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Month: March 2009

Things Your Realtor Can’t Tell You

When I’m driving with Buyers showing them properties in Las Vegas they inevitably ask me a question I can’t answer. I am not trying to be evasive I just can’t answer them without the risk of being sued, fined and/or having my license revoked. What I am writing about here is mostly in response to Fair Housing laws and the governments attempt to eliminate discrimination in Real Estate/Lending.

The first important definition to understand is a practice called steering. Steering is “the illegal funneling of home buyers to particular areas based on a desire to keep the make up of a neighborhood the same or intentionally change it” (definition provided by ask.com). The second important definition to understand is the practice of Redlining. This term was coined when lenders actually drew a redline on a map and refused to lend money to people buying in that area.  The lenders argued that they were unacceptably risky areas to lend in. The lenders lost that argument on the grounds that they were discriminating against people based on racial and income profiles.

So please don’t ask me (or your Realtor) if there are a large percentage of one type of people (read: Race) or another in a particular neighborhood. Even if I knew (which I usually don’t) I won’t tell you anyway. There are decent demographic statistics at the US Census bureau’s website if you are interested in such things (and the new census starts in 2010). The same goes for me offering specific information about various religious buildings in the area (I can’t do it, look on the Internet). Ditto in regards to school ratings, environmental issues and crime statistics. Two good ways to get a feel for a neighborhood is to drive the area and talk to the neighbors.

A Realtor is also prohibited from disclosing confidential information about their clients to anyone other then their broker (for a certain period of time). The exceptions being unless they are ordered by a court of law or given written permission by the client. The reason why I mention this is sometimes the Realtor can be representing both the buyer and the seller. In this case, the Realtor has to walk a fine line as to what he or she can reveal to whom.

Fortunately, we live in an age of abundant information. If you know where to look you can find almost anything on the Internet. Want to know how much the seller paid for the house, look at your county recorders website for their property tax records. Want to know how many sex offenders live in the area, you can go to Family Watchdog website. School information can be had at the National Center for Education Statistics website. I often tell my mother, “don’t be afraid to try things on your computer, it will stop you before you do something stupid”. I suggest a similar thing to you, if you want to know something about a neighborhood (and I can’t tell you), ask a search engine.

My name is Greg Hoffman and I have lived in Las Vegas since 1990. I have been a Realtor here since 1999. I welcome your comments good, bad  or indifferent.

How Tenant Screening Helps

Real estate in Las Vegas can be quite lucrative for those seeking to acquire rental income. Whether the landlord is providing residential homes, condos or office space, a steady stream of monthly income can yield a reliable revenue source that carries through the entire year. Of course, this process can be completely undermined if the renter turns out to be less than desirable. That is why it is critical to perform tenant screening long in advance of accepting the renter.

The purpose of tenant screening is to acquire a clear picture of the renter’s background. Specifically, landlords can explore the tenant’s rental history, credit report, and financial situation. This then allows the landlord to make an appropriate decision as to whether or not the tenant will make a proper fit. Again, this is no minor point. Signing a lease agreement with a “bad renter” comes with many serious problems best avoided. For example, a potential renter that has an extensive history of not paying his bills clearly would not be a safe bet to make his rent obligations on time. Such a renter can turn an lucrative real estate venture into an unstable one within a few months.

Then, there are those tenants that could be labeled even worse renters. Renters that allow their dwellings to fall into complete disarray can create a number of repair costs and other expenses. However, a quick call to their previous landlords could reveal such problem renters with a single phone call.

If there was a moral to this story it would be this: perform a tenant screening prior to renting your Las Vegas Investment property. It will eliminate many hassles and problems long before they even start.

Las Vegas Real Estate: Taking Advantage of a Down Market

With the economy and land values plummeting it can be an opportunity for resourceful people. One of the biggest areas that investors are looking for help in is property management. Las Vegas has some of the highest value investment property in the world. Many of these investors are looking for quality property management to protect their investment.

Las Vegas property management is a growing and changing field in an economy and market that currently is taking a strong beating. If you are looking for a way to make an honest living and have unlimited income potential a career in Las Vegas property management may be exactly what you are looking for. There are many high quality firms in the area that are always looking for help. Qualifications for getting into Las Vegas property management are not difficult to meet. As long as you have a clean criminal record, high school diploma, and a strong desire to work hard and honestly finding a career in Las Vegas investment property management will be a breeze.

If you are a land owner in Las Vegas now is the time to look for property management to help you protect your investment. By using an outside firm to guarantee your investment you can have the free time to follow other more profitable pursuits. In this economy it is going to be the investors that can aggressively move forward that will survive. Those spending time worried about their current investments and wasting time managing them will be left behind.

The Experienced Property Manager Can Handle Many Tasks

As a landlord, you may be contemplating hiring a Las Vegas property management company. While many landlord’s often handle the duties themselves, if you have many rental properties, you may find it difficult to handle everything. An experienced Las Vegas property manager will be able to carry out many different tasks. Their main tasks should include the following:

Marketing: This will include all of the advertising of your properties, as well as following up with any leads that are generated from the advertisements. They can also schedule all of the property showings, as well as show the properties themselves.

