The city of Ocala prides itself with being in the crossroads of Florida. The city is known for its lush rolling green fields, and the large concentration of equine horse arms, which gives it the title of being the “Thoroughbred Capital of The world.”

Aside from having a lush green natural setting, the area is also famous for offering residents and newcomers a healthy array of real estate choices to choose from, ranging from affordable bungalows, single-family homes, apartments, town homes, condos and even sprawling estates. The city as well as Marion County also offers residents and visitors many outdoor recreational activities and amenities, with its wide array of parks and recreational facilities.

The County Has A Large Number of Parks And Recreational Centers

Marion County’s parks and recreation system has around 45 facilities to offer tourists and outdoor enthusiasts, ranging from boat ramps to softball fields, beaches, nature and conservation areas and even dog parks.

Some of the county’s recreational facilities offer free entrance, while some charge a small entrance fee, and many offer annual passes. The Rainbow Springs State Park in Dunnellon has the state’s fourth largest spring, and is headwaters are popular destinations for canoing, swimming, snorkeling and kayaking on the Rainbow River.

Is It A Buyer’s Market Here Today?

According to real estate industry observers, the median price of homes for the second quarter of 2007 was pegged at $170,900, and this represents a slight increase from the recorded price of $169,500 for the same period last year. The National Association of Realtors also noted a U.S. median home price of $223,800 for the second quarter of 2007, as compared to $227,100 for he same period last year.

For the state of Florida, the median price for the period was $221,200, which was down from $243,300 for the same period last year. According to some local property observers, the area’s housing market is still being relatively seen as a buyers market. Sales are off quite a lot when compared to the figures in March 2006, when 614 homes were sold.

There is still a a glut of newly-completed but vacant homes, as these were bought by investors who intended to flip them but have now been caught with houses they can’t sell. According to industry watchers there are around 6,869 homes listed on the Ocala Marion County MLS as of the last quarter of 2007. Homes here that are selling, are at present priced and in the mid to lower price range, and well-priced residences are selling close to their asking prices.

So would this be a great time to buy a home here? Some say yes, while some say that it’s still too cautious to say yes. It would all depend on you to decide, however be on the lookout for some excellent and wonderful deals out there, since at the moment, interest rates are near historical lows.

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Today’s real estate buyers are much more educated and savvy when looking at and buying real estate. With over 80% of today’s buyers using the internet in some capacity to search for homes, according to the recent study done by the National Association of Realtors, today’s buyers require an agent that they can rely on and trust will be able to do the multiple tasks involved in the purchase of a home, and of course, in a timely manner with being able to communicate at anytime. But that is only the logistical and fundamental aspect of the transaction.

Today it is imperative for a buyer to work with an innovative agent that is technology and market savvy, an agent with proven systems in place and the stats and facts to back it up. With our local market of Fairfield County moving sideways in most towns at this point there are good deals out there and still some very bad ones. Your agent needs to be able to decipher and weed out the bad deals and make the good deal happen. Not always does a good one come right out of the pages and knock you across the head, your agent needs to be on top of his/her game and have the technology working for them to be able to seek out and deliver your goal of finding the perfect home along with the perfect deal in place.

With finding the perfect situation also comes the final terms & conditions and the negotiating process behind the great deal. Today’s agent needs to have a remarkable sense of professionalism and have the negotiating skills and formal training of a fine-tuned Fortune 500 salesman. They need to be using the most up to date technological tools with a proven business plan in place. If you find yourself feeling like you’re doing most of the work yourself or having trouble communicating with your real estate agent than it may be time to consider interviewing other agents, in my findings in the Southwestern section of Connecticut there seems to be only about 5-7% of the agents that can fit most of the qualities spoken above.

Real estate can be an unbelievable investment vehicle but only if the person driving the car can do the navigation as well. Anyone can drive a car, especially with it being fairly easy to obtain a real estate license, but only a select few can navigate through the trenches successfully.

If you’re a foreign national thinking about investing in the real estate market in Canada here’s a run down of the typical buying process you should expect to encounter together with a general explanation of mortgages available to assist with the purchase.

