Tuesday, May 31, 2011

New 2 Years, Best Time to Invest?

Survey: Next 2 years is prime time for real estate investors

18.5% plan to pay in cash

By Inman News

Inman News™

Real estate investors are likely to be three times more active than other types of homebuyers in their local markets within the next two years, according to a nationwide survey from Realtor.com operator Move Inc.

Market research firm GfK Custom Research North America conducted the survey on behalf of Move from April 11-15, 2011. The survey included telephone interviews of 1,200 U.S. adults, of which about 200 were identified as real estate investors. Data was weighted by age, sex, education, race and geographic region.

A third of real estate investors are planning to buy in the next 24 months, compared to 8.6 percent of typical homebuyers -- those planning to purchase a primary residence, vacation home or retirement property. Another 9.1 percent of typical homebuyers, and 28 percent of investors, plan to purchase between two and five years from now.

Among the investors, half plan to hold their properties for five or more years while 11 percent expect to sell within a year of purchase, according to the survey.

Some 56.5 percent of investors said the repair and maintenance of their property has not been difficult, and 42 percent plan to spend their own time and energy for that upkeep going forward.

Among the rest, 29.5 percent said they would hire a contractor for repairs and 28 percent said they would purchase move-in-ready properties. About 65.7 percent don't expect repair costs to surpass 20 percent of the property's purchase price, the survey said.

"This data suggests today's climate is hot for investing and is attracting a lot of new people that don't fit the stereotypical deal-driven flippers who buy and sell properties quickly," said Steve Berkowitz, Move CEO, in a statement.

"They're mostly entrepreneurial individuals who will make vital contributions to local communities by investing their own money and sweat equity to improve and maintain properties. These personal sacrifices made over the long run will help improve housing stocks, home values, property tax bases, and thousands of local communities."

More than half of investors, 53.5 percent, expect home prices to remain the same in the next six to 12 months. Of the rest, 23 percent expect prices to fall. About 69 percent expect it would be easier to find properties in the next six months, though 43.5 percent expect it would be harder to find bargains.

Some 41.5 percent of investors expect it would be easier to sell their properties in the next six months, the survey said.
Only 18.5 percent of investors said they will engage in an all-cash purchase, while 75.5 percent plan to combine cash and credit to purchase a property. More than half (59.5 percent) plan to put down cash but finance more than half of the purchase.

Sixteen percent plan to put down more than 50 percent in cash and finance the rest. Of the cash-only buyers, eight out of 10 expect discounts from sellers.
About 65.5 percent of investor respondents expect the financing difficulties first-time buyers are having will make it easier for them to compete for properties, according to the survey.

"The fact that most real estate investors plan on combing cash and credit for their purchases goes against the conventional wisdom that investor transactions today are mostly cash-only sales," Berkowitz said.

"This suggests they're seeing tremendous or once-in-a-lifetime opportunities and may be tapping into credit or taking out second trusts on existing properties. The data also shows they're expecting high returns to match the level of investment they're making in an arena that is new to many investors."

Most, 59 percent, of investors said they were new to investing; only 36.5 percent had experience with more than one property transaction. Nearly half (48 percent) said they expected a profit of 20 percent or more from their property investments, equal to a 4 percent annual rate of return over five years, the survey said. Another 40 percent expected a profit of 10 percent

Monday, May 16, 2011

Tips for a Tricky Bathroom Installation

Hello and thanks for visiting my blog!  I hope you find it useful and please feel free to share this with others and become a faithful follower! 

Today I came across an article on something that can be a troublesome issue for many and wanted to share.  Enjoy :)

We all understand the old adage of what rolls downhill, right? Plumbers have certainly known that basic premise since the first toilet was invented, and that's why drain lines need to slope from the toilet down to the sewer or septic tank.

Simple enough -- until you're remodeling a basement or other below-grade area and want to install a toilet that's below the level of the main sewer line. If you have a project like that in your future, then you'll have to consider a different strategy.

Sewage ejector pumps and toilets

One option to consider when it's impossible to get the necessary natural slope for a standard gravity flow toilet is to use a sewage ejector pump. These powerful electric pumps are capable of handling solid waste as well as liquids, and most can process solids up to 2 inches in diameter.

As with any type of electric pump, sewage pumps are rated in horsepower, ranging from less than one-half to more than one horsepower. The size you need depends on the volume of material being handled and, most importantly, how far the waste material will need to be moved vertically.

