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
Schools
Grocery stores
Departmental stores
Park
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.

There are a range of Kenya real estate options to suit every type of buyer. These range from luxury beach homes which make for excellent second homes or vacation rentals, to villas, town houses and apartments.

Kenya is a reasonably big economy so besides Nairobi, there is a vibrant property market in Mombasa, Lamu, Malindi and Kisumu. Chances therefore are that you will be spoilt for choice when searching Kenya properties for your ideal home.

However, before you sign on the dotted line, ponder over the tips below very carefully.

1. Research the Neighborhood

When you identify a piece of Kenya real estate you like, drive or walk around the neighborhood. Is it lush and are there unplanned structures such as kiosks on the roadside?

Are the roads paved and how many alternative routes can you use to get to the city center? Does the neighborhood have a vibrant association that advances the community’s common interests?

Is your dream house near a shopping center so that you don’t have to drive to the other end of town to do your weekly shopping? If you have school-going children, how good are the schools in the area?

Is the house located near slums? The latter is an important consideration as it devalues your investment and may increase the incidence of crime. Although classified as posh suburbs for example, parts of Lavington, Loresho and Runda border slums so steer clear of these.

It may be a good idea to drive around the neighborhood at unusual times such as very early in the morning, after office hours and late at night to check out the traffic flow and the general environment in the neighborhood.

Some areas in the country are more prone to power and water outages than others. So walk into one of the local shops and ask about these issues so that you can make an informed Kenya real estate decision.

2. Do your Due Diligence on the Identified Property

Once you have thoroughly researched the neighborhood, it’s time to research the property at both the Ministry of Lands and the relevant city or municipal council.

Carrying out a search at the Ministry of Lands helps you to ascertain a couple of things…

First, the copy of the title will indicate whether the person purporting to sell the property is indeed the owner.

Second, it indicates the outstanding lease period if it is a leasehold property. It may not be wise to buy a property with a remaining lease period of less than 20 years. If, however, you will finance the purchase of the property with a mortgage, be aware that financial institutions will require a much longer outstanding lease period.

Third, any encumbrances on the property will be noted on the title. If, for example, the title holder has mortgaged the property, the mortgager’s interest will be noted on the title. As such, the property transaction cannot be finalized without this lender’s consent so you should plan to obtain this.

A search at the city or municipal council offices will help you ascertain whether all the annual rates have been paid. If there are arrears, the transfer of property cannot be effected by the Ministry of Lands as the city or municipal council will withhold their all-important certificate of clearance.

3. Negotiate

Negotiation is another important tip for getting value for money when buying Kenya real estate. Buying a house is, by all accounts, a major investment so do don’t be embarrassed to bargain. Try and lop a million or half a million Kenya shillings off the advertised price…

Timing is critical here though as it is easier to get a discount on uncompleted developments. Developers are keen to give considerable discounts when construction has just started in return for a substantial down payment. So, be prepared to pay substantially more than the 10 percent of the purchase price typically required upon signing of the sale agreement.

How much down payment you will eventually be required to make is entirely up to your negotiation skills so hone these in good time.

4. Identify a Good Lender

If you will be financing your home purchase with a mortgage, you need to research the mortgage providers in Kenya so that you pick the one who most meets your needs.

Several banks, building societies and mortgage companies provide 80-100 percent mortgages. These include Housing Finance, Kenya Commercial Bank, Barclays and Commercial Bank of Africa. In Kenya, mortgages typically attract variable rather than fixed interest rates but read the fine print to ensure that there are no hidden costs or oppressive clauses.

Obviously, before taking on a mortgage, make sure you can service both your existing and additional debt. This will avert that dreaded risk of foreclosure in future.

5. Hire a Good Lawyer

Lawyers play an irreplaceable role in concluding Kenya real estate transactions so you will need to hire one.

As with everywhere else, Kenya has a few wayward lawyers so choose your lawyer very carefully. If you don’t know one, ask your family or real estate agent to recommend a reliable one.

As an extra safeguard, do not grant your lawyer the power of attorney because this gives him a free license to do with the property as he pleases. So, you could be cheated out of your Kenya real estate investment.

Instead, set aside some money to have all documents that require your signature couriered to you. You will also need to courier these back. This may cost you a few hundred dollars and delay conclusion of the transaction by a few weeks but is well worth it to protect your interests.

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If you are up to saving money on home buying, be well aware of certain facts. Purchase a house only if you are sure enough to live there for several years. Or else, it can be expensive for you. Purchasing home and then selling them with a profit requires good understanding of the real estate market trends. So, take up the idea of purchasing property only if you are well aware of the ups and downs of the market trends.

In case you are interested in buying home to stay, the following tips would help you to great extent.

Fix the amount of money that you would want to invest for real estate. To determine the amount the thumb rule is two-and-one-half times your annual salary. You may use better tools to calculate the amount for investment keeping in mind the income, debts, and expenses.
Rehearse well on how you would negotiate to get the best deal for real estate buying. The deal should be based on the sales trend of similar homes in the area. Check out the sales prices of the houses of the last three months.
Though Internet is a good guide for you to get all the listings and the current rates of real estate buying, but engaging a professional agent would definitely make your work lot easier. He would help you in the bidding process for the best possible real estate deal. If you find that the price of the recently sold homes is 5% less than the asking price, you bid for 8 to 10% lower than the price quoted by the seller.

Property Loans

To save money, you may go for home loans. A home loan would help you to get a home of your own and pay for it in reasonable installments. Home loans come along with huge tax concessions. Compared to other forms of loans the home loans would help you to evade tax payments to great extent. Lets see how.

