Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Who has the best schools in Maryland?

     Maryland is filled with people and homes, with that comes families, with families comes children. A question asked time after time from my clients "What is the best school in my area". Simple question but a hard question to answer. What makes a "good" or "great" school that is where different opinions weigh different results. Does a test score truly determine the nurturing and fundamental learning that a child receives from a teacher who cares? or does it represent the social atmosphere of the school. 
     As a Realtor, honestly I could never answer that question? Why? because I'm an Equal Housing Opportunity ambassador and I have no way of rating different schools personally or by my opinion. My expertise is real estate, what I always suggest to my clients is to do their own research by taking a tour of the school, asking fellow parents their opinions or experience from their kids attending that particular school and also to visit the websites listed below. Pay attention to what criteria that these sites use for there rankings such as test scores and grading, what you might consider more valuable to your children education is different for others. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Tips in Flipping Houses

A Detailed Business Plan will have to be created.

A Team will be needed, consisting of different members. Here is just a few.
Realtor - ****Thats me (Byron Charles)****
Title Company 

Key Things to consider in flipping..
Courtesy of the #1 Real Estate Brokerage in Maryland 'AVERY HESS REALTORS

1. Total cost to purchase + repairs =Estimated  ARV (after repair value)
When you purchase that coal, you have to factor in the cost to turn it into a diamond.

2. Cost to carry the property (example HOA or Condo fees that needs to be payed monthly)
HOA and Conda fees are necessary payments that needs to be paid or else a lien could be place on the property before your even ready to sell.

3. Cost to Borrow money 
Many different types of loans such as  FHA, Conventional or ARM. Each loan has interest rates and stipulation that needs to be factored. Example 

4. Cost to Sell the property 
Example warranties, additions, renovation and advertisement. Updating kitchens, bathroom and appliances have a cost as well but those nice addition makes your property highly desired in the market. 

5. Cost to fix up the property
Repair cost and labor need be factored in.

6. Profit margin
The final and most important after the  (Cost-Sold value). If your business plan was done correctly, Green should be your margin not Red.

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Lost of a Potential Client

The loss of a potential Client, a lesson learned. Recently it was brought to my attention that a mutual friend was selling their house. My first thought was why didn't you choose me to be your Realtor but I didn't even have my license at the time, so it was fine. Long story short after receiving my license , I decided to look at the property on the MRIS. Lord behold I was looking at the worst pictures that I ever seen in my life for a listing that was not an REO or Foreclosure but an actual listing. As an agent there is a sense of respect for each other in the industry, so instead of pointing out the obvious mistake of their current agent I took the let me help you guys when the contract is up approach. 2-3 Months down the line another agent who is family friend saw the pictures and let the steam out the kettle pot. Now I've learned an important lesson, passiveness is a disservice, always speak against anything less than the best, mediocre work will not be tolerated.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Importance of Business Cards

Before I became a Realtor, I use to think of business cards as a waste of space and paper. Now I view it as an essential piece of my business. The reason why is because conversation with strangers are usually fast, quick and short. In less than 2 minutes you have to sell yourself and gain trust  by your appearance, conversation, and demeanor.  With a Business card you are able to leave your professional service with a potential client.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Little things that will affect the Home Buying process

A little depth in the Home Buying Process, this article by Saving Thousands gives great tips and knowledge of the qualifying process. The Taxes and HOA fee for a potential property could effect how much you may qualify for in reference to you Mortgage.

http://www.savingthousands.com/home-buying-process-overview/ by saving thousands

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Buying Land for a $teal

Growing up in the U.S Virgin Islands, the only major purchase made by families was usually the buying of land. Unlike in the U.S where people buy homes built by a builder, in the islands the process is done  by buying land, getting an architect to help you design your layout, then hiring a contractor to build the final product, your HOME.  In this article credit to Jeff Frantz their is alternative in buying land at a discounted rate known as Tax Deeds. In a nutshell  the property owner fails to pay the taxes on the land causing the govt to take control because of the default, in this situation you could become Superman and pay the tax debt off where the former owner can pay you back with interest on the money you fronted to them, to forfeiting the property to you at a discounted rate.

credit to the author Jeff Frantz

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

My offer is accepted what happens next.....

credit to Ryan Fitzergerald of Raleigh Realty http://www.raleighrealtyhomes.com/blog/seller-accepts-your-offer-10-things-that-come-next.html

Though the order may vary, because that's what happens, but this illustration gives a good idea of the after process.