Tenant Affairs: The property manager can also take care of all of the tenant affairs for you, including rental agreements, background checks, resolving any complaints from the tenants, and handling all evictions. They can handle all issues as they arise to make certain they are all handled in a timely manner.

Maintenance: As the manager, they can also take care of all inspections, repairs, and general maintenance of your buildings. All emergencies can be directed to your property manager, as well and you can relax, knowing that your sleep will not be disturbed by an issue as small as a blown out light bulb.

Finances: If you desire, your Las Vegas property manager can also handle all aspects of the financial management of your properties, from collecting rent to paying the utilities. If someone is behind in their rent, your property manager will have the time it takes to track them down. All of these financial tasks, however, can be decided at the discretion of you and your property manager.

The fact is an experienced property manager can handle all aspects of your rental business, but you will have the choice on which tasks they will take over for you. If you find that you want to purchase properties in another state, a property manager can make it feasible for you to do so. They can be there in a moments notice and make sure your rental properties are well taken care of, as well as your tenants.

The Benefits of Hiring a Las Vegas Property Management Firm

If you are the owner of a property or are currently a landlord, you may find yourself sometimes overwhelmed with the many tasks involved with the management of your properties. When you hire a Las Vegas property management firm, you will find there are many benefits.

The main benefit is property managers are experienced in both renting and selling properties. They will understand all of the details required to successfully keep your investment properties rented, as well as highlighting all the advantages when trying to sell your properties. This will include doing background checks on all potential renters, as well as collecting the rent.

You will also find the property management firm will help you to take care of all aspects of your property maintenance, including scheduling inspections, repairs, routine maintenance, and cleaning. If something goes wrong in the middle of the night, such as the heat goes out, you will no longer receive a phone call to handle the issue. They will handle all emergency calls and take care of these items in a timely manner.

The main benefit of hiring a property management firm to manage your real estate is it will allow you the time you need to take care of more important details in your business. This may include purchasing more properties to expand your business or investing the earnings you make in another venture.

Hiring a Las Vegas Property Management Professional

When it comes to owning investment real estate in Las Vegas, Nevada it is easy to learn that there are a lot of responsibilities that come along with the job. The more properties you own, whether you are fixing them up to sell them or you are renting them out, you have to have a lot of organization going in order to keep everything in line. With so many laws to watch out for, so many expenses to pay for, and so many people to please, it can be hard to take care of such a job by yourself. This is why developing a relationship with a good Las Vegas Property Manager is a great idea.

By taking advantage of what a property manager can do for you, you will be able to run your real estate investment business in a much smoother manner. When you are looking into such an avenue though, you will want to make sure that you are being honest with yourself in what you are expecting from the person handling your investment properties. The person you hire to work on your team must have experience under his or her belt. Hiring someone with little or no experience is only going to cause you a headache in the end.

There are many people out there offering their services as Las Vegas Property Management professional. Such advertisement can be found in the classifieds, both the online and print versions. Start looking through those and do not forget to write up your own ad in regards to the position you are trying to fill. The sooner you find someone to help you keep everything in line, the more secure your investment will be.

You will also be perceived to be a true professional, which is something that is highly sought after by many people who work for themselves. One word of advice though, you will want to make sure that you scan your applicants very well. This is because the person you hire will have access to your properties and to a lot of your money if they handle such things as rent payments and evictions.

Las Vegas Short Sales: Why Does It Take So Long to Approve a Short Sale?

Anyone that has been involved in a short sale in Las Vegas knows it can take a very long time to close and even then, there is no guarantee it will.  From the time we enter into a short transaction, whether it is with a buyer or seller, we explain the process so they know what to expect.  Even though we thoroughly explain the short sale process to our clients, we still get asked 30-60 days into the transaction, “Why does it take so long to close a short sale?”  I can understand their frustration and disbelief that it can actually take a bank over 60-120 days to respond to an offer.

So why does it take so long for a bank to approve a short sale?  Well, it really depends on the Bank that is holding the mortgage.  Some banks can get a short sale approved within 45-60 days but for the most part most get approved within 60-90 days.  One of the reason it takes so long is the bank requires copies of all bank statements, tax returns, w-2s, and other supporting documents to verify that the homeowners cannot afford to keep making their payment and have a financial hardship.  Once this paperwork is received, it is reviewed by a loss mitigation specialist.  After they review the paperwork and BPO (broker priced opinion), a fair market value of the home, and it’s approved, it just moves to the next step.

The next step is having the investors sign off.  This may include a long list of investors who own pieces of this mortgage loan.  If this is the case, each investor must sign off on the short sale.  You can imagine these investors aren’t very happy about taking a loss on their investment, so don’t expect them to go out of their way to approve the short sale.  If and when the investors sign off, you just may have your approval.

Once we have the approval, the seller could still be held responsible for the balance but this is another topic we will discuss in our next series, Las Vegas Short Sales: Consequences to the Seller.

If you are a homeowner in Las Vegas and have questions about selling your home as a short sale, feel free to give us a call for a free consultation at 702.376.0088.

Because there may be serious tax and/or legal consequences to the seller in a short sale transaction, we recommend you contact an Attorney and/or a CPA for legal and tax advice.  We do not provide legal or tax advice!