The Hidden Costs of Refinancing

by Isaac Benmergui, Esq on August 26, 2016

The Hidden Costs of RefinancingWith interest rates at historic lows, refinancing is a great option when it comes to lowering your mortgage. That can be true. However, it depends on many factors, and the refinancing process can be just as time-consuming and lengthy as an actual sale.

Here are some of the hidden costs of refinancing so you can consider whether a refi or home shopping is the right choice for you.

  1. Application fee: Up to $300. This covers processing your loan request and checking your credit report. Yep. Even though you were already qualified enough to get your first mortgage, lenders are going to check everything again to ensure you are still worthy.
  2. Prepayment Penalty: 1-6 months’ worth of mortgage payments. The prepayment penalty will be outlined in your current mortgage, so dig that up and read it. However, if you go with the same lender for your refi and you have a good record of on-time payments, you may be able to negotiate this down or eliminate it altogether.
  3. Appraisal Fee: Up to $700. Your home will have to be appraised again to make sure it—and the neighborhood—are still worth at least the same amountthat you owe.
  4. Home Inspection: Up to $350. Your property needs to be rechecked for problems, repairs, and other issues, such as pest infestations or termites.
  5. Title Search: Up to $900. Lenders will do another title search to make sure your property has no new liens or claims. You can cut this cost down by providing lenders with the results of the title search from your home purchase.
  6. Closing fee: Up to $1,000. These fees are paid to the attorney who reviews all the paperwork for the bank.

If you are planning to be in your home for 10 or more years, or the interest rate is more than a few points lower than when you bought, a refinance might be worth the time and money it takes to simply stay in your own home. Otherwise, you might want to call your real estate attorney and start house hunting.

Call Miami Real Estate Lawyer Isaac Benmergui at 305.397.8547 and set up a no charge, no obligation consultation to discuss your case. We have over a decade of experience handling Real Estate, Civil Litigation, and Personal Injury cases throughout Miami and South Florida, and will use our expertise to help your case to the best of our abilities.

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Don’t Make These Real Estate Mistakes

by Isaac Benmergui, Esq on August 25, 2016

The word mistake written with a pencil on white paper. An eraser from a pencil is starting to erase the word mistake. The word mistake written with a pencil on white paper. An eraser from a pencil is starting to erase the word mistake.

Everyone has made a rookie home-buyer mistake. Whether it’s not getting pre-qualified, making a lowball offer, or dragging out closing because you don’t have your paperwork together. On the flip side, there are a lot of rookie seller mistakes to be had, too: asking too much, hanging around during a showing, or forgetting about curb appeal.

But you don’t have to make any of these mistakes, because these homeowners have already made them for you. Here are 5 real-life real estate mistakes.

  1. Not preparing for a sale. Even in a seller’s market, you want to deep clean, de-clutter, and depersonalize your home. Why? HGTVs Property Brothers say simply giving your place a good cleaning can get you as much as $20,000 more than a messy home. Even if you stand to make a good profit on your current home as-is, who would walk away from an extra $20k?
  2. Trying to sell on your own. You might be able to make it work, but many real estate agents may think twice about trying make an offer and negotiate with someone with no experience. In the meantime, you may be missing out on a prime market and buyers ready to purchase. Look into a real estate attorney or agent in order to be ready to capitalize on an offer.
  3. Not staging. If you’ve already moved out, staging can help potential buyers see the home as more than just an empty space. And, the money you spend on staging could end up being less than you would spend to continue to pay the mortgage for a few more months. Statistics show that professionally staged homes spend 73 percent less time on the market.
  4. Picking a buyer based only on price. If you’re moving out of state, or didn’t own your property for very long, then it probably won’t bother you what the next owner does with the property. But if you put years of work and sweat into caring for your home, you may want the peace of mind knowing that the next owner will care for the property like you did. But how do you do this? Ask potential buyers for a short cover letter that tells a little about themselves and what they love about the area and your property.
  5. Not doing small repairs yourself. You may have gotten used to ignoring that door that doesn’t open right or jiggling the handle of thetoilet, but your buyer isn’t going to notice those things during the showing. Instead, they’ll see all these tiny infractions on a home inspection report and demand that you fix them now, or compensate them for repairs. Either way, it’s going to cost you time and money and may jeopardize your closing date or the sale itself.

Call Miami Real Estate Lawyer Isaac Benmergui at 305.397.8547 and set up a no charge, no obligation consultation to discuss your case. We have over a decade of experience handling Real Estate, Civil Litigation, and Personal Injury cases throughout Miami and South Florida, and will use our expertise to help your case to the best of our abilities.