First things first though, you have to find your ideal property of course!

But let’s assume you’ve done that with the help of a good estate agent and you’re ready to move forward with an offer.

It’s important to know that from the outset the entire process surrounding the buying and selling of real estate in Canada is a regulated process. This means the process should follow the basic format as described below and that you will be protected throughout by the rules governing the process and the actions of those involved in it.

Once you find your dream home in Canada you make a financial offer to purchase to the vendor – probably via your agent – which your estate agent is legally bound to submit to the vendor whether or not it matches the asking price. Negotiations proceed until a purchase price is agreed upon between you and the vendor, at which point both parties sign the ‘Offer to Purchase’ – also known as ‘Agreement of Purchase & Sale’.

This is a preliminary contract and it is either ‘firm’ or ‘conditional’

A conditional preliminary contract usually contains terms relating to the successful securing of finance to buy, or to the satisfactory completion of building surveys etc., and it only becomes firm when all the conditions have been met.

If you are using a mortgage to purchase your home it is essential to have this noted as one of the terms, because if you fail to secure your mortgage and the contract falls through you will want your deposit back!

A firm preliminary contract is not subject to any terms or conditions, if it is broken by the purchaser they lose their deposit, if it is broken by the vendor they may be subject to a financial penalty.

Your deposit will be required when signing the Offer to Purchase, and the contract will contain your completion date.

When the completion date is reached and all conditions for the fulfilment of the contract have been met, the remainder of the purchase price together with all fees will be payable.

Monies are paid to the vendor via the solicitor or notaire handling the legalities of the sale. At this point both the purchaser and the vendor sign the ‘definitive contract’ which is called ‘Acte de Vente’ in Quebec.

If purchasing in Quebec this final part of the sale is managed by a notaire who in this case is a government official – s/he is responsible for the conveyancing and as a result s/he represents both the purchaser and the vendor…it therefore makes sense to employ your own legal representative in Canada to make sure your best interests are served and protected throughout the process.

Fees you will likely incur on top of mortgage arrangement fees, legal and survey fees include provincial fees and land transfer taxes.
Provincial fees are around CAD 100 depending on the province in which you’re purchasing, and they are charged for transferring the title of the property etc.
Land transfer taxes are again determined by each province and they are calculated as a set percentage of the purchase price.

If you are interested in securing a mortgage to fund your purchase it is interesting to note than depending on your country of origin and circumstances, there are a number of major financial institutions in Canada willing to lend to non-resident buyers.

The following is only meant to serve as a general guide to Canadian mortgages – it may not apply in every case.

Most Canadian mortgages are what’s known as “full status” – a full status loan is where complete checks are made on the borrower’s credit history and income.

To apply for such a mortgage you will have to have proof of income and outgoings. Such finance can be raised for the purchase of property, the renovation of real estate or for house construction purposes.

Generally a 35% deposit is required and the purchaser is also responsible for all legal fees involved in the arrangement and purchase process.
35% is just a guideline, some provinces require deposits of up to 50%, and in special circumstances a deposit lower than 35% may be acceptable.

Most mortgages are repayment over a maximum of 25 years with pay back due for completion before the purchaser’s 70th birthday.
Most lenders make life cover a further lending requirement.

When it comes to eligibility for a loan and size of a loan you need to know the following: –

– Eligibility is based on the applicant’s current ability to fulfil the financial terms of the loan, it is not based on any potential rental income the applicant may generate from the property he is hoping to purchase with the mortgage.

– Taking the applicant’s gross income into account, 40% should cover all existing outgoings and commitments AND the monthly repayments for the proposed new mortgage.

– If you’re self employed then your income will be taken as the average of your last three years’ net income.

– If you have existing rental and/or investment income this may be taken into consideration as well.

– Outgoings in this context are any current mortgage or rent you pay, any personal loans or credit card payments you have and any child support payments you have to make.

If your mortgage application is successful it will of course be secured on the property you’re buying in Canada and not on any property you currently hold in which ever country you are a resident.

