Category Archives: Real Estate

Mortgages for Older People

The media have reported an increasing number of cases where older people are struggling to find mortgages. These are credit worthy borrowers who along with other groups such as the self employed or contract workers have become known as mortgage misfits.

Changes in mortgage regulation, called the Mortgage Market Review (MMR), introduced new rules on affordability. This requires all mortgage lenders to fully assess that every mortgage they provide is affordable. However, some lenders have decided to restrict mortgages for older people as they cannot fully establish if the mortgage is affordable in retirement. This is not just impacting those wanting a mortgage in their 50s or 60s, if you are aged 41 and want a 25 year mortgage a number of lenders may not accept you. Lenders with these restrictions generally will not permit a mortgage term that exceeds the age of 65.

ICM Unlimited conducted recent research in this area on behalf of Ipswich Building Society, this identified that 39% of mortgage holders were concerned about the availability of mortgages for older people.  In fact of all the age groups 45% of the youngest group (20 – 29 years olds) said they were concerned about access to mortgages for older people.

A more significant issue was that 45% of respondents held concerns that as they got older they would end up paying more than younger people.

Why are some mortgage lenders refusing to offer mortgages to older people?

Lenders that have decided to limit their mortgage lending to people under the age of 65 state difficulties in confidently assessing their affordability. This often means that they cannot guarantee the retirement date or value of a mortgage applicant’s future pension. Whilst this may be difficult and not guaranteed, neither is a salaried occupation. What may appear to be a lack of common sense being applied is probably driven by these lenders using automated systems. These are incapable of handling situations that are not in their process flow or are based on a degree of likelihood, as opposed to 100% certainty. Furthermore, employees using these systems are restricted to only following the computers’ answers.

So what can you do if you need a mortgage for over 50s?

If you need a mortgage that goes beyond your 65th birthday then there are some mortgage lenders who will consider you. Smaller, regional building societies tend to specialise in this area of lending.  They use people and not computers to make their lending decisions. This means they can assess mortgage applications individually and on their own merits. This is ideal for those with unusual incomes, pension income or unusual circumstances. This approach can be beneficial for those needing a mortgage for older people.

2 quick tips if you are looking for a mortgage into retirement

  1. A quick call to ask the lender’s maximum lending age will help you determine if they will lend in your age bracket. You can watch this video to find out more about one lender’s retirement mortgage programme.

  2. If you’re not sure or would like help to find the right lender for you, a mortgage broker could be an idea. They may charge you a fee for their advice.


How to Sell Your Home Fast and Get the Best Price

Selling your home can be a long, drawn out process that for many seems like too much hassle to even bother with. There are ways to speed things up that don’t result in receiving a lower price for your property.

Sell Online

The internet has made selling things so much easier and this includes houses. There are plenty of online estate agents, many of whom charge a lot less than your traditional high street variety. More and more house sellers are now marketing their properties online and making huge savings while still getting a great price for their property.

House Buyer Bureau are one such outlet. You just fill in an enquiry form, speak to an expert advisor and they will make you a cash offer, sometimes in as little as seven days. They buy all types of property located across the UK no matter what condition they are in. So if time is of the essence and you don’t want to compromise on price it’s a good option.

Auction It Off

The process of signing up your house to an auction may not be as quick as selling online but it does set a date when you can hope it will be sold by. Rather than let a never ending trail of potential buyers look round your house until one makes the right offer, an auction cuts out a lot of wasted effort as most people present will be interested buyers.

It also reduces costs such as maintenance and tax in the long term. Of course if you feel the price it goes for at auction is unsatisfactory you can normally agree not to sell on the day. However, a lot of the time houses that sell on auction go for more as it creates competition between buyers.

Remember the Basics

It may seem obvious yet as the housing market changes some sellers are forgetting the basic principles which help a house sell. Putting up a ‘For Sale’ sign is still vital as one in three sales are still triggered by this.

Keep your home and garden clean and tidy for visits. Ensure your home’s top qualities are highlighted wherever it is being marketed with a good image of the property attached. Ask viewers for any feedback and then work on their advice to help accelerate the sale. If it’s a good property and well advertised that significantly increases the chance of a speedy sale.

Selling Your House: How to Balance Control and Speed

It’s no secret that the housing market is tough for both buyers and sellers right now. Those who want to buy are struggling to get the mortgage they need from the banks, and this means that sellers have fewer options. A successful sale requires planning, time and a considerable amount of effort, but it is certainly possible if you do things the right way.

