people think of real estate investments in terms of real property that they can see and touch, buy and sell, or rent and manage on their own, there is a popular form of real estate investment that is not as personal and interactive.

In many ways, it is easier, featuring the expectation of a steady, long-term income stream, and requiring less cash, almost no worry, and little concentrated effort. Buying shares in a real estate investment trust (REIT) is one way to create a diversified investment portfolio, and such investment opportunities are now widely available even to those with limited cash reserves and minimal investment expertise.

Instead of holding the deed to a specific piece of property, an investor in an REIT holds shares in a corporate entity that operates under strict guidelines established by the Internal Revenue Service. The law that governs such investment was actually passed in 1960. Today, it is estimated that about 80 million Americans own shares in the hundreds of REITs that are publicly traded through the SEC or offered privately by brokers and financial advisers. In recent years, there has been substantial growth in REIT investment through pension and retirement plans.

For the individual investor considering REIT investment, there are some cautions as well as some decided advantages. 

Advantages of REITs

First, on the plus side, a relatively small investment is required. Buying individual properties either to rent or for resale typically requires a substantial cash outlay, but REIT investment can begin with little cash outlay. This may be the prime advantage. Because one of the regulatory provisions limits major shareholder presence in any REIT, there is a great deal of opportunity for small investors.

Additional advantages include:

  • Liquidity: Particularly with publicly-traded REITs, buying and selling is as easy as contacting a licensed broker and issuing the order.
  • Steady Income Stream: REITs are required to return 90% of taxable income to investors each year, in the form of dividends.
  • Regulation & Transparency: Corporations operate under strict governance, and must be managed by trustees or a board of directors.
  • Beneficial Risk-adjusted Return: With initial due diligence, the risk of loss over the long-term is very low.

Possible Disadvantages

  • Minimal Growth: The possibility of capital appreciation is less than that of other investment types.
  • Tax Consequences: REIT Dividends are taxed as normal income under IRS rules.
  • Market Risk: All real estate value is market driven, and REIT's are no different. Investors should be aware of current trends, and take those into account when comparing various REITs. Certain segments are perennial high performers, while others are location and use-driven.
  • Associated Fees: Pay attention to management and transaction fees, not only those charged by investment brokers, but also the operating expenses of the REIT itself.

Investment decisions should always be made following due diligence, and with personal goals and objectives in mind. But for investors who wish to get into the business of real estate investing, even on a limited basis, REITs can be a first step.


Let's face it – a first-time home seller may encounter many problems as he or she tries to navigate the home selling journey. Lucky for you, we're here to help you streamline the process of listing your residence and ensuring you can maximize your house's value.

Now, let's take a look at three common challenges that first-time home sellers might face:

1. You don't know what your home is worth.

What you paid for your house several years ago is unlikely to match your home's value today. Fortunately, a property appraisal can help you gain the insights you need to better understand your house's current value.

During a property appraisal, a home inspector will evaluate your residence from top to bottom. Then, this inspector will provide you with a report that highlights your house's strengths and weaknesses so you can plan potential home improvement projects accordingly.

When it comes to figuring out what your home is worth, don't forget to assess the prices of homes that are currently available too. With this housing market data in hand, you can find out how your residence stacks up against comparable houses.

2. You don't know how to enhance your residence's interior and exterior.

Consider the homebuyer's perspective as you examine your house's interior and exterior – you'll be glad you did. This will enable you to think about the best ways to enhance your house and ensure it will dazzle homebuyers consistently.

Remember, your home only gets one chance to make a positive first impression on property buyers. And if you allocate the necessary time to mow the front lawn, trim the hedges and remove dust and debris from walkways, you may be able to boost your house's chances of generating substantial interest from property buyers.

Don't forget to declutter your home's interior, either. By doing so, you can make it simple for property buyers to envision what life would be like if they purchase your residence.

3. You have no idea what it takes to add your house to the real estate market.

Adding a house to the real estate market should be simple, but myriad problems may arise that prevent you from listing your residence and getting the best price for it. However, if you work with a real estate agent, you can avoid any potential pitfalls throughout the home selling journey.

A real estate agent understands the ins and outs of selling a house. As such, he or she can serve as an expert guide through each stage of the home selling cycle.

Typically, a real estate agent will set up home showings and open houses, market your house to potential homebuyers and negotiate with property buyers on your behalf. This housing market professional also will be happy to respond to your home selling concerns and queries at any time.

For first-time home sellers, there's no need to panic. Use these tips, and you should have no trouble getting the optimal results during the home selling journey.


If you want to achieve the best-possible results during the home selling journey, you should be open to negotiating with a homebuyer. Because if you communicate with a property buyer, you may increase your chances of enjoying a quick, successful home selling experience.

There is no need to stress about a home negotiation. Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you handle a negotiation with a homebuyer.

1. Consider the Buyer's Perspective

Both a home seller and homebuyer share a common goal: to reach an agreement on a house sale. If you analyze both sides of a home negotiation, you may be better equipped than ever before to come to terms with a buyer.

Ultimately, it may be beneficial to make small sacrifices to ensure you and a buyer can find common ground during a negotiation. If you are willing to work with a buyer, you may find that a buyer will work with you too. And as a result, you and a buyer could reach an agreement that satisfies the needs of both parties.

2. Evaluate Your Options

A home negotiation can be stressful, but there is no need to let stress get the best of you. Instead, you should try to stay calm and consider your options as you navigate a negotiation. That way, you can make informed home selling decisions.