You would get tax deduction amount on the repayment of the principal amount of the loan that is granted to you for purchasing a house.
The rate of interest paid on the loan is deductible from ‘income from property’, even if the amount is not paid during the year.
Even the interest paid for a fresh loan which is taken to repay the old loan is also deductible.

Here are the basic steps of the real estate buying process:
1) Hire a Realtor: I’ll just give three example reasons: First, my state requires a Property Condition Disclosure from the seller. Most buyers and sellers don’t know this requirement; therefore, it would be easy for a seller to hide behind ignorance to avoid disclosing problems with the property. Second, it’s not always easy to find a good home inspector-I’ve gone through 8 myself; a real estate agent should have this connection. Third, it’s estimated that a real estate agent makes 200 phone calls during the closing process. Do you have time to make an extra 200 phone calls in a month?

2) Loan Approval: As a best practice, get approved for the loan first. Unless you have a very large bank account, then the buying process requires a lender. It’s horribly frustrating to find the perfect house and not be able to qualify for the loan. In addition, getting approved at the beginning makes sense logically: if you get in touch with a lender first, they’re able to give you advice about improving your credit score; within 4 months you could improve your score enough to get the loan. On the other hand, if you search for a home for 4 months, find the perfect home, and can’t get the loan, then you’ve wasted 4 months.

3) Find a Home: This is actually the easiest step. Finding a home is an emotional process. It’s best to look at a large amount of homes on the same day and weed down to your favorites. Then, go back and look at your favorites on another day. It’s amazing how buyers’ opinions will change based on mood, so it’s best to visit your favorites a couple of times.

4) Paperwork: There are generic contracts available at Office Depot and similar stores. Any document that says you agree to buy and the seller agrees to sell for a certain amount on a certain date could be considered a contract. The difficulty arises in the details, especially inspections and closing costs. Once again, it’s best to hire a real estate agent.

5) Inspections: Real Estate should always be inspected prior to buying, even new construction. A home inspection costs between $250 and $400 depending on the size of the home. Most home inspectors will do a 2 to 4 hour inspection of every visible part of the home, including attic and crawl space. Once you receive their report, you can use it to demand repairs from the seller. The inspection can save you $1,000’s down the road or keep you from buying a problem house, and even if the inspection doesn’t uncover anything, you’ll have the peace of mind.

6) Repairs: Once you have the inspection report, you’ll need to negotiate repairs with the seller. It’s usually best to ask for more repairs than you actually expect; then you can negotiate down if needed. A good knowledge of construction is also useful because many sellers will try to convince you that your repairs are cosmetic or nit-picky; you need to be able to explain why their not.

7) Insurance: Home owners insurance is the most forgotten step in the real estate buying process. The lender will require it, so not having it can hold up closing. Of course, you don’t want to wait until the last minute because shopping the policy can save you a great deal of money.

8) Closing: We must remember that closing on real estate is a complex legal and financial process. State and county taxes, home-owners insurance, title insurance, lender’s fees, and attorney fees are all paid out of closing. First-time home buyers are usually shocked at the amount of closing costs, which are usually 2% to 3% of the purchase price. If neither party expects to pay $1,000’s of extra dollars at closing, it’s easy for a transaction to fall apart.

Real estate buying bank owned is an investment strategy used to purchase foreclosure real estate. Real estate investors, individual buyers, and business owners are seeking out discounted properties owned by mortgage lenders because listing prices are often well below market value.

Using the real estate buying bank owned strategy can result in savings of 30-percent or more. However, bank foreclosures often require repair work, so buyers must calculate the true cost of the property prior to submitting purchase offers.

Buyers are often forced to take out high-interest remodeling or construction loans when investing in distressed properties that require substantial repairs. Lender-related fees for rehabilitation loans can add up to several thousand dollars. Once renovation is completed, property owners typically must refinance into a permanent mortgage loan which incurs additional closing costs.

Due to the abundance of foreclosure properties, many home buying programs are sprouting up. Caution should be used when visiting websites offering foreclosure lists for a fee. There are numerous trustworthy sources that provide lists of foreclosure homes for sale at no cost.

One of the best sources is real estate agents. Many realtors specialize in selling bank foreclosures and can help buyers easily locate the type of property they desire. Realty websites, such as Zillow and RealtyTrac allow visitors to enter specific search criteria to locate bank owned foreclosures.

Another popular source for buying bank owned real estate is Fannie Mae’s Home Path Mortgage program. Fannie Mae offers incentives and special financing options to individual buyers and real estate investors. Properties consist of foreclosure homes which have been repossessed through lenders with loans guaranteed by Fannie Mae.

Fannie Mae offers two home mortgage finance options which include HomePath Mortgage Financing and HomePath Renovation Mortgage Financing. The first is offered for homes which do not require repairs, while the second is used when properties require light renovation. When buyers obtain rehabilitation funds using Home Path financing they do not need to refinance when work is completed.

Individuals interested in buying Fannie Mae HomePath properties should consider researching HUDs Neighborhood Stabilization Program which offers government grants to rehab foreclosure real estate. NSP grants are available to qualified individuals and real estate investors who purchase properties in areas with high rates of foreclosure.

Also referred to as Section 203(k), NSP grants fall under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) of 1977. CRA allocates funds to each U.S. state. Recipients of NSP grants are allowed to obtain mortgage loans which include additional funds for required repairs. This can eliminate the need for obtaining remodeling loans, which eliminates the need to refinance mortgages and can save buyers a substantial sum of money.

Qualified individual buyers can obtain one NSP grant, while investors can qualify for up to five public grants. Combining government grants with Fannie Mae’s special financing option and low down payment requirement can help buyers maximize their housing dollars.

Obtaining NSP grants can be a lengthy process, but savings can outweigh the time required to undergo the application process. Details of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program are provided at HUD.gov.