This vertical pumping distance from the fixture to the main sewer line -- called "head" -- is crucial to sizing the pump, and will typically be limited to about 10 feet of head for solids and 15 feet for liquids.

For the typical sewage ejector pump installation, the pump and the float mechanism that activates it sit inside a polyethylene basin that's approximately 30 gallons in size. There's a 3-inch or 4-inch diameter intake line that brings waste into the basin, a 2-inch diameter discharge line with a backflow-prevention check valve, and a vent pipe. Most pumps are 115 volts, but some of the larger units are dual 115/230-volt models.

Another option is a specialized fixture called a sewage ejector toilet, which is designed for below-grade installations.

The typical sewage ejector toilet consists of a pedestal made of polyethylene, which acts as a base for mounting the toilet. The pedestal, which is about 5 to 6 inches high, can sit directly on the floor or can be recessed so that the toilet itself ends up level with the floor. Inside the unit is a set of impellers and a sewage ejector pump, which processes the waste and pushes it up to discharge into the main sewer line.

Some models of sewage ejector toilets are designed with the pump and related vent and discharge lines located far enough behind the toilet that it's possible to construct a wall between the toilet and the pump equipment. This allows for a cleaner installation, and makes the pipes and equipment much less obtrusive.

Composting toilets

Another possibility to consider, especially if you're thinking green, is the composting toilet. Composting toilets eliminate the need for a discharge pump altogether, and give a boost to the environment as well. The toilet is fully self-contained, requires no water inlet, no connection to a sewer, and no chemicals, but does require an electrical connection and a vent to the outside.

Composting toilets work similar to a septic tank. Approximately 90 percent of the waste material entering a toilet is actually water, so the composting toilet utilizes a small electric heating grid and fan inside the unit to evaporate the liquids through the vent pipe. The remaining 10 percent of the waste material breaks down through normal bacterial action, and is converted naturally into a soil-type residue. This residue filters down through a grid into a collection tray located in the bottom of the toilet. In normal use, the tray requires emptying only about once a year.

Composting toilets are not only good for below-grade applications, but also work great in cabins, shops, warehouses, and other locations where the installation of the waste and water lines necessary for a standard toilet is impractical.

Sewage ejector toilets and composting toilets, as well as sewage ejector pumps and related fittings, are typically available by special order through plumbing fixture retailers and some home centers, or through your plumber.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Advantage Realty Group Blog: Daily Motivation - I THINK I CAN

Advantage Realty Group Blog: Daily Motivation - I THINK I CAN: "I THINK I CAN  If you think you are beaten you are; If you think you dare not, you don't; If you want to win but think you can't; Its almo..."

Daily Motivation - I THINK I CAN


If you think you are beaten you are;
If you think you dare not, you don't;
If you want to win but think you can't;
Its almost a cinch you won't.

If you think you'll lose you're lost;
For out of the world we find
Success begins with a fellow's will;
It's all in a state of mind.

Life's battles don't always go
To the stronger faster man,
But sooner or later the man who wins
Is the man who thinks he can.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Affordable Rental Properties Now Harder To Find

According to a report released Tuesday by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, a large number of renters are allocating more than half their income to housing.

CNN Money reported the study discovered that one in four renters, or approximately 10.1 million households, are spending half of their paychecks on rent and utilities. The number of middle-income renters, who are also facing this problem, has increased by almost double to 7.5 percent during the last 10 years.

This problem can most likely be attributed to rising housing costs and weak income gains, according to the study. Also, the abundance of new renters who either lost their home to foreclosure or simply cannot afford to buy a home now has played a role.

“In the last decade, rental housing affordability problems went through the roof,” Eric Belsky, managing director of the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, told CNN Money. “And these affordability problems are marching up the income scale.”

On top of those numbers, another 26.2 percent of people spent between 30 and 50 percent of their income on housing. The middle-income bracket makes between $42,000 and $62,900 and one in five of those people are paying between 30 and 50 percent of that for rent. This percentage is up 9 percent when compared to a decade ago.

The Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies characterizes “affordable” as below 30 percent of the household income.

Another problem on the rise is the lack of inventory of affordable rental housing. In 1999, around 12 percent of low-cost market-rate rentals were dilapidated or lost from the housing stock. Also, due to the housing crisis there are few new multi-family buildings being constructed.

Belsky believes that the decline in supply conflicts with the increased demand. In 2010, there were an additional four million people renting compared to 2005.