Bald Head Island Has Wonderful Real Estate Opportunities

Located in the Brunswick Island Chain off the North Carolina Coast, Bald Head Island offers the permanent resident or vacationer a wonderful beach living experience. If you are interested in any type of real estate for sale on Bald Head Island, NC, you can’t go wrong with the variety of properties available! With awesome views of the Atlantic Ocean, the Cape Fear River and Frying Pan Shoals, your deck can be your own personal paradise.

Bald Head Island is unique because it offers a slower pace of life. Accessible only by water, there are no cars on the island. Transportation is leisurely – on foot, by bike or in a golf cart. Another way to explore the pristine beaches and nature preserves is by kayak where you can observe nature peacefully and respectfully. Given the many species of birds and animals as well as sea turtles and unique plants, you can appreciate the multitude of organisms that make up this unbelievable eco-system.

Other sites of interest along these lines include a turtle sanctuary, hands-on produce farms and the bountiful azaleas and other plants at the ornamental gardens.

More lively pursuits are also available on Bald Head Island. You can climb to the top of Old Baldy, the oldest lighthouse that is still standing in North Carolina. From there, you have an uninterrupted view of the surrounding area and can appreciate the allure this coastline had for the pirates who used to hide among the coves and inlets. Additionally, the Bald Head Island 18-hole golf course that stretches along the southern part of the island provides plenty of challenges with water features on almost every hole! Living right along the fairway is one good reason to look into real estate for sale on Bald Head Island, NC.

Several restaurants and shops on the island provide most of what you may need but nearby Southport is the place to go for greater variety and more cultural activities.

Established in the 1800s, Southport provides colonial charm along with historical museums, entertainment and fine dining and shopping.

With over 30 years of experience in the real estate market on Bald Head Island, David Benford Realty is a company you can trust for knowledge and connections to the best properties available. As a member of the Sotheby’s network, you know you are working with a realtor who has integrity and your best interests at heart. Don’t put off looking for your island paradise – contact David Benford Realty today for real estate for sale on Bald Head Island, NC.

The Best List Blogs to Read When You’re House Hunting

House hunting is either the most fun thing that you can do or one of the most stressing. On the one hand, it’s exciting, because there are just so many houses each so different from the next, and it’s interesting to imagine, each time, what you life would be like in each house. On the other hand, though, finding exactly the right house can take a long time, and this will start to tax on your mental strength – you might be tempted to just give up and settle for some hovel without a bathroom. This doesn’t need to happen, though. Taking your tim is the best thing to do, and you can speed up the process a little by knowing exactly what to look for. Reading house hunting blogs can be extremely useful, so here are our favourite blogs to read while house hunting.

Get your house fix!’ says the sub title of the page, and it’s not a false advertisement either. Join Julia as she writes, more accurately, raves on and on about her favourite thing in the whole world – houses. While this is not literally a house hunting blog, and rather just a blog with some of the world’s more unique houses along with tips on how you can achieve some of the same looks, it is nevertheless an extremely valuable resource for house hunters who don’t just want another normal-looking home. If you’re a little eccentric and place a lot of value on being completely comfortable in your own home – in other words, if you are passionate about houses – then this is the blog for you.

Are you the type to walk into a room and see a blank canvas. Do you tremble at the prospect of inspecting a new house, because each is radically different from the next, and the possibilities are so exhausting? Then Live Breathe Décor is the blog for you. Run by a decorator based in Melbourne, Live Breathe Décor collects and explores different types of houses and their decoration. They can be arranged by theme or palette, so if matching is important to you, check it out.

Finally, if you’re not too crazy about houses, but do need to know the essential bits and bobs of the process, and then check out It’s the sort of blog that tells you everything you need to know, from tips in inspecting, to figuring out the real asking price, to finding the right time to install solar panels.