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How the Recession Changed Financing for Real Estate Developers

by Isaac Benmergui, Esq on August 24, 2016

real estate developersOne contributing factor of the great recession in Florida—aside from no-qualification financing—was house flipping. House flipping involved amateur investors who bought homes with as little as 3 to 5 percent down and then resold them for profit. The flips created an unsustainably inflated real estate market that eventually came crashing down.

Since then, real estate developers in South Florida changed their financing and contracting models to help insure against another price bubble.

The most significant change in financing has involved American developers adopting the Latin American model of financing. Most condo developers began requiring 50 to 90 percent down prior to closing after the recession. This model helps reallocate the risk from the buyers to the developers in the event of drastic, unforeseeable price fluctuations. However, transferring that risk to the buyer also means the buyer is more likely to sue if the project is late in being completed or deviates from the specs used to sell the unit.

This model helps developers rely less on third-party investors, and also reduces the likelihood of investors walking away from small deposits rather than take on a unit that they have no chance of selling in the near future.

However, given that many condo owners can’t sell right now due to the current price correction, another solution has begun trending: renting your unit out on short-term rental locations. Even though many HOA by laws forbid rental terms of less than 90 days, sites like AirBnB , VRBO and others make it easy for owners to pay their mortgage while waiting to sell their unit. But in the meantime, rentals make life less-than-ideal for the owners who are full-time.

Call Miami Real Estate Lawyer Isaac Benmergui at 305.397.8547 and set up a no charge, no obligation consultation to discuss your case. We have over a decade of experience handling Real Estate, Civil Litigation, and Personal Injury cases throughout Miami and South Florida, and will use our expertise to help your case to the best of our abilities.

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Miami Condo Market Becoming Buyer-friendly

by Isaac Benmergui, Esq on August 23, 2016

Miami condoThere are quite a few variables in the South Florida condo market right now: Brexit, the strength of the dollar, and instability in South America, just to name a few. But for buyers, things are looking up. Local real estate analysts say the condo market is cooling—and it’s starting to favor buyers.

A few factors are influencing the buyer-friendly market. One is that foreign buyers have pulled back as the dollar strengthens. This includes Brazil, which used to be the top international purchaser of South Florida real estate but as dropped off as he real plunged.

Cash buyers are also less frequent than they used to be, although condos continue to be more difficult to finance than single-family housing. And with many buyers sitting on as much as 60 percent deposits, they can’t afford to sell. But when they do, some experts say the market will move from the price-discovery phase—where owners put their units on the market to test the waters–to a full-on correction.

Condos are plentiful in South Florida as well. Miami alone has more than a year’s worth of inventory on hand, and more just keep coming. A huge number of condo projects are in the works, so many that many Miami-area developers have shut down construction and halted sales.

Some developers have reformatted their projects into rentals, or changed focus from luxury condos to affordable housing—which in Florida, is a condo priced around the $170 range.

In other areas, like Fort Lauderdale, the developers just keep on building. Realtors there report seeing an influx of empty-nesters who have sold their homes elsewhere and are ready to downsize.

Call Miami Real Estate Lawyer Isaac Benmergui at 305.397.8547 and set up a no charge, no obligation consultation to discuss your case. We have over a decade of experience handling Real Estate, Civil Litigation, and Personal Injury cases throughout Miami and South Florida, and will use our expertise to help your case to the best of our abilities.

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The Property Brothers Reveal the Secret to Real Estate Success

by Isaac Benmergui, Esq on August 22, 2016

Property BrothersThe HGTV stars of the hit show Property Brothers are giving out real advice that some real estate investors—particularly the Trump University variety—may find disappointing. They say that in real estate, there’s no magic secret to making money.

“Everyone thinks there’s a secret,” brothers Drew and Jonathan Scott told Molly Wood of Marketplace. “And there really isn’t, because real estate in itself is the most basic of simple economics. It’s supply and demand: the more people that want your product, the better the price you’re gonna get. There’s no real secret, it’s all about educating yourself and not just doing the guessing game.”

While that may disappoint some, it’s good news for all. Real estate is something anyone can learn to do and anyone can become good at. It’s just a matter of education.

Part of that education is surrounding yourself with a good team that will tell you the truth and not just what you want to hear. A good real estate investing team consists of a contractor, a loan officer, a real estate agent, and a real estate attorney. With a team of experts at your side, you can make informed decisions on properties based on facts and not emotion.

Investing in real estate is a totally different experience than buying a home that you are going to live in. You have to act on prices, timing and profit rather than on which homes you fall in love with.

Call Miami Real Estate Lawyer Isaac Benmergui at 305.397.8547 and set up a no charge, no obligation consultation to discuss your case. We have over a decade of experience handling Real Estate, Civil Litigation, and Personal Injury cases throughout Miami and South Florida, and will use our expertise to help your case to the best of our abilities.

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