One of the main things to think about is how you’re going to balance the speed of the sale, and how much control you’ll have over it. On the one hand, you could quickly sell to a house buying company, or you could choose an estate agent.

Working With an Estate Agent

There are many companies out there that offer to buy your house without you having to go through any of the hassle of chains, viewings, or anything like that. For some, they are a great choice, but the main problem is that they afford you little control over the final selling price. You are simply given an offer by the company and that is that – they decide what your house is worth to them. Ultimately, this means that you will almost certainly get a lower price than you would if you chose to sell via the traditional route.

The answer to this then, is that you need to choose the right estate agents and strategy to suite your needs and your timescale.

There are lots of different ways of marketing and ultimately selling a house; some of them will cost a lot, meaning you’ll need to achieve a higher selling price, and others will be cheaper, simpler marketing methods that take a longer time. It’s all about what works for you, and crucially, something that works for your buyers. The type of buyers in your area for instance, will have a major impact on how you approach them. What may appeal to first time buyers might not be great for the buy-to-let people.

In an ideal world, you should pick a flexible estate agent like House Network, which offers you a great deal of control over how your property is marketed with customisable selling packages. This means that you may be able to change your strategy if you feel something isn’t working, and you might not have to sink a lot of money into something that isn’t right. Get the balance of control and speed right, and you’ll get your home sold at the price you want.

Renting vs. Owning: 3 Key Factors to Consider

The choice to rent a home or buy is a complex one, made more complex because the benefits may change according to your circumstances. If you are living in a location for a short amount of time, renting is probably the better option. However, owning a home may be a better long-term investment, even if “long-term” is only a few years. Here are three key factors to consider when deciding which option is right for you.


In the short term, owning a home and renting are fairly similar. Both investments incur the one-time, initial costs of a down payment or security deposit, utilities setup, and property management fees. Even month-to-month, you may pay about the same for utilities and rent or a mortgage payment. However, the cost of owning a home is significantly less than renting property over time.

Depending on the terms of your mortgage, you will make monthly payments on your home anywhere from 10 to 30 years. If you have a fixed rate mortgage, the amount of your monthly payment will stay the same for the life of the loan. In the case of a variable rate, your interest may increase without very much warning.

You may be able to get a lower rate on your mortgage if you have a healthy credit history and stable income. Even when you have bad credit, lenders like Performance Mortgage & Financial Services Ltd., which provides mortgages in Edmonton, may be able to help you become eligible for a lower interest rate.

When renting, you will have to make a monthly payment to your landlord for the duration of your stay. Like variable interest rate mortgages, rent costs may change unexpectedly, making it difficult to accurately estimate your cost over time.

Many property management firms do not negotiate monthly rent costs. That doesn’t mean, however, that your credit health isn’t important. You may be denied tenancy if you do not have an adequate credit score, have a history of late payments and overdrafts, or do not have a steady source of income.


One advantage of owning a home is the potential income tax breaks it provides. Whether you own a townhouse, mobile home, or cozy house in the suburbs, you may be eligible for these tax breaks:

  • Mortgage Interest: All of your mortgage loan interest (the bulk of most homeowner’s monthly bill) is deductible unless your loan is for $1 million or more.
  • Real Estate Taxes: Your property taxes are also deductible.
  • Home Office: If you use a home office as your principle place of business, you will be able to deduct a portion of your utilities, home insurance, and home repairs.
  • Accidental Damage and Loss: Uninsured loss that does not come to more than 10% of your gross annual income are also deductible.

As far as renting goes: while there are deductions available for landlords, there are no specific tax breaks for tenants.


Owning your dream home comes with the added burden of responsibility for home upkeep, from new paint to septic system maintenance. In some cases, your homeowners insurance will cover the costs of accidents, but most renovations and improvements will come out of your own pocket. The upside is that you can renovate.

When you rent a home, most of your maintenance costs are billed to your landlord. This means when the sink faucet breaks, you can just make a call to have it fixed instead of hiring a technician yourself. You might not be allowed to change the appearance of your rental to fit your own taste or comfort, however.


No two situations are the same. Many people choose to rent for years before they purchase their first home. This allows them to spend time finding the perfect home for their family, but may cost more than they would be spending on a mortgage payment in the meantime. If you are not sure whether renting or buying is right for you, consider discussing your situation with a mortgage lender or financial advisor.

