What Is My House Worth? Tips to Appraise Your Own Home

Are you always thinking how much your house is now worth? Many instances, you’ve heard that appraising property values are best handled by professionals. Despite the strong urge to hire their services you have always reservations within that hiring them is pricy. If you’re caught with this dilemma, why not appraise your house yourself. Is this possible? Of course. By knowing several indicators, you can have a hint of how much your house is priced. Here are some tips.

Market Approach and Value Reconciliation

Do you know that the best indicators are available in the market? If there are several home sales happening in your neighborhood or even within your area, chances are you can have a huge hint on how much your house is worth. Find homes that are similar in area and place and you can already provide rough estimates. Reconcile this with the number of bathrooms, bedrooms and other features which are similar to the home that was sold. And you’re on the right track of determining its price.

Use of Online Home Appraisal Applications

Technology is fast-becoming relevant in many industries. Real estate is no different. There are numerous applications which are now used by the industry professionals to make their work easier. Some also offer the use of these applications for free in their official websites. Capitalizing on these facts, you can have readily made instruments to provide appraisal calculations based on information you will provide.

As the current homeowner, you should be in-the-know of the home’s square footage including gross area and floor area, number of bedrooms, bathrooms, car ports, and even accessibility to roads and important locations. With this bunch of information, the online applications and even those which you can download to your smartphones will prove to be beneficial.

It is in a few clicks that you will already know the current price of your house.

The estimates provided by the market indicators as well that those reflected by the applications always stay as estimates. They are not exact figures. If you really want to know exact appraisal values, it is always better to have professionals do the job for you.

If you are worried of the service charges, there is always the negotiation time to help you lower down the service rates. Remember that real estate professionals including property appraisers are always ready to be of service to those who need their expert services and expert advises.

Real Estate Investing – Don’t Just GET THE DEED – The Infamous "Kitchen Table Closing"

Here is a question from one of my Clients about purchasing a house using a kitchen table closing. My quick answer… Beware!

Q: Hi Lou, I have a property under contract that I want to resell/flip as-is to a rehabber/renovator, but I may have to purchase it quickly and simply record the Quit Claim Deed, without using a closing attorney or waiting for a title exam. I need your advice.

The seller just called me and left a message on my voice mail stating she did not want to sell to me because she received a better offer. Now I do have it under contract, with a signed purchase and sales agreement from her, and I had her sign a Quit Claim deed, too. I did that because she was fighting with her sister over ownership of this property, which was given to her by her mom who passed away 2 years ago. The deed is in her name alone, not the sister’s, mom’s or anyone else. I did see the deed and made a copy of it.

I thought I should get the Quit Claim Deed (QCD), just in case I needed to record it because of the family issues. The Seller agreed as well. She said she just wanted to get rid of this property. I also filed at the courthouse an Affidavit for the property showing I had it under contract, as you recommend. I’m in the process of getting a title check done by my title company.

Now what do you recommend I do? Should I go back to the courthouse and record the QCD or wait until the title search is complete to record the deed; or should I walk away, or should I choose to wait and schedule an attorney to do the closing?

Thank you, G.

A: Hi G., what you’re describing is a little risky, yet it’s done fairly often as is commonly referred to as a “kitchen table closing” since they are literally often closed right in the Seller’s kitchen. It’s a VERY good idea to get title exam run first, before doing a “kitchen table closing” especially if you are giving any money to the Seller.

Normally I wouldn’t recommend you do your own closing, but since you’re rushing your purchase so you can “preserve” your deal before the other Buyer moves in and buys it, and/or before the sister does anything rash… just be sure that the transaction has been up front, and that you truly intend to move forward as you agreed. I think that I would go ahead and file/record the QCD. I don’t see that you have anything to lose, and a lot to gain.

I would then inform the seller that she can not sell to anyone else because she already has a binding agreement to sell to you, and that you already “technically” own the house (since you recorded the QCD). Let her know that your plan is to review title, and as long as everything is in order, you’ll proceed with a regular closing at which time she will receive any proceeds due her.

If there are any title issues preventing the sale of the house, then you will simply deed the property back to her after which she is free to sell to whomever she likes.

It was great that you already recorded your “Affidavit of Contract”, putting yourself on record as having a valid Purchase & Sales Agreement (PSA). If the Seller attempts to sell to another buyer before you record the QCD, the Affidavit you recorded will protect your interests, and allow you to still purchase the house in the future.