The mortgage company carry out a valuation of the property you’re looking to buy to make sure it’s worth the purchase price, and you’ll probably end up paying any fees they incur making this valuation. Finance arrangement fees can sometimes be charged as well, they are usually 1% of the loan amount.

Are you interested in buying a new house? If you are looking to become a first-time homebuyer, your first impulse is to automatically seek out the best deals. But wait! How can you find cheap houses for sale? As you know, you have a number of buying and searching options. For your convenience, a few of these options are reviewed below.

Find Cheap Houses for Sale: MLS Real Estate Search

Multiple listing service (MLS) websites are an easy way to find properties for sale, including houses. These websites and services enable real estate agents (regardless of which agency they work for) to post for sale listings on the site. Generally, you will not find for sale by owner homes listed. Typically, licensed real estate agents are the only individuals able to use these services as for posting.

Since your goal is to find affordable houses (houses selling below the last appraised value or selling below the fair market value), you do not want to perform a standard search. Instead, you want to enter in a price range. Do this by selecting a reasonable minimum price, such as $30,000 and a maximum price, such as $100,000 or the most you are willing to pay for a home). By setting a price range, you will automatically bypass expensive properties as they will not even appear in your search results.

Find Cheap Houses for Sale: Monitor the Progress or For Sale Homes

When a seller first lists their home for sale with a realtor, they are unlikely to budge on that selling price for at least one month. However, as more time goes buy, the more they are willing to negotiate. In that, you may see the price of that house decrease overtime without you having to lift a negotiating finger!

You can track the progress of sales (how long a home has been on the real estate market yourself). With that said, many real estate listings do state when the home was first listed for sale. You stand a better chance of getting a good deal on a house by contacting sellers or realtors who have had their homes listed for 3 months or longer without a sale.

Find Cheap Houses for Sale: Target Foreclosures

When a homeowner can no longer afford their mortgage, the bank begins to foreclose on the property. At this point in time, financial lenders have pretty much given up on retaining the full value of the home. In many cases, they are just lucky to recoup the remainder of the defaulted mortgage. For buyers, this tends to mean a great deal!

As you can imagine, there are a number of downsides to targeting foreclosures. Many financial lenders post an auction ad in the newspaper once; so you always need to be on the lookout. Then, there is the quality of the home to take into consideration. Since the homeowner could not afford to make their mortgage payments, there is a good chance that they were unable to afford the basic upkeep and maintenance needed to keep a home in top-notch shape.

The real estate, and housing markets, are, often, ever – changing! In my, over 15 years, as a Real Estate Licensed Salesperson, in the State of New York, I have experienced, various degrees of, both, Buyers, and Sellers, Markets, as well as neutral ones! Many factors, both, actual, and perceived ones, influence, buying houses, and commercial properties, but, the best approach, for every real estate professional, as well as potential buyer, is to understand, and appreciate, as many of these issues, etc, which might impact this marketplace! With that in mind, this article will attempt to, briefly, consider, examine, review, and discuss, 7 key factors, which may, significantly, affect buying habits, etc.

1. Overall economy/ economic conditions: How well the present, overall, economy, is performing, in both, actual terms, as well as perceived ones, is a significant factor, in the performance, and activity, of housing, etc! In addition, what is predicted, in the near future, as well as how, buyers, believe, and feel, it will perform, are, often, significant influences.

2. Job/ employment security: Those, who believe, they have job security, are far more, apt, to buy a house, than, others! When, many people have this confidence, this often, creates greater competition, for the houses, available, for sale, at the time. Since, pricing, often, depends on Supply and Demand, when there are more sellers than buyers, it creates a Buyers Market, and when the number of potential buyers, exceeds, houses, for sale, it often, leads to a Sellers Market.

3, Mortgage Interest Rate: We are currently, experiencing, historically, low, mortgage interest rates. This translates, generally, to rising home prices, because, when rates are low, potential homeowners, are able, to purchase, more expensive homes, and pay an affordable (for them) monthly payment.

4. Fears: Our fears are often, a major influence, in whether, we are willing, to make a significant decision, in a wise, well – considered, timely manner. Especially in a Buyers Market, timeliness, is often, a determining factor, in whether one, can purchase, a specific house, especially, when there are multiple, potential competitors!