What comes next after sellers accept offer in real estate

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

#First90Days in Real Estate

The First 90 days as a Realtor is very interesting, and is very daunting because you will have a whirlwind of things to do while keeping your sanity. Just like any business the first year is the hardest because for any business to strive you need capital coming in. The #first90days is all about marketing and learning at the same time.  Though I am not in my #first90days here is a list of everything done so far in building the business.....

Thursday, October 8, 2015

What is a MORTGAGE?

When I first heard the term MORTGAGE, I was 10yrs old and had no clue, I ask my dad and he jokingly stated "Son its something that if I do not pay, we will be homeless". Can you imagine the fear, but that was years ago, now i'm an adult tasked with paying my MORTGAGE. All jokes aside a "MORTGAGE" is loan to finance the purchase of home and consist of 5 parts Collateral; Principal; Interest; Taxes and Insurance. Credit to www.Realtor.com for the video below.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Did you know? You could use a Realtor for finding Rentals

The next time you are searching craiglist for a Rental, just call a Realtor. That's right aside from just finding permanent home's, Realtors  assist in the rental business as well, linking landlords with tenants and tenants with landlords. WHY, because the real estate business is truly a people business, today its a rental but next year it might be a home. When people receive good service they always come back. Last note we are a good negotiators as well. 👌

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

What is COMP in Real Estate?

What is COMP in Real Estate? COMP is short for Comparable. When it comes to COMP your Realtor will pull information from the MRIS on recent sold houses in the area. The usual criteria is to search 3 properties similar in location, size, # of bedrooms and bathrooms and a settlement of date within 6 months.

Luckily for us, their is a number of free online sites that will give you and idea on what the Comp is, though not as accurate as an appraiser, it should at least keep you within the Ballpark.

Credit to BiggerPocket.com 

Free House Value Sites

Zillow.com – Zillow is the biggest player in the online house values game, through a feature called a “Zestimate,” which is an automated estimate based on public records and sales comps. You can also search for “sold” listings to determine your own comps.
Trulia.com – Like Zillow, Trulia allows you to search “sold listings” to gather comps.
Redfin – An online brokerage with online property valuation tool.
Realtor.com – Realtor.com is now allowing you to search for your home’s worth by showing what houses sold for in your area.
Property Shark – Property Shark provides public data on a property, recent sales, sale history, and comparables. No need to provide your contact info, either.

Pay Property Value Sites

Home Smart Reports
Home Smart Reports offers a pay house value engine including property information, nearby sales with map, and a neighborhood summary, as well as a much more advanced report with risk analysis, many more comps, and other statistical charts.
The RealQuest service (rated tops by several BP members) provides tons of useful data on a given property. Basics include: Property Detail Report, Comparable Sales, Parcel Map/Assessor Map, Street Map, Neighborhood Information, Legal and Vesting, Automated Valuation (AVM), Transaction History, Custom Searches, and Flood Maps.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Awesome advice and tips from www.realtor.com from author Michele Lerner . The article gave great tips and advice when making offers on properties way less than the listed price. Right now we are in Buyers market so the POWER is with you to get a property on your terms.

Friday, September 25, 2015

The VA Loan "Easter Egg"

Many Military members may not know about this hidden gem. While using a VA Loan you could qualify for another one at the same time.  

Wow! a Potential house for Mom or a Rental property "cha-ching". 

Below is more detailed information. 