By filing the QCD you become the official owner of the property. No one can take the deal away from you. Since you’re buying it “subject-to” any loans, you will need to start making the payments on any loans (call the lenders to get a “statement of account” to make sure there are no surprise back payments or penalties you’re “inheriting”). I’m assuming you gave her no/low equity/cash at this point, so you don’t have any funds invested, or at risk with the seller. Now you’ve got time to evaluate all the financials and make an informed decision. If in the end, you do not want it, you can always Quit Claim the property back to the current owner, as you told her earlier.

**Note to all my fellow investors: you don’t want to even play this “kitchen table closing” game, unless you have a strong indication that this is a good deal and you’re 90% sure you’re going to go all the way with this deal. Taking ownership via a quick recording of a QCD, and then bouncing ownership back to the original seller with another QCD later when you’ve “had a chance” to do your due diligence – is not a practice you should engage in regularly. We’re only walking through it in this example, because the investor is trying to rush to protect his good deal from being “sold again” fraudulently, by the seller to another buyer.

You should always use a reputable attorney or title company to close your deals even when purchasing “subject to” the mortgage to ensure that there are no additional liens on that property of which you are not aware. By closing with a proper closing agent, you’ll also be able to purchase title insurance to protect your investment in the property.

If a title issue arose with NO title insurance policy in place, you would be financially responsible for the cost to pay off any additional liens and/or all the legal fees to resolve the issue before you could re-sell the property. Unless you are willing to gamble with literally what may be tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, close with a reputable closing agent and not attempt a kitchen table closing.

Right Mutual Fund Distributor: Here’s How to Choose

Information on anything and everything is available at our fingertips. In this age of information technology, we investors are blessed to access and gain knowledge about various mutual fund schemes, their returns, etc. And all this information can be accessed for free.

It is no different for those providing financial services, too. There would be a host of emails, messages, and websites hogging to provide information.

Many mutual fund distributors will be approaching you to solicit mutual fund investments into new and the existing mutual fund. Especially now, since the economy is returning from its recession and the markets are turning favorable for investments.

While most of the information sent to us is already there on the world wide web. We can easily check the information about a fund from the AMCs (Asset Management Company’s) website. Still, for some investors, it may be a valuable service.

These mailers and messages keep updating us on the new launches, returns of various schemes, their NAV (Net Asset Value), and many other advantages and disadvantages related to them. But is that all we need to know about investing?

Don’t you think it would be sensible to choose the Best Mutual Fund Distributor who can help manage your investments? What if all this information is only adding to your confusion?

What with the names changes of many mutual fund schemes and portfolio realignments, most investors get confused about what they should do with their mutual fund holdings.

It may make sense to work with a mutual fund distributor who can advise and guide you on your investment decisions.

Only returns are not enough basis to select the right mutual fund distributor. There are many other things you need to look for.

1. Qualification of the Mutual Fund Distributor

The Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI) makes it necessary that the individuals engaged in service of mutual fund advisory to have a certification issued by the National Institute of Securities Management (NISM).

But merely relying on the certification isn’t enough as you would need to search a bit more into the philosophy (attitude and rationalization) and research process which the mutual fund distributor and his team adopt while advising clients. Moreover, you need to make sure that the distributor is not an individual who peddles investments as side-business. Remember, acting on the advice offered by a mutual fund distributor who doesn’t hold the requisite knowledge, could spell disaster for your money and investments.

2. Expertise of the Mutual Fund Distributor

Check for the expertise of the mutual fund distributor and his team. Check how well qualified they are in terms of education and what kind of knowledge and experience they possess.

Also, look into whether the distributor has good knowledge of the whole variety of asset classes. Such as equity, debt, fixed income, gold, etc.

They should be able to understand and decipher how these asset classes would be affected by various domestic, international events, decisions or changes in trends related to oil prices interest rates, etc.

Understanding the mutual funds, identifying their suitability for you and your investment portfolio, balancing the asset allocation, and knowing how changes in assets will affect you require a high degree of expertise.

Therefore, you must check how skilled the distributor is and what kind of experience he or she possesses. The mutual fund should be able to identify products that will meet your life requirements as and when they are needed.

3. Accessibility

The mutual fund distributor you choose must be easily contactable. Whether by email, phone, or by meeting in person within a reasonable duration. It is important that the distributor, whom you have entrusted your money with, is accessible as and when you need him. The distributor or team should be able to clarify your doubts within a reasonable period.

Is this distributor able to execute the transactions for you well in time? Timing is of crucial importance in the world of investing in Best Mutual Funds and Stocks. The distributor should be able to execute your transactions within a short time. As quickly as possible.

All these things matter when your hard-earned money is involved.

4. Provide Complete Financial Solutions

We Indians do not like discussing our finances or financial status with all and sundry. Because we have been taught not to reveal our finances and investments with too many people. We have been taught to keep such things and details, confidential and under wraps.