Oftentimes, it is helpful to review housing market data as you negotiate with a homebuyer. Information about the prices of recently sold houses in your area that are similar to your own, for example, may help you explain why you want a certain price for your residence.

You also should be unafraid to walk away from a home negotiation. If you feel you cannot find common ground with a buyer, you can continue to promote your residence to prospective buyers until you receive an offer to purchase that matches your expectations.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

There is no need to enter a home negotiation on your own. Lucky for you, real estate agents are available in cities and towns nationwide, and these housing market professionals can negotiate with a buyer on your behalf.

During a home negotiation, a real estate agent will do whatever it takes to help you achieve the optimal results. He or she will keep you up to date throughout a home negotiation. Plus, a real estate agent is happy to provide recommendations about whether to accept, reject or counter a buyer's offer to purchase your house.

Let's not forget about the assistance a real estate agent provides after you accept an offer to purchase, either. At this point, a real estate agent will help you prepare for a home closing. He or she will respond to any of your home closing concerns or questions as well.

Be ready to negotiate with a homebuyer – use the aforementioned tips, and you can prepare for a home negotiation and boost the likelihood of getting the best price for your residence.


Although being a first-time buyer can seem overwhelming, there was one advantage to the entire process: You didn’t need to sell another property. If you would like to move out of the home that you’re currently living in and are in the process of buying a new place, your life is about the get complicated! Hold tight to your realtor and get ready for quite the ride. 


Since it’s often unrealistic to pay two mortgages at once, there’s a certain way that you must complete the transactions so as not to cause a huge financial headache when moving from one place to another. Unfortunately, you’re going to have to deal with buying a new home and selling your current one simultaneously in most cases.    


The good news is that it can be done! Read on for tips to find out how you can make the process go as smoothly as possible. 


First, you’ll want to understand the housing market that you’re in. You’ll know what strategies you need to employ if you understand the type of market that you’re dealing with. If the two homes are in completely different areas, this research will be even more important to you. 


Buying


While you’re searching for a new home and selling your current one, you’ll want to leave your options open. That means not locking yourself down to just one home. Of course, you’ll only put in one offer at a time, but knowing what’s out there for you to buy is important in case the purchase falls through on the first prospective home. This way you won’t have much chance of being “stranded” once your old home sells. 


Selling


You want your home to be sold in a timely manner. This means that your old home should be well-priced and ready to sell. Work with your realtor on staging, pricing, and holding open houses. The more effort that is put into marketing your home, the better chance you’ll have of selling it. Extra time on the market means that you’ll have a bigger headache when it comes to buying your new home. Selling quickly is not a bad thing so long as you have some other place to live. You can also put a contingency in the sale stating that you need to find suitable housing before you can move. Realtors can do a lot when their sellers are cooperative and proactive.           


Should You Buy First?


If you sell your home first, you’ll have an easier time getting a mortgage on a new home. The problem here is that you’ll need to find some sort of temporary housing before you even head out on the house hunt.


If you buy a home fist, your buying power may be less than if you sold your current home. Your debt-to-income ratio will be higher, giving you less money to spend on a new home.


While buying and selling a home simultaneously can be complicated, if you strategize correctly, you’ll be able to go through the entire process with ease.   

 



Filling out a mortgage application may prove to be a long, arduous process, particularly for those who are buying a house for the first time. Lucky for you, we're here to help you dot the I's and cross the T's on your mortgage application to ensure you can quickly and effortlessly acquire your dream house.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you prepare your mortgage application.

1. Be Diligent

A mortgage application may appear daunting at first. The application may include several pages of questions, and you may have only a limited amount of time to finalize your submission.

When it comes to completing a mortgage application, it generally pays to be diligent. If you answer each mortgage application question to the best of your ability, you likely will have no trouble moving forward with your home purchase.

2. Avoid Guessing

If you're uncertain about how to respond to certain mortgage application questions, there is no need to guess. Instead, search for the information that you need to provide a comprehensive response. This will help reduce the risk of encountering potential problems down the line that otherwise could slow down your home acquisition.

Remember, guessing on a mortgage application probably won't do you or your lender any favors. But if you allocate the necessary time and resources to understand mortgage application questions and provide thoughtful responses, you can minimize the risk of application errors.

3. Ask Questions

Completing a mortgage application sometimes can be tricky. Fortunately, a lender employs mortgage specialists who are happy to respond to your application concerns or questions at any time.

If you're unsure about information that is requested on a mortgage application, don't hesitate to reach out to a lender's mortgage specialists for help. These specialists possess extensive mortgage expertise and can help you complete a mortgage application.

Furthermore, mortgage specialists can offer insights into a wide array of mortgage options. These specialists can explain the differences between fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages and enable you to select the right mortgage option based on your financial situation.

As you prepare to buy a house, you may want to consult with a real estate agent as well. In fact, with a real estate agent at your side, you can seamlessly navigate the homebuying process.

A real estate agent understands exactly what it takes to acquire a house, regardless of the finances at your disposal. This housing market professional can set up home showings, help you submit offers on houses and ensure you can purchase a residence that matches or exceeds your expectations. And if you need help getting a mortgage, a real estate agent may even be able to connect you with the top lenders in your city or town.

Ready to move forward in the homebuying journey? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can finalize a mortgage application and secure the financing that you need to acquire your ideal residence.




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