5. Priorities: When one begins his housing search, he should create a personal priorities list, differentiating between, one’s wish – list, and true needs, etc! Considerations must include: lot size; rooms configurations and sizes, number of bedrooms, kitchen features, etc.

6. Supply and Demand: Real estate prices, often, are largely dependent upon, the principles, of Supply and Demand. This determines pricing, availability, choices/ options, etc.

7. Costs: Often, the process, becomes, all about the pricing. The total costs, including down – payments, real estate taxes, mortgage payments, necessary reserves, and associated costs, etc, are essential, significant factors.

If you, really, want, and hope to buy a home, of your own, you should thoroughly, consider, and examine, a number of relevant factors! Since, for most of us, the value of our home, represents our single – largest, financial asset, doesn’t that make sense?

Situated on Southwest Florida’s Gulf coast, Sarasota is arguably a modern day paradise. Sarasota carries all the charm of a southern town with the amenities of a big city. Scenic white sand beaches, country clubs, five star resorts, fine dining and world-class shopping are features that you will find in Sarasota. Sarasota also has a high per capita income and is the site to major symphony, opera and ballet companies. Sarasota ranks among the 15 most habitable communities in the United States. Money Magazine brands Sarasota County as “the nation’s per capita arts capital.” The grand Van Wezel Performing Arts Center has been the venue for popular theatrical productions like the Broadway road company of Chicago. Furthermore, the Ringling Museum of Art is renowned for showcasing an extensive collection of American and European art.

When you are deciding to buy a Sarasota real estate property, the initial thing you should do is to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Obtaining a mortgage pre-approval can certainly save yourself the heartache of looking at Sarasota real estate properties that you cannot afford. Mortgage pre-approval also puts you in a better position to decide on a serious offer when you are able to find the right one according to your needs. Pre-approval from a mortgage lender is analyzed by utilizing data regarding your actual income, as well as your credit and debt track records.

You have to assure yourself that you are working with a good lender. To identify a good lender, you simply have to do a little amount of research to verify that a particular lender has a satisfactory reputation. It is highly recommended that you pick a lender who has lived in the Sarasota area for a long period. In this manner, you are guaranteed that your lender has a pretty good idea about the most appropriate real estate properties with respect to your budget and your requirements.

Another tip for buying Sarasota real estate property is to be realistic about home prices. Unfortunately, Sarasota real estate market is not as inexpensive as you thought it if you compare it with busier cities like Miami or Orlando. This resort town also compares in prices to other higher end areas of Florida, such as Boca Raton, Palm Beach, and Naples. Everyone surely wants to find that cheap home or condo at the beach front, but unfortunately it just does not exist.

Another important tip is to learn and study well the dynamics of the Sarasota real estate market. Before you can buy a Sarasota real estate property you ought to feel comfortable about where you are buying as well as the price range you are focusing on. The best way to study the real estate market is by seeing properties for sale in Sarasota, or better yet, by searching the Sarasota MLS. Knowing the market will eliminate the time-wasting efforts of looking for real estate properties that do not exist, and thus will spare you a lot of the stress, aggravation and frustration.

The next wise step that you should do is to hire a professional realtor. Your time is indeed very valuable. Hiring a real estate agent is certain save you money, time and effort. Driving around aimlessly on weekends and scanning the weekend newspaper is time consuming. By hiring a Sarasota real estate agent you can eradicate a great deal of wasted time and inconvenience by simply consulting the real estate regarding what you are looking for in order to obtain a list of properties currently for sale.

Having a home that they can call their own is the ultimate goal of many married couples. But finding one that is comfortable for them and just within their budget is stressing. But your search for homes is now over since there are many real estate properties that you can find at an affordable price especially considering the current economic downturn.

These are many real estates were seized by the government and are being sold at a price that many could afford. By now, you can make your dream home a reality!

The seized real estates is a good property considering its price. They can give you the comfort and security in your home. You can now even invite your friends over for a nice conversation, drink, or dinner.