So it would be preferable to find a distributor who is a one-stop solution for all our financial needs. An advisor who can understand and handle our investments better and with confidentiality. An unbiased one. One who would be able to offer us mutual fund products from all fund houses. Not just one or two fund houses.

5. Is the Distributor Asking Questions?

This is the one attribute that will tell you whether a mutual fund distributor is interested in only selling or is he/she really interested in understanding your requirements and needs. And then take the investment forward, accordingly.

Is he/she asking you questions to know better your financial needs, situations and goals? Or are you only being given details about the products to convince you to buy a product and not the solution which you actually are looking out for?

Without posing questions to you, how would anyone know for sure which particular plan is the most suitable for you? Whether you can take the risk of investing in Small-caps or should your investments be limited to debt Mutual Funds? Whether you have one or two Life and Health Insurances or not? These two are quintessential ones to have before we start with mutual fund investments. To secure our loved ones.

Not only helping the investors, but all this information also gathered from them and from other investors all over the country and submitted to the fund houses. With this data collected, the fund houses, as well as the government, are able to better understand the investor’s moods and inclinations. It also helps them bring up new policies and policy changes. Devise new strategies. Develop and come up with new and attractive plans.

6. Infrastructure and Value Added Services

Apart from assessing his qualifications and attitude towards clients, you also need to judge whether he has the right infrastructure set up. Would you be able to receive prudent advice continuously? Remember entering an investment is only a beginning. You want your investments to be monitored and tracked regularly. Change must be advised promptly if an investment has become redundant or non-performer.

Therefore, you should ideally be provided various tools and calculators for online tracking of your investments, as value addition.

Besides, the mutual fund distributor should be sending regular updates on your portfolio. What all changes may be made according to the changes in the market conditions and financial goals? What all new development has been made in the field of mutual funds? What new plans have come up? What new policies have been devised that will benefit you or vice versa?

7. What kind of After-Sales Support is Provided?

As stated earlier that entering into an investment is simply a starting point. Only with the help of a prudent and reliable after-sale support, we would be able to monitor, track and further our investment portfolio. All the tracking tools may not be so easily understandable by every investor.

The reason for investing with a mutual fund distributor and not investing in Direct Mutual Funds is because we are not familiar and comfortable with the market. All the reports that are sent periodically by the fund houses to the investors are too full of jargons which we don’t understand always. To interpret them, we require the help of professionals. This help must be provided by the mutual fund distributor.

As and when you need it. Not as and when it is convenient with them.

8. Past Track Record

Well, if you are offered this, you would be able to gauge the quality of the advice. You need to cross-check the data provided by him/her with some of his clients as a reference check. The best way is to ask around for referrals.

Use social media, to know if anyone has recommended the advisor or his firm. Check online for any referrals, ask your friends or relatives, if they know of any references. What kind of knowledge and experience is associated? This way you can have an idea about his/her strengths and weaknesses.

Inspect for how long the advisor has been in business and his way of operating. Search for what field the mutual fund distributor was working in and what knowledge he/she and the team have. Someone who has gone through multiple market cycles would be experienced and, hence, preferred.

This exercise would not only help you understand his past performance track record but also help recognize whether prompt and reliable after-sales service is provided or not.

There is no formal rating or ranking system for mutual fund distributors in India, for now. So we have to work it out on our own.

9. Compensation

A mutual fund distributor is in this business to earn. Whether it is an individual, partnership or a company, it wouldn’t be able to survive for long if it doesn’t get compensated.

Maintaining a website, helping you make a financial plan, gathering data on your behalf, keeping it free for you, and keeping all these services alive requires effort and money.

Many financial planners and advisors could charge a fee for the same. To write out a comprehensive financial plan, taking into account risk appetite, future requirements, and life goals. You are asked to pay them a fee, regularly. It is just that they don’t tell you about is that they get a commission, as well, on all the investments they make on your behalf.

Whether a mutual fund distributor is being honest with you or not, this is the crucial criterion to check for.

Bottom Line

Today with so many options available to invest in, the task of doing prudent investment planning has become quite difficult. Because we are surrounded by so much information about each of these options, such as stocks, mutual funds, bank FDs, NCDs, corporate bonds, Public Provident Funds (PPF), National Savings Certificate (NSC), etc.

And, still, at the end of all the searching and evaluating, we keep wondering whether we made the right investment decision.

Why?

For us to be able to remove this chaos caused by “information overload”, what is required is getting hold of a mutual fund distributor who provides independent and unbiased financial advice. With no vested interests (of commissions). The one who would help, assist and guide you through prudent investment planning.