Second-tier Entitlement and VA Loan

credit to www.Military.com

Veterans and active duty military with a VA Home Loan might be surprised to know that they can qualify to purchase a home with a second VA Loan based on what’s called their Second-Tier Entitlement.
While there’s plenty to know about the VA Loan for those just looking to use it the first time, there’s a dearth of information about using two VA Loans simultaneously.
“A lot of vets think they can only use their VA Loan once,” said Dan Davis, a VA Loan Specialist with VAMortgageCenter.Com. “They’re trying to save their VA Loan benefit when they don’t have to be.”
The VA does allow for having two VA Loans at the same time, however the borrower must qualify for the second loan and in some cases, may need two years of rental history on the first home to offset the mortgage payment when trying to get qualified income-wise to purchase a second home.
Each borrower using a VA Loan has a $36,000 entitlement that the VA guarantees to the lender in the unfortunate event that a borrower would default on the loan. The VA’s formula dictates whether or not all that entitlement is used with the initial loan, and thus, additional entitlement can be available. And even if the entitlement is $0 after the purchase of the first house, then the Veteran or active duty member can still use their second-tier entitlement, but there will be a standard minimum and maximum loan limits on what the borrower can use to buy that second house.
Often that minimum is $144,000 as set by the VA, and the maximum loan amount is around $260,000 for second-tier entitlement, however the formula is applied when calculating the second-tier entitlement, and that formula can result in a higher maximum loan amount.

“Second-Tier entitlement is nice though because for those people using it, it means they don’t have to sell their (first) property right off the bat,” Davis said of obtaining the second VA Loan. “But you still have to qualify for the VA Loan.”
While Second Tier Entitlement is not widely used because of its complexity and the fact that plenty of lenders are not well versed in calculating it, does not mean that interested borrowers should wave the white flag and look elsewhere for a different home loan.

 If you’re in a VA Loan already and thinking about using your VA Loan again, Davis recommends calling the VA Loan Specialists at VAMortgageCenter.Com to learn more about your second-tier entitlement.“There are a lot of people that don’t know about it or are misinformed, lenders included,” Davis said. “But there are those out there, like VAMC, which do know about second-tier entitlement and how to calculate it, and are comfortable working with it.”
An Example of calculating second-tier entitlement:
$417,000 (is the loan limit) X 25% = $104,250 - $36,000 (base entitlement) = $68,250 + $21,853 (or the veterans remaining entitlement on COE) = $91,130 X 4 = $360,412 (this is the max amount the veteran can use in this example)

Home Inspection common eye sores

Typical Issues on a Home Inspection

credit & Posted by Jeff Knox on Thursday, September 24th, 2015 at 1:16pm. 

Meet The Usual Suspects of a Home Inspection

Home inspections are both a necessary step to buying a home and are very in-depth.  If you are a first time buyer, I bet you have never looked at home with this kind of attention to detail.  Home inspection reports can be overwhelming.  They average somewhere between 25 to 30 pages.  However, know that your home inspection will cover almost every working system and structural component of the home you are purchasing.  While there are certainly major issues which arise on a home inspection report and should never be ignored, there are often little, pesky items which are noted on almost every inspection report I've ever seen.
Major issues which should not be ignored?  Large problems with your plumbing, HVAC, roofing, foundation and electrical.  These can be what we call "deal breaker" items and they should always be remedied by a seller prior to a buyer closing on a home.  In no way am I advising you to skip or ignore major issues.  If a significant issue involving one of the aforementioned items is found on your inspection report, talk to your agent immediately about how to remedy the issue or cancel the contract.  Not all of the major issues should cause you to terminate a contract, but they should cause you some concern about repairing the issues prior to taking possession of a home.

A Little Background on Home Inspectors

OK, so let's get a few things out of the way first.  (1) Home inspectors will absolutely find things wrong with every home.  Why?  Because you're typically paying them about .10 per square foot for the inspection.  Meaning, if you are buying a 3,000 square foot home, you may expect to pay around $300 for your home inspection.  Some inspectors are higher in pricing and some are lower.  But, be careful when you hire a discount inspector.  The old adage of "you get what you pay for" absolutely applies to home inspections as well.
So, in our example, a home inspector is charging you $300 to inspect your new home.  If an inspector spends 3 hours at the home and then tells you there is absolutely nothing wrong with the home, you aren't going to trust their professionalism or that he did a thorough job looking over your home.  Plus, every home has something wrong ranging from severe problems to pretty insignificant issues.  Even new construction homes have issues.  Advice - if you hire an inspector and he tells you nothing is wrong with the home, you may want to get a second opinion by another inspector.  In 10+ years of real estate, I've never seen a perfect home inspection.  Remember how I said they average 25 or so pages?  How can nothing be wrong in 25+ pages?
(2) Home inspectors also take on quite a large amount of liability when they inspect a home.  If a home inspector misses something significant like a water leak, you buy the home, the home floods due to the inspectors negligence of missing the major water leak, guess who is getting sued?  That's right, the inspector.  So, in an effort to cover their behinds, inspectors will (intelligently) note every issue they find on a home, whether it is major or very minor.  They will note everything from a loose toilet screw to a leaky faucet to a step missing on the front porch in order to minimize their own personal liability.  If they fail to note something as small as a broken step on the front porch and grandpa falls off the porch due to the faulty step, guess who gets sued?  That's right, the home inspector!
Now you will have a little background as to why your report will cover so many issues, problems, recommendations, tips and be longer than you ever expected a report to be about a home.  Honestly, it can be pretty interesting reading when it comes to learning about your new home, its structural components, working systems and how your home is basically put together.  I'd advise you to read it beginning to end when you get it.