Strategic Real Estate Investing: How Market Cycles Can Affect Your Real Estate Portfolio

Real estate investors face a multitude of challenges when building a profitable real estate portfolio. The ability to research, finance, and implement an effective strategy are integral in the process of building a strong portfolio.  However, an important factor that is sometimes overlooked is the actual timing of the purchase or sale of the property, which can often have substantial impact on the return and profits of your overall real estate portfolio.

The ability to understand and determine when to purchase, liquidate, raise or lower rents can be done more effectively by understanding the real estate cycle. Far too often people tend to follow the crowds and buy yesterday’s deals.  If you can accurately time a rising market, you can benefit from higher rental income due to higher occupancy, which results in upward pressure on property values, and, conversely, liquidate when the opposite is evident.

There are typically 4 stages to a real estate cycle

The First Stage is the “Top of the Cycle/Market”. In this stage the demand for housing properties is high, which results in higher housing prices and an increased amount of housing starts (as developers try to increase the inventory to meet the high demand.). Vacancy rates will also dip lower as properties fill up quickly due to the high demand. The key indicators to look for in this stage are the increased housing sales on a month-to-month basis, the decreased duration it takes for an MLS property listing to get sold, and whether multiple offers on properties are becoming common, which drives property prices up even more.

What an investor should do:

  1. Raise rents and renew leases
  2. Liquidating one or more properties
  3. Buy-Fix-Sell strategies
  4. Sell later in the cycle 

The Second Stage is the “Down Market”. This downward trend typically follows after the top of the cycle. A downward trend occurs when the construction of housing units exceeds the demand and/or prices hit maximum affordability. Once the market hits this stage, the prices begin leveling off, demand slows down, and public optimism becomes uncertain. With excess inventory in the market, sales also decrease, leading to the average “days on the market” of each property to increase. Lastly, vacancy rates increase as tenants have more choice of units and landlords begin to offer discounted rents or move-in specials.

What an investor should do:

  1. Sell fast and don’t hold out for top dollar
  2. Decrease rents or offer incentives to attract or keep tenants
  3. Many landlords will have higher vacancies and be highly negotiable on price
  4. If you don’t sell now, hold properties until market corrects

The Third Stage is the “Bottom Market”.  Public perception of the economy is negative, unemployment is high, and the bank’s lending criteria become increasingly stringent. As a result of this, demand slows down leading to housing prices declining and foreclosures or power of sales becoming more popular as economic pessimism prevails.

What an investor should do:

  1. Buy distressed properties
  2. Holding and waiting for the “Up” market indicators (if you are looking to sell)
  3. Provide furnished rentals to keep your unit rents up
  4. Approach builders who have unsold inventory and purchase at a discount or with a purchase option 

The Fourth Stage is the “Up Market”. During stage, housing prices have bottomed out and are more or less stabilized. Market prices will start to increase based on the recovery of the local economy, thus increasing demand. With less property available, there are less MLS listings and average “days on the market” decrease. From a rental perspective, this creates a diminishing supply of units, which triggers lower vacancy rates and higher rents. Banks will start to become more lenient in their lending practices and the general public opinion of the economy becomes more positive.

What an Investor should do:

  1. Buy property from other investors who still haven’t realized a new cycle has begun in order to get bargain prices
  2. Increase rents
  3. Buy, Fix and sell
  4. Refinance existing properties to purchase more properties
  5. Sell, if you move the equity into a more valuable property

Taking the time to truly understand the real estate market can pay big dividends to any real estate investor, as they can better anticipate the up’s and down’s of the market and act accordingly.

Louis Tam is the online marketing coordinator for Vision Investment Properties.  Vision is a real estate investment company that provides safe, secure, turnkey investment properties. Their current projects are focused on multi-family residential real estate centered in the heart of Alberta’s booming economy.

What Landlords Should Look For In a Letting Agent

When looking for letting agents, advice is often offered to tenants seeking out the best deals so they are not charged through the nose by less reputable firms. It is just as important, however, for a landlord to do their research before settling on a letting agent to ensure they have found the best one to represent both them and their property.

