When it comes to Housewarming Gifts, there are a plethora of things out there available to purchase. And when it is all said and done, it still comes down to personal taste. Remember, it is their personal taste, not yours!
A bottle of wine or a basket of fruit are almost always appreciated gifts. But if you’re visiting friends in their first new home, you may be casting about for a little something that’s more original.
Buzzfeed, a lifestyle maven for adventurous millennials, and Good Housekeeping Magazine suggest seven original housewarming gifts your friends will really love:
A zip code accent pillow. Personalized with their very own zip code, this cute accent pillow is available in several colors and sizes. It’s made by Sweet Houligans Designs, available on Etsy for about $25.
Cutting board map. A colorful map of the newcomers’ area on a super cool and practical cutting board they will use for years. Available from Uncommon Goods for about $50.
A good bottle of olive oil. Every cook needs it. Surround it in a basket with some good pasta, sauces, and a bottle of chianti and you may get invited back for dinner.
An attractive wine rack. The new homeowners will likely receive more than a few bottles of wine as gifts, so why not prepare them to store the wines in an attractive countertop wine rack. Available in most home stores or at larger liquor outlets.
Personalized stationery. They’ll be bowled over by a selection of personalized stationery and notes, a rubber stamp with their address, and a roll of personalized address labels. Order them online or at most stationery or mail stores.
A clever doormat. You can find a selection of cool doormats at your local home or big box store, or check out a mat that says, ‘Yay, it’s you!’ available for under $40 at LindenFieldsHome.com.
New-home Christmas ornament. They’ll think of you every time they hang this ornament on their tree. A key to their kingdom, with the year and the address can be ordered from Amazon for about $27.
Investing in real estate has great potential for passive income. It can also be part of your retirement planning by selling the home and getting a big chunk of equity.
It also comes with risks.
So I wanted to share with you some of the things that I have learned when it comes to knowing the local real estate market and the real estate agents who specialize in working with real estate investors.
- Know what’s happening in your area – Are people moving into your area because of job opportunities? Are people retiring there? Are you in a vacation area where you can buy short-term rental homes? Do you want to buy a duplex or four-plex home, live in one of the units and rent out the others?
- Understand the costs involved – In addition to a mortgage payment, taxes and insurance, you will need to budget for repairs, landscaping/snow removal.
- Long-term or short-term investing – Investing in real estate can help you build your wealth over the long term. Or buying fixer-uppers and selling them immediately can give you more cash over the short term. You will need to decide which one is right for you.
- Know all of your financing options – the mortgage rules are different in regard to the down payment, the closing costs and interest rate. I can help you decide which loan program would be the most advantageous for you.
- Know your numbers – Cash flow and income tax rules can benefit you when you invest in real estate. That’s where a great accountant/CPA can help you determine if the numbers work for you and your tax bracket. (I can recommend one to you.)
- Build your own real estate investment team – Even if you are only considering buying one or two rental properties, it’s best to work with people you can rely on to give you good advice. A real estate agent who specializes in working with investors (I can recommend some to you), a property management company (if you don’t want to manage your own), and a network of contractors who will help you if the home needs to be repaired.
If you are interested in exploring the possibility of investing in real estate, please let me know and we can set up a time to talk and I can introduce you to an awesome Realtor.
As a Mortgage Professional, I have several niches that I market to that generate leads and closed loans.
However, I wanted to share some niches that you may not have considered marketing to:
- Local school teachers/school administrators/PTA
- Get on the board of your local homeowner’s association
- Personal interest groups (running club, car collectors club, country club)
- Specific apartment complexes (Visit ApartmentToolKit.com to order apartment complex mailing lists.)
- Alumni associations (high school/college)
- Hang out at local coffee shop
- Medical personnel/hospitals
- Become the preferred Realtor for local corporations.
- Your church
- FSBO marketing campaigns
- Hold home seller seminars
- Moving companies
- Divorce attorneys
- New home builder salespeople
- HUD/VA/Fannie/Freddie foreclosures
- Real estate investor groups
- International real estate agents
- CPA’s / financial planners / stockbrokers
- Long-term stay hotels
- Add social media blogging to your list of ‘things to do’
- Networking groups
- Contribute articles about real estate to local newspapers / TV interviews / videos
- Board of directors of ANY association (charities, volunteer groups, etc.)
- Teach real estate agent classes
- Host move-in parties for clients you have sold homes to
- Commercial real estate brokers
Finally, get to know all the real estate agents in your area. They may give you a referral because of your niche!
I recently viewed a news show where the buyers complained that they were videotaped while walking through an open house.
With video surveillance systems installed in homes these days, this is a game changer for Realtors, buyers and sellers.
The first step is to know the law.
