Richard Dumont's Blog
A real estate investment trust (REIT) can be an attractive way to invest in real estate. It allows anyone to invest in real estate assets arranged in a portfolio. Currently, about 87 million Americans invest in these types of stocks.
What is a REIT?
A REIT is a company that operates, finances and/or owns real estate that produces income. It provides its investors with the opportunity to own real estate so they can access an income that is dividend based. Investors in REITs also have a hand in enhancing communities by helping them grow and thrive.
How a REIT Works
In addition to the fact that REITs are much like any other type of stock, they also tend to follow a methodical business model. The company leases space while collecting rent on the real estate it owns. The income generated by these actions is paid to shareholders.
In order to meet the qualifications for being a REIT, the company is required to pay out at least 90 percent of its taxable income to its shareholders. In many cases, REITs pay out a full 100 percent. Shareholders are required to pay income tax on their dividends.
In contrast, mREITs (mortgage real estate investment trusts) don't own any real estate directly. They earn an income on the interest the is generated when they finance investments.
Properties REITs Invest In
The types of real estate properties that a REIT can invest in spans a range of options. These are categorized into 13 different sectors and include residential, retail, healthcare, timberland and more. While most REITs invest in a single sector, there are those that hold more than one type of property.
Types of REITs
There are four general types of REITs. The most common are equity REITs. These operate and/or own real estate that generates income. mREITs focus on providing financing for real estate by originating or purchasing mortgage-related products.
Public non-listed REITs are registered with the SEC, but don't trade on the stock exchanges like the two previous types of REITs mentioned. Private REITs also do not trade on the stock exchanges. In addition, they are exempt from having to register with the SEC.
Getting Started Investing in REITs
Investing in REITs is as easy as purchasing shares of a company that's listed on a stock exchange. Other options for investing in a REIT include buying shares in an exchange-traded fund or a mutual fund that focuses on REITs. Investors also have the option to invest in private REITs and REITs that are public but not listed on the stock exchanges.
While REITs have historically outperformed a number of United States benchmarks, it's important to speak with an investment advisor or financial planner who can provide guidance and targeted information specific to your location and goals.
Most homebuyers take out a mortgage when they purchase a house, and there are several different types of mortgages to choose from. Here are some of the more common mortgage options and the benefits of each one.
Conventional 30-Year Fixed Mortgages
Perhaps the standard starting point for a mortgage is the conventional 30-year fixed home loan. This mortgage is underwritten by a private lending institution but conforms to standards set forth by federal programs. The terms of the loan last for 30 years, and the interest rate is fixed so that it doesn’t change throughout this period.
A conventional 30-year fixed mortgage is a good option for many homebuyers. It lets you spread out the cost of a house across three decades, and you know what the interest and payments will be for the full duration of the loan.
Conventional 15-Year Fixed Mortgages
Conventional 15-year fixed mortgages are just like their 30-year counterparts, except these last half as long. Because the duration of these mortgages is half as long, homebuyers end up paying a lot less in interest.
You’ll have to pay more per month if you cram your mortgage into 15 years, but the interest savings are substantial. If you can afford higher monthly payments, this option will end up saving you a lot.
Adjustable-rate mortgages come in various durations, just as fixed-rate mortgages do. The difference between the two is that the interest rate on an adjustable-rate mortgage can adjust. The interest rate is set according to an index, and as the index changes so does the interest rate on the loan. Which index is used and how adjustments are made are detailed in the paperwork of a loan.
Most adjustable-rate mortgages come with lower initial interest rates than fixed-rate mortgages offer, although the rates on adjustable mortgages can end up being much higher. If you can financially manage an increase in your mortgage’s interest rate, this option might be a way to save a little bit of interest (although there is risk involved).
The federal government offers several guaranteed mortgage options for qualifying individuals. Some of the most common ones are VA and FHA guaranteed home loans.
In these programs, the government guarantees a mortgage if the homebuyer fails to make their payments. This reduces the risk to the lender, and many lenders relax their qualification requirements as a result.
If you can’t get a conventional mortgage and qualify for a federally guaranteed program, one of these could help you attain the dream of home ownership.
If you’re a first-time homebuyer, odds are you’ve thrown the words “prequalified” and “preapproved” interchangeably. However, when it comes to home loans, there are some very important differences between the two.
For buyers hoping to purchase a home with a few missteps and misunderstandings as possible, it’s vital to understand the procedures involved in acquiring financing for a home.
Today, we’ll break down these two real estate jargon terms so that you can go into the mortgage approval process armed with the knowledge to help you succeed in securing a home loan.
Let’s start with the easy part--mortgage prequalification. Getting prequalified helps borrowers find out what kind and what size mortgage they can likely secure financing for. It also helps lenders establish a relationship with potential customers, which is why you will often see so many ads for mortgage prequalification around the web.
Prequalification is a relatively simple process. You’ll be asked to provide an overview of your finances, which your lender will plug into a formula and then report back to you whether or not you’re likely to get approved based on your current circumstances.
The lender will ask you for general information about your income, assets, debt, and credit. You won’t need to provide exact documents for these things at this phase in the process, since you have not yet technically applied for a mortgage.