Letting agents, whilst not as strongly regulated as the sales side, still have a number of official schemes they can subscribe to. These were set up to establish a list of industry-wide regulations that all letting agents should stick to in order to offer fair and reputable service.

So if you have a property and are looking for ways of ensuring you sign up with the best, what are the official bodies and what do all those acronyms actually stand for?

Deposit Protection Service

DPA is the Deposit Protection Service. It was set up to ensure that a tenant’s deposit is not held by the landlord or letting agency but instead a completely unbiased and independent third party. This ensures that the correct and fair amount is handed back to the tenant when they move out and that those involved do not have a say or make interest on the money during the tenancy. Whilst this may not seem like the most desirable option for landlords, it is now a legal requirement to safely store deposits in a third-party account, so letting agents which use such schemes will ensure you remain on the right side of the law.

Association of Residential Letting Agents

ARLA is the Association of Residential Letting Agents, which was set up solely to regulate the lettings market. Realising that lettings require a completely different approach to sales, ARLA was created to offer unique and specific regulations for the rental market. It promoted industry standards and requires letting agents to be able to display their practice falls in line with its regulations before allowing them to use its logo. Letting agents which are registered with ARLA should offer both landlords and tenants a better service that is in line with nationwide regulations.

There are a great many different bodies and services which can show just what a letting agent should be like before you sign on the dotted line, so ensure you look for them before awarding your business.

Other factors to consider

Along with the fees that a letting agent may charge it would also be worth asking what the retention rate of both properties and tenants are. If a letting agent has a high turnover of either it may possibly be an indicator that they fail at providing good customer service. Do they keep your tenant happy by answering queries quickly? Do vet tenants correctly so the landlord is paid, and has an undamaged property at the end of the agreement?

What methods do they use for marketing the property? With many more tenants searching online for rental opportunities you will want to make sure they are advertising the property with plenty of photos on the main property letting websites.

With enough investigating and question asking you should soon be well on your way to forming a working relationship with a letting agent. Also, don’t forget to ask your friends and contacts who also rent property or put a shout out on social media channels asking for opinions and advice on agents you are considering.

Why Rent Agreement is Important?

Hunting for an appropriate home on rent which would meet all your requirements and furnishes a room of comfort? Then it would be less of headache now as many owners are renting out their residential properties in order to earn extra income. You might get palatial rooms and homes on rent but before you fall in love with the place make sure you have entered in to the contract or have signed a rent agreement with the owner of the house. This article highlights about the important features covered in the rent agreement and why it is essential to sign it.

A rent Agreement is a very crucial document to be considered before moving in to the property. It perchance entails all important terms and a conditions before the property is given out on rent to the tenant. The document specifies unbiased details of the parties involved. Many make mistake of not giving due heed it, as they lack knowledge about the important points to be incorporated in the document. The owner should incorporate all the vital details in to the form and on the other hand the tenant should careful read and scrutinize the document.

From the tenant’s perspective the rent agreement is of high importance and allows him/her to extract important data about the owners. Rent agreement comes to the rescue of the tenant if the owner asks them to vacate the place or increases the rent. It also divulges other important information as in mentioned below.

Background of the owner: –

Before entering in to the rent agreement make sure that you are dealing with actual owner or not. Several people fake and undergo treacherous deals without the knowledge of the actual owner. Relatives and caretaker raise the entire house or portion of the property on rent; to overcome the confusion and make things thread bare ask the owner about the utility bills of the house and the complex, or for NOC documents.

Terms and Conditions of Payment: –

Before entering in to the deal affirm to cross verify the payment amount mentioned in the document. It is necessary to scrutinize the rent amount, the period by which rent should be paid every month as if the tenant is not able to pay the rent till the specified period then penal charges are to be borne him/her. Also mode of payment, overheads charges to be borne by the tenant or be paid, the security deposited and the most important one to be given heed is rent escalation clause which is another important clause which should be paid attention, it incorporates the norms of increasing the rent and when it should be increased.