Many states have laws on the books about audio- or videotaping someone without the consent (maybe even written consent) of at least one (or maybe all) of the people involved in the conversation.
Print a copy of the law.
When listing a home, ask if there are video cameras installed.
Let them know the legal ramifications of recording the home buyer and the Realtor showing the home in your state. Give them a copy of the law.
As for homebuyers you represent, mention that homes these days have cameras – you don’t know which ones (unless mentioned on the listing) – and to take notes and not to make any comments until you are outside the home. Even then, the seller may have cameras installed on the exterior of the home too.
And as a Realtor, keep your comments about the home to yourself until you get in the car or at the office.
Question: Do you think that the listing should mention that the home has surveillance cameras installed?
I know there are many questions regarding your FHA loans after the shutdown. Here are some answers to assist you.
Q: Can I get an FHA case number?
A: Yes. Lenders will be able to obtain an FHA case number from the FHA Connection.
Q: Will FHA endorse single family loans during a shutdown?
A: FHA will be able to endorse single family loans, with the exception of Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECM) and Title I loans, during the shutdown. A limited number of FHA staff will be available to endorse new loans. Due to limited staff, the time to endorse the cases may be extended.
Q: Will FHA still be able to endorse my loan if I am not able to obtain tax returns verified by the IRS during the shutdown?
A: FHA is aware that some lenders obtain tax transcripts directly from the IRS for use in underwriting their FHA-insured loans. These lenders may be unable to actually obtain any returns directly from the IRS for the duration of the Government shutdown. Lenders may continue originating loans using FHA’s existing underwriting requirements, which have not changed as a result of the shutdown. Lenders are required to obtain tax returns from certain borrowers in order to originate FHA-insured loans and lenders must also continue to obtain the borrower’s signed authorization (i.e., Forms IRS 4506, IRS 8821, or whatever form or electronic retrieval service is appropriate) for any loan for which the borrower's tax returns are required.
Q: Why didn’t the borrower’s name and Social Security Number pass validation with the Social Security Administration?
A: When the lender requests the FHA case number, the borrower’s name, date of birth and Social Security Number (SSN) and property address are entered into FHA Connection (FHAC). If the overnight matching process with Social Security Administrations (SSA) fails, a Case Warning for SSN Validation will be placed on the case number. The failure could occur because the data doesn’t match or because the system went offline due to the government shutdown. SSA has limited tolerance for minor mistakes in names, birth dates and social security numbers, so lenders are reminded of the importance for accuracy in these three data elements when requesting a case number.
Q: Can the Social Security Number validation be run again?
A: Lenders do have the opportunity to make the necessary corrections and a second attempt to validate with SSA will occur. Any changes made to the borrower's name, birth date and SSN at any time prior to insurance endorsement will trigger a validation request with SSA. If the revised data passes validation, the Case Warning for SSN Validation will be removed. If the failure was caused by the government shutdown, the Case Warning for SSN Validation will not be able to be removed until the government reopens. FHA will ensure that the validation process takes place and lenders will be advised of the results in FHAC as soon as possible upon the reopening of the government.
Q: Can I continue to process the loan without the Social Security Number validation?
A: Lenders may continue processing loans without receiving validation of the borrower’s name and SSN, but FHA will not endorse loans without this validation. For the Lender Insurance program, lenders will not be able to insure the loans for which this validation has not been received.
Q: What happens if I cannot validate the borrower’s SSN?
A: The lender may submit a request for insurance endorsement if confident that the Case Warning was received in error as a result of a system shutdown. The lender must provide conclusive documentation to verify the SSN such as a valid SSN card issued by the SSA, or an original document issued by a federal or state government agency, which contains the name of the individual and the SSN of the individual, along with other identifying information of the individual in the case binder to support the validity of the borrower’s name and SSN to the applicable Homeownership Center (HOC). Lenders may not endorse any loans with Case Warnings for SSN Validation and FHA will require the lender to submit the case binder for endorsement along with conclusive documentation to verify the SSN such as a valid SSN card issued by the SSA, or an original document issued by a federal or state government agency, which contains the name of the individual and the SSN of the individual, along with other identifying information of the individual in the case binder to support the validity of the borrower’s name and SSN to the applicable Homeownership Center (HOC). If upon review, FHA believes the documentation provided complies with HUD’s regulations and the loan meets all other FHA requirements, the HOC will endorse the mortgage for insurance. FHA Homeownership List Serv Archive Page FHA Recently began posting prior messages from this Homeownership List Serv on a Departmental web site. Currently the archives include messages from calendar year 2013 and a portion of calendar year 2012.
To view messages sent by firstname.lastname@example.org and previously by email@example.com, please visit the following site: http://bit.ly/FHAInfo
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