Remodeling: Repairs To Keep In Mind That Can Save You Money

Owning a home can be one of the most satisfying accomplishments any adult can achieve. It can also be expensive and difficult. However, homeowners looking to reduce their monthly expenses while also raising their home’s value have options. With just a few repairs and some basic upgrades, any home can become more affordable and eco-friendly almost overnight.


Properly installed skylights are a great investment. Not only are skylights visually appealing, they can also reduce the need for artificial lights in darker rooms and hallways. In summer they can provide additional ventilation, and in winter they are a source of natural solar heat. This can reduce electrical, cooling, and heating bills, all with one single upgrade. They can also increase the resale value of a home, making a skylight a great choice for any homeowner.

Green Appliances 

Green appliances may cost more initially but will save homeowners a lot of money in the long run. Whether a water heater, an air conditioning unit or even a dishwasher, an eco-friendly appliance will use less electricity and less water, resulting in less spending. The cumulative difference on utility bills can add up to enormous savings. Homeowners shouldn’t be penny wise and pound foolish when upgrading or replacing outdated appliances.


When repairing winter-ravaged landscaping, money minded homeowners should consider some easy upgrades that will save on water and electricity costs long term. Firstly, in naturally dry climates, rather than relying on expensive sprinkler systems owners should plant drought resistant greenery. In many cases, native vegetation tends to be most naturally suited to the climate anyway, making the landscaping both eco-friendly and locally sourced. Secondly, strategically placed trees and bushes can provide shade for sunny windows and insulation for windy winters. Taken together, these upgrades equal savings.

Upgraded Windows And Doors 

Double paned or UV coated windows and reinforced doors can dramatically reduce both cooling and heating costs. Not only will this lower energy bills, but upgraded windows and doors can immediately raise a home’s resale value, as well as reduce noise pollution within the home. This can be especially important for homes found near busy roads or built in very warm or very cold climates. Homeowners should make sure to consult with reputable vendors such as The Skylight Place window installers or other local contractors for help in selecting the best eco-friendly window upgrades.

Any of these upgrades will have instant results on a home’s bottom line. All of them together will result in hundreds or even thousands of dollars in annual savings. With just a few simple changes and some initial investment, owning a home can be affordable for anyone. If you’re interested in buying a pre-owned home, it may be worth it to get the roof, windows, siding and gutters checked for any damages by Roofs By Rodger.

Five Steps to Follow for The First Time Homebuyer

Buying a home at first can seem like a daunting task. There are a multitude of factors to consider, some of which are not immediately clear or apparent, as well as a variety of factors that differ based on location, what type of home you are looking for, etc. In the past few years, home values have plummeted and are just now starting to pick up. Many see this as an opportune time to purchase a home, but there is no need to rush into things. If you do, you may regret it later. Here are five steps to follow for the first time buyer.

1) Be patient when you begin your search. Building too much anticipation and desire to get out of your current living situation or becoming anxious that you will not find a home if you are pressured under time constraints and do not see something that fits your needs immediately can prove disastrous in the long-run. Conduct your research not just by being aware of home values in the locality or localities in which you are searching but also by going to the neighborhoods and getting a “feel” for them yourself. Talk to potential neighbors about some of the things that are attractive about the neighborhood and try to get the “inside scoop” on what is happening there.

2) There is no such thing as perfect. You may think you will find a perfect home if you look hard enough, but you must realise that every home has its downsides, even if they are small. The key is to take all of the things you want in a home into account–the size, price, location, features, etc.–and find one that comes closest to meeting all of these.

3) Analyse the home you wish to buy with extreme meticulousness. Get the home inspected by a certified inspector and be there when the home gets inspected. If there are any problems, be sure to know how much it will cost to get them replaced and how severe any problems are. If only small things need to be done to the house (i.e. new paint, a little plumbing, etc.) make sure you consider how long it will take for you to do these yourself or how inconvenient it will be to hire someone to do these things. If you are unsure, this checklist can guide you through it.

4) Save some cash for a rainy day. Do not spend all of your money on the deposit, and be prepared to negotiate with the seller. Consider how much new furniture, appliances, etc. will cost for your home. The interest rate on your mortgage will likely be lower than the rate on your credit card, so it is best to not put all of your savings into the deposit. Here are some ways to save money that might come in handy.

5) Make the switch. Once you have purchased the property, prepare to move in. You need to remember to cancel all of the utilities at the place you have been living and switch your official address, arranging for any mail to go to your new address after the move date. Schedule the move date, get everything packed ahead of time and book in the moving company. Then it’s all stations go as you make the move.