Prequalification exists to give you a broad picture of what you can expect. You can use this information to plan for the future, or you can seek out other lenders for a second opinion. But, before you start shopping for homes, you’ll want to make sure you’re preapproved, not prequalified.
After you’ve prequalified, you can start thinking about preapproval. If you’re serious about buying a home in the near future, getting preapproved will simplify your buying process. It will also make sellers more likely to take you seriously, since you already have your financing partially secured.
Mortgage preapproval requires you to provide the lender with income documentation. They will also perform a credit inquiry to receive your FICO score.
Mortgage applications and credit scores
Before we talk about the rest of the preapproval process, we need to address one common issue that buyers face when applying for a mortgage. There are two types of credit inquiries that lenders can perform to view your credit history--hard inquiries and soft inquiries.
A soft inquiry won’t affect your credit score. But a hard inquiry can lower your score by a few points for a period of 1 to 2 months. So, when getting preapproved, you should expect your credit score to drop temporarily.
Once you’re preapproved for a mortgage, you can safely begin looking at homes. If you decide to make an offer on a home and your offer is accepted, your preapproval will make it easier to move forward in closing on the home.
Once the lender checks off on the house you’re making an offer on, they will send you a loan commitment letter, enabling you to move forward with closing on the home.
For those who want to enjoy a seamless homebuying experience, it helps to prepare accordingly. That way, you will be ready to identify and address any hurdles that come your way during the homebuying journey.
Ultimately, there are lots of things you can do to avoid a complex homebuying journey, such as:
1. Establish Homebuying Criteria
If you enter the housing market with homebuying criteria in hand, you can search for residences that match your expectations. Best of all, you may be better equipped than ever before to streamline your quest to find and acquire your dream home.
To craft homebuying criteria, think about what you require from a house. For instance, if you need a home that is located near your office in the city, you can hone your house search to residences in or near the city itself. On the other hand, if you want a home that offers two or more bedrooms, you can search for a house that provides the space you need.
You may want to create a list of home must-haves, too. This list may help you simultaneously narrow your home search and speed up the homebuying journey.
2. Know Your Homebuying Budget
There is no need to focus on homes that fall outside your price range. Instead, develop a homebuying budget, and you can avoid the risk of wasting time pursuing a house that you are unable to afford.
Oftentimes, it helps to meet with banks and credit unions before you launch a home search. These financial institutions can teach you about different home financing options so you can develop an effective property buying budget.
Banks and credit unions can help you get pre-approved for a mortgage as well. Once you have a mortgage in hand, you will know precisely how much you can spend to acquire your ideal residence.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
Let's face it – no one wants to encounter roadblocks during the homebuying journey. Fortunately, real estate agents are available in cities and towns nationwide, and these homebuying experts are happy to help you achieve your desired results.
A real estate agent can offer comprehensive insights into the homebuying journey. He or she also can help you conduct an in-depth home search, set up house showings and much more.
In addition, a real estate agent understands the challenges associated with buying a house. He or she will help you alleviate stress throughout the homebuying journey and ensure you can make informed decisions along the way. Plus, a real estate agent is ready to provide homebuying recommendations and suggestions at your request.
When it comes to navigating the homebuying journey, you may want to start planning today. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can map out a successful homebuying journey. And as a result, you can boost the likelihood of purchasing a house that will serve you well both now and in the future.
After you accept a buyer's offer to purchase your house, it may be only a few weeks until you finalize your home sale. However, problems may arise that slow down the home selling process. And if these problems linger, they may stop your home sale altogether.
As a home seller, it is important to do everything possible to ensure the home selling journey is quick and seamless. If you know what to expect after you accept a buyer's offer to purchase your residence, you can prepare accordingly.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you wrap up a home sale.
1. Negotiate with a Homebuyer As Necessary
Typically, a homebuyer will request a house inspection after his or her offer to purchase your residence is accepted. This appraisal will enable a buyer to identify any underlying problems with your home. It also may lead a buyer to request a price reduction or property repairs in order to finalize a home sale.
Although you may have allocated significant time and resources to upgrade your residence before you listed it, a home inspector still might identify assorted house issues. In this scenario, you should be ready to negotiate with a homebuyer to find a solution that satisfies the needs of all parties involved in a home transaction.
2. Remain Patient
Ultimately, the period between when you accept an offer to purchase your house and closing day may seem endless. At this time, try to remain patient and focus on the big picture, and you may be better equipped than ever before to limit problems that could slow down your house sale.
It generally is a good idea to be open to communication with a homebuyer as well. If you keep the lines of communication open with a buyer, both parties can work together to ensure a home sale goes according to plan.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
For those who are stressed out about the home selling journey, there is no need to worry. In fact, if you work with a real estate agent, you can receive expert guidance at each stage of the home selling journey.
A real estate agent is committed to helping you achieve the best-possible results. He or she will collaborate with you throughout the home selling journey and help you identify and address any potential home selling hurdles.
Let's not forget about the assistance that a real estate agent provides after you accept a buyer's offer to purchase your home, either. At this point, a real estate agent will keep you up to date about a home inspection request and the final results of an inspection. Plus, as closing day approaches, a real estate agent will help you get ready for the big day.
Take the guesswork out of selling your house – use the aforementioned tips, and you should have no trouble wrapping up a home sale.