This is what the best Mutual Fund Distributor will do for you. This is what the vision and objective of WealthBucket are.

Best Forex Brokers – Why You Need Them

There are few fields in the economic sector that are shrouded in as much mysticism as that of trading in stocks and shares. However even more mysterious and yet the largest and most lucrative segments of the same seems to be currency trading. The approximate $ trillion being traded daily in the Forex markets dwarfs the combined $99 billion being traded in all of the world’s stock markets combined.

Forex trading is still in its nascent stages in many countries but is fast becoming a popular investment option. Currency trading can be an extremely profitable business venture, but it is not for everyone. There are many variables involved in the trade whose dynamics have to be understood by anyone who is venturing forth into this field. To become a successful trader you need to first understand what the currency market is all about. Complicated technical systems and information overload can make you slow and confuse you right from the start, making you lose money instead of making your profits grow. In order to succeed you will need to focus on a set of simple trading strategies that you can implement without hesitation. You will also need to have a thorough understanding of the different variables that may affect the position of your stocks in the market, become pro active, spot an opportunity and act on it wisely.

Or you can simply hire the best Forex brokers to manage the investment decisions for you! These professionals will provide you with the best tips and trading information to ensure that your strategies do not fail. Their expert knowledge and understanding of the market has enabled them to ensure that their clients receive accurate market insights for a more profitable and less risky trading experience. As long as you have an expert Forex broker by your side to guide you in your currency trading venture, you will always be safe from the risks of involved in this type of investments. Their expert advice will help you make the best decisions, spot the best opportunities and make the most profit from your venture.

This is why seeking professional help at the right time can help you make the best investments. Hiring the best Forex brokers is a task that every currency trader looks to take up but making the selection often calls for careful screening and research. A thorough background research of a broker, a detailed assessment of his track record, his working style current financial status, experience of past clients and service quality – all these are points to consider. These factors can be assessed in many ways – directly meeting with the broking firm, online checks on their website and third party review sites and a search on social media platforms. The decision to choose the best broker to manage your account will of course be a tough one but once you manage to do it right, most of your trading woes will vanish away completely.

If you need more information about Forex trading and the best brokers in the field, visit TradeRushReview.US.com.

Factors Affecting Share Prices

Like any other commodity, in the stock market, share prices are also dependent on so many factors. So, it is hard to point out just one or two factors that affect the price of the stocks. There are still some factors that are that directly influence the share prices.

Demand and Supply – This fundamental rule of economics holds good for the equity market as well. The price is directly affected by the trend of stock market trading. When more people are buying a certain stock, the price of that stock increases and when more people are selling he stock, the price of that particular stock falls. Now it is difficult to predict the trend of the market but your stock broker can give you fair idea of the ongoing trend of the market but be careful before you blindly follow the advice.

News – News is undoubtedly a huge factor when it comes to stock price. Positive news about a company can increase buying interest in the market while a negative press release can ruin the prospect of a stock. Having said that, you must always remember that often times, despite amazingly good news, a stock can show least movement. It is the overall performance of the company that matters more than news. It is always wise to take a wait and watch policy in a volatile market or when there is mixed reaction about a particular stock.

Market Cap – If you are trying to guess the worth of a company from the price of the stock, you are making a huge mistake. It is the market capitalization of the company, rather than the stock, that is more important when it comes to determining the worth of the company. You need to multiply the stock price with the total number of outstanding stocks in the market to get the market cap of a company and that is the worth of the company.

Earning Per Share – Earning per share is the profit that the company made per share on the last quarter. It is mandatory for every public company to publish the quarterly report that states the earning per share of the company. This is perhaps the most important factor for deciding the health of any company and they influence the buying tendency in the market resulting in the increase in the price of that particular stock. So, if you want to make a profitable investment, you need to keep watch on the quarterly reports that the companies and scrutinize the possibilities before buying stocks of particular stock.

Price/Earning Ratio – Price/Earning ratio or the P/E ratio gives you fair idea of how a company’s share price compares to its earnings. If the price of the share is too much lower than the earning of the company, the stock is undervalued and it has the potential to rise in the near future. On the other hand, if the price is way too much higher than the actual earning of the company and then the stock is said to overvalued and the price can fall at any point.

Before we conclude this discussion on share prices, let me remind you that there are so many other reasons behind the fall or rise of the share price. Especially there are stock specific factors that also play its part in the price of the stock. So, it is always important that you do your research well and stock trading on the basis of your research and information that you get from your broker. To get benefit from the effective consultancy service it is therefore always better from professional stock trading companies rather than getting lured by discount brokerage advertisements that you must be coming across everyday.