Tenure: –

A rent agreement period is usually 11 month, if the tenant and owner are willing to continue the deal further; the rent agreement has to be renewed after the period of 11 months.  The rent agreement can be even more but usually it is the period mentioned above.

The tenant is also expected to fill the indispensible details in the form so that the owner is aware of the background of the tenant and remains aware of the activities. With rising crime rates it becomes highly essential that the owner has track of all important documents of the tenants.

If tenant fails to check the rent agreement and sign it without carefully scrutinizing it then the tenant will be liable for trespassing. The document in fact holds importance to both and assures transparency. It is indeed legally important to have rent agreement to evade unnecessary future complexities.

Six Steps to Buying Your Dream Home

You’ve finally found your dream house and are ready to commit but there’s that question of home mortgage affordability. The credit crisis and global recession certainly doesn’t help, don’t let this thought scare you away just yet. Find out if you can go ahead and buy that house at last.

Consider the following factors and identify any areas requiring improvement so that you too can buy your dream home,

1. Know how much you have and how much you owe. How much income are you receiving at present? Is there a chance that it would increase? What will be your financial situation several years from now? How much money do you owe to creditors? What are your monthly payments? Can you still afford to shell out more money after the bills are paid?

You’ll need a consistent source of income that can cover your mortgage and other expenses. Try to foresee possibilities that you’ll need to factor in: a new child, changes in the job, back-to-school plans and cash-flow five or several years from now. Be prepared to be in it for the long haul.

2. If your debts are well managed, then you can afford a home mortgage. The lender will approve your loan more quickly if he sees that your debt-to-income ratio is well within manageable range.

3. Decide which one you prefer: fixed, or variable. Paying a fixed rate is a more popular choice because it can protect you from surges in interests while paying the lowest rate possible for an agreed period of time may be lighter on your budget, but your mortgage payment can go up later.

5. Be prepared to pay a deposit. Typically, it is about 10% of the total price. A house priced at $1 000 000 will require a down of $100 000. There are also loans with low or no-deposit requirements, but these mainly target first time buyers and end up costing your more in the long run. Since the credit crisis getting a mortgage without a deposit is virtually impossible.

6. You have enough money saved that’s equivalent to at least three months’ monthly income. This will help cover unexpected expenses that could affect your mortgage payments.

There is no fixed answer on the affordability of a home mortgage. It will all depend upon your income, debt, interest rate and other factors (some beyond your control).

LoanFinder SA provides a 3-in-1 service which includes a free loan-finding service which can find you Personal Loans of up to R150 000, 24-month legal and ID assist and credit snapshot report which can provide you with your credit status and help determine your creditworthiness.

Do Chinese Real Estate Stocks look Attractive for the Long Term?

It looks as if the U.S. real estate market is limping back to normalcy. But at the same time, Mainland China may well be looking at a possible real estate crash. A bit of success has been achieved by the Chinese government in attempting to cage the increase in prices in the housing sector. While there is a bit of risk as far as the short term is concerned, the long term growth in this sector of China looks quite positive indeed.

Amongst the varied Chinese consumers, about 300 million people or more constitute the middle-class and they aim for a good lifestyle, for which real estate is a chief target.

According to the analysts of Standard & Poor’s, the prices of homes in China are on the declining trend and this has paved way for the return of buyers in the steadying real estate market.

On the other hand, it is well known that the real estate market is facing difficulty in California. So is it not peculiar that its state pension fund – the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) has revealed its interest of investments to the tune of $530 million in ARA Asset Management-managed two new China real estate funds, which could be nothing but positively for the longer-term? (Source: Forbes, September 24, 2012 titled “California State Employees Bet on China Real Estate.”)

In order to be more cautious in the Chinese real estate market, one could consider investing in the exchange traded fund of Guggenheim China Real Estate (NYSE/TAO). As of August 30, this fund has a year to date return of 25.5% and its holdings constitute large Chinese real estate stocks that are value-oriented.