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Make More Money: Real Estate Tricks to Flipping Houses

Flipping real estate for a profit is not nearly as easy as some of the TV shows might suggest, but there are many professional house flippers who can attest to the profitability of this income opportunity. By following a few helpful tips, flipping houses can become a profitable and exciting income source for you.


Design the House to Appeal to the Most Buyers

One of the mistakes that many new house flippers make is to design the house with their unique taste in mind instead of considering what appeals to the majority of prospective home buyers. It is crucial to make color choices and design decisions that coincide with likely buyers. Demographic information can be helpful when remodeling a home.


When selecting paint colors, going with more neutral colors is highly recommended. Buyers want to move right in without having to do any work. By using neutral colors, more buyers will feel comfortable moving in without being forced to make immediate changes.


Buy Low and Sell Low

Successful house flippers report that they determine the profit on a deal at the time of the purchase. Paying too much for a house makes it impossible to make a profit in most situations. The goal should be to pay a very low price for a house and then to fix it up and sell it for less than the other houses in the neighborhood. If your ultimate goal is to sell it quickly, then you want to have the nicest house for the lowest price. Buyers will jump on a house that is nicer and cheaper than comparable properties in the area.


How to Estimate Repairs

A common tendency for novice house flippers is to underestimate repairs. Obtaining repair estimates and then padding those figures with at least 10 percent as an error margin is recommended. Some seasoned real estate investors go so far as to recommend doubling the repair figure to be sure you don’t pay too much for the house.


Staging the Property

Buying a house is emotional. When buyers feel an immediate connection to the house, they are more likely to buy it. For convenience, you could keep all staging furniture and décor in a storage unit so they can be easily accessible. This will make it easier to move these touches of comfort into and out of a home when needed. For example, I recently sold a home south of Denver, and we used a Colorado Springs CO self storage unit to stage so we could quickly move furniture in and out of the house when we needed to. Our home sold much faster because it was staged and appeared cozy and livable.


There is a success formula that experienced house flippers use. Buying a property for the right price and padding estimated repairs gives investors the best chance of making a profit. Prepare yourself to make a profit flipping houses with these four tips.


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Four Reasons You Should Invest In Real Estate And How To Get Started

Real estate is an interesting sector of the market to be invested in. There are a variety of ways to make money from a real estate investment, and even a novice investor can learn how to get the best return on his or her money. What are some good reasons to invest in residential and commercial properties?

1) You Can Keep The Property In The Family Forever

When you pass on, you can give your houses or commercial properties to your heirs to continue making money for your family. If your heirs don’t want the properties, they can sell them for a hefty profit. Having all of the debt paid off will be a great asset for your loved ones. They can use the property without over-bearing payments or sell it for money that might be needed elsewhere.

2) Tax Rates Are Lower On Rental Income

Rental income is taxed at ordinary income tax rates. In addition, capital gains taxes only apply if you sell properties outside of a retirement account. The best thing to do is put a portion of your real estate holdings inside of an IRA and avoid capital gains and income taxes until the money is taken out in retirement.

3) The Housing Market Is Priced For Growth

Housing prices are low and interest rates are low as well. This means that you should buy now when houses and other real estate are priced below market value. In a few years when the market rebounds, you will be in prime position to make an easy profit.

4) Make A Passive Income

Rental income is income that you don’t have to do anything to earn. All you need to do is find a tenant and that tenant will write a check to you each month simply to occupy your rental space. To make things even better, commercial tenants are usually required to sign leases for up to three years or more.

How Can You Get Involved In Real Estate?

Getting involved in real estate is as easy as finding a property that you want to buy and having a plan to make money from it. You can sign up for an investor newsletter that will help you determine how to make the most from your investment or find investors who are willing to help you fund your first housing purchase. Staying informed is the key success with you investments.

Real estate is a sector of the market that you shouldn’t ignore. If you are looking to make a passive income that can be used today or for your future retirement, consider investing in real estate.


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How to earn the most from your property

If you have a property you are not living in currently, you could rent it out and make yourself some money, either towards paying the mortgage or other living costs. There are quite a few things you need to think about before renting out, but if you are not able to live in it – perhaps you are working away temporarily – or the market for your kind of house is not currently very strong renting may be the answer. Otherwise you can always sell the property fast through an online property buyer.