Top 10 Usual Issues Found on Every Report

We've addressed the major concerns and I've given you a little background on home inspectors, their motivations and their jobs.  Now let's focus on the meat of this article and those little issues I see at almost every inspection.  While these issues should be corrected, they are not concern for panic or walking away from a home you really want.  Here is my list of the top 10 things which are on almost every home inspection report I've ever seen...
top ten home inspection issues

#10 - Soil Height Around Foundation Of Home

The soil height around the foundation of the home will not be the correct height.  It doesn't matter if the soil is 2" around the foundation or 12" tall around the foundation, the height will not be correct to the inspector.  I've never seen an inspector say the soil level around the foundation is the correct height.  Hell, I don't even know what the correct height is supposed to be.  However, I can tell you that it will be noted on your inspection report.

#9.5 - GFCI Outlets Not Up To Code

If you're buying a preowned home, get ready because the GFCI outlets will NOT be up to current building code.  Local code on GFCI outlets seem to change as much as gas prices at the pump.  Again, I've never seen a preowned home live up to current building code with regards to its GFCI outlets.  The outlets not being up to current code doesn't mean the seller has to rectify the situation.  The home will be "grandfathered" into the correct code for when the home was constructed.  This just means that if the home was constructed today, the GFCI outlets wouldn't meet current code.  In case you don't know, GFCI outlets are the ones required in a wet area and will cause the breaker to trip with the slightest detection of water.  These outlets save lives in kitchens and bathrooms.  But, I can promise you that the home your buying will not be up to current code with its GFCIs.

#9 - Smoke Detectors Not Up To Code

I included a #9.5 and a #9 because both of these issues are code issues.  Smoke detectors are now required to be in every bedroom in the State of Texas.  This one is probably a good point to remedy after you purchase the home.  Smoke detectors do save lives and having them in every bedroom is a good rule of thumb.  Again, this isn't something the owner must fix.  And, truthfully, I'd rather go to the hardware store and buy my own smoke detectors since I can get them with carbon monoxide features built into the same unit.  If you make a seller fix this issue, you can rest assured they will do it as cheaply as possible.  Get your own smoke and carbon monoxide detectors when you go to the hardware store for the other things on this list.

#8 - Foggy Windows

You've seen them.  You probably have one or two in your own home.  No matter how much you clean and scrub these windows, they still have a "fogged" appearance.  This issue stems from the double panes of glass with inert gasses (mostly argon) in between the panes which insulate both the windows and your home.  The gasses are sealed between the panes by a seal.  Over the years, the seals eventually break down and succumb to the elements which allow moisture to begin to enter the space between the panes.  This is when fogging will occur.  You can read more about this at Pella's website.  Needless to say, I bet it hasn't been on the top of your repair list for your home.  And, it won't be for a seller either.  Expect some foggy windows.

#7 - Wood Rot Around Those Exterior Doors

Exterior doors take a beating from mother nature.  Fully expect there to be some wood rot around exterior doors, windows and your garage door framing.  Wood rot is evidenced by the coat of paint peeling (usually near the ground) and the surface of the wood being exposed to the elements.  If you ever seen any rotten wood, you'll easily be able to identify what the inspector is talking about when he shows you the wood rot.  This is a very common issue.  Wood rots.  Expect this to be noted on your inspection report.

