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Melanie Healey

Real Estate Investing

In terms of investment options, real estate should rank among your top considerations! With traditional investments yielding uncertain or very low returns, real estate investing is growing ever more competitive and mainstream. Here are some simple guidelines I use when representing new real estate investors:
Keep your first investment small and easy to manage, such as a studio apartment or 1- 2 bedroom condominium.  2. Focus on location - your property investments should be near your home, as you know the area better and can readily be available to manage problems.  3. My golden rule of real estate investing is to buy only property you would consider living in yourself.  Many hopeful investors think only in terms of return on investment and set unrealistic goals, such as 6 - 7%, but quality spaces in good locations will always fill faster, rent higher and have lower vacancy rates.  Finally, select a well-established realtor experienced in property investing (like me!) to represent you.  Call me!  I'm happy to get you started.


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Which Home Improvements Yield The Strongest Returns?

The key to adding value to a property is buyer appeal. In real estate, light, bright and clean spaces are inviting to buyers, so good lighting and a neutral palette are inexpensive and very worthwhile investments. According to the National Association of Realtors, updated kitchens and bathrooms are the improvements that yield the strongest return. today's buyers love stylish trends especially in the kitchen. Simple fixes like replacing plumbing and light fixtures, painting old cabinet, changing knobs or installing stainless steel appliances add a fresh bit of style that will amount to stronger market response.

A simple and powerful fix for dated bathrooms is a fresh white enamel coating applied over dated 4-by4 colored tiles. A new pedestal sink or a contemporary mirror are simple but effective improvements that go a long way with today's buyers. Improving energy efficiency has a great impact on the attractiveness of the property. A lot of younger and more energy conscious buyers would appreciate such enhancements - not to mention that in many areas of the country, energy and water costs are on the rise. The improvements would definitely help to save money on the utility bills.

One of the steps to upgrading energy efficiency is to go with low flow faucets and showerheads, which can reduce the water consumption as much as 50 percent. Fixing leaking faucets and pipes will also be beneficial to saving money and saving energy. It is recommended to inspect pipes and drains every six months for possible wear and tear.

The replacement of an existing water heater with a tankless water heater may help you save up to 20 percent on your water bill. Also regulating your home's temperature by rethinking your insulation, managing the temperature automatically and sealing up the drafts can lessen the burden of high utility bills.


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    How Do I Secure The Best Price For My Property

    Your home - whether it is a townhouse, high rise condominium or large estate on a country property - typically ranks among the largest assets you own. When you are ready to sell, you want to insure that you maximize this important financial resource.

    First and foremost, meet with your realtor! An experienced realtor knows what buyers are looking for and more importantly, how to present your property with the greatest market appeal.

    As you prepare to sell your property, consider your home to be a product on a shelf sitting alongside other similarly priced homes. Buyers will examine and compare all the products in their price range. Those that are pretty and well-packaged will always be the first - and highest - to sell.

    Once you list your home for sale, every price of your property should be as crisp and clean as possible, starting with the approach. Believe it or not, the showcase begins with your mailbox, and continues down your driveway, includes all your surrounding landscaping, your walkway and front door - all these areas should be clear of leaves, spider webs, toys, equipment and any debris. A high sale price starts with a buyer feeling comfortable with the condition of the property and this happens at the introduction. Sellers will benefit tremendously by creating a beautiful exterior entry. Your front door should be freshly painted and accented with sparkling hardware. While a realtor is releasing the key and unlocking the door, your prospective buyers are assessing these immediate surrounding. This flawless presentation should, as much as possible, continue throughout the home.

    Sun-filled homes are extremely well-received by buyers and therefore contribute to higher sale prices- and the good news is that sunlight is absolutely free! Simply opening blinds and curtains to flood your rooms with natural light is an easy and very effective way to make a favorable impression in the marketplace. Your brightened space will appear larger and glow with warmth and cheer, characteristics that equate to great real estate returns! If you are challenged with rooms that have small windows, or lack abundant sunshine, lamp light can also create these positive effects.

    Those simple, age-old tricks to create an inviting environment while showing your home are free, very effective and will showing your home and will definitely enhance your buyer's viewing experience. Playing music sets a pleasant mood upon entering a home. Baking makes a home smell just delicious and feel like home. Removing your clutter, memorabilia and family photos will clear distractions and create a scene for serious buyers to visualize themselves living in the home. An unencumbered space enhance a buyer's ability freely absorb and discuss the surrounding. We are naturally inclined to be polite, particularly in some one else's home, so buyers will typically engage in conversation with the seller to alleviate any discomfort which also dilutes their focus.

    Sellers must do their best and be prepared to accommodate every showing request. Buyers are very busy and will therefore schedule home viewings together. This allows them to compare and contrast each property, and with these tips, your home is bound to be a top contender!

    A well marketed and beautifully presented home will sell quickly, so the sacrifices and work involved in the perfect presentation of your property are guaranteed to be short lived. Properties with minimal market time sell higher than those that linger.

    Your efforts will result in a cleaner, brighter property that will attract more buyers and certainly more return on this very important investment.




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      Weekly Mortgage Message from our in-house Mortgage Master Specialist Colleen Polson


      Loan Program

      Up to $417,000

      $417,001 - $601,450


      30 yr Fixed Rate

      3.625% APR 3.702%

      3.875% APR 3.935%

      3.5% APR 3.540%

      15 yr Fixed Rate

      2.875% APR 3.011%

      3.25% APR 3.355%

      3.125% APR 3.201%

      5/1 Adjustable Rate

      3% APR 3.074%

      2.625% APR 2.686%

      2.625% APR 2.665%

      Single family, owner occupied, 80% loan to value, 740 or better fico

      Current Trend Direction: Sideways 

      Advise Your Clients: Carefully floating

      Current Price of FNMA 3.0% Bond: $102.34, -9bp

      Mortgage Bonds begin near unchanged and off their opening highs as investors await a plethora of economic data that culminates with the April Jobs report on Friday.

      The national ISM Manufacturing Index will be released this morning and may give investors a sign to see if the sector can turn the corner to greener pastures after getting hit in the last year by a stronger dollar, along with weak overseas demand and lower commodity prices.

      There are no Treasury Note or Bond auctions this week.  The New York Fed will be purchasing Mortgage Bonds during the week and as said in last week's Fed statement, "It anticipates doing so until normalization of the level of the Federal Funds Rate is well under way. This policy, by keeping the Committee's holdings of longer-term securities at sizable levels, should help maintain accommodative financial conditions."

      Oil continues to hover near the highs seen last November, WTI near $46/barrel. The U.S. dollar index has slid to an eight-month low of 92.85, signaling the Fed will hold off on any higher interest rate hikes in the near future. 

      Technically, the Fannie Mae 3% 30-year coupon has fallen below resistance one (R2) supplied by the 25-day Moving Average and just above the second layer of resistance (R1) at the 50-day Moving Average.

      We will continue floating for now as prices hover near resistance at multi-year highs. Looking ahead, start to prepare your clients to lock in advance of the Friday Jobs Report



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