Mostly, these seized real estates were owned by drug dealers and tax cheaters. And yes, these kind of people live in a luxurious way of life. Some of the seized real estates are mansions, suburban houses and cabin getaways. So just imagine your luck if you can own this kind of house at a very reasonable price.

The government-seized real estate properties are about 30-40% cheaper than the market price although sometimes you can find real bargain homes going for as much as 90% off market prices.

So this is an excellent investment if you want to save money but would want to own a house where you and your family can comfortably live.

Seized real estate auctions are held all year round although it may be difficult to know where and when it will be held since they are not advertised much except probably in local newspaper classified.

The best way to keep updated of new seized real estate auctions is to go online as they are a few sites that keeps tracks of the latest seized properties being auctioned all over the country.

These online seized real estate sites allows you to know when and where the auction is held, the price and location of the real estate as well so you can determine whether it is worthy of buying before going down to auction.

Real estate buying is a tricky and sometimes dirty world, I don’t mean everyone is like this, but there are just a few culprits and pot holes that you might run and fall into. So to avoid the trouble and falling into a trap, here are a few tips you need to know for to avoid FSBO homes buying mistakes:

1. Deciding to purchase a home without knowing your finances- This is where a lot of people get into a great deal of trouble. When you are not aware of your finances, the amount of money you can earn as well as what other financial responsibilities you have, then there is a great chance that you will get into a great deal of trouble. Not knowing your finances will often lead you to spending more on your home, this is because you are just basing your knowledge on your income and not on the overall inflow and outflow of money. So to avoid this dilemma, be sure to consult an accountant or if you can do it on your own, check every detail of your financial responsibilities and be realistic with the amount you can afford.

2. Home hunting without pre-approved for a mortgage loan- The trouble you have to go through when it comes to applying for a loan is not new to most of you, there are a lot of those who purchase homes in the different FSBO listings even though their mortgage application is still pending. And when unfortunate events like disapproval comes their way, they will have a hard time to stand up from the burden they have put themselves into. So to ensure that this does not happen to you, you must make sure that you are able to apply and have a pre-approved mortgage loan.

3. Compromising without searching- now that you know your budget, the best thing you need to do is work around it and not over it. But there are a lot of problems that will come your way, one of the most common one is finding a home that you want, fits your budget, but the biggest problem is that it is too small for your family. Let’s say you have 5 children, all in the school age years, which means there is still a long time before they will be able to move out. Therefore you have to let go of the house you have previously chosen despite the good traits and the budget, you can always be more patient in searching for home in the different FSBO listings and see to it that you and your family can live in comfortably as well as it fits the budget. Don’t lose hope of it does not happen immediately, you can wait for holiday sales or wait till real estate prices drop for you to be able to find a good deal for a home you can afford.

When a person decides they are ready to buy a home, they tend to start looking for the most they can afford in the best possible neighborhood. Alas, there is another approach.

Geography is the study of the features of the Earth and the distribution of life across it. Did you catch that last part? While geography may not be the most exciting of subjects, it can be a very important part of the real estate buying process, particularly if you think long-term.

In this country as in most, society has formed up in a very definitive manner when it comes to homes. Simply put, we start with a central point and then expand out from it. If you have lived in your current location for five years or so, particularly on either coast, you know this too be true. Where there used to be brush land or at least vacant land, there are now developments. Did you ever wonder who owned that older house out there with the 50 acres? Did you ever wonder where they are now? Sitting on a yacht somewhere!

Our society is very much a short attention span one. For those who can look to the future even a little bit, geography presents a massive profit strategy in real estate. Consider the following examples.

In Las Vegas, it is no secret that the real estate market has been growing like mad. Why? Thousands of people move to the city each year to escape taxes, retire or for whatever reason. If you visited the city 5 years ago and today, you would be shocked. It has at least doubled in size. At least! Where there was previous vacant land with no roads there are now resorts such as Red Rock on the west side of the city. If you had purchased land or a home out in this area five years ago, you would be walking around with a permanent smile today!