#6 - Get Your HVAC Serviced

This one is a very popular one here in Texas.  Even if the HVAC is performing correctly on inspection day, I've never not seen an inspector recommend getting it serviced.  This is a big CYA inspectors use in this part of the country because as modern humans, we enjoy our cold AC and warm heat.  If your system gives you problems right after you purchase the home, guess who you are blaming?  Yep, the inspector.  I swear this is an item inspectors mark as needing repair or servicing before they even arrive at the home for the inspection.  You'll see this item marked...I guarantee it.

#5 - Loose Nails On The Roof

Each roof has thousands of nails which secure the roof to the decking and the decking to the framing of the home.  You'll have some missing and loose nails.  My guess is that the seller never even knew any of the nails were loose.  However, if the seller did know there were some loose nails, I can almost guarantee you that he or she never climbed onto the roof to remedy the issue.  You live with loose roof nails on your home, so did the seller.  A handyman can make this repair.  Don't stress about some loose nails on your roof.

#4 - Replace Those Broken Sprinkler Heads

Sprinkler heads take a lot of abuse from kids running over them in the yard to mower blades hitting them when mowing, to just being stuck into the ground.  I promise there will be some broken sprinkler heads.  I think they cost about $4 at the local hardware store and they simply screw off the threaded PVC pipe in the ground.  They are a very easy fix and you do not need a handyman to fix these.  This is about as easy of a DIY project as you will find.

#3 - Window Screens Will Need Repair

I've never quite figured out why we have window screens in Texas.  But we do and they'll need repairing or replacing.  You'll probably even find that some of your windows are missing their screens.  Where these screens go is something I've never quite solved.  At any rate, there will be missing screens, broken screens and screens which are bent and no longer fit the window correctly.  Again, here in Texas it is usually hot and I cannot remember the last time I opened a window to let in "nice" hot breeze.  I wouldn't worry about window screens but this is your call.  In any event, get ready to read about missing window screens.

#2 - The Bathroom Exhaust Fan Vents To The Attic

This one drives inspectors mad.  In the old days, builders would simply vent the bathroom exhaust fan into the attic.  However, we now need special vents to vent to the exterior of the home as opposed to the attic.  Modern code says that venting to the attic will cause the moisture from the bathroom shower to collect in the attic and could cause wood rot for the raw framing.  I guess in theory this is right.  However, I've never seen a home where the exhaust fan has caused major issues in the attic.  Honestly, most people never correct this issue.  This one is up to you.

#1 - Caulk, Caulk & More Caulk!

No, I'm not being dirty.  Read carefully.  I said "CAULK."  Get ready because you're going to need a gallon of it when the inspector is finished looking at your new home!  Caulk can help seal the weather out of your home and inspectors love this product.  They'll want you to caulk around windows, doors, bathtubs, showers, counters, backsplashes, your kids, the dog, the Christmas Tree.... OK, so maybe not the kids, dog or Christmas Tree, but they will want you to caulk just about everything else in the home.  I'm not kidding!  After you get your home inspection report, you may email me and tell me I was right about the caulk.  Caulk comes in at #1 because, well, you'll see...

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Condo vs Townhome

Recently I'm in the market of purchasing a new Home. I'm not sure if your familiar with the Real Estate Housing Market in Maryland but Space is very limited in a lot of areas, when it comes to low price with great living. Maryland has a lot of Condos, Townhouses. This specific Home has a lot of potential but due the fact its a Condo affects what i'm able to do with it custom wise for example during the holidays I might not be able to decorate the front lawn due to the HOA and the fact Condo's cover the inside of the building. Long Story short there are Residencies that look like Townhouses but are classified on the DEED (most important) as Condo's. So prior to purchasing every homeowner needs to be aware of the difference because it will affect on what you may want to do to your purchase. For the details click on " Condo's vs Townhouses "courtesy of www.diffen.com

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Cost in "Closing Cost"

Credit to cincinkyrealestate.com on a great article on "How to avoid some charges in the Closing Cost". The article is a must read, since it details a wide array of Cost associated with the Closing procedure. For info click on " How to Avoid Closing Cost Sticker Shock "