There is another small-cap real estate company in China that is emerging in the market; Xinyuan Real Estate Co., Ltd. (NYSE/XIN). It has a market cap of $200 million and presents an opportunity of speculation and possibly high profits; especially after having outperformed the S&P 500 over the past 52 weeks; although this stock is currently seeing a low after its fifty-two week high of $3.95. This company is into the business of buying and developing land into large scale and top quality residential projects. Its clients are mainly the middle class citizens of the China’s growing II tier cities which are significantly sizeable and sufficiently urbanized. The company seeks those cities having a GDP that is above average along with a good growth in population. Examples of such cities whose pooled population is above 34.5 million people are Hefei, Jinan, Kunshan, Suzhou, Zhengzhou, Chengdu, and Xuzhou.

There are apartment buildings of various types: multi-layered, sub-high-rise, high-rise, etc. There are also retail outlets and facilities for education, leisure and health. All such projects are undertaken by the Xinyuan Real Estate Company. The company’s latest acquisition has been through its development unit in the United States named XIN Development Group International. It is a $54.2 million development site in New York City; which speaks volumes of the company’s strengths and hence potential profits.

Out of the past seven years, Xinyuan has seen profits for seven years; the last three years exhibiting the maximum increasing levels of the same. The yearly sales have shown continuous growth per year for nine years. (In the year 2002, the sales were $12.8 million; while the year 2011 saw their figures touch $688 million).

If we consider the projected or estimated earnings of Xinyuan for 2013, it looks like the current trading value is quite cheap; at a price-to earnings multiple of twice the estimated earnings of $1.45 per diluted share. This low price to earnings makes up for the risk factor that is associated with China.

As with any investments, it is always sensible to analyze the company in question and learn about its history and current position in the market. After all, there is a risk factor associated with any such trading and the future may not necessarily be a repetition of the past; especially where profits are concerned!

House Price Rise in UK – Is It a Surprise Temporary Blip?

The fact disclosed by Halifax – Britain’s biggest mortgage lender – that the house prices went up by 2.2pc last month may be contradictory for some especially in the background of recent downward trend in this regard. Many wonder whether it is only a short-term sensation or will last longer.

Martin Ellis, a renowned group housing economist, has sighted the historically low volume of housing sales as the reason for fluctuating housing prices. The price has risen by 2.0pc in the last March and dipped down by 0.4pc in April.

However, the house prices in the UK are more stable and I am presenting some convincing figures that will speak volume for this statement. House prices in the first quarter of 2012 have gone up though by a slight margin as compared to what prevailed in the last quarter of 2011. The increase in house price is equal to the recoded fall between the third and fourth quarters in the last year.

The first time buyers were almost rushing to make the advantage of stamp duty before it expired by the end of March. This may have pushed the sales margin which has ultimately resulted into a forward movement of the house price. As far as the critics believe, the price will continue to shoot up provided the economy does not experience a lethal blow.

Nationwide, Britain’s biggest building society has exposed the fact that the house prices are significantly higher in the short run as compared to the long term trend provided the figure is calculated as the multiples of gross average earning. The national price/earnings ratio for the first time home buyers is 4.3 at present whereas the same ratio is as high as 5.1 in London. According to the market analysts, these high multiples will not sustain in the long run and drop by 20pc or more.

One thing to make a good note of is that the prices are steadily falling in other cities and it is in stark contrast of price rising in London. The current scenario shows all signs of house prices picking up throughout the country. The house sale has been continuously rising since 2009.  81,000 houses were sold in January and February this year which is 14pc higher than what was in the same months last year.

For some pessimistic personnel, the UK market will hardly take a surprise turn. Both marginal demand and supply in the real estate industry have dropped in the last few years, thereby making the UK property market as nothing but a shadow of its usual self. The real estate market always attunes itself with economic buoyancy and truly speaking, the UK economy is not in a great state. So rising house price in London is a logic-defining syndrome. Some are of strong hope that Government’s New Buy scheme will surely rejuvenate the real estate market; however they are going to the farthest end of their wildest imagination.