Along the coasts, things can be even better. San Diego is a perfect example. San Diego can only grow in one direction – east. It is limited by the ocean in the west, the border in the south and the Camp Pendelton Base in the north. As you might imagine, prices are exploding and the city is expanding far to the east. Entire communities of hundreds of thousands of people are appearing out of nowhere. Put simply, buying a home with land to far east of San Diego makes sense if you are willing to sit on it for a few years. Once again, geography is the key.

As Americans, we want things and we want them now! If you can show a bit of patience and foresight, however, you could have your cake and eat it to.

Austin, the capital city of Texas, is one of my favorite places to live in. And not only is mine, the city is at top of many people’s list of the best places to live in, which has made every inch of Austin real estate a hot cake among realtors. In 2009, Money magazine selected the city as the No. 3 Best Big City in “Best Places to Live”, and it was at No. 2 position in 2006. Other accolades that Austin has received include:

Greenest city in America, MSN
No.2 city with the best people, CNN Headline News and Travel & Leisure magazine
America’s No. 1 college town, Travel Channel
5th safest city
The least stressful large metro area, Forbes magazine.

Now can you see why the houses in the capital city of Texas are sold long before “Austin Homes for Sale” placards are placed before them? Not only that, the rub-off effect of Austin’s real estate success can be seen on homes in Kyle as well, a city 21 miles southwest of Austin. Call it Austin phenomenon that even “Kyle homes for Sale” placards do not have to wait longer before it is shoved inside the already crowded stowage.

The Silicon Hills not the Silicon Valley

Austin also goes by the name of the “Silicon Hills” because of the high concentration of high-tech firms operating in the city. 3M, AMD, Apple Inc., Applied Materials, Cirrus Logic, Cisco Systems, Dell, eBay/PayPal, Freescale Semiconductor (spun off from Motorola in 2004), Google, Hewlett-Packard, Hoover’s, IBM, Intel Corporation, National Instruments, Samsung Group, Silicon Laboratories, Sun Microsystems, and United Devices are the names of the high-tech companies running their from Austin.

These companies have made the price of local real estate go through the roof compared to the real estate prices in many parts of rural Texas. But still it is much cheaper than the housing cost in the Silicon Valley. That is why many tech giants are flocking to the city making “Austin Homes for Sale” placards disappear much more quickly than it should.

It is not only the high-tech companies that are coming to the city; it is pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies as well. 85 companies from the industry operate out of Austin.

These companies along with the state agencies, colleges, and universities produce so much of employment that it makes the city a place where a person can allow its dream to fly. The city is up for a dream run, and so are the people living here.

But, what about those who do not live in Austin? How can they take advantage of opportunities presented by this city? Well, they need to settle down in the city and for that they will need a home in the city. The following paragraphs will help them find a perfect nest I (almost) for themselves in the city.

5 Austin real estate buying tips

Research the neighborhood: This is something anyone will ask you to do. It is an absolute must because you are going to spend time with people there. See if the neighborhood is suitable for you or not, and if it can meet your needs or not. Check the following:

Crime rate
Grocery stores
Departmental stores
Sports club & gym
Doctors and hospitals
Police and fire department

Find a real estate agent you can trust: Finding a reliable Austin real estate agent is as important as finding a good neighborhood. A real estate agent will not only find a good home at the best price for you, but he will also help you settle in the locality. He will assist you in finding shops of daily requirement, and will also use his knowledge of the community to help you settle down. I have heard of many stories where Austin realtors have turned into a lifelong friend for their customers.

See a handful of houses: Do not commit a mistake of settling down for the house shown to you in the first go. Austin has many good houses in every neighborhood. Look at minimum 4-5 houses before deciding on any. Click pictures of each home that you visit, and ask for the benefits each has to offer.

Pay your Austin real estate agent well: Bargaining with an estate agent on his commission is not that good an idea. After all, it is on him that your property-search depends. A grumpy real estate agent may get you a bad deal, whereas, a happy agent will get you the house at the best possible price.

Hire a home inspector: A home inspector will help you evaluate the worth of the house you are considering. He will also tell you about things that will need immediate fixing, and things that can wait. He will spend a whole day in the house and will produce house audit report, which will cover every aspect of the ownership.