People worry about Capital Gains Tax when they rent and then subsequently sell their home, but this is not a problem. If the house has genuinely been your home, there is no CGT to pay when you sell, even if you have rented it out for quite a while. The problems begin if you sell an inherited property after renting it out so you would need to work out how much of the rental income you would lose to tax – this is quite a complicated issue, so you may need to take professional advice, because there are time limits and all kinds of other clauses which change from time to time.


If your property is in a tourist location, you may want to consider renting it out as a holiday let. There are pros and cons to this method of making money from your property so you would need to look at your own circumstances before deciding what to do. One of the major pros of renting as a holiday property is that you don’t have to worry about contracts and length of tenure – by definition the property is let in blocks of one or two weeks or even less. You could also let it as a very short let in the off season, but with holiday rentals per week often equalling or exceeding a monthly rental long term, you may not need to. A downside is that you will have costs – gardener, cleaners and agency – but these are built in to the rental price so should not put you off. It also makes selling quicker if you don’t need to remove a tenant.


If you need to make money from a property you are not living in, the best way is to let it room by room to numerous tenants. This is by far the highest rental you could achieve but you would need to consider the disadvantages. Most multiple lets are to students and they are not known for taking great care of a property. You would need to make sure that you had all the correct indemnities and insurances on board, but for good returns, this is probably the best option of all, as you have a more or less guaranteed full occupancy through almost the entire year, with a retainer in college holidays, so the income is year round. Again, your contract is likely to be fairly short, meaning that you could sell the house with not too much wait, should you decide in the end that selling is the right thing for you.


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5 Best Housing Markets for the Current Boom

577 Shady Ridge  - 49

The housing market has definitely rebounded in 2013, with levels of optimism not seen since before the recession took hold in 2008. A study by Rasmussen says that nearly 40 percent of Americans believe their home will increase in value in the next year, and nearly 60 percent believe their home is worth more than when they bought it. This positive feeling among homeowners could be a response to rising home prices, up 24 percent overall in the past year. While the market is starting to boom all over the country, there are some cities where home buying is creating more of a frenzy. These housing markets have their own advantages that make owning property there a smart investment for the future.

1. Sacramento, CA

Housing markets are thriving all over California, which was harder-hit by the collapse of the housing bubble than almost anywhere. But while some cities are benefiting from attracting exclusively high-income buyers, Sacramento is benefiting from the fact that there hasn’t been enough home construction to keep up with the demand for such a popular area. Sacramento lead the nation in housing market growth at the start of 2013, proving that places which fell the farthest can rebound the strongest.

2. Denver, CO

Denver Mansion

The amount of homes for sale in Denver is the lowest it’s been in nearly 3 decades, creating a hugely competitive market and a 20 percent rise in home prices since 2012. Nearly any home listed in the city is guaranteed to inspire a bidding war, which is why previously reluctant sellers are becoming more willing to list their houses. Even seriously indebted homeowners can turn a profit, or at least come out less scathed than they expected. Of course, some sellers are still sitting on their properties simply out of fear that the shortage will make it tough to find a replacement.

3. Orlando, FL

The market in Florida rivals the market in California for the most noticeable statewide rebound. Florida has an increase in building, a decrease in foreclosures, and a rise in actual land prices that has surpassed peak levels in some areas. But Orlando is leading the pack, in part because it’s a very popular city for foreign buyers. Their cash down payments are helping to spark competition in the local market, while the city still rates as very affordable to buyers. It also helps that Florida is a judicial foreclosure state, so it takes the banks much longer to snatch up houses.

4. Phoenix, AZ

Desert Hills Home Tour - 03/14/2008

With a 23 percent increase in home values and one of the lowest foreclosure rates in the country, the housing market in Phoenix has had a stellar year so far. In fact, the market there is so hot that some analysts fear it could turn into a bubble. But others insist that the replacement of credit-based buyers with cash buyers has served to stabilize growth in new ways, and the weather, age of homes, and lack of foreclosed homes is driving Phoenix’s new reputation as a great place for property investors.

5. Las Vegas, NV

Similar to Phoenix, Las Vegas has seen a drop in foreclosures and a rise in prices, including the price of land. But with interest rates still low, the housing market is recovering at a more affordable pace. The city still has a high percentage of renters, which is good news for investors. And the good news for home buyers is there’s a much smaller difference between income levels and average home prices than in much of the nation, signaling an overall improvement in the local economy.

There are many patterns emerging in the hot markets across the United States. Fewer foreclosures, cash investors, and a lower supply of houses on the market are causing a real rebound in housing. Many still fear another housing bubble, but it looks like the market may actually improve at a stable rate after all. In